Friday, February 26, 2010

Less Than An Hour To Go!

And then the weekend will be here! Not that I'm counting down or anything...ahem.

This weekend is going to be a balancing act of fun, chores, & hopefully project progress. Tonight we are having dinner with Mike's family b/c his brother will be here from out of town. Good times will ensue.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to catch my nephew & niece's last b-ball game of the season. Caleb is a baller & Maddie is a cheerleader. They have been so fun to watch this year.

Tomorrow afternoon a local college is having a basketball game that is free to the community. Beth & her clan as well as Mom & Dad are headed out to that. Since Mike is once again planning on being ensconced in his workshop with the new project I think I will tag along with them.

That is IF I get all my work done. The weekend is still the best time for me to clean, do laundry, & catch up on ironing, etc. I also have some sewing projects that have been begging pitifully for my attention. I have my little (read, HUGE) to do list ready for some marking off action. We'll see what I can get done so that I can fit in all the fun :-)

A Short Report On Last Week's Goals:

*I have been wearing a leather belt for several days now. What a relief to feel less tender & puffy! (Amoke' you can breathe easy - the steristrips & adhesive are all gone!)

*I can walk much more quickly now. I walked 2 miles several times this week & I am well within the 15 minute mile pace. I used to be able to walk one in 14 minutes. There is a 5k that Caleb & Beth are participating in a couple of weeks. I hope to join them. No running this race, but hopefully I can start my running up again very soon.

*I wore a regular skirt & tights to church last Sunday. It's probably silly & maybe more than a little vain to be so concerned about it, but I just felt like I looked so much better wearing a nice skirt with tights rather than a denim skirt with knee socks. I felt more like me :-)

So what's your plan for the weekend? Anybody doing anything really fun?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kickin' It Old School

Take a look at this sweet blast from the past!
This picture was taken my junior year of high school.
Yes, I was a band geek. And I loved just about every minute of it. This was the year that we spent spring break at Disney World. That entire school year revolved around some sort of band activity - marching band, trip band, pep band, wind ensemble, etc. A lot of work but a lot of fun.
These were my closest band friends. You might recognize Amoke' from a previous post. My sister Beth is in here, too. And her husband Brennan. The Lord really blessed us with good friends in high school. We went to a pretty big public school & I'm sure there were MANY opportunities to get involved in some funky stuff, but we were just regular kids doing the regular school stuff. Like I said, the Lord really blessed.
Amoke' posted this pic on facebook yesterday so I zapped it over here. Thanks, Mo!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mike's Handiwork

Lately Mike has been spending lots of time drawing out plans, shopping at the home improvement stores, & hanging out with his tools in the basement. No, we aren't fighting & he isn't trying to get away from the wife. He's been making this beautiful mirror/coat rack/shelf combo for his parents.
It hangs just inside their back door which is the door everyone uses. He had to adjust the plans a little bit so that it would fit their space. There is the mirror for last minute checks on the way in & the way out, two drawers for keys, cell phones, etc. & underneath the drawers are hooks for jackets.
He has a couple of other projects that are in the works as well. I love the fact that Mike can take wood & make something so beautiful & functional. It is definitely a skilled art. We are wishing, hoping, saving, & praying for the ability to build a garage soon. Mike has adequate space in our basement for a workshop but we both agree that the sawdust seems to be seeping through the floorboards into the main living area of our home. I sweep & vacuum, vacuum & sweep. Since we have all hardwood floors it seems to make it a little more of a problem. But I can deal with a little dust if he keeps turning out beautiful things like this!
I know a lot of you sew & do other crafts. What projects do you have in the works to keep you busy during these cold winter months?

