Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ice Cream Day #4


Four years ago today (okay, actually, yesterday - I got the date wrong for the second year in a row) was pretty much the craziest day of my life. Not that I remember a whole lot of it, which is definitely to my advantage. Life turned upside when I was diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer. Four years ago I could not really have imagined what the future looked like. Four years later, I still can't really imagine what the future looks like.

What I do know is that it's been hard, but there's been a whole lot of good mixed in with the hard. I hear your mind/body know somehow when the anniversary of a traumatic event approaches, and I think maybe my mind/body has been dwelling in that place of knowing for the past several weeks. I'm looking forward to moving past today.

Before we move past the 4 year mark, however, we're going to celebrate being alive in the same way we have each year: ice cream. For breakfast, in particular. I really thought of skipping it altogether this year, especially when I realized the kids would be away from home. Becky and Brian convinced me it's important to celebrate milestones. And another year of life is nothing to ignore. 

So this Saturday morning (when the kids are back home where they belong), we'll wake them up with ice cream for breakfast. We'll remind them how far we've come; remind them of everything we have to be thankful for. And we'll plan on doing it again next year.

Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."

Monday, March 30, 2015


We dropped the kids off Saturday afternoon with Brian's parents; spending a couple of child-free days is both awesome and sad. Awesome because in the first 24 hours we've done things like finish a conversation without being interrupted, watched a non-animated movie (The Good Lie if you're curious), shopped with no complaining, etc. Sad because, well, no extended good nights and I love you's.

It's possible I snuck upstairs just to take an affectionate peek at Camden's empty bed with his stuffed animals and blanket neatly piled up. Sigh.

And then I looked into Rory's messy room with the wet towel on top of her bed and felt my blood pressure rise.

Speaking of those stuffed animals, we're at a crossroads. Camden chose not to take any sleeping aids (he has both a blanket and animal) for the first time. Rory forgot hers (and was very upset about it), but I hear she's surviving. I'm not super sentimental (understatement!), but it made me feel a little teary-eyed.

One more detail about the kids so I don't forget: Camden wasn't overly thrilled about being gone from his bed/routine/parents, etc. for the week. Rory, however, climbed into Gram and Gramps' car without even a goodbye.

Brian and I both have a full slate this week so I'm sure it will fly by. I'm going to miss those kiddos like crazy, but I'm totally going to take advantage of fewer responsibilities and enjoy the quiet time.

You see this kid is officially taller than me!

Road trip

Friday, March 27, 2015

Catching Up

We're coming off several very busy weeks, and I can't remember the last time I had a morning at home. It was a gift to my introverted soul to have a stretch of 4ish hours to clean closets, do laundry, and organize dressers in peace. We've been barely surviving around here in terms of cooking/cleaning, and I'm feeling a little better about the weeks ahead now that I have a clean closet and clean sink.

I also spent time packing up Camden and Rory for a week-long visit to East Tennessee. Since Brian and I both have to work, they're going to spend their spring break at Gram and Gramp's house. Our weather is that weird mix of sunny and 78 degrees one day followed by rain and 40 degrees so pulling together enough clothes that still fit (uniforms certainly reduce the amount of extra/fun clothes they have) has been more challenging than I imagined. I've been scrounging around in rubbermaids and the backs of closets, but finally found enough so they'll at least have jeans and  t-shirts for the week. This is certainly a switch from when they were younger, and I felt as if it were my full-time calling to provide them with the cutest wardrobe possible. ;) Priorities change, I guess.

The kids have standardized testing all this week at school, and while Camden seems to be sailing right on through, Rory has been a BEAR morning and night. I think she feels the pressure to perform (through no fault of her parents or teacher, I might add!), and those tests have worn her little brain out.

Brian and I took advantage of a babysitter last weekend and went to see Insurgent. Let me spare you some time and money - it's horrible.

I see my oncologist again on April 7, and I will be curious as to what my CA125 is doing. I've got a feeling I'm in for a big jump based on how my stomach/bowels have been acting. I've learned to chase my twice-a-day Tamoxifen down with a Zofran and Tylenol because apparently I am in the 8-9% who experience nausea, headaches, and insomnia. Still, many people take this for years and it is certainly easier than IV chemo so I am not complaining.

Nashville has been beautiful this week as the flowers and trees bloom. Clarksville is just enough north that we are still looking at brown, but I know green is on its way! I am really looking forward to pulling out my big girl camera and taking photos this spring.

