Tuesday, November 25, 2014


this day.

this is chase's day.

i do not think that there are three more important words on this day to say than "happy birthday chase".

keep on fighting chase, you are one of the strongest warriors i know.

here is a post chris, chase's dad, wrote to him today.

"Happy Birthday BT

Chaser, I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what to get you for this day. I planned on giving you the first skate on our outdoor rink, but the weather had other plans. I have realized that there is nothing I can buy at a store right now that will make a difference, so I decided to give you my words, and share how much you have given me- I know there will come a day when you will read and understand this, but until then, I hope you feel it. It was 6 years ago today that you were graciously given to this family, and Chaser, it was 6 years ago you completed this family! Ever since the day you were born you have been special. Not more special than your brother and sister, but special in a different way. Countless times, your mom and I sat in silence, with huge smiles, watching you roll around on the floor, listening to you coo at all hours of the night, watching you sleep, most of the times if were weren't discussing it, we where thinking it- that you were an angle sent to this family. Your brother and sister earned a nickname when they were young, but when you were two years old I gave you a special one. There has always been this indescribable power that you possess. The power to light up a room with your 3 mile smile. The power to make people stop and smile at you. Anywhere we went people would say hi to you and give a compliment. You did, and stll continue to bring this family together as one. I gave you the nickname Big Time. For years I have told people that I knew you were going to be Big Time in life! I guess prior to your accident, I thought you were going to be a professional hockey player, a movie star, or even the president- i really didn't know.....but I KNEW you were going to be Big Time. Today is your day buddy, and a lot has changed since I gave you this nickname. You have obviously gone through more than anyone can ever imagine. As you have persevered threw your countless challenges, and always manage to come out on top, not only have lived up to your nickname, but you have surpassed any possible expectation I could have ever dreamt up. With your incredible will to live, and your silent, but captivating spirit, you have taught me more about life and myself than I you could have learned in any book or on my own. You make your mom and I want to be better people! Although the pain and challenges you face each moment of your little world right now make my heart ache, please know that you have forever changed us for the better -as you have changed my definition of Big Time. To be honest with you Chaser, looking back a year and a half ago, I didn't have a clue what life was really about- you have taught me, and continue to teach me,- why we are here, what is really important, and how great God really is.
We are soooo proud of you BT! And may this B-Day and every B-Day to follow just be another progressive chapter in your entire book of recovery. I know the Big Guy has a plan for you, in my heart I know it is to bring you completely back and give you a smile and voice again. Until then, your silence continues to speak volumes! Happy Birthday Chaser!

God is Good!"

Monday, November 24, 2014


you turned 6.

you got to have chocolate donuts for breakfast.

you were super excited to go to the aquarium. that was your specific ask for your birthday.

you picked out a frosted snowman cookie at starbucks for an after school treat for the drive to seattle. you love frosted cookies, especially if they have some sprinkles.

you wanted to see the fish, the sharks, the otters, and the divers in the big tank.

you held the map, you wanted to lead the way. you always do, i think that i know who you get that trait from.

you loved to watch the seals, they are always your favorite. one of them came right up to the window and just looked at you for the longest time. it was like he was there specifically to give you his personal birthday wishes.

you wanted to go on the merry go round. twice. you never want to only go once.

you were very focused on your horse coming in first in the merry go round race, magically, no matter which horses we pick on any carousel we have ever been on, your horse is always the one that comes in first place.

you played with the pizza dough non-stop that they gave you at the place we went to for dinner. i loved watching the smile across your face as you played and played.

you were so excited about the "big" horse that you got for your stable that papa built for you, i wonder if you will grow up to be a veternarian.

you sat next to me as we watched project runway and you got to stay up late because it was your birthday. you wanted jelly beans as your special treat, and i was kind of happy about that because i really love those jelly beans too.

you fell asleep and i watched you for a bit and wondered what your birthday dreams were  made of.

whatever they were, i hope with everything i have that they all come true.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


if i could buy one book for every person that i know, wonder would be the one.

my friend chris gave me this book for my birthday and i was excited to read it as i had heard really good things about it, although i hadn't heard what the actual focus of the story was.

the main character, auggie, was born with a facial deformity. he is homeschooled until fifth grade and then he enters public school. the book tells the story of his transition into the public school, but does it through not only his eyes, but from the perspective of the others in his life.

i did not want to put the book down. last tuesday night when i was pulling an all nighter waiting for my scan results on wednesday morning, i finished it around midnight.

