what i’ve been up to…

Now that the boys aren’t in school, it’s hard to keep track of what day it is. During the school year, days are defined by what “special” takes place (gym, art, music, or library). Without those to guide me, Monday kind of merges into Tuesday and slides into Wednesday and so forth. We’ve been taking it easy, but still finding plenty to do. We’ve enjoyed quite a few yummy meals like this one:


Friday night I grilled balsamic-marinated chicken breasts, topped them with fresh mozzarella and bruschetta and served it all over pasta. It was simple and fantastic!

I’ve found a bit of time here and there for tea and to read a new book I’m borrowing from the library:


And I’m patiently waiting for my hydrangea to flower. I was afraid it wasn’t going to happen again this year and I’d have to pull the bush out, but sure enough, there are going to be three flowers!


Last night Drew took the boys to see Toy Story 3 at the drive-in. They all really enjoyed it. While they were out, Drew’s dad called to let me know he got a new phone and he was going to send up his old iPhone for the boys. (They always enjoy playing the games on it.) While the boys will certainly enjoy it, I’m also thinking that I can basically use it as an iTouch when I can pick up a WiFi signal. That could come in handy! They are big gadget folks and big fans of Apple. Drew’s stepmom has an iPad and it was pretty neat. I’m not sure if she has iPad insurance or anything, but since she travels constantly for work, it is perfect for her. I’m nowhere near as techy, but I think it’ll be nice to have the deactivated phone, if for nothing else than to keep the boys from driving people crazy when we’re waiting in line for something.

I guess that’s about it. We’ve been enjoying lazy, unscheduled days. And now that a cool front is moving through, I think it will be even more pleasant!

summer vacation, day one

DSC_0079-resize Yesterday was Jake’s last day of second grade, which means summer vacation starts today. There’s already been a good bit of bickering and scolding and I’ve warned the boys that the rest of the summer will not continue like this. It’s crazy to think that I’ll have a third grader and a kindergartner come September. Noah’s very excited to pick out a backpack and lunchbox. Target already has their back-to-school supplies on display and the boys couldn’t help but peek at some of the backpack styles. I’m so glad neither are interested in the ones that look like rolling briefcases. I’ve seen a lot of kids with those and… eh, I don’t know. It’s one thing when you’re traveling through an airport, and another when you’re rolling down a hall, LOL.

Anyway, I don’t have much scheduled today. For some crazy reason the boys love returning cans and bottles, so we’ll do that, run by the grocery store, and then hit the library. I have dozens of craft ideas starred in my Google Reader (and I’ve shared many of my favorites over on the sidebar, too). Both boys will have library camp in the mornings for a week and Jake has day-long Cub Scout camp for a week. They are also going to Quebec with Drew, his mom, and his aunt this summer. Laura and I will be staying home. I didn’t think I could get her a passport in time and after thinking about it… I think it would be difficult managing her on vacation at the moment. While her night-time sleep is improving, a major schedule change (such as a long car ride to Canada) would very likely throw it all off. And there goes all of my hard work! I think it will be a special time for Drew and his mom, though. They’re all looking forward to it.

Other plans for the summer? Well, I need to get a sticker for the car so we can take the boys swimming at the lake. I’m trying to overcome my massive fear of heights and bridges so we can check out the Walkway over the Hudson. I’m sure there will be plenty of park visits and picnics and trips for soft-serv and lolling around.

What are you all planning to do during the next couple of months?

ent appointment

I just realized that I never wrote here about my ENT appointment. I guess because I updated the people who seem interested via e-mail and Facebook, I just didn’t really think about it. All in all, the appointment made me feel more at ease. He could not feel the nodule, so he gave me orders for an ultrasound-guided FNA biopsy (which I scheduled for July 6th). He looked at my thyroid through a scope (yeah, that was weird!), and said that it’s obviously inflamed, but I really need to see an endocrinologist to help me sort through my hormone issues. That’s what I’d asked my primary care doctor last week! Sigh… At any rate, the ENT gave us the impression that it’s unlikely the nodule is cancerous, but if it is, that half of the thyroid will be removed and in all likelihood I won’t need to worry about anything else. He said that he thinks it’s more likely hormone-related. Let’s hope the results of the biopsy will give us a definitive answer.

