Saturday, January 28, 2012

Love Me Some Strong Women

This week, I had the chance to reconnect with some great women - old friends, women I work with, great doctors and family.  And I realized, I love strong women.  I love to see all that women are capable of and the many hats they wear during the day.  I love the perseverance, the determination, the dedication and the sacrifice that women make on a daily basis - most of the time without blinking an eye.

Of course, there are the women in my life.  I watched my mom quit her job and put her Fenton life on hold to come over and help my family and me this year.  I have seen my sister buy her own condo, finance her own life, take care of leasing a new car and make career moves all on her own. I hear about Brian's sister, Tricia, who is raising three children under four on her own, while her husband puts in incredible hours at work.  She has a great foundation from Cindy, who also used to juggle three little kids and a teaching career at the same time.  I see my girlfriends doing the same thing; when Lacey isn't working as a nurse, she is at home with Ella and Bennett all day.  Oh by the way, she is training for the 25K in May and a marathon in October.  Katie is busy on her new role as a stepmom, learning how to balance work and the schedule of two teenagers - a challenging stage of life for any parent.  My friend Courtney is making career changes, working on selling her home and getting ready for her own family planning.  Meanwhile, my dear friend Lisa has juggled work, several new changes at work, and coping with little Mattie's heart condition.  After three prolonged visits to the hospital and two ambulance rides in one year, Lisa pretty much answers her work Blackberry to hang up and deal with Mattie's medication.  I just talked to my bravest friend Gwen, who left her job and live-in boyfriend in Cleveland to follow her passion and career to Chicago.  They are a long-distance family right now but Gwen felt it was time for her to put her potential to the test.  And then my friend Meghan, who was pregnant with me, is juggling three girls the same ages as our three boys, working on blending a new family together and staying on top at work, enough to earn her a reward trip to Arizona in February.

I have had some very trying decisions to make this year and much of my consultations have occurred with strong women.  I regularly call two women who have had drastic impacts on my career - one at Fifth Third and one at Bank of America.  I love that I worked for both of these women and they inspire me to do better and be smarter.  I continue to meet with them and lunch with them.  My feelings for them have grown from that of mentor to that of friend.  And I truly love them.

My OB-GYN called me over Christmas to say hello.  Not only did she guide me through my cancer diagnosis and pregnancy, but before any examine would start, she would ask me how I was doing and hug me through my tears.  My nurse, Bekki, has become my friend.  She takes care of my physical ailments and questions but I have said to her many times, "What would you do if you were me?" and I trust her response.

Where does this ability to multi-task come from?  Why do women take on the stress of the family, the career, the finances, and the marriage, all while trying to be beautiful and glamorous and desirable?  I look back at my Grandma.  She was born in the U.P. and her dad died when she was 2.  She was raised by a single mom who made ends meet.  When my Grandma was old enough, she left for Chicago to go to nursing school.  Can you imagine being in the 1940s and pioneering your own way in the big city to make a career for yourself?  From there, she went to Colorado and got a job in the hospital, where she met my Grandpa.  But what I learned is how STRONG she was.  I don't really know if I have the gumption to take off and move across the country on my own to start school and a new career.  I know I'm proud to come from a lineage that did this though!

As our culture continues to modernize, women continue to make adjustments regarding what is the norm.  It is the norm to get up and workout before we take care of kids, get them ready for school, shuffle them out the door to begin our own work day.  It is the norm to be equal in pay to our spouses, carry our own benefits and have our own retirement accounts and investments.  It is the norm to juggle our afternoons around so we can have a prepared dinner in mind and start the rat race of homework, packing lunches, bath times, reading, sports routines and bed before we have a chance to sit down and breathe.  It is the norm to wonder if we are investing enough time in our marriage since we are barely investing enough time in ourselves.

So at the end of the day, I love strong women.  I love seeing all that they are capable of and all that we aspire to be.  A lot of times, it's a thankless job but it's a rewarding job.  We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and sometimes when it feels really heavy, we stop and cry.  But for all of the strong women out there, we know we get back up and go at it again the next day.  And we make sure, the way that our moms lead the path of us, that we are leading the path for our daughters (and teaching our sons how to love and support the strong women in their lives).

