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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Ladybug Game

Happy Monday to me!  Dark and dreary clouds and a big clap of thunder!  That is what I call the sounds that spring is waking up!  And what am I doing?  Playing the Ladybug Game!  Best preschool game ever!  For the first time, I have a preschool boy who plays a game with me without crying, accepts when he isn't winning and says "good job, Mom" when I am ahead.  It is actually a game that isn't excruciating for the adults that find themselves playing a game OVER and OVER and OVER!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Enough Cold Already - Where is the Lamb?

I am tired of winter coats zippered all the way to under my chin!  My children are tired of seeing a layering of snow on the yard when they wake up in the morning.

It is entirely too cold in the midwest for this time of the year.  I would like to be able to FEEL the warmth of the sun on my skin, not just see it in the sky.  There were below zero wind chills around here yesterday!

I am looking forward to getting to know our new house on the outside too.  We got the March in like a lion...where is the lamb?  It is the last week of the month and we are running out of time!

Spring - where are you?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Survivor Files: Add a Little Suction and Rest

If you see me in the next couple of weeks and wonder why I seem to be so attached to my new purse (that isn't AT ALL fashionable), you can be assured that it isn't a permanent thing.  In fact, the only thing that fits in my "purse" is a wound vac!

Yes, today included the installation of a wound vac in my open wound.  It started at 9:15 at my plastic surgeon who doesn't seem to know what to do with the current situation.  He sent me to the wound clinic last week to get a wound vac and so the first thing he said when he looked at the progress was "why isn't there a wound vac on that wound?"

I told him that they said at the wound clinic that they weren't going to put one on because of how big the wound was underneath the surface.  The insurance wouldn't cover it since they don't measure the wound inside, just the quarter sized opening.  The wound clinic said they would let my doc know what happened and that they decided to treat it a different way.  After the first 20 seconds of my appointment today, I realized that they hadn't communicated with his office about that decision.

That made me feel like a ping pong ball bouncing between two doctor's offices.  The doctor told me he would call over to the wound clinic and tell them to put the wound vac on.  So of course, the doctor at the wound clinic informed me he was told to put on a wound vac.  And so they did.  The last time I had a wound vac on, my plastic surgeon pulled it off after not even two weeks because he decided to do surgery.  I was a little afraid of that this time so I hope he gives it the proper amount of time to heal properly.

I was a little concerned because I was running a low grade fever again.  They asked the question that I hate most through all of this "are you taking it easy?" or my other favorite "are you doing too much?"  I always answer with the same answer "I have five kids".   How in the world am I supposed to take it easy?  Maybe I will try it tomorrow.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Three New Family Members

Over the weekend while I was driving back and forth from Waverly with Zach and his gymnastics, Dawn and her dad were off to Pet Smart to buy the newest members of our family.  It was big news because she got her aquarium for Christmas.

Over the last few months they have worked so hard to get just the right chemistry in that aquarium not without some disappointments.  Thinking that the water was good, they brought home a snail and a water frog last month.  I have to say that Stacey and Dawn gave their love to the frog for two weeks until he became a sacrifice of the learning curve.

Thankfully, Scooch the snail has thrived in the harsh-for-frogs environment and is still with us.  Now he has three friends to get to know.  I am so glad that there are creatures that can finally live in the aquarium and add joy to the lives of my daughters.  The boys love to go and watch them blast through the water and dash through the bubbles.  After the last couple of days we can tell they are getting used to each other and their new home!

New Fish - Very Energetic!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Moving memories...

I found these pictures and smiled today as I remembered how we quickly packed up the house last summer and got ready to move.  Matthew got to help Grandpa reach those high and hard to reach places.  Here they are emptying the hallway closet the day before the moving truck.  Dad hoisted him up and Matt made sure that everything was gone off of the front shelf.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Friends and Gymnastics

Today Zachary and I took a trip up to Waverly so he could compete in his first two events in today's meet.  Tomorrow he will do his tumbling.  I have loved watching him grow as he has taken each challenge and shown how he can rise to the occasion each and every time.  

Today was no exception.  He did a wonderful job on his trampoline routine and came in second.  He was going through his double mini passes in his head knowing that at the last competition he got deducted on his pike jump.  He was going to stick it this time, I could see it in his eyes.

He did an amazing pike jump too.  In fact, he was so intent on that pike jump that he mis-gauged the amount of space on the trampoline and slipped off of the end.  He recovered beautifully though and didn't let it shake him. 

Of course it caused a pretty steep deduction though and it put him in 5th place.  He was disappointed for awhile, but he worked through the disappointment and will tackle it next time!  I am so proud of him.

