Archive for ‘life’

October 27, 2010

>a new chapter

>Yesterday, the wind blew in. Just as I was thinking fall really didn’t feel much different in Minnesota than in California. Except for the fall colors, of course. But the wind came. And the clouds came. And the cool air came.

This morning, I flipped on our front porch light in anticipation and I was not let down. This morning, I watched snow flurries flutter to the ground, melting upon contact. And then I was reminded… I am not in California any more.

And while the weather is one clear marker in this huge change we’ve made in our lives, there are so many other larger changes. We left our friends. My family. Our support system. We put faith in the notion that all those that are important to us in California will still be there, just a little further away.

We uprooted our family from the things we’ve known and were comfortable with to move to a place we really don’t know, but believe that we can do better for our family there.

I’ve stretched my comfort levels and reached out to new people in hopes of making new friends. Longing for adult conversations and other children for my kids to play with. When that introverted person started to crop up, I pushed through into the uncomfortable to do this.

And our efforts have paid off…

Not only have I met some very nice women with kids Hadley’s age that I get along with, we have in fact already started doing better for our family. Financially, things are much easier. We have a home that is our home. A place where our kids can grow up. Meet friends. Attend school.

So, in essence, those snow flurries this morning remind me that we have in fact turned into a new phase of life. A much more grounded phase. Stable phase.

It’s the time of our lives…

Advertisements
September 11, 2010

>9.11

>I know every other blogger is writing on this subject today. But I feel the need to write about it too. The day that changed the country we called home. The day it occurred to me that evil does exist. The day so many lost their lives. And others risked their lives to save them.

It’s a day to reflect. Remember. Thank. A day to count blessings.

I remember this day vividly. I was working on a television show that filmed in Los Angeles. I was up bright and early to make my 8 a.m. call time. As I did every morning, I flipped on my television to catch the weather on the news and was confused as to why an action film was on every station.

Then I realized that what I was watching was real.

Not knowing what else to do, because really, what could I do. I got ready for work, glued to the television and arrived on time to a set of people in tears. Within an hour of my arrival, the Executive Producers sent us home for the day since there was so much uncertainty.

We returned to work the following day having to go through extensive security checks to enter the studio. Including bomb sniffing dogs.

The world as we knew it changed.

But September 11th marks another day in my life. In 2007 my father got his grave diagnosis of stage four Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma. My brother was with him when he received the news of his serious condition and I feel like such an asshole for not being there too because I was overly concerned with being at work. It was so ironic, for lack of a better word, that he received this news on such a dark day for our world.

While I can’t help but reflect on this day for dual reasons, I have to look at my baby girls and remember how blessed I am. I was lucky to not know anyone in the 9/11 crashes, but I know others who did. And my father’s diagnosis (and final outcome) would not have been any different had I been there or not.

I’m not being very articulate here, and I am sorry.

Today Hadley received a balloon at a fair that she accidentally let go of and it blew away. She started to cry. While I am a skeptic when it comes to our after life, heaven and hell and all that jazz, I told her she sent the balloon up to Grandpa.And for some reason when I told her that she settled down. She never met him, but somehow she knew that the balloon was going to be OK because it went to someone she loved.

So these are the things I think about on this day. What was your experience on 9/11?

August 4, 2010

>"cancer sucks" blog hop: my dad

>I discovered a Cancer Sucks Blog Hop hosted by http://www.StraightTalkJess.com that http://www.RaisingMadison.com participated in with her moving story of her bout with NHL. I was thrilled to read that she recovered beautifully.

Three years a go, almost to the day, my 59 year old father was sick. “I think it’s bronchitus” he told me on the phone. I didn’t think it was any concern as this was something he got once a year or so. I talked to him a few days later and he was still quite under the weather, complaining of sweating and that his glands were swollen. He checked into a hotel in hopes that the central air (vs. his swamp cooler) would help him sleep better. I thought this was strange, but maybe it was just the ticket.

A week or so later, his friend called me. I didn’t know her well as my father lived out of state, but I certainly knew of her. She was concerned of his health and asked me to help her to convince him to see a doctor. My father refused to carry health insurance, not that he couldn’t afford it, he just took his chances. And because of this, he didn’t go to the doctor often enough. So the persuading began. And eventually we got him to the doctor.

