Ready for Normalcy

I must apologize for my absence.  I've been sick...for over a dang week!  It started as what felt like a flu-type thing, then migrated into a full-blown sinus-congestion thing.  Every free minute I've had has been spent lying on the couch feeling lousy.  It's been the pits!  So again, I apologize for my lack of posts...I've been preoccupied with my own health (a totally new concept for me).  I'm most likely just extremely run down and spent more time taking care of others in the last two months when I should have dialed it back just a smidge and focused on myself for a minute.  Oh well, if I could go back, I wouldn't change a thing.  Focusing on myself is just not something I do.

(And yes, I know I owe you a double batch of Fab Friday Five...quit crying about it!)

Now that the formalities are over with, lets get down to business.

I'm apparently a lot more stressed out about Dave's impending CT results than I realized.
I don't think I've ever, in my entire life, had a recurring dream.  I've had dreams that are similar, but never would I consider them the same.  Last week, however, I had three dreams with only minimal differences all in the same night.  In this dream, my car had been stolen (the car was a different color in all three dreams; it was dark green in one and that's the only one I remember) with my phone still in it, so Dave and I had hopped into his car, turned on the "find my iphone" app and tracked the location of my phone.  When we got to where the location of my phone was, it was night time, and we were at some sort of warehouse/parking lot/junk yard area.  Dave got out and I stayed in the car (because I'm a wuss).  He was walking alongside the building, coming up on the corner, and he was looking both ways as he was walking.  I (still alone in the car) looked up ahead at the corner of the building and I could see a man around the corner with a gun (the type of gun differed in the three dreams).  Dave was getting closer, and all I wanted to do was scream at him and tell him "Look out! There's a man with a gun around the corner!"  But I couldn't.  I was supposed to sit in the car and be quiet and not draw any attention (because that would blow our cover, of course).  As Dave approached the corner, he was looking to his right, then he stepped just past the corner, looked to his left, and was face-to-barrel with a gun.  That's when I woke up.  All three times.
Now, most people who know me know that I LOVE to decipher the hidden meaning of dreams.  I fully believe that our dreams, no matter how random or seemingly simple they may be, are a direct reflection of something that's weighing on us.  Anyway, the way I see it...there's something that's going on with Dave and I want to be able to help, but there's nothing I can do.  I feel helpless.  I couldn't tell Dave about the gun around the corner, and I can't do anything to help through this cancer.  It's a horrible feeling.  And I know Dave will probably read this and think "You think that's a horrible feeling, try actually having cancer" ... well I know honey, I'll never understand...but it's a horrible feeling to watch somebody you love go through it know that there's not a thing you can do to make it better.
Dave's appointment is on Friday.  The plan:  If results are good, go drinking at lunch.  If results are bad, go drinking at lunch.  Either way, we're covered!

I'm having a difficult time compartmentalizing lately.
I'm typically pretty good about not letting my worries and stresses effect me at work, but lately it's become apparent to me that I'm struggling with that and it is most definitely effecting (affecting?  whatever) me.  Last week, while getting units of blood out of the refrigerators to put on antigen stickers, I was startled and ended up dropping one.  After having worked in the lab for 6 years, I officially dropped, and subsequently broke, my first unit of red blood cells.  My super awesome coworkers ran to my aid (as they know that the sight and smell of blood makes me want to pass out) and quickly got everything cleaned up...all while I went and put myself in the corner and cried.  All I could think of was "that was a donor's time laying there on the floor", "that's the company's money laying right there on the floor", and "that puddle of blood laying there on the floor could have saved somebody's life."  And then somebody noticed that I had apparently gotten some on my shoe and was tracking it around the lab, so they had to stop and clean up my shoes, too (I'm still on the hunt for new shoes...every time I put on these shoes, I just think about blood).  So there I am, with a puddle and splatter of blood on the floor, little blood footprints around the lab, and tears streaming down my face.  It was absolutely humiliating.  I know I startle easily, but I can't imagine what would have made me let go of that unit...I know better than that.  The only thing I can think of is maybe I wasn't entirely in my task, mentally.  I was thinking about other things instead.  Stupid stress...stupid stupid stress.

