Monday, January 31, 2011

Sun and water glasses

It is sunny here today. The calm before the storm. It sounds like 30 of the 50 states are about to get some kind of crazy winter storm. Why, oh why, do I not live in California? Trading the snow and ice and cold for mud slides, fires and earthquakes is tempting.

I'll tell you what, the sunshine is like medicine to my soul today. In addition to instant menopause, I think I may also suffer from that seasonal depression thing. A girl can't catch a break around here, I'll tell you.

Steve and I took the boys to the Y this morning. It was so nice to be able to do something *normal* for the first time in about 2 weeks. People welcomed me back without smothering me, that was nice. I walked (really really really slowly) on the treadmill. I'll tell you what, I felt a bit sore, but it lifted my spirits.

Overall, today has been a good day. I had some great time with Jesus this afternoon. He reminded me that He is my shield. That's not news to me, but felt good to be reminded.

I got a call from Dr. Reid's office. A nurse was calling to check in on me and see how being back at home was going. We chatted for a few moments and I told her about how I've been feeling good and walking. After a few minutes she said to me, "Boy, you sound like you are doing really good." She mentioned my faith and good support system around me. Then she said something that encouraged me. She said, "You sound like you're in the top 1% as far as doing well being back home." I know that it's her job to talk with people and she was mostly talking about attitude and spirits, but it felt like Jesus giving me some words of encouragement today.

I'm working on my optimism. If you don't know me, I'll let you in on a little secret. I tend to be a glass is half empty kind of person. I hate it, but that's something I've been trying to grow in. And guess what? Looks like I'm getting a chance to tackle optimism head on. Great. Feel free to tack that on to your prayers for me. Shoot, I'm getting a little greedy here, aren't I? So with that, I'll stop.

Gotta go hunker down for Snowmegeddon '11.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The weekend

I had a chance to go and watch Olivia at soccer practice yesterday. It was great fun. Tiring, but fun. The brothers had practice at 8:15, so I opted to drive with Steve's mom and Olivia later. Last week it was reported that Turner cried most of practice and Quinn walked around with his shorts hiked up. (Why? Who knows, they are three!) This week, Turner didn't cry (until the very end) and Quinn didn't hike up the shorts, but for some reason picked his buns the whole time. Turner cried at the very end when they did a short scrimmage. They played against another three year old team who was practicing at the same time. Turner's half of the team got to play first, but when they sent the second half of the team in and pulled Turner out, he threw a fit for the last 10 minutes of practice. Quinn? I guess he was just happy to have the soccer shorts out of his rear. Next week, we may have to go with sweat pants instead of Umbro's.

As for Olivia, she hopped right in. She is one of 3 girls on her team but doesn't seem to mind. She smiled and participated the whole time. She isn't very aggressive. And is concentrating so hard on doing what she is told that it holds her back from just getting in there and playing. Next week they start in with real *games.* I'm looking forward to seeing how they all do.

This weekend I've gotten out a bit. To the Y, obviously, to watch soccer. Then, last night the kids, Steve and I went to church. It was really good to be at church and see people and worship God. I felt peaceful. Tired, but peaceful.

This morning Steve took the kids to the end of a winter conference for college students that Steve was in charge of. Steve's mom and I went and did a few errands, including going to Target. I considered that my walk this morning. I'm trying to ease off my pain meds. I'm rather sore today.

I've really been focusing my mind on some scripture as I battle the enemy in my mind. Psalm 34:7,8 says, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

If you think of it, please pray those on my behalf. I've been trying to visualize the angel of the Lord encamped around me. I've also been thinking a lot about how you can't taste something if you don't bite down. I'm trying to bite down in this situation and then experience the Lord's goodness. I'm also trying to learn what it means to find God as my refuge. I'm just on the front end of this one. Hard stuff. Thanks for battling with me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mall rat

I got up this morning feeling pretty refreshed. I had a pretty good first night home. After having some breakfast, Steve the boys and I went to the mall where I was able to spend about 1/2 hour walking. It was slow going. But it felt good. I didn't really have any *goals* per say, but just wanted to walk and get things moving. Plus it helped the boys burn off some energy to play in the play are and it gave Steve's mom a break as she ran out and got some groceries and such. Steve's mom has been a saint and a huge help this past week. I'm not sure what we would do right now without her.

I've once again been up and down on the emotional roller coaster. Most of the day was pretty good. And then when it starts to approach evening time I begin to get the blues. I battle lies. Lies about God's character and the hope of my future. I asked Steve to pray with me. We did battle in the heavenlies. And I calmed down a bit. So if you think of me around dinner times, please pray that I would take thoughts captive and trust in Jesus. I can really invent a story and run with it. So, instead, I'm trying to focus on God and what He's already done for me thus far. But I'll tell you what, friends, this is hard stuff.

My friend, Susie, made a new website to help me out. There have been so many people (maybe even you reading this) from near and far who have offered to help. We've got meals covered through the middle of February, which is so nice. But this thing is going to go on for months. So, Susie set up a *blog* of sorts that people can go to and check in and see what kind of help we need and they can sign up to be on a call list of sorts.

Here is the link. If nothing else, it's a really cool thing (definitely cooler than this blog) and I'm blessed to have a talented and caring friend in Susie.

