Saturday, January 31, 2015

Loganism of the month

We have some exciting news!! We just purchased a new home. :)

We've been discussing a potential move for years, since Jon has endured a ridiculously long commute for way too long. Our discussions became a bit more serious after Callum was diagnosed and I quit my job. The universe was telling us - there were less and less reasons to stay in the South Bay and more and more reasons to move further North.

On top of all that, while we've been "okay" with Logan's school, we haven't been AMAZED by them. We had a few stumbles with them when Callum was diagnosed that, let's just say, left a bad taste in our mouths - and I've been worried they'd be - less than easy - to work with, once the time came to enroll Callum into school.

(I don't think I ever blogged about it, but suffice to say, we received one of those template letters from the principal/district at the end of the school year last year, reprimanding us for a "truant" child [Logan, who was in KINDERGARTEN], and that if it repeated again this year, they'd report us to the District Attorney's office.

I, of course, blew up and sent a very stern letter back to the principal, telling her that that type of communication was completely unacceptable, inappropriate and ridiculous, that they should think about picking up the phone and calling me instead, that I never wanted to see another letter like that from them again... And basically, to give me a fucking break. I might've thrown the Cancer card around once or twice as well.)

So, while I am always nosily (is that a word?) drooling over, and daydreaming about, gorgeous houses that we can never afford, I was also back to the drawing board with schools, and had started touring and interviewing a number of private options near us, given we have different - and special - needs for our kids now.

At the same time that I was touring schools (because January is basically the enrollment period for most schools), we had some surprising activity pick up with a potential house (which we had placed an offer on during the holidays but had gone nowhere) in the background. Jon, being the amazing hardass negotiator that he is, crafted a wonderful deal for us, and we closed on the new house this week. :)

As Logan has so perceptively noted - the new house is (crazy) close to Callum's hospital (which means, to Logan, less driving to and from the hospital for visits when we stay overnight, or day trips for me and Callum to see the drs), closer to Jon's work (which means, to Logan, more time that Daddy can now spend at home), and has better schools (which means, to Logan, less bullies - another topic I won't get into now but take a wild guess at what bothers him about his current school!). He (and therefore Callum as well) approved of our decision.

I hope that Logan is still young enough that he'll bounce back quickly from a big transition (home and school life) like this. And since Callum hasn't yet started Kindergarten, moving to this new school vs. any other wouldn't have been much different in terms of transitions. I hope this will be the place that all of the boys' childhood memories will stem from, when they are old.

So, while we're super sad to leave our amazing neighborhood we live in now, the number of wins we gain from this move can't be ignored.

All that said, we won't actually move immediately! We plan to stay here and finish Logan's school year, before we move to the new home. This will also allow us time to do some remodeling work, which we can't do while Callum lives there anyway.

Two birds! Bam Bam!

(Plus, I might as well throw another project on my plate, right?)

Wow Bree, this story is really great and I'm happy to hear you've found a new home. But what does all this have to do with the Loganism of the month, you ask?

Well.

Yesterday, I took Logan up with me to see the new house and his new school (for registration). I brought his iPad with us so that he could play a few games while we were at the house (since my Dad, brother and I had to take measurements to begin planning for the remodel).

At one point, Logan came up to me with his iPad in hand -

~~~~~~~~~

This place won't let me play Boom Beach. (a favorite online iPad game of his)

Yes, that's because we don't have Internet access here.

Well then, I don't want to move here.

~~~~~~~~~

Ahhhh, kids. ;-)

I hope to take a number of before/after pics to document our remodeling project along the way. Stay tuned for the next chapter(s) of our wild adventure!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Is Santa real?

So I was skimming through my Facebook feed tonight, as I often do after I put the boys to bed and wait for them to actually fall asleep ;-) when I came across this article:

11 Things Empty Nesters Want Parents Of Little Kids To Know


I don't often have time to read through the (bajillion) articles that my friends post online, and I was pretty sure I could guess what these 11 things would be, but I decided to click through anyway.

