Roadtrip!!!

A few weeks back, we took a family roadtrip to Canada. Vancouver, to be exact. Alex had a Super Spartan race that he agreed to run with a co-worker. Madeleine and I went along for an adventure!

Since we rarely travel and never do family weekend trips, we decided to splurge a bit and stay at a nice hotel and reserve a suite so that Alex and I could stay up and have a little date night while M was sleeping. 🙂 When we arrived, they told us that they’d upgraded us to the Presidential suite on the top floor of the hotel!  Amazing. 🙂 We felt like complete rock stars.  Below are some pictures of the suite – which, for the record, Madeleine thought was ah-maze-ing!

The guest bathroom. Yes – the suite had a guest bathroom. How ridiculous is that!!??

Looking from living into the kitchen area

The chess playing and office/work area

Kitchen

Madeleine had movie time and snack time!

The view was pretty amazing

This was a super fun game. It’s called “Let’s make crazy faces in the mirror.”

Our bedroom. We had a rollaway bed added near the bathroom wall for Madeleine.

Alex showing M what all the different chess pieces do.

We had a great time!! Madeleine and I hung out on Saturday, went out to dinner with Alex and his co-worker and then had some nice family time on Sunday. Vancouver is a beautiful city. 🙂

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June MRI Visit

A couple of weeks ago Madeleine had another MRI follow-up. I’ve been bad about updating the blog for each one, but a brief summary would be to say that heading into this MRI, we have not heard “the tumor is stable” since prior to her surgery, last year. I believe that MRI happened late August, early Sept. Because of that surgery, we have not moved to the next tier of maintenance MRIs yet. That would be a 6 month spread between MRIs instead of a 3 month spread.

One issue we’d been having was an issue of distrust. Madeleine remembered the pain after her surgery and was petrified when we would go back to the doctor afterwards. She has slowly gotten over that, thanks in large part to an amazing nurse who was really really wonderful with her several MRIs ago. That particular nurse showed her a mini-mask for her animal and let her decorate both her own mask as well as the “balloon” with stickers. They played a little game putting the masks over each other’s faces and it really made Madeleine a lot more comfortable. Prior to this nurse, Madeleine had recognized the MRI room and hid behind the bed screaming and refusing to come out. 😦

Her special mask

This time I was a bit apprehensive to see how she’d handle the MRI, but she did great! We got to the hospital on time. Alex was not with us, because he had to work. We proceeded to check in and were taken back to the initial exam room when our turn came. Madeleine was super calm and relaxed and didn’t seem to have any issue with being there. When the nurse came in, I asked if he had a little mask for Madeleine’s puppy. He brought one for her and also let her decorate her mask with stickers. 🙂 This time she even picked out the yummy smell to put on the inside of the mask! That’s the first time she has shown a preference on that.

They took us back pretty quickly and Madeleine sat in my lap while they administered the initial anesthesia mask. She noticed the “balloon” that was growing and shrinking and she took breaths and said “mama! I blow up a balloon! Look mama!” 😀 I’m so happy that she remembers how wonderful that nurse was and it made such a big impact on her to where she is not scared anymore.

The rest of the MRI went as usual. Came back sleepy, eventually woke up. Ate crackers, juice and when we were done with that, we headed to the cafeteria and had some lunch.

Full mouth for her, but the only decent pic I got of her with me. LOL

Once lunch was done, we had some time to kill. I went to drop some stuff at the car that we no longer needed and found her a car stroller on the way! She was thrilled.

Smile!!!

Then we stopped by and saw the hermit crab. She adores hermit crabs!

Checkin’ him out

After a quick stroll through the hospital, we went up for her hem-onc appointment.

Super hungry after having to fast in the morning – she had more crackers!

The results? STABLE TUMOR!!!

I am so beyond thrilled! It was such a relief walking out of that appointment with positive, definitive news for the first time in a year. We have one more MRI before we reach one year post-op. At that point, if the tumor is still stable, we can move to the 6 month MRIs.

Madeleine’s last Physical Therapy appointment resulted in her not needing to go back for another year. Her oncologist doesn’t see a benefit to her seeing Neurology any longer, given that she’s recovered nearly all of her strength. So the ongoing, regular doctor’s visits should be diminishing significantly!! Woohoooooo!!! All in all, very good news this visit. 🙂

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Mother’s Day/Father’s Day 2012 Combo

Since I never got around to posting about Mother’s Day 2012, I figured I would combine it with a Father’s day post.