So far, the kids seem to be glad to have me back. Steve is working like a dog around here to keep things together and Steve's mom is exhausted. All in all, I guess you could say things are chugging along. I have to remind myself that my body won't always hurt like this. Each day I see improvement. It's just hard to imagine that right now. Pray that I'll be able to focus on each day as it comes. Please don't stop praying. Please don't stop asking others to pray. There is certainly something in this thing for me on prayer! I'm listening and learning. I hope you are too.

And as I walked through the mall today, I continued to ask Jesus to not stop showing off. He really is amazing!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Home again, home again

Real quick (because American Idol is on) I wanted to let you know I got home about 1:30 this afternoon. The ride was bumpy and a bit uncomfortable. It's good to be home. It's good to see my kids. I'm glad to get out of the hospital.

It's scary to be home. It's scary to see my kids and it's scary to be out of the hospital.

Ironic, huh? I know that each day, my body will be feeling better. It is hard to see the light at the end of that tunnel. I am thankful that I had that hernia surgery a few months ago, because I know the reality is, I WILL feel better. Although, probably just in time to feel like hell from chemo.

Seriously, am I about to have chemo? Pray for my mind. I'm struggling some. I'm still trusting God. Still believing that HE is in control. But reality is rushing in like a speeding freight train. Blah.

I have an appointment with Dr. Reid a week from tomorrow, Feb. 3rd. I find out what the schedule is and what my life looks like for the next 4 months. Maybe that will be good. Its the unknown that is so scary. Maybe filling in some blanks will help.

Enough about that. What I need is to concentrate on tomorrow. Getting up, walking, resting, eating and enjoying my kids and spending time with God. I think I can do THAT. One day at a time is so cheesy. But so real to me right now.

How did my blog turn from funny mom blog to heavy cancer blog? Hopefully you won't leave me for funnier pastures. 'Cuz guess what? I need you. I also need some bad singin', so I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Almost outta here

This should be my last night in the hospital. My Dr. was going to send me home tonight, but call me crazy, I asked for one more night. I was suppose to have my morphine drip stopped last night and begin on my oral pain meds, but nurse messed up (I've had some interesting stories to say the least) and she didn't stop the morphine, nor did she begin the new stuff. So my Dr. came in this morning and was surprised to find I had not yet begun my new regimen. He said we could see how it goes and if I felt comfortable going home, I could. Umm.. no thanks. Let's give it a bit more time to make sure it all comes together.

My friend Sally is coming to spend the night with me tonight.

Last night with Susie was a huge success. Despite the fact that Michelle got a rose. Brad MUST be wanting a crazy wife. And if he's in the market for crazy, he is in the right place!

My sweet friend and hair stylist, Aimee, came this morning to hang out and do my hair and nails. Isn't that the sweetest thing? After my shower she was here waiting and I didn't have to dry my own hair. We strolled the halls, chatted about the roller coaster of life and then she did my nails. I felt pretty pampered. Because I no longer have to pull my IV cart around, I can wear regular PJ's and stroll the halls a lot easier. I spent lots of time walking in circles. I honestly feel at my best when I'm walking. I worry about being at home because there is no where to walk. It's January in Ohio. It's cold and snowy. I cant just head out the front door and walk around the block. I need to find a place to walk. There are lots of obvious solutions, but I can't drive as long as I'm on my meds. Pray for me to figure out a solution.

Fear today has come in just a few waves. I can feel the prayers, though. I've found if I tell someone of my fear and we pray they go away pretty quick. They come again, but I just repeat the above. Maybe I should always be doing that and not just in crisis mode, huh? Or else, maybe life is crisis mode!

I'm excited to see my kids tomorrow. Excited and nervous. Pray they will be gentle. And not demanding. Pray that we'll just enjoy each other. That we'll figure out what this new normal looks like. Pray that I continue to recognize Jesus is all of this. And that I still ask for help.

Oh, and it looks like I'm back in for another season of American Idol. Obviously, I was a bit distracted last week, so I have yet to really formulate any opinions on the new judges. Should be an interesting ride. Since you can't have relational train wrecks every night of the week, a good filler seems to be talent train wrecks.

You have a good night and I'll see you from my brown couch tomorrow!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trust and Roses

Today has been another pretty good day. I've walked a bunch. Had some food. (Including a salmon dinner tonight. It was decent.) I had a bunch of great friends visit. I'd like to thank everyone who has dropped by, called, emailed, sent a text, commented here or on facebook, sent flowers, signed up to bring us dinner, offer to watch my kids and especially, PRAY. I've been astounded by the outpouring of love over this past week. Has it really been a week? I can't even stop to think about that!

I talked with my doctor again today. He checked me out and said he's really amazed at how well my digestive system is doing. (Thank you, Jesus!) For real. He said I'm not bloated (again, this IS a personal blog) and that I'm "making him look good." Ha! God is making both of us look good.

He's going to begin to switch my pain meds. I'm switching to a heavy duty anti-inflammatory instead of pain killers since I didn't do so well with Vicodin during my Hernia recovery. Please pray that this is a good decision for me. Quite frankly, I'm nervous to go off the morphine (does that make me a morphine addict? Cuz if so, I am one.) If I do well switching over, I MAY be released tomorrow evening. I might ask to stay until Wednesday. I just think that extra night will help me feel more comfortable about going home.

