Sunday, March 31, 2013

for chase

we have a little family member who needs a whole lot of prayers. barrett's cousin lisa's little boy chase had a pool accident over the weekend and is a medically-induced coma. his vitals are now where they should be for a 4 year old boy, and the doctors are starting to warm his body up little by little to bring his temperature up from 92 degrees to 97-98 degreesthat process will take about 12-15 hours. please send all of your good thoughts and prayers to florida for chase, his parents chris and lisa, and the entire family as chase fights.
thank you. xoxo

Thursday, March 28, 2013

for patty

"life is tenacious; it is endowed with the impulse to survive and the power to heal.
ultimately, it is we ourselves who cure our illness,
and the decision to undertake this battle arises within."
(daisaku ikeda)
my friend kerry's mom patty has been fighting brain tumors for a while now. she has been putting up a hell of a fight. patty had scans today and the results indicated new tumor growth so she will begin chemotherapy again. i know from kerry that patty already has her boxing gloves back on and is ready to step into the ring to go as many rounds as it takes. i have no doubt that she will be the last woman standing;)
patty and her husband chuck have been so good to me. they have been big cheerleaders for me rooting me on in my fight. they helped to fund my dream couch, and they recently helped me get set up with dinners to make my life easier. chuck read some of my words from the end of this post during his toast to kerry and brad at their wedding. chuck and patty are good peeps, you can tell that simply by how great their daughter kerry is.
i know that this blog has a ton of love, good vibes, prayers flowing through it. so let's take all of that good mojo and send it to patty and her family. please also send good mojo out for two of my other friends (you know who you are - i love you much) and their parents who are battling cancer.
thanks peeps, i can feel the good vibes heading their way already. you all rock. xo

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

half way there

wow, the first three days of this week have flown by.

we are making our way into this new routine, and so far, pretty good. yesterday morning was a rough one for both me and malena, tears all the way around. she was tired. i was tired. but we made our way through it and eventually got to school and work. eventually. but at one point i thought about putting up a white flag and surrending to the day and staying home in our pj's. but we made it, just like we always do.

last night we had our first event at malena's new preschool - a book fair - and we had a great time. it was so fun to watch her check out all of the different rooms and themes, and look for her new friends and follow them around. a great way to spend our tuesday night.

i am taking wednesdays off each week to give myself a chance to rest and focus on taking care of myself (not that i don't try to do that everyday). rest and taking care of myself includes best friend time with lots of playing and laughter at the park.

for those of you that want bracelets, i will definitely be sending them your way soon. also, there is no cost, so just watch for them to come your way soon. thanks so much for your support;)

happy thursday peeps, one more day until friday. i am pretty sure that we can do it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

work + bracelets

my first day back went good. i only got emotional a couple of times but was able to hold it together, didn't even need to use one of my handkerchiefs (my friends doreen and charlie got me some colorful ones that i can use instead of kleenex and i love them). pretty proud of myself for that. it was good to be back with my team and working on the projects. today it definitely felt like i made the right decision going back, even though it was a tough decision. but i am getting pretty good at making those these days.

my in-laws have graciously made a ton of bracelets to rally support for me. here are pics of what they look like. they are a light purple with pink letters (pink and purple chosen because they are malena's favorite colors) and they have the following written on them: melanoma awareness and be brave (m + a + b). the m + a + b is for malena + alli + barrett. if you would like one, let me know through a comment on the blog, text me, email me, message me on facebook, send me smoke signals, and i will get one on its way to you. thanks mike and jo, they are awesome. love you guys.

my salad that i made for lunch today rocked! it was so good, so i am busting another one out for tomorrow but added in some kale, goji berries, and hemp seeds. i think that i might have a new career as a salad maker. i have also just about finished off an entire bag of baby carrots that i bought yesterday by making three batches of carrot/orange juice in the last 24 hours. did i mention that i hate carrots? i know, i can't believe it either. i wonder if eating all of these carrots will make the easter bunny bring me special treats on sunday? i sure hope so.
happy tuesday peeps, make it a good one. xo

Sunday, March 24, 2013

weekend, i loved you

this weekend we headed over to suncadia for a fun filled weekend thanks to our family (hi again michelle!:).

when we got there, malena just stood in the lobby windows taking it all in - the view was gorgeous.

