Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jamie and Allie head home… Day 1109 30NOV11

We all got up early to say goodbye to Jamie and Allie before they took off for home. It has been an absolute joy to have them around these past days and we will dearly miss their company. Allie is growing up so fast and is a wonderful child, so full of life and curiosity. We will all miss them until the next time they get a chance to come down to visit.

After they got under way Renee had to leave for work and it was time for me to get working with Joshua in school. He did really well and we got five lessons done in geography and science. We even got to do some cool experiments to test out what he is learning. We got finished just in time to get some lunch and then got to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and doing stuff around the house. Renee was home for the afternoon before she had to head out again. The boys and I made a quick trip to the market and then came home to get some dinner prepared. The hockey game started at 7:30 and we settled in to see if we could beat the Redwings on the road. Alas the boys were unable to pull off a win but put in a good effort. After the game it was time for everyone to get ready for bed and get some sleep, we have an even earlier morning schedule for tomorrow.

I got a text from Jamie around 4:30 letting me know that they made it home safe and sound :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lunch with the Mayor… Day 1108 29NOV11

I got up with the boys and after a bite of breakfast Joshua and I got started on his school work while Jarrod worked by himself. 

It wasn't long before we had to get ready to go meet Renee and head off to Jarrod's special lunch with the Mayor of Tampa Bob Buckhorn. Jarod submitted some artwork to be considered for a Christmas card that the CCC will sell this season and his art was one of the final selections. To celebrate they held a luncheon and the Mayor presented each winner with an award which included a copy of the cards that have been printed and will be for sale in Publix's all over the area very soon. The card turned out very nice and includes Jarrod's picture on the back along with a short bio he wrote. Needless to say we are all very proud of Jarrod and really enjoyed going to the luncheon with him. I will have a picture of the event as soon as the photographer from the CCC emails it to me and I will post it when it comes in. 

We headed home afterwards to get some stuff done around the house and rest a bit. The weather has been getting steadily cooler and when we went out to skate right before dinner it was marvelous outside :) 

Allie and Jamie are leaving for home in the morning :( so we had a final movie night, complete with popcorn, with all of the kids. We watched Cars 2 which was really good and quite funny in places. Afterwards it was straight to bed for all the younger folks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rain and cooler… Day 1107 28NOV11

We awoke to gray skies and by mid-morning it was rising and the temperature was coming down. Perfect weather to stay indoors and get some school work going. Wish the boys thought like that ;) Time for the guys to dust off their school stuff and get back in the fast lane of learning. Joshua was doing well when I left for work and did fine according to Renee. It is always hard to come off of a  school break and get motivated.

The rest of the day was stock normal for the boys and they were curled up watching the tele when I got back late this evening. In the morning we have school to get done while Renee is at an appointment and then we are off to a special lunch for Jarrod. Should be fun!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tired but still going… Day 1106 27NOV11

Joshua woke up today on the tired side with his back giving him some trouble. It has been 6 days since his LP so this is unfortunately pretty routine for him. He spent the morning on the heating pad resting and taking it easy. At lunchtime Jarrod and I were getting ready to head up for the open skate and Joshua decided he felt up to going along so we all loaded up and left for the rink. He did okay on the ice, he took frequent breaks on the bench and skated for almost half the session before he decided he needed to call it a day. He is very good at deciding when his body says it is time to quit doing something. So he headed of the ice and got out of his gear. When Jarrod and I got off the ice a little while later Joshua was over on the north rink talking to the Jr. Bulls team that he is friends with. All of the guys on the team remember Joshua and were excited to see him and talk a little hockey. He made sure to tell them he is using the gear they donated and how much he loves ice skating. We headed home a little while later and took it easy for the rest of the day. 

