Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Wii Comes to Our House

A year ago we decided to stay away from video games for as long as possible. I pictured my children blankly staring at the screen shooting things for hours. I thought there brains would atrophy and they'd never talk to us again. I also thought they'd just forget about wanting it because there is so much that keeps them busy.

A few months ago I that C was not forgetting about video games and instead was asking more and more frequently for a "personal video game system". I didn't want to just give him (them) whatever they wanted but I didn't want to just say NO because of some vague idea of mine that all video games are BAD. It seemed like lots of families that we knew had a Wii and liked it. They said that it was for the whole family and at least it gets everybody up and moving around. I read that the Wii was more interactive and some of the games are easy enough that even children K's age can play.

We caved! We let "santa" bring the Wii. Actually, I did most of the caving and Mark remained skeptical but didn't stop me. The boys were very excited when they realized that there wildest dream had actually come true on christmas morning. I had been pretty careful to maintain the pretext that we just aren't a "video game family".

Everyone (even Mema, Papa, Aunt Amy and Uncle Chris) enjoyed creating a Wii character and trying out the Wii sports and Uncle Mark's vast video gaming experience was very helpful in learning the ropes. C has become very frustrated and even cries when he can't navigate some part of a game well. What's fun about that? We got some more educational games and we haven't tried them ocean exploration game and an African safari game.

Did we really need a Wii? Will it be nice that the children won't be begging to go to their friends houses that have video games? We aren't totally convinced that the Wii will be a great thing for our family in the long run. I am looking forward to trying some more games though.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas in the City

Today we made our annual trek into Manhattan to experience the sights and sounds of Christmas in the city. I planned to just post the pics and let them tell the story but my camera batteries died halfway through the day. Then my Iphone died too! I did get plenty of good pics though. We took the subway to 34th street and arrived at Macy's to see Santa a 10 a.m. The kids were very excited this year to see the big guy. We had lunch early and the crowd was starting to thicken. I met a man on the elevator who said he was from Tennessee and this was his first and only trip to NYC because it was just too fast for him. I explained that it is crazy right now and in that neighborhood because there are so many tourists visiting! He didn't seem convinced.

I forced the whole family to stop in at my favorite store H&M for 5 minutes and then we were on our way to Rockefellar Center. We saw the windows at Lord and Taylor on our way and lots more lights and decorations as we walked down 5th Ave. After the Rock Center tree we ducked into St. Patrick's cathedral to say a quick prayer. The kids were annoyed that we had to go to church on a Wednesday. It was a quiet and peaceful moment. We finished the day at "The Station" at the Citigroup building. It is a big intricate model train display and this is its last year in operation. Citigroup has canceled it because of the expense. Our favorite holiday train display is a casualty of the economy.

We got back on the subway very tired...I hopped off at Wall Street to pick up a wedding gift for my cousin at Tiffany's. Wall Street is beautiful...there is a huge tree and an american flag light display right outside the New York Stock Exchange. I had no idea! I wish I had been able to get a photo of it. Poor Maggie was a trouper but fell asleep at dinner.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Beautiful day in Brooklyn today! Sixty degrees and sunny while New England and the midwest were icy and cold. The little girls and I played at the playground and went for a walk in Prospect Park. We saw the ice skaters, a saxaphone player and a waterfall. K liked the waterfall best. M yelled at a squirrel that got close to the stroller.

I thought about staying home all morning and working on the laundry, wrapping, cleaning, cookie baking, etc. etc. etc. but I'm glad that we enjoyed the day outside. I can do that other stuff tomorrow. Christmas is in 10 days!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Surgery Did Not Go Smoothly

I am writing this several days after P's mediport removal surgery so I've had some time to recover. He's had some time to recover too (which is obviously more important) and he is fine.

This was the last big thing to end his treatment for ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). The mediport had done a great job delivering medicine and providing an easy access for all his blood tests. It had never been infected or caused any complications. It had done its work well but treatment was over and its work was done. P had been talking about how he wanted to keep it for months. The surgeon wasn't sure we could keep it but he would try and get it back from pathology for us. I made it clear that he wasn't going to stop asking until he got it back.

