Wednesday, January 30, 2013


we got the best news possible today regarding the scan results. the scans did not show any other areas of concern, so my lung is our only focus. we will be getting a meeting scheduled with the surgeon as soon as we can book it, i don't know yet when surgery will be or what recovery would be like, etc.

if the surgery results indicate that it is benign, i will go back on regular scan rotations.

if the surgery results indicate that it is melanoma, my prognosis changes to stage IV. but i am not going to talk about that today, because i am celebrating the good news we got today.

thanks for all of the good thoughts and prayers, they are clearly working. keep sending them my way please until we get on the other side of surgery with benign results.

i am off for a little celebration lunch with our parents - and i will be having a cold glass of reisling...or maybe two;)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


i got confirmation today that my appointment should happen at 9am wednesday morning to get the results. i will post an update at some point tomorrow, will try to do it by the afternoon if possible.

thanks for continuing to send all of the good vibes and prayers the last two days as the excruciating waiting continued.

anywhere i go you go, and i will definitely be taking you with me into the appt at 9am. xoxo.

Monday, January 28, 2013

the waiting continues

i have an appoinment scheduled for 9am wednesday. if my oncologist is not back in by then, i will meet with a different oncologist on wednesday (at a time tbd at this point) so that they can at a minimum just give me the scan results. two more days of waiting. two more days to send good thoughts. i will keep you all posted. xoxo.

+++ this peanut butter cookie with chocolate hearts recipe looks awesome


as barrett and i were pulling out of the driveway, i got a call from my oncologist's office. my doc had a family emergency and couldn't make it in this morning. i am waiting on a call back to know when the appointment will be rescheduled to. i am hoping it is today, but have no clue. the unbearable waiting continues. keep the good thoughts coming, the only benefit of the waiting is that it gives more time for positive thoughts.

i will update when i know more.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

giveaway winner + rocking

the winner of the valentine's day card giveaway was crystal - woohoo!;) your package will be on its way to you tomorrow my dear. enjoy!

today was another good day around here.

sleeping a little when the sun came up. loved that.

second day of my mom's awesome french toast. i could eat that everyday and be pretty happy about it.

crafting with my mom and malena.

lunch with my brother's family, which of course included a lot of of laughs which was perfect.

a trip to the library to check out some new books and play a couple of learning games.

more crafting with my mom and malena.

awesome dinner with fresh clams from my brother who took advantage of yesterday's clam tide. so good. yum. thank you brother, you are the best.

reading our new library books - multiple times.

one more s'more - even though it isn't a campout night. yep, i caved - and it didn't take a lot of effort.

multiple games of "you can't catch me" around the kitchen and living room.

endless tickle fights.

a ton of good things and love packed into this sunday when we all (minus malena) have so many scary thoughts running through our heads.

malena did not want to go to bed tonight, so it was a long routine tonight with a lot of tears from her. after a while, she sat with me in the rocking chair in her room and finally fell asleep with her head on my shoulder. i don't remember the last time that she felt asleep laying on me in that chair while i was rocking her, i wish that i did more clearly remember those precious moments that come and go in a flash. but it was the perfect way to spend the end of this day with her, just listening to her breathing and feeling her snuggled up against me in the dark.

by the time that most of you are reading this, i will already know the results of the scans.

i will post an update tomorrow, and will do my best to not wait until the end of the day.

thanks again for all of the good thoughts, prayers, and wishes that you have been sending from wherever you call home.

anywhere i go you go.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

saturday fun + card giveaway reminder (& update)

a little bit of sleep between 5 and 8am.

mom's cinnamon chip french toast.

valentine's card class with friends and mema.

lunch at "chicken robin"

new doodlebug game that malena is obsessed with.

picking up our pottery from last weekend.

making valentine's cards for the blog giveaway.

mom's chinese fried rice.

s'mores before saturday night campout.

only one rough patch in the afternoon with tears and a little time out needed for me upstairs to regroup. one rough patch per day is not a bad ratio these days.

a good day filled with lots of love and lots of deep breaths. in and out. in and out. monday is looming large.

+++ i made all of the valentine's cards for the giveaway. here is a pic (not sure why the lighting on the pic is so funky, but you get the idea) of one of the cards as a teaser, all five are a little bit different;) for some reason, blogger isn't letting some of you leave comments, and i have no clue what the problem is. so, if you want to be in giveaway and blogger isn't letting you comment, email or text me if you can and i will enter you in. i will have the random number wizard doodad choose the winner right after 8pm sunday night. good luck!

