Rachel is Two!

This bundle of nuclear energy has turned two! What a whirlwind she has been the past year. I don’t think I know of anyone who has as great a desire to be moving as this little one. Car seats are petty much intolerable for her after about 20 minutes, unless I keep handing back to her books that she’s interested in. She’s also preparing to climb Everest, it would seem, as she can be found trying to climb something just about any moment of the day. There is actually only ONE place I let her climb, and that’s her little play kitchen. (She wants to also stand on it but I draw the line there.) All this boils down to the sad fact that Little Rachel gets in trouble. A LOT.

Bouncing in the baby jumparoo (also not allowed).

Oh, but she is so delightful, and quick to smile and laugh and have fun. Her temperament, although persistent in climbing, is very easy going. She definitely has opinions but her objections are rather short lived.

You can’t tell by her face, but we were both sick here and up at 2 am. She was just loving one on one time with Mommy though.

She’s taken to books, and we are delighted about that! In fact she is rather pushy in letting us know she wants a book read to her. “I NEEEED STORY!” is something I hear all day long. (Hubby loves to tell her that she has her wants and needs very confused.) She also loves to be doing whatever big brother is doing. If he’s coloring, she NEEEDS CRAYONS! If he’s putting a puzzle together, she NEEEDS PUZZLE! If he’s outside, she will be shoving her shoes into your hands, while saying NEEED OUTSIDE! In short, Rachel has LOTS of needs these days.

She got a scooter for her birthday and she loves to ride it around. Josh has the same scooter, only in blue, so it was immediately a huge hit with her. She also got a quilt made by Grandma, and she loves to sit on her toddler bed on her new quilt and look at books during her “book time.”

Although this time she fell asleep during book time!

Grandma also made a matching pillow to go with the quilt.

New scooter.

She wears a size 7 shoe and has been in 2T clothes for a couple of months. She’s been in size 5 diapers for forever… I recently bought size 6 and they were way too big. She always wants to sit on the potty but has only figured out how to actually go potty one time so far. Once she does figure it out, she seems like she’ll be pretty motivated to learn (I hope).

She is our little cuddle bug and occasionally she’ll wake up scared in the middle of the night and need a little reassurance. Thankfully she usually goes right back to sleep. She takes a two hour nap in the late mornings every day.

And sometimes, if I’m lucky, she takes a second nap in the afternoon.

I get a little teary eyed when I think back to how we almost lost her to a subchorionic hemorrhage at 6 weeks pregnant. So it is with great joy and thankfulness that we celebrate her second birthday!

We sure love you, Little Rachel!

 

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Filed under Motherhood, Parenting, Toddler

Am I Crazy?

This post is me just shooting from the hip (which I try to never do) so please bear with me.

I’ve been wrestling for a few weeks over this one. It may have started when we found the kids’ baby books in the garage about a month ago. I came across pictures like these:

The kids and I both loved flipping through their baby books again. But by the end I found myself feeling sad and longing for another baby. Then we moved Rachel into a toddler bed and my hubby took apart her crib and put it in the garage. I had mixed emotions over that too. It’s the first time we haven’t had a crib in our house in almost 4 years – you’d think I’d be rejoicing! But instead it felt like the baby days were quickly passing us by – in fact, as Rachel uses 3-4 word sentences and colors by herself and tries to get herself dressed these days – the baby days are pretty much behind us.

But the facts of the matter are that the Lord has graciously blessed us with our two children. Our days are long, busy, and filled with excitement as well as meltdowns. I watch my friend’s 6 month old baby on Wednesdays and those days are just plain crazy. So I know adding another one into the mix would not be calm, organized or quiet. We live in a 3 bedroom home, and somehow I’d like to cram two more children into it. Thanks to (said) fixer upper house, we can’t afford IVF anytime soon (not that it’s something we’d hurry into even if we could afford it right now).

I thought maybe I’d get pregnant naturally after 18 months of trying and an HSG that reported my only fallopian tube to be open. Of course we’ll give it more time. But every month that I have a super painful period or have a cyst burst, I’m unsure of how long I can continue in this path before something more urgent needs to take place (excision surgery, hysterectomy, other treatments for endometriosis, etc.). And yet I have to look back and see that I also haven’t needed surgery in 18 months! That is a record for me! I (believe the longest I went off birth control before needing surgery was only 7 months– prior to having children.)