Our pre-op appointment had been quick and I was led to believe that the surgery would be very simple and routine and we could expect that Patrick would walk out after surgery and be back to full strength within hours. I think that it almost always does go very smoothly.

We arrived for surgery on time and answered all the usual questions, he changed into a hospital gown, I signed releases and more releases, he watched some Diego, he took some medicine to relax (I don't think he needed it since he is a model patient) and he was wheeled into the OR. I stayed with him until he fell asleep and then I left him on that little table surrounded by people (6) and machines. The surgery was supposed to take 1 hour. After 45 minutes the surgeon (Dr. Ginsburg) came out and said "there is a complication"....big gulp from me..."the catheter (a piece of tubing) from the port is stuck. We are going to try some things but this has never happened before." I said "I guess you are going to learn something new today". Dr. Ginsburg says "I hope so". He goes back in and I'm left reeling in the waiting room alone. I thought about calling Mark or Dad (who was taking care of K and M) but decided there was nothing they could do and they would just worry. Dr. Ginsburg did assure me several times that he was fine but anything surgical having a "complication" is not good in my opinion.

Forty-five VERY LONG minutes go by and Dr. Ginsburg comes back. They have not been successful and are taking him to the second floor. The plan is for the interventional radiology team to x-ray and go in a different way to retrieve the stuck catheter. I rode in the elevator with the doctors, nurses and my beautiful 5-year old son. He was now intubated and they had taped his eyelids shut. This is not a sight that any parent needs to see. It is very, very hard to see your child looking so lifeless.

I am led to another waiting room and am soon met by a doctor from the interventional team. This doctor is reassuring and says that they have dealt with problems like this many times but it happens more frequently with adults. I start to breathe again a little. They plan to x-ray and then either make in incision in his neck or groin and thread something up to his chest to retrieve the catheter. I sign more releases. More waiting and another hour or so later Dr. Ginsburg returns with the catheter in his hand. P is fine and going to recovery momentarily. They had made the incision in his groin and pulled the catheter out that way. It had calcified tissue around it. A routine 1-hour surgery had become a 3+ hour surgery. He had two points of incision and two IVs.

My tough little guy was pretty uncomfortable when he woke up. He never complains so I knew that he really felt bad. The tube in his throat had caused alot of irritation and he coughed and coughed and had trouble talking. He was sore and he had to keep his leg flat for four hours. He was even mad that they had taken his underwear off. He did ask to see the mediport within a few minutes of waking up though and I was glad that I had been persistent and gotten it! Mark came and we were able to go home at about 6:30 that night.

He can't run or shower for a few more days but he seems about 90% back to himself.

P's leukemia treatment has been blessedly "complication" free (until this last thing) and he has been in remission now for 3 years and two months. Yay!

The pics show him before surgery (you can see the mediport under his skin), the catheter that was stuck, and him holding the mediport after surgery.

Monday, December 1, 2008

O Christmas Tree...O Christmas Tree...

Even though we live in the big city, we always get our tree in the country. We go on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to a tree farm in my hometown and cut it down ourselves with the help of my parents. Okay, I don't cut it down but Mark does. I must confess that last year we actually picked a pre-cut one at the tree farm but that was the first time we did that and we did search for one to cut first. I love having a fresh tree and I love the first five minutes of searching for the tree...BUT...after that first five is cold and it begins to get tedious dragging everyone around and hoping that we can all agree on the perfect tree. Once we've go the has to be painstakingly strapped to the car (I don't do any of this either) and then we begin the long drive back to Brooklyn. It seems like no matter how early we try and go to the farm...we never get back to Brooklyn before 3 p.m. Once home begins the really strenous part of getting that beautiful tree UP. Moving stuff out of the way in our small living room, dragging it in, centering the tree in the tree stand, arguing about whether it is straight and whether the tree stand is going to work, tightening and re-tightening while begging the children not to be so loud and crazy. Once we've struggled with getting the tree up...we start the lighting process. It becomes a race with time to get it decorated before we all get really, REALLY cranky. I am always happy with the result and I vowed long ago never to get a "fake" tree but I am starting to dread the marathon tree cutting and decorating day. I really have no reason to complain because Mark does 90% of the work and I just try to be a good assistant.

