Tuesday, September 30, 2014


there are days when i read something and they are just the right words that i need.

on this day, this post by kelle hampton was just what i needed.

"that loving something—like, say, motherhood—while yet professing disappointment for its shadows—like, say, fits or hard days or seeing your children struggle—doesn’t so much mean that you hate that thing but rather that your love for it is well-seasoned with the reality that the best things in life come with a flipside. We say howdy to the flipsides in life, and usually that acknowledgment is enough to keep them from getting to us. If we didn’t acknowledge them, they might get mad and stick around until we did."

those words.

the flipsides.

the days that you see your kid struggle.

definitely the flipside of the best thing in life.

we are on to another day, may it be a better one.

Monday, September 29, 2014


"i never dreamed about success. i worked for it."
(estee lauder)

i had heard really good things about #girlboss on some blogs that i followed.

once i started it, i did not want to put it down. i read through most of it on the plane ride back from our disneyland trip. my favorite part of flying is knowing that for a solid chunk of time i get to read. no emails. no texts. no phone ringing. just reading. love that.

i liked a lot of things about this book -- her good career/life advice, the way she writes, the way the she encourages women to go for it and take charge of their dreams. but probably the part i liked the most was...wait for it, wait for it...the details of her story. she shared her story, including the rough parts, as all of them combined got her to where she is today (hello CEO of a $100 million plus online fashion retailer). it was great to follow along as she moved through the different stages of her life.

since i am finished with this one, and on to my next, i am ready to pass this book on to the next person who would like read her words. if you are that girl, let me know - first dibs gets it and i will send it your way.

happy tuesday peeps, make it a good one.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

yes, please.

this was a good one, but it flew by like they always do.

getting 6 miles of exercise in with my sister. yes, please.

down time shopping, talking, and eating on a friday afternoon with my sister. yes, please.
two new pairs of shoes that are awesome. yes, please.

reading about joan lunden's fight with cancer and liking her "i will beat this" attitude. yes, please. i would normally never pick up a magazine that had a cancer focus on it. i pretty much hate looking at the magazine covers when i am in line at the grocery store because it seems like 9 times out of 10 the word "cancer" is somewhere on one those covers. just one of the constant daily reminders that occur when you go about your normal routine. but this time, and maybe because scan time is creeping up, i picked it up. i thought that she looked so brave on that cover, and i guess that i needed a little more brave today.

celebrating my niece taylor's 21st birthday party. yes, please. a little hard cider on tap to celebrate. yes, please. constant laughter with my family. yes, please.

some green tea and fruit to welcome in sunday morning. yes, please.
reading a great post about what it means to be brave and thinking that i will remind myself of this as much as i remind malena. yes, please.

an extension on this weekend so that it never ends. yes, please.

Friday, September 26, 2014


hello weekend, really good to see you.

i am looking forward to you for a lot of reasons.

not being in the office.

time with my sister.

catching up on life.


celebrating my niece's 21st birthday.

fun with my family, which will include some gambling, and hopefully me winning enough that i never have to return to work. big money, no whammies!

reading more of wonder (chris -- you were right, really don't want to put it down, must keep turning the pages).


more sleep.

catching my breath.

i hope that you all have a good weekend too, talk to you on the flip side. xo

+++ sidenote: mary got notice that her scans have officially been denied even after her oncologist stepped in, so please keep sending her tons of good vibes that she is successful in her appeal. go mary go!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


the email came today.

november 10th are scans.

november 12th are the results.

enough said for today.

you know how i feel about everything else that those two dates mean, and honestly, it is more than enough for this day to just handle knowing the times are locked in.

