Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You are what you read?

I've always thought that the books a person reads are an interesting insight into their personality. This blog post by my friend Smash over at Great Books and Fresh Coffee really got me thinking. What has my 2009 reading list looked like?

Now, there has been some pleasure reading mixed in with all of this...but just take a look:

The bible of fertility...I actually recommend this for any woman who wants to really know about how their body works. I was amazed at how much I learned about female fertility that I didn't know until I read the book! There actually is a natural fertility method explained in the book, which involves charting your waking temperatures and following other fertility signs so that you can actually know when you ovulate. With help from the website Fertility Friend, I charted for three months - two months to avoid, and then we were able to get pregnant the first month we tried. All because of what I learned from this book.

So of course, after finding out that I was "with child" (that term cracks me up for some reason), I had to find out what to expect from this crazy ride called pregnancy. Great book, and I plan on picking it back up soon to read the final section on the third trimester, now that I'm there.

A great (and very comprehensive book) not only on how to save money on baby gear but also with a wealth of information on what you do and don't need, what products are worth the money, which ones are reasonable extravagances, and so on. Tons of great reviews - I would've been lost trying to create a baby registry without this book.

Another book that came highly recommended for information on baby products. I enjoyed some of the reviews, but I didn't rely on this one as much as Baby Bargains, surprisingly. Still a good reference tool, though.

And my latest read, which I just started a few days ago. I realized about a week ago that in just a few months, we're going to have a baby, and I really need to start learning what I should expect from this amazing creature.

Interestingly enough, I rarely actually buy books - and almost never for full price. As the daughter of a librarian, I make heavy use of my library card. But I have purchased each and every one of these books, and I'm glad I did - they're all excellent reference tools, and I find myself constantly referring back to many of them.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

December, in pictures

I just uploaded a whole batch of pictures from my camera, so I figured a picture post was in order.

First up - Wayne's plaque at the DFW National Cemetery. We visited on 12/13, after we finished up our anniversary celebration.

Branden took this picture of me talking to Wayne.

On 12/19, my aunt and uncle came to town, and one of our stops was NorthPark Mall, to see the holiday decorations made of pecans. My uncle saw these decorations when he was a little kid. :o)

Here's a picture of our Christmas tree, after we finished wrapping presents to take to Midland.

Branden, in the living room at his parents' house in Midland. They're all about Christmas!

Haley opening up the DART Bus from "Uncle B". She always plays with his when she comes over - now she has one of her own!

Rae and I each got one of these nifty grabber things. But the boys had much more fun with them. Here's Taylor, feeding Rae a cookie.

A picture of the pregnant ladies! I'm at 27 weeks, Rae's 16 weeks.

And last but not least, today Branden put together the adorable baby swing we got from Rae & Taylor!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So special

On Sunday, Branden and I went to my mom's house to have our Christmas. We watched both Home Alones, listened to some Christmas music, and ate some really yummy chili.

After opening presents, she told Branden and I that she had something for each of us from Wayne. For Branden, it was Wayne's signet ring, a beautiful gold ring with a square opal stone flanked by two small diamonds, with a gold "H" on top. He put it on, and it fits perfectly.

For me, she told me that when she went through Wayne's papers after he died, she found a list of people he wanted to write letters to. But she didn't find a single letter, save one which he had just me.

I think the letter says it I'll leave you with that.

I miss you, Wayne. And I love you so, so much.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

First Anniversary Celebration!

Hard to believe, but it's already been a year since Branden and I were married!

We celebrated on Saturday, since our anniversary fell on a Monday this year, and who wants to celebrate on a Monday?! We started off the evening with a trust walk. That's right - I walked, blindfolded, all the way from our apartment to the other end of downtown. I knew we were going to a hotel, but I had no idea which one - and this way Branden was able to keep it a surprise until we were inside the lobby.

He made a very, very good choice...the newly opened aloft hotel in downtown. Another successful building rehab (this one a former railroad depot/warehouse) by Hamilton Properties. Branden's kind of tight with the elder Hamilton, Larry, who once told Branden over dinner "My apologies to your wife, but I think we might be soulmates." (I am not making this up, folks!).

