Monday, December 31, 2012

new beginnings

“for what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. there’s no time limit, stop whenever you want.
you can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing.
we can make the best or the worst of it. i hope you make the best of it.
and i hope you see things that startle you. i hope you feel things you never felt before. 
i hope you meet people with a different point of view. i hope you live a life you’re proud of.
if you find that you’re not, i hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
(f. scott fitzgerald)
another year begins. goodbye 2012, hello 2013. tonight on new year's eve i am thankful for another year - all of the good and all of the bad, to live through a year you always have to take some of both. hopefully more of the former than the later.
tonight i didn't feel up to any big celebrations, i just wanted to be home. we had a great dinner (thanks jo), we played trains, we laughed, and then i got to lay next to malena in her little bed as she fell asleep. there was nowhere else i wanted to be on new years eve this year. as i laid next to her, i thought about the unknown of what 2013 holds for us. i thought about what those results will hold for us in fifteen days. 2013 will bring what it will bring, and we will take it all as it comes. day by day.
i looked back on my new year's eve post from last year, it is amazing how much of what i said last year is still applicable this year.
in 2013, i have chosen "document" as my one little word. as you probably remember, "healing" was my word for 2012 - and i will carry that word with me through 2013 as well (and likely forever because i don't think that i will ever stop healing). but, for 2013, the word "document" was the right choice.
this year, i want to
+++ document our lives through our photos, and finally commit (i know, i know - i have tried before but i think the new year is the new start i need) to getting our photos caught up and in albums.
+++ document my love for friends and family by writing them notes and letters telling them what they mean to me
+++ document all of the fun things that i have planned in 2013, including
- running a 5k
- running a 10k
- getting malena a library card, and making library trips a new routine in our lives
- learning to make creme brulee
- a trip to bend, oregon (or "friend, oregon" or as me/em/hooch call it;))
- trips to pullman, minnesota, and wherever else life may take us
- weekend trips exploring new places in washington
- sunday mornings at our coffee shop
- fun times with family and friends
- cooking/eating new recipes
- date nights
- movies
- reading books
- listening to music
- time in my craft room
- little projects around the house (oh wait, this was supposed to be my "fun things i have planned list)
- the list goes on and on......
i hope that you all have a great start to your 2013, may it bring you all that you are hoping for and much more. xo.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

acts + jillian

i have been very moved by all of the acts of kindness, and i am thankful for the good that can come from something so unbearable.

+++ lisa's act of kindness is dedicated to lauren gabrielle rousseau, and here is an update from lisa:
“I wanted to update you on my act(s) of kindness dedicated to Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau. I often go to a Starbucks drive thru near the girls’ school. About a month ago, someone paid for my drink. When I got to the window to pay and he said I didn’t owe anything, I was totally confused. He said it was already paid for and I was still totally confused. No one had ever done that for me and I had no idea people even did that. The person had driven away and was gone before I even got to see what they looked like. Such a small act of kindness by someone who did not even know who I was just made my whole day and left me feeling happy for quite some time. I have done this now for people behind me a couple times, and have thought of Lauren each time I did. Hopefully it brought them a little slice of happiness.
Also, the girls and I are planning to take items to Children’s Hospital off their wish list for toys and personal items.”
+++ denise's act of kindness is dedicated to daniel barden, and she made a donation to the pullman fire department in support of their first aid & cpr classes. daniel dreamed of being a firefighter like his uncles, and firefighters lined the streets in his honor.
+++ chris's acts of kindness is dedicated to noah pozner, and here is an update from chris:
"It is so hard to imagine the weight of the grief in Newtown, as heavy
as it feels here all the way across the country, for those of us who
didn’t even know any of these families. As the mama of a 6 ½ year old
first grader and 2 ½ year old boy/girl twins, this tragedy really hit
home. When I learned that Noah Pozner was a twin, whose sister
survived in another classroom, my heart ached even more for his
family. In memory of Noah, and in honor of his twin sister Arielle, I
donated the book “Always my Twin – for young children who have
experienced the death of their twin sibling” to our local public
library. In hopes of helping his grieving parents and others, I made
a donation to CLIMB – The Center for Loss in Multiple Birth."
+++ jen's act of kindness will be dedicated to olivia engel
+++ i also wanted to share with all of you this comment that i received on the last post i wrote about the acts of kindness: "Hi Alli, You might think this strange or serendipitous but I felt compelled to write you. I found your blog from my sister's website and this random act of kindess of yours has come full circle. You see, my dear friend from high school is Rachel D'avino's cousin. I hope you don't mind that I shared your tribute with her because it is my prayer that her family will find comfort in knowing that she continues to touch lives. Her legacy will live on because of souls like you and Kris to spread her message. Thank you so much! -Kristin"
+++ in the world of melanoma, today was a sad day. as her mom posted, "It is with deep regret and a broken heart that I tell you, Jillian Hayes-Wagner's job here on Earth is complete. It is up to us to continue to share and to spread her light." i have posted about jillian before, and this was the latest post from her mom right before christmas. there were other things that i had intended to write about today related to melonoma and how i am feeling about my upcoming scans. but i don't want to spend time thinking about how i feel about things going on with me. i want to spend my time sending a lot of love out to jillian's family. i am so thankful her mom shared her courageous story with the rest of the world, although of course i wish there never would have been a melanoma story to share.
rest in peace jillian. you will always, always be remembered.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

more acts, more kindness

i hope that you all had a great holiday week so far, i know i have.

while celebrating the holidays, the acts of kindness have continued:

+++ my brother made a swag and put it on the gates of the cemetary where our grandparents and other loved ones are laid to rest. his act was dedicated to the memory of dylan hockley.
+++ kadeena's act was dedicated to benjamin wheeler. ben was 6 and loved soccer and swimming. kadeena made a donation to the boys and girls club of king county in his memory. her donation will make it possible for one child to participate in a sports league for the entire season.

