Friday, September 25, 2009

Conversations with Michael...

This week Michael and I had some pretty interesting conversations that I would like to share with you.

The first was Wednesday night on the way to Open House at school (which went well). We were talking about his new friends that I might get to meet and he said "By the way, I have a new girlfriend."

"Oh really" I responded.

"Yes" he said "and you're not going to like this."

"What is that?"

"She hugged me."

I hid my smile and asked, "Does that mean she thinks you're her boyfriend?"

And his reply was - "No but I told her, 'you don't know it yet but you love me'." No self esteem problems in this kid!

The second conversation was after I picked him up from his first week of church school yesterday. He asked "Mom did God make Transformers?"

I said, "I guess indirectly since he made the people that invented Transformers and all of the materials that go into them. Why?"

He said, "Well, my teacher wanted us to write down our favorite thing that God has made and I wrote 'Transformers'. Is that okay?"

"I am sure it is just fine."

The third conversation was on the way home from the store last night. He asked "Where do puppies come from?"

"From the Mommy dog's belly" I answered nervously.

"I know that," he said. "How do they get out of her belly?"

My mind worked frantically and I came up with "well, when the puppies are ready to be born, the muscles in the Mommy's belly pushes them out into the world." And then I held my breath, waiting for the next question from that subject that every parent dreads.

But, "Oh" was all he said. I think I bought myself some time but I better get my story straight for next time.

And the last conversation was tonight while we were waiting for a movie to start. He said "My church school teacher asked us all to say what is special about us. And, I said "I have a port in my chest'."

According to Michael she said that he was very special because of that and that she knows this because her daughter used to have a port just like Michael's. And, if you could have seen the look in Michael's eyes, you would know how much that meant to him.

Until next time, please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In case you were wondering ...

... why we signed Buster up for dog training classes, it's because of incidents like this -

Yesterday, he ripped thecushion on the loveseat on the deck and hid his bone in the stuffing. I sure am glad I didn't get around to sewing those new cushions I was planning this summer.

I also forgot to tell you about the week that Michael received his first allowance - Jeff put $2 on the kitchen counter for Michael and Buster thought it would make a tasty snack. And, there isn't a pillow in our home that is safe and the casualties from our shoe closet are too upsetting to speak about. He's just lucky that we love him so much.

Anyway, our first class went well. Our instructor showed us some indestructible toys which we bought that seem to be satisfying Buster's need to chew. She also told us we should take Buster on a long walk each evening to use up some of his puppy energy. Apparently Buster wasn't listening to the instructor very closely because he missed the part where walking was supposed to tire him out! It actually seems to give him a burst of energy and when we get home he bounces off the walls for the next hour.

Tuesday night was Michael's first soccer practice and his first game is this Saturday morning. I was quite impressed with Michael's effort at practice. He listened attentively to his coach and was quite aggressive in going after the ball. I'm anxious to see how he does at his first game (I promise to share pictures).

School is going well. Michael brought home some work that actually made me cry -
(I know it is hard to read.) They were practicing writing their vocabulary words and at the bottom he was to write a complete sentence using at least one of the words. And, Michael wrote "I like my Mom". As a parent, it doesn't get any better than this. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A picture's worth a thousand words ...

This is what Michael's face looks like these days. The bruise and little cut just in front of his right ear are where he walked into the corner of the counter last weekend. The scrapes on his forehead, left side of his nose, right nostril and tip of his nose are where he took a header down the front steps the other night. And, the long scratch that starts just below his right eye is from you know who (Buster). And to be honest, it looks a LOT worse in person than it does in the picture above. We're keeping Neosporin on them in hopes that they will all be healed before school pictures next Tuesday.

We went tonight to sign Michael up for soccer and to sign Buster up for obedience classes. I will let you know how both go. Until then, please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's back to school ...

Today was the first day of First Grade for Michael and ...

... Buster gave Michael kisses ...

... to let him know he was going to miss him.

