Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer...and a wreath.

Summer is here. For most people today brings visions of sunny days, cool drinks, pool splashes, and fun in the sun. For me it means that after today the days start getting blessedly shorter again, it means that I need to hide inside during the hottest parts of the day, it means that I must endure this torturous time in order to get to the most wonderful time of the year - FALL!! I try my hardest every year to ignore summer. Heat, sun and Jamie do not mix. There were days during last year's interminable heat wave that I was actually glad I didn't have hair because I was so frickin hot. However, I do have children so I do have to put up some semblance of enthusiasm about every season and holiday. And that starts with a wreath on the door - simple yet festive. I may be hiding inside but at least the outside of my house relays the message "We have some spirit!!"

I found this tutorial earlier this year and gave it a shot for Valentine's Day. I was still doing chemo so not up for anything super complicated and this fulfilled my craft fix for a bit. Also great - I love my wooden door decorations, but I do not love them when it's windy, and we get quite a bit of wind around here. I don't have to take these down or hear knocking on the door all day and night - win win!

 What I love is that after you get the idea, you can do pretty much whatever you want with it. Use whatever color yarn you want, whatever size wreath form, whatever cutouts - it's all good!  

Start with your foam wreath form (say that a few times fast). I try to remember to use my 40% Michaels, Joann's or Hobby Lobby coupons to get them, and that keeps the cost of these wreaths really reasonable. The skein of yarn was probably $3 and this is the second wreath I've used it on. A few sheets of felt and the form, and the whole thing is about six bucks! Works for me. Anyway, grab your form, whichever size you want, hot glue a piece of yarn down to start, and start wrapping that bad boy. I used red because I have a blue door...I'd probably do blue if I had any other color door, but do whatever floats your boat or shoots your firecracker in this case. I do mine pretty tight, I wind the yarn a few times, tighten and squish it back so there is no form showing through. Takes me about 1.5 to 2.5 hours to do the whole thing depending on who's screaming or how many times I need to play with Lightning McQueen.
I used a cookie cutter to trace some stars out of glitter felt, because I'm sassy like that, and because Fourth of July should be glittery.

Take your hot glue gun, which I sincerely hope works better than mine, and glue the stars wherever you would like them to be.

The tutorial uses criss crosses on most of their wreaths and you can see I did criss crosses on the Valentine's one above, but that wreath was bigger and I thought this one was too small and too busy to support full on criss crosses, so I just did one layer around. Glue a little yarn hanger around the top...and there you have it - voila! A simple easy cheap Fourth of July wreath.
Now please excuse me while I fool myself into ignoring the next three months and dream of the fall and winter ones that I can make.

Monday, June 17, 2013

8 months

Finally cutting first tooth....

Desperately trying to crawl and very frustrated not to get it quite yet....

Loves older brother so much, stares at him anytime he is near....

Loves to stand but not quite on her own...


Sleeping through the night? Hahahahahaha....

Continuing the Thomas tradition of super drooly babies...

Pooping like a boss...

Eating eating eating - pumpkin, yams, spinach, broccoli, carrots, apples, plums, peaches...

Talking and yelling from sun-up to sundown...

Being a cute 8 month old.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Okay, so now what?

The denouement of cancer treatment is decidedly anticlimactic. I mean, I guess that's a good thing for now, in fact, yes, I'll take this outcome right now. But, it's like running a marathon for the first time (not that I would EVER know that feeling) and the finish line is already packed up, the balloons are down, the crowd is gone, and the clock is flashing a blinking 0:00 because it doesn't really care anymore about your finish time. Last radiation treatment is tomorrow, and then..... exactly, and then what? I mean, I see my oncologist in three months, I see my surgeon every six, I'll start talking with a plastic surgeon in a few months, I'll have a scan once every three months or so for a while, but that's about it. TA-DA!!! Talking with some of the girls in my FB group, I said there really should be a cancer treatment debriefing, like when you return from a deployment. I'm not going to compare it to coming back from war, it's just you are in the midst of all of this chaos for months and months and all of a sudden, you're not, and it's disconcerting - this trying to get to your "new normal" (another term I loathe, I don't know why, it just rubs me the wrong way).

So we will plan some small trips in the next few months - I have not been on a plane in, my goodness, two years, and that is just bizarre to me - and I will try to find work again and feel like a contributing member of this family, I will start planning a first birthday party, I will try to bear the onslaught of summer (my least favorite season), and I will try without success to push this to the back of my mind and get on with the business of living.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A crafty post...

So we made it through Jack's birthday party relatively unscathed... only a few fights and tears...introverts should really not ever throw parties. But anyway... we had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday because little man loooooves mickey mouse clubhouse. First thing he asks for when he wakes up.

A big thank you to friends and family who helped out!