Tomorrow we all get to kick it back into gear with work and school but before you know it Christmas break will be here and we can go back to playing :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Less busy… Day 1105 26NOV11

Today was much less busy than the preceding few days we have had. We all spent most of the day just doing our own things around the house and resting a bit. Joshua and I did get out and skate for a bit to get some exercise before dinner which was nice. The weather today has been on the mild side which made it rather conducive to siting outside and relaxing a bit. 

Renee had to work tonight so I whipped up some dinner for the kids before we settled in to watch the hockey game. They won rather decisively which made for a fun game to watch and was way better than the game we attended on Tuesday :) Tomorrow we are going to take another stab at going to visit the manatees, looks like the weather will co-operate this time around.

Visit from old friends… Day 1104 25NOV11

The "everybody smile" picture :)

Our morning started off like most others with breakfast and for me the all important cup of coffee :) Not long after we got a visit from some old friends, the Proctors, who were in town for the holidays. We haven't seen them for quite a while and it was wonderful to see how much the kids have grown up. Larry, Robert, and Emily are all so much bigger than the last time they were here. Larry and Joshua have known each other there whole lives and each time they get together it is like no time has passed since they last played together. Joshua did great even though he is full of steroids right now and the boys all played for quite a while. Us grownups congregated outside on the deck thanks to the nice weather and got a nice visit in. It was a fun time for all of us and we enjoyed the time we had with them. 

Jamie got a chance to go out tonight with some of her girlfriends while Renee baby sat. Allie was great from what I heard and went right off to sleep without too much of a fuss. I was lucky enough, thanks to my good friend Stephanie,  to get to go see a great show with her and my other friend Chris along with his two boys. We had a nice dinner before hand and really enjoyed the music. To top it all off the Bolts won in OT against the Panthers and Joshua's favorite Steven Stamkos got the winning goal :) 

How they really wanted to look ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011… Day 1103 24NOV11

Our morning and afternoon was a mix of a little house cleaning along with a dollop of skating and a little smidgen of rest to get ready for our evening feasting. Jamie and Allie left right after breakfast to go and spend some time with her family. 

We all met up at Renee's parents at 4 to begin our Thanksgiving gathering. In attendance we had grandma and pa, my dad with Missy, Scott and Alecia with Taylor and Avery, and our clan. The table was beautiful and the food was bountiful! We had a marvelous feast followed by some rest family time. I can only speak for myself but I assure you if I had taken another bite I would have surely exploded :) The kids had a great time playing and Allie got to spend some quality time with her great grandparents.

We have much to be thankful for in our world, most importantly our not so little warrior is still winning his fight! We are thankful for every day since our new life began 1103 days ago way back in 2008. Before then it was all to easy to lose sight of the most important things in life. As we move toward the end of another year we will all continue to be thankful each and every day. 

I hope that everyones Thanksgiving was full of family love and good food. 

Tonight we rest with full tummies, tomorrow we start exercising it off :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Playtime with cousins… Day 1102 23NOV11

We had a full house today! Taylor and Avery came over with Alecia to visit and let the kids have a play day . They all had a fun time even though our plans to go visit the manatees got canceled because of rain. We will try and go visit them some time later in the week. Late in the afternoon they headed for home, Renee headed in to work for a while and Allie and Jamie took off to go visit her sisters leaving us boys here at home. So we got our skates on and went out to play a little hockey of course :) Jamie got back in time to have dinner with us, after we got everything cleaned up it was time to watch a few episodes of Doctor Who. I think we have Jamie hooked already :)

Renee made it home in time to put the boys to bed and that wrapped up our day. Tomorrow we will get to gather with family and have a Thanksgiving feast. Yummy...

