Sunday, December 6, 2015

Today I turn 35

As I write this I have one full hour until it is my birthday.  My 35th birthday.  That birthday.  I think we all must have that age and that birthday that throws us for a loop.  That age we reach that we never thought would really come. That age where we would feel this way or be that person or have that thing.  35 is that age for me because that is the age where my life will change forever.  Things are about to get real, real serious. I am working on a blog post called My BRCA Journey (My BRCA Journey Part One  I should be done with it in the next week.  But in short, I am BRCA positive, and am having the recommended by age 35 prophylactic surgery in the next couple of weeks.  This will change my life, forever.  I have made this decision over and over for 8 years, but somehow now that I am here it seems as though the years have flown by and all of the sudden we are here.  In this moment. 

For this moment, where I am still 34 and things are still the same, I will take a moment.  This year of being 34 has been one of survival. I have done very little growing.  But my roots have grown deep and I feel the earth surround me.  I have become grounded in so many ways.  I emerge from this year feeling comfortable in who I am,  and what I am.  I strive for more, take every opportunity to reach for growth, and ponder on areas for opportunity. But if all I can do is survive, I'm OK with that.  I am OK with me.

In my new year I look for peace and grace within myself.  Grace to not hold myself to an unattainable or unrealistic set of standards.  To have goals but also to  allow time for freedom.   To allow space for life to unfold, perfectly unplanned.  I pray for a continuation of faith and eyes wide open see and experience blessings and miracles. I wish for patients and unending streams of gratefulness.  Happy 35th Birthday ... Relish it!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My BRCA Journey Part One

