A Recap

Dave had labs this morning.  All his counts are good.  Next step is the CT scan in a couple weeks and the subsequent results at the end of January.

And now...a recap of the last week :)

Christmas is over.  PHEW!  I feel like it was a marathon or something to get through it!

That was by far the busiest 4 days there has ever been!  I managed to get everything I needed to get done in terms of cooking (aside from the previously mentioned skipped sugar cookies).  Aria and I did not get her presents made...those will have to wait until later.  I was on my feet all day on Christmas Eve getting the cooking and cleaning done, followed by setting out the food and making sure everything was running smoothly.  Wow...there was a TON of food!  Dad wasn't able to come Christmas Eve because he was still in too much pain from his surgery (y'all..look up "hammer toe surgery"....it's disgusting), but that's OK...we all understood.  Surprisingly Aria was great with the presents!  She took turns and didn't rush into anything and got excited about every gift she got, even the gift cards once I told her it was her own money.  By the time the whole family left, I was utterly exhausted and ready for bed...only to remember that I still had a long night ahead of me.  I think it was about 1130/midnight by the time everyone left.

All of that food that I had put out needed to be put away (where the hell did I find space for all of that?!), the wrapping paper needed to be bagged up and put out, the dishes needed to be loaded in the dishwasher and started, the presents opened needed to be moved to the back of the tree to make room for Santa's presents, Santa had to come and nicely lay out all the rest of the presents to be opened Christmas day, Santa had to eat his cookies (but leave some crumbs) and drink all his milk and take the carrots for the reindeer, and the nutella french toast needed to be assembled and ready for baking in the morning.  By the time I shuffled my way up the stairs and plopped into bed, it was 4 AM.  Let me tell you...I don't know how I did it when I was younger...but staying up until 4 AM is HORRIBLE.  Let me repeat that....IT'S FREAKING HORRIBLE!

Aria woke up around 730 or some other stupid time.  Lucky for me, however, she was easily appeased with her iPad and I could get some more z's.  Christmas breakfast was supposed to be served around 11/1130....it was ready at 1230.  Dad was able to come on Christmas day and got to partake in the smoked fish that my inlaws brought up with them.  After breakfast it was decided that Aria had been patient long enough and could open the rest of the presents.  She brought dad his bag of presents from the night before and said "Merry Christmas Papa"...lets all do a collective "awwwwwwww".

Breakfast...well, brunch.....OK fine, lunch....stayed out all day so by the time it was dinner time, everybody was still full!  One less meal for me to have to put out...yes!  Dave and I played a couple rousing games of Scrabble with his mom and sister before calling it a night around 1:00 in the morning.  Another late night.  Ugh!

Friday was a very relaxing day....we slept in super late, had some good family time with Dave's family, and then handed Aria off to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Amy so Dave and I could have a much-needed date night.

Saturday was a little less relaxing, but not bad.  Went out for breakfast, had "family haircut time" at Great Clips, then Rioz in Columbia for dinner.  MMM meat.  If you're in the area, go there for dinner.  It's expensive, but if you can eat lots of steak, it's well worth it!  After we got back from dinner, his family stayed at the house until around midnight.

Sunday was the first semi-relaxing day we had.  There was no family at my house, we got up whenever we wanted, stayed in our pajamas all day, ate leftovers for every meal, watched TV for every waking moment, and then finished the night with a Packer victory.

I'm exhausted.  I'm ready for a vacation (not that there is one in my near future).


Christmas Eve Eve

OK y'all...I'm seriously not feeling the Christmas spirit this week.  It was totally there last week, but it has fizzled rapidly.

I have SO much to do.  Here's a flaw of mine:  When I feel overwhelmed, I have a problem prioritizing.  When there's so much to do, I don't know where to start...I can't seem to figure out what's more important and what needs to be done right away.  So I have a seat to ponder and come up with a plan.  Well wouldn't you know it, 6 hours later I'm still sitting and I still don't know where to start...and then it's time for bed and the whole day has gone and I got nothing done.  That's what happened to me this weekend.

Now it's Tuesday afternoon, and I'm wishing that I had just taken this entire week off.  Though it's possible that I still wouldn't have gotten anything done for fear of choosing the wrong task to start with.

I didn't make the Christmas cookies that I make EVERY year.  They're an all day affair and I'm officially out of time.

I still have to pick up some grocery items that I forgot to get on Sunday when I went shopping (the shopping that I should have done on Saturday).

I need to make the double batch of Oreo truffles that I should have made on Sunday.

I need to make the chex mix that I should have made yesterday.

I need to finish wrapping the presents that should have been done on Sunday.

I need to have Aria make her Christmas presents that will take several hours that I should have started yesterday.

Dave wants to go out to eat for dinner tonight and then go shopping for the rest of everything I need, so we won't be home until after 7.

I have to go out tomorrow morning and buy bagels and pick up the Honey Baked Ham order because I left my HBH gift card at home today.

I have to finish cleaning the house...vacuum the living room, wipe the kitchen table, clean out that stupid stock pot that's still sitting in my sink, wipe the kitchen counters, clean the stove top.

All the groceries that aren't perishable are still sitting in their bags on the kitchen counters because, hey, why bother putting them away when I'm just going to need them in a day or so anyway.

Tomorrow I have to make the pigs in a blanket, the baked ziti, the meatballs, the kale and artichoke dip, the strawberry and banana salad.

Then it's family time and presents....finally...something fun!

After presents, I have to prep the overnight nutella french toast and get everything cleaned up and all the food put away.

Christmas morning I have to bake the french toast, make the sausage and peppers, make the egg casserole...then more presents.

Oh it's going to be a busy...BUSY 72 hours!

All while I'm busy worrying about my husband who has cancer, my grandpa who is apparently less healthy than we thought, my dad who just had foot surgery today, and my coworker's family who's little 3 month old baby is still in the PICU after another open-heart surgery and is struggling to stay alive.   It's all very emotionally and mentally taxing.

Come on 2014....it's time for you to move on.  Hurry up now.


Tremendous Friday Ten

So I owe y'all a "double issue" because I was too lazy to post a Fab Friday Five last week.  So here it is...the big one.

BUT FIRST....an update :)
Dave appears to be feeling pretty well.  He's been eating a lot of soup and turkey sandwiches.  Tonight for dinner he had two little Red Baron cheese pizzas.  I don't think he's drinking enough fluids....but it's not really for me to judge.  We went to the VA today so he could get his shot of Neulasta.  He has labs scheduled in a couple weeks, a CT scan on the 12th, and a doctor appointment on the 30th.  We're hoping for good news!

Another side note....that sick little baby I mentioned recently isn't doing so well.  Please continue to pray for her!

OK...onto the goods!

Look at this sloth!
(picture not my own)

Look at this cute little sloth! How cute is he?!

Skinny Eggnog Pie w/ Gingersnap Crust (recipe >> here)

I was thinking of making this as a "healthier" dessert option...but apparently not everybody likes eggnog.  Some people have never even tasted eggnog!  That baffles me!  My favorite part about winter is the eggnog :)  I might still make it anyway...we'll see.  It's a no-back dessert, so it won't take too much time or too much effort.  Lord knows that's right up my alley!

(image not my own)

I find this to be beautiful!  Find what you're great at and then share it with the world!  Don't be selfish and keep it all for yourself...  Imagine how dull the world would be if everyone saved their greatness and didn't spread it around for all to see?  Pretty boring to me!

lil pig in a hammock
(image not my own)

Look at this little piglet.  He's in a hammock!

Happy Wednesday everyone! | The Cutest Animals You Have Ever Seen #welovedogs
(image not my own)

This little guy needs to comment!

Tis the season.

Right?!!!  The best desserts of the year are at Christmas time!