I’m trying to figure out if this desire for more children has been bred out of discontentment somewhere along the way, or if it’s a God-given desire for a good thing, a blessing. Is it okay to want more children? That desire for children was what drove us to IVF over 4 years ago, but there were some very unique circumstances that took place in order for us to arrive at that IVF clinic. It was definitely not our first choice (we were in the process of adopting at the time), and yet God had other plans and used it to bless us with these kids we love so dearly. I know that clutching anything too tightly can quickly turn into an idol, and thankfully that is not where I’m at today. I truly believe that if God closes the door that I will be able to trust Him that it’s for the best.

So I think a time of prayer and fasting is in order. I need the Lord to search my heart and reveal to me any discontentment I might have, as well as other endometriosis-related fears. And I need to trust Him for the future, even if it means we remain a family of 4!

Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts tonight!

P.S. I find it really hilarious that seeing pregnant women lately also makes me feel a little bummed. I had HORRIBLE pregnancies! I wrote blog post after blog post enumerating one pregnancy woe after another. Talk about amnesia.

 

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, IVF

DIY Armoire Makeover

Hi there! I have a new furniture DIY project for you!

Ever since we tore out our massive melamine desk and shelves before the new floors were installed, we’ve been looking for more storage for our office and craft supplies. I came across a posting for a free armoire on facebook and it looked perfect! 5 drawers, plus three shelves inside the doors:

My hubby was not impressed with the furniture when he got home with it. I had been under the impression that it was made of solid wood, and it turned out that it was mostly made from particle board. The bottom of the sides of the armoire were falling apart, there were stickers and stains in various places, and most worrisome to me, it wreaked of cigarette smoke.

“It’s going to be beautiful!” I assured my hubby. “Just you wait and see.” But I wasn’t entirely convinced. The sides and back of all the drawers were particle board and plastic. I knew chalk paint would adhere to anything, but I had never used it personally to paint plastic. I just wanted to cover up the cigarette smell.

I got to work. I cleaned the entire piece and vacuumed it out. I used Goof Off on the stickers and it worked semi-well. I covered the areas where I had used Goof Off with an oil based stain blocker by Zinsser (which has got to be the smelliest paint EVER, by the way). I wore my respirator for the Goof Off and the stain blocker! And I went to Lowes and bought their chalky paint in the color “Kid Gloves” by Valspar. $30 a can – not cheap, but still cheaper than Annie Sloan.

After the first coat of chalky paint.

I took off all the hardware and spray painted them with a brilliant bronze color. (I forgot to take a picture of that process.) I spray painted the screws, too.

I was pretty undecided about what to do about the chipping particle board at the bottom of the armoire sides. I talked with my husband about the possibility of removing and replacing the sides entirely, but it looked like it was going to be an involved process with no guarantee that it would turn out as planned. He then suggested adding a molding to the bottom. “That’ll work!” I exclaimed! So back we went to Lowe’s to get molding… he cut the molding and screwed it in. I think it looks great and it was a relatively easy fix! Kuddos to my hubby for working on it in the blazing middle-of-the-day heat.

Adding molding to the bottom to cover up chipping particle board.

And here’s how the molding turned out:

I finished painting the piece. It took 3 coats of the chalky paint and I used up the entire can. Since the piece wasn’t exactly in pristine condition, I decided that it would be fun to distress it a little. I had bought some sanding blocks (medium grit) and sanded most of the edges and corners. I definitely would NOT recommend using an orbital sander for this purpose.

I added one clear coat of Annie Sloan’s wax (it was what I had on hand) and buffed it out with a rag. Then I reattach all the spray painted hardware. Hubby helped with that as well as returning the hinges and replacing the roller hardware on the doors.

I added contact paper (leftover from when we moved into our house last fall) to all the drawers and shelves.

Hubby and I somehow managed to carry the extremely heavy piece inside (where there’s a will, there’s a way, I suppose!).

And voila! The smoke smell is gone, and now we have a place to store office and craft supplies! Total cost for paint and supplies came to $55.

Are you working on a DIY piece of furniture? I’d love to hear about it!

