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Birthday and Father’s Day fun!

Yesterday morning, I gave hubby a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (his fave!) and Father’s Day cards from Blue and Ozzie. When I saw these cards, I knew I had to get them. They were PERFECT. Who says father’s of furbabies can’t be honored on Father’s Day?

mikes cards 1

blue card 1      blue card 2

ozzie card 1      ozzie card 2

Then, hubby and I went for a walk at the park with Blue and Ozzie. We love talking the boys to the park. They are so happy and so excited when we go! I couldn’t resist getting a picture of the boys with hubby. He loves his boys!

mike blue ozzie 061712

In my BIG, crazy family, there is something to celebrate just about every month. A tradition was started years ago, as the family grew, that we would get together and celebrate birthday’s, holidays, anniversaries, etc… It works out that almost once a month we get together, sometimes having a dinner for multiple reasons. My hubby’s birthday is on June 22, so every year, we all get together on Father’s Day AND celebrate hubby’s birthday.

Hubby decided he wanted to go to Hooter’s for his birthday. No one in this family ever complains about going to Hooter’s. All jokes aside, we are a Hooters-loving family. Smile

It was really a nice afternoon, with the usual, family craziness. There are a lot of us and we are loud. It always requires planning to eat out. I went to Hooters an hour early just to make sure we could get a table for 18. 18!!!

As always, there was a lot of talking and laughing. I really treasure our family time. The kiddos are adorable and there is silliness and laughter. Pair that with yummy bad-for-you-food and beer, and it’s a GREAT afternoon.

As always, I took way too many photos and Instagram’d the heck out of them. It’s hard to get photos of everyone and everything, but this is a great representation of the fun we had yesterday to celebrate my hubby’s (40th!!) birthday and Father’s Day.

me and my honey 061712           autumn monster

uncle mike autumn 1         silly autumn

autumn and daddy        autumn and cooper

cutie cooper        cutie cole

cooper and grandmommy         uncle toe and autumn

cooper and cheryl        cooper and uncle nick

uncle mike and cooper         joey jenni

me and jenna        chocolate and beer

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Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

I can’t believe another Father’s Day is here, the second since we said goodbye to Daddy. It seems that time is passing so quickly. Last year on Father’s Day, I bought a card for Daddy. I did the same this year. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t here… It is important to me that he is honored on such an important day, one that recognizes the amazing man that he was. Just because he isn’t here, doesn’t mean I can’t thank him for everything he was – and is – to me, and for everything he did for me. It wouldn’t seem right.

This morning, we went to Bay Pines VA to place flowers by Daddy’s memorial. It is always overwhelming to see his name there. I believe he is everywhere, but seeing his name there always make it seem even more real that he is gone.

fathers day 2012 bay pines 1

fathers days 2012 bay pines 2

I’ve always thought that my dad was an incredible man. He was injured and in a wheelchair before he married my mom and before I was born. I never knew him any other way. The wheelchair never mattered, though, and it certainly never affected his ability to be a good father. He did everything he could to take care of his family. If anything, the wheelchair he sat in for 55 years made him work harder. I would often say that he did more from that wheelchair than many people did up on their feet. And that is the truth.

When you spend 12+ hours a day in the hospital with your dad over the last four weeks of his life (whether you realize it or not at the time), you do a lot of thinking. The 38 years and 8 months I had with him seemed much too short. I am fortunate that there were not things left unsaid and that we were very close up until the last time we spoke. If I was unable to say that, I would be even sadder. To be able to say goodbye to him and know that all was good between us was very important to me. He knew how much we all loved him. That I am sure of.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. You may not be here with us physically, but your presence is obvious in my world every day. You always were, and still are, a great influence on me and my life. I like to think I am a strong and determined person because of both you and Mommy. You will be with us today as we celebrate as a family. I miss you every single day, and even more so on these days we would have spent together as a family. You were the best father in the whole world. I love you and miss you so very much.

me daddy little

me daddy playpen

me daddy chair

                                  I’d like to think, I’ll always be Daddy’s little girl…

nick jenna wedding 2003

                              A very proud Daddy, with Mommy, Mike, and me in 2003

family photo 2007

                                             Our last family portrait taken in 2007

me daddy fave

                                 My all-time favorite photo of Daddy and I, April 2007

A Dance Recital!

