What’s got two thumbs, slightly less of her leg, and is CANCER FREE?


Friday afternoon, I was just doing my thing. Taking care of the boys, cleaning up around the house, waiting for Brien to get home. And out of the blue, my surgeon calls me.

He explained to me that while preliminary testing of the lymph node showed some cells that were a “red flag”, more in-depth testing determined that those cells were NOT from my melanoma, and were also NOT malignant in any way.

I asked, “So…that’s it?”

“That’s IT.”

No more cancer, no more surgeries, I’m in the clear!

Of course, I will still need to go back for checkups and do frequent skin checks, but that’s a small price to pay.

I will be more diligent about looking at my skin, about getting to the dermatologist regularly, and about getting scary looking things taken care of right from the get-go. And I encourage everyone reading this to do the same. And to tell all of their loved ones to do the same. Even if you just have one funny looking mole that you think “is probably nothing.” Go in, get it checked, it could SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Thanks a million times over to everyone that got in touch with me to show support, offer help, give encouragement, say prayers, all of it. I’m grateful and truly touched. The past 8 days of my life would have been a living hell had it not been for all of that love coming my way. Thank you thank you thank you!

Here’s to many more bloggy years to come!

My Last Friday With My Sentinel Node

Surgery is scheduled for Monday morning. It’s going to be a full day, starting with a check in time of 7 a.m. Then I go to Nuclear Medicine at 9:30 to get some kind of injection that is going to help the surgeon find my lymph node. The actual surgery itself will be around 11:30, and I’ll get to go home at 2 or 3.

It’s not the actual surgery itself that’s making me nervous these days. I mean, come on, I get to SLEEP! I’ll probably wake up more well-rested than I’ve been in 6 months. No, it’s the details of the post-op I’m stressing.

For starters, I can’t breastfeed for 24 hours. So, I’ve been pumping myself crazy for the past week to be sure Ferris has enough to eat. And, I’m going to have to bring my pump with me to the hospital to relieve some of the pressure throughout my day. And then I’ll have to pump periodically for the rest of the day. And night. It’s going to be a blast.

I also have to buy groceries to get us through the whole week. Lots of food that won’t spoil too quickly, that Bowie will eat, and that Brien will be willing to cook. At least for the first few days. Or maybe I’ll just plan to order in.

And then there’s the fact that the very next day, Tuesday, is Bowie’s parent-teacher conference. I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a preschool conference. But, when your child is one of the more…spirited in the bunch, well, let’s just say I just want to be on top of my game.

There’s also that crazy hectic purgatory while you’re waiting to hear lab results. I’m expecting to get good news, the doctors are expecting to give me good news, but there’s always that chance, ya know? It will probably take a few days, which will feel like a few years, to hear back. And I’ll just have to sit and wait. And wait. And wait.

Conveniently enough, this has all taken my mind off of Kindergarten. We find out which school we got in a few weeks. I was all-consumed with that whole process, and now it all seems so trivial in comparison.

Thanks to everyone for your support and kind words these past few weeks. It’s nice knowing there’s so much love out there for me and my family.

And cancer? You can pack your bags and leave. No one invited you. No one wants you. Take a hint.

This Just In

Random thoughts from my brain tonight:

1. Money sucks. Worrying about money sucks more.

2. I think the baby is sick again. I thought it was the same cold he’s had for a week, but today he seemed sicker, and I think he got sick again before he ever actually got well. See also: think he might be teething.

3. Make a list of things that bother you. About life on Earth in general. Now, cross off that list things that have never actually affected you on a personal level, double cross off things that are unlikely to ever affect you in the future. Then you’ll have your list of things you should *actually* care about and do something about.

4. I own exactly two t-shirts that fit me. And the weather’s starting to get nice here again. Where are the short sleeved shirts, retailers? WHERE ARE THEY?!

5. The kiddos at preschool sing this song every January, ALL January. And it’s a hell of an earworm. Now it will be in your head too. You’re welcome!


