Monday, December 31, 2007
Here are some things I learned in 2007…
1. Miracles happen everyday.
2. Parents never stop being parents no matter how old their children get.
3. Artificial Christmas trees make life easier.
4. Even if I’m not working at school, I’m always invited to Taco Tuesday.
5. Rick and I always hold hands when we’re taking off and landing in an airplane.
6. I didn’t realize how ugly our flooring was until we replaced it.
7. Skinny is over rated (but oh, I how I want to be just a little over rated)
8. When we set goals, it’s ok to blow your expectations out of the water…Relay for Life 2007 Goal $102,000 Reality $176,000+
9. You can never take too many digital photos
10. Ok, I guess you can take too many photos if your kids get sick of posing
11. I think Angie was an animal trainer or vet in another life. Her smile radiates when she’s with an animals.
12. Non-fat, no whip, extra hot, grande, 2 pump peppermint mochas taste better in ceramic mugs inside Starbuck’s when you’re sitting in the comfy chairs than they do in a paper cup.
13. Work does not have to define you. But, when you do something, give it your best.
14. You can never be an Auntie too many times.
15. Most of my friends will all turn 50 this coming year (some already have) and they didn’t get “old”. Thanks for laying the brickwork, I’ll be joining you in May.
16. Kids grow up too fast.
17. The tastiest popcorn to eat is “tender white” with a little butter and salt. You’ll thank me later.
18. Plants don’t live if you forget to water them.
19. People don’t live if you forget to love them.
20. What I think is “funny” isn’t always “funny” to my kids.
21. You can still sleep with your spouse after he’s been given radioactive beads and not turn into a glow stick.
22. Cancer still sucks.
23. Some of the people you’re closest to, may not be related to you.
24. I can’t please all of the people, all of the time. So, I’m just doing my best.
25. Generosity comes in all sizes.
26. California with Bonnie’s family is one of my favorite places to be.
27. Amy needs her life to be in good working order at all times. Faulty internet, dead cell phones, flat tires, sick parents …not some of her favorite things. She’s a solution kind of girl with a big heart.
28. Some people have more air miles then they’ll ever use in their lifetime and they can give them to their friends.
29. Ellen is tinier than I had envisioned but had a bigger heart than I could have ever imagined.
30. People are still reading and commenting on the blog after all these months.
31. I’ve learned that I need to start listening better and talking less.
32. That, that don’t kill you, can only make you stronger (I think that’s a rap song, but it’s a good message)
33. When all of your children have completed college (with their own brains…no help from mom) you ooze with pride.
34. We should all ask to be bumped up to first class when traveling. It never hurts to ask.
35. Don’t be a wave maker unless you know how to drive the boat.
36. We love our children equally, just not always the same.
37. Give a Schmitt kid a task and expect a job well done.
38. You’re never too old to start something new.
39. Jake is legally employable as a certified teacher…I imagine him to be the one kids talk about when they graduate..
41. Real love is when your husband is wearing an I-pod and singing out “loud” (without realizing it) and it doesn’t embarrass you, only makes you smile.
42. Megan will make a wonderful daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and wife.
43. Fruity drinks are best on Paradise Island.
44. The older I get, the more I love my life.
45. Instead of focusing on the things we don’t have, we need to embrace the wonderful things we do have.
46. Get a passport. It may encourage you to travel more.
47. You can never listen to too much music.
48. Wii may possibly be one of the greatest inventions of all time. Besides cars, CT scanning machines, high tread count sheets.
49. Keep smiling. It will improve your face value.
50. Being a wife and mother is the greatest job I’ve ever held. Sometimes it’s been the toughest one with the least amount of pay, but it’s always the one with the greatest perks.
I can't wait to share more photos and stories with you.
Ta, Ta for now....
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Dreaming Big and getting tan,
Jake & Angie
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
When we returned to the resort for the evening we sat down to a great Italian dinner and then called it a night. We are all pretty beat from an exciting, yet exhausting, day in the water. This vacation has been exactly what we needed to start 2008 strong and revived.