+++ thanks for all of the good thoughts for sharon today, her procedure went well -- go sharon go, keep kicking cancer in the you-know-what!
+++ please send some love and mojo out in the afternoon for a friend of mine that is having some tests done. thank you:)
+++ i got an update from mary today that insurance has denied her scans that were scheduled to be on friday -- do not even get me started on that or we will be here for a very long time. luckily she has a great doc who is going to bat for her and will hopefully convince her insurance that they are being insane (there are some other words that i could use to express my thoughts, i am sure that you can guess what they are). send your mojo to mary that her insurance wakes up and realizes that scans save lives, saving dollars doesn't.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


oh tuesday, the first part of you was a tough super rough one.

hard morning getting her to school. lots of tears.


being late.

computer taking 5 minutes to open one email. all day long.

problem after problem.

more traffic.

slowest checkout line i could have possibly picked. i think that i aged 5 years while i was waiting. seriously.

but then one of my favorite people in the world who is in town from wisconsin comes over for dinner.

laughter. finally.

memories from when we were 14, from when we lived in the same town after college, and all of the memories that make up 25 years of friendship. he has been a constant in my life since the day that i met him.

so thankful and so lucky.

at the close of it, the rest of the day fades away.

he was in town, so it was one of the best days.

+++ please send your thoughts, prayers, and mojo to sharon as she goes in for her appointment to show that cancer tumor who is boss (hint -- the answer is sharon). you've got this sharon - we are with you all the way! xo

Monday, September 22, 2014



so this fall as the leaves start to come down, the warriors continue to fight on.

+++ beth just finished her half way point of chemo treatment, yes --- half way. huge milestone. so great, so proud of her. now if those damn side effects would just get the hell out of town, she would be on a clear downhill slope to the end of treatment.
+++ sharon has a procedure on wednesday to try and wipe out her tumor, and then she will have the rest of her chemo treatments and end those right before thanksgiving.
+++ mary has her next round of melanoma scans on friday, and i just know that they are going to be clear, clear, clear. mary also asked me to share the following for all of you that sent her happy mail, "please relay to your blog readers how much i truly appreciate and feel blessed to continue to receive happy mail along with the gift cards/gifts. more importantly the well wishes, prayers, and beautiful sentiments expressed in the cards make me fight on."
+++ chaser recently went in for a round of tests at the mayo clinic and a surgery. here is a summary of the results,
"Premature aging- Bone scan was good. It showed him to be almost exactly where he should be! So no premature aging going on.
-Lung health - some of the cultures taken came back positive to have a couple of active bacteria associated with pneumonia. - He doesn't necessarily have pneumonia, but we were given a prescription to treat the bacteria found.
-the cultures taken to find out if he is aspirating, (having his saliva go back into his lungs....) will not be back for a couple of weeks. They will only show if he is, not if is not- Lets hope for nothing on this one- I am anxious to get him back into the Vital Stem therapy and get that bacon in his mouth!
-High Thyroid hormones were found in a couple of the tests. We were originally concerned that he may have Graves Disease, but that has been ruled out! In two months we are going to retest, and if they are high again, he will be put on a Beta blocker.
In a nutshell, for the most part, the results were pretty good. We go back in two months for some more labs, and to talk to a couple of surgeons about cutting and stretching the tendons in his arms and legs, and repeat a few of these tests. The Big Guy has plenty of time to turn this around! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers."

+++ my friend mike recently went in for his latest round of tests after completing his rounds of chemo and he was cancer free - awesome news!!

keep on keeping on my friends, you've all got this.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

hello fall

from the sunshine that we keep having around here (no complaints), it seems like summer is going to hold on as long as it can. sounds like a good plan. in the meantime, knowing that fall will eventually finally get its way, we spent some time this weekend starting to get ready.

pulling the flowers (the ones that were barely still holding on) out of the planters. patio furniture put away. decks swept. hoses brought in, sprinklers put away. saying goodbye to the bees, and hello to the spiders (which btw seem to be everywhere). fall decorations up (which kind of made me want to get some halloween candy a little bit early but i held off;)).

when we made a quick run to the store, the pumpkins were out in full force. we will be heading to the patch in a few week to get ours, and that is so crazy to me, it seems like we were just there. but i am all over another trip to the patch, walking through the corn maze, doing the rubber ducky races. bring it on, all of it. so thankful for another year to enjoy it all.

it is also the time of the year when the oven starts to get used more, like tonight with this new recipe we tried out from the forest feast cookbook. who knew that a sweet potato, onion, red potato mix could be so good? yum.

i hope that your weekends were good too, whether fall has officially showed up or if summer is still holding on for you like it is for us.

