Wednesday, April 30, 2014


sometimes you are just so grateful that there are so many things in the world that can bring you laughter. like jimmy fallon and emma stone having a lip sync battle. yep, sometimes that is just what you need.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

what you'll need

"you’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. you will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things."

                                                                (jamie tworkowski)
                                                                            i agree.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

around here

"allow beauty to shatter you regularly. the loveliest people are the ones who have been burnt and broken and torn at the seams, yet still send their open hearts into the world to mend with love again, and again, and again.
you must allow yourself to feel your life while you're in it."
(victoria erickson)
around here i am loving the above quote that my friend liz posted today.
around here i went to a glassblowing class and it was awesome. more on that soon.
around here we had campouts, smoothies, popcorn, little mermaid, and two mornings of sleeping in (which rocked).
around here we had a play date with a trip to the park, memory game, a restaurant in our living room with some very busy cooks and cashiers, all while wearing princess and fairy outfits.
around here i got some pictures developed from my trip to new york, and it made me want to hide in my friend kadeena's suitcase when she heads there later this week.
around here i downloaded elise's use your stash class and i kind of want time to stand still so that i can dive in.
around here i am really looking forward to wednesdays because elise's podcasts are so inspiring. i have a hard time going to work on thursdays because i just want to spend the day in my craft room.
around here i read this article and smiled to myself numerous times as i could relate to many of the things on the list, some people tell me i tend to trend towards a type a personality. i know, i don't get why they say that either;)
around here barrett and malena worked on our kiwi crate project and it was super fun as always.
around here i wished that the man behind me at costco realized that his cart didn't have breaks, and that brakes were what his hands were for, so that he didn't ram it into my ankles.
around here i am thankful when my favorite potato chips are in stock so that i can buy multiple bags to get me through the next couple of weeks.
around here i love hearing the words "mama, will you play with me"  --- even (insert deep sigh here) when it involves play dough (em -- i know that you hear me on that).
around here i have been seeing pictures from my friend jenny and wishing that she was my neighbor.
around here we had a great dinner with barrett's parents who are back from snowbirding in arizona and seemed to have brought some sunshine back with them.
around here i got in two runs over the weekend which felt really good. as i was running i thought about how crazy it is that i like to run, pretty sure that would have never have happened if melanoma hadn't entered my life and kicked me into gear to do things that i would not have otherwise ever dreamed of doing. it is helpful to remember the good things that have come from the bad.
around here i want this work week to be over because i am taking the next week off to be able to focus on getting through my scans. i am ready to just focus on myself and my family  and slow down.
around here my head is swirling with all of the things that i want to do if i get the all clear next week during scans. but as you know if you have read this blog long enough, i won't share those thoughts until after we get the results to not tempt the cancer fates to take my good thoughts away from me. but it is nice to have those thoughts, because there are moments when i think only about that list, and not about what the next six months will be like if i don't get good news.
around here i am growing increasingly anxious, scared, emotional, tired, you know it.
around here i am reminding myself that no matter what, i am going to fight.
around here, i might be saying just a couple of words that sound like "f*ck cancer" every now and then.
around here, i think that cancer deserves it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

dear weekend

dear weekend,

the above picture represents my energy level, especially after today when i worked for over 12 hours.

i mean it when i tell you that you are my favorite days of the week. hands down. no doubt about it.

i want you to know that i am really missing you, and i am super excited to see you again in two days. unlike others you may have to deal with, i totally appreciate you and know that you are special. 

i do have one favor to ask. please don't bring me work like you did last saturday, because if you do, we will have issues and neither of us want that now we do? it's not like i would break up with you (but if i did, we could totally still be friends), but we would have words for sure.

please keep planning all of the fun things that we can do together, and i will keep plugging away until we meet up again.

i miss you much,


ps) if my gas tank looks like this again while we are together, can you make sure that he is the one driving? thanks in advance, as you know pumping gas is my least favorite chore. of all time. ever. it is the worst. hands down. pretty much hate it. that is why i love oregon, you don't have to pump your own gas. best state ever. we should meet up there sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


the last two nights have been vastly different.

