Sunday, December 18, 2011

December Already?!?

Yep, December already. Three months has gone past and it is time again for Dad's MRI. To recap, the last MRI showed his main tumor was dead, but new tumors were forming. We find out tomorrow if he needs chemo again, or can wait. If he needs it, he will be in the hospital through Christmas Eve.
It is hard to believe that we have been dealing with Dad's cancer a year the 27th?(or the 29, I don't hve my calendar in front of me). It is times like these that I wished they lived in a larger area, so there wasn't so much running back and forth. Each MRI/Chemo session is a week+, since my folks have to travel to STL and Dad has to stay here(he cannot come by himself). It makes me thankful that I don't have a paying job, since I can't leave Dad home alone for long stretches. No job would let me take a week off every month to three months. I am eternally grateful for my Hubby's family, who have been extremely understanding this Christmas season as to why we can't be there for Christmas/New Years this year. Also, there are no Christmas cards as of yet. I am thinking maybe in January, but don't hold your breath. There isn't a lot of Christmas spirit in my house, BUT I have my real tree, so it could it be worse.
--------------------------------Merry Christmas-----------------------------------------

Friday, October 7, 2011

Play Ball!!

Alex had won Cardinals tickets through the St. Louis County Library summer reading program. So, between Dad's MRI, Eric going to FL, and me packing for FL, Alex had his baseball game. Grandma Teresa was able to join us at the last minute. This was Alex's first ride on the commuter train and he was exstatic!

The game was on a rain delay, so we had a lot of sitting around.

This was both his and Grandma Teresa's first profesional game.

Access Hollywood's Billy Bush threw out the first really he did.

Despite the delay and freezing temps, we had a great time, even though the Cards blew it in the 9th inning.


We had an unexpected mini trip last month. Eric had a busines trip to Fort Walton Beach, FL, and I joined him for part of it. He and I had not been able to take our usual summer get away this year, so this was just perfect. Teresa came here and stayed with Alex. We had four days together, just enjoying the beach and the sights, although Eric was stuck in a lab for two days. We took a dolphin cruise, played putt-putt golf, shopped, and hung out at the beach. We even had pancakes made with Reeses Pieces, courtesy of Click on the photo for more snapshots.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MRI Update

MRI yesterday, (in the middle of the worst two weeks possible, but that is another post), results today. There is some positive news and some not so positive.

Positive: Main tumor is dead, no further treatment until December 19.

Not so positive: A new lesion has formed on his liver that will need to be watched. It could cause liver function problems as well as be susceptible to cancer-causing cells.

Now we wait until the week of Christmas,(I'm not happy about that, but Barnes doesn't really take patients' needs/wants into consideration). It will be our second Christmas glued to the phone waiting for treatment options.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Novena time!

St. Therese Novena 2011!

I am joining over 2900 Catholics to pray the St. Therese Novena!

I’m pretty excited to pray this with so many faithful Catholics around the world and I thought you’d like to join too!

There are thousands of people praying through this novena website and there will be millions praying around the world.

+ Sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: St. Therese Novena+ If you have a website, post about it there!
+ Email your friends and family and get them praying too!

Let’s get all the Catholics we know to pray this novena together to St. Therese!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chemo #3

Dad made it through his third round of chemo. He was in more pain and had more nausea this time. He was convinced he had caught the flu from the hospital, since the side-effects were more pronounced. He is home now and recovering. We should know by the end of the week when his next MRI is to see if chemo #4 is necessary.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chemo Round #3

MRI Monday showed that Dad's tumor had grown,(as was expected), and will have chemo tomorrow. Anybody in the area is welcome to come and hang out with Mom and I at Barnes. Hit up on my cell or Moms and let us know. I might be nice and share my snacks ;)

Friday, August 5, 2011


Sunday, we hit the Zoo. I know what you are thinking, "but Sarah, it was 95 degrees on Sunday with a heat index of 105." Damn straight!

Let me clarify, we visited the Zoo first thing in the morning, think 8ish, to take advantage of all the free stuff. Many attractions are free the first hour the Zoo is open. We partook in the stingray exhibit,(plus sharks!), the carousel, and the Children's Zoo. And of course, no St. Louis Zoo trip is complete without visiting the Puffin and Penguin exhibit. It is the only one like it in the world. Click below to see more pics.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Indiana 2

From Indy, we went down to Jasper via The Edinburgh Outlets, (a girl's got to shop, right?). We took my MIL out to celebrate her birthday. We had dinner at the Schnitzelbank and then ended up at Dairy Queen.