hope your week gets off to a good start, here we go.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

oh, friday

i am not sure how about guys, but i am more than ready for the weekend. bring it on. this week has been a long one, and i am ready to relax and unwind. definitely looking forward to some down time.

here are some things that i came across and liked lately:

+++ i thought that this was a great post on two words for all college freshman
+++ i am definitely going to make salted almond butter cookies soon, and my heart aches for this mom as she lost her little boy ryan in a tragic accident earlier this year. she talks about ryan in the post and my heart aches for her. i bought a print that was done as a fundraiser for her and her husband after they lost ryan, and it is framed and in our living room. i think of them every single day.
+++ i just got the happiness of pursuit today and am so excited to start reading it. the author traveled to every country in the world (did you know that there are 193 of them?). i am going to go to a book reading when he comes to seattle in october and am pretty excited about that. i really enjoyed listening to a podcast (episode 26) where he talked about the book and his travels and goals. good stuff.
+++ another one of elise's podcasts that i loved (ok, let's be honest, i have loved each and every one of them and listen to them first thing on wednesday mornings) was episode 27 this week. jessica o'brien talked about being a working mom and that thing we call "balance". so great, i caught myself wanting to high five her many times while she was talking.
+++ i was shaking my head up and down when i read this post from elise about goals. bring them on. i am going to work this weekend on coming up with next round of goals.
+++ i thought that kelle's post on parenting was so, so good.
+++ i have loved this song for quite a while, finally got it downloaded it onto my phone this week.
+++ i could potentially buy one of everything in kal's shop (don't panic barrett, i won't) because her art is so awesome. i have shared her you are awesome shop before too, and if i could get everyone i knew a print, i totally would.
+++ i got a beautiful mess happy handmade home a few weeks ago and it has been so inspiring for projects to do around the house or gifts to make. might need to call in sick to work all of next week to keep making my way through it...cough cough, kleenex please.
+++ my friend chris gave me wonder for my birthday, and it is the next book that i am going to read. i am going to crack it open this weekend in fact, and from all of the good things that i have heard about it, i am pretty sure that it won't take me long to move through. look for a book report soon.
+++ chocolate pumpkin bread. um yes, and don't think that i am not going to find a way to make a gf version of this. my mouth is watering just looking at the picture.
+++ totally thinking about signing up for lens of joy because a) anything ali does pretty much rocks, and b) it would be a great focus to have in november.
+++ for the ladies, i had mentioned that i had picked up a copy of darling magazine a few weeks ago. i read it on the plane ride down to cali last week and i thought that it was ah-maz-ing. so good. yep, pretty much going to need a subscription on that one. great articles (one or two i wasn't totally interested in but i have never found a magazine where every single article is perfect for me), super photography, some poetry mixed in - so good.
+++ marta has really cute autumn bucket lists and trick or treat tags in her shop.

happy weekend peeps, hope it is a good one for you.

last, but definitely not least, happy birthday to my big brother - the best bro that a girl could ask for, love you (and this last sentence is the reason that this post is past 10pm so you can't get made at me because it is about you).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


my awesome mom saved my first reader books for me (i see sam, sam sees me, i am sam) and now malena is learning to read with them. thanks mom! it is so fun to watch her learn to read, and yes, those are the one direction boys right behind them;)

while we were in california on our disneyland trip, i finished reading wild. i loved it. a couple of friends read it at the same time in our own little book club (hi girls!). reading along with them made it that much more fun as we would have weekly email check-ins on where everyone was in the book, what they thought so far, how they could identify with her, etc.

as i had known going in, cancer was a part of the story focused on the loss of her mom. so there were definitely some pages that were tough to read (hello blog post from yesterday) and caused me to have a hard time catching my breath, and found me shedding some tears. but those pages came and went, i kept turning the pages because i wanted to know how her story on the trail unfolded.

i won't give away specifics here for those that haven't read it yet. but i admired how she kept going, day in and day out. how no matter what came her way, she kept her eyes on where she wanted to go. the girl had a big goal, and you know i love making goals and seeing them through to the end.