Leafs blow us away… Day 1101 22NOV11

We had a fun day at home with Jamie and Allie playing and just doing normal stuff around the house. We got an email from Coach Raymond after lunch asking if we would like tickets for tonight's hockey game, of course we said yes! After getting dinner out of the way we jumped in the car and headed up to the rink to watch the game. It was Allie's first hockey game and it had been a long time since Jamie had been as well. The seats were great! The game not so much :( The Maple Leafs beat us rather badly and Joshua was rather upset afterwards. We are sure that the steroids had a large part of his being so emotional. We waited around after the game hoping to have a chance to visit with Coach Raymond but he was unable to slip away this time, I imagine after a 7-1 loss the coaches were rather busy… It was still a great experience and we enjoyed the evening. Allie really enjoyed the game and was amazingly well behaved the whole time, she is such a wonderful little princess :) We were all tired by the time we dragged ourselves home and I am confident that there will be no early risers around here tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another trip… Day 1100 21NOV11

Joshua took another trip to the land of lost dreams today while the doctor injected chemo into his spinal fluid. We have watched him be put to sleep more times than I care to dwell upon and it never gets any easier. 

He did fine and was awake and ready for pizza by early afternoon. My dad was only to happy to oblige and Renee along with all the kids spent the afternoon at his house having a nice visit. I was able to sneak away from school for a bit and have a bite and enjoy everyones company before they headed for home and I headed back to teach my night class.

Joshua did okay for the rest of the evening and was fast asleep on my side of the bed when I arrived home. We got to start another round of steroids today as well and since Joshua's weight has increased so has his dosage. None of us are sure what the extra steroids will do but all of us have our fingers crossed that the monster will stay caged up for the week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ice time again… Day 1099 20NOV11

We got up and had a good breakfast before heading out to the skate and shoot up at the rink. We arrived and got our gear on and headed out on the ice, while we were getting ready Jamie and Renee arrived with Allie to watch us skate for a bit. Jamie and Allie have never seen us play hockey before. We had a great skate and were totally exhausted by the time we got done. We got out of our gear and headed home to get some lunch and lay about for a bit.

Matter of fact I don't think we accomplished much of anything after we got home which was fine with everybody. Rene whipped up a nice dinner and then we all snuggled up on the couch to watch a little tele before bed time. 

We continue to enjoy having Allie and Jamie here, they add a wonderful warmth to our family. 

In the morning Joshua has to get up early and head to the clinic and then the day hospital, it is time for another LP and IT methotrexate. We will also get to enjoy a week of steroids during Thanksgiving :( 

After this time he is only scheduled for one more LP, YEAH! The end isn't in sight yet but it feels like it is lurking just over the horizon, just out of reach…

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday playtime… Day 1098 19NOV11

Allie wanted pancakes for breakfast so Renee got the griddle out and made them for everybody. Allie already feeds herself with a fork and does quite well, amazing how much she has grown up in such a short time. We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon relaxing around the house and playing. My dad popped in with Missy to spend some time with Allie and Jamie. He stayed on after Renee had gone off to work and Jamie and Allie left to go visit her parents. We headed out to skate for a bit as he was leaving for home and then came in at sunset to get some dinner sorted out. The hockey game came on at 7 and we all settled in to watch the Bolts play the Devils. It was a good game to watch but our boys lost in the end. Jamie and Allie came back in during the third period and got to watch the tail end of the game. Afterwards we got all the kids ready for bed and gathered in Joshua's bed to read a bedtime story for Allie. Lights out followed and the house became quiet for the night. Tomorrow we are going to get some ice time in and the girls are going to come up and watch us skate, should be fun :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jamie and Allie are here!… Day 1097 18NOV11

Joshua and Jarrod worked hard this morning to get their school work caught up so they can have next week off for Thanksgiving break. They managed to get it done and then began the wait for Jamie and Miss Allie to arrive from Georgia. They made it right after dinner time and met the boys over at Renee's parent's house. After dinner and a visit Jamie brought the boys home to wait for Renee and I to get home. I made it home in time to spend a little time with Allie and Jamie before it was off to bed for all the kids. Allie has grown quite a bit since we last saw her and is quite the talker now. If anything she has gotten even cuter than before :)
I got to read her a bedtime story and then she tucked in for the night. It is nice to have Jamie and Allie staying with us and we are all looking forward to the rest of their visit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Going to see the Penguins… Day 1096 17NOV11

Joshua and Jarrod had there normal morning at school and got finished after lunchtime. They relaxed for a bit since tonight they were going to see the Penguins play the Bolts with grandma and pa. We got 4 tickets from the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Renee's parents were able to take the boys to the game. Renee and I were both working so it was great for the boys to get to go without us. I watched the game when I got home and it was an exciting win for the Bolts. I know the boys had a good time and enjoyed watching the game. 