My 4 year old niece, Autumn, had a dance recital today. She takes dance classes at Suncoast Academy of Dance in Clearwater – a once a week class that she loves. Her recital today has been a long time coming. It actually took place at Ruth Eckerd Hall and after attending it today, I now know why. It. Was. Packed. I never realized there were so many students who took dance. My mom, Autumn’s Grandmommy, was there and Jenna’s mom, (Mema to Autumn) also flew out from Seattle to attend the recital!

My hubby couldn’t be there today, but he had a beautiful flower bouquet put together for Autumn. She loves, loves, loves pink. The bouquet was beautiful and it was so fragrant!

autumn recital flowers

Prior to the recital, I saw her before she went backstage. She was dressed in an adorable white tutu with silver sequins and she could not have been more adorable.

autumn pre recital

They program was great, it listed every song and the dancer’s names for each song for both acts.

autumn recital program edit

The little girls (all girls except one boy), were so cute. The outfits were perfect for the theme and the songs. It was cuteness overload. Although I have to admit, that Autumn was the most adorable one there. You knew I was going to say that, right?

I had a hard time getting good pictures in the low lighting they had there…

autumn recital 2

In this photo (above), Autumn is 6th from the left…

autumn recital 3

In this photo (above), Autumn is 5th from the left…

After Act 1 was complete, we went outside to wait while Jenna picked up Autumn from backstage. Autumn was pretty much done at this point. Smile I think she was hot and tired. But she did a great job!

jenna autumn recital

nick autumn recital 1

nick autumn recital 2

autumn after recital flowers

I tried to get a picture of Autumn with the flowers from Uncle Mike but she wasn’t too happy about it. It’s okay, though. I’m sure she enjoyed them when she got home. They sure did smell good!

It was a great afternoon and I’m so glad I was able to go and watch my sweet, adorable niece in her first recital.

Sunday in the kitchen ~ Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday. This morning started with a delicious breakfast at Paradise Restaurant in Safety Harbor with hubby and I, my mom, hubby’s mom, my brother, SIL, and niece, and my sister. It was a very nice morning.

My family! My sister, Mommy, me and hubby, niece, sister-in-law, and brother.

Hubby, hubby’s mom, and me!

Me and my most adorable niece.

Yesterday, I submitted a new blog post to The Indie Chicks about my mom, just in time for Mother’s Day. I hope you’ll pop on over and read it. It was very special for me to write and share with everyone. My mom is the strongest woman I know and I look up to her in so many ways.  http://theindiechicks.com/the-strength-of-my-mom/

Today, I’d like to share a recipe I actually made for dinner last night. It is a favorite of mine, super easy to make, and makes great leftovers. You can really add just about anything you want to this dish, there are so many ways to do it. Here is my version:

Brown Rice with Beef and Tomatoes  (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 bag Steamfresh Brown Rice
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 White onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (garlic and onion)
  • Olive oil
  • Butter

Sautee onions in olive oil and add ground beef, cook till browned and drain. Heat up can of tomatoes while brown rice is cooking in microwave. Put rice in casserole dish and add butter, ground beef and onions, and tomatoes (minus the juice). Stir and serve! This makes 2 servings. Perfect to make when you are short on time.

Enjoy!! If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what other ingredients you add.

Have a great Sunday!

Happiness Is…

A day late on my Happiness Is… post for the week. Better late than never!

Happiness Is…

  • Looking forward to a family day. Today we are celebrating Easter, and my sister and dad’s birthday. Jenni and Daddy always celebrated their birthday’s together. When we celebrate Jenni’s birthday, it is second nature to honor my dad’s birthday as well.

 

  • Going to breakfast Saturday morning with my hubby. We always have so much going on and I am always trying to get a run in on the weekend mornings. I decided yesterday it was a great day to go out for breakfast since we were both home with no real plans. Off we went to Village Inn for a delicious breakfast. It was a great start to the day.

 

  • Having time to finish reading a fantastic book, Starters by Lissa Price.

 

  • Getting good news at my mom’s follow-up appointment on Wednesday. Still very happy – and thankful – with the results and knowledge that she is cancer-free!

 

  • Making a delicious dinner last night, without worrying about how many points it is. Sometimes you just have to not worry about it, and that’s exactly what I did.

 

  • Being okay with not running this weekend because I got a run in Friday morning and I know I’ll get two morning runs in this week.

 

  • Knowing that last week I met my goal of 3 runs for the week!

 

  • The gorgeous weather we’ve had this weekend. It cooled down Friday afternoon and has been so nice!

 

  • Seeing my sunrise photo from last Tuesday featured on the Largo Patch website and Facebook page. I knew when I took the photo that it was a great one.

