Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A little bit of Christmas...

As I mentioned in my last post, we got a couple of feet of snow the weekend before Christmas but Michael didn't mind ...

... and after he spent some time outside shoveling snow with Dad ...

... Michael and I made some special Christmas ornaments. I know it is hard to see in this picture but we took some felt snowflakes and added some spray adhesive and iridescent glitter ...

... then we added some pretty heart charms and a sparkly ribbon ...

... and we were done ...

... and they were beautiful. We took several dozen with us to chemo on Tuesday as a small "Thank You" to Dr. Kennedy, the nurses and staff of 5C.

On Christmas Eve, we had a nice dinner. Brian, Jenny and Ralph came to spend the night so they would be with us at Christmas's first light. My Dad and Jeff's Mom also joined us for dinner.

Then there were some family Christmas traditions...

... such as the reading of "The Night Before Christmas" ...

... and a snack of cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeer before heading to bed.

Michael woke up at 4 am on Christmas morning and asked Daddy in a very loud "whisper" if it was time to get up yet. Daddy told him it was still very early and that we should wait a little while.

So, Michael settled back to sleep until 7 am before we finally got up and headed to the tree to see what Santa had brought.

Michael started with his stocking ...

... before moving on to his pile of presents. This was the year of Transformers and dinosaurs in our house. Michael also received some police and pirate Playmobil toys, a couple of Nerf guns, a remote control helicopter, some books and a Leap Frog tag reading system. And from Aunt Denise and cousin James in Alaska, he received a pile of presents including a pair of John Deere cowboy boots and a box of Alaska socks.

And of course there were a couple of boxes of clothes that included a new bathrobe.

There was organized chaos as everyone opened their presents and having all of my kids home on Christmas morning was the best present I could receive.

We were joined on Christmas day by my Dad (and his dog, Girl) and Jeff's Dad. During our Christmas meal, we used the Giving Tree we received from the Norfolk family as a centerpiece. And their brother, Patrick, was never far from my thoughts this Christmas season.

I'm sorry to say that Michael has been sick on and off since last evening. He hates taking his Zofran (for nausea) and has to be cajoled, bribed and browbeaten in order to take it. He always feels better after he does but he doesn't like the taste. I took it to our local pharmacy tonight and they flavored it watermelon (at Michael's request) so I am hoping that will make it easier for him to take.

We are planning to go to Upper Canada Village tomorrow afternoon (our previous plans got snowed out) but riding in the car seems to exacerbate Michael's nausea so we will see how he is doing tomorrow. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another week done...

Michael and I had a good trip to Syracuse today. The weather was clear and chemo went without a hitch. Michael's platelet counts are still very low (34,000) but at least they haven't dropped any lower. Michael is bruising very easily. He bumped his leg on the corner of the coffee table last week and we actually watched the bruise form - it was that quick. Dr. Kennedy commented that the steroid, Predisone, that Michael receives with his chemo will help his body make new platelets and it makes me wonder how low his counts would be if he wasn't receiving the steroid.

Michael is pretty tired these days. We got home around 6:30 pm tonight and he was already asleep and we put him right to bed. He also fell asleep on the couch on Christmas afternoon around 4:30 pm and slept until 9 am the next morning. Hopefully all this sleep will do him some good.

Michael had a great Christmas (he wasn't sick at all) and I will tell you all about it in the next couple of days. We had gotten a couple of feet of snow the weekend before Christmas and heavy rain on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning we woke up to a flooded basement. It seems that the drainage ditch in front of our house couldn't keep up with runoff and backed up into the special drainage system we had installed under our house when it was built.

The town is going to come and fix the ditch and we are going to move the outlet to our drainage system to a different spot so we don't have that problem again. We had a lot of junk down there that we wanted to get rid of so that we can put in a family room and I can tell you nothing motivates you to get rid of stuff like 2,000 square feet of wet, smelly junk. So, now we have a dumpster in our driveway and an almost empty basement. That is how we've spent the last few days so I will catch up with you and share our Christmas in the next day or so.

Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A quick update...

Because of bad weather, we didn't go to chemo yesterday but rescheduled for today. Everything went well with chemo but we were told that Michael has a condition (not related to chemo) called Immunoligic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (or ITP for short).

