1.10.2015

New Years Avetwo

Hey look at me! I'm blogging about a normal life event, and not anything super deep!

Ok, so Katie and I decided that we might even like New Years Eve better than Christmas Eve... juuuust MAYBE. but only because of the super great traditions we started last year! Here are a few pictures of that joyous time:


So the traditions started, that will keep living on until we have our own families... (I'm really hopin')

- My grandma's fur coat, it's such an appropriate occasion for such ostentatious apparel.

- Pipe cleaner crowns. YOU GUYS! these are so fun. last year (ok when I say last year I mean 2013) we just used the pipe cleaners we already had, so the supplies were limited. but this time we were more prepared, so we went to town at Hobby Lobby (you'll see)... PLUS, having all the kids sit down and make the crowns is a good way to waste time until ... the dance party.

- Which brings us to our next item. We make a New Years playlist on Spotify and around 10 we start dancin', it is a BLAST. (Playlists include everything from Salt 'n' Peppa to Shania Twain. can be found on my spotify, playlist name is "New Years Avetwo)

- And of course we must be dressed in the most improper apparel can find! we also planned ahead on this too, but actually I think 2013's outfits were even better and more henious than ever.

-In the midst of all of these shenanigans, we stop to play a few games going on upstairs with the ...adults... and stuff our pie-holes with cheeseballs and meatballs and spinach dip.


alright kids, buckle up. here is NEW YEARS EVE 2014.

 (that moon skirt is the best $6 I've ever spent. it was actually a dress, shoulder pads included, but I needed to be able to pattern mix for the full effect)

--- THE DANCE PARTY ---
 A couple aunties couldn't resist the music.
 Both the above and below pictures are examples of the art of interpretive dance. (dat booty)
 facial expressions are very important too.
 I know for a fact that this^^was during "From This Moment On" where I came out with a sore throat.


At one point we had most of the parents down there with us in a circle attempting to dance to "Shoop"-- always a winner.

We missed Amanda so bad! next time she will be BACK!

HAPPY NEW YE-AH!

12.26.2014

2014

I often think about my memoir. I love memoirs, and I think that with some (major) writing classes and what not, I could write one. EVEN IF it's just a hand-made work of art that only my family and close friends read if maybe they have a spare weekend or so.

Anyway, I most often think about the chapter titles. I live by a lot of rules that, let's face it, my mother has set for me and I have continued with them because they are just plain right. 

A few weeks ago, I tweeted, "I'm gonna have a chapter in my memoir called "2014, you little sh**" (and I actually used the stars, proud? #trashmouth) (maybe another chapter will be called "why do I always hashtag on paper?")

((( Now now, you had to know I inherited my dad's slightly trashy mouth, which HE inherited, by no fault of his own, from his cheeky Australian mother. My mom has it too, but I don't think hers was inherited, I think she might've learned it from her bad-A brothers. OK YOU GUYS THE ROBINSONS AREN'T COMPLETE WHITE TRASH! I'm getting so carried away and I'm digging myself a hole. ok. I'm done. whoooooooo deep breaths. )))

ONWARD. ya gotta admit, 2014 was kind of a little twit. When I say that, I don't mean that it was worthless. Nothing that God gives us is worthless. Even if the worth is hard to understand, there is worth and lessons and downright PURPOSE  in everything.

Last December I wrote this blog post about 2013, cause 2013 was kind of an eye-opening year! I did a lot, I achieved a lot, yada-yada. but I bet Heavenly Father was up there smiling a warm smile with also a little concern/hope in it, all like, "you ain't seen nothin' yet", cause WHOOOOOSH THEN CAME THE CANCERS! and this year, this dooooozy of a year, I achieved things beyond my imagination. BEYOND IT. like, too infinity and beyond it.

I mean. seriously. CANCER. Cancer is kind of just a sad afterthought until it happens to someone close to you, or someone who is close to someone who is close to you. It's never at the forefront of your mind unless it violates any part of your life, someone like the person who raised you. - when that happens, so many thoughts start whirling around, and most of those thoughts are scary.

