Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cancer free.

I don't even know how process these two words at this point in time...

Cancer. Free.

After 3 rounds of chemo the follow up CT scan concluded technically, from a physiological standpoint that my Dad is cancer free...

No signs of lymph involvement which was questionable before, they couldn't even find the initial tumor!

You must be kidding me... dont get me wrong I am elated.. beyond words, there actually are no words to describe any of the feelings I've experienced along the way here. But I am, in all honesty, in shock. I was not expecting such positive news. I'm sure it comes from being hardened by memories of traveling this road more times before than I'd like to count. But my best expectations were that the the tumor had remained stable and no evidence of metastatis had crept up in the meantime. I never expected to hear the words cancer free especially this early in the game so I am absolutely ecstatic.

At this point he is set for surgery, that will be hurdle #2 of all of this. Major surgery = major recovery = major stress & anxiety while we wait. I can finally take a deep breath but I will admit I am still guarded because we still have a long road to hoe. Thank you god for the best news we could've ever heard and may my Dad's angels continue to fly with him throughout the rest of this journey. Read more!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh.. you're JUST a stay at home mom.

Oh another blog post about the world's perception on "stay at home moms"... and I use that title loosely for myself since I technically work from home in a lot of ways. I just can't wrap my mind about the fact that people honestly think we sit around on the couch all day popping Ferrero Rochers while drinking chilled Pellegrino in a martini glass. I mean really? It's like we are a completely insignificant species in society, we contribute nothing to the household besides wiping booty.

I'm going to just lay it out here for you folks, actually for the aformentioned folks. You need to shut your mouth when you don't know what you're talking about. So let me save you from looking like a complete asshat while I explain my personal circumstance in stay at home mommy land...

I am a freelance writer which started as a venture in mommy blogging, because of my ramblings about puke poop and colic I earned myself the opportunity to write for some big people. I make money doing that, money for our household to buy things like beer so that I stay sane and hubbs stays happy. Because I have been published in some awesome places I also enjoy the opportunity to test out and review lots of products from dog food to baby swings. And for this I get compensated in some way with anything from free diapers to Walmart gift cards, while nominal these things nicely save us on grocery bills and add up after a while so I continue to take the time to do it.

Moving on to one of my 'real' jobs... I went to school for quite some time to become a nurse and currently in the fall and winter I am a traveling nurse with a government immunization company. It's no ER or all that exciting by any means but it's a paycheck when we need it and it works with my ever busier schedule these days. One day life will slow down and I'll get back into the scrubs full time... for now this is extent of it.

Then we move on to my other job as an entrepreneur and business owner. I retail maternity and child clothing and goodies and hand sew crib bedding and baby essentials. Since 2007 I have been growing this company all by myself and it is now keeping me busy enough to be a full time job in itself. 40 hours a week would be an understatement, I'm up until midnight most nights and pretty much live at the post office. I honestly have been looking into hiring help for a few months now because it's killing me but I love it and won't stop.

More freelance works puts me in tradeshows, golf tournaments, calendar shoots, events and the like as a model and brand ambassador for companies like T-Mobile and others... it's usually good hours that work with my hubbs schedule so he can watch the kids and it pays a lot better than nursing, go figure. When I get the opportunity to do these events I jump on it!

Oh yea and then there's the fact that I "stay home" with a 2 year old and a 4 month old. If this was my only job for the day I'd be more than exhausted. It's full time sun up to sun down of making bottles, cooking meals, cleaning messes, soothing owies, fighting for nap times, zoning out tantrums, changing butts, giving baths, picking up toys, reading books, preschool teaching... it goes on and on and on. There are no breaks, there's no 'time off'. When you're sick and puking your guts out the job goes on. God forbid you catch the flu, I highly recommend becoming a hermit because being sick with babies to deal with is utter torture. Oh and did I mention the hours of this job are 24/7?? The wee one still eats every 1 1/2- 2 hours at night and the toddler is bright eyed and bushy tailed by 8 am if you're lucky. While doing all of this I also manage to keep my house relatively clean, stay on top of the dishes, sweep my floors 3 times a day, and put home cooked meals on the table.

I may spend my entire day in pajamas, my house may not always be spotless, my laundry may not get folded and put away very often,  and my car may be covered in crackers and an occasional dirty diaper but I think I do a pretty darn good job of managing my life. And I contribute a whole hell of a lot to our household and family not only financially but clearly in several other ways. I'm not writing this to get a medal or to hear people say "oh my gosh how do you do it", truth is those people are few and far between. What I expect is the common courtesy and respect for people to reserve their judgement and sarcasm until they've walked a mile in my barefeet shoes. Because until then you have no idea what my life is like, you have NO clue how very hard it is to do what I do, what we all do, despite the fact that you think we plop down on the couch with soaps all day. I'd like anyone to come in and take over my life for 3 days and then see what they have to say.

Now if you'll excuse me I have 2 humans to raise, dinner to cook, and orders to fill.... Read more!

Extreme Couponing!