Olivia came to visit me today. She seemed a bit overwhelmed and scared. Who can blame her? Hospitals are scary. I have an IV, crazy leg cuffs on so that I don't get blood clots and I'm in a medical bed. I hated that she looked scared. I got up and we went for some laps. We held hands and she seemed to relax.

Today has been the first time a bit of fear has crept in. Please continue to pray for the battle for my mind. I just want to continue to ask Jesus to help me TRUST him. This next road is unknown and scary. I want to believe there is healing at the end. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I really need faith. Please pray that for me.

So, enough with the heavy. I should probably let you go so that you can go and psyche up for tonight's episode of The Bachelor. Don't judge me for my guilty pleasure. A girl needs an outlet and relational train wrecks happen to be mine. And I really hope Melissa doesn't get a rose. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's all relative

Today I got to start out with a shower. Wee ha! Seriously, is that what I've come to here on my blog? Telling you when I'm clean? I hope that the interesting factor goes up in the near future. Because you're really going to pop with excitement when you hear I ate red jello today. And I'll also let you know it may be the most delicious thing I've eaten in my entire life.

I saw the doctor today. I ran into him in the hall as I was doing laps. He smiled and said, "Well you must be feeling pretty good." I'm not sure I'd go so far as pretty good, but I'm doing fine. I did a few more laps and then he came in and visited me. He told me I could start on a soft diet today. And depending on how I tolerate that, he may take me off my morphine drip (boo) and start me on oral pain killers. And if I continue to do so well, I MAY get to go home Tuesday. He says he attributes my doing so well to being in shape and thin. YES! I may no longer own any if my female parts, but at least my Dr. called me thin :)

Anyhow, in 3 weeks, I'll go back to see him and we'll know for sure what the chemo deal will be. Pray that my recovery here will go well. That I'll digest tonight's food well. And that I'll get sleep tonight. I get a little worried about the nights.

Thanks for checking in with me. Still holding tight to Jesus over here. Keep the prayers coming. And may all your jello be delicious!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

hey guys, it's me!

Well, here I am to say hi. I'm going to keep this short (mainly because I have this stupid thing on my middle finger that makes it hard to type with.)

Can I first say how overwhelmed I am by all of the prayers on my behalf, literally all over the world? I think one of my first and foremost lessons out of this will be the power of prayer. Holy cow. Please don't stop.

Obviously, the news wasn't *exactly* what I was hoping for, but it is still encouraging, nonetheless. Basically, since it's cancer, the doctor said the surgery couldn't have gone any better. Next stop, chemo. Dang it, I had just started growing my hair out and it was a fabulous color, thanks to my friend Aimee. Oh well...

In all honesty, it is the prayer that has me in a really good place today. I've been up and walking several times today. I'm sitting in a chair typing right now and I've even pooped (sorry, yes, I did just go there!) I feel relief. Yep, relief. The days of not knowing and wondering were killing me. Now, I know the plan. And I know God is in the plan. I STILL believe He is answering the prayer that there will be no more cancer in my body. It's just that I get to have chemo too.

God has held my hand over this past week. He'll hold my hand during the next chapter. I'm still a little scared. But mostly I'm at peace. Weird, huh? Jesus is just good like that. And so is the morphine. Little nervous for when that stops. I'll probably be here in the hospital until the end of the week. Friends have been so great to be here visiting with me.

Here's another cool, God showing up story and then I'll be done for the night. When I did my pre-admittance work they swabbed me for MRSA. Well, if you don't know us very well, here's your chance to learn our dirty little secret... my kids battle MRSA and have passed it back and forth for the last few years. So, not a big surprise when I found out I'm a host in my nose. Which means, I get a private room. Which means Steve can spend the night with me. My good friend, Sarah drove down from Ann Arbor, MI today to spend the night with me tonight. If it wasn't for MRSA, I'd have a roommate and no one would be able to spend the night. Ha!

Just another praise.

I am truly humbled by your prayers and response to my situation. And I'm not to shy to ask that you would continue, wanna join me on this little journey? I'd love the company. (Although, next time, let's just all take a cruise together!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Steve got "buzzed" that he could finally go be with Elizabeth shortly after 3:30. He is very thankful that the doctor felt he got all the cancer and there wasn't any attached to other organs that would have required future surgeries. Please join us in praising God for that, and for the fact that He is still on His throne, still in control and that He loves E more than any of us can comprehend.
I know from past experiences that some of you may be feeling helpless and wish you can do more than just pray. As one of E's friends said on facebook the other day - its not "just" what you can do, its the best thing you can do. And please know there will be things to help with in other ways in the weeks and months to come (so if you offer help now, don't be surprised when you are taken up on it in March or April! :)
I know E will appreciate all the thoughtful comments as well when she is able to read them. Pretty awesome to see those who have only today come across this site and yet are praying for her!
Standing with you in prayer for Elizabeth.


Steve just came out from speaking with the doctor. Unfortunately they did find cancer, however the doctor was very encouraged and confident that he was able to get everything. There was a spot on her colon that he also took out, but it hadn't attached to any other organs. There was a possibility of needing future surgeries if there were areas he couldn't get to but that was not the case thankfully. Her recovery time here will likely be up to a week now due to the need to also work on the colon. Chemo will start shortly after that.