They might be a little slow getting started in the morning but it will have been worth it :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

School one on one… Day 1095 16NOV11

Joshua got Renee all to himself for school today since Jarrod and I left early to help Renee's dad out with getting a trailer for the boat. We didn't make it back home until mid-afternoon so Joshua was long since finished with all of his school work. He and Renee started getting the boys old bedroom straightened up for our guests who are due to arrive Friday evening. Jamie and Allie are coming down for  a week or so and will be staying with us for part of that time. We are excited that they are coming to visit and Jarrod baked oatmeal scotchies to have on hand for when they get here. Nice to have the house filled with the smell of fresh baked cookies :) Joshua and I got a skate in after dinner and then as the sun set we all settled in for dinner and the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

School and a photo shoot… Day 1094 15NOV11

Joshua and I got to do school together this morning since Renee was working with Jarrod. Joshua did really well and we managed to get 5 lessons finished by lunch time. 

We all took a lunch break and then got ready to head into Tampa so Joshua could take part in a photo shoot with the Children's Cancer Center. He was chosen to be in a calendar that they are creating to raise funds for the CCC. Each child was asked what they want to be when they get done with cancer and grow up so naturally Joshua said he wanted to be a hockey player. We took all of his gear and he got suited up including his ice skates to have his pictures taken. I think they will turn out pretty neat, we will just have to wait and see. 

After we got finished we stopped by my dad's house since we were close by for a little while. He and Missy are doing great and we had a nice time visiting with them. We headed out to get back before the traffic got bad and had an uneventful ride home. The rest of the evening was stock normal with dinner and a little tele before sending the boys off to bed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The day after… Day 1093 14NOV11

The day after camp is always a hard one. Everybody has to adjust themselves back to the normal day in and day out schedule that we have all the time. This morning we got the boys back on school work and I got ready to go back to work and start a new semester. Joshua was a little slow getting started but managed to get up to speed after a bit of cajoling.

Today marked 3 years since we got diagnosed and the painful memories are just below the surface for all of us. It doesn't take much more than a passing thought to bring them welling up to the surface. Joshua got a bit upset last night as we remembered our fateful trip in to meet Dr. Wynn for the first time and discover that our world would never be the same ever again. Even after 1093 days the memory is a fresh as if it happened yesterday, I imagine it always will be that way. Certain moments in time just stick with you...

Joshua was doing much better today and this morning told me that he only had 141 more days to go until he would be done with chemo forever. He always manages to find a glimmer of brightness in every dark cloud :) His faith in the future is inspiring and is one of the things that keeps us putting one foot in front of the other. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Camp Day 3 and coming home… Day 1092 13NOV11

We finished up a wonderful weekend at camp this morning and headed for home around 1:00. The weekend was marvelous and the boys, as well as us old folks, had a great time playing, laughing, and meeting with new friends and old ones. We stayed in the exact same cabin we were in last year which was pretty neat. They were a lot of leukemia kids at camp this time and they were all right around Joshua's age which gave him lots of people to hang out with. Once again we got a fantastic family pal named Elena and she did a great job of keeping up with the boys all over the camp. It is always with a touch of regret that we leave Boggy Creek and head home because for the weekend all of our cares and worries disappear and are replaced with great memories of times spent with people just likes us watching all of our kids just be normal for the whole weekend. We made it home a little before dinner time and all got our stuff unpriced and put away before relaxing for the rest of the evening.

