Monday, December 30, 2013

The present...

I thought that this year would be easier, but sometimes
it didn't really seem that way.  Christmas marked two years since I had the itch, the itch that ultimately saved my life, but that also dragged me through the trenches.  Two years ago seems like a long time a ago, but it also seems like just yesterday. Unfortunately along with all the fun and excitement of Christmas, I have this memory.  I experience some of the same feelings of panic as I did two years ago.  I have to work hard to refocus and count my many blessings, to be in the moment.  

And so, here are some of our moments.

 We made a bunch of those wooden ornaments this year.  I'll have to post that on another day.

 E was excited to give his dog cousin a new outfit for Christmas.

Take a look at the little man's face when he open Blitzen's Reindeer Antlers as he requested.

 There has been way too much of this happening over the past few days.  It's coming to an end VERY soon.  This guy craves routine (as do I), so getting back onto some kind of schedule will be good for all of us.
 We made "place cards" for the Christmas table.  The idea came from Family Fun Magazine.

 Note the antler in E's hand.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”-Buddha

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Both E and Little Miss love to sing.  They both recently performed at separate Holiday Concerts.  Both brought tears to my eyes.  There is something about a group of children's voices that melts my heart.  Have  you seen the movie Elf?  If not, you must; it one of the funniest holiday movies.  
One of my favorite quotes from the movie:  
My children have mastered singing loudly. 

You must pass your days in song. Let your whole life be a song.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Life is strange.  On our way home from my first follow up appointment the other day, I found myself having a conversation with my husband that I would have never imagined having.  When we were married 17 years ago and were saying our "I do's", I'm pretty darn sure I wasn't thinking about the day I would be driving home from a plastic surgeon's office talking about the recent "work" I had done.  And, how about the fact that I'm having it done because I'm a breast cancer survivor...weird, strange, and still often hard to grasp (even though I'm living it).  

Lately, there seems to be a theme on some of the blogs I follow talking about the beauty that can be found in brokenness.  Hmmmm, oh how I can relate.  There are things one can learn from each and every experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant, easy or hard, fair or unfair.  Sometimes the beauty is not readily apparent, but if you search for it, you can find it. Somedays I'm still searching, but here is the beauty I see right now:

-My two kids- My body would not work to make babies.  Others made babies that they were unable to raise as their own.  My babies grew in my heart.  I can't imagine life without either of them; they are beautifully mine!  

-My marriage- There are things I would have never learned about our relationship had we not experienced some of the tough times.  Our love for one another has been pushed to its limits many times, but it's helped us to grow in so many ways. 

-My parents- I'm not sure I ever took it for granted, but I feel such a sense of appreciation for them these days.  They are there in a heartbeat for anything we need.  There is a familiar comfort with them at all times; they love me through it all. Spending time with them is one of my favorite things to do.    

-My best friend- Where does one even start?  She's pretty phenomenal and puts up with the happy and grumpy me.  Actually some days I wonder how she continues to put up with me (i'm sure she wonders too), but she does, and I'm grateful for it.  We know the nitty gritty parts of each other (more than we ever have) and it's such a blessing to have a relationship you can count on even in the depths of muck! 

-My friendships- So many other people have come into my life because of my experiences.  I'm so humbly grateful for each relationship and friendship.  They all serve such a distinct and individual purpose in my life and make it so much richer and sweeter.

There's my short, quick, list of today's beauty in brokenness...things I would have otherwise not been so keenly aware of or appreciated as I do today. They are relationships that have become so much more beautiful because of the hard times...rainbows after a storm.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A peek...

At this year's Christmas Card.

the front:

the back:
(Little Miss and E's names with their ages are listed under the 2013)

Monday, December 9, 2013

'Tis the season...

Our halls our decked.
With my surgery scheduled last week, I got started early and tried to get most of our decorating done.  These are a few recent pictures from my cell phone.

 Thrill of Hope Print found Here.
 My memere handmade these little houses years ago.   I'm pretty sure some of my yearning for creativity came from her.

 Personalized Photo Puzzle found here.
 Memory Game found here.

“Christmas! 'Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart”

-Washington Irving

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Passing the time...

So, it's Sunday, five days after surgery.  It's behind me.  I walked through it, sometimes with my knees shaking and tears flowing, but I did it.  

The hardest thing for me to do at this point is to sit still; I'll take that as a good sign.  

I'm not one to enjoy sitting still; it's not good for my mind or body, but in this case, it's necessary.  To pass the time I watch a lot of TV, read magazines and blogs online, stare at my Christmas tree and sleep.  It's exhausting just sitting around you know!

Thursday I have a follow up with my genius of a plastic surgeon...she's the best, really!  Maybe I'll even get one of my three drains taken out (probably too much information, but just keeping it real people).  

Thank you all for your unwavering support and love; it helps pull me through with a smile on my face. 

Time is a very healing place, one in which you can grow.  ~Denise Tanner

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Walking through it...

It's 11:00pm on Thanksgiving night and as I reflect on the day filled with my family and all the things I love the most, I can't help but be grateful for all my many blessings. It's been almost 2 years since the Big C rudely invited itself into my life and honestly, at that time, I wasn't sure what the future held.    Today, and everyday, I am so grateful for my health and the everyday moments that make life so very sweet. 

With November coming to an end, and December literally days away, my nerves are starting...this Tuesday I'm scheduled for surgery, surgery to help reconstruct what the Big C demolished.  It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I haven't talked about this upcoming event too much; I think that has been my coping mechanism.  When I talk about it, I tend to get worked up and even more nervous and then the nerves turn into tears; it's not pleasant, for anyone. I've decided to just carry on with life and when Tuesday comes, I'll be where I have to be and just do it.  I will walk through it, just like I have before.  I think I also avoid talking about it because I'm not sure how others will react and perhaps I'm avoiding any unwelcome comments that may surface... 

