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Monday, December 31, 2012

...a little high...

Remember when I posted about musical theater and how much I loved going to see Les Mis and the Lion King? Well, this weekend has been freaking amazing in my little world.

If you haven't seen Wicked or Les Mis (in movie form) yet, I should probably make a ***spoiler alert*** now. Although, I am not really giving anything away, it's a ***just in case*** kind.

Also, I have to say that I feel a little guilty that Dave was taking on full parental duties two night in a row so that I could go out...but, I think I've been pretty good to him over the years and two nights in a row is a pretty rare never occurring thing for me, so I'll just soak it up this time.

So, Saturday night was my first time seeing Wicked. I had prepared myself for it a teeny bit by listening to the soundtrack ahead of time, and I kind of had an idea that it was a little more light hearted than I had maybe originally thought. And truth be told, I don't know that I have ever had a real love for the Wizard of Oz, and seeing Wicked was something that I had wanted to do because I had only heard amazing things about it. In anticipation though, and because it was conveniently timed, and because my niece happened to be playing a munchkin, I took the girls to see a high school performance of The Wizard of Oz and they loved it. And so did I. And we wanted to see it again. So we watched the movie, and watched it again. (Side note: kind of interesting that as a parent your appreciation of things becomes so much different!) And then came Saturday. And Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing. Like give me the chills, totally surprised me, made me laugh, made me say "wow" out loud on several occasions type of amazing. I know several people who have gone, and I knew that it would explain some things from Oz, but I was still so surprised and excited to see all of the little things (LOVED the socks) and explanations that really tied it all together. (I was actually kind of giddy when I'd figure something out. Like the little kid type giddy when they figure out something for the first time.) And what amazing writers and talented individuals. I rarely get that "I want to see it again to see what I might have missed" feeling. But Wicked definitely did that for me. And I can't wait until my kids are old enough to understand and appreciate it for all of its worth. And hear them singing songs and quoting like they do now. (Which, I am currently in love with hearing them sing "We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz" while skipping out to the car. :))

And then came Sunday night. Katie and I always try to plan date nights around our birthdays, and it just so happened that Katie's birthday fell close enough to the opening of Les Mis at the movies, so off we went. I had been in anticipation of this since I had seen it at the Fox. And I loved it there. But, I don't know that I truly GOT it until afterwards when I went back and read all of the date changes and listened to the soundtrack in my car, and re-visualized the entire thing in my head. And I was kind of in love with it even more. So, I was totally curious about how it would play out differently
on the big screen.  It. Was. Amazing.  In a completely different way.  When I am in the theater, I really try to get good seats.  But lets be honest, good seats still don't allow you to see the things that you can see on the zoomed in big screen!  I guess I can best explain it by saying in the theater I had an appreciation for the characters.  On the big screen I had a better appreciation of the emotions.  And that still really doesn't explain it.  It was just...different.  But still, amazing.  The big screen version gave the details that you can't get in theater without reading a synopsis.  It's not like they flash up on the stage that the setting is France in 1815.  I did feel like things were a teeny bit out of sequence, but it still flowed perfectly.  Anne Hathaway as Fantine was SOOOO good, and her character was more developed than I remembered.  (I didn't actually think she gave in to prostitution at the theater, and didn't realize that she had sold her teeth.)  And the horribleness and filth that they lived in was much more apparent.  I also think that the casting director was spot on with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.  I didn't love the casting for Eponine, (I couldn't get a vision of someone else out of my head), but she did a great job, and she happened to sing my favorite song perfectly!  I sang the songs in my head and thoroughly enjoyed every second.  AND, I made it all the way to the end, when Fantine comes to get Valjean, before I shed a tear.  Although, if I hadn't known what was going to happen through the entire thing, I'd have been a sobbing mess, like the girl next to Katie (that she was NOT happy with!) 

So, overall, in case you didn't catch this, I love, love, loved them both!

So, that's my high.  Great weekend.  Great company.  Great productions.  And I loved every minute!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

...all of me...

This is the post.  The one where I put it all out there.

I live a second life.  By day, I am a mom, wife, professional.  At night... (oh wait, that's not the story!  That is perhaps something I read in a recent novel, or watched in a movie!)  Who in the world really has time of a second life anyway?  I barely have enough time for my own life!

There is, however, a side to me that some don't know about.  That some would be surprised to know.  That some judge me for.  That some will think I am crazy for putting out there for others to see.That some might respect me for.  A side that I am proud of; I am not ashamed of.   But a side that I also don't get to see of myself very much.

I recently ran across this little article.  I have no idea how old it is, but I find it entertaining at least.

I like to think of myself as an intelligent person.  And I do agree that it is a beautiful form of art.  I find it fascinating, and it will continue to be with me through life.  (Mine won't be retained after death as I plan to be cremated).  And yep, in the case I need to be identified, there will be no question!

