Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holiday Challenge Day 2

Which is your favorite ornament? Do you use the same ones every year, or do you buy new ones? Do you have traditions related to ornaments?

This is me when I was in the fourth grade - same age as Joey. My mother cross-stitched me the sweatshirt I'm wearing. The smile is classic for me as I'm a huge smiler. We made these ornaments as part of class and I remember being so frustrated because I couldn't get the lace to go all the way around. Let's just say crafts and patience weren't a quality I possessed back when I was 9!

I love Hallmark ornaments. Here is one of the lighthouse series ornaments. 

I love this ornament because it is one of my favorite family photos of us. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I sweetly ask Joe, "Next time you get up, can you make me a coffee."

Justin looks at Joe and says, "Next time you get up can you get me a strawberry milk?"

He catches on fast!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Getting back to normal...

We have had visitors every single day since around Oct 5th, I then had my reconstruction Oct 8th and then have had people in the house every since day to help take care of me until Grandma Char left Thursday. I'm trying to find our new normal. I have physical therapy every day and Monday I'm scheduled for a MRI, which I will be traveling to unless the sleet/freezing rain makes traveling impossible.

I found a before and after of our kitchen. Earlier this year we had painters in our house for about 3 weeks. We got rid of this ugly wood on our cabinets, which was starting to wear anyhow. We also had the golden and purple grapes wallpaper stripped, removed, the walls retextured and painted. 


After! The only thing I'd change is the backsplash, but it isn't a concern right now.

I go to physical therapy four days a week to regain strength in my core (since I had the tummy tuck) and flexibility and range of motion in my arms/shoulders. I'm doing fairly well on the right side but the left side still has a long way to go. It is so tight where the arm pit attaches to the torso. The machine above is one of the machines I use in order to do my arm stretching. The facility is all pilates based and quite amazing. Every time I go there I feel so much stronger than the day before.  

Grandma Char picked up the boys from school one day and took them to ice cream at Cherry Berry.

One of my friends, Melissa, sent me completely natural and homemade lotion, deodorant and two different types of soaps! They are AMAZING!

Talking about amazing - pumpkin roll.... Grandma Char (Joe's mom), made this amazing dessert. 

I owed Justin two packs of pokemon cards - one for hitting the baseball all the way to the green in a game, and the other for being a good sport when I took impromptu fall photos last second the other day. Of course he pulls and ultra rare card. He says that I always pick the best pokemon card packs.

Justin by our tree :)

A few selfies of me - my hair is getting longer!

Selfie of me with my new rain coat! Never owned a rain coat before! 

This is relaxation... warm socks your mother knit you, my ipad, my feet kicked up and the tree illuminating in front of me. Perfection!

Happy Christmas to me. I have been wanting one of these and finally used all of my allowance and the Christmas money from Grandma Char and Grandma Norma to get the vitamix. I haven't really played with it yet but I will report back on it.

These are the photos I took at the end of our street. It was very impromptu - I threw the idea together and got them dressed in five minutes and started clicking. I love the barefoot natural feel of the photos (plus their tennis shoes are worn). 

This is their true, happy and goofing off personalities. Love it.

Daily Doc Holiday Edition! Favorite Holiday Tradition

I purchased this guide for journaling called, 'DLW's Daily Doc Holiday Edition', from the document Life Workshop. It will guide me on a different prompt for blogging every day. I'm excited to do this.

A favorite tradition:
When did the tradition start? Is it a family tradition? Why is it your favorite?

We have two favorite holiday traditions in our family.

Tree Goes Up Early

1. We put up the tree and all the Christmas decorations at the beginning of November. Yes, I know this is before that very coveted Thanksgiving holiday, but having the tree up with the branches dancing with lights just makes me warm inside. It is an early feel good every year. It is like having an anti-depressant four weeks early!

I also can't imagine putting up a tree (or in our house two trees), and all the decorations after Thanksgiving to just take it down after Christmas. All that work for ONE MONTH or less? No thank you! This year Thanksgiving is late and so the holiday is being celebrated November 28th. That's less than a month to enjoy your tree! Neighbors may make fun of me that my tree is shining outside my window at the beginning of November - but I do not care! Plus - there is nothing better than when the kids get home from school and start to shriek that the Christmas tree is up. It gets everyone in the mood!

Hallmark Ornaments Every Year

2. Every year the family goes to Hallmark and the kids pick out their own ornaments. I write the name and year on the bottom of the box. You can see every year what they were interested in, based on the ornaments they chose.

Joey had a hard time choosing this year. He finally got this one. It cost a pretty penny, but it makes sounds and has movement and looks darling on the tree. 

Justin picked the baseball Penguin and instead of writing his name on the bat, I had him write his own name on the bat, so years down the road he will remember what his handwriting looked like when he was 7 years old. 

This year my parents were in town for three weeks during the end part of October and to November 7th or so. I wasn't moving around so well from my reconstruction surgery so they pretty much put up all the Christmas decorations for me, which was so nice. 

The boys decorated and hung every ornament on this tree!

My dad, right before he left to go home, saying, "Mission accomplished!"

My mom and dad with the boys before they left.

The boys with gifts Grandma Char brought when she came to visit in November. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Busy Saturday...

Justin had a day full of birthday parties. How he still has energy after a day like today is beyond me.

This morning he had a birthday party at Main Event where he bowled and came in first with a score of 84. He also got to play mini golf!

My cutie! Bowling!

Then he had a birthday party at the Allen Event Center and played broom hockey. It was cold for the parents! 

Justin helping in goal.

Justin and one of his friends.

And then after he came home Grandma Char and Joey made cookies. Busy day!!

Great times with Grandma Char

Grandma Char has been spending a lot of quality time with the kiddos while she's in town.

