Boo’s Christmas Highlight Reel

I can’t believe Christmas has already come and gone! It flew by!

We spent a few days at my in-laws house here in town starting last Sunday so everyone would be together at the same time:

 

I wonder what Boo is whispering to my niece “Coco” in this photo:

 

Love this photo of my nephew Jordan:

The adults played the annual Christmas stocking game where you have to guess who bought your stocking stuffers:

I made outfits for all the wee ones. We actually got them all in one photo looking at the camera!

All the cousins (minus 2 who are in Seattle) for one photo:

 

My mom is here for a few weeks and Boo is always on cloud 9. She is so patient and will play Barbies and “library” with Boo for hours:

Boo was so excited that her two cousins Duncan and Cameron were staying at our house for Christmas. We played Xbox sports at night:

The day before Christmas Boo got her nails done:

And she helped me make cupcakes for Jesus’ birthday:

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Juicy School Gossip

It’s Boo’s second week of Kindergarten. She’s happy as a clam.

 

First Day of Kindergarten via lilblueboo.com

Me? I’m happy as a clam at high water: Boo’s in her element……and I get all the juicy gossip.  [Read more...]

Dolla Dolla Makes Me Holla

So I put together a little slideshow on Hey, Look at Me of things that I’d need if I had to go back to school…..the list would cost an arm and a leg (especially since I threw in a Vespa……but how awesome would that be?)

My favorite part of the slideshow is a flashback to my horse-themed Trapper Keeper I used to have.  That was so rad.  Funny, because it looks so budget now…..stock horse photography thrown under some vinyl. But way back when…..I was in love with it:

All of this brought back the memory of the brand Units…..do you remember that store?  All the pieces were color coordinated and you could add a patterned belt to “change” the outfit. The belt could also be a mini skirt or a tube top (so versatile!)…..but only if your mom let you wear it. My mom didn’t. Plus I didn’t really have a butt at that age so I just looked ridiculous wearing it anyways.  I didn’t have boobs either….but I don’t have boobs now. Whatev.

My sister Perry so kindly reminded me of a few things I forgot to mention:

 

So after that exchange, I had to go and try to dig up a photo of my Sebagos, and my Hypercolor shirts, and the Units outfits.  But I couldn’t find any. They must all be at my mom’s house. But, I did find this photo: [Read more...]

I Will Read the Owner’s Manual Completely

This is a follow up to the post I wrote about the contract my dad wrote for my underage drinking. This was a contract signed between my parents and I in 1993 when I got my license and a new car. I love that it was amended after 2 speeding tickets (they never revoked privileges for those…..but I guess a third would have been too much).

A few notes:

1. A few contracts I signed with my parents said “CONFIDENTIAL” on the top…..this one was not marked, so I’m assuming it’s okay to post.

2. I never had any desire to carpool other people’s pets around. I don’t know why that was such a concern.

3. The cell phone my dad installed in the car for me was AWESOME…..until he got the first bill and it indicated that at 2:30am I was making calls from a field party in Union County.

4. Once during college I left my sunroof open overnight during a rainstorm (probably the same night I got caught drinking).  It soaked the entire interior of the Landcruiser and resulted in the seats dry rotting. I wonder if that would be considered a violation.

5. I did use a music CD in the car for the first year, I didn’t think that fell under “radio” technically.

6. It would have been awesome if this contract included attending church for $20…..I still lived at home and went to church regardless of whether or not I wanted to.

 

Teenager contract via liblueboo.comClick “read more” to see the rest of the post!

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Mabel and Sylvia

Yesterday was Boo’s actual birthday and Mr. LBB and I took pizza to her classroom for lunch. Boo gave me her crown to wear…..and I loved hearing all the little kids talk about my head.

 

 

It was Boo’s share day too…..and she wanted to bring a book that a sweet reader sent to us called Promises. We bookmarked the page with the mommy in bed with an IV so she could show her class. Boo said it looked just like us….she teared up as we read the story for the first time:

 

Boo had a great birthday night with just Me, Mr. LBB, her Mimi and Papa and cousin Jordan:

 

Some of my hair is growing back in places…..so I had to have Mr. LBB shave my head a little because…..I look like a chia pet!