Nubble Light, York Beach | Maine
(image not my own)

Look at this place.  Supposedly it's Nubble Lighthouse in York Beach, Maine.  I've always wanted to go to Maine...now I have something specific to see!

No beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart ❤️
(image not my own)

This is 100% true!  You can have the most beautiful face, best body, most money in the entire world.  But if you're not beautiful deep down where it counts, you're just as ugly as a big ol' turd lying in the yard, collecting flies.  Be a good person.  All the time.  No excuses.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies
Eggnog Sugar Cookies (recipe >> here)

Seriously, I love eggnog.  Did I mention that yet?  Anyway...look at these little beauties?!  Don't they look scrumptious?  MMM I want to make these real bad!

Better than resolutions
(image not my own)

With the new year fast approaching, a lot of people are thinking of a New Year's resolution they will most likely abandon by February (March if they're lucky).  Will it be to lose weight?  To exercise more?  To be nicer?  To go to church  more often?  How about pick one of the above...or all of them for that matter.  A little more generalized than typical...but they're also smaller tasks.  Try a new food.  Take a risk.  These things are all pretty easy.  Give it a try!  I'll do it, too!  Come on...it'll be fun!

I'm taking next week off from the blog.  Next week is family time...not computer time!

Merry Christmas, y'all!  Happy Hanukkah! 



It seems as though it took a lifetime to get here, but then also feels like it arrived ahead of schedule.  This is it.  Today is Dave's LAST DAY of chemo!  We don't know what the coming days/weeks/months/years have in store for his health...but we know that today is the last day of chemo.  16 treatments.  16 agonizing days (for both him and me...I....me...whatever).  We apparently have differing view of how this week went.  I thought it was going terrible.  I've been as quiet as I can...not speaking to him unless spoken to for fear of The Crank (that's what I've decided to call him just now!  I'm sure he'll love it)!  But in talking to him this morning, from his point of view (which is really the one that matters), this week has been going quite different from others.  He says he's been feeling better this time than the previous times.  If that's how he feels, then I'm all for it!

So, with this being the end (of this particular leg of his overall battle), this is what we've learned:

- Chemo sucks.  We don't recommend it, to anybody.  He has said that being in Iraq was not as bad as this.
- Riding in the car makes the nausea worse (go figure).
- You have to preemptively treat the symptoms, not chase them.  So take the nausea medicine BEFORE you're nauseous.
- Get some Biotene (an oral rinse) and use it OFTEN.  It helps with the burning of the mouth and it helps with the metallic taste.
- Get some peppermints and some hard Jolly Ranchers...they help with the metallic taste.
- If you eat to try to cover up the metallic taste, make sure you force yourself to go to the bathroom...or start taking some Miralax to help with the soon-to-come bloating and constipation.
- DRINK YOUR FLUIDS!  If water makes the metallic taste worse, mix it with some Gatorade.  Buy LOTS of Gatorade if mixing.
- Make sure you eat, even if you're not feeling up to it.  And don't eat junk...eat something with everything in it that you need for nutrition.
- Take a daily vitamin.  Your immune system will turn to crap because all your white blood cells are dying, so take a vitamin every day.
- No dairy, nothing acidic, nothing with a high presence of metallic minerals (like fish).
- If you're feeling like you really want to eat something, but you're worried how it might affect your tummy, go ahead and eat it anyway.  Your tummy will actually be fine.
- Get plenty of rest...but make sure that you're moving a little, too.  The more you move, the better.
- When you're offered a port...even if the idea of it freaks you out...get the port anyway.  Otherwise, by the end of it all, your veins will be shot and they'll have to find horrible places to stick you (like your hands) or will need to stick you more than once in a day.
- Even though it's HARD...try to stay positive.  Trying to think positively about the whole thing seems to make it just a little bit better than if you stay in bed and wallow in your own self pity.
- Know that with chemo comes mood swings.  They will be rough...but you'll get through them.
- Make sure you apologize to your caregiver for being such an ass when you didn't mean to be.
- If you're a caregiver...do the best you can to not offer your input on the patient's mood.  It doesn't help.  It doesn't even come close to helping.
- You will have a hard time regulating your temperature.  You may feel hot, then cold, then be sweating again.  This is OK.  Just open the window, turn the fan on, and keep some blankets near you.
- When you're feeling up to it, get outside for a little fresh air.  It WILL make you feel better.
- If you're a caregiver, make sure you read the labels on the medication bottles, even if you think you you've got them memorized.  Sometimes you don't know them as well as you should and you'll end up giving an Ambien instead of a Phenegran (possibly more than once....maybe even more than twice).
- When you have labs drawn in the middle of your rest period, they may not be indicative of what your labs will be come the day of treatment.  They may be better, they may be worse.  There's nothing you can do to predict it.
- You're stronger than you think...but you may also be weaker than you think.  You can think all day long that you're going to handle every day like a champ.  You can plan to go to work on some days after treatment if you're feeling up to it.  You can think that you'll sail right through this.  Only to realize that you CAN'T go to to work the day of treatment because you feel like crap and you want to go to bed.  You may not sail right through it.  And that's perfectly fine.

The last 3 months have been more of an ordeal than an adventure.  An ordeal I'd prefer to NEVER have to go through again.  And I know that Dave would absolutely say the exact same thing.

Good riddance, chemo!

"Even the darkest night will end..."  Les Miserables Quote Greeting Card via Etsy



No, not that kind of "quickie"...don't be so gross!

I'm sorry I forgot to do a "Fab Friday Five".  If you're lucky, you'll get a "Tremendous Friday Ten".  Don't hold your breath, though!

Dave's labs were low last week, but they came up enough this week to proceed with what will hopefully be his last week of chemo.  Our fingers are crossed that we're done this whole nightmare after this round! 

Have a great week, y'all!


Beautiful Soul

If this is lengthy, I apologize in advance.

Dave's labs yesterday weren't so great.  His WBC count was 4.1 and his platelet count was 136, which are both very low. His ANC, however, was over 2200, so he's still on schedule for treatment next week as long as his Monday labs are ok.

I'm at home with Aria today.  When we got to school and she was about to jump out of the car, she threw up....little corn niblets all over the ground and in my car. So we cleaned up and went right back home. She's thrown up twice since being home and is looking generally pitiful...and now she's developed a small fever. Super fun day.

Now to the "meat and potatoes"......

I had the pleasure yesterday of visiting with my coworker and family as they stay with their little baby who had heart surgery last week. They have an incredible strength and a wonderful spirit.  And that beautiful little baby! She's just a precious little bundle and has a hell of a fight ahead of her...and as soon as she pulls through, she'll be just perfect! Anyway, when I got to daycare to pick up Aria, this is the conversation that ensued (as soon as we got home I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget any of it) : 