We’re all fine.

That’s basically all I want you to take away from this post. This is the longest I’ve gone without blogging since I started this whole thing. We’ve all been sick since Thanksgiving (well, not Ferris, breastfed baby immune systems FTW!) and I’ve been trying to cram in some holiday shopping. I’m usually done with all my present shopping before Thanksgiving, but this year I’m just getting started. YIKES. Family members reading this: your gifts are likely to be late.

Anyway, excuses, excuses. I’m here, I’m fine (or I will be when this runny nose and cough finally leave), I plan on blogging in the future. Hope everyone else is staying well, staying warm and having a great holiday season.

Glance Back at the (Past Couple of) Week(s)

Still blogging, I promise! Typing this with one hand while I feed Ferris. Here’s the haps:

1. As I wrote earlier, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. And I had two t-shirts and a pair of jeans from my pre-pregnancy days that still (sort of) fit me, so it was off to the store for me to shop for a whole! new! wardrobe! Which would have been a whole lot more exciting if the stupid 80s and 90s weren’t back in style. I hate it. I hate it all. No, I will not wear skinny jeans and short t-shirts. No, I will not wear leggings and long sweaters. I saw a girl wearing stirrup pants the other day. STIRRUP PANTS! I managed to survive those trends once, I don’t want to go back. I was able to find a few shirts from Target, Old Navy and H&M that suit my style and didn’t break the bank, and I made the trek to my favorite Salvation Army for some jeans (I swear by it) but they didn’t have much that day. Also, heading to Sports Basement (local sporting goods discount store that has a pretty decent women’s “street clothes” section with surf company goodies.) But, I need more ideas. What are your go-to stores? Who’s having mega sales right now? Where can I get clothes that don’t make me feel like it’s 1990 again?

2. We recently received the bill for my labor, delivery and hospital stay having Ferris and MY GOD. It did not cost us (out of pocket) this much to have Bowie, and I am hyperventilating. I literally felt sick to my stomach after I opened the bills. Our insurance covered the bulk of the cost, but the leftover amount is very overwhelming for a one-income family living in San Francisco. The costs of things are so inflated, it’s astounding.

3. It’s already been six weeks and I can’t seem to get a handle on life with two kids. Things were good at first, but then Bowie hit the regressed, needy stage of becoming an older sibling. And Ferris is now eating a lot more and sleeping a lot less than he was at first. I’ve learned to manage, but it often involves leaving a crying Ferris in his bed while I deal with one of Bowie’s epic tantrums, or doing everything half-assed and with one hand while I hold Ferris. Ferris had a little tummy bug and had diarrhea for 2 days, which made him not sleep at all, and gave him a HORRID diaper rash. It was so close to being impossible, trying to deal with a fussy baby and a needy preschooler on 2 to 3 hours of sleep. By some stroke of luck, this all happened when my mom was in town, so I had an extra set of hands around. But, what if this happens again? Because who am I kidding, it will.

4. I thought we were safe from the peanut butter recall. I buy Kirkland Natural Peanut Butter from Costco. And while the jar we have right now was manufactured before the dates being recalled, the recall was expanded to include Kirkland peanut butter. I’m not even sure where we can go to buy good-quality, non-tainted peanut butter right now. Bowie’s not a superfan of sunflower seed butter, but he’ll have to learn to love it I guess.

5. As I said, my mom was here visiting. She was here for a week, and it was great. Nice visit, and also nice to have the help! Big thanks to her. She had the idea to have a sleepover at her hotel with Bowie. At first he was wary of the idea, but ended up spending not one night, but two with her. And he was really sad to wake up yesterday morning and find out I’d already taken Grandma to the airport. Thank goodness for Skype!


Mother of Two

So. Yeah. Didn’t mean to ditch you there. That was the quickest week of my life. Wow. And just like that, I’m a mama of two. Thanks so much for all the love on Twitter and Facebook, welcoming my baby Ferris into this world. You guys are awesome.

