Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time for a Get Away: California

In January 2008 (just after we found out we were pregnant with Angelia), Travis and I went on a vacation to San Diego, California. Our main reason for choosing California as our destination was to visit his brother, Jared. And there's nothing like getting a break from the cold Kansas winters to visit some place warm!

How we saved $$$:
  • Booked our flights, hotel and rental car with Price Line.
  • Spent a few nights at Jared's apartment. (Try to visit places where you have friends or family.)
  • Bought groceries and prepared some of our meals instead of eating out the entire trip.
How to make the most of your trip:
  • Plan ahead. (Ask those accompanying you for their input.)
  • Research the local attractions. 
  • Make necessary reservations prior your departure.
Key Note: the more you plan, research and prepare before your trip... the more FUN and RELAXING your trip will be!

    What we did to enjoy our time in Southern CA:
    • Hiking
    • Surfing
    • Rode beach cruisers and roller blades on the board walk
    • Spent time on the beach
    • San Diego Zoo
    • Sea World
    • Toured a public garden
    • Tried new restaurants with fresh sea food!
    • etc.





    Your Feedback:
    Where is your favorite vacation spot?
    How do you save money when you travel?
    How do you make the most of your 'get away'?

    Imagines courtesy of State of California and Visit California.

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Wall Art: Kitchen Wall Decal

    Over the past few weeks I've been contemplating on what to do with the space above our kitchen window.

    Here's the wall space calling me for some attention...

    My Thoughts: some kind of curtain?, a small shelf?, 3-5 small plates on plate-hooks? (hmmmmm...)

    My Conclusion: a WALL DECAL! ...And I immediately knew what I was going to say!

    Since I have a love for all things Italian, I thought this phrase would be perfecto for my kitchen!

    Buon Appetito!  (Italian)

    English translation: Enjoy your meal!



    Close Up:

    How It's Done:
    1. Clean the surface (I just wiped the wall down a few times with a damp paper towel.)
    2. Scrape the decal with a plastic card. 
    3. Use a tape measure and level to position your decal where you want it. (You can use a pencil to lightly mark points of alignment or tape if you don't want to mark your walls.)
    4. Tape the top of the decal to the wall (preferably with vertical strips).
    5. Fold the decal up 180 degrees and slowly peel the backing off.
    6. After making sure it's still positioned correctly, fold the decal back down.
    7. Using your hands, press the decal against the wall working from the center to the outer edge. (You can also use the plastic card again).
    8. Starting from the top remove the front sheet in a slow downward motion. If some of the decal doesn't stick to the wall, press it back down and apply more pressure.
    9. Stand back and admire your new wall art!
    I ordered my decal online from Words Anywhere. Their site is easy to use and you can custom design your decal by choosing your our phrase, color, size and font! And since I was working in such a defined space, it was great being able to measure and select specific dimensions.

    Your Feedback:
    Have you put up any wall decals in your home? If so, please share the details!
    When it comes to wall decals, do you favor words or images?

    The Cool Girls: Do They Look Alike?

    Angelia and Chiara... my two biggest blessings! At 19 months apart in age, I am so excited for them to grow up together as sisters and share that special lifetime bond! I never had a sister, but I was blessed with a big brother, Grant, and we are only 18 months apart in age!

    Chiara: July 8, 2010... 10 weeks old!


    Angelia: December 23, 2008... 10 weeks old!


    Your Feedback:
    So, what do you think... do they look alike?
    Do you share a special bond with a sibling?

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Your Health: How I Got Started

    A brief background on my initial interest in over-all health:
    Since my early teens I have been interested in living a healthy lifestyle. My high school days consisted of running track and cross country, going to modeling school, and spending A LOT of time outdoors on our 80-acre ranch. In addition, whenever I got the chance I would research information about nutrition. Not only did I watch what I put in my body, but also what I put on my body. This interest stemmed from being introduce to Arbonne at my modeling school. You wouldn't believe how many chemicals we put on ourselves from hygiene products and cosmetics. I have also always had a passion for being active and enjoying nature!


    After going to college I "loosened up" quite a bit on the way I ate. This was due to a number of reasons, such as, not having a kitchen I could use in my dorm or sorority, convenience, and social aspects. Though I did still watched what I ate to a degree (especially for a college student) and stayed very active.

