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My Retirement Letter

November 4, 2014

To my beloved children,

Tomorrow will be my last day as a devoted stay at home mom. I have recently accepted a teaching job. I realize how precious each day is with you and how much you have grown and acheived while I was working solely with you. It is not without a little sadness that I choose to move on.

The time has come for me to continue my previous career. By doing this I hope to inspire you to always follow your dreams. I want you to know the strong and driven teacher that I once was. I am so excited to share this new adventure with you.

Please do not misunderstand me, I will not be leaving my position as your mother. I will never leave that post. I will always be here for you in that aspect.

It has been my deepest pleasure to have worked with you these past eleven years. When I look back on that time I smile. This career will always be my most rewarding ever. You are my precious children.

It is with great excitement that I begin my new chapter in life as your mother and a teacher.

xoxo,
Mom

> Mom's Soap Box | Comments (0)

B is for . . .

November 1, 2014

Benign!!!!!

One little word that means the whole world!

> Mom's Soap Box | Comments (0)

How Am I Doing?

October 30, 2014

That seems to be the number one question on most people’s minds. The answer is I am doing really well. Today marks one week since the surgery and I am back to driving and most of my normal activities. I feel good and am so happy to be recovering quickly.

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When do I get the results back? This is the second most popular question and the one people struggle to ask. I have my post op appointment on November 5th. If I don’t hear back before then I will hear that day. I’m not worried. I was worried a while back when it all came up. I have too much too loose. I have to be here. My kids need me. My husband needs me. This is the life we have worked hard to create. We deserve to not have it cut short from cancer.

I feel a real sense of peace. I know how strong I am. I know that even if I have cancer that I will be able to fight it and I will not be cheated out of all the things I want to do in life.

Life is good!

> Mom's Soap Box | Comments (1)

Annie turns 11!

October 29, 2014

Annie is such a spunky little lady. She definitely has her own way to look at the world and the world is forever changed now that she is a part of it. Her easy going manner is appreciated in our largish family.

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Color: pin
Sport: soccer
Animal: cat
Food: sushi
Book: Harry Potter series and Hero of Olympus series
Season: summer
Restaurant: Viet Kitchen
Holiday: Christmas
Weather: snowy
Cereal: Frankenberry
TV Shows: Wild Kratts
Movie: Harry Potter
Candy: 100 Grand
Subject: reading
Toy: Jazara (Her Journey Girl)
Thing to do: play
Place have been: Arizona, California, Washington, Mexico
Place to be: home
Place want to go: anywhere with Pumpkin (her cat)
Person: Holly
Hero: Dad
Time of Day: afternoon
Song: Like a Willow in the Wind
Drink: Seltzer Water
Treat: mochi
Vacation: Rocky Point, Mexico

Annie woke up and opened her presents from Mom and Dad. We gave her a long board skateboard. She loves to ride it. I brought her tomato basil soup for lunch at school. After school we went to Yogurtini and then had a family dinner of chicken cordon bleu, mashed potato and corn.

> Annie | Comments (0)

Trunk or Treat

October 26, 2014

This year we went to Shadow Rock for our traditional Trunk or Treat festival. Our kids love this tradition. Unfortunately this year there were only 12 cars passing out candy. Tons of people came and parked and wanted to partake but with so few giving it was kind of a let down. :(

Thankfully our kids still enjoyed what it was and they never really need much candy so they were happy with the 12 pieces they received. The church still had some games and crafts to do.

Madeline got one

Annie sorting her candy. I just love how juvenile she looks here. Laying on her tummy in a parking lot, not caring if she gets dirty. She is maturing so quickly that these little glimpses into who she was are beautiful.

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These two! They are my boys!

Bill and Paul at Trunk or Treat

While we are on the subject of that boy. . . Who said he could look so mature?

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Our 4 plus their friends Paige and Alyssa.

Kimberly, Alyssa, Paige, Mimi, Paul and Annie

The 6 of us! This was my first outing after my surgery. I had to take a pain pill to make it through but it was so worth it!

