Thursday, December 31, 2009


Dec. 31, 2:13 p.m. EST -- Full Long Night Moon.

Singing to the Moon bikesnapper

Nights are at their longest and darkest. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long and the moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter full moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low Sun. This is the second time the moon turns full in a calendar month, so it is also popularly known as a "Blue Moon." Full moons occur on average each 29.53 days (the length of the synodic month), or 12.3683 times per year; so months containing two full moons occur on average every 2.72 years, or every 2 years plus 8 or 9 months. There will be a partial lunar eclipse that will be visible from Europe, Africa and Asia with this full moon. At its maximum 7.6-percent of the moon's diameter will become immersed in the Earth's dark umbral shadow.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 7:06 PM, EST

If I were to title this post it would be:

I Hate it When the Plan Changes

This afternoon we got a phone call from Sloan-Kettering (Dana that is where we will be, we hope that is the hospital you are working at....and of course we remember you!). They just wanted to let us know about Ally's scans next week. Our impression before 4:00 this afternoon was that Ally had several scans next Tuesday, we would have Wednesday free and her surgery would be Thursday. So......daddy was very surprised when they said Ally's Monday scan would be in the morning. Ummmm.....we are leaving Boston at 11:00 on the train on Monday. CHANGE OF PLAN!!!
We had to scramble and get our train tickets refunded, then buy the more expensive weekend ticket and get ahold of the social worker to get into the Ronald McDonald house earlier.
Changing the train tickets was actually easier than we expected (and we got a full refund!) and we are still waiting to hear about the Ronald McDonald House. Not a huge deal, but now we have one less day at home, and have to travel to Boston in what seems to be a 3 day snow storm. I am sure everything will work always does!

Happy New Year!

Today will be 35 seconds longer

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We decorated my tree. . .

And took some pictures. . . .

Today will be 31 seconds longer

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Here’s Ally wearing one of the hats that Susan D made for her!

Between Solstice and New Years Day

It is a broader expanse next year,

somehow, the last narrowed

even if we spin in our rotation

tipping towards and away

in order once again, a marking of days.

Ancients looked at the same sky

sunrise shadow marking a turn between rocks

or atomic clocks the more arbitrary second

requiring constant adjustment and "leap."

Is this a leap year, Pope Gregory?

We all celebrated a leap birthday

(the original one for us)

leaping to life from clay

before settling as ash.

New Years party balloon

off into the sky, shrinking on the floor

popped with the champagne.

Take the leap.

Phil Specht on Dec 27, 2009 11:44 AM EST

Today will be twenty seconds longer

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009 9:48 PM, EST

Today was perfect!

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´¸¸.•¨¯`•

Albrecht Dürer

Today will be thirteen seconds longer

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009 6:38 PM, EST

We had a super fun weekend.

On Saturday morning we ventured out with Ally to do some groceries and Christmas shopping. (Very nice, since she has not been able to be in public since chemo.) On Saturday night we saw many friends at a housewarming party! Ally got to meet 2 dogs. She loved playing with them, and rearranging all the little things she could reach around the house.
Today we went to Vermont and visited with Daddy's side of the family. It was actually the first time many of the Vermont relatives have met Ally. (Her first Christmas she was very sick with ear infections, and last Christmas she was in quarantine.) Everyone was very excited to see her! She met a cousin about her age, that she had a lot of fun playing with. Ally did very well at both parties. She actually spoke to some people and gave high 5s to some!
Check out our flickr site for pictures.

We are looking forward to a nice week ahead (hopefully it will move along quickly...last week was the first week in a while were Daddy and Mommy had to work ALL FIVE DAYS!!! We were exhausted by the end of the week...but also happy we were able to work 5 days in a row, as that meant Ally was NOT in the hospital!). Daddy and Mommy have to work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but we both have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. This year we are hosting Christmas at our house! We are very excited to not have to split our day between both sides of the family.

Ally has a blood draw this week (probably Wednesday), and we expect her counts to continue to go up. It looks like she is going to be all ready for NYC.