Yes, I've elected to have this surgery, it's my choice and my choice alone...I guess that's the tough part.  Who wants to be the sole decision maker in anything?  It's stressful!  

It's now fall, the cold weather is here and it's a lot easier to feel confident and comfortable with layers of clothes to cover up what the Big C stole from me. I question, do I really want to do this?  And then I think back to the summertime and the warmer weather, and I am reminded of the days when it was hard and annoying.   The everyday routine was often frustrating and  sometimes even brought me to tears. I plan on living a long life and it just seems to make so much sense to just do it. 

The physical rebuilding from the surgery will help to rebuild some of the emotional garbage that comes along with being a breast cancer survivor. For me, this is what I need to do.  I realize some may question my decision and for others faced with the same choice, perhaps you may not choose to take the same road.  I get it. 

I do know, however, that most people are and will be completely supportive and love me through this, just as they have before.  That is why I can do this; I have a support system and a team the size of an army cheering for me.  

The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All Clear...

So today's the day, the day I've been waiting for since Friday morning when I had my annual MRI. I didn't really start having a pit in my stomach until I woke up this morning, so I was happy about that.  I called the doctor's office for my results at 8:20am and then about an hour later the nurse practitioner called me back to tell me my "MRI was benign", which directly translates to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah!!!!  Although I had no reason to believe all wouldn't be normal, there is, of course, the possibility that it wouldn't be.  After all, that's why they do the test.  But, I'm happy to report the "all clear".  Today is a good day!  

                                                              “YAHOOOOO! You're all clear, kid. ”

                                                                                                                                                -Harrison Ford

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blog Header Issues...

I haven't had a blog header for about 2 weeks because every time I upload it, the quality seems to be terrible.  It's fine before I upload, but then, yuck! I'm going to leave it up for now and may this serve as my disclaimer for the poor quality of my blog banner.  I'm aware of it, but I'm going use my father-in-law's good enough philosophy and carry on with other things for now.

I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect - they are much more interesting.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


It's the eve before my 2nd annual MRI, 3rd MRI total.  I'd like to say it's old hat by now and that I haven't really thought twice about it, but that is not the truth.  The truth is...I can't wait until it's over and really, I can't wait until I hear the nurse at the Breast Health Center say "your MRI is clear" when I call for the results next week.  Having these tests just reminds me once again that there was an unexpected intruder lurking in my body 2 years ago, like I even need a reminder at this point.  Tests like these do a good job of bringing up things you'd rather just forget.  They help to rehash the ugly and that is always just a little unsettling.  It starts with the questions on the phone...

"So, you have a history of breast cancer?"
"And you had a mastectomy?"
"On what side?"
"The right."

It goes on, but I'll spare you the pain of going through them along with me.  Why must I answer those questions each time I have a test?  Isn't it in my file?  You have to confirm it for the 100th time?  (perhaps that's an exaggeration, but really...why?)

Now I will get to my appointment tomorrow and guess what?  I'll have to complete a questionnaire and answer all the questions AGAIN, but this time it will be on paper. It's no wonder I feel myself getting in a funk.  

The good news...the test is at 8:00 in the morning.  I'll be done bright and early and the day will not revolve around my anticipation of what's to come.  I will, however, have to distract myself from thinking about the results until next week.  I'm getting good at the art of distraction and positive thinking, however, so I should do just fine.


  [v. ree-hashn. ree-hash] 
verb (used with object)
to work up (old material) in a new form.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Honor Our Military
Let's honor our military,
The men and women who serve,
Whose dedication to our country
Does not falter, halt or swerve.
Let's respect them for their courage;
They're ready to do what's right
To keep America safe,
So we can sleep better at night.
Let's support and defend our soldiers,
Whose hardships are brutal and cruel,
Whose discipline we can't imagine,
Who follow each order and rule.
Here's to those who choose to be warriors
And their helpers good and true;
They're fighting for American values;
They're fighting for me and you.
By Joanna Fuchs

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Yes, I realize it's been almost a week since Halloween, but hey, it's the first chance I've had to talk about it, or perhaps it's more like it has taken me that long to recover.  Back about 6 or so years ago, I kind of despised Halloween.  I thought it was ridiculous and so not worth all the hoopla and chaos it caused.  Although each October 31st presents itself with its challenges, it has grown on me.  I mean look at those faces...they love it!
 This year Little Miss went as Dorothy.  E went as a knight, ninja, hobo, Luke Skywalker, Celtics Player.  Months ago, he told me that he wanted to be a knight.  I was excited to find a great costume online.  I ordered it without checking with him and apparently, it wasn't what he had in mind.  
We went to the store and found some accessories to go with it...perfect.  He was I thought.  The morning of Halloween he told me he wasn't going to be a knight.  Ok, "well, find something to dress up in when you come home from school". He came home from school and informed me that he was just going to go trick or treating in his regular clothes.  Hmmmm...I wasn't a fan of that idea.  He then decided he was going to be several things all within the span of an hour, but the costumes were too goofy, too hot, too itchy, etc... Ultimately he decided to be a Celtics Basketball Player...perfect!  

In the middle of the whining and crying about what costume to wear, I had started to lose my patience; it was frustrating!  I was quickly losing my newfound fondness of the holiday.  Mid-steam coming out of my ears moment, I remembered a story my mom has frequently told me about the year I wanted to be a witch.  

She had carefully chosen my outfit, took the time to paint my face and was excited for me to see the finished look.  When I looked in the mirror, I cried.  "I didn't want to be an ugly witch!"  
That story she has told me so many times, saved me from completely throwing a fit at my nine year old son.  Thanks mom!  What goes around comes around I guess.

"Eat, Drink, and Be Scary."