Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve… Day 777 31DEC10

We get to mark the end of another year tonight. We are not planing any big fanfare and neither one of the kids decided to try and stay up to watch the ball drop this time. They were both pretty tired from playing down the street for most of the afternoon. The weather has been warm and they are really enjoying the waning days of their Christmas break. A lot has transpired this past year and we have many wonderful memories to cary forward with us in to the coming year. Some of them are sad but most of them are of a happier nature and we hope to add to them in 2011. We wish a special night on Bella , Yan, and Wojtek who are all welcoming in the new year in the hospital. May you all get home safe and soon. See you all next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family day… Day 776 30DEC10

Today was a family day spent with Christian, Jamie, Miss Allie, and my dad. Everybody showed up around lunch time and the kids stayed until after dinner. Jarrod and Joshua had fun showing off their skating skills and we all got a little hockey playing in throughout the day. it was a nice warm day which helped a lot with the outside stuff. It is always fun to have family around and we do so enjoy having Miss Allie tottering about. After everybody left we settled in for a Bolts game with Joshua making sure his shirt was on before they dropped the puck. They had a rocky start but came back for a strong win. Stamkos got 2 goals which made Joshua very happy and he said it was all because he was rubbing his shirt for good luck.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Warmer… Day 775 29DEC10

Our weather warmed up a little bit today which gave the boys the perfect reason to spend more time outside skating and playing around. I went in to work for a little bit and Renee ran a few errands with the boys earlier in the day and the rest of the day was just pretty normal. The temperatures are supposed to be back to "normal" for the rest of the week so as we get ready for the new year it ought to be nice to be out and about.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Play day… Day 774 28DEC10

Joshua set his alarm for 8:15 this morning so he could get himself up and get ready for Taylor and Avery to arrive at 9:00 for a play day. He was up and waiting when they arrived and they spent the rest of the day playing like madmen. The boys spent a good chunk of their time outside skating and playing in the street. Joshua was especially proud of his new red hockey stick and we made a quick video for Nonna.

It was a fun day for the kids and I am sure that they are all going to sleep good tonight. After dinner we settled down to watch the Bolts play against Boston. In the end they lost but we enjoyed watching the game all the same. We were getting some pretty bad calls from the refs which didn't help them at all. Steven did get a goal and I am pretty sure he heard Joshua yelling all the way down at the ice rink :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Steady… Day 773 27DEC10

Joshua and the rest of us headed in to the clinic this morning to get his CBC done. As we had hoped his ANC is still at 3500 and all of his other numbers are good. There is a quite a bit of flu and colds running around right now and I am hoping that it misses out family entirely. After clinic we ran into Brandon to pick up a new hockey stick for Joshua. He has just plain worn his other one down to almost nothing. He picked a red one that suited him and even got a little practice in at the store :) When we got home it was, of course, time for all of us to go out and skate so he could road test his new stick. Renee even joined in this time and we had a family skate up to the end of the street and back. We stayed inside for a bit and then the boys and I went out to play one more time before it got too cold and dark. It is great to have a little time off to play with my boys and not have to worry about what needs to be done to get ready for the next day. I imagine the next few days will bring more of the same which is just fine with me.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Windy and cold… Day 772 26DEC10

Our weather changed dramatically late last night with torrential rain and howling winds followed by a significant drop in the temperature. We went from t-shirts yesterday to hats and mittens today. So far this winter has been pretty unpredictable and hard to adjust to. The boys wanted to go out and practice skating even though it was cold and windy so we got them bundled up and headed out. Our neighbor across the street had an old pair of skates in his garage which he lent to me so I could skate with the boys. We all had a lot of fun and they are both getting their feet under them more and more. I figure it won't be very long before they are skating circles around the old man. Joshua and Jarrod are really excited about being able to play a little roller hockey once their balance gets a little better. When darkness fell Joshua finally, although reluctantly, took his skates off and put on his lucky jersey to get ready for the Bolts game. They did great and won it in overtime which made Joshua very happy.