+++ kris's act was dedicated to rachel d'avino. kris sent me the following:
"Rachel D'Avino was a behavioral therapist who shielded students the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. She was close to finishing her doctorate and her boyfriend had asked her family for permission to propose on Christmas Eve. She was a teacher who will be remembered by her student's parents as not having her day end at 3:00. She was known for making after school home visits and supporting parents to learn different techniques for helping their autistic children function daily. In her memory and honor I have chosen to donate money to the Lutheran Church Charities Fund. They are based in Illinois, and will be remembered for sending the K-9 Comfort Dogs to Connecticut to comfort both children and adults in the wake of this unspeakable event. The dogs and volunteers did not end their day at 3:00 either...instead they stayed as long as needed for the grieving town.
In addition, the school where I teach is gathering 600 penguins (our school mascot). Our students and parents are attaching notes to each penguin offering words of comfort, prayer, and condolence for the students and staff at Sandy Hook. I have sent a penguin with a note to a surviving staff member whom I cannot even imagine what they are feeling. These will be sent to them next week in honor of all of the students and staff that were lost and to support the students and staff that survived."

+++ tracy's family's acts are dedicated to james mattioli, grace mcdonnell, emilie parker, jessica rekos, ana marquez-greene, avielle richman, and jesse lewis. tracy sent me the following about their acts of kindness:
"Jessica - Will collect food for Evergreen H.S. food pantry. It benefits students at her school; God knows the need for food continues year round.
Hannah - will send thank you letters to local law enforcement (Vancouver Police, Clark Co. Sheriff, SWAT) who responded to her school (Cascade Middle School) and Jessica's high school when a gun was found in a classroom 2 weeks ago and the schools had to go into lockdown and were then evacuated. Not only were the students kept safe, but they were also calm and organized.
 Tony - Will donate a bag of dog food to the Humane Society of SW Washington
 Phyllis (my mom) - Will round up new and/or gently used blankets from family & friends for the homeless shelter. They will need them as the nights grow colder.
 Sheryl (my aunt) - Will donate toys to the Share House that benefits women & children who are transitioning out of abusive/unhealthy situations
 Stephanie (my aunt) - Will read to young children at a local school for children with developmental delays.
 Chris (my brother) - Will write letters to several local stores to compliment the wonderful service received, observed, etc. even in the midst of ornery & downright hostile holiday shoppers. Aside from Santa, retail employees have the toughest jobs this time of year. Especially the folks who work at Clackamas Towne Center who are dealing with so much more than the typical holiday crowd.
Me - I will complete all of the above tasks for my family in the honor and memory of a victim of Newtown, and I will gift this to them for Christmas. The adults in my family have elected to no longer exchange gifts (of course we still do for the kids), but this is perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the season. And, each of the tasks selected in some way benefits aspects of each individual's life that is outside of my usual realm of involvement. Better yet, all of these are doable by the end of the year. But I better get going. I plan to have the following people's tasks done by tomorrow: Tony, my mom and Sheryl.
On my way, I will stop for coffee and pay for the person next in line."
+++ emily's act of kindness was dedicated to allison wyatt. emily and her son liam honored her by doing the following on christmas eve:
"We ended up with a down day on Christmas eve this year. A rare treat that has happened NEVER. Liam and I still had some shopping to do so we headed out and 1 stop in he's STARVING. So we stop at the Bird for some holiday grub. Restaurant is PACKED. Nightmare for Xmas eve. You could see on our servers face that she was exhausted but keeping up the good cheer. My first thought was to buy the family next to us their meal- but we decided instead to give the extra dough to our server. So on an $18 bill we tipped $20 and I wrote her that note I texted you :)

Our next stop had us at a coffee shop buying gift certificates for stocking stuffers. Looked out and saw the line up of Metro buses out there and tired drivers working on Christmas Eve. Decided to buy extra gift cards for the drivers and one by one Liam and I boarded the buses giving out the gift cards to the drivers with a 'hey do you drink coffee'? They were as shocked as they were delighted. Then we handed over $5 bills for upcoming passengers rides.
I hadn't told Liam we were going to do this today and he really got in to it. We started thinking about all the other people we knew that needed to work on the holidays like the fire fighters at the station down the street and our mailman and we decided next year that we would find ways to visit them and spread more cheer.
All the while I was thinking of a little girl- Allison Wyatt who btw reminds me very much of Ms Clara. We'll be making snowflakes to send to their new school (thanks for linking the PTA article). We'll continue to cherish her memory while we continue to spread good cheer in 2013."
+++ abby's acts of kindness will be dedicated to madeleine hsu and jack pinto
+++ kerry's act of kindness will be dedicated to caroline previdi
happy thursday everyone, make it a great one. xo.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

26 acts continue + happy holidays

we continue to have friends sign up for 26 acts....

