Thursday, June 30, 2011

july sponsors. we love the summer. enjoy these great offers.

it's a great month. we love july. but it is so hot and so busy for us. young life camp trip. family vacation with my family. college reunion for me with my five best friends who i only see like once a year at the most. a wedding. a golf tournament. it is going to be so good and so busy. but we all know life is busy. so let us simply embrace it.

we head to young life camp tomorrow night with close to 180 students from high schools in chesapeake. it has been two years since i led a cabin. it needs to be said...I CAN NOT WAIT. it is my heart. i love the late nights. the adventures. talking about life and Christ and how it all fits together for these high school girls. for the rest of their lives. it is an incredible gift. i wish everyone got the chance. i get to do it with my husband and some of my closest friends. please pray for us at camp. lives will be changed forever in the next seven days.

but i could not leave for a week without introducing you to some BRAND NEW sponsors and some of our FAVORITES. check it out. seriously. i would not lead you astray.

we have two new sponsor this month: Juliethefish designs. i pretty much love everything she makes. it is mostly all custom jewelry. i love custom. dates. names. initials and so much more. check it out. i am sure you will love it as much as i do. there is a necklace in my future for sure.
another new friend is from Scentsy. these candles are amazing. they actually do not have a flame or wick. they smell pretty much incredible. i got one as gift last fall and our house smelled like cinnamon roles. they are real safe which is great. ava actually touched the wax on accident and i waited for a scream. nothing happened. it is not hot enough to hurt or burn. we just peeled the wax off and that was it.obsessed.i would get one if i were you.

returning this month are some of our favorites. One Delightful Button is back. katie is a friend too and an almost momma. so fun. we love babies. her products are being sold at some young life camps this summer. that is awesome. so great to be able to watch her company grow and grow. Neve Inspired. kris and i are friends now. we emailed yesterday about how fun it would be to live in the same town. justin and i need to head to charleston because i hear it is pretty incredible little town and i want to meet kris. she made these adorable purple and grey dresses with some great pockets for ava and my niece ava. see HERE. gotta love it.
A few years ago one of my friends wore a simple necklace hand stamped with her son’s name.  I loved it and thought, “Maybe I could make that.” That is how the journey of juliethefish designs began.  Now I spend late night hours hammering away while my loved ones sleep.  juliethefish designs is an online shop full of handmade, custom keepsakes.  Each piece is created uniquely with your personalized information.  I am honored to make hand stamped keepsakes for customers all over the world.  I am inspired by their lives, the stories they share, and their occasions for giving. please visit the website at   .During the month of July please use the coupon code LIBBY711 at Etsy checkout to receive 10% off your order!
 Scentsy offers wickless candles and so much more. Being wickless means no flame, no smoke, and no soot. Scentsy candles are safe for homes with children and pets because they do not produce enough heat to burn and the warmers are safe to leave on 24 hours a day, just as you would a night light. There are 3 sizes of warmers to choose from with a variety of styles to fit any decor. And with over 80 scented waxes to choose from, you'll never get bored! And for the little one in your life, check out the Scentsy Buddy, an adorable stuffed animal that your child will love. Visit for more details and contact me directly for the special I'm offering to DWYC readers! I have been an Independent Consultant for Scentsy for over a year now and because I love the products so much!
It all started when I found a jar of old buttons at an antique store.  I knew there had to be some fun things I could do with these vintage buttons.  My shop features jewelry, accessories and other fun things all surrounding the buttons.  All the items are handmade by me & come packaged ready for gift giving. Please feel free to contact me about custom requests. This month receive 10% off my shop by typing "libby" as the coupon code.

Neve Inspired is a handmade children's clothing company by husband and wife design team Bob and Kris Galmarini.  It was born out of the simple, pure joy their daughter, Neve, and all children experience on a daily basis {hence the name Neve Inspired}.  Building on the desire to keep the art of hand screen printing alive, Neve Inspired is a growing collection of super soft, eco friendly HAND screen printed t-shirts for boys and girls as well as custom skirts and dresses for the little ladies.  We are incredibly excited for the growth of our brand and are looking forward to incorporating our shirts into a full clothing line within the next year {fingers crossed}.  Please visit our website {} to keep up with our growing line of frocks and don't forget to become a fan of Neve Inspired on Facebook for discount codes, drawings, and an overall good read.

we are off to camp in like an hour. there maybe some posts on the blog while i am gone. depends how crazy camp is. if not i am sure we will return from camp with lots to share. can't wait. enjoy your friday. i miss ava already.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


wow. i am doing it. not trying to act like i am cool or special or that this is that big of a deal to anyone else in the world...just me. chemo was a big part of my life for six months. as much as it was awful and i hated it. it was the medicine/poison that was used to heal my body from cancer. so it is a big deal to me. it always will be and if for no other reason than that i do not want to forget. what it felt like. how it smelled. what we did to pass the time. the women i spoke to. how it was apart of what changed me. how it was hard some days and not so bad other days.

here is what chemotherapy was like for me.

the tuesday before treatment i would go to the office to get blood work done. my white blood cell count was always very low so i would get a shot of neupogen. that way my count was high enough to withstand treatment on thursday. the shot hurt. but nothing to bad. just apart of the whole thing. mostly just a pain that i needed to get a sitter and drive thirty minutes. i usually went alone because it was pretty quick. i would cry on the way home. just me in the car. maybe feeling sorry for myself for a second that all this was happening. i did not cry every time. i as sometimes tough. acting like i could handle this whole cancer thing.

on wednesday night justin would get home from campaigners and we would watch our favorite show on bravo. top chef. after i put ava down around 7:30pm i would have a few hours by myself. this is when the anxiety would set in. just the thought of going made me sad and angry. i would begin to feel the nausea i would get when i walked into the door from treatment. i would usually try and distract myself from thinking about it by reading, watching tv, or maybe blogging. but i always recall laying in bed with justin and asking i have to go? to which i always knew the answer. but i often thought...what dr. lee actually do if i just did not show up. but decided that was counter productive since it would only drag my treatment out longer. so we went. every other thursday from august to february.

