Saturday, October 30, 2010

a personal look inside a survivors heart...

Everybody knows the symbol 

Most everybody has been touched by it, someway.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I am a Survivor!

(disclaimer- this is a long one.. just saying)


Breast Cancer affects every person differently.  A very dear friend of ours died as a result of breast cancer.  HE was one of the most Godly men I ever knew.  Breast Cancer is non-discriminatory. It is not a woman's disease.  Cancer is ugly- period.

my journey started with a sense- a sense that something was wrong.  i was barely 30.  i went for a mammogram- willing to pay on my own, since insurance wouldn't approve- i was too young.  the phrase, "i'm sure everything is fine, but" became my most hated phrase.  It was never fine.  I never paid for that mammogram.  Insurance paid for all the mammograms, sonograms, biopsies, follow-up visits, scans, and blood work.  The next several years, I lived my life on a 3-6 month timetable.  Every time I'd go, I'd hear that hated phrase, "i'm sure everything is fine, but" and there would be more tests, more biopsies, more xrays, more waiting. 

we lived our lives waiting for the big C word- so my hair could fall out, i could take chemo and get on with life.

then, in the fall of 2003 life-changing decisions had to be made.  the oncologist advised it wasn't if but when all the abnormality in my body was officially called cancer. the 14 cysts in one breast, and the ugliness and deformity of what was left of my other breast were screaming for attention.  what was hiding behind the cysts were also of great concern.  with each biopsy, a new cyst grew.  it was time.  the surgeons request- radical bi-lateral mastectomy(with immediate reconstruction).  he wanted to get the cancer, BEFORE it got me. 

i never was a "breast" woman- if you know what i mean- but what about my honey.  would he still love me?  could I do it? how did I know this was the right thing?

i prayed.  one of those prayers that you pray when you're desperate to do the right thing.  when you need God to answer in a BIG way.  a GOD ONLY way.  you've prayed those prayers.  sometimes He doesn't answer the way we want, when we want.  this time He did. 

it was a friday afternoon.  my surgeon had completed the necessary paperwork.  it would be 4-5 weeks before we got an answer from the insurance company.  it always takes a while to get an approval.  more waiting.  more praying.

i remember going to the altar that sunday morning. praying. crying. scared to have the surgery, scared not to have the surgery.  i had a son i wanted to see drive, get married, give me grandchildren.  i had a husband i adored.  i had life to live.  i was scared.  i remember the hands of my precious friend- cheryl - touch me as she knelt beside me.  teri was there- she always was there. 

monday morning- on my way to work.  i prayed.  i remember exactly what i prayed. 

God please, i need to know this is the right decision.  I need you to give me a God only answer.  please just show me this is the right thing.

around 9:30 that morning I got a phone call from my surgeon.  the insurance had approved the surgery- and i was scheduled for December 19, 2003. 

did you catch the significance here- less than 1 full business day of my surgeon filing the paperwork, the insurance company had approved the surgery.  God had given me my BIG, GOD ONLY answer.

my surgery got bumped- so instead of an early morning procedure, i waited nearly all day before finally going into surgery.  when i went into surgery that day we didn't know what the future would look like.  chemo- radiation- or successful surgery with no additional treatment.  my surgeon wanted nothing left where the cancer could grow.  they took EVERYTHING. 

on christmas eve we got the diagnosis- benign.  no chemo or radiation required.  Merry Christmas to us!


me and my shayne- christmas day 2003

it was months before i could put thoughts on paper.  denial or just exhaustion from trying to recover from such major surgery?

here are a few excerpts of my journal...

3/11/04 9pm
"the decision to have the surgery was easy in comparison to living with the decision after it was made.  the excruciating pain i felt in the hospital- way more than i could have ever prepared for.  breathing hurts! 6 months to get my strength back.  i'm 3 month's away from the surgery and still hurting, still frustrated.  my tears fall without reason.  i am continually exhausted.  i am different than i was on 12-19-03, and i'll never be the same. waiting for a bone scan- my surgeon thinks my ribs are caving in."

