Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Weekend Wrap-Up: Partying Like A Mutha'

So, this Mother's Day weekend, we had our typical full docket with the girls and their sports. But, the  POURING rain cancelled all three travel soccer games on Saturday! It was a Mother's Day Miracle! Sunday night swim was cancelled too, because the coaches have a heart for Moms. So what did that mean? All the annoying stuff (a-hem, I didn't say that) was OFF and all the fun stuff was ON like Donkey Kong!

My Mother's Day gift came early. It was a special night out with the girl who made me a Mom.
Friday night we had CB's 10th Anniversary Reunion Prom. 

When I got the invitation in the mail several weeks ago, I was so happy that I almost audibly squealed with delight and jumped up and down. At first, I thought maybe she got the invitation by mistake. She did graduate last year, after all. But, after checking with the school, I learned that for this 10th anniversary, all alumni were invited back. 

This invitation made my year. Seriously. I haven't blogged about how difficult things have been since she graduated. Life had been very stressful since she graduated. She was totally out of control for many months and was without any program or supports. Things have improved immensely over the past few months, and this prom was kind of like a little celebration of how far we've come. 

Her prom has always been a really special night for us. It's the ONE night where CB and I can do a mother-daughter thing together without ANY stress. Dr. Fabulous missed her Senior Prom last year, because he unfortunately had to travel for work, so I was stuck with (a-hem, I mean hanging out with) my ex and his girlfriend for her final prom without my man. Mildly awkward, but fine. We're all good, so it's really no big deal. 

While I truly enjoyed having her biological Dad there to share her special night every year, selfishly speaking I really loved having just one prom with just me and Dr. Fabulous. He is such a loving and involved step-dad, but when her bio dad is with her, he really tries to respectfully stay to the side and let them have their time.  

But tonight, they could hang out like usual. 

I cannot explain how excited CB was when she walked into the prom and saw so many familiar faces. She doesn't have the language ability to understand where we were going and who we would see, so it just hit her all at once when we arrived. She started rocking back and forth with vigor, yelling "ELLOH! ELLOH!" which is her version of "Hello" and what she was taught to say during her 18 years of circle time at school.

She never stopped smiling the entire night. Smiling and squealing and laughing and jumping up and down and swinging herself around like she was being attacked by a swarm of bees (that means she's super excited and happy, by the way). I mean, she was totally freaking out, but the reason I love this night is because no one cares. We're all the same here. Everyone "gets" it. No one is judged. No stares, only smiles. I was seriously laughing so hard all night long. 

Her aides were there. Old teachers were there. Administration was there. Kids she probably recognized were there, but she shows no interest in her peer group. She did, however, react to all the staff who came up and hugged her and talked to her. She made her rounds, visiting multiple tables, plopping herself down and stealing everyone's water. I enjoyed seeing all the staff almost as much as she did. They were part of my family for many, many years. I sincerely missed them. 
I know she did too.


Saturday we got to lay low due to all the cancelled soccer games. The downpour finally let up in the late afternoon, and I had a fun Girls Night Out with friends, eating Indian food and drinking wine. Although I stayed up a little too late, I got to sleep in, uninterrupted, on Mother's Day. 
I awoke to the smells of breakfast cooking.

Breakfast was mostly Pink's handy work: a homemade pink fizzy drink, a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich, and loads of fruit. Dr. Fab ran out early that morning to get me my favorite coffee, because breakfast isn't complete without a good cup of Joe.

And, I got my annual Mother's Day picture. Yay! 
It's a rare occasion when I'm in a photo with all four girls. It's never the best picture of all time, but I'm always grateful if everyone is (sorta) looking at the camera and looks relatively clean. I had to crop out Rella's bare feet in this picture because Baby Girl has something against shoes. 

I also found a four-leaf clover ON Mother's Day. That has to be symbolic of something. Perhaps some extra luck? 

Since CB had a seizure later that night, I'm thinking the luck may not have kicked in immediately. 

Hope all the Mommas out there had a very Happy Mother's Day! 

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Aftermath of a late night seizure and a day at her program. Zonked out on the floor 10 minutes after arriving home.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce

So, this little girl has been in "Beast Mode" lately. She does not get this competitive streak from me, that's for sure. This is my youngest daughter who did an open water swim competition of 3/4 mile across a lake at the age of 7. SEVEN!! This is the girl that begged me to start running 5K races at age 6, and placed in the last few 5K races she did (local races, so we're in a small pond here). 

So, she just completed this AWESOME program called the Healthy Kids Running Series, which is a national organization that has chapters throughout the country. We are lucky enough to have a chapter in our town, and it's been a great experience for the kids in our community.

The children, starting at pre-k and going up through middle school, race in age-appropriate distances every Sunday evening for 5-weeks. It's a timed race, so there is a competitive element, but the focus is mostly on fun and fitness. All participants get a shirt and a medal at the end of the series. In addition, the top three boys and top three girls in each age group are awarded with a special trophy. So, of course... Rella being Rella, was gunning for first place. She loves trophies. 
Her race distance was the half-mile.

She gave it her all every week, and improved her times and her race techniques. She showed great sportsmanship throughout, and learned how to push herself further and faster. One little girl was BIG competition, so Rella had to learn how to dig deep. 

But, she had her goal and she stayed focused. And guess what? That little long-legged silly girl DID it. Four first places and one second place added up to taking the trophy for overall first place girl in her age group. She was SO happy. And what I loved was that she gave a heartfelt congratulations the second and third place girls without being instructed to. 

