Trip to the Aquarium

We had a fun trip to the New England Aquarium on Sunday. Hattie loved the penguins and the touch tank. We rounded the day out with some ice cream. Yum.

Fun family trip to the New England Aquarium

Hattie loved the penguins

Checkin out the penguins

A couple of sassy penguins

Woah! That's a big fish!


The touch tank was very cold but Hattie sucked it up for the starfish.

Jellies! The crazy tank is almost the most fun part.

Ending the trip with some ice cream.


Hattie’s 2nd Birthday

Happy 2nd Birthdgay, Hattie!

We had a great 2nd birthday party for Hattie on Saturday. The theme was PJs and pancakes. Friends showed up at 9:30 and were out by noon. Morning birthday parties are the best! Lots of fun was had by all and this was a great way to distract ourselves from thinking about the then upcoming exam.

Some highlights are below. Click on any image or here to be taken to the full gallery.

VIDEO: Happy Birthday! Presents and friends Two goofballs

Chugging pom-poms... ??? Happy birthday girl Another birthday banner from Grandma Smiling birthday girl. No, she's not wearing pants. Yes, we were concerned for the chair. No, nothing happened.

Great News!

What happens when you don’t see a post in over a week? You get three posts in one day! Boom!

Hattie had an exam under anesthesia yesterday as another follow-up to the radiation treatment she received in December. The exam showed no signs of scarring or stricturing and the surgeon said he wouldn’t expect any more if he hadn’t seen any by now. He also was able to examine the growth noticed at the last exam and made a preliminary diagnosis of a radiation induced skin flap. He took a biopsy and we’ll get the official diagnosis within the week but we’re hopeful that this diagnosis holds up. This would mean no further surgery and hopefully being on track to complete chemo by the end of summer. Prayers were definitely answered here!

We had a couple of fun adventures over the weekend – Hattie’s 2nd birthday party and a fun trip to the aquarium. Follow-up posts coming soon.


Hattie’s Many Hats

Hattie’s white blood counts are again low and she was pretty sick yesterday. I was afraid we’d be admitted into the hospital today so I stayed home with her. Fortunately, she’s feeling a bit better, though it’s a sit on the couch and watch “Curious George” type of day. I wanted to play hat dress up and take some photos but she wouldn’t keep them on long enough to snap shots. So I just threw them on her while she was distracted by the TV and took a shot as quick as I could. This turned into a fun game and I got some smiles out of her as she threw the hats off her head. I’m feeling arty so threw the images together and did some heavy editing. Enjoy!

All images shot with Canon 5D Classic, Canon EF 24-105 f/4L lens and Canon 430 EX II Speedlight. Cropped and heavily edited with tone mapping in Adobe Lightroom 5.

Photo Fail – Hattie and Tub Friends

Sometimes a picture just doesn’t quite come together. There can be a fundamental problem with the idea behind the photo or it can just be executed poorly. Sometimes your kid isn’t interested in playing cute for the camera.

I thought there was a great photo during bath time this morning. Hattie insisted that all her tub friends join her in the bath. She has a lot of rubber duckies. I’m thinking wide angle shot of Hattie looking up at the camera with a goofy grin surrounded by the ducks. Pure gold.

I got more or less the composition I was thinking of within the first couple snaps:

A couple problems:

  • Try as I might, H would not look at the camera! Shouts of “Hattie!”, “Cheese!” and “Hey Chupacabra!” did nothing for my case.
  • What I had imagined as a swarm of ducks didn’t look as overwhelming in the final shot

I tried to get her attention by moving in closer and lower:

At least she’s looking now and I like seeing her bandaid, or “sticker” as she calls it. This was shot at a fairly wide angle and I didn’t like the perspective in the moment. I decided to back up a bit and try a longer focal length:

In retrospect I think I like the wider perspective better. I put the camera down to try say some funny things in hopes of getting a smile. I finally got the smile…

… but snapped the shutter too late.

At this point she started saying, “Change! Change!”, as in “I need a diaper change!” I wasn’t going to let it get that far in the tub… Bathtime over. Photoshoot over. Sometimes thems the breaks.


On war and battles

“Lose the battle, win the war”

“Tomorrow’s a new day”

“Take it one day at a time”

These sayings have been running through my head all day. After yesterday’s trip to the OR, I have to admit I didn’t handle myself very well. I was exhausted and tired and it felt like another deep dive after the roller coaster seemed to be steadying.

After getting home and putting Hattie down for a nap, next thing I know I’ve torn through a ton of meat and cheese and crackers. My stomach hurts and my aspirations for the gym and working from home are shot. I’m down and stuck.

I didn’t yesterday’s setbacks keep me down. I was able to bounce back today and be productive at work, eat well all day, and get a great 30 minutes of strength training and 25 minutes of interval running in after work. I feel a renewed sense of purpose for my fitness goals and am back to fighting.

I had a similar conversation on war and battles with a coworker today regarding Hattie’s treatment. The war is on cancer. We’re so hopeful that we’ll win that fight that it’s easy to stress about individual battles. We have to wait until the next exam on March 3 to find out what’s going on with the cervical tissue. It may mean further surgery that we’ve been so hoping to avoid and that might seem like losing a battle. But that’s a battle we might have to lose to win the war on cancer.

In the mean time, the only thing we can do until the 3rd is worry and that’s not terribly productive. We were all very productive today and are keeping the focus on living life as well as we can. One day at a time, keep enjoying life and find a reason to smile.

Coming tomorrow: a walkthrough of a day of chemo.