 

Me: I look like a cancer patient!
Lisa: You are a cancer patient.
Me: Oh yeah……


 

So I met with Dr. L this afternoon. He just wanted to see me before I go into another round of the Cisplatinum chemo so soon. My blood counts are really good though….just platelets are slowing down a little. So tomorrow is a go! I’ll be there for another 8 hour drip. And they’ll do more blood work. My body seems to be handling it really well. My white blood cells have yet to be under 4,000 despite 15 straight weeks of chemotherapy. My kidneys did great through the first cycle. That’s an answer to prayer. I joke with my family that maybe I’m a part of some secret government research project and they are giving me the placebo. Maybe those big bags are just sugar water! Dr. L is just being really careful because we have to be really aggressive but there’s a fine line…..and if we cross it he’d have to delay chemo for a few weeks and we know my type of cancer takes breaks as an opportunity to rapidly spread.

So…Dr. L dictates while he’s still in the room with patients….which I think is AWESOME. I get to hear EXACTLY what he thinks about what’s going on…….honestly. If he says something out of the ordinary I can ask him about it. The only thing that kind of gets old is hearing:

1st line chemotherapy Methotrexate: ineffective
2nd line chemotherapy EMA-CO: mixed response
3rd line chemotherapy EP-EMA: still to be determined

I asked him “um, how many more lines ARE there?” His response: basically one…..where I’ll get EP-EMA in smaller doses five days in a row. My blood work tomorrow should tell us if the current regimen is doing anything. My gut feeling is that results will be good. My pelvis isn’t hurting as bad…..so maybe the tumors are shrinking! Dr. L says I’m not his typical patient…..I never seem worried, or scared or sad. So he always asks “I know YOU are doing okay, but how is your husband. How is your family?

 

****

 

My aunt Sharon recently sent me a package with some things that were my great grandmother’s…..including the photo below.  It’s been sitting on my desk for a week or so and tonight it reminded me of something I wrote in one of my old journals that I’ll share below.

 

First, I’m so grateful for this photo because I always imagined such a painful picture of my great grandmother…and I love that she looks so joyful and carefree. Second, I’m grateful for this story even though it’s a sad one: My great grandmother Mabel was married when she was only 16 years old and had one child: my grandmother Marjorie (Marge). As Marge was growing up, Mabel would spend most of her time confined to a bed suffering from debilitating headaches. Mabel had many hospital stays and everyone assumes she most likely underwent electroshock therapy. There was no treatment that was able to alleviate these headaches. After prolonged spells, Mabel’s eyes would be black and bruised and her hair would literally fall out in chunks. There was one day when my grandmother Marge was getting a permanent at the salon and tried to call home to Mabel to check in. There was no answer. Marge panicked and quickly had the rods taken out of her freshly rolled hair and nervously rode the bus all the way home. After what was probably the longest bus trip of her life…..Marge hurried into the house to check on her mother, I’m sure expecting the worst. My grandmother Marge could see up to her parent’s bedroom from the base of the steps……and she caught a glimpse of her mother putting away a gun under the bed. It wasn’t to be that day….but my great-grandmother Mabel eventually did end her life. It was the morning after Christmas….and Mabel was supposed to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. She said “I will never go to the hospital again” and she meant it. My great grandfather George found her……she had put her head into the gas oven to asphyxiate herself by carbon monoxide poisoning. I can’t imagine the pain Mabel was in to have to resort to that.

