Monday, February 27, 2012

Seriously, Are You Kidding Me?


Yes. It snowed every so lightly the day we left on Friday and the snow seems to be following us all the way to Disneyland. I'm writing you from our fabulous hotel in Anaheim at which we arrived at 9:30pm (instead of 5pm) due to the fact that the I5 got shut down due to SNOW. Inching, crawling, and merging for 1.8 miles to the next exit took close to 1.5 hours, and the consequent reroute took up a lot of time.

Unfortunately, this meant missing dinner with our friends.
Fortunately, this meant NOT driving through LA in rush hour.
Unfortunately, the kids were beat from almost 12 hours in the van off and on.
Fortunately, once in the hotel, we could unload, shower, get comfy, and crash.

It's 11:20pm now. I need to get to bed to get up at 6am tomorrow morning.

Dexter's been asking to go home and asking for playdates for 2 days.

The trip has been awesome, but it's been funny listening to him make plans for when we get home like having a playdate with Emerson, having a playdate with Jack to play Wii, getting home to get his light sabre and his Bakugan, and of course, to see Gram.

The boys have been great considering how long they've been on the road. I'm worried all this sitting is going to make walking through Disneyland tough. Especially on Richard. That last cold knocked him down hard. I'm hoping he can last our long walks.

His cough is back. It's been long days of driving, and unfortunately, he'd rather run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel, than let me drive. I've done a total of 1 hour of driving so far. Reminds me of a certain trip to Australia.

Yesterday was especially awesome because we stopped for a short burst in San Francisco.

Richard's highlight was getting to visit the famous sourdough bakery.

My highlight was taking the boys to Pier 39.

The boys' highlight was just after San Fran when we took them to the Lego store and they were allowed to spend a bit of their special money.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's Hard to Believe...

Today, I was driving in the van, not alone, but alone with my thoughts as three kids sat in the back seat with headphones watching Toy Story.

I was kind of overcome with emotion as I thought about the last few years.

Summer 2009

As we headed into summer 2009, Richard was days away from starting his first round of chemo.

Here, he's reading a story to the boys before bed a day or two or three before getting admitted to the hospital. We had no idea what lay ahead. Lots of friends and family helped us through a tough tough time.

Summer 2010

Late into this summer, the Leukemia returned, the chemo and radiation started, and the stem cell transplant took place in October.

Here are Richard and the boys. We were dropping Richard off at the hospital in August to start his chemo.

Summer 2011

Summer 2011 was Richard continuing to recover and beginning a new job. Still on lots of drugs at the time, Prednisone, Cyclosporin, and I think still Posanol.

Here we are for Father's Day at Shannon Falls. A BIG walk for Richard at the time. Those stairs were killer.

Summer 2012

We approach summer and spring this year with something amazing.

Yes, you read correctly. We are fortunate enough to be able to drive to Disneyland and back, visiting dear friends along the way, there, and back. I can't wait to tell you about it.

I have this funny feeling I'm going to lose it. Just lose it.

When I picture heading off in our van on Friday, I start to cry.
When I picture walking through the gates, I start to cry.
When I picture meeting our friends, I start to cry.

I hope I can hold it together. This is a long overdue family vacation. I'm in disbelief that it is 3 sleeps away (2 sleeps by the time most of you read this).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Little Valentines

Dexter was a super nice brother today. AJ did not have a red t-shirt to wear to school today for Valentine's Day (no uniforms today, and instead you can bring $2 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and wear red/white/pink).

So, Dexter let AJ wear Dexter's brand new, hasn't been worn yet, Darth Vader t-shirt. What a nice brother.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quick, Look Again, Before I Drop This One Too

So, the boys' combo birthday party is tomorrow.
About 10 common friends received the invite above.
About 20 classmates from Dexter's preschool received one with Dexter and Lego Star Wars characters.
About 10 boys from AJ's old class, and 10 boys from AJ's new class received one with AJ and Lego Star Wars Yoda.

The boys are pretty stoked and so am I. I love a good theme to go nutso on.

AJ's Storm Trooper Cake

Thought this one was going to be the easy one. I was wrong.

Good picture to go by.


Lego legs with marshmallow fondant followed by the dude's head.

The whole storm trooper.

Some mess.


My sweet sweet sister, Kimberley came and made Death Star cake pops with me yesterday. That was fun. Lots of laughs.

Thanks, Kim.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Quick, Before I Drop It ! Look at R2D2 !

Today's topic at church was 'vainglory'.

Don't do good things for the applause, or the applause is all you're going to get.
Do good things in secret only for God's eyes, and He will reward you later.

