Angelina beat me to the punch.

So… earlier this week, Angelina Jolie announced in a New York Times op-ed that she had had her ovaries removed because of her family history and BRAC1 gene mutation.

It’s about damn time.

Earlier this week, I was supposed to have my ovaries and all their accouterments removed as well, but unfortunately my surgery was postponed. It’s going to be a couple more months before it actually happens.

I am adjusting my calendar and my spreadsheets, and it’ll all work out. I’ll busy myself with the kids’ birthdays, Easter, and whatever else comes our way, and the new date will be here before we know it.

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Fifteen

favorite

We were just kids who thought they were adults. We had been dating four years, friends for 10, and we THOUGHT we knew each other. We THOUGHT we knew what marriage was all about.

Heh.

Despite our human-ness, Bobby and I are celebrating fifteen years of happy marriage today. FIFTEEEN! How are we even OLD enough for that? It seems impossible.

I am so thankful that God has given us grace, kids, love, and patience to work through what life throws our way – and what we sometimes put in our own way.

I love you, Bobby. Fifteen! Our marriage is almost old enough to get its temps!

Thanks for being in it to win it with me.

windy

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Grandma’s House

Two days after my paternal grandmother passed away last month, on Valentine’s Day, we moved my maternal grandmother, mine and Emily’s Grandma Burns, into an assisted living apartment, because she has Alzheimer’s and can no longer live alone safely.

Jonah Grandma

This all happened very fast, and started with her having a fall on Christmas Eve brought about by dehydration. She wasn’t remembering to drink and her brain wasn’t telling her body that it needed hydration. So, from Christmas Day to Valentine’s Day we had a ton of changes in our family, the end result of which is, that we still have our Grandma to love but we no longer have her house to go to. I mean it’s there, but if she’s not in it, it’s just a building.

Grandma's House 3

Grandma’s house was where I met my first friends –  my cousins, Emily and Anna. It was where we went for Sunday comfort food and family. Where we had the very best sleepovers. Where the supply of Oreos, ice cream. home-baked goodies, cheese curls, games of hide-and-seek, and LOVE was truly limitless.

Grandma’s house was the happiest place on earth.

Pajama cousins

Last Sunday all the grandchildren gathered at Grandma’s house to divide up her possessions that she can no longer use and enjoy, even though she is still alive.

Grandma's House 2

Having done this recently with my Grandma Brads’ things after her funeral, I can tell you that it sucks so much more dividing up the things of a loving grandparent who is still alive. It. Was. Rough.

The rooms we spent such happy times in were all laid out with the articles of a quiet collector’s life. Grandma did her best to never get rid of a thing.

Grandma's House 4

We all took what we could.

It will help one day, to know that I have something she enjoyed.

But right now the things are pretty hard to look at.

I’d give anything to go back for one more day at Grandma’s House, just the way it was.

cabbage patch dolls

 

 

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Prevent Summer Melt with Brain Chase!

2014 winner with map

Summer vacation is a great time for kids to relax and unwind. But sometimes there’s a little too much relaxing and unwinding, which can result in some of the hard work they did during the school year going down the drain. In fact, a 2011 RAND study found that by the end of summer, students perform, on average, one to two months behind where they left off in the spring.

That’s a depressing thing to hear… and I can only imagine how I’d feel about that statistic if I were an elementary school teacher, working hard day in and day out to feed knowledge into those little minds!

One way to reduce some of the Summer Brain Melt (that’s the technical term) experienced by kids everywhere is to participate in enriching activities over the summer. And a fun way to do that is by participating in Brain Chase.

Brain Chase logo

Brain Chase, a five-week online summer learning challenge for second through eighth graders, is a massive global treasure hunt powered by reading, writing and math. The prize? A golden mechanical treasure – and a $10,000 college scholarship.

Here’s a video that shows how it works:

Pretty cool, huh?

Brain Chase includes:
- 5 weeks of structured challenges on external reading and math websites

- Weekly writing exercises with feedback from credentialed teachers

- Weekly progress reports emailed to parents

- Exclusive access to an original animated adventure series loaded with hidden puzzles and clues

- 3 adventure tools mailed to your home to help solve special bonus challenges

- Participation in a massive global treasure hunt for a golden trophy containing the key to a safe deposit box holding $10,000.