 

Thoughts on Thursday: Cancer

I’ve waited to post about this because I wanted good news to post. It has been a long 5 weeks,  but finally, we have some good news and some closure.

At the end of February, my mom found out she had endometrial cancer. After having a biopsy and waiting 2 long weeks for the results, they told her she had a grade one tumor. There are three grades, grade one being the least bad of all. This was the hope we were hanging on to. One symptom sent her to the doctor for a check-up. Had she ignored that one symptom, she would have never known she had a tumor almost 4 inches in size. A normal annual check-up would not have found this type of cancer. To me, this is TERRIFYING.

A week after her diagnosis, she met with an oncologist who scheduled surgery for her just two weeks later. This was all moving very fast. My Aunt Darlene in California (one of many fabulous relatives!!) offered to come out to be here the week of her surgery and we could not have been more happy for the extra support. Throughout all of this, we had so many people supporting my mom from all over, it was very heart-warming, and if more family had been able to come, we know they would have.

Two weeks ago yesterday, my mom went in for surgery. Her first surgery ever in her 61 years. They were able to do it laparoscopically, with 5 small incisions. The plan was to remove lymph nodes only if they felt it necessary at that time. She did extremely well during the surgery. The surgeon explained that they also removed some lymph nodes to have them tested and it would be two weeks to find out if it had spread or not.

She has spent the last two weeks recovering amazingly well. She did not overdo anything, she napped when she needed to, took her pain pills sparingly and only if absolutely needed, and she endured the once-a-day shots from both my aunt and I in her belly to prevent blood clots.

By the end of the last week, just over a week post-surgery, she was back to walking in the afternoons, 1 to 2 miles. Everyone has been so impressed with how fast she has recovered.

Finally, yesterday was her post-op appointment with the surgeon, to find out if the cancer had spread or not. Of all days to wait for this news, it was also my dad’s birthday. We visited the cemetery at Bay Pines VA in the morning, worked for a few hours, and then finally it was time for her appointment. I, of course, was right by her side because there is no other place in the world I could have been at that moment.

The doctor, a very direct man, walked in the room with a smile on his face and said “I have some good news for you. Your lymph nodes came back clear and you do NOT need any further treatment.”  Both my mom and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Her cancer was stage 1, with a tumor approximately 4 inches in size. The doctor, like everyone else, was extremely impressed by her recovery. She will go back in 4 weeks for another follow-up.

Cancer affects everyone. My dad had bladder cancer, my grandmother had breast cancer, my aunt had breast cancer, and now my mom has had endometrial cancer. It’s very easy to sit here and tell everyone to be proactive and do not ignore any little symptom that you feel isn’t right. Some cancers are genetic and some are not. Regardless, it can happen to everyone. I spent many months last year with my sister-in-law over the course of her training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and I heard first hand stories of how cancer had affected so many lives. None of us are immune to it. We have to be proactive.

I am so relieved and  thankful that my mom is well. After losing my dad 16 months ago, the thought of something happening to my mom was terrifying. I kept strong throughout the last 5 weeks, both for my mom and my family, but I am not afraid to admit now that I was scared. Hearing the good news yesterday was the best thing and it made my day. I now know more than ever that my dad is indeed watching over us and I am positive he had a little something with yesterday’s good news.

I love you, Mommy and I am so glad you did not ignore what you knew was not right, and you did what you had to do to be well. You are stronger than you know and you are cancer-free!!