Sylvia Plath had electroshock therapy, she tried to take her life in 1953 with sleeping pills and she eventually put her head into an oven too. There are many parallels so I’ve always had this fascination with Sylvia Plath…..thinking maybe I’d learn more about Mable that way. I’ve read every single one of SP’s unabridged journals and I’ve filled my own journals with snippets here and there.  I’m sure Sylvia never imagined in a million years that I’d be reading her journals and requoting them in my own. Here’s a page from one of my journals (not dated, but around 2003):

 

It says:

Write about your own experience. By that experience someone else may be a bit richer some day. Read widely of others’ experiences in thought and action – stretch to others even thought it hurts and strains and would be more comfortable to snuggle back into the comforting cotton-wool of blissful ignorance. Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself. Try always as long as you have breath in your body to take the hard way, the Spartan way – and work, work, work to build yourself into a rich continually evolving entity.
- Sylvia Plath

I love that I can read SP’s experience…..it’s the next best alternative to being able to read about my great grandmother’s. I think I can relate a little about the chunks of hair falling out too. It’s also why I document my own experience….for my daughter and her daughter……or for anyone else who might want to read it some day. Think about journaling….or even recording stories onto CD…..you might make someone else a bit richer some day.

 

Phew, that was a tangent……but I just wanted to check in today! I have a long day tomorrow at chemo….and hopefully the wifi is working well :)  Maybe they’ll let me take my IV outside in the sun for a while.

XOXO,

Ash

Oh, P.S. Choose Joy!

 

 

 

 

Loma Linda and OX

Mr. LBB and I woke up at the crack of dawn Monday morning to head to Loma Linda to meet with the oncologist.  Boo spent the night with her grandparents and asked us to take care of her Ugly Doll OX. I took him along and took photos of him all over Loma Linda. (the last time I was asked to take care of her baby doll I left her in the car all day and she almost melted……and Boo said I was a horrible babysitter).

 

Okay, okay…..I know, so how did the day go already!?


Well, I felt awesome Monday morning and popped out of bed at 5:30am. I didn’t even need to take any pain medicine for the trip.

We met with my new oncologist. He confirmed what my doctor in the desert suspected: I had an abnormal pregnancy/molar pregnancy and the cancerous cells spread to my lungs and liver. I’ll spare you the graphic details about my uterus. They scheduled me for the first available surgery on Friday. After the surgery, everything will be sent to the pathologist and then they’ll be able to tell what type of chemotherapy I’ll have to undergo. It was a little hard discussing whether we wanted to have more children but the outlook is that I should be able to.

After the surgery was scheduled and blood work was done,  a pre-op interview was scheduled for 3 hours later. If you know me well, you know I am annoyingly efficient so the first thing I thought was: why the heck to I have to be interviewed, I just did this 12 weeks ago. Did the surgery procedures change?
Thought #2: We can make it to L.A. and back in 2 hours if we hurry! (to pick up a fabric order I had on hold)……so we jumped in the car and drove to L.A.

First stop: Chic-Fil-A with OX

I made Brett take a detour so I could show him all the news truck chaos at Michael Jackson’s Doctor Trial. Here’s OX in front of Court TV:

 

Finally, made it to the fabric place. OX doesn’t want you to be sorry of his one-eye……that one-eye has super powers:

 

 

Thank you for all the words of faith and encouragement. It’s meant the world and my family and I have read every single comment. I’m exhausted and in bed watching Secretariat with Boo for the 5,000th time.

XOXO,

Ash

As aside note: I never had a chance to post the post just written Monday night! Later Monday night I had to be rushed to the ER for severe abdominal pain. I was admitted in the ER and they determined from some new CT scans and ultrasound that the tumor in my uterus had expanded out the other side (like an alien invader!) and there was fluid in my abdomen….but they didn’t know if the fluid was from the uterus or from something else. My in-laws Barry and Gale met us at the hospital. Barry is an angel…seriously. He’s a doctor there and helped coordinate everything, explaining medical history and hooking up my other doctors with the ER doctor. Also angels: our friend Todd and Jodi who were at our house THREE minutes after Brett called them to watch Sienna.

So what do we do in the ER room to pass the time? Take photos of course. Eisenhower gives you a gazillion bracelets and they all fit into this old school label maker…..it makes me think of crafting every time they print one:

 

After my dilaudid kicked in….I wasn’t feeling a thing:

 

My inlaws gave me the best gift ever and upgraded my room as I was admitted to the new Renker VIP building. I’ll never be the same after this. It was nicer than my house…..and they had L’Occitane toiletries in the bathroom….woot woot!