I'm not going to lie, it's really exciting to see your kid go out there and "crush it," but I'm very realistic that we're not going to the Olympics or anything here. We're just havin' fun and staying fit! I'm just really proud of her that she is out there doing something, challenging herself to be her own personal best. She had the will but she also put in the work. She didn't just wish it and want it, she trained for it. No matter what the outcome, that is the most important lesson. Trophy or no trophy, my four girls are all rock stars in my book because they are out there trying, with good attitudes. 


Speaking of Rock Star girls... I'm honored to be a guest poster at the Girls In The Game Get In the Game Blog talking about their amazing Triathlon Team for underprivileged, at-risk girls. This organization was featured in my book, Women Who Tri, and I can't say enough about the incredible things they are doing in the city of Chicago. Please go over and check out this organization!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

3 Years. Boo-Yah.

May the Fourth be with you. And with me.
May the Fourth is my anniversary of kicking cancer's a$$!

Pink did it up Pinterest-style like the little creative, crafty girl she is! She made me the little sign pictured above, made the pink feather crown, a pink drink presented in a pretty glass, and made the picture frame which we used to take some selfies. She's so sweet, that kid! 

I played BUNCO later that evening and my friends surprised me with a cute hoodie that had a breast cancer ribbon on it. The whole day was very nice - aside from accidentally killing a squirrel and not seeing Dr. Fabulous all day. We also killed a squirrel on our wedding anniversary, so clearly anniversaries and squirrels do not mix well for me. I don't even know what that's all about.

Anyway, happy anniversary to me! Staying Cancer Free!

Thursday, April 27, 2017


My baby will be turning 22 in a matter of WEEKS. 
It's going way too fast. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dudes, My First Award. Ever.

Oh, what's that beautiful, inscribed glass vase you ask? That's just my award from Hearts United Against Cancer. You know, my first of... well, my FIRST ever! How cool is that? 

Technically, it's a volunteer award. I was the 2017 Cancer Hero Volunteer, but I REALLY got it for having fun and feeling good and hanging out with some awesome people. Who thought you could be awarded for something so selfish?

 And here we are... the "power couple."

Hold on. I'm laughing too hard. 
Still laughing. 

Okay. So, anyway, Dr. Fabulous is the one who is usually raking in the awards. I am usually the one clapping while he stands up at the podium. But, tonight our roles were reversed. I've never seen anything cuter than this man gushing over with pride and excitement for me. He was, like, telling everyone about this event in the weeks leading up to it, then singing my praises all night, and video tapping my little speech with a big smile on his face. I got more of a kick out of HIS reaction than anything else!

I have been active as a volunteer with Hearts United Against Cancer since 2015. I didn't know anything about them until I received a Care & Comfort Bundle right after my breast cancer surgery. A friend of mine, who was also a Board Member of this new non-profit, had requested this Bundle for me, and delivered it to my home. 

The basket was beautiful - filled with so many items personalized just for me. There was a book, a gift card, a cute coffee cup, a journal, a robe, and other little items. There was also a beautiful lap blanket that was hand crocheted by someone who didn't even know me. This basket was more than a "gift," it was filled with love and compassion. It brought me a great deal of cheer during a vulnerable time and made me feel less alone.

I researched the organization and found that there were so many great ways to volunteer and get involved. So, I vowed to pay the feeling forward. 

That's how I met Beth, the founder of this non-profit, and that's how I became a volunteer. So did my kids, who help decorate cards and go to the big Saturday events. 

My dad and step mom came out to support me, as did my in-laws. My mom and step dad were still in Morocco and couldn't make it. 

The Gala was great, we knew lots of people there and had so much fun. I was so tickled to be recognized like this, but honestly, I am the one who is honored to be part of this amazing group. The only silver lining of getting cancer was that it led me to this amazing group of wonderful women and I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Wrap-Up: Hoppin' and Runnin'

So, it was another jam-packed weekend with a track meet, swim practices, 3 soccer games, a Phillies game for Dr. Fab and a friend's 40th Surprise Bday Party for me, a charity event, Palm Sunday Family Dinner, and two races.

The Sunday race is part of a kids running series that Rella does. The Saturday race was our local 5K "Hop n' Run" that both Pink and Rella ran in. Pink grabbed a second place win for her age group and Rella came in first place overall. Not first place kid. Not first place girl. Not first place 14-and under. First place as in FIRST PERSON across the finish line - men, women, children... everyone.

Baby girl is on fire lately. She's all #BeastMode. This is when I question how we are related. Clearly, she has much more of her Dad's genetic material.

I am so super proud of Pink. She always pushes herself outside of her comfort zone. She wasn't sure she wanted to race today. She actually didn't even sign up until that morning, right there at the registration table. We never "force" our kids to run or play soccer or swim, or do anything. It's only if they want to. Today, I guess she was feelin' it. 

So proud of these cuties!

The nice thing about these local, "neighborhood" races is that we can ALL go and watch together without there being a major travel and parking hassle. I love it when CB can join our family events and everything runs smoothly!

We finished the day with soccer games and our respective adult nights out. Sunday we participated in the annual Easter Basket Drive where we helped organize then assemble thousands of Easter Baskets that go to children in homeless/domestic violence shelters and are passed out through various soup kitchens to financially struggling families.  

 Then we scooted over to my in-law's house for our Palm Sunday dinner and egg hunt. Always fun catching up and relaxing with family (well, relaxing for ME. Maybe not so much for my mother-in-law who hosts it!)

Easter is fast approaching. That bunny better get its butt in gear!

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