I did find a local endocrinologist, but could not get an appointment until late August because she’s currently out on maternity leave. I did call one other office, but got a bad vibe from the staff. They would not allow me to make an appointment. She said I’d need to have my doctors fax over all of my labs/ultrasounds/biopsy results, and then the doctor would review them, and then they’d call me to make an appointment. Perhaps that’s standard procedure in some specialist’s offices, but I didn’t like it. Who knows how long it would take to have my file reviewed? And what if they don’t deem me “important” enough and don’t call for months? I felt more comfortable scheduling a visit with this other doctor. The way I look at it, if I have little to worry about, then I’ll be fine until the end of August. And if the FNA shows something that requires immediate attention, I’ll find a doctor down in Westchester County (about an hour away, where I saw the ENT) and go from there.

So that’s where I am! I’ll spare you from my boring thyroid issues for a couple weeks. I’ve scheduled everything I can, so there’s little to do but wait and show up at my appointments. Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers. I do believe they work!!!

new look

Originally I wanted to unveil my new blog design on June 1st, ideally to coincide with what I’d hoped to be an announcement that I finally got my Etsy shop up and running (the same Etsy shop I originally hoped to “announce” last October). Well, things came up I guess, and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to add some things to my shop, but I was tired of waiting to upload the new design, so… voila!

Hopefully my head will be straight soon and I can focus on crafting.

catching up

Monday already, eh? We had such a busy weekend. Friday night Noah “graduated” from nursery school. The kids were all so adorable in the gowns and caps. Each child answered the same questions Jake did four (!!!) years ago: What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite color? And what do you like to snuggle with? Noah’s answers: A race car driver, chicken nuggets, red, and Murry the stuffed cat. The potluck dinner afterwards was fantastic — everything was delicious! Drew’s mom and aunt and my parents came up/down for the event, and my parents hung out until Saturday.

Meanwhile, Drew and Jake left for the Cub & Partner camping weekend right from the graduation ceremony. They had a great time and Jake worked on whittling and archery skills. Apparently he was quite good at archery! Yesterday was, of course, Father’s Day. Noah and I drew some Father’s Day greetings on the driveway so Drew would see them as soon as he pulled up. Unfortunately there wasn’t too much relaxing because he had to get everything ready for a business trip. He’ll be back Wed. night. I miss him already! 🙁

As for me, I’ve been trying very hard to stay away from medical websites and just keep things in perspective and remind myself that the odds are in my favor that nothing is terribly wrong. My parents are coming back down on Tuesday night so Dad can watch the boys, and mom can come to my ENT appointment with me. We’ll drop off Laura at Drew’s mom’s, since the specialist is down in her neck of the woods. I’m so anxious for this appointment already. I’m emotionally exhausted thinking about all the “what ifs.” I know that’s not at all productive, but it’s kind of hard to avoid. My poison ivy is slowly going away. I’m not really sure what Prednisone did, but I’ve been off of that for a couple days now and I just have to finish up my antibiotic. Hopefully the “down” ending to spring will lead to a much more positive start to summer! We shall see.

ok, enough of that

Thanks you everyone for all the supportive comments yesterday. I really appreciate it! I am doing much better today. I went to the medical office to pick up a copy of my lab reports and the doctor happened to be right at the window, so we talked for a few minutes. She reassured me that it’s probably thyroiditis (manageable with medication), but to be sure, it’s important to follow up with the specialist. So I am much more at ease than I was yesterday.

Anyway, let’s move on to other things, shall we? No sense on dwelling on the unknown when in a week’s time I’ll have consulted with an expert.

Tomorrow is Noah’s nursery school graduation. I need to make ziti and brownies for the reception after. At least it’s not an event I need to buy new clothes for. I’ve had a couple of those this year and it hasn’t worked out so well. I used to have great luck at Burlington Coat Factory but I think the one near me switched buyers or something. It seems they have a lot of “urban clothing” and less of the classic stuff. But jeans and a nice top will do just fine for SNS graduation at the park 🙂

Tomorrow is also “pet day” in Jake’s classroom, which means I need to drop off and pick up one of our fish. This should be amusing!

