Getting the Heck Out of Dodge

It’s been a long stretch of treatment and school and work and treatment and school and work around here. The stress remains through the roof and we needed just a little something to get us through the next few months of treatment and work and summer vacation.

So we packed up the car and drove north a few hours and found ourselves in the middle of Sequoia National Park. We unplugged and tried our best to unwind.


There was fishing and river rock climbing and game playing and s’more making. All the things you need.


And all done together.

The whole family is enjoying the river

And, of course, there were things I couldn’t do because I’m not able. But it didn’t diminish the fun or make me sad. I was happy to be out, even if that meant in the car with the dog while the kids and Aaron took a hike in the forest.

1/2 mile hike & no dogs allowed at the largest tree on the planet- I can't hike, Nicky can't go

Which makes it all the more unfair that *I* was the one who came home and found a tick in my scalp.

The thing I just pulled out of my head!!!! Help!!!!

At least we have the memories of these beautiful trees while I visit the doctor tomorrow to make sure my already compromised immune system didn’t suffer a blow from that damn bug.

Goodbye Sequoia

Next time maybe we just need to stick to Disney. 😉 Or at least remember the bug spray.

Next week it’s back to treatment for me, as I push to get healthy enough to be able to do more things the next time we go somewhere. I may not have a totally normal life, but it will never be dull….and I will never suppress my wanderlust for Lupus.

Lupus will just have to learn to like to new places.

Merry Merry

Sometimes you just know Santa did well…

My fav Xmas morning moment

And little ones are happy…


And the husband got what he needed too…


And then Mom cried tears when she got hat racks, home made by each of her loves, for her Magic Hats as her hair continues to fall out from chemo…

The beautiful hat racks handmade with love by @aaronvest & kids -photo helps incase I forget them in 5min #lupusbrain

I hope your holiday was as perfect as ours.


RIP Murphy Brown

Feed me...or the Twitterz gets it

Murphy has been with me from the beginning. He was there for my first apartment. My first dates with my now husband. My wedding. My babies.

He has been my companion in life even if he gave the world an attitude and struck fear into the hearts of vet techs from coast to coast.

Yes, Murph was an asshole cat…but in a way only MY asshole cat could be. He was so jealous of Aaron for the first several years of our relationship I slept on the COUCH if Aaron stayed the night because Murphy would make so much noise in a jealous fit no one would get any sleep otherwise.

He also would wake you up with meows if he was hungry and swipe at your ankles if he didn’t like you. But he always cuddled my toes at bedtime and never once opened his claws to the kids.

In his last days he endured a new dog in the house and his kitty body’s ongoing thyroid and kidney problems.

For those shaking their heads wondering why all the fuss over a cat…well, to you I can never explain. Because in our home the pets are family, they are woven into our daily lives from the time we bring them in as babies to when they finally leave us in their old age.

He wasn’t just a cat, he was the old, cranky man in our house whom we all loved… and will sorely miss.


Today my husband taught me how to live again.

Screw you 2010!!!! @aaronvest is safe and on the ground with his family

Having spent 2010 in and out of the hospital has left me in a constant state of fear. Fear the kids are suffering. Fear he is suffering. Fear of being a burden. Fear of dying. Fear of living as a sick person. Fear of not being able to work. Fear of not being able to … fill-in-the-blank…

So, as he does, our patriarch made an example of himself and jumped out of an airplane.

If you know him, and know us, this works perfectly. Despite my usual bravado, I rely on my best friend and partner in life to keep me grounded. He knew this terrified me, despite the two of us having jumped together before. He knew I was terrified something would go wrong. And why wouldn’t it? EVERYTHING has gone wrong in 2010. Tempting fate with a skydive seemed like asking for trouble.

But he stood firm. And I stood tall. Gifting him the jump for his birthday to show I would support him, even if I was against it. That I would make sure he got his jump, even if it was the last thing I wanted him to do. After all, we do things for those we love that we might not do otherwise. We want to make them happy. We want to give them everything their heart desires. We want them to have it all- regardless of our own feelings.

I have proof of that laying next to me right now. My sweet puppy that came into our lives this year during the worst of times. The dog he swore I’d never have. The dog I so desperately wanted but knew I’d never get, because he really did not want one. The dog that sits here now, snuggled against my side, wet nose on my knee.

I’d do anything to make this man happy. He’d do anything to make me happy.

So off to the airport we went. And out of the plane he fell. On the ground I fretted. And fussed. And fidgeted.

And then…nothing went wrong.

His words?

We Win.


You took my organs. You took my confidence. You took my livlihood. You took my sanity. You took my normalcy. You nearly took my life.

It’s over. You are done.

I’m still here. I’m taking everything back…keep the organs. Think of them as my parting gift of a bloodied year that tested us in every way imaginable. But it’s ok…

We Win.

I am going to live again.

Thank you, Aaron,  for reminding me how to live. How to live with meaning, with fun, and without fear.

A Dog Family

Me and my puppy

I’ve stopped and started this post six times.

Morning Lego building with Nicky

For those who have known me a very, very long time…or have followed this blog from it’s inception- you know that I have been wanting a puppy for nearly 15 years.

St. Nicholas Hoots Toots McGee Vest has been with us nearly two months now, and I can finally resign myself to reality. I have a puppy. My kids have a puppy. Our family has a dog.


I can’t really put into words what this means.

Sure it’s tough. Puppies are hard. They chew things and nip and jump and need training. But they bring such love and fun to the house the bad is quickly outweighed with a cuddle.

And as I recovery from major surgery, the puppy has been a force of healing. Calming me, giving the kids something to focus on other than Mom’s belly. Even keeping my husband occupied with an occasional walk or lesson about how we don’t chew Wiimotes.

Yes. Our family is chaotic and complete. With a sweet little puppy named Nicky and a frantic Mom trying to stop him from tugging on a child’s dress.


I just have to say thank you and I love @aaronvest one more time

How My House Votes

Go vote. Make your voice heard. Then look at cute puppy and kid photos.

For instance:

My boys

I really hope my son doesn’t grow up to be a Republican, and that having a cute dog helps.


This one may be a Republican for a while just to spite me … but she’s already a kick-ass fighter for women’s rights telling her brother “You don’t get to be the boss just because you’re a boy…”

To which her brother replied: “That’s fine Hala, I’ll just use my Jedi mind tricks on you…but they probably won’t work on you because you have a strong Force.”

Jedi training

And then of course… the moral of the day… bipartisanship.


Go vote California.