Sunday, September 30, 2012

goodbye september

on this last september sunday, i am thankful for:
+++ my bro and sis-in-law being married for 23 years today. seems like just yesterday i was lighting those candles at their wedding.
+++ time spent with my family at our parents this weekend, good food, lots of laughter.
+++ my brother and sister's dad doing ok battling vertigo in the hospital, thankful that is not a more critical condition that created the need for his emergency ride yesterday.
+++ our neighbor who would helped out my neice at 12:30am when the key to our house broke in the lock, she had a dead cell phone, and we were two hours away.
+++ that when my mom woke me up at 12:45am it was for a situation we could remedy with a drive home at 3:30am and not because something more life altering had happened. that feeling of being woke up in the midle of the night because something is wrong is never good.
+++ an unexpected surprise visit from my sister. loved that.
+++ meeting my new great-nephew pierce for the first time. he is adorable.
+++ an unexpected 1am girls chat with my mom and sister when we couldn't get back to sleep.
+++ my mom's awesome gluten free apple crisp. yum.
+++ my mom's famous breakfast casserole combined with fresh fruit. double yum.
+++ my brother bringing me a big bottle of gluten free pale ale. wow, that cold beer tasted so very good. probably why it didn't last very long.
+++ hugs.
+++ this sage advice from my friend after reading my last post. she is so right and i will never feel the same way again about this type of encounter. healing. not hurting. love you hooch.
Think of it this way, for one fleeting moment you weren't thinking of cancer. You were thinking of the excitement of seeing old friends. I bet that a year ago, you would have thought about cancer first and would have walked past that room without saying hello. Even though the outcome wasn't what you expected, I think you should be proud, you thought friends first and cancer second. In my opinion, this is healing, and you, my dear friend should be proud of this accomplishment!
+++ my upcoming week of vacation. i have the next five days off of work. i am so ready for it.

hello monday, you are the start of a great week. i am really happy to see you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

my own worst enemy

on monday, i had a work meeting at the office that i used to work at about 5 years ago. as i was getting ready to leave the office, i saw three of my old co-workers in a conference room and popped in to say hi. i haven't seen them in a long time so i was excited to catch them all in the same place at the same time. if i had not been so happy to see them, i probably would have thought about what i was setting myself up for. unfortunately, i didn't think. hence, the title of this blog post.

so as i walked in to say hi, all three of them looked at me as if i was a complete stranger. absolutely no recognition that it was me. pretty sure that it was only about ten seconds that ticked by, but those seconds felt like an eternity. after that never ending awkward silence, one of them figured it out after she heard my voice (no clue what words left my mouth at that point). but i am not sure that the other two did. i quickly made an exit and luckily had to leave the office to head for another meeting.

i held it together long enough to get back to my office. but once in my office, the tears came. i had just put myself in one of the situations that i hate the very most. i was really frustrated with myself. as always, it was so hard to have people i know look at me as if i was someone they had never met before. i have been beating myself up about it all week, and i know that i shouldn't. but, damn, that was so hard. inflicting it on myself made it even worse. i know better than that.

this week has been tough for some reason. that office situation on monday wasn't a good start. might be because of the news about md anderson which has me thinking about cures. cures makes me think about scan results. thinking about scan results makes me anxious. being anxious means i get barely any sleep. a little vicious cycle.

in spite of all of those things in the last week, i am surrounded by awesome friends. great family. time at the park. watching malena swim. laughter. hugs. good food. reisling (you knew that would be on the list). great photos to capture memories. fun mail (both getting and sending). running (i am actually really liking training for the 5k - who have never guessed that). a lot of love.

all in all, if i am my own worst enemy at times - i kind of like the opposition.

