Monday, October 29, 2012

A Fun Fall Party

Saturday night I took the children to our friend's home for a Halloween/Watch the MS State vs. Alabama Football Game Party.  Jimmy had to work, so I ventured out alone.  I had not felt well Saturday, but decided to attend the event anyway.  The children were so excited about dressing up in costumes and getting candy, and I figured being around my friends and watching some MSU football might make me feel better.  I only took 4 pictures.  That's all, and here they are.

 Sam, as Mike from Monsters, Inc.

At this annual party, most of the adults dress up as well.  I just wore my MS State t-shirt.  Anyway......Kelly and Lynn and two of their children dressed as redneck Alabama football fans!  Ha!  The last time Kelly came in costume to a MSU football game party we lost too (as the Honey Badger last year).  So maybe he just needs to wear normal clothes!

 Kelly and Lynn!

 My sweet girls in their poodle skirts that my mother made them

Clay the cowboy and Parker the Alabama fan.

And that is all of the pictures.  

The hospitality was great, the children had fun, State lost, and I was exhausted.  That pretty much summed up the evening.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Resuming My Marathon Training

I walked 1.8 miles this morning and it took me 30 minutes.  It was wonderful to be outside enjoying God's beautiful creation.  Our yard looks so pretty with the leaves in their various fall colors.  Getting outside and walking proved to be the exact therapy that I needed!  I think the exercise actually increased my energy.  My plan is to walk 5-6 days a week for the next 2 weeks and build up to walking for one hour.  That sounds like a lame marathon training plan, but it will have to do for now!

Today I planned to be somewhat productive.  I did a Bible lesson with the children, helped Olivia with her English Comp. assignments and did a Algebra 2 lesson with Julie.  I also did a little bit of light laundry.  All of that plus eating lunch took me till 1:00.  Now I am resting for an hour and a half, and then I hope to run one errand and hopefully do a math lesson with Clay.  Baby steps.  Monday, I plan to do about 50% of my normal school work with the children, and hopefully work into a full school day by Thursday.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me cards, blog comments, texts, and FB messages.  Also thank you for the delicious food and most of all for your prayers.  I am almost over this bump in my road, and I cannot wait to be far, far away from it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Better Day!

Thankfully, today has been a much better day!  It all began when Jimmy took me to the doctor this morning, and the nurse promptly removed my drains.  I still felt pretty poorly when we arrived, but by the time we got home (via a trip to the vet for some flea products for our cats--yuk!), I felt somewhat better.  Worn out and nauseous, but much better.  I took a one hour nap and then Hallelujah!! I took a shower!  I needed another nap after that, but I pressed on.

My doctor assured me that I was healing just fine, and that I needed to get up and around more.  I told him how yukky I had felt for the last week, and how I wanted to sleep all day.  He recommended that I get up each morning and try to keep going with my daily routine (with some restrictions of course), and then take an hour and a half rest after lunch.  He felt like that way I would be revived enough to make it to bedtime.  He also reminded me that I will get stronger each day.  So I took his advice and after lunch I rested again before taking the children to cross country practice today.  Yes--I drove!

It felt really good to get out of the house and visit with some of my friends.  It was very tiring, but it was worth it for my sanity.  I came home to a delicious supper prepared by one  of my dear friends, Pam.  It is now 9:00, and I am ready for bed!  I hope I have not overdone it today.

More good news:  my doctor said that I could begin walking as much as I felt up to beginning tomorrow, and then two weeks later I can begin running!  I am still not sure how all of this walking and not running for 2 more weeks is going to fit into my marathon training, but I am determined to complete the St. Jude Half Marathon on December 1.  My time goal is to finish in time to see Jimmy cross the finish line after running the full marathon.  Surely I can do that!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another Exciting Day

Thankfully, I am still not in any pain, so I have been off pain meds for two days now.  I am just so tired and sleepy that I cannot explain it.  I mean, how much can a person sleep during the day and still sleep all night?  I guess my body is catching up after weeks up going to bed at 11:00 or after and getting up at 5:00AM to run.  I wish I could run today!

I am still sitting in the recliner ALL DAY because walking around makes me so tired and nauseous.  And I do have discomfort when I walk around, so I am just staying put.

Yesterday the girls sprayed dry shampoo on my hair and styled it into two ponytails.  I'm sure it looked better, but I was too tired to get up and look in the mirror!

I never did read a book yesterday, because I couldn't concentrate.  I am going to try again to day.  I have done some Christmas shopping online--hooray!

