A little faith and a lot of love go a long way…

For the love of big thighs…

 This could be a pretty serious post. I could begin telling you all about how I’m trying to save myself from me and pick up the pieces. But it’s not time for that just yet. 
I had also planned on writing about my adorable yet mischievous children and their escapades in throwing tantrums on dirty floors in grocery stores and honest tales of what they really think of the extra flab on my stomach. However, that too, is on hold for now.

Instead, I’d prefer to entertain you with my thighs.


Have you climbed out of the gutter yet? I’ll continue on now…because I’m slightly (and by slightly I mean very) annoyed after a quick shopping trip this morning.

So, I’m no 36-24-36 a la Sir Mix-a-Lot, but I’m thicker through my hips and thighs and trying to find decent, respectable shorts in the summer is a freaking nightmare. 

As I gazed at myself in the Target dressing room this morning, pondering a 4 inch inseam on a pair of size 16 shorts I had tried on (OMG SHE JUST TOLD US HER SIZE!!! – you) (Yes, I did. Because I’m too old to care what you think of my size. – Me) I couldn’t help but think of a few choice words for the person who thought a 4 inch inseam on a pair of  size 16 shorts would even be remotely attractive. Perhaps, though, it’s my height. If only I were 6’9, I could rock that 4 inch inseam. Currently, however, it’s not a look I’ll be pulling off anytime soon since I’d like to keep some shred of my lingering dignity intact. 😉

So I continue to live in summer dresses and skirts, where my large and in charge thighs can be free to chafe (yes, I had to look up that spelling) as they please. I may not rock that inseam, but I’ll sure as hell rock chub rub season!!

Rant over. 😋

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Summer fun

Busy, busy, busy!!  

We have been busy since our return to PA. A lot has been on my mind, that I’m not ready to write about publicly just yet, and I’ve been distracting myself with staying busy.

I’ve been hitting the gym and making healthier choices when eating. 

The kids and I made a trip to the community pool in our development and spent an afternoon there. We spent another day with friends, swimming, eating and playing. We also went to see Inside Out which was adorable. It was also Binxy’s first time to the movie theater!

Last night I joined some friends from highschool and we caught up, some of us not having seen each other in 15 years! 

Today has been a lazy, rainy day at home, however it’s nice to have a boring-do-nothing kind of day after the past several days of being on the go constantly.

I’ve also spent some time trying new Pinterest recipes. Surprisingly, I didn’t mess them up! They were both ok. Not my favorite recipes, but tasty enough.

The first was a shrimp, asparagus, zucchini and orzo salad. Big Daddy Byron taught me how to pull the tails off of shrimp. Yup, 32 years old and I had no idea!  

I also made a one pot tomato, onion and basil pasta dish.  
I have lots of projects I want to do around the house this summer too. Painting, fixing, building. Many more Pinterest recipes and projects to conquer as well!


The ultimate road trip: Part 5

It should have been a 2 day trip home. However, apparently I enjoy torturing myself because my mom and I decided we could make the trip in 1 day.

Oh yes…I spent 15 hours straight in a van with my mother and children. I’ll give you a moment to digest that.

We left Florida at nearly 10 am after giving up on making the portable DVD player work as it decided to die right before our drive home. This made me quite anxious as I wasn’t sure how the Gorilla and Binxy would fare on such a long drive without some sort of distraction.

It turns out, they did quite well. Only a handful of 5 minute or so stops and one 45 minute stop for dinner, yet they traveled like champs! They entertained each other, slept and just chilled out. I’m so proud of them!!!

My mother, however, is another story. She is a very nervous passenger even though I am a spectacular driver. (I am!!) I spent more time yelling at her and trying to calm her down than the children. There is no reason to get all bent out of shape when the van hits 90 mph or when MapQuest takes us on a scenic tour of hospitals in Maryland! I had it all under control. 😏

We arrived home at 1am. I was exhausted from a lack of restful sleep while in Florida and the long journey home. I snapped at Big Daddy Byron who was kind enough to wait up for us and unload the van. In the midst of it all, I just gave up and went to bed. Occasionally, I can be quite the quitter. Ha!

Stay tuned for more summer adventures. Last night I even conquered a Pinterest recipe!

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The ultimate road trip: Part 4

(See part 1, part 2, and part 3 if you need to catch up!)