 

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Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off To The ER I Go

Another day, and another trip to the ER. For another lousy cyst! A hemorrhagic cyst, to be exact.

I’ve have 4 cysts burst now. Man, this one was a doozie. At 3 pm last Friday I was on the phone with my Mom and putting a whole chicken in the oven when the sharp pain began. Something told me I shouldn’t wait very long to take 800 mg of Ibuprofen, so I didn’t. Soon I found myself on the sofa, lying on my side, curled up in pain. I looked at the clock. 30 minutes had gone by, and the pain was much worse. I hung up with my Mom. The kids were going nuts, and Rachel kept trying to climb up on me, making matters worse. I couldn’t even get to my computer to set up a video for them. I decided I needed to send an SOS to my husband at work. “Can you please come home? I’m in so much pain.” The tone in my voice must have gotten his attention because he immediately said “Sure babe. Give me two minutes and I”ll be out the door.”

I’m glad he was able to rush home, because by the time he walked in the door (15 mins later) he had two toddlers running a muck (Rachel was brushing her teeth with his toothbrush and trying to put on my chapstick) and a wife who was unable to move.

I was supposed to head into work in a couple of hours. I had my hubby bring me one tylenol, and took it. He also heated up my rice sock, which made matter worse (it’s helped previously). Although I thought I was probably experiencing a cyst bursting, the pain was higher up and the pain seemed more intense. I thought I just needed to give it more time, and I’d be fine. My sister called from Papua New Guinea and talked and prayed with me while I mostly cried. But I was thankful for the distraction.

By 5 pm, the pain was not subsiding so I told my husband we had better head to the ER. He called his Mom, who thankfully came right over to watch the kids. I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk, so my husband carried me to the car. The pain was unrelenting and intense. It felt like my the inside of my abdomen was being cut up with knives.

We got to the ER and my heart rate was very elevated and my BP was a bit low. I discovered (later) that they were worried I was going into shock. They didn’t have any beds so I agonized in the portable chair in the hallway for a while. The ER doc came to see me. I told him my abdomen hurt everywhere, from top to bottom. I mentioned my history of bursting cysts in the past, and my stage 4 endometriosis. I was also pretty disoriented, probably from breathing too fast. When the ER doc asked me if I was a doctor, I said “Yeah, I’m a doctor. Wait, no!” I shook my head. “I’m a nurse!” Feeling extremely sheepish, I said “I don’t what I am…” My husband and the ER doc were laughing pretty hard about that. A room became available right after my conversation and I was so relieved to be out of that chair and into the ER bed. The pain was still constant but at least I could lay down.

My Mom arrived and I was happy to have her present so that my husband could feel he could leave for at some point to grab some dinner.

I soon had an IV and labs sent off. Morphine was infused. I stopped writhing in pain and was able to breathe more normally. The pain became dull, and at this point I was able to isolate it to just below my diaphragm and on the lower right side of my abdomen, I was whisked off to ultrasound, then came back and had to drink 32 nasty ounces of contrast for the CT. The Dr did a pelvic exam, which was extremely painful.

Then I went off for the CT scan. At the CT they also injected contrast into my IV so that they could get a good look at both my organs and GI track.

Finally, a little after 10 pm, the CT results were back I was told that I had a hemorrhagic cyst, about 6 cm. It had burst, with blood going into my peritoneal cavity (hence all the pain in my upper abdomen). The cyst was on the left ovary, but supposedly it’s very common to feel pain on the other side, because ovaries can move a lot when there’s a heavy cyst on them. I don’t need surgery (praise the Lord!) and it should be reabsorbed over time. The only caveat is that it could still cause the ovary to twist on itself, so if I have a lot of pain again, I’m to go to the ER right away.

I came home very nauseated and had a bit of trouble sleeping because my abdomen felt very sore and yucky. Thankfully they gave me Zofran so I took one and it boggled my mind that it worked within a few minutes!

My belly continues to feel sore and full. I read it could take a number of weeks before the blood and cyst get reabsorbed. I hope it happens quickly!

I’m thankful that I’ve had five great pain-free months before Friday. And I’m glad the cyst wasn’t another endometrioma and that I don’t need surgery! Hemorrhagic cysts are a drag and (rarely) can be life threatening, but I’m just relieved it doesn’t mean that the endometriosis is progressing.

