an open love letter to my husband.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

i love it when you hear my alarm in the mornings and squeeze me tighter.

i love it when you sing in the shower and that it is always a truly absurd song choice.

i love that you happily volunteer to drive to dairy queen to get me a cookie dough blizzard. in the dead of winter.

i love that you wait up for me.

i love that you notice when i'm wearing new shoes (well, most of the time i love this).

i love that you aren't afraid to hold my bag in public (even though i won't let you).

i love that you love guinness as much as i do.

i love how quickly you get things done around the house on sunday mornings before football starts.

i love that you appreciate things that are important to me.. like buying music on vinyl, paying extra for the hard cover and buying the movie theater cherry coke because it just tastes better.

i love how kind your heart is.

i love your texts like 'i love you extras today'.

i love that you leave the last breakfast muffin for me.

i love that you carry my leftovers.

i love that you calmly tell me when i am losing my temper (although usually i don't love this until much later).

i love it when you make up for things you forget, like the milk you were suppose to bring home.

i love your love notes that you leave for me in the condensation on the mirror.

i love how much you want to be dad.

i love it when you send me pictures of you during the work day.

i love it when you try to spare me pain, even when you know you can't.

i love when you give guinness his eye drops.

i love it that you love my hair best when it's in a ponytail.

i love it when you dance with me to this song in the kitchen:


my goodness my guinness.

Monday, January 21, 2013

hello all. much to report here as we had an eventful week, last week. (we are all home today in observance of MLK and i am still in weekend mode.. until tomorrow morning, that is).

the appointment that we had on thursday for guinness was at university of wisconsin, school of vetinary medicine (note the bullie on their homepage). i am happy to report that it went well, and we left more comfortable and at ease with this entire situation than we had been so far. the people there were fantastic and we were so relieved to be talking to specialists about his care. even more than that, they truly felt for us and what we are going through, which is 100000x more comforting than what we have been dealing with so far.

they confirmed that guinness has multi-centric lymphoma, majority B cell. thankfully, this is what they deal with the most and had a lot of options for us. the first being chemotherapy. they offered several different treatments, with the first being the CHOP Protocol, the gold star chemotherapy treatment. because of G's past prednisone use (a drug his vet used to treat his allergies) they are worried that he may not respond to the chemo as well as they would like, but that would be the case for two other chemo treatments that they offered as well (basically those treatments use only 1 of the 4 drug agents that are used in the CHOP protocol chemo). in addition to these choices, an option is to leave him on prednisone alone (they estimate this to give 2 months of life, however G had been on this with swollen glands for over 6 months and still going strong.) obviously our vet was not aware that it was lymphoma at that time, but still, the doctors at U of W were surprised that he lasted so long on prednisone alone if it was indeed lymphoma at the first sign of swollen glands.

additionally, they offered several trials/clinicals to us that would be mostly free, but of course, there are no studies or estimated life range for these treatments.

with that being said, we decided to go for the CHOP gold star protocol chemotherapy for G. if he responds well, and if we decide that he is not too sick (we really don't want this) it will be a 19 week treatment plan. it was a big decision, especially with his past prednisone use being a factor, but we decided that with his young age and the fact that he held on for so long against odds already, we just felt in our hearts that this was the right choice. at least this way, if the chemo does not work, i will know that we did everything that we could for him to give the very best care available, and that it was just his time. i can be at peace with it if I know that we did all that we could. (additionally, if he does not respond to the chemo well, we may opt to try one of the clinicals/studies).

so. G had his first chemo treatment while we were there on thursday. the chemo will have to be administered in madison weekly (which is about an hour & a half drive for us, from home to the U). this was another factor that we had to consider, but we are going to figure it out. thankfully, we both have flexible work schedules and will just be making a lot of trips to madison. the expense was another factor that we had to consider. this treatment option was not inexpensive for us, but again, we are figuring it out. we knew that we have to give this all that we could and that the rest would figure itself out.

his first round went well. everyone at the clinic loved guinness and said that he did really well. he was a little out of sorts, and vomited one time, but after 24 hours he was very much himself again and feeling great. we hope that after a while we can get a good handle on what to avoid to help with the sickness, and as long as he is still himself, we are just so optimistic.

for guinness' cancer, using the CHOP protocol, studies have shown a life expectancy of 10-14 months, with 25% of patients living beyond this! so while this isn't a cure, it was the best option for him and us, and we are really hopeful that this was the right choice and will give us the most amount of time with him.

we knew going into this, that no matter what decided, not everyone would be on board with it. some people will think you are crazy for spending so much money, others will think we are not doing enough... we just tried to put everything out of our minds and go with our hearts and that is exactly what we did.