our weekend was loaded with fun...lots of yahtzee (malena won a couple of games, that girl is lucky with the dice), swimming and waterslides, some saturday afternoon naps, and s'mores by the outside fire pit.

but her hands down favorite was ice skating, we went four times. two of the times we had the entire rink to ourselves which was so nice.

we could have not squeezed more fun into the weekend then we did, we had a such a great and relaxing time. it was the perfect way to spend the weekend before i return to work tomorrow. the food was also so good, and i managed to get my greens in at breakfast.
on our drive home, there were tears - i had been fighting them on and off all weekend. a family weekend full of fun, i want a lifetime of those. as we were driving back it was hard to not think about the question of how many more family vacations we would get to have together. so we let the tears fall, gave those feelings the time they were due, and then moved on. being brave means letting the emotions come, because they inevitably always do, and them moving on when they have had their time.
we stopped at the store to get groceries for the week, and i smiled to myself when i loaded them up to go through the line because they were almost all fruits and vegetables. my nutrionist would be very proud.
tomorrow i start taking a ton supplements, i am going to need a really large pill box. for some reason, blogger hates me tonight and is showing this picture backwards, but you get the idea. lots of pills, i am my own little pharmacy;)

i kind of missed my juicer and vitamix this weekend. when we get home i had a glass of orange/carrot juice, and then made a spinach/arugula/cucumber/berry smoothie that was pretty tasty. i spent time tonight getting my lunch ready, and so i should be good to go with spinach/arugula/cucumber/strawberry/mushroom/chia seed/pumpkin seed salad. my own little creation, we will see how it goes.
happy monday all, back to work i go. wish me luck. xo

Thursday, March 21, 2013


hello friday, good to see you. this is the first friday in six weeks that will be followed by a work day on monday. it is amazing how fast the six weeks off have flown by. i have mixed emotions about going back on monday. i love the projects i work on and the people i work with, so it will be good to be back in my routine. it will be great to have the distraction during the day to take my mind off of melanoma. on the other hand, i have some anxiety about going back to work.

before surgery, i had thought that if the results came back and it was melanoma, there was a chance that i would no longer want to work at all. but after the results came, and i had time to think and ground myself a bit, i decided that going back felt like the right thing for me to do. being back into the normal routine (minus some changes i am making to focus on my health) will be good for me. if i had decided to not go back, i would have been signaling to myself that bad news was coming and that i am just waiting out the clock. i also know that having a lot of consistent down time when i am on my own is not good for me. emotionally i don't do so well with a ton of time by myself these days. my mind starts to drift into the deep dark places i don't want to go.

part of why the work decision is so hard is that i don't want to make decisions that i will regret and beat myself up over later. that is tough since obviously hindsight is always 20/20. if the scans in april indicate that melanoma is back, will i regret the fact that i spent time in march and april at work? would i rather have spent that time with family or friends, or working on projects that i want to finish? i wish i had the crystal ball (especially if it showed clean results) to know how i will feel about decisions later down the road. is kind of at the top of the list next to my old friend guilt.

a big part of being brave is living. going back to work signals living for me - it is what i know. it is the job that i love, the projects i want to see built, the teams i have been a part of for so long. if the time comes when i know that my days are truly numbered, i may likely feel different about work. i may feel different when i walk through the doors next week and try my best to resume some normalcy. i have promised myself that i will take life day by day, and if i need to make changes, i will.

so for now i choose living. i choose work. i choose my routine. i choose being out in the world everyday and being constructive on something that isn't tied to cancer, or driven by my overwhelming fear that i will be forced to finish my fight with melanoma too early.

which reminds me, i am only going to say this one time because once is enough. if the time ever comes when my worst fears come true, please don't ever say that i lost my battle with melanoma. please just say that i finished my fight (and maybe add in that i put up a hell of a good fight). i do not like hearing people refer to cancer patients in terms of losing their battle, although i am sure that there have been times previously in my life that i used those same words. i don't anymore. i hope you will consider not using them anymore either.

ok, by this point i am making us all sad, so let's move on to a happier - and greener - topic. today i got my vitamix which is basically a machine that can turn any fruit/vegetable into a smoothie in what seems like two seconds. so i made a spinach/cucumber/kale/blackberry/apple smoothie. pretty good if i do say so myself. it is like a color show of juices around here lately. i wish that the color show also included jelly beans, but apparently those have sugar in them?;) bummer.
i hope that you all have a great weekend, we are very excited about ours. it is going to include s'mores, ice skating, movies, pizza, swimming, playing games and other adventures. i will fill you in on the other side of the weekend (hi michelle s;)).

enjoy your weekend. capture the moments. take them all in, and please - eat some jelly beans for me. lots of them. xoxo

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

hello wednesday, i love you

my love for wednesdays continues.