As a women I have come to understand we are verbal processors.  We need to talk, think and write through things.  I have been on a path through this journey for many years, and am coming to a critical turn in the road.  I am choosing to use this vehicle, this blog, which has helped me process through so much the past few years, process through this next journey. 
My BRCA journey started 24 years ago, when I was 11 years old.  At 46 years old my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  My Mom was great, brave and incredibly strong, as I have very few memories from this time because for me life continued to be pretty normal.  A lumpectomy, emergency surgery for a hematoma, chemo, radiation, my mom had it all. She worked the entire way through it and continued to be the greatest mom to me and my sister who is 3 years older. It wasn't until years later that I realized how much she must have gone through during that time. 14 years later, on the cusp of my matrimonial bliss to my best friend, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. This time, I was a full adult, and was able to walk hand in hand with her through it all. That time includes some of my best and worst memories in life, but it made me who I am today. I was engaged in December, my mom had surgery in January, and as she recovered in the hospital from a complete hysterectomy, I filled out my nursing school application. Somehow that diagnosis pushed me from thinking about it to having no doubt nursing what I was meant to do.  As my mom begin chemo treatments, I learned that I had been accepted. The monthly visits to get chemo were some of the most scary but fun times. As we sat through the infusions, we planned a large part of my wedding. Many of the oncology nurses wade in on this decision or that.  As she and my father walked me down the isle on my wedding day, although beautiful in her off white suit and perfectly styled wig, she was completely bald.
During that time one of the physicians suggested that both my sister and I get tested for the BRCA genetic mutations. For some of you who have not heard of this, it is a irregularity in your genes which causes a great increase in risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer. Both my sister and I were tested, and of 50/50 odds, we both tested positive.  My wonderful husband knew when he married me that this was a possibility, and has walked every day with me hand in hand since this diagnosis.  We have talked many times about all the risks, complications, and possibilities that lay ahead. There are two routes to take upon getting this diagnosis. There is high surveillance, and there is prophylactic surgery. I knew from the moment that I was diagnosed, even before I got my results, what I would do if I came back positive. I hate the feeling of knowing that my time is coming. Every weird pain, cramp, weird skin lesion, common symptom, leave a question in my brain whether today is my day for cancer. I have known for eight years that I would have prophylactic surgery at some point. Now that that time has come, it is scary as hell! Since my diagnosis, I have been under high surveillance. In between children and breastfeeding I have been poked and prodded, scanned and ultrasounded, and been to the doctor for more time than I would like to admit. It is never far from my mind about what the results of any of these tests could be. I believe that once my surgeries are done, I will exhale for the first time since I was diagnosed.
The prophylactic surgeries include a total mastectomy and a bilateral Salpingo oophorectomy. I have researched both of these surgeries in great detail and have come to a decision that at this time in our lives, only the bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is the right choice for me. With my husband in full-time school, my income is the only source for our family, and the nature of my work, I have some serious concerns about the intensity of a total mastectomy. There is a lot of healing time, risk of infection, and a lot of follow-up care if I choose reconstruction. I don't feel comfortable taking that leap knowing that if there was a complication, it would mess up our time line and frame for our life plan. I choose a minimally invasive, robotic, laproscopic, outpatient surgery. If everything goes according to plan I should be back to work in 4 weeks. Having the surgery in of itself reduces my risk of breast breast cancer at this time by 50%. I feel very comfortable with the screening techniques for breast cancer and if something were to mutate prior to a complete mastectomy, that it would be caught early and in a curable stage. There is no good test for ovarian cancer, and frequently when it is found, it is in a late and hard to cure stages. That scares the crap out of me. Because I'm choosing to only take my ovaries and fallopian tubes and leaving my breasts at this time, I am not a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy. That means from the moment I wake up from surgery, I will be in full blown menopause. Every woman has a different experience with menopause, but I am bracing for the worst. That way I will be pleasantly surprised when it when it's nothing like I imagined! There are some options for people in my situation to lessen the side effects of menopause. Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood disturbances, and a decreased sex drive are just some of the fun experiences I am looking forward to! Working with my primary physician I am going to be starting an anti depressant / anti anxiety medication called venlafaxine, and an anti seizure medication called gabapentin. Both of these medications have shown to have a beneficial side effect of decreasing hot flashes and mood disturbances and improving sleep quality of menopausal women. It has been suggested to me at different time periods of my life that an antidepressant would be a benefit to me, and I've always been very resistant. I always felt as though my anxiety and mood disturbances were situational and never a true chemical imbalance. With as much life that sits on my plate at this time, I want to give myself the best chance for success in the coming years. I need to be functional in my everyday life as a mother, and night shift worker, a nurse and a wife. Whatever I can do to help lessen the severe effects that I will have coming out of surgery, the better! I'm hoping that these medications are not a lifetime commitment, but time will have to tell. My primary physician says that so many people feel so good on these medications that they often do not want to come back off.
Sometime late this summer it struck me that I would be turning 35 this year. 35 has seemed to be this far distant age number that I would never reach. I was told when I was 24 years old, that prophylactic surgery would be recommended by the age of 35! I had a lot of life to live!  In eleven years I got married, had children, made sure we were done having kids. Logan ensured that fact in both our hearts and minds. The idea for surgery went from "oh yeah someday I will get to that" to "Oh man I better start researching that". I started having some consultation appointments, looking at my benefits, figuring out a time frame and read whatever I could get my hands on. After meeting with a wonderful breast surgeon, I took a step back. I wondered what was my rush? Yes all the research showed that 35 was a good age to start having prophylactic surgery, but nothing said waiting until I was 40 was going to double or quadruple my risk. I had a wonderful phone consultation with my genetic counselor, and came came out with a lot of food for thought. I digested all the information that she said over the next couple months. Basically my curve for probability of cancer did not suddenly start a huge upswing once I turned 35. That was the beginning years were they saw some early onset breast and ovarian cancer. There was nothing to say that waiting a few years, and until Heath was done with school, in a stable job, and my kids were a bit older, would be a dangerous decision. The more I sat with this, and the concerns I had about completing a mastectomy, I begin to tease out the fact they were two different surgeries. It is a major major downside that since I'm not taking my breasts at the same time that I cannot be on hormone replacement therapy.  But it takes my pot off the front burner and moves it to the back burner, in my mind, for a couple years. I have thought about this decision for a while now and feel comfortable both with considering how it fits into my life now, and my risk.
I met with two fantastic surgeons that came very highly recommended. Fortunately, I loved both of them! I prayed that the decision on which one to go with would be very clear, and all the parts and pieces would fall together. That is exactly what happened.  She had an opening in the time frame that I was looking for and all of my health records are in the same health system.  It fit together like a nice compact puzzle. I will be having a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy on December 22nd, 2015 at the University of Colorado Hospital with Dr. Jamie Arudda. She is a oncologist gynecologic surgeon, specializes in BRCA patients. She is very experienced with people and my situation, and is specially trained to be able to do the least invasive surgery necessary.  I have been reading a book that has huge sections on synchronicities in life. I used to belong to a woman's group which commemorated multiple parts of the year with honoring seasons and ritualizing Solstice's.  I find it very funny that I will be entering the winter of my life the day after the winter solstice. Talk about the synchronicities in this lifetime. So as I prepare for this change in my life I am doing a lot of soul searching, and preparation for feeling different in my body and about my body. Thank you for being on this journey with me and caring to read my feelings on the subject. Part 2 will begin post surgery and I'm sure we'll have many interesting insight as to what menopause feels like at the ripe age of 35!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Day 30: Good Citizens

