Hope

I have backspaced the first sentence of this post at least ten times. Struggling to find the perfect  right way to begin…

My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer about a year ago. Those of you who have been following me along, know that she also battles Multiple Sclerosis. I will never forget when she called me to tell me the news, that they had found a lump, and it was cancer. My first reaction: “Are you f****** kidding me?!” As if she hadn’t been through enough… What stage? How bad is this? Is it curable? Will you need a mastectomy? Will  you need chemotherapy? What is the prognosis? All questions we didn’t have answers to.

I remember going to her first appointment to meet with the surgeon and watching my Mom process the information. Trying to hold myself together to be strong for her, but falling apart as I watched her fall apart. Helpless. That’s how I felt.

Everything moved fairly quickly, and she was scheduled for a lumpectomy in June. Ultimately it was her decision as to whether she wanted a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and the surgeon was confident that her prognosis would be the same if she chose to have the lumpectomy.

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She was such a trooper and my sisters and I were so proud of her.

Soon after, we received the results from the lumpectomy and the news wasn’t what we were hoping for. They had found a second lump during the surgery and the samples taken from nearby lymph nodes revealed the cancer had spread. This meant she would require both chemotherapy and radiation. This was sort of a worst case scenario in a sense. The doctors ,including the oncologist didn’t know how chemotherapy would affect her MS or how her MS would impact the chemotherapy. The oncologist actually said she had never come across a patient requiring chemotherapy who also had active MS. My reaction to this, yet again, “Are you f****** kidding me?!” So we just wing it, cross our fingers and hope for the best? This is what I wanted to shout at the oncologist as she told my Mom this, but I bit my tongue and listened to what she DID know.

My Mom started chemotherapy in September. Over the course of six months, she would receive two different types of chemotherapy. The first: AC (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide), would be once every three weeks and the second: Paclitaxel, once a week. She lost her hair almost immediately. I think that was harder than she thought it would be. She told me she wanted to shave it, she didn’t want to see it fall out in clumps anymore. That night I went and bought a buzzer and went and shaved her head myself. To this day I am glad I did this for her.

The chemo was hard on her. She was quite ill, extremely exhausted, and her immune system was severely compromised. She didn’t leave the house for six months, unless it was to go to the hospital. Even something as simple as me bringing the kids by for a visit was limited, as the winter months brought many illnesses our way. Even the common cold could pose a real danger to her.

After six long months, she finally rang the bell at the cancer centre, signifying she had received her last chemotherapy treatment. I will never forget that sound…

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She started her radiation almost immediately and we knew she was in the home stretch. All scans came back clear indicating the cancer was gone and she was in remission. We all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

Last Friday, my Mom completed her last session of radiation (the treatment lasted 6 weeks, 5 days a week). I cannot begin to imagine the relief she felt walking out of the hospital that day. A fight that lasted almost a year, and a fight that will last a lifetime.

A hero is defined as “a person admired for courage”. My Mom is my hero. There is no stronger person than her, and I have never been more proud of her, than I am today.

To all of those out there fighting the battle, stay strong and never give up hope, you’re not alone.

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H. xo

A Look Back: A Gold and Pink Party for Everly

So this post is beyond late. Like 6 months late. Everly will be 2.5 years old on January 30th, so I figured it was time I share her 2nd birthday party with you. It’s so late on account of all the things that had been going on that kept me from blogging. Better late than never right?

For her second birthday, I decided to do a gold and pink theme, with a little bit of sparkle. She is such a little girly girl I thought it would be a perfect fit for her. I had so much fun planning all of the little details. It’s easy to say that now that I can look back on it and smile; but maybe if you had asked me at 1:30am the morning of, I may have said something else as I iced 60 cupcakes in my kitchen…

We decided to rent a hall for her party because we were expecting quite a few guests, I didn’t want to chance it incase it rained which would leave us cramming people into our house. (It’s a good thing we did, because it was pouring rain the day of her party.)

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Her birthday banner I made myself (I purchased the card stock from Michaels, as well as the gold polka-dot wallpaper.) The tassels I made myself. Each one is a single sheet of tissue paper. They were a little time-consuming to make (only because I needed quite a few of them), but they turned out great.

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The cake pops I purchased from Starbucks – they are a little pricey but the kids LOVED them. The pink cotton candy jelly beans I purchased from bulk barn. The cotton candy I purchased from a local business owner, it came in the containers and was around $1.50 per tub. Again, these were a huge hit with the kids. I added the gold sparkle tape around the tubs, which I purchased on clearance from Michaels. The chalk board easel I also purchased from Michaels, and the carnations were a pretty touch. The cupcakes I made myself, and dusted them all with some edible gold sparkles. I am really happy with how they turned out (well worth the effort – again, easy to say now).