We're having to live on a budget again and it's the pits.
This may end up coming off as kind of snooty, but I really don't mean it that way.  For the last few years, we had grown accustomed to a certain way of life.  We had money in the savings account, in both of our regular accounts, and our credit cards had less than $100 each on them.  We were at a point where, even though I talked all the time about how we didn't have money for things, we really didn't have to worry too much about extraneous spending (as long as it was small things here and there, not anything crazy).  Basically, we didn't have to penny pinch.  We could just live.
Now, because Dave had only been sporadically working for four months, we're in a different situation.  Our credit cards are both very high (as they were used for incidentals in between my paychecks), our savings account was almost entirely depleted, and our bank accounts only have what our most recent paycheck was, minus the several bills that were due on payday.  I know....first world problems.  But even still, in any situation, when you get set in certain ways...and then something drastic happens, it's difficult to adapt.  It's been a very long time since we've had to live basically paycheck-to-paycheck.  To be honest, when we finally started saving money, I thought we'd never have to live that way again.  Yet, here we are.  We'll get everything back to normal in a few months, I'm sure (of course, it all depends on the outcome of Dave's CT).
NOTE:  In reading this back...it really did come off snooty.  I'm terribly sorry about that!!

So on this Monday...this is what I'd really like:
I'd like to be able to go to 2nd and Charles and walk around and buy Aria a stack of books, 
and maybe a few for me

I'd like to be able to be online booking a vacation for sometime around our anniversary

I'd like to be at home finally having some time to myself that I don't feel sick 
so that I can finally take down the Christmas tree and put away the Christmas presents

I'd like to be able to go to Mexican Monday with my family instead of making taco salads 
(on the cheap) at home for dinner

I'd like to be able to take the required time to clean out my car, get it washed, and maybe even detailed...
because it needs it REALLY bad

I'd like to be able to sit upstairs in the extra bedroom (currently our storage room) and clean it up, then go out and buy a small table and chairs so that Aria and I have craft space and I have somewhere to do puzzles...real puzzles, not just on the iPad

I'd like to take the time to sit up in Aria's room and finally go through all of her clothes and put away the ones that are too small so that I don't keep grabbing the pair of 3T pants that are still in her basket

I wish I had the drive, the energy, and the clean space required for baking...I could really use some good, cathartic, baking time (and of course I also need money for ingredients)

I'd sort of like to be one of those lucky college students who only spends 2 hours a day in class and has no real-life expenditures so that I could sit at home all day reading, or doing something artsy, or learning to cook, or just binge-watching everything on my DVR so that I could finally try out half of those shows that started last Fall that we haven't even watched the pilot episode

I'd like to be able to just be less stressed and get a little happier

Happy Monday, y'all!

I wish I remembered how to relax. I need to print this out and stick it to everything I own so I'm forced to see it a hundred times a day. ....


Fab Friday Five

I've written a ton this week already...so here's something light and fluffy :)

cocoa panna cotta
Chocolate Panna Cotta (recipe >> here)
I've seen a panna cotta made on several different cooking competition shows and I've always been intrigued by it.  It looks like a smooth pudding of ice cream temperature.  I'm not sure if that's what it is at all, but I'd really like to make this!

Bbq table... Oh I need this!
JAG Grill (purchase >> here)
Look at this thing!! It's a table + fire pit + grill.  How awesome is that?!! It's like going to Melting Pot where everybody cooks their own food in the fondue, only this is on a grill at home.  It comes in a 6-seat and 8-seat model.  Beware, this little sucker is PRICEY!  The 8-seat is $2499 + $200 s/h.  Yikes!  Wouldn't it almost be worth it, though?!

How to Stay Sane at Disney World --- this blog is hilarious!  I never knew that sunscreen could be so versatile ;-)
How to Stay Sane at Disney World (read the blog >> here)
We have boldly decided to take Aria to Disney World for her 5th birthday next year (shhh it's a secret, so don't tell her) and I'm not going to lie...I'm a little apprehensive about it.  We're going to bite the bullet and do the whole resort thing...stay in the Disney hotels with the food plan and all that jazz.  So first things first, it's expensive.  To go the days I want to go, staying as long as we want to stay, getting the basic dining plan, and getting the park hopper pass (in case Aria can't manage to stay a whole day in Epcot and really wants to go back to Magic Kingdom by lunch) will be approximately $3K, and that's not including the gas to get down there, the souvenirs, and the character breakfast(s) that she'll undoubtedly want.  Phew, that's a lot....but at least we can book early and start saving now!  The other thing is....a five year old....in Disney.  Oh, I'm exhausted already just thinking about it.  She's going to have a BLAST, but I feel like I'll need another vacation afterwards to help me cope.  This lady, however, wrote a blog post explaining the things you've got to do to help stay sane.  My favorite tip:  buy sunscreen bottles, empty them and clean them, fill them with various alcoholic beverages, and enjoy on the go....because every occasion and outdoor event needs sunscreen and no-one will look twice if you have a kid and several bottles of sunscreen with you. 