Steve is informing family now, his mom and sister are on the way. E will not be awake for a few more hours. Please pray for him as he and the doctor talk to her after she wakes up. Pray for her emotionally as she processes this news.

Please hold off on visits until further notice. Your love and prayers are very greatly appreciated. Immediate needs for E and the family seem to be covered. Steve's mom will be in town helping with the kids for a while. Details to come for future food and any other needs for those wanting to do something. For now, please keep praying. Thanks.
In His grip with Elizabeth

Fri Morning in Surgery

For those who are checking in for an update, as of 10:58 E is still in surgery as far as we know. Steve looks like he is waiting for his table to be ready at Olive Garden as his sits in the waiting room with beeper in hand. He says Elizabeth was feeling pretty calm and peaceful this morning after a powerful prayer time last night with many friends and knowing many more of you are praying all over the country/world. We will update you as soon as we hear something. Keep praying!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Join me

At 8:15 est I feel led to ask as many people to join me in asking God to specifically make this NOT CANCER. I fear asking, yet am compelled to take a step of faith and ask and part of that faith step is asking others. I'm done doing stuff on my own. I'm done fearing what I look like. I'm done *protecting* God. I'm asking. I'm asking you to ask and I'm asking you to ask others to ask. I want to bombard the throne of heaven tonight. If for nothing else, my own peace.

God is the boss!

The rest of the story (so far)

Now for the God part of the story. And might I just add, if you're not a big on God, Jesus, Church or *religion kind of stuff* person, can I invite you to check your skepticism at the door and give my story a chance?

Last Friday, I went to Zumba. It was rough. I could barely break a sweat because I could barely move. But I eeked it out. My friend, Christine was there. She and I have been in aerobics classes together at the Y for years. She and her husband support our ministry. And they go to our church. I told her a bit about my health. We started texting a bit about it over the weekend (we never had a *texting* relationship until then.)

Fast forward to the scan situation. When I got home, I texted her to pray. When we left the Dr.'s office Tuesday, I had texted a bunch of people to pray, knowing it was not going to be good. She texted back when I let her know about the news. As it turns out, our GP was working on getting me in with a gynecological oncologist. He consulted with my OBGYN (who by the way, I L.O.V.E. and I think he and his wife should be sainted and I would jump off a bridge if he told me to. ) Between the two of them they recommended Dr. Reid.

Later that day, I got a call from Dr. H (my beloved OB) and we talked. He assured me of the character and credentials of Dr. Reid. He also told me he's a good solid Christian guy. A bit of relief entered the picture. Then I got a text from Christine. She told me that one of her best friends' husbands is a well known gynecological oncologist and he would get me in if needed. His name is Dr. Reid. WHAT?! So, I texted her back letting her know I already had an appointment with him Thursday morning.

Insert a day more of worry, panic and general stress and angst.

Then, Wednesday morning, I got a call from Dr. Reid's office. Could I come in later that afternoon instead of Thursday morning? Um... YES! So, I texted Christine to let her know the good news. She texted back, I know his wife was encouraging him to get you bumped up.

So Steve and I made babysitting arrangements and off we went. To meet my oncologist. What the flippityflap? Right before we were about to leave, I got a text from a good friend from my small group from church (we call it house church.) Luanne texted me to let me know she was with a friend in Dr. Reid's waiting room. She had driven her for a biopsy and when she got to the office the name dawned on her that it was my same new doctor. She said her friend was raving about Dr. Reid and that I was going to love him.

We got to the Dr.'s office and my stomach was lurching and pitching like I've never felt it. And 4 min. after we sat down, in walks Luanne.

Okay, can i just tell you that earlier that morning I was on my face praying. I was feeling like I could not see or feel God in this situation. I had been praying that I would make the most of this circumstance, but was having trouble because I could not see him. I asked him to show himself.

And there he was, showing himself in the person of Luanne, a good and trusted friend and a really good pray-er.

As we sat there, I had a huge freak out. I saw women in scarves, with no hair. I dawned on me... the people are sick. Oh my god... I'm sick too! But when I let Steve and Luanne know about my freak out, they started to pray for me. In the mean time, 2 more people in the waiting room, on their own, let me know how much I'm going to LOVE Dr. Reid. It was like God was just waiting for me, in the waiting room. And I wasn't even suppose to be there until Thursday morning!

We went back and met Dr. Reid. One of the first things he said was, "Well, looks like the grapevine works fast." Basically, I took that to mean, God worked our connections! Basically, he was confidant without being arrogant. He was helpful in answering out questions. He won't know if it's cancer until he gets in and does surgery (removing my ovaries and any other *potentially* cancerous areas... IF it's cancer.) And that he already booked an OR for me for Friday morning, if we wanted.

Do I want to get this crap out of me? Um, yes and thank you! As it turns out he's going on vacation and squeezed me in before he leaves. Is that God? I say yes. Oh and because I'm smart like this, I finally realized on the way home I'm actually having a hysterectomy. And dang it, I just re-stocked on tampons and pads. There was a good deal at CVS, don't you know! Oh well.

Please pray that what he finds is NOT cancer. If you know others who pray, would you mind having them read my blog? (Is this all a shameful plug for more readers?) No matter what, I have a feeling God's not done showing off yet.