Tomorrow we hope to take a taxi across the bridge from Paradise Island into the town. Mom has been wanting to get over there and do some shopping. I hope we get good weather for our journey through the streets.
We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas yesterday.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
What a Christmas day! We started out by opening some very sweet cards that were sent to us from our friend Shannon in Portland. She created sweet, unique cards for each of us. Thanks! I brought a few little stocking stuffers for the kids but it just wasn’t the same. As you can see by the photos, we got the opportunity to meet Santa today in our hotel lobby. The Santa in the Bahamas has a much better tan that the one that usually visits us in Washington, but he was just as sweet.
you can imagine, I got the typical response. “You don’t look sick”. I thanked her, wished her a Merry Christmas then went on my way.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Today was another wonderful day in the Bahamas. Once again we met for breakfast and started our days with a full belly. We decided to take a walk over to the Atlantis hotel and shop around some of their stores. Rick and Jake spent 30 minutes gambling at the Casino in the hotel and each won $90. We then headed to Cabbage beach where the sand was bright white and the waves were huge. It was a beautiful sight. We took photos and walked barefoot hand-in-hand for a while. On the way back to the Paradise Island Resort I accidentally mis-led everyone in the wrong direction. After 20 minutes of walking in wrong direction the rest of the family finally asked me to step aside. We backtracked those 20 minutes and found our way back to our hotel shortly after. Ok, directions are not my strong suit. I admit it!
This afternoon we spent time out at the hotel pool. Rick and the kids joined me in the water for some swimming and Frisbee tossing. That ended immediately after Jake threw the Frisbee and nailed Amy in the face. Unfortunately Amy was not even in the water at that time and was not expecting the toss to come her way. We checked her face/teeth and she should be ok.
Tonight we had dinner reservations at the nicest restaurant in the hotel. The food was tasty, the drinks were yummy and the company was unbeatable. It was nice to have a Christmas Eve without any dishes or messes to clean up. After dinner we joined the local school children in the lobby of our hotel to sing Christmas carols and listen to children recite poems about the holiday. It was a very nice way to spend the evening.
We did not get around to snorkeling today but hope to make time for it tomorrow. Most people don’t get an opportunity to snorkel and sun tan on Christmas day so this should be a holiday to remember!
Happy Christmas Eve!
Dor and the family
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The weather is beautiful today. Mid to low 80’s, no rain (we got a little yesterday). We all ate breakfast around 10:00 then, played Frisbee in the water for a couple of hours. Our hotel offers floating devices, footballs, basketballs, tennis racquets and other stuff to keep us active. It also offers fun fruity drinks like Miami Vice and Bahama Mama’s to mellow us out. It’s a good balance.
I’m upstairs writing the blog as the kids are checking the football scores (It’s still a Sunday even if we’re in the Bahamas). Rick is down on the beach laying in the shade in a hammock.
On Monday night (Christmas Eve) the Bahamas holds a festival called Junkanoo (it’s a Mardi Gras ~ Bahamian Style) The celebration starts at 1:00 am on Christmas morning and goes through New Years. I’m hoping to drag the family to the parade in town, but our cab driver said we might need to by tickets for a seat and who knows how early we’ll need to be there if it starts at 1:00?
It’s great to be here with the whole family. Rick and I have made the kids crazy (ok, mostly me) but I think it was because of a lack of sleep. Our last official vacation (that didn’t involve cancer or a sporting event) was Spring Break of Amy and Angie’s freshman year of high school. April 1992. We need to do this a little more often, don’t ya think?
That’s it for today. We’ve added a few photos to help get you in the mood for a white sand Christmas.
Dor and Family
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Greetings from the Bahamas! Our first full day on Paradise Island started after a much needed 12 hour sleep (a little longer for some of us). Around 9:30 AM the kids began their day of fun in the sun by relaxing in lounge chairs on the white sandy beach. Although it was very calming, it didn’t last long before they needed to get active. They ended up playing football and Frisbee in the water for hours. We got together as a family for lunch and then visited a local café where we were thrilled to see a “Wireless Internet” sign in the window. This will be our daily hangout in order to keep everyone updated on our vacation adventures.