Yah... uh... maybe next time I'll do that.

In the meantime, applause please.....

Step One: Cooling Racks Ready

Step Two: Put the long rectangular cake, the round cake, the square cake, and the small rectangular cake on the cooling racks...

Hey, where'd that picture go? Oh well, I'm sure you can imagine it.

Step Three: Look at a picture of R2D2 and build him the best you can.

Step Four: Dirty ice him. Dirty ice him good.
Hee hee. Yes, you see another cake. Those are the cakes I'm freezing for the cake pops I'm making later in the week.

Step Five: Start mixing colours, get dye all over your hands. DO NOT let your child eat the small amount of red icing. Let him mix it only.

Step Six: Keep going.

Step Seven: Break your back continuing to make little rosettes.

Not too shabby.

Finished. Get a good look because I'm pretty sure it's going to get dropped on the way to the party. Oh yah. For sure.

Still wondering why I'm going to church? Sorry, if I've still not filled you in. I really can't remember if I wrote about that or not.

Let's put it this way in it's simplest form.
1. AJ wanted to know about God.
2. He should get his information from a place that knows about God.
3. I like singing and there's a great band.
4. Who doesn't like to listen to a good intentioned reminder on what it means to be a good person?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Where Did January Go?

Believe me, I had plans to update more often. For Christmas, I got a new camera, a little one, that I can keep in my purse. There are pictures on there and on my phone. The problem is that my computer has been redone and now I can't load those pictures myself. I have to wait for Richard to do them. I was forgetting to ask him for a while, and now he's been sick for a while.

Richard's sick?
No, not that kind of sick. I hope not.

He had a fever and chills and a bad cough (same as the boys). But the boys caught it after him, and finished it before him. Richard's still having a rough go of it. I've been a little panicked and he has these coughing fits that make me worried, but apparently, Richard is not the only person who is finding this particular cold draining and tiring. He's pretty exhausted. Poor guy. It's everything for him to just get to work. He's stayed home a few days here and there to try to rest up, but nothing was helping for quite a few days. Now, his cough has died down a bit, but he's just drained. Making it up a flight of stairs is proving tiring. His haemoglobin is not so low that it's scary, but his blood work is definitely showing that he's fighting something. I'll feel better when he's talked to the oncologist just to be sure. I'm sure he's not going to write about this and worry anyone on his blog, so I decided to do it instead.
You're welcome. Now you can all share my stress. Ahhhhh, I feel better already like a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Thank you.

I'm sure he's fine. If I had a brand spankin' new immune system, I'm sure this crazy cold going around would kick my A$$ too!

So, back to the picture situation. To top it all off, Richard unloaded all the pictures off the big camera, so I can't even show you anything new on there. I will be able to get to them soon, but I'm not going to bug Richard too much right now. He just finished working on the invitations for the boys' combo birthday party coming up, so I should leave him be.

What can I offer you in the way of pictures?
Not much.

AJ had a little bit of homework, so I brought out Dexter's 'journal' so he could do some homework with AJ. Here they are before bed, working on their 'homework'. Awww.

My boys, working so nicely together. As always.
You can chose to believe that if you like.
I think those two pages say "I like my brother" and "I like myself".

Dexter's journaling. I'll talk about his writing/reading shortly.

AJ's homework (part of his weekly assignment he gets from school). His "I like" book. He got to read it to his class the next day.

I like my scooter. I like my skateboard.

I like my computer.

Awww. Sweet.

Baby Book Entry Time...
Proceed if you are a grandmother, maybe a grandfather, auntie, or someone with nothing else better to do.


AJ keeps pluggin along doing great. He's not passionate about reading, gobbling up novels or anything, but he does enjoy it and enjoy be able to do it. We're reading some Geronimo Stilton books together right now, as I try to get him excited about bigger books. He likes the silly writing in there.

Dexter is interesting. The two boys learn so differently and just have very different attitudes about how they want to do things. Although AJ did enjoy learning sight words, what he really loved was learning to sound things out. He initiated that stage, you know, like trying to sound out what signs said and such. Not Dex. He wants words. Whole words. And...
He does NOT like to be taught. He only wants it the way he wants it. He knows some sight words now, maybe 20, maybe more, and as we read stories together, he learns more just from the repetition or from watching one of his favourite dvds, Meet The Sight Words 1, 2, 3. If you don't have those, buy them. Like now.

When he masters a new word, he eagerly wants me to go write it on his word wall, and then he wants to read all his words to me.