This years tree fits perfect in the spot, is a bit short given our 10' ceilings, but is stunning nonetheless. This is the first year C, P and K really loved the decorating and didn't want it to end.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Escape from New York

My very good friend and I went on a wonderful trip for all of last weekend. We left on Thursday afternoon and arrived back on Sunday evening. Three whole days without kids! It was really a GREAT time. It wasn't a super relaxing trip. It was more of a run around and do all kinds of fun stuff kind of trip. We ate wonderful food (including one decadent chocolate dessert!), enjoyed shows and rides, saw amazing sights (and Soap Stars) and spent alot of time talking about our kids, husbands, and our day-to-day joys and frustrations. We each have four kids so we do have alot in common but she is a suburban Mom and I always love to hear how things are different for her family.

It was unbelievably freeing to just think about myself for DAYS. Although I really did think about the kids and Mark alot. The kids loved having Grandpa visiting for the weekend and while Mark didn't NEED help...I'm glad that he did have an extra set of hands. M did just fine without me and just ate more food. She would not drink the milk that I had painstakingly pumped for her.

It has taken me a few days to do this post because it has been so busy since I got back...laundry, cleaning, another couple of medical appointments, parent/teacher conferences. I already need another break. I can't wait for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My City Kids Can Walk

Chuck E. Cheese was, as I expected, CRRAAAAZY! The kids had a great time though and I won't have to go for another 4-6 months. We took the subway to downtown Brooklyn but I warned them we were walking to the pediatrician for the flu shots. The pediatrician isn't that far and when we were done with was such a beautiful day that I thought we'd just walk home through Prospect Park. The walk was definitely the best part of the day in my opinion. It was a bit cool but sunny, the trees are still beautiful but the leaves are falling fast. The boys did not complain about walking a single time and the girls were in the stroller. I looked it up on Yahoo maps and it is 2.6 miles from downtown Brooklyn back to our house! I'm pretty proud of them. That is pretty far for a 7-year old and 5-year old to walk. I love walking! I think walking instead of driving is my favorite part of living in the city.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nothing much.

I'm cranky and tired and actually not looking forward to tomorrow...a day off from school. The holidays have been neverending Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Election day and now Veteran's Day. I usually love a holiday, every holiday but having so many close together and I feel like I've exhausted most of my entertainment tactics.

I think that I may have to cave and visit the devil's house...CHUCK E. CHEESE. C has been BEGGING and even though I haven't said we could go...the kids just keep talking about "when" they go to CEC rather than "if" we go to CEC. I make the trip 2-4x a year and vow never to go back...but then another day off comes and they somehow con me into it. Maybe it is because my favorite retailer is right downstairs...Target!

One item that is definitely on our agenda is flu booster shots. I had no idea that they even needed those but I heard that they did from another Mom and called the pediatrician's office...and sure enough...C, K and M all need a booster as this is the first year they have gotten flu shots. They took the news really well. I thought they'd be mad because I promised them no more shots for a long time...when they got the first flu shot 4 weeks ago.

I'm posting this photo because it is my favorite recent photo of baby M. She is a delight and although she isn't even close to talking...she communicated today by giving me 3 big kisses and then looking into my eyes to see how I liked it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Another milestone.

