You don’t have to give up hope

During the struggles of life it is hard not to give up hope. It is actually very easy to give up; but don’t. Please don’t give up hope. Through all of the infertility, loss and cancer I wanted to give up so many times but I didn’t. And now I get to watch my daughter grow up; which at one time I didn’t think it would be possible.

Today as I gave my daughter a bath watching the foam letters float around; all I could think about was how four years ago I really didn’t think this would be possible. All of the little things that I get to do with her that would have never happened if I would have given up hope.

After we lost our son there was still hope. Hope for peace and hope for another baby. We were lucky to receive both.

When I think back to those dark days of chemo there was hope. Hope to be cured and hope to never have to go through it again. So far it has come true.

Whether you hope, wish, pray or do all three keep on. Whatever anyone tells you keep hoping for the best possible outcome. You may be surprised how truly wonderful that outcome can be 🙂

Edited Blog pic

Beautiful Snow

We finally received some snow again so of course I broke out my snowshoes. Second time I was able to use them and it was great 🙂 I am actually getting better at putting them on so maybe I am getting more mechanically inclined? Anyway, it was a great day and it was awesome to get outside. Since the snow came down so fast it ended up sticking to everything and stayed that way for a while so I got some nice pictures. (Well, what I think are nice anyway) But now we are going to be in a cold streak with wind chill advisories so it will be back to the elliptical for me 😦 Hope you enjoy the pics!!

IMG_20141228_112636 IMG_20141228_112834 IMG_20141228_112705 IMG_20141228_112852 IMG_20141228_113908 IMG_20141228_115223

Find Your Special Everyday

With the Holidays coming to a close there are so many special moments that happened and I would love to just put them in a jar and take them out everyday and relive them. But then I realized that I can and I should. With the monotony of everyday life it gets hard to find special moments or remember them; but I think we could all use special moments everyday to make life better and easier. Ever since having cancer I really try everyday to live life to the fullest. To me just trying to enjoy life is living it to the fullest. Like I have said before; you don’t have to go skydiving everyday to live life to the fullest. Just doing things you wouldn’t usually do or having fun makes life better.

I know it is hard to enjoy life sometimes. You get up, get ready, go to work and come home. Once you get home its supper, clean-up, homework and bedtime. But if you really try you can find special in one of those things. Maybe it will happen when you are making supper and you use a dish that is a family heirloom. I have one of my aunt’s cake pans and it still has her name on it. Every time I use it a flood of wonderful memories come back  and it is so special to me. Maybe it will happen while doing homework with your children. If there is a certain subject they have been struggling with and all of a sudden the light bulb clicks on and they get it; that is special. Every time Avery learns something new; that is special to me.

Even when dealing with loss there are so many special memories or special things that can make it easier. When thinking about my son I always remember the day I found out I was pregnant with him. I will never forget my Doctor telling me I was pregnant. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world 🙂 When I think of him I try not to always think of the loss; I try to remember the good that he brought and still brings to my life everyday. There are also two very important people who are missing from my life. They are my Grandma’s. They are both so special to me in their own ways. When I am missing them or wishing they could have met Avery I also remember all the wonderful things I was able to do with them. I do have some special keepsakes of theirs and it helps me to remember the good times.

There is special in everyday life sometimes you just have to find it. Slow down a little and take the time with the special people and things in your life. Put all of the those memories in your jar and get them out when things get hard. Find your special everyday. Whether it be in a moment laughing with your kids or significant other or a moment that you enjoy some me time. Whatever your special is find it and keep it.

IMG_20141228_112834

Adventures of She-Ra and Percy

When they told me that my daughter was going to come early I tried to prepare myself thinking she would be a little less physical because she was early. When she threw her nuk out of her incubator that should have been a sign of things to come. This chick is cray-cray. She seriously never stops. Our tree this year is only half decorated which I expected anyway but I am reconsidering any decorations on it at all. She has extendo arms. I have seen them in action. We hung all of the ornaments so they would not be within arms reach and she still manages to get them down. If we catch her taking them down she tries to put them back while smiling at us sweetly. If she wants something or wants to do something she is going to do it and there really isn’t any stopping her. I think when she gets up in the morning and goes to play with her toys they are like “Oh crap, she’s here again to abuse us.” Avery feels things or people should move for her instead of her moving if something or someone is in her way. She has the hand thing down to a tee. If you are in her way you get a hand waving you or pushing you to the side. If she thinks she can get around you or over you she just crawls or tries to walk on you. She literally walks on me. Her poor toys get stepped on all of the time. We got her coloring books and Sesame Street crayons for Christmas this year and loves them. We colored at the table and she had a great time. Someone I am not going to mention any names here but someone let her play with the crayons after the coloring session was over. Later that evening Avery came up to us with purple crayon on her face and the Count had a big chunk missing.

