Tuesday, March 26, 2013

For once, a post not about Katy or Riley!

I thought I'd do a brief recap of my health, in case anyone is still wondering. After going through the whole breast cancer thing in 2009, I was all about the adoption and getting on with life. A few months after Katy came home, I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in my liver and lymph nodes. I mentioned it once briefly here but I'm not one to go on and on (unless it's about Katy or Riley, apparently). PS I should note here that my humor sometimes goes a bit onto the dark side so be warned.

Needless to say, the news was a game changer. This time around, it moves from 'cureable' to 'treatable as a chronic condition'. Yeah, one that will kill you. Super. I did chemo again, this time orally without having to lose my hair. Neato! I did have hand and foot syndrome, causing my palms and soles of my feet to get red, swollen and sore. Thankfully I didn't have it as bad as I have seen it to be and I'll gladly take that over losing my hair. Somehow that would have been too much to handle a second time.

November 2011 to May 2012 was a blur of doctor visits and exploring complementary treatments as well. My company was (and is) truly a magical place and gave me a leave of absence to heal. I found Pathways and tried many different classes, treatments and groups to help figure this sh!t out. If you're in the Minneapolis area and are ever in need, I would definitely recommend going there.

I came back to work in June, to a new position that didn't involve client meetings and intense scheduling/juggling. I'm happy that I can still contribute in a way that was needed and it's always fun to learn new things. Like many of my MBC sisters I've connected with, it's feels good to still feel like a productive member of society.

As of December, my tumors have graduated to 'stable'. Woot! The chemo did it's job and I mostly did ok with living and eating a healthy lifestyle. Ok, well some anyway. Man that's hard! There's no knowing how long this maintenance drug will keep working but I know there's an arsenal of other drugs to take once it does. I go to see the oncologist every three months to see if my tumors are still sleepy. So, if you catch me the week before, don't be surprised if I'm jittery, spacey and distracted. It's a roller coaster ride waiting for the crest of the hill. Every.three.months. But each good report means more time to soak in this great life. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

The moral of this story is I'm not dying until I'm dead (thank you Valerie Harper) and let's just have fun while we can. Make hay while the sun shines and all that.

Are you making hay?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

January and February goings-on

My little girl grows up so fast! For Christmas, Katy got a toddler bed from Nana and Papa. I thought the transition would be more difficult than it was. We set up the new bed in her room along with the crib. From day one, she was done sleeping in the crib. So, the next weekend the crib was out the door and onto the sidewalk for recycling/trash. This is the morning of that first night...
Katy sang and danced in her first stage performance at daycare. She was an acorn and an owl. Very funny!
We had another fun weekend with Evi and Rachel when they came to stay with us. We explored the Edinborough Park Adventure Peak playground. As per usual, Katy ran, slid and jumped for a bit then was more interested in snack time. Evi definitely got her money's worth out of the equipment :-)
We also went to our first performance at the Children's Theatre, The Biggest Little House in the Forest. The one woman puppet show enthralled the girls, it was so cute to see.
We explored sensory activities. Mixing baking soda, water and shaving cream to make fizzling, foamy fun.
We decorated the window for Valentine's Day. And while the girls are already fast friends...
they are still toddlers!
We can't wait until we see them again!
A few weeks later Valentine's Day arrived with a coating of fresh white snow.
Max and Adam came to visit. We watched Peter Pan. They were all very excited as you can see.
And because I didn't want Riley to feel left out, here's some proof that the old girl still has some puppy left in her.
If you're still with me, we're almost there! Passport drama and cruise photos coming up soon.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Three year photo shoot

Katy's annual photo shoot happened a bit later than I'd planned. We target her birthday but it didn't get coordinated until December. This year they were taken by Laura Monahan. We had a fun outing at the Como Zoo and Conservatory and even got Nana and Papa in some shots! Some day I will choose the prints for everyone's Christmas presents. :-)
What a good looking family (if I don't say so myself) LOL

Continuing on - Fall and Winter

Visits and holidays took up much of our fall and winter. I can't believe how much we managed to pack into those few months!