I had some visitors yesterday, and that was such a bright spot in my day.

My plan for today is to keep the recliner company, read my Bible, and hopefully finish Archimedes and the Door of Science (a Sonlight pre-read for Clay).  If I finish Clay's book, I want to try to read a Lamplighter book.  Maybe I won't sleep all day, and I can actually accomplish some of these goals.

I really, really hope that tomorrow after I go to the dr. I will have a happy, uplifting report! Maybe he will allow me to get outside and walk!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Boring Update

Since my life isn't that exciting these days, I guess my blog posts won't be either.  My plans for today are to sit in the recliner (again) and read, play mindless games on my iPad, and sleep.  So far today I have not been in any pain, which is a great blessing, but, I am feeling icky today.  Maybe it's the pain pills that I have been taking since Friday that are now making me feel badly.  Maybe it's the fact that I have not had a shower or washed my hair since Friday.  Yuk!  Anyway, I am going to ask one of my girls to recommend a really good Lamplighter or other book to read today that may serve as a good distraction for me.  I am also going to see if skipping the pain meds may make me feel better too.

Let me close by saying how thankful I am to everyone who has been praying for me and my recovery.  Thank you!  Your friendship and your prayers mean so much to me.  I hope that a week from now I will be resuming my regular household activities.

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Hard to Sit Still!

I am feeling somewhat normal, except for a few aches and pains and some overall fatigue.  I am sleeping better each night, but Sam informed me again this morning that I woke him up with my snoring!

I am going to try not to get too antsy today and overdo it.  I have learned my lesson in that way before.  I really am going to make myself stay in the recliner today.  When I am not napping, I hope to read a couple of Sonlight books that I need to pre-read for Clay as well as read some of Sticks Across the Chimney to Leah, her current read aloud book.  I will have my Bible, my gratitude journal, and a notebook handy as well.

It is hard for me to sit still and feel like I am doing nothing, but I know in my head that resting is exactly what my body needs--so I can be up and running around at full speed very soon.

Since Christmas is only 65 days away, and I have done practically nothing to prepare, I hope to spend some of my rest time doing some online shopping and searching for cute craft and gift ideas.

Last night we had a fun visit from Russ, Megan, and sweet Millie Janalee!  Millie Janalee has gotten so big!  She looks just like a precious, live baby doll.  We enjoyed our visit with them so much.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Post-Op Day 2

I had my final reconstruction surgery Friday morning, and everything went well.  Jimmy and Lynn accompanied me to the surgery center, and we were home by lunchtime (I think). Ever since, I have been resting comfortably in the recliner either in my den or my bedroom. The recovery so far this time has been so much better than after my last surgery.  I feel like I am more clear headed (but my family may say differently, ha!), and the pain is definitely much less.  I have even been able to sleep in my bed--propped up by pillows--instead of having to sleep in the recliner.  That is a blessing.

I have been watching TV, playing games on my iPad, visiting with Lynn (who sat with me all day yesterday while Jimmy took the children to a 5K race and then to the CrossFit WOD for the Cure), sleeping, and even reading.  I finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo!  I began that book back in July.  I read about half of it at the beach, and while we were traveling to and from Utah I read all but about the last half inch of the book.  Yesterday, I finished it!  It was one of the very best books I have ever read.  If I ever have time, I would love to read it again.  If you choose to read it, make sure you get the unabridged, 1200+ pages copy.

Today, Olivia is sitting with me while Jimmy took the other children to church services and to visit his parents.  I am really fine by myself, I just need someone to help me get a drink or a snack and also to open my pill bottles.

Julie is taking over the kitchen duties for the next few weeks, and Olivia has laundry duty.  Since I can't raise my arms for 4 weeks, I will need my girls to continue to help out for a while.  I am so blessed and thankful to have such willing, loving daughters.  The other children are great helpers too.  They all are doing their chores and helping to keep the kitchen and den area of our home picked up and tidy.  I have sweet friends bringing food for  several days, and of course that is a huge help!  Also, Leanna kept Sam and Leah while I was at the hospital, and Leigh kept Leah most of the day Saturday.

I go back to the dr. on Thursday to hopefully have my drains removed and get more instructions about what I can and cannot do.  I am guessing I will not be doing a long run this upcoming Saturday!  :)  I did run 15 miles the day before my surgery, and I hope to be out there running again very soon.  The St. Jude Half Marathon is just 6 weeks away.