(but for now, here are the first pink blooms I saw this week - they are much prettier than my poor picture!)

The kids had a little program at school during their regularly-scheduled monthly chapel yesterday. Because of work, I had not planned to attend, but Rory burst into tears when I reminded her it was a work day for me, and I decided maybe it was important that I be present. Of course, when I arrived, Rory was too cool for her mama and pretended I wasn't even there. Stinker! Camden, however, was happy to see me.

My 15-minute break from the cleaning/organizing binge is over so I'm going to get back at it. Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Awkward Family Photos: the Cousin Edition

We only have ourselves to blame for these photos since we somehow waited until the last day, indoors, nearly dark, etc. And we managed to pull the kids down from the middle of a game so they were not too excited about photos. All you can do is laugh, right?












Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I knew that I'd been pretty absent on the blog, but when I received the 4th email along with multiple texts and Facebook messages, I realized it has been a while.

Thanks, friends, for checking in with me. All is well. I am trying to keep up with life (and not feeling very successful). My brain feels sluggish and foggy these days although my mom suggested that my brain is not working more slowly than normal, it's just spread thin - and that's probably true. Work is busy. Kid issues are happening. Laundry and housework need doing. And I'm so very, very tired by the end of the day. And by end of the day, I mean 6ish. I really wish that were an exaggeration!

I have not picked up the camera since Becky and the boys left last week, but here's a snaphot of William and Camden just hanging out at the table reading . . . the same book . . . at the same time.



I still have some funny cousin pictures from last week to share. Maybe tomorrow?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Break #2

Brian's spring break was last week. Becky's spring break is this week. My kid's spring break isn't for two more weeks. We're just had to make the most of it in terms of trying to be together; we're calling this week Spring Break #2. :)

My mom has been patiently waiting on pictures while the three girls and grandkids were together. I didn't take a ton, but here are a few.

Lots of tutu-wearing from this girl.


There was alot of trampoline wrestling (rain or shine) going on. Becky and I pretty much decided someone was going to finish off the week with a broken limb, but everyone survived.




Because it's Tennessee, we had nearly 80 degrees one day and rain and 40 the next.


Rory did a really good job of keeping up with the big boys during the impromptu soccer game. Mostly because she was the only one not willing to give up.

Addison has nailed the chokehold/hug for photos.



It was a jam packed week, full of more work/church/required events than I would have liked while Becky, William, and Xavier were in town, but you've got to just make the best of it. I took the kids out of school Tuesday/Wednesday and was also able to take off work for the most part. Becky, Liz, and I went to see the Drop Box Film MOnday night, took advantage of the sunshine and 80 degrees Tuesday by a trip to the park then DQ. Wednesday was gray and gloomy and cold so while the kids played, Becky and I stayed in our p.j.'s, watched American Idol, and solved the world's problems.

This weekend is shaping up to be very busy as we try to get caught up while moving forward with new activities. Hoping to maybe snag a few moments of rest Sunday afternoon before the new week starts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Better Together

Brian's been gone the last 48 hours, and as if I didn't already know this, we're better together than apart. My hats off to those of you who regularly parent alone. It is no fun. After a particularly trying evening with one of our children, I settled into bed early with some TV. Daylight Savings Time is messing with both evenings and mornings so I was still awake at midnight and up at 4:12 a.m.

After a bad night, I was hoping for a good morning, but it just didn't happen. A cranky mama with a cranky kid is kind of a recipe for disaster. I can do the parenting thing alone if I have to, but Brian and I are meant to do it together and I'm grateful to have a partner. 

(came home from work yesterday to find this - runts are my favorite)


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Snapshot #18

Outside my window: bright, bright sunshine and piles of melting snow

I am thinking: about a family I love going through a tough time.

I am thankful for: hot showers, pedicures, walking, washing dishes, baths, etc. - all things I could not do on Doxil but will now be in my immediate future

Future plans I'm looking forward to: Becky's spring break visit!

Kid funnies:

Not sure I would call this a funny, but they sat down to put this puzzle yesterday (only a snow day would make them pull out a puzzle these days) and couldn't decide how to work together so I made them put it together separately. Rory refuses to let Camden help her, and Camden refuses to acknowledge that any system other than his own might work.



