Friday, February 27, 2015

a few friday extras...

A couple of months ago, I got into scrap booking with project life

I want to do a whole post on it later, but for now, just know that I'm totally loving it and cannot get enough at the moment.  I still take a lot of pictures during the week, but I find I no longer feel the need to post every single one to social media since they're more for going into the scrap books.

Here are a few extras from this week that didn't make instagram or facebook...


Monday we were in Milla's room playing. I was laying on the floor and I looked up to see Livi trying to pick Milla up and put her in the crib.  Being that Milla already weighs over half of what Livi does, it didn't end well.  


Milla had a well check up on Tuesday morning.  Thankfully, we got nothing but good news and they were happy with how she looks.  On the way home I looked back to see her passed out.  She hardly ever sleeps in the car, so the visit must have worn her out.


The in-laws are in the process of redoing their living room.  I've been helping with it and Tuesday afternoon we made a quick trip to Ikea.  We had been eying the perfect rug but in true Ikea fashion, they were out of stock for awhile, we finally got lucky on Tuesday, only to realize the curtains we needed were out of stock.  The funny part of this story, is that her and I have a reputation of fitting huge things in tiny cars.  It started with two 8 foot Christmas trees the day after thanksgiving where she practically rode on the roof.  On two separate trips, I've successfully fit four full size wicker chairs and four six foot bookcases (in boxes) along with a kid in a car seat in a Nissan Altima.  We took her car thinking the seats folded down, only to get in the parking lot and realize that wasn't the case.  We found ourselves once again trying to cram a 9 foot long rug in a 10 foot long car.  I sent this pic to David telling him to never underestimate our small car/big item shopping.


This one made the love for Livi facebook page.  When did she start to look so grown up???


We were "all on a plane to no where!" according to Livi.


Another Love for Livi....David's boss sent these glasses home to the girls the other day. Milla wants nothing to do with them, but Livi loves them and has been wearing them constantly.  They're hilarious and creep me out all at the same time.


It's been a long, cold, wet February. We were spoiled during January, but this month, Winter finally decided to show up.  It feels like the sun hasn't shined in weeks.  Yesterday we finally got to see the sun shine again and it felt like I hadn't seen anything that beautiful in awhile.

It's not unusual to walk in and find Milla doing something she's not supposed to be doing....kinda like shaking her money maker on the kitchen table.

 Oh, and Livi walks around half naked all the time, but I feel like she's too big to post those pictures on the internet, so that's the reason for the stars.

   
I posted another version of this one last night and evidently it hit home with a lot of folks.  I feel like I miss titled it though....it should have said "what 5 o'clock somewhere really looks like!"

 
This kid always has a lot to say and she's very animated about it.

Happy Friday everyone! : )

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Looking back.


Can I tell you a secret?

These days I can no longer look at pictures of Olivia pre diagnoses.

As far as I can look back is the week that everything changed, beyond that, I just can't do it anymore. 

Right now...looking back feels like torture.

While doing some early spring cleaning the other day, I stumbled across a SD card. It sat on the counter for a week or so before I popped it in the hard drive.

They immediately brought tears to my eyes. 

Okay, the reality is that I sat there and stared at them for maybe a good twenty minutes and bawled my eyes out. 
 

These pictures were taken a little over a year ago.

I feel like I don't even know who that little girl is anymore.

Is it crazy I feel like I don't even remember her with hair anymore?

It hurts to look at pictures and know that just six months later, my girl would be laying in ICU fighting for her life.

That six months later our world would be rocked and as they say "we'd become members of an exclusive country club no one wants to be apart of."

That life would now divided into "pre-cancer" and "post-cancer" days. 

It's crazy how much life can change in just a year...a week...a day...


I stumbled across a qoute on Pinterest the other day and it said

"When you can tell your story and it doesn't make you cry, you know you have healed." ~Unknown.

Oh,how true is that?

I'm not there yet...no where near it. 

It feels like we have a long way to go, but day by day it's getting a little easier to look back.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blogging about blogging.

I don't think the blog has ever gone silent for this long.

I've been asked for awhile now about the blog...the question is getting more and more frequent and from people whom I never realized ever took the time to read my words. After all this time, I'm still always amazed by who reads.

To be honest, I've had a love/hate relationship with blogging for some time now.

Blogging has changed a lot since I started over six years ago.

A lot of the bloggers I've read for years have either gone commercial and it's nothing but promotions, life is just so ge-golly-perfect all the time, or they stopped blogging all together.

I got tired of it.
 
When you look up and it feels like your life is falling apart around you....you get tired of constantly being sold something or hearing how everyone else's life is perfect. 

