Monday, December 31, 2012


One year ago today I was outside playing in the yard with the kids and my cell phone rang.  Part of me thought that because it was New Year's Eve, it certainly was going to be good news and I could ring in the New Year with a big sigh of relief.  However, that is not how the story went.  I proceeded to answer the phone and got the news that I indeed had tested positive for Breast Cancer...that was it...that was all I knew...that I tested positive.  Having a lack of information just allows the brain to go all sorts of crazy creating scenarios, and for the days that followed that's pretty much how the story played out.  

Now, here I am one year later.  In some ways it seems like I have been through so much during this past year and in other ways, it's gone by quickly, somewhat of a blur (probably in part due to the enormous amounts of meds ;/)

Although I now realize that this past year taught me so very much, that it was supposed to happen, and that it was a part of a Master Plan, I'm ready to move on to 2013, and start anew.

Thank you for following me on this life journey during the past turbulent year.  I'm looking forward to the year ahead with a renewed sense of gratitude and appreciation for life.  

Photos from today's 4th Christmas Celebration.  I love this time of year!

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. 
Helen Keller

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas and a New Page

Well, another Christmas has come and much preparation and it goes by in the blink of an eye.  

 E looks thrilled, doesn't he?  

As the next chapter in my journey gets started, it seemed fitting to add a new Breast Cancer page to my blog, hoping that perhaps my experience could help someone else.  I'll be adding more resources as I find them.

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. 
C. S. Lewis 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tainted, but thankful...

The original title of this post was going to be tainted, but then my wise BFF steered me into adding thankful.

It was 363 days ago, on Christmas, when I had an itch-I now refer to it as the itch that saved my life.  However today I found myself annoyed that the Christmas season is also the anniversary of me being diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  This time of year is now tainted with the the Big C.  And then, a midst my whining and self pity, my BFF said she was thankful I found the lump, "not thankful that it was there, but finding it was the best thing that could have happened" in the situation.  And when you put it that way, who can argue?  Who even wants to think about what would have happened if I didn't find it...I'm going to choose not to go there. 

...And so with that I'm going to move forward and be grateful during this season.   It's all a matter of how you look at things...perception... 

Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

26 Acts

For those of you interested in doing the 26 Acts that I mentioned on Wednesday, here is a sheet you can print out.  I found it here.  

Friday, December 21, 2012


It's Friday...time for my latest Instagrams.  Our elf, Zart is making a lot of appearances today.

 1. Zart 2. Zart again 3. Gingerbread Ninjas 4. Wrapping presents from school 5. Watching a movie 6. It's a Wonderful Life starring E. 7. Me and E before his play 8. St. Ann's 9. Little Miss 10. Getting crafty making snowglobes 11. Zart 12. Zart
 1. This year's ornaments 2. Mr. Mailman...really?  3. Santa signed a note when Zart visited the North Pole 
4. Christmas decorations 5. Fingerprint tree by Little Miss 6. Outside Decor 7,8. Priceless artwork by Little Miss, displayed at parent teacher conferences. 9. Zart again and 10. again 11. Friends at E's play 12. E at his piano
 1. E's Birth Family at his play 2. More family 3. Signing autographs 4. The cast 5. Zart's head shot 6. Hanging out with Santa 7. Boxes to mail 8. Tea quote 9. Birth family gifts 10-12. The Enchanted Village
1. Repeat..(sorry) 2. Little Miss and her Daddy 3. Hanging near the ceiling 4. The kids and Santa George 5. Making bags for homeless people 6. Gathering the goods for the bags. 7-9 Getting crafty again

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. 
Oprah Winfrey 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What can you do?

What do you say?  At a time of such sorrow, such loss and devastation....what do you do, what do you say?  The events that took place on Friday in Connecticut are nothing short of devastating and tragic.  They have caused a nation to grieve and walk through each moment since we first heard with hearts so heavy that many of us have to fight the tears and the sickening feelings in our stomachs.   And then we look at our children and our hearts ache even more...for those that lost their loved ones and for the many children that have been forever scarred by this unspeakable nightmare.  

It seems that when such a tragedy occurs, we all seek to find answers....why?  And starts...

Some say it's the lack of gun control, some say the schools need to be more secure, and others say it was because the shooter had Aspergers Syndrome.  The latter "answer" triggers some strong emotions for me.  But, I don't think I even need to address it because John Elder Robison does it what he says here.

What can we do as individuals about this?  Well, I think we can start by showing kindness to one another, especially to those who seemingly do not "deserve" it.  Pay attention to what goes on around you, be compassionate and reach out to those who may seem "off".  It's not someone else's problem...