But the best thing about strong women?  Is the support we get from other strong women.  When the chips are down, I can call my neighbor and say, "I need help".  When the days are overwhelming, I can talk to another strong women; and even if she is going through her own trials and tribulations, she is there for me.  Strong women need to be each other's best advocates, since we are allies and understand one another.  So, strong women, rejoice!  Reward!  Reunite!  And continue to respond to other's, since we are making it through life, one day stronger at a time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Tonight was pure chaos, from the time I walked in the door, to the time all three kids were blissfully in bed (not asleep, but in bed).  I feel like I'm brand new at juggling work with kids and dinner and homework and playing and baths and baby.  I know I used to do it before and they say it's like riding a bike...but I don't remember riding a bike to require so much patience.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and had a dinner planned of Garlic Herb Tortellini with chicken, spinach and tomatoes.  I bought beautiful, doughy rolls that I couldn't wait to put yummy melted butter on (diet and workout be damned...I needed carbs).  I came home, sent Gracie home for the day and the fun began.

Evan didn't want to be put down.   He doesn't usually act that way, but I attribute it to being away from him for an entire day while I was at work.  I strapped him into the Baby Bjorn and away we went to working on dinner.  Making dinner with a baby strapped to your chest is a lesson in balance and delicacy.  First, because he wants to grab onto everything. Second, because there are flames flowing out from the stovetop.  And third, because he would like his hands to rest in the oven.   But I was feeling confident in my abilities, gliding from the refrigerator, to the stove, to the oven while singing songs from "Grease".   I hadn't heard from Brian but was certain he would be flying in the door at any minute, ready to help with the three kids and enjoy a meal together.

Evan started getting fussy, so into the high chair he went.  The boys started getting crazy and next thing I knew, a tennis ball was being thrown around the main floor while they sprinted to outrun it.  My oven timer is beeping and I can smell my rolls burning (please don't ruin the carbs) and my dinner is starting to boil, rather than enjoy a low simmer.  And it escalates.  Evan is now screaming and wants to eat dinner ten minutes ago.  The boys are crazier and squealing every time the ball is thrown.  Smoke is coming from the oven and I've made a mess all over the stovetop.  Get out Evan's dinner food, feed him dinner, he doesn't' like it, blows raspberries all over my sweater with his mouth full of sweet potatoes.  Wondering where the hell Brian is.  Send the boys downstairs while we have an argument that "coloring" is not a physical activity.  Throw rolls in the garbage - totally black.  Dinner is also scorching; my beautiful tortellinis are now stuck together.  Evan hates everything I give him until I whip out green beans.  Start to question if he is really my baby.  Brian finally calls - at this point, I don't care where he is or what he has been doing, I just need another adult in this house.  A stranger off the street would suffice at this point.

So, by the time my dear husband walks in the door, dinner is ruined, have lost total control of Gavin and Cohen, and I'm too tired to care...or pour myself wine.  We sit through a quiet dinner together when the boys get their second wind and decide to entertain Evan.  Cohen gets up and puts Evan's high chair in the "recline" position.  Evan doesn't like this and cries out in fear.  I don't like it either and cry out in anger, "Cohen!  You need to be careful with Evan.  He doesn't understand what you're doing."  Cohen is very upset and runs to hide under the dining room table.  Brian looks at me with disappointed eyes that glare, "Now, look at what you've done."  I hold my head high and march upstairs to put Evan in the bathtub.  I know I probably shouldn't have yelled at Cohen, but why do I have to remind him that Evan is a baby and we need to be thoughtful and gentle with him.  As I am thinking about my triumphant "rightness", I stick Evan in his seat in his bathtub.  But something isn't quite right.... Hmm.  This is how Evan should look in his seat:

Happy, relaxed.  Little yellow, purple and gray things in the front.  And what I have going on is mad, squished and little yellow, purple and gray things in the back.  In my haste, I put Evan in his seat backwards.  And now he's stuck.  I can't get him out.  I am pulling and grabbing and slipping and sliding and he isn't budging.  Gavin is watching me and saying, "E, I'm scared.  What if he never gets out?"  I yell to Brian to please come upstairs so I can show him how I have trapped our baby in his bath seat and begin to worry too, that he will never get out.  How am I going to get a sleeper over this thing?  Brian begins to twist and turn Evan, while I hold onto the seat.  Then Brian soaps up his legs, like we might be able to shimmy him out.  We lift Evan out of the water, while still in his seat and try to twist him around.  Gavin has tears in his eyes while he imagines a life with a brother who will forever be teased because he has a bath seat around him like a hula hoop.  And then I see it.  The big blue eyes out of the corner of the bathroom.  Cohen, triumphantly looking at me.  Condescendingly.  Now, he doesn't know it's condescending.  But he is looking at me saying, "E.  Evan is just a baby.  You need to be gentle and careful with him.  Good moms don't stick babies into their bath seats backwards.  Look at what you've done."  It is then I realize that I don't know what I'm doing.  I'm still trying to get the hang of being a mommy and being an adult.

Evan eventually comes out of his seat, though I don't know how.  I let him suck the washcloth extra long tonight because I felt bad (dirty bath water forgives all and it makes him happy).  I also apologized to Cohen for what I said earlier and said, "We all make mistakes with the baby."  So, do as I say and not as I do.  Because, clearly, I can talk the talk..but haven't quite mastered walking the walk.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Liposuction? Don't Mind If I Do.

The up-side of having your breasts removed is having new ones put back in their place.  Right now, I have tissue expanders, which are stitched into my chest wall and quite firm.  They are also very uncomfortable.  But, I had an appointment with my plastic surgeon this week and we are talking about the next procedure.  Even though the removal of the expanders and implant replacement won't be happening until June or July, it's still exciting to think about it.  It was even more exciting when she said we would be doing a "fat graft".  (or graph?  hmm).  I had no idea what she was talking about so I was just nodding my head and smiling.  I finally asked, "'re doing a fat graft on me?  What it is?"  It is a relatively new procedure that surgeons have recently started doing on implant patients.  They take fat from your body and put it over the implant so it gives it a soft, natural-looking, natural-feeling chest wall.  Gone are the days of the implants sticking straight out of your chest.  It also helps prevent skin sagging in the future, so hopefully, the implants will stay where they are initially put.  When I finally grasped the concept, I asked where the fat came from.  And then she said the magic words...."Wherever you want it to come from...your thighs, your butt, your hips."


Are you kidding me?  I get to decide where you are going to take fat from?  The only hard thing about this is that there are so many places to choose from.  I could add it all up into one and have Size GG boobs, but I'm going to spend time making this very important decision.

So, this year, I'll be getting longer hair, longer eyelashes, nice perky boobs and shaving some fat off of unwanted places.  After a year of ugly, I am certainly loving the Year of Pretty.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Did I Wish Away a Month?

Yesterday, Evan turned 8 months old.  8 months!  He has been alive almost as long as I was pregnant.  He has been alive long enough to see the rains of May, the sweltering summer heat, and now he is wondering what-the-fugg all this white stuff is.  I can't believe it.  I also can't believe how much he is changing.  He sits up on his own.  He laughs at funny things.  And he is really smart.  Smart enough to know when he doesn't want food, he doesn't open his mouth.  And when those funny things happen, he laughs with his mouth closed.  He is such a stinker.  And has crazy stinker hair.

So, now I'm left wondering, where did that last month go?  How did I miss all of the time between Thanksgiving and now?  Of course there was the happy chaos of the holidays and the travel  back and forth between families.  But somehow, I spent so much time wishing that time would go fast, that I can't remember how I got from there to here.

I wanted to be finished with radiation before it even started.  I didn't like driving down there everyday.  I hated putting on the gown when I was freezing.  I hated making small talk with the techs (who were all very nice) when I was topless and showing my surgery war-wounds.  I didn't like going by myself and I didn't like counting the seconds during each radiation scan to make sure they were the same each day.  I most especially didn't like when the contractions of radiation caused my tissue expander to rub against my rib.  The pain was excruciating.  So, each day, I hurried and wished for it to be over so I could hurry and be done. But I've learned a hard lesson.  I spent so much time wishing time away, that time actually slipped away.