Yes, times have been though for a lot of people for while now and some people are just trying to make some money through blogging and I'm smart enough to know that no one's life is perfect no matter how hard they try to portray it on social media.  However, when you have a year old who it seems hates life in general and still gets up multiple times a night while you're going on over a year without sleep, a marriage that feels like is coming apart at the seams, and a kid who has cancer.....it's hard to hide the un-perfectness of your own life on social media.

I mean, what do you blog about....how you and your husband fought again last night....how you cleaned up after chemo puke all day long....or how you tried to let your toddler "cry it out" and she cried so long and loud she woke the whole house up at two a.m.  Life hasn't felt pretty and blog worthy these past six months, so it just felt natural to leave it behind. 

However, that being said....I still didn't want to forget those imperfect moments down the road. Though they didn't make the blog, they found themselves in a paper journal by my bedside. Every hurt, fear, and scar...they're still written down so I can look back one day at how far we've come with this journey.

The bad moments are just as important to remember as the good.  

I don't know where I'm going from here as far as blogging goes.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a heart to heart about blogging from a long time blogging friend who is a blogger herself. Oddly, not long after that conversation, a heart to heart about it came from two other people who aren't bloggers, but read my blog. Well, all those had me thinking about the blog again in a different light and I'm still sitting and thinking on it.

Honestly, I'm not even sure where I'm going with all this, but to somewhat explain the absence. 

Though I'm not sure it calls for a comeback to blogging, life has slowly been getting better....David and I had a come to Jesus about us last October and though marriage is a constant work in progress, things have since been heading in the right direction. Livi is finally past the hardest parts of chemo and on the downhill slope as far as treatment goes...and Milla....well, she's still getting up multiple times a night....but not everything can be perfect, right?




Monday, November 10, 2014

When the fear creeps in...

I feel like I hear often how strong I am and how wonderfully we're handling all this. 

I usually just say thanks and state "we're not doing anything any other parent wouldn't do in our situation."  I'm not one to graciously accept compliments.

For the most part, sure, we're handling things the best we know how.

Cancer or not, we always try our best to live our lives with a optimistic outlook.  We don't believe on dwelling on the past or what may or may not have been.  Another popular saying in our house is "what does crying get you?  Livi responds without missing a beat "nothing." Though it can be hard at times, we always try to look at the positive of every situation.  You give us a fork in the road and we're pulling up gps for new directions.  There's always something to be thankful for in the good and the bad.  That's just the way we try our hardest to live our lives.

The truth is though, we don't have a choice but to be strong.

As parents, we have to be the rock for Livi. She looks to us for cues on how to handle her diagnoses and what's going on in our lives currently.  We can't sit in the corner and cry every time she gets poked.....though no matter how much time passes, it never gets any easier to watch them poke a 3 & 1/4 inch gauge needle in your child's chest.  Every week, I literally hold my breathe till the nurse says "got it!"


I've learned it's one thing to know someone with cancer or to even have a family member with cancer....it's completely another thing to have cancer living in your home and staring you in the face day after day.  You can't truly understand cancer until you've been there watching the nurse come in week after week, decked out with hazmat suits and yellow toxic bags and to watch as they literally pour poison into your/your child/your loved ones iv.  To know you're going to have to watch them get worse before they can feel like themselves again......only to know you have to repeat this process the next week.

It's a draining process.  

Thirteen years ago, my grandmother took care of my uncle as he lost his life to cancer.  For years, I knew he was sick, but I never truly got it.  I never realized what was really going on.  These days, there are often times my grandmother and I will catch each others eye and both tear up....she knows the pain that's there.  It's a road I'm sure she never imagined one of her grandchildren having to walk down as a parent, especially at this early in the game. 

Thankfully, Livi got to finish her last round on time and we got to enjoy a full two week break in between chemo treatments. That two weeks is up already and in two days, we start the process again to hopefully get started with the next round on Friday.

This is when the fear creeps in.

Just a few weeks ago, I started to notice that there seems to be a cycle with each new round and new set of drugs.  Going into each round, we don't know how she's going to react to each new chemo she gets.  With chemo, there seems to be no middle ground....it's either ugly or it doesn't seem to phase her at all.  After we get a couple of treatments under our belt and we know what to expect, it seems we relax and our confidence seems to soar again.

It's easier then to say "we've got this."

I'll be honest, this next round is freaking me out and no matter how it may be portrayed on line....I'm scared as heck to watch her go through this next round.  I so badly want it to be over, but scared to move forward.

Round four is a handful and a half of new chemo and those dreaded steroids again.  It's chemo shots that have to be administered at home and day long treatments where her kidneys have to be flushed in ordered to be saved from the chemo.
 
And so there fear is here again and I hold my breathe till Christmas.

