Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I think this picture kind of sums up this year. I cannot believe that much of the first six months of this year I was still in active treatment, chemo and radiation. Events that filled almost every day, that my daily life revolved around, that consumed so many minutes to give me so much more time - dates, times, actions, results, appointments - now seem so far away. While this nasty nasty beast still unfortunately inhabits a too-large place in my mind, it has been evicted from the front room. Now it resides in more of a hall closet. It will eventually move to the backyard and then the next block, town, county, state and country, maybe eventually planet, but for now, this is progress.
My baby potty trained, started expounding in paragraphs of conversation, and started preschool this year - my baby baby started walking, running and semi-talking.
The next year I am certain will bring greater joys, accomplishments, opportunities. My husband and I, after the past two years, are more intent than ever on setting some serious and much anticipated changes in motion. Life waits for no one. The holidays will be here again in the blink of an eye and we will gather again, eyes sparkling in the bevy of twinkling lights, to celebrate and look back in awe of all that 2014 has provided. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What day is it??

The end of the year seems to be rushing towards everyone with the wind at its back...between some family issues going on and everyone catching the baby's cold - this house could rival the amount of slime produced by Nickelodeon in the 90's  - I have barely had time to stop and wrap presents. For someone who doesn't "work", my goodness, I can't seem to catch a moment - I haven't even watched Scrooged yet this year and that is decidely not cool!!
We did however, attend Jack's first Christmas program. I should have realized what a lion's den a small room filled with 80+ "adults" trying to watch the 30ish small children in the front of the room would become. Umm, really, people in the FRONT ROW, you don't need to stand up during the whole thing. Ugh...although I am happy to have a record of it, I truly think times were a little easier when not everyone was stepping in front of everyone else to record little Bobby on their iPad.

This was one of the few non-blurry ones taken over the lady's head that was standing in the front row...thanks lady. Merry Christmas - I need to watch some Scrooged now.

We have had some exquisite sunsets lately though. Amazing. 
Anyway, just wanted to get a short note in before Christmas. Wishing you all enjoyment in the preparations of the next few days and much luck with parking spaces and check out lines!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's still in OUR hands...

It's only December 5th, but I have already heard from many people the annual bah humbugging, the Bill Murray Scrooged (one of my most favorite movies ever btw), the boo on Christmas, the "I hate Christmas because it's ... commercial, fake, Christ-centered, not-Christ-centered-enough, overly happy, depressing, encroaches on Thanksgiving, sparkly, not sparkly enough, " etc., etc., etc.
I myself have had, in years past, Christmas seasons where I wasn't exactly tilting my wassail cup with joy so I can't begrudge anyone their feelings, but times change and circumstances change and there's not anything that I wouldn't give out of heart, soul and pocket to be here for the next 20 Christmases with my children. So color me overly romantic about the holiday, and I will gladly concur with my donning of red and green-glitter colored glasses. But one thing that sticks in my craw about some of the complaints is this fact - we are still in charge of our households, and to a certain degree, what enters them. So while complaints about decorations going up before Thanksgiving (personally I LIKE going to the mall and seeing lights all over the place - just seeing them makes an unrestrained smile break out on my face. I unabashedly love twinkle lights, I think they should be used in more household decor) may be justifiable to some, the argument of "Christmas is so commercialized therefore I hate it" doesn't hold water for me...in fact I see it as a blatant cop-out.

 I get that I can't control what Jack hears at school or what he learns from his classmates about gifts and what to ask Santa for at Christmas. But I CAN control what enters my home and how I choose to have my family interact with it. Believe me, I get that Jack is three and the baby is 1 - but that's my point - this is the time for my husband and I to try to instill in them what we believe Christmas to be about, and on a larger scale, what we want our family to be about. I'm not making a judgment here - if a family wants to focus on gift giving at Christmas, more power and the Toys R Us catalog to them. But if you are just going to toss your hands up in the air and say "Oh well, Christmas is screwed because it's all commercialized anyway" then I have to call bullshit on that. I say that's teaching your kids that when you don't like something, when you don't agree with how things are run, then you just sit back and complain about it. When did we all cede control of one of our greatest gifts - our family - to some vague corporate overtaking?  It takes some work, but doesn't all of this crazy parenting fiasco we are entrusted with?  Sit down with your kids and a nativity scene and explain it to them, read books, sing carols, visit people, do some of the 8,000 things you have pinned, establish gift giving rules from early on and be firm - this is your family, not your parents, your in-laws, aunts, uncles or cousins. Let's pull up our big girl holly-covered panties whether it's with an overflowing-make-no-excuses-huge-pile-of-presents or whether it's with a tote bag-full but let's own our choices. Our families are still our responsibility, no one else's, and that includes how we choose to celebrate or not.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Closing out the 28 days of thankfulness...and a Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Well, it certainly is more difficult to write everyday about random prompts then I expected. That said, I will do my best to close this out. 

