wow!!! this photo was taken the day after i was diagnosed. our girl was so little.
this still seems so surreal to me, i feel like i've been walking in a strange dream for 5 years now. i found a lump in my breast a little over five and a half years ago (our girl was 2 1/2). i went and had a needle biopsy and my first mammogram at age 35 we were getting ready to try for baby #2...move ahead 7 months~the check-up to be sure~the lump was larger. doctors thought not a problem...i thought not a problem. just to be sure before i became pregnant...let's take it out. august 5th 2005 surgeon calls and leaves a message have me paged at home~these are the words you don't want from your surgeon. i was truly blown away. i had become one of those people that really didn't worry until there was cause...cause had arrived.
this photo was taken at the 2007 making strides walk.
i need to share that we really did catch it early and in my hometown we have really incredible medical treatment, also i had great insurance and an incredible family and the most amazing group of friends i could dream of. i couldn't have been more fortunate. my diagnosis was good, i was healthy. we had so much help with our girl, the house, food, my sister-in-law provide acupuncture, herbs, research and support and the list really is endless.
please never underestimate the power of cards, calls, thoughts, visits and just the general feeling of love and caring...this was so important to my family.
so tonight i am getting ready for our making strides for breast cancer team leaders kick-off breakfast tomorrow...well actually in a few hours now. all of the team leaders in our area get together for a brunch to raise awareness and encourage strong fund raising. i have mixed feelings about the format, but i always learn something new and make great contacts to improve our fund raising. i know that some people have concerns about donating to organizations that can be somewhat top heavy. i really believe in the american cancer society for many reasons one of the most powerful is that they fund research for many drugs one of which i did use and in studies has been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence by 50% for someone with my diagnosis. to my family...this is a good reason.
in 2008 our girl cut the ribbon to begin the making strides walk. we have raised over $10,000 in 4 years.
i will sign off with this thought that many don't realize. when it comes to breast cancer when you reach the five year mark there is no reduction in chance of recurrence. vigilance, diet, exercise are the best prevention. please fight to get mammograms. i was diagnosed at the age of 36 with no family history and no known genetic inclination. (i've been tested for the brca gene)
thank you for all of you that have been there for all of us. be well!
she has been an inspiration for me since the beginning...for as long as i can remember.
i tried to write a post for her when she died but we were all so
busy getting ready for the celebration of her life. i did write a few
words for her funeral. i have wanted to share this but i really want it to be just right! rather than never get this post done...i'm getting it done. one of the many things my grandmother wasn't was a procrastinator (clearly and sadly i am) she didn't have the luxury of not getting it done.
I wanted to share some of the stories that I have heard many times
either from her or from other members of the family. And some of the ways that
grandma shared with us throughout our lives.
grandmab s number one priority. this sounds really cliche but it's true. she really gave so much to her family, not only
her love and time but countless things that she created. clothes, toys, dolls,
doll clothes, christmas stockings, crocheted ornaments, tree skirts, pillows,
curtains, slip covers, costumes, sweaters and blankets, just to name a few. she
never really looked for praise for what she created; it was just what she did. what she was most proud of was the fact that she and grandpa were only
children and as of now they have 22 descendants! she mentioned this so often. now this is what she shared with everyone. she loved to talk about all of us
and what we were doing. this is what she was most proud of.
spoke often about her mom who died when she was thirteen. she missed her so
much. grandma always said how talented her mother was. if you visited grandma's room
grandma learned very quickly to keep house for her father and herself. she grew up very fast. she told of when she was very young she learned to sew. she would make something and show it to her father and he would suggest that she could do it better and she would go and tear out the stitches and try again. grandma found that she could do it better. this seemed to carry through grandmab s life. everything that she did was so well done. she had so many challenging skills and made them seem effortless.
one of the many dresses that grandma made...she made four of these holly hobby dresses at the height of little house on the prairie for her four lovely granddaughters with matching dolls to match to color of each of our hair with dresses to match our dresses~bonnets too. seriously~we were the luckiest kids to have her! this has been one of my daughters favorite dresses for years as it was one of mine. she has been wearing it to laura ingalls wilder day for the past 3 years...she will still fit in it for a few more years to come!
recently I was making a list of all grandmab s talents and tasks when
she was raising her family. here are just a few; sewing, knitting, crochet,
cooking, baking, canning, keeping house, gardening, needle work, drawing, and
singing. she did all of these things while working a full time job and keeping
house in the 40s and 50s with four kids and none of the current conveniences. grandma hung the laundry and made many of her kidsb clothes and toys and ironed
everything...no permanent press then.
it seems that they always had an extended
family member living with them that needed grandmab s care and attention too. she cared for her grandfather and her
mother-in-law lived with them too and her father all of them nursed by her until the end... my grandparents didnb t have siblings but they had many great friends. they also took care of them when they could by taking them to doctors, caring
for their yards, driving them where they needed to go, doing their banking, making meals.
grandma also had an aunt who was seven years older than she was (no
need to look this up, grandma always mentioned it). her aunt
was such a good cook. some family favorites were buttermilk pancakes, potato
pancakes, corned beef and cabbage, chop suey, turkey coquettes, i would like to share just a few more stories that we heard so often.
grandma had a great sense of humor and she loved to laugh about these. one of the stories that we always teased my grandparents about was how they met. the story is that grandpa picked grandma up on the corner in front of the library. she would very quickly tell you that was not the case. they were properly introduced.
my girl wants to add a story that she has heard so many times.
