Monday, March 23, 2015

bunco goodness

last weekend my awesome sister-in-law and her family put on their annual bunco fundraiser for our team that will be walking again this year to raise funds for cancer research.

there were 40 women that attended the fundraiser to play bunco, eat amazing food, have some drinks, and take a chance on winning great raffle prizes.

it is always fun to see some of the same faces at this event every year, and to meet new faces as it grows year by year.

it is always emotional as well because attending this event means that another year has gone by and i am still here to attend the event. it is also emotional since the night raises funds for our team -- this year team "cancer you can suck it" - and it is a cause so close to my heart.

the three hour event raised $1600 for cancer research -- how amazing is that?? i know, pretty amazing.

these women (kim, judi, tracy, kathy, ellie, betsy, amy, mindy) all rock and i am so grateful for each of them.

i am already looking forward to next year's event.

for a million reasons.

and then some.

Friday, March 20, 2015

the important things + good thoughts for mary

wednesday was one of those days where by about 5pm my energy was zapped. i was super tired, the work day was really long and frustrating, and there were about a million things that i felt like needed to get done. so when deciding what do about dinner (because of course plans to get to the store didn't happen either by the time we were all hungry) we took the path of least resistance. malena and i met barrett at whole foods and we each picked out what we wanted and had an inside picnic at one of the tables.

we got so busy talking and catching up on our days and life that we ended up staying there for close to 1.5 hours. by the time that we left the day was drawing to a close and nighttime routines were going to be starting.

as we started to walk towards the doors, malena said to me "momma, you need to get your money out so that we can buy a paper."

there is a local paper in the seattle area called "real change" and the paper is sold by low income/homeless vendors. the papers are sold for $2, but the vendors pay $.60 for the paper and they keep all of the proceeds. many times there is the same man in front of this store selling the papers, and i always buy a paper from him when we are going into the store. i feel like if i am lucky enough to be able to walk into that store and buy the food my family needs, then the least that i can do is give $2 to a person who is standing outside the store working to make money for themselves to live. i have explained to malena about the vendors and why they sell the papers, and she is often the one to give them the money and get our paper for us.

but as we walked out the door, it was the first time that she had reminded me to get a paper. she said "momma, when we were walking in i saw his stack of papers were there but he must have been inside because he wasn't standing by the door. but i knew that he was here so i was watching so we could get our paper when we left." so we bought our paper from the man, got our usual great smile from him and wished him a good night, and headed for home.

as we were driving home, i thought about an article my friend kimberly recently posted called i don't get it all done. i loved the article the first time that i read it because her words completely resonated with me. so on that night i thought about how i didn't get to the store in time to make dinner at home, i didn't get anything done on my to do list, there was laundry on the floor of the laundry room, girl scout cookie stuff i still had to finish, and the list went on and on.

but i did spend time eating some favorite foods, talking for a long time with barrett and malena with no distractions (and for a time that lasted longer than it would have if we were home and moved on to something else right after we had finished eating), and got to watch the kindness of my daughter as she made it a point to make sure that we bought that paper.

it was another great reminder that the day may not always be perfect or go as planned, but as long as the things that really matter are still the focus, that is what this ride is all about.

i don't know about you, but i kind of love this ride.

on this friday morning, mary continues her ride of kicking melanoma's you-know-what as she heads in for her procedure today to remove the melanoma tumor from her leg and to have a biopsy done on her sentinel lymph node. so please send all of your prayers, love, and good mojo to wisconsin today. this is her 7th round with the black beast, and i just know that this will be the round when she gets the knock out.

have a good weekend all, hope it gives you the chance to leave the laundry behind and do something that actually matters.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

luck and paying it forward

every year on st. patrick's day, i really miss my grandma josephine.

she passed away years ago on st. patrick's day, and though i think about her and miss her all of the time, march 17th always pulls a little bit harder on my heart. every year on this day it feels like a little piece of my heart is missing, and i so wish that she was still here with us. i wish that she would have met barrett, that malena would have had the chance to love her and hold her hand, that she would have seen out how life has turned out for me through the years. i often think about her as i head into scans and on results days. i always feel like she is watching and protecting me, and that is she is doing all she can for good news to come our way.

so she was on my mind throughout the day, and i was feeling a little bit down as the afternoon wore on because i was just really missing her.

right as i got to malena's gymnastics lessons, i got a text message from barrett telling me that we had got approved for the school district transfer we have so anxiously been hoping for. this means that malena will be in the school that we want her in next year, and we can stay in our house and not having to worry about moving. it is such a huge and palpable relief to us, i immediately felt like 1,000 pounds of fear/anxiety/stress/worry had lifted off of our shoulders.

i knew as soon as i saw that text that my grandma sent that luck down to us today. i felt like it was her way of telling me that she knew how much i was missing her, but that she wanted to remind me that she was with me the entire time.

we of course celebrated the good news with some ciders over dinner, and then malena had the idea to go to frozen yogurt to celebrate st. patrick's day (yes, i am clear that frozen yogurt is not the most common way to celebrate this particular holiday, but she was super excited about her idea to celebrate so we rolled with it).

we went to our favorite place and our favorite guy  was working.