i also appreciated that she was so honest in sharing the parts of her life that i can only guess were not super easy to write and share with the world (i can relate to that). but those parts of her life and what she went through made me root for her even more, and i so wanted to see her succeed. it was another reminder that strength and good things can come from the times when life hasn't turned out the way you wanted it to, you just have to keep going, one single (sometimes painful) step at a time.

so this book ranks as one of my favorites i have read so far, and i am excited for the movie to come out later this year. i look forward to her story unfolding on the big screen, and will be cheering for her character as much then as i did when i kept turning the pages of the book.

because even though i know how it ends, i always love a good story.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


there are times when i will see a link to an article and i know right away that reading it will not do anything to help my mental state. i can tell just by the the title of the article that it is going to send me into a cancer tailspin.

tonight on a facebook thread i saw the heading of an article called "making the decision to live, writer faces terminal cancer with ferocity and honesty."

truth is i would normally not open that article up due to the tailspin factor, but for some reason the words "making the decision to live" struck me, and this time i wanted to read more.

i think that it struck me because i am starting to be less than two months from my scans, and my anxiety is starting to run high. the fears are really starting to creep in, my emotions are all over the place, i am begging time to slow down, i am wondering how the last 4.5 months went so quick, and i am starting my routine of becoming a fuctioning wreck.

but i think that i felt like there might be words in the article to remind me as well that i need to start getting myself ready to pick up my boxing gloves and kick some scan ass. so whatever the reason, i clicked the link and knew immediately that a) i was going to need a lot of kleenex, b) i was going to read every word of the article, and c) i was going to need more kleenex than originally anticipated.

when reading her words about being a mom facing cancer i could feel my heart breaking in a million pieces, and the clanking sound as the pieces start to move around while the tears started to fall (as they do now writing this post). for her. for me. for all of the moms out there that have to face cancer, that have to even think about leaving their kids and their families, about what life would be like without them. i so wish that there was not a reason that any mom would have to think about that. that cures had already been found. that hearts no longer had to be broken.

but that is not the case. so on this day, i chose to read her words and i chose to write this post.

because cancer is always, always there. at some point in the day, it always creeps in, even if only for a moment. the "will i be here next year to take this annual vacation again?" the "i am so glad that i got to go to her first concert with her." the "i am so thankful to be able to walk in the door on the first day of kindergarten, i hope that i am here to walk into the door on the first day of first grade." the "it is time to put the summer pool away from the year, i wonder what our lives will look like next summer". the "all of the fall traditions are starting to come up, i need to get ready for a lot of emotions around those." the "i am scared shitless for what they are going to tell me at the start of november". the "i feel so guilty we didn't catch that mole sooner so we didn't have to go through this." the "i am so paralyzed with emotions around cancer that sometimes i just want to stay in a little ball all day long". the "she lost her second tooth, i want to see all of the milestones in her life." every single day, some aspect, some question, comes in.

i never live a day without cancer.

not one single day.

tamara cignac is a cancer fighter. she is a mom. this is her story.

i think that she is so very brave for sharing it, and my love and prayers go out to her and her loved ones.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the music

a week ago we had to put 5 things in a bag to take to kindergarten that would give clues for a activities that malena likes to do. she picked a paint brush, a marker, a pad of paper, a rubber stamp, and stickers. can you tell that she is my kid? i am pretty sure that if she could have also figured out a way to get the 5 boys from "one direction" into the bag she would have done it.

our girl loves her music.

she loves to sing along, she loves to dance -- you should see the moves she busts out when beyonce's "single ladies" comes on. not sure who she got her dance skills from, but we know that it wasn't from her dad (ok, ok, and maybe her mom).

the boys from "one direction" have been her favorite for over a year or so.

we had thought about taking her to a concert at some point, but the only west coast location on the tour for the band this year was in california.

so it wasn't going to be in the game plan. but then an opportunity came up to go with my niece (who is their #1 fan) when "one direction" opened up another show in cali and we decided to go for it.

taking a 5 year old to a concert isn't the norm. flying a 5 year old to cali for a concert is even less of the norm.

but i feel like life isn't about doing the norm, it is about living it up and making great memories every chance you get. if you get the chances, take them. i don't think that you will ever regret it.