After checking into the hotel and spending some time in our fabulous room (with a view of City Hall), we headed out to dinner, which was my treat. After my original plan fell through, we headed to Twisted Root Burger Co., the site of our rehearsal dinner. And just as happened the night we were there for the rehearsal dinner, when we arrived, the TVs were tuned in to the Heisman Trophy award ceremony. We didn't get to see it awarded to Sam Bradford this year, but it was still cool to see such an uncanny parallel! We may have to start making it our yearly tradition.

I was even able to stick to my protein-and-veggies plan, thanks to Twisted Root's Burger-in-a-Bowl, which I've enjoyed on more than one occasion. The buffalo patty is quite delicious atop a bed of greens, I must say!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and had an enjoyable night with no responsibilities - Branden had arranged for neighbors to walk our dogs for us, so we were able to just relax and enjoy ourselves.

The next morning we stopped by our old standby, Urban Cafe, for breakfast. After some down time, we headed to the cemetary to see Wayne (his plaque is finally up), and then to my mom's house. Branden put together a piece of furniture for her, then hooked up her new Wii! And then she beat us both at Wii Bowling. I hear she's still bragging about it. ;o)
All in all, a VERY good weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fun Shopping Day

This past Sunday, my mom and I had a nice day full of shopping and mother-daughter time. We started off at the mall. After Sears and another quick stop, we headed up to Motherhood Maternity. I needed to pick up a couple things, and my mom surprised me by telling me that she was going to pay for whatever I bought! And then, she made me buy even more than I had planned on getting! I ended up with 3 new shirts, a new sweater, and a really nice new purple pea coat - one that actually buttons around my belly!

After we left the mall, we made the trek up to Frisco to visit Ikea. Mom had several pieces of furniture she wanted to pick up (and of course she had checked them all out online first!). We started off walking through the showroom. Before heading down to pick up the furniture, we stopped by the restaurant for a late lunch. Mom had the Swedish meatballs (and they were yum - I know because I helped her out a little!) and I had a chicken caesar salad and a bowl of fruit. Bellies full, we headed down to pick up the furniture. I didn't leave the store empty-handed, mind you. I found a couple of pillow covers for the pillows on the couch, so that they now coordinate with the slip-covered couch in our living room. And I couldn't resist buying a few packs of cute, multi-colored kid's clothes hangers. I'm sure those will come in handy soon!

After all that shopping, we headed back to Arlington, unloaded the car, and settled on to my mom's new sectional sofa to watch some figure skating. Perfect end to a great day with one of my favorite people in the whole world!

In other news, Branden and I finally got the Christmas tree and decorations up last night, at his urging. I was ready to just not bother with it, but I'm really glad he insisted. It looks great, and I had a good time hanging ornaments with him and listening to John Denver & the Muppets singing Christmas songs (only the best Christmas CD ever!).

Tonight was Branden's last final for the semester, so he's officially done until January! Four more classes down. I must confess, I am so very proud of him and all the hard work he's putting into this degree. I know it's for all of us and our future, and I just can't express enough how much it means to me that he's devoting so much time and energy to getting this degree.

And last but certainly not least, the baby seems to be doing well! Since being put on the low-carb diet by my midwife, I've lost at least 2 lbs - and yes, that's a good thing! Ben's kicking up a storm, and I just love feeling him all the time now.

Here I am just a few minutes ago. Twenty-five weeks pregnant today! And I'm wearing my new sweater also. :o)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I've Grown!

Just for fun, I thought it might be interesting to compare my 21 week picture with my 24 week picture, especially since I'm essentially wearing the same outfit. Here I am 3 weeks ago, at 21 weeks:

And here I am today, at 24 weeks:

I don't know about you, but I can definitely tell a difference!

According to, our little Benjamin is about a foot long right now, and weighs a little over a pound! He seems to be growing well, and he's kicking up a storm these days - though still not really strong enough for Branden to feel, except for one little kick he barely felt last week.

Childbirth class is going well. We have our third session (of 8) this Saturday. We've already gotten a lot of good relaxation techniques to use, and I'm sure we'll learn lots more before all is said and done. Our checkups with the midwife at the Birth Center are going really well - I really love both of the midwives, and will be happy to have either one assist us with our birth! I did get a bit of a talking to at the last appointment - I'm gaining weight a little too quickly, so I've been put on a low-carb diet full of protein and veggies and told to exercise every day. So far I'm doing pretty well, and I'm already starting to feel better as a result of my healthier eating and increased exercise. Amazing how that works!

