In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I was missing my sunglasses
so I looked
on the tank of the toilet,
on the kitchen counter
on my bedroom dresser
on the bathroom counter
on the living room end table
at my computer desk,
and couldn't find them.

After almost giving up
and wearing my cheap, cheesy pair,
I checked my sunglass case,
and there they were!

After a night out
I was missing my beautiful ruby necklace,
So I looked
in the end table drawer
in my nightstand drawer,
in my jumbled up jewelry box
on my bedroom dresser,
and in my car.

I thought perhaps it fell off while I was wearing it.
I thought perhaps some lucky girl in Tempe, Arizona
had found herself a nice surprise.
I had a pit in my stomach for about a week,
feeling terrible that I lost such a nice gift.

But then I checked my "nicely kept" jewelry box.
And it was there!

I once went a whole week without my keys,
thinking they were lost.
I took back the extra key I gave my mom,
I used the spare key to the back gate,
I couldn't get the mail.

And then I found them...
In my purse!!! 
They had been there all week
in the center, zippered compartment.

I have three young boys.
My life is typically chaos.
I usually put things in chaotic places.

My brief episodes of organization cause me
 and stress!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Prelude to A Nap

1.  Take some sidewalk chalk, and draw a line as far as the sidewalk will take you.

2. Repeat.

3.  Ride your scooter until your head feels VERY heavy.

4.  Color a little.

5.  Get in your carseat so you can pick up your brother from school

And, Voila!

A nap which will keep you up all night....

make Mommy cuckoo

and make you nap again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Over The Freeway and Down The Road

When I was little, I loved the romantic notion of the song, "Over the River and Through the Woods."  I remember reading over and over again an illustrated book with the same title.  On one page, there was a picture of a little girl looking out her front window at a horsedrawn sleigh surrounded by beautiful snowy woods.  I remember running to my front window hoping for a snowy Christmas miracle, but finding instead that same old block wall surrounded by several cacti.  No "white and drifted snow."  No "dapple gray."  No river.

I was also quite enamored with the idea of going to Grandma's house for "fun," "pudding" and "pumpkin pie."  But my Grandmas lived in Michigan and New Jersey.   I lived in Phoenix.  A horse drawn sleigh, or even a car was not going to get us there.  A plane, maybe, but there were five of us.

 In fact, we rarely, if ever, visited family or had family visit for the holidays.  It was just us, and especially when you are a child, "just us" can be boring, and lonely.  Most of my cousins would  gather at my Grandma's house in Michigan and play games of Rummi-Cube, Canasta, and Michigan Rummy.   Later (or so the legend goes) they would sit down to a football game and some pumpkin pie.  I remember feeling quite jealous.  Two years after my Grandma's death, I am still jealous.  Who cares about the snow.  I missed out on HER.

My four-year-old asks me every day if it is fall.  And I know what he is thinking.  "Where are the leaves?!"  "Where is the cold weather?" Because you see, I am once again living in Phoenix, and it is still full of cacti, and still-green leaves.  There is no wind biting our nose or stinging our toes.  There is still no snow. And perhaps those are actually good things, because the weather is actually quite beautiful.  But Phoenix does lack the romance of having four seasons, and it doesn't  fit the "fall" depicted on TV.  So the holidays involve a little imagination.  Finding colorful leaves and drifted snow involves hours of driving.

But for Christmas there will be both Grandmas (and Grandpas)! and there will be pie (I'm hoping cherry?),  and there will be fun!  There will not however, be any pudding...  I decided, after living in California for 11 years, that I want my kids to be near their Grandparents.  I want to at least be able to drive over the freeway and down the road to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  That part of the song is too important to miss.  They are too important to miss, and the cacti is actually quite nice.

John with his mom (and Andrew) and the cacti

My parents

 Lyrics to Over The River And Through The Woods :

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother's house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow.
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the woods
To have a full day of play.
Oh, hear the bells ringing ting-a-ling-ling,
For it is Christmas Day.

Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray;
Spring o'er the ground just iike a hound,
For this is Christmas Day.

Over the river and through the woods
And straight through the barnyard gate.
It seems that we go so dreadfully slow;
It is so hard to wait.

Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandma's cap I spy.
Hurrah for fun; the pudding's done;
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie.

[ Over The River And Through The Woods Lyrics on ]

Monday, November 16, 2009

Footwear Fashionista

I threw them on this morning because they were comfy and my feet were cold.  They were a stocking stuffer gift from long ago.  They were never supposed to leave the house. 

But then, in my rush to get out the door and bring my children to school, I just slipped on my shoes and went out the door.  Which was fine.   Dropped off the kids and went home. 
But then I decided to go shoe shopping... forgetting what I had on my feet:

Yes, that is a smiling cow sock.  And I wore them to the shoe store... 

Which pair of shoes do you like better?


  I know, neither pair looks great in these pics.  The white "horns" on the black furry socks are a bit distracting, huh? Not to mention I am wearing my exercise pants.  (Yes, I was a fashion disaster.)  But my shopping companion didn't mind:

I bought both pair. (They look better in person (and with a different outfit) I promise.)
And I got some of these :

Socks, without cow horns. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Okay, so I've noticed it on my face for awhile, and a bit in my body, but for the most part, up until  few years ago, I still felt quite young.  Lately however, I have been noticing some clear signs that I am indeed, shall we say, "maturing."