After reading the first piece of advice, it dawned on me that, on the one hand, I've done an okay job at keeping this blog up to date with a number of important milestones and funny sayings from the boys through the years, but on the other hand, there have been some really interesting conversations that we've had (mostly in the last year or two), that I haven't written down.

How lazy.

And, it's true that one of my most favorite, was a conversation I had with Logan just over a year ago, on whether or not Santa is real.

So, before my memory completely fades away on this particular topic, let me jot down what I *do* remember of that discussion.  :)

One day, after school (Logan was in Kindergarten at the time), Logan asked me, "Mommy, is Santa real?"

This is actually kind of a sticky topic for Jon and I.  Because, we try to be as (sometimes brutally) honest and straightforward to the boys as we possibly can.  Always.  Yet, I'd like them to enjoy some of the wondrous virtue of childhood for a few more years...

So, I did what every Mom does.  I evaded the question.

Why do you ask?

Because, Aidan told me today that he's not real.  He said that our parents put the gifts out after bedtime.

Hmmmm, that's interesting.  What do you think?

(pretty good, right? I rock at this Mom shit.)

I think he's real.

Oh yeah?  How come?

Because, you and Daddy go to bed when we go to bed, so you can't put gifts out then.

Well, maybe I set an alarm and wake up in the middle of the night to set the gifts out?

(Logan laughs)  I don't think so Mommy, that's silly!

Hmmmm.  Well, maybe I get up in the morning, BEFORE you wake up, and set the gifts out then?

(Logan laughs even more - he and everyone else in this household knows how much I am NOT a morning person) WHAT!!  That's crazy Mommy!!  You are always in bed or asleep when we wake up!!

He's quite right, for the most part.

So then, how are those presents showing up on Christmas morning?

I told you, it's Santa.  Aidan's wrong.  Santa's real.

And that, my friends, is how I managed to sneak in another year of innocence into my children's lives.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jon is home!

Jon returned home tonight, with a sweet little present for me. Love me some Truman Chocolates. Yummy!!

(And soooo happy he's back home again - phew!)

Movie star in the making

Last Friday we attended Harker's Kicks Against Cancer event as guests of honor, representing Camp Okizu (our summer family camp)!  I'm so glad we could go - the games were a ton of fun, the boys had a blast - and Logan (with a sneak peek of Callum), has a short guest appearance at the end of their video clip. :)


I guess we'll need to work a bit more on his lines for next time.  ;-)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Exhausting

OMG the boys are so exhausting. It hasn't helped that I've been feeling under the weather this past weekend and Jon has been traveling (since Friday morning).

But, at least they love (playing with) each other. :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Kicks Against Cancer

A local private school here, Harker Academy, invited us and a few other families to watch their varsity girls and boys soccer games tonight. All proceeds they raise will be given to Camp Okizu (the summer family camp we go to)! So fun!! :)

Our Bruno Mars fan

He was literally singing "...too hot! Hot damn!" 🎶

Waiting for Logan

We've got a short amount of time between Callum's school pick up and Logan's school pick up so I suggested we head to the coffee shop to wait.

Callum really wanted to sit outside. He said it was hot and toasty. (And apparently that's a good thing!) ;-)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Our future doc?

He might as well be running rounds, the way he walks the halls of the clinic, like a boss.

His monthly check up went great today. We'll be back in a month for his next lumbar puncture. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The house smells yummy!

Callumism of the day

Mom, did you know spiderwebs come from spider butts?

So I bought myself a vest today....

I've been really struggling to keep up with Logan's growth spurts lately. He just turned 7 about a month or so ago, yet he completely passed up the size 7 clothes I had bought (awhile ago and laid aside in preparation), and is now in size 8s (and some 10s!!!). Our pediatrician has reassured me that this is when the kids bulk up, before they sprout up (but that Logan is also quite tall for his age). So I guess it's to be expected but I'm still not ready for it. ;-)

I bought this vest through my mom swap group (like a yard sale but online), so I didn't try it on until I got home. I can wear it, but it's a little too small for my liking. I realized, maybe the lady mistyped and it's actually a *kid* size M instead of an adult's? So I had Logan try it on.... A little baggy but so much better.

