Friday, April 30, 2010

BEACH Day 4... Day 532 30APR10

Today was our fourth and final day at the beach! We had an amazing day! In the morning we took a walk on the beach and looked for shells, I could totally get used to being a beachcomber. Next was some fun time in the pool before lunch time. Joshua was swimming the pool end to end all by himself! His is turning into quite the little fish. Lunch and the early part of the afternoon were lazy time. The boys relaxed and Renee and I sat on the balcony looking out at the ocean. Although rain was forecast we never saw a drop and the weather continued to be very nice. After our little siesta we headed north to Westchase Golf and Country club to support the LLS during the SanPar Golf Tournament. We had a lot of fun! Joshua and I took a golf cart and drove around the course with him wearing his Boy of the Year sash. He said hi to all the golfers and stopped to thank the volunteers including a brother and sister who set up a lemonade stand in the side of the cart path and raised $245 for the LLS. He even got to drive the cart for a while and did really well, I think he is going to be a natural driver. Madison and her family were also there and together Joshua and her represented the LLS very well. Joshua and Madison both drew pictures that all the golfers signed and then they presented them to the two organizers of the tournament. The rest of the evening was really amazing, almost fairy-tale like. Joshua was given a brand new bike, I thought he was going to faint when they rolled it out and gave it to him. Madison got a Nintendo DSI which she had put on her wish list. As the evening progressed the people bid on different items and raised a ton of money for the LLS. Two gentleman in particular each gave $2000 dollars  in Joshua and Madison's honor and then gave both of the kids brand new HDTV's. We were all speechless!  We were awed by the generosity and caring that we saw from so many great folks. A huge thanks to all the  people who organized and participated in the golf tournament and raised a bunch of funds to help the LLS keep looking for a cure for the cancers that no child should ever have. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

BEACH Day 3... Day 531 29APR10

Today was our third day at the beach! We were all pretty tuckered out after all the swimming and playing yesterday so we slept in for a bit and then took it easy most of the morning. At lunchtime we were joined by Jamie, Christian, and Miss Allie. This was the first time Allie has been to the beach and Renee got to take her out into the ocean for the first time. So far she likes the pool better but I am sure that will change, our family has the ocean in its veins and none of us can resist the call of the sea. She was adorable in the pool and we had a great afternoon with the kids. After they left we relaxed for a bit and just hung out in the comfort of our great little condo. The weather has been exceptional every day, we could not ask for better conditions. At dinner time we were joined by the Cavanaugh clan: Glenn, Lisa, Trevor, Paxton, Madison, and Liam. We had a nice spaghetti dinner with bread, salad, and cupcakes. Oh and an old favorite, rice krispie treats! No matter how old you get rice krispie treats are still awesome. We all went down to the beach afterwards to play in the water and watch the beautiful sunset. We followed that up with a dip in the pool and a little soak in the hot tub. Another perfect day at the beach. Man it is going to be hard to leave...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BEACH Day 2... Day 530 28APR10

Today was our second day at the beach! Our family was meant to live at the beach, by this morning we were all relaxed and in the rythym of the beach. We spent the day in the pool, in the ocean, and on the beach. The boys learned to play shuffle board and we managed to get several games in. This evening Renee and I took a walk on the beach and found a ton of really wonderful shells while the boys played in the sand. After we got back part of our cancer family came down for dinner and a swim. Joshua was happy that Wojtek could come with his mom and dad and spend some time enjoying our little beach retreat. We had a great meal with brats on the grill, hot dogs for the kids and a delicious polish dish called bigos which is a sweet cabbage stew with beef and raisins in it. It was delicious. We all had a nice swim followed by a soak in the hot tub before we all took a nice sunset walk on the beach. It is great that we can share the gift we received with part of our extended family. We have already forgotten what day it is which is a great feeling and are looking forward to the rest of our lost days at the beach.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BEACH Day 1... Day 529 27APR10

Today was our first day at the beach! We started off the day with school work and Joshua did pretty good. After we were done we started getting everything ready to head out to the beach. We arrived right after 4 and the boys were n the pool within a few minutes of us getting the car unloaded. The place we are staying is really nice, they have a pool with a hot tub (YEAH!!) and a sauna. They also have shuffleboard, ping pong, and gas grills to cook on. I am going to have to try and get some grilling time in for dinner one night. After a nice dinner we all headed for the beach to take a walk and let the boys get in the water to check things out. The water was pretty nice and the waves are not terribly huge. Joshua can't wait to get a little boogie board action in tomorrow. The rest of the evenig time we filled with a pretty sunset, a little playoff hockey and just being together.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vacation? What did you say.… Day 528 26APR10