as usual, he greeted us with a big smile when we walked in and was so nice when ringing us up. after we sat down and started to eat, he came over to malena and asked her if she thought that she could eat 10 ounces of yogurt. when she said that she could, he gave her a coupon for 10 free ounces for our next trip in. super nice of him, and she was of course super excited about our next visit. while we were eating, a couple checked out and the woman was talking about being a teacher. he told her to hold on for a minute, and then he went to the back. when he came out, he handed her a stack of certificates for her kids to come in and get yogurt. the look on her face was so priceless, she was so surprised and grateful for his kindness. i thought that she was going to cry, and i was on the verge of tears myself. i looked over at barrett and mouthed to him "i love that man". he reminds you of how many good people there are in the world - and how thankful you are when you get to cross their path.

after we finished, malena gave him a tip as we usually do and then we headed out. malena and i had to make a quick stop at the store next door. as we were ringing out, i saw a collection of gift cards and had an idea. malena and i grabbed one for the movie theater and got back in line.

we took the gift card to the man at the yogurt shop and told him how much we appreciated how kind and nice he was to us every time that we came in, and we wanted to do something kind for him in return. we told him that we wanted to treat him to a movie on a day off, and malena gave him the gift card (she was so excited to give it to him, the smile on her face was huge). the look on his face was one i will never forget.

ever since beth and i had our dinner paid for by the stranger back in january, i have been looking for the right time to pay it forward.

tonight was the right time.

my grandma was always doing nice things for others for no reason other than her inherent kindness, so it felt like a great way to honor her today.

i know that she is loving that we had such a good day.

the only thing that could have made it perfect would have been having her in that empty chair at our table at the yogurt shop.

but then again, i think that she was there the whole time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


i have always been a big fan of hope.

for me, hope can be a game changer, especially in the dark times when you are searching for that little bit of light to help you find your way out.

you know that i am a sucker for people helping people.

when i read kelle's if you build it, they will come post last night, i was filled with hope.

hope for kids with Down syndrome. hope for their parents and loved ones. hope for every one of us that there is less focus on differences and more focus on similarities and the capacity for friendship and love. hope for malena that the world she grows up in gives her many opportunities to embrace people she encounters. hope that she will learn from them in ways that allow her to continue to grow and make this crazy world a better place.

i think every person who has loved a kid in their lives holds out hope for that child that they spread their wings and fly.

all kids should be given that chance.

i think that it is awesome that this campaign has started and is quickly growing in leaps and bounds.

if $21 of my dollars can help someone to fly in the future, i consider it to be $21 very well spent.

it is adding some hope to the world.

any time that i get a chance to do that i am all in.

it makes the light seem just a little bit brighter.

more light. less dark. more hope.

that is what good dreams are made of.

Monday, March 9, 2015

yes, i love good news

mary got her scan results early today -- organs were all clear!!!

clearly, your prayers, mojo, and vibes all worked.

you all rock.

so she moves on to appointments later this week to talk about timing for surgery on her leg.

keep the good mojo coming her way -- we need to keep carrying it throughout her upcoming surgery and recovery.

but i have no doubts that she will rock this 7th surgery like she has all the others and will send the black beast packing.

you've got this mary -- carry on my friend, carry on.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

weekender + good vibes for mary

it has been a great couple of days (minus the work part of course).

we had a family date night on thursday and went to see the cirque du soleil.  it was so fun getting to watch malena take it all in and how her mouth would open up when the performers would do one of their incredible acts. pretty amazing to see the magic of it all through her eyes. we headed east of the mountains on friday for some ice skating, water slides (which my back and i are pretty sure we did a millon times) and s'mores by the campfire. we celebrated our good friend beth turning 40, so happy to be with her to mark the big occasion. a long training run in the beautiful sunshine today. selling girl scout cookies with malena and watching her get super excited when it was her turn to ask a customer if they would like to buy some cookies.


great days. tons of new memories. milestones celebrated. all good things, and i loved each moment of it. not ready for a monday to start.

but monday will come as they always do. on this particular one, please send your prayers, mojo, and good vibes to mary in wisconsin. she goes in for her scans on monday so that they can confirm that the melanoma has not spread (we all know that will be the result, right? right. but let's send those good vibes anyways for some extra coverage). you have got this mary, i know that without a doubt. you will knock this out with a surgery and send the black beast packing for the 7th time.

another week begins, here we go, hang on.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


i haven't had a chance to catch up to this space in the last few days.

mostly for good reasons.

weekend on the east side of the mountains. girl time. hike on a gorgeous day. eating really good food. tons of laughter. drinking some ciders. eating some great chocolate (and maybe a couple of jelly beans too). reading my book. watching malena make chinese dumplings for the first time and learning about the chinese new year. playing veterinarian. hugs. smiles. tickle fights.  gymnastics lessons. going for some runs. all the good stuff.

then there has been work. enough said.

somewhere in the blur of the last week or two, i listened to this podcast.

there were a lot of things that i loved about it, and a couple of key things that will stick with me.

in the podcast he talks living life with more "oh wells" instead of "what ifs" -- i love that, giving something a try and being able to say "oh well" rather than "what if" if i had never tried it is something i will definitely keep with me.

he also talks about "multi-tasking" and that it is really is "switch-tasking" and i thought it was really interesting to hear about the productivity loss that comes from moving from one task to another. maybe i should just nap all of the time.

happy thursday all, this week is flying by. a big shout out to my two lovely friends beth and tami that have birthdays today - love you both! enjoy your days! xo