Today was another step in the end of the leukemia chapter of P's life. He has his bone marrow aspirated. A long needle is inserted into his hip (while he is under general anesthesia) and 2 mls. of marrow are drawn out. He hasn't had his marrow tested since the first month of treatment, September 2005, and a relapse is usually detected through symptoms and blood counts before a marrow aspiration. Anyway...his doctor said that they do it as an ending and confirmation that he is cancer free. We will get the test results on Monday. He will probably have one more blood count that day to confirm that his immune system is recovering fully now that he is off chemotherapy treatment. P will see his oncology team every six months for a few years but basically Monday will be his goodbye. He still does have to see the surgeon that will remove his mediport and then have the surgery in early December. He is a bit worried about the mediport removal. He doesn't remember a time before he had it feels like part of him rather than a foreign object that has been implanted in his chest. He plans to keep it! I hope the surgeon lets him.

Everyone (including me) in New York is so happy about our new president-elect. The city is in a good mood.

K wants to make colorful cookies tomorrow. I think she means sugar cookies with different colors of frosting. I really should vaccuum and do laundry but cookies does sound like alot more fun.

I am up way too late...but I really NEED the quiet alone time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No More Medication.

Today was the day. We gave P his very last chemotherapy pill. We will now have tons more room in one of our few kitchen cabinets. I was thinking about it all day. It felt momentous to me...but also just like a regular day. P has been recovered for a long time and living a pretty normal healthy life. His chance of relapse is slowly decreasing all the time. The end of treatment doesn't effect that. He has been in remission for 3 years and 1 month. Five years remission will be a great milestone. P didn't seem too happy or interested about the last day of meds...he is worried about getting his mediport taken out. That doesn't happen for another month. He is having a bone marrow aspiration this Thursday. He'll be sedated and will have some bone marrow taken out of his hip. They will do some tests on the marrow to confirm that he is cancer free.

I offered P his choice of dessert tonight to celebrate the end of treatment but he requested lunch at McDonald's instead. The boys are also excited about helping me vote so that is our agenda for for a new president and chicken McNuggets.

In other news, I went to a meeting of the planning committee for a charter school in our neighborhood. The group has done the first phase application and is waiting to find out if they will get the grant that will enable them to go forward. The plan is for the school to open Fall 2010 and K could be in the first class of students. It was exciting to hear about the plan, use my brain in a different way and be with some adults. I committed to help in whatever ways that I could....although alot of the skills they really need are ones that Mark has. He helped me with my first assignments as soon as I got home.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Marathon Weekend

Lately, every weekend seems like a marathon of birthday parties, soccer games, grocery shopping, church, church school, homework, playdates, etc., etc., etc. but this weekend was actually also the New York City marathon and we got to see some of addition to our regular marathon.

Friday night was Halloween and was a marathon of trick-or-treating and candy eating. We ran into tons of neighborhood friends and some some very imaginative costumes. I vow that we will make our own costumes next year! Maybe I'll even dress up myself.

On Saturday Mark was managing a graffiti cleanup for the area that he works in so I was on soccer duty. Mark dropped C off at his practice and I walked over later arriving just as his game was ending. He had a great game and I was sorry that we missed it but I couldn't get everybody going THAT early. We played with some of his friends at the playground, ate lunch and went to P's game two hours later. At the end of that game...we played with more friends and then started walking home through the park. It was really gorgeous and we ran into another friend of C's (from school) and his family. The kids had a great time playing in the mud and throwing sticks in the lake and I really enjoyed talking to our friends. M was so agreeable the whole time. We left the house at 10:15 and got home at 5 p.m so that was a marathon soccer game and playing day. The boys and I walked the whole time and they didn't even complain.

Sunday...we vowed to find some time to just relax. We went to mass at 9 a.m. and arrived 5 minutes late. It was "Fall Back" but we were still late. We watched the marathon while C was at church school. It is always so inspiring to see all the people running...young and old, men and women, for themselves or for a cause, from around the world and from right here in NYC. We all cheered the runners that had their names printed on their shirts. Next, we picked up C and did some grocery shopping, ate lunch, tidied up, did some laundry, homework and finally we sat down to watch a movie as a family. The boys picked "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". We fast-forward the scary parts but I still don't think I'd let them watch it if I wasn't such a vintage Harrison Ford fan.

