Monday, December 20, 2010

Dr. J and his famous last words

Before I discuss my latest news, I feel the need to take a walk down memory lane to put this new in perspective.

  • Joseph and I go on our first date. (I told you we were taking a walk, just forgot to mention it was a long one!)
  • 5 months later we get married and go on our honeymoon.
  • 2 days after we get back from our honeymoon we move to North Dakota.
  • 2 months after arriving in North Dakota, I get pregnant.
***I'd like to pause for a moment and point out that at this point, I have only known this man for a total of 7 months.  Holy cow, we move fast!
  • 4 months pregnant we move to San Antonio for 5 months – J goes to class all day and I hang out in a hotel room. Bored. That time is memorialized by Mexican food and People’s Court reruns. Lots of both.
  • Come back to ND and have Caleb James. Delicious, spirited child.
  • Shortly after Caleb is born J starts training for a sprint triathlon and starts an organic chemistry class at Minot State. Because, apparently, having a child isn’t enough to keep him busy.
  • Does really well in first triathalon, aces O Chem and starts studying for his MCAT.
***Let’s pause on our walk here for a moment. This was a sweet, quiet little time in my life. J worked, came home for lunch everyday and was home by 4:45pm. We lived in the middle of no where, but had great friends and a happy little life.
  • Then… I got pregnant and J got accepted to medical school, so we moved across country with a 2 year old while I was almost 9 months pregnant. Quiet little life, shattered!
  • We got to DC and J had 2 weeks to unpack all the boxes, paint some rooms and help me get a nursery ready before he started classes.
  • 2 weeks after classes start, Luke Daniel is born. Delicious, funny child. J was there for the delivery and got me home the next day and then went back to classes. I got post partum bad.
  • The next 2 years are a blur of living in DC, trying to adjust to J’s new (and completely different than Minot) schedule, and trying to adjust to have 2 kids.
  • We decide to move ourselves to Texas to finish the last two years of medical school. J knew he wanted to do his residency here, so we took a BIG gamble in moving here. We packed ourselves and with the help of my step-dad, moved across the country. 3rd cross country move in 5 years. If you’re counting.  Obviously, I am.
  • Two months after moving to Texas I got pregnant. With twins. And was sick. Beyond belief. With a husband who was working c-r-a-z-y hours. Oh, my, that was a crazy time in life.
  • When I’m 7 months pregnant, J leaves for 6 weeks to North Carolina for work. Caleb was 3, Luke was 1 and I was HUGE! ‘Nuff said.
  • Twins are born at the end of 3rd year. I now have 4 kids under 4.
  • J leaves for 5 weeks when the twins are 5 weeks old. If I think back on that time too long, I will have an anxiety attack. Let’s walk faster here.
  • First year of Twinkies life is a mixture of crazy, fun, overwhelming, exhausting, adorable, sweet and amazing. Mercy, I wish I would have soaked it up more…
  • When twins turn one, we take a 3 week road trip back to DC to watch Joseph graduate medical school. HUGE milestone. The graduation and the 3 week trek with 4 small kids under 5.
  • Joseph starts residency in Emergency Medicine. Assures me that the hours are the best out there and he will “only work 12-16 shifts a month”. Oh, yes, I will quote him on that one. It will be my ammunition in the years to come. And yes, I do use ammunition.
  • Residency for 2 ½ years (so far). It bites. Really bad. There are many moments I am d-o-n-e. Instead of running away and moving to Tahiti, I cling on to the words “only work 12-16 shifts a month”.
  • End of second year, there are whispers. Faint at first, but then they get louder. Fellowship…fellowship…fellowship. And then one day Man finally says it out loud. “I think I want to do a fellowship.” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. More famous words, “Don’t worry, it looks like it will be a long shot. There are a lot of details that have to fall into place.”
We found out last week that he got the fellowship. With call every 5 days. Most of you don’t know what that means. Let’s just put it this way – it’s the opposite of, “only work 12-16 shifts a month”. Very opposite.

We are moving again. At least it’s to a place that is dear to my heart. Really close to people that are dear to my heart. That makes the fact that I won’t be experiencing “only work 12-16 shifts a month” a little less painful.

And so we continue on this crazy journey. I told my man, before we were even married, that I would follow him wherever he wanted to go. Because as long as he is there, then I’m home. Lucky for him, almost 10 years later, I still feel that same way!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What we learned at MD Anderson

We are home (back to my mama's house) from day 1 of our appointments at MD Anderson Cancer Clinic.  It was definitely an eye opening experience. 

First thing first, the news we got was the best news we could have gotten outside of hearing the words, "The tumor is gone!"  What we did hear is that this is definitely tumor and surgery is definitely on the back burner.  The tumor is in a very difficult part to reach and they will never be able to get it all.  Inevitably, it will be life altering and probably the cause of his death.

I know, where is the good news?

The good news is that we now know that surgery is not likely to happen for a while.  Hopefully a LONG while.  Because as long as he remains asymptomatic the surgery will do more harm than good to his quality of life.  Isn't that awesome news?!  He is so healthy right now that they don't want to do surgery!  Isn't that all any of us have anyway - right now.  And right now he is healthy and happy and has an amazing perspective on life and a great relationship with Jesus.  He has more with a brain tumor in his head than most people have without a brain tumor.

That, my friends, is the good news!

So what is on the horizon?  Well, it looks like we will get MRI's every 6 months for the next year and if they remain the same, than we will extend the MRI's to every year.  And when his symptoms get worse then we will have surgery.  And who knows when that will be, so we will continue to live.  Work, exercise, taxi kids around, laugh, go to the zoo and parks, share Jesus with our kids, take vacations, argue about who is the better driver and who is right, marvel over how fast the Little's are growing up and trust that God has a plan.  Not just for Joseph and I, but for our four little people.

A plan that gives us hope.
And a future.
A future that we can look forward to, not be afraid of.

While at MD Anderson today, I saw sick people.  Really sick people.  Really, really sick people that had no hair, puffy faces from chemo, scars and oxygen tanks.  All the battle wounds of disease.  But they also had something else.  Smiles, patience, dignity and resolve.  It was inspiring.  And a reminder to be thankful.  Thankful for the health of my little lovey's, for my health and most of all for the health of my Man.  Things could be much worse.  Much, much worse.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Spending time with my man is definitely a priority

Tomorrow we go to MD Anderson for testing-talking-discussing-evaluating...  And more technical stuff I don't understand.  I'm likely setting myself up for failure, but I'm hoping that we have a clearer picture of how we should proceed with life after these appoinments.

The last couple of weeks have been tough around here.  Having a husband with a brain tumor in residency isn't the easiest thing at times.  He only gets 6 days off a month.  Brain tumor or no brain tumor.  So if he has to take 3 days off to go to Houston for testing, then he only has 3 days off this month.  We don't do well when he has such little time off.  Actually, I don't do well when he has such little time off and if I don't do well...

Yeah, we don't do well.

So I'm looking forward to spending some time with him.  The sisters are coming along too and I'm super thankful that my mama lives in H-town and will be able to watch them while we are at the hospital.  The boys are staying at their best friends house and are so looking forward to that.  They have no idea what is going on.  All they know is that they get to have a sleep over in the middle of the week.  Really, is there anything else more important to think about than that?!

