Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Olivia in her Cheer outfit with her BFF

Haylee and Olivia do the cheer team together and Haylee's mom (Nikki) and I wanted to take some pictures of them with their uniforms on. Here are the pictures we took at the sculpture park. I think they turned out great, but I wish the sun hadn't been so bright.

Cheering with the Loveland High Cheerleaders

A few weeks ago Alex and Olivia participated in a cheer clinic with the Loveland High school cheerleaders and was able to cheer with them at the game.  They had a blast!  Check 'em out.

They were a bit chilly.

Man they were excited.  It was awesome to see their little faces.


Every October my support group Hope Lives! in Fort Collins holds their annual gala to raise funds to support women battling breast cancer. This is the event that I had the opportunity to model in 2 years ago. It was an amazing experience. This year 3 of my friends who are fellow survivors were models and Jon and I won tickets to attend. It was a great evening. I was also able to see several of the woman that I went through chemo with or who I have met at support meetings through the last few years.

Here is myself, Dana, Debbie and Sandra....

Debbie I was connected with through Hope Lives because we were doing the same chemotherapy. She is one of a kind. I love her. She is a great person, she makes me laugh, and I will never forget her because of the awful times that we went through together. And...just because she flat out rocks. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right woman?

Debbie and Dana were both in treatment with me. Dana was the honorary chair at relay for life last year and gave an amazing speech that moved me to tears and she has amazing faith.

Here is myself, Shari, Jen and Dana.

Shari was diagnosed 6 months after me and I met her because Olivia and her youngest were in the same preschool. Olivia now cheers for the gym she owns and I love being able to see her on such a regular basis.

I met Jen at work. She and I worked together for a few years before I was diagnosed. She was diagnosed when her youngest daughter was only 9 months. Jen was the first "survivor" I really knew. She was there for e to cry to when I was so overwhelmed with fear of the unknown, to take me to my first support group meeting, to answer my questions and encourage me through the whole process. I am truly blessed to have her in my life and was lucky to have someone to talk to so early on in my diagnosis that had been through the same experience. Check out that passionate kiss her hubby laid on her in front of everyone. I love it!!

My friend Lanie that also went through treatment with me was also part of the evening. She gave an inspiring speech about her cancer experience. She is a 2 time cancer survivor. Diagnosed at 26 and 32 I believe. She is someone that I have looked up to since I met her. Her mother would come to treatment with her and they would both be laughing and having a great time in the dreary treatment room. It was contagious and I was drawn to her. She was always so happy and upbeat. Always looking for the good in every situation and always willing to do whatever she could to help and support her friends.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daddy Daughter Dance

Last Friday night Olivia's gym had a daddy daughter dance. Jon took Olivia and I was there to help out. They hung out with Olivia's BFF Haylee and her dad Brad.

Jon and Olivia did lots of dancing.

And lots of lifts.

And then danced to butterfly kisses while I teared up.

And then broke it down some more.

They had a blast!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

To Whom it May Concern....

In trying to communicate the frustrations of my week I thought I would just write the concerned parties a letter for their urgent review.

letter #1

Dear King Soopers,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for having the steepest, narrowest stairs leading up to your restroom facility in the history of the world. Every time I traverse this stairway I hold tight to the railing and hope not to fall to certain death.
After using your facilities with my kindergartners this past Monday I did the only motherly thing I could do and cautioned my babies to be careful and go slowly down. With one on each side of me they each grabbed hold to their salvation and clung on for dear life to the railing leaving me walking between them. Once again I warned them to slow down and we all forged ahead. About half way down I misjudged the width of the stair and slipped on the edge sending my arms flailing and my body careening out of control down the rest of the death trap. Somewhere along the way I hit my calf and twisted my ankle. When my limbs finally reached solid ground I was on all fours looking around with wide eyes to see who had witnessed my unfortunate blunder. Nobody was in sight, thank goodness, except my kids. One of which politely reminded me that I should slow down because these stairs are steep.
After picking myself up off of your floor we continued with our always delightful grocery trips filled with free cookies, running away from mommy, screaming, crying, arguing, whining etc. Three days later I still have a charming and painful reminder of the occurrence every time I put pressure on my right ankle and calf. As a loyal customer of your establishment I have been shopping at this store since I was a youngster and would appreciate you completely demolishing this staircase and rebuilding it the acceptable way like the rest of world's staircases.

Optimistically yours,


letter #2

Dear HOA,

I wanted to thank you for being the worst HOA in the history of Loveland, CO. I supremely enjoyed you great attention to detail when building our community when it was new 5 years ago. Specifically I would like to acknowledge the following:

  • Planting trees while still in their planters and then having half of them die the following spring and then charging us to replace them.
  • Telling us you would plant sod in the community park and then planting seed so my children cannot run through the big grassy area without inevitable tripping every few feet in the big "potholes" left by the grass not completely filling in.....still, even after 5 years.
  • Raising our quarterly rates by vote since the apartments in our community get more votes then the actual home owners.
  • Never emptying the trash in the park between October and March
  • Sending us letters when the camper is in front of our house for more than 24 hours, yet doing nothing about the multiple renters in our neighborhood that keep boats and campers in their driveways and in front of their homes year round.
  • Slowing pushing community property maintenance off on us the home owner.
  • Suing the property developer and costing the HOA and enormous amount of legal fees
  • Raising our quarterly rates...again

I will have you know that I love my home, now that the basement is finished, but would sell it tomorrow if my property value wasn't in the crapper as a result of my dissatisfaction with you.

