Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10th Annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day~September 26, 2014

Cancer. It's a word that you probably hear every single day. I know I do. Whether it be on social media, the news, or in your own family, chances are you hear it. Chances are you know someone who is battling cancer, survived cancer, or sadly, lost their battle with cancer.

Cancer is not something I had ever really thought much about, until the age of 15 when my sisters best friend was diagnosed with it, and sadly lost her battle only 9 short months later, at the age of 17, mere weeks before graduating from high school. Cancer knows no ages, it knows no ethnicity,it  knows no social class. It doesn't care if you're a child, a mother, or a father. There are so many different types of cancers out there, it's pretty overwhelming. Each one, is equally as terrifying, but some have greater odds to beat it than others. Some get substantially more research than others. I understand why the more common diseases get more search, it only makes sense BUT I pray that one day ALL cancers will be researched equally and cured. No one should EVER have to lose their battle with cancer in this day and age when we have so much medical knowledge and advancements at our finger tips.

I'm sure you've heard of the common cancers like leukemia, breast cancer, and colon cancer, but chances are you may not know about the less talked about ones, like mesothelioma. To be honest, I didn't know much about mesothelioma...other than commercials I've seen on TV for law offices representing people exposed to asbestos, which causes this form of cancer, and an episode of NY Med where a patient was diagnosed with mesothelioma, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Until I was approached by Heather Von St. James, an 8 year mesothelioma survivor, inquiring if I would write up a blog post, to bring awareness to this relatively unknown cancer. Social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can be SO negative sometimes, that I jumped at the opportunity to post something that could put a face, a name, a family to something you might not otherwise know about!

First things first...what is a asbestos? It is a natural occurring mineral that was often used as a building material in homes, schools and commercial/industrial buildings. From the 1930's to the 1970's asbestos was at its highest production and usage. In 1989 the EPA banned most asbestos containing products but this decision was overturned in 1991 leaving only a few asbestos containing products banned. What!?!??! How is something that is known to cause 100,000 cases per year (in America) of asbestos related diseases still allowed to be used!??!? Awareness is key friends! If you don't know about it, you can't be angry about it, and you can't fight for it to be stopped! For more alarming facts about asbestos click here.

As a mother, there are two things I fear in this world the most....losing one of my children and leaving this Earth, leaving my children motherless. I just truly can't imagine (and I pray everyday I'll never know either of those feelings!) But for Heather, she had just given birth to her daughter Lily when she was diagnosed, and given 15 months to live! 15 months...think about that for just one have a newborn baby at home, a husband, family, and you are told that in less than 2 years, you won't be here. It's unimaginable. But that's what Heather was told. She knew, as a mother and a wife, that prognosis wasn't acceptable so she took drastic measures to improve her odds of living. She had life safe surgery that included the removal of her entire left lung, a rib and half of a diaphragm. With her 2nd chance at life, she has chosen to bring awareness to this cancer!

Displaying Heather And Family.pngHeather and her beautiful family!

Mesothelioma is still considered a rare cancer in America as "only" 2500 to 3000 cases are diagnosed each year, but behind that "rare" number is a mother, wife, father, husband, grandfather, grandmother, well, you get the picture! Cases are expected to increase as incidences of exposure to asbestos become more known. We must spread awareness for this horrible disease!

Although there is no known cure for this disease, there are treatment options available but awareness and detection are key!
="" target="_blank" title="Mesothelioma Prognosis By Stage" style="background: url('') top left no-repeat; display: block; height: 410px; text-indent: -9000px; width: 508px;">Mesothelioma Prognosis By Stage , Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; margin: 4px 4px 12px 4px;">Image courtesy of the href="">Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Take time to become informed. Take time to read about Heathers journey. Don't sit back and think, "Oh well, this will never happen to me!" because friends, we have no idea what today holds, and knowledge is key!

Monday, September 15, 2014

365 days old!

