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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Busy Hands

Now that there will be no radiation, (yes, for those of you who haven't heard, the radiologist says no radiation needed) I have turned my focus to getting well.  After today's doctor's appointment, I am back on an oral antibiotic and a topical antibiotic cream.  Seems there are a couple of "angry spots" in the incision areas.  Gotta take care of those before the gain control!

It has been at least
two weeks since my hands have created anything.  I remedied that today.  Don't get me wrong, I am actually enjoying the extra time to read and catch up on my Pinteresting, when I have plenty of pain meds in my system, but I really miss creative work.

Today as I was filing some projects in the proper Pinterest boards, I ran across a project I had already pinned and thought I would see what I could come up with since it has become a new need in our home.  Since pulling up the carpet in the living room, I purchased a Swiffer.  I have had a Wet Jet for awhile but with the wood floors, I have found that just pulling out the Swiffer has been the most convenient way to keep the floor relatively clean.  Besides that, the kids like to Swiffer!

I have had a crochet Swiffer pad pattern on my Pinterest crochet board for awhile and after digging around in the very few things I have left around the house while we are showing it, I found JUST enough cotton yard and a size H hook and was able to crochet all of the pieces.  Tomorrow I will sew them together so when the kids get home I won't hear the common excuse, "but Mom, we don't have any Swiffer pads".

I am going to alter this pattern a little bit I think.  There has got to be a way to make it in one piece.  That will be my challenge.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Would You Like To See Inside?

Officially, the house is on the market!
We haven't had much traffic yet on our house since it went on the market, so I thought I would host my very own open house, right here on the blog!  You can see all of the work that has been done (those of you who have seen what it looked like before), or, just how great of a house it is for the right family for those of you who haven't been inside.  These outside shots are still before the landscaping was done so it looks even better now!

Our new color of gray turned out blue, but cool nonetheless!

Patio area (no more piles of lumber or nails in the lawn!)

Updated full bath upstairs

New counter top, kitchen floor, and cabinets
Fresh paint in all of the bedrooms
View of the dinning room to the backyard through the new sliding glass doors!

Large master bedroom

All kinds of room in the basement!
Ahh, what a treat, not REALLY a one bathroom after all...nothing that a few walls can't fix!
Separate laundry room!
There is a lot more I could show, but I am still moving pretty slow these days!  We are praying for the family who would be blessed by this place.  We moved in as a family of five and it suited us wonderfully.  Two children later, as a family of seven, there just isn't any more room for us to grow.  If anyone knows someone looking for a good house in a great location with a big back yard and great neighbors, send them our way!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

We'll Save Mt. Rushmore for Another Summer

There are two more days until school starts.  Usually I would be finding time in my calendar to take each of the children out to take care of the last few things that are on the list, get a frozen yogurt or ice cream and listen to them tell me about what they are excited about and what they look forward to learning.  I was informed yesterday that I don't get to leave this house to go pick up the soccer cleats or the size 7 shorts that Zachary so desperately needs to round off his back to school wardrobe.  "Well, can't you just drive us and drop us off so we can shop?" I asked my husband.  The look I got back from him said it all.  "What are you THINKING?"  Well, with two pain pills, I may not be able to drive, but I can shop!  (at least for four hour stretches.)

So, denial...I am missing my life.  Dad will be taking them out to pick up what they need.  I am not sure what the first day of school will look like, but I want to be in the picture somewhere.  I am not saying that I will be able to walk up there with them like I have done every year since the triplets were in kindergarten.  I don't even think 2 pain pills will allow for that.  BUT, I do want to take the pictures and meet with the teachers.  I may have to do that tomorrow on open house day when I can move slowly.  It is times like these I wish I had a cane laying around the house, if I had something to lean on, I think I could endure longer.

It isn't just the first day of school I miss.  I have missed the WHOLE SUMMER!  I am happy to say that we did get in way more than enough trips to the pool to pay for our family pool pass and so that goal was accomplished.  BUT, it was a silly idea to sign up for the bowling program as we only got to the bowling ally once all summer!  For the first summer, no one in the house finished a reading program - ANY of the 4 or 5 offered in our city.  I am not proud about how much screen time my children have had this summer and I know that is okay for now, and since we are on the subject I know that both Ryan and Zachary have completed some of their gaming goals and so I can rejoice with them in their accomplishments.

