Thursday, September 23, 2010

Teal - My New Favorite Color!

H-A-T-E is a four letter word at our house - literally and figuratively. :) Just last week I said, "Oh, Clayton, I just hate that you scraped your knee..." He immediately stopped crying to chastise me with, "Uuuummmmmm..... Mama, you said a BAD word!"

My point is that I don't use the word "hate" lightly.

But, I double, triple, quadruple, times infinity HATE cancer!

It has robbed me of 3 grandparents, 2 coworkers, and several of my favorite pediatric patients.

However, there is one form of cancer that, until recently, I didn't know much about.

On July 15th, a sweet friend came over, sat on my couch, and said, "Sarah, they think that I have ovarian cancer." We cried together and I hugged her and assured her that everything would be okay. But, on the inside, I was terrified for her.

I have to admit that I kinda "checked out" during the gynecological cancer lectures in nursing school. I knew that I wasn't planning to specialize in Women's Health. Also, I was 22 years old and the median age for the diagnosis of ovarian cancer is 63. The young and stupid version of myself filed that away under the long list of Things That Will Never Happen To Me...

However, it did happen to my dear friend. This friend is in AMAZING shape. She is 30 years old (4 months younger than I am!), and worked out pretty much daily before she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She is in tip-top shape, which is why there is no doubt in my mind that she will beat this! She has handled MAJOR abdominal surgery, her first 2 rounds of chemo, and loosing her hair like a champ. She is such an inspiration to me! I'm in awe of her grace and strong spirit even in this trying time.

When my pal was diagnosed, I did what any good modern woman would do in this day and age - I read anything and everything that Google had to offer. For hours and hours I read about treatment plans, symptoms, risk factors, prognosis, etc. There was so much that I just didn't know!

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness month. Since ovarian cancer, in particular, is near and dear to my heart right now, I will focus on that form of cancer. Here are a few facts:

  • Ovarian Cancer is called the "silent killer" because its symptoms are often vague and subtle. My pal now realizes that she had symptoms for 2 years before diagnosis, but never felt that any one symptom was enough cause for concern to see a doctor. Like the rest of us, she was so busy taking care of everyone else, that she put herself last when it came to health care as well.
  • One of the ways to make sure that ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, is to stay current with your annual exams. Those appointments are never fun, but they are definitely necessary. They truly could save your life!
  • Report any unusual bloating, weight gain, or stomach irritation. If you are remotely concerned, tell your doctor! It's better to be safe than sorry in this case, for sure. I read that ovarian cancer is often misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome in its early stages. So, be aware of that, and seek a second opinion if need be.
  • There is no good blood test to diagnose ovarian cancer. The CA-125 test is a good marker, once someone has been diagnosed, to track their body's response to chemo. But, it is not useful for diagnosis. Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed through sonograms, CT scans, etc.
  • The chosen color for ovarian cancer awareness is TEAL. :) There is an organization called Teal Toes that encourages women to paint their toenails teal to spark conversations about ovarian cancer. I'm an sporting a lovely shade of teal right now and I love it! I am not really one to go for funky polish colors, so it definitely stands out to me. Every time that I catch a glimpse of my toes, I am inspired to say a prayer for my friend and all the other women who are battling ovarian cancer. Several friends have asked about my toes as well, and that has spurred on some good talks about symptoms and detection. What a fun way to spread awareness!
  • If you live in the DFW area, this Saturday is the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's DFW Chapter's 10th Annual Run/Walk to Break the Silence of Ovarian Cancer. (Whoa - try saying that fast 3 times!!!) My friend is heading up a team that will be participating. The link to participate or donate is Please contact me if you would like to join or donate specifically to my friend's team and I will get you the information. I have a previous commitment (that will also be super fun!), but I am bummed that I don't get to participate.
I hope that this post brings ovarian cancer to the forefront of the minds of each and every woman reading this. Please, please seek medical attention if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms. Also, please continue to pray for my friend as she fights this disease. She is tough, energetic, and amazing. I wish that each and everyone of you could meet her and see how crazy strong she is. I couldn't be prouder of her!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Clayton - Version 5.5

Today is Clayton's half birthday. :) He is over the moon thrilled that he can now officially declare himself to be 5 and a half. Something about that 1/2 is a BIG deal at this age. Ha!

At 5.5:

* Clayton's favorite color is blue. Orange had a good run, but it has officially been replaced by the color blue.

* He told me that his favorite animal is the Komodo Dragon. Ummm, k...

* He LOVES all things related to Science right now. It is so funny to me! He begs for us to get him a microscope and could spend hours on the science aisle at Hobby Lobby. He will pack his little rolling suitcase full of "science" types of items and haul it all over the house. He wears his Batman winter gloves around the house as he "does experiments." Ha ha!

Last week he was telling me about how much he likes science and he said, "Clayton's my name and science is my game!" The kid cracks me up....

