Tuesday, August 31, 2010

His new baby might be a little young for her.

A couple months ago I received a call from the public affairs person at M.D. Anderson asking if we would be willing to be interviewed for a story on melanoma.  I am here to testify that my first thought was NOT, "Oh my goodness, I need to immediately lose 20 pounds."

Yes it was.

It was a fun experience and as if we don't feel special enough every time we go to Houston, this time we had a camera following us.

What is funny about this video is that you can really see the huge crush Rachael has on Dr. Hughes.  It is honestly sickening and when we see him I have to avert my eyes, so shameless is my daughter.  I brought my best friend Amanda with me to one of her visits and warned her about the impending lovefest.  She knows Rachael really well and even she was shocked at the personality change when he walked in the room.

Rachael insists she does not want to be a doctor or any other medical type but rather an artist.  Maybe she can marry a doctor.

Check out that cool hat at the end of the video.  Want to win one?  Leave a comment!  Contest ends Wednesday night.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shade Sucks. Give Me Fun in the Sun!

In coming up with a name for my NEW PROJECT (whenever I type that out it is REALLY big in my head with a booming voice and an echo and angel music) I was kicking around some ideas with Bo.  Who is wonderful.  And who you will get to "meet" when the NEW PROJECT is rolled out.  So some of my ideas were things like "shadeseekers.com" or "lifeintheshade.com" which, frankly, I didn't like even though they were my ideas.  I like the idea of having ideas.  I just don't always actually have good ones.

So Bo says, and quite rightly I might add, "Not sure I like the shade reference. I don't want the disease to prevent her from playing in the sun, and hiding in the shade away from other kids."

Bravo Bo.  I mean that really.  Hearing another "melanoma parent" speak something I believe so strongly, yet question daily, is enough to choke me up.

When Rachael was diagnosed one of my early conversations with Dr. Hughes was me coming to terms with the fact that we live is South Texas where it's really stinking hot!  I'm all, "We're going to have to move to where those Vampire books are set and never enjoy outside again and my absolute favorite activity in the world to do with my children is swimming and now that's over and we live by the beach but we'll never see it again and how will I ever play with my kids or have fun in the future and stop me from hyperventilating right now please!"  

I'm paraphrasing.

Dr. Hughes takes a deep breath (bless his heart) and says, "Danielle, put sunscreen on and live your life.  Go to the pool.  Go to the beach.  But be safe.  And get a lot of hats."  And then he reminded me that this is actually good counsel for everyone.

So in honor of my NEW PROJECT I am giving away two great hats so that I can do a little part in spreading sun safety to YOU.  These hats both came from a great company called Coolibar.  I love them because they are SPF 50 (regular hats can offer as little protection as SPF 10) and I don't know if you have ever tried to sunscreen your child's head but it tends to be a sticky mess when it's over and Rachael needs sun protection even on days when I want her hair to be cute.  Hats are the perfect way to protect her head and high fashion at the same time.  Win!

These are the prizes up for grabs.  One will go to the winner of the "Name my NEW PROJECT" contest (we seem to have a front runner but I love hearing your ideas and it ain't over til it's over) and another one will be given to one random person who leaves a comment here.

One of the hats is the Sedona:

This is from the website:

Searching for a beach hat that’ll work with anything in your wardrobe? Our Sedona Hat is a natural choice, made from a durable weave that lends a dash of texture to your look. Like all of Coolibar's wide brim hats, it’s designed with coverage—and comfort—in mind.
  • Oversized 4" brim for maximum head and neck protection
  • Elastic internal sweatband for comfort and fit
  • Chin strap with toggle to hold hat in place
  • Lightweight, natural fiber/nylon blend weave
  • Spot clean
  • Rated UPF 50+
Basically...  it's awesome and you will look totally awesome in it while you are being all safe in the sun rockstar-ish.

The other hat is a child's chlorine resistant bucket hat


Again from their website:

Here's a child SPF hat that's built for any kind of waterfront activity, from wading to swimming to poolside.  Chlorine-Resistant Bucket Hat is lightweight, super soft, and fast drying comfortable enough to wear all day. These bucket hats are made of Coolibar's durable SUNTECT® fabric.
  • Extra-long flexible 2.75” (S/M) or 3” (L/XL) brim shades eyes and face
  • Velcro and elastic strap adjusts for growth
  • Superior chlorine and saltwater resistance
  • Durable aqua SUNTECT® fabric
  • Hand wash
  • Rated UPF 50+ 
The one I got for YOU is white and will work perfectly for a boy or a girl.

This is Rachael's go-to hat and I just ordered three more for her.  She wears it every single day and IN the swimming pool and it still looks brand new.  Here she is being all adorable and grown-up looking in her hat:

Isn't she beautiful?

That's totally not rhetorical.

Leave a comment to tell me how beautiful my daughter is!

Here's the thing though... until I move my NEW PROJECT to it's NEW HOME we have to deal with the constraints of blogspot so I REALLY need you to at least put your name on your comment otherwise we are seriously giving "Anonymous" the edge with an unfair amount of entries.

