Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yes, Brandon and I are separated. That's about all most people need to know. The rest is between us. We are still great friends and there wasn't any huge drama. Yes, we realize we are grieving and no, we aren't making any huge decisions right now. Yes, we have talked about this with our boys and have encouraged them to ask questions etc. Our separation is not a secret but it IS a private matter. We ask that you respect that and pray for us. I assure you that God will know what we need even in you don't have all the details. ;)

Please understand that our hearts are broken, our lives have been up-heaved...and we need some time to help things settle. I'm sorry for being so blunt...and for the fact that many of you will find out about our separation this way. Please remember that we are trying to keep things positive for the boys. Little ears always hearing...so please choose your words carefully. The last thing either Brandon or I want is for the boys to hurt any more than they have already had to. We always have their best interest at heart in every small and large decision we make.

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
Yes, Brandon and I are separated. That's about all most people need to know. The rest is between us. We are still great friends and there wasn't any huge drama. Yes, we realize we are grieving and no, we aren't making any huge decisions right now. Yes, we have talked about this with our boys and have encouraged them to ask questions etc. Our separation is not a secret but it IS a private matter. We ask that you respect that and pray for us. I assure you that God will know what we need even in you don't have all the details. ;)

Please understand that our hearts are broken, our lives have been up-heaved...and we need some time to help things settle. I'm sorry for being so blunt...and for the fact that many of you will find out about our separation this way. Please remember that we are trying to keep things positive for the boys. Little ears always hearing...so please choose your words carefully. The last thing either Brandon or I want is for the boys to hurt any more than they have already had to. We always have their best interest at heart in every small and large decision we make.

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not ME...

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

First, and foremost, I am NOT blogging my Not Me Monday post a day late. Not Me. I am punctual. *wink*

When my five year old brought me an Instead cup out if it's wrapper this morning, inquiring as to what it was, I did NOT lie to him. I believe in being honest with your children and giving them accurate information on their level. I do not believe in lying to your children to save yourself time, embarrassment etc. at their expense. So, of course I didn't lie to my sweet, curious boy.

I did not allow my children to eat brownies for breakfast their first morning home from camp. I am firm in my rules because children thrive in an environment where they know what to expect and what is expected of them. I wouldn't offer my kids eggs and then walk out of the room with an open dish of brownies sitting on the counter when they balk at their other options. Furthermore, it certainly wasn't me who answered "I don't care...go ahead...just don't make a big mess..." when my angelic children actually foiled my plan of 'ignoring' the brownie situation by ASKING FOR PERMISSION to eat brownies for breakfast. I would never...nope, it wasn't me!

I did NOT go to the bank first thing this morning thinking it was the first of the month, and therefore pay day, and nearly have a heart attack when I saw our account balance. I am level headed and respond well to stressful situations. Not to mention the fact that I am all kinds of on top of things so, of course I know that the first, and pay day, is TOMORROW. I simply wouldn't make those mistakes. Not ME!

I did not go to Portland International Airport this morning bra-less, in sweats and with two children without shoes and in their jammies in tow. We all know that a good mom is ready for any situation no matter what time it is. This mommy would never do that...must have been someone else you saw because it certainly wasn't me!

So...all of you who think I am hiding a cape...Now you know the truth...Not Me! =)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Can't leave out the dishes...

So, now that we're figuring out how to save money in the laundry room let's move on to the kitchen. =) In retrospect I probably should have started there. It is a little simpler to make and would have helped you see that you CAN do it and it WILL work as good, if not better, than the expensive stuff with all the crazy chemicals etc. Blech. But, you all know I never do anything the way I should. *wink*

Here's the 'recipe':

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
3-5 drops of tea tree oil*

I put it all in an empty plastic container and shake it up. I put one tablespoon in each compartment (for a total of 2 tbsp per load).

*Optional-I did add this. I bought the natural 100% tea tree oil in the health food dept of Fred Meyer. It was about $10 for the little bottle but, it will last forever and has a ton of household uses. Everything from an all natural antiseptic for cuts/wounds to blemish control for your face and some companies add it to their shampoo to help keep the scalp as clean as possible and promote healthy hair growth. So, there you have it. =)

Now, if you love your rinse aid or have wanted to use one but, refused to spend even more money on detergents etc (like me) it's your lucky day. Remember the huge jug of white vinegar we bought for the laundry? Now, you can pour it in your rinse aid dispenser in your dishwasher. Trust me...you will be a happy little homemaker. =)

Now that we've saved so much money...what will we DO with it? Bwa ha ha ha. =) *snort*

"Fabric Softener"

More brilliance. If you have a fabric softener dispenser on your machine then this is super easy. If you don't you can use a downy ball etc...or, if you have nothing better to do =) you can just manually add it to the rinse cycle. =) You will use this INSTEAD of fabric softener or Fabric Softener sheets.

1/4 to 1/2 Cup White Vinegar.

I promise your clothes will not smell like Vinegar. It helps soften your fabrics and remove soap reside naturally. =) Awesome. Just DO NOT use bleach in the same load as Vinegar.

Not only is this all natural and CHEAP but, it may help extend the life of your dryer as well. When we bought our new HE machines from Sears they recommended we not use dryer sheets. Apparently they can get wrapped up in 'something' (I am a mom of very little brain and can't remember what) and cause the motor to burn and possibly even a house fire!!! What?!?

I have used Vinegar for a long time in laundry. I started when I had the kids in cloth diapers and I used it in them and LOVED it. Yes, I am THAT mom. What? *wink*

If you can find your vinegar in a big jug it is cheaper that way and you won't have buy it very often. I know Costco has a huge jug for something like $2??? I think. I'll report back on Monday after my Costco trip.