I'm going to now ask you to click on this link, skip to 1:38, and then come back here and keep reading.
I'll wait.
...
...
...
...
...
...
Ok, do you have your background music? is it buffered? loaded? is Judy's voice singing calmly as you read my words?
good.

this song has always brought me such.. contentment? peace? and it's two lines that do it;

Let your heart be light
We Robinsons are kind of just plain ol' borderline-inappropriate and light-hearted people. We went into this ordeal determined to have a sense of humor through it, and to never lose it. We had light-hearted times sneaking in on the bad ones, and that got us through. It really did. If I were to give advice to anyone about anything, about almost any hardship, I would urge them to keep their sense of humor through it all. because I'm positive dark times would have been darker without a little laugh every now and then.

Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
OK, as if this line didn't bring me to tears. we all have troubles, we all do. it might be cancer, or it might be boy/girl drama. but next year that won't be an issue. I know, a whole year? but I don't know. there's something about that line. it speaks loud and clear, that taking life a year at a time, when compared to the eternity, is a little bit easier. because this year is like a day in the long-run.

It was a learning experience, a testimony-builder, a patience-forcer, and a weight-loss trick ;)
It squeezed this family into one permanent group hug, and it made me look at pictures of my mom in a new light. It made me tear up at any woman I saw wearing a scarf on her head or a breast cancer awareness ribbon pin (I honestly resisted the urge to hug complete strangers on more than one occasion) because I felt a special sisterly bond with them!

There were deep dark and just plain hopeless moments, when the only thing I could do was drop to my knees and ask for peace. and good news--- He gave it. I learned what it feels like to completely hand it over to Heavenly Father and I learned just how awesome that feels. I learned to appreciate every word that comes out of my mom's mouth. I learned just how incredible that dad of mine is. I learned to cope with things on my own, and I learned to ask for help from others when I couldn't.

So, 2014, you were mostly  just a big pill (HA get it?), but I learned from you. I grew up. You will be the year I refer to when giving advice to others about life and young-adulthood and family and friends and trials and cancer and comfort. I'll turn to you when I need a faith boost.

So yeah, I guess I forgive you, 2014.
Because I think I'll be able to use you for a lot of good down the road.
I sure hope so.








11.26.2014

living on

Here's the deal! Sometimes, sooometimes, life is just about surviving.
I mean, not all the time. WHAT kind of life would that be? ya gotta live and all that cheesy stuff.
but sometimes you just have to survive, anddddd live on things that keep you going and make you happy!

I am currently living on....

1. Thursday Friday and Saturday of this week, AKA TOMORROW! aahhhhhh Family tiiiiime yesssssssss. (don't ask me why I capitalized the word "family"... not fixin' it, they are basically a proper noun)
2. losing myself in editing three awesome shoots from last week. so much happiness in there!
3. Diet Coke like always and forever. (didn't see that one comin', did ya?)
4. Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas CD. I cannot stress this enough... it is wonderful. that was dramatic.
5. Crafting. can I just do crafts for a living? I'm serious. ok I just want to be Alison Faulkner, if we're being honest
6. Abraham Lincoln quotes. wait, guys, seriously! do yourself a FAVOR and read through these. I'm planning on doing a series of them, for hand-lettering practice, and to make people know how cool and to be quiiite honest--- down-to-earth that dude is. such wit!
7. BABIES. and ok yeah toddlers too. if you couldn't tell from my instagram, Ivy is finally starting to love me as much as I love her ;)

Thanksgiving tomorrow! I'm real thankful for my life. reeeeally really. I'll write more about that later this week. look at me, gettin' back in the swing of things! I'm just gonna keep on writing even if no one is reading.

have a happy one!

11.24.2014

Light

WHAT AM I DOING?
well. currently, I am watching The Family Stone. It's one of 2 Christmas movies I am allowing myself to watch before Thanksgiving. I have no serious objections to Christmas movies before, buuuut I just know the possibility of getting sick of them is likely. (but really is it? probably not)
It's been a happy Sunday, and I think a big part of that is the fact that this weeks is looking good. It's always easier to have a good Sunday when you know good things are on their way. OBVIOUSLY Thanksgiving is the best. and see, this year, ours is looking like a three-day marathon of food family and crafting. I mean WHAT MORE could I want?