+++ mastering backwards balance beam skills
+++ painting masterpieces

+++ pizza making
+++ not one, but two, juices that were based with carrots. i hate, and i mean really hate, carrots. but today was the beginning of a new day my friends. i took pictures of both just so that you had proof, i also have witnesses if necessary. the best part? carrot juice is not that bad. who knew? not me, because i hate carrots.

+++ time together making our projects from this month's kiwi crate that was focused on spy activities
a good day. strike that. a great day. i plan to keep them coming.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

i did it

i did it. i was brave (btw, do you love the card i made today as much as i do? i knew you would, that is why i think that you rock).

between yesterday and today, i put together all of our pictures from this year. i know, we are only about three months in, but i did all of our pictures on a week by week basis. that is the most time i have spent on pictures since 2010 when i was diagnosed. it felt so good. was it hard? of course it was, but i knew it would be before i even started. does it feel good to have done it? you bet, huge relief. now that i am on track with 2013, i have no doubt i will keep going week by week - some weeks i might have to do a little catch up but that is ok. i am now going to start conquering 2012.

malena decided that she wanted pancakes for dinner, with some chocolate chips added in;) so it was a girls night with pancakes (mine had strawberries instead of chocolate chips, i think that she got the better deal;)), bath time routine, and then we looked through the pictures together - that was a great moment for me. only one super tough moment, she told me that she had a dream last night that she had a little sister. her next question was "momma, do you ever have dreams that i have a little sister?" of course, that has always been my dream for her. since i was solo, i just got it together before the tears started to fall and quickly changed to a new topic. those moments that i never see coming, they get me every single time.

happy wednesday peeps - we are halfway through the week. tomorrow is going to be filled with gymnastics and best friend time. i can't wait. xo

Monday, March 18, 2013


the days seem to be flying by, and i am not sure how it is already less than a week until i go back to work. i guess that six weeks go by quickly when you have surgery, get your you-know-what kicked and work on your recovery, get the results you hoped would never come, and then have to figure out how to keep living on the other side of those results. i wish every day could just move in slow motion, i don't want time to keep marching on. i want time to stand still now when i don't have any cancer in my body (i so hope that is still true at this point) so that bad news never comes our way again. i would give anything to be able to have the life back that i had three years ago when i never had to think about my own mortality, and living until i was old and gray was so much of a given that i never even gave it a second thought. for all of you that are reading this that have the luxury of being healthy, i hope you thank your lucky stars every single day.

i met with my counselor on friday and we had a good session. we talked about the guilt that i carry, and how i sometimes feel like i am drowning under the weight of it. feeling the guilt is normal, recognizing the emotions that i am feeling is good, working my way through them is key. i am doing my best at doing that. but i feel like it is a constant juggling act. when i can release the ball of guilt, the ball of unexplainable sadness lands in my palm, only to be replaced by the ball of overwhelming fear, and then next comes the ball of desperation - the one that makes me feel like i am constantly begging and pleading every second of every day for a miracle to happen. in the midst of the juggling, there are also balls of joy and hope and bravery, and i am so grateful when i get to hold on to them for a while before the cycle begins again.

one of the things that i remind myself of when i feel guilty is that i know that many of you have taken steps to ensure that you take good care of your skin. you go to the dermatologist now, and you didn't before. you get your skin checked on a regular basis. you wear sunscreen when you are out in the sun. you sometimes choose to sit in the shade. you make sure that your kids wear sunscreen. you educate others about the risks to their skin. you don't lay in tanning beds, and you make sure that your kids don't either. i do take comfort in my story likely saving lives of friends or family members i love, or even for strangers i haven't met that now know my story. i also take comfort in the fact that since i was originally diagnosed, i have done everything i can to fight like hell for my life. but there are days when the comfort that brings doesn't outweigh the guilt, and those are tough days.