Here’s a pic of me from earlier today, one week post partum (minus a few hours).

(You’ll notice I didn’t clean the mirror for you this time. That requires two hands!)

I feel so good. Compared to how I felt after having Bowie, I don’t even feel like I gave birth. Not that it was a whole lot easier this time. I mean, in some ways yes. 18 hours of labor compared to 6 hours of labor = amazeballs easier. But, epidural compared to no epidural = NO FREAKING WALK IN THE PARK. Overall, things went very well, and recovery is going great.

I will be posting the birth story here in a few days, after I gather my thoughts and can think straight again. Pregnancy Brain was pretty bad this go around, but I totally forgot how bad New Mom Brain is, wowza.

I just wanted to check in with you and let you know I’m doing so great. Learning to make Bowie’s lunch with one hand, nursing a baby in the other. Re-learning how to change a poopy diaper on a wiggly newborn by nightlight.

Our little family is adjusting perfectly to the new addition. And I am so, so, so looking forward to watching Ferris grow. (Just not too fast, ok?)

Here’s a super sweet picture my husband took at the hospital when Bowie first came to meet baby brother:

Love you guys. Stick around, there’s so much more to come on my journey through motherhood!


Glance Back at the Week

1. I thought this would be the week I get to meet my little guy. But, no. I am sitting here on Friday with a blog post to write, and I’m. Still. Pregnant. I’m at the point now where I can’t even pretend to be feeling ok, so I will skip all of that. I’m miserable, and ready to have this baby.

Mama at 39 weeks 5 days:


2. Update on Velcro: I spent $400 on a kitty who really didn’t need it, and won’t ever even be able to comprehend the fact that I loved her so much, and worried so much about her, that I forked over the cash just in case. Velcro’s diagnosis: stressed and anxious, with a skin allergy tossed in for good measure. Two things we already knew about her. So the next time she has blood in her pee, I have to force myself to wait it out for a few days, because it’s more likely to be that something freaked her out than that she’s actually ill in some way.

3. Bowie’s behavior has been pretty good, even the swearing, away from home. But, BUT, he’s still being incredibly defiant and disrespectful at home, especially toward me. It’s like a switch gets flipped in this kid, for realz! For the past three preschool pick ups, he’s a perfect angel, he leaves with no problems whatsoever. Wednesday, a fellow parent even helped me get him all the way to the car and she put him in the car for me, and he was wonderful and sweet and obedient. But, the second we pull away from the curb, it’s The Exorcist in the backseat. He screams swear words at me over the tiniest issue, he kicks the seat really hard, he stands on the street and refuses to go up the stairs into our house (most of the time he’s doing this in his underwear only, because that’s how he rolls at school these days). And the fit continues until dinnertime. I know that he’s holding it together at school all afternoon, so when he’s with me he feels “safe” to get out his pent up anger and frustration. I know this in my head. But, I’m exhausted, hormonal and anxious, and I don’t need the added stress. It’s been a very difficult week.

4. My young cousin Matthew is a Marine, and is stationed in Yemen. And although the TODAY show isn’t reporting on it, or anyone really, there was an attack on the embassy there too. So, keep him in your thoughts or your prayers or your good vibes, or whatever it is you send out there. He could use it right about now, I’m sure.

Not the most positive of weeks, sorry for that. But on the upside, the weather’s finally turning summery around here. And Bowie tried shrimp at dinner last night. And Husband is getting his old VW Moneypit Squareback closer to actual driveability. And I found a bunch of old favorite recipes on a long forgotten flash drive. Little things. Focusing on the little things.

Have a good weekend!

