Printable Fill-in-the-Blank Thank You Notes (Free Download)


Printable Fill-in-the-Blank Thank You Notes via


Thank you notes are so important! I had to write them when I was younger and Boo has to do the same. Here are some cute Christmas themed ones that you can just print onto cardstock…’s easy for your kiddos to just fill in the blanks! They fit into regular sized stationary envelopes! Enjoy!



Printable Fill-in-the-Blank Thank You Notes via

Holy Joint Pain, Batman

Good morning! I finally got some sleep last night……after I finished reading my new book (that might be the fastest I’ve ever read a book in my life). I was thinking that the recent Neulesta shot was no big deal and I made it through with no side effects…….but then this morning I woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck. It’s mostly joint pain in the thigh, hip and lower back……but the most surprising is the jaw pain. I went to take a bite of a cake donut and the pain radiates from my teeth all the way out to my ears. I’ve never felt anything like it. I took some Tylenol and my mom picked up some Claritin which was recommended for me to take by no less than 20 people. I’ll let you know if the Claritin works…..who would have thunk that would be the thing to take.


But…..a little pain never kept me from eating a donut.


The Nuelesta shot stimulates the growth of “healthy” white blood cells so I imagine the pain is from my white blood cell factory working overtime….so it’s not a bad thing:





I can’t get a song out of my head that my sister sings to Boo: Hi, my name is Joe, I have a wife and three kids and I work in a button factory, one day my boss came in, he said Joe, are you busy, I said no……

I held my morning Lil Blue Boo meeting with Lisa from bed and showed her a new “when I grow up” dress I want them to make today……something super bright and cheery. I want Mr. LBB to take me to L.A. next week so I can pick out some new fabrics that I need to round out our Spring line coming at the end of February. I’m so, so, so excited.

I think the most exhausting thing for me right now is insurance companies and medical bills. When you don’t feel well, the last thing on your mind is opening up an envelope and writing a check. The worst feeling is getting a letter in the mail saying that they decided not to cover something and then you have to go through the appeal process and pray they cover it. And then there are all the phone calls trying to get payment plans set up… makes my head hurt. I haven’t even balanced my checkbook in 3 months….how on earth can I figure out a payment plan that makes sense!? It’s kind of funny that I’m such a control freak over administrative tasks and bills but not over what’s happening inside my body. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Oh, last night all I could feel was my scalp and hair! It feels like little tight ponytails. That’s how my friend Jenny described the feeling as she was losing her hair. I told Boo I was thinking about cutting my hair again:

Me: So….I think I should cut my hair soon. It will be so cool, we can give it to someone who doesn’t have any hair.
Boo: But how will they put YOUR hair on THEIR head?
Me: Well, someone will make my hair into a wig.
Boo: I’ve got a great idea…..why don’t we just BUY them a wig instead!?

My mother changed her flight to mid-January so she’s staying another week to help out with Boo. I’m so thankful. She’s been such a huge help already. She took Boo to the desert zoo yesterday and Boo is her kindred spirit… see my mom likes to read EVERY plaque of information at each exhibit and Boo loves that. They were both FULL of new information last night at dinner.  If I feel well enough next week we might make the 2 hours drive to the San Diego Zoo. My mom helped Boo write some Christmas thank you notes last night too…..she writes out the present and the names and Boo copies them onto the thank you card:. It was so sweet to see how excited Boo was to write and send mail to everyone:


Lisa and Mr. LBB have been moving the office to it’s new location. It’s going to be pretty awesome once we get to paint and decorate….my in-laws gave us a beautiful hand-me-down chandelier that will add some “shabby chic” effect. Right now they are just clearing out the old office so it can become a writing room (for me) / playroom (for Boo). We need a place for the 3 foot Barbie dream house and Boo’s kitchen. I have huge plans for it with home decor tutorials! With the girls out of school they’ve been making great use of the new space and had their OWN morning meeting…..I imagine one day these two girls will take over:





Photo of the Day: Henrietta Lacks

One of the drugs I get as a pre-med with my chemotherapy is Decadron… helps with nausea but it also has a side effect of insomnia. I’ve been wired for 2 days straight! Really it’s a blessing because two nights ago I bought this book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks….and I haven’t stopped reading since.  It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a story of cancer, race, poverty, science, ethics…..a moving true story about a woman named Henrietta. I’ve learned more about the science of cancer through just a few pages than I would have ever actually absorbed from another source. Just sharing because I know so many of you will be moved by this book:




Ombre Dyed Streamer Garland (A Tutorial)