Today marked Rick’s one year anniversary as a cancer survivor. It is hard to believe it was a year ago that we heard those unbelievable words. To celebrate this milestone the kids made reservations at the nicest restaurant in the hotel for Rick and I and had arranged for a piece of cheese cake to be delivered to him with a candle in it. I got a little bit emotional when that happened. We really do have great kids!
Tomorrow will likely be filled with similar activities as today, only we hope to join the kids in some of their water games. You should see how tan the kids are already; this vacation is exactly what we all needed.
Dreaming Big with fruity drinks in our hands,
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Rick and I are both feeling great. We're really excited about this trip (which by the way is on Paradise Island in the Bahamas). The original Schmitt 5 will be together (poor kids) basking in the sun (ok, Rick and I will be under an umbrella) sipping drinks with fruit sticking out of it.
Until then, I just want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a spectacular 2008!
Dreaming Big (with my sunscreen on)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This morning was busy. I met up with Cathy and her newly engaged daughter, Anna. We chatted for nearly 2 hours (in our comfy Starbuck's chairs). Then it was off to get my new glasses (I can see now). Then a trip to Bartell's to have some photos made and pick up a few travel items. I stopped at a friends and pulled her hair through a frosting cap while we visited then I went home. I know you're thinking...shouldn't she be getting ready for her trip?
Tonight, I met up with Bev Kopp (a dear friend and budding photographer) who brought me a disk of the photos she had taken at our house during our early Christmas celebration. I can't wait to share them with you, but I'm having a problem loading them into my computer. I promise when I figure it out, you'll be the first to see them.
We went to dinner tonight with my Mom and Dad. The kids had a gift to give them and what better reason to go out for dinner than a celebration with your parents? Angie had a basketball game to ref in Stanwood at 7:00 so we met before that. Rick and I stopped by the high school and watched her in action. Isn't it funny how we used to be in the gym to watch her play, then coach, now ref? I never tire of watching any of our kids.
Jake has been in Seattle since Friday. Megan's family had an annual dinner party with friends and Jake has been invited for the past 3 years. I hope he'll continue to be invited for the next 50 years. With their lives being so busy, Jake and Megan don't get to see much of each other, so now that they are both on a break, they thought they would take advantage of it. He'll be home today sometime.
It's 3:00am and I can't seem to sleep (doesn't that sound like a song?.. maybe I could become a song writer during my insomnia moments). Perhaps vacation anxiety is setting in. I woke up this morning with puffy, baggy eyes - very attractive. My sleep pattern seems to be out of whack right now. I think that's a common side effect of cancer drugs. Oh well, it just gives me more time to write on the blog. Rick has blood work done today to make sure all of his red and white blood counts are doing ok before we leave. If there are any problems, he can start medications right away.
Until tomorrow, sweet dreams....
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I was given some advice the other day from a friend who said now that I've mastered the art of giving, I should start working on the receiving part. Isn't it funny how most of us are like this? We love to give, but when someone wants to give us something, we don't know how to accept it. I hope you all know that the love, gifts, advice and friendship I've received from you will be forever embedded in my heart.
A dear friend Garry Carlson, who lost his beautiful son Davis to cancer on Christmas day 2 years ago, has a wish. This summer he traveled for 23 days on a bicycle from Davis Slough on Camano Island to Davis, South Dakota in honor of his son. He made us all very proud to be his friend. Now, I want to pay a little something forward. Attached is a memo how we can help him...let's work together to make this dream come true. You know how I feel about dreams...
Golf Digest is offering a chance for 1 player to play in the US Open
Gary would really like an opportunity to do this and help out our
community with the publicity this might generate. If you would like to help
him out with your nomination, here is the link.
He wrote that he might shoot 98, and that he is currently trying to raise
money for our community to build a community center.
If you feel you could help, please submit my Garry Carlson's name and let's hope for the
"Strength in Numbers".
The Schmitt's are getting ready for a holiday of a lifetime. We'll be bringing the laptop and our digital cameras so we can share our moments with you. It will take me days to get ready so I'd better sign off and get started packing. We've got our house sitters arranged, our passports in order, and our itineraries all scheduled.
