Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Posse

My dear friend Stephen gave me a book called "Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor". I have to admit I was apprehensive to read it at first but dug in on the plane ride home. It made me feel better and empowered. In the book she recommends surrounding yourself with your posse. If you are reading this you are definitely in my posse - a select group of people I have chosen to share this journey with and who I trust will lift me and my family up and encourage us every step of the way. I feel filled up with the love that comes from family. Sharing Christmas with both John's Mom and Alex and almost my entire family in Colorado was a much needed super boost that will carry me a long way. I also spent quality time with my dear friend Sally that has been my cheerleader since the second she found out. She and my family will cheer me on from afar and my amazing local friends will be stuck with some of the nitty gritty that I may not thank them for at the time but am thanking them now. God placed all of you in my life perfectly for this moment and I know it will bring us all closer and shed a different light on what is important in life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It is amazing what a good nights sleep will do for you. I woke up this morning feeling very positive - I mean very positive. I know completely that I am in God's hands and I am certain that he will take care of me and my family. I can already see how he has been working to get me to this point. I am the strongest I have ever been and completely ready for this fight. I almost equate it to those time when you feel the devil working his way into your life. When I have those moments I almost laugh because I know how strong I am with God on my side and he will never prevail. I feel the same for this cancer. It certainly does not define me. I am a strong person and this nasty little sneaky cancer has no chance against me. It has no clue what it got itself into. To say that I am not scared at all would be a lie but I don't have that overwhelming fear that I think debilitates people and hinders their fight. The battle is on and I am going to have a great time in Colorado, and celebrate Christmas with a whole different appreciation and come back and win.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day two

Met with the surgeon today. Think he is amazing. The answers are still not here and wont be for awhile. I am happy I get to see my family in Colorado for Christmas before this all begins. I am overwhelmingly exhausted (having a hard time standing) I am sure from all of the stress and only about an hour of sleep last night. John jokingly said I am feeling tired because I have cancer. That sounds so strange to me. I don't know what I would do without his sense of humor. It is times like these that I realize how much I love him. We "get" each other.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The first day

I am going to chronicle the events of this new chapter in my life so that I can get my feelings down and maybe keep some semblance of sanity throughout this.

The phone call came today at around 12:30. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was my doctors office. I quickly answered. She said "Hi is this Kristin?this is doctor Freeman's office" I said "yes". She said "we would like to make an appointment for you to come in this afternoon"....

That was when the blood left my body and my heart started beating hard - I have never felt that way before. I managed to get off of the phone but sat in my chair and broke down. Went in to tell John and broke down.

The details of the rest of the day are insignificant other than the moment I had to tell my children. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. Their sweet little faces seemed to be even younger than they already are. We all cried - the 4 of us.

I am going to do my best to be strong. I will use every bit of fight in me (and that is a lot). But I feel the shock to my body of the news right now. I have become very tuned into my physical body while teaching classes and I can observe things that are going on. The fast heartbeat does not go away. There is almost a tingling sensation all of the time (fear I am sure) and my body can't seem to regulate it's temperature. All symptoms of shock I am guessing. Up until this news I was feeling very good and healthy.

Sleep will not come easy tonight even though I am beyond exhausted.

Pray for me and my family.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Julia's corner

Julia brought this poem home from school the other day. They were suppose to write something that said what Christmas meant to them. She was the only one in the class who wrote a poem. This is completely unedited.

The Real Meaning of Christmas

As you try to fall asleep on Christmas night,
You wonder what presents might lie.
But why we get the presents you might want to know.
If so, sit back and enjoy the show.
It's about giving, sharing,
Joseph, Jesus and of course, Mary.
As they waited in the barn for their child,
They were cold out in the wild.
Out came Jesus into a cradle that sways
And that's only part of why we have Christmas Day.
It's for his birthday that we all care.
We have presents so that he can share.
We celebrate all of these days,
So we can live in God's way.
The true meaning of Christmas, it's not hard to do.
Just follow these steps and he will love you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Xmas cards

Children with freshly cut hair - new shirts - no camera......

I went to borrow John's camera to take pictures of the kids for our Christmas card (had an idea for a good one this year) and wouldn't you know - his broke in his hands when he was checking the battery for me. When it rains it pours I guess.

I am still waiting to win a bid I put in on eBay for a used camera (the auction was 7 days long) so I will find out tomorrow if I get it. By the time I get it here it will already be Christmas though. I guess we are looking at a new years card this year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I did it again.....

