November 30, 2011

I’m alive! (and photos from my first shoot!)

Hey!  Just wanted to drop in and let you all know that I’m still alive and kicking, and the surgery yesterday went well!  My mouth is currently still stuffed with gauze and quite swollen, and I am surviving only on protein drinks and yogurt.  And you have no idea how difficult that is for me.   My life goal right now is to get a big fat cheeseburger and/or large juicy steak and/or boneless honey bar-b-q chicken wings with blue cheese dipping sauce into my mouth AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  (clearly I’ve put some thought into this…)

So anyway, thank you all so, so, so much for all your well-wishes and prayers and tweets and overall awesomeness!  You people rock my face off (no pun intended).  The doctors still have to send off my little friend the cyst to the lab to be tested, but the nurse told me the cyst had borders, and cancer usually doesn’t.  So that was encouraging. :)

But enough about that for now!  I wanted to share with you all a few pictures from my very first legit photo shoot the other day!  These are Matthew’s cousins (sort of… a little more distant than that, but let’s just call them cousins for simplicity’s sake, shall we?), and I had such a wonderful time capturing these beautiful little faces and special family moments.  I know I have SO much yet to learn about photography, but this experience has me extremely pumped about getting out there and learning more and more. :)

Happy Wednesday everyone!!

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November 29, 2011

Blog design giveaway!

Happy Tuesday morning everyone!  As you are reading this right now, I am either a) getting ready to be in surgery, b) actually IN surgery or c) in recovery and completely drugged up and possibly watching Harry Potter or deep in a blissful hydrocodone-induced slumber.  (see yesterday’s post for details on said surgery.)

If you feel so compelled, say a little prayer that all goes well! :)

Anyway, today’s giveaway comes to you courtesy of Debbie from the blog Mrs. and the Village!  Debbie has offered to give one lucky winner a brand new blog design package.  Here is one sample of her work on her own blog:


The blog design package will consist of a:

two or three column blog design (only available for blogger templates)
customized header
text tabs below your header
customized profile photo with "about me" text
customized "find me" buttons (for twitter, fb, etc)
customized signature
Two customized blog buttons (one small & one large)

To enter to win:

+ Follow Mrs and the Village through Google Friend Connect—You won’t regret it! Debbie is HILARIOUS!
(only mandatory entry)

For extra entries
(all separate comments):

+ Like Mrs. and the Village on Facebook
+ Like Story of My Life on Facebook

+ Tweet about the giveaway

Good luck! Winner will be announced next week.

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And the winner of the Earrings Nation giveaway TWO weeks ago is…

random winner

Congrats Chrissi! I’ll be in touch! :)


November 28, 2011

That time last week when I thought I was dying…

I’ve been waiting until after the weekend to talk about this because my mom certainly doesn’t need anything else to worry about right now, but it’s just too crazy to not share here on the “story of my life.” 

Last Tuesday I went to the dentist because of some pain I’d been having in my jaw and back behind my bottom right teeth, where my wisdom tooth used to be—five-plus years ago I had my wisdom teeth removed after dentists discovered a cyst around the bottom right one.  My surgery was scheduled immediately after that discovery and all 5 of those bad boys were removed (the four teeth plus the scary cyst).

So a couple weeks ago, when I began to have pain and swelling in that same spot where I once had the cyst, I was pretty concerned and set a dentist appointment right away.  And then I worried. And worried and worried and worried.  Because before my last surgery, doctors had warned me that there was a small chance the cyst could contain cancer, and they would have to biopsy it.  Well, nothing came of that, but of course your mind goes crazy on you, especially after watching all that Edd and my family has suffered.

I waited the couple of days for my appointment and then went in, at which point x-rays were taken and my dentist proceeded to SCARE THE LIVING HELL OUT OF ME and basically say, “oh my gosh, you have an enormous cyst and need to see an oral surgeon, like, TODAY, because basically you might either die or have to have your jaw cut out and your face reconstructed.”

Ummmm, whaaaaaat?!  (and OK, so those weren’t his EXACT words, but it’s what I heard in my head.)

While quietly coming to terms with my untimely demise (AKA having a near inward panic attack), I headed over to the surgeon to discuss my death and/or facial reconstruction.  I had 3D x-rays taken, which clearly showed what would appear, to the untrained eye, that I have an enormous hollow gunshot wound to the face/AKA a giant hole in my jaw (which is actually a bone cyst). 

Long story short, I was wildly relieved to be told that I’m probably not going to die or have half of my face cut out, and this cyst is likely something called an OKC cyst, a type which is likely to recur if you don’t get every teeny bit of it out the first time.  My surgery is set for TOMORROW (Tuesday!) and it will be similar to having a wisdom tooth removed. 