Friend Makin’ Mondays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

When I was a kid…

  1. My parents told me…  not to bite my fingernails, mostly it was my dad telling me this.
  2. I wanted to grow up to be a…  an architect.
  3. I refused to eat… I don’t really remember having specific food dislikes then. I don’t even think my extreme distaste of american cheese was around then.  
  4. My favorite thing to do outside was… ride my bike.  I had a white bike with a yellow banana seat and a cool am/fm radio mounted on it with a horn that my parents got me from Radio Shack.
  5. I broke my…  foot in high school, running down the driveway. Couldn’t drive my truck, which was a standard, until it healed.
  6. I liked to wear… I don’t really remember liking anything specific but I know I wore alot of pull-over sweaters. 
  7. My parents always… enjoyed taking all of us on road trips. We crossed the US many times.
  8. I thought that Santa was… real, of course!
  9. My favorite cartoon was... Scooby Doo and Strawberry Shortcake
  10. I was the… oldest.
  11. I got in trouble when…  of course I don’t remember every doing anything wrong, HA!!!! I’m sure I got in trouble for being mean to my brother more than once.
  12. My bedroom was… a reflection of who I was and who I idolized. When I was 9, I had a white canopy bed with Holly Hobby bedding and I loved it. My first posters were of The Dukes of Hazzard, specifically John Schneider, and anything having to do with Fame! As I got older, the canopy bed went away. I became a fan of Marilyn Monroe. As my love of music expanded, I had posters of George Strait, Bon Jovi, Poison, and many more.
  13. My favorite food was…  Italian and Mexican. I have never had a problem enjoying food and could always eat more than I needed to.
  14. My parents always made me… I had to try a new food at least once. If I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to eat it again.
  15. My first crush was…  John Schneider, seriously. I wanted to marry him. I always watched the Dukes of Hazzard. Does anyone remember when he came out with a record, It’s Now Or Never? I do, it was 1981, and I listened to it on my portable record player, over and over again.
  16. My favorite toy was… I loved my big Barbie doll house. But I also loved that portable record player.
  17. I thought school was…  necessary. I always liked school, but also wanted to be at home. As I got older, I liked school more and more.
  18. My biggest fear was… something happening to my mom or dad.
  19. My favorite story was… I have always LOVED to read. I was the kid that read alot over the summer and I was always reading at a higher grade level than I was in. I loved all of the Judy Blume books, especially Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I could read her books over and over again. I probably still would if I had them.
  20. My favorite memories… I have many wonderful memories of being 10, we were living in Maryland, I was playing tennis, and my little brother had just been born. I had so much fun helping my mom with him. We would go to upstate New York at Christmas to my uncle’s house. We would have family gatherings, my grandfather and everyone would be there. It was a great time.

Now it’s your turn! Don’t forget to answer the questions on your blog and share your link in my comments! Happy Monday!

Why I blog…

Since it’s been over a year that  started this blog, I’ve been thinking about the reasons that I blog. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Accountability. It’s another way to be honest with myself and try and stay on top of this journey that I am on. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s impossibly hard.
  • It’s a constant in my crazy life. It’s always there when I need to vent or even go back and read a post that was maybe a defining moment.
  • I love to write. I wish I had more time to do it.
  • To share a side of me that people may not know.
  • To share things that I love, such as foods, books, products, and more.
  • To document my life and the events in it.
  • Motivation. When I write a post about a struggle I’m having and go back and read it days, weeks, or months later, I find it motivational to see how I overcame it.
  • To vent. There are some days I just need to get something out and what better way to get it out than writing it.
  • To remember. There is always something going on and we are such a big family. I like to remember special events and other things that we do or go through. Happy, sad, defining, and more. All moments are important and each one adds up to my life.
  • To {hopefully} inspire others. I follow several blogs and they inspire me. I would love to know that I inspire others in the same way.

When I first started my blog, I imagined it being mostly weight-loss related, although my very first post pretty much said it could be about anything. It was also just two months after losing my dad and I knew it would be another outlet in dealing with that and it has helped. It’s touched lightly on our infertily issues and is as light as posting about our crazy dogs. You can read my very first blog post here https://thiscrazylifeofmine2012.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/my-very-first-blog/

I enjoy my blog and hope that my readers enjoy it as much I do. I love it when a post inspires readers to comment and let me know their thoughts. But ultimately my blog is for ME.

Things I am thankful for today…

  • Modern medicine and technology, and the positive outcome of my mom’s surgery today.
  • My amazing family for being at the hospital waiting for my mom and supporting each other as we all waited for what seemed to be an eternity. My hubby, Nick, Jenna, Jenni, Nile, and Darlene (who flew 3000 miles to be with us during this time). I love you all!
  • The family and friends who messaged, texted, or emailed me today to ask about my mom and to let me know she was in their thoughts and prayers  – thank you!
  • The wonderful personality of the volunteer in the waiting room, whose name I cannot remember. She was a hoot and had us laughing, all while making our “posse”, as she called us, feel at ease during our wait.
  • The care of a great surgeon and his time in calling me to discuss her surgery when he was done.
  • The game Draw Something for providing all of us with laughter and mindless entertainment as we took over the waiting room at the hospital.
  • The wonderful staff at Morton Plant Hospital. Despite our bad memories of the hospital and losing Daddy there, the hospital was then and was again today, wonderful in providing care and doing all they could to keep as informed and at ease while we waited.
  • And most of all, having the best mom in the whole world, who I love very much. I am so thankful for our close relationship. We are here to help you in your recovery over the next few weeks.