M- I went and saw a sick little baby at the hospital today.
A- what made that baby sick?
M- that baby had a hole in her heart that needed to be fixed.
A- hear heart?
M- Yes. You know how you play doctor and you listen for heart beats? That's the heart.
A- But what does the heart do?
M- The heart is what pumps your blood all over your body...to your arms and legs.
A- and to your fingers and toes?
M- yes dear, that's right.
A- well what's wrong with her heart?
M- she had a hole in her heart that wasn't allowing the blood to get to everywhere it needed.
A- but where's the blood going?
M- it's just staying in her heart. She has a hole in the middle of her heart so the right blood isn't going to the right places.
A- so it's not getting to her arms and legs?
M- that's right.
A- but how did that baby get a hole in her heart?
M- when she was in Her mommy's tummy, her heart just didn't want to grow right, and so it forgot to grow that part and it became a hole.
A- but why?
M- well nobody really knows why, honey.
A- so what made the hole?
M- I just told you...it grew that way.
A- but what happened to her that put a hole in her heart?
M- well nothing happened to her heart that put a hole there, it just gre that way.
A- yeah, or maybe that baby fell down and that made a hole.
M- sure honey, maybe that's exactly what happened. (Sarcasm is lost on this one)
A- well how is that baby going to get better? 
**cue waterworks**
M- she's connected to a lot of machines that are helping her heal.
A- what's 'heal'?
M- to heal means to get better.  Like when you have an owie and we put a bandaid on it and then when the bandaid comes off your owie is done and you can't see your owie anymore.  That's because it healed.
A- does that baby hands an owie?
M- yes ma'am, she sure does.
A- well what makes that baby heal?
M- the machines that are helping, plenty of rest, and blood.
A- blood?
M- yes.  You know how mommy and daddy give blood? Well a lot of other people in our city give blood, too, and people who are sick sometimes need that blood to get better. (Aria has seen Dave give blood many times and we've explained to her how it saves lives and blood donors are like superheroes.)
A- Mommy, did you save that baby's life today?
**Cue MORE waterworks**
M- well no honey, mommy's blood isn't the same kind the baby needed.
A- kind?
M- yes.  Everybody has a different kind of blood, and the blood kinds have to match in order to save a life.
A- I know what kind my blood is...it's red!
M- well honey, everybody's blood is red.
A- what kind of blood do you have, mommy?
M- I have O negative blood.
A- what kind of blood does daddy have?
M- daddy has B positive blood.
A- what kind of blood do I have?
M- I think I remember that you have B negative blood.
A- just like daddy!
M- sort of.  You have s mis of mommy's and daddy's blood.
A- well what kind does papa have?
M- papa has O positive.
A- oh his is dark red!
M- well honey, everybody's blood is dark red.  It's not the color that makes everyone's blood different, it's very itty bitty, teeny tiny things in our blood that make it different.
A- like germs. That's why we have to wash our hands so much.  Sometimes germs are big, sometimes they're really small.  And sometimes they're green!
M- That's right, honey, but we don't have germs in our blood.  I don't really know how to explain it, but it's not germs.
A- ok. What else makes that little baby get better?
M- a lot of people thinking very happy thoughts about that little girl will help her feel better.
A- do we think about her?
M- yes dear, we sure do!
A- when I'm bigger, can I go see her at the hospital?
M- well hopefully she'll be better by the time you're bigger and she'll be at home.
A- well can I go visit her after she's home?
M- sure honey.
**then.....at bedtime.....**
A- do you know what I'm thinking about, mommy?
M- what honey?
A- daddy (because he was still at work) and that sick little baby.
**I left the room with tears streaming and a huge smile**

That was our entire conversation the whole way home from school.

But look at that....she's only three and knows what it means to care about somebody else who needs to be cared for.  I think that's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I'm not really one for astrology, but I know that Aria is a Pisces.  Pisces are known for being compassionate, emotional, and selfless.  That's ringing true with her and I just love it.  I hope she always exhibits those characteristics! She's got such a beautiful little soul and I hope it never changes!!



We're just trucking along this week, getting ready for the next cycle week (next week, assuming all the labs are alright).  Dave has labs tomorrow, so tomorrow I'll write a brief update on those to keep everyone informed.  He has been ever so graciously giving me ideas on things to cook for Christmas Eve .... the list is ever-growing.

So let me tell you a little about what's been going on with MY side of life!  Some words/phrases to describe me lately are:

I'm having a really hard time actually remember to do chores.  Like the dishes, and the trash, and the laundry, and the litter box...and even remembering to turn off the Christmas lights in the morning.  It's a battle that I'm seriously struggling with.  I also think I forgot to pay a bill...but I'm not sure which one.

Good Samaritan.
I've been "appointed" as the go-between for one of our co-workers in need at work.  He and his family have been spending a lot of time at the hospital while their 3 month old little girl went through open-heart surgery last week (a very invasive procedure that took over 15 hours, yikes :( .  I became the person to take their updates and give them to the rest of the company.  I'm also the person taking up collections and anything else to help this super awesome family.  It's really quite fulfilling and it's beautiful to see the love and support that our coworkers have for each other here...we really are a family here, through and through.  Plus...doing all of this for those lovely people helps keep my mind off other things...like, you know...cancer and stuff.

It's possible that lately I've been a little extra cranky.  I don't really have any good reason for it.  I think it's just because I get set in my plans...or my specific lack of plan...and then all of a sudden something changes that I'm not prepared for and it makes me angry.  I don't like schedule changes that aren't my idea.  I mean, I REALLY don't like them.

Today...today my toddler learned how to lock doors.  She learned how to lock doors with me outside.  She learned how to lock doors with me outside and her inside.  Yes, my super awesome three year old locked me out of the house today.  It was an accident...she wanted to come outside with me (Sophie is being particularly ridiculous lately and won't go poop without somebody going outside with her, so I went outside).  She tried to turn the handle, but ended up locking the little lock instead.  Then when she couldn't get the handle turned, she found the deadbolt and turned that, thinking it would help her get outside.  So there I am...640 in the morning....it's dark, cold, and I'm locked out of my own house and my child is crying at the door just inside because she's not outside with me and she can't get the door open.  I managed to stay calm the entire time and, after 10 minutes of coaxing and consoling (and of course, she had to take a drink break), she finally got that door unlocked.  We then proceeded to have a lesson on the parts of the door that she should use and Dave and I decided that maybe we ought to have a couple hide-a-keys now....just in case!

So Christmas is coming up....FAST! I still have about half of my shopping to do, ALL of my wrapping, last minute menu changes, cooking, sugar cookie baking, cleaning, and preparing for the next chemo week.  And I'm ready for this year to be over.  My brother and sister-in-law were in a bad accident over the weekend and I just hate it.  I don't like when people I love get hurt and there's nothing I can do to fix it.  I just can't stand it.  2014 has not been kind to our family and I'm done. Just plain done.

So there it is.  We'll talk briefly tomorrow about Dave's labs.  Till then...
LOL Monday Morning, need more coffee


Fab Friday Five

Scratch that... Fab Friday four!
It's been quite the week.  I feel like I've been super busy and have had very little time to just....be.  Dave is feeling better this week.  He went back to work yesterday instead of his normal Wednesday.  He felt that he really just needed another day...and that is A-O-K.  He came to playdate with me on Wednesday and had a blast...he ate well and got to converse with other adults.  I was reluctant to pick him up simply because stopping at my house before going to playdate is NOT on the way...but I'm glad I did and I'm glad he enjoyed himself.  Last night he noticed that the etoposide rash is already back.  We still don't know what to do for relief for him.

Aria has been a special breed of awful this week.  When my parents dropped her off on Sunday evening, they told me how great she was all weekend for them.  As soon as they left, she transformed into the toddler from hell.  The hell has continued all week long.  All in the same day, she hit one of her little friends at school, lied to me about said hitting, and then blatantly disobeyed me and scratched in the dirt after I had just told her not to.  She lost her iPad for two days for that little stunt. The very next day at playdate, she did not eat her dinner, then screamed and whined about how hungry she was as we were getting ready to leave.  She kept touching the ornaments on the tree and, when told not to touch, she responded with "But I wasn't touching, I was just looking."  So again, another lie. Afterwards, when asking why she was being so bad, she simply replied with "I'm tired!!"  So Dave put a set of new rules in place explaining to her that "If you're too tired to behave, then you must need to go to bed earlier."

Ordinarily we come home from school, she gets on her iPad, she eats dinner (maybe), she watches more iPad, then its up to bed around 8/830....with stalling techniques that last until 930/10 some days.  The new rules:  On school days, no iPad. Period.  We will come home from school, go right upstairs and get a bath and some jam jams, then we'll come back downstairs....have dinner, do some artsy fartsy craft things, then up to bed at 7.  She may have her iPad on the weekends, but that's it.

