Friday, March 25, 2016

Exciting News

This week our family got some pretty exciting news....

First we got a video of Tristen asking the girls why her tummy is starting to get big, like if she has eaten too much chocolate or if she needs to do more setups.  The girls totally knew the reason why.  Then she told them they were going to have an U/S the next day.

A few minutes later we got another video of the girls telling their parents they were having a boy!  We are so excited for this new addition to our family.  Tristen is 20 weeks and hid it from all of us.  Easy for her since she lives in Spokane.  I did notice a little belly when I was there in January and she was always taking an afternoon nap.  I suspected but didn't say anything and then totally forgot about it.

This is a miracle for Tristen.  5 years ago when she was pregnant with Bridget she got very sick with Achalasia.  Shortly after Bridget was born she flew back to Charlotte with me and had surgery.  She was highly encouraged to not have a baby because she typically vomits when she is pregnant.  Since the surgery she is unable to vomit.  She said she hasn't vomited during this pregnancy.  She has had great doctors who have treated her and helped her to get to have this little miracle.  Oh yes, He's a BOY!  We can't wait to meet him around August 12, 2016.

We have a baby girl coming to our family in the next month or so from Tyler and Danielle.  We are so excited for her to make her appearance.  It will be fun for their family to have a little girl since they have 3 boys.  It's so fun to have these little ones come into our family.  With these two new additions I will have 8 Nephews and 4 Nieces!

Spring Break FF

1.  Last Friday while I was at work my cousin Alisha called saying she wanted to drive her kids from Boise to Phoenix for Spring Break and she did.  They arrived here Sunday evening.  That night we had dinner, went on a walk, did a little Easter scripture reading and ate some sugar.
2.  Monday and Tuesday I had to work.  But Sunday evening I started having horrible body aches and by 2:15 Monday afternoon I was headed home from work, only the second time in my career that I've gone home early because I was sick.  It was a bad stomach bug, even though the worse part was the body aches and the 102.4 temp.  Thankfully no one else got it and I felt just fine on Tuesday.
3.  Tuesday evening Alisha's Husband flew in and on Wednesday we spent the day hiking.  It was so fun and the weather was in the low 70's, which is perfect for AZ.  We went to lunch at my favorite Pizza Parlor Spinatos.  Then we did a final walk through on my house.  Jason, Alisha's husband told me where to put some fruit tree's, since he knows all about yards as a land architect.  He needs to come back sometime and make my backyard beautiful.
4.  Wednesday after the walk through and before YW Alisha, my friend Jennifer and I went to look at granite and quartz for my kitchen.  Jennifer and I also picked out remnants for the bathrooms on Thursday.  I hope it all looks good when it's finally finished.  Its really hard to judge something from a small sample.  This is the kitchen quartz that I chose to go with the flooring and cabinets.  I can't have anything to dark in the kitchen because the only window is where the breakfast nook is.
5.  For YW we went hiking and had snow cones.  That night Jason the master packer helped me pack up my house.  I'd say it's pretty much ready for the guys from church to come load me up tomorrow morning.
6.  I signed on my house this morning and am just waiting for all of the documents and money to go through so I can get the key.  In the next few hours the moving begins.  

