Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Family You Choose

In 2009, while Meezy and I were in our mid-20s, we made the unusual decision to host a high school foreign exchange student in our home for 6 months. We could not have fathomed at the time how that would have such a profound effect on our lives, for the rest of our lives. Kim became part of our family, and I don’t mean that as a cliché. We’d do anything for her. Likewise, her entire family welcomed us into the fold and we created special connections that I’m so grateful for. In 2015, when Kim was making her nearly annual trip to visit us again, we got to meet her love interest, Fabian. We knew Kim wouldn’t settle for anyone who wasn’t kind, smart, caring, and funny, and we were right. He’s a catch! And it was like we had known Fabian all along. He even spent Thanksgiving with us last year! They are perfect for each other and we were thrilled to gain another family member. Recently, they made it official in Germany, and we had the privilege and honor of being in attendance. The American crew filled up a whole table at the reception! It’s hard to fully convey what these two mean to us, but I can easily say we’ll travel the 5,000 miles (or 8,000 km!) over and over again, anytime we can. We love you guys and we look forward to all the fun memories we’ll keep making in the years to come.

Outside of the wedding festivities, we also got to take a quick jaunt to Maastricht, NL for dinner with my extended family and spent time sight-seeing in Bonn and Koln. Wish we had been able to spend more time in Europe for this trip, but nonetheless, the time we had was well worth it!

Janet 4.0

In the sports world, we’d call my past year a “rebuilding” year. From getting braces, to discovering skin cancer on my face, to having elbow surgery, to undergoing an intense double jaw surgery…it’s been a lot, to say the least. But, Janet 4.0 is almost fully charged.

I watched a show on Netflix recently about how to live a rich life. It doesn’t mean your bank account has to be robust; it means living a life that is full. Living life intentionally, proactively, and abundantly. I think I’ve done well in that regard, despite my challenges over the past year. I’ve prioritized spending time with my husband, kids, and best friends on a weekly basis. I’ve taken the trips I wanted to take. I’ve pushed off work sometimes so I could volunteer, because it’s important to me. I’ve exercised even though I was tired. I’ve also ordered the gelato without guilt because calories don’t count on vacation. I’ve learned to say no to things I don’t want to do. I’m making conscious choices to shape my life into what I want it to be. 40 years feels like a long time and yet it feels like no time at all. I have so much to be grateful for, and so many amazing memories accrued, but I am confident the best is yet to come. Cheers to the next 40. I hope you’ll come along with me for the ride.

I've struggled with taking pictures after jaw surgery, because my face is still swollen and I haven't regained full function yet. I cringe at the way I look, but I didn't want to miss the chance to capture my sweet boys all dressed up.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Skin Cancer

Looks like I’ll never be a middle-aged model! This is my PSA to get your skin checked! In November I noticed a small spot on my face that felt unusual, so I went to a dermatologist.

They performed a biopsy and sure enough it was skin cancer - basal cell carcinoma. Very common and routine to remove, especially because I caught it early, but the location on my cheek, next to my eye, made me nervous. I had Mohs surgery in late December and they were successful in removing it all.

The first few days post-surgery were rough because of how the surgery site looked, but happy to say things are returning to normal now. Here's a photo progression:

Couple days after surgery

Seven days after surgery

Ten days after surgery

4 months after surgery

There's definitely a scar, but most days I don't even try to cover it with makeup because it doesn't bother me. I ordered Silagen 100% Pure Silicone Gel two weeks after surgery to help with scar minimization and I've been using it ever since. I think it's making a difference because most people don't notice the scar without me pointing it out. 

Wear sunscreen and get your skin checked regularly! 

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Dutch Turns Eleven

It feels like we were just celebrating 10, but alas my oldest has turned 11. He's matured this past year and started to become more independent, but he still tells me he loves me every day, still goes to bed reading a book every night, and still gets annoyed if his bed sheets aren't perfect. I love his quirks and his smile and how big his heart is. He kills it at academic competitions, does the daily Wordle and mini crossword, and loves it when Jeopardy has questions about Greek mythology. He plays online games with his friend group and likes exchanging friendship bracelets. He asks me to paint his nails and doesn't care what anyone thinks. Sometimes he walks home from school, just to get some exercise and fresh air. He loves his little bro and our Corgi. He's super picky about foods, and has annoyingly high standards around macaroni and cheese. He got his love of soft pretzels from me. His favorite dessert choice is Sweet Frog frozen yogurt. He doesn't hesitate to grab the microphone when we're playing Rock Band. He's a very good kid and I'm lucky to be his mom.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Jude Turns Eight

Eight is great! Happy birthday to my sweet, smart, loving Jude. Every day I get hugs and ”I love you” and every night ends with “can we do the Wordle” and “can you read with me?” Corgis are still his favorite thing, followed by video games, eating, word games, animals in general, and playing with his cousin Lexie. He amazes us with his word choices and understanding of when to use certain phrases and mannerisms as part of his story telling. He marches to the beat of his own drum and I love that about him.

We love you, Jude, and are looking forward to how
you’ll impress us this year.