Thursday, May 07, 2015

A letter to Rita Wilson

Dear Rita Wilson,

First of all, let me say that I'm sorry to learn about your breast cancer diagnosis and that you had to undergo a mastectomy. I myself, was there just four long and short years ago myself.

I know many are grateful that you have talked about getting a second opinion, which I think is great too! I had a second opinion several times during my breast cancer treatment and I don't regret doing it. I think too many people are hesitant to do it, when they shouldn't be. But, that's not why I writing today.

Earlier, I came across this interview you did for The New York Times, and I just want to give you a heartfelt thank you. I read this line

"Let's face it - it's amputation," she said, of the mastectomy."

And I just wanted to stand up and cheer. Because it is amputation. And far too often these surgeries are treated as if they are no big deal and really, like a bonus. You know the whole "Oh, you get a free boob job"! mentality. Which, I understand, is people trying to find the silver lining of what is really an awful situation, but still. It's not that. It's not easy. It's hard. As you say, it's amputation.

I've often wondered, if someone had a leg amputated for cancer, if anyone would say "Well, I would do it in a heartbeat too because I am not defined by my legs" Or if someone would say "I'm so jealous! You are going to get a prosthetic leg that's going to look nice." Would we talk about
no more varicose veins instead of talking about no more droopy boobs. I've never heard things like that said, and I don't imagine anyone does.

But when it comes to breasts and mastectomies, somehow hesitating to get it might mean you let your boobs define you. Or getting reconstruction is great because you'll get a perky set of boobs.

So I just want to thank you for saying what it is: amputation.

Anyway, I hope the rest of your reconstruction process goes smoothly. You are right, those expanders are weird and hard, so I hope you get your exchange surgery as quickly as you can.

Xoxo,

Brandie

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Jaded and Cynical

We are in full mode ball season over here with 2/3rds of the kids.

Mister Man is playing baseball and Miss M is playing softball.

Neither kid played in the new town last year, so we are making some new friends and enjoying the teams the kids have been placed on. At a game the other night, one of the other parents mentioned that the snack schedule was out and I might have whined a bit. In our last town, team snacks were pretty much over. Many teams stopped doing it when the economy got especially tight and it never picked up again.

My kids are 9 and 12. I just don't think they need a snack after playing 2 hours, and if they do, I'll give it to them at home.

Yes, I'm a crotchety mom over here! And yes, I laughed at myself as well for how much I apparently hate the idea of team snacks!

After discussing snacks, we talked some more. I had not met these other moms prior to that game and we had such a nice conversation. I really enjoyed it, and I think they did to (despite my snack whining!). Well, as it always does, the cancer came up.

One of the women mentioned that I must just appreciate each day so much more than I did before. And that when she feels like complaining, she thinks of the people going through cancer and it gives her perspective. She wondered if I felt the same way.

And because I'm me, I was totally honest with her.

I told her while some people are thankful for cancer, and even call it gift, that it can be life-changing and give them a profound appreciate for life, I am not one of them. I told her the cancer made me feel cynical and jaded.

Here's how I know these woman (even if they wouldn't feel the same going through it) understood ... the one mom said "You mean like about team snacks and things like that."

We all laughed. The conversation moved on and it was good.

But you know what, when she first asked me, for one split second I thought about just saying yes - just nodding along and agreeing. I'm so glad I didn't though. They seemed to get it. We laughed about it and kept talking about all sorts of things.

It felt really nice to me.

I might be more jaded and cynical since having cancer but that doesn't mean I'm always cynical and jaded either. It was nice to say it - to share my truth - and then have a little laugh about it after.

I just hope I didn't scare these new friends away Because if they can get me, even with my cynicism and jadedness, then I think they will be good friends quickly!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Happy Early Mother's Day To Me!

my teas from around the world
Please note: this is a sponsored post. I am being compensated for sharing this information with you, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

The year is flying by quickly and Mother's Day is quickly approaching - the end of this week!

This year I got an early Mother's Day gift thanks to the folks at UncommonGoods. They approached me and offered to send my a gift in exchange for this post (but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own). So I headed over to the site and looked at some of the gift guides that they have already curated for mothers.

I browsed this list, then I browsed this list. And I hemmed and I hawed. The adorable bowls to hold yarn to knit really called out to me, but at the end of the day, I picked this lovely tea set. Both of my daughters love to drink tea and we often make a cup for ourselves and then a cup for each other. So in the spirit of Mother's Day and to be able to share with 2/3rds of the reason I am a mother, I decided to pick a tea set for UncommonGoods to send me. I was so impress by this company, that ON MY OWN (to clarify, the mug was not a gift to me from UncommonGoods, I purchased it myself), I purchased this healing stone mug in red for myself.

our two cups steeping
My packages arrived just a few days later and we opened it up and whipped up some tea right away! I let the oldest pick the first tea and she went with the Genmaicha from Japan. We were a little worried it would be stronger than what we were used to it, but it was perfect. I put a bit of honey in mine and was in love. Definitely going to the top of my tea list.

