Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Raffle time

Ok, so Marielle is just the sweetest kid around. Seriously. Considering all she went through with 2+ years of chemo, all the pokes and prods, all the side effects, well, you would understand if she were bitter or had a negative outlook on life. Not Marielle.

Here's an example. A couple of weeks ago, the kids went to a carnival. At the carnival, you could play games for tickets and then trade the tickets in for prizes. Ha! No trading in of tickets for my girl. She came home, pleased as punch, with a bag full of tickets.

You see, in our house, tickets mean one thing...have a raffle. So, lately, it's been raffle time in our house.

Marielle selects some of her little trinkets and toys and makes a prize box. Then she distributes tickets and holds a raffle. Last night we had a raffle. When someone wins, she is so happy for them and she helps pick out a prize. So when I won, she came over with the prize box, then whispered, "Mom, I put some cool erasers in because you like to write". When Daddy won a prize, she said, "Dad, I put some boy things in, too, like here's a dinosaur". Then she looked at Rico's tickets and tried to pick one of his as a winner. (She likes to spread the joy around.) We had to play until at least everyone won once.

Now, isn't that just the sweetest thing?!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Clinic Day

So we are still going every other month, but this month I was really crossing my fingers, after 2 weeks ago, when Marielle was sick. If something were going to show up, now would be the time....

We got to clinic and the blood work shows her numbers are PERFECT!!!! The Oncologist said the spike in her white count could have been due to a virus, allergies or both. Marielle is back on claritin, which has helped her allergies in the past.

We also talked about Neuropsych testing, which the oncologist will refer Marielle for, but now it's up to the insurance to see if they'll cover the testing. Wish us luck!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's Springtime!

I mean really springtime! As in warm weather (in the 70's), sunshine and our first BBQ of the year! Nothing like a dinner of BBQ tri-tip, corn on the cob, watermelon and pasta salad to welcome spring.

Ah, I missed the BBQ! So glad it's back!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bingo Night

It's bingo night...a night when some friends and I get together to play bingo and eat pot luck. Ok, maybe I have that backwards, we get together and eat a lot and then play some bingo. And it's fun. Everyone brings a wrapped prize and when you bingo you get a prize. Then after all the prizes are won, you open the prize and the stealing begins! It is fun, but honestly, this week, I'd go to "watch the sun set and do nothing night" because I really just need a night off. Of course, I'm not going to whine if I win a bunch of prizes or anything.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tough Times

So, Ralph hasn't worked since Sept 30th last year. He had a lead on a short term job that was for 3 months, it was supposed to start Jan 1. Then, about 2 weeks before the start date, he found out it wasn't going to happen. Ok, he's continued to apply for jobs. BUT, there was another job that had been promised him.

Just so you know, Ralph's a licensed contractor, who worked for the last 8 years as an inspector for the Coast Guard on construction projects. Now big construction projects don't happen overnight...there are contracts and stipulations, changes to original drawings, etc. If you've ever done a remodel on your house, you have a rough idea of what it's like, only when you are dealing with 30 million dollar projects, it's even more complex.

In February, 2008, when Ralph retired from the Coast Guard, well, there weren't a lot of construction projects going on. Which is why, when he had the chance to go up to Alaska for 5 months of work, we all bit the bullet and off he went, leaving me and the kids on our own for 5 months. Now, my hat is tipped to all you single parents, especially single parents by choice, because it's a lot of work and I know it. But, it wasn't what I was used to and the kids missed Ralph terribly. When you are 4 and 5 years old, 5 months away is a long time.

Anyway, there was a local job, an 18 month long job, that was supposed to begin May 1. The company basically promised Ralph the job..."You are the man we want" were the kind of words we kept hearing as Ralph would check in every month or so. Of course, in the meantime, he's still been applying for other jobs. But again, in case you haven't seen the news lately, there's just not a lot of construction going on, especially big construction. Yeah, the stimulus money is supposed to help....sometime....down the line....in the future....I guess.

Well, today, the company that promised him the job that was supposed to start May 1st called and told him that they changed their mind and instead of a contractor acting as inspector, they wanted an electrical engineer. Great. Thanks. Just what we needed to hear.

I keep telling myself that we can ride this out, that we will make it through, after all, we've been through worse, with Marielle's cancer treatment. But honestly, I'm scared. Very scared. We won't run out of money tomorrow, we've lived below our means for many years and we have no debt, other than our mortgage, but still....I keep thinking, how long can we go on, with nothing but unemployment coming in? When, when will Ralph get a job?

I would go out tomorrow and work if I could. I have an upcoming surgery...I don't have a date scheduled yet but it should be next month. So, I guess I'll make it through that and then go temp, at least until Ralph gets a job.

I just hate this.....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We went anyway!

Oh, so that's how snow tastes!

