Everything stays the same…

Everything stays the same.

Time is passing.

Leaves are falling.

Costumed children have tricked their treat and turkeys are starting to get scared.

Yet, everything stays the same.

Chris has had two, two month check up’s since I last wrote. To be perfectly honest. I didn’t know what to say.

Everything stays the same.

His doctors are happy and we’re excited! His tumor isn’t growing.

Yes, Chuck is still hanging out in his brain. but he’s not growing.

Every single time we hear this it gets more and more hopeful.

An “all clear” at the two moth appointment means more time.

Chris, however, is struggling.

You know those steps of the grieving process? There are five and he’s knocking back and forth between steps two and four.

Anger and depression.

One day he’s happy and I see a glimpse of the man I used to know.

One day, he’s so angry that I can’t get a word in edgewise because he’s so damn mad at me he can’t see straight.

And then there are the days that hurt the most. The days that I watch that strong, amazing man crumple at the feet of cancer.

He doesn’t move.

He doesn’t talk.

He doesn’t…

I long for the “good” days.

The days that he laughs and sings in that horrible baritone that I love.

The days that the kids can joke with him and he laughs back.

But, more often than not, he has an anger or depressive day.

Now, I’m not saying he’s ALWAYS like this. I’m just saying that it’s hard to have a good day when you’re trapped in a three way cycle of happy, mad and depression.

He’s still Chris.

With his hat on, you might not know that he has brain cancer. He still looks the same. Handsome as ever!

The only things you might notice is his aphasia.

He talks with effort.

To someone who didn’t know, it’d be like talking to someone who’s distracted. Like talking to someone who isn’t really listening.

Except, it’s the exact opposite of distraction.

It’s extreme concentration.

Words are difficult and following an entire conversation takes as much concentration as he can muster.

Which is a lot!

You might not know he has cancer.

But, you do.

Other than the cycle of grief, everything is ok.

Everything stays the same.

The kids are starting back to public school and I couldn’t be happier!

Not that I didn’t enjoy homeschool, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’m good at a lot of things. Great at some. But, homeschooling wasn’t my forte and I’m ok admitting that.

So, today Doodle two started at the elementary school near our new house and Doodle one starts Monday in middle.

Ugh!

Where has the time gone?!

I’m sure they’ll love being around more kids their own age and I’ll enjoy being with Chris ALONE on my days off.

What’s that like?

I forgot.

We moved to a new town and although it’s only a county away, I’m tee totally lost!

I’ll find my way.

Right now, I know where the schools are and the gas station.

It’s weird to be in a new town.

A fresh start.

Will we meet new friends?

Will we enjoy and become comfortable here?

I hope so! I certainly do.

That’s that!

Chris’s two month appointment went so well. Although, his brain is still swollen, it has gone down exponentially in the last few months.

Although weak, he has the ability to get stronger.

His will to fight is still there.

And, although dealing with the tremendous burden of grief, he is doing well.

The kids are starting school and they are nervously excited! They don’t seem as scared as they were before and my heart is happy to finally see them enjoy education again.

We are ok. We are together and enjoying what it feels like to be a normal family. We are happy with the notion that we get more time. We are starting to remember what it felt like before cancer entered our lives.

But, it did.

Everything stays the same.

Erin Condren: A Game Changer!

Do you ever feel completely disorganized?
That no matter how hard you try to plan ahead to keep up with your busy day-to-day life,  something always seems to be forgotten or missed? And how every new year, you go out and buy a new planner with the hopes that this year will be better because you have a different planner this time?
Yet, you find yourself not using it because it just doesn’t have everything you need it to have after all?
 And flipping through mundane black and white pages just bores you to tears, which makes you less inclined to keep it updated?
A little confession…….that was me. I NEVER used to be this neat and organized. My life was a disorganized mess!
Until the day I discovered a planner that would literally change my life from chaotic disorder to complete organization!
The little miracle that saved me from my stressful and disorganized life and transformed me into a more peaceful and completely organized “life planning” guru is the Erin Condren LifePlanner.
I didn’t think it was possible that one little planner could shift my cluttered, disarrayed life into an orderly, systematic and organized one. I didn’t believe it…because I had tried so many times before to no avail.
This is not your average planner.  Sure, it has a calendar like every other planner, but it’s so much more than that.
I actually look forward to using my planner and I can tell you that has never happened before.
Being organized for the first time in my life has created a calm I never knew existed because I don’t stress anymore about missing or forgetting anything.
The EC LifePlanner layout has everything I need to plan accordingly, but beyond that, it’s also visually pleasing and actually brings a smile to my face when I use it.
Who knew that scheduling, planning and coordinating daily life could actually be fun?
Not me!
Have you ever found something that made you so happy that you just couldn’t keep it to yourself?

