Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dragons! Dragons! Everywhere!

*As a reminder, I am part of the  Netflix Streamteam. I am being compensated for sharing with you, but as  always, all thoughts and opinions are my own (or my children's ... they are not coached or told what to say!).
So, not that long ago, we learned that Netflix was coming out with a new show Dragons: Race to the Edge.

I kid you not, the first day it came out, my 9yo watched every episode! Granted, it was another rainy day around these parts (which we've had a lot of this summer). And he loved it!

Not that long after, we got some goodies in the mail from Netflix to celebrate Dragons: Race to the Edge and I'm pretty sure Mister 9 year old thought he was the luckiest kid in the world!

So, he wanted to share about Dragons with you on this blog, but writing isn't exactly his favorite thing to do. It's not even in his top 10 favorite things to do, so we decided to make this little video for you!

I hope you enjoy it and check out Dragons: Race to the Edge!

P.S. At the end of the video he said "Now  I'm off to the sky" and he flew away and I accidentally cut it off! So pretend it's there ;-)  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How Did I Do It

Unfortunately, I learned recently a friend was diagnosed with cancer.

Instantly, I sent love and prayers. And I reached out. Call me anytime I implored. No, really, I said, anytime. Even if you don't think you should, call.

And he did.

And we talked.

I don't know if I helped. Or if I talked too much. Or if I said the right things. Because sometimes when your head is buzzing and you just feel so helpless to help people you care about, sometimes words come out wrong. Or we don't manage to get all the words out. But I did the best I could. And I tried to say the things I would want to hear in those first few days of diagnosis.

And at one point he asked me, "How did you do this? How did you get through it?"

And I had to bite my lip and hold back the tears.

Because, I don't think I got through it very well. And I don't think I'm getting through it today much better.

I did get through it, sometimes minutes at a time. I got through it because I'm here today. And even the darkest of the darkest days ended.

But, there's still a part of me back there. There's a still a part of me, like a tantruming three year old, stomping my feet, shouting, kicking and screaming, I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS! IT'S NOT FAIR!

Sometimes things are fine. There is smooth sailing. I have a smile on my face. I feel good. Things are good. Cancer sometimes feels like it happened in another life, to another person, or in a dream, or just a weird out-of-body experience.

Other days, not so much. It feels like it was all yesterday. The lingering side effects make me feel broken. I am angry. I feel jaded. There is a chip on my shoulder the size of the sun.

It's not the pretty truth, but it's the truth.

I take those moments as they come. I do my best to roll with them. I dive head-first into projects to distract myself. I focus on the kids. I clean the house a bit more than normal. I avoid blogging (ahem, like I have pretty much this entire July). And when I ready, I sit with those feelings and I try to just let myself feel them as I need to.

But how can I explain all of this to him? I can barely explain it all to myself. I can barely find the words to type here to explain it.

I know, inevitably, someone will read this, think I'm huddling in the corning crying and never getting up and that person (with the best of intentions) will start to worry. It's okay, you don't have to worry. Because that's not what's going on.

Yes, I'm sad.
Yes, I'm angry.
Yes, I'm tired.
Yes, I'm jaded.
Yes, I wish things could be different.

That is all true.

But I also get up each day and do the best that I can on that day.

It's what people do. We get up, we put one foot in front of the other.

Sometimes, I have to take a break and go cry.
Sometimes, I vent about it all to those who will listen.
Sometimes, I go into a dark room and sit there for a few moments.
Sometimes, I think I don't have the energy to do what needs to be done, so I cull to-do lists, I take naps, I lean on friends and family.

And time ticks away. Another day passes. Another day begins. In between it all there is hope; hope for better days; hope that I learn to understand what happened better; hope that I can accept it more than I do today; hope that there will be many, many, many days left to continue this path I'm on; hope that the learning curve becomes less steep with passing time. 

But that feels too big, too small, too cliche, too dark and yet too sugary-sweet all at the same time.

So I tell him, hey, some days will be hard. It's okay. Cry if you have. Be angry if you have to. Let it out. Then just take it a moment at a time. 

It doesn't seem like enough to say. It doesn't seem to adequately fill the space of what is being asked. And yet, there it is. Some days suck. But not all of them. Some days are hard. But not all of them. Some days are great. But not all of them.

