Monday, November 18, 2013

Life is like a box of chocolates...and only some of them are delicious! lol

After a nice day off from school on Monday for Veteran's Day, the kids sure were hoping for a snow day, or at least a such luck. While we had our first snow of the year, thankfully none of it stuck. Tuesday was a trip to NYC for another MRI and follow up appointment. Of course, it fell on a MOPS morning! Grrrrr! It was my group's turn to bring food...luckily the appointment wasn't until the afternoon, so I could go to MOPS for an hour at least. I made a chile tortilla egg bake (yum!) and headed off to relax for a little bit. It's always wonderful to hang out with other moms and visit and learn and eat (delicious food! one of the best parts of MOPS ;) and have fun. Anyways, I tore myself away and picked up David for the drive. Dad and Rachel took charge of Buddy and Freckles...and we were off.

We had to take a picture of the zombie green jeep for Red Two ;)

We were hoping to get some answers from David's oncologist. He's been having weird body started right towards the end of his chemo treatment (about 4 months ago)...but it's been getting worse. First his abdomen was hurting...almost seemed like the pain was in the fat of the stomach...if it was touched or pushed at all it was super sensitive. Then it started spreading...his arms, inner thighs, chest...if there is pressure or he's hit there, it hurts, or burns, or stabbing pain. It's really odd. I mean, if he's playing with Buddy, wrestling or roughhousing with him, he can get a lot of pain from the contact. Not to mention he still gets lots of headaches. He already mentioned the body pain to his general practitioner, who didn't really know what it was, figured it was chemo related and told him to talk to his oncologist. 

First stop was the MRI. They didn't do the Profusion technique, since he's been having trouble with nausea and vomiting in the MRIs the last two times. That's weird too...he never had a problem with the MRIs in the past, and he's had tons of them! But that PCV chemo put him on a hair trigger with his nausea, and the contrast they use in MRIs sets him off. Anyways, this time they just administered the contrast solution manually...and at first he thought he was fine...but after a minute he almost threw up again. Ugh! At least they were able to finish the MRI...and he didn't actually throw up. I think the nausea is slightly better, but still stinks!

We walked the few blocks over to the building his doctor is in for his appointment. After bloodwork we got called back to an exam room. The nurse went over all his symptoms and info usual. They always kinda make you do it twice. Anyways, she was thinking Dr Omuro might refer him to a neurologist for the pain, as it sounded nerve related...but of course, she wasn't sure. Once Dr Omuro came in...did all the usual neurological tests, he examined David for the pain. I thought at one point, when the doctor was pressing on his stomach, that David was gonna take a swing at him. Luckily he After all that, the doctor said he wasn't worried about it (cuz he's not the one in pain!), wanted to see us back in three months, but if it got worse to call him. Funny thing, first he said to talk to David's general practitioner...David said he said to talk to you! Then he said David might need to see a rheumatologist if it got worse. I didn't even know what that was until we got home and I googled it. According to Wikipedia: 

Rheumatology (Greek ρεύμα, rheuma, river) is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and pediatrics, devoted to diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Clinicians who specialize in rheumatology are called rheumatologists. Rheumatologists deal mainly with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and heritable connective tissue disorders.
Many of these diseases are now known to be disorders of the immune system, and rheumatology is increasingly the study of immunology.

This made me wonder if it might be a side effect from chemo, which can affect the immune system. But, he's been off of chemo for almost four months now, so any side effects should be getting better, not worse. The one great thing from the visit is that the scans are still coming back clean, no changes, nothing they can see, praise God! 

Yes, I wore gray! Bonus points if you remember what the owl sweater is from! :)

It was supper time by now, so we stopped for a couple of slices before heading home. Trying to keep it cheap and all...I worked it out...every time we have to make a trip to Sloan it costs about a hundred bucks! Yuck!  What with gas, tolls, parking, and (cheap) food, we're lucky to make it out under 100.00. Obviously worth it, but has certainly taken its toll...and as y'all are aware, we gotta watch every penny while he's not working.