Today I am grateful for the people who are in the world that are good citizens.  We saw a car break down today, right in the middle of traffic.  Two separate cars full of good citizens pulled over, got out, and helped push a total strangers car out of the way.  The coolest part, they just jumped back into their car like nothing happened, took off and right back into their day.  I am so pleased to know that this kind of respect and chilvary is still alive and well.

Day 29: Massage and Chiropractors

I've had a little trouble with my lower back lately,  nothing big just a sign of my age and profession, and have started going back to a chiroprator.  I also found a gift certificate that was given to me by my wonderful in laws, and went and had a massage today.  Wow!  It is amazing to be pampered.  I think one of the coolest things is that we didn't speak for the entire time.  Udder silence.   I am grateful for the opportunities with these modalities to really do some healing and hopefully prevent any future problems.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day 28: Myself

Today I am grateful for myself.  I am finally at a age that I feel very comfortable being me and appreciate things about myself.  Of course I have a laundry list of traits I would like to change or work on but overall I am grateful for the person I am.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 26: House Guests

I don't often have house guests and I am grateful for that.   It is very hard having people in your space for any extended length of time.  It is really fun for me though to have my house feel so full.  It is so fun to have one of my daughters favorite playmates just down the hall. It was glorious this morning to get out of bed, have my children up and fed, the coffee made and my breakfast there waiting for me.  I couldn't ask for better, more considerate people to be in my space with me.

Day 25: Extended Family

Today I am grateful for my extended family! When we all get together in a big group and outsider would never be able to tell who is blood and who is related by marriage.  I have the greatest of people that all have so much to offer and so much love to give.  My mother and father in law are two of the most amazing kind harted, genuine people I have ever had the honor of knowing.  My brother in laws are the brothers that I could have never dreamed better.  I love being part of this amazing journey with these people.

Day 27: Nice Patients

Today I am grateful for kind patients!  I have several of the nicest,  involved patients tonight and when I have those it somehow makes everything we do so worthwhile.  It breaks up the nights that are extremely rough and challenging. It makes me have faith in humanity.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 24: Family

I have the best family!   My sister and brother in law were expected in today to celebrate Thanksgiving here in Colorado and I was so excited all day.  I be bopped around,  talked to everyone at the grocery store, played with my kids,  teased people I didn't know.  I am so grateful for my family who are kind and thoughtful,  just like me in so many ways, and not dysfunctional in a negative way.  In my line if work I see so many horrible families that are intentionally hurtful and cruel and I am just so grateful that I am blessed to be with these amazing people for the holidays.

