Saturday, May 31, 2008

8 months?

Seriously? Even if I watched an old episode a week until I ran out, I would still have several weeks before my beloved returns to me.

I will be LOST without you brotha!

But W.O.W was that a season finale. I was worried that Dez was leaving me, but alas he is still alive. Whew!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary Hon-e

Six years ago today

Some of you have had some amazing posts for your anniversary - I just have my favorite picture and a memory that goes along with it.

Jim proposed to me at a very hard time in my life. I lost my mother 5 weeks prior, we had just found out she carried a genetic cancer, and we were fastly approaching Thanksgiving, a holiday that for over 20 years, my mom and I always prepared together.

When he proposed he told me about his ideal wedding. It included marrying in our church, and our reception on a paddle boat on the St. Croix. He made it easy for me to plan. I had the locations, and I didn't have to hire any sort of entertainment!

Every year I am reminded of the amazing people I met that made the day become the best it could be. In honor of my wedding anniversary, I thought I would pay homage to those who made the day extraordinary. I will give them props partly because they deserve it, and partly because its my first step to getting my scrapbook information together (and a good place to do it). I will premise this list with I was very lucky to have some wonderful connections, and some very creative friends/family.

First of all the flowers... My cousin Eric now has his own amazing studio called Floral Logic. But when I got married, he was still working for his previous employer Wisteria. Eric did all the work and ordered all the flowers, so I will only link to his studio! Call it family homage!

I was an easy bride I think. He may tell you differently however, because I had no idea what I wanted. I take that back - I had two requests: 1. I had to have pink rosebuds in my bouquet to honor my mom; 2. I had to have variegated hydrangeas somewhere. But that was it. The color scheme I originally wanted changed when the dresses I wanted were not my bridesmaids favorites (yes, I let them change my color scheme - because I really didn't care - all that mattered was I was getting married!). The dresses they chose still worked with what Eric was doing, so we didn't sweat it.

The cakes... oh the cakes... Robin at Gateaux Inc is my hero. My friends, and people who attended my wedding still talk about the cakes. Now when I say cakes I mean cakes. I had five different flavors - 4 tiers with 5 cakes at the base - not a one of them the same flavor! The topper was a surprise because I didn't care - they were all good. I found the order slip the other day - in an odd place mind you - but that is inconsequential. All of the cakes had buttercream frosting (except mine), with white fondant. My cake was dark chocolate fudge with fudge frosting. Jim's was lemon cream cheese. The most amazing buttery vanilla cake with lemon cream cheese filling. The other flavors were lemon custard, raspberry, and white chocolate. Each of the flavors were represented on the bottom tier. Eric did the flowers on the cakes. It was heavenly.

The reception... Jim asked to choose the venue, and how was I to say no when it didn't mean some off the wall local, or a Legion/VFW hall. I was relieved. The St. Croix Boat and Packet Company also known as Stillwater River Boats and Andiamo Entertainment, was home to our reception boat The Empress.

The Empress was amazing. It was large enough to seat our dinner guests in the lower level - table served of course. Then the after dinner gatherings and bar (duh!) were on the second level, and photo ops and site seeing on the upper deck. Jim and I were even bestowed the honor of driving the boat!

Three or four years before we got married, a friend of mine was married on one of the smaller boats. When she planned her reception, she had to find a caterer in Stillwater that was available to do her date. It wasn't easy. When we got married St. Croix Boat Company was just starting their own catering. It was very good, and very creative. Jim and I returned to the Avalon for a dinner cruise on our 5th anniversary last year, and the food was even better. We were supposed to be on The Empress, but a wedding got booked, so we were switched.

Photographer... My "sister in law" (really she is not, but I call her that because she is Mantha's aunt, and although her dad and I never married, Steph and I were very close - more like sisters) Stephanie was just starting her own business Peek-A-Boo Studios. It was great to have Steph as my photog because she knew me really well. She knew my family and all of our quirks. And she was prepared for all of them. All of them including one of our attendants showing up in tennis shoes instead of his highly polished, ever so comfortable wedding shoes. She was like a pit bull on caffeine when someone mis stepped, but it was always respectful and always in my best interest.