Tomorrow is clinic day for a quick finger stick and CBC, Joshua has had great counts for a while now so we are expecting more of the same. I am sure that as soon as we get back the boys will be back out skating :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day… Day 771 25DEC10

Christmas dawned bright and early at our house. The boys slept until at least the sun was over the horizon and after we got settled around the tree the opening of presents commenced. It was great having my dad here for Christmas morning, we really enjoyed his company these last two days. It was sad not having my mom with us for the first time, we all miss her, but she was here in spirit.

The boys both got a new LEGO model to build as well as a few smaller gifts. The highlight for them both was in-line skates and all the body armor that goes along with skating nowadays. How we managed to survive back in he dark ages is a mystery:) We went outside to give them a try and they both got a good if not very slow start.

Jamie, Christian, and Miss Allie arrived a little while later and again filled our house with the melody of children and family. The kids all had fun playing and as the day progressed the boys skating skills got better and a little less harrowing to watch. Late in the afternoon we all said our goodbyes and then headed over to Jim and Sally's house for Christmas dinner. The food was great and we had a nice visit. Jim did up a fried turkey which is not firmly on my favorite foods list. The boys managed to get one more skating session in after we got home before the sun set, and both of them did very well, I am sure they will spend most of their break getting better.

So tonight we bid a fond farewell to another Christmas. We would like to thank all of the special people who helped us make this a great Christmas for the boys, the kindness and generosity that we have witnessed since Joshua was diagnosed it to say the least overwhelming. Thank you all! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve… Day 770 24DEC10

Today was a busy day for all of us but especially for Renee. She spent the morning and afternoon preparing a bunch of yummy food for dinner tonight. We had lots of family over this evening to share in all the goodness that she created, Renee's mom and dad, my dad, Scott and Alecia with Avery and Taylor, Christian and Jamie with Allie, Jim and Sally with Cameron and Jayden, and of course Bella and Spike. We talked, ate, opened some presents and just enjoyed each others company. It was a delightful evening and great way to begin our Christmas celebrations. Jarrod and Joshua were both promising to be up before the sun had cleared the United Kingdom when they went to bed. For our sake I hope they are tireder than they think ;)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Awesome Safari day… Day 769 23DEC10

Joshua had an extra special day today. One of Renee's childhood friends, Dawn, who works at Busch Gardens gave us tickets for the day. So we got up extra early, packed a lunch and headed out for the park. The boys were full on from the moment their feet touched the parking lot. Jarrod rode every roller coaster, he even talked me into riding with him :) Joshua who is still slightly vertically challenged rode everything that he could.

Right before lunch Colleen who is Dawn's sister, also a childhood friend of Renee's, and works for Busch Gardens called Renee to tell her that she had arranged for all of us to take a safari ride right after lunch. The boys were thrilled! We sat down and ate our sandwiches and then got ready to go on safari. We climbed aboard a large truck and drove out into the animal enclosure where the boys saw lots of cool critters like zebras, and ostriches, and white rhinos with adorable baby rhinos. The highlight for all of us was a chance to interact with and feed the reticulated giraffes. They were literally right with us and one even licked Renee's hair. They are amazing and gentle creatures with big eyes and amazingly talented tongues. It was fantastic! As soon as we were done it was back to the animals and coasters.

The afternoon was a blur of walking, queuing, and subjecting ourselves to crazy G loads. Joshua kept at it the whole time, never slowing down for a moment. We ended the evening with a nighttime train ride around the entire park before heading back to the car.

Joshua crashed on the way home and I think Jarrod was fighting to stay awake as well. When we got home we fixed a quick dinner and then collapsed on the couch to watch our Bolts play against the Rangers. Renee and I were the only ones who made it to the end of the game :)

A huge thanks to both Dawn and Collen for a wonderful day filled with memories the boys will not soon forget.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Play date… Day 768 22DEC10

Joshua woke up tired and a little cranky but he was okay after he got up a little head of steam. After lunch Renee and Joshua headed over to meet up with Ania and Wojtek for a play date. Jarrod and I spent the afternoon cleaning up the garage a little bit and doing some projects outside. Joshua and Wojtek ended up at Lettuce Lake park and had a great time playing together. He was in good spirits when he arrived back home and after a bite of dinner we headed out as a family to get the grocery shopping done for Christmas Eve dinner. We made it home just in time to watch the Lighting play the Islanders. Joshua was wearing his shirt and he was cheering them on the whole time. After the game it was off to bed to get some sleep for our Busch Gardens adventure tomorrow. Both the boys were very excited about going all day and it reached a peak tonight. Should be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Up then down… Day 767 21DEC10

