Friday, September 22, 2023

Post Cancer/Chemo Update Month 2

 Hi there! I hope you all had a good week! Today I am here with a very happy update :) This week marked two months since I ended chemotherapy and I am very happy to report that I feel INCREDIBLE! Am I back to 100% of the old me? No. Am I feeling significantly better though? Absolutely. Not only am I feeling better, but I am starting to look like my former self again, which is a big morale booster!! Let's get to it:

I cry happy tears all the dang time now. I'll be watching the kids play at a park, or snuggling Liam while we read a book, or listening to LG's imaginative play with her dolls, and all of a sudden I start tearing up. I cannot believe I almost lost this. When I got that call on February 8th that I had stage 4 cancer, my mind immediately went to "what if I die?" And I started spiraling, picturing all the parts of my children's lives I would miss out on. It is so easy to get caught in "autopilot" mode and just go through the motions of life without stopping to appreciate how truly beautiful the little things are. Not anymore. 

- I have hair!!!!!!!!!! It's super super short and gray, but it's hair!
 It is going to be a long time before it's long enough to be cute, so in the meantime, I bought another wig. Just like before, the pictures online were much different than how it looked when it arrived (why is this so hard?!?), but I ended up liking it so I kept it. It is much darker in person, I don't know why it is so light in pictures?
It’s different from my norm, but I really like it!

- I have eyebrows and eyelashes too! Check out those real brows and lashes! 

- I still experience muscle myalgia (pain) in my legs, but it is getting better. I used to need my Tramadol multiple times a day, but now I only take it three or four times a week. 

- I am still nowhere near being able to run, but walking has gotten much easier. I used to feel like I had spaghetti noodle legs and concrete feet, and that is dissipating. Hopefully within the next month, I will be able to start running again.  

- This is one I had forgotten to write about last month, but I have neuropathy. If you are unfamiliar, neuropathy is a loss of feeling, or a tingly feeling in your hands and feet. It is mostly in my fingertips, but has been improving significantly. I used to struggle with it a lot. It was hard to type, write, put on jewelry, open things like water bottles, etc. Now I am able to do most of those things again, although it is still harder than it was before.

I had another PET scan last week, and the results came back all clear. I loved getting this text message from my oncologist:
I am scheduled to get my port out next Friday, and I am looking forward to getting that over with. As Lily Grace put it this week, “Mommy, your port is the last thing. Once you’re done with that it’s really all over.” As far as I’m concerned, she’s right. Recovery might not be over, but the cancer chapter of my life sure is. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites.
Monday, September 18, 2023

Liam is 4!

 Hi friends and happy Monday! On Saturday our sweet boy turned 4 years old, and I won’t lie, I’m having a LOT of emotions about it. 

Friday, September 15, 2023

Our Weekend in Blowing Rock

 Good morning! Happy Friday! Today I am sharing about our Labor Day weekend in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I had hoped to get this post up last week,  but the weeks have been getting away from me-- agh!

For those of you who don’t know, my parents have a house in Blowing Rock, and we go up to visit as often as we can. This past year we have not been up nearly as often as we would’ve liked due to my diagnosis. I am happy to report that I am feeling much better and we had a fabulous weekend there over Labor Day weekend. 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Not Just a Mom: Our Hobbies

 Hi there! I hope you had a good weekend! The kids seem to have gotten their first bug of the school year. Just a little head cold thank goodness. Luckily, nobody has had to miss any school, but we definitely rested on the couch a little more than usual this weekend. Luckily there was some good football to watch and both kids are finally at an age where they are somewhat interested in it--  woohoo!

Ya’ll, I do not know how you full-time working mamas do it!! I’ve only ever worked part-time since having kids, and I gotta say, this is an adjustment! All moms are superheroes, and I have a new appreciation for moms who work full-time. My bedtime isn't too much later than the kids!

