Bad News and Good News

Happy birthday Soosan!

On a more somber note, I’m sitting in the lobby, waiting for monster to come out from his oncology appointment. As Monster was getting older, and we weren’t short on people who loves to remind me how old he looks, I tried to block out the feeling of impending doom. I never thought I would be sitting here having to face it head on as we battle cancer. We lost Sugar in April, and here we are again with Monster.

We found a huge lump at the base of his neck in August. It turned out to be cancerous. Our vet was hopeful that she could surgically remove it and then we can discuss our options with an oncologist. I was optimistic.

My vet called me after the procedure and told me that the tumor is wrapped around the jugular artery.  She didn’t want to risk nicking it so she opted to remove a sample for biopsy. To be honest, I was frustrated. I felt like our vet didn’t try hard enough. I just wanted someone to blame. It was easier to be angry.

Our vet referred us to an oncologist with the result of the biopsy – soft tissue sarcoma, grade three (that’s bad). I consulted with two oncologists, two surgical specialists, and a cardiologist. We did an echocardiogram and a CT scan.  Then they gave me the devastating news that the tumor had already spread to his lungs.

Since we got the initial diagnosis, I had kept myself almost stoic because we were going to fight this.  We were going to exhaust all our options.  And maybe there was a little denial too.  But after I hung up the phone with the oncologist that day, grief washed over me, with an onslaught of waves after waves of sorrow. I broke the news to KT over the phone and I went to pick up the kids early from school so I can prepare L for the inevitable.

We decided the best approach was to bypass the surgery and go straight to chemo.  I wanted honest answers and the reality is that there are no protocols to effectively combat a high-grade sarcoma that had spread to the lungs.  Regardless, it was worth a try so here we are a week after the first treatment for a follow-up exam.

Guys, we got great news! The oncologist pulled me into a room to tell me that the tumor at the base of his neck shrunk by approximately 70%.  We can’t tell if the tumors in his lungs are responding the same way without another CT scan but we are cautiously optimistic.  I didn’t quite grasp how wonderful the news is until my oncologist stressed that this is rare — practically unheard of.  Typically, they would need to keep switching the protocol for treatment regarding a cancer this far along, just in hope of managing the cancer.

However to complicate matters, Monster has a heart murmur that makes it inadvisable to stay on this protocol.  Although our oncologist is hard press to switch up the protocol now since it appears to be working, we need to consult with the cardiologist to find out if he thinks Monster’s heart can handle the next round of chemo.  Either way, I’m thrilled with the results right now.  We’ll figure out the rest when we get there.

 

Free Little Library Book Drop Project

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I have a pretty robust personal library.  At one point, when I was still keeping a list of books I own, I had close to 200 books.  About a year ago, I decided I’m ready to pare down my book collection.  As much as I love all my books, I no longer have the time or the space for them.  Before kids, I used to read and reread my books.  For a while after having kids, I was in a serious reading drought.  I have my nose in a book almost everyday again but the way I consume my reading material is so different now.  As much as I love reading an actual book in my hands, I usually read on my kindle app because it’s more convenient.  Also, being limited on time, I don’t see myself reading the same books again, unless it’s Pride and Prejudice or the Fountainhead or Anna Karenina.

I didn’t want to just donate my books to goodwill (because it feels like I’m putting my books in a blackhole) or the public library (because they tend to keep newer stuff and sell their older stuff).  A solution came to me earlier this year when I came across a Free Little Library.  So this is what I’m doing — I’m going to put a few of my books into all the FLLs around my neighborhood. Then I’ll keep some books in my car so that when I come across any FLL outside of my neighborhood, I can drop them off.  I stamped the inside of the book with this website so maybe people who come across my books can leave me a comment here or tag me on Instagram.  I’m excited to see where my books are and how far they traveled.

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I made my first book drop today with my little helper.  I dropped off five Patricia Cornwell novels – two paperback and three hardcovers.  I’ll keep posting on Instagram whenever I visit a FLL.  Happy reading!

FOMO

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out.  

I first heard FOMO used when I was watching Mistresses a few weeks ago. (I haven’t been connected to the latest slang/internet speak in many years).

I always thought I was just a morning person but now I realized I had a serious case of FOMO up until I had kids. I would wake up as soon as the morning light seeps between my curtains.  I would immediately spring up from bed, wide awake, and eager to start my day.  There’s so much to do, things to see, life to experience!