Everybody is in bed now. I still have four loads of laundry to fold.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Girl Time

With C and P both in school full time since September...this Fall has been (and I feel a little guilty saying this) refreshing with just us girls. K goes to school all day Tuesday and Thursday but we have Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for playdates, zoo trips, picnics etc. Of course I have to try and do 700 loads of laundry and near constant cleaning to keep the house habitable and P has had at least one medical appt. in Manhattan a week...but truly I've spent more time with K and M than I did all summer when my attention was divided by four.

Of a mom of many...I feel embarrassed to admit that . I feel like people with fewer children might make the judgement that I can't possibly give all of them the attention they need. I do feel like they all deserve as much attention as C got as a baby when he was the one and only... but I'm happy that he has siblings and I love having four kids. My goal is to spend some meaningful time with each of them every day.

I digress...our schedule last year really didn't allow much time for K to have playdates. In the past couple of weeks we've met up with some of her new friends from school and had such a NICE time. It is heartening to see how much she has grown, the conversations she can have, the way she can share and play creatively. We've made multiple trips to the zoo and it never gets boring. K has developed a love of snakes and owls. She noted that the meerkats stand up "like we do" yesterday. K is developing into quite a fun little person and I like hanging out with her.

I can't say that M has a favorite animal yet but she is happy to come along for the ride wherever we go. She mostly loves it when I get down on the floor with her and watch whatever she does adoringly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


We had a pumpkin carving party today. I don't have alot of confidence in my party-giving skills. I know that it always turns out fine and the kids always have an awesome time...but parties do not come easily to me. I worry about all sorts of silly details and stress about things that are out of my control. I decided to bite the bullet though and I'm SO glad that I did. The kids really wanted a Halloween party and this was like a pre-Halloween party. The weather was and sunny so we did the carving in the backyard. We invited neighbors and their children school freinds. Almost everyone we invited came and we had 18 kids (including our own) and a bunch of adults. Everyone brought their own pumpkins and most gave carving a try. We had tons of treats and cupcakes. We even roasted the pumpkin per the instructions that P had brought home from his botanical garden class. We made cinnamon pumpkin seeds and salted ones. I think the salted ones were the most popular. A fun time was had by all and it is nice to get to know our neighbors. The effort was well worth it. I know I'll be nervous again though...when it is time for another party.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sisters, Botanical Garden and Mema!

I bought this outfit for M last year shortly after I found out that she would be a girl! I couldn't resist it even though I was months from meeting my new baby. It is somehow hard for me to believe that she is here and wearing it now.

K could not be more adorable with M. She talks to her, plays with her and asks to hold her all the time. She does try to boss her around once in awhile ...but she gives up when M just rolls over and smiles at her. I must admit that we were a bit fearful of what K's response would be to her new sister but the first year is going pretty smoothly. K is more independent, adaptable and easy-going than she was before M got here. I can't believe how articulate she is becoming although I can't think of a good example of it right now. She does seem to have a strange obsession with lip gloss and is now begging for something scary called the "spa factory" where you can make your own lip gloss. She's not even 4 yet! She leans in and whispers...."I really want the special oils...Mom." She also LOVES the zoo and Botanical Garden which is great because I love those places too.

Mema is visiting for the weekend and we celebrated her birthday (belated) with an apple crumble...that I made from apples from my parents' apple tree. The kids ALWAYS love a birthday party and Mema seemed to enjoy it too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fun-Loving Dad

Mark is an amazing husband and father. He is a true partner in caring for the kids...feeding, dressing, bathing, taking to school, homework, reading...picking up from late afternoon classes. He is having a great time as a first-time soccer coach this Fall and the pic was taken after the games on Saturday.

Tonight he came home and cooked quesadillas for dinner because I hadn't gotten to it yet. I was so tired from a full day of appointments, shopping, playing, picking up...lots of subway rides, nursing M, homework, tidying...etc. etc. etc. He does a better job at quesadillas than I do anyway.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Brave Girl!

I took the kids to get flu shots yesterday. We don't usually get flu shots but it is now being recommended for all children age 6 months to 18 years. I've heard some sad stories of children getting very, very sick with the common off we went after school. C, K and M were all on the schedule but P will get it next week at his oncologist office.

