Monday, December 28, 2009
I have so many posts in my head. I keep thinking of catchy titles for posts and the perfect photo to illustrate whatever silly point I am making. But I have just not been up to it. So I want to give y'all an explanation and then I plan to catch up in order with all of the fun things I want to share, OK? I just reread the explanation, and it is not a fun read, but I just wanted to get the scoop out there. Many friends and family have been asking what happened, so this is it. It may not be pretty or even well written, but it is the story!
I have had this thing for a while. It started in October of 2006. It is where I wrench something and pull my ribs on the right side. It has been painful and at times debilitating. But I hate to complain, and I hate to go to the doctor, so I have just lived with it. I would rest, take ibuprofen, lay on a heating pad, and in a day or so, I would feel better. We all attributed it to the fact that I always had a baby on my hip. Or that I am overdoing it and lifting things that I should not. Plus, in my capacity as an Internet doctor, I had researched this type of strain. And I found that once you injure yourself like this, it is likely to happen over and over. Mystery solved, right?
So I had little flare-ups from time to time. Sometimes it would get pretty bad, and about the time I was ready to say, "OK, I am going to the doctor!" The pain would subside. And I had no other symptoms, so I was all good.
Well, during the week of December 14, it hurt a little bit. But I was so busy with schools and Christmas, and church. And then the night of December 18, Daddy had a party at his house for some work people. The kids and I were there, of course. And at one point, I had to carry a barefooted Spencer a long way. After I did that, I was hurting a little. And then when I woke up Saturday morning, I was in awful pain. So of course, I thought, well, I carried Spence and just over did it again. And I rested. But I did not get better. I did not sleep at all. Then Sunday, at church, I could not even stand up straight. I was in a lot of pain and it was starting to focus on one spot, just under my ribs in the front. I went home, to bed, and rested. I still could not sleep because I just could not get comfortable.
Monday, it was still hurting, but it was Christmas week! I had so much to do! So I got up and tried to do some cleaning. Cleaned the bathrooms, did some laundry. (I could not lift it or bend over to pick it up, so the babies were my little helpers!) I cooked supper and tried to ignore it. After supper, I went to bed and could not sleep. I tried to sleep downstairs in my chair, but I couldn't. I paced, I cried, I was nauseated. Finally, at like 4:00 AM, I called Momma. Now, this may seem odd. David was home. Daddy was 1 mile away. But I did not want to make the decision. I called Momma so that she could say, honey, go to the hospital. Which, she did. Plus, we all like to talk to Momma when we are sick, right?? David got dressed, Daddy came to sit with the kids, and off we went.
At the ER, they were awesome! I could not even sit because I was hurting so bad. They got me fluids and drugs!! The morphine did not even help. After an ultrasound, some blood work, and some dilaudid, they told me that it was gallstones. OK. I can handle that. So then she said, we are admitting you for at least a few days. WHAT?! It was December 22nd! I had so much to do! But I also was in no condition to do it, so I of course, was admitted.
The nurses were awesome at keeping me comfortable. They could tell by my face if I was in pain again. They did not let me eat or drink anything. I got a few hours or clear liquids once my surgery was scheduled for the next day. I met the surgeon, and he was so nice.
Momma hit to road to come and help. Every one's Christmas plans were changed. I was most sad about that.
I had lots of visitors from friends, David, the kids, and Daddy. That made it a little more fun. Jess and Spence bought me stuffed animals to keep me company. And I don't allow them to say the word, "hate," but Jessa asked if she could say, "I hate it when Mommy is sick." I said, absolutely!
David and Daddy took turns with the kids so that David could be with me sometimes. The surgery was scheduled for 2 PM on December 23rd. It was supposed to last an hour, maybe two. He was planning to perform a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. (Why do we call it a gallbladder?) The surgery took more than 3 hours because I was in bad shape, but he also managed to still do it Laparoscopically. He said I was in the top 5 of the worst gallbladders of the year. I was pretty honored. He said it was really, really sick, and that I must have been suffering for quite sometime. Well, as it turns out I was, I just did not know it.