We’ve got a special offer for Mommin’ It Up readers! Brain Chase would like to give you all 15% off your total purchase. Just use code MOMMINITUP15. Visit BrainChase.com for more information!

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This post was written in partnership with Brain Chase and The Motherhood.

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An Open Letter to Emily About Her Hysterectomy and Aftermath

By Jenny Michelle Rapson, M.D. 

doctor jenny

Dear Emily,

It has come to my attention that you have some questions and/or neurotic delusions apprehension about your upcoming surgery. Allow me to walk you through the hysterectomy process to allay any concerns that you might have about the procedure and its aftermath, mmkay?

Because you ALREADY googled what happens during a hysterectomy, you should know that you already know what’s going to happen. But because that is not enough to calm your @$$ down, I will tell you again.

1) You will take a very big, extremely restful nap, during which…

2) A very kind (not to mention fashionable) doctor whose shoes you once ruined with your placenta (rude) will cut your abdomen open and then put some sort of apparatus in place to keep it that way.

3) She will then remove ALL your internal organs and hand them off to an OR nurse who will bathe them with what I can only assume is industrial-grade Purell while she (fashionable doc that is) scoops out your uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and everything on the inside that makes you a lady – including the stuff that’s not supposed to be there, and sends them on to lady-parts Heaven (where I hear, incidentally, it’s like TLC and HGTV and Sex and the City all rolled into one. So your uterus & oves are in for a good time.)

***Pause*** And the award for longest sentence ever written goes to…

***Un-pause***

4) You will wake up with your newly-clean organs back in place and no lady parts! YAY! But you will not care because you will be filled with glorious painkillers. PLUS, you will have a catheter so you won’t even have to get up to pee. SO CONVENIENT! You will think that maybe this is the best day of your life.

5) 12 hours later they will take the catheter out and make you get up to pee. When you stand, you will feel like your gut ways 12,000 lbs and that the weight of it will surely rip your incision back open. It won’t. You and your IV pole will shuffle to the bathroom where you will pee like a champ. You will shuffle 6 feet back to the  bed and demand a fishing GOLD FISHING MEDAL and 2 Percoset, AND MAKE IT SNAPPY.

6) You will take pain meds every 4 hours. You will curse less and less each time you get up to pee. After 24 hours you will take a shower and you will want another fishing medal but silver would be ok this time. NOPE NEVERMIND MAKE THAT GOLD! IT FEELS LIKE I JUST RAN A MARATHON!

7) You will go home to your loving family loaded down with pain meds which you will dutifully take every 4 hours.

8) Loving friends and family will bring you meals and the remote control.

9) You will watch lots of Netflix and HGTV but NOTHING FUNNY.

10) You will keep a loaded gun in the  bed next to you so you can actually murder the first person who makes you laugh, and anyone else who is dumb enough to try.

11) You will sleep sleep sleepy sleep sleep. For the first week you will do nothing but sleep, watch tv, go to the bathroom, and maybe shower. And also eat and drink what your servants bring you because you are not even getting up to get it yourself.

12) After a week you will start to feel like, “Oh I am so much better, I am going to get up and do things and maybe take a drive.”

13) You will crawl back to bed berating yourself for being so stupid and pop some more pain meds.

14) You will read a bunch of books. They will be SO GOOD that you will have to write down the titles and remember to read them again when you are not on narcotics to make sure they are really good before you actually recommend them to anyone.

15) You will post many, many post-surgery, narcotic-induced selfies to Instagram with the hashtag “#spreadsheethysterectomy”.

16) You will start growing a pen!s.

17) Just kidding.

18) You will watch more TV and read more books and sleep a lot and then magically, after 6 weeks, you will feel ALL BETTER! You will be like “I don’t need no stinkin’ reproductive organs! Look at me now, beetches!”

19) Immediately after you have this thought, you will think, “Is it hot in here, or is it just me?”

20) Menopause.

And that my dear cousin, is what to expect when you’re expecting a hysterectomy and ovarian evacuation. Don’t worry, I will be there to support you every step of the way! Except for when I’m on my 15th anniversary getaway. That’s 4 days you’ll have to rely on that old guy you’re  married to, that old guy who spawned you, and your lovely sister.

Sincerely,

Your loving cousin and medical expert Jenny

 

 

 

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The Countdown is On

So… two weeks from now I will be uterus free and enjoying a luxurious stay in the hospital.