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My mom recently told me, after observing my kids, that they’re just like me when I was a toddler.  Apparently I had FOMO for most of my life and passed it on to my kids. And boy do my kids have FOMO. They would fight to stay awake until they nod off standing up.

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Since having kids, I don’t really care about missing out on what’s going on in the rest of the world as much as missing out on a few extra minutes of sleep. But as I’m slowly catching up on sleep, I’m starting to feel a little FOMO again…

FOMO: it’s a real problem.

Welcoming Ander

I realized I never popped in to post Ander’s birth announcement (or pregnancy announcement, or update) so here it is. Better late than never, right?

20160324_140158I, to be completely honest, was not happy with Logan’s newborn pictures. I just didn’t click with the photographer.  I shopped around for a new photographer but even those with good reviews have at least a few bad reviews that turned me off. Since I knew I was going to be in the throes of the newborn stage, I didn’t want to risk hiring a photographer who happened to have an off day with us and having to deal with that tension. It seems that as I get older, I expect nothing less then stellar service.  And good service is so hard to come by these days.

10 7I came across this post and I was empowered to take Ander’s newborn photos myself. (Hey, if Kate Middleton can do it, then I can too, right?! =P) I couldn’t be happier with my own pictures even though I was limited in props and accessories.  Seriously, it was so fun and stress free. There are a lot of posts out there that gives great tips.  Hope you’ll give it a try.

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An Easy Baby, Raising Ander: 7 Months 2 Days

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Ander at Target

As I was trying to put Ander back to sleep this evening, I likened trying to soothe a baby to navigating a minefield. Not that I know what it’s like to navigate a minefield, but it’s what I imagine from what I see on TV (you know, that thing where we apparently learn everything we need to know, plus some).

Anyways, I was rubbing ander’s back as he was drifting back to sleep. I was glad I didn’t have to pick him up this time, then I realized the moment it happened – I messed up the rhythm of my circular rubbing. It was too late because a split second later, he kicked his legs and cried out in angry frustration. Ahh sh*t!!

Right? It’s like navigating a minefield. As you step forward, you knew almost immediately that you made a wrong step. Maybe you can feel something hard underfoot but it’s too late to stop your foot as it comes down and activate the mine… Yea it’s weird how one’s mind works.

Going back to Ander, he was back asleep in just a couple minutes. He’s known as an easy baby by everyone who meets him.  The cashier at Target. The server at the restaurant. Other parents at Logan’s school. And he is, in comparison to Logan at the same age. KT and I are so grateful how much easier this infant stage was this time around. It is so true that it is so much better to have a colicky baby-bad sleeper-need to be held 24/7 baby first, and an easier (doesn’t matter to what degree) baby next. It gives us perspective. We’re just constantly grateful that we don’t have to take shift sleeping and holding a baby, or endure hours of crying before, during, and after the witching hours. So grateful that we kinda just grazed over whenever Ander does fuss or spit food in our face or cry in the middle of the night for a solid hour or two before going back to sleep. 

But you know, that’s just it – raising an “easy” baby is still hard. It no joke when people say being a mom is the hardest job you can ever do.  But it is also oh-so fulfilling. And if there’s any truth to it, it just might be the most fulfilling job I’ll ever do.  We are so blessed to have these two little boys. No matter how difficult it might be during any given moment, just remembering how much more difficult it could be really put things into perspective for me. And if that doesn’t work, then you know, have a little melt down/temper tantrum, feel a little silly or guilty cuz they’re just kids, and then take a page out of Logan’s book – forgive and forget.

2015 One Little Word

2015 sunflowersWe’re already done with half the year but I figure this post is appropriate for my first post back from a long hiatus. It was a couple months into 2015 before I realized I needed to change my one little word for the year

I had huge plans for this year. It was going to be the year of me.  After childbearing and raising a baby for almost two years, I was ready to have my body back. I was ready for some “me” time and focus on my needs. I was  more than ready to have more grown up conversations and less baby talk.

But things didn’t quite unfold this way. First off, we found out we were expecting (!!@??!$%!).  We were most likely going to have one more kid but definitely not so soon. I was already six weeks along before I figured out we were expecting. So we had to adapt.

Then, KT got a job offer that we couldn’t pass up.  We had to make a major change to our schedule because KT could no longer work from home as often. We adapted.

Finally Logan was going to start school (I know right?? Already!?!) And I was going to have at least two months to get ready for the new baby before he arrives. Unfortunately the weekend before his first day of school, I was admitted to the hospital and was treated for preterm labor. Now I’m strictly on bed rest. I missed Logan’s first day of school which was heartbreaking. And KT has to take leave from work to care for both Logan and me.

