The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Spirit(s)

This is going to be a short update as I am 50 shades of out of control and it's not looking to slow down before Sunday. I have managed to procrastinate on my Christmas shopping yet again this year. My OCD self is really hating my slacker self. It's not that I haven't wanted to shop, but the only days I have to myself are Tuesday and Thursday mornings which of course coincides with 500 doctors appointments. So... all that being said, I was able to get most of my shopping done this week. The good news about waiting until the last minute, is that I scored some ridiculous deals. Every store I walked into had all the merchandise at least 40% off. That's insane!! I had to physically restrain myself from going on a huge shopping binge for me. You know, nothing says Merry Christmas like a brand new wardrobe from The Loft and Gap, right? Aside from the fact that I'm almost certain they don't take monopoly money because that's about all I've got :). Ha! Anyway, I was very well behaved and only bought one present for me.

I also managed to order my Christmas cards late - Thanksgiving being a week later this year is really throwing me for a loop. They arrived on Tuesday, but don't worry, all did not end well there. I managed to grossly underestimate the amount of cards I needed. Somehow, when I stopped teaching math, I also managed to forget how to actually do math... Oh, by the way, nothing gets you in the spirit of Christmas more than shelling out $20 for rush shipping (which cost more than the cards, in case you were wondering) because you've realized you're an idiot. Le sigh...

In other super cheerful holiday bliss news, being Simon's class mom is going to be the undoing of me. Surely I am the LEAST qualified person for this job. Part of my job description (Ha!) was/ is collecting money at the beginning of the year so we can all go in together for class gifts (Christmas, birthdays, etc). I then purchase said gifts. Obviously I waited until the last minute, but in my defense, we've had a lot going on (that's an entirely separate blog post...maybe next week). I managed to score wildly at World Market and his teachers received some really nice gifts, if I do say so myself. I had two moms volunteer to host the class Christmas luncheon and they had everything planned and ready to go. Until, that is, I checked my email at 7am Thursday morning (the day of the party). One of the mom's had a stomach bug and the other mom had a child with something similar rendering them both out of commission. Guess who got to be in charge of hosting?!?! Did I mention that I had also planned on doing all of my Christmas shopping yesterday?!?!? Somehow, and I really don't know how, everything was accomplished and on time. Yesterday earned me at least 3 glasses of wine. Fa la la la la, la la la!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Waffles & Cheese

This week has been absolutely nuts! Stella had her Christmas program (which was adorable, by the way!), we've had other activities, doctor's appointments and so on the list goes. I realized that I am seriously behind on 89% of my Christmas shopping and I'm feeling a mild panic attack coming on realizing that. Oh, I know it's going to get done, that's what Amazon Prime and bottles of wine are for, but every time I look at my to-do list it's grown by a foot.

We were thrilled to welcome another Hinman into the family this week. My newest nephew, Cameron Jackson, arrived early in the morning on Wednesday. I can't wait to meet him! I had a check-up with my plastic surgeon today and she is very happy with the results from surgery last week. I am healing quite nicely and have to say, the "girls" are looking damn good :)

In the first 10 days of December here in Georgia, we had 9 straight days of rain. Between Murphy mud bogging in the backyard and the kids not being able to play outside, I'm worried my house may be condemned. Holy freaking disaster area. Bet you can't guess what I'm up to this weekend...

Good news, Steve and I finally got around to moving our elf yesterday. Poor guy has been sitting on the mantle for over a week. It's been a busy stressful week, okay? None of us could remember his name from last year (parents of the year, right here) so Stella decided we should call him Waffles. I think it goes along perfectly with Baby Cheese :). Shouldn't everything in life have a food theme? Anyway, Waffles finally moved during nap time yesterday and Stella's mind was completely blown. I mean, she just couldn't figure it out. Needless to say, we remembered to move Waffles again 5 minutes before the kids came downstairs. I hope we can keep it up! By the way, Baby Cheese is still with us, although he has needed rescuing several time from Murphy. Baby Cheese has had many adventures, I hope he makes it until Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Baby Cheese"

Hello! Long time no chat. I had actually planned on updating the blog yesterday before my surgery, but the hospital had a cancellation and asked me to come in earlier. Seeing that my original time wasn't scheduled until 2pm (with no food or drink after midnight) I jumped on the chance to move things up. Fatty's got to eat!

My surgery went very well and I'm feeling good. This was a much less complicated surgery and I was able to come home yesterday. I was so thankful to be able to sleep in my own bed! I haven't even taken any pain meds this go round, so hopefully things stay that way. I'm not in any pain, just a little sore, which I can totally handle. In terms of functionality, I'm sure I should be resting, but well, I have two toddlers, a husband and two insane dogs. Chaos will always reign supreme in this house.

So, let's see, yesterday could have qualified for Trashtastic Thursday. While yes, everything went smoothly with my surgery, the rest of the day did not. When the hospital called to move up my surgery, I was actually already there, having a routine ECHO (I'm required to do these every 3 months while on Herceptin). But, I couldn't just walk over the surgery center because that would mean we had two cars at the hospital and I wasn't allowed to drive myself home, for obvious reasons. So, I drove home, quickly showered (this was a requirement, because I wasn't sure when I'd be allowed to shower next!) and then Steve and I headed back to the hospital. The kids both had school yesterday, so the plan was for him to get me situated, run back and pick the kids up, then come back to the hospital to pick me up. All plans sound so good, in theory. Of course, nothing ever goes to plan. On the way to pick up the kids, Steve was in a car accident. Luckily, he's mostly okay (a little whiplash, possibly a slight concussion) unlike his car. Thankfully, he was not at fault, he was rear-ended at a red light. But, given that Steve drives a smaller car and he was rammed by an F-150 pick-up, his car took the brunt of the damage. So, then he had to run home, switch cars and pick up the kids. Upon picking Simon up, Steve was told that Simon had bitten someone...what?!?! Simon has NEVER done that. I'm still horrified and baffled that he did that. Is it too early for Military school? Biting is completely unacceptable in m book. Such a lovely day, all around.

We had an interesting trip to Virginia last week. My apologies for not calling anyone to get together, I had two sick kids the ENTIRE time, so my hands were full. Two trips to urgent care, loads of antibiotics and I was ready to pull what little hair I have out of my head. My parents were troopers for putting up with that disaster. However, we did have a nice Thanksgiving dinner and time spent with family.

Given that Thanksgiving was late this year (so late, right?!?!), the kids and I spent all day Monday decorating. That should really be translated to: they "helped" while I redecorated the tree 20 times. We decided to put up our fake tree this year, given Murphy's love of consumption of plants and trees. I also made a game-time decision to only hang plastic ornaments. Wow, that was a good call on my part. Between dog tails and toddler hands, it's been a constant battle keeping the ornaments on the tree. The kids also have a Little People nativity play set that they've enjoyed playing with. I've been making an attempt to have them learn the names, but it's been an exercise in humor and bad pronunciations. Stella kept telling me that Murphy stole "Baby Cheese" (that's toddler for Baby Jesus) off the table. Poor Baby Cheese, it's going to be a long couple of weeks for him :).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Weekend That Wasn't

We somehow managed to survive the rainy weekend. By rainy weekend, I mean it literally rained from Friday night until Monday morning. I was very close to losing the very few marbles I have left. On Saturday we ventured to the library. Steve had a few books he wanted to check out and I agreed to take the kids to the children's wing thinking we could find some books to bring home as well. He promised me he would be "10 or 15 minutes". I really, really should have known better, having been married to the man for over seven years, that "10 or 15 minutes" in Steve speak is more like 30 - 45 minutes. Anyway, the kids were absolutely enthralled with the vast selection of books and bright colors. For about 10 minutes. After that, I was starring in my own version of hell on earth. Obviously I have toddlers and I know that they struggle (and by struggle, I mean completely don't understand) with the concept of "quiet voices". After the 63rd time of telling Stella to keep her voice down in five minutes, I realized my error in taking both kids by myself. They were pacified only by ripping books off the shelves and tossing them on a table. My OCD self was nearly hysterical trying to reshelf the books correctly while keeping up with the hooligans. After a while (let's say 6 minutes), I cried uncle and guilty just stacked the books as neatly as I could. Then began the wild chase through the shelves to find Simon. He thought it was hilarious in case you were wondering. When I did catch him and pick him up, he screamed as loud as humanly possible. After the third attempt at picking him up/ banshee screaming, I was getting "the look" from the librarians. I was completely mortified so naturally, I stormed back upstairs to find my totally relaxed, innocent husband engrossed in his search. I didn't use my library voice when I announced that we had to leave RIGHT BLOODY NOW.

Our house looked like a bad made for TV movie by late Sunday afternoon. Crap (by crap I mean toys, both child and dog, along with shredded up pieces of Murphy's latest kill which is usually a paper product of some sort) was strewn everywhere. At 5pm, I decided enough was enough and made a command decision to park the kids in front of the TV for a bit. Try not to be jealous of my amazing parenting skills. I went to pull up a show for the kids to watch from the DVR. Of course the ENTIRE system chose to freeze at that exact moment. Why is it that any technology I attempt to use only freaks out when I desperately need it? So, I called in Steve to help me out (by the way, this had already happened earlier in the day as well). Darn it if he couldn't get the stupid thing to work either. He decided to stream a movie for the kids. We chose the new Muppet Movie which was all well and good until it froze 57 times in the first 15 minutes. By this time it was close to dinner time and the kids were restless and really, how many times can you watch the opening credits since the stupid thing refused to fast forward. We finally got it working and Steve ran out to the grocery. I dared pause the movie (45 minutes in) to feed the kids dinner. After dinner, I hit start on the remote. It worked. For 30 seconds and then crashed. I fiddled and fuddled until my eyes crossed and finally gave up. I attempted to turn the regular TV back on, but I got an error message. I gave up entirely and let the kids resume their complete destruction of my home. It was an amazing weekend...