So they let me come home on Christmas Eve. I was so glad to be home, but I did not feel much like Christmas. I felt the worst on was Christmas Day. I was so sore and so tired. But I managed to sit up and open gifts and watch the kiddos! Each day I have felt a little better. And I am so glad that I now know the cause of my mystery pain all these years!
My poor Momma has worked herself to death trying to keep up my plans. She cooked all that I had planned on cooking and she even helped the kids make cookies for Santa. And Momma and Daddy have had the kids at their house several nights so that I could rest. And the timing was bad, but if it had been any other time, David might have been on the other side of the world, so I guess things work out.
So that was Christmas at our house. . .
Hope yours was less eventful and less painful!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Now under normal circumstances, I have accepted all of these things. This is part of life with a family who lives a normal, non-nudist life. But right now, I am very distressed with you. See, I am thinking that you may not know what time of year this is. Maybe you do not have a calendar, maybe you are not paying attention to the commercials, or the carols, or the decorations. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, really I am. So in case you are living under a rock or OK, in a hamper, or let's face it strewn all over the house on the floor, it is December.
It means it is the Christmas Season.
And we are busier than EVER!
I mean, we have parties and concerts. We have to shop and box and wrap things. We have to bake and cook. There is so much going on. At the end of the day, we are all exhausted. There is hardly time to do anything. And we are so busy we are almost never home, which makes it impossible to actually wash you. See what I mean? So can you help me out? Instead of creating more dirty, could you create more clean?
I mean, these pile are simply unacceptable.
Friday, December 18, 2009
This is one message that is hard for children to understand. Children are pretty selfish by nature. Momma once pointed that out to me, and it really is true. I am trying to raise Jess and Spence to want to give, not just get. And Christmas is as good a time as any, right?
Last year, we did a Toys for Tots day. And I was super proud of their ability to choose things to donate that they really liked. This was not just their typical behavior of only wanting to donate toys that are broken beyond repair or missing important parts. I was so proud.
This year, we may not have time for a day like that. But we are still giving. And I hope that the example of seeing the adults in their life giving whenever possible will also help instill a generous spirit in my sweet ones.
Here are some things we have done this year:
We had the opportunity to "adopt" 2 angels from church. We got a 13 year old girl and a 14 year old girl. Momma and I had lots of fun picking things out for them, although I realized I am not very trendy! I also felt old saying things like, "I don't even know what the kids are wearing these days." Yikes! We were only allowed to spend $40 and we had to wrap it all in 2 boxes per child. We had to be frugal and careful and also add a lot. I am not a huge fan of math. . . But we managed to do a pretty good job and after I crammed a book, an outfit, and pj's all in one box, we made it. The other box had shoes and socks. Anyway. The gifts turned out beautifully and of course, I delivered them to church in such a hurry that I did not take pictures. Oops.
We also got to pick a tag off the tree at Spencer's school. Their tree splits up the needs and only has about 1 item per tag. So everyone can do a little bit. That was a great idea, so Spencer and I found a puzzle and a pair of pajamas that will hopefully make someone very happy! And once they were wrapped, we even got to put it under the tree ourselves.
I also love what Borders is doing. Our Borders is giving people the chance to buy a book for be donated to foster children in our area. How cool! So we picked out a Curious George to donate. It was so easy! And we were glad to help!
One of the most basic things that I do is to never pass up a Salvation Army bell ringer. I have a tender place in my heart for the Salvation Army. Maybe it is because my Poppy and his Kiwanis cronies ring the bell to help out. But I always remember Momma letting us put the cash in the bucket. So now, my kids are the ones who are putting the money in. And this is one thing that I do not make them take turns. If they are both with me, they each get at least a dollar to put in. And have you noticed how high tech they are now? You can even text a donation!
Also Jessa's school is collecting toys and games for a children's hospital in St. Louis. What a great idea! They sent home a list of items that they would like to have. So we bought 3 puzzles with varying themes and age levels to give to the hospital. I love that the schools are trying to reinforce the idea of giving.
The kids have also helped me pick out gifts for all of their teachers and the bus driver. And they are having fun helping me stuff goodie bags for the mail man, the UPS man, the FedEx man, and even the garbage men. I love to let people know how much they are appreciated, you know?
