December 22, 2010

It's getting hot in heerruh.

Yes literally. It's getting hot in my kitchen.

Who am I kidding? It is hot in my kitchen.

For those of you who know me...wait, who am I kidding again? It's not like people I don't know read my blog. Umm, save that for the Pioneer Woman, who by the way I am quite fascinated with lately. Probably only because I think my sister-in-law, Megan, is going to become the next Pioneer Woman with her blog. While she wasn't from black heels to tractor wheels, she has quite a story to tell. Ok, back to my story.

My kitchen is very hot. For those of you who know me, you know I don't really enjoy cooking. And maybe it's not even that I don't enjoy it, but I have a husband who is FANTASTIC at it....and he DOES enjoy it. Yes ladies, I said it.

So this Christmas, I am very very excited about a particular gift I am giving. No, it's not Brynlee's Bitty Baby doll, her brown boots, or even her Rapunzel tower. (if you tell her any of that you are in big trouble mister!) And it's not Steven' here to see what he's getting this year! And you would think this gift was the one that saved me from having to make a trip to the mall and allowed me to spend a mere 8.6 seconds purchasing it off no, that wasn't the case either.

That brings me to why I am cooking. My Papa lives alone now that my Nana is in a nursing home. He is so so good to her and makes several trips a day to the nursing home to see her, checking that everything is in order--her clothes are pressed, purse is with her, and she gets wheeled down to dinner on time. His role has changed, and he now cares for her. He is really such a neat man. If you googled his name, you would find out so much about him. (It's funny if you told him that though; he wouldn't even know what google was.) They live in College Station , and there is no family there to care for him. He often times eats dinner quickly and cheaply, which usually translates to this, and let's just agree that's probably not the best for an 86 year old man...or anyone for that matter.

So that is going to change, at least for the next month or so. Papa Bill is getting 30 homemade dinners in freezeable containers to take home. All in a cooler with a big red bow! And as simple and odd as a gift this sounds, I think it is the one I am the most excited to give.

And since you are oh so curious, Papa Bill will be spending the next month eating:
*Fiesta Soup*
*Spaghetti with Meatsauce*
*Verde Chicken Enchiladas*
*Chicken and Broccoli Fettuccine*
*Turkey Chili*

So, I'm curious. What's your favorite gift to GIVE this year?

November 15, 2010

If I can ever find the cord to my little camera, then I will update here with pictures from my 60 mile walk. What an incredible experience! It was way harder than I expected. Way more rewarding than I expected. Way colder than I expected. And I hurt way more than I expected. But AS I expected, I signed up to do it again! Next year I will be walking in the San Diego Komen 3 Day Walk.

It was really an overwhelming experience. I was so grateful to my team members who all walked with me, and to my family who was there at the end to support me! Thank you!

Thought I'd share something really cool. In the midst of my walk, and the upcoming holidays...I have been really missing my Dad (he, like my Mom, would have been SO supportive and there to cheer me on) . Sometimes, I still---7 months later---think I am going to pinch myself and wake up. I read something today though, that I'm certain I will carry with me forever. It made quite an impact, maybe if needed you can share it with someone else. While we have a tendency to say we lost someone. You know, like I lost my Dad on April 12. Really, we never lost them if we know where they are. And I know with certainty that my Dad went home to be with Jesus on April 12. So while, I really do miss his presence here on earth, he'll never be lost.

Race for the Cure in Austin
November 1, 2009

September 9, 2010

It's funny what triggers memory sometimes, really it is. I've hit the one year mark on my diagnosis--August 28th to be exact--and some of the memories of last fall have been on the forefront of my mind. I'm a pretty relational person as far as tying certain things to each other, not as in people, as in things or smell or songs or clothes. Where am I going with this? I know it's weird... So let me just dive right in to an explanation.

The Boys are back---Cowboys that is! So far, there have been a few nights where we have the Cowboy game on, and it has been such a reminder. I found myself on the couch quite often last fall recovering from a surgery or chemo, and often was too disengaged to care about what was on I sat halfway watching football with Steven.