 



What are the odds that Lisa and her daughter would be at the hospital at the same time that I was? Crazy. Little Elle was admitted for croup the night before.  Lisa came down to visit me for a bit. I told her she needed to come and see the “mother-of-all” hospital suites and grab something from the mini-bar since I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything! Lisa sent me back a photo of Elle in her tiny room…..I was feeling a little guilty after that and wished we could have been roomies! She looks so much cuter than I do in my hospital bed:

 


First thing Tuesday morning I was transferred to Loma Linda by ambulance for observation. It was my first time in an ambulance….so you know I had to take my iPhone with me for a photo op. You can see the windmills in the back as we left Palm Springs:

 

At Loma Linda I was admitted and I guess Brett or Gale took this photo while I was resting. Our good friends (and Sienna’s godparents) Jackie and Derek picked up Sienna from school with their daughter and kept her for the night…..Boo is a trooper and was so excited when she learned she would be going home with them and that Miss Lisa had already packed her a suitcase.

 

Last night when they decided to keep the surgery scheduled for Friday I was pretty frustrated, but the doctor wouldn’t have his whole team with him if I was an add-on to the surgery day. Friday is the day they will be the most prepared and they can check out the abdomen too to see what’s going on. The second I knew I wasn’t having surgery I started asking to be discharged….I think they thought I was crazy at 12am trying to get “out of jail.” The next morning they confirmed that I was stabilized and pain management at home would be okay. I wanted to get out of there so bad I unhooked all the machines myself.  I think it might have been the fastest discharge on earth…..

I kept chuckling on the way home about how chaotic my night was at Loma Linda. My roommate was about my age and had been there a week for surgery. In the middle of the night it seemed like all of our machine alarms were going off all at once. They had my IV in the crook of my arm and I kept crimping it when I slept…..which would set off the alarm. I couldn’t get the nurses attention. I accidentally ripped a plug apart trying to move to the restroom and then that set off another alarm and I was tangled in a sea of IV cords.

So now I’m home! Everyone has been so supportive and helpful and I feel so out of my element. I’ve never been in a place where I needed so much help and assistance. I feel so lucky that I have such wonderful friends and family that are so encouraging. Everyone has been pitching in with Boo, meals, etc and my house looks like a florist shop. I’m so humbled.

So I’ll be hanging out at home until Friday for surgery. I’ve never looked so forward to surgery in my life….it will be like Christmas for me if that makes sense. Put me under, remove the bad stuff, and figure out what it all is so I can get chemo started asap.

My mom is flying out tomorrow too….so excited.

 

I love you all!  Thanks for reading…..I know many of you are curious as to what’s been going on and I’m trying to remember as much as I can.

XOXO,

Ash

 

P.S. Mr. LBB is a trooper. I’ve insisted that he go home every night to sleep in our comfy bed so he can come back the next morning….I know he doesn’t want to but it’s the best thing. I joke with him “I’ll text you if I go into shock or something.” He’s been juggling Boo, our friends and family and me too. He doesn’t get annoyed when I scold him for not using his knuckle to press the elevator button (just one of my many suggestions I made up to prevent the spread of germs in our house….hopefully Boo doesn’t grow up to be Howard Hughes.) He tries his best to pack my clothes when I ask him to….and he actually did a pretty good job!

 

 

The Cancer Chronicles via lilblueboo.com

Praying for Dreams, Utopia

A friend emailed the other day saying that she’d had a dream about her father and my father…..that they were playing golf together in heaven. She said that she prayed for dreams about her loved ones that had passed and it really hit home because every night that I go to bed I pray that I’ll dream about my dad too.

It’s funny how things happen after a loved one dies ……and you wonder if they are part of some master plan. Now, I’m pretty darn sure there is a master plan:

 

1. So yes, the biggest one is that Boo says she saw Grandpa on the porch of the mountain house and that he wanted to speak to Grandma.