Talk about having to adapt, right? This has been a year of curve balls and surprisingly, we’re adapting really well. We definitely see the silver lining along the way. Although we have an unexpected pregnancy, it has been a breeze compare to the first pregnancy –even with the all day nausea that lasted well into the second trimester. KT’s new work schedule actually allowed him to be home and present more often than before. And well, with the bed rest, it’s just awfully nice to have KT at home with us for the next few months. KT can get some house projects done while Logan is in school and I can finally catch up on scrapbooking in bed.

I’ll be honest, for the first couple months of the year, I kept thinking “but this was suppose to be my year!”.  Once I figured out my one little word should be adapt, it’s been my guiding light and has significantly changed my perspective. This is still my year, just not the way I had planned it.

The Dam Mud Run – 5K+

I’ve been wanting to do a mud run for a while now.  KT, my sister Lauren, a friend Nina, and I ran one this past Saturday.  It was totally awesome.  I’m so glad we did it.  =)  Pictures courtesy of Nina. 

The morning of the run, I made sure to eat breakfast.  I had a bowl of multi-grain cheerios with soy milk at 7AM.  Then a red bean steamed bun at 8AM.  And I packed a granola bar for each of us, just in case.  The runners were grouped into waves and our wave didn’t start until close to 11AM.  We checked in our bags and waited for our start time.  As we were standing by the starting line, we started getting REALLY hungry. A vendor was grilling up drool inducing bacon wrapped hotdogs.  Looks sooo good.  Smells even better.

I was starting to get the shakes (happens when I get really hungry).  I remembered my granola bars in my checked bag and I sooo wanted to dart off to retrieve them.  But unfortunately, KT said no, our start time is approaching.  So I stood there with my shoulders slouched over, arms dangling in front of me like a meat deprived zombie.  = (

Speaking of zombies, there was a team there dressed up/painted like zombies.

Oh, and talking about zombies again – KT showed me a link to a zombie mud run called Run For Your Lives that’s happening this coming weekend.  I watched a promo video totally expecting zombies running up to the runners and taking a bite out of their arms (I guess too much Walking Dead – hehe) but alas, the zombies only pull flags from the runners.  KT wants to do this next year, but it might be too frightful for me.  Looks fun, but totally heart attack scary for me.  Anyone else watching Walking Dead?

Okay, back to our mud run.  There are 24 obstacles.  Here are a few:

Jump Wall. hehe… looks like I did a one arm hurdle over this.  I really just pulled one leg after the other over the wall in very slow mo. The first mile was the hardest because I couldn’t shake how famished I was.

10 Foot Wall

Water Tubes

Water Net

River Bed

Mud Pits… and more mud pits

Where shoes get lost

Tires

Ice Water Plunge. I was desperate to get out of this one.  DESPERATE.

Guess how long it took us to do this?

One HOUR two minutes and some seconds.

Here’s a picture of our shoes before the run:

Here’s the after picture:

We really should have taken the picture before they dunk us in ice water.

Here’s to a sore few days.

 

Weekend #15 – Truth Be Told

We. Totally. Slacked. Off.

I’ve been MIA here for the past week or so because we haven’t done much.  However, since I’ve been posting weekly updates, I decided I better keep that up.

In regards to the slacking off – In our defense, we were feeling completely burnt out.  We’ve been at this for nearly three months straight and we need to take a breather.

And if any of you forgot, it was over 100 degrees this weekend!  At least in SoCal.

And KT also had a living social (groupon?) deal that is expiring that we had to use at a fancy schmancy movie theater.

Okay enough excuses.  On Saturday, KT took me out on a date.  =)  We had a very low key lunch at an Anaheim french restaurant, Bleu Bistro in reminiscent of our honeymoon.  Since I’m not much of a Yelper, here’s my short review for this restaurant: server was attentive, lobster bisque and chocolate souffle was delicious, restaurant is nicely decorated, in a very ugly plaza, AC was on (big PLUS), we’ll definitely come back.

 

Keeping in mind that it was 100 degrees out, KT took me to cool off at a movie.  We watched Premium Rush.  We totally loved loved loved it.  (Anyone thinking of the song I’m Yours by Jason Mraz?) As KT puts it – it was an hour and a half of adrenaline rush.  When we got out of the movie, I felt like we should be pedaling a bike at full speed instead of walking.  Then we had to fight off the residual effects of the speed rush as our feet felt like lead on the gas pedal.  At least I tried to fight it off, I don’t know about KT… he sure got home a lot faster than I did.

