Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When life knocks you down

"When life knocks you down.... you get up and fight another round"

This is what my Dad said at his latest chemo appointment.

He was a boxer.

I'd been waiting for the right words for a looooong time, the perfect quote or phrase. Literally been searching for over a year for the right saying to symbolize life... living... a lot of things.

This was it. Perfect. And with me now forever. This one means a lot to me... and I attempted to explain why in another Chemo Letter to my Dad.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Chemo Letters- Round 1 Day 2

**A little bit of reality, a little bit of inspiration, and a whole lot of love. Letters for my Dad as we travel this journey together, packed into his chemo bag along with treats like black licorice and hot rod magazines**

                                                                                                                                   Aug 19, 2011

Here we are, round 1 day 2. “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” One chemo day down already and you’re doing good Dad. This is going to be one hell of a journey that’s for sure. But as you’ve seen you are strong, you’re like a chemo rockstar! I just want to make sure you’re not afraid to ask for help if you need it. You don’t have to fake a smile for anyone, we understand that this isn’t easy. There will be ups and there’s definitely going to be some downs but the one constant is that we’re here for you.

You just remember that guy with one leg at the cancer event any time that you feel like it’s too much. Your body and mind can handle a lot more than you think. And you have an amazing support system of people that love you who are pulling for you just as hard as you are yourself. Give us some of the burden to carry, we are willing with open arms.

I want you most of all to know how much I love you Dad. You’ve always been my foundation of strength, shown me how to suck it up and stand tall, it’s interesting how the tides turn as we get older but I guess that’s life. Now it’s my turn to take care of you. You never truly appreciate all that your parents have done for you until you have kids of your own. Now I understand the sacrifices and what it means to be completely selfless, to want more for someone else than you do for yourself… that’s what I meant when I said I’d take this all on for you in a heartbeat if I could, if it meant you didn’t have to go through this. I’d do it Dad, I really would. But I can’t, so I’m trying to find the lesson we’re all supposed to learn from this… I know for one it’s taught me so far a lot of appreciation. Appreciation for what you’ve done for me in my lifetime, appreciation for each breath we’re given every day, appreciation for the bad things because without them we wouldn’t know what good is.

I know it sucks for now, all the tubes, the medicines, the aches and pains, the million appointments, but it will be a faint memory before you know it. Try to focus on the positives and take it all in stride. You keep your eye on that finish line!

Love you Dad,
Baby Cakes
(and a special hello to GramPA from HL) Read more!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toddler Time Warp- 21 months

You like that, how we warped from 18 months to 21 months *that* fast?! And really people it does happen THAT fast. It should be no surprise that the time is flying just as quickly as usual... moreso now with the addition of Baby D (who is almost 3 months old already whaaat?!)

Mr. HL is quite the spunky little character, nothing new there, but dang this kid is smart. And as usual, I say that in the most unbiased way possible, my kid's a genius ;) But really he is super smart, my jaw drops at least once a week at some profound thing that he does. Like the other day when I'm making an afternoon snack and hear HL messing around in the fridge rambling on about something. I finally hear something about "free... daddies" and I turn around and see him pointing at beer in the fridge (aka 'daddies) and I say 'what did you say?' And he goes "momma, count... free... daddies" as he points to the 3 cans of beer in the door.

Come again??

When did he learn to count?!! I mean we've worked loosely on numbers and we try to show him 1... 2... moreso identifying what they look like but to really grasp the concept of counting??! When did that happen?

Or like the other day when I took Baby D's mobile off the crib which is quite the contraption. Simply, there's a piece with a rod and a hole and another piece that screws on over the rod to the hole. Well I pull it off the crib and have it sitting on the ground when HL walks in the room, keep in mind HL has never seen me do this before, he's never even noticed the mobile at all before. And out of no where he walks into the room, picks up all the pieces and instantly puts them together and assembles the mobile. An engineer in the making? ha!

He does things like that and I think, dude, you are one smart cookie... too smart for your own good!