Some days I really wish I was 6 again.

Because I have 1,000 things to think about.  This is the worst week for me to leave because it is the last week of school before Christmas break.  That's a busy week for room mom duty.  I'm trying to have everything ready for the big par-tay on Friday before I leave.  But because I took a nap this afternoon and am blogging now, it's not looking like that is going to happen.  I have priorities and sleep is at the top of the list.

Actually, eating is.  Then working out.  BUT, sleep is a close third.
Okay, my family is first.  But eating really is a close second.

Alrighty, I better get off of here and do something important.
Like eat some of the candy my grandma sent.  Chocolate covered peanut butter balls will give me the strength I need to deal with the afternoon!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Because I don't have enough to do...

I am looking at houses online.
In a different city.
Because it looks like we are moving.
But that's all I can say about that for another 6 days!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A post and a song that give me hope today

One of my favorite things, if not my favorite thing, about blogging is the ability to go back and look at life, pictures, thoughts, feelings and events.  I started blogging about 5 years ago, before the twins, when my Luke was just a year old.  I go through and read old post sometimes, but not nearly enough.  My favorite posts are the ones that I wrote while pregnant with the Twinkies.  There aren't many of them because I was so sick and could barely take care of my family much less find energy fo blogging.  I came across a good one this morning.  Here is the link in case you are interested in taking a walk down memory lane with me.  The words to that song are amazing, especially considering the circumstances they were witten in.

Currently I am loving this Christmas song, sung by one of my all time favorites!

Here are the lyrics:

who is this child,
asleep in a manger?
the heaven's are bright
the stable's so cold
on this holy night,
have you come to redeem us?
little child in the straw
little child in the straw

who is this babe?
prince of the universe
a donkey is braying
angels are singing
the prophets did say
you would come to redeem the world
little babe in the straw
save us all

and if we lose sight of your sweet face
at the birth of grace, at the birth of grace
light of truth shine like Bethlehem's star
lead us to where you are, show us who you are

merciful one
lover of every soul
the Father's own Son
yes, we believe,
you are able to heal us
Noel, noel,
save us all

Monday, December 06, 2010

He is able

Joseph had another MRI last week. It had been a couple of months since he had had one and he needs a recent one for his appointment at MD Anderson next week. I had prayed LOTS about the results.

And played out the results in my head.

I imagined that it would go something like this:

J: The results from the MRI are in…
Me: And….
J: It’s a miracle…. They don’t see anything. The doctors are completely mystified and called in every specialist they could think of to try to understand what happened and figure out where the tumor went. The only explanation they have is that this is a miracle from God!
Me: Praise God! Now everyone will know that God is powerful and answers prayers and miracles still happen!

Yep. That is how I played it out in my mind.
The reality looked more like this:

J: Got the MRI results back.
Me: And….
J: No change.
Me: Oh. (Starts to cry)
J: Hey, that’s good news. At least it isn’t growing.
Me: Yeah, I guess so.

God is able to heal.

God IS able to heal.

And that has been the prayer of my heart. I’ve asked quietly. Then a little louder. And then I cried out and begged. “Please, PLEASE heal my husband.”

His answer is no.
Or if you are an optimist his answer is “not right now”.

I’m not an optimist.

God is able to heal, but he won’t.
That is hard for me to type, much less say.

So this is where my faith is really tested. God says no. He knows the desire of my heart. And still says no.

Is it because he doesn’t love me?
Or because I don’t deserve it?
Is it because he doesn’t exist?
Or maybe it’s because he doesn’t care?
Why, Lord?
Do I need more faith?
Do I need to be a better person?
I asked. I prayed. Lots of people are praying.
Do you care?
Are you really there?
Do you really love me?
Do you really love me?

Yeah, this is where my faith is really in question.

Then my sweet little 6 year old Luke say this to me on the way to school this morning: “Jesus died on the cross so that we could go to heaven and that’s how God shows us His grace.”

He said that to me out of no where.
Because God wanted me to hear the most important truth that there is from the mouth of my 6 year old. Someone I tell “no” to all the time. Not because I don’t love him. Or because I don’t care. Or because he is bad.

BUT, because I love him.
And I care.
And I know more than him.

Hmmmm, does that sound familiar?

“Jesus died on the cross so that we could go to heaven and that’s how God shows us His grace.”

So if God never answers another one of my prayers, if he never chooses to heal my husband, isn’t the fact that he sent his son to die on the cross enough? Enough to show me that he cares. Enough to show me that it’s nothing I can do. Enough to show me he loves me.

I hope so.
Because that is what I am clinging to.

He is able to heal. And he will. If not here on this earth, then definitely in heaven.
Because he is powerful, still answers prayers and miracles are all around me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

God is using this man, to teach me more about Him

Because I am female (or maybe it’s just because I am Sab Mad) I have these very fluctuating (not to be confused with fluctuating) mood swings. Last week I was all about surgery.

This week I am not.

I look at Joseph and he’s so healthy and strong. He goes to work in the ER, plays with the kids, lifts weights, runs, cuts down trees, changes breaks on the car, lives a very active physical life – his outer shell looks so healthy.

But inside he is dying.

But I can’t see the inside. And the outside appearance gives me a strong desire to live in an illusion.

Our neurologist said that Joseph is the kind of patient that is hard to do surgery on. Not because the surgery is necessarily hard, but because he is so functioning. He said that it’s not easy for him to do surgery on someone who is healthy and asymptomatic because there is a chance that they surgery will leave him considerably less functioning. The surgery may give him symptoms. It may give him a longer life span, but at what cost? His job? His quality of life? His life?

Yeah, while I’m no doctor, I can see why this is the kind of patient that is hard to do surgery on.

I went to a yoga training this past weekend and randomly (I say randomly, but there was nothing random about this encounter. It was ordained.) met this lady. We started talking and through the conversation I learned that she has two small children and her husband has cancer. Brain cancer. Grade 4. Here’s the crazy thing, he has so much in common with Joseph. He was in the air force, went to the Air Force Academy, smart and healthy. One day he took his daughter to a party at Pump It Up, fell and ended up with a concussion. They took him to the hospital to check him out and found a grade 4 brain tumor in his head. He had to have brain surgery immediately and has had both radiation and chemo.

The doctors had given him a year to live. He’s lived 2 so far. He isn’t the same person he was 2 years ago, he has seizures, had to quit working, has bad side effects from radiation and is dying slowly, but got to go to his youngest child’s 2nd birthday party.

They count their blessings.
And believe and trust the same God I know.

I read the following excerpt in my quiet time today:
  • Nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father. Nothing. Whatever occurs, God has sovereignly surveyed and approved. We may not know why, but we do know our pain is no accident to Him who guides our lives.
  • Everything I endure is designed to prepare me for serving others more effectively. Everything. Since my Heavenly Father is committed to shaping me into the image of His Son, He knows the ultimate value of this painful experience. It is being used to empty our hands of our own resources, our own sufficiency, and turn us back to Him---the faithful Provider. And God knows what will get through to us.
Things may not be logical or fair, but when God is directing the events of our lives, they are right. (Day by Day with Chuck Swindoll)

I love that. “He knows the ultimate value of this painful experience.” Personally.