ITP is where your immune system attacks your healthy platelets thereby making your counts low. The danger in this is that it can cause uncontrolled bleeding. Normal platelet counts are between 150,000 and 450,000. Michael's were 31,000 today. So now we have to watch for signs of bleeding (bloody noses, bleeding gums, excessive bruising, etc.) and be careful that he doesn't hit his head. Dr. Kennedy said that she isn't too concerned as long as his counts stay above 20,000. ITP goes away by itself in six months or less in 80% -90% of the cases with no treatment. Let's hope that is the case with Michael.

Christmas has started for Michael. The company I work for bought Michael a large Transformer which we stopped on our way to chemo for him to receive. He was thrilled! But that wasn't the end. He received a LARGE bag of toys at the hospital. There was a couple of tractors, a book, a 2008 Hess truck, a set of Matchbox cars, a stuffed shark and a Teddy bear.

I have been under the weather the last couple of days (either food poisoning or a stomach bug) so I am behind in my Christmas preparations. I will end for now and give you more details in a day or so, complete with lots of pictures. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, JoAnne.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We've met some Christmas angels...

We received a phone call last night from a gentleman who we had never met who had heard about Michael's story and had something he wanted to share with Michael. His name is Fred and he and his wife, Marlene, came to our home tonight to meet our family. Fred comes from a family of 11 children and he had one brother, Patrick, who lost a 36 year fight with a brain tumor in February 2007. To honor his memory, Patrick's family decorates a tabletop Christmas tree with gift cards and money which they then give to someone whose story has touched their hearts. This year they chose our Michael to be the recipient of the "Patrick's 2nd Annual Giving Tree."

Along with the tree, they included a card with Patrick's story in it. With their permission I would like to share his story with you in their words:


"Patrick Norfolk was our brother, uncle and friend from Watertown, NY. He was stricken at the young age of 11, and again at the age of 20, with a cancerous brain tumor and lived until the age of 47 struggling with the ill effects from the disease. Due to complications following the removal of his first brain tumor, Pat was in a coma for seven weeks followed by several months of speech, physical and occupational therapy. That Christmas, Pat received a tree from the community filled with cards and dollar bills. Throughout the years, Pat never complained and always saw the good in people. His favorite times were those spent with family and his favorite Holiday was Christmas.

Patrick left us on February 17, 2007 but he still remains close to our hearts. We want to keep his memory alive through the Christmas Holidays and what better way to do so but to return the same kindness that was bestowed on him in 1971. Please accept this "Giving Tree" in memory of our brother and friend, Patrick Norfolk, and know that it is given with the same love and compassion he exhibited throughout his entire life."

I think this is a wonderful way to honor their brother's memory and we are honored they have shared Patrick's story with us. Fred (pictured above with Marlene and Michael) told Michael that he has a tractor and he invited Michael to stop by his home in the spring for a ride. So, Michael drew Fred a small picture of a tractor while he was here. He has also drawn a couple of pictures since they left for the "next time" Michael sees them. I think they have touched our little boy's heart (and ours).

Like kids all over the world, Michael is getting really excited about Christmas. Friday is the Christmas party in Michael's class and Sunday we are making our annual trip to Upper Canada Village for their Alight at Night Festival. Monday it is back to chemo but it has been nice having this break right before Christmas. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Catching up - Part III ...

I think we left off with my last post just before Thanksgiving. We had a nice dinner at our house with Brian, my Dad and Jeff's Mom. We had all the traditional fixings and Michael helped Daddy carve the turkey...

The next morning, Jeff, Michael and I had to be in Syracuse by 8 am for Michael's treatment. It was the last week in the fifth round of treatment. Michael's counts were still good and chemo went smoothly (although he was sick through the weekend again). Then, Jenny and Ralph met us at the hospital and when we were done, we went to a local restaurant and had a nice lunch together. Michael was still a little tired from treatment when we got to the restaurant but by the time lunch came, he had perked up and wolfed down a big plate of pasta.

After lunch, the five of us visited the Museum of Science and Technology. Michael had fun checking out the exhibits and then we went to see a showing of "Polar Express" at the IMAX theater in the museum. After the movie, Jenny and Ralph headed south to Ralph's parents in Binghamton and we headed north to home. Just like the previous Friday, the weather on the way home was terrible. (And like the week before - thankfully we made it home safely.)

Michael's class has been learning about admirable human qualities like respect and responsibility. And with each trait, the teacher recognizes students that exhibit those traits. This last week, they learned about bravery and Michael was chosen as a representative for courage. He was given a school bracelet and he was absolutely thrilled! He was so happy when I picked him up that night and I was so proud of him.