I got my first tattoo in my late teens.  It was lame.  I mean, L. A. M. E.  It was a small little heart about the size of a dime and I thought I was pretty cool.

When I was 25, I got my second tattoo.  It is a cross with vines on my left hip.  My husband had a matching one.  (ahem, I did say had).

When I was 31 I had Merrick's original footprint from the hospital tattooed on to my lower right back with her name.  There was a flower put in her instep to cover the heart.

When I was 33 I had Taya's footprint added with a flower in the instep to match her sisters.  (Funny thing about that, you can tell which baby was the 6 pounder and which was the 9 pounder just by their feet prints!)

When I was 35, I had my back done.  A pink dogwood with 4 blue butterflies, one for each of us.

Also, at 35, I had an iris added to both of the girls footprints because I did not love the font of their names.  So, that got covered up.

At 36, I made the decision to have a visible tattoo.  It was a hard decision for me in my line of work, and I was discouraged from doing it for professional reasons, but I determined that my professional life was only a part of my life.  And my personal life was so much more, and if I wanted to have my girls names on my wrist for the world to see, then so be it.  Besides, I can cover them when need be.

***If you are offended by side boob or butt crack in pictures, you may want to stop reading here.  If you can see these things for artistic purpose, read on***

I recently decided that I wanted to do a photo shoot of my tattoos so that I can see them too.  I gave the CD to my husband for Christmas, and scored a groupon for cheap canvases the day after Christmas.  Overall, I was pretty happy with the outcome, but if you have ever seen a naked picture of your butt fat, it's pretty horrible and defeating.  So, we definitely won't be ordering those!!!

I have a few favorites, and I will strategically place the "clean" ones first, just in case...

And here you have it.  This is the rest of me that you don't see.  Just an average girl.  With large tattoos.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

...some Christmas break randomness...

I've got lots of little thoughts in my mind here and there but mostly nothing that is worthy of a post all of it's own, so I thought I'd throw it all together...

***T and I made a surprise trip to the American Girl doll store today.  I had repeatedly told her that there were none in the area, (lie) and she believed me ('cause mom would never lie).  But, today turned out to work for just the two of us to go, and the look on her face when she woke up in front of the store was priceless.  It was super busy but not overwhelmingly so.  It's just a good thing we weren't taking Caroline to the hair salon, because there was a 2 hour wait for that.  So instead, I asked the checkout lady how a mom was supposed to comb that mess of hair.  The tip, NEVER comb it dry.  OOPS!  I do see myself as a Caroline hairdresser in the future...which makes me wonder.  Do the AG hairstylist have to have special training?

***Before we went on break I was feeling great.  All of those around me were not, and I said a little prayer that if I could just make it to break without getting sick...let's just say that next time I say that little prayer, I might ask for the sickness to just skip me, 'cause what I have stinks.  :(  I almost think I prefer the 24 hour puking sick to the week long achy, horrible cold symptoms, sore throat, hurting ears, burning lips, headache, burning chest type of illness. Boo!

***My girls are and always have been very inquisitive.  The older they get though, the harder it gets as a mom.  Like, I feel like I need to be studying the dictionary, encyclopedia, wikipedia, something to be prepared for the questions.  Some aren't hard, but when you try to explain them, it is sometimes difficult to put in words to make them understand.  From the car, I heard this..."I have to poop."  "You can't say poop in public,"  "Mom, what's public?"  See, public is a common word, and although I did a pretty good job explaining it, it took some thinking on my part.  If I don't have a great answer, such as to this, "Mom, why does a water tower do?" I will defer to Dave or the internet.

***I really want to do a "Chronicles" of Oliver post.  But, it seems like so much work.  It would require me to get 32ish pictures from my phone to my computer and uploaded...which seems like a lot of work.  But, my plan is to print this blog into a book from time to time, so at sometime it will have to get done.  Just maybe not tonight!

***The hubs is currently in the closet.  :)  I mean, he is currently putting my new Elfa system in my closet.  A couple of months ago I decided that I could no longer live with the bedroom entry in to the closet, and it must be a bathroom entry closet.  So, between my dad, Dave and my nephew, we gained room in both the bedroom and closet by moving the door.  Win, Win!  We just had to wait for the Elfa sale and soon, I will have a beautifully organized closet!

***I am contemplating a post that would expose a lot more than I have exposed thus far.  How do you decide if you are going to put it all out there or not?  I am not a very private person, and the people who read this either don't know me at all and if they don't like me will just stop reading, OR, they are people in my life who already know pretty much everything about me.  Decisions, decisions...

***For Christmas, I got something that I have wanted for years and years!  A Willow Tree Manger.  It is new, big and beautiful.  And I plan to leave it out all year long!

That's about it for my random thoughts.

