Monday, September 30, 2013

Everly Grace: 9 Weeks

Likes: smiling when being tickled on the bottom of my feet, church picnic, breastfeeding, going to the museums, 2nd trip to Ikea, lunch date with Amy and Jill, finding out the good news about mommy's mole, being mom and dad's plus one on their anniversary date

Dislikes: being hungry, taking a pacifier

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sigh of Relief

Conclusion to the (what seems like never ending) mole saga: there are no atypical spitzoid cells or melanoma cells in my lymph nodes!!!  I am so very thankful and relieved by this news.

I haven't blogged too much about the mole drama because I wasn't sure how I would approach putting this on the internet if it turned out to be bad news, so let's start at the beginning.   One night while I was pregnant with Everly, I cut my leg on something sharp and my mole started bleeding.  Wes looked at it and told me I needed to get it checked out.  I told my OB about it at my next appointment and he said ehhh, probably nothing to worry about, get it checked out after you deliver.  Then, when I was 37(ish) weeks pregnant, I was putting Emma to bed and I just had this sinking suspicion about my mole.  I came downstairs and asked Wes if it happened to be skin cancer, could it spread?  He said yes and I started to get worried.  So I turned to the internet to research- bad idea, very bad idea.  My "research" showed me that I had all of the five characteristics of a mole with melanoma.  I had an OB appointment the next morning and I showed it to him.  This time he responded "whoah, we better check that".  Ummm, twenty weeks ago you told me it was fine and to get it checked out after I delivered.  Anyways, I was super thankful that he decided to go ahead and biopsy it in three places and that I didn't have to make an appointment with a dermatologist.   My appointment was on a Monday and my doctor was going to be out until my appointment at my due date.  He assured me that he would call me with any news.

I never received the phone call.  And you know me, of course I called the office.  So I patiently worried for almost two weeks.  At my 40 week appointment, the results had finally came in (turns out they had to send them on to UCLA)- I had a spitzoid atypical mole.  The way my OB put it to me was that I had a mole with pre-cancerous cells, which in his opinion was nothing to worry about.  We agreed on a plan, after I delivered, a general surgeon would remove the mole while I still had my epidural.  Well it turns out, I lost way too much blood after I delivered, and I couldn't have my mole removed.  The surgeon came by to see me after I delivered and we set the surgery up for two weeks later, August 16th.  At this point, I thought they would remove it and I would be done.  I didn't realize (until the day of the surgery) that it would be sent off to be examined again.  I waited an excruciating 10 days to be told that the hospital thought it would was also an atypical spitzoid mole but just to be sure they sent it onto MD Anderson.  At this point, they didn't want to do anything further, but they would call me when the results came in.

The doctor called me on a Thursday afternoon at 4pm (I remember it like it was yesterday), MD Anderson said that I had melanoma.  My world came crashing down a little bit.  I just couldn't wrap my brain around the concept.  How could I, a mom of 2 babies, have cancer?   I needed to mother them, be there for them, love them like only a mother can.  When we got off the phone, the surgeon had decided that I would have to have another surgery to have my lymph nodes removed and biopsied.  In 40 - 50% of the cases of this type of mole, the atypical, cancerous cells spread to the lymph nodes.  The surgery was not scheduled until September 20th- torturous in my opinion.

Over the next couple of weeks, my brain went to deep and dark places.  Did I have cancer? Had it spread? What if it went to my brain or my lungs?  Was I going to die? When I dropped Emma off at her first day of preschool, I let myself go there and wonder if this would be the last first day of preschool I dropped her off at.  There were several times that I would be playing with Emma and just burst into tears thinking about her growing up without me.  It is terrible to have these fears and worries- I wouldn't wish this on anyone.  As each day went by, I got a little bit stronger and thought about cancer a little bit less.  

I had my surgery on September 20th- the initial result after the surgery was that my lymph nodes looked normal to the naked eye but of course they would be sent to be biopsied.  I was relieved to hear this news.  I tried to think positive thoughts all week, but I am not going to lie, I was stressed.  It was hard because all of this occurred during Wes's birthday, our anniversary and saying goodbye to Starbucks.  It was a rough two weeks.  This morning I was so so nervous.  Almost to the point where I was sick.  I cannot tell you how relieved I was to find out my lymph nodes were normal!  I believe the doctor was relieved too because the medical research has conflicting opinions as to what the next steps would have been with this type of mole.  For now, this is over and I am grateful.  My official diagnosis was an Atypical Spitzoid mole with Melanoma- Stage 1B.  My moles will continue to be monitored each year.  When I am done breastfeeding, they may do a cat scan just to take a look inside of me- but he believes this would be overkill at this point.    
Wes and I had a coupon for a free entree at our favorite Mexican food restaurant- we went there after the appointment and shared fajitas and churros with ice cream and breathed a huge sigh of relief together.  He has been my rock during this journey.

Through this all, I have learned to never take life for granted, to love on my little ones with all my heart and to always stop for those extra kisses and hugs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Goodbye Sweet Starbucks

It is with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes that I let you know we had to say goodbye to my sweet Starbucks over the weekend.  It is one of the toughest decisions that I have ever had to make, but in the end I know that it was the right decision for my family.

In the end, Starbucks was just too jealous of Emma and the lack of attention he received because of Emma.  I don't know if he was fueled by the arrival of Everly, but he bit Emma on her face recently. Our family couldn't live in fear wondering what he could do to her next.  In my heart, I know he didn't mean to hurt her, but it could be worse the next time.    

Sweet Starbucks, I hope and pray that a sweet older couple adopts you- you have so much love to give.  You will always have a special place in my heart.  I will love you forever.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Three Years

Three years!!! I can hardly believe that we have already been married for three years.  In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday that we were waking up in Mexico eagerly anticipating our wedding and in other ways it feels like we have been married for years. 

We have had much joy and some sorrow in the last three years.  We have created the two most special people that I know.  We have also lost two special babies that I know we will meet in heaven.  You have given me the best gifts that I could ever ask for- my girls.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that this is really my life- that my dreams of having daughters with my best friend came true.    

There is no one else I would rather be on this journey with.  Love you babe.  Today, Tomorrow, Forever.

To celebrate, we went to Texas de Brazil for dinner- to eat all of the red (read: medium rare to rare) meat that I have been missing out on for the last nine months.  After I showered, I tried on my wedding dress to see if it still fit.  Three years and two kids later, I am happy to report that it did, indeed, still fit!  I should probably look into getting rid of that dress, but for some reason I just can't part with it, not yet!

My in-laws graciously came over to babysit Emma.  We took Everly with us since she is still refusing a bottle- by the way, this refusing a bottle thing is getting a little ridiculous (it basically means we are never apart!!).  They also took the pictures of us above!  My favorite of the night- lobster bisque with our perfect, little, sleeping plus one.

It was all so good.  We haven't been here since Wes's birthday four years ago, so it was fun to go back and reminisce!  I am sparing you pictures of all of the red meat in case you are trying to drink your morning cup of coffee while reading this :).

Everly woke up about 45 minutes into dinner and we just rocked her in her car seat until we were through eating.  Then, breastfeeding in the bathroom followed by a few pictures with our girl.

Can't wait to see what year four brings us- I am thinking no babies ;).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Everly Grace: 8 Weeks

Likes: family day at the zoo, snuggling mom while sister is at preschool (lots of extra kisses), cooler weather which means morning coffee and snuggles outside, watching the Killdares at the Levitt while snuggling Nonni, hanging out with Austin

Dislikes: taking a bottle (since my 1st Bottle post, there has been a huge bottle regression), taking a pacifier, sister smacking me in the face (seemed to happen more this week than normal)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Preschool Art

Emma makes us something very cute almost everyday at preschool.

The second day of preschool, Emma made us a hand print of her left hand.  I think it would be very cute if they did this the first week of school every year so we have comparison pictures :).  I am planning on saving this in case you are wondering- I think I might have surprised my husband with my willingness to get rid of Emma's artwork and not save everything!

During the second week of preschool- they painted a cross and put rhinestones on it :).  I am wondering who painted the cross- Emma or Ms. Debbie and Ms. Christie- my bet is on the later ;).

Then, they framed a picture (which was taken on the first day of school) and put the stickers on the frame :).

Emma has really learned to start liking to color and to wear stickers from preschool.  I was hoping the color thing would hold out until Christmas when Santa brings her the art table, but we have had to bust out a pad of paper and some crayons lately :) I mean just look at these masterpieces!

I am so glad that Emma is loving preschool so far!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Random Family Dinner

Ally and Travis decided to come to Arlington for dinner at my parents house on a weeknight.  My mom invited Bobbob and my family over for dinner (Austin and Craig were in Colorado)- it was a fun way to break up the week!  I am a believer that the more pictures the better- I mean I want to be able to look back on this crazy time of our lives of having two kiddos under two and remember everything.  However, I also think it is important to live in the moment so I didn't break out the camera until after dinner.

I am in love, love love with this picture- I think this is the first picture we have of Everly where she is actually smiling with another person (of course we have caught her smiling on camera by herself!).

This picture totally cracks me up because I can totally see this being Ally in a couple of years with her own kiddos!

Emma going in for the kiss :).

Nonni and Everly hanging out on the porch while Emma chased tennis balls!

Me, Ally and Everly

I love these pictures that my mom got of Everly on my shoulder. 

And asleep!

Ally and Bobbob- giving the Gig'em.  When asked if Bobbob was going to watch the Aggie-Alabama game on Saturday, Bobbob responded "of course, that's like asking me if I am going to go to church on Sunday!".

Ally and Travis :).

This was one, tired, tuckered out little girl!

So daddy did this to keep her entertained and peaceful while we finished up chatting. Of course- she loved it!

I love family dinners- especially mid-week, surprise family dinners :).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Overwhelmed With Love

Tonight I was sitting here snuggling my freshly bathed newborn and giving her kisses all over when suddenly I became overwhelmed with love for my little girl.

Sweet Everly Grace, I love you to the moon and back.  You have washed away all of my fears and concerns as to whether my heart was big enough to love you and Emma the same.  I could not love you more if I tried.  Sometimes my heart is feels like it is bursting when I think about how much I love you and your sister.

Thank you for making me a mamma for a second time.  I love you dearly.

Happy Birthday Dad (Grandpa George)!

My dad's birthday was August 25th- since it was a Sunday we were able to celebrate on the day of his birthday!  We decided to head over to Highland Park to take a family walk and then head to brunch at Breadwinner's.  Side note: Wes thinks it is hilarious that my family will drive to a location to take a walk rather than walking in our neighborhood- does anyone else's family do this?  I never really gave it any thought until he mentioned it to me :).  Ready to head out on the walk :).  In case you are wondering, Emma stayed at home for this part of the birthday celebration.  Since Everly and I are still pretty much attached at the hip boob, she came with me and since Emma is unpredictable at best while eating out, she stayed at home.

And here is the same gang a lot sweatier about three miles later :).

And with mom!

Love, love, love this picture of Austin and Everly!  Everly's facial expression cracks me up :).

Austin, Dad and Everly.

We walked a little over four miles and worked up a good appetite.  We headed to Breadwinners for brunch and it was AMAZING.  We split the chicken fried steak and eggs, an egg and tortilla dish (migas?) and a bananas fosters waffle.  It was all so very yummy- especially the waffle!

We headed home and reconvened later that evening at my parents house- Emma included :).  My parents have a great backyard for picture taking so I took the opportunity to get some family pictures.  Dad and Everly.

My parents with the girls- I think this is the first shot that we have of all four of them together!

Now if we can ever get everyone smiling just looking at the camera, it will be a small miracle!

Then, I tried to get a shot of Emma and dad, but Emma was clearly over this experience.

That is ok Emma- now I have a baby to take pictures of (kidding, kidding).  You can see how thrilled these two were :)!

Ok, now that is better you two!

Next, it was my turn.

Then, some kissing on the lips pictures.

By the way, I still am totally in love with kissing my girls on the lips and I think it is very endearing that Emma kisses everyone on the lips!

Love Everly's facial expression in this picture- she looks scared of my kisses.

I didn't get any pictures of dinner- but we had my dad's favorite which is stuffed peppers.  Then, it was time for the cake. PS- this is the part where I mention that my dad made excellent watermelon margaritas, I was so happy I could participate!  However, no one in my family including the hubs told me that it stained my lips.  Therefore, in the rest of the pictures my lips are watermelon margarita stained :).

After my dad blew out his candle, I realized that we had somehow forgotten to wear our party hats during the celebration.  No kidding, we had to have a re-do.

Ahhh, much better!  And we got to re-sing happy birthday!

And Emma got to help blow out the candle this time!

Patiently waiting for her piece of the cake.

Love this girl and her facial expressions and her party hat!

Then, it was time to open up presents!  Emma got to help and she was really into tearing off the wrapping paper although it was at a very slow pace!

Love the focus and determination.

We love you dad and hope you had a very happy birthday!!!!