Saturday, April 30, 2011

Flea Market … Day 897 30APR11

We got up this morning and had a little breakfast before heading down south to visit the flea market. Joshua and Jarrod have never been before and it was a lot of fun walking around with them and watching their reactions to all of the stuff. Our reason for going was to check out the huge farmers market that they have on the weekends and we came home with a bunch of lovely fruits and vegetables including probably the largest pineapple we have ever seen. It was a really fun morning and a great way to get in a nice long walk. After lunch Jarrod and I set off to run a few errands, he is great to have along and is a good helper. When we got back it was time to get dinner ready, Joshua had asked for steak so we grilled up the ones he picked out at the meat market. It was a yummy dinner. Four our evening we all cuddled up and watched a movie before sending the kids of to bed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Helping out … Day 896 29APR11

Joshua and Jarrod headed over to my dad's house this morning to help him get several projects done. They really like helping out with stuff and I know my dad really appreciates the help especially doing the kinds of things that are just too much for him. Jarrod cleaned of the back roof while Joshua picked grapefruit, he was quick to tell grandpa that he couldn't climb up in the tree because of his ankle. Good boy :) After lunch they headed home to get some school done and then play for the rest of the day. This evening Joshua's boys started the next round of the playoffs and won the first game against the Capitals. Joshua being the faithful fan he is cheered them to victory form our couch. Go Bolts!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More playtime… Day 895 28APR11

Joshua had another full day of play, Taylor and Avery came over to spend the day with Joshua. They had a fun time and played all over the house. Jarrod alternated between playing with the kids and hiding from them :) After they left Jarrod took off roller blading and Joshua and I headed up to the grocery store. It was a fun day in a house filled with the sounds of kids being kids. Joshua's ankle is doing better and he says it feels much better. He was pretty stiff for the first few days but the swimming and all the playing have helped it loosen up. He is excited that he gets to start skating again on Monday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beach and Bolts… Day 894 27APR11

Renee and the boys headed off this morning with Taylor and Avery to meet up with Ania and Wojtek at the beach. The water was really clear according to the kids and they had a good morning running around in the sand and playing in the water. They headed home after lunch and spent the afternoon relaxing around the house and getting a little school work completed. For our evenings entertainment we had the final game of the Bolts playoff series to watch. I made it home a little bit early so I could watch the last half with Renee and the boys. It was a nail biter all the way to the end when the Bolts won 1-0! Joshua was bouncing up and down and hollering when the final buzzer sounded, he is really proud of his boys. Next up we have to beat the Capitals… Go Bolts! Joshua and the family are behind you all the way!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Swim and a movie… Day 893 26APR11

The boys were excited when they woke up because today was going to be a fun family day. We ate breakfast and then after a bit left to go meet up with Scott, Alecia, Taylor, and Avery at the pool where they live. The kids had a blast in the pool and I must say that I enjoyed it too. After we swam for a good long while we went back to Scoot and Alecia's for a quick lunch before heading up to the movie theatre for the second half of our day. We have been holding on to a bunch of movie passes for quite a while and today we were able to take everybody to see a picture. We me Renee at theatre along with Ania and Wojtek who came as well. We watched the new cartoon "Rango" which was pretty funny and overall an entertaining film. After the movie was over we wandered down to a hobby shop in the same plaza and took a look around. Jarod was particularly impressed by al the model train stuff they had. We headed home after that and spent the rest of the evening relaxing around the house. What a fun day for all of us!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Free of the fiberglass curse at last!… Day 892 25APR11

Joshua's foot has finally been freed from its fiberglass wrapper! He was pretty happy to get his cast off once and for all. His ankle looks pretty good and his leg seems no worse for the experience although there is a odd odor of old cheese in the air :-o

Clinic went good this morning and his ANC is back down to a normal, for a cancer kid, 1900. Which hopefully means his chemo dosage change is finally starting to level out in his system. After clinic and the ortho the kids and Renee headed down to Toys-R-us so Joshua could spend a gift card he got for his birthday. While they were there they found a cool hockey puck cannon.

This is Joshua's reaction when I told him (via text) that we would get it for him and Jarrod :-)

Next stop was a visit to my dad's house. Jamie and Christian were there with Miss Allie and they all settled down for lunch and a visit. Afterwards the boys helped my dad with a few projects before heading for home.

Tonight was game 6 of the Bolts playoff match and we were all excited about the game. I made it home for the start of the second period and we cheered them to victory as a family. Joshua was jumping up and down when the final buzzer sounded and they had won. He is really cute to watch while the games are on, he frequently takes breaks to guard the net, which is our front door, while we throw pucks his way. Good thing they are made out of foam :) Go Bolts!