Monday, September 4, 2023

What I’ve Been Priming August

 Good morning friends! I hope you are having a lovely long weekend! We took a quick trip to the mountains and it was wonderful. It felt so nice to get some time away to recharge. We got back last night and are spending today getting caught up on errands before another week ahead. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

What’s Up Wednesday

 Good morning and happy What’s Up Wednesday! August was a month packed with busyness and fun, and I am looking forward to all that September brings. Hopefully things slow down a little bit as we ease into fall! Let’s have a look at what we’ve been up to:

Friday, August 25, 2023

What I've Been Wearing to Work

 Good morning friends! I hope you’ve had a nice week. This was our first full week of school and while I am still very much loving it, I am also ready for a weekend haha!! TGIF!! 

In other FABULOUS news, my eyelashes have started growing back. They are still too short (and blonde) to be noticeable in pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I know that probably sounds like something so small, but I love seeing visible proof of my healing.


Today I am going to share with you what I’ve been wearing to work these past few weeks. Even though our first day was last Wednesday, we had a full week of teacher workdays prior to that, so I have plenty of outfits to share. Some of these pictures are old because I forgot to get a picture in the morning and by the time we got home, I was feeling more tired and disheveled than cute (I know you all know that feeling!)

Green Dress

Monday, August 21, 2023

Weekly Meal Plan and Grocery Haul

 Hello there friends and happy Monday! Did you do anything fun this weekend? After two very busy weeks back to back, I had one goal in mind for this past weekend: good quality family time. We had dinner with friends one evening and spent the rest of our weekend just hanging out together. After being go-go go for a few weeks, it was nice to just relax.

I know I’ve shared this with you before, but I am one of those nerds who really loves to see what groceries other people buy. If you ever do a blog post of a grocery haul, there’s a very good chance that I will be reading it! I don’t know why it’s so interesting to me, but I love it! I think I just like to see what other people buy because it makes me think "oh I like that too, I should buy it next time!" Especially because sometimes I feel like we can get in a rut of buying the same foods over and over again. So today I’ll be sharing our meal plan and what I bought at the grocery store. Hopefully this will be able to help you this week if you haven’t done your shopping yet!

Friday, August 18, 2023

Post-Cancer/Chemo Recovery-- Month 1

 Good morning friends and happy Friday! I hope you all had a good week. We started school this week and I am so happy to report it has gone VERY WELL! 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Not Just a Mom: What's Inside Our Handbags

Good morning friends! I hope you all had a wonderful week last week and a lovely weekend as well. We are in the midst of the back-to-school craziness over here, but I would be lying if I said, I didn’t love every single minute of it. It feels so good to be back at my old school, especially knowing that sweet Lily Grace is going to be just two doors down from me. I can’t wait to snoop on her throughout the day. Haha! 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Monthly Goals: August

 Hello friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend! I go back to work on Tuesday and am very much looking forward to a fabulous school year ahead!

Today I am linking up with Sarah and Holly for Hello Monday to share my goals for the month of August.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Books I Read in July

Good morning friends! I hope you all had a good week. I cannot believe it is August!! This summer FLEW by. I have already gone into my classroom a handful of times to get a head start on getting it set up before the year begins, because as all teachers know--  there will be a lot of meetings during those first few days and I don't want the classroom setup hanging over me. Now, being a Learning Support teacher, I don't have a full classroom (unfortunately), it's a tiny room that used to be used as an office and now I get to squeeze my Learning Support kiddos in for some small groups. A perk to a smaller room though is less to decorate! I promise to show ya'll some pictures soon!

Anyway, onto. today's post...

Monday, July 31, 2023

Prime Purchases June and July

Oops— I just realized I’m a week early on this link up! Haha oh well!


