Monday, December 7, 2009

Family photos arrived










Our family is a circle of strength and love. With every birth and every union, the circle grows. Every joy shared adds more love. Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.
~ Gena P. Bettis

It's a Wonderful Life

We have some friends that rent the Belcourt each year on the first Saturday of December and host a showing of "It's a Wonderful Life". There is nothing like seeing the original black and white version in the theater. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in some of their best roles. This event is hosted each year to kick off the holiday season, and also to raise money to give a Christmas to some children at Vanderbilt hospital who are battling cancer.

It's a great movie, great cause and a great day with friends.

Triple Birthday Party on Saturday

Josh's girls all have winter birthdays, so they usually just have a triple party for them. Emri was 2 on December 2nd, Anna Belle will be 6 on December 15th and Morgan will be 5 on January 24th. You add in Josh on November 30th and Chassi on January 1st and they pretty much celebrate for 2 months solid.

Saturday was the big birthday bash at our house. We did cupcakes so they could each have their own cake and candle. By the time the whole family gathers, and you add in a few friends it gets to be quite a gathering. I think a very good time was had by all.

Happy Birthday to the girls!
video

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Getting ready for Christmas

I've done quite a bit of shopping online this year. Amazon is pretty hard to beat with their no tax and free shipping. I've been so busy at work I haven't had much time to go shopping during the week, and the weekends have been packed as well.

Here are some of my favorite online sites this year:
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.femailcreations.com/
http://www.wishingfish.com/
http://www.prettygoodgoods.com/
http://www.gypsyville.com/
http://www.mpix.com/
http://mysilpada.com/maryann.freidin

Happy Birthday Josh

Josh turned 26 years old on November 30th. Here's a picture of Josh and Chassi.


I love you Josh - thanks for being a fabulous son. I am proud to be your Mom.

Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at our house this year. The day started off with Jenni making her famous french toast breakfast. We feasted on this while watching the Macy's parade on TV. Anna didn't understand why we couldn't just drive over and see the parade. We will have to make sure and get her to a Christmas parade next year.

Anna and Morgan had a great time helping Aunt Jenni make homemade apple pies. They each got to make their own and they were so proud and couldn't wait to share them with the family. Emri was very excited with all the food around, she loves to eat!

My whole family was able to be here, as well as Bryan's parents. It was a great day of fabulous food, family stories, laughter and love. None of us have had a perfect year, but we all have lots to be thankful for. Being able to be together to celebrate is one thing we should never take for granted.

Deanna went to Henderson to spend Thanksgiving with Dan's family. Dan is still in Iraq until the spring. It's great to be able to talk to him on facebook, but we sure wish he was here with us. We are so proud of him!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Family photos


We had family photos done last Sunday afternoon. My friend Katherine's brother Mark http://www.cafierophotographers.com/ started a nationwide business called Family Tree Photography www.neversaycheese.com and they have recently franchised with Costco.

Family Tree wanted some families to help them kick off the Nashville area, so we gladly agreed. Here is a preview of the photos taken that day. In addition to our family - it shows the Martino, Spears and Gossett families. http://www.sixpeeps.com/SHOWIT/NashvilleSHOW/ . As you can tell, Emri's forehead was down to a purple bruise by Sunday. Also I'm thankful I had an apple in my bag, or we would have never gotten a shot of her. She is about to turn two years old and wasn't really excited about standing still for photos. She was much more interested in gathering rocks, leaves and exploring the park.

We know several great photographers in the area, in addition to Family Tree. Here are a couple I recommend:
http://www.denisealexanderphoto.com/
www.allenclarkphotography.com

Of course I can't say this without mentioning Jenni and Bryan, who are also amazing photographers, although they do more nature and inanimate object photography.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bruce Springsteen

On Wednesday, Joyce and I went to the Sommet to see Springsteen and the E Street band. The show was fantastic. The band still has so much energy and soul. It's hard to believe that Bruce is 60 years old and sings and plays full-out for almost 3 hours. Also Clarence, post bypass surgery, is still amazing the crowd with his saxophone every night. Of course, then I have to stop and remind myself of how old I am and then they don't seem so old at all.

Springsteen's music is part of the soundtrack of my life. I can't hear Pink Cadillac without thinking of summer camp and the year that song was released. We must have played it a thousand times - probably on our cassettes or 8 tracks.

At the end of every show Bruce takes requests from the audience. Here is his rendition of Santa Claus is coming to Town; it is one of my favorites.
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=app_2392950137&ref=profile&id=637326121#/video/video.php?v=183448791121
Thank you Joyce for being an awesome friend and for a fabulous night out!

