• 2018,  Awesomeness,  Celebrate,  Dan,  Father's Day,  Grateful,  Memories,  Parenting,  Raine

    Father’s Day 2018

    Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband, Dan Herzing.   I am a dork and signed Raine and Dan up for a Father-Son Basketball Camp at Eureka College without even thinking about the fact that Dan has only one reliable lung, vertigo, and a recent complete shoulder replacement. It didn’t stop him from attending today, doing the best he could, and not even caring that he might have looked a little awkward and funny to all the other dads. Since his S4 diagnosis in 2014, we have been blessed with FOUR Father’s Days together. Raine will someday know how utterly amazing this is. For now, he was just happy to…

  • Announcement,  Awesomeness,  Cancer,  Cardinal + Finch,  Dan,  Gifts,  Grandpa Don,  Honestly,  Leah

    Young Cancer Family Starts Gift Business – We Need Your Help!

    {Medical Update: Dan’s shoulder replacement surgery was successful! He is such a rock star; he was sent home the following morning. Like, 24 hours later–In a giant hospital t-shirt that said “get moving,” super tight scrub pants, and no shoes. Clearly, I was not prepared with an overnight bag. He started physical therapy after two weeks of resting and is driving, cooking, and managing his pain well. We are keeping a close watch on his edema for signs of infection but so far so good!}   I developed this little hobby of making gift boxes full of wonderful goodies. I pretended it was a real business and gave it a…

  • Awesomeness,  Beer,  Berry,  Books,  Dan,  Friends,  Grandpa Don,  Gratitude,  Grieving,  Home,  Honestly,  Illinois,  Leah,  Photos,  Sunday Sunday,  Taylor

    Sunday , Sunday – Edition 2

      Things that made me smile the last two weeks … What made you smile? Having drinks with my neighbor and friend, Taylor, Friday. We used some of my mom’s glasses from the hutch collections to sip our blueberry sour lambic. She helped me untangle ribbon for the gift boxes. We talked about anything and everything while the kids played. You know, adulthood? Raine describing the new business to his buddy: My mom got a business. She makes boxes (gesturing to them). She puts little surprises inside and when people open them, they’re like, “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHHHHH!” Should I make that my tag line? The sun. I know everyone here thinks it…

  • Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder,  Dan,  Dr. Singh,  Gifts,  Gratitude,  Hobbes,  Hope,  Marriage,  Sunday Sunday

    Sunday, Sunday – Edition 1

      We survived another week! Time for another. Things that made me smile … What made you smile? The kindness and generosity of somone who is going to help us get Hobbes treatment to remove the tumor on his tummy. Creating a new playroom for Raine so that he can pretend he is an American Ninja Warrior. Vegan cookies from Cyd’s. My options are thin for a dairy allergy, so when in Peoria … Buy 4 cookies and live large! ( I would share a photo…But you know it! I ate them so fast.) Catching up with friends. Celebrity name drop! TAYLOR BLACK. JON BYLER DAN. ALLYSON PATTERSON. The support…

  • Awesomeness,  Birthday,  Celebrate,  Char,  Dan,  Doug,  Family,  Friends,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Jim,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Oregon,  Peoria,  Photos,  Rachel,  Raine

    And Along Came a 40th Birthday

    It felt like an outrageous accomplishment. It felt like the summit of Mt. Everest. And it also felt normal. We made it to his 40th birthday and life with cancer has become so normal to us, I was distracted by daily non-cancer minutia and completely forgot to plan something. While I was distracted, Dan planned his trip to Oregon. He always hoped to celebrate his 40th by traveling to the beautiful southern coast of Oregon to visit Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, consistently rated among the top golf courses in the nation. He set up plane flights, a rental car, air b&b’s for Lake Oswego and Bandon, reserved a golf cart–got a…

  • 2016,  Advice,  Anxiety,  Awesomeness,  Beer,  Chicago,  Dan,  Grateful,  Leah,  Memories,  Music,  Optimism

    2016 Put Me in the Same Room as Robert Plant

      On a whim, as I sometimes do when it comes to concerts, I bought tickets for myself and a friend to see The Milk Carton Kids at the Vic in Chicago. The exciting news was that it was a performance as part of a concert to raise funds for refugees and would also feature Emmylou Harris and friends. I could check Emmy off of my concert bucket list! Guests included Patti Griffin, Steve Earle, and Buddy Miller as well as Emmylou’s special guest, Ruby Amanfu. As with anything I plan ahead, and especially if it involves travel, I commit myself while completely thrilled about the idea of it, and then the week of…

  • Awesomeness,  Celebrate,  Christmas,  Dan,  Family,  Flowers,  Friends,  Gifts,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Joy,  Memories,  New Years Eve,  Raine

    2016 Gave Us a Different Kind of Christmas…

    I started decorating and helping Raine get ready for the holiday season the day we returned from Colorado (a trip to see friends after Thanksgiving). I was grateful that I did that–I didn’t know the majority of December would be engulfed by the trauma and duties of grief, then caught up in the whirlwind of our very first Christmas with our families (12 years overdue). Although it felt like a mad dash to get ready for Christmas after the funeral on the 15th, I had a few moments to slow down and try to find my way inside the consoling cover of a peaceful and joyful moment. Seeing sentimental items and…

  • Awesomeness,  Cards,  Dan,  Joy,  Leah,  Love Letters,  Memories,  Nature,  Photos

    Our First Date

    MEDICAL UPDATE: (After yesterday’s post) Dan’s heart showed improvement yesterday so the catheter was removed and he was moved out of CICU last night. Today cytology results came back and there were no cancer cells in the fluid. He was discharged today!   Top 10 Reasons Our First Date Was Weird But Awesome (Kind of like our journey being in love the past 12 years) Our first date was at a wedding. Thank you, Allie and Joel Birchler. The wedding was out-of-state in northern Indiana. It was a weekend-long date, because I had plans to go camping with our mutual friends, Hattie and Corey, while we were all there for the…

  • Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder II,  Birthday,  Celebrate,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Depression,  Grateful,  Halloween,  Holidays,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Memories,  Nature,  NSCLC,  Photos,  Raine,  Rocco,  Scanxiety,  Vineyard

    My Birthday, Halloween, & Scan Results

      (This is a long overdue post that sat in my draft folder for over a month! Yikes!) For me, October was a blur of changing leaves and trying medications. I am really proud to say that I worked hard at getting healthier and by now, December, I am stable on some fantastic drugs (the disolve tab Lamichtal is pretty rad!) and feeling very stable, with a greater clarity of mind and ability to experience joy again. Just in time for the magical holiday season, so I truly could not feel more grateful. I am a busy worker bee with 4 jobs (more about that later!) and Raine continues to…