The doctor tested for all kinds of stuff, including the Bubonic Plague. But it seemed that they were settling on “cancer.” My father shared this with me casually, as his health was declining by the minute without us knowing. My brother jumped on an airplane to see what was going on and I was scheduled to travel there a couple weeks later.

During my brother’s visit, the doctor’s felt that dad had lymphoma and sent him to see a hematologist. They were giving some rough news. Stage 4, Non-Hodgekins T-Cell Angioimmunoblastic Lymphoma. A rare form that effects 2% of all NHL sufferers and one that really has no known, exact cure. He was to start CHOP immediately to see what happened.

And, despite the chemo, he seemed to be doing better. Until I arrived after a business trip. The day before I was scheduled to arrive at his home I talked to him on the phone and he said he wasn’t feeling well. I was worried and had no idea what was ahead of us.

I arrived to find him extremely lathargic, barely waking for any length of time. Not eating. Barely drinking. He insisted on sleeping in the basement and nearly fell coming up the stairs. It frightened me so much that I started to move him to the main level so he would no longer have to navigate the stairs, especially if he was alone. While I was moving his things up the stairs, I saw his hair all over the bed. I fell apart. I knew this was a side effect of the CHOP, but it was devistating to see. I started to cry. I knew something just wasn’t right and I called my mom for support. I knew he needed to go to the hospital, but I couldn’t convince him of it.

My mom called and insisted he go. They have been divorced for 18 years at this point, but she can certainly set him straight. He let me take him. And it was discovered that his body was backed up with toxins as he wasn’t taking the “gout” medicine properly and he was operating on 1/4 of his blood supply.

Once he was admitted, he seemed to slip into a very sleepy state. The doctors were pumping him full of fluids and blood. The put in a PIC line. Did lot’s of exrays and scans. It was frightening and the first time I was able to speak to his doctor. Who pulled me aside and told me things were not good. But to get through this crisis and plug forward.

And he did.

He seemed to be responding well to CHOP as we headed into the fall. He even made a trip to his vacation home in Las Vegas to pick up his beloved Porsche Boxter and drive it back to Colorado. It looked as though he was on the mend.

And then one day he got bad news.

The CHOP really wasn’t working. And they needed to try a new treatment. He was devistated. As was I. I took the opportunity to share with him some news I was saving for my next visit. He was going to be a grandpa. He was thrilled and I think (and hope) it made that day a little better.

The new treatment was extremely rough on his system. He seemed to deteriorate quite a bit, but his glands seemed to be decreasing in size. This was good, and the hematologist seemed hopeful at his visit the day after Christmas that I attended with him, though she suggested we look into clinical trials (which I was in the process of doing). Her treatments could only keep the disease at bay as they just don’t know much about it.

But we enjoyed that time together. Talking about babies. Getting to know his friends. It was a lovely holiday. And as I left for the airport in the taxi cab, him waving to me from his doorway, I wondered if that would be the healthiest I would ever see him again.

And it was.

A few weeks later, I got a call from a friend of his saying he was not doing well. The details he wouldn’t share with me. I was backed up with some prenatal testing, so my brother jumped on an airplane to be with him. And they went to the doctor immediately.

And the doctor told them that there was nothing else that could be done. A hospice referral was made, I was on an airplane and we were by his side, caring for him. Talking with him. Reassuring him that we would be OK. Saying our goodbyes.

And two weeks later, he exhaled his last breath in the company if his children and dear friends in his cozy home. Van Morrison playing in the background shortly after we opened a bottle of his wine. It was how he wanted it to be. I know it. It was a privelege to be a witness and to tell him I loved him as he passed.

When they took him away, it started to snow. A friend of his commented “It’s just like Kern to take off before the snow storm.” And that night there was a magnificent storm.

Cancer sucks. Period. And I would give anything to have my father back. It took him entirely too young, as it does with much younger victims. It’s not fair. To anyone.

Be sure to hug each other tight everyday. No matter how angry you might be. Cancer takes people fast. It’s an unfortunate part of life. And it sucks.

