Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trying Not to do Too Much...Hmph!

I had the big post-surgery check-up yesterday!  It revealed things are still healing up, and I was firmly told that I am expecting too much of myself.


Okay doctor man.  Okay.

And okay husband and nurse friend and...

Well, maybe I'm a bit stubborn, but goodness me, it's hard to be the momma and not "do too much."  


So, I don't know how, but I'm gonna have to find more time to let my body rest.  Thankfully, I'm only talking about a little soreness and lack of energy.  Nothing major is going on, and I am gaining strength back.  I even walked twice this week outside.

Speaking of outside friends...the midwest is having some lovely days right now!!!  Fall is definitely upon us.  My porch is decorated.  There is a crisp breeze in the morning and evenings. Aaahhhhh!  Love this time of year. 

This weekend, I am hoping to get out with a friend and shoot some pics.  We just found out we have the same cameras and hope to help each other.  That should be fun!

My boys have a youth meeting and are staying with Aunt Erin Saturday so maybe I will even get a date night with honey.

Ohhhhh...and Trey turns 12 on Monday!!!

I'm not sure what we will do to celebrate.  I'm kind-of relieved that he doesn't really like big parties because I'm not quite up to planning that right now.  He enjoys just hanging with a friend and doing something fun so I won't have to do too much.

I have to get caught up on this year's birthday posts for Garrison and Alex too.  I have been so behind with not feeling well.

Okay tah-tah for now.  Have a super weekend everyone!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Odds & Ends

Okay, here are some odds and ends catch-you-ups!

Tuesday marked eight weeks post-surgery for me.  I have been super busy getting back into the swing of school these last two weeks.  I have probably been pushing myself a bit too hard, as I am feeling pretty sore the last few days, so I’m trying to be more mindful of my actions and force myself to rest.  

I had an ultrasound last week, and today I saw the urologist.  Everything looks to be draining properly and functioning well.  I tend to have a lot of inflammation around my abdominal incision when I've been on my feet or sitting for too long.  Overall though, I think I am progressing well, and I have so much more energy now than before my surgery.  I can already tell that I feel much better!

School is going full force now and things are great.  Alex and Trey started at a new co-op one day per week, where I also teach two classes, Health and Introduction to Logic.  Garrison is taking one class at the cottage school he went to last year (Government).  All three boys are in Speech and Debate Club this year. 

We have a bit more running out of the house, but just two weeks in, I know that God led us to where we need to be in this season.  The guys love their new friends and opportunities.  I am definitely enjoying the fellowship with other mommas and teaching classes.

Tom has been home more often since my surgery which has really been a treat for us.  He is such a dedicated worker, husband, daddy…  I’m a blessed woman.

We are attending church at a different location now.  One of our boys was having a bit of a hard time over the last year and after praying and seeking the Lord, we knew it was time to make a change.  I’m very thankful for our time at our previous church.  I’m thankful that we have been treated well and supported by our pastors in the process.  We hold them as friends and miss seeing them.

Hmm…what else is new…

Oh, the dog…well she is 14 now and has congestive heart failure.  Now, she needs medication and it makes her urinate a lot so that’s fun to stay on top of all day…and night.  We love her and she has been a good doggy, but it is time if ya know what I mean. 

Garrison is driving us around everywhere.  He will get his license around the first of November.  Crazy that is even possible.  He was just a baby!!!

That reminds me that I need to do some posts on birthdays that I missed while I was down!  Talk to you soon :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

After Hysterectomy

We are now in August, and tomorrow will mark four weeks since my surgery date. 

I'm lying awake at 4:50 in the morning because my sleep cycle is so messed up at this point from nights of discomfort.

At 10:15 this morning, I have an appointment with a urologist to have a uretic stent removed. That's a long flexible tube of some sort that runs from my left kidney, through the tube, and connects to my bladder.

That's a tube I didn't plan on having. That's an appointment I didn't plan on needing!

In the doctor's words,  it looked like someone had poured glue inside me there was so much scar tissue and adhesions from cysts.