Tomorrow we get back to a normal week of school and work. Wish we were still at camp :)

Camp Day 2… Day 1091 12NOV11

We had a wonderful day at Boggy Creek doing all kinds of fun stuff. Going home tomorrow :(

Friday, November 11, 2011

Boggy Creek! Day 1090 11NOV11

This afternoon couldn't get here fast enough for the boys. We left at 4:00 for Camp Boggy Creek and got there just after dark. We are staying in the same cabin we were in the last time we came. The evening was filled with fun as I am sure the rest of the weekend will be. I am posting from my phone so I will be brief and promise lots of details when we get back :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cancer Center Thanksgiving… Day 1089 10NOV11

Joshua spent his morning doing school work along with Jarrod. After lunch Jarrod and I headed off to help Renee's dad with dissembling the boat lift while Renee and Joshua ran some errands and went to the library to pick up some books for him to read. Jarrod and I made it home in tome to get cleaned up and head off to the Children's Cancer Center for family night and an early Thanksgiving dinner. The food was pretty yummy and we had a nice visit with our extended family. Several of them will be at Boggy Creek with us which is awesome. We made it home rather late and the boys headed off to get some sleep. Tomorrow we get ready to leave for camp! We are all looking forward to the trip and a chance to get away for a few days, we all need a little break.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Missy came to visit… Day 1088 09NOV11

The boys spent the morning like most other engaged in their school work. They got finished early afternoon and settled in to play a little xbox. A bit later my dad arrived with Missy for a visit. They have become quite good buddies and are really enjoying each others company. We had a nice visit relaxing out on the deck and talking. Joshua wanted to skate and show gramps some of his moves so we moved out into the front and skated for a bit until it was dinner time. My dad headed for home and we tucked in for dinner. The Bolts had a late start game tonight against the Flyers so we had a chance to get the kitchen straightened away before the game came on. They wound up with a nice win in OT and we were all smiles as the boys headed off for bed. They are counting down to our departure for Boggy Creek and Joshua made sure to let me know that we needed to start packing tomorrow :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rested up… Day 1087 08NOV11

Joshua crashed on the couch last night just after the sun went down, he really wore himself out skating. He slept straight on through until 7 this morning, almost twelve solid hours of sleep. He was very rested today and had his usually bounce in his step. Sometimes he just needs to recharge his batteries a bit :)

The rest of his day was pretty standard with the first half filled with school and the latter half full of LEGO's and skating with dad. The two of us ran up to the meat market as well to get some protein in for the coming week. Joshua makes a great shopping companion and the ladies at the meat market love to see him come in.

After dinner we boys watched a little tele and talked about our upcoming trip to Boggy Creek. The boys are getting more excited by the day and the weather looks like it will be wonderful this weekend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Skate and Shoot… Day 1086 07NOV11

Joshua has been waiting for today to come around for over a week. This afternoon there was a skate and shoot up at the rink where we could get geared up and be on the ice with sticks and pucks. He has been beside himself waiting to get in front of the goal and have people take shots at him for the first time. 

First things first though. We had to go to clinic this morning to get a finger poke and see how his counts were sitting. The results were good with his ANC over 2100, a little high but he is still on 50% chemo dosing because of the slide he had a few weeks back. They will start ramping his chemo back up after next week. With clinic out of the way we headed for home to get some lunch and wait unit time to head for the rink. 

Joshua was like a caged cat the last hour, pacing around the house and checking the clock every few minutes :) Finally it was time to leave so we jumped in the car and headed out. 

We got in over 2 hours of practice on the ice with only about 15 people. Joshua got peppered by pucks the whole time he was in front of the net. Jarrod and I got a bunch of practice in and accounted for a bunch of the shots bouncing off of Joshua. 

How did he like it? 

He walked back into the locker room, took off his helmet, broke into a huge grin and said only one word… "EPIC!" 
I am pretty sure that means he had a great time. We got out of our gear and wandered out to the car, all of us thoroughly beat. I have no doubt we will all sleep well tonight.