Sweet Friends

Let me introduce you to a couple of my sweet, through thick & thin friends. Amoke' is on the left with her youngest daughter Anya passing by. I have known Amoke' since the ninth grade (can you believe that was 18 years ago???). Amanda is in the middle, holding her daughter Merideth (& she's holding her newest baby there in front - Lauren, due on March 27th). I've known Amanda since second grade & I am NOT going to do the math for you on that one!
I just realized looking at these pics that we look like stair steps - ha!
Amoke' had a 31 Gifts party at her house last Saturday. I had never heard of 31 Gifts (very interesting business that sells mostly personalized bags). I ordered an over-the-shoulder purse. I'll post a pic when I get it. Especially if I like it :-)
We had a great time together with some of Amoke's other friends with the little girls running round. Merideth was very sweet & let me hold her quite a bit - even though in this pic it looks like she wants down - ha! I was so glad to see Amanda & Merideth because they live about an hour away. With the way our schedules conflict I hadn't been able to see her since the wedding this past summer. Definitely time for some catching up!
So Mo - here's your blog shout out that you were wanting :-) Better leave me a comment!

Two Weeks Off...

I'm not sure how well you can see what I was actually trying to take a picture of. This is one blade of the ceiling fan that hangs in our bedroom. We have black furniture in there. Love, love, love the way the black furniture contrasts with the deep red walls & white woodwork. Hate, hate, hate how the dust shows on that black furniture. *sigh* Due to my surgery, I took a couple weeks off from my normal cleaning routine. Wouldn't you know - a huge, long, icky looking cobweb hangs from the fan blade.
Don't worry. I nabbed that icky cobweb. And all of his friends. After some hard work on Saturday, our house is very nearly in tiptop shape again. I never dreamed I would be so picky about keeping a neat & tidy house but I feel so much more relaxed when things are clean & put away. Ahhh...
Do you agree? Or do you think housework should always, no matter what, be at the bottom of the To Do List, endlessly pushed off until the next day?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Making Progress!

I told Mike this past Sunday that during the course of this week I wanted to reach a couple of goals.

1. Be able to wear a belt again. I don't know if you feel this way about modern jeans, but they just do not stay where they should unless I am wearing a belt. Since my middle has been so tender a belt has been out of the question.

2. Be able to wear a skirt & tights for next Sunday's services.

3. Be able to walk longer & faster.

I can report progress on two of the three goals!

I can now wear a belt - all day! Granted, it is not a leather belt. It's actually one of those woven ones with white & multi-colored stripes - yikes! Not exactly the most fashionable piece in my wardrobe, but definitely handy right now!

I am able to walk a lot further & some faster. I walked two miles last night. Since I have not been timing myself at all I can't give any exact report on the improvement of my pace but I assure you, there has been improvement!

I've decided not to try putting on tights or a skirt until tomorrow when I get things ready for Sunday. I have high hopes of reaching all three goals!

Simple pleasures, I know. The truth is, I am feeling better every day. Not 100% maybe, but definitely in the high 90's. Thank God for helping me through this. I know that my surgery was nothing compared to health situations that other people have struggled with, but it was my first major anything health-wise. I'm so so so so so glad to be this far on the other side of it. And feeling more & more like running, jumping, & being crazy - more like being my normal spastic self!

I have just a little over an hour left in my work week; I've been in countdown mode since yesterday *grin* Weekends are precious, you know? We don't have any major plans. I have a ladies' work meeting to attend at church tonight. Mike has plans to make a piece of furniture for our living room. I'm so excited to watch him come up with a plan & then make the wood conform to the plan. It's an amazing process. And it will keep him busy for the bulk of the weekend. I need to get some cleaning & sewing done. And I'm going to attend a 31 Gifts party at Amoke's house. I've never been to one of those before & I'm a little bit excited to see what they have to offer. Probably lots of things that I like & nothing that I need :-)

What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's Your Two Cents?

I have two dilemmas (that might be a strong word but I'll use it!) where I could use a little advice. If you have an opinion or some guidance for me, please feel free to assert yourself!

1. I have a condition that I like to call Winter Pallor. Actually, since I started using moisturizer with sun protection several years ago I have suffered from Winter Pallor practically year round! However, this is the time of year when I grow weary of well meaning folks remarking that I look pale, do I feel ok? or asking if I am tired because I sure look weary! Yeah, those comments kind of make me feel bad. I always wear a little bit of makeup - nothing too over the top. Just a little something to cover my dark under eye circles & blemishes, a little eye enhancement & some lip color. Whatever I can accomplish in about 3 minutes every morning. I'm thinking I must need a little something more. So tell me - what is the little something more that I'm missing?

