Friday, November 25, 2011

Being a kid

This week we took the day off from life and spent it at Sea World. It was a wonderful day with perfect weather, great friends, Christmas shows, rollercoasters, and lots of laughing.

It got me thinking. Most days I have a moment or two or three or you get my point when I feel like I could seriously lose my mind. My kids drive me absolutely crazy a lot of the times. Being a Mom is HARD! And doing it 24 hours a day while battling cancer is REALLY HARD.

And I confess that there are days that I forget how truly blessed and lucky I am. Sea World could have been another one of those stressful days. Crowds, no naps, horrible unhealthy food, annoying music and shows, noise, and a chemo hangover on top of everything it was a recipe for disaster and it could have left me crying in the corner asking for my Mom. BUT it wasn't. It was a delightful day. A day where I was not an overwhelmed Mom, but a kid too. Adam and I just PLAYED all day long. We rode rides, sang along to an Elmo Christmas show, played, watched the magic of the animal's performances, and giggled.

I needed a reminder to live life the way my kids do. They laugh at everything, get excited about anything, and love everyone. I want to live life that way. And it was a good reminder for me. Now excuse me I have to go and a rip very loud whistles out of my boys hands and THROW THEM AWAY! :D

Here are some pics to enjoy.....
This boy has been waiting for what seems like forever to him to be tall enough to ride this rollercoaster and HE MADE IT this trip. He rode it 3 times, he is such a stud.

Alexis' first carousel ride, she loved it especially the PINK horse part.

Bryce found his brave heart and went on the watercoaster with Daddy and Connor, no pics because they did get VERY wet. Good job Bryce.

Seeing Shamu the for the first time (last time she was just a baby)

We spent over an hour in this thing, we had a blast.

We ended the day/evening getting pictures with the Christmas characters, then hit Cracker Barrel for a late dinner.

When was the last time you acted like a kid?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful OR Being a FREAK

Being diagnosed with cancer has changed A LOT of things for me. But one thing that sticks out even more than the being sick all the time, fighting to live, surgery after surgery, being high on pain pills, and losing my hair IS that I do everything in my power to make it so no one knows I have cancer especially my husband and children.

It is silly I know, but when you get cancer we can talk. I just don't want my kids sitting around someday thinking "oh yeah, remember when Mom had cancer. We didn't get to do anything." and "She just laid around for a year or so." Now my prayer is that if they ever say anything like that I will be around so I can smack them in the head, but you see what crazy thoughts are in my head. I want 2011 to be a year NOT all about Mom's cancer.

So here we are....Thanksgiving. But instead of a post about how thankful I am to be ALIVE (I really should do one of those) I am going to share with you all the cool crafts I have been making my kids do in an effort to trick them into thinking that Mom is A-OK!
This is the first year that I've talked to the kids about the 1st Thanksgiving. We even went to the library and got some books. Here are our pilgrim and indians(I mean Native Americans). Oh my word, I love that 2 of my kids colored their figures with blue and purple faces. Kids just don't see the world they way we do.

Turkey cookies: everything on Pinterest really does look easier than it is is real life.

Place cards for our family Thanksgiving dinner. These were actually pretty fun to make and Connor was uber excited to write everyone's names this year.

Ah yes, the McManus Family Thanksgiving Tree, isn't it hideous? But my kids love that ugly thing. Every year I sit down for an hour and cut out little paper hands (I hate doing this every year). Then every night at dinner the week before Thanksgiving the kids write about one thing they are thankful for. I keep a couple each year and we hang those up too. It really has become a great family tradition even if the thing is one huge eye sore.

At the end of the day, I might just be a freak. And I know in my heart that my kids don't "really" care about all these little crafts. But the truth is that cancer really has made me stop and think twice about what is important. And this year one thing that's important to me is making memories with my kids. Memories just mean more to me now. And if it means I have to turn myself into a freak Martha Stewart then I will do just that.