* Hand's down, my very favorite thing about the summer is that it brings out the most adorable freckles across my Clayton's nose and cheeks. Ugh - they just kill me!
* Clayton is an extreme extrovert. He is hardly ever shy and is always trying to make people laugh. Such a ham...
* His favorite TV shows are Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, and the Electric Company. He is still a Word Girl fan, as well. He used the words "dubious" and "awkward" in context over the last few weeks. Thank you, PBS Kids. :)

* Clayton's favorite part of the day at school is recess (of course!). He says that they have a "bug club" and they spend their time outside looking for bugs or playing tag. He said that he is the "chief of the bug club." Oh, to be a fly on the wall while my little monkey is interacting with his classmates... :)

* His other favorite subject is Math. He really likes Geography, too.

* He still dresses up in costumes pretty often, but he rarely pretends to be a superhero or fictional character. He is more likely to be an "Army guy", doctor, scientist, policeman, etc. Every once in awhile, he comes up with a Clayton original...

Pirate hat, bandana, 80's glasses, his nanny (aka security blanket) around his neck with a chip clip, a winter vest, a western belt, white socks and black dress shoes. What a mess!

Playing Spy :)
We went to the grocery store this afternoon, and I told Clayton that he could pick out a cupcake to eat after dinner. He asked if he could have a little mini pie instead, because he "isn't a big fan of cake." So, a half birthday pie it was!
Clayton was quick to point out today that he is now closer to being 6 than he is to being 5. He loves to rub it in that he is getting older. He knows that he will always get a reaction out of me with that kind of talk. :) As much as I wish that he would stay little forever, it sure is fun to watch him change...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

School Daze

So far, I am loving Clayton's little school! The drive is, by far, the biggest drawback. It takes me 25-35 minutes each way. That means about 2 hours in the car on the days that he is on campus. No bueno! It is a pretty drive, at least, and I don't have to go through a single school zone to get there or back home. It's just going to take some getting used to, I guess.

His school is very structured, which I appreciate. Mrs. Lane sends home an assignment sheet in his folder on Mondays and it has all of the material that they will cover in class in one column and the material that we are to cover at home in another column. I have had LOTS of questions, which Mrs. Lane has been very kind to answer via email. There has been some education jargon that I have had to learn, but I am muddling through. :)

I am from a long line of teachers, Wade has lots of family members that are teachers, and some of my dearest friends are teachers. I love teachers! I have always had the utmost respect for teachers. But, I'm here to tell you, that after a few weeks of homeschooling my own kid part time, I have an even deeper respect for educators. It's a tough job!

I spend lots of time researching and planning out our days (using Mrs. Lane's assignment sheet as my guide). And don't get me started on trying keep that little monkey on task! I tried to just plow through all of our work on the first day by taking minimal breaks. Big mistake! Clayton kept saying, "My hand is hurting, Mommy. I just can't color anymore." Maybe I pushed him a little too hard... :)

I've learned from that, and now we spread out our day a little better. Rookie mistake, I guess. I'm also trying hard not to project my perfectionistic tendencies onto the little lad. Clayton hates to color - he always has. He has trouble staying inside the lines and colors the entire picture with one color. It makes me twitch a little to watch him color. :) But, he is a Kindergartener and he's a boy, for Pete's sake. I gotta let it go...

Here's a few pictures of our school days at home...

Clayton on our first at home day (8/24/10)
Working hard...
Keeping Drew engaged in his own "school" stuff is always my biggest challenge.
Our School Room (aka the back portion of the playroom)

This is definitely a new experience for all of us, and so far I am enjoying it very much. It challenges me in a whole new way... I am selfish and impatient. Teaching Clayton has definitely brought out those flaws. It has been a huge adjustment and required sacrifices from all 4 of us. I just pray that it will continue to be a positive experience.

One last story, that will illustrate my ignorance, but is too funny not to share. Last week, Clayton brought home a worksheet where he had written lots of lowercase o's under a picture of an octopus. I noticed that he had put what appeared to be a small u above each o. I thought in my head, "Poor baby. Learning vowels vs. consonants has confused him and he mixed up o's and u's." So, I questioned him, "What is this above the o?"

He replied, "Mom, that's a breve. It means that the o is a short vowel in the word octopus."

Um, yeah, I totally knew that. ;)

I told Wade later, "I knew that Clayton would be smarter than me one day, but he has already lapped me and it is only the second week of Kindergarten. I'm doomed!" Ha ha!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Silliness :)

I have gotten very few good pictures of the boys together lately. Getting them both to smile {naturally, of course!} and look at the camera at the same time is next to impossible.

Sometimes, I get a decent one...
But, I get a whole lot more that are pure silliness!

Heaven, help me! These monkeys are crazy. :)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Kitchen Redo

I love having parties at our house for many reasons. One of those reasons is because it forces us to get our rear in gear and check off some home improvement projects that have been on the "to do" list for months.