Day 23: Yoga

Today I am thankful for yoga.  Yoga has played a very important role in my everyday life these past couple of years. Yoga is how I start almost every morning.   I get out of bed and complete a series of stretches. It is the first thing I like to do most days.   The days I don't get it done is the days that I notice it in every movement for the entirety of my being awake.  I am inspired by my practice and am inspired by how little in know about the art itself.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Day 22: My Dad

Today I am grateful for my dad.  He is a  wonderful man who loves me and my loved ones very deeply.  He taught my sister and I how to be stronge women, and not have to be dependent on a man.  Because of his lessons I am very much my husbands equal.
Today I bought new shower head for one of our bathrooms.  Heath was kind of busy with another project as I took it out of its packaging,  I looked at it and thought "I can do this".  Because of his lessons and his attitude about having two girls I was able to march right down the hall and install a shower head!

Day 21: Logan

Today I am thankful for Logan.  Logan is a very spirited young man who is full of love and vigor.  He keeps Heath and I on our toes and keeps our home alive!  I am so excited to help him channel this energy to become an amazing force in this world.  I am so blessed to have been chosen to be his mom!

Day 20: Pedicures

Today I am grateful for pedicures.  Pedicures are one of my single favorite things in this world.  Especially after a lot of miles on my old dogs after a 12 hour shift,  a pedicure is just what the Dr ordered.  A warm bath, massage, and pretty toes to walk out with and greet me for the rest of the month.  Quiet time for!

Day 19: Compliments

Today I am grateful for compliments.  I got a very nice compliment from a person I don't know very well at all last night and I was surprised how good it made me feel.  She kept asking me what smelled so good and then got close to me and said it was me.  She said I smelled like a yoga studio.  It sounds like a strange compliment but for me and what it going on in my life right now it is a sentence that she could have had no idea what kind of impact it had on me. 
This gratefulness inspired to choose this one as a post because we don't know what kind of impact our words may have on someone else.  It may sound weird in our head or we may be to embarrassed to say but please go ahead and say it because you may not know how great of an impact it will have on another person. 

Day 18: My House

We have been so blessed since we have been in our house.  Almost eight years now.  It isn't anything special but fits all of needs perfectly.  It has been so fun in the past few months to shine it up.  We ripped out our kitchen in August and have been putting some of the finishing touches up on it the past week.  Reveal pictures soon.  The downstairs bedroom got a total remodel, and is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  The den is so pretty and restful.   Can't wait to show it off this next week. Looking forward to some new bathrooms and some less glamorous projects like spray in insulation!  Thank you house for being steadfast and such an incredible gift to our lives. 

Day 17: Sweet Annabelle

Today I am grateful for my daughter Annabelle.  She is such a sweet, kind, loving child. She makes me laugh everyday and constantly surprises me with her level of empathy.   I love to watch her grasp language and learn how to spell and read.  She loves to "learn" and explore her world.  I hope to be the kind of mom who continues to allow her to grow into a beautiful young woman astonished that God in trusted me with her life.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 16: Being a Mom

Today I am grateful that I am a mom. It is the hardest job I have ever had the privilege of having.  I am amazed by these little people everyday.  They surprise me, challenge me and make me proud everyday. I have many feelings around being a mom, but mostly I am grateful that I am blessed to be in this position.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Day 15: Ikea

I know I know...but I am really grateful that Ikea built a store in Denver and I have been able to discover all the wonderful things it has to offer.  With all the home remodeling we have been doing we don't always want to fork out so much money on some of the more decorative pieces or some of the pieces that are functional but need to be tough.  Ikea has filled this gap wonderfully for us.  It's such a fun store to shop at and I love the way my voice hits that weird octave of "it's only how much"? 

Day 14: My Car

It may sound strange but today I am thankful for my car.  My car was a gift from my wonderful parents 16 years ago.  I have put all its miles on it, know every dent and scratch and am blessed by its gift of longevity.  Today the odometer  turned 280,000 miles.  It has some quirks, but is always faithful.  I am so thankful that we have always had the option to replace her and not the requirement.  I am tempted now to see how long we can go...just how many miles can I put on a 1999 Honda Civic?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 13: Good Sleep

Today I am grateful for the days that you sleep well.  I never realized how grateful you could be for sleep until I started working nights and had kids.  I used to have a hard time sleeping during the day in between night shifts.   I don't know what shifted this year but I sleep really well now, and very hard.  I am so grateful for those times.  I wake up and feel pretty good, I remember the weeks on end where you just feel like a zombie.  I am grateful that I have been able to adjust to this schedule and that my body no longer fights it. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day 12: Terri

