Cancer Sucks

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, that my step-mom (a.k.a. Tutu) has brain cancer.  Here she is a couple of years ago when we were in SunRiver, Oregon…..Oh yea, and She’s a tree hugger….literally. 😉

Before I continue…….a couple of FYI’s: First, we call her Tutu, because that’s what my daughter, and all of her cousins have always known her as. It means Grandma in Hawaiian, and she’s Hawaiian. (Besides, its fun to say, isn’t it?  What girl doesn’t like Tutu’s?  Whether you’re talking about Grandma’s, or a poufy, girly ballet tutu.) Second, the type of cancer she has is called Glioblastoma, which unfortunately, is the most aggressive type of brain tumor there is. 😦

Her cancer journey (I say “her” but it’s also “ours”, because it has affected all of us, and we have been with her every step of the way) started in October of 2010.  She was diagnosed, and then went to Seattle to have the tumor removed. After surgery her ability to “connect” words and thoughts was affected the most.  They had a therapist visit her every day during recovery to assess her progress.  One of the days I visited her in the hospital, I was able to be there during the session with the therapist, along with her other two daughters Malia and Kristi.  The therapist laid down 5 objects on the tray in front of her.  Simple things, like a spoon, a cup, a pencil, etc. Tutu was supposed to say what the name of the object was, and then describe what you do with it.  She was able to mentally make the “connections”, but was unable to verbalize them.  One of the things I have always loved about Tutu is her sense of humor, and sarcasm, and a brain tumor wasn’t even able to take those away from her. It wasn’t long into the session before the four of us were in hysterics (Tutu included) at this little “quiz” she was trying to take, and failing miserably. I have a feeling, by the sober look the therapist had the entire time, that she either thought we were horribly mean people for laughing at (actually with) this poor woman with BRAIN CANCER, or she thought we were all just crazy. Either way, she clearly didn’t see the same humor in it that we all did. Crazy or not, I know that all four of us had the same mindset, that if we didn’t laugh, we would be crying.  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather laugh than cry, and besides, it’s better for your health!

The months following her surgery were hard for all of us.  Glioblastoma has a 4% survival rate.  We (and the doctors) really have no clue how long she has. She started chemo and radiation right away. That seemed to keep the tumor from returning, and kept new ones from growing for a while. Her ability to verbalize her thoughts has remained sketchy ever since her surgery, so it keeps us all laughing during conversations with her.  And amazingly, she has not been the least bit frustrated with it.  Her college degree is in phycology, and she worked in the mental health field up until her diagnosis.  I thought for sure that would be really hard for her…not being able to speak your thoughts. She has handled it well, and as usual, with humor. It’s like an on-going game of charades.  “Sounds like….”, “two syllables….”, “it’s something that you…….”. She can talk her way all around the word, describing it, but just can’t come up with the word itself. It can be pretty funny at times. 🙂 So who knows, maybe all of the laughter over this span of time had helped to keep the tumors at bay.     

Just before Christmas 2011, they found a “spot” on one of her routine MRI’s.  After Christmas, they determined that the cancer was growing again, and this time, very aggressively.  There were some more intense treatments that they could try but it’s tricky when you’re dealing with the brain, but Tutu opted not to go through that.  She decided that her quality of life in her remaining time here was more important than prolonging it. So right after the first of the year, she told us her decision to discontinue treatments, stop taking her medications, and call hospice to prepare for the inevitable. 😦   This was not fun to hear. I know I have mentioned this in prior posts, but I feel selfish for being so saddened by her decision, when it really is just THAT….HER decision.  She is at peace with it and it’s what she WANTS. Sometimes it’s easier just to bury your head in the sand, and “duck out” of the situation… attempt to make the pain lessen, or go away, and to be honest, that was my first instinct.  But my love for her turned me right around, and forced me to accept the situation head on and remain engaged.  Since her decision was made, we have talked several times. I continue to be more amazed by her strength and compassion every time. She was the one consoling ME after my break-up in January. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be surprising. She has always been the one I go to for advice. She and I are alike, in that we are both pretty analytical people. We dissect. It’s how we process. So advice from an analytical, TO an analytical, is very helpful.  She was the one who helped me emotionally through my divorce/relationships, and has always reminded me of the good that exists in me, no matter what is happening to me “externally”. That I am who I am, and not to let others define ME. I owe her so much gratitude for her hand in getting me to where I am today……and that is to be who I am, and deciding to “Choose Joy” each day as well. Losing her is going to be tough. Very tough.