i am happiest to report that he completely himself today and his swollen glands are already going down!!! trying not to get ahead of ourselves, but we are hoping that this is good news on the prednisone front.

thank you all so very much for your support and love for us during all of this. it has been a crazy week, but we feel good about the fact that he received his first chemotheraphy treatment exactly one week after we learned of his diagnosis. we are enjoying every moment that we have together and will always have them to cherish.


something to say.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

my mind is wandering, as it does. i've been working hard to keep it in check because it's easy to get ahead of myself. but still, it wanders.

i've been facing the realization lately that my best friend, my guinness, will probably not be around when and if we are ever blessed with a child. and this realization is crushing. it is a dream dying. my dream, dying. i have looked forward to this most of all. i imagine it in my mind all of the time... G cuddled up on my big, pregnant belly. G watching over a sleeping newborn. G sitting at my feet while i rock the baby to sleep. G laying on the ground while he is poked and prodded with toddler fingers.

i will miss all of the things that he never gets to do, as much as i will his quirky habits we love so dearly.

i will always dream of this, no matter what the future brings for us.

my dream of my friend and my baby.

{g with our nephew kellan}


G update: we received the results of G's surgery yesterday and learned that he has a mixture of both B and T cell strands of lymphoma. while the B cell is more prominent, the T cell is present as well, which makes things more complicated. on top of which, we also learned that medication G's vet has has had him on for several months will dull the affects of chemotherapy in the future. all very confusing and frustrating... monday was a tough day. but we have gone as far as we can with our local vet (with the exception of making him comfortable for the rest of his short life) and were referred to a specialty animal hospital in a nearby bigger city. they are a nationally ranked veternarian hospital/teaching school, so we are very much looking forward to meeting with some oncology specialists who can (hopefully) give us more answers. G's first appointment is later this week where we will hopefully find out more about his prognosis and what we can do for him as far as treatment. we are not giving up yet. we will do anything to help our tough little guy and give him more time with us. even if it's just a little bit. but we are very insistent that does not suffer either. so, we have a lot of questions for our visit this week.

possibly the hardest part of this so far, is that with the exception of his very swollen glands, he is acting completely normal. still playful, still hungry for everything, still lazy, still happy. still our boy even though we look at him and know how sick he is.

while i haven't been handling any of this very well.. honestly, more like a toddler than an adult, i am looking forward to this appointment in hopes that we can finally get some answers and have a plan for him. i just want to know that we are doing something besides just waiting. so much waiting.

again, thank you all so very much for the kindness you have extended to us. words cannot describe the support we have felt and we thank you so very much.


i learned long ago to be happy with what you have; what you are blessed with. not to wait around for something to happen or to have something in order to be happy. i'm not so naive to say that i feel this way every single day, because i don't, but for the most part, i know this and i practice this and i am happy.

this doesn't mean that i don't strive for things, or that you shouldn't. i will always strive to be a mother. always. but it means, to me, to be happy with what you have, no matter what you don't have. a grateful heart. to consider yourself lucky for all that you already have. to be happy with that as often as possible. so that if you die tomorrow, you die happy and grateful.

you lived your life and you were happy.

and i am happy. these past five years of my life with my husband and my dog have been the best of my life. even with the struggling and the striving.... still, happy.

as we embark on this next part of our journey, i want to remember this and to keep the good from each day because we will never again have the chance. i will carry that with me.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

i'll be your emmylou and i'll be your june
if you'll be my gram and my johnny too.
no, i'm not asking much of you
just sing little darling, sing with me.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

we haven't left our couch in days. wait, we haven't left our couch in days except to migrate to the bed for sleeping... all three of us.. and then back to the couch in the morning. i can't bare the thought of these past few days ending... of having to deal with the reality of it all. of not being able to cuddly my bully 24/7. of not being able to cry when the feeling comes. of not being able to be together forever.

the world keeps going. we have to go to work to keep the roof over our heads that allows us to have weekends like this. we have to see the vet to figure out what our next steps are for g's cancer. we have to keep going. we. have. to. i keep reminding myself of that.

but i'm grateful that we have had these days together, just to be together. and to take it all in. we have had our fair share of distractions... so many movies and takeout and internet organizing. basically, anything that can be done from said couch. we have bully-cuddled our way through looper, savages, the lucky one, american reunion, lost in translation, big miracle, happy feet two, away we go, something borrowed... i'm sure there will be more. the distractions are nice, but the aches are still there.