Michael was excited to go to school today and when he got home, he said his favorite part of the day was recess. Only one of his friends from last year is in his class but he said that was okay because he already made a new friend today.

His teacher had sent a paper in the mail last week on which she wanted all her students to write their goal for the year. Michael wrote that his goal is "to learn to shoot baskets better". I was kind of hoping for wanting to learn to read by himself or do addition or something else academic but I guess not. But, I know that he really does want to learn to read and do math so I am not too worried.

This afternoon when Michael got off the bus, we went to the eyeglass store to pick up Michael's new glasses we had ordered last week (since Buster ate the last pair) but they weren't ready yet. I let Buster have the run of the house since we would only be gone a few minutes - BIG mistake! He decided to eat the folder with Michael's papers from school, today's mail and a pillow. (Do you notice a theme here?) So, I have to write a note to Michael's teacher on the first day of school and tell her that the dog ate Michael's homework. Not a great start to the year.

He looks so sweet and innocent, doesn't he? Don't let him fool you. As my Dad says "he sure is a handful". Life certainly isn't as quiet as it was before we got him but it's also a lot more enjoyable. Michael has a lot of bruises all over his body but his blood counts have recovered from chemo so we've ruled that out as a problem. After talking to Michael last week, Dr. Kennedy decided to call them "Buster Bruises". And as if to prove the point, Michael and Buster were outside playing tonight and Michael took a nosedive down the front steps. So, now Michael has a few more "Buster Bruises" on his face. At least he didn't break any bones!

Michael has informed me (a couple of times) that he has always wanted to learn how to play the piano, so I am going to look into that. I think that is a great idea since Michael has loved music since he was a baby and the discipline of learning to play an instrument would be good for him. My nephew, John, and his wife lost their home and all of their belongings to fire on Sunday and yesterday Michael was helping me gather things to give to them. He found a radio and added it to the box saying we have to give them a radio because everyone likes to listen to music. I was just touched that he wanted to make sure someone else could enjoy something that means so much to him.

Until next time, please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Belated Report and More Summer Fun ...

Earlier this summer, we spent a weekend catching up with family. We headed to New Jersey and our first stop was to see Jenny and Ralph. We hung out for the afternoon at their apartment complex ...

... before checking out the sites and sounds (and a few shops) of Princeton.

Then the next day we headed to a reunion of my Dad's side of the family to celebrate my cousin Pat's 50th birthday.

Michael had the privilege of being asked to help the honored guest blow out his candles.

Then on the way home, we stopped to visit with a gathering of family on my Mom's side of the family. My cousin, Tommy, is Highway Superintendint for the town and took our little buddy to ...

... check out the heavy equipment!

I had to laugh, my Dad's side of the family is typical, full-blooded Irish and my Mom's family is typical, full-blooded Italian so I could tell my poor Polish husband was a little shell shocked by the end of the weekend. But it was a great weekend and I wish we had had more time to spend at each place.

I was also looking back through my last posts and realized I never shared the results of our meeting with the neurologist in June. It was actually very disappointing. Dr. Wang wasn't available to see us so we saw one of his assistants. And, no matter how I argued - she wouldn't agree to take Michael off of the Tegretol. She didn't agree with my argument that Michael has been seizure free for 2 years and even then he was having "partial" seizures. I thought we could try taking him off the medicine and at the first sign of his old symptoms, we could put him back on. But, she said protocol says he needs to stay on it for at least 3 years after his surgery and that we would discuss it next year (but even then she sounded resistant).

I am just concerned that the side effects of the Tegretol will cause damage in other parts of Michael's body that could bring on a whole new set of problems. For instance, Tegretol can damage the liver and there is a genetic liver disease, Hemachromatosis, that runs in my family. In fact, the effects of this disease are what killed my mother. And at this point, Michael is too young to be tested for it. So for now, we are respecting the doctor's orders but if they still resist next year, it may be a different story. I understand that they are looking at it from a neurological standpoint but I am looking at it from the big picture.

Next time, I will share with you our summer vacation in Cape Cod. Until then, please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne.