December 17, 2011


Crazy time of year!  Don't you agree?  I really have never felt as much pressure and stress caused by holidays.  Not sure why I'm feeling pressure this year.  I'm actually way ahead of the game... normally I shop the week before Christmas and wrap the day before, this year, I'm done shopping AND, everything is wrapped!  And, I actually remember wrapping them this year! 

If you have young(er) kids, I have a question for you.  Does Santa come to your house?  Does Santa bring different (as in not currently under the tree) presents?  Does Santa borrow your wrapping paper or use his own?  Do you or santa write the kids names on their gifts or do you have another system?

We've tried a combination of lot's of these systems, but haven't really settled into a tradition.  This year, I'm sure Santa will stop, eat the cookies and share the reindeer food, but he will not be bringing presents, at least not ones that are different from the ones under our tree.  It will largely go unnoticed I'm sure.  Just not that into it anymore!

I did have to code all the presents this year.  And last.  Last year I used the same number for each kid, I think it had something to do with their  birthday's... they figured it out.  This year, it's COMPLETELY random, I have it all written down, but there is NO WAY they will figure it out.

What other Christmas traditions do you have? 

We go to the Santa parade downtown Zeeland (weather dependant).
We normally go see Santa at some point, unfortunately it hasn't happened yet this year. 
I love to go to the Critter Barn for thier nativity scene... have to do that yet this year as well.
We always have Cherry Coffee cake for breakfast (at least that's what Bailey says... I don't remember it being a tradition, but I'll humor her).
We decorate the tree together and hang up all the old ornaments from when Matt and I were little, as well as the new(er) ones that have been purchased or made.  No, we don't have a "pretty" theme tree, but we have a pretty family tree... and I love it!
I typically wake up before the kids on Christmas morning!  I get so excited to see them open presents that I can't wait, and apparently my kids aren't quite so anxious.  I remember being up at 5am on Christmas when I was little... now I sleep in a little later. 

Do you do a lot of baking this time of year? 

I typically don't purposely bake for Chrismas, but this time of year makes me want to bake. Yesterday Elliot and I made Salty Caramel Oat Bars, which are seriously delicious.  I LOVE salty and sweet... put it all together - AMAZING!  We also made Chubby Hubby Bars - again, I highly recommend these, they are fabulous, but... they are very hard to cut.  I may try doing the carmel differently.  More like the Salty Caramel Oat Bars next time and just sprinkle the chocolate on top maybe?  Anyway... they are fabulous and will definitely be a staple in our house!  You know... as in one of the food groups offered on a regular basis!  :)

And, I leave you with a rather awkward picture of our family!  Crazy to see my hair getting so much longer... remember last year?

November 23, 2011

Some things I pinned recently that I really love!

From Life as a Thrifter
Love the pictures hanging from wooden hangers!  (I wonder if cheap plastic hangers would look cute too???)

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

From Snorgtees
Either you like bacon or your wrong!

Words to live by

Height measurer

I hope I left you with some inspiration today!
See more of my pinterest pins here

November 22, 2011


Cliche this time of year, I know.  We all talk about thankfulness around thanksgiving.  But, in all honesty, that is not originally how this post started out.  I was going to tell you how I hate holidays for a whole slew of reasons.  Instead, I'm going to tell you how I'm planning to work on changing that! 

I was blog hopping this morning.  Like with most blog hopping I never know how I get where I end up, but I know that that is where I was supposed to end up!  God knows my heart.  He knows how I feel about all these holidays coming up.  Some of it is righteous feelings, some no so much.  Anyway, today he brought me to this post.  When you don't want to say thanks.  It's a post written by by Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom

Here is just a little excerpt from the post:
I’m still not in love with the poop or the what-is-that-on-the-floorboard?, but I’m a little more in love with the Giver of Life. I’m more aware of the unbelievable gifts soaked in my life. I’m humbled.

Make sure you click the link to check it out in full!

Other links I checked out today:
The real first thanksgiving
Another great post about holidays

Feel free to hop around a little this morning and see where you end up!  It could be jsut what you need for today!

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

This blog is slowly turning into list central!  Sorry about that!

  • Mom2Mom sale: M-LIFE is having a Mom2Mom sale at Community Reformed on November 12, feel free to come shop or you can sign up to sell as well (just see the blog link on the right side of this page).  Last year I had a ton of stuff to sell... one would think that I would have nothing left.  Not true though, I've already started sorting!
  • Happy Halloween!  I've got a mime (again), a penguin and Darth Vader waiting to go trick-or-treating later!  Fun times!
  • I recently had my port (used to deliver chemo) removed!  Yay!  That feels good!
  • Shingles don't feel so good.  I thought I caught them early (actually, I know I did, so early in fact that my doctor didn't believe that I actually had them, but gave me a Rx anyway, thankfully), but they are still holding on and causing some pain.  Not nearly as bad this time (I'm not in bed or anything), and for that I am so very very THANKFUL!
  • Football is done.  It was a fun year, unfortunately the year ended in the locker room instead of on the field due to some silly lightening!  Bummer!
  • Basketball started the day after football, so really not much of a break, except that I get my husband home now!
  • NewWorldSon concert at Community Reformed this Sunday!  It's free.  And good!
  • Miss Lila got her haircut this weekend.  Just a big trim to get the yucky ends off!  She was very scared that it would hurt, but turned out ok!  So darn cute!
  • And, right here is where I wish I had a picture to share.  I've been so bad about downloading them though... so no such luck!

October 10, 2011

What's new?

Well, nothing is new.  We've just been busy having fun is all!  (That, and I'm keeping up the M-LIFE blog, which is very time consuming, leaving me little desire to keep this one up somedays, you should check it out though, there are some great giveaways going on right now!)

What have we done?
Art Prize
Art Prize
Ice Cream
Dinner with friends
Playing outside
Field Trips
School parties
Dentist appointments
Doctor appointments
Grocery Shopping
oh, and did I mention... football?

Here are a few pictures to share... (I love that I started to carry around a point and shoot, I take so many more snapshots of things I normally wouldn't capture)

 Apple picking in the freezing cold!

 Art Prize!
 This one looked like a  photograph, but was a painting.  Amazing!
 I LOVED this... made out of masking tape!

 Free dinner downtown Zeeland!

 Dinner at Marios with my fellow cancer survivors (minus Lindy who had to leave early)

 Field trip to Fredrick Meijer Gardens with Elliot's class!

 Sleepover with friends.  (No, they did not sleep in the same sleeping bag, this was after I put B's sleeping bag away in the morning)

 Last day Captain Sundae was open!

 Our field trip this morning to Outdoor Discovery Center was a huge success... we walked forever and definitely tired the kiddo's out!

September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Humor

So, I know this starts off looking like a typical Happy Birthday video... but watch toward the end, it get's funny after the song is done!

September 12, 2011

Bailey's Video

This is Bailey's first fifth grade homework assignment, just thought it was to cute NOT to post!  Enjoy!

September 8, 2011

Another Recipe

Mmmmmm!  So, I talked last time about how I made the Raspberry Rhubarb jam... it was good.  It is good, but not the tart flavor I was looking for.  Then I found this one.  Vanilla Rhubarb Jam.  AMAZING!  It smells amazing, it tastes amazing and was easy to make!  (Note, I did not cut up the rubarb as small as the author, that takes way to much time, therefore I have chunks of rhubarb in my jam, but that doesn't bother me).  And, yes, I know Rhubarb is not in season, but that's the great thing about Meijer, they carry out of season vegetables (or whatever you would classify Rhubarb as).  I also did my canning (sealing) in the over... it worked.  Amazed.  And, I didn't have to get my big pot out, again!

September 2, 2011

It's almost over....

Summer is almost over.  I'm happy and sad all at the same time!  I really dislike this humidity that we have been experiencing the last few days, thankfully we spent yesterday at the beach adn the water was wonderful, today we tried to go outside a few times, but came back in shortly to wipe the sweat off. 

We rode the bus to school with Elliot last week.  Tons of fun.  He is so excited to go to Young Fives.  I'm excited for him, but the closer it get's the smaller he seems to me, going out into the world on his own.  We will both be fine though.  We always are! 

Another thing I've been doing is canning.  Yup, taught myself to can last weekend.  I did plenty of research, especially after I saw that you could get botulism if you don't can salsa correctly.  That is some scary stuff, definitely don't want to spread that to anyone!  I can't find the recipe that i used, but that's ok, I don't plan to use it again, I wasn't a huge fan.  It's not bad, just a little to "tomatoey" and not spicy enough. 

Then this week I had to use up some jalapenos so I made some Hot Pepper Jelly, which is great poured over cream cheese with Wheat Thins to dip in it!  It's also good on a hamburger as I figured out tonight.  Yum!  Super easy too, that took me about an hour (gotta love the food processor)!

And tonight, I wanted to make raspberry jam and decided I wanted Rhubarb Raspberry Jam.  I struggled to find a recipe that I could can as opposed to freeze, although I'm not sure why... eventually I found and settled on this one.  I'm still smiling every time I hear a jar pop.  If you've ever canned you so know what I mean!  I did try a little right out of the pan, after burning the tastebuds off my tongue I decided it was a bit sweeter than I like, but the kids will like it.  Now I'm on the search for a tarter recipe.  And maybe I'll settle on freezing it this time too!  In fact, I may try this one!

(OK, this post was more about saving the recipes that I used for future use than updating anyone, sorry)

August 7, 2011

A list to sum it all up...

Yikes.  It's been a while.  Sorry.  Life is busy.  Summer is busy.  But fall is busy too. 

Anyway, I will try to sum the past few weeks up in a short list in no particular order.

1. We went camping.  It went great, the kids had a great time.  I have never been to tri-ponds before, but we really enjoyed it.  We were quite a walk from the pool and bathrooms so I did a lot of walking that weekend, which turned out to be a good thing.  I pushed myself and I was feeling better, or at least significantly recovering, upon our return!

2. Landon is now a teenager.  He got a phone for his birthday, something he has wanted for a long long time, but we've resisted.  It is definitely nice that he has one now though!

3. Our house has gone from light tan with brown trim to a dark gray with white trim thanks to my wonderfully talented husband and some other fabulous helpers!  Love it!

4. We went to Green Lake with my brother and sister-in-law for the day.  The kids always have a great time tubing, sea-doing (spelled wrong???), swimming, and boating!

5. I started babysitting again after taking 7 weeks off.  We all missed our buddy!

6. Bailey hit double digits!  Growing up into a beautiful girl!

7. We have spent some great days at the beach and now that I know it's not that bad, we will definately be squeezing in as many more of them as we can!

8. I still can't swim, which makes the beach and camping a bit harder.  Luckily I have great kids and friends that will swim with Lila!  Can't wait to have this scar all healed up and closed, although I think this summer is out of the question at this point.  There may be some water arobics in my future though????  :)

9. We have been spending LOTS of time in the backyard playing on the swingset, in the sprinkler and in the kiddie pool  When I say kiddie pool, I mean LITTLE.  Like maybe 3 feet across.  But, it's perfect!

10.  Lila discovered that she LOVES pop.  In her own can.  Caffiene free preferably!  :)

11.  The shingles are gone!

12. Football starts way to soon.  Meeting tomorrow night and then practice in two weeks.  Games are a little bit later this year, which makes getting to the games so much easier.  And, making it even easier is the fact that I think all but one is home!

13.  This picture has nothign to do with anything, but once you look at it you will know exactly why I had to add it!  So adorable!

14. I am not planning on doing a Race for the Cure team this year, thank you to those that joined last year, and to those that have inquired about doing it again.  But, while I'm not planning on doing one, my friend Lindy has started a team and I would encourage you to sign up on that if you were thinking about doing it!  Click here!

July 21, 2011

Family "Rules"

Just created this quick and wanted to share!  You are welcome to save a copy and print one for yourself, the original is a 5x7, just FYI!
Hoping to do a full blog post tomorrow or in the very near future!

July 7, 2011

Better Days

I'm hesitant to say that things are looking up.  The shingles seem to have gotten a little/lot better in the last 24 hours.  They aren't gone, but they are better.  They have been replaced with some muscle pain in the center of my abdomen, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that is normal. 

I've been inactive for so long though that even a little bit of activity (read: walking to a chair set up outside and sitting down) is quite exhausting.  But that will get better.  I would think.  In time. 

So anyway, just wanted to pass that info along.  I apprecaite all of your prayers, I am so blessed!

July 2, 2011

Stuck in Bed and Pinning

I've found the most relief from the shingles when I'm laying still in my bed.  Not getting up and down, just laying here.  Every once in a while (who am I kidding, daily) prior to getting sick and having surgery I wished for a day where I didn't have to do ANYTHING.  But, now that I've spent the last almost 4 weeks laying around doing nothing, I'm over it.  Compeltely over it.  I want to be up, playing with the kids, going to the beach, cooking dinner, even cleaning the bathroom.  Yup.  I said it. 

I've watched a lot of "First 48" today, a little Hoarders: Burried Alive and I've done lot's of pinning!  I'll share a few of my favorite things I've found today.  I've found lots! (click on each picture for a link if you wish)

Pom Pom Flowers

Crochet Rug from old T-Shirts

I LOVE color!!!!

LOVE this color combo.  Maybe for Bailey's room re-do (someday)!

And this Pesto Bread.  Although, I can't read the recipe, so I think I'm out of luck, but I like to improvise, I'm sure I could come up with something!

That's only a very very small portion of all the pinning I've done today!  Feel free to see more here!

June 30, 2011

Ugh, the pain

It's horrible.  The pain has not gotten any better.  I'm miserable.  While I don't want to complain, I'm reaching out to my blog readers to see if anyone has any great ideas for pain relief (besides rx drugs).  I've tried an ice pack.  That didn't work.  I've tried wearing baggy t-shirts.  That didn't work.  I tried wearing a fitted shirt.  That didn't work.  I don't know what to do anymore.  I'm frustrated, I'm in pain, I just want to stay in bed all day.  Post your ideas.  Please!

June 28, 2011

2 steps forward, 1 step back

I knew it was to good to be true.  I was feeling great last week.  I couldn't believe how good I was feeling.  But Thursday I started getting pretty sore again.  So sore in fact that on Friday I called and asked for more vicodin.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong.  My skin was soooo sensitive.  It hurt to touch anything on my abdomen.  And then in an ambien haze of absolute pain on Sunday night I saw it.  A spot that very closely resembled shingles.  Seriously.  I just had shingles six months ago.  My worst enemy (who doesn't really exist) doesn't deserve to have shingles EVER, and absolutely no one deserves to have them twice.  In six months.  So, needless to say, I'm in pain.  Lots and lots of pain.  I would rather have surgery again than shingles.  Basically the only thing that relieves the pain is to lay in bed very very still.  Yuck.  I'm sick of laying around. 

Luckily I started some meds today and last time I was on these meds it went away pretty quickly.  Praying it does the same this time!

While at the doctor today he also "cleaned" out the wound again, took out the "debris" which is as gross as it sounds.  This whole packing the wound thing is getting old and from what I hear I have a ways to go.  Blech. 

In just two short days I will have a teenager in my house.  Seriously.  Almost 13 years ago I was  barely 20 years old about ready to have my first child.  Scared to death of what that mant.  He has been such a blessing to us, Love that boy!

Wishing everyone a great and safe holiday weekend!

June 24, 2011

Summer Reading

The weather so far has been good for pretty much nothing.  It's almost the end of June and we have done nothing summery (never mind the other obvious reasons for that).  It's wet, cloudy and cold today.  Landon had a baseball game last night, I wore a sweatshirt and jeans and was still freezing cold.  He has another tonight.  It's a home game, our home park is always very windy, meaning it will be about 10 degrees colder there. 

So, what do you do to keep your kids reading for the summer?  We used to participate in the summer reading program at the library, but we rarely completed it, not because the kids didn't read, but because I wasn't good at getting back to fill stuff in.  So, we don't do that anymore.  Last year we tried reading a set amount of time per day.  That was great for about a week, then we got busy and out of the habit and that went out the window.  So this year we are trying something new. 

The kids can read as much or little as they want.  But, thier screen time is directly affected by thier reading time.  For every minute they read they earn 1.5 minutes of screen time.  They can save thier minutes for the whole summer, I'm ok with that.  Landon is better at this than Bailey.  He currently has about 600+ minutes banked up.  Bailey might have 30.  600 minutes is a lot of screen time, but I know that there is very little chance that Landon will sit inside for 10 hours playing wii or watching tv.  Bailey on the other hand... well, we don't have to worry about it really.  Two very different kids, same mom and dad. 