sunday night malena and i had a campout in her room, girls night in sleeping bags. she wanted to have a special campout since it was easter, and so we did. a random sunday night fun night. count me in.

so of course because i was sleeping on the floor i tossed and turned, and then tossed and turned some more. at one point when i woke up, my eyes opened and looked at the nightlight that i bought for her last year. i wanted her to have that heart to look at each night and be reminded in the dark that i loved her. in that moment at about 2:45am, i was so thankful for being in that sleeping bag next to her and for that nightlight.

last night was a polar opposite. i got sick in the afternoon with fever/chills/nausea/muscle aches and was down for the count the rest of the day. a little ball of misery. it almost felt like an interferon kick start, like my body pulled up old memories of how i felt when i was going through treatment. it also made me a bit really anxious that it was something more than a bug, that something was really wrong. but i am better today so i have now almost successfully convinced myself that is must have been a bug. whew.

two weeks from tomorrow is results day. ugh. the usual pattern has begun. stress. anxiety. all of the emotions. the i should have done's. the i wish i would have done's. the i could have done's.  the i promised myself i would have done's. my heart racing because i feel like time is slipping through my fingers and there is just not enough of it. all of the mental games that i play with myself. the second hand ticking so loudly in my brain with everything i do. tick tock. tick tock. all of it coming on like a rushing cancer train that has lots its brakes.

choo choo. 

trying my best to stand back from the tracks.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

thank you easter bunny

our weekend was a great one.

tons of family. tons of laughter. lots of hugs. you know i love all of those.

we (ok, i) ate some chocolate, and drank some hard cider. yum.
we dyed easter eggs, both the young and the not-quite-so-young-anymore. which totally makes sense since we are all still kids at heart right? right.

we got to hang out with this guy. i heart my dad.

we made funny faces.

we (ok, malena) played dress up and had a fancy tea party with our cousins which included some chocolate donuts and juice served on an actual tea set. the best.
we loved being surrounded by tulips.
we (ok, malena) loved wearing our new easter dress and decided that everyone should take a picture with us when they came into mema and papa's house.

we devoured my mom's famous eggs benedict that she makes every easter morning. so, so good. i am surprised i am not still at the table eating some now. i might need to head back there right now and have her whip up some more sauce (because there was none, zip, zero left).

we (ok, malena) found where the easter bunny hid the eggs and we found our baskets.

we finally got to meet the newest addition to our family in person. we love him. a lot.

we took some pictures just because if you can, you should.
i hope that whatever filled your weekend was good. xo

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

the little moments

one of her new favorite ways to play is to pretend to put on makeup. somehow we came across a you tube video that was a makeup tutorial on how to look like elsa from frozen. and she was hooked. so now we spend a lot of time pretending to put on makeup. it kicked up a notch this week when she decided that we would start to narrate our own makeup tutorials. which we did tonight. three times each. hers lasted about 10 minutes each time. this girl is serious about her tutorials. i love her dedication;)

and in those moments, when i snuggle up right next to her and listen to her animated voice and watch her look into her five inch mirror (which she pretends is the video camera), i quietly say my thanks. over and over again.

my thanks for these little moments that feel so damn big.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

happy mail + picnics, part ii

the happy mail from kate included two missions. the first one was the picnic at the park.

this is the second mission:
so over the course of our monday night picnics we will use the rest of the film on the camera and then we will get our pictures developed.

the happy mail package included everything we will need for making a scrapbook of our picnic adventures (kate -- did i mention that you rock?).
in addition to the supplies that kate gave me, i think that we all know i might have a few supplies of my own that i can use for the book as well if needed;)

i am looking forward to all of the fun to come with mission #2, it will be a great way to capture our new weekly tradition.

sorry to tell you this friday, but my new favorite question is now likely to be "is it monday yet?";)