So, there you have it. All natural, all wallet friendly laundry, all the time. Oh yeah. *snort*

Laundry for Pennies...

I have decided recently that being thrifty isn't something we should 'do' just when we HAVE to. You can read that however you want....but, for this pay check to paycheck enlisted military family...it means that sometimes the month lasts longer than the paycheck. If'n ya catch my drift. So, I have been trying to find painless ways to save a bit here and there. My initial worry was that I'd be sacrificing quality to save money but, I've found that, with a little added work, just isn't the case. I like to TRY and keep our home as 'natural' an environment as I can. I don't always succeed but, I figure if I do several little things it has to make a difference right? I have found in this quest to save money that if I forgo some of the 'deals' and commit to a little work I can have high quality product at a VERY small price.

My FIRST find is Home Made Laundry Soap. You can find 'recipes' online. The one I used came from a fellow Coast Guard Spouse. I felt confident trying it after a lot of glowing recommendations from other spouses. It is super easy to make and you may just briefly lose consciousness when you see how much it will cost you...or rather SAVE you. =) You make a 5 gallon bucket of CONCENTRATE at once. Once you have the concentrate made you use old (rinsed out) laundry soap containers (reusing=recycling's older and wiser brother...yay). For each gallon of finished laundry soap you use 1/2 gallon of your concentrate, so your 5 gallon bucket will yield TEN gallons of laundry detergent!!! That equates into roughly 180 loads for a traditional machine or 640 loads for an HE or Front Loader! Wow...right?!?

Now picture all those big laundry soap bottles...pesky right? I hate those. Even the 2x or HE soap bottles are a pain. No MORE! =)

Now, would you like to guess how much this batch of laundry soap will cost you to make? Wait for it....right around $2.10. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself. I did the math (with a calculator and everything). Of course your prices may vary given different stores, container sizes and cost of living factors etc. but this will give you a rough idea.

1 Fells Naptha Soap Bar=$1.29 (makes 1 batch)
1 box of Arm and Hammer WASHING Soda=$3.29 (makes 6 1/2 batches)
1 box Borax Laundry Booster=$5.50 (makes 19 batches)

+ .29

That's about a PENNY for each load for traditional washers and about 5 loads for a PENNY and a half in an HE or Front Loader Machine! SERIOUSLY. *gasp* Right?!?

The only other things you need are:

1--5 gal. bucket With a lid. Any clean one will do. I bought one at Fred Meyer for $4.
Hot water
1--Grater for soap ( I used the slicer/shredder/Grater attachment for my KitchenAid this is quick and easy but, any grater will do.)
stove top
pan for melting down grated soap and water

This takes a minimal amount of time and will save you a good chunk of money (and help our planet a bit too).

Sold yet?

Here are the instructions:

1 bar of soap, grated (I used Fels-Naptha Brand)
1 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer Brand)
1/2 cup Borax
4 cups HOT water

Grate the soap, and put into a pan on the stove with the 4 cups of HOT water and cook over med low heat until the soap is melted.

Pour into a 5 gallon bucket, add the Borax and Washing Soda and stir well.

Add HOT water (we used the bath tub) to the top of the bucket to equal 5 gallons of liquid.

Let sit over night. This mixture will gel. Stir well the next morning. Take an old clean laundry detergent container and add 1 quart of laundry detergent concentrate and 1 quart of HOT water, screw on the top and shake well. You now have 1/2 gallon of homemade liquid laundry detergent. Shake before each use. You can add essential oils at this point if you so desire. I picked up some Tea Tree Oil to help with 'disinfecting' and the yummy smell.

Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads) Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Mom and A Dad.

We are all different. People are unique. We each use life experiences and lessons differently. Beyond that, we all experience them differently. We all fill different roles and bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. It's what makes life interesting and rich and complete. I'm thankful for our differences...no matter how hard it is at times.

As the mom of Hadley, Keegan and Liam my job was/has been to tend to their needs and see to their general well being 24/7/365. I have not worked outside the home. These children, my husband and my home have been my job, my life, my entire world for nearly 9 1/2 years. Since 4/22/04 my job has been to care for a chronically and life threateningly ill child and to keep her and her brothers lives as 'normal' as possible. Sometimes this was nearly impossible. At times it meant sacrificing carrying on Liam's diaper bag so that Hadley's small suitcase of meds and chemo could come along on vacation. Sometimes it meant spending an hour taping up and protecting Hadley's central line so she could run in the sprinklers with her brothers. A lot of the time it was putting my own fears aside and just allowing my children to be children...and one step beyond that...encouraging them to be happy and adventurous and...themselves. I was trained to care for a child who had a rare disease. A child who statistics no longer applied to. I was trained to remain vigilant and alert to any and all signs of danger to her. She was in a fragile state for nearly 5 years...no matter how 'normal' I tried to make things feel/seem. I had to stay alert or...or she could die. It was my job around the clock...for nearly 5 years. It was my life.

As the dad of Hadley, Keegan and Liam, Brandon's job was to go to 'work'. To present our family, to the Coast Guard, as typical and average, and himself as an asset to them. He put food on the table, a roof over our head and provided insurance for our family but, most importantly, Hadley. When he was home he loved on our kids and tried to make sure that I was doing ok. For Hadley's last 2 years, though, he was rarely home (until her last few months). His life, for the most part, was wrapped up in the Coast Guard. I can't and won't fault him that. It was necessary and in the best interest of our family. It is what it is.

