Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Family pics

Jon sent us a pic this evening to say Hello, since he'd be home late tonight. He said it was just to make sure his family didn't forget what he looked like. I told the boys what he said and asked them if that were even possible....Logan thought for a minute and said "yeah, probably." (Totally nonchalant about it too).

Ha! Both of he *and* Jon are crazy.

So anyway, I sent him this next pic back, of the boys eating at the local Mexican restaurant at the bottom of the hill. We just finished swim lessons (the spring season starts up again for all after school activities - yay!) and this was Logan's choice for dinner. :)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Next school project

Don't think we get much of a breather from the Valentines project, because now another is due! ;-)

Callum's first 100 days of school milestone is coming up (next Monday). In anticipation, his teachers have asked us to help him collect 100 small items to bring to class later this week.

My grand idea, actually, was to collect 100 shells from the beach, while in Hawaii. But, then he got sick and wasn't in the mood. :( While out getting supplies for his Valentines, I grabbed a few things to use for the project - these rocks "won".

We grouped them into 10s and have glued then onto the cardboard (mid way thru, we had an accident where he got his finger stuck in some hot glue - yikes!!! That was no fun at all). :(

He's showing me here how to count by 10. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

And that's a wrap!

Done with Callum's Valentines. A whopping 24ish hours before the deadline. ;-)

Time to pass the torch

Anyone recognize the brick siding and red door from past blog pics?! :)

Today (all week actually, as we've been prepping for today) is a little bittersweet. It's our first open house, to sell our previous home.

We moved into this house on a Saturday, unpacked a brand new crib and dresser Sunday, and by Monday morning Logan had arrived (technically, we closed on Logan's birthday!). We raised both boys and many (current and old) furry kids there.

I don't regret moving at all. And because of how busy we've been with work on the new house, I haven't thought about our old house too much. But I did take a moment this past week to visit, clean a few more things, and snap this (probably last) pic of a home that has been very very good to us.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My date tonight

Since Logan is away, Callum and I are having a fun dinner out! :)

Another First

Logan went to a friend's house after school today for a last minute play date. When I was texting with the other mom about what time to pick him up, she offered to have him stay for a sleepover.

He's been DYING to go on a sleepover with any of his friends so I knew this would put him over the moon.

Sure enough, when I stopped by later to drop off a change of clothes etc. he was giddy with excitement to hear I was allowing him to spend the night.

His first sleepover! Wow my kiddo is getting old. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Discovering the bidet

I almost forgot to snap this pic but remembered just as the boys and I were heading out to catch our flight on Monday. :)

So when we first checked into our hotel in Waikiki last week, Callum had to go to the bathroom. He asked Jon what the remote on the wall was for - so Jon showed him the bidet function - while Callum was sitting on the toilet.

And suddenly, a fan was born.

From that point forward, every time Callum was pooping (and sometimes even when he wasn't), Jon and I would chuckle when we heard the spraying of the bidet going off. We'd call in to check on Callum and sure enough he was spraying his butt. ;-) He thought it was the coolest thing ever. He even tried to convert each of us, anytime he saw one of us on the toilet, he'd run in and say, do you want to try the spray on your butt? He'd point to the "Rear" button and explain that one was for boys but THIS ONE MOM, pointing to the "Front" button, this one is for girls!


The other cute things that happened on our trip, which I forgot to blog about, were some of the comments the boys had.

As we were driving to the airport early last Thursday morning, Callum whispered to me, "Did you bring our swimsuits Mom?" - as if I'd forget that?!?

Later, when we were in Hawaii, and talking about the many islands, Callum informed us: "I like Oahu best. But I don't like sand in my shoes."

On one of the first days that the boys tried swimming in the ocean, Logan told me, "Taste the water Mom. It's not that bad!"

And last but not at all least, while riding the waves, Logan told me, "It feels like someone is using the force (on me)." :)

Operation Valentine 2016

Callum and I started working on his Valentine's tonight. :)

5 years ago

Facebook has this cute "Memories" feature where it'll remind you of the posts you made "on this day" X number of years ago. So, 5 years ago today, I posted that I was waiting for my baby (Callum) to get out of ear tube surgery.

I thought it was funny that today, I was waiting for him to get out of his LP procedure.

He's always been such a trooper - and just like 5 years ago, he did fantastic today.

Today was the 7th, of 8 doses, of IT (intrathecal, or lumbar puncture) methotrexate required during his maintenance phase. He'll get another in 12 weeks, which will hopefully be his last!