My surgery is Friday morning 8 AM, Ohio time. Pray for my nerves. Pray that I can really put all of this in God's hands. Pray for Dr. Reid as he operates. Pray for Steve and my kids, my dad and our other family as they wait. Pray for my recovery, it's going to be a doozy. Thanks. I'll post again when I can.

This proves it, I'm not just full of crap!

The past two days have been a whirlwind. Or more like a tornado. No, actually more like a hurricane. Scrap it... they've actually been a bit more like looking down the barrel of a shot gun. Do you catch my drift? They've sucked.

So, you know that IBS? Yeah, well... it's not. After I went in for the scans on Monday morning, my doctor's office called by that night for us to come in and go over the scans on Tuesday. Cue immediate panic. Doctors don't call you to come in immediately to look at a clear scan. So, I did what I do best, freaked out (and prayed) until noon on Tuesday. Steve took off from work so he could come with me.

The doctor came in and did indeed deliver bad news. Now, rest assured he never actually used the "C" word, but basically he let me know that there are large "suspicious" masses around my ovaries. He said that there are sometimes benign tumors that grow, but mine have fluid, which apparently, is not a good sign. That also explains my bloating (oh the bloating.)

Let me just stop right here and tell you, I've always wondered what I would do if I heard bad news like that. First, all the blood left my face. Then, it decided to work it's way all the way back up into my neck. I just remember sitting there thinking, "Oh my gosh, my neck is on fire. Is this really happening?" He reminded me several more times he was not diagnosing me with ovarian cancer and that my job was to not freak out. Yeah, good luck with that.

So, basically, I went home and started planning my funeral. Deciding who would be a good mom for my kids. While trying not to scare my kids. And so it's gone since Tuesday afternoon. The battle for my mind has been outrageous. Steve and I have prayed like never before. And then... IT began.

God started showing up. But that's for my next post. Because really, this is just too good to be added on here.

Suffice it to say, I'm still freaking out. But hopefully so? Is that possible? 'Cuz if it is, that's where I'm at. We are still praying it is NOT cancer. We won't know for sure until Friday. But I'm believing God for it. And if not, I'm believing God for good! Want to believe with me?

Monday, January 17, 2011

38 is the new 70!

Happy MLK Day to you. Mine did not start out exactly as planned. We all got up and were getting dressed and ready to head out to the Y. Steve has off from work today so he was going to go with us. Before we left, I had to make a quick phone call to schedule some tests that my doctor ordered for me. I had been hoping to schedule them last week but wasn't able to. The guy on the other end of the phone let me know I could get in this morning and that the tests would be about 3 hours long. Gulp. It's now or never, dude.

One test was some blood work that required fasting, and thankfully, I called before I had poured my first cup of joe. The other was a Cat Scan of my abdomen, which also would require fasting. It would also require me to drink 36 oz. of water with some *undetectable* iodine in it. (I'm pretty sure I could detect it. Every last oz. of it!) Bleck.

Steve was off with the kids to the Y and I was off to be poked and prodded with needles for the morning.

Back in December, my doctor diagnosed me with IBS and instructed me to take fiber pills, drink more water and exercise. If I didn't feel better, I was to call him in Jan. Thus my need for tests. He's still pretty convinced it's IBS. On one hand, I hope that is all it is. I'm really not asking for something worse. But on the other hand, if it is IBS, pretty much I have to live with it and too bad for me. And to spare you the gory details, the reality of living with this abdominal bloating is disheartening to say the least. I look like I'm about 5 months pregnant (which I assure you, I am not) and am worried I'm going to have to start answering some awkward questions if this doesn't subside.

The doctor thinks the IBS (if that's what it is for sure) is due to stress. But here's the thing... how the heck do you de-stress your life?? Trying to figure that out is stressing me out! One thing I've been thinking is that the grief of my mom's death is slowly eating away at me. There is a program called Griefshare at a nearby church that begins in February. I'm going to sign up for that. I hope it helps.

In the meantime, I'm at a loss for how to gain some relief. And believe you me, I've tried (just about) it all. *Smooth Move* organic tea, fiber pills, lots of veggies, prune juice. I feel like what I need is a big gigantic pin to pop the balloon that is my innards. Lovely, right?

So for now, just call me mamaw, rub my corns and reserve me a room at the *home.* 'Cuz I'm just about there!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thank God almighty, I'm free at last!

If you've noticed I've been a bit *spotty* on my posts this week, you'll quickly understand and forgive me when you find out the reason. Beginning on Sunday, I started Operation Turner on the Toilet. I gave effort to that operation back over the summer, but aborted mission soon after I declared myself crazy for trying to potty train two 2 year old boys at the same time. I focused just on Quinn and with amazing success have been dreading the potty tri-fecta.

I have a love/hate relationship with diapers. On the one hand they are stinky and gross and expensive and a pain in the butt to change. But on the other hand, they are just so dang convenient. Like when I'm out and about and 2 of the 3 have to use the potty at annoyingly inconvenient times. While the third just does his business right there in his pants. Or on a road trip. We don't have to stop several different times for a potty break b/c they can't all get their bladders to time up correctly. The kid in the diapers just goes and seemingly ENJOYS sitting for a few hours in his own urine. You know... stuff like that.

