Monday, December 30, 2013

dear 2013

dear 2013,

i am not sure where to start this, as it seems like there is just so much i want to say to you. so maybe i will just dive in and start at the beginning.

you rang in the new year with bad scan results, and a surgery that followed to welcome in february. you scared the hell out of me early on, and as i would learn, those early results were just the start of the fear you would bring. you brought a surgery that resulted in the worst physical pain i have ever had, and some of my darkest hours.

february 20th, the day the stage iv diagnosis came. a day you rocked my entire world. the truth is, i never recovered. another truth is that i know i never will. but i know that you already knew both of those truths since you see all of the hurt and all of the tears, some of which only you and i know about.

that stage iv diagnosis has affected every single day that has followed in one way or another. but there has been a constant undercurrent in all of the days of me being grateful, as time is so very precious.

you helped me to refocus my time. to focus on the people that i want to spend my time with. to focus on showing up for the people that i love in anyway that i can. to focus on making memories, not just for me, but with and for those that i love. to focus on saying my thanks for all of the blessings that i have in my life. to focus on being brave, and realizing that can range from going in for scan results to just getting up and out of bed on the days i want to stay in a little ball and let the tears roll for as long as they need to.

you brought great trips -- suncadia, gearheart, california, disneyland, minnesota, alderbrook, new york, vegas.

you let me see important milestones -- jess graduate from wsu, tyler get married, zach graduate from cwu, malena's 5th birthday, barrett's 35th birthday, all of our family birthdays. you let me quietly celebrate my 38th, and i am so thankful for that personal milestone. i still say my thanks for celebrating any birthday that i get, and getting older is something that i am so, so thankful for every year. you know i cringe when i hear people complain about getting older, as you and i know the important secret, turning a year older means that they got one more year - and that is something to be so very thankful for.

you brought me good scans results three times this year, for that, i can't thank you enough. the best way that i knew of to repay you was to take the best care i could of myself, and to continue to wholeheartedly love those that are important to me. i am forever in your debt for those good results, and there is not a day that goes by that i don't say what feels like a million well-deserved thank you's.

you brought a ton of green smoothies and me drinking carrott juice - which was huge. you and i both know that, i think that you had a big smirk on your face when that one happened. you were right, i liked it. you saw me say goodbye to sugar and dairy and meat, and you stuck with me when sometimes i was a little cranky about it.

you allowed me to take on some firsts of my own - skydiving (thanks for the beautiful weather on that day), getting a tattoo, taking a hot air balloon ride, going to new york city -- just to name a few. you have encouraged me to take the risks and do things that i might not have considered before, because why not, life should be about big adventures and being brave to try new things including the ones that you never expected you would do. thank you for all of the firsts.

along with the firsts, you also gave me a million of the day to day moments. waking malena up. making her breakfast. dropping her off at school. playing with her. hugging her. campout nights with her and barrett. laughing with barrett. time spent with family and friends. the little and the big moments of living each day. i loved every minute and every moment.
you have been a year that has constantly been filled with loss. it seems that cancer and illness were always swirling around, and you were the year for some people that were very loved to say their goodbyes. there were times that i hated you for that, and there were times that i tried to remember that it wasn't probably ideal for you either that those losses occurred within the bounds of your 365 days.

people rallied within with your year to do happy mail campaigns, to send 17 weeks of fun mail to jen, to send 36 weeks of fun mail to chase, ava, and tanner, to send countless weeks of fun mail to me. people sent love, prayers and mojo to jennifer, patty and her family, mike, baby burton, mary, sharon, chase and the others along the way that needed love.

you let me enjoy the holidays and celebrate all of the traditions they bring. you let me see malena's excitement that santa came, moments that i am so incredibly thankful for -- and i know my family is too. we thank you for from the bottom of our hearts for giving us these holidays.

so as your last day winds down, i find that i am grieving for the loss of you. you have been the hardest year for me to let go of, which surprised me when i started to realize it was going to be really hard to move on and turn that calendar to january.

though you brought me to my knees, i also know what you gave me.

you gave me 365 days of living. i had a full year with you. i got one round of really bad scan results, one surgery, but good news after that. i got to take great trips, spend countless hours with family and friends, check some things off of my bucket list - and do some things that i never even knew i should have had on my bucket list. i got to spend time with my husband, we got to watch our daughter grow together. i got to give hugs, laugh, cry, celebrate, cheer, support, encourage, and love.

i will really miss you 2013 for all of the good that you brought to me. i am sorry to see you go, and i wish that i could actually hold on to you for a little bit longer. i am not ready to say goodbye because i am not ready for your friend 2014 who is an unknown, and i don't know what he will bring. i will write him his own letter, but between us, he scares the shit out of me and i am petrified to my core about what he has up his sleeve. so if you could, put in a good word for me, tell him to take it easy on me and that i deserve a year that only brings good.

so as others will be ringing you out in grand style with horns/food/drinks/music and celebrating your departure, i am going to quietly watch the minutes tick down and cherish the time that i have left with you.

thank you for all of the good, and for all of the things that you taught me about myself and life that came from all of the bad. i am stronger and braver because of you, and i think that i will make you proud as 2014 comes around the corner and you fade into the background.

i will never forget you, that much i know for sure.

you are one to remember, i hope that you feel the same.

much love, me

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

prayers for patty

we need to kick the prayers, love, and mojo into full force for patty and her family.

patty is in the hospital now as her tumor has continued to grow. she has bleeding in her brain and hemorrhaging occurring on her brain stem.

the new treatment that they had started is not going to be continued.

as patty and her family enter this final phase, let's send a ton of love their way.

as kerry (patty's daughter) said when she sent it to me, the above picture taken this summer says f*ck cancer like no other picture of patty could.

so on this christmas night when there is so much to be thankful for, one of the many things that i am thankful for is all of the love that will continue to surround patty and their entire family.

thank you for the love and prayers that i know that you will send their way.

i hope you all had a merry christmas, and i hope that you have some new memories to hold tight.

i know i do. xo

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry and bright

i hope that your christmas (or your regular wednesday) finds you happy and warm.

