Wednesday, December 28, 2011

my blog has been hacked!

I just realized that someone has hacked into my blog and put 2 posts up.  I didn't click on the info to know what the links were even directing people to but just beaware that I had nothing to do with those posts whatever they contained.  I will be addressing this issue and hope to be able to post to the blog again soon and know that it's safe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An easy and inexpensive way to display your Christmas cards...

I bought an old rustic wooden frame at a garage sale a year ago for $15.00. I wanted to use it for the "general store" sign for Ezra's birthday party but that never came to fruition, so instead it's just been sitting in the garage eating away at Michael. The garage is HIS space and when too many of MY things start accumulating in there he gets antsy.
I usually just tape up the Christmas cards we get in the kitchen but this year I remembered the frame and had an idea:
I just used a staple gun (every woman should own a staple gun) and tacked down some polished hemp string to the back side of the frame at distances I estimated would be far enough apart to allow the average Christmas card to hand nicely.

I also bought some clothespins at Target and sprayed them with an adhesive spray inside a cardboard box so as not to make everything sticky and used some German glass glitter to add some bling to one side of the clothespins.

And here's the finished product with some of our cards hung up.  Quick and easy but still cute and more then just a piece of scotch tape.

All grown up...

Michael has been in Italy/Malta for the past few weeks on a short deployment which means I have been treading water trying to keep from drowning, while I wait for him to get back. Keeping up with the kiddos while working has been exhausting, frustrating, and lonely. I adore my kids and they make me happy everyday, but they also make me want to run and hide in my closet at times :)
Libby's teething and we've all been plagued by some stomach bug that just won't seem to go away. What has been the most exciting thing about this time though has been to see how much Ezra has stepped up into his big brother role and how amazing he is as my little helper. I am surprised daily at how little I expected of a 3 year old, and what they can actually do on their own.
I have been so blessed to have Ezra as a "helper" during this time and he impresses me everyday. We've kind of developed a routine during bathtimes and in the mornings to get both kids ready in a timely manner. Well the other day I'd given the kids a bath and I handed Ezra his towel to get dried off and usually I'll put Libby in her exersaucer and then go and dress Ezra, but by the time I was turning around to walk back into the bathroom he ran into the kitchen and he said, "Mama, mama LOOK!" And this is what greeted me:

Ezra had managed to put on his shirt and pants and even his socks and boots all by himself. well sort of...
His boots were on the wrong feet...

and his shirt was on backward AND inside out, but still I was just so proud of him. 
If I ask him to get my Libby's diapers or bibs he knows where they are, he likes to hold her bottle for her to eat, he loves to hold her little face in both of his hands and say- "hey my pretty girl", he lavishes her with kisses and wants to be the first one to tell her "Good Morning", he knows to throw away something he's done with like his juice box or yogurt, he'll feed the dogs and let them  go outside to potty, if he spills something he'll run to grab a towel to wipe it up, if he hears the baby crying he HAS to alert me right away - "Mama, MY baby is crying go check on her!", he knows to pick up his toys at the end of the day, and he loves to say his prayers at night.  He's just the most awesome little human and I can't believe he's only been on the Earth for 3.5 years!

What I have learned from my mom's breast cancer...

(This is a medical post and not a philosophical one just FYI)
Well as many of you know my mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer about 4 months ago. It was found on a routine annual mammogram on the left side. Initially she was told that the lump appeared to be pretty small and that they could likely just do a lumpectomy with radiation. (as my sister said, "they made cancer sound like Christmas). Well as she went in for further testing, the MRI with a dye study revealed cancer in the right breast as well. Her previous mammogram and ultrasound were negative and not until they did the MRI did they find the abnormal tissue. I say this because she is living proof that you could be walking around with breast cancer right now and think you didn't have it b/c of the imaging techniques used. If you're over 50 I would request to have the MRI done if your insurance will cover it as it's the most specific/sensitive test they have.
The cancer in both breasts was the game changer and one of her oncologists (she's got THREE b/c they all specialize in different things) recommended a double masectomy. So about 3 weeks ago she had surgery to remove both breasts and the associated lymph nodes in each arm. The histopathology of the lymph nodes was clean so they then told her that she likely wouldn't need follow up chemotherapy or radiation but instead would just need to take some pill for the next 5 years and get scanned every 6 months. Just to be sure they recommended she do something called Onco-typing. Now after initially getting her hopes up of no chemo she just heard today that there's a 36% chance of recurrance in the lungs/brain/bones, w/o chemo because of the onco-typing results.
So yet another disappointment. This went from, oh you'll just have a lumpectomy with radiation to oops, well now you'll need a double masectomy but no chemo, to well.. actually we need to do chemo. I am posting about this because I'm furious. Since the first time my mom told me about her cancer I have been saying... how can they say this or that w/o the tests to back it up? I may be a veterinarian but we see mammary cancer ALL the time and we can't just run to an oncologist, we have to do everything - diagnose it, surgically remove it, then do chemo/radiation whatever is required. I feel that because there are so many subspecialties w/in specialties like oncology the fact that it took three months just for her to even have surgery is atrocious and the fact that they keep sugar coating everything and giving her only the best outcome has constantly set her up for disappointment and grief. She's grieving over the life she thought she'd be able to lead only to have it ripped away from her at different doctor's offices.
I'm sure she'll be fine and the surgery went well and she's healing nicely but I just know from my perspective as a doctor that all this back and forth and lack of communication b/w the doctors and rose tinted glasses... I know I couldn't get away with that as a veterinarian but it's acceptable in human medicine??
I keep telling her that you HAVE to advocate for yourself. I had a friend/client named Nancy (41 years old) who was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a year ago. They did chemo then did a double masectomy with reconstruction. Everything went great but on her recheck they noticed that her blood work still was off so they sent her in for another scan. The initial scan didn't reveal anything abnormal so luckily they redid it but this time included her head in it. Well she had mets to her brain. They did another surgery but still only gave her a prognosis of 5 years to live. I just found out today that she passed away on Friday. I think they gave her a prognosis of 5 years about 5 months ago. I know medicine isn't exact and who could know what God's plan is.. but I DO know that it's easy to demand that a full scan be done just to be sure it's not metastasized to other places.
Sorry for the length of this post but I just really really really want to push for people to go and do the research for yourself, talk to people who have been through it and make sure you NEVER stop pushing for the best care and testing for yourself.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Adorable stop motion pregnancy video

Soooooooo creative and sweet. I wish I would think of things like this.