Chinese Roast Pork Bun, Cha Shao Bao, BBQ Pork Bun, however you want to call these little pillows of goodness, is filled with savory mixture of #Cantoneseroastporkbun, it's #dimsum and Chinese #bakeryfavorite.
Chinese Pork Buns (recipe >> here)
When Dave and I went to New York for his grandma's funeral, we ate a TON of food.  Two things stick out in my mind as the best things I ate and obviously can't get anywhere else:  the pizza burger from the diner on Staten Island...and these tasty pork buns from Chinatown.  Oh man...those things were SOOO good.  And now, after much searching, I think I've finally found the recipe that looks like it will taste the most similar.  Can't wait!

I Love My Life and the Ones in it! I can honestly say I'm Beyond Blessed<3
purchase this print >> here
Even though I sometimes complain about a LOT of things . . .
Even though I can seem a little extra cranky for no reason . . .
Even though I talk about how stressed and overwhelmed I am . . .
I really, truly, do love my life and (nearly) every single person it.  I wouldn't change any of it, no matter what.
I have the best family there has ever been (aside from some occasional instances).
I have some of the most wonderful friends with the most beautiful hearts.
And I have this perfect little love muffin (though she's sometimes the most horrible little brat from Hell) that I love with all of my heart and can't even imagine life without her.

Have a great week, y'all!


Some Truth

*There's nothing to report on regarding Dave, so I'll move on to something else until I do have something to report on*

I'm feeling a little "let me tell you about me" today (not that that's a feeling or anything), so I thought I'd give you some insight into my soul.  Most of you who know me personally already know these things about me, though maybe not in quite so much detail.  

Big ones first....

1.  I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone in need, be it person or animal.  Like most people who even slightly like animals, the ASPCA commercials make me want to give them all my money.  But UNLIKE most people, I also feel that way about the commercials with the starving kids around the world.  I cry for them, too.  I want to help every single soul who needs it.  I want to give any extra money I have to somebody who needs it more than I, or to a charity that supports a phenomenal cause.  I want to give up all of my time and volunteer with the Peace Corps, or even just participate in a local church's mission trip (as long as the goal isn't to convert everyone to Christianity).  I want to put my friend's and family's needs above my own....I'll absolute help out and sit with a grieving family at the hospital for hours without a care in the world about what time I'll get my own dinner on the table...my family can wait, these people are way more important than my own.  And of course, every animal adoption event I go to and every stray I see on the street...I want to save them all.  If I had the time, space, and money...I probably would.  No, I don't need anything in return...just a simple "thank you" will suit me just fine...and it doesn't matter if it comes right away or 15 years from now.  I just want to help every person, in any way that I can, all of the time. It makes me happy deep down in my soul!!
Emily Dickinson Poem If I can stop one heart by Riverwaystudios

2.  I absolutely cannot stand being interrupted.  In fact, I'll go ahead and say it...I HATE HATE HATE being interrupted.  Would it seriously kill people to wait another 10 seconds until I'm finished speaking my thought?  It literally pains my insides to be interrupted when I'm in the middle of saying an idea, or telling a story, or discussing something that I'm feeling passionate about.  If we're chatting, and you interrupt me, you'll probably see my jaw clench...it keeps me from screaming at you.
Oh, i'm sorry... Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?

3.  I'm very particular about proper grammar and spelling when I type.  You've probably already noticed this, but I really like a lot of independent clauses when I type.  It's a grammar thing...I just love commas.  I feel like the way I write ought to reflect the way I talk (which, I might add, is not always advised...if you talk like crap, don't write that way).  If I talk with a lot of information, then I want my sentences to reflect that.  So yes, I'll use a lot commas.  I also really like ellipses ( ... ) because sometimes they're better at conveying the pause I hear in my head when I type.  And I love expressive punctuation.  I love exclamation points to show when I'm excited about what I'm typing.  If I would say it with some expression on my face, it's getting an exclamation point when I type it.  If I'm really excited about it, it'll get multiple exclamation points!  If I would put some excitement into a question when I talk, then it's going to get a " ?!" when I type it.  Sure, I screw up some of the basic grammar rules, such as "never end the sentence in a preposition".  Well...sometimes that rule is stupid and most people don't talk like that.  I'm pretty good at it, but sometimes I don't really care.  If you can't actually picture me saying what you're reading, then I'm not conveying it properly...and that's really important to me!  I like my typing to read naturally...as if I'm standing in front you talking (and you're not interrupting me, right?).  Now that right there is something I'm unsure of.  I want to put some punctuation at the end of my side thought in parentheses, but then I also want to end the sentence...can I do that?  Can I use a method of punctuation, close out the parentheses, and then immediately use another punctuation symbol?  I just don't know about that one.  I'm also pretty crazy about the whole "there/their/they're" and "your/you're" issue.  I correct Dave all the time, though I suspect his mistakes are out of sheer laziness to correct it, because surely by now I've reminded him of the rules enough times!  Oh, and the Oxford comma...I'm a STRONG believer in that little sucker!  And spelling.  If you're a grown woman (or man), you better not type status updates on Facebook (or texts) with these heinous items:  "u/ur = you/your", "wat = what", "2 = to/too", "n = and", "cud = could", "sexi = sexy".  Those things (among others) drive me batty!  I'm also a stickler for the "two spaces after a period" rule I was taught in high school.  Most people don't do this anymore...I still really enjoy that extra little bit of space after a period...there's something so comforting in it. (I have multiple pictures below because I couldn't pick just one!)
Yes!  Lmao
LOL  Grammar is still important, kids.