" Grandmab s
ears were very ticklish. When her grandchildren stayed over on nights when
their parents went out on the weekends, when they woke up, they would crawl in
on their hands and knees to their grandparents bedroom. thinking they were so
quiet but they were so noisy. they would go on each side of the bed and climb
up and start tickling grandma and grandpa. it was a tickle fight, they would
all get tickled and laugh out loud. i bet it was very fun. but i wasnb t born
to know that yet. but when i saw grandma i did tickle her ears my mom taught me
her ears were ticklish. the end."
i apologize for all of this lists,
grandma did so much over her 89 years, i could find no other way to share it
all with you. we are so happy to have so many creations remember her by. and all of our very sweet stories.
on a shopping day with my mother before she moved out of town the four generations would have lunch and shop together every thursday...miss those days~cherish the memories!
i was very fortunate that we lived so close to my
grandmother almost all of my life and that she lived so long...so many great
memories and experiences that we all shared with her. i was so thrilled that my
daughter spent so much time with her and loved her so. i was also so blessed to
see how much joy our girl brought to my grandmother. they really adored each
other. for the first four years of my daughter's life we picked grandma up every week and took her shopping, we really enjoyed these days together.
grandma we miss you so. we know that you were so tired and missed grandpa so much and suffering without being able to see and create for the last 7 years of your life...such a cruel turn of events. i'm trying hard to us some of the many goodies that you left behind for me to use to create. i'm so happy that i have finally learned to sew on your machine that dawne has graciously let me borrow and using your needles to knit and teach helen so many of your talents. i so hope that we can make you proud...thanks for all that you gave to all of us. we love you.
i still need to find some older photos and post them, this is one thing that has been holding up my post. i will update the post when i find them. hope those that knew her will enjoy this and for those who didn't and get through this ridiculously long post thank you. she was really an inspirational woman. those who think that we are busier and have more commitments than women from the past only need this to remember that maybe this is not so!
it all began this year with a formal request for attendance. we had fun making these personalized invitations this is all i can share given each invitation had the guests name "engraved" on it...they were so sweet though.
many of the attendees are huge potter fans...we did have a few that do not live and breathe potter so i wanted to make sure that we had robes (in this case capes) my quick and affordable solution was to purchase some inexpensive black felt and i cut it into pieces that were about 25x35 and about 5 inches down on the long side i sewed a 14 inch black gross grain ribbon on each side to use as a tie. they were so quick (even for me) and they worked great. they were actually much cooler for the girls than the robes.
hermione granger was practicing her flying before the guests arrived.
airborne!!!my husband and i enjoy harry potter as much as my daughter. we came up with some fun activities. of course they took a very small fraction of the time we thought that they would and also a very small fraction of the time that it took us to put it together. all three of us have been talking about what we could do for weeks now, here is what made it to the day.
we decided to do a treasure hunt using port-keys to move you from one clue to the next!
this boot was the first port-key. my husband wrote great poems for them so that they could find each of the port-keys
my daughter told us today that they didn't really pay much attention to the poems...they just wanted to find the next port-key. sometimes the honesty is appreciated...sometimes not!
the final clue led them to this suitcase. inside they found the makings for wands from mr.ollivander!
they found the wands that my husband and i carefully prepared for them to personalize with colored tape and ribbons...once the wand had chosen them of course.
all the wood was found in our yard and my husband cut them down to size. they were all carefully labeled with the type of wood and the core ingredient, the length of each wand was also included.
this new wand looks so much more authentic than that plastic wand.
we also had potions making class...my husband was the very stern professor severus snape. we used different types of juice and unusual berries and coconut for the ingredients. our secret ingredient was pop rocks to add at the end for a little magic! most of the potions were very tasty. i can't say that the girls drank many of them but i did. they were really more interested in concocting. too bad they missed out on some very powerful magic. my husband printed out the names of all the potions that were discussed in the books so that they could name them. my husband also showed them what happened when they put baking soda and vinegar together.
we also held an herbology class where the kids took interesting looking succulent plants and cacti and replanted them in clay pots. my husband labeled each of the plant with a name and definition of a plant from the book, as the kids replanted i read each of the descriptions and we did a few trivia questions about the herbs from the books.