Avery and the cat are partners in crime for sure. They may act like they don’t like each other but if it’s a job too big for just one they team up. The other day I went out to the mailbox anticipating tons of pretty Christmas cards in the mail and I guess in my excitement I forgot to shut one of the doors when I went outside. So that only left the screen door as a barrier between the two stinkers and the great outdoors. Since our mailbox is literally right next to the steps on our porch I didn’t think getting the mail would be a big deal. When I came around the corner oohing and ahhing over the pretty cards I saw a big orange cat escaping to freedom and a little girl in a pink shirt holding the door open for him with a big smile on her face. Ugh getting Percy back in the house is like wrestling a wild alligator. There is tons of fur flying and crazy sounds that come out of his mouth. Even if he doesn’t get very far a person should really be wearing a leather suit to put that cat away. For the most part Avery stays away from Percy unless they are plotting on me or she is in a silly mood. Like tonight when she took her cup and started banging Percy’s lower back with it. If there is one thing you don’t do its touching that cat’s lower back. If he doesn’t get his revenge right away he will wait until the time is right to strike. He has done it to many people. He doesn’t forget that one. He doesn’t retaliate against Avery with brute force like he does to the rest of his enemies he just makes sure she sees him getting extra attention. And the begging; those two team up and beg for food constantly. It is very hard to eat anything around here without an audience. I actually snuck around to eat a banana this morning because I really didn’t feel like sharing. I know it sounds bad but I was really hungry.

We shall see what tomorrow brings……

IMG_20141224_122505
There is fire in those eyes…..
IMG_20141225_205817
This time she left evidence behind.
IMG_20141225_174137
Beggars from way back. Yes, I have a cat blanket. Don’t judge it is very warm and it was made with love by my aunt. No, I am not a crazy cat lady.
IMG_20141225_104203
Before the Count incident

Sun! Beautiful Sun!

Yes, finally the sun has graced us with its beautiful presence. I honestly cannot remember the last time we saw the sun. Some people are saying three weeks; some say four. Whichever one it is; it has been way to long. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I woke up this morning and spied the sun coming up. Anyway, of course I took in a hike with personal trainer this morning and it was wonderful. It actually feels like the middle of March instead of late December. As of right now it is 41 degrees outside!!!! Since I took a couple of days off from working out it was so nice to get back at it today. When I felt like quitting I envisioned all of those sweets I took in and kept trudging along 😉 Of course I took some pictures to share. I hope you enjoy them and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!

 

IMG_20141226_095133

IMG_20141226_094932
Ice kinda looks like pizza. Makes it hard to workout when nature makes pizza…..

IMG_20141226_102912

IMG_20141226_102927

Winter Hiking

Since this hasn’t been a typical winter in Wisconsin I have been able to continue hiking. Good thing for me because I love hiking but it also stinks because I have only used my snowshoes once. It’s like mother nature was like “Oh she got snowshoes let’s make it rain” I am also hoping the sun comes out soon and I am sure everyone else in Wisconsin is hoping for the same. I seriously cannot remember the last time the sun was out.There were a couple peeks over the weekend but that’s about it. Anyway I have been able to capture some pictures of our Wisconsin winter or lack there of; that I would love to share. Just a reminder I am not the best photographer 😉

IMG_20141220_112210
Ice jam

IMG_20141221_102418 IMG_20141221_104304 IMG_20141221_124937 IMG_20141221_205106

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

It’s the most happiest time of the year; ding-dong, ding-dong!! Cranberry Sprite is here!! Ding dong, ding-dong!! Yes folks I am enjoying my first Cranberry Sprite of the year. I know it’s been out for a while but I finally purchased some last night. No, this post is not all about Cranberry Sprite but I do kinda want to shout off the rooftops about it 😉

I have finally started getting ready for Christmas. I think the shopping is done and we even put up our tree. It is half decorated because of Avery but it’s up. This year we even added a tree skirt. Mostly because of Percy. Percy loves Christmas tree water; it’s like gold to him. I was a little scared of him last night when he figured out he couldn’t get to his fave watering hole. But I woke up this morning and so far all is well. We even hung the stockings with care at the highest point we could find.