Friday, January 25, 2013

friday goodness + new valentine's card giveaway

today was a good day.

i got to drop malena off at her new preschool and i got to pick her up. i loved it, so fun.

i had a dermatology appointment this morning to have him check one mole that i thought was starting to look a little suspicious. all clear. whew. after he looked at it he asked me how i was doing. unexpectedly it was a waterworks show. he is good though, and just talked with me for a few minutes and reassured me as i got the tears to stop. sometimes i don't even see it coming when the flood gates suddenly open up.
i worked for a couple of hours and then had fun with my mom and dad. great lunch and some fun shopping to get us out of house. we had a good time (as usual when i am with my parents). even though i was so tired and and still felt a little crappy, i wanted a distraction. mission accomplished.
my dad made his world famous nachos tonight for dinner, so good. he used to make them for me when i was a kid, i still love them (and him) as much as i did then.
as part of a new tradition we started last weekend, tonight we are having a campout in our living room in front of the fire. so of course we also had to have s'mores.

when we were shopping today, i saw fun little valentine's day cards and stickers.

i decided to buy a pack and make them into cards for another giveaway. crafting them up will give me something fun to do this weekend. you win, i get to craft - we both win, how great is that? so if you want some very fun valentine's day cards to send to loved ones, leave a comment on the blog (click to the blog if you are reading this over email). leave a comment on the blog by 8pm sunday night and i will pick a winner. 5 valentines, 5 stamped envelopes with xoxo stickers, and 5 extra "the best thing about you is" cards and you will be ready to go. good luck!

we get my results at 8am monday morning, so please send me good vibes at that time. i will definitely need all of the good thoughts that i can get. at this point, the very best news he could tell me is that the only spot they see is the one on my lungs that we already know about. the worst news would be anything other than that. but it will only be the best news so no need to worry about the worst, right? right.

i never really thought a time would come when i would be relieved to know the only spot i had to be worried about was the one on my lung. at this point, that would be the best news possible because it would give me hope that we can do surgery, remove the nodule, and find out that it wasn't cancer to begin with. spots in other places obviously make everything a lot tougher. but regardless of how hard it is, i will keep hoping and fighting.

there is simply no other choice.

xoxo (just like those stickers on the envelopes you might win - have you wrote your comment yet?)

+++ if you love thin mint girl scout cookies, you probably want to check out this drink. my mouth is literally watering. yum.
+++ new bags and kindle/ipad covers at curly girl design. i am drooling.
+++ i am buying carry on, warrior this weekend. can't wait to start it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear)."
(e.e. cummings)
today was a bittersweet day.
the best part of our day was malena starting her new preschool today. she will be going there two days a week, and then full time in july. she will still be going to her other preschool the other three days a week (we think, we will see how that actually goes next week). so this morning it was her pick for a special breakfast, and her choice was blueberry pancakes. those pancakes looked and smelled so good, probably even more so than usual since i was already starving by that time. here she is laughing and eating pancakes at the same time, she is super talented (like her mom of course).
since we were off work today for the scans, we both got to take her to school for the first day. it was so great to see her make this new start. of course there were tears (from her and us) and some begging to go home, but those quickly ended once we got there. by the time we left she barely noticed and was already totally engaged in the classroom. bittersweet to see her take on this new experience and do so great on her first morning, and to know that she is growing up so fast. another first for her, and another reminder for me of how badly i want to be around for all of her other firsts to come. i am so proud of her for being so brave (like her mom of course). i so wished that i could have picked her up on her first day, but my scans wouldn't allow that to happen. luckily, she had mema and papa to pick her up and take her for ice cream, so life was pretty good for her after preschool.
so we rolled over to UW at about 1:30 (and by this time i was really, really hungry) to start scanapalooza. i was laughing on the ride over because i had my "f*ck cancer" shirt on as one of my layers (those scan rooms are cold) with the intention of proudly wearing it once the scans started. wearing it under my sweatshirt felt like my secret super power.
so first came the iv in my right arm, blood draw, next came the saline (sucked like usual), and then came the radioactive mumbojumbo (sucked like usual). then came the contrast (sucked like usual) i had to drink for the ct scan, and instead of the usual hour, they wanted me to down both bottles in about 25 minutes (ellie - they gave me a straw, we need to remember to take one next time we are at at scca, it makes it go down a lot faster).
after about an hour of that fun, it was time to show off the "f*ck cancer" shirt and walk down to the room with the big scan machine. i was in the scan machine for the pet scan for about an hour and a half. then i had a two minute break to use the restroom before the ct scan started. as i was walking down the hallway, with my shirt on and my iv hanging out of my arm, one of the nurses said "that is an awesome shirt." i said "yep, this is my good luck shirt from wisconsin" and she agreed that it could only bring good luck. little did she know that she had just walked by some major super power energy.
for the ct scan, they had to inject contrast into my iv not once, but twice. seriously? that really sucked, because that also meant more saline each time (double suckage). when i was leaving the ct scan, they also gave me the great news that the techs at the brain mri called and said they needed my iv to stay in because...wait for it, wait for it...they also needed to inject contrast into my iv. seriously? yes, seriously.
after the ct scan, i was supposed to get a break so that i could eat because by that time it was 5pm. do you think that i got a break? nope, no break. as soon as i got back to the waiting room and was literally reaching for my food, they called me back for the brain mri. not a happy camper.
the brain mri is so damn loud they make you wear ear plugs. even with ear plugs, and headphones on with my music playing, it is loud. you are in this super tiny tube (literally your face is like two inches from the top of the machine, good thing i am not claustrophobic), you are strapped in, your head is tied in so tight you can't move it (clearly the point), they have a shield over your face so you look a little bit like a baseball catcher, and it sounds like there is jackhammering happening all around you. i know, you are totally jealous.
finally when that one was done, my iv got pulled out and i got the green light to head home. that also meant that i could eat. here is what freedom looked like as i left the waiting area.
so it is now 10pm and i so tired. my stomach feels like hell. i am going to bed. i am hoping for some sleep.
thanks for all of the good thoughts, prayers, emails, texts, messages, flowers (kp, you rock - they are gorgeous), facebook posts, etc. i love my tribe, and i took each one of you with me today. as the quote above says, anywhere i go you go.
i would also like to thank the killers, of monsters and men, and various other musical friends for coming along with me today and keeping me company in those scan machines. you all rock. literally.
happy friday peeps, the weekend is here. i would potentially be more excited about this weekend if monday morning results didn't immediately follow it. but that said, i am going to make the most of it. each day is important, and i will keep taking deep breaths....and threatening cancer so that it knows not to mess with me on monday.
i am sleeping in my f*ck cancer shirt tonight, between that and my dreamcatcher, i think cancer will be on notice and won't try to pull anything over on me in the dark.
best news last, my friend kerry's mom got great scan results today that her brain tumor has not grown. with patty and greta, those are two good rounds of cancer results this week. i am hoping to round that out to three on monday.
enjoy your weekend. xoxo