Rick and I are feeling great. He'll be done taking his chemo pills tomorrow for a couple of weeks. We're just hoping for a healthy, happy, holiday....
Friday, December 14, 2007
As usual, I've crammed more things in my days than I had time for so I'm just now writing a blog at 11:00 at night. Some days I wish I could just stay home, read a book, knit...but I seem to have this yearning for doing everything right now. Oil change, last minute shopping for things I don't need, stopped by Angie's school 2 days in a row, made 6 dozen sugar cookies for Jake's class, cooked a turkey, went to a work Christmas party, cooked a little holiday feast for Rick's employees, cut Cathy's hair, went to Jake's school and decorated the cookies with the kids, had dinner and saw a movie with Aunt Jessie and Uncle Mel....Then tomorrow it's fundraising for our Relay for Life team and a cousin Christmas party in Millcreek. Sunday will be a day of REST~and I mean it (unless I get a better offer :)
Today Jake had his final day of student teaching. Mr. Chaplik (the teacher Jake worked under) invited me back for a special celebration they were having. The students all wrote Jacob a letter and assembled a book for him. They each brought a book (or a collection of books) to add to his classroom library (when he gets a classroom someday) as well as adding to his classroom sporting equipment (basketball, football, baseball). One of the first things I saw when I arrived in the class this afternoon was a little boy wearing a shirt that said "Everything I learned in 5th grade, I learned from Mr. Schmitt". It was hilarious. I took a photo of this little guy with Jake and I plan on posting the photo, I just need to get the mom's approval first.
To make the day even that much better, when we got home, Jake's teaching certificate from WSU was waiting in the mailbox. Yahoo...it's official.
When I stay this busy it's easy to forget all the stuff going on in our lives. So for now, I'm just going to keep on going strong. When it's time for me to slow down....the body will let me know.
I'm hoping to post some new photos on Sunday. Until then, thanks again for dancing through life with us.
Dreaming Big (500 times)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It was probably a good thing I didn't sleep because I had to get up early to join the office ladies for breakfast and celebrate the December birthday club. Then I had to bring the SUV to the dealership for an oil change and an Onstar update. After that, I stopped by Angie's school, came home and straightened up the guest room. I made dinner, fed the family, went to the boys basketball game against Australia, then brought a coach home with us to camp out. His name is David and he's been visiting with Rick, Jake and I all night (which is why this blog is posting so late). They were a few rooms short to host these players and their coaches, and who better than us to volunteer? It's been a very nice visit!
I wish I could keep my eyes open so I could write more. Instead, I'm going to get some shut-eye and try writing again in the morning.
Love you more than all the coral in the Great Barrier Reef :)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Amy is home now from the flood lands. She's not sure if she'll be called up again but if she can be released from her job, she'll head out again to help where she can. She sounded exhausted tonight when I talked to her but she also sounded proud to have helped.
It's official. Jake has finished his student teaching. He should have his teaching certificate by Monday. Now, he can start subbing and applying for jobs. He's excited to be done with school for the time being.
I'm heading to bed now feeling a weight lifted off my shoulders. For now my job can be to keep living, loving and laughing. I can worry about my job a little later. I have a few ideas to keep myself busy, starting with volunteering. Remember...pay it forward.
Monday, December 10, 2007
When I got up this morning I looked around and felt a real joy. We are planning a special trip during the holidays this year and now I can concentrate on getting ready for that. I'll share it all with you as we get closer to our journey.
Rick and I are both feeling pretty good. Rick has one more week of chemo pills for the year, until 2008. I know that's just around the corner, but it sounds like so much more time when I say it that way. He bumped his leg a couple of weeks ago and it's still giving him a little problem (the blood thinner shots keep him from healing as quickly). We are going to keep a close eye on it over the next few days. If it doesn't get better soon, I'm making him an appointment to have it checked. I don't even have to beg him to go to a doctor anymore. If I have a feeling about something, he lets me have my way. Hey, it should have always been this way.. My cough is much, much better than it was in November.