Myself, Teresa, Eric's brother Ed, and Alex.

I seriously love the picture!!

We went over to Andy and Alison's house to shoot off fireworks for the 4th. Alex gladly watched from the car and then from the house.

Alex tooling around on the new scooter he got from Alison for his birthday.

Jeff, Andy, and their neighbor contemplating what to light next.
Too noisey!

Indiana 1

As many of you know, we spend a lot of time in Indiana. Eric's family is from there, we both went to college there, and most of our friends are there. Hence the time spent in Indiana. This time, we hit Indy first and took Alex to the Children's Museum with our friends Nick, Beth, and Jillian. I had not been there since Oct. 2001, when I took my first graders from Lost Creek Elementary, in Terre Haute.

"Mom, the dinosuars broke the building!!"

Alex and Jillian in the race car.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Pyramids, right across from Beef and Boards, home of Caribbean Cove Water Park Nice place. I recomend calling and booking, you will get a much better rate/deal then if you book off the website. Alex wasn't too sure about it, but he did enjoy watching the giant bucket spill water onto the pirate ship.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy Third Birthday to my special Small Person. We celebrated with my folks at Incredible Pizza Company and then had cake at home. Note: This was the best pic I could get on his birthday.

This was his cake. He requested a dinosaur and I delivered. I only had 30 minutes to tint the icing and decorate the cake, so it looks a little sloppy. It tasted delicious, even so!

Alex and my Dad waiting for some cake.

Eric and Alex at the Train Park in Ferguson. Playing with the train set at the Whistle Stop Depot in Ferguson.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I have had a couple of requests for a recipe, so I am posting it here. This is my fabulous Taco Skillet. The first recipe is for the Pampered Chef Rice Cooker and the second one is the regular skillet version. Both of these recipes are original and not published elsewhere.

Taco Skillet-© Sarah Hopf

1 lb ground beef or cut up chicken-Can substitute a can of Black Beans
1 medium onion chopped
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 or 2 Bell peppers, chopped, any color.
1 16 ounce can tomatoes
1 small can of diced chilies
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 c uncooked brown rice
1 c shredded Mexican blend or Montere Jack cheese
2 c shredded lettuce

Drain tomatoes reserving juice. Add water to juice to make 2 cup of liquid. Add tomatoes, liquid, chilies, taco seasoning, garlic, peppers, and rice to rice cooker; stir. Put lid on and microwave on high for 30-45 minutes, depending on your microwave. Brown beef or chicken with onion in skillet, drain off fat. Add mixture from the rice cooker and stir. Top with shredded lettuce and cheese before serving. I serve blue corn tortilla chips on the side.
*Black beans can be used as the protein, just add to rice mixture before microwaving
*Great for leftover chicken or beef.
*White rice can be used, just reduced cooking time by 5 minutes.

Here is the regular skillet version.
Taco Skillet--© Sarah Hopf

1 lb ground beef or cut up chicken-Can substitute a can of Black Beans
1 medium onion chopped
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 or 2 Bell peppers, chopped, any color.
1 16 ounce can tomatoes
1 small can of diced chilies
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 c uncooked brown rice
1 c shredded Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese
2 c shredded lettuce

Brown beef or chicken with onion in skillet, drain off fat. Drain tomatoes reserving juice. Add water to juice to make 2 cup of liquid. Add tomatoes, liquid, chilies, taco seasoning, garlic, peppers, and rice to skillet; stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, roughly 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. Top with shredded lettuce and cheese before serving.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clean MRI

Yep, a "clean" MRI. Dad is off the hook until the end of July/first of August. His tumor has not grown or metastasized. This does not mean he is cancer free, just in a holding pattern for now. He said it was the best birthday present ever!

Now that he is home, he would love to talk to folks on the phone. Either leave a comment here, or send me an email @, and I will get you their phone number. We appreciate all the good thoughts and prayers. Special thanks to Janice for all the cards.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Dad has another MRI on the 3rd. 25% of Floyd was left last time, this time we are hoping for a much smaller percentage. Dad did not tolerate the chemo as well this time. He was in a lot of pain and had digestive issues which bought him an ER trip. He has been really tried and run down. He ended up receiving almost double the chemo from last time, so the side effects were to be expected. Send good thoughts his way, the 4th is his birthday and he is wanting good news for his birthday :)