His procedure went super fast today. I watched him go under, as I always do, then walked out and caught our nurse to catch up with him on next round of meds, our ER drama, vacations we've both been on in the last month, and life in general. It was probably no more than 15 minutes later, that they wheeled a little sleepy kid by us, and I surprisingly said Oh! That one's mine! (his head was covered by a blanket but I noticed the little puppy hanging out on top of the bed). :)

While Callum hung out in post-op recovery, I grabbed meds at the pharmacy and made his next round of appointments. After he woke and had a little snack, we were off to his next appointment of his monthly pentamidine (which he also did great in). We were done around noon, so we headed down to the cafeteria to grab a bite to eat before heading home. Phew!

We passed Callum's bus as we were driving home, so we stopped for a few minutes to say hi and chat with his driver, Mr. Fernando, who wanted to make sure Callum was ok (since he wasn't on the bus) and was happy to see chatty Callum waving and smiling at him from the back seat.

We run across this sort of "small-town community" interaction every day. Another example - when the clinic called me last night to let me know what time Callum was scheduled to come in this morning, it suddenly dawned on me (it's pretty embarrassing that I hadn't even realized it until this point!), that I couldn't be at two places at once. So, how the heck would Logan get to school? Jon is flying back later tonight so he's not around. I'd be at the hospital early in the morning (long before Logan's school started) and all day. My parents were actually out of town (they're usually my backups!). Etc etc.

So I decided to lean on the neighbors nearby who have boys that are friends (and same age) with our boys. I texted the Mom, apologizing for the last minute request but could I drop Logan off with them in the morning to hang out until the bus picked them up?

OF COURSE!! She said.

And then when I dropped him off she said Bree, don't ever worry. Someone is always home before, during or after school, if you ever need it.

What a relief. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Valentine's Post Office

A couple of weeks ago I got a 3 page packet of instructions (THREE PAGES!) from Callum's teachers describing the kids' next project: the Valentine's Post Office.

Let me first say, this is my kind of communication. Detailed, explicit, thought out and covering all bases. Not to mention turning a Hallmark holiday into a very cool learning experience. I loved it!

At the same time, I suddenly had a (much earlier than usual) deadline to get the boys' Valentines ready. The procrastinator in me thought "Shit! Now I've gotta get on it!" ;-)

So here's what Callum's class will be doing:

The kids each get a "mailbox" (which they painted today - Callum is smiling next to his) with their name and number (of their actual address, so they get to learn their addresses too!) on it.

We need our Valentines ready by Monday of next week, when the Post Office opens. Each Valentine needs to be in an envelope with each classmate's name and (number) address on it.

There will be a myriad of jobs when the PO opens, that the kids will rotate through, including things like tending the cash register to sell stamps (or as a customer to buy them), collecting and sorting the mail, canceling the mail, delivering the mail, and picking up their mail. They start next week since they'll only handle a couple Valentines a day - to spread it out over a few weeks. Which then allows the kids to also enjoy each Valentine they get a bit more! :)

These teachers are so organized and with it - and seem to turn any little thing into not only a learning but an experience. You can imagine how much thought and work will go into the whole thing - yet I know it's going to be pulled off without a hitch (I know they've been doing it for years but even still, I bet their first year doing it was fantastic).

Anyway, a really cool project, IMHO. And one more to add to the growing list of reasons why I'm in love with the boys' school. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

School Tutor

(This pic was taken in stealth mode since I didn't want to distract or disturb them)

I met with our school after the Christmas break to discuss Callum's absences and the risk of him falling behind in school. His teachers are probably a little more nervous than I am about it, but I'm glad they're keeping an eye on things. And extra schooling isn't a horrible thing anyway. ;-)

So we decided on a tutor to come visit Callum at home, every other week, for an hour. The original intent was to have a home tutor only come when he misses school (due to ER visits or Dr appts, etc), but we finally landed on a consistent schedule regardless of his absences because it would be easier for everyone to manage.

Today was Callum's first day meeting his home teacher (she is a regular sub for Kinder classes, as well as having a daughter in Kindergarten herself). He was upset, at first, that he had to do more school after he got home (and it interrupted his lunch which he was in the middle of). But he quickly warmed up to her and they had a fantastic session together in the end.

Once again, I'm so very grateful for our new school and district. They have been beyond supportive of us and Callum - thank goodness!

We made it!

I was nervous about getting to the airport on time yesterday, because there had been a MLK parade down the main street of Waikiki, which our hotel was on, in the morning, blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic. And juggling the boys and luggage by myself was going to take longer than usual (Jon isn't flying home until later this week since he's there for a work conference). But by the time the bellman came to get our luggage, the parade had finished (yay!), so we decided to hang out a bit more at the hotel before heading to the airport.