3/14/04 9:30 pm
"so many people at church today commented on how good i looked.  a few ask how I am doing.  when i tell them the truth- they change the conversation.  they're being nice. debbie keeps telling me how strong i am.  i don't feel strong. i feel weak.  i feel fragile. i feel like i will break if you touch me.  i am afraid to feel. i hope to feel "finished" some day, now i feel like a project"

3/16/04 9:30 p.m.
"today is the day i lost the battle of my will- my will to be stronger than this thing i am in the midst of.  the tears, real tears have started and i cannot seem to turn them off.  i spent the morning dreading the afternoon, and the expansion, and the bone scan.... i knew i was in trouble at the hospital, when they told me to lay flat for the scan.  easiest test ever and i couldn't do it.  i couldn't breathe.  it hurt.  the tears were puddling on the table below me.  the technician had to help me up.  i was free to go."

Wed 3/17/04
"today has been a better day.  i am anxious to hear the results.  the new pain medicine is working, i think.  i woke up with 'refiners fire' playing in my head.  i know God is teaching me something that i'll be able to use for his glory.  i am so blessed to have rex who has been so supportive.  i couldn't go through this without him.  he is a truly awesome man"


rex and me--- early 2004

3/24/04 9:10 am
"i am waiting for Dr M's office to call - i am in a lot of pain this morning.  moving my head, breathing in and out, leaning forward, moving forward all bring intense pain.  movement of any kind is very difficult.  why am i in so much pain. 




Friday 4/23/04
"this is the closest i have felt to normal in months- i am exhausted and my ribs are killing me but i spent the day doing mom things- planning shayne's birthday party.  granted it took me all day to do what would normally take a couple of hours but i felt like i accomplished something and i didn't feel like crying all day.  i actually had some fun.  maybe there is light at the end of this tunnel."

Wed 4/28/04
"the day is finally here- i've been so anxious for this surgery.  as hard and painful as these last few months have been, i have learned what to expect.  all that is going to change again in a few hours.  what if they are wrong and the pain doesn't go away.  what do i do then?  i want my life back and i am so afraid it will never be normal again."

i had another surgery for the reconstruction on 4/29/04.  there were multiple visits for expansion between december and april- which was the cause of so much of the pain.  my ribs did cave in during the process.  i never could lay flat, or sleep comfortably in a bed during this time.  i slept very little, and took comfort in little things, like the train whistle around 4 am each day- a sign that i had survived one more night, and was one day closer to the end.  joy comes in the morning , right.

Friday 4/30/04 6:30 p.m.
"THANK YOU LORD!"  the surgery is over and m. was right.  immediately after gaining enough consciousness to try, i took a deep breath and it didn't hurt.  the intense pressure and pain inside my body is gone.  Thank You God! ....God gave me back my femininity- the fear i have lived with for months is gone.  i feel hopeful and excited.  it is a good feeling.  Thank you God, again, you have been faithful to me!"


there were two more surgeries that followed through the rest of 2004 to complete the reconstruction process. there were more days of pain, and fear, and frustration. even today, i am constantly reminded of the decision made in 2003.



 
photo taken december '04- days after my final reconstruction surgery


I felt guilty for a long time saying that--survivor word.  i felt like it wasn't right to call myself a survivor.  my doctors and nurses disagreed.  they call me an early survivor.  i cheated, and I got the cancer before it got me.

cancer is an ugly thing.  that "normal fun" day i mentioned in april '04.  turned out not to be such a great day. that same day, teri called me to tell me they thought she had cancer.  no way.    way. 

God, in His sovereignty allowed best friends to walk a journey of cancer together. over the next several months the focus shifted to teri, her diagnosis, treatments, long days. watching her kids.  praying.

10/9/04 12:43 a.m.
"we kept k & p tonight.  they got here to pick them up and t. was sick.  all of us were thinking the same thing but afraid to say it out loud.   had the chemo finally hit?  maybe just a flu bug.  she threw up and layed down on my bed for a while and they left about 12:15am.  i was amazed by how the fear of what could be comes flooding back, it is overwhelming. we are so desperate to to fix things. and so many times in life, like with my dearest friend tonight, there are no fixing, just living, just surviving.  the thought of my friend being sick like this for the next several months breaks my heart.  i want her to be healthy.  to be around to bug me 20 years from now when we've been through menopause and can't remember where we put the milk.  i want, i want.  i know i must trust God's plan. what if his plan is different than mine.  will i be able to embrace Him without moving away.  we all desperately need God and his grace and mercy to get through this, I know He is faithful.