Each day ends. Which is great, because it means we get a new one tomorrow. Tomorrow might be hard too. And the next tomorrow might be hard too. And the next tomorrow. But life has taught me they can't all be hard. The glimmer of hope in my eye tells me that fewer days will be hard than not hard. And I cling to that.

I cling to it even today. Even 4 years later. Even through the anger and the pain and the weight of it all.

I cling to it on the days where I feel like I blindly muddling through the day. And on the days when it is smooth sailing. And the days that are somewhere in between the two.

I cling to it even in those moments where it feels like I'm drowning in everything going on, in the middle of the storm, and I can't see that rope I'm clinging to, but I know it's there. And I hold on with all my might.

This is how I did it. This is how I do it. I'm not saying it's the right way to do it. I'm not saying it's the wrong way to do it. But it's how I do it. It works for me. I don't know if his path will look the same as mine. I assume not, but it might look similar.

So I told him that some days will be hard - not in effort to scare or frighten, but behind those words is this thought: some days will be hard and that's okay. You can admit it. You can even embrace it if you need to. You don't need my permission to acknowledge the rocky parts that come along, but I give you permission anyway, because sometimes it's hard to feel the bad parts. Sometimes we think we should smile all the time. Sometimes we think we must be brave all the time. Sometimes we will feel like if we admit it's hard, it's like giving up. But we don't need to smile. We don't need to be brave. We don't need to pretend it's all easy and that we aren't scared or worried or angry. Some days will be hard. And it's okay.

I don't know if that will help him. I do know I wish someone had said that to me 4 years ago. So I said it to him. And if asked by someone else, I say it to them too.

And in the meantime, I will continue to cling to my hope, to take life a moment at a time, and to do the best that I can each day.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mako Mermaids!

 *As a reminder, I am part of the  Netflix Streamteam. I am being compensated for sharing with you, but as  always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today I'm bringing you a special post from my 12 year old. She recently watched a Netflix original: Mako Mermaids and really enjoyed it!


Recently a Netflix Original, Mako Mermaids: an H2O adventure, came out with season 2. In celebration of this news, Netflix sent  me an H2O goody-bag full of everything I need for a fun day of pretending I’m at the beach. The goody-bag including fun items like; Bath And Body Works Pure Paradise, Shea & Vitamin E lotion and body wash, Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea salt Hair Spray and cream, and Essie, Blue Nail Polish!

The Bath And Body Works Pure Paradise, Shea & Vitamin E lotion and body wash is one of the only Bath and Body Works scents I like, it smells amazing! My sister tries to steal it from me all the time, it’s almost gone, refill please! I love it!

The Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea salt Hair Spray and cream makes you get the perfect “just got out of the ocean” curls. I use it all the time. (mother's note: I want to steal it and use it myself!) And, like the lotion and body wash, it’s almost gone. . . if only I could find them in a store or something! The Essie, Blue Nail Polish is beautiful! It’s also the perfect color to match my softball team, Kentucky Wildcats! I also love just wearing it, blue is one of my favorite colors and the sparkle amount is perfect!

The new season for Mako Mermaids is awesome! I love it. Except I’m kind of sad because my two favorite characters left, but they were replaced with people who were just as good. They made tons of startling discoveries and I cannot wait for season 3.  I really hope the Mermaid Council doesn’t find out about this season though (mother's note: she says, if you watch the show, you'll know what she means!)

Miss M really enjoyed watching the show and had a good time! And bonus: season 3 is already out on Netflix too, so it's a good show to binge watch, especially if you are experiencing all the rain we are! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I think I'm more sad than them!

So, as every spring and start of summer, we've had kids playing ball.

One baseball player. One softball player.

I've been to almost all of their games - only missing a couple when they both play on the same night (and husband and I have to split games). I missed a few from not feeling that well. But I've been to almost every single game.

This year, I've also had the pleasure of taking pictures of them playing. Actually, the whole team. Both sets of coaches allowed me to stand on the sidelines of the field and shoot the whole team. And so more game than not I shot anywhere from 800-2000 pictures.

I learned more about my camera during this season than I have since I got it. I was proud of some of the pictures that I took. Every once in a while I get a picture that is just phenomenal and I'm shocked I took it! 

