Friday, June 2, 2017

Emotions...


As you know, I am a very emotional person.  Some might say I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  Others might say I wear my emotions on my sleeve, collar, hem, pant legs, and everywhere else.  But whatever.  I didn't earn the title of runner up in the "Most Likely to Cry" competition at work for nothing.

Well, the last 10 days have brought a lot of emotions with them.  This blog post will be dedicated to a few of them:

Amazement, Joy, Sadness, Pride, Awe, and Excitement:  Hannah had her last day of middle school yesterday.  That's right, folks.  Kevin and I are the parents of a High Schooler!  All of the cliches are true:  time flies, they grow in the blink of an eye, it'll be over before you know it, it just gets better, etc.  She has grown and changed so much.  But she is still our sweet, sassy, funny, spit-fire of a girl.  She work so hard in school and had another year on the A/B Honor Roll.  She got a commended score on the Math STAAR test for the first time, and earned an achievement award in math class.  She published a novel, is one of only 4 freshman to make the "varsity" choir, and is going to work diligently to try to earn herself a spot on the high school volleyball team.  I am so sad that the years are going by so fast, but I am so excited to see what her future holds!


First Grade

 Third Grade





Uncertainty, Relief, Fear, Hope, Peace, Guilt, and Excitement:  I have been having some shortness of breath for a while.  It had gradually gotten worse.  So I was breathing hard when I walked up the stairs (big deal...I know I'm terribly out of shape).  But I now huff and puff going from the parking lot into a building, bending over to pick things up 5 or 6 times, walking at a normal pace in the grocery store, talking for long periods of time (pretty awesome as a teacher), etc.  I had a CT scan done a couple of weeks ago, followed by an echo-cardiogram which showed the right side of my heart to be enlarged.  I went to the ER to have another CT scan and an ultrasound of my legs done to look for fluid on the lungs and clots, and they didn't find any.  Meanwhile, the wonderful ladies I work with were taking care of things for my sub the next day.  After the persistence of my oncologist, the ER doctor called the on-call pulmonologist who said it was pulmonary hypertension.  The ER doctor couldn't really tell me much about it, so while I was waiting to be discharged I started googling.  Yep, my symptoms match.  But holy smokes this thing sounds like a beast.  The life expectancy isn't great.  So on my drive home, all I do is worry about what 7 years would get me and how much of the kids' lives I would miss.  I worry about the stress and anxiety I am bringing on Kevin.  I worry about how worried my parents are.  And as I am crying myself to sleep, I pray.  I pray for peace and to be here for my kids.  I do just a little more googling and see that there is a connection between pulmonary hypertension and the medication I take for my CML...that it could all just be a side effect.  And just like that I have some hope.  God is good.  When I wake up in the morning with a slew of phone calls, emails, and appointments to make, I get a phone call from my oncologist who tells me how likely he thinks it is that this is all just a rare side effect, and that I am to stop taking my CML meds right away.  More hope and peace of mind.  However, after an appointment with the local pulmonologist who is referring me to the experts at UT Southwestern, the only way to know for sure if it is a side effect that will reverse over time, is to give it time.  It could take weeks to months before I notice any improvement.  Weeks to months that I will be closely monitored by pulmonologists, cardiologists, and my oncologist to make sure that my CML doesn't rare back up while we wait.  And hopefully, it will reverse, and I will start a new CML medication.

I am surrounded by the most caring and generous people at work who have supported me not once, not twice, but 3 times now when my health has gone wonky.  I have the most amazing husband who loves me, cares for me, and makes me laugh.  I have the most wonderful kids who help me out, keep me on my toes, and make me laugh.  I have the most loving, thoughtful, and supportive parents, siblings, and in-laws.  And while I am SO incredibly grateful and beyond appreciative for these things I hate being the cause of their pain, stress, and worry.  I can't stand being a burden and having to ask for help.  I feel so incredibly guilty for all of it.

So, while things remain a bit scary and uncertain, I have hope and some peace of mind.  At least for now.  And I am going to go on a road trip vacation to Florida with Kevin and the kids.  I am going to huff and puff my way through the beach at Pensacola and walk slowly & breathlessly through Harry Potter World at Universal.  We are going to have an amazing fun, rain, and laugh-filled week, and I just can't wait!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Women...