I'm not here to talk about that though! I'm here to talk about churchy things. because there isn't near enough of that around these parts. and what the HECK kind of a blog is this if I don't express how I feel and what I know about this gospel?!

Back in high school, I had seminary with one of my best friends. One day, we were doing a "let us all gather in a circle and have a class-wide heart-to-heart" lesson. (it was really good, that sounded sarcastic, but I loved it) I think it must have been something where one question was asked, and then a few people were selected to answer? I'm not sure.

Brother Moore asked, "If you could hear the testimony of one person here, whose would it be?"

And lo and behold, my best friend answered, "I think I'd want to hear Holly's."

Well go figure, there's no non-awkward way to share your testimony with your best friend, especially of the opposite gender. (we were fragile, ok?) There a few random little moments of different friendships that I remember, and this is one of the most random. but I think it's stuck with me for a long time so I always remember to share that light that I have been given, to share my testimony by living the right way, and so that I remember to make it known to my family and friends and heck, maybe even some strangers, what I stand for and what I believe.

Sister Harret Uchdtorf wrote, "You... are vibrant and enthusiastic beacons in an ever-darkening world as you show, through the way you live your lives, that the gospel is a joyful message"

I have a strong and simple testimony. I could go on and on about how intensely it has grown this year. I have never had any doubts, and I pray and pray that I will never lose sight of that light; the light that brings peace in hard times, humility in good times, and courage when looking to the uncertain future.

I am so grateful the a loving Father in Heaven who knows me, who knows my needs and shows me how to use my own talent and knowledge to help me meet my needs. I complain about 2014 a lot, because yeah, it was the worst. but my, how we have all grown. Spiritually, more than any other way. and that kind of made it better. (not the best--- just better)

I think bittersweet is the word.



11.17.2014

what it is

wud up WUD UUUUPPPPP.

well there you have it, the world's most accidental hiatus from blogging. I feel so zen.

nah, the truth is, I've been focusing quite a ton on my family, my friends, the gospel, and my very own self and well-being.

FAMILY: just read this. it's basically all I can say, and most of what I want to say, but I wouldn't write it nearly as lovely as she. that lady never quits.

Basically the last few months have been really hard in a lot of areas of my life. (basically all of those listed above) things don't always turn out how you imagined they would, oh heck no. curveballs out the wazoo. life sometimes stands still for you, and rushes on for everyone else. but through all of this, I have learned just how similar I am to my sweet mama. f'real you guys, it's kind of weird how alike our 21-year-old selves are, but also it's SO HELPFUL.

I keep wanting to give a big pep talk to all of the young girls I know, telling them that HEY, LIFE IS HARD SOMETIMES. It just is. life is hard, people move on, things change, and sometimes it's nobody's fault, and it's really really OK to be sad about change. it's OK to have a hard time with it, and it's OK to be by yourself so that YOU can deal with it and process it the way you need. the fact of the matter, my dearies, is that it is what it is.





9.11.2014

Surviving "The Big C"



................................................................................................................................................................

Here's the cold, hard truth, my friends. Cancer happens. And even if you don't experience it as closely as I have, you will most-likely be affected by it, or have close family or friends who are. heck, you probably already have been!

When my mom was diagnosed, I searched Pinterest & Google for some down-to-earth idea of what this would be like, but I didn't find much that wasn't from a medical point-of-view... which was helpful! ...but I didn't relate. I couldn't. I'm writing this for all of the fighters, and to me, that means the patient and the family members. I hope, I HOPE, I can answer some questions with this, for someone out there. This post is for page views, and it is for re-pins. I want it to get out there, I want it to circulate, so that it can help somebody like me, who was facing all of this, and looking for some simple answers and tips on the subject of cancer and chemotherapy.

FIRST, a brief history + disclaimer:
     My mom had stage 2, "invasive carcinoma in situ" ... I know, big words. I actually didn't know the real name for it until I asked her just now. which is probs good cause you hear the word invasive and ya freak out a little!
In January, she found a lump, went in for a diagnostic mammogram, they pulled her into that thing till she was up to her neck, and they found the primary source close to her chest wall. Luckily we have a stellar PCP, who recommended all the right doctors for us.