There's only one problem with these rules...it obligates me to do artsy fartsy craft time with my toddler EVERY night.  Awesome.  Don't get me wrong, I like to do these things with Aria.  But on a Saturday....not at 5:00 on a Tuesday after I've worked all day and I'm exhausted.  It also forced me to go to Hobby Lobby and spend an unnecessary amount of money on craft supplies.  I did need more paint, though....so the trip was not wasted :)

Onto the fun stuff!

(Aria uses tools to help fix cars with Papa...while wearing dresses)
So there's this blog that I follow called Mother Blogger (read it >> here).  She was inactive for quite a while, but she's super funny and quite...real.  I can't stand reading blogs written by happy-go-lucky people who only write down the niceties and skip over all the real, nitty-gritty details of life.  Everything isn't all flowers and rainbows and sunshine....sometimes the rainbows are dark and grey and with a big ol' pile of poop at the end rather than a pot of gold.  THAT'S real life.  Anyway...her latest entry is about gender stereotypes and how they start so young.  I completely agree with her post.  There is NO reason why a boy can't play with dolls and why a girl can't play with tools and a dump truck.  Aria has Hot Wheels, toy airplanes, tools (complete with tool belt and safety goggles), a dump truck, a tractor, and Caterpillar (CAT) yellow construction vehicle toys (an excavator, a bull dozer, and something else).  She also plays with Doc McStuffins, baby dolls, play jewelry, and she likes to wear skirts.  Boys can do exactly that same thing.  They can play with pink doctor kits and pretend kitchen sets and color with the purple crayon all they want.  To teach your child to follow their respective gender stereotype is to further the problem.  Maybe some men beat their wives and children because as kids they weren't exposed to stuffed animals that needed to be loved on.  Maybe some men come home from work expecting dinner to be on the table because they never got the opportunity to pretend to cook a meal for their mommy.  Even Dave tends to make comments about how he wants to have a boy to go camping and fishing and play catch with....I have to remind him that Aria can do all of those things.  He knows she can, and is more than excited to do all those things...but the comment still comes out now and then.  My child wears dresses and skirts and then proceeds to put her tool belt on, fill it with tools, and set off to find something to "fix".  She's secure in her role as a human being...and I hope she stays that way.

(The Professional Chef, 9th edition,  The Culinary Institute of America >> buy at Amazon)
Because we're too lazy to shop for each other, Dave and I ordered our own Christmas presents.  Dave spent a certain amount of money on all of his stuff and I was supposed to spend just as much (really, he told me to spend more because he'd never be able to give me enough to make up for these last few months....RIGHT!!) Anyway.  As I'm SUPER interested in really learning how to cook, my Christmas present to myself is a culinary textbook from the Culinary Institute of America.  It's going to teach me so many things...how to properly use my knives...how to properly saute...how to make a pan sauce...how to do EVERYTHING.  It's 1,000 pages of awesome!  I'm super excited about it! I'm always looking at recipes and I get nervous to try them because they involve a technique I have no idea how to do, or too many steps and I feel overwhelmed.  And I certainly can't afford to quit my job and go to culinary school...so I'm going to teach myself the best that I can.  For my birthday, I'm planning on getting the updated version of the baking textbook (also by CIA).  
2015 is going to be a GREAT cooking year!

(Dark Places - Gillian Flynn >> buy at Amazon)
So I read (well, listened via Audible) this book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Now it's a movie...and the entire story just continues to blow me away!  It was so...thrilling!  So I went to my trusty Amazon and looked for what else Gillian Flynn wrote and proceeded to add both her other books (Sharp Objects  //  Dark Places) to my "want to read" list.  I just recently finished listening to Sharp Objects.  That book felt like it dragged on, but I was pleasantly surprised at the end to find out who had done the killing of the two little girls in the small Missouri town.  I'm currently reading Dark Places (and I'm less than 100 pages from the end) and I'm still unsure as to who did it!  The story is about a girl who, at a very tender age of 8 or so, tells the courts that her brother murdered her entire family at 2:05 AM on the night of January 3, 1985.  The girl, all grown up now, is a little nutty...she's a bit of a recluse and has very little money to call her own.  A group of people obsessed with murders finds her and convinces her to REALLY look at that case from so many years ago...and they'll pay her for her investigations.  The story is told by 3 narrators:  Libby (the girl, now all grown up), Patty (the mother) and Ben (Libby's murderous brother).  Libby's story is told in the present, Patty and Ben's story is told in the past.  In the story, I'm currently up to midnight on January 3rd.  I can't wait to finish the book and find out ... who really did the killing of the 'Day' family?  It's my "work" book, so I only read it at work during lunch time (those who know me know that I'm regularly reading 3-5 books at a time) and boy do I look forward to lunch every day and I dread when it ends every day.  Check out these books....seriously, read them...they're pretty great!  Though, I'm not going to lie, Gone Girl is the best of the three.
(I'm currently reading Dark Places at work at lunchtime; I'm listening to Little Women whenever I'm in the car because it's a good Christmas story and I just love the Winona Ryder version of the movie; I'm re-reading the Fifty Shades trilogy so I can be refreshed for the movie in February; and lastly I'm reading the 2nd Harry Potter book during Aria's bath time because I've never read the HP series.)

25 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
(not my own image)
This elf that I have to remember to move every night is going to be the bane of my existence.  Although....she comes in pretty handy when Aria is being naughty and I can remind her "Aria...don't forget that Twinkle is watching and is going to tell Santa everything you did today."  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  And what man at the Elf factory decided that this little guy's hands ought to be sewn together.  That's just stupid.  I gotta remember to cut that damn thread so that I can put her in some better places.  Today she's hanging on the blinds...like she got caught sneaking back in the house.  Aria said "That silly elf!"

That's it folks. It's late, I just took a sinus pill that's making me VERY sleepy, and I'm officially an old fuddy duddy who is in bed by 10 on a Friday night. Judge me all you want, I don't care!


The Taming of the Bird

(Wow, I've written several entries about poultry...)

Alright y'all...I made another batch of matzo ball soup yesterday (without the matzo balls, at my husbands approval...thanks honey) ALL BY MYSELF!  I handled that damn chicken like a boss!!  I was elbows deep in that sucker getting it good and rinsed out, and then ripped it to shreds at the end.  And FYI:  there WERE little bones floating all in the soup, as I had feared.  Itty bitty little rib bones...so many of them...yuck!  I think the most disgusting part about picking the chicken out of the soup was the cartilage areas and the spine.  I don't know why, but they were disgusting.

Dave had quite a remarkable weekend!  On Saturday he came downstairs for several hours and even went outside for a little while my dad was putting up the Christmas lights. He had a voracious appetite most of the weekend and ended up eating things such as pizza and turkey sandwiches along with the rest of the chicken soup and the soup my friend Michelle had brought him last time.  He's drinking a TON of fluids (3/4 water + 1/4 gatorade) and hasn't really been too nauseous.  He spent all day downstairs with me yesterday and was in very good spirits.  He did notice that the bone pain from his shot was quite a bit more noticeable this time...he said it feels like a really bad case of the flu or like he spent all day working out.  He's at home today and I suspect that he'll have a pretty good day.

All in all....a pretty great weekend!

And today....on December 1, it's supposed to be 72°.  Go home December, you're drunk!

Dear Monday, Go step on a Lego. | Workplace Ecard | someecards.com


Fab Friday Five

I realize Friday is almost over for those of us on the east coast, but hey...better late than never!

Compared to the last treatment weeks, it would appear that the "third time's the charm!"  We're not sure if it's the fact that he's trying to think more positive, or if he's drinking a better amount of fluids, or if he's eating more properly...but either way, it's apparent at he's feeling much better this go around.  His doctor told him not to chase his symptoms, but to treat them presumptively, so we are doing that.  Every time I bring him anything, I make sure I bring him something to drink. He's been eating the matzo ball soup and, of all things, microwave pizza instead of just toast and jello. He's actively trying to remember to suck on some Jolly Ranchers to get rid of the metallic taste. He's still spending all of his time in bed, but his demeanor is currently much improved!
**knock on wood**

Moving on!