"because it's not enough to be kind. one should be kinder than needed. why I love that line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness."

this book makes you think about tough situations from other people's perspectives, and it reminds you that a little kindness can make a huge impact.

this is one that i will keep for malena.

this is one that i will always remember.

the quote on the jacket is right on, "wonder touches the heart in the most life-affirming, unexpected ways, delivering in august pullman a character whom readers will remember forever."

thanks for letting me come along with you auggie, i wish we could have hung out a little longer.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

the day after + happy mail for evan

we are still coming off of the high of yesterday's news, i think that i might still be in a little post-scan shock that we got good news again. i was telling my friend today that i feel like maybe my oncologist will call me and say "oh sorry, i was looking at someone else's file, those weren't really your results." it just feels so good to hear good news that it takes time to let it sink in and believe that it won't be taken away from me.

for yesterday specifically, i ordered a new sweatshirt that i thought would bring me good luck. i was right, and you know that i will now be wearing that sweatshirt for every results appointment from now on. if you like it too, you can get it at mulberry press co.

after we got the good news and had a chance to update everyone, barrett and i asked a woman in the lobby to take our picture to capture the moment for us.
we then waited for beth to come to the cancer care building for her appointment to have her chemo tube removed. it was great to be there to see her walk out of the final chemo appointment - to see her when she was finally done. so proud of her, and so glad that we were together on such an important day for both of us.

we then headed to a celebration lunch with our parents, and guess what, i crossed one of my november goals off of the list and had a hard cider;)
it was a gorgeous day so barrett and i got a good afternoon run in under the clear blue (and super cold) sky.  felt so good to get out and run, seemed like a fitting way to start the next six months.

my dad made his world famous nachos for dinner (as he does everytime we have good news after scans) and i checked another november goal off of my list with another hard cider. it was a very productive goal day:)
there were so many great parts of the day. other than getting the news itself, being able to tell malena that my cancer doctor told us that i did not have any cancer in my body and that i wouldn't have to come back for tests for a long time was the highlight for me. if i could look her in the eyes and have that same conversation with her every 6 months as we both continue to grow older, my greatest dream would come true.

when we talked with my oncologist, we talked about how it is about 5% of patients that do not have melanoma come back within 5 years of a stage iv diagnosis. he said that we will assume that i am one of those 5% until we have a reason not to. someone has to make up that 5% statistic, and there is no reason that i can't be one of them. right? right. i thought so too and that is definitely the plan.

so as we catch our breath we also continue to support all of the other warriors that keep on fighting as well. my friend mary (you all know mary because i talk about her frequently on the blog) decided to start a happy mail campaign for her friend evan who is also currently fighting melanoma. i am going to be sending evan happy mail for two weeks, and next week is my second week. i thought that it would fun to really get him feeling the happy mail love by asking any of you who are interested to join in with me next week. if you would like to help make evan's week a little better and would like to send him a card/postcard next week to keep his spirits up and let him know that has a lot of peeps sending him good vibes, get in touch with me. message me, email me, text me, leave a comment on the blog, send smoke signals up in the air, trip me when i walk past you -- however you know how to get my attention. i will hook you up with evan's address and you can be part of the happy mail campaign for a melanoma warrior that is currently in the fight for his life.

i hope that you all have a great weekend and enjoy all of the big and small moments. i know that i will.

thanks again so much for all of the love and support this week, we could not have made it through without you. xoxo

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

good news!!!!

the news is in and it is awesome!!!! scans were good --- spots on my lungs have not grown and all my other organs looked good and bloodwork was great!! i come back in 6 months --- we just got the best christmas present ever!!!!! thanks for all of the good vibes, prayers and mojo!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

anticipation of results + november goals

i am going to write this one out earlier in the day than normal since i find myself with some unexpected quiet time while malena takes a nap.

wednesday at 9am we will be in the room waiting on the results. my stomach has already kicked into being in total knots and i am a nervous wreck. i had a massage today and i think that every muscle was as tense as it could possibly be. it is officially that time when i want time to speed up if it is good news so i can breathe, and to slow way down in case it isn't. but unfortunately, no one gave me control of time, so i sit and i wait while the second clock goes tick tock, tick tock, etc.

but i decided today that regardless of what happens tomorrow, i have some goals for november so i might as well crank the list out. as you can see, i felt super ambitious taking on the goal of drinking two hard ciders this month -- it will be hard, but i think that i can do it. i think that it is good to have goals that make you reach out of your comfort zone a little bit;)

thanks again for all of the good vibes, prayers, and mojo -- beth and i will both take them with us tomorrow as we head in for our appointments. beth goes in at 11:15 for her appointment, so we are going to need good vibes coming to seattle all morning long.

here we go again peeps.