"listen to the mustn'ts, child. listen to the don'ts. listen to the shouldn't, the impossibles, the won'ts. listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...anything can happen, child. anything can be."
(shel silverstein)

so tomorrow is scan day.

since i am doing the pet scan, i have to fast for 12 hours before the test. they called and pushed my scans a little later in the afternoon. not sure why they feel the need to make me wait even longer which means i am hungry even longer, but that is how it is going to go down. i have the pet scan and ct scan first, and then head in (no pun intended) for the brain mri. it should be about a 4 hour extravaganza before all is said and done sometime around 6pm. i am expecting that i will head home and crash because i will be feeling pretty crappy from the pet scan fluids and the contrast. cocktails of dread. ugh.

but, there a couple of things that are on my side for tomorrow.
+++ i got a kick ass "f*ck cancer" shirt to wear tomorrow from my patterson peeps in wisconsin. awesome. i am sure the techs and nurses will love it;)
+++ all of the love that has been coming my way this week from family and friends. there is no doubt that i am surrounded by a ton of love, which brings me a lot of comfort during this tough time. i am so thankful that i have so many people rooting for me, it helps immensely to know that others are in the fight with me.
+++ i got a notification today from fred hutch for the donation that was made in my name with the extra money donated from the couch drive. i figured that was a good mark in my book from the cancer gods. (thanks jill for making that donation happen. you rock. thanks to josh for marrying jill, best decision you ever made - even better than having me for your best friend which i have always thought was a pretty stellar decision on your part all of those years ago).
+++ my friend crystal is a teacher and she started an "operational fun mail for alli" campaign with the high school kids she teaches. i had no clue about it until i got the first installment of the letters today. perfect time to get them the day before scans. 150 high school kids that i have never met before sending me tons of love and good thoughts. seriously, can it get much better than that? i don't think so. i am so taking all of those letters with me in my bag tomorrow, i am already confident they are good luck.

here are just a few excerpts from the kids....
+++ "dear friend, did i forget to tell you we're friends? well we are. do you want to know what cancer can't do? cancer is just so can't corrode faith, it cannot shatter hope, it can't cripple love, it can't destroy peace, it can't kill friendship, it can't suppress memories.." (crystal - those were just the opening lines to the one from alex)
+++ "crystal tells me you are a fighter and i know that means you can do anything. hope to hear good news soon. i plan to write you every week and tell you about things on in my life. you are in my prayers alli"
+++ "you can pull through this, you are stronger than this"
+++ "because of you, and your story and some things happening at school, i am making it a goal to take more random kind actions. you inspire many, stay strong."
+++ "so i am not really sure what to say but i want to say something nice to make you smile"

