Jan 21, 2014

My Ellianna Marie

It's 7:30am and I've been up since 5:45am, trying to figure out why the right side of my back hurts.  I'm not sure if it's just pregnancy, or if I maybe overexerted myself a bit during a back workout earlier this week.  Regardless, I'm now snacking on a bowl of cereal while I browse the internet for recipes and sit here with Lady Hinton practicing karate in my uterus.

Hopefully I start to feel tired again soon.  I have to work for inventory at 4 until probably 11 or midnight tonight...

Speaking of browsing for recipes, I've found an awesome digital cookbook: YUMPRINT.  It's extremely easy to use, although sometimes I find the OCD in me wishes it were easier to re-organize recipes once I've found them.  I've been using it for over a month now and love how it not only stores all of my online recipes in one spot, but it also links each of them back to the original page where I first discovered them.  This comes in really handy when I forget to utilize my "Bookmarks" to save cooking blogs.

And just in case you were wondering, my new niece was born 6 days ago.  Her name is Ellianna Marie and she is the most precious little lady ever!
Proud Daddy Tim!!
Lovey-dovey time with Mommy (Courtney).

Fresh out of the womb snuggling with Laura! (Who is the BEST photo-documenter!)
Checking out the new environment!

Relaxing with Uncle Ike the next day. 

4 Days old now and already wiping out Poppa...

and Nana!

But Uncle Ike has enough energy to keep up with me!
I could just stare at her for hours….

Actually, I do.  And Mom (Nana) sent me a video of her too!  I think I've watched it at least twenty times.  It's so adorable.  She's just tries to suck on everything and makes a little squeaky noise.  I could just smooch her forever!!

Nov 11, 2013


There have been several moments in life since (and during) treatment where I have been asked to help "spread the word" or purchase a specific product/therapy that is said to aid in either the treatment or cure of cancer.

I've heard things like...

This product will help treat the side effects from treatment.

This product will cure your cancer without any other medical intervention.

This product will help you keep your hair in during treatment.

This product will help you so much, you'll have better "numbers" than people who aren't even going through treatment!

This camp will cure you through a combination of prayer and only organic food.

The list goes on and on.  And strangely enough, the people offering these cures were 99% of the time selling them.  What a coincidence!

To the person claiming to fix my side effects or cure my cancer via a product: You are preying on my physical condition.  You are preying on the nausea, the low energy, the bloating, the puking, and the multitude of digestion issues.  You want to tap into the part of me that believes I can beat this sickness--and do it while living like a queen, without side effects and maladies.  If you truly convinced that this product will help me, offer to buy me a bottle and we'll see what happens--but don't send me the link to your promotional page, where I can sign up for automatic monthly deliveries for the low price of….

To the person who thinks they can keep my hair from falling out during treatment: You (although sadly misinformed) are trying to prey on my womanly vanity.  Do your research.  There are studies indicating that 10-15% of people who undergo chemotherapy treatment will keep their hair.  I was one of these.  And although it thinned, it still grew fast enough I had to cut it every week or two.

To the person who claims to have a product to increase my numbers: Do you even know what numbers you're talking about?  No, but you were nice enough to send me a link to a generic video that is in turn, linked to your promotional page where I can purchase for the low price of….

To the person who believed that my lack of faith in God and lack of organic food in my diet was the cause of my illness: F*** you.  God giveth and God taketh away.  Job went through very hard times and throughout it, his faith was not shaken, yet God didn't reach down and release him from his tribulations.  And although he may have had more organic options in his meal plan than I do, I believe that God has more power to heal than any farm-grown, hand-picked avocado.  At the point in time that I heard this one, I was so fed up with life I actually wished cancer on a child of the all-organic eater who was expressing her opinions--just so she would know first-hand that eating all-organic didn't exempt anyone.

If you really want to help, ask if there is anything you can do.  Sit beside me, even if I'm sleeping (having people near me was one of the most comforting things during treatment).  Cook for me.  Talk with me.  PRAY FOR ME.

But don't try to make money off me.

*Also, a HUGE thank you to those who just endured with us.  We needed you and you were there.  Thank you!