+++ i am loving jessica's swifts 2013 calendars
+++ what if every office had one of these ?
+++ if you want some very fun postage stamps with one of your pics on them, you need to check out this site (wallace, you rock!!)
+++ i have not heard of "blurb" before, but am kind of intrigued after seeing this post

Sunday, September 23, 2012

sunday mornings

sunday mornings have quickly become my favorite morning of the week. quiet. nowhere to go. easy. relaxing. now that malena's swim lessons are on wednesday night instead of sunday morning, we have our sundays back as free days for the first time since she was six months old.

on this particular day, it was a girls morning since barrett was out on the golf course. so when she woke up, we watched spongebob under our favorite blankets. after breakfast, we decided to stay in our pj's, and opened our first kiwi crate project. we had a great time. we stitched together and filled fruits and vegetables, and then she got to decorate an apron and we opened a fruit market. perfect timing to use the toy cash register we picked up yesterday at our neighbor's garage sale for $1. we played market for a couple of hours with a ton of smiles and laughs. it was so fun to pretend with her, and to watch her excitement each time she rang up a purchase and told me "thank you miss for coming to my store, see you tomorrow."

the doctors at md anderson have been on my mind quite a bit this weekend. one of the lead melanoma specialists from md anderson came to the melanoma clinic at fred hutchinson last year. i could tell from the passion he had when he talked that he is so invested in the work that he does each day. it was clear he is dedicated to prolonging patients lives, to finding a cure.

this morning as i was playing with malena, i thought about him. many times, like in the quiet moments of this sunday morning, i become overwhelmed with the uncertainty of how our lives will play out. so i said a silent thank you for him and all of the doctors working on melanoma research around the world.

they are fighting so that i can have more sunday mornings.

i am forever thankful.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

over the moon

md anderson announced a new initiative called "the moon shots program" which will invest up to $3 billion in cancer research.

as noted in the press release,

"The Moon Shots Program takes its inspiration from President John Kennedy’s famous 1962 speech, made 50 years ago this month at Rice University, just a mile from the main MD Anderson campus. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade … because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are
unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,” Kennedy said.

“Generations later, the Moon Shots Program signals our confidence that the path to curing cancer is in clearer sight than at any other time in history,” said Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., MD Anderson’s president. “Humanity urgently needs bold action to defeat cancer. I believe that we have many of the tools we need to pick the fight of the 21st century. Let’s focus our energies on approaching cancer comprehensively and
systematically, with the precision of an engineer, always asking
… ‘What can we do to directly impact patients?’”
The inaugural moon shots
The program, initially targeting eight cancers, will bring together sizable multidisciplinary groups of MD
Anderson researchers and clinicians to mount comprehensive attacks on:
acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome;
chronic lymphocytic leukemia;
lung cancer;
prostate cancer, and
triple-negative breast and ovarian cancers – two cancers linked at the molecular level.
Six moon shot teams, representing these eight cancers, were selected based on rigorous criteria that assess
not only the current state of scientific knowledge of the disease across the entire cancer care continuum
from prevention to survivorship, but also the strength and breadth of the assembled teams and the
potential for near-term measurable success in terms of cancer mortality.
Each moon shot will receive an infusion of funds and other resources needed to work on ambitious and
innovative projects prioritized for patient impact, ranging from basic and translational research to
biomarker-driven novel clinical trials, to behavioral interventions and public policy initiatives."

melanoma is one of the eight targeted cancers.

hope for a cure. if not for me, for others to come.

so thankful for md anderson and all of their efforts to find cures and support cancer patients.

they intend to win. i believe they will.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


a couple of things that i have come across recently, that made me hungry/sad/inspired/grateful or some combination of all four.

+++ oh my, this recipe has me drooling. seriously.
+++ this is a really touching tribute to a brother from his little sister. i really like all of the ways that she focuses on how he cultivated a good life. clearly he did. in the last two years, i have thought about what people would remember about me. i try and focus my time and energy on ensuring they know how much i love them.
+++ i am apparently not the only one who is having thoughts about the fall
+++ if you want to participate in jingle bell dash, our team is rudolph's ridiculously rad runners and when you sign up we are in the "dasher" grouping. if you sign up by the 22nd, registration is only $25. the dash is for a good cause - fighting arthritis.
+++ for the moms, loved this and this
+++ i am so going to make these spiders with malena in october. super fun fun.
+++ my friend kimberly just bought me this book. she says it is amazing and she couldn't put it down. i am excited to start it (and maybe finish it) this weekend. without even reading it, i am thinking about hikes we could do next spring. more firsts.

happy thursday, one more day. we can do it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


another first.

my first trapeze lesson. i haven't felt my adrenaline kick in that hard for a long time. nothing like standing way the hell up in the air on a small platform and grabbing onto a small bar to get your blood pumping. i think that my heart rate is just now slowing down to normal pace. it was so awesome. seriously, there are no words for how fun it was. so much fun in fact that we signed up for more lessons. we are pretty much going to be ready to turn professional in no time. look out barnum and bailey, we are going to give you a run for your money.

training for a 5k. buying a photo printer. trapeze lessons.

the new firsts are starting to add up.

this is the kind of math i like.