11/18/04- robin reconstruction surgery
11/22/04- went with teri while she had chemo
12/28/04- robin last outpatient surgery for skin grafts
1/2/05- teri last chemo

our stories are very different. she never had to have surgery. i never had to have chemo. she lost almost all her hair. i kept mine. i got forever perky boobs.  she....  let's move on.  she was there for me, and i was there for her. we just kept living. and praying. it was a privilege for her to trust me enough to let me in on the ugliness of her cancer. it was an honor for her to walk beside me.
 
 
laverne & shirley (aka teri & robin 2004) matching wigs!
   
Friday 2/4/05
"THANK YOU JESUS! teri got results today- no hot spots- all clear- cancer is gone!  this is the best news we've heard all year.  i am so happy, and so thankful- God you are worthy and receive all the praise.  when teri called my reaction was to find her, and hug her- exactly like it was when we got the news of the cancer. rejoicing together was awesome.  thank you God for my friend.  both of us have been through a lot last year and now both of us can look forward to a future.  one day at a time, trusting the Lord each step.  I am so relieved that my friend will be around.  i was truly scared i might loose her.  Lord God, thank you, thank you, thank you!"
 
 
me & teri summer 2005- annual beach vacation
 
we are survivors- but not because of us.  in our weakness, He is strong.     
 
 "He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength.  But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint"   Isaiah 40:29&31
 
 

me & teri- august 2010 - ever closer to menopause :)

be aware- cancer strikes all of us, in some way. would i do it again?  in a heartbeat.

Get checked!!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fruit- really?

I did it.  The deed.  You know what I'm talking about.

I signed up to help with Elijah's Fall Party. 

Seemed easy enough- one of the options was juice boxes.  No sweat.

Sweet little phone call- "juice boxes are already taken" 

phone tag...

message left on kitchen counter- Fruit- 19 kids.

really-

I know that our country and our elementary schools are on a healthy lifestyle awareness kick.  I work for a health insurance company.  I get it.  I just don't really live it.

We are a Diet Coke and Brownie for breakfast kind of family. 

They want healthy party snacks.  really. 

healthy-------------------------------------------party
like opposite ends of magnets - they just don't seem to go together.

Okaaaay - I'll do fruit.

How do I do fruit- for Halloween; that's fun.  apples are so.... overdone.

sigh.  think mom, think.

I've got it- Elijah's favorite fruit is strawberries.  Drat, they are red- not orange. 

The perfectionist in me almost went another route, and got oranges so I could color coordinate for Halloween.  NO, don't do it! echo'd through my mind.   

think mom, think.

aha- I'll do chocolate covered strawberries.  maybe white chocolate- and make them into little ghosts.  nah, who has the time. I just put them on halloween paper instead. 


                      (I took 29 to school- this is a photo of the extras- saved at home for my family)

paranoid, yes a bit.  would I get in trouble with the school for ruining the healthy fruit by putting chocolate on it?

and, I was feeling a little uncomfortable too, seems all the other parents were in black and orange (and cute little halloween sweaters) and here I show up in jeans and pink- with red fruit! 

turns out- those strawberries did in fact draw a lot of attention. 

the room mother wanted to hide them and not even give them to the kids. 

teachers from other classrooms came by--- "I hear there are chocolate covered strawberries in here"  so they had a strawberry

the principal came by- and had a strawberry

the assistant principal came by- and had a strawberry -- and proclaimed "you are my favorite parent ever"

don't you know I typed that on the hard drive of my brain- SAVE AS, IMPORTANT - that I will  remember! 

leftover strawberries-- ZERO.

next time I'm invited to a friendly chat in the principals office about my little kindergartners behavior---  I think I'll just remind them they are talking to their favorite parent ever- the strawberry momma!

fruit-

REALLY!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quick Trip Gone... Flat.

I hopped right on the computer just after seven, and finally took a break about 7:40 to take Isaiah to school.  Because I was sooooo anxious to start work this morning, I decided not to shower-- or put on makeup-- or do my hair. It's dark when Elijah gets on the school bus, so it was a pretty safe decision.  This was my first mistake.

It was supposed to be a quick 15 minute trip to Kingdom Kids-- drop Isaiah off and then home, back to work.

