Sunday, March 18, 2018

St Patrick's Day and the Sneaky Leprechaun

In my quest to celebrate EVERYTHING in life post cancer diagnosis, we started doing the "Leprechaun" every St. Patrick's Day. I think he's normally supposed to create messes, but I don't want to have to clean them up. In the past we have done green balloons on the kids bedroom floors, made green streamers hanging from doors, used washable paint to leave "footprints" on the toilet. The favorite of my children has been the scavenger hunts.

Sean along with Zach and Ben were camping over St. Patrick's Day weekend, so I wouldn't be able to do it for Zach and Ben, but didn't want them to miss it. Zach and I came up with a plan that he was going to do it in the motor home while I did Josh here at home. Another problem is that we usually do Rolo's for the candy, but now Josh has braces and can't eat that. So I made a brace friendly treat this year and made it easy so Zach could do it in the motor home!!

Josh's treat at home. 

Treats in the motor home and then a photo with the "mess"

Floor "mess" I simple purchased pre-cut clovers from amazon for around $5 as it was the easiest way for the leprechaun to make a mess that's easily cleaned up in the motorhome. After picking Sean, Zach, Zach and Ben up from their camping trip we made our way to Sean's high school BFF's house for their welcome baby party.

 There's almost nothing as sweet as a new baby

However seeing my husband and son hold the baby, may be sweeter than holding him myself!

Recipe for Leprechaun treat:

It's so simple that I'm sure I don't need to add the recipe, but here it is.

I purchased one can of Wilton Color Mist in gold and followed the directions to spray it on golden oreos. (Yes I know they're already gold, but I wanted them really gold and regular oreos just don't color as well). I sprayed it on the Oreos which were placed on parchment paper.

The color mist is fairly pricey ($4-$5 a can) and doesn't last very long, but I was able to completely cover 15 cookies. Which worked out to 5 each for my 3 boys!

Then I made a rainbow out of MnMs because skittles which I usually use are an off limits food for Braces! The brown MnMs even looked like purple in the rainbow, and one of my boys asked how I got purple MnMs!!

Plain golden oreos, if you do regular oreos plan on using at least 2 cans of color mist
Directions are also on the color mist bottle. I purchased mine at Walmart, but have seen them at craft stores as well.

And after one coat, then I flipped them and sprayed the other side.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Happy Half Birthday!!

Two days ago, on day 3 of this 4th chemo round, it hit me that the day before (March 9th)was Zach’s half birthday and that Josh and Faith’s were 4 days away (March 14th) when Sean would be out of town in Florida for work. Feeling like a horrible mom for forgetting, I decided we could celebrate by going to the movies as I could sleep and then out to lunch where we could buy them each a dessert after wards and “celebrate” it that way. Our usual way is for them to pick what they want us to make for dinner and to celebrate with a mini cake or large cupcake bought from the store. This year, on chemo, my getting all that done was impossible. So we made do with the movies and lunch at BJs with pazookies.

I know what you’re thinking...”half birthdays,” so let me explain. In my attempt to live life to its fullest we celebrate everything and the way I see it is by celebrating half birthdays, that’s more birthdays I’ll be able to celebrate with them. Knowing you’re not going to live a long full life like most really puts things into perspective and is what makes me want to get busy living!!

I’ll admit that I pushed myself way too hard. It breaks my heart that I lay in bed the 5 days a month that I’m on chemo. I really don’t want my kids to remember me like that. That thought breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. Thank God I have such an amazing husband to care for them when I can’t.

All 3 boys at the movies to watch Black Panther. It was PG-13 and we almost never let Ben see those movies and are just now starting to allow Zach to watch them as Josh started in 6th grade. It was definitely too intense for Ben, but the other 2 really enjoyed it. Faith has already seen it twice (and this was actually Josh's 2nf time).

Josh and Zach were the only ones to go to lunch with us, but Faith is eating super healthy currently so she isn't eating out and no desserts. Both Josh and Zach ordered a Pazookie from BJs, but Ben and I finished them as they were stuffed!!

Once home, I got a photo of my 3 half birthday kids. and then one of all of them! I love how much they love each other!!

My 4 babies!!

And, just so you know...round 4 is complete!!! Only 2 more chemo rounds to go!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Half Way Baby!!!

My 3rd round of chemo was delayed because my platelets were low. They were 96k when they had to be at least 150k, so I had to wait a week and start chemo after they went back up. Waiting that week worked!!

For those who don't know, my chemo is 5 days of oral chemo (no having to go to the hospital and sit in a chair for hours) and 23 days off. Each session is 28 days or basically a month. I am not allowed to touch the pills, because they're a strong poison, but I swallow them, so they sit in my stomach, which has always seemed strange to me.