People always ask me how Joseph is doing and how he is handling all this. Gosh, that man inspires me. Joseph is doing great. He has his moments where he is sad, really sad, but he isn’t hopeless or angry.

I carry those emotions.

Here is J’s bottom line. He has always, from the time that I have met him, had the understanding that he was put here on this earth to glorify God. Bottom line, that’s his purpose. Every decision he makes and everything he does goes back to “how does this glorify God?” Since I have known him, that’s the way he operates.

So, he doesn’t want to be here on this earth a second longer than God is done using him. Because if he isn’t glorifying God, then he has no purpose. And he would rather be in heaven glorifying God, than on earth with no purpose.

He inspires me.  God is using him to teach me.

Better is one day in your courts,
Better is one day in your house,
Than thousands elsewhere…

Please, Lord, keep this man around for a while. I have so much to learn from him. And please let my babies grow up to be just like their papa. Just like him.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

People always ask me...

...what it's like to have twins.

Well, it's the most amazing, exhausting, overwhelming, humbling, messy, funny, wonderful, fascinating, exhilarating, frustrating, incredible blessing.

In one breath I can be both completely exasperated and hysterically laughing at the same time.

And I am so thankful that God chose to bless me with these little Diva's.

So thankful!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I wish I was a quick learner

I had a meltdown the other day. You know, it was the kind that you have and are thankful that you are in the privacy of your own home because you are crying the u-g-l-y cry. Oh, except that I wasn’t in the privacy of my home, I was in the grocery store.


So I’m crying, overwhelmed with the circumstances of my life, mad at myself for the lack of patience I have with my kids, mad at God for said circumstances of my life and mad at Joseph for having such a strong faith and relationship with God – all while in the condiment aisle of the grocery store.

I was a mess.

Then I get a phone call. From an amazing friend that I’ve known for years, but hadn’t spoken to in a while because we have crazy busy lives and schedules. She tells me that she thinks of me often and always is intending to call, but life gets in the way. I totally get that. Then she tells me that she felt like God was telling her to stop allowing life to get in the way and call immediately.

It was a divine appointment.

She asks for an update and is overwhelmed by my latest news. She listens to me sob like a baby and then quietly asks me if I have been spending time in God’s Word. Of course, I haven’t been. I’m mad at God today. I don’t want to read His Word. She then, so sweetly, reminds me that it’s okay to not want to talk to Him, He can handle it. Then, ever so gently she tells me that God wants to hear my heart.

“Journal to Him,” she says. “Pour your heart out to Him, the good, the bad and the ugly. He can handle it.” Then she prayed with me and made me promise that I would get out my journal when I got home.

So I did. I walked in the door, threw the groceries on the counter and said to Joseph (with total irritation I might add), “I have to go journal to God.” Then I walked in my room and looked for my most recent journal.

Which of course I couldn’t find. So I opened my nightstand and found an old journal that had empty pages and wrote. And let me tell you, I hope that journal burns up before I die and my kids see my authentic pain poured out in words. It was ugly. Very ugly.

After I was done throwing up my feeling to God about my life, I just laid my head on my journal, exhausted. Then I looked at this old journal and wondered when the last time I wrote in it was. It was December 5th, 2005. Luke was 4 months old and Caleb was 2 ½. Joseph had just started medical school and we had just moved to DC. The whole 3 page journal entry was me pouring out my heart to God and asking him to change my heart and teach me to love Him more than I love my Joseph. Teach me to trust Him, more than my Joseph. Teach me to turn to Him for comfort and rely on Him for strength, instead of always turning to Joseph first.


Here we are almost 6 years later, me having still not learned the lesson. Joseph is still my idol. I turn to him, need him, adore him, count on him, lean on him and expect him to be my everything. Joseph comes first in my life, not God.

I can look back and see the many ways that he has tried to teach me. But as usual, I learn the hard way.

I believe our God is a jealous God. Hear me say this, I do NOT believe that he is vengeful or hateful, but lovingly jealous. He wants us to want Him FIRST. And he will work, for our benefit and because he loves us so much, to give us opportunity to remove the idols in our lives, so that we chose Him first. He has gently tried to nudge me and is kicking it up a notch. And I know that there are way more notches that He could kick it up if He wanted.

For my benefit, because He loves me.

What I love, LOVE, about God is how He works. So He is trying to get my attention and gently teach me something – that is no.kidding.hard. But in that, the way that He is going about this is not punishing Joseph. Joseph is in the best place that he has ever been in with his relationship with Jesus. God is everything to Joseph – his rock, his comfort and his shield. He simply amazes me with his love for God and his desire to be in the presence of the One that created him. It is beautiful and inspiring to see. It actually makes me jealous.

Because I want a relationship like that with God. I want to know God like that. I want God to be my everything.

You have my attention God. You have my attention.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm not sure that we learned anything new...

J had an appointment with the neurosurgeon today. I hadn’t been to any of his appointments and really wanted to go to this one. I had been nervous about this all weekend. Very anxious.

J was working in the ER when I got to the hospital, so I sat in the ER waiting room until he was done so that we could go the appointment together. I rarely go to the doctors and was fascinated by the ER waiting room. There were some interesting people there. Gosh, mercy, I love to people watch. But that is probably a whole ‘nother story for a different day.

Anyway, we went up to the fifth floor together, filled out some paperwork and then waited in a room for the neurosurgeon to talk to us. When he walked in, I was initially surprised to see how young he looked. Seriously, he looked like he was 20.

Then he opened his mouth and started talking. He definitely didn’t talk like any 20 year I have ever met before.

It’s interested being in a room with two doctors. It was similar to the time that I was in Mexico. I don’t speak Spanish, I could understand every 10th word or so. Similar situation here, I could maybe pick out ever 7th word or so of the medical conversation J was having with Doogie Howser. It was definitely a different language.

I allowed them to talk over my head for most of the conversation. (Like how I say I “allowed” him, as though there was another choice!) Occasionally I would nod my head in agreement only so that I felt like I was a part of the conversation. No one else noticed.

Towards the end of the conversation I said, “Um, so is it my turn to talk?” Both J and Doogie looked at me like they just noticed I was in the room. Then I said, “So am I going to have him around for a long time?”

Because, really, bottom line that’s all I really want to know. Am I going to have my husband to go on vacations, attend kids sports games, make parenting decisions, laugh at funny things the kids say/do, help me with adolescence, help move kids to college, walk girls down the aisle…grow old with. I don’t want to hear statistics, studies or look at MRI’s. I want someone to tell me that the man I married and share 4 little people with will be there to hold my hand through all life’s adventures.

But no one can tell me that.
No one can promise me that.
Because only God knows when he will take Joseph.
God will do it in His time, His way, for His glorification.
The way that He will do it with all of us.