I was distracted, and a bit concerned since my "low tire pressure" light had been on for several days.  The last thing I needed was a flat tire, so I decided to take 5 minutes and stop at Sheetz to put air in my tire. This was my second mistake.


Valve stem broke off and whizzed past my head like a rocket- within seconds ALL the air was gone- COMPLETELY FLAT!


Quickly recovering from the shock of what happened, I went searching for the tiny little piece.  My plan, was to put it back on, refill the tire and be on my way.  I soon realized the idiocrity in that plan, and called Rex instead.  Nothing to do now but sit, and wait.  (This is when I wish I had not taken my Believing God Bible Study out of the car)


While I was tempted to calm my hunger pains with Elijah's leftover hot dog from "Home cooked Supper to Go" last night



I opted instead for a $.61 cent breakfast--- I do love Sheetz Free Soda cards.

Now, since I am a planner, and I wasn't sure which tire was low, I parked right in front of the air machine- so I could reach any of the four tires without having to move the van.  This also meant, I was completely blocking said "free" air machine from anyone else using it.  I wondered how many people would be irritated with my blockage.   

Only three people asked--- "you gettin' air" -- it was fun to get their reactions as I explained the irony in stopping for air to avoid a flat; and instead - getting a flat.




                                           after about forty minutes, my heroes arrive...




                                          Shayne knew just what to do!


Once the tire was off, I drove it to Merchant's to get the valve replaced.  Rex and Shayne stayed at Sheetz to hold the van in place... silly me stopped on a hill, so the van kept trying to roll off of the jack. 

Initially, I was quiet distressed upon being told that due to our vehicle make- I couldn't just replace the stem, the entire sensor would need to be replaced.  Only $79.99.... (insert panic here)  Thankfully, the dude didn't have the right part, so he confessed that it could be repaired with a rubber valve- at no charge.  Only drawback, that silly light that brought me here will remain on, warning me of low tire pressure until... well, until I fork out the $79.99 for the sensor.  I can live with the light.


Two and a half hours later, I am finally on my way home.


I thought briefly this morning about wearing my flannel Christmas sleep pants and my T-Shirt to drop Isaiah off.  Really glad I didn't- although there were several people going in and out of Sheetz in said fashion. 

This was the first time in months I've left the house without my blackberry.  Won't do that again.

I did get the van cleaned out while I was waiting- that nasty hot dog is merely a memory. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thankful Tuesdays--- 5 (all about Shayne)

I'm thankful for several things today

like knowing my pants were properly zipped all day
a new bottle of NyQuil
reconnecting with family I haven't talked to in years

but I am especially thankful that my first car ride with Shayne  (him driving, not me) was really non-eventful. 

He got his learner's permit today- and to celebrate I promised to let him take me for a ride tonight.

(this isn't really about Shayne- it's about me.  ha! )

  • I didn't scream one time
  • I didn't cry
  • I didn't demand that he pull over and give me the keys
  • I stayed calm- even when it started raining and he had to go around a police man who had apparently rear-ended a middle-aged woman in her mini-van  (I didn't let him stop so I could snoop)

Since the day he was born, I have believed in kind of jumping in with both feet.  I sat him right next to the phone and turned on the vacuum cleaner the first day he lived in our home- so he would get used to the noise.  It worked, he would sleep through anything.... if he wanted to sleep at all. Mud, Dirt, Guns... no problem.

So, with my twisted take on parenting, where else would I let him drive me the first time ever? 

Yep- Wal-Mart
.
In the Dark - we left around 9pm after the boys went to sleep
During a Tornado watch
Around the curves
Through the tunnels
Down Williamson Road
Let him park next to another car
Drive back home
Through the Rain
Down Peters Creek Road

He surprised me how well he did; I apparently surprised him how well I did. 

I know you are wondering about the interstate--- not tonight, I do need to leave some kind of adventure for another day :)


I figured if I faced some of my hardest fears right off the bat- then the next 9 months of "learning" will be a piece of cake. 




I sure am thankful for my Shayne!!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

embarrassed...

The urban dictionary defines it as: feeling uneasily or unpleasantly self-conscious due to some event or circumstance.

I define it as a strange mixture of laughter and tears, while wanting to hide due to a stupid act.

Apparently, this has been my week for being embarrassed. 