Well, my friends, it may seem small to some of you, but I can find a little ray of sunshine every day in my Erin Condren LifePlanner.

Yes.

A planner.

Doesn’t that seem silly?

Maybe…to some…

I believe we should cherish the little things in life. And my Erin Condren LifePlanner may seem like a “little thing” to some, but to me it is so much more!

When I sent an email to the Erin Condren social media squad, I never thought I’d hear back. I sent it with the hope that they would read my blog and hear my story. That that story might pique their interest and I’d be able to use it to help another person dealing with some of the same things I am.  Or maybe it could simply help introduce someone not familiar with Erin Condren to a new and innovative planner that they could use in their everyday lives.

So, I reached out. I sent the email, and lo and behold, I got a response from a woman named Samantha!!

Holy Hades!

I couldn’t wrap my brains around the fact that my little blog could catch the attention of someone at such a large company.

But, it did.

“Samantha”  told me to make my choices for a new planner and she would send me a “Happy Package” full of EC goodies.

Rose Gold and MidCentury circles and Vertical vs. Horizontal, Oh My!

I was giddy with excitement and this is what I was talking about before. This planner can bring such a smile to my face!

So, I waited.

And I waited.

Just two days felt like an eternity, but it showed up and that orange box made me Squeee!!

FullSizeRender

I called Doodle One in and we went to “Unboxing” this new found glory in a perfectly packaged box.

FullSizeRender (1)

There was a note.

FullSizeRender (2).jpg

They always include little freebies on the top of their packages, but this was personal. A handwritten note. It was from Sam. We were on nickname terms and I laughed out loud at the concept.

So, I opened it and she had sent two boxes of their amazing colored pencils for my kids.

FullSizeRender (3)

What?

Yes, y’all. She sent two boxes of the most perfectly designed colored pencils for my Doodle’s!

Plus, some stickers!

FullSizeRender (6)

I was, again, just in awe of her ability to touch my heart.

Sam sent me what they call the “Wellness Package”.

It included their AMAZING wet erase markers (I had no idea there was even such a thing, but they write like a dream and only wipe off easily with a wet paper towel)

A “Wellness Journal” to keep up with general body wellness. It’s not just specified to weight loss. It chronicles hydration and an overall body conscious way of living.

Their “Designer Sticker Book” that is so pretty I don’t think I can even use the stickers! They are gold, platinum and rose gold foiled with such perfection that they look like works of art.

A set of their “Do It All Dots” that go in your planner to stylize even the most mundane of daily duties.

Two, Count Um, TWO dashboards!

FullSizeRender (20)

One that you can use weekly to organize meal planning to make that task a breeze and one that included the cutest sticky notes you can imagine. All highlighted with their signature water color background. They are so useful, I’ll probably run out and have to buy my own. (Which I’ll do in a heartbeat!!)

And finally, a cover to use until  the personalized one that I picked out could be made. Because the platinum foiling process takes so long to prepare, Sam just couldn’t wait to send it to me!!

And y’all, this cover was beautiful. Perfectly foiled and laminated in a very sturdy, yet still visually pleasing format.

IMG_7522

Then it happened.

I came to the bottom of my package and angels sung and birds chirped and whales gave a mating call…

My Planner.

FullSizeRender (10)

I felt like holding it up like Simba and singing “The Circle of Liiiffee”…

From cover to cover I stared. My daughter thinking I was crazy the whole time.