I had my pre-op appointment yesterday. My next surgery is scheduled for December 5. Luckily, this is an outpatient surgery and I'll get to sleep in my own bed that night. I was told that this surgery will be a piece of cake compared to the last two. Good news! With my pre-op appointment came the hospital registration and testing. Normally I can zip thru the entire process in an hour. Not to worry, yesterday that little pipe dream came crashing down. 90 minutes later I was on the verge of running out because I was going to be late picking up the kids. After I was about to leave, they decided I didn't need testing because I had just been in the hospital 3 months ago. Breaking news, I tell them every time I'm there that I need a damn frequent flier card. I was so irritated that I spent 90 minutes watching CNN in the pre-op waiting room. Is anything every easy?!?!?!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. The kids and I are headed to Virginia to celebrate with the Riley side of the family. Steve will fly up later in the week. Say a little prayer for me as I spend 10 hours in the car by myself with my darling children listening to Jing Jang 457 times...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Cold Sweat

I had to break out my faux fur lined slippers. It was in the 20's here last night, so I felt like that was a reasonable time for them to make their annual debut. For anyone that knows me, you know that I really loathe wearing anything on my feet, especially socks - GAH! I feel like flip flops are a good compromise to going barefoot 9 months out of the year. That said, I do ADORE a fabulous pair of tall boots, but that's a discussion for another day. I think my point to this ramble, was that it's damn cold here right now. My faux lined slippers resemble moccasins and sometimes I forget that I have them on (and not shoes) and I leave the house with them on. Yup. I have definitely rolled up to Target in these bad boys and preschool on occasion. Nothing says classy like slippers and black yoga pants...

Since we're living in the tundra here in Georgia this week, that also means I've had to break out the winter coats. It's a joyful time for all...not. Which brings us to the conversation about kids, winter coats and car seats. Winter coats and car seats are going to be the UNDOING of my sanity. On Wednesday, it took us an extra five (5) minutes to get in the car and get buckled up. I thought my brain was going to blow out of my skull from frustration. Please keep in mind that we were already late (duh, this IS me we're talking about) so adding an extra 5 minutes to the chaos was my kryptonite. Not only do my children forget how to walk and function with their coats on, but asking them to climb into the car was a joke. I managed to wrestle Simon into his seat, not sure he was able to breathe, but that's neither here nor there. Stella was wearing her "Stay Puft" marshmallow jacket which basically doubles her width. Two attempts to buckle her into the seat and I knew it wasn't happening. "Take the jacket off!!", you cry! Yes well, that involves an extra 5 minutes convincing, bribing and pleading with the 3.75 year old to take off the damn jacket. So, I attempted to loosen the straps on the car seat which was an exercise in hilarity. Finally, I shoved all of my weight into pulling on the straps and managed to get them buckled. Stella definitely couldn't breathe (she didn't say a word on the way to school) and I was sweating. So we rolled up to school on 3 wheels and a prayer that no one suffocated on the way.

So, there you have it, pretty sure I'm not up for moving anywhere north of Georgia anytime in the near future. I've become a sissy since I moved further south, but I'm okay with that. This weekend I'm on dead plant detail. Most of my flowers were still blooming until this week when the frost rolled in. I'm pretty excited about that... If anyone would like to volunteer to rake up the 4 million leaves in my yard, I'll be happy to pay you with alcohol :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guilty Pleasure

I apologize in advance for this post, as I'm almost certain the sappy level will be borderline nauseating... However, my feelings are pretty intense and emotional at the moment, so I thought I'd share them will all of you.

Saturday is Simon's birthday - he's turning 2. How in the world is he already 2? Wasn't he just born a couple of months ago?!?!? I was chatting with a fellow mom today as we were walking in to school to pick up our kids. She asked me how I was feeling about Simon turning two. It was a perfectly worded question, because honestly, I've been feeling sad about this birthday for him. I remember being so excited for Stella when she turned 2, she was becoming such a big girl and learning so many new things. It's not that Simon isn't doing these same things, but I guess I'm having trouble saying good-bye to the baby years. He's my youngest and it's hard to think that before long he's not going to want to snuggle, and enjoy that "mammmma" time that we spend together each morning before her royal highness, (AKA Stella) makes her entrance. I'd also like to add that I cannot wait for Stella to turn 4, the 3's have certainly not been my favorite age.

Something I've been thinking an awful lot about this week is Simon's journey into the world to now. It's not at all like I would have wanted it to be, and yet, here we are. This is difficult for me to admit, but I also feel that it's worth sharing, in case anyone ever finds themselves in a similar situation. I consider both Stella and Simon the greatest accomplishments in my life. They will always be the two parts I did right, no matter how you add things up. I struggle with so much guilt when it comes to Simon. I was diagnosed with an extremely serious type of cancer when he was two months old. I've mentioned several times in the past that my doctors told me that having him probably saved my life.  As a result, I think of Simon as my guardian angel. Cheesy as that might sound, without him, I very likely may not be sitting here typing this today. That's a pretty big title for such a little guy.

So why do I feel guilty? Mostly because I feel like he was robbed of the mom I was "supposed" to be. Because of my cancer treatments, I wasn't giving 100% of myself, because I couldn't. No, I wasn't sick, but I sure didn't feel like a million bucks. The exhaustion alone was enough to send me precariously close to the edge of hopelessness. Obviously, I realize that the situation was beyond my control, but it still happened. I also realize that I'm being hard on myself, and very likely irrational, no surprise there. The fact remains, that I have these feelings of guilt because I wasn't half the mom to Simon that I was to Stella when she was that age. With Stella I was enthusiastic, well read in the months of what to expect for each stage that first year and made all of her baby food while working a full time job. For the first year of Simon's life, it was all I could do to get him to eat solids (at 8 months, he finally resigned himself to trying solids and ate a bagel...). I would walk around Target aimlessly just trying to keep myself in motion. Play time included me lying on the floor next to him, hoping that he knew how much I really, really wanted to be the mom I wanted to be, and I just couldn't. It really pisses me off how much of his first year was me just trying to survive.

Somehow, through all of the insanity of the past 22 months, Simon has turned into an absolutely amazing kid. His smile would melt a stick of butter in a second. Kids are resilient when it comes down to it. But, even though I know he won't remember the mom I wasn't his first year, I do. It's my guilt, justified or not, that propels me forward, striving to be the best mom I can every day now. That's a bitter pill to swallow, but I also acknowledge the motivation this guilt has spurned inside me. And for that, I'm thankful. A special thank you to Simon for bringing such joy, patience (more than I could ever known!), and love into my heart. I hope one day Simon will realize just how much I appreciate everything he has done for me. Love is a powerful thing :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Walk of Shame

Here we are, November already! Not that you'd know it in Georgia, it's a balmy 75 with blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Our leaves are finally at their peak, and it's gorgeous!! I've been doing a lot of hiking lately and have really enjoyed the beautiful fall we've had. There are so many great trails around here and the explorer (nerd) in me adores seeing new places.

The kids really enjoyed trick or treating last night. We've made it an annual tradition to spend our Halloween evening with good friends in their neighborhood. It's so much fun and their neighbors are great, most sit out on their porches or front stoops handing out candy. Stella and Simon went as Minnie and Mickey this year. They were so cute!!Both kids also had Halloween parties at school, so needless to say by the time we got home last night, they were exhausted. Steve (or me, not sure) spilled beer all over the stroller last night (trick or treating is much more fun with a little toter while walking) while attempting to navigate a curb... Poor choice to have the open container in the cup holder. I had to run some errands this morning, so naturally I just put Simon in stroller and we were off. As I walked into the store, I kept smelling beer. Then I was like, OMG, it smells like I've been boozing it up this morning! The stroller reeked of beer and here I am waltzing through Carter's... Ugh, talk about mother of the year! Anyway...

I had treatment yesterday. All is well in cancer land, my counts continue to look good so no scans needed at this time, yay!! I was hoping to get my flu shot yesterday, but after waiting an hour and a half for my herceptin, I didn't have an extra hour to wait for a shot. Good lord they were slammed with patients yesterday! Every single treatment chair was filled (I think there are 50?!?!) and I've never seen that happen before. Nothing says Happy Halloween like chemo!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Just Kidding

I know I said in my last post that I was having surgery tomorrow. Just kidding on that. We just couldn't get our schedules/ calendars/ children to align, so my surgery has been postponed until December. Yup, smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, should be just dandy for everyone. I thought I'd spread a little extra holiday cheer this year...

I wish I had more time to write this week, but I'm drowning in unfinished to-do lists. Out of pure guilt, I volunteered to be Simon's room mom for his class. I volunteered out of guilt because no one else volunteered and I couldn't stand the thought of his teachers not being appreciated (a HUGE deal at my kids school) and someone to organize our class basket for the silent auction (our schools only fundraiser, it's really cool). Well, in true Erin fashion, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I am in way over my head, and I'm probably the most out-of-control parent of the group. We're always late for school and this week alone I've had two different moms compliment me on my "calm demeanor" strolling into school late. Wait, what?!?! One, I'm sure they were being sarcastic and two, Im pretty sure my hair is on fire and we're lucky if both kids have on matching shoes along with the correct lunches in the correct bags (yes, I've screwed that up, don't worry).  So, to sum up, I'm out of control at the moment.

Also, I typed this on the iPad, so please pardon my extreme typing and 567 errors!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


So, it's been a busy week so far. We went to the pumpkin patch over the weekend (along with at least half of the state of Georgia, holy humanity...) which, although hot and crowded, was really fun. We met up with our very good friends (family, as we think of them) and Stella's future husband. Yes, it's an arranged marriage and no, I'm not kidding (well, I'm mostly kidding, but sort of not...). Surely arranged marriages are going to make a comeback at some point, right? Things are just so much easier this way ;) (okay, obviously I'm kidding, but wouldn't life be so much more interesting?!?!). Anyway... we picked out some pumpkins, devoured some pumpkin bread and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

On Monday I decided to meet up with a friend so we could take our kids to the zoo. I figured Monday would be a slow day since it's the beginning of the week and all. Or, it wasn't because apparently Monday was a holiday (sorry Columbus, you're not hugely popular in the south). Yeah, my bad on that one. So, we joined the other half of Atlanta at the zoo. We did have a great time and the kids were beyond excited. We always ride the train while we're there - a huge favorite of both Stella and Simon. This trip we decided to try out the carousel. Stella was absolutely beaming and just thrilled beyond her wildest dreams. I think Simon enjoyed it, but nothing like Stella did. She's still talking about riding the "casserole" :).

