Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monsters, Inc. 3rd Birthday Party

Yes, I am officially the worst blogger in the world.  I have two good excuses, though.

1.  Nick has been hogging the computer lately cause he is OBSESSED with a computer game.  Yes, I married a huge nerd!

2.  I am totally exhausted after work these days!

We had another big day around here.  My baby turned THREE!  I can't even believe it.  This year was sort of a milestone for me.  Last year, I was still too run down (and broke) to do a big party, so we just had family over for ice cream and cupcakes (which I just realized I never blogged!).  This year, I got to throw the party I wanted to be able to give my boy!  This also served as a good distraction from the fact that I am super sad that I haven't been able to make Nicky a big brother now that he is getting older, but that's for another post.

Nicky first saw Monsters, Inc. a few months ago.  For weeks and weeks after that, we had to watch it at least three to four times a day. He would wake up and the first thing out of his mouth was a request for "Mymowski and Sully."  When I asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted, his response was, "cake...ice cream...cupcakes!"  No help, kid!  So we went with a Monsters, Inc. theme. 

We had the party at an indoor bounce house place, Monkey Joe's.  It was soooooo easy.  They did a great job!  But you can't bring in any outside food at all except for the cake, and you can't hang tape anything to the walls.  So I had to get creative with the decorations.  It was such a fun theme!  And most importantly, Nicky had SO much fun!




I made Boo's door from a wood box and some other supplies from Michael's. For the backdrop, I covered two foam boards with streamers.

The kids have to wear socks to bounce, so I figured I would do a tray of Monster socks since I couldn't put out any snacks.  I found Monsters University socks on Zullily!
 
For the hard hats, I spray painted some plastic construction hats and mod-podged on the Monsters Inc. logo.

 Everyone got a Scare Floor ID card.


The scream cans doubled as the goody bags. 
 



The giant Mike balloon was a hit with the kiddos.

And the best part...the cake!  




Getting ready to blow out some candles! 

Did  I mention that he fell on his face the night before the party?  My poor boy! 

  



happy birthday banner: Monarch Paper Creation
birthday shirt: Lilly's Bowtique
invites/id cards/scarer of the month sign: Madness and Method Craft Boutique
scream cans: staples.com and etsy
lanyards for IDs, construction hats, and mini beach balls: Oriental Trading
polka dot platters: Dollar Tree



Thursday, June 26, 2014

One Year Post-Chemo-Versary!

Last Friday marked one year since my last chemo treatment.  And the beginning of getting my life back.  I just re-read this post for the first time since I wrote it.  It feels like an eternity ago.  It was by far the hardest thing I have ever been through.  Today, life is mostly just normal.  So blissfully normal.  Sometimes when I get stressed out about work, I stop myself to take a moment and just savor it.  Yes, I enjoy the stress.  It wasn't too long ago that I desperately wished for these normal problems.  Cancer does still cross my mind multiple times throughout the day, and I am still dealing with a lot of emotional issues.  I cry a lot, mostly out of relief.  But, overall, I am doing pretty effing awesome.  So far, I have been lucky enough not to have any lingering side-effects from the chemo with the exception of this stubborn steroid weight gain! There are still long term side effects that may pop up down the road.  When you're up against something like cancer, you have to learn to take life one day at a time, which has not been easy for the planner in me.  So I just keep reminding myself today I am cancer free and healthy...and for that I am thankful!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Yes, I'm Still Here!

So it's been awhile since I've posted.  And yes, everything is okay!  Better than okay, actually.  And that's why I've been so absent...I'm terrified!  I'm so scared to let my guard down and trust that this is behind me.  I'm scared that the life I so desperately wanted back will be taken away.  I'm scared of having to watch the world go on for everyone else while I'm too sick to do anything but lay in bed.  My scars are slowly fading, my hair is growing back...but I just keep waiting for the bottom to drop out again.  So I'm trying to conquer my fears and finally say it here...life is so good!

One of the biggest life changers that has happened...I am now a practicing attorney again!  For the first time since I was pregnant.  I was terrified that no one would ever hire me with my limited experience, health issues, and a young child.  But then, the perfect job fell into my lap...a friend from high school who is a paralegal at a firm here posted on Facebook that they were looking for help, and my past experience was a perfect fit for what they needed.  Two days later, I had a job offer.  Now, being able to buy a home by the end of the year is definitely an attainable goal.  I want a home of our own SO BADLY that it hurts.  Although I'm sad that I don't get to be with Nicky as much, keeping my mind busy has done wonders for my post-treatment anxiety. And the extra income allows us to do so much more than we could before.  We might actually go on a family vacation this year! 

So on that note, I will leave you with my attempt at a selfie to show off my new hair!  I was a bridesmaid for my cousin recently.  I was bald when she got engaged, and I remember worrying that I'd still look like a cancer patient at her wedding.  I'm so glad my hair has been growing in so quickly!  It's still way too short for me, but I'm starting to recognize myself a little more each day.





Monday, January 20, 2014

Baked Tomato Artichoke Chicken


Now that the craziness of the holidays are behind us, I've really been focusing on our diets.  Mostly to plan meals in advance and stick to it so we don't wind up spending money and eating unhealthy take out.  In the past two weeks, we only ate out twice.  One of these was already planned as Nick's Aunt and Uncle were in town so we met up with them for dinner.  And this past Friday, we decided to go for a pizza to get out of the house for some family time.  So I'm pretty happy with myself.  I went through pinterest to find some new ideas for easy and clean meals.  I even made a lasagna for the first time.  I'm Italian, but somehow I had never made a lasagna before!  I feel like I cheated using the no-boil noodles, but that was the only whole wheat variety that I could find at Whole Foods.