A talent that I have - seriously? I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue! :) Ummm, I'm a pretty good baker, I don't know if that's talent. I'll tell you a talent I would like to have - 1) I would love to be able to draw, paint, etc. I cannot for the life of me and I am jealous of the several family members who are able to do that. It fascinates me to see people draw something, pull something out of their mind and put it on paper because when I try to do that it looks like...well, not good. 2) I have never taken a musical lesson in my life but I would love to learn to play the banjo...and the piano...but the banjo. I know, weird, but whatever. I can just picture myself sitting around a campfire playing songs on my banjo while the snow falls or the starts blanket the sky.
A memory - well, thank God I can still remember some memories with my shot brain. I don't have a favorite memory anymore than anything else, but here's one for the season. When I was very little we used to go to my grandmother's cousin's house on Christmas Eve. Seemed like it took a day to get wherever we were going but it was most likely like 40 minutes away. This was the Austrian side of the family and Emmy always imported things for Christmas from Austria - liquor filled chocolates, my favorite pfeffernusse cookies...and the tree was covered in angel hair, and I mean covered...I'm not even sure if the tree was real or not because you couldn't see it it was so covered. After dinner everyone would actually stand around the piano in their swinging 70's caftans and leisure suits and sing carols together and then presents would be opened. She gave the best presents - one year she gave me a child size wooden piano! That was the best, I would play it over and over with the little paper key that came with it. Good times.
Anything about fall? Seriously? Well, if you read this then by now you are certainly aware of my life affair with all things fall - except the late heat wave we usually suffer through here in southern California. What in the world is there not to love about fall?
The leaves, the coolness, those days that are so blindingly bright but crisp and biting, the apples and pumpkins and cocoa. Aaahhhhhh, fall. My soul breathes deeply every fall.
And finally a day of thanks.
I am thankful to be here to have any holiday with my family. I'm thankful for the ones that I have had in the past. I'm working everyday to be cognizant of remembering my blessings, even and especially when it is difficult to. May all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 22 - Faith, Day 23 - A Special Day in your Life and Day 24 - Jewelry

Goodness sakes, this has been work. Lucky for me, I wrote about faith and thankfulness a little while back so I will just direct you there.

Ugh, I am SO over picking these specific events - I have never ever liked that. Especially as introductory device, like when you are in a new class or a seminar and they say, tell your neighbor your favorite book, or band, or whatever - UGH! Anyway, a special day in my life. Hmmmm, I feel like I should be describing a Judy Blume event here. I'll pick an odd one here - I loved my 19 birthday, it was one of my favorite birthday's ever and I suppose that makes it a "special" day. I was a freshman in college and during my freshman year I lived in a suite, which was three rooms of two girls. Being an only child and just being me, I know I wasn't easy to live with, and some of the other girls had definite "quirks" also. By January, cracks were already creaking open in our suite, but for whatever reason, these girls, and some of my friends across the way, had a great celebration for me. I loved it and will always remember it!

Jewelry, or a piece of jewelry. This one was kind of interesting. I have a necklace that I have had for many many years. My mom gave it to me years ago - I will admit through many moves it has been lost and found multiple times.
It was my great-grandmother's necklace and supposedly came with her from Austria. As I recall, the story is that it was a gift from the royal family (the Hapsburgs) and is some extravagant stone. It's completely not my style, but I love the story and the lore behind it. I've never even had it appraised because I think I like the lore more than what the actual truth may be. Whatever it is, I'm thankful that I have this tangible link to that side of my family.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 20 - A project you did and Day 21 - A dessert

