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.


Fab Friday Five

OK, I'm not going to lie....I forgot Friday was coming (that's how horrible this week has been), so I was hanging out on Pinterest last night for....oh....I don't know...several hours :)

Here's some of the goodies I found!

Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls. Put one into a cup of hot milk for an amazing cup of hot chocolate! Wrap several up with a pretty bow and put into a great mug, cute little gift.
Hot chocolate truffle balls (recipe >> here)
Apparently you take just 4 ingredients (or 3, if you don't want the added sugar), melt and stir, then put in fridge for a few hours until it's a scoopable ganache (not a runny ganache....that definitely won't work).  Then you scoop out a few tablespoons, roll into balls, put in the fridge for another few hours.  Once cool and hardened, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer until ready for use.  Just drop an unwrapped truffle ball into warm milk, let it dissolve and mix, and enjoy! Mmm....I sure do love hot chocolate weather!

Aww...best friends!

Oh Tardar Sauce....you get me.

A Whole Bunch Of Christmas Porch Decorating Ideas - Christmas Decorating -
I'm seriously looking forward to the holidays this year!  They just can't come soon enough.  A time when all the hell of the last two months can dissipate and love, giving, and family can flourish.  Thanksgiving will be hard, no doubt, as it'll be a treatment week (assuming his white counts act right after this cycle), but it'll be great having the family around the table to come together for a good meal and good conversation.  And I'm excited to get in the kitchen and cook my mac and cheese (this may be the first year I use a recipe I've previously used...maybe) and my twice baked potato casserole...mmm! As far as Christmas...we'll be doing the whole thing (Christmas eve and Christmas day) at our house this year.  And Dave's family is coming up, so it'll really be a special time.  I believe Christmas eve is also the last night of Hannakuh (channakuh?) so I think Dave's parents are planning on doing something special for Aria in regards to that. We won't be able to give extravagant  gifts this year as these last few months have been real hard on us financially, but as everyone always says..."it's the thought that counts".  Christmas will also *hopefully* mark the end of treatment.  I'm just ready for it.  I'd take my tree down out of the attic and put it up this weekend if I could!  
I'm feeling festive! 

Always find a reason to laugh. It may not add years to your life but it will surely add life to your years.
Lets get serious for a minute.  How can anybody go through life being so angry and cynical all the time?  That's no way to live!  You'll surely lead a miserable life if you can't figure out a way to smile and laugh with your friends and loved ones.  Family and friends is what keeps me grounded.  There is NO better time than having family dinner and maybe game night and your face hurts by the time you leave from smiling and laughing so much.  That's what makes for an awesome life.  If you're going through something that's beyond your control, don't be angry.  What is being angry going to solve?  Is being angry actually making you feel better?  Is being angry to those around you helping those people help you to feel better?  No.  It's not.  There's no need to be so angry all the time.  Ask yourself : why am I so angry?  If you can't come up with a reasonable answer, then figure out a way to deal with whatever it is you've got going on.  

Spend time with family and friends.  
Laugh as often as you can.  
Find a way to inject happiness into everything you do and everything you go through.  
You'll have a more fulfilling life....I guarantee it!

Have a happy Friday, y'all!



The struggle was real today. So real.

Monday was a pretty good day for Dave. He had a good meal, felt a little nauseous, but overall alright. 

Tuesday was also a good day.  He ate well and didn't have to take any nausea medicine. He did come right home that afternoon and took a nap, though.

Wednesday, like the last cycle, was not such a good day.  He was in bed when I got home from work and just wanted me to come and snuggle. As y'all remember, I'm not the empathy type. But I did my duty and I snuggled for a bit. Thank god my sweet friend Michelle came by with some dinner (mmm fajitas for me with spicy salsa...yum....and soup for Dave) and it was time to go downstairs and eat. Unfortunately something about the soup was unappealing to Dave (because his appetite is like a pregnant lady) so I put it in the freezer for another time.  He had a bowl of matzo ball soup instead. He went to bed early and again wanted me to snuggle. I spent my evening downstairs sewing up the holes in some of Aria's animals.  It was lovely to have some free time all to myself. It's also lovely that my mom is watching Aria until Saturday...such a blessing!

Today was less than stellar. Dave had a very hard time getting out of bed and I don't think he got up until 8. I drove him and he was nauseous most of the way. When I went to pick him up, he looked beat. He told me that his nurse gave him anti-nausea medicine in his IV today along with all the rest of his stuff. He told me he wanted a sub from Baldinos for dinner and he wanted to take a bath later.  Today his skin is reddish in color (from the etoposide) and the metallic tastes is back in his mouth with a vengeance. He had a bath with some chamomile tea bags to make it a little more relaxing (I wasn't about to share any of my LUSH items with him!) and he relaxed in there for a bit before deciding he was ready for bed. (FYI: I got the holiday catalog from LUSH yesterday....I want it ALL!!)

Tomorrow he gets a shot of Neulasta to promote white blood cell growth. We really have no idea what to expect from that except a few days of pain.  But least treatment for the week is over, so that's a plus.