I also made a delicious Baked Tomato and Artichoke Chicken dish.  I was a little worried Nick wouldn't like the artichokes, but he loved it!
 

I started with this recipe, but made a few changes.  I used a can of drained artichokes (in water, not oil) and about half a carton of cherry tomatoes (that was what I had on hand and they were about to go bad).  I like my chicken breasts to be really thin, so I butterflied a couple bigger ones.  Then, I salt and peppered them and put them in the baking dish with the artichokes and tomatoes around them.  I drizzled some olive oil on top and then put it in the oven, which had been preheated to 350.  After about 30 minutes, I added some fresh mozzarella that I shredded myself and broiled it until the top was nice and brown.  I've been shredding all my own cheese after finding out that the pre-shredded has unnecessary additives that may be derived from tree bark that keep it from clumping!  I went to add some fresh basil once it was done as instructed in the original recipe, but apparently the fresh basil I put in my cart at the grocery store earlier that day did not make it home.  I'm pretty sure I have Nicky to thank for that!  I served it over some whole wheat pasta, and it was delicious!  There will be a lot of liquid in the pan, but it made a good sauce for the pasta.  I even used the leftover artichokes and tomatoes to make a delicious grilled goat cheese sandwich for lunch the next day.







Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Buddy Breast Check with Pampers And Pearls!

Pampers&Pearls
One of the main reasons I started this blog was so that other young women would realize that breast cancer can happen to us, too. Morgan at Pampers and Pearls has a great monthly link up to remind you all when it is time for your monthly self exam! Head over there to check it out and read my guest post!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014! FINALLY!

The worst year of my life has come to an end, and the shiny new year is here.  A fresh start for me to pick up the pieces and put myself back together.  I'm finally at a place where I can set some goals that aren't just "get through the day" or "make it to all three doctor appointments with a cranky two year old."  I'm done just surviving...and ready to start LIVING again!



1.  Get Healthy.

Not just lose weight, which I definitely need to do as there is a link between recurrence risk and extra pounds.  But I want this to be a lifestyle change.  We joined the Y (thanks to the assistance from their scholarship program!), and I have been going to Zumba class about twice a week.  Once I'm cleared to start working out again, my goal is to do some sort of work out 5 times a week.  I may even get really crazy and start a couch to 5k program if I can find a cheap jogging stroller.  As my breast surgeon put it at my last follow up appointment, last year my job was to get through treatment.  But this year, my job is to get healthy!

2.  Eat Cleaner.

Earlier, I posted about how I have gone organic and cut out processed food.  It's been going pretty well, but I need to step it up a notch.  We still eat out waaaay too much.  I need to be better about planning ahead for our meals and sticking to that plan.  And I also need to remember that it's not all or nothing.  If I can't get to Whole Foods, going to Publix is still better than not having any food in the house and having to eat out! 

3.  Buy a House!

We never anticipated that we'd be living in our tiny place this long when we first signed the lease almost two years ago.  But it looks like we will be re-newing again.  We've decided that the best thing for our family finances would be for me to file bankruptcy.  Even with "good" insurance, we still owe thousands and thousands in medical bills on top of the credit card debt we've had to incur with me not working another year.  Nick should still be able to qualify for a mortgage on his own though, so our goal is to buy a house by the end of the year.  Now that we won't be throwing good money after bad, we can hopefully start rebuilding our savings.  With this last surgery behind me, I hope to return to work soon.  Now I just need to find someone who wants to hire an entry level attorney who is five years out of law school!
 
4.  Get Organized!

When we moved from Orlando, we went from a 1700 square foot, 3 bedroom house to a 1000 square foot, 2 bedroom townhome.  For the same rent.  Gotta love the additional cost of living here!  Nick and I tend to be hoarders, but we are trying to get rid of more stuff and decrease the clutter.  Half of our garage is walled off (but not air conditioned) and that has been our laundry room and "throw the stuff you don't have a spot for" place.  It's a disaster of craft supplies, party stuff, and photography props and you can't find a darn thing in there.  It's also our office area, so all of our important paperwork is buried under there as well.  Nick finally got rid of his giant projection TV, so I am refinished a Secretary Desk I found on Craigslist to go in the space we now have so we can have a proper "office" area and a place for the laptop to call home.  Next on the list is finding some sort of organization system to finally give everything a spot!  I hate living in clutter.  And with our tiny place, we really need to be extra careful about staying organized.


5.  Never Ever Forget!

Don't sweat the small stuff.  Be grateful to be alive.  And somehow find a way to repay the kindness that has been shown to our family.  As my "cancer life" starts to fade away and normal life slowly returns, I want to be sure I don't forget what I have learned about life!



Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Birthmas 2013!

Christmas/my birthday was definitely more enjoyable this year!  We hosted both sets of our parents on Christmas Eve, and Nicky was so excited to have all four of his grandparents there.  Christmas Day was busy, but filled with lots of family.  We had our parents come back for breakfast and then we were off to see my extended family.  It was a great time, but I was beyond exhausted.  These surgeries really get the best of me when it comes to my energy levels.  Or maybe it's just because I'm an old lady now at 31!  One great thing about being a cancer survivor is that you will never get sad about growing old!

Santa stopped by after Nicky fell asleep :)

He loved all his toys!  He just wanted to keep playing with whatever toy he opened!

And five days later, I finally got around to taking our yearly Christmas tree picture.  (Here's last year's!)




Here is the picture from last year.  My baby is getting so big!