Once again I decided to wear my nice 4 1/2 inch heels to a party. John was of course mad because I became 6'2" but they looked so nice with my dress. The party was way too much fun and I danced the night away in these things. This was Saturday night. It is now Monday and I STILL can not feel several of my toes on both feet (see illustration). I think the government should use these as torture devices. I can't imagine a man who would not be brought to his knees begging for mercy if he was forced to dance in these things.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I have been bidding on several items lately and can't seem to win anything. One of them is a used camera identical to the one that just broke. It amazes me that this nice camera was given to me for my birthday several years ago and was over $200. It was a great camera at the time with 5.0 mega pixels. Now with newer cameras that are more than double that my camera on eBay is going for around $50 (less than it would be to actually have it fixed). I have been perfectly happy with my camera and can still use the battery, memory card and case. The problem is that I believe there is a way on eBay to bid at the very last second in order to win (without actually doing it - eBay does it for you). I don't know how to do this but every time I get close to winning something a final bid comes in with only 10 seconds left that just beats me. This must be how people are making money on eBay - buying and then turning it around to sell it again. I am also trying to win a gift for Jack for Christmas and time is running out. This item is selling it stores for much more than they are going for of eBay. Maybe I need to take an eBay class and become more eBay savvy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Great people!

We had a super fun company party at our house last night. I spent the better part of the day putting up decorations and cleaning because earlier in the week I was at the doctor with Julia and then Jack (they are both doing better now). The house ended up looking great even though we decided not to get a Christmas tree (since we are going to Colorado) and I did some unique decorating. We all played Rockband, roasted marshmallows outside on the fire pit and had a gift exchange. Our last guests left at 1:30am so I think that is a good indication that the party was a hit. Unfortunately someone picked up my camera and started taking pictures and dropped it. I had some good shots but my camera in now completely broken :( Jack is asking for one from Santa this year so maybe I will be borrowing his if he gets one. I now realize how much I actually use it.

On another note, Julia had her first voice lesson yesterday. She is so completely excited and her teacher is fantastic! I didn't actually meet her but John did and she learned so much in the short half hour. We were having second thoughts about it because it is a bit pricey but now we know it is worth every penny to see the smile on that little girls face.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


When did my kids stop calling me Mommy and start calling me Mom? I don't like it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving - in short

Excellent dinner with great family and friends sitting outside on a beautiful winter day - 80 degrees.
John receiving his first "car bib". Yes, car bib.
Gorgeous drive home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

A celebration of what we have - in love, in friendship, in camaraderie. A moment to forget about the items, the things, the wants - and be happy with what is real. For me, all that is real, was given to me. Sometimes because I asked for it, sometimes out of love and sometimes (most times) when I did not deserve it. All that was given to me, all that is real, has come from God. So, today I give thanks to Him. For my family, my friends and my acquaintances. My health, my safety and my faith.

Today I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are filled not with turkey and gravy but with peace and love in what you have.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sister Laura

Yesterday was my Sister Laura's birthday. I vividly remember the day she was born. 3 of my siblings were born at home but Laura's birth is most memorable to me. My mother had hired a midwife and as she labored upstairs the rest of us kids watched Dr. Doolittle on TV downstairs. She started labor in the early afternoon and Laura was born that evening. When the time came we all went upstairs and watched. I remember it being a little frantic because the cord was wrapped around her neck but the midwife was able to correct that quickly. The lights were bright and the mood was so happy! My mother looked like this was something she did everyday. After the cord was cut and Laura was cleaned up a bit we were all allowed to hold her. She was beautiful. My mom was able to get dressed and come downstairs for pizza and we celebrated Laura's first birthday.

Laura is now 29 and just this year was married. She has accomplished so much in her life and has also been through some major trauma. I hope this year is the beginning of a calm and peaceful chapter for her where she can continue to grow. Happy Birthday Laura! I love you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crazy Weekend

As a spur of the moment decision John and I went down to Ventura Friday night to meet his surfing buddy from Costa Rica and his wife. The kids both happened to have overnights planned and John's friend Joe really wanted to see him. It was a short trip but ended up being really fun. I was very reluctant to go because I knew that I would be hanging out with Joe's wife Holly the whole time while the boys surfed and I had never even met her. Turns out she was really fun and reminded me a lot of my good friend Sally. She was tall (as tall as me) and loved to eat and laugh (my kind of girl). We had great mexican food and this strange restaurant that had Elvis pictures all over the walls and bras hanging from the ceiling. The drive back home was one of the most beautiful I have been on. The sun was just right and the grapevines were full of color - everything looked crisp and right out of a movie.

