Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Katy's lifebook, chapter 1

Katy gets published! Many thanks to a fellow adoptive mom for the base version of this wonderful book. I adapted it to Katy's story and I'm already on to chapter two. Hopefully I can get it done before it's time for chapter three!

You'll love award-winning Shutterfly photo books. Start your own today.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Casting for Recovery weekend

While perusing the flyers at Pathways, I came across the Casting for Recovery brochure. If you haven't heard of it and are a breast cancer survivor, you should definitely check it out. They host fly fishing retreats across the country. And it's free for participants! It is positively amazing how generous people can be and I for one am truly appreciative of their donations of time, money and spirit.
Our retreat was on the first weekend in June in Siren, Wisconsin. We had time to socialize and get to know each other. Then we got into tying flies, learning to cast and making lanyards for our guides and prayer flags. It was so fun! And finally on Sunday morning we each got our own guide and we tried our luck at actual fly fishing. I met some beautiful and strong women, both participants and volunteers. We had lots of laughs and a couple of tears too. I was the only Stage IV girl there, thankfully for them but sad for me. Nevertheless we bonded on that level that facing cancer brings. If I could do it every year I would. Maybe I'll become a volunteer...

We gathered up all our gear and learned to tie some basic knots
Outside of the Lodge at Crooked Lake we tried our first attempts at casting
It's good to have a bit of instruction first!
One of the neat things about the weekend was the swag, I'm not gonna lie :-) We had goodies on our beds when we checked in and when we left. We also got a graduation bag of goodies. At lunch one day we all had our names drawn for gift baskets. At The Hartford, the main sponsor of the retreat, the employees have contests to make up the best gift baskets. The winning baskets are given to the participants. When my name was chosen I got a big styrofoam cooler of grilling utensils and condiments which was great but I had most of it already. My table mate drew a box of cupcake making goodies. Didn't take too much for us to realize we liked each other's baskets so we traded! Her husband was going to love all the grilling gear and I'm making cupcakes. yea!
This is a wooly something or other. I did not catch a fish with it but it looks like a fish would think it was tasty. I guess?
My prayer flag
The beautiful Crooked Lake
Gotta have all the gear, right? I'm suited up and ready to fish.
Knapp Creek, just south of Siren. A beautiful place to be, fishing or not!
Proof I caught a fish! No that's not bait, that's the fish.
My new friends Lisa and Catherine (her guide) reeling in one of her catches
I couldn't have wished for a better weekend. Great company, great weather, great fun! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Holiday Weekend Visit

Memorial Day weekend we had a great visit from Aunt Susan and Uncle Erik. I was recovering from surgery and they offered to come and take care of us for a bit. Yea!
We started off with a trip to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Which included a ride on the carousel. Katy actually enjoyed it very much, even if the photo doesn't show it.
We also spent some time with Nana and Papa. One of our excursions was to Smalley's Pirate Bar in Stillwater. Apparently they are the home to the hottest wings, even hot enough to almost make Triple D's Guy Fieri cry! We polished off one plate of six wings and they were indeed the hottest.wings.ever. I had one bite then promptly ordered the milk and ice cream sandwich platter. Good gravy that was too much. (Katy wanted one but wisely, we said no)
The rest of the weekend we hung out, played around and did some chores around the house. Erik fixed my remote (woot!) and the crib (double woot!) and Susan cooked some amazing meals (yum!). Erik also set us up with some XBox360 games and we had loads of fun flailing about. Wish I had pictures of that!

Not sure why she wanted to tape herself together...
Having fun on the rocks soon to be added to the rain garden.
Beating the heat with the fun pool rings from Nana.
Part of our holiday celebration involved these yummy Snow Cone Cupcakes. Despite the crappy picture, they were quite spectacular. They even had foil sparklers on them and sugar crystals so they looked like snow cones. 
We love having visitors and especially loved having Auntie and Uncle here! We won't get to see them again until Christmas and we're looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Linden Hills Festival

In the spirit of catching up, the next adventure (happening on May 20th) was the Linden Hills Festival. I've attended with Riley in past years. We did not, however, participate in the kid and pet parade until this year. Riley got to stay home this time and Katy got to ride the choo-choo stroller. At the last minute, I got some kind of crazy idea I'd make the stroller into a train. It was slapdash crafting at it's finest. Time from start to finish was about 15 minutes and by the time we got to the parade, two blocks down, the mist had taken a toll on mama, Katy and the choo-choo. Nevertheless we soldiered on and enjoyed a fine parade!