Someday we will get to Mt. Rushmore.  Someday my body will take on its "new normal" shape and stop looking and feeling lumpy and swollen.  It will go back to its original color instead of the many shades of purple, pink, green and yellow.  I know that I will be able to once again take care of my family and plan for trips and activities.  For now, I look forward to sitting in camping chairs on he soccer field in a few weeks when I am once again allowed out of the house for short periods of time.  I will again be able to drive and be the one in charge of getting everyone where they need to go.

But for now...I will heal.  I will sit here and allow my body to get better.  Now that all of the bad stuff is out and the good stuff is rearranged, it should be up hill from here.  I usually don't let myself focus too long on the negative, but this is really hard, sitting in a chair or laying in my bed while everyone around me is active with the hustle and bustle of the first week of school coming.  As I watch it all, I do feel a little sorry for us all for what we weren't able to do this summer, it seems like yesterday it was the last day of school.  So much has happened in the last two and a half months.  Lets pray that it is all behind us and we can move ahead with gusto!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cancer Files: Cancer Free!

Taking a little time to breathe some fresh air
I have finally gained some energy to move around a little more.  After going back to the doctor's office a couple of times and having three of four drains removed, I am feeling a little better physically and a lot better mentally!

After returning home from the doctor's office it was a treat to get a call to tell us the pathology report had revealed that the cancer was gone! They got every bit of it that was there.  That is a huge relief.  The doctor said that there is a small chance that I may have to have radiation, but most likely not.

I am a little leery about posting too many pictures of myself these days, I could write so much more about the emotional and mental parts of this kind of surgery and maybe I will feel like doing that down the road, but for now I think I will keep you updated with how the pain and the range of motion is doing.  Dawn is with me every step with her curious "nursing" spirit.  She watches and assists as I give myself the shots and strip the drains.  Today she went to the office with us to watch how the nurse pulled out the drain.  She wanted to see the part that was inside and how it all worked.  She gets to experience how incredible our bodies are at healing.  She stood there as the nurse looked over my abdominal incision and raised her hand quietly when she had a question!  My nurse thought it was great and answered all her questions eagerly.

I have been busy reading and keeping up my Words With Friends games a little better than I have been when I had other things to keep my busy.  I have watched some television, Netflix shows, movies and even had a chance to throw in a Monopoly game yesterday with the kids.  (I am the one on the bottom left.  You can't see it but I am sporting my knee highs to keep my circulation going.)

A little Monopoly
I apologize for my lack of color as I type.  I feel like I need to get back into the swing of things in many ways around here.  It will be a good four weeks before my binders come off and I can wear regular clothing but I am thankful to slowly be learning some tricks of recovery that have made each day a little better.  I am pretty sure that I am ready to get my knitting out tomorrow.  Found a couple of things I would like to do.

Meanwhile, the house is looking great!  Anyone who wants to come and see the place should take a look!  More on that in the next few days.  I feel like it is time to start giving the "virtual tour" of the place and giving some credit where credit is due for getting us as far as we are.

Today we celebrate a victory!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cancer Files: Post-Mastectomy Report

I have thought many times in the course of this week that I would like to get on my blog and write something, some kind of update that would let everyone know how I am doing but it just wasn't meant to be.  A lot has happened and I am glad it is behind me.  A week out and I am home and starting into a recovery routine.

The surgery was successful.  Old cancerous tissue gone, replaced with my stomach tissue.  It is amazing what can be done with the human body and I am feeling so blessed to have all of this at my disposal as I have spoken with others in previous generations who had this kind of surgery done in the 70's and 80's.  Pathology was again sent to the University for them to check as they thought here in CR that they saw micro invasions again.  My surgeon also told us that they are attending a conference tomorrow and will be presenting my case to a lot of eyes so many will see it and be able to give their input.  I hope that means there will be some answers.  She told me there is still a possibility of radiation, depending on what the final pathology report says.

Recovery will go slow.  As Matthew comes out every morning he asks "are you better today, Mom?"  Right now we are in the "get the drains out stage".  I went back to the doctors yesterday and was able to get the top drains out.  Didn't know that was going to be on the schedule but I will tell you that my armpits are thankful!  I have two injections each day, antibiotic twice a day and stripping and emptying of two drains.  I get up and walk when I can to keep the circulation going, so there is a lot to remember.  The way things are going though, another drain may bite the dust tomorrow!