Mammogram recommendations

I've had several people ask my opinion on the newly released recommendations for mammograms. I say IGNORE them! There are so many women who are alive today because of self-exams or mammogram detection of their cancers. The task force that is making this recommendation does not even include an oncologist.

The American Cancer Society, MD Anderson and many others are already voicing their opposition to this recommendation. My advice is keeping doing those self exams, having mammograms and seeing your doctors. It saved my life, and it could save yours too!

Here's the article from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/16/mammography.recommendation.changes/index.html

Emri

Just to reassure those of you who were worried; Emri is ok. By the next day it was only a purple spot on her forehead. She was watched closely and is fine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family photos?

We are hoping to get some family photos done tomorrow. It is so hard to get all of us together in one place and coordinating time and clothes for 8 makes it even more of a challenge. Friday, all seemed to be falling into place. I found a day we could all work into our varied schedules, everyone has coordinating clothes ready - it was all looking pretty promising.

Then I got a text from Chassi with a photo of Emri who had just fallen and hit her head. She hit the edge of the living room chair and has a pretty big knot. Oh well...7 out of 8 people will be fairly bruise free.

Trip to Henderson

I took Friday off from work and headed to Henderson with Linda and Lisa. We attended the Alumni banquet where Dad received the "Henry and Ruby Dodd Award". This award is given to someone who has dedicated their lives to service to the school and community. My Dad fits that bill perfectly; he has over 50 years of service to Henderson and Freed. The Dodds were friends of his and my Mom's for many many years. Their children were very happy to see Dad get this award, and of course we were very proud of him as well. Love you Dad!

On our way out of town this morning, we stopped at the Pied Piper 40th reunion. We watched a Piper show and got to see Kell Lee, her precious daughter and husband. After the show Kell was telling stories about growing up with the various Piper troops. Her Mom, Joy, was my pre-school teacher and her Dad, Hank, ran the theater department when I was growing up - they were fabulous people.

Dinner with Henderson girls

I had dinner with Joyce, Elizabeth, Angeline and Linda at Cheddars the other night. We do not get to see each other nearly enough, so when we do we have a great time giggling and catching up on all craziness in each others lives. I think we may have to start monthly girls night out!

Just a cold...

This has been a long week. I had a bad cold most of the week, but I was very thankful it was just a cold and not the flu. I worked from home on Wednesday and stayed in my pajamas with my kleenex box beside me all day. Thank goodness my conference call did not have video. I tried to get plenty of rest and fluids when I wasn't working and that seemed to really make a difference. I am feeling much better already.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cold and Flu season

I woke up feeling tired and achy this morning. Bryan and I have both had a cold this past week, but we were attributing that to the weather change and sinus. Since I've been exposed to the flu twice recently, once at work and then again with Jenni, I decided to go get checked out. I went to the minute clinic in Franklin before dinner tonight. The NP there said I could be having early signs, so she gave me some tamiflu to have just in case. I am supposed to get plenty of fluids and rest. If I start running fever, then it is the flu and I have to take the meds and stay home.

After the minute clinic, we went on to dinner with Josh's family, and I kept my distance. They had just returned to town from a weekend of hiking and camping the Cumberland trail. The girls were very excited and had lots of stories. Emri had stayed with Chassi's sister and she was glad to be back with her sisters.

Quick trip to Chattanooga

I headed out Friday afternoon to Chattanooga. Jenni was diagnosed with the flu on Wednesday and was feeling awful. They told her it was too late to give her anything except cough meds, she just had to ride it out with Tylenol and rest. I did Jenni's grocery shopping, changed her sheets and made her some spiced tea and cookies. Her fever is gone, and it will just take her a while to get her energy back. I felt better just seeing her, and I think she was glad to see me as well. I headed back on Saturday. It was a beautiful drive to Chattanooga and back, the leaves are changing and the traffic was not bad.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thrive dinner

Tuesday we had my workout group and their families over for dinner. Everyone brought a delicious dish and it was great to celebrate our accomplishments. Each one of us made great strides in our 10 week wellness program. I can't believe no one thought to take pictures.