My poison ivy is starting to go away, thank goodness. I have tons of scabs on my ankles, but I’ll take that over the disgusting weeping any day. I’m also happy to report that the size of my left foot has returned to normal.

I’ve got no big plans for tonight. I’m making a copycat version of Red Robin’s Bonzai Burger for dinner (for me and Drew — the boys want regular burgers). And tonight I think I’m going to have some more of that ice cream, write up a story for the paper, and find something on Netflix to watch.

so, the results…

Well, my doctor called me today with the results of yesterday’s ultrasound and the blood work they ran on Monday. I’m still trying to process everything, but the bottom like is that I need to go to a specialist to get my thyroid issues sorted out. My doctor is concerned because the u/s showed that I have a single nodule that measures 2 cm. Single nodules, according to the doctor and what I’ve read, are more likely to be cancerous, so I will need to have it biopsied.

My husband’s aunt worked at Phelps Hospital in Tarrytown for over 30 years, so I looked to her for an ENT recommendation. Why an ENT over an Endocrinologist? I asked the same thing, and an ENT ultimately performs the biopsy. I have an appointment on Monday Wednesday*. Unfortunately Drew has to be out of town for work, but my MIL is going to watch the boys and Drew’s aunt is coming to the appointment with me. The doctor will go over all my labwork and discuss things with me before I make an appointment for the biopsy.

Needless to say, I am a little nervous, and yes scared. I’ve had several good cries today. Although thyroid cancer is uncommon, anytime the “c-word” comes up I think it’s natural to worry. So, if you are so inclined I would really appreciate any prayers you might offer up for me. It’s probably a condition that is easily managed, but there’s always that chance. Nevertheless, I am staying positive and I’ll wait until I meet with the specialist to get more information.

* Update: I had to reschedule my appointment because I forgot Jake had a field trip and would have to miss school. Who thought a 7 year old boy would be so upset, crying, over missing a visit to the FDR Historic Site? Anyway, he was so torn up I couldn’t stand it. Now he just has to miss a playdate, but apparently that is a better trade-off in his eyes.

bleh :-(

I hate to say it, but that’s how I feel today. Bleh. I have a horrible case of poison ivy that has resulted in an infection on my left foot. I went to the doctor’s this morning and yes, I got prescriptions for a steroid (to make the poison ivy go away) and an antibiotic (to make the infection go away), but I also had to deal with the results of my blood work last week.

See, I decided this was the year I’d start going to the doctor regularly. I’ve been blessed with good health and have only gone maybe three or four times in the last 10 years. I figured it would be a good idea to have baseline numbers for my sugar, cholesterol, etc. The good news is that those things are all fine and dandy. The bad news is that my thyroid is out of whack. It is “sluggish” as my doctor put it. So, I had more blood drawn to test for more specific levels. She felt around my neck and noticed that my thyroid felt enlarged so tomorrow I’m having an ultrasound to check it out. I might have a goiter. A goiter! I’m sorry but that makes me think of a circus sideshow. I’m 34. Isn’t that a little young for a goiter? Don’t you have to be really old for that? Sigh…

The good thing it that I guess if I start taking medication the levels should balance out. The bad news is that I have to start taking medication. Such a bummer. I’m hopeful that the tech can give me some indication of how ye olde thyroid looks when she scans it tomorrow, but I have a follow-up visit in two weeks, at which point I am sure I will necessitate one of those Sun.-Sat. pill boxes. I guess it will make it easier to remember to take my vitamins.