We started of our day early and headed off to the clinic to get Joshua accessed and get some blood drawn for labs. He did great and it was over in just a few minutes. While we waited for his counts to come back he played with Wotjek and Jarrod. His ANC came back at 864 which is lower than it has been in quite a while so we will be keeping a close watch for a bit. The results from the IVIG test will not be back for a few days so we do not know yet if that will continue or not. After we left we headed over to the Children's Cancer Center to drop off a bunch of things that were left over from the memorial service for my mother. We decided to donate them in her name to the cancer center. As we were leaving we got hit with a big surprise, a benefactor of the center had just donated a condo on the beach for a week and they wanted to know if we would like to use it. So after taking a few seconds to let it all register we said sure! We would love to take a vacation at the beach for a few days. So tomorrow afternoon we are headed over to Pass-a-grille beach to stay for the rest of the week. The boys are terribly excited and are looking forward to being in the water most of the time. Renee and I are just looking forward to a little rest and relaxation time. What a wonderful surprise especially since I am in between semesters this week!

We stopped by to see my dad for a bit afterwards and then took a quick side trip to take a picture of the billboard that Joshua and Madison are on. It is pretty unusual to see a picture of your child suspended forty feet above the ground, but it is pretty neat.

The rest of the afternoon was consumed with school work. Joshua has a spelling test tomorrow so we studied for that before I went into Tampa to take care of some stuff with my dad and have dinner with him and Danny before he leaves to go back to Alabama.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Band of brothers and a day off.… Day 527 25APR10

The boys gave us a day off. Yesterday they went over to spend the night with Christian and Jamie. This morning they woke up early an had already planned a day full of activities with Jamie and Christian and especially Allie. They didn't come home until dinner time which gave Renee and I a quiet day at home. We relaxed and then ran a few errands later in the afternoon and that was about it. It was a nice break but we both decided that the house is way too quiet with the kids gone. It just didn't sound right until they were all back and making the usual ruckus that we hear every day.

Tomorrow morning I start my week break between semesters and I am really looking forward to the down time and a chance to be with my family. I have been gone quite a bit the last few weeks. First thing in the morning is our usual run to the clinic, Josh will get his port accessed so they can test his IVIG levels and hopefully call an end to this monthly infusions. If not he will need to get another one on Friday, so we are going to keep our fingers crossed and hope of the best.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Tribute to Mothers.… Day 526 24APR10

Your gentle guidance has immeasurably influenced all that I have done, all that I do, and all that I will ever do.

Your sweet spirit is indelibly imprinted on all that I have been, all that I am, and all that I ever will be. Thus, you are a part of all that I accomplish and all that I become.

And so it is that when I help my neighbor, your helping hand is there also.

When I ease the pain of a friend, he owes a debt to you.

When I show a child a better way, either by word or by example, You are the teacher once removed.

Because everything I do reflects values learned from you, any wrong that I right, any heart I may brighten, any gift I share, or burden I may lighten, is in its own small way a tribute to you.

Because you raised me, and more importunely you gave me lessons in how to live. You are the wellspring from which flows all good I may achieve in my time on this earth.

For all that you are and all that I am, thank you, Mother.

I will never stop missing you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

End of the week.… Day 525 23APR10

Joshua started off today by running a bunch of errands with Renee. He had a fun time and got to be alone with mommy for a bit which is something that doesn't happen al that often. When they got back it was time to get more school work finished. He has got a bunch of homework that has to be finished by next Tuesday. After a coupe of hours of school Joshua took a break and logged some hammock time out in the back yard. I was jealous as I had to leave and go teach this afternoon. Maybe after things are finished this weekend I can sneak a little time in before it gets too hot to enjoy. Renee drug out the ironing board and got all the boys clothes pressed and ready for them to wear tomorrow. I am sure that they will be very handsome as they meet more people than I think they can even begin to comprehend. Should be an interesting day and the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning. It is sad in the respect that tomorrow we will really and finally say our goodbyes and close the circle. After tomorrow we will rely on the memories in our minds and the love in our hearts.

More school.… Day 524 22APR10

Joshua had school this morning and did pretty good. He had to do a time writing assignment about someone that was nice. He choose his big bother Jarrod and wrote a very sweet story about how his big brother helps him and look's after him.