I had lost most of my upper body strength after my surgery last year, so the fact that I can do push ups at all is pretty amazing.
Here were my end results: lost 7.3 lbs of body fat, gained lean muscle mass, increased my push ups by 13, dropped my BMI by 1.3, my resting heart rate improved as well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sad day

I grew up with Tina and Brad Graves, they were high school sweethearts - grew up, got married and had two beautiful children Mallerie and Heath. Their daughter Mallerie was a beautiful 17 year old girl, and looks like the perfect blend of her parents. She was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been at St. Jude since March. In April she received a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor. I've been keeping up with what is going on through Mallerie's caringbridge blog and through Judy, one of her cousins. Mallerie has had a very tough time and Tina has not left her side since she was admitted. Brad has been going back and forth and trying to keep things as normal for Heath as possible. I am sure neither of them have had a restful nights sleep since this all began.

Early this morning, Mallerie lost her battle with this disease. I am heartbroken for Tina, Brad, Heath and everyone who loved her. I know Mallerie is in God's arms right now, and she is ok. I also know God will take care of everyone who loved Mallerie, but it will be a long journey ahead. Please keep this family, and everyone who loves them in your prayers.

Great Fall Recipe


WHITE CHICKEN CHILI
5 cans rinsed navy beans
15 oz. rinsed hominy
14 oz. salsa verde
1 onion,

chopped1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Tabasco or to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), baked in oil, salt & pepper, and cumin @ 350˚/20 minutes . . . cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sour cream
Garnish : cilantro, pico de gallo and avocado


In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened. In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, salsa verde, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper and half and half. Add beans, hominy, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.
Serves 4 to 6.

Delicious!!

Annual Halloween at the Spears




It's become an annual event to celebrate Halloween with the Spears. Mike morphs into Uncle Gerald at some point and entertains us with song. This year Geritol (aka Sophie) joined him for the night. Elijha made the perfect Harry Potter, Anna was a ballerina and Morgan was a chicken. They trick or treated in the neighborhood and came back loaded down with candy.

As usual we were well fed with Sandy's usual fabulous ground beef chili, and this year she also made some white bean chicken chili that was delicious. We also had jalapeno cornbread, grilled cheese, hot dogs and some sinful desserts.
`
We missed Jenni this year, she and Molly went to a music festival in New Orleans. She's dressed as Pebbles Flintstone - hopefully I'll get a photo.

Dad and Sherry arrived home safely


Dad and Sherry have been on a cruise to Italy and other ports in the Mediterranean for the past couple of weeks. They arrived safely back in Nashville on Friday evening. Actually they arrived about 3 hours earlier than their bags did, so I took them some dinner and Dad and I went back to retrieve the bags while Sherry rested. They had a really good trip and I think Sherry even got blessed by the Pope, while Dad was out trying to get their Vatican tickets.

Saturday all of us that could, gathered at Cracker Barrel to welcome Dad and Sherry home and hear about their trip. Sherry's daughter, Kim and her family joined us as well. It's always a bit of a circus when we are all together, but we had a great time. We are all glad they are safely back home in America.

Halloween at work


Friday we had a Halloween contest at work. Belinda already had planned on being Glenda the Good Witch, so the rest of our department joined in to round out the theme. There were a lot of great entries. Our department won 2nd in the best group category. I'm really not sure how much work actually got done that day, but I think everyone had a great time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oncology office visit

I had another of my every 3 month check ups with Dr. Peacock. She was very pleased with my blood work and exam, and also that I am exercising. My next check up will be in January and she wants me to have a bone density scan before I come in to see her. Chemo tends to thin out bones a bit, so she just wants to get a status check on mine. I am taking calcium, vitamin D & E and she wants me to stay on those from here on out. I am lucky and thankful not to be on any daily prescription medications.

Thank you God for another good check up!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thought for the day...

Live one day at a time...
and make it a masterpiece!

Unknown


Artisan Fair

Saturday was a beautiful, brisk fall day. It was too pretty to stay in, so my friend Sandy and I decided to visit to a couple of art fairs. One was in Edgehill Village, a cute area with lots of artsy shops and decadent desserts and coffees. Colleen Whitver, one of my kids favorite teachers, had a booth at this fair. Colleen has a business called Invintage. Her art is taking vintage and antique jewelry; and then restoring and reinventing them into wearable works of art. I found some adorable WWII era jade earrings that Jenni will absolutely love. She will be even more excited because they were handcrafted by Colleen.

Next stop was the University School of Nashville. They have a yearly exhibit called Artecletic, with lots of art vendors set up in their gym. A portion of the proceeds go to the school. Sandy's friend John, who does beautiful pottery work, was there. I have one of his bud vases and it was great to finally meet the artist himself.
http://www.johnsellberg.com/ I wish I had his talent!

