Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A silly bedtime routine

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but within the last week or so, this has become part of Natalie's bedtime routine:

Hmm, I thought bedtime routines were supposed to be relaxing... But oh, well, it gets everyone laughing, and that can't be a bad way to end the day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day, Cancer edition

I had my second round of chemo on Valentine's Day.

And it was really a great day.

There were two things that really made my day. One was these:
Beautiful earrings with red beads and hearts.
One of the other cancer patients - a relatively young girl that I didn't even know - came over to me while I was getting my treatment. She said that her friend had given her a box of these, and told her to make sure that everyone at the center got a pair. What a wonderful gift from a complete stranger. All the nurses wore them, too. So pretty.

The second thing that really made my day was that Karsten stopped by in his lunch break. It was a total surprise - and he even brought chocolates. How romantic is that! Gotta love that guy.

The second treatment went pretty well. We had some problems accessing the port again, but after two nurses worked on it a bit and made me turn my head and cough (yep, they actually said that), they got it working. The side effects this time have been similar to last time, but with less nausea and more fatigue. I must have slept close to 20 hours on day three and four, but I'll take that any time over the nausea. So, all in all not so bad. And tomorrow I'm back at work. I can't wait!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a big deal for Natalie. This year, she had a party both at daycare and at school. And she exchanged valentines with all her friends:

Valentine's from school friends
Valentine's from daycare friends
This meant that Natalie had to make 46 Valentine's day cards. And not only did she have to sign them, for school she also had to write her friends' names - a good project for practicing those writing skills! The best part of it was that she didn't complain at all, even though it took several hours for us to finish. She's such a hard worker. 

Of course, we also made sure to celebrate Valentine's Day at home with our traditional breakfast celebration:
Heart-shaped bowl, hearts on the napkin, hearts on the cup, and of course some chocolate and candy hearts.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A new look

Last week, my hair began to fall out. So, on Saturday I decided it was time to bring out the shaver and do something about it. What's the point in vacuuming hair up all over the house for a week or two, anyway? So here's how I got my new look:

The obligatory "before" picture.
Natalie helped with the finishing touches.
The end result!
I do have a wig that looks fairly natural.
But I think this is my favorite new look. I love this hat!

Friday, February 10, 2012

100th day of school

Wednesday was Natalie's 100th day of school. They were going to have a small party at school, and Natalie had been looking forward to it for weeks. So I figured I'd do what I could to help make the day special. In the morning, we had a special breakfast:

Cinnamon rolls - with number candles 1-0-0!

Of course, Natalie got to blow out the candles.

Still a little tired - waiting for the sugar to kick in!

After daycare we celebrated by having Natalie's favorite dinner (cereal, so nice and easy), and playing chutes and ladders, where you have to get to space number 100 to win! All in all we had an awesome day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Back to work - and back to the plastic surgeon

This week I'm back at work! It's been a great feeling to be back to "normal". I'll admit I'm a bit tired, but it's definitely worth it. The plan is to be out for a week when I get my treatments, then back to work for two before the next treatment.

On Tuesday, I had my blood count evaluated again. The numbers were up from last week, which is great news. Some of them (though not all of them) were even out of the "low" range and into the "normal" range.

On Wednesday, I was back at the plastic surgeon for a quick visit. I'm finally healing pretty well. I got another fill on both sides. The left side that sprung a leak is still somewhat "flat" compared to the other side. My plastic surgeon would have liked to replace the expander on that side. If the leaking expander is in there for a long time, it seems there could be some scar tissue around it to work with that could make the future expansion a bit more difficult.

The plastic surgeon called my oncologist to discuss. My oncologist does not think I should be going back to surgery while I'm on chemo. And in this case, he definitely has the final word. I was a bit disappointed, I wanted to move forward and get as much done as possible as soon as possible, but it obviously has to be safe. And a cosmetic issue comes way lower on the list than the cancer treatment itself. So it'll just have to wait.

My next treatment is on Tuesday. So, for now I'm going to enjoy the weekend. Should be a good one!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

24 hour blog-a-thon - the end!

So, there you have it! This is blog post number twenty-four in twenty-four hours. What a ride. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

A sculpture

About half a year ago, Natalie finally outgrew her beloved ballpit. We disassembled it, and put the longer blue pieces along with the yellow connectors (without the "locks") in a big bin. A few days ago while I was relaxing on the couch, Natalie pulled out that bin and made this masterpiece:

Pretty cool!


So far, winter had been unusually mild around here. But the other day, we had a little bit of snow that actually stayed on the ground for about a day and a half. Natalie and Karsten went sledding. I was able to bundle up and come with them. I enjoyed sitting on a bench watching them have fun in the snow. And, it also made me the designated photographer:

It's nice to have someone who can pull you up when you are down...
Ready, set, go...