We have a busy week, with getting ready for Christmas and all; I will try to update Christmas night or the following day with pictures of Ally.

erry Christmas!

Ally Note:

Ally calls Mommy "Honey", not Mommy.

Lookin' out my back window

Accouterments of country living. . . .

News From The City. . . .

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And it did snow. And the snow was good.

This is on a *covered* porch. . . .

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let it snow. . . .

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 4:29 PM, EST

Ally had blood drawn this morning. Her counts are going up. Her white cells (which were 0.1 and keeping us in the hospital) are up to 2.6 (a normal person's would be around 6). Yippie! Her red cells are moving up as well, which means we should not need anymore transfusions before we go to New York for her surgery.

Ally has been having fun moving the ornaments around on the Christmas Tree. She has yet to notice the 2 gifts underneath it (shhhhh, don't tell her!)

Her energy has picked up, and her eating has even picked up a little bit.

We have a busy weekend ahead, full of parties and friends.

Ally Quote:
"Ally do you want to wear your purple jammies tonight?"
Ally: "Heck Ya!"

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12/16/09. Sagittarius New Moon 7:02 am EST

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Beautiful day here! The north sky steel gray and stormy looking, the center full of light, igniting the white bark of the sycamores. Just lovely!! AND. . . .

My spring water is running again, if only for the day. Filling buckets as we speak. . . .

Being awash in water, what can I do but wash? The cups and bowls and pans that were exiled to the sun porch at the beginning of summer in name of redoing the kitchen, are being dragged back in and scrubbed up in today's unexpected blessing of water. Also doing a load of clothes.

Life is good.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

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by chesteronriver

Sharing Christmas with family.

If the stars were nearer we would fly there

or flow in the river

to the ocean

the argument made in Judea

of One Body One Blood

the holy answer found as I enter

your world

you and your sacrament of creation

childbirth body and blood

sharing stars and oceans

and all other brothers and sisters born of clay and ash

the love flowing in and out around

and Creation is the question

and the answer

Salvation the sharing

of gifts of thanks.

By Phil Specht

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ally Quote:
"Ally going to sleep under Christmas Tree tonight."

Friday, December 11, 2009 6:32 PM, EST

Ally had some blood work done yesterday. We got word that her red blood counts are going up on thier own; hopefully this will mean no more transfusions. Her white cells hit the magic number where we can stop giving her the injections in her legs and we were able to take her off the antibiotics! This is very good news in the diaper area.

We have been enjoying our time at home. A teacher friend of Mommy's brought us the most beautiful tree last night! It is the perfect shape, size and smell! Last night we got the lights on, and tonight we finished with the ornaments. Ally had so much fun putting the ornaments on. (Several of them are laid on the branches, rather than hung, but that is the way Ally works.)
We are looking forward to a nice weekend. A couple of Aunties, an Uncle and a set of Grandparents are scheduled to visit; and Mommy and Daddy will get to go out and shop and be together, just the two of them.....ahhhhh, very nice.

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Finally, the Ally haircut pics!!

Ally pre-haircut:

Ally post-haircut, with a tear in her eye:

Ally today:

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Stolen from HEP. . . .

. . . since you mentioned the grass [not] poking through
I must tell you that Ally's Mom told me today
that this morning Ally looked out the window and said:

"Where are you grass? Is everyone okay out there?!"

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:39 PM, EST

We are home!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009 9:00 PM, EST

Still at the hospital. Ally had a good day today. She is showing more energy, and we would REALLY like to take her home. We are tired of being stuck here, we are tired of hospital food, we are tired of Ally being connected to a pump, and we are tired of missing work. Daddy took today off and I will be taking tomorrow off. We really just want to be home.

Note: Ally got to meet 2 dogs this week! A Saint Bernard named Duchess and another dog (much smaller) named Molly!

Sorry for delay posting this: phone line's been out again.

