My girl Natalie

I love seeing pictures of my niece, but it makes me also want to jump on a plane to San Francisco to kidnap her. Is this a normal feeling for an aunt to have, when that kidnapping would result in a bloody battle with her parents who adore her with every fiber of their being?


The cutest pet contest

Thanks to our contestants and some wonderful donations from Premier Pets, Pet Supplies Plus Royal Oak, and Pet Supplies Plus Farmington Hills, we had a successful first year of the Cutest Pet Contest. (The proceeds went to help fund my teammates' 3-day walks.)

If it were up to me, it would be an annual event! I loved seeing all of the people, I loved seeing all the pictures of the pets, and I met some great people while doing it. It was especially interesting to overcome my fear of asking for contestants and asking for donations of prizes...

If it were up to Emma, we would never do it again. Apparently all of the interfacing with the public was too much for the more delicate members of my family!

**Note to self: do something about hair. It looks like I am part chicken, with my feathers splaying out of the side of my head! I'm still just so happy to have it, though.

Our stinker puppy

She's so cute, and so happy...almost makes all the crazy behavior worth it. Like now, when she is trying to get into my lap as I type this.

Salad, anyone?

Spinach and a radish...homegrown salad season has begun.


Come Join us at The Loving Touch!

On Wednesday, June 24th, our 3-day team is having a FUNdraiser at The Loving Touch, a new pool hall owned by the WAB (Woodward Avenue Brewery) in Ferndale.

$10 cover is a tax-deductible donation to The Breast Cancer 3-day, and includes free pool all night, as well as $1 off all drinks.

As well as fantastic company and the ability to have a grown-up night out with friends, we will also have some fun games and a silent auction to raise money for our 3-day walk.

What a great chance to stop by and say hi! Come for a visit or come for the whole evening...I would love to see you.

Here's our event info on facebook.

The guilty blogger...and some things I've been considering

Thoughts running through my head today:
  1. I love my garden. Yes, it still doesn't look like it belongs on a garden tour - but it is a garden. Until this year, I felt like I was landscaping (and I'm not good at that - planning and designing), and finally I feel like I am gardening (taking care of the plants) - and that is my real love. This year, I feel like I finally have a good critical mass of plants at this house. There is always something going on in the garden - someone new is blooming, someone new needs to be moved or divided... what a relief, because I was starting to get worried that I didn't like gardening anymore! It turns out, I don't like constantly making new beds, and hauling things, etc....that was just stuff I needed to do to get to this stage which I love. Tending, tending, tending...

  2. I think I am becoming OLD. I remember what it felt like to always be willing to jump in and start something new, help with something, volunteer, want to change the world - and I still feel like that sometimes...but I also have this realization that I can't do everything I want to do, and still stay sane. So I am signing up for less, and having less grandiose ideas...which makes me feel old. But it also gives me less stress! And it really helps me to do the things I am currently signed up to do, which is mother these three children, and drive them all over God's green earth in the pursuit of exercise, intellectual stimulation, and general greatness.

  3. Mrs. Lucken has found a new hobby - and that is asking people for things for our team's big fundraiser - an auction on June 24th (Wednesday) at the Loving Touch in Ferndale. This isn't my favorite hobby, but I am not nearly as bad at it as I thought I would be! I am coupling my excessive love of multitasking with my suburban housewife shopping duties...and before I go to pick up whatever it is I need to buy, I call ahead and ask if they would make a donation. I've gotten a few things donated this way...and as long as I can keep forcing myself to make those calls and speak to people, I might end up quite proud of myself and my new talent in the end. (And to multitask while writing this blog post, let me say here - PLEASE come to our team's FUNdraiser at The Loving Touch on June 24th! $10 cover is a donation to our team, gets you free pool for the night, and $1 off drinks. ALSO, don't you have something you'd like to donate to our silent auction that night? Please? )
  4. How can a person have 3 children who are all so different, and all so wonderful? And why can't all of those 3 children be wonderful at one time? I guess it is good enough that there is at least 1 child who is wonderful at a time, whilst the other 2 are beastly...

Now it is time to make some dinner for the 3 children...and their hardworking father...

**OH, and I should say that I'm blogging this evening because it is sort of drizzly (no gardening) AND I had the kids play hooky from swimming (a little chilly, and Mom wanted to use those extra 2.5 hours today...)!

Nathan said...

Nathan: "Mommy, I'm tired."
Mommy: "Why?"
Nathan: "Because I've been jumping all day!"
(He did jump a little at his end-of-the-year preschool party, but not ALL DAY...)