we woke her up at 5am on thursday and surprised her that she needed to get dressed because we were headed to the airport. the surprise was awesome, and seeing her joy and excitement was so fun (do you guys think that we will meet them? how close are our seats?).

i am not sure that there is anything better than seeing pure joy on your child's face.

fast forward to the concert at the rose bowl...and she was in her element. standing pretty much the whole time. hands in the air. using our phone with the flashlight during the slow songs just like the rest of the stadium. dancing. singing. cheering. watching the fireworks go off.

the picture above pretty much sums it up.

no matter what comes her way, i hope that she always hears the music.

and when she does, i hope that she always dances.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

big boy

with all of the back to school pictures and stories, i think that this is my favorite one. below is the update on chaser's first day at kindergarten. i can empathize with chris and lisa, when life ends up looking differently than how you expected it would, it can take a little bit of time to regroup and focus on just how lucky you are.

i hope that you all have a good weekend, we are off bright and early tomorrow for a surprise adventure with malena. (here is a hint if you promise not to tell her -- it has a little something to do with her favorite band "one direction" and her very first concert;)).

make yours a good one. xo

"When Am I gonna be a Big Boy Dad?"
Today was a big day at the Lykken household. Tanner and Ava started their weekday walk to the bus stop that they will be making for next 9 months-only one short.....Chase would have been getting on that bus with two of them. They both left the house with smiles and returned that way, so it must have been a good first day back at school.
I met Lisa and Chaser in the parking lot of Red tail Ridge at noon to bring Chase in for his first day of Kindergarten. As I walked over to the van to greet them, I saw the familiar somber look in Lisa's puffy red eyes. I took a deep breath, reached in to get Chaser out, and reassured him how much fun he was going to have today. I knew this wasn't going to be easy, especially with the vision of him 2 years ago-his first day of Preschool, sitting on the bench at Jeffers pond with a 3 foot smile, backpack hanging from his back, and the phrases, when do I get to go to Kindergarten dad? When am I gonna be a big boy? - echoing in my head.... But I knew I had to be the strong one here-
We pushed his wheel chair up to the entrance and stopped to snap some pictures. After ill efforts to adjust his head several times in-between shots so he would be facing the camera, we were greeted by Debbi-his school nurse- who took this one for us. She opened up the door and laughed how Chase was getting the "Red Carpet Treatment" today. (they had put red carpet down for all the kids) We pushed him in his wheel chair down the hall to one of the Special Ed rooms that he will be in- we entered, and bam! A room full of smiles! Everyone seemed happy to see Chase and have him there today. As Lisa and I looked around at the newly familiar faces, we pushed a smile back in return hoping to cover-up the gut turning reality- that neither of us ever imagined little dudes KG experience would be like this. After filling them in on the suction and a little of his routine, his teacher Mrs "D", walked us down the hall towards the exit, the entire way assuring us he is in good hands, and that he is going to have a great day. We know he is! We could not have hand picked a better team to take care of our little dude. As we exited the building, wiping our eyes, we took a second to regroup- looked back into the double doors, and realized how fortunate we are to even be having this moment. A year and a half ago, we didn't know if he would ever leave the hospital, little alone being dropped off at Kindergarten! He has come along way, and for that we are very thankful to the Big Guy!
Chase shares his monumental day of being here and being a kindergartner, with a monumental anniversary day of Grampa Lykken. It was 31yrs ago today, that he had a 13hr operation to remove a tumor in the middle of his brain. Defying all odds, he made an almost complete recovery, and went back to teaching college Physics a year later. - Gramps, your another walking miracle in this family!!
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!

- Hey Chaser........ guess what?............You're a big boy now!

God is Good!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

just in time

last week, elise blaha cripe posted the above picture on her instagram account. she then posted a link to it on her blog as a free download, you can find the link to the download in this post.

she rocks.

i saw this print at just the right time that i needed it.

we have been going through some rough school transitions for the last couple of months, and in addition to that, it seems that there is always some other issue looming at work or in a different aspect of our lives.

it can be overwhelming, and when mixed with the issues that cancer throws into the mix on a regular basis, it can at times feel like nothing is within my control and i can't get caught up on life -- and i pretty much hate that.

so i now have elise's print on my fridge so that i see it every single morning, and remind myself as we get ready to face the day, that there are two main things i should try not to worry about.

it has made the days this week a little bit better.

i like that.