6 Browns

> Annie, Family News, Kimberly, Madeline, Paul | Comments (0)

Best Grammy in the World

October 24, 2014

My kids are blessed with the kindest, most caring Grammy in the world. She is always there for them when things are falling apart. On the day of my surgery she took them to the State Fair and distracted themselves. (I am sure she was distracting herself as well, but it works.)

Paul got to meet SpiderMan.

Paul at the fair

They saw plenty of animals.

Madeline at the fair

Ate fair food, watched their cousin sing on stage and had so much other fun. It was a great experience and I am so thankful she took them.

When she brought them back home she had their dinner and then she got them off to bed. So thankful to have her in my life to help out when needed.

> Family News | Comments (0)

Post operation report

Surgery was this morning. It went well. There were many adhesions to my bladder and stomach wall that made it tricky for them to remove it all. After 2 hours of laparoscopic surgery he was finally done.

I was in recovery for 4 hours trying to urinate. Several hours into recovery they said if I didn’t get things going I would have to go home on a Foley catheter or possibly be checked into the hospital. Thankfully after 5 bags of fluids, 3 cups of hot tea, and at least 5 cups of water I was able to go!

At home now recovering. Trying to stay ahead of the pain and learning how to move my body.

Kimmie asked if I was in less pain. Truth is I’m not having all the abdominal pressure I was. The cyst/tumor was so heavy that it caused me a lot of back pain and stomach bloating. So much that even after surgery with swelling my stomach looks much better.
I told her I was still in pain but it was from the surgery and the healing. My belly button, where they went in, is pretty bruised and she attributed it to that.

The kids are so glad to have me on the road to recovery. Let’s just hope that post 40 I heal as quickly as I always have!

> Family News | Comments (2)

Smarties!

October 23, 2014

Annie received Honor Roll the first quarter of 5th grade.

Kimberly received Principal’s List the first quarter of 5th grade.

Madeline received Principal’s List the first quarter of 4th grade.

So proud of their hard work.

Honor Roll and Principal list!

Unfortunately I missed the ceremony because I was in surgery. Trusty Grammy was there to cheer them on!

> Annie, Kimberly, Madeline, School | Comments (0)

Surgery

October 22, 2014

Tomorrow I will be having surgery to remove my remaining ovary and cysts.

My blood test came back in the low range for cancer concern. Again, I would prefer this to be 0% chance, but I will take low over high any day.

Thankfully I am able to have it done laparoscopically. They say the recovery will be much smoother than abdominal. Here’s hoping.

> Family News | Comments (0)

Could it be?

October 19, 2014

I’m sitting here and my life has changed. In one of those moments where before something was so remote you never gave it a second thought and the next moment everything changed.

Last Thursday I went into the doctor for what I thought was normal cyst like pain on the right ovary. That ovary has produced a large cyst every 12-18 months since my hysterectomy and I really regret not pushing harder to have it removed. He sent me for an ultrasound and half way through the ultrasound I knew things weren’t “normal”.

Later that night the doctor called me and told me that I needed to see my gynecologist. I needed to have a surgeon remove the cyst. My gynecologist would be able to help determine if I needed a oncological surgeon to do my surgery.

There are some words that just hang in the air once they are said, these words did that . . . Oncological surgeon. I couldn’t need anything that would result in the word oncology. Oncologist handle cancer! I couldn’t be at risk of that, but there I was.

It was a surreal moment. No longer was I part of the oblivious part of society that is at 0% chance of currently having cancer. There was reason for my primary care doctor to believe I could have it.

I’m still reeling over this information. I have seen my gynecologist and he too is concerned. He gave me the CA125 and He4 blood tests and I am currently awaiting the results. While he tried to make it all sound routine the classification was there, I’m over 0% chance of having cancer.

The thought scares the crap out of me.

So many things have run through my mind. Most of it I push away. I can’t deal with any of those realities.

I sit and wait for the results, as I have for a week and a half already. Praying that tomorrow I will get news about the blood tests and news of scheduled surgery.

