Thursday, June 30, 2011

A bit of motivation

Do you ever get tired of your clothes?  I imagine most girls go through this at some point.  I just stand in my closet (which is full of stuff) and just don't have anything to wear.  I find I wear the same old stuff every day and I'm getting annoyed with it.  Most days I'm in my PJs til lunch time (the luxury of working from home).  When I finally get dressed, its usually just some bummy shorts and a tee (if I have no where to go other than the grocery store or tanning bed).  Even when I do have somewhere to go, my attire barely improves...I put on khakis/jean shorts and a rather plain cotton shirt.  I look put together but its nothing fabulous.  I'm sick of it! 

So, I am vowing not to buy anymore of the same crap I have.  I want to add some skirts, sundresses, cute shorts and nicer tops to my attire for this summer!  I demand a change!  However, this means I have to go spend some money.  I'll suck it up and do it because I need to.  Some gals just always look so cute and put together - I want to be one of them :)  I want to add some style to my life.  So my fashionista friends - help a girl out!

My sudden annoyance with the status quo has provided some motivation to work on the house too.  We moved in December and I still haven't finished some rooms.  My living room is missing a picture (or 2) to go above the couch as well as an accent chair.  Then, my kitchen has a big blank wall that I need to fill with something...but not sure what.  I'll at least feel a bit more satisfied when I get these main rooms done.  Then, I can worry about the master bedroom and guestroom, plus some blank walls in the hallway.  I have motivation - now I just need to figure out what the heck I want and buy it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I've turned into a Bookworm!

I've been reading like a mad woman lately - don't really know why.  I adore my kindle and I find myself reading faster - if that's possible.  I read a whole book yesterday?!?!  Don't know how many pages it was since the kindle doesn't tell you that, but I think it was a smaller book anyway.

It was Todd Burpo's Heaven is for Real and I loved it.  Its a true story of a little boy that becomes gravely ill and he says he went to Heaven.  The boy is only 3 at the time of his illness, so the things he describes about Heaven are remarkable and things he would not have known on his own.  It definitely makes you think about what happens when we die.  It reassured me that I will one day see my loved ones that have gone before me.  Its a great motivational read that a friend suggested for me - thanks Allison!! I highly suggest it as well :)

Another book I've read is Sara Gruen's Ape House: A Novel.  She is the author of Water for Elephants, so I was very excited to dive into this book.  It tells the story of some Bonobos that are in captivity but can communicate through sign language & lexigrams.  I've always had a thing for apes & monkeys.  When I was little, every project or report I had to do in school - I would pick some type of primate to research.  No lie, I know I had over a hundred stuffed animals that were monkeys/apes.  So, I was very intrigued to read a story about an animal I love.  Its a sad and happy story that tells of a Bonobo family and the researchers/scientists that care for them.

Also recently, I've read my first David Baldacci book titled One Summer.  Another great read!  Not sure if all his books are this way, but it was a very inspiring book about a man faced with an illness and the trials and tribulations he encounters after his wife passes away unexpectedly in an accident.  He and his children have to learn to survive without their wife/mother - there are custody battles, new love and hope for a family dealing with loss.

Last, I read Ann Brashares' Sisterhood Everlasting: A Novel.  It is the final chapter of the girls in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants...which I did not read, but saw the movies.  It embodies a twist of fate as the girls have reached adulthood and secrets are revealed.  This book made me want to go back and read all the other Sisterhood books, but I haven't done that yet...perhaps I will :)

Want to know a cool fact - I read all of these without having to recharge my kindle!  I'm still on the first charge from when I got it.  It lasts forever!!

I was stoked to see that Amazon is offering thousands of books for free - and they are the classics!  I read numerous books in middle/high school, like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice & My Antonia, but it was only because I had too.  I've gained an appreciation for these types of books as I've gotten older.  So, I grabbed some of the books I missed out on for free:  The Scarlett Letter, Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and The Gift of the Magi.  If you want to pick some of these up, I suggest you do it quickly - don't know when the offer ends. 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Every breath I take is a blessing

A fellow CF blogger posted a link the other day which tells the story of a little boy with CF who lost his fight at only 7 years old.  The post is the mother's story of her son's last day.  It is truly heartbreaking to read her words of his final struggle.