The news we got today is that J will need surgery to prolong his life. Won’t cure him, but will most likely give him a longer  lifespan. We really like the surgeon that we spoke with (huge answer to prayer) and will probably get a second opinion as a formality. We learned some other technical stuff, but the bottom line is that J needs surgery if he wants to live.

Now we just need to figure out when to make that happen.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Pumpkin Patch 2010

Here are some pictures from our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.  We drove out to our favorite one, about an hour away, and had a great family day.  It's funny, we've lived here now for 4 years!  Longer than we have ever lived anywhere.  The first time that we went to this pumpkin patch, I was pregnant with the Super Twins. Time is most certainly flying by!

Ella Grace

Can you spot the four little rascals amidst all the pumpkins?

Ella and Luke - 2 peas in a pod!  Really, these two couldn't be more alike.

Caleb and Lily Kate - and these two couldn't be more alike!

The Mad kids.  Does Luke crack you up or what?!

The Mad family.
Lily Kate on her horse. 

And sweet Ella on hers.  Ella was funny - that girl was smiling from ear to ear the whole time she was riding her horse.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Halloween at the Mad House

A wee bit late posting these pictures, but better late than never right?

On Halloween night we had our second annual, 'Halloween at the Mads' with some of our favorite friends.  But before I get into that, I have to recount our Trunk or Treat adventure that we had a couple of nights before THE big night. 

Our local YMCA had a trunk or treat that we went to last year and we decided to go again.  Let me rephrase that, I decided that we should go again.  JMad was working, so I knew it was going to be a feat to take the Darlings on my own, but felt up for the challange. 

Last year was disasterous because the girls were scared of their own Halloween costumes (which is very sad because I hand made them myself!), so I need not even tell you how they felt about other people in costume.  While they are a year older, I did decide to buy the costumes earlier and hung them in the laundry room so that they could get use to them.  This year they were super excited about putting on their costumes.  Off to a good start.

Daddy helps us eat dinner, get everyone dressed and loaded in the car and then he heads to work.  The kids and I head to the Y, where the drama begins before we are even out of the car.

Lily Kate spies a man dressed in a shark costume.  She seemed a little worried, but also seemed to think that it was a little funny.  Ella, on the other hand, was having none of it.  I finally coax her out of the van, with a lot of prodding, only to find that the boys had dashed out of the van and run off with their friends out of sight.  The drama begins...

The next 2 hours were spent with lots of tears, hiding on the van floor eating candy (and no that wasn't me), running wild, a big fall off the playground, scary costumes that made both girls freak out and way too much candyWay too much.

Yeah, I was definintely not up for that challenge!  Next year they will be older and it should be easier, right?...

Fast forward to Halloween night and a Daddy that has the day off from work.  It went much better and we all had a lot of fun!  For the second year in a row we had our friends over for pizza, play, dress-up, then trick'or'treating and even more candy.  Fun times and lots of memories made!

The following 3 pictures have crazy smudges on them due to some very dirty little 3 year old fingers.  It only took me 20 minutes to figure out that that was the problem.  The pictures were so cute, I had to inlude them.

The clan.  Did I mention our favorite friends have 6 kids.  Can you say, "CHAOS!"

I had to include a picture of the A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E Halloween bags handmade for us by my extremely talented friend Kellie.  We loved them Kel!  They were awesome!!  Love and miss you friend!!!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Today is your birthday, na-na-na-na-na-na! We're gonna have a good time....

Today is Joseph’s birthday. To say that it has more significance than any other we’ve had together is an understatement. I don’t know how many more birthdays we will have together – 3, 5, 10, 20 or God-willing 50. What I do know is that I am so thankful for the one that we are celebrating today and the 9 that we have gotten to celebrate in the past.

In honor of you, Love, here is a list of my favorite things about JKM:
1. I love how opposite we are in almost every way.
2. I love that we come from issues from complete different ends, but always meet in the same place.
3. I love that you can fix almost anything.
4. I laugh that you use words like “clash” and “doesn’t go together” when trying on clothes. Seriously, Love, I really do think you are color blind.
5. I love that you are stubborn and never give up on anything.  Especially me!
6. I love that Caleb is convinced that you know everything and I know nothing. It makes me happy to know he thinks so highly of you!
7. I love that you “get me”.
8. I love that you love efficiency…
9. …So much in fact that you are known for stuffing the washing machine so full, I can hardly get the clothes out…
10. …but I appreciate how you always try to help me out around the house.
11. I love how much you love Jesus…
12. and that you inspire me to want to know him more.
13. I love that you always know the answers to all the questions that Caleb and I have.
14. I love how you always give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
15. I love that when I have nothing planned for dinner, you never seem upset. Or surprised for that matter…
16. It makes me laugh that after 9 years of marriage and many times of me asking you to put the dishes on the left side of the sink, you still put them on the right side. And then say, “Isn’t that the side you told me to put them on?”
17. I love hearing you read and explain God’s Word to the boys.
18. I love that you always put the laundry away for me…
19. and feed the dog.
20. I love that you always stop for a toothpick when we leave a restaurant and that the boys do it now too.
21. I laugh that you are so laid back with me about most things, but can’t stand it that I wake up full of energy. You are so not a person that wakes up with gusto…
22. and I laugh that you get a taste of your own medicine with your girlies who are just like you in the wake-up department!
23. I love that when I wake up scared in the night, you always pray with me.
24. Oh, and I love that you will also check the whole house even though you know nothing is there and you think I’m being ridiculous.
25. I love how excited you get when you learn something new in God’s Word.
26. It brings me such joy to listen to you interact with the girls. It’s so sweet and gentle…
27. …And indulging. It makes me laugh to think of how they have you whipped!  I fear for their husbands!
28. I love that you are the coolest mix of completely content and extremely ambitious. It’s not just the coolest mix, it’s also the perfect mix.
29. I love that you are the most selfless person I know….
30. and most giving.
31. I laugh that you are so brilliant, yet have a tendency to forget people’s names and rarely know directions to anywhere we go…
32. BUT I am so thankful that you always remember my name and know your way home.

I love you JKM. I love you with everything I have in me. Today is so special to me because you are here. Thank you for helping me find the good things, in the hard things. And for always gently inspiring and encouraging me to be better. When I met you, I was a fragile, newly mended mess. You changed my life. God has used you to give me confidence, security, love and purpose. Thank you for choosing me. And for allowing God to use you in my life.

This journey has been something. And I have a feeling there is way more in store. But there isn’t anyone I would rather be walking it with than you! Happy Birthday Lovey!! I hope this is the best one yet!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Update from JKM

So Wilson is still doing amazing things.

I don’t know yet if/when I will be getting surgery, chemo, radiation, nothing, or any combination of those options. I got the pathology report from my prior surgery and learned that Wilson should be slow growing but is incurable. The average survival after being diagnosed is 7-10 years so I have already lived twice that since the tumor was first diagnosed.

If I had only lived 10 years I would not have gone to the Academy or medical school, found a job I love, married a woman more amazing than I ever could have imagined, or been blessed with 4 beautiful and unique children. Praise God for his indescribable gifts!