Nope, still not working...trusting and praying on that still!

Thursday is BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). I actually did all my homework, and they finally have room for Buddy in the children's program. We're covering the book of Matthew this year...this week one of the parts we read was Jesus calming the storm. One of the homework/discussion questions was asking about what storms in your life is God working on, or something like that. Other than the discussion group leader, who I know just a little bit, I don't know anyone in my group. When that question came around, I had a bit of a pity party, these people have no idea what's going on in my life. They are all really nice, but I don't know them and they don't know me. But really, I don't know what's going on in their lives, shouldn't think like that. Anyways, I felt a bit sorry for myself. Then we headed to the sanctuary for the lecture, and I didn't see anyone I knew to sit next to (Rachel didn't make it, and none of my friends were in the church yet). For some reason, I just started crying. Most times, I'm fine. I'm not the one who freaks out or whatever...but for some reason right then, I just got all emotional. I texted David and he called me right away. I went running outside...just had such a hard time stopping crying. He wanted me to come home...but I didn't want to pick Buddy up until I calmed down. I'm usually just trucking along, but sometimes all the crap just hits me. I grabbed Buddy, then when I was fixing to leave, one of my friends came out to check on me. Thanks Nicole! You made my day, just by showing that you care!!! When I got home, I told David, "I'm really tired of being Job!"  Sometimes I just need to let it out...most times I'm too busy with daily life to even think about everything. I mean, of course I stress about stuff, money, kids, whatever...but I don't think about the really hard stuff often. But every now and then I just need to let it out and I usually wind up feeling a bit better. 

I know that the Lord is in control, and that no matter what, all things will work together for my good. It's just that sometimes the refining process is painful...and no fun...and hard! lol...but, I still praise God no matter what...I really mean that, I'm not just mouthing words. In all things, somehow, by God's grace, I still manage to pray and praise. It certainly helps to be surrounded by like-minded, faith filled family and friends. 

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but my father-in-law retired a couple months ago. He's been having itchy feet for a while. Anyways, he's been clearing out that big house for a while...he's been wanting to buy an RV...but hasn't found one yet. He did get an awesome Ford 250 Super Duty's perfect for him. Buddy, of course, loves it! He's been wanting to travel a bit...definitely go see Chris (David's brother) in Texas, and go to Florida to visit Mom's grave site, and Alabama to visit the Poarch Creek Indian reservation again...among other things. We've all been dreading him leaving...but he's gotta do what he needs to. I would never want to hold him back from what he wants or needs to do...especially to help get over my mother-in-law's passing...but man, I sure don't want him to go! We haven't been too much help with the packing (sorry Dad!). David is of course so tired still...and it doesn't help that the house is 45 minutes away. I still feel bad I didn't do more though...I know Dad understands though. Saturday we went over to hang dinner...he was planning on leaving on Sunday. Anyways, driving home we ran into a speed trap. Now, I haven't sped in over a year, because our registration is expired, because in order to get your car registration you have to pay city car taxes. What?!??!?!? I seriously had never heard of such a thing until we moved to Connecticut. Even in CO they didn't have such a thing. I remember the first time I got one of those in the mail after we moved here...I was just dumbfounded...what do you mean I have to pay taxes on a car I bought over a year ago...and have to pay them every year...what kind of craziness is this??? Anyways, we hadn't been able to pay them last year, David was out of work for three months after his second surgery...and it was just way low on our priority list. Like I said, we'd been catching up on a lot of things...the taxes and registration were getting high on the list...until the whole laid off thing. Ugh!

Anyways, David got caught speeding...and then no registration...the cop was as nice as he could be. It helped that we had the kids and David was polite and all...he didn't even give him a speeding ticket...just an ignoring a road sign ticket. But he sure confiscated those plates...can't drive the van at all until we take care of it! And David doesn't have a company vehicle anymore...thankfully Kim was able to come pick us all up, Saturday night and all. Thank you SO much Kim!!! The weird thing is, you can't tow an unlicensed vehicle unless it's completely off the ground, like on a flatbed trailer, or you have temporary plates. Rachel was trying to get her AAA to tow it, but they wouldn't do it. Thanks for trying though! We wound up renting a car transport from U-Haul and Dad used his truck to get it to the house. It was probably cheaper than towing anyways. So now we are temporarily car-less...our own fault...what can ya do?

