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9:00 PM Today has been a very, very full day for us all. Susan got up early this morning for a busy day at work. She left just as I was getting Elisabeth up for her morning shower--yet another thing that our rapidly maturing daughter is getting into. Elisabeth was very unhappy that Susan was not around, but she managed. I got her dressed and ready to go to school, but as we were walking out the door, I realized that we needed to say goodbye to Grandpa. That sent her over the edge. She said goodbye and held it together for a while, but she then cried so hard that she couldn't even ride her bike (given how attached she has been to her bike, that's saying something!). As the bus pulled up I was trying to get her calmed down and suggested that she could stay home long enough to pull it together, but she ran off to the bus crying. It was very heartbreaking. I guess she cried for quite some time after she got to school as well. She is so tender-hearted (I don't know where she gets that from).

I got back in the house to get Sophie off to school, and she was having none of that. She wanted to play on the computer first. Well, we needed to medicate her anyway, so she played a little bit and finally we got her dressed and out the door. Dad came with me to Countryside to drop Sophie off. Once we got to Countryside, she cried and cried and did not want me to leave. So, it was a hard morning in our household.

This evening has been better, though. Both girls clearly cheered up during the day, and both were in a good mood. The girls played together while I got dinner started and we had a nice meal together at home. Susan commented that it was nice to have me home tonight (it's the "mid-semester reading period" or Spring Break at Duke). Actually, it was nice being at home tonight. I think I'm going to like not going to school anymore! After dinner, Susan did some ironing (I would make some smartalek comment, but Susan irons at least as often as I do--once a year, whether I need it or not) and I cleaned up the kitchen. After I got the kitchen squared away, the girls and I got out Elisabeth's Easy Bake oven (thanks Eileen). Is there anything more unsatisfying to an adult than an Easy Bake oven? I know the girls got a total kick out of making "cookies," but come on--30 minutes of preparation and we end up with two cookies--one for each girl. We had fun, though, and I suppose I don't need the sweets.

Sophie seems to be doing well with this round of steroids, although she clearly is more tired and cranky than normal and she complained this morning about her legs hurting (a possible side-effect of the chemo and steroids). We found out on Wednesday that her immune system is okay, but not great, so we will not be elevating her dosages any further for the time being, and we'll get another round of blood counts in two weeks. Going to the clinic and having the nurse inject Sophie with more chemo is a difficult reminder of all that we're going through. There is such a natural tendency to try and "normalize" all of this, and it's a rude reminder to administer all these drugs again and see all the children who are going through similar or far more difficult experiences.