> Family News | Comments (0)

Annie and Kimberly’s 11 Birthday Party

October 18, 2014

Annie and Kimberly had a fun party with their friends. They wanted to do another Halloween themed party, this time a sleepover. They asked their friends to come dressed in their costumes.

Annie and Kimberly's 11th Birthday party

They had spaghetti with meatballs, brain jello, and grapes for dinner.

Cheers to the jello

They painted pumpkins with their friends.

Painting pumpkins

And their all time favorite activity, bobbing for apples!

Kimmie got one

Kimberly had chocolate pie.

Making her wish

Annie had pumpkin pie.

Blowing them out again

Later in the evening they all settled down to watch some Hotel Translyvania.

Sleepover time

> Annie, Kimberly | Comments (1)

Kimberly Turns 11

October 17, 2014

Kimberly is growing up to be such a smart and adorable little lady. She has always known exactly what she wants and still demands the best.

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Color: teal
Sport: ballet and swimming
Animal: dolphin
Food: pomegranates
Book: Harry Potter 7
Season: summer
Restaurant: Olive Garden
Holiday: Christmas
Weather: cold and snowy
Cereal: Fruit Loops with Marshmallows
TV Shows: Full House
Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Candy: Peppermint
Subject: math
Toy: American girl dolls
Thing to do: crafts and play with neighbors in culdesac
Place have been: Arizona, California, Washington, Mexico
Place to be: in the culdesac
Place want to go: Hawaii
Person: Mom
Hero: J. K. Rowling
Time of Day: playtime
Song: Under the Sea
Drink: Root Beer
Treat: Cream Puffs, Ice Cream and donuts (Clearly she has a sweet tooth!)
Vacation: Legoland trip with whale watching

She woke up on her birthday and opened her family gifts. Daddy and Mommy gave her an American Girl table. Then she went to school. I brought her Einstein bagel for lunch on her birthday. After school and Girl Scouts we met the cousins at Ritas for ice. We ended the day with a dinner at Olive Garden.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

> Kimberly | Comments (0)

Madeline’s Costume

October 14, 2014

Madeline is so creative and loves to make things with her own hands. This year that included her own costume. She came up with a plan and we shopped for the materials. She loved creating it. Thankfully it was an easy pattern and we could complete it in one afternoon.

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She only needed help sewing the pleather onto the dress. That stuff can be kind of hard to sew over.

Once we were done she painted a design around the bottom edge.

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I love her determination and drive. She is such an amazing girl.

You guessed it! She is going to be an American Indian for Halloween.

> Madeline | Comments (0)

Girl Scout Encampment

October 12, 2014

This year I was unable to go to Girl Scout Encampment with the girls due to my condition with my cyst. Since it was so large there was a huge risk of it rupturing so I had to stay home and take it easy. It was a hard choice to make but ultimately I needed to protect my health.

The Girls had a wonderful time!

Madeline was finally able to do archery. She loved learning about it and even got a bullseye.

They all loved canoeing. Annie and Kimberly had learned over summer camp but it was new to Mimi.

Annie Elizabeth

Climbing the rock wall. Kimberly is the one in the turquoise pants. Again, both Kimberly and Annie did this at summer camp but Madeline had her first opportunity on this weekend.

Kimberly and Tessa rock climbing

Hanging out with friends. They love all the deep relationships they have with their Girl Scout friends. I know some of these bonds will be around for a long time.

Audrey and Mimi

While I missed being there with them I am so happy and proud to have such self sufficient girls who did so well with no notice of me not going. They were a great example and had a wonderful trip.

> Annie, Girl Scouts, Kimberly, Madeline | Comments (0)

Pedicures with My Girls

September 25, 2014

The girls always love it when i have my toe nails done. They love to gaze at the designs the technichian at the nail salon make. For my birthday we had some down time so all four of us went and got our nails done.

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I loved spending that time with them. Sharing in the time together and them feeling special on my special day. They are the light of my life and they hold my heart.

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> Annie, Kimberly, Madeline | Comments (0)

40 Years

September 24, 2014

On the eve of my 40th Birthday I have become nostalgic for all the moments that have brought me here. Truth be told I have a good life. I am comfortable in my own skin. I feel optimistic about the future and I live each day to it’s fullest. I try not to let days slip by without making them worthwhile. I know my days are numbered and that I can’t predict how many more I have here on Earth.

