Category Archives: Wordless Wednesday

Goodbyes

Almost a year ago, I was faced with a high probability, sad, “good bye”. 

A good bye, that I couldn’t believe I may have to be facing.  She is to young to die.  How am I supposed to go on with life without her?

Those days, while they seem so long ago, in retrospect they seem like just yesterday.

Nine months ago, my families life was turned upside and shook dramatically. 

Nine months ago, my younger sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 Incurable Metastatic Carcinoid Cancer.

Nine months ago, my life changed.

Now nearly a year later, we’re getting ready to say good-bye to Kelly, but not in the way we once feared.  We will be saying good-bye to her for five months, while she lives out her life long dream of attending school in France.

A year ago, we didn’t know if we would have Kelly with us, a year from now.  And yet now, a year later, she has been give the green light by her oncologist to study abroad.  How amazing is that?

As I watch her begin to prepare for this huge milestone in her life, I’m constantly sent back to that night when her diagnosis became a reality.  A night that I replay over and over again in my head, often still daily. 

They say when you are given traumatic news you remember EVERYTHING about the moment and a year later I can still remember it like it was yesterday.  I have yet to share how I found out, because I wasn’t ready yet to talk about it.  Like everything else, time heals all – not to mention Kelly being so strong has really helped me finally feel ready to share that night on my blog.

My side of the story…..

I was in out of town and visiting Arizona.  For days my mom had been pestering me asking “when are you coming home.”  I knew she was going to freak, when I told her how long I would be gone, because I was missing school during my final quarter, so I kept putting it off.  “I’ll look tomorrow….”

Well, after nearly a week of “I’ll look tomorrow,” I found out why she was so inquisitive about when I would be returning home.  She had some really big news to share and wanted to tell me in person – not over the phone, nearly 1,500 miles away.

It was Easter 2012 Night.

photoI had spent Easter in the sun lounging by the pool and enjoying the HOT weather of Arizona.  Life was good.  I was doing my favorite thing in the world, sunbathing in the sun!  I even took the picture to the left….Everything was perfect.

That night after all the kids had gone to bed, I was sitting at the kitchen table working on homework (remember I was missing school to go on this vacation), Julia had also gone to bed and Alec and his parents were watching TV.  My phone lit up and it was my mom calling.

I hadn’t talked to her yet that day, so assumed she was calling to wish me a Happy Easter.  I happily answered the phone and excused myself to talk to my mom.  It was still warm out and I went out to the front patio to talk.

As soon as I answered the phone, I heard the uncertainty in my mom’s voice.  It immediately sent me into a state of panic.  I knew something was wrong. 

I still remember my body temperature shooting up and my heart racing – this was before any words had ever come out of her voice.

Then I hear her say, “Cori, do you want to know why I’ve been so persistent about finding out when you come home?”

Immediately running through my head was the knowledge that I was about to receive life changing news.  My perfect vacation was about to be clouded. 

My response to her was, “No, not really …. do I need to go take an anxiety pill before we start?”

Yes, I told my mom I didn’t want to know and was ready to medicate myself. 

My initial thought was my parents were getting a divorce.  Why I thought that I don’t know.  Them getting a divorce would be a huge shocker, because they are so happy.  But, that was where my mind went.  It was the only thing that seemed possible.  Never once did I thought the “C” word was going to come out of her mouth.

All I remember at that point was ….. Kelly ….. Cancer ….Unsure ….Big Appointment on Tuesday to learn more.

My head was spinning, my heart was racing and tears were flowing.

At this point, I sat down on the lawn chairs on the patio.  Asking every question imaginable and to my horror, she had no answers.

  • We didn’t know what kind of cancer
  • We didn’t know what stage of cancer it was
  • We didn’t know if it was life threatening
  • We didn’t know if she would need chemotherapy.  Or radiation.  Or surgery.

We didn’t know anything.