:)  I hope that every one had a great Christmas!  As for me, I am looking forward to another 7 days off!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

...How I Met Your Mother...

I only have a few shows that I watch religiously.  And by religiously, I mean I have never missed an episode.  The Mentalist is one (love me some Simon Baker) and How I Met Your Mother is the other.  I also watch some reality TV that I watch when it is on, but I can't say that I have watched every single season, so they don't count!

Anywho...I finally caught up on 3 missed weeks of How I Met Your Mother last night.  And like the season finale from last year (although this wasn't the season finale but should have been), on the last episode, I bawled.  Like seriously cried.  A lot.  And not like sad crying.  Like, the Oh. My. Gosh. I have been watching this evolve for 8 seasons and I pretty much know you all and hang in your circle and I am so happy for my friends that I am just gonna sit here and bawl type of cry!  (Yes, I am totally aware that this is a fictional story line.  Yes, I am totally aware that Neil Patrick Harris is never going to marry someone of the opposite sex and is in a wonderfully happy relationship with David Burtka with two amazing twins.  Yes, I am totally aware that I do not live in New York and hang out at MacLaren's).  But still.

And secretly I kind of wish that Dave had some amazing version of "How I Met Your Mother" that would be awesome to sit down and tell our girls.  It would undoubtedly start like this:  Girls, it was the summer of 2000 that I met your mother.  (Although, he would probably have to leave out some specifics because they just might not be appropriate to share.  And lets be honest, some things you just don't want your kids to know, or think are OK.)  If I had time (and the creativity) to sit here and make up some amazing, wild, crazy, romantic, unbelievable story, I would.  But, I don't.  So I will give you something close to the real version.

How I Met Your Father (the mom version)

It was the summer of 2000.  I had just begun teaching, but really found no need to stay home and do nothing over the summers, or evenings, or weekends, so I worked as a server at Innsbrook Conference Center.  Groups would come in and have meetings and I would serve food to them.  I had been doing that for a while.  And then one day, I came in and saw this guy.  He was hot.  But, I was in a relationship and had been for a long damn time, and saw no hurt in flirting...right?  I think it must have been that first night that we had worked together that I asked who he was.  I found out that he had been working there for a couple of summers and that he had a twin brother, and his twin had just had a baby girl and gotten married.  And that was about it.

***If you have ever worked in a kitchen of a restaurant or anything of the type, I think you would almost have to agree that when you put men and women in a close environment that can be high stress mixed with down times, you will see lots of flirty exchanges.  Or, maybe I only think that because of my own experience.  But I swear to you...every damn person in that place was on a very personal level and seemed to know not a personal boundary.***

So, the super cute guy kept drinking my tea.  I mean, every time I made tea for myself, he stole it and drank it.  He claimed to like my tea.  Hot, right???  OK, not so hot, but definitely flirtatious.

The summer went on and I was having a serious internal struggle.  I had been dating a guy for 7 years, but found this other guy insanely attractive.  So, in my mind, I decided that if I was so attracted to someone else, perhaps 7 years guy wasn't the one for me.

I am not really sure when I found out "the rest of the story" about the guy that I was having a "flirtmance" with, but by the time I found out, I was kind of attached to him.

And the rest of the story goes something like this... He was getting ready to go away to college.  GASP!!!  WHAT???  I thought your brother had a baby and was married???  AND, he's your twin, so your the same age.  And I am a teacher.  WHAT???  But I really like you, and you are legal, and you aren't in high school...and it realistically won't go anywhere...and, but, and, but, and, but, and, but.

That was 12 and 1/2 years, a wedding, 2 houses, and 2 kids ago.

I once wrote a paper while getting my master's about the struggles of dating a guy that was younger.  And not just a couple of years.  6 years.  I don't know what the heck I ever did with it, but I am sure that it would make me laugh now.

So, it's not worthy of an 8 years and still going strong sitcom, but it's a good enough story.  :)

And, I kinda like this guy and these two amazing girls he gave me!

Friday, December 21, 2012

...5 minutes of fame...

I kind of giggled to myself today and I immediately called G!

I found out from Katherine, who posted a "Congrats for winning" feedback on my last post!

And then I got to read all about it from Karen in the most awesome play by play of the awards ceremony!

It was AWESOME!!!  My category "Favorite New Blog" was up first. I got presented my award from  Danny from NKOTB who was totally my favorite, although not the most popular!  AND, I was wearing a beautiful Blue Vera Wang dress!

The other awesome thing is that my friend Brooke also received an award for "Best Kept Secret."

I am sure that we totally celebrated and drank a lot amongst all of the celebs!!!

But seriously, a huge thanks to G who nominated me, and gave me this amazing outlet!

And also a huge shout out to all of Brooke's pals that voted for me just 'cuz I'm Brooke's friend!!!