on the good news front, my friend greta got clear results today on her melanoma scans in new jersey. so happy about that, love good news from the east coast. perfect.
also, regarding jen, she is still working on getting that third opinion on next steps - and in the meantime, we keep the fun mail for jen campaign rolling on to bring her good vibes on that third opinion. the third opinion is going to equal positive news. i just know it. already a done deal as far as i am concerned.
also on the bright side, it looks like blogger has stopped hating me finally so i should be able to post a picture tomorrow night of me in my "f*ck cancer" shirt. maybe i will also post one of me shoving my face with food when i finally get to eat. we will see how it goes.
everyone have some fun tomorrow please and eat good food (and candy) all day long. xo
+++ just heard about sugarwish for the first time today, and since i love candy, i think that i just fell in love with this site. i am also wondering why i didn't think of this first. (em - this would be our dream company, we need to see if they are hiring samplers asap)


Monday, January 21, 2013


"in the midst of winter,
i found there was within me an invicible summer."
(albert careb)
this is going to be a really long week around here.
lots of waiting. waiting for thursday to come. waiting on thursday for scans to start. waiting on thursday in between scans. waiting from thursday to monday morning for results, which i already feel like i have been waiting for since last tuesday. i am so not a fan of the waiting game.
it has been tough around here. i don't want malena to know anything is up or see us upset. but something is definitely up and we are definitely upset. it is hard to put on a strong face all day long, but she is worth and so we do it. there isn't another option, i don't want her to have to know anything until she has to - and i have no idea when i will think that she has to.
our weekend included a lot of fun - getting library cards and two trips to the library since she loved it so much, family slumber party downstairs on saturday night around the fireplace, painting pottery for valentine's day gifts, tons of tickle fights, sleep - lucky for me, she slept in which meant i could get some sleep after the sun started to come up, lazy coffee shop visit, movie date night, time in our craft room making cards and getting some fun mail ready to send, shopping at bartells and hitting the jackpot when malena eyed a set of 10 princess chapsticks (she was so excited, a girl after my own heart as i am never far from my chapstick either), chocolate chip pancakes, a good 3 mile run, catching up a bit on life, lots of laughs, visiting her new pre-school (where she will go two days a week until july when she will go there full time, we are still dealing with pre-school drama the other other three days a week, ugh), buying new supplies (hello kitty of course) for her new big girl classroom, adding memories to our 2013 memory jar, and the list of fun goes on and on....
it is hard not to think of all of the ways that our lives could go pending the results on monday. it is hard to not think about what it will mean if the results don't go our way, and it is almost so debilitating that i literally feel like i can't breathe in certain moments. i can't tell you in words - though i am sure you can imagine - how completely overwhelming it is to spend any amount of time thinking about your own mortality. but i am trying very hard to also focus on the reality that we don't anything for sure at this point - good or bad.
i have a fighting chance, and we all know that i am a fighter.
as we went through our weekend, there were moments that were particularly harder than others.
going to the library since it is signified a first, and i want to have all of the firsts i deserve to have with her throughout her lifetime.
bedtimes are tough, our quiet routine and watching her sleep - i wouldn't trade it but i feel like i literally hear my heart breaking in the silence with the thought of not having a million more bedtimes.
going running for the first time since the scan results, wondering if i would get a shot at that 5k i planned on in march. twice my feet just stopped running and started walking, but within about half of a block i kicked my own ass and i ran the rest of the 3 miles.
i filled out my calendar for this year with the usual list of birthdays, anniversaries, etc - and it was tough flipping those pages and not knowing what the months would bring.
today i read this post on "marta writes" and felt like she was reading my mind and the thoughts that i have had over the last week.
her words are a good reminder for everyone to make every single day count.
every single day matters.
tuesday, here we come...i look forward to the all of the good parts of the day that you are going to bring our way. xo.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

weekend? yes, please

i am ready for a weekend, how about you?

i am planning on my weekend including the following:

movie date + sleeping in (best sleep for me comes when the sun has come up) +  a good run + trip to our coffee shop + park time + catching up on life + girls day with malena on monday + being lazy + reading + drinking some reisling (you knew that would be on the list) + making cards (kp, your five will be coming your way) + spending qt with my couch + starting valentine crafts

i hope that you all have a great weekend - do something fun, hug your loved ones, get the idea. make the most of it. they are days you won't ever get back.