We had a few lines here and there but because we had arrived early, we got thru security pretty quickly and then still had enough time to grab some snacks at the airport before heading to our gate. The flight was super crowded, and when we flew out most overhead bins were full. I didn't want to chance us not being able to store our luggage overhead (I had one suitcase as carry on since it had Callum's meds and emergency supplies in it), so I told them we needed to pre-board since we have special/medical needs. I'm glad I did! We were able to board long before everyone else so it wasn't crowded or rushed and I could wipe down our seats, get the boys settled in and even had them eating a little snack before everyone else started to board. :)

We had an uneventful, and surprisingly quick (we must've caught a tailwind, the flight was just over 4 hours!), flight home.

Callum passed out on the drive home (he was starting to get sleepy as we were landing) but Logan had a bit more trouble falling asleep, and finally went to bed around 11pm! :( So we'll see how they do in a few minutes when I wake them up for school. ;-)

Sunday, January 17, 2016


The boys discovered there are multiples of themselves in the hallway mirrors of our hotel. So, they had to stop and strike several poses to show me.

You'd think we were weirdos but as it turns out, there were tourists all around us doing the exact same thing. ;-)

A lazy day

After our adventure to the ER last night, and our bust of a breakfast this morning, we decided to lay low most of the morning, cuddling and watching TV shows (that Jon had downloaded onto his laptop) instead.

Around lunchtime, Callum's mood had brightened and he started talking about being hungry. So we decided to venture out again and luckily, this time, Callum had more energy, walked to and from the restaurant on his own and was generally in a good mood. He still didn't eat very much over lunchtime, but the improvement in his mood made us all a happier bunch I think.

We relaxed some more in the afternoon before heading out for one last swim of the trip. Callum really wanted to swim in the pool but Logan has been ALLLLLL about riding the waves. So Jon stayed with Callum, playing in the pool while Logan and I headed out to the beach and I joined him in the water.

After we cleaned up, we walked to a close pizza joint, which I thought might be a nice change for the boys. Callum ate about half a slice (after an afternoon snack of Cheetos, carrots and celery!), which is the most he's eaten since yesterday's lunch. Hopefully this means we're on our way to recovery!

A scare

I guess the universe decided we've been having too much fun.

Remember when I said Callum was acting tired and grouchy yesterday evening? The first pic is what Jon sent me, of him fast asleep, after Logan and I left for the beach. When we got back, Callum was still asleep - but it was about 7pm and he hadn't eaten anything for awhile. So we decided to wake him from his nap to have him eat a bit of dinner.

He was pretty out of it, clearly still tired, and felt warm. :( Jon got very nervous - I didn't think he had a fever (yet), but he definitely seemed off. So we ordered room service and tried to get him to drink some juice in the meantime.

But, as the hour passed (and he turned food away with a gag), it was clear he was feeling crummy and his warm body wasn't just from sleeping under the blankets anymore. :( So I took his temp around 8pm and sure enough, he had spiked a fever (101.6). Damn.

(Meanwhile, Jon was pacing the room. Whenever Callum gets sick he gets very worried. :( Being away from home definitely wasn't helping...)

Luckily, I had talked to our oncology team before our trip, and knew there was a Children's cancer center close by. I called the on-call number back home to report the fever, and confirm what I already knew. We had to head to the ER.

Luckily, we had rented a car (literally at the last minute, as we waited for our bags when we had arrived on Thursday - originally we had thought we'd just walk everywhere!) and the ER was about 10 minutes away.

Callum and I arrived about 9pm and by 9:30pm we were in a room, he was examined by a couple of the Drs on rotation, and we were waiting for an oncology nurse to access his port. His temp had risen to 102 by then, so they quickly gave him some Tylenol (thank goodness).

We did the usual with a urine sample, nose swab (checking for the flu and other viruses), and once accessed they drew blood for his CBC as well as cultures. After that, they hooked up fluids for a quick bolus (I asked the Dr if they'd mind - he hadn't been drinking a lot in the afternoon and I thought the extra fluids would help).

He was MUCH more chatty, with lifted spirits, once we got to the hospital. You can see his smile, amidst all this crap, in the second pic. The only thing that really upset him was the access itself - he has been doing SO WELL these days. But this particular nurse, while I'm sure she's accessed hundreds of ports over her years, was definitely a bit more rough in handling him. I could see she wasn't as gentle - and he whispered to me after he had calmed down (he had been balling), that she had pushed into his port way too hard. :( Ugh. I really hate that.

Then it was a waiting game as always. But, by 11:20pm, the Dr came back to report our counts looked good (phew!!) and that we could go home. We were discharged by midnight and back in the car to head to the hotel!