Of course, being the fool that I am, I think, "Oh, yay, he really loves this, I'm going to put out a set of new words in the hallway, like I did with AJ back in the day, and I'll read them to him, and......"

"No Mom. Those are not my words. I don't want that. These are my words over here. Do not show me those words. Erase them please."

Okay... fine.

He loves to write. Does NOT like to be taught. Watch out teachers!! Between AJ (Jim Carey wannabe) and Dexter (I will do it myself), I don't know what to say.

The Things They Say

Man, I think I need to go back to keeping a baby calendar where I write funny things they say each day. I'd like to go back and read them all.

Here was my treat from AJ the other day (who is becoming me with the sass):

me - "AJ! You ate all of your lunch! Great job! You must've been not-so-chatty today."

AJ - "Well, I had a lot of time to eat all of my lunch. Would you like to know why?"

me - "Why? What do you mean?"

AJ - "Well... I had to eat one of my mini sandwiches for recess. Would you like to know why?"

me - "Oooooh... did I forget to pack your recess snack? Sorry."

AJ - "Uh, yah. So, I had a lot of time to eat my lunch at eating time. uuuuuuuhhhh."

Here was the funny from Dexter the other day:
Background information - Jack is AJ's age and AJ usually gets the playdates with Jack.

Dexter comes running to me with another one of his 16 masterpieces of the day, and starts to tell me all about it.

I took a picture of the picture, but, again, it's on Richard's computer now.

He says, this is Auntie Erica's house and shows me Auntie Erica and the downstairs of her house. He shows me the staircase going upstairs. There are these really well drawn doors with knobs and they're open to show what's inside the room. He starts to tell me.

"This one is a closet. This room is Rya. Rya is playing in her room. And this is Jack's room. This is me and this is Jack. We are having a playdate."

I say, "Oh, where's AJ?"

He says, "Oh, he's at our house with you."

I say, "Maybe you should draw AJ too?"

He says, "uuuuuuuhhhhh... okay."

He comes back in a couple minutes with a separate piece of paper taped to the other piece very strategically with masking tape.

I say, "Oh, tell me about this picture. It looks great!"

He says, "This is our house. This is you and this is AJ. I'm over at Auntie Erica's for a playdate. AJ is home with you."

Too cute.

AJ's New School
Not too much to say. He loves it. I love it. All is good. I went to my first PAC meeting. It went well.
He's made lots of friends. He's excited to see a bunch of them at the birthday party. He's had some playdates with some new friends too.

More About AJ
Thursdays are busy right now since it just happened that AJ's karate falls on the same day as his new gymnastics training class. Karate 5:15-6:15 and Interclub from 6:30-8:30pm, and yes, that's past his bedtime. He's wiped out, plus he still needs a bath when he gets home because he's covered in chalk when he gets home. Which, by the way, really sucks when your son has eczema really badly in the winter.
There's something I don't think I've entered in the 'baby book' yet... gymnastics. AJ's showing some 'promise', I guess, and they thought I should put him in competitive. I wasn't quite ready for the commitment involved there, time... fundraising... volunteering... and oh yes... the money.... holy cow... the money. So, it was a bit of a compromise. He's been moved out of recreational gymnastics and is now in Boy's Interclub which is basically getting ready for competitive. 2 hours, and it's pretty intense. He loves it. He LOVES it. He must burn so many calories, I'm surprised there's any AJ left at the end. No wonder he still hasn't reached 40 lbs.

Dexter's Speech
He's plugging along. He's mastered his 'f', and he's doing well with his 'c'. Saying 'she' instead of 'her' is mastered now. He's working on his 'g' right now in 'carrier phrases', so like not just repeating 'g' words for me in games and such, but sentences like "I see a guitar." being careful to use the 'g' sound and not the 'k' sound.
The SLP has also decided to make a little attempt to work on his 'r' sound. They don't usually work on 'r' at this age, because it's not a sound that's necessarily expected at age 4. But, since the r sound at the ends of words in particular, are so weird, like a 'yee' sound, she thought she'd see how he does. She'll start with 'sh', because it's a transition into 'r'. It's proving challenging for him, and he's quite ticket off about us trying to show him where his tongue goes. We backed off a bit. I showed him tonight while we brushed teeth. That's about all I can do right now.

Dexter asked me to marry him today and gave me a picture that said,
" Dexter from Mom isolpm " and a bunch of other stuff. He read it to me as, " To Mom, from Dexter is always loving me. We have a happy ending. The end."

Made me melt. He sure draws some cute stuff. It's more about his story that goes with it. Makes you tear up a little. He drew a picture of his birthday party and man, the way he describes the decorations is just adorable.