This time is a little stressful (understatement) and it isn’t a lot of fun, but it is still a time of great joy. I have long since believed in Jesus, served him, and desired to be obedient to him. I have loved him but for the first time I am truly in love with him.
“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:1-2.
My daily quiet time with the Lord has never been so fulfilling or inspiring. It is no longer a daily duty but the highlight of my day. Each time I read the word, even a few verses, I am filled with the Holy Spirit and my heart is transformed. Verses that I have read 20+ times have an entirely new power.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

The greatest part of this whole ordeal is watching the Holy Spirit spread to the rest of my family. Sabrina and the kids have grown as our family becomes more focused on the eternal and less on the temporary. The joy it brings me is indescribable and I can only imagine the joy our Heavenly Father has when he watches us grow closer to him.

I am dying.  But so is everyone else, the difference is that I know I am dying. I also know that I no longer want to live for myself or even for other people. I want to live for Christ alone and Wilson will not take my life until God has completed the work he has for me to do. I would rather live for 5 more minutes in unity with Christ than 50 more years without him.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68.

To all those of you are praying for me, fasting for me, and sharing your words of encouragement I can not thank you enough. You are an incredible blessing that fills my heart with joy. May God bless you for your love and support!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Mad Family

It's been a hard couple of days. 
Really hard. 
A mixture of good news, bad news and no news.
Lots of moments when I've felt so overwhelmed that I can't breathe.

Then I look around and realize that not only am I not walking this alone, I'm not even walking.
Jesus is holding me.
And I am surrounded by the most amazing people.  Walking with me.
My friends amaze me with their love, prayers, hope and faith.  Bold faith.

And my little family leaves me breathless.
And reminds me that I am blessed beyond belief.

My life is so blessed.

(Above is a slide show made of the most gorgeous pictures of my family taken by Rebecca Lees and Lauren Salinas.  Are they amazingly talented or what?!  They captured my family perfectly.  I will forever be in debt to them for reminding me of all that I have to be thankful for!  I love you ladies and am so thankful to you for this gift.)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Guest Blogger

Wilson's Back

Who's Wilson you say? Wilson is a name that Sabrina and I gave to my brain tumor (after the volley ball in the movie "Cast Away"). Not sure why but we decided he needed a name. So Wilson visited me as a child and a very skilled neurosurgeon took him out when I was eleven (or so we thought). Apparently he has officially made a comeback and I need to have surgery again to get rid of him. I'll admit I don't have fond memories of Wilson's removal. It involved a severe headache, vomiting, a lot of time spent in bed and, of course, who can forget the fear of death or permanant brain injury. Don't get me wrong, this surgery should be a relatively easy one but working in a hospital has taught me that there are no guarantees.

Now this may come as a surprise but Wilson is actually a blessing. Granted, if I could magically make him dissappear I would, but Wilson has done a lot for me. As a child I was suddenly forced to face the question of what will happen to me if I die. This is not fun at any age, especially at 11. Yet, it really made me get down on my knees and cry out to God. It brought me to that all important realization that I am not in control. It also made me realize that I cannot gain my way into heaven by works, self-established faith, bribery, or anything except for the grace of God. It also made me realize that the point of life is not to seek my own glorification, but to seek God's glorification. I don't know that I would be a believer today if it weren't for Wilson.

I thought maybe I had lost some of that peace I had obtained as a child but the second I heard Wilson might be back it enveloped me again. This time Wilson has taught me to trust God with even more. As a child I just had to trust God to take care of me. Now, I must also trust him to take care of my beautiful Sabrina, my 2 wonderful boys, and my 2 little sweethearts. Wilson has strenthened my faith, he has strengthened Sabrina's faith, and he has even strengthened the faith of strangers. If my suffering can bring even 1 person into a loving, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ then it is completely worth it. I realize that it will be hard for Sabrina and my children if the surgery does not go well, but I also realize that there is no void I could leave behind that cannot be filled with the love of Christ. My God is a powerful God, a gracious God, a loving God, and a merciful God so I will follow him through this valley clinging to Him and to His promises.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the price for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil 3:13-14

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Phil 1:21

"Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'" Luke 23:43


Saturday, September 25, 2010

The "there-really-is-no-update" Update

I’ve told y’all before and I’ll tell y’all again: Joseph and I could not possible be more different.
  • I am easy going, he is crazy.
  • I am quiet and think before I speak, he has no filter. None.
  • I listen to country while he listens to crap rap.
  • I give everyone the benefit of the doubt, he is confident that he has everyone figured out in the first 2 minutes of meeting them.
  • I am patient and always optimistic, he is impatient and admittedly a pessimist.

 …okay, perhaps I have us confused.

Yesterday was supposed to be our BIG day. I have been hanging my hat on this special day because it was supposed to be the day that we find out:

  1. How much room they have to work with (if they go in and do surgery) before altering his speech/vision.
  2. What the plan is going to be: a. cut “it” out or b. watch “it” and retest in 6 months.
  3. Find out what “it” is.

 Yeah, that was what was supposed to happen. It didn’t.

The pessimist (yours truly) feels we are no closer than we were 3 weeks ago to knowing anything. The eternal optimist (J Mad) says I’m wrong.
Half empty, half full…
They had to do another functional MRI due to the fact that their software was broken. It got fixed this week and yesterday they redid (is that a word?) the MRI as well as the functional MRI. My poor man was in that tube for 3 hours! It took a long time because they had all sorts of people in there watching and learning since they don’t do many of these. One of the employees of the company that manufactures the software was even there. So while I think it’s terrible that they would do that to my man, he thinks it’s just great that others got to learn from his experience. Hmm, we really are different.

I digress.

While we are excited that we were able to get that done we are frustrated I am frustrated that Joseph was still unable to meet with the neurosurgeon. The doctor that he was supposed to meet with had a scheduling conflict so was unable to meet with J and is planning on doing a tele-conference with him next week. It is a bummer that they have to do it over the phone, but that is the only option since J will be in NYC for the next month. UGH. So frustrating.

At dinner last night, J was telling me all the positive ways to look at this. A.) The MRI showed that there had been no growth in the last 2 weeks. So whatever “it” is, is slow growing. B.) The functional MRI says that “it” isn’t near anything important. There are big words that J uses to explain this to me, but when he does all I hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher saying, “Whaaa-wha-whaaa-wha-wha-wha.” The two year old explanation I got (because that is about all I have the brain capacity for!) was that, “this would be like going and picking an apple off a tree.”

Had I known being a neurosurgeon was so simple, perhaps I would have been one. I can pick apples off trees.

And that, my friends, is the story. J will leave tomorrow for a month and I have no idea what will happen when he gets home. And I am really sad about it all. Really sad. I’m frustrated we have no answers and I’m sad that my man is going to NYC. It’s hard here without him. On all of us.

BUT, we are thankful that we can call him, Sykpe and that, God willing, he will be home in a month.

All we have is today anyway, right? And today we are blessed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Random picture that brings me JOY!

Lily Kate looking at Luke.  He's totally unaware that this girl things he is the greatest thing in the world.  Lucky for her, he feels the same way!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Anyway, control is an illusion

I had a meltdown today. 
A pretty big one. 
Definitely some ugly cryin' going on at the Mad House.
I'm just so frustrated.

