Sunday, August 30, 2009

Memory Problems

It has become more and more apparent to us that Marielle has short term memory problems....or maybe I'm just more aware of them or maybe she's not trying to hide it any more.

Prior to her neuropsych testing, she would try to hide it. In one blaring case, she and her brother had gone to Sunday School. They get a dollar each to buy a snack at the break. School is 2 hours and after an hour they break, have a snack and then resume.

When they got home, I asked Rico what he had for break and he said, "Oreos". When I asked Marielle she said she had Oreos, too. Rico said, "No you didn't you had goldfish". It was her response that gave her away. A normal kid would have said something like, "Oh yeah, I forgot, I had goldfish". Marielle said to Rico, which I overheard, "I can't remember what I had, so I'm going to say Oreos and you are going to back me up".

Talk about being hit over the head with a hammer. This response told me that not only did she not remember, but that she had been having a problem with memory for a while and had developed "survivor skills" to cover up the fact that she couldn't remember things.

Prior to this, her teacher had mentioned a number of times to me that she thought Marielle should be sent for testing, that at times she seemed like she "wasn't really there", her mind wandering. Well, after that, we set up testing with the school and the an independent neuropsychologist.

I told her that we knew she was having memory problems, that it was ok, that sometimes the medicine that kids get to get rid of the leukemia can cause problems and that they (the psychologists) were just going to have her do some worksheets and ask her some questions, so they could help her learn better and help her learn how to improve her memory.

On Tuesday (the day after the first day of school, not wanting to overwhelm her teacher on the first day), in Marielle's backpack, I sent a letter to her new teacher and copies of both reports. They were in a big manila folder and I ask Marielle to give them to her teacher. In addition, I mentioned to the teacher, while Marielle was in line, that Marielle had something for her and would she be sure to take it out of the back pack. I also included a copy of the book Educating the Child with Cancer with a note that I'd like the teacher to read the part about Late Cognitive Effects. Actually, I had reminded Marielle about them a couple of times and told her each time that they were for her teacher and when she turned in her folder, she should turn them in, too.

Well, Marielle comes home and here is the manila folder and the book. She had walked home and it made her backpack quite heavy to trudge home. I asked Marielle why she still had them...why didn't she give them to the teacher and she burst into tears and said, "I didn't know what to do with them, Mama, I didn't know what to do!"

I guess the good thing is that she is being more open and honest with me that she doesn't remember instructions. On the downside, it's very hard, as a mom, to witness this.

We have a meeting in the upcoming week to discuss 504/IEP plans with the school. Wish us luck.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ok, this is funny!

Look behind Marielle on the right side....see the boy whose head is in the picture?

Well, I posted this pic on Facebook and got a note from his mom, who we know! See her husband took her kids and my husband took my kids and then they sat right next to each other and never introduced themselves. Had they done so, they would have realized that we know each other.

We'd met at the Relay For Life...

Funny, huh!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Major League Baseball Game

Tonight, Ralph took the kids to their first major league baseball game, the Giants vs. the Diamondbacks. It was a gathering made possible by Make A Wish for kids who have had or have cancer. They had a meet and greet with some of the Giants players before the game. Of course, Marielle was too shy to go over to any of the players, so I don't have any pictures with her and the players. She decided that Lou Seal, the Giants mascot, was safe, so here's a picture of them with him.

The giant coke bottle in the background houses 4 slides....2 forty feet slides and 2 twenty feet slides. The kids were too scared to try them.

They lasted exactly 3 innings before they wanted to come home. But, there was a home run in the second inning and for some reason, Rico felt he should have caught that ball. Maybe it's because he knows I have caught a ball at a major league game. (It was at Candlestick, the old ball park and it was a foul ball, none the less, I caught it fair and square and do still brag about it.)

The kids got pizza and drinks before the game, care of Make a Wish, which was nice. But I was a bit disappointed that there were no souvenirs....not a ball or a hat or anything. When the A's players came to Children's Hospital when Marielle was inpatient, they were very generous with the souvenirs, handing out balls and hats and such.

Still and all, they had a good time and I guess that's the most important thing.

Where was I? At Book Club!

First Day of School

So yesterday was the first day of school. It went really well. Rico is now in first grade and Marielle is in second.

Marielle was thrilled that I let her pick her outfit to wear. She wanted to look really "rockerish". Rico could care less about what he wore, except that he got to wear his new shoes, which we bought last week and I told him had to wait for the first day of school to be worn.

Of course, both kids were thrilled with their new back packs.