Sarah had already offered to let us borrow their second car since David didn't have his work truck I was definitely gonna take her up on that! We made a plan to pick it up on Monday night. Sunday I worked the nursery at CLG...Dad drove me. He was planning on trying to leave then...but had some errands to run. He decided to extend the rent to give us some more time to finish clearing out his place. The landlord lives in Rhode Island, so I drove with him so I could spend some time with him before he left. Who knows how long he'll be gone. I know I've mentioned it before, but I am so blessed with my in-laws...we are really close. We had a great time listening to the Texans game on the radio (they lost...big shocker!) and just hanging out. I know he probably thought I was bored or tired of driving around, but it was a really nice time to just be together. Thankfully, by the time we were done with everything, it was a bit late for him to get on the road, so he decided to leave in the morning. We ordered pizza and watched some more football. I was having a hard time keeping it together though. I was missing him already.

The plan for today (was it really just this morning? feels longer!) was that Rachel and Dad would come over early to drive the girls to school, and then he'd hit the road. We had a little bit more time...then he was off with the kids...and on the road. Guess what? yes, I totally cried. I know he probably won't be gone that long...but you never know. He's such a big part of our ya Dad! I'm terrible at the phone...better at texting...but I know we'll keep in touch...he got a new tablet, so we can do video calls...the kids would love that!

The bad news didn't end there poor sister-in-law had her purse stolen today! I couldn't believe it when she called me. And of course, I can't even drive there to pick her up or help! It was in the shopping cart and someone snatched it. Makes you mad and oh my...I do that all the time...not anymore though! That's for sure! Thankfully she was able to cancel her bank card, nothing was spent...she had her phone on her...and AAA was able to send a locksmith out and he made her a new key for her truck. It totally stinks!!! but it's not the end of the world...just more bad news! Poor honey! 

I keep telling myself, it could be worse...and then it seems to get worse. Maybe I should tell myself it'll get better :P hahahaha

Sarah dropped off her car for us really means the world! It sure worked out for us that Dave (hers, not mine) works for a car dealer ;) He gets to drive a nice new car and we get to use their extra!!! Great deal for us! lol! I have been blessed with the most wonderful friends! We are able to support each other through thick and thin...and we love each other and laugh and talk and grow together. I really am blessed! See, even though sometimes it all seems so dark...there is always light! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm baaaacccckkkk! Halloween, New Jersey, Work Woes, Thor 2 and Birthday Bash...whew, that's a mouthful!

Good grief...sorry I've been MIA...two weeks is like a year in internet time. *hangs head in shame...

Anywho, hope you have all been well. Been a roller coaster around here, that's for sure! I'll try to give y'all the cliff notes version for the last two weeks.

Coming up on Halloween we headed outside for our tradition of pumpkin painting. Each of the kids usually gets their own small pumpkin to paint...and a grownup carves a big one. This year Rachel found the most perfect pumpkin I've ever seen! It even had a little curly stalk hanging off the stem. It was too perfect to mess with so I just left it whole. :) She got another big pumpkin that she carved though. The kids had a blast as's fun to see what they'll come up with. 

 Buddy in motion...Red Two's owl pumpkin
 Apple cider is the perfect accompaniment...Red One's creation
 Red Three and Buddy's pumpkins

After we finished with our pumpkins we had to hurry off to Foster Family Farms for the girls' youth group outing. They actually are involved with two youth groups, this was for the group at my MOPS church. We don't attend Trinity, but we've been involved with them over the years that I've attended MOPS there. Anyways, it's our third church they were going to the corn maze for fun. This was fun for the whole's a pretty neat place. Lots of tractors, playscapes, these cool pedal cars...and of course, the maze.