we found some bertie botts every flavor beans the girls had fun trying some really gross tasting jelly beans~gravy, fish, cheese, sausage, onion and banana. i was just given a pizza...how'd they do that? it really tastes like pizza in a really gross sweet way. ewwww! they spared us earwax, vomit and buggers this time (we have had all of these before-really gross).
we had some of the yummy jelly bellies too.
i made these parchment sewn bags again thanks to another great idea from mayamade. when she posted this i thought oh my, i can use this in so many ways. thank you maya i love these.
i made these bags to put chocolate frogs that i made from a mold. (i found a better mold that i will have a link to on the sidebar) and harry potter collecting cards in to give to the girls. i always loved the idea of the chocolate frog from the book how it would jump away.
hermione had a great day! thanks for all who shared it with us.
how can it be the summer solstice already? happy day to you! well i really want to finish my posts on squam but i have been working on so many exciting things away from my computer that i will get back to that soon when i have a little more time to give my continued squam review the time that it deserves...this week i'm going to spend sharing pictures images of what we have been doing this spring that i hope will be carried over into the summer. please feel free to share links of what you have been doing.
it's so challenging to know where to begin....well if you don't know about squam art workshop (saw) then please go and discover. it is held at the rockywold-deephaven camp-rdc in holderness, new hampshire.
i found this dreamy retreat last year when soulemama was blogging about speaking there. i was so fortunate to go and i know it sounds ridiculous but i really had a life changing experience. thank you elizabeth for your vision, persistence and the amazing teachers that you invited.
it was so lovely to see my dear, dear friends that i met last year. i've been so looking forward to seeing them and oh we had so much fun and laughed so hard...so good.
many new wonderful friendships have begun on this trip too.
my favorite shepherd was there too. if you don't have a favorite shepherd...you will soon...i just love susan gibbs from juniper moon farms can't wait to take our family there for a trip. my daughter has decided that she really wants to be a farmer, i asked her "don't you want to be a shepherd" and she said "no i want to have all the farm animals". there you have it...why limit yourself!
the weather was also wonderful. we had the perfect combination of sunshine and rain the temperature was just right! the weather has clearly been very warm in new hampshire this spring because the water temperature was beautiful. many of us took a lovely swim. the water was so clear and very deep, so nice.
this was the view from my bed. one morning we decided to sleep in just to enjoy the sound of the rain on the water...so soothing, what a perfect choice we made!
as if the location, classes, teachers and attendees were not enough...every night we had entertainment.
one night we heard a little from all who came to teach and from jenny doh.
the amazing jonatha brooke played two nights for us...so amazing...what a treat!
we were so fortunate one night she shared 2 brand new-unrecorded songs with us...looking forward to hearing those again real soon we hope...they were both so powerful.
the multi-talented lizzy house spent an hour learning an unbelievable gaelic duet with jonatha and went up and sang for us. her grace and talent were as always inspiring.
we also heard a great story from jenn lee who will be teaching a storytelling class at squam in september, she has participated on the mainstage of the moth if you have never listened to the moth podcast, you should. there are some really great true stories on there.
almost done here...
we also heard from jess and casey who are ravlery! they told about how it all began. they are a classic comedy duo with a really great story.
last one for now i promise...this is how it is though...all of this and more...
stephanie pearl-mcphee the yarn harlot also held court one night. it was amazing to watch almost everyone in the playhouse knitting and watching a "comedy" act...can't say that i've seen that before.
much more to come soon...
~sweet dreams and moonbeams
well this isn't how i thought i was going to begin my blog post about squam!
i'm just now overwhelmed with the desire to share what i just a few moments ago while chatting with my husband discovered about myself.
i have some strong beliefs about happiness. the most primal to me is that you choose to create your own! i've met many people along the way and have learned this to be so. we can be slung so much negativity, but we can really choose how we respond to it.
what i learned about myself just now is that i feel the calling to help people learn to choose happiness!!!
i haven't figured out yet how i'm going to make this a reality...i just now know that i will!
i also learned
~ i really enjoy being around creative people
~ i really enjoy seeing the process of making something new and beautiful or something old beautiful
~ i love the energy that is present in this environment...safe, nurturing, positive, encouraging and supportive
~ i realized that i'm not an especially creative or a talented artist
~ more importantly i've realized that i'm comfortable with this revelation
~ i've learned that i can still enjoy the process of creating without the pressure or need to create something extraordinary.
~ i can create for the enjoyment of the process, the opportunity to learn something new and for the experience of being with very talented, creative and supportive people that love to create and express themselves beautifully.
~ most of all i've discovered that i want to be the supporting, nurturing, calm, caring person that i know i am and that can be the amazing gift that i give to my family, friends and others that i meet along the way
that is what i'm thinking now.
i'm going to write another post about my second amazing adventure to squam. hoping to have it out this afternoon. thanks to all that have inspired me and help me to come to this conclusion.
~~~sunshine and happiness to you today