Monday, September 8, 2014


the 10k was this weekend. yep, i did it peeps -- 6.2 miles, all on my two little feet.
all of the training miles (over 100+) and the actual 6.2 on sunday were all for rabi. i also appreciated him ordering up a gorgeous blue sky day for the run, likely one of the best ones that we are going to have to close out summer. and it was hot. he was probably drinking a cold one while i was sweating it out on the course;)
i got to run with some amazing ladies - and since it was the "wonder woman" race we of course had to dress up a bit. my super power was "cancer fighter" (as if you couldn't see that one coming) and the green was a nod to john deere green for rabi (yes, i know that john deere green is a little greener but you get the point).

when we aren't going down splash mountain 90 times with our kids, michelle and i also run. 

of course, we had an excellent cheerleading crew. malena made her own signs for us, and cheered each of us on as we passed her twice on the route and as we closed in on the finish line. i got this final high five right before i crossed the finish line, loved that.
it was a great morning, followed by a great post-run brunch, and yes - i drank a big mimosa, i earned it, right? right!

so another major goal met. but, i will definitely keep running - i actually really like it and love getting out into the fresh air a couple of times a week. i already have my sights on a 5k later this year.

it felt good to make the 6.2 miles happen. it felt good to honor rabi through the training and the actual run. it felt good to meet the goal. it felt good to show malena that you can do anything you set your mind to. it felt good to show her that all you really need to do is just start. it felt good to know that she saw me cross that finish line.

yep, it felt good.

every single step of it.

and although i need some new running shoes, every step to come will be with rabi. i can't imagine running without looking down and seeing his name.

i couldn't run any other way.

i think that he likes that.

Friday, September 5, 2014

stand up

tonight is the annual "stand up to cancer" television event (info on it is here).

this show is a bag of mixed emotions for me. i can't even write this post without the tears forming.

i wish that we didn't need to raise funds and awareness for cancer research, because i wish that there were cures already existing for all kinds of cancer.

the stories of the cancer patients are an inspiration in that they make me feel less alone in the fight, and an anxiety builder in that they can be very tough to listen to. the stories hit very close to home. sometimes the stories have outcomes that are not the ones that i want for myself, or for anyone else.

but those stories deserve to be heard, and so i listen. and i cry (a lot). and i wish that everything with cancer would just go away. and i am thankful that there are so many doctors and good people dedicating their lives to finding cures. and i appreciate how lucky i am to have so many good doctors and nurses that are with me throughout this journey. and i thank my lucky stars for all of the love and support that i get from my family and friends.

so i watch.

so i listen.

so i cry.

so i stand up.

i will always keep standing up to cancer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

blogcation, part iii

my blogcation last week was due to a vacation to disneyland.

the picture gives you a glimpse of the fun that we had. this ride was one that we went on about ten times, and as you can see, the pictures got a little more creative as the number of times we were on it increased. although malena looked pretty much the same in each picture, holding on for dear life;)

more to come on all of that when i am not completely exhausted from the return to work and the start of kindergarten.

the start of the school year is full of so many transitions, and this post was a reminder that the transitions just keep coming.

happy thursday peeps, hope it is a good day - beth will get her pump out tomorrow and round three will be done, that makes it a great day in my book. one round closer to the end of chemo, love that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


so this happened today.

how crazy is that?

i know, totally crazy.

i seriously think that it was just yesterday that she was born, and now she is in kindergarten. one blink of the eye and here we are. 

i felt a varied mix of emotions all at the same time.

excited for her.

hopeful for a good year.

anxious to see how it will go.

sentimental over how fast she has grown.

worried whether or not she would like it.

grateful to be here for this moment. another milestone. a big one. so thankful.

i have a feeling that in another blink of an eye i will be taking a picture with that board saying "last day of kindergarten".

another adventure begins, bring it on.

funny sidenote:
+++ this post totally cracked me up when i saw it on the first day of school last year, so i am bringing it back for an encore;)