    What I did to stay active while in college:
    • Worked-out at recreation complex almost daily (cardio, weights, classes).
    • Went to the natatorium to swim laps early in the morning.
    • Joined the university's running, cycling & sailing / windsurfing club.
    • Participated in road races, adventure races, and duathlons. 
    • Went hiking and running on the Konza Prairie.
      And then there was a boy...
      When I met my husband in college he was practically surviving on frozen pizza, candy and soda. It drove him crazy that I didn't eat desserts. Lets just say he began to eat more healthy (especially since I would cook for him) and he introduced me to my sweet tooth (especially when it came to chocolate)... but I guess we sort of balanced each other out. 

      We're playing in a whole new ball field now...
      After we got married, Travis no longer had to entice me to eat desserts, although I would have to encourage him to eat some of the more healthy foods here and there. That has all changed though due to his recent diagnosis. He is now on an all fresh, organic, sugar-free, gluten-free, meat-free (with the exception of fish), dairy-free (with the exception of cottage cheese mixed with flaxseed oil), distilled water only diet... along with taking many supplements.

      Eat well. Get outdoors. Be active. Love, Laugh, Live!

      Your feedback:
      What health topics are you interested in learning more about?
      Do you watch what you put in or on your body?
      What is your favorite exercise / outdoor activity?

      Saturday, July 3, 2010

      Travis Update: 2nd, 3rd, 4th... Opinions

      Given current treatment options for brain cancer (or any type of cancer at that) you basically have 3 choices: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Since radiation and chemotherapy are both toxic (, we are considering surgery, doing a lot of research, taking the natural approach and most importantly PRAYING for healing and guidance!

      Here's a good analogy:
      "Imagine that you own a house that is absolutely perfect and beautiful with all the necessities, except that it has some rodents inside. When you call the exterminators, they tell you that they won't be able to target just the rodents, as these rodents are of an especially stealthy breed. They tell you they're just going to set off a series of explosions in your house that may kill the rodents. They warn you, "Oh yeah, it may destroy some of your house in the process, but, hey, you want those rodents out of your house, right?" There's probably no way you would allow that; instead, you would do some research and find other, more specific and less generally destructive ways of getting rid of the rodents."

      Recent Events:
      June 14:  Receive call from MD Anderson saying they would do surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

      June 18:  Meet with the neuro-oncologist from St. Luke's, Dr. Salacz, for the second time. This appointment was a lot more encouraging then the first. Waiting to get more pathology information before deciding a method of action. Recommended an approach of not 'playing your cards too soon' when dealing with a slow growing tumor, which we agreed with.

      June 22:  Received the biopsy report back fom Mayo Clinic, which just confirmed what we already knew... Oligodendroglioma, grade II, no 1P 19Q chromosome deletions.
      June 28:  Received call from Duke saying they would do surgery and their surgeon thinks they can do a complete recession! Although in reality a 'complete' recession when dealing with the brain is nearly impossible. It would be more accurate for them to say they think they can remove 'most' or 'the majority' of the tumor. None the less, this was great news!

      June 29:  Phone interview with neuro-surgeon in San Fransisco, Dr. Berger. He said he thought he could remove 90 - 95% of the tumor and recommended surgery within 1 -2 months. He also told us that given its location (right side, below the motor stripe) side-effects would be temporary weakness of his left arm and leg, possibility of one week of physical therapy, worst case scenario 85% of movement returned within 2 months and 100% returned within 6 months.

      June 30:  Call from neuro-oncologist at St. Luke's, Dr. Salacz, after reviewing biopsy slides with their pathologist. He said if he had to put a decimal on his 'grade II' tumor, he would call it a '1.75'. This was great news since that tells us its probably even slower growing! He also said that the tumor probably started 10 - 15 years ago, which means Travis has probably had this tumor since he was 10 - 15 years old! It makes you wonder what started it in the first place. He also noted that he didn't think surgery would be worth the risk unless his surgeons thought they could remove at least 90% of the tumor.

      What's next:
      July 6:  Dr. Salacz will be presenting Travis' case with the 'tumor board' for the second time to discuss surgery. We will then meet with him at 10am to hear their opinion.

      Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray!!!