I hope I didn't miss anyone - now I have to find the pictures. I know where they are - buried underneath all of that rubble in my closet in the hallway...

Mothers Day 2008

Mantha's 4th recital didn't go so well. She was preoccupied with pants that were too loose, and missing shoes - so she spent most of her time not focusing on her performance. She gets that way. Her mom is that way too... Preoccupation is the devil incarnate!

Mantha and her BFF before the recital.

Review pictures from my post last week, and you will see something similar to this one taken last year. Apparently old habits die hard. Cricket told me to turn around, and this is what I found!!

After the walk we took our traditional photo on the church steps. Gram doesnt walk with us anylonger, but she is brought over by one of the first to complete the walk. She lives two and a half blocks away - she still walks to church at almost 92!

My favorite picture from the walk. The amazing gigantic pink roses from my cousin Eric who is a florist (he was not able to join us but he sent these with his mother - Bruce's sister Shari). When I say gigantic I mean ginormis! The open buds are bigger than a saucer! My mother loved pink roses.

Three of my favorite people - and all moms of course - Pat who is my 2nd mom, Mary who is my moms sis and her bff, and Cricket, Mary's daughter, Zoe's mom, and my "lil sis".

I can't end a Mothers Day post without these two... Alex and Mitz. If you know me, you know why they are so important to me!

I know it was a week ago, but in my opinion, every day is Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Mothers Day Tribute to...

ME! Of course! I was going through old files in my computer looking for a particular picture of my mom, and ran across a bunch of my favorite kid pics. So in honor of Mothers Day, I am going to post some of them.

I can post current pics any ol'day, but today I want to post the older ones! Besides, these represent where the love started!

One would think this picture was from the 80's with the big hair, but no, its from 1998!

Mantha's aunt owns Peek-A-Boo Studio. When Mantha and her cousin were born, Steph was just getting started. We have a ton of creative photo's like this. She is amazing at what she does. Of course they are all on film, so I would have to scan them!

My bathing beauty! At 2 1/2 no less!

We took these pictures for Mothers Day 1999. Mom was getting ready to start Radiation and we weren't sure if she would lose her hair, so we did this shoot (again by Stephanie). We had to do it twice on two different days because grandma's "tinker bell" was a pill during the first shoot!

This was the first moment Mantha saw her new brother. She had gone away with my dad for the weekend not knowing that she would come home a big sister. None of us did!

We took family pictures right after Jadon was born (again with Stephanie) - hindsight - our blues didn't match - dont try to wear the same color... it doesnt always work!

Self portrait. I guess neither one of us felt like smiling???

How could Santa not deliver presents to this little fella??

This was one of those lucky shots. Jadon was fussing, so Jim went over to soothe him and Steph snapped the picture. These are the pictures you just don't get by posing.

Simply titled: "Super Big Smile"

Whoa! That is a really white baby! My kids have a tendancy to stay this way no matter how much time they spend outside. Mantha finally got some pigment to her skin at around 7, so we are holding out hope for Jadon in the next year or so!

Awwww.... bubby! This one made us laugh (and still does), because he was barely standing at this time, but he stood in that window rather than nap, and cried and cried and cried. For those of you who dont camp, the mattress is right next to the window. That pitiful face still makes me want to go scoop him up and snuggle. There were at minimum 10 of us watching this display. Like an animal in a cage trying to get out! I dont think Jadon took a nap that day!

I love this picture. Big scab and all!

First Birthday. Cake with racecars. Racecars on road. Road = black frosting. White shirt + black frosting = big mess!

