Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One word changes everything....even Valentines Day

I don't have a lot of chances to go out alone with my hubby. Mainly we don't 
have a ton of extra funds and choose to use them in other ways when they come 
along. When we do go out we usually have gift certificates of some sort we got 
as gifts to use. Gotta love gift certificates! This being said we never pay for 
a sitter! That has only happened One time in 8 years of having kids. If we did 
pay a sitter the night would be over right there! Lol but we have been very 
fortunate with our close families that it normally works out that we have 
someone to watch them when we need. This has changed a lot with my dad being 
sick. My mom has always been my rock when it comes to watching the girls on 
occasion. She would happily drop any plans she had to watch them! It has always 
been something I really appreciate and makes me feel good leaving them with her! 
But now she can't leave my dad so much anymore which is understandable and with 
Brad's moms broken ankle we don't have a sitter. I had pretty much wrote off 
going out this year to celebrate Valentines, my anniversary or birthday.  And I 
was okay with it! I quite enjoy staying in and enjoying a quiet evening after
the girls go to bed. 
So this year knowing I didn't have a sitter I had planned a night in with my 
four loves! I really enjoy time with my girls and planned some fun stuff to 
celebrate with them then time with hubby after they go to bed. Then I got a 
message that I won a Predators Valentines package including dinner and tickets. 
Guess what that meant? Finding a sitter! I had to hire someone but it's okay. 
The girls were excited to spend some time with a fun teenage girl! So looks like 
I got my night out after all!

The weekend before Valentines I spent with my girls creating Valentines treats! 
We started with a fun photo shoot including cupcakes! I might not ever be able 
to get all my girls to look at the camera and smile at the same time but who 
doesn't smile when you have a cupcake right? We had fun and got some sweet photo 
memories! Then I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my girls. This brings 
up so many memories for me! I Love baking and cooking and spent many hours in my 
granny's kitchen as a child. I'm sure I have some of her talent in that area 
because my mom is not great in the kitchen and doesn't share the passion my granny  
had and I now have in the kitchen! My granny taught me so many wonderful 
things in the kitchen but the memories I cherish most is the time she spent with 
me.  That is what I hope my girls have one day and I hope I can also share with 
my grandchildren! 

We started with cookies, heart cookies. Pretty simple right? Well maybe so but I 
love making cookies and if I do say so myself I'm quite good at it. So we made 
my specialty, made from scratch iced sugar cookies. I have this recipe down to a 
science and could really make these in my sleep. So we made six dozen heart 
cookies and then decorated them. They turned out so cute for the girls to hand 
out for Valentines day at school! And they are pretty tasty too!
Valentine cookies
Next was a new idea to try and I was kinda nervous about how it would all turn 
out. But I decided we would try homemade candy bracelets. This was a long 
process but So worth it. I whipped up the candy from scratch and baked it. Three 
batches of different flavored rings and hearts from meringue. Then 
the girls had so much fun stringing the candy onto string to make the bracelets! 
I was pleasantly surprised how well they did at this as again this was a long 
tedious process. But they did great and made 24 bracelets for their friends. I 
was so happy how these turned out! They are so cute and tasty. Much better than 
store bought with all those added preservatives in them and much more special!
We created more than just a cute gift but also a wonderful memory of making 
girls making candy bracelets
finished candy bracelets
I love time with my family. I have always cherished every moment I can spend 
making memories with them! But through my dad's sickness i have realized this is 
even more important! This Valentines turned out different than I expected but oh 
so much better in so many ways! One word can change my Valentines day but maybe 
it made it even better! Remember to hug your loved ones tight and make sure they 
know how much you love them everyday not just on Valentines day! 
Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One word changed.....the future

