I want my 64 years like he promised

We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this week, we got married on Leap Day 2004, so while we technically didn’t have an anniversary this year it was more important this year than previous years to celebrate the in between’s.

At the time we got engaged, he was still living in Iowa and I was here, in Phoenix. He proposed Halloween weekend 2003 and we of course started talking wedding dates pretty soon after. Sean had a date in mind, pretty quickly and asked if I’d be okay with February 29th. Wow, that was fast! That would only give us a few short months to get him moved from the midwest back out to the valley, and plan a wedding, and get him a job, and find us an apartment…those are a lot of big things to make happen in a 4 month time frame. Once he told me his reason for wanting that date, I of course said I was fine with it.

See, Sean’s grandparents had gotten married on that date many years before and they’d celebrated 16 anniversaries but 64 years of wedded bliss. He figured if it worked for them, it would work for us. Plus, they’d both passed before we’d met and he wanted a way to include them in the special day. So, see, I really couldn’t have refused him that date and still claim to have a heart šŸ˜‰

We started making the plans and doing the things, and ended up getting him moved back out here by Christmas. We moved into our apartment not long after the first of the year and then it was just a matter of the final touches on the wedding planning. Once the day finally arrived, it was beautiful. Blue skies and gorgeous weather, as we are accustomed to in the valley of the sun. We had an outdoor wedding and everything was really exactly as it should have been.

Now, here we are all those years later, never having thought we would have to deal with some of the things we’ve dealt with in our early years of marriage, like being caregivers for his mother as she passed from cancer. Or being a caregiver to my aging grandmother who was sliding further into Alzheimer’s and dealing with bipolar disorder at the same time. Or having an aunt and uncle of his pass from different types of cancers.

Once we started learning of the different types of cancers in his family history, I became more and more concerned that eventually this would enter our world…I mean, you cannot have so many people in your family with all different types of cancers and think you’ll be the one it doesn’t touch. It was a huge worry for me, I’m not sure if it was as big in his mind. I can tell you with certainty I never expected to get the dreaded cancer diagnosis as early in life as we got it though, I thought we’d have 20 more years before we’d hear it.

Now, as I sit here contemplating life and having celebrated this 14th year of marriage…I would be lying if I said there isn’t some level of fear….I hope and pray and I have to believe that he will be here to celebrate many more anniversaries with me, just like his grandparents had…I want my 64 years with him like he promised.

It’s Really Not Good, It’s Cancer

Oh where do I begin…

As I sit here, the words want to come out, but they don’t, if that makes any sense. It’s like if I type them out, they are real and even though I know they are already real I don’t want to acknowledge them one more time…but I must. It’s our reality. Cancer.

rocks, water, stream, river, Goodyear, Arizona, Estrella Star Tower

Photo by : Hannah Thomas 2018

For as long as I can remember, my husband has suffered from IBS type issues. He always just chalked it up to different foods or stress triggering it. After years of dealing with this, things changed a bit, he started noticing blood. Initially he thought nothing of it, just figured he probably had hemorrhoids or something equally benign. In fact, he didn’t even mention it to me. One day after I went into the bathroom after him I noticed blood in the water in the toilet and it scared the hell out of me. I went and found him and told him, that’s it, it’s time to make an appointment with a GI doctor and get his gut issues figured out.

Fast forward a few days, he was able to get into the GI doctor fairly quickly and after going over his history with her, she agreed it did sound like typical IBS issues, but to be safe, she wanted to run some additional tests, including a colonoscopy. This was all happening in early December 2017. The day of the colonoscopy, I had Asa with me in the waiting room for the length of the procedure. I will never, ever forget that long walk down that hallway that seemed to go on forever. I remember her words, clear as day…”so, he did great, but unfortunately we did find something and …it’s really not good, it’s cancer”.