Friday, March 18, 2016


1.  This week was crazy going back and forth with the mortgage company.  First they said I could close later this week, then it was I couldn't close until March 31.  Yesterday they wanted a letter from my work regarding my hours and starting back to work, etc.  I don't know what my dear friend in HR wrote to them, but after the letter was sent I got word that my loan was approved.  This means I will close next week.  I was worried about having to move out the last day of the month.  I will now have a few extra days to get things moved out.  By the way, I hate moving; totally despise it.
2.  Monday I met with the cabinet guy.  It took forever for him to measure and such, but I finally got an estimate that is in my budget, so much so that I think I'm going to redo the kitchen and both bathrooms.  I'm especially excited for the slotted cabinet for my platters above the fridge and my pots and pans drawer.  My friend Jennifer was such a help that day with picking the colors and adding her experienced kitchen makeover advice.  These are the kitchen cabinets.  I really wanted gray, but did chose gray for the guest bathroom and a dark cherry for the master.  All of the rooms have different tile, which means different cabinets.  Now time to choose the granite.
3.  I had a snow cone date this week! It was a fun 2 hours, too bad he lives in Seattle.  I might have to take more trips to Seattle in the future.
4.  Poor Kirt had a major flood on his land and house from all the rain last weekend.  I felt helpless, but kept myself busy gathering fun things for a box of sunshine that I sent him.  I always love getting surprise mail.  I'm sure he will as well next week.
5.  For YW on Wednesday we put together 12 days of Easter kits.  I think the girls had an enjoyable time doing it and I hope their testimonies of the resurection are increased.  It was an idea I had from an activity we did when I was in YW.  The leaders thought I was so cool to have thought of it, sadly it wasn't my idea.
6.  I'm back to work in full force.  In the last 2 days I've seen 100 patients.  46 yesterday and 54 today.  My feet are feeling it tonight too.  It was almost a 14 hour day today and then add the 40 minute drive there and back and I should be able to sleep great tonight.
7.  Tonight Alisha decided to drive from Boise to Phoenix with her kids for Spring Break.  It will be fun to have them here.  Unfortunately I have to work 3 of the days they will be here.  But we will have fun nonetheless.
8.  It's finally strawberry, mango, blackberry and blueberry season.  Still waiting for the raspberries.
 9.  I like these quotes I stumbled upon this week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

BBQ Chicken Salad

I had some left over rotisserie chicken and was craving BBQ, so what did I do?  Looked in my refrigerator to see what would go with it.  Lucky me I had everything I needed.

Romaine Lettuce
Red Peppers
Cheddar Cheese
Black Beans
Frozen Corn
Crushed tortilla Chips
Homemade Ranch Dressing
BBQ Sauce
Chicken Cubed

Walla, another easy, delicious dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow (make two servings and when you are hungry for lunch the next day, it's already ready).  I do this often because I'm one person and it's quick and easy for days I work.

Healthy Chocolate Smoothy

Since I'm only having sugar one day a week, I've found a way to have my chocolate without cheating. It's so yummy too!

1 Frozen Banana
Handful of Spinach
1 tsp or so of PB or Almond Butter
1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
Splash of vanilla
1 T Coco Powder

Try it, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Simple FF

I've really blogged about the fabulous things from my week, but here are a few simple things that were fabulous:
1.  I've hiked three times this week.  I love hiking.  It's a great workout and lets me appreciate some of the beauty of Phoenix.
2.  Sugar-Free snow cones at Bahama Bucks makes me happy.
3.  Even more happiness comes from hearing last night, "I had a fun time with you this week!"  I need to see him again soon.  I told him I'd have his guest room and honey do list ready soon.  My mom reminded me last night, when we were in grad school Kirt and my dad went to a football game one Saturday afternoon as I sat home studying (this was before I had any interest in him.)  Monday morning he went on and on about bonding with my dad and how family reunions would be so wonderful.
4.  My full-time work status kicks in today.  Bring on 12 hour shifts the next 2 days.  I love my job, 2 days this week, 2 days next week, 3 days the next week and 2 the next week.  9 shifts a month is perfect for me.
5.  Yesterday I had a bid for new cabinets in my kitchen.  It was so much less than the other bids.  I'm excited to see how this kitchen turns out. Trying to decide if I like these...
I really don't like the tile, but I'm not pulling it up. So I have to match everything to it.
I kind of want to go darker.  I'd love to go gray, but it's not likely going to happen.
6.  I got a conditional approval on my loan yesterday, pending a pay stub which I'll get next week.  This means closing is just around the corner.
7.  Speaking of closing, Cathy and I packed pretty much the entire living room and some of the kitchen on Saturday.  I'm so not a fan of moving, but it will be worth it in the end.  And Cathy is a pro packer.
8.  Tanner sent me an awesome cell phone holder in the mail this week.  I love when I get a surprise in the mail.
9.  Tenielle settled on the new job, even though she went back and forth.  I'm happy for her decision and even more happy that she is getting a major raise.  Her hard work has paid off.
10.  I saw tulips in full bloom in New Orleans.  I love tulips and am so sad they don't grow here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Too Short, But So Worth It

Sunday morning I boarded a plane to New Orleans to see Kirt.  It is always so good to see this handsome man.  Even though I haven't seen him since October, it's as if it was last week.  Ok, maybe a little longer, but time doesn't seem to do anything to our relationship but make it stronger.