+++ kadeena - your act is dedicated to benjamin wheeler
+++ jo - your act is dedicated to catherine hubbard - jo is making paper snowflakes to send to sandy hook to decorate the school when the kids return - if you want to participate in the effort more info is available here
+++ michelle - your act is dedicated to josephine gay
+++ beth - your act is dedicated to chase kowalski

we need ten more people to sign up so that we have 26 acts by the end of december. let me know if you will be one of the ten. let's keep the kindness in memories of those precious lives going.

i am going to take a few days off the blog to celebrate the holidays. i wish you all a very merry christmas. i hope that it brings you peace, joy, laugther, and warmth.

this christmas i am looking forward to family + traditions + laughter + hugs + children's excitement + christmas light show + cookies for santa and carrotts for reindeer + malena opening her presents, not sure who will be more excited - me or her:) + chocolate covered pretzels + my mom's great cooking + hot cocoa + reisling + the glow of the christmas tree + joy + love + happiness + memories.

above all, this christmas i am thankful for another christmas with those i love.

my very best to you and yours.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

26 acts continue

hi peeps. i don't know about you, but i am so ready for a friday. this week has been grueling. it really feels like friday has taken longer than it should to get here. i am happy that it has finally showed up.

here is an update on our 26 acts...

+++ ann emailed me today with her update..."Anne Marie Murphy was a special education teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary who died shielding the children in her classroom beneath her. She loved the arts, outdoors walks and most of all, her family. She was planning a gathering at her home on Christmas day for 37 people. Her family asked that donations in her honor be made to Autism Speaks, so my family sent a donation to this organization. We also sent notes to the special education teachers who lead the preschool at our elementary school (the preschool that both Natalie and Dominic attended). Anne Marie Murphy was buried today; we will light a candle for her."

+++ marcie emailed me with her update..."my plan is to donate children's books (early readers specifically for 1st grade age children like Victoria Soto's class) to the Tacoma Library"

+++ kris - your act of kindness will be in memory of rachel d'avino

+++ emily - your act of kindness will be in memory of allison n. wyatt

+++ nerd - your act of kindness will be in memory of daniel barden

happy friday everyone, enjoy it. xo

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

26 acts

26 acts.

we are on our way.

as i wrote yesterday, if 25 people join me by doing one act of kindness each, we can do 26 acts of kindness in memory of those lost at sandy hook elementary by the end of december.

+++ my act of kindness is dedicated to charlotte bacon. a friend's daughter recently had an accomplishment at school that is worthy of celebration. i sent her a card noting that we are proud of her with a gift card to one of her favorite restaurants so that she can treat her family to dinner to celebrate. i am also going to take malena to pick out some animals toys that we will donate to the local paws center when we are home for christmas, in honor of charlotte's dream of being a veterinarian.

+++ crystal's act of kindness is dedicated to dawn hochsprung, the school's principal who noted successes and various events at school. crystal bought her teacher's assistant "a starbucks gift card for all the work she does to keep me organized and caught up in class. i appreciate her and wanted her to know.

in addition, i wanted to share what was done at my school this week. last week our random acts of kindness club had a wishing well where students could "wish" for all sorts of things for themselves or most importantly for others. this week over 300 wishes were granted and over $3000 were raised to make sure every raven (our mascot) has a special holiday. clothes, shoes, lunch money, to more trivial like cookies, candy, and pizza were given. i love my school and the hearts of these kids."

+++ ellie's act of kindness is dedicated to olivia engel who was "outgoing and had a great sense of humor". ellie painted the nursery tonight of a pregnant friend who has preeclampsia.

+++ doreen - your act will be dedicated to mary sherlach

+++ marcie - your act will be dedicated to victoria soto

+++ ann - your act will be dedicated to anne marie murphy

+++ lisa - your act will be dedicated to lauren gabrielle rousseau

+++ chris - your act will be dedicated to noah pozner

we need 18 make acts of kindness to be done to make our goal of 26 acts in december.
let me know if you want to be one of the 18, and i will add you to the list.

happy thursday everyone, i think it is going to be a day with filled with a lot of good in the world.

important sidenote:
+++ on the topic of acts of kindness, a big thank you to everyone who has signed up so far for the "send happy mail to jen campaign." you should have received an email from me with your assigned week. if you didn't hear from me, or want to be added now, let me know. you all rock, but i already knew that;)

send your good vibes to jen for an appointment she has today. good vibes. good vibes. good vibes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

26 acts + helpers + and you can be one of them

the 26 lives lost last friday at sandy hook elementary.

i can't get them off of my mind, i am sure that you feel the same.

i have decided that i am going to do something. i hope that you join me.

let's combine efforts to do 26 acts of kindness.

in charlotte bacon's memory, i am going to do my act of kindness this week and i already know exactly what i am going do.

26 acts of kindness by the end of december. i know we can do this together.

if you want to join me, get in touch with me (leave a comment on the blog, email me, message me on facebook, you know the drill - just make sure that i know how to get in touch with you) and i will ensure that we have one act of kindness for each of the names we remember. i would love to know what you choose to do to honor their memories.

buy a coffee for a stranger. take treats to the local fire station. buy flowers for a stranger. pay for someone's gas. bring cookies to the teachers at your kids school. donate food to an animal shelter. do anything. do something.

one act of kindness. one life remembered.

will you join me?