 

 

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Filed under Endometriosis, Pain

Getting Home

I left pretty early that morning, 5:30 am. I had thoroughly enjoyed my visit with my sister and her husband, but it was time to head home. I had to be at work by the early afternoon, and the drive would take me just under six hours. The air was chilly that January morning, and there was no denying that my jeans and sweatshirt would barely cut it as I quickly walked the short distance from my sister’s house to my 1990 Toyota pickup.

I was on the winter break of my sophomore year of college, working on my nursing prerequisites. I was still living at home and still working part time. I was 19 then, with very little to my name.

Climbing into my small truck cab, I turned the key and the trusty old Toyota engine with 240,000 miles faithfully roared to life. I started heading South on highway 101. As I headed further away from the ocean, I got a little chilled and cranked up the heater. I didn’t realize that the temperature had dropped to the 20’s outside. The roads were curvy the whole way, with redwood trees lining both sides of the highway. All of the sudden, as I entered into a shady area, my truck lost control and I swerved out of my lane left to the other side of the road. There was a cliff not far from the edge, about 8 feet from where my truck was. I panicked, thinking my steering wheel had broken, and tried frantically to return to the correct side of the road. But I seemed to have lost control of everything in the truck, including my brakes. Before I could think another second as to what was happening, my truck immediately veered right, back across my lane and straight into a dirt embankment, where I crashed while traveling at 65 mph (the speed limit). I had hit black ice.

As my truck hurtled across the road and came to a halting stop, I gasped as I felt my entire body get catapulted into my steering wheel. My life literally flashed before my eyes: a multitude of childhood and recent memories soared through my mind, all at once. It was surreal. Right before the impact, I had one thought: This is it. I’m going to die.

After slamming into the dirt bank, my truck jolted back and my upper body flung back away from my steering wheel and into the back of my seat. I gasped, as it felt like all of the air had been forced out of my lungs from the impact. I blinked: I wasn’t dead after all. But I was in shock. Sudden tears streamed down my face. I looked around the truck. The contents of my purse had been dumped onto the floor. My airbag hadn’t gone off. Was I okay? I felt pain in every place where my seat belt had been, but I seemed to be more or less alright. My truck wasn’t running, so I turned the key off and then on again. The trusty Toyota started up! I shifted into reverse, hoping to get the back end of my truck out of the highway as quickly as possible. But my heart sank when I realized that I was unable to move the truck at all.

Worried about oncoming traffic potentially not seeing my truck taking up half of the lane in time, I quickly searched the contents of my purse on the floor for my phone. I grabbed it and got out of my truck and walked behind it a little to where there was more of a shoulder to the road. I looked at my phone. I had no cell phone service. “Are you kidding me?” I wanted to cry. Oh, the irony of it all – breaking down in the middle of nowhere had been the primary reason for why I had wanted a cell phone! As I looked around, I  began to panic a little. For as far as I could see any direction, all I could see were redwood trees. There were no homes or businesses nearby, and I was pretty sure that the next town was a twenty minute drive away. Not a single car had gone by since I had crashed. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I was shivering, and very frightened. I began to pray “Oh God, please help me. Please send someone to help me.”

I stood there for five more minutes and two cars drove by. But neither one even slowed down. My panic grew. “What if no one even bothers to stop!” I whimpered, as one of little faith would. Ten more minutes passed and I was getting mentally prepared to start walking as I could feel my fingers and toes start to go numb. My truck looked like it had a flat front tire and a dent in the side fender. Considering the speed at which I had been traveling, I couldn’t believe the body damage wasn’t worse.

Suddenly, a man driving a large truck going by saw me and slammed on his brakes just as he went past my truck. The truck backed up and pulled off the road and parked. “Someone is stopping!” I internally cheered. But my rejoicing turned to fear almost immediately. I suspiciously eyed the man, feeling more vulnerable than ever. My heart was racing. “Lord, is this someone you sent to help me?”  I prayed. “Or is this a bad man?” I hadn’t died in my truck accident. But I could die from the hands of this man, of whom I knew nothing about, out in the middle of no where. Every horrible news story I had ever read about women getting murdered in isolated areas surfaced. The isolation of my location felt suddenly overwhelming.