As soon as we got there, Red 1 and 2 ran off to be with their friends. Red Three, Buddy and I hung out. They played for a bit and then we headed for the maze. They had a short mini maze for the little ones, and then a couple of huge ones. We broke out the flashlights and map and headed in...

Spooky! ;)

I was super proud of myself! My map reading skills are intact...we found all 6 stamp stations within the maze, no the dark no less! haha ;)

After we made it out, the kids ran around playing for a while longer. Buddy had fun on the pedal cars. I loved the way his reflector stripes on his pants showed up in the pics!
Red One had fun!

David was working in New Jersey all that week. I had been wanting to visit my aunt and hopefully my other aunt and uncle since I had missed the family reunion in August. It seemed like the perfect time to head down there! After I picked up the kids from school on Thursday we hit the road, leaving Rachel to hold down the fort and keep Freckles company. Thanks Rachel!

We made it there no problem...other than the traffic in Hartford (right when we left, wasn't even rush hour!)...and also in Danbury (when it was rush hour) but no traffic in NYC or NJ...go figure. The girls were sad that we were missing out on trick or treating...but I let them wear their costumes anyways...and pick out candy for the trip, so it wasn't that bad.

Cute Captain Hook 
Caught Red One working like Cinderella (trust me, it don't happen as often as she thinks it 
Here we are at the hotel...Red Three was a ballerina, Red Two was a, and I quote, "crazy person who escaped from the looney bin", Red One was a greek lady, and Buddy was a pirate...he kept making a hook with his hand :)

We made plans to go pick up my Aunt Pat and go over my Uncle Frank and Aunt Loretta's house. I was so happy to be able to go see him. He had a health scare a couple of weeks ago...he started throwing up blood and had to get rushed to the hospital. Turns out he had a bleeding stomach ulcer caused by medications that he was on...he had to get several transfusions...super scary! Thankfully they were able to get it under control and get him stuff to coat his stomach, so hopefully that won't happen again! He looked wonderful when we saw him though! It was so great to visit with everyone! I hadn't seen them since my cousin's funeral over a year ago. Thankfully it was under better circumstances this time. The kids loved stopping by my Aunt Pat's place...she always lets them go through her china cabinet and pick out tchotchkes to take home. hahaha...she's thrilled to get rid of stuff, the kids love bringing "antiques" out! When we got over my aunt and uncle's house, we ate some delicious NY style pizza and just visited. Buddy was a hit! lots of laughs being his adorable self. Aunt Loretta brought up the box of toys that her grandkids play had fun while the adults got to visit. We headed out when my uncle started looking a little tired. He always slips me money when we of the most generous men I know...he slipped me a bill and told me to take the kids for ice cream. When I got in the car, I saw it was a 100.00 dollar bill. That man!!! So sweet, both him and my aunt! After we dropped off my Aunt Pat at her place we headed back to the hotel to see David. 

I'm sure y'all notice the lack of pictures...I was so careful to bring my camera with me, put it in the front of the car so I wouldn't forget...and go figure, I forgot! GRRRRRRRR!!!! I was so mad at myself!

He was supposed to work Saturday, but then he got it off. We took our time on Saturday...stopped at an amazing diner!!! Oh my, we walked in and there were these ginormous pastries and crumbles and cookies right there. Not to mention the food was awesome too! Then we headed to this great bakery in Rockland (near the Tappan Zee bridge) that lets you go in the back and pick out your own bread, grab stuff hot right off the conveyor's so cool! We always try to stop anytime we are in NJ. We walked out of there with huge loaves of bread, rolls, bagels hot off the press (literally) and some sweet treats for the kiddos. I love it! It was nice for David getting home on Saturday...he'd still have a day off before going back to work.