And yes, we went home in two cars.  And no, we didn’t go on our date in two cars.  That’s just silly.  Even though we took a break from DIY, we did managed to drop off one of our cars for service before going to pick up a coffee table KT spotted on Craigslist, before our date, before picking up the car from service, before going home.

You’re all probably more interested in our Coffee Table and wondering why I didn’t just start off with that.  I actually don’t have a picture of that so next post.

Sunday was our annual trip to lobsterfest.  =)  YUMYUMYUMYUM.  After this year, we decided we’ll be going every other year.  The temperature was in the 80s at the Port of LA compare to the 100 degrees away from the coast.  It was a fantastic weekend. =)

What Not To Do On Your Paint Floor

Not long after we finished our beautiful kitchen floor, we had a couple unfortunate accidents.

#1 – Do Not Put Cleaning Products On Your Floor

Now that the kitchen floor was done, I was gung-ho about putting everything away in the cabinets.  I took out all the cleaning products and had them sitting on the kitchen floor in front of the stove so I can organize them.  One day I came home after work to find that a heavy duty oven degreaser was knocked over and a small puddle of the degreaser had leaked onto my precious floor.  I quickly wiped it up but it was too late.

Here’s an up-close shot

After some chest pounding, hair pulling, wailing “WHY???” -okay I didn’t really do that, but I sure felt like that inside, I sucked it in and pulled out my supplies to do some damage control.  The degreaser have basically ate through the varnish (poly) and my desperate wiping of the mess got the exposed paint a little dirty.  I used my stencil brush to apply three layers of the same paint I originally used on the floor, then four coats of poly.  In hind sight, I should have used the primer as well to better cover up the dirty white paint.

How does it look?  A little better?

After this incident, I realized duh! I used a deglosser/degreaser to get the varnish off the kitchen cabinets to prep it for painting.  Of course a heavy duty degreaser will eat through the poly on the floor.  So I pulled out the can of poly to find instructions on how to care for the floor.  No instructions. O_o.  Seriously?

A couple nights later, one of the furry babies had an accident (#2).  At least they went by the back door, which also means, on the kitchen floor.  I discovered it at five in the morning.  In my sleepy haze, I told myself no heavy duty cleaner but a gentle organic all purpose cleaner should be fine.  I sprayed on the organic cleaner, wiped it up and went back to sleep.

The next morning, I discovered an orange stain.    It was either from the accident or from the cleaning product.  Both is very probable. At least it didn’t eat through the poly this time.

This time I went online to search the web for instructions on how to care for this poly finish we used to protect our floor.  We went to the manufacturer’s website.  Not so easy to navigate.  It took some googling to get me to the Q&A and this is what it said:

How do I care for or maintain my floor after I’ve finished it?
Wait until your floor has dried and “cured,” before you use any cleaning 

products on it. This usually takes a week. Then the best way to care for your 
floor is to damp mop, as needed, with warm water and mild dish soap, or use a 
solution of vinegar and warm water. Both VARATHANE Professional Floor Finish® 
and VARATHANE Diamond Floor Finish® provide excellent resistance to water and 
household chemicals. However, you should avoid ammonia-based cleaners, and try 
to prevent water from pooling or standing on the floor for a very long time

I think I’m just going to stick to water and vinegar.  This is actually a good thing since I’ve been telling KT for the better part of the year that I’m moving us towards a more organic home.  We actually stocked up a huge bottle of vinegar and baking soda back in June when we first started our renovations.

Although this finish have been great for being scratch resistant (I have trouble trimming Monster and Sugar’s nails), I am constantly paranoid that any liquid that may drip or spill on our floor will destroy the finish.

#2 – Do Not Put Any Metal Material On the Poly Finished Floor

I put a clean can of paint on the kitchen floor and this is what happened…  By clean, I mean the can was clean, there was nothing dripping down the side of it, etc.

We put the babies water bowl on the kitchen floor and this is what happen…

So scratch resistant but not metal resistant, rust resistant?  Not sure, but I’m not putting any more metal material on our floor.

For those of you considering using the Finish I posted about here, keep in mind that you might have a series of unfortunate events until you figure out what you can and can’t put on these floors.  I’ll update this if anything else happens.  I hope nothing else will happen – keeping my fingers crossed.