I notice it every time I get out of my car.  It literally takes me several minutes to get into a fully upright position.  I feel like I am acting out the "evolution of the human" diagram every time I exit a vehicle. 

I notice it when I am at the State Fair.  How do people eat those twelve-inch corn dogs and then go on the Zipper?  

Makes you sick just looking at them, doesn't it?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Family Pictures

Family pictures tomorrow, 10 am.  Sounds easy, right?  Just get all five of us to smile in one direction at the same time without someone looking goofy, whiny, half-asleep, or high.  No problem!! 

Typical cheap portrait studios are out.  Not for any fault of their photographers, but because they are rushed, and they don't photoshop.  Quickly in, quickly out.  And simply put, our family of five just doesn't do "quickly."  We have tried, believe me.

Someone will inevitably lose his shoes between his room and the front door.  Someone will have poopy pants (hopefully the two-year old) just as we are putting on seatbelts.  Someone will find a marker and decorate his "perfect for the picture," jeans.   We will likely show up late, and late = "appointment over" at JCPenneys.

"Quickly out" is the larger problem.  Two-year-olds ALWAYS decide that they would rather play than take pictures, and when you "encourage" them to behave (hold them down) they scream and cry.   Can't imagine why.

Meanwhile, four-year-olds find it funny to stick out their tongue, or do double- fingered fishhooks just as everyone else is finally smiling.  And, of course, the more you try to dissuade them by claiming "I AM SERIOUS" the more they make faces.

 Five-year-olds cooperate somewhat, and if it was just you and them, you'd be home free.  But they are quite prone to distraction.  When brothers are screaming, crying, laughing, and putting fingers in their mouths, five-year-old boys are not going to "look at the camera."  Instead, they will (of course) join in the "hilarity" and increase the chaos.

Parents, meanwhile, in an effort to make sure that at least one of the six measly shots is decent, wear their plastered-on, frustrated as heck, talking through their teeth, hopeful with each flash, desperate for relief smiles while strong-arming their wiggly children.  All while trying to look "relaxed and natural." Not especially convincing, or attractive.

So, we are splurging on a private photographer.  We are hoping for patience.  We are PAYING for patience.  We are paying for PHOTOSHOP.  Hopefully, by taking her time, she will catch the right moments;  perhaps when the two-year-old is playing and not posing; when the four-year-old is obviously proud of his humor; when the five year old is sweetly smiling at the distractions; and when the parents' plastered smiles are replaced with genuine ones. And,if worse comes to worst, she can take each one of those faces and paste them onto one photo.  Cheating? Who cares.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Am An Awesome Mom...

...when the kids are asleep.

I never scream. I don't make empty threats. I don't wonder what crazy lady has invaded my body.  I don't lose it. I don't freak out.
Spilt milk is seen for the trivial accident that it is.  Lost shoes are obviously unintentional misplacements.  The gum in the carpet....well, okay, that one still drives me bonkers. 

But I realize how precious, how kind, how beautiful they are.
I realize how quickly time passes and I promise to do better tomorrow....

I wish I could say that I am an "awesome" mom when the three monkeys are awake. 
Guess I'll settle for "doing the best I can without going nuts,"... and getting them to bed as early as possible. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Two of my friends just had babies.  I find myself feeling strangely jealous.  Not of the work ahead of them; the midnight feedings, the HOURLY breastfeeding (well, it feels like it, doesn't it?), the "unreasonable" crying, the "getting your body back to normal (ha!)," the desperate rocking and swaying, or the interminable process of getting them to sleep, but of the amazing, amazing experience of having a baby.  The amazing experience of meeting your new child for the first time.  The amazing experience of getting acquainted with his new little nose, his new little toes, his new little everything.  I just loved it.  I will forever, from now until the day I die, feel a twinge of jealousy, an ache of envy whenever someone has a new baby.  Here are some pictures of my sweet ones, hours or days after their births.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Glass Houses and First Stones

It drives me crazy! This morning, I went into Sammy’s room and all of his clothes were (once again) hanging out of each drawer, and every drawer was open. This is their standard location so I’m not sure why I am consistently shocked and dismayed by it. I’m also a glutton for punishment.  Knowing where his clothes would inevitably end up, I stilI spent the day organizing the boys’ drawers.  I put pants here, shirts there, shorts there, sweatshirts here... you know, trying to make it easier for them to get dressed without the typical screaming that comes with the “I can’t find it!” dilemma. But once again, there they are. His dresser is like a multi-leveled clothing waterfall. There have been time outs, rewards (bribes), removal of TV, frustrated threats of “you are going to stay in this room all day until this mess is cleaned up!!” But so far, none of it has helped. Perhaps I am not consistent enough. Perhaps this boy really needs to wear five shirts each day to reflect the mood of the moment. But it drives me crazy!!

So, I go through my day. I drop the boys off at school and put Andrew down for his nap. I go into my own bedroom. And there it is. That same multi-layered clothing waterfall. Why have I never noticed before? Probably because I know why my mess is there. I, of course, was looking for those comfy workout shorts and nice-fitting top to go with it. I was in a hurry to get dressed before Andrew found the Halloween basket on the counter and decided to raid it. I had good reasons for my disastrous pile of clothes on top of and hanging down the sides of my dresser. Slowly however, glass houses, first stones, and eye planks came to mind. I spent the next half hour cleaning up my dresser, and trying to think of a new way for both of us to be motivated to keep our clothing IN our drawers.