These roles however, have led us to very different places in our grief. I am having a hard time switching roles from 'mom of chronically ill child' to 'mom of two healthy children'. Brandon is still dad. I will never undermine his grief or say my grief is greater. It's not the case at all. Our grief is what it is. Our roles as parents are a separate issue. His role has stayed much the same. Mine has changed drastically. Because of this we are in different places. He has a hard time understanding why I worry the way I do...why I still act like I have a sick kid. I have a hard time understanding how he can act like everything is 'normal'.

For the first time since Hadley died I was truly angry at my husband over her journey and death. I feel like I was abandoned to deal with and handle most of it on my own...and now he wonders why I'm not doing better and putting it behind me (the cancer journey...NOT Hadley). I feel angry that the one person who should be in a similar place as me...that should have many of the same experiences as me doesn't. I have to keep convincing myself that it's nobody's fault. He had to be gone for 3/4's of the year because it's his job. He doesn't fear the things I fear because he wasn't here through all of it. Most importantly, that he payed a different price. He missed so much time...

I am trying...nobody ever said this would be easy...but, nobody ever said it'd be this damned hard.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blessed and Cheated...

The Blessed
The Cheated

Today was discouraging, hard, sad...horrible. So bad that I actually did the one thing that I vowed I'd never do and meant. I yelled at my boys because I am sad and angry that my girl is gone. I feel terribly guilty and will do everything in my power to never ever do that again. EVER.

Most days I am thankful, so thankful, that I get to say that I am Hadley's mom. I feel blessed that she is mine and I am hers. I feel lucky that my boys are healthy and happy and amazingly well adjusted. I feel proud that my marriage is strong and, no matter how imperfect, our love and relationship is genuine and real. I have everything I need and more. I am an extremely blessed woman who lost her child.

Today, I feel angry. Angry that Hadley's miracle was in heaven and not here with me. Confused as to why things played out the way they did. Why did Hadley die when so many other children survive? Sad that I have so many years ahead of me without this child that I learned to love so completely and knew so well. I feel cheated and let down. I wonder why. Did we not pray hard enough? Were there not enough people begging for her miracle? Did we not scour the country for a cure? Did we not do everything we were asked by her doctors? Did I not give her EVERY dose of medicine exactly as I was instructed? Did we not sacrifice enough with Brandon being gone so much and me single parenting? Was it not enough that she was sick in the first place? Were the surgeries and treatment not a big enough load to bear?

I feel stuck between two places. Almost as if I have two lives. The one that is rich and happy and blessed...and the one with this horrible tragedy. This deep dark sadness that doesn't let go. In one scenario I feel lucky to be alive...in the other, I feel as though I'm constantly on the verge of nervous breakdown. The problem is that I don't have multiple personality disorder. That almost seems like an easier scenario to deal with. I have to make these two scenarios one.

This is my life. This is my grief. This is love. When you love someone with all of your heart it breaks entirely when they have to move on. I gave my girl all of myself for the 8 years she was here. I neglected the rest of my life and now I am having to work to figure out who I am without her here. It's something I'd much rather not do. I'd rather her just be here with me. I loved who I was when I was with Hadley. Maybe I need to figure out how to be 'me with Hadley' without Hadley. *sigh*

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Welcome to the world...

Baby Reagan!!!

7lbs 3ozs

Mommy and Reagan are both doing well.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Memorial and Raising Awareness...

Our family will be attending the annual memorial service for patients of Doernbecher Children's Hospital on Saturday. We are able to take a few items and pictures to display. I've heard that the service is nice. I know a lot of people weren't able to attend Hadley's service because of the crazy weather so, if any of you would like to join us I'll post the information for you. Please keep our family and all those who are attending in your prayers as we grieve for our sweet children together.

Doernbecher Annual Memorial Service
Honoring and celebrating the lives of Doernbecher patients who died from March 1, 2008-March 1, 2009.

OHSU Auditorium (Old Library Building)
Saturday April 4th, 2009

Parking adjacent to the Old Library Building
refreshments will follow in the Great Hall.

April is going to be a difficult month. A lot of anniversaries. Stevie's diagnosis and death. Hadley's diagnosis and surgery. I suppose that it will just be hard for a while. I don't need an anniversary to remember what has happened...what my girl endured...how broken my heart is. She is everywhere and that is both comforting and heartbreaking at the same time.

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month!!! You can order the gear you need (HADLEY is pictured in GROUP 1) here: http://www.cafepress.com/btwallofcourage . All the gear was made and the store is maintained by a fellow Brain Tumor Angel Mom. Please help us raise awareness!

I long to hold my girl, smell her hair, hear her laughter, experience her magic and just live this crazy life by her side again. It's weird the things I miss. It's been SO long since someone has called me "Hadley's mom". For years I was introduced and referred to as "Hadley's Mom". Her spirit was so big that she didn't belong to us. We belonged to her. It was obvious. The boys were HER brothers, Brandon HER dad. Everywhere we went people knew her and smiled and laughed with her. We were her entourage. I miss being "Hadley's mom". I guess I forgot that I actually do have a name. I like "Hadley's Mom" better.

Please be kind to each other. Find joy. Make magic. Find reasons to laugh and smile. Hope...always HOPE.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Re-Opening Sale!


I've re-opened my Mary Kay website. I'd love to get back into the swing of things and thank my past and current customers for hanging in there with me over the past several months by offering 25% off EVERYTHING! And, as always, FREE SHIPPING and a few other exciting FREE offers to choose from as well. http://www.marykay.com/angelafox/whatsnew/freeoffers/default.aspx

If you haven't checked out Mary Kay lately you're missing out. They have completely updated and freshened up their look. Check out all the Beauty Editor's picks MK is currently boasting!!! http://www.marykay.com/angelafox/content/company/pr_beautyeditorspicks.aspx

If you have any questions feel free to contact me.
Thanks!!! =)

I will subtract the 25% before proccesing your credit card payment. If you prefer, you can also mail a check. Either way I'll send you an email with your total final total. =)

Keegan on Woodrow Wilson.