I now realize that I am going to have a lot of experiences in the future that I just don't want to do.  But instead of wishing the time away, I need to find a different way to cope.  I don't want to miss out on milestones, like Evan learning how to blow raspberries, because I am busy wallowing in my own sadness.    I don't know if I will be able to have any more kids and I can't afford not to embrace the moments that Evan gives me.  Even if that moment is just picking a million puffs off of floor...since Evan doesn't eat them; he throws them.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What I've Learned From Doctor's Visits

There are a lot of amazing things about the doctor's office.  If you are sick, they can make you feel better. If you have an illness, they can diagnose it (most of the time).  But there are many things that irritate me and I thought I would share with you, in case they irritate they too.

1. Weigh-Ins.  I was weighed four different times last week at the offices of four different doctors.  Each time the weight was different.  My home scale has the same number every time.  Why this irritates me is because two nurses gave me the stink eye because my weight had gone up about 4 pounds since last week.  Was I stuffing my face?  No.  Water-retention?  No.  It's the difference between 50 degree weather and 20 degree weather.  Winter coats and Uggs are heavier than yoga pants and flip flops.  So don't go all Judgy Judgerson on me when you don't let me weigh myself naked, after I pee, every morning before one calorie enters my mouth....just like I do at home.

2. Waiting.  We all know we wait at the doctor's office.  It's like the bank or waiting in line at the grocery store.  For the most part, I think my doctors do a pretty good job of getting me in on time.  But, I have one doctor in particular - I can see her office when I walk down the hall way to the examining room. Not only can I see her office, I can see her in it.  And yesterday, she wasn't just sitting at her computer.  She was talking to other people.  And it was very apparent it was a casual conversation.  I waited in the examining room for 20 minutes!  I understand that she may have been waiting for test results or a phone call, but just pop on in and say hi.  I am literally five feet from you.

3.  Dumb Questions.  At this point, the hospital knows just about everything about me except what I look like when I'm healthy.  So, do I really need to go over all of my medications EVERY time?  I know you are looking at a list of them - is this a mind game to test me to see if I have them memorized?  I also need to start asking for $1.00 every time someone asks me if I'm breastfeeding.  Let's use the power of deduction here.  1.  You just asked me my history of surgeries and know I had a double mastectomy.  2. You just asked my all of my medications and know that I can't be on several of them if I am pregnant.  3.  We just discussed that I am getting radiation - can't do that while breastfeeding either.  So, I'm saying, it's safe to assume in this case.  And again, for those that can't jump to logical conclusions 1-3, there are many that give the stink eye to non-breastfeeding mothers.  I would like to politely tell them to go shove it.

4. Receptionists that Act Like They Don't Know You.  I have to say, I am fairly lucky in this aspect.  I have been to most of my doctors so many times that the receptionists usually know who I am and why I am there.  But there is one that refuses to acknowledge that she sees me every week. So we go through the routine of me showing her my ID and insurance card, she asks why I am here, blah blah blah.  Maybe next week, I will just write it all up on a piece of paper and start handing it to her.

I will give the next installment of my learnings in a few days....wouldn't want to spoil you with all of my goodies all at once.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012: What It Means To Me

This is the time of year that a lot of people make resolutions about things they want to change or additions they want to make to their life.  For me, this year, I am resolving two simple things: to be healthy and be happy.  Both are attributes that I previously took for granted.  But now that I have had the chance to fight for my health and see the power and presence it deserves, I have also seen that my general "happiness" is something that I can control and have to continue to work towards.

If someone was talking to me a year ago - 29 years old, five months pregnant, delightfully married, enjoying my career - and said, "Erin.  Take the time to think about your health.  Think about what it would mean if you were no longer healthy.  Think about what it means to question your mortality.  Think about the things you put into your body and how you treat it..."  I would have passed right over these thoughts.  I know I would have been thinking, "I am in great health!  Sure, I have high blood-pressure, but that is from my crazy job.  Sure, I eat pretty healthy, but not all of the time, but it's because I work so much.  Sure, I work out, but I'm not obsessed (like my dad...wink wink)".  I wouldn't have been able to comprehend not being healthy; because I had never been there before.  So, I understand that as I share my thoughts with you now, if you haven't experienced this, it's hard to imagine not being your healthy self.