I couldn’t open it up.

I wanted to savor the moment and smell the fresh paper smell and feel the infinite possibilities that perfect planning can do to your life.

But, I finally did.

The front cover has a whiteboard that works with any dry erase markers or the phenomenal wet erase markers.

FullSizeRender (16)

The first page is vellum. I didn’t know what vellum was, but now I know I want it in my life. It is gorgeous. Marked with a colorful pattern of their “MidCentury Circles”.

FullSizeRender (19)

And then I dove in. Head first with eyes wide open. It has a two-page layout of 2016 and 2017 and then it has a two-page layout of boxes, color coordinated for each month. I think I’m going to use this as a “Goals” page to set monthly goals for myself.

Then the planner itself starts and the watercolor theme immediately stands out. It is strong, yet feminine. A perfect choice for a new style.

FullSizeRender (11)

The months are still color coded this year, but with an elegant watercolors. Less polka dots and boxes. She truly captured the essence of every different personality. For, with the soft colors, one could add pizzazz with stickers or just let the simple beauty of the planner speak for itself. I, myself, am a little in the middle. I love stickers, but I am understated in my design choices. But, EC knew that and designed her LifePlanner for each personality accordingly.

FullSizeRender (15)

The months are followed by note pages: Lined, Graph and Blank. Again, with the customizing, EC. Oh, how you know thee!!

Then follows the folder pocket that serves the purpose of just that. A two-sided folder to be a catch all for all of your receipts, bills and so forth. It’s sturdy, yet not industrialized looking.

And yay! A zippered pouch at the end that you can move to wherever you’d like in your planner. Filled with goodies like the coil clip to snap it into place, a sticker book sample and compliment cards that I’ve already used for Chris’ sweet nurse that helped us so wonderfully.

So, do you want one?

I bet you do and I have a code to help you get $10 off.

So, take the plunge.

The design is always top notch and the personal touches they add just add a little something that can’t be explained.

This year is the year that I caught the planning bug. I got caught off guard. I joined a community of planners that is both exclusive and all inclusive. All members are full of love and compassion.

We all know that we are all fighting our own battles. But, we rally and hold hands and just love one another in a way that feels so fulfilling.

I have a lot going on in my life right now. From kids to homeschool to a husband fighting cancer. This planner gives me the light I need to get me through my most gloomy of days. I can pace the halls of the darkest hospitals and my light won’t be extinguished.

Yes, a planner can do that. Yes, a planner does that.

And that planner is the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

Get your own personal ray of sunshine.

Allow yourself to be enlightened and changed for the better.

See how something that some may call a “little thing” can make such an enormous and positive impact on your life.

With Love,

Al

P.S Here’s your $10 off code!!

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/allisonpadgett0625

P.P.S Take a look around and find what tickles your fancy!!

http://www.erincondren.com

XOXO…

**Some editing and some writing credit goes to Suzanne B. Horton who makes my sun shine and my moon glow**

Embrace the NOISE…

Snoring.

Slurping.

Humming.

Drumming.

Mumbling.

Repeated questions.

Footsteps up and down the hall.

Over and over.

Constantly.

Screams and cackling.

Dogs barking.

Cats meowing.

Loud music.

The TV volume at exponential levels during SportsCenter.

Doors slamming.

The refrigerator opening and closing a thousand times.

Cabinet doors unhinged.

Toilet seats dropped.

We all have a list of these things. These things that bother us. These things that get under our skin. These things that drive us to yell and holler and act crazy because that’s what we feel like we are.

Crazy.

Driven to that point by the constant noise.

The constant noise of life.

Of a family.

I have asked myself this week a very profound question and it’s taken me a while to actually answer it.

What would I do if the noise stopped?

What would I do if quiet fell over my home?

I laughed at first and thought, “Oh, how I’d love to have a quiet house! With no fighting or slamming doors or running up and down that long ass hallway! Bring on the quiet and bring it on NOW!”

Then, reality hit me smack dab in the face and I realized something that I should’ve known all along.

I love the noise.

I love the sound of little feet running up and down my hall. I love the sound of the raucous play and laughter that it brings.