June 29, 2010

>letters to my former self

>To join in the letter writing fun, visit Raising Madison

Dear 7 year old Cambria,
Give your daddy lots of hugs. He is very sick. And while he will recover this time, later in life the disease will take his life. You will cry often as he will miss the two most important happenings of your life. While he will drive you mad at times, make sure you tell him you love him everyday.

Dear 14 year old Cambria,
This year you entered high school. You will still be taller than most of the kids and painfully shy. You will make some life long friends, but also befriend some that are careless with your heart. While I know these are lessons we learn as we grow up, and it’s not in your nature to be confrontational, be sure to stick up for yourself and not let those who are careless hurt you.

This year, also, your parents will separate and enter into some, not so pretty, divorce proceedings. It’s not your business. It’s not your fault. It’s just life. Your parents still love you dearly, even though they may not love each other the same way they once did.

Dear 18 year old Cambria,
Stay away from that guy. He’s more trouble than you realize.

Dear 21 year old Cambria,
This year you will finally go away to school in San Francisco. You’ve been dreaming of this day. And you will get home sick and want to go back, but stick to it. It will be the best experience of your life and you, in time, will leave and return to start the next phases of your life.

Oh, and whole it took near two years to ditch that bad guy, you will start dating someone else, who, while fun, is ultimately not worth the effort you will put forth. Be a strong woman and move forward in life. Love may be some years away, but it will come, I promise.

Dear 28 year old Cambria,
Time for a career change. But you also need to stop consuming your whole self into your jobs. You are young and there is so much more to life than your job. Take a deep breath and follow your passion.

Dear 32 year old Cambria,
Your whole world flips upside down this year. And all I can advise is to hang on tight. This year your father’s illness will return with a vengeance. You will meet the man of your dreams. You will become pregnant. You will be laid off from your job. You will watch your father exhale his last breath, losing his battle with cancer. And you will deliver your first beautiful baby girl. Life’s extremes in a period of 12 months. Be sure to let yourself grieve. Learn to lean on others for assistance. There are many that love you and want to be there for you.

Dear (almost) 35 year old Cambria,
This year you bought your first home. Delivered your second daughter. And moved across the country. Things are tough with two children under two and its hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But know that they aren’t little forever. Someday they will sleep through the night. And the terrible twos will pass. Remember to ask for help and take time for yourself without feeling guilty.

Looking back at my life as I write these letters, I am reminded that hind sight is 20/20. But also, the mishaps along the way are what have made me who I am today. Sure, I would give anything to have my dad back, if only for a minute. But it was a privilege to know him, love him and be with him as he passed. But he helped make me me.

— Post From My iPad

May 15, 2010

>mamma’s worries

>I’m realizing that as a mom your worry never stops. You worry about your kiddos getting sick. Hurt. Getting away from you in a parking lot and being struck by a car. Meteors falling from the sky and landing on them. Foolish worries. Unnecessary.

Perhaps I still have post-partum hormones running a much.
I worry about Hadley a lot.
I worry about not showing her as much love now that the baby is here. And my heart bursts for her. But how do your expect a 22 month old to understand that your time is being drawn to this new person because you must feed her and train her.
I worry when Hadley cries at night. I worry that she is overly stressed out. Doesn’t like the bed she’s sleeping in. Afraid of the dark. Worse worries that I shouldn’t even utter.
I worry about her terrible two’s behavior, even though I know it’s a developmental stage that every child goes through.
I worry that we have made her change and adapt too often in her short life. I hope someday she understands why this happened and that we hope once we move to our home in Minnesota in a couple of weeks that we create a home that we stay in for years to come. I hope she will make friends. Have play dates. Love the snow.
Will my heart be constantly filled with worry for my babies?
My mother tells me that she still worries about us kids even now that we are in our 30’s. Have our own friends. Families. Homes.
So I guess we never stop being mom. Ever. Worry is part of it.
I just love my babies so much.
April 19, 2010

>guilty irritation

>One of the most upsetting things to me about raising an (infant) toddler with a newborn is the irritation I feel towards her at times.  It’s terrible that I’m even admitting this, but I must be honest here.