i have had a couple of quiet moments this morning to take it all in. new york (pictures and stories to come soon). snow flake lane. reindeer festival. seeing the movie "frozen" (love, love, loved it). seeing the huge gingerbread houses in downtown seattle. making our own gingerbread house. riding on the carousel at westlake center. riding on the carousel at redmond town center. malena and i getting to go inside a huge real life snow globe. the twinkle of all of the lights. being around family. super thankful for all of my friends. putting up the christmas tree and getting to look at everyday (kind of don't want to take it down this year). pulling in to our neighborhood and seeing all of the lights. seeing the glow of our outside lights through the front windows of the house. leaving the annual surprise packages for the garbage workers and mail carrier so that they too know they are appreciated and thought of this time of year. eating some of my christmas favorite foods (yep, some have sugar and yep, i am ok with that). hanging up the stockings. watching malena's reaction as she sees what our elf buddy has been up to each night while she sleeps. seeing the pink glow from malena's room when her own little tree is lit up in the dark of the night. watching polar express while tucked in under our favorite blanket. wrapping gifts (which will be happening late tonight per our usual tradition -- and i will likely be drinking a hard cider while i do it). opening my mailbox and seeing all of the christmas cards, for a girl like me that loves happy mail, this is the best time of year - happy mail overload and i love it. the first snow of the year, watching malena's excitement to go out and play in it. starbucks dates on friday morning with malena drinking our tea and chocolate milk out of the red holiday cups. listening to some of my favorite christmas songs (hello "last christmas"). making some of our own christmas presents. hugs. a ton of laughter. the smile that comes when someone opens a gift that they are so excited about. the anticipation of santa coming. making the cookies for him to eat when he gets to our house. putting out the carrotts for the reindeer.

december has been full of a lot of joy, and that is what i will be focusing on as we celebrate christmas and finish out this year. i am saying my thanks for a great month filled with family and friends. i am so blessed and so lucky to be surrounded by so much love.

i wish you and yours a very merry holiday season, may it bring you joy and happiness and moments you will forever cherish and never forget.

much love. xoxo

Sunday, December 15, 2013

in both hands

been a little quiet in this space the last week or two. part of that is because i have been busy with holiday festivities and planning. part of that is because sometimes this space makes me think of melanoma and i am trying to stay away from those thoughts as much as i can throughout the holidays.

but that is hard. especially as i read about another melanoma warrior, madeleine, who was told this week that there were no other options left but to bring in hospice care. i will tell you that reading that made the hand that carries the shit feel like it is dragging on the ground. it feels like it has been all week. i have been debating all week about shutting off from the melanoma world, and i think that i might for a while. it is sometimes just too much for me to handle, and as my counselor and i talked about, it is ok to take in the stories when i am able to. that is hard for me though because i am such a believer that stories are important, should be shared, and warriors should be joined in their fight. so it is a constant internal struggle and has been filling a lot of my thoughts for the last couple of weeks. maybe because at this time of year, i feel a bit like melanoma is lurking behind every ornament and every light. please send your love and mojo to madeleine and her family during this time when they need it the most.

in the other hand, there has definitely been joy. meeting little baby boy bentley, he is adorable and such a little snuggler. reindeer festival, feeding rudolph apples and getting to tell santa what she wanted for christmas. i kind of wanted to whisper into his ear what i wanted as well, i bet you can guess. let's keep it our secret. christmas shopping and finding the perfect gifts. buddy our elf showing up each morning and making malena laugh with whatever he has been up to during the night. painting christmas ornaments. wrapping gifts. riding carousels. all good things. they fill up the hand that is carrying the joy.

i also want to ask for you to send your love, mojo, and prayers to patty on tuesday. she is beginning a new electric treatment for her brain tumor on tuesday. so keep sending all of your good mojo to patty and her family as she begins this new part of her journey. here is a picture of her and bentley from this weekend, those two make a cute pair;)

i am going to overflow the joy hand this week. i am taking a trip to new york city for the first time and am super excited about it. i am going to kick it with my sister and niece who are already there to celebrate jess's graduation from wsu. i am really looking forward to checking out the big apple, ice skating in rockefeller center, seeing the statue of liberty, walking around times square, strolling through central park...i can't wait. 

so i will talk to you in a week or so, with some good pictures to share i am sure.

in the meantime, send your love to madeleine and patty and make it a good week, there will be good in it somehow, i promise. there always, always is. you just have to look for it. xo

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

acts of kindness


december 14th.

it will mark the one year anniversary when lives were changed in newtown forever.

i think back to all of those kind random acts of kindness that we did last year in memories of the beautiful lives lost.

on this year, i will do a random act of kindness on saturday to quietly send some love into the world and hope that it rides on the winds safely to newtown.

if you would like to do the same, let me know what you do and i will share the acts on the blog to spread the love.

take the time to read alissa parker's words and look at the beautiful pictures of her daughter emilie. watch the video and be reminded that evil did not win.

it never does.

give your hugs. say more i love you's. xo

Monday, December 9, 2013

the moments + chase

the holiday moments.

the traditions.

the joy. palm open.

we have had some of my favorite holiday moments over the last week, and i am doing my best to soak them all in and enjoy every minute. so, so thankful. a million times over. i am equally excited for all of the moments still to come.

on saturday, i got to watch my niece graduate. it was awesome (go cougs!). i am such a proud aunt and i could not have been more proud of her as i heard her name announced in the coliseum and i watched them hand her that well deserved diploma. amazing. another one of the key moments that i so wanted to have on this three month span.

these milestones moments always have those seconds that my heart is pulled in different directions. i embrace that second i am living while that other little string pulls on the what if's of the future. the hopes that i have for malena, the hope that i have for being there to watch her walk across the stage at a college graduation. at a high school graduation. at a middle school graduation. at a kindergarten graduation. at a pre-school graduation. so i give those what if's their space, i take a deep breath and i refocus on the second i am living. and some times, those what if's still catch me when i don't expect them. like at dinner tonight with a dear friend when we are catching up and the tears well up before i even know they are coming. but those tears need to find their way out, they always eventually do, and so i let them fall and i pause to catch my breath. in and out. in and out. then, like always, i carry on. 

chase is also moving on and i wanted to share some of the latest updates of how he is doing:

"Baby Steps. :)


Lisa sent me this video of Chaser in therapy today and it completely made my day! It is so exciting to see him in a vertical position other than in the stander. I have wanted to see this since the day he started therapy. I realize that it isn't him doing the motions yet, but it is a foreshadow of whats to come! This video made it pretty easy for mom and I to make up our mind what Chaser is getting for Christmas- Looks

like our next treadmill won't be used for folding laundry! God is Good!!

