Thursday, April 17, 2014

Forgive Me

I realize it's been much, much too long since I last posted here. More than 20 days!

It's terrible, I know.

I've thought about posting, I swear it! There has been so much going on around here.

The end of March/beginning of April saw us getting the house ready to sell. There was a lot going on - cleaning, purging, packing, cleaning, more cleaning, and oh, did I mention the cleaning?

We scrubbed this house top to bottom! Like spring cleaning on steroids. I knew when we listed, I wanted this place to look as fabulous as possible.

A big part of that was just getting things out of the house, so we were also working to get where we are moving ready to start receiving an influx of boxes from us.

We went on the market April 1. Now, last time we sold a home, we had very few showings, it wasn't a big deal. I'm so glad we had this place in tip-top shape. Once we listed, the showings started. I'm also glad we packed and purged a lot of things. It's much easier to keep this place sparkly without all the clutter!

In that midst of all of that, I got to go visit this sweet little baby! And his mama and siblings. So sweet. It was a lovely break in the midst of everything.

We cleaned the house, the left to go visit (with food - and made a mess at their house for lunch LOL). My goodness, is holding babies was a job, I'd do it in a heartbeat!

Thursday of that week we were out a bit late during a showing. I know we technically could stay home, but no, we do not stay home during the showings if we can help it at all. But we got home.

My husband sat us all down and told us he had something to tell us.

Yeah, I wasn't quite sure what to think at first. That is when he surprised us with the news we were going on vacation. Saturday. Like not even 48 hours from when he dropped the bombshell!

It's been a stressful 2014 so far - so many things going on, so many things to coordinate. He's been busy. I've been busy. We were all feeling the stress. In early February he decided we needed a trip and so he planned it and said not a word. Not even to me!

IMGP2505 So last week we spent the first half of the week in Florida. Then we traveled to Washington DC for the second half. The kids, okay me too, have referred to this trip lovingly as the Florington DC trip!

It was awesome. In Florida we did Universal Studios. I've never been. But I've wanted to go see the Harry Potter stuff. It was amazing.

And for roughly 10 years now, I've been wanting to go to DC with the family.

I still don't know how he pulled it off! But I am so grateful he did!

We got home Saturday and just took it easy for a bit. We've spent a bit of time at the new place and though we don't need a lot of new furniture there, I bought my first bits of furniture! I stayed up almost all night the other night to see the Blood Moon and I fought a horrible awful migraine this week.

So, I haven't blogged in 20ish days, but it's been a wild ride around here for sure! A fun, awesome, much-needed wild ride! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Upside Down

Netflix Stream Team
*Note: Netflix is sponsoring this post as part of my participation in the stream team and sharing that experience with you. However, as always, all opinions are my own! 

We've been a bit upside down in these parts. Preparing a house to sell is crazy!

Last week, we had a lot of new carpet installed - most of our first floor and the basement. It looks great!

But. We spend most of our time on the first floor or the basement. Both were emptied that day and, you know, carpet installers were working. So we were limited to the second floor. Which is just bedrooms. My room is the largest, so the kids naturally congregated in there, well 2/3rds of them!

Team Hot Wheels
They plugged in computers, played minecraft, but we also watched a LOT of netflix! Because did I mention I also had my car in the shop, so I was also without transportation. So we couldn't really do much else. Many things have been packed or where being blocked by furniture pushed to the side to allow carpet to come in.

But, phew! Netflix saved the day.

We started by watching the new show Team Hot Wheels. Now, my 8 year old LOVES hot wheels! Just loves them so I knew that this should would be right up his alley! I think it was!

video


Then, I decided that we should watch something educational because most of our school books were blocked (homeschoolers don't get snow days but we do get house-fixer-upper days!). Netflix is host to so many wonderful programs - documentaries on so many things (for a few years we had watched every dinosaur documentary there was for my son), Mythbusters, How It's Made, etc. That's in addition to educational cartoons we can watch like Arthur and Wild Kratts.

We don't always stick to "educational" things, we watch a lot of things for fun too, but given no books would be cracked that day, I decided less Ninjago and more learning!

So I picked Man vs. Wild.

Alright, alright, not your typical educational show. Basically Bear Grylls gets dropped into places (like forests, mountains, deserts) and has to survive. Along the way he explains what he is doing and why and what things you shouldn't do to survive.I thought it would be a fun way to learn about different areas while picking up some useful skills along the way.

Let me tell you. The show is fascinating. I learned a few things. I also learned that my anxiety can't take the thought of trying to survive on an African plain or in a South American forest, or an American desert! But I did learn to never approach a wild elephant. So that was good.