**I began to write this post on 9/9, edited/forgot to post it on 9/10 and then couldn't bring myself to post it on 9/11/14 because to me, 9/11 is sacred, and I choose not to do anything (social media related) that doesn't honor the lives of those lost.**

Well, I certainly remember this day like it was yesterday because that's certainly what it feels like! How did an entire year pass already!?!??! Maci Louise turns ONE today! It really is surreal, but I love this age (minus the getting into EVERYTHING) and I can't wait to see my baby girl turn into a toddler (but for the record...I need that to happen VERY slowly! She's my last one! ;))

Maci Lou,
  It's crazy to think that 365 days ago I was up at the crack of dawn, preparing for your scheduled c-section. We drove your brother and sister to Nonna and Poppys (I bawled my eyes out! SHOCKER! ;)) and headed to the hospital. At 9:16am you entered the world, screaming your head off, and goodness knows you didn't stop screaming your head off for almost SEVEN MONTHS! You had colic, and that was a tough, tough time, but boy oh boy did I love you no matter what! Your first two weeks were perfect! You slept in 4 hour stretches, in your bassinet, and it was absolutely insane to me. Then, I'll never forget day we went to visit some of my Mommy's co-workers, and as I put you in your carrier, you started crying and didn't stop (or so it seemed! ;)) until you were almost seven months old! :) Girlfriend, you threw Mommy for a loop, but I think that's what made us REALLY close! I had to "wear" you most of the time, so we spent A LOT of time together. Not to mention I worked from home for 4 weeks (after my maternity leave was up), so you got 4 weeks of extra lovings, and we are still pretty inseparable to this day! :) You are cute, sweet, sassy, hilarious, wild, loud and absolutely everything I hoped you'd be! I can't wait to see what this life has in store for you sweet girl! I love you with all of my heart and soul!

What are you up to these days...

*Developmental milestones: as of the week of 8/23/ are a pro at going up the steps (goodness you LOVE to climb steps!), when I say, "Maci rest" you lay your head down wherever you are, and you have taken a few consecutive steps, several different times. On 8/26/14 you had your last bottle of formula. On 9/6/14 you started throwing both arms up in the air when Mommy says, "Touchdown!"On 9/9/14 you had your last bottle (of milk). You are completely off the bottle as of your 1st birthday! :)

*Your stats: You don't have your year check-up until October 7th, but I'd guess you're around 25 lbs, and still tall as ever! I'm sure you'll continue to remain off the charts until you start walking, then you'll slim down some. As for height, I'd venture to say you'll always be off the charts!

*You are in size 5 diapers

*You wear mostly 18 month clothing, but sometimes 24 months! :)

*You continue to be SUCH a good girl at Linnie's. Everyday when I pick you up Linnie always brags about how good you are! :)

*You love Manuel, Mia and Daddy. You do this super adorable "shy" face when you're around new people. You actually even do it when you're around people you know, and you just feel shy!

*You're a momma's girl, through and through! 

*You're officially in your crib as of the night of September 3rd! Mommy is holding strong and you are doing well. It's not the easiest thing to do with you teething, and I've ALMOST given in a few times, but thankfully I changed my mind. There is NOTHING wrong with co-sleeping and I love every single second of doing, but it was time...we made it almost a year my baby girl! :)

*You do a lot of babbling...still clearly know that Mommy is "Mama" and Daddy is "Dada". Linnie and I both swore you said, "Ninny" (meaning Linnie) yesterday, but we'll have to see if that keeps up to call it an actual "word" :)

And for good measure:

As with the 11 previous months, on Maci's birthday I did a monthly photo shoot. I have AWESOME pics on my camera but this is Maci in her "party outfit" (from my Iphone). I haven't posted this pic on FB yet (and I won't until after her party on Saturday) but I felt no harm in sharing it here because no one I know (in real life) reads this (at least not that I'm aware of! :))

 I know, I'll give you a second to can't handle all the cuteness! ;)
You only turn one, once! ;) 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


A week ago today, Mia started preschool and as I expressed in my last post, it was a hard, hard, HARD ;) day for both of us. The days after it, at drop off, were "easier" but still hard. There was still tears, there was still "Mommy, please take me to the bathroom before you leave" requests and I was really starting to wonder if she'd ever be okay with this new place. (I for one HATE change, so I couldn't blame her if she wanted to stay at Linnie's until she moved out of her house! ;)) I know she was fine once I left, but drop off was breaking my heart. Today was a pivotal moment for us, I wanted to post it here because I do look at this blog as a journal/baby book (although I do fill out their baby books as well! :)) Here is my FB status (excuse the Ray Rice reference, clearly, living in Maryland, that's ALL that in my newsfeed these days!!!) :

"I was hesitant to post this for fear of being annoying and then I realized it can't possibly be more annoying than all the Ray Rice posts! I am sooooo proud of there were NO tears, NO requests to take her to the bathroom, etc. The director met us at the door, I signed her in and she walked away WITH A SMILE! I said, "Bye Mia! Mommy is SO proud of you!" She turned back with a huge smile and we (Maci and I) walked out! A week ago she walked in those doors holding her Daddy's hand and I caught (accidentally) the saddest picture of her, as tears streamed down her face. Today, that smile made everything worth it"

The level I love my children is beyond words, but with the daily living of life ;), that sometimes gets forgotten or pushed aside because of a meltdown, lack of sleep, misbehavior, work, school, lack of patience, life in general, and I read this line on another blog a few moments ago, and it sums it up perfectly...