That's it for now...except that I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Saturday is the Adolphus Children's Parade here in downtown, which I'm hoping to catch a little bit of before we have to take off for class. Sunday I'm having a mother-daughter day with my mom - we're going shopping and lunching. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Date Night!

Last Friday night, Branden took me out on a date! We got all dressed up and headed out to City Lights, the official start of the holidays in downtown Dallas. We watched the (cheesy, scripted, but still fun) unveiling of the Neiman Marcus lights and windows first. The windows this year, I must say, are very cool. They actually have a tube running all through them that kids can climb through and be a part of the display! That part is only open select hours on the weekends until Christmas week, but the display itself is on most of the time - and if you're in the area, you must check it out! It's all about alternate sources of energy as imagined by kids - everything from dance energy to energy being squeezed out of grapes by monkeys! Kids are great. :o)

After checking out the Neiman Marcus to-do, we headed down to the new Main Street Garden park, right across the street from our loft building, and watched the lighting of the official downtown Christmas tree. The park is not quite finished yet, but it's officially open to the public now, and we're excited to have such a good park right across the street from us!

After all the City Lights fun, Branden took me out to dinner at Dallas Fish Market!
This is the kind of restaurant we hardly ever get to go to, so it was a really nice treat! We both started with the Main Lobster Corn Chowder. For our main courses, I had the New Bedford Mass. Scallops (delish!), and Branden had the Black Truffle Wrapped Chilean Sea Bass. We shared sides of sauteed spinach and butternut squash risotto with cambazola. It was all fantastically delicious, and a very special evening. We finished out the night by picking up some ice cream at 7-11 and heading home to watch Star Trek on DVD.

In baby news, we have a check-up with our midwife this afternoon. So far everything seems to be going well. I'm getting bigger, as I should be, and Ben's kicks are getting stronger. I even felt a couple last night from outside my belly - which means hopefully it won't be too much longer before Branden will be able to feel them as well!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

He is Gone

Yesterday we held the interment service at DFW National Cemetery to finally lay Wayne to rest. He was cremated, and his ashes now have a home in a memorial wall amongst fellow veterans.

The service was simple, beautiful, and very touching. It included a formal flag folding by two uniformed Army soldiers - Howe and Moore were their names, it seemed important to me to remember that. They then presented the flag to Wayne's son, Clay. He was very touched by that move. (This was the same flag that was draped over Wayne's casket at the funeral). Taps was played. Branden and I each had a reading, then we headed over to the memorial wall where my mom said a prayer over the ashes, and then they were placed in the wall and sealed.

Here's the poem I read, titled "He is Gone."

You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and
turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins, 1959

Kenneth Wayne Holster, January 27, 1943-October 31, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009


After a very long and difficult week, I am beginning to slowly surface.

Here's a recap of the last week.

Thursday the 29th (was that really just a week ago?), I got a message from my mom that the end was near for Wayne. After breaking down at work, I had some wonderful coworkers who came to my aid immediately. One of them offered to drive me to my parents' house, since Branden was already on his way to class.

I arrived around 4:00 that afternoon. I was able to talk to Wayne a bit that evening, and he responded a little with smiles and squeezing my hand. At 8:00 on Thursday evening, hospice began 24-hour care - providing a nurse to stay with Wayne around the clock. The end was near.

I stayed the night at my parents' house and Friday I spent the day with my mom. We got lunch at Taco Bell and stopped at the grocery store for some food, since we knew the house would shortly be filling with people.

Friday evening, my aunt and uncle arrived from Norman. My Aunt Julie is my mom's sister. They were there for the long haul. They went to a hotel nearby that evening after visiting with us for a while. I again slept on the spare bed in the back of my parents' living room that night.

Around 3:00 AM on Saturday morning, I woke up for my usual middle of the night bathroom break. As I used the bathroom adjoining Wayne's room, I could hear the fluid on his lungs with every breath. I briefly stopped in to look at him before going back to bed. I knew it couldn't possibly be much longer with him in that condition. It took me almost two hours to fall back asleep.