Her path was this:
> Unilateral (one side) mastectomy, spacer put in place until reconstruction. (plastic surgeon was Dr. Mark Jensen, if you read NieNie, it's the same dude! Dr. J!)
> 6 rounds of chemo, 3 weeks apart. (Dr. Nathan Rich of Utah Valley Cancer Center)
> 25 rounds of radiation (she so lovingly shouts, "Thanks for the death rays" when she leaves each day)

Disclaimer: everyone is different. even if you have the same cancer as my mom, your symptoms and reactions will most-likely be different in some or all ways. At the same time, even if symptoms vary, this stuff is pretty general.

SO, that being said, we can move on.
I will try my best to make is short and sweet, but no promises. might be a novel. yolo.

The tangible necessities:

> An Open/Closed sign --- you guys. I can't even stress how great this was. It's kind of hard to be like, please go away, to people you love. But the truth is, you can't have people in and out of your house all the time, especially when chemo starts. you need to establish boundaries with neighbors and friends, and this is honestly the best way to do it. People pay attention to it, and they respect your privacy.  (also works for after you have a baby when the neighbors won't stop buggin')
 *Email me if you want a download of the sign I made!

> MOVIES. and NETFLIX ---- we all have our comfort movies, and that may be JUST what the sicky needs. My mom discovered "The Middle" not too long before she started chemo, so that was a go-to a lot of the time. We also watched Austenland... ehhh I'd say weekly .... for a few months. (and we are still finding hilarious, tiny, subtle lines that we never noticed in the 22 viewings before)

> Hats & scarves --- hair usually starts falling out at about day 12 after the first chemo round. some people let it fall out slowly, but after a few days of it starting to fall out, I came home to the adorable sight of my dad shaving my mom's head in the kitchen. (I think it was so cute to me because my mom has given my dad hair-cuts in the kitchen for as long as I can remember) so HATS! she was really self-conscious of it for the first couple months, but eventually she started to go out in public (the front yard & the car) without a hat. I personally, would be a scarf person. but hey, what ever tickles your fancy!

> A stellar therapist --- Us Robinsons are pretty prone to anxiety, so we already had a solid family therapist for whoever may need her services. There were some weeks when mama would be too sick to go, of course, but it is usually recommended that you go see a therapist during your treatments. Chemo messes with your head intensely. From not remembering the word "sidewalk" (you can laugh), to being scared out of your mind at your symptoms, because you don't remember them happening before. It's scary stuff. you need a professional to talk to. there is absolutely no shame in it.

> Hand sanitizer --- in case you don't know much about chemo, here's a little lesson; the chemicals can't pick and choose which cells to kill, so they kill good cells too. This means a low white blood cell count. And if you don't know the function of white blood cells, they play a huge role in fighting infection. We went all-out and got Avagard, the sanitizer they use in doctors offices. At some medical supply stores, it's way expensive, but at the one down by UVRMC (if you're in Utah), it was about $5 for a big bottle. (again good for having a new baby around)
   * along with this, get some masks. cause if you (a family member) get sick, breathing near a chemo patient is the last place you should be.

> Ginger --- My mom was lucky enough to not have thrown up a single time through her treatments. It may be because of the Aloxi, a drug that they gave her with each chemo round. She also took 2 ginger pills in the morning and 2 at night. (check with your doctor before any of this, though) Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea, so... pretty important I'd say.

> Good lotion & chap stick --- chemo dries you out, man! get the good stuff. (Burt's Bee's! BURT'S BEE'S!)

> Food & Water --- duh holly, duh. I know I know, it sounds dumb. But ya know what else chemotherapy does? It jacks up your taste buds! Water and food taste like c-r-a-p. And who wants to drink 63 oz of water when it tastes nasty? WELL SUCK IT UP. With my mom, she could only eat what she could eat. So eat what EVER sounds good to you, chow down. Before chemo, one of the nurses told us to eat what sounds good, even if it was a hamburger. (McDonalds was a constant for us for a few weeks) And pleeease STAY HYDRATED. That seems self-explanatory though. If water tastes yucky, try some of the Mio stuff, or Crystal Light powder.