"My love for my children is profound, but because we spend our days living, working, surviving we don't stop much to feel how deep we love."-CJane Kendrick

I love my children SO deeply! I hope they always know that and feel that!

I can only pray that Mia continues to enjoy preschool. I pray that Manuel continues to "enjoy" 3rd grade (he's 8.5, unless it's gym, he's not ENJOYING it, but he does well! ;)) I pray that my baby, who turns one TOMORROW continues to enjoy life and being a baby! :))

And for good measure:

 Manuel's after his 1st soccer game (the real feel temp was 105 degrees that day and those boys still played their hearts out and won! ;))
Mia thoroughly enjoying the 105 degree soccer game! ;)

This girl keeps me on my toes!
But is SO darn adorable, it makes up for it! ;)
My loves on our 1st "Purple Friday" of the NFL season

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1st Day of Pre-K

My, my, many milestones in the last few weeks and in the coming weeks for the Gomez family! It's a bag full of mixed emotions! :) I don't do well with change, and my babies growing up, but I also know how blessed I am to have healthy children that are well enough to experience all of these things, so it's just a lot for this Momma heart to take in! :) And let's be honest, I can't help myself so there is A LOT of tears! ;)

On August 27, Manuel started 3rd grade (worst mother, for not doing a post about it, but clearly I'm not a regular blogger! :)) He got on the bus without issue or incident (I cried, even though this is the FOURTH time I've done this with him! ;)) and so far, his year is going well!

My sweet Mia Grace started preschool yesterday, September 2nd. She attends a preschool/daycare at a church by our house. Our neighbors daughter goes there and it came highly recommended. The hardest part of it all, was Mia saying "see ya later" to Linnie last Friday. Linnie has been Mia's primary care taker (besides Manny and I) since she was EIGHT WEEKS OLD! That's 4.5 years! It was a VERY hard goodbye for all of us (probably the worst for Linnie and I! ;)) So Mia and I did great all weekend. No tears shed in anticipation of her starting school UNTIL it was time for Manny to walk her in (I knew he had to do it. I knew I was going to lose it, and I didn't want to lose it in front of her.) As I got her out of the car, and Manny grabbed her hand to walk her in, she started bawling! :( (I got in the car, and did as well. Maci probably thinks I'm crazy! ;)) After about 10 minutes Manny walked out and said that she was "okay". By the time he called at noon to check on her, she was fine. Once they moved from the group setting (with all the kids) to her pre-K classroom, she was okay. I was SUPER excited to pick her up at the end of the day and see how she was...she was fine. She survived! We survived! ;)

Today was day #2, and she teared up, but no major breakdown! I hope each day gets easier, because this Mommas heart can't handle tears (from either of us! :)) everyday!

Here are a few (cell phone) pics from her 1st day. I overslept (UGH!!) so we were rushed, but at least I got some good shots!

And for good measure...

 Getting ready to walk Manuel up to the bus stop before her big day! :)
 Looking up at Daddy (this wasn't staged! and I LOVE this shot!)
When I picked her up at the end of the day...crazy hair and all, she's still SO beautiful! :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

11 months with Maci Louise!

It's crazy to think that in a little less than a month, we will be celebrating a year with our little Maci Lou! I've been saying this for the last 11 months, so I'll say it again ;) Time flies! Mia starts preschool and Maci turns one all within 8 days of one another...clearly it's going to be a very emotional time for this Momma! But I know this is also just the beginning of the super fun stage with Maci, so I'm excited for that too! :)

What are you up to these days...

*Developmental milestones: Back on 7/15/14 Maci started "cruising" and that girl can't be stopped! She's taken one small step, but nothing that I'd consider her first "official" step yet, but I have no doubt that she'll be walking by her 1st birthday! She LOVES dancing to music! It's super cute! On 7/18/14 she starting standing for a few seconds without holding onto anything. On 8/4/14 she can officially and correctly put up 1 finger when you ask her how old she's going to be AND give you five when you ask! :) Oh, you've really have the waving thing down now, with both hands. SO cute!