+++ i made awesome (thankyouverymuch) creme brulee last weekend. for some reason, blogger hates me right now and i can't post any pictures. but the pictures would make you drool. trust me. in the meantime, if you need to make some creme brulee this weekend (and i highly recommend you do because it is so good), i used this recipe. yum.
+++ i am totally digging this possibilitarian project update, and i love the photos with the quotes. could easily picture each one of those in my house.
+++ curly girl design has some new posters, and i am totally digging this one

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


"i believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. i believe in kissing, kissing a lot. i believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. i believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. i believe that tomorrow is another day and...i believe in miracles."
(audrey hepburn)
i got the call today on my next round of tests. next thursday i will go in for the round of tests which will take about 5 hours. i am not going to feel well after those because the radioactive solution from the pet scan and the contrast from the ct scan both make me sick to my stomach. plus i will have to fast for i think about 12 hours before the pet scan. i think that it is no water, no food, nothing, zero, nada, zip. need to read my pages of instructions to be sure. as if the tests aren't bad enough,  you have to go in to them on an empty stomach. that is just not right. don't you agree? i knew you would, that is why i like you.
the results from those tests will come at 8am the following monday.
i still had times of not catching my breath on and off today - pretty sure that is going to continue for a while. i caught myself a couple of times thinking about something that i wanted to do, like buying some stamps i saw that i loved, and then thinking i should hold off and wait. the inclination to wait is that voice that creeps in and says bad news is coming, so don't buy something you may never use. that voice is a tricky little devil, it sneaks in when you don't expect it. i will just have to keep focusing on not hearing or listening to that voice. i have pretty bad hearing to begin with so it shouldn't be that tough;)
when malena fell asleep today, i watched her sleep for a while and as you can imagine had some tough moments. lots of tears. i think that no parent should ever have to think about not getting to watch their child grow up. but i know parents that have had to think about that, and parents that have had to know that they won't get that chance due to this beast called melanoma. i know that i need to (and i intend to) stay positive, but it isn't honest to say that i don't have those thoughts. how could i not? i have seen the realities of what can come from melanoma. i shouldn't have to have those thoughts. my friends shouldn't have to have those thoughts or deal with that reality and say goodbye to their children. no one should. the fact that anyone does makes me so sad and so angry and so sick to my stomach. it is not fair. i just don't understand, and never have and never will, why the world has to be full of so much hurt and pain. i guess it is the trade off for so much joy and love.
i would never trade the joy and love, but i don't feel like i should ever have to trade anything at all.
so i am going to keep taking it breath by breath. but damn, this is hard.
but no one ever said this would be easy.
if it was easy, it wouldn't be cancer.
i really, really hate you cancer.
but i will kick your ass.
because like audrey, i too believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


i feel like i need to catch my breath and the oxygen has been sucked out of the space around me.

i feel like i can barely breathe.

today didn't go as we hoped. not by a long shot.

long story short - the spot on my lung has grown. next steps are to have a full pet scan, a full CT scan, and a brain mri. if those tests show other areas of concern, we will determine path forward. if those tests show the lung is the only area of concern, i will go in for surgery to remove the nodule from my lung. if the nodule is removed and it is melanoma, and they can get it all, then no treatment may be needed. but, that would mean a recurrence which means that my overall chance of recurrence has obviously increased which may not be good news for my overall prognosis. if the nodule is removed and it is not cancer, we will have one hell of a party after i recover from the surgery. so this spot may lead us down a number of paths.

my ideal would be no other spots on the scans, we do surgery and they remove the nodule, it is not cancer, i heal up from surgery, and we have a party. that is my dream end to what today feels like a living nightmare.

i feel scared shitless. 100% terrified.

i feel like i am seeing my life pass in front of my eyes in nanoseconds (yes, i think that i just made that word up).

i feel like i don't want malena to leave my sight.

i feel like that i want to memorize every single second of the minutes i spend with her. every single second.

i feel like i will have to tell malena something about what is going on when we know more. i never wanted her to have to know anything about her mommy not feeling well, having tests, being upset, or being in the hospital.

i feel like i don't know what to do with the next minute.

i feel paralyzed.

i feel like i need to get all of the pictures of our lives in books.

i feel like i am drowning under the weight of the news.

i feel very, very loved.

i feel surrounded by a million good wishes and prayers.

i feel like i will need to dig deep again to get through this.

i feel like i know that i can.

i feel like i need to just focus on taking things day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

i feel my running training schedule just got screwed.

i feel exhausted.

i feel that voice that tells me that i promised from the start of this two years ago that i would never quit.

i feel hope.

thanks for all of the good vibes, prayers, texts, emails, etc. it means more than you could ever know.

i will keep you posted on next steps, i expect i will hear tomorrow on when my tests will be scheduled.

deep breaths. in and out.