Later in the day, I kept Emri so Chassi could work on cleaning out her garage. A two year old is not much help in matters of cleaning. We had fun playing, although she really prefers being with her "Bop" over me. That evening Bryan and I took Emri and met Chassi, Anna and Morgan at Mellow Mushroom for dinner. Josh was away for the weekend hiking the Appalachian trail.

All in all - a great Saturday!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Red Cross Instructor Course

I grew up with Red Cross courses. Sylvia Harris was our local Red Cross instructor. I took Red Cross swimming lessons each summer beginning at age 5 and going through age 17. My mom was not a swimmer, so she made sure all her girls knew how to swim. She used to say, she wanted us to know how to save her if she fell in. I remember to get my lifeguard badge we had to rescue Sylvia in with her resisting us the whole time. I think I weighed 98 lbs at the time. Wow, that was a battle! I think I was underwater the whole way to the side of the pool, but I made it. She passed me with one restriction - no lifeguarding in the ocean. Alas, at that moment my hopes of being a future Baywatch Babe were dashed! :)

Last week I became a Red Cross Instructor myself. It was 3 long days of Instructor training. We had homework each night and had to do a lecture and a couple of teach back sessions for skills. Our instructor was great and kept the sessions as lively as she could. There were 12 people in my class and by Thursday afternoon, I had bruises on my hands from doing so much CPR with all the teach back sessions.

I will have to ask my Dad to make sure he tells Sylvia of my accomplishment - I'm sure she will be proud of me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wedding weekend in Memphis

Bryan, Jenni and I headed to Memphis on Friday evening. We arrived about 11pm at the hotel, unpacked and had a midnight snack. Lisa, Linda and her boys arrived a couple of hours later. I'm not sure Jenni has ever been to Memphis. Saturday we went to eat at Hueys downtown, walked around the Peabody, Beale Street, saw Sun records and showed Jenni where we used to live. Josh's family was not able to join us this trip - they are battling the flu at their house. We will have to plan a trip to the Memphis zoo with them in the spring.

Saturday evening we met up with family for our cousin Megan's wedding. The wedding was beautiful and Megan made a gorgeous bride. The reception was held at the Memphis Water Works, which is a great location. There was fabulous music provided by the Medders band (minus Carson-the groom) and the food was warm and delicious. It was great to get to see and hang out with all my cousins, aunts and uncles. Congratulations Megan and Carson!

We stopped by Graceland on our way out of town on Sunday. The lines were long to tour the mansion, and the gift shops were busy. Jenni is only 21, and she was amazed by the whole Elvis phenomenon. They have one shop, completely devoted to the 1968 Comeback Special. She kept saying "all this for one guy?". I guess it is hard to imagine, when you are her age. We had lunch at the diner and then headed back to Nashville.

Great weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dr. Whitworth visit

I had yet another follow up appointment today at the Nashville Breast Center. I typically see Bea or Norma, Dr. Whitworth's nurse practitioners, for my routine follow ups. I usually start getting nervous about the time they bring me to the exam room. Thankfully Bea came in right away, did my exam and gave me the all clear. She even said I can wait 6 months this time between appointments because I am doing so well. Of course, that is with the understanding that I continue to see Dr. Peacock every 3 months for an exam, x-rays and lab work.

After my appointment, I walked over to visit my former work area (oncology unit). There are only a few staff members still there from my days at Baptist. It was great to see Sherry, Juanita, Michael and catch up a bit with them - they all looked fabulous. It's hard to believe I've been gone from there for 10 years. I promised to come back and visit again soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fabulous friends

I am fortunate to have grown up in a small close knit community. I have many friends that have been in my life for as long as I can remember. Kim is one of those friends. We are the same age, and she grew up 3 doors down from me. She came up this past weekend (with her new husband Larry) to join us for the Komen walk.

Saturday night Kim, Larry, Bryan and I went to dinner downtown and then walked over to see the Max Headroom Band on 2nd avenue. If you grew up during the 80s, you would love Max Headroom. They put on a fabulous show and play all the biggest hits from that era. Tommy Holland, another Henderson native that I have known my whole life, plays in the band. It is always great to see Tommy as well.

Favorites

There were some fun and creative teams at the race on Saturday.