Today is International Women's Day.  Today, while I would normally be at work (working a job that is both a right and a privilege for me to have), I am honoring the most important woman in my life.  My mother.  She is in the hospital, recovering from a surgery and waiting for more tests to try to get to the bottom of her health concerns.  She is the best woman that I know.  She has shown me what it means to be a woman who: works hard and loves harder, both succeeds and fails gracefully, laughs at herself even more than she laughs at others, is both strong and tender, is hopeful, prayerful, faithful, and joyful.  I strive to be as good as her and fall short of it on a daily basis.

So, in honor of my mom and women in general, here are some of my favorite quotes from or about women (the last of which is a quote from Mom):











Sunday, January 1, 2017

(Another) 25 Random Things...

I've lost track of how many of these "25 Random Things" posts I've done.  Between this blog and the Facebook notes that started it all, I just don't want to can't keep up.  But as I sit here this New Year's Day morning trying to come up with something to blog about, I can't seem to decide.  So, back by necessity and lack of creativity popular demand, is another semi-random list of 25 things that may or may not be slightly New Year's related...


1.  The last 4 months since school has started has brought a bit of a change in our sweet Mason.  He has started styling his hair, wearing jeans and pants (instead of just athletic shorts), and caring a bit about brands.

2. How 'bout them Cowboys!

3.  The last 4 months since school has started has brought a bit of a change for Hannah, too.  She has started keeping up with her school work, being more responsible with her homework, and learning a bit about how to study.

4.  The weeks that we get off for Thanksgiving and Christmas always make me think about how nice year-round school would be:  two and a half months during the summer always leads to a regression in learning, but if we took 6 of those weeks and added a couple more 1-week, or 2-week breaks throughout the year there would be less burn-out (for both students and teachers) and less regression.

5.  I love it when I make Kevin laugh...like, REALLY laugh.  It makes me feel like a good wife. 

6.  The  Harry Potter books and movies are still among my very favorite things...finishing an HP movie marathon as we speak.

7.  As the new year begins, I am thinking of the famous line from one of Mason's favorite 90's songs, Closing Time:  "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

8.  It also gets me thinking of the line from one of Hannah's favorite songs from 2016, 24K Magic:  "Hashtag blessed".   :)

9.  So many people just couldn't wait for 2016 to be over, trying to rush the year away.  But being friends with so many people who have lost parents, siblings, and even children; and seeing how desperately they would want even one more day with them makes me want to cling to each day (no matter how crappy) as precious.  So I try very hard to keep myself from wishing time away...TRY.

10.  Hannah has made the top choirs at school for the last 2 years.  She even made All-Region this year.  And we have yet to hear her sing.  I mean I've, of course, heard her sing along in the car and just playing around.  But she's never let us hear her sing for real...legit.  She would wait for us (or ask us) to all be gone at the same time so she could practice in an empty house. 

11.  Mason, on the other hand, is constantly sharing his talents with us.  I think, in an effort, to constantly keep us impressed and proud.  He's always trying to top himself and whatever he did last time.

12.  I stumbled upon this while blogging:

13.  We watched Miracles From Heaven the other day.  I fully expected to cry a few times.  I did not, however, expect to cry throughout the entire movie.  Holy tears, batman!  Make sure you have tissues...LOTS of tissues.

14.  The older I get, the more man-ish my hands get.

15.  Mom gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas.  I'm super excited about it!  I used it for the first time the other night by converting a crockpot pot roast recipe.  I ended up having to add a few minutes, but an hour and a half (start to finish) isn't bad compared to 8 hours.  I've also pinned some Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest (even though mine is the old-fashioned kind), but if any of you have any great pressure cooker recipes PLEASE share them!!

16.  There is a new Pirates of the Caribbean coming out this year.  Can't wait to continue the brother/sister tradition by going to see it with Josh!

17.  I'm in a bit of denial about the fact that Hannah will be in High School next year and will be learning to drive in a year and a half.  YIKES!

18.  As we get this new year started, please keep one of my favorite quotes from Mother Teresa in mind: 

19.  Mason has stopped calling me Mommy.  It's just Mom now.  And it kind-of breaks my heart.

20.  Despite the fact that we are getting old, Kevin and I managed to ride the biggest and best rides  when we took the kids to 6 Flags on Wednesday.  We may have needed 30 minutes or so in between rides to recover, but we're still pretty bad-a$$, right?