I find myself beyond fortunate.  I am one of the lucky CF patients that lives a rather normal life.  People may look at me and think that CF isn't that bad, however, I'm not the majority.  A lot of patients have a very hard life and struggle daily just to breathe.  This disease takes the lives of so many and at such young ages.

I'm simply out of words as Connor's story says enough.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Until We Meet Again

Sadly, a few milestones (for lack of a better word) have occurred this week, that leaves me a bit sad and searching.  A few days ago, I wrote about the one month anniversary of losing Sophie.  And then, yesterday was the one year anniversary of losing my Grandmother.  Coincidentally, I was at Hilton Head Island this weekend, just as I was the weekend we lost Gram last year.  I'm one of those people that measures everything by time - so I remember the hour and minute of the day when something significant (good or bad) happens.  Perhaps it creepy and weird (Will thinks so), but its what I do.  I woke up yesterday thinking that a year ago at that time, my Gram was around and none of us knew that she would pass away that evening.    Then, all day I monitored my watch as the time ticked away to that moment I spoke with Gram for the last time as she was in the hospital, then to that moment when my dad called to tell me she was gone. 

Today, my heart still breaks thinking that she isn't here.  There are so many things I want to tell her and ask her...she gave the best advice.  Is it selfish to want her here still?  Is it selfish to wish my other grandparents were still alive too?  Why do we have to lose the people we love?  I was listening to Taylor Swift on the way back from the grocery store today and in one song, her lyrics say:  "I just realized that everything I have is someday gonna be gone."

Its pretty sad to think about that.  Growing up, I remember thinking that I can't wait to be a grown up.  Well, now I'm thinking I don't want to grow up - can't we go back to when I was young and didn't have a care in the world?  Growing up means everyone else grows up and gets older too.  Time ticks by and then eventually time runs out.  None of us know when that time will be for us, so I want to make the best of what I have and cherish every moment I have with those I love.  Although, I'm not ready for my time to be up yet, I look forward to seeing my lost loved ones again someday.

Love you Gram!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thunderstorm Alley

I swear we live in Thunderstorm Alley!  We've lived in our house 6 months now and we have had more severe storms in that time frame then we did the 4 1/2 years at our old house.  Just the night before last, all of a sudden there is crazy lightening and thunder galore.  It creeps me out!

Then, just a bit ago, Will & I walked out to get the mail & the sky was all grey.  Before we even got back in the house, the wind started gusting & lightening was everywhere.  Now, its pouring...

Had I known about this crazy weather before we moved, I might have reconsidered.  Thankfully, our house is all brick and mighty sturdy...our old house might have blown away already :)

Anyway, have a happy weekend!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June Trips

So, June has been a busy month so far.  We started off with our trip to Vegas (which I wrote about previously), then the following weekend we went to Savannah with some friends to celebrate another birthday - Bryan turned 30!  We walked along River Street a few times, making sure to stop in both candy shops each time (yummy) and then we took a cooking class which was very fun.  It had 3 main courses (it was a backyard BBQ theme):  BBQ salmon; BBQ ribs & BBQ sausage with potatoe salad and baked beans; then BBQ chicken with cole slaw and fresh green beans; and for dessert - watermelon.  Needless to say, it felt like we were going to explode when we left!

On River Street

With Chef Joe Randall
  
Whitney & Me
 I finished my Cayston the Saturday morning when we were in Savannah.  It was strange as I experienced some chest tightness/discomfort Friday night.  I think it was due to not using the Ventolin beforehand on my Friday treatments.  I admit it, I got lazy and figured it would be OK to skip it...guess I was wrong.  I actually was up most of the night Friday because it hurt to take a deep breath.  Lesson learned:  take a puff of Ventolin EVERY time!!