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The loot bags and tags I purchased on clearance at Michaels and filled them with little trinkets from Dollarama. The sand buckets were for the littlest ones. The princess rendition of “pin the tail on the donkey” was also purchased from the dollar store.

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I tried to buzz around as much as possible to take pictures of all of the guests and kids playing together – it’s times like that I could really use a clone…

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How sweet is she?! I think my little cupcake had a great party.

Gifts for Him

I love Christmas and everything that comes with it. The only challenge I seem to run into each year, is finding the perfect gift for that special someone. My mom used to be the hardest person to buy for, but for the past couple of years, she has been creating a Dropbox and updating with ideas regularly – this makes things so much easier. Now the person most difficult to buy for is Steve. What does he need versus what does he want. Here are a few gift ideas for the special guy in your life!

Amazeballs $24.50 – Indigo

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Two times the power of square drink stones, they will keep your drink colder for longer. Made from food safe stainless steel, filled with a specially formulated food-safe glycerin gel that freezes without diluting your drink. Freeze for four hours and keep your drink cool for up to 45 minutes.

Nike + Fuelband SE $99.99 – SportChek

pSPCK1-19396574dtThis device is designed to track the intensity of workouts, counts steps, tell time, display your progress in real time, sync with your iOS or Android device, and it has Bluetooth. What a great way to track your activity – a great gift to go along with a New Year’s resolution.

The Nest Learning Thermostat $249.99 – Best Buy

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This fancy gadget is a sleek and intelligent heating and cooling system. This handy gadget quickly learns your habits in approximately one week, programming itself based on your schedule and preferred temperature settings – glowing blue for air conditioning, red for heat, and black if it is off. It has Wi-Fi Connectivity which allows you to access it from your laptop, smartphone or tablet to change the temperature, view whether or not you are saving energy and more! While connected to Wi-Fi, it can also monitor the weather to understand how the temperature affects your energy use.  It is a little pricey but it is designed to save you in energy costs in the long run.

 Lambswool Mockneck Sweater in “Oatmeal heather” $69.95 – The Gap

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I love this sweater. I had to include the photo of it on the model, because the photo of the sweater alone did not do it justice. It is 55% lambswool and 45% Nylon and is also available in a navy blue colour.

The North Face Etip Glove $45 – The North Face

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These warm, four-way-stretch fleece gloves are perfect for the chilly temperatures. They will not only keep his hands warm, they also feature a silicone gripper palm pattern to provide superior grip, allowing him to swipe and use his touchscreen device without exposing his hands to the cold. I love this idea!

Hopefully these ideas help with the shopping for the guy(s) in your life. Only 17 shopping days left until Christmas!

Plaid Squared

clearPlaid is a hot item in fashion this fall/winter. It’s funny how fashion trends come full circle. Right now there is a lot of 80’s and early 90’s fashion that has reborn in a more subtle and “fashionable” way.

When I was little, I had quite a few plaid outfits, so I made it my mission to find a few for Everly. I came across these two pieces that I had to have!

Joe Fresh $16

Joe Fresh $16

Old Navy $16.94

Old Navy $16.94

How cute is that dress? And the pants with the little zippers at the ankles? Too cute for words.

Of course I couldn’t stop there. I had to find something equally cute for Maxton.

Old Navy $19.94

Old Navy $19.94

Can’t wait to dress my two little ones in their little plaid get-ups!

Next came the hunt for a plaid shirt for me. I have tried on so many but always have a hard time finding one that is fitted through the body but still long enough in the arms. I finally came across one that I loved that fit great, and is nice and warm! It will look great with a pair of jeans and tall boots.

Old Navy $29.94

Old Navy $29.94

I also couldn’t resist this cute scarf after this blast of cold weather we’ve been having.

Old Navy $19.94

Old Navy $19.94

Last, but not least, Steve. There are A LOT of plaid options out there for guys. I had no problem finding something for Steve. I stuck with this find from Old Navy (if you haven’t guessed already I snagged all of these during an awesome sale) for him.

Old Navy $29.94

Old Navy $29.94

Stylish right? Why not add a plaid scarf for him too?

Old Navy $19.94

Old Navy $19.94

I plan on dressing the kids up in their plaid ensembles for their upcoming Santa photos. I think I may have to snag a family plaid photo just for a laugh!

Happy plaid shopping!

A Bushel of Apples

On Saturday we took the kids apple picking. Our mission was Honey Crisp, and the pickings were slim. We went a week after they were ready last year and it was the same story. They sure are a popular pick!

Maxton loved it of course – and was content walking from tree to tree as he chomped on a crispy apple. Everly also wanted to be in on the apple action, but kept choking on the skin, so I had to take it away. I am sure you can imagine how happy she was about that…CRANKY BABY.

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It’s amazing how quickly you move when you have cranky kids at your heels. We gathered MORE than enough apples for $24 for the bag. I have a lot of baking to do and Pinterest will be a big help with that!

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Happy picking to you all!