21.  Our new house, while awesome, is a bit of a money pit.  #homeownershipsucks

22.  If you have any appreciation for rap lyricism as an art form, or even if you simply enjoy the music, you should watch The Get Down on Netflix.  It's pretty great.

23.  You should also give Hamilton a try.

24.  Anybody else out there super excited about the new Beauty and the Beast movie?!

25.  On this New Year's Day, I am so very grateful for my family and my friends, our health and our home, the things I take for granted, and the job I get to go back to tomorrow.  So, here's to a wonderful 2017:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bittersweet...

So...I broke my "No Christmas before Thanksgiving" rule this year.  I went and bought a tree (okay...two trees) (okay...three trees).  But in my defense, the third tree is just a little 4-footer for the game room upstairs.  (And they were all on sale.) (And we have a bigger house that has more room for more Christmas joy.)  But anyway, I bought trees, and I got so excited that I just had to get them decorated.  But I refused to listen to Christmas music.  Afterall, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, and I had to draw the line somewhere.  Plus, I still have my fall decorations out, so I didn't really break my rule all that badly.


But it was in all of the excitement of decorating these trees that all of the bittersweetness came out.

First, the tree on the right.  This one is a totally new addition to our family, and as such is mostly sweet.  He lives in our entry way/front room/mud room.  He is an omage to the first Christmas tree that Kevin and I ever had.  That tree was smaller and less decorated, but no less special.  For some reason, he wanted that tree to be blue and white/silver.  Maybe it was his love of the Dallas Cowboys, maybe it wasn't.  And even though it went against every "Christmas is red and green" fiber in my being, that's what we got.  And it was a perfect first tree.  It only lasted 3 years before I traded it in for a real tree in our first real house and a color scheme that suited my idea of Christmas, since he didn't really care anyway.  But that's what this guy represents:  Our sweet beginnings, made even sweeter by the fact that Hannah and I sang and danced to everything from AC/DC and Taylor Swift to Macklemore and George Straight while decorating it.  It is now our Winter Tree, and it will be surrounded by snowmen, snowflakes, and other wintery delights.  AFTER we get back from Thanksgiving.


Now, the tree on the left.  While the tree itself is new (and artificial), the theme is the one I have stuck with since that first real tree in our first real house:  red, white, and silver...and semi-homemade (and on a green tree to fulfill my "Christmas is red and green" requirements).  And I think it is magical.  I can't look at it without smiling...and occasionally getting teary eyed.  Thus, the title of bittersweet.  Hannah and Mason both helped me decorate this tree.  We made quick work of the store-bought ornaments (going biggest to smallest to make sure they were evenly distributed), and when those were on it was a very pretty tree.  But then the fun began as we got started with hanging memories, which turned it from a very pretty tree to a spectacularly beautiful and magical tree (at least in our eyes).  These ornaments, we lingered over.  We reminisced, and we laughed.  We talked about (and oohed and aahed over) the ornaments we used to make and give out as gifts.



That is just a small sampling above.  And we talked about how fun that used to be, but how their little fingerprints aren't so little anymore (sniff sniff), and how they've moved on to making their own crafts now: 
Then we shared precious memories while hanging ornaments they made at school over the years (which they don't do anymore, either).



We talked about other ornaments, trying to remember who gave them to us:  grandma and grandpa, former sweet students of mine, fabulous teacher friends, and Santa.  Mason giggled uncomfortably as Santa was mentioned, and he came clean about not believing anymore.  He has suspected since last year, no one ruined it for him or gave anything away, he just kind of realized, and he was OK with it.  (NOWHERE NEARLY as heartbreakingly devastating as it was when I crushed Hannah with the truth 3 short years ago, but I still got teary-eyed and we hugged each other as we silently said goodbye to a little bit of innocence and hello to a little bit more maturity).


Hannah helped me hang my personal ornaments:  detailed cross-stitched ones that my mom and her sisters made, plastic canvas ones I would help my mom make when I was a kid, and salt dough ornaments that were made for me when I was too young to be of any help.  


As we hung them, my heart smiled.  And just as I was about to gripe (only a little) at Hannah for not spreading them out, she says, "Just wait.  Look!  You two go together at the top, and then Mason and I can go together underneath.  A happy little ornament family!"  And my heart smiled a little bit more.



So, here's to childhood memories (my own as well as Hannah's and Mason's).  Here's to growing up.  And here's to the most perfect Prickett Family Christmas Tree yet.



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Work, Work, Work...