i posted the video on Chases Facebook page
  • School is Cool! :)

    Written Dec 7, 2013 5:18pm

    While its 10 below outside the sun room windows, Ava is warming Chaser up with her own version of home therapy. They started the morning off by looking for Christmas presents on her computer and spelling his name. What out Gillette - you may have a new recruit in the making
    Chaser had a great week at school and therapy. His teacher says that he is adjusting very well, and kids are taking to having him there equally as good. He is making new friends, and while he is there learning along with the other kids, it seems like he is teaching them as well, as their curious little minds have a lot of questions about his condition. This is definately the start of a great new chapter, for him and us! It is nice to have a fresh set of new eyes to see what Chase is capible of. The nurse noticed Chase seems to have controlled eye movements in the form of blinking when asked questions, as did the therapists at Gillette's. It may be a sign, or a start of some form of communication! .....time will tell.
    With his new busy schedual of therapy and school, Chaser has been a tired little boy this week. He has been sleeping well through then night, and is taking frequent catnaps here and there. Thank you all for your support, prayers, and the fun mail that keeps pouring in. We all look forward to opening them up once a week. Enjoy your weekend- stay warm!

    God is Good!
  • Circle of Friends :)

    Written Dec 2, 2013 6:07pm
    I pulled into the Circle of Friends preschool parking lot about 10 mins early. I was meeting Lisa and Chaser there at noon- While I backed my truck up to wait for them, even though it was full day light out, there it was, and it stuck out more that Clark Griswold's house once he got the lights to work....the leafless maple tree... The same tree that all three of our kids had leaned against on their first day of school- the same tree that Chaser had beamed next to over a year ago, with his Batman backpack covering half his little body draped over his back, screaming cheeeeze!!!!... when I took his picture for his first day of preschool. Just when I started to get completely lost in this vivid memory, I saw the van pull up. I walked over to the van, opened the back and lowered Chases wheelchair with his backpack strapped across the handles, to the ground and wheeled it over to his door. As Lisa lifted him out and folded his body into his wheelchair, it dawned on me....This is Chase's first day of school! This is an event to celebrate, a moment 8 months ago that seemed like a distant fantacy. We gave each other the look we always do when we are going to enter the unknown together, followed by a smile- and pushed Chaser towards the front door. When we got to the door, there were a couple of familiar faces that were excited to see Chase. We entered the school and there were 4 huge smiles waiting for Chase. It was awesome! They brought us down the hallway to the Special Ed room to give us a quick orientation, and introduce us to the rest of the staff and some of the Children in his class. The staff were all smiles as we shared info about Chase with them. After a couple mins in there, Chase went over to Mrs. Becki's class to join the other children in story time. He did great, and so did the other Children with him! Chaser will be attending Special Ed Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the regular classroom on Mondays and Wednesdays for the remainder of the school year! We want to send out a huge thank you to everyone involved that made this possible. I know that nothing but positive will come from this for everyone involved, especially Chaser! We are truly lucky to live in the community of Prior Lake! Thank you all for your support.
    Wow- Chase is going to school!!!! - Go IS Good! :)
  • Video from Katie :)
  • Written Nov 26, 2013 11:16pm
    Chads's fiancee Katie sent this video to us to remind us how far Chaser has progressed. This Nov 28th is definitely a day to be thankful in our household! Have a great Thanksgiving, and thank you all for your support!

    God Is Good !!!

    Here is a like for those of you that do not use facebook.....

    Thank you all for your support!"
    happy tuesday peeps, make it a great one. enjoy the moments, big and small. xo

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    joy (the baby kind, the best kind)

    i am so happy to announce that bentley patrick pihlstrom entered this world at 5:40pm tonight. him and his mom are doing great. he weighs in at 8.5 pounds and is 21 inches long. as you can see for yourself, he is super adorable and a total cutie. i am sure the girl babies have their eyes on him already;) so today is a day filled with joy, the very best kind of day. welcome to the world little man, you are a lucky little boy to have so many people rooting for you and loving you already. i can't wait to meet you and to watch you grow.

    thank you again for all of the love and prayers that all would go well and he would be happy and healthy.

    have a good weekend peeps, may it bring you a lot of joy. xo

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

    for kerry and patty, part ii

    i wanted to give an update on the status of things for patty and kerry and their family today, and to say thanks for all of the love and mojo that you are sending their way. kerry was very appreciative of knowing that a ton of love was coming their way today, and your good thoughts are so appreciated.

    unfortunately, patty's scans showed that the tumor is growing. i won't go into the specifics of what that means. but what i will go into is that we need to continue to send patty and the entire family a ton of love and mojo as they move forward with this news.

    kerry went into the hospital as planned today and i expect that we will have some baby news tomorrow. so keep the love and good mojo going for kerry that she has an easy delivery and baby p has a smooth entry into this world.

    love, prayers, and mojo.

    love, prayers, and mojo.

    they need it. we can send it.

    more joy. xo

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    what you hold in both hands (for kerry and patty)

    i think it was at the retreat earlier this year when i first heard the phrase that goes something like you hold shit in one hand while you hold joy in the other. so, so true. i have felt that way for a quite a while now, a constant balancing act of holding both at the same time. some days the scales are tipped in one hand more than the other, and i just have to keep breathing and waiting for them to balance out again.

    i thought about the joy and the shit when i was meeting with my counselor the other day and we were talking about the holidays. the absolute joy that the holidays bring. the reasons why these holidays have been a rough patch for me. but we have a plan, and you know that i am a girl who loves a good plan. so i keep holding both hands open, palm up, ready to take whatever comes.

    i am asking you to send lots of love tomorrow for my friend kerry and her mom patty and their entire family. they will hold both in their hands tomorrow. patty's brain tumor in one hand, the birth of kerry's little baby boy in the other.

    at the same time that patty is going in for scans tomorrow to determine tumor growth, kerry is going to be getting ready to be induced for the birth of her baby boy (who is taking his own sweet time and blew right past his delivery date). 

    so let's send them a ton and love and good thoughts -- please send your love to seattle at noon as patty goes into scans and throughout the afternoon as they get the results. then carry them through for kerry at five until baby p is safely in her arms.

    kerry and her family very much appreciate all of the mojo and love they have felt from all of you, so i thank you.

    let's send them so much love and joy that all of their hands are filled with only good when baby p enters the world. xo

    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    goodbye november, hello december

    dear november,

    you gave me so many different moments to be thankful for, and i loved you for that. i can't thank you enough for the long, long list of great memories from your month. you rocked.

    hello december,

    you are looking really good, and i love you for that. i am so excited and looking forward to the long, long list of great memories that i know your month will hold. we are one day in and i heart you already.


