Brain Update

It’s been 3 years since the day that I was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour. March 18th holds a special place in my life, it’s a day that my life changed. It’s a day to celebrate life and be thankful for my circumstances. I woke up this morning feeling a little underwhelmed, I had planned nothing to celebrate.

I dragged myself to the gym and while I was running I started thinking about the 18th of March. What was I going to do to mark the day? And then I realized that I was doing it. I was running, something that I couldn’t do 3 years ago without debilitating pain in my head.

I was very lucky that I had a quick uneventful recovery after surgery with minimal side effects. That is what I celebrated today with a trip to the gym and a game of laser tag to celebrate my oldest son’s birthday.

My last scan was in December and it came back clean so I have a lot to celebrate! My next MRI is in December of 2018 until then I will LIVE. I encourage you to live too, don’t wait until tomorrow to start that new thing or go on that adventure. Sign up, show up and do it.

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Thailand – Elephant Hills

The very best day that we spent in Thailand was at Elephant Hills. It happened to be my husband’s birthday. Even thought he took me to Thailand for my 40th, he managed to celebrate his birthday in Thailand as well. We almost got in a fight just before this photo because I was asking him to hang out in the common area and he was insistent that we go to the tent. We were trying to surprise him with a cake for his birthday, and he was asking far too many questions.

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We had to get up super early to catch our flight from Bangkok to Phuket, and then after the flight we had a three hour drive. But it was so worth it. Upon arrival we were treated to a yummy buffet, and got ready for an afternoon with elephants. Our accommodation was a luxury tent, it rained all night on the metal roof and I had the best sleep of our vacation.

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The elephants were the best part of the whole trip to Thailand. I’m not even sure that I can put into words why I liked spending time with elephants so much. Even thought they are so large, they seem so gentle. Their eyes are so sad. When I talked to them I felt like they understood me. It was interesting to see their personalities, and how they interacted with each other. Some were friends, there was a gang of three that were “the bad ones”, and one that followed another around like a shadow.

We watched them play in the pond, we bathed them, petted them and fed them. It was an experience that I won’t forget any time soon. When we were booking I didn’t really want to be involved. I wanted my husband to surprise me, but he knew that even though I want to be surprised, I am not very good at being surprised. He also knew for the good of our marriage that he wouldn’t get the surprise right, and he was correct on that. I’m a bit of a pain that way, I want to be surprised but only if you have super human mind reading powers to surprise me with exactly what I am thinking.

When was the last time that you spent a few hours doing something that touched your life in a memorable way? There are lots of things that happen in life that touch us, but they are often negative events. A death in the family, a job loss, a brain tumour, bad surprises, things that you don’t see coming. This elephant experience was up there with the news of being diagnosed with a brain tumour, it was a shock to my system but in the best way possible. If you have the chance spend the day with an elephant, do it! Watch them sway to music that only they can hear.

Christmas Crafts – Day 12

Wow, I made it. We crafted through the 12 days of Christmas once again.  I had a little help this year from the elves. This final project was made for my husband. He was in need of a new winter hat, and with the recent snow we had here it was finished just in time.

On the first day of Christmas my true loves made for me, an Ornament Wreath.

• On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me, Hot Chocolate Mugs.

• On the third day of Christmas my true love made for me, Plum Wine.

• On the fourth day of Christmas my mom made for me, A Nativity Scene.

• On the fifth day of Christmas a random stranger made for me, Cotton Candy Chemo Cap.

• On the sixth day of Christmas my true loves made for me, Spontaneous Snowmen

• On the seventh day of Christmas my true love made for me, Tiny Knit Scarf Ornaments

• On the eighth day of Christmas my little loves made for me, Reindeer Balls.

• On the ninth day of Christmas my little loves made with me, Dentist approved cookies.

• On the tenth day of Christmas my true love made for me, Beyblade gloves.

• On the eleventh day of Christmas my love made, a Sewn Stocking.

• On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love made…

If you want to make this hat, I got the pattern here.

That’s a wrap. Thanks for reading. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

Christmas Crafts – Day 11

It’s the 12th day of Christmas today, or maybe even day 13 but if you are like me then perhaps you have lost track of the days.

My oldest saw kids making these at school this week and decided that he wanted to make one too. I know it’s hard to believe but I had all of the materials on hand. This was his first sewing project so I am a pretty proud mom. I’m impressed my 8 year old would initiate this on his own, and follow through to completion. Perhaps crafting is genetic?