> Blankets --- Chemotherapy can make ya reeeal cold. So stay stocked up! (it helps if you have rad people around you who make ya about a hundred quilts and blankets. sheesh!)

>Tissues --- your nose will run like Forrest Gump, whether you are crying or not. 

> Calendar --- I recommend 2; one for writing down appointments (because you (the patient) won't be able to remember a lot of the time) and one for writing down the details. you know? Like how bad + what symptoms you had on the days after chemo, to compare when the next round comes. (usually it gets worse the further you get, but it seems like the "bad days" stayed in a steady pattern, so it's good to go back and be like, Ok, so day 3 is gonna be a doozy)

Am I missing anything? If I am, shoot me an email! h.therob@gmail.com
but wait-- we're not done! onto...

Mental necessities:

> A sense of humor --- after the initial shock, and even kind of through it, a sense of humor was really what kept us going, and it's what made all the difference in our attitudes. boob jokes all around. Don't let illness consume you so much that you're left without a smile for hours on end. In my mom's  worst hours on her bad chemo days, I would make a super ugly face, or quote a funny movie, and she would at LEAST give a little smile. and that kept me going, that's how I knew that she was still in there.

> Acceptance --- you need to accept a lot of thing, but we aren't talking about the stages of grief here (although that's important too). You need to accept help. People around you will want to cook for you, they'll want to give you gifts and give your kids rides, and it is so important that you let them. Your friends and family can't take away the cancer, they can't lessen the pain, and they can't always make you feel happy. But they can make your family dinner, that is something they can do. So let them serve you, because chances are you'd be doing the same for them.

> Functioning tear ducts --- Bottling up feelings and emotions has a success rate of 0. Speaking for the patient AND the family members, LET IT OUT. Cry, please.

> Faith & Hope ---  I am a Mormon, so my beliefs may differ from yours, (although you should really check us out) but no matter what, just don't lose hope. Take things one day at a time, and never lose your hope and your faith that everything will turn out exactly how Heavenly Father intended it to. There is a plan, and every little thing, every little moment, every big crappy illness, is in that plan. There will be times when moving on and going about your day will seem impossible, when you don't feel brave, and the "not feeling brave" will make you even more sad. But through this year, I've decided that being brave doesn't mean you can't cry or break down, it means that even if you are crying, you keep going, and you don't give up.

I have never lived away from home, never been anywhere on my own, but by gosh have I grown up. This year has been hard, and I'm not going to say "I wouldn't trade it for the world"... because that is just nonsense, because cancer sucks. The lessons learned have been real whoppers, and I'm glad that I have the faith that I have. There were a lot of sad, hard moments; but then there were also a lot of good moments.

"Let us remember that through any illness or difficult challenge, there is still so much in this life to be hopeful about and grateful for. We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions." - Jeffrey R. Holland

Read more about my mama and stuff here >>> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8





8.29.2014

whoops

Hey baby, it's been a while. no much, how bout you? it's been such a long long while, and I really just wanted to talk to you.

how's that for an intro?! (if you know me you know that nothing BUT 94.1 is playing in my car) I have taken a completely accidental vacation from this here blog. but also who even cares? ha. well. chances are, if you follow this space closely, you also follow my instagram. I don't know, maybe not. but you might wanna look into that cause... that's where my life is documented! (I continue to wonder if that's ok or not... I'm pretty sure it is)

At this very moment I am...
Installing photoshop on my brand new beautiful Pacific-Ocean-size computer
Dreading transferring all of my fonts. dreading.
Watching The Office nonstop. hashtag nostolgia.
Re-stocking my Etsy shop with new goods.
Determined to make money off my art.
Searching quietly for a mentor.
Drinking Diet Coke with coconut
Looking for...ward to AUTUMN. Even you, Halloween, even you.

That was kind of a short list but it seems that that is all I have the attention span for at the moment!

Cheerio for now. I'll be back. probably.