Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tired

I have been so bad about updating this blog but I am exhausted lately. Work has me running ragged, then grad school, Alex and currently Amir are all making me tired. Amir had major surgery on his spine on Monday. As a result I am not only caring for Alex but Amir as well as our 2 dogs. Amir is usually our dog care giver so I am just feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed which is not a good thing for me.

Alex is doing wonderfully. He is talking, walking and getting into everything. He is such a "boy" he loves to climb and jump and LOVES cars. He also really enjoys music. Amir can not wait for him to be able to get a drum set (we are so not the anti-noise parents).

We are currently potty training. I KNOW there is a great deal of debate around this because he is so young but Alex was ready. He tells me when he needs to go in to the potty. He takes off his diaper and walks around naked when he is wet so it is time. We are not pushing it a big deal I just sit him on the potty when he wakes up and after he eats. If he tells me during the day he needs to go we sit on the potty then. I don't want to push it but I do want to encourage it.

His vocabulary has evolved so much and its so exciting to hear all he has to say. He is so curious and wants to know about everything and I love that!

As far as me things are ok. Grad school jump started with a run I have so much work to do for the two classes I am in now BOTH of the require huge papers by the end of the summer. I know for a fact one of them will be on analyzing single sex classrooms and determining their effectiveness. But I have no clue what I will do for the other. I am taking a research methods class and a organizational leadership class. I am also doing a lot within my new position and it has caused me to really think about my next steps in education. I know I want to become a principal. But I know that with my current hectic life I need to wait for that at least 2 more years. That being said, I am trying to decide if i want to stay in the classroom as a full time teacher or become a reading specialist. I LOVE teaching reading and over the past few years I believe I have become a great reading teacher. In addition to that I have gained certification in some great areas of reading so I am really excited about my growth in the area. That being said my school can really benefit from a reading specialist. Although I teach second grade I am currently working with a student in the fifth grade who reads on a second grade reading level. The reality is there are a TON of students in our school and other schools in DCPS just like him. If I could solely give my time to fixing that I think I would be happy. This is something I am thinking of talking to my principal about at some point this year.

Next week is my one year anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As this day approaches I am filled with so many feelings. I have a friend whose attitude towards breast cancer has been so amazing and I believe I have had a decent attitude about it thus far as well however I am really just not over how this last year has changed my life. Since that diagnosis my anxiety has gone through the roof. I am pretty sure I have a panic attack once or twice a week these days which does not feel great. I am also such a hypochondriac now. I always think EVERYTHING is a sign that cancer has returned. So I still have so much work to do.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Alexs first Haircut and back to school.



So I am back at work and busier than ever. I got a promotion and I am a Teacher Lead. This essentially means I provide support for my grade level team, which is all teachers grades K-2, and help ensure they are utilizing data to drive their instruction. It also means I am facilitating Professional Developments and helping provide ways to use this data. With all that said I officially went back to work on Monday but have been in and out of meetings all summersurrounding my new position.

I am so excited for the school year. I will be teaching second grade and will ha
ve all of my students from last year. This means I can jump right in and not waste
time "getting to know them."

Additionally I am in grad school. I just finished my first semester and received and A and 2 P's in those classes. The classes I received P's in where pass/fail.

Things are going well. Alex has a lot going on. He is talking up a storm his vocabulary now includes: hi, bye, mama, dad, thank you, yes, no, fine. It is so funny to chat with him and see how he uses so many words in context. He also knows how to talk on the phone. He will pick up any phone and put it to his ear in a second. He loves phones and trains. He is also super curious. He wants to know how everything works and touches everything.

Our big news is.....He got his first haircut!!! He looks super cute. I loved his long curly hair but Amir and I both felt it was time for a cut. We may let it grow back out for awhile before cutting it again. But I LOVE his new look. He looks like such a big boy. Of course here are tons of pics.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Loving Life

Things have been going great lately. I am at a place where I realize I really need to take one day at time and live my life to its fullest extent. I am enjoying every moment I spend with my husband and son and really those are my priorities. I have not been up to much Alex's first birthday party went well. I put a lot of work into it and I think it was a success! All the kids had a blast and thats all that matters.