And I love the sound of his snoring.

Without it, there’s no him. There’s only me.

Alone.

Quiet.

Please, understand that I’d like to not miss 15 minutes out of every hour of sleep, but this comes with a price. A price I’m willing to pay.

You see, I don’t know how long I’ll get to hear the sweet sounds of those snores. It could be a year. It could be ten years.

We all know that our children will grow up and the pitter patter of little feet will go away. The slamming front door will stop and the fridge will stay shut.

These are things that we, as parents, know will happen.

It doesn’t make it any less hard, but it happens at a slow pace and is something we can prepare for.

We all know we’ll have that treasured “Empty Nest”.

See? There’s even a name for it.

But there’s no name for “Empty Bed” syndrome, unless I just coined it.

We don’t talk about how wonderful it will be to spread out and hog all the covers.

We don’t talk about it because no one wants it.

I might for a night or two.

Even a week. But somewhere deep in my soul, I need to hear the snoring. I need to huff and puff over the stolen covers.

I need this to breathe.

Because I know what it means when the snoring stops.

It means that half of my soul has been taken and all that is left is silence.

So, for now, I’ll embrace the noise.

I will live for the guttural sounds of sleep.

I will live for those feet dancing down the hallway and his yelling for them to stop.

I will live.

At least for as long as he does.

She is beautiful

032

She is the envy of many a woman.

She is, to most, perfect.

She is the responsible, put together and dependable one.

She never forgets a birthday or anniversary.

She is, by all accounts, just what every woman dreams to be.

She is beyond beautiful. Her light blueish green eyes sparkle when she laughs and her smile is infectious. Her hair shines in the sun and even in a “mom bun” looks amazing.

She remembers others children as she walks through the dollar aisle at Target and picks up the perfect item “just because”.

She buys Christmas presents in June because they will be just what someone wants and tucks them away for that special moment.

She is smart. Smart like most people want to be. That odd combination of street smarts and book smarts that makes her know how to change a tire and also know who fought in the war of 1812.

She’s comforting. An oasis in a life of chaos that can be called upon at any minute. She always knows what to say. She can make you feel like a million bucks with just a corny joke and the sound of her laughter.

She is the carpool mom that knows all of the other mom’s names and chats with them without effort.

She is the classroom volunteer mom that knows every kids name and develops a way to reach every single one in just an afternoon.

She’s the lunch duty mom that cleans up after your child without a second thought.

She’s the Cub Scout mom who checks homework so diligently during the meeting that others think she homeschools.

She’s the baseball mom that cuts up all the oranges and serves the flavored water and never forgets if that one kid has an allergy.

She’s the MOM.

She’s the mom that reads to her kids every single night. Building their love of literature and enriching their minds.

She’s the mom that plays, acts, sings, dances and generally acts like a silly woman just to see the smile on her kids faces.

She’s the mom that still checks on her kids during the night and sheds a tear just watching them slumber.

She is also the mom that thinks she doesn’t do enough.

That her best is never good enough.

That she should go harder and faster and longer.

Her self concept isn’t what we see from the outside.

She is lost in self doubt.

She is lost.

This is when we step in, Mama’s!

We all know this mom.

We all envy this mom.

We may, in fact, be this mom.

It’s not a competition.

All of our kids are perfect and we are all beautiful.

It’s time we tell each other that.

Tell another woman on the street that you like her shoes. Tell her that her dress is just gorgeous.

You know why?

Because she might have had the worst morning and one comment can make her day.

She’ll believe you, but inevitably, wouldn’t dare believe herself.

The mirror lies to us, Mama’s.

We are all of these things.

Tell another mom she’s appreciated today because, guess what?

It might be the first time she’s heard it in a while and you just might change her view of herself.

You are gorgeous.

You are special.

You are irreplaceable.

You are doing the best you can.

And, honey, that is and always will be, more than enough.

An open letter to my husband’s brain tumor

Dear Chuck,

Dare I say “dear”, you quarter sized asshole? Well, I guess I should, as I do want to be as nice as possible, so you’ll act accordingly.