So we moved on and finished the day with The Magic School Bus. I love that show. It's such a great show with a lot of great science topics covered! The kids were kept happy, I was happy (and anxious free lol!). And we got to see what a baseball game without friction looked like among other things.

Phew. Netflix saved the day! No seriously, I could get to my first floor or basement. All the books were packed or inaccessible. The board games couldn't be reached. There wasn't a place to paint. I had no car so I couldn't leave. It was cold outside so we couldn't run around out there.

My goodness. How did people do this before netflix? Would we have been relegated to watching soap operas and daytime talk tv. Okay, I wouldn't have minded it, but I'm pretty sure the children would have launched a rebellion!

Now the house is back in order. And I'm so thankful for that. But I'm also thankful that at the end of a long day, I can watch House of Cards after everyone else is bed!

How about you? Do you have netflix? Are there any must see's for adults or kids? Share!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kids say the darndest things


In the last week, I've had two child-saying-something-about-cancer-experiences that have been, well, awkward.

Miss 11 and I were visiting a group she will almost positively join once we move. It's to replace a group we will be too far from to continue going to.

Anyway, we went and visited. It was lovely. She right away connected with another child there (who happens to be her same age, plays softball, and is homeschooled)! Everyone seemed friendly and welcoming and the group seems to participate in a lot of things. She was so happy at the meeting she asked if we could join right then (um, no, because you are already part of the other group and need to finish the year there).

As we were getting ready to leave, my kids were talking about their tablets. They each have a tablet and/or computer and/or mp3 player. They are blessed with technology. Pretty much all of it gifts from relatives or hand-me-downs as the next older child gets a gift! However, their original tablets (which are eye pads. Which I type as eye pads to keep spam bots from searching and leaving spam) were given to them when I was diagnosed with cancer. Because people wanted to help anyway they could (and it did).

So my daughter says, without missing a beat "Yeah, thanks mom for getting cancer! It worked out nice for us!"

Now, first of all, my daughter isn't really happy I got cancer. No tech can be better than having a healthy, active mom. Second of all, no one there knew I had cancer. This is not the first time something like this has happened. For my kids, cancer is a way of life. I had it. They lived through it. They were pretty young. My youngest probably doesn't have memories of me before cancer. We are still dealing with side effects from treatment and I still go to a fair amount of doctor's appointments. For us, in our house, it is what it is. For everyone else though, these statements can be jaw-dropping.

Cue the awkward pause. The adults looked at me (which is what usually happens).

"You had cancer?" they manage to spit out.

Yes, I say, sometimes I'll say breast cancer about 3 years ago, sometimes I don't give more info.

Another pause. Then, every time, a form of, "Well, you look good! I'd never have guessed you had cancer!"

Thank you I say, because I mean it. I appreciate not looking sick. I looked sick for a while. There was a time when if you were meeting me for the first time you would have known for sure it was cancer or you would have known for sure something big was going on.

But it's so, so very awkward for me, for the other adults. People aren't sure what to make of it. I think in general, the younger someone is, the more shocking hearing about cancer is. I don't know for sure, but it's my guess.

Then the kids are already talking about the next thing. The moment is gone. It almost feels like a secret has been told and before you can finish processing it, the conversation has moved on. Not that my cancer is, has been, or ever will be a secret, but it feels like it.

It is hard to meet people for the first time - I often wonder, do I mention cancer? Do I not? It will probably come up eventually, so I tend to wait for that moment when it comes up naturally ....

For example a few weeks ago, at the same child's basketball game, another mother asked me about my curly hair. So I said "Well, it was never this curly! But then I went through chemo and this is how it grew back. It's been a few years and I'm still not used to it." This lead to a convo about how I had cancer, what kind, how were things today. There is still some awkwardness there, but it's much less. The conversation flows more naturally and doesn't feel so forced.

I wonder, will it always be like this? Will time lessen it. In 10 years, I doubt my children (who won't really be children anymore) will just blurt out "my mom had cancer!" Unless, I guess, it comes back, but that's a whole different ball game.


Fast forward to today. We learned that we have two new babies coming in the family in the fall. I was talking to Mr. 8. We were talking about how exciting it was and how babies are always a good thing. I told him "I can't wait for these babies to be born so I can hold them! I love babies! And I love them even more when I'm not the one who has to wake up in the middle of the night with them!"

He laughed at that,  and agreed it's better to get to just hold a baby for a bit than have to wake up in the middle of the night. Then he says, "Boy mom, you must be really happy you got cancer so you can't have any more babies! I bet waking up with three of us are enough! And if you didn't get cancer, how many more babies would you have had? Probably a lot."