Keegan's Woodrow Wilson Research Project.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beating Odds...

Nine years ago today I married my first true love. He is my rock, my soft place to fall, my shoulder to cry on and my friend responsible for reminding me when it's time to pull myself up by my bootstraps. He has trusted me to be his wife, the mother of his children and the manager of our family. He has been an amazing father and provider. I am so proud of him.

When I married this boy of mine he was just that, a boy. We were young. I was 21 he was almost 21. We had no idea the storms that were waiting for us. No idea. Oddly enough the 'sermon' in our wedding was about those who choose love and are willing to sacrifice for it. Not all love stories are a fairy tale. This boy of mine became a man that I adore even more than the day I married him. He has chosen love so many times. I am so grateful.

On a side note, I refuse to believe that this love of ours isn't a fairy tale kind of love. Every fairy tale has a tragic element. I refuse to give up hope for our happily ever after.

I love you Brandon. Thank you for sharing this crazy, wonderful, awful, beautiful life with me.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time Lapse...

Keegan (2 1/2), Liam (11 mos.) and Hadley (4) in October, 2004.

Liam (almost 5), Hadley (8) and Keegan (6 1/2) October, 2008.

I love these kids so much. SO much. Hadley has taught me so much about life and love, strength and gentleness, perseverance and peace. She lived her life with so much beauty, grace and love. She never stopped amazing me. She amazed me up until her last breath. No, she continues to amaze me. She always will. My boys keep me going. I get out of bed and face a nearly unbearable amount of pain every day because I love them so much. There is no way I could ever contribute to their heartache. I have committed to living my life well in honor of my girl but, I am reminded every day that my boys are the ones who need me. They need to see me living and enjoying life to it's fullest. I am afraid. I am terrified. I am heartbroken. I cry. I am sad. BUT, I WILL live. I WILL love. I WILL enjoy the life I've been blessed with. I can't let this grief overwhelm me.

Brandon and I will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary on the 17th. I loved him so much when we got married. I had no idea how much we would face. How much we would grow. How much our love would grow. He works so hard and then is expected to give so much of himself at home. We have literally spent hours a week with him for the past few months. His work schedule is such that he stays overnight at work several days a week. On top of his 48-72 hour shifts he's been there on his 'days off' as well trying to get caught up from all his time off with Hadley. Then he has a basket case for a wife and two boys who need more from him now than they ever have before. I have leaned on him for help with things that I have done on my own for our entire marriage. He has been so strong and so amazing. I don't know how he balances everything but, he has and I am so thankful and proud. He loves me so much more than I deserve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tooting my own horn...

kind of. Pretty sad that I've lost 21 lbs and still have SO far to go. But, I'll take the progress. =)

And...before anyone asks I've been sticking pretty closely to Tosca Reno's "Eat Clean" and have been working out/running several times a week. =) I hope to be a thinner version of my former self by summer. =)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shamrock Run

Hello friends,

I just wanted to check in with everyone. Just 13 days until the run. Are you ready? I'll be 'training' till the very last second. *oy*

If you haven't done so already remember to register. You can do that here (scroll down for the registration form):

Don't forget!!!

Team Name: Hadley's Gift
Team Leader: Angela Fox


Also, if you are planning on attending please send me a message here: HadleysGift@yahoo.com

and let me know:

if you have more than one family member participating (how many?).

Which event you're participating in.

if you'd like to meet for lunch at Rock Bottom Brewery afterward.

Thank you so much for helping our family remember and honor our girl and raise money for Doernbecher. Keep pushing yourselves. =)

With Faith, Hope and Love,
Angela Fox


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2006 The Montage

I was looking around for a video and found this in my One True Media account. 2006 was such a fun year. =) It's so bittersweet to watch. I miss my girl so much.

**Pause the playlist at the bottom of the page before playing** =)

Today's Soap Box...

My 2 cents are added below the quote.