    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    thankful (twenty six)

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

    +++ rocking out while singing in the car on the way to school
    +++ great lunch with one of my most favorite peeps
    +++ pad thai - yum, yum, yum
    +++ laughter in the middle of the work day
    +++ my trampoline
    +++ watching malena write out her birthday thank you cards (kerry, i think that she would make you proud;)) and thinking of how grateful i am that my mom taught me that saying thank you is important
    +++ hearing "mommy, will you carry me upstairs tonight?"
    +++ watching malena in the rearview mirror as she carefully listens and enjoys music, hoping that her love for music continues throughout her life
    +++ happy mail in the mailbox
    +++ catching up with my mom
    +++ barely making a critical deadline and breathing a huge sigh of relief

    i don't think that i have mentioned it yet but my scans will be january 28th and results will be on the 29th. i got the dates last week, no scheduling rest for the weary.

    have a good wednesday, the holiday is so close i am can almost smell the good cooking. xo

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    thankful (twenty five) + happy birthday chase

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

    +++ malena cracking us up early this morning as we were getting ready for school
    +++ the first fifteen minutes of my commute when it was smooth sailing and there was no traffic, not so much thankful for the other 45 minutes that was a complete stop and go grind
    +++ my headphones so that i can listen to music
    +++ pineapple
    +++ hugs
    +++ seat warmers in my car
    +++ the feeling of walking into my house and being home
    +++ our neighbors being the first ones in the neighborhood to put up their christmas lights, it was so great to see the glow of those lights tonight as i pulled around the corner
    +++ kind words in my inbox
    +++ beautiful blue sky in the morning

    a couple of things to share:
    ++ today is chase's birthday and here is his birthday update -- happy birthday chaser!

    "Hey Chaser,

    We have been writing about you and sharing your journey with everyone since your accident. Today is a very special day for you, and I want to write one to you, and not about you. It was 5 years ago today you were born into this world, and almost 8 months to the day that we almost lost you. I can't imagine there are too many parents that can say that their 5yr old son has taught them more about life and the world in 8 months - than they had learned in 40 years, but Chaser, I can! I want to thank you for showing me a better world, and a better side of the people in it. I want to thank you for teaching me that quitting is not an option, and that if you dig deep, and sometimes even deeper, you will find the strength to press on....And buddy, I want to thank you for proving to me that trust in God is just not an expression- that if you do he will get you through. Every year at Thanksgiving we have always shared what we are thankful for- This year Chaser, there are many things we have to be thankful for, but one thing is the same for your mom, Ava, Tanner and I..... and that you! We may never know why this happened to you, and to be honest with you, it really doesn't matter. What matters is that someday you will be reading this, and along your journey of recovery, not only are you learning new things, but so are we-from you! I made a promise to you and the Big Guy 8 months ago on the deck of that cruise ship that I will keep until the moment I breath my last breath! - I believe, and ALWAYS WILL believe in you- You make me proud to call you my son. Happy Birthday BT!"
    ++ sad news that nick auden passed away from stage iv melanoma, his story touched so many lives including some of you that i know signed the petition referenced in the article
    +++ i thought this article on the seattle no is awesome and totally cracked me up because it is so true (thanks em for sharing - xo)
    ++ i am so getting one of these t-shirts for big kids like me
    ++ i think the video for say something is pretty amazing (get a kleenex)
    ++ i am in love with kelly's hearts

    happy tuesday peeps. xo

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    thankful (twenty two - twenty four) + the true stories

    these last three days have brought a lot to be grateful for, and so i am thankful for:

    +++ a slow friday morning at home with malena before heading to the office
    +++ spring rolls
    +++ 90 minutes of massage bliss and time to just be still
    +++ our house being full of family and the sounds of their laughter
    +++ watching malena with her baby cousin and how gentle she is with him. it makes me so proud to see how caring she is, and in some ways a little bit of my heart aches as i still wish (and will always wish) that we could have given her a sibling. there are times when that pain rubs me more raw than others, and i never really know when it will come. but when it comes and the tears fall (like they do as i write this), i remind myself that i am so thankful that we had her when i was healthy, that she is healthy, and that is what matters the most. she gets to have all of my attention and time and love, and i know that is how it was meant to be. knowing that doesn't make it easy, but knowing that does make it easier on the days that are tougher than others.
    +++ family celebrating malena turning 5, it seems like just yesterday we were all gathered to celebrate her turning 4. the time flies by so damn quickly.
    +++ a great dinner hosted by my friend chris who gathered her closest for a thankful dinner, a lovely night surrounded by good people in a house full of love
    +++ catch up time with my sister
    +++ the sound of hearing baby footsteps around the house, and watching our little nephew master his stair climbing skills
    +++ my mom's macaroni salad
    +++ hershey's miniature dark chocolate bars when i needed just a little chocolate fix
    +++ text messages that make me laugh
    +++ sleeping in
    +++ an extra campout night just because she wanted to
    +++ being snuggled up with malena under my favorite blanket watching project runway and eating our popcorn
    +++ watching malena play for two hours with her friends from school and seeing the relationships she has with them and how much fun they have playing together
    +++ starbucks drive through for some hot green tea on a cold beautiful day
    +++ my vitamix as i fired up a big green smoothie with dinner
    +++ time to work in my craft room, one of my most favorite places in the world to be
    +++ the moments when the one direction song that has been stuck in my head all weekend leaves my brain for a moment (stevie -- the story of my life....)

    if you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that milestones are bittersweet for me. sweet in that i love celebrations and making the most out of the big and little moments in life. bitter in that at times milestones are a bit hard as i think about the future and whether i will be around for the milestones to come. the holidays tend to be a bit rough for me as well, don't get me wrong, i love every single second and am so thankful for this holiday season in particular. but, the truth is (and as my friend liz reminds me, it is ok to tell the true stories) this stretch of birthdays and holidays back to back is much harder for me this year due to the stage iv diagnosis. it has seemed to amplify the rough patches, the deep dark parts that nag at me with questions about the future. so these last couple of weeks have been interesting for me as i try to balance the joy with the reality of all of the other things that i am feeling. there have been a lot of tears, pretty much everyday for no specific reason at all. so i am going to enlist the help of my counselor to gives me some tools to work with to keep moving forward.