Today I had a check-up with my plastic surgeon. She's not happy (that's an understatement) with my results. Admittedly, the girls are not perfect yet and my surgeon, being the perfectionist that she is, wants them fixed. I wasn't surprised by this news, and honestly, if the girls are going to be new, might as well have them perfect! So, Steve and I sat down with her surgery coordinator to work out a date. Turns out, the only available date between now and Christmas, is next week. So, SURPRISE! I'm having surgery next week!! Ready or not... Yes, I'm completely aware of the insanity of this, but I'm also anxious to get a move on with my life. And, I have no interest in giving up any of my holiday time with family. So, ready or not, surgery is scheduled for Thursday, October 24th. This surgery only requires an overnight stay in the hospital (not 4 days like last time), so my recovery time should be quick and relatively painless.

In other Crazytown news, Murphy was kind enough to dig up one of our sprinkler heads in the yard. Super sweet of her. She also destroyed my decorative gourds and finished off the one wicker chair I had left in the sunroom. Don't worry, we also took a $120 trip to the vet yesterday only to discover that there's NOTHING wrong with her (other than she's a complete terror). I took her to the vet because she's been favoring her right front leg. She even refused to come down the stairs for a couple of days. We think she's got an awkward nail (for lack of a better term) that may cause her some pain. Of course at the vet, she was walking perfectly and charming everyone there. We were given new anti-inflammatories which "only" cost $60... Living in the loony bin is so much fun, weeeeeeeeeee!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sh!tastic Thursday

I had the morning from hell. Our mornings are normally an exercise in chaos, but this morning really took it to the next dimension. I knew we had a busy day on tap - I had treatment today which meant I ALSO had to be showered, decently dressed (I try not to wear my normal mom clothes - which would be black yoga pants, flip flops and a tee shirt when I have doctor's appointments. Call me crazy, but dressing "professionally" makes me feel good, therefore I don't mind having 5,000 doctor's appointments like it's my job...), and fed before we walk out the door. I have also learned that my coffee needs to be completely consumed at least 30 minutes before my temperature is taken or they freak out that I might have a fever, but that's a story for another day... Anyway, I overslept and so did the kids. I absolutely loathe starting my day out behind. I got up, showered, got the kids up and fed them breakfast. While I feed them breakfast, I pack their lunches for school. They both like string cheese, so I always wait until we're headed out the door before I put that in their lunch boxes. So, I left the lunch boxes on the island (like I always do) and began the battle of getting the kids dressed. As a side note, isn't 3.5 years old way too young to have an opinion on clothes, hair and accessories? Good lord, please help me when Stella is a teenager. We were upstairs for 15 minutes max and only a few minutes behind schedule. And then we came back downstairs to complete destruction. Oh yes, our "darling" Murphy helped herself to both lunch boxes and their contents. Whoever said grapes are fatal to dogs obviously hasn't met Murphy - they didn't even phase her. She also ate the little plastic containers that the food was in. Of course I was completely frazzled because I had to re-pack both lunches and find containers to put them in. If you've ever seen my Tupperware cabinet, you know this was a horribly daunting task. Matching bowls and lids...hilarious. We were SO late for school and we all know how that rattles my OCD timetable cage, AUGHHHH!

Anyway, I had promised myself that since I had treatment today, I would treat myself to a pumpkin spice latte for the drive to the hospital. On my way to Starbucks, I realized I left my phone at home (add another level of awesomeness here). Since I was already late, I decided to go in and order my coffee instead of sitting in the drive thru. There wasn't a line so I was (in my head, mind you) cheering the near return to my timetable. Until I went to pick up my drink and the cup exploded. Yup, not sure what was going on there, but I guess in hindsight I'm really lucky I didn't burn the skin off of my hand. Of course I was mortified and flustered, AGAIN. The guy behind me laughed, but he was allowed to since his day sucked more than mine. He ordered his drink and then realized he forgot his wallet... So, after getting a new cup and only 2/3 of my latte, I jumped in the car, zoomed home to get my phone and headed down to treatment.

Luckily, treatment was uneventful and all my numbers looked great. I'm not sure everyone appreciated my new pumpkin spice perfume, but really, who doesn't love fall? I was just bringing a little ambiance to the room...

It may be that the universe is upset with me. You see, last night I went to the gym and took a Zumba class. My first one in over 4 years. What was I thinking, upsetting the balance of the universe by doing something healthy? Shame on me!! And, not to worry, after 4 years I was still going right while everyone else was going left. I really need to work on that. Yeah, just try to bask in the aura of my awesomeness :) If you see pigs flying tonight, I swear I had nothing to do with it!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


October has arrived and with it comes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most people are familiar with the pink ribbon and it's symbol representing breast cancer awareness. While I do think BC awareness is extremely important, I can't help but wonder that certainly we are all AWARE of breast cancer at this point? I wish the theme could be changed to Breast Cancer Education Month. I would love to see more funding contributed to research and new drugs for treatment. Will there ever be a cure for breast cancer (or cancer in general)? I'd like to hope so, but in the meantime, new drugs are becoming available everyday to beat down and conquer this disease.

In honor of "Pinktober", I thought I would share some highlights regarding breast cancer that are not always on the front page of the media.

* In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women.

*In 2013, approximately 39,620 women are expected to DIE from breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more deaths among women.

* A woman living in the United States has a 1 in 8 (12.3%) lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

* It is estimated that 5 - 10% of all breast cancers are inherited mutations (including BRCA 1 & 2). These mutations are present in less than 1% of the population.

*** Thanks to the American Cancer Society ( for the information

Do you find these numbers as alarming as I do? I know scientists, researchers, organizations and many more diligent people are working feverishly to combat and contain this disease. If you are thinking of making a donation towards breast cancer funding during the month of October (or anytime), I would encourage you to question where your donation is going. So much more time, effort, energy and knowledge is waiting to be discovered in regard to breast cancer treatment. I'm a perfect example of drugs literally saving my life. My breast cancer is Her 2+, which 10 years ago was basically considered a death sentence. Along came the drug Herceptin, created to directly target cells overexpressing Her 2+ and suddenly, women with this type of breast cancer were not only beating back the cancer, but most importantly, reaching "No Evidence of Disease" status, which is the best news possible. So, without the drug Herceptin, who knows if I'd even be here today writing to you about how important research is. I'm proud to say that I've been "No Evidence of Disease" for almost 18 months now.

Breast cancer has changed my life in many, many ways and mostly for the better. I feel extremely grateful for the excellent care and support I have received throughout this journey. No one should ever have to endure this alone and I truly believe that because of my wonderful support system, I have thrived and conquered this beast. My battle is a continuous journey, one that I don't take lightly. I hope that I can be a positive light for those fighting back the darkness to become a survivor. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts (and ramblings mostly!) and for giving me the courage and strength to keep marching forward - I love each and every one of you.

- Erin

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Doggie Drama

It's no secret that Murphy (our sweet, innocent, 9 month old yellow lab puppy...) may be the reason I am finally admitted to the loony bin. That dog is literally driving me insane. There isn't much she hasn't chewed up in our house at this point. She's eaten all of my kitchen chairs (and by eaten, I mean she's gnawed them into toothpicks basically), my fabulous bar stools (I'm still pissed about those), all of my wicker furniture in the sunroom - and I truly mean eaten and unraveled. Last week I caught her eating the drywall in the kitchen. Seriously. And not a corner (which would have made sense, I guess, if you were into eating drywall) but the middle of the damn wall. Yeah, she ate a nice little hole right in the middle of the wall. I threw her outside after that where she proceeded to dig up three of my potted plants. By the way, this was all in a span of about 15 minutes... Let's see, Murphy has also stolen diapers off of Simon's dresser (not an easy feat) and shredded them into 15 million pieces, stripped the kids of any food they might be holding/ eating (she's obsessed with bananas) and she also ate a wire coat hanger earlier this week. You might be wondering if we feed her and I can promise you that we most certainly do. She's so huge (not fat, just gigantic) that the vet had us take her off puppy chow at 7 months. She's 9 months old and weighs near 70 lbs. Sweet Jesus say a prayer for me that I survive puppyhood...

I had to take Willie (our almost 8 year old imitation chocolate lab) in today for his annual check-up. for once I was smart and took him on a day when both kids were at school. Two toddlers and a dog in the vet's office is just really not my idea of a good time. Anyway, after Willie marked four out of the six chairs in the waiting room (mortifying, in every sense of the word), the floor was mopped and the caution: wet floor sign was propped up (LOVE that we were the reason for that...) we were taken back to the scale. Willie has managed to gain five pounds over the past year and has now reached chunky, fat dog status. He was put on a weight management plan (it runs in the family). I learned lots of interesting tidbits today at the vet's office. For example, did you know that chocolate labs are notoriously OCD and high strung? Well, we've certainly learned that the hard way. Willie often maniacally licks the floor while Steve and I are trying to watch TV. It is the most frustrating thing and then he gets a hairball - not normal. So, today the vet described Prozac. Yup, my dog is now on meds for his anxiety. That's a whole lot of awesome rolled into one outrageous vet bill. So, fingers crossed that this helps him relax a little bit and not take life so seriously?!?!