Chapter# 9/Page# 173 & 174
The Department of Defense (DoD) provides health care
benefits to family members of active-duty personnel
through a collection of health plans known as TRICARE.
There are currently three TRICARE plans from which
such beneficiaries may choose—Prime, Standard, or
Extra—and those beneficiaries pay no premiums or
enrollment fees for their coverage. TRICARE Prime is
operated much like a civilian health maintenance organi-
zation (HMO), with a military or civilian primary care
manager providing referrals to network providers. Family
members of active-duty personnel enrolled in TRICARE
Prime generally face no copayments at the point of ser-
vice, whether they receive care from a military or civilian
provider.1 In part because of the low out-of-pocket costs,
those beneficiaries have rates of utilization of services that
are substantially higher than those of a comparison group
in a civilian HMO.2 Family members who choose not to
enroll in Prime are covered by TRICARE Standard (the
program’s fee-for-service plan) or Extra (the program’s
preferred provider plan). Beneficiaries in those two
planshave a greater choice of providers but face deduct-
ibles and coinsurance rates that vary depending on the
type of service and whether the provider participates in a
TRICARE network.
Under this option, DoD would provide active-duty per-
sonnel who have dependents with a special $500 cash
allowance for health expenses while at the same time
increasing out-of-pocket costs for care received through
TRICARE Prime. The allowance would be nontaxable
(like the current housing allowance) and could be used in
one of two ways. Under the first alternative, family mem-
bers could use the allowance to help offset the out-of-
pocket costs of any of the current TRICARE plans
(Prime, Standard, or Extra). However, cost sharing under
TRICARE Prime would be altered to incorporate copay-
ments that would cover, on average, about 10 percent of
the cost of health care services obtained either at military
facilities or from civilian providers. Each TRICARE plan
would include an annual cap on out-of-pocket expendi-
tures to control the financial consequences of cata-
strophic illness. Under the second alternative, military
family members could show proof of insurance and apply
the $500 allowance toward their share of the premiums,
copayments, and deductibles of another health insurance
Currently, military treatment facilities (MTFs) do not
charge eligible individuals copayments for medical ser-
vices or pharmaceuticals. In order to reduce beneficiaries’
incentive to switch to MTFs and avoid the minimum
out-of-pocket requirements, DoD would need to estab-
lish procedures for collecting payments from TRICARE
beneficiaries seeking care from MTFs.
If implemented, this option would save about $3billion
in discretionary outlays over the next five years and
roughly $7 billion from 2010 to 2019. That estimate
incorporates the cost of the cash allowances and accounts
for the decreased demand for medical care among enroll-
ees that would result under the new plan. (The higher
out-of-pocket expenses would be expected to encourage
restraint in health care purchases.) The estimate also
accounts for the increased cost of the benefit for a small
number of eligible family members of active-duty person-
nel who do not use TRICARE but instead rely on an
employment-based health plan. Those beneficiaries cur-
rently cost the system nothing but would still receive the
cash allowance.
This option would also result in a small increase in man-
datory outlays resulting from some military dependents’
increased use of Medicaid services. In addition, federal
tax revenues would decrease somewhat as more depen-
dents of active-duty service members enrolled in private
insurance plans, which would yield a shift in compensa-
tion from taxable wages to nontaxable fringe benefits.
The degree of those two effects would depend on the spe-
cifics of any enacting legislation.
This option would offer several advantages. First, enroll-
ees in TRICARE Prime would have a stronger incentive
to use medical services prudently because they would be
responsible for a share of the cost. Second, the ability to
use the allowance to pay the premiums of another health
insurance plan would induce some spouses to enroll in
their employer’s plan rather than in TRICARE. That fea-
ture of the option would mean that some health care
costs would be shifted to the civilian employers of mili-
tary spouses, thus reducing DoD’s spending. Finally,
because family members would commit annually to
enrolling in a health insurance plan, total utilization of
services would be easier to predict than it is under the
current system, which allows users to join or leave at any
time. Thus, this option would improve resource planning
within the military health care system and allow DoD to
negotiate firmer contracts for pharmaceuticals and civil-
ian medical services. That advantage would exist even if
most beneficiaries chose to remain in one of the three tra-
ditional TRICARE plans.
This option would also have potential disadvantages.
Enrollees in TRICARE Prime would assume additional
risks and might face financial difficulties, despite the
plan’s cap on families’ annual out-of-pocket expenditures.
Moreover, families that obtained health insurance
through a spouse’s employer might have their coverage
disrupted if the active-duty service member relocated to a
new post. DoD would have to develop methods to pro-
rate cash allowances and deductibles for beneficiaries who
were forced to change from a private health care plan to
TRICARE coverage (or vice versa) midyear.

1. One exception is for pharmaceuticals. Beneficiaries who have
prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies or through mail order face
copayments of $3, $9, and $22, respectively, for generic, brand-
name formulary, and brand-name nonformulary medications.
Prescriptions filled at out-of-network retail pharmacies are
reimbursed at 50 percent of the cost. Prescriptions filled at
military treatment facilities are free.
2. DoD estimates that among TRICARE Prime enrollees, inpatient
utilization is 58 percent higher and outpatient utilization is
39percent higher than a civilian HMO comparison group. These
results were adjusted to reflect differences in age and sex among
the populations being compared. See Department of Defense,
Evaluation of the TRICARE Program: FY2008 Report to Congress
(February 29, 2008).

Obviously my family is not 'typical' when it comes to our healthcare experiences. I will admit that we consider ourselves very lucky to have had military health insurance. Hadley's medical bills, over the course of 4 years, were/are astronomical. Hospital and doctor bills reached a million dollars in her first 6 months of care for her brain tumor. Her Hospice care (4 1/2 months) was just over $25,000. Hadley's average number of hospital and doctor visits each month was anywhere from 1-10+ a month. That is just outpatient visits. She had an MRI, on average, every other month for 4 1/2 years. She required anesthesia for each so the bill was usually around $8-10 thousand each. I tell you all of this to illustrate just how much the changes in military health insurance would effect a family like ours.

I realize that most people out there who are fortunate enough to have health insurance at all have deductibles and cost share etc. I would like to point out a few differences though between civilian and military lifestyles. My husband is in the Coast Guard. He has not seen combat. He has not come back from war wounded or disabled. He has not been gone for 18 months at a time. However, my husband has been gone for months at a time, sacrificing time with our children and myself and putting his own safety on the line. We have sacrificed plenty so that my husband could do a job he loves and serve our country in the process. One of the biggest benefits of this job is the healthcare. Yes, it is free. Yes, it does cost the government a lot of money. I understand that. But, please don't try and balance out the overspending of our government by taking away the military and veterans biggest perk. The pay is bad enough (my husband is an E-5 with 9 1/2 years in. His base pay is $2670.90/month) as it is. If you make us pay for our healthcare we'll all 'tank' for sure. Especially those who do have family members with special health concerns. You won't be discouraging us from 'overusing' our benefit. You'll be bankrupting us. What scares me the most is that there is mention of a catastrophic cap but, there's no mention of how high it is. Our annual pay raises don't even keep up with the cost on inflation every year(I believe it was 3.5% this year), now they want to add to our expenses? *sigh*

I am thankful that this proposed plan wasn't released until after Hadley passed away. I probably would have been a wreck. I suppose I'll just have to hope and pray that Brandon and the boys and I stay healthy. We wouldn't want to cost the government too much. After all, my husband's $32,050.80/year salary (base pay) is probably a huge burden as it is. *eye roll*

Before I close I would like to add that back when the kids were babies we had a co-pay. If I remember correctly it was $3. Any appointment with your provider or a doctor your primary care doc referred you to. That wasn't a big deal, obviously. But throw deductibles or a 20% co pay etc on that and WOW. Scary. So then we'll either be even more broke or sick without access to healthcare. It seems to me that's just not a good situation. Especially since our husbands/wives/etc can be deployed at a moments notice.