Joshua started off the day full of energy and ready to go. Taylor and Avery came over around 10:30 to play for a bit and Joshua and Taylor went at it full steam. They played inside, they played hockey outside, they ran around, they built stuff in his room and generally just had fun. While this was going on Jarrod was channeling Julia Childs and baking up a storm in the kitchen. He made three thousand batches of cookies, well maybe not three thousand, but he made a lot of cookies. Chocolate kringles, oatmeal scotchies, sugar cookies, overflowing on huge platters the size of truck tires. Avery joined into the fray at one point. Renee took over the afternoon shift in the bakery and made even more confectionary concoctions. Christmas will definitely be sweet this year :) After Taylor and Avery left Joshua's batteries started running out and by the time darkness fell his pilot light was barely flickering. The steroids and the chemo caught up with him and he started having a rough evening. I hope he can get a decent nights sleep but it doesn't seem too likely. Wednesdays after an LP are historically low points for Joshua and I am afraid that this one will be no exception to the rule.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another round… Day 766 20DEC10

Joshua started another round of maintenance this morning with a trip to the hospital. He got accessed and then received his vincristine through his port followed by his pentamidine treatment. After a little play time he headed over to the day hospital to get his IT methtorexate in his spine. The anesthesia went fine and the procedure went off with no problems. We have done this so many times it is almost routine but it still scares me every time. I never sleep good the night before and although I have total faith in the Doctors and Nursing staff I still worry. So do Renee and Jarrod and you can feel it in the room. Especially as we wait for him to wake back up. Just as Joshua was beginning to wake up he got a visit in his treatment room from Santa and some of his helpers. Joshua received a cool Star Wars LEGO set and Jarrod got an iPod shuffle. They were both totally thrilled and as soon as Joshua got home he took over the floor in the living room and started building. I helped him finish it up before we settled in to cheer our Bolts on to victory. Joshua made sure he had his lucky shirt on and Stamkos had a great night along with the rest of the team. We also started another round of steroids this afternoon and so far Joshua has been on a pretty even keel. Here's hoping that it stays that way :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Little Nasty… Day 765 19DEC10

Joshua was another star for the day and completely in his element. A couple of months back we were invited to join Big Nasty at the Buccaneer Football Game. Today was the day. Unfortunately they lost in overtime to the Detroit Lions and it was very cold outside but that didn't dampen Joshua's spirits. He got to be a Little Nasty for the Day. (Although I'm not sure there was much change from the time he is on steroids!) Big Nasty is big but by no means nasty. He is just the opposite in fact. If you've ever been to a Bucs game Big Nasty is kind of a celebrity and everyone wants to have their picture taken with him. Joshua just joined right in. He played his part well I have to admit. Thank you to the Nasty Krewe for having Joshua hang with you guys for the day and for a great afternoon.

Tomorrow Joshua starts another round of maintenance which means we will be bright and early at the clinic and day hospital for a spinal, vincristine, pentamadine and prednisone. We are hoping for a smooth lead up to Christmas without any visits from the steroids monster.

Special Hockey night… Day 764 18DEC10

We had a house full of family today. Jamie and Allie came over and my Dad dropped in for a bit as well. Allie was her usual charming self and we really enjoyed the visit. Jamie stayed for dinner and as soon as we were finished we got ready to head off and watch the Lightning play at home. We were given tickets by Martin Raymond who we met a few weeks back, he is one of the assistant coaches for the team. The game was fantastic and they won after an exciting third period. Coach Raymond also gave us guest passes for after the game so we headed down to meet him. Joshua was invited into the Lightning locker room to view the placement of the photo that we had framed for Couch Boucher. Renee got as far as the Lightning Locker room doors and Coach Raymond told her that it was "guys only". She was just a little bummed!