At 6:00 AM, I thought I heard my name being called out. I was so out of it that when I didn't hear it again, I assumed it was a dream, and laid back down. Minutes later, the hospice nurse came in to wake me up. He said my mom had asked for me. I knew what that must mean as I walked back to Wayne's room. I remember checking the clock in the kitchen as I walked past. It read 6:12 AM.

When I entered the room, my mom was standing next to the bed, holding Wayne's hand. His face was drawn and white. It took me a second to take in the fact that he was no longer breathing. I caught my mom's eye, and I knew. He was finally gone. Six months of suffering with lung cancer, and it was over.

We stayed there with him like that for a while, just the three of us and the nurse. When the time felt right (I think it must've only been 10 or 15 minutes), I began calling family. I called Julie at the hotel. I called my stepbrother Clay. I hated telling them that Wayne had passed, but I did it because it needed to be done. I called Wayne's brother Doug, who would pass along the information to the other brothers. Then I called Branden, who headed our way even though he had barely slept at all the night before.

Family gathered and paid respects to Wayne before the funeral home came. The Chaplain from hospice showed up, and helped us talk about Wayne and share stories. When the funeral home showed up, the Chaplain led us all in prayer around Wayne's body. Then we each told him goodbye in turn and left the room. When it was my turn, I kissed him on the forehead and said to him "I will always love you." Then they took him away.

Saturday passed in a haze. Slowly family began to leave, until it was just me, Branden, my aunt and uncle left with my mom. My mom's other sister showed up that afternoon, and stayed the night at my mom's house. I went home that night, and it felt good to sleep in my own bed again.

Sunday I went back to Arlington, and went with my the family to the funeral home to make arrangements. They were impressed with how much my mom already had prepared. She said that's what you do when you have six months to get ready for something like this. We ate lunch at El Chico after visiting the funeral home. My mom's youngest sister left that evening with plans to drive my grandparents down for the services on Thursday.

Monday I again went back to my parents' house, just to hang out. It felt good to be there - like that's where I was supposed to be. Thank goodness for my understanding boss and my company's excellent bereavement leave - I got the entire week off, and will only have to use one vacation day.

Tuesday I decided to stay home. Branden was off work for three days, and we really needed a day to do things around the house. I took my one-hour glucose test, which consisted of drinking a special neon-orange glucose drink and then having my blood drawn at the Birth Center an hour later. My results came back on the low side, but the midwife isn't worried, so I'll just take the test again at 28 weeks. Branden and I also voted, and got some other stuff done that day.

Wednesday Branden and I got ready and headed to my parents' house around mid-morning. When we got there, my mom had already received the call that we could go to the funeral home for a private viewing. We went - just the four of us now, as my uncle had driven back to Oklahoma to pick up my two cousins.

Wednesday evening was the viewing, and I was impressed by many things. So many flowers were delivered! It was a beautiful outporing of love. And so many people showed up. I personally had my three closest girlfriends, my second mom, and four coworkers show up to the viewing. It made me feel so loved and supported. My work also sent a huge, beautiful floral spray - another wonderful show of support. We got through the viewing, and when Branden was finished with class, he came to pick me up at my parents' house. It was after 11 before we got home that night.

Thursday (yesterday) was the funeral. It was every bit as difficult and emotional as I thought it would be. The service was beautiful, other than a couple of glitches from the sound system, and we got through those. I cried rivers. My mom finally let out some of her tears. My friend Ashley's aunt and uncle officiated, and they did an absolutely beautiful job. I am so very thankful to both of them for their help.

After the service, we went back to my parents' house for lunch. Wayne's friends from the lake parks (where he served as gate attendant in his retirement) already had a huge spread set out by the time we got there. There were tons of people who showed up to eat. The house was full, and it felt like a nice way to say goodbye. Slowly people trickled out. Branden went to class. Finally, it was again just me, my mom, my aunt, uncle and cousins. They left in the early evening hours, and I spent a couple of hours watching TV with my mom and packing up food to take home while Branden was in class. Finally, around 8:45, I left too. I left because my mom wanted and needed to be alone. I'm thinking of her today, but I know she needs her time. I know it's okay and even healthy for her to cry and grieve, and I'm letting her do that. She knows I'm only a phone call away.