This is the verse that many friends shared with me the day before my surgery:

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Phil. 4:4-7 NIV

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Holley Farms Pumpkin Patch

Earlier this week I joined three other mamas (Lynn, Leanna, and Amber) with 20 children between us for a trip to the Holley Farms Pumpkin Patch.  The weather was beautiful that day, and we had such a fun time.  Mr. Holley, the owner of the working farm was so hospitable towards us.  He shared us with the history and some of the logistics of running a seasonal pumpkin patch tourist attraction.  He explained how they created the corn maze, and that was so interesting!  He also ate a picnic lunch with us.  What a delightful day we had!

 Olivia, Leah, Clay, and Sam visiting some of the farm animals.

 playing on a hay bale

 posing in front of the general store

 swinging on the rope swing
You can see the wagon ride in the background on the right.  That is what carried us out to the pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkin.
The truck on the left is the entrance to a cool slide.

 These chicken houses were built in 1956, I think Mr. Holley said.  Now they are part of the pumpkin patch fun.

Fun on the slide!

While the younger children were sliding, the five older children went through the corn field maze.  It took them about 30 minutes, but they found their way out.  The maze was cut in the shape of a rooster.

 Parker, Clay, and Carson walking to the corn field maze.

 Now the younger children are in the "rat race".

 Sam on a balance beam

 having fun in the corn "kitchen"

 This is where you enter the corn field maze.

 The boys at the exit.

 Clay went back in the maze to escort the girls out.

After our picnic lunch we rode the wagon out to the pumpkin patch.

 looking for the perfect pumpkin

 There's a pretty one!

 Julie's going to pick it.
 The perfect pumpkin!

 Sam chose a big one!

 Lana Kate and Leah with their pumpkins

Julie and Olivia with their pumpkins

We left the pumpkin patch right after choosing our pumpkins....we still had an afternoon full of piano lessons and running.
I am glad that I squeezed into our busy schedule this fun morning.  The kids and I enjoyed it so much!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Homeschooling a High Schooler: Planning the Credits

Today I have a post over at The Homeschool Classroom describing how to choose and plan your high school homeschool student's credits for graduation.  Even if you don't think that your child will attend college, I always tell my friends that I think it's wise to provide them a high school curriculum that will allow them that opportunity if they so choose.  The time to begin considering and planning  your child's four year high school plan is in the 8th grade.

Click here to read the post.  Even if you have only young home schooled children, you may want to read this and just file it away for the future.  Your child will be in high school before you know it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Sewing Project

Saturday I invited Lynn and Heather over for a little sewing project.  I had all the supplies ready, and I told them it would take us about two or three hours to complete......boy did I underestimate that!

They arrived about 9:30-10:00, and we promptly began our sewing session with a cup of coffee.  Heather unloaded all of the supplies and equipment that she brought, including her sewing machine, serger, and iron.  I ushered them into my craft/storage room (one side houses my crafting supplies and the rest of the room is our "attic"), showed them the fabric, and explained the project to them.

 our supplies for the day

We made small pillows and drain bag holders for post-mastectomy and post-breast reconstruction surgery patients.  I had two sets of these pillows and bags, plus a apron that held the drain bags too (I didn't use the apron) given to me back in March when I had my mastectomy.  Lifesavers!  Who knew how much comfort a small, simple pillow would give? And the drain bag holders allowed me to move around without worrying that I was going to harm something or pull something out.  While I only used the bags for the week that I had the drains, I slept with those pillows under my arms for over a month.

Our first task was to measure the bags and pillow that I had and then to cut the fabric to the appropriate size.  This was Lynn's first sewing experience, and Heather and I had fun teaching her the basics for measuring and cutting with a rotary cutter.  Measure twice and cut once we told her.  Of course we all made at least one mistake, but it was all ok!  We had the best time cutting and chatting.....and the time was slipping away.  At the two hour mark,   I think we were still cutting!  So much for this being a short sewing project!

 Heather at her seeing machine

 Lynn at the ironing board

 the ribbons for the bags....We actually ran out of ribbon before we were done.

 Some of the bags waiting to be turned and ironed

We sewed and serged and stuffed and ironed and sewed some more....... Around 1:00, we took a short lunch break.  At that point we knew that we were in for a long day!  I was so sorry that I underestimated how long this sewing project would take!  But we had such a good time visiting and working.  It was so much fun!

By mid-afternoon, we knew that we needed some extra help if we were going to finish before bedtime, so we called in some reinforcements:  our daughters!

 Olivia and Julie came downstairs to help.

 And so did Hannah and Sarah (Heather's daughters).

