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!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Playing at the Beach… Day 741 24NOV10

On a very special and momentous note, tonight is Madison's last dose of chemo! She has officially made it through treatment and beaten cancer! Madison we all shook our bushy tails for you tonight! Peace and Love from the Gandy clan.

Joshua got in a day at the beach with Jarrod and Wojtek. Renee left this morning with the boys and headed over to Fort Desoto to meet Ania and Wojtek. The boys had a grand time playing in the sand and even got in the water a little bit. Crazy that it is so warm here that they can go to the beach the day before Thanksgiving, but it had been in the 80's all week. Afterwards they ran some errands and then headed home. This evening Joshua once again donned his lucky Tampa Bay Lighting shirt and we watched them win their fifth game in a row. I hope Joshua's t-shirt mojo holds for a while longer:)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Driving around… Day 740 23NOV10

Joshua did a bit of moving around today. He started off with a trip to the Children's Cancer Center along with his cousin Taylor. Then he traveled back home to play for a bit and have lunch before taking Taylor back to grandma's house to drop him off. Then it was off to the grocery store for a little steroids shopping and finally back home for the evening. So far the monster has been peeking out but hasn't decoded to make a full visit. Let's hope it stays that way :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The boys of clinic… Day 739 22NOV10

Joshua had clinic this morning to get his counts checked. They are good, his ANC was 1992 and everything is go for steroids launch today. A big Happy Birthday to Wojtek today! Joshua hung out with his best buds at clinic for a bit. It has been quite a while since the three amigos had an official meeting. Not sure how they all fit in one regular chair :)

After clinic Joshua headed home to get school work done and get his steroids started. Let's hope that the monster stays under control for Thanksgiving. When I got home Joshua was watching the end of the Lighting game and wearing his lucky shirt. It worked again and the team recorded another win at home. Good thing they have Joshua pulling for them:)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Extra child day 2… Day 738 21NOV10

Allie did really well last night with only a little bit of fussing before she fell asleep on our bed with Renee on one side and Joshua on the other which basically consigned me to the couch. Not to worry though, I am reasonably sure I wound up with more uninterrupted sleep than Renee or Joshua :) The rest of the day was quite nice. Jamie came over before lunch to spend some time with us and, of course, to pick up Allie. She took the boys up to the park for a little playtime and Allie got in some serious uncle powered swing time. Jarrod and I got a few projects finished out in the garage and we got some good hockey playing in after dinner. The weather was just to pretty to stay inside. We really enjoyed having Allie around for so long, she is such a joy to watch. She is growing in leaps and bounds. IT is so much fun to see how much she has progressed each time she comes over. She is always excited to demonstrate a new skill or a new sound she has figured out. I would guess she will be talking away before to much longer. Tomorrow brings a return to clinic and work although this is a short week for all things school. A fact that both the boys and I will certainly enjoy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Extra child… Day 737 20NOV10

We had a fun time today visiting with family. My dad came over for a bit to deliver some nice vegetables and see everyone. Not long after Jamie, Christian, and Miss Allie showed up as well. We had a nice visit with my dad and al the grandkids. After he left we got a bite of lunch and then headed up to Saint Ann's for their fall festival. The boys and Jamie rode the rides while we watched and helped keep an eye on Allie. We got back home and played hockey outside for a while before dinner. We even got Jamie playing along with us. Jamie and Christian headed home after that leaving the adorable Allie with us for the night. We had a nice dinner and then all cuddled up to watch the Lighting game. They won! Joshua was pleased. Allie finally couldn't stay awake any longer and fell asleep in Renee's arms. Let's just hope she stays that way all night ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good school day… Day 736 19NOV10

Joshua had a good school day. He worked very hard with his teacher and did much better than earlier this week. Yeah!

We had a rather quiet evening, by the time I made it through traffic and got home it was to dark to go outside and play so we just relaxed indoors. Joshua started getting really tired and a little achy around 8. He says it is from not stretching before he played hockey the other day and we are hoping he is right. His temp is fine so I think he is probably right. We are going to rest up and see how he feels tomorrow. We don't have much planned for the weekend so we can all get a little rest time in and catch up on things around the house.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Camping practice… Day 735 18NOV10

Joshua had a chance to get a little camping practice in today with Jarrod and Wojtek. Joshua had scheduled a play date with Wojtek and the plan was togo to the park and have a fire, cook some dogs, and have some fun. That is exactly what they did. The weather was perfect for such and adventure and the boys had a great time gathering wood, cooking their hot dogs over the fire, and getting enough water to out the fire safely out at the end of their adventure. When I got home they had only been home for a little bit.