• On the first day of Christmas my true loves made for me, an Ornament Wreath.

• On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me, Hot Chocolate Mugs.

• On the third day of Christmas my true love made for me, Plum Wine.

• On the fourth day of Christmas my mom made for me, A Nativity Scene.

• On the fifth day of Christmas a random stranger made for me, Cotton Candy Chemo Cap.

• On the sixth day of Christmas my true loves made for me, Spontaneous Snowmen

• On the seventh day of Christmas my true love made for me, Tiny Knit Scarf Ornaments

• On the eighth day of Christmas my little loves made for me, Reindeer Balls.

• On the ninth day of Christmas my little loves made with me, Dentist approved cookies.

• On the tenth day of Christmas my true love made for me, Beyblade gloves.

• On the eleventh day of Christmas my love made…

A Sewn Stocking.

 

Christmas Crafting – Day 10

My kids are both into Beyblades, which are essentially spinning tops. They play them at recess and apparently gloves or mittens get in the way of the fun. My youngest asked if he could cut the tops off his mittens. Instead of that very creative option I have made him finger-less gloves.

• On the first day of Christmas my true loves made for me, an Ornament Wreath.

• On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me, Hot Chocolate Mugs.

• On the third day of Christmas my true love made for me, Plum Wine.

• On the fourth day of Christmas my mom made for me, A Nativity Scene.

• On the fifth day of Christmas a random stranger made for me, Cotton Candy Chemo Cap.

• On the sixth day of Christmas my true loves made for me, Spontaneous Snowmen

• On the seventh day of Christmas my true love made for me, Tiny Knit Scarf Ornaments

• On the eighth day of Christmas my little loves made for me, Reindeer Balls.

• On the ninth day of Christmas my little loves made with me, Dentist approved cookies.

• On the tenth day of Christmas my true love made for me…

Finger-less Beyblade Gloves.

Want to make these too? I got the pattern here.

Christmas Crafts -Day 9

The kids and I usually make a gingerbread house from a kit around Christmas. The goal isn’t about the baking, it’s about the decorating and spending time together creating something.

This year my son mentioned seeing a train gingerbread kit that he would like to make. So I went to the store he thought he saw it in and there was none to be found. I then asked my husband to pick a gingerbread house kit up at the grocery store but he decided not to get one because in his words “we usually end up throwing most of it away anyway”. I do agree but as I mentioned it’s not about the gingerbread, it’s about the time spent together.

Now it’s 2 days before Christmas and after going to 4 stores in search of a gingerbread house or train, or anything gingerbread like we ended up with a cookie decorating kit.

The cookies are hard as rocks because I ate one, just to test it out. Let’s hope none of us have a dental emergency in the next week as a result.

  • On the first day of Christmas my true loves made for me, an Ornament Wreath.
  • On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me, Hot Chocolate Mugs.
  • On the third day of Christmas my true love made for me, Plum Wine.
  • On the fourth day of Christmas my mom made for me, A Nativity Scene.
  • On the fifth day of Christmas a random stranger made for me, Cotton Candy Chemo Cap.
  • On the sixth day of Christmas my true loves made for me, Spontaneous Snowmen
  • On the seventh day of Christmas my true love made for me, Tiny Knit Scarf Ornaments
  • On the eighth day of Christmas my little loves made for me, Reindeer Balls.
  • On the ninth day of Christmas my little loves made with me….

Dentist Approved Cookies.

If you want to make these too, good luck! Hopefully you find a kit in fewer than four stores.

Christmas Crafts – Day 8

Wow, today was a day. I’m on an emotional roller coaster and I’m exhausted. Whose with me? I’m ready for that long winter nap I’ve heard so much about.

The kids had a Christmas craft night at their school tonight. All of the teachers design and supply the materials for a craft and the kids make crafts in their classroom. The kids love it. I usually try my best not to be a helicopter crafting mom, but I didn’t have the self control today.

On the eighth day of Christmas my little loves made….

Reindeer balls, snowmen, stars, candy cane and snowflake ornaments (all in an hour).

Christmas Crafts – Day 7

Our Christmas tree is decorated in ornaments that were given to me when I was a child, some were made and some were bought. Each year I received at least one ornament, and now as an adult (up for debate most days) I have a tree full of ornaments with special meaning.