Good morning friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. On Saturday we had multiple birthday parties and then chores to do around the house. It was busy but felt so good to be productive and check things off our list. On Sunday we went to church in person for the first time since my diagnosis. It was wonderful to be able to be back there in person!!! We probably should've waited a few more weeks for my immune system to get stronger, but I am so eager to return to "normal" that I just couldn't wait. We sat in the back corner and tried to keep our distance from people just in case of germs. Little by little I am taking my life back, and it feels SO good!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

What's Up Wednesday

Hello there friends! I hope you are all doing well. I am doing FANTASTIC. Last week I finished my chemotherapy, RANG THAT BELL, and I am thrilled that from here on out I will be getting stronger every single day. I have a long way to go, but it will only go up from here. Life is SO wonderful!

Let's have a look at what we've been up to:

Monday, July 17, 2023

Done with Chemo

 Good morning friends. I have been so looking forward to being able to write this post. As of this coming Wednesday, July 19th, I will be DONE WITH CHEMOTHERAPY

I have been praying for July 19th to hurry up and get here for months, and we are finally (almost) there.

Fair warning, this post will not be all sunshine and rainbows. I am going to be honest about how brutal this has been on my body and if you are a survivor and this may be triggering to you to read, you may want to stop now. My reason for wanting to be so honest is twofold: 

- I would hate for someone else going through chemo to come across this post and think "oh she handled it so well, what's wrong with me?" I want to be honest and give a realistic look at how hard this has been.

-  I plan to write posts in the future on how my recovery is going, and in order to truly show how I'm recovering, I need to be honest about where I'm starting. 

Friday, July 14, 2023

5 Random Things

 Hello there friends! I hope you had a nice week and are enjoying your summer!

Today I am going to share a little bit of randomness with you. A little bit of what I've been reading, eating/drinking, and what we've been up to. Almost like a mini "What's Up Wednesday" since I missed the last one.  😊

1. Back into reading! I took a break from reading and am FINALLY getting back into it. My book list is embarrassingly long, but if you have any good historical fiction recommendations, I am always down for a new one to add to my list! I just finished While Paris Slept and really enjoyed it. 

2. Yummy Hummus and Non-Alcoholic Beer-- I think I've written about this hummus before, but if you like a little bit of spicy, this Boar's Head sweet chili garlic is delish! We grabbed it at Kroger, but Harris Teeter and Publix carry it too.

I am not able to drink alcohol right now due to some of my medications but have been craving an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day. Well, to my surprise it turns out there are a lot of non-alcoholic beers that actually taste really good! The picture above is a Heineken Double Zero, which is Heineken's non-alcoholic beer. It tasted like a regular Heineken to me, and I don't have to worry about the alcohol. Yay! I also love Athletic Brewing Company's beers and Sam Adams Just the Haze. I'm happy we live in 2023 and there are good alternatives!

3. Reading to Dogs-- Our local library has been letting kids come and read to service animals this summer and it has been a BIG hit with Lily Grace! I think it's such a sweet idea that the little kiddos can snuggle up with a pup to practice their summer reading. 

4. Our Countdown Chain-- At the end of the school year, Lily Grace's teacher recommended that we do a countdown chain to my last day of chemo. We started on June 19th, with my last chemo being July 19th, and I LOVE seeing how small that chain is getting!! I am so dang close to ringing the bell and being able to move on with my life!!

5. Being Bald-- Since it has been so hot and humid here in the Carolinas, I've been rocking my bald head with a hat more often than the wig. It has been so heartwarming how many random strangers have come up to me at the pool/beach/grocery store to say "hang in there, I'm a survivor too. You've got this." Especially if I'm with the kids (which I usually am). Random little old ladies come up, hug me, and say. "If I can beat it, you can beat it too." People go out of their way to tell me, a stranger, how strong I am. It's a wonderful way to see how good people are, and a nice reminder that a kind word to a stranger really does make a difference.

Thanks for reading along today! I hope you have a wonderful weekend with the people you love. 💗

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Not Just a Mom July: Top 5 Favorite Family Activities

 Hello friends! I hope you've been doing well. It has been awhile since I've shown up here in blogland, but not much has changed. We went to the beach, it was FABULOUS, and now we are home and DAYS away from my last chemo treatment (wooohoooo!!!!!).