Monday, January 14, 2013

here we go again

i am exhausted.

this morning barrett and i met with malena's current teachers to see if we can gain any ground in understanding why she is so unhappy about pre-school. then we toured another school. we are going to make a change and start to transition her to a new school a few days a week. this parenting stuff is hard work, it is tough to know when you make the right decisions for your kid. i guess we just go with our gut and the rest will shake out as it is meant to.

following the busy morning, i had a couple of hours of super busy work hours. then it was time to head for scans.

i picked up ellie - my scan good luck charm - and we headed to cancer care alliance.

usual process. checked in. bloodwork. iv put in. taste of saline. you know the drill.

since we are focused on my lungs this time, i didn't have to drink the contrast solution which was nice. i did have to get it in my iv during the scan, but that is better than also having to drink it for an hour.

post scan ellie and i snacked (we always bring treats because a) i am typically starving since i can't eat before the scans and, b) we love snacks) on good things - like hot tamales;)

i was feeling ok (not great, but was hanging in there) until about 8pm and then i started to go down hill. that contrast solution never sits well with my stomach. i am now really not feeling well and am going to try and get some rest. hoping the dreamcatcher kicks in tonight for no nightmares combined with some long periods of sleep.

thanks for all of the good vibes for my scans and results.

i get my results at 4:30pm so send more good vibes all day long.

thanks peeps, you rock. let's hope those results do too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

living in the "tomorrow"

"But understand this: my commitment to living in the now means
I'll never ever say that I've beaten cancer.
To do so would be living in the "tomorrow," if you will,
and melanoma is far too erratic an opponent to go around making predictions.
But I can tell you for sure that I'll never give in to it.
Life is too precious to give it up
without giving everything you've got -- now."
Dr. Jack Ramsay
i saw this quote on adventures with my enemy melanoma today and it seemed appropriate for this post. scan day. here we are again.
this weekend i kept myself very busy doing a ton of things, and that was very intentional on my part. i didn't want down time, i didn't want time to sit idle and think. the reason is obvious, i wanted to distract myself as much as possible - but even in the midst of the busy, monday and especially tuesday have been looming the entire time.
as predicted on friday, our weekend included: a post-holiday party at a place in seattle i had never been to before (one of my goals of the new year is to explore new places as much as possible) + my mom's awesome cinnamon swirl french toast + shopping with my mom and scoring some awesome deals + lunch at "chicken robin" + making creme brulee and it tasting so good (yes, i did it!!!! more on that to come) + making dijon parmesan chicken/asparagus/parmesan red potatos/great bread with my mom = really good dinner and kitchen fun with my mom + seahawks playoff party + good brunch + mimosas + a great run on a beautiful winter day + watching malena fall asleep and wishing with all of my heart that we could stay frozen in that exact moment forever.
please send good thoughts out to my friend greta, she is having her next round of melanoma scans in new jersey today. the chances of us both having our scans on the same day on other sides of the country is slim (her husband wallace did the math). i choose to believe the math means good chances for both of us.
have a good monday everyone, i hope your day is a great one. xo.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

giveaway winner

the winner of the card giveaway is kerry!
the stamp is on its way to me,
so i will have your five cards to you soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

friday + final giveaway reminder

"the days are long, but the years are short"
(gretchin rubin)
this week has flown by, and i am so glad that tomorrow is friday. it has been a week of long days around here. 4 year appointment and shots on monday. pre-school drama each day with malena. she is in a real rough patch right now with school, and so that means we are all in a rough patch. every single day. with work, school, and scans coming up we are in total exhaustion at our house. all three of us, wiped out. i feel like i could sleep for days.
one good thing that i have going for me is that my friend marcie bought me a dreamcatcher  to help with my nightmares. i have not had one nightmare since that dreamcatcher has been next to my bed the last couple of weeks. i still have dreams non-stop and am still waking up throughout the night every night, but no nightmares. i am loving that. i don't think that i have had nights with no nightmares leading up to scans ever. i am totally in love with that dreamcatcher. oh, and i kind of like marcie too for being so thoughtful for thinking of me when she saw it;)
our weekend is going to include the following:
a party + hopefully some sleep + not having tears over having to go to pre-school + a visit from my parents + haircuts + making homemade creme brulee (wish me luck peeps) + celebrating my parents 41st wedding anniversary (hence the attempt at making creme brulee) + brunch + mimosas + seahawks + running + time in the craft room + friends + trying to not think too much about tuesday
also, this is your last reminder if you want to leave a comment for the card giveaway. remember, i will making 5 handmade cards with this stamp. the cards will also come with 5 stamped envelopes so all you will have to do is write in the card and send it off. yep, it is that easy peeps. i will pick a winner from all of the comments left on the blog this week, but you have to leave a comment by friday (by pacific time for all you rule lovers) to have a shot at winning. i will announce the big winner on saturday. woot!
happy friday all, have a great weekend - make the most of it. xo

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

goals + baby rocker + giveaway reminder

there are two posts from elise blaha's blog lately that you really spoke to me. usually her daily blog posts do in one way or another, but these two struck a chord on back to back days.