This evening we met up at the Children's Cancer Center for dinner. I was already in town taking care of some last minute details for the service on Saturday. It was a nice evening and dinner with our cancer family. Everyone is doing good right now and that is a wonderful thing.

Tomorrow is more school work to get finished and my last day of classes this semester.. Yeah! Next week I will be on break before the next semester starts up and I am looking forward to spending some time at home with my family. Things have been rather crazy the last couple of weeks :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy day.… Day 523 21APR10

Today was another busy day.

First stop was down to the studio for Joshua's video shoot. He did wonderful. His lines were in front of the camera on a teleprompter and he read them like a professional. He was finished with everything in about 10 minutes.

Our second stop was the mall. Mom's memorial service will be held this Saturday and Joshua needed a new pair of nice shoes. Jarrod has once again grown another inch in one month and needed an entire new outfit, right down to underwear and socks. Jarrod is now officially taller than mom! I'm not sure how my 12 year old grew into that man's body, but somehow it happened! Lee tagged along with us for awhile and then headed off to work.

After shopping it was back home for school work and then playtime! We had a surprise visit from Brandon and Roxy. They came into town for the service and it was nice to have them hang out with the boys and play for a little while.

Please keep our family, especially Lee, in your prayers this Saturday. The service will be really hard on everyone since it will finally bring closure. Mom was a wonderful person who had lots of loving friends. She will be remembered by many people.
Saturday we will celebrate her life!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

School work takes forever.… Day 522 20APR10

Joshua had school this morning and true to his normal fashion did well for the first half and then lost focus during the second half. He just seems to get to a point where the fog creeps in and he can't get his mind to function the way he wants which leads, of course, to his becoming quite frustrated. His teacher is great at keeping him focused as long as possible but eventually it is for naught.

He went to tutoring this afternoon and when he and Renee arrived they were in the middle of a photo shoot for the Children's Cancer Center. Joshua jumped right in and started modeling for the camera. Renee said he was a natural and put on his winning smile. Our little ham is pretty cute sometimes.

When he got home this evening we tried to get him to do his writing assignment. What could have been done in a short span of time drug on for hours. I am hoping that he is better focused tomorrow. He has standardized testing coming up and he will have to be able to complete his assignments without any help. Time will tell I guess. Tomorrow he gets to be on camera again in the morning and then it is back to school work.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baseball.… Day 521 19APR10

Joshua had clinic this morning and we thought they were going to access his port and do the IVIG test. We were wrong. That is going to happen next week at clinic so he escaped this morning with just a finger stick and normal labs. His numbers are relay high thanks to Mr. Prednisone but they will start to slide down during the next week like always.

While they were in town Renee and the boys stopped by the LLS offices to drop off some glasses that Joshua painted for one of the candidates to auction off. They also got tickets for the baseball game tonight at Legends Field which is the Yankees spring training facility. The seats were right behind home plate and the view was pretty great from what I was told. The boys only got to see a part of the game because it started to rain and Renee didn't want Joshua to get wet. They had a great time while they were there though and it was the first baseball game either one of them has attended. A big thanks to the Yerrid Foundation for the tickets.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rain and rest.… Day 520 18APR10

Today it rained and we rested. We were all pretty tuckered out and spent most of today just doing a few odd chores around the house and relaxing. Joshua had his LEGO's, Jarrod the Xbox, and we had the hockey playoffs :) Tomorrow we are back in full swing and the week promises to be hectic and filled with lots of stuff for us to do or be at or handle. Joshua has clinic in the morning and he will be getting his port accessed so they can draw enough blood to see if he needs to continue his monthly IVIG treatments or if his levels have built up and the infusions can be discontinued. We are hoping for the latter. Joshua gets stuck with needles enough already. So keep your fingers crossed and look for results tomorrow.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Aloha and avast mates.… Day 519 17APR10

Tonight was quite a night. Not only did we get to go to a luau but we were attacked by pirates and Joshua was taken hostage and held for ransom by the pirates. Let me explain, Joshua was invited to attend a party help by Ani Vidal who is one of the candidates for Woman of the Year.

Madison, Girl of the Year, and her family were there to.

The party took place at a cool piece of property about 45 minutes drive north of our house. Their were ponds and streams and waterfalls. The ponds were full of beautiful koi which the kids had a great time feeding.

We had music, two campfires, lots of tiki torches and copious amounts of food and drink. They even had a cake with the kids picture on top!