But because Turner turned 3 last weekend and its kind of embarrassing to have a 3 year old in diapers AND because he and his brother and his sister are about to start soccer next weekend (and you CAN'T have a kid who is old enough to be on a soccer team still wearing diapers!) I decided this was my week.

So on Sunday, I declared to Turner... "3 year old soccer players don't wear diapers. You will now wear big boy underwear." He willingly put on the underwear. He then also proceeded to tinkle in his pants 4 times that day and poop in them once. The good news? He HATED it.

Monday was much more successful. Everywhere we went, I came equipped with extra pants and underwear. To my surprise, he stayed dry THE WHOLE DAY. He tinkled both times I put him on the toilet. He did have a poop accident... but again, he hated it.

Tuesday he had another great day. I think he solved the poop issue by choosing not to poop the whole day. Well, kid, that's one way to solve it.

And so for the rest of the week, we've made it accident free. He is telling me when he needs to go and he even told the teachers at the Y childcare this morning. Another victory. On Wednesday when he finally pooped in the toilet his first question was, "Can I be a soccer player now, mom?" I guess that really motivated him.

There is just no telling with kids. And there you have it... my third and final kid out of diapers. What WILL I do with all that extra savings on diapers? I can hardly wait to find out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If the snow won't drive you crazy...

This is what it looks like out my front door. It's a lovely winter scene. We (like most of America today) are scheduled for 3-5 inches by tomorrow morning. It's pretty. It's cold. It's annoying. It's winter in Ohio!

Hello, people. We DON'T live in Georgia. But you would think we did. Things are closing down all over town. For a few inches of snow. In OHIO. Naturally, I was out and about... because a few inches of snow won't keep this mid-westerner down. And as with most snowy days, the streets are fine. You just need to use common sense. It just cracks me up how *surprised* the weather people seem to be that there might be 3-5 inches coming to us in Ohio. I think I complain about this every winter. Maybe I'm the one who needs to change?

What IS surprising to me... the number of socks we go through in a day around here. Seriously, my kids must have some kind of sock allergy. This is our mud room in the back of the house that we enter and exit through every single time. By the end of a day, you would think the 7 Dwarfs lived here. Grrr... the socks are driving me nuts!
And while I'm on the subject of insanity... have you happened to catch the first two episodes of the Bachelor? I can't decide who is more insane, the crazy guy who is back for his second round as the Bachelor because now he's been through some therapy and is a *new man* and is pretty confidant he can commit. Or perhaps it's the 30 women who are giving this guy a second chance with their hearts. Although, I'm not feeling too sorry for these girls. Two chased each other around the mansion last night declaring how annoying the other one was. One turned 30 on last night's episode and she must have announced it was her 30th birthday upwards near one hundred times, like she is the only woman on the planet to have survived to make it to 30. Somebody throw this girl a parade! Or it might be the girl who has dental implants in the shape of fangs. Yep, she is *into* vampires and has permanent fangs. While she is a bit "off" she certainly wasn't the craziest one there (that says a lot!) But I'm pretty sure I am the crazy one for watching this stuff. But it's so much dang fun. Fun to text my friend Susie after every ridiculous thing (I might have to increase my text plan... sorry Steve!)
It's also more fun than gathering and sorting socks.
So take that, just-turned-30-on the Bachelor- girl. I'm the one who deserves a freakin' parade!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Party time

Yesterday was the big day. Turner's third birthday AND his party. We went to our Y and rented out the party room along with time in the tunnel and mat room. We did the same for O's birthday last year. For a winter party, you just can't beat the space to run around and have fun.

We had lunchables for the kids and pizza for the adults. It was a hit.

Turner wanted a Star Wars party. Which is really funny to me since he's never seen the movie and doesn't really know the story. He has one book (The Clone Wars) where the story is so complicated that I don't even understand it. Not to mention, it's a 3-D book (my thoughts exactly) and you KNOW we lost/broke the 3-D glasses the second day we owned the book. So, not only is the story confusion, the pictures give you a migraine to look at them. He loves it nonetheless and chooses it every time it's his turn to choose a bedtime story. Lovely.

Suffice it to say, he was thrilled with his cake (PS for all of you grown ups out there, that is Cpt. Rex on the cake. In my day the true hero was Hans Solo. But my boy knows Cpt. Rex. It just ain't right.)

After time running in the mat room and climbing in the tunnel room, I brought out the best part of the party.

I bought 20 foam swords in the dollar section at Target and ended the party with a huge sword fight. I think every kid (girls alike) had a blast.
Even our friend, Chris, got in the action. I had a really cute video on my camera of the kids hitting him with their swords, but for some reason it wouldn't upload. Stupid technology (because it certainly isn't me to blame!)

It was not a fancy party. Nor was it particularly organized.

But I think it was perfect for who Turner is.
We celebrated him well.

And I don't think there is anything better than a kid party that fits a kid to a T.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A reason to smile!

It's birthday eve at our house. And in light of the festivities tomorrow, I'm going to take a break from my depressing entries and get ready to celebrate. I can't believe three years ago tonight, Steve and I sat down to watch the Buckeyes get their butts kicked in the national championship game. A little after half time I traipsed off to bed because I started to feel like there may be contractions coming on (which wasn't a huge surprise, since Turner was 7 days late at that point... the stinker has been stirring the pot from the very start!) Finally, a bit after 1 am I woke Steve, we called our friend who would stay with Olivia and we headed off to the hospital.