2. I have a gift card for the local Christian book store. I don't have a lot on there (it's the leftovers of a large gift). I think I have about $15. I've been wanting to spend it but if I don't have an idea of a good book to buy before I go in there I'll shop for hours & probably not decide on anything. I would love some good book recommendations. Various topics are interesting to me - general Christian growth, devotionals/Bible studies, marriage, home, etc. Let me know what you have read lately that blessed you & I just might go pick up the same book!

Thanks for stopping by & reading my posts. I know that there are some of you who lurk & never really tell me you have been here. That's ok; I lurk on other blogs so I can't condemn you for it :-) But this post requires that you leave a comment. I have questions that need answers! Share you wisdom, one & all!

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Little Wisdom From My Husband

You are all too familiar with my whining about being cold at work. Mike gets a little unsympathetic with me because the company that he works for heats the manufacturing lines only just enough to keep the pipes from freezing. So he heads out to work on days like today all layered up with thermals, several shirts & coveralls. Poor guy definitely has flexibility issues when he is dressed like that. Anyway, the other day when I was contemplating my return to work post-surgery & worrying about being so cold all day he had a suggestion for me. I have a pair of bright red running tights. They are red like 'I'm-having-a-midlife-crisis-and-I-need-to-buy-a-red-convertible' red. Tights kinda like these:

Only mine are down to the ankle & I am NOT that skinny. Nor will I ever be. That's just being mean to everyone else.

Mike said that I should definitely be layering said red running tights underneath my jeans. Hmmm...since I was worried about the type of being cold where I involuntarily tighten up all of my stomach muscles, I decided to give it a try. It is not a bad idea. I have definitely been warmer. And I feel the need to chuckle. On the outside I have been wearing typical for me kind of outfits - dark wash jeans (the dark wash seems just a lil bit more dressier, don't you think) & a nice sweater with boots or dressy clogs. But underneath I know there is a layer of ridiculously funny red tights - heehee! Ultra red tights that totally clash with the rest of the outfit - it's like my own private joke!

I know...I am far too easily amused.

My other private joke is that the jeans I chose to wear today should have had a test run. They put just a little too much hurting on my still sore, puffy tummy. So I had to do the ridiculous - I looped a rubber band through the loop & over the button. I feel a little bit like I overindulged at Thanksgiving dinner...

Here's hoping the rest of the 'puff' goes away very, very, very soon. I'm looking forward to a whole weekend of swishy pants & elastic waists (except for church, of course). I got my friend Autumn to go mall-walking with me last night. I was slow as a turtle but I managed to walk about 1 1/3 miles. Gonna give it another go today & tomorrow. Gotta get this thing moving & get my energy back!

Anybody have any more exciting plans for the weekend? Or any tips for my post-surgery recovery? I am really hating the fatigue; I am hoping more activity will squash it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Whole Story

This is a shot of all of my get well cards & some beautiful flowers my momma & dad got for me to cheer me up. Aren't they so pretty? And they were a week old when I took this pic. I was impressed. The cards are from friends, ladies at my church & my niece Madison (her's is the pink on in the front right - she made it for me in art class - love that kid!).

I had my follow-up appointment with my surgeon today. He seemed really pleased with how my incision sites looked & released me to return to work tomorrow. I had prayed a lot about this appointment. I've done more moving around & some more chores type things in the last day or two but I have been extremely fatigued by it. I just wasn't sure that I was ready to jump back into work but part of me was really chafing at burning up so much of my paid time off. I fought worrying about it all day yesterday & finally gave it over to the Lord. The surgeon was very confident that I'm ready to get back into things. He said my fatigue is normal & my other little digestive issues (which are very minimal) are also normal. Now I guess I feel ready. I just won't be lifting anything over 10 pounds for the next couple of weeks.

So now I am going to go back in time to the surgery day, last Monday. Lots of you other bloggers post birth stories when you have your babies. I got no babies (for now!) but this is my major medical story & I thought just maybe a couple of you might be interested in how things went down.