We will be taking one day at a time which is good because that is definitely doable!  Anything more than that, I am sure would knock me out!  Thank you all for your prayers, they definitely have kept me this last week!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

George and Judy Bushlack

Today I am going to be in surgery all day.  While I am getting some much deserved rest (after all of this crazy house flipping business!)  I wanted to share how much these two wonderful people have meant to us through our lives.  Thank you Mom and Dad for your love and support through all of my life and David and my 21 years together!  We love you!

A few days ago I blogged about our 21 years of marriage and that although it has not been perfect, it is certainly my happily ever after.  Sitting in that audience as we took our vows that day were George and Judy Bushlack who before us had gone through the ups and downs of life together and became stronger and more committed with each anniversary that passed.

Blessing the food at Grand Central
I am their first child.  I gave them that first test so to speak.  I am not an easy one to live with (ask David), and they knew that but I also know that they loved me unconditionally from the beginning and since I was born only eleven months into their union, I pretty much got the privilege of seeing them work through everything from the beginning.  Believe me, I tested their resolve on many occasions and they loved me even more when all was said and done.  Because of that love my children are blessed in this generation.

Consulting on cabinet door hinges
There are many things that have occurred in the course of their life together that have proven their commitment to their family and to each other but I can't find words to say how much they have meant to David and I over past few months.  When the house next door to them went up for sale, with plenty of room for  our family to grow, it was a no brainer that we would see what we could do to pursue the purchase.  It is funny how many people say to us "you want to live next to your parents?"  After talking to them a few times, Dad and Mom said people ask them the same thing.  My answer is YES!  It may be strange in some families, but not in ours.

They have relentlessly been working helping us get our house ready to sell.  Dad with his "okay, what are we going to do today?" along with the wealth of knowledge from years of his own home improvement projects and Mom with her meticulous eye for detail, taking care of the trims and the paint detail.  I love these two people.  I appreciate them and I can't express with words what they mean to us.  So, I try here.  As I am hanging out with the doctors today, I am also expressing my appreciation for how they love us and the children.
These two have been in the trenches!

Thanks Mom and Dad - for EVERYTHING!  We love you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Add a Little Water to the Firewood

Please accept my apology:  This should have posted on August 13th.  I am not sure why it didn't, but I want to share this as part of the story when it happened...

We met with the realtor today.  We signed a whole bunch of papers, made the arrangements to take pictures and deadlines were set.  Somewhere in there, I am going to have surgery and trust that everyone here will get er done.

After listing all the reasons why it wouldn't be worth our while to wall in the toilet and sink in the basement with all of the red tape that we would have to go through with inspectors and all of that, we decided to go ahead and list the house as a 1 bathroom.  It really does have the toilet and sink downstairs too, but without a wall around it, we can't include it in the listing.  After the papers were all signed, I went to the store to pick up some things.  Praying all the way that I wasn't sure how God was going to do this.

I went through all of the reasons why it would be harder to sell a 1 bathroom house.  No one would find it when they searched for a 2 bath or more!  It was one of those rare (strangely rare) times lately that I seemed to let my emotional state go a little more out of control than I like it to be.  As I got the the intersection by the grocery store I came up to the red light.  As I was slowing down I heard the chaos in my mind become silent and was reminded about Elijah.  Then in my mind I heard "Elijah doused the wood and I burned it up - what is so hard about selling a 1 bathroom house?"

That took a little while to digest!  Certainly, not what I was expecting, only to know that God can do anything.  What good is it for me to worry about these things?!  Today, I trust.

Cancer Files: Here We Go Again

T-minus two days and counting.  In 48 hours I will be in surgery and things will be a little different when I wake up.  Hopefully, our house will be on the market but enough about that...how am I doing?

To be honest, I am not bad.  More ready to get the whole thing over with than anything else.  I guess you could say it is more fun to think about what needs to be done to get a house ready to sell than anything that I may ponder about what I will look like or feel like when I wake up Thursday afternoon.  I am sure I will be happy to be hooked to a morphine pump.  At least that is what they tell me.