I'm done...for now. Thank you for your time.

If you'd like to contact your congressman follow this link: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Valentine's Day Parties

Here are a few pics from Liam's Valentines Party and one of Keegan's. I was a little busier in Keegan's class and didn't take many pictures. (oops)

Keegan's Birthday Party...

Now that it's mid, almost late, February I figured I'd post Keegan's birthday pictures. =)

Here are a few from school:

Here are a few from Papa's Pizza:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Ugly Truth...

Because so many people have claimed to admire my strength and perseverance, I feel a need to share some 'weaknesses'.

1. My Hadley left this earth more than 2 months ago. Her room remains as it was the day the hospital came to pick up her specialty furniture. I haven't done ANYTHING with it. Her medications are all still where they sat the night she died. The night gown she wore to the funeral home is folded and sitting in her recliner. Her favorite books are sitting where the foot of the bed was. The sheets that were on her bed are draped on her chair. I can't bring myself to touch it, nor do I want to. I know I'll be ready eventually. Not yet.

2. I actually have days where I try not to think about the fact that she is gone. I would never go so far as to say that I lie to myself or try to convince myself she's NOT gone. I just try not to think about it.

3. I can't imagine getting old with my husband anymore. I am, by no means, ready to die...but, I can't imagine living without my girl for another 50+ years. It is just too much.

4. I blame Brandon's work schedule for keeping us out of therapy/counseling. The truth of the matter is I'm not ready to rip the band aid off yet. It hurts so much just to think about my girl...I can't imagine devoting time to sit with a stranger and analyze and share. Unbearable.

5. I am finally, two months later, getting to the point where I am letting myself actually feel some of the emotions that are running through me. I was talking with a nurse in my family doctor's office the other day. She was telling me how happy they always were to see Hadley and how she always just brightened up the whole office. I started tearing up and I was SO shocked and embarrassed. As I drove home I thought about how ludicrous it was that I would find crying so crazy. Ugh.

6. I have been home while the boys are at school and Brandon is at work for 2 months now. My house is a disaster area. Nothing is organized the way I'd like it to be, the painting that got dropped when Hadley declined hasn't been picked back up again, the garage is total chaos, and stuff that got shoved in my laundry area awaiting permanent 'homes' is still sitting there. What have I been doing? Oh, yes, keeping myself busy and trying to avoid my house. *sigh*

7. I've all but given up on handling 'business' type calls. I get frustrated, people are cranky and/or rude, I have to listen to sappy music that makes me cry...and I wind up in tears or irrationally upset over the stupidest things.

8. I sometimes think Hadley's cat, Baby Hope, is channelling her. Don't laugh. This cat is nuts. She sleeps and plays in the bathtub. Yeah.

You see, I am a mess like every other person out there. I just thought you should know. *snort* Now, maybe I'll feel more obligated to get some stuff done.

Monday, February 9, 2009


This is who I felt like this afternoon. Now, let me start at the beginning. Brandon FINALLY got a day off so, after hitting the gym, we went to Chang's Mongolian Grill for lunch. Then we headed downtown to Powell's Books. After a while my stomach was really hurting and I thought I ate too much. Within minutes the palms of my hands were painfully itchy and turning BRIGHT red. It spread quickly to my face, trunk and arms. I told Brandon we needed to go and by the time we'd walked to the car I was so swollen and red and itchy. Before we reached the freeway my tongue was swelling and I was having a hard time swallowing. I told Brandon he needed to hurry to the hospital. We were exiting the freeway and about a block away when I really started having a hard time breathing and pretty much panicked. For almost 2 months now all I've thought about is seeing and holding my sweet Hadley again. In those scary moments all I could think of was Brandon and the boys. This couldn't be happening to them. It just couldn't. I wasn't afraid for myself, I was afraid for them. So, so afraid. I was able to walk in to the ER and as soon as they saw me and I tried to speak they plopped me in a wheelchair and ran me back to a room. Before I could try to blink the room was full of docs and nurses and Brandon was still at the desk getting me checked in. They were hooking me up trying to get an IV started, and drawing meds up. All I could think of was Brandon and the boys and how I HAD to stay here with them. I couldn't be the cause of more pain for them. We were there for about 2 hours. Thankfully the epinephrine, benadryl and prendisone cocktail worked. The swelling and hives stopped and eventually started receeding. My vitals got back to normal etc. and I was released. I get to carry around an epi kit with me everywhere I go now. I have no idea what I ate that would have caused this. The assumed high rate of cross contamination at a place like Chang's makes it even harder to really pin point. So, I'm following up with my regular doctor tomorrow to see about some testing. Until I figure it out I think I'm going to be a bit paranoid.

I am still pretty puffy and itchy but, overall feeling much better. I'm really tired from all the IV benadryl and a bit anxious from the epi and prendisone. I have a few days of benadryl and prendisone to take then I should be as good as new. Anaphylaxis is SO fun. *oy* By the way, Brandon says I looked more like this than Sloth. =) He's such a sweetie. =)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Snowflake...