Ombre Dyed Streamer Garland - DIY Tutorial via

diy ombre ribbon garland tutorial for photography backdrop or party decor  via

Boo and I made this beautiful silk streamer garland over the past two days.  It was a super easy project…I just spread it out to work on as I felt up to it. The streamers were dyed using a subtle ombre dye technique so the bottom of the streamers are a darker shade than the top. We used 1″ rolls of silk habutai from Dharma Trading (each roll has about 70 or 80 yards on it) and it’s so soft and amazing to the touch you could almost sleep on it:


Yummy Streamer Garland - DIY Tutorial via


We used one roll of silk 1″ habutai per color… garland strands were over 2 feet long so for a shorter garland the silk ribbon would go a long way.

Note: 5 rolls at 2 feet long ended up with about 4′ of garland… a 1 ft long streamers would end up with about 8 feet of garland to give some perspective.

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Photo of the Day: Note to Self

I went in for my Neulesta shot today and I shouldn’t have worn this shirt. In order to give me a shot in the arm I would have had to strip. Note to self, don’t wear a tight shirt that has thumb holes on shot day.



So…..they gave me the shot in the stomach……right next to my now-off-center bellybutton. I told the nurse her hands were going to be on the internet….it looks like she’s doing an extra careful job with this shot. I’m going to use that to my advantage from this point forward.



The nurse was trying to convince an elderly woman sitting across from me to get her shot in her stomach too. She was adamant against it… I told her I’d go first and she could watch. It wasn’t that bad…..but it didn’t work…..I think she would have fought them to the bitter end.

A woman brought the cutest 2 month old baby into the lobby to show the nurses when I was waiting…..they were all oohing and aahing for so long I told them they were leaving me out! So they let me ooh and ahh……then the entire waiting room said in shockingly perfect unison “well WE want to see too!” The sheepish dad lifted the baby carrier up for about 15 people to ooh and aah over. It was so funny and sweet. You could tell the new parents were so proud.

My white blood cell counts are really good right now….(6,800 and anything between 4,100 and 10,900 is normal) so it looks like they’ll be able to hit me with another round of chemo in another week. The sooner the better personally!

Day 8

I had the “CO” of my EMA-CO chemo today. It’s Day 8. I was only there for 3 hours…..that seems so easy. I’m forcing myself to write about things right in the moment so I won’t forget them….plus maybe they’ll help someone else one day who might be going through the same thing.

On the menu today:

C – Cyclophosphamide (large bag): This is the drug that Dr. L says can cause leukemia later in life….it’s the biggest risk. That went in one ear and out the other…..I just don’t think about stuff like that.

O – Vincristine (IV Injection): Made from plants! It keeps parts of the cells from working that are needed for cell division. Doesn’t start with an O.



It’s been 2 hours since I left the infusion center. So what does it feel like after they inject toxic chemicals into the body? I feel okay…..just a little out of it. My friend Kelly brought over some yummy pesto chicken and I was able to eat some of that for dinner. I feel like my ears are stopped up but most noises make me wince a little. I feel really uncoordinated and tired. My lips and tip of my tongue are numb. The nerves on my incision flair up…..I get into a defensive position when people come at me too quickly. They pump you so full of nausea medication and fluids before chemo drugs are added that I’m not sure nausea is possible at this point right now…..that’s a great thing. Drugs have come a long way. When I think of chemotherapy I always think of the movie Dying Young with Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott and how horrible the post-treatment scenes were. It’s nothing like that. I had a few bad days last week with joint pain and fatigue…..and the only time I really felt nauseous was after I ate so I just made sure to take nausea medicine well in advance. I’ll keep you updated with the honest truth as I go through more treatments…..they say it gets a little harder as you go. I don’t even count the last 8 weeks as chemotherapy now….it was just a few shots….and I DID convince them to use the kid-sized needles every time so that was pie.  Every day is different. Tomorrow I just go in for an injection Neulasta… will help stimulate the growth of “healthy” white blood cells that will help me fight off any infections. I never knew what a white blood cell was until last week.

Dr. L thinks it’s too risky to put a port in right now. Surgery is surgery. Remember how my veins looked post surgery? Well, they aren’t that bad now….and they’ll get a little rest in between treatments so for right now we’ve decided against it and I’m totally fine with that. They’ll probably just put in a PICC line if it’s needed.