Here is a picture of Coach Raymond and Joshua with the picture.

My Mom did a fantastic job framing the picture and Joshua and Coach Boucher decided on the perfect place for it to hang. Coach Boucher said that when he thinks he is having a tough day he's going to look at the picture and know that Joshua is tougher! Joshua also got to meet all of the other coaches and say hi to Stamkos and had him re-sign his "lucky shirt". The signature started to fade away when Renee washed it. She will have to hand wash it from now on! Once again the Lightning players and coaches are an amazing group of guys that extended to us another remarkable, unforgetable evening.. Thank you! Go Bolts!

Friday, December 17, 2010

School's out… Day 763 17DEC10

Today school is out or all of us! Jarrod and Joshua finished up their studies today and I ended my semester so we are officially on Christmas break now. The closer we get to Christmas the more excited the boys get and they are keeping a close eye on the days until counter. Jarrod and I grilled dinner outside and we even managed to get a fun walk in as well. The boys and I played a few games while Renee did some "polar research and delivery scheduling ;)" on-line. We capped off our evening by watching the Wizard of Oz. The boys really like the movie although personally the flying monkeys still give me the willies :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Weird weather… Day 762 16DEC10

I know that anyone who is reading this that does not live in Florida may not want to hear the next bit. Our ever weirder weather has shifted again and it was almost 70 today with the sun shining brightly. Hard to plan your winter wardrobe out around these parts :) Joshua had a normal day at home doing school work and such. Jarrod is very close to finishing up school for this year and he is pretty excited about being done. When I got home the boys were running around outside in t-shirts playing hockey, Jarrod wasn't even wearing shoes. I managed to get a little "ice" time in before it got dark and Renee called us in for dinner. Tomorrow is my last day of work before our Christmas break which will give me two weeks at home with the family and a much needed rest from work and traveling.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Clinic party… Day 761 15DEC10

Joshua and Jarrod both started out with school this morning like most days. After they got done they went out to do a little Christmas shopping including trying on some skates at the sporting goods store. Next stop was a visit to my dad's house for a little time with him before heading off to our party. I met them at my dad's and had a nice visit before it was time to leave. This was the 20th annual Christmas party sponsored by St. Josephs Children's Hospital Clinic, the very clinic we have visited every monday for years now. The kids always look forward to attending this party and this year was no exception. We shared a table with Lucas, Ania, and Wojtek as well as Nate, Tiffany, Preston, and Hannah. We saw a lot of our very good friends and had a blast watching the kids really enjoy themselves. All of the Doctor's and nurses we deal with are such a big part of our lives and it is great to be able to hang out with them in such a fun environment. We came home and watched the Lightning win in a shootout which was very exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. When Hedman scored and Smith blocked the next shot to win Joshua, who had put his shirt on during the third period to help them win, jumped up and said, "see, it works!" So it was a great evening filled with good memories and now the kids are off to bed and I am sure they are already waiting for next years party to start.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Still cold… Day 760 14DEC10

It is still pretty cold for here with hard freeze warnings again tonight. We are thankfully nice and warm in our little house and enjoying the break from the heat. Joshua worked on school today and did pretty well while Jarrod is trying to finish up his subjects for Christmas break. The rest of the day included some shopping with mom, squeezing lemons for lemonade at Renee's parents and getting our Christmas cards in the mail. Tonight we relaxed and listened to the wind whipping around outside. Tomorrow we have a party  to attend which should be a lot of fun, I know the boys are looking forward to going.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brrr… Day 759 13DEC10

Our day started off a little rocky. When I left for work Renee was getting the boys ready to head off to clinic. I got a call from her at about the halfway point to let me know her car wouldn't start so I turned around and headed back home. Turned out to be a dead battery and after a jump I had to send her off to Sears to get a new one on the way to clinic. So she got to add waiting around at the mall to her long list of things to get accomplished today. We just can't seem to catch a break on unexpected expenses this month. Joshua did great at clinic and his ANC is 1400 so we are good for now. Renee did find out that we had miscalculated when he is scheduled to start the next round of steroids. We thought it was the week after Christmas… turns out to be the week of with his peak on Christmas day. Should be interesting…
They headed towards home to get school going and run a bunch of errands until it was time to head out for the Children's Cancer Center Christmas party this evening. I was hoping I could meet them there but it didn't work out so they went without me. There were several Bucs players there and Santa dropped in for a visit. Joshua came home with the word "BOLTS" on his forehead and a lightning bolt on each cheek. Turns out they had face painting and he wasn't going to let an opportunity to support his team go to waste. The weather here has turned off pretty cold so we are all going to bundle up for the night and stay warm. Hope everyone else is doing the same :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Train… Day 758 12DEC10

