Hello dear readers…
Once again I am returning with a photo post after a long hiatus. I know it is not the ideal way to manage a blog, but it seems to be what I need to do for the time being.
Though this used to stress me out, I am learning to let go a little. And that is because of you. From the comments I’ve received from so many of you, I have found that you are forgiving of my infrequent visits and that you’ve even embraced them. What a lucky girl I am to be able to stop in with some photos of my spirited little boys and my quirky canines and know that you will be here to welcome me back with open arms, to know that you will celebrate the good moments in my life, and to take comfort in the fact that you will offer words of kindness when times are tough.
The past few weeks have been a bit of a mixed bag. I began to follow up with those of you who left comments on my last post to let you know that the thickening in my chest was likely swelling compliments of the lymphedema that has made its way beyond my arms and into the area where my breasts once were, but I never formally posted about my appointment. It was a bit of a blow to discover that it was likely an extension of the lymphedema, but MUCH less of a blow than a cancer recurrence would have been. It’s amazing how cancer puts everything into perspective! I never would have thought there would be a circumstance in which I’d “welcome” an advancement of my lymphedema, but here I am!
[If you would like to know more about what lymphedema is, what causes it and how it is managed, stay tuned -- I'm working on a post that will deal with this important topic.]
Just after that last post, pneumonia came knocking and, as you can imagine, it has been difficult to come back from. On a positive note, though, I had a nice Thanksgiving break with the boys. I spent most of Thanksgiving day preparing a turkey with all of the fixings. I was pretty exhausted, but I’ve always enjoyed roasting the turkey and making Thanksgiving-y foods, so it was a labor of love. Still, the day itself was a bit sad. It was an unusually quiet holiday this year. My in-laws had just gotten on a plane that morning and we had visited them night before, so we weren’t going to be going to their house on Thanksgiving Day. And we were also not honoring the tradition of spending the other half of the day with my side of the family (usually at my aunt and uncle’s home) because we were missing some very important members this year. I lost my youngest sister to the Alaskan wilderness (and her Alaskan boyfriend) when she packed her suitcase and got on the plane for a 5-day trip to Willow, AK in February. 5 days has stretched into 10 months because she has yet to return! And the sister who had always been within minutes of me since she came home from the hospital when I was two years old, moved to Virginia to follow her/our dream to be near the sea. She and my brother-in-law and my only niece and nephews hugged us goodbye as they drove away in their minivan and a big moving van during the first week of July. And, sadly, they have not been back and my husband will not allow us to go to visit them (which the boys and I were pushing our hardest to do over the long Thanksgiving school break). That leaves one sister [I am the oldest of four], but she and her husband [who is not a giant meanie like mine] went down to VA to spend Thanksgiving with my sister/BIL and the kids. So it was VERY quiet. My mother came over to eat with us and brought her little Yorkie. The boys helped me decorate the table with our Halloween lights so we dined by the lovely saffron glow of the twinkly pumpkins we’ve collected over the years.
Then on Saturday and Sunday we took a quick little road trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Though the kids did their best to cajole my husband into allowing us to go to Virginia to seem my family, he made it clear that it would not happen now or ever, so we ended up “compromising” with Pittsburgh. We had never been there but had heard that the city had a wonderful children’s museum and science center, both of which we have free admission to because of a reciprocal partnership between our local science center and other museums around the country (including those in Pittsburgh), and we also had a free hotel stay there. Though the boys and I were sad about VA, we knew that it wouldn’t help to be upset about it, so we were determined to enjoy the weekend. Though I would have been content to spend another “sick” weekend curled up under the blankets with the boys and dogs, I was the only one who would have gone for this over the long Thanksgiving weekend because the “sick” weekends had just been piling up with no end in sight.
Though it was tiring, I am glad we did it. As it turned out, I had plenty of time to rest. We only spent a few hours at the Children’s Museum on Saturday and then The Carnegie Science Center on Sunday, and we got home fairly early on Sunday. And I just read during the roundtrip drive. The hotel also provided board games, so we played Sorry! after the museum closed at 5 on Saturday, and then I was in bed by 9. It was actually pretty relaxing. At home, unless I am pretty sick, I have a hard time with giving myself permission to really rest. For some reason it was much easier to do this while in another city or during the long car ride. And the Children’s Museum was excellent. There were plenty of activities to keep the boys engaged. Our favorite section was an art annex of sorts. The boys and I sat for ages at a long table cutting shapes that they could take up to a screen printing station where our designs would be printed. I did the cutting and they would take the shapes up to be printed. We made a nice stack of art that we plan to decorate their room with. They loved the idea of stringing the pictures we made up on a long twine clothesline with old clothes pegs that were once my grandmother’s. That will be our next project!
The Science Center was a bit more difficult for me. But there was plenty to keep the boys busy. And there were a plethora of benches and even some comfy chairs for me to sit in and even lie down on! It really was chock-full of activities and displays. We were even able to enjoy a star show (also free!) in their cozy planetarium chairs, located right inside the science center. And the boys participated in some cooking demonstrations (free, too — and with samples!) in the “kitchen” section of the center. Yum!
And then we were back home to our dogs Sunday night, and I was back in to the hospital Monday morning to start off a full schedule of medical appointments this week. But it was nice to have a change of scenery for a weekend!
Wow, I’ve written far more than I intended and I haven’t even gotten to the photo challenge yet! Rather than muddle the photos up with all of these words (which have little/nothing to do with the challenge!), I’ll post a separate photo challenge entry in a minute. I’ll also be requesting your help with a little something in the next post…
See you in a few…