Seriously, these prompts asking me to cull the shadowy recesses of my chemofied brain to extract things about ME?? Sooooo difficult. A project I did that I am thankful for...hmmm. Okay, here's one I'm glad I did. I beleive I have discussed my disgust for high school previously, just high school itself. However, when our 10 year reunion came around, I found myself volunteering to plan it! Why?? I do not know, but I did, and I'm so glad I did. I think we had a surprising turnout for a 10 year reunion, and like I remarked a few posts back, we lost a few people right after that reunion. I'm pretty proud of myself for taking the reigns and planning that event, which definitely was a project.
Dessert I am thankful for?? Oh my, I so cannot pick just one, but my love for chocolate rivals my love for coffee, so anything involving chocolate, coffee, cocoa, etc. is automatically lovely. Throw in some raspberry or cherry...ooooohhhh. I love you dessert.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 18 - A daily indulgence and Day 19- A trip

The only daily indulgence that I can think of, and I don't think it's an indulgence, I believe it is a necessity, is my lovely coffee. As I wrote on facebook, "ohhhh, my lovely coffee, what would I do without thee? I love you I love you, I am thankful for you, forever be near me...".
As far as a trip goes, I have been very fortunate to go quite a few places in my life - not as many as some, but certainly more than many. I am so grateful - I love to travel, preferably in the fall/winter. My husband and I have been snowed on, rained on - doesn't matter. To us that means less people, less crowds and not passing out from heat exhaustion. Having two small children in recent years has quashed our wanderlust slightly, and my being sick last year and this certainly scuttled some plans. We couldn't even visit our in-laws last year, well, mostly because I was having surgeries and chemo - but a plane is a great big cesspool of germs for someone with no immune system and I couldn't chance it. Boy, you do not know how much you miss something until it is forbidden to you. I was soooooo excited to get back on a plane this year just for a short trip I could have jumped for joy (but even I, at barely 5'3", am too tall to be jumping on any plane without cracking my head open). I look forward to many many trips in my future and will be extra thankful for any opportunity that comes my way.

 Somewhere in Vermont I think...

 Jack's first flight - two months old...I hope he loves to travel as much as his mama
I think this was outside of Prague


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 16 - A shining moment and Day 17 - Health

A shining moment - jeez, they pick hard topics don't they? These ones that make us think back on our own good moments, those are truly difficult for me.
I don't know about a shining moment, but I look back at going to grad school at night when I was working full time and wonder how I ever had the energy to do that...I'm proud of myself for keeping with it and completing it, it was a great feeling when it was done, that's for sure.

Health - well, this one is interesting isn't it? My health...Aside from everything this year and last, aside from the fact that I really truly don't know my exact health status day to day and never really will again...I am pretty healthy. My doctors have all said I'm a really healthy patient who had some pretty frickin serious cancer. I am thankful that I came through it, well, cut up into pieces but relatively unscathed and without many problems at all. I am and will be drop-down-on-your-knees thankful for every clean scan I ever have and I will pray everyday to remain so. You can't ever appreciate being healthy until you aren't, it's just something that the human mind is unable to fully process until it experiences different. I am truly gratful for every day that I open my eyes.

To those who comment on my Christmas posts...

Christmas 2012

To those who have commented on my admittedly prolific liking of Christmas pages and talking about Christmas songs and basically my overall overexcitability about Christmas this year...with no malice in my heart and the best of meanings...stuff it.

I don't comment when people post 45 political posts in a day, or share 18 ramblings about how they hate Christmas. I don't comment about people and their 52 pinterest ecard posts about wine. Yet for some reason people feel compelled to comment on my sharing of what I feel is joyful...yes, it may be early - yes, I truly realize it is not Thanksgiving yet, but you know what? I effectively missed the holidays last year. I was there, but I wasn't there...I wasn't able to fully participate. I saw my kids, but didn't get to fully experience Jack's 2 year old wonder at the lights and Santa and stocking and elves. I had my two month old, but I was so busy taking care of her, and recovering from two surgeries, and going through chemo that I didn't get to soak in my baby girl's first Christmas. I didn't get to decorate, I didn't get to sing carols at church, I didn't get to feel Christmas. I didn't get the luxury of Bah Humbugging it because I was praying too hard to make it to this Christmas.