As I sit here and look back I am amazed by my courage and stamina. Let’s be honest, I have been through a lot. I have three charities that are on my pay it forward list.

I fought for years to have a baby born alive to me. It wasn’t without great personal heartache that I went through each step of infertility. I could never have gotten here without the research done by March of Dimes. Without them Annie and Mimi would have died just like the other 5 babies I had. They will always be important to my life story.

I feel personally moved by the work of Lifewater and Charity Water. My son didn’t have access to clean water. It could have killed him and others in his native country. I cannot imagine not being able to provide something so simple to myself and my children. 30,000 deaths occur each week due to unsafe water. Nope that wasn’t a typo, I said a week. :( This is why it is so near and dear to me. I have watched people drink from puddles on filthy streets, those images never leave my mind for long. Water = Life. It is that simple for me

Addis street scene

My last and final charity is for Donate Life. Tissue and organ donation saves lives. Why everyone isn’t a donor is beyond my imagination. You won’t need your organs in the afterlife and they certainly can do more good to someone else rather than roting away here on Earth. Please consider this option and sign up if you feel moved to do so. Heck if you are feeling really adventurous sign up on Be the Match, like I am, and be ready to donate marrow should anyone be my match.

Life isn’t all about what you are getting, it is more about what you are giving to yourself and others. Please consider making a contribution to one of the above charities in honor of my 40th birthday!

> Family News | Comments (1)

40th Bash

September 20, 2014

Bill and my Mother, along with the help of my amazing neighbor Tracy, went all out for my 40th birthday party. There was a DJ and delicious homemade food. Everyone had a fun time dancing and chatting.

Happy birthday Sandi

40th pictures

Dancing the night away

friends

I’m blessed with so many wonderful friends who helped share in the day. It was a very nice time and Bill even got out there and danced a little.

dancing

It really was a fun time a what a way to ring in the new era. 40 here I come!

> Family News | Comments (0)

My Baseball Boy

September 18, 2014

Paul is such a natural at sports. It seems that any sport he tries he becomes excellent at and is doing well in no time. This fall we decided to try out baseball and Paul has been doing an amazing job.

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He really loves playing infield. It keeps him busy and he has a good arm. Paul isn’t as great at outfield. He just tends to get bored and throws his hat to amuse himself. He really needs to be in the action to keep his focus. He is also really good at catcher. Mainly because he isn’t afraid of the ball, and it is a busy position.

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However, he doesn’t love the fact that his legs tend to cramp up when he is kneeling. Sometimes he practices squatting when he is watching tv. He does it only when the commercials are on.

He does such a good job and we are proud of the effort he puts in.

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It doesn’t hurt that he is beyond adorable in the outfit.

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> Paul | Comments (0)

First Day of School

August 12, 2014

I can’t believe how old the kids are getting. I have two fifth graders, a fourth grader, and a second grader.

Mimi is starting violin this year. Annie is continuing on with the clarinet and Kimberly is continuing with the flute.

Kimberly on her first day of 5th grade

Annie on her first day of 5th grade

Madeline first day of fourth grade

Paul on his first day of 2nd grade

> Annie, Kimberly, Madeline, Paul, School | Comments (0)

Bill’s 40th Birthday

August 9, 2014

Bill is the kind of person who likes their birthday to pass without any fanfare so that is what we did. He took the girls to the power plant for a tour in the morning and then we went to the ice cream social for the kids school. All in all it was a quiet day, but of course we couldn’t leave it that way so we had the family over for dinner and surprised him with a barrage of silly string.

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Sometimes you just have to break the rules. ;-)

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For his birthday he didn’t really want or need anything so I started thinking and came up with a cruise for just the two of us to take. The cruise was from Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada. He really enjoyed the down time and the time together.

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Happy Birthday to the man I cherish, even though he is old now. The kids and I had a great time joking around with you about your age.

> Family News | Comments (0)

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