    i share this not because i want or need any comforting or words of encouragement, it is really work that i need to do on my own. for myself. to keep moving forward the best possible way that i can. to get some thoughts out of my head, to make more space for all of the good that is to come in the next two months.

    i share this because it is being honest, which is what i have always tried to be in this space. i am so thankful for the good scan results, and i say my thanks a million times over every single day. but it wouldn't be honest to make it seem like it isn't also tough to roll through this time of year with a stage iv diagnosis hanging over me. it wouldn't be honest to make it seem like i don't think about it every single day. it wouldn't be honest to make it seem like i don't think about whether i will be here for the birthdays and the holidays to come. it wouldn't be honest to make it seem like there aren't a lot of tears that i keep to myself. it wouldn't be honest to make it seem like life is easier than it is. that doesn't make it easier on me. that doesn't give you insight into the realities of how it feels to go through the holidays when you are so damn grateful and so damn scared at the same time.

    so i am sharing the true story. i always have, and always will. sometimes the stories just take the right moment for me to feel like writing them out. for putting them out on the winds and hoping i feel lighter for sending them on their way.

    so as this weekend draws to a close, i am thankful beyond words for all of the good things and people that were a part of making these last three days so great.

    so as this weekend draws to a close, i take a deep breath and remind myself to take it day by day as another week begins.

    that is just simply the best i can do. xo

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    thankful (twenty one)

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

    +++ my friend michael who makes me laugh every single time i see or talk to him, i love him for that (plus a ton of other reasons)
    +++ the fact that michael married jennifer (super smart decision on his part) because she is awesome (which is why he is so lucky that she said yes)
    +++ the fact that i can kick michael's you-know-what at shuffleboard (at least that is how i remember it)
    +++ starbucks having a kale salad that makes lunch easy for me when i forget to bring my own
    +++ the moment i walked out of my office for the day. yes, it is one of those kind of days (but aren't they all lately? yep, pretty much).
    +++ text message exchanges with my girlfriends that crack me up and make me laugh in the midst of hell breaking loose all around me
    +++ quick catch up call with my friend rob who always, always makes me laugh within 2 seconds of getting on the phone with him
    +++ barrett chefing up a good dinner
    +++ hard apple cider. yes, it is one of those kind of days.
    +++ the last chocolate cupcake
    +++ knowing that my house will be full of family this weekend
    +++ hearing the words "mommy, do you want to come and play with me?" (chris -- your present was a big hit)
    +++ having enough gas to make it home even though the gas light was on (hooch -- do you want to fill it up for me in the morning?;) because i hate pumping gas and will put it off as long as possible
    +++ happy mail from my cousin in the mailbox (michelle -- you guys rock, thank you!)
    +++ getting to talk to my mom for a few minutes

    +++ my brother giving us the heads-up that one direction was going to be on tv so that we could watch malena go crazy (kris -- it is just like what we must have looked like when the nkotb video was on;))
    +++ happy mail from canada (sarah -- i kind of want to call in sick tomorrow just to use those stamps to craft up some goodness. xo)
    +++ being able to share experiences of dealing with cancer to give someone else a perspective that might help them through an issue a little easier, reminding me that good can come from the bad
    +++ a gorgeous sunset view with the sky filled with orange, pink, and yellow
    +++ my sis-in-law's brother hoss doing better in the hospital
    +++ chapstick

    i hope that you all have a great weekend -- crazy to think that thanksgiving is next week. not sure how that happened as it seems like just yesterday i had surgery. i remember leaving that hospital thinking that i had no idea how this year would look by the time that it came to a close. i am not sure that i could have ever imagined all of the fun we have crammed into this year, but i am so thankful that i was given the chance for this year to bring so many good memories my way. for that i am blessed and grateful.

    enjoy your weekend, make the most of it, say your thanks. xo

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    thankful (twenty)

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

    +++ my happy and healthy daughter who turned five day today. i could not be more thankful than i am to be her mom. she has taught me so many things about life, about what is important, about what is not important. to laugh every single day. to see life again through the eyes of a child. there are so many words that i could write to tell the story of how thankful i am for about having her in my life. but on this day, i am going to quietly tuck those words into my heart and say my thanks to the fates for giving me this day to celebrate with her. my girl is five. i still can't believe it. seems like it was just yesterday that i held her for the first time. i knew then i would never let go, and so i keep fighting like hell to hold on.
    +++ my friends kadeena and jennifer who also celebrate their birthday on this special day
    +++ gluten free swedish pancakes and lingonberry sauce
    +++ laughter and good conversation
    +++ anthropology (the store, not the science)
    +++ the joy that painting pottery brings malena, pretty sure that we could go there everyday and she would be pretty happy about. today she painted an awesome multi-colored dog that is going to be a great addition to our home.
    +++ being able to connect with a friend to say i love you as her heart breaks so that she is reminded that she won't have to pick up the pieces by herself
    +++ a birthday dinner with friends to celebrate the big 5
    +++ all of the love that surrounds malena from friends and family, she is a lucky girl to have so many people that care so much for her
    +++ lite brites, malena and i did our first picture tonight and it was just as awesome as i remember from being a kid. i might need to call in sick tomorrow to take on the ship and birthday cake designs;)
    +++ those boys from one direction that did a happy birthday video for all of their fans, which makes our little fan feel like she was the luckiest girl in the world to have them signing just for her. thanks boys.

    have a good thursday peeps, one more day and we are at friday. yes, yes, yes.

