Friday, August 11, 2017

I Survived Summer and Starting School!

Mama's, summer is no joke!  It's fast, it's fun, it's full and at our house it's over.  It went out with a bang!  I spent several days at my parents beach house and let each of my kids bring a friend.  It was really fun.....

Lots of laughs

Lots of memories

Lots of food

Lots of sunshine

After our friends left we headed into a weeklong family vacation, that was exactly what the doctor ordered!

We came home, unpacked, and hit the ground running because 5 short days after vacation ended school began!

So on Thursday, I sent my four kiddos back to school.  The big one heads back in a couple weeks!

Sophia was headed to the brand new high school!  It's so pretty!!!!

She is absolutely in LOVE with high school.  She came home beaming.

Jackson and Lydia both started middle school.  That is crazy!  Lydia came home bubbling over with excitement about school and talking about all the friends she made.  Jackson made lots of friends and came home with a new nickname, "Jay"! There is another Jackson in his Jay it is!  They were a little bummed when they realized that they were twinning on the first day of was accidental!

As I was talking to Jackson before bed last night, I asked him who the prettiest girl in his class was.  He rolled his eyes and reluctantly admitted, "Lydia".  So sweet!

Audrey is in the fifth grade, and she is crazy about her teachers and already making friends.  Sophia asked her if she had done any of her voices at school yet.  She hasn't.....yet.  They have no idea.....I'm sure she will come out of her shell in a few days :)

I did tear up a little on Thursday as I dropped off the last kiddo.  Just for a bit though.  This is a new chapter for me.  I've homeschooled most of my adult life....and the one year they did go to school before I taught school.  So I'm home alone....and it is weird....and I must admit....a bit wonderful!

I've been stopping at the Riverwalk on my way home from school and walking and listening to music and I love it!  It is quiet and beautiful.

I am hopeful that this will become a habit.

I've also enjoyed unrushed Quiet Times with Peach Tea and uninterrupted Phone Calls with sweet friends.

So far it has been a lot of the same....Laundry, Dishes, Cooking, Cleaning, Planning, Organizing.

It is easier and quieter.

Except not the paperwork.....there is a lot of paperwork!

It's also a little different.....Packing Lunches, Morning Rush, Afternoon Carlines.....

And different because my breakfast game has been on point....(I'll try to remember to blog when I throw Pop tarts at them too!)

But it's also different because life feels a bit more restful....a lot less I can breathe a little.

(a little inspiration found on my morning walk)

I love my crew and am so excited to see them each afternoon and hear their stories and about their days but the break has been nice....very, very nice.  Except when Mindy tears up the trash and I'm the only one to clean it!  Just keeping it real......

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Foot

365 Days ago I had foot surgery.  My left foot was in constant and tremendous pain.  It hurt to stand, it hurt to walk, it hurt to sit.  It hurt all the time.  So after about a year of pain and multiple doctor appointments the date was set for surgery.  It was an extensive surgery that involved a bone graft, a screw, cutting and lengthening a tendon in my leg, cutting my heal bone and realigning it....and lots of other fun and painful stuff! If I had known the pain and rehabilitation involved I would have thought VERY hard before deciding to do this surgery.  I never could have imagined the pain involved in learning to walk again.  I only went about 9 weeks without walking nevertheless my muscles atrophied in that time period more than I could have fathomed.  Two weeks ago, I would have said it was not worth having surgery.  I was still in pain.  It was a different pain but it was still a very real pain.  I was still limited in my activity and had to be very careful when navigating rocky or uneven terrain.  However, two weeks ago I got a cortisone shot, which for me was a game changer, so now I'm beginning to think that yes I would do it again.  Perhaps the pain has been worth it.  I've had about two weeks of minimal to pain-free living.  It has been amazing!  My hope is that the shot is what I needed to get over the final hump of healing.

The first photo was taken just two weeks ago, it was right before my cortisone shot. The next photo was taken about 3 days post cortisone shot.

This is the 3 days post cortisone shot again....and then about 10 days post shot.....

The improvement in my foot feels as dramatic as it looks.....

So in my excitement over feeling better, I decided to start training for a 5K.  Randy was pretty much outraged and thought it may have been one of my worst ideas ever, and I have had some bad ones.

So I reluctantly called my doctor and left a message with the nurse, who called me back within the hour to tell me it was indeed a bad idea.  She talked to the doctor who said running a 5K in March would increase my risk of re-injury and I should not run one before June and encouraged me to wait until September and suggested that I elliptical, swim, walk, or bike for a while first.  So still no running for me!

On another note:

I'm super excited about Christmas!  I feel like I missed it last year.  I was so drugged and out of it.  So I'm ready to celebrate.  I'm really thankful for all the friends that have stood by my side through this last year.  I'm thankful for you inviting me to limp along on all our fun adventures and never being annoyed at me for being so slow.  You guys are the best!  I'm thankful for how well you loved us and fed us and cared for us in the months immediately following surgery!

I'm so blessed!
Merry Christmas!

PS Someone may want to mention my desperate need for a pedicure to Randy as a possible Christmas gift!


Monday, November 21, 2016

The Rescue

As I read in Genesis this morning about Dinah's rape and how her brothers tricked the prince and came in and destroyed the city so that they could rescue Dinah from her capture a part of me just wanted to cheer.  There is something deep within my soul that just loves a good rescue story.  I love good conquering evil.  I love vindication.  My mind can't help but turn to the greatest rescue of all time.  How Jesus rescued me.  I too was a prisoner.  Locked away and held captive by my own evil and sinful desires and actions and thoughts.  I had no hope.  Yet Jesus saw me.  Before the foundation of the earth, he picked me and knew me and loved me and formulated the greatest rescue plan of all time.  The plan to save me from my sins.  How amazing and loving is that?  So as thanksgiving approaches I'm thankful.  I'm thankful that despite my undeserving, wretched, sinful, rebellious way.....due to nothing I've ever done or deserved.....he chose me in him.  He entered our sin-soaked world and he was born of a virgin and he lived the perfect life and then was nailed to a tree for my sinfulness.  His Father God turned away from him because of my sin on Him.  The agony, the pain, the shame, the suffering for me.  That is a great rescue.  That is the most unbelievable love.  Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Halfway there...

It has been 27 days since Randy and I left Andrew at school.  Definitely the longest I've gone without seeing him, and I still have 27 more days until he comes home, yes I am counting!  My goodness what is a Mama to do?  I miss his face, I made him text me a picture the other day just so I could see him!   I must say it was ROUGH starting out. I don't think you can really know until you've walked the road.  I knew it would be hard, but it was not how I thought.  There was lots of crying and a bit of withdrawal from people and things, but it was a necessary part of my grieving for a huge chapter of my life that ended, and praise the Lord it is becoming easier! I'm getting into the groove of my new normal.  I do still miss him like crazy and think of him multiple times each day, but there is great joy and satisfaction in seeing your child make good choices and being so excited about life and functioning so well independent of Mom and Dad.  He loves his church, his community group, his classes, the city, and has made so many friends.  I'm just happy that he is so happy and I love so many of the choices he is making. I'm proud of him and it has nothing to do with some secret parenting recipe, it is all the grace of God.  Thank you Lord!