The entire world stopped. I mean, came to a crashing halt. I couldn’t breathe. I was trying to focus but all I could hear were her words ringing in my head….CANCER. I just wanted to get out of there and find some air. I still hadn’t even made it to where Sean was getting dressed. I was trying to keep Asa out of everything and hold myself together. When she opened the door to the procedure room where he was, I looked at him and saw in his eyes……everything that I was feeling mirrored in his face.

rocks, stacked, blue skies, desert, Goodyear, Arizona, Estrella Star Tower

Photo Credit : Hannah Thomas 2018

The GI doctor had already been in contact with both the surgeon, and the oncologist, and started things in motion before we had even left to get this whole process going of blood work and CT scans and PET scans and eventually surgery scheduled. It felt like forever before we were able to just get out of there, and it felt like the longest walk of my life as we made our way out of there and down through the same Emergency Department where my husband has worked for the last 13 years…both of us had tears pooling in our eyes and spilling out on our cheeks and as we passed a few nurses he’s worked with forever, the questioning looks on their faces as they asked me is everything ok and all I could manage was “no” as I followed him out of the doors into the sunshine.

The whole drive home, we both cried…me as I drove and him as he sat in the backseat with Asa. What in the world happens now? How do we do this? Why is this happening? So many questions and there are really no answers….

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona alittledashofdiva.com

Travel Log: Goldfield Mine Arizona

adventure

Hello and welcome to another installment of the Travel Log! Today I’m sharing some pics and info about our road trip to Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction, Arizona. Goldfield is an old mining, ghost town that is near the base of the Superstition Mountains, it was originally settled in 1892 when it was discovered to have rich, high grade gold ore. A town was established soon after in 1893.

Goldfield Ghost Town Chapel #goldfieldarizona #ghosts #sundayfunday #familyday #familyadventureday #arizona

A photo posted by Chrissy Thomas (@dashofdiva) on

The official find in addition to the legend of the Lost Dutchman led dozens of miners to the area which led to saloons, boarding houses, schools and other businesses.

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona alittledashofdiva.com

Goldfield Mine, Apache Junction, Arizona

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona Old West Mining Town alittledashofdiva.com

Goldfield Mine, Arizona

After a few years, when the mines veins of gold ore were played out, the miners started to desert the town in search of the next town with lots of gold to still be had…

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona alittledashofdiva.com

Goldfield Mine

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona Union Pacific Railroad Sign alittledashofdiva.com

Union Pacific Railroad Sign, Goldfield Mine, Arizona

After a long time, a local bought the land and decided to make the Goldfield Ghost Town what it is today, a tourist attraction with a restaurant, gift shops, zipline, train ride around the town with a guide who tells you the history and also about the Lost Dutchman. We really enjoyed spending a day out at Goldfield, learning a little about the history of mining in our state, being outside and spending the day as a family was the best part. I love spending days taking short road trips with my little family to learn about the little podunk towns across the state. One of my favorite ways to spend time as a family, actually.

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona Southern Pacific Lines alittledashofdiva.com

Southern Pacific Lines, Goldfield Mine, Arizona

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona alittledashofdiva.com

Travel Log - Goldfield Mine Arizona Superstition Mountains Lost Dutchman alittledashofdiva.com

Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman, Arizona

If you like finding little, out of the way places to have a great family day, I’d definitely add Goldfield to your list of places to check out in the valley.

Vegas, Day 3

On the final day of our trip, we were checking out of our hotel and headed over to a park not far off the strip to see one of my good friends, Mar from Obviously-MARvelous. She and her kids met us at a cool neighborhood park to play for a while before we got on the road to head home.

One of her daughters and Hannah hit it off pretty much right away and within minutes were asking for a sleepover that night! lol While we couldn’t accommodate that request we have promised a sleepover on the next trip.

After spending almost 3 hours at the park letting the kids play, we decided we should hit the road and head home. Before we were actually on the road towards home, we had to go to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign because we had yet to get the requisite picture at the sign. I mean, come on! You have to get the picture at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign when you go to Vegas!! Never mind that we did it on our way out of town…the important thing is we got it!