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    thankful (nineteen)

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

    +++ my family being healthy
    +++ making the right decision for me, even if it wasn't the easy decision
    +++ my nutritionist who keeps me motivated to keep going
    +++ dinner with one of my favorite peeps with good food
    +++ the sound of laughter
    +++ listening to my heart and following through
    +++ prioritizing my time
    +++ blueberries
    +++ spring rolls
    +++ opening the mailbox and seeing a lot of happy mail inside of it for malena
    +++ getting our kiwi crate and the excitement that comes with the anticipation of the projects inside
    +++ my counselor being a phone call away
    +++ friends who are always there for each other, in the best and in the worst of times

    tomorrow is a big day. malena turns five. huge milestone for this mom.

    so, so thankful to have tomorrow to look forward to. xo

    Monday, November 18, 2013

    thankful (eighteen) + for jenny and hoss

    on this eighteenth day of the month, i am thankful for the following:

    +++ the excitement on malena's face when she carried her student of the week poster into school
    +++ leftover pizza that hits the spot for lunch
    +++ leaving the office right on time so that i got to see the entire hour of gymnastics
    +++ a rough night of almost-five-year-old-tantrums turning around to be almost-five-year-old laughs, hugs, and smiles
    +++ mayo (my friend, not the sauce)
    +++ booking an unexpected adventure
    +++ leftover chocolate cupcakes
    +++ bedtime routines
    +++ happy mail
    +++ ending the day with giggles with malena
    +++ messages from friends
    +++ morning chat with a friend which made traffic much more bearable

    on this eighteenth day of the month, i am also asking you to send good vibes, prayers and mojo to two special people.

    my friend jenny is going in for her next round of scans tomorrow. you all know how i feel about scans so we need to kick the energy into high gear for jenny tomorrow. it is her birthday on wednesday so there could be no better birthday present than good scans for her this year.

    my sister-in-law's brother hoss is in a hospital in new hampshire due to some medical complications. he has had a cat scan, biopsy, and will have an mri tomorrow. you all know how i feel about cat scans, biopsies, and mris so we need to kick the high energy into high gear for hoss tomorrow.

    i know that all of your vibes continue to work (hello good results for sharon last week) so i am excited to see the good news that comes for jenny and hoss tomorrow.

    thanks in advance for your good energy that you are sending their way. it is much appreciated. xoxo

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    thankful (fifteen, sixteen, seventeen)

    there has been a lot to be grateful for in the last three days, including:

    +++ sleep
    +++ down time
    +++ snuggling up next to malena while we ate popcorn and watched the one direction movie (not so much for the music as much as the snuggles;))
    +++ a ton of smiles, hugs, and tickle fights
    +++ seeing the total joy on malena's face while her friends were all around her at her gymnastics birthday party. our first friends birthday party is complete, and it went great. i am thankful for all of the memories, both for us and for her.
    +++ the same toys that i had as a kid being available for me to get malena -- hello lite brite, i loved you as a kid, and i am going to love you now. (ellie -- totally found one at target, yet one more reason to love target. sheri - can i work with you? pretty please?;))
    +++ blueberry pancakes
    +++ barrett turning a happy and healthy 35 years old, so very thankful for another healthy year for him and looking forward to the good things this next year brings his way
    +++ sunday afternoon movie with our besties
    +++ friday starbucks date with malena, our weekly tradition that i look so forward to every week
    +++ blowing out candles and making wishes
    +++ getting to work with malena on a poster for her being kid of the week at school, watching her write out her name and draw her own decorations around the pictures. i love watching her creativity unfold.
    +++ chocolate cupcakes
    +++ two good runs with blue sky above me
    +++ hugs
    +++ the people of san francisco for making a little boy's wish come true

    happy monday peeps, another one begins. we can do it. xo

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    thankful (fourteen)

    on thursday, you were a grrrrrrrrrrind. but i loved you anyways for the good things that you brought my way.

    on this fourteenth day of the month, i am thankful for:
    +++ starbucks being open at 6:15am when i roll into work and there being no line (clearly there is no line because i am rolling in at 6:15am. ugh. i am thankful regardless).
    +++ grapes (about 10 of them), especially since they are all i had time to eat for lunch today
    +++ post-it notes
    +++ chats on the way home with some of my favorite girls
    +++ smiles and hugs when i picked up kiddo
    +++ cold hard cider (had to do it today, reference the top two items for explanation as to why)
    +++ dinner with malena and barrett and letting the day roll of me
    +++ the way she reaches for my hand anytime we walk somewhere together
    +++ finding the perfect present
    +++ coming home. after a long day, i am especially thankful to come home to this warm home that i love so much.
    +++ my flannel pjs and my favorite hoodie
    +++ the chance to put my feet up
    +++ project runway
    +++ my friend having a sucessful hip surgery and his wife staying sane on day one of his recovery;)
    +++ my friend having no issues identified during her regular skin check -- yes!!!

    friday, i can't even begin to tell you how much i love you. big time. over the top.

    have a good weekend peeps, make the most of it. xo

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    thankful (thirteen)

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

    +++ booking my first 2014 plans, and the plans occurring after january. big step. deep breath. making plans that will occur after my next round of scans is tough for me. but i did it. proud of myself. counting on good news in january.
    +++ not sitting in traffic for an hour. yes, thank you traffic fates. i owe you one.
    +++ deviled eggs.
    +++ a gorgeous pink sunset out of my office window. it would have been even more beautiful if i had not been looking at it out of my office window. just sayin'....
    +++ grapes.
    +++ walking around the party store and getting to pick out toys and treats for the party bags for malena's friends. hearing "momma, look at this!" immediately followed by "momma, look at this!" immediate followed by "momma, look at this!" get the idea. she was so excited she had a smile ear to ear and was literally jumping up and down. so, so thankful for another perfect moment in anticipation of her turning the big 5. i have never loved being in that party store more than i did today. yep, counting out 20 tootsie roll suckers can bring more joy that you can imagine when you didn't know two weeks ago how these moments would actually play out.
    +++ finally getting the miley cyrus song out of my head (hooch, i still blame you for it getting there in the first place) with this song that i am currently loving for a lot of different reasons.
    +++ the sound of barrett's laughter right now as he watches one of his favorite shows (which is one of my least favorite shows - which is my hoodie is up and i am not even looking at the tv).
    +++ gluten free/vegan chocolate chip cookies that are super good and satisfied a sweet craving i had been having all day.
    +++ malena picking me as the one who got to lay with her while she started to fall asleep
    +++ all of the fun things that are going to occur in november/december and that holiday spirit starting to come on. i wish that i could just do fun holiday focused things and skip the whole work thing. might need to get a lottery ticket and see if that could help me meet that goal.

    thursday, i love you because you are bringing me one day closer to friday. sorry that i don't love you for your own reasons. but this week, i am all about you getting me closer to friday. sorry, i know the truth hurts -- but so does the fact that it is only thursday. no offense.