Today I'm feeling okay. Not great, not all better, but okay. I feel like I got out a lot of the tears and emotion that had been building up yesterday. I know there will be more from time to time, and I know I have only begun to miss my father. But with only one step left in the process (a private family ceremony at the National Cemetery once he's been cremated), I am ready to begin healing.

I know this has been a long post, and if you have read this far, I'm impressed! I think this started out as a blog post and turned into a therapeutic way for me to write about the events of the past week and also keep a record of it for the future. I will add one more thing before I close out this post - and that is that I have been feeling little baby movements this past week, and it is incredible! I can't wait until they're stronger, so Branden can feel them too! It really has illustrated the circle of life thing for me. My baby boy awoke to me right around the same time Wayne left this earth. Seems more than just coincidence to me...

Our Baby!

Lots of baby news to share before I post a big, emotional recap of the last week. I'll try to make this one short and sweet.

Monday, October 26 - our big (and likely only) ultrasound! Here are pics of our little baby BOY!

As you can tell from that second shot (the money shot!), he's definitely a boy! Branden and I are both overjoyed!

Secondly, our baby boy has a name! His name will be...

Benjamin James

And lastly, our crib was delivered on Tuesday, and Branden was anxious to go ahead and put it together.

He had it completed in about an hour! Here's the finished product. Now all we need is a mattress and bedding.

That's all the news for now! Stay tuned for (hopefully more frequent) updates.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It doesn't get any easier...

I'm really trying to stay positive...but today certainly didn't help.

Over the weekend, I got confirmation on my suspicions regarding Wayne. I suspected that once he was bedridden, that was the beginning of the end. I just know him and I know his spirit and I knew that he wouldn't want to live like that. On Friday, he told my mom and me that he was ready to go. That he didn't want to be a burden on anyone anymore, and he knew his time was coming.

Today, more news. Wayne's hospice nurse suspects the beginnings of pneumonia and a UTI. Because he doesn't wish to have any life-prolonging care or treatment, he won't receive antibiotics. So the nurse doubled his morphine and that was that. It's likely the infection could end his life sooner.

My mom has been great throughout this process. She has been there by his side every step of the way, learning everything she can to support him and help herself through each stage. She has been a wonderful advocate for him, as well as a caretaker and companion. I am so proud of her. I will not call her strong, because I learned from a recent widow from our Gilda's Club support group that they get tired of being called strong when they feel anything but. I will say that she has done everything she could for him, and more.

I really tried to soldier on through the day after hearing the latest news, and I was doing a pretty good job until I left work. I was in a rush to catch the bus and tried to take a shortcut over the grass berm in front of our building. Big Mistake! As soon as I hit the downhill slope, I felt my feet fall out from under me and I went crashing down on my rear end. Did I mention that said berm was quite muddy? So I sat there, covered in mud, and watched my bus drive right on by. Thank goodness for a kind coworker (and friend) who gave me a ride home, despite being covered in mud!

Life goes on, right? So I'm waiting for my dryer to beep so I can throw on some clothes and go get groceries. Such is life...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things that make me happy

In an effort to keep a positive outlook and stay upbeat lately, I've been focusing on the positive. Here are some things that make me happy...

1. Watching "The Office." I'm currently on Season 5, thanks to Netflix!

2. Hanging out with my Mom. We're going shopping for baby items at a big resale event tomorrow, and I can't wait!

3. Playing Guitar Hero 5 with Branden...even though I always have to play bass to his guitar. :)

4. Going to the State Fair! Doing this on Sunday, and can't wait to get to ride the train right up to the main gates!

5. Finally looking pregnant! Here I am at 17 weeks on Wednesday the 14th:

6. My birthday! On the 24th, I turn...

And finally...#7 - our Big Ultrasound on the 26th! We finally get to find out...

Let's just hope our little CityBaby cooperates and shows us the goods!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Great Weekend

I have had a wonderful weekend! After the emotional mess that happened on Tuesday, it was very welcome.