Mother’s Day:

What a great day! We woke up early to go kayaking in Seattle. Madeleine had a blast and has not stopped talking about kaying since. We need to go back when we have another day of decent weather – we could hardly get her out of the boat when it was time to go to lunch!!

“I go a kayaking!”

Then we were off to the Greenlake Bar and Grill, which was very nice, as well. We had an enjoyable lunch together and headed home for Madeleine’s nap. The rest of the afternoon we just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.

Lunch!

Father’s Day:This year, Father’s Day Weekend was a bit of a disaster. I had plans for Alex and us to celebrate and it all was thwarted by a migraine and some bizarre allergic reaction to something. I’m still not sure what, but it hasn’t happened in a week and a half, so I think we’re ok. Needless to say, I spent the entire weekend in bed just trying to get my migraine to go away. Those of you that know me know that I don’t use the word “migraine”. I always say “headache”.  I find it incredibly annoying that people use the term “migraine” so loosely and complain of having one when they really have a headache. So, the fact that I’m using the term here means it was that bad. In fact, it was bad enough that I had Alex drive me to the doctor because I’ve never experienced anything like it. But, enough of that. The weekend was ruined. 

So, this weekend we had a Father’s Day “Re-Do”! What is that, you say? Well, we just pretended that today was Father’s day and did everything we were going to do before.

The day started out by taking some breakfast in bed to Alex along with his Father’s day present. A couple of friends of mine did a “child’s survey” for their husbands for Father’s Day and it was so cute, I wanted to do it for Alex. Only difference is that I had her decorate a canvas, and then put the survey in the middle for him. We went to the craft store and she picked out all of the supplies, stickers, etc for it. Also note how she stuck the different animals together, like little families. 😀 Then I modge-podged the entire thing and ta-da!! Ignore the lumpiness in the photos. It hasn’t dried completely and was much flatter after all was dry. Also, M and I added some lavendar rhinestones, because she loved them at the craft store. Those aren’t shown in these photos, either.

First, the survey.

The whole thing!

Alex should be spending more time in his office at work, too, so this is meant to be something for him to take to work and put up in his office. 🙂 Once he was done eating his breakfast and opening his present and getting some much needed snuggles from Madeleine, we all got ready to go out. Out where? To see a movie! Unfortunately, the rainy weather today prevented us from going to Remlinger Farms, like I had planned. So I had to make last minute adjustments. 

“No, my dress is not pretty. It’s buuuutiful!!” (Yes, she actually said this today)

Awwww!

Trying to get a cute picture, what a goof!

Such a sweet pair. 🙂

We went out to see Brave, which was really cute.  We got there early, so M and Alex played a race car game in the lobby.

Go fast!

“I feeding a daddy! I sharing!”

  Brave is the first movie that Madeleine got scared at, which was also adorable. She kept squaling and then hiding her face behind my arm. She ate lots of popcorn and drank lots of water and overall had a nice time. At the end we asked if she liked it and she said “Yeah! It’s scary!” LOL. After the movie, we went home to feed M and get her a nap. She’s been fighting a cold since about Thursday, so she desperately needed it.  After she woke up from her nap (she slept a loongg time!) we got ready and took Alex out to dinner.

❤ them!

This year was fun, as it’s the first year where we feel Madeleine was truly able to understand what these two days are about – and it’s really fun to see her spoil her daddy for all of his love and care that he gives her.  In fact, this evening she said to him “You’re the best daddy in the whole world!” 😀

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Time For a Change

I’m not going to go into specific details here, but wanted to make note that Alex and I had to make the difficult decision to remove Madeleine from the care of her current school/day care facility due to a lack of sufficient care. Not only was the care insufficient with repeated incidents around the same issue, but the administration refused to take accountability for the injuries our daughter incurred on Wedneday (June 27th). In addition, they did not propose to change anything about their protocols or procedures or staffing issues which left us feeling as though her safety was at risk by keeping her in their care.

This situation is sad and upsetting on numerous levels.