And also to Karen who put on such a fun contest and put so much thought in to such a fun and entertaining post.  I absolutely LOVED my 5 minutes on the stage!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 name is Jodi, and I...

I've never been to a support group, but isn't this typically how support groups are portrayed to start?

When I heard about the tragedy on Friday, it rocked my world. I work in the education field. I have a daughter in 1st grade. I have a daughter in pre-school. The thought naturally and quickly came to mind of "what if it was one of us?" And your heart breaks in to a million pieces for the families and the community.

And then you get on Facebook and get to read everyone's personal opinions on why they think something like this happens. Which in interesting. Because everyone thinks they are right. It's because of guns, it's because we took God out of school, it's because our schools aren't safe, because we live in a sick world, because of violent TV or video games, etc.

I chose not to share my 2 cents in the FB world, however, I did share this article. I choose not to share my opinion on the why's of the tragedy, but it does give me an opportunity to jump on a soap box. A mental health soap box. And it starts like this...

My name is Jodi, and I suffer from mental illness.

Sounds horrible, right? I get it. But pull out a DSM-IV, and you will find me more than once, at different stages of my life.

This is my rap sheet. (Yep, it's personal. But it's real. And so am I. And so are the millions of people in the US suffering from mental illness.)

Depression (bad relationship)
Post Partum Depression (potential post-traumatic stress disorder)
Post Partum Depression (again)
Major Depression  (totally fought this one internally)
Situational Depression (sounds more like it)
Anxiety Disorder  (came out of left field, but totally sums me up)

I was first diagnosed with depression in my late teens.  Was I depressed or in a bad relationship? Who really knows, but that was back in the day when Paxil was handed out like candy.  Got a case of the grumps?  Here, try this!

My first real bout of depression came after  Merrick was born.  I don't remember all of the specifics of it, which seems weird.  I remember crying, a lot.  As a infant she had pretty significant jaundice, which sent us to the blood lab 2-3 times a week for her first two months of life.  She had little bouts of odd things happen here and there, and coming off of a stressful pregnancy, a stressful induction, a stressful delivery, a stressful after-birth experience, and just being a first time mom, I struggled.  A lot.  Not the I want to kill myself or my baby type of struggle, but I really was very anxious about motherhood and everything involved with it and just couldn't seem to snap out of it to function properly.  And I had horrible visions/nightmares that I would accidentally hurt her horribly.  The worst was at the mall and I was so afraid to get close to the bannister because I kept envisioning that I would accidentally drop her off the side.  Did I mention I cried a lot?

After some time, I had weaned myself off of medication and was functioning quite normally.  Our family of three was pretty great, work was going well, and I would say that my depression had ceased.

Until, I had Taya.  And I was sure that I was NOT going to be depressed this time.  (Because that is controllable, right?)  And this time, the crying was worse.  The night that I realized that I was told that I was not OK was a golf night.  Dave and I had had a disagreement of some sort, which really was probably nothing, but in my Mom of a 2 year old and infant mind, it was pretty major.  And I kind of cried.  A lot.  And not just crying.  But sobbing.  Uncontrollably.  Like hiccuping and ready to vomit crying.  And screaming at my mom that I was fine.  And one of my best friends rushed over and my mom threatened that if I was not going to take care of "this" myself she was calling the doctor on my behalf.  Because, that was not the first time that this sort of thing had happened.  Again, I was never in the mind set that I would kill myself or my children, but these thoughts of just going to sleep and never waking up to a world that you didn't feel like you could handle didn't sound horrible.

It was harder for me to shake the depression the second time.  Because here's the deal.  When you are on medication to make you "feel better" you have a false sense that things are better, you decide for yourself that you are going to stop taking your medication, and you hit bottom again.

That's the scary, scary, scary thing about mental illness.  If you have diabetes, do you stop taking insulin just because your glucose is normal?  If you have high blood pressure, do you stop taking your medication because your check up shows normal blood pressure?  The list could go on and on, but the answer will still be this:


I do not think that I was born wired to have mental illness.  Perhaps I was, but I will never know.  I choose to believe that my depression was rooted in a traumatic event that I did not have the strength to handle emotionally.  My wiring is very emotional;  not depressed.

Which leads me to my soap box.

There are millions of mentally ill people in the world.  Some are so significantly ill that they kill themselves.  Some are so significantly ill that they kill someone else.  And the most significantly ill can go in to a school, a mall, a doctors office, a church, etc. and kill many, many, many innocent people.  Ending in a horrible, horrible tragedy such as Friday's.

In the field of education, many times you can pick out "those kids."  But, many times, "these killers" are not "those kids."

Dave and I have been chatting about this a lot.  Who is responsible for identifying mentally ill individuals and getting them the needed help?  Is it a parent/family responsibility?  An individuals responsibility?  Or the public school system's responsibility?