Saturday started out with a trip to Arlington to spend some quality time with Wayne. This time around, there were no big surprises waiting for me when I arrived, and no unexpected trips to the hospital either. Just me and Wayne and lots and lots of great conversation. White I was there, I also got him food, helped him into the living room, cleaned up his room a little for the company he was to have that evening, and helped him into the bathroom so he could clean himself up a little before I left. The best part was just sitting in the recliner next to him and talking, about anything and everything. He was back to his old self, no traces of Tuesday's scare left, and I can't put into words how grateful I am for this. It was a wonderful visit!

From Arlington, I headed up to Wylie to visit with Jeana, her baby Taryn, and Lindsey. It's been months since I've seen Taryn, and she's grown so much! Here is Taryn, hanging out in the high chair at Taco Bell. She's almost 9 months old now:

After a great visit with the girls, I headed home and fell asleep on the couch while Branden played on the computer.

Today has been a great around-the-house day. We started out with a trip to Cafe Brazil in Deep Ellum for brunch. Since then, I've done laundry, played on the computer, watched Grey's Anatomy online. We got groceries this afternoon, and I made taco salad for dinner. Now we're re-watching An Inconvenient Truth at Branden's request.

So that's been my weekend! Hope yours has been good as well. :o)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Catching up

For those of you who haven't been following me as Citysaur on the Pregosaur blog, I thought it would be nice to have a little update over here on how things have been going.

On the pregnancy front, I am now safely ensconced in the 2nd trimester. Today marks 15 weeks of pregnancy. Our little one is now 4 inches long, and has reflexes, facial movements (like frowning and squinting) and is sensitive to light (they say if you shine a light on the belly, baby will move away from it). I'm not showing much yet, though I can definitely tell I'm getting bigger. My regular pants are all but obsolete now. And it will probably still be a while before I can feel little baby movements (it generally takes longer if you have a little more "padding", shall we say!). As far as I can tell, everything is going well in there. We had an appointment with the Birth and Women's Center, where we will be delivering, on September 14. It was a great appointment - we got to hear baby's heartbeat, which was a healthy 166 BPM. Things seem to be going along swimmingly so far! And we'll find out on October 26 whether it's a little girl or a little boy in there!

Branden's still doing quite well in school - he even got a scholarship award this year! He's taking 12 graduate hours this fall (4 classes - one on Monday, one on Wednesday, and two on Thursday), so that keeps him pretty busy. A month ago, he was cleared to do half days on bike, and that helped his morale at work quite a bit. He should be good to go full days whenever he's ready - the doc said October, which starts tomorrow! I know that will be a big relief for him - the 9 months he spent doing dispatch all day really wore on him.

In other family news, my stepdad is still hanging in there. He has ups and downs, good days and bad days, and it's all guesswork as to how long he'll be around. He's still hoping to be around to see the baby in the Spring, and I know I'd love it if that were to happen! He's been battling edema for several weeks, mostly in his legs and feet, and he still has over 20 lbs of water weight on him. He went into hospice care several weeks ago, and it did make a huge difference in his comfort level almost immediately. They put him on a medication regiment that helped control his coughing, which had been his biggest source of discomfort. He gave us quite a scare yesterday morning - I happened to have taken the day off to go spend time with him, and his breathing was labored, and he wasn't acting like himself at all. By the dinner time, he was much more himself, and I'm hoping he continues to improve. Still no idea what caused this, and care for hospice patients is a little different anyway, so the doctors don't seem to be in as big a rush to get to the bottom of it.

So as you can see, life's been full of ups and downs lately. I'm going to try to be more faithful in my blog updates from now on. Love to you all!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I have been blogging...

Just not here.

I've joined the blog at Pregosaur - and in case you need any hints, I'm Citysaur.

It's been a good way to get out my thoughts and feelings on this pregnancy journey, without always bugging my friends and family with every little bit of info - though they've all been more than gracious about sharing in the experience with me.

In other news, my stepdad is still hanging in there. He's in good spirits, and has a great attitude about everything. The latest news is that they've started hospice care, which will be a huge help for them both, I believe. I'm just trying to enjoy every single visit with them as much as possible, having no idea how much longer we have. I'm still going to group therapy at Gilda's Club, and it's been a tremendous experience. We missed for the first time this week because I was feeling under the weather - just a little sinus/allergy problem that's already starting to clear up.

That's it for now! More later, I promise!

Monday, August 24, 2009

We're having a baby!