Happy {summer} reading!

June 23, 2011


**Warning**** You may not want to be eating while reading this**

Ugh.  I feel like my house is such a mess!  Such is life.  We do indeed LIVE here! 

I'm feeling pretty good.  For the most part.  I'm really wanting to be back to normal.  I know for a fact that I'm doing much more than I should be doing.  I'm doing more than I should be doing if I was 6 weeks out from surgery, much less 2.  I'm very very sore.  My muscles hurt.  The scars I don't necessarily feel.  Which is a good thing considering I have a gaping hole in my stomach where they opened one spot back up.  (Yup, it's as gross as it sounds).  I have to bandage that twice a day to get it to heal correctly.  Good thing I don't have to really look at it. 

OK, enough of that fun stuff. 

Have you discovered Pinterest?  If you need another time waster in your life I would definitely encourage you to check it out.  It sucks up a lot of my time (but let's face it, what more do I have to do right now), and I'm sure it could suck up a lot of your time too!  :)  Happy pinning!

June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers day to all of the wonderful fathers in my life.  My father, my father-in-law, my kids father.  All amazing men!  Thank you.  I'm especially thankful for my husband.  Wow.  He has been absolutely amazing these past few weeks.  He has worked full time (and then some), he has been an amazing dad, nurse, house cleaner, cook, driver, laundry washer, furniture mover... this man has doen it all!  And for that I am so greatful.  Never do I doubt that he loves us, never do I doubt his committment to his family.  So greatful for him!

Healing is going great!  I seriously thought that it would be much roughter than this.  But, like I said last time, that doesn't make it easy either. 
Most all activity is limited. 
I've spent a LOT of time on the couch, in bed or in my chair outside.  When I do to much walking, I know it.  Yesterday we went to a baseball game for Landon (in the scorching heat), the field was much further from the car than I was used to but I walked back and forth twice.  I can tell today. 
I'm still not taking pain pills until night time, but that may be because I want to convince my husband that I am capable of driving too!  :)  Where I am planning on going I don't know, but I know that I need to get out of this house!!!! 
I have a LOT of bruising.  There are bruises lining my scar and there is a LARGE one in the middle of my stomach.  It hurts. 

Many people have asked me if I'm happier with the results this time.  YES!  I am SOOOO much happier.  My chest looks 100x better, but honestly, I'm thrilled with my tight stomach.  It's no secret that I had a tummy.  My muscles just weren't what they were suppposed to be, my skin was stretched, it wasn't pretty.  But now, it's all better again!  LOVE it!  I recently had a birthday and received lot's of gift cards for shopping and I can't wait!  (first I need to be able to walk though...)

Landon is back from a great week at camp!  He's spent lot's of time with his family this weekend and I'm sure he can't wait to get back to hanging out with friends every day!

Bailey has been gone ALL weekend.  She got to spend Friday night and all day Saturday with her friend Sadie and then went to Michigan's Adventure today with the neighbor.  She will be TIRED!

Elliot get's to start both swimming lessons and VBS tomorrow.  He is not excited about either one.  Or maybe it's that he's tired and just needs some sleep!  I don't get to help with VBS this year for obvious reasons.  I will miss helping out.  I've been helping for... ever.  But, it will be nice to have time with Lila as well.  Maybe.

June 13, 2011

One week post TRAM Flap surgery

One week ago I was cut open on the operating table.  What a change in a week.  Seriously.  Going into the surgery I was really worried that I was going to be immobile for a while.  I had heard rough things about recovery from this surgery, but I was prepared for it.  I had heard of a lot of pain.  But I was prepared to be asking for lot's of pain meds.  No problem. 

It has not been all sunshine and lollipops.  There is and was definitely pain involved, but nothing like I expected.  For a variety of reasons I have gone from taking 2 dilauded pills every 4 hours to taking 1 vicodin every once in a while.  I'm not letting myself feel a lot of pain or being stubborn about taking them, because one thing I've learned is that pain pills serve a very good purpose.  On the other hand, I do not like taking them because they make me SO tired.  So out of it.  So anyway, pain pills aren't a bad thing, I just don't need them as often as I thought I would. 