i've organized my pinterest, finally started my society 6 shop, and am thinking about tackling some etsy updates today... all with mister's head on my lap, my little supporter. such a good boy. i wish these distractions could last forever.
^^^this last one is literally him cuddling on my lap while i'm on the laptop^^^

and here is the storefront to my society 6 shop. most of these are older photos, but it has me inspired to start using my dslr a little more... iphone photos are great and probably 90% of what i take anymore... but i really have to work with my dslr, and the end result is always so great. anyway, here's a little peek of what you can find there:

i had a lot of fun with the iphone cases, below are some of my favorites:

i should also mention that if i didn't already take one hundred million photos of guinness daily... this has only gotten worse over the past few days. any silly little thing that he does.. photo. oh G! you look so cute like that, photo. oh look, G is waiting by the door to go outside, photo. i'm serious. sorry in advance.


this beloved dog.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

hello world. i am here today with an update on our beloved g. guinness. mister. old pal. my love. we received a call from our veterinarian on thursday night that early results of his gland removal surgery were positive for lymphoma. she was calling to tell us that guinness has cancer.

we should have been much more prepared than what we were. we were not expecting results from his surgery for 8 to 10 days after the surgery (this was 2 days after) and we were so sure that his allergies were the underlying problem because he has suffered from them for so long. we both remained in a state of shock for most of the evening i would say. even now, these circumstances seem surreal to us. i remember having the phone on speaker with the vet.... as brian and i both sat on the bedroom floor trying to keep it together and ask the questions we could think of.... hearing guinness huff and puff at the bedroom door because he wanted in with us. that is probably most of what i remember from thursday night. we called the vet back on friday morning literally to go over everything again to make sure that we understood what she told us correctly.

he has lymphoma. guinness has cancer. we are still waiting on further test results that will tell us what strand of lymphoma he has: either B cell or T cell, T being the most aggressive. we should have these results by monday afternoon so that we can consult with our vet and determine what comes next for our little guy, the light of our lives. we have been asking a lot of questions to our vet and researching a lot in the past 24 hours... and it's hard not to get ahead of ourselves because we want to take action so badly. we hope that there is something that we can do for him in the means of treatment. anything so that we can have a little time with him yet. anything so that he is not in pain. unfortunately, a lot of what we have learned is not good and we don't know how much time we will have.

since thursday night we have not left our house. we don't plan to for the rest of the weekend either. we are just here. all three of us. being together. there has been a lot of crying. and a lot of talking. but mostly crying. i think it's what we need in order to think clearly about this at all; even a little bit. he is so innocent and so helpless and doesn't understand why we are so sad. 

what do you do when your dog is comforting you because you are crying and you are crying because your dog has cancer?

or even now as i am typing this and he is sitting right here next to me, his head laying on my lap.... we have been going through so many 'cycles' of emotions. we can just be sitting here and talking about something entirely unrelated and then one of us thinks of something and starts crying, in turn the other starts to cry, and you can see where this is going. over and over and over. it's just too hard to wrap our heads around the thought of him not being in our lives. he is all that we have. he is everything to us. i can't imagine living in our house without him. i can't imagine coming home without him to greet me. i can't imagine not kissing his face at least three times every morning before work. i can't imagine what our lives would be without him.

a lot of my feelings were angry at first. why us? guinness is only five years old. why should he be taken away from us already? God will not grant us with a child and now he is taking our dog from us?!??!! the only thing that we have?! we can't even keep our own dog?!?!! 

i do still feel this way... deep down i really do. but i am able to focus more on what i am grateful for. i am grateful for the time that we have had with him and that we have at least 'caught' this cancer, which will hopefully give us a little more. grateful that i have a chance to be with him before his life is ends. grateful that he is snoring next to me right now. grateful to be going through this with brian. there are no words. i couldn't do a single moment of this life without him next to me.

i still do not understand God's plan for us. and i don't have to like it. but i do have to trust in it, and today it is very hard to do that. but i am trying. i am trying so hard that it hurts. it hurts.

i will leave it at this for now... a ramble of emotions and feelings, i realize. but g and brian are next to me right now, and i am relishing the rest of this life that we are sharing together.

i will update here when we know more.

thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, prayers and love that you have sent our way. my sincere apologies if we have not gotten back to any of you. we have been receiving so many wonderful messages, texts, calls, tweets, etc. but have just been taking some time to ourselves for a couple of days. thank you for understanding and thank you for caring so much.

i assure you that g deserves every ounce of it. we appreciate it so.


little things.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

{as promised & much needed}

01. rewatching friday night lights because it is perfect.
02. my mom watching friday night lights for the first time and loving riggins.
03. my wool coat and blush mittens and sorel boots to brave the iowa winters.
04. my favorite pen.
05. getting off of work an hour earlier than expected.
06. giving meaningful gifts and watching them be opened.
07. starbucks gift cards.
08. clementines, still.
09. tiny record shops.
10. planning a baby shower for one of my favorite people.
11. reading this book.
12. favorite restaurants.
13. fresh bouquets.
14. chocolate croissants.
15. pajamas with polka dots and slippers that were fate.
16. lyrics that comfort me.
17. candy bars with cookie butter inside them.
18. dates with my guy to our favorite place.
19. rituals.