Um, oh, yeah, wait, what? I didn't even know what to say.

I can get it from his perspective. I can get how this makes sense. I can see his 8 year old brain trying so hard to make sense of everything. But, um, happy I got cancer? Yeah, no.

I took a few seconds and I I just told him that. "You know, I understand what you're saying, but I'm not actually happy I got cancer. Though, I love you and your sisters and I think three kids is a wonderful number to have! Even without cancer, I probably wouldn't have had any more kids."

He said ok, okay, then asked if I wanted a rainbow loom bracelet.

Just like that. Once again, this bombshell (to me anyway) gets dropped. I feel thrown off. And within seconds the kids are moved on to the next thing.

And I have to remind myself, this is their life. Cancer has existed for them for what is most of their life. Not in actual time, but in what they can remember of life. It is what it is. At home we talk openly about it (though, I want to point out, it's not like we sit around and talk about it all the time). So it makes sense that the can drop it into any conversation without giving it a second thought.

It still throws me off though. It still gives me pause. But, it also makes me glad they can talk about it, that they don't feel like it needs to be a secret. When they voice these thoughts and ideas, it gives me and my husband a chance to talk about it.

I think at the end of the day, I prefer it this way.

Though, I still don't like the awkward pauses it can bring!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Is It Friday Yet?

Thankfully, yes, yes it is Friday.

It's been a long few weeks.

Our house has been crazy - we've been painting and had new carpet put in this week. So furniture was moved (mostly to the garage). Thankfully, it's all mostly done now and we can start to put the house back together. Well, minus all the stuff we need to pack because clutter won't help sell the house.

On top of that, over the last few weeks the garage door broke, a toilet broke and kind of flooded (but thankfully not too much) the bathroom, and my car was in the shop.

In the same last two weeks, cancer has stolen the lives of two people I know.

And oh, my headaches are back. And so is a terrible bout of insomnia.

I might be just slightly stressed over here. And by slightly I mean, of course, absolutely totally and completely stressed.

The house is being put back together - which is nice. The garage is fixed. The car is fixed. The toilet is almost fixed. Soon we will be moved and things will start to fall into a nice routine. That's all the easy stuff.

The hard stuff is the loss. The unfairness of it all. I just, I just don't know. I've been thinking about this. Since getting cancer, I've connected with a lot of people who also had or have cancer. This means loss is now a regular part of my life. It never gets easier. Of course, all loss isn't born of this cancer-connection, but much of it is. There's probably a lot more to say about all of this. For the moment, I'll leave it at I can't wait for the day we can cure cancer. All cancers. Regardless of where they strike and who they strike.

But today is Friday. Which means it's the weekend. This weekend we celebrate my husband's birthday. He deserves a fabulous birthday. He's been working so hard: at work, at our house, at the house we are moving too.

We will celebrate him this weekend. We will try to put the house more together and maybe pack a few more things. I will find time to just be. To just be still.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Knit-A-Thon

Very soon (like 10 weeks!) I'll be walking in my third Avon 2-Day walk. And in order to walk in it, I have raise a bit of money. Of course, by a bit, I mean a lot! 1800 to be exact! This year, I'm not even close to it yet!

So, this year, I'm shaking it up a bit. I'm going to do a knit-a-thon.

On Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27!

The date is important because April 26 will be the third anniversary of my diagnosis.

I can't think of anything better I'd like to do on that day than knit all day.

So I will.

The plan is to knit for 24 hours. But I'm also a mom and I have to function, so I'm actually doing 12 hours on Saturday and 12 hours on Sunday. 10:30am to 10:30pm.

10:30 am is about the time the doctor called to give me the news.

IMG_7209 All day I'm going to be knitting. I will be working on either a scarf (or two) or some washcloths. 

At the end of my knit-a-thon I'm going to randomly give what I've made to the people who donate to me.

This is kind of bittersweet too because I've also decided that this will be my last Avon walk, at least for a while.

The walk is hard - which I mean, walking 39 miles isn't easy, but it's just too much for me. It's very hard on me physically.

It's also hard on my family. It is a lot of time.

I know it's for a good cause. I believe in making a difference. But it's also time for me to make a difference in a different way.

That said, I'm still excited about walking this year for the third time. And I can't wait to do my knit-a-thon. It will be such a blast.

Anyway, if you'd like to learn more about my walk, here is my Avon Page!

I might live-blog my knit-a-thon too, I'm not sure yet. I think twitter and instagram might be a better platform that day. Naturally, I'll keep you all posted!