I've finally figured out what my next tattoo will be. A snowflake. When Hadley died the weather got crazy. Insane. The day of her funeral Portland started getting hit with snow. The highways shut down, flights were cancelled, it was utter chaos and we all had to smile about it. Everyone knew it was our girl. We could all hear her beautiful laughter. She brought beauty into our lives even while we were in the depths of our grief. Most of the children who knew Hadley now thank her for the snow. We all think that God asked her what she wanted to be in charge of...and I can totally hear her saying "I like snow!". =)

There are several legends surrounding snowflakes but, I thought this one was especially beautiful (and fitting).

JANUARY (second flower)

Birth Month Flowers
- symbolizes hope and the return to life after the long winter months.
- one legend tells about an angel who breathed on a snowflake in his hand to release it as the first snowdrop flower to comfort Eve after being banished from Eden. It was the angel who showed how Hope was born

- another tells of the snowdrop being the first flower to bloom when spring comes around; it was the only flower that agreed when asked by God, to give some of it's color to snow (German origin)

- they are delicate, faintly honey-scented flowers from the lily family. They have tough, grey-green leaves that extend after flowering. These have a tough sheath protecting the growing tip from damage as it chisels its way up through cold-hardened ground. 'Snow piercer' is one name given to snowdrops

So, what I'd like to ask you all for help designing/finding a snowflake for this tattoo. I'm thinking of putting it on the back of my neck or maybe behind an ear. Please help me out. I am SO incapable of designing/drawing this on my own. Thanks all. =)

When I grow up...

I came across this video on a friend's MySpace page. I LOVE finding random bits of my girl unexpectedly. It just puts a huge smile on my face. I know I've shared this before but, it's just too cute not to share again. =)

We miss you sweet girl.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Relay For Life.

My friend, Shauna, is participating in Relay for Life in San Diego. She is relaying in memory of Hadley. If you can, please support her.


Thank You!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Today I have no picture,cute story, funny joke or tasty recipe. My heart just hurts. I miss my girl. I miss every last bit of her. I feel wrong and out of place without her. I am really and truly trying to keep going. Most of the time I succeed. The rest of the time is ugly. I really never knew a person's heart could ache like this...

Baby bug, mommy misses you so, so much. I hope and pray every day that heaven is everything you dreamt of and more. I pray that you aren't missing us like we're missing you. I pray there are babies everywhere and lots of chicken 'meat nuggets'. Have you met Gramma Fox yet? I'll be you two are having fun eating cookies and getting to know each other. I'm sure she was pleased to finally get to hug on you. =) Have you and Honey been playing baker lady and snuggling babies together? Is Papa still trying to scare little kids with spooky faces and being grumpy when Honey spoils you? How are Gramma Bubbles, Papa and Mama's daddy? Are you and Stevie having lots of fun? You wanted to be a teenager so bad. Do you get to be a teenager and hang out with Stevie? Do you two giggle about boys and act silly? Have you gotten to hold baby Hannah Joy yet? How about Dave, have you seen him? Did you tell him how much his family misses him and give him a big hug?

My heart is broken baby girl. I miss you leaning your face inclose to mine and tilting your cheek towards my lips and waiting for me to kiss it. I miss your crooked smile. I miss shopping for clothes for you. I miss your silly little jokes and how you thought they were the funniest thing EVER. I miss everywhere we went seeing people's faces light up when they saw you. You made so many people smile sweet girl. You brought a lot of love into our lives. We miss you so much. So, so much.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


This picture of Hadley was taken on December 14th, 2007. Who would have ever known that almost exactly a year later she would be gone. We were celebrating Christmas with Auntie Manda, Uncle Brian and Uncle Clay before we headed out to Idaho. Brandon was deployed and we were going to spend Christmas with his parents and siblings. It was our gazillionth holiday, but very first Christmas, without him. The kids did well. I did well. I was proud we survived this military family rite of passage. Hadley, as we all know now, wouldn't live to see another Christmas. She passed away just 15 days short. Brandon missed her last Christmas. It is probably a huge blessing we didn't know. I can't imagine how much it would have hurt him to leave. I still feel a lot of guilt over it. Not that it is my fault...but, he does his 'job' not only for our country but, for our family. It puts a roof over our head, food on the table and, most importantly at the time, health insurance cards in my wallet. His job allowed me to stay home through Hadley's entire cancer journey. I was able to be there for her ANY time she needed or wanted me. He sacrificed SO much to allow me this awesome privilege.

Thank you, Brandon, for taking care of us. Thank you for allowing me to spend so much time with our girl. I don't know how I'll ever make it up to you. I don't know that it's possible...but, I'll certainly try. I love you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oregon Drivers

If you have a car registered in Oregon please help us out.

I've taken on the task of getting Childhood Cancer Awareness license plates in the state of Oregon. It's a little intimidating but, I believe I can accomplish this. The first step is getting at least a thousand signatures expressing interest in the specialty plates. The second step is raising $10,000 to cover the up front cost of the plates. This will be refunded (plus proceeds) to benefit Pediatric cancer research and support. So, I am asking for your help. If you have a car registered in Oregon please sign my petition (to the right).

If you'd be so kind as to post this on your blog etc I would be grateful.

Thank you so much...


Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Little Rascal...

Hadley lost her ability to walk back in September, shortly after being admitted to hospice care. So, for the last four and a half months of her life she got around in a wheelchair. One day we were all out on a little shopping trip. I'm pretty sure we were at Target but, neither Brandon or I can remember for sure. Anyhow we walk in the store, I'm pushing Hadley and Brandon is keeping an eye on the boys. An elderly woman drives a little motorized shopping cart in front of us, headed for customer service to return it. Hadley immediately and quite enthusiastically insists on using one of the motorized shopping carts. Now, Brandon and I (and pretty much everyone in her life) did our best to see that her every desire was met but, this is where we drew the line. When I told Hadley that they were not for children she gave me 'that' look. She knew she couldn't win that argument so she went straight to a hilarious attempt at manipulation. "Mom I NEED it, my legs are broooooooken. I NEED it..." Boy was she mad when we refused to let her loose on Target in a motorized scooter. *snort* And boy was she miffed that we found the request funny.