He took me to this cute restaurant on the water, where we had delicious crab cakes and I had an out of this world amazingly delicious shrimp salad.  We then headed to his 6 acre's of pure beauty.  I fell in love with his home and the land.  It was so quiet and relaxing there; just what I needed knowing I was headed to the oncologist this week. Kirt took me on his golf cart around the farm and showed me all of the things he has been building since he purchased it in August.  This is one talented man.

Before I flew out there, Kirt asked that I make cookies while I was there.  Even though he is one mad beast in the kitchen, he doesn't bake.  They must have tasted good, because I'm pretty sure he ate at least 2 dozen while I was there.

Monday we ran errands around his little town and then he took me to this cute, delicious Greek restaurant.  After lunch he surprised me with a safari, which just happened to be down the street from his house.  It was super fun to see zebra and giraffe.
Monday night I juiced a bunch of citrus, while he made me a fantastic Cajun dinner.  I love that we share so much with each other and can talk for hours.  I never get tired of hearing his deep, southern accent or staring at his handsome face (Ok that sounds like a giddy teen, but it's true.)

Tuesday we left the house around 10, grabbed lunch and then headed to the airport.  He was going to St. Louis for work and I headed home to Phoenix.  It was a short 3 days, but so worth every moment.  As we were saying goodbye, he kissed me and told me to make him a honey do list for the new house!  I'm totally taking him up on that.  I adore this man.  Always have, always will.  He sent me a text last night that melted my heart, "You are truly a special gem...I love you dearly."  AHHHH.
What's next?  Time will tell...

Oncology Appointment and Update

Today was my oncology appointment where I received results from the biopsy blood test I had 1 month ago.  The CA-125 monthly ovarian cancer marker was the same as it has been since December at 29.  However it was the genotype/dna test that I was hoping was normal and it was.  Basically instead of taking a needle biopsy of the few masses in my body, we did this blood test.  It looks at my DNA.  If there were active cancer cells it would have been positive.  So what it boils down to is the masses that were seen on last months PET Scan are either not cancerous (which is or isn't likely) or they are just dormant.

Cancer cells typically replicate every 50 days.  It's been nearly that since I last had chemo, which means if they were active, they would have replicated by now.

Can I say I'm in remission?  Most likely yes, but we will keep a very close watch on my monthly tests.  If the CA-125 goes up 30%, we will do another PET scan or the genotype test.  Lets hope it stays at 29, or better yet goes down.  I don't like it that high.  I feel much more comfortable when it is in the teens, but it hasn't been there for a year, so I should just be grateful that it isn't up in the 60's as it was several months ago.

Dr. J describes things like this...If you are in a war and the enemy is being protected, you won't waste your ammo on them while under protection.  It's the same as the cancer cells.  Throwing chemo at cells that aren't replicating or in dormancy does nothing to the cancer cells, but only kills the good cells.  Which is why we are still on chemo holiday unless the enemy fires up and we have to stop the fire (or disease in this case.)

My friend Janelle came with me today.  It is never a good idea to go to an oncology appointment by yourself, even if it is good news.  It was nice to have her by my side, especially when it came time to explain it to my mom over the phone.

We celebrated this good news by having lunch at Grassroots, one of my favorites and by having a sugar day in the middle of the week at TCBY Yogurt.
And so I will continue to live my life, hopefully without the fear that cancer will rear it's ugly head again...bring on the packing, a new home, back to work full time, more hiking and LOVE!