(All of this had me very nervous - if Callum was neutropenic with a fever, they'd have to admit us. And no telling when we'd be able to go home. Meanwhile poor Logan would be stuck here without a way back home, missing a bunch of school, at least until Jon finished his work conference and could take him home I guess. This was all racing through my mind as we sat there in the ER, me trying to figure out the logistics of how we'd juggle it all if we had to stay. So yeah, it was a tad nerve racking and scary.)

We tried to walk to breakfast this morning - Jon carried him most of the way but he was so out of sorts that he finally asked me if we could go back to the hotel so he could rest. We were only a few blocks away but I decided I better cut the trip short - so he and I grabbed a taxi back to the hotel (where he is now snuggled in bed and watching cartoons) and Jon and Logan continued onto the restaurant to have a nice breakfast. :)

The hospital will call us by tomorrow morning if his blood cultures come back with anything. And I need to continue monitoring him for fevers, etc. of course. Any of this would mean we'd need to reevaluate our plane ride home tomorrow. :/ So, we're crossing our fingers and toes that he'll hang in there!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Yep, another gorgeous sunset!

Callum was acting really tired and grouchy, but Logan really wanted to go back to the beach. So Jon stayed in the room with Callum (who fell asleep 5 minutes after we left) while Logan and I headed back down to catch the sunset. I collected shells while Mr. Independent went out to ride the waves on his own. He did great, and didn't argue with me when I asked him to come back in after the sun went down. He played a bit more in the sand until we decided to head back up and check in with the fam.

My phone doesn't do well in these high contrast situations, but I thought Logan's silhouette still looked kind of neat against the water and sky. :)


We spent awhile riding the waves down at the beach before everyone started to get tired and hungry. So, next door to Duke's for lunch it was! :)

This morning's breakfast

We tried another new spot for breakfast today - the Hula Grill - which had another gorgeous view of the beach. I decided to get something light, since I'm STILL full from yesterday's udon lunch! So I tried their Acai Bowl, which seems popular and I've seen everywhere. It was delicious and hit the spot! While waiting for his pancakes, Callum learned how to do a word search (all on his own!) for the first time. :)

Wiped out

We decided to stay at the hotel for dinner, dining at the beach bar, complete with live band and hula dancers. We grabbed a table right up front where the band was, so it was VERY loud. That didn't stop Logan from passing out mid-way through dinner though! So poor Jon had to carry this big ol' kid back to our room. :(


Even though we're on vacation, we've been taking breaks back at the room to make sure the boys get their homework and reading time in. :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Family fun

I also made each of the boys take a sunset selfie with me. :)

More beach time!

This time I made Jon get in the water with the boys, since I wanted a break. :)

Loganism of the day

How is THAT a painting?!?


Someone needed a nap

Callum was really grumpy about walking to (and back) lunch today. I think he was just hungry and then tired. So, you can see the frown he's sporting as I snuck in these quick snaps while we were out walking.

But what I really wanted to capture is the fact that he walks - everywhere - like All. The. Time. - with his hands stuffed in his pockets.

It's pretty adorable.

(And maybe even more so with this grumpy old man look accompanying it). ;-)

Da beach

After our yummy breakfast, we relaxed (and digested) back at our hotel room. Then everyone got antsy so we went out to swim! Our plans were to go to the pool, but for some reason the boys were shy and overwhelmed with the number of kids in the pool already (the pool is small but it didn't seem like there were THAT many kids in it - and besides, the beach was obviously a lot more crowded!). So, to the beach we went!

The boys had a blast again. They built sand castles of varying shapes and then decided to play a "jump the wave" game they made up (and which I was able to get Callum in the air on one of these shots!). I then joined them since they really wanted to go out further into the water - as they rode the waves back into the beach, Logan exclaimed, "It feels like someone is using the force (on me)!" :)

Fresh Udon!

Our lunch spot today is Marukame Udon, where they make it fresh right in front of you, as you stand in line to order. Delicious and filling. I'm going to burst.


I'm sipping a phenomenal cup of Honolulu Coffee's Nutty Hawaiian Latte and can't help but chuckle at the grumpy face who doesn't like the fact that we had to make a coffee stop before hitting the beach.

I can never get them both to just smile nicely at the same time!


Callum has been craving waffles ever since we landed last night. So, I looked for a few good places to breakfast and landed at Orchids, a gorgeous (and very shwanky!) restaurant right at the beach, in the Halekulani Hotel.

Everything was super delicious and most importantly, Callum got his waffles fix. ;-)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sand and Salt

After relaxing in the room for a bit, Callum finally got motivated to hit the beach, so we all followed suit (ha!).

He was running in circles and screaming and basically having the time of his life. Logan loved it too. When the waves were finally getting a little too rough and it was getting a little too dark for me to feel safe, we dragged them out. They made me promise we could come back again tomorrow. ;-)

Not a bad sunset either!