Hoping and praying that fear is gone by then.

That I can look her in the eye and without a single doubt say again "we've got this."


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Little sister.

I was on a roll with blogging but then I came up empty the past few days.  Y'all should know me well enough by know to know I wouldn't make it every single day. 

I won't lie...this week is kicking my butt.

Time change has not been kind to us this round.  Actually, it hasn't phased Olivia one bit, but poor Amelia it's thrown for a loop.  I can't just say it's her either, I've been passed out at eight pm.most nights.  David had to wake me up to tell me to take my contacts out and even asked if I was feeling alright this morning.  Fall time change always does me in.

Speaking of Amelia....


Someone said to me the other day, they felt like they didn't know Amelia since I haven't blogged as much as I did when Olivia was younger.

I laughed and then I cried and then I laughed again.

Oh, Amelia...


For starters, we call her Milla.

Livi told me the other day she wanted another baby sister.  I just laughed, told her that ship had already sailed and then I asked "why?' She wanted a little sister that she could call Amelia. I said that it was a good thing she already had a little sister named Amelia, but she informed me her name was "Milla not Amelia."  I told her she can call her whatever she wants because that's a heck of a lot easier then having another baby.

Milla is either happy as a clam or mean as a snake.  She seems to have no middle ground.  It's all or nothing for her.

We like to refer to it as "passion."


We say on a regular basis that she's going to either change the world or end up in jail

You think I'm joking.

When she's in a good mood, she's the most sweetest and cuddly kid there is.  She loves being rocked and will still sit in your lap like a baby to drink a bottle at fifteen months old.  She does this sweet thing of tucking her arms in to her chest when you pick her up and hug her.  It's like she's trying to get closer to you and it melts my heart to pieces every time.


She has a laugh that comes from her gut and when she smiles, she smiles with her whole face.  She usually always has a paci in her mouth because if it's not a paci, it's some kind of small toy or poisonous plant.  You know, the kind of things that land us in the urgent care for x-rays. However, when she smiles with her paci in, it's the cutest thing.



She eats everything you put in front of her and everything she shouldn't (see above).  By the time she was a year old and a week, we had already had an ambulance ride, an er visit, x-rays, and had to call poison control. 


She's fallen off a kitchen table, from bed onto a concrete floor, and has hit her head so many times we've lost count.  It's so bad, I'm sure the kid has some brain damage in some form or fashion. 

She's a slow learner.  If she touches a hot stove, she'll touch it five more times to make sure it's actually hot (not that she's ever around a hot stove because y'all know I don't cook).

Where Olivia is a bottled up person and hard to read at times, Milla wears her feelings on her face and you know where she stands.


She has a temper.  For realz....the kid has a temper. If she's mad, you know it.

She's a hitter and a bitter. One time she went to bite me and I told her if she bit me, I was going to pop her in the mouth (total lie, I never follow through with my threats and my kids know this), she looked at me, popped ME in the mouth, and then laughed.  Being parent of the year, I was so shocked I laughed.

She knows when she does wrong and then she totally gives you that smile and you can't be mad at her....the total baby of the family kinda thing. She's bad and she knows it.

 

She's a mini David in looks and personality.  So much of her reminds me of David and that's why have no fear she'll do well in life.

She's the missing part of my heart. For years I ached for her and my heart has always felt full since she got here. 

Couldn't imagine life without her and now looking back, she was so worth the wait.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Red House Tour ~Living room

One of the last times I blogged, I shared that we were moving back into the first house we ever lived in as a married couple. You can catch up on that story here.

It's been a little over two months since we moved in and I'm happy to say we've all settled in quickly.  For David and I, we were already familiar with the house, so there really wasn't a need to get used to anything. I'll be honest though, I was worried with how the girls would adjust. If you've been following our story for the past year, you already know that this is the fourth house that we've technically lived in this year.  Yeah, it's sucked, but that's life sometimes. 

Thankfully, all but one, the girls have adjusted to quickly.  My prayers were answered when they seemed to adjust quicker to the red house than any of the others.

Livi tells me on a regular basis how much she loves the red house. I think it's safe to say the red house has felt like home quicker than any other we've lived in. 

Any time a friend comes over for the first time, they immediately comment how the house fits us.  Funny story, my good friend Amy came over before we had moved in and the house was completely empty and she the first thing she said to me was "this house screams Amber." 

The red house just seems to fit "us."

I know people have gotten a glimpse of things here and there through pictures, but I've been asked by a few for more, so here we go...

Disclaimer: the lighting in this house is not the best.  Most of the time its kinda dark, but it comes across cozy to us personally.  Doesn't make for great blog pictures, but we like it. 

When you come in the front door, you're immediately dumped into the living room.