It’s been a busy but FUN couple of days in sunny Florida! Here is what we have been up to:

Saturday we began by searching for manatees. 
It’s not manatee season though, so we were unsuccessful. Thankfully, there is a wildlife park super close to my brother’s house and they have some manatees that live there year round! 
We started by taking a boat to the park and saw lots of wildlife along the way.      
Up next, we saw lots of animals as we walked around the park in 104 degree heat. I was slightly jealous of the animals who were able to float around in the water while sweat poured off of me. Yeah, I was jealous of a manatee. That is what my life has come to.  


Later that day, my brother graciously watched my munchkins for a bit while my sister-in-law and mom and I visited a local winery & brewery, Copp’s. It didn’t look like much from outside but it was so nice inside!   

These days I’m more of a beer fan than a wino and I enjoyed sampling some of the local craft brews. 

  I bought a few growlers to take home to share with Big Daddy Byron as well. What a lucky guy! 😉

Father’s Day, a difficult day since losing my dad, was spent with family out in the sun. We started with a trip to Clearwater Beach and had a blast swimming and building sandcastles. 
We stopped and had lunch at a Steak n Shake at my brother’s request as it was one of our dad’s favorite restaurants.  

On the way back to Crystal River, we stopped for some shopping and wine tasting at Tarpon Springs! 

That evening we enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal by my sister-in-law for Father’s Day!  

(Side note: I still haven’t slept well at this point. Maybe it’s the combination of not being in my own King sized bed or being kicked by my kids all night, but I am in serious need of a good night’s sleep by this point!)

Sunday we slept in then headed out on my sister-in-law’s family boat for a bit. Even though we had a little engine trouble, this was AWESOME! Being surrounded by sun, water and wind does something good for the soul.   


After our boat ride we headed to the “Monkey Bar” which is right next to an island where a small group of monkeys live!   

The kids really enjoyed seeing them and I indulged in some girly drinks.  

Next we headed to a restaurant called Cracker’s for dinner, which was really nice! Great atmosphere and tasty food!   




We ended our stay in Florida by relaxing and swimming together at the hotel pool. We could not have asked for a better trip!

Now, will we survive the 2 day drive home? Only time will tell…😏


The ultimate road trip: Part 3

(Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.)

As we enter the hotel, the atmosphere is lighthearted and joyful. We have finally reached Florida! It takes about 10-15 minutes to check in as we chat with the desk attendant about places to visit during our stay. I ask about local breweries and he informs us that the one I had previously googled and now mentioned was the best around and gave us directions. As we walk away, he offers to take me there himself after his shift. Silly southern men! 😉

After unloading our luggage we head to my brother’s house for a taco and beer dinner. YESSSSS!!   

We end the day by swimming together in the hotel pool. 

I hope to sleep well this evening as the Gorilla slumbers beside me and we are all clearly exhausted. This is not meant to be.

My poor Gorilla awakes in the night with a nosebleed, which unfortunately is not an uncommon occurance for him. After taking care of that, he spends the rest of the night sleeping peacefully as long as his hand is spread openly across my face. ✋🏻 I now know that I am unable to sleep soundly with someone’s hand splayed across my face.

Thursday morning arrives and at breakfast Logan suffers another nosebleed. Blood can’t stop us though so we continue on our Florida adventure. First stop…Weeki Wachee Springs State Park!

We need to get some photos and find a spot for our belongings first.  

Oh yes, there are peacocks running free everywhere. This was a bit horrific for me as I am terrified of birds, but I survived it. 😏
First up, a wildlife show. Though it was hoooooooootttt outside, the show was short, sweet and educational.   

      I’m soooooo sweaty. 
The kids even got to touch the snake and alligator after the show!    

   Next up, the mermaid show! This was seriously AWESOME! Binxy was beyond impressed to watch the “real” mermaids perform the story of The Little Mermaid.   
              The girls even got to meet an actual mermaid! 😉
Then we moved on to swimming which was so refreshing! I would HIGHLY recommend this tourist attraction for anyone visiting. The kids AND adults had a blast.

Finally, it was time to head back to the hotel for showers, snacks and some rest before dinner.

Dinner was a fun family time at Cody’s in Crystal River.   

  We ended our first official day in Florida by swimming together at the hotel pool which was relaxing and fun. 

I hope to get some restful sleep tonight, so I plan to sleep with Binxy. She instead requests a selfie photo shoot while everyone else sleeps. She is so cute that I can’t help but oblige.   

 Nosebleeds, peacocks and heat can’t keep us from enjoying our time in Florida!