What prompted me to write this post, was having an awesome conversation with her last night.  And guess WHAT?  I made it through the entire convo without crying once. Every time I talk to her, I tell myself…..Kelly, DO NOT CRY. That is NOT what she wants….pppffttt yeah….that never worked. I did it anyway. She just sounds so normal and “herself” on the phone (except for the charades thing) you would never know she has anything wrong with her. Her laugh is the same, her voice is the same, and her humor/sarcasm is still there, everything. It’s hard to actually believe that the person I am talking to, will not be around soon. The only way I can describe it, is it kind of feels like talking to a ghost. But she is still here, so I want to open myself up and soak up every bit of her while I can, so I hang on every word she has to say, and every laugh.

This picture was taken after her diagnosis, and is a pretty accurate portrait of her attitude these days……

Last night we were talking about things going on in my life, some things that she too had been through earlier in her own life, and she reminded me just to keep them in perspective. She had been through them, and came out the other side a better stronger person. While they weigh so heavily on me right now, they will pass, and become distant memories. I look forward to that day, but I also am looking forward to making every day in between then and now as AWESOME and as POSITIVE as I can. 🙂


Butterflies, Science, and Seagulls in Seattle. Oh my!

A cousin of mine that I haven’t seen in probably 15 years, who now lives in Michigan (but originally from the Seattle area, like me), flew out to visit family in the Pacific Northwest for spring break, with her 7yr old daughter Kaitlyn. I HAD to take this opportunity to see Michelle, and wanted Emma to meet her second cousin.

So, from the Canal (where we “stayed” for the weekend), we headed to the Bremerton ferry dock to ride over to Seattle.  We parked on the Bremerton side (for only $5 bucks for all day!), and walked on (more on this parking adventure later in this post).  Here is Emma at the fountain and sculpture park they have by the ferry terminal.

And climbing…

Emma has been on a ferry several times before, but the first few times she was less than a year old, and the rest of the time has been sitting in the car on the car deck below.  This time she got to take FULL advantage of being “topside”.  Personally, I didn’t think she was going to like the wind out on the front deck……WRONG.  She stood out there in it THE ENTIRE WAY.  She would take a huge gulp of air, then turn around and point her nose up into the wind. She looked at me and said “I can breathe in it (the wind), I just can’t talk in it!” Haha.  I snapped a few pictures, then huddled behind the shelter to shiver, then popped out to snap a few more, etc.  Here she is enjoying it……



We docked in Seattle, and my Cousin Michelle, her Mom Marilyn, Kaitlyn, my Uncle Rick were waiting for us on the other side. Emma and Kaitlyn met and pretty much instantly got along like they already knew each other. 

Arent they cute?….

I was so glad to see that, but of course, Emma being an only child, she CRAVES other kids.  She will walk up to ANY child, and just say “Hi”. So many times we have been sitting in a restaurant and a family will sit down next to us and she will start looking over at the kids, then back at me, then she’ll ask “Mom, can I go meet them?”.  I hate telling her no, but jeeeeez, they are having dinner with their family, and while YOU are not shy, some kids might think your nutso just going up to them like that (not to mention interrupting dinner).  It makes me feel bad sometimes that she is only child.  I had always planned on having more than one, but then I got divorced, and well, that just was not in the cards, I guess.  But hey, maybe someday she will have step brothers or sisters. Ok….sorry, that was a major side track!  Back to our day…..

First we hit the food court at the Seattle Center to get the animals (kids) fed.  I have not been in the Seattle Center since probably middle school.  Michelle and I were both amazed at how much smaller it seemed now.  And not as many cool places to eat, although, cool at 38 and cool at 14 probably differ greatly.  🙂  This may shock you, but Emma and I ended up eating pizza.

Next up, Pacific Science Center. Uncle Rick ended up surprising us by paying for us ALL to get in.  Thanks Uncle Rick!! There were SO many cool things to see there!  If you have kids and haven’t taken them yet, DO IT!  

Parents Warning: those sneaky people placed the gift shop right inside the front doors.  We had to create a quick diversion accompanied by the promise that “we’ll stop at the gift shop on the way OUT”. We spent some time checking out the bodily functions area, bones, balance, etc. I touched a sheep brain….EEWW. It was soft, and strange.  Emma wouldn’t touch it.  She’s such a chicken!  Lol. Then it was off to the planetarium.  Lot’s of cool stuff in there.  A HUGE rubix cube.  That was way more exciting for the adults (a.k.a. children of the 80’s) than it was for Kaitlyn and Emma though, considering they didn’t have a clue what it was.


There was also a tide pool for investigating sea creatures. Em actually TOUCHED them. When I took her to the Seattle Aquarium a couple of years ago, she wouldn’t touch anything. They even had a little hermit crab habitat at the tide pool, that contained my worst nightmare…….a NAKED hermit crab, without it’s shell.  Gross. Then it was on to the snakes, reptiles, naked mole rats, which are actually cuter than a naked hermit crab.  No joke. Really. 😉

The next stop was the highlight (for me anyway) of the visit.  The Tropical Butterfly Exhibit.  I had been in it a loooooong time ago, when it was still part of the Woodland Park Zoo, but it has since moved to the Science Center. They import 500 butterflies a week for the exhibit (raised responsibly in sustainable rainforest farms). You walk in and there are literally hundreds of butterflies everywhere you look.  Sometimes they land on people, which is very cool.  Now I know that they like bright colors like orange, pink, and red.  If you go, where a shirt that color and you’ll increase your chances of a landing.  I was wearing dark blue, darn it.  Luckily, part of the Otterbox I have on my iPhone is pink, and a large butterfly landed on it!  Wooohoooo!  I happened to have my digital camera in my other hand (I was a double fisted shooter in there), and despite being totally retarded at doing anything left-handed, I was able to snap this shot….

Here are a couple others I took….

Oh!  Anddddd, here is one of THE RAREST and MOST beautiful of ALL the butterflies…. 😉

Had it not been for the fact that it was about a zillion degrees in there with 80% humidity, I could have spent all day in there playing with the butterflies.  They are SO beautiful and amazing.

After that, we headed back down to the waterfront, and stopped to have some grub at my favorite fast-seafood restaurant in Seattle, Ivar’s.  Baby Prawns n Chips for me every time I go, and a cup of their famous white chowder.  Ahhhh it’s hard to beat Ivar’s. 

I think Kaitlyn and Emma had more fun on the pier feeding and talking to the seagulls than they did anywhere else that day.  Left up to them, we would have fed the seagulls every morsel of food we bought! 

After feeding every seagull in Elliott Bay, Emma and I hopped back on the ferry back to Bremerton. More freezing to death in the wind. Well, Emma was, I was shivering behind the shelter watching HER freeze to death in the wind. 

This brings me back to the parking topic.  I was excited to see it was only $5 for parking in the garage near the terminal on the Bremerton side.  That’s cheap!! Especially since it’s $25 for parking at the Seattle Center. Upon arrival back in Bremerton, we walked off the ferry, stopped by Starbucks for a coffee and a hot chocolate (for Emma) and walked over to the parking garage. As I was getting closer to my car, I noticed an envelope on my windshield. What could that be I wondered…..I know I paid for parking before I left. I opened it, to see a parking fine…..WHAT? (Grrrrr).  Apparently, I read the tiny sign wrong on the pay box. It was $5.50 (even though there was a LARGE red lettered “Parking $5” sign out on the street in front of the garage). I guess they ment “AROUND” $5…..not actually $5. Guess how much the fine is?  $30!!!  Yes…..I have been assessed a THIRTY DOLLAR fine, for FIFTY CENTS. Really? This sounds like a TRAP to me. The sign outside says $5, and the paybox itself says $5.50! I had steam billowing out of my ears.  I tried calling, and of course no one answers, you have to leave a message, which I did, and big surprise, no one has returned my call. I was so mad I didn’t even think to take photos of the “trap” to plead my case. I take photo’s of everything else under the sun, jeeeeez, how could I not think to do that (again, Grrrrr).

Click here to see more pictures of this trip in the photo gallery….

Spread the Shine

I heard about The Shine Project, through another blog (lilblueboo), and really liked the idea of spreading “shine” which encourages us all to pay it forward.  I’ve taken the opportunity to purchase a stranger’s coffee behind me in the drive thru at the coffee shop a time or two, and also have been the recipient of the same act of kindness. I took those opportunities to pay it forward, by purchasing the persons drink behind me.  It’s a win-win.  I feel so much gratitude for the stranger that purchased mine, and I get the joy of helping someone out by doing the same. While I can’t speak for the person behind me, I know that no matter how hurried, troubled, or whatever, my morning may have been going, in that instant, that all melts away.  It REALLY does! The thought that someone is nice enough to do that for a total stranger, is awesome.  It helps you to take a step back, step out of the “mirror room”, and remember that life is bigger than what is happening TO JUST YOU.  Think of OTHERS.

For someone with low self-esteem (me), it’s hard not to be overly critical of myself. I am discovering that the more I focus on OTHERS, and doing kind things FOR others, the less energy I have to spend criticizing myself.  For lack of a better word, it’s “cleansing”. As each day passes, it becomes easier and easier for me to Choose Joy in my daily life.  I suppose that lends to the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Maybe it’s becoming a habit.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  I do have those moments during the day when I get to thinking about the things that cause me or people I care about pain, and wonder why they are happening, or have happened.  The difference is, I’m not consumed by it and I’m learning to look at those things from different angles.

The Shine Project has many different ways of helping people. (You can also read more about it yourself here).  One of them, is the “Pass it forward cards”. The idea being, that I purchase (which I did – they are really inexpensive) some cards (below) from the project then, I go out into the world (well, my community anyway), and do random acts of kindness for others.  When I do, I give that person the “Pass it forward” card (but first make a note of the number that was on the card).  The card explains the project to them, and encourages them to then go out and do the same thing for someone else. Then, I go back to the website, find the card number, and log my random act of kindness (what I did and where). The idea being that the person I give it too, will do the same with that very card. 

The first card I gave out, was at the drive thru coffee stand one morning.  It was easy…I just paid for the persons coffee in line behind me, and gave the card to the Barista to hand to them with their drink.  The second one was to my daughters teacher when I gave her a gift Emma and I had made her, but this was a little different, and as I started to explain it to her, I started to feel a little like a salesman. Kind of like saying “Here I did something nice for you, now go do something nice for someone else….and then record it, and do it NOW!”  She had kind of a glazed-over look on her face, which was a pretty good indicator I was going in one ear and out the other.  That’s when I decided I wasn’t sure about this card idea.  I think it’s a fun idea, and it would be awesome to be able to “spread the shine” and actually “watch” it spread, but it just felt weird to me. 

I am absolutely going to continue to do random acts of kindness whenever I can, but I’m leaving it up to fate as to whether that person pays it forward, or not.

If you have never done it, give it a try. Think of how it could change someone’s outlook on the day, and perhaps even on life in general, given to the right person in the right circumstance.  In the words of Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”.  🙂

A Friday in Gig Harbor

Emma and I visited a friends’ shop in Gig Harbor this weekend while we were at the Hood Canal.  It’s a coffee shop/wine bar/pottery painting studio.  Basically, it’s AWESOMENESS x 3. It’s called Java and Clay Cafe.

 I didn’t experience the wine bar part of it, because Emma was with me, and well, it was the middle of the day.  Of course, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy a nice cold beer in the middle of the day, especially a tall cold Blue Moon with a slice of orange in it with lunch, mmmmmmm…..but for some strange reason, it feels weird to me to drink wine during the day.  I can’t explain why.  Just a quirk I guess.  Oops, got side tracked there for a minute…..ok back to Java and Clay…. It’s right on the main drag through Gig Harbor (and not too far from my 2nd FAVORITE place there, the Tides Tavern). They have a little lounging spot in the Coffee Shop, and tables. I so could have curled up on one of those chairs and sipped away on my coffee, but I didn’t think Emma would appreciate me ditching her in the paining studio….so I refrained.

They also have two large rooms used for the painting studio. ANDDDD there’s a fantastic deck where you can sit and watch the world go by when the weathers nice (I love to people watch too). I’d like to take advantage of that sometime this summer. Looks like a fun place for me and my laptop to blog away…..OH! And did I mention they have COFFEE? 🙂

I DID partake in the java (of course!), and in the painting of pottery.  Two things I LOVE.  Making stuff, and COFFEE. Pretty much a perfect combination.  Emma had a hot chocolate.  Both, were excellent! Here’s Em’s hot chocolate….

This was the first time I’ve been to a paint and take pottery studio. We have something similar in our area (sans the coffee shop/wine part), and I’ve been meaning to go ever since Emma was old enough to hold a paint brush, but for one reason or another, just hadn’t made it yet. So it was a new and fun experience for both of us. Oh yeah, and did I mention they have COFFEE there too? Ok, just making sure.

Emma chose a sea-turtle to paint, and I chose a plate (crazy and original, I know). We got the run-down of how it works along with some tips from the super nice gal that helped us, and got started. All the colors you can choose from, speckles or no speckles, all the different animals and other figures, mugs, plates, and just about anything you can think of to paint.  It was there.

It can be dangerous for a person like myself, because I could EASILY spend the ENTIRE day there messing around, and could EASILY lighten my wallet by several hundred bucks too, I’m sure. It was a good thing we had plans to go to my Brothers house for dinner that evening.  That put somewhat of a time limit on our stay. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have probably had about 20 other things piled up on the table to paint.  When Em and I finished our first selections, we both decided we needed to do one more.  Her next choice was a bunny, and mine was a tea-bag rest (yes, I was just in a wild and crazy mood ALL day). It was SO much fun tho!  Emma totally dug it.  I think she’s hooked too.

I started to feel a little guilty when I took my brushes and dirtied paint tiles and stuff to the sink at “someone elses” place.  The idea is, that you just put all your dirty stuff in the sink, and the staff cleans them up.  I get that it’s their job, but It just felt wrong to go put a bunch of dirty stuff in the sink and walk away . (We had quite the mess going on).

I did manage to pre-rinse though (I couldn’t help it). The gal that helped us just laughed and said “That just means your momma raised you right”.  That was sweet of her to say.  I never really thought about it before, but I suppose she’s right.  THANKS Mom!

Now we just have to wait for our stuff to be fired in the kiln and then we can pick them up!  We are both so excited to see what they will look like afterwards. They do give you the option to have it shipped when it’s done if you are not local, but we come to town often enough that we can wait (says the person with slim to no patience).  😉 

Once we left Java and Clay, we headed to Port Orchard (a few miles away) to have dinner with my brother and sis-in-law (SIL), so Emma could get in some time with her 4 cousins.  But first, had to stop to take a pic of the Harbor.  It was such a BEAUTIFUL day! 

We arrived at my Brothers house, and there were a million neighborhood kids everywhere, all playing in the street. Reminded me of how we played when I was a kid, you know before all of the child abduction, kidnapping, and murdering started getting “popular”. One of my nephew’s wanted to stay inside and read, but my SIL promptly kicked everyone OUTSIDE to play. So being the obediant nephew that he is, he takes a chair out to the middle of the lawn and sit’s down to read.  I guess, yeah, he was technically OUTSIDE playing……   Floki (the dog) looks like he’s looking to the house saying “Uhhh, dad?  That is NOT playing.  He won’t throw my bone….”

Here are the the Angels…..

It was pretty much a PERFECT day!

Project: Picture Wall Collage

UPDATE: I had a request for a little more detail on this.  So here it is!

This is the spray paint I used – It has primer and paint in one, so you can skip that first step, and perhaps not have hamstring and finger fatigue like I did.  😉

First I wiped down the frames with a damp cloth prior to painting.  Then, I did two coats of paint, allowing the first to dry completely (overnight) before applying the second.  Then I let that dry overnight. Make sure you get down close to the frames, getting them from EVERY angle.  It’s easy to miss the edges when your using spray paint.

Here are the close-ups….sorry the picture quality kinda sucks…. dark hallway + iPhone 3GS with no flash = not great pictures.

I laid out all the framed photos on the floor and arranged them as I wanted them.  Then I took the overall height and width, and marked them on the wall, so I knew the space I needed to stay within.  I took a photo of the arrangement on the floor, so I would have a schematic to work off of transferring them all to the wall.


I finally finished changing the photos on the wall in the hallway.  I have learned my lesson on “upcycling” used frames.  Make SURE you pay attention to what is on the back of them.  A couple that I used, were meant to stand up on a desk or table, rather than hang on the wall.  This meant that to use them, I had to PRY off the hardware that the “stand up arm-thingy” (yes, that’s the technical term), attaches to the frame with, without destroying the particle board backing on the frame.  No bueno.  I won’t make that mistake again. 

Here is the wall before…. sorry the pictures are kind of dark….

Here is the “make-over” in progress….. 🙂

And here is the finished collage…..

Notice that I also turned some of Emma’s “artwork” into photo’s and mixed them in as well.  I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out! Seeing her silly face and her colorful art makes me smile everytime I walk by it.

I’m Blogging Too

Over the past several weeks, after starting my blog, I, of course, have spent more time in the evenings and weekends on my computer. I found a fantastic way to manage this, that’s a win-win for both me AND Emma.  Two words.  McDonald’s Playland. Yep, I took Emma over to McD’s got us a snack and a drink, and headed for the play area. 

I think I have only done that once before.  I’m not usually a huge fan of the place, let alone all of the kids running wild around like little wildebeests (yes, that’s really how it’s spelled. I had to google it). And I am NOT a fan of screaming children either.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster for me, huh?  Well surprisingly, There were only a few other people in the play area, and only a couple of kids. And it was QUIET.  do you believe that? I sat down with my laptop and my HUGE iced tea, and got busy.  

Emma ran off to play, coming back periodically for a nibble of food and a drink.

surprisingly, it was fantastic!  Not at all what I was afraid it would be….a room that smelled like feet, PACKED with screaming kids, and snotty slobbery babies…..

So naturally Emma asks me what I’m doing when I’m on my computer.  I tell her I’m “blogging”.  She asked me what that means.  I explained that I have my own space on the internet (arent I COOL?), that I can post pictures, ideas, crafts, and thoughts, to share them with people. I don’t know if that was a good enough explanation, but it seemed to satisfy her curiosity.

Later on during the same weekend, we went to the Mall to get a second pair of these super cool shoes I got at Lady Footlocker.  (They were so comfy I wanted to have one pair to wear strictly to the gym, and another pair I can abuse the rest of the time.) Emma is a member of the “kids club” at the Mall, so that entitles her to a FREE balloon, ANYTIME we go to there.  WOW. That’s darn near priceless considering the meltdowns over getting and not getting a balloon that we have had in Fred Meyer and other stores that SELL balloons, and well worth the $5 annual fee for the membership.  🙂  So we stopped at the information booth to get her balloon. 

We walked by Myfroyo (If you don’t know, it’s a frozen yogurt shop) and of course she reallllllyyyyyyyy wanted to go get some.  I said no, we haven’t even eaten dinner yet.  That was followed by more pleassssse and some mildly irritating whining…..”but it’s healthy“! I said “No, it’s not healthy, it’s just a little better for you than ice cream”. (I left off “until you put all the crap on top that they call “toppings”, cuz I didn’t want to completely burst her bubble). With that, I kicked it into high gear to get us into the store and back out of the Mall, STAT.  I was loosing my patience rapidly.  (I know, not ME, right?)

Phew, mission accomplished.

When we got back into the car, Emma asked for a pen. Which I handed her. (Don’t freak out, she likes to write and draw in the back seat, and is not one of those kids that does either of those things ON SEATS.)  I hear her start sounding out words while writing on her balloon.  Words like Daisy (our cat), Riley (our dog)….pretty soon she asked me how to spell Myfroyo, and then frozen yogurt.  She finished up, and handed me back the pen. I asked what she was doing….

Her reply was “I’m blogging….on my balloon. But I didn’t tell them I have a hermit crab and I spelled out frozen yogurt so kids, like two, or three years old won’t argue with their parents about it (Myfroyo) being ice cream.”

Well that was awfully nice of her to think of the poor parents, after the ringer she put ME through not 15 minutes earlier.

I’m wondering where exactly she thought we were going to “post” this informatin on her “balloon blog”.  The kid cracks me up sometimes.  🙂 

Project: Butterfly Garden

Im looking forward to taking Emma to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle soon. I’m especially excited for her to go into the Butterfly garden there.  It’s sooooo cool. 

With that in mind, we decided to make her own butterfly garden that she could hang on her wall.  This project took a couple of days, just because of paint drying time.  Here’s what we did…

You can get canvas’s pretty cheap at the craft stores now, so we started by paining a canvas green with acrylic paint.  Emma was REALLY excited to paint on a REAL canvas for the first time.  🙂

Then she added some pom poms (not sure what those are, but I think it has some relation to Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax), mushrooms and flowers to her “garden”.

She set the canvas garden aside to dry overnight.  Next step called for watercolor paints.  We used Crayola.

She painted two peices of regular white card stock paper with them.  This is going to become your butterflies so make it colorful.

Paint one side, and let that dry an hour or so.  Then flip it over and do the same to the other side.  You want both sides painted so that both  the top and the bottom of the butterfly wings are colorful. 

Once both sides are dry, it’s time to punch out the butterflies. I didn’t already own a butterfly punch, so I purchased this one at Hobby Lobby (with my 40% off coupon – yay!.)  It ended up being about $7.

Once you punch them out, fold the wings up to give them kind of a 3D effext.

Emma got pretty creative on a couple of her butterflies but didnt have the patience to do all of them. (I have no idea where she gets her lack of patience…it can’t be from me).  😉

We used Tacky Glue on the “body” of the butterfly to glue them to canvas. Make sure you use a glue that dries clear.

I put the glue on, and Emma placed them where she wanted them on her garden.

Here is her finished butterfly garden, ready to hang on her wall.


For Ribbons

This weekend was the Run For Ribbons 5k.  It’s a run/walk for ALL cancers.  They give you a t-shirt with a blank ribbon, and you decorate it with the color(s) that you are supporting.  I did mine in gray for my step-mom who has brain cancer, and lavender wich represents all cancers.  Tasha’s was dark blue for colon cancer, and lavender as well.  I know I had shown Tasha working hard on her shirt in one of my other posts.  Here was the second day of decorating….and you can see she is still JUST as focused on the task at hand as she was the first day.  🙂

Waking up that morning I was pleasantly surprised that the sun had held on another day for us.  Yay!  But…by the time we got down to the park, the wind had picked up quite a bit….and it was c-c-c-cold!  We both had long sleeve shirts on under our newly decorated t-shirts, but we were really hoping not to have to wear a coat…..cuz, that’s kind of the whole point, to show what you’re supporting by the way you decorated your shirt. Besides, there were some crazy people, I mean, adventurous people wearing shorts and no layers. If they could hack it, so could we.

We went and signed our waivers, and took a looksy at the booths they had set up for Ribbon Fest, that were all but being carried off by the wind.  I felt bad for all those people, trying to hold down all the papers on their tables, while the tent they were standing under was about to blow away too.  Our looksy didn’t last long.  We realized we had an HOUR till the walk/run actually began. Rather than risk death by exposure, like a couple of diehards (not), we hurried back to the parking lot to sit in Tasha’s car with the heater and music on for the next hour. Here we are “braving” the elements in her car….

And here is Tasha saying “Dude, what is UP with this WIND!

I cannot believe how many people were there!  It was awesome.  They had a 1 mile walk, and a 5k run/walk.  We of course, chose the 5k (remember, we are diehards).  😉

It’s sad yet amazing at the same time to see just how many people’s lives have been touched by cancer.  The support is strong though, that is obvious.

Oh, and I of course, had my choose joy necklace with me…..I was supporting cancer, and it was supporting me.  I know it sounds a little “kooky”, but it really IS a great reminder, having it hanging around my neck 24/7.  Every time I catch a glimpse of it, or feel it….I remember ….to CHOOSE JOY, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

So we hoofed the 5k in the hurricane along the Columbia River (which had white caps the entire morning), along with literally hundreds of others.  There were small kids, baby’s in strollers, teenagers, “real” runners, people in wheel chairs, and elderly folks.  There were a couple of elderly couples just trudging along holding hands…..just how I imagine Tasha and her hubbs when they are old and gray.  It was so cute.

We made it to the finish a couple of minutes over the one hour mark.  The couple minutes was my fault, I managed to get a blister on EACH foot (I belive in equality) and had to take my shoes off to examine them at the halfway mark.  You know, to see just how much pouting I could do the rest of the way.

Blisters, frozen ears and lips and all, it was an AWESOME way to start the day.

When we finished, my mom and Emma had arrived at the playground in the park so Em’s could play a little, in the hurricane.  They brought Riley.  Here he is standing with his ears blowing in the wind.  I think he looks like the flying nun when they do that. His shadow in this reminds me of that commercial where the guy is sitting in a chair in front of a giant speaker, and his hair and everything around him is being blown backwards.

Project: Crayon Wreath

I saw this crayon wreath on Pinterest and thought it would make a cute suprise for Emma’s Kindergarden teacher.  Emma absolutely adores her. Its so simple and cute. And of course we had to add our own spin on it, adding some “bling”. We picked up some supplies and got started.

I took two ebroidery hoops, one slightly smaller than the other and placed them one inside the other, like this…..

Then we started laying the crayons out across them (without the hot glue first) to make sure they would fit.   I ended up needing about 68 crayons…I started with a 64 box, so I had to steal some from my daughters stash.  Once we got them all on, I lifted up each crayon putting a dot of hot glue on each hoop, and layed the crayon back down into it.

Here it is after they are all glued on….

I printed out the teachers name on card stock with a colored border to kind of make them resemble alphabet blocks.

I cut them out and used Tacky Glue to glue them to the crayons.  Once I did that, Emma and I started to add BLING!  (My favorite part!) Check out these tubs of pure FUN!

Once we decided where we wanted them placed, I hot glued them down.  Added a ribbon at the top to hang it from, and that’s it!  It was a lot of fun, and Emma had a BLAST helping me! Here’s the finished product…


Why stop at the hermit crab?

After the “adoption” of Lily Lime the hermit crab, my daughter started to realize how persuasive she could be on paper, apparently.  Over the next week, I received two more of her heartfelt letters pleading with me for just one more pet. I was on to her and her trap (the letters) now though! 😉  

I think she secretly wants to be a Zoo Keeper.  Which is not unlike I was as a kid. I must resist the unbridled cuteness of the letter, resist my urge to sometimes live vicariously through her with things that I didn’t get when I was a her age, and say “no”.

This time, I saved the letters to share them.  Here was the first one…..

Really?  A turtle?

Here is the second one……

Now a lizard?

I like how she drew her own “lines” to write on also.  Haha. So tell me, would YOU be able to resist this?  I’m sure you can see how we ended up with the hermit crab after the first one. Right??