As my chemo was delayed this round, it ended up working out perfectly because Sean went to Mexico fir the weekend with his high school best friend, Victor and Victor's family. So, I wasn't home alone with the kids on the weekend of my chemo. I also have a half marathon I want to run on March 4th, so this will push back next month's chemo and I won't have to cancel my half marathon!!! Win-win, right there.

So I started my chemo a week late and got through it again without getting the flu this time, like I did last month. As this is my 3rd round of chemo, I am now HALF WAY BABY!!! SO happy for this little milestone and to finally feel like I'm counting down!

This is how good (ok awful) I am at blogging and how well my brain works...I am half way through round 4 and just realized that I never “published” this one. So much for one a week!! I’ll try to be better. I have several blog posts in my head now.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

First scan of the year!

I had a mini vacation with my family at the Great Wolf Lodge, which I'll write about time when I have a chance. Anyhow I left in the afternoon on our last day to drive up to LA while Sean drove home with the kids. Once at Cedars Sinai for my MRI, the President's State of the Union Address came on, and I missed in as I was called back right after.

Admitted into the hospital and waiting for my MRI. First time I had an MRI the night before seeing my oncologist and there was so much scanxiety!!

This was the first time they gave me pants to wear for my MRI. And they were knotted so loose that I felt like I was in a weight loss ad. #ChemoDiet, lol!! Only I gain weight on chemo...

And here are the images of my MRI. The two photos on the left are on my most recent scan and the two on the right are of my post surgery scan. You can see the far left and the far right scans are similar and the two he compared the most. The white "margins" are where the tumor lies and there is more in the recent scan on the left. That is definitely scary to me, but he assured me that it was a good thing because it has to do with scar tissue and radiation.

Overall, it was a good visit and he said everything looks good. So, I'm happy with this and trying not to think about the scar tissue.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Semester Vacay

Our area has two different school districts which equals different breaks. Josh does not have Fall Break like Zach and Ben do, but we pulled him out for our Washington trip. At the end of every January.

Josh has 2 days out of school, which happens to be during a time no one else is off, Last year we went up to Brian Head for a ski/snowboard trip for those two days he had off. This year we decided to do The Great Wolf Lodge since it's been on my bucket list for several years now because my brother and his family go there in Washington where they live and because I LOVE water parks!! We decided this would be a great local semester break vacation and save us some money on a big trip. In December we booked it when we saw a great sale. However, it's still pricey! I called the day before to ask if we could have an upgraded room that had a kid's room "log cabin" with bunk beds after Zach saw it on google images as he searched the Internet, I didn't want to disappoint him, and luckily I was given the room upgrade and didn't have to!!

My boys were so excited and I'm sure Faith was bummed she had to work and couldn't go with us to the Great 

Because it was semester break, there were 2 other families we knew there. Ben enjoyed playing with his buddy Jack who lives on our street while Josh hung out with his older brother.

We "adulted" and went on some water slides with our neighbors. Did I mention I LOVE water parks?

We had a blast the first day and then Zach got hurt...

When Sean took Zach to the Urgent Care, I took Josh and Ben to walk around the hotel and we ran into the mascot!

The toilet paper is how kids doctor a cut, and the butterfly is how the medic at the hotel doctored it. Zach was so freaked out about getting stitches, but we had to take him to the urgent care with how deep it was. Luckily they only, after seeing how upset Zach was and with Sean's asking, only steri-stripped it. No stitches, but sadly he could no longer go in the water....there went our vacation. But we still enjoyed the family time and the kids loved the cabin with bunk beds in our room. It really was a cute set up. And no matter what, family time really is the best time!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Girls Trip to Napa

One of my closest cancer friends from down in San Diego moved up to Napa for work, I know...rough place to move....

I knew her boyfriend was going back to his parents to quit smoking and get his act together, so I went up to visit her to ease the stress of that first weekend apart.

When I arrived on Friday morning we went grocery store shopping to cook and drink as much as possible at her house in order for us both to save a few Benjamins! Then we went out and spent them on lunch and wine at a cute little restaurant in downtown Napa called Noodles. We had to do the obligatory cheers/toast and selfie as soon as we got our drinks!

Hannah lived in walking distance to downtown which was great as we were able to walk places, although we chilled at her house a great deal. Look how cute her street is. The homes are from the early 1900's and absolutely adorable.

This is Hannah's house and it was so adorable!

Not much better on a girls weekend than sipping mimosas at home for breakfast while watching Dirty Dancing, one of my favorite movies on Saturday morning!!

Since Saturday was our wine tasting day, I ordered a beer at lunch. I'm not the biggest fan of wine (or alcohol in general), but I knew we'd get our share of wine this day, so beer it was!

And then onto Beringer, which I think was my mom's favorite when I was a kid. The grounds were beautiful and the best part was that since Hannah was a Napa resident, we each got one glass of wine to bring with us as we walked around their grounds.

Many selfies were take this weekend, how could we not when we were having a girls weekend!

Hannah and I together in front of Beringer before we left, to head a couple blocks away to Mumm.