It isn't only the determination that I see that makes me proud, it is how he is learning to interact with his friend, not just in video games but encouraging one another and cheering each other on.  I love these two pictures of the boys playing hard after a hard day's work at tumbling.

Freezer Meal Night!

My kitchen has not always been my favorite place to be.  I have always wished that I liked to cook and bake more than I do.  Tonight I got to enjoy the company of friends while we put together freezer meals for each other's freezers.

I have done freezer meals for our family many times and love having things in the freezer to pull out and make things easier on those busy days but I have never done it with others who bring along their own recipes to share.

Each person brought a recipe and the meat for all of the different meals the eight of us were making.  Lyn graciously went to Sams and purchased our non-meat ingredients and then totalled up and divided to figure how much it would cost each of us.  I was surprised how economical it is.  I am pretty sure that this is a money saving activity!  Then we all put together our recipe eight times and handed them out to the others.  I got to host and I have to say, it was so fun!

As everyone left with eight meals for their freezer I couldn't help but get a little emotional thinking about last summer when I was praying for the opportunity to buy this house.  I used to tell God all of the things that we could do to serve Him with this home.  We broke in the kitchen in a big way and look forward to doing this again.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Diversion...What Fun!

I have spent the last couple of days taking it easy.  It is not something that I am good at doing but, I know that it is important if this healing is going to take place.  It has helped that I haven't been feeling the best and I haven't felt like doing much.

I have been reading and resting and hanging out with the kids on spring break and giving orders now and then when something needs doing.  I took an iron pill yesterday and today and I think that my light headedness and fatigue may be taken care of in a couple of days if I continue.  I worked slowly on some laundry and washed down my kitchen.  After a few days of not being in charge in the kitchen, it needed some TLC from me.

Finding a little extra energy and being tired of sitting around, I went downstairs to see what I could do on the Mario quilt.  I had so much fun quilting and I am loving how it is turning out.  It is a bear to quilt a queen sized quilt on my machine, but I put a couple of tables together and go slow maneuvering the bulk at each turn.  With an audio version of "The Book Thief" playing on my phone, I got close to half way done with the quilting!  Looking forward to more quilting and the rest of the book!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Survivor Files: I LOVE the Wound Clinic

Although everything that has happened in a doctor's office or operating room since June 12, 2013 in regards to my healthcare is connected to my diagnosis of breast cancer on that day, I don't think I should call my posts "Cancer Files" anymore.  As of right now I am not fighting cancer, I am fighting my body's seemingly inability to heal.  I am a survivor, these are the survivor files!

My sovereign God knows what is going on with me, he knows every cell of my body and what makes each one up.  Because of that, I am not going to argue this process and why it is taking so long for me to heal, He knows, and only Him.  My doctor even admitted that yesterday as he looked over my remaining wounds with that puzzled expression on his face.

As I trust though, it is part of a normal human thought process to wonder sometimes how I am supposed to go through this and what I am supposed to learn.  I took it easy today and went to the Wound Clinic for my appointment at 3:30 p.m.  As far as compassion goes, the people at the Wound Clinic take the award with no contention.  Most specifically, Cheryl.  I really appreciate her desire to help me understand what is going on.

The picture I drew here is how she explained it to me.  My wound looks like the solid line from the outside but under the surface, the wound extents to the dotted line, 8 cm from the opening underneath on the right side to 4.5 cm on the left.  The wound is too small on the outside for the wound vac and there is no way to get the sponge material into such a large area under the surface.  So, we are using a different plan of attack for this one.  

New tools in our arsenal will allow my body to get the help it needs from what is called Prisma put in once a day with the new probe.  I also get to take a Lortab an hour before the dressing change each night.  That way, pain is managed and I get to sleep good for the evening after it is all over.  I have high hopes that we have found out what we are actually dealing with, the wound can start healing for good.

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience. 

Cancer Files: Meanwhile...

