01 March, 2011

Buying Time

LJ is home from work today. He's getting a rotten head cold and since the roads weren't all that great this morning (even though is LOOKS beautiful outside). He figured he would stay home and try to nip the sinusitis in the bud. At any rate, it's affording me a while to write, something I'm finally ready to do.

All the Sunday Six posts and posts about playdates, video links, and the mundane things of life (while important to me in a certain light - and I really do HATE abortion; and I'm pretty sure I *really* do *need* these shoes, these boots, and this bag) - well they've all just been a distraction, a bit of a ruse, a trick I've been playing on myself so that I won't have to write about Real Life.

Real Life is Cancer. My Mom has cancer. She's had it once before a few years ago. She had surgery just before we moved back to Canada, and that was supposed to fix the problem. But something wasn't right and she could feel it. Then her leg started to swell...and swell. Then they found The Tumour. And The Blood Clot right beside The Tumour. Which is right beside a major artery or something so it can't just be removed, no quick fix. So all summer, she had radiation. Then it took forever to get a CT to see if the radiation had done anything besides reduce the swelling incredibly. It hadn't really. And now there are Spots on the liver.

The good news is that while one of the spots has increased in size, two of the others have shrunk somewhat, and the fourth is hardly visible at all on the CT. The bad news is that chemo...well...it doesn't necessarily guarantee a cure or remission or any of those good things. What it does, bluntly, is buy time. How much time? There's no telling that at this point. As long as the tumour and spots are shrinking, it's buying lots of time, but it's still not a guarantee. There are still three more chemo treatments left before the next CT and the next re-evaluation and a lot could happen between now and then....

We all get to a certain age where we realize that some day we're going to die. That's a near surety. By accident, old age, or some wretched disease, unless the glorious return of Christ happens before then, "It" will happen. It's a reassurance to me that the Sovereign God of our universe knows EXACTLY when I will draw my last breath. My 'fate' if you will, was decided long ago. But there's something about confronting it head-on, or in this case, with a beloved family member, that brings that cutting reality home in a more real and painful way then most of us will ever admit being ready to deal with. When our grandparents pass on, it's a horrible thing. Often, we have loved them like second parents, we have learned from them, grown with them (even though they never really seemed to age)....And then one day they're gone and death is one generation closer to us. To ME.

In the meantime, while we're buying time with drugs and praying for a miracle all the same (knowing that God will do exactly as He wills - nothing more, nothing less - Oh, how we would be so completely lost without God's sweet, sweet Grace!), we wait. We try our best to treat every trip like it's the last, every holiday like it's the last....and I mean every 'I love you', Mom, like it's the most important phrase I'll ever say to you. I have no idea how to tell you Mom, how very much you mean to me, how very much I love you, and how I have no idea what I'll ever do without you. For now, thank you for being so strong, for persevering, for sharing with us what God is teaching you through this, and for fighting. I - WE - love you.

I know you maybe didn't want me to write about this, Mom, but thanks for understanding that I need to. I've needed to for a long time.

02 February, 2011

While You Were Out

If this doesn't break your heart, you should check to make sure you still have one.

CAUTION: This is pretty graphic and is NOT for viewing with kids in the room!! (Seriously.)


02 January, 2011

Sunday Six - Post-Christmas Ed.

Christmas came upon us with the haste and fury of a nasty Nor'easter and now it's passed us in a blur. We've been hopped up on way too much sugar for the past week and a half and now will have to wean ourselves off our favourite drug. The girls got far too many toys and had far too few naps. Next week is back to reality and settling down to enjoy our gifts!

In no particular order, here are six of my favourite presents (there are probably more than six, but I can't name them all now - mostly because I'm tired [I probably need some sugar]).

#1) I knew this muffin pan was coming because I was there when LJ bought it. I've been dreaming about it (truly) since we got it home. I've been waiting a whole week to break it in and the wait is nearly over because on Monday morning, I'm breaking out my apron! Recipe suggestions anyone?

#2) Junior Mints. Never was there a candy so chocolately- (it's a word, now, okay?) glazed in perfection. I've never tried, but I'm pretty sure I could eat Junior Mints every day. I'm guessing I shouldn't, but then, we did just acquire #6....