My scalp has been tingling at night some….I wonder if the drugs are eating my hair? It’s only thinning right now…..and that’s part of my body thinking it was pregnant for so long and 8 weeks of Methotrexate injections. My friend Stephanie brought some information by from Eisenhower’ Lucy Curci Cancer Center on knit hats, scarves and wig bank….there’s a ton of classes there too for everything cancer related. So glad they have so many support groups for people that need it.



Sitting in the infusion center is an experience….because most everyone is there because they have cancer. It could be really depressing if you let it be. I just try to be really upbeat and smile a lot when I’m there. Today it was me on one side and 4 much older women on the other side. They stared at me the whole time….literally stared.  I would chat with them and they would smile back but it was a little awkward for a bit.  I thought they all looked so pretty and done up……I felt a little like a slacker in my yoga pants and t-shirt.  As one woman was leaving she stopped and said “I hope you don’t have to come here much longer. You are so young.” I don’t know….maybe that’s why they were staring. They were pleasant, curious stares……maybe I entertained them for the day. It’s nice to feel useful. Everyone always comments on my iPad too…..that gives you an idea of the average age…..they all want to know what the iPad does and I could talk for 4 hours about how cool it is and everything I do with it and they would still be staring at me haha.

I was reading some brochures on chemotherapy that they had laying around and it said to refrain from oral sex right after treatments because you can transfer the chemo drugs to your partner….really?! Because that’s exactly what I was thinking about doing after  a day of chemo….oral sex. I could think of so much other information that I would have found more useful than that. But if any of you happened to have chemotherapy today, no oral sex, okay?

I spent the morning on a frantic dyeing spree working on a project for a tutorial…..crossing my fingers that I feel good enough tomorrow to finish it because it’s so pretty and fun. I dyed my fingers bright purple right before I was leaving for the doctor….it faded enough by the time I left though so it didn’t look like I had gangrene walking in!


Well, that’s it for tonight! I’m headed to bed in a bit. Boo and Grandma are playing with the Barbie dream house. There’s a ton of drama in that house: love quarrels, kidnapped babies, jail…..oh but Grandma’s Barbie invited Boo’s Barbie to bible study. That was sweet.


Photo Book Ideas

I finally finished Boo’s book for her grandparents from 2010. Now I can actually get started on 2011. I fill her books with everything under the sun so I thought I’d share a few pages in case you are looking for some ideas! I keep it simple but full of fun information Boo might want to know one day….no fancy digital scrapbooking but a HUGE book of photos, quotes, drawings and memories. I’m a “collector” as you can tell….I get pretty OCD about not leaving out a single thing.

All year long I write memories on slips of paper and just throw drawings and other items into a box. Then I sort it out at the end of the year. Just remember to write the date on things!

I use the Mac Photo book program because it’s easy to use through iPhoto but there are lots of different book publishing options out there! Leave a comment if you are really happy with one of them….I’d love to know because I get asked all the time about alternatives for non-Mac users.

The cover of this year’s book:



Little snippets of milestones addressed “Dear Sienna”:




Beautiful moments:


A collage to remember activities from a special day:

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Christmas Whirlwind

Merry Christmas a day late! Yesterday was a whirlwind and so much fun. I think the best part was that I felt really great……we were a little worried about the new chemo ramp up cramping my style on the holidays…..but if anything I seemed to have more energy than usual and just went on pure adrenaline for two days! I hope all of you had a wonderful day with your families!



Just for the record……I’m not the only one who takes a lot of photos every day… mom managed to snap a photo of us in church.

If I look a little impish it is because we were discussing how Boo had just spit out communion in the pastor’s hand (I told him not to give it to her).


I have NO idea how so many presents ended up under the tree……we try to keep Christmas small! The handmade doll bunkbed was so cute with the new mattresses that Gicela made for me on Thursday:

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Photos of the Day: A Fire, A Ham and a Present

My mom arrived yesterday! We had a fun evening with Boo and Grandma playing with the nativity scene. Mr. LBB put on the “DVD fireplace” for some instant ambiance:



I made my first ham! It was a spiral sliced ham from Fresh & Easy……we got an entire holiday box for a special meal last night. I glazed it and everything…..everyone is excited about the leftovers. A sweet woman named Char helped us with our special order last night. She just found out her cancer is in remission after 5 years of treatments……that’s an amazing Christmas blessing!  We hugged as I left the store and she made me cry…..I’m so happy for her.



We woke up bright and early this morning to eat at our favorite breakfast place: Keedy’s. Grandma wore her reindeer antlers. Boo and Grandma wrapped a gift for Jesus to put in the offering plate at church tonight:



Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve! I’m going to rest today so I can spend tonight with the family!  Much love, Ashley