We had a wonderful day today with a visit from Christian, Jamie and Allie. When Jarrod was younger after his first visit to Walt Disney World we bought the Disney Christmas Train for him. We have put up the train set every year since then for Christmas time. This was Allie's first year to play with the train and she absolutely loved it. Watching her laugh and giggle and clap just makes you grin from ear to ear. We also got to chat face to face with Nonna today thanks to Skype. It was wonderful to see her and have the kids here for her to see as well.

Tonight we concluded our fundraiser. It was very windy and cold but we still had a wonderful time helping out and meeting new people. Thank you again to everyone who helped with the fundraiser. We can never really express how much your caring and generosity means to our family. But please know that you will forever be in our hearts and we wish you and your families a truly blessed holiday season.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holidays for Hope… Day 757 11DEC10

 The morning was spent with Lee and I getting eye exams. It has been several years unfortunately since we have been able to see the eye doctor. We both did fairly well with not a lot of changes. The rest of the day was spent resting our eyes after having them dilated and the boys playing both in and out of the house. This evening we went to the Mira Lago Holidays for Hope Fundraiser. We are very honored to have Joshua as the recipient for their fundraiser this year. The residents of Mira Lago are very generous and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

They had a wonderful turnout this evening of residents and special guests. They had lots of raffles with special help from the Webelos from St Anne Church. The Doby Elementary Choir gave an awesome performance of Christmas songs for everyone and we even got a visit from Santa. Thunderbug and some very special Lightning Girls also came to help with the fundraiser. The Bolts are still away playing in Canada so we didn't get any players but the girls were awesome!

Thank you for all of our family and friends that made it to the fundraiser this evening. They are still having the event tomorrow night (Sunday) as well from 7-9 for anyone who would still like to go. Joshua and Jarrod did a great job picking the winner this year and you really should come see the house. It very beautiful with all its lights!

Christmas is a very special and magical time of year. We feel very blessed to have such wonderful and caring people in our lives at this time. Thank You!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lights... Day 757 10DEC10

Tonight was our night to head off to Mira Lago to judge the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. We left the house right after dark and headed off to the Mira Lago community which is a short distance south of here. When we arrived they were ready and waiting for us. The boys and Renee hopped into the Brighthouse PT Cruiser and I hitched a ride with one of the event organizers. We drove from house to house getting out each time to properly experience the full impact of the decorations. The houses were all very nicely decorated with some of them approaching amazing. At each house the boys assigned the decorations a score of 1 to 10. At the end of the tour of homes we had a 3 way tie. We had a quick family meeting in the back of the PT Cruiser and decided on a winner. The house that ultimately was declared the winner was incredible with lights everywhere, a manger scene, a train set driving around a tree in the driveway, icicles in the trees, it just went on and on. All the people in the neighborhood that we met were very nice and a lot of thought and preparation had obviously gone into preparing for tonight. The boys are looking forward to going back tomorrow night during the festivities that are planned. When we got home we settled in to watch the hockey game which was a late start since the lightning are in Edmonton. Joshua was the first to head for bed followed by Renee and then finally Jarrod. So here I am all by myself watching the Lightning battle it out in overtime. Joshua wore his lucky shirt to bed to help his guys win. Hope it works:)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Park day… Day 756 09DEC10