4.  I'm sensitive.  Wait, scratch that...I'm ultra sensitive.  My feelings get hurt very easily, and often times for no reason at all.  It's incredibly illogical, but it is what it is.  One of the biggest things I take to heart is the words used, the tone of voice used, and the expression on the face.  You can be saying something perfectly regular to me, such as "Can you please hand me a paper towel?" but if you've got a look on your face or a tone in your voice (even if you have absolutely no idea that it's there), it will probably make me upset.  I take things to heart, even when I shouldn't.  And actions speak very heavily with me.  If we're hanging out and you're checking your phone and texting the whole time, that hurts my feelings.  If we make plans to hang out, but then you tell me that you can only stay for an hour because you've got plans with so-and-so, that hurts my feelings.  If multiple friends are at my house hanging out and both leave, but then I notice that you stay outside for another half hour talking and laughing, I will get my feelings hurt and sit in the house and cry.  I get emotional real fast and I can cry at the drop of a hat.  Not because I'm faking it and looking for attention (I actually can't stand for people to see me cry, or to point out that I'm crying, or to ask me "are you crying?"), but because I can actually cry for just about anything.  I cry when I'm happy, upset, mad, anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, tired...you name it, I can cry about it.  Click on the picture below to check out a link about sensitive people (numbers 8 and 9 are the only ones that don't resonate with me).
This makes much more sense than feeling the negative connotations when others say I'm too sensitive.

And now some small things:
1.  I often times get so overwhelmed that I'd rather sit down and have a cry over it than get up and do something about it.  (Like yesterday when I got home and was trying to have craft time with Aria, and she wasn't paying attention, so I got mad about it...then I got upset about getting mad at her, so I started to cry.  Aria asked why I was crying...I said, between sobs of course, "I'm a bad mom!" and she ran at me, hugged me, and said "no mommy, you're a good mommy...I love you!" which of course made me cry even harder.  I was a mess.)

2.  I get really jealous of other people who are stay at home moms, especially when they post crafts they've accomplished and meals they've cooked and activities they've done with their kids.  I mean, I get unnecessarily jealous.

3.  If somebody does something nice for me or says something really nice about me, it'll make me cry.  I don't ever expect anyone to do anything nice for me, so when it happens, I'm blown away.  (But I suppose that goes along with the whole sensitive thing...)

4.  I have an addiction to the mint flavored EOS lip balm.  I just love it...

5.  I have so many dreams and ambitions, but I don't know how to get there.

6.  When I retire, I want to will travel the world.  I want to see every "corner" of this earth and experience all that I can.  Dave and I got the privilege to go to Europe for two weeks for our honeymoon.  Since then, I've had this wanderlust that never fades.  I want to go everywhere, see everything, do everything.

So there you are...a little look at my special brand of "crazy".
We're all a little crazy...it's perfectly normal.
(none of the images contained within are my own)


CT scan version 2.0

Dave was SUPPOSED to have a CT scan on Monday, but he was unable to drink all of the "banana smoothie" flavored contrast...so they sent him home with more bottles and another CT appointment for today.