We managed to get a little hockey time in out side as the sun was setting and Joshua and I took a quick walk before the hockey gamer started. Initially the Lightning were down a couple of goals but then Joshua ran into his room and put on his Lightning shirt. Within 30 seconds they had scored a goal and went on to an amazing victory in an absolutely wild hockey game. Joshua was very excited and very proud of his lucky shirt :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

School time… Day 734 17NOV10

Joshua got back into the swing of things today as far as his school work goes. He spent a couple of hours with his teacher and did okay although he balked at working on his science stuff. All of us are still a little tired from our weekend and that probably had something to do with it. When I got home Joshua and Jarrod were playing hockey out in the street and taking advantage of the nice weather. We managed to get a nice walk in after dinner and made it back home just as the sun said goodnight. We spent the rest of the evening watching the Lighting game and cheering them on to victory. Joshua was very excited that they won and was whooping and hollering at the end of the game.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back to normal… Day 733 16NOV10

Today we all got back to normal routines, the last bit of magic from the weekend slipping away like silk through our fingers. I headed off to work, Jarrod left with Pa to help out at the church preparing for their fall festival, and Joshua got a bit of school work done before heading outside to play a bit. For our evenings amusement we gathered together in the living room and watched a few episodes of Top Gear before retiring for the night. We did get a bit of rain out of nowhere which I am sure improved the plants outlook on things.

Tomorrow is another school day, another work day, another day we will all wish we were back at camp, another day we are thankful for, and another day we will cherish just like the day before.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stammer… Day 732 15NOV10

Joshua headed off to clinic this morning much like every Monday. His counts were good, his ANC was 1530 and other than a finger stick he breezed right through. I woke up wishing for the peace and clearness of mind that Boggy Creek brought and then trudged off to work. The rest of the day was pretty normal for Renee and the kids with school work and trying to get unpacked from our weekend away. This evening however was pretty special indeed. Joshua was asked to be a judge for the St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Kids are Heroes campaign. He did this last year and go to spend some time with Steven Stamkos who is his favorite hockey player. Guess who he hung out with tonight?

That's right, Steven was back again this year and he spent some time hanging out with Joshua and walking him around. Joshua was thrilled and even invited him to come over so we could grill out and play a little hockey. Not sure if he will take him up on that but we would love to have him over :) It was  great evening for Joshua especially since he went and watched Steven play last night. The rest of the week I am afraid will be a lot less exciting for all of us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wow! What a weekend… Day 731 14NOV10

We had an amazing weekend! Camp Boggy Creek is an absolutely amazing place filled with wonderful people. When we arrived on Friday we were met by our two family pals Lindsey and Andy. They hung out with us all weekend and made life wonderfully easy. The cabins were unbelievable and all the facilities were incredible.

We did so many different things it is hard to remember them all but here goes: We went to wood shop (which Andy was in charge of) and made lots of cool wood projects, we went to the archery range, we went canoeing, we went fishing in a paddleboat and Joshua caught a fish, we did arts and crafts, we sang, we ate, we danced, we played games, we walked all over the place, the kids went swimming, we played miniature golf, we went to the camp store, and we had a campfire.


Deep breath…

 The boys got their hair painted for the dance, Joshua got his nails painted for the dance, we played UNO, the kids had a party in our cabin while we adults got a little alone time, we went to the theater and watched a bunch of great plays.

Another breath… 

We got to share a cabin with our good friends the Cavanaughs and enjoy being with their family, we got to forget about being a cancer family just for a little bit and be surrounded by others just like us and watch beautiful children have loads of fun. With a heavy heart we said "See you later" and headed for home.

We made it home and stayed for about 30 minutes before we headed off to watch the Lightning play at home. We were given amazing tickets by the Giving Hope Through Faith Foundation courtesy of Lightning player Dominic Moore #19. Even though we were tired we had a great time and really enjoyed the game. Even though they lost we had a lot of fun cheering them on and Joshua in particular enjoyed watching his "guys" play hockey. We when got home from the game we were truly spent and after a quick bite to eat we all headed for sleepy land.

 What made this weekend even more special is the fact that this is Joshua's 2 year mark since diagnosis. Two years ago on a Thursday and a Friday we were given the worse news we have ever received and our lives were changed forever. So many things have happened since then and everything in our lives has changed. It is weekends like this one that remind us that we are not in this battle alone and that there is great power in the bond of family and friendship. The memories we have from this weekend will last a lifetime and we are all looking forward to the next time we can go to Boggy Creek to get our batteries recharged. It is truly an amazing place.