This morning I spent some time in bed talking to my girl Dawn about spring break.  She jumped into bed with me and helped me almost pass my current level on Candy Crush which has been causing me grief.  That is not my only grief though.  After an impromptu doctor's appointment yesterday (more on yesterday in a minute.) I am today waiting for an appointment at the Wound Clinic to have a wound vac installed in my current open wound.
During the fun and festivities that were going on this past weekend, under it all, there was a new spot brewing on my incision AGAIN!  I was glad for the wedding diversion, but by Sunday morning when I woke up, the spot was not only pink and yellow, but there were a couple of places under the skin that were dark and bruise looking (which means there is bleeding under there somewhere.)
I had planned to call the doctor on Monday morning so I continued through Sunday as normal.  The pain was manageable and I am thankful of that, but on Monday morning I woke up in a mess of bloody sheets and clothing.  After cleaning all of it up, and packing the little area I have been working on for the last three weeks, I called the doctor.  An appointment was set for 3:30 p.m. to see him.
The appointment time rolled around.  Once again, doctor stood over the wound very perplexed as to why there keeps popping up these areas that just won't heal.  It is a little disheartening when the doctor looks confused.  He opened it up a little more to about the size of a quarter and found that it tunnels about 4.5 cm under the surface.  His recommendation, a wound vac.  So, since the December surgery when he gave me three choices following the discovery that the surgery didn't work, we have now gone through all three choices to land at wound vac which makes a nice big scar to deal with when all of this is over. (See January 3rd post)
This side isn't as numbed as the other side so I do have to say this is the most pain I have had since the surgery back in August.  David is back to packing and we are thankful that there will be no more than twice he will have to do that!
The guy at the Wound Clinic called this morning to get all the preliminary questions answered.  That speeds up the process this afternoon.  He was very encouraging and uplifting.  Those people are so great at encouraging.  I am sure they see a lot of discouraged people. 
As bummed as the kids were that we weren't going to go anywhere for Spring break, there seems to be an understanding now that wow, what if we were away from home right now when Mom needs a doctor and the wound clinic.  I hate that this is how it has to be learned but God has a way of teaching us at every level.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dancing With Cinderellas

We had a wonderful time celebrating Jason and Kelli's wedding this weekend.  It was a special time one-on-one with Matt, seeing family members from up north, and who doesn't love a wedding!  I would have to say one of my favorite things about the whole trip was that all of us were able to come.  No one was sick, and no one had another activity.  Watching the girls dance with their dad was a highlight for me!  Not to mention watching Zach with some of his moves!  It was a fun night!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Going to the Wedding

I got to take Matthew to Kelli and Jason's wedding rehearsal Friday afternoon.  Mom rode along with us and it was a great thing that she did!  We needed her expertise to tack up the arms on his tux jacket, his tux shirt and the legs on the pants!
Because of a mix up with the tuxes, Matt's wasn't a very good fit.  All is well that ends well as you can see.  The wedding was beautiful and Matthew was a hit!  He was SO good!  There are not enough capital S's and O's to describe how so good he was!  Very well behaved and very fun to hang out with all weekend.

I am pretty sure that Matthew would say he had a lot of highlights of the weekend.  No offense to the family but I think he probably would pick the swimming pool as his number one favorite thing.  We went twice, once Friday night after rehearsal and once Saturday morning before we got ready for the wedding.  He also enjoyed dressing up, spending time with his Minnesota cousins, the photo booth at the reception and getting to drink pop!

He did such a good job listening to instructions so I told Matt that there was no doubt in my mind that he is ready for kindergarten this fall.  I watched him this weekend do his "special job" perfectly!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sometimes, It Takes a Daddy's Touch

Chores have not gone very smoothly in this house lately.  Enter the DAD.  Using his management skills he helped the kids to develop team work and put them to work on the major rooms of the house today.  It was amazing.  They weren't fighting, they were helping each other and they were working together.  The great thing was that I got to work on some other things that I haven't gotten too because of trying to pick up after everyone.
Another great thing is that as they are working as a team, they each have a vested interest in the room and they are very careful to be sure that no one messes up what they have cleaned!

They worked room by room and then took a playing break and before I knew it the house looked pretty great.  I hope that this is the start of a new trend in cleanliness!

Guess What I Did?

Yesterday I got Zach’s quilt stretched and pinned and today it is on the machine and I have started the quilting process.  I will keep you posted about how it is going!  All I know is that I am pretty excited.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dawn and Zach - Our Vocal Musicians

It was a week ago since we went to the Marion Choir concert.  Zach had asked me in January if he could be part of the Starry Serenaders, a group of 2nd graders who met every Tuesday morning a half hour before school to learn some songs to sing at this the showcase concert.  So, we had Zach and Dawn in the concert last week.

Each grade from 2nd up to high school sang a couple of songs and then at the end, the entire group of 611 kids sang the finale song.  It was amazing what that sounded like in the Marion gym.  I love that they have the opportunity to do this.  It was a fun night.  We were looking forward to hearing the bands tonight but Ryan was sick and had to miss his concert.  He was pretty bummed about that.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Girl's Day Out

Dawn asked me last week if she could get her ears double pierced.  She had them pierced for the first time when she was 4 and so I told her that it would be okay with me if her dad agreed.  Well, he did, and by the weekend both girls had decided to go ahead and get another set of holes in their ears.

Don't think that I got left out of all of the fun.  After one of my surgeries last fall I had forgotten about earrings for about a month after the surgery.  I realized that I hadn't put my earrings in and struggled for awhile until (with the help of a sharp needle) I got all but one earring back in.  Up on top where my cartilage is pierced on my left ear, there was no way I was going to get that thing back in.