I haven't said anything about Angelina Jolie through the last few months.  Lots of people have mentioned her to me.  I respect her choice and wish her well but I haven't really been looking to her for inspiration in all of this for those who have been wondering.  If you have read the details, she has implants.  More than likely, she didn't have enough belly fat to move up during reconstruction.  I won't have any red carpet appearances when it is all over so no pressure there.  The day I can snuggle my little ones in my lap again is the day I am working toward.

Any thoughts?  Yes, God is amazingly good.  People look for signs of faith when they see others go through a hard time in life.  I pray each day that mine is evident.  Some days, I have to say it is not.  I made a surprise visit to my Sunday school class I haven't taught since June.  They had all sent me cards to say get well and they were sad to hear I had another surgery coming up.  Even from their hearts I have been blessed.

It is amazing to me how people who haven't heard what is going on with us are thanking me for sharing in the way I do.  I feel so humbled to have an effect on people.  I say "I" but it is not me.  I wonder all of the time what makes me calm when I am all too personally acquainted with my own ways.  Praise God that He is in control and that along the way I have learned that important fact.  I feel so thankful to so many people and they turn around and thank me - we should give God the glory because it is not me...it is Him.  I don't even feel like I know myself, but I love Him even more when I see and feel Him working in me.  He is the real hero, the Lord is my strength, just a little more and a little more every day.  Praise God He is not finished with me yet!  I love sharing what He is building in me!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Linoleum Anyone?

Yeah for steam!
Sunday rolled around and I was going to sit down and write a couple of blog posts but that was obviously not meant to be.  Instead, a friend came over to help lay a new kitchen floor.  So, Stacey, Angie and I pulled up the linoleum floor in our kitchen.  I had watched a few YouTube videos with David and so I knew EXACTLY what to do!

This girl is amazing!
Yes, I wanted to put in a few hours and be ready to lay the new tile, but that wasn't meant to be either!  After the first row was lifted (and after much scraping and soreness setting in), Angie said "it would be nice to have a steamer, we used a steamer for our wallpaper and it came off great!"  Huh?  I HAVE a steamer! What luck!

Out came the steamer!  Wow, was that a difference!  The wood wasn't drenched in water when we were done and most of the glue came right up.  There were some tough spots but overall, the experience was much more enjoyable.

We actually had fun together working our fingers to the bone!  We would hold the steamer on the spot for about 15 seconds (Stacey calculated the exact amount of time it would take for optimal removal) and up the glue would come.

Comic relief - not much help!
There were blisters that we all were sporting by the end and the next morning, well...that was a different story.  I was moaning a bit and moving a little slower than normal.  But the kitchen was ready for new tiles.  The new floor is the square stick down kind so I am hoping that they will go on a lot faster than the old stuff came off.  I will again watch a couple of YouTube videos to get my education before jumping in.

Okay, maybe a LITTLE help!
I do know that I need to start in the middle and work out so that the cuts are on both sides of the floor and not just one.  I guess that is how it should look anyway.  I am looking forward to this house being listed so that we can back off a bit with the manual labor for awhile.  We did get the official offer in on the new house last week so when this house sells, we are moving.  Anyone who is interested in a great family home, this one has been given a lot of TLC though the last 8 years.  It has been a blessing for us and we would love to see happy new owners take possession and make it their own!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

21 Years

We have come a long way, Baby!  And I mean that in every way!  I can say that this man gets more and more attractive to me every day.  We will have to give or take those grumpy days peppered in now and then, but I have them too and he loves me through them.  It all balances out!

The girl standing there smiling in the white dress thinks she has finally gotten to the day when she is married to this wonderful man she has been dating for 4 years.  The truth of the matter is, she has no idea what she is getting herself into!  And big grin on that boys face?  Well, I can't speak for what was going through his head at that specific moment, but I can say, he did not know much about his future either.

Isn't that what marriage is all about?  Not what you see in the movies or the romantic music or the passionate kisses in warm embraces.  Those things are all good, don't get me wrong, but what is really happening on a wedding day is two people promising in front of (what I would hope to be) a room full of those who love them, support them, and care about them, to spend the rest of their lives together and make a life.