We also found out today that we will get to go to Boggy Creek this weekend for camp! We have been on the waiting list for several months and now we are going back. We are all excited and really looking forward to being at camp again.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time change… Day 1085 06NOV11

The boys both slept in for a bit to get used to the new time we are living with for the winter. We took it easy for the morning and after lunch we headed up to the rink to get some ice time in. It was a good skate but it left all of us rather tired out. We came home and really didn't do much for the rest of the day. The bolts had an early game at 5 so we watched that right after dinner, they won in a nail biting shootout which resulted in a lot of whooping and hollering in or living room :) The boys headed off to bed a bit later. In the morning I get to take Joshua to clinic because Renee has a doctors appointment, should be fun.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saving Tigress… Day 1084 05NOV11

Jarrod and I spent the better part of the morning and early afternoon helping Renee's dad get Tigress, his boat, off of the damaged boat lift in his back yard. It was hard work but in the end we all managed to get her safely back into the water without any major damage. We came home afterwards and rested for a good while, we were both beat. 

Before dinner Joshua and I went out for a nice long skate and we had a marvelous time. The weather was in the low 70's with a steady breeze, perfect for being outside. I really love being able to go out and play with the boys.

 We had a nice dinner and then settled in to watch a little tele. The boys were thrilled to find out that the time falls back tonight so that they got to stay up an extra hour :) We will see how they like it come morning time ;)

Friday, November 4, 2011

IVIG time again… Day 1083 04NOV11

Joshua got an early start with Miss Caroline to get his IVIG transfusion. Like always she got him accessed and hooked up without a fuss. Joshua spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon toting around his IV pump unit he was done around 2:00 just in time to jump online with his class and do a timed writing assignment. This poor kid just can't catch a break when it comes to school work, seconds after having a needle pulled out of his chest he has to sit down and try to focus on a creative writing assignment. But being the trooper that he is he gave it his best shot and got it finished. 

He relaxed for a bit until we went out to skate around 5. The weather has cooled off and it was a really peasant evening to be outside. We came in and had a bite of dinner before the hockey game got underway. The Bolts played great and Steven Stamkos got a hat trick which made us all whoop and holler for a bit. They ended up winning it in OT and as soon as it was over I ushered the boys off to sleep. A fun end to a long day for Joshua. 

I really don't know how he does it...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time at home… Day 1082 03NOV11

Starting today I am off work for the next week and a half :) It will give me a bunch of time to spend with the family and try and get a few projects done around here as well. Joshua and Jarrod spent most of the day doing their school work. Jarrod finished ninth grade science today so he was pretty happy. Joshua is still catching up and is closing the gap.

 The rest of the afternoon was laid back and since the weather was nice we grilled out some chicken for dinner. I got to watch a couple of episodes of Doctor Who with the boys before sending them off to dream land.

Tomorrow Joshua gets yet another IVIG transfusion and we hope it goes like all the rest, quickly and quietly...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Park day… Day 1081 02NOV11

Joshua got up and did his school work during the morning continuing to get caught up from last week. The weather was pleasant this afternoon so Renee took the boys up to the park at the end of our street to play for a bit. The rest of the being was pretty much stock normal, the boys were firmly anchored in front of the tele when I arrived home :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sharks tooth hunting… Day 1080 01NOV11

Joshua and Jarrod got up early and were ready and waiting when pa arrived to take them on a filed trip down to venice beach. The kids in Joshua's class were going out in search of sharks teeth and other cool stuff that they could locate in the sands of the beach. The weather was ideal and I understand that the boys had a really fun time. THey even managed to find what they went looking for and brought back a couple of neat teeth. They got home later in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day here playing and watching the hockey game. I didn't make it home until after everyone had drifted off to sleep so I won't have all the details about the hunt for sharks until tomorrow :)