Happy Easter… Day 891 24APR11

We had a wonderful Easter and spent a fun filled day with our family. Jamie, Christian, and Miss Allie came over in the afternoon and we hung out until it was time to head over to Renee's parents for egg hunting and dinner. Mary Ann put out a great feast and we all had a lovely dinner at a table surrounded by family. I can't think of a better way to spend the day.

Joshua heads off to clinic in the morning and then to finally get his cast removed. He is pretty excited about being able to wear two shoes again :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breakfast and hockey… Day 890 23APR11

We all got up and had breakfast this morning and then headed up to the park to try out the new roller hockey court that Jarrod discovered yesterday. Seems they have re-purposed one of the tennis courts and Jarrod saw it when he was roller blading. It was pretty neat and we had fun playing for a bit before heading home. I am sure we will be back up there frequently over the summer. The Bolts game came on right at lunchtime so we all gathered to watch them play and win in a big way. Joshua was very happy especially since Stammer picked up two goals. The rest of the afternoon was rather quiet with the boys playing, me running errands, and Renee taking care of stuff around the house. After dinner we settled in to watch the latest Harry Potter movie. Joshua had turned the living room into a theater and had popcorn ready for all of us. The movie was really good and we enjoyed the family time together. It was off to bed for the boys after that so they can get some rest for Easter tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

End of the week… Day 889 22APR11

This will be Joshua's last week with his cast on. Come monday morning he will head over to the Otrho's office and have it removed, we are taking bets on just how pale his lower leg is going to be :) Today was a fun one for Joshua because Taylor and Avery came over for the afternoon to hang out and play. When I called from work this afternoon they sounded like they were having a blast like they always do. The rest of the evening was pretty routine as far as I can tell. This weekend should be fun and gives us a chance to visit with Miss Allie on Easter, she was sick last weekend and couldn't come over to see us so we are looking forward to Sunday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Family night… Day 888 21APR11

We had a rather normal morning with the boys doing school work and hanging around the house. Joshua and I exercised together later in the afternoon which we both need to do more often. A little while later we headed out for family night at the Children's Cancer Center. It was the Easter egg hunt and dinner and we had a blast just visiting with other parents and watching the kids run around and have fun. It always feels very welcoming when we are with our cancer family and they have all become an integral part of our lives. We all ate too much and the kids now have enough sugar to power a small village for a few weeks :) A fun evening and a nice day with family.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Friends over… Day 887 20APR11

Joshua had a visitor today. Wojtek and his mom came over to spend the afternoon and have some fun. I heard that they all had a great time and enjoyed the afternoon. I am sure that there was much playing with LEGO's.

Tonight was the fourth game in the Bolts playoff bid and everyone was glued to the TV when I got home. The bolts fought hard but lost it in double overtime. Joshua was a little bummed out but he bounces back quickly and is the first to say that they still have a chance to pull it out on Saturday.

Talking hockey… Day 886 19APR11

Joshua got a special phone call today from Coach Raymond. He called so Joshua could tell him about his ideas for becoming a hockey player, which he thinks about all the time. It was really nice for Martin to call considering how busy he must be, being in the middle of the playoffs and all that. Joshua was very happy with the call and wanted to practice tending the net for most of the day. I hope that someday he will get the chance to follow his dreams whatever they may be. We spent most of the day doing stuff around the house and just being a family. Renee and I got a chance to escape for a little while to run up to the meat market and get food for the next week or so. Not very often that we get to go out and do anything just the two of us. We had a nice dinner on the deck and then everybody settled in for the evening.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Playoff tickets!!… Day 885 18APR11

Joshua got up early today and finished his FCAT testing. He did very well over all and I am sure the results will look good. He was still a little sore and was complaining about having some sinus pressure and he said his ears were hurting To be on the safe side Renee took him into the clinic for a quick look and the Doctor prescribed an antibiotic just to make sure. Later in the afternoon Renee got an email from Coach Raymond letting us know that he had tickets for tonights playoff game. Joshua was thrilled that he was going to get to go and cheer for the Bolts in person so he got out his lucky jersey and they headed for the game. I was lucky that I got off of work just a bit early and could meet the family at the Ice Forum. The game was great with a barn full of cheering fans. Our ears will probably ring for a while. Unfortunately our Bolts were not victorious but there are still a bunch of games left to play. What a wonderful experience for us all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rest… Day 884 17APR11