*Your stats:There is no 11 month check-up, so I'd venture to say you're around 24 lbs. My big girl! :) But you're proportionate because you're also very tall!

*You are in size 5 diapers

*You wear mostly 18 month clothing

*You continue to be SUCH a good girl at Linnie's. Everyday when I pick you up Linnie always brags about how good you are! :)

*You love Manuel, Mia and Daddy. You do this super adorable "shy" face when you're around new people. You actually even do it when you're around people you know, and you just feel shy!

*You're a momma's girl, through and through! 

*You're still in Mommy and Daddy's bed and we're 100% okay with it! (well, Daddy isn't really 100% okay with it anymore...usually he ends up on the sofa! ;)) but I told him I'd give a REAL try to get you in your crib after you turn one! :)

*You have started to cut back on your bottles. You still drink 6 oz. every 5 hours, but lately you've been not finishing your entire bottles. I think you're going to be ready to transition soon. But, since you're my last baby, if it were up to me, you'd be drinking from a bottle until you're 10! ;)

*You do a lot of definitely know I'm "mama" and Daddy is "dada" but no other words than that, yet.

And for good measure:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

9 (well closer to 10 ;) month post (and a bit of life in general)

Let me start off by saying that summer is cruising along for the Gomez family! I certainly can't believe that it's already July! Wow! In a little less than two months Manuel will be a 3rd grader and Mia will be ending her life long "run" at Linnie's house and starting pres-school :( Then, in a little over two months, Maci will be ONE!?!??! It just doesn't make sense to me! ;) It makes my heart ache, literally, how quickly time goes. BUT I try to remind myself that each day I'm given with the kiddos (and Manny) is a gift and more than some people are given (WAY MORE!) so I need to just sit back, relax and enjoy it. Easier said than done! :)

We just got back from a week+ long vacay to the beach! It was awesome! Many laughs were had, many memories were made, and we're so grateful to have had the time away! We spent a lot of time at the beach, hit up the waterpark, rented a pontoon boat, rode rides and of course spent ridiculous amounts of money at the arcades on the Boardwalk, to only walk away with some candy, a mini water gun, a few other items that broke the next day. That's what it's all about though, right? ;) Now, it's back to Linnie's for the girls, summer camp for Manuel and work for Manny and I!

Of course I took a zillion pictures, and they are all posted on Facebook, but here is my favorite pic from our vacation (or quite possibly EVER) of the 5 of us...

EDITED: As of Maci's 10 month birthday, she has two teeth. The two bottom (front) are through! :)

Now on to the Maci Lou update...Sheww weeeee, this has been a busy, busy month and a half for Maci Louise, in terms of milestones! :) She is growing like a weed and certainly changing each and everyday! I wanted to do a post, wayyyyyyyyyy back on June 10th, but not much had changed, and her 9 month well child visit had to be moved until after vacation (it was last night), so I figured I'd just do a 9/10 month combo post. Mommy fail! ;)

Maci Louise, your smile lights up a room! You are your sisters twin (or at least that's what EVERYONE says! Mommy really doesn't see it! :)) But you are just as adorable as your brother and sister! ;) We love you more than words and your presence completes our family (although I'd be fine with another, Daddy says we're done. It's time to give you, Manuel and Mia the best life ever! I can't say that I don't agree with him, BUT you're growing up WAY too fast, so I can't imagine the teeny tiny baby stage not happening again :( But this next stage of baby-hood is SUPER cute, so I'm excited for that as well! :)

What are you up to these days...

*Developmental milestones: Holy moly, you are reaching milestones like crazy! Since my last update: the week of 5/19/14 you started saying "dada" ALL THE TIME (but not to the point of associating "Daddy" with that term! ;)). On 5/23/14  you pulled yourself up to your knees in your pack n' play. Then on 6/17/14 you started sitting yourself up, by yourself, from the lying down position. The week of 6/21/14 you started clapping. On 6/29/14 you started "real" crawling. You've been army crawling, like a champ, for awhile, but this day you started, up on all fours, crawling. Super cute! Mommy teared up! :) And lastly, you pull yourself up, all by yourself, to your feet ALL THE TIME! The second you fall down, you pick yourself right back up and do it again! It's so funny to watch you because you get the BIGGEST smile on your face and look SO proud! You even to stand, only holding on with one hand, and you're really good at that too! :)