Last 3 purchases: MAC lipstick that I'm returning, my beautiful new Patricia Nash bag that I've been waiting on for over a year - scored it for 65% off, and Crema whole bean coffee (it was a rash splurge, but I'm not sorry)


I am reading: Wool by Hugh Howey, The Young Elites by Marie Lu is queued up next.

In the kitchen: Tacos provided by Brian's school - enough for multiple meals, which is fantastic. Also, lots of sugar snap peas and the Pioneer Woman coffee cake I made Thursday morning.

On my frequent play-list: all things NeedtoBreathe, specifically Brother and Wasteland since I heard them live last weekend.

Watching: We saw The Maze Runner (take a pass) last night and The 100 Foot Journey a couple of weeks ago (lovely!)

Rest-of-the-day plans: Breakfast at IHOP using a gift card, picking up our Bountiful Basket, car shopping (yikes!), laundry, prepping lunch for tomorrow, making cookies to stick in the freezer for Becky's visit, etc.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Snow Days #9 and #10

We started out with 65 degree weather all day Tuesday, but by Wednesday the temps were dropping and several inches of rain were followed by a couple of inches of ice and then 6 inches of snow. We are snowed in for the second time in just 3 weeks time - something that is very rare for Tennessee. I'm all for the occasional snow day, but this particular round of snow comes after the kids have only been back in school FOUR days and it cancelled a visit we had planned with some dear friends who were in town.

It also canceled our viewing of the Drop Box Film, and I am not okay with that! We actually ventured out, dropped the kids off at the babysitter, and arrived at the theater only to find it closed. Bummer. Especially since we had pre-bought our tickets. I hear it's coming out on DVD soon so we'll just have to rent or buy it.

Doxil has decided that it does not want to leave my system quietly, and I'm on my 3rd round of steroids in four weeks. If you're counting. Seems that possibly the decision to quit Doxil was the right one, although taking a pill twice a day (Tamoxifen) doesn't feel like I'm doing enough to get rid of the big C. Trying to be thankful that it should be easy and that Dr. C says it has as good of a chance as anything else of working.

I was a scrapping fool yesterday, so snow days are good for something! Considering it's -2 degrees this morning, I feel another very slow snow day coming on. If I can convince the kids, that is. It is 8:03 and they are bouncing off the walls.

All created with the March BYOC at the Lilypad - new today.

Credits here

Week 9a

Week 9b

She calls me her sister-in-love, and it's true. We're as close as can be even though we're something like 30 hours apart. Credits here

Credits here

Credits here

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The 2015 Faves Project

I scrapped a monthly personal faves page a couple of years ago, and even though I feel like my blog is narcissistic enough, I'm doing the faves project again in 2015.



And a few more I've scrapped in the past month or so.

Project Life Week 8a

Week 8b

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Verdict Is In

I saw Dr. C today for my monthly exam and chemo. It was also scan result day, and I could tell by all the questions the nurse had for me that my results were not good. Dr. C was very sober and informed me that I have one spot that grew (the one near my liver), one spot that decreased in size, and the rest stayed the same. Personally, that feels like a bit of a win (especially since my CA125 was down from last month), but Dr. C insists that it means the Doxil is not working, and she's the expert. She also says that I am not taking my skin condition (which is currently in horrific shape, and I'm in the middle of yet another flare-up) seriously enough and that it means that the toxicity of Doxil is more detrimental to my body than helpful for the cancer.

I am beginning a new regimen tonight, but it will be a twice daily pill instead of a monthly infusion. She says it would have been her next choice for me, and it also allows me to pursue clinical trials. The side effects *should* be minimal.

I have mixed feelings about this. In one sense, it feels strange to come home without chemo. But it also feels freeing to know that I should be feeling better soon. If I allowed the fear to creep in, I could definitely be afraid of what's to come knowing that yet another drug did not work. I could be very afraid of the clinical trial process and what the side effects and long days of testing will look like.

But, for now, I'm going to focus on the fact that the next month should be easier, my skin should start to recover, and I should feel well for the upcoming spring break and visit from Becky, William, and Xavier.

We took advantage of the afternoon not spent in a chemo chair and had lunch at Five Points Pizza - delicious - and went car shopping. Brian's poor vehicle is held together by duct tape (literally) and has no heat or air - it is well past time to replace it.

Our lunch spot. Super delicious!