Joshua woke up pretty tired and rather sore. It sounded like the vincristine he got Monday finally caught up with him. It frequently makes him very achy and if you even touch his back he will wince, today was one of those days. So we rested today. The weather was beautiful and all of us spent most of the day out on the deck enjoying the breeze. It even made getting stuff done outside pleasant. In the afternoon Joshua and I built and put up two more squirrel/bird feeders out back. He had been wanting to do a woodworking project and we decided more feeders was a good idea. I am sure the animals will appreciate the extra dining options and maybe now both the squirrels can eat at the same time :-) Joshua seemed to be feeling a little bit better later this evening after spending a while on the heating pad. I hope he can get a good nights rest because it is back to FCAT testing bright and early in the morning.

Over the hill… Day 883 16APR11

We spent the first half of our day relaxing around the house. The weather was pleasant outside and we had a lovely lunch out on the deck. For our evenings entertainment we headed over to Jim and Sally's for a surprise birthday party. Jim is turning 50 and Sally planned a big party and totally got the drop on Jim. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a great time. We ate and visited with friends and family until late tonight so I imagine we will all sleep in a bit tomorrow :-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

IVIG plus a hockey win… Day 882 15APR11

Miss Caroline showed up bright and early to get Joshua accessed and start his IVIG transfusion. She brought a bunch of great coffee from Louisiana where she was just visiting which I will really enjoy. Joshua got really tired and he was dragging a lot when I left for work. Renee said he rebounded by afternoon time and he was pretty much back to normal when I got home. Once again he skated through without any side effects or complications and after his transfusion was done the kids and Renee went shopping with her mom and then came home to rest up for the second game of the playoffs. I managed to make it home in time to watch the last few minutes of a rather decisive win for the Bolts. Joshua's lucky jersey seems to be working quite well. Go Bolts!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Testing Day 2… Day 881 14APR11

Joshua once again got an early start on his testing and after getting through the reading part he started tackling the math section. Once again he did really good and managed to stay focused throughout his time with his teacher. She is going to give him tomorrow off from testing because the IVIG always makes him so tired. So they will get started again bright and early on Monday. The rest of the day was nice, the boys and I ran a few errands and then we grilled some yummy kielbasa from the meat market because that is what Joshua said he wanted for dinner. After a little rest we boys headed outside to get sweaty and play a little hockey in the street. Joshua did amazingly well for a kid with a cast on one leg. Nothing ever seems to slow him down for very long. It must have tired him out because he fell asleep just after nine which is early for him. Ms. Caroline will be here in the morning and once again Joshua will walk around with his little pump and relax for the day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Testing Day 1… Day 880 13APR11

Joshua got fired up on his FCAT testing bright and early this morning, his teacher arrived right after breakfast. He did very well and stayed quite focused the whole time which was great. He still has the rest of the week and part of next to get through and with any luck he will be able to rise above all the chemicals in his system and do well. Today was a wonderful start and we will keep our fingers crossed as we proceed. The next big hurdle will be IVIG on Friday, not many kids take their FCAT's hooked up to an IV pump.

For the afternoon and evening he rested and watched the first game in the playoffs with the Bolts who unfortunately lost. He will, however, keep wearing his special jersey and continue to cheer them on through the rest of the games.

A huge hug for our favorite mini-canuck who got deported today. It was about time :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Errands… Day 879 12APR11

The boys did school work this morning while Renee and I did stuff around the house. After we all had lunch we took off for an afternoon of running errands. We went to the post office to mail a package, dropped off some clothes at the Goodwill trailer, Renee got her blood drawn for some routine tests while the boys and I wandered around Home Depot, we dropped off books at the library, returned the movies to the RedBox, went shopping at the local meat market because Joshua wanted salmon and ham (got to love steroids:), and finally picked up some fresh fruit before heading for home. By the time we got back it was dinner time so I jumped into the kitchen and got started. While Joshua's salmon was cooking I fired up the grill and cooked up the lovely bunch of pork chops we got at the market, there was a nice breeze coming across the back of the house which made it quite enjoyable to cook outside. For the balance of our evening we all rested a bit before Joshua, Jarrod, and I sat down to read a story before their bedtime. It was off to bed on time tonight so Joshua will be rested up for the start of his testing in the morning. So far the steroids monster has stayed away and we are hoping that he continues to prowl around elsewhere.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Worked over… Day 878 11APR11

Joshua got worked over today at clinic. He got accessed, got his vincristine, got two breathing treatments, labs, and then headed for home to start prednisone. His ANC is still rather high at 3546 and all of his other numbers are fine. I always get a little unsettled when things change with Joshua and will stay unsettled until they either change back or this becomes the new normal.