Monday, December 17, 2012

serious couch love + the helping continues

guess where i am sitting right now? yep, on my couch. you can pretty much assume that from here on out, i will be on my couch when i am writing these post updates.

today was quite a day my friends....

+++ i sent kelly rae an email last night thanking her for being one of my helpers, i heard back from her today. she is such a good and lovely soul. i am so thankul that she is in the world, it is a much better place with her in it. there is absolutely no doubt about that.
+++ kelly rae wrote the kindest update on her facebook page today..."In the midst of so much heartbreak, I am inspired by this sweet woman and her community. And I am humbled to play a small part in her joy. Big thanks to Garden Gallery Iron Works for all the work they did to make one very brave woman's wish come true. You can read more on her blog:" that post is the main reason that over 900 people read my blog post today. yes, i said 900. can you believe that? me either. but i have to say that it brings me a ton of joy that 900 people got to read my words, they too were reminded that there are helpers all around us.
+++ garden gallery also posted about it on their facebook page noting that "We had the opportunity to be a part of a very special gift." they also posted six pictures of kelly rae signing the couch. seriously? the dream continues. their post is the other reason that my blog had 900 hits today.

+++ in addition to all of the couch love and feel good emails and comments throughout the day, i also got to have my monthly dinner with my friend chris. i got my annual shipment of peppermint bark - yum! that will not last long, trust me on that. i love the tradition of our holiday exchange, as we celebrate another year of monthly dinners - such an important tradition in my life in its own right.

hands down, the best monday i have had in quite a while. even the super frustrating parts of my work day (and there were many) couldn't put a dent (although they gave it a hell of a try) in all of the good that surrounded me today.

did i mention that i am in love with this couch? i think that it feels the same way about me. we are going to be really happy together;)

goodnight peeps, and hello tuesday.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

the helpers

i am sure that most of you have seen this quote somehow in the last 24 hours, if you have a facebook account, you most certainly have as it has been posted on numerous pages. i first saw it on friday a few hours after i had heard about what happened in connecticut. i spent friday (and the days since) in a bit of a blurry haze as i am sure that most of you have. but i connected with this quote when i saw it. it made me think of all of the people that i know and love that are helpers. i was comforted by the fact that i know so many good people in this world that can sometimes seem so cruel and senseless.
on saturday morning, my friend jill from wisconsin was in town and i was picking her up so that she could come over to our house for lunch. when we got to the house, i started to walk in and barrett told me to cover my eyes for a surprise. i thought that malena had done some christmas decorating or had a surprise for me. well, there was a surprise alright.
when i came around the corner, i first saw family and friends. then i saw my dream couch. yes, that dream couch. remember when i told you about the couch in this post? of course, i was in total love with the couch, but i always knew that i would only have the chance to sit on it one time in my life. i got to sit on the couch when i was at kelly rae robert's studio back in july, which was such a fateful trip around the time of my scans. if you remember, i felt like the fates gave me that unexpected trip to portland that monday because my scan results on wednesday weren't going to be what i hoped for. we know that turned out to in fact be true, but i am still so grateful to the fates for allowing me to meet kelly rae and susannah. it was a dream come true.
ok, back to the couch and dreams....when i sent out that post about the coach, my dear friend jill got an idea. her idea was that if enough family and friends donated money, collectively they could buy me the couch. after jill got the word out, the money for the couch ($2,000 people!!) was raised within two days (and i know that many of you reading this right now donated and i love you for that). in fact, more than the money needed for the couch was raised, that additional money is going to be donated to fred hutchinson cancer center in my name. unbelievable.
this planning had been going on since november, and i had no clue. no clue. at all. which is pretty amazing when you think about how many people knew about the plan.
i am still in total shock that the couch is in my house, i am sitting on it right now as i type this post. i wish i could sit on it 24/7, i would if i could. i keep looking over my shoulder when i am walking around the house because i feel like i need to keep checking that it is still here. it is that feeling of it all being too good to be true.
the dream gets gallery (you have heard of them from me before because i have posted to their site numerous time with kelly rae roberts items i love) was so kind and generous. they worked with jill to allow for the free shipping offer to occur even after the actual sale had expired, she had told them the story behind why it was being purchased for me. out of the kindness of their (clearly huge) hearts, they gave me one of kelly rae's 2013 calendars and one of her trunks. i have been drooling over those trunks ever since i saw them for the first time, and i have used kelly rae's calendars for the last couple of years. how amazing are they? yes, completely amazing. clearly, they are helpers.
the dream gets even gallery arranged for kelly rae to sign the couch ("to the lovely alli, a cozy place to inspire your creative spirit. xo, kelly rae 2012"), the calendar ("to alli, here's to new beginnings. may 2013 be full of brave days. xo, kelly rae 2013"), and the trunk ("to brave alli, to inspire your creative spirit. kelly rae, 2012"). i literally could not believe it, it was like dream overload. as you know from the gazillion times i have wrote about kelly rae or posted about her art (like when i bought myself one of her originals for my mother's day present), i am a huge fan and surround myself with her art - and many of you have got her art from me as gifts. so having her signature on the coach she designed - which is now in my house - is as about good as my dreams can get. then you add the signed trunk and calendar to it and i am speechless. if you could see the video from saturday,  you would know i was literally speechless. i don't think words came out of my mouth for the first couple of minutes. then i sat on my couch and just took it all in. all of the goodness. all of the love. all of the thoughtfulness. all of the donations. all of the planning. all of the giving. all of the care. all of my helpers.
this couch was meant to be mine. i feel such good energy coming from it, and when i sit on it, one word comes to mind: healing. i feel like this couch gives me a place to sit that is all my own (of course i will let you all sit with me anytime you like) that was created out of immeasurable love. i have always known that i am very lucky to be surrounded by so many people that care for and love me. i didn't need the couch to know that. but i feel like when i sit on this couch, everyone is wrapping their arms around me and telling me that it is going to be ok. whatever comes from these scans in january, and the scans after those - and the scans after those, i can do this. i have been doing this for two years, i will keep doing this. fighting, surviving, and healing. all at the same time, some days one more than the others.
so on this sunday night when my heart breaks for those families in connecticut, i am sending them good thoughts and prayers while i sit on my couch. those thoughts and prayers are telling them that there are helpers. they are all around us. this i know to be true.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

