Monday, June 29, 2009

Are you sure she's not just fat?

That's the question I've been hearing a lot lately. You see, our cat is pregnant. She is due right around July 3, give or take a day or 2. Cats gestation is 63 days and we know when she went into heat and was out. We haven't allowed one of our cats to have kittens in 14 years....a long time. But we decided we'd let Princess Daisy (named after the Mario Kart character and Rico's cat) to have one litter before we got her fixed.

She was very thin when she got pregnant and is fat but not hugely fat right now. I'm guessing a litter of 3 kittens and will be surprised if there are more. The last time we allowed a litter, Butterscotch had 6 kittens for her first and only litter...she was a huge ball of cat before she delivered. Daisy is no where near as big.

But, I find it funny that Marielle still doesn't really believe that Daisy will be having kittens. We thought it would be a good learning experience for the kids and so far it has been. They've asked how the kittens will come out and I've explained it. Thank goodness they haven't asked how they got in there!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rico is very shy and has no fun whatsoever.....

It will be sizzling here 9 am it was almost 80 degrees, warmer than the high temp here most days....

The kids had breakfast and headed out to the pool...

What a great way to beat the heat....

As for me, I'm parked inside the air conditioned house....

Learning to read

So last night, Rico reads the book Wall-E as his book. Now, it was Daddy's night with reading, I was in the kitchen puttering around. Rico reads his book in 3 minutes. But, then again, it's the 5 words on a page kind of book with some pages only having pictures.

Half an hour later, I realize that Marielle is struggling through her book. Wait a minute? It should not take this long for her to read a book on her reading level. So I asked what she was reading... Skippyjon Jones and the Mummy Trouble. That's a bit above her reading level. So I tell them to stop, she's read enough and Ralph says they are almost done.

Later, as we are cuddling in bed, I tell Marielle she gets credit for reading 2 books, because that was a hard book and a lot longer than her brother's book. Then I tell her to choose easier books. And she says to me, "Mom, I want hard books. I want to read more and learn the hard words because I want to be a good reader".

Sometimes that girl just pulls my heart strings. She tries so hard. Things that come easy to her brother, aren't coming easy to her but man, is she a fighter! And the way she's going, she's going to be a good reader, too.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's going on...

The kids are at camp this week....Book Camp. They come up with an idea, write the story and then illustrate it and at the end of the week, they have a book they made themselves. They seem to be really enjoying it. They've had art classes the last 2 years with the same teacher . This is the first time they've done a camp with her, though. For Rico, it's a longer day than he's used to, since the camp goes 9-3, but he'd handling it like a champ.

Our weather finally is nice and we set up the blow up pool in the back yard. Which means that, after spending 6 hours at camp, when the kids come home, they don't want to even talk to me, it's change clothes and frolic in the pool for 2 hours. Life is sweet!

Ralph is home for now, back from his training in VA.

My leg continues to give me pain...I am muddling through as best I can.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just so you can see how far we've come...

Marielle at the first Relay for Life that we attended. Her hair was just growing back in and her legs hurt so much from the vincristine that Daddy had to carry her much of the day.

You've come a long way, my girl!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Relay for Life

Today we participated in our 4th Relay for Life. I can't believe it! You never know what you'll see at the Relay. Marielle loved this dog...he's too cool.

Once again, we got to hang out with "Postcard Cindy", an awesome woman, who was very helpful today. She did laps with the kids and helped them get lunch. My leg is in no shape to do laps around the field. Cindy is awesome, sends postcards to sick kids and is a sweet, sweet lady. She also gave each of the kids a webkinz. They loved that.

We were on Team Ali once again. This is Marey, Ali's mom. The little girl next to her is one of her students and she is also a cancer survivor. Ali had the same kind of leukemia Marielle had and is now 2 years Off Treatment. She wasn't there because she is working at UCSF this summer and had a commitment today. Marielle really wanted to see Ali.

The Relay began with the youngest and oldest survivors cutting the ribbon. This is Marielle with the oldest survivor.

Here is Marielle with her ribbons from all the Relays. Oh, and she wanted me to mention that she won the race again. She and Maia and Rico ran the whole way, beating the oldest survivor on the survivor lap. LOL

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flashback to the '70's

So Marielle and Rico were playing Wii Fit and decided that they really needed sweatbands to continue to play it, so off ran Marielle, grabbing head bands and making them into sweatbands.

They thought they were the coolest thing. I love the picture on the right by the way, because Marielle is hiding behind Rico and it kind of looks like he has '70's long hair.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just had to say

That Marielle is now up to 5 books read and is ahead of my "reader", Rico, who has only read 4 books. Marielle is jazzed. I am just happy that she is into the whole "read 20 books, get your webkinz" thing.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who stole my daughter....

And replaced her with a reader???

Marielle, who hates reading, who cries when I tell her she has to sit and read to me, got up today, got 2 books, read one and then read the other one to me. Two books before 9 am! I can hardly believe it.

But, on the other hand, motivation....

