Monday, April 14, 2014

Cora turns two

 Today was Cora's second birthday.  It was pretty low key, but eating and playing all day is all a girl needs, right?  She had a blast with her new books, toys, and play dough but was not a fan of the birthday song.  Whenever we started singing it, she would scream and pout.
 Along with celebrating her birth, we also celebrated Cora's accomplishment of being CANCER FREE!!! (Josh does not like that term...it is not a real apparently.  I should say in remission.)  She finished her last dose of the four week infusions that made her immune system weak last Thursday.  The purpose of that new drug was to reset her body and clear out everything causing her OMS (eye movements and tremors). It did not give the results our doctor was looking for, so we are still going to do monthly IVIG infusions for a while, and she will probably have issues the rest of her life. But we are so relieved and excited that the cancer monster is no longer plaguing her body.  This little fighter has been through a lot this year.  We are so blessed to have her with us on her second birthday!
 This Quincy is such a pill!  She blew out those candles four times.  She got in trouble every time she did it, but could not resist once the camera started rolling.  Cora could not stand one more birthday song, so we called it quits.  This is the best take we got.

video

Saturday, April 5, 2014

They match! and the match.

Ava wore her dress and tights yesterday (the outfit we bought at the American Girl store to match her baby), only after promising her we were not leaving the house for the entire day. Even then, she covered it up with her favorite cardigan and was not very cooperative when I pulled out the camera. I love this silly girl.

On an entirely different subject, Josh has only one more interview to go until we submit our list for the match. This is when we rank the list of the places he has interviewed, which gets matched with the programs' list of favorite applicants, and then somehow a fair outcome is reached.  We will find out pretty soon, but will not move for another year. It has been a hard couple of months with him traveling every weekend and then going straight to work when he gets back, but the end is near.  Here is the list of possible places (in alphabetical order):
Atlanta, Georgia
Columbus, Ohio
Durham, North Carolina
LA, California
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Salt Lake City, Utah
San Diego, California
If any of you have first hand experience with any of these cities, I would appreciate your feedback.  I have done a lot of research on school systems, cost of living, etc. but would love more info.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April fools day

Ava had fun working on a trick for her sisters yesterday. Pretty cute.
Judy, virginia, and Lucy sent a package of brown e's. Clever.
And I made meatloaf, mashed potato cupcakes for dinner. 
Just a couple of silly things make a pretty terrific day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ava's Day

Ava had her fifth birthday this week!!! So big. Some of her favorite things right now are:
Puzzles
Organizing
Her blue polla dot headband (an obsession that could rival Liezl's cherry headband phase)
Her preschool
Marshmallow cereal
Frozen
Josh was interviewing at Ohio State earlier this week, so we decided to make it a birthday celebration and stay in the hotel with him. We swam, ate pizza in our room, and went to the American Girl store the next day. Ava and her baby got a matching outfit. I will not share how much money was spent on said clothing items....it might make you sick, but they do look darling. I have been trying to get a picture of her in it, but she is refusing to put it on. She has issues with new clothes. It might be anxiety over change, or embarassment from extra attention....either way, it is driving me a little crazy. It might take her a couple of weeks, but there will be pictures when she gains the courage to put it on.
Josh caught a plane to North Carolina for another interview right after OSU's and Cora and I had to spend most of our day at Children's on Ava's actual birthday. Staying home, working on puzzles, and playing with her sisters is actually what she prefers, so it worked out nicely. 
Ava has such an amazing, strong, confident spirit that is always surprising me. She is such a good big sister to Cora. She will read to her, carry her around, and teach her sign language. They have quite a strong bond. She is also a good mediator for her two older sisters when they are not willing to work together.  She is truly an amazing, beautiful girl. I am so lucky to have her.

Friday, March 14, 2014

San Diego

Josh bought me a plane ticket to San Diego for our anniversary. He is applying for heart surgery fellowships all over the nation so I am along for the ride for this interview. For two months he is being wined and dined every weekend by self important surgeons and fighting for a spot against some pretty proud peacocks. It is pretty crazy to watch. We arrived last night just in time to go to a cocktail and dinner party on the top floor of our hotel. I tried really hard not to geek out when I saw the fancy hotel and amazing food. I wanted to pull out my phone and take some pictures of all of it, but figured that would blow my cover of trying to fit in. Josh is at the hospital all day today being put through the ringer, so I have been exploring the city of La Jolla on my own.  I have not been by myself for I don't know how long.  It has been amazing!!!  I rode a bike to the beach this morning then hiked along the shoreline for about five miles and ended up in a ritzy town full of art galleries and boutiques. I am not sure our family would make a good match here, but it has been an amazing trip. The weather is amazing and the area is beautiful!!!!




This is the view from our hotel.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cora's cancer update

I thought I would give an update on Cora. I have not been very clear on her progress because I am not sure it is very clear. It seems to be a balancing act between her body's reactions to these harsh drugs and how to wean her off of them. Since December's clear MRI results, we have been tapering her daily steroid medicine, stopped chemo, and have started weaning the ivig infusions. She has not been technically been given the cancer free title, but we were told to look forward to June when she would be done with treatments. A couple of weeks ago she started tremoring and her eyes started shaking again. This happens because the antibodies in her body that attack cancer cells get too aggressive and start attacking her brain.  Which means there could still be some cancer in her body causing these symptoms to come back or we might need a different medicine to get rid of the antibodies still floating around. Either way it looks like June will not be our month. She will be having lots of scans at the end of the week to give us more answers. She is still happy and we have not had to change any of our normal, daily routines. She really is doing great. She is in speech therapy now and has fun playing with their toys and is entertained by the super loud, energetic therapist. She has been pretty stubborn and does not make a sound while there. I am seeing a lot of progress, even though the sessions are not very impressive. Today she was singing to her gym friends (who we love!!) and has been saying new words like bye, no, bird, and ball. We had a neurology appointment last week where she wanted to get a scan of her brain to see if there is scarring. She thinks there might be some permanent damage, so that has been added to her scans as well. We are all in good spirits and are feeling hopeful. I am so thankful for our doctors and our insurance so we can move forward and make progress.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pictures from today

I am not feeling very eloquent or verbose today....I am not sure if I have ever felt that way actually.  Anyways, here are some cute pictures of our day.