Today I completely enjoyed spending close to $100 that I don't have to paint your dadgum fence so I am in compliance with your moronic bylaws. Even though more than half of the home owners in the 'hood haven't completed this task either, I really treasure the harassing 'reminder' letter about the appearance of our neighborhood. I thought I was just following your excellent example.

I was lucky to have the missionaries from my church offer to come over and help me today so I could get this done before it snowed tomorrow. They have to perform 4 hours of service a week and to my benefit they had not completed their service hours this week. They wanted me to pass along a thank you to you for keeping our neighborhood a safe place. A police officer stopped by to make sure that these "men" were supposed to be on my property. Apparently 2 dudes jumping over the back fence seemed very suspicious. Thanks also to Loveland PD.

After spending some of the morning and the entire afternoon submitting to my duty as a homeowner in this community, I feel like I need to spend the next 48 hours on the couch. Every muscle in my body, even the ones I never knew I had, are throbbing. My body might just spontaneously explode at any moment. I scarcely have the energy to type this letter to you.

On that note, I will continue to hope that you might some day pull it together. More than likely though as soon as my property value is not sitting at the bottom of the ocean I will be able to give you the finger and get the heck outta dodge.

Sore and bitterly yours,


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The weekend

On Friday Olivia received an award at her school assembly for being a great independent reader. She was so excited, and I was excited for her!!
I wasn't able to get a great picture of her because I was so far away but took some snap shots of her with her award at home later that day.
Last week I almost had a panic attack when talking to Alex. For those of you that don't know Alex, she is a talker. She will talk you head off with the most random questions. She reminds me of this kid in Home Alone, Mitch, the neighbor. Remember this part?

Mitch Murphy: Hi, I'm Mitch Murphy. I live across the street. You guys going out of town? We're going to Orlando, Florida. Well, actually, first we're going to Missouri to pick up my grandma. Did you know the McCallisters are going to France? Do you know if it's cold there? Do these vans get good gas mileage?
Airport Driver: Gee, kid, I don't know. Hit the road.
Mitch Murphy: [about the taxi-van] How fast does this thing go? Does it have automatic transmission? Does it have four-wheel drive?
Airport Driver: Look, I told you before, kid. Don't bother me. Now beat it.

Well that's my girl. Not satisfied with a one word answer and doesn't back down until she gets what she's looking for. Miss Alex has always been curious about my mastectomy scar on my chest. Asking questions about how I got it and where it came from. I have always tried to explain things to her in a way she could understand but not freak her out. So a few nights ago I was making dinner and....

Alex: How's the cut on your chest today mom?
Me: Fine honey, it doesn't hurt.
Alex: But that's from cancer. Right mom?
Me: Yeah it is.
Alex: I hope that I don't get cancer because that hurts, huh?
Me: Not anymore, I hope you don't get cancer either.
Alex: Yeah, because people die when they get cancer don't they?
Me: Sometimes people do, but I was lucky.
Alex: But kids can't get cancer, can they?
Me: Uh.... (obviously I had not prepared myself for the conversation veering off the road in this direction) Well....some kids do get cancer honey, but not breast cancer like mommy.
Alex: Kids get cancer?!? (um, she hadn't thought she'd get this answer either) Kids die from cancer? Will I get cancer?
Me: Uh.... Well.....(here's where I am panicking. I didn't want to lie to her but didn't really want to divulge the horrible truth of the matter to my 5 year old) Well.....Honey! Can you help Alex with her question.
(enter Jon aka the hero)
Jon: Well Alex some kids do get cancer and some kids do die from cancer, but you won't get cancer honey.
And that was that, she actually dropped it. I couldn't believe it. Maybe she saw the crazy, freaked out face I was wearing. The reality is that people, even kids, do get cancer and do die from it. This conversation has followed me through the last few days and I hope she doesn't revisit this subject for a long while. I don't want to have to tell my children the horrible reality of this disease. I am positive that I will continue to try and raise money and advocate for cancer awareness forever.

Saturday I was given the opportunity to participate in an outdoor market and run a raffle for my relay for life team. It is always good to fund raise throughout the year. It turned out to be a long day with being there early and not getting home until after 7pm. I had also signed up to do race for the cure on Sunday but didn't end up doing the race because I was too tired. I had some friends that went down though and said it was awesome. Thanks for thinking of me guys!

Sunday was a relaxing day. It was dreary outside and was great to stay indoors and spend time with the family all day. We enjoyed watching general conference on TV and hearing from the leaders in our church. The kids even enjoyed listening and filling out these fun activity sheets that the church puts out about the talks. We had Sunday dinner at my moms and the kids enjoyed playing "horsey" with my dad and my brother. Thanks for the entertainment guys!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Summer camping at the Dunes

This is the first year we have actually camped at the dunes. We have gone there on the ATVs to ride for a bit but never stayed there. We went with our friends Sherri and Joe and their girls and also took along our "adopted" daughter Haylee. She lives down the street and is Olivia's best friend. As you can see all the kids were exhausted on the way down and they all passed out. Look how uncomfortable Cody looks....How can he sleep like that?
Here are some snapshots of our wheeling over the weekend.

On our first ride we found this really cool and really old house and took some fun pictures. Here we all are at the old house. I think I will make some black and white copies and frame them, whatcha think?
At the fire at night they introduced us not so crazy partiers to Sobe bombs. These are Sobe bottles with a hole drilled in the lid and full of gasoline. When you put them in the fire and they get hot enough a spout of fire shoots out the top for about 60 seconds and then the lid blows off the top creating a big mushroom cloud. Surprisingly there isn't a big boom at the end, just the cloud of smoke and fire. Probably not the safest thing in the world, so it was a good thing the kids were asleep in the camper for that part.
Thanks for the fun weekend Sherri and Joe!!