I told both kids to pick out a new webkinz. Marielle picked the guinea pig. She would love to have a real life guinea pig, but that's not happening, so she was thrilled that there was a new webkinz guinea pig. Rico picked out the porcupine. Then I told them that I would buy them but they were mine until they read 20 books. When 20 books were read, the webkinz were theirs to adopt. Oh yes, and yesterday I pulled them out and showed the animals to them and then packed them away until the books were read.

I made up a book list on the computer and printed one out for each and we started yesterday with Rico reading 2 books and Marielle reading 1. They each wrote the name of the book on the list after they read it.

I guess Marielle is inspired by her webkinz and really, really wants it. Great! I'll buy more webkinz if it motivates her to read! Here's to a summer full of reading!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

There are no guidelines for moments like these...

So a couple of days ago, we were sitting on the couch, watching the news and Marielle says to me, out of the blue, "I miss cancer. I wish I had it again". Ok, big knee jerk reaction from me... I said, "No, don't ever wish you had it again. Be happy you don't have it anymore. Children DIE of cancer".

Uh, oh. We had never actually let Marielle know before that kids can die of cancer. I didn't think it was something a 3 then 4 then 5 year old needed to know while she battled cancer over 2+ years. Yes, children we knew died and yes, she knew that children we knew had died but she never made that connection, that it was the cancer that made the children die.

Fast forward to last night, cuddling on my bed at bedtime and Marielle starts crying and saying she doesn't want to die. Oh man. So I tell her that nobody wants to die, but eventually everyone does die, but hopefully it's when they are very, very old. I even use examples of my dad (who is in his 70's and doing well) and Ralph's Dad who died a couple of years ago in his mid 90's.

Then she starts asking me questions about funerals.... "Will they bury me in the ground? Will I be able to take things into the coffin with me? Will I have a headstone?" Oh my GOD! Where did she hear this stuff? Both Ralph's parents were casket, no headstone. We've never talked about funerals because quite honestly, our families aren't "the norm". Most of the folks have been cremated and the ashes scattered or interred very much later. (Ralph's moms ashes were only interred 15 years after she died and after Ralph's dad died.)

Then she starts asking about heaven and who she'll see in heaven....uh, again, where is this coming from? Her religious teaching have been Jewish and Jews don't have heaven.

I'm thinking a mile a minute, trying to answer her questions and put her at ease. She's asking if I can be buried with her, not next to her but can they open the coffin and put us together because she doesn't want to be alone when she dies and she'll wait for me but it will be lonely....and then when I die we can be together...

I keep trying to reassure her, she's crying, Ralph who is also on the bed is saying nothing...not one word, nada, nothing. Later, when I ask him why he didn't say anything he says, 'Well, you were handling it ok, what did you want me to say? Besides, you think faster than me."

So then Marielle asks why we have to die at all. And I tell her that if no people died, there could be no babies. See the world would just fill up with people and no new people could come into the world because it would be too full. She loved that answer. She said, "Ok, then, Mom, it's ok that I die. Because I love babies and I want babies and the world needs babies" I feel much better now. I don't want to talk about dying anymore."

These are the conversations that nothing can prepare you for. I really hope I did it "right" whatever that means. I don't want her worrying about dying or obsessing over it. I did want to give her honest answers, no sugar coating, but I don't want her to be afraid.

Monday, June 8, 2009

An Adoption Story...present day

So often you hear of people's reaction to a child being adopted and it's negative....well, maybe not negative, but not exactly overwhelmingly positive. Yes, I've had the "how much did they cost?" questions and others but never have I had someone be super glad to hear that my kids were adopted!

Since Rico started Kindergarten, his best friend has been Gabe. I hear "Gabe this and Gabe that" all the time. We've often seen Gabe and his family at school functions but never had Gabe over for a play date. Well, with school coming to an end, Rico really wanted Gabe to come over. So a couple of times, when Ralph picked up the kids he mentioned it to Gabe's mom. Then he gave her his card and ask that she call me to arrange a play date.

We hadn't heard from her, not sure why, but I didn't want to let the ball drop because Rico really, really wanted to have Gabe come over. (Ralph has been picking up the kids most days because my hip has been very painful. If I have to pick up the kids, I have to walk a ways to the gate and I can't take a pain pill and most afternoons, by pick up time, my hip is so bad I have to take something.)

Anyway, Gabe's mom finally allowed Gabe to come over last Friday, after school. It was a shortened day and so Gabe came over, had lunch and played for about an hour and a half. When she came to get Gabe, I asked her in and she came in just for a couple of minutes. I wanted her to see our house, know that we are "normal" folks and feel comfortable letting Gabe come over again.

She told me that she knew that she was being overprotective of Gabe, but that's just how she was, she couldn't help it. I told her I understood, it's hard when your "baby" is going out to friend's homes. Then she asked me in a very nice way about Marielle's hair and which side of the family she got that from. I laughed and said that both Marielle and Rico were adopted and that they are Guatemalan.