The first moment I will not even begin to share on this blog- nor will I tell you if you ask.  So don't.  But I will just say,  that I don't remember the last time I couldn't quit laughing, while tears filled my eyes, while my face grew hotter and hotter, and I couldn't think of a word to say to take the sting away---- until Wednesday. 

That was bad enough, but a few days passed and I had began to recover.  My loving husband has been wonderful not to bring it up.  NOT!  Love ya honey, but really do need to let this one go.

Then, just when I thought life was back to normal-(ha)  I was slammed again. 

Why is it we never see embarrasment coming?

We had arrived at church, chatted in the foyer.  Dropped little people off at their classes.  Grabbed a bulletin from the greeters, hugged a couple of ladies from the retreat yesterday, stood in line for coffee and snacks, straddled a chair to chat with a buddy, and finally made it to my seat in Sunday School.  Our class, usually has between 50 - 60 people on any given week.  And, since I am the  "events director" if you will, I usually share upcoming announcements to the group- standing up - facing them. This will be an important piece of information in just a bit.  For some reason, my memory would not cooperate with me, so no matter how many times Pastor Mark would say the date for our next event, I would repeat it, incorrectly.  I just couldn't get the dates, times or location straight.  I was having trouble remembering.  So, I finally gave up and sat down. 

This is when I first heard my husband whisper something into my ear.  Something he claims to have been trying to tell me the entire time I was standing up.  Something I can assure you I was unaware of. 

Memory had obviously failed me in other ways this morning as well---like in ZIPPING MY PANTS.  

Sigh. 

Thank goodness it was time to pray- so as we stood, I took this opportunity to quietly zip up.  Well, actually I had to fake cough to cover the sound of the ziiiippp.. but at least I was now properly contained.

I thought maybe I was in the clear, after all, I'm sure nobody had noticed. Until my hubby stated the assumed color of my bikinis'- oh why couldn't I have worn granny panties today!  Even the undies that went to daycare in my son's backpack would have been more appropriate if I was going to run around church unzipped. 

SIGH, SIGH!  

Now that I think about it, memory- lack of it anyway, was contributory to both of my embarrassing moments this week.  I sure hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

What about you, has your memory failed you and caused you some embarrassement? Come on and share with me - it will be fun - I dare you :)




Getting older certainly


oh shucks, I can't remember what I was going to say.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

GlobeTrotting...

What a day it has been. 

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and by 8:30 was in another continent.  Oh yea, I was in Australia.  Then, quickly trotted over to Europe, where I was the Queen and as such coronated about 30 women into royalty for the day.    Empress, Duchess, Queen, Countess and even Marchioness (don't ask me, I don't know what that is either) Next, we trotted over to Asia- what a crowd.  Antarctica- brrrrr!  On to South America, Africa and home again to North America- all by 4:30 pm. 

No, I have not lost my mind.  I was at a WonderFull World women's retreat at my church.  We wondered about all sorts of things-- probably things you wonder about too.  
  • Does anyone care about me
  • What would it be like to be royalty
  • Do I matter to God
  • Where is God when life is hard
  • Can I really rely on God
  • Can I make a difference
  • What's ahead for me

We had a lot of fun answering these questions. 

  • Yes, God cares about me
  • I am royalty, I am a child of the King (I guess this means I should stop complaining to Rex about just wanted him to treat me like a Princess for one day!)
  • I do, and so do you matter to God
  • God is with me always, even when life is hard
  • I can rely on God
  • We can all make a difference
  • What's ahead?  hmmm.   
Rex and I decided about 5 years ago, to be obedient (to God, Rex still won't obey me :).. kidding, kidding.  Anyway we knew God was asking us to obey by again opening our home, and hearts to kids in need.  FOSTER PARENTING.  We had been foster parents before I got pregnant with Shayne, and we had both said never again.  It was hard, and painful, and scary.  Funny how our "nevers" don't impress God.  God had begun working in our hearts separately, and once we finally verbalized to each other what we felt God calling us to do, we realized he was calling us together.  So, we obeyed.  Now you may not think of being a foster parent as an act of obedience.  Well, tell me that after you've been one.  We began to pray, and wait, and we were ready for the what's ahead.  We thought. 