My first half-marathon!

Today was a very a special day. I will remember it for a very long time. Back on December 29, 2011, I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in St. Petersburg. I was determined to do it. I walked and ran in preparation. I expected to walk most of it and run what I could.

This past week was full of anticipation. It was all I could think about. After I picked up my bib, shirt, and swag bag on Friday – I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer. This was the weekend I would finally become a half-marathoner. All day yesterday, I wanted the day to pass quickly so I could go to sleep and wake up this morning. Like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting oh-so impatiently for Christmas Day.

The alarm went off at 4am this morning and I was ready to go. I showered, dressed, ate a good breakfast, got my stuff together, and we were out the door at 5:20am to beat the traffic to Tropicana Field in St. Pete. The only thing I was worried about was the weather. IT. WAS. FREEZING. With the wind chill it felt like it was in the 30’s and it was windy. I was shivering all the way to my bones. I started out in 2 shirts, a jacket, and gloves.

Finally it was time. The first corral started at 7:30. I was in Corral 12 based on what I thought my finishing time would be. We had to finish in 4 hours and I projected 3:25. We started at 7:46:23 am. Within the first mile, I could not contain myself and I started running. I ran off an on through the whole race. I wasn’t running to beat others or to finish by a certain time. I was just running because I could and because I was on an adrenaline high. This was the farthest mileage I’d ever put in where I was running a good portion of it. I’m not a fast runner, but I run.

Hubby received texts on his phone as I crossed certain points: 5k, 10k, 10 mile, and finish. I saw him three times during my run – right at the start,  the 5k mark, and at the finish line. He took some great photos for me.

There were bands and music throughout and lots of wonderful people cheering us on, handing out water and Gatorade. It all kept me going.

By the 5k mark, I was ready to take my jacket off, as I had finally warmed up. The gloves would stay on the rest of the way.

At about the halfway point, I realized that I was really going to do this. I was going to finish this and finish it good. For me. It was very emotional experience. I cried many times during for many reasons…. This was a HUGE thing for me, it was HARD, and I was so proud of myself for taking it on, and riding out the determination of doing it as the weeks passed leading up to it. I didn’t let my insecurities get in the way or focus on all the what-ifs, and my downfalls. I cried from the sheer beauty of the route, especially as we ran along the water. I cried because I knew there would be so many people who would be proud of me for accomplishing this. And I cried because I wished more than anything Daddy was here to hear all about it, to tell me how proud he was of me.

When I hit the 10-mile mark, it felt SO close. Never had 3.11 miles felt so far or so close all at once. When the route was closest to the finish line and I could here the music and people cheering, it made me want to push myself farther and harder. When I rounded the last corner in mile 12 and saw the 13 mile mark and the finish line just past that, I was in tears again. I was so close to finishing, so close to completing this goal I had set for myself.

I saw hubby just before the finish line and that made me cry more. He was there for me as he always is. He supports me and I love him dearly for it.

Crossing over the finish line was a blur. My official finish time was 3:11:33, coming in 6503 out of 7006. I was handed a medal, given a blanket, a bottle of water, and a banana. My picture was taken with my medal on. It was then that I realized I had not stopped my watch. I texted hubby to tell him I was waiting in the family area and waited. When I finally saw him, I was so excited. And then, I saw my mom and Jenna! What a surprise that was. I had just texted my mom to tell her I had finished. I had no clue they were there, even though I found out afterwards that they were standing right by hubby at the finish line. Me and my tunnel vision…

Again I was crying, overwhelmed at finishing, seeing hubby, and seeing my mom and Jenna. they had balloons, and were so proud of me. It was a moment I will not forget.

The day could not have gone more perfect. I started the race with my good friend Terrie, knowing that she was doing it in honor of two very special people as part of Team In Training. I ended the race, feeling extremely proud and strong and loved. And I was so excited to hug Terrie and enjoy the moment with her, knowing we both finished. We did it.

The afternoon was topped off perfectly with a great lunch, with Nick and Autumn joining us. I am exhausted and sore beyond belief, but it is still a wonderful thing. And tomorrow, the 13.1 decal will go on my car. Finally.

Terrie and I in the freezing cold this morning. Brrrr!

Starting line!

At the 5K mark.

A beautiful day for a half-marathon.

What a view!

Approaching the finish line - determined!

So excited to see everyone!

Love!!

Feeling very accomplished! Terrie and I did it!!

A well-deserved beer at the end!