Jarrod spent the morning finishing up his school work for this year. He is almost done and is doing very well in all of his subjects. Virtual school has really made a difference for him and we are thrilled with his progress. This afternoon Renee took the boys up to the park at the end of our road for a little soccer playing and general running about. Joshua was having a bit of a row with Jarrod when I called to let Renee I was headed home after visiting with my dad for a bit. Not sure what caused it but I hear it was a pretty good explosion. Things had settle down by the time I arrived home and the rest of the evening was quiet. Tomorrow Joshua has to rise extra early to get emla on his port for his IVIG treatment. So he gets to spend another Friday hooked up to an IV pump for most of the day. At least we get to have some fun watching the boys judge Christmas lights later :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grilling out… Day 755 08DEC10

Our weather has continued to stay rather cool for us which has been really enjoyable as far as I am concerned. We are, of course, not near as cold as a lot of the rest of the country which is also okay with me. When I got home this evening Jarrod suggested that we grill some pork chops for dinner and I thought that was a fine idea. So we headed outside ad got the grill uncovered and fired it up. It took a bit to get it heated and then cook our dinner but we enjoyed the time outside together. Our meal turned out excellent and the rest of our evening was quiet relaxing with all of us scattered around the house. Tomorrow brings another school and work day as we head toward our busy weekend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back to normal… Day 754 07DEC10

Today was pretty much back to normal for everyone. Joshua and Jarrod had school to get finished, I had to go to work. All routine. Our biggest problem of the day was our internet service being down which makes it pretty hard for Jarrod to get his schooling done but he managed to get some work done the old fashioned way. You know, with books and pencils and stuff like that :) The internet got fixed and things were perking along when I got home. This weekend is going to be pretty special since a local community Mira Lago in Ruskin decided to adopt Joshua for their Christmas fund raiser. We get to go look at and judge Christmas lights as well as lots of other fun things. If anyone is interested in the details let us know and we will send them on to you. It promises to be a neat event.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Golf and guitars… Day 753 06DEC10

Joshua started off his day with a trip to the clinic for counts. He is doing good for now and all is normal. He came back home to spend some time with his teacher getting his school work going. He is continuing to do well and didn't have any problems today. After a bit of a rest the boys and Renee headed over to Feather Sound for a golf tournament in support of the Children's Cancer Center. Joshua had been asked to speak at their golf fundraiser so he got up and made a little speech about what the CCC does for kids like him. The food was provided by Carrabas and Jarrod told me the steaks were pretty tasty. PArt of the evenings activities was a silent auction. One of the items auctioned off was a guitar from Montgomery Gentry which was won by a lady in attendance. After she received it Joshua walked by and said "nice guitar" at which point she handed it to him and said that she would like for him to have it. Needless to say he was pretty blown away and was still all smiles when Renee sent me a picture.

I have hung his guitar up in my office to keep it safe and he is looking forward to giving it a test drive tomorrow when we get up in the morning. So it turned out to be a very special evening helping out an organization that does a lot for our cancer family.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quiet day… Day 752 05DEC10

Today was a quiet day for Renee and I. Joshua went to play with Taylor and Avery, Jarrod went to hang out with Grandma and Pa which left us alone at home. Unfortunately I wound up with the worst migraine I have ever had. So bad in fact that it was messing with my vision for a while. So we took it easy for most of the day. We did manage to get a few things done and got a chance to open up the house for a bit and let the lovely cool breeze flow through.

We went round to collect the boys after dinner and they both had a great day. Joshua went up to the park with Taylor and Avery and they played so much he was beat by the time we came to collect him. Jarrod managed to get two pies baked and make spaghetti for supper. We were all treated to a piece of yummy pie before we left Renee's parents. A rather nice way to cap off our travels. Tomorrow is clinic and school for Joshua and work for me. The boys and Renee are going to a golf tournament tomorrow evening to help support the Children's Cancer Center which I am sure will be a fun evening for all of them.

Hockey Fights Cancer Night!… Day 752 05DEC10

Tonight was Hockey Fights Cancer Night which is sponsored by the Lightning Foundation and by Steve Yerrid who founded the Yerrid Foundation. Steve is a amazing guy and has been doing this for 11 years to provide support and recognition for children with cancer. When we arrived the plaza outside the Forum was crowded with booths representing all of the organizations that work with childhood cancer patients. We saw lots of our close friends as we milled about talking and laughing. We all got Yellow t-shirts from the Yerrid Foundation which they provide to all the families attending. There was an issue with the tickets that we were supposed to have received and instead of sitting in the seats we thought we were getting we wound up in a suite all by ourselves. That was truly an unexpected and wonderful surprise. So we all, Renee and I, Joshua, Jarrod, Pa, Taylor, Avery, Sally, Cameron, and Jayden, settled in to watch our Lightning play hockey.