"i still get wildly enthusiastic about little things...
I play with leaves. I skip down the street
and run against the wind."
Leo F. Buscaglia


this week has been hard. the hardest. unfortunately it is all too easy to lose myself in the madness and wallow in it. i have been in a constant battle with myself to keep moving past it all. life, i suppose. 

today i am trying to be hopeful again. because losing your hope is cruel and all too easy. 


this week our beloved G will undergo another surgery.. this time to remove one of his swollen glands to test for lymphoma. i remain hopeful that the underlying problem are his allergies, and that this is just a hurdle we have to get through before moving forward with another treatment, but it is hard to shake the weight of this week. my poor baby going under for surgery again. the fact that he could potentially have 2-3 weeks left to live if the results are not in our favor. and the fact that we have two days to come up with the money needed to cover the surgery as we just learned about this on saturday. it is very emotional and very draining and very worrisome and i just want to know that he is going to be okay.

unfortunately, when things go south they tend to do so in groups. these past few months have been a very trying time for us in our TTC journey, which came to a head late last week. i have never dealt with a situation so full of hope and so full of disappointment too. two absolute extremes that sneak up on you within minutes of each other. from one day to the next things change and they evolve and you are just expected to go along with it. when your emotions have you crumpled into a ball of feelings... you have to keep going. because if you don't you are giving up.

don't give up.

it's an easy concept. it's just not easy to do.

with this week, we have a lot of challenges to face and a lot of emotions to deal with and a lot of hope to maintain. i pray that we will continue to rely on each other and move forward as best as we possibly can.

if you would be so kind, please pray for my little mr. he is the light of my life and i absolutely cannot bear the thought of losing him yet.


burn slow, burning up the back wall
long roads, where the city meets the sky
most days, most days stay the sole same
please stay, for this fear it will not die
if i had a boat, i would sail to you
hold you in my arms, ask you to be true
once i had a dream, it died long before
now i’m pointed north, hoping for the shore
down low, down amongst the thorn rows
weeds grow, through the lillies and the vine
birds play, try to find their own way
soft clay, on your feet and under mine

heaving at the bracebreaking at the seams
sheets all billowing
the breaking of the day
sea is not my friend
seasons they conspire
still i choose to swim
slip beneath the tide

once i had a dream
once i had a hope 
that was yesterday
not so long ago
this is not the end
this is just the world
such a foolish thing
such an honest girl

kellan is one!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

it's hard to believe it has been one whole year since this little bugger made his grand entrance. it was a very special birthday for us to celebrate with a very special boy and he was one happy camper. and successfully showed us what he would look like with a beard.

i love you little k man! yourfavoriteauntiechelsea


my resolutions are simple. because i don't like making resolutions; i belong to the 'it's setting yourself up for failure when you do' camp on this matter. but i also believe in the luxury of a fresh start and taking advantage of this to focus on what you want/need and realinging yourself on your path. this is what is important to me and these are new things that i want to try. these are where my heart resides and this is organizing everything into one cheery list to help me to be brave and focused. i resolve to..

▲ be brave.
▲ get pregnant.
▲ say 'no' to people.
▲ more yoga.
▲ more reading.
▲ more smoothies.
▲ purchase a juicer [see previous resolution].
▲ finally paint my living room.
▲ pray more.
▲ use my running shoes.
▲ journal more.
▲ make my first ever layer cake.
▲ trust in God more.
▲ practice anxiety relief techniques.
▲ update our bathroom with our gifts from santa.
▲ do something with brian that we haven't together before [i'm thinking skiing].
▲ crochet something [anything] [second time this has been on my list].
▲ volunteer more.
▲ go to the ballet.
▲ do my hair like this.
▲ plant/grow ranunculus.
▲ go apple picking.
▲ go somewhere i haven't been before.
▲ make at least twenty things from my what katie ate cookbook.
▲ have a sister day.
▲ write 'little things' posts regularly [to remain focused on the positive].


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