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    thankful (twelve)

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

    +++ the great news that sharon got today -- her tumor markers looked good and she got a great report. woohoo!! woohoo!! woohoo!!!! super, super thankful for that update! her and i are on quite the roll and we intend to keep it that way:) thanks for all of the prayers, mojo, and love you sent her way today - it worked (as usual)!
    +++ the work day ending (let's just assume from now on that i am thankful for that every single day, because i will be. trust me, the days aren't getting any easier. ugh.)
    +++ getting to pick out the birthday cake for malena's party with her - so fun to see her get so excited. picking out a cake. it was that simple. that much happiness. these are the moments i was so hoping to have. i am so thankful to be having them come true just as i had imagined them.
    +++ target. seriously, who isn't thankful for target? i know, we all are.
    +++ costco having a couple pairs left of the pajamas that i got malena last week that i have not been able to get her out of. you wouldn't get me out of them either considering they are super soft and have a hoodie (i heart hoodies, i am wearing one as i type this). i was a little worried when we walked in and they weren't where they were when i bought them. i was sweating it because i thought we might be headed for a costco pajama meltdown. you know, when you are "those parents" with "that kid" that is screaming that everyone is looking at but pretending like they aren't looking at. yep, those people. but costco came through, and two more pairs of pj's made their way home tonight. whew. hoodie pajama crisis averted. we can all sleep a little easier tonight.
    +++ sweet potatoes.
    +++ hugs and kisses at bedtime.
    +++ potato chips that give me my salt fix.
    +++ the excitement that was on malena's face when we walked in to target and the $1 aisle (so in love with those) was filled with "one direction" swag. it was like santa just walked in and gave her all that she hoped for and more (taylor, you would have probably almost passed out;). two "one directions" pens for $1. thank you target, you made her night (and mine by association).

    hump day. the half way point. i can kind of see friday over the horizon, and from what i can see, it is looking good. especially when it is 5pm (refer to the second item on the list above). xo

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    thankful (seven to eleven) + for sharon

    the last couple of days have been a bit of whirlwind and so it feels good to come back to this space.

    over the last five days, i have been thankful for:

    +++ the seattle pinball museum, it is amazing, and for $13 you can play pinball as long as you want. great time.
    +++ tamarind tree restaurant in the international district. seriously, some of the best food i have ever had. so, so good. if you live anywhere near seattle, you must go. today. right now. you will thank me. you are welcome.
    +++ cold hard apple cider, because some days, you just need one (or two).
    +++ girl time.
    +++ work days ending. couldn't happen soon enough.
    +++ my parents staying with us for a couple of days and helping out in a bunch of ways (as they always do)
    +++ our favorite coffee shop on a saturday morning.
    +++ a trip to our favorite resort and over 24 hours for barrett and i to catch up on life and make some plans for the future.
    +++ down time, drinking some green tea, reading a magazine, and putting my feet up.
    +++ sleeping in.
    +++ having a little time to do some dreaming about what i would like to do in the future.
    +++ the thought that if my scans come back good in january, my oncologist will think that we are good to go to a six month scan interval. six months. to be honest, the thought of going without a scan for six months scares the hell out of me. don't get me wrong, the three month cycle is rough, there is no doubt about that. six months. a lot can go wrong in six months. i feel like melanoma can't get a big head start on me in three months (that is the story that i tell myself to bring me some comfort). so even if given the chance for six months, i don't know if i could bring myself to take it. but, we will see. what an amazing choice that would be for me to have.
    +++ all of the men and women that have served, and those that are serving, for our country including my family members that are currently in the military. we love you and we thank you.
    +++ malena hanging out with me today downtown as i had to be in the office. it was great to have lunch with her, to have her do some "work" and just be together. it wasn't the day that i had planned for us (not by a long shot), but it was a day we spent together, so it was a good one nonetheless.
    +++ finding a sweater that i love. on sale. which makes me love it even more.
    +++ watching malena at gymnastics, jumping, rolling, running, smiling. perfect monday night, every single time.

    i am also thankful for my friend sharon, and tomorrow is the day that she gets her results on her tumor markers. so it is time to kick up the prayers, mojo and good vibes for sharon. i just know that tomorrow i will have good results from her appointment to be thankful for.

    i just know it.

    happy tuesday all -- i hope that it is a good one. xo

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    thankful (six)

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

    +++ the minute i was able to leave the office (it is that kind of week)
    +++ coordinating with friends on some fun plans
    +++ opening my mailbox and seeing happy mail
    +++ tickle fights
    +++ malena saying "momma, remember that one time that you carried me and tickled me when we came downstairs?" as if it was a year ago, and it was actually just this morning
    +++ music
    +++ 20 minutes in my craft room, it is amazing how calm i become when i enter that room
    +++ my favorite blanket (thank you sasha, still my favorite after all these years)
    +++ the fact that we are over half way through the work week (refer to the first thing that i was thankful for today)
    +++ disney putting lifeguards at the family pools on their cruise ships (though i would be even more thankful had the update never had to include chase or any other kid), per this update from chase's family today:

    "(10:32 a.m. EDT) -- Disney Cruise Line quietly became the first major cruise line to have lifeguards onboard its ships in late September when it began stationing them at its family pools on Disney Dream and Disney Magic. Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder will get lifeguards by mid-November.

    The lifeguards are always on duty, so long as the family pool is open. The pool is closed at night, and sometimes closed during bad weather or special events.

    Disney said it regularly evaluates onboard practices and makes changes when necessary. Like at most hotels and resort, cruise ships do not employ lifeguards at their pools.

    The move comes six months after a four-year-old boy nearly drowned just hours after getting on Disney Fantasy. Two weeks ago a six-year-old boy drowned onboard a Carnival cruise ship.
    --by Dori Saltzman, News Editor"
    happy thursday, hope it brings you a lot to be thankful for. xo

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    thankful (five)

    on this fifth day of november, i am thankful for:

    +++ a ton of laughs with malena in the morning before school
    +++ the grueling (and i mean grueling) work day coming to an end - finally - it could not have come soon enough
    +++ leftover pizza that was really good the second time around
    +++ green tea, my favorite go to drink (diet coke -- i do really miss you, i hope you miss me too)
    +++ good catch up session with a friend on my way home
    +++ talking with my sister while sitting on the dream couch - a win win for me
    +++ candyland, and watching malena stack the deck so that she got the popsicle to move closer to the finish without her thinking that i was paying attention
    +++ fish tacos
    +++ mango salsa
    +++ dark chocolate
    +++ listening to malena read cinderella
    +++ having malena tell me that i am the best mom ever (seriously, could it get better than that? i don't think so)
    +++ a good update on chase that i have included below
    +++ all of the people that have sent the "fun mail" that is referenced in the chase update, the kids love it and we have a done great job of sending them mail every week this year since april (and will continue to do through december)