My left ovary (the only one I had left) was encapsulated inside a cyst, as well as lots of scar tissue from previous cysts. In his efforts to get the ovary out, my left ureter was severed.

Now I understand how serious and even fatal this can be if it is not discovered. I rejoice that my GYN has the experience and wisdom to run a dye through the urinary tract and check to make sure things are working correctly and discovered the issue! Other women have not had that experience. Some have lost their life after becoming septic!

A urologist was called in for an emergency repair. (A very skilled urologist thank heaven!)

I ended up being on the operating table from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M. which, as you can imagine, had my family a bit concerned.

I came back to my senses as I was being loaded into an ambulance to be transported from the outpatient facility to a nearby hospital.

After laying and gagging on my dry throat, being shuffled from operating table to bed to gurney to bed, and receiving pain meds much later than should be allowed,  I settled in for a 4-day hospital stay.

I can tell you there have been rough moments, a few horrible moments, and hours of discomfort. However, considering all that happened, I can also say that every prayer I prayed was answered sweetly and God has comforted me.

This situation could have ended so badly. I could have endured terrible pain. But, I have much to be grateful for because it was all manageable as long as I just reclined and rested.

I continue to grow stronger every single day. I'm once again amazed at how the human body regenerates itself. Something I couldn't do the day before, I suddenly can do the next day!

So later this morning I get this uncomfortable stent removed and the pressure on my bladder,  the burning urination,  and the feeling of being kicked in the side or back will be gone!

The pain from my organs fusing together and a uterus full of endometrial tissue and a fibroid is gone. Endometriosis is a thing of the past for me I'm declaring! Cysts will plague me no more! Freedom has come!

I just had my 38th birthday, and I can't think of a much better gift than having my daily life back!

Thank you to all of you who prayed for me, brought meals, sent pizza gift cards,  texted or emailed encouragement, help with my children...

I am blessed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Surgery Soon!

Too long since I updated here! I know this is one of the only ways many of you keep up with us now that we are off Facebook, so I am very sorry about that!  My life got thrown into kind-of a tailspin in April, and things have been buzzing ever since.

I have been dealing with chronic pain and illness for a while now.  I have two major issues: endometriosis and a vertebra that slips out of place in my neck.  That's the very short version of two complex issues that rear their ugly heads in unpredictable ways.  Could I have worse things?  Of course.  But are these things huge nuisances?  You better believe it! I have lost entire days of my life because of pain and I am so, so over it!

The fabulous news is that I was led to two new doctors who know what they are doing and understand these problems extensively.  It was confirmed that I will need a hysterectomy due to all the cysts and endometrial implants in my abdomen.  Summer is obviously the best time for this homeschooling momma to have a surgery, so as we have waited for initial tests and procedures required before the big surgery, I have been trying to quickly tackle all the summer projects I had planned.

The boys have been a huge help and very patient as we have made many changes to not only our home, but also their daily routines.  But, all is well and all is progressing forward.  It looks like surgery will take place July 15 or 16 at this point.  The doctor is just checking some final things and deciding which facility to use for the surgery.

I feel incredibly thankful that I found this specialty physician who knows exactly how to remove endometriosis.  Most people are unfamiliar with how this attacks your body and how debilitating it is. Most gynecologists don't even know much about it or how to help their patients.  Many are told that the pain is all in their head because endo can't be viewed by any screening outside the body.  I only know for sure that I have it because my GYN found it during another surgery in 2012.  I felt better after that, but then all the symptoms started to return.  My specialist is confident endometriosis has returned and that after removal of the uterus, his patients have a 95% rate of no further problems.

Feeling well is almost unfathomable to me at this point.  It's hard to imagine after years of chronic pelvic pain and migraines that I could be pain free, but that is the prayer I continue to pray.  I am believing that by fall, I will feel like a new woman!  And hopefully then we can move forward in our dream and call to adopt!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gal Pal Getaway!