Here are a few of my favorite shirts, including the one from my team:













Great day at the Race

Saturday was the Komen Race for the Cure here in Nashville. The weather was a bit chilly, but thankfully the rain stayed away. We had over 40 people sign up for the "Fight like a girl" team this year. I had planned to get everyone together for a team photo, but it was a bit chaotic to say the least. I heard there were over 11,000 people there, which explains why it was very hard to gather everyone in one place.

This year was a much easier walk for me and I really enjoyed the day. I tried to make my way around and walk and talk with each person that I could find from our team. Except for you brave runners...I didn't attempt to keep up with you!

Here are just a few photos from the day.




Thank you so much for everyone that contributed or walked on Saturday, some here in Nashville and some in other areas.

Team members: Amber, Kathy, Beth, Nancy, Jewel, Stefini, Jane, John, Amy, Denise G., Katherine, Elizabeth, Rosalee, Isabel, Joyce, Jennie, Denise A., Elijha, Sophie, Mike, Lori, Clifford, Adelia, Deanna, Logan, Lauren, Abbey, Lara, Hannah, Chris, Shanell, Amy, Sarah, Lisa, Linda W., Franklin, Michael, Sandy, Kim, Larry, Linda C., Anna, Morgan, Emri, Josh, Chassi, Jenni, Bryan, Bob and Brenda.

I am very blessed to have each of you in my life!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

There are many forms of breast cancer, the type I had was triple negative breast cancer. October is breast cancer awareness month, and during this month all types of breast cancer will be discussed. With all types, early detection is critical. I was very fortunate to have found my cancer early, had this not been the case I probably would be facing a different scenario today. This site has some inspiring stories and also some heartbreaking ones of brave women who have also battled triple negative breast cancer.

http://www.tnbcfoundation.org/understandingtnbc.htm

Happy Fall!

Great Advice from my friend Kris Carr:

"Eat at home, prep organic meals, go for fall hikes, spend quality time with friends and family, turn off the TV and turn on life."


Monday, October 5, 2009

Komen Race for the Cure - this coming weekend!

“Fight like a girl” is open for registration! The Komen Race for the Cure is October 10th in Maryland Farms, and I would love for you to join the team. 

If you'd like to join:
Follow This Link to my personal page (personal page is for donations from people who cannot join us for the walk)
If you will be walking with us on October 10th - Click “My Team Page”,and then 
“Join the Team” 

Komen will send you a t-shirt, but if you want a supercute “Fight like a girl” shirt – you can order them here:
http://www.twochicksdesigns.com/Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Apparel_s/13.htm

Thank you for all your continued prayers and support!
Laura

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Great weekend in Chattanooga

Bryan and I went to Chattanooga to visit Jenni this weekend. She and Molly have a cute bungalow on Signal Mountain and it fits their personalities perfectly. We had lunch at Greenlife, walked around downtown and then had dessert at Mellow Mushroom and met some of Jenni's coworkers. Bryan and Jenni hiked to Signal Point while I took a quick afternoon nap. Then we all had dinner at the Terminal and walked around the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Then today Jenni and Molly took us to brunch at Aretha Frankensteins. It's a funky little cafe with delicious food. It reminded me a bit of the Red Bar in Grayton Beach.


Some of the girls friends are guides for Ocoee Rafting trips and offered to take us on a run with them this morning. We weren't really prepared clothing-wise for that adventure on this trip, and I'm not sure I am that brave either.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Her" Magazine

Her magazine here in Nashville, printed an entry from my blog in this month's issue, here is the link below:


Wear some pink this month and remind all the women in your life to do their monthly exams!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vitamin D

Dr. Law sent me the results of my latest vitamin D level today and I am in the normal range (42.4)! He wants me to continue my calcium and vitamin D daily, and have a recheck in 6 months to make sure I stay in range. The chemo was rough on my bones, so it's important they keep and eye on these levels.

Thank you God for good results!

Erma Bombeck

My mom loved Erma Bombeck. I remember us sitting around the table and mom reading Erma's column to us. Erma helped women learn to laugh at themselves and at all those crazy moments life has to offer. She reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously and to stop and smell the roses. One of my favorite books she wrote is "Motherhood: the second oldest profession".

Here is a poem she wrote when she was battling kidney cancer. You may have seen it a thousand times, but it is a great reminder. One of my girlfriends from high school emailed it to me today. Thanks Sherry!

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.'

There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.'