We got there and pretty quickly the nurses started freaking out. Apparently, his heart beat dropped real low and the nurses started scurrying around. They called in an OB on call (not my laid back Dr.) They started talking C sections. The nurse broke my water.

At which point Steve started turning pale, getting woozy and all of a sudden the focus went on him. HELLO... I'm over here... the one in labor... the one in pain!!! Eyes on ME, thankyouverymuch (guys are such drama queens, am I right?!) So, after Steve got some juice in him and they turned me on my right side, the heart beat went back up. They got a hold of my laid back OB who strolled in and calmed the nurses (and my husband) down.

They got me into a room where I laid, on my right side for the next 5 hours. You have no idea how hard it is to stay on one side for several hours as you have labor pains. They brought in the epidural (yes ma'am, may I have another!) which I got... another. The first one only took on the one side of my body. Which may be worse then actual contractions because you feel relief on one side and none on the other. They brought me another which finally brought relief. In two short hours it was go time.

I think it took about 3 pushes and out came Turner Paul. Nearly 2 1/2 lbs heavier than his sister (weighing in at 9 lbs.) A pain in the rear from the start. And the apple of my eye.

Tomorrow we will have about 20 kids at the Y for his party. He is fired up and so excited for his Star Wars party. I've secured 20 foam swords for the kids who attend. I can think of nothing better to celebrate who Turner is than a sword fight with his friends. My son, the fearless warrior. He fights from his gut and he laughs from the same place. I can't wait to celebrate my baby!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warning: Contents may be heavy!

I mentioned in my last post that I picked up the book, "Choosing to See." I'm not sure if I'm glad I did or not yet. What I mean is, the book is amazing. I have barely been able to put it down since I started it on Tuesday night. The problem is, I've been an utter mess ever since. It feels like the wheels have come off and I'm zipping down the road of life with no brakes. Have you ever read a book that's done that to you?

Because of Mary Beth Chapman's writing and her style and her honesty and her humor, I've been drawn into her life, her family and her grief. And as I've explored her grief over the loss of her 5 year old daughter, adopted from China, I've been confronted with the reality of my own loss and my own (most often) denial of my grief.

For the past nearly 7 months I've plowed through. I've held it together. I've self talked. I've said all the right things. I KNOW the truth of my mom's eternal state and I've used that as a *band aid* (or should I say tourniquet) to hold the wound. Not that it's wrong to dwell on the amazing fact that she stands (on two legs) in the presence of God, happy, healthy and as she was created to be. But I've dwelled on that so much and have held that as the *right response* so much that I have not often (until the past three days) faced the fact that it as though I have lost a limb in my own life.

My mom was the one person in my life who cared about every detail. Because of her home bound situation, I talked with her on the phone more in one day than many grown adults talk to their parents in a week, maybe a month. And I enjoyed it. Believe me, there were days that it stressed me out. I took it upon myself to entertain her. Keep her company. Make sure she was alright. Not depressed. Taking her meds. But for the most part, my calls were not out of obligation. Not out of duty. But out of pure love, enjoyment and relationship.

Since Tuesday night, I have allowed myself to go down into the depths of grief. Grappling with the knowledge and understanding and reality that there is no other person who would love to hear from me 9 times a day. No one else who can be my constant companion as I am at home with three little kids all day.

I've realized that as an extroverted people lover, being a stay at home mom has been fine up until now, largely due to the fact that there was always someone a dial away who would LOVE to hear a story or ask a question or revel in a kid story. For seven months I've gone without. And I do believe it's catching up to me. Thus my need to smile more. With out the calls to my mom, I am turning into a stay at home crazy mom!

My mom's sister has stepped in and has filled a huge hole in my life. She truly cares and loves me and wants to hear kid stories. I am so thankful for her in my life. Even as I think of that, I realize how much I want to call my mom and let her know what Aunt Sherry and I talk about. Sadness. My right arm, gone!

I've had a hard time acknowledging that I'm grieving. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in denial. It's just not the first thing I'll bring up. And its not a thing that too many people bring up. But if I'm asked, most of the time my answer to, "How are you doing?" or "How were the holidays without your mom?" is something along the lines of "It depends on the day." or "I'm doing pretty well."

Which I think has been fairly true. On the surface. It's the deep innards that I have not allowed myself to access. Until Tuesday. I think I've convinced myself that everyone loses their parents and that life needs to go on (which is true, especially when you have three little kids.) And honestly, the book hasn't exactly helped me in that regard. I mean, here's a mom who watched her 5 year old die in her own driveway and then had to watch her 17 year old son deal with the fact that he was driving the car that killed his sister. Now THAT is a good excuse for grief.

But shoot. Losing your right arm is still losing your right arm.

I didn't even want to blog this. I hate the idea of my blog turning into a depressing, self indulging place. In my mind people want to spy, see cute kid pics and be entertained. And I assure you, I'll be back there just as soon as I can. But I also know that my mom loved this blog. She read it faithfully. She would want me to share my true self.

Some days the true self is funny. Cute. Hip. Some days the true self has puffy red eyes and snot hanging down its face.