I had no idea of the answer to my question, but I calmed down a bit when I saw the logo of a familiar logging company on the man’s truck. The middle aged bearded man got out of his cab and immediately proceeded to talk about the black ice. “I helped with two accidents in this exact same place due to black ice just last week,” he said. “One lady literally drove over the embankment a little further on and went down into a ravine. It was a miracle that I saw her down there as I was driving by.” Apparently, as he drove that section of road several days a week for his job, he was a black ice Good Samaritan. He seemed nice enough, although a little rough around the edges. We walked over to my truck and he determined that I had a flat tire and my truck needed to be moved out of the road. I followed his instructions and he someone was able to move my truck out of the road. He got to work on changing out the tires while I stood gratefully and rather helplessly nearby.

Five minutes later, a truck pouring sand onto the icy road drove by. I shook my head in disbelief. If I had left just thirty minutes later I wouldn’t have been in such a debacle! The Good Samaritan man eventually finished the (what appeared to be) rather difficult job of changing the tire, probably because of the damage to the front fender in the accident. “We’re only about twenty minutes from Leightonville,” he told me. “It’s a small town but they have a tire shop there. I’ll follow you to the tire shop to make sure you arrive safely.” I held my breath. This man had been so incredibly helpful and kind. But he was also a bit odd in some ways. Even though I was grateful, I still didn’t trust him. In any case, I knew I couldn’t get very far on my spare tire, which wasn’t inflated enough. Going to a tire shop was good suggestion.

I got back into the truck, and, shaking from the entire experience, set back onto the highway and toward Leightonville. The truck was extremely hard to control, and was pulling hard to the right like a lousy Walmart shopping cart. I almost drove off the road every time I took one hand off the steering wheel in order to shift gears.

I looked in the review mirror – the man was driving close behind me, as he said he would be. We both finally arrived in Leightonville and pulled into the tire shop. I wasn’t sure if the man was going to keep driving on at this point, now that I had arrived safely to the tire shop. But he got out of his truck, went inside the tire shop for a few minutes and came out, telling me as he climbed back into his truck “I told them not to charge you too much.” I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked the man for his kind act of stopping to change my tire. I offered him the only money I had, $20, but he smiled, said it was nothing, and promptly left.

As I walked into the tire shop I thanked God for sending me someone after all. I hadn’t trusted the man until he was literally driving away, but I was still glad that he had stopped to help me.

At the tire shop, it turned out that the air had been knocked out of my tire, and that it was repairable. They didn’t seem to have a set fee for fixing that sort of thing, so they asked, “How about $20?” I shook my head in amazement as I handed over my sole monetary bill. Despite my panic and my fears, God had worked out every single detail. I would look back on this moment for years to come and learn to trust God better.

I was finally able to call my family from the tire shop. Because my car was pulling to the right so horrendously, my parents encouraged me to make the much shorter drive to Santa Rosa where my Grandparents lived. I could take my car to a mechanic there and get it fixed. It sounded like a good plan, but first I called my employer to let them know there was no way I would be able to make it into work that afternoon. I then made the arduous drive to Santa Rosa where my grandparents met me at a mechanic’s shop. It was determined there that my truck had a broken steering arm, and that it would take a couple of days to be repaired. As I closed my eyes while riding in the backseat of my Grandparent’s car, all I knew was that I was happy to not be driving anymore.

Two days later, I was at last on my way home from my Grandparent’s house. I was surprised when I had flashbacks of the accident the entire way home. Visions of my truck crashing would blindside me even when barely moving. Driving felt terrifying. The reality of the whole ordeal was finally setting in, and my brain was switching out of survival mode. I pulled into my parents’ home, shut the truck door and walked inside. My Mom was home and there to greet me. As soon as I saw her face, I burst into tears. She pulled me in and hugged me hard. She held me close as the tears kept coming. I had survived crashing at 65 mph with just bruises. I had been watched over and cared for. I was home.

 

 

 

 

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Baby Shower Gone Awry

It was supposed to be feminine and beautiful. Pink frosting was swirled onto the cupcake tops and pink ribbons adorned the “It’s a Girl!” banner. Pink balloons were hung and purple flowers brightened the kitchen. The house was spotless, despite a 3 year old running around, and there wasn’t even a dish in the sink. It had been a hectic morning, but as the clock approached ten I was somehow ready for the baby shower to begin.