Friday, March 4, 2016

March's First Fabulous Friday

1.  It's Spring here in Phoenix which means the smell of citrus blossoms are in the air.  I love this smell which only occurs for about 3 weeks each Spring.  It always seems to be closer to the end of March for citrus blossoms, but since we've had record temps in the 90's, it's not surprising.  I actually went out to the pool for a few hours this week.  The water was freezing, but the sun was warm.
2.  Sunday I taught Young Womens for the first time.  The lesson was on why the choices we make matter.  I think it went pretty good, except that I only had 25 minutes for 40 minutes worth of material.  I went to choir practice and dinner at my Bishops; which was delicious.  Then onto New Beginnings.  It's been over 20 years since I was in YW.  I must admit it's going to be quite an adjustment from Primary.
3.  I've spent most days this week doing house stuff.  I'm so excited for my new home.  I've decided instead of getting all new cabinets that I'm going to just change out the doors and drawers.  It's way cheaper and is going to look just like new.  I'm still trying to decide on which granite.  I had to send documents to the mortgage company and it all will go to underwriting on Monday.  It could be possible that I may close next week.  That would be perfect, since I have a major leak from my garbage disposal in my apartment and I can't wait to get into my house.  First things first though; packing=gag.
Looking for granite.
4.  I cycled twice this week.  First time since I was diagnosed in June.  It felt so good.  I also went hiking with my friends.  At one point I didn't think I'd make it to the top.  I told them to go ahead of me.  They got to the top and then turned around and went back up with me.  What a sweet gesture.  It was quite the hike, but felt so good.
5.  Alisha talked Tenielle and I into joining a health challenge.  Basically only sugar once a week, exercise 5 times a week, 5 fruits and vegetables daily, keep a food journal and drink at least 60 ounces of water a day.  I do all of those anyway, except the sugar.  Well, in 1 week from not eating sugar I've lost 2.5 pounds.  This challenge is for 8 weeks.  I'd love to lose 2.5 pounds each week which would be 20 pounds in 8 weeks and would mean I'd be back to my normal wardrobe that hasn't been used since I've been going through this dang cancer.  I've totally been into cabbage lately, especially Thai Salads.
6.  I worked this past Monday.  It felt so good to be back to work, even though when I got there, a big bowl of candy sat on my desk.  I immediately put it elsewhere, so it didn't tempt me for my 7 hour shift.  I also got my first paycheck from last week's shift.
7.  Last night for RS we put together kits for the homeless.  There are so many people on the streets here.  It will be nice to have something that I can give them, where they are staring at me while I sit at a light.  I took them with me today, but didn't see a single person on the street corners; so unusual.
8.  I hit a shoe jackpot today!  My feet have been super sore because of the chemo.  I ordered a pair of shoes that I got this week in the mail, which have a nice arch and help, but I wanted more and some that were more than just flip flops.  On my way back from the IRS (because I had to get documents for my house) I stopped at what I thought was a regular Dillards.  To my surprise, it was a Dillards Clearance center.  I have the hardest time finding 5 1/2 shoes.  Well, not today.  I got 4 pair of shoes.  2 pair of Vionic Orthoheals, a pair of Dansko's and another cute pair of shoes.  Oh, and 4 dresses all for $150.  I didn't even make it through half of the store.  I'm definitely excited about my Summer dresses and Summer shoes, since it is always Summer-like here.
9.  This week was Dr. Seus week.  My cute niece dressed up for Cat In The Hat Day.  Isn't she a doll?  I sure think so.   I love her facial expressions.
 10.  Baby Graham is getting so big.  I think he is so darling.  Sure wish we didn't live so far from each other.  It is fun to get Monday photo's from his mom though.
11.  Tenielle got offered a director position this week (still working for the state, but a different department and not at the capital).  Currently she is the Financial Manager for the Governors office.  But she loves what she is doing now.  We've talked a lot about it this week.  It sounds like she is going to take the position.  She is good at whatever position she holds.
12.  My favorite quote of the week, actually it's a scriptures, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  Definitely my theme these days.
12.  Sunday-Tuesday I'll be visiting Kirt in New Orleans!  We dated in grad school and have awesome chemistry be continued!  I want to re-create this photo from 2003 when I visited him last.  He took me to this great seafood mom and pop place where I had the best shrimp and my first oyster.  We looked so young, but I guess it was 12 1/2 years ago.