The level of commitment to those promises is paramount to the success of the union.  How do I know?  Because I have wanted to bail out a few times along the way.  When I take my feelings into consideration there are many times I was hurt and selfish and unwilling for a few days to hammer out a misunderstanding or the details of an angry exchange.

I love this man's eyes as he gives me that look that is meant only for me.  I love his smile, his sense of humor and his way of making every place we are together feel like home.  He is my life here on this earth.  God has given me this love to cherish.  Not the love that we declared to one another on August 9th of 1992.  That was a great beginning.  What I love most and is probably the most important thing about this love he has for me is, he is committed to us.

As we danced the first song of our wedding dance way back then, the words still come to my mind and there is no better way to describe my husbands love "with you I never wonder, will you be there for me?"  I have never had to wonder.  It was my first job as a married woman back in 1993 when I worked as a secretary/receptionist.  One of the engineers came up to my desk one day.  He was kind of chatty talking about his kids.  Somehow the conversation went to marriage and commitment.  He insisted that I couldn't know if my husband was going to be faithful to me.  (quite the interesting encouragement for me the newlywed, from the man who had been married three times)  I told him, I know that David is faithful to me, otherwise I wouldn't have married him.  He walked away doubtful.  But then he didn't know David and I do.

We had a little get away this weekend and it was his idea.  I wanted to stay and keep working on the house.  We need to get it on the market so that we can sell it and get into our new house.  He said, no, we are not spending our 21st anniversary in this house!  He was right.  The amount of relaxation was wonderful, I hadn't relaxed like that in months!  I got half of a book - a FICTION book read and had a awesome night sleep!  He knew and I love him for that!

It has recently occurred to me as I have been to a few weddings this summer, we have been married a long time!  Considering the average marriage these days, we have come a long way.  We have learned a lot and have a lot to learn.  David and I have taken on infertility, raising triplets, a child with autism and now we are tackling breast cancer (with a little house flipping on the side).

It has been fun to remember what life used to be like...as we were dating...when it was just the two of us (for TEN years!)...ten years of being parents (talk about being thrown in)...and now getting all of them where they need to be and finding time for each other.  We don't have a perfect marriage and we know that we can't but God has blessed our efforts and has lead us to this point.  We look to those who are farther down the road and we model after those who have been there.  Thank you to all those who never have to wonder...will you be there for me?  You have shown us that it can be done.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Not a Whole Lot to Do Around Here!

I have a daughter who had a breakdown this morning.  I will not embarrass her by mentioning her name but as I watched her melt into a puddle of tears on her bed I thought "boy, do I wish I could do that!"  She was very emotional about the fact that we are packing everything we love into boxes and hauling them to Grandpa and Grandma's garage and there isn't anything left to do around here!  I am feeling the same way.  We don't know how long it will take to sell our house and so it is hard to decide what stays and what goes.

Well, thank goodness for Mario Brother's stuffed characters!  The boys bedroom being as clean as it is, was the congregating place this morning as all the kids were in there making up new "games" with all of these characters.  I can't list them all but what started out as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Koopa Troopa and Toad about three Christmases ago has grown into quite a community.  Blue Toad, Toadette, Baby Luigi, Baby Yoshis (in pretty much every color) along with Bowser and Jr. Bowser it is hard for the kids to find a place to lay their heads when it is bedtime.

Recently for Zach's birthday Donkey Kong and Ditty Kong have joined the Mario gang and the kids play for hours making up new adventures.  I am pretty sure they have come up with the next generation of Mario video games in their acting out with their stuffed characters.  I love the sound effects.  I am glad we have not packed these good friends away.  They will stay with us in this house until the last day we are here.  Then, like us they will move to the new house, wherever that may be.  At least we have something to play with that can keep us from totally losing it!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Little Mother Hen

Once upon a time a mother hen was planning on doing some home improvements.  She thought she would gather her chicks and see who could help.

She said "who will help me clean the boys room so we can paint it?"
"Not I" said Stacey, "Not I" said Dawn, "Not I" said Ryan, "Not I" said Matt, "Not I" said Zach.
"Okay, I will do it myself" said the mother. And so she did.

After the cleaning was done, the mother gathered her chicks again and asked "who will help me move the furniture into the middle so we can paint the boys room"?
"Not I" said Stacey, "Not I" said Dawn, "Not I" said Ryan, "Not I" said Matt, "Not I" said Zach.
"Okay, I will do it myself" said the mother. And she did.