over the weekend my sister-in-law's awesome family had a fundraiser for donations to fred hutchinson for the annual shore walk that family and friends do with me each year - this year will be the third annual event. for those of you that walk or donate each year, i will get our team created this week and will send info out soon so that you can sign up or donate. the fundraiser was a bunco night just like last year, and $1400 was raised in three hours. great food, terrific raffle prizes, multiple bunco games, fabulous ladies...a very special night. so thankful for all of their hard work that goes into making the night a huge success. my friend sharon, who just recently got clear scan results marking two years of her being cancer free, and i won "bust cancer" t-shirts. perfect combination.

this weekend malena and i also worked on easter crafts, she is turning into quite the little crafter like her mom. you know that i love that;)

i am also making good progress on making sure that my body isn't coming into contact with any toxins. new handsoap. new lotion. new chapstick. new makeup. tomorrow i am going to take my new juicer out of the box and make my first juice. it is going to include carrotts, and i hate (and that is putting it lightly) carrotts. but i hear they are good in juices, and i know that they are good for me.  wish me luck - hopefully i don't burn down the house and actually have something edible to drink;)

through the generosity of friends, and even strangers, i am going to have dinner meals delivered to me for the first couple of weeks when i go back to work. the meals will meet all the requirements of my new diet and will allow me to focus on getting my breakfast/lunch routines down first, and then start to focus on making different dinners. due to their generosity, i am also getting a vitamix which i hear can make great smoothies out of even the toughest vegetable (maybe it can make carrotts taste like jelly beans?;)). so amazed by all of the love that continues to surround our family as we move through this next phase in our lives. we are so lucky to be so loved and to have so many cheerleaders giving us support, i am humbled and thankful every second of every day.

happy tuesday all - i hope that your week is off to a good start. xo

Friday, March 15, 2013

walking + pictures + food + glass

hello friday, you are looking good. nice to see you again.

i am going to be focusing on walking now as my main exercise. based on feedback from my specialists, i am going to cut down on running for a while to minimize physical stress on my body. so no 5ks in my near future. yesterday was the first time that i went for a walk by myself since surgery. it was very odd to walk the loop that i used so much to train for the 5k, it felt like i had to hold my feet down to keep them from starting to run on their own. i really miss running. but i am now focused on the new goal of keeping my immune system in tip top shape, so that is what i will keep my mind on when my legs just want to kick it into high gear for a couple of miles. as i was walking, i came across three deer who were slowly walking and taking their time. i think that they were sending me a sign that walking works for them, so it will be just fine for me as well. i also found a lucky penny that i picked up off the street. so between the deer and the penny, i am feeling pretty good about my new walking routine.

i accomplished a good step with pictures yesterday. i went and printed out all of the pictures from this year so far, and i will put them into a book next week. it was tough but i did it, and i did it without tears (which surprised me and probably would have scared the nice man who was helping me).
i drank my first green smoothie yesterday. i would be lying if i said that i loved it, i would be lying if i said i really liked it. but i drank half of it and so that is a start.
getting used to the new food plan is continuing. my friend sasha and i went aisle browsing yesterday and it is so entertaining to walk up and down the aisles to look for things that are gluten free/dairy free/sugar free/soy free. it is like a little game of hide and seek - and i think that most of the foods that i can now eat did a pretty good job of hiding:) i had a great dinner last night at a restaurant with a lot of great options i could eat, hello corn cakes and brussel sprouts. yum - i was still full this morning when i woke up.
when i finally did get hungry this morning, i whipped up some buckwheat cereal, almond milk, blueberries and strawberries.
last night was our monthly girls mystery night, and it was my turn to pick the spot. i chose the chihuly garden and glass center at seattle center. it was awesome. pretty amazing to see all of the beautiful pieces that he has created with glass.

we got to see the sun set against the space needle while the rain came falling down from sky. yep, it is definitely march in seattle.
have a great weekend peeps, make the most of it. xoxo

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

i heart you wednesdays

wednesdays are quickly becoming one of my most favorite days of the week. wednesday is the day that malena and i have a girls day and we get to hang out all day. her preschool doesn't have a spot for her on wednesday, and now that i have recovered enough to be able to drive, i can take care of her myself.