We walk in and all heads turn. This is a common occurrence. The kids run in and start playing with all the toys at once. The other kids (mostly toddlers) look stunned and possibly frightened at the circus that has just arrived.

Luckily...we did not have to wait long and are called to the very farthest back room. The nurse is also surprised to see our crowd but she takes it in stride and goes to get the syringes. P is the first to see them and pronounces that the needles "are pretty small". He's got lots of experience with needles. I've already told C that I want him to go first so his sisters can see that it isn't that bad. He's looking a bit nervous. All the sudden, he kindof dashes out of the way and says...I don't want to do it. There is a moment of silence and little sister K (age 3.75) says "I'll do it" and she puts her arm out. She gets the shot and says "Ow" and that is it. No crying. Charlie stepped right up after that and even M only whimpered for about 3 seconds. Not too bad at all! It was harder getting everyone to put their jackets back on, stop playing and fighting and leave the office in an orderly fashion.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A great night for our family!

Tonight was the Leukemia and Lyphoma Society's "Light the Night" walk in Manhattan. Our team raised $1,800 for the cause, got to wear special t-shirts and decorate a banner. P actually wanted to call us the "Leukemia Chargers" but we stuck with the same name as last year. It was a beautiful night...the rain didn't happen and it was windy and cool. The kids loved walking on the Brooklyn Bridge. We all got balloons with lights on the for supporters and P got a white one for being a survivor. People that were walking in memory of someone who died from blood cancer got gold balloons. It is always hard to see all the gold balloons. It was a good night for our family. I'm too tired to write more.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yom Kippur and Retail Therapy

Today was Yom Kippur and the children had the day off from school. It has been a LONG WEEK. P being sick has meant that we have been either in the house or at medical offices since last Saturday. P is finally better and the day was beautiful. Unfortunately, I woke up with the cold/virus that Patrick had been fighting all week. being sick doesn't make much difference to the kids. They all wanted to do something different. P wanted to go to the playground. K wanted to go to the Aquarium but would agree to a Zoo trip. C REALLY WANTED to make Halloween cookies. We told him that we had been in all week and really wanted to go out. C responded that he'd been OUT all week and really wanted to stay home.

We collectively decided to make the cookies, go to the zoo, have a picnic and then come back and frost the cookies. Yay! A consensus.

They had a great time rolling out the cookies and cutting them into ghosts, witches, pumpkins and cats. I made a quick half picnic and we agreed to buy some bagels on the way. We stopped off at the Lefferts Historic House and M rolled around on the carpet there (see photo). C, P and K all had a great time too. The weather was beautiful but being kinda sick definitely added to the usual difficulty of herding the crew around.

We were all exhausted when we got home. We did homework, took naps, cleaned up, frosted cookies, cleaned up some more and Mark came home early.

I was excited to go to Manhattan to "check-in" early for the "Light the Night" walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Well..I wasn't really excited for the "check-in" but for the chance to escape and be ALONE. Riding the subway ALONE, walking down the street ALONE, shopping at Target (on the way home) ALONE.

Target was shockingly crowded! I have never seen it like that but I was assured by the other customers that it was normal for a weekday evening. I got some baby food, socks, wipes and candy corn and returned home tired, still sick but more relaxed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Medical Monday.

The good news...P had his final IV chemotherapy today. 3 years, countless blood counts, examinations, weigh-ins, up and downs, spinal taps and prayers. We are getting close to the end of treatment. November 3rd is the final day of oral chemotherapy. A final bone marrow aspiration and then removal of his mediport and he will be DONE ...except for check ups.

The bad news...he is sick and his ANC (immunity count) is dropping. He got more IV antibiotics today and will need more tomorrow if his fever isn't gone. He just has a regular kid illness but his immuno-suppressed body can't handle it the way other kids can. He is staying home tomorrow and has requested a Star Wars movie marathon.