If you weren't singing that song immediately upon reading the title of my post, I'm sure you are now.  And you'll probably be lying in bed with it running through your mind..it sticks with you.

Anyhoo...in honor of Labor Day yesterday, this post is dedicated to just that.  Work.  I have been working full-time (really, more than full-time) since I was 17.  Sure, I was not as young as some when I got my first job, but I think 17 is a decent age.  And if you count babysitting, I've been working since I was 13.  But in my 18 years of full-time employment, I've only had 3 jobs.  It sure is easy to complain about work, and I've certainly done my fair share.  But when I reflect on those jobs, I am ETERNALLY grateful.  They have given me some of the best people and therefore some of the best moments in my life!

Job #1 = Pizza Hut:  August 1998-January 2001

I was 17 and a senior in High School.  I had been turning in applications all summer long (Albertson's, McDonald's, Sears, Golden Corral, etc.) with no luck.  Then finally, one Monday evening after marching band practice I went to turn in my 30th (yes, 30th) application at Pizza Hut on my way home.  I was just planning on running in and out to drop it off really quickly, as I was sweaty and gross after practice.  But when do things ever go as planned?  I go in to turn in my application and the manager on duty was a man named Jamie.  He takes the application and tells me to go have a seat in a booth.  We have a brief interview (more of a conversation, really), and he hired me there on the spot.  WHEW!  I was stoked!  I started a few days later as a CSR (customer service rep, AKA phone girl).  I answered those phones like a BOSS and was quickly promoted to waitress.  This is where I had the most fun.  It was just Pizza Hut, so it wasn't as chaotic as I'm sure being a waitress at a full-service restaurant is, but I still got really good at multitasking.  They had a jukebox that I could play the most awesome of songs on (my favorites were Here I Go Again, I Will Survive, and Janet Jackson's IF).  I made pretty decent tips, had some "regulars", and even got to flirt a little while I was at it.  But most importantly, this is where I met Cakes.  I was waiting tables when he came in to interview for a job as a delivery driver.  He got the job and we instantly clicked.  I thought he was hilarious and maybe a little wild.  And while I put him off for a while because I was having so much fun being friends, he wore me down, got me to say yes, and they rest (as they say) is history.  So, not only was this a great first job that taught me a lot about dealing with difficult people, time management, and that the harder you work the bigger the payoff is.  But it is also the place that set the rest of my life in motion.

Job #2 = US Vision (JC Penney Optical):  January 2001-April 2003

I was 19 years old and had just moved to Denton in order to go to UNT.  Again, I had turned in many applications with no luck.  Luckily Kevin's brother, Joel, happened to know someone who lived here.  He talked to her and while they weren't hiring at the JC Penney Optical that she worked at here in Denton, they were hiring at the one 20 minutes down the road in Lewisville.  So she (Becky was her name) hooked me up with an interview.  And thankfully, I got the job.  I was SO glad!  Classes were about to start, and I had been running out of options.  Well, not long after I started there was a big US Vision meeting that all of the employees needed to go to.  There was me and one other guy at the JC Penney location, but there were a couple of other people from the Royal Optical (also owned by US Vision) in the mall that needed to go.  We were going to carpool, and this girl named Ashley from the Royal Optical volunteered to drive.  I can't pinpoint what it was exactly; maybe it was her no filter/over sharing/honesty/sense of humor, or my quiet/no judgment/good listening/sense of humor, or some perfect combination.  But in some opposites attract sort of way, we found something in each other that we each needed, and we've been friends ever since.  She was in my wedding.  Our boys have been friends since they were babies (yeah, sure maybe it was forced at first, but it's actually really genuine now).  Our daughters love hanging out, too (even though they're 10 years apart).  So, not only was this a job that taught me how to match people's faces to glasses and put on contacts, but it is also the place that gave us an extension of our family.