    "Completely Compleat :)                               
    Have you ever seen the movie Captain America? We had a family movie night this weekend and watched it. I have seen the Avengers and got a glimpse of Captain America, but never knew what he was about or his story. After watching the movie, I can see why he was Chasers favorite super hero, he definitely picked the best one of the bunch! Captain America was a weak, small man, who had nothing to offer but his courage and his determination to serve and defend our country. He was chosen by the Gov't for an experiment, that amplifies his qualities to become the perfect soldier. Great Flick!
    Chaser has been off of pain meds for eight days now, we have noticed a big difference in his alertness. He is handling it well, with a few apparent side affects of its abstance. His muscle tone has become more tense and he has had a few fairly long spells of obvious discomfort. Aside from the couple of not so positive side effects, we feel Chase is much better off without these meds. He seems to be more attentive in therapy and working even harder-doing a lot of rolling over and working on the sitting position.......... and his eye movement, wow!- He is moving his eyes much more, and his eye seem to be more focused, and intense as well. We have noticed several times while he is sleeping, he moves his head, arms and toes in a fluid motion. It is really cool to watch- his limbs move like they did prior to the accident. Im not sure whats causing it, but I know that I like seeing it! We have transitioned him over to Compleat formula- although Lisa is not a big fan of its smell, its nice to know we are giving him natural food, and not something made in a lab that we add water too!
    Lisa and Chase returned home from Rochester tonight, just in time to watch the white stuff fall down. Chaser had a couple of appointments today at Mayo with the PT and OT Drs. They went well. The doctors were a little concerned about his muscle tone, and scheduled Botox injections for the 19th- the day after his follow-up on his Nissen procedure. We are hoping that these will ease his discomfort and keep the forward progress going. Aside from his tone, they advised Lisa to keep doing what we are doing. We have also added another swallow study on the 19th. He has progressed nicely in that dept and we want to see how far he has come or if there has been an change. Cross your fingers!!!!
    Tanner and Ava are doing Great! Tanner is flow blown into his hockey season, but taking this weekend off to join me in the hunt for the 30 point Buck on deer opener - we will see if one can survive without the Clash of Clans ipad game for a day or two! :) Ava survived a B-Day party and sleepover this weekend for her 8th B-day party. She is still making up dance routines, when not at practice, and makes sure mom and dad watch them all. Although the music is different for each one, the appear very similiar. She assures me that they are all different :)
    We have been receiving the packages of goodies (fun mail)for the kids each week, and the kids LOVE them! Thank you all for your kindness and generosity! We all played one of the games tonight while Chaser took a rester next to us- ( I am not sure how he slept through that noise, wish I had the ability to do that!)- Have a great week.

    God is Good!"

    happy hump day peeps, make it a good one. xo

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    thankful (four)

    on this fourth day of november, i am thankful for:

    +++ all of the love that surrounded little baby burton as he took flight to the sky, and for the geese that flew over his house showing him the way. i thank all of you that have lit candles, sent prayers, and love to baby burton and his mom and dad. please continue to do so as they move through these days without having him to snuggle on each day. i also want to share the poem they shared. can you hear the pieces clinking from where you are? i am sure you can, they sound absolutely deafening to me.

    Wild Geese
    By Mary Oliver
    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.
    +++ all of the good vibes, prayers and mojo that you have sent to sharon. it is time to fire up the mojo again as she heads back in tomorrow for blood work to check in on her tumor markers. her follow up appointment is on the 12th, so let's kick the mojo into overdrive for the next week. please and thank you.
    +++ i will also quietly say my thanks for all of the parts of my day that i am thankful for by tucking them into my memory and my heart and saying my thanks for another day.

    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    thankful (one/two/three)

    hello november, you are looking so good.

    a month to really dig in and focus on all of the things that i have to be thankful for.

    like last november (can i just say that it makes me pretty happy to be able to refer to posts that i wrote a year ago? damn, that feels good. another year.), my posts this month are going go focus on what i am thankful for each day with other random things that i want to add mixed in along the way.

    so here we go...on this first/second/third day of november, i am thankful for:

    +++ my dad happily chauffering my mom and i around the eastside to complete about a million errands on friday
    +++ laughter
    +++ completing a special project for malena (i will blog about it later this week)
    +++ my mom's good cooking
    +++ starting to get into the holiday mode by finding some perfect christmas presents
    +++ our friend alexis turning a happy and healthy 4 years old
    +++ an unexpected movie/popcorn/hello kitty date at our friend's house
    +++ the utility workers that worked through the day/night in cold weather to get our power back on at 3am after it was out for 16 hours
    +++ malena sleeping in until 10:30am today - no clue why - but meant some extra sleep for mom. you know i loved that.
    +++ a great run with blue sky and crispy leaves under my feet, and finishing just as the rain started to fall
    +++ the excitement on her face when i tell her which of her friends are going to be able to make it to her first friends birthday party
    +++ malena wanting to address her birthday invitations all by herself, sitting next to her and being so happy that she will turn a happy and healthy 5 years old this month and i will be here to see it. i will be here to see it. i am overjoyed.
    +++ fruit and green smoothies
    +++ hearing "momma, do you want to come and play with me?" yes, yes i do.
    +++ watching her fall asleep and her little arm resting across me. i could stay there in that moment forever.

    here are a few things that i have come across that i kind of loved, and so you might too:
    +++ i kind of think this chin up buttercup sign would be great to have in every room of my house and in my office at work
    +++ i am a sucker for a good pad to write to do's on - and this make things happen pad is right up my alley
    +++ this dentalvention story made me laugh, and i will take laughter any time i can get it
    +++ i thought this article on the one thing you must do was right on the mark
    +++ this post will remind you that there are so many good people in the world who are doing good things for others
    +++ i love the you can do anything but not everything desktop wallpaper
    +++ i really liked reading lessons learned from a year of staying in the picture - like the original article, a great reminder to get in the picture which i try to now do as much as possible
    +++ i would be pretty thrilled with any of these mulberry press mousepads but i think that the "good things happen to those who hustle" is my favorite

    happy monday peeps -- hope it is the start of a good week for all of you. xo