Last Saturday morning, we made another "fun" trip to Syracuse. The Pediatric Hematology / Oncology Unit had a Christmas party for the kids and it was incredible. There were crafts for the kids to do...

Michael made an ornament, a polar bear picture frame and a snowman decoration. They also had face painting and a DJ who got the kids singing and dancing. The kids wrote letters to Santa - Michael wrote that he wanted "transformers, a clam digger, trucks and dinosaurs." (We think a clam digger is a type of toy crane but we're not sure.) Then we had a delicious lunch of all the favorite foods of kids - fruit, chicken fingers, french fries and pasta. And for dessert, there were dozens of homemade Christmas cookies.

We also got to see Britney and some of our favorite nurses. Of course, the highlight of the afternoon was the arrival of Santa. There was also a professional photographer who took family portraits as well as pictures of the kids sitting with Santa...

It was a wonderful party and watching these children facing such a difficult time in their lives having fun was very heartwarming.

Tonight, we went to the Christmas concert for the kindergartners at Michael's school...

That's Michael in the middle of the front row with the black pants, light top and Santa hat.

The kids sang "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty the Snowman", "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth", "Must be Santa" and "Jingle Bells" with all of the enthusiasm of 5 year olds in their first concert.

The next couple of weeks will fly by quickly as we get ready for Christmas. Michael has a break from chemo until Monday, December 22nd. Let's hope he recovers by Christmas day. I may not post much between now and then unless something comes up. If you don't hear from me it means Michael is feeling well and we are enjoying the Holiday season (and the break from chemo).

Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

P.S. I was contacted by Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester a couple of weeks ago and they asked me to write Michael's story. I did and submitted it to them. They want to use my little buddy's story in some of their fundraising drives. Tomorrow morning at 8 am, I have to call a radio station in Rochester to be interviewed on air as they kick off their radio-thon. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Catching up - Part II ...

Last Monday, Jeff and I attended parent/teacher conferences at Michael's school. We are happy to report that Michael is doing well. He is right on track academically and his teacher said he is doing well socially. And, we couldn't be happier after the rocky start we had to kindergarten.

Here is my little bug's report card:

In the first column, the "plus signs" mean that Michal's skills and behavior are satisfactory and those areas are:

"Listens without interrupting, Works without distracting others, Works carefully and neatly, Plays safely, Is responsible for belongings, Shares, Raises hand to speak, Uses appropriate voice level, Keeps hands and feet to self and Holds scissors correctly".

The "up arrow" means that Michael is showing improvement in those skills and behavior and those areas are:

"Accepts teacher authority, Listens attentively, Follows directions, Works independently, Completes works on time, Participates in activities, Interacts well with others Colors neatly, Cuts accurately, and Traces patterns accurately".

And, there weren't any areas that needed improvements or there would have been "check marks" next to those areas. Yeah!

In the second column, Michael could have an "M" for Mastery (instantly recalls without prompting), "P" for Progressing or "N" for Needs Improvement. As you can see, Michael had all M's. He really is enjoying learning how to read. When we ride in the car or watch TV, he is always spelling out words that he sees and he tries to sound it out. If he can't, he always asks us what the word is. We also have some easy site reader books and Michael can read them all to me and he is just thrilled. And we are so proud of him!

The teacher's comment made Jeff and I chuckle (even though we know it is not funny). "Michael is adjusting to Kindergarten expectations. He exhibits attitude from time to time & wants things his way." Yeah, we knew that and are trying to change it but so far - we're not having much luck. And, considering all that he has been through in his young life, I'm not sure we ever will.

Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching up - Part I ...

It has been a while since I posted, so I have a little catching up to do. Michael and I went to chemo a week ago Friday. The ride to Syracuse was an easy one. When we first started out, we passed a tractor trailer with Canadian license plates. I told Michael that I bet he had just talked to Daddy (Jeff works for US Customs and was at work that morning.) So for the rest of the trip we had to check out the trucks to see which ones had just seen Daddy and there were actually quite a few of them. Michael also sang his entire repertoire of 3 Christmas carols all the way down (note to self: teach Michael some new Christmas carols).

It was pretty quiet when we got to treatment so we spent some time coloring with Britney (the child life specialist). I was thinking about how when we first started treatment, we didn't know any of the people that work in Unit 5C. We must have had the look of a deer caught in headlights our first time in the unit. I recognize that look some of the parents that are there now. I can easily tell the ones that are new or just there for a one time visit.