Here's the rundown from Monday:
1.  Drink bottle 1 at 715 and have it done within an hour.  This contrast is thick (looks like the consistency of a melted milkshake), so the first bottle of 450mL filled him up.  In fact, he got full before finishing the first bottle.
2.  Do not throw up.  Dave threw some of the first one up.  Lets be real for a minute...it looked gross and smelled like chalky banana flavored medicine (no, despite his attempting to force it on me, I did not try it).  I'm glad I wasn't there for this...he told me that he threw up on the counter.  Projectiled onto the counter.  Claimed it was only a little, but even just a little of vomit is too much vomit.  At least he cleaned up.
3.  Drink bottle 2 at 815 and have it done within an hour.  This bottle didn't happen at home.  It was not drank within an hour.
4.  Drive to the VA (with 900mL of "banana flavored" sloshing around in your tum-tum) and arrive in the imaging center by 915.  Dave stopped at Shepeard to pick me up around 900 (he wanted me there for moral support I guess).  When I got in the truck, I saw his second, unopened, bottle of contrast sitting in the cup holder.  I told him then already that they were going to make him drink it before his scan.  He thought that maybe they would say it was OK and one bottle was enough.  When we arrived in the imaging center, he checked in, sat down, and opened the second bottle to start drinking it, thinking that if he got some down, it would be better than none.  He gagged and heaved a little, but did not throw up (thank God, we were in a room full of old men who didn't need to see/hear him throw up).
5.  Get an IV placed and have the CT performed by about 1015.  Around 1015, we were still sitting in the waiting room with only about an inch or so of contrast drank from his bottle.  By this time it was warm and he said he just flat out couldn't drink any more.  Gross, I don't blame him.  I continued to tell him that they were either going to send him home because he couldn't drink all of it or they were going to make him sit there all day until it was gone before performing the scan.  We knew that most of those men sitting in that room had already endured this same contrast drink...and if those octogenarians can do it, so can he!

Around 1045, Dave noticed that everybody that had come in after him had already been seen, so he went to check at the counter.  They admitted they had forgotten about him and would be seen soon.  I'm not surprised there...the "behind the counter" staff in the imaging center seemed a little lacking...like lacking some intelligence in their job.  Anywho...around 11, they finally called Dave back.  After hearing that he had not drank all of his contrast, the tech informed him that for what they're looking for (looking at his entire chest and abdomen for mets, including his colon) he really needs to have those two full bottle of contrast in otherwise the scan may come back inconclusive because they won't be able to fully see what they need to.  So the options are:
A:  Take one more bottle home (plus the 3/4 of the other bottle he had not yet finished) and come back on Wednesday
B:  Come back in a week to do in-patient contrast and spend 4 hours of your day sitting in the VA.

In different words, the tech basically told Dave to man up and drink the contrast...everybody else has to do it and gets it done.  So Dave picked option A and was fired up with more determination to get it done on Wednesday.

later that day..... (Monday....we're still on Monday here folks)
I noticed Sophie sniffing around a hand towel that was, for some reason, balled into a ball on the bathroom floor sort of behind the toilet.  Not a normal site...we might be cluttered and messy, but we don't leave things like towels balled up somewhere.  When I picked it up, it was soaking wet.  I thought to myself "why is this towel SOO wet?"  My first thought was the cats.  Fifi gets mad about her litter box sometimes (I've been neglectful...sue me) and will pee all over things she's not supposed to.  Her favorite places are towels or clothes left on the floor in a bathroom.  So, naturally, I smelled the towel to see if it smelled like cat piss.  It didn't (thank God)! Baffled, I tossed the towel in the bathtub until Dave got home and I could ask him about the towel.

When Dave got home, he said "Oh, you moved the towel from the corner".  I said "yeah, it was soaking wet, what was up with that?"  ..... "that was the towel I used to clean up the throw up".

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  What kind of man-animal balls up his wet throw-up towel and throws it on the floor behind the toilet?!  WTF?
I think I say this way too much.

So today, Dave is at home drinking more contrast and will hopefully get that CT scan.

I left him a not on our chalkboard that said "put on your big boy panties and DRINK" ... I'm sure that will motivate the crap out of him!

(And of course it took me too long to type this, so Dave just called...contrast = gone, CT = done.  Now we wait until the 30th to hear the results.)


Fab Friday Five

In looking through everything I've pinned on Pinterest in the last 2 weeks, it's obvious that travel is still numero uno on my mind.  I need a breakation.  Not just a break, not just a vacation, a breakation.  I need one from my entire life.  I need a break from being a mom, a wife, a caregiver, a worker...everything.  

Stick me on a boat in the middle of the ocean with endless free food, the sun, and a stack of books. 

Put me in the mountains under some cozy blankets with a fire, wine, and a stack of books.  

Hell, I'll settle for just 3 nights at my own house with no animals, husband, or child.....with some wine, Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and a stack of books (and of course somebody to cook me an entire dinner...all 3 nights).  On second thought, the animals can stay...I'll miss Soph Soph next to me while I'm sleeping.

I just need some me-time.  Maybe a massage, a pedicure (y'all, I haven't had one since June...things are getting a little dicey down there), a 4-hour stint in a hot tub, a bottle of Moscato, and maybe even just one book.  

Don't mind me...I'm feeling extra overwhelmed today for no apparent reason.