Monday, September 17, 2012

hello little one

"within your heart keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go,
and, sheltered so, may thrive and grow where doubt and fear are not.
oh, keep a place apart, within your heart, for little dreams to go."
(louise driscoll)

dear isidro,
when you entered the world at 6:23am this morning, you made me a great aunt for the very first time. all of our lives changed the moment you were born. i can't wait to meet you in person, i already love you more than you know. i can't wait to hold you in my arms. i can't wait to watch you grow. i can't wait to see what adventures life brings your way. i can't wait to cheer you on. i can't wait to watch you succeed. i can't wait to see you play. you are so, so loved. welcome to the world little man, we have been waiting for you and are so happy you are here. xo.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

where did it go?

not sure how it is sunday night already, but the fact that we had a great weekend might have something to do with it.

highlights included:
+++ movie, reisling, and gluten free desserts with my favorite movie date (hi hooch). if any of you are thinking about seeing the words, you should.
+++ soccer in the sunshine, and malena's first sports team picture - big milestone.
+++ malena decided that we needed to bake chocolate chip/peanut butter chip cookies after soccer. so we whipped up some awesome cookies. yum.
+++ she then decided (there were a lot of decisions made saturday afternoon at our house) she needed to create her own bakery, using empty boxes and some of our cooking supplies. she had a lot of cookies and cupcakes to make. it was so fun to watch her play and for her imagination to run wild. she also needed to wear her princess dress (thanks kelli) while she baked so it was a very formal kitchen.

+++ one of the boxes that she used for her kitchen was the box my new photo printer came in. saturday night we hooked it up and printed out a few pictures. that was a huge step for me. healing with one picture at a time.
+++ working on my assignments for my "unraveling" class - which i would highly recommend taking for all of the ladies out there (kp, cm - you should definitely sign up in december)
+++ running. training. running. training.
+++ malena and i hit ben franklin and she picked out her new craft project, i picked out this new piece of art for our dining room wall.

+++ sunday morning at our favorite coffee shop eating banana bread and apple juice. yes please.

+++ most of our sunday was spent at northwest trek and we had a great time. animals. animals. animals. i am pretty convinced that there is a good chance that we have a little veterinarian on our hands.
+++ loved seeing blue sky while breathing fresh air.

 +++ father/daughter walking with the exact same pace.
 +++ finding her own way on the trail. i will never get tired of watching her look for what is around the next corner.

+++ i am loving the switch of seasons. fall. i am ready for it. i could relate to tracey clark's words when she talked about this time of year.

hope you all are ready for a good week. my week will include a date night with my husband, trapeze lesson (wallace, i am definitely anticipating a "water for elephants" moment;)), swim lessons, a celebration a friend, visit from my parents, soccer, crafting, and more. oh, and somewhere in there, 40+ hours of not-so-much-fun work if this week is anything like last week. ugh. let's hope not.

happy monday peeps. here we go again.

+++ i think this print is adorable
+++ we just signed up for kiwi crate and i can't wait for our first project to get here.
+++ if you want a really fun list of things to click through on fridays, you need to sign up for susannah conway's blog so that you can get her something for the weekend list each week
+++ i loved this idea for a way to add a little surprise to your cupcakes

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


in my last post, i talked about hillary who is the melanoma patient who shared her story during the stand up to cancer event on friday. this is the video with her story (i know sometimes the video doesn't work for those who get blog updates via email, so here is the link: i hope that you watch it so that you can hear her story in her own words. it isn't easy to watch, but she deserves to have her story heard. it will give you a sense of the realities of melonoma. i would want my story to be heard, and i would want you to listen. xo.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

stand up

"life is brief, even at its longest. whatever you are going to do with your life, get at it. all good will be attacked. all values must be defended. in all areas of the human existence, what we put into this world, we get back from it."
(jim rohn)