At this point, I’m sure she knew I was losing it and being 1,500 miles away there was nothing she could do to help.  She asked me to go get Julia so she could talk to her.  Shakily I set my phone down, went in the house and woke Julia up.

This time it was my turn to tell someone about the cancer and again all I remember was telling her ….. Kelly ….. Cancer ….Unsure ….Big Appointment on Tuesday to learn more.

Julia shot up and joined me outside.  She and my mom talked for a long time.

It then came down to my understanding that all our questions would be answered at the big appointment on Tuesday.  My mom wanted me to have the opportunity to attend if I wanted to.  After talking and some thought, I decided I didn’t want to be there for the meeting, in fact I wasn’t ready to go home.  My hope was the craziness of vacation would keep my mind off of all the unknowns.

After we hung up it was time to go inside and again tell people ….. Kelly ….. Cancer ….Unsure ….Big Appointment on Tuesday to learn more.  However, this time I had Julia who was able to fill in some of the blanks.

The next two days we kept busy.  Everyone was wonderful about trying to keep me distracted, which was exactly what I needed.  The distraction included a trip to an Ostrich Farm….bet you’ve never been there before!

However, even as distracted as I was, the ….. Kelly ….. Cancer ….Unsure ….Big Appointment on Tuesday to learn more kept creeping back into my thoughts.  Somehow I had to make it through the day until the big appointment the next day.

Tuesday FINALLY came and I waited for my mom to call as soon as they got out of the appointment. 

The call finally came and that’s when I heard the diagnosis.  Stage 4Incurable. Cancer.

We also learned that neither chemo, radiation or heavy medication could fight it.  We were dealing with a new and very rare cancer.

Luckily, they had caught the cancer early and it was very slow growing they believed.  She would need to have surgery immediately, but the good news is we had time on our side.

Metastatic Carcinoid Cancer is still a fairly new cancer.  There isn’t a lot of research being done on it yet, but it is rapidly growing.  We have great hope that we have enough time for them to find a cure or way to slow the tumors down that our coating her liver.

If this is your first time reading my blog, I invite you to read more about this rare cancer and see how many family is living with it. 

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Now, nearly a year later, I am so thankful that we have this year behind us.  I’m so happy to see Kelly packing and planning her trip.  I’m so honored to have her as a sister.

Kelly and I aren’t BFF’s.  Nor do we get along, but (even though my mom doesn’t see it or would we admit it), we have grown a lot closer throughout this obstacle. 

I will miss her when she’s gone.  I will cry when she leaves.  But I am so happy to be saying Good-Bye for five months, and know that she will be back home before I know it….and not forever. 

This post is also part of Wordless WORDFUL Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting By Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Carrie with Children
Project Alicia

After 20 Years at @Hopelink….

my mom had her grand farewell!

According to her speech she gave that night …

Almost 20 years ago, I found my way to an amazing organization with a horrible name … and a charge to build a strong community presence, a donor program and a solid brand that would be worthy of its incredible mission. When I started this remarkable journey, my oldest daughter was in kindergarten and my youngest wasn’t even born. Little did I know then that my three girls would grow up, graduate from high school and go to college with a mother who only knew how to do one thing – drive to the same office in Redmond everyday to do something pretty neat. Hopelink is the reason that my kids don’t see me as completely uncool – just mostly uncool—but I digress.

I was that oldest daughter and 20 years later, I cannot be more proud of to call her my mom!

Last Thursday night, Hopelink threw my mom a wonderful going away party with nearly one hundred people in attendance!  The current CEO and the previous CEO (and person who hired my mom) spoke, singing praises to all that my mom has done to grow the favorite non-profit by 425 Magazine!

Here are a few (bad iPhone) photos from the event!

photo1My mom in the token, in front of the fire place photo!

 

photoHer name tag had a TON of titles that she wore proudly to document her 20 years of service!

 

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My mom giving her fabulous speech!

 

208845_3924773532140_931389942_nThey had an open mic so Kelly & I went up to say how proud we were of her!