Sunday, December 6, 2009 9:14 PM, EST

Well, Ally is still in the hospital. Her temperature has been staying below 100 for pretty much the whole day, but it is above 98.6. This is not really our concern anymore. When we were admitted her white blood cells were 0.1 (a normal, healthy count would be around 6). Today they were 0.4. A step in the right direction, but tomorrow they could fall to 0.3 or go up to 0.5 and then fall again the next day. They want to keep Ally until they see real growth with her white blood cells. The medicine we are giving her to help boost those is the injection she gets in her leg everyday.
So....there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we just can't tell where it is yet.

Below are three photos, by which you can see the progression of Ally's hair loss. There is one of her pre-haircut, then one with a little tear in her eye post haircut. Even from there, she lost more hair. Last you can see what she looked like earlier today.

PS: Thanks to the neighbor that cleaned our driveway! It was VERY much appreciated!

Ally pre-haircut:

Ally post-haircut, with a tear in her eye:

Ally today:

NB~~ I'm posting this with partial pics because I've been trying for four hours to download *whole* pics, and the process keeps crashing the 'puter. So just getting this up, and will try to get the pictures in another day.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009 2:56 PM, EST

Today has been a better day. (And I must say yesterday was only a bad day for me, not for Ally.)
They switched her antibiotics to ones that don't cause pooping (you would have thought they would have started with those...).
She is still running a high temperature, but lower than yesterday.
Ally got to have a tubby at the hospital today. At first she was not a fan, but once she was in she had fun.
Her doctor is encourage by Ally's energy level, but will still not commit to a release date. It looks like we will be here until sometime next week. Grrrrr. We were hoping to get our Christmas Tree this weekend.
Right now it is snowing like crazy up here, and we are going to take Ally on a walk around the hospital.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009 3:41 PM, EST

Today has been a rough day. It started in the middle of the night with a 102.2 temp. That is not going to get us out of here any time soon. She has maintained this temp throughout all of today.

When Ally woke up she pooped, and pooped and pooped. It required 3 sets of sheets, 2 sets of clothes and several hand washings. It took over 2 hours to actually hear about the plan for her uncontrollable poop; which was to just let it go, and if it got worse then they would up her IV fluids. Thankfully Ally’s gut has been good all afternoon.

Then, Ally needed platelets today. It was supposed to be an hour wait, it actually took 4 hours.

Also, anyone who would be able to talk to us about when we are getting out of here is in a big rush and does not have time to talk to us. This may be the most frustrating part of today.
Normally we are very happy with the hospital, I guess everyone has a bad day now and then.

But of course, Ally is happy as can be, that makes all the silliness bearable.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


These Ally hats are brought to you by Susan D from HEP (Susan also is a member of Blankets for America, another Howard inspired service group which makes blankets and other things for newborns and preemies.) The three on the right were hand knit by Susan; she found the other two at retail (good eye!)

(And thanks for the correction, listener!)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 2:15 PM, EST

"Long Term" and "For A While" are not words you like to hear from the doctor. We are guaranteed a suite here at Hotel Hospital at least through Friday, and most likely into next week.

The plan (which usually changes) is to run antibiotics through Ally at a regular pace, keep an eye on her temp and wait until she has some white blood cells. This can take anywhere from the next few days to two weeks. Her temp has been really good since we have been here and Ally has been in a super mood. She went out and did a little sand art at the craft table this morning. She has even been watching a little TV. Still not much eating, so we have a new plan, set up by the nutritionist, that will hopefully add some weight to Ally.

She still refuses to look in a mirror since we cut her hair. Poor kiddo. The staff here all love the new haircut though.

Dec. 2, 2:30 a.m. EST -- Full Cold Moon


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

NOTE (found at end of messages): Ally likes to roar like a pirate, often.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:30 PM, EST

We are at DHMC. Ally had a temp of 101 and here we are.
We are all settled in at 10:30, Ally is sleeping through lots of stuff. She is a good girl.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:45 PM, EST

Ally is home. Her temp has been running close to 100, so we may be headed back to DHMC.

Cutting her hair was not fun...for anyone.