Everything was going great but then all of a sudden we were invaded by pirates! With guns blazing and swords drawn they swarmed into the party and took all the children as their hostages. They clapped Joshua and Madison in irons and demanded treasure for their release. We pleaded with the crowd to pay to get our children back from the dreadful pirate swarm and pay they did. It was a great party and hopefully Ani managed to raise a bunch of money for LLS. We were thrilled that we could be a part of helping out a little bit.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ice and Lasers.… Day 518 16APR10

Joshua and I got a cool treat this afternoon. Jarrod had planned to go ice skating and play laser tag with his big buddy JAke and he invited me and Joshua to go along. So we all jumped into the car and headed to the rink. Skating was a lot of fun and once they got their feet under them both Jarrod and Joshua did really great.

Joshua got pretty tired after about an hour so we decided to take off our skates and suit up for battle in the laser tag arena. The place we played in was really neat, kind of like a forest of plastic cylinders and walls. We all ran around and have a blast. Our team won the first round but lost the second one. We were pretty tuckered out after laser tag so we headed for the car and home. Joshua got a little nap on the way back which he really seemed to need. I had a class to teach tonight but Renee said he was pretty tired and kind of quiet this evening. The events of this past week have been hard on all of us. I am glad he managed to get a little time to relax. Tomorrow is catch up time for a little school work and then we have a cool event to attend in the evening.

MWO halfway mark.… Day 517 15APR10

Joshua had a celebrity appearance to make this evening. Today was the halfway mark in the Man and Women of the Year competition and since Joshua is the Boy of the Year he was invited. We all loaded up and drove to The Venue over in Clearwater for the event. Joshua was there along with Madison who is the Girl of the Year. They both did wonderful and Joshua was definitely charming with his great smile. He did a good job of keeping the prednisone monster at bay. We are very happy that we can help the LLS in their fundraising events. Afterwards we headed home for a little relaxing before everybody trundled off to bed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Playtime.… Day 516 14APR10

Joshua had an awesome playdate today. Hayden, Preston, and Wotjek all came over to have some fun. I unfortunately wasn't here to witness all the frivolity but I was told that they had a great time. Joshua was worn out by the time everyone left, no big surprise there, and got a nice nap in this afternoon. He forgets that he had a triple helping of chemo two days ago and even a mighty warrior needs to rest sometimes. By the time I got home he was full of energy again and hungry. When Joshua is on prednisone he is always hungry. This item around his craving is for ramen noodles, chicken flavor only. So we went to the grocery store and got a bunch for hum to eat over the next few days. The rest of the week is pretty busy, I am not sure how we get so many things to do but luckily most of them are fun.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yard day.… Day 515 13APR10

This morning we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and get some yard work done. Renee and the boys pulled weeds while I mowed the grass. Then while the boys played inside we washed and scrubbed our deck. It looks a lot better and I enjoyed spending the time outside with Renee. As soon as we were done it was into the shower and then a quick bite to eat before heading out to take Joshua to tutoring.

The trip to the caner center was actually nice, somehow we missed all of the normal traffic and made it there way earlier than we had expected. We dropped Joshua off and headed over to my parents house to visit with my dad for a little while. While my dad and Jarrod were fixing a broken sprinkler head I ran back to get Joshua. He did okay at tutoring, not as good as we wanted, but still okay. The prednisone monster didn't visit at least. I ran him back to my dad's and he helped out in the yard a little bit before we headed home for the evening. Jarrod took off for bike ride but we kept Joshua home to rest. The chemo weakens him more than he realizes and he will push himself beyond his limits. Besides he has a play date tomorrow and he will need his energy then :)

Tired.… Day 514 12APR10

Today was a very busy morning for Joshua. We were at the clinic bright and early for labs, pentamidine, vincristine and then off for an LP of Methotrexate. Jarrod went with me and Lee met us there. Joshua did very well again. He totally amazes me every time. He handles everything so strongly and never worries or gets upset. He always wakes up requesting McDonald’s so that is exactly where we headed. After being over 18 hours with no food the little man is ravishing! At home Joshua was a little sore and tired so he rested for the day watching TV and lying in the hammock with his big brother! As for me...I needed a nap! Not sure where it came from, but my body decided that a nap was a good idea. It was until I awoke to the Lego Masters hard at work on my art table. Go Figure! My space has been invaded by a small army and I have knights and soldiers fighting with police officers and construction workers! Yikes! I’ve just been told that the police have a secret weapon. Wish I could tell you but I can’t! I’m not sure of the outcome, but I hope they keep it quiet when I go to bed tonight!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rest.… Day 513 11APR10