 

539586_3924787692494_2041470321_nAunt Leslie, Kelly & I deep in conversation …. or thought?

 

photo4My mom and her sister Leslie

 

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The packed room!

 

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The yummy cake!

Congratulations mom!  Way to go!

 

This post is also part of Wordless Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting By Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
And Then, She {Snapped}
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Carrie with Children
Project Alicia

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Graduation Party

The Saturday after my graduation (06.16.12), I had my grad party.  I was THRILLED to have so many people attend and share in my graduation festivities! 

We had yummy food!  My dad made his amazing flank steak and bbq ribs, corn, salads, chips and of course a ton of drinks! 

Even the weather played nicely and we had a beautiful afternoon, which was lucky as it rained the days leading up to the party and about the time the party ended through the next several days. 

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with me!  I had a great day and enjoyed spending it with those close to me!

COLLAGE

This post concludes my graduation fun posts!!  Can’t believe it’s over now!  Time is just flying by!

 

Summer Daze Fun Photo Party

This post is part of Summer Daze – a fun photo party! hosted by Kristi {Live and Love Outloud}, Alicia {Project Alicia} and Rebecca {Bumbles of Light}.

This post is also part of Wordless Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting By Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
And Then, She {Snapped}
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Carrie with Children
Project Alicia

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Graduation Pictures {via Instagram}

Before, during and after my graduation, I posted some photos to Instagram photos showing the inside look at my big day!

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The night before Kelly dyed my hair

 

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Hair all straightened and pretty Smile

 

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My friend Rachel and myself waiting to go into the gymnasium.

 

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A whole lot of graduates!

 

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College Graduate!

 

money

Money and gifts!

This post is also part of Wordless Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting By Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
And Then, She {Snapped}
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Carrie with Children
Project Alicia

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

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Snowpocolypse 2012 {Poetic Winter Challenge: Warmth}

Last month the Seattle area was hit hard by snowstorm after snowstorm and windstorm after windstorm.

Each winter we tend to get 6” of snow, TOTAL, all season long.  In this one storm we had 12” of snow.  It wasn’t nearly as impressive as our snowstorm in 2008, but close!

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In addition to the snowstorm, we had a massive windstorm that knocked out power to us for nearly 24-hours, but much of the area was out for over a week.  Even with out power and a foot of snow, I stayed warm and toasty.  I feel very very lucky that my mom panicked as we approached the millennium and insisted we buy a generator and have it wired into the house.  However, we hadn’t used our generator in a couple of years, so it took some work for my parents to get it running.  They were MY HEROES as they got the generator started so we could stay warm!

 

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Want to know a secret Cori fact? Most of these photos were actually taken by me wearing flip-flops.  Yes, I’m crazy and YES I’m dreaming of summer!

After fun in the snow, there’s nothing like snuggling up next to the fire; especially when you are without power and trying to stay warm

Thanks goodness for our generator and fire place my family stayed nice and warm during Snowpocolypse 2012!

 

Poetic Winter Photography Challenge

  This post is part of Poetic Winter: a photography challenge hosted by Kristi {Live and Love Outloud}, Alicia {Project Alicia}, Rebecca {Bumbles of Light} and their newest co-host, Faith {Sweet Violet}

This post is also part of Wordless Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting For Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
And Then, She {Snapped}
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Carrie with Children
Project Alicia

 

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Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas

They day before Julia & I flew home, I had the chance to go to the fabulous gorgeous Gaylord Texan Hotel and see all the gorgeous holiday decorations!  We went on Paige’s birthday, but it was just Quinten & I hanging out looking at the decorations, while Kim & Paige celebrated together!  Quinten and I had a wonderful time, if you ever get the chance to go you, you really should!  It was amazing!

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….and this post concludes my December Texas visit! 

This post is also part of Wordless Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting For Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
And Then, She {Snapped}
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Project Alicia

 

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Bouncing Around!