And then, the phone call came.  October 23, 2006, at 3:30 in the afternoon.  Two little babies... TWO, oh yeah.  Elijah- had just turned 18 months, and Isaiah was 1 day shy of 6 months.  Our lives changed in an instant.  We already had our Shayne, and at that time, and for just a short while another little 8 yr boy who had come to live with us in September of that year.  With one phone call, we doubled the number of our children.  I picked them up from the hospital and the chaos began. (So much chaos, that our first photos were destroyed by the retailer because I didn't have time to pick them up- these are some of the first pictures we have of them)


Elijah- around November - December 2006

Isaiah, around November-December 2006

I'll be honest, as beautiful as they are, if I could have seen into the future, I would have probably run as far as I could- away from the hospital.  But I serve a God who asks for obedience, and then He gives grace and strength, one day at a time.

Obedience always costs something.  But the blessings so far outway the costs. 

If you would have told me 4 years ago, today, that we would adopt two "brown" (as they call themselves) little boys- with some special needs- who would exhaust me and excite me in the same instant, I wouldn't have believed you.

I didn't know what was ahead.  I still don't!

You don't either!

Our roads are not easy, but any step God asks us to take, is to make us more like Jesus. 
Now, I'm mostly just plain embarrassed, because I am pretty sure that I do not look alot like Jesus most days.  But God keeps taking me down the road, one step at a time, He never leaves me.  He gives me just what I need each day, even when I don't think I can take it, He shows me I can.

Since I was leading this session today, as I celebrated the 4 yr anniversary of becoming mommy to Elijah & Isaiah, I got to share with the other globetrotters I spent my day with, that while we don't know what's ahead, we certainly know who is going with us each and every step of the way.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." 

Whatever your "ahead" may be, just know that God goes with you, has it all figured out for you and you matter to Him.  He cares so much about you, and is completely reliable. 

Just Trust and Obey!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thankful Tuesdays...4

So, I am a bit ashamed because I haven't felt very thankful today.  It's been a tough week- a stressful week- one of those weeks that take the wind out of your sails.  I was thinking about what I was thankful for and I kept thinking of things to whine about.  I knew that was not a very Christ-like attitude, but was struggling.  I'm just being honest here.  If I told you I never struggled with my flesh, I'd be lying- and so would you.   

But as I struggled, I just kept thinking about Jesus.  If nothing else to be thankful for, I have JESUS!  That really is enough.  But the more I thought about Jesus, the more thankful I became. 

I thought about being thankful:

  • that even when it appears evil is triumphant; vengeance is mine says the Lord and He can handle it better
  • that my mom is there for me--- even when I am not there for her
  • that God looks at my heart
  • that Rex still puts up with me; and our trials make us stronger
  • for Shayne's hunting buddy- who is willing to spend time with him in the woods
  • for PTO (that's paid time off---- or vacation) ---hurry up Friday
  • that my youngest keeps saying "your hair is pretty mommy" especially when others keep saying "it will grow back"
  • for a peaceful nights sleep ---however few and far between they are
  • that I get to be a Mom, Wife, Sister, Daughter & Friend- what a privilege!
What 'ya thankful for?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Change...

 our moods change...
 
our babies turn into teens

Where we live and where we work 

What we wear and where we go

Our hair... changes or just leaves (sorry honey)


our families change- 


even the golden arches change



  ugh, our bodies change...  


America has changed 

so, with change all around us- some we control and some we can't, this is just a reminder that one thing will never change!



Everlasting, to Everlasting, YOU ARE GOD! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thankful Tuesdays...3

I'm thankful for:

  • Toilet Paper ('nuff said)
  • holding hands with the men in my life- big and small  
  • not getting sick after having my flu shot today
  • clearance sales
  • my sweet great-niece Audrey is is celebrating turning "2" this week
  • her soon to be born baby brother Owen
  • her mommy who I wish I got to see more often
  • fried bologna sandwiches
  • slimy kisses and little boy tricks
  • Beth Moore and the Believing God bible study we are doing on Wednesday nights
  • the surprise date night with our dear friends Gary and Murray
  • hope for tomorrow
  • my own bed and pillow- even tho it has kid snot on it :)
  • that as we focus on Breast Cancer Awareness in October, I am a Survivor!
what 'ya thankful for?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hard Decisions...