The response I got, was by far, the best response I've ever received upon telling someone that my children were adopted. She hugged me and said, "Oh, I feel so much better now. Gabe can come over anytime! I know what kind of background check you have to go through to adopt, you must be good people."

She then explained that she and her husband are foster parents, they don't currently have any kids but they obviously know about fostering and adopting (they'd love to adopt through fost/adopt) and we bonded pretty quickly.

I must say, though, that I was really happily bowled over by such a great response to my statement that my kids were adopted.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Funny, true story....

Marielle had her clinic visit on Monday. Ralph took her this time. Now, it's been quite a while since Ralph had taken Marielle to clinic, at least a year, maybe longer. I sent Ralph with a list of questions that I wanted answered by the Oncologist and he did really well, getting answers to all but one on the list.

The next day, I called the clinic and spoke with our favorite nurse practitioner about the one unanswered question. She then relayed this story to me:

Ralph signed Marielle in and then had to sign consent forms, as you need to sign new ones every 12 months and it was our turn. Then the receptionist came back and told the nurse practitioner:

"There is a man out with Marielle who is saying he is her dad but it's not her dad. I don't know what to do. I know Marielle's dad, I've seen him many times and this is NOT him."

Cynthia, the nurse practitioner told the receptionist that she would go out to the lobby and check on Marielle. So she went out and talked with Ralph a bit and then came back and told the receptionist that it was, in fact, Ralph, Marielle's dad who was with Marielle.

Ralph had only ever been to the clinic and hospital either coming from or going to work. So the receptionist had only ever seen him "looking military" uniform, short hair.

Well, Ralph hasn't cut his hair since September, last year, when he finished up his military time. It's quite long and curls now (you couldn't tell that it was curly before because it was "military short") not to mention that he has pierced ears and was dressed in what would be called, "Hawaiian casual".

I thought it was too funny that he was not recognized and think it's high time he got his hair cut!!! Doesn't this prove my point?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Become a bone marrow donor

Please. Think about it. You can sign up by just having a cheek blood draw necessary.

You go on the registry and wait. If you happen to be a match, the donation now a days, is very similar to a blood bank donation. They hook you up to a machine, your blood goes in, they take the stem cells and then the rest of the blood goes back into your body. This takes about 3 hours.


This month, the national registry is waiving the fee in a marathon to gather donors. That's right, you can sign up for NO FEE.

Leukemia does not know discrimination. It is goes after young and old, white, black, yellow, doesn't matter. It went after my child and we were "lucky", all she needed was chemotherapy. Think about it, it's lucky that all we needed was years of chemotherapy.

There are those who are not so lucky, those who can only hope to survive with a bone marrow transplant. But what if you need a transplant and there is no match?


Go to one of the "Marrowathons":

Saturday 9 am-1pm Shorline Station 225 Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay

June 9th 8 am- 2 pm Stanford Cancer Center, 300 Pasteur Dr., Stanford

June 13th 10 am-4pm Central Park, San Mateo

June 16th 11 am- 3pm Kaiser South City

June 17th 5pm-7pm Foster City Athletic Club, Foster City

Become a donor, become a hero!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

So a little about me

Ever since I had my Gyn surgery, about 6 weeks ago, I've had hip pain. They put me in the stirrups while I was out under anesthesia and when I woke up and they had me get up in the recovery room, I had groin pain. I thought that they must have pulled my groin muscle while putting me in or taking me out of the stirrups.

After a couple of weeks of pretty good pain, I went to see the orthopedist. He said that the xrays showed that I had arthritis in that hip. He also said that if you xray just about anybody over the age of 50, they probably have some arthritic changes, but the fact that it's symptomatic is what we had to address. Ok. So, I went on NSAIDS and steroid pills and waited for things to get better. But they didn' hip pain actually increased.

It would be pretty good for a couple of hours and then I'd take a step and ouch! the pain would be sharp like a knife. But the worst would be getting up from a chair. I'd get up fine, maybe 7 out of 10 times but the other 3 times, it was like something was stuck, I couldn't straighten my leg or bear weight, it felt like something was in the hip between the bones. And let me tell you, it is unbelievably painful.

So, I went back yesterday to the orthopedist and he thinks that I might have a tear in the labrum, the cartilage that surrounds the hip. I go tomorrow for a contrast MRI to see what it shows. In the meantime, I'm still on the meds and hope that the pain will subside.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sorry I asked...

So yesterday, around 3 pm, Rico was in the dining room eating something. Huh? He shouldn't be eating anything, the kids are supposed to ask before they grab a snack....

He was over by Ralph's computer and he had that "caught in the act" kind of look on his face and I thought maybe he snagged something Ralph had near his computer. When I asked him what he was eating, he just grinned and didn't say anything. Then I asked again and he opened his mouth and I turned away, not wanting to see half eaten food and said sternly, "No, don't show me, tell me, use your words...what are you eating"

"Boogers" he said with a big grin.

Sorry I asked.