Mommy, to Nathan: "Why are you so funny?"
Nathan: "Because I'm tricky."

"Can I watch some TWee?
I'm tired of eating breakfast and this stupid dinner."

"Mommy, you're such a pwecious Mommy."


Still looking for the cutest pet in Beverly Hills/Birmingham!

For only a $10 tax deductible donation to the Breast Cancer 3-day, enter your pet in the Cutest Pet contest at the Beverly Hills Memorial Day carnival! If you are reading this blog, I am sure I know you well enough that you can actually bring your picture and $10 entry fee to the carnival to get your pet into the contest...just let me know in advance!

I just got a very generous donation of a $40 gift card to Pet Supplies Plus in Royal Oak as one of the prizes...what a prize!

Here's the great flyer Emma made for the contest...


Goodbye Gatorade

Tomorrow I am having a colonoscopy, courtesy of my husband who has a little checklist in his mind of all the things I should do to make sure I am keeping a good handle on my BRCA mutation. TONIGHT, I am a very very cranky woman after a clear liquids diet all day and 238g of Miralax mixed with 64 ounces of gatorade. Let's just say I will not be consuming or purchasing any Gatorade anytime soon...maybe ever! I am shuddering with the thought of drinking another ounce of that stuff!

I'm too cranky to write any other news...I actually doubt I have any, but it feels like I should be writing about something since I am on the computer, and on this blog for once! Let's just say, aside from being cranky from a very severe lack of caloric consumption today, life is so good. I don't even mind being at the pool for 2 hours of swim practice every day (without being able to go into it because it isn't open for the rest of us lackeys), or juggling soccer and end of the year activities...I'm happy with it all.

I'm so happy, I'm afraid something bad is going to happen to me again....the last time life seemed so easy, I had a feeling something bad was on its way (and breast cancer did come a-knockin' at my door). I'm praying I've had my share of hard times for a bit.

My stomach is begging me to go to bed to end it's cries for food...so I will wish any lingering readers a very wonderful night. Eat something yummy for me!


The Cutest Pet Contest!

As a small fundraiser for our 3-day team, Emma and I will be running a "CUTEST Pet Contest" at the Beverly Hills Memorial Day Carnival, held at Beverly Park on Memorial Day. Click on the link and you will see the cute flyer Emma made up for contest (with some editing on my part).

We are so looking forward to this contest...all of the proceeds will go towards our 3-day team. People can submit their pets (taking any and all entries now!) with the registration form, a photo, and a $10 entry fee. Voting will happen at the Carnival, where people can vote with their carnival tickets. We have some great prizes for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners - the 1st place prize is a $50 gift certificate for any service at our local Pet Ritz! All voters will get a small prize (so that we can compete with the other games - all players get a small prize!), too.

As my dear friend Wendy said, I could run the whole contest with my own pets, but I would LOVE to have lots of entries, for more fun! They can be sent or emailed to me at pamlucken@gmail.com.


Mrs. Lucken picks another fight...

Today Julie, Natalie, Noah and I went on a little shopping jaunt, and came home to find that the car parked in front of Julie's driveway had indeed made it impossible for her to actually enter her driveway and garage. The inhabitants of Julie's car were just not in a position to be entirely flexible in this situation...Julie's recovering from a c-section and sleep deprivation, Natalie is only 21 months old, with a cold, and was falling asleep just before lunchtime, and Noah is just a teeny peanut at 13 days old! So Julie had the car towed so that she could actually use the car and garage which she owns.

Well, I was out gardening in the back yard (Emma burst into laughter when I told her this today, and said, "I just think it is so funny that you garden everywhere that you go...") when I heard the owner of the towed car having a fit out on the street. He was screaming and knocking over trash cans. So I went into the garage and peeked out a mesh covered window on the bottom of the garage door, watching his antics. Unfortunately, one of the neighbors told him which house had towed his car, and why, and so he went running up the front steps and started banging on the iron gate in front of the entry way/front door.

And that was the point that Mrs. Lucken's rational behavior went out the window, and her body went out of the garage to pick a fight.

Yes, I knew from his voice that he was probably not the most well-to-do or educated individual, and when I saw him I figured, yes, this is just like me to pick a fight with a wannabe gangster. But he already knew who had towed his car and I felt strongly that I wanted to let him know that I had no problem calling the police if he didn't leave all of us alone, as well. He was not going to be torturing my sister, waking up the baby and the toddler, and inciting fear in all of us without some sort of something from my end. So I did, and I told him, No, we would not pay to get his car back, and there is a teeny baby in the house and we needed to be able to use the garage, that we didn't want to tow his car but we had no real choice, etc.