My nephews birthday was this past weekend so Alex and I headed up to New York to celebrate. Other than that I have been teaching summer school and spending as much time as I can with my boys.

In the health arena everything is ok. I had an ultrasound the other day that revealed cyst on my ovaries but my oncologist believes they are benign and not anything to worry about. So we shall see. I am almost done being expanded on my right side which is the side that I had the expander removed from due to infection. Once I am fully expanded we can schedule my exchange surgery which I am excited about. I am guessing it will be sometime in early October.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I have a Toddler OMG!!

Today is Alex's first birthday and I can not figure out for the life of me where the time has gone. I can not believe it was a year ago I was being transferred to the hospital for an emergency delivery of my baby boy. I can not believe it was a year ago I was holding a tiny little itty bitty baby in my arms.

I love this boy with all my heart and I honestly owe my life to him. I feel had it not been for him and my need to be here for him I would not have been able to maintain myself when I found out I had cancer.

Here is a photo comparison of my baby boy THEN and NOW. I will post more pictures after his party on Saturday:




















Thursday, June 16, 2011

Catching Up

I am exhausted which has resulted in a lack of my internet life. Things are going well I am still recovering from surgery. This I thought was going to be the simplest of my surgeries but it has honestly been the most difficult to deal with so far. I have been in A LOT of pain and have not been able to bounce back like I am use to.

In Alex land things are great he is walking for the most part but still prefers to crawl when he is in a "rush" to get someplace. I am prepping to get ready for his first birthday we are having a small party. I invited the children from his daycare and my nephew and 2 of my coworkers with children. So there will be between 8-10 kids and we are having it at our pool.

I start graduate school in a few weeks and I am going to sign Alex and myself up for a mommy and me swim class for the summer. Other wise everything is good on my end.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I know I have been MIA

Life has been very hectic over the past few weeks and its only getting more hectic. I am having surgery Wednesday and start grad school on the 14th. There is just way too much going on. I am also in the process of planning a first birthday party and wrapping up my school year.

I will give a better update when I am confined to the bed for a few days.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

So much to do!

As the summer grows near we have tons to get done!

Alexs christening is in two weeks! He will be getting christened in the church we were married in on the day he turns 11 months. I am very excited about this as it should have happened months ago but because of all that has been happening we just havent had time to plan. So at almost a year he is finally getting christened.

I am then having surgery about a week and half after that on June 8th and then we have Alex's first birthday the weekend of the 4th.

I am also starting grad school and we are taking a family trip to South Carolina all in the same time spanned so we just have A LOT going on.

I have had an AMAZING year despite all that has happened. I am so happy right now and blessed with all that has come our way. My school year has been awesome and I am so excited to be moving up with my class next year so I will have the same kids for another year. I am also taking steps to start the process to become a principal so maybe in about 2 years I can say I am a principal!!

I should get the results of my genetic testing sometime this week. I am super nervous about that considering the fact that this could mean I will be having my ovaries removed. If it is positive the implication is that I have an extremely high risk of developing ovarian cancer. But all we can do is wait and see...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grad School!!

I applied to a few Masters programs because I would like to get a second Masters in Education. I got into my first choice!! I will be attending American University and will be getting a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Focusing on Education Policy. I am so excited!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

No more Chemo and a 10 Month old!!!

So this is an exciting post!!

I am officially done with Chemo HOORAY!! I can officially say I am cancer free and in a few months I can be officially done with this battle. I still have to under reconstructive surgery and a take and oral form of chemo but the biggest hurdle has been jumped. My hair has began to grow back so I am wearing it wrapped again. For awhile I was just walking around bald but now it just looks too crazy so until it shows some signs of normalcy I am going to keep it tied up.

In other news Alex is a 10 month old!!! OMG I can not believe how fast time has gone by. He will be 1 in 2 months and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. He is doing so much and I don't even know where to began. He is very independent and curious. He is also very silly. It is amazing how much of a personality he has. He really is the perfect combination of myself and Amir. I see so much of both of us in him. He is trying really hard to walk but still hasn't figured out the balance thing yet. He will
stand on his own for a few seconds and then lean forward. He can get around using his push toy or if someone is holding his hand.