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The ultimate road trip: Part 2

Captain’s Log

Day 2

Stardate: June 18, 2015

After a long day and a fitful night of sleep, the children and I awoke at 8:00 am. We are scheduled to leave at 9:00 am so I quickly shower and make sure everything is packed so we can head to breakfast in the hotel lobby at 8:30 am. I have not yet heard from my mother, though I’ve already texted her, so we stop at her room. 

It appears she has overslept. 😠 I am unmedicated and have not yet had coffee so I know it is best that I remove myself from what could potentially be a dangerous situation. 

So I take my children as well as my niece and nephew to breakfast by myself. Exactly how I wanted to start my second day, especially when my nephew side eyes me and demands to know if I am SURE I know how to make him a waffle using the available waffle maker. Of course I am…with the help of the kind attendant. He does not need to know this detail.

My mom finally arrives to the chaos and tries to tame a feisty Binxy with yogurt.

(Oh yes, Binxy now wears glasses…)

By 10 am we are on the road when I realize we need gas. After filling up, we are traveling again when the children announce that they need to pee so we stop yet again. Truly, we begin our trek at around 10:30 am. 

We choose to forgo the movies today and stick to the radio and everyone seems content and calm with that. At 1 pm we stop for lunch at McDonald’s so we can pee but grab food to eat in the car as we continue on. It is clear here that everyone believes me to be a single mom of these 4 children and one kind man befriends me and informs me that one day I really will miss these days. He is a silly man.

Finally, we have reached Florida… 

By 3:51 pm, the world has gone mad. My 9 year old niece has lost control of her bowels and the gas she passes is suffocating us all. My son and nephew are demanding to know, “WHY ARE WE STILL DRIVING?!?” And Lucy will only answer questions and address everyone as Figaro. Constantly. Over and over. Figaro, Figaro, Fiiiigggaaarrrooooo!!

The good news is, the Gorilla can now read and identify numbers 70 – 102 due to the temperature on the dash of the van. Score 1 for the math teacher!

With 1 hour and 2 minutes left before we reach our hotel, the children begin mortal combat over a comb. Right before blood is shed, the comb is safely in my possession. 

At that point, my mother begins giving an educational lecture on Spanish moss TO NO ONE while my nephew makes the world’s loudest fart noises using his hand and underarm. A guttural scream erupts from tiny Binxy who then explodes with, “I’M SO ANGRY!!” I continue begging my mom to just gun it and break all laws to get us to the hotel. She declines.

With 20 minutes left, Binxy has had enough. She begins giggling hysterically and removing her clothes. I am at my wit’s end and cannot take much more. Finally, I spy a liquor store and my heart soars as I realize it is within walking distance to our hotel.

We arrive to my brother and sister-in-law waiting for us in the parking lot and it is as if the van explodes as we tumble out into the Florida heat.

Freedom. Sweet, sweet, FREEDOM…

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The ultimate road trip: Part 1

Someone pour me some whiskey so I can tell you a tale of two clearly insane women who took four children ages 3 to 9 on a road trip to Florida.

Our adventure began at 8:30 am yesterday as we loaded my mother’s van with what is possibly an illegal weight of luggage and headed south. As we merged into the highway, panic struck. Fear nearly choked me as I slowly turned to her and whispered, “Oh my God…we made a rookie mistake.”

She glanced at me and said, “Huh?” 

“We didn’t have them pee before we left.” The fear quickly took hold of my mom as she realized the potentially fatal mistake we made. 

“Don’t say anything!” I whispered and said a silent prayer that everyone’s bladder would stay strong for awhile.

30 minutes pass and by 9:00 the Gorilla and my nephew have lost their minds behind us as my mother yells about the traffic.   

I gently ask her if she’s taken her medication yet today and unsurprisingly, her answer is no. We are less than an hour into this trip and I am wondering how angry I will make everyone if I ask to go home now.  

Before I can ponder my escape any longer, we are rear ended at 9:23 am. Seriously. 

Thankfully, everyone is fine, and there is no damage to either car, so we continue on our way to the tune of children fighting over which movie to watch. By this time, I have accepted my fate and silently said good-bye to my freedom. I am now a prisoner inside this van as we soar across the border into Maryland.

Eventually we hit Virginia and it’s time for lunch.   

    Up to this point, the children have done surprisingly well. Which is probably why my children decide this is now the time to completely. Lose. Their. Shit.
Binxy walks into the restaurant and begins screaming immediately after taking her shoes off. She weeps into my lap for an unknown reason for 5 minutes as I struggle to order drinks for everyone amongst the cries of needing to use the restroom yet again. Finally, I switch seats with her and she calms down…for now…

I take a deep breath, we place our orders, and then the Gorilla begins to  wail. He is inconsolable so I take him outside into the 95 degree heat. Because intense heat always calms children…right?  