So I figured either one of 2 things was happening....either it was a virus and she was over it or it was the beginning of a relapse. If it was a relapse, well, this might be the only time she'd see snow. If it was a virus, then she was past it. So we loaded up the Honda and took off for the mountains.

It was a glorious day! The weather was warm, around 65 degrees and it was crystal clear and sunny. We stopped at a snow park up by Donner Summit. The kids had a blast....well, Rico was pretty whiny, somehow he didn't realize that snow was cold! So he kept complaining about the snow making him cold.

Marielle hiked back quite a ways with Daddy, while I took Rico back to the car to warm up.

Then, we went up to Reno and spent the night at Circus Circus....the kids won a ton of stuffed animals playing at the midway (yeah, and we need stuffed animals 'cuz we only have about, uh, 200 or so left).

Then we raced home ahead of the storm! It was a fun trip!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Poor Rico, he's the unsung hero of our family. You see, we were supposed to go up to the snow this weekend. He's wanted to go up for a long time. Both the kids only experienced snow once before and Rico is too young to remember it. He'd been looking forward to our trip for a long time, counting down the days. We were going to pull the kids out of school on Friday and do an overnight turn around.

With Marielle sick, our trip has been canceled. So many times, his fun, his wishes, have had to be put aside over the past 3+ years...that's just how it goes when you have a sibling fighting cancer. Now, once more, Marielle being sick means Rico's fun is not going to happen.

We will go up to the snow...just not sure when.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Results of today's blood tests....

Just talked to the doc:

Blood test results show no blasts (Very good news), normal hemaglobin, normal platelets but very high white cell count. He wants to stay on top of why white cell count so high. So, we'll be back at the docs tomorrow, he wants to re-examine, then do a UA and then do the blood count again on Friday to see which way it's trending.

A high blood count is not a specific disease by itself but indicates infection, systemic illness, inflammation, allergy, leukemia and tissue injury caused due to burns.

So we aren't out of the woods yet but I'm hoping that it's just some kind of infection.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm crying sad tears, Mommy

This evening, out of the blue, Marielle spiked a fever. It was so sudden. She'd just come out of the bath and she started shivering. We wrapped her up and then I took her temp...99.0. Ok, get the motrin give a dose. She shaking uncontrollably. Hold her, wrap her, take her temp again 30 minutes later...now it's 102.9. Yes, I've seen it before. Back then.

Marielle turned to me and said, "Mommy I feel so sick, like I did before. I'm crying sad tears, Mommy". Yeah, baby, so is mommy.

Say a prayer that this is just an infection, please.

Just a little fun...

I saw this video and it made me smile, hope it will make you smile, too. It's a shoot for a Tmobile commercial in London and only the dancers knew what was happening, all the rest of the folks were surprised. I wish I had been there...it looks like it would be fun.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wanted, Dead or Alive

Marielle has decided that Bon Jovi's Wanted, Dead or Alive, is her new favorite song. So, I just can't pass up a teaching moment and that lead to us talking about the old west and how they would put up posters for outlaws, that said, "Wanted Dead or Alive".

And that lead to us talking about what I would do if I saw an outlaw...my answer was "Wait for the menfolk, I wouldn't shoot anyone if I didn't have to", which lead to her asking but what if they wanted to shoot us, which lead to me saying that if I had to, like if someone was trying to kill her or Rico, I would shoot them, which lead Marielle to say, "But then you'd be in jail" which then lead to me explaining that self defense will not lead you to jail, which then lead me to think that maybe teaching moments aren't that great after all because they lead to 20 minute conversations!

Which then lead me to the computer, to find examples of "Wanted, Dead or Alive" posters, which lead me to this really cool site that allows you to make your own wanted posters (though not dead or alive) and then I created some posters for us and that was super cool!

(Oh and here's the link, in case you want to make one: http://www.glassgiant.com/wanted/

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thinking of Isabel and Her Family

Today Marielle went with Daddy to visit Isabel in the hospital. Isabel has ALL, just like Marielle did. We first met her when she was in DI, now she has 6 more days of chemo to go. But, wouldn't you know it, she popped a fever, had an ANC of 60 and wound up in the hospital with less than a week of chemo to go! Almost 2 and a half years of chemo and she winds up in the hospital at the very end. Pretty sucky.

I would have loved to go and visit with Isabel and her mom, but wouldn't you know, I've got a really nice sinus infection/bronchitis going on right now and the last thing Isabel needs is to be exposed to that, so I stayed home with Rico.

I think it's been really great for both our girls that Marielle and Isabel are friends. Isabel is 7, so very close in age to Marielle, and the first time they met, after a few minutes of shyness, they were comparing broviac scars. It makes it seem a little less weird to have cancer when you know you are not the only little girl out there going through it.