He LOVES to eat. He is constantly looking for someone to share their food with him and he likes pretty much everything he has tried. We are also weaning off the bottle. I packed up all of his bottles the other day and he is strictly using sippy cups. He has not been too bothered by it so I decided to just go with it.

Here is a picture of Alex on Monday at the White House! My school took some students to the White House Easter Egg Roll and I took him with us.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

9 months Stats

OMG!!! I have a 9 month old! That means my baby is 75% through his first year of life and as he slowly portrays less of a baby and more of a toddler every day I notice I am not sure how much I like this growing up thing!! He is moving too fast!

So lets see where we are:
He is 17lbs even, 27 inches long my little man is tiny but umm so is his mommy....lol.

Food:
He is eating solids like a champ and has began eating more of what we eat and less purees (now that I have let go of my irrational fear of choking).
His favorite foods are:
cut up Bananas, cut up blueberries, sweat peas and yogurt. He will also drink water out of a cup we have not fully begin the weaning off a bottle process and probably will not until his formula intake lessons a little more. But we do plan to be off the bottle by a year. He has already self weaned off the pacifier which was a complete surprise.

Other Milestones:
He is cruising, crawling, sitting up, saying da da and ma ma, beginning to understand No and Yay! He also understands "come here" and will respond to his whole name "Alexander", his nickname "Alex" or the occasional first and middle name "Alexander Kelson" we have been alternating since birth so in hopes that he would not get confused lol. He will also respond to common pet names we may use for example I call him "stink" a lot. He is also standing on his for about 5 seconds. He loves to play games and is just such a fun baby!!! We are still waiting for him to start clapping and waving.

Separation/Stranger Anxiety:
He has this bad. I noticed over the last week he had been waking up at 2am didn't want a bottle or anything just wanted me or dad and he would instantly go back to sleep once he saw one of us. Pedi says this is a sign of separation anxiety and he is just waking to make sure he is still with us. She said it will go away in a few weeks. He also becomes super clingy when we are out and when people talk to him that he does not know.

After reading my friend Jins blog I was also inspired to create a list of my favorite things so far. So here are the top 7 from birth to now:

1. Fisher Price Little Lamb Swing- Alex loved this thing as an infant! Since he loved it I loved it. It was often a great way to settle him down on a particularly fussy day.

2. Moby Wrap/Ergo Carrier: I used our Moby A Lot until he was about 5 months now I use the Ergo. Both are great carriers and I use them almost daily for store runs or just moments when Alex simply wants to be held and I am trying to accomplish some other task.

3. Food Processor- I didn't get a baby food maker because I was not sure how much time I could commit to it but we have a great food processor my grandmother bought us. In the early baby food days it was great for purees. Now I use it a ton simply for everyday cooking needs.

4. Shopping Cart/Highchair cover- Alex is a teething machine and puts his mouth on everything! We have a cover we keep in the car and it has proven to be a life saver for moments Alex decides he wants to eat his cover or high chair.

5. Jumperoo-Alex still loves this thing and gets in it about 3 times week.

6. Sophie the Giraffe- we have a trillion teething toys but she is Alex's favorite and I actually had to replace it after I ruined the squeaker trying to sterilize it. I initially thought this was a ridiculously over priced toy but I could not imagine taking that thing from Alex we keep the broken one in the car and the good one in the house.

7. Evenflo Symphony 65- We switch Alex out of his infant seat about a month ago and I LOVE this seat. It received great ratings for safety, ease of use, and comfort. Alex loves being about to see out the window and I love how easy it is to install. I also love that it can be used RF, FF and as a high back booster. We received a lot of recommendations to go with Britax but I chose against it because this seat and the Evenflo triumph received similar if not better ratings in some places I looked and because we needed 2 seats because I always drop Alex at daycare and Amir often picks up I was not going to carry this seat in and out of daycare.