He bawls and repeats over and over that he wants “the brown thing” on his burger. He is irate and his little body contorts as he can’t fathom why I do not know what “the brown thing” that he so desperately wants is. I finally decipher that what he wants is the actual burger. He sobs quietly as we head back into the restaurant.

We sit down and the Gorilla’s tears begin falling faster and his breathing becomes quicker, signs that I recognize indicate another meltdown. He chokes out that he is cold in the restaurant and weeps quietly in his seat for the next 10 minutes. His meal arrives and I pray that he will find happiness in “the brown thing” before him, but alas…this is not to be. He continues to sob until finally telling he he wants a pancake.

My options at this point are either to flip the table and storm out or order him a pancake. I grip the table, carefully weigh my options and their consequences, then order the pancake through gritted teeth.

The pancake consoles my first born enough that I am able to inhale about 6 bites before Binxy decides she needs to run about the restaurant and test every. Single. Seat. When I finally capture her and we head back to my own personal prison, the van, I silently vow that we will only stop at restaurants that serve alcohol from this point on.

But not before I get coffee and a cookie from Starbucks. I’ve earned it at this point.

Finally, we make it to North Carolina and it is 100 degrees.   


I am driving, I have made sure we are ahead of schedule and I am finding my rhythm. So it’s only fitting that my mother decides she is done for the day and begins snapping at everyone.

I tell her to pull herself together, we are making it to a certain point and we are already ahead of time. We can’t stop now! She agrees to calm down and we continue on. 

Binxy leads a few rounds of singing which the children each seem to enjoy. They belt out “Let It Go” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” the 2 songs she knows well and I know in my heart I have a future diva on my hands as she gives directives to everyone as they sing. 

By 6:30 pm we are done for the day. We find a Hampton Inn in South Carolina and check in to two rooms. My mother chooses Shoney’s for dinner and I silently curse her as there is no booze…until I am told my children are young enough to eat for free. Score!

By 8:30 pm we are back to our room and I suspect my little angels will fall asleep quickly. 
By 9pm the Gorilla is snoozing. Binxy, however, has decided we are having a sleepover. Besides the fact that I just want to tune the world out at this point, we did have some fun mommy/daughter bonding time.  

At 10:40 pm she is finally asleep. My night is spent mostly awake as she prefers to take up the entire bed and kick me when I try to share the bed with her. I wake up today exhausted, but our trip as only just begun…

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Can’t stop, won’t stop…


I’m not so sure I carry myself so beautifully, but my heart is certainly heavy these days and my soul is surely a mess. Even so, I plunge forward into the unknown

Sunday evening, I dove back into one of my most favorite yet unsuccessful pastimes – recreating recipes and crafts from Pinterest

My fellow Pinterest-lovers may recognize the pin where you can dry strawberries to make healthy “fruit snacks.” (See

I tried…and failed. Surprise! 

I ended up with a hot mess of burnt strawberries. Yum! Needless to say, my kids will continue eating the processed, cheap yet sweet fruit snacks for awhile until I can figure out this, clearly, highly complicated healthy recipe. 

Oh, and remember when I pretended to be a runner for awhile? I figured it was time to start taking care of myself again. I haven’t had much motivation to do so since my dad passed, however growing out of my clothes is becoming quite motivating recently. So yesterday I went back to the gym and ate fairly well – lots of veggies!

And if I haven’t convinced everyone that I’ve completely lost my mind yet, tomorrow my mom and I leave for Florida with my kids and my niece and nephew. Did I mention that we will be DRIVING? To FLORIDA from PENNSYLVANIA? Yup. I’m having horrific flashbacks from our last big vacation. And I use the term “vacation” loosely. 😏

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New adventures…


Ah, adventure. It’s the unknown, terrifying yet simultaneously exciting. I’m a fan of the thrill of an adventure but often struggle with the thought of the change it often brings. I have never been one to welcome change. I am a true Capricorn, a practical planner who thrives on structure and routine. Change is difficult for me. Yet, here I am with my whole world changed, continuing to change and I am trying to learn how to embrace it, both the positive and negative changes. My instinct is to prepare for future change, think tirelessly of “the plan” and work out every single possible scenario in my mind before it actually occurs. This, unsurprisingly, causes me a massive amount of anxiety. 