on friday night, we watched the "stand up 2 cancer" event. it is always an important - but tough, show to watch. although i knew it would be hard, i needed to watch it. i wanted to hear the stories of others who have bravely fought cancer, to hear about the research and the doctors that are working hard to find needed cures. it was hard to watch throughout the hour, but it also gave me hope. when hillary's story, who had been diagnosed with stage III melanoma came on, i lost it (no surprise there). she explained that she was stage III when she was diagnosed and so the melanoma was pretty far along at that point. that was probably the moment when i literally could not stop the tears from coming. stage III, that is eerily familiar. when she took off her wig to show her doctor her shaved head, i flashed to when i showed my oncologist my hairless head. when they showed her parents supporting her, i thought about all of the support we have had from our parents, and how my parents come and stay with us on the days that i have scans and the following day when i get my results. hillary is doing a trial treatment with hopes that it brings a miracle for her or others. she asked the doctor how long she would have if she didn't do the trial. the doctor asked how long she would hope to have. hillary said she would like a year, the doctor's silence made it clear that she wouldn't have a year. hillary talked about how she believes that even if her life isn't saved, then maybe someone else's will be by her fight. i too have thought a lot about the benefits that may from my diagnosis. even though i am scared beyond belief of what is to come, i take comfort in the friends and family that have gone in for appointments with their dermatologists to have their skin checked. some have had to have biopsies, but they have all been clear and i am so very thankful for that. if one person i love gets their skin checked in time to avoid what i have been through, some good will have come from all of this.

this weekend i also saw on a melonoma blog that a woman who was diagnosed in 2010 with stage III passed away this week. my heart goes out to her family, from the words shared about her, it is obvious she was a fighter.

between the show and the blog update, my head and heart have been heavy this weekend. sleep has been evading me. hearing the realities of others stories is never easy for me. but none of this is easy or it wouldn't be cancer.

i did stick to my plan and sign up for a 5k run in seattle in december. i don't run. at all. but like i said in an earlier post, i need a goal to work towards. this will be a good one - really tough, but really needed. so today i put on my brand new running shoes and started training. one step at a time.

i will stand up to cancer, and i will run.

with my new shoes on, i am hoping more than you know that cancer won't be able to catch up to me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

good start

the weekend is off to a good start.

i spent the afternoon kicking it in downtown seattle with a perfect partner in crime. a gorgeous day and a great way to ring in the weekend.

the card giveaway goes to michelle (lucky for you random generator selected #5 which was you) - woohoo!! i found some awesome vintage paper today to back the "you rock" stamp. here is a hint.
bring on the weekend. xo.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

hello weekend, good to see you

oh friday, i am happy to see you. where have you been all week?

tonight malena wanted to go to the pet store to say hello to the animals, one of the routines that she does with her mema and papa. she had so much fun checking out the animals, she is such an animal lover. there was a little stool in the store, and she just started moving that stool around to wherever she wanted it to be in the store so that she could see the animals. it was hilarious, that girls knows what she wants and makes it happen (i know, i think that she gets that trait from me too;)) random thursday outing, very fun.

i am looking forward to this weekend and catching up on life.

a couple of highlights:
+++ soccer and swimming for malena
+++ i am going to buy happier at home, i really, really liked the happiness project so i am expecting the same for this one. saw good reviews on it today, including this one and this one
+++ i am going to complete my first assignment for my "unraveling class" which i am so thankful that i signed up for - class started this week and i am soaking it all up
+++ purchasing a new photo printer so that i can start documenting life - big step for me to start tackling photos....healing.
+++ signing up for a 5K run in december, good short term training goal to get my feet on the pavement to start gearing up for the half-marathons next year
+++ buying running shoes, never would have guessed that would be something that would be on my "to do" list. ever.
+++ fun and relaxation

i will also be making 5 cards to give away to the winner of the giveaway, remember to leave your comment on the blog by 5pm friday if you want a chance to win. i will post the winner friday night. good luck peeps!

i hope that you all have a great weekend, enjoy it!