Leave your comment under this post.  Contest ends Wednesday night and I will pick a winning name for the NEW PROJECT and randomly select another winner out of all the commenters and post the winner on Thursday.

Good luck and get to it!

**Oh, and quick note:  I am sponsoring this contest.  Coolibar has no idea who I am and hopefully they don't get mad at me for stealing their images.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Next Step

My creative juices are flowing! All two ounces of them. I am working on a new project that I am very excited about and it is going to require a re-design of this blog. It's also going to require an address change because I'm going to move out of blogspot.

The title of this site has always been cumbersome and even though I and my children know the reference, I think it imparts a certain... favoritism that is unintended.

So I'm working on decorating my new internet home and will hopefully be ready to launch within two weeks but I am looking for a new name and I am taking suggestions.

I only have one requirement. It must be available as a .com.

Here's how you can find out if your brilliant idea is available as a .com:

Click here:  Go Daddy

Plug in your idea(s) into the place that says "Start your domain search here" and click "Go".  It will tell you if the .com is available.  If it is... then tell me your idea in the comments!

This new site will still be my blog.  Everything will be still be there but it will also be a place where parents of newly diagnosed children can come to find information and connect with others if they would like.  So I want the name to be personal but reflect a more global purpose.  It needs to be easy to remember too!  Here is one of my ideas:  littlestwarriors.com.

Hopefully some of you have more than two ounces of creative juices!

Because I am excited and because I want a lot of suggestions, I am going to be giving away a prize to the person's whose idea I choose.  I'll announce the prize later but you will love it!


I decided to go crazy and get TWO prizes!  So... the winner of the "Name My New Website" contest will win something and then I will randomly select another winner from all who leave a comment.  So even if you do not have a brilliant idea, that's okay!  Let me know you were here and you will be entered to win.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I want you to want me. I need you to need me.

I initially started this blog because I wanted to let people know what was happening in our lives.

This blog became a safe place for me to work through my more difficult emotions.

This blog is turning into a place where people come for information about the journey they are facing.

My favorite aspect of this blog is what it is turning into.

If you have a child who has been recently diagnosed with melanoma then CONTACT ME! I want to hear from you. I want to share our experiences, both good and bad. I want to be a resource to you and to point you to others who have walked this road before you.

Even if it puts my heart in my throat and brings up scary things for me it is one of the absolute BEST things to come of Rachael's diagnosis. To think that our path might help someone else pave theirs, or at least not feel so alone, is an honor.

Thank you for sharing your stories with me and let's talk.

Scattered (truly not kidding here) Thoughts

I am drawn to this blog when I have emotions to work through regarding cancer. So, it is a good thing that you haven't heard from me in a month.

I was contacted again by another family with a child diagnosed with melanoma. I expect I'll be chatting with the mom soon but my heart is seriously in my throat. It's very strange to me that a year after Rachael's diagnosis I feel far more freaked out than I did in the beginning. Do not misunderstand, most of the time we just live our lives. I can't say "we don't think about it" because we do every single day. Especially with temperatures in the low 100's but we laugh, we joke, we discipline, we live. Most days I am confident that all will be well.

But some moments creep up on me and my heart pounds and I feel the tears come and I find it hard to swallow for the fear that rushes into my head. And hearing about a child with brain tumors has the ability to send me to that edge.

The kids started school this week which means order has returned to our house. Hello clean house! Oh how I've missed you! It helps that I hired a housekeeper who comes once a week but don't think that means I get to lay around napping all day. No way! Napping all day only happens on Mondays. On Tuesdays I am working right alongside her cleaning the refrigerator or closet. Tom just about cried when he walked into our closet and realized I had finally decided to donate the eight trash bags of clothing to Goodwill. He embraced me and said, "I never thought you would do it. I am so proud of you!" I wasn't sure if I should bask in the moment or be insulted.

I don't know why I have trouble getting rid of old clothes. I totally get that it is stupid and I DID overcome my emotional attachment to my 18 year old t-shirts and donate the stuff but not without consequence. Last night I dreamt that I went to camp and when I went to my suitcase to get dressed all my clothes had been stolen and I was forced to walk around camp naked. Aside from the dreadful "naked dream" re-occurrence, I think it is clear I have issues.


Yeah. So, school started and did I mention the temperature? Today it was a cool 102. And get this! They send these kids out to do physical education!

You know. I just had a brilliant brainstorm! I should offer to do a class on sun safety during PE. Oh boy! Wheels turning now!

Focus Danielle!

The second day of school Rachael is in the nurses office complaining of a headache and saying "It feels like my forehead got a sunburn." On one hand I REALLY don't want her to be a hypochondriac but the stronger emotion here is "Thank God she takes this seriously." So I wrote her a note excusing her from all outdoor activity until it cools down a bit and I'm pretty sure the entire staff breathed a sigh of relief. No one felt good sending her out in that sun, SPF 60 or not.

What am I going to say to this mom when she calls? She is dealing with a stage of this disease that I do not allow my mind to dwell in. I suppose we will just embrace each other. We are, after all, members of a pretty exclusive club.