Then this past weekend, we were in Pittsburgh for Father's Day.  Also, we went to the Taylor Swift concert which was fabulous.  Although, it did make me feel old that I was at a concert and the performer was younger than me - crazy!
 
The gals

Me with my dad & sisters
 



Also, my dad's gang just got a new Great Dane puppy - Winnie...isn't she adorable!  She's gonna be HUGE!

Only 12 weeks old here
Unfortunately with all our traveling, I haven't been able to ride my bike in what feels like forever!  I think its been about 5 weeks.  Shame, shame.  However, I'm still making Zumba at least once a week thankfully.  I wanted to get a bike ride in the morning, but overslept.  Oh well!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Slowly Healing

Its crazy to believe that today is a month that Sophie has been gone.  Fortunately, we've done a good bit of traveling which has kept us out of the house every weekend since she passed.  I won't lie, I still look around for her sometimes and think I hear her.  Will woke me up the other night because I was snoring (which I never do) and said I sounded like Sophie and I needed to roll over.  It brings a smile to my face when little things happen that remind me of her.

Happily, we are slowly healing and prepping our hearts to find some more bulldog love.  Just yesterday, I contacted a couple breeders to see if they had any litters that would be ready for homes around August/September.  (We are fortunate to know some folks with bulldogs that referred us - definitely won't go to Sophie's breeder - they are complete scum buckets!!  Not even worth my time to tell about them.)  So, anyway.  There is a litter that is due in the next week and a half in Delaware.  Don't know if we will get one, but it at least brings some joy to me knowing that I feel I can love another pup.

Not to sound horrible, but the house is much easier to keep clean without a bulldog and all the messes they make (hair, drool, scratched hard wood floors).  But, all the joy & love they bring, its well worth it.

Hope my sweet girl is resting comfortably in doggy heaven just as she always did at home...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Daddy's Day

I was so excited that we were in Pittsburgh this past weekend because I was able to celebrate Father's Day with my dad!!  Its probably been at least 12 years since I was with him on Father's Day (I haven't lived with him since 2nd grade).  My brother and I used to spend every summer with him, but then I became a teenager and got a summer job, so the luxury of visiting for longer than a week went away.  Then, college started and I was consumed with that life and worked all summer as well.  Next thing you know, I'm married and am an adult...how did this happen?!?!

I always considered myself a daddy's girl growing up.  Whatever he thought was cool - I thought it was too.  Heck, this went as far as liking Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy, Breaky Heart" a million years ago - haha!  Now, I still think he walks on water.  The only bummer is, I don't get to see him nearly as much as I'd like...it rather sucks living in South Carolina when he is in New Jersey.  But, we make the best out of it and I'm super excited that we get to spend a week at the beach with him, my stepmom & sisters in July! 

Here are some pics of one of my favorite moments with my dad - my wedding day: 


He and I went to breakfast that morning, just us!  It was like the good old days - we used to have a daddy/daughter date night every summer where I got to pick somewhere to eat and then drag him to a movie (like Pocahontas...lol).  After breakfast, he taught me how to play roulette (Will & I got married in Vegas).  Its still my favorite game to play at a casino.  We played for a few hours & just got in some quality time...then, I went to get ready for the wedding.  My only regret was that we didn't have our father/daughter dance at the reception (since we didn't have a dj).  But, he made my day very special & I love him more than he knows!

My stepdad came into my life when I was about 10.  I won't lie, I hated him.  Really!  I threw stuff at him and was a straight up brat when he started dating my mom.  It wasn't because he was mean to me or a bad guy...he just wasn't my daddy.  However, I actually grew to love him dearly and can't imagine how I would have turned out without him.  He accepted both my brother and myself as his own.  I'm truly grateful to have him in my life!
At Great Strides this year
Then, there is my father-in-law who has to be one of the kindest men I have ever known.  From the moment Will & I started dating, he welcomed me into the family.  There is nothing he wouldn't do to help those he loves.  He is a strong, loving man who I am bless to know and have in my life.