So, that's been my exciting week so far in a nutshell. The rain has finally (FINALLY) stopped so I'm looking forward to getting the circus outside for some fresh air and exercise. Somehow, next week brings October... bring on the pumpkin patch and fall foliage!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Herding Cats

I am "slightly" out of control this week. Notice a recurring theme here? But, I suppose the good news is that I am super busy because I'm feeling great! Seriously, this is the best I've felt since before I was pregnant with Stella. So, yes, I'm running hither and yon, but it's fabulous having the energy to actually enjoy it - well, as much as anyone enjoys running around like a chicken with no head ;)

I had treatment today and a check-up with my oncologist (who, by the way, I've determined sees at LEAST half of Atlanta in her office. That's a good thing though). All is going very well for me. My counts are perfect and she's happy. So, obviously, if she's happy, so am I! No scanning needed at this time, which is always a nice bonus. I had an uneventful Herceptin infusion, and other than forgetting my iPad, which annoyed me to no end, it was unremarkable. I had planned on updating the blog from my treatment recliner (just like the old days!) but apparently multitasking just isn't my forte these days. I did update my iPhone with the new IOS7 software while I was there - it's going to take some getting used to - it's so different! I'm also hoping to upgrade my phone in the next few weeks, after all of the initial "new iPhone release" insanity dies down.

Stella had her first soccer game last Saturday. Talk about herding cats - wow!! But, the girls seemed to have fun and that's the whole point anyway. Our team was completely clueless (but, please remember, these are 3 year old girls...). At one point, we had to ask Stella to stop holding hands with her BFF while "running" (I use that term very loosely) down the field. Stella and her teammates were quite frustrated that the other team "wasn't sharing" and "kept taking the ball away". Damn preschool and all those manners ;). Stella did score a goal which she was very excited about! I will somewhat willingly admit that it was a bit challenging for me to watch the utter chaos and not be able to scream, "TAKE THE BALL AND KICK IT IN THE GOAL". I know they're just learning and I'm way (WAY) too competitive. In everything. It makes Steve crazy, but I just really hate to loose. I'm going to do my very best to not be one of "those" parents. So, if you see me biting my fist or spinning wild circles during an athletic event that my children are participating in, just look away. I'm trying to channel my inner competitive insanity!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's Fall, Y'all!

Today is September 11. Can you believe it's been twelve years since we were attacked? My mind goes back and forth between feeling like it was just yesterday and it seems like it was so long ago. I wouldn't say that time has dulled the shock and anger it caused me, but time has given me the gift of perspective and healing. Instead of feeling sadness or anger on this day, I now take the time to be grateful to live in this incredible country and have the opportunities to live each day how I choose. Today, I celebrated our freedom by taking a long walk with a good friend and our sons. I will never take for granted the sweet freedom we experience everyday in this country. Today serves as a valuable reminder of what our country stands for.

Speaking of walking, I've started doing this thing called exercise - you may have heard of it. I'm hilarious, I know ;). All joking aside though, I made a promise to myself that after this surgery and the kids being in school I would exercise. So, I've been making good on that promise and I have the aching muscles to prove it! So far I'm mainly  just doing cardio stuff as I haven't been cleared to do any kind of lifting. As it is, I will never have 100% of my upper body strength due to having both latissimus dorsi muscles relocated for my surgeries. But, I'll take a little strength loss in order to enjoy the perks of the new twins ;)

I love that it's hotter and dryer now than it was all summer here in Atlanta (note the sarcasm here). Not sure what's up with the weather this year but it's making me a little nervous for this winter. Weather Gods, surely you remember that Atlanta has only one (1) snowplow and we are CLEARLY not able to handle the white stuff. Just keep that in your back pocket. A nice, slow roll into fall would be lovely and a mild winter would be appreciated. I'm not ready for jackets and ski hats, but I would love to put on a pair of jeans and not feel like I'm slowly roasting to death.

I wish that I had something really interesting to talk about, but I don't! Life is good and very busy. I had to buy a new family planning calendar (yes, I'm old school and I'm not looking to change, so don't judge me!) last week. I'm really upset because I guess the calendar I typically buy (it hangs on the fridge and is done by the week) is no longer being carried at Target (FOR SHAME!). I had to buy a new one. While it's been a rough transition to the new calendar, I think we're finally making some progress! I keep our calendar on the "desk" (I use that term very loosely) in the kitchen so I can update it regularly. I seem to spend the majority of my day in the kitchen (how nice). Here's to hoping I can keep up with this fall!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dumb Things I Do

Dumb things I do could be discussed extensively. In fact, all of those things could be compiled to create quite a large book. I thought I'd enhance your day by sharing some of the dumb things I've done, just this week. You're welcome in advance ;)

Epic Mommy Fail #1: Always put the correct lunch in the correct lunch box. Yeah, definitely screwed this one up today and Stella is NEVER going to let me forget it. After listening to wild accusations of me not packing her a juice box (which I knew I did because it was the last apple) and how she didn't want to eat her raisins (and I was like, I didn't give you raisins, I gave you grapes!)I shrugged it off to her not remembering what she had for lunch. Until I was unpacking their school bags and realized that I had give Stella Simon's lunch and vice versa. Well damn, the three year old was right. She's not likely to forget that little incident anytime soon and I clearly need to have at least one more cup of coffee in the morning before attempting to do something as complicated as packing lunches...

Epic Mommy Fail #2: Always give your children snacks in containers that have lids while in the car. Right, I hear you on this, and really, I try to not let them snack in the car period. But, on a 7 hour car trip, that's just mean. So, I had the best intentions, packed cheerios and goldfish in those clever containers that the kids just reach their hands in. It only took Simon 5 minutes before he wrangled the top off of that bad boy and TA-DA - Cheerio shower for everyone!! Ugh, is there anything worse than Cheerios in every nook and crevice of the car? I swear they multiply every third day or something.

Epic Mommy Fail #3: The baby gate is to be closed and locked at all times. Really? Hmmm, well I guess closed but not locked doesn't really count then... I'll admit, I've gotten lazy since Simon does fine going up the stairs. Apparently, this rule might also be applied to dogs too. If the gate is not locked, Murphy can open it with her big old block head. Off she goes, charging up the stairs to commit her latest act of terrorism. So, I started locking the gate which really threw Simon for a loop. He got upset that he couldn't get the gate open, she he just pulled hard enough until it broke into 6 pieces. How's that for awesome. I should be really upset, but I'm actually more awed by his strength and I'm already hoping for a football scholarship! Anyway, point being, now that the gate is deader than a doornail, Murphy has really expanded her terror campaign. Trying to give the kids a bath last night with a 60+ plus pound lab trying to dive in is a real treat.

I could share many, many more with you, but we'll just stick with the highlights this week. In other news, my recovery is going just fine. I had my drains taken out last Thursday (angels were singing it was so fabulous). We spent a wonderful Labor Day weekend in South Carolina with the family and now it's back to the real world. If only I could remember the 85 other things I was supposed to be doing today...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

School Daze

I seem to be having trouble keeping up with my life right now. Here I was worried that going back to school (and attending school for the first time for Simon) would send the kids into a tail spin. Oh no, they've been just fine, it's me who's really been thrown for a loop. I guess I got lazy this summer, without having any REAL time table to adhere to. And lest we not forget, I'm the original calendar girl, sticking to times and dates like it's my job. I crave organization and order. Unfortunately (especially since my diagnosis), I have become soft in my adherence to being on time. It's painful for me to admit that. But, oh my lord, why didn't someone tell me how absolutely crazy (not to mention chaotic) it is to get TWO children ready for school in the morning?!?! Nothing goes according to plan and I'm pretty sure there are flames coming out of my head. This morning I literally got in my car after dropping them off and I was in a full blown sweat. I can't seem to get it together, holy cow! Of course, I know I should be prepping the night before, but I'm exhausted. I'm sure if I were prepping the night before, I would have also realized as I was serving breakfast this morning that we were out of Simon's beloved frozen pancakes. As you can imagine, substituting bread with butter didn't go over well. AT ALL. I've been paying for it ALL DAY... Anyway, the kids are happy to be at school (well, Simon is still adjusting, but Stella is loving it) and I'm sure at some point I'll enjoy my new found "freedom".

My recovery is going well. I had a little (and I mean little) drama at the hospital. Turns out my suspected Percocet allergy is the real deal. We confirmed it this time around and I can honestly say if I never have to take that drug, it will be to soon. The itching, OMG, the itching. I thought I was going to come out of my skin. Take a Benedryl... but then I feel like I'm floating which I'm not a huge fan of either. That same day we confirmed the Percocet allergy, I also had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and developed thrush (a vision of loveliness in my mouth, let me tell you). It came on in a matter of hours, made worse by the tomato soup I had that evening. What a dumb move on my part, but I was hungry! Anyway, it was quick and by the time I was discharged, the thrush had gone. I am happy to say that I stopped taking the Percocet on Friday of last week and I haven't looked back. It's been truly amazing that I have had NO pain. I am happy with the results of my surgery and am anxiously awaiting to have my drains removed. I'll just say that I won't wish them on anyone, but they have been much easier to maintain this time around.

We are heading to South Carolina for labor day weekend to spend some time with the Hinman crew. I know the kids are looking forward to some beach time and it will be great to catch up with everyone. Hope everyone has a safe and happy "last weekend of summer"!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Here I Are!!

That's how Stella answers when Im looking for her :) Hello! I just wanted to let all of know that my surgery went perfectly and I'm feeling great! I think this will be a much easier recovery compared to last time. The nurses had me up and moving within a couple hours of my surgery yesterday. No rest for the weary here! The nurses are pleased with my progress- which, of course makes the overachiever in extremely happy. Yes, I'm way too competitive, for my own good, but I guess we all have our "issues" ;)

So, now for the million dollar question: how are my new "twins"? They look fabulous and I couldn't be happier! So, I guess I can thank Kyle for this perk :)

Well, I'm off to walk the halls- thanks to each of for all of your love and support- I couldn't have made it this far without you!!

Erin xoxo

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Another day, another downpour... Seriously, all it has done in Georgia this summer is R A I N. I'm all for a good thunderstorm and a soaking rain - preferably in the evening so that it helps lull me to sleep. Oh no, here it's been monsooning day and night, mixed in with severe thunderstorms and flash floods. The funny part is that I think I can count on one hand the number of days we've had in the '90's here. It really hasn't been that hot, however, the humidity has been off the charts. It's disgusting and it surrounds you the second you walk outside. Most days it's so humid our house windows are fogged up! Also, my house would appreciate it if my children (not to mention two crazy dogs) could spend some time outdoors!