#3) Coincidentally, we bought this exact CD for my brother this Christmas. I haven't had a chance to even listen to it yet (having only been its recipient a mere four days ago) but I listen to some of it online all the time so I plan to do so very soon. The only reason why I'm not listening to it right now is because the Little Goat is fast asleep in our room and that's where our presents are hiding out for the time being.

#4) Socks. All of us got socks this year. I can always use socks. Especially when on the first very cold day of winter I sadly discovered that my favourite pair of Smartwool socks has a huge hole in the bottom. How that escaped me last season I can't figure, but I now have a grand total of FIVE replacement pairs of socks to keep my tootsies toasty all winter! Woot!

#5) Cash. Some people think cash is a cop-out, just an easy (perhaps lazy) way to give a gift. I disagree. When giving a gift to someone you're close to, sometimes the fun it letting that person pick out something they've secretly had an eye on; letting them save the money for exactly the right moment when they spot the Perfect Thing - a thing you might have passed over or missed in a hurry to choose a gift. It's also a lovely expression of love when the giver doesn't have the physical fortitude or ability (or is too far away and mailing a box would be too expensive) to spend time shopping themselves. We got some greatly appreciated monetary gifts for Christmas and so far we've made a grand total of two purchases with said cash: a toboggan for the kids (which Squawky hates, by the way) and...see #6.

#6) This was a complete surprise! I've been hinting about it for weeks (months, maybe) but figured I should stop because even I was getting tired of hearing myself talk about it. We got a couple of very nice Christmas gifts of cash (see #5) and LJ suggested we divvy it all up and get whatever we wanted. We've since changed out minds and no gesture was a greater expression of that decision than the secretive purchase of this on Wednesday. LJ's parents were visiting and he was at work. The rest of us were out for the day and when we got home, it was sitting in the garage! The only downside is that I am now officially Without Excuse. It's got lots of nifty exercise workouts pre-programmed so I'll let you know how it goes.

Two thousand ten was a bittersweet year for us. We've been so richly blessed with so much but the realization that time is rapidly slipping away from us in other areas has been difficult. We are grateful for how far God has brought our little family and for all the special moments He allowed us to have and all the sweet, sweet memories He created for us this Christmas.

Now, the New Year has begun. Turning over a page on a calendar (we really should get a new one, shouldn't we?) doesn't change much that's happening in our lives, but it does give us hope in the sovereignty of God to carry us through another 12 months. May you be blessed beyond anything you can imagine and in ALL things in 2011.

P.S. The pork roast turned out great! In fact, everything about the meal was lovely.

25 December, 2010

Sunday (Except really it's Saturday) Six

Now I'm speed-blogging. It's Christmas afternoon, the pork roast is in the oven (I've never actually cooked one before so we'll see how it goes); the applesauce is done, the potatoes are soaking, the carrots are all ready, still have salad to make and jell-o jigglers to shaperize.

Without further adieu, here are six things I 'love' (sorry I haven't got time to post pictures of everything!).

#1) Boxing Day - I realize it's not a holiday celebrated in the U.S., and honestly, having no servants, it's not one we celebrate in its purest form at our house either, BUT, it's a great excuse to have a day off (in most cases) and for those who love shopping, it's the Canadian equivalent of Black Friday.

#2) This recipe for fun jell-0 treats. We're not having them today but we made them last week for a family Christmas gathering and they went over like beer, er, lemonade on a hot summer day! Fun to make, fun to look at.

#3) This is not exactly the same as the one I got for Christmas but I knew it was coming and I was even dreaming about it last night! I can hardly wait to use it this week. Now to decide on a good muffin recipe to use....

And now I shall tell you about three things we never knew we needed until Christmas Eve/Christmas Day:

#4) This item would've come in handy Christmas morning. The girls missed naps yesterday so they slept in this morning and even when the Little Goat woke up, she wasn't terribly interested in opening presents. She wanted to look at the tree and then come back to give me a hug and a kiss and curl up in bed with us. Awww...