Organizing pesky puzzles...

Ezra is in a puzzle phase. He LOVES them, but I am so over the pieces everywhere and the boxes are falling apart. I think Santa will be bringing him several puzzles for Christmas and as you can see below they just get to be really bulky and space consuming:
So I decided to place them in freezer sized ziplock bags. I just cut off the image of the puzzle from the front of the box lid and taped it to the front of the ziplock.
There are 6 puzzles in this recyclable grocery bag and you can see how much room there is to spare and it's easy to store in the closet and Ezra can just take the bag out when he wants to make one of his puzzles.

Much better :)

My cool little dude with his puzzle bag.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our handsome boy...

Just click on the image to enlarge. I'm not sure why it won't show up larger.

Family fun...

Ezra and his cousin Cooper. I swear we don't make him lift weights :)
Ezra's cousin Maddox training a new breed of hunting dog - the Pekingese :)

Before Michael left I wanted to do a family craft so we decided to make a gingerbread house:

A must try hair product

I have the finest, straightest hair in the world. It has NEVER held curl for more then 3 hours much less ALL day until now. I told my hairdresser that I love the look of soft curls that you can achieve with a flat iron but that mine never stay very long. She then told me about this amazing product below:
It's RUSK Thermal flat iron spray. And here's what you do at home.
First spray your entire head. (this is to show how well it holds. I just held my head upside down and sprayed and this is how it looked when I stood up)
Second: you brush through your hair. It will feel soft and supple like theren't no product in it.
Lastly curl with your 1" flat iron and this is the end result. I watched several (like EIGHT) youtube videos on how to curl your hair with a flat iron and with some practice now I feel pretty confident.
I just wanted to share this info with you guys in the blog world for anyone who has hair like mine but wants to achieve this look. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Some photos and freebies!

This weekend I wanted to try and get some family photos taken before Michael leaves for his latest deployment to order some Christmas cards. These are a few of the photos we got thanks to my sister and my mom's camera (I'm too cheap to buy a nice one). I'll post more later on hopefully with some more freebies if I can get some free time. Libby's sick and already puked on me twice today, poor girl.

Sadly I still can't post any photos of Libby but we got some really cute ones that I wish I could share with you guys :(  .  If you like what you see just click on the images below to enlarge then save to your computer and just slip your own photos below and erase any overhang in any photo editing software.  The images are 500 pixels wide.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trying to be fancy...

My mom came home from the hospital yesterday after having a double masectomy and lymph node removal so I thought I'd be fancy and make the 2011 Southern Living winner of their "white cake" contest.
Here is a picture of what the cake is supposed to look like:

This is what my cake started off as.  Basically it's a layer of gingerbread cake with a silky chocolate ganache, then you top it off with toffee chips and do that 3 times then the icing is a whipped cream with ginger infusion.

I followed all the directions to the letter but alas when I tried to put my second layer on it fell apart.

Did I mention that this cake takes NINE hours to make!!!  Yea, I was furious that all my work ended in a hot mess.  In the end I had to salvage it I just threw it in a large bowl poured the whipped cream topping on  it, and made a "sort of" trifle.  It still tasted delicous but I was totally bummed.

So the lesson learned is NEVER make this cake again, and I would warn anyone else who's considering making this marathon cake to reconsider and go with something a bit easier.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guess who!?!

Ezra came up to me in this morning looking like this and asked, "who am I Mama?"

hmmmmmm.......... I took in the apparent onesie head dress + the ball cap and was left with a blank expression.

ezra: "Mama, who am I?"

I wanted to say a homeless crack head, but I didn't think that would go over well, so still with no clue, I had him turn to the side:

None the wiser,I told him, "I give up buddy, who are you?"

drum roll please......


Yeah, I didn't see that one coming either.

Alice in Wonderland party printables

I bought a vintage Alice in Wonderland golden book and cut out the images of the characters I liked then scanned them in and created these little party printables to use for Libby's first birthday party and wanted to share them with you. I'll likely be reworking them in other ways so there will probably be many more Alice in Wonderland themed printables coming your way but this is what I've got going at the moment. Just click on the images below to enlarge then save to your computer.

Here are some fun polaroid digital freebies

I wanted to create some cute polaroid frames with this washi tape for my own blog posts but of course I had to share with you guys as well. Here's a cluster that you can add on top of any of your own digital scrapbooking papers and just slip your own photos beneath the frames.

Here are the frames seperated out individually:

This last one is just a quick page. Just click on the image to enlarge and then save to your computer:

Monday, November 7, 2011

More digital freebies that didn't go through yesterday.

Not sure what happened yesterday but these few images didn't upload - sorry. Here are two more quick pages and this football element to use as you see fit :)

Just click on the images below to enlarge then save to your computer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lots of digital freebies!

In an effort to lighten things up a bit this morning I created some digital freebies to share with you guys. The quick pages are are 3600 pixels so they are huge files but will print out nicely. And the elements have been shrunk down in pixel size some but still will be great to print out or to use as photo frames or your blog posts. Hope you enjoy.