Here are the ears I made, very tediously with a crappy glue gun, but they came out half way decent I must say. Click here for the tutorial I used...

Update: Thought I should comment about the fondant. I made it the day before so did not refrigerate it. I did however refrigerate my cake since it had whipped cream filling in the center. The cold cake caused the fondant to sweat by the time cake was to be cut, as you can see in the last picture. I'm sure if the cake was room temp, it would have looked perfectly perfect.

Minnie's and Mickey's
A close up of the non-sleeping beauty wearing her ears

I always make his cake.. here is this years, a conglomeration of pinterest ideas...

Used this recipe for marshmallow fondant - pretty easy!
My cake, my ears and myself ....

Just some other party details...

I would normally never do this but being super-tired and burnt this year, I couldn't face the prospect of entertaining three year olds...enter Mr. Mouse.
Jack getting his face painted by Mr. Mouse (don't step on Disney's copywrite!)

Balloon making
I think he had a great birthday

Friday, June 7, 2013

Three years old.

Oh my baby boy, you are three today. You are 39 inches and 33 pounds, my tall string bean. I cannot believe what you have done in the past year. Last year you were only saying "that"...everything was that, that, that. Then, all of a sudden, about a month after your birthday, after we were set to enroll you in speech therapy but couldn't after mama got diagnosed, you started talking and didn't stop, speaking in sentences, using your pronouns correctly...amazing! It's like you knew I could use something off of my plate and you provided. You can do about any sport or athletic activity that you want ride your scooter faster than the six year olds in the neighborhood. You are definitely mama's little daredevil. You love your books, you love Cars, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Toy Story. You master puzzles on the computer and you are on the verge of reading.

Oh my love, you will never be my cuddle bug, but you give hugs and kisses now, and when you say I love you too mama, my heart heals. You grab my hand and it's fits like Cinderella's slipper. You make sure to say "you are very welcome" when someone says thank you and people can't believe it. You love your little sister although you still can't quite figure out that she's not as strong as you. You are so handsome I sometimes wonder where you came from. You are most definitely your own person and I couldn't be more proud.

I know the year ahead will have challenges. You are most definitely entering your threes in a whirlwind of growing defiance, tantrums, testing of boundaries. We will face them as we have faced everything this year, with laughs, tears, probably some yelling and quizzical looks. But we will get through. I can't wait to see what this coming year brings with you holding my hand.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Radiation follow-up

Well, I was all set to write this post about the auspicious hat trick of dates when I ended my radiation treatments tomorrow on my son's birthday.. how my treatments had all started or ended right on or around important dates. But alas, I will not finish until likely next Wednesday - I am peeling too much and want some of this brand-new-as-a-baby's-butt skin to toughen up at least a little bit before the last three zap sessions so I told them I wasn't coming back until Monday. Still close to Jack's birthday, but still. Anyway, because I wanted to follow up and gross everyone out, here's a picture of what most of the peeling looks like - and this is actually good compared to what it was.
Still red on the chest and super super itchy.


Pretty gross...not the cool kind of peeling after a one day sunburn kind of peel, this is thick layers coming off...

The gross close up, so you can share my pain :)

Okay, I promise tomorrow will be a lovely post with pretty pictures and no more grossness..for now.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


My skin has degraded considerably since the last post so doing anything has been difficult and painful. It takes me enough energy throughout the day just to tolerate picking up the baby and then concentrating on not dropping her. Cannot wait for this part to be done, over with, and healed. Additionally, because I like to do many difficult things at once, like get pregnant and have cancer, baby and major surgery, etc. etc, I am also in the midst of getting ready for Jack's third birthday party this weekend. To be honest, I had no idea radiation would effect me like this and did not expect this at all, so this was just a bad coincidence.

In other news, had to mention this on the donor milk front. I have been ecstatic to keep Amelia in donor milk past six months, but have been hoping to make it to a year. I would hate for her to not have what Jack had, especially with what she contended with. But again, it's donor milk,  donated, not coming from me, so I am happy that we have made it as far as we have with her and forever grateful that Erin, my milk mama extraordinaire who coordinates this for me has done all of this work so far. That being said, we were lacking about two weeks ago, I mean down to the last two bags. All of a sudden, I don't know how Erin found her or vice versa, but this mama up in the LA area told her she had a one time donation - she had been pumping for her twins but they developed food allergies and couldn't use the milk. Erin happened to be going to a family member's graduation in the area and it was kismet. We were not, however, expecting this.
That freezer is filled to the absolute top with milk. There were even a few more bags that needed to go in our house freezer because the deep freeze was completely full. That should be good to keep baby going for about two months, which puts us that much closer to the year goal. Holy shamoley balls. Thank you mama, whomever you are.
Okay, I'm off to make more Mickey ears, which I will post pictures of along with the tutorial where I found the idea. Stay tuned.