treatment was usually around 9am or 10am. i would get up. i think i wore leggings and uggs to every treatment. i wanted to be comfy. i would always shower because i never knew when i would fell well enough to shower again. we were always rushed. ava would usually be getting up right as we were leaving and the babysitter was arriving. that worked well. i would pack my damask monogrammed chemo bag with my blanket, nook, candy, medicine i might need, my phone, chap stick, and lotion. my hands would get dry and my lips too. i would put lidocaine on my port to help numb it before i got to treatment. it helped to ease the pain when they put the needle into my port. i would cover it with saran wrap so it would not get on my clothes. i would take my emend. the miracle anti-nausea pill that never took my nausea away so i am assuming without the medicine i would have been in hell. i got that sick even with the best anti-nausea medicine. kissed ava and went over her schedule that was typed out in detail like some crazy women. but i think it helped with having so many different people care for her...everything was written out clearly and in detail. emotionally i was okay in the morning. just sorta moving around getting ready and not really thinking and feeling. just going. if felt up for it we would stop at starbucks for coffee and some breakfast. as time went on i felt more and more sick in the morning and not even starbucks sounded good. we would bring noura a drink too. love your chemo nurse. go above and beyond. we tried to with her so she knew how much we cared for her and that she was caring for me so well. i always got my blood drawn before treatment to make sure everything looked good. my chemo only got moved once due to my count being low. after that i always got the shot so my treatment schedule did not keep changing. you get to know the people pretty well. i always had the same few women drawing my blood. we would talk about how young i was and how ava was doing and what was new in their lives. never really talked about cancer.

i would go get justin from the waiting area and we would head back to the treatment room. it was a pretty large room with three rows of leather lazy boys. i usually sat in the same few places. there were lots of windows and that helped. the light i mean. we would get settled. justin would pull up a chair next to me. i usually would throw up before anything even started. i would get so sick just thinking about what was coming. so they started to give me medicine before i even arrived. that helped to take the edge off. noura would come over and we would chat a bit as she cleaned my port and we would count...1, 2, 3 and she would stick the needle into my port that was hooked up to the machine that administered my particular chemo. first noura would flush my port with saline. i can still taste it. it was awful. i ate wintergreen peppermints the first time to help. people said to eat candy. that did not work for me because now i hate wintergreen peppermints. after that i would just plug my nose so i could not taste it. my stomach is turning as i think about that. i would get four drugs. ABVD. not sure what the long medical words are but it was four drugs. i got them all at separate times. three for fifteen minutes and one for an hour and a half. before she started my medicine i would get a few more anti-nausea drugs to help during treatment and i think they made me drowsy because i always fell asleep at some point during chemo. i was hooked up this an iv so if i needed to get up and doing anything it all came with me. i would usually throw up at least once during treatment and then return to my chair. i can still imagine how that felt. getting sick. the horribly bland taste in my mouth during treatment. gosh it was awful. i would drink water sometimes. eat occasionally but usually nothing stayed down. around noon some cancer volunteers would bring a cart around with sandwiches, drinks, and snacks. that cart made me sick. i got something from them once and i got sick from it. so that was the last time. we would usually talk or i would text or send emails.  justin would sometimes do work on his computer. towards the end he spent a lot of time planning our trip to nyc. i would read. but after like four or five treatments i was so tired that i would sleep as much as i could. it took the pain away and helped me forget where i was for a little bit. the chairs were always full. mostly of women. some men. much older than me. we only really talked to other patients three times. once on my first day to a young mother who was celebrating because it was her last treatment for breast cancer. she was tough and strong. another time when i went to chemo alone due to ava's allergy attack to eggs and justin took her to doctors quick and then met me at treatment. the women next to me wanted to talk and talk and talk. she was nice. but i was not up for talking. her life was pretty rough and her husband sounded pretty awful. mostly because he never went to treatment with her. just dropped her off and picked her up. he could have come but said she could handle it. thankfully justin never did that. we did it together. we are a team. i needed him there. i needed somebody. no one should ever go to treatment alone. if you know someone with cancer make sure they have someone to go with. just to sit with them. most patients had a least one person with them during treatment. people played cards. talked. knit. did little crafts. anything to keep busy and help pass the time. some people's treatment lasted  two hours and other people's were 6-8 hours. we were usually in the five hour range. depending on if i saw my doctor or not. but treatment itself was like 3-4 hours. so we usually got home around 3pm when ava was just going down for a nap so i would sleep too. i came home all drugged and tired and i usually looked pretty bad. not usually always. i was so out of it. but i remember driving home with justin after treatment. he would stop for food i learned not to do that because i would get sick no matter what we got. i would walk in the door and immediately went straight to my bed. that was made with new clean sheets. windows open so it was bright. i would close them right away. but i did always love walking into a clean sunshine filled room.  we had people come to clean on thursdays when we were at treatment so we came home to a clean house. a fresh start. it made all the difference. i always slept. or at least was in bed. when ava woke up she would sometimes come in or if i was asleep they would wait. i could write a lot about ava. how i missed her. how i always need to have the monitor in my room so i knew when she was sleeping or awake. i would yell out to the kitchen when i could hear she was eating dinner. our bedroom is off the hallway off the kitchen. pretty close. i would ask if she was eating. what she was eating. if she was crying i would ask...what is wrong why is she crying? my door would be opened just a crack so if i was awake i could hear what was going on with her...meal time, playing, bath time. i always asked to be woken up so i could put her to bed. i usually woke up around 7pm no matter what because my internal clock told me it was time. get her milk and rock her. pray. i usually skipped books. too tired. but sang a little. that time made me feel less guilty. i hated being away from her and too exhausted to play with her. but at least our days ended with each other. it was nice. i would usually return to bed or go upstairs and watch a movie. depended who was here or what people were doing. some treatments were not that bad afterwards while others were incredibly difficult. either way we survived it. so i think i can survive anything now.

we had amazing people care for us when i was sick. i have blogged about pretty much every visitor. so i wont do it again. but thanks for loving ava. loving us. and sacrificing your time and energy to be here after chemo. i hate that it even existed. but thankful it was you.

i hope i did not forget anything. but that was our experience with chemotherapy. i hope you never experience it for yourself. but sadly most of you reading either know someone with cancer or are currently being treated for cancer. you can do it. it is not that bad. it only feels that way now. okay yes chemo is hard. all of it. i take that back. it is bad. the only way i made it was because i trusted the Lord and knew that i could say how much it sucked. how hard it was. and how much i hate chemotherapy. but i needed it. everything changed because of cancer. life is now broken up into pre-cancer and post-cancer. what happened before and after. i am living in the after and looking forward to what is ahead. ava is crying. i need to get her.

enjoy your wednesday. the pixie cut is getting a little trim today.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

our bedroom

i remember when i was sick thinking about how i would need to get new sheets, new comforter, and new pillows. new everything because the sight of it would make me sick. well i did not get new stuff. instead i put our duvet from when we first got married along with our euro pillows and a few monogrammed pillows on our bed. all our own stuff. i was sick of it for a while so i used it in the guest bedroom. but a month or so ago i washed it and put it back on our bed. it made me think of when we were first married. the newness. the excitement. something as silly as a comforter. but it has helped give our bedroom a new look. i mean it's your bed. you spend the entire night in it. you should love where you sleep. it does not remind me of being sick. but instead our first apartment in lexington and our first condo in chesapeake. when we were young. we are still young. but younger. no ava. just us newlyweds and in love. our room needed that. a new start and i love it. i always put in a new wallflower from bath and body works. cannot remember the scent but i like walking in here and loving how it spells because usually you get used to our own house smell. but it honestly smells different to me now. i needed that. i like that. my room does not feel like a sick cancer patient room anymore. it used to smell like sick. not like gross sick. just sad sick. but now it feel different. like it's supposed to. here is a picture for you. our room is pretty simple. we like it that way because justin hates clutter. two of our favorite family pictures from sara. burlap with our anniversary spray painted on it to cover the electrical box in our room. one little night stand for me. a dresser you can't see and that is pretty much it. two little closets. one for me and one for justin. i am not a daily bed maker. but i do love how it looks. i might do it more. but i know myself. probably wont happen.
this is where i was sick. but now i am healed. although the memories will always be here. i do not feel the same way i used to when i laid in this bed or walk over to my nightstand and charge the phone, monitor, laptop, and fan. same thing every night. so monotonous. i cleaned out my nightstand last weekend. it has three little shelves that were filled with sleep aids, pain reliever, anti-nausea, our yellow tablet of paper we took to all our initial appointments so we could keep it all straight. it was cleansing and hard to look through and clear out. all the books i read when i was sick. the books people sent me all about caner and pain. i did not read any of them yet. but i will. for some reason it was too hard when i was sick. maybe it will feel differently now. good to throw stuff away. but it brought it all back. i guess this is just a part of the whole thing. the whole life after cancer. it was like i was grieving what happened and remembering that it actually did happen. cancer. to me. to us. it is still so crazy. i remember honestly wondering if our bedroom. the river house. our home would ever feel anything different than...the place i had cancer. i do think about cancer. how i felt in this bed. it just makes me sad. so i try not to think about it. not because i do not want to deal with it and process cancer, but because i do not want to be sad all the time. but i think cancer takes on a whole new meaning when it is post cancer. that may seem obvious in so many ways. but now as i think about cancer and the simple fact that i actually had cancer it seems surreal and fake and then very real. very quickly. i think right now. not forever. but my heart right now when i think of cancer i think of sadness. if you read this blog than you know that we count it all joy. all of it. that the Lord used cancer to show us how much He loves us and how our lives are forever changed. but right now the idea and realization that i had cancer is sad to me. nothing really profound to share about that. i think if there is a cycle of dealing with cancer i am at the sad stage. not even sure why or in what ways i am sad. not even the type of sad that it impacts my daily life and mood. i am happy right now. experiencing real joy. just sad when i think about it. just sad that it exists. that people die from it. that even though i do not have to go to chemo anymore does not mean that those chairs are not still full of people every hour of everyday fighting for something they never knew they would have to. their life. their once healthy life. the body they assumed was fine until someone told them they have cancer all over it. it is just sad. that is all. i think it is allowed to feel this way without being dramatic and acting like cancer is the worst thing that could ever happen. for us it wasn't. way worse stuff could happen to us. just sad that it exists.

i have attempted to write about chemotherapy and the details of it for about six months. it was too hard when i was sick. but now i want to. i had heard of chemo before i got sick. most people have. but i had no idea what it really looked like. i will do that in the next few days. so look for a chemo post if you are interested. i received an email from a women who started reading our blog last summer. but a couple weeks ago like me went to the doctor alone. not really worried only to hear the have cancer. my heart aches for you. thank you for emailing and sharing your heart. it is my favorite thing. so i will write about chemo this weekend and hopefully it will give you an idea of what to expect. i am sorry you are sick. i know the shock and numbness of those first weeks. this is your life. it is true. you have cancer. BUT. God is good. trust Him with your life. cancer and all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

the blog world.

i like what my friend angie wrote on her blog on wednesday. read it HERE. the summary is that blogs can sometimes make us feel bad about ourselves. people present what they want to present. the best pictures. the best versions of themselves. who can blame them. i know when i pick out what pictures i post on our blog i tend to choose the ones where everyone looks good. i think it is natural. when it comes to marriage and the way relationships appear on blogs can also seem pretty picture perfect. for me our blog is not a place where i will throw justin under the bus or share the details of our marriage. i am always honest. i want to be real. i hope you know that if you read our blog. the reality for us is that we do not fight that often. we may disagree or get annoyed with each other but the whole yelling at each other thing is not our style. i kinda shut down. but we get frustrated with each other. he thinks i put pressure on him when i ask him what seems to me to be a simple question. he responds with "pressure libby. i am feeling a lot of pressure." that is not my intention but i am working on it because i think how you communication is key. justin says i nag him sometimes. i hate that. i do not mean to. obviously. and ever person communicates a little different and the way something is said may not be heard the same way. i get annoyed when justin leaves dishes on the counter. or does not clean up after he makes food. he sometimes leaves his wet towel on the bed when there are some great hooks about two feet from our bed for his towel to hang. but we pick our battles. for us it tends to be less about the big stuff and more about the day to day stuff. it seems to be the mundane things in life that can cause the most issues.

when it comes to pictures of people's homes i prefer not to see pictures of dirty laundry. but yesterday we had about six loads of laundry filling up the entire hallway. or pictures of dirty kitchens. i do for the most part try to keep our kitchen together. it is the central meeting place of our home. i think dirty dishes are gross. but currently our sink is full of dishes because emptying the dishwasher paralyzes me. i hate doing it. or our guest bedroom. it is currently more of a craft room/place to put clean unfolded laundry/dry cleaning/ironing/our printer/our desk with a computer we never use. i wish it did not serve ten purposes. i want it to be a guest room. a simple clean room that is restful and peaceful. that is my goal for the weekend since my mother in law and aunt are coming to sleep in the room when they watch ava while we are at young life camp.

the reality is no one has it all together. even those people that try really hard. the house appears perfect. the marriage seems perfect. the kids are dressed to the nines all the time. none of it is perfect. but do some people have the gift of keeping a clean organized home? yup they do. are some marriages full of more joy than others? yes they are. but there are so many layers to all of it. for us we put pictures on our blog that document our life and bring us joy. like ava, vacations, and gorgeous sunsets. but not every part of it is happy all the time. for me i would rather not read blogs full of pictures of messy houses, dirty cars, people crying, spouses arguing. but i know all that happens. i know life is hard. i know houses are messy. of course. but no marriage has it all together. there are no perfect wives. everyone drops the ball in some area or another. may just be a different area than you. many relationships are struggling. children are not behaving. teenagers are acting out. for us ava pulls hair sometimes and listens about 75% of the time. but we are trying to do our best. sometimes our kid acts crazy and it does not mean we are bad parents. even though some days i feel that way. ava is precious and beautiful and sweet. but she can also be rough, feisty, strong, not so good at sharing, likes to give other kids hugs where it knocks them over, and does not listen well all the time. but we are working on that. when i say freeze ava is supposed stop where ever she is. it has worked like twice so far. i tend to air on the side of not talking a lot about how we discipline and the details of our child rearing because once i hit publish it is out there. not going back. sometimes i do not want to hear people's thoughts on whether we are too hard on ava or not hard enough. people feel pretty passionate about that subject. but we try to love and love hard in this house. we believe loving hard is not allowing ava to do things that will hurt her even if she does not understand why. or throwing food of her highchair tray. that fires me up. i am constantly battling in my head...should i have done that? does she really understand that she should not do that? she is still a baby...or wait does that matter? i can tell she understands because she is testing me. i can see it in her little eyes. it is not easy. but no one said it was going to be. we fail some days and other days we thrive. i do love angie's heart in her post because it is easy to read blogs about other people's lives and simply assume... now they have it all together. i wish i had that house. or that marriage. or was that clean. or that creative. or whatever that is for you. but what we see and read is only a small part of some one's life. free yourself from the pressure to sometimes be someone you are not. i would love to say that i am the type of mom that is full of creative fun games and crafts everyday and is fine with piles of laundry, a dirty kitchen, and not having her iphone with her all the time. i am working on that. i find myself on the porch with ava and as she is running around playing i am checking my email or twitter or text messages. i want to work on that and be more present with her. i like the idea that it is okay to have a messy house as long as you have happy kids. i do believe most things can wait. they can wait until tomorrow. but it is good and healthy to keep our priorities straight. but what works for one person may not work for someone else. i want a happy kid. i believe ava is a happy little girl. but i like to keep the laundry moving and not pile up to how it got this week. now it is a bit overwhelming to even begin. we all have our areas where our gifts shine and areas we can work on or content in not being that good at whatever it might be. take the pressure off. i am saying that to myself too. no pressure. no one has it all together. thank goodness.

shifting gears a bit...

every week i meet with a bunch of girls in chesapeake. some lead young life some don't. it is just group of women who are trying to go deep with Christ and with each other. we spend a couple hours in our living room and share our hearts. what's good. what's bad. where we are joyful and where we are discouraged. i love it. they love it. it is pretty incredible. i think it is key to find people in your life that you can be real with. go deep with. that you trust and that that will hold you accountable. we all love each other too so that is real key. i shared last night about ava. our sweet little ava. the joy she is and how exhausting it is to be a mom. i feel like i say this all the time but i am reminded of it all the time. ava was the perfect age when i was sick. she is so busy now. it is constant redirection or saying no no not touch the toilet water. she is obsessed with water or vider as she calls it. no matter its state she likes to touch it. or tables. she loves to climb and stand on chairs and tables. not good. but i would not trade being her mom for anything in this world. i think every parent would agree. i sometimes just need a second...or two or three. i also thought about this group of girls and the unique thing i am realizing is that they are learning something so important at such a young age. that it is okay to be honest. be vulnerable. not pretend to have to it all together. share what is hard in life. our insecurities. where you are struggling. what you wish you did better. celebrate the accomplishments. being proud of one another. encouraging each other in Christ. i just think it is rare. i think so many people feel like they have to put up a front. they do not want anyone to know what is really below the surface. or what goes on behind closed doors. the ugly fights between spouses. a teenager who is acting out and getting into trouble. addiction. depression. sometimes life it just hard and it seems like no one gets you. or if people really knew what was going they would judge you. it is hard to find people you can be honest and real with. i am thankful for these girls. although we are in very different stages of life i appreciate their willingness to be honest. i like going deep. i have a hard time with things just stay on the surface. i think we are called to push each other. to grow. to reach our potential. encourage. listen. give advise. allow people to share. to really share what is going on inside. it just does not seem to happen very often. i am glad these girls are learning this now so that when they are fifty years old they know it is okay to share with their friends what's hard in life. or about raising kids. or that the are not getting along with their husband and they want out. or sometimes it is all just too much.

i think that is community. i think that is community in Christ. real and authentic. it has to be. it is just not worth it if it only stays on the surface. ask hard questions. i do not like to let people just say..."yeah everything is good." well what does good mean? dig a little deeper and maybe everything is just good. that's great. but maybe more is going on and many people are not even sure what it looks like to really share their heart. but i think it is in that...the honesty and heart level conversations where we grow and are pushed to become more and more of who we are meant to be in Christ. we do not have it all together. no one does. let's rest in that and go through life with people in a real. genuine. meaningful way. i like that the best.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

it's a nice night.

just a little river view for you. enjoy your night. trying to write but instead i am watching just go with it. it's funny. i will try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

a little party and some crafty decor.

i have always loved the idea of entertaining and hosting parties. since we have been married it has been so important to us to create a home where people want to be. where they feel comfortable and relaxed. when we moved into the river house i knew we finally had a home where we could host parties and have more people over. no matter where we have lived or where we will live in the future i think no matter how big or small your home is you can create a place where people want to be. where they feel safe. where memories can be made. however the river house finally gave us the space we have always lacked before. since we moved into our home a few days before chemo our house was more of a place to heal. for caretakers to come. but now it's ready for entertaining and last night we did just that. we hosted a bridal shower for our friend ally. for the past week or so i have spent most of my free time. i.e when ava was asleep working on the shower. running errands. cutting out letters. using the glue gun. cutting flowers. collecting rocks (thank goodness we have hundreds all around the house). cleaning (thank you barbara). making tissue poms (thanks to katie and queeny). went to party city to blow up balloons. which ava loved having 12 balloons in the back seat with her as we drove home. do not worry she did not suck on them i know balloons are a serious chocking hazard. it has been so life giving to me. i called sara yesterday to talk decor. since she throws a mean party (examples ava's first birthday HERE). i said i can not believe how much work i have put into this party. in a good way. i have truly loved it. i can only imagine what i will want to do when it is for ava. sadly her birthday is in january so unless it is a freak weather day we can not utilize the porch and the beauty of being outside on the water. but i have loved this. hanging out upstairs with justin as i cut out my twenty fourth circle for the "happy wedding" banner. sitting with friends making tissue poms and name tags for food and trying to be as thrifty as possible. which i was really able to do thanks to the dollar store. i was shocked at what i found.

so for today this blog is a craft blog. because i am so excited about how everything turned out and what a fun night it was. being with friends that i love so dearly. amazing weather. a super helpful husband and some great ladies who brought food. that was pretty incredible. sad to those who missed it. you were surely missed. thanks for coming. a party is not really a party without guests. so you all made it happen. happy wedding ally and josh.

enjoy the party through pictures...then you can pretend you were there if you want to.

(i am not a photographer. so i know the lighting is not that great and i could crop the photos but i didn't. thanks leslie for taking some pictures. even with a cast)
there is an I above that do. for i do.
it said happy wedding
the bride.
yup it was that funny.
 it was a great great night.

justin was real helpful with everything and even took a little video footage from the party. check it out. i am bias but it's good.
check out the video from the party HERE.

if you care. details on decor.
where i bought stuff and how much it cost. might be helpful and good for people to know how reasonable it is to decorate if you are willing to cut circles and use lots of hot glue.

white tissue poms (google it to watch video on how to make them). paper from dollar store. two packets for $1 each made 6 poms. fishing line and wire.
luminaries. 30 bags $1 dollar store. cut out H from a sponge and dipped in white paint. tea light candles from micheals. pack of 50 for $2.50. rocks to hold the bags in place.
pack of 15 white balloons from walmart $1. blown up at party city for 50 cents a piece.
design paper used on everything. $10 for a HUGE pack of paper from micheals. 
brown craft paper. $3 for pretty big pack.
twine $3.
mason jars borrowed from our sweet friend ali.
battered powered lanterns from ali too. (aaa batteries from dollar store).
letters printed from martha
white mums i got as a gift and cut pieces for all the mason jars.
rocks from our backyard. wrote on with white chalk.
banner around porch is wrapping paper from dollar store $1. hot glue to twine.
cups, plates. napkins $1 each from dollar store.
pictures on window. took from ally's facebook page and printed at walmart. 19 cents a piece.
white paper circles. two packets. $1.50 each.
yellow garland on table. 50 cents from party city.
fabric on food table. random piece at fabric store. $2.

i think that is it. any questions email me

last thing. some people asked how justin did that video from our vacation. the one of just ava. it is a feature on his iphone. 8mm old school type footage. pretty cool we think.

Monday, June 20, 2011

how we got our blog title.

i think there is going to be some cancer talk coming your way the next few days. so if you would rather not read or think about cancer i would stop reading now. 

i received two emails this past weekend. on the same day. within minutes of each other. one from a women who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and is in the early stages of everything. she does not know her treatment plan yet. but a friend of hers emailed her our blog. when she wrote the email she was half way through our hundreds of blog entries. i wept reading that. i never thought this would happen. i never imagined that the Lord would use this blog. but He is. i am weeping as i type. i felt so scared and so alone when i first got sick. i am so thankful that people who are just starting their cancer journey have found something in our story. i am humbled and thankful. (i can not turn the bold off. blogger wont let me. sorry) the other email was from a women who is in the same season as me. post cancer. we are cancer free but she is having a hard time allowing herself to celebrate this new part in her story. her fear comes from a place i too fear. she was declared cancer free and then it returned. she had more treatment and is now in remission. but how do you go on living when there is anger, frustration, and uncertainty. will is come back? am i really better? once i start celebrating will i just be told i am sick again? how do i live in this new place? really live? i do not have the answers. i can only speak to my own experience. so far my cancer is still in remission. i do not know what it feel likes to hear..."it is back." i told two friends on friday night as we working on bridal shower prep for our friend. i said...i am scared it will come back and if it does i will not be as strong. i know what is ahead now. i know what chemo feels like. i know how much getting a port put in hurts. i now know a new level of pain and fear. one i never knew before cancer. but it is real and i try everyday to not believe the lies. the lies that tell not celebrate could come back. what would you do then? well as i write this in tears. so congested i can't breathe. those kind of tears. all that has been going through my mind is not allow your fear (satan) to rob you from life (jesus). i am healed. today i am healed and that is enough. that is what we prayed for from the end of july to mid-february of this past year. for healing. well i was healed and that is more than enough. it has to be. 

i am including the article from john piper that changed my entire perspective on cancer. i remember sitting in my bed in our old house and sobbing as i read this. that maybe. just maybe you will read this and it will change how you view cancer and your life. whether cancer has anything to do with your story or not, but mostly likely it will at some point.

my friend katie told me on friday that our story of cancer. this blog. our life. or all of it combined changed her forever. she said if she got cancer or someone close to her got cancer there experience would be different because of our experience. not because we are cool or special. but i guess our prayer was answered. we prayed two things while i was sick. one that i would be healed. wait. nope we prayed this one first. that God would be glorified through my cancer and than He would heal me. i am healed and we keep praying He is being glorified by our life. cancer or no cancer and we prefer no cancer.

so i am thankful that one close friend was impacted and one new fellow cancer fighter has found hope in it too. not hope in me or our words or our experience. but where we find our hope. Jesus Christ. that is it. i know that more now than any other time in my life. I am not strong enough to do this alone. this whole post cancer thing. i am certainly not strong enough to do cancer. we figured that out. but post cancer is hard too. processing cancer is hard. i will try and write more about that. i have meant to. but it is hard. because it is so deep. and raw. and emotional. and i can only do so much in a 2-3 hour span while ava is asleep. it was easier during cancer to write about my heart and how i was doing because ava was less active. i had help cleaning and meals brought to my house and i did not have to see people unless i wanted to so the nasty post cry face was okay. but i need to. i want to and hopefully john piper will help you the same way he helped me view my cancer. 

my two email friends. friend number one i am sorry you have cancer. not in a cliche way. but a deep genuine i am brought to tears writing this. i hate that you have cancer. but there is another side to it. the ryder family is living it. be hopeful and trust the Lord. with all of it. it will make all the difference. friend number two it is okay to be angry and scared to celebrate. but believe what is true today. you are cancer free. live in that truth. i hope this helps...

Don't Waste Your Cancer John Piper. February 15, 2006.

I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain.
1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it.

2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9, “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

We will all die, if Jesus postpones his return. Not to think about what it will be like to leave this life and meet God is folly. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning [a funeral] than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” How can you lay it to heart if you won’t think about it? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Numbering your days means thinking about how few there are and that they will end. How will you get a heart of wisdom if you refuse to think about this? What a waste, if we do not think about death.

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

Satan’s and God’s designs in your cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy your love for Christ. God designs to deepen your love for Christ. Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean you off the breast of the world and feast you on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help you say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And to know that therefore, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 3:8; 1:21).

6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

It is not wrong to know about cancer. Ignorance is not a virtue. But the lure to know more and more and the lack of zeal to know God more and more is symptomatic of unbelief. Cancer is meant to waken us to the reality of God. It is meant to put feeling and force behind the command, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). It is meant to waken us to the truth of Daniel 11:32, “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” It is meant to make unshakable, indestructible oak trees out of us: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:2). What a waste of cancer if we read day and night about cancer and not about God.

7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.

When Epaphroditus brought the gifts to Paul sent by the Philippian church he became ill and almost died. Paul tells the Philippians, “He has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill” (Philippians 2:26-27). What an amazing response! It does not say they were distressed that he was ill, but that he was distressed because they heard he was ill. That is the kind of heart God is aiming to create with cancer: a deeply affectionate, caring heart for people. Don’t waste your cancer by retreating into yourself.

8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

Paul used this phrase in relation to those whose loved ones had died: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). There is a grief at death. Even for the believer who dies, there is temporary loss—loss of body, and loss of loved ones here, and loss of earthly ministry. But the grief is different—it is permeated with hope. “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Don’t waste your cancer grieving as those who don’t have this hope.

9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

Are your besetting sins as attractive as they were before you had cancer? If so you are wasting your cancer. Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin. Pride, greed, lust, hatred, unforgiveness, impatience, laziness, procrastination—all these are the adversaries that cancer is meant to attack. Don’t just think of battling against cancer. Also think of battling with cancer. All these things are worse enemies than cancer. Don’t waste the power of cancer to crush these foes. Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25).

10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

Christians are never anywhere by divine accident. There are reasons for why we wind up where we do. Consider what Jesus said about painful, unplanned circumstances: “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12 -13). So it is with cancer. This will be an opportunity to bear witness. Christ is infinitely worthy. Here is a golden opportunity to show that he is worth more than life. Don’t waste it.Remember you are not left alone. You will have the help you need. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Pastor John
Material is from Don't Waste Your Cancer by John Piper, copyright 2010.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

ava's birth story. for justin on father's day.

 happy father's day babe. your girls sure do love you. a lot.
 enjoying a little lunch out to celebrate you.

ava's birth story.

i have told her story many times. but this is the first time i have writing it down. i have been thinking about the blog and cancer and how when she gets older we will begin to tell her our own family story. her story too of when mommy got sick. but before we tell her that one i think we should start from the beginning. the day that changed us.

the day you became her father. on this father's day. june 19th. 2011.

ava suzanna's birth story.

a few months before we got pregnant justin had a dream. a dream that we had a little girl and her name was ava. so it was less about if and more about when...

in april 2009 our dear nephew jack was born. justin and i booked our flight and headed to ky. there was bad weather so we were rerouted to greensboro, nc for the night. we got a hotel and had a flight to ky in the morning. we decided maybe we would think about trying for a baby.

on april 30th we found out i was pregnant. i had this slight feeling i might be so i went to rite aid and got a test. i was headed home to make dinner and when i got there justin was already home. he had no idea. but i remember beaming inside. even though i had not even taken the test yet. so i went into the bathroom and it. went into the kitchen to continue making dinner. a few minutes later i went and check it and there it was: pregnant (actually it was two lines. i did not buy the fancy digital kind). i remember feeling like it was fake. surreal. so thrilled. asked justin to come into the bathroom because i had to show him something. the test was laying on the counter and i said, "look!" he said, "at what?" i pointed and he still needed some direction. i said i am PREGNANT. he looked in shock. confused. happy, i think. he picked me up and we hugged and he kept saying, "we are going to have a baby...we are going to have a baby." i said, "yup. this is good right?" "yes, but i guess we will need a crib"...yes, justin a crib and about a hundred other things. ava was on her way.