Friday, June 16, 2023

Blogging Break

 Hi there friends! I hope you’ve all been enjoying your summer so far. We have been having a BLAST! I’ll be honest, I was nervous about how this summer would go. I’m normally such a summer mom— I love taking the kids to the pool, the Whitewater Center, the creek, etc. and I didn’t know if I’d have the energy to keep up this summer. While it definitely isn’t the same, I am thrilled to say I am keeping up! So far we have not had to miss out on a single thing this summer and I can’t tell you how big of a relief that is. Have we watched a little more TV? Yep. But so what, one summer with a little extra TV never killed anybody. 😊

For the next few weeks, I am going to take a little blogging break. My computer keyboard is acting funny and I'm not sure I'll be able to squeeze in an appointment at the Apple Store before we leave for Hilton Head. My plan is to be back here in early July, once we get back from the beach. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of June!

Monday, June 12, 2023

Not Just a Mom: How I Became a Mom

 Good morning friends and happy Monday! I hope you all had a nice summer-y weekend. My birthday was last Thursday so we had a weekend filled with birthday celebrations and playing at the Whitewater Center. The perfect weekend if you ask me! 

Friday, June 9, 2023

Clean Beauty Products

 Hi there and happy Friday! I hope you've all had a good week!

Today I want to talk about some of the clean beauty products I've been using and loving-- and also steer you away from some clean products I tried that felt weren't great. 

First of all, why clean beauty products? Since my diagnosis I have become hyper-aware of all the toxins in our everyday environment. I may have been eating super healthy before I got sick, but I wasn't paying any attention to what I was putting on my skin. What lotions, makeup, face masks, etc. If any of those products have harmful chemicals, those could easily seep into our skin and get into our bloodstream. Am I going to be able to avoid ALL toxins? No, but I can try to limit the harmful ingredients, and that is my plan moving forward. 

I have tried a variety of “clean” beauty brands over the past few months and while most have been really good, not all of them have. Let’s play “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, shall we?

The Good

Monday, June 5, 2023

Prime Purchases May

Hi there and happy Monday!! It is our first Monday of summer and ya'll I am THRILLED to have nothing on our schedule today. We are going to kick off summer with a lazy day around the house and, if we get to it, make our summer bucket list. 

Today I am linking up with Tanya for Prime Purchases. Let's see what I bought:

Friday, June 2, 2023

Life Lately

 Hello Friends and happy Friday! Today I want to share a little bit of what we've been up to lately. We have been busy! Back in April we were able to get away for a quick beach trip...

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

What's Up Wednesday

 Hello there friends! I hope you've all been doing well. We have made it *almost* to the end of crazy busy May. Are you hanging in there? Today we have kindergarten graduation and I know it will be complete waterworks for me. Prior to being a mom, I was not a crier. Then, motherhood happened, and the simplest things made me cry. Then, my diagnosis happened, and now I don't stand a chance. Ya'll I'm not joking when I tell you I cried at BLUEY LIVE--- it wasn't even sad. I just had a moment of "I can't believe how sweet this is and I'm so happy I get to be a part of it." So... in case you were wondering, now you know I am that friend who cries over everything. I have no shame!

What We're Eating: Our Meal Train has come to an end and I am feeling well this week so we are cooking all the plant-based and Mediterranean dishes. We picked up some Parmesan crusted tilapia from Fresh Market along with some veggies. We're also having...

Monday, May 22, 2023

Hello Monday

 Hello there! Today's post is super short-- we have been too busy around here lately and I haven't had a minute to sit down and put together a real blog post. 

Monday, May 15, 2023

1,000 Hours Outside

 Hello there! I hope you all had a nice Mother's Day weekend. Our weekend was a good mix of busy and relaxing. On Friday night we had some close friends drop off "build your own pizza" kits for our Meal Train and the kids had a blast making their pizzas. 

On Saturday we went to Bluey Live, 

and now today, (Sunday as I write this) we are taking it easy!

Today I am sharing a little bit about our experience spending 1,000 hours outside as a family.