december fun

this has been a week of unexpected december surprises:

+++ on monday (in addition to my derm appt good news), it was a mystery monday night with my girlfriends. the mystery was that we were going to go around lake union in seattle on a hot tub boat.  yes, a hot tub boat. i didn't know they existed either. it was so great, we went on the perfect night.  clear sky, no rain. for two hours it was the seven of us in the boat cruising around the lake, checking out all of the lights of downtown seattle and the christmas tree on top of the space needle. after the boat ride, we headed to fremont for a great dinner. continous side-splitting laughter. perfect, unexpected december monday.
 +++ my friend beth surprised me with some flourless chocolate cake, peppermint bark, and a beautiful "inspire" ornament that made her think of me. the food is almost gone, but i will love putting that ornament on my tree every year.
+++ my friend kerry made me christmas sugar cookies and they rocked, and they came at the perfect time in the middle of a really crappy afternoon at work.
+++ my friend wallace sent me the biggest gummy bear i have ever seen, i had no iea wha was in that box when it showed up but i knew it would be fun (wallace, that box was soooooo heavy;))
+++ a message from my friend joel - one of my most favorite co-workers ever (i will message you back soon my friend - p.s., jumpsuits rock)
+++ a good catch up session with one of my favorite peeps while driving home from work

now if work could just be this good, the week would be perfect.

happy thursday everyone - the weekend is almost ours.

Monday, December 10, 2012


my dermatologist appointment went great today, no areas of concern - i so love to hear those words. i go back to see him in six months unless i see something that concerns me in the meantime. six months, i will take it. let's hope the good news keeps rolling through the scan results in january.

today was a great day, more to come on all of the reasons why tomorrow.

goodnight peeps. xo.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


today was the big day - the 5k! i did it!!!

when i first set the goal for the 5k, i did not run. at all. period. i set the goal because it was a big one. something i had never done before which is what made it a good goal. but here is the thing. i like running. yep, really like it. so there will be more of it in my future. next year the goal is to do a couple more 5k's, and then a 10k later in the year. after that, we will talk about a half-marathon. i never would have thought that this year would end with me running a 5k when 2012 kicked off. an unexpected box on the bucket list checked off. feels so good.

today was a good day.

our weekend was really good as well:
+++ reisling (you knew that would be on the list) + sleeping in on saturday (which helped with getting up at the crack o' dawn for the run today) + lunch at pcc + holiday party with good friends + funny white elephant gifts + peanut m&m's + christmas cards in the mailbox + pancakes with fresh fruit (so good after an early morning run) + berry mimosas + sunday afternoon nap + fajitas + seeing christmas lights on our drive home + watching malena fall asleep immediately after her head hit the pillow + catching up with modern family which equals a lot of laughing + ordering the photo memory game for malena (i am not sure which of us is going to be more excited to play once she opens it, but i think that i might be).

hello monday, as always, you have come faster than i wanted you to.

+++ thanks to all of the peeps who signed up over the weekend for the "send happy mail to jen campaign" - you all rock, i will send out the week assignments later this week. for those who haven't yet let me know that you want to participate, let me know anytime - the more the merrier;)
+++ are these cupcake stands awesome or is just me? i am having a hard time - and i mean mean really hard time - not ordering them for a little merry christmas to myself.
+++ also saw these and thought that they might save a lot of time that i spend unwinding my headphones when i pull them out of my purse
+++ if malena needed office supplies, she would so dig these animal paperclips
+++ i think that this george bailey award is a great idea, and i totally plan to do it with malena when she is a little bit older

Friday, December 7, 2012

hello, weekend

friday, you were brutal. work was miserable for me today. i also get the pleasure of being miserable over the weekend by having to work on an assignment i got at 5pm and is due on monday, leaving me no option but to work on it this weekend. ok, enough whining, moving on.

i hope that you all have a great weekend, one week closer to the holidays. my weekend will include work (let's get the bad news over first) + finding some white elephant gifts + dinner with friends + addressing christmas cards + getting some shopping to-do's checked off of the list + fajitas + oh yeah, a little thing called the 5k! yep, the 5k is here - oh man, i hope that i can pull it off. more to come on that by monday, if i am not still running.

enjoy it peeps. make it fun. make it merry.