So forgive me for my giddiness, for my wanting to share the fact that I am happily and unabashedly overcelebrating the holidays this year. Forgive me my liking of many many Christmas posts, of snow and trees and wreaths and candles. Forgive me my inability to throw away any precious holiday that I am given with my children. I don't begrudge you your existence in the benign and blissful obliviousness that total health brings. I used to live there myself, but I have moved...and at my new address, you will find me overcelebrating most anything I can.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 14 - A life lesson and Day 15 - Charity

These are getting a bit more difficult. A life lesson. Well, I think I will go with the obvious here and talk about how this dumb, stupid cancer, which I STILL WILL NEVER EVER SAY I WAS HAPPY TO GET, has made me slow down and relax a bit, and for those that know me, that's saying a lot. I do let many many things go that I wouldn't have before, and I try very hard to remain present in each day although I'm only human. It's a work in progress.
I'm not quite sure what they mean by charity, if they mean were you thankful to receive charity, are you thankful for a specific charity. Unclear. But the Christmas season is upon us, and that means Angel Trees, which I do every year. I grew up relatively poor.  I was from a single parent household, did not grow up in a nice place...but one thing my mom always did, for as long as I can remember, was take an angel or two at Christmas and we would get gifts for them. I would look forward to picking an angel every year at the Fox Hills Mall...the program stopped there as I recall in the early 90s, and by then you pretty much stayed away from that mall if you didn't want to get shot while picking your jeans out at Express. I would find various programs over the years, and was involved in Toys for Tots, but then when I moved to Huntington Beach when I met my husband, my first Christmas there I discovered my church had an angel tree program and I was so excited! I still do it every year (my church gives you an angel ornament when you drop off the gifts - I have not missed one for the past 12 or 13 years and last year when I couldn't make it, I begged my friend to take my gifts for me because I needed my ornament!) and I love that they include seniors also. People forget how lonely some seniors can be, and that maybe a package of socks and a sweatshirt is so appreciated. I can't wait until the kids begin to understand what we are doing when we do this, it truly excited me to pass this tradition on to them. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 12 - A job and Day 13 - A book

A job...well, I can say that the job I currently hold, stay at home mom, is by far the hardest, most difficult, demanding, stressful and chaotic job that I have ever had. I have to say I did not intentionally choose to be a stay at home mom, I was circumstantially thrown into it. I still do not believe I am very good at it. I love love love these kids to death, as you can probably tell so far, but if someone called to hire me tomorrow, I would take it in a heartbeat. But I am enjoying them and hoping that they forgive me my faults and foibles, and I am using this time to try to learn the lessons that I need to learn as well - patience, understanding, all of that zen stuff. :)
A book - I do not know how anyone could ever just pick one favorite book. To me that is like trying to pick a favorite photo - impossible. I can't even hazard a guess as to how many books I have read so far in my life but I have many many more to go and many to visit again. It does give me a thrill that I am now reading to Jack some of my favorite childhood books that I saved just for my future children.
And just FYI - I love paper books - I'm not such an ebook fan. I get the allure of toting just a single device around instead of a heavy book, especially while traveling, but there is really nothing else like holding a book in your lap under a blanket on a beautiful grey day, or the smell of a library book, or the familiar texture of pages that your own fingers have turned a dozen times before. In addition to that, I am a huge proponent of local libraries. I realize this is viewed by some as anachronistic in present day society, but libraries offer a world to so many people, kids whose parents can't afford to supply them with new books, people who don't have computer access at home, even people who just need to feel a little bit of community. Love my books and my library!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 10 - Words of Wisdom and Day 11 - A Photo

I don't know that I have any words of wisdom that have stood out to me over the years, however, lately, when walking the baby while Jack rides his bike, I find myself saying something to him over and over that I really need to heed myself. Lately Jack has a tendency to look behind him to watch me while he's riding in front of me and over and over I'm repeating to him "Baby, you have to stop looking behind you and pay attention to what's in front of you." If I need to listen to anything, especially after this year, this is it. Easier said than done, as with most things.
As for photos, I could never ever pick a single photo to love. I am so lucky to have photos of my family that go back probably a little over 100 years. I know not many people are so lucky. If I had a scanner I would be showing you many of these photos right now, but you'll have to use your imagination. :) I cherish the photos of my present family, as is obvious with all of the pictures I do share on here, but the old pictures, they hold a special place in my heart, and I can't wait to share with the kids pictures of people like their great-great grandparents. I don't just get to tell stories, they get to see what these people looked like. I am so thankful for all of these photos that I have been entrusted with. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 9 - Food