I had a check-up with my breast surgeon on Monday. I really do enjoy seeing her and she's so much fun to talk to. I wish that she was going to be in on my surgery next but I the guess the good news is that my surgery is purely cosmetic at this point and there's no need for her to be there. Still, she said she'd try to come and visit while I'm in the hospital which is really sweet of her.

Speaking of my surgery, it's less than a week away!!! I cannot wait to see the results! Of course in preparation for the procedure(s) I cannot have any ibuprofen, NSAIDs etc. That's all fine and dandy except that now that I know I can't take them, I need them! Tylenol is allowed, but it's such a joke when it comes to headaches for me. My body refers to Tylenol as tic tacs... candy. Maybe some wine... oh wait, pretty sure alcohol is frowned upon the week before surgery as well. What's a girl to do?!?!

Such drama, I know. Pretty sure these are all "first world problems" (that was for you, KS!) but whatever. In other news, preschool also starts next week! I alternate between being ecstatic about having some free time, to really sad that Simon won't be with me everyday. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll manage... I guess it's more that he's old enough to be going to preschool in the first place. I never really believed people when they told me time flies. Then I had children and time seems to just melt away (at least most of the time - we do have our days when it seems to stand still).

So, yeah, the next time I update the blog I'll be typing as the new me! As long as I'm not too hopped up on pain meds, I'll try to update from my hospital bed. After all, how many games of Candy Crush can I really play (yeah, that addiction needs to be broken stat!)... Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Goat Rodeo

Life has really gotten crazy around here. I would say crazy good, most of the time, but as we all know, any version of crazy just leaves you exhausted by the end of the day. Let's see, we returned from Virginia last week and Simon was just out of control screaming and crying. He's a fussy, temperamental kid, but this was extreme. I cried uncle on Tuesday afternoon and took him to the doctor. Ear infection, how could I have missed that? Well, maybe because he has been teething for 100 years and it shows no signs of stopping? He pulls at his ears all.the.time. In all seriousness, I did feel bad, because he was obviously miserable. I believe the ear infection stemmed from the cold that I had in Virginia and lovingly spread to my children (it's usually the other way around, right?). Stella managed to catch the same cold and lovely cough that went with it. Is there anything more pathetic than sick children? So, that was my week of fun last week.

Also added into the fun was Murphy, who was limping. She didn't have an event where we saw her injure her foot, but she wasn't getting any better (of course). Naturally, I piled everyone into the car, in the pouring down rain and hauled us all to the vet (because nothing says fun like two toddlers and a crazy puppy at the vet's office. And no, Steve wasn't with me, that would have made WAY too much sense). After nearly having my shoulder dislocated trying to open the office door, we made it back to an exam room. Turns out, Murphy has growing pains. Who knew?!?! Apparently in large breed puppies it's really common to have growing pains. Murphy is 60 pounds and she's only 7 months old. She's gained another 9 pounds since June. Lord help us all... Naturally, she refused to climb back into the car on her own, so I had to lift her up. Let's just say that wasn't pretty.

Over the weekend, Steve and I managed to complete just about all of our household chores. It's alarming and yes, you should alert the media. What the hell is going on with us? I guess I've been feeling domestic lately, maybe I missed my house or something, I don't know. We also had to play musical furniture because our sweet (read: completely insane, insatiable, destructive) lab puppy has consumed ALL (and yes, I do mean all, I'm not being dramatic) of my wicker furniture in our sunroom. Yup, my life is WAY more awesome than your life! I sat down in one of the chairs on Friday evening and almost impaled my arm on the row of nails that were sticking out. Obviously exposed nails and daily sweeping to collect the latest remnants of my furniture are unacceptable, so on Sunday, Steve and I moved it all into the basement. Yes, if you know me at all, I dearly wanted a beautiful sectional I've been drooling over in Pottery Barn for years. You'll also know that Steve laughed really loud when I mentioned it. So, instead we moved up from the basement our faithful old red couches. These poor couches have been to hell and back and they are still the MOST comfortable pieces of furniture we have. The arm and back cushions have long since been consumed by dogs and the red is not as vibrant as it once was, but damnit, those are the most wonderful napping couches that have ever existed. So, long live Big Red!!

I will sum up this goat rodeo (LOVE that phrase, I can apply it to so many different aspects of my life!) by saying that I had an excellent check-up with my oncologist on Friday. My blood work is perfect and they see no need to do scans at this time, YAY!!! Keep on keeping on there. I also had my pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon. After I signed 4,234 pieces of paper, we reviewed my surgery plan and completed pre-surgery testing. All systems are go!! I'm so excited for August 20th and the first glimpse of the new me!!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Old Stomping Grounds

The kids and I had a wonderful trip to Virginia! The kids were GREAT in the car and other than our last leg of the trip, (that was ugly, between Stella's headphones running out of batteries and Simon screaming most of the way - poor kid has an ear infection) they really were awesome. It was fabulous having a chance to catch up with friends and family (and sorry to those I missed, there's just never enough time!). I finally got to meet my nephew Nate, who is seriously the happiest, cutest baby ever. The kids were really excited to meet and play with their newest cousin. The weather was also perfect so we spent the majority of our time outside, which is my favorite place to be. It was just like the Virginia summers I remember from growing up. We took the kids to an apple orchard (tons of fun, by the way!) and I was struck by how beautiful it is back home. It's amazing how much I forget by not being there. As often as we made fun of Winchester (That would be "Funchester" and "Fred-neck County" to those who are local) growing up, it really is a beautiful place. Why did we call it Funchester? Because, back in ancient times (or the 80's and 90's) there was NOTHING to do there, hence the name. I'm proud to say that Winchester has come a long way since then!

Some highlights of our trip included a fire truck ride (my kids minds = blown - they were beyond excited), swimming at the "Pirate Pool" or as Stella pronounces it, Purt Pooool, and shopping. Oh, my children are masters at shopping. I'm not sure if Toys R Us knew what hit them. They were also introduced to Sweet Frog, which is a very yummy FroYo place. Stella just "naturally" assumed that we should eat there everyday. Left to her own devices, she may have actually been able to talk my parents into it! One of the other really cool parts of going home, was having my kids meet the kids of my good friends from back home. It was so much fun to see our kids playing together, a new generation of awesomeness :) I think the part of our trip that brought me the most unexpected joy, was stopping at JMU with the kids. Stella was VERY excited to see where I went to school. She charmed everyone in the bookstore and managed to keep up a very spirited one-way conversation the ENTIRE time we were in there. Where does she get that from??? It was a beautiful day, so I decided to hoof it over to the quad with the kids which was so worth it. I was so excited to have them with me and be able to show them such an important part of my life. And, can I just say WOW, I can't believe how much campus has changed! I hadn't been to JMU in about 10 years (way too long, I know). Campus is as beautiful as I remember (probably more so), but it just seemed so big!

I'm still having car drama, but we made the trip without any huge issues. Stay tuned to see how all of that plays out. I made the mistake of going to Target today and ran smack into the Back-to-School madness. I completely forgot that most of the schools around here are back in session beginning next week. How is it already August?!?! So, much to Stella's dismay, she ended up in the cart too because Target was completely out of control. I couldn't even park where I normally do...madness I tell you!

On Friday I meet with my oncologist and then I have a pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon. I can't believe my surgery date is almost here!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Death by Minivan

I know, I know, the title of this post is overly dramatic and whiny. You can also probably tell just by reading the title that this is going to be rant and not a rave. So, here it is and you're welcome in advance ;)

It's been a crappy week since I last updated the blog. Steve's car was in the shop while we were at the beach (I won't even attempt to get into that mess, let's just say the car needs some serious work) and of course it wasn't ready when we returned. So, like any normal return trip for the beach (NOT), we swung by the airport so Steve could pick up a rental car. He was hoping for some sort of earth friendly vehicle that takes diet gas (aka: good gas mileage). On a side note, both of our cars are gas guzzlers to the extreme. He thought the rental would be a good experiment to see how much money we could save by driving a car with better gas mileage. Well, those rental cars are like a million dollars a week, so he ended up with a Dodge Charger. Man, that thing was ugly. It was a neon blue color with racing stripes. Finally, the middle of last week, we picked up his car and he decided rather than shell out $1,000 to have the mechanic fix his car, he'd do it himself. Wonderful...

That brings us to Friday. On Wednesday, I went to start my car and all hell broke loose. The check engine light came on along with about 45 other indicator lights (not really, but it felt like it). Steve checked the codes and assured me I could drive it safely and without doing further damage. There was something wrong with the emissions system pump (or something like that, I don't really know - car mechanics are really not my forte). On Friday morning, I went to start the car, which it did, but not happily. As we started to drive through the neighborhood, I noticed that I had the accelerator almost floored and we were going less than 25pmh. Obviously not a good sign. I guess whatever was wrong with the car threw it into something called "limp mode" which is basically a protective mode to prevent you (me) from doing further damage to the car. Awesome. So, Steve drove home from work to help me drop off the car at a different mechanic, play musical car seats (one of my MOST favorite games! oh, and holy freaking cheerios, by the way, it was like someone set off a cheerio bomb in my car) and pick up a rental car. Our second rental car in the same week. And oh, what a surprise he had for me...

Steve rented a minivan. He claims it was because we "needed the room" and he thought it "would be fun" to test it out. It's no secret regarding how I feel about minivans. First of all, I would have been happy with a sedan, especially given that I wouldn't have the rental that long. Secondly, Steve rented that thing just to torture me. I could go on, but I'll spare you! The kids were fascinated by the "magic" doors, especially Simon which was pretty funny to watch. Other than feeling like I was driving a cruise ship all weekend, we survived and I now have my car back ($3200 later but we won't go there right now). So between piloting a cruise ship, taking care of a husband who wasn't feeling well (ladies, you know what I mean here), and trying to accomplish what Steve and I normally get done together on a weekend by myself plus entertaining two toddlers (I want to play with DADDY, not you, MOMMY) and two wildly out of control dogs, I am pretty sure I had a taste of the 7th level of hell. Yup, pretty sure when it rains, it monsoons around here. If anyone would like to share a bit of this awesomeness, you just let me know ;).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Welcome to 1996

I don't really have anything specific to talk about today, so I thought I'd just mention some of the random happenings around here. Let's see, where to start...