the first was her post yesterday about goals and to-do list items. i am a big to-do list girl, and goals always weigh heavy on my mind in january as i think of all of the things that i want to accomplish throughout the year. i plan to dive into her course this weekend that i signed up for, i have no doubt it will be great and will get me motivated. one big motivation for this year is documenting (hence my word for 2013) and one week in i am living up to my word. i printed out the pics from last week and started my project life photo book for the year. one week in, one week done. 51 more to go and i am ready.

the second was her post today about a rocking chair for her baby. i have been thinking a lot about babies recently. i always do as scan time draws close, as i think about how different my life would if it never included scans and results. at christmas, malena and i went into the bathroom at my parent's house and out of nowhere she asked me when i was going to have another baby in my tummy. i was so not ready for that question. i told her that i wasn't sure if i would, and of course because she is four, she asked me why. i explained that she would likely be my one and only special baby, and of course because she is four, she asked me why. at some point, she was finally satisfied with my answer. for that day anyways. she asked me the same question a couple of days ago as we were walking into the house at the end of the day. i gave her the same logic, i got the same why questions. i wish i had better answers to give both of us.

she is getting old enough that i could likely explain more. but the truth is, i don't think that i can do it yet. scratch that, i know that i can't do it yet. on the other side of these scans, one way or another, i need to find my way to come to terms with it. i know that. it is a decision (and not my own which will always really piss me off and make me sad) that was really made the day i got my diagnosis, and all of these days later i still have a very hard time with it. when i was unpacking our christmas decorations, i found the extra stocking holder that i got when i bought malena's when she was a baby. i bought two so that they could be matching, and it seemed like such an obvious no-doubt-about-it decision at the time. i can clearly remember the moment when i found them and knew we would put them up every christmas. of course i would need two stocking holders, because i would have two kids. seeing and feeling that stocking holder was tough. such a little thing, but it held such promise at the time that i bought it. i couldn't bring myself to not put it back into the decoration box. i should have saved myself the pain of seeing it again next year, but i just wasn't ready to put it somewhere that would signal that it would never sit on our mantle. even though i know that is the reality. i know it, i just don't want to accept it. more so, i just don't know how to.

i just need some more time. which is so true in so many different ways.

giveaway sidenote:
+++ reminder: you have until friday to leave a comment on the blog to have a chance at winning 5 of my handmade (awesome thankyouverymuch) cards. more info is in this post. you know that you want the random number gadget to make you a winner this week. but watch out if you win, some of the girls that have already left comments might come after you;)

Monday, January 7, 2013

updates + giveaway

+++ today we had the 4 year appointment for malena. oh man, it was all going good until the word "shot" came up. then, all kinds of hell broke loose. poor little thing, i have serious mom guilt when the shots come out. she put up a hell of a fight, i don't blame her, i know how much shots suck. but, we all survived, and of course deserved a jamba juice afterwards.

+++ michelle's act of kindness was dedicated to josephine gay. here is michelle's update,
“She had just celebrated her 7th birthday a few days before, and was planning a party that weekend. We recently had a birthday party to go to, so when we bought a gift for the party, we also gave a donation to Hopelink, which purchases toys for children in need. We figured that just because she couldn’t celebrate her birthday, we would help another child get a gift who might not have otherwise. She was also autistic. Her parents also established Joey’s Fund in her name through the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. We gave a donation here as well."

+++ thanks to all who are helping to make sure that fun mail is making its way to jen every week. i got to talk to jen about two weeks ago and she is so appreciative of the fun mail. she told me that she is constantly surprised by strangers sending her positive vibes, and i know that it means a lot to her. since we started the campaign, jen has had some further biopsy tests with some discrepancies in pathology that has created hope for good news, but leaves some questions and next steps not yet fully answered. i think the fun mail is working and cancer knows not to mess with a woman who gets fun mail every week. so i think that if we keep sending it, we can get cancer to permanently get out of town. sound like a good plan? yep, i think so too.

+++ today i saw this "the best is yet to be stamp" (the larger of the two with the same text) and i felt like it was the perfect stamp for cards to kick off 2013. my second thought was it must be time for a giveaway. right? right! so, you know the drill by now. this time i am going to make it even easier. leave a comment on any blog post (go to the blog if you are reading this via email) between now and friday and i will draw the winner this weekend. oh, might be good if i mention what you will win;) 5  handmade (by yours truly) cards with "the best is yet to be" stamp, along with five stamped envelopes. i know, pretty awesome. so leave a comment already.

happy tuesday.

one week from tomorrow is results day for me. the one week countdown is on peeps. ugh.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

monday, seriously?

i am so not ready for a monday, give me another weekend day pretty please. with sugar on top.

tomorrow we will take malena to her 4 year old check up appointment, i have no idea how that is possible. she reminded me today that last time we took her there she was a baby. it is so funny that her references to everything we have done before was "when she was a baby," guess that is a sign of the fact she feels like such a big girl now. you go girl.

i thought about malena today when i read this post by jillian's mom. i can't even imagine how you make it through the death of your child as a mom, i so admire the strength she has. jillian was so lucky to have her, they were lucky to have each other, and the world is lucky that she will continue the fight against melanoma in jillian's honor. we need all the fighters we can get.