Glance Back at the Week

1. Our kitty Velcro is at it again. She always picks the BEST times to get sick, I tell ‘ya. Wednesday evening, I noticed a little blood in her pee, in tiny little puddles in front of the litter box. Her signature move when she’s got an infection. So, I take her in, thinking we’ll get the (expensive) injectable antibiotic, seeing as how I’m due to deliver a baby at any given moment, and we’d leave. Done and done. Well, wrong and wrong. She’s lost a pound since the beginning of the summer, and since a) her appetite has increased; b) her vomiting has MAJORLY increased; and c) she’s got another (suspected) bladder infection, they think she might have thyroid problems. So, they had to do a full senior blood panel, even though Lady is only 9 years old, and a lengthy urine culture to rule out other bladder issues. At least I was able to talk them out of the $200 x-ray I got suckered into last time this happened. $200 I may as well have thrown in the trash, as it came up showing nothing and her problem eventually cleared up on its own. This kitty. She is our problem child, no doubt about it. The vet tech made a comment about her “thick file” today. She’s been to the vet more than our 19 year old cat and our dog combined. More than our HUMAN SON has been to the pediatrician. I think of all the kitties who skate by on their good looks, she’s the luckiest to have been born so cute. She’d have been out on the street so long ago.

2. No baby yet. Not even a hint of baby. Well, at least up until this post goes to print. I know that I’ve got another week until my due date. And I know that Bowie came 8 days late. I just held out hope that the whole Second-Babies-Come-Sooner thing might hold true. I have stubborn boys, I guess. But, a fellow mama at preschool today did tell me, “Your baby is coming soon. You just have that look.” So, yay?

3. This post from one of my favorite blogs, Smacksy, brought up a pretty scary memory for me, one that I don’t like to think about but I suppose we should think about those kinds of things once in a while. It keeps us on our toes. It’s crazy being in charge of little people, being responsible for their well-being in every single aspect of their lives. Molding and shaping them with your every move, every second of the day. And dear God, I’ve got another one coming. PANIC. (But, no, seriously dude, you can still come out.)

Have a great weekend, and may my next Glance Back post find me the mama of two.

Glance Back at the Week

1. The preschool director had requested a meeting with me last week, to “discuss Bowie’s progress and where he is now”. And I sort of dreaded it, just unsure of what they’d tell me or expect me to say. I met with them this past Tuesday and, oh you guys. Amazing meeting. The teachers are completely floored by his behavior, and how far he’s come. The director said he’s “a completely different kid.” They applauded us for putting him in therapy and being persistent with him over the summer, and they said it has paid off in a major way. And they’d even like to use us as an example for future families who might be hesitant to seek help. I used to cry in their office out of frustration and embarrassment, and that day I was able to get misty out of pride and relief. I knew there had been a change in him, but I wasn’t sure others would be able to see it too. But, they were so surprised, and so happy.

2. So, if you’re a semi-regular reader, then you know I had a salmonella infection in 2006. It was a little bit traumatic, and I talk about it a lot, using my blog as a therapist (thanks you guys, you’re way cheaper than an actual therapist) and I like to get the word out about recalls and warnings. Because it was hell on earth, and I just don’t want to see anyone else get it. But I have to say that lately, I am pretty freaking overwhelmed with the news stories and warnings and recalls and possible contaminations and outbreaks. They are everywhere I turn. Peanut butter and mangoes and lettuce and spinach and canteloupe and tomatoes and ground turkey and MY GOD MAKE IT STOP. It’s enough to make even the bravest eater among us wonder if anything we ever put in our mouths is safe. And being pregnant makes it even scarier, because it’s not just about me right now, ya know? Funny story (also that you’ve probably already heard)–when I went into labor with Bowie, I actually thought I’d contracted salmonella again. The gastrointestinal distress, the abdominal cramping, it was all so reminiscent of my illness. I told my husband to take me to the hospital because I was sick and I didn’t want to hurt the baby. He could see through the crazy and knew I was in labor, but I was inconsolable, surely I’d somehow gotten salmonella again, and now my baby had it too. Wow, the crazy, looking back.