We do have a very small entry way with wood floor and a coat closet, but this is the best picture I could get.  A lot of the projects we've done since moving in are not necessarily the fun ones, but they've needed to be done and have made a big difference.  We've replaced almost all the window in the house and all the exterior doors, plus added storm doors. We're down to one door and four windows left to be replaced.

I need to paint the front door soon. I want to do a fun color, but I haven't been able to decide just yet. Suggestions???




We have a lot of big projects for this house and our goal is to get one done each year.  The living room is first on the list for next year.  The house is built where we can easily add a fireplace for not too much money or too much damage.  Our goal is to start next summer so we can have it finished before fall and the cold rolls in.  We're also planning on doing built in book cases on each side.   I'm super excited about this project.


This would make home decor bloggers weep...I don't style my bookshelves, I just throw junk up there. Actually, we need to add the fourth shelf from the set because it's packed way too tight even for me. I just haven't gotten the motivation to do it yet.


We also have plans to hang the tv on the wall because it's already been almost knocked over several times.  Once again...just haven't gotten around to it. It's on it's last leg anyway, so maybe David and I are both just secretly hoping it does and we have an excuse to get a new one without a big red blob on the right side of the screen.


We don't have a play room, I gave up on playrooms a couple of houses ago.  The kids never played in it and always ended up dragging the toys to the living areas, so now I use storage baskets to keep the things they play with most close by while the rest is stored in their rooms.  I also just have toys sitting out.  I know that's not magazine worthy, but it's the stage of life we're in now.  There will be plenty of years my house can look magazine ready, but for now, the toys in the corner make me grateful for where we are in life at the moment. 

Along with our fireplace, we're wanting to switch out the couch for the matching sectional at ikea.  The living room is on the smaller side and it would open up a lot more space plus add seating.  



It's the room where we spend most of our time as a family and we love how cozy it is.  We've already started making memories in it.  Excited to start making holiday memories in it with the girls!!!




Sunday, November 2, 2014

"The best Halloween Ever!"

As much as it saddens me to say this....my oldest child hasn't taken on the same love for Christmas as I have.

As each year goes by, it shows more and more that she's a Halloween freak. I'm still holding out hope for the little one.

It's not that I have anything against Halloween, I've just never really gotten into it. I'm trying for her sake though. I'm not quite ready to join in the costume fun, but I did make sure to buy a few new Halloween decorations this year....baby steps.

Olivia was scheduled for chemo on Thursday, so we weren't sure how Halloween this year was going to go. Let's be honest, the kid has had a lot of disappointment thrown her way these past few months, so we were really hoping her favorite holiday wasn't another thing added to that list.


Months and months ago, it was declared that we were dressing up as Elsa & Anna just like every other little girl in America. That promptly started the search for the best Elsa costume we could find. 


Confession....this is now the third Elsa costume we currently own.  It started with a cheap itchy one from the Target toy section (you know the ones I'm talking about), then we found a better looking one online through a costume store...it was better than the Target one, but not "Disney" enough for Nana and I.  At the end of August, we stalked the Disney stores every single week till the end of September until we got one we were happy with.

We've got issues. 

Thankfully, Anna wasn't as hard to find.  Poor Anna...always living in the shadow of Elsa.


I'm sure you're now wondering how the witches broom and hat fit into all this.

Well, after the second Elsa and Anna costume had already been bought, Livi found a witch costume she liked.  We declared it was too late to change and instead I bought her a witch hat and broom from Target. I didn't get a good picture of it, but Pawpaw attached an Elsa crown to her hat. You better believe we got many of funny looks over the past few weeks when people would ask her what she was going to be for Halloween.  Everyone is not familiar with "Elsa Witch."

Since she can't be around a lot of kids, we stuck with our usual Halloween routine and made the rounds in David's parents neighborhood. They don't get a ton of kids and it's small, so everyone knows us.

That means jackpot for David and I our kids!!!



This year Livi had an entourage.


Let's be honest, when you almost lose your kid/grand-kid/niece, you realize how precious life is and that you can't afford to miss a moment.


Livi had been tired the whole day, so we brought our trusty wagon to tote her around the neighborhood.  She surprised us and got a burst of energy and then walked the entire neighborhood!!! As silly as it might sound, that's a big deal these days. 


In case you're wondering why Amelia isn't in any of the trick or treating pictures, it's because she fell asleep ten minutes before we walked out the door.  Nana took one for the team and stayed behind with her and to pass out candy. We got a call at the very last house that she was awake and they were coming to find us. Unfortunately, she missed out so we had a dance party for her instead.  She was happy with that.



I'm happy to say that Livi declared it "the best Halloween ever!"

She deserved it.