There are many things that people are doing to honor the victims and their families, including 26 acts of kindness, a campaign initiated by Ann Curry.  What a great challenge.  Even if you can't see yourself doing 26, start with one.  You can do something and you never know how far the ripples of your random act of kindness will just go do it!

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind and the third is to be kind. ~ Henry James 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

All over the place...

That describes this post and my emotional state over the past couple of days. about ups and downs.  For now, however, I'm done with the downs and I will only be participating in the ups for the near future.

So E is in his first play.  He is playing one of the Bailey Children in a production of It's a Wonderful Life.   There are 6 performances, 3 of which were this past weekend.  He was very excited to be in the show and is looking forward to more opportunities like it in the future.  The heavy rehearsal schedule last week and the 3 performances made for one EXHAUSTED boy, one EXHAUSTED boy who has difficulty dealing with EXHAUSTION.  We're still trying to catch up with the sleep.  More information about the play can be found here.  

 The performances take place in the basement of  St. Ann's Church, a church that is no longer an active parish.  It is, however, still open to the public for tours of its amazing fresco artwork.  The pictures do not begin to show the real beauty of the church.  If you're local, you should go and see for's amazing!  The faces of the people seen in the murals are of actual people who belonged to the church at the time the paintings were commissioned.  

And, here is the artist that created all the amazing artwork...apparently he was a hunchback...even more amazing!

So, one more any of you watch Parenthood?  Generally it's Victor and I's 10:00 date on Tuesday evenings.  Tonight, though, I'm boycotting!  A few months ago they started a breast cancer story line.  I wasn't sure if I was "excited" about this new story line as I have my own story to follow in that regard.  However, we continued to watch and really, they seemed to be doing a decent job with portraying a somewhat accurate depiction of what the situation could be like.  The previews they showed after last weeks show made me change my mind.  The mom with breast cancer will be fighting death in this week's episode as she develops a fever during chemo treatment and records video goodbye messages to her kids.   WHAT?  Thankfully, I finished chemo 3 months ago because I didn't need this reminder that something like that could happen, nor do all the other people going through chemo.  I am admittedly disappointed that Parenthood chose to add more drama to an already dramatic story line.  It is my opinion that more people would have been able to relate to the story had they not added that piece, as it is more typical that people have chemo and get through it without major complications.  I know for me more serious issues and side effects were always at the back of my mind, but that's where I tried my best to keep them. 

 I know, it's just a TV show...and this is just me, venting.

"You see, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away? "
-It's a Wonderful Life

Monday, December 10, 2012


We are knee deep into Christmas crafting over here.  Every year I try to have the kids make some kind of ornament.  This year's was super easy.  Little Miss used her finger to make wreaths and trees and then we added glitter bows and garland and a ribbon for hanging.  These are actually very small canvases (2 sq. inches).  

 Here is E (well, his arm) making his wreaths.  He definitely is not easy to convince to make something, but he did it.  His canvases are a bit bigger (3 sq. inches) and they're flat.  I have a thing for these mini canvases.  They work out perfectly for little decorations and ornaments.  I think this is the fourth time we've used them.  I'm hoping no one minds a mini collection of my kids' artwork :)  
 E's wreaths waiting for bows and hangers....finished product to come.
We try to get the ornaments done early so we can mail out the gifts to the kids' birth families on time for Christmas. To see past gifts and uses of the mini canvases, click birthfamily gifts at the end of this post.

Ha, ha!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ah, now if I can follow this advice, I'd be golden.   After a cancer diagnosis, it's hard not to feel vulnerable and invaded.  I'm so peeved at the stupid Big C...what a pain in my behind, knocking me on my butt and scarring dare it!!    However, I kicked its butt right back and it taught me a few things while it was here.  After all, you never want to lose the opportunity to learn something from each life experience.

Every day is a conscious effort to focus on the positive and walk through the day with confidence and strength.  Most days I'm doing it, but, I have to admit, it's not always an easy task.  

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thoughts on Adoption....

Sometimes I have trouble keeping my mouth shut (no comments from the peanut gallery please).  The other day I saw a story on TV and I was literally yelling at the screen.  It was about two young brothers, 10 and 11 years old.  Their parents died unexpectedly when they were little.  The 11 year old ended up living with his grandmother and the 10 year old was adopted.  The two boys met each other (through a twist of fate) this past summer and were reunited for the first time since they were babies.  The thing that struck me about this story was that the reporter said "Isaac, the 10 year old, did not know he was adopted."  WHAT?  This is the year 2012 and we are still neglecting to tell our children where they come from?  I was annoyed...  Annoyed that it was mentioned by the reporter so nonchalantly and not addressed any further (why even mention it in the story?) and annoyed with the mother for not being open and honest with her child.  Perhaps she was scared or was protecting her child.  I understand that she probably had the right intentions, but I just do not get it...