Yep, it's true. I'm pregnant!

I apologize for the lack of posts here. I've tried several times to come up with something to post about that wasn't pregnancy-related...but I just couldn't do it!

We tried to hold the news in as long as we could...but could only make it to 10 weeks. That's how far along we are today. Our estimated due date is March 24.

We've already made one big decision...we're going to try for a natural birth. We both feel it's the best decision for us and our baby. We're still checking our options and deciding where we'll give birth, but we'll definitely be using a midwife instead of an obstetrician.

Things have gone well so far in the pregnancy. My main symptom is being tired all the time - and I do mean all the time. I've had one bought of morning sickness, about a week and a half ago.

Branden and I are both over the moon, and can't wait to start our little family! Here are a few of the clothes we've gotten already:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What Cancer Cannot Do

This poem is framed and sitting in the Gilda's Club library. I found it very inspiring and just wanted to pass it along...

What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit.

Gilda's Club

I'm officially a member of Gilda's Club!

After having an emotional break down at work last week, I decided it was time to reach out for my support. Luckily for me, the Dallas location of Gilda's Club is just a block away from my office - it doesn't get much more convenient than that!

Gilda's Club is a nonprofit support organization for anyone affected by cancer. Their motto is "Cancer support for the whole family, the whole time." They have group therapy, wellness activities, networking groups, fun/informational activities, socials - even an on-site work out room! The whole thing is housed in a home-like setting which immediately puts you at ease.

Branden and I attended our New Member meeting last night, and today I had my one-on-one appointment to design my customized membership experience. I start my family & friends support group next week! I'm so glad to be going so soon. It feels weird to say I'm excited, but I am looking forward to talking to others with similar experiences and emotions.

Oh, and the best part of Gilda's Club? Every single thing is F-R-E-E. I like the sound of that.

They also have a small library, mostly filled with cancer/self-help/support books, but also including a section of general fiction. I already checked out two books:

My librarian mother instilled in me the belief that answers can often be found in the pages of a book, so that's where I'm turning.
To round out my education, I have placed "Saturday Night Live's The Best of Gilda Radner" at the top of my Netflix queue - I'd like to see some of the wonderful woman who inspired all of this. She was a bit before my SNL time (I watched during the era of Adam Sandler, Jon Lovitz, - so I'm looking forward to some laughs when it comes in.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Father's Day

I'm finally able to post about our Father's Day!

We're having internet issues at home, and I've been back and forth with AT&T many times. We should've had access over a week ago, but it's looking like it'll be Thursday before anything happens now. So, I'm having to steal moments online wherever I can. Right now, that happens to be at my parents' house, where the boys are continuing their game from last weekend.

Speaking of that, Father's Day was really something special around here! The cast of characters here to celebrate with Wayne included my mom, me, Branden, Branden's best friend Pete, Pete's girlfriend Rachel, Branden's friend Chris, Wayne's son Clay, Clay's best friend Chris, and my best friend Lindsey. Did you catch all that? :o) Oh, and for good measure, my parents' dog Sooner, and our dogs Jock and Pepper, too!

The boys (and Rachel) played a modified version of Dungeons and Dragons, which they called Castle. It is a role-playing game with dice and little characters and a huge, awesome castle Wayne built:

Close-up of the top of the castle:

In honor of the occasion, we ordered a castle cake from Confections in Cake. Erika did an excellent job! It even brought Wayne to tears.

Every castle has to have a King and Queen, so here are ours:

Somehow, the Queen's crown made it onto the Doggy Prince, Sooner:

Here's me!

Pete and Branden, goofing around:

Me and Lindsey:

Wayne kept the crown on for a while. Here he is with Pete and Rachel, in the midst of game play:

Chris, Clay and Chris getting into the game:

Finally, it was time to cut the cake!

After a long day and lots of people, the cake was rather sad looking, being half-eaten. But boy was it delicious! It was pineapple flavored, with cherry filling (and real cherries!).

Here's a cute shot of Sooner, in his honored spot on the couch cushion. Poor Pepper really wants to come in and join the party! (Don't worry, we let him in shortly after this picture was taken).

It was a wonderful day, and Wayne told me it was his best Father's Day ever, which is exactly what we were going for. We love you, Wayne!