He watches everything like a hawk, the most observant kid ever. I mean he will find buttons on things in this house that I've owned for years and never knew buttons existed on. He will yell out 'Uncleshell' (a universal term for his Auntie & Uncle) the moment that he sees a Tahoe driving by (their car). Doesn't matter what color it is, doesn't matter what year, he somehow knows that it's a Tahoe and starts yelling Uncleshell Uncleshell Uncleshell!!! He's very detail oriented, for example he can differentiate between daddy's car keys and mommy's car keys and will spend an hour sorting things by size or color or shape. He's a gadget freak, any type of gadget or gizmo will hold his attention for more than 5 seconds, the more buttons the better.
Egg chalk = awesome fun

What else is my little sponge up to... He's starting to speak in full sentences now which is really pretty cool. It's really fun to see someone put a language together and realize that they can communicate with you. I am really big on developing words and communication because that helps immensely with the tantrums and fits. I think 90% of toddler tantrums are because they can't communicate their needs to you, and I guess this is an even bigger problem for boys which leads to anger outbursts and such, so if we work on words and communicating then we eliminate some of that. Whenever HL starts to throw a fit and squeal about something I interupt him, bend down, and say STOP! What do you need? What do you want? And he'll say something as silly as "truck" while he points at his truck stuck under the couch... simple problem to fix, no need to scream ;)

His favorite songs right now are twinkle twinkle Shots by LMFAO... lol and Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. Wish I was making that up... but no, they are his absolute fave. The moment he sees mommy or daddy's phone (where the music comes from) he starts dancing and goes "boom boom booooom" "shot shots" and prompts you to put the songs on for him.
Outdoor fun extravaganza!

He still has some rockstar dance moves. He still eats a ton of fruit and an occasional carrot only if it has "dunk" on it. He says "peese" and "tank u mommee" He loves his books and bathtime is still his absolute favorite time of day. The kid lives to be outside, doesn't matter what he's doing as long as he can be "sowside".

Said 24 month clothing
I've started doing a lot of pre-school teaching activities with him which I will chronicle at some point, and he really enjoys that. I love watching him learn... such a rewarding experience... to see him grasp a new idea and figure out the world, it's soo cool!

He's as awesome as usual! I think he's up to about 24 or 25 lbs, wearing a size 5 shoe and size 4 diapers, can still fit into 12 month clothes and the random 6-9 month shirt or something. But mostly is up to 18 month and 24 month clothing... oh my god. True story, I go into the stores to find PJ's for him and grab the 24 month ones and laugh out loud going that is WAAY too big but I guess he'll grow into it, I bring it home, slap it on him and it literally fits like a glove.... when did this happen??? He's starting to sprout up and I guess my perception is just skewed because I still see a cute little baby, NOT a soon to be little man. I mean I'm getting ready to plan his 2nd birthday ::::gasp:::: ::::gulp:::

The Dudes.
Most importantly he is the greatest big brother EVAH! There really hasn't been an ounce of jealousy and if anything he is starting to realize more and more that little D is his best friend. He shrieks for him in the morning when he wakes up and is all "I want to be ON you" all up in poor D's business all the time, but it's adorable. He has NO concept of what it means to be quiet... he'll run over smashing pots and pans while yelling "D... SLEEPING!!" And he doesn't understand that the babe is fragile, smothering with love and hugs occurs at least once an hour. He likes to share with him, like the one day I look over where the two boys are sitting and see baby D smiling with a baby carrot shoved right in his mouth. HL has the right idea... just needs a little tweaking ;)

If you have any shortage of laughter in your life you can borrow my kid... I have never in my life smiled so much, laughed as often, or cried more tears of happiness... it is everything I dreamed of and more to be his their mommy.

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A big 18 month old otherwise known as The Dude.

*I'm a little behind... clearly... this is the 18 month update that I wrote before Baby D was born. I was holding off posting until I had pics to go along with it, um yah lesson learned, just post it because life just continues to fly on and it will never happen otherwise.
some sort of cranky face but amusing mom with ONE picture

My little dude... ahh I love this kid :) Ok with no particular organization to this post here's a spewing of what's new with the dude.

So stats first: 23 lbs 12 oz. (20%) and 32 1/2" tall (57%) pretty sure he's going to be the next Shaquille O'Neal ha.

I get a huge kick out of decifering his toddler language, dont get me wrong the kid is a huge talker, he chats up a storm very well but he definitely has his own language for certain words.
I know I'm not supposed to play with
this buuuutt maybe just for a minute?