#5) This also would've come in handy Christmas morning after Squawky dumped a large portion of her little Christmas stocking cookie box all over her clothes - and the floor. *sigh*

#6) This came in handy on Christmas Eve when we realized 'ACK! All the grandparents are going to be around for the next week and we have nothing to pull the kids around in outside when we go skating at the park, etc!' Plus, Erin K. and Co. came over yesterday afternoon for playing in the snow and then hot chocolate and chocolate fondue. (Wow - do kids ever play well together when they're all sugared up!)

What about you? Is there anything you realized after the fact that you might've asked for for Christmas? What is your favourite present you received? Did you make a new special memory? I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas holiday! Enjoy the last week of the year!


And if you missed last week's post, can I encourage you to check out this entire Andrew Peterson CD. You have to click through each song to hear it but they're beautiful songs - not just for Christmas but anytime.

19 December, 2010

Sunday Skip?

I know, I know. I just came back and I'm bailing on you already. But it's pretty much midnight, we've had a vastly productive and full day - cheesecake making, jell-o dessert making, carmel popcorn making, present wrapping, label making, grocery shopping, and a trip to America to mail presents - and we're T.I.R.E.D. Which doesn't explain why I just watched Friday Night Lights instead of going to bed early.

At any rate, I would tell you six things I love and be all fancy-like with pictures and numbers. Instead, here's six Christmas songs I pretty much could listen to all day....beautiful, beautiful, beautiful....

#1) Love Came Down at Christmas - JOC
#2) Good King Wenceslas - as performed by the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir
#3) Glory - BDW
#4) What Child is This? - MM
#5) O, Holy Night - NB
#6) While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night - Andrew Peterson

10 December, 2010

Sunday Six: 2.0

I married a slightly geeky geek (no, really - he's playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii right now). I myself could in some instances be considered a slightly geeky geek. Therefore I present to you six slightly geeky (but significantly super awesome) gadgets that I think would only bring my slightly geeky geekiness to a whole new (and superbly brilliant) level (and yes, half of them are culinarily-minded items. So there.).

#1: Because who wouldn't want to store their keys this way?
#2: So many uses....such as achieving Mad Scientist Level 4...or actually not wrecking my brain doing math to convert foreign recipes.

#3: This way, I could fall asleep while watching the minutes tick by but wake up with "improved vitality and mood."
#4: Up until this very moment, I had no idea what a raclette actually was, but I see now that it involves cheese - SWISS cheese even - so I'm pretty much sold. Now I *need* it not simply because it looks cool but also because it MELTS CHEESE.

#5: This isn't something I actually need anymore, having no children presently in the strictly puree-eating phase, BUT, it looks super-cool, ridiculously practical, and the name makes me snigger.

#6: So perfect for life in my alternate (spy) universe! And if I couldn't have that, I'd carry one of these. Military grade, people!

So, tell me, if you could choose ONE of the above, which would you choose and why?

04 December, 2010

Sunday Six

So my friend Jodie over at Velour started this list a while back called The Sunday Six. Every Sunday she posts a list (that was obvious, wasn't it?) of six things she loves...or perhaps just really likes. Like, a lot. Jodie has been one of my most ardent encouragers (it's a word now) to get back to blogging (but more on that another time). For now though, I think I'll stick to her suggestion to rip off her Sunday Six schtick. So here goes, Jodie, here goes.

one: this guy - even when he's not dressed as Mr. Cleaver. He turned 30 yesterday and as I type, he's out at the surprise party that I so ingeniously masterminded for him. A sneaky plan that actually made me so ill in my stomach I had to have a rest after lunch today.

two: these two yahoos. I mean, have you seen anything so cute? (Nope, didn't think so.) (And no, we don't make them go around wearing sunglasses all the time.)

this coffee, without which the zombie-like state I wake up in every morning would never cease. Caribou Coffee fuels my little world in the wee (or in most cases, the not-so-wee) morning hours.

Christmas. Truly, I used to loathe Christmas. Then we had one girl, then we had another and ever since, it's gotten better and better and I can hardly wait to dive into the Season after Thanksgiving.five: Grover. Need I say more:six: this toothbrush is AMAZING. And it makes me feel so fancy and planet-conscious (*eye roll*).
And there you have it. Next time I might even blog about actual thoughts I've been having as of late. Or if you're really lucky, I might actually tell you what's going on in our corner of the world - which might involve some thoughts. Aren't you lucky? I know, you're waiting with bated breath.