Funny enough, this is a more apropos topic than seems on the surface. To start, I am so so so incredibly thankful that I in a position to be lucky enough to grow food at home, not because I need to, but because I like to and because it gives me a semblance of pleasure and surprise to see what actually comes up.
When you have great sources of fresh fruits and vegetables nearby, you take it for granted. You don't realize how very many people either can't afford fresh fruits and vegetables, or do not have them within an attainable distance. Back when I was working, one of my passions was learning about and speaking about food insecurity, food deserts, edible landscaping and suburban farming.
Why this post is so appropriate today is that for the past two weekends, I have spent hours cleaning out my grandparents house, which involved filling a large part of three dumpsters with cans, boxes, and packages of food spanning the past three or four decades or so. My grandmother, as so many from that era, had a Depression-era, WWII era mentality, and had uncountable amounts of foodstuffs packed into cupboards - not hoarding, but "preparing". Unfortunately, most of that food went uneaten and although the food was completely unsafe and inedible, it hurt my heart to throw that much food away, because at one time, it was good and could have fed so many people. It was a great reminder to me to be so thankful for what I have, and tomake sure my family is always taken care of, but after that, to work to make sure others are taken care of as well. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 7 - A failure that you have had - And Day 8 - A Success

Well, obviously a failure I had was keeping up on this every day now wasn't it?

Oh goodness, who likes to talk about failures that they have had, even though they are usually where we learn our biggest lessons? I wish I would have had one of those grand failures that turn brilliant successes - like flubber or something. But alas, I have not - I think I am mostly composed of everyday failures that everyone beats themselves up about - the failures of a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter...a human. Actually, one failure that I have had - I wish I would have allowed myself to fail more. When I was little, on top of being an extremely shy introvert...I was also terribly afraid of failing. Some things came so easy to me, primarily school and grades, etc., that if I wasn't completely certain that I could win something, or knew the answer, or could master it, I wouldn't try it. I truly believe that I missed out on many opportunities, or at least growth, from that, and that in itself is the biggest failure. As I've gotten older, I have had to force myself to try things when I am unsure of the outcome, and I still struggle with it, but I'm thankful that I recognize it and am trying to change.

A success I have had - I think one of the big successes I had in the past year was moving past my own comfort zone to put my personal story out there. If I could get one woman to avoid going through what I did by knowing the different signs of what to look for, then that is a success. If I got one mom to donate her excess milk instead of throwing it away, that was a great success to me. If I helped one of the pregnant moms with cancer that I have come across in the past year to navigate this cesspool of crap, then that was a great success. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6 - My Children

Raising children is some serious shit. It's hard, difficult work that tests your patience in ways you never knew, like working muscles you never knew you had during that first Pilates class. I am still amazed that a tiny little person (in Jack's case, not so tiny, he's already more than half as tall as I am) can create ways to push your buttons in ways even your husband hasn't figured out yet...boggles my mind. Adding a serious, life-threatening illness to the pot is like adding some sriracha to a bowl of cayenne pepper soup - it just adds fuel to an already heated situation, and I am in no way proud to say that I have taken my emotions out on them at times over this past year - I've snapped and yelled at times much louder and more often than I should have. I pray and pray that some of those memories get lost in the ether.

But beyond the frustrations and madness of raising children is truly an awe-inspiring space, a place where time both stops and careens forward. I know other parents see their children growing up and want desperately to push the pause button...but I, warranted or not, feel like I'm sprinting, holding their hands and dragging them along, because I want to see everything that they do, I want to see all of the years and the events and growing and the stumbling and the successes and the failures. I want to see and touch and breath it all and I feel like I have to do IT RIGHT NOW. But I can't, so I take every day, and though I may lose it sometimes and I will most definitely never be the perfect mama, I dole out copious amounts of hugs and kisses, and breathe in these beings who for whatever reason were crazy enough to choose me to pass through.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5 - Friends

I don't have many close friends - I never have. I think it's just part of my introverted personality - I never liked to go out and socialize in addition to various and sundry other reasons, so I never developed the mass amount of friends that some people have.

When this all came down, I was fully prepared to go through it like I have almost everything else in my life - primarily by myself. I don't expect much from most people because I find when I do I'm most often disappointed, so I certainly didn't expect anything just because I was sick. Some people certainly held up the "don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed when it happens" credo, but some people, who had absolutely no obligation at all to help me out, did more than most. My husband's co-workers (who were my co-workers too almost 13 years ago) went above and beyond - they provided us with meals, they sent cards and flowers, gifts - for me and for the baby. They dealt with my husband all day when I'm sure he wasn't exactly a peach dealing with all of this. They are the ones who put together the Komen walk for me. They truly did this out of the goodness of their hearts, and they will always embody the true meaning of friendship to me. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 4 - Family

This has me thinking of a post that I would like to ruminate on, so I will post something succint here. I have a pretty large family - a small immediate one but cousins, aunts, uncles, distant cousins galore. This, as I'm sure many of you have experienced, can cause both great joy and fun, as well as strong dislike, decades-long arguments and fisticuffs in the old days. I would not have chosen to grow up any other way.