Sooey = cereal
Baf = bath
Saba = strawberry
Syco = motorcycle
Unnuh = thunder
Si = outside
Sis = kiss
Maamaw = grandpa/grandma, it's universal
And my newest fave 'sausage', he says it perfectly clear but he screams it at you, it's hysterical.

That's just a sampling of some of the new ones. Other than that he is a complete sponge, he knows 90% of his alphabet letters but, just like most things, he will only indulge you on his own terms. Otherwise he tricks you into thinking he doesn't know them until you spy him in the corner alone pulling them out and announcing them all one by one. "W" is his favorite. He knows all of the animals and their respective noises, obviously chickens aka "bok boks" are a big hit, especially since we got our 2 new baby chicks! And he knows his colors and shapes with "di-ang-o" being his fave. We'll start working on numbers and counting next.
All boy. Always zooming around
with trucks and climbing on things
Helping prepare little brothers room!

He lives for water! I bought him a sand and water table figuring he'd enjoy it but my goodness, the kid will stay outside and play with it until he's shaking and purple and screaming at you while you wrestle him inside when it's only 50 degrees. And then we discovered the sprinkler... oh the squees of joy when daddy turned on the sprinklers! And the bath, we LOVE our "bafs" and our new favorite activity is blowing bubbles in the tub. He dunks his face under the water and blows bubbles just like daddy showed him (baths are usually daddy and dude's special time).

I think he may be a fruit bat. The kid is obsessed with fruit, can't say I'm complaining... wishing he'd get on the veggie wagon too but we'll take baby steps. But yah, fruit, any kind (except the grapefruit that I tried to claim was an orange... did not go over well ;) The good thing about him eating so much fruit is that it makes ME eat fruit and I've never been a big fruit person, I'm all veggies.

Disciplining a toddler... well that was inevitable and I never really knew how we'd go about it or when we'd have to. Surprise, our child is a bit hard headed and strong willed for some strange reason ;) and we've had to implement some semblence of "discipline" since he was about a year old! Right now we do time out when he really tests his limits. He clearly knows that he shouldn't do or behave a certain way (which is obvious by him saying "nonono" the whole time) and if he doesn't stop or listen he gets to go sit at the end of the hallway for a minute or two. I stand there with my back turned to him and after his time is up I bend down and say "what did Mommy say?" and he responds "no, no, no!" at which point I bring him back to whatever activity he was doing to get in trouble... like smashing the tv with a golfclub and I say "this is a no, no, we don't hit the tv" and I tell him to say sorry and then he gives me a kiss. It's a good routine for now, whether he truly gets the entire message or not it's a way to interupt his bad behavior and re-direct to something positive and it keeps me from losing my mind. win win.

Gosh what else... I suppose I could ramble on and on about how awesome he is because really this kid is awesome. I love it when he kisses my belly and says "hi baby", he's going to make the most awesome big brother! I'm just soaking in our Mommy & Dude time, just the two of us, until the newest dude arrives.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Chemo Letters- Round 1 Day 1

**A little bit of reality, a little bit of inspiration, and a whole lot of love. Letters for my Dad as we travel this journey together, packed into his chemo bag along with treats like black licorice and hot rod magazines**

                                                                                                            Aug 11  2011

Well I’m sure you never guessed you’d ever be sitting here hooked up to wires getting chemo treatments… you and me both Dad. No one saw this one coming, not quite something you plan for your life. I hate that this is happening to you and that I can’t fix it, I wish I could close my eyes and make it go away. I’m so sorry that you’ve been chosen for whatever reason to endure this and if I could take on the burden myself I’d do it in a heartbeat. You deserve the world Dad… not this… definitely not this. But sometimes life deals you a shitty hand. It’s just another bump in the road, one that we will look back and laugh at, at least maybe a little bit.

I want you to know that I’m going to be here Dad, you’re not in this alone. I’m fighting right alongside you. I vow to do everything in my power to make this journey easier for you. When you’re tired and afraid I hope you can look to me for energy and strength. When you’re wondering ‘why me’ I hope you realize that you didn’t do anything wrong. When you’re afraid of what the future holds I hope you can trust that it is all going to be ok, if anyone can take this on it’s you. You have the courage of a lion, remember that. When you feel completely alone and that no one understands I hope you know that you’re never by yourself, because I’m right here, right here with you Dad, no matter what. You’ve always been there for me, through thick and thin, always my center of strength and I will do all that I can to give that back to you now.