My name is Allison. We actually haven’t met, but I’m sure you know my voice. I’m the high pitched, female, muffled sound you’ve heard for your whole life. You know? The one that at one minute is loving and sweet and the next minute reaches octaves only our dogs can hear? Yep. That’s me.

I thought I’d introduce myself so you and I could get to know each other better and you can begin to see things from my point of view. You see, I understand you already. You are happy and warm and just’a growing away in my husband’s cranium. I’m sure that grey thing that you’re pushing on, his brain, is nice and smooshy. I’m sure it’s pretty comfy in there.

Now, I know two weeks ago, when a mean man opened up Chris’ skull with a saw and cut about 75% of your gelatinous body away, you got pretty mad. Understood. That had to suck for you, Chuck. I mean, damn, I’ve never been cut into third’s, but I’m sure it’s no fun. I really do see that.

What I need you to understand and the reason I’m writing this letter, is I would like you to see things differently. You’ve been “in the dark” about all of the things going on on the outside of my husband’s skull and I think it’s time you have a reality check.

I fucking hate you.

Period.

You see, in the past year and a half you’ve been causing some problems and I’m going to need you to stop. I’ll start from the beginning and work our way up to now, so you’ll be able to get a true understanding of what life on the “outside” is really about. I assure you, this will be life changing and it is my hope that we can come to a genuine and adult agreement.

A few months before August of 2014, I’m assuming you took up shop inside what you now call your home. The reason I say this is because in that month, of that year, you began to show yourself.

I appreciate your subtlety in the beginning. Chris would’ve been really scared if you started off the way you do things now.

You picked a pretty crappy area to live. You see, you don’t know it, but you live at exactly the part of my husband’s brain that controls his speech and language. The part that allows him to talk, think and express himself. So, by growing right there, you started to effect his speech and cognition.

At first, it only happened every now and then. You’d grow and he’d not be able to speak for a few minutes. He’d not be able to think. Then, I think you got a little too comfortable and just grew your happy ass off.

From the outside, I didn’t know that, of course. I stayed oblivious to your devious course of action and watched the man I love suffer with fear and frustration. I watched in confusion as he would stare blankly for a few seconds. Then his eyes would show pure fear. Next he would try to speak, but NO, you wouldn’t allow that. You’d just push a little more. Finally though, he’d gain control again. Slowly, he’d fight you and he’d win. You tried your best, but damnit, he was stronger. Every time you tried to do this, even when you started to do it more, he fought. Why, Chuck? Why did you keep doing this to Chris?

We’d had enough of your antics and went for an expert opinion. This is when we finally saw you for the first time. I have to say, we were surprised. In your day you were a pretty large tumor. Albeit, gelatinous and gross. But, large nonetheless.

That expert was that man you met two weeks ago. The man with the saws and knives. He’s on our side, if you haven’t guessed and he pretty much despises you, too. Even more because he had to leave some of you in my husband’s brain.

Now, this is the part that I talked about earlier. The part where we come to an agreement?

You see, I love Chris. I know you need him for life, but I’m not sure that you realize that I do, too. He’s the part of my soul that God misplaced when I was born.

And there’s something else. Actually, “something’s” else. You know those tiny muffled voices that you hear all day? The laughing, crying, playing, loving voices? Those are Chris’ children. You probably didn’t know about them when you moved in. I understand that. That’s why I’m telling you now. There’s a girl. There’s a boy. And they need their Daddy. He’s their knight in shining armor. The foundation of their playhouse and the blanket of safety they sleep under every night. They love him. They need him. They deserve him. And you simply cannot take him away from them. Without him, they won’t have their Tickle Monster. They won’t have their Red Light Saber wielding bad guy or their handsome date for the Daddy/Daughter dance. His boy won’t know to open the car door for his first girlfriend and his girl won’t know that a gentleman does that every time. His boy won’t have a best man at his wedding and his girl won’t have him to walk her down the aisle and (much to his dismay) give her away.