In 2011 we found out the cancer had returned in the liver for the third time. 
This time in two spots on opposite sides of the liver and deemed inoperable! So 
chemo began and seemed to be going well. We had a better holiday though my dad 
continued to have very sick times among the good days. I was just happy there 
were good days! Scans showed positive signs chemo was working so they decided to 
go ahead with surgery to remove the areas on the liver as they were now inactive 
cancer. My dad went in for surgery on Jan 18, 2012. He believed this was the 
answer and end of this journey with cancer. I think we all had a fear but really 
wanted him to be cancer free! So he went back at 10:30 and we sat waiting for 
the good news. At 3pm the surgeon called us back to hear the words we feared! 
When he got in he found cancer throughout my dads stomach and spleen! He was not 
able to do the liver surgery at all. This news devastated us and out we marched 
to wait some more while the plastic surgeon tried to fix his wound that had 
never healed from surgery years ago. We sat defeated in the waiting room. I 
didn't know what to say or do. How could this be? Was it real? Can the cancer 
really have taken over and won this battle? I feel so bad for my mom but I can't 
do anything and I feel so helpless! My dad came out finally a little before 5pm 
and no one could still see him for a few hours while he was in recovery. At 7pm 
they allowed my mom back to see him. I know she was nervous about him finding 
out the results and I can only imagine his reaction. She doesn't tell me much 
about that side of things. I know she doesn't want me to hurt and she is very 
strong but even she needs a shoulder at times. I really look up to her! She is 
an amazing woman with so much strength. I'm daily amazed at my dad and how 
strong he is! I'm not sure I would be able to endure what he has these past 
years! Heck I can hardly endure watching from the sidelines! Like I said before 
my parents are amazing! They possess such strength, love and spirit and I am so 
blessed to have them in my life! My parents are an inspiration!

So now i really fear of losing my dad. I fear for my kids and how they will 
deal. I fear what the future holds for him and how sick he will be. I fear for 
my mom and how she will hold up in what comes. I am saddened this word has taken 
over our life. I am saddened that this word has changed everything. I am 
saddened that Kennedy's whole life this is all she's known of papa.  I'm scared 
how I will hold up. I'm scared of explaining what's happening to my kids.  So 
this is the first time i bring up the word that changed everything to my kids. 
And how they reply is my fear. Mommy what's cancer? Mommy why hasn't God made 
papa better we've been praying for him for a long time? These questions I don't 
know how to answer but really wish I knew the answers myself! In the works of  
getting a book for the girls to help explain this disease, more to come on that!

What have i learned in the last four years? A lot about myself, a lot about life 
and a lot about God! No matter what we go through God will get us through. I 
have prayed a lot and grown a lot and leaned on God to get me through. I know im 
blessed! Blessed with an amazing husband who stands by me and makes me smile! 
Blessed with three beautiful, smart, silly, healthy girls that make my heart 
smile! Blessed to get past that really bad year I had personally. Blessed with 
Stanford and the new friends it brought into my life who really helped me even 
though they didnt even know it! Blessed with family and time together! Although 
we don't know what the future holds I am choosing today to have happiness, joy
and Hope (thanks Pamela for this inspiration!) I will trust in God and hold my 
family close!  I will cherish my friendships and hopefully help them grow 
stronger. We never know when our last day will be. We will all have an end to our
story and never can be totally prepared. I know I will Do my best to cherish 
everyday and every moment. I will tell my family I love them often and hug them 
tight. I will slow down and pay attention to things that are really important. 
I will trust in God. One word changes everything but how we choose to react 
changes even more!

Friday, February 10, 2012

One word that changed....Our life

By now I realized I had the baby blues and was really good at hiding my emotions. 
I did have good days, months and times for sure and those good days were out 
numbering the bad ones. I would take time for myself some and feel better! I 
over compensated trying to be super mom and super wife and do everything possible 
to make my family happy! I wanted to make sure they had the best birthdays, 
holidays, presents, clothes, ect. I over did myself many times so everyone would 
think I had it all together. I tried extra hard to give my kids everything they 
wanted but I never could give them what I know we all wanted which was that
family bond we knew before cancer changed everything. 

October 2009 we took another hit. We found out the cancer had spread! That is 
what we lived everyday in fear of. That is what I never let myself believe would 
happen. That is what made us anxiously await scan results. So cancer was now in 
my dads liver and another surgery on October 28, 2009. Let's just say it all 
went downhill again. The holidays were somber and not the same. This was the 
first year Kennedy really was old enough to enjoy the holidays and here we are 
again with my dad having surgery. The kids dressed up for Halloween not to trick 
or treat but to go see papa in the hospital.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were 
saddened by his sickness.