I have continued to add to the decorations by making one ornament for each of the kids. This year I made them tiny knit scarves in a ball. I saw them on Pinterest and thought they were cute. My husband is questioning my design savvy after seeing the finished product. They do look slightly nicer in real life, but I am siding with him on this one. But you know what, if my kids look at them in 20 years and say I wonder what mommy was thinking when she made these, that’s good enough for me.

On the seventhth day of Christmas my true love made for me…..

 

Tiny Knit Scarf Ornaments.

 

Christmas Crafts – Day 6

I was making a craft today when my five year old asked if he could have a clear ornament ball which I was planning on using for my project.

He was very excited, and told me he was going to make the ball into a snowman with eyes, a smile and buttons. And he was going to sign his name. He got out the permanent markers and got to work.

When he was finished I suggested that we fill it with snow which like all the other materials, I had on hand. He was sceptical. I got out a jar of snow and got to work filling it up. He proceeded to show my other son and husband his masterpiece, which prompted the making of a second snowman.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true loves made…..

Spontaneous Snowmen.

Want to make your own snowmen? You will need clear plastic ornament balls, permanent markers, ribbon and powdered snow.

Start by drawing a snowman face on the ornament with permanent markers. Remove the hanger, fill with powdered snow and reconnect the hanger. Tie ribbon to hang.

So easy a five year old could design and execute it on his own.

Christmas Crafts – Day 5

Every once and a while I get the opportunity to use my crafting skills to help others. Crafting skills don’t really come in handy that often so I tend to jump when I can help someone by making something. I follow a local buy nothing group where members of our community trade goods and services instead of buying things. Wednesday is wishful Wednesday where members post something specific that they are wishing for, and others respond.

Two weeks ago I was reading through the Wednesday wishes and I saw a wish for two hats. The woman wishing is starting chemo in January and she was wanting soft hats to keep her head warm during treatment. I jumped at the chance to make her wish come true.

I contacted her through social media and asked what colours she would like. She had specific colour wishes, she asked for a sapphire blue hat to match her wedding ring, and a soft pink hat to match a baby blanket. I hit the craft shop got the yarn and got to work.

  • On the first day of Christmas my true loves made for me, an Ornament Wreath.
  • On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me, Hot Chocolate Mugs.
  • On the third day of Christmas my true love made for me, Plum Wine.
  • On the fourth day of Christmas my mom made for me, A Nativity Scene.

On the fifth day of Christmas a random stranger made for me… Chemo caps.

The sapphire blue cap was knit with the following pattern by Purl Soho.

The Pink hat I made up as I went along. If you want to make the Cotton Candy Chemo Cap to fit 8 years old and up the instructions are as follows;

Materials

  • approx 80 yds Bulky yarn (I used Loops & Threads Charisma)
  • 9mm (US 13) circular needles and 4 double points

Directions

  1. Cast on 56 stitches onto circular needles
  2. Join for working in the round, place a stitch marker. Be careful not to twist the stitches.
  3. Round 1:*K2P2, repeat to the end of the round
  4. Round 2-6: Repeat Round 1, 6 times
  5. Round 7: K7, P1
  6. Round 8: The following rows the Purl stitch needs to shift by 1 stitch to the left. Round 8 begins P1, *K7, P1, repeat * to end of round
  7. Round 9: begins K1, P1, *K7, P1 repeat *to end of round
  8. Knit until the piece is 6″ from bottom of cuff to working row
  9. Decrease Round 1: following the same pattern knit to the next P1 stitch. Place the marker. *P1, K2TOG, K6 repeat * to end of round ending with a P1 stitch (you may need to shift your marker one stitch)
  10. Decrease Round 2: *K6, P1 repeat * to end of round
  11. Switch to double points
  12. Decrease Round 3: same pattern but P1, K2TOG, K5
  13. Decrease Round 4: *K5, P1 repeat * to end of round
  14. Decrease round 5: same pattern but P1, K2TOG, K4
  15. Decrease round 6: *K4, P1 repeat * to end of round
  16. Decrease round 7: same pattern but P1, K2TOG, K3
  17. Decrease round 8: *K3, P1 repeat to end of round
  18. Decrease round 9: same pattern but P1, K2TOG, K2
  19. Decrease round 10: *K2, P1 repeat to end of round
  20. Decrease round 11: same pattern but P1, K2TGO, K1
  21. Decrease round 12: *K1, P1 repeat to end of round
  22. Decrease round 13: *K2TOG repeat to end of round
  23. Cast off, weave in ends.