So, remember last summer when I fell down the steps carrying Simon and broke my iPhone (for the second time)? The light came on and never went off. Well, it was still on as of the 1st of July. Totally awesome, right? Steve and I were finally eligible for upgrades to our phone at the end of June. I was trying to hold out for the release of the new iPhone (rumor has it that it will be coming out at the end of the summer). Steve decided to stray from his iPhone and switched to that Samsung Galaxy something or other. He hates it... but that's a story for another day. Lesson learned, never stray from the mother ship, aka Apple. The good news in all of this is that I was able to switch to his iPhone. This is fantastic for many reasons including the fact that the light does not stay on. I can also use the phone like a normal person and no longer have to have all of my calls on speaker. I know all of you are really appreciative of that little tidbit of information! I can also get through the entire day without having to charge the phone multiple times. The only downfall to the whole phone switcheroo circus is that somehow, when we moved my data it sucked all the megabytes or gigabytes (or really, whatever the hell that stuff is called, I have no idea). So, I can't use my phone for anything other than phone calls unless I'm at our house. I hadn't realized how dependent I've become with texting. I feel like I have no contact with the outside world. No one answers their phone anymore! No more data for me until July 13th. I feel like I'm living in 1996 all over again... Nonsense I tell you!

We spent a nice, relaxing July 4th at the Hinman Compound in South Carolina. Somehow, the weather gods were on our side and we had gorgeous beach weather every day. The weather gods are very angry with Atlanta, it's poured for days here. The vegetation is starting to rot because it's been so wet and humid. One nice part about it being so rainy is that we haven't had crazy heat. I'm sure that will be here for most of August, but it's been nice to not have had Code Red days here yet.

I'm finally feeling better and I'm so thankful for that. There's nothing worse than feeling like crap in the middle of the summer. I don't have too much going on this week. The kids and I went to the pool this morning which was fun. They both love the water and it's so neat to see them become more comfortable with each trip to the pool. I have treatment on Friday and then sometime before August 2nd (which is when I next see my oncologist) I'm due for another PET scan. It's hard to believe it's been 3 months since the last one. We have a busy couple of weeks coming up including our summer trip to Virginia. The kids are excited and so am I!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hot Mess

It's been a busy, hectic week. I also managed to get sick over the weekend, which was super convenient and awesome. Steve had a tiny (TINY) cold when we left Ireland. Stella picked it up a few days after we returned but was better within a couple of days. Then, of course, Simon had it - and by that time it had manifested itself into a lovely cough. Luckily, it really didn't seem to phase him. I also (stupidly, mind you) assumed that I was in the clear given that I have been with Steve on our trip and then survived both kids having a cold. Oh no, silly, silly me. I started with a sore throat sometime last week that turned into a runny nose (read: faucet - so annoying). But, I felt okay, so I assumed it was just allergies. Then, on Saturday I sounded like I had smoked 40 packs of cigs, always a lovely sound. FYI, I've never smoked a day in my life, it makes me so sick... Anyway, I felt fine, so I went about my day in my normal 140mph. All well and good until I woke up Sunday feeling like I was going to die. It was ugly people. I was coughing like I had the plague and I just felt generally crappy. I didn't have a fever, but my body was just radiating heat, and still is.

All that to say, I finally dragged myself to the doctor today. I'm happy to inform you that I actually went to a REAL doctor, not a "doc in the box" AKA, CVS Minute Clinic. I really liked her and will be keeping her on my staff ;) Anyway, she diagnosed me with a sinus infection and bronchitis. What?!?!  Who gets bronchitis in the summer time? This girl, apparently. Ugh, it sucks, but she immediately skipped to the good drugs, so I'm already in love with her. I'm happy to be reunited with my old buddy Levaquin, so hopefully I'll kick this junk in the butt and be feeling better ASAP.

I need to be feeling better ASAP because we're heading to the beach tomorrow to celebrate the 4th with the Hinman crew. I need to be on my "A" game. And no, of course I haven't packed yet because I've just been trying to survive the past two days while Steve has worked. It'll all get done, because it has to!! We're looking forward to seeing the family and relaxing on the beach- if the weather cooperates. They're calling for up to 8 inches (yes, I said 8!!) of rain here between Wednesday and Friday. Nothing says Happy Independence Day like flash flooding and severe thunderstorms...

In other news, I scheduled my next reconstructive surgery. I'm going in August 20 which, ironically, is the first day of school for the kids, Yes, I know, horrendous planning on my part, but actually, they just announced the first day of school yesterday for my kiddos and I already had my surgery planned. Never fear, my parents will be here to bail us out of that mess. It's not ideal, but we're going to make it work. I also was remembering that my first surgery was one year ago today. Wow, what a difference a year makes!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Ireland is such an incredible place, I can't wait to go back. Steve and I (in my opinion, anyway) really got to experience the best of Ireland. Here are some highlights from our trip!

We took the "red eye" from JFK and arrived in Shannon, Ireland around 9am. Neither of us could sleep on the plane, but we were running on adrenaline and bad coffee, so it wasn't too big of a deal. We rented a small, manual car. We were very glad to have a small car given the size of Irish roads (NARROW!). I am happy to report that Steve got on fabulously with driving stick on the left. Right hand turns still slightly freak me out, but at least I wasn't driving :). We had a lot of driving to do the first day, but we managed to check out Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle, both of which were beautiful and interesting. I should also add that on our first day, the sun was blazing and temps were in the 70's - perfect weather! We spent our first night in Ardmore, Co Waterford. If you're a Nora Roberts fan, this is where her "Jewels of the Sun" trilogy took place. It was neat to pick out the different landmarks from her books and even talk to some of townspeople whom she based her characters on. Ardmore is a beautiful place, but there's not a ton to do there. So, after we took an accidental 10 mile hike after dinner (I am so not kidding on the distance and it was a gorgeous evening for a cliff walk), we passed out by 10pm.

The next morning after making an ass out of myself by ordering a full Irish breakfast (which could easily feed a small country, I managed to eat about a third of it). Also didn't realize what black pudding was... and I can promise you I won't make that mistake again. After a lovely chat with our B & B hostess, we headed on to the Old Middleton Distillery to take a tour and sample some Jamison. It's really not my cup of tea (pun intended), but the tour was great and Steve gave the whiskey two thumbs up! From there we headed to Cork City for lunch and general wandering. It was another picture perfect day and as we drove into Kinsale (after getting horribly turned around trying to get out of Cork City), the harbor just gleamed with it's beautiful boats. We spent two nights at our B & B in Kinsale and thoroughly enjoyed the couple that ran it. We had all sorts of interesting adventures in Kinsale, including a massive power outage (at breakfast time, which meant no coffee - a true life and death situation), Hen parties (the Irish term for bachelorette parties), and another accidental 10 mile hike. But, what a phenomenal place!

After our Kinsale adventures, we headed to the Dingle peninsula via the Ring of Kerry. Of course, the weather gods decided that this should be the day it rained, so we didn't see too much on our drive around the ring. But, it was a small sacrifice when met with the awe inspiring beauty of Dingle. Beautiful, beautiful Dingle. I could go on for days about how fantastic this place was. I swear there's a little bit of magic there. We went horseback riding which included galloping on the beach (that was for you, NP!), and riding up into the mountains. Other than being so sore I could barely climb in and out of the car, the horseback riding was just pure bliss for me. We drove the Slea Head Loop which is a requirement if you're ever in Dingle. We also did lots of pub hopping, hearing some truly wonderful Irish music and eating delicious food. People have the wrong idea about Irish food, it's to die for!

On the final leg of our journey, we headed to Doolin, Co Clare,  a tiny town on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. The weather was "typical" at this point, alternating between raining and sun shining. The Cliff's were jaw-dropping in their size and beauty. We saw them by boat (with extremely rough seas, pretty sure I pulled a groin muscle holding on to the rail, trying not to get tossed overbaord) and then by foot, when we hiked up there in the evening. We also played a very soggy round of golf at Lahinch.

I took zillions of pictures that I still can't get enough of. If you're ever considering Ireland, make it a priority - it's worth every minute of your time!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bon Voyage!

It's here, it's here, finally! Steve and I depart for Ireland tomorrow afternoon and I cannot wait!!! This momma is ready for the trip of a lifetime! You might be wondering if I've packed (hilarious, I know) and you damn well know the answer is of course not! I have a plan in my head of what I'd like to pack. I'm hoping tonight I can get the majority of my stuff organized and ready to put in a suitcase. Ideally, we're going to carry on, but I'm also a realist and we'll just see how things go.

In the meantime, the fence guys are on overdrive trying to get this fence done today. I think they're going to get it done, but it will be close. The fence looks awesome - I can't wait to let the fur children out so they can run like idiots and not knock 85 things over inside.

I met with my plastic surgeon today and go to some so-so news. The good news is that my skin looks great and she's pleased with that. She gave me the go ahead for surgery. The not so great news is that it will be a very similar surgery to my first one. Not so excited about that. It means another 3 full days in the hospital and a fairly long recovery. I'm bummed, so who knows when I'll have this surgery done. I'm not ruining my summer (or the kids for the that matter), so maybe we'll look at the fall.

Okay, I'm keeping this short today because I really need to be doing something productive!! Toodles for a couple of weeks and happy summer!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fighting Back Like a Girl

We had such a great Memorial Day weekend! Lots of time spent outside in gorgeous weather with friends, food and cold beer :). It doesn't get much better than that, right? I even managed to work in some time to get a mani/pedi, which I desperately needed. While getting said luxuries, I really got to thinking about my life over the past 16 months. This Saturday, June 1, marks my one year anniversary of completing chemo. It's hard to believe it's been a year, but even harder to believe that I could ever feel as good as I do now. I wore a pink bracelet that said, "Fight Like A Girl" which has been my mantra since the beginning of this mess. I took it off after I got my most recent results. Now, my mantra is: Fighting Back Like a Girl because I refuse to be defined by cancer or it's impact on my life.