Now let's get down to the nitty gritty.

As a caregiver, you've got to find that fine line between being supporting and being firm.  This is especially hard for me.  I unfortunately jump right to firm. You've got to find a way to be "honey, what can I do for you?" for most of the time and "push through it and get out of that bed!" for the other part of the time. That second part will earn you some anger, but you, as the caregiver, have to keep pushing through that. When your loved one wants to wallow in their own self pity, you're the only one with the ability to pull them out of that funk.  Hard as it may be, you've just got to keep pushing!

And to the loved one.s..you're right. Your caregiver DOES NOT understand at all what you're going through.  But guess what? She's here to support you and take care of you anyway! Getting angry won't help. Snapping at your caregiver won't help.  We are doing the best we can to help you. While its a physical and mental struggle for you, it's a mental and emotional struggle for us. You've got to cut us some slack, too.  We don't HAVE to do everything that we're doing.  But we love you, so we stay and take care do you. We take your anger and frustration.  We take your neediness and short-temper. We sit through your "pity party" time and again because that's just what we do. 

Days when there is tension makes the whole damn day worse. 

The patient has his struggle. But the caregiver has to not only bear the burden of your struggle, but our struggle, too. Take it easy on us.  And when everything is all done....a trip to the spa would be appreciated!

Glad today is over and tomorrow's Friday. I'm so ready for Friday.


Back on Track

OK y'all....Halloween was definitely fun!  Aria had a blast in her little American Dream costume.  She had some difficulties with her tights ("mommy, my pants keep falling off!"), and she did get scared a few times to where she wouldn't walk up to a door on her own anymore...but she definitely had a good time!  And of course, Sophie....Sophie was the cutest hot dog there's ever been in the history of hot dogs!  She, too, came out of her shell and walked very nicely among all the other people.  Though, I'm sure it probably helped that everybody smelled like they had food!

I dressed up for the first time in....oh...at least 10 years.  I was a cat (I know, super cliche).  I had cat ears and spent forever in front of the mirror putting on makeup to look like a cat...cat eyes included...only to realize at the last minute that I didn't have cat ears.  I had a whole dang mask.  Ugh.  What a waste of time!  Dave was Uncle Si, complete with bluish plastic cup full of tea.  

We had a bonfire in the driveway.  I know I'm southern and my idea of appropriate temperature is a little skewed, but it was 50°, super windy, and downright frigid outside once the sun went down!  Although....nothing a little wine and smores can't fix :)  We had super awesome Mexican food (rice and CHIMICHANGAS!) courtesy of my surrogate southern grandparents Myrna and Gerald....and the best cilantro ranch he's EVER made.  Mmm cilantro.  Side note....Aria has this book called "Dragons Love Tacos" and it has a page with ingredients on it that dragons like to have on their tacos:  lettuce, cheese, tomatoes.  Aria looked at me last night and said "Mommy, do know what else those dragons would like on their tacos?"  I said "I don't know honey, what do you think they would like?" to which she replied "lots and lots of cilantro!"  I just love her....

A good time was had by all.

Dave got to wear his hat that my super awesome friend Becky made for him.  See, it was cold!
(shhh...it's not just sweet tea in that cup!)

As you may remember, Dave's treatment last week got pushed back because his WBC count was too low.  He was nervous yesterday as he really wasn't sure where his counts were going to be...and he really didn't want them to push treatment back another week. 

Well lucky for him, his counts were up and treatment could commence!  Although...I guess "lucky for him" sounds sort of odd when talking about chemo treatments, but it's fitting.  He's lucky that his counts came up all on their own.  He's lucky that he can move on with his treatment schedule and not have to add yet another week onto it.

He posted this picture to Facebook yesterday:
"Bring on the chemo bitches!!!" was his caption. 

Yesterday was a little worse than the Monday of his first cycle, but still quite similar.  He was tired, felt nauseous, and only wanted to eat a little.  Though I will say that he did eat more yesterday than the previous Monday.  He went to bed early and got some good sleep.  This morning he appeared to be feeling alright.  He drove himself to treatment (and took Aria to school for me) and said he wanted  to have some leftover matzo ball soup for dinner. (YES! No cooking for me!)

Aria is struggling.  She definitely is having a hard time with me giving attention to Dave instead of her.  When we tried to talk about it with her yesterday, she told us that she was acting that way because she was just upset.  She said she's upset because daddy is sick and "I just love you".  She would not tell us whether or not she was afraid of something happening to him.  She told us that she is sad, not angry.  Then everything after that was "I just want to go bed."  So at least we got a little information out of her.  Tomorrow she starts staying at my parent's house for the remainder of the week....and I know that'll be better for her.  She just doesn't understand.

Hoping this week will be predictable and will run as smooth as it can!
Happy Tuesday!

(PS:  I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday and seriously contemplated spending all of my money on their home decor and art supplies....and I didn't even get the chance to look at the holiday decorations!  The struggle is real with Hobby Lobby, folks!)