So.  What have we learned here today, kids?  Well, not to mess around when you have pain and feel like something might be wrong, of course, but let me also tell you a little bit about what went through my head during the moments between when my dentist gazed up at my x-ray and said, “I have bad news for you,” and when the surgeon told me, “don’t worry, everything will be OK.” 

Here is the progression of thoughts that were bouncing around in my head: “How am I going to tell my mom if this is something really serious?  And poor Matthew doesn’t need the stress of a dying and/or disfigured wife…  Well, at least if I survive this, it’s the right side of my face that will be effed up….  That’s my ugly side.  Also, if I die, the plus side is that I’ll never have to live without Gracie and Cooper…  I was dreading that anyway… holy crap, what if this is really cancer.  What if I really die…”

And I can’t even describe to you how real my fears were in that moment, how unknown the future was to me, how many crazy scenarios were playing out in my head.  And you know what?  I wish I could bottle those feelings and give them to each and every one of you.  It would be a gift, and as odd as that sounds, I completely mean it. 

When suddenly faced with your own mortality and the very real possibility that you won’t live to be 90 like you planned, or maybe not even to 30, it’s like every priority in your life falls magically into place.  You see, with absolute clarity, the blessings in your life and how you take them for granted. You see, with painful clarity, the flaws of your character and how easy it would be to turn them around, if only you were given a little more time.  Everything that’s important steps forward and everything that isn’t steps back.  And I wish I could give that gift to you, and I hope that I can hold on to it.  It really is a beautiful thing. 

Now I know I’m not completely out of the water yet, and of course I’ll give you an update as soon as I can tomorrow or Wednesday (Twitter peeps usually get first updates, so follow me there if you’d like), but I just wanted to share all this with you before going in tomorrow.  I seriously urge you to take a few moments and just try to simulate that feeling of realizing you could have very little life left, and what would that mean?  What would it change?

Hope you all have a really nice Monday.  Sorry for the “heavy” post so early in the week, but it needed to be said.  :)  Now here’s a completely unrelated cell phone picture that might make you smile:

1that really happened.


November 27, 2011

Christmas Home Sneak Peek

This week Matthew and I bundled up and trudged through a snowy pine forest clutching thermoses of piping hot chocolate as we searched for our perfect Christmas tree.  We found that perfect tree in a little clearing, with a ray of soft light shining upon it, as if lit by some celestial glow.  And there was a red cardinal sitting in one of the branches, and little bunnies hopping around beneath its boughs, and I swear I heard a choir softly singing Christmas carols from a nearby church.  So we chopped down our little tree and dragged it home, Gracie and Cooper bounding happily off-leash beside us, not even bothering the bunnies or the cardinal—because it’s Christmas now, after all.

… …

Oh.  That’s actually not how it happened.  What DID happen was we went to one of those Christmas tree tents and it was like 65 degrees out, and we were kind of sweating, and we saw other people with dogs there but Gracie and Cooper aren’t allowed out in public and certainly not off-leash (and if there were any birds or bunnies nearby they’d be dead meat before they could say “’tis the season”).

But it was still really nice. And the weather has taken a cooler turn, and things are feeling and looking rather festive around here.  Below is a beautiful song I keep hearing on Pandora’s Christmas Radio, and a few sneak peek photos of the house to go along with it. :)  Hope you all had a really nice weekend!

 River Flows In You by Yiruma on Grooveshark

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November 25, 2011

Scenes from Turkey Day

Happy Black Friday everyone!  I hope you all had a really nice Thanksgiving! Personally, I’m still at home in my bathrobe and preparing to eat pie for breakfast while NOT out shopping, though I actually do intend to head out later to pick up a few new Christmas decorations.  Wish me luck! :)

This has been a weird week, and it’s all just proof that you can’t put LIFE on hold until the holidays pass over. There’s been some important lesson-learning going on around here, and I’ll give some more details on all that next week. But for now, a few photos from our lovely time at Matthew’s parent’s house yesterday, where we had lots of fun doing Thanksgiving-y things like chatting it up with aunts and uncles and cousins and stuffing our faces with way too much food...

Stay safe this weekend, my friends! 

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Thanksgiving 2011 071 copyWhy no, that wasn’t a 300 lb man’s plate.  See name card in background.

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PS – Edd has gained a bit of strength, but he’s still in the hospital.  My mom wrote a very touching post that will help you understand a little of what’s going on right now.  They’re still figuring out what the future will look like now, and continued prayers are appreciated.