The doorbell rang and the front door was flung open in excitement. In my book, the impending arrival of a new baby is always something to celebrate. I led the guests through the entryway and into the living room near the kitchen, answering questions along the way on how we had updated the house. As I neared the kitchen, out of the corner of my eye I saw something unusual through the sliding glass door. I took a second glance and gasped. Then and there my heart stopped.

Dexter, the neighborhood cat, was outside the sliding glass door, eating a GIANT RAT!

I would have shut the curtains, but it was too late. The guests had already taken it all in, and were thoroughly grossed out. “DEXTER!” I yelled at the cat, who barely noticed me through the closed door. He was too engrossed with his apparent breakfast for the day anyhow. I looked a little closer and realized the rat wasn’t even dead yet. He was having some sort of death tremors. Great. Just great. Seeing the rat’s long tail made my stomach turn. I didn’t even want to think about where this rat came from or how many more there were nearby. The old saying “For every one rat you see there are ten more close by” became trapped in my brain. And of course I couldn’t help but think about the creepy Hanta virus that rats can carry.

I closed the curtains, but the topic of conversation was obviously derailed. Someone mentioned that their dog had brought them a dead possum once, and that had made me feel a little better, even though possums seem practically delightful in my book compared to giant rats. Later on I peeked through the curtains, hoping desperately that Dexter had gotten bored and hauled the rat away. But no, of course he hadn’t. Apparently he was very hungry that day.

It was a little hard to transition from “Look at that nasty rat” to “Would you like some sausage and muffins to eat?” But despite the rat, brunch and cupcakes were eaten and gifts were opened. I think a good time was had by all. But that will definitely go down as the most horrifying and yet funniest baby shower that I have ever hosted. And to my friend whom this shower was hosted in honor of: I’m sorry. So, so sorry. And incredibly glad that you have a strong stomach. I can’t wait to meet your new baby girl.

 

 

 

 

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Our Ongoing Home Reno & Other Updates

Hey there!

Here’s a little update on life for us these days.

House

We moved to our new fixer upper home almost 7 months ago. I joke with hubby that we ought to just dig a big hole in the backyard and start throwing money into it, because it has been one giant money pit! A mold report that came back showing high levels of (non toxic) mold less than a month after we bought the house really pushed us to replace the areas were there had been water exposure (floors, under kitchen sink) much faster than we had originally planned.  And then the snowball just started rolling as one thing led to another. That’s home renovation for you, I suppose!

Here’s a list of some of the things we’ve redone since we moved in:

Tear out back deck (was structurally unsafe).

Deck (removed).

New carpet in family room and bedrooms:

I didn’t really have any “carpet” pictures, but you can kind of see it here.

Removed wall between dining room and kitchen:

Before. (This wall drove me nuts because I couldn’t keep track of the kids!)

After. I love it!

Laminate in kitchen, fireplace room, hallway and master closet:

Closet doors (two sets), screen door, side garage door:

Tile floors in laundry room and kids’ bathroom:

I tried to pick tile that matched the laminate.

Replaced Kitchen counter tops, sink (chipping), faucet & garbage disposal (leaked whenever running):

Before. This wasn’t too long after we moved in.

Before.

After. My inner clean freak is very happy with having quartz counter tops now!

Tile back splash in kitchen (which we had to add because there was a big gap between the counter tops and the wall):

Pulled out melamine desk/cabinets and put in smaller desk area with upper shelving:

Replaced furnace and A/C (yes we wanted to cry when we learned we needed to replace BOTH):

New A/C.

Dishwasher (which died right after the furnace and A/C – more crying, hehe). New dishwasher will be here in two weeks.

Replaced fridge (died on moving day), stove and microwave.

Painted bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets:

Painted ENTIRE house (including ceilings).

Replaced almost all light fixtures and 2 out of 3 fans (we saved the only one that worked).

Whew! That wasn’t even a comprehensive list. And what’s sadder is that the “to do” list is still a mile long! The bottom line, however, is that we LOVE living here. We love the space (1/2 acre), the neighborhood, the proximity to hubby’s work, and also the fact that we live super close to my in laws! (And as a side note, both my parents and my hubby’s Dad were instrumental in helping us get a lot of the above list completed!)

