July 28, 2009

Birthday in July

Madeleine's second birthday isn't until October, but at the suggestion of her physical therapist we bought her a bike, a very early birthday present. The bike is a little bit big for her, and I'm trying to devise some blocks on the pedals type of work-around, but for now she is enjoying scooting around on it and ringing the bell. The bike is a Schwinn. I love the retro styling.

The physical therapist also had us purchase insoles that slip into Mad's shoes to try to keep her from walking on the inside of her right foot. So far the insoles really seem to be helping. Of course they did not fit in her current shoes, so we also had to buy her new shoes. Shoes that are about a half-size too big just so that the insoles will fit. Expensive kid! Going shoe shopping with Mad is kind of an experience. She loves shoes, and will pick out all kinds of inappropriate shoes and insist on trying them on.

We recently bought a cheap kiddie pool, but prior to doing that, the water table sufficed in cooling her down on a very hot day.




These last two pictures are from a recent trip to the zoo to check out their new kid's playground. The playground is more for older kids, but she still had a good time. We also checked out the petting zoo, elephants and some other animals.

Mad and I have been thoroughly enjoying the summer. Lots of beach trips, trips to pools to play with friends, birthday parties, and visiting the local park. This week we are lucky to have Nana staying with us. Mad is loving spending time with her grandmother and I'm enjoying some little breaks - like going grocery shopping on my own!

July 21, 2009

Spotlight on: Sean

Sean Reader's story has been difficult for me to write. I have been procrastinating sharing his story with you, because I don't have the right words to describe this incredible little boy.

Sean, at age 12, was a nationally-ranked chess player and started playing in championships when he was five years old. He won many state championships, and even beat adult championship players. Sean loved sports, video games and hanging out with his friends. Sean had an eye towards his future, and had college planned out by the time he was 12.


Sean was a valiant competitor in all aspects of his life, including his battle with leukemia. Sean was a champion, and didn't complain about the four-month long hospital stay, or the constant pills, tests, scans, and needles. Always the fighter, Sean made the most out of every day.

Sean lost his battle with leukemia on August 14th, 2006.

His legacy lives on through the Sean Reader Memorial Chess Fund, which provides financial aid to those who need it for chess classes and tournaments. Additionally, Sean's Fund provides chess lessons to children that are currently battling cancer. Sean's fund donates chess gift bags to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where Sean was treated.

Sean is loved and remembered.

July 16, 2009

More pictures

Over the weekend we went to a friend's second birthday party. The party was a princess and bounce house party, which are two things that I knew Mad would love. She had so much fun splashing in the pools and jumping in the bounce house. As I was getting these pictures ready to post, she kept insisting, "more bounce!" Now that she knows what a bounce house is, I'm already anticipating the tantrum at our next trip to the park on a weekend (where there are guaranteed to be no less than two bounce houses, and three birthday parties).

Look, we finally got her into a swimsuit other than the Elmo one!

The birthday girl, Amanda

I like the way the netting on the bounce house frames some of these pictures.

Ryan and I may have had more fun than the girls did playing in the bounce house.

The next day. Notice the green stains on her shirt, that's from a princess stamp that came in a gift bag. The stamp was a big hit. So big that it's all over her clothes and the car seat.

Yesterday after Mad and I took a walk around our block looking for kitty cats, we found two baby birds on the driveway. One was dead, and this one was barely alive. I don't know where they came from, I didn't see a nest anywhere nearby. I don't want to take care of a baby bird. I don't want to feed it every twenty minutes from sunrise to sunset, but I couldn't just leave it there to die. We made a nest in a box and I've been feeding it an egg yolk mixture. I'm very surprised that it survived the night. He still doesn't look very good, but amazingly, still alive.

I found a use for a syringe left over from Mad's medicine. I knew I kept it for a reason.

UPDATE: Bird died shortly after I posted this.

July 15, 2009

Heading in the Right Direction

I just got Madeleine's latest test results. Everything is down! (that's good).
VMA - 31 (down from 36 last month).
HVA - 36.2 (down from 46 last month).