But seriously, take one moment this year to sit down and thank God for everything this year. For me it has been a really hard one, but a really really great one too. God has given me so much and I am positive that no matter what you are going through right now, He has given you so much too. Have a blessed day everyone!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween Pics

Cause everyone loves cute kids in cute costumes, right?

Our neighborhood is a kids dream come true when it comes to trick-or-treating. We just go down one street and then back on the other side and the kids get the MOTHER LOAD. It is very exciting to the kids to get this much candy, but I am horrified and HATE it. So we bag it(4 zip lock gallon bags full) and I PAY the kids money to make the candy go away. Mean or totally awesome you decide?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Fear is a powerful thing. It has the power to control you, distract you, steal your thoughts, take away your joy, and warp your picture of Christ. Anxiety is the same. Oh and worry, let's not forget worry. It is yet another emotion that Satan uses to destroy us. It's a slow attack, but steady and unwavering. Like digging a hole in the yard with a spoon, it's slow, VERY SLOW, but eventually the job will get done.

I am a control freak. I like knowing what is coming. I'm a planner and a list maker. I like things my way, because let's be honest "my way is just better." I like to think I'm the "fun" girl, but many times I find myself missing fun because I'm off planning or rethinking my plan. I miss sweet moments with my kids because I don't have "time." I stress over the cleanliness of my house even when no one is coming over to see it. I worry about money and feel anxious when I spend it. I lie in bed at night and go over things in my head, over and over and OVER again. Any other controllers feel me?

But, now I have cancer, and it changes A LOT of things. I have a disease now that is trying to kill me. It is slowly trying to destroy everything I love. And one day it just might do that. (I pray that it is a long way away). But, the truth is that I'm going to have to fight for life, and that is not going to change anytime soon. Melanoma (stage 3 and beyond) is not medically curable. You are considered in remission or NED (no evidence of disease) when the cancer is removed and they can't find anymore and you are done with treatments. You are cured of melanoma when you die from something else. (Totally morbid, right?) At least, that is what the smart cancer people say.

I'm not a person who likes stats and numbers but could you ignore these?

Stage IIIC Melanoma: I have a 27% chance to live 5 years after my diagnosis and an 18% chance to live 10 years. (American Cancer Society) My doctors and the treatments I am currently on are working VERY hard to make those numbers better.

Would those numbers make you worry? Would they give you anxiety? Honestly, what would you do if you heard stats like that about YOU? Would you be AFRAID?

Trust me, I have felt every emotion you can feel after hearing that cancer is trying to kill you. But the truth is this: I have Jesus.

And Jesus said this:

Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

I'm not going to let FEAR or WORRY or ANXIETY rob me of any more minutes. Our time on this earth is just like a breath. It is short whether I die tomorrow or in 70 years. Life is nothing but a vapor. I will NOT live this life tortured with fear, doubt, worry, and anger. I will not let Satan take the life I have left on this earth and plague it with this disease. Because the truth is, while I fight to live, fear, anxiety, and worry are the real killers that if I let win will take away everything I treasure.

On Tuesday, I go in for another surgery (just an outpatient). This might be a shock to some of you, but it happened quickly. I found another spot/lump on my hip and had it looked at. It had been removed before, but it has come back so the surgeon wants to "dig it out" and have it tested. We will know more about the results late next week. If it is cancer, we have some big decisions to make. If it is not cancer then I have another surgery on Nov 30th to get my port removed. (That's good news! I am very excited about that surgery)

This is going to be a new way of life for me. I will have a battle with cancer forever, but I will also spend the rest of my life in a fight with fear. Fear will be there forever, knocking on the door, whispering into my heart, and trying to get into my mind. Pray with me friends. Pray that fear does not win today.

This is what my prayer will be this week and next. Because of the Gospel I don't have to be afraid. Because of Jesus I have HOPE in my heart not FEAR!

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

I know that some of you battle with fear, anxiety, and worry. Friends don't let Satan win this fight over your thoughts, dreams, and feelings. The truth is we have nothing to be anxious about, but instead we have the peace of Jesus Christ.
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