Today, I met my friend Val at Skagit Gardens. It is a local nursery during the spring and summer and a Holiday Heaven in the winter. We spent over 3 hours looking at every tree, ornament, and holiday item on display. Luckily, they serve a great lunch as well. Otherwise, we may have gone hungry. We had the best time...Thanks Val.
While we were celebrating Christmas yesterday, Angie was helping make a little boys dream come true. She said he was elated with everything from the jersey the Seahawks gave him, to the signed photo, and autographs he got from players. She sounded like the day was almost as special for her as it was for the little guy. For all the love and support we've received from people over the past year and a half...I'd say she was just paying it forward.
Speaking of paying it forward, Amy got called up again to help with flood victims. I talked to her tonight and she sounded exhausted. With so much devastation, it will be a long time before these people feel "normal" again. Though it's a different situation than hurricane Katrina, the destruction of peoples lives is very much the same. Amy's been taking photos and we'll post them when she gets home. She says they look bad, but nothing in comparison to the real thing. I know Thanksgiving is over, but everyday is a day to be THANKFUL.
I love you more than all the frantic shoppers in malls across America...
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Yesterday was a busy, emotional day. I attempted to get all my presents wrapped and the house organized for Sunday's Christmas celebration. Instead, I went to my cousin's memorial service. He was only 48 but had lived a hard life. I'm sorry I didn't know him better as he had gotten older. Cousins sometimes disconnect when our families get big. I contemplated all morning if I was going to attend the funeral. Not because I didn't want to pay my respects, but because I knew I would be sitting with my mom and dad and I wasn't sure how they would react. The truth is, it was a good day for all of us (emotional, but good).
I think I'm ready for my Christmas gathering tomorrow, if not...it will happen anyway. Amy was called up on Thursday for the Air National Guard, to help with flood victims. She was released tonight, so we'll get to see her tomorrow as well. Angie has been working on getting Seahawks tickets for one of her students who's mommy died of cancer last year. He is a twin so Angie has a special little bond with him. With amazing friends like we've been blessed with, Angie got tickets and gets to go on the field with her friend Shannon, her little buddy and his dad. They have to be at Quest field by 11:30, so we'll only see Angie for a little while. Just seeing her face as she talks about how excited this little boy is, is the best gift Angie could have gotten this Christmas. I can't wait to hear her story when she returns.
I went to the high school play "It's a Wonderful Life" Friday night with some friends. Afterwards, we went to Amigos (our favorite local Mexican Restaurant). We visited and laughed until we couldn't take it any longer, honestly it was the hardest I've laughed in months. Thankfully, they put us in the banquet room so we didn't annoy any of the other customers.
Rick and Jake got the outdoor Christmas lights put up today (while I had my nails done...gotta get your priorities straight) It was a nice surprise since I didnt' think we weren't putting any up this year .
I'm excited to share a bunch of photos with you that were taken at the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Gala in November. I got to see them today but I can't download them yet. When I figure it out....you'll be the first ones I share them with.
As I sit here in my living room and write this blog on my lap top, I can't help but think~this is a GOOD life we live. We have a fire burning, the Christmas tree is glowing (it's a pre-lit tree with 1,200 lights on it), the house is clean, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nick...wait, that's a different story. Until tomorrow...Love your neighbor, love your family, love your friends, love yourself :)
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Dr. Eaton has another doctor he works with named Krystyna Soltysiak. She is hilarious and warm and I think we may have been separated at birth (a few years apart...she's much younger). I've had the pleasure of seeing both Krystyna and Dr. Eaton my last two visits. She tells me it's because of people like me that she comes to work each day, I tell her it's because of Doc's like mine that I keep coming to Seattle for care. I am so lucky. (There is that word again...)
The scan continued to look stable. So, I will continue taking Tarceva like a good patient. Dr. Eaton gave me copies of my last couple of reports (to keep for my files - if I need them for anything). Sometimes, I'm oblivious to what's happening in my body. I know I have lung cancer, but so far, it doesn't HAVE me. The report says I have "numerous bilateral sub-centimeter pulmonary nodules scattered throughout both lungs, and the largest is 9mm". Though I don't know what that means, the word STABLE is also on the report and that's the word I'm always looking for. :)
Next month, I'm just having a check up. No tests. No scans. Just a doctor's visit.