** Update on Dave**
Dave has been back to work doing the dedicated account he was hired for and is very happy!  He goes to work around 4 or 5 in the morning is off by around 2-3.  His body is having a hard time adjusting to the work, however.  Every night this week he has felt run down, tired, and a bit qeasy.  We're hoping that will pass soon as his body acclimates to his new schedule.  Next week he'll work "nights", but he'll be home by midnight every night, so it's more of a second shift than "nights".  His CT scan is next Monday (I think) and we'll find out the results of that scan at the end of the month. 

@youandi528 @jillianffail  WE NEED THESE!!
image not my own, source was ETSY, but product is no longer available
I need this wine glass.  I think my dear friend Cherie (go check her out >> here at WoW) and sister-in-law Jill need this glass, too!  Together, we OWN this statement!

Lake Tahoe, United States
not my image
Look at this place.  Lake Tahoe.  Tell me you wouldn't want to spend forever here?!

24 Hours in NYC
not my image
Central Park.  I've been to New York one time.  I saw Central Park from looking over the cement wall.  I'd love to actually go in to Central Park.  I want to see the bridges, and the flowers, and paths, and everything else beautiful that you see in movies and pictures.  And I want to see Shakespeare in the Park.  And I want to feed the ducks.  

Build your own font >> here
There's this app for the the iPad that you can make your own font.  That's awesome!

Cranberry Apple Stuffed Pork Loin
cranberry apple stuffed pork loin (recipe >> here)
This something I want to make once I learn better how to cook.  It's a pork loin (mmm) cut open, then filled with apples, cranberries, walnuts, garlic, shallots, mushrooms (I'd leave those out) and then tied with a string and roasted for an hour in the oven.  MMM!  Looks scrumptious to me!

Have a great weekend, folks!


Not Today

If it weren't over, today would have been a chemo day.  Dave would probably be on his way down to the VA right now to get his labs drawn and start his saline drip while waiting to hear if his counts were high enough to commence with the infusion.  He'd go home around 230, then take to the couch with his Star Trek and wait for me to come home and cook something for dinner that didn't make his stomach churn.


Today Dave got up around 530 and went to work doing the dedicated account for which he was hired, rather than odd loads here and there.  He'll get off somewhere around dinner time, come home, we'll eat dinner together at the table, play with Aria, send her off to bed, and then catch up on a show or two before heading to bed ourselves.  An entirely normal day.

Dave's hoping that maybe this week he'll start to feel more like himself, in the physical and energy sense that is.  In talking to a friend of his who's been through chemo, it'll be a long time before he truly starts to feel like himself.  But he's hoping to start getting some of the energy back.  It should come back to him slowly as the chemicals leave his body, but traces can remain 6 months to a year, so we've been told.

The next step is waiting for the CT scan.  They sent him home with two bottles of "Banana Smoothie" flavored contrast to drink over the course of two hours.  They told him, however, not to get too excited about the flavor as it does not really taste like a banana smoothie.  Big shocker there!  I'm thinking as positive as I can about that upcoming scan...I'm choosing to believe that it will show the lymph nodes have drastically reduced in size and there is no further action required besides monitoring.  Dave, on the other hand, is having a harder time thinking positively.  He had a dream last week where the results of the scan showed his insides lit up like a Christmas tree.  So you see, I'm thinking positive while Dave is taking the doomsday approach.  Either way, we'll find out at the end of the month what his results truly are.

And now a story...

I put Aria in the bath tub on Saturday night and then went to "handle some business"...because it's a rare opportunity I get to be able to use the restroom without a child barging in the door and sitting on the floor right in front of me while I "handle things".  Typically I use bath time to do the litter box or to switch laundry, so I'm right across the hall from Aria's bathroom.  Anyway....while I was busy, I heard some splashing.  No big deal, Aria splashes in the tub all the time.  I come in, ask her why there is a little water on the floor, and she shows me how her squirty toys like to squirt water...almost always in the direction of the bathroom floor.  So when I get back to her bathroom 5-7 minutes later, imagine my shock when I catch her with her pink bucket in hand, full of water, mid-throw across the room.  I yelled "ARIA!" before looking down at the floor.... oh my.  The bathroom floor was covered with water!  So much water, in fact, that it was already spilling over onto the carpet in the hallway.  There was at least a full inch of water on that floor!  I called downstairs for Dave to come help.  He said "is everything OK?"  In return, I said "No, Aria flooded the bathroom" and up the stairs he flew to see for himself.  Turns out...it had rained outside, but didn't make any puddles (my child LOVES a puddle).  Because there weren't any puddles outside in which to jump, Aria thought it was a good idea to make a puddle in the house instead.  While Dave and I were cleaning up the mess (so...much...water), she got upset that we were cleaning it up before she had a chance to jump in it.  That little stinker!!  After much chatting, Aria learned that she is never again to make a puddle in the house...that puddles are for outside only.  If she'd like a puddle outside and there is none, she can use the hose (with help from Dave or I) to make her own puddle.