Michael's treatment went well. But the ride home was a nightmare. It was snowing when we left Syracuse and for the first 30 miles or so, we traveled 15-30 mph in whiteouts. Fortunately, it cleared up for a little while before turning to ice closer to home. Our normal one hour drive took almost two hours. But we made it home safely. (We saw a couple of bad accidents along the way.) It's going to be a LONG winter!

Michael didn't have any allergic reactions to the Carboplatin but I have to say he is experiencing the side effects of chemo a lot worse and for a lot longer this time around. He is sick right through the weekends now.

And he sleeps a lot. Jeff was working midnights this past week so he would take a nap after dinner before going to work. He would lay down around 6 pm and Michael would lay down with him and sleep straight through until morning.

Michael woke up vomitting Saturday morning but felt better as the day wore on so we thought we were out of the woods - but we weren't. On Sunday morning, we headed back to Syracuse to go to the semi-annual Build-A-Party for the kids of 5C. Michael was fine when we got up and left the house but got sick before we got to the mall. The storm seemed to pass and we made our way to the party.

Michael picked out a scruffy dog, who he named Ruff...

... who he stuffed with Hugs & Kisses, Love, Kindness, Friendship and a special little heart ...

... then he gave him "airbath"...

... and his new best friend was finished.

This is Michael with Ruff and Britney (5C child life specialist).

Then we visited the food court to fill up Michael's empty belly and to take a spin on the carousel before heading home. The ride home was tense with Michael throwing up all the way but we eventually made it home. He spent the rest of the day doing quiet things and was feeling better by Monday morning.

Over the next couple of days, I will share with you Michael's first report card of Kindergarten, our Thanksgiving and this week's chemo. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Right on schedule...

Michael woke up around 4:oo am this morning and started throwing up (just like any Saturday when Michael is going to be sick from chemo). Around 5:00 am Michael and I got up so that Jeff could get a little more sleep and he and I watched Kung Fu Panda in Michael's room. He alternated between laughing hysterically and vomiting for the next couple of hours.

After breakfast we took Michael to spend the day with Jeff's Mom while Jeff and I went on a long overdue date. We started our Christmas shopping and then had a wonderful lunch. Fran (a.k.a. Grandma) said that Michael wasn't sick at her house at all. And now, Michael is sleeping peacefully cuddled up between Mommy and Daddy on the couch. I hope that means that the upset tummy is over for this week. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Today went well...

Michael and Daddy were on their own today for chemo. Jeff said it went smoothly. Michael was asleep by the time they got home and we put him straight to bed. Hopefully he won't be as ill this week as he was last week. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today is a better day...

Michael woke up hungry and with a smile on his face so I think he is over his latest hurdle. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Michael's still down and out...

Michael had kind of a rough weekend. His poor stomach has gone back and forth between being queasy and hurting. He has been able to eat and has kept enough down that I am not worried about dehydration but keeps throwing up enough to ruin his day. I just feel bad that he doesn't feel well. He woke up this morning and was still vomiting so he stayed home from school. They are off tomorrow for Veteran's Day so hopefully he will be fully recovered by Wednesday. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Michael's counts were good...

We went to chemo yesterday and Michael's counts were great. His platelets went from 54 the previous week to 147 this week. And his ANC rose from 800 to 1500 so we were a go for chemo. Unfortunately, it didn't go very smoothly.

Michael was almost asleep and was resting quietly while watching a movie so Jeff and I ran down to the cafeteria for a late lunch. We were only gone for a few minutes but when we came back up to the unit, there was a doctor and nurse hovering over Michael. They were taking his blood pressure and asking him how he was feeling "now". It seems Michael had an allergic reaction to the Carbo (this happened once before).

He started complaining that his throat was "itchy" and then he started coughing. Since they already give him antihistamines as part of his treatment every week, they gave him some steroids to stop his reaction. Starting next week, we have to give him another antihistamine at home starting on Thursday to see if that will help. Let's hope so. We can do without the extra excitement.

Although, we did have a pleasant surprise, too. A company named Chromalox dropped off 98 fully stuffed and dressed Build-A-Bears for the hospital to give to the kids. Michael got a bear dressed in pirate pajamas. Each bear came in a box with a tag on it indicating if it was for a boy or girl and what age group it was appropriate for. What a great gesture.