See, Chuck? I’m going to need you to stop. Just stop. I’m asking nicely in hope that we can come to this mutual agreement without arguing. Arguing will only make things worse for you and Chris. Mostly you. You remember that mean man? Want to see him again? Stop growing. Do you want to be chemically poisoned to the point that you wither and shrivel? Stop growing. Want to be hit with a beam of light and burned alive? Stop growing. For the love of all things HOLY, STOP GROWING! (Sorry for yelling)

You can stay, Chuck. Just chill out. I mean, damn. Just leave him alone. Chris will give you that nice cushy home you’re accustomed to and we can all be one happy family. I’m all for it, Chuck. Chris, me, the kids and you.

So, from me to you, please hear my cry. Please, try to understand. Life on the outside is very different. Life on the outside is complicated.

What I need you to comprehend is that life on the outside isn’t life without Chris. It will cease to exist without him and with all that I am and all that I’ll ever be, I beg you. Leave him alone and let him live. Let him be the light that he is and let me keep that piece of my soul.

Sincerely,

Allison B. Padgett

The Tieks Company Makes Me Smile..

I want to use my voice to raise awareness for a company that few know of, but a lot of people need to hear about. Tieks. Tieks. Tieks!

I have read a few reviews of these awesome flats for women, but I have yet to place one on my foot. EVERY review has said these shoes are amazing. That they last all day and beyond. That they feel like clouds on your feet and they make occupations in which standing on your feet is mandatory a simple endeavor.

I reached out to the Tieks company because I had some questions as a homeschool Mama. Would these flats work on a daily basis for someone who not only teaches, but keeps her own kids in check? That was what I wanted to know. I got an email in response! An email explaining how the shoes would work for a homeschool Mama, a paramedic off duty and someone with a thousand things on their plate. So many things, that shoes are the last thing that should be on their mind.

I am in no way affiliated with Tieks, nor have I purchased (yet) a pair of their flats (or have I been asked to review them). What I’m trying to tell all of you homeschool Mama’s and all of you out there simply searching for a company that cares, this is it! They care. They think what you have to say is important and actually value you as a customer, even before you’ve become one!

So, go to http://www.tieks.com, and experience a new kind of company. A company with employees that take time to listen to the public. A company that might actually be a throwback to past times when one could have an “experience” shopping, not just go through the motions and let the shopping experience you.

She is the Homeschool Fairy

Can being in a slump effect our kids?

Sure.

Will we make mistakes?

Sure.

When we become Mama’s are we automatically infallible?

No.

So begins my post this Saturday morning.

I am in a slump, or funk, as you may say. My Mama duties have seemed so difficult the past week. Almost as if I’m moving in a pool of water. Slow and labored. Homeschool is hard, y’all. Homeschool is fun, but it’s easy to feel like you’re slipping and make a mistake. In more ways than one, it’s brought me closer to my children. In more ways than one, it’s made me more tired mentally than I ever thought I could be. I feel alone in my work. Unappreciated. I work hard to find stimulating resources that will help the Doodle’s along in their quest for knowledge. But, alas, I feel I am alone in this quest. I get so excited about finding new stuff and I swear when I get our books, I may throw a party. But, I’ll be the only one in attendance. I want to scream with excitement over fulfilling this dream. But, I might as well be screaming into a pillow. No one, and I mean no one, cares.

It’s as if all of these things just magically come from the homeschool fairies at night. Like a cobbler’s elves, they are tireless in their work.  The homeschool fairies find resources, print worksheets and when the printer is out of ink, they even handmake worksheets! They paperclip and staple. They sort and organize. They love a good binder! The fairies read books to be read. They highlight the most important parts and create handwritten “walks” through the literature to help with Doodle 1’s reading expression. They underline and bold print. They plan unit studies and lap books. The fairies plan projects and library lists. They even put all of the necessary library books for all of the subjects of the week on hold before we can even get to the library! They tape and cut. They even put note cards on the wall to help with sight word practice for Doodle 2! I love the fairies! I appreciate the fairies. I am the fairies…

Silence. No round of applause. Not even a thank you.

And so goes my journey this week. I will keep moving forward in my pool of water. Slow and steady wins the race, right?