It's birthday time at our house! This year has been so very opposite of last year. I have planned, planned, and planned a little more for Brynlee to have a fantastic and magical "Wizard of Oz" birthday party. But at this time last year we were back and forth on whether or not she would even have a party, and just having here birthday month is yet another reminder.

As i was on the way out the door one day this week to work, I walked over to our dresser to spritz some perfume. I'm not sure if it was the weather forecast calling for a high of 81 or just the deisre for change, but I reached for a perfume that has a more winter/fall aroma and spritzed it on. Oh boy. Gag me. It is an awesome perfume that my sweet friend Lacy gave me last year, and nearly a full bottle. But the key here is last year, during chemo, and wearing doo rags on my bald head is when I last spritzed this perfume. Yes, you are catching was a reminder.

So for the big one year, I considered having a big celebration on August 28th this year. Maybe even throwing a party....but I decided I wasn't the "throw a party for myself" kind of chick. Although, I did think more seriously about it than I ever have before. I even wondered if I did, what day to we celebrate on? The day I had my mastectomy? The day I finished chemo? When did I really become a SURVIVOR? Well, just when you start to wonder if you really can find everything on google. I googled it. And yes, you can find eerything on google. I technically became a survivor on August 28th. The first breath I took after my diagnosis was my first breath as a survivor. Cool, August 28th it is. I hit one OFFICIAL--very long might I add--year as a survivor.

So back to the big bash that I totally decided not to throw myself... my one year wasn't spent as amazing as I had hoped. Instead, I spent the weekend wondering what my surgeon would say about the lump on my chest that I had found...again. My oncologist was a little unsure about it and referred me to him. I honestly expected her to laugh at me, but as she squinched her eyebrows together running her fingers over the lump, she didn't quite laugh.

Thankfully, my surgeon was not concerned. And while I will feel even better after my next scan on October 5th reassuring me that my cancer is still gone, it was still a reminder. A big reminder. A reminder that as much as I want to close this chapter of my life, it will never be closed. I wanted to quote something from my friend Andria's blog. It's truly a quote that one of her friend's gave her, but it really left me thinking...while I certainly did not "enjoy" breast cancer... It has shaped me. It has strengthened me. It has taught me. It has deepened my love for Christ. And above all else that needs to remain the reminder that matters.

“While every experience may change you, there is certainly a degree of stagnation that comes with only staying within one sphere of existence. That is to say, the 'jetset' crowd may sip cocktails at the fanciest clubs in the world, may spend summers on exotic beaches, may drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes-- but there is only so much growing that comes from this lifestyle. Sometimes fear, suffering, and pain make the best experiences. Not because you particularly 'enjoy' them while they're happening, but because they deepen your perspective and shape your psyche. They truly make you part of the world. To avoid these difficult experiences is to isolate yourself.”

July 26, 2010

Pink in the Park...

Last week, we went to a Round Rock Express game and took Brynlee and her friend. Note to self, do not spend money on good seats for 2 little kids that looks straight across the field to the kids area full of a playscape, rock climbing, and bounce house. We sat in our seats all of about 5 minutes! Instead, we made our way to the kids area and let them play and run wild on the grassy lawn. They had so much fun!

What made it even more fun was that it was for a good cause. It was PINK IN THE PARK night! A portion of our ticket sales benefited the Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. So, we sported our pink duds and headed out to the ballpark!

This might be a good time to mention that I AM walking 60 miles in November as part of the Komen 3 day and I am REALLY REALLY excited. I have several long time friends who are committing to join me in my walk. Yes, it's TOTALLY outside of my comfort zone--tents, porta potties, no electricity...but hey, breast cancer wasn't exactly in my comfort zone either...and shouldn't be in anyone elses! Want to support me in my walk, then please click HERE. Every little bit counts!

Pretty perfect to get a pink sunset on this night!

July 23, 2010

There's no SIESTA....

at FIESTA TEXAS! We took Brynlee last week and had a great time! She is her father's child and a little daredevil at heart! She actually rode several adult water rides and LOVED standing on the bridge and getting SOAKED by the boat ride as it splashed here. Here are a few from our day there.