Ok, so some will read this and want to award us the Parents of the Year Award (not really)

Sometimes life calls for hard decisions.  Sometimes, things that seem right at the time, turn out to be not so great.   Today, one of the tough decisions was made for our family.  Our puppy Coal, was adopted.  Not into our family, but out of it.

Getting a puppy seemed like a good decision back in December.  It turned out not to be. 

We found a great home for him.  His new owner was so excited she couldn't sleep last night in anticipation.  I'm sure she won't sleep tonight, due to barking (ha!)

It is really hard to see my boys hurting.  Really hurting.  I didn't realize how hard it would be on them (ALL of them)

So, while part of the purpose in getting a puppy was to bring us together as a family, having to say goodbye to him is having the same purpose.  We are all sad, and dealing with it in a different way; but dealing with it together. 

I must admit, I actually missed his excited greeting when I pulled into the garage tonight. He will be missed.  

Coal
And, we will be okay.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Early Start

my day started early.... really early.... so early some would call it night

been asleep less than an hour.... felt that feeling you get when someone is standing over you

it was Elijah- 12:26 a.m. - he could barely talk and had a sore throat  he said he might throw up --- I gave him some Tylenol and he crawled in bed with us and went to sleep. 

i lay there waiting for the vomit

fast forward to around 2 a.m. -- same eeery feeling like someone was standing over me

it was Isaiah- he had a bad dream- again- foxes chasing him- again - he crawled in bed with us- again

the potential for a fight briefly presented itself- Elijah was in Isaiah's spot

i convinced him that my side was better than the middle- he curled up and went to sleep

i tried--- and i tried--- but their growing legs, feet, elbows and hands seemed to continually be taking aim at my body

so i dozed until WHAM - bullseye from one of them

then, the alarm went off- at 4:30 a.m.

i wish i could tell you i was a good little girl and spent the time talking to my heavenly Daddy-

i didn't

i kept thinking the gang's all here- almost- i actually wished shayne would come climb in bed too--- it has been a while since we got to snuggle with him


i just lay there going back and forth between mishing shayne and wishing for sleep-

and the quiet little camper in New Jersey :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thankful Tuesdays...2

I am thankful for:
  • peppermint mocha coffee creamer
  • the beautiful view of the mountain that demanded my gaze this morning
  • Rex cooking dinner and doing the dishes tonight
  • Miss Jennifer and her wisdom and care for our family
  • my friend Nancy- who really is a walking miracle (no after affects after having a bleeding brain aneurysm and brain surgery)
  • that my boys started their morning with giggles and not cries
  • that God is in control of my circumstances
  • clean sheets on my bed
  • that Fall is in the air



what 'ya thankful for today?

Monday, October 4, 2010

here comes the tooth fairy... maybe



I noticed last week Elijah had an "extra" tooth behind his bottom right middle tooth.  Nothing was loose- he expressed no complaints- I noticed it when he smiled. 

Friday night giggles reminded me that I need to call the dentist next week. I was thinking major dental work since still no loose teeth. 

Saturday, he was eating a freshly picked apple from the apple farm- and started crying that his tooth hurt.  I assumed it was the extra tooth and took a look- and was surprised to find that his front tooth was loose.  Really loose.  

Sunday afternoon during lunch, he kept complaining.  I threatened to pull it, never dreaming I actually could, and much to my surprise and his, it came right out.  I have never seen one get that loose that fast.  He was actually brave and not freaked out by the blood.  (note- this is huge, everything freaks him out)



We spent the afternoon talking about what comes next- the tooth fairy.  He practiced at nap time. 

Come bedtime - he wasn't ready to part with his tooth.  Isaiah was also a little concerned about just who the tooth fairy is, and how he gets into our house.  Elijah just wants to show everybody his tooth. 

So, as of this moment the tooth is still on his dresser, waiting until he is ready to part with it by putting it under his pillow.  I have assured him that the tooth fairy will know when it is okay to take his tooth and leave him some money. 

No worries...
(well, none for Elijah- Isaiah still wants to know if the tooth fairy lives with Santa and can he see him)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

None righteous

This is a truth I believe; and one very difficult to teach to 4 and 5 year olds- especially when they know they were abandoned by their biological parents and believe in their core it was somehow their fault.  So they ask, alot.. Am I good? 