Here's the fabulous engine with a stack made from the spiral from the water table and a pinwheel whipped up out of scrapbook paper and a long ruler. The back has drawings of a conductor, which sadly ended up looking more like the doughboy than a train conductor. Hazard of working for the doughboy for so long I guess!
Southwest High School band starts it off! It was quite crowded at the beginning so we let a bunch of people go before we took off. I'm not sure Katy was enthralled with the noise of the band anyway.
Next stop was the pony rides! After the parade, this was the main attraction for me us. Since Katy hadn't ever been on a pony before, at least as far as I know, she was apprehensive at first. We were almost first in line because it was nearing nap time, freezing cold and rainy. The ponies were just getting saddled up and we watched for a bit.
Then it was our turn! Katy loved it! Because it was her first time, I walked next to her. Guessing I wouldn't have to do that again but I didn't want her falling off when I was across the pen just for the sake of a good picture.
I did get a little bit of video. The jolt at the end is from the ride coming to a stop rather suddenly. Didn't scare this munchkin a bit, I think she's going to be a daredevil!
After the pony ride we hightailed it home so we could warm up. Looking at the weather today which is somewhere around 90 degrees and tropical dew points I can't imagine how we were so cold. brrrrr.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mother's Day Race for the Cure

I decided this year I wanted to try the Komen Race for the Cure. The local radio station was giving away a plane ticket to bring someone to walk with you and I thought maybe I'd win it. Indeed, I didn't but I'm glad we went anyway. My cousins Kathleen and Karen joined us and it was a beautiful day for a walk. I'm not sure I felt any more connected to the cause. In fact I felt a little on the outside. In the pink washing that is associated with that pink ribbon, no one really talks about those of us fighting the metastatic battle. The not-so-happy, smily and pink part of cancer. I'm really happy about all the money that gets raised for screening, prevention and early diagnosing. Disappointed that more doesn't go to the 30% of us who see it rear its ugly head again, much too soon. In any case, I'm glad we went and now, even if we don't ever go again, we'll have the memories of a fun day!

Here we are pre-race...
 Amidst the mass of pink people
 Catching up with some of my Yoplait friends
 And post-race winding down
All in all it was a great way to spend my first mother's day with my angel!

Project Weighted Blanket

My darling Katy sometimes struggles to get to sleep. At daycare it's been especially difficult. In her crib she can jabber on in her own language of sorts for an hour or more. Completely content but very much awake. Hard to do that at daycare though! So after much research and the advice of Katy's occupational therapist, I embarked on the mission to create a calming weighted blanket. I found a great tutorial at Craft Nectar. It was very easy to follow and it has helped settle Katy's restlessness a lot.

First the supplies: fuzzy, fleecy type fabric (non stretchy) and a soft cottony fabric, poly pellets and a scale. The striped fabric made it easy for this rookie sewer to keep in straight lines. I used 4 lbs of the pellets and the finished size was about 30"x45".
 Sewing the two fabrics together and creating channels
 Starting to fill the channels
 Almost finished
 The final product!
 Closer view, scrunchier face
Katy is loving her blanket and is sleeping much better at home and at daycare. I have enough supplies to make another so we don't have to carry it back and forth every day. Now just to find the time...

Friday, June 22, 2012

May Highlights

I know I still have some catching up to do so I'll break it down a bit. May was a good month for us! I finally got the ok to finish chemo for good. Or at least for hopefully a long long time. I started back at work, then ended up taking two weeks off to recover from a hysterectomy. That was fun, oh yea. Amazing things, these robot surgeries. Only four little incisions and I was up and around soon after. Wild.