Joshua had a good first day on steroids and, according to Renee, had a fun and peaceful day with Jarrod. They rented a couple of movies for their evening entertainment and Joshua seemed pretty happy when I talked to him before he went to sleep. Lets hope the peace holds throughout his rather busy week. Tomorrow is the last quiet day for Joshua before his FCAT testing cranks up on Wednesday morning. Renee and I are both crossing our fingers and hoping that his brain will decide to not get bogged down by all of the chemo and he will do well on the tests.

Resting up… Day 877 10APR11

Today was just one of those languid days where we all just chose to relax. Joshua and I did practice a little hockey on and off but for the most part he played on the computer and relaxed. I think Joshua has been resting up for the coming week which will be quite a challenge. Monday he goes to clinic, gets accessed, gets vincristine, gets pentam, and starts steroids. Starting Wednesday he will be taking his FCAT exams every day and Friday is another IVIG infusion. Just writing it all down made me tired. His cough is also still hanging around although his temperature has stayed right where it should be. Renee will get him checked out at clinic just to be sure his lungs are clear. We also hit the halfway point with his cast and I can tell he is getting rather tired of having it on. It has definitely curtailed his activities and unfortunately will continue to do so for a while. So our little guy has a tough week ahead to plow through and I know that, like always, he will put his head down and push onward with that unfathomably deep well of strength he has.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hockey and veggies… Day 876 09APR11

Joshua sent the day alternating between resting and wanting to practice hockey in the living room. Since Thursday he has renewed his desire to become a hockey player after he beats cancer and is even following some nutritional advice that Coach Raymond gave him at lunch the other day. We are not complaining if he will eat more vegetables :)

The Lighting had their final regular season game tonight and we all put on our shirts and gathered to watch them play in my home state of North Carolina. They beat the Hurricanes rather nicely and proved that the new lucky jersey is even more powerful than the old one. Joshua was hooping and hollering when they won and is convinced that they will win the Stanley Cup as well.

So a nice relaxing Saturday for us all which we all needed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Smiling… Day 875 08APR11

A year ago today my mother left this earth and we mourned, today we celebrated. All of us met my Dad at a favorite restaurant that we had regularly eaten at with my parents on special occasions or just because we wanted to all sit down together for a good meal. We were there along with Jamie, Allie, Christian, and Roxy. The meal was wonderful, the company even better. I know mom was smiling down at us and enjoying the family all coming together. We were also celebrating dad's birthday which was yesterday and even got to sing happy birthday to him along with the guys from the restaurant. It was a lot of fun. After we all stuffed ourselves I headed off to work while Renee took off for home. The big kids all came over a little while later and when I called to see how their afternoon was going they were playing and having a blast with the boys.

The Lightning played tonight so Joshua made sure to put on his new lucky shirt and it worked in spades, he was really happy about that.

I still miss you mom but you are with me everyday and I have done my best to keep my promises. Keep smiling, I feel it in the rays of the sun.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bolts Strike… Day 874 07APR11

Today was another celebration for Joshua's birthday. In our family we seem to celebrate birthdays all week long. A couple of months back I had the idea of seeing if Joshua could attend a Lightning Hockey practice for an extra special birthday gift. With the help of Coach Raymond from the Lightning we were able to do just that today. Coach Raymond and all the Lightning players and coaches made today an extraordinary special day. We started out by being able to watch the players practice. There were only a handful of people in the seats watching and more than half of those were media or staff. After the practice was over, Joshua was asked to come down to the ice to meet the players. The entire Lightning team then preceded to sing Happy Birthday to Joshua and give him a cake with candles to blow out. It was pretty amazing to see a professional team of athletes singing happy birthday to my son. These players all had huge smiles on their faces knowing that they could do something just that simple to make a little boy's wish come true. They are truly a first class bunch. Coach Raymond wasn't finished because he then presented Joshua with his very own Bolts Jersey with his name "Gandy" on the back and a hat with the new emblem on it. After that Joshua went back to the locker room and got all the players to sign his new jersey. Mike Smith, one of the goalies, gave Joshua one of his sticks and even signed it for him. I heard he also learned a couple of new handshakes from Stammer! Joshua had a blast! On the way home home Joshua said, "Mom, that was the best experience ever!", "I am the luckiest kid in the whole world!" I agree.