Kids

Josh & Rachel are doing fine. Josh is just over 3 and Rachel is 20 months. I sure do love them and enjoy my days with them. I know everyone else has adorable/smart/funny kids, but some days I seriously wonder which state penitentiary my kids will end up at–because they can be quite devious! Some days Josh and I really do battle it out. I’m no marshmellow Mom in any sense of the word, so I often have to remember to look for ways that I can answer “yes” instead of “no.” Rachel is very determined and doesn’t give up easily either, but she does have much shorter tantrums, which I am thankful for!

I like to remember the following so please tune out if this is crazy boring (I imagine it would be to most):

Josh wears 3T clothing and wears a an 8/9 shoe. He weighs 31.6# (No joke, he’s weighed exactly 31.6# the last several times he’s asked to hop on the scale!) and a few months ago he was just over 3 feet tall. We took away his paci back in April and it wasn’t a big deal at all (we were shocked! And thankful…).

Rachel wears 18-24 months clothing and is somewhere between a size 5 or 6 shoe. She is only a few inches shorter than Josh. She still doesn’t have to many words, but she’s working on it every day. She’s been in a size 5 diaper for a while. I use Pampers diapers and water only wipes or else she tends to be prone to really bad diaper rash.

Don’t be fooled. They’re wanna-be felons, I tell you! 🙂

Weight Loss

I wrote a while back about experiencing unintended weight loss. I’m happy to report that out of the 16# I lost, I gained 7-8# of it back and that seems to be where things have settled. I’m not unhappy about it, but I do wish I had a better appetite most days so that cooking would feel less like a chore.

Endometriosis

I don’t really want to go on and on when it comes to this topic. The synopsis is: The endo does seem to be back. Some months are bad and some are okay. I cut out caffeine back in February which seemed to really help with pain levels. I still seem quite unable to get pregnant without intervention (IVF), so that’s a drag. At the same time, I have little to no desire to go through IVF again (not that we could afford it right now after all these home repairs!). I’ve been thinking about my options for when things DO get consistently bad, pain-wise. One option is to see a specialist who would excise all endo (cutting it out, rather than burning it off) and see how far that gets me. Another option would be to do a hysterectomy and also have current endo excised. This may still not alleviate pain (endo grows back easily and hides, so that it can be tricky even for specialists to find) and I still may require further surgeries. In all honesty, I’m hoping avoid any surgeries at all, because the frequent pain I get from adhesions and scar tissue following surgeries is off the charts.

Well I think that covers some of the basics! Thanks for sticking it through the post!

 

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Oh Taste And See

The days are full of trying on dress up shoes, yard work, pretending to be human excavators, and playing in the dirt. As with every season of parenting this far, I’m learning much about my kids, my own personal bents and failures, and about life. More than ever, I feel acutely aware of the brevity of this parenting gig. The opportunity to plants seeds, water, and pray. To teach, love and forgive. And to offer kindness- again and again.

I think back to my own childhood often. I was a rebellious child – there’s no question about it. I was mouthy and stubborn. I seemed to suffer from complete lack of self control, mostly with my words. But I was SO sick of myself, sick of my shame and confusion and continual discord with others. And in the summer between 6th and 7th grade, through a Bible study a lady at my church personally invited me to, I discovered who Jesus really was. I committed my entire life to Him, and from then on I have been very cognizant of how much the Lord pulled me out of the PIT of fear and destruction.

The change in me was immediate. Just ask my Mom. I went from knowing about Jesus to really knowing Jesus. My whole life turned upside down, even though I grew up in a Christian home. My relationship with my parents went from being tense to harmonious. 

And this is my prayer for my children. If they have to live years of rebellion in order to really know brokenness – to really know, love and submit to Jesus- then so be it. Whatever it takes, because Christ is the ONLY thing that really matters in this life. The last thing I want is to have kids who are outwardly Christians but whose hearts are far from Christ.

And yet… how wonderful it would be if they do see their true depravity and choose to follow Christ from a young age.

Either way, I’m on my knees, crying out to God for the hearts of these beloved kiddos of mine. 

Lord, please help me to train up our children well. But more than anything, I pray that they would turn to you with humble hearts. 