If it is a parent's responsibility, are the parent's strong enough to admit that their child might be mentally ill?  Do they have the means to take the child to doctors, or therapists, get medications?

If it is an (older) individual's responsibility, do they have the understanding for themselves that they have an illness?  Most of the time, I'd think not. (From experience I can say that I was screaming and crying that I was fine.  And I was not.)  And if they do get medication, do they continue to take the medication after they feel "better?"  Or do they stop counseling or therapy because they feel "better?"  I think many times, this is the case.  For the person who is treated, they have a very false sense of wellness.  For the person who takes themselves off of medication/counseling, or the person who goes untreated, the illness continues to fester.  And in some individuals, it continues to fester until the point of explosion.  Which may lead to self-inflicted death and murder.

If it is a school system's responsibility to identify these children, do they have the resources available to assist parents and children in appropriate treatments?  I can say from experience, not enough.  The school district that I work  in does have educational support counselors in addition to mental health specialists that work within our buildings, but not solely at a building.  But is that enough?  Should there be a mental health worker at every building?  Should we have more programs for students who feel like they are loners, or who are wired in a way that they need that additional support?  If we had enough programs and support at the younger grades, could we reach individuals before it is too late?  Should there be someone who is continually patrolling our halls on the lookout for kids that are struggling on the inside, but may not be apparent on the outside?

The tragedy from Friday breaks my heart to pieces.  But so does the child who commits suicide because they can't face their life.  And the 1st and 2nd grade students who are hospitalized for attempted suicide.  And the kid who sits alone at the lunch table or plays alone on the playground because they don't have any friends.  Or the kid who is bullied for the way they walk or talk.  My list could go on and on...

Here's the deal.  Mental illness is real.  Not all people are born with it.  For some it is onset from trauma or a tragedy.  But all people with mental illness need help.  Whether it is medication, therapy, or both, the illness will not just go away.

I am not going to pretend that I have any answers regarding how to reach all individuals in need of mental health services.  I just know that without additional funding to reach out to individuals who are in need, we will continue to see tragedy after tragedy after tragedy.

And that is so scary.

My name is Jodi, I suffer from anxiety and occasional depression, but I am in control.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

...the pregnancy test...

Today G said that she was surprised that I was going to blog about this because it is so...personal.  But, I don't find it so much personal as just a story.  I will spare you all of the gory details ('cause unfortunately some have already been subjected to those), and tell you the rest.

It is kind of amazing what the power of suggestion can do to a mind and body.  On a pretty continual basis, I have diagnosed myself with something or another.  Any given day I may have brain caner/tumor, diabetes (again), breast cancer, bi-polar, ADD, etc.  Yesterday, before I talked to the doctor I was pretty convinced that I had cervical cancer.  No reason, (well, I guess reason enough to call the Dr. in the first place), but something odd occurs and low and behold I am dying.  But the minute a DR suggests something, watch out.  Because I will have every symptom that goes along with it.  True, I had told Dave yesterday morning that I was feeling quite right before I had any real evidence.  But who doesn't feel a little off every now and then?  Right?

So, I was on my way to work this morning, and had to make a pit stop because I felt sick to my stomach.  Oh, and I was dizzy.  Oh, and I had a really hard time getting out of bed this morning.  And, my boobs might be a little sore.  Sound familiar?  Crazy power of suggestion, right?  So I did what anyone else would do, hop in the car, march my self in to Wal-Mart, straight to the pregnancy test aisle (because that is what the Dr said to do) and confidently grabbed a cheap and generic pregnancy test.  Because who needs an expensive pregnancy test when the possibility that you are actually pregnant is like, NONE!!!  (Totally dejavu from a little less than 5 years ago, but that's another story!!)

But as I so confidently grabbed my test that I was sure to be negative, I saw a young girl standing there just staring.  And I felt bad for her.  Because when you know what you need, you grab and go.  But if you don't know what you need, the pregnancy test aisle could be a tad overwhelming.  So, one might stand and stare.  As if they are scared out of their minds.  And thinking that if they really buy the test, they really may have to take it, and that test could change their lives forever.  And then I thought about my friends who might stand there staring, wanting to buy just the right test and hoping and praying that this will be the test that is positive.  I have never thought about it before, but I bet that the pregnancy test itself may be one of the most life altering purchases a person can make in their lives.

So, off I went to work, a tad bit late for a meeting.  I ran to the bathroom, did my thing, waited approximately thirty seconds, saw this:

swore I would never put a picture of a peed on stick anywhere on the web for anyone else to see, but alas, I did

and there was this:  WOOHOO!!!!  Hallelulujah!!!