With half of the second period finished Renee and I took Joshua down to meet Sean who works for the Lightning and he escorted us along with two other families down to the underneath part of the rink because Joshua had been selected to ride on the Sweetbay Supermarkets Fam Zam which looks like a Zamboni that has seats built into the top. Joshua was thrilled about going out on the ice. It is the first time we have ever been able to see the rink as the players see it with the stands full of people and all the lights. The crowd was filled with yellow shirts. It was really amazing and Joshua, in true rock star fashion, loved every single minute of it.

As soon as we were done we went back up to watch the last period of the game. It was a close finish but our Lightning won 6-5 over the Avalanche. They are undefeated at Hockey Fights Cancer Night since its inception!

Even though the game was finished and we won the best was yet to come. We all headed down to meet up with Sean again so he could take us down to meet the players. We settled down at a table in a room right down from the locker room and before long players began to come in and begin walking around talking to all the kids. We got a chance to talk to almost all of the team and get their autographs. Joshua was proudly wearing his lucky shirt that Steven Stamkos gave him last Christmas along with a hat from Mike Smith. He got Smith to sign his hat and when Steven showed up he came right over and signed Joshua's shirt to give it even more luck for the rest of the season. All of the players who came over were wonderful with the kids and really made their evening.

Joshua even got to meet the coaches. Assistant Coach Martin Raymond was an awesome guy and took Joshua over to meet Head Coach Guy Boucher to show him his "Boucher Impression". Coach Boucher was very impressed and even took a picture with Joshua.

The Lightning hockey players and coaches are an amazing group of people. They are truly a different breed of professional athletes and are ranked at the top in our book. Our heartfelt thanks from our family to the team. Go Bolts!

Tonight was a truly magical once in a lifetime kind of experience which we were lucky enough to be a part of, but we would trade it all for a cure.

Hockey Night!!… Day 751 04DEC10

We had an amazing night tonight at the Lightning game! We just got home and we are all beat so I am going to be brief tonight with the promise that tomorrow I will tell all and post a bunch of pictures from our night. So check back in a few hours ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Picture time… Day 750 03DEC10

The boys and Renee headed in to Tampa once again today so we could get Christmas pictures taken. Joshua did great in school before they headed out. It is nice to see him working well these last few times instead of struggling. We were taking the pictures at the studios where I work so Chris and I had every thing set up when they arrived. The photo shoot went great and Chris took some awesome pictures of the boys together and by themselves. One of the pictures we took Renee chose to be our Christmas card this year which I will try and share on here once it is done. After the shoot was done I stayed to finish my day and the kids headed home. This evening was pretty quiet and rather laid back like most of our evenings. Tomorrow is chores and errands and then we get to go to a hockey game and help the Lightning raise awareness for childhood cancer. It is going to be a super fun evening. Stay tuned…

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Family day… Day 749 02DEC10

The boys and Renee headed in to Tampa to day to spend some time with my dad. Jamie and Miss Allie also joined the party. They got his house decorated for Christmas and got an old train set of ours up and running again. I know my dad enjoyed their company and all of their help. This evening we met up at the Children's Cancer Center for family night. The food was good and we had a great chance to just wander around and talk to different parents and catch up on how things have been going. It is always wonderful to be able to share all the different moments that define cancer life with others that understand. I had a really great evening and even got to have a fun time with Jarrod coming home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dentist visit… Day 748 01DEC10

Joshua did really well today in school and is working on his multiplication tables. He asked me to quiz him a bit this evening and he did rather well. I remember learning my "times tables" when I was his age. This afternoon it was off to the dentist for another round of fillings. Luckily they were all very small and he was done in no time. The laughing gas left him a bit agitated and he was a bit difficult this evening as a result. Not sure if that is related to chemo or just what is happening. Tomorrow is family night at the Children's Cancer Center which is something we all look forward to, it is also the day that the boys set aside to go help my dad get his house Christmas ready. I am sure they will do a great job just like they did around here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The countdown starts… Day 747 30NOV10

Today we officially bid goodbye to November and begin the countdown to Christmas. The boys are, of course, already fully in countdown mode and will happily report the days remaining on demand.

