Thursday, October 11, 2007

Back to 'Normal'...

For those who kept up-to-date on our blog during my more prolific times, thank you! The last several months have been incredibly busy as we began the process of ever so slowly returning to 'normal' life. It's amazing how that simple word - normal - invokes such a sense of wonder in us now. During the height of Sophie's treatment we referred to each day as our "new normal" or "what is our normal today?" Now we take for granted that everything we do is, more or less, normal.

We get up each morning, we make breakfast - okay except for the past month of Ramadan - we get everyone out of the house, we go about our days, we return home, have a meal, get everyone clean, and then retire for the day. Isn't that just about everyone's day? Of course there's much more complexity there than the statement allows, but in a nutshell, that's it. We're normal again.

So a quick update on our princess and the rest of the royal family...
Sophie has been off treatment for seven months now. Where did the time go? She has the six month scans scheduled for next week. A CT scan and the nuclear test, the MIBG. We don't expect to see anything, but we're always a bit on pins until the scan is over. We're down to monthly visits to the clinic. Boy that was a hard habit to break. Actually, it was almost like a loss. The folks at Lombardi have become much more to us than clinical staff. They have become such an important part of our lives that it has been a little difficult letting go. Alas, it's time to move on and let Sophie begin her life without all of the medical hubub. And that's exactly what she is doing.

In August Sophie started preschool. She's following in her big brother's footsteps and is a Tigershark at the Bright Horizon's center in my office building. There's another group that is, thankfully, a tremendous part of our lives. A fabulous groups of people doing amazing things for such little people and their families.

Zach started firts grade in August. We are thrilled to report that he is thriving. He's in an accelerated math unit, and is reading at the appropriate level. This is such a wondrous time in a child's life. I love to watch him read random things. It's such pure joy when he sounds out a word that he's never read before and get it on his own. His eyes light up.

On the non-academic side, Zach spent the summer at a terrific sports camp, Camp Olympia. There he learned sportsmanship, accountability, responsibility, and soccer, horseback riding, swimming, netball, basketball, and much more. All in all it was a fantastic experience for him and really laid a perfect foundation of first grade. Zach is quite the popular kid now. I affectionately call him the "frat boy." He's apparently stated a recess club where membership hinges on ones ability to arm-fart. Yet another lesson learned at camp this summer! I think he said there are three club members, and growing. I have this visual of him on the corner of the blacktop at recess with a line of boys ahead of him. As each boy approaches, Zach assesses his arm-farting abilities. In my mind's eye there are no girls in line, but you never know!

We also celebrated a birthday in September. Sophie turned three on the 23rd with a backyard carnival with friends from her school, the neighborhood and our family and friends. It was a terrific day - I'll include some pictures in the next post.

Mike has been observing Ramadan for the past month and we've just determined that today is the last day of fasting - tomorrow we feast! This past weekend really tested his willpower. All four of us attended the Redskins / Lions game at FedEx field. It was easily 95 degrees in our seats. Mike made it through the entire event without even water. Amazing! The game was terrific incidentally. If you haven't heard, they won 34 to 3. Sophie wasn't thrilled about the heat and the disruption to her nap schedule, but Zach had a fantastic time.

As for me, well, I've just been hanging on for dear life. I returned to work full time in May. It took a bit to reacclimate to work-life. It was almost like getting a new job with a lot of deja vu. Most of what I did before I left wasn't on my plate anymore, but there was, and is, plenty to do. Well, those who know me well know that I wouldn't let my plate remain unfilled for long. I've managed to fill an entire place-setting with things to do at the office and schools. Creative Memories is still a great part of my life and I've had the pleasure of completing many albums over the past many months. All a testament to the strength and determination of our children - every picture is of our joy in the past year. The chronicle of the difficult times is still pending. That to will come, in time.

So here we are, it's a seasonally chilly night, and time to end another busy day. Sophie's had croup for the past two days - and nights - and we're hopeful that we can get everyone back to school and work tomorrow.

During the throes of treatment and hospitalizations, someone once commented to me that when they didn't see a post on the blog, they knew that things were busy, but well. That's where we are now. Busy, but relatively well. We hope you are too! Until next time, peace.