Adventures in Ground Beef

I don't like to use ground beef, other than in hamburgers. Why you ask? My Mom used used to make a macaroni dish with ground beef that never did appeal to me and really turned me off to ground beef. Also it tends to be costly here in St. Louis, so I don't purchase it often. I had a pound and some Yukon Gold potatoes and stuck those two terms into Google and this is what came up. Peruvian Beef and Potato Soup. Seems kind of odd and deceptively easy, so I had to make it. I used onion powder instead of onion because I do not allow onions in my house,(I DON'T LIKE ONIONS!), I added three cut up carrots, and a handful of spinach. Can I say this is one of the best soups I have ever had. It really is quick and easy. With prep time, I think I spent 45 minutes total on this dish. It says it serves, but I think it ended up making 5 or 6 servings. The recipe is as follows.

Peruvian Beef and Potato Soup-click on the link for a beautiful picture of the dish

Courtesy of Whole Foods

1 pound ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped -I used frozen "stoplight" peppers(mixture of green, red, and yellow)
2-4 Chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups beef broth, preferably low-sodium*
1 cup water
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin*
1 bay leaf
1/4 pound dried capellini pasta*-I used regular Whole Wheat spaghetti
2 Handfuls of fresh spinich, roughly a cup
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook beef in a large pot over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Remove from pot, set it aside and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add onion, bell pepper,carrots and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add broth, water, potatoes, cumin and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add pasta and spinach and simmer until al dente, about 5 minutes. Return browned meat and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Discard bay leaf, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve.

I recommend serving this with a nice crusty bread, such as French.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Well, that was FAST!

So, Dad's MRI got changed to the 29th, (without his permission, I might add). That was fairly uneventful, in fact it took less time then the previous one. Got the phone call Wednesday at lunch that 'Floyd' was 75% dead and that more chemo would be administered Thursday. However there was a small glitch; his creatine levels were high and if they didn't come down there would be no chemo. Back to my house to spend the rest of the day flushing out the kidneys. He went in this morning for blood work and his levels were one point high, but they chose to do the chemo anyway. Now he is out of surgery and in a room resting. We are praying that there won't be a repeat of last time and NOT HAVE ANOTHER TIA!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Green Green, It's Green They Say

Anyone who gets the song reference gets MAD props from me!!!

We have been 'greening' our home somewhat. While Dad was having all of his issues, we were getting new HVAC and blown insulation. We did an energy audit through Home Green Home, which is affiliated with the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and have been making some of the changes they suggested. We completely replaced the HVAC system and put in a zonal system with heat pump. Now we can control the upstairs and downstairs separately and account for what rooms we use the most. The excitement occurred when one of the workers fell through the ceiling outside of Alex's room, while working in the attic. He ended up being all right, and we now have a brand new attic access in the hallway.

It was quite the hole!

In addition to that, we got blown cellulose insulation in the basement and attic. This all will help with the draftiness of the house and bring down our energy bills. It doesn't hurt either that will be get tax breaks and potentially money back from the state of MO. The next step is the windows, which will likely be from Serious Windows in Bloomington, IL. So far, we are happy with what has been done. It is nice to wake up to a warm house for once :)

Let's Catch Up

Dad is home now. He had a bunch of tests, several hospital gaffes, and no answers. The hospital took too long to test for a stroke, so all evidence was gone. He has a history of TIAs and they do not leave evidence for long. Neither hospital listened or read his medical history to know he has a history of this. Both folks are beyond frustrated with Christian Hospital and will not go back. It brought back memories from another hospital from our family past... Now Dad's legs are weaker again and he is having more trouble walking. Like Mom said, he cannot go through this each time he has a chemo treatment, it is unacceptable.

He has an MRI on the 28th to chekc out 'Floyd' and will more then likely have another round of TACE the first of April.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lots has happened!!

That is a slight understatement! Dad made it through his TACE proceedure on Thursday and came home to my house Friday afternoon. I inisted they stay an additional 24 hours in STL just in case there was an issue, they would be here. Saturday afternoon Dad got up to use the bathroom and could not stand up. He had no strength/control of his legs. He was taken via ambulance to Christian Hospital where he currently lies. So far, they haven't found anything wrong. Tomorrow he gets an MRI to see if he had a mini-stroke and also to see if "Floyd", his tumor, has spread to his spine. As of tonight, Sunday, he is running a low grade fevor, but in good spirits. It has been frustrating not knowing what is going on and being at a hospital that doesn't seem to take what is going on seriously. The major concern is that if he gets home and this happens again, there isn't anyone there to help him or to call 911. They are more then an hour away from any hospital that could care for him in his condition.