Please hang in there with me until the funny cute and hip re-surfaces (and that's assuming it was ever here to begin with :) Prayers for me as I venture to a place I know God wants me would be welcome. Its kind of scary. Like I'm not sure if I go there I'll be able to re-surface in time to do what I've got to do. I'm thankful for Mary Beth Chapman's courage and her courage to write this book. If she can do it after something so devastating as losing your child, I can do it after losing my right arm, right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) New Year's Resolution

It's *nap time* around here. Although these days, Olivia never sleeps (she's almost 5) but she does have a required quiet *play in your room* time. And the brothers? They sleep about two out of every seven days. I'm sitting here listening to them chat about swords and shields through the monitor. And smiling.

I just finished lunch, cruised around the blog world a bit and now I'm planning on starting a new book I just picked up at the bookstore after spinning class. Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman. I'm very excited to read it. If you don't know who she is, she is the wife of singer/song writer Steven Curtis Chapman. They are huge advocates of adoption and have several daughters adopted from China (their foundation Showhope gave us $2,000 for our adoption.) Their adopted daughter, Maria, was killed in their driveway a few years back when their older son pulled in and didn't see her. While it appears the book is not only about grief and loss, it is Mary Beth's personal walk through life while trusting God. Seems as though I might be able to relate.

Sorry for the downer post yesterday. It seems like life these days just ends up through a certain set of lenses. The lenses are what they are and I guess I need not apologize. But I kind of hate being the downer. But this is such a good place to process and record my thoughts and reflections. And ironically, while I don't necessarily make *New Year's Resolutions*, I have kind of thought to myself over the past week that I'd like to work on smiling more this year.

I've caught a glimpse of some pics of myself that my dad or Steve have taken lately. You know the kind that are taken while you're not paying attention. And I look like a dang sour puss. Shoot, I don't want to look like a Cheshire cat all day, but I certainly don't want to look like I'm mad at the world either.

So there you have it, my big goal for 2011! Getting organized may never happen. Losing 10 lbs seems too lofty. Getting up earlier is for the birds. But smiling more is something I think I can manage. Smiling when I'm frustrated, yes please. Smiling when I'm overwhelmed, bring it on. Smiling when it's a choice rather than a natural response, I'll give it a whirl.

Feel free to remind me of my goal in about three days when I'm back to *normal.* Now I've got to get back to smiling, smiling is my favorite! (bonus points if you know the movie that comes from!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

No title seems right for this one

I nearly caved and did what the rest of blogdom was doing... recapping 2010. But honestly, 2010 sucked so bad around here, I don't want to recap it and I for sure don't want to drag your butt through it again. So suffice it to say, 2011 is a welcome site. Or at least I thought it was going to be.

I guess not ALL of 2010 was awful, we did have some laughs and enjoyed ourselves... but when you lose your mom, sometimes things get tainted. But oddly enough, New Year's was sadder for me than Christmas. I think that i can *gear up* for the stuff I know will be hard, and by doing so I just kind of will myself to get through it. I lock up my mind and heart in a protective cocoon. Somehow its better that way.

But New Year's snuck up on me like a professional hit man. There I was, minding my own business Tuesday night. Watching a few Glee re-runs. When out of nowhere a commercial for a made for TV movie ran across my screen. And if you've spend even just a bit of time around here you may recall I've historically loved me some American Idol. And so did my mom.

In fact, we were total nerds about it. For several years, we would call each other after every performance and laugh about Sanjaya's hair, swoon over Daughtry and argue about whether or not Jason Castro was really a good singer or just had nice eyes. One person we both agreed on was Brooke White. We liked her. Neither one of us thought she should be *the* Idol, but we liked her. And I was convinced that if we lived in the same town, we would be friends.

So, when the commercial came on last Tuesday, I got all excited and pulled Steve in the room to announce, "Hey, look! Brooke White is going to be in a TV movie. I've got to call my mom." And then it happened. A.L.L. the air escaped my lungs like I had been hit in the gut. I couldn't believe that I had said it out loud. And then, what's more, I couldn't believe she was not there to call.

I seriously have not had that thought or reaction to any thing since June. I guess mostly because I've willed myself not to. I don't allow myself to think it. But there was something so instinctive (about American Idol? too bad it couldn't have been a bit more sophisticated) about my reaction that totally caught me off guard.

I then cried my eyes out for the next four hours.

Some because I miss my mom. Some because I just don't know if I can do this season of American Idol without her (or Simon.. but I digress). Some because she got so sick during the final three last season that she would fall asleep on the phone when I'd call and that was when I began to realize she was not going to make it. Some because they crowned Lee the winner while she was in Hospice, and she rallied long enough to actually be interested. Some because those memories made me face and re-live some of the other Hospice memories that I just have not accessed since they happened. Some good. Some awful. But ones I've run from, nonetheless.

Some because I looked at this new year, 2011, and realized this would be the first full year that I won't have my mom.

So for me, while there is an over arching dark shadow on 2010 and part of me wants to get the hell out of it, there is another part who desperately does not want to say good bye to it, because it seems to be another fresh good bye to my mom.

I have not decided if I will be able to tune it to Idol when it starts up again in a few weeks. But something tells me she would want me to. But not after we thoroughly complained about the addition of Stephen Tyler and J. Lo!