Monday, May 8, 2023

Not Just a Mom Pet Peeves

 Good morning friends and happy Monday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. We had a wonderful weekend celebrating our sweet girl's birthday along with a dance recital, a baby shower, and a friend's birthday-- whew! I need another weekend to recharge after that weekend. 😅 Today the Not Just a Mom crew are writing about our pet peeves, and when I asked Devin what he thought my pet peeves were he said I should write "50% of the things my husband does." Hahaha, isn't marriage fun? Despite his comment, they aren't actually all about Devin (although a few of them sure are 😉).

Friday, May 5, 2023

Lily Grace is 6!

 Hello and happy Friday! I hope you've all had a nice week. Today our big girl is 6 years old and I wanted to share 6 of our favorite things about our little sweetheart, along with some of my favorite pics of her over this past year. 😍

Monday, May 1, 2023

What I'm Priming: April

 Hello and happy Monday! Today I am linking up with Tanya for Prime Purchases, and Sarah and Holly for Hello Monday. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

What's Up Wednesday

Hi There and happy What's Up Wednesday!

Friday, April 21, 2023

Health and Healing Through Food Part 1

 Good morning friends! I hope you all had a nice week. This was our first week back after spring break and it's funny to me how my kids reacted very differently to going back. Lily Grace couldn't get out the door fast enough to go see her teachers and her friends. She told me multiple times over spring break that she "didn't like breaks, I love school!" Liam on the other hand... also loves school, but is quite the homebody. Liam is the kid that loves school once he's there, but getting him out the door can be an ordeal. 😅 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Books I've Been Reading

Hello friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend. We had the most beautiful spring weather and were able to attend the cutest little "Earth Day" event at one of our favorite parks. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Not Just a Mom: Favorite Cleaning Hacks

 Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead. Today Adrienne, Dara, Jen, Joanne, Sarah and I are linking up to share our favorite cleaning hacks. Just in time for some spring cleaning, perfect!

Friday, April 7, 2023

Spring Cleaning and Purging

 Hello friends and happy Friday! We are starting off today's blog post with some FABULOUS news. I had my PET scan this week and got my results back... I can hardly believe it but I am very happy to say that I am officially IN REMISSION. My cancer is GONE!!! I had been told Hodgkins Lymphoma responds well to treatment, but we were all quite surprised at just how well I responded. Especially with it being stage 4. We were hoping to hear the cancer was shrinking, we were not expecting to hear the incredible news we received. 

I cannot help but love the symbolism behind getting such wonderful news right before Easter weekend. A period of darkness and despair followed by a period of light and hope. A period of new life. I swear the world just seems a little bit brighter to me now. Even more beautiful than it was before. 

While the scary part of this journey is over, I am still far from "done". I will need to finish the remainder of my chemotherapy, with a tentative last treatment date in mid-July. Apparently if I were to stop chemo now, there is a high chance that the cancer could come back. By finishing out the next 4 months we are ensuring that we have gotten every single cancer cell and have a much higher chance of being "cured" forever. While I very much hate chemo and don't want to finish this, I also don't want to have to start this all over again a year or so from now. I have already quit my job, lost my hair, had a port surgery, have a wonderful support system set up, etc... I need to just see this thing through to the end and then be done with it for good. 

Thank you for your prayers, your kind words, and EVERYTHING you have done to support me so far! We got wonderful news this week. Now we just need to finish this thing out!

Now, onto today's post...

This month I am attempting a "spring cleaning month" where I do a little reorganizing/purging every day throughout the month. This helps it to not feel overwhelming like it might if I tried to do it in one fell swoop. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

What I'm Priming-- January-March

 Hello friends! It's been a long time since I've linked up with Tanya for Prime Purchases so I have a lot of purchases to share!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

What's Up Wednesday

 Hello there! Happy Wednesday! Today I am linking up with Shay and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday. I didn't have answers for several of the questions, so this is a mini version of WUW. 😊 Let's get started: