Friday, August 24, 2012

Camp Rachie 2012!

Camp Rachie started as a joke last summer when Bug, Bean and their cousins all came and stayed for two nights while their parents attended a family wedding. This year had fewer campers - just Bug and Bean - but we still had a ton of fun over four days!  (Don't mind the picture quality, these are camera pics - using the fancy camera is hard when your running after two kids!)

 One of the first things we did was make popsicles. I took the girls to a local fruit market and we picked up tons of fresh fruit. Then we used my new juicer to make delicious combinations - lemon/raspberry/grape and blueberry/raspberry/strawberry were my favorites. The girls got a kick out of putting the fruit in the juicer and took turns pressing the button. 

We then took a walk to the park down the street and played hard in the hot sun. Those popsicle were so good! 

The next day our big adventure was going on a "El" train tour. We boarded one of the trains and just took them all over town! We went down to the loop, took the trains out near my job, made sure the girls got a glimpse of the Lake, and took the subway too. The girls thought it was so cool and were such troopers!

The next day the girls' mom and brother plus our friend Sarah and her little one all came into the city. We braved public transportation again and made our way to "The Bean". This was especially exciting given that our Bean had never been to the Bean! The kids thought it was pretty cool. We then made a VERY long trek down to Chick-fil-a for lunch. Lisa took Bean home with her because I had big plans for Bug the next day!

I took Bug to her first waterpark about 3 years ago now and its kind of become a tradition. Most of the ones we have gone to have been smaller kiddie parks. But this year I took her to a full fledged water park - she was SO excited. We went with a few of my girlfriends and their kids. She loved playing with the other kids and was so brave going down the bigger slides. She still isn't quite ready for the grown up slides - but I bet by next summer I will be standing in some long lines with her! 

Such a fun weekend was had by all. I can't wait until next summer for Camp Rachie again!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Last Michigan Photoshoot

The very next weekend after the wedding, I made a very fast and furious trip to see my dear friends before their big move. Chris and Lisa are taking a huge leap of faith and moving their family so that Chris can attend seminary and become a pastor! I’m so excited for them and so proud of them.
One of the big reasons I decided to go is because Lisa really wanted “one last photoshoot” of their family on the beach of Lake Huron. I am never one to turn down a chance to photograph this darling family. Hilarious fact? I bought every article of clothing they are wearing except for the boys pants for less than $35! Aren’t they a good looking bunch?

 (Click any picture to enlarge)
I also took a ridiculous amount of pictures of all three of the kids. But that is pretty much normal behavior. Even three year old Bean has picked up on the fact that every time Rachie comes, there will be pictures taken!

These dandelion (wishers!) pictures were so much fun! I love getting the girls to try out new things - they really are good sports.

Bug perfected her "princess smile" during this trip. She tends to get a little cheesy in her grins sometimes, so we worked on "gentle a princess" and then she would usually give me some good real smiles too. I love that girl and she loves to pose! 

Bean is definitely in a cheesy smile stage but she's just so cute, I don't want it to change! She has had the most expressionate face since she was born!

Fuzzy is just the happiest guy around - it was no problem getting him to smile for the camera...staying still is a lesson for another visit!

It was a crazy 48hour trip, but I’m so glad I got to visit them one last time before their big move. (Which will actually be putting them about an hour closer to me soon!)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pursue: Anti Bucket List

Okay, I need help coming up with a term for what I would call an "anti bucket list". I've never particularly cared for the idea of a bucket list. A list of "wishes" that one attempts to get around to before they kick the bucket has always seemed a little morbid to me.

But there are definitely times when I catch myself during a particular experience or event and think, "this should have been on my bucket list... if I had one". You know the types of experiences - "firsts", especially special days, maybe even something that you thought would never actually happen. Those types of things that just make your life feel a little more complete?

One of the things I'm trying to "pursue" this year is really noticing those moments. I want to keep track of those moments somehow. I figure a blog is a good a place as any, right? But it needs a name!

So what would you call this list? Give me some ideas - throw them out there! Help a girl out!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wedding Bells

A month after my trip to Texas, I was beyond excited to attend the wedding of one of my dearest friends. The weather was a little touch and go but the bride was in good spirits all day. No doubt there is a lot of love between these two and I was so excited to be part of their big day!
I’ll mostly let the pictures of the day speak for themselves – the joy of the day is evident on everyone's faces!

(Click any picture to enlarge)

The bride getting ready for her big day - she was so calm, no cold feet here!

Pictures at the venue prior to the wedding - as you can see, they are not a serious bunch... 

Then it was time for the moment we were all here to witness - the "I do's"! 

Then downstairs for mingling with friends, delicious food, cutting the cake and toasts to the happy couple.