I am also stealing my Daddy's idea and baking small pound cakes in Christmas loaf pans to give to special people. It only takes a little time to give someone something delicious and homemade! I distributed 9 yesterday, and they were even still warm. . .
And as I am typing this, I am thinking I may have to make time for another Toys for Tots outing. I mean, these commercials alone make me love this organization.
So I am really enjoying giving this Christmas. And I am am hoping that somewhere in the heads and hearts of my children that it is sinking in. It really is more blessed to give than receive. And to be perfectly honest, my favorite part of Christmas and opening gifts is watching the faces of the people that I bought for. Or hearing positive feedback. I love to give people perfect gifts, whether they are those less fortunate or teachers, parents, husband, and children.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
My children have said several blessings. Each church preschool we attend has a different blessing. I think that is sort of cute because Jessa actually classifies her many preschools not only by who her teacher was, but also what blessing they said. I must admit, my favorite was the one they learned in Hinesville. It is a song. And when they sing it, my heart just melts.
Recently they have started bickering about who will say the blessing. In the past, Spencer was too shy and always allowed Jessa to say it. I am thrilled that Spencer wants to have a turn now, but I also get indigestion when they start the meal with an argument. I also remind them that Jesus does not like them arguing about something that He asked them to do. Although, in the heat of battle, they cannot even hear me!
So I am thinking that on my trusty 2010 calendar, I may have some small lettters ("J" or "S") on my calendar for each day.
BUT before I do that, I must share with you what happens on my favorite nights. The nights that I sit at the table with tears streaming down my cheeks. The nights that they agree to say it together. Their sweet voices. Their precious song. The special words.
Well, I'll let you hear it for yourself:
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Now, even though we have done this almost every year, sometimes you should still remind your husband of these plans. In David's defense, we do not always put up a tree at our house. Like if we are between houses or gone the whole time or something. Plus, David has missed a few Christmases. Last year, we decorated right after Thanksgiving at Momma and Daddy's, but David was in Iraq. Although, the year before we actually decorated on Thanksgiving afternoon, so see, you would think he was thinking like I was. Well, um, no. He was planning to sit on his booty all day on the couch, eating cold turkey, and watching football games. Oops. Well, we compromised, and he did lots of things during half times.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Last Christmas, both kids asked Santa for Snow Buddies, and they got it. They had seen the commercial for years, and Jessa even has a Husky stuffed dog who is named "Snow Buddy." They enjoyed the movie pretty much and later, for another occasion, they got Space Buddies. The premise is that there are these 5 adorable Golden Retriever puppies who are thrown into wacky situations. You know, ending up in Alaska to fulfill some kid's wish about having a sled dog team or accidentally getting launched into space and meeting up with a Russian space dog named "Sputnik." Oh, and the dogs talk. I mean, to each other, the people cannot hear them. And the names are all special, besides Sputnik (who speaks with an adorable Russian accent), the husky is named "Shasta." Let's not forget the buddies, they are "Budha," Rosebud," "Budderball," "B-Dawg," and "Mudbud." (OH MY GOSH! OK, so I have heard their names 1, 000 times, but only now as I looked on the DVD cover at the names to make sure I had them right did I realize that they all have something like "bud" in the name. I am slow.) So you with me? Charming, silly movies just right for the kiddos.
Well, Bay went out of town the other week. Actually David was out of town, too, so we were totally man-less for a few days. When Bay leaves, we get to keep Miss Abby at our house. The kids LOVE this. Stewart does not. I mean with 3 dogs, they are practically a pack.
Well, one morning while Abby was here and Jessa was at school, Spencer and I were in the kitchen. I realized that I had not fed the dogs their breakfast (they get dry food in the morning). So I said to my best helper boy Spencer, we need to get those dogs in here for their breakfast. And my clever boy said, "Want to know their names?" And I was puzzled because I thought I knew them already. But I played along, "OK, son, what are their names?" Well, the little brown girl dog, her name is Ash-uh-ley (that is how he pronounces Ashley)." And the white dogs are named "Snowball and Tastebud." I thought I would cry I was giggling so hard. TASTEBUD? Really? I can only assume that is a shout out to Rosebud from the classic Buddies films.