Finally, once that was done we hit the gas station and got on the road. It seems like the trip home went so much faster than the one getting there. Oh well. The scenery was so pretty to look at and I thoroughly enjoyed being the passenger and actually getting to take the pictures!

Lake Mead, coming up on Hoover Dam

Lake Mohave River – Scenic Outlook just past Hoover Dam

Once we got back on the road after stopping off at the scenic overlook we made pretty good time into Kingman where we stopped for a quick potty break and to grab an ice cream cone! I was dying for a milkshake from the time we left Vegas so we decided to wait til Kingman and get one. From Kingman til we got home I drove. Now, unfortunately I am a little more aggressive behind the wheel than Sean. Especially on the open road on a road trip. If there is a passing lane I am dang well gonna use it. I drive a Charger. I have the ability to use all that speed and power to make my ass go and I’m gonna! I can’t stand driving behind large vehicles that I cannot see around. If I can see around you and we are going at least the speed limit, I have no problem staying behind you. But if I can’t see around you, I will almost always get around you. That sometimes makes Hubby uncomfortable, but I have to do what I feel most comfortable with when I’m the one driving – don’t you agree? Anyway, once we were about 10 minutes from home we kind of got into an argument about it because he made a comment about me being reckless and that really bothered me. So once we had both said our piece he commented that he actually feels safer with me behind the wheel than anyone else including himself so that made me feel better. And you better believe I am NEVER gonna let him live THAT one down! HA!

Anyway, we had a great trip and I am so glad we got out of town for a few days to recharge as a family. Now, time to start planning the next road trip!!

My Top 3 Reasons I Love Arizona

I wrote this post for my friend Amber over at Sneakers over Stiletto’s back in January and thought I would share it here now that we are in the throes of what seems like the longest part of the summer (the end) here in Phoenix…so I give you My Top 3 Reasons I Love Arizona

I live in Phoenix, AZ. The middle of the desert for those who aren’t familiar with Arizona. We are called the Valley of the Sun for a reason…we are in a valley with mountains on all sides of the Phoenix area…and its always sunny. I think the chamber of commerce once made the claim that we have 360 days of sunshine per year. You might guess that it can get a little hot in the middle of the desert especially in summer and you would be correct! But putting aside the immense heat we get most of the year (from say April through November) there are some really great things about living here. Here is my top 3 reasons to live in the desert!

1. We have amazing sunsets. I’m not just saying that, I mean we seriously have the most gorgeous colors in our sunsets. Pinks, purples, deep blue, orange. Just breathtaking at times.

Source: google.com via Megan on Pinterest

2. Fall-Winter-Spring temperatures cannot be beat! I mean, look at this forecast for this week in Phoenix.

I’m sure there are people who love snow and cold weather, but for me, these kinds of temps are the reason I live in Phoenix. It is gorgeous like this from mid November til about April with maybe a few weeks of really cold temps. Well, really cold for us is like 50’s so take that with a grain of salt! I think Mother Nature let’s us have the few gorgeous months is because we are punished the rest of the year and our brains get fried in the heat of summer. We have to be reminded every year why we live here and tolerate the offensive heat! šŸ˜‰

3. We have one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the WORLD in our backyard. The Grand Canyon is absolutely mind boggling. If you have never been I highly recommend you make a trip if you can. It is amazing to stand (as close to the edge as they will let you get!) and look out at this amazing creation. Whether you believe in God or evolution there is no denying there was something at work when this Grand Canyon was created. I have been a few times to the Grand Canyon, we of course went when I was a kid as a family and I don’t remember a lot of that trip. When I was an adult I made the drive with my Gramma and an Aunt and cousins. The most recent I went was about 3 years ago and we went with a bunch of family. My dad rented a Suburban so that my parents, my aunt and 2 cousins (different aunt and cousins – these ones from Connecticut) and my husband my daughter and I could all take the trip up to the Grand Canyon. My dad drove and just the fact that we all made it there and back alive is a miracle, but we definitely had a memorable trip. The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes about 3.5 hours. The previous trips I had made I took the same route so I was vaguely familiar with how to get there. When all of the sudden my dad turns off onto another highway that will take us to a different part of the Grand Canyon. After being on a two lane highway for a while, we turn off onto a dirt road. Now, I was thinking ok, we must be fairly close if we are on a dirt road now. WRONG. That dirt road went on for miles and miles and miles. And of course, Mario Andretti behind the wheel doesn’t drive any differently on a dirt road than on pavement so naturally, we got a flat tire. On an unfamiliar vehicle. In May. In Arizona. The sun was beating down on all of us while the 3 men (dad, hubby and cousin) try to figure out a) where is the spare tire and b) how the hell do we get it out? Luckily I had my camera to document all of this adventure.