It’s these battles that make me feel alive as much as they break me. The one thing I know for sure though, that knowledge that lives deep within me, is that while I am far, so far, from perfect, I am a survivor. Whatever new adventures await, whatever changes the future holds for me, I. Will. Survive.

With that being said, my summer adventure has already begun! My first evening after a strange yet fulfilling school year was spent celebrating with friends outdoors with delicious food and a roaring fire. The following day was spent with my kiddos, (who will soon get a post of their own in which I update about all of their shenanigans! Ha!), shopping, having lunch with my mom who I haven’t seen in a couple weeks, and attending a birthday party.

Let me pause here. I need to elaborate on this birthday party. You see, because of my work schedule, I am unable to take my children to preschool. Big Daddy Byron and my mom take care of that. However, I’m the one who typically takes the kids to their preschool friends’ birthday parties which never fails to result in a whole lot of AWKWARD as I know no one. I don’t even recognize the kid who we are celebrating and none of the other moms care to get to know me. (WHAT? There are people who don’t care to know this beloved woman?!? – you.) (Sad, but true. – me.)

So I just awkwardly follow my kids around, avoid making eye contact with anyone and try not to fall into any obviously unwanted awkward conversations. The most recent party had some of that, but then I met a mom who I immediately connected with. She was kind of being awkward too and as I walked closer, she introduced herself. Turns out she was the birthday boy’s mom. I apologized for not recognizing her and explained my situation. She sighed and immediately relaxed  as she exclaimed, “I don’t even know anyone here either! I never get to take my kid to school either! Can I get you an adult beverage?”

SCORE! She somewhat drunkenly, I think, led me to the refreshments and I poured myself a drink. We went back to the preschool mom table where no one would talk to us, so we started to chat some more. I asked if she had any other kids and it turns out she has a son in her 20’s as well.

Hold up. This woman looks too young to have a son that old. I did some quick math using my age as an estimate and thought, there’s no way she had a kid when she was 10!

She must have seen the disbelief on my face as she stated, “I’m old, I know. I’m 45.”

All the other moms stopped talking and started listening to our conversation at that. It didn’t phase me though and I simply stated, “I would never have guessed that. You look amazing!”

Now here’s where I knew we were meant to be friends…she leans into me and says, “Want to know my secret? BOTOX!! I work for a plastic surgeon and can inject myself whenever. Look at this bruise by my eye – I just gave myself some this morning!”

I beamed and asked for more info about where she works. The other moms were the ones sitting in awkward silence now. We just laughed, the party continued and the kids had a blast. It was nice to finally meet a kindred spirit within the preschool group, even if it took two years to finally do so.

My summer adventure continued into the evening with a girls’ night out. I don’t often get to see my friends outside of work during the school year, so I was excited! We started with dinner at a Thai restaurant and I got to experience Thai food for the very first time. I’m a fan!

We moved on for some drinks and great conversation. As I’ve been learning and continue to learn, we are all fighting our own battles. 

In the midst of opening up and sharing, I had the pleasure of meeting Jaleel White, aka Steve Urkle. He was at the bar we were at and he was super nice and we got to joke around.  


I would say this has been a pretty fun start to my summer adventure!


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And then it all came crashing down

My last post occurred on January 25, 2014. On January 30, my entire life changed when a mass was discovered on my dad’s lung.

For almost 4 months, we hoped and prayed and begged for more time. On May 20, 2014 my daddy left this world.

To describe this past year of grief and trying to figure out what “normal” means now is impossible. One thing that is certain however, is that this has been the darkest year of my life.                

Recently, I decided to read through these blog posts. Oh, how different my life used to be. It made me yearn for my life before cancer. Writing those posts and sharing my Pinterest fails, motherhood snafus, adventures in the classroom, silly thoughts on life and the struggles I thought I had before cancer made me happy. 

It’s time to write again. I need a way to document the times I now smile so that I can read back through them when the grief or my new reality grip me. I also need a space to express my imperfections and the darkness I sometimes wander through. You may question, why make this space so public? 

I’ve been blessed to share much of my struggle and journey privately with a select few loved ones and yes, my counselor. Within the past month though, my experiences have been helpful to a dear friend of mine and I thought, what if there are others out there who need to know they aren’t alone, whatever their personal challenges may be? 

I’m not the same person I was on January 25, 2014. Not by a long shot. I think the people who love me the most, my family and friends, often find it challenging to understand who I am now. And that’s ok, because I don’t even fully know who I am now, just that I’m very different post-cancer…and I’m ok with that right now.