Mike & I met my mom & his mom at the new hospital Monday at about 9 a.m. This new hospital that has built looks like a huge airport. There is a ton of glass, multiple levels that open onto a big atrium - very awe-inspiring. We had been waiting for less than five minutes when they called me back. Kisses for the mommas, one hand holding Mike's & the other holding a little book about God's thoughts about our fears (thanks, Steph!), we walked to our little curtained cubicle. They wasted no time in getting me in one of those awful gowns & an IV in my hand. The nurses were exceptional. They even numbed my hand before they stuck me. So nice! They started those fluids & my nerves started to hum & I had to make a couple trips down the hall to the little girl's room. On one of my treks I caught a little glimpse into the cubicle across from mine & I thought I recognized one of Mike's co-workers. Sure enough, it was him & he was getting his tonsils removed - poor guy!

We had a visit from the surgeon. I was his first procedure of the day. Good to get them when they aren't tired, right? The anaesthesiologist came by to see me, too. He was so cheerful & reassuring. He told me that his goal is always to give enough medicine to keep me pain free for as long as possible coupled with medicine to keep me from being nauseous. He was funny & about our age & I really liked him.

The wait seemed so long but so short. I laid there and worried about things like the fact that I'm so stinkin' tall that my feet were hanging off the bed & what if I went into surgery with a full bladder? The fear of wetting my pants is what kept me trucking down to the bathroom. So silly. Then they were telling me to give Mike a kiss & they were wheeling me away. It's such a strange feeling to get wheeled around on a bed. The doorways are barely wider than the bed & I double checked my elbows, tried not to flinch. In the operating room there were two nurses bustling around me. One was giving me an antibiotic & the other was affixing a blood pressure cuff to my arm. At that moment I was overwhelmed. It's hard to describe b/c the Lord had given me such sweet peace & it hadn't left me, but my emotions were out of my control. The tears gathered in my eyes. The nurse that was pushing the antibiotic noticed & came around where I could see her. Both nurses stopped and put a hand on either of my arms & they spoke such sweet comforting words to me. I was just amazed that they showed such care for me. I'm a little teary recalling it, b/c the kindness was just so unexpected. They had a schedule, they had things to do, they knew I was going to be fine, BUT they still ministered to my fearful spirit. The Lord provided me with such good care.

Next thing I knew, I was in the recovery area. I have no idea how long I was there but I just did not feel like I could wake up. I could hear all kinds of things going on around me. The nurse kept patting my arm & asking me I could wake up. She got another patient whose little bed was to the left of mine. He was coming out of back surgery & he was being restless & confused. She kept reprimanding him to be still in a stern tone & then coming over to me & cooing to please wake up, sweetie. I remember thinking that she was awful mean to him & awful sweet to me :-) I just couldn't open my eyes b/c I was TOO SLEEPY! Then I heard her on the phone with my anaesthesiologist. She told him that my heart rate was in the 30's. She had given me some medicine to perk me up & my heart rate went up to the 80's but now it was back in the 30's. A few minutes later he came back to check on me, declared that I was ok, & was gone again. I roused enough to talk (still couldn't open my eyes) to tell her that I had been exercising really regularly recently & when that is my routine my heart rate is generally in the 50's when I'm at rest. It's probably my imagination but that seemed to make sense to her & she didn't worry about my heart rate after that.

They brought me a Sprite & then I was wheeled back to my first little cubicle. I could open my eyes a bit at this point. I just had the funniest feeling about breathing. I would breathe out & then just pause. I almost had to tell myself, "Ok, now it's time to breathe in, Mare." Such a strange feeling. Since I had never been under anaesthesia before I just didn't know what to expect. They brought Mike back to me & within a few minutes they were unhooking my IV & telling him that he could help me get dressed as soon as we wanted. So I got up & started this horrible full body trembling thing. It happens to me every time before I vomit. I wasn't the least bit nauseated & I didn't have any pain at this point so I have no idea why I was shaking. It an awful feeling b/c I can't control it no matter how hard I try. So he got me dressed, the nurse brought a wheelchair & Mike went to get the car & tell the mommas we were leaving. The nurse had to take me to the bathroom before I could leave & she felt so sorry for me with the shaking. If she told me to go straight home & straight to bed one time, she told me ten times. I was not gonna argue :-)