I remember the first time that I was called a control freak.  It was about 10 years ago and it was by someone who I love like a Dad.  I completely balked at the idea that I, Sab-not-yet-Mad, the free-spirited girl, was a control freak.

He was right.

I didn't know it then, but I was/am a type A control freak.  It wasn't full-blown then, but by the time I got married and had Caleb, it was.  As the years have passed, I have gotten better, but am not cured.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.

I think that God is working on the cure.

Joseph had that Functional MRI last week and it was supposed to get read this week.  Well, Monday was a holiday, Tuesday the neuroradiologist was out (and apparently he is the only one who can read it), Wednesday he was really behind from the 4 day weekend and today we found out that it was done incorrectly and has to be done again.  On Monday.  So yeah, we were supposed to have a lot of information by tomorrow (Friday).  We will have none.

That was crushing news to me.  Totally crushing.  Love is supposed to leave in a few weeks to go to NYC for a month.  I'm okay with him leaving me and the kids, if I can prepare myself.  But I can't do that if I have no idea what will be happening in the next couple of weeks.  This type A control freak can hardly handle that.

I'm supposed to go to Colorado for 6 days for a yoga training at the beginning of October.  $700 paid, trip planned, childcare arranged...but I don't know if I will get to go because I have no idea what will be happening in the next couple of weeks.  This type A control freak can hardly handle that.

I feel totally helpless.  Out of control.  And I hate that feeling.  HATE.IT.

So, when I feel out of control what do I do?  Well normally I:
  • Workout - Not cleared by the doctor yet for that
  • Run - Definitely NOT cleared for that
  • Steam clean carpets - tried that, but it causes pain in the area where my stitches are, so that isn't an option
  • Eat - well, I'm trying really hard not to turn to that comfort..
Yeah, I'm out of options.

And I think that's right where God wants me.  I know that's right where God wants me.  Completely out of options, but Him.  In total surrender.


So I'm laying in bed, sobbing, crying out in anger at God.  That prayer where all I can say is, "I am so mad at you God" over and over.  I don't even want to pray, but I have no other options.

And I think that's right where God wants me. I know that's right where God wants me. Completely out of options, but Him. In total surrender.

Love comes in our room, holds me and he prays for me.  As he starts, I'm still telling God that I am angry at Him.  Then somewhere in that prayer, I stop sobbing, am no longer angry and have total peace.  That peace that you get when you surrender.

I think I'm right where God wants me.  Actually, I know I am.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Today I discovered...

  1. It's so much fun to drive in the rain with your windows down.  The kids love it!  Car may get a little wet, but it's just water...right?  Oh, and driving the car in circles in the cul-de-sac, 20 times, will make the kids laugh with glee, but it will also make everyone in the car super dizzy.  Including the driver.
  2. If you're stuck in the pick up lane at school for a ridiculous amount of time, listen to the Cure, Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder, and sing at the top of your lungs.  Makes time go by faster.  People may look at you oddly because the music is blaring and the windows are down in the pouring rain, but I think it's 'cause they are jealous.
  3. Your kids will first look at you crazy when you strip off your clothes and run out the door to play in the rain and jump in the puddles, but then they will join you.  Then the neighbors will look at you crazy.
  4. Studying at Starbucks is hard when you are eavesdropping on a couple trying to define their relationship.
  5. If you want to be depressed, you should watch back-to-back episodes of Hoarders.
  6. If you want to laugh hysterically you should look up Seinfeld & Scrub quotes.  Those shows crack me up!
  7. Picking my kids up from school in my pajama's embarrasses them.
  8. If I don't go to the gym I have a lot more time on my hands to get things done.  But somehow I seem to get less done. 
  9. If you eat nothing but cheesecake and corn bread all day, by 8:12pm you want to throw up.
  10. Life goes on and normal can be redefined.  SO thankful!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hard times are inevitable

For years the prayer of my heart has been, “Lord, show me your glory. I want to see your face.”

But if I am honest with myself, I really only half-heartedly pray that. Because the truth is that while I want to see the glory of God, I’m petrified of how He will reveal Himself .

I’ve had hard times in life. Really hard times. Attempted suicide, drug addictions, physical abuse and more…my closet is dark and deep. I know what it feels like to feel hopeless and lost. So lost.

Then found. He found me. Well, I guess that isn’t true because he always knew where I was. I guess I found my way back to Jesus. It wasn’t easy, but it was sweet and quiet and hopeful and gentle. I spent a year away from everyone and anyone familiar and in that time God put me back together. He showed me mercy, grace, forgiveness and…well, he showed me His glory.

But it came after such a hard, hard, hard time. And that is why when I pray, “Lord, show me your glory, I want to see you.” It’s so half-hearted. I’m so scared that before I see his glory, I will have to see hard times.

My life is amazing. My kids are terribly naughty, but gorgeous, smart and healthy. My marriage can be hard, but so worth it. My man married a newly mended mess and provided love and security in ways I never knew. Daily he blows me away with kindness. I’m healthy, happy and loved. Yeah, I don’t take this amazing life for granted. I know I’m blessed.

Last night I was rereading Exodus 33:18, where Moses cries out, “Show me your glory” and for some reason I had never noticed verse 22.

21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."

Is that awesome? “…cover you with my hand until I have passed by.” God covers his people. God protects his people. Because God loves his people.

Hard times are going to be an inevitable part of my future. I live in a sinful world. Hard.times.are.inevitable. But, as one of my favorite people in the world reminded me, I don’t want to miss out on seeing God’s glory because I live in fear. I spent too much of my life running, hiding and protecting my heart out of fear. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God protects his people, because God loves his people.

Joseph had a brain tumor when he was 10 that had to be removed. The unofficial word on the street is that it’s back. He had a MRI a couple of weeks ago that showed growth in the area where his tumor was.  As a kid he had seizures from the tumor and lately he's been having auras.  He had a functional MRI last Friday and they also repeated the MRI. Those results will get read this week and we will talk to the Neurosurgeon this week too.

Hard times are inevitable.

But, God protects his people because he loves his people

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Halfway there

Today officially marks the half way point to my six weeks of recovery from surgery. I can’t believe it has been 3 weeks. They have gone by very quickly.

Joseph started back on Monday. I was sad that he had to go back to work. I definitely could get used to having him around every day. He really was a-m-a-z-i-n-g through this whole thing. Just incredible. He did laundry, washed dishes, played with and took care of kids, waited on me, went to the gym daily and kept this place looking awesome. All that and did quite a few chores that needed to get done around here – painting furniture, trimming trees, changing oil, washing cars, steam cleaning carpets…really, need I go on?!

Yeah, I used to tell him all the time that if I fell off the face of the earth tomorrow, this place would fall apart.

I definitely can’t say that anymore.

I was wholeheartedly impressed. He’s a Rockstar!!!

I’m feeling better and stronger everyday. I honestly expected this recovery to take longer and be harder than it turned out to be. I went to see my plastic surgeon last week and she said everything looks fabulous. I agree. I couldn’t be happier with how the surgery turned out. Way better than I expected.