Job #3 = Denton ISD: August 2004-Present

I was 23 years old, and I had been applying for and interviewing for jobs all summer long.  I was also 3 months pregnant with Mason.  School was starting tomorrow, and I still didn't have a job.  I was pregnant with baby number two, unemployed, had no prospects in sight, and was panicked.  That afternoon, I got a call from a school here in Denton offering me a 2nd grade teaching position.  Of course, I accepted, but with school starting the next day I had a whole new kind of panic.  They were giving me the first 4 days of the school year to set up my classroom in the former teacher's lounge, and I would be receiving my students the second week of school.  It was a baptism by fire, and I had a challenging group, but I had a good team of teachers to help me through it.  Towards the end of the year, we found out that some of us teachers would have to be transferred to the the new school that was opening up.  And since I was the last one hired, I was the first to go.  I was not super excited about it.  I had just gotten used to things at this place. I had just set up my classroom, and was not looking forward to having to tear it all down and set it up again someplace else.  But at least it was closer to home.  This transfer to this place that I was kind of bummed about having to go to turned out to be a huge blessing!  This is the place that has helped me (emotionally, prayerfully, and even financially) through my life with Leukemia.  This is the place that has given me opportunities: to be patient, to grow, to learn, to improve, to be challenged, to be frustrated, to be meaningful, to care, to both fail and succeed.  This is the place that has brought me an amazing group of friends (while only 3 of us are still at the school and none of us teach the same grade anymore) that have given me a plethora of amazing memories:  Karen, Tosha, Katie, Kristin, Angela, and Melanie.  In the words of Alan on The Hangover: "We're the 3 7 best friends that anybody could have."

So those are the three jobs that I've had.  Now, technically, I did spend a few months working part-time at Sylvan, but Since is was just a few months and it wasn't full-time, I didn't feel the need to include it.

I'm going to end the post by talking, briefly, about 2 of Kevin's jobs that have also brought some important people into our lives:

Pizza Hut and Arby's

We've already discussed how Pizza Hut in Abilene brought Cakes and me together,  Well, when we moved here to Denton and I was working at JC Penney, Kevin was working at Pizza Hut (first in Lewisville and then in Corinth).  It was his time at the Corinth location that brought us Micah.  And because of Micah, it brought us Elliott.  I cannot even begin to count all of the fun and laughs that these two have given us.  Sure, maybe the three of them have caused a bit of trouble here and there, but I guess they're worth it.  :)  And after Pizza Hut, came Arby's.  Arby's brought us Matthew and his family.  His family included a boy Mason's age who became a close friend to him and another godson for Cakes and me.  We spend every Easter with his family, share birthdays together, and even recently shared a graduation!

So, here's a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of the work that has brought us so many blessings along the way!!





Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another Decade...

In the seven years since I've had this blog, I've written several other decade related posts.  I blogged about Kevin's and my 10 year anniversary.  I wrote about Hannah turning 10, and a couple years after that I wrote about Mason turning 10.  When I turned 30, I wrote letters to my 20 year-old self and my 40 year-old self (a decade younger and a decade older).  I thought about blogging for my 10 year teaching anniversary, but I didn't actually.

This time I'm writing about another decade in my life.  A decade of a very serious love/hate relationship with insurance.  A decade of developing scarred tissue over the vein in my left elbow.  A decade of fatigue and joint aches.  A decade of bone pain that can kind of be described as a throbbing toothache in bones I was never concious of even having before.  A decade of having random illnesses/conditions that I get to laugh/brag about having.

But it's also been a decade of developing a relationship with a doctor who asks about my parents and siblings that he only met once every time I see him.  A decade of incredible friendships with people who have shown their love and loyalty over and over again.  A decade of advancements in medicine and medical treatment.  A decade of nurses who remember to ask about my kids (both Hannah & Mason and my students) every time I see them.  A decade of working at a place with people that care and support like family.  A decade of "enough".


10 years ago today I was diagnosed with Leukemia (CML).  I've blogged about this day several times, most in-depth here.  But that day isn't what this post is about.  This post is about TEN YEARS!  And although I'm still technically only in partial remission, I have been that way for approximately 7 of those years.  So I am both stable and consistent, which is something to be thankful for.  And when I think of everything this last decade has brought me, I can't help but smile.  10 years is a wonderful thing!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Back to School...


School of Rock = greatness.  Jack Black = greatness.  2016-2017 school year = greatness.

That's right.  This weekend is our final weekend of summer.  It has been an unusually long and stressful prep week, but I am confident that this is going to be an amazing year.  Mason is joining Hannah at the middle school this year, so this will be the first time I haven't had kids in the same building as me in 8 years.  It's bitter sweet, but the fact that Mason is so ready is making it a lot easier for me.

And now, seeing as how I am exhausted, I am just going to leave you with some of my favorite "teacher memes".  Most of them you've probably seen before, but maybe there's a couple that you haven't.  Either way...enjoy.

Here's to a FABULOUS school year!!