PPS – If I owe you an email, it’s coming!  Sometimes real life gets in the way of the Internet, which is always unfortunate and highly inconvenient.  This issue will be rectified shortly.

November 22, 2011

Outfit & Happy Turkey Day!

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 Shirt and pants: J.Crew (shirt here, pants here), cardigan: Banana Republic, scarf: made by Matthew’s grandma!, bracelets: F21, boots: Target (find them here)


Matthew said I look like Mr. Rogers in this sweater—isn’t that nice?  :P

I’m not quite sure I’ll have time to post again before Thanksgiving, and right now there are so many thoughts swirling in my head that I’m having trouble pinning any one of them down to “paper.”  But I just wanted to wish you all a really, really nice holiday.  I’m SO looking forward to squeezing people close this week, and letting go of things that don’t matter, and loving on my husband and my puppies, and eating some yummy food.  There is always, always, always so much to be thankful for.   

LOVE YOU PEOPLE!  Have a happy Turkey Day! :)


November 20, 2011

Update + thoughts on Breaking Dawn (no spoilers)

Happy Sunday everyone!  I hope you’re having a nice weekend.  Things have been up and down here—Edd is still in the hospital and has had seizures around the same time every night since Tuesday.  Even though those scans showed the cancer in his brain hadn’t grown any, something is still causing these seizures and the doctors are still trying to find the correct dose of meds to stop them.  But he’s been surrounded by people who love him, and I know that no matter what, everything will be OK.

I know this is an odd transition, but let’s talk about Twilight for a second here.  Who’s seen it?  What did you guys think? 

I survived the midnight showing and went back for seconds yesterday, which I felt was necessary.  You know, in order to formulate a decent, educated opinion.  Oddly, and though I enjoyed myself both times, I actually liked it better the second time around (maybe because I saw it at 7 PM and not the wee hours of the morning?!). 

It’s a bit cheeseballsy at times, but which of the first three movies wasn’t? There was one scene in particular that I thought was shockingly stupid (the one where the wolves were all “talking” in the lumber yard), and I thought those last scenes at the end were quite disgusting and graphic.  But overall, I really did like it!  I thought it was nice, also, that Stephanie Meyer made an appearance in the wedding scene—I didn’t catch that until the second time I saw it! (she’s sitting in the back row and is beaming at Bella as she walks down the aisle).

So, that’s my take.  I’m interested in hearing what the rest of you thought, if you’ve seen it!  Let me know, yo.

twilightTwilight 032 copy  jennisig

November 18, 2011

I hope I made it through the night + Sponsor Spotlight!

Hello all!  I’m writing and scheduling this post on Thursday evening because I’m about to head down to San Antonio for the midnight showing of Twilight with my BFF… it’s 6:47 and I’m already chugging coffee.  My younger, less granny-like self would be so proud of my late night adventures tonight, but my current, likes-to-go-to-bed-at-10-PM self is saying “would it really have been so bad to wait until Friday night?!” 

Ah well.  I’m sure the nervous energy of all the obsessed tweeny boppers will help to wake me up come 12:01 this morning.  Maybe I’ll even pick a fight with a member of Team Jacob, just to keep things interesting. ;)

And the only other thing I have to say is that this sexy scene better be damn good or I want my money back.  The trailer looked promising, but I’m not convinced.

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ANYWAY, let’s get down to business!  I have three new sponsors to introduce, so I’d love for you to get to know them!

Number one is my fabulous friend Christin from the blog The Real Mean Girl!  This chic is hilariously awesome and I always, and I mean ALWAYS find myself chuckling and nodding in agreement while reading what she has to say.  It is sarcasm at its finest, my friends.  AND she lives in New York City AND she’s gorgeous (and not really all THAT mean). ;)  Some people have all the luck!


Blog | Twitter

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Next is Stephanie from the blog Big Mario Life! Stephanie is sweet as pie, an amazing photographer, a LAWYER, and an awesome blogger.  Regarding the origins of her blog, her About section reads “It happened the summer after my first year of law school. I was a shell of the person I once was, with all my casebooks serving as horcruxes for my splintered soul.”  Obviously, she had me at the Harry Potter reference.  Oh, and she’s beautiful.  And she has a guinea pig named Molly, which reminds me of the beloved guinea pigs of MY past (Ginger, Lucy, Clover, Grettle, Maya, and Benjamin, if you were wondering).


Blog | Twitter

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And last but not least, I’d like to introduce you to a fabulous jewelry shop called StellaSpecialties of this shop include pieces like the date necklace and the wishes necklace, both of which have special, customized meaning behind them and would make fabulous gifts this holiday season! Here are a few of my favorite items from Stella:


Visit the shop!

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And have a happy Friday!


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