So then why did I have all of the "what if" thoughts for the rest of the day?  I knew with 99% certainty that being pregnant was not possible.  But if I had been pregnant, apparently it was a baby that was truly meant to be.  I've had one of those before, a little surprise "gift from God" and she is amazing.  Would it have really been THAT bad?

But, that's not in my cards anymore.  You can "what if" yourself to death and never know.

But what I do know is this.  I have a PERFECT little family of 4.  And that is all I need!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

...unexpected events, oh my...

So, I was sitting in the bakery drive thru this morning and decided I was going to write a post today entitled ...thank you, dear... Obviously, this is NOT that post.

Because, my events of the day have changed, and here I am sitting in the ER and thinking about the unexpected events of today.

Unexpected event #1: Justin got to come home today!!! We weren't expecting it until tomorrow, but I got a text @ 645 this morning saying that they all got to go home today! Which is awesome. Recovering in your own home always feels better than recovering in the hospital!

Unexpected event #2: I had a "girl" issue today that resulted in me calling the gynecologist. Remember the dream last week? Well, he asked if I was possibly pregnant. Ummmm, nope, my tubes are tied and that's not possible. His reply was, well, not impossible, so, you should take a test just in case. HUH? And call me if it gets worse. Ummm, OK? As of now, haven't taken the test because...

Unexpected event #3: I was sitting in a meeting, got a call from my husband that my brother-in-law had cut off his finger off, and he was heading to help Julie with Justin. And Jeff was alone at a hospital. A hospital. Not which hospital. A hospital. Ummmm?? So, thankfully Julie called and told me where he was. And off I went! Apparently Jeff has not had his fill of hospitals for the last 8 days! And here we sit, waiting for the hand surgeon.

I have to say, I feel bad for the person who is in surgery before him because their surgery has now gone on for 2 hours longer than it was supposed to.

So, that's my "oh my" day. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Oh, and if you are at all concerned, without taking a test I can say with 99% certainty that I am not pregnant! Cause that would be freaking ridiculous!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

...wrapping up the week...

The week is over.

Here is the overview.

Justin came through the surgery great.  It has been the aftermath that has been more difficult.  The pain is intense, but he is strong and keeping his head up.  (When he is able to stay awake!!)  He had a couple of small set backs due to medication issues, but has made incredible progress in the past two days.  He has grown 3 inches and is now the tallest in his family currently beating his dad out by 1/2 inch!  He went in to the hospital at 6 foot 1/2 inch and is now 6 foot 3 1/2 inches!  ( I wonder if he is the tallest kiddo at Children's right now??)  He has been walking short distances and is tolerating sitting in a chair!  Today he got to eat.  And watch football.  And I have evidence!!  :)

Apparently the hospital TV was small, so Dave brought him in a bigger TV to watch.  These boys LOVE them some football!!!  I love this pic.  It makes my heart so happy!!!
Kaitlyn came through her surgery great as well!  She had work done on both hands and one of her feet.  She did end up having to have pins put in one of her hands, but she too has been handling it great!  Apparently it is pretty amazing what a wee one can do with two thumbs!  She had 3 matching purple casts, and is as cute as can be.  :)  I have evidence of that as well!!!

She was still pretty groggy in this pic.  On her way home from the hospital.  Love her!!
My big girl ROCKED IT OUT at her Christmas program.  She was so unbelievably proud of herself, and my heart was BEAMING!!!  She would look over and smile at us, and you could see the pride in her smile.  It was killer in the BEST WAY!!!  And yep, I have evidence!!!

I know, the eyes are a little creepy, but honestly, have NO IDEA how to fix that!
Something that I did not know was happening this week until after I had posted last week about the weeks happenings was that one of my best friends dad's was having a kidney removed on Thursday.  They had found out a couple of weeks ago that he had a cancerous tumor in one of his kidneys.  Apparently, kidney cancer is often a silent killer due to it spreading quickly and quietly.  Thanking God that they caught it early and they feel that it was contained! He still has a lot of grandpa-ing to do!!!

I have almost finished up a project that I have been working on since Thanksgiving.  Between blogging, reading, parenting, working, wife-ing, etc., I have not been working as quickly on projects as I would like.  But, I am almost done.  This was an ETSY inspired project.  I wish I had a pic with the price tag, because I swear when I looked at it, it was being sold for $149.

Here is my $20ish version.  Notice I said I am not done yet.  I am still waiting for my ho ho ho's to dry. :)

The picture is blurry, and I am thinking my belt isn't wide enough.  But, we will see when it is all finished.
I also started crocheting today.  One of my best friends recently began crocheting and I decided that I would give it another try.  The first time I tried, my Granny tried to teach me.  I gave up.  Today, I tried again and told my mom that I must be working through Granny's hands because it seemed to be pretty simple.  I have a long way to go on this scarf, but I find it both fun and relaxing.  :)

I am hoping it will look pretty amazing with the beautiful new coat my hubs bought me!
The stressful week has NOT been good for my diet.  UGH!!!  Who starts a diet this time of year anyway?  If I could just find the time to work out more.  It will come.  Or not.  Perhaps I will just learn to be happy with a tubby middle!