M was an angel at the Hassenfeld Center and charmed everyone she met. K was very happy to see us when we picked her up from school. I was very glad that she was able to go to school instead of coming to Manhattan with us.

I know it is cheesy but I can't help but dress my kids in matching least for now...while they are too young to mind. P seemed perkier at bedtime but his fever was still 101.5. I'm thinking cool thoughts.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I made pot roast.

I think that I am a good cook. I usually have success in whatever I try to cook. I don't really LIKE to cook though so I usually stick to the same things. The last time I made something new...the kids all cried at the sight of it. It was my mother-in-law's Beef Stroganoff and Mark and I thought it was quite tasty. Anyway...slaving away in the kitchen and then having your children cry at the sight of your creation is not encouraging.

Mark had been requesting pot roast for awhile...and today I finally made us one. It wasn't hard at all and it was delicious. K initially cried at the sight of it and said "I don't want any of that black thing" but we coaxed her into trying a bite and she said "yum, yum, I like it!". The boys loved it too. Yay...something new that we all like. The children agreed that we should have pot roast more often.

Thanks to my friend Christy for suggesting the recipe and to Meghan and Shannon for confirming that it was a great recipe.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Beautiful Fall Day

We had lots of fun plans for games, picnic, our neighborhood ArtMart (an art fair) and nursery school tag sale.

P woke up with a fever and his oncology team advised us to take him to the ER. P and I took the subway to lower Manhattan and then, because of train repairs, a cab to NYU Medical Center. We went to the pediatric floor first to get his mediport accessed and blood drawn. That part went fine. They gave us the blood vials and said to bring it down to the ER where we would register, send in the blood and he'd either get some IV antibiotics and be sent home or be admitted depending on his blood count results. Our nurse was, at first, unwilling to accept the blood that had been drawn in pediatrics. I told her that our oncologist had advised us to do it this way because the ER staff usually don't want to access mediports. The blood came back fine. Yay! Our nurse didn't want to administer the antibiotics through P's accessed mediport. We consulted with the Dr. who advised the nurse to do as I had said. Next the nurse didn't want to de-access the mediport and I advised her that she or someone else would need to do it before we could go home. Again...Dr. asked me how much heparin she should use to flush it. Yikes!

P was very tired and not feeling great but he was entertained by the Iphone and looking at a toy catalog that I brought along. Seriously...he is the best patient ever.

After 4 hours in the hospital...we were released and went to have a snack while waiting for Mark and the girls to pick us up. Big brother C stayed in Brooklyn to finish his soccer game and go home with friends.

I had never left M for so long during the day and my "milkmakers" were definitely missing her.

We finished the beautiful Fall day by picking up some Chinese food for dinner on the way home.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Taking the bunch to Manhattan.

It was SO nice having Mark to help me carry "Big Pink" (my stroller) down the subway stairs. We made the trip to have our photo taken by a fabulous volunteer photographer at P's oncologist's office. An organization called "Flashes of Hope" arranges the photo shoot and provides hair and makeup volunteers to help the participants look their best. All the kids felt special and P felt like a STAR. The photos will commemorate the end of our leukemia journey as a family. It has been over 3 years...P has gone from being a toddler to a kindergartner...and he has no idea how different his life has been from most childrens'.

All chemotherapy will end in approximately one month. He is a bit nervous about having his mediport removed and wants to keep it forever.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My first post!

It's late and I should be in usual. This blogging stuff is harder than I thought!

I'm having deep thoughts about education in our country and in our city and wondering what is best for my two oldest. They are happy at a HUGE "high-performing" public school. They are learning but I'm not sure they are being challenged in creative ways. I'm worried that the school caters to a small elitist population and serves less adequately the largest part of its body. I'm wishing that my neighborhood public school was an option. I wish that teachers and schools weren't measured so heavily by the standardized testing scores of the students.

Should I send K to kindergarten next year or send her to another year at her incredibly nurturing, imaginative, expensive pre-school?

I guess I should turn "One Life to Live" off and go to sleep.