Today I am thankful for my dear friend Terri.  We have been friends for almost 15 years and she is such a joy in my life.  Her endless smiles and whitty personality makes her so much fun to be around. She reminds me to take pleasure in the simple things and treasure that which is close!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 11: Freedom

Today I am thankful for my freedom.  Today is Veteran's day and I got me thinking about exactly what we are observing.  I am thankful to those who have chosen to, or haven't argued with,  defending our country and our way of life.  Some have payed the ultimate price, or sacrificed damn near, to preserve the America that we know. I am grateful that I can choose to spend my life doing whatever I want to.  I can own whatever I want to, I can believe whatever I want to and be free to be who I am.  These choices aren't always the most popular in society but they are our right as Americans to seek our own path.  I am grateful for that!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Day 10: Lisa

Today I am thankful for a wonderful woman in my life. Lisa came into our lives about two and a half years ago and has made it better ever since. I found her name and number on a bulletin board at work when I was looking for some help with my domestic duties. I called her and instantly connected with her, invited her over to my home for an estimate and immediately felt at ease and her presence. Lisa cleans my house every week, loves on my kids, showers them with gifts, loves their homemade cards and pictures, buys my dog special treats and genuinely wishes well for my family. She has taken so much stress and disagreements out of Heath and my marriage, and has made me be able to be a lot more intentional about my time. I am thankful for every Tuesday, and look forward to when I hear her pull up and my dog starts going wild. She is a wonderful woman and has been a blessing to our lives.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 9: My Mom

Today (as with everyday) I am grateful for my mom. She gave me life!  She loved me and put my needs ahead of her own every time (something I am still struggling with as a mom).  She continues to prioritize my needs and above all we have a great relationship!   Today she helped me paint our new bedroom, she fed my kids, took Annabelle to school and picked her up, and gave me the time and space that was needed to get the job done.  Her acts of love are endless and her admirable qualities are plentiful. I only hope my children can say one day that I am half the woman their Grammie is!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Day 8: My Job

I am thankful for my job, not the work itself  (that's reserved for another post) but today made me very thankful for my location of my work. I love how close it is to my house, the facility itself is beautiful, and the people I work with are amazing! I have so many friends there that are truly amazing people.   What makes me grateful today was coming out to my car after a 12 night shift and finding my windows scraped and "Have a great day etched into one window".  What wonderful people!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Day 7: Friends

Today I am grateful for friends.   I have all kinds of friends. ..close friends, periphery friends,  work friends,  Facebook friends and family friends.  I am blessed to have each one of these people in my life because each one brings me something new or adds a different gift to my life. I am grateful to have such a wide array of people who make the rainbow of my life so beautiful! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Day 6: Husband

Today I am very grateful for my husband.  He is an amazing man.  He works so hard,  studies his butt off, never complains about me working or taking time for myself, is a weekend warrior and represents all of us at family events held on the weekends.  Annabelle is sick this weekend and I did not worry leaving her with Heath for one second.  He is an amazing father, friend and husband.  I love you Heath.  Thank you for choosing me...over and over and over again!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day 5: Healthy Kids

Today I am gratefulI for healthy children.   Usually my children are very healthy and even when we do get a bug, it passes through quickly.   I am very thankful that I do not have children that are constantly sick or have a chronic illness. I would really struggle with that. I am very grateful for those  blessings.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Day 4: Evolving Faith

Today I am grateful for my evolving faith.   The spiritual spoke on my wheel of life hasn't always been the strongest, but I am so grateful for the path I am currently on,  the people who have been placed in my life, and for the peace I feel when I pray.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Day 3: My City, Longmont