He was scheduled to work at the shop (which isn't the norm...usually they are out in the field making money for the company). He was wondering if something was up...and there was. Due to a lack of available work, they laid him off. It's happened before...but always hurts. The timing stinks...hopefully something will come up soon! Not that we weren't before...but penny pinching is in full swing! :P Because he's in the union, he's gotta sign the books for Tuesday after turning in the work truck, etc, we headed to the hall so he could sign the necessary stuff. Did I mention this is in Boston? way to spend the girls' day off from school for election day...oh well...I know that this is not a surprise for God and that He is working His will in all this. Not only that, He will provide, one way or another...but so hard to trust completely sometimes...and not freak out or worry. Every time I do find myself there, I just remember who is in control (hint - NOT ME! obviously!) and try to lean on Scripture and worship. It really does help. Gotta admit though, we certainly weren't planning on this! We were just starting to get caught up on bills laid plans, right?

Obviously, last week wasn't our favorite...haha...but still managed to have some fun. Rachel's birthday was coming up...couldn't do anything big...but I told her I'd take her to the movies to celebrate. Take a wild stab in the dark what we couldn't wait to go see...huh huh huh? Thor: The Dark World!!! Duh! lol...she had school until 10pm, so we hit the 11:00 showing...we were SO excited! She's starting to be a  geek...not quite there...but almost! ;) Seriously though, I've been looking forward to November for a while! Thor 2, Catching Fire, 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Special! Sherlock series 3 was supposed to be at the end of November too...but it got pushed back to January...:( Anyways, we were dying to see it...mostly because of the phenomenal Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of Loki!!! I've totally gotten Rachel to have a crush on him too! If anyone follows me on Pinterest, they've seen multiple Tom pins....hahaha, along with Cumberbatch, the Supernatural boys, and of course, the Doctor! hahahahaha David couldn't believe that Loki is more popular than Thor, at least online...I told him girls love a bad boy. ;)

Guess who was there???? THOR!!!! 

My only question for him was asking where his brother was! "Where's Loki????" lol

Oh my goodness...we LOVED it!!!! I'm probably biased (I pretty much always like the Marvel movies...and I love Loki!) but I thought it was incredible! The cinematography was great...Asgard looked less like fairy tale land and more like an actual place. I loved it before, don't get me wrong...but it looked more realistic this time around (hahaha, not that any of it is at all realistic ;) The action was fun, the acting was great (especially Tom Hiddleston! again, totally biased), I thought Christopher Eccleston did great playing the big baddie, Malekith (love when actors cross over from other loved shows...Eccleston played the 9th incarnation of the Doctor). Definitely an A+ from me. Rachel and I had a hard time not squeeing like fan girls every 5 seconds...from the first Loki scene, to Eccleston showing up, to crying like a baby, to a what the heck!!! We left the theater at 1:00 in the morning, hyper as can be from the amazingness that we had just witnessed! Rachel said it was an awesome birthday present! I honestly can't wait to see it again...I told David he had to go watch's just so good! He hasn't been yet...that man hates to leave the house, even for fun stuff! :/ lol

Rachel's birthday was yesterday. She wanted me to surprise her with the cake...but she picked out shepherd's pie for dinner. I made this hawaiian carrot cake...basically it has pineapple in it, and NO raisins! I hate raisins in baked goods! The frosting was delicious...better than normal cream cheese frosting...and I love cream cheese frosting. This one had a little bit of sour cream in it...I don't know, it was creamier, smoother, less overpowering but totally delicious. It also had coconut in it it...seriously good! We went to a paint your own pottery place before dinner...the kids can't wait to get their stuff after it's fired. 

When we got home, the girls decorated with streamers and balloons while I cooked dinner. The shepherd's pie came out great! I used a little beer along with the tomato soup for the meat was a nice touch. I love cooking with beer or wine...not so much drinking them (I'm more of a cocktail fan ;) but love the way they taste in food! 

fun candles 
parties are fun! 
Awesome Doc Martens Dad got her 

The day was an overall success. While it was a smaller affair than normal (of necessity)...and bittersweet to say the least...first birthday since Mom passed was still a good time spent with family and lots of love! Happy Birthday Rachel! I hope you know just how much we all love you!