Well I have to say I'm getting pretty dang good at this (like 100% savings good) ... so good that I finally had to break down and get my very first stockpile shelf. The cupboards, pantry, and laundry room were overflowing! Not gonna lie, I was super excited about this. I filled the thing up in 10 minutes and still need more room. I started 'couponing' in April, took a few months off after D was born and am back at it again. The amount of things I've stockpiled so far is amazing and the amount of money we're saving is even more amazing. In just two weeks of couponing I had already saved us $480... I can't wait to one day walk down into my basement and have shelves wall to wall full of goodies, it will happen... call me a hoarder I wont care because you know deep down you're totally jealous of my mounds of toothpaste, razors, cleaners, pasta, soda, cereal, crackers, and laundry detergent. Especially when you know that I paid a big fat NOTHING for them :)

And for the skeptics that think you can only get junk with coupons here's a run down of what's on my shelf.

Hunts Pasta Sauce
Tons of spaghetti noodles of all kinds
Yakisoba Noodles and ramen type noodles
Mountain Dew
Full Throttle energy drinks (I can't function without these)
Soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, relish
A ton of bbq sauce and Lowry's marinades (for our grilling/bbq addiction)
Pickles (pretty much a food group for me)
Natural peanut butter galore
Pace salsa
Honey Bunches of Oats, Capn Crunch, and lots of other cereals
Hamburger helper
Crackers and snack food
Crest toothpaste adults and kids, tons of toothbrushes, floss
Deodorant, hand soap, ivory soap bars
Right guard body wash
Tampax and other girlie products
Garnier Fructis and a billion other shampoos and conditioners
Gillette Proglide and 10 years worth of other razors
Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo and lotion
Airwick and Febreeze smelly good things
Clorox, Comet, and tons of other household cleaners
Scrubbing bubbles toilet cleaners
.....and that's just one shelf :) Read more!

The Dudes. You've Got A Friend in Me.

They make every day of my life worth living. I smile all day long because of them. And they are growing more and more into best buddies.

When the road looks rough ahead, and you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed, just remember what your old pal said. You've got a friend in me.

Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am, bigger and stronger too maybe, but none of them will ever love you the way that I do. It's me and you and as the years go by, boys our friendship will never die, you're gonna see it's our destiny. You've got a friend in me.
Read more!

Chemo Letters- Round 2 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**
Team Dad!
In every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double…
Don’t worry, BE HAPPY!!

Love this song, love the message. When you have no control over a situation there’s no sense in worrying about it because it isn’t going to change anything, it’s just going to make you even more miserable along the way. I’m also a big believer in the power of thought and when you focus on positivity and surround yourself with things that make you happy it only brings more of that to you.

Life is here to teach us that I think… one of the hardest things to finally realize and then live. To appreciate what you have, to rid yourself of negativity and people that bring you down, to not sweat the small stuff. Life is a gift and a learning place, hopefully by the end you finally get the message and if you’re lucky you pass it on to future generations so that they may realize the message sooner. Like I’ve said before, it seems that we usually have to experience bad things so that we know and appreciate when things are good. It would be nice to just go from point A to B without going through the ‘school of hard knocks’… and maybe that is yet another reason we are all experiencing this…

I can see that light at the end of the tunnel now Dad. We’re getting there, and you’ve done it so far with flying colors. I’m glad to be here to share this journey with you not only for you but for myself… it has taught me a lot… a lot about control, patience, love, life. I’m ready to continue to surround myself with things that make me happy… like you, and my boys, and pickles.

So no worries… Keep focused on that positivity, good news, health, and happiness… cause when you worry your face will frown and that will bring everybody down, so don’t worry… BE HAPPY!

Love you Dad,
Baby Cakes
Read more!

Chemo Letters- Round 2 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**
Hanging with Grampa getting his drip


“Get up and fight another round…”
That was perfect Dad, couldn’t have said it better myself. I’d been searching for a long time for a good phrase to symbolize life, and that was it. You know I look back at all of my tattoos and they each represent a very significant time in my life. This new one is no exception. Cancer affects everyone in the family and I guess that’s a good and bad thing. I mean you know everyone is there fighting right alongside you and that means you have truckloads of support but on the other hand it means that we are wrapped up in the rest of it all too. The fear, the anxiety, the anger, the disbelief, the helplessness… There’s no shielding anyone from the gravity of cancer. But you know the more I thought about it I realized that it isn’t too uncommon about life in general. You never know what tomorrow will hold and sometimes life deals you some low blows, and as you said when that happens you stand yourself up, dust yourself off, look life square in the face and fight another round.

I now know what people mean when they say that cancer brought their family closer. This entire year has brought a lot to our family, I think it’s stripped us down to the core and now we have the opportunity to build things back in a better way. Communication, empathy, humbleness, gratitude… I think we’re all learning some valuable lessons out of it all. A lot of people describe cancer as a blessing in disguise… I guess that’s one hell of a way to get a message in life. But if it means that I wake up everyday and thank whoever is upstairs for one more day with my family I’ll take it. If it means that I stop and remind myself that life is about the bigger picture rather than the little stuff, I’ll take it. And if it means that Holden and Declan will learn how to be strong and brave men in the face of adversity thanks to GramPa’s “owie”, that they learn to get up and fight another round… I’ll take it.

I love you more than you’ll ever know Dad,
Baby Cakes
Read more!
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