 

2. The well known golf photographer Brian Morgan was in Seoul, Korea the week my father died. He took the last photos of my father before he died and documented the last week of my father’s life.

Photo Credit Brian Morgan

A few weeks after my dad’s funeral I was talking with Kevin, our family friend that was with my father when he died and Kevin mentioned that Brian would like to meet and share some photos.  Of course I called Brian right away and asked where he was located:

Me: So where are you located?
Brian: Palm Desert, CA
Me: I’M in Palm Desert! Where in Palm Desert?!
Brian: I’m just up Hwy 74 just off (streetname).
Me: (stunned silence) I live just off (streetname).

It turns out the man that photographed the last days of my father’s life lives less than a quarter mile from my house. It’s an easy walk. Brian and his fiance visited one night and we talked for hours about my dad, their mutual love of golf and story after story after story. It’s a gift that they live so close.

 

3. The movie 7 days in Utopia…..I’ll have to wait until it comes out on DVD because I couldn’t even make it through the trailer without sobbing. My sister saw the movie and was so freaked out at first that her text subject to me was “h*ly sh*t” which is totally out of character for her. The main character, Johnny Crawford, could be my dad. Played by Robert Duvall, in the first trailer clip he laughs and I had to catch my breath…..it was my dad’s laugh. Scene after scene I would lose it.

 

Robert Duvall in the movie eerily looks like a slightly older version of my father:

The scene at the river is my dad to a T…..I can hear him saying “you have to control your emotions……it never fails” in the exact same tone. I have to do a double take of the scene to realize it’s Robert Duvall and not my dad.

The long putter: My dad was the world’s biggest champion of the long putter….we buried him with it.

And then there’s the flying scenes: My dad made all of us learn to fly….just in case anything ever happened to him at the controls. One day he just stopped flying and sold his plane.  My mother confided in me years later that he’d been in a plane crash.  Want to know how stoic and protective my dad was of us? Well one night we were all eating dinner at my grandparents and my dad walked in a little late. We ate as normal and had family time and then that night as he and my mother fell asleep he said “something happened that will probably be in the papers tomorrow.” He had crashed the plane he was flying. We never knew a thing….he never wanted us to worry. My mom told us all this story just a few weeks ago.

There are other crazy similarities in the movie that I’ll leave to my sister Perry to write about one day. I know my dad would have loved this movie. It would be one of those that he would mention every time he called “have you seen 7 Days in Utopia yet? Make sure you go see it this week.” Don’t worry Dad, I’ll see it….just on DVD so I don’t traumatize the entire theater with my crying.

 

4. The course my dad played in Korea the week before he died is called 9 Bridges. Brian Morgan was there to photograph it for a few weeks before the tournament and believe me….if there is a place on earth that resembles a Utopia it is 9 bridges. It’s one of the most gorgeous places on earth:

 

photo courtesy of Brian Morgan

 

My sister pointed out that, ironically, there are only 8 bridges on the course, and the 9th bridge is supposed to be a metaphorical bridge to heaven. Perry says “it looks like dad found the 9th bridge on the way home.”

 

Yesterday, my husband’s grandfather found the 9th bridge as well. He passed away and joins his wife, my husband’s grandmother, in heaven. As always, our family chooses joy. Rest in peace Papa.

 

Sometimes I get on a tangent researching things…..tonight it happened to be John Wayne. My dad loved old movies and I think I’ve watched every John Wayne movie that’s been played recently on AMC and TCM. I found this great quote:

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
-John Wayne

Isn’t that awesome? Every day starts out new and perfect, regardless of what happened the day before.

My dad would have loved this one even more:

Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.
-John Wayne

 

If you are new to my blog and would like to read the back stories to this post click below:

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Vintage Barbie – Handmade Style

When I was at my mom’s house this summer I was helping her clean out some closets and I found a huge box of old Barbies….a mixture of mine and my mother’s from when she was little.