One thing I've wondered through the process is what happened to my blogging?  I used to write it all down.  I wanted to preserve and record photos and memories.  After reflecting a bit I've come up with several conclusions:

1.  I'm busy....and when I don't have anything to do I don't want anything to do.....

My last week, 4 days of which were spent without Randy and Jackson because they were on a little road trip, went like this:

Get Sophia to school and home each day and do school with my three at home in the meantime.  In addition we've had: 3 days of swim team,2 football games (one Jackson and one Duke), a football practice (we actually had 2, but skipped one), a Sunday School Lesson to prepare for and teach, a church picnic, 3 dentist appointments, a 2 hour clogging practice, a clogging show, a gymnastics class, a history class to prepare for and teach, a teacher luncheon at Sophia's school to sautee onions and peppers for and help setup, a meal to prepare and take to a friend,  Co-op, Nursery, a piano lesson, a doctor's appointment, and of course regular house stuff: grocery shopping, errands for a birthday gift and props for a play and ink for the computer, dishes had to be done, laundry is never ending, and disciplining which is a lot like laundry....constant.  And there was banking, and meals to prepare and lunches to pack and I wish I could say cleaning....but I didn't do that unless you count walking around picking up scattered trash and dishes and wiping the table and telling the kids to pickup their stuff and take out the trash.....that was the extent this week.....and the thing is this  is what is like to be a busy mom.  I'm not special....this week wasn't's just life and it is at a busy stage!  So blogging is not what is used to be!

2.  I want to respect my kids privacy.  I used to be an open book, but as my kids grow and develop and mature I want them to have the freedom to do so without the fear of my telling everyone about it.

3.  I realize how unknowledgeable I am, and I in no way want to come across as "an expert" or judgmental , or awesome, cause I'm not.

4.  I'm living it.  Sometimes in an effort to take pictures and blog the beauty of the moment can be lost.  So I may blog and I will take pictures, but only sometimes......

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We are still here....

As I prop myself to a half sitting, half laying state I must admit this is the best I've felt in 48 hours.  It's been a rough couple days....months really.  As most of you know I had a major foot reconstruction right before Christmas, which left me non-weight bearing for a couple months.  I just started walking again at the beginning of the month and we have been nothing but SICK.

It started with our home school field trip. 

When I came back I was worn out.  I thought I was getting sick but decided I had just walked too much on my newly working foot.  So we headed out of town to a swim meet.  I was so glad we went.  The kids had a blast and swam well. 

Then.....Sophia woke up on day 2 of the swim meet with the stomach bug.  The stomach bug slowly worked through Sophie and me and Randy.  Then we were finally all healthy again and Audrey woke up, at a friends house, burning up with fever.  Then I got sick and then Sophia got sick.  The flu has been working its way through our family this week.  I seriously have never felt this sick in my life.  I guess I forgot to get the flu shot.  I always get the flu shot!  My kids always get the flu shot!  I don't know how I forgot....I guess I was too busy laughing at Randy when he spent his time at the fair getting a flu shot.....guess who's laughing now?!?

Not really....Randy has been so sweet!  I actually fainted yesterday when I was taking the girls to the doctor.  He left work and came and got us and then took me to my appointment later that day.  He took care of dinner and picked up all our meds.  He has waited on us all hand and foot.  For months....seriously.  I'm sure he's getting a bit tired of us all being sick and handicapped. 

It was spring break this week.  I had envisioned having friends to play.  Sleeping in.  Watching Duke basketball.  It had even crossed my mind to do a day trip to the beach.  No school.  Beautiful weather.  I was pumped!  I was going to do really good on the Easter Baskets because I had majorly failed on Valentines Day.......this foot....seriously has me off my game.  So Easter Baskets...are not looking good.  I think I have a pack of gum and Reese peanut butter eggs and that is it.  How I'm feeling now.....I'm thinking Easter fail.

So to say this Spring Break was a bit disappointing would be accurate.

School starts again Monday.  We should be healthy just in time.

Summer is coming.  The sun is shining.  Tamiflu works.  Jesus has risen.  There are things to celebrate!  So even if I don't remember Christmas, I totally flaked on Valentines, and Easter is not looking much better I am trying to remind myself that this is just a season.  This too shall pass.  I will be able to clean the house and celebrate holidays and enjoy the beautiful weather soon. 