+++ i hear that it might rain in seattle on sunday, i may need to buy a pair of these awesome rain boots to get prepared
+++ if you had a little one start school this week, you might want to read this blog about remembering the first day
+++ drooling over this blueberry recipe. yum.
+++ for the moms, a good read for keeping it real (thanks jill for sharing)
+++ you know that i could do serious damage on this site that has laptop/phone covers with kelly rae roberts designs. oh my.
+++ i would so love to write a blog with malena, what a great mom/daughter experience
+++ this sprinkles-themed party is awesome
+++ super cute ideas for a baby shower

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

fun mail, want some?

last week i found some stamps on-line that i knew i just had to have.

this one and this one.

love them, and they showed up in my mailbox today.

amazing how fun it is to get a package in the mail that you have been (semi-patiently) waiting for. i can't wait to get crafting with these new stamps.

so in honor of the fun mail that was waiting in my mailbox today, i think that it is giveway time so that i can send some fun mail to one of you.

great idea, right? right.

so, here is the deal. leave a comment on the blog (for those of who get updates via email you will need to go to the actual blog to leave a comment) by 5pm friday. i will use the random number wizard doodad to select a winner.

fun idea, right? right.

i will make 5 cards using my new stamps, and will include stamped envelopes as well. i will send them out on monday to the super duper lucky winner.

pretty awesome, right? right.

so if you would like some fun mail to come your way, head over the blog and leave me a comment (marcie-roo, like last time, one comment means one comment - not multiple comments. we are clear on that now, right?;) xo)

happy thursday peeps, the weekend is only one looooooooooong day away.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


some days are easier than others.

when we were making dinner tonight, malena told us that her teacher was going to have a baby and so the baby was growing in her tummy. that was the first time that she has talked about a baby in that way - never before had she made the connection to where babies come from. she then asked me if i was going to have a baby growing in my tummy. the excitement in her question was palpable. she loves, loves babies.

in that second following her question, i felt like the wind had got knocked out of me and that i was going to immediately start bawling.

i literally felt like i had to catch my breath. i told her that i didn't know if i would ever have another baby growing in my tummy. of course, she asked why not. the "why?" questions are endless these days. i told her that i just wasn't sure. there are of course a million things that i wish i could tell her about why that is such a hard question for me to answer, and how she had no idea how much i wish that i could answer that question with a simple yes.

i made it through dinner with tears randomly falling. but when i finished, i told barrett i needed some time. i went upstairs, curled up in a ball in the dark, and cried my eyes out. i can't even write this without the tears falling.

that conversation with her probably lasted less than 15 seconds, but it felt like time was standing still.

i just wasn't ready for that question, i never would have been regardless of when it came. i know it won't be the last time that we talk about it so i need to brace myself for the next time. i think that it was especially tough today because i had thought a lot yesterday about siblings. malena and i played all day yesterday. throwing a party for her animals. pretending we owned a vet office and cleaned all of her stuffed animals - like 5 times each (times 15 animals). playing store. on and on. i love playing with her. but part of me thought about how much i wish that she had a brother or sister to play with too. i thought about that when i went to sleep last night and today when i was at work. so no suprise that i lost it when the question came from her tonight.

some days are tougher than others.

Monday, September 3, 2012


a great three day weekend, packed with family and fun. my most favorite kind of weekend.

highlights included:
+++ berry lemonade mimosas. yum.
+++ breakfast at portage bay with the family to kick off jessica's 21st celebration.

+++ malena's first time at a putt putt golf course, she loved it. i think that we may have a professional player on our hands. look out tiger, here she comes.

+++ a day at emerald downs betting on the ponies. my longshots didn't come through, so i will be going back to work tomorrow. bummer. but it was a good day regardless, including some race watching with my dad.

+++ malena decided today that we needed to have another party for all of her animals. so we used our extra birthday plates and made a lunch of animal crackers and raisins. we also had to decorate all of the doors and windows with ribbons for the party. all of her animals had a great time. that girl definitely knows how to throw a good party.

hello tuesday, i like you better than monday, you get me one day closer to friday.

+++ if you have a child going into kindergarten this year (hooch, this is the one that i told you about), you need to read this, but you will need to grab some kleenex first. trust me.
+++ very inspired by the quote below that i saw on this blog post. a scar does not form on the dying. i am going to remember that each time i see one of my mine.

"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars. 
I was thinking, 
Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? 
I thought that would be pretty too, 
and I ask you right here please to agree with me 
that a scar is never ugly. 
That is what the scar makers want us to think. 
But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. 
We must see all scars as beauty. 
Okay? This will be our secret. 
Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.
 A scar means, I survived."
 -from Little Bee by Chris Cleave