While I am feeling awesome most of the time, I’m definitely not ready to go back to working out yet. I still have 3 more weeks until I’m cleared for that and I definitely need those 3 weeks. I’m nervous to go back to CrossFit. Very nervous. I have a feeling I will get my booty kicked – hard.core. And that is something I’m not looking forward to.

Since I’m not a gym rat everyday, I have had to find things to do to keep myself busy. Have NO fear, sewing has taken my mind off the gym. Alert the media, I have learned how to gather fabric and now there is no stopping me. I’m also on a repurposing kick. Have you heard of it? I hadn’t until recently. Basically you take old clothing, furniture, whatever and make something new out of it. I made 2 new skirts for the Twinkies with some old workout tank tops that don’t fit me anymore. They turned out super cute, if I do say so myself. And I do. I’ll have to post some pictures soon.

What I have not been able to do yet, is steam clean my carpets. And it’s killing me. I know I will have arrived at full recovery when I am steam cleaning again. Oh, I can hardly wait for the day!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Luke!

Lukie-Lou-McGoo! Happy birthday buddy!! To say that you have been looking forward to this birthday is an understatement. You have been making the list of who you want to invite to your party since May!

Luke, you continue to completely exasperate us in one breath and then you will have us rolling on the floor in the next breath. Honestly, you are something else. You are smart, charismatic, funny, spacey, loyal and all around in love with life. Your excitement over small things is contagious and when you get excited about something – it’s like you bubble over with joy. You’re not crazy about kisses, but love hugs. Caleb is still your favorite person in the whole wide world and you definitely have a sweet spot for your baby sisters.

In honor of your 6th birthday, here are 6 things I LOVE about YOU:

1. I love your eyes and how they are a window to your soul. They always tell a story of how you are feeling and what you are thinking. I look in them and melt.
2. I love your cheeks. They used to be so chubby but as you are getting older, they are slimming down. I still have to fight the urge to bite them!
3. I love how you talk with your entire body when you are excited.
4. I love that after you disobey, you are so sincerely sorry. And you almost always apologize without me asking you.
5. I love how you make a friend everywhere you go. People love you and you really love people.
6. I love that you are so artistic and imaginative.

Oh, Luke, how I love you.

My prayer for you, Luke, is that as you grow up you never lose your excitement for life and your love of your family. I pray that you seek God first in all that you do and that you live your life, purposely, to glorify Him. And lastly, Luke, I pray that you always know you are loved by your family and by your Heavenly Father. Happy Birthday Luke!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A happy first day of school!

My boys had their first day of school on Monday.  I officially have a Kindergartner and Second grader!!  AHHHH!  Somehow that makes me feel so old!

Luke was so excited about starting Kinder.  SO excited.  There were absolutely NO tears, no hesitation or even nervousness on his part.  Just excitement.  It helps that he went there last year for Pre-K and we really didn't make it a huge deal, you know building it up and talking about it a lot.  We did talk about it, but tried to find the balance of making it exciting without making it nerve-wracking.  It also helps that he is sitting next to one of his best buddies. 

Well, let me correct that, he was sitting next to one of his best buddies.  Apparently, that lasted 2 days before they talked too much and had to be separated.  All good things must come to an end.

I think the thing that he was most excited about on Monday morning was wearing his uniform.  Last year in PK he didn't wear a uniform, so he has seen Caleb wearing his now for 2 years.  I caught him looking at himself in the mirror several times - pretty proud of how he looked in his uniform!

Caleb was pretty excited too.  This is his third year at his school and he loves it there.  He, too, was super thrilled that a lot of the kids who were in his class last year are also in his class this year.  Including his best friend!  Oh, and the girl that he has had a crush on for a couple of years.  But we won't talk about that!

The new school year is so bittersweet for me.  I really am happy for them and feel so blessed that they go to school where they get to learn about Jesus everyday from teachers who really love and have a relationship with Him.  I love their school and their friends and that I get to be involved as room mama, but there is still sadness that they go somewhere without me everyday and have fun. 
See..these are faces of boys who know they are going to go and have fun.  And I really am happy for them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The time has finally come!

It's official!
We no longer have babies on the house.
The other thing that we don't have in the house, for the first time in 8 years, is a crib!!
Check 'em out!
And here is their bunk bed!  As you can see, the top AND ladder are missing.  And they may be missing for a l-o-n-g time.  Or at least until they can control themselves and obey.  Yeah, a l-o-n-g time.  But then again, maybe it won't be so long because the bedding for the top is super cute.
Here they are laying in their bed for the first time!  They look so big in it!  It is a full size because I wanted to make sure that they had plenty of room, but they still sleep right next to one another and like it that way.

And here are my BIG girls.  I can't believe how old they look here.  Gosh they are delicious!!
The girls have been pretty good about staying in their beds.  Okay, maybe not pretty good, but at least they are sneaky enough to not get caught!  Not a good statement to be made about such cute little girlies!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fatter, Dumber and Crazier

(I know dumber isn't a word and I really don't like the way it looks written out, but it does describe my current state!)

I am so blessed with the greatest friends.  Really.  I cherish them, value them and love them and tell people all the time that I have the most amazing friends.  They are all also beautiful.  Really.  I seriously don't have an ugly friend.  Now that I think about it, that's kinda weird.  Anyway, I'm digressing - They are all beautiful, smart, Godly, wives, mothers and friends.  So what does that have to do with the title of this?  Thanks for asking me and keeping me on task.  They also are amazing cooks.  They watch cooking shows, love PWC and always bring amazing dishes to potlucks.  And they also have been bringing over meals for us.  Good meals.  With desserts. Yummy desserts.  Very yummy desserts. 
So, here I am stuck in bed, bored, unable to exercise and really unable to do anything outside of my oh-so-exciting hourly walks to the other side of the house.  And on these very exciting walks, I walk past the kitchen.  And remember that there is yummy food brought by perfect, beautiful friends (who are all also thin and able to exercise -WITCHES!).  And so I indulge.  Therefore may possibly be undoing all the hard work that I, along with the help of my plastic surgeon, have done to this body.  I may see lipo in my future.  And maybe a Brazilian butt lift.  I can see how the plastic surgery thing could become addictive!

With all this extra time on my hands and Vicodin in my system, I have been watching a lot of television.  A LOT.  Yesterday I watched 4 hours of Bridezilla.  And was decidedly dumber for doing so.  I have, however, found a show that made me laugh so hard, I had to turn the channel and take another Vicodin because my stomach hurt so bad from all the laughing.  Have y'all seen Flipping Out?  Dude, this guy is...crazy!!
Which brings me to my next point...

I'm not really a sit around kinda girl.  I think that this is the longest that I have been in the house without anywhere to go or anything to do since...  Yeah, I'm going to be crazier than I was before.  Frightening.  And speaking of frightening, since I can't watch anything that makes me laugh (because laughing SERIOUSLY hurts) I'm stuck watching murder, mystery shows.  And thought to myself last night:  "What if being home and together so much, J finally can't take anymore of my insanity (and my begging him to wash my hair every day!!) and kills me while I'm sleeping?  Then blames it on an overdose of Vicodin!"  See...crazier!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

THE surgery

Well, I did it.  After years of talking about it, researching it, dreaming about it, thinking about it and most importantly praying about it, I finally went through with it.  Abdominoplasty.  Also known as a tummy tuck!