Great grandpa owned a barber shop "back in the day" - you know, the old fashioned kind with the swirly candy cane light out front. While he has been retired for almost 20 years, he still asked to give Jadon his first hair cut. I just love this picture! It was taken in their basement just after the hair cut (Jadon had pin curls until this picture)

Jadon's first day in the snow - yes, he was 2... He learned to walk in the spring, so he really didnt spend his "1 year" out in the snow!

I could go on and on all day, but I dont want to bore you!

Have a wonderful Mothers Day!!!!!!!!!

Wait, I have a few more!

He climbed up. He just wouldn't climb down. Yep, thats the same face he had in the camper. Pissed as all get out!

Pickin' up chicks! Ok, well cousins... He drove my niece around the cul-de-sac for over an hour. They had so much fun!

Playing dress up and sneaking candy. I just love her. She doesnt believe me - you know, because she is 10, but really I do!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Pinkrosebud54!

Today would have been my mothers 61st Birthday. She was so beautiful and vibrant, and I miss her more and more each day.

Happy Birthday Mom, I love you!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Susan G. Komen

Here are the pictures I talked about last night.

Before I share them I would like to share a little about the walk with you.
1999, the year mom was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she decided to do the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure which at the time was held in my hometown of Edina, at Southdale Mall. Two of moms sisters, her 82 year old mother, my step father Bruce, my brother and sister in law, myself, Jim and Mantha joined her. We walked the 5K (3.1 miles) and then went to brunch, and planned the next years event.

2000, we were all feeling great! Mom was cancer free, and more people joined us for the event. This year mom did more research, and we got even more involved.

2001, we didn't know it yet, but it was her last walk. Mom's sister M was diagnosed in January, so we were now walking in honor of two very important women. Mom was given a clean bill of health at Valentines Day. Jim and I had just built a new house, and she had just thrown me a surprise 30th party in our new home. Her sister from Colorado was joining us this year with her family, and the event started taking on a whole new meaning to our family.

2002, no one walked. We were all still numb from her loss, and I was getting married 5 days later. There were pangs if guilt, but we knew she would forgive us.

2003, moms sister C was diagnosed. On moms birthday her window was dedicated at the Catholic Church of her hometown. That same weekend was the Susan G. Komen. Some of them walked in her hometown, but I wasn't ready just yet.

2004, I finally decided I was being selfish and making up too many excuses, so we packed up the family and started a new annual tradition.

Mother's Day 2005

This was the second year that Jim and I did the walk in HL. It was two years after moms window dedication at the Catholic Church, but one of the first times I was able to actually walk up to it and really look closely at it. Her loss has always been hard for me. Especially this time of year.

This photo started the group picture taking at the end of the walk. Interestingly, at the end of the walk, I was trying to get some alone time, so rather than take a right to go to grams for brunch, I took a left to go sit by her window. I never looked back. But when I got to the window, and sat down I heard a lot of talking. Turns out everyone followed me. So much for "alone time". But it started a great tradition.

Here is Mantha in front of moms window - she looks just like my mom in this picture. If you are Catholic, you will recognize the Sacred (bleeding) Heart. Her name is to the upper right of the heart. The same gentleman who made the window in her memory used the remaining pieces of glass to make a helicopter for my step father Bruce who was a full time Sgt in the Army Reserves. He was stationed out of St. Paul working with, training on, and flying Black Hawk helicopters. This year we are going to place the helicopter next to moms window - at least for photo's if not permanently (if the church will allow it - there is 4-6" between the pane of clear glass and the stained glass window itself).

Mothers Day 2006

Notice the chick with the orange frizzed out curly hair? Yep, not proud of it. Also notice the smartalec kid with her tongue hanging out? Yep, she is mine. Like mother like... wait, thats not right... ;)

This is the last time Bruce walked with us. You will see why when you read about the next picture! ;)

Mothers Day 2007

Best laid plans I call this one. See we planned on moving the walk to Memorial Day weekend because it was also graduation weekend, and the whole family would be down then. But the day before, we had a hard time not doing the walk on Mothers Day, so at the last minute we gathered up everyone who was around and did the walk on MD. You will notice Bruce is missing from this one. Well, we had a little part-ay the night before, and while we knocked on his motorhome in the morning, there was no waking his ass up!