+++ this etsy site just opened this weekend, i can tell already i am probably going to need to make a purchase soon;)
+++ i am a sucker for quotes and prints
+++ for any of you ladies who tear up on the first chord of "butterfly kisses" you will need to get some kleenex to watch this (sharon t, i saw this on your link, and immediately needed kleenex)
+++ for all you crafty ladies, here is a cute diy idea
+++ i am signed up for this class and am totally excited about it
+++ i am finally reading happier at home and am loving it, i am sure there will be post coming soon
+++ i subscribed to click and am drooling over the first issue that i got this weekend
+++ i am definitely going to sign up to do this
+++ jessica's swifts goal intention kit looks like it could be a great way to kick off 2013
+++ i did make this memory game for malena for christmas - and it turned out so great, the cards are high quality and it is a blast playing the memory game with her pictures on them

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

day one + acts of kindness continue

a good start to the new year.

lots of playing and tickling in the morning with malena.

my first 3 miler of the year - look out 5k/10k, i am coming for you this year.

 we finally got time to play with some of our christmas presents,very fun.

as part of documenting this year, there were two things (in addition to others) that i wanted to do this year.

the first is to write down memories throughout the year and put them into a jar, and on new year's eve this year, i will pull out all of the memories and read them (rheta - i got this idea from one of your fb posts, xo). i found the perfect glass jar when i was at target the other day and it will sit on our kitchen counter so it is easy to see and is in the part of the house where we spend most of our time. it won't get a memory added every day (or maybe it will), i have set no rules for myself other than to add a memory (and encourage others to) when i choose to. i want the jar to represent moments big and small - all important - through 2013. today resulted in the first piece of paper added to the jar. love the beginning of a new tradition.

the second is to work on (if not finish) the book that i bought for malena and told you about in november. i have made a pact with myself. everytime i make a card in my craft room this year, i will fill out at least one prompt in the book. i started today, and with only three entries in, i was already emotional about it. big surprise (not). i am just so excited about how special this book will be for her. all of my words that she will one day read. the information she will learn about me and my wishes for her, in my own words, in my own writing, for her to always have. i am so thankful i crossed paths with this book.

regarding the acts of kindness, i have more wonderful acts to share:

+++ beth's act was dedicated to chase kowalski. beth donated money to evelyn sherman, a 3 year old with kidney disease who needs a transplant to save her life. her father is a small business owner and he is her donor. in honor of chase beth's money will go to saving the life of another innocent child.

+++ kerry's act was dedicated to caroline previdi. kerry sent me the following update:
"I learned Caroline Previdi, 6, loved to dance and was known for always making others smile. In honor of Caroline, I made a donation to the Dizzy Feet foundation. It's an organization that supports, improves, and increases access to dance education in the United States.
July 27, 2013 is the next National Dance day. I plan to participate and get others to join
me in honor of Caroline." kerry is an awesome dancer, so i have no doubt she will be dancing
on july 27th.

+++ doreen's act was dedicated to mary sherlach. doreen sent me an update that her and her
husband charlie made a “donation to Open House Ministries in Vancouver WA.
They take in disadvantage families (with children--often from parents that were recently
released from incarceration) and work with them to rehabilitate them into the community.
They provide housing, help them with skills and finding a job. They keep these families for
sometimes a year or more and then get them into subsistance housing once they have
jobs and are ready for re-entry. This ministry is full of compassion and care.
Their primary goal is to stop the cycle and give the children of these families a chance. 
I also stopped at CVS pharmacy to pick up something for Charlie and as I was checking out,
a homeless lady was right outside the door. I pulled the cash out of my wallet and gave it to
her. She wasn't begging but I just stopped and thought again of the precious lives of those
children the world lost. As the poor lady saw me just empty my wallet, she just started
crying and told me thank you.”

+++ abby's acts were dedicated to madeleine hsu and jack pinto, and her
family made a donation to the ‘Newtown Youth & Family Services’ that is hosting
support groups and therapists to assist surviving families and victims with the counseling
they will need in the upcoming days ahead.

there are still more updates to come. i am not surprised by all of the amazing acts of kindness because i know how kind and generous my friends and families are. i continue to very touched and inspired by the kindness and good we have sent out in the world.

helpers, i love you.