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

happy mail + picnics

last week i got a big package and i had no idea what was in the box, i didn't even know who the box was from as the name on the return address wasn't familiar to me. but i could tell immediately it was happy mail and so of course i was super excited to open it up.

inside of the box was the cutest picnic basket i have ever seen. ever. ever. ever.

inside the picnic basket were awesome plates, cups, napkins, silverware, and a disposal camera to capture special moments.

there was a clue for me to open that gave me our picnic mission.
so after malena's gymnastics practice tonight we headed to whole foods to get some tasty picnic food and then we headed to the park.

we spread out our blanket, got all of our goodies out, and had a wonderful picnic while the sun went down.

it was such a great way to spend our monday night, i loved every second of it.

so to kate, my new friend from california, i thank you a million times over for giving us an experience we would otherwise not have had. the best part is that we decided that we are going to go to the park for picnics every monday night for the rest of spring/summer for as many nights as the weather cooperates with us.

picnics are my new best friend. i think that we are going to be pretty inseparable from now on.

if i could give you one idea for the spring and summer, it would be this --- get a picnic basket. make a plan to eat dinner out of a picnic basket one night a week, even if you sit outside in your own yard. it is amazing how much more fun dinner is when you are eating it on a blanket.

and if you are looking for us on mondays, we will see you at the park. bring your basket.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

around here


around here the sunshine and blue sky have helped to lift my spirits.

around here i have got the chance to see a lot of friends which has been awesome.

around here i got to spend some time with beth, and we got to take a walk around the block to catch some fresh air. thanks for all of the continued love and vibes you are sending her way as she fights through the awful side effects of the radiation/chemo combo.

around here malena and i got to celebrate our friend marcie's birthday at our favorite breakfast place in seattle. yum.

around here we had our friday morning starbucks date, which i love each and every week.

around here we had campouts and even some sleeping in (which was just what i needed).

around here we had a play date, and played some more...and some more...and some more.

around here i had a hard cider (ok, i had two) and they tasted so good.

around here we took our first trip of the year to our neighborhood park.

around here we had swim lessons and put her flippers to work.

around here i got out for a run in the sunshine and it felt so good. plan to do that much more often in the coming weeks. i have missed running.

around here we are getting settled in for another week which we know will include gymnastics, a picnic at the park, monthly dinner with my friend chris, book night and a chance to see clifford the red dog at malena's school, some spring shopping, and lots and lots of easter goodness.

around here we say bring it on, we are thankful for more days full of good things.

around here is exactly where i want to be.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

april showers better bring may flowers

oh april, you came on quickly.

you are the last month. the month before scans. so you are carrying a lot of weight with you.

you managed to sneak up on me pretty fast (the last months always do) and i wasn't quite ready for the toll that you take. the emotions. the stress. the anxiety. the nervous energy. the nightmares.

damn these months before scans are hard, i think that they may get harder for me each time.

i haven't been writing much primarily due do the ongoing cold leaving me with zero energy at the end of the day. the secondary reason is that there are times when this blog reminds me too much of cancer, and on days like these when i am having a tough time, writing here feels like too much.

but i have decided today that i need to kick myself in my own ass. i need to try my best to snap out of the pre-scan funk so that i don't let it take over the entire month.

i am going to focus on slowing down, taking some deep breaths, paying attention to the details of what is around me (like i did when i got the above shot when i was on the oregon coast), spending time with family and friends, eating jelly beans (if you have never had jolly rancher jelly beans they are basically the best thing on the planet -- trust me, you won't regret it. go to the store right now, you are welcome in advance.), celebrating easter with my family, sending happy mail, going on a picnic with barrett and malena (kate -- you sooooooo rock, xo), putting pictures into our photo album, reading, planning for some upcoming events i am excited about, spending time on the dream couch, sleeping more (trying hard to do more of that to make my big bro happy), and the list goes on and on.

basically i am going to knock out the next couple of weeks with as much joy as i can. i will the dark moments have their time, as i would be lying to say they won't still be there. but i won't let them win. i have time that i need to make the most of.

one other thing that i will be doing over the next couple of weeks is continuing to root beth on as she deals with her side effects. she has been out of the hospital now for a couple of days and we hope that trend continues. i thought that i would share her journal entry today as i know that many of you wonder how she is doing.