Today we rested. Joshua was the first one up this morning and he came and crawled in bed with us for a bit which made it the perfect place to be for a little while longer. He wasn't feeling particularly well last night. He was queasy, which I fixed with a little zofran, and his legs have been hurting him. We think his legs are just sore from overuse use this past weekend in the pool etc… This morning he felt better even though his legs are still hurting. So he took it easy today and only spent a little time riding his bike and swimming across the street at DJ's. Renee and I took it pretty easy for most of the day, we had a few things that needed tending to but that was about it. This evening we headed over to Renee's parents to have some dinner and watch the final game of the hockey season. I am not sure what we are going to do until the next hockey season starts up :( At least there is still the playoffs :)

Dinner was good and Joshua's team won. His favorite player Steven Stamkos got his 51st goal for the season tying Crosby for the most goals. Joshua was very excited! We came home afterwards and tried not to do much before it was time to head off to bed.

Tomorrow is a heavy day for Joshua with lots of chemo and an LP. He is also on another round of steroids starting in the morning… Yeah… Wonder who will come to visit this time around.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Family day.… Day 512 10APR10

Today was another busy day. Renee and I got up early and headed over to my parent's house to do something I have never done before, write an obituary. I was lucky enough to not only have my talented wife to help but also our great friend Miss Laura. With my dad helming the boat and everyone contributing we managed to get a really lovely and fitting obituary ready to go in the Tampa Tribune tomorrow.

Jamie and Christian arrived a little bit before lunch time with the boys and all of the grand kids (Allie of course along with our furry grand kids Bella and Spike). It was nice to hear the house filled with the sounds of family and my dad enjoying all of his great-grand children. Comfort comes from many sources.

We got a lot of things taken care of around the house before we left and headed home for a quiet evening of hockey. Truth be told it wasn't really a very quiet hockey evening, the game was close and we won in a shoot out. Joshua gets pretty loud when his team isn't playing up to snuff and he gets really loud when they score or win. Tomorrow we plan to have what Sunday was originally designed for, a day of rest.

Lots to do.… Day 511 09APR10

Today was an insanely busy day, We spent all day getting the arrangements started and taking care of all kinds of different things. We are taking things one step at a time and we really appreciate all of the wonderful comments.

The boys went to spend the day and the night with Christian and Jamie. They have been wanting to go hang out with them and this was a perfect time. The weather was warm and the boys and our cute little Allie got in the water for a dip in the morning and then again later in the day. Those boys love to be in the pool. One of these days we will have to get one :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Goodbye.… Day 510 08APR10

Tonight's entry will be very short. Lee spent the day at the hospital by his mother's bedside. This evening, Margaret Gandy, passed away from cancer. She is now one of Joshua's angels to look after him. Please keep the entire Gandy family in your prayers! We will miss you mom!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!.… Day 509 07APR10

Today was my dad's birthday! He is three-quarters of a century old today! Happy Birthday dad from all of us. It was not the happiest of birthdays. My mother is still in the hospital and is not doing very well. I went up early to take care of a few things and Renee and the boys came to visit a little while later. After the hospital Jarrod and Joshua went to Lowry Park Zoo with Jake. From what I have been told they had a great time and saw lots of cool animals. They sure were excited tonight when I got home and were ready to regale me with lots of stories but alas, bedtime intruded. I am glad that they had a good time and I am sure I will get to hear the full version of their adventure in the morning.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Short hair.… Day 508 06APR10

Joshua had school today and did very well after he got started. He even read 8 pages to his teacher which is fantastic. I love it when he has a good school day. After he got done with his school work he took some pictures of his LEGO Bionicles and made a great video to share his newest LEGO creation.

The boys managed to get a dip in at DJ's pool before they got haircuts on the back porch. Jarrod went first and got his usual cut. Joshua asked to get his a little shorter so Renee obliged him. I don't think we need to worry about his head overheating for a while.

Pretty soon after the haircuts we loaded up to take Joshua in for his tutoring at the Children's Cancer Center. While he was there Renee, Jarrod, and I went up to the hospital to visit Wojtek who was admitted yesterday but is doing great and should get sprung in the morning. My mother is also in the hospital and could use your prayers. We spent a short time with her before we headed home for the evening.

We got to watch the last half of the hockey game and unfortunately they lost pretty badly. Joshua has not given up hope though and still wears one of his Lightning shirts just about every game day.