March 25 seemed like forever away when my surgery was scheduled in January, and now it’s approaching at light speed. I have so. much. to. do. Between work and home and everything in between, I don’t know how I am going to fit everything in.

I almost feel like I did when I was having a baby… the “it’s taking forever” and now “omg it’s almost here” feeling is the same, the instinct to have my house perfectly arranged beforehand (reverse nesting or something?)is the same, the preparation to be away from work for several weeks is the same, and the fact that it’s going to happen whether I’m ready or not is the same.

Except it’s like the complete opposite.

On the plus side, I should have much more uninterrupted sleep after the fact this time around!

I am totally rambling, I know. I am starting to feel really anxious about the whole ordeal and I don’t really know how to describe it. What’s going to happen seems very uncertain and unknown to me. I guess that’s why I constantly want to do something to prepare… I’m trying to organize the hell out of a situation I really just can’t control.

Do I sound completely crazy?

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The Slacker Mom’s Guide to Throwing a Minecraft Birthday Party

As I mentioned last week, Joshua just turned 11. I was way behind on his birthday party stuff because of the crazy, sad February my family had. Plus, despite being a working mom for a full 6 months now, I cannot figure this working  mom thing out. My work-life  balance is non-existent. But oh well! I love it, and I just signed a year contract so that is happening!

Anyway. As you may or may not  know, I gave up trying to make my kids fancy birthday cakes years ago! Until…Jonah and I both went gluten-free. I also have a nephew who attends all these birthday parties who is gluten-free, so that means making either cupcakes or cake from scratch. For this party I made GF cupcakes, and since Kroger doesn’t do licensed Minecraft cakes and my time and resources and quite frankly energy was limited, I turned to Pinterest for the “real” cake. I know what you’re thinking – STEP AWAY FROM THE PINTEREST! IT WILL ONLY MAKE YOU FEEL WORSE!

No worries. I put my “I am only looking at the easiest possible things” blinders on before I went to Pinterest. IT worked! I found an easy cake and cupcakes and felt no shame. So, I present to you, a slacker mom’s minecraft birthday party creations. Step. By Step.

Step 1: Go to Pinterest. Find easy things.

Step 2: Find a picture of a creeper face, download it and print it x 12.

creeper faces

Step 3. Attach cut out creeper faces to toothpicks with tape.

Step 4: Insert into cupcakes with green frosting.

creeper cupcakes

 Step 5: Return to Pinterest. Look for a full-sized cake that even a kindergartener could decorate.

Step 6: Bake a rectangle cake, cut it in half, and slap some frosting between the layers.

Step 7: Frost it creeper green. OR, in my case, whatever green a capful of green food coloring yields, because you AIN’T GOT TIME TO MIX THE PERFECT SHADE OF GREEN. Gah!

Step 8: Have your husband cut up a Hershey bar and arrange it in a creeper face pattern on the cake, because even though it’s easy enough for a kindergartener, you’d still mess it up, and you only bought two Hershey bars, and you are NOT going back to the store for another one.

creeper cake

Step 9: Whine on Facebook about how you are terrible at this party theme thing and make sure and say what theme you are doing  because people will give you their ideas! Complete with photos!

Step 10: Rip off the easiest idea

Step 11: GO to Google images and get images of minecraft supplies that correspond to the snack items you have purchased for the party.

Step 12: Download and print pictures.

Step 13: Attach them to snack bowls and fill them with snacks.

Step 14: Take a picture to show everyone how amazing you are! Post it on ALL social media channels.

minecraft foods

Step 15: Relax and enjoy the party! Make sure and cut people off in the food line so you can sample your own hard work before those ingrates eat it all.

The. End.
You’re Welcome!

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RSVP…

As I mentioned yesterday, April, or as we call it in our house BirthMonth, is nearly upon us. My kids will be 7 and 11 in a few weeks, and I’m not sure how to even process that.

Sam’s celebrating his day by taking a couple friends to a bounce place, but Kate’s having a full-on party. She and her BFF Rachel have close birthdays and they share the same friends, so they’re having a combined pool party together. And, because they are extremely great kids, they are asking the attendees to forgo gifts and instead bring a donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, in memory of both of their maternal grandmothers.