We also went to South Padre in June, and if I don't post them now...they will never get posted. We went with 2 other families and had such a great time! It was my second time there this year. I love the feel of an island town and told Steven that in 5 years, I want to own a condo so we can head there whenever we want.

cooking smores and watching fireworks the last night there

breakfast on our last day--sitting surfside.

Brynlee, the camera is over here!

Lotus, Natalie, and Morgan

catching crabs on the beach our first night there...

And this was from my trip there with Eryn in April, it was so relaxing!

July 20, 2010

368 is the number to be exact....

...of pictures that I just imported to my computer from my point and shoot. Yes, that's alot. I'm usually pretty good at taking pictures, but just not as good at getting them to my computer. I even had pictures of my Dad from Easter. Those were the last pictures taken of him. Then I have pictures of his friends at his birthday party that he didn't make it inside. We took pictures to remember to show him later who had been able to make it. He never got to see those pictures though. Then the slideshow progresses and there are pictures of us planting flowers. See the morning that my Dad passed turned out to be a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, but yet the weather man predicted rain all that week. As much as our hearts felt gloomy and dark, it was an amazing day for my Dad. That day he entered the gates of Heaven to be with Jesus. We couldn't have thought of a better way to spend that evening than planting flowers for my Dad...we think he would have been proud.

July 13, 2010

Bittersweet to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye can be bittersweet. Sometimes we are simply sad to let go. Sometimes we are happy to see it go. And then at times like this, saying good bye can be bittersweet. No, I'm not saying goodbye to anyone, but to my WIG! I actually sold it on ebay and am shipping it out later tonight.

Why is it bittersweet? Honestly, it's funny. If you had asked me several months ago, I would have told you how I couldn't wait to get rid of it. It was hot, itchy, uncomfortable, and kind of a pain. And those of you who were around me often know that I eventually kind of gave up on it and just wore "Doo Rags" toward the end of my treatment and immediately following. So, why is it sad to see it go? It was actually kind of fun...and certainly something I never thought I'd do. At 28 years old, I NEVER thought I'd be wearing a wig...ever. But seriously, no hair dryer, no straight iron, no hair products, and no trips to the salon---I think it saved me money and time.

But the convenience was nice, and fooling everybody with the fact that it was a wig, was sometimes fun. My Dad really liked me wearing it and always commented when I had it on. But in the end, it's bittersweet because it was a symbol of what I was going through and how I was handling everything. People would see me still working and comment on how strong I was. It was a cover up to take the shift off me and focus on my father. My husband, mother, and brothers are amazing. I always wondered what my brothers thought when we were caring for my Dad and then they had to look over at me, bald. A constant reminder of my fight. The wig was a way to have a day back that would have been "like before." But at the same time it was a reminder, that even on the days when I felt my best...I was still battling cancer and BEATING it! I find myself driving some days, and I hear a song that I "first learned of" at the time I was still undergoing treatment...and it stops me, reminds to be thankful and not take each day for granted.

So, it's old with the "old"....

...and in with the "new"

In the end, wig or no or no hair...I'm a SURVIVOR! And today (after a 5:30am workout) I'm feeling really great to be able to say that.

June 30, 2010

Well hello again blog. It has been quite sometime. Almost a year to be exact. Whew.

Alot has changed since my last blog post. I wrote my last blog post exactly 11 days before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As you can tell from the tone of my post, I had no worries about the lump that was removed from my breast. I didn't even share it on my blog that I had undergone surgery to have it removed. Little did I know how my world would change over the next almost year.

In the past year, I have...fought for my life, watched as my Dad fought for his, had the best year of my career yet, seen old friends go and new friends come, watched as my husband unselfishly took on the role of caregiver for not only my daughter-but my Dad and me, grown closer to my brothers and mother, grown closer to Jesus Christ and learned a little more about Heaven, and hugged my little girl tighter every night.

It's been a journey. A long journey. A tiring journey. A journey I hope to share with others so that they can have H.O.P.E.

"Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to those who seek Him." Lamentations 3:25

So, the long and short of it is...I'm back. I have alot to share, and want to continue to keep everyone updated with our family. I don't know a better way to end this post other than that: I'm grateful.