Since we put the tree up and I was feeling festive I told the kids they could open one present early. It was pretty easy for step-son to pick which one since I only had one wrapped 😉 I didn’t have any of Avery’s wrapped so she ended up getting her Deema doll. Deema is from the Bubble Guppies and Avery loves her. I guess wrapping presents is on the future agenda.

Now it’s time to start planning for the meal I am supposed to be making on Wednesday. I know I should have been thinking about this a long time ago but I have been a big procrastinator this year. Husband is getting a ham from the company he is working for so I will be making that. (I just have to find something for me to eat because we all know how I feel about ham.) It’s a little scary making a main dish that you don’t eat because you have to rely on the opinion of others and sometimes they are not truthful. I have made ham before and they all say it is very good; but is it really or are they trying to spare my feelings? I guess the jokes on them if they don’t like it because I keep making it 😉 If it was up to me we would have Cranberry Sprite and Cupcake Moscato D’ Asti for dinner. If you do like Moscato once in a while or a little more than that I definitely recommend Cupcake Moscato. It is wonderful 🙂 But unfortunately these people want to eat too so I will have to come up with a little more than drinks. I am a little stuck on the potatoes too; since we are having ham it seems logical to have ham gravy. But why in the world I want to miss out on mashed potatoes too? I will have to come up with a plan for that one. I think some of the reason I am procrastinating is because making a big meal is a lot of work. All of the planning, shopping and making of the food makes me want to hibernate for the winter. So I gave myself an early present this year. I decided that since I am making the meal on Wednesday I am not making supper tonight or tomorrow. I haven’t told anyone else yet so we will see how it goes. I really think that it is only fair so if anyone else wants to jump on my no making supper train until Christmas; hop on and enjoy this blissful ride 😉

This year on Christmas day we have nowhere to go so I am planning a little surprise for us. Since husband loves Will Ferrell  we are going to watch Elf, eat leftovers, play with presents and maybe even do some baking. I know you are probably thinking “Why in the world are you baking on Christmas?!?” Well, I haven’t done any yet. The last time I baked was the end of November. So it sounds like a perfect day to do some baking. We have never had a Christmas day where we had nothing planned and I am so excited to have a lazy day at home where we can just enjoy time together 😀 I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy the day with family and friends!!

IMG_20141220_181100
It’s only just begun….

IMG_20141220_192100

IMG_20141222_110010
Oh Cranberry Sprite, how I adore thee

IMG_20141222_110116

How are they going to know how to act unless you show them?

Today was one of those days with Avery if you know what I mean. It started out great and turned into frustrating soon after. It started when she refused to nap. Husband took her upstairs to nap and she refused to lay down so he decided to let her chill for a little bit in her room hoping she would calm down and fall asleep. We really wanted her to nap cause step-son had a chorus concert this afternoon and we wanted to have a nice time. I know it sounds silly or maybe even stupid to think that could happen with a toddler but we had high hopes. Anyway, it took about two minutes before we heard a crash and something shattering. We both ran into her room to find Avery in a pile of books with her piggy bank smashed on the floor. Thank gosh she was okay and the piggy bank was ceramic not glass. I am still trying to figure out how she got the piggy bank but like I have said before she is like she-ra.  That should have been a clue right there that one of us should have stayed home with her. Instead like two silly people we took Avery out in public.

We get to the concert and it is packed. They were even putting out extra chairs in front of the stage because the bleachers were full. At first we sat in the bleachers but then I got to thinking that maybe we should sit in the chairs so if Avery did get really naughty I could exit quickly. So down to the chairs we went. Before the concert even started Avery got mad because we wouldn’t let her run all over the place like a wild monkey. So I took her out in the hall for what I thought would be a short break and then we would be back in. I was so wrong. Every time  we got close to the gym Avery wanted to run in there and dance her heart out and if I grabbed her hand or tried to pick her up she would scream like I was hurting her. So we walked the halls instead. The whole time I was thinking “Why do I even leave my house?” and “I should have just stayed home with her.” I was getting more and more frustrated the more we walked. Then Avery found an open door. Ugh! She ran into someone’s office that was doing some work at their desk. By the time I got to her she was already climbing on one of the chairs in front of the desk ready to make a new friend. Thankfully he thought it was funny and cute and we quickly left him to his work. By the time I finally got Avery back into the gym we got to hear one song and the concert was over. When we were walking back in I could feel eyes on us. All I could do was think how these people were probably wishing we weren’t coming back or how they probably heard us all of the times we had attempted to come back in. I was so embarrassed and even when we got home I was still thinking about it.