I’m going to be incapacitated in recovery (from surgery, not from drugs) at the time of their party and won’t be able to contribute a whole lot to the day itself, so I offered to handle the invitations.

It just so happened that minted. emailed and asked me to take a look at their designs and share them with you!

minted. has a whole section devoted to birthday party invitations, and there’s a filter function that helps narrow down the choices based on size, theme, price, gender, and age range.

Here are a few that caught my eye:

minted owl

The bookworm owl has zero to do with a pool party theme, but it immediately jumped out at me because it is perfect for Kate and Rachel – they are both total bookworms and for some reason have a thing for owls at the moment! So cute.

minted hooray

I like that this is pretty neutral in the theme department and that it just looks fun!

minted skate

This would have been perfect for either of Kate’s last two parties at the skating rink! And they’re slightly nicer than my lame attempts at photoshop.

minted sleepover

Until Rachel’s mom came up with the brilliant idea of a combo party, I thought this was in my future. Shudder!

minted pool party

I love this one – it might be a winner!

While I was browsing, I couldn’t help but notice a few invitations that would be perfect for Sam…

minted super hero

minted baseball

Next time you’re looking for party invitations, thank you cards, stationary, decor, or gifts, head over to minted. But beware – everything is so cute that it’s impossible to choose!

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This post was sponsored by minted.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I’m at it again.

Because I didn’t have enough going on, what with my upcoming surgery and instant menopause, imminent birthmonth, taking over as president of the board for the kids’ swim team, and, you know, holding down a full-time job and keeping two kids alive, I have decided to plan another trip to Disney.

Now, for normal people, that last line item there wouldn’t be a big deal – an all-inclusive Disney vacation can be booked and paid for within 20 minutes.

But we all know I’m not normal.

I’ve got to research the hell out of each and every decision, and I have to do it NOW because dining reservations need to be made 180 days in advance (okay it is not required, but every good neurotic Disney planner does this) and we are there!

Before I could make dining reservations, though, I needed to make a trip plan and decide which parks we were going to hit on which days. This meant scouring the internet for crowd calendars and daily lists of recommended parks and parks to avoid. And every crowd calendar says something just a bit different, so as soon as I decided on one thing, I read something to make me change my mind.

So, with the 180 day deadline looming, I finalized the schedule last night. I made a list of the date, time and location of each reservation we’d need and ranked them in order of hardest- to least-hard-to-get, and arranged my laptop and credit card on my kitchen table so that when the alarm went off at 5:50 this morning (reservations open at 6am!), everything would be set to go.

And everything was set! Andy and I woke up early and were waiting on the clock to strike 6, and when it did, we saw this.

image (21)

That’s right, 181 days to go. I was a day too early. So, we’ll have to do the same thing all over again tomorrow. But at least I will have another day to make sure everything is exactly right!

And I only have 121 days to figure out the FastPass+ system. Hold me.

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The General Pressure of Being Alive or 10 Things That Will Absolutely Kill the Ones You Love

I have a problem.

I work on Facebook, but I am about to the point where I want to quit Facebook.

On Facebook I am always sharing stuff from my work page, and it’s 99% positive, encouraging, or funny. I share it because if I don’t, pretty much no one sees it due to the way Facebook distributes statuses from brand pages now. But that is really neither here nor there.

This may make me sound terrible. I know life is not all about fun. But I miss when Facebook was fun! When I went there to be a goof and find out what my friends are up to.

But now there is just so much negativity hitting me every time I scroll through my feed. And I am not talking about just news stories, because hello – I realize there is a lot of not-fun stuff going on in our world that we can’t ignore.

I’m talking about the “eat this, not that, feed your kids this, not that, homebirth, don’t homebirth, bento box lunches, Splenda will kill you, breastfeed, formula, vaccinate, vote for this, politicians are the devil, you are the devil, everyone’s an idiot STUFF.”

I am sure I’ve  been guilty of some of this in the past. I know my memory is probably flawed. But boy I don’t want to do that again.

It’s exhausting. I’m doing my best. Like, for real. I am really doing my best to be a good mom and a good friend and a good human being and not shorten anyone’s life.

I guess I need to start doing my best to just not look anymore. I know I have to take the good with the bad, but man, I need a break. It’s just exhausting.

AND SO MUCH PRESSURE.

I really don’t need anymore pressure because Jenny, Party of One pretty much has that handled.

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