Most of my family has been great over the past year, either helping out, making food, or just sending thoughts and cards. Some have not and that's okay too - I know now whom I can depend on. My in-laws have gone above and beyond - something I can never repay them for. Like I said on day 1 - I was truly given insight into people's true character, a gift by itself.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3 - A person who lifts you up...

I am going to take slight liberty with this and talk about people who did something to lift me up when I really needed it and did not know it...
Last year before baby girl was born some friends offered to throw me a baby shower which I absolutely did not want...it's hard to explain but I'm not one for parties anyway where I am the center of attention. Couple that with the fact that I had been receiving help from people for a few months - something with was a struggle enough to do - and I was 9 months pregnant and bald and still angry. But I finally relented, because I knew even if I didn't want this, the baby deserved it. So my wonderful friends Laurie and Wendy threw together an awesome fall shower (I left them with not much notice, poor things) and my cousin Nicole picked for me the most awesome shower cake ever made. For all of that, for knowing what I needed when I absolutely did not want it, I was truly thankful. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 2 - A time when you were strong

I'm going for the not blatantly obvious here and looking back at some of my past experiences to appreciate where I have been also...
One of the things that I have done, that I needed to be physically and mentally strong for, was Marine Corp boot camp... it was a lifetime (or almost 15 years) ago but I would not trade that experience for anything and some things will stay strongly seared in my chemo-battered memory...
Boot camp itself was probably the longest 13 weeks of my life and cost me one good knee and a severely rolled ankle but after you get through the initial weeks of screaming in your face, you find a rhythm and figure out they really do want to see you succeed. After boot camp comes a three week course called MCT - Marine Combat Training - for those who are not going into an infantry unit. This was at Camp Lejeune - which has many swamps. One side note - I am TERRIFIED of water where I can't see the bottom. One night was a night hump...through parts of the swamp...this was probably the closest I have come to a full-blown panic attack in my life (I vividly remember what an alligator sounds like - TV static) but with the help of others I pulled some semblance of mental strength out and made it through. Never ever ever again, but I'm thankful I have that memory in my bank.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A month of thankfulness...

I don't usually participate in this sort of thing, but I saw this on a blogging site yesterday and it caught my eye because it's not your typical "What am I thankful for today" for however many days there are until Thanksgiving - by giving a different prompt every day it challenged me to really start thinking. So I will take this as my challenge (much in the blogshpere right now about different writing challenges so this is my way of participating) and post my answer everyday.

A Blessing
I have been blessed with many many things...some obvious, some not so obvious. An interesting thing that I have been blessed with over the past year - I have been allowed to see the true character of many people in my life. I was honestly shown who my true friends and family were, in great, wonderful, unexpected ways, and also in hurtful unkind ways. That is not something that everyone gets to experience and I believe I am richer for it.

Now here are some fun photos from the rest of October (and from last night!) that I just can't help but

Very serious for a little girl in a pumpkin patch...
My little ham...
A sea of orange beauties...
Daddy and a not so happy at the moment pumpkin...
I love this picture (which is not easy to say for me!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A fall birthday...

This is a long time coming due to a missing, then non-working camera cable...but here we go finally!
Baby girl's first birthday party - obviously having a baby to celebrate in the month of October is going to be wonderful...for me at least, maybe not for her eventually. So I had to have a fall themed party - what else? And it was actually pretty stress free - I mean, the house is already decorated for fall/halloween, so I just had to add some things here and there...
Easy decoration - tissue paper pom poms

A book for guests to sign
The welcome wagon...

Caramel apple party favors - easy and delicious

More easy tissue paper pom poms...I think they are a little classier than balloons right?

Crafts to keep Jack and his friends occupied for a bit

The birthday girl...still deciding that she could crawl faster than walk at that point...although that has started to change this past week.
Marshmellow fondant leaves - this recipe is soooo easy and doesn't taste that bad!
Birthday girl could not understand why everyone was singing to and staring at her at that point

Hmmm, this feels interesting...

But I don't think I will actually taste it for a while...
The boys are over celebrating a one year old girl....
Family shot...Happy first birthday to my baby girl - I eagerly look forward to many more with you.