Anyway, if you have a chance, say a little prayer for Isabel that she has no more fevers, her ANC rises and she gets out of the hospital soon. It's been 5 days already and when you are in the hospital and 7 years old, 5 days seems like forever.

Save George Mark....

Yesterday we went to a fundraiser for George Mark Children's House, a children's hospice. It is having financial problems, not enough money and may have to shut down. Here's a link: http://www.georgemark.org/www/index.htm

We have donated to them in the past, I think it's such a needed, wonderful organization and can't imagine how devastating it would be to families who need it, should it close.

The fundraiser was at a local restaurant and we were lucky enough to see some of the PCA's and nurses who helped Marielle when she was inpatient there. We see the clinic staff still every other month, but haven't seen the inpatient crew in almost 1 and a half years. It was very cool to see them and of course they all commented on Marielle's hair....the lovely hair that wasn't there or was very short when she was on treatment. Marielle was, as she always has been, very shy, even with Cindy, her favorite PCA, who was there and one of the few people Marielle would actually talk to when she was inpatient.

I hope that George Mark made lots of money yesterday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Take me out to the ...

Dentist!!! Both the kids had their check ups and teeth cleaned today. Rico was a bit scared and didn't handle it as well as he normally does. Marielle, on the other hand, was so relaxed it was funny...or as she put it, "no pokes, no worry". I'm happy to say that both had no cavities!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We've been hit with the bug....

Some kind of upper respiratory bug that's going around. Marielle started it, sick on Sunday, out of school yesterday. Rico's coughing and stuffed up and then this evening I started feeling achy and had a sore throat.

The good thing is that Marielle is feeling better, though not back to 100%, so there is hope that this clears out pretty quickly. Marielle missed school yesterday and just kind of hung around on the couch watching videos and TV and was better today and back in school. But school wiped her out and she came home, walked in the door and started crying. I'm hoping that by tomorrow she'll be back to 100%.

Rico has the best immune system in the house...and 100% attendance at school so far this year. Although coughing and up last night with a cough, he went to school and seemed better when he got home.

Here's hoping that this bug is flying out of our house on the chill we have tonight...

Monday, March 9, 2009

All Planted!!!!

We planted everything in the garden this morning.... Pole beans, onions, lettuce, carrots, pumpkin and tomatoes. I'm so excited, it really feels like spring when I get to plant things in the garden.

While out getting poles for the pole beans, I also bought half a flat of impatiens and got my hanging baskets filled with them.

The yard looks like spring now!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Catching up....

Here is my other Cat in the Hat, who borrowed her brother's get up to go to Dr. Seuss's birthday party at school, where the teachers read Seuss books and all the kids got cake.

If you gargen, then you'll appreciate this picture....my raised bedding area, all weeded and double dug (digged?) and ready to be planted. What a beautiful sight. I wish I could take credit for it but all I did was stand there and say, "Oh, good job, honey". Ralph did all the work. But, I'll be handling the gardening from here on out. (With a little help from Marielle, she is my super garden helper.)

Oh, and why the chicken wire, you ask? Because we have a very exuberant Lab who likes to eat what I plant....well, actually he'll eat just about anything. He ate one bush to the ground and has even eaten a big chunk of our Meyer Lemon Tree, thorns and all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Cat in the Hat

All this week, the kids have been celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday. Yesterday, they had green eggs and ham for lunch. Today, Rico and his classmates became the Cat in the Hat. Rico looked adorable when he arrived home from school today.

So I dreamt last night....

That we got a call from Marielle's doctor and she wanted us to come in to tell us the results of the blood test. I kept asking her to just tell me over the phone and she kept saying we had to come in person. In my dream, I finally got her to tell me that there were blasts in her blood. Then I woke up. Talk about a nightmare....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Even though we've had a massive amount of rain in the last few days, the garden knows that it's spring! I love the way the daffodils and the plum tree looks.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Homework Battles

In this corner.....Marielle
In that corner.....Daddy

Daddy says that Marielle must say her spelling words before she starts writing them.
Marielle starts writing.
Daddy takes the page away.
Marielle starts whining.
Daddy says that she must say the words before she writes them.
Marielle yells, "I don't like you, Daddy!"
Daddy says, "Well, I don't like the way you are behaving, either. So we're even."

They both stop and look at me. (Because, they know, of course, that Mommy has infinite wisdom.) Mommy proves their point, as she smiles and quickly leaves the room.

There is no way I'm going to get in the middle of that!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rainy Sunday

It's just grey and dreary and really nothing much going on. The kids went to Sunday School, I went to KaffeKlatch with some other moms who speak German (my German is way too rusty, thank you very much) and then we've just been hanging out at home. I've been reading, the kids playing on the Wii or the Nintendo DS. Man, we are boring.