  • I am heartbroken that we placed her in the care of a school who has allowed the level of injury that she has incurred.
  • I am heartbroken that she is in so much pain and so scarred by the pain she’s in.
  • I am heartbroken that we have had to rip her away from the friends that she has made at this school. There is one child in particular that she was incredibly close to and I’m really sad that she won’t get to play with him every day anymore.

Luckily, Alex spent a good portion of the day after this incident (because we refused to return her to their care, we both had to take some time off work) calling other care facilities. Then the next day, I took the day off work to care for her and called additional facilities. We have since toured one facility and have another tour scheduled for Tuesday, July 3rd. We anticipate having her enrolled and ready to start the new school next week after the July 4th holiday.

The guilt I feel is immense. I do not know how to wrap my mind around the fact that we trusted someone who placed our daughter in this situation. This has always been my biggest fear around selecting a child care provider. I just hope that this does not have any long term emotional damage for M. 😦

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She’s a Clever Little Monkey

Madeleine is really starting to get articulate. Her speech is exploding even more than it had been before and she’s routinely speaking in full sentences now. With that ability to portray her thoughts, she has come up with some very clever little comments.

Play Time!

Madeleine loves to run. I don’t stop her from running in the house, mostly because I don’t have an issue with it at this age and I’m just so glad that she can. But evidently it was posing problems for the teachers at her (former) school. More on that in another post.  The lead teacher began working with her on using her “walking feet” and then described the following incident to me when I was dropping her off one morning.

Just before nap time, when they were trying to calm the children down, Madeleine would not stop running through the classroom riling the kids up again. (whoops!) So the teacher asked her to please step into the hallway by the restroom and wait for her there. When she want to talk to Madeleine, she told her that she needed to use her walking feet inside, slow down and calm down for nap and Madeleine’s response? “But my walking feet go fast!!” LMAO!

Ok, seriously! She is so funny! That is both not the right response but also so clever and hilarious that I could not contain my laughter when her teacher told me. Said teacher agreed with me that it was a very clever response, and they continued working on using walking feet inside from that point until this week.

Next up was a moment where she was playing with her toys in the house. I can’t recall what I was doing, but she was playing with some of her stuffed animals in/near the kitchen. When I went back to the kitchen, I found this:

I proceeded to ask Madeleine why the animals were all lined up like that (because it looks a little strange, no?) and she said “Animals sleeping!!” LOL! Oooh, ok. That makes much more sense, because sleeping on her tummy is something that Madeleine does, too. 🙂

We use lots of experiences as teaching lessons, because we like to explain to her how the world works. Here Alex was showing her how chop sticks are used to pick up food.

The story that Alex loves to tell most has to do with an octopus. Shortly before he graduated, Alex’s school had a Veteran’s Day celebration which included honoring those veterans who were graduating. We went as a family and after the formal ceremony things broke out into “grab a snack and chit chat” time. We grabbed a little snack for Madeleine and found a table. While she was eating she had her legs out to the sides of the chair, instead of in front, and wiggled her arms around and said “I a octopus!” Pretending to be different animals is something that’s become quite frequent around here these days. So, Alex said to her “Really? How many legs does an octopus have?” To which Madeleine furrowed her brow, looked down at her legs and said pointed to each leg as she counted “One, two. Two legs!” Hahaha! We about died laughing at the practicality of her response.

Daddy’s girl!

And finally, tonight. Most of you probably know that Alex has been doing some motorcycle riding as of late. So now we watch motorcycle racing videos and Madeleine is completely fascinated by the entire sport/activity. She knows the names of some of the best professional motorcycle riders out there. She points out motorcycles every time we see one in an shrill, shrieky, excited voice. She talks about needing to wear a helmet to keep safe. And about how she doesn’t ride motorcycles, but instead rides bicycles. LOL! Alex has set the DVR to record a motorcycle race this weekend to watch with her and tonight he was telling her which racers would be in it. Before bed, she brought it up again so I asked who her favorite motorcycle rider was and do you know what she said? She said “My daddy a favorite rider!” 😀 Alex was there and just beamed when she said it. Truly, it was the sweetest thing. She is in a bit of a daddy’s girl phase right now, too. They are so cute together!!

Stay tuned for an update to come regarding her latest MRI as well as her change in child care facilities!

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He’s a Master of….

Congratulations, hubby!