After getting home and stewing for a while I started to think back about a conversation I had with someone at the store. I ran into a gal that I used to work with and still talk to every time I see her. She was asking me where my little cutie was and I sighed and said “She’s at home; she is in a mood.” She replied “I always tell my daughter how are your kids supposed to know how to act if you don’t take them anywhere.” At the time I have to admit I was thinking you must be crazy if you think I am going to take Avery to the store if I don’t have to. But after today I realize she is so right. I have to admit I really don’t take Avery a lot of places and it shows when I do take her places. I know some of it is being a toddler and no one is perfect but I know if I did take her places more she probably would behave better. Not saying that I should have stayed in the gym with her while she was trying to have her own party but I think if I took her more places she would know how to behave better. I have really been trying to work on it lately but after today I know we have a long way to go. But I know we can get there. Maybe I sound silly or lazy that I don’t take Avery out as much as I should but I guess I just figured it was so much easier to run to the store when husband got home. I just always feel so bad when I get frustrated with Avery especially if we are out in public. Then I end up beating myself up about it. I kind of put it to myself like this now: 1. I want Avery to know how to behave better in public. 2. She has to learn that you have to do things even if you don’t want to. Another lesson taught to me by my two year-old. I never would have thought that after today I would end up thinking I need to take her out in public more but I am glad that I came to that realization 🙂

2014-12-14 001 002
Who wouldn’t want to take this sweet face in public 🙂
2014-12-17 001 002
Crashed after an outing. Another benefit of outings she gets sleepy 😉

From the kitchen of the casserole queen: A little spice

I am not much for spicy food. I like to taste food without my eyes watering and instant nausea. Some people love spicy foods. These two recipes I am going to share with you can be spiced up more than I have them. I am not sure if you can spice them down because I have them about as mild as humanly possible 😉 The first is a wonderful dip that I get tons of compliments on every time I make it and the second is you guessed it a casserole.

Spicy Hamburger Dip

1 pound hamburger

1 jar Cheez Whiz

1/2 jar Pace Picante Sauce

1/2 package taco seasoning

Tortilla chips

When I brown my hamburger I sprinkle the taco seasoning right on and fry them together. Then I dump my jar of Cheez Whiz in a microwavable container and put it in the microwave for 1 minute or until it’s soft. When the hamburger is brown I mix the Cheez Whiz, Pace and hamburger all together and that’s it! All done and ready to eat. Super easy and you will get tons of compliments. This is also easy to spice up if you are lovin that spice. I use mild Pace Picante sauce but you can go up on the heat with that. I actually use my venison hamburger to make this dip and nobody knows it’s venison 😉

Enchilada Casserole

1 1/2 pounds hamburger

6 Soft Tortilla Shells

1 jar Taco Sauce (I use Ortega)

1 cup cheddar cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon Garlic Salt

While you are frying the hamburger sprinkle the garlic salt on top of the hamburger. I always spray my casserole pan with this casserole because you don’t want the shells to stick to the pan. (I actually always spray my pans) With this recipe I use a 9×13 casserole pan. After the hamburger is browned pour half of the hamburger on the bottom of the pan. Then put half of the sour cream and taco sauce on top. I just plop the sour cream on and spread it around with a spoon and pour the taco sauce on top. Next sprinkle some of both cheeses on top. Cover the top with 3 tortilla shells. (You can use your best judgement with the shells and cheese; if you think it only needs two shells go for it) Then repeat with the next layer. Kinda like lasagna. After that next layer put three shells on top and sprinkle more cheese on top. I always make sure the top layer of shells completely covers the second layer of hamburger mixture. Pop it in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. This is another one that you can totally change for taste. you can make it spicier and even add (gasp) vegetables. If I had an adventurous family of eaters I would totally fry up some peppers and throw them in. The last time I made this I did not have taco sauce and they only had really spicy stuff at the store so I used Pace Picante sauce and it turned out really good. Husband did not think so. I gave some leftovers to personal trainer and he loved it! I always have leftovers with this recipe because it makes so much.

As always if you try these recipes let me know what you think or if you added a wonderful little ingredient let me know so I can try! I could try to get a test family that actually enjoys the adventurous side of food and feed it to them 😉

2014-12-14 002 001
Hamburger dip!!!!!
2014-12-16 001 001
Enchilada Casserole (with Pace Picante sauce)