It is your children's right to know who they are and where they come from; it should not be kept from them.  It makes them who they are.  I understand that sometimes their story may be tainted by difficulty, but it's still their story and they have the right to it.  By keeping information from them, isn't that indicating that they should be embarrassed or ashamed?  And if and when they do find out, how will they ever trust you again?  

As an adoptive mother,  I have been given an indescribable gift and knowing where my children come from and being able to share that with them is part of that gift.   One of my favorite quotes from James Gritter's book, The Spirit of Open Adoption is "In the absence of information, fantasy abounds."  It's so true...for everything...when there is no information, we concoct things in our heads and there is no limit to what we could imagine and create.  Given all the information, our children are able take it in, process it and move forward without having all the "what ifs" floating around.

I'm always shocked when people ask me if my children know they are adopted.  For us it's like asking if they know what color eyes they have.  Of course they do, why wouldn't they?  It's is part of who they are and I do not have the authority to take that away from them, nor would I choose to. 

"Children thirst to hear where they came from...
they need to know that they were desired, that their birth was a wonder, and that they were always the object of love and care."
-Marcelle Clements

Friday, November 30, 2012


It's Friday and it's been a few weeks since I've posted my instagram pics, so here are a whole bunch.  Happy Friday everyone!
 1. Ellie went missing, so Little Miss made a sign, it was complete with the address and everything so she could hang it on the telephone pole.  2. Little Miss trying out the horse at Home Depot.  3. E doing the same. 4. The husband and I took a trip to IKEA...wowsers that store exhausts me. 5. Courage. 6. Grace.
7. Thanksgiving bike ride (run for me) 8. Heart Rock 9. Place Cards made by Little Miss
10. Me. 11. Thanksgiving Table 12. Thanksgiving feet.
 1. Mem skyping with my uncle (her son) 2. Weekend away with the husband.  3. Starting the weekend off right.  4. Antiquing  5. Antiquing 6. Antiquing-How fun it would be to be able to afford some of these treasures.  7. The view from our room.  Did I mention that I have the best parents EVER...they hooked us up with this beautiful spot AND took our kids for the entire weekend.  Thanks Mom and Dad, you're the best. 8. More wine.  9. A movie- a good one.  You may want to read this before seeing it. 10. Tea drinking 11. More Antiquing 12.  Tree Trimming
1. The view from the couch 2. Some favorites 3. An oldie of a chubby Little Miss 4. An oldie of sweet E 5. Zart has resurfaced, but I think he may need to return to elf school.  He can never remember to fly back to the North Pole each's a problem.  6. Zart Hanging around.  7. Silly faces 8. Praying to Baby Jesus 9. My spontaneous hugger made the paper hugging Mr. Feinstein

I'm Linking up with Jeannett at Life Rearranged.

"The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best
of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just to say hello....

So I get to see my caring, compassionate, competent, intelligent, adorable surgeon today.  He is removing my port.  I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't tell you I'm having some anxiety about it.  Apparently it's much less of a big deal taking it out as compared to putting it in, but still, I'm not a fan of any of it.  I'll be glad when it's done.  Having the port removed is like some sort of symbol or milestone to my's one more step to "fitting in"...exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Although I'm not thrilled to be having a procedure today, I'm comforted by the thought of seeing the doctor and checking in.  It's been almost an entire month since I have seen any doctor.   Do you think he'd mind scheduling me to see him at least once a month, you know, just to say hello?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Have you heard this song? 

I heard it about 10 minutes ago on the Today show.  I was always one to listen to the lyrics of songs, but now, even more so. This one hit me, it made me cry, but in a good way.  I'm certain it will not have the same meaning for you, but it's worth a listen (and a cry if you're anything like me).  

Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!
Bob Marley 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just one...

The day before Thanksgiving, I set aside some time to get a picture of Little Miss and E for our annual Christmas card.  I just needed one picture....

 Taking pictures of these two makes me sweat.

 Charm and personality...they have it all (if I do say so myself).

 It was hard to pick just one, but I did (and it's not one of these)... you'll have to wait to see it on our Christmas card.

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them.”

-Diane Arbus