As I stand writing this a knock at the door had me opening it to Coach Raymond. We had forgotten Joshua's cake and he brought it to us tonight. Lucky for Joshua he stayed for just a little while and even gave Joshua a couple of pointers as he shot pucks to Joshua in front of my door!

On a side note, tonight was Children's Cancer Center night. We were asked to take the fish that was in the teen room so we did. We renamed him…Bolt! Appropriate for the day we had!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blue skies… Day 873 06APR11

The weather was much more pleasant today and it set everybody in a good mood. Joshua's teacher had to cancel for today so he got to work with Rene instead preparing for his FCAT tests which are coming up next week. The rest of the day I imagine he spent playing and resting up. He has been fighting a cough for the last few days and I am sure it has been affecting his sleep. Luckily it has not been accompanied by a fever or any other signs for us to be concerned about.

Tomorrow morning we have a special treat in store for Joshua, Coach Raymond from the Lightning has arranged for us to sit in on their morning practice. We are all very excited about this opportunity and it, I am sure, will prove to be a wonderful experience for us all.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rain and math… Day 872 05APR11

We all woke to  a rainy blustery day. Thankfully the weather was not as violent as what we saw last week. Joshua and I worked on his math homework after breakfast in preparation for his teachers visit after lunch. I could tell that the chemo was really messing with his thinking and it carried over into school time. He has a hard time concentrating on Tuesdays, luckily his teacher knows this and she takes it nice and slow so he doesn't get frustrated. He did pretty good, all things considered, and got his work done. As son as she left we all jumped into the car to head into town so Joshua could meet with Leanne. The trip to and from the Children's Cancer Center was uneventful and we may it home in time to grill out some hamburgers for our dinner. The rest of the evening was quiet with the boys playing and watching a bit of TV.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Birthday boy… Day 871 04APR11

Today is Joshua's ninth birthday! He started it off with a trip to the clinic to get a finger stick and labs. His ANC came back at 3900 which is pretty high for him but not out of range. All of his other numbers looked good as well. After getting sprung he stopped at his favorite lunch after clinic place, McDonalds, and headed off to do a little birthday shopping. Seems the gift card and cash he got yesterday was burning a hole in his pocket :-) After a lengthy and exhaustive search he decided on what to get and headed for home shortly thereafter. The rest of the day was a relaxing play period. Renee suspended school work for the day in honor of his birthday. Hard to believe nine whole years have passed by since Joshua came into our world, seems like only yesterday… Happy Birthday Joshua!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

PARTY!… Day 870 03APR11

The birthday party was an unqualified success and we all had a great time. Our house was filled with our friends and family and the sounds of children having fun never dimmed. Joshua was thrilled and had a wonderful day. Renee's cake not only looked amazing but was mighty tasty as well. Here are a few pictures in case you couldn't be here with us to celebrate. Hard to believe our "baby" will be nine years old when we wake up in the morning.

The LEGO blocks were chocolate! Yumm!

The entrants in the First Annual LEGO Race Challenge

Getting ready… Day 869 02APR11

We spent today getting ready for Joshua's birthday party. Joshua left in the morning for Taylor and Avery's house so he could have a play date and make it easier for us to get things done. So the work began, setting up a few extra tables, cleaning things up, Renee created an amazing cake. Jamie and Miss Allie arrived after lunch and we got to enjoy Allie's laughter tinkling in the background of all the activity. We took a short break to watch the Bolts play a little hockey this afternoon before settling back in. Joshua came home at dinner time and he had a wonderful day playing with his cousins. A little later on I had to run up to the grocery store and Joshua decided to tag along. Somehow he aged quite a bit between the house and the store and he insisted that he needed to have an electric cart :-) So i walked through the grocery with him buzzing along behind me, it was quite amusing.
This is the same child that runs through our house in his cast:)

In the morning we will finish up the little details and then get ready for all of our friends and famiy to arrive. The weather looks great and it should prove to be a fantastic party. I know Joshua is looking forward to it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

No fools here… Day 868 01APR11

Joshua had a great school day with his teacher and spent he whole time focused on math. He is preparing for his upcoming FCAT tests in two weeks time. It just so happens that the testing will hit during one of his tougher chemo weeks but we are confident he will do fine. The rest of his day was spent wishing that he could somehow speed up time so that his party could happen sooner. Ahh, the unshakeable patience of an eight year old ;)

The weather cleared off nicely and although I saw lots of downed trees and damaged buildings on my drive in to work our immediate area seems to have escaped harm. Maybe I should quit wishing for rain…