Mike got me home & settled on the couch by 3 p.m. Can you believe how fast that was? I settled in with a heating pad & some water & don't remember much until the next morning. Mike & I were still in bed when there was a knock on our front door. The G's had come for a visit! G-pa went to get their license plates renewed & G-ma visited. She made sure I ate some cereal & took a vicodin. I have to say one thing right from the beginning of the vicodin saga: I have never taken anything other than tylenol with codeine. I hated it. I hate feeling like I can't stay awake b/c I'm drugged. I hate being afraid it's gonna make me nauseous. I just didn't want to take it. But since G-ma insisted, I did. And it helped some. So I took it every four hours or so for five doses. And then I QUIT! No more for this little girl. I itched so back & had a rash all over my stomach, of all places. I took some benadryl with it to help with the itching. Talk about feeling drugged. I didn't get sleepy; I felt like I passed out. So I stubbornly refused to take anymore. Tylenol Rapid Relief is all I need, thank you very much.

Mike headed back to work Wednesday. I was a little bereft without him, but I think that was the drugs. I still had some vicodin in me (seriously, WHY do people like that stuff?) & I was beyond emotional. Everything I watched on tv made me cry; everything I read made me cry; moving around made me cry. It was beyond pathetic. I had several calls & my sister came by with the kids & I cried on everybody. Goodness.

Thursday I felt more like my own self. I was still struggling with not feeling well & not having any appetite. I was trying really hard to eat b/c I knew my body needed fuel for healing but it was not easy. I was also beginning to have a hard time with sleep. Seems I was totally caught up. I would go to bed late & wake up at 5:30. I've done that every morning since (tomorrow when I need to get up at that time for work I'll probably oversleep!). So I filled my days with reading, dvd watching, puzzle working, & cross-stitching. And walking laps. Everyone emphasized to me that I needed to keep moving. Moving outside has been impossible b/c it has snowed & blown & been freezing cold all week. And I have walked laps in the house. We have a convenient little track that goes from living room to bedroom to bathroom, through bathroom to kitchen to dining room & back to living room. The only problem is that we have a very little house. I did the laps in groups of 10's or 20's & kept track on a little blackboard in the kitchen. My goal was to complete at least 150 laps a day. It's ridiculous how weak & breathless I am. But I'm sure the laps are helping, right? :-)

I made it out to church Sunday morning & evening. The biggest problem about trying to get out of the house is trying to find something other than ratty sweat pants that I can stand to wear for any length of time. My tummy is still tender & puffy. I'm hating the puffiness b/c it feels a lot like fatness. Ugh. Speaking of that problem, I gotta figure out what I can wear to work the next couple of days...

So I guess my recovery is close to complete. I did not accomplish all of the book reading, dvd watching, organizing, crafting, & what-notting that I had planned. Oh well. This has been a bit of a rough road. It has been much more difficult than I thought. The Lord has been so good to supply the peace I've needed in times of fear. He has provided the patience in times of discouragement. He has provided joy in moments of pain. He has stayed by my side & kept me from loneliness. And when I let Him, He took all my cares & worries. He is so strong on my behalf. I could not live this life without His help.

And I thank Him for providing me with a loving, compassionate, goofy husband. Mike has made me laugh so often during these home-bound days. Laughing was so painful at first but necessary for those muscles to get back to normal. I've had a comedian in the house & it has been so good. Love that guy :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I finally did it! I have successfully changed my blog background! If you have visited anytime in the last few days you were able to see that my little space was under construction. For some reason (obviously unexplainable to me) my laptop does not have all of the blogspot capabilities. I was able to download a new background but when I decided I didn't like it, blogger would not let me delete it. So we were stuck for a few days until I rebuilt my stores of patience. Mike had the desktop fired up tonight so I hopped on & got to work. Once I had things back to a blank slate, I was able to change the background without too much difficulty.

Thanks Erin, for all your helpful tips! If I wasn't able to successfully change it on this attempt I was going to call you with all my passwords & make you do it for me :-)