I've still got four drains attractively draped from different angles of my body.  I still have to empty them a few times a day.  But, on the bright side, I am able to shower and wash my hair this time. 

I can not stand up straight yet, my skin is just still to tight.  Nor can I lay flat.  The couch has been my home!

I'm tired.  My body is working really hard to heal itself right now, it's not leaving me much energy to do anything else.  So, as much as I want to get out of this house, it's just not going to happen. 

I can't lift up my dear Lila, but on the flip side of that, we are able to snuggle on the couch and watch The duck song on YouTube or read Brown bear!

And, she's still as spunky as ever, finding a way to get exactly what she wants. 

And... I really am kind of excited about this Tummy Tuck I got!  It was an added bonus, and I'll take it!  Now, to keep a flat stomach!  :)

Thank you for all of your prayers and support, we've felt all the love! 

June 11, 2011

6 days post-op

Feeling pretty good. Honestly this isn't as bad as I expected so far. But who knows. Thank you for all of your prayers, help and notes of encouragement.   Its all been so appreciated.

Kristi is now celebrating in Jesus' arms.  Her positive spirit and warm smile will be dearly missed here, but she is so blessed to ne made perfect again.

Lindy has received some discouraging news this week.

Please keep them and their families in your prayers!
Thank you!

June 5, 2011

2 1/2 more days

Yikes.  School is done.  That means that:
a) I have an 8th grader and a 5th grader, and a "young-fiver"! (oh, and a 2 year old)
b) have very little to consume my mind until Monday
c) oops, I lied, there is plenty going on to keep me distracted
d) the kids are home... all the time.  blogger!! MMMOKMMMMMA

The last day of school is pretty uneventful at our house.  Landon is gone fishing with Matt, while Bailey, Elliot and Lila anxiously await the arrival of thier friends!  Hudson is hanging out with us today as well!  I feel like I should be doing something fun and exciting to make up for the next few weeks, but...

So, surgery is scheduled for 7:30, arrival time of 6am.  Please pray.  Pray that it starts on time, for the doctor as he prepares for the surgery, for me as I prepare for the surgery, for Matt and my kids and for a quick and easy recovery.

(Obviously, this was not finished on the day I started it, as there is now about 18 hours until surgery, just typing that gave me a funny feeling in my stomach)

I feel an urgency to get a lot of stuff done.  Like cleaning out and purging bathroom cupboards, moving Lila into a big bed which happens to be the bottom of elliot's bunk bed, therefore moving her room into his room, so they share a room now, cleaning my closet and bedroom... unfortunately this all means that things like mopping the floor are being put off, but those are things that someone else (aka my husband or kids) can do!

OK, now it's 10 hours until my surgery and I"m still trying to type this stupid post, so, I'm publishing, not everything is one here, but it will have to do, until next time!almamm1.wt

June 4, 2011

I need this right now...

Feeling a bit anxious tonight as 6am monday morning draws closer and closer.  I've found plenty of things to keep me really busy up until now... Now I try to sleep, and even ambien is not helping.  I've got a few things to do tomorrow, but fully anticipate this getting harder. For now, one of my favorite verses...

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

May 26, 2011

What has kept us busy...

Our Bird friends are growing!  While I'm not a huge fan of birds, they are awful cute to watch.  (Sorry for the blurry pictures, I don't dare get to close for fear of getting attacked)
I'm pretty sure they will be leaving the nest soon, they are getting very crowded in there!

Dressing up like Spiderman-AllBoy is always a hit.  Check out those webbed hands!  (Oh, and don't forget the snow boots with plaid shorts, did you know that's a new trend??)
 This little boy get's to spend a few days a week with us and we love it!  Lila is really really in love, often throwing a fit when his dad get's here to pick him up.