Today I am grateful for my town. Longmont is a great family city with the friendliest people as a whole I have ever met. It has wonderful facilities, schools, neighborhoods, people, resources, shopping, and the view's are the best in the entire front range in my opinion. We are close commute to Denver, close to Loveland and Fort Collins.  I am continually impressed everytime I go out shopping, go to an event, or sign my kids up for classes. Everyone is always so friendly and nice and down to earth. I foresee a long future in this town and feel like it is a wonderful place to raise my children. I am so grateful that God led us here, provided a wonderful house, and has given me the strongest sense of community that I have ever felt.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Day 2: My Health

Today I am grateful for my health.  There are tons of people who are stricken with poor health, either from their own choices or from opportunities given to them.  I  by no means the healthiest person I know, but I am so grateful for my level of health.  I have no chronic pain, no debilitating diseases, no reason why I cannot choose to be healthy.  I have my struggles and my deck that I was dealt but I am grateful I have choices and there are many options.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day 1: My Life

Today I am Thankful for my life.  I am grateful for being able to get up everyday, in a warm house, with indoor plumbing, able to walk up and down my stairs, go to our fridge with food in it, have power of choice, opportunities and choices of how to carry out my day.  I am grateful for the ability to work, make enough money to support our life, and live well.  I am grateful God has given me a amazing husband, wonderful kids, a close nit family and tremendous friends.  I am grateful to be blessed to live in this wonderful state, and in this fabulous city.  I am grateful to be alive!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

One of those Mom moments

It amazes me when small life moments happen that make you realize everything is worth it.  These little people we call children are truly their own people but also a reflection of their parents.  They aren't always great reflections, or what we would want ( ) but other times we realize our kids are cool and really fun to be with.  Today I had one of those moments. 
Most mornings we choose some music to play for the morning.  Our choices are "honkey tonk" "booty shaking" or "children's music".  Today the consensus was "booty shaking".  Well, it couldn't be helped that mom was moving to some great beats.  The kids watched in amazement as mom shook her booty.  Logan is at the height of potty training and the timer went off so we rushed upstairs to sit on the potty.  After I got him set up, I come downstairs to see Annabelle (my shy child) having a dance party by herself in the kitchen.   I wish she hadn't noticed me so I could have watched her dance her little heart out!  I burst into laughter and couldn't have been prouder.  She's a cool kid!
I was pregnant with Annabelle when Pandora first came onto the scene.  It allowed us to listen to music that we wouldn't normally hear on the radio and stuff I wasn't normally exposed to.  Heath and I listened to quite a bit of "Ice Cream Paint Job" radio ( ).  I will still attest today that that child was dancing or more like it "shaking her booty" within me.  Those moves I saw in the kitchen today...all Annabelle!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I take no offense

As you can probably imagine, I have a lot of Facebook friends who are in the medical profession.  I have seen a lot of posts in the last few days regarding a Colorado nurse competing in the Miss America pageant, and now some comments regarding her talent portion.  I had no idea what anyone was talking about so I had to google both, and watched both clips for what they were.  I completely support everyone in their opinions and being offended.  I completely support any one who wants to boycott watching "The View".  I will not stop watching "The View" though because I doubt they would notice a drop in my ratings, since well, I have never seen it. I am also not offended by what Michelle Collins and Joy Behar said.  I think their comments reflect poorly on them, not on us and a profession as a whole.  I think it shows Joy's ignorance around what and who nurses are.  I for one consider the source for whom offensive comments come from.  I choose not to take offense when those opinions come from small people, making conclusions based solely on appearances, from a narrow world view. 
   I am secure in my status as just a nurse.  I feel proud to tell people what I do for a living.  I think the title "nurse" commands some respect in most incidences.  I believe that most of America feels the same way, and that is why we have seen such a backlash.  I get told almost nightly how respected my profession is.  There is no misunderstanding in my patients minds who is holding their hand, toileting them, treating their pain and calming them from their nigh terrors.  
A point that I don't believe has been talked about enough is how amazing Kelley Johnson was for her monologue.  The women of "The View" were making more fun of her "talent" than her as a nurse.  I was glad to see a professional women, compete to the best of her ability to get to such a platform.  She not only showed poise, but wrote something extremely eloquent, heart felt, funny and concise, delivered it to a worldwide audience without stumbling on her words, all in under 2 minutes.  I would like to see more beauty pageant contestants break out of the typical box and do something refreshing and unique.
Although I am not offended, I am very proud of a fellow beautiful Colorado nurse coming in 3rd in the nation.  I am also glad this has all happened.  I love seeing all the #nursesunite. Its about time something gets us as a community all fired up about what we do, and defend our profession.  "I'm just a nurse" minimizes us and I am glad to see us change the language around.  For that I am thankful.  Because that was exactly the point of the monologue in the first place!