This past weekend Alex had commencement for his Tech MBA from the University of Washington Bothell campus. He has worked very hard for the last two years and we’re so proud of him!!

As a family, we make the decision to continue with his education despite Madeleine’s diagnosis with the theory that it won’t get any less stressful over time. He had just been accepted to the program and was month or so away from starting when Madeleine was diagnosed with cancer. Since I was out of work, a majority of her care fell on me, but I was fine with that. I knew it was important for him to power through his education so we could move on as a family. Boy, are we glad we made that decision because he is finally done!!!

After two long years in the program and 5 years of school since 2007, he had many long days and late nights. We’ve both seen promotions, cancer treatment, both of us starting new jobs at about the same time (a year ago) and a very demanding work/life balance for our family. However, we can check one box off the list! Alex has done it. 🙂 He is officially an MBA graduate!

Some of you might wonder why I am talking about myself in this post…and I am only because it’s been hard as a family. Much of his free time has been spent studying which drastically reduced his ability to spend time with us as a family. Drastically reduced his ability to help around the house, give me a break on the weekends, etc. However, he somehow still managed to get up early with her on Sundays when I was completely exhausted and needed an extra hour of sleep. He still somehow managed to help with housework when I was completely overwhelmed with my workload for work and was working 70+ hours a week. He is amazing and some might call him “super-dad!” I cannot state often enough how proud we are of him and how glad we are that he is such a hard worker for his future career and for our family.

So – that brings us to Sunday. Well, technically Saturday. We went over to Alex’s former co-worker’s house and classmate in this program. They’ve turned into good buddies and he was having a BBQ as a graduation party. It was really fun to be around a bunch of other couples with kids of similar ages to Madeleine (we don’t really get out much – see above for lack of family time notes 😛 ), and she thought it was awesome! Madeleine ran around with the other kids, ate dinner, entertained the baby and played with the dogs. We stayed out too late, but I think both Alex and I were having too good of a time to want to leave when we should’ve.

So mischievous – and she has her daddy’s eyes!

On Sunday much of the day was spent with Alex getting ready for graduation. He had to leave early so he could do the rehersal piece. I stayed home with M so she could get some sort of a nap in. Since we’d stayed out too late the night before and she woke up earlier than normal, she desperately needed it. The ceremony was nice, despite being unable to link up with Alex’s family whatsoever. Talk about a crowded arena! We finally found Alex in the mass of black robes on the floor and when he walked across the stage we cheered “Whooooooooooo!” M helped, even.

Afterwards I called my parents to let them know that he was officially a graduate and they were asking M all sorts of questions about what happened that day. I asked her, “M, what did daddy get today?” and in true 2 year old form she said “Daddy got a new hat! And a new book!” HAHA! I about died laughing. The new “book” was the blue cover that they put the faux diploma in. Oh, to see life out of the eyes of a 2 year old is a constant form of entertainment.

The fam

Afterwards we went to dinner with his family to celebrate, which was nice. Madeleine got to spend time with her Uncle Trevor and both sides of Alex’s family. We are so proud of you, honey!! Congratulations and here’s to many more years of success. 🙂

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Big Girl Bed!

April 19th was officilly Madeleine’s half-birthday, making her two and a half. We decided that this was as good an age as any to switch from a crib to a big girl bed. I am was not ready. She was contained and I was happy with that, but realize she’s got to learn sooner or later. So – two Saturday’s ago we tackled converting her crib to a toddler bed. Complete with toddler rail to keep her from falling out. What did she teach me the first night? Those rails are worthless. Heh. I walked into her room after hearing a thump and then blood curdling screams from a toddler who had suddenly fallen out of bed. ***sigh***

YAY! "I got a book! I weading!"

She is, however, pretty psyched about the fact that she can read books in her bed and get in and out all by herself. So psyched, in fact, that I have now removed all toys and books from her room until she starts sleeping. The last two days she has instead played with books instead of napping, which has resulted in quite a cranky girl.

So cute! We about died laughing at the half in/half out sleeping arrangement. 😀

Our little girl is growing up so fast! We do hope that sleeping in her big girl bed starts to go a little bit easier, but we realize that it’ll take a little bit of time. The next big change? Potty training! She’s gearing up and knows that she needs to start using the potty in order to wear her big girl undies. Let’s see how long this transition takes. 😉

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