Hannah has a membership to Mumm, so we got to taste for free (I believe it was a $33 value or so), and we ended up having way more than what was on the tasting menu (only 3 samples each) as Hannah knew to ask for the Carlos Santana samples, which gave us 2 extra glasses and then I over heard our waiter talking about a different wine that was on a different tasting menu, so I asked to try it. He brought it out and said we would not be able to get anymore as we had more than what was allowed!! SCORE, lol!!

Our view at Mumm, from our window seats. It was too cold that day to sit outside.

Our first 3 drinks from their "tasting menu"

I am definitely a lover of the sunset at the beach, but the Napa sunset was just as beautiful, only minus the water.

Saturday night Hannah and I walked to the local bar where we both had drink. The had something boring on the TV, so the bartender gave us the remote so we could find a better program! This town had such a small town feel, I loved it.

Sunday, game day...Hannah and I found ourselves back at Noodles to watch the game during their unlimited mimosa brunch! 

We took a group photo with some strangers we met at the bar while watching the Falcons and Patriots play. (All of us cheering for the patriots to lose, which sadly they didn't)!!

Flying home on Sunday night with great memories and a missed plane (too many mimosas at Brunch and I lost track of time), luckily Southwest let me catch the later flight which was only 40 minutes later! And then back to my beautiful family, but longing for another trip up to Napa, with either my girlfriends or my husband!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Fall Break Vacay

My children (now only the younger 2) get 2 weeks off for Fall Break which is usually the last week of October and first week of November. We decided in early August that since I would be finished with radiation in early October that we would take a Disney Cruise with our family and pull Josh out of school for that week and Faith off of her job to spend that time together celebrating and relaxing.

However, things did not go as planned. My insurance company felt that the life saving radiation I was prescribed to receive was not needed and was denied multiple times all of which we fought as hard as we could with my radiation oncologist. When I was finally approved for radiation we knew that I would finish too late to go on the cruise. So with saddened hearts we let our kids know that the cruise was not possible, but we still wanted them to do something fun. Sean found cheap flights up to Washington where my brother lives, so we decided to spend a few days with him. On November 1st, at 6am we flew out of Los Angeles. Now this was the day after Halloween and we had to leave our house at 2am in order to make it to the airport in time...which is why we got our tickets for so cheap. Only $70 per person for a round trip ticket on Spirit Airlines. Once we landed my brother Tyler picked us up and the fast, fun trip started!!

Since my brother and I are both bald right now, the first thing we did was a bald selfie together!! I must admit, my brother is seriously my best friend. There is no one who knows me better and I think it's because of our childhood as we both experienced the same things growing up,

First stop off the plane was Starbucks and not just any old Starbucks, but the first one ever built!!

 It was fairly crowded and many came to take photos. There was another one in view from this one if you wanted to get in and out, but this was something on our bucket list, so we did it!

They said they don't have room for all the fancy new machines, so they still make it the old fashioned way by hand, which was really cool to watch.

Two boys excited for hot chocolate. When Josh started Middle School, I took him to starbucks a few times to get real coffee, so that's what he had. Although he doesn't care for the taste of coffee, the sweetened blended drinks are what he gets.

 Watching them make coffee the old fashioned way. It was really neat.

Had to take pictures of all the signs outside and inside!!

After Starbucks we walked to Pike's Market to see "fish fly, " which we did, but I didn't get a photo of that!

My kids enjoyed it, but not so much the smell. They were more excited to have their cousins join them!!

Fish and crab...everything seafood was at this market, but we didn't buy any of it!

My brother, Tyler, and I at the landmark pig at one entrance of Pike's Place and then the cousins took a photo there, just my 4 and then my family. Lots of photos and wild kids, so we moved onto something we thought they'd enjoy.....


we moved onto the underground gum wall. It was artsy and nasty all at the same time. We had to say don't touch several times, in fact!!

Faith had gum, so she put her's on the wall and marked in with a K for our last name!!

The gum wall didn't last long, so we moved onto the The Great Wheel of Seattle. I love Ferris Wheels (and Bridges), so this was awesome for me and something we didn't do the past few times in Seattle (because of the cost).

We could only have 8 in one car and there were 10 of us total, so my hubby and I got a very peaceful ride together. 
So I got several photos of them, a few selfies and the view!

The view was amazing!!

And then we were off to see another site, but this was only us girls. The men and kids went home. And we wanted to see the very first Nordstrom's, but it was impossible to park, so we drove around several times and I hopped out to get some close up photos, hoping one would say the original, but none did. I did do a little quick googling and saw that an Swedish immigrant opened it with a local Seattle shoemaker. It's a great story if you ever want to Google it.

 Seattle is such a fun town and we enjoyed seeing an actual season with colored leaves, as we don't get that much here in San Diego. And the last photo on this page sums up what I think of Seattle in a cute hippie flowered car with colorful fall leaves on the ground around it!