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.