anywhere i go, you go. xoxo

Monday, November 10, 2014

scan day

"you will have bad times,
but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren't paying attention to."
(robin williams)
scan day.
went i got to the cancer care alliance building, i got to see beth in her chemo bay for a few minutes before i checked in for my appointment. it felt both surreal and in a very odd way comfortable to walk those halls again. a big part of my life happened within those hallways, i feel like there is still a part of the old me that never made it out of there. i have not been in those hallways since the last day that i had my high dose treatment, but i remember so well the hallways, even the specific rooms that i was in. i can still remember who was with me in the rooms while i was getting treatment each day. when i was receiving treatment, i never could have forecasted that on november 10, 2014, i would be back in those rooms to sit with my friend as she started her last chemo treatment and as i prepared to go in for another scan as a stage iv patient. but you never know what life will throw at you, or those that you love. so on this day as i sat next to beth i felt thankful that although both of us would rather be anywhere else in the world than there, at least never of us were there alone. for that we are lucky beyond words.

after i left beth, it was check-in time for me. the usual paperwork. the usual bracelet.
as seems to be the norm, my veins were not super eager to cooperate today. so the iv hook up took longer than i would like. but on the good news side of the day, they have apparently changed what melanoma patients drink before ct scans. no more contrast, instead two bottles of water within 30 minutes. it is much easier to drink water, but i have to say, drinking two bottles of water in 30 minutes on an empty stomach is not as easy as it sounds.
unfortunately, they still push contrast through my iv when i get the ct scan so i still feel like hell after the scans. ugh.
as usual, ellie was my post-scan snack superhero. we hung out for our 30 minute wait after the scans to make sure that i didn't have any reaction to the contrast. we were also hanging out with matthew mcconaughey and he says to tell you all hello;)

i got home and crashed out hard.
woke up a few hours later to pick up malena from school. decided on the way there that i deserved a little treat from starbucks so we picked up a green tea to try and help my stomach settle a bit.
i spent the rest of tonight spending some quality time with my favorite couch and my favorite blanket. one of my go to combinations when i am feeling rough.
thank you for all of the love, good vibes, and prayers for me and beth today. i really appreciate it from the very bottom of my heart. it is so comforting to know that no matter what comes at 9am on wednesday, we will not face it alone.
that is one thing that i know for sure.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

here we go again

             "i survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me."
(joshua graham)
this weekend was the usual pre-scan type of weekend for me, constant motion. one thing about scans and results is that i can't sit still.
i got in a good run on saturday morning. per my scan orders, i can't exercise for 24 hours before i go in for the scans. luckily, it was a gorgeous fall morning, blue sky, fall leaves all around - perfect for cranking out a 3.5 miler. my friend kerry and i committed to each getting in 50 miles of exercise in november, so i have got to get on my game.

on saturday  afternoon we headed into town on a whim for some fajitas as i had been having a craving for them. we walked around, checked out a shop that i have been wanting to pop in to, and then wrapped the time up with some ice cream from my two favorite guys - ben and jerry.

today we hung out at an urban farm, fed some chickens, went on a hike in the rain, and had a great sunday afternoon adventure.
in between all of our adventures there were campouts, a ton of playing, lots of hugs, quite a few tears. it would not be a weekend before scans without the tears.
so tomorrow we head in for a 10:45am check in time. my friend beth is having her last round of chemo tomorrow and we will be at the cancer center in seattle at the same time. i am going to go and see her in her chemo bay before i go into my appointment. wednesday i get results at 9am, and beth goes in to have her chemo tube removed from her port. for the last time. a big week for both of us. so ironic that this year comes down to both of us being there on the same days for such important moments. please send her lots of mojo and good vibes as she wraps up this year of treatment and surgeries. i am so, so proud of her and how brave and strong she has been all year, and i know that she will continue to be.
so send us seattle girls your love, mojo, and prayers this week -- like always, we are going to need them. xo

Thursday, November 6, 2014

goodbye october

oh october, you were a good month. i really liked you. a lot.
in addition to perfecting my awesome pumpkin carving skills (as you can see from the image above), i did tackle my to do list. i didn't get it all done, but that is ok, that is what november is for.

++ you already know about our painting session
++ as you can see, i didn't quite make 50 miles (damn you fall darkness and rain for cutting down on my running time) but i did make 40. not too shabby.
++ thanks to my mom for sharing some of her succulents (and my dad for spray painting the pot for me), i have some gorgeous succulents in my window that make me very happy. thanks parental team - you are the best;)
++ i am all over getting a new driver's license in november -- you will see why when i show you the before and the after. hint - long, blonde hair + pregnant. enough said.
++ clearly, 3 new recipes didn't happen this month, but i am kicking it up a notch for november - because you know that i am all over these apple pecan pies like white on rice
++ you know that i loved the happiness of pursuit and i am now about half way through wonder and am loving it (thanks chris --xoxo)
++ i am all signed up for a 5k in december - bring it on.
++ malena's bday party got planned and was a success -- and after being around 19 six year olds, i had a little party of my own. here is a hint.