Then my sewing machine began giving me trouble.  It was increasingly more difficult to sew.  The fabric just wasn't moving through the machine like it should.  I commented that something was wrong with my feed dog.  The machine sewed fine in reverse, but finally it completely stopped sewing forward.  I sewed in reverse for a while, but I knew that sewing that way was not the best use of my time.  So, we sent the girls to a friend's house fifteen minutes away to borrow her sewing machine.  The giggly girls were super happy to run an errand that involved Olivia driving them somewhere!
Heather and I got tickled when Lynn admitted that she thought I was just making up some funny word to describe the problem I was having with my machine--the feed dog.  She didn't know that that was a real part of the sewing machine!  

After Jimmy came home from work he periodically checked on us.  He took this picture of our entire group, happily working!  Thankfully, he called us before he came home from work to see if we needed anything---we did---a Coke!  So he brought Lynn, Heather, and me a much appreciated Coke.

 busy ladies!

We kept on sewing and sewing, and the next thing we knew, it was suppertime!  We ordered pizza, and Jimmy picked it up for us.  We took another quick break to eat, and then it was back down to the basement to assess where we were in the project and finish up.

Around 8:00 PM, Lynn and Heather left.  I finished up sewing the last few sets with Olivia's and Julie's help.  And then we were done!  35 complete sets!

 a set

 another set--this set was everyone's favorite!
We used bright, happy fabric for all of our sets.

The sets all bagged and ready to be donated.

Yesterday I delivered the pillows and bags to two different places, The Breast Care Center and the Women First Resource Center.  At both locations, the ladies were delighted with our donation!  And I know first-hand how happy the cute bags and pillows will make future patients.  I even kept one set for myself to use after my upcoming surgery---the brown and purple set.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More About Utah

On Saturday, Jimmy ran the St. George Marathon.  I took him to the bus loading area at 3:20 AM!!  All 7000 runners boarded school buses (every available bus in the county) and rode 26.2 miles to the race starting line.  There they had bon fires to keep the runners warm until the 6:45 AM start time.  I went back to the hotel after dropping Jimmy off and went back to sleep!  Later I drove to the finish line area and ran 11 miles around downtown St. George while I waiting for Jimmy to finish the marathon.  I cheered for Jimmy as he approached the finish line, but with such a large crowd, he never saw or heard me!  

This was a hilly course!

We are driving DOWN this huge hill, but Jimmy had to run UP this 7% incline during the marathon!

 The marathon was overall net downhill since the elevation at the starting line was about 5200 ft. and the ending elevation was about 2600 ft., but there were plenty of uphills throughout the race.  A tough course!

 another view of the race course

 Highway 18.  The race route.

Jimmy had a remarkable race time!  3 hours, 29 minutes!  That was several minutes better than his previous PR, BUT, he was still somewhat disappointed---his goal was a 3:25.  I am super proud of him anyway!  I know that he will run a 3:25 marathon soon.

After we rested at the hotel for a couple of hours, we decided to do some more site-seeing.

 The landscape was just so beautiful!

 pretty green cactus

 another picture with a little bitty me to show you how massive these rocks are

 Can you see the rabbit?
Thankfully, this rabbit was the only wildlife we saw.  I was afraid that we might encounter a mountain lion!

Sunday we drove 2 hours to Las Vegas to attend a worship service.  We met some really nice people who live, work, and worship in Las Vegas---although I would NEVER want to live there!  Our plane was leaving extremely early on Monday morning from the Las Vegas airport, so that is why we went ahead and drove to Las Vegas on Monday.

After the church service we drove to Hoover Dam.  Although it is man-made, it is breathtaking too!  We walked all around the outside of the enormous dam, toured the visitor's center, watched a movie about the construction of the dam (fascinating!), and then we took a tour of the inside of the dam.  Amazing!  I sometimes get claustrophobic, and walking inside all of those tunnels inside the massive dam was a little bit confining! The history of the dam and its construction is very interesting.  The entire time we were there we were wishing that our children were there too!  They would have loved it!

 Part of the tour included us walking around INSIDE this dam! Inside!  I enjoyed the tour, but I was ready to be outside.

After completing our tour of Hoover Dam, we drove back to Las Vegas and checked into our hotel.  Let me just say that I have never seen anything like Las Vegas!  We weren't there very long though.  We had to leave the hotel at 5:00 AM to go to the airport.

Monday afternoon we were home sweet home!  I was so excited to have my children back home too!  Jimmy and I really enjoyed our time together, but it was so nice for us all to be together again at home.