And now it is time to get ready for this week... I hope it is a good one!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

...we are an army...

We are an army.

It's kind of funny to say that we are a 2 man army, but in a sense, we are.

And when I say "we" I am talking about myself and the girl on the right.  She is my sister.  She is strong.  She is amazing.  I can never discredit the others that often join our army, (Jennifer, our parents, our spouses, our kids, our friends) but, sometimes, it is "we" that make up our army.

 We have also often referred to each other as "driftwood."  You know, that piece of wood that you grab on to when you are floating down river, struggling to stay afloat, and you feel like you are going to sink.  But, you grab on to that piece of wood that is slowly, slowly drifting along and it helps you float. That's kind of how we are.

I can't say that we have always been on the same side.  I am sometimes reminded that when I was in my younger days, I might have gotten a new pair of wooden clogs, and I might have come home and announced to my sisters:  "I bought these shoes to kick you guys with."  But, I was young then.  :)  And not so appreciated.  (I also might have been the surprise that came along and intruded on the sisterly duo that was functioning perfectly well without me.)  And growing up 5 years and 7 years younger than your siblings isn't exactly the same as growing up with a sibling close in age to yourself.  We were really never on the same page of life.  I still don't know that we are on the same page, but we relate, and thus find each other on the same side.

We realized that we had this "strong/weak" connection a couple of years ago when my grandmother was sick.  We both had really bad days, and we both had good days.  But the amazing thing was...we were never really bad at the same moments.  If I was crying, she was not.  If she was crying, I was not.

This has continued as things have come and gone since then.

Most recently in the past 18 months since we first heard about FA.

(***disclaimer:  if the "f" word offends you, stop reading here)

FA is a shitty, fucking disease.  I hate it.  I hate it for so many reasons, but I hate it because of what it is doing to my nephew, I hate it because of what it is doing to my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece, our family, Justin's friends, everyone that is involved in his life.  I hate that there is no fucking cure.  I hate that right now, Justin is having his back cut open, halo around his head, central line in his chest, additional IV's in his arms, small steel rods being inserted around each of his vertebrae.  A disease that has led to such severe scoliosis that the healing process to this surgery will include him laying on his side being flipped from side to side for up to 2 months.  A disease that means that he will never be able to walk through a metal detector again without setting it off.  A disease that is so progressive in nature that in a few years, he will be in a wheelchair.  A disease that moves from his digits, to his limbs, to his systems and eventually to his heart.  I HATE THIS FUCKING DISEASE.

But here's the deal.  I am supposed to be the strong one.  I am supposed to be the one that supports her. I am the one who is not supposed to cry.  I am the one who is supposed to be the army,  right?  But, I am not always.  I have my moments.  And you know what?  She is the one who is strong for me.  She is the one who comforts me.  She is the one to say "I'm sorry, I know it sucks.  It's going to be OK."  The mama of the boy who is suffering is comforting me???  It's because she is strong, and amazing, and  she is my sister.

But that's just how we work.  Because we support each other.  And together, we are an army.  An army of two.  And sometimes more.

Monday, December 3, 2012 was kind of horrible...

I had a bad dream last night.

Recently I have been stressing about my tummy fat, I have sort of gone back on the "diabetic" diet, and I have also been reading a book about a girl who had died a couple of days after delivering a stillborn baby.  Add those things together and you get my bad dream.  Kind of.

In my dream, I went to the doctor and found out I was pregnant.  Apparently, I had no idea and remembering saying, "well, I guess that explains my fat tummy," to which the nurse replied, "nope, the baby is not yet down in your stomach."  (HUH?)  And then I remembered that I couldn't be pregnant because when Taya was born I had my tubes tied.  To which she explained that sometimes they come untied and heal back together.  (HUH?  I mean, I guess that is possible, but I actually read the surgical report and I can tell you that they are tied in figure eights, which I imagine would be hard to come "untied" but I guess stranger things have happened.)  And then I said, "oh, and my husband had a vasectomy, so this really isn't possible." (HUH?  He definitely has not had a vasectomy.  I took that one for the team, so why would that be in my dream?)  But, I had apparently remembered that my boobs had been quite tingly lately, so at least I had something to go by.  (Again, HUH?  Have my boobs been tingly lately, and if so, should I be concerned?)  So, apparently, I was pregnant by some sort of miracle.

I then remember thinking that I had no idea what we were going to do with a baby.  We have been out of the baby phase for a couple of years.  We have NO baby things.  And I have a 4 year old who will not even let me go near a baby, so how am I going to take care of a baby.  And I can no longer breast feed a baby, so how in the world was I going to get the baby mama milk, and also, how do you lose baby weight if you don't breast feed?  And oh crap, I have diabetes again!