If I go missing one day soon....just know I've probably grabbed a book, skipped town for the day and headed east.  I miss the beach.  The salt.  The sand.  The sunshine.  Ahhhh.....almost. summer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Day of Life and Death

February 10, 2001 dawned like any other day.  It seemed surreal that the world should continue to spin and the sun should dare to shine as my entire life was shattering in a hospital room.  It seemed a cruel cosmic joke that I should be on my second day of hard, painful, labor surrounded by the cries of newborns while I was struggling to give birth to my broken heart.  A time of celebration shouldn't be marred this way.  It was 15 years ago.  I was only 25.  I was forced by the tyranny of the urgent to ask questions no woman should have to ask.

Will he be decayed?  No
Will he be a mass of tissue or a baby?  A baby
How will he get out of me?  Labor
Will it hurt like regular labor?  Yes
How long will it take?  A long time
Will you put me in labor or wait for me to go into labor?  Its up to you.
Can you just knock me out and give me a C-section?  No it will cause complications with future pregnancies.
What will you do with him after he's born?  We will examine him and bring him to you to hold.
Are you going to throw him away?  No. 
Can we have him and bury him?  Yes.
How can a baby die inside you right before he is supposed to be born?  A knot in the umbilical cord.

And so after a day and half of labor and buckets of tears, as the world around me celebrated life I gave birth to death and named him Matthew; a gift from God.  I chose to name him "a gift", and that is what he has been.

His life taught me God's goodness is not dependent on my situation.  His life taught me of the value and worth of the pre-born life.  His life taught me that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

I thought I had learned the lessons of Matthew.  However, God had more gifts for me.  In total God fashion 5 years later at the very same hospital, during an emergency C-section I gave birth to a dream.  My twinkies;  Jackson and Lydia.  I had wanted twins my entire life and on February 10, 2006 God gave me these two wonderful gifts.

Today we celebrate the lives of two precious people.

Jackson---is tough as nails on the outside and has the most tender heart of anyone I have ever met.  He is quick to seek forgiveness when he sins.  He loves football, Duke, and eating.   He eats all the time!  Seriously, All.  The. Time.  He sleeps like a rock and wakes up ready to roll. He is LOUD.  He is SWEET.  He is Messy!  He is STRONG WILLED.  He is smart and a total out of the box thinker.  He is a rule breaker.  He likes people.  He likes music.  He likes to be outside.  He is built like a freight train.  He is thick and tall and strong.  What a gift!


Lydia----is compassionate.  She cares about how others feel.  She loves to think, to read, and to bake.  She is an amazing writer.  She loves to craft.  She is an early bird. She does not like to stay up late at night.  At bedtime she wants to go to bed. She is quiet.  She is a leader.  She doesn't mind being alone.  In fact she needs time alone and is the most likely child in our family to retreat to her room throughout the day for peace and quiet.  She is organized.  She likes to plan.  She is a rule follower.  She is built like a flower.  Delicate and willowy.  What a gift!

I am so excited to celebrate their lives today!  How on earth can they be 10 years old?!?!  Double digits!!!!

God gave us two.  How amazingly like God.  God gives ABUNDANTLY and yes sometimes God does take away, and it is devastating.  May the name of the Lord be praised.  I learned from this little date "coincidence" how in the details God is.  How much he loves and cares for me.  It can bring me to tears when I think of the unmerited grace he lavishes on my life.  Amazing grace. 

I thought the lessons were learned.  I'm always thinking that!  Yet still he teaches and reveals.  My heart forever has a hole and I think I need my Matthew to fill it but God faithfully whispers to my heart and reminds me....I only need him.  He fills the empty.  He heals the wounded.  He binds up the broken hearted.  His light shines through the cracks in my life.  I need his filling.

The last few years I've learned that all the gifts from Matthew's life have not been what others would consider "good gifts".  I not only learned some important truths about God I also grabbed up some fear issues and an idol along the way.