+++ thanks to everyone who has already signed up for the send fun mail to jen campaign - you all rock. can't wait to have more peeps sign up, and i will get weeks assigned asap. (nerd - heads-up, you will have next week)
+++ i did not get picked for the design team that i submitted for. a bummer for sure. but atleast i tried. thanks for all of the good vibes on that.
+++ i really liked this post, a good reminder that those things that seem out of reach can quickly become ours with a little time and effort
+++ this might be the most personal mother child conversation you''ll ever be lucky enough to overhear
+++ gift ideas for your favorite workhorse
+++ homemade cranberry bliss bars
+++ i love the idea of wrapping and opening a christmas book each day in december
+++ whipped eggnog loaf cake
+++ chocolate caramel saltines

Thursday, December 6, 2012

launch of the "happy mail for jen campaign"

remember earlier this week when i asked for good biopsy vibes for a friend? i know that all of your good vibes are working their magic in ways we don't yet know, but unfortunately, the good vibes didn't translate in to good biospy results. the results showed a recurrence of cancer. recurrence and cancer are two words that should never be allowed to be in the same sentence. don't you agree?

jen was diagnosed with cancer just after i was about two years ago. she is a daughter. she is a wife (she married my friend mike, who i am pretty sure is thankful every single day that she did - as he should be;)). she is a friend. she is a daughter-in-law. she is a teacher. she is a survivor. the list goes on and on. with the results this week, she is headed towards a likely combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. for the second time. which is so not fair for so many reasons.

when i was going through treatment, i especially loved happy mail showing up in my mailbox (you know that i always love happy mail showing up). it was so nice to have something to open that wasn't a medical bill, and that i knew was sent just to let me know others were thinking about me. happy mail brought me comfort.

so i am launching the "happy mail for jen campaign" and here are the details:
+++ every week while jen is fighting (and more importantly beating) cancer, we are going to send her some fun mail. either fun snail mail or fun email, your choice - or both!
+++ let me know if you would like to sign up for a week (or weeks) and i will assign a week to one person. that week you send jen one piece of fun snail mail or one funny email (marcie-roo, i know you have some funny videos that you make you laugh, those could be perfect!). you can always send more than piece in one week if you like;) 
+++ before each week, i will send a reminder out to the person that is in charge of the happy mail for that week.
+++ the goal is to let her know that people are rooting for her, make her laugh (funny cards are awesome), have her crack a general, letting her know good vibes are coming her way.

if you are going to sign up for a week (and i know you are) or more, leave me a comment on the blog, email me, text me, facebook me, instagram me, make smoke signals, trip me while i am walking by you....however you know how to communicate with me, let me know that you want to join the campaign (and make sure that i know how to follow up with you, especially if i don't already have your email address). i will then assign you a week and give you jen's address/email address so that you can hook her up with fun mail.

as someone who knows, i can tell you that taking the time to send some fun mail to someone who is going through cancer treatments is one of the best ways that you can spend your time. i know that most of you don't know jen or mike. but, you know me, and you know that i am lucky enough to be surrounded by the best of the best. you have been affected by cancer somehow, and you know that a little bit of kindness can make a big difference. you know that jen has cancer, and i know that is the only reason you really need to join me in doing this for her.

i thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining the happy mail campaign. my mom was the first to sign up and her card is on its way, i know that you want to be the one who gets dibs on next week.

let's end this year by knowing that we will be giving jen something fun to look forward to as the new year and all it will bring for her begins.

thanks all. you rock. xoxo

very important sidenote:
++++ jen - i know you are reading this right now, so just pretend to be surprised when the happy mail starts rolling in;) i know that you and mike can do this. without a doubt. i am backing you all the way. i have also put cancer on notice that it is about to get its a*& kicked by you for a second time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the email

i got the email on monday from my oncologist.

scans on 1/14. results on 1/15.

6 month derm appt on 12/10.

the cycle begins again. the countdown is on.


Monday, December 3, 2012

good thoughts needed please

i had a totally different post in mind that i was going to write tonight. but by the day's end, i learned it was no longer relevant. what is relevant is that some of my friends are waiting on biopsy results. waiting on biopsy results is never a position you want to be in as a cancer patient. so tonight i am asking you to send out some good vibes/wishes/prayers/blessings - however you send your good karma out into the universe - for some positive biopsy results.

thank you.

trust me, they appreciate it.

i know.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


sunday night. seriously? seems like i was just writing my post on friday night and here i am again.

my weekend included...
sleeping in + a great dentist appointment for malena (great = malena actually allowing her teeth to be cleaned this time, which is a little december miracle peeps) + jamba juice + picking out a christmas tree + my expert ornament hanger excitedly helping with the tree decorating + putting snowflakes on our windows + listening to my "mixed cds" from my sister while driving (and yes, i will admit it - some outloud singing in the car) + time catching up with some of my favorite ladies with good food and drinks + my first taste of chocolate peppermint bark of the year (can't wait for my homemade batch i will get in two weeks from my friend chris) + christmas lights + christmas art projects + finding a new stamp that i couldn't live without + house chores (wouldn't be a weekend without those right?) + training run + the elf that will be with us until christmas filling santa in on malena on a daily basis + the start of advent calendars + spring rolls with peanut sauce + work (which is of course the least fun thing on this entire list).

hope your weekend was a good one too, good luck with the start of the new week. xo.

