Friday, December 23, 2011


We've been having some fun around here. In spite of my rant yesterday, we really have been enjoying the season.

Last weekend, Olivia and I went to the Nutcracker. We sat in the front row and it was magical. Something that we plan to do every other year (mostly because of the expense, but some to keep it special.)

Today Steve took the van to the shop for the day. Which means we are spending the day at home. If you know me, you know I pretty much avoid that at all cost. But today we have some fun stuff to look forward to.
One fun thing we've done the last several years is decorate a gingerbread house. This year went great.
The kids did a great job taking turns. And concentrating. And being creative.
In fact, it was the first year I didn't immediately regret the choice to start this tradition.
Naturally, they ate more candy than they actually put on the house. But that's what it's all about, right? Sugar buzz by 9:30am?! That's my goal for the next 3 days straight.
Later this afternoon some friends are coming over to play. I think I'm going to rent Mr. Popper's Penguins for them to watch. This evening we are going to take a friend out for dinner, hop in the car, drive around and look at Christmas lights. Finally, we will end the day with one of my favorite traditions. The kids will bring their sleeping bags downstairs and Steve and I will make a nest on the couches. We will do a sleepover by the tree. In keeping with the tradition, Steve will make his way to our comfy bed around 11 and I'll toss and turn on the couch until they all wake up around 6:30 and start whining about cartoons. Then, I'll sugar them up and start the torturous wait for Santa tomorrow night. So fun. So good!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

one down

First day of Christmas vacation, check. We started out with a glamorous bang... I had my every three week doctor appointment so Steve kept the kids. We then met at UD and passed out boxes of chocolates to the coaches. The kids were a big help, for about 8 minutes. Then they were a whiny mess. Spreading Christmas cheer, that's our middle name.

Steve headed to work and I took the kids to Chick-fil-a for lunch. With the rest of greater Dayton. Looks like *several* other moms had the same idea. After a bit of play, we headed to Target for a few last minute gifts. I'm pretty sure everyone who wasn't eating at Chick-fil-a was shopping at Target.

A word of advice, don't take your kids down the toy aisle 3 days before Christmas. All the requests that have already *been delivered* went out the window. "Hey mom, I don't actually want the Samurai Castle. I want THIS!" Lucky for me, I've got some upcoming birthdays to use to my advantage. Not to mention the, "You already sat on Santa's lap" card.

Now we're all snuggled on the couch for a long afternoon of PBS kids. Don't judge. The weather is a beast outside, it's the shortest day of the year and we've got some fun stuff planned for the next few days. Including looking at lights and a sleep over under the tree tomorrow night.

And just think, only 13 more days until they go back to school!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One more day

Oops! Nearly two weeks have passed since my last post. That's a lot of life around here. I'm not even going to try and catch up on the things I've missed. Some days I feel like I'm just trying to make it through. But I have to say, between the grief counseling (I've now been three times) and starting back up in the anti-depressant (nearly 2 weeks), I'm feeling like I can deal with life a bit better. I promise, I will unpack some of what I'm learning, but I might just wait until after the holiday. I'm trying to muster all the joy of the season that I can. It seems to be getting easier each day. My anxiety is lessening as are the imaginary symptoms that have been plaguing me. Thank you, Lord!
We are highly anticipating the arrival of Christmas morning around here! There is still a gingerbread house to be made, treats to be taken to neighbors, neighborhood lights to be seen and a slumber party under the Christmas tree lights to be had. Although this is a terribly sad Christmas for me, the kids are at a magical age. I am enjoying every last second of that, for sure!
Tomorrow is the last day of school for the kids. I have mixed emotions on that. I love having them home and am looking forward to doing some special things over the next two weeks. However, I have grown accustom to my mornings free (especially with doctors appointments and chemo to manage.) Lots to juggle, but we will make it happen. I promise more interesting posts to follow. I mostly wanted to check in and let you know things here are chugging along. Happy shortest day of the year, tomorrow, by the way. It's all up hill from there. Yay.

Friday, December 9, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

Things have been a bit of a downer around here the past few posts. So hopefully these holiday pics will provide some smiles for you as we enter into the weekend.
Nothing makes you smile like a good twirly dress!
Our co-workers, Nicole and Erin, met us at the Greene last weekend and the 65 degree day provided us with some nice outdoor photo ops.