With the furniture all moved into the middle of the room, she again gathered her chicks together and asked "who will help me wash the walls down so we can paint the boys room?"
"Not I" said Stacey, "Not I" said Dawn, "Not I" said Ryan, "Not I" said Matt, "Not I" said Zach.
"Okay, I will do it myself" said the mother. And she did.

Once the walls dried the family was all together so the mother again asked "who will help me tape up the walls so that we can paint the boys room?"
"Not I" said Stacey, "Not I" said Dawn, "Not I" said Ryan, "Not I" said Matt, "Not I" said Zach.
"Okay, I will do it myself" said the mother. And she did.

Without disturbing the video game playing chicks, the mother hen went ahead and started the actual painting in the boys' bedroom.  One of the chicks made his way in
to see what his mother was doing now.  (and to ask her what was for lunch)  "I am painting your room, my Dear and thought I had some little chicks who wanted to help"  "I will" said Matt, "I will, said Stacey, "I will", said Ryan, "I will", said Dawn, "I will" said Zach.

No, I will paint it myself!  And so she did!  It is done, the room is painted (and I even let a few of the chicks paint a little after I did all the work)

To quote Zach when I asked how he liked the new color he said "Ryan and I think it is HIDIOUS!"  They are a little sad that we had to paint over the dinosaur footprints.  I was a little sad too but the room looks fresh and neutral.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Increased Cabinet Space

I really wanted to report on my big project for today.  Unfortunately, I don't have an "after" picture yet!  I worked all day on painting the boys room.  I will have to wait to share those pictures.  But I do have another before and after comparison to share today.

When I started working on updating my kitchen in May, one of the problems I had with my kitchen is that there was a buffet and hutch built in as part of the kitchen.  The sliding glass doors on that hutch were not very practical for my kitchen.  I needed more cabinets where I could close a door and leave what is inside out of sight to those who are visiting.

As you can see by the before picture I had already given up on trying to keep the hutch for the "pretty" things that I owned.  We were storing all sorts of things up there.  I was tired of everyone seeing my mess!

The glass came out along with the removable shelving and then the painting began.  After a couple of month of making the shelves permanent and planning the cabinet doors, we have a new look for the shelving and all of my unsightly things are hidden nicely behind beautiful white cupboard doors.  There are so many things I love about my new kitchen.  Although I am short three handles that I will have to go pick up tomorrow, it looks a lot better than it did!

Tomorrow I will organize all of the storage space to match the other side of my kitchen which is much more efficient after I have purged a lot of things I wasn't using.  I am feeling lighter every day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Peace That Passes All Understanding

Last week marked the 6th year since Grandpa left for heaven.  Usually during posts like this I go back and find pictures from years past and post but today my photos are all packed in boxes in my parents' garage and the computer that houses all of my digital copies of the pictures I have scanned from way back when is unplugged from the network and ready to move out as well.

So, I will just say that Grandpa was always the calm in the storm whatever was swirling around us.  Gramma swirled a lot.  There was always something busy happening at their house and I loved the atmosphere there.  So many great memories came from the farm and their love for us.  Coming up next week, Gramma has been gone for 23 years which is hard to believe.  I still hear her voice in my ear and most days it is a blessing!

Spending time at the wedding this past weekend and posing for the first "grandkid" picture taken in many years, I realized how truly blessed I was being their first grandchild (although it does make me pretty old compared to my sweet 18 year old youngest cousin Kalissa).  But, I got to know Grandpa personally for 37 plus years and be influenced in his quiet way.

Don't get me wrong, he could cuss out a milking cow when he got kicked and he was a human like the rest of us in many ways.  But, somehow even though he wasn't loud and didn't talk much, I knew the undercurrent of his love was part of what was there keeping me who I am.

Last week I was reminded of that priceless calm as I was in the basement pulling together some more things to pack up.  Under my counter in the craft room I had stashed a couple of framed pictures that I don't have room for on my walls here in our house.  This one came from Grandpa's house after he died.  I had loved the picture and I knew that there was a verse that was printed at the bottom of the picture.  I couldn't remember which one it was, I was just excited that there will finally be a place to put Grandpa's picture.