But taking pictures of all these kids, I feel invested in both of their teams.

My husband has been coaching for many years and I think I finally understand how he feels about coaching. I got to really know the kids on the teams this year and it's been a good thing.

But I haven't just gotten to know the kids, I've gotten to chat with a lot of the parents. These might be the best team parents I've had the pleasure of interacting with - not to say past teams have been bad! Because we've never been on a bad team (thankfully!)

I know I've talked about this before, but I struggle to meet people, to make friends, to feel a part of the group.

This year I felt that. I felt a part of the group.

It's been heaven.

Both my kids have either one or two games left.

And I think I might be more sad that the season is ending than my kids are. It's been such a fun season. In a perfect world, we'd stay with these teams for, oh, ever!

If we're lucky, we'll see a few of these kids on our team next year, but it's not guaranteed. And I hope that we can just get together after the season ends - both kids and parents - to keep the friendships growing.

Because it's been a good year. And I'm going to miss it!  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My 9 Year Old Gets It ....

Sometimes, okay - too much of the time, I feel badly for my kids.

I wish they had a healthier mom who struggles with less things.

I also realize this is an irrational thought. I can't control it, they can't control it, and it's not like other families out there don't have their own struggles - their own up and down moments.

I also realize that I'm not the only mom who feels not good enough. What's that saying? Behind every kid is a mom who thinks she's doing it all wrong? Or something like that.

Still, this is how I feel and I struggle with it.

I suppose my kids will learn empathy and compassion, and might be better able to help someone else who is dealing with similar issues. This is a good thing. They are learning, and they are understanding.

This is the hardest with my 9 year old. He doesn't really remember me from before cancer. This bothers me. I know in time the other two may not remember a before and after either, as childhood memories morph together and become just a bit fuzzy with time.

But he was 5 when I got cancer - and not very far into 5.

Tonight at his baseball game (in which he played quite well if I brag for a few moments) I had an allergic reaction to something. No, I don't know what, and yes, I'd probably be willing to pay you pretty much anything if you knew what it was!

 We got home and he said to me "It's pretty strange that you would get an allergic reaction like that and we don't know why"

Yep, I agreed it is. Then I said my body is just sensitive and works differently then some other people's bodies.

It seemed a simple enough response. He thought for a moment and told me "No, I don't think your body works differently. I think it's the cancer. I know you don't have it in you right now mom, but I think it changed you and changed how your body worked."

Well. From the mouth of babes and all of that.

He gets it. I feel much the same way - cancer, the treatment, all of it, I think it changed me - and not in a I-now-have-meaning-in-my-life-and-I'm-a-better-person-who-appreciates-every-single-moment change. But now I'm a person with migraines, hives, rashes, itchiness, chronic fatigue, low iron, severe insomnia, and some other wonderful medical things.

Cancer left it's mark. The treatment left it's toll. This is what life-post-cancer looks like for me.

Just like that, he explained it. It made sense to him. He didn't seem mad, or angry, or confused. He wasn't worried, or scared, and anything. Just cancer changed me, this is where I'm at. It is strange that it happens, but it just is.

And I thought, my 9 year old is wiser than me. And he's wiser than some other people I know.

From the mouth of babes. This sweet boy who loves me no matter what. This sweet boy who wants to help me feel better, and yet, is just able to accept that this is what it is, and can I have dessert now?

And yes, he got a dessert.

Which reminds me, last week I had a knock-me-down migraine. In a rare twist of my migraines, it left me very very sensitive to sound. All sounds pretty much hurt. I didn't want to hear anyone talking to me, or clocks chiming, or music, or the sounds of the tv. I needed silence.

I rested for a while and rejoined the family. My boy asked me what he should draw. I said he should draw a pair of headphones that would make it so my head didn't hurt when people talk to me. So, he drew headphones, told me to hold the paper up to my head, and when I did, he whispered he loved me and wanted to make better.

And then ran off to play.

He's a sweet kid. All three of them are. I think most kids are actually.

I hate that my kids have to live through my medical stuff. But I'm pretty glad, and proud, of how they seem to handle it and take it in stride. I don't think I could have done that at his age. Or the way my 12yo takes it all. Or the way my 15yo takes it all.

But they just roll with what life hands our way, and even my 9 year old gets it.