++ barrett and i snuck in a date night with good food and a chance to catch up and talk about things other than breakfast, dinner, who is picking up, who is dropping off, etc.
++ i am all over ordering chatbooks to document my instagram pics
++ i did get caught up a bit on 2014 pics, i am not totally caught up, but i new better than to make "totally caught up" a goal;)
thanks october, it was fun kicking it with you for 31 days. thanks also for the inspiration for one of my november goals -- drink hard cider (why didn't i think of that before?;).
happy weekend peeps - make the most of it, we are going to be laying low and getting ready for scan week. start sending your good thoughts our way. xo

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


a couple of weeks ago i had the chance to go up and visit my niece at college, she now goes to the college that i went to. it was the first time i had been back on campus with malena, and it was so fun to get to show her my dorm, where i had my classes, the brick pathways i walked across each day for four years.

that day as we walked around campus, i thought about that 18/19/20/21 year old kid that i was then. i also thought about the things that she never could have known that her 39 year old self could tell her all of these years later.

i would tell her that she would make some of the best friends she would have for the rest of her life in those four years and they would see each other through the sunshine and the rain.

i would tell that she should never delete the messages her grandma jo left on her answering machine. i would let her know that there would be many days after her grandma was gone that she would give anything to hear her voice again.

i would tell her that she won't end up with the career that she thinks that she will. but that it ends up being better than ok, and even on the roughest of days, she loves what she does. those years she spent on the degree were exactly what she needed to end up where she was supposed to be, she just never saw it coming.

i would tell her that she will marry her perfect match, and the broken hearts along the way made her stronger than the she realized at the time.

i would tell her that being a mom will be her greatest accomplishment, and that even on the days when she may feel differently for a million reasons, she is a really good mom.

i would tell her that she should wear sunscreen everytime she is outside, and that no tan would be worth what she would later go through.

i would tell her that she should watch her moles as she gets older, and that if she notices any change, she should go right to the doctor.

i would tell her that on july 16, 2010, her life would forever change, and she will need to dig deeper than she could ever imagine. i would tell her that on february 20, 2013, she would feel the same way.

i would tell her that she will lose her hair, and that four years later it never gets any easier when someone asks why she cut off all of her long blonde curly hair, and that the question itself makes the tears form in her eyes.

i would tell her that there will be days when she doesn't want to get out of bed, but that she always does, and she always keeps going.

i would tell her that she will buy cinnamon bears on a rainy thursday in november 2014 because she is preparing for her next round of scans and she believes that the bears bring her good luck.

i would tell her that there will be a day that she will sit down and look her daughter in the eyes and talk to her about her fight with cancer. that the conversation will be one of the hardest things that she will ever do, and that she will curse the fates that any parent has to have that conversation with their kid.

i would tell her that she will beat herself up mentally on things that no one else will ever understand, but that she also needs to remind herself to give herself a break every now and then. life deals her a shitty hand, and sometimes it is ok to let that get you down. it is absolutely ok, and eventually, she will pick herself back up. she always does.

i would tell her that it is hard to know that no one knows how you feel. but it makes you realize that you also don't know how anyone else really feels, and so you tread lighter and you are more careful with hearts than you may otherwise have ever been.

i would tell her that in the days leading up to scans she will feel so exhausted, but will also be afraid to close her eyes because that is when the nightmares come.

i would tell her that she will love gummy candy her entire life, and that she still hasn't met a swedish fish or a gummy bear or a hot tamale that she hasn't liked. a lot.

i would tell her that although that cold beer on $1 pitcher night tasted good in college, a cold hard cider to help calm her nerves when she is 39 will taste a million times better.

i would tell her that she will miss eating sourdough bread. big time. she will sometimes curse the fates for giving her celiac disease, but in the grand scheme of what she will face, saying goodbye to gluten will be a piece of cake (pun intended).

i would tell her that she will consume more dilly bars than she could imagine when she was pregnant. i would also tell her that each and every one tasted so damn good, and that there would be times when that craving would come back with a vengeance that she would be willing to pay a lot of money for one chocolate dilly bar.

i would tell her that she would write a blog for longer than she expected when she started, and on november 5th, 2014, she would write her 600th post.

i would tell her that writing will bring her a lot of healing that she might not have otherwise had, and it will help her to get some of the demons out.

i would tell her that is after 10pm when we are having this chat and her big brother would be telling her to go to bed and get some sleep.

i would tell her that he is usually pretty smart, and so she should follow his advice. if the demons come, she will make it through their visit.

i would tell her that the demons never win.

she would tell me that she already knows this, and doesn't need a 39 year old telling her that.

i would tell her that she is right about that.

i would tell her that is why i have loved her from the start.