There’s no playbook they hand you with a diagnosis of cancer you’ve just got to roll with the punches. This will not take you down, it IS going to be ok. You are one very special man and this cancer picked the wrong special man. If you taught me one thing it’s how to stand up and fight, so we’re fighting. And that’s it. Chin up soldier, time to keep marching forward.

I love you always and forever,
Baby Cakes
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Dad Has Cancer.

Didn't think it'd be that hard just to write a post title. It's been quite the rollercoaster of a year so far and this has just topped it all off. Talk about a shot to the gut. We've been on this merry-go-round nightmare ride a few times already with other family members, may they be my Dad's angels from heaven and pull him through this. And yet we find ourselves here again... it really makes you wonder how much one person can take on their plate. So needless to say the mommy blogging has taken a slight turn for some time. I'm busy raising babies and being super mom and I'd love to tell you all about it but I dont have the motivation at the moment, still working my way through being depressed and processing this and therefore the only thing I have motivation to write about right now is cancer. You awful beast from hell. UGH I hate this.

Cancer. You must be kidding me that this is my life right now, it's one thing to experience it with other family members and to lose loved ones but this time its so close to home... I hate that this is happening. I hate that my stoic father has to be brought to his knees by something completely out of his control. I hate that he lives in a constant state of 'why, what did I do wrong', I hate that he is in pain, I hate that his mortality is the first thing on my mind each day when I wake up and probably his too, I hate watching him fight back tears and try to be brave when he is afraid, I hate that HL talks about 'grampa's owie' now, I hate that this is happening to him, and I hate that I can't fix it, I'm a nurse, I fix people, and I can't fix this.

I HATE it.

My Dad wants this to remain relatively private, I absolutely understand, but I need an outlet, I need to vent and say things that only exist in my mind that I dont have the courage to acknowledge outloud or to say to 'real' people. So I say it to the interwebs and hope that if he happens to stumble on the blog someday that he understands. And regardless I'm pretty positive that no one from his everyday life coincidentally hangs out here, if they do the cats out of the bag, hopefully they'll respect his wishes and let him share on his own time.

The doctors are highly optimistic about his condition, they use the word cure in consultations and that weighs heavily on my heart. As I've had the unfortunate position of watching cancer take several loved ones lives in the past I realize that you just never know... But given his particular cancer, health, and treatment options I am very confident that we will get through this, I mean you have to adopt that mindset no matter what.

I say WE because cancer and illness affect everyone in the family. We are all in this together, we are all fighting, and when his strength and optimism falls I will be there to pick it up. So WE are fighting the fight of our lives right now, and God willing, with our special Angel's help we will prevail.

Cancer will NOT win this one. It is NOT welcome here.

Chemo starts tomorrow. I've made it my mission in life to be his right hand man through all of this whether he wants it or not. I came by my stubbornness honestly. He may not want to ask for the help but I will be dishing it out. I will be at every appointment, I will become the worlds expert on everything cancer related, the disease, the surgery, the chemo meds, everything. I'll be his nurse and remind him to take his meds, I'll be his personal chef when he doesn't feel like eating, I'll be his walking buddy when it's time for fresh air, the main point is that I'll be there. Because I know he'd do the same for me. And he's my Dad, the man deserves it.

He sure as hell doesn't deserve this.

There's something about this feeling of helplessness that I just don't do well with. I'm not sure that anyone does. And it all just seems so unfair but sometimes things just happen and there is no explanation, all you can do is roll with the punches. Isn't that just a stupid cliche... all of these things we tell people and ourselves to make a crappy situation seem better, it's all bullshit. But we say it because what else are you supposed to do. No one has a crystal ball to know how the cards are going to fall.

But here's what I do know, we are a family of fighters and we are not going to go through this quietly, it's going to be one knock down fight to the finish, this cancer picked the wrong guy, the wrong family. It can kiss it's ass goodbye.
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