Bailey signed up for Girls on the Run this year for the first time.  I highly recommend the program, and I think
Bailey would as well.  She worked so hard all season and ran (run/walk) her first 5k.  She did awsome, I'm so proud of her and the 1,999 other girls that ran that day!
 Proud supporters of thier sisters!
 Coming in to finish.  (Bailey is the second one on the left)
 Some of the girls from her "team"!
 Matt planted our garden.  But first the boxes had to be weeded.  This will be our first year growing anything besides tomatoes.  We planted lettuce, snap peas, green beans, jalapenos, green and red peppers, tomatoes, and I think zuccini.  Can't wait to get some fresh produce (although, I'm so glad I have someone else to do the weeding!!!  :)
 All this rain has made for lot's of snuggle time!
 And, apparently, while we don't live near any bodies of water, we have a frog issue.  Ask my kids and they love it.  Me?  I'm scared to walk through the yard for fear of stepping on one or having it hop on me and "attack" me (Irrational?  maybe).  The kids have loved having them for pets though.  They take them for "walks" in the yard (a.k.a. tricking them into thinking they are being set free and then catching them again), check on them all the time and do lot's and lot's of handwashing. 
 It's torture I tell you!

 We used to be really good about Lila keeping her pipe in her bedroom, but recently we've gotten really really relaxed!  Here she was being crabby and tired, so she decided to take a little rest on the dining room floor.
 Elliot graduated from pre-school last night!  He's officially a "young-fiver"???  I need to find Landon's graduation pictures too, just to see compare the two, I have a feeling they will be hard to tell apart! 
And, to top it all off, throw a few baseball games in there, a choir concert, doctor appointments, and we are on a never ending move!  But we love it!

May 24, 2011

Surgery Planning

I'm trying to get everything in order for my life and family after I have surgery, blah, I definitely don't miss this part of last years medical stuff!

Anyway, please feel free, but DO NOT feel obligated (ANYONE) to sign up for meals.  With the kids being home, I did include some lunches on there as well, sandwiches, macaroni & cheese, whatever, sometime lunch is the hardest meal of the day to get together in reality (especially with Matt working throughout as well)!  Feel free to email me with information regarding dropping a meal off, or email matt (probably the better choice if it's after June 5) matt (at) distinctivegroupinc (dot) com (substitute an @ sign and a . in the appropriate places).

And, as ALWAYS, THANK YOU so much.  We are overwhelmed with the support that we continue to receive!  You are all AMAZING!

I am going to TRY to get Matt to update facebook during surgery, but no guarantees on that (he has a hard time typing on my phone, and he just doesn't like facebook).  If he won't do it, I will try to do it as soon as I'm able, who knows when that will be though!

May 19, 2011

Surgery Update

Yesterday I met with the plast surgeon to go over some questions I had regarding the surgery.  Matt and I discussed what we heard, we discussed recovery, I prayed about it and we are going through with it. 

I know that some of you were concerned whether this was the right thing to do or not, I want you to know that I appreciate your concern (really, I do), but I truly feel peace about this decision. 

Some of you expressed concern about the doctor.  Let me reassure you that the problems I am having now are not his fault.  When having the mastectomy and reconstruction, it was thought that I wouldn't have to have radiation.  But, as we all know, that all changed.  Typically he doe not do implant reconstruction on a person who has radiation for a variety of reasons, but for me it was to late, we had already gone this route.

In the next few weeks (week really) I will post some specific needs, if you want to volunteer to help, that's fabulous and will be very appreciated, but we absolutely do not expect anyone to help either. 

As of this moment, surgery is going to happen on June 6 (the first week the kids are home from school) at around 7:30 am (that's going to be an early arrival time... whew).  I will be in the hospital for 3-5 days (which could prove to be our biggest obstacle).  I will be able to drive again after about 2 weeks, (if you know me well, you know I'm not really good at this one, I like to sneak away)!  Despite the fact that I will have 3+ drains (if you know me well, you know this was the WORST part of the last two surgeries for me) I will be able to shower (which makes having drains about 50% better)!  I will be on some strong pain pills along with a pain pump for about 5 days.  I think overall, in my head it was going to be much worse than what he has told me it's going to be, but only time will tell!

Right now I do have one need that doesn't need to be scheduled, but can be done at anytime... prayers. 

Along with prayers for this surgery and recovery to go smoothly, I would also covet your prayers for my friend Kristi and her family.  Also for another friend and her husband who are dealing with cancer and surgery.

I hate cancer!

Bluebird Cancer Retreats :: Part 2

Saturday morning we were up bright and early - breakfast @ 7:30am.