+++ a little sleeping in for mom and malena, the time change is apparently still kicking our behinds
+++ cereal and peaches for her, broccolli/egg (i get to have three eggs a week to have some protein) and apple/almond butter for mom.
+++ malena picking out a new gymnastics outfit - she picked pink, how surprising:)
+++ a big cinnamon roll for her to celebrate all of the good tumbling in class - i think that she picked one out that was bigger than she is:)
+++ best friend time
+++ lunch time with dad at chicken robin
+++ some time in the craft room working on projects together
+++ playing classroom in her room, i even got to cover for her and watch the kids when she went on her lunch break;)
+++ smoothie party on the couch snuggled up with our favorite blankets
+++ bedtime stories and sleep
i am going to tackle catching up on our photos. once and for all, i am starting and i will finish. it is now more important to me than ever, i don't want to run out of time to do them. a part of me being brave is finding my way to get through the paralyzed feeling i have about printing and organizing pictures. i know this isn't going to be easy. i know that i will have a lot of tough moments when the fear of not being in pictures in the future will creep in (doreen/charlie, i will be using your special handkerchiefs for this project. xo). i know that i will need to take it in steps, maybe even in little bitty baby steps. i know that i can do this. i know that it is one of the most important things i want to focus my time on.
another brave step forward. here i go.
look out pictures, i am coming for you. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


"never look back unless you are planning to go that way."
(henry david thoreau)
i saw that quote on kelly rae robert's facebook page today and loved it. so, so true.
today was another day filled with a focus on moving forward. i had appointments with both the naturopath and the nutrionist and i think that we have a great plan on next steps. i love having a good plan, and i love getting to implement it.
in short (and i mean very, very, very short), the plan is that i will eat a ton of vegetables and fruits. i will drink water like a maniac and green tea is pretty much my new best friend (but it doesn't like to chat very much). i will not eat or drink dairy (i miss you cheese), i will not eat or drink sugar (i miss you candy, diet coke, and reisling),and i will not eat meat (i miss you cheeseburgers). planning the logistics around a diet like this is serious business. no quick and last minute meals happening around here anytime soon unless it is broccolli dipped in hummus;)

i know the blog has been quiet for a few days. that was definitely not the intention. but for some reason, when there are a million things i have on my mind, i haven't felt like saying anything. but i do now so you can expect more frequency again, although if there are days when there are no updates (ann - you know i am talking to you now;)), don't worry - either i am knee deep in spinach, my mouth became glued to my water bottle, i forgot to walk home as i did laps around the neighborhood, or i just feel like taking a day off from writing.
since surgery, i haven't been able to lay with malena as she falls asleep. in order to do that, i have to lay on my right side which has been impossible for obvious reasons. barrett got to take my spot for that lucky bedtime position for the last month. tonight she called for me to come upstairs, and asked if i could lay next to her for a little bit.  my side has finally healed enough that i can lay on my right side for a little bit without being in pain, so of course i said yes. as i laid next to her, she asked if my owies were all gone now. i told her that the owies will always be there but they are better now. she then said "momma, did you tell your doctor to fix your owies because you wanted to lay next to your little kid when she falls asleep?" insert kleenex here.
oh, malena...every second of every day since surgery i have been doing everything i can to heal those owies so that i can have those bedtime moments with you again. you have no idea how many times a day i ask and pray to never have any more owies so that i can watch you fall asleep for as many precious nights as you let me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

a sign

i saw this painted on a wall in a store that i was in today.
i am taking it as a little sign from the universe that was meant just for me.
have a good weekend all - make the most of it. xoxo

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


"i do believe in an everyday sort of magic -- the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like;
the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity;
the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone.”
(charles de lint)
if it was not for my lung surgery, i would not have normally spent an entire wednesday with malena. so, today i am thankful for the full day of fun with my girl.
+++ sleeping in a little bit and watching some cartoons before breakfast
+++ gymnastics class - i think that we might have an olympian on our hands folks. she gets all of her athletic abilities from her mom (i wish).....errrrr, i mean from her dad.
+++ a new ribbon celebrating a walk across the balance beam by herself

+++ concentrating hard on painting pottery with a favorite friend

+++ sharing the umbrella under the rainy skies
+++ making a tour of the pet store and checking out every single animal in the store. every single animal. more than once. we were in there a long time. but totally worth it:) maybe she will be an olympic athlete/veterinarian when she grows up?
+++ painting a variety of animals with our paints, she chooses the animals for me to draw
and then she paints them. we are quite the artistic duo - and i think that we all know who she gets her craftiness from (and it isn't her dad).
so much to be thankful for, a day full of fun memories with my favorite girl.
it was a day full of the everyday sort of magic. my favorite kind.