Katy kept busy at the YWCA with her new room, the Rainbow room. She started swimming lessons and had another outing to the apple orchard. I love to chaperone that every year. School pictures were taken in a dress of Katy's choosing and the sweater I made (and made her wear without much complaint).
Katy also started morning classes at Armatage school, with extra emphasis on speech and occupational therapy. It's amazing how much she's progressed since September! It is an early morning now for us as the bus comes to our driveway at 7am. Thankfully she loves it so much that even on vacation she was heard to say "I want to go home, I miss the bus".
We had a visit from my friend Kate and her family, partner Annie and daughter Maddie. All of us girls had a blast visiting Pine Tree apple orchard and Kate's old stomping grounds at the UofM. We had a dress up party with Katy's Ethiopian dresses and made some fun messes fixing breakfast and painting projects.
In October, Katy turned 3. I can't believe it seems like so long ago. We celebrated the day with Titi at our favorite restaurant Burger Jones.
The next weekend we had the birthday party with Katy's friends. I had grand ambitions for a medium-sized, medium-activity party and it went swimmingly! Thanks to all the moms and dads who helped make that happen :-) I couldn't decide on a theme and Katy wasn't forthcoming so we had Thomas the Train plates and napkins and Lego cupcakes and general party decoration. Katy didn't care much for the singing/candle blowing experience but she was happier than the picture shows.
My big idea was one I saw they had done at daycare. Big sheets of craft paper with their bodies outlined that they got to decorate from a big pile of markers, stampers, colored tape and stickers. We had great participation for a bunch of 2-4 year olds! As the kids had their pizza, the grownups cut them out and put them on the wall for the final picture. I think that might have been my favorite part, watching it all come together.
Next we went up to Superior to visit Evi and her mom Rachel. It was so fun to watch the girls have so much fun together. We both really enjoyed the whole weekend. We had dress up time, a marching band concert and glow stick/finger light disco dancing. We went to a corn maze, saw pumpkin lights at the Glensheen mansion and played at the Duluth Children's Museum. We know how to pack in the fun! As you can see by the last picture, we did our job tiring the girls out.
The obligatory halloween costume shot. She had bumblebee antennae but chose Riley's devil horns instead. It was nice that she walked this year but I'm excited for her to be able to take steps at faster than a snail's pace next year. And maybe next year she'll time her 'trick or treat' and 'thank you' for the doorway rather than the sidewalk.
Thanksgiving came on a warm day so Katy decided to dress in spectacular fashion for some outdoor fun. Then we headed to Nana and Papa's house and had a nice dinner with them and my aunt and uncle Mary and Boomer.
 Just had to include some backyard fun on the way to church one morning. I made this dress for summer but it didn't get done until it needed extra warmth underneath. Still cute I think! Maybe it will head to the state fair this year?
And finally for this long post, Christmas. For which, inexplicably I have no photos. I believe they were on the phone that got stolen. I thought I had downloaded them before the theft but sadly no. All I have is the logo and a shot from Disneyland that I can't get to upload. Needless to say we had a fun trip to California to stay with Aunt Susan and Uncle Erik. Disneyland, bell choir at the San Diego Zoo, a visit to the train museum, lots of food and presents!
Whew, we're getting there!

And now a recap, Summer 2012

It's time to get back to blogging. Has it really been since November? Yikes. Would you believe my New Year's resolution was to blog more often? Yeah, me neither. Life is exciting and busy with a 3 year old but apparently that's no excuse as I regularly read blogs written by people who have way more going on than that. Although I do have yet to find another blog of an over 40 single mom with a toddler, a geriatric dog and Stage IV cancer. Quite possibly that's a very small subset of the population. Just sayin.

When we last left off, I relaxed at a weekend retreat fly fishing. We enjoyed the rest of the summer with gusto, having fun at home and going on outings...

The Woodbury High School gymnastics team reunited. Well a few of us anyway. We had a great time anyway. Some of us (not me necessarily) still have the moves! Still looking for Michelle's set of keys, anyone seen them? Someday they will show up, I'm sure!
 Katy saw her first fireworks, down the street on the fairway of the country club. It was at least 120 degrees outside, with 110% humidity and there were swarms of mosquitos. And yet we cuddled tightly for the duration of the show. Not Katy's favorite thing, I guess. So sweaty...
We had visits with some or our Ethiopian friends! Katy's best friend Evi and her mom Rachel visited from Superior. The girls are so cute together! And since they have know each other the longest of anyone in their life, we're so glad we can keep in touch. Stay tuned for more cuteness on that front.
Sophie and her mom Sarah visited in August from Illinois (Indiana? why can't I remember that?) It's fun to see the girls growing up!
I scored backstage tickets to the Barenaked Ladies show at the Minnesota Zoo. My favorite fun band at an excellent outdoor venue. It was a great night! I also saw Coldplay and Madonna at the Xcel Center with work friends in the suites. Great nights, bad pictures but this post is long enough to skip any of those.
 Katy loves getting messy and splashing in the water to clean off...
We went to lots of festivals...
Linden Hills corn feed. So yummy! Also Linden Hills festival which featured Katy's first pony ride. Great video of that, can't find it.
Woodbury Days - another pony ride!
The Minnesota State Fair - Katy's second trip was much more active. Last year she slept through most of it. This year there was food, rides, coloring and dancing on stage! We also checked out my crochet projects entered in the creative arts contest. Two red ribbons! I'll have to think of something else fun for this year and see if I can score a blue ribbon.
Ethiopian New Year 2005 celebration with Nana and Papa
That's way more than enough for one post. Sheesh, I've missed a lot. Next up, fall and winter!