Sunday our neighbor from across the street brought some tri-tip steak over so John fired up the bbq and invited a few more neighbors over. People kept bringing wine and we kept drinking it. 5 hours and 9 bottles of wine later we were all ready to call it a night. Let me tell you, getting up at 5am this morning to teach a class was not very fun. Hope your weekend was good!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Future

will most likely include two of these bad boys. Isn't that a nice bit of info for my 40th year. Doc says probably in the next 5 years or so. I have low tone hearing loss that is probably genetic. So ya'll better start learning sign language because I am not sure how I feel about wearing these things. The good news though is that I can always claim I didn't hear something and go ahead and do whatever the heck I want ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Book

The book John made me for my birthday of my blog came in the mail and it is SO cool! A nice hard backed book and the pages inside look great. Next time you are at my house you will have to leaf through it! Thanks John!

They might be getting a little old for the pumpkin patch but I don't care. I love the pics I take of them every year as they grow up. I wish I could hold them at this age a bit longer. I am loving it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Julia's birthday

We spent the last week celebrating Julia's ninth birthday! She wasn't feeling that great but managed to have a good time anyway. We took a mini trip down to San Diego and stayed at a nice hotel that had wonderful waterslides. The kids spent a whole day going around and around and I sat on a beach chair with towels covering me ( it was freezing ) and watched them. We drove over to see the house we lived in when she was born. She was thrilled to get the one gift she really, really wanted. An ipod. Yes this nine year old girl got an ipod - we were not going to do it but considering that she loves music more than anything else in the world we thought this time it would be OK.

Julia, you are growing into such a wonderful young lady. I can't believe how quickly you are growing up. I love watching you as your mind grows and your creativity thrives. Keep reaching for what you love and make all of your dreams come true little girl. You will always be my baby. I love you! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Here we go again

I picked up Julia from school early today. Fever, runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat. Her birthday is in 2 days and she has not been healthy on her birthday in probably 5 years. Keep her in your prayers.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Good times!

Praying Mantis
Jack in the Box - Jack


Martha Stewart and Bob

Edward and Bella from Twilight
Mary Kate and Ashley

Zoolander and Edward

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I received some amazing gifts for my birthday which I am blown away with. Everyone is so generous! John made me cry by spending weeks and weeks editing and compiling my blog over the last year into a published book. I can't wait to see the actual book (I had to see it online because John waited to get the last entry in there). I received beautiful clothes and amazing gift certificates and things for my home. From my Dad and his wife I received this amazing flower arrangement. I prefer to give gifts over receiving them but I am so thankful to everyone!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Glass half full

Today I am thinking about starting the second act of my life. After a long climb up, I am now cruising down the other side of that hill and boy is the view amazing! Isn't the second act of the play where all of the drama happens? The first act is when you build up the characters and the second act is when you see what happens to them. The best part is that usually there is a happy ending. Today I see my glass as half full. You know the last bit if red wine that has been absorbing all of that oxygen tastes the best!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Entry

I am leaving you with this. John passed it onto me and I simply don't have much to add to it. Thank you for taking this journey with me over the past year.

Old Farmer's Advice:

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life.. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Looking back on this year and the last 40 years I really have no regrets. Every turn showed me something new and took me to a new place to grow. I really feel there are no mistakes in life only moments that teach us more than others. Regret only seems to breed more regret and that leaves you nothing of value. Every hiccup along the way has brought me to where I am today - happy, blessed, and surrounded by people I love. If I get hit by a truck tomorrow I will have died a truly happy person.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Brothers and Sisters

I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if my parents didn't have all 8 of us children. I can't imagine it at all. I am suppose to have these seven siblings. We are all very different in many ways and quite similar in others. The interesting thing is that I find a different connection with each one and at different times in my life. Sometimes I wonder how I fit into their lives. I used to take on the "eldest" roll but not so much anymore. After having my own children and realizing that I really don't know much about anything I relinquished my roll. It fascinates me to watch them all grow and see where their lives and decisions take them. When I was young we were one big clan. Everyone did everything together. Now our relationships have become more individual. I love all of them and I am so thankful that God gave me so many to love.