Fighting for the right to breathe and to live and to exist is so much more than we realize.  It's only when that opportunity of life is flashed before us - maybe it's a car accident or maybe it's a diagnosis or maybe it's a gun in your face - that we realize how much we want to LIVE.  And living is embracing.  And embracing is relishing and honoring those experiences.  It's cherishing the chance to be a wife or a mother or a sister or a daughter.  It's making sure you kiss your kids good night, even when they are asleep.  It's holding hands with your husband while you are in the grocery store aisle.  It's texting your mom and dad to tell them you love them.  It's thanking your sister for being her and realizing how much richer your life is because you have a sister.  It's appreciating the talents of your brother. It's all of these things that make us who we are and having a chance to appreciate them, because we are healthy.

What we need to do, at least once a day, is appreciate how amazing our body is.  The millions upon millions of cells that work in coordination to keep us moving and thinking and breathing like clockwork is a miracle.  When I was first diagnosed, I felt like my body had betrayed me.  I didn't understand how something like this could happen to me.  What I see now is that it takes only one cell; one teeny-tiny little cell to mutate and take control.  So instead of wasting my time on that one cell that went haywire, I am going to be grateful for the millions of other cells that are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.  And for that little shit of a cell that turned on me, I am going to do everything in my power to beat the crap out of it.  And that is where my happiness comes from :)

I spent too much time last year crying and grieving.  I understand that it was a process I had to go through, but in the midst of all of that crying and grieving, I had things to celebrate.  I had a husband by my side, loving and caring for me.  I had a beautiful, perfect baby boy.  I have a beautiful home with heat and comfortable beds and room for all of my caregivers to stay with us.  I have insurance that prevents me from being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.  I have a message to share - and a voice to share that message.  This is my year of happiness.  And I am going to look at the things I go through as a few mountains to climb on my journey.  But I am a climber and I am a fighter.  I deserve to be happy and I trust myself to let my head and heart get me there.  Plus, I'm not going to let one shitty little cell dictate my physical and emotional state.

So, to 2012....what you mean to me is optimism.  And hope.  And smiles.  And courage.  And when I falter or hit a stumbling block, I am going to remember that my health is worth fighting for...and my happiness is going to be the drive that keeps me going.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011: A Year in Review