As you can see - I am surrounded by some awesome men.  They are smart, strong, dependable and loving.  Will is also an amazing man and was a great dad to Sophie.  I hate to admit it, but I think she liked him more than me sometimes.  Should Will and I decide to have two-legged children one day, I know he too will be an amazing father.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Welcome to the Kindle World

I'm super excited that I got a Kindle for my birthday!!  I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I just know I'm going to love it once I get adjusted.


I've actually been wanting one for a while now, but I've been too big of a chicken to buy one.  I've been afraid to leave the paper world behind and fully convert to electronic reading.  For one, I'm rather odd and like to judge how much I've read with my bookmark.  I feel so proud when I have a big, fat book and I've read over half of it.  Granted, I don't read super fat books too often - they rather intimidate me.  But its a sense of accomplishment looking at where your bookmark is.  Another hesistation is that I can be clumsy sometimes and I'm afraid I might drop it or sit on it or God knows what else could happen to break it. 

However, I'm beyond excited that I can have tons of books with me on this little device.  No more packing up 2 - 3 books when I go on trips - just bring the Kindle and I can have tons!  Although, I'm a read one at a time kind of person its nice to have some ready to go.  Plus, it has Wi-Fi, so I can download new books as long as I have Wi-Fi access.  I hate having to plug things into my computer to sync - this is fabulous!

I've already started reading a book and its very easy to read on.  The lightness & thinness are an adjustment, but for the good.  With a simple click, I can turn the page or skip between chapters.  There are so many features, I'm still trying to learn them.  As of now, I simply know how to buy a book & read it.

One dislike I have about the Kindle is the screensaver.  I wish I could put my own on it instead of the random ugly picture they put up.  If someone knows a secret, let me know!!  Right now, there is this hideous pic of Emily Dickinson - eek.  And it doesn't go away, its always there.  I thought it might eventually turn itself off, but nope - it just stays there, staring at me.  First accessory is going to be a cover - so it protects the Kindle from me and then protects me from the horrible pics.

I'm excited for our car ride to Pittsburgh & back this weekend - lots of time to read!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Proof

Here it is - my proof that I met Tim McGraw along with my friend Amanda :) 
Don't we look happy!!



Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

My 28th birthday was last week, so Will decided to take me to Vegas to celebrate.  Actually, we got concert tickets to Tim McGraw which just happened to be the day after my birthday, so I claimed the trip as my birthday trip. 
Cheers - on our flight to Vegas!
We flew out Sunday afternoon and made it to Vegas in time to relax a bit, play some craps and get dressed for dinner.  We went to SW Steakhouse at the Wynn - YUMMY!  I'd say the best meal of the trip.  Will had HUGE crab legs and I had a scrumptious steak plus a fabulous dessert - red velvet cake :)


Then, on Monday we got to sleep in a bit and Will surprised me with a massage, manicure & pedicure!  Talk about spoiled.  I love massages but they make me worthless.  Somehow I mustered up the strength to go shopping at Caesars.  Will spoiled me a bit more by letting me go crazy shopping!

Tuesday was relaxing, we got a cabana and sat by the pool & our friends Amanda and Arron came to hang out.  It was a coincidence that we were there at the same time!


Tuesday night, Amanda & Arron joined us for dinner and the Tim McGraw concert.  Will surprise me and got Amanda and I meet and greet passes for Tim!! Yay! No cameras or autographs allowed :(  They took a pic of us with him and are going to post it on Facebook - needless to say, I'm stalking the page for when they post it & will share!

At Dinner




Concert

We flew back home on Wednesday morning & of course with the time change, it practically took all day to get home.  I was completely worthless on Thursday at work - my mind was still in Vegas.  I had a great trip and am so thankful to have been able to celebrate with Will and some great friends!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

CF Appointment & Genetic Testing

I had my quarterly CF appointment on Friday and it went great.  Although, it took forever! Thankfully, I went by myself or Will would have been going nuts in the little room.  My PFTs went up (from a 101%) to a 103% - woohoo!!  Very excited - I think its a combo of the Cayston and my exercising!  I even lost 7 pounds since March, which makes me even happier!!  Have no fear, my BMI is still where it needs to be - just had to shed that winter coat I put on.