"This will not be my most uplifting journal entry. This is such a tough road.
I am slowly seeing some improvement, but it is slow. So I am getting so tired of being unstable and the pain and it being hard to get out of the house. 

So I am not getting out of the house much at all. I am starting to feel really isolated and it frustrates me. I have always been someone who plans, surrounded by people and activities and it's hard to be so homebound. I miss seeing people, and feel disconnected, I even miss going into work. It feels like I haven't been in the office forever. I am trying to start to do some work at home but it is sporadic.

I really never saw this coming, how bad the recovery will be and how hard the side effects would be. I even caught my doctors offguard. Yesterday I went to see my activity doctor, my coach. Obviously my activity has been limited in the past couple weeks. My walks stopped when the pain got really bad at the end of radiation. And then activity is so limited in the hospital. I move a bit more since getting home but am still not out doing my walks yet. When I started listing my meds I am taking to Dr. Zucker he caught on really quick how hard this has been on me. And said I am definitely on one spectrum of the side effects. That is something I don't get. I have never really questioned why was I the one who got diagnosed with cancer, but I do question why did I get hit so hard with the side effects.

Cancer attacks the body, but it also attacks your mind and spirit. So I am having a tough time right now. And I do find it hard to keep my spirits lifted. I am also getting scared again. I have been focused on getting through the first phase of treatment, but as I look ahead I still have a really long road ahead this year. I may get a little window of feeling better before going into surgery and then there is the pain and other effects of recovering from surgery. Then comes more chemo. This already seems like the longest year ever. I need to figure out how to focus on this is temporary, one year of my life. And at the end of this I better be done with all of this. Cancer doesn't get to take more from me. I am already scared how much it is taking from me now.

There has been some good things. My mouth infection is almost healed, so my body has the ability to heal. I did get out to the grocery store with my friend Nikki today, a little bit of normality. At the hospital they gave me so much IV fluids my legs got all swollen including my feet so I looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The fluid is getting absorbed so my puffiness is going down.

Tomorrow I will get out and see my social worker. Then in the afternoon my in-home nurse will swing by. It's a different one from Monday which is good, so I hope the appointment goes a bit better and is more helpful.

One thing that does lift my spirits is hearing from people. So I appreciate the continued happy mail and messages, and as always your love, support and prayers."

thanks again to those that have and are sending happy mail to beth and mary --- you all rock and as you can tell it is much appreciated. thanks for all of the love, prayers and mojo that you continue to send their way.

i hope that all have a good weekend -- it is two more days, that in itself is enough to be grateful for. xoxo

Monday, April 7, 2014

the symposium

saturday was the melanoma symposium that we go to annually to learn about some of the latest information on melanoma. it is always a tough mixture of emotions, comfort in knowing that really smart people are working everyday to find a cure and answers, anxiety when hearing the statistics (which we all know aren't good for stage iv patients, and i try my best to remember those statistics are just numbers), sadness that i am in a room full of people that are all affected by melanoma and wishing we could all be anywhere else.

but that is where we were, so you just find a way to make it through.

we heard about familial melanoma and genetic predisposition. that is always a rough one. to know that family members have a 2-3 times higher risk of melanoma since i have it. to know that malena's chance of having melanoma is higher because i am her mom. i carry a lot of guilt (though i know there is nothing i can do it, the guilt still comes) for that increased risk that family members have. none of it is easy, knowing that malena has a higher chance of cancer due to me is so tough for me to deal with. at certain times, i just want to curl up in a little ball and wish it all away.