Friday, November 30, 2012

thankful (twenty nine and thirty)

hello weekend, it is really - really - really good to see you. finally.

on the twenty-ninth and thirtieth days of this month, i am thankful for:

+++  the work day being over. i was thankful for this on both days.
+++ hanging out with my mom-in-law for our annual holiday girls night out - very fun (thanks jo!)
+++ matador fajitas, so good
+++ getting to sleep in a little bit on a friday day off (which wasn't entirely a day off unfortunately - reference the first thing i am thankful for)
+++ taking malena to preschool which equals morning time together and extra hugs and kisses to start the day
+++ kettle chips, new york cheddar flavor - good thing i only got a small bag, because today i easily could have taken down a large bag in no time
+++ did i mention being thankful for the work days being over?
+++ jeremy my hairsylist (aka my hair angel)
+++ good scan news for a friend's beloved mom (woohoo - we really love good scan results!!!)
+++  fun comments on the blog (lisa - so glad that you checked out the christmas store, isn't the little cabin o' christmas so fun? & kristy - love that we will be making the same type of ornaments this year & nerd - duh;))

it has been a fun thirty days noting all that i have to be thankful for, thanks for coming along on the ride with me. i am going to miss sharing these daily thankful lists with you.

have a good weekend peeps. mine looks like it will include a dentist checkup for malena (which she is less than thrilled about so i am sure that will be fun for all involved) + a trip to jamba juice (which will closely follow the dentist appointment if all goes well) + holiday decorating + girls time + some work (boo!!) + sleeping in + reisling (already underway) + training runs + card making.

bring it all on.

+++ ali edwards put together a great gift list for memory keepers and i am of course drooling over some of the ideas (barrett - i know you are reading this. your wife would really love gift idea #5. consider this a strong christmas hint. please and thank you.)
+++  bloom is one of my most favorite books. ever. this list gives you some great ideas for the women in your life that you could give it to. genius.
+++ i got an awesome thank you card from my friend kadeena today who used this site to design and send them. i am totally going to try it. very cool.
+++ if you want a choice of ten great options for free christmas cards designs (all you have to do is insert your picture and get them printed), you need to go becky higgins free stuff link
+++ i could relate to this post by leigh (curly girl), there are often times i too wish i could be a human blanket for friends and family
+++ send me some good mojo for being selected for the design team i submitted for - announcement comes next week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

thankful (twenty eight)

yesterday i talked about an update on a melanoma warrior who did not got good news regarding her treatment. her mom posted this update today. please send good thoughts, they need them.

on this twenty-eighth day of the month, i am thankful for:

+++ my friend christina who turns a year older today, sending her good wishes for another healthy and happy year
+++ bruce springsteen for putting on a show in portland tonight for christina's birthday;)
+++ an unexpected break at work so that i could actually have five minutes to eat lunch
+++ having a chocolate gluten free muffin dropped off on my desk. yum.
+++ diet coke when i am dragging due to lack of sleep
+++ a friend getting good news
+++ getting some awesome music from my sister (again, she rocks)
+++ having my first christmas card of the year show up in my mailbox. every year, my first card is from my friend kris - a favorite holiday tradition of mine. in addition to loving the card because it is from one of my oldest friends, i love opening it because it signals the beginning of a lot of fun mail coming in december. you know how i feel about fun mail.
+++ girls night with malena
+++ dinner at "chicken robin" and playing games in the arcade. both of us trying multiple times to win a stuffed animal in the crane game, which i know no one ever wins. but boy did we have a good time trying.

happy thursday, one more day. we've got this.

+++ salted caramel brownies - enough said.
+++ perfect time to be reminded of the most important gift
+++ a holiday cocktail that looks pretty tasty
+++ easy chocolate fudge , mmmmmm......

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

thankful (twenty seven)

the last 24 hours was an interesting mix around here.

malena woke up at 2am having nightmares that a bee was on her pillow. she could not go back to sleep upstairs because she was so afraid the bee would come back. so her and barrett slept downstairs, but they didn't really get much sleep. i apparently caught the nightmare bug because i then had nightmares non-stop (not about bees, i wish that was my problem) until i dragged (literally) myself out of bed to go to work. this morning malena was really tired and had stomach problems so i stayed home with her.

while she was resting today, i was checking out some updates on blogs that i follow. a couple of them - melanoma related - shared sad news. a patient whose story i have been following received news yesterday that her treatment is not working. the chemo isn't working, and the melanoma is inoperable. hearing news like this is really hard for me, and honestly, my first instinct is always to stop reading because it is overwhelming. but, i don't. they deserve to have their stories heard, so i will listen. it is the reality of a world with melanoma. it always rocks me to my core, but really, not much about melanoma doesn't. i hope beyond hope that i see a day when there are no more melanoma stories to be share. with each day that passes, i hope it means we are one day closer to a cure.

so on this twenty-seventh day of the month, i am thankful for:
+++ all of the support within the melanoma community and the continual thoughts and prayers that get sent out on a daily basis, some of which have been for yours truly
+++ being able to stay home with malena when she doesn't feel well
+++ more hugs and kisses from malena today than i would have had if it had been a normal work day
+++ malena feeling better by days end
+++ naps
+++ cartoons
+++ malena's patience while i had to be on a couple of calls for work
+++ barrett making it home early enough for me to get a run in before it got too dark
+++ christmas lights keeping me company on my run, i think that the fall leaves made a deal with the lights so i wouldn't get lonely without them
+++ fajitas with yellow/red/orange peppers
+++ my sister helping me out with a little photo problem i created, she rocks (duh)
+++ a surprise package of very fun mail (thanks ann) and a super funny card (thanks kadeena)
+++ fun plans already being made for 2013

hello wednesday, you signal the half way mark, i love you for that.