So, more stress for everyone involved. Dad is 'supposed' to have an MRI at Barnes at the end of March to see if "Floyd" has shrunken any and if not, he will undergo another round of TACE. Not much to do but PRAY!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

TACE, TACE, baby!

So, here's the deal with Dad. He is going in for TACE treatment this Thursday, the 24th at Barnes Jewish. Find out more info on TACE here:

Surgery to remove the tumor is not an option, given the size of the tumor and Dad's previous history. Even the TACE right now is risky. There is no prognosis yet and no plan for on-going treatment, although there will be before he is discharged from the hospital. Not much else to say, other then to PRAY!! Light candles, make offerings, and just PRAY. Dad is not doing well mentally with everything that is going on and would appriciate notes/cards/phone calls. Leave a comment or email myself or my Mother if you need the phone number.

If anyone need something to do this Thursday, come hang out with Mom and I at Barnes.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Alex Update

I've been thinking lately and I figured out that I haven't updated on Alex for a while, other then pictures. He is 34 3/4 inches, almost three feet, tall and roughly 30lbs. Still small for his age, but he has no motor/developmental delays. He loves all things trains and dinosaurs. He is actually identifying several dinosaurs by name. He got a kitchen last fall and he enjoys 'cooking' with his 'recipes'. His imagination and pretending have really taken flight. I tend to crack up when he walks through the house with a book over his head or carrying the Swiffer and singing Alleluia, (what Irish mother wouldn't want a priest for a son?). He can count to 20 and knows the Alphabet and can recognize all the letters. We are working on identifying the sounds of the letters. He is also quite polite and uses, 'please and thank you,' consistently.

Occasionally we get to grocery shop at Trader Joes in Brentwood. They have child sized shopping carts that Alex LOVES to push. He actually picks out his own items to put in the cart. Not just grabbing things from the shelves mind you, he studies the shelf and then makes a choice of what to pick up. Thing such as mixed nuts, macaroni and cheese, and balsamic vinegar have made it into his cart. He claims we, "NEED," these things, though I tend to differ.

I have also come to the conclusion that the "Terrible Twos," are complete BS. Alex is almost three and hasn't been better. All and all we are just biding our time here until we can start playing outside without wearing 5 layers of clothes and boots.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lots of Pics!

As promised, several new pics!!

He insisted on a picture with each individual strand of beads ;)

Us playing in the snow.

First time finger painting. Thanks to Grandma Barbara for a wonderful Christmas gift!!

Snow and...

...lots of ice. According to Channel 5 it has stopped snowing. Yeah, not so much. It is still snowing here. We had ice all day Monday and ice alternating with snow all day today. Now it is just snowing lightly with a light breeze. Tomorrow is supposed to be windy and super cold. I am hoping none of our tree limbs come down, or at least not hit the fence when they fall.

So if you know me, you know I LOVE snow!! The winters here in MO are much different then up north, mainly it doesn't get that cold here and it doesn't snow every year. This tends to cause my body some discomfort, as my head tells me that 42 degrees in January is NOT NORMAL. Call me crazy, but I miss the consistent cold of the winter. It is that cold that kills the germs and makes the spring allergy season much less miserable. Last winter here was a dream in that respect. CONSISTENT COLD!! This winter hasn't been that bad either, minus the 40+ degree days we had last week. Not 'cool' STL, not cool.

Check out the other new post. I PROMISE to have some new pics up. No pics from this storm; Alex is sick with a cold and I don't want him going out.

Friday, January 14, 2011


We have been in a holding pattern as of late. Essentially we are just...waiting.

Waiting on Dad

Waiting on HVAC estimates

Waiting for my brakes to be finished(okay, that one will be finished soon)

Waiting for new window estimates,

and so on and so on

While we have all been twiddling our thumbs, half of January has slipped away. Eric is back to class and all but one of our regular activities has recommenced. You know it's winter when the large purple down alternative comforter comes out :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Good News! The cancer is localized to the liver; it has not spread anywhere else. Bad news, there are few options other then surgery to remove the tumor. There is a possibility of doing something called Radiofrequency Ablation. They are suppoed to meet with a surgeon at Barns Jewish Hospital here in STL sometime next week. Mom is doing LOTS of research on different treatments and facilities in the US in hopes of making some kind of decision. Until then, PLEASE PRAY!