He then said, Yep, this'll work great Mom. Thanks.

Ha!!!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

17 Mile Drive

Making memories! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A huge play day!

The Dads headed over to Pebble Beach to golf this morning so Jill and I took the kids to a HUMONGOUS park called Dennis the Menace. It was awesome and the kids had a blast, but it was a little much for two moms to keep track of 5 very mobile (and one infant) on our own. :)

After lunch we headed back to the hotel so the younger ones could nap. The oldest boys rested as well, watching TV in our room, while the Dads watched football.

Before the sun set, we took the kids on a short walk to a nearby butterfly habitat and saw a bunch of clusters and learned a bit about the process of their evolution (sadly, my phone really couldn't get a picture of them since they were kind of far away).

All in all, another fun and full day!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Monterey Bay Aquarium

We headed to Monterey last night with the Cables family, for the long weekend. The kids were super excited and stayed up WAY too late last night. But we still made it to the Aquarium today. ;-)

I'll eventually get a picture with all kids (there are 6 in total - we are definitely outnumbered!). But for now, the three oldest boys are sticking together. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Harumph!

I've been meaning to scan and post this pic for a number of days but keep forgetting.  After every soccer "season" at Callum's school, they hand out pictures and medals or other little goodies to thank the kids for a fun time.

Usually, I just set the pic aside, on top of a growing pile of school and soccer team pics.  But this one I had to call out.  Because, as soon as I saw it, I just busted out laughing.

You see, my smiley, cute, all dimples kid, isn't always so smiley, cute and showing off his dimples.


Sometimes, he's a cranky old man who's mad that he didn't win his game.  :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tacos!

Made tacos (shells from scratch I mean), for the first time tonight, per Logan's request. He is on his third here, and claims they're delicious. Victory!!

A visit to Logan's class

Today, a social worker from our hospital visited Logan's class and gave a (short) presentation on the hospital, leukemia, and how a diagnosis like that might affect Logan and our family (she really encouraged the kids to be a supportive friend to Logan, which made him a little shy, given he was called out like that).

I wasn't expecting it, but the whole thing caught me a little off guard emotionally. Seeing these kids' immediate and honest reaction, the minute she mentioned Logan's brother was sick, hit me a bit. They were genuinely surprised and sad at the news, with several turning around to verify with Logan directly.

"Awww!! Your brother is sick?!?"

It was the sweetest of things actually.

The kids were a bit shy at the end of the presentation, and didn't know what questions to ask (even though they continued to raise their hands and seemed to have a million questions DURING the talk! Ha!), so I spoke up from the back of the room and reminded them that I was Logan's mom, and if they wanted, they could ask me some questions too.

Suddenly, a bunch of hands shot up in the air.

How did Logan's brother get sick? How did you know? What did you do? Is he in the hospital right now? Who takes care of Logan when you are at the hospital? Can we make him a card or give him a present?

The overall experience was really good and really positive (and great timing since the kids are learning about the human body right now). I'm REALLY glad we did it... And have already prepped our social worker to expect to do it again next year (for both boys). ;-)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I'm beat!

Yesterday's all day chess extravaganza really wore us out. Considering Logan has never competed before - just finishing an all day competition like that is amazing. He ended up playing a total of 6 games (several against kids much older than him, in 5-6th grades!), which is grueling (we, as spectators, were also beat). He lost two and pulled out 4 draws, which I consider great for his first time. But he was upset he didn't win any of his matches :( and he was also confused by receiving a participatory medal. :)

He said to me several times, but Mom, this medal doesn't actually MEAN anything, since I didn't win. So why do I get one? (I had to laugh, since most kids love getting a medal and here is my kid, competitive to the core, ready to toss it out the window!). We explained that while he didn't win, he DID participate and is now a member of this small community of kids who play chess together. While the trophies that were handed out, symbolize who actually won, the medals acknowledged everyone who participated. He finally agreed that was ok but it took several rounds of this for him to be ok with it (again, he was also SUPER tired).