Oh how I miss that girl.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

7 years

My sweet boy was born seven years ago today. Happy birthday Keegan! This sweet little boy has endured so much and has just kept on thriving. He is smart, witty, respectful, kind, sensitive and loving. He has life experience that no seven year old should and, even at such a young age, has used it all to his advantage. He has big dreams and I have no doubt he will accomplish big things in his life. We are so proud of him.


We love you so much. You have been through a lot in just seven years. You have been content to hang out on the outskirts of your sister's spotlight. I know someday, when you are older, you will understand. I hope you never doubt how much we love you and how amazing we think you are. We pray every day that you continue to take the really tough parts of your life's journey and use them in productive ways. Never lose your sweet, sensitive heart. Never stop loving and caring for the people around you. Dream big...make those dreams a reality. Choose happiness. We love you sweet boy.

Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A visit...

I went grocery shopping today. I hit Trader Joes and they had flowers I just couldn't pass up. I bought their lucky ladybug bouquet and took them up to my girl. This is my first visit to the cemetery since we went there for Hadley's interment. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to go by myself. I suppose it was productive to get a good healthy cry out...but,the 20 minutes in the car trying to pull it together so I could drive home was a bit much. The groundskeepers were all in the area cleaning up while I was there. I'm sure they've seen their fair share of mourning but, I'm sure that they were wondering what institution I escaped from.

As I stood there, staring at my daughter's niche in total disbelief, gun shots started booming...then I heard Taps playing. A hero was being laid to rest. Being in that cemetery is an overwhelming experience. Not only is my sweet baby girl there but, you can't help but feel humbled and grateful by all the heroes who sacrificed so much for our country.

I also wanted to add that the reason Brandon's name is on the niche marker is that he is her 'sponsor'. She is in Willamette National cemetery because he is active duty military. Each veteran/active duty member is entitled to burial and the burial of one 'dependent' in a national cemetery. So, in theory, he would be buried there with her...and he is the reason she is able to be buried there. So, there's the explanation for those that may have wondered.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, love and support. I truly don't know how we'd make it through without every person God has placed in our lives.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Slowly but surely my memories of Hadley are more like a sweet dream and less like a nightmare. For over a month now I have been 'haunted' by memories of her last 12 hours of life. They were hard. The hardest of my life. My sweet girl was struggling to breathe...apologized that she 'had to go' and eventually was unresponsive. Those memories have been hard for me to handle. I have begged to have them replaced with sweet memories of happier times. While this eases my heart in one way it also makes the grieving process harder (if that's even possible).

When you lose your child there is no way to make any sense of it. You just can't. Children aren't supposed to get sick and die. Especially not your own child. But, when your child is sick and suffering it makes as much sense as it possibly can...you feel a sense of relief for them that they are not suffering anymore...then the memories of a healthier, happier child return and it no longer makes ANY sense at all. How could this have happened? These are the thoughts that run through my head from day to day.

Today I was remembering my favorite little chocoholic. In this picture she was 6 and in Kindergarten. She had snuck into the pantry and taken out the whole Costco sized bag of chocolate chips. Don't worry though, she has manners. She did get a plate out. This is exactly how I found her. When I asked her what was going on she told me she was "Havin' Snack Mom". I can still hear her voice, very matter of fact. She only broke out that endearing crooked little smile of hers when she realized how funny I thought this was. Of course then Hadley the ham made an appearance and she fake laughed for about 5 minutes straight.

I miss her so much. I will miss her every day of my life.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shamrock Run


My friend,Michelle, just sparked an idea. =) (Uh oh). =)

Exactly two years ago on March 15th Hadley was swallowing her last chemo pills. On March 17th (mine and Brandon's wedding anniversary) we had a "no more chemo" party. Every year around St Patrick's day the Shamrock Run is held. I'm not sure if the beneficiary is the same every year or not but, this year it benefits the Doernbecher foundation. Doernbecher (for those of you who aren't local) is the Children's Hospital associated with Oregon Health Sciences University. This year the run is being held on Sunday, March 15th. You see where I'm going with this? =) hee hee.

Hadley was all about pushing herself to achieve what she wanted to accomplish. She honestly didn't know the meaning of the word "can't". There are a few options for the length of the run so most people will find something that fits (including a walking course). I'd like to challenge you to push yourself and join us! If you are a runner, awesome! If you aren't, you'll be in good company. =) This will be my first 5k. Scratch that, my first 'race' ever.

Check out the site and let me know if you'd be interested in joining team Hadley's Gift! http://www.shamrockrunportland.com/

I'm going back to the site now to figure out how to register a team and the details of registering as a team. Drop me a line at: HadleysGift@yahoo.com if you're interested in joining us.

Thanks everyone.


Shamrock Run Info:

Group Name: Hadley's Gift

Group Leader: Angela Fox

To receive the $4 discount for registering as a group of 4 or more participants age 13 or older, one person must be designated as the "Group Leader." That person should register first and list the "GROUP NAME" and "GROUP LEADER" when prompted.

Both the GROUP NAME and GROUP LEADER must be given to all members of the group so they can complete their registration by providing that information when prompted.

Register Here: https://www.signmeup.com/site/reg/register.aspx?fid=NM2V8K7