Oct 25, 2013


There has been a lot going on in our world lately!  Our little nugget is growing and growing....

It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that there is a HUMAN inside of me, first off--and secondly, get used to the fact that I'm going to get BIGGER.

Like a lot of ladies, I've always had to watch my weight.  I try to eat healthy and work out, but even with that, sometimes my pants start to get tighter and tighter until they're no longer comfortable.  Typically at that point, I'd start being more intense at the gym until my weight was back where I considered it "acceptable."

Now, getting bigger is part of the program.  I'm not complaining, just saying it's going to take some getting used to.

Here's our little nugget!!!

On top of that, the season of giving thanks is rapidly approaching, so I wanted to take a second to ask you to partner with me in either Walking for St. Jude's and/or contributing financially.  If you've kept up with my blog for very long, you're more than likely aware of Isaac and I's journey through cancer and although I don't worry about it now, I still like to remind myself that there are other people who are just experiencing the freshness of a diagnosis, the nausea of their first chemotherapy treatment, or mourning the death of a friend or family member who passed during their treatment.

I'm planning on offering my hair cutting services for the month of November in exchange for donations toward St. Jude's.  I would love to raise $1500, but was actually going to only write $500 as my goal because I dislike "failing" so much.  However, I'd hate for someone to decide to give less because my goal was so small, so I put the true amount on there.  Now I'm nervous I won't make it, but... we'll see!

If you feel led to do so, click here to donate or sign up to Walk for St. Jude's in your state.

Sep 4, 2013

Pregnancy Thus Far

How is this pregnancy going?  Well, let me tell you....

It's nauseating.  Like that stench in your garbage disposal that won't go away no matter what you do.  I'm doing what I can to cope with it.  Isaac went and bought me Sea Bands that I'm scared to take off except when I shower (just in case they're working), I have a stash of corn chips at work to crunch on between meals since an empty stomach seems to trigger queasiness and there's a half-empty bottle of ginger ale in our fridge.  Sleep seems to be the best solution, simply because I don't feel anything when I sleep, which brings me to the next thing.

It's exhausting.  I want to go to bed at 9pm, sleep til 10am, and then take five naps during the day.  Ridiculous.

It's pee-filled.  Yes.  Pee.  Every.  Single.  Hour.  Oh, you said you wanted to sleep, Ashley?  Well, too bad!  Getting up at least once in the night to go to the bathroom is now routine.  It's also not unusual for me to visit "France" at Nordstrom several times a day, too.  At least I can play Candy Crush while I'm in there...

It's hot.  Literally.  I have a thyroid condition that usually makes me extremely sensitive to cold, but right now, no matter what I do, I'm hot.  Several times in the past couple of weeks, while I'm making my nightly trip to the throne, I've stopped by the thermostat and lowered the temperature because I've been boiling.  Last night Isaac was wearing sweatpants and a blanket.  What did I have on?  His boxers and a cami.

It's gassy.  That's cute!  Uh, NOT.  I've been doing laps around the floor at Nordstrom because I feel like I have to drop the bomb and keep moving so nobody knows it was me.  Thankfully they haven't been awful, but still.... awkward.  Sometimes the gas doesn't come out that end, though, and I find myself burping a lot too.  Gross and grosser.  Especially working in a high-end department store.  PS, if you're my co-worker reading this... Sorry.  I do what I can.

It's making my stomach a Nazi.  I can't eat too often, but I can't wait too long to eat either.  Waiting too long, well, that'll earn me a case of nausea.  Eat too often?  Well, take a guess.... Yep!  Nausea for that too!  No matter what I do, my stomach is not happy.  It's a little hard to find the balance while working at Nordstrom since I don't think they like me taking a break to eat every hour.  Hence, my chip stash.  Oh, and PS, I put on about 4 pounds in the last week.  So much for the weight loss competition I was going to win.

It's not getting me in "the mood."  Poor Isaac.  It's hard enough for us to connect since our schedules are at odds.  Now add that to the above list... you can see the cards are stacked against him.  I'm hopeful that will change soon.

Welcome to pregnancy.