January: Brian, Gavin, Cohen and I live in cramped condo.  Pressure builders everyday to hurry and finish house.  Spend majority of my time commuting 2 hours each way to work and wonder why I'm so tired.  Maybe it's because I'm five months pregnant.  February: Brian turns 36! First family vacation - ENTIRE family (minus BK): Mom, Dad, Meghan, Ed, Cindy, and us with two and a half boys in Orlando, FL.  Visit Animal Kingdom, Sea World and pool time.  Brian and boys spend eight hours driving to Cape Canaveral for shuttle launch.  Cohen asks Brian if they are driving back to Grand Rapids.  March: The world changes abruptly.  We close on house March 4.  We spend the week packing and moving.  Movers come on March 11.  Takes them hours to pack up the "few" things we thought were left in condo.  Dr. VandenBosch calls - I have breast cancer.  WTF?  Two hours later, Retail Executive calls. I'm being transferred; former region is disassembled and I lose my favorite boss.  Both sets of parents arrive, Meghan arrives, Lacey and Katie arrive.  Lots and lots of tears.  Nana Moni suggests the name Evan - it means "Little Warrior". Port placement surgery.  Chemotherapy starts.  Take two weeks off.  April: Return to work.  Tired from chemo.  Tired from pregnancy.  Pull together Gavin's 8th birthday party.  Boys start new school at Ada Elementary. Meghan's birthday.  Show up for Meghan's birthday with no hair.  Brian shaves my head on Saturday, April 9.  I shave Brian's head too.  I don't feel any better.  Weekly ultrasounds and non-stress test.  May: Meet with neonatal team.  Meet with oncologists.  See OB-GYN twice a week.  BK surprises us and comes home for Mother's Day/Dad's Birthday. Brian gets promotion at work - Market Manager - has 26 banking centers in Grand Rapids. Induced labor.  Wonderful labor.  Perfect reward.  Evan Foster Murray, 6 pounds, 6 ounces.  Healthy. Amazing. Beautiful.  First night home - no sleep.  Neurotic first time mom.  Back at chemo May 26.  Spend Memorial Day weekend in bed feeling terrible.  Lots of tears - does Evan know I'm his mom? June: Big chemos are over.  Start "easier" chemo.  It's not easier.  Big lie.  Love my Evy Pie.  Gavin and Cohen are awesome little brothers.  Evan meets Aunt Alison. Brian, Nana and Meghan have to help with Evan because I'm struggling.  Kidney stone.  4 days in hospital before they remove stone by surgery.  Hurts more than labor. Brian plans birthday dinner at favorite restaurant with both sets of parents, Meghan and Gwen. Katie organizes dinner delivery -amazing friends and family make dinner for us every night - so grateful. Spend 30th birthday in chemo chair.  Lots of pouting. July: Favorite holiday - 4th of July.  I don't feel well.  Lose eyelashes.  Losing eyebrows.  Look like I'm dying.  Feel like I'm dying. Dickel weekend.  Evan gets spoiled by all aunties, uncles and great grandma. Get new wig.  Like new wig better.  Get fake eyelashes.  They look fake.  Evan is amazing.  Love being a mom.  August: Run out of chemo drug. Have to take new one.  Feel worse.  Car breaks down in middle of highway.  On a mission to sell car.  Miller Party - meets Cousin Conner, Cousin Shelby, all Miller aunts and uncles and the twins.  CT scan.  Good news - no noticeable cancer in breast.  Concerning news: two spots on lungs.  Mom stays home for two weeks and I am on my own with Evan.  Love our time together but feel like I'm doing a terrible job because I feel so sick. Vacation with Brian's family on Lake Michigan.  Evan screams the entire time. Sell car.  Buy new car.  Love.  Evan's baptized.  Nana, Papa, Grandma Cindy, Grandpa Ed there.  Auntie Megs and Uncle BK are godparents.  Gavin wants to be on alter and baptized too :) September: Wrapping up chemo!  Just getting Herceptin every three weeks.  Katie and Bubba get married. Beautiful wedding, love time with friends.  Climb sand dune at Sleeping Bears - feel strong!  Return to work.  Working, chemo, and baby are a lot.  Evan is smiling and laughing and perfect.  Has reflux but doctors won't diagnose properly. So mad at doctors.  October: Getaway weekend to Florida before surgery.  Rains a lot but so much fun with Rothschilds.  Nervous for surgery.  Evan finally on reflux meds.  He is not screaming in pain.  Change pediatricians.  Hate the old one. Double mastectomy and reconstruction on October 11.  So freaking sore.  Unprepared for extreme pain.  Can't hold Evan for four weeks.  Follow-up with surgeon, plastic surgeon, oncologist.  Tired of feeling sick.  November: Measurements for radiation taken. Have tissue expander drained.  Self-esteem is zero - two different sizes on my chest.  Start radiation.  Have Thanksgiving at our house.  Feeling blessed for all of the help we've had this year.  Evan is rolling and loves when you hold him to walk.  No interest in tummy time or crawling. Hair starts coming back.  Stop wearing scarf. Evan is confused - sometimes I have hair, sometimes not.  Sometimes wear glasses, sometimes not.  I hope he remembers how I smell.  Enter "Kiss of a Lifetime" contest.  Forget about entry until we hear from producers we are chosen.  December: Call from work - my position is gone.  Feel like things just aren't turning around.  Lots of crying.  Loss of job makes me network and reconnect with friends.  I like that.  Evan is so cute. He is happiest when Gavin and Cohen are home.  Evan sleeps through the night for an entire week - 8pm - 8am.  Brian is so busy at work.  Wish I could do more than just lie around.  Radiation is hard.  Radiation is painful.  Tissue expanders not cooperating with radiation.  Meet Guiliana.  I love her.  I am beyond thrilled. We win contest.  Humbled by all of the love and support - keeps me motivated to get out of bed and head to radiation everyday.  Want a break. Love Kline Christmas.  Love Murray Christmas.  Love Christmas at home with three boys and Brian.  New Years Eve in NYC.  Unreal.  Miss Evan! Dec 31 - first signs of skin peeling and burns from radiation.  11 more treatments to go. Could not have done this without the support of my family and friends.  Have the most amazing husband in the world.  Brian has stood by my side from Day 1. So smart, so handsome, so loving.  I have the love of my life.  Luckiest girl on earth with the best baby and wonderful stepchildren.  I can do this. I have to do this.  So happy it's 2012.

Thank you, Lisa, for letting me steal your blog idea. xoxo