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8

 

 

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Rescued From a Life I Thought I Wanted

There is something magical about the trained ballerina. She is elegant, long, beautiful. She moves with effortless fashion and ease. She is graceful and composed.

The ballet world. This was a world in which I once lived in, more than half my lifetime ago. Not that I was all those adjectives previously listed; but I sure aimed to be. Five to six days a week I trained and stretched and wore out my toe shoes. I was there for class every day after school, and often on Saturdays, too. I loved it. I wanted ballet to be my permanent life. I was consumed by it.

I wanted to make a career of ballet, but there was an ever-growing tension in my home. No matter what it cost me, I wanted to be a professional ballerina. And yet my Mother was deeply opposed to the idea. She believed that ballerinas didn’t make much money, they were overworked, they often struggled with body image, and were sometimes placed in vulnerable situations. Not only that, but ballet, performed over a span of years, was hard on the body. We butted heads about the issue for several months. I kept praying and trying to convince her it was a good idea. But it was no use. Her opposition held just as strong as ever.

I remember writing in my journal, praying and wrestling with this tension as a teenager. How could my Mother not see how much I loved and needed ballet? Why could she not just give me approval in this one area of my life? I was headstrong, but I was also very much wanting my Mother’s blessing for my future career. So the inner turmoil raged on.

In the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I flew to Mississippi to join a three week long intensive Christian ballet workshop. I danced my heart out, made friends, and had a wonderful time. At the end of the workshop, I waved a sad goodbye and flew back home to California. But I soon discovered that something had changed. Actually, there had been a huge change in me! I didn’t need ballet anymore. I didn’t even want it! Somehow I felt totally free to move on from it– which was a completely foreign concept at the time. How could this be? I didn’t know, but I never went back to ballet classes or rejoined the ballet company I had been part of. I packed up all of my beloved ballet gear into a box, put it away in my closet and shut the door.

There was no logical explanation for this transformation in me except that the Lord literally plucked an idol out of my life.

So I walked away and never looked back. And I am so grateful.

In hindsight, I’m so glad the Lord listened to the prayers of my Mother, and not to mine. There is nothing inherently wrong with being a ballerina (the problem was with me, not ballet). Dropping ballet meant that I was able to devote more time to school and follow the pathway to become a nurse. I can think of a hundred reasons as to why I’m much better suited to being a nurse than a ballerina, and even though I don’t work a ton these days, it is a profession that I love and that has given me useful, practical knowledge for everyday life.

The Lord recently removed another idol from me (coffee), and the freedom I feel from giving up something as seemingly simple as coffee happens to be enormous! I’ve learned that the Lord both gives and takes away– and sometimes, the things He takes away are actually curses disguised as blessings. In the end, I have received a multitude of blessings by having these idols stripped away from me. When our lives are completely entrusted to Jesus, there is nothing but peace and joy!

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

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Josh is Three!

This little buddy of ours had a birthday last weekend! It was a really fun gathering composed of just family, and it seemed like everyone had a great time!

This was our first party in the new house. My husband is installing new floors this weekend, and we had a wall removed two weeks ago, so our house was a little bit in disarray… but no one seemed to care!

Josh’s baby book – where I try to chronicle things like – is in a box somewhere in our garage. We desperately need to get some bookshelves so we can get those books out of boxes once and for all! For now this blog post will have to be enough to jog our memories later on.

The theme was  “Alphabet Letters” – since Josh is obsessed with letters right now. I ordered these letter flash cards on Amazon and put them up on the wall. We like them so much I think we’ll keep them there for school later on.

You can see where we had the wall removed below. We may have been missing laminate and baseboards, but it was awesome to have that wall gone and really nice for parties!

We had burgers, hot dogs, potato and green salad, fruit, veggies and chips for lunch. I’m a fan of keeping it simple if at all possible. We played an alphabet game and then hit the pinata.

Then we had dessert – a “J” cake for Joshua and ice cream. My aunt helped me make the cake look better than it did originally, thankfully.

And then it was present time! Wow, did this kid get some great gifts perfectly suited to his personality. It was clear how many people in our family love him and understand how his brain works! We are so blessed to have this kind of family support and love.

Happy third birthday, little guy. We love you so much and love to see you learn, grow, and even take on some responsibilities!

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