After I picked up my poison ivy/plague medicine I decided to pick up another “prescription” — some rocky road ice cream. I think some chocolate therapy coupled with a dumb comedy will help.

innisfree garden

The Hudson Valley is my adopted home. I didn’t grow up here, or even in New York for that matter. But this is where we’ve ended up and where we’ve chosen to raise our family. It’s a pretty great place, and one of the things that makes it cool is all the hidden treasures. There are so many beautiful places to visit that are just slightly off the beaten path, but still so close to home. Innisfree Garden in Millbrook is one of those places. This morning I went with Noah’s nursery school class on a field trip to this beautiful nature sanctuary. (Which, I feel compelled to note, is not at all stroller-friendly, just so you know). The difficult maneuvering aside, this is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic snack and spend a quiet morning or afternoon. I thought you’d enjoy a virtual tour!

After you park your car, you’ll see this sign on the path. It tells you a bit about the garden and explains the restrictions:

innisfree garden

You walk down the path and soon see Tyrrel Lake. According to information on the Innisfree Garden Web site, “Innisfree embraces the Eastern design concept of asymmetric balance that combines rhythm, pattern, space and form in a harmony independent of formal symmetry. In Western gardens little is hidden. The garden, like a stage set, is there in its entirety; its overall design revealed at a glance. The traditional Eastern garden hides this complete view. Visitors walk into a series of episodes or pictures and can enter the sequence of pictures wherever they choose.”

innisfree garden

Rock formations are everywhere! There are also caves, waterfalls, and naturally occurring hiding places.

innisfree garden

innisfree garden

innisfree garden

innisfree garden

There’s a lot of walking to do (or you might have poison ivy all over your feet and ankles*), so you might feel the need to take a break. No problem! There are sets of chairs set up for you to take a rest and enjoy the view:

innisfree garden

I loved the neat little cubbies. If we were by ourselves I’d have allowed Noah to peek inside:

innisfree garden
innisfree garden

And of course there are the flowers. I didn’t get to take photos of everything I wanted to, which just means I have to go back. But I was able to snap two. The waterlilies are especially gorgeous. There are white, pink, and yellow ones.

innisfree garden

innisfree garden

Children will enjoy the wildlife. We saw a few turtles, some fish, a centipede, and I think a chipmunk was spotted, as well. It really is a wonderful place. If you find yourself in the area, please don’t miss it! It’s an affordable and breathtaking outing.

* Just an update: Yes, its poison ivy all over my feet (and thighs now), not chigger bites like I originally thought. It’s irritating to be sure, but it could be so much worse. At least I can hide it with socks 🙂

a nip in the air

Wow, what a change in the weather! Go figure, after about two weeks of hot and humid days, Laura got heaps of summer clothes for her birthday that she can’t wear because it’s too chilly. It reminds me so much of this time last year. I feel like I spent her first month watching the rain and wearing sweaters. It’s supposed to warm up next week, though, so she’ll be wearing those adorable dresses soon.

Her birthday party went well. It’s always hectic when you’re the hostess, no matter how much you plan, plan, plan. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. The cake was a huge hit! I made a chocolate and strawberry layer cake with chocolate-covered strawberries on top:

It was super easy and looked impressive. I want to try other flavor variations at some point (lemon and vanilla, chocolate and spice, et cetera). Laura had a mini strawberry cake with chocolate frosting and a strawberry on top. She was only interested in the fruit while the guests were here, but after dinner she was very excited about the cake itself.

I feel so relaxed now that all these parties are behind us. It had been a busy month, going back to May. Now I can relax and spend my free time on things like sewing and crochet. Meanwhile, my left ankle is such a mess. Don’t worry — it’s nothing that requires I start looking into term life insurance or anything. I have a huge hive-type thing that is a result of what I believe is a combination of a spider bite and several chigger bites. The original (spider?) bite had been annoying, but nothing to be concerned over. Then last Friday I was planting flowers in my window boxes and the next day my ankle had tons of tiny little bites. They itch so bad. I’ve tried everything: alcohol, ammonia, cider vinegar, epsom salt, Benedryl cream, hydrogen peroxide. Some methods work better than others, but I think I just have to tough it out. I’m also so insistent about putting bug spray on Drew and the kids, but do I bother to do it to myself? Of course not. Lesson learned.

Maybe this brief cool snap killed some of these awful bugs. Let’s hope!