After, we headed over to the Jodoin's to hang out; the boys played while the adults stayed up (extremely late) playing board games. We didn't get home until 2:30am and I thought there is NO WAY I'm going to make my Sunday morning hike with the girls. *yawn*

But, of course, the dogs and kids woke me up at 7:30am, and though I tried, I could not fall back to sleep, so I rolled out of bed and headed up to the (foggy) hills for a hike with my girlfriends this morning. Phew!! It's now noon and I'm still trying to wake up. ;-) But I'm glad I made it out, even as tired as I was.

I picked the boys up from Jon's rugby practice and the three of us headed to our favorite local donut shop for a super healthy post-hike breakfast. ;-) Yummmm!

Now, I need a nap.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Game #2 Done!

Logan was matched up much better this time. He didn't win, but he controlled most of the game. So it was a draw, as Logan had the other kid's king surrounded. They also played with a clock which made the game go by lightning fast!

Afterward he got a cupcake with a (white chocolate) chess piece on top to snack on. ;-)

First Chess Tournament

Today is Logan's first chess tournament!

Parents aren't allowed in the hall during the actual tournament, so we're all huddled outside taking pics thru the (very smudgy dirty) windows. LOL :)

Just our luck, Logan's first pairing was with the top ranked child of the tournament, at Table 1, who beat Logan in about 10 minutes! I'm hoping he doesn't get discouraged and want to stop playing (so far he seems to be ok about it). :)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Progress

Earlier this week, I felt like Callum was struggling with his return to school, after being out for so long. He seemed sensitive to any little thing and was prone to sobbing uncontrollably over the smallest of things. However, I think he overcame that adjustment, as he not only had a great day at school today, but it took me quite a deal of patience and bribery to tear him away, come time for pickup, today. :)

That progress continued through the evening, where Callum passed another big milestone - and swallowed his first pill on his own!!

For the first several months, I have been crushing his chemo meds and mixing them with water for him to drink. Just recently, we moved to him chewing the tablets instead of crushing and mixing, which he has been doing great with, but hasn't particularly liked.

Last night, he informed me he'd like to try swallowing the pills whole next time (meaning tonight). I said sure, not really crediting my son for his abilities. However, I did remind him about it tonight, just to see what would happen. And sure enough, with a little coaxing and a lot of resolve, Callum swallowed the pill, all on his own. Soooooo cool. :)

Callum has recently been very curious and inquisitive about the subject of death. At first he was also pretty emotional and sad by the topic but I thought that might be the combination of his recent steroid kick and perhaps young age. But I did begin to remember and realize that it was about this age in Logan's life, that Logan had asked us a million relentless questions about death too. So, I've done my best to answer Callum in the same straightforward and honest method that I gave his big brother a few years ago.

He has, over the last few days, become less and less upset by the topic, but no less curious. And, he still doesn't grasp the topic entirely, of course, but you can tell he's tossing and turning and digesting every tidbit of information we give him, each time.

This morning, as we drove to school, he announced to me that, "I'm going to live longer than all of you guys."

He has come to this conclusion, naturally, because he is the youngest in our family and has learned MOST people die, eventually, of old age.

But when your son, who was diagnosed with leukemia not even a year ago, consciously, and subconsciously, makes a statement like that....

Well, it really does take your breath away.

We have such a tremendous fighter on our hands. Most of the time, he is blissfully unaware of this fact. Perhaps someday, he will realize it. But every day, I am thankful for it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Homework!

Logan is doing much better with his writing assignments lately. It's amazing what a little dedicated focus time will do. ;-)

The first pic is of last night's homework, where he had to write about the Grand Canyon in Spanish. He composed his writing in English and then I helped him translate (he definitely doesn't know Spanish this well yet!). What was funny to me was his total lack of interest when I first asked him about the Grand Canyon. So, I showed him some pictures, so he could realize how massive it is. We looked at the dam and Lake Powell - which he was amazed by. I told him about a trip our family took to Lake Powell when I was a kid, about how we rented a house boat and camped on the beaches each night and jumped off rocks and swam in the lake each day. He immediately decided that's what we should do (and thus his inspiration for this assignment). ;-)

Tonight's homework was entertaining because he had retained quite a bit about the digestive system and was thrilled he could write (and say over and over) "butt" and "poop" as a part of this assignment.