My grandmother Beauty handmade the tiniest little fashions for my mother’s Barbies.  I remember this outfit was one of my favorites growing up. I loved the drop waist ball gown and the matching reversible coat:

 

I love the vintage prints of these house dresses:

(more after the jump)

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Linville

Today I spent most of the day watching September 11th footage and memorials. It all still just seems unimaginable to me…..the horror, scale and sadness of it all is too much. I remember taking this photo of my parents and grandparents on top of the World Trade Center in 1997. No one is really smiling because I was being a horrible brat refusing to be in the photo….but I just didn’t want to get near that railing. I’m deathly afraid of heights.

 

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about 9/11. Every day when I glance at either the oven clock or bedroom clock or even the car clock, without fail, I catch them right when they read 9:11. It’s eerie but it’s my reminder: that life is short, precious and fleeting. The death of my father is the only thing I have to relate to something like 9/11…..he died so unexpectedly, but he died so peacefully……and I’m thankful I have that. My heart goes out to all the families who lost someone on 9/11…..I can’t imagine their pain and I pray for their strength. I think about a prayer by Pita in Man on Fire: Dear God, I do not ask for health or wealth. People ask you so often that you can’t have any left. Give me, God, what else you have. Give me what no-one else asks for. Amen. I’ve written about that prayer before….I know it’s from a movie but it struck a chord. It reminds me never to ask for more than I need.

 

After the stressful few weeks I had in July, I made myself drop everything and travel with Boo for a much needed visit to NC to stay with my mom and see my family.  It was the first time I’d been back to NC since my father’s funeral.

If you’ve never been to the North Carolina Mountains you are missing out….they are just gorgeous in the spring, summer and fall! My parent’s place in at Linville Ridge which I think is one of the most beautiful places on earth. When I’m there I feel like everything is in technicolor, I’m breathing the clearest air on the planet, and Boo is happy and content just playing with acorns and wading in a cool brook.

We visited the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis (built in 1882 a few miles from Linville) and Boo and my mom played checkers:

 

 

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Sweet Things on a Sunday

Mr. LBB is finally home after being gone for a month!  I was going to make donuts today to celebrate. My sweet friend Shari (you might know her from Soren Lorensen Design) sent me a donut care package. I guess I don’t bake enough because I only had about 2 of 10 ingredients needed to make them. Grocery store here I come! I’m excited to try some different recipes and maybe make a healthy version:

Since the real donuts didn’t get made today I made some “play” donuts for Boo. We started them at my sister’s house in NC while visiting recently and I finished them up here in CA. Don’t they almost look real?! Tutorial to come soon:

 

While Boo and hubby were playing Cover Orange on the iPad I finished up some final artwork for the fall line:

 

I’ve met some of the nicest people and made so many online friends through Lil Blue Boo. A small group fans/friends sent me the most thoughtful book filled with notes and photos of their children wearing Lil Blue Boo. Stephanie Corfee took all the photos and notes and transformed them with drawings and doodles into a work of art. We just can’t stop looking at it and I wanted to share it:

 

They even included Diesel!

 

They put so much work into it and I asked for the link so that I could share it with all of you. What a great idea to make a little book of thoughts and photos for someone!  Click below to view the book if you like:

 

So many of you are the nicest and most thoughtful people I’ve ever come across. Just the other day a military wife commented on the LBB Facebook page that she loved the dresses and would one day buy one for each her daughters when she could afford it. A few minutes later I received an email from a customer saying she wanted to buy a dress for the woman’s daughters if I could arrange it.  Amazing. When my father passed and I was having a few hard weeks after my miscarriage and surgery, I received countless emails and comments of support and encouragement…..a majority of you whom I’ve never met. Thank you for that. I know I can’t return the favor to all of you but I do try to pass on the kindness to random people I encounter around me everyday. Random acts of kindness right?

 

Happy Sunday!

 

P.S. Thank you Megan, Stephanie, Shari, Aribbe, Lisa, Perry, Wendy, Debra, Mel, Melissa, Glenda, Missy and Kristina (and all of your precious kiddos). I’m so thankful for your friendship!

 

 

 

 

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