Things I hardly used...
A wipe warmer (I felt they dried out wipes, I usually just warm it in my hand a few seconds), The Extremely large Diaper Bag I own ( I love my Petunia Pickle Bottom bag a friend got me as a baby shower gift but, its huge. I use it mostly when we are going out of town for a few days. Other times I default to a tote coach bag that triples as a purse/diaper bag/ and work bag or I use Amirs smaller "manlier" diaper bag), a bottle warmer (Alex will drink bottles room temperature so I just keep bottled water out to mix formula. When he was still doing a night feeding I kept formula and water in our room.) Bottle sterilizer (I just use the medela microwave bags or go old school and boil).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Longest weekend EVER

So my step-grandmother died last week. It happened out of no where and its been pretty overwhelming. Like my step-mom this woman has been in my life forever and the word step is just a formality she is one of my grandparents. The funeral was Friday and because of a big meeting at work Amir was unable to attend with me so in true April fashion I over did it big time. I left Chemo, picked up Alex, grabbed my cousin and we drove to NY. I was exhausted when I got to NY and have pretty much been going since then. I just got home and I am beat. Not to mention emotionally drained from the weekend.

In other news...

Chemo is almost done! I have about 5 weeks left. We spoke with my oncologist about next steps and the plan is that I will take an oral form of chemo for 1.5 -2 years and then go off of it so we can try to have a second child. THEN I think we are calling it quits in the baby department.

We also decided to definitely get a new car. This trip to NY proved that my carolla is no longer big enough for me with Alex in tow so I am going to look a few small SUVs and crossovers this week. I hate car shoppping.... its one thing Amir and I always end up debating about lol so this should be interesting.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Family Pictures


We decided to go take a few pictures today. No real reason other than I had a coupon for The Picture People and we had no real plans for the day. We bought a few pictures had lunch and ran some errands.
































In other news.....

Not cursing is so hard! Needless to say I haven't quite made it a whole day without doing so but I am trying. The no meat and no soda I have been pretty successful at!

My Step-grandmother died today. I was really upset about it this morning but my day has kind of helped to keep me a bit grounded. I am just starting to feel like I can't catch a break. I am just looking forward to a good six month streak of no bad news.....

My step-mom has been in my life since I can remember. She is essentially the only mom I know because my mom died when I was so young. Needless to say her family is mine and I am very close to them. I am really sad and just hoping things calm down.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent

Today is the start of the lent season. I usually use this time to self reflect and start new. It is also an exciting time for me because I know the spring is near which is my favorite season!

I am giving up quite a bit for lent:

Soda (I have an addiction to coke, day one without it has been not so bad and I gave it up when I was pregnant and only recently started drinking it again. I think this will be easy to give up)

Meat (This is more so me taking an opportunity to get healthy and re-evaluate some of the things I eat especially because I should be eating a lot better considering my health.)

Cursing ( I curse like a sailor lol and I have failed miserably already today lol but I am working on it)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

I have been SOOO exhausted lately. Work has been very busy but super productive and I am really loving my job this year. I have so much to get done in the next week or so and I am just tired.

Alex on the other hand is doing great! He has become such a talker lately. We have "Da Da", "Ma Ma" and as of recently "Ba Ba" which I think is what his babysitter has been teaching him for bottle. I would much rather her say bottle but we will cross that bridge later. He is also cruising out of control!! He pulls up on everything and then goes for it. This literally happened over night. I took all his toys and created like a Play Corner for him in our living room. He has about 3 toys that he can pull up on to play with usually he plays with just one but the other day I noticed he pulled up and started playing with one and 2 seconds later he was on the other side playing with another. The babysitter says he does it all day with her as well.

We switched pediatricians recently and I am SO happy with the switch. My only regret is not doing it sooner. His old Pedi Dr. C was super nice but the office was chaos! We always waited an hour plus to be seen they closed at 3pm and the last time I had an emergency he took 6 hours to return my call. That was the straw that broke the camels back for me. By the time he called me back I had already taken Alex to urgent care. So we met with a few Pedis this past week and chose one Dr. T I love her! She is also a lot more thorough. She won me over when she and I discussed my going through chemo and she expressed she was so happy I shared that with her. The main reason being Alex can not receive any live vaccinations until I am done with Chemo it can be extremely dangerous to my health. Dr. C has known about my going through chemo and NEVER mentioned this to me. I know their priority is my child but UMMM yeah I need to be advised of any possible health risk to myself as well.