we learned about the latest with immunotherapy, and combinations of radiation and immunotherapy and how they can work together. i am always hopeful when hearing the smart doctors talk about the research and clinical trials they are leading. it does my heart good to know that there are people dedicating their lives everyday to finding a way to make a difference in patient's lives. to give them more time. it can be tough though to hear the ways in which they often think of the goals related to melanoma -- prolonged lifespan (and you know they are talking in terms of months and additional years for the lucky ones), preserving quality of life, etc. those are all tough words for me to hear. i don't like thinking or talking about a fight to gain more a little more time or maintain some quality of life. but then i remind myself i have already been in the fight for more time since july 16th 2010.

some current patients shared their stories. tears, always a lot of tears. one woman spoke about when she was diagnosed, and her option of doing interferon for a year. she said that she had a son and she wanted to see him grow up, so she did the interferon for the entire year. she talked about how it felt like having a miserable flu for an entire year straight, and how she did the self-administered shots three times a week. it was like listening to my own story, because it is was just like my own story. when she choked up talking about how she told her son that she didn't know how much time she would have left with him, i grabbed for my kleenex. lots of them.

one of the things that had come up during one of the presentation was that the actor james rebhorn passed away from melanoma recently, and he wrote his own obituary. the obituary is probably one of the most beautiful things i have ever read, in particular the parts where he talks about his wife and children. i had come across it inadvertently right after he had passed away and there were headlines about his passing, it took my breath away when i read that he passed away from melanoma.

one of statistics shared is that there are more tanning salons in this country than starbucks and mcdonalds combined. that makes me sick to my stomach.

this year at the symposium i sat next to my friend deb who also lives the words stage iv melanoma. it was so nice to have her and her husband to sit next to, made me feel like barrett and i were less alone in the fight. i could see deb shaking her head as she also heard survivor stories from people who shared stories similars to her own. deb shared her story a few years ago at the symposium, so she knows how hard it is to get up in front of the room and share your story. but in that room, you know that you are talking to an audience that is there because they too have been affected by melanoma -- they are either a patient or they love someone who is.

it always takes a few days to get my rhythm back after going to the symposium. being reminded of the statistics. seeing the pictures. being reminded of it all.

but at the end of the day, there was hope.

there is always hope.

some days you just have to hold on to it tighter than others.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

hello again + good vibes needed for beth

so i had good intentions of writing a post each night this week, clearly, that didn't happen. i was going to write about the retreat (where i took the above pic) and just kind of catch up in general. what did happen is that the cold that has been rocking my world for a week kept on rocking. so instead of staying up like i normally do, i crashed as soon as malena did which i am sure makes my big brother (and we all know it also makes my mom) super happy. i didn't stay up to email. i didn't stay up to blog. i didn't stay up to check out the latest on instagram. i took some serious cold meds. i pulled on my flannel pants and my favorite hoodie sweatshirt, wrapped myself up in my favorite blanket (thank you sasha), and went lights out. hoping that the cold officially hits the road and that life resumes to normal next week (except of course for staying up past my bedtime if my brother is reading this).

but my cold is completely insignificant.

what is not insignificant (by a longshot) is that my dear friend beth has been in the hospital since monday due to complications from her chemo and radiation. i am so glad that she has the right peeps around her to give her whatever it is she needs to make her feel better, but am frankly pissed off at the cancer fates that she is there in the first place (or that she even has to personally deal with cancer to begin with but there are not enough words to cover how i feel about that). so, please, please, please (i know you will) send beth your good vibes, mojo, and prayers that she gets out of the hospital as soon as possible and starts feeling better than she has over this last week. we both thank you, i know that she loves getting good mojo coming from all of you and she knows that i was going to be asking for it tonight to give her that extra boost so that they give her checkout papers tomorrow;)

i hope that you have a good weekend whatever you may be up to. our weekend is going to include campout nights and popcorn (but you already knew that), the annual melanoma symposium that we go to each year (hoping that this year's event is not as traumatic for us as last year's was), and then sunday is going to be spent celebrating a dear friend and the upcoming arrival of her baby boy which i am so, so excited and happy about!

anywhere i sneeze, you sneeze;) xo