Michael started throwing up around 4 am and is just starting to feel a little better now. Of course, since he hasn't had chemo in over a month, we're not real surprised that Michael is not feeling well. Let's hope his little stomach settles down and he feels well enough to get up and play. If not, we will just have a quiet day. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

P.S. Apparently I miscalculated how much longer we have until the end of chemo. Dr. Kennedy said yesterday that we are about half way through and have six months left. Oh well. We'll just take it one week at a time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's a "scaredy" bat !!!

Halloween 2008
(Thanks for the photo Uncle Jeff)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A little overdue update...

Things have been busy but pretty uneventful since my last post. Michael had his scheduled two week break from chemo since our trip to Rochester. Our most recent trip to Syracuse was on Thursday last week so that Michael wouldn't miss the Halloween parties at school on Friday.

He and I made Halloween cupcakes to take to the hospital staff and Michael took his costume to show everyone. They gave Michael a gift bag with a pillow shaped like a spider (which he loves), some candy and a little thermos. They told us the pillows were made and the bags were assembled by a local Girl Scout troop.

When Dr. Kennedy looked at the slide of Michael's blood, she could tell that his platelets were still low but slightly higher than 2 weeks ago. She decided that if that was confirmed by the lab, she would give Michael chemo anyway. And although the lab did agree with Dr. Kennedy on the platelets, they showed that Michael was also Neutropenic (his ANC was only 800) so she decided to give Michael another week off. She thinks Michael is STILL fighting some sort of viral infection (he has had a runny nose since August). Hopefully his counts will be up this Friday and we can get back on track.

About the only excitement that we have had is this....

The beginning of last week, Mother Nature dumped about 16 inches of snow on us.

But since Michael loves playing in the snow, he couldn't have been happier!

Fortunately, it warmed up considerably and all the snow melted before we went Trick or Treating on Friday night. Michael dressed up as a bat and had a ton of fun. (I guess that is the silver lining to not receiving chemo - he felt great for all of the Halloween festivities.) I will post a picture of Michael in his costume tomorrow. He fell in a huge mud puddle as he was getting in the car to come home so I had to wash his costume and haven't gotten a good picture of him. I usually take a picture before we leave the house but we picked him up from an after school Halloween party, grabbed a burger and went straight to Trick or Treating.

But I do have a picture of our tuckered out little boy as we were arriving home...

Until tomorrow, please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Woo Hoo !!!

We are home from Rochester and couldn't be happier about our meeting with Dr. Korones. The official report from the radiologist said Michael's tumor is "stable" but Dr. Korones thinks that the tumor shrank again. The radiologist compares each MRI to the previous one (ie. October to July, July to April, etc) and Dr. Korones is comparing each new MRI to the one done at the start of chemo (ie. October to January, July to January, etc).

When you look at January's MRI the tumor is about 26mm across and in yesterday's MRI, the tumor is about 18mm. Dr. Korones thinks that the difference in 3 months isn't significant enough for the radiologist to classify it as anything but stable but over the whole nine months, the difference is noticeable (even to lay people like Jeff and me). He is going to ask the radiologist to compare the most recent MRI to January's and see if he agrees. From what Jeff and I could see on the computer images, we don't see how he could not.

I asked Dr. Korones if the tumor shrinking was better for Michael in the long run and he said not necessarily. He said that statistically the prognosis is the same in either case (stable compared to shrinking) but that intuitively it just makes you feel better and is definitive proof that chemo is working. We'll still take the good news. Also, Dr. Korones was impressed with how well Michael is doing and thinks he looks great.

So for now we will continue with the chemo protocol and head back to Rochester on January 21st for the next MRI. Obviously everyone's positive thoughts and prayers are working so please keep it up! JoAnne

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today went smoothly...

Michael had his MRI this morning. It went well except that they must have had trouble starting an IV (they do it after he is asleep) because he woke up with 3 band-aids. We will get the results of the MRI tomorrow at noon when we meet with Dr. Korones. I will update as soon as I can. Everybody keep your fingers crossed for GREAT news. JoAnne

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One-fish, Two-fish...

The weekend before last, we took a ride on Sunday afternoon to spend a couple of hours along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

Michael had a ball casting his line into the water ...

... again ...

... and again .

I was impressed (and a little surprised) at the patience Michael showed at practicing casting until he landed his hook far enough out from the shore to entice the little fish.

And then he patiently waited ...

... until the time was just right ....

... and then ...

Michael caught his first fish!
He caught (and then released) a total of 4 little fish.

And each one was as exciting as the last. I am sure this won't be the last afternoon Michael and Daddy spend fishing.

As for tonight, we're settled into our hotel in Rochester. There won't be any swimming tonight though ....