And then I remember thinking "when should I post this on Facebook?"  (HUH?  Because that's important, how I am going to tell the world.)  And what would the girls at work think when they had to cover my maternity leave?  And what would my friends think?  And my family?  And did I mention, "WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO DO WITH A BABY???"

And then, I think I woke up.  Thank Goodness!  I can't imagine being pregnant at 37.  I can't imagine going through the baby stage again.  I can't imagine not being able to feed my baby.  I can't imagine Taya not being my baby.

But the truth is, I probably wouldn't mind so much.  :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012's going to be a rough one...

This week...

Although I am not directly affected by the events that this week will bring, I am emotionally vested in the people that will be directly affected by the events that this week will bring.

Monday:  My nephew Justin will be going in to Children's hospital for his final consultation for Wednesday's surgery.  My cousin Wendee will be traveling to St. Louis for Kaitlyn's reconstructive surgery.

Tuesday:  Justin will be at Children's to get his port for the surgery.  Kaitlyn will be having the first of two reconstructive surgeries on her hands and feet at Shriner's.  Kaitlyn was born with additional digits and webbing on her hands and feet.

Wednesday:   Justin's surgery.  Justin is having a spinal fusion.  He has pretty severe scoliosis that is concomitant with Friedreich's Ataxia.  Due to his growth cells still being open, it is necessary for his spine to be fused to protect the rest of his body.

Thursday:   Eliza's Birthday.  Two years ago my friends David and Brooke delivered a beautiful, sleeping baby.  They have since welcomed a beautiful, smart and spunky Caroline in to this world, but my heart hurts knowing what this anniversary brings to them.

Friday:  Taya's Christmas program.  We have yet to be successful with Taya participating.  This year we are in a smaller and familiar venue, so I am hoping this year goes better.  As a mama, this hurts my heart immensely.  To see your daughter so badly want to participate in something, then be so unbelievably scared that she cannot, and watch her friends perform and cry because she wants to, then ask afterwards if she can have another chance.  Ugh!  (OK, so this one DOES directly affect me in a way!!)

I am hoping for a pretty uneventful and heart happy Saturday and Sunday!  My heart is gonna need it!!! could I not...

My mom reminded me this morning that I have not posted any new posts lately.  Truth is, I have been working on one all week.  I just haven't been feeling it.  The post itself has been very much to release some of my frustrations with a certain little girl that I love dearly but makes me crazy on a daily basis.  It's the story of her.  It's complicated...just like she is.  :)

So for now, I will share a completely different story about her.  One that warms my heart to the core, sends me out to a shop I swore I would NEVER shop at, requiring me to spend an exuberant amount of money on something that should NEVER cost as much as it does, and has me asking "how could I not?"

A couple of weeks ago, Merrick came home wanting to add an American Girl doll to her Christmas list.    I immediately went in to a slight panic as that was definitely NOT in my plan.  And I just happen to be a planner.  So, we had a little talk about how she has never been a "doll" girl, so I was curious as to why she had changed her mind.  She admitted that it was because her friend wanted one and decided that she would rather have a piano instead.  (ummmm....that backfired.)  But, I found a great deal on a girl sized baby grand with 37 keys and was content.  :)

Until Thursday.  One of my good friends had asked if the girls could come over after school to bake cookies.  Yay!  I got to go get my nails done.  And went to pick the girls up.  On our way out the door, Taya asked Camryn if she could borrow one of her "mazagines."  It happened to be an American Girl doll magazine.  Taya has ALWAYS been a "doll" girl.  I mean, like we have so many dolls we don't know what to do with them.  For a while we had a lot of problems going to the store because Taya truly believed that all of the babies needed homes, in particular our home!

So, when she decided that she wanted the Caroline doll from the American Girl catalog, I became a wee bit concerned, but that's just Taya.  She wants everything.

Dave happened to be out of town that night, and the girls got to sleep with me.  Taya was having a hard time settling in, and she kept getting up.  I honestly didn't think much about it.  And then I got up at 1:00am to let the dogs out.  On my way there, I saw this:

If you look closely, you can see our Elf on the Shelf, Oliver, looking down towards the floor.  On the floor is the American Girl doll "mazagine" placed in the direct line of vision of the Elf.  
Melt a mama's heart.  How could you say no to that?  Which is how I landed here this morning:

And it was packed, and crazy, and overwhelming.  But it made my heart happy to think of what a happy girl I would have on Christmas morning.

And, because I could not fathom paying $62 for a set of matching PJs for Taya and Caroline, I stopped at My Red Thread and got a matching set of monogrammed penguin PJs for half the cost!