Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Days

Big day #1:
Last Tuesday, Amanda and I had our 8th anniversary! We didn't do anything terribly exciting, but it was nice spending time with the kids and each other.

Big day #2:
On Thursday, Finn turned four! He was very excited to make his world famous Finn's Scotcheroos to take to daycare for this birthday treat. Luckily Jamie took a picture because we didn't think to.

We did, however, take some pictures of Finn opening his presents. Most of them were delivered awhile ago and stored in the closet or delivered recently by mail. Finn didn't mind though, he enjoyed opening them on his b-day! And even though he's not smiling in these pictures, he was very excited about everything he got.

The rain finally let up for long enough today to walk over to the park and try out Finn's new Batman kite. It was quite breezy, so it flew really well. Here are videos of each of the kids flying it.

Big day #3:
This one hasn't happened yet. On Monday, Julia goes in for her last planned inpatient chemo in the form of a five-day hospital stay. We're hoping that the week flies by and the only problem we have to deal with is arguments over how much Disney Channel we have to watch.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Naked Princess

Maybe she wants a little sister. Maybe she feels closer to him because their hair styles are more similar than they've even been. Maybe she is prescient and knows what power these pictures will have over her brother when he's older. Maybe he just does it to be nice to his big sister. Whatever the reason, when those two get going, hilarity may very well ensue.

Julia informed Amanda and me that she and Finn were going to do a talent show and we were not allowed down stairs because they were setting up. Awhile later, she announced that all was ready and we could now come down to Finn's room to attend the show. We were greeted at his door with Julia blocking the way. She was fancied up in a dress and had glittery makeup smeared on her face and arms. She then escorted us into Finn's room to a sitting area next to the rest of the blanket-covered floor. Finn was decked out in a tutu and silly hat, as evidenced below. We found it very funny, but it was only the beginning.

The show was a hit and soon over with. While we went back upstairs, the siblings sidled into Julia's room and closed the door. At one point, Julia came out into the family room to retrieve a necessary prop for whatever they were up to. When Amanda walked to Finn's room to put clothes away, Julia told her, "Don't go in my room! There's a naked princess!"

Not too long after that, Amanda and I were in the office together when Julia and Finn paraded themselves up the stairs to show off their looks. They repeated this several times, each time with Finn wearing old dresses and accessories of Julia's that no longer fit her very well. He was soon hamming it up and putting on quite the show. As seen in the third picture, Julia seemed quite proud of herself.

They still weren't done. Next was the fashion show. They set up a little blanketed runway in the family room along with a sitting area for the audience. Amanda and I took our seats with Finn waiting out front and Julia behind us. She told Finn to "Go!", then she hit the auto-play button for the pre-recorded songs on the keyboard, and then joined him for some twisting and butt shaking. Julia did a lot of instructing to her younger brother. I'm not sure where she got so much knowledge about "proper" catwalk etiquette, but she had no problem in doling out the advice. He did get to end with a look of his own: his favorite dinosaur costume.

Through this all, when Julia gave Finn an instruction, he would respond with, "Yes, your majesty." I assure you though, he does not respond that way to his parents. And in fairness, Julia claimed that she referred to him as "your highness."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

If You Can Read, You Can Do Anything

If you can read, you can do anything. Julia has that on a sign on her bedroom door. When I first said that to her a year ago, her response was, "Even fly?" She had a smug look on her face and she was having fun trying to get the best of me by being super-literal. Lately she's been devouring chapter books one after the other; sometimes two in one day.

She'll carry a book around and find any opportunity to read.

With the weather warming up (then cooling off, but soon to be warming up again), the kids are getting more opportunities to be outside. Lately they've been into making fancy mud pies and drinks with all sorts of things they find laying around outside.

One afternoon, after doing some chalk drawings, Finn was riding around on his tricycle on the driveway (he was on a two-wheeler with training wheels last Fall, but wanted the three wheeler instead). I recorded him and he treated me to two songs with lyrics consisting of things he likes to do. At just after 3:30 on the video, he almost falls off during a turn. The look on his face was hilarious!

Julia has been feeling pretty well except for a nasty, throat-hurting cough that lasted a few days. Her blood counts were a little low this past week, but it was expected. They should be higher when she gets them tested again on Tuesday. The following week, the first week in May, she'll be in the hospital for her last inpatient chemo treatment. It'll be nice having that over and done with!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Home Stretch

Starting off with the good, good news: Last week Julia had her scans done to check for any signs of cancer and she's now two for two - all clear!

She had her scheduled triple dose of chemo yesterday and she's feeling some effects right away, mainly lack of appetite and nausea. We may start adding some supplemental nighttime feedings back in to try to stay ahead of her getting too weak from not getting enough nourishment.

When she's not feeling the best, she usually has a furry friend to keep her company.

We're getting excited about the light at the end of the tunnel. Julia has three weeks off and then goes into the hospital the first week in May for her last week-long chemo. Then she just has two more outpatient chemo days like she had yesterday and ending with scans in mid June to confirm the stoppage of treatments. If the scans are clear we'll end it all with surgery to remove Julia's lovely contraptions she's acquired over these months.

Julia's friend Carina is currently enduring an extended hospital stay for her treatment and after Julia's chemo on Monday, we decided to stop in and visit.

We brought a gift that we had worked together as a family to make. Julia was in charge of the glue gun - a job that she took very seriously. She wasn't really aiming it at Amanda, she was flexing to show off her gunning skills and maybe got a bit too close to her mother's face.

Best of luck to Carina over the next several weeks! If anyone has any extra happy thoughts or prayers laying around, feel free to send them her way. If interested in keeping up with Carina's journey, her Caring Bridge site is located here.