Once we got to Clarie's in the mall, I decided to go ahead and let them re pierce the hole that grew shut and get myself a little more back to normal.

Stacey went first.  She had asked me a couple times during the week if it was going to hurt.  "Yes", I told her.  She didn't like my answer but well, I have a little experience with piercing and it hurts.  Sometimes for just a minute, sometimes an hour or two and sometime for the whole six weeks til you take that thick stud out and put in an earring with a regular sized post.  She was pleasantly surprised when it didn't hurt as bad as she thought it would.

Dawn did well too and before we knew it, I was up in the chair while two girls were wandering around the store looking for a new pair of earrings for the bottom holes.  Leaving me in the chair to get my ear pierced alone, I went ahead and got it done so I could join them in the shopping.  It was a fun day.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Little Progress

I am pretty excited for the progress I have made in my office area, or as my kids have heard me call it, my "Command Center".  When we moved I didn't have a lot of time to organize everything so that area has been moved to the back burner.

I was so excited about finding my label maker that I decided to use it in a big way!  Over the weekend I pulled everything out of the cabinets in the Command Center and sorted them.  After finding some boxes with organizing items, I pulled a few things out and made them work in the cabinets.

Saturday was a HUGE success.  Everything has a place and that makes me happy!  This week I have continued to organize and label.  It is a good feeling to gain some control of things!

Now, if I can just train the rest of the family to keep their stuff to themselves and off of my counter.  A girl can wish!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Nice Diversion

Last week Mom watched Matthew for a time on three different days.  One of those afternoons, although I was in the middle of some other things at our house, I stayed a little longer and was visiting with her.

Before Christmas I had brought over to her house five new fluffy towels to see if we could embroider the kids' names on them so that they each had a bath towel that they could simply hang up after each shower and I wouldn't be out of towels every other day.

Mom said "we have time to do some right now" and that is how it started.  I think they turned out great and the kids were thrilled!  Now we just need to remove the wall paper from their bathroom and put up some hooks. (And I just may need to save up some money to get the embroidery module for my machine too!)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Break Down

Today it happened...it finally happened.  I have been stressed, I have been healing, I have been frustrated many times in the past six months.  I have wanted to just break down and cry it all out.  I have secretly cursed my anti-depressant because the tears just don't flow when I take it.  I appreciate that it keeps me on a pretty even keel most days but sometimes a girl just needs to cry.

It came on quite unexpectedly although now looking back at my morning, I should not have been surprised, that is the way it usually works.  Not in my room by myself as I tell myself "JUST CRY ALREADY!", no.  This morning I was in my van with my two sweet sons.  I was able to disguise it as very strange sounding giggling, but once I got back to the house, the tears were flowing.

It was a couple of weeks ago driving the boys to school when I was trying to referee an argument that was about to get physical between them in the back seat.  I drove toward a yield sign and didn't see an SUV coming the other direction.  It was a miracle right before my eyes because my van seemed to drive through the tail end of that SUV when it should have crunched into it.  I describe it as a scene from Back to the Future when the Delorian reaches that magic speed and disappears a split second before running into a building or another vehicle.  Totally aware of God's protection as Zach piped in with a white-faced "Mom, that was really close" I knew that he had seen it too.

With that experience not far behind me I know that Yield sign is there.  This morning I am driving toward said intersection and the road was slick  under my tires and I started sliding.  Only being able to do so much with my feet slammed onto the breaks I was pretty close to entering the intersection when the Suburban coming the other way with breaks and skidding passes in front of me.  The man was bald with a long Duck Dynasty type of beard and throws his hand across the windshield to point out to me the Yield sign on my corner of the road.  With a sweeping motion (now that my van had come to a stop) I motioned to him to by all means continue.

I knew that the Yield sign was there, and after the break down and tears came and left I thought long about the situation and knew that he could have been much ruder and he could have flipped me off in front of my boys or any number of things.  But this time it wasn't my fault.  The road was slick.  Again, I drove the rest of the way to school thanking God that He stopped my van before it hit the Suburban.  I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have to exchange insurance information with him.  Somehow in my head an "I am sorry sir, my van wouldn't stop sliding" doesn't seem like words he would have cared to hear.

After the floodgates opened and I got Zach to school, I sat wondering why now?  Why today am I so fragile that an incident like this would start me crying?  Who knows really.  Maybe because it is my husband's birthday and I let him get out the door before I told him happy birthday.  Maybe it is because I have been battling very real spiritual warfare with one of my daughters daily and made a HUGE breakthrough last night.  Maybe it is because it has been a long six months.  Who knows.