Saturday’s Something: Baby, Ryan & Traffic Updates



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Saturdays something

Welcome to Saturday’s Something, my time to step away from food and recipes to talk about this crazy thing called life. It can be crazy sometimes, can’t it? So many of you have been asking me for updates on Ryan after I posted about his colon cancer diagnosis, and you’ve also been curious about how the baby is doing, so I thought I’d give you a little update (by the way, thanks for caring guys, ya’ll are the best!).

Ryan Update…

So, I wrote this update on Wednesday evening so that it would be ready to go for Saturday. And then we had a Doctor’s appointment yesterday (Friday) that changed everything, in a very VERY good way. I’ll let you read what I wrote, and then I’ll fill ya in on the latest GOOD news! :)

*OLD POST* Oye….so we’ve had a set-back. I talked earlier about how we expected bumps along the road, I just didn’t expect them so….soon. Last week we got a call from the oncologist and he started it by saying he preferred not to have the conversation over the phone but that he didn’t want to make us wait. My heart dropped to my feet and the adrenaline started pumping through my body as I tried to listen carefully to what he was telling Ryan. I already knew what he was going to say though…

The news? The CT scan showed three spots on his lungs and two spots on his liver. When you get news like that, your world stops turning. Even as positive as we’ve tried to be, and as optimistic as we have viewed this whole situation, it plain ole sucks. After we got off the phone we *tried* to go about our day. I needed groceries, so we headed off to the grocery store. Bad idea. We walked around the store like zombies making it the longest grocery store trip ever.

And then? And then it started to sink in and we did what anyone probably does when you learn that your cancer diagnosis just got way more serious. We held each other and cried. A lot. And we cried some more. And some more…

Beat cancer

The next few days after that phone call were rough. And that’s an understatement. We have a baby on the way, how did we get here? It is still hard to wrap our heads around the fact that one minute Ryan is fine and the next he’s not, and that he’s only 29. Oh, and did I mention that the day prior to that phone call was the one year anniversary of my Mom passing? Between the flood of memories and feelings of losing my sweet Mama, and the news that the cancer had spread, it was rough. Deep breathing, constant praying, and meditation has become my lifeline. 

Now that the shock has worn off just a pinch, I think we’re getting our game faces back on. Chemo was supposed to start last week, but it got pushed back so that they could get the liver and lung biopsies completed and come up with a whole new game plan. There are plenty of stage 4 cancer survivors out there and Ryan is going to be one of them. Certainly things just got a bit more complicated but I know that we will get through this and come out on the other side stronger than ever.

LATEST UPDATE: Ryan had an appointment scheduled for yesterday (Friday) to meet with the oncologist to go over the pathology reports and come up with a new treatment plan since we thought for sure that the cancer had spread. With spots on both the liver and the lungs, we didn’t think it was even possible that it wasn’t cancer.

When the doctor walked in with a smile on his face, and he was cheerful and happy, we didn’t know what to think. He said he had good news for us which I thought might mean that it was simply good news that all of the spots were small, or that maybe one biopsy came back negative, but he said that BOTH BIOPSIES CAME BACK NEGATIVE! The cancer has not spread. Can you just imagine the relief we felt at that very moment? I thought I heard him wrong, but he went on to say that the lesions on Ryan’s liver are hemangiomas, nothing that we need to worry about, and that the spots on the lung are not cancerous. 

We are still in shock over this good news, and so beyond relieved that the cancer has not spread. It truly felt like we witnessed a miracle and we are so thankful.

Again, thank you so much for all of the love and support. I read every single comment on that original post and was so touched by the kind words coming from people who don’t even know us. You all are amazing and I appreciate each and every one of you.

And now… let’s talk about baby.

Baby update….

So we have a baby on the way. I don’t think I ever mentioned when he/she is expected to arrive, have I?

Baby Wagner Arriving

I am 11 weeks today and still doing pretty good. With the craziness of everything that has gone on with Ryan, I think it’d be easy to forget I’m pregnant if it weren’t for the constant fatigue, and the dry heaving. What’s up with the dry heaving? Did any of you Mama’s experience that? Certain things will set me off — being super hungry, funky smells, warm showers (????), meat. I’m really stumped by the warm shower thing. Slimy, raw meat I can understand, but a nice warm relaxing shower? Not so relaxing anymore. I have to make it quick or I’ll find myself with uncontrollable dry heaving and dizziness.

As far as cravings, it’s usually fruit, sometimes greek yogurt, and salt and vinegar chips. A couple of weeks ago I was on a serious baked potato kick including this Loaded Baked Potato Soup. None of the cravings are super strong though.