I also like her a lot because she is very holistic. She is is a breast feeding, healthy food pushing, alternative vaccination believing pedi. She is just what I wanted!

Any who here a few pictures of my love:











Saturday, February 19, 2011

Making some big decisions!!

So since I had Alex and then go sick I feel like my life has been on hold. I have been just getting by and doing what I can to make it through each day. Recently I decided that was not enough and that it was time to continue to move forward. So I made some HUGE choices for me in the past day.

The first choice is I will be applying to graduate school! I want a second Masters in Education Policy and its something I have wanted forever! That being said I have started the application process for 2 schools here in the area and I am taking the GRE in April, applications are due in June so this is a one shot deal for me I have to do well on this test.

The other choice that is a big one for me but not necessarily a major change is I am leaving the first grade. I love teaching but I hate teaching first grade. The reason I have stuck with it this long is because its what I know. I had a very long conversation with my principal yesterday about my future, my career goals, and just how I was feeling about my current place. First grade has been a great starting point for me but I want to teach older kids and the older Alex gets the less I want to teach the little ones. First graders are very clingy and needy and it's completely out of my element to deal with that on a consistent basis. I have done so this long because its my job and I have gotten use to it but it is not where I want to be.

So next year I will be teaching third grade. This is a huge deal because my ratings as a teacher will now be based on how well my students perform on a standardized test which is a huge weight added to my already heavy load. My principal promises me as much support as she can give and I am moving to a team of amazing teachers that will give me a huge amount of support. I am looking forward to this change.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I fell off my Horse

Not once but twice Wednesday. It wasn't really a big deal I hopped up immediately both times and jumped back on. But I am so feeling it today. My shoulders are killing me.

I was practicing some fence jumps, something I have done a trillion times and I kept shifting my weight forward instead of back. The result was every time the horse headed down in her landing I went flipping over her head.

Its definitely a lesson learned.

In other news I am going out with some coworkers tonight! Absolutely looking forward to a night out. Something I have not in ages!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crashing...

I don't know what's up with me lately but I am exhausted and overwhelmed. As a kid I was always the cry baby in the family and as an adult I kind of resented that and don't cry too often. I am pretty sure that's not good considering since having Alex and being diagnosed I can count on my fingers how many times I have really cried. Yesterday was definitely one of those days. I had big plans to get out the house early so I could get to work early and get some things done. I get all the way to work only to realize I had not taken a medication I absolutely needed to take prior to my treatment that afternoon. I was unable to get in touch with Amir so I had to leave work shortly after arriving and go ALL the way back home. When I got in the car I just lost it and I pretty much have been an emotional mess ever since. I hate feeling weak. I met with my oncologist yesterday and admitted that the combination of being a new mom, that works full time, while attempting to be a good and supporting wife, in addition to all this cancer crap is taking its toll on me. I am tired not only physically but mentally. I feel like my only peace of mind lately is riding...I love my horses and its one of the few times my mind is actually clear. In many ways it has replaced what ballet used to do for me.

I can't sleep...I spend half the night tossing and turning and the other half listening to the snores of Amir and Alex who tend to sleep so great. When I am sleep I can't cut off the stress of my life. I am dreaming about work or things that need to be done at home.

I don't know what to say except its 3:30am I have to be up in 2 and half hours and I don't see an end in sight. I think I am finally crashing. My oncologist told me to slow down and that no one is going to give me an award for being super woman. In fact she was just about ready to pull me out of work. The truth is I don't know how to slow down....One of my biggest stressors right now is I feel like I am not doing enough. I want to go back to school and get my PhD before Alex is school age. That seems virtually impossible now. I have all these plans and everything is on hold and I hate it. I function with list and deadlines and dates. I plan everything! The fact that I am feeling so out of control of my life right now is truly the reason I feel so spent. I need to find a way to stop, regroup, and get organized. Until then I really think I am going to only continue to feel like I am crashing.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