I was extremely fortunate (and lucky, let's just call a spade, a spade) that I felt so "well" during my chemo and other treatments. I mean, I really pretty much breezed through it with only feeling a bit hungover and tired. Obviously, given a choice, I would have preferred to not have gone through chemo, but it saved my life, so who am I to complain? Why did I have such an "easy" time of it? Who knows, but I know others who have had a terrible time with chemo and side effects. Even my good friend Kate felt completely lousy after each chemo round. 

For all that my treatments were bearable and I refused to be sidelined by cancer, I did have some side effects. My hair falling out was an obvious one, but now it's a hot mess of thickness and semi-curls. Styling tips welcome, by the way! My eyelashes are finally coming back in and I can sort of weaar mascara. The first six months after chemo my joints ached something terrible. Glucosomine seems to have helped wipe away the aches and now I feel great. I gained weight on chemo, which was probably the biggest downer for me. Nothing like gaining weight after having a baby... But, I'm happy to say that the chemo weight is gone and I'm down almost another 20lbs. Go me! I'm hoping to continue the downward trend there ;). My toenails turned black after chemo and fell off (talk about gross) but now I'm back to "normal". I am so excited to be able to get pedicures again! My fingernails are still a complete mess, but I'm optimistic one day they'll start growing. I had silk wrap done for the meantime, to help them grow. My nails would split and peel and were so painful due to being so short. So, lots of progress being made!

Looking back to how I felt a year ago, I wasn't sure I would feel all the way human again. My oncologist told me on multiple occasions that it would take me up to a year to get the chemo drugs out of my system. She was speaking the truth! I feel better than I have in years! I swear, I will never take feeling awesome for granted again!!! Every morning I wake up and I'm so thankful to feel good enough to face the day and take on the world.

I did have a small setback yesterday (one step forward, two steps back...isn't that wha Paula Abdul said???). I met with the lymphedema specialist and I do indeed have lymphadema. While I thought it was mainly in my thumb, she determined that it's actually stemming from my shoulder. She did measurements and my right shoulder is measuring 4+cm larger than my right. Of course, I'd like to blame it on my bulging biceps (even I can't lie to myself about that one, stop laughing!!) but alas, no... So, given that I'm travelling to Ireland in 8 days (OMG!!), she's decided to put me in a glove and sleeve for the flight over and back (watch out MJ, you got nothing on my gloved look!). While my vanity is taking a huge hit and I know I'll be getting strange looks on the plane, I'm trying to make the best of it. Maybe no one will sit next to us ;) The therapist will reevaluate me upon our return and we'll go from there. Hopefully the sleeve/ glove will do the trick and I won't need therpay. Therapy involves a full cast for 3 weeks and treatment everyday. Ain't nobody got time for that in this house!!!! Can you imagine me running this circus with a cast on?!?! Go ahead and cry laughing, that's what I did. Oh, my glamorous life :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stormy Weaather

I've been trying not to watch too much of the Moore, OK tornado coverage, but it's almost impossible not to watch. My heart just goes out to all of the people there. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with everyone impacted by the storm. What a resilient community though! Since childhood, I've had a fascination with the weather, especially tornadoes and hurricanes. That's all well and good when you're safely watching from the TV. It seems as though in recent years, our country is experiencing more and more wild weather. I mean, when you really think about it, is there a safe place in our country from this wild and crazy weather? I never realized that the southeast (until I moved here, of course) has it's own "tornado alley" and is referred to as "dixie alley". How sweet... it runs from Alabama through Georgia. And yes, we've had multiple tornadoes rip through here since I've been a resident. I continue to be awed and horrified by the damage mother nature exudes when she's pissed off. I'd say right now, she's steaming mad. One of my favroites quotes from the movie Twister, "The finger of god" when talking about an EF 5 tornado. I would say that's a pretty accurate descritpion when you look at Moore, OK. I'm sure global warming has something to do with it, but I also wonder if the human population (meaning more and more people are moving into what was previously pasture/ famrland/ desert etc) is a contributing factor. Less room for these storms to roam unaffected. Of course, my thoughts are totally being influenced by Dan Brown's new book, Inferno. I!! Anyone want to spring for a ticket to Florence? Please?  Anyway , if you've read it, you totally know what I'm talking about. I love his books and I think this one is my favorite, next to The DaVinci Code.

So, it's day 3 of Stella's summer vacation and I'm already wondering what on earth we're going to do all summer... Totally different experience being on the other side of the school doors now. WOW. How do parents survive the summer??? Luckily we had a playdate at the park yesterday with her buddies from school which was fun. Fortunately it was only 500% humidity at 10am. Gross! Nothing like standing in the shade and sweating... We met with our fence man again last night and signed the contract - woohoo!! Yes, we are FINALLY fencing in our backyard in an attempt to keep the circus contained. Not that I can't handle it (and if nothing else, I'm certainly not handling it gracefully), but trying to walk two labs, one of which (guess who?) is continually trying to wrestle mania the other and watch two children running in opposite directions is not exactly a cakewalk. Nine times out of ten, one of the damn dogs has wrapped the leash around me and then does a full sprint across the yard while knocking over at least one of the kids. Good times at our house, really. I'm pretty sure Willie thinks his name is Goddammit at this point...We won't even touch on the fact that I have to tie Murphy's leash to the sunroom door (inside) while the kids are eating, otherwise she's on top (yes, I said that) of the table. So, in conclusion, this fence will hopefully solve all of our problems. I know I'm completely crazy, but my life makes the wine taste so much better in the evenings.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Medical Marvel

Somehow, it's already the middle of May. Not really sure how that happened, but apparently we'll just roll with it. I had a good appointment with my oncologist on Friday. She's pleased with everything and we'll be continuing on our regularly scheduled Herceptin treatments for another three months. Then, another PET scan to see how things are going. I did mention to her that I've started having some (very) random swelling in my right thumb. It doesn't bother me and I'm not sure I would even really have noticed except that next to my left thumb, it looks swollen. Her guess- lymphodema. Freaking A, I really don't have time for that nonsense, but she wants me to see a specialist to confirm. The funny (okay, let's use the word ironic, it's much more appropriate) about this was that she said lymphodema "typically" appears on the back of the hand or occasionally in the fingers. My oncologist has "never" seen it start in a thumb. She quickly added, with a smile, that, "nothing about me or my cancer has been "normal" so we shouldn't be surprised". Sigh... I know it sounds whiny and terrible, but sometimes I really wish I could just have a "normal" or typical cancer that is predictable. Why do I have to have the really strange, rare, cancer that no one has ever heard of? My breast surgeon, who's been in this game a long time, has only had 4 other patients with my "brand" of breast cancer. Whatever, I go back and forth between being fascinated by being a medical case in the making and irritated that I'm a living science experiment. Okay, off my soapbox, that's enough ranting for the day...

We had a very nice mother's day. My day started with Stella wishing me a "Happy Mother's Day!!" which was so awesome to hear her say. Steve and the kids took me out to breakfast and then shopping at Home Depot (trust me, not romantic, but so much more exciting for the kids!) to pick out flowers for our large flower bed by the mailbox. The weather was beautiful and we all enjoyed being outside. Steve spoiled me with king crab legs (otherwise known as a butter delivery vehicle and damn, so good!) and champagne on Saturday night and then steak on Sunday. Yes, this momma is feeling loved and appreciated this year!

Stella's last day of school is tomorrow (WHAT???) and I'm starting to panic. It could potentially be a very long summer with her not in school. Now I know how parents feel when summertime rolls around! We're planning a trip to the beach and a trip home to Virginia and I know before I realize it, August will be here and back to school she goes. Simon will also be going to preschool next year and I can't really talk about it... time is going way too fast!! I guess that means I have NO more excuses for not dragging my sorry butt to the gym!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Moving On!

Drumroll please! PET Scan results came back completely clean!!! We are so thrilled and excited to have good news. My oncologists PA called me with the results last Thursday which was fantastic because my appointment with the oncologist isn't until this Friday. That's a long time to wait! So, she called as we were leaving for Savannah and that certainly made for a much more celebratory trip! As they say in breast cancer land, I am continuing my dance with NED (no evidence of disease)! NED and I are having a great relationship and I hope to keep it that way! For the record, the word "cure" is rarely used with breast cancer, even those who have been free and clear for years.  Rather, you are considered NED or sometimes "in remission".

I had a follow-up visit with my radiation oncologist today and she (along with the entire staff) were so pleased with my progress. It's funny, I was probably the most frustrated/ exhausted with radiation out of all of my treatments and I loved that staff the most. They were so warm, friendly and genuinely cared about their patients. All of the techs I worked with came out to see me today and give hugs and meet the kids. The nurses came by to say hello and love on the kids as well. Due to my awesome progress, I have been officially released from treatment there, how fantastic is that?!?! While I am sad to say good-bye, it's a good thing. It's time for me to move on and get back to the circus. The show must go on and the acts need their ringmaster ;)

Steve and I had a great (probably too great, if we're being honest) time in Savannah. The kids had a blast with my parents and other than the absolutely horrendous weather, everyone survived! My house still looks like several tornadoes came through, but 5 days straight of rain will do that...