Then the dancing began! It went on to the wee hours of the morning and ended with a improptu stepping routine from the groom and his brother's old fraternity days.

I just couldn’t be happier for both of them!

For more pictures from a real professional, check out their spread on Style Me Pretty!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Texas Trip!!

Ok really - catching up! Apparently, I have to go all the way back to April!

During that really rough time right after I learned aboutthe cyst, I went on vacation to visit some friends in Texas. I’ll be honest and say that I almost didn’t. I was so scared that the cancer was back and that I’d have to have more surgery and take more time off work that I wasn’t sure I could justify taking time off for FUN.
Thank goodness I have a mom.

She reminded me that living me life worrying about and mentally preparing for reoccurrence is not at all what I want. She convinced me that this was exactly what I needed. And she was right, as usual.

So, off to Texas I went! I spent five days with my friend Kat and her family, taking an impromptu roadtrip all around southern Texas. After flying into San Antonio and spending the night at her house, we loaded the kiddos into the car and drove to South Padre Island. Despite the fact that we were only there for 24 hours, we sure packed a lot of excitement into the day!

After a quick late night stroll on the beach we went in search of dinner and a much needed margarita. We didn’t get any old margarita though, we got smoking margaritas complete with dry ice special effects! Can’t beat that right?

(Click any picture to enlarge)
The next morning we got up early to hit the beach! So much fun was had putting our feet in the (freezing) water and finding random sea creatures that had washed up on shore.

We also buried my godson in the sand – because what trip to the beach is complete without burying someone in the sand?

We packed up to leave the hotel and got randomly suckered into buying tickets to go dolphin watching! I was a little suspicious that we would end up just watching the water, but it was awesome! First, on the ride out to the dolphins, they let out a net that captures all kinds of sea life. They dump it all in a big tank on deck and have a little “show and tell” time. Puffer fish, catfish, lots of little crabs, seaweed, a starfish and even a tiny squid! They let us touch all the ones that were safe to touch and then dumped them all back in the gulf when we were done. Pretty neat!

Then we actually got out to the place where the dolphins swim! I expected we’d maybe see one or two, but we ended up seeing dozens! The sightings were brief (these aren’t Sea World performers) but definitely exciting and very cool to see up close.

After leaving South Padre, we drove down to the “Valley” where I lived in Junior High! We toured our old school and took pictures around our old spots. I also got to attend church and was shocked that people recognized me.  I mentally calculated that I hadn’t been there in almost 20 years! (SO OLD!)

After dropping the kiddos off with family, Kat and I went to meet up with another good friend from our younger years. Joe was getting married that weekend and we were so excited to reunite and attend the wedding!

The next day we had to head back up to San Antonio and the day after that I flew back home. Such a fun trip filled with great friends and fond memories. So thankful to have such a great long-lasting friendships!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting Back to the Good Stuff

So much to blog about! I’m at least three months behind on all of the good (aka non-ovary related) stuff that has been going on in my life. And there has been A LOT of fun.

Most recently, I have been spending almost every waking hour that I am not at work watching the Olympics - please tell me I'm not the only one! Thank goodness pretty much everything I'm really interested in is over. I am clearly too old to be staying up until almost midnight on a work day!

Gymnastics is easily my favorite and the women's gymnastics team really kept me on the edge of my seat all week. That little Gabby Douglas is just amazing and I was SO happy for Aly Raisman for pulling out the bronze and silver in her last two event finals.

In all of my googling and Internet searching about current and past Olympic gymnasts, I came across something I didn't expect. Remember Shannon Miller?

(For anyone who wasn't glued to their televisions back during the 1996 Olympics - she was one of the "Magnificent Seven" who took home the first US Gold in the Gymnastics All Around.)

I am not sure if it didn't make big news when she was first diagnosed back in January 2011 or if I just didn't notice. Sufficed to say, ovarian cancer was no where near being on my radar a year ago. But she is one of many people trying to bring more awareness and I couldn't be more inspired. Even though all I read says that statistically someone in their thirties has barely any chance of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I keep finding more stories that say differently.

Shannon was only a year older than me (33) when she was diagnosed and luckily hers was also caught early. Even though the doctors believe they were able to remove all the cancer through surgery, Shannon elected to have three rounds of chemotherapy as a preventative measure.

She is a year out from chemo now and doing very well from what I can tell. I love hearing stories of women who have caught their cancer young and seem to be thriving. It definitely gives me hope and reminds me that my own experience has been much more similar to these uplifting experiences than the prospect of doom and gloom that I was initially told was destined to be my story.

So, even though I said this blog was going to become more about the fun and less about ovaries - the reality is that my life is completely intertwined with cancer these days. Even when I'm just trying to watch the Olympics! Ok, I promise the next post will be ovary-free. But September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, so you can bet I'll have more to talk about ovaries then!