Boys. ;-)

Haircuts!

The boys got their hair cut yesterday. Neither wanted me to take their pictures so you can only sorta see how much we chopped off. ;-)

Logan has really been excelling at swimming lately (he just passed another level and will be learning breast stroke next!), so he has finally allowed me to get more than a centimeter cut off his hair, since his long shag has been getting in his way during swim. :)

We also cut quite a bit off Callum's since healthier hair is starting to (finally) grow back and replace the rough course "chemo" hair, that I like to call it. I think most of that hair (what started growing out when we started treatment) is now gone with this last cut and the latest batch of hair looks much better. Yay! (He would NOT stand still for me in that pic so this was the best I could grab!!)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Our sensitive guy

I don't know if this would have naturally developed on its own or if the barrage of meds that Callum has been on has tweaked his senses but MAN I swear sometimes I have a budding foodie in the works.

I've written before about his very specific instructions on how to cook a pizza or make a corn dog. Friends and family have been yelled at (yes, yelled at!) and there have been tears, when a corn dog isn't cut just right. :)

But today was another, very sensitive, explosion of Callum's senses.

I dropped him off at preschool like always. Today is pajama day - which he has really been looking forward to - but about fell apart at home this morning when he spilt milk on his pj's and they got wet. Thankfully, mom to the rescue here, because I had another set for him to wear (which, secretly, I was happier about anyway since they were warmer and it's friggin cold outside!). But I digress.

So we walk into his classroom and there's a distinct smell of over cooked oil I would say. I'm super sensitive to smells myself so I wasn't crazy about it but I've learned to just take a deep breath and plow through until I can get some fresh air.

The teachers were making pancakes so they happily cheered as we walked in "we have pancakes today Callum! Pancakes and pj's!"

And then Callum started to gag.

Like, gag so strongly I started preparing myself to catch some puke in my hands gag. :(

I asked him "what's wrong buddy?"

And he whispered to me, "the smell is awful."

After a few minutes of the two of us just standing there, he seemed to finally recover and be over it. But everything between catching puke and debating on whether I needed to pull him out of class for the day, raced across my mind.

I'm curious if his sensitivity to tastes and textures and smells will go away once we're off his chemotherapy program or if they'll stick. If they stick, I think I'll need to enroll him in a cooking class or two because he really is developing quite the palate (and nose)! ;-)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quality Control

We got a couple of new dog beds. Callum is testing this one out. :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Big arms!

Forgot to post this yesterday but after 2 weeks off, I thought they did really well at swim class!!

Today we all slept in and had to really hustle to get everyone off to school/work, but we made it. :) Both boys had pretty good days at school from what I could tell. I spent most of the day running errands and (finally) taking down our Christmas decorations. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting back to exercising

I haven't worked out, regularly, since Halloween I think! So I was happy to join several of my girlfriends this morning for a (very brisk, cold, low 40's!) hike.

Glad I made it! :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

A productive day

Callum and I headed back up to the hospital early this morning for another round of vincristine. His counts are great and he's doing really well (other than being whiny and hungry from the steroids - thank goodness this morning was the last dose for this round!) so we won't be back for three weeks - yes!

We also got to meet our new Nurse Practitioner, Sadie, who's replacing Carly. She's no Carly ;-) but she's good, nice and I hope we'll get along great. She gave me a few tips today on how to tweak Callum's drug regimen, which I appreciated.

Meanwhile, Jon and Logan hung out at home enjoying one of their last days off. While we were gone, Home Depot delivered our next project - a humongous shed, which Jon proceeded to assemble this afternoon. We plan to store a bunch of things in it to help free up room in our garage, so we can, someday, perhaps, fit a car. ;-)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

My new year is starting off splendidly - with my 4.5 yr old on steroids, eating me out of kitchen and home. Look how demanding he is! ;-)

(He's showing me he's getting out the "right" bread to help me set up and make him a PB&J sandwich once his timer goes off).