I was in need of some serious reconnect time with two of my girls so while Tom took the guys and some friends to play paintball for Alex's 13th birthday, we got away!

We had tried to get together back in January to celebrate Andrea's birthday, but snowfall, etc... interfered.

This particular Friday was beautiful though, and we left as soon as Amanda got off work. We stopped on the way and grabbed some decorations and horns to blow. We filled a bag full of treats and we were set to celebrate Andrea. We were having her It's-Not-Your-Birthday-But-We-Love-You-Anyway party!

She almost cried. It was sweet. We had dinner, got caught up on each other's happenings, shopped, found some deals, endured a stinky elevator, and ate some more!

Great time. Great memories. Love my framily!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Adoption-Faith Sprouting

Was husband on board with adoption?  

Well, yes, even from the beginning, when I first began to talk about it.  He knows well the beauty and need of adoption...his oldest and youngest sisters are adopted, so Tom was never ever opposed to it, but he didn't seem too ready to pursue it either.  I wasn't sure what that meant.

I tucked the dream far away and continued to think "someday" we would get serious about it.

About a year and a half ago, I was at a retreat as my friend, who has adopted several children from Africa, shared about a friend and her family's situation.  They had adopted a few children as well, and one of their daughters came from China.  She was 13 years old, and sadly, things were not going well.

I do not have specifics of the circumstances that were happening.  I do not know this family.  What I do know from many families who have adopted is that the process and adjustments can go many different ways. 

As I listened to my friend saying that the family was looking to re-home this young lady, well, my gut twisted and my heart ached.  I could not hold back the tears.  All I could think about is what this little girl must be going through and how 13 years ago my heart had been gripped by a little Chinese toddler on T.V.  

My friend, of course, could not help but notice how emotional I was, and as I began to share my dream with her, something broke loose inside me.  By the end of our conversation, she was asking if I wanted to talk to this family.

I. Didn't. Know.

What???  What was happening?  Was this God?  Could He have stepped into my life 13 years earlier, when this little baby girl was being born, to get my attention and prepare my heart to receive her? It was amazing and humbling to even consider that He may do such a magnificent thing!

I began texting Tom about all of it, as I couldn't even hold in the possibility that God may be up to something so unbelievable!  When I arrived home, we talked extensively, naturally going over the lists of pros and cons.  In the end, as with everything in our lives, we knew the bottom line was, "Father, what is your will?"

We determined not to push anything...only to wait and pray, seek and listen.  We knew we were not the answer for this precious girl if it was not God's will.

As it turns out, it wasn't God's plan for her to join our family, but God absolutely anointed her as a catalyst for our journey!  

Her name is Faith, and I know with all my heart that she became part of our story to get our attention and get me praying for the one(s) who will be coming home to us.

Faith increased my faith to believe that the dream wasn't meant to just be a dream and that the God of the universe could absolutely orchestrate a mind-blowing set of circumstances to get any child He ordained into our home!

So now I knew my husband was really willing, but did he dream too?  Did he desire to pursue this?  Did he regard it as an option or accept it as a calling?  

I had more praying to do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sweet Muddy Memories

What a beautiful 74-degree day this has been!

After spending the day with a sweet friend and getting all the boys home, I laid outside on a blanket and soaked in some sun while kids ran all around getting out their pent-up winter energy.

C'mon spring! I choose to ignore the chance of snow flurries for tomorrow. I love winter, but I have officially had my fill now. :-)

Trey, cousin Ethan, and neighbor Noah went off to play in the woods. Garrison and cousins, Adalee and Hadassah, hung out with little neighbor Addi. Who knows what Alex was doing, though probably avoiding any chance of spring allergens trying to rear their ugly heads! 

The dogs were giddy and the mommas were walking. New neighbors came outside, and the smell of grill smoke wafted through the warm air.

Ahhhhhhh! GREAT DAY!

For the second evening in a row, I enjoyed dinner with my sisiter-in-law/one of my besties, Rebekah. We always laugh our heads off together. Such a blessing to be so close all these years! And to live on the same street? LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

When I walked into the house, I found a trail of mud. Turns out that Trey and his buds decided to have a mud fight! Two of them were now in my showers.