Can somebody please come draw this on my chalkboard pantry door for me? Please and thank you!
I'm totally serious.

Mm hmm! I mean, I do love salad....but sometimes, you just gotta eat cake.

Ha....my bacon...!

I look at the weather every day for Blue Ridge.  I'm not sure when we will be able to go again, but oh man am I ready!

New York....sigh....I've only been once and it was just for a little. I'm DYING to go back....again and again and again....and see everything!

Tomorrow my dad is coming over to put up our Christmas lights (and we are getting him a present that I'm sure he'll try not to take so I'll have to force it on him). Aria, mom, and I are going to put up the Christmas tree. And then later I'll go buy all the ingredients to make some more matzo ball....gulp...all by myself. Less than excited about that part.

It took me three times trying to do this thing on the Blogger app on the iPad...it's not very user friendly! Super frustrated now!


Revenge of the Poultry

Let me preface this by saying that I'm typing this on the iPad and tend to think faster than my fingers move. There will be typos and probably a lot of "if" when I mean "of" and vice versa. Don't point out my errors and I won't correct your grammar in your Facebook posts.
So you remember about a month or so ago when I posted about my adventures with the matzo ball soup and the dreaded whole chicken? Well...I had my second bird experience today, and the damn bird won.

It all started at work with a simple question: Do you want a turkey? Already cooked and its free.
Well of course I said yes. Who would say no? I should have said no.

So I got this big, smoked bird in a very large bag. It's beautiful and smells delicious. The whole building smelled like meat all day today. Anyway, so I've got this bird. I'm thinking to myself "this will be great....I'll go home, carve it like a pro, freeze it, and it'll be great for Christmas Eve." Psh! I'm an idiot! 

So I picked Dave up from chemo at 2, dropped him and the turkey off at home (I put it in the oven for safe keeping because I pictured my bad fat cats dragging it through the house if I left it on the counter), then I went to Kroger to get a few things we needed...like pumpkin pie :) 
Then I came home and went about my evening taking care of Dave and watching Gilmore Girls. Somewhere around 830, I remembered that damn bird sitting in my oven. 

The first trick was getting it out of the bag and into a suitable holding device because, well, I have cats....and nobody wants a whole turkey just flopsing around on the counter or table.  So I found a foil roasting pan with a plastic lid and attempted to get the thing out of the bag. (This is when the feline supervision started) The bag had handles...the stupid handle got stuck on one of the legs. The juice that was in the bag when I got it had congealed into some sort of gel that I'm guessing is about the same consistency as an aspic (Google it). I was already defeated and I hadn't even started.

I had, of course, asked mom what I was supposed to do with this thing; she offered very little help. Her exact words were "Well, I would take off and discard the skin.  Breakfast off thighs and wings. I would then slice the breath meat." Of course, first you have to realize that mom didn't correct the autocorrect mistakes and she meant "break" and "breast". Ok, doesn't sound so bad.  Ha!

This is what I learned about turkeys tonight:
The skin is very much attached to that sucker. The legs come off not at the hip joint, as instructed, but at the knee...so the thigh is still attached to the body and you've got a leg bone in your hand.  Side note: in case you don't know me, I DETEST bones....the feel of them, the sight of them....yikes! Touching them makes my skin crawl....blech I'm all creepy-crawly just thinking about it. And the wings... Those little bastards are the devil. You can't pull them off.  You can't twist them off without doing the crocodile death roll. And once you do get them off, you realize that you've only gotten off the wing, not the little drummy part that is, of course, still attached to the stupid bird.

I stopped at this juncture and had a piece of well-earned cake. I was worn out and the situation called for cake.

I picked as much meat off the legs that I could muster.  The wings were utterly useless and I found no meat at all on those. Not that there wasn't meat...I'm sure there was, I just couldn't locate it. Then I took a knife to the breasts and did the best I could. When it was all said and done, I was sure I had only gotten off half of the viable turkey, but I was at a loss as to what to do next. I was just plain done with that little bugger.  It's enough meat to freeze for Christmas, so it'll do!

I chucked the bird in the trash, the whole while my cats were eye-balling me. I could picture them saying "WHAT are you doing with that?! You're not going to throw that out without letting us have it first, are you?"

Why yes...yes I did, you bad fat cats!

Here's a picture of the turkey and one of my bad fat cats ( his name is Little Man).
(I tried, don't judge me!)


Unholy Trifecta

When I'm sick, I pin. And that is why the number of pins  on my pinterest has gone  up significantly this week.
(image via Betype)

You know what's seriously the pits?
Being sick.

You know what's worse than being sick?
Being sick AND taking care of your husband as he goes through chemo at the same time.

You know whats worse than being sick and taking care of your husband at the same time?
Being sick, taking care of your husband as he goes through chemo, and taking care of a toddler...all at the same time!

It's a very unholy trifecta.
It seriously blows and I DO NOT recommend it.

I've got a brewing sinus infection (thanks Mother Nature...thank you very much).  I have 4 more days of antibiotic ahead of me and however long I want of the cough pearls (those are the best things ever made and ought to be made available over the counter).  The only thing that helps my sinus congestion/itchy eyes/sneezing/everything else horrible is this generic sinus medication I got at Kroger.  The catch is that it knocks me out....REALLY knocks me out.  So I'm great for about 10 minutes before I fall asleep, and pretty good for the first half hour after waking up...then it's all downhill from there.

The silver lining:  It's Wednesday, so Aria goes to my parent's house for the remainder of the week.  And with tomorrow being Thanksgiving and no work for me / no treatment for Dave, we get to sleep in. YES!

This would have been much more ideal if it had occurred last week....just sayin'.

This week for Dave is already going rough.  On Monday he was already feeling pretty lousy and the metallic taste had returned (this seems to be the absolute worst part about chemo for him).  He had me drive him to treatment on Tuesday already.  When he got home yesterday he stayed downstairs on the couch, which is pretty good.  He ate a little for dinner (leftover Thanksgiving mac and cheese and 2 pieces of pound cake) and drank some water + gatorade.  Sure it wasn't the healthiest of dinners, but it's what his body felt up to eating, and that's all that matters right now.

He woke up feeling pretty awesome today.  He seemed to have a lot more energy today and actually wanted something of substance to eat for breakfast (though I sure do wish I could have convinced him to go to Bojangles instead of McDonalds...again).  We are prepared, however, for him to all of a sudden change as he gets further into treatment today.  We're hoping it doesn't happen, but hey....you gotta be realistic about this sort of thing.

Dave met with his Urology Oncologist this week and they discussed how things will play out after his last cycle of chemo is over.  They'll do another CT scan after chemo to check the size of his lymph nodes.  They may still be swollen, they may not.  The cancer cells may be entirely gone, but the lymph nodes may stay swollen.  At that point, if they're still swollen, there's no way to tell if there really are any dormant cancer cells laying around in there without taking the lymph nodes out.  So.  If they're still swollen, there will be another surgery to remove the swollen lymph nodes.  It will be done laparoscopically with robotic assistance.  Robotics...neat!  It will land him in the hospital for about a week and a half and then will put him out of work for another 2 months.  We're hoping it doesn't come to that, but we know that it can happen and are prepared (as much as we can be) for such a thing.

The family lost a dear, dear person a couple days ago.  My uncle's fiance', Susan, passed away from a very long battle with ovarian cancer that spread to all other sorts of places.  I only met her a few times, but she was a beautiful person!  Always bright and smiling and full of life and love.  She'll be greatly missed and I'm hoping everyone will join me in sending soothing thoughts (and prayers, if that's your thing) up to my Uncle Mike this week.  