It has FINALLY stopped raining around here and there are a few straggling snow flakes falling out my window.

I just pulled a batch of Christmas cookies out of the oven.
And in just a few minutes I'm getting in the car with some girlfriends and we are headed to spend the weekend in Ann Arbor with our friend, Sarah.
Dare I say, I'm starting to get in the Christmas spirit?
I hope you are too! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's already full

I have just a few minutes before I have to run with the boys to pick Olivia up from school. It's been a full week already and it's only Wednesday. A few highlights include, Eggnog tea. I found it at Dorothy Lane Market. The brand is Bigelow tea and with a splash of milk, it actually tastes a bit like eggnog. Which is a positive for me. If you don't like eggnog, it would not be a positive for you!
I bought and read the book, Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo. It was an interesting read. If you haven't heard about it, its the true story of a boy who nearly died when he was almost 4 years old. The book is the account of his illness and his reports on heaven, Jesus and others he met while in heaven. I'm a skeptic at heart, but the book has allowed me to venture down the what could be road. I gained some encouragement from it. Including a thought I believe came from the Lord yesterday. "Death is NOT a punishment." Its the first time since my mom died, my cancer and my dad's death that I have not viewed death as a punishment. (Not so much for me, personally, but more so those left behind.) It was a freeing thought.
I met with a grief counselor for the first time today. She works with Hospice of Dayton. It was only an hour, but it was very helpful. There were several helpful things, one of which, really hit home. She mentioned that much of my earthly *safety* had been taken away. Two loving parents and my health. She made it seem very normal that without those safety nets, I would be experiencing the emotions I have been experiencing.
She also asked what I thought about going on an anti-depressant. What she didn't know was that I had been on them and went off 3 weeks before my dad died. I have been praying about going back on them since my doctor's appointment last Thursday and asked the Lord to help me know through this appointment if that was something I should do.
As she mentioned how she thought going back on them could be helpful to me at this time, she commented on the wave of relief she saw go over me. Weird. (I know some of you may have personal opinions on anti-depressants. This is a bit of a hard and emotionally charged subject for me and would respectfully ask all negative comments to be kept from here. Thank you.)
I am sincerely sensing God intimately involved in my mind and in my spirit this week. I am thankful for prayers and words of encouragement from you. I am thankful for help available. Since it's only mid -week it will be interesting to see what else the week has in store. Gotta run now, Olivia awaits.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


On Thursday I had a doctor's appointment. That's not big news. I have a doctor's appointment every three weeks. But for some reason, I was really REALLY worked up about this one. So much so, I had Steve join me. Ever since Thanksgiving, I just have not been able to get a grip on life. In fact, our sweet friend from Church/dermatologist made a *house call* the other week because I was convinced I had skin cancer. Turns out I needed ointment.
Over Thanksgiving I could *feel something* in my ribs and also was sure I was bloated. (Side note, it was a year ago that I actually did notice the bloating and soon after went to my doctor who was convinced I had irritable bowel syndrome until he sent me for a CT scan in January.) So with the days getting shorter, and grayer and a nice little bout of grief to boot, I've turned into a full fledged hypochondriac. I needed my husband to join me at my appointment.
Have I mentioned recently how much I LOVE my doctor? And every.single.person. who works in his office? Well, I do! My routine appointment turned into 2 hours because of the loving care I received. I left convinced I'm normal. Not just my physical health, but my emotions. My crazy. My fear. All of it.
Here is something interesting. My doctor likened what I've been through this past year to someone who has been in a really bad car accident and is going through a type of post traumatic stress. It totally made sense to me. He said my body is on heightened alert. I feel stuff and am more cautious than a *normal* person. Like the person who was in an accident may be afraid to get back behind the wheel and will drive slowly, same for me going to the doctor's office. And I get to do it every three weeks.
All that to say, it helped. I've still imagined a few things this weekend, but I feel like I had a better perspective on things. Tomorrow is chemo. Another trip back to the office. I'm praying I can keep a clear head and be thankful. God's grace. I've felt it this weekend.