*Your stats: 23 lbs 3 oz (96 percentile), 29.5 inches (94 percentile) and your head circumference is in the 96 percentile (just like Mia, who's head was always off the charts! :)) You are a chunky monkey! I even looked in Manuel and Mia's baby books after you appointment last night, and Manuel wasn't 23 lbs until his 12 month check-up and Mia wasn't 23 lbs until she was 14 months, so you are my big girl! :) But you're totally proportionate so it's all good! ;)

*You are still in size 4 diapers

*You wear mostly 12 month clothes, but Mommy still tries to squeeze you into your super cute 9 month summer stuff ;)

*You continue to be on your best behavior at Linnie's each day, and Linnie just adores you! She calls you her "wild child" (lovingly, of course!)

*You continue to crack up at your brother and sister. Our neighbor, Halle (age 9) is also one of your besties! :)

*You're a momma's girl (just like Mia), and I love it! 

*You're still in Mommy and Daddy's bed and we're 100% okay with it! Maybe I'll shoot for the one year mark, to have you in your crib! ;)

*You've finally up'd your intake to 6 oz every 5 hours or so (even through the night! That is correct, you still don't sleep through the night! Oh well! ;)

*You do a lot of babbling...lots of "dada", "nana" and FINALLY "mama" but not associating it with actual words.

I think that's it for now baby girl! :) You are AMAZING!

And for good measure a few pics from her 9th month :) ..

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

8 months with Maci Louise

Back on May 10th Maci turned 8 months old! We "celebrated" like we do every month with a photo shoot and singing "Happy Birthday" to her, but I never posted here! :( Thankfully I do keep an actual baby book for her, so that counts for something! ;)

Maci Louise, your smile lights up a room and your happiness makes Mommy's heart overflow with joy and thankfulness! I'm not gonna lie sweet girl, those first few (ahem, 6 or so! ;)) months with you were super difficult! Nothing seemed to make you happy and things just weren't easy. I wouldn't have traded it for the world, of course, but it was just HARD! You have really turned a corner and are so happy and smiley MOST of the time (unless someone new comes in the room and you think Mommy is leaving! ;)) You definitely favor your Momma and I couldn't be happier! :) All the "big girls" in the  neighborhood call you "Smiley" or "Bouncy" because you are just always so darn happy! :) (or they call you "Mini Mia" because everyone thinks you look JUST like your big sister! Funny thing is, I really don't see it THAT much, but apparently everyone else does! :) Thank you for bringing our family so much joy! We love you!

What are you up to these days...

*Developmental milestones: you give the sweetest, opened mouth kisses when asked. It's ADORABLE! You aren't crawling yet, but you do a little rocking back and forth (not up on your knees yet). When sitting in your pack and play, you reach over to the side and try to pull yourself up, but haven't done it yet on your own. You can stand (if we stand you up), holding on to something for a few seconds. Mommy isn't rushing ANY milestones since you're my last baby! :)

*You are still in size 4 diapers

*You wear mostly 12 month clothes

*You continue to be on your best behavior at Linnie's each day, and Linnie just adores you!

*You love playing with your brother and sister, and they really crack you up!

*Your eyes light up when you hear Daddy's voice or see his face!

*You've made your way completely out of your crib, completely out of the mattress on the floor in your room and back in Mommy and Daddy's bed. I guess you can say we're officially a co-sleeping family! Oh well, I'm 100% okay with it. I LOVE having you close to me and, for now, can't imagine you in your crib! :)

*Still no teeth!

*You continue to drink 5 oz every 4-ish hours. You love to eat your stage 2 fruits and veggies. You've also started eating puffs and other dissolvable "baby" foods :)We started you on stage 2 "meats" (ugh, typing that word grosses me out...Mommy doesn't "do" the thought of pureed meats! ;)) but either way, you love them! :)

*You do a lot of babbling, but no real words yet.

And for good measure...

 My babies sending balloons to their cousins in Heaven on their 6th birthday
 Maci Louise on her Dedication day at church
 Hubby doing what he loves most...rock fishing!
 Manuel playing baseball
8 month photo shoot (outfit courtesy of EmbroiderybySharon on Etsy! I won a giveaway that she had on her Facebook page for this outfit, but I also purchased Maci's 1st Thanksgiving Day outfit from Sharon!

I hope life is treating you all well, friends!