I've never had surgery before.  I've never been 'under" anesthesia.  Outside of having babies, I've never been in the hospital. 

I'm the girl that doesn't go to the doctor, doesn't take anything heavier than motrin (and that's how J can tell I'm really in pain and not just being a drama queen!) and hates to be sick.  I'm the girl that when I go to fill out paper work at the doctors office, I fly right through it because I have no medical issues to discuss.  And let's not forget that I am the same girl that went through not 1, but 2 ECVs because I was so petrified of the idea of a C-section.  And let me tell you, THAT was painful.  Very, very painful.

So when I told J that I really wanted to do this, he knew I was serious.  So we prayed about it and things just kinda fell in place.

J happened to have a huge chunk of time off (totally unexpected) and the surgeon that I wanted (whom was booked through to September) happen to get a cancellation, so yeah it all happened kinda fast.

And that was probably a good thing.

The week leading up to the surgery I kept super busy getting things organized for the time that I would OOC (out of commission) so that I wouldn't have much time to over think things.  There was a lot to get organized with school starting, finding people to sub my classes and just the general running of the Mad house with the 4 monkeys that live here.

When I woke up Wednesday morning - surgery day - I was pretty nervous.  J and I didn't say much on the ride to the hospital or while we were there.  I had done all my pre-admission stuff the day before and signed, like, 5,000 papers - 4,999 of which had the word death in bold letters.  As they were prepping me for surgery I made him pray with me a couple of times.I was so nervous that I was crying when my surgeon came in to talk to me.  Yep, I was a total mess.

UNTIL, my anesthesia kicked in.  That was about 8:45am.  I didn't wake up until 4:45pm.  Apparently I am a lightweight.

I woke up sore, but not terribly in pain.  I had an overnight stay at the surgery center and I am so glad I did.  I was the only one there, had my own nurse and best part yet - had a pain pump that I could control.  Seriously, if I got treated that well after childbirth, perhaps I would have had more children!

Yeah, so now I'm home and all things considering, I feel really good.  I have drains that J empties out for me and he said they look great and when I go in on Tuesday for my first post-op visit, my Dr. will probably take them out.  When I walk, it is a little hunched over, but each day even that has gotten better.  I really am surprised at how great I feel 3 days after surgery.  Yay!  Thank you Jesus!!

Everyone here is doing really great too.  J is holding down the fort, the kids are happy and playing, and our great friends are bringing us meals!

I have peeked at my stomach and think it looks WAY better that I imagined it would!  So far, so good!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

After reading this you will be glad I only had 10 minutes!

I have ten minutes to blog, so I will randomly tell you the top ten things on my mind right now. Mercy, are you in for a treat…

1. I’m still recovering from last week. I taught 11 classes, so worked 11 hours. Actually it wasn’t even 11 hours because some of those classes were only 30 minutes. Anyway, teaching that much confirmed what I’ve known all along – I NEVER want to work a full time job. Or part time for that matter. 11 hours was more than enough. Especially with four little Darlings home for the summer. Now, I may change my mind once I see that paycheck!

2. I’m currently reading, “How to have a new kid by Friday” and am on Wednesday. I will supposedly have a new kid in two days. Hmmm…if the meltdown that I had over the behavior of my children this morning is any indication of how we are progressing, I have serious doubts that this is working. Maybe they meant that a new child will be joining our house in two days…

3. I got a ticket last week at UTSA. I was there on a mission with my step-mom and while I have been am known for creating my own parking spaces, this time I parked in the garage I was told visitors are supposed to park in. And I got a ticket. Which is fascinating (LOVEY!) because when I make my own parking space, I never get tickets… Anyway, the ticket was $100!! So I get on the website to appeal the ticket and I see that the consequences of not paying the ticket are: 1. hold on transcripts, 2. hold on my grades, 3. hold on financial aid, 4. suspension of parking privileges OR… denial of graduation!! I just might take my chances.

4. The girls are taking their first dance class. Look how cute they are.

They LOVE it! So cute right?
WELL, this is likely to not only be their first dance class, but also their last! Unfortunate for them they are in jeopardy of being kicked out of their class. ((SIGH)) Really. Apparently they are disruptive and the entire class has had to be rearranged due to their behavior. This is so disturbing to me. People, I really did have it under control when I only had 2 children. Those twinkies – Naughty. Then they say, with THE cutest little face, “I sawee I hab bad behaybor, mommy.” Melts me every time.

5. The “bad behaybor” is why I am petrified about putting them in the new bunk beds that we just got for the shishers! That and I’m not ready to acknowledge that we will no longer have a crib in the house! Seriously, we have had a crib in the house for the past 8 years of our 9 year marriage!! Deep breath.

6. Oh, by the by, we celebrated our 9 year anniversary last week. Cuh-ray-zee. I think I will write more about that another day. Maybe.

7. Speaking of plastic surgery – Oh, we weren’t? Well, we are now! I am thinking about having it. Have a consultation appointment for the beginning of August. There are many stipulations to this whole deal, so it may not even happen. I just wanted to give a heads up because…lately I have been running into friends that I haven’t seen in a while and all of a sudden…BAM! Wow, it’s so good to see you…and your new friends! Obviously they have had some girls join their team who weren’t there before. What do you say? How do you act? Do you acknowledge? Ignore? What I do is try hard not to stare. So, I’m giving y’all the heads up. Mine may, or may not, be easily noticed depending on what I have done. I know, frightening…

8. I taught yoga at my Crossfit gym last week. I was so nervous because I wasn’t sure that anyone would come. These people are hard core. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when 18 people showed up! We packed the house. I committed to teaching 8 free classes for the month of July, but they are already asking if I will keep teaching. How cool is that! We’ll see. Right now, things are on hold pending “PS”!

9. I’m running my first night trail run this Friday and very nervous. I haven’t run anything over 5ish miles (and only ran that ONCE!) in a couple of months. There will be burgers, salad and beer at the finish line. Food motivates me. Significantly.

10. For the past 2 weeks, I have stayed on top of the laundry. There has been almost none waiting for me in the laundry basket. I may have arrived. Nah…

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Another sign that times are changing

I went out of town a couple of weeks ago and while I was gone, J said that when he went to get the twins from nap time he saw this:
Both sisters in the same bed!  Mercy.  I guess I should be surprised that it took so long!  We were thinking that it may only be a one time event, but alas NOT!  At this point they actually won't sleep alone.  Apparently, they like sleeping cramped together in the same bed.

Well, I wanted to know how they got from crib to crib, so I asked Ella to show me how they do it.  Here is her demo:
And viola!

Needless to say, we are on the hunt for new beds.  I guess it is time, afterall, they are 3!!  If only I could decide - bunk, captain, twin, full...  I need time to make big decisions.  What?  I've had 3 years!

Crazy, my little twinkies are 3!!  Ahhhhhhh....