I’m so proud of myself, I’m getting caught up on my past posts … hopefully nothing big happens that I need to blog in the next few days. Doubtful though as I go back to school for Winter quarter on Tuesday (yuck!). Here we go back to Texas….

The Tuesday I was in Texas, December 20th, we planned to go to a local trampoline place. I oh so love trampoline’s that I was excited to go! This trampoline place was similar to Sky High Sports in that it has wall to wall trampolines! (I blogged about a couple of my trips to Sky High – HERE with my nieces and HERE with the triplets.) I don’t know who was more excited Paige or myself?! Apparently, they just opened and when we showed up it was already sold out for most of the day Sad smile We were bummed, but luckily across the street was a bouncy house gym, the same one we visited during our 2010 Texas trip!

Paige is such a big girl, she was excited to go of on her own and play, jump and slide on the big kids climbers.

paige

 

In the meantime the babies, myself, Julia & Kim hung out in the toddler area.  The toddler area was great, it was a big Sesame Street bounce house and inside it was the perfect size for little ones. Reese is fearless and she went right in and had a fantastic time. (If she talked) I’m sure her only complaint was she doesn’t walk yet…she got around on her hands and knees though!

reese

It took Quinten a little bit more coaxing before he jumped in (no pun intended!). After playing in the toddler area for a bit, Quinten felt brave enough to move onto a bigger one.  He immediately wanted to try this colossal obstacle course with a huge slide at the end. He wasn’t big enough to go on his own so I went along with him. After our first trip down the slide, he was ready to go “again, again, again!” I think we did that slide about 10 times. My only complaint was the ladder that lead to the slide was so worn. Having to carry Quinten up a vertical ladder and keep my balance was quite the chore! Quinten didn’t seem to mind…I was a bit nervous!!

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What a fun day that was!  I was exhausted but it was worth it, not to mention I got a great workout!

One more day of Texas posts to go!

This post is also part of Wordless Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting For Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
And Then, She {Snapped}
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Project Alicia

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Beautiful Christmas Lights Destination! (Warm Beach Lights of Christmas)

This weekend was my third trip to the Warm Beach Lights of Christmas!

2011

 

If you live in the Northwest, you MUST take the drive up to beautiful Stanwood, Washington and see an amazing show of lights, plus TONS more activities!  You will not be disappointed, trust me!!!

So, what’s so awesome about the The Lights of Christmas?  Let me tell you by the numbers……

    General Event
    93 – Days it takes to set up the event. Set-up begins the day after Labor Day and lasts until opening night
    475 – Kilowatts of electricity used. The highest measure in years past was 510 kilowatts, before transitioning to more LED lights
    18,000 – Light strands, enough to stretch from Warm Beach to Qwest Field
    75,000 – Zip ties used in hanging the decorations
    1,200,000 – Lights, at least, that is where we stopped counting

    Guests
    6 – Continents visitors have come from (all but Antarctica)
    7,062 – Farthest number of miles traveled by a guest (New Zealand)
    500,000 – Approximate total number of guests attending The Lights since 1997

    Volunteers Last Year
    20,000 – Volunteer hours of set-up and during the event

    Food Consumed Last Year
    80 – Gallons of sparkling cider served at the Dinner Theatre
    283 – Gallons of Ivar’s Clam Chowder consumed
    1,500 – Pounds of dry cocoa mix, enough to make 852 gallons of hot chocolate
    65,700 – Hot, fresh, mini-donuts consumed

     

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Check out my photos from 2010 and 2009 as well!

This post is also part of Wordless Wednesday on the following blogs:
Parenting For Dummies & Seven Clown Circus
And Then, She {Snapped}
Live and Love…Out Loud
Crazy About My Baybah!
Project Alicia


Disclosure: *In order to do this review, I was given media passes to attend The Lights of Christmas. The review posted above is completely and entirely my own personal opinion of The Lights of Christmas.


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