i loved being pregnant. i loved everything about it. but i was sick. horribly terribly sick for 14 weeks. throwing up several times a day, nauseous, and exhausted. but worth it. i would do it a hundred times over.

fast word. after months of appointments, a growing belly, baby showers, all the nursery details in order. a name. we had finally agreed. although we both knew it was going to be ava. we fought it for a little while. ava was one of the most common girl names in 2009. we did not want her to have a real common name. so we tosses around layla. for a little while she was layla. but we knew. no matter how much we fought it...our first born daughter was going to be our sweet ava.

we were ready. so ready. january 4 was her big day. on new years eve my parents were in town from washington and we had hung out all day so i wanted to go out that night. all that day i was having "contractions." as a first time mom you do not really know what to expect and because we were anxious for her arrival i desperately wanted this to be it. so we timed them. they were definitely consistent. on the way home we swung by the hospital just to get me checked out. sadly no progress. as we walked out of the hospital that night i said to justin, "we will not return to this hospital unless i am positive this little girl is coming." it was so disappointing to have had what i thought were contractions all day and i was not dilated at all. home we went.

i started rereading parts of what to expect when you are expecting. all the labor and contraction info again. we did not take any classes. but felt okay about that. read the book my mom gave me on nursing. called nursing your baby. pretty incredible. i recommend it. just wanted to be ready to go whenever it did happen. what would it feel like? how can you tell? all the questions a first time mom wonders. it's all so new. so foreign. but still so right. i felt a peace. like i was made for this. i can handle this. we can do this. i was not scared about labor. or about being a mom. it was less about fear and more about...what will this all be like?

secretly i loved that last week or so before she came because anytime i called justin he would pick up on the first ring. is she coming? is it time? i would say no...but can you pick up some ice cream for me please? Reese's blizzard to be exact from dq. so we waited. then we went into to see my doctor on the 6th. two days late. i was 50% effaced but no dilation so we schedule an induction. i start crying. i was devastated. i wanted her to come naturally. in her time. no drugs. so in an effort to prepare myself i sorta stopped thinking ever cramp, stomach pain, etc was an indication this little one was coming. i was wrapping my head around january 12. her new birthday.

that night we had campaigners. bible study with young life students. i went at the beginning to see people and say hi since i would most likely not be around for a while. our good friend mary beth said, "tonight might be the night..." to which i openly say..."nope. we have been thinking that for days and still no baby. i am tired of living like this"

but ava was getting ready. i took a bath that night. had been doing that most nights. touching my belly imaging what she would be like. look like. feel like. how would she act? would i be a good mommy? how would life change? could we do it? clearly not knowing the answers. not really wanting to. just thinking. about all the unknowns of this little girl inside me.

i honestly did not expect anything. i was ready for next week. not tonight. but around 2am i woke up with some pain. pretty bad. but i walked it out. i got up and walked around our bedroom until the pain stopped. went back to sleep. woke up again with the same pain and walked it out. then i laid in bed and thought..."maybe i should i time these?" so i did. 10 minutes apart. 7 minutes apart. justin is still asleep. i figure why wake him until its really necessary. 5 minutes apart. 2 minutes apart. pain is increasing. these are contractions. for sure. no doubt. this is it. i wake up justin. still not ready to go to the hospital. i did not want to be sent home. but we call our doctor's office and they tell us to go ahead and go.

i take a quick shower. thinking that if it was false labor the contractions would stop in the shower. they did not. they got worse. i hunch over in the shower and grab the side of the wall. i yell to justin..."okay this is it. pack the car. we need to go." a few minutes later he comes to check on me and says the car is packed. let's go. i am putting on mascara quick in between contractions. 

we head out. in the car was bad. you have no where to go. your body becomes stiff and the pain is intense but you are stuck. no more walking through the pain. instead i grab whatever i can in the car to help get through the contractions.

this is it. she is coming. our first baby. everything is going to change. that is what everyone told us. but for the best. oh, how it will change us forever. we are becoming a family. welcoming a new little life into our partnership of two. but now it will be three.

we arrive. it's around 9:30am and i get all hooked up. the nurse checks me. i say to her in all seriousness..."if i am not dilated do not even tell me. i do not even want to know."

" are almost 8cm!" "WHAT?!?!" she asks if i want an epidural. "um, yes please!"

justin turns on the ipod. ava's playlist is ready. the lights are turned down. i get my epidural and we wait. we watch the contractions on the monitor. justin tells me when they are coming. i can feel them. a little. but not like before. we talk. justin sits real close. we know these are our last hours just the two of us. we talk about our marriage. our baby. we finally agreed on her middle name. we relax. it was peaceful. better than i ever imagined. i think as a first time mom you hear so many stories. everyone shares their experiences. i listened. i appreciated what other wise woman had to share. but i knew our story would be our own. and it was far better than anything i had ever imagined.

i rested. we listened to music. justin took some video. we talked. we prayed.

oh, ava please know how much you were prayed for. from day one we prayed for you. your little body developing. your heart. who you will become forever. we never stopped praying. we promise we never will.

i continued to progress. around 11:30am the nurse checked me again.

10cm. get ready. she is coming. 

with music playing it felt peaceful. honestly it was not loud and crazy or like grey's anatomy at all. far less dramatic than what i imagined. which i love. that's our style. i held justin's hand so tight as he counted to ten for each push. after a couple pushes i asked..."how long does this usually take?" our midwife and nurses laughed. "it varies."

"my goal is less than an hour." so i push. and push. and push.

i missed my goal by seven minutes. at 12:37am...ava suzanna ryder arrived. pink and puffy. all nine pounds of her. i guess i was made to have big babies because labor was a joy. she was little to us. our tiny baby. she was here. healthy. a little purple. girl forgot to breath in all the commotion.

they got her breathing no problem and laid that sweet baby on my chest.

i whispered to her..."i am your momma. you are safe and you are loved. so loved."

we had a steady stream of visitors for the next two days. so many people so excited to meet her. it was said over and over those first days..."she has no idea how many people love her already."

ava i hope you know how loved you are. so many people were so excited for your little life from the second you arrived. you brought such joy. without even knowing it.

so that's it. your story. your birth story.

unbelievable to me how one little life can change everything. you changed it all for us ava and we love it.

thank you for giving me the strength and desire to fight. when we told our friend katie that i had cancer i told her..."i am thankful we have ava because now i will fight harder."

it's true little girl. although i still feel pain when i think about you and cancer and those initial weeks after the diagnosis. i know that i fought harder and endured more because of you. i wanted you to see strength and what it looked like to trust in the Lord when we were scared and angry and sad and not sure about what was ahead. we knew we were not alone and He was in this with us. He gave us you. He gave me you just so cancer would be a little bit easier. even though it was harder in some ways to take care of you while having cancer. i know that you were the greatest gift the Lord ever could have given us in cancer. it changed everything. you walked through the craziest time in our lives and you did not even know it. but one day you will. because you will hear stories. daddy will share with you his heart and i will share mine. we will share this little blog with you and how you brought such life to our lives. without evening knowing it. my sweet sweet baby carried me through cancer. i love that. i love that in Christ life is full of mystery and adventure. He used you to bring me life while facing death.

thank you. thank you. thank you.

my sweet baby. we love you. (if you missed my mother's day gift from justin. watch it HERE)

we love you daddy. ava is so blessed to have you. i love watching you interact. i know she seems to be such a momma's girl. but think of this morning. you guys running around the upstairs and her cracking up laughing. or when we met at dinner on friday night and she ran right up to you and cuddled on your chest. it is those precious moments that make it so clear that we are exactly whose supposed to raise her and guide her through life. thank you for caring for her when i could not. rocking her to sleep and telling her about her mommy being sick. comforting her. playing with her. how you call her your "little stinks" even though i hate that nickname.  taking her on wagon rides. giving her baths. reading her books. and saying her prayers with her. you are the best at that. what a day we have to celebrate as we celebrate you on father's day. the year we have had. the years we will continue to share together. thank you for the husband you are to me and the father you are to ava. we do not tell you enough. or i guess i do not since ava can not really talk yet. we are thankful for you. proud of you. we respect you. we admire you. we think you are so funny. we both laugh at you the most. you are wise and so smart. you make really good guacamole and tomato bisque soup. thank you for leading our family and pointing us towards Christ. we would never want it any other way. we love you. i hope ava gives you more kisses today than she ever has in her life. maybe i will too. we love you that much. xo. lib & aves. 
if i could choose again i would still choose you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

a little bit of everything. but mostly allergies.

we are excited to announce that we can have babies again! it is for sure. we are thrilled. not sure how to express how i feel. just thankful and joyful. back in august (if you missed it read HERE) we were told we might not be able to have children after chemo. but i am happy to report that we know for sure now that i am good to go. praise God. we still need to wait at least one to two years since my last PET scan to try and get pregnant. just in case of cancer returning. but the chance of that is minimal. so now we will patiently wait until we get the go ahead from dr. lee to start trying for another little baby. but at least we know that my body is physically able to get pregnant again. we are so thankful. what a joy. one more thing to celebrate.

if you missed our june sponsors check them out HERE or on the right of the blog. there buttons link right to each site. some good stuff and some great deals for our readers. if you are interested in advertising with us. send an email to

allergy update on ava. back in october (read HERE) ava had a pretty bad reaction after eating some scrambled eggs. we found out later that day she is allergic to eggs and peanuts. bummer. however, we started giving ava things to eat with eggs cooked in it and she did just fine. so it is pretty much no french toast or eggs (scrambled, fried, etc) for little ava. then a few weeks ago she ate some mustard and had a mild reaction all over her face. i gave her benadryl and she was fine. we were supposed to take her in to see an allergist shortly after her reaction. well between my chemo schedule and life. we finally went on thursday. it was a sad visit. i documented it a bit with my iphone. so they are not great. but just give you an idea of how our visit went.
just reading her book. no idea of what's about to happen.
so she is playing and reading her books while we wait. she especially likes this little corner of the office. she was playing a little peek-a-boo. then two nurses come in with a large tray of different things they are going to test on ava's back. they do seven total. i told ava. face to face. one nurse holds her arms around me and i hold her head while the other nurses does seven pin pricks on her back. ava really was a champ during that part. it was quick and not that bad. the worst was that i had to hold her like that for 15 minutes. specifically i had to hold her wrists so she would not reach around and inch or rub her back. maybe for some kids this is not big deal. but ava does not necessarily love to be held. especially when her hands and arms are confined. they did give her a lolli pop and that distracted her for about 5 minutes. now she is mad. so we sing wheels on the bus, itsy bitsy spider, old macdonald. she is not up for singing. the nurse hears her crying and comes in with bubbles. well sorta good but not that good. because now i can not hold her arms anymore and she wants to blow them. it is getting worse because it is more more thing i am not able to let her do. she wants her arms and to get down. neither of which i am able to let her do. i manage to get over to my purse and grab her stickers. our saving grace. she loved it. seriously parents get stickers. they have helped us survive flights, road trips, and now allergy tests.
we did it. we made it 15 minutes without touching her back. after looking at her back the doctor tells us she is still very allergic to eggs. peanut is pretty mild but advised us to wait until she is two and bring her in and they will test her again. so still no peanuts. to our surprise her reaction to mustard was pretty significant. so mustard seeds for ava. but the doctor is hopeful she will out grow them.
we chat a bit about what this means and then a nurse comes in to go over using an epi pen and some other information. if you babysit ava ever plan on getting trained on how to use an epi pen next time you watch her. we were told that just because her initial reaction to eggs and mustard was only hives it does not mean the next reaction would be the same. it could be much worse. which is a little scary. but we now have several epi pens. so hopefully we are as prepared as we can be. now ava is free to walk around. shirtless. her fav.
we head home for a popsicle and a wagon ride. we survived. so thankful i was just taking her to see the allergists. i know many parents have it much worse. it does something to your soul to see your child in pain. this is minor. it could be much worse.

do not forget father's day tomorrow. ava and i sure haven't. we have a few surprises coming daddy's way tomorrow.

enjoy your weekend. it is gorgeous here.