 Last night, after freezing for my daughter's softball game, I came home and whipped up another cup of tea for us. This time we went with the Butterfly of Taiwan. I thought it would help warm me up. Plus, the tube conveniently told me it was a good bedtime tea, so I whipped up a cup, and once again: so good. I'm so glad I picked this tea set for us all to enjoy!
My new mug with a perfectly steeped cup of tea

I am in love with this company and so glad I learned about them. Right away when I went visited the UncommonGoods website, I was struck by how much good the company is trying to do. First of all, half of everything they sell is made by hand. That is amazing. And you all know, how much I love things made by hand. There are so many talented artisans working with UncommonGoods to sell their wares. Which I think is just fabulous!

I was also impressed by their responsibility to the environment. Many products are made from recycled materials. Nothing they sell has harmed animals (which is the thing that excited the vegetarian and deep animal lover in our house the most!).

And then, when you check-out, you get to give a dollar to one of the four organizations that UncommonGoods supports. But, no, you don't give a dollar, the company gives a dollar. Nothing is added to your total. When I purchased my mug, I picked to donate to Women For Women International. You can also donate to RAINN, American Forests, and City Harvest.

my new mug with my new tea. They taste better together!
So, I bought a mug and was able to support an artisan here in the states and support Women for Women International and felt pretty good about myself. Plus, I got a beautiful mug that I'm positive makes my tea taste even better!

It's possible I'm so in love with UncommonGoods that I might want to work for them now myself. Well as I don't live in New York, I can't work there, but I can pretend that I do by visiting their blog and learn about the people who do work for them. Or take some virtual studio tours with some of the artisans who sell to them. And the whole time dream of having my own lovely studio to knit and sew and craft in (because if I'm going to dream, I should dream big, right?).

Anyway, if it seems like Mother's Day is sneaking up on you, head on over to UncommonGoods and browse this gift guide or this gift guide. I'm sure you will find some pretty beautiful things for the mother in your life! As long as you buy by Thursday, May 10, you can get it by Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Momma Don't You Worry


Momma Don't You Worry by Louie Lawent, is a cute, quick e-book for young children (ages 5-7).  It's a catchy poem with some cute illustrations that I think kids and parents will both like!


In Momma Don't You Worry, a young boy, who feels he is all grown up at the ripe, old age of 6, doesn't understand why he must stay by his mom. So he tells his mother not to worry about him so very much. Of course, as children are prone to do, he wanders away to look at something else and ends up lost.

As a mother of three, I remember this phase very well. Oh, who am I kidding. I still have a 9 year old who doesn't always stay by me even when he should. But it's hard to explain to kids why they are still little kids when they feel so grown up inside.

It's a quick read, and one I think a child could memorize easily and be able to "read" along with as well. (Side note: memorizing books and reading along with them is actually a great step towards reading, which many kids at the 5/6 mark are working on, so this book serves a double bonus!)

I would have loved to have read this book to my kids at that age, and still read it to my 9 year old now so that maybe (ahem, in parking lots) he'll still hold my hand even though he thinks he much too grown up to do so! ;-)

Note: Mr. Lawent approached me and asked me if I would be interested in doing a review for him. I said yes and was given an electronic copy of the book to look over, but as always, all opinions and thoughts are my own!

Friday, April 17, 2015

P.S. I'm okay

I realize the blog has been pretty heavy lately, a bit sad.


And it's true, I'm feeling a bit sad.

But, I also want to tell you that I'm happy. I do smile. I laugh with my family. I get up each day and get things done (even if it's not as much as I want to get done).

The blog tends to be on the heavy side because I come here to, in a sense, vent and get it out. Releasing it all here then allows me to get on with my day and I actually feel better after sharing here.

Blogging, for me, is therapeutic. It's like talking to myself to help myself feel better. Except I don't have to actually talk out loud to myself. (Okay, okay, I do sometimes talk to myself). It is so good for me, a good outlet.

Of course, when I blog I am only sharing a part of what's going on. Sometimes what I share isn't a full picture - it's just a small glimpse. And I don't mean to worry anyone with what I share, I promise! So I just want you to know, that I'm okay!

Happy weekend everyone!