When I asked her yesterday about her puddle, she got all smiley and said "mommy, that puddle wasn't for you".  Yes dear....I know that...mommy knows better than to make puddles in the bathroom!

** A few previous posts have mentioned my friend's baby fighting for her life in the hospital.  I'm sad to say that she just couldn't fight anymore and became an angel on Saturday night.  I ask that you please pray for strength and comfort for the Parrish family over the next few days. **
Miss You in Heaven Quotes | ... , and now that you are in heaven, we know you are doing the same


Fab Friday Five

HELLO 2015!
Please...pretty please be kinder to my family and friends than you were this year...we can't take that again.

I'm not one to make "New Years Resolutions" or anything like that, but I'm thinking of adopting a "2015 Challenge".  It won't be one of those tired, boring "I hope to eat healthy and turn into a gym rat" types of things.  No...it'll be a fun one.  It'll be a challenge filled with things that I love and just simply want to commit to spending more time on.  Telling myself that I'm going to lose some weight this year is ridiculous.  If it happens, it'll happen.  I've been too stressed to think of such things these last few months.  My mind has been so consumed with everything else going on in my life that I haven't even bothered to check what types of foods are entering my mouth.  It's enough for me that I'm surviving through all this...let's just leave it at that!

So here it is.  Here are five things I'm challenging myself to do this year! 

1.  Read more books
I know what you're thinking...Allysa, how could you POSSIBLY read more books?!  I know...I already read a lot.  But I feel like it takes me forever to read a book because I don't take the time out of my day to sit down and concentrate on nothing but reading.  I'm reading during commercials, or I'm listening sporadically in my car.  I have a huge list of books that I'm dying to delve into, but I can't seem to finish the ones I'm currently working on.  So I challenge myself to finish at least one book a month.  More would be ideal.  I'd like to formulate some sort of book club with my friends and family who read so that I have a real goal to achieve each month....I doubt anybody would be interested in that, though.

Below are a few of the books I'd really like to conquer this year...will you join me in them?
(click on the pictures for links to Amazon)



2.  Do more art
So I've got this creative drive in me.  It's been there for as long as I can remember.  When I'm feeling the urge to get something done FOR ME, I'd really like to settle on something artsy fartsy.  Aside from the few Corks and Canvas classes I've done this year, I haven't really accomplished too much in terms of art.  Sure, I sit down and paint with Aria when she wants to paint...but I get so indecisive on what to paint, that I end up just doing some scribbly thing to pass the time until Aria says she's finished.  I challenge myself to take some personal time once a month to get down and dirty with my creative urges and finally get this yearning taken care of.  I believe that it's important for the soul to make beautiful things...whether your art of choice is painting, sewing, singing, playing an instrument, writing...whatever creative thing you've got a passion for, embrace it and let it shine this year!

Here are some things I'd like to get started on this year!
(images are not my own)

Monogram wreath for front door     Beach original abstract art acrylic painting on thick by StudioZen

Photography Challenge: These would be interesting prompts to use in sharing the heirlooms in your home. You'd have to get creative with some, but think of the adventure you'd have!  #familyhistory #photography #genealogy

3.  Work harder at home
It's no secret that I have an aversion to household chores.  Dishes, laundry, litter box..I hate them.  I hate them all.  Even such things as the "storage room/office" upstairs and my car get left behind.  I really don't like being a slob.  I love it when things are neat, tidy, and everything is in it's place.  I think part of it is that I lack organizational items.  I don't have any bins or specialized cabinets or drawers for specific things.  Maybe if I had a bin in the living room for everyone to put their socks in (by everyone, I mean Dave and Aria...not me, I hate socks), they wouldn't be all over the floor.  Maybe if I had a couple bins in my car for Aria's school artwork and her snack trash, it wouldn't be a complete disaster.  Maybe if I could get motivated to put away laundry, I wouldn't have  3 baskets full of clean clothes in our room, a dryer full of clean clothes in the laundry room, and 2 baskets full of clean clothes in Aria's room (although one of those baskets is full of clothes that don't fit and are meant for summer, so they can be boxed up and put in the attic, but I can't seem to manage to do that, either).