At this point, Julie started pleading with me to get in the house (because she was concerned I was going to get shot)... and she told him she had already called the police.

So he left, not without yelling over his shoulder that "Karma is a bitch", and I was wondering, does breast cancer at 34 with 3 young children, and all of the other cancers in our family (maybe they don't count because the people who have those cancers are doing so well?) and anything else hard that has happened to me exempt me from said karma?

and that might be the craziest fight I have picked so far.


Look What I FOUND!

It has become apparent to me that I have THE worst memory, possibly of all people, of all time. I'd like to blame it all on chemo, or maybe I could blame it on something else - like wasting it on all of those paragraphs from 5th grade religion class which we were supposed to memorize for homework (somehow I never realized that I was the only kid always memorizing them, day after day. I just knew it was homework, and so I did it). Using my wildest imagination, I'd say that I live so much in the present that my memory has fallen into disrepair. Whatever the reason, I am terrible at remembering things (which is why I need this blog).

Apparently I realized I needed a blog to help me remember things, years back...but I forgot all about that blog! Luckily I am visiting my sister in San Francisco, taking care of her two luscious children (I'm taking at least one of them home with me when I leave on Saturday, just have to figure out how to do it...), and she has that old blog on her bloglines!

Here it is...should you be interested in reading about the lives of the Luckens in 2006. Apparently I wasn't that interested in recording those lives, as there is only 1 page of posts!


Mrs. Lucken has a laptop!

I can no longer blame my lack of updates on lack of computer access...or lack of a totally awesome husband. This is my best Mother's Day gift ever, and makes up for no gift or card (!) last year. Although to be fair, last year I said I didn't want to celebrate Mother's Day as it was during one of my bad chemo weekends. How amazing it is to have hair, and to be feeling great...and to remember so strongly what it was like to not be this way. Life, or should I say, vibrancy, is SUCH a gift. Now I'll just be blaming my lack of updates on the fact that I am embracing that vibrancy -frittering all of my time away in the garden...or training for the 3-day (those are long walks!). As my sister so lovingly says, "I know this is the time of the year that I can never get a hold of you..."

To make it even more difficult to reach me, I am taking my show on the road. Tomorrow I leave for San Francisco to get in on the baby and toddler action at the Gibbs household!!!!!!!! I am very excited to meet my nephew and to see my niece, and so thankful to my husband, sister, aunt, and mother-in-law for taking over some of my mom duties for this week. I plan to help the parents of the new baby get some rest and enjoy their awake moments with their children more!

And now, back to Mother's Day talk...I received some lovely presents from my children, as well...flowers, a necklace and a bookmark from Katie, an adorable butterfly print, a necklace and a cute little Q and A session from Nathan, and Emma (darling that she is) made a card on hotel stationary, and scrounged some bath gel and green tea and necklace accessories from The H in Midland (where we were staying for her first real "away" soccer tournament) to pull together some Mother's Day presents.

Lastly, Bill dropped me off at the Dow Gardens in Midland in between games to give me some alone time in my favorite kind of place. To make things utterly complete, I lost my iPhone in said gardens (I am nearly always irresponsible if I don't have some children to be watching...it's like the freedom makes me drunk). I was freaking out until I realized that some mothers can give their children hugs and kisses, and some mothers have to spread their motherly love in other ways. Mine always comes through in the clutch, helping me find things that I lose irresponsibly in a vast place (this isn't the first time something like this has happened!) And so I found them, in a garden of immense size in which I had been roaming aimlessly for hours. AND I made it back in time to see my daughter play in the championship game in her tournament. Happy Mother's Day to you, too, Mom!


Putting myself in their pictures

Oh, how many times I have wanted to write this down...but oh, how many times I have been derailed! So let's try RIGHT NOW, before I should be running off to do many, many, other things!

Motherhood, for me, has been SUCH A LESSON IN FLEXIBILITY. We don't have to go any futher than this morning to look for proof: not 5 minutes after I was trying to figure out how to spend my only child-free 2 hours of the week did Bill yell down the stairs: "Katie's ear is hurting her!"

So...for about the 20th time in one week - no kidding - Mrs. Lucken is showing just how flexible she has become in the past 10 years. Out go the plans to fix up the garden at our old neighborhood park (my mother's day present to me was to take a quick trip out there to see how the things I planted are doing, and to spruce them up), out go the plans to get to the gym, to work on the 3-day fundraiser, to look into taking classes this summer, pull out the number for the doctor and make an appointment!