We are searching for the balance in giving them some security until they can understand better what God tells us about that. So now, when asked by a sobbing, out of control preschooler, "Am I a good boy,  Mommy?"  I say yes, baby, you are a good boy. 

But I still struggle sometimes when asked, knowing he had been doing some really bad things- like throwing a tantrum, refusing to pick up toys, banging forks, yelling out in frustration, dumping out chips, kicking his brother (you get the picture of my afternoon now)

Now, that was background so you can fully appreciate how my precious Isaiah melted my heart and made me and his daddy laugh (not out loud, that would have been totally unacceptable in his current state,  but laughter in my heart that was too good to keep to myself)

Isaiah didn't get a nap today - I'm not counting the 10 minute snooze on the way to Wal-Mart.  So, let's just say he was PAST IT when we were putting him to bed tonight.  Complicated by the fact he couldn't find his Superman Costume to sleep in- which I threw away a few weeks ago because it was too small and falling apart.  That is our secret, for now he just thinks it is lost.  He was crying and trying to figure out if he would rock with mommy, lay with daddy in the floor, rock with daddy, lay with mommy in the floor- none of which seemed to console him- until he had cried to the point of a headache.  So, he decided laying next to mommy in the floor was the way to go, and as he lay next to me, rubbing my elbow to calm himself, through his snubs asked that question-  

Am I good Mommy?
Yes, baby
(this is where I messed up by adding)- but you did some bad things tonight.....
which sent him into total despair, snubs returning to full blown sobs and the following proclamation with his sweet, crackling voice

"I do NOT do bad things, I don't smoke and I don't got tattoos!"

I guess "bad" is based on your own perspective, even if you are 4!

Rejuvenated

A week ago today, we took off on a mini-vacation, without our two youngest.  We were fulfilling a promise to Shayne made back in April.  We knew we were going to New Jersey- past that we weren't sure exactly where we would end up, or what our days would look like. 

Well, as is everything in our lives, we ended up packing the 5 days full.  The first day or so I felt guilty to having fun without Elijah and Isaiah; but I soon realized what a gift to get to spend the time focused on Shayne. 

We laughed and played.

We rode---- cars, subways, ferrys and roller coasters.  We rode >1200 miles. 







We walked----- beaches, bridges, boardwalks, sidewalks and amusement park lines.








We ate--- lots.  We enjoyed some really yummy desserts in Sewell! We had pizza  from three local restaurants in three different towns.  I think Deninos has to be the best pizza I've eaten.  They are in Staten Island, NYC.  We had world famous crab fries in Philly at Chickies & Petes, and Italian Ices at Ralphs in Staten Island.  We had too many lunches at McDonalds ,but the 4-story one in Broadway was my fave.  We can not take a trip and not eat at Chili's. 







We slept------ We slept without anyone crawling in bed with us at 3a.m.  We slept in the car, in beds, on couches, the floor and in a camper.  We slept with windows open and the sound of rain on the roof.  We slept good.  We slept late. 

We played!  Cards with Shayne and Anna proved to be interesting and fun.  The laughter of teenagers is a wonderful sound.  Phase 10 anyone?  We got to play peek-a-boo with Peyton and football with Benjamin.

We got to celebrate the publishing of Mr. Whiskersnuff Rabbit, a children's book written and illustrated by Rex's cousin Kitty. 



I got to hold baby Cash. 

We did Six Flags Great Adventure, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Philly and NYC.  Ground Zero,  and meeting Buddy, the Cake Boss were a few of my favorite stops in NYC.  The beaches in Atlantic City and Ocean City were great- even tho it was rainy and windy.  It was relaxing. 









I discovered that I am probably too old to ride roller coasters; but I keep saying that so time will tell if I get on another one.

I was reminded how blessed we are:
  • blessed to have family who love us, and spoiled us rotten (Terry & Lisa, Anne Marie, Dawn, Cathy & Betty- thanks for the meals and hospitality.  Kitty- thanks for including us in your celebration and the autographed book- We love you all! )
  • blessed to know that my little guys were being loved and cared for by people we love and wouldn't trade anything for.  
  • blessed to travel more than 1200 miles, in 7 states to return home safely- even when home welcomed us with a stopped up toilet. 
  • blessed to have my mind, soul and body rejuvenated
And then we came home.  Home to our precious, busy, energetic and exciting "pirates"

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