Don’t get me wrong…  Hadley is the most beautiful, sweet, loving and (generally) well behaved child with the best personality.  What’s not to love!?  I’m so in love with her I feel like I keep myself from bursting every moment, of every day in the short 21 months she has been with us.
But since baby has arrived, she has a needy side that often comes out in wirey misbehavior.  Especially at night. At bedtime.  And while I know what is happening (and really if this is what it is, it’s not that bad in comparison to what I’ve heard), I can’t be angry and must keep patient.  But then there is that long night happened with our, sometimes, collicy newborn, and I am over the top exhausted, I find myself feeling irritated.  
And I hate it.  Then I cry. Because I’m irritated.  And I feel bad about feeling irritated. Which is completely irrational.
Jonathan, bless his patients with me, reminds me that my kids don’t have to please me every moment of every day.  It’s OK to feel irritated.  And there are plenty of irritating moments to come.  That it doesn’t diminish the mommy I am to her.
All this makes me feel better.
But I still feel terrible when I feel irritated with her.
April 18, 2010

>living temporary

>I think we’ve been living in temporary situations for too long… And here we are in the best situation yet – steps from the beach – and we are anxious to get moved. If we could move to Minnesota today, we would.

Have you ever felt like buying flowers for your table and stop yourself because it isn’t your home? Even if you are going to be there for several more weeks? I’ve felt like this for the two and a half years and I am over the top excited to move into the home that we own. To buy things to decorate. To paint the walls. To buy flowers and enjoy seeing them on my table.
And we are getting closer to our move. We’ve booked our moving container and it will be at our home in Minnesota on June 4th. Jonathan is leaving on May 28th to move the car there, complete some painting and furniture assembly. My aunt, the girls and I are flying out on June 5th.
Looking forward to buying flowers for my table.
April 16, 2010

>hadley quip

>I think I’ve written before that Hadley loves Dora the Explorer.  I mean LOVES!  And I would like her to be swiped by Swiper, but that really doesn’t matter (did anyone watch Modern Family last night where the gay couple was plotting Dora’s death?).  My child LOVES Dora.  Which also shows that we let her watch the boob tube sometimes.

We are temporarily staying in my mother’s home while I recover from squeezing a watermelon out of a quarter sized hole.  So we decided that since we aren’t paying any rent, and in an effort to keep my mother’s home clean, we would hire a housekeeping service to come every other week.  It’s lovely, since our hands are incredibly full at the moment.  At least two days a month the beds are made and the toilets are clean.
These two very sweet ladies were here today cleaning and Hadley was peeking around the corner of the bathroom at one of them.  She said “Hola” to Hadley and we tried to get her to say “Hola” back.  Instead, she said “DORA! Do, do, do, do, do Dora!”  
I was embarrassed, but was a little impressed that she put all that together.
April 14, 2010

>getting close

>Hayden is nursing, which is good.  But we are suspicious that she is only getting fore milk and not the hind milk she really needs.  So, we have another appointment with the lactation consultant for tomorrow as a final effort.  

I am so exhausted that I reintroduced formula supplement mixed in with her breast milk to attempt to fill her little tummy.  I’ve also cut out nuts, cows milk, chocolate and caffeine to attempt to resolve her gas issues.  She seems much more content today, even though I am struggling with giving her formula.
So, we’ll see where we get tomorrow.  Bottom line, I need to sleep and shake my migraine.
Wish us luck!
April 10, 2010

>frustration

>It’s official… I’ve hit that third week frustration.  I remember it well with Hadley… The tears. Threats to throw in the towel on nursing. Feelings of being a bad mommy.  But I also remember things suddenly getting better, and I hope that is the same case.

Hayden and I are on and off with nursing success.  The nipple shield is working.  But the supplemental nursing system I paid $35 for is proving to be more trouble than it’s worth (and I doubt they will take it back after it has been pressed against my boob).  
But our biggest challenge is finding the right timing.  Between a curious big sister and her activities, a house with no doors that latch or lock properly, it is almost impossible to find alone time with the babe to relax and try to nurse properly.  Instead, I find myself with a very angry newborn, boobs leaking to my knees, Hadley hanging on to my legs and me in tears, trying to heat a bottle of breast milk to soothe Hayden.  Frustrating is the only word I can think of.
Tonight, Jonathan and I decided that I need to take Hayden to a hotel and nurse. And nurse. And nurse. And nurse.  I hope it’s a success. And I hope this family, as a whole, gets some good sleep tonight.  We are all a little rough around the edges.