Lady Gaga

Natalie loves babies, and according to her, all babies say "Gu-gu-ga-ga". With that in mind, here's a conversation from just the other day:

Natalie: Mom, did you know there's a singer called Lady Gaga?
Me: Yes...
Natalie: Is she a real person?
Me: Yes, she is...
Natalie: Does she sing songs for babies?

Sled artwork

Here's some of Natalie's artwork from daycare - such a great idea:


An evening at school

Karsten took Natalie to a school event earlier this month. There was supposed to be a juggler, but he was running late, so the school people set up some quick run-around-the-gym games for the kids while they were waiting. Karsten sent me this picture:

I think she was having fun!

More birthday parties

It seems all of Natalie's friends have birthdays in December or January (must be something in the water around here at that time...) So Natalie has been going to a lot of birthday parties lately.

At one of the parties, she got her hair done and her nails painted. She's showing her nails off for the camera. Thank you to the birthday girl's Mom for sending me this picture!
This picture is taken after a different birthday party, where she also got her hair done. For some reason, I think this hairdo makes her look so grown up.
Natalie - such a big girl!

Happy New Year

We had a great New Year's Eve.

As usual, we celebrated with some of those bottle shaped thingies where you pull a string, and confetti shoots out. Natalie was very interested, nut a little concerned...
And she wanted to keep her distance when they went off.
Natalie got to pick her special desert out herself - a cookie decorated with a pink clock.
Happy New Year to all!

Important people

Natalie made this picture with names of people that are important to her. The names on the picture are:

Christmas day

On Christmas Day, Natalie and Karsten went to a Christmas party at our friend's house. Since I was still recovering from surgery, I was at home watching "Elf" on TV, but as the evening went on, Karsten sent me these pictures from his phone:

Natalie and Daddy

Two silly girls.

Coloring together.

More silliness!

Christmas Morning

We enjoyed Christmas morning, too:

Goodies from the stockings. Of course there was a big candy-cane, among other Christmassy things...
Santa left a big present.
There was a new science / magic kit, and an I-spy game inside!

Christmas Eve

We had a really nice, quiet, and cozy Christmas Eve:

Making cookies for Santa. They were store bought, and mostly pre-decorated, but the dough around the pre-cut shapes couldn't be wasted, so we brought out our own cookie-cutters.
The Christmas tree looked even more Christmassy with all the presents under it!

Best friends

One of my favorite Christmas pictures. Aubriella and Natalie - best friends!

Gingerbread houses

While I was in the hospital for surgery, our awesome friends took care of Natalie. Not only did they pick her up from daycare, they also made sure she was occupied and happy, so she didn't have time to worry about me:

Aubriella and Natalie, decorating gingerbread houses.
Sooo focused...
A pretty girl with a pretty house.
Thank you so much to our wonderful friends for taking such good care of Natalie - and for the great pictures, too!

Christmas party at daycare

Natalie was in a Christmas play at daycare. They put on "The Littlest Pine Tree". She was a bunny:

The prettiest bunny I ever saw!
Santa also came to visit.
There were lots of games. Natalie's favorite was this fishing game. She would put the fishing pole over the drape, and when she pulled it back there would be a small price on the hook. Except for the one time when she swung the pole a little too high and "caught" one of the paper fish that were used for decorations!
As always, Natalie decorated a cookie. She came up with the idea all by herself to make a green Christmas tree with dots of all the other colors of frosting for ornaments.
Such a pretty creation.

Another birthday party for Natalie - part two

What is a birthday party without games? So of course, we had lots of party games:
Put the princess in the tower - a princess version of pin the tale on the donkey...
Princess ringtoss (Princess wrapping paper around soda bottles, and glow in the dark necklaces - easiest game to make ever!)
Of course, we had to have our traditional treasure hunt in the old water table. We still keep it around just for these occasions.

Later, the kids were playing by themselves. We found them, playing "shopping". Apparently they bought most of Natalie's toys:

Shopping for Natalie's toys. Good thing the kiddos are so great at cleaning up after themselves!
Happy Birthday, Natalie!

Another birthday party for Natalie - part one

We had a party at home for Natalie with her good friends Aubriella and Brayden. Thanks to their Mom (who's great at photography), I have some really great pictures - enough that I'll make this into two posts:

Natalie's birthday cake. A princess cake, of course. 
Thank you to Natalie's family back in Denmark for the wonderful flower candle. It was a flower that opened up, had fireworks in the middle, and played "happy birthday"! Very cool!

Natalie opened her presents.
And us girls made some crafts.

To be continued...

Natalie's birthday party

Natalie had a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese:

At first, Natalie was a little shy...
... But the games quickly made her warm up!
Natalie wasn't too sure about the "ticket blaster" experience. That's where she got into a booth where the tickets were blown all around her and she had to catch them. She quickly opted out of that one.

Natalie loved being the Birthday Girl!

And being the center of the big show they put on was a hit, too.

The party was a big hit!