Friday, October 23, 2009


When I was little I remember having quite an imagination. I had imaginary friends and pets and in my little world they were very real to me. Our biggest toy growing up in the mountains of Colorado was our own imagination. We would go outside to a group of big rocks and create a story. We used rocks and sticks and flowers for all sorts of things. The trees were our house and we made brooms out of pine branches. We never cared what we were wearing and in fact often wore as little as possible because we enjoyed the freedom. Most of my memories take place outside or lying in bed talking for hours to my sisters. The property we lived on had fields of wild flower and to this day I have never seen a field like that before.

Even though my children don't live in the mountains and most of the time wear clothes I still see that amazing creativity in their minds. I don't think it matters where you are or what is around you. When you are a child the whole world can be exciting - even if it is a mud pit in the back yard.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Defining Life moments

Our lives are marked with these significant moments. These moments when our path decides to go another direction.

My first would have to be moving to Hawaii. My first time away from home - living on my own. My first encounter with my future husband. Had I not moved to Hawaii things would be completely different. I remember making that choice. It was not easy. I wasn't sure if I should leave my family with my mother so sick. In the end I am glad I made the choice I did and I would do it again.

My second would have to be my Mom dying. This significantly changed how I viewed the world. This was a moment that was decided for me - there was no choice in it happening. The choice came when I had to decide how I was going to deal with it. A lot of who I am today is a result of this event and my reaction to it. Had she not been sick and died life would most definitely be different.

My third would be having Jack. The whole world of being pregnant, giving birth and suddenly being responsible for another human was very life changing. The love I felt for this little boy overwhelmed me.

And my final life changing event so far would be Julia but for different reasons. I was already used to the idea of pregnancy, birth and responsibility but Julia brought new circumstances and a new and different love I had never felt before.

I have moved often and changed jobs. I have had many different friends and trips but I wouldn't classify them as life changing in the biggest sense of the word. I can't really say that my faith was life changing as an event because it was and still is growing and changing every day. My faith is my life. I wonder how many more of these large moments I will have. 4 over 40 years is not that many.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A place in Heaven

I have to write about this. As I wrote before my sister Heidi took a bad fall on her bike and severely broke her arm. She had to wait over a week before she could have surgery. She is unable to move, work, shower - pretty much everything - and she is in a lot of pain. Now, my sister Emily is a very busy, working, single mother. She has been taking off work to help Heidi. She acquired a bed for her and delivered it. She helped make phone calls to the insurance company, she dusted and cleaned Heidi's entire house and bought a vacuum for her. Today she left for work at 6am. After work she ran an errand and picked up Myrah. She dropped Myrah at home before heading back to work for a meeting. After the meeting she went to 3 stores to pick things up for Heidi and went to her house and helped her shower (a huge feat because she can not get the dressing wet). Emily had left the house at 6am and didn't get home until after 10:30. Heidi was having a really hard day - sitting at home doing nothing and being in pain with nobody to talk to or comfort her and Emily came to her rescue. I am sure Heidi was so grateful. Of everyone I know Emily has the least amount of time, energy and money to be doing this and yet she did. She has certainly reserved her spot in heaven. How many times do we look the other way or make excuses because we are busy and have our own needs to take care of. Emily is an inspiration and an example. I have learned a lot from her today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


For most of my life I have tried to achieve perfection in some area or another. I would spend endless amounts of wasted time comparing myself to others and never measuring up. For the most part I tried to achieve this perfection in things that didn't really matter. I would try and let other peoples perception of me be tainted in some way. I was dishonest. I always wanted to have the nicest house or be in the best shape, have the nicest singing voice or the perfect wardrobe and when I didn't I would put the magic curtain up and hope nobody would notice that I wasn't perfect. This is my Achilles heel. I will always struggle with these things but here it is - written down for all to see. I am not perfect. I am messy and unorganized. I spend too much money on silly things like clothes and makeup. Singing is not my forte no matter how hard I try and eventually this body will look like an old handbag. I have doubts and lack confidence often. I struggle even more in things that really matter. I am not the first person to volunteer. I am not always thinking about how to help other people. Sometimes I just don't want to hear about how John's day was and a common comment to my children is "uh huh" when I am not listening. Sometimes at night when I am praying I start to think about the next days choreography (oops, sorry God). This is not to say that I don't try. I do try every day to be a better person but the human-ness in me comes out. Why are humans the only beings unsatisfied with themselves? Animals seem to be perfectly content with who they are even if they are not content with their surroundings. God made us this way. I think we must need to learn to love ourselves along with the love we have for others in order to truly be with God. There is a prayer we say at mass every Sunday where we ask for forgiveness for "the things I have done and the things I have failed to do". The "failed to do" part gets me every time. I think the answer to almost any question is Love. So I will try and love myself, love others and love God and I pray that this is enough. So, if you find me someday talking to you on the phone and a standard "uh huh" comes out of my mouth. Please forgive me. I am working on it. I am working on what God wants me to be.