Trey was assuring me he had cleaned things up well as I am looking at the mud caked in his ear! Really son? My bathroom is clean, but you can't even manage your own ear?

I was slightly afraid to look.

So I didn't.

Trey went on telling us about this grand adventure when we stopped him to ask if they had gotten into the mud of the neighbor's current yard project.  His reply: "We're dumb, but not that dumb!"

Hmmm...what do you say to that?

Well, I'm a veteran mom now! I lived through Alex!

I just laughed and said, "Okay, well you just decide how many times you want to clean the bathroom then, because you will keep doing it until it's clean."

He did a pretty decent job. There were only three spots I just found on the shower curtain. :-\

Cousin Ethan...well, he has been in mud predicaments before, so he opted for hosing off in the cold water outside first. Just heard  that his momma found his trail through her bathroom.

Eh, what are ya gonna do? I can just hear the shouts and laughter that must have ensued during that mud war! So wish I had pics of the aftermath to share, but these will have to do... Evidence Exhibit A and two stinking adorable girls! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Adoption-Seed Planted

Garrison, our oldest son, was two years old.  I was standing in my bedroom holding him one morning when a little toddler girl from China caught my eye on the television.  The show was called Life Today, and they were doing a special on how many girls were orphaned in China because of the country's law that a family could only have one child.  Most families want males which fills the orphanages up with discarded baby girls.

My heart was gripped forever.

I think that was the first time I really paid any attention to what went on outside of my country.  Sad but true.  I was 22 years old.

I looked at my son in my arms, thought about how much I loved him and wanted him.  I thought about how special each and every child all over the world is to God...about how precious every single life is.

I knew that someday, someway, our family would be part of adoption.  It wasn't a wish, it was a confident knowing.

I am a researcher.  I study.  I plan.  But God said no; I was not to do that with this.  I was to wait and to trust.

So I tucked that dream away very close to my heart.  I don't even think I told my husband for quite some time.

That was thirteen years ago.

That dream has never died.  It has only grown stronger.

As I met families who have adopted, it grew.
As I watched more adoption stories on T.V., it grew.
As I traveled to foreign soil and held orphans in my arms, it grew.
As I raised my sons and saw what a loving family can do for a child, it grew.

This desire feels like something I must do...that I am supposed to do.

But...what about my husband?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Adoption-The Nudging

I feel impressed to start sharing about our road to adoption.  This is difficult for me, as I still battle allowing myself to dream and believe. What if I get my hopes up and it doesn't happen?

But, then I am convicted.  Shouldn't our hope always be up as Christians?

Why would there be such a strong desire in my heart to adopt if I wasn't supposed to?  Why would my husband be totally open to it if we aren't to do something with that?

This is a desire in my heart that I have carried for 13 years!

This entire issue is so precious and personal and intimate to me that it is hard to lay it out there and share it.  

If you know me, you know I am pretty open about all things.  I see no good come out of living a fake life, avoiding transparency in relationship, or keeping on a mask that isolates us from one another.

But, when it comes to this I struggle putting my dream out before the world.

Nevertheless, not my will be done, but God's.  I feel the nudge that it is time, and so in the days to come, as He enables me to release my treasured dream, I will share how this is unfolding.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Things Stirring

Happy Friday blog world!

It's been a pretty good week for us aside from the migraine I had.  I hadn't had one in a while, and I definitely didn't miss it!

But, life goes on.  Otherwise, I am feeling so much better these days and getting more accomplished.  

I have had a lot of interesting prayer time with the Lord lately, and we are moving closer to adopting I believe.  It seems this year is going to be a big year for us, with August being an important month, but I don't know how the details will play out.

We are waiting, listening, preparing, anticipating.

Meanwhile, I will have a junior next year and that means it is time to look at colleges!

EEK!  That just seems unbelievable!  And to think of graduating one and potentially adopting a baby or two...

Well, who knows but God how it will all work out, but I am determined to walk out His plan for our family.  I am resolute that I will trust Him with the details and not be anxious about anything!

I'm confident it will all be beautiful in the end.

We just gave our checks to sponsor our two students in Nicaragua.  I didn't get to go with the mission team last year, and I don't think it is God's plan that I go this year.  That is hard!  My letter from our sweet Deiling ended with, "I'll be waiting for you."   

I wish you could see these precious children when they see us.  They wait and look forward to visiting with us and those hugs are the BEST!  But, I have to do what the Lord leads and not what my flesh wants.

God even opened the door for us to sponsor more children this year, so there are even more connections to be made. But, I will wait for His timing to take us there.  I must be obedient above all things...even when it crucifies me.

Anyway, lots going on in my heart, but not sure how to articulate all of it today.  I'll try to write the full post on adopting soon :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sickness OVER!

Finally, we seem to be over the viruses that assailed us!  We have been very busy with schoolwork and other projects.  We've had lots of time stuck in the house because of all the snow and ice, but with all three boys needing computers to do school, I haven't been able to blog.  I am now typing from my new computer my honey got me for Valentine's Day!  He had tried to get me one before, but it just wasn't working well and had to be returned.  Now I have this fancy thing I have to try to figure out!  hmmmmm

Tom was sent on a week-long trip to CA where he won engineer of the year for his region!  That was super exciting for him.  After years of hard work and having his dream of being an officer in the military crushed by a back injury, it was sweet to hear that he has been recognized for outstanding service.  He was also rewarded a trip to a very nice resort in Mexico for the two of us!!!

So, of course that means I am now in work-out mode getting ready for the beach.  EEK!  It should be a fabulous time.  We never really had a honeymoon.  We spent the four days after our wedding driving to Washington to Tom's new submarine.  This should be a lovely trip for us as we approach 18 years of marriage!

Garrison is currently in physical therapy three days per week for a neck injury he got a few years ago playing tackle football.  His neck has hurt ever since, but finally we have better answers and the therapy is helping.

Alex went for a check-up with the eye specialist.  Thankfully, the histoplasmosis scars have not gotten bigger like they had last time.  As long as they don't stretch and tear, he is good.  If they were to tear, this could cause bleeding in the eye.  If he has any changes in his vision, we have to look at the only questionable therapy known: injecting a colon cancer drug into his eye of all things.  No thank you.  Let's just be done with it all please!

I am happy to say that I have been seeing great improvements in my health.  I have been on doTerra's Lifelong Vitality Pack for almost a month and using their various essential oils daily for different issues.  I cannot rave enough about how they are helping me!  I have energy again.  I am sleeping again.  I have had no migraines!  On and on, success after success with these oils!  I'll have to do a specific post about that sometime soon.  

So not too much happening right now, other than our busy daily grind.  Oh wait!  I did just get to go on a retreat with my homeschool momma pals!  That was a blast!  I will write more about that over on Our Learning Pursuit if you want to connect to that through this blog. :)  

Happy trails everyone

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not Yet I Guess

Wow! We are still dealing with sickness here. Garrison has yet to stop coughing! Tom came home with a stomach bug on Friday and last night Garrison was sick with that too. I'll be back to writing when I have time to catch my breath!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's Taboo!

Getting together just isn't getting together without some fun game time!  Aside from our somewhat mean games of Dutch Blitz, we also played Taboo.  I love these pictures!  So many expressions captured to remind us of many laughs!

Sister Christmas 2013

We have been blessed with so many sweet young adults who have either lived with us or hung around a lot.  Each year, those who can, come back, and we have "little brother/big sister" Christmas.  It's so much fun.  This year, Andrea, Laura, and Amanda were here. (And a couple of little munchkins too :)

 a little brown bag?!?! Bloomingdales!!!

 our little teacher!
 I hope that means she likes it

 a little kissey from the pup!  eeewww

 she got a blankie!
 Sesame Street paper! tee hee hee
we miss her