Weekend Update

My day off on Friday was pretty great.  I got up early and took Aria to school (because who in their right mind would keep their kid home on THEIR personal day off), went and got my grocery shopping done, and got some Starbucks all by 10 AM.  It was great!  Then I went and sat at my best friend's house for about an hour chatting about nothing in particular.  It was super great.  I stopped at Taco Bell on my home and got some lunch that I didn't have to share with anybody and took my happy little butt home!  I binge-watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix whilst cleaning and managed to get nearly everything done that I needed before Dave got home that evening.  My mom offered to pick up Aria from school and keep her for the night...what a blessing!

Saturday was breakfast for Dave and I, sans toddler.  A nice, somewhat peaceful time at Ihop (y'all gotta try the new white chocolate raspberry pancakes!)  Our waitress was a potato, and the manager indicated as much.  Home by noon to finish the last tiny bit of cleaning and to cook what I had left for dinner (mac and cheese, bake the potato casserole, get the creamed corn in the crock pot, and make the chocolate chip sour cream pound cake).  Family arrived around 330 and it was just a perfect night!  Perfect food.  Perfect conversations.  Even Aria was good...she ate decent, she was well behaved, and went to bed pretty great (and early, too).

We spent the remaining couple of hours playing Cards Against Humanity.  It was freaking hilarious and, as suspected, my family was pretty phenomenal at it!

As we were walking back in the house from saying good night to my parents, we heard Aria crying at the door.  She freaked out and started screaming as soon as Dave opened the door (she doesn't like for him to be her soother yet).  The screaming in the midst of crying prompted her to cough, which triggered her gag reflex.  So we spent the next hour or so cleaning up nasty toddler throw up (that thankfully was on the bathroom floor and not the carpet or in her bed) and trying to get her consoled enough to go back to bed.  Turns out the initial crying at the door was because the bandaid had fallen off her finger and she wanted a new one.

I spent all day on the couch yesterday (after Dave decided to go to work for the day and earn some much-needed money) feeling miserable.  My sinus congestion horribleness has migrated to a full-blown chest cough throat thing and it blows.  Of course Aria wanted to snuggle with me to help me feel better, but her version of snuggling is to lay on top of me while never actually holding still.  It was miserable.  I did continue to binge-watch Gilmore Girls...so that made me feel a little better.

Today is a new treatment week for Dave.  I haven't heard anything about his lab results this morning yet, but I'm thinking they should be pretty awesome.  He's already feeling pretty low about this and doesn't want to hear anybody say to him "After this one, you only have one more left".  So FYI:  DO NOT say that to him, he'll probably get mad!  I'm less than excited to start this week, as well, as I know the chemo mood swings will be in full bloom this week.  My bet is that taking Thursday off and getting treatment on Friday will throw everything off by a several days.  We don't know what to expect.  We are not excited.

I am, however, going to say this for ME...Thank God we only have one more week of this crap after this one!  You can say it to me, I won't get mad.

As of currently, my house downstairs is clean...I'm really planning on it staying that way at least until Christmas so that I don't have to do it all over again.

This has literally kept me laughing all weekend long!
my neck, my back, my netflix and my snacks!


Fab Friday Five

Man this week has been rough!  I've been nursing some horrible sinus congestion thing since the middle of last week.  I've been feeling very unmotivated lately and all I want to do is lay in bed and read (not very easy when you have a full time job, a full time child, and a husband).  I'm feeling very stressed out about the holidays (and I don't usually feel this way this time of year).  I'm just ready for a me day!  So today that's what I'm doing, I took a PTO day to take care of ME.  I'm taking Aria to school, doing my Thanksgiving shopping, then coming back home to clean and start prepping my side dishes for tomorrow.  Here's some of what has kept me going this week:

cranberry bliss bars
Cranberry Bliss Bar copy-cat recipe >> here
Lets all take a moment to pause and rejoice in the fact that with this season comes my absolute favorite treat at Starbucks...Cranberry Bliss Bars!  They're SO good y'all! It's like blondie brownie on the bottom with white chocolate and orange zest  frosting and, of course, sweet yet tart cranberries.  MMM!  Every time I go to Starbucks throughout the year, I think to myself "I could really use a cranberry bliss bar right about now!"  Well my dears, I found a copy-cat recipe that I definitely plan on trying.  I don't know when...but they're happening at some point, for sure!

Honey Maple Roasted Carrots - these are like candy, everyone always wants second helpings! This recipe definitely transforms everyday carrots into something spectacular!
(recipe >> here)
Holy crap, look at these carrots!! If I had all the time in the world and was cooking EVERYTHING for Thanksgiving, this would be the carrot dish!  They're beautiful...with the thyme, and the sesame seeds, and the honey maple...and the pomegranate!  Oh geez...I've got to make these!

This is perfectly legit excuse to carry a weapon on your person at all times.  All those times I ask Dave why he feels the need to carry EVERYWHERE he goes...if he told me "So I could kill all those horrible nasty spiders for you, my love" I'd totally be OK with it.  I effing hate spiders.  All their damn little legs crawling all over the place...blech!

I Pooped Today Poop Funny Sanchez Retro Pimp College Dirty Humor T Shirt | eBay
Oh man....this blog entry (>> here ) It's about pooping during child birth, and it's hilarious!

This is the life right here....mm hmmm...



Had to get these out

Some random thoughts and complaints.  I just had to get these out...they're festering in me.

I'm sort of thinking of going to lunch early...I had a doughnut a little bit ago and it just made me more hungry.

I seriously wish I had one of those super-cool jobs where people get paid to sit around and read all those extraneous books submitted to publishers.  I'm pretty sure I would seriously ROCK at that job!  Plus...you can do it at home.  So that means you can stay in your jam-jams and read all day....with wine (of course after a reasonable time...like 10 or so).  Oh yeah...I'd make that job my bitch!  Unfortunately, from what I can tell, publishing houses like to hire people who have a degree in English or journalism or something like that.  That's the pits :(

I'm definitely contemplating becoming a stay-at-home-mom when Aria starts going to kindergarten.  Her going to school really stresses me out.  How will I make sure that she gets to school at the right time?  And what about after school?  How will I make sure that she's picked up from school at the right time?  With my current work schedule and my commute, I would be dropping her off at school at 650 and picking her up at 445.  School times are more like 8-3 or something like that.  How will I ever make that work if I'm working full time?  I just don't know what to do about that and thinking about it makes me sad and worried.

Because of all of this cancer stuff we've been enduring since it's start in September, our finances have seriously taken a hit.  Our savings account is nearly depleted and in a month, we'll be living paycheck-to-paycheck again.  The thought of being a family of three living that way really freaks me out.  I mean, it sucked when were young...and we had no obligations then. I can't even imagine how horrible it will be now.  I don't even want to think how hard this would be if we hadn't had that savings built up.

Still thinking about going to lunch early.  My tummy is rumbling already.

I REALLY enjoy painting classes.  I want to buy some canvases and some new acrylic paints (because my kid used all mine) and sit at home and paint all day long.

We desperately need a new mattress.  My back and shoulders hurt so bad from that broken, raggedy thing! Somebody we'll be able to buy one of those super nice Sleep Number beds.  Oh, I can feel the luxury already.