+++ a free holiday card that you can customize
+++ free "cup of cheer" download that would be fun to use at holiday parties
+++ you know i love this i know and you can get the book and a special note from susannah for the person you are giving the book to. awesome.
+++ good reminders in this holiday guide to living and giving
+++ spaghetti with kale and sundried tomatoes
+++ i am in love with this idea by kelly rae roberts for using plates as wall decor
+++ i love holiday gift guides like this one from rachel cole
+++ pulled pork tacos? yes, please. this recipe makes my mouth water.
+++ i think that these salt dough ornaments will be a project that malena and i do in the next couple of weeks

Monday, November 26, 2012

thankful (twenty six)

on this twenty sixth day of the month, i am thankful for:

+++ a gorgeous sunset out my office window
+++ cancelled meetings which allowed me to get some things crossed off my work "to do" list
+++ leftover fruit salad for lunch
+++ another day with my mom and dad, which i am thankful for everyday, but am reminded of especially today as a friend mourns the loss of her dad
+++ being able to choose a glass of wine off an ipad at a restaurant, how cool is that?

+++  a much needed catch up session with a good friend over dinner
+++ being better at math than my friend (haha!)

+++ making it home in time for stories and cuddling with malena at bedtime
+++ mom/dad-in-law who take good care of malena every monday and spend time taking her on fun adventures including swimming, frozen yogurt, and visits to the pet store to say hello to her animal friends

happy tuesday all - hope your monday was as good as mine.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

thankful (catching up) + ormolu

i hope that you you all had a great thanksgiving, i definitely did - and now i am wondering where the four days off went? how it is already sunday night? i am not sure either but i am not liking it. i would like another four days off please, with sugar on top.

on this twenty fifth day of the month, i am thankful for:
+++ spending time at my parents house with my family eating turkey sandwiches (yearly tradition), laughing, watching apple cup, eating some more, laughing, eating....
+++ seeing malena play with her cousins, the three of them playing reminds me of how much i loved playing with my cousins when i was younger. i still have a ton of fun hanging out with them. i love to watch those little girls play and sing (they put on a the concert for us in the dining room saturday night and it was awesome/hilarious/super cute).
+++ girl time with my mom shopping local on saturday and getting a start on the christmas list
+++ being able to support local artists by going to the handmade etsy event late saturday when we got back into town. so many fabulous artists, it was really inspiring. i could hear my etsy shopping following me around saying "when are you going to have a booth here?" in addition to being inspired, i got some serious shopping done. of course, you know that i found a couple of things for myself that i could not live without;) the highlight was meeting kate endle, as you know from my posts about her work before, i am a big fan. it was great to meet her in person, and barrett was able to pick up an original piece for me for a christmas present (i promised to act really surprised when i open it). i am definitely putting that event on my must-do list for next year's holiday shopping. i love supporting local artists.
+++ blue moon burgers, we worked up an appetite after all of that shopping
+++ watching malena pretend to be a fairy, and watching her "fly" as she ran around the house and jumped into the air (hence the flying part) while she ran. so fun to watch.
+++ a 3 mile run this morning, thank you weather gods for taking it easy on us this weekend. the 5k is two weeks away. yikes! more training, more training, more training.
+++ a first - building a xylophone thanks to our kiwi crate project. we had a great time, and it was a ton of fun getting to watch her play (em - you are going to looooove having these kits come every month).
+++ chocolate covered pretzels, thanks mom!
+++ leftover turkey sandwiches, so good. my favorite part of thanksgiving.
+++ getting to use the gift certificate to curly girl that you all helped me win;)

remember a week or so ago when i told you that i was planning to submit for a design team? well, i did it today and am pretty excited about it. ormolu is accepting applications for a design team starting in 2013. i have loved her products for quite a while and am always excited to see the new products she creates. i promised myself that next year i would start submitting my cards to design teams and different card forums - you know, working my way towards that etsy shop. this seemed like the right opportunity to act on that promise i made to myself. i submitted three of my cards and they will announce the winners next week. fingers (and toes) crossed peeps. too bad that part of the application isn't having people from my blog let them know how much they love my cards. if that was the case, i am sure that you would seal the deal for me like you did with the curly girl design contest;) so i will keep my fingers and toes crossed and you do the same please. i would be so, so excited if i was picked, i think that it would a good sign for my luck in 2013 and we all know i could use it heading into january and scans. here are the three cards i submitted, you would pick me if you could, right? thanks, i thought that is what you would say.

i hope that you all have a great monday and a good start to the new week. this week ends in december. really? no clue how that has happened. just realized christmas is one month from today. hmmm....i don't think that little realization just helped my stress level;)