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it, live it and never give it back.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Work-Life Balance

Lately I have been letting the stress at work really get to me and I know this isn't healthy. I have to remind myself I can only do so much and I have to set limits. This will be much easier said than done. There are so many people I work with that seem to have no work-life balance. They rush to work, rush home to take their kids to ball games, rush through homework, put them to bed and then hop on their laptops and work until after midnight. I am not sure they even realize how much they are missing. If this is what it takes to be successful in the corporate world then I am not sure I want to sign up. I am a hard worker during work hours, but I think you have to draw the line somewhere and have a personal life. I have never heard of anyone on their deathbed that said "I wish I had spent more time at the office".

Every morning I remind myself to Let go and let God show me where I need to go and what I need to do to keep my life balanced.

One year ago...

One year ago this week I got my 12th (and last) chemo treatment. In some ways it does not seem like a whole year has gone by. Then I stop and think about it, and realize a lot has happened since that time. I went back to work full time, had my reconstructive surgery and my hair grew back. There are still have a few lingering side effects I'm dealing with, but they are not anything to complain about. I remind myself every day to be thankful and not take life for granted.


I appreciate your continued prayers and support.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friends, Modesty and Life

I have two friends that will be having biopsies in the next few days. I am hoping and praying that their results come back negative. I do not want anyone else to have to experience what I did last year. I was having lunch with one of them and she was talking about her first experience with wearing the paper shirt for the exam. My friend is pretty modest and was talking about how uncomfortable that was for her. I guess I had chosen to forget all about those early days when you are exposed over and over again for tests, biopsies, etc... I grew up with two sisters, so I never was overly modest to begin with. After a year of showing my chest to multiple doctors, nurses and radiology personnel, it doesn't even phase me anymore to take off my shirt or discuss my man-made chest with others. At my appointment last week I even discussed my nipples with the receptionist-- I guess most people would say my modesty is officially gone after that. : )

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 6 of Wellness Pilot

Today began week 6 of the wellness pilot. I have to admit, with all the stress last week I did not exactly stay on track with my eating. I did however get in my cardio and weights. I overindulged myself with comfort food and I could really tell when I went to my workout session this afternoon. Mitch introduced us to 4 new exercises (with weights) and even though my chest area is still pretty numb, I could tell I was giving my upper body a good workout. My plan is to resume food journaling tomorrow and get back on track with my food intake. It's so easy to say "hey I'm stressed, I DESERVE a snickers".

Peaceful weekend

It was a peaceful rainy weekend. Our yard is full of green, happy, and tall grass. My neglected outdoor plants are also loving all this rain. I slept in on Saturday and then worked on a few projects that are due by the end of the month. Sunday brought an inspiring message at church and lunch with great friends. Good weekend overall.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quote of the day

"Love ever, Hurt never"
~House of Blues

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Long stressful week

This has been a very long and stressful week. Monday I was off site at a training and I began to receive text messages from people at the office. Every time we had a break I checked my messages. The decision had been made to reduce our workforce by 26% - by the end of the day 74 people had been laid off. The rest of the week has been about reorganizing those of us who are left. I lost my supervisor and some of my best friends to the layoffs. This economy scares me, there are way too many people out of work. I am hoping and praying all of those affected find a job they love very quickly.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Henderson weekend

Sherry did a great job of getting us all to Henderson this weekend to celebrate Dad's 74th birthday. We are all going in ten different directions so this was a big feat to get us all there at one time.
Saturday we enjoyed lunch at Bells Drive In. Bells is our local diner that has won best burger in America more than once. It's not the healthiest place to eat, but it is delicious!

Saturday evening we had a birthday dinner of Jack's BBQ with all the fixins'. Sherry made a delicious spice cake with caramel icing and Dad had birthday cupcakes for the little ones.
Today there was a potluck lunch at church, so we stayed for that as well. The ladies of the Henderson church have always thrown a great potluck. The food was fabulous, and the dessert table overflowing.

I had hoped to go visit with some friends while I was home, but I will just have to make another trip. I ran out of time.

Happy Birthday Dad!

There's something to be said for the Small Town...

Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Probably die in a small town
Oh, those small communities

All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity

Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic thats me

But Ive seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an l.a. doll and brought her to this small town
Now shes small town just like me

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say - Look whos in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and thats good enough for me

Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in this small town
And thats probably where theyll bury me
~Mellencamp

Wicked



Lisa, Chadd, Chassi and I went to see Wicked the musical on Friday night at TPAC. It was a fabulous story about what happened in Oz, before Dorothy showed up on the scene. The show was awesome and we had a wonderful time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dr. Wagstrom follow up

I saw Dr. Wagstrom (plastic surgeon) today. She is very pleased with my progress and how my surgery has turned out. I have healed very well and my scars are fading more each month. I was to have my tattoos touched up today, but the nurse that does that was overbooked, so I will have to go back another day to get that done. 