So besides the names being pretty original and silly, we have the added problem that the dogs do not know that they have new names. Almost every day, we have to call the kids different names. They change their names all the time. (For the record: Jessa is usually Shelby Marx, Shelby Macurdigascar or Chloe and Spencer is either Toby or Stewart) But that concept is somewhat hard to explain to 3 dogs who know their names very well. Plus, dogs are not huge into the whole play pretend, imagination thing, you know?
So I start to fix 3 bowls of dry food for 3 sweet terriers. And I without thinking, I tell Spencer to call Abby, Dunken, and Max. Spencer gets upset with me and scolds me because those are not the names of our dogs. So he calls out, "Ash-uh-ley, Snowball, Tastebud! Breakfast!" And not surprisingly, nothing happens. No hungry dogs. No collars jingling. Nothing. Crickets. So he says again, louder, "Ash-uh-ley!!! Snowball!!! Tastebud!!!" Still nothing. So I try to help by saying, "Abby, Ashely, Max, Snowball, Dunken, Tastebud!" He gives me a look like I am the dumbest woman ever. "MO-UHM! Their names are Ash-uh-ley, Snowball, and Tastebud." (picture a look that is usually reserved for 13 year old girls on his face as he says this).
Eventually, he lost interest, and I was able to get the confused and very hungry dogs to eat their breakfast.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
God bless him. He spends so much of his life going along with Jessa and trying to keep her happy and taken care of. Many times, he does not even know what he wants or thinks. But when he thinks something, by golly, he is SERIOUS. Take my earlier post about his love of Soft Pants. He ain't budging on that one. He is firm. He means business.
I have gently asked if he was sure he wanted to go with these ensembles. When he confidently replied, "Yep." I did not say anything else.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I hope that everyone is having just the best Thanksgiving ever. I am so thankful for all of the countless blessings in my life!
Spencer had creative differences with the song leader and staged a walk-out.
It cracked me up, so I had to share it, too. I love the way Jessa watches him walk away, yet keeps singing. She is a true professional. The show must go on.
Monday, November 23, 2009
A few years ago, my dear Daddy told Momma that he had the opportunity of a lifetime. For real. He told her that it was his LIFE LONG dream to own an authentic Army Jeep and he found one for sale. Now, my Momma has known this man since 1970. She has been married to him since 1972. And she swore that not once in all that time had he EVER mentioned this dream to her. But he was ever so convincing and she eventually said, "Well, who am I to stand in the way of your dreams?" And so my Daddy became the proud owner of an authentic Army Jeep. This is huge, right? How many people get to realize their lifelong dream? Isn't Bay a lucky man??
Daddy is very cute about this jeep. He is very proud of it. And it has made him quite popular. He cannot even drive this baby around the corner without attracting attention. Lucas has borrowed it lots of times, and he also enjoys being noticed. People ask them questions in parking lots, at red lights, and gas stations. And he is very generous. He'll let anyone (within reason) take it for a spin.
As I mentioned before, the kids wanted to ride in the jeep right after the parade this year. The drivers did not get it back to Daddy in time, so we mentioned in passing that maybe they could ride it over the weekend.
Since my elephant Spencer remembered this idea, on Saturday afternoon, Bay and Miss Abby come on over and park the jeep on the street by our house. Jessa and a friend immediately come bounding out of the house and straight to the jeep. They were having so much fun that they began to attract other children. Within about 20 minutes, every kid on our street was crawling around in it. I have no idea what the attraction was! But they came out of the woodwork to play and climb and enjoy the jeep. I sat at the open window in the den while the big boys watched football so that I could watch and occasionally intervene. The jeep politics were serious business. You know, who could sit where, who could drive, who could not come in.
The pictures are horrible. They were taken through the screen. I was trying to take pictures without them knowing. Not because I am a stalker, but when I was out there, they were aware of my presence. They were more focused on telling me who was being ugly than on playing.
So, just in case you are wondering, the point of this post is two-fold. (1) Thanks to the support of his lovely wife, my Daddy achieved his lifelong dream of owning an Army Jeep. And (2) if you are in the market for a way to attract a ton of random, strange kids to your house and entertain them for hours on a Saturday afternoon, we recommend a Vietnam era Army Jeep. Works like a charm.