Monday, June 1, 2015

10 Years Later

Ten years ago today the man of my dreams and I stood in front of 63 friends and family and took each other's hands in marriage.

I don't think either of us could have dreamed how good the life ahead of us would be. We are some of those rare creators that married life is truly better than single life.
Heath and I complement each other in almost every way. We rarely fight and when we do it would be better described as a tense discussion. We communicate well, we work well together, and we have really learned to speak each other's love language. Above all we are each other's best friends. We both want what's best for the other and often sacrifice our own needs to let the other have what the other needs. Ironically those things are often the exact same thing. We finish each other's sentences and start saying the same thing at the exact same moment. We are that annoying couple.

Heath bought me a bracelet many years ago with a saying I love. "To be rich in love is to be rich in life". We have been blessed with incredible families filled with love, admiration and respect. Both of our families get together often and it is so genuine an outsider wouldn't be able to tell who is blood and who is not.  

We have also been blessed with two amazing children. They are the most loving, kind, thoughtful, smart and hilarious children. We feel lucky to be their parents. They full our life with joy, and the future is so bright with possibilities.

Our house was hand picked for us and has turned into a beautiful home. It does not have the finest of things, but is filled to the brim with the finest of things. It is a restful refuge from everyday crazy life.

Today we chose to spend the day together. We started by family cuddles in our bed.
We made a large breakfast and packed up for a fun filled day.

We took a beautiful hike on a wonderful family friendly trail outside of Boulder. It was fun to stop and look at the flowers, bugs, rocks, and even found some scat and animal print (mountain lion?).

The weather was perfect with just the right amount of cloud cover and breeze. We stopped for a picnic lunch at the trailhead, and enjoyed our peanut butter and jellys with the sound of a stream and the smell of pine.

As our tradition, we revisited our site where we took our vows. Just as it was 10 years ago, beautiful blue skies with snow capped peaks in the distance. I have no regrets about being married in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Looked like a good spot to revist that wedding kiss!

We returned to Longmont and went to a new place for dinner. We had some great food and enjoyed some sweet company. Great way to cap the end of the day! 

I am so grateful for this amazing life that keeps unfolding in front of us. I can't even imagine what may lay ahead of us but can't help being excited by all of the possibilities!
Happy Anniversary honey. I love you so much and am so grateful to you and for this life! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Habit Vs Willpower

I read a cool quote not to long ago.

"The more things you can make into a habit, then the less you have to drain yourself using your willpower"
Gretchen Rubin

This quote really struck a nerve with me. I am constantly striving to make things into habits, so that I don't have to make sure I get them done each day, just one more thing on my to do list. Rather, I want to crave doing things.  I want to crave exercise and feel cruddy when I don't get it.   I want to eat healthy, crave kale, and want to want to eat less. I am finally getting into a habit of morning yoga/stretching and meditation. It is usually the first thing I do when I get up, and I do crave it now. I do absolutely notice the days that I don't get my practice in. This insight gives me hope that the more attention I give to having several healthy habits on my to do list each day will someday turn into a habit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Being That Person

I remember being a little girl and cuddling with my mom and how comforting that was. The smell of her hand lotion, the way she held me, the way she stroked my hair and back. Even if all was wrong with the world, or if I was horribly sick, somehow her presence was the best feeling in the world.
It struck me as I was putting my kids down to bed tonight and they were fighting over me to cuddle with them, I am that person to them. The way I comfort them, my smell, my presence is all comforting to these little beings. That is so powerful. I am that person to them. No matter how much I get frustrated, yell or mess up, they still want me and I am that person to them. Wow!