Once the men got the tire changed, we got back on the road with dad driving a little more carefully. We pull into a lot with a sign that said something about helicopters and I thought, surely he hasn’t rented helicopters to take us over the canyon? Then we all pile out of the suburban and he asks, ‘so who wants to go on the Skywalk?’ Gulp. If you don’t know what the Skywalk is it is a giant u-shaped structure that juts out over the side of the cliff with a ‘glass’ bottom so you see all the way to the bottom of the canyon while you are walking on it. The initial reaction of everyone was, uhm, NO WAY IN HELL! Then he convinced each and every one of us to do it using the old ‘come on, when are you ever going to have another opportunity like this one’ logic. There are no pictures from that particular adventure because they deem it unsafe for you to carry anything out on the Skywalk in case it should fall over the rail and to the bottom of the canyon. Yep, good decision there. Anyway, they put us on these giant buses and take us around 5 or 6 different locations to get pictures and such after the Skywalk. The Skywalk itself was amazing. While I was a tad nervous, I really am so glad I let myself be talked into it. Amazing experience if you ever get the chance!

Now, I don’t know if I’m the only one that finds this sign amusing, maybe its just my sick sense of humor…but really? You don’t say? Risk of falling when there is no guard rail and just a 3000 foot drop to the bottom of the canyon?! Really?! lol

This is what they call the Eagle, doesn’t it look like an eagle in flight?

Overall, I really love living in Phoenix. Does it have it’s drawbacks? Sure, but what place doesn’t!

Field Trippin’

Happy Saturday lovelies! We are off to state cheer competition today! I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend so far.

Last Wednesday my daughter’s class had a field trip to the Arizona Science Center. What a fun time! Another mom and I carpooled instead of riding the bus so it was a much more enjoyable ride! lol

We were paired up with another group to explore the science center for a few hours.

Lucky for us, we were paired up with my friend and Hannah’s BFF. We had 6 kids between us two moms. I don’t remember ever having this much trouble keeping track of 6 kids though let me tell you! All the other field trips I have been on where I was a chaperone I never had trouble keeping track of the kiddos in my care. But for some reason on this trip I thought I would lose my damn mind…repeatedly!

One of the really fun things we did was the planetarium show. The kids all loved that even though us moms got motion sickness! haha

After that we went and had lunch on the lawn and let the kids run around outside for a bit. When we headed back in we just wandered around til it was time to head back to the buses.

Because we had carpooled, Hannah’s teacher gave us the option of signing our girls out of school for the day and being able to go back into the science center to look around with just our families. So that’s what we did! We took our girls and headed back inside and were able to see and do a lot more than when it was all the kids. We went into the Digital Age room where the kids got to check out things like a Sand Wall…

and the Warp Screen…

After we were done in that room we went up to the next level to the Forces of Nature room where they got to experience all different kinds of forces of nature. Extreme heat, hurricane wind, monsoon, thunderstorms, earthquake. That was my favorite part. Really cool. We wandered around for a while longer and then decided to let the kids get a snack before we packed it in and head back north to the school to get our stuff we had left in the classroom all day.

We got back to school right before school got out for the day but still decided to take our girls home. My daughter was not pleased with this decision! Who is this child?! lol Anyway, it was a really fun day and I’m super happy I got to experience it with my girl.