Normal ranges of these levels in a kid without Neuroblastoma, based on Mad's age and weight, would show a VMA of under 18, and an HVA of under 23.

Remember that these markers measure a chemical that the tumor is putting out. The lower the numbers, the less chemical is present, which means that less of the tumor is immature. In this case immature is bad and mature is good. Hopefully this all means that the tumor is maturing!

July 12, 2009

Spotlight on: Abigail

Abigail Marks was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was 22. Abigail had just finished college. I can't imagine graduating from college, with your whole life ahead of you, to suddenly find out that you have cancer. Thankfully, after an intense year of treatment, Abby is now cancer free.

Abby graduated magna cum laude from George Washington University, and is now living in L.A., pursuing her dreams as an actress. Abby seems to excel at whatever she attempts; her skills, besides acting, involve ballroom dancing, stage combat, water polo, singing and swimming. Wow!

As you can see, Abigail is a beautiful young woman, and I'm so glad to be able to carry her name with me.



July 10, 2009

Recent pictures

Look at that knowing smile, what is she thinking?

Lastly, I leave you with, "Don't touch my baby!"

Posted by Picasa

July 8, 2009

Spotlight on: Caedmon

Caedmon Albert was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at nine months of age. He had surgery on his abdomen to remove the tumor (Cade and Madeleine have matching tummy scars), and today Cade is cancer free! Like any child with a cancer diagnosis, Cade will be monitored for life. This means frequent scans and tests to make sure that the tumor has not returned.

As you can see Cade is just about the cutest two-and-half-year old in existence:

Possibly my favorite picture ever!

It's hard to find things to be grateful for when your child is diagnosed with cancer, but I am grateful that Neuroblastoma led us to finding Cade and his mom and dad. Cade's family has been so supportive and loving to us and we greatly enjoy spending time with them. Humphrey loves them too as they are his second family...and I have been told that Cade even prays for Humphrey every night at bed time!

I finally ordered and received my race-day shirt that I custom made from Cafe Press, and was able to start working on adding some names. Cade's name stands out in bright orange right beneath the logo.

I'm honored to carry Cade's name with me.

July 6, 2009

Holiday Recap

We had the best 4th of July. Nothing spectacular happened, it was just such a nice, relaxing, beautiful day.

It started very early for me, as I had to wake up at 5:30 to get ready for my 10k race that morning. Parking at the race site was difficult, and there weren't shuttles as promised (at least I didn't see any), and I couldn't even park in the designated parking area because it was so full. I ended up parking quite a ways away and walked to the start line. Luckily the race was delayed a few minutes, just long enough for me to check in, get my bib number and find a spot in the crowd. There were over a thousand people running, and it took a few minutes to get past the start line. The first couple miles were all about trying to get around slower runners. The race itself went very well, and I had a good time. The only downside was regretting the huge amount of Thai food that I had eaten the night before. I kept slowing down to make my stomach feel better, and I didn't get to sprint the last downhill half-mile as I was anticipating. Other than that it was a really fun race. Ryan and Mad met me shortly after it was over.

We came home and I made some yummy hazelnut waffles and relaxed for a couple of hours. We then loaded up the stroller and walked a couple of blocks to our neighborhood parade. The parade was funny. They had the typical boy scouts, politicians and local businesses, but they also had Klingons, mermaids, and pirates. It was interesting. Mad's favorite part were the drummers from the local high school band. She is suddenly very interested in drums. We also thought it was funny that people in the parade were pointing and waving at Humphrey. That dog is such a celebrity.

After Mad's nap we headed out to a bbq/swim party for the evening. We had such a fun time swimming, relaxing, and of course eating. Mad got to swim with one of her best friends, and had a blast. We also enjoyed the fabulous view of the fireworks later that evening.

Perfect day!

July 2, 2009


Wow! Have you checked out the donation page lately? We've already reached the initial goal of $2,000!! Thank you so much! I truly appreciate all of the support and donations, you guys are awesome.

Should I up the goal to $3,000? If someone sees that 100% of the goal has already been met they may decide not to donate, I think it's a psychological thing. Ideas?