Monday, March 30, 2015

We Count

"Whatever coaxes us out of hiding, to write, record, and express, is a revolutionary act. It says that we believe our lives count: our lives do count." SARK

I came across this quote in my meditative reading this morning. It struck a deep chord with me. For a good portion of my life I knew I mattered to others, but I didn't count to myself. My journaling and this blog has really developed over the past few years and that is exactly the time frame that I have started to count, to me. I do things that are good for me, I put myself as a priority and make my voice heard because I and what I think and feel does matter. It matters to me! I'm not special, I don't deserve special treatment, but I count!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An Ode to Parents...

Parenthood took me by surprise, and continues to thrill me with new revelations.  I somehow walked into this incredible job without knowing a thing about how to raise a kid or what all the first 5 years of life entailed.  It has been a "short and steep road to enlightenment".  
One of the activities for my baby shower before my first child was born was to write out the best advice you could give a new parent.  I still love flipping through these cards because they hold such relevant sage wisdom from generations of women before me.  One of my favorites came from a very reliable source, my sister, who said "Trust yourself and your instincts.  No matter what other advice you get, you are that baby's mommy and you know what she needs".  I first read this card when I was nose deep in pregnancy and parenting books and magazines.  The advice is thick in those things.  Then for some reason when you’re pregnant (and even when you have small children) strangers take it upon themselves to give you countless stories and pieces of advice whenever they please.  It is a world-wind of amazingly true and great advice and downright junk!
I have remembered the words of my sister on countless occasions when I am questioning myself and if we are doing the right thing.  My oldest, my dear sweet daughter, has this innate ability to calm me when I am having a mommy melt down.  It started at my 20 week ultrasound.  A cousin of mine was pregnant at the same times as I was and was due 2 weeks prior.  Her status updates were a constant "What to expect next" chapter in my pregnancy.  We all take for granted that everything is developing along fine in there up until this point (as long as we have no major history, healthy weight gain and we can hear the baby's heart beat).  I had passed on all of the specialized tests because I knew in my heart that the results of those would in no way change how I felt about this baby or pregnancy.  Well my cousins’ appointment didn't go so well, and there were some major health concerns with her unborn child.  Those two weeks for me were agony!  I thought of every single what if, and let me tell you, since I am a nurse, there were a lot!  We walked into the ultrasound completely afraid of what my doctor could find.  The very first picture that we have of Annabelle in utero is of her giving us a thumbs up, like "it's ok in here mom, we got this"!  She has come through in flying colors every other time I need a chill pill since!
Today I had one of those moments that I was at a major crossroads and didn't know what to do.  I was trying to reach out to all of my resources, but ended up having to rely on my gut instinct.  Once again, Annabelle and I figured it out and made the right decision.  It suddenly struck me how true these words are, but not only for mommy's but for all primary care givers.  Whomever that child relies on to change their diapers, serve their meals, wipe their tears and noses, we are the ones who know them best.  We know every different pitch of a cry, we know their cry separate from everyone else's on the playground, we know every look and every expression.  I don't know if this connection and immediate sense of knowing what from what extends past toddler years, but I have to believe it does.  I know my little girl.  I know my son.  I know their hearts.  I know when they are really sick and can't tell me, and even when I say I don't know and am at a loss, somehow my presence, my smell and my simple touch is what they need.  It is an amazing feeling and an incredible honor to be a parent...I just hope that I can remember this perspective the next time my 2 year old son says "hey mom watch this"! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

January 2nd, 2015

It always amazes me how great I feel when I  put me first. When my needs and desires do not fall at the bottom of the priority list,  I am happier, healthier and have more to give. I need to make me a priority and make my needs known. Nobody is going to be my advocate. I am my own person and I matter!
What are some of your priorities? What are your needs?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Day 2015

January 1st, 2015
I can't believe it's already 2015!  I love the energy that the new year brings. I love that everyone is making goals and resolutions and is really focused on self improvement. My new year always starts on my birthday and gives me a head start.
This year's goal is to be present, mindful and have grace with myself... What's your goals?