Friday, February 27, 2009

Sleep Study for J

While J was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for two days, the attending physician shared concern for her breathing patterns.   On many occasions her oxygen levels dropped significantly, and we would have a time getting them back up.  

Some of this was due to her lower left lung deflating issues post surgery, as well as coming off of so much general anesthesia.  She was holding her breath, and breathing so irregularly.  

The Doc. asked if she did this at home.  We told him that lately we have noticed her snoring more often, and she does hold her breath at times.  Honestly, she does most of this after we have all gone to sleep, and she gets in that deep sleep.  When I get up in the night (because a bear is keeping me up with his snoring, I would hear her at times.)

Tonight is her sleep study, and we will know for certain if it is sleep apnea, or something else...or nothing at all. :)  We are praying for the "nothing at all".    Yet, if it is something, we want to do whatever we can to get her the help she needs.  

David and I are also going to have sleep studies done.  We both hold our breath in the night, and David snores well as holds his breath, and does this weird he is being strangled.  All during the night I am hitting him to breath.  So, needless to say, I'm not sleeping to even breath irregular myself, because I'm laying there listening to make sure he is going to breath! lol!  

So, we'll see how tonight goes.  :-D

One parent must accompany her...that will be me...(since I don't tend to snore.  ;)  Well, I do snore at times...  

I was told that the sleep study rooms are set up like hotel rooms.  There is a TV with basic cable, and I think we have our own bathroom.  We can bring ipods, cell phones, games, etc.   There is a refrigerator for light snacks or drinks.  Lights out by midnight. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Weekend to Remember

David and Bubb went on a special weekend together to have the "man to man" talk. For quite some time Bubb has been asking questions and wanting "the complete talk". After several months, we believe it was the right time for him.

We had some friends of ours back home (a few years ago) recommend sex educational materials with a biblical perspective. They found out about this program through Focus on the Family. The program is called "Passport2Purity" by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

After looking into this ourselves, we decided that this is what the Lord would have us to do. We are very open with answering questions, and it isn't that we aren't comfortable with the talk; This program is wonderful for both those who are comfortable with the talk and those who struggle a bit with it too.

This is a Christ centered program that puts the adult and pre-teen on neutral ground together to discuss intimate questions about their bodies and about sexuality.

The program has lessons and projects that are biblically based. Dennis and Barbara explain the lessons in a very understandable way for pre-teens to comprehend (without causing them to feel embarrassed). Also, in a way that will open up discussions for the pre-teen to understand the importance of remaining pure until marriage.

It is suggested that the pre-teen choose one fun event that the parent and pre-teen can do together as a part of their "get-away" weekend.

Bubb chose to see the Christian comedian Tim Hawkins (it was about a 45 min drive one way for them). As an added bonus, he got to meet T.H. in person, and have his photo made with him. He also got autographs for J and his cousin William. :)

Bubb and Tim Hawkins

At the close of the weekend, Bubb was presented with a special gift to honor his pledge to purity. David gave him a purity ring (from he and I), that has 1 Thess 4:3-4 imprinted around the band.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 (New International Version)
3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

We highly recommend Pass2Purity. Both David and Bubb had a positive experience and enjoyed their weekend together. It brought them closer to the Lord and to each other.

You can go on the Focus on the Family website to find more information about it. 

To Buy It: Click Here!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Venturing Out!

This weekend J wanted to venture out and do some small road trips. Our guys went out of town to do something called Passport2Purity...of which I will be writing more on a little later. They left about lunchtime on Sat. So J said...Mom, can we go out and shop?

So we did, and we found her several items for spring.

We piddled around at Goodwill...our favorite store! And, Ross...another favorite! We were out for about 2 hours, and I kept asking her if she was ready to go back, and she kept, I'm feeling great and having fun. She had NO pain while we were out!

Then, last night she went to youth group. I accompanied her, and she did great! She was a little apprehensive about it, yet everyone was so welcoming of her. That helped her feel more at ease.

We have to be extra careful though, because she cannot bend, twist or lift...she is restricted with her physical activity for 6 months! This seems like a long time, but it will go by faster than we think. Until then we must be extra cautious for her 12 fusions to heal properly.

Well, my blog is short today...Josh got his iPod Touch from Fed Ex this morning (he pulled together all of his birthday money to get this thing! - boys and their toys!), and he wants to get it plugged into his itunes to charge...then we are getting onto our school lessons! Thank you Aunt Beth for ordering it for us! He wants to give a special thanks to Uncle Doug, Aunt Beth, Grandpa Roger and Nana for the money towards it for his birthday!

Hope everyone has a beautiful day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

This is Long; Celebrating Our Boy!

Hey, this may take a moment for all the photos to download. :) Enjoy!

Celebrating our Son!

Sorry for the low resolution...they scanned quicker this way. Also, I am posting medium and hopefully they will download quicker for viewing. ;)

Bubb, the day you were born we were