Dr. Wagstrom and her staff were featured in the summer issue of Nashville's best for Health and Wellness. I knew I had fabulous people taking care of me, and this article and recognition just confirms it even more. 

Lisa and Jenni went with me to the appointment, and then we had a nice lunch at Which Wich and then shopped at Trader Joes. It makes me thankful not only for my family, and my health, but for our freedom - especially on this day September 11th. It is so easy to take things for granted, living here in America. I think I need to stop and write out my grateful list today and say an extra prayer for all those who serve our communities and our country. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Short work week

This week I only worked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and that was plenty. They were all meeting filled days with lots to do.

Tomorrow morning I have a follow up with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Wagstrom at Centennial. It's time for my 6 month check up, and also for a bit of touch ups on my medical tattoos. Then tomorrow night it's on to see Wicked at TPAC with Lisa, Chadd and Chassi. Instead of going to work, rushing to my appointment over lunch, then back to work and quickly home to change - I decided to take the whole day off!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day weekend

It was a nice peaceful labor day weekend. Most of the 3 day weekend I took it easy and got in some much needed rest. Busy work weeks and stress still can completely exhaust me. Sunday night we had a couple of work friends over to grill out and relax.

Monday night Josh and his crew came over for dinner and an outdoor movie. I had gotten a movie projector for my birthday, and we had not had the chance to try it out. We hooked the projector to our portable DVD player and hung a white shower curtain on the pergola to make a screen. We watched The Little Mermaid and had popcorn. Anna Belle and Morgan loved it! The photos came out a bit blurry, but you can see the make-shift screen.
~
Jenni will be coming home this weekend and I can't wait to see her. We talk on the phone every day or so, but it is not the same as seeing her face. I think watching the Little Mermaid made me miss her even more. She used to watch that movie daily when she was little.
~
Thank you to my friend Amy for the idea and inspiration!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Movie quotes of the day

"There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?" - Airplane

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
- Ferris Bueller

I think I need to pull one of these movies out - I could use some fun lightweight entertainment.

Long stressful week at work

I try my hardest to leave work stuff at work and not let stress get to me. I know it is not good for me physically to be stressed, but it is quite a challenge right now to remain unaffected. I truly believe in the company I work for and the mission that we have. However the economy is bad and I realize that when businesses have to start cutting benefits, wellness programs are some of the first to go.
So...the rumors of layoffs have begun and the stress level rises each day. Lately the bathrooms seem to be a hot-bed of nausea and crying jags. I hope upper management realizes how hard it is to focus when everyone is fearing for their jobs on a daily basis. I hope they make their decisions wisely and quickly so we can all just move on with our jobs, or find something new.
My goal is to turn it all over to God and just know that whatever happens-- it will be for the best and I will be just fine.

Week 4 of wellness pilot

I just completed week 4 of the wellness pilot and I've lost 3 lbs and definitely gained some strength. The body comp analysis did show an increase in lean muscle mass also. I am up to using 10 lb weights for my rows, squats and on the bench. All this strength training is continuing to wake up those nerve endings in my chest area that have been numb for over a year now. That is not very comfortable, but in the long run I'm sure I will be glad. The weather has been so great lately I have had a nice time doing my cardio in the park. I am also getting used to planning out my meals and staying within my calorie range.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Beautiful weekend

It has been a beautiful summer weekend. Friday night we had dinner on the patio at our new neighborhood Mongolian Stir fry with Bryan's sister Deanna. It's always nice to spend time with family catching up. Deanna moved to Lebanon a few months ago when her husband was deployed to Iraq. Bryan's parents live in Lebanon, so they are close by to help with the grand kids.
It is fabulous that technology has come so far. She and the kids can text and skype Dan to stay in touch while he is away. That has to be comforting to see his face and let him see theirs. It makes me think of my grandfather who was in WWI. I"m sure his family just had to wait on letters or telegrams to know where he was and if he was safe.


Bryan and I went for a walk on Saturday morning at a local park, there was a steady breeze and the sun was shining. I wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I was in the right range. I can tell my endurance is increasing and I am actually getting used to exercising every day. That's something I wasn't sure would happen.

Saturday night, we tried our new neighborhood Blue Coast Burrito. I'm sure this will become one of our new favorite places. Great food, outdoor dining option and great prices, plus it is owned by some of our Whitver friends - The Osborns.