Lunch with Joey. We brought him Jersey Mike's subs.

Justin's lunch was right after. We were able to see the reader tags he earned for reading books through the library program.

Grandma Char and Justin

Then she made them caramel apples - even though they mostly just ate the caramel!

Then the kids learned how hard it is to play Operation!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ten things about me...

Ten things -

There is this viral post on facebook going around that asks people to name things that you may not know about me - so here's my list.

1. If I could be driving any vehicle - it would be a four door jeep rubicon like this:

2. I do not like heights or things that go too fast.

3. I've never smoked a cigarette

4. I can probably count the amount of times I've worn a dress on two hands. It is less than a dozen.

5. I was a black belt sensei in Karate in high school. I still have my gee (uniform)

6. I sing Christmas songs all year long. No, I'm not kidding.

7. I avoid conflict with others at all costs. Last time I stood up to someone the blood drained from my face and I felt like I was having an anxiety attack. It isn't part of my personality so I find a resolution rather than cause conflict.

8. I have a fear of forgetting people's names. The thought of using the wrong name with someone makes me panic. I will avoid using their name all together in most cases. There are a few people I see often enough that I still have issues with their names!

9. I wish I was more of a girlie girl but I can't stand the amount of time it takes to maintain your nails, hair, clothing, etc.

10. You can not pay me to eat the candy Whoppers. They are disgusting. Add black licorice to that list.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Little about us

Oct 8th I had my big reconstruction done. I was in the ICU for about four days and then regular room for a little less than 2 days and then I came home. The first few weeks my friend Kelly was here with me. Then my mom and dad came for three weeks. Now Joe's mom, Char, is staying with us for two weeks. It has been full of ups and downs. I've been trying very hard to be independent but, as hard as it has been for me, I had to have people help me. There was no other way I would be able to heal. Having Kelly and my family here for me during this recovery stage has been a blessing.

I've also been fortunate to have this amazing physical therapy place close to my house. It is called Stonebridge Bodyworks and it is amazing. It is a pilates based stretching and rehabilitation and it has been doing wonders for me. I'm having a LOT of issues with full range of motion in my arms. I can't lift my arms back and I can't lift them all the way up. Since I've been going there a week I can fully extend my left arm now. When I started going there I was still walking hunched over and now I'm walking fully upright (at least I think I am lol). My left side is going to take a LOT of work since the muscles are so tight because of the radiation. In addition, they are working on my core muscles since I had the tummy tuck. I go four days a week and a weekly massage is part of my therapy. Let me tell you, that really stinks (sarcasm). I really do love going to therapy, though. The way the stretching makes you feel as you are in this really strong, long stretch is amazing. Knowing you start an exercise fully tight and are so much smoother once you do it a few times pushes me so much. The trainer there jokes he has to watch it with me because he knows people by their personality and he knows I'm Type A -and will push it to the max if they don't watch me. It isn't I'm trying to hurt myself it is I want to see results!! I want to put that work in and get back just as much - it is my instant gratification in a process that is not at all instant results. What I mean is that I may see instant gratification within that exercise that day, but to get back to full range of motion and a strong core will most likely take months. The trainer is confident I will get so much more than range of motion. He is positive I will get a stronger core and confidence. I can already tell you that once the therapy is complete, I am going to need to find a place to continue what I'm doing now so I don't backslide.

Joey and Justin are doing great. My mother went to parent teacher conferences with me and they said they are both doing great. Both teachers say the kids are very hard on themselves (not sure how to fix this), but their school work is great. Justin is a strong reader and reading on a level much close to second grade and Joey is doing so well - especially with his writing! That floored me but we read this story about rain and this toy truck and the descriptive words he used was amazing. I sat there listening to the teacher read it to me, lost in a world of descriptive words, and thinking to myself, 'I can't believe this is a 4th grader who wrote this and not an adult author.' My heart soared. I love to write. Seeing my son with the same capabilities as I have and able to express himself made me relieved. I was relieved in the way that a parent is able to connect and share that part of themselves with their child. I know that years from now he will have the capability to write amazing things if he puts his mind to it. Writing isn't a given for everyone. Some people hate it, and some, such as myself, are so lucky as to be given this gift where we can write. We can inspire people. We can document our lives for our families. Mostly, it is therapeutic - we can use it to relax. Somehow getting all of our thoughts out of our heads and onto a screen, blog, paper or whatever the medium is - it is the most amazing and freeing feeling. No longer is your brain held captive to hold onto those memories for fear that 10 years down the road you will forget them. Scribble it down, save it and have that memory forever.

As I sit here tonight, it is 11:36 pm. Both boys are sleeping soundly upstairs. Char is in her room, most likely sleeping because I think we run her ragged here with our crazy schedule. I hear Joe sleeping soundly as I can hear him snoring over the hockey game in the living room. The cat is nestled upside down at the foot of my bed. I'm checking my text messages and I reply to one now and then. I am having a love/hate relationship with my white sheets that drape over my legs as one minute I'm hot, and then next minute I'm cold - a side effect from all my treatments. I'm contemplating sleep but this writing therapy feels so good. It has been so long since I've sat down and wrote.

I suppose I should be off to bed as morning comes all too soon. I'm thankful for every day. Every breath. My moments in the evenings are spent with my boys. Doing homework together is still an opportunity to be together. Tonight Justin and I read one of my favorite books, 'Green Eggs and Ham', and we giggled together as he would not eat it with a fox, and he would not eat it in a box. These are the moments I hope that even if my son does not remember that I spent 20 minutes today reading this book in my bed with him, that the feeling of love will last forever. Part of me is also thankful because I know one day he will have these excerpts from my blog to remind him of all the good things in his life. Life is good.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad