Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Take that beast cancer!

You don't mess with this family or my friends! Monday our family held a fast for me, I was going in for an MRI the next day (yesterday). Saw a medical oncologist today and he went over the results from the MRI, no other lumps and lymph nodes look good! Finally some good news, really good news!
I have been so overwhelmed with the love and support my family and friends have shown me and I surely wouldn't be able to stay so positive with out them. All the prayers and fasting and positive thoughts, Heavenly Father is answering prayers.
MRI went good. It was just hard to stay still in one position for an hour. I took Lorazapam or however you spell it so I fell in and out of sleep during it but wasn't as loopy as I thought I'd be when done, thus no video. Really, it would have been pretty boring folks.
The oncologist said that I will get through this. That was such a relief just to hear a doctor say that. I feel so much lighter and happier and hopeful. He said the youngest person he knew of to get breast cancer was 15. 15 people!! DO YOUR BREAST EXAMS!!!!! But 1-3% of his patients are my age, in his career. He's going to take my case to a oncologist conference to see if it would be better for me to get a double  mastectomy because of my age and chance of reocurrance or a lumpectomy and mastectomy later if I need to. Then after surgery I'll start chemo.
I see a Radiation Therapy oncologist tomorrow and plastic surgeon on Tuesday. Then by the 11th the board should have their recommendation of which surgery is best back to my breast surgeon and I'll meet with her then. She does surgeries on Thursdays so I could have surgery on the 13th or the next week, but probably the 13th.
On the 21st I'll meet back with my oncologist to talk about chemo. Just because there maybe some cancer hiding somewhere we can't see and to lessen my chance of getting it in the future.

I'm nervous about surgery but I know I can do it and I have to so why worry. I was thinking about doing the double mastectomy just to cut my risk and amount of surgeries I'll have to get done. I'm not looking forward to breast reconstruction though. I know I'll want something done but I don't think I want implants. I've heard they feel foreign, are constricting and hard. But then again that would just be a reminder of what I over came, and I'd look dang good. :) There's a reconstruction procedure called DIEP which sounds like something I'd like better, click here to read more about this procedure. My plastic surgeon does do microsurgery but doesn't perform this type of reconstruction, I'll have to ask why when I meet him. But there are doctors in Portland, I've heard, that do. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

This next part of my post is very personal to me, but I feel the need to share it.
Before all this happened I was really having a hard time with my faith. My testimony was really struggling. I didn't even know if I believed a God was out there. I wanted to believe but didn't want to just follow blindly. I think Heavenly Father was just waiting for me to ask to show me miracles. I was just afraid of what he'd show me.
So one day, not too long ago, I asked. I asked for more faith, for me to get my testimony back. I told him I was afraid of what he'd show me but I needed to know.
Then I took that shower. And for some strange reason decided to wash with shampoo instead of the bar. (This is so too much information probably) I usually wash with a bar of soap in my hand. But this time, without realizing it, I was prompted to wash with nothing in my hand so I could feel the lump, Miracle #1.  Listening to the Holy Spirit to have it checked out even though in the back of my mind I felt silly being so young, Miracle #2. Not waiting a week to get in to see a new doctor and just going to urgent care, Miracle #3. Getting an mammogram and ultrasound that same day, Miracle #4. Getting the biopsy done so fast, Miracle #5. Doctor telling me over the phone so I'd be composed during the appointment where he went over the diagnosis so I could have my cousin there and questions ready, Miracle #6. Having a physician for a Bishop, Miracle #7. Priesthood blessings (where the Bishop blessed me that I'll be made whole and see miracles), Miracle #8. A cousin who has beat cancer just recently and can give me advice and support, Miracle #9. Another cousin who worked as an assistant in a breast surgeon's office, Miracle #10. Moving back home to be near family during this time, Miracle #11. Heavenly Father answering my family and friends prayers and fasts with a good MRI, Miracle #12. Getting my case to the oncologist conference in time to get a recommendation back by my appointment with my breast surgeon on the 11th, Miracle #13. No to mention being able to move my MRI and Radiation Therapy oncologist appointment up a week, Miracle #14! Okay Heavenly Father I hear you :)
I know my journey's not over yet, I'm excited to see what other miracles are in store for us. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers, that he is out there listening and loving and caring.

Thank you, my family (and friends, I include you in family), for all your love, prayers, positive thoughts and fasting. I am so grateful for all of you and truly love you all. I feel so blessed to have you all in my life, I feel so blessed to have such a good news given to me today!
Now I can enjoy my New Year holiday! 

And I've been thinking I want to get my hair cut like this before I start chemo, since my hair will be falling out any way. I'm really excited actually to get it cut like this. Hm. Maybe I'll do it even sooner so I can have it cute like this longer. And maybe I'll try a new hair color. My kids are going to be so used to me changing my hair so much that when I am bald they'll think it's "just another phase Mom's going through" :).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yesterday I had a GYN doc appt in Corvalis. Just a regular exam and because of the posibility of this being the kind of cancer that grows when your estrogen levels increase (which the biopsy samples weren't any help indicating that so they won't know until after surgery), she removed my IUD. It didn't have any estrogen in it but it messes with the estrogen in my body so it had to come out. That didn't feel too good which I guess was abnormal. The doc thinks an arm of it may have become embedded and it was a little low. Probably just shifted around after it was placed. Just in case, she had me  get my blood drawn to test for pregnancy. She doesn't think I am but has to take precaution. No one called me back yesterday so that's a good sign. But I feel like since finding out I've won the bad lottery so every other risk and statistic doesn't apply to me now. I know it does and I shouldn't feel that way but it's like if this could happen anything can happen.

Back on track. I went down to their lab to get my blood drawn and they called me and another man back at the same time. We sat across from each other. Luckily they drew a small curtain so I couldn't see his face but it was still a little awkward.
She was going to do me first. She got everything ready and asked me how my Christmas plans are going. Now normally I'd be cordial and just say "fine" but instead I just said ''hmm" and she got distracted and when she came back said "so your Christmas isn't going as planned?" and I lost it. I was so embarrassed. It was the kind of crying where you're snorting. I had been feeling pretty fragile after they took my IUD because I always thought when I had it taken out it would be a happy time, that I'd get to be excited and look forward to trying for another baby. Now I don't even know if I'll ever get to be pregnant again and on top of everything it hurt and I'm doing a pregnancy test where if it came back positive, which would be next to impossible (but now anything is possible) it would be horrible. That seemed so backward to me. You're supposed to be excited at the possibility of being pregnant not wishing with everything you have that you're not when you may never get to be in the future.
Just the other day, before we found out which seems like months ago, Jeff asked Bennett when he wanted a little sister. We even have a name picked out.
After we found out the possibility of me having to have my ovaries taken out Jeff said "We'll just have to adopt a cute little Chinese baby girl". (Jeff served his mission in Taiwan and we've always thought it would be awesome if we could adopt a Chinese baby and Jeff could teach him/her Chinese.) I don't think he realizes the cost and how hard it is to adopt.
So all of this just boiled over. She said "there's so many people who get depressed over the holidays, it just has that effect on people." I wasn't just depressed. I told her I recently found out I have breast cancer and may not be able to have any more kids. I felt sorry for her and the guy sitting across from me. Awkward moment. She hugged me and told me she knew of someone who had breast cancer and now they have the most beautiful baby. I thanked her. As I walked out to the waiting room I was still sniffling and blowing my nose and I could just hear the thoughts of the other people waiting "Are they really that bad!?" "Sheesh it's only a puny blood test".
I just hope and pray that this test comes back negative for this type of cancer. If it does maybe we'll try for another as soon as I get through this. But then I think is it selfish of me to possibly bring a girl into this world with the family history of breast cancer?
*My doctor just called to tell me my pregnancy test was negative.*
I need to concentrate on the fact that I was blessed with two beautiful, healthy boys. I really think this is why I had children so young, why I got married so young.  And why Casey came as quick as he did. I've said it before that I'm just so happy with our little family, but.
I love being pregnant. I love feeling my babies move inside of me and hearing their heart beat at doctor appointments, it's such a blessing to be a vessel for that great miracle. Maybe, hopefully I'll be a vessel for other miracles.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Meeting the Breast Surgeon

Today we met with a breast surgeon that was referred to us by our bishop and our doctor, I've heard she's the best.
She gave me an exam, but had a hard time feeling the lump because of the hematoma from my biopsy (bruising from the biopsy).  She didn't feel any lymph nodes. She wants to do a breast MRI to get a better picture of what is going on because on my mammogram they couldn't see my lump. So she wants to make sure there aren't any more lumps.
After she gets that back she'll have a better idea of what kind of surgery to do. We could do a lumpectomy if there's only one lump.  That means they'll take the lump and a small margin of tissue surrounding it to test the margins to see if it has spread. I think I remember her saying she'd take any lymph nodes out that are cancerous too or she'll biopsy them. If the margins come back not clear then I'll have to do radiation therapy. And there would be a possibility of more surgeries in the future.

Another option is a mastectomy. Since I'm so young and there's such a great risk of this reoccurring, a mastectomy would lessen that risk and there would be a 90% chance I wouldn't need radiation therapy. It would cut my risk even more if I had a double mastectomy. They would do reconstructive surgery at the same time as the mastectomy.
If I have a mastectomy I won't be able to breastfeed if I have another child. If I have a single mastectomy I could nurse on the other side but then I'd have to worry about a greater chance of getting cancer in that breast later on (not because of breastfeeding but just the fact that there's more breast tissue).

It is possible that I have a type of cancer that grows or spreads depending on my Estrogen levels. If I have more Estrogen then it could make it worse. So if I have that kind, I would need to not use birth control with that hormone, and she suggests I get my ovaries removed because they produce that hormone. It sounds like she wants me to get rid of my Marina birth control IUD either way (even though I think it only has progesterone in it).

She advised me to talk to my OBGYN about freezing my eggs because I told her we wanted to have more kids. But I've heard freezing eggs and invitro fertilization is spendy.
I would be fine if I couldn't breastfeed my baby but the possibility of not having any more children makes me sad. I know there's adoption but that seems expensive too and such an emotional roller coaster. But I will do whatever it takes to kick this thing no matter if I can have children in the end or not.

She didn't talk about Chemo at all. That doesn't mean it's not a possibility. I will probably have my MRI in the next week or so and then meet with the radiation oncologist, once that's done we meet with the plastic surgeon and once that's done we meet with my breast surgeon again to decide what type of surgery is best. So surgery will probably happen sometime in January. Which is nice, then I can enjoy Christmas and New Years pain free.
After the surgery is when they'll know what stage I'm at and if I need radiation or chemo.
What we're hoping of course is it hasn't spread to the lympnodes but we won't know that until after the surgery. Kinda seems a little backwards.
Her demeanor made me feel like I was in good hands and this wasn't as scary as I thought it was. Like it wasn't as urgent as I thought it was after speaking to my general practitioner. She said it's possible I've had this for the last 5 years and just didn't know it. She said if I had surgery this week or two weeks from now won't make a difference.
My pathology report says it's Intermediate grade invasive ductal carcinoma.
Tomorrow I have my appointment with my OBGYN and then I go get a chest x-ray, and blood work and Vitamin D levels done.
So that's what's up for now. I'm glad we don't have to rush stuff before Christmas and I can just enjoy that. I am glad that they aren't rushing stuff because then they can figure out exactly the best course of action and it makes me feel better that it's not so urgent. And I feel better about there being a possibility that I won't have to have radiation therepy or chemo. But there are still many tests to be done and that could all change or I could just be forgetting some things she said.

I'm feeling a little wiped out. I don't know if this is just depressing me or if I'm coming down with something. I just feel tired all the time and stomach aches. I'm usually pretty aware of my emotional health but I can't tell right now. I don't think the cancer is making me tired and hurty. I'm probably just emotionally tired and the stomach aches are from nerves. Jeff has been AMAZING. He has totally just stepped up to the plate. Right now he's laying down with B in B's bed trying to get him to go to sleep. And he's really been comforting to me when I'm not so strong or positive. He really wants to go to all my appointments with me and has gone to all but one so far. I love him so much and I couldn't ask for a better partner to go through this with.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The "C" word

I never in a million years thought I'd say this. I joked about it with Jeff if we went out and I had no makeup on  " Everyone will think I have"
I have a hard time even saying it. I have Cancer.
Totally crazy, right? Totally.
But true.
The story:
So the night before Magooly's birthday I was taking a shower with both my boys. I was washing my hair and decided to just use the shampoo to wash the rest of me. I never do this. I don't know if this helped me find it but it sticks out in my mind. And I found a lump. A very hard to miss lump. I yelled for Jeff. With soap in my eyes I told him to see if he could feel it, if I wasn't crazy. He felt it and told me I should call the doctor. I didn't have a doctor here. I've been pretty healthy since we moved back except the time I had the flu really bad, should have gotten a doctor then. (I went to urgent care for that.)  I tried to get in to see one at the clinic Jeff goes to but it wouldn't be until the next week. Yeah right, I couldn't wait that long so I went to Urgent Care the next morning. I felt so bad we were doing all this on Magooly's special day. We dropped the boys off at my Sister in law's house and Jeff and I went to the doctor.
She gave me an exam. She sounded really positive it wasn't anything I needed to worry about. She thought she felt it moving around which was a good sign. But it still felt significant enough to her for me to have a Mammogram and ultrasound done. So I scheduled one for that same day.
Again I felt so bad this was taking over B's birthday. I had all these plans of what we'd do that day.
Then later I went to my mammogram appointment. It was a different experience. Having someone smoosh you into this machine that just keeps smooshing you and you feel like it won't stop and you can't breathe and you're afraid there is something wrong and it's going to not stop and just pinch your boob right off, it finally stops. They had to do that to both sides and more to the side where I found the lump. Then I had the ultrasound. The tech found the lump and then brought in the doctor. The whole time I'm looking at this dark mass and thinking "okay, last night online it said if it's dark to be concerned but if it's light it's fine". Then the doctor tells me it's definitely not a cyst and that I need to schedule a biopsy.
The doctor at urgent care told me she would go over the results with me and then we'd schedule a biopsy. So when this doc was brought in to look and feel it and then just told me it wasn't a cyst and schedule a biopsy I started to cry. The tech reassured me that it could be a number of things, most benign and with my age and family history I shouldn't worry. Of course I worried.
They couldn't get me in for a biopsy for another WEEK! Longest week of my life - so far.
A few days before my biopsy a doctor from urgent care called me to have me go in and go over the results with him. I told him they had me schedule a biopsy. He said that's what he would have done too so I never went over every thing with him but he did say that there was a 1 in 10 chance it was breast cancer and because of my age and family medical history it was less. Very reasuring actually.
Biopsy day. I was so scared of it hurting. Jeff went with my and held my hand the whole time. The only thing that really hurt was when they numbed the area. What sucked was it was right in front of me and if I wasn't careful I could see everything they were doing. And when they took the samples out (they took 2) they used this vaccum type thing that made a loud sound like when you get your ears pierced. And the pressure was weird. I just kept thinking "take it all!".   But it took him maybe 15 minutes. It was fast and I felt so relieved when it was over. I felt like this was just a precaution just to make sure it's something not to be worried about. Afterward he let me look at the samples he took, it was interesting. And they showed me this tiny medal clip they inserted into the lump to mark it.
Afterward Cinne offered to watch the kids longer so we could have dinner and see a movie which I appreciated, it gave me something to look forward to. We ate at Roadhouse Grill and saw Harry Potter. (By the way, I could so live in the Weasly house. I loved it! Rustic cottage is definitely my style and I loved her table cloth and just every thing!)
Oh, I forgot about my new patient appointment. So a couple days before my biopsy I went in to get established with a doctor. He was so young! But I like him. He went over my mammogram and ultrasound results with me. The mammogram results made me feel really good. It made it sound like they didn't find anything but maybe some fatty tissue. The ultrasound is what scared me. It said they found a mass with irregular sides. (It said much more but that's what stuck out because I had read online that if it has smooth sides (which I thought it had from looking at it) that you didn't need to worry, but irregular sides to worry. I told my doctor this and he said that worrying wasn't going to change the outcome, that I was doing everything right by doing a biopsy and getting this checked out.  He told me to call him the day after the biopsy to find out the results. In fact he told me to call him in the morning and that he would tell me over the phone what it was so I wouldn't have to worry.
So the morning after I call his office, he's busy. An hour later I call back, really busy and backed up and his nurse will call me as soon as the results come in. 5pm the nurse calls and tells me my doctor would like to set up an appointment on Monday to go over the results. BIG RED FLAG to me. Yeah right, there's no freaking way I'm going to wait over the WEEKEND knowing that they know but won't tell me. This must be bad. Of course though, being the non confrontational person I am I say okay and schedule an appt. After I hang up I get so pissed I call back and tell her I can't wait that long, I need to know and he needs to call me and just tell me over the phone and we can still go in on Monday and go over every thing. She tells me he's in with a patient and will be for the next hour but when he's done she'll talk to him and she'll call me back. I verified with her that they had the results, she said yes but she didn't know what they were (yeah right). Jeff gets on the phone with her and tells her that if the doctor won't tell us over the phone HE better be the one to call back, not her, because Jeff was going to be upset.
A little over an hour later the doctor calls. I answer. The kids are screaming in the background so Jeff and I go into their room and shut the door. All I remember him saying is that he usually doesn't like to do this over the phone because there's much to discuss but he understood me wanting to know right away and not waiting over the weekend. It was breast cancer.
I think I handled the rest of the call pretty well, although I don't remember much of it.
We explained to B afterward that the reason Mommy and Daddy were crying was because Mommy got hurt and we were scared. Mommies and Daddies get scared too but everything will be okay. I felt bad that he saw us cry.
That night we told our families and they have all been so wonderful and supportive.
I put C to bed and B had a hard time going to sleep. I think he was a little scared about what was going on.
That night we looked breast cancer up on Wikipedia and felt a little more optimistic. As time goes on I feel more and more optimistic.
Today I spoke with my cousin who had Hodgkin's lymphoma and she gave me tips and advice on chemotherapy, even offered a blond wig when i need it, if I need it. She was very positive and it was very reassuring. And my other cousin, her sister, worked in an oncologist's office specializing in breast cancer so she's pretty knowledgeable in that area. She might come to our appointment to take notes Monday.

Right now my thoughts:
I wonder what my head looks like bald. I hope it's not lumpy.
I've always wanted to see what I'd look like with a boy cut, or pixie cut like Hermione
Is this why I feel tired? Is this a cold I have too or part of cancer?
I can't get the word 'cancer' out of my head.
I'm so fine with them taking my breast as long as I get through this
Christina Applegate
Will we miss going to Disneyland next September?
So glad this happened before we planned and paid for our trip
Glad this happened right before we blew our tax refund
Glad that it's breast cancer and not a scarier kind
I want to start treatment NOW
maybe I should donate my hair to locks of love
how will this affect my family, tough times are ahead for sure.
I hope the boys never remember this
Maybe I should ask to be released from my calling
I'm so blessed with a family who loves me so much, they have shown me so much love and have been so supportive.
will chemo make me infertile?
Should I wait to tell everyone else?

Today we met with my general practitioner and he went over the results some more. We don't know what stage I'm at or much of anything until I meet with my breast surgeon and do more tests. I meet with the breast surgeon tomorrow and hopefully (finger's crossed) by the end of the week or beginning of next week I'll have the surgery. I do know I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. It's the most common form of breast cancer. Because it's invasive they will be more aggressive in the treatment. Invasive just means it's spread beyond the duct but they won't know how far until the lymph node biopsy.

I'm feeling really good right now about the people who are taking care of me and just how everything has fallen into place. We moved back here where we're closer to family AND good medical care, our Bishop is a physician, I have a cousin who's gone through cancer so I have someone to get advise from and talk to about that, my other cousin was an assistant in a breast surgeons office were they treated many breast cancer patients. My Bishop blessed me that I'll see miracles and my body will be whole again. So, I'm pretty optimistic.

I'm going to so kick breast cancer's butt.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Need some Christmas spirit

In light of recent events I've kinda slacked on the whole Christmas thing in our house. I didn't send out cards, bought them but didn't mail them, no Christmas cookies, advent calendar forgotten, house a MESS! No presents are wrapped yet, (thank goodness we got our shopping done early!), meant to put Christmas lights up around the house (inside), so many Christmas crafts were scheduled to do and things were bought to make them but I haven't done any. Casey's stocking will probably not be done in time for Christmas.
So. Tomorrow I will go shopping for goodies to make, clean this house and get on the ball for my kiddos. Christmas will still come to our house no matter what.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Please don't fall on me!

The Gingerbread tree we made with Grandma

Our naked  tree

This is Thing 2 saying "cheese" for the camera. When ever he sees one he yells 'Cheese!"

Happy Valentines Day, I mean, Merry Christmas!!

Our Christmas tree is the tallest one I think we've ever had. And I think our base was not prepared for the Goliath that we brought home. So stressful trying to get it straight. Jeff and I took turns turning the pins in the base. When I decided to have a go at it Jeff went to get Casey out of his highchair so I patiently waited laying under the tree in needles, sap and probably some spiders. Then I yell for him to hurry thinking of all the spiders making theirselves at home in my hair. He yells for me to just start and I tell him I didn't want the tree to fall on me. He said to just go so I begin. And 3 seconds later... it fell on me. So I said "That's it! Attach it to the wall!" So we now have a hook in our wall with twine wrapped around the tree so it won't fall over any more. Jeff helped with the lights but other than that Benny and I put the tree up all by ourselves. I even put our angel on top. I love our tree this year.  Jeff calls it the Valentines tree.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holy Cake and Ice Cream Batman!!!

4 year olds get four spoons

His gift from us, Iron Man the "good robot"

first cake

popping balloons to get the candy inside 

Somehow Jodie was able see our old blog on her google reader, except for the pictures and most of the videos. So I copied and pasted every thing into a word document and saved it to our external hard drive! This is THE BEST news!!! Such a relief!

Now I just have to get this blog going. I'll start with Thing 1 turning 4. He picked out Cookie Crisp for his birthday breakfast and got four spoons because he was turning 4. He requested Belgian Waffles for dinner so he helped me make those. Real healthy around here lately. Now that parties are over we'll be getting back on track.

We had 2 birthdays for him. I had realized after I sent out the invitations that we invited even MORE people to Magooly's party than Bean's. So I called all the Fam and asked them to come the next day. The awesome family they are they agreed with no hard feelings.

So Batman Birthday party #1 we ended up having 4 kids short (8 people short including their parents). That was sad but okay, they were sick and the other family never received their invite.   The party guests arrived wearing their super hero costumes ready to save the day from The Riddler who had stolen all their loot bags! We went on a wild chase picking up clues to the stolen goods where abouts as we went. In the end justice won, candy was eaten, bubbles where blown, and my floor was cleaned.
We watched a little bit of the old Adam West Batman Movie while we ate our Banana flavored birthday cake. I think the parents enjoyed the movie a little more than the kids. Except maybe for L. He was pretty into it. :)
Then the next day we had the family over. Good thing we split the party up! I'll have to think of a different place to have it next year than our house. Maybe we'll go bowling.
After the family party we headed over to Santa's Christmas Story Book Village (or whatever it's called).    Thing 2 had been so cranky all day that he passed out as soon as his hiney hit his car seat.   He slept through half of it until the sound of the toy trains woke him. Then he would have nothing to do with Santa. As for Ben, he couldn't get enough of him. I think he almost made it to the naughty list.
We got our family picture taken again in front of the Church model. And Beanie was wearing the same jacket Magooly was in our first picture. He is about the same age too. It will be a fun tradition to keep going, getting our picture taken there and going. It reminds me of the Enchanted Forest a little.
Thing 1 fell asleep on the way home and Thing 2 was as we pulled into the driveway. It was only 6:30. They were beat. So much excitement in the past week and with me letting them stay up late the last couple nights while I got party stuff ready, it just caught up with them.

I'm so in love with my Magooly right now. I can't believe he's 4! I remember being 4! He's going to start remembering things now.  Like waking up in the middle of the night before his 4th birthday party to find everyone else awake blowing up balloons and sticking candy in them and making cake.
He makes me laugh every day with the sweet things he says. He's such a good big brother and just loves kids and is a good friend.  He's really into building stuff right now. I love it when he brings me his legos and says that he made me something. I love the silly faces he draws. He's such a good little artist and pays attention to details you wouldn't think a four year old would notice, like adding nostrils and teeth to his faces.  I love the silly songs he makes up. I love how he always wants to give his brother a hug and a kiss goodnight. Thank you Magooly for making me a mommy. I love you SOOOOO much!

Jeff went as the Green Hornet to the first party.

I find Monkey McBean standing like this a lot lately, with his hands behind his back and his big belly sticking out. He's so dang cute!

Cake number 2, both Banana filling and frosting (banana extract and frosting)

Santa's Christmas Story Book Village

"So what's in the sack Santa?"

Out of all of the displays I think I like this one the best.

The Three Amigos 

He was being a stinker and would not let us take his picture

I had to tickle him to get him to smile.

This one's for Jeff

They had so many beautiful model Victorian Houses, love those!

Thing 1 and Thing 2!

Finally woke up and loved looking at the trains.

Our traditional family photo
The X.

Magooly has a thing for Nut Crackers this year. He knocked one of these over trying to open it's mouth after I told him a million times not to touch.

He hates peppermint, yet he asked Santa for another one when his broke.

My current obsession

Raising Cain, The Emotional Lives of Boys. Read it, just do it. It's only 258 pages long and it will change how you view and interact with boys. If you have a boy in your life, whether you're a parent, teacher, mentor or friend, you need to read this.
"...But as their manuscript progressed, Kindlon and Thompson realized a simple "how-to" would not do. "In the end," they write, "we found that the best advice we had to offer was simply to understand boys as they truly are ­ rather than as they appear or as we wish them to be. Our deepest wish is to pull aside the curtain boys so tenaciously draw around themselves and offer you a look inside their hearts and minds. If we succeed, we hope that you will see more clearly the ways in which our culture conspires to limit and undermine their emotional lives. We hope you will understand boys better, and above all, we hope you will enjoy them more"
Read an interview with one of the authors, Dan Kindlon, PH.D. here.