I have my official visit with the oncologist this Friday. I'm not worried about it, especially knowing that my PET scan looked great. However, it will be good to discuss with her our plan going forward (I'm 99% sure she's going to keep me on the Herceptin) and when I can schedule my next surgery. My next surgery should (from everything I've heard and read) be a piece of cake compared to the first one. It's bascially just to have my tissue expander taken out and replaced with an implant. I'm so ready to be done with that thing, it's like having a coconut shell instead of a boob - sorry boys, bear with me. The only thing that could potentially ruin my appointment on Friday is my port. That damn thing better cooperate - not that I can do anything about it, but still, work with me here!! So, please keep your fingers crossed for me (and the entire nursing staff) that all goes smoothly on Friday. Drinks on me!!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ancient History

I have news!! No, I'm not pregnant - why does everyone assume that these days? As IF I could handle another addition to the already overflowing circus that I'm "supposedly" running. I think a more accurate account would be that the circus is running me right out of town... Anyway, Steve and I finally (FINALLY!) booked all of our accommodations for Ireland! I am so gosh durn excited! We'll be staying in several different B & B's throughout our travels and our last two nights will be spent at a castle that's family owned (read: NOT restored <--- should be an interesting experience!). It was (very) tempting to try and book a night at once of the 5 star castle hotels (hello Dromoland Castle and Adare Manor) but we just didn't feel that we could justify the cost. I'd much rather spend our pounds on Guiness and horse back riding on the beach! Plus, I'm really looking forward to chatting with our hosts at their respective B & B's to get a taste of authentic Ireland. The other thing we've decided (or maybe I should say attempt) to do is carry on and not check bags. Yes, one of the top 5 biggest challenges of my adult life, but I'm up to it. Mainly because we aren't staying anywhere with elevators or door men, so I need to be able to lug my own bag. Luckily, Ireland is a super casual country and we're not heading to Dublin, so hopefully we can get away with jeans and layers. Steve says I only need one pair of shoes...well, we just won't discuss that right now. In case you're curious, we'll be touring the South and West Counties (Limerick, Waterford, Cork, Kerry and Clare).

On sort of the same page, I've decided to tackle the Riley Family Tree. I'm not really sure what I was thinking, but I guess I had some fairy tale idea that I could trace our line back to the Ireland days and then visit the town while we're in Ireland. I'd pick up the Riley tartan and share a pint of Harp with some of my great- great cousins. All well and good except that my ancestors were LAME. I cannot find ANYTHING on them before 1795. They obviously existed or I wouldn't be here, but seriously, it's like we just appeared on American soil in Virginia sometime after the Revolutionary War. So, hours of internet research into this project and I find myself extremely annoyed at my great, great, great grandfather for not being as organized and OCD as me. I obviously didn't get those traits from his side of the family! So, the search continues...

In cancer-related news, I had my PET scan today. I won't have my results until next Friday when I see my oncologist. Normally I'm extremely anxious about that, but right now I have so much going on, that I'm just going to continue enjoying floating down Denial River until further notice. I feel great and that has to count for something. Steve and I are headed to Savannah this weekend for a work trip (there's really only about an hour of work involved, the rest is just playtime for everyone, so fun!). This will be our first weekend away from the kids. Ever. Yup, just call us the most exciting people you've ever met! Timing just hasn't been on our side since having kids (you know, cancer and all that) so we're looking forward to some "us" time. My parents are driving down (so sweet!) to take care of Stella and Simon. This will be a good test for us before the Ireland trip. Cheers everyone!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"That Girl"

I think Karma has been spying on me, waiting for me to take something for granted. Life was just going too smoothly apparently, and I had begun to get too comfortable with the way things were going. Silly, silly me, I know better than that, I do. So, Karma threw a nice, shiny wrench into my regularly scheduled program. What's that you say? Oh, right, Karma's a bitch...

So, on Friday, I had my "normal" (<--- ahhh, I love my version of normal these days) Herceptin treatment. I was looking forward to seeing my friend Kate and catching up. I was called back to have my port accessed and the fun began. In order for me to recieve any type of treatment, my blood must first be tested. The nurse got me hooked up and did my heparin flush. No blood return. Oh crap... not today, please not today was all I could think (frantically). She had me move into several different positions, I guess I would call it chemo yoga :). Still nothing. She took me back to the chemo lounge and had me lay down. And nothing. At this point I was starting to get a little concerened. The nurse decided to take the blood from my arm (I just love having IV's, don't you?). Luckily, my veins cooperated and off to the lab went my blood. After having my treatment approved, I mentioned to the chemo nurse that my port wasn't working. She seemed annoyed (trust me lady, no one was more annoyed then me! And really, like I wanted my port to misbehave...) and said that I would have to have a drug called TPA (think Draino for ports). That's all well and good, but the drug has to sit in my port for 30 minutes and then they have to try and access it again. I did start to panic then because I was on a time crunch, needing to get home so my nanny could leave. Ugh, I was so frustrated! Anyway, by this point I was the center of attention in the chemo lounge with half of the staff trying to figure out what to do. I really don't like being the center of attention. I'm used to being the one in the chemo lounge casually observing everyone else's drama. Ultimately, we decided to have another IV placed in my arm so I could recieve treatment and then have the TPA injected into my port to save time. Normally an IV stick isn't a huge deal, but I can only have IVs in my left arm. I had lymph nodes removed in my right arm during my mastectomy, therefore, any needle sticks or blood pressure to that arm significantly raise the risk of lymphodema. I definitely don't want to deal with that! So, another needle stick later, I finally started my Herceptin. Kate stuck around to keep me company which was really sweet of her. That, and she was getting a kick out of me being the one with drama instead of her (her port has issues fairly often).

After my 30 minutes, my favorite nurse came by and decided she would be the one to work on my port, yay! She gave it a good 20 minutes, had me do more chemo yoga and that damn port still wouldn't work. Sigh... luckily they let me go home and said we'll worry about it next time. Something to look forward to (<--- extreme sarcasm here). Keep your fingers crossed for me that my port cooperates because I really, really don't want to have another surgery just to have that silly thing replaced. So, thanks Karma, for the nice little reality check. I had almost forgotten that I had cancer at one point...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Under Pressure

Somehow, it's already Wednesday... not sure how that happened so quickly?!? I spent hours yesterday putting together a proposed agenda for our Ireland trip. It's a labor of love for me, so they were pleasurable hours spent at least! You should see my outline, it's perfectly organized and easy to read. I'm not sure Steve is as appreciative of my outlines and margins, but oh well. I'm nothing if not efficient! Of course, the ironic part of this whole plan is that neither of us have the first clue as to what we'll "actually" experience. But, I'm looking forward to "winging it" and exploring Ireland on our own.

I've struggled (as I think most of the country has) this week trying to wrap my brain around the whole Boston Marathon bombing. The first question that comes to mind is, why a marathon? Surely there isn't a more resilient, hard working and dedicated group than marathon runners? Is the bombing supposed to represent something about running, or large groups of people gathered together to support loved ones and friends? Congratulations, Mr. (or Miss I guess) Von Terrorist, you got your 15 minutes and managed to put a dent on an otherwise very positive event. And thank you news media for once again covering this story way past excess. But you know what? Boston is a fabulous city and, to quote a former student of mine, "they ain't scurred (scared)". I hope the people of Boston are able get back to their regaularly scheduled lives as soon as they can and show this moron that the American spirit is here to stay. Gosh, I just get so angry that someone could do this.

This is terrible (and I'm not making light of this awful situation), but my second question regarding the Boston bombings was, don't pressure cookers have to be plugged in? How on earth do those things work without electricity? Obviously, I'm not much of a chef but does it run on steam or something? So yes, appreciate my ignorance regarding kitchen appliances, but I was curious about that. Seems like nothing we use these days is safe from missuse. Jokes aside, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston - we love you!

In other news, we spent a nice weekend with Steve's parents, who came to visit us. This week, Stella is back to school - last week was spring break and a huge reality check. Now I know why parents dread summer - what to do with the kids every day, all day? It was nice having her around, but wow, going to need to find something for her to do this summer! This morning I had a random call from the hospital - time to have another PET Scan... oh boy! I'll be having my next scan the first week of May. Count me in as stressed already...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Fraternity Party

I think I've officially entered into overdrive. We have literally been so busy lately (which, all in all, is a really good thing!) that I haven't had time to do anything, including updating the blog. Over the weekend, the kids and I bolted for Charlotte since my darling husband hosted "boys weekend" at our house. Yay!! As you might imagine, I was super excited (dripping sarcasm here) to leave the fraternity party unsupervised, but honestly, I decided to take the "out of sight, out of mind" approach. Plus, by me not here to witness said frat party, I think everyone was much better off. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't love these guys, it's just that well, hosting boys weekend holds about as much appeal to me as supervising freshman boys during study hall... and that's a post for another day. So, anyway, the kids and I fled to Charlotte to escape March Madness (the boys spent the weekend attending the final four, Braves game, etc) and hang out with the Charlotte Hinmans'. Of course, my brother-in-law was here in ATL with Steve, so it was Missy, myself and our four darling children, all 3 and under. I know, it's hard to imagine a more peaceful weekend. We made the most of our time together and did the things we love to do when we're together. Drinking and eating! Yup, since the men were out having the time(s) of their lives, we decided that warranted us eating out for every single meal. Good reasoning, right? The kids were very good and the food was fabulous. Missy and I refer to it as our Charlotte "Food Tour". What's not to love about eating out and having someone else clean up the mess? And, by the way, four kids three and under can make one hell of a mess :).

Upon my return to Atlanta, I was happy to find the house still standing and the boys in good spirits. A successful weekend for everyone! I had a chance to catch up with some girlfriends from my teaching days last week. It was so, so, so wonderful to see them all and hear about what they've all been up to. I can't say that I miss teaching, but I do miss my friends and co workers so much.

I've spent this week getting the house cleaned up and trying to get organized. I went on a rampage in the laundry room - stepping on any number of kid-sized shoes, running gear and various assorted other crap makes for a real challenge when attempting to do the laundry. When did we acquire so much junk??? And why, oh why can I only ever find one shoe of a child's pair? Where on earth do they go? It's the most frustrating thing! So, yes, I went a little "clean sweep" in that room and I do have to say it's much improved. I'm not sure Real Simple Magazine would agree with my organization techniques (by the way, I LOVE that magazine - can someone send them to my house?) but everything is off the floor at least.

Steve's parents are in town this weekend and we're looking forward to spending some time with them. Hopefully the rain will wash away the cloud of yellow pollen that is Atlanta right now, holy cow it's gross! Happy weekend everyone!