I should not have been surprised because God is so good, to pull it out and look closely only to find Philippians 4:7.  The verse that has popped up everywhere in the last two months.  The peace of God that passes all understanding...Grandpa seemed to have that and now I will have a constant reminder about what keeps me in times of trouble.

When Life Gets Stressful...Go to a Wedding!

What perfect timing!  Just as things were getting a little crazy at my house with all the awesome volunteers doing various things in various rooms, it was time for me to get my children together and take them to a wedding.  My cousin Buck and his beautiful bride Jen got married.  I was glad to leave for a fun celebration to get my mind off of things.  This is them with the quilt my aunt made them.

Jen is from here in Cedar Rapids so it was a treat for us to be able to drive a couple miles and be there.  A lot of these occasions require a day of driving and sometimes an overnight stay.  Don't get me wrong, we love those trips too, but this time most of our relatives had to make the long drive.  The kids had just spent a few days at the farm not long ago so they were excited to go and see our cousins again.

While I was at the wedding I was getting updates from people about how the work was coming along at the house.  I was so proud of myself when I got a text from a friend that said "I love the blue on the house!"  I had left for the wedding before the painting started.  When I saw "blue" in the text I was a little concerned.  It turns out to be perfect so I am glad I didn't get worked up about it.

Pictures were taken of the grand kids who were at the wedding.  There are 20 of us total so this was a pretty good representation of the group.  

Matthew had a lot of fun dancing.  His favorite dance partner is his cousin Mady.  He showed her some moves for sure!  He had never been to a wedding that he remembered before and so there was a lot of explaining going on.  Who he could or couldn't marry when he got big, when was the exact moment they were married.  He asked quite often during the ceremony "are they married yet, Mom?"  I got to steal a couple of dances from him myself!

A small reminder of the real world came as we were leaving the church and my aunt Jo, who you can get to know better at www.joscountryjunction.com told me that she had something for me in the car.  This happened at our last wedding the end of June when my cousin Carly got married.  I was looking ahead at that time to surgery on July 3rd.  She gave me a gift card to Barnes and Noble for my Nook to read while I recovered.  Now that I have surgery coming up again on the 15th, she gave me a quilt that she and my cousin Kelli had made.  I still have most of the gift card left (I love to read but I don't read very fast) so while I recover I can read on my Nook and snuggle in this wonderful quilt. 

She is such a talented and creative individual, I remember as a little girl wanting to be just like her.  Weddings are fun reminders of our blessings and the people we love.  I received so many well wishes and so many who told me they were praying for me.  I think that these family celebrations peppered in between the "not so happy" surgery events in my life of late have been so good for me.  I feel very loved and that is a huge weapon in conquering fear and discouragement during the trials of life.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Busy Busy Busy!

Where do I begin to describe what is going on at our house?  We put an offer in on a house and it was accepted.  We just have to get together and sign the contract this week.  Then we have 60 days to sell our house!  So what started out as a punch list from our realtor has morphed into something more like "Flip This House!" I am just hoping that it won't become "Love It or List It" before all is said and done.  It is times like this when I am glad that we have watched a lot of HGTV on Saturday mornings.  The kids know exactly what is going on!

I love the changes that are being made.  The kitchen is my favorite.  Mainly because it was my dream.  Before anything started this summer, before cancer, before a house for sale we had been eyeing for a few years, or deciding to put our house on the market, I was going to revamp my kitchen.  Does anyone remember that?  It was my birthday, May 20th and my husband (who was not looking forward to the whole messed up kitchen) flew out of town for the week.  My sister and mom came over for a birthday treat and worked with me to get the whole thing started.

Since then, we have painted cabinets and cabinet doors, reconfigured the insides of some of the cabinets to make them more efficient, changed out the handles on the cabinet doors, painted a chalkboard, replaced the door going into the garage and purged many kitchen items that I haven't used in a long time.  Now the counter tops are going in.  Here is my dad and husband working on getting the sink cut out.  It looks SO much better!

Today we had a work party at the house.  There was some demolition of the basement walls and some painting on the outside.  The painting doesn't take that long but the prep took the better part of the day.  It looks a little bluer than we imagined but as it goes on, we are pretty excited about how much it improves the curb appeal!