In the weeks before Holly's shower, we (okay, okay, mostly just Wade!) did some work on our kitchen. We painted the walls a beautiful shade of blue-grey. We had the hardest time finding the right shade of blue! We got 8 different colors of test paint ($3 each), and finally went with the color that I had originally picked out. Ha! It is Behr's Shale Grey, and I love it!

Wade enlisted our buddy, Todd, to help him do crown molding as well. Todd is super handy and has put up crown molding several times before. He was so sweet to help us out! Thanks, Todd! I lllllooooovvvveeee it!

Isn't my model cute???

I made a family rules canvas inspired by The Pleated Poppy. It was a booger to complete! In typical Sarah fashion, I did it the hard way. ;) I used scrapbook paper and cut the wording out of vinyl with my Cricut. It took foreva! But, now it is done and I am happy with it. It is not perfect, but I am calling it "shabby chic." That makes imperfections okay, right???
Our Rules:
* Put God first, and love Him with all your heart.
* Obey the first time, every time.
* Do everything with a happy heart.
* Always tell the truth.
* You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit.
* Manners are a Must
* Be grateful, not greedy. (My pal, Katy's, slogan!)
* Keep your promises.
* Give your guest your best.
* Never stop praying.
* Encourage your siblings, share in their joy.
* Chew * Swallow * Speak (Just realized that I spelled "swallow" wrong! Drats!)
* Accept "No" respectfully, and do not ask again. (We are working on saying "Yes, ma'am." when Mama says no, instead of complaining and arguing.)
* Forgiveness is Mandatory
* Share everything {except unkind words}.

So there you have it - my "new" kitchen! Thanks, Wade & Todd, for working so hard on it!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Shower for Baby Caroline

This past Saturday, we had a baby shower for one of my dearest friends, Holly. Holly is expecting Baby Caroline at the end of October, and I CANNOT wait for her sweet babe to get here! I just know that she will be precious. :)

Abbey, Leah, and I had fun planning a party for Holly & Baby Caroline. We had a great turnout and Holly got some wonderful, wonderful things! I think she is set now. All we need is a baby!

The Food Table
Leah made these super cute "bow-quets" with hairbows for Holly to start Caroline's bow collection. Such a cute idea!
Hostess pic with the Mama-to-Be
Many of the girls from our Sunday school class got to come.
I've known Holly since we were in high school, and I have always thought that she was a pretty girl. However, I think that she is absolutely stunning as a pregnant gal. It agrees with her, for sure!
In just a few months that baby bump will be gone, and Holly will be holding a sweet newborn. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Shapes, colors, and animal sounds - according to Drew

It's no secret that I am not the biggest fan of toddlerhood. 18 months - 2 1/2 is not my favorite. I tend to birth very strong willed children, which makes introducing discipline oh so much fun. Drew is definitely showing his stubborn and independent side these days. Ugh!

I will say that the fun part of toddlerhood is the fact that they are such little sponges at this age. It is crazy to me to think that at 18 months Drew only had a handful of words, and now (just 4 months later) he is learning his colors and shapes. It boggles my mind!


A couple of weeks ago, I got an email that Old Navy was running their jeans for $10 a pair. Clayton is so stinkin' skinny that I have the hardest time finding jeans that fit him. I have tried TONS of different brands. The Old Navy "slims" tend to work the best, even though he still has to cinch in the waist with the adjustable waistband.

With the great sale, I stocked up for the fall. I also got Drew a pair of 2T. When they came in the mail, I laid them down...
Let's take a closer look....
Um, yeah, there is less than an inch difference in the waist of my 5 year old and my 1 year old. And that is without cinching in the waist on Clayton's jeans. Ha!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Manna Bags

Our Sunday school class has recently started a little playgroup for the kiddos in our class. It has been fun to organize the activities and plan the fun. We have a sweet group of children, so they make the prep work worth it, for sure. :)

In August, I planned to make Manna Bags at our house. I had read about Manna Bags on my friend, Emily's, blog ages ago. I made a mental note, and finally got the chance to piggy back on her idea. (Thanks, Em!)

Big Kids
Caleb & Will
Somehow, I didn't get any pictures of Drew or Sadie, but they were there, too. :)

The concept of a Manna Bag is that you fill a gallon ziploc bag with nonperishable foods, toiletries, etc. and then carry it around in your car and give it to someone in need. The name refers to the Manna that God provided for the Israelites while they wandered in the desert. The sweet bread was provided every morning and was enough to sustain them for a day - no more and no less. By the same token, the Manna Bags that we made, provided food and drink for 1 day. I thought that it was a good lesson for our kids to learn about providing for those who are less fortunate.

Our bags included:
Antibacterial Handwipes
Nutra Grain Bar
Bottled Water
Peanut Butter Crackers
A Granola Bar
Beef Jerky
Can of Ravoili (The pop-top kind, that wouldn't require a can opener.)
A Fruit Cup

We also discussed individually finding tracts or a small Bible to include in each of the bags.

James 2:15-17 (NIV)
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.