Everything else checked out fine and I go back in September to be tortured - PFTs, Chest X-ray, bone density & annual blood work.  SO NOT looking forward to that.  I might as well plan on being gone all day.  Now, I just have to find someone to trick into going with me.  I get bored by myself in the hospital waiting rooms all day so its much better with someone there (although I can't imagine they enjoy it).

You may recall I mentioned the thought of having Will tested for the CF gene.  We started this process in April by having his blood drawn, then it was sent off to Emory in Atlanta.  We skipped the pairing procedure and went straight into sequencing which detects about 99% of mutations.  We heard back from the geneticist on Tuesday and Will is NOT a carrier!!  There is another option to do further testing - deletion/duplication testing, which I don't believe we are going to move ahead with as there is less than a 1% chance that they would find a mutation.

We are not planning anything right now!! Its just nice to know and have that as an option should we wish to have kids in the future - or if there is an accident :) HEHE

Will and I were in Vegas Sunday through yesterday celebrating my birthday!! My internal clock is still messed up from the time change, so I'm moving rather slow today.  I'll be sure to post some pics and tell about our trip soon!  IT WAS GREAT!! Much needed and helped get my mind off of losing Sophie, although we came home to an empty house which was rather depressing...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memorial Day Camping Trip

We took our annual camping trip this Memorial Day with Will's parents & brother.  However, this year our group grew with the addition of our friends Matt & Brandy as well as Will's Uncle Charles, Aunt Aura and their two grandson, Clayton & Derik.

We spent the weekend on the Greenbrier River in West Virginia - same place as last year.  Will & I rented a camper with Matt & Brandy this year, so we could have some extra room.  Unfortunately, the campgrounds idea of a pullout sofa that sleeps two was not the same idea we had.  Thankfully, the kitchen table converted to a bed too, so Will and I could sleep more comfortably.  Should have taken a picture of it - oops!

It was very relaxing.  On Friday, Will & his brother, Brent took their kayaks and fished/floated down the river.  Unfortunately, the water was a bit higher than usual and they hit some rapids, so Will lost some fishing rods and a few other items when his kayak took on some water.  Here are a few pics of their return to camp:



Later that night, Will's dad Mark took one of the boys fishing, but he ended up in the river...haha:


Saturday was fun - we went for a drive around the area to look around:
The Greenbrier Hotel

At the Trout Farm



Exploring on the Greenbrier River
  



Will & I

Brandy & Matt

Brent & Will
Saturday night was a blast!  Uncle Charles made a fish fry - I don't eat fish, but filled up on some AMAZING hush puppies.  We made Margaritas and Pink Panty Pull-downs - yum, yum!!

Sunday morning, the guys were supposed to have their guided fishing trip, but it got cancelled due to the high water.  But, that didn't stop our guys - Will, Brent & Matt headed out on their kayaks for a few hours and Mark & Derik headed out to fish on the banks upriver:

Will cooking breakfast before heading out on the river

Will & Matt

Matt, Brent & Will

Brent, Mark & Will

Brent, Derik, Mark & Will
 Us gals took it easy around the campground - a little nap and some snacks are all we need.  Our last night was full of more great food and smores!
Brandy & Matt

As always, we had a wonderful time.  The only thing missing was Sophie :(  She always loved our camping trips, especially on the Greenbrier, cause she loved to swim (with a life jacket of course, bulldogs aren't the most buoyant).  Can't wait for next year's trip!!

Check out Uncle Charles' blog for some more pics:  http://spicharlie.blogspot.com/

Tobi Podhaler Review

At my CF clinic in December (read here ), my doctor and I discussed starting the Tobi Podhaler to switch up Cayston.  Just like Cayston, Tob...