We then agreed that we would walk again on Memorial Day. But you know. There was this party. And it had beer and stuff. And it went really late into the night. And well, no one got up to walk! hehehehe See, "best laid plans" suits this one perfectly.

See Jadon sitting on the wall pouting? Well, yeah... see I am holding a child that isnt him, and even at 4, it can really bum you out.

I love this picture. It is of three of moms sisters and her mother. M in the pink was diagnosed in 2001. M2 and C2 are the only two of the five girls that have been blessed enough to not have the disease. We pray every day that it will stay that way. Gram turned 90 5 months before this picture - doesn't she look great? Someday soon I will share the wonder of my gram. She is amazing. She did the most selfless thing when my mom was ill. And I will never forget it.

Mothers Day 2008

This weekend, we will all gather again. We will walk from grams house in a circle around the town and end 3.1 miles later at the steps of the Catholic Church, where we will reminisce, celebrate and build up our appetites for a great brunch back at grams house! I will have pictures of this year on Sunday!

I have to share this picture with you because it is part of the joy in my life.

Yes, that is my 40 year old husband riding my 4 year old sons bike during the 2007 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Poor kid. hehehehe

And when I am done sharing this years walk with you, I will start to share my role as Chair of our local Relay For Life. I know, I am crazy!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It just happened again...

Its Sunday night - 9:30. And I don't have any idea what happened to the weekend!

I know on Friday we didn't really do anything. Mantha came home sick from school, so she didn't go to her dad's until Saturday morning. Jadon and I were home on Friday as usual, and Jim got home early. It rained, and rained, and rained. We are sure we saw Noah - but then it could have been halucinations - you know, from the lack of sun.

We played a little "family" Mario Golf - but only after I needed to prove my superiority at something. Jadon is doing a bang up job of kicking my ass at all the other games, so I am sure he will kick it soon at golf too!

Saturday we took Mantha to her dad, stocked up on camper gear (yes ma'am, I'sa trailer trash!), and ate an expensive lunch at Olive Garden (Jadon's request - it was over $50 - for LUNCH!). If memory serves me correctly, "family nap time" started around 1, and I may have opened my eyes by 5:30. Can you say L.A.Z.Y???

Sunday we worked on the camper some more - we go for the first time this year next weekend. We are super anal at cleaning it in the spring - you never know what decided to call it home over the winter! In late afternoon we went to get Mantha - two of us not feeling well, only to find out she was still not feeling well either. So three of us have some sort of stomach bug. Not good.

This week I have a few big deals going on. I have a presentation tomorrow to one of my boards, a recommendation I am making to our County Commissioners on Tuesday and I am nervous. It could potentially mean thousands of dollars in advertising money, but I have to convince my board first. And there is one member for sure that is going to be a tough sell. It won't be that she wont get the point, but more that the moment I stand to make the presentation, she will tune me out, and only hear the negatives (or the little voices in her head). And then when I am done, she will vote no, only after ridiculing me and telling me I am went behind their back, and should have gotten their approval before even mentioning it to the Commissioners. Even though I am the President and Director. But then, she tells people she thinks I am "one of the Directors". Um, lady, you were on the hiring committee, you know e.x.a.c.t.l.y. what my role is.

I know it will happen. It has happened before. It will happen again. And it aint gonna be pretty.

Tuesday will be a breeze if I live through tomorrow! I think the Commissioners will like what I put together. I know our sister community will back me.

Wednesday I have to pack for the weekend, because on Thursday morning I leave for Mpls for my annual Oncology and Genetics appointment. We are talking the big "Double M" this year. The last time we had this conversation it was the "Big H". And it turned out that I had Cancer. So far things look good, but because I carry that bastard gene BRCA2, I have an 80+ percent chance of getting Breast Cancer, this conversation has to happen.