I hope you're all as relieved as I am. The holidays seem much brighter now, so bright in fact, that I may need to wear my fancy Palm Springs sunglasses just to enjoy the season.
Rick is feeling a little rough after this last chemo. We're having a family Christmas this weekend so I hope he's doing better by then. He never complains so I'm just giving you my personal assessment (and since I'm almost a doctor you should believe everything I say). I'm looking forward to a weekend of family fun - and football....
Love you more than all the presents I have to wrap by Sunday :)
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Today was pretty uneventful for a chemo day. Rick and I both had blood work at 3:00, I had a CT scan at 3:20, Rick had a doctor's appointment at 4:00 and then he had chemo at 5:00. I'm due back in Seattle at 8:30am tomorrow for my test results. I'm feeling pretty good so I don't expect to hear any discouraging news. And, no matter what the results say, it won't change the way I think, or act, or feel :) On our way home, Ricky took me out for dinner. We had a wonderful time. I love that guy.
I hope you all enjoyed my blog yesterday. I could feel the smiles and laughter in the responses you sent today. If you make one of your family, please share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd better get to bed now since I have to get up early and make the trek back down I-5 in the morning.
Thank you for all your love and prayers.
Big Dreamer Dor
Monday, December 03, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
I went to a Pampered Chef party today that my friend Kelly had as a fundraiser for Relay For Life. I got an e-mail from her tonight and so far she's raised $500. Way to go Kelly. It's not even 2008 yet and you've already got a great start~ I rode to the party with my dear friend Jana who I haven't seen in months. We used to sit together at sporting events and serve on committees together, but now that our children have graduated, we don't get the opportunity to visit near as much as we should.
Tonight we had dinner with Rick's brother and his wife. Dawn knows we like pork roast, so she invites us over every once in a while when she makes one. Dinner was wonderful. Doesn't it always taste better when someone else makes it?
I missed seeing Amy and Angie this weekend. They've been busy girls lately and I have to remember they have lives of their own.... I hope to see them both tomorrow night :)
Only 23 days til Christmas (or 22 if you're reading this on Monday). I keep hearing a commercial on TV that says Americans produce 20 million more pounds of waste during the holidays and that we should give experiences instead of wrapped presents. Hum, sounds like a great idea.
Love you more than all the raindrops that keep falling on my head...
Big Dreamer Dor
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Yesterday I got a pedicure with Val, went to lunch, shopped around town, headed home and met up with Rick and Jake. We went to the first home Stanwood boys basketball game (they won) and we had a great time seeing all our "old familiar friends". After the game we met up with some friends at a local Mexican restaurant for a couple of hours. It was really fun to be back in the middle of a life I'm so familiar with.
This morning we woke up to a little snow on the ground. Last year around this time our friends Reid and Cathy picked me up and we drove around like fools in the snowy weather. Once we saw the snow this morning we looked at it as a tradition we started last year, as opposed to the weather being a burden. So, they picked me up again this morning (Rick and Jake stayed back to cut wood) and we drove around looking for the slippery roads. We never found them, but we took scenic routes, went to lunch, took photos of the snow geese, and went shopping. All in all it was a lot of fun and I got to forget about all the "drama" in our lives. What a wonderful day.
Rick and Jake just got home from cutting wood. Their toes and fingers are frozen like popscicles and lucky for them, I started a pot of vegetable beef soup when I got home this afternoon. They'll be warmed up before you know it.
When I was at the basketball game last night a friend was telling me how she thought of me the other day because she knows how important I try to make my "moments". She said she was bowling with some relatives (some who smoke), and when they weren't bowling they went outside in the cold to smoke while the non-smokers stayed inside and laughed and made memories. It was at that time that she realized how many moments they were missing out on, just for a cigarette. Wow. That was pretty powerful.
In case I haven't told you lately, I love my life.
Love you more than all the snowflakes falling in the great northwest!