We had originally planned to tell our families on Christmas that we were expecting. We had bought cute little “Big Sister” shirts for our dogs, because we are those dog owners. Lila and Mali are our first babies, and we wanted them to share our news. Of course that all changed when cancer came into the picture a week before Christmas and we told our families in the hospital at the same time we told them Ryan has cancer. Aren’t these shirts cute? Lila and Mali despise clothing, but they were willing to deal with these silly little shirts, just for the baby. They’re going to be great big sisters! :)

Lila and mali

I never thought I’d jump on the “gender reveal party” bandwagon, but I’m considering it, just so we can experience a fun surprise with our families. Have any of you been to one or decided to host one? What do you think? 

Can I just tell you how excited I am for this sweet little baby on the way? It’s crazy and amazing, all at the same time, that something so tiny, only 1 and 1/2 inches long, can give me so much hope for the future!

Okay… enough talk about baby this week. I’ll be sure to give you updates as often as possible. :)

Traffic Update

Last on my list of updates is for those of you, perhaps fellow bloggers, who might be interested in geeky traffic numbers. I’ve given traffic updates in the past (here and here) and I know some of you appreciate seeing this info…. so here we go!

November 2013

Thanksgiving was a pretty big time for CenterCutCook from a traffic perspective. Many of my Thanksgiving-focused recipes were a big hit, and because of that it drove home a record-breaking month with over 1.76 million pageviews:

Centercutcook november 2013 traffic 1

The graph does a great job representing the traffic growth leading up to Thanksgiving, and then the cliff that occurred right after the holiday was over. The peak was the day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday) with 114,000 pageviews, and then everyone obviously turned in their apron for a shopping bag because that Friday (also known as Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year) was the low point with 37,000 pageviews.

Which of my recipes topped the charts for November? Chocolate Lasagna still topped the list, but a couple of the Thanksgiving recipes squeezed into the mix:

  1. Chocolate Lasagna
  2. Perfect Turkey Gravy
  3. Edible Egg-less Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  4. Ultimate Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  5. Sweet Potato Casserole {Like Ruth’s Chris)

Our traffic for November was similar to what we had seen in the previous months with Facebook being the top source, but search traffic was still in a close second:

  • Facebook: 36%
  • Search Engines: 33%
  • Direct to the site: 15%
  • Pinterest: 11%
  • Other sources (Foodgawker, Tumblr, etc…): 5%

As Thanksgiving got closer the search traffic also started to see some drastic jumps. This is something I expected to some degree, but in the end it well exceeded what I thought we’d see.

Centercutcook november 2013 traffic 2

Suffice it to say, November was a knockout month for CenterCutCook.

December 2013

Was December able to live up to the unbelievable precedent set by November? Not quite. But there was still over 1.47 million pageviews for the month which isn’t something I can complain about. The drop in traffic, however, was actually expected because early in December Facebook had made some changes that caused the interaction on my Facebook page to drop significantly. Any changes like this one can have a big impact on us since Facebook is one of our top sources of traffic, but luckily some of the other sources picked up the slack. Here’s a look at the traffic from December:

Centercutcook december 2013 traffic 1

You’re probably wondering what that traffic spike was from in the beginning of December? The Reese’s Facebook page shared out my Peanut Butter Cup Fudge recipe to their 12 million followers, which resulted in over 24,000 shares and oodles of traffic. In fact it did so well that it dethroned the Chocolate Lasagna as the most visited recipe for the month:

  1. Easy Peanut Butter Cup Fudge
  2. Chocolate Lasagna
  3. Edible Egg-less Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  4. Ultimate Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  5. Oreo Truffles

The traffic breakdown is not too surprising and clearly shows the drop in Facebook traffic as a result of their changes, but it would have been much lower had it not been for all of the Facebook traffic that resulted from the Reese’s post:

  • Search Engines: 38%
  • Facebook: 28%
  • Direct to the site: 18%
  • Pinterest: 11%
  • Other sources (Foodgawker, Tumblr, etc…): 5%

When we graph out the search traffic over the month of December we see a similar pattern from November where the traffic starts to pick up a week before Christmas, and then plummeted on Christmas Day. It started to recover pretty quickly though as many of you were searching for scrumptious appetizers and snacks to make for New Years:

Centercutcook december 2013 traffic 2

That’s how things looked for December. It wasn’t another record-breaking month, but I didn’t really expect it to be since Thanksgiving is the most food-focused holiday of the year.

Thanks for reading! Have a great Saturday. :)

Hi, I’m Ashley & I’m so happy you’re here!

Ashley is the founder of CenterCutCook and a former teacher that now spends her days in the kitchen so that she can share her favorite recipes with you!