After the appointment I am having lunch with my dad. That will be tough. Until last fall I did not tell him I had Cancer 4 years ago. The only two people he knew that had Cancer died - his best friend, and his ex-wife. So to him, the disease still equals death. Nevertheless, he knows now, so there is no backing down, and he is my last remaining parental support, so I need to have him involved. Jim is ready for the decision to be made, but neither one of us are ready for the deed. I plan to tell my Oncologist that I need 3 more years. And then I will be ready. What better gift for your 40th birthday than new boobs and a flat stomach (I will have a fat flap rebuild, not implants).

Friday my aunt and I will go to MOA and pick up all of the Susan G. Komen gear for the annual Mothers Day walk. We don't do it in the city any longer. Since moms passing, we moved it to her home town - the town where my grandmother still lives. The town where the Catholic Church allowed us to place a window in her honor. We always end the walk in front of her window, and take a group photo. I will post them later. I know she would be proud.

Sometime on Thursday or Friday I will make my first trip to the cemetary since we buried Bruce. I went there the day of the wake - preparing myself for the sight of the open grave where my mother lay. Mom and Bruce are buried in the same spot. He on top of her. They are at Fort Snelling. If you have not been to a military cemetary, I recommend a visit. The beauty and honor of knowing that the men and women buried in that place all served our country. Many lost their lives doing so. When Jadon got sick the night of Bruces wake, I knew I would not find closure, because I wasn't able to attend the funeral. I still dont have it. So I need to go and see his name on the stone and acknowledge it. And say good bye there. And then praise their eternal life together.

Saturday we will pop back home for Mantha's dance recital. I feel bad for her, because this year, it snuck up on us, had little fan fare because it is not the same dance troupe, and is on a weekend that we have to chase long distances because of a list of commitments. I know she will be fabulous, and she will end this year looking forward to receiving her 5 year trophy next year.

Sunday we will do the 3.1 mile walk, take our annual photo, shed some tears, and finish out the day at gram's for a family brunch.

Today I was reminicing with Jim about last year. When we were making beds in the camper, I found the cover to the movie Cars. It was the cover to the movie that we borrowed from my step father Bruce last year because we forgot ours. I told him it will be hard to not have him there this year. Not two hours later as we were driving to get Mantha, I said to him "I wonder if Bruce will be there this weekend". I did it at Easter too. Loss is hard. Its been almost 7 years for mom, and it still isnt real to me. Its only been 6 months for Bruce. Its devastating. He was such a good person. And it was so unexpected. Death is so unfair.

Update on the prayers that were needed earlier this week: I do not have any more news about the MRSA. Instead I have even more disturbing news. She apparently had a suspicious looking ovary that was discovered at the time of C-section. It was not good news. She has stage 1 Ovarian Cancer, and has a long road ahead of her. Thank God it was found early. But there are alot of organs that have been touched, so a lot of surgery and treatment. If it weren't for a difficult birth two years ago that led to a C-Section this time, they may have never found this Cancer. Her new baby girl is only a week old, yet still, she has little time to enjoy her.

Please keep sending prayers. Thank you!

be-de-be, be-de-be, be-de-be thats all folks!

Friday, May 2, 2008

4 inches

Turn off that dirty little mind!

Jim just called our backyard neighbor to be sure they saw the quickly growing lake in their yard (we have one too, but our house is on a hill, theirs is not). They had not looked out back yet, so she went to the deck to check it out and looked at the rain gauge. Its 6:00 and we are already at 4" of rain, with heavy bands still expected tonight. We were warned that we could get upwards of 3", but this is absurd!

I know, it seems like I obsess over the weather around here, but it has been strange! We had 8" of snow two weeks ago, and another near blizzard last week. We even had a Tornado watch last night. Now tonight we are supposed to have snow overnight, which with our temps, and the water on the ground it wont stick at all, but still. Its May 2nd people.

What more can I say?