I got to attend a k.d. lang concert! She is an amazing singer. I only wish I could have jettisoned the rude woman next to us. She came in late, breezing in on a cloud of freshly smoked cigarette smoke. She proceeded to spritz herself with some kind of smelly whatnot and then pulled out the smelly lotion. Once she was done motioning her hands, she removed her shoes and lotioned her feet. And the final touch was then taking out a wad of gum and chewing it so loudly I could hear it over the concert. Good lord. Some people create a large wake, no? Ish. Other than that, the concert was fantastic!
Katy has grown by leaps and bounds. She started out below the first percentile in height for her age and now stands at 66%. She's almost a yard tall now. Not yet jumping from two feet but walking is getting stronger and faster. Speech and occupational therapy are happening at daycare. By all accounts she's catching up quickly! I made a weighted blanket for her which appears to work wonders to get an antsy kid to sleep at nap and at bedtime. Working on a second one we can leave at daycare. More on that later.

I celebrated my birthday with a dinner at Red Lobster with my parents. I know, going all out, right? Katy ended up eating crackers and ketchup that night. Oh well! This is our thank you for the fun birthday cake present from Aunt & Uncle...
The month ended with a great visit by my sister and her mister but I'll save that for it's own post. Here's a look at Miss Katy, having fun and getting to be a big girl!

Sliding on the big slide for the first time, don't her legs look long?
Falling asleep at the table...
We're having fun, who needs toys!
Rockin' the free hairstyle!

And finally, a dip in the pool.
We'll be back again soon!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catching up

Hello again to my few but faithful readers! I'm back in the saddle and ready to get back to regular posting.  And by regular I mean more than once every four months anyway. So here's the scoop on what's been happening in our house...

Katy is amazing, growing like a weed and always in constant motion. Just looking at the last post I made she seems so different from that time! Such a sweet, confident, sassy kid I feel blessed by her every day. Like so many kids these days she had ear tubes placed in her ears to clear out fluid. They fell out already and she got new ones last week. She's still not saying real words much (but talking in Katy language constantly) but I think with the clear ears we'll be having two way conversations in no time.

The day Katy had her first tubes placed I had my own doctor visit for a liver biopsy. I had gone to the doctor with a pain in my stomach. I was hesitant to go because I figured it was something embarrassing like gas or indigestion but for some reason I decided to check it out. Unfortunately my breast cancer has returned in my liver and abdominal lymph nodes. damn. No longer one of the happy pink ribbon survivors but one of the many stage 4 fighters that don't get much media coverage. I took chemotherapy pills until mid April and I'm happy to report that my tumors have reduced greatly and I'm on my way to what is hopefully many years of stability.

I've spent the last few months really paying attention to my body, being good to myself and enjoying every minute with Katy, my family and my friends. I have such an amazing support system that has bolstered my mood so many times I can't count. I've decided I just am not ready to be done with this life yet. Katy deserves that. Hell, I deserve that, don't I? In any case, I'm not going anywhere any time soon.

So enough of that nonsense, I'm sure I'll have more on that later but not today. On to some Katy eye candy, that's way more fun anyway.

December was busy with holidays and special events and a lot of sleeping (for me and Riley) and playing (for Katy). We enjoyed having my sister and her family here for Christmas.

While they were here we had Katy's baptism, in the same church I was baptized.
(here's what a good bit of the end of the service looked like)

January brought the completion of a major project, finishing the basement. It turned out so well I want to do the rest of my house! Guess I'll have to wait on that.

Then we headed to California for a welcome home party for Katy with west coast relatives and friends. It was so great to see everyone! And Katy did pretty well considering there were not many childproofed places and naps happened whenever we could. I was pretty tired but we managed to fit in the party, some fun at the beach and a trip to the zoo.

February and March we started gymnastics and generally lounged around at home.

April we celebrated our first Easter together with an Easter Egg Hunt at our friends' house. Katy got to wear the dress I knitted while going through treatment with a variety of shoe choices from white patent leather shoes, to red sparkly Toms, to Sorel winter boots. We dyed eggs and she slept through brunch at the restaurant. We also took our first trip to the Children's Museum with the daycare. Bless the hearts of the teachers there I'm amazed at their strength and patience, I had to sleep off the afternoon after only a few hours with all those toddlers!

And now it's almost May. I'm excited for the summer. Katy's already spent some time in the kiddie pool in the back yard, even though I thought she'd get cold. Maybe the rain boot shoe choice helped keep her warm? We are headed to the park more often and enjoying the outdoors. I love spring in Minnesota!
Sorry that got a bit long but it was five months worth. I hope the last few months were good to you. I'm glad to be back!