After breakfast there were 2 speakers, both talked about healing with the whole body.  We did some different breathing excercises and really just relaxed.  I didn't agree with everything everyone said, but was always able to take something away.  Simple things really, but at the time, things I needed to hear.  God knew. 

After lunch, in true camp form, we had arts and crafts.  We got to build and paint a bluebird house!  My house is currently hanging on a tree in my backyard and if a bird never moves in that's ok, it's a bright pop of color in my backyard. 

After lunch it was elective time.  We had signed up for different treatments that were scheduled throughout the afternoon.  I signed up for relexology and a massage.  It would be my first time trying either one of them. 

The massage felt great.  Why did I wait this long to try it?

The reflexology was interesting.  I really knew nothing about it going in.  So ignorant in fact that I was caught off guard when this lady wanted to see my feet.  My feet aren't exactly my best asset.  I'm definitely a skeptic, so I don't know how that affected what she did, but the one thing I did notice was after I told her that I carry a lot of stress in my jaw, she massaged the top of my big toe, just under the nail and I think it really did loosen up! 

It was great to be able to try things I would have otherwise not done, and I definitely have plans for future massages!

Later that night we had a campfire.  We were lucky enough to have a very talented guitar and sax player among us.  My new friend C was blessed with an amazing voice, so we listened to music for a while.  One song we sang that was reminiscent of my days at Camp Concordia was "It only takes a spark" and C sang an amazing song "Love in every language" (just finding out now that it's by Sandi Patt, something else reminiscent of my childhood).  Then we talked.  About everything and nothing, all at the same time. 

I don't really like campfires because of the smell and how it saturates everything, but this was a perfect fire, the wind was blowing just strong enought to blow all the smoke away and I didn't smell at all at the end of the night!  (Thanks God)!

Sunday morning after breakfast we did some morning reflections and closing circle.  We were also visited by "Sister Sue" who was quite funny!

It was an amazing weekend.  I was refreshed, brought bacvk to a more peaceful place that I hadn't been in a while.  Thank you Bluebird Cancer Retreats, thank you Bluebird staff, volunteers, all my new friends, the nurse at Cancer & Hematology who sent me and most of all, Thanks be to God!

May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Wow, what a difference a year makes.  It's been over a year since I've been diagnosed, but I clearly remember this day last year, Mary had bought a rather large "Fight Like a Girl" cake from Second Floor Bakery, Mary and my dad gave me some pink boxing gloves and they had some people over to thier house to enjoy the cake together and celebrate. 

Lot's of things have changed.  My hair is about 10 inches shorter.  My chest is completely lopsided (opposed to being non-existent last year), more on that later in this post.  I've gone through many ups and downs.  But, that's life, not just my life.  In fact, I know that many people's up are much higher than mine, and many lows much lower.  I've heard the word cancer more times than I ever wanted to in the last year.  And they weren't referring to myself.  I feel like every time I turn around someone else has cancer or knows someone who does.  It sucks.  It makes my heart ache.  What is going on?????  I really thought that having cancer and seeing how others helped us would make me so much better at helping others.  Well, that's not the case.  I still don't know what to do.  I don't know what to say.  I feel helpless.  That sucks too.

So anyway, that tangent is over.  Chest lopsided.  Well... reconstruction was miserable for me.  I know many people who are up walking around and doing things the next day.  Not me.  I was down for a good week.  And, guess what.  The results... well, they suck.  (I know that doesn't sound nice, but it sounds much nicer than other things I could say...)  Anyway... because of the originally unplanned radiation on the left side, the results are not optimal (to say the least).  It's to the point where I can't hide it, even though I know it's more obvious to me than the rest of the world, even my doctors have said it's not good.  So, what do you do to fix that?  You have surgery again of course.  Do you go in to lift one up and still have less than perfect results?  or do you go the much more invasive route of having a tram flap done?   One hour surgery or 8?  One week recovery or 8 weeks?  Long term good results or temporary questionable ones?  Arghhhh.  This isn't easy.  Right now I'm leaning toward the TRAM flap.  In fact, pending insurance approval, it's scheduled.  For June 6.  So, I'm requesting prayers for clear direction on this.  And, if I go through with it, the support we would need to get through the recovery. 

Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful mom's I know!

(One of the roses that my wonderful husband gave me for our 12 year anniversary on May 1)