... but we will have time in the morning. We have to be at the hospital at 9:30am and Michael can't eat before his MRI. So, swimming will give him something to think about other than being hungry. Please keep my little boy in your thoughts and prayers tonight, JoAnne.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

No chemo this week...

Michael's class is going apple picking tomorrow and we didn't want him to miss it so we made his chemo appointment on Thursday instead of Friday this week. He and I went today but chemo was a "no go". Dr. Kennedy said Michael's white blood count was good but that his platelets were too low to receive treatment. And, he also has a sinus infection. He has had a continuously running nose since before he was in the hospital last month. Dr. Kennedy thinks Michael's sinuses just finally became infected after being full for so long. Michael did get to paint a pumpkin while we were waiting for his blood work to come back, so the trip wasn't a total loss.

I have a confession to make - Michael has been complaining of his nose hurting and a stabbing pain above his right eye for the last couple of days. If you remember his nose and right temple are where this whole journey started. I have been working myself into a state thinking the pains were a problem with the tumor. So, Dr. Kennedy made my day when she said Michael had a sinus infection. (And I bet there aren't too many mothers that you will hear make that statement!)

This is week #4 so Michael now has a 2 week break from chemo. But on Tuesday night, we will be traveling to Rochester for a couple of days for Michael's next MRI and visit with Dr. Korones. I have another of confession to make - I am starting to get PMS (that's pre-MRI syndrome). We got such great news last time, I am afraid that we will be let down this time. Let's just hope that I am worrying for nothing. Please say an extra prayer for Michael next week, JoAnne.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Just a quick update ...

Yesterday Michael and Daddy went to chemo alone while I stayed at work and it went well. The only hitch was that the nurses couldn't get a blood from Michael's port so they had to draw blood from his finger. (But, he was able to receive his meds through his port.) Apparently, he wasn't bashful about telling the nurses that his regular nurse, Jen, never has a problem. Michael was sick during the night but didn't protest taking his medicine because he knew we were going apple picking today and he didn't want to miss it. And with his Zofran, he was fine.

Michael is also doing much better in school. He is bringing home awesome papers that are completely done and done well. I don't know if he is doing any better socially but all he talked about all weekend was how he asked one of the little girls in his class, Kaitlyn, to marry him. I think this was in response to the fact that his favorite nurse, Jen, got married today. (Congratulations Jen & Todd. We were thinking of you today and hope you had a perfect day.) Kaitlyn must be Michael's first rebound relationship. We asked him what she said but he doesn't remember.

Jenny and Ralph are home for the weekend. As I said, we went apple picking today. We had fun even though it rained while we were there. Jeff and Michael are going fishing again tomorrow. This time they are going up on the river and I am going to go for a ride with them. There are two little shops I like to visit so I will go check them out while the guys fish.

Jenny took a bunch of pictures today that I will share with you soon. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Okay, back to happy thoughts ...

We had a great family, fall weekend this past weekend that I would like to share with you. We got up Saturday morning and, even though it was raining, we started on a trip to Pixley Falls State Park, which is about an hour away. Jeff and I have visited the waterfall at this park every fall since we started dating.

Unfortunately, before we got too far on Saturday, Michael started throwing up so we came back home to give him some more Zofran. After a while we tried to venture out again. This time we decided to stop at a cider mill closer to home to make sure Michael was feeling better before we got too far.

There is a little gift shop where we bought some fresh cider, some squeaky cheese curd and some hot cider donuts.

There is also a pretty waterfall behind the cider mill that we checked out. Then we decided Michael was over his bout of nausea and continued on with our trip. Mother Nature didn't disappoint us with her beautiful foliage.

The hike down to the waterfall at Pixley Falls was beautiful.

How is this for a fashion statement? This is the outfit Michael picked out himself so that he could play in the water.

And he had fun doing just that.

We spent about an hour enjoying the surroundings.

And, since Michael is getting bigger, we explored a little further than ususal this year.

We checked out one of the smaller falls off to the side.

It was a great day. When we got back home, Michael went to his first birthday party. He was reserved at first but after a while he warmed up and had a good time with all of the other kids.

Michael has been asking to go fishing for some time (he has never been). Earlier in the week, we told him that if he did better in school and finished all of his work, he and Daddy would go fishing on Sunday.

And that is what they did.

Unfortunately, they didn't catch anything this time.

But I don't think Michael minded. Hopefully they will have better luck next time. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.