Thursday, June 23, 2011

Milwaukee Bound

We are just moments away from my street sister Amy Hill picking us up for the airport.  It's me and the kids on a 3.5 hour flight to Milwaukee.  Yikes.  I'm armed with the iPad of movies, fluffernutter sandwiches and bag of snacks of which my friend Rebecca would be proud.  Nick is meeting us in Milwaukee after a few days of business in Minneapolis.  My big brother Mike is meeting us at the airport and then we are there for a week of much needed time with my Mom in the gorgeous cool weather.   I hope to find time to blog about our cheese-filled adventures.  It's my first time back since my Dad's funeral so I know the house will seem strangely quiet without him, sigh.  What a year.  

Ok, we are off!  I'll be Facebooking our trip too!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day Nick!

Father's Day morning here in Phoenix.  Not sure if Nick's eyes were quite open yet after his epic weekend of fly fishing at Lee's Ferry, but he was a good sport by wearing the sweet paper plate tie Jenny-Jane made for him and assembling the 196 piece logo police truck that Fisher got for him.

We love you Nick!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Welcome Back Wendy

The Livingston girls arrive- welcome Wendy & Emma

Nick's signature grapefruit cocktail is a crowd pleaser

Emma oversees the pizza making

Yes, that's a movie screen next to the pool!

What a wild and wonderful week I have to report!  Sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to make up for last summer at this time when I was in the midst of a constant adriamycin/cytoxan (aka The Red Death) chemotherapy hangover.  While I'd like to forget most of that nightmare, there is one thing (really person) who I was happy to welcome back from last summer- Nick's one and only, super sister Wendy.  Wendy was there for us in so many ways through some of the ugliest times of my treatment.  Her nearly two week stint in our home last May was selfless and generous beyond imagine. It was a treat to share this past week with her and eleven-year-old Emma to celebrate the end of that nasty chapter in our lives.  

If you ask Wendy and Emma, we pretty much spent their entire visit in the pool.  Nick even set up an outdoor movie theater so we could watch Jungle Book with the kids (and then Get Him to The Greek after kids went to bed) without leaving the hot tub.  We managed to dry off long enough to enjoy a few sinful meals out and even to host a dinner party for 17 friends one night.  The cousins loved their time together and we once again questioned why we live across the country from the each other.  Our goodbye was tearful, but we are comforted by the fact that Wendy has promised to come back to help again when I have my reconstruction surgery this September.  We love you Wendy and Emma!

So the Livingston girls flew back to North Carolina Wednesday and Nick was able to escape Thursday for a long weekend of fly fishing at Lee's Ferry with his posse.  Just as Nick left the driveway, my niece Caitlin and her roommate from UofA pulled up. Their 24 hours here reminded what it is like to be 21 again. Man, do I miss those stupid crazy college days.  

As I type this, Nick is returning home from his self proclaimed "epic" fishing trip late tonight so that he can enjoy a relaxing Father's Day with our family.  This is my first Father's Day since my Dad died last August 11th, and I'm feeling down and lonely.  I rarely have dreams that mean anything sensible, but last night I dreamed I was talking to my Dad, asking him questions like "What is your favorite color?" and "What is your favorite food?"  For some reason in my dream, I knew my time with him was short and I wanted to get some answers while he was with me. I feel like that dream was a little gift of time with my Dad.  Just what every little girl really needs on Father's Day.

with love

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ahh... Manhattan Beach

Skateboarding down The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA
Nick cut his hair so mine would be longer
Sand crabs a plenty

Jenny-Jane's newest crush, Alec
Luke's arm around Fisher, Alec with Jenny-Jane

I am often amazed at how just a few days away from home can create so many wonderful memories.  This past weekend we were hosted by our funny and fabulous friends, Jill and Andy Bergen, and their two boys, Alec and Luke, at their rental house in Manhattan Beach, California.  Most everyone knows that I will literally jump at the chance to spend any amount time in my favorite beach city.  This town is home to many of my most crazy and amazing and memorable experiences with a bevy of my favorite friends (Pete and Marcy, are you listening?).  So while we could only stay a few days, we easily crammed in a week's worth of fun.  And while having kids in tow toned down the wild factor from our past, our little ones provided many of the weekend's highlights.

Fisher is always a good sport and can find adventure in any outdoor activity.  Sand crab excavation became his mission and he spent every second he could at the beach, because as he said "it's always open!"  Jenny-Jane is customarily a handful and bestows her sweetness on the rare few.  Typically she chooses young boys for her affections, generally in the 8-12 age range, which was perfect for our us since the Bergen boys fell right into that category. We are beyond grateful for the generosity of our friends to allow us to share their vacation.  Thank you Bergens!

This week we are super excited to welcome back Nick's sister Wendy and her daughter Emma who fly from North Carolina on Friday. They totally click with our family, and spoil our kids rotten, and I can't wait to spend time with them when I'm not in a chemo haze.  We are jittery with excitement for their arrival.

And I kind of realized that I may have jumped right over our celebrations for Nick's 41st birthday last Tuesday.  Let's just say we titled our day/night at the Talking Stick Resort and Casino "The Hangover 41".  Let's see, somehow we managed to squeeze in golf for the boys, pool time for the girls, dinner, dancing, plenty of gambling and an overnight stay in less than 24 hours.  And no, we did not find a tiger in our bathroom, and I'm not sharing any photos. Happy 41 to my love, I hope this made up for spending your 40th in the ER with me last year.

Tomorrow I make my second visit in two months to my plastic surgeon for a little more expansion to my chest (he's letting me get a little bigger!) and discussion about my upcoming surgery.  We are still aiming for reconstruction in September, yippee!  My friend Gabbee just had her surgery a few weeks ago and Wimberly has hers next week.  You cannot keep a good woman down, look out world, here we come!

That's enough for tonight, I so wish I had time to write more often. The kids are keeping my insanely busy this summer, which is such a tremendous change from where I was last year at this time.  I'll close with this:  Fisher received a book from his Grandpa Larry called Phoebe and Chub that we read at bedtime tonight.  The main characters have three rules 1) Make lots of friends 2) Make your wishes known 3) Enjoy every moment.  We are pretty good rule followers around here.