Today was really sweet, though. We had all the school supplies to bring along, so both Ralph and I went to drop them off. Ralph was with Marielle and I was with Rico. As the bell rang and the teachers came out, I went over to Marielle's teacher to let her know that I'd put some things for her in Marielle's back pack. (I gave her a copy of the book Educating the Child with Cancer and copies of her neuropsych test and school psychologist test results.)

So the kids went into their classrooms and I was standing and chatting with some of the moms, when all of a sudden, across the play area, Rico's teacher waves to me and then Rico comes out. He is crying. I come over and he said, "You left and didn't give me a hug or a kiss". So I walk him back in, holding his little hand and give him a hug and a kiss. Then I stand there for about 30 seconds and he looks at me and says, "Ok, go now".

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Have you heard of this site? Here's the addy:

Why am I mentioning it? Because it's a great site. You sign up to host parties for different things...they have all kinds of parties available. From toys to TV shows to food. Then, if you are chosen, they send you a party pack. In it are all kinds of goodies. Then you have a party and let them know what you thought of it. That's it. No catch. Sounds good, huh?

So, we hosted our first ever house party. It was awesome.

Here's a wonderful recipe with tuna, feta cheese, garlic and tomatoes. I made half without tomatoes because Ralph and Rico don't like tomatoes.

I made these cool finger sandwiches...they are made with a seasoned tuna medley that has sun dried tomatoes and basil mixed into the tuna, in a pop top type of can. You just open and make the sandwich...easy and they were really good.

Here's a recipe I made with tuna, tomatoes, olives, and pasta. It used the same tuna sensation product and turned out tasting really good.

The kids loved every one of the recipes I made, which actually surprised me.

Now, I have to tell you, I'm not a tuna type of person. I mean, it's ok, it's just not my favorite food. But I really loved the recipies that we got with the party package and was really impressed because not only did the adults love the food, the kids did, too.

So, let's see....we got free food, party favors, got to have a party and try new food and all for free! Sounds like a good deal to me!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Kittens....

I have no idea why they think the scooba is comfortable! But they craw up on it and sleep. (It's a robot floor washer.)

They are almost old enough to move on to their new homes.

In the meantime, they have been exploring all over the house. You never know where you might find one.

They are cute as heck, too.

Marielle will be especially sad when they leave. She loves holding them and walking around with them and playing with them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Day At The Museum

We went to the Rosicrucian Museum today. The kids were pretty impressed. Well, except for Rico and one part.

They had an actual replica of a tomb. You had to walk into this dark cave to get to it. Rico was fine at first...Marielle held back. Rico said, "It's not bad, come on Marielle" and forged ahead.

Then he turned the corner to a much darker area and started crying. What we didn't realize was that there was a tour ahead of us with a docent giving a speech about the walls of the tomb. So here's Rico crying and a number of old biddies (sorry, but they were) shushing him. I gave him a hug, pulled him to a lighter area and he was fine.

But now, I just have to kid him about going back to the museum and spending the night to get him to behave!

It really was very interesting to the kids. This is the first "real" museum they'd been to.

They loved the grounds, too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Clinic Day

Even though Marielle has been off treatment for nearly 2 years now, I still get nervous every time we have the blood draw and clinic visit. But, as has been our experience over the past 21 months, her visit was good, her blood perfect! So, we are done for another 3 months!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Five weeks old today

And it doesn't get any cuter than this!

"I didn't do it, I swear, I didn't hit her".....

They are running all around our room, discovering all kinds of new "playthings"...

Did you know cats are nocturnal? They love to wake us up at night to play. They have learned how to climb up onto the bed.

But how can you get mad at a face like this?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Julie and Julia

Great movie! Ralph and I went together (a rarity) to see this movie today. Nothing like "sneaking" out to a movie in the middle of the day while both kids are in camp!

We both loved it! Very cute, very holds your attention and is just fun. So if you get a chance, go see it. I don't have to say that Meryl Streep is fantastic as Julia Childs. She could play anyone and be great. And the perky little gal from Enchanted, Amy Adams is great, much more "laid back" and less perky than in other films I've seen her in. Very believable.

Anyway, go see it!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Fun!!!

What's more fun than bumper cars???


The kids had a blast on them....

And why are they better than bumper cars?? Because you can squirt the other boaters!

Many thanks to my SIL, Pat, for taking on both Rico and Marielle as team mates.

And what else says summer fun, like mini golf?

We had a really great day, filled with lots of fun.

Then, we hopped over to Jelly Belly for some candy. Ahhh....perfect summer day.