This morning Renee and the boys headed in to the Children's Cancer Center for a meeting with Leanne. Afterwards it was back home to attempt getting some school work completed which went, shall we say, begrudgingly. Renee popped out for a bit later in the day to get a new coif which I rather like. I got home in time for a bite of dinner and a little fun time with the boys before bedtime arrived. So we begin the, short for adults, and interminably long for children, wait for Christmas to arrive. Only 24 shopping days left ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Clinic and school… Day 746 29NOV10

Like every Monday Joshua headed off to clinic to get his finger stick and labs drawn. As expected his ANC was high from just coming off a steroids pulse so no worries on that front. He told me he played at the clinic with Yan for a little while before heading home to meet with his teacher. School went well and Joshua got along well with his teacher and worked hard on his school work. The rest of the day was about average with the kids mostly playing nicely together. They did manage to get a lot of great Xmas decorating done outside and when I pulled up tonight I was greeted by a whole bunch of twinkling lights. So between the decorating that took place inside on Sunday and outside today I believe we are all set for this Christmas season.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last day of turkey time… Day 745 28NOV10

It is with dolefulness that we bid goodbye to turkey time. We have certainly enjoyed the last four days off and do not really wish to return to our regularly scheduled events. Today was no exception with us having a great time with Christian, Jamie, and the ever charming Miss Allie. They came and spent the whole day hanging out and just having fun. We flew Christian's model plane, played at the park, ate rather well, and enjoyed being together. After they left we all settled in for the evening with Joshua and Renee turning in early. Both of the boys are still nursing their ankles a bit but I think they are on the mend for now. Tomorrow is back to clinic and school for the boys and back to work for me. Thank goodness Christmas break is just around the corner ;)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Birthday party and hockey… Day 744 27NOV10

This morning was pretty normal, the kids all woke up and had breakfast and then played until Taylor and Avery left to head home. This afternoon we headed over to celebrate Wojtek's birthday. The party was fun and the food was good, unfortunately Joshua re-injured his ankle while he was there. Add that to the fact that Jarrod messed up his ankle yesterday and we are up to our elbows in ACE bandages and hobbling kids right now. Injuries not withstanding we headed out to watch the Lightning play on home ice. Unfortunately they lost in a shoot out but it was an entertaining game. By the time we all made it back home we were pretty wiped out. I think a day of rest is in order for as much of tomorrow as we can manage.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kids day… Day 743 26NOV10

Today was a kids kind of day. Taylor and Avery arrived early this morning to spend the day and the night with us. Joshua has been wanting them to come over for a while now. Not long after Joshua's friend Carly called and then came over as well.  So we had a house full of energetic and beautiful children. We had lots of fun with our house full of kids. They played inside, outside, up at the park, we flew kites, played games, ran around, and just generally had a great time. By dinner time everybody was pretty tuckered out so the kids picked a movie to watch and settled down with popcorn for the evening. I am very sure that they will all sleep soundly tonight and be raring to go come morning. What a great way to spend a day :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!… Day 742 25NOV10

One of the things that our cancer journey has taught us is to be thankful for everything every day. So we celebrated today like we do everyday. Christian, Jamie and Allie came by for a little while this afternoon before we all headed over to my mom and dad''s house for a huge feast. Allie was a lot of fun to watch at the table. She seemed to want to taste a little bit of everything then drop it on the floor for the dogs to devour. Too Cute! We were also blessed to have the Robelli's join us for dinner. The house was filled with the sound of four boys, three dogs and Allie chasing all of them!

We hope all of our family and friends had a wonderful day like we did. Remember to celebrate that feeling every day of the year. Things can change in an instant so always take the time to enjoy your life today!