3. Since Tuesday, I have been having some mild cramping and lots of pelvic pressure. I’m sure I have a ways to go yet, but it’s nice to feel like things are progressing a little bit. I am SO hungry. All the time. It’s nuts. (Mmmm, nuts.) And between the peeing, the sore hips, the sweating to death and the insane dreams, sleep is a thing of the past. I’m trying to learn to cope with it, instead of complain about it, because I know I won’t be getting sleep anytime soon.

4. For your weekly dose of insane cute: Bowie found this outfit in the dress up area at school. It’s a witch’s dress, but some of the trim is green with spiders and spiderwebs on it. And he’s totally latched on to the thing, proclaiming it the “Nice Spiderman Princess” outfit. He wears it all afternoon at school, and the other night I just couldn’t get it off of him, so he wore it out to dinner too. And the the whole next afternoon at school, and following evening. It’s so cute and hilarious, and we can’t wait to show him pictures when he graduates high school.

Glance Back at the Week

1. The new-ish bloggy thing seems to be writing a letter to your 18 year old self. What you’d say to her if you could. Your advice, your warnings. I’ve sat down to write this post more times than I can count. I end up writing long, silly, run-on paragraphs in which I detail my youthful hijinks and warn, “You’ll regret that.” Which I then realize is pointless to even mention, and I sit there all nostalgic and in the written form of tongue tied. What it really boils down to is this:

Dear 18 year old Beth:

You are beautiful. Take pride in your body, and your youth. The first time you see your post-baby body in a Target dressing room mirror, you will wonder why you ever hated your body so much. And for heaven’s sakes, slow down. There’s no reason to be in such a hurry to be an adult, trust.

And oh yeah, wear sunscreen.

Much love, 33 year old Beth

2. Voting is still open for the Circle of Moms’ Top 25 NorCal Moms contest! Please vote for me and for all of your NorCal favorites! I know you guys did this for me last year, and you rocked it! Not pushing it so hard this year, but it would be nice to end up on that list. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support! Voting ends in one week, and you can vote once each day.

3. Preschool started back up this week! And I was SO nervous about Bowie’s first day back. Just, how he would adjust, if he would get overwhelmed and what might be done about his newly acquired swearing habit. But, I was assured by all teachers and one of the working parents that he had a fantastic day. And then I worried how he’d be yesterday, for my work day, because often if I’m there and things aren’t going his way, he takes it out on me. And there was a moment during opening circle time when things weren’t exactly happening the way he wanted, and he tried to bite me. But all in all, it was another amazing day. I’m cautiously optimistic that today will go well, and his first couple of days back will be incident-free. A luxury I have not had the pleasure of experiencing since February. And he swore yesterday, but it was directed at a swing, and not a person, which is a minor victory. And the school’s newest teacher just kept responding by putting different words into his sentences. Bowie: “You shit swing!” Teacher: “You silly swing, you’re not doing what Bowie wants!” Bowie: “Shit, I can’t get my foot out!” Teacher: “Ugh, I’m so frustrated that Bowie can’t get his foot out!” Awesome preschool teachers For. The. Win.

4. Sunday marks 37 weeks of pregnancy. As in full term. As in, you can make your grand entrance at any time, bubba. I’m getting invites to birthday parties and emails about preschool meetings for the first few weeks of September and I get so excited thinking, “Well, I could have my little guy before then.” In all reality, I’ll probably be sitting here, a week past my September 16 due date, feeling huge and sore and tired, just like I was with Bowie. And if walking endlessly around our hilly neighborhood, eating pineapple by the pound and drinking vats of raspberry leaf tea taught me anything, it’s that you can’t hurry a baby that’s happy inside mama. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m choosing to remain very optimistic. And when all is said and done, he WILL be here by the end of September, no matter what.

Loveliest of weekends to you all, and if you need me I’m somewhere in that thick blanket of fog covering the Bay Area. (Actually, as I type this, the sky is sort of…well, I don’t want to jinx it.)