**break while I get whatever the stupid puppy has OUT of her mouth***
**flashcards which have never been used, now somewhat chewed, in the time it took to write one teeny paragraph! Puppy is relegated to crate...**

I certainly am not complaining about the fact that something is always popping up, requiring a mother's TLC...and today's doctor's appointment was certainly a necessity any good mother would have stopped everything for, if she could. But for me, the doctor's appointment was only the start of a long and very full day of tending to my children, and gently shuffling my own plans or things aside again. The ease at which I set aside my plans and hopes for the day is a big gigantic testament to my 10 years of motherhood...that flexibility is the one skill I need to take out and hone every single day of my life since I became pregnant with Emma.

And yes, I know that in most cases, I am overly flexible. I know that in many ways, I over-mother. I feel like I made choices (and still do) and give up more to be this mother than I ever expected or ever even wanted! Yes, kids get by with far less, and make so many more sacrifices for the good of the family than my kids do...and are probably better off for it. AND I am very aware that my children don't even notice all of the little extras they get. They think it is totally normal that Mom could drop everything to take them to the doctor in the middle of the day, drop off the child back at school, get to preschool "Muffins with Mother", drive back to the pharmacy, pick up the prescription, go home and quickly make lunch for 1st grader because she prefers that, drive back to the school to bring lunch, smile and say, "Sure" when 1st grader says she has decided that French Toast from the cafeteria sounds better, give first antibiotic dose to 1st grader, go home and feed neglected preschooler, and then do the shopping for the soccer tournament potluck, and get pet food, and groceries, and then quickly get ready to spend the afternoon at a Brownie function. Does Mom have any needs of her own? Maybe not so much...

In all honesty though, I know that I live this particular version of life for me. I am the kind of mother I am, for me as much as for my children. Being there for everything is important to me because I know how short life can be.

I remember forgetting to bring my shoes from home on a snowy day when I wore my boots to school...and seeing my mom's smiling face when she brought those boots to me. I know that my sisters didn't have that luxury when they were 6th graders; as much as our mom would have done that very same thing for them, would have chaperoned their field trips and fought with them about what clothes they should wear, she (and they) didn't have that chance. I know how much that has impacted their lives, and I live with the sadness and fear that the same thing could happen to my children. And so every night I fall asleep praying night that my BRCA mutation will not prevent me from being there for every single stupid teeny thing my kids need (even if I wish I was gardening, or at the gym, or pursuing some fabulous career, instead).

And until they are all safely off to their own lives and so done with me, I am going to keep putting my face in all of their pictures - here is mom, walking across the playground with my Amoxicillan. Here is mom, being the "Flight Attendant" at my "Flying Up" ceremony for Junior Girl Scouts. Here is mom, at "Muffins for Mom". Here is mom, at my Zoo field trip even though there are clearly more than enough other chaperones. Here is mom, at my soccer game, my swim meet, my conferences...yelling at me to put my stuff away, teaching me how to dust the house...folding my laundry, making my dinner...

And please, God...if I don't complain about never having that time for myself...will you let me keep doing this very same thing until they don't need me anymore?


Last night, 10:11pm:
Bill: "Emma, I bet if you call any one of your friends right now and asked them if THEIR mother was out in the yard planting things, the answer would be 'no'."
Emma: "What about if they live on the other side of the world?"
Bill: "Still, no."

Does this mean I have a problem?

My nephew was born today!

I have been remiss...no updates lately! I have quite a few little notes of interest to report, however....THEY WILL HAVE TO WAIT!

My nephew was born today! Julie gave birth to her little baby boy early this morning (as in 12:45am, California-time). He weighed in at 9 lbs, 8 oz! I was so relieved to hear that mother and baby are doing well, despite a painful c-section for the mommy. Apparently large baby boy was wedged up under her ribs and also stuck down in the pelvis, so some pushing and pulling had to occur.

Later this evening, Julie called to say she and Tyler had decided upon the name...but I was out buying some plants (of course, it's spring) and so she would not tell Bill. She knew he would always boast that he had heard the name first. So this is the message I received on my voicemail:
"Hi, I'm just calling because we figured out the baby's name and Bill called me an asshole because I wouldn't tell it to him before I told it to you, love you bye."

So, when I walked in the house, she was calling on the home phone, Bill was still calling her names, and she STAYED STRONG until I got on the phone. What a sister!

Oh, you want to know the name? Noah. Noah Johnston Gibbs. (Johnston is Tyler's mom's maiden name.) SO cute. I can't wait to meet him! (10 days from today!)