September Mini-Trips, including an Important Petition

At one point in September, our yard looked like this. A stream of water flowed through our yard out to the street, and the grass is camouflaging the lake in our yard. We were really lucky and had no lasting damage, but because of the eight inches of rain we received and the resulting flooding, our sewer line was closed by the water company. So the sewer backed up into our basement, and we couldn’t use any water. We are decidedly used to having flush toilets, so Ed and I decided that we were going to pack up the girls and go to a hotel for the night. If I didn’t need to teach Sunday school the next morning, we might have toughed it out. But the thought of going to church without showers helped us make our decision. Does this count as a mini-trip? Lily was so excited about being in a hotel that it took forever for her to go to sleep. She jumped and rolled and kicked around in the bed that I was sharing with her. Once she fell asleep, she was surprisingly pleasant to sleep with. She doesn’t move too much in her sleep, so I slept pretty well.

For our planned mini-trip, I forgot the digital camera. We bought a disposable at Wal-Mart, and Lily was very upset that it didn’t have screen to view pictures on. The whole concept of having pictures “developed” was foreign to her. We visited several state parks in Northern Illinois, and also met a dear friend and her son at an apple orchard. We had tossed around several ideas on where to go, and when I found out that our governor was going to close some of these state parks, we decided we’d better visit them. I signed a petition to protest the closings, and you can, too! Online petition – Stop Blagojevich From Closing Our State Parks! This slideshow has pictures from White Pines State Park, Castle Rock State Park, and Lowden State Park. It’s pretty long, since I thought we took some pretty good pictures with just a disposable camera.

Lily has always been a good hiker; however, this time she threw a fit at White Pines, and would not hike. She screamed and yelled and placed her body in front on my legs so I would pick her up. We tried ignoring her, Ed yelled at her, we gave her food and water, and nothing stopped her tantrum. I finally asked her if she needed to go potty, and she did. We went to the nearest outhouse, and she calmed down. Then we talked with a park ranger, and Lily started hiking the rest of the trail as if nothing had happened. She really is something else.

We had great time on the rest of the hike. I showed her painted lady butterflies drinking nectar, and she got to see how tall prairie grass is. We saw purple clover blossoms and goldenrod. The day was beautiful and sunny, and Lily pulled herself together nicely.

We were only gone for two nights, but we really did a lot of things. We’re still enjoying the apples from the apple orchard. They taste really good when you pick them yourself!

Breast Cancer at a Young Age

As much as I lament being a young cancer survivor, I am not the only one in my family who was young when diagnosed. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was only forty. (Hi, Mom!) Her children ranged in age from 5 to 14 (that’s me). I can’t even imagine how she felt when she was diagnosed; I was too young (and was a typically self-involved teen) to realize what a diagnosis of breast cancer really meant. Later, she told me she never liked it when June came around, since that was the anniversary of her mastectomy. (My mastectomy was in June, too. Strange how things turn out, isn’t it?) I do know that she was devastated when I was diagnosed; cancer was the last thing on earth that she wanted her daughter to go through.

I recently told my neighbor that I was lucky to have a mom who had already had a mastectomy when I was diagnosed. Doesn’t that sound weird? Yet I was. Mom knew exactly what I was going through. She was very important in helping me feel that my diagnosis wasn’t the end of the world. She gave me the utmost support and yet gave me the freedom to make the decisions I needed to make.

Her cancer metastasized to her bones about four years ago, and she has been combating it with various estrogen blocking medications. Keep it up, Mom!

The Breast Cancer Month

I used to dread October. October: Pink ribbons everywhere, reminders of the word that Wendy’s mother in St. Elmo’s Fire has to whisper: cancer. October screamed to me: You’re only 28 and you’ve had cancer!! ha HA!! I was positive that I would get cancer again, and October only served to remind me that I was going to die in the near future.

At that time, if you had asked me if I seriously thought I would die, I would have said no. Occasionally I entertain thoughts that I’ll have a recurrence and leave my children motherless. I really don’t think I’m going to die anytime soon, and I no longer dread October. Now, the month of October makes me think back about where I’ve been, the decisions I’ve made, and future choices. I’d like to share some of these thoughts with you during the breast cancer month.

Today, I’m embracing pink. I have my eye on a pair of adorable pink shoes on sale at Carson’s!

August Mini-trips

In August and September, we have taken several little mini-trips around the mid-west, and I have been meaning to write about all of them. In August, we went camping. Remember this post? To camp or not to camp: Ed and I decided that it is too much work setting up and breaking down camp to spend only one night in a tent. It was a great experience, except for when I had a meltdown at dinner time. (Cooking dinner on a campfire? Whose great idea was that?) Lily is relaxing in this picture, after all that hard work setting up the tent!

Emmy kept crawling off the blanket, but didn’t like crawling on the gravel or in the grass. We had room to set up the Pack-n-Play in the tent, so she had a great place to sleep. Lily was very excited to go to bed; she has never slept in a tent before! I was surprised at how fast she fell asleep. I thought she would be awake for hours!
Our camp site was in Kettle Moraine State Forest–Northern Unit, and we spent the first day swimming in Mauthe Lake. (The water was brown, which was a little weird, and Ed thought it was due to tannic acid. It turned out he was right!) We hiked some of the trails on the second day, before it was time to head home.

Lily’s favorite stop of the day had nothing to do with camping; it was at Mars Cheese Castle. We bought a lot of cheese, including cheese curds, so we could squeak them between our teeth. Lily thought this was really neat, since we had just read about Laura and Mary eating cheese curds in Summertime in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I will post more about some of our other mini-trips soon!
Summertime in the Big Woods (My First Little House)

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