No time to sit down

Life has been so hectic for me lately I don't know where to begin. This is always a busy and stressful time for me at work. I do not know why but for some reason after Christmas I begin to really start to get anxious about the school year. I think its because we are not far from June and it is really important for me to make sure ALL my kids walk out my classroom on grade level even if they did not come in that way. That is extremely difficult in a neighborhood where only 13% of the children are performing at or above level. Considering how much I have been out I was very worried about my kids progress but we have made great strides! Needless to say work is keeping me busy. I am typically one to bring work home as opposed to working late at school but working late a lot in the recent weeks. Needless to say I have gone from seeing my baby boy at 4:30 every day to sometimes not until after 6 because Amir will pick him up on those days.

I met with my principal about a month ago and we decided that I will be moving up to second
grade next year with my students. This is such an awesome opportunity for all involved. Its great for the kids because they get some consistency. Its great for me because I will already know all of my students and can jump right into the school year. I am also looking forward to moving up to a higher grade.

It is amazing how different a place can feel with different leadership. Last year I was so unhappy and could not WAIT to get out of the building. I was looking high and low for a new job. Things did not work as planned and I returned to my old school but my old principal retired and I LOVE the new one. She is a breathe of fresh air.

Outside of work everything is going well. I have 12 Chemo treatments left which means I will be done with Chemo one week after my 27th birthday. Thats hoping that I don't have any set backs such as another infection that gets me admitted into the hospital or a drastic drop in my white blood count. After my last chemo treatment I have to wait a month and then I will go back into surgery to have the tissue expander replaced that was removed when I got sick a few months ago and had emergency surgery. I will then have that expander filled gradually which I am thinking will take about 3-6 weeks. Then I have to wait another 2 months and I can fin
ally have my expanders replaced with permanent implants. I am really excited about this I am looking forward to looking normal again (Currently I have lopsided boobs and have to stuff my bra). So I am thinking around the end of summer I will have boobs. I will then have a few minor in office procedures to reconstruct my nipples and tattoo them back to the right color.

As far as my hair I am told it will start to grow back as soon as I stop chemo so I am sure by late spring early summer it will have begun to grow back I am thinking I am going to keep it short and curly for awhile and I definitely decided that I am going to keep it natural for a few years. I had natural hair for about 4 or 5 years. I wore it usually in a big curly afro or had it straightened. I had it relaxed permanently right before my wedding. I know my hair stylist is going to insist that I relax it again so we shall see :-). I am just really excited for the Spring it really signifies new beginnings for me and I cant wait!

In terms of Alex he as always is doing amazing! He has a half crawl going on and we officially have baby proofed the house. He is also beginning to pull up on things now! His personality comes out more and more every day as well. It's so funny how much of Amir and I can be seen in him. Amir is so laid back and down to earth and so is Alex. I on the other hand am very feisty and lack patience Alex absolutely has my patience. He is 100% sleeping through the night in his crib. He has been doing this for some time but we definitely experienced a wakeful period around 6 months and he regressed for a moment to waking up 2 a night which was so hard because I was exhausted. He is eating a lot and we have started introducing a few finger foods here and there but he doesn't seem all that interested just yet so he is still eating tons of baby food. So far his favorite finger foods are pancakes. Here are a few new pictures.




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Alex!!!


My baby boy is getting so big and doing new things daily!! I think we wil have a crawler soon. He is pretty good at the army crawl and is all over the place these days. He has started rocking on his hands and knees but does realize the power of them yet. I love this boy soooo MUCH!
I had to find a new daycare provider because I was not happy at all with our first one. I LOVE the new daycare. This woman is amazing and so good with Alex. She does all I ask of her and I am not worried all day about what he is doing.

Here are a few pics of him from the past few days:






Sunday, January 9, 2011

Reverb Fail

I failed at reverb :-(

Not really I plan to catch up at some point but honestly I have been feeling so crappy lately! I am craving for my body back and a time when I just felt normal. I am sad at how much of Alex's infant stage I miss because I don't feel well. I am just not really feeling this cancer crap right now!!!