Thanksgiving (for us) is Saturday, and my house is a mess.  And I'm not talking like one of those people who apologizes for their house being a mess, only for you to walk in and see it immaculate...maybe the worst thing you see is one lone coffee mug sitting in the otherwise empty kitchen sink waiting to be rinsed out.  I'm talking full-on mess.  Both kitchen sinks are full, and the dishwasher is full (just waiting to be emptied but I just can't bring myself to do it).  Every surface of my kitchen counter has something on it. Either some bit of trash, a pot/pan that didn't fit in the sink (because they're full, duh!), and a bunch of other stuff that either needs to find a home or just get thrown out.  The dining room table is full of things that don't even belong on a table, but they get put there as we walk in the door and then nobody puts them away.  The living room has blankets and pillows all over the floor that don't belong there at all (or on the couches either, for that matter), at least 6 plastic cups that need to be thrown out, several dishes that never made it to the kitchen, Dave's shoes and who knows how many socks, and of course Aria's stuff.  And not just her regular stuff, but also that stuff that I didn't know where to put after we cleaned up last time, so I just left it there in a pile on the floor.  And I need to clean it ALL before Saturday morning....and I work full time and don't get home until 5 (on a good day).  I'm so bad at keeping house!

HOW do people manage a full time job, a commute, a daycare time constraint, and STILL manage to get to the gym?  On the perfect day where I have no errands to run and everything runs smoothly: I leave my house at 650 every day (give or take), drop Aria off at daycare by (hopefully) 715, get to work by 730, leave work around 410, pick up Aria around 430, get home just before 5, cook dinner and serve at 6/630.  On a TYPICAL day:  leave home at 655, drop Aria off by 720, get to work around 735, leave work at 415, stop at Kroger for one thing and leave with 7 things by 445, get to Aria by 5, get home about 545 because the traffic is so bad after 5, cook dinner and serve around 7. Somebody please tell me where there's time for going to the gym in there??  I want to go the gym. Maybe I can find a way to convince somebody to put a Golds Gym in Grovetown so I won't have to commute the gym.

I can't seem to find a comfortable temperature today.  I'm either too hot or too cold.

OK fine, the truth is I just want to go to lunch early so that I can sit down and read (with some food).

The day's only half over :(  I'm skipping my regular play date today so that I can go home and clean instead.  And I have a child who will need constant attention because her iPad (yes, she has an iPad, shut up) got taken away yesterday for not listening.
I'm less than excited to go home today.



Dave had labs drawn yesterday.  His counts all look great!  His nurse was very happy with it.  His WBCs are over 11, so that's great.  His hemoglobin is a little low for him (not low in the grand scheme, just low for him).  He's getting winded quickly and the nurse says thats just chemo.

He has still has a little rash from the etoposide, though we're not sure if all of it is rash or in-grown hairs.  Hydrocortisone didn't help at all.

He's been working hard all week long.  He's taking this weekend off for rest and family time as we are doing our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.  Next week is a treatment week, with a day off in between.

Not much new to report on.

Mom and I are doing a Corks and Canvas painting class tonight....painting without a toddler is SO much more fun!

M:  Aria, go to the bathroom.
*several minutes before a flush*
A:  Mommy, do you know what just happened in the bathroom?
M: Um, no...I was out here in the kitchen.  What happened?
A:  WELLLL, I was trying to put the toilet paper back (I'm a bad mom/wife and tend to forgot to put the toilet paper roll on the holder), and it just....it just fell in me pee.
M:  The whole roll, honey?
A:  Yeah mommy, the whole roll.  Its just in the potty....sitting in my pee.
M:  Oh goodie.

Problem Solved Stemless Wine Glass Mothers day gifts, birthday gifts, wine lover gifts, bad day gifts


Fab Friday Five

So I spent a great deal of my Pinterest time this week looking at travel pins because, well, I want need a vacation.  Anywhere will be fine with me, but obviously the farther away, the better! But first...I've had some people ask me about my twice baked potato casserole and mac and cheese that I mentioned making for Thanksgiving in last Friday's "Fab Friday Five".  So I've decided to graciously include those recipes here!  (so today's post may be five, or more than five, or whatever I want...because it's mine, dammit!)

I'm pretty sure I've pinned this before, but in case I haven't, I don't want to lose it!
Golden Baked Macaroni and Cheese (recipe >> here)
So I have this problem with my mac and cheese every year.  I never like it, but the family does.  They always want me to make the same one I made the year before...or as Dave has said "Remember that mac and cheese you made a few years ago?".  The thing is...because I never like them...I never remember which recipe I used.  So when I hear "remember that one you made a few years ago?" my go-to answer is "no".  What I DO remember about the one Dave was asking about was that it was southern-style...so it called for a BUTT-TON of eggs (that's an actual measurement).  I absolutely REFUSE to make mac and cheese ever again that has eggs in it.  I'm looking for a nice, creamy, golden, buttery, crusty, cheesy bit of heaven....not something that has a scrambled egg custard holding it together.  BLECH!  So as per usual, this is another new recipe...and it looks easy and perfect. And it's sans-eggs.  Yes.  I'm sure it'll do!

Twice Baked Potato Casserole ~ Light Fluffy Potatoes Loaded with Cheese, Bacon and Sour Cream!
(recipe >> here)
Seriously folks...this sucker is mashed potatoes at their finest!  Everybody knows this dilemma...you're eating twice-baked potatoes for dinner and, low and behold, your whole potato is gone and there aren't any more to be had.  And all your can think to yourself is "I wish I had some more!"  Well fear no more....these potatoes take that away!  It's potatoes boiled and then mashed, then mixed with cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese until super creamy.  Then you put it into a 9x13, sprinkle with more cheese and real crumbled bacon and then you bake it! MMM!  I'm excited about it already!

And now for the travel!! (none...absolutely none of these pictures are my own)

Sorrento, Italy 'Venicimo' Canal Sunset, Venice, Italy
Oh Italy...how I love you so....

W Retreat&Spa Maldives 
Maldives...I'll get to you someday, beautiful!

Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming. Fantastic honeymoon destination and close to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park.
Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park
Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park

Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana
I don't want to go out west and see the grand canyon or any of the orange sand and rocks.  But I DO want to see the mountains, the glaciers, the trees...and everything green and beautiful about it. The peace and tranquility draw me in.  Just looking at the pictures makes me feel calmer.  
(And of course I want to dig up some dinosaur bones!)
Dead Poets Society Typographic Print Men's by Riverwaystudios
This quote from one of my very favorite movies.  What will your verse be?  I'm not real big on poetry (it's beautiful, but I still cannot grasp the analytic concepts my English Lit teacher in 11th grade tried to teach me about symbolism and the meaning the behind the words and all that jazz), but I just love the concept of life being a grandiose entity that is made of millions of little bits and all each of us contributes is a small bit of greatness and it is in our power to decide what the bit will be and how great it will be.  I just think it's beautiful.  Whatever is going on in your life right now...there's something so much bigger that you are a part of, and you don't even know.


Conversations With My Three Year Old

Now that Dave is feeling SO much better and headed off to work today, I'm going to take a day to write about my kid.  Not because I'm one of those moms who's all "Look at my kid...she's the best kid ever!" because let's face it...on any given day, she's often times NOT the best kid ever!  But she's quite witty and rather funny for a 3 year old ("No, three and a half" as she would say) and she brings me joy on days where I just want to be mad.  So here's some funny things that she's been doing/saying lately.  Enjoy!

A:  Mommy, what's that over there?  Put my window down, I can't see it!
M:  It's a construction site.  They're building a gas station.
A:  A CONSTRUCTION SITE?!! Where's my camera?! Mommy, I need to take a picture of it!

A:  Mommy, I see Christmas lights.  CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!!
M:  Baby girl, I don't see any Christmas lights...where are you looking?
A:  Down there mommy!  They're white!  CHRISTMAS IS COMING!! YAY!!
M:  Oh honey...those aren't Christmas lights...those are just cars.
A:  Oh. Look mommy, I see a Christmas tree.  CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!