Monday, October 19, 2009


A week from tomorrow is my birthday at which point I will be forced to re-name my blog. I still intend to blog but not on a daily basis. I am reserving this final week for reflection on the past year and the past 40 years. If there is anything I want people to walk away with from reading this blog is that they are loved. If you know me you are loved. I love everyone I surround myself with and see unique and irreplaceable qualities in every person God leads me to meet. I may not see you everyday or even speak to you every week but you have made an impact in my life that has made me the person I am and I am better for it. I hope I can in some small way help all of you along this road of life because you have all helped me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yes, another party.

Today we are celebrating these birthdays at Mary's house.

Mine (I am over it already)

A very large gathering with a lot of fun people. Happy Birthday everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Crazy hot weather today - over 90 in San Luis! John is taking the kids camping and they are so excited. I wore a tank top and shorts today and it is going to be nice outside even after the sun sets. I am sure it will be short lived but I am enjoying it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today my sister Heidi had her arm put back together again. This is what they had to do - yikes!!! She was a trooper and the docs can't believe how she is handling the pain. I wish her a quick and full recovery and look forward to the day I get to arm wrestle this bionic arm!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jenny and Nonno #2

Today is my next sister in lines birthday - Jennifer. Growing up we were best friends enjoying the great outdoors for hours and hours. We could find something to do no matter what with our imagination. I have many wonderful memories of her and I wandering the hills of wild flowers around our house and playing tag. Jennifer has had a hard life and we have grown apart a bit. I want her to know how much I love her and want only the best for her. I want her to feel safe and secure and happy and loved and healthy. Even though we don't talk that often I think of her always. Happy birthday Jennifer - I love you!

Alex is Nonno #1 (Grandpa in Italian) and his brother is Nonno #2 to our children. Today is Nonno #2s birthday - he also goes by Leonard and Dino. This man is the energizer bunny as his daughter puts it. He just keeps going and going. He turns 87 today. He is always good for a laugh and has an opinion about everything. We enjoy having him in our lives even though we don't get to see him as often as we used to. Happy Birthday Leonard! Keep on ticking!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Today begins a whole slew of birthdays that are bunched up together - so many that I don't know if I can write about all of them but here are a couple that are today.

Alex - Alex is Adele's husband. He has three children of his own and 5 grandchildren. He is a combination of old school charm, New York (brutal) honesty and Italian pride. He literally swept Adele off of her feet with his smooth dance moves, flattery and baby blue eyes. He is an amazing chef and he wont let you forget it (nor do we want to). He has won us all over with the love he pours into his food. I have to say that Alex seems to have mellowed with age - like a fine wine. I think he is happy to just enjoy life these days. I wont tell you how old he is because you wouldn't believe me. He is very healthy and full of energy. I am happy to have him in my life and happy Adele and Alex have each other for support, love and good times. Happy Birthday Alex!

Missy - Sweet Missy is 18. I can not believe it! When we moved up here and got to know her she was on her scooter in the front yard and only 10 (younger than Jack is now). She has grown into a beautiful young woman. So much has happened in the last few years in her life and she has handled it with grace. She is extremely smart and talented. She has a sense of humor that keeps her afloat when the going gets tough. She is a huge support to her family and we all love being around her. She is a senior this year and working hard in AP classes as she prepares for the next chapter in her life. I am sure she has big things in her future and bright prospects. Happy Birthday Missy!

Monday, October 12, 2009


My friends Stephen and Todd had to put their dog down today. We had a long discussion as to why we get so incredibly upset and grieve so much over an animal - almost more than some humans. We decided that it is because these animals live with us every day. They make us smile every day. They are in our care and it is our responsibility to take care of them. They have unconditional love for us. John said it is good that our pets don't outlive us because who would take care of them then? I am sad for my friends as I know what an incredible loss it is to lose a pet.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Last night I got home around 1:30 am - yes I know. The bad thing is that I actually didn't fall asleep until close to 4. Mind racing, coughing, over exhaustion. Therefore, I have slept all day. I did not get dressed until close to 1pm and took several naps throughout the day. I am NOT 19 anymore and my body has no problem reminding me of that fact.

Saturday, October 10, 2009