So my goal this year is going to be to work harder at home every day.  I need to force myself to unload the dishwasher as soon as it is done so that I don't start putting the dirty dishes in the sink for the next week until it's too full to put any more in.  I need to make myself put away laundry as soon as it's done (or at the next earliest convenience...I tend to do laundry at night so it dries while we're sleeping...I'm not getting up at 1 AM to put away clothes).  I need to remember to do that stupid litter box every day (as soon as Dave is on the mend, he can start back helping with this one again!) every day and not wait until the cats have pooped on the floor outside the litter box.  I need to take the time to go through the "storage room/office" boxes and get it cleaned up....I'd like to be able to use that room for something.....like maybe an office (or a space to put a puzzle table so I can do puzzles again without the cats being assholes and knocking the pieces on the floor).

I also need to get better at asking my husband for help with chores.  He's never going to know which chores I want done if I don't tell him...and he'll never just start doing them regularly (he does occasionally pick a chore to help with all on his own) if I don't let him know that I need the help.

4.  Be a better mom
Sometimes, I'm a pretty crappy mom.  I know, at some point EVERY mom is a crappy mom.  But I feel like I'm more crappy than good.  I yell at my child when she misbehaves.  I yell and scream at her until my throat hurts and spank her on her butt until my hand stings.  I have a problem of remember when the last time was that she got a bath....and with her new 7:00 bedtime, I feel like there's not enough time in the evening to commute home, get dinner cooked, eat dinner, and have her in bed by 7.  So it gets to be the weekend and say to myself "Um....when was the last time you had a bath little lady?!"  I don't push her to brush her teeth every night like I should.  She goes to school every day without her hair brushed because 1, I don't make enough time in the morning to fight her on it and 2, I hate fighting her on it.  She spends more time playing with her iPad or watching her shows on TV because it's basically impossible for me to get anything done if she's not doing those things (see, she doesn't like to play independently at home and she ALWAYS needs me).  And that statement right there proves that I'm a horrible mom!  I should be elated that my child needs me all the time, but I'm not.  I hate that she's always up my butt all the time.  I can't even sit on the couch without her saying "mommy, lets snuggle and share a blanket".  It drives me insane.  I have very little patience for her and when she starts whining and not listening, I turn into this evil monster and a little more of my "bitch-berg" gets exposed.  (I heard that term on TV yesterday and thought it was hilarious...."the tip my bitch iceberg..my bitch-berg")

So this year I challenge myself to be a better mom....a nicer, more patient, more understanding mom.  In all aspects.  I need to be thankful and grateful for the time I have with her.  I need to embrace that she's 3 and I can't expect her to behave like a 10 year old...because she's only 3 and really doesn't understand why what she's doing is making mommy SOOOOOOOOOO mad.  I have to make more time for "us" and pick crafty things to do that she can do without me wanting to control the situation because she's doing it wrong, or not like how I want it done.  I need to learn to love her more and be mad at her less.  In a few years, she'll turn around.  I've heard some people say that 4 is so much better than 3 but I've also heard a lot of people say that it's exactly the same.  I just need to be strong and push through it.

5.  Learn to cook
So a few weeks ago I mentioned that I had bought myself a culinary arts textbook for Christmas so that I can hopefully teach myself how to cook.  I'm really excited to dive into that goal this year!  Don't get me wrong, I can cook a few things....and I feel like I'm really good at those things.  I can make a badass Baked Ziti that tastes better than any other ziti I've had.  I know that chicken breasts cooked in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes are absolutely perfectly cooked, every time.  I can bake a bangin' dark chocolate cake that stays moist for days.  But there are so many recipes online and in my many cookbooks that really intimidate me.  Whether it's the ingredients, or the technical steps, or just the awesomeness of the picture itself, I tend to get freaked out and leave it there for another time.  As I'm getting older, I'm trying more and more foods that I previously would have never tried (and surprise surprise, I actually really enjoy the things I've tried) and I feel like I'm ready to start learning how to use them besides roasting them in the oven or sauteing them until their way mushier than I would prefer.  I'm ready to learn how to make sauces to put on that chicken that is cooked perfectly.  I'm ready to learn how to make my OWN pasta (even though I don't have the pasta attachment for my stand mixer...yet).

I challenge myself to read that textbook, cover to cover...highlight it, take notes, and try over and over and over again until I really grasp the concepts of cooking.  I know culinary students take years to master techniques during school, and I'm going at this on my own without a teacher...so I know I will not be an expert at every single thing in this book...but it'll be a good start and hopefully something I'll continue in years to come.

Here are a few of the items I'd really like to be able to cook this year!
(click on each caption for link to recipe)
Cranberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Chocolate Pots de Creme
snickerdoodle macarons
Snickerdoodle Macarons

I'm excited to begin the adventure that will be 2015....I hope you are, too!
Happy new year, y'all!

(Holy crap, it took me 2 days to write this one!  Wowzers!)