A:  Look mommy...a penguin truck!! It has penguins in it!! (Dry ice truck had penguins on the back)
M:  I know it may seem like that honey, but it's just an ice truck.  There's no penguins in it.  I'm sorry.
A:  Ice truck?  It has ice in it?
M:  Yes honey, it has ice in it.  A special kind of ice. (because I don't really know how to explain 'dry ice')
A:  Special ice?
M:  Yes, it's used to keep things really really cold, 
A:  Like what?
M:  ....uh....Well honey, mommy's work uses it.  When people come to give some blood for the patients in the hospitals, we put that blood in a box and fill it with that special ice so it stays really cold on its way to the hospital. (I left out the component processing part...she's 3)
A:  Who else uses that special ice?
M: ....uh....I don't know honey.
A:  I know mommy!  The zoo uses it...for the penguins!  That truck is going to the zoo!

A:  Mommy, I went poop! Come wipe my butt.
M:  Aria, if only you could learn to wipe your own butt....
A:  Look mommy, I only went one poop today!
M: ...uh...I didn't know you were in the habit of counting your poop.
A:  Yes mommy, sometimes I go five poops.
M:  Um.....OK.

M:  Aria, go brush your teeth so daddy and I can talk about Christmas.
A:  Christmas?  I want to talk about Christmas!
M:  Mommy and daddy are going to talk about what you might get for Christmas, so you need to go to the bathroom and brush your teeth because you can't hear what we might get you.
A: OK mommy, but don't starting talking about Christmas until I get back!
A:  I want a choo choo train, and a princess toy, and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Paw Patrol.
M:  Ok, so you want a train, a princess toy, a mickey mouse toy, and a paw patrol toy.
A: Yeah...but I want Ariel.  I have to have the clubhouse for all of Mickey's friends to live in.  And I need the Lookout for my paw patrol toys.  And Zuma and Rocky because I don't have them yet.
M:  Oh....

A:  Mommy, my camera isn't working.  It won't take my picture, see?
M:  Well no honey, I don't see, mommy is driving.  But maybe your camera has too many pictures on it and you need to delete some.
A:  Delete?
M:  Yes.  You need to look through your pictures and when you find one you don't want anymore, you hit the red "X" button.
A:  Oh ok. ..... I don't need this picture, it's a baby picture, and I'm a big girl, so I don't need it anymore.  Delete!
A:  Delete...delete...delete...delete...delete... (and on and on and on)
A:  Now I can take more pictures, mommy!  Mommy, say cheese!
M:  Baby I can't...mommy's still driving.
A:  Mommy, look at me! SAY CHEESE!

M:  Aria, it's past your bedtime.  We HAVE to get you upstairs for bed.
A:  Mommy, is it 8 o'clock?
M:  It's 8:43.  Time for bed.
A:  But mommy, it's not 8 o'clock yet!  When it's 8 o'clock, then it's bedtime.
M:  Ugh.

Go to YouTube and search for "Convos with my 2 year old" (season 3 is 'convos with my 3 year old').  
They're really quite hilarious...and spot on! (and before you say "Oh Allysa, I looked up what you told me to and it was grown men....what's up with that?"...yes, that's the one!) 


What a Difference a Day Can Make

Things have improved at our house dramatically since Saturday!

On Sunday, Dave was still feeling really weak and just generally depressed.  He was still nauseous (though still hadn't actually thrown up yet, so at least there's that).  All he wanted to eat was toast with jelly, jello, and some watered down gatorade.  He spent a good portion of the day upstairs in bed.  He had told me that he wasn't quite sure if the bone pain had set it, or if he was just sore from staying in bed for so long.

My parents brought Aria home late afternoon and that seemed to make Dave feel better.  The first thing she wanted to do was help take care of patient daddy.  Patient daddy needed a checkup and then needed SEVERAL shots to help make him feel better.  Then she started bouncing too much and it was time to go downstairs.  

Around 6 I had texted my boss to let her know Dave was still having a rough time and that I was going to stay home on Monday.  Well wouldn't you know that little bugger started feeling better just a couple hours later!  He wanted to eat dinner...some real dinner.  He sat up in bed just fine and you could visually see the difference.  

Monday morning he was feeling much better.  He wanted a BIG breakfast and wanted to venture out of the house and run some errands.  He quickly realized that he needed fresh air...not stagnant air stuck in a business.  After just two places he was ready to go home.

He had been craving pizza...a big thick greasy pizza.  So that's what we got for dinner.  And then...after eating 3 slices of Pizza Hut pan pizza and 2 breadsticks, he took a Zofran and rested.  Go figure!

Today he wants to go out for dinner (it's Veterans day...free meal!) and then he's going back to work tomorrow.

Vastly different from a couple days ago.  So different.

And now....now I'm just exhausted.  Though I'm sure it doesn't help that I took some sinus medicine last night that I didn't realize would cause drowsiness until after I had already taken it.  I feel like I could just close my eyes....right now...put my head down on the desk...and go to sleep.  Fast asleep.

I need some popcorn (I haven't been allowed to make is as the smell is too much for Dave), some coffee, a nap, and a vacation.  A nice long vacation....something tropical.  Or mountainous.  Or just anywhere not here.

I'm 500% done with today and about 35% done with tomorrow. | Confession Ecard


Is It 2015 Yet?

Cisplatin is a dirty bitch.  If you google it, you'll find words and phrases such as "penicillin of chemo drugs", "poisonous", and "severely toxic". The list goes on and on. It's really quite disgusting and horrific.

Some side effects include low white blood cell count, low platelet count, extreme fatigue, loss of hearing, kidney toxicity, nerve toxicity (resulting in neuropathy), nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and all kinds of other horrible things. 

You're not allowed to take other medicines to combat the feeling of these symptoms, aside from phenagran and zofran (anti-nausea). You can't take any NSAIDs, so no ibuprofen, no aleve, no aspirin. 

Cisplatin is made from platinum, so he is literally getting metal injected into his veins.

Etoposide is not nearly as bad.  It's not nearly as toxic and most common side effects are hair loss, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, and redness of the skin.

These last 48 hours have been the worst. The absolute worst.

My mom came to our house yesterday to pick him up and take him to the VA for his Neulasta shot.  She had told me that when she got here, he struggled to get out of bed and was feeling faint. He went and got his shot, then came right back home and got in the bed. I left work early because I figured he could really use the help.  Upon arriving home and heading upstairs to check on him, I was greeted with anger and a short temper. He snapped at me in the first 10 minutes about what kind of tea he wanted. Super awesome.

I know his pain and discomfort was just coming out as anger, but that doesn't mean that it didn't still get to me. He was like the cranky old man at the nursing home that scares all the nurses away. He's just angry about the whole damn thing right now. I don't blame him....but I wish he'd realize that anger isn't going to help. 

By the end of the night, I was fed up. I had resigned myself to being there for his health, but I wasn't going to subject myself to anything else. If he needed some water, or jello, or needed the fan turned up or down, I was there. But if he just wanted somebody to be in the room with him....no, I wasn't doing that. I ended up sleeping on the couch because I just couldn't go back in that room if I wasn't directly needed. It's not that I was looking for a "good job taking care of me, honey" or a "thank you"... I just wanted a little respect.  I'm doing everything I can to help, and I don't deserve to be yelled at.

Today he's much better (attitude anyway). He wanted toast, jelly, jello, and some watered down gatorade for breakfast.  After eating, he made his way to the shower. He then went back to bed for several hours. He came down around 4 and wanted the rest of his sandwich from Thursday. By the time he went back upstairs, he had finished off his entire bottle of Gatorade and the last of his sandwich.  He still is not experiencing any bone pain, but that may still be coming.

I helped him get upstairs and get settled in bed at 7. He then talked about how this has been the absolute worst 24 hours. He mentioned that his nurse said every cycle will be worse than the one before it. "I've got two more cycles...how will I ever get through them?" 

I don't know, honey. I don't know.

I thought taking care of a child by myself was the hardest thing I've ever endured. Guess what? This is so much harder. It's hard for me, its hard for Aria....and it's the absolute hardest on Dave. 

This whole damn thing sucks.  This year can't end soon enough.