Grocery Shopping 101

My friend Amy and I went to a grocery shopping seminar on Thursday night. It was very interesting. There is lots of money to be saved by pre-planning meals, making grocery lists, tracking sale cycles, stocking up on staples and using coupons. Some of the ladies that are really committed to this lifestyle save 75% on their groceries by using these techniques.

When my kids were little I read a book called Miserly Moms and it had some of these same ideas. I guess I need to re-read that book, plus check out all the online blogs and sites that offer advice and tips. The main thing it reinforces is to plan ahead and avoid impulse buys. I know I need to heed that advice.

Here's some pretty helpful sites for those living in this area:
www.faithfulprovisions.com
http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com
www.moneysavingmom.com

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Movie quote of the day...

"My darling girl, when are you going to understand that "normal" is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
- Practical Magic

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week 3 of exercise/nutrition pilot

I made it through week one and two of "Thrive" and I am doing pretty well so far. I have stayed within my calorie goal 11 out of the 14 days, one of those days being my birthday. The other two times I went over were Saturdays. Weekends are less structured and I seem to have more cravings for sweets. Journaling my food does seem to help. It definitely makes me more aware of what I am eating and forces me to plan ahead.
As for exercise, we are required to do cardio three days a week on our own. I do some of my cardio on my rebounder, and some with brisk walking, always wearing my heart rate monitor to make sure I'm in target range.
Strength training we do at work with our Coach. I have progressed to doing girl push ups on the floor. The first week I had to do my push ups against a bench, because my muscles were too weak. I guess I am proud to have progressed to the floor with the rest of the group. My chest is still fairly numb, but today I could really tell a difference when I did my workout. I think all this strength training is waking up some of those nerve endings near my pectorals, and ouch does that hurt!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Komen Race for the Cure October 10th

“Fight like a girl” is open for registration! The Komen Race for the Cure is October 10th in Maryland Farms, and I would love for you to join the team.
Last year I walked this 5K one week after my last chemo treatment. I would have never made it through, except for the fact I was surrounded by my wonderful friends and family members. It was exhausting and exhilarating to finish the race. I plan to have much more spring in my step this year!

If you'd like to join:
Follow This Link to my personal page (personal page is for donations from people who cannot join us for the walk)
If you will be walking with us on October 10th - Click “My Team Page”, and then
“Join the Team”

Komen will send you a t-shirt, but if you want a supercute “Fight like a girl” shirt – you can order them here:
http://www.twochicksdesigns.com/Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Apparel_s/13.htm

Thank you for all your continued prayers and support!
Laura

Monday, August 17, 2009

Just another manic Monday

I used to play this Bangles song to get Jenni out of bed when she was little, it's been running through my head all day:

Six o'clock already I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin' Valentino By a crystal blue Italian stream
But I can't be late 'Cause then I guess I just won't get paid
These are the days When you wish your bed was already made

It's just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday 'Cause that's my funday
My I don't have to runday
It's just another manic Monday

Have to catch an early train Got to be to work by nine
And if I had an air-o-plane I still couldn't make it on time
'Cause it takes me so long Just to figure out what I'm gonna wear
Blame it on the train But the boss is already there

It's just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday 'Cause that's my funday
My I don't have to runday
It's just another manic Monday

Sunday night at the Spears

The weekend ended with a cookout at the Spears house. Mike grilled some fish and Lori made some delicous vegetables and fruit. Sandy brought a delicious cake for Angie and I to celebrate our birthdays. It was a great end to a great weekend with friends and family!


Wedding shower

Saturday we had a wedding shower for my cousin Megan. I had planned to get all the shopping done and clean my house on Friday night, but with the surprise party - that idea went out the window.
Thank goodness, Bryan, Josh, Chassi and Jenni all chipped in and helped me get everything ready. Linda and Lisa arrived bearing food and lent a hand as well. There was plenty of food for everyone, and Megan got some beautiful and useful gifts to get her and Carson started in their happy home.

Megan's mom, Brenda, is my first cousin and when Bryan and I married and moved to Memphis she helped us more than she will ever know. Bryan and I were young and needed lots of guidance getting set up, in addition to learning our way around Memphis. I don't know what I would have done without her. I hope we can be here for Megan the way Brenda was there for me.

I tried to invite all the first cousins that were within driving range of the shower, and it was a fabulous day! It was so great to spend the day with my aunts, uncles and cousins. I am blessed with an awesome family - we just don't get to see each other often enough.