These last few years I've begun to realize how much of my life has been controlled by fear.  Fear of losing a child.  Fear of catastrophe.  Fear of crime.  Fear.  Much of what I do and how I live is motivated by fear.  Many of my sentences start with, " I was afraid that....."  In the wake of losing Matthew I've gone from loving my children to worshiping them.  My family can easily become my idol of choice.  That my friends is sin.  15 years after that fateful February.  The day my heart was torn and my world was shattered and I'm still healing.  I'm still learning.  God is still binding up this Mama heart.  I was changed that day.  Some of the changes were good.  Some of the changes were bad.  Yet I know  God measured it out and decided it was for my good.  The pain, the loss, the hole, the empty...he named good.

Thankful again for all God's good gifts.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Surgery Post #3

Oh my word.....I'm getting there!  Thursday marked 1 month from surgery!!  Now the good news is I'm now basically a professional scooter driver and my energy has almost returned to normal range.  I am like totally pain free and starting to be able to function in some household tasks pretty well!  Whew!  It has been a journey!

The big news from last week is that I did finally venture out for a drive.  On Thursday I even took the 4 youngest out to run errands.  It took forever, but it felt good to be able to run around with the kids and get some things done! 

My biggest complaint these days are itchy skin, hairy legs, and cracking peeling dry skin on my foot and leg.  I think this can all be cured in a few more weeks with a nice bath, a razor, some good lotion, a professional pedicure and I might even need a massage!  I'm pretty sore! 

So the cast is coming off IN 10 more days!!!!  That will be a happy moment.  As long as the x-rays look good I will be upgraded from a cast to a walking boot and from a scooter to a walker!  Then if all goes as planned 5 more weeks and I will be in my shoes with a brace and orthotic and ready to walk and start PT!  Things are definitely looking up!

Everything around here, with the exception of me, is still moving quickly!

Randy is still running.  He is still loving his job.  He's been super great taking care of me and the house. 

The snow has been nice.  It has kept Andrew home!  He starts his day about 5:30, by heading to the pool to swim for an hour before school.  Spends his day at school.  Comes home and has dinner and then heads back to the pool for more practice, most nights.  When he gets home he's hungry and tired!  He's such a hard worker and I'm so proud of him.  Still anxiously waiting to hear from his schools.  Senior year over halfway done!

Sophia has been bitten by the swimming bug.  She started out swimming for more social reasons but now she loves the sport.  She has gotten so much stronger!  She not only loves swimming, she loves her big brother.  One of her favorite parts of the day is riding to and from night practice with Andrew.  She's gonna miss him!

Jackson is an absolute giant and his favorite things to do include jumping on the trampoline with Daddy, watching Steelers and Duke with the boys, and throwing the baseball with Andrew and Randy.  He asked last week if when Andrew leaves for school could we please adopt a little boy?  Uhm....No.  I do think I will need to make an effort to have some boys over for him to hang out with!  Too many girls in the house for his taste!

Lydia is still a busy little bee with clogging, piano, and gymnastics.  She still has energy left to burn and has taken up running like her Daddy.  She ran 2 miles around the circle in front of our house last week and liked it so much she did it again the next day and the next.  She is very driven and likes to be busy.  She is also VERY organized and LOVES to plan.  Her favorite part of her birthday is planning it.  Her favorite part of vacation is making a minute by minute schedule.  She is a girl after my own heart. 

Audrey is CrAzY.  She is so funny.  She loves to do stand up routines for us in the evenings after dinner.  She really makes me laugh.  She loves her dog and pictures of herself.  She is a total people person and what I imagine Randy would be like if he were a girl!  So much fun!  She still loves to be held and to snuggle.  Only problem is it is getting harder and harder to hold her!  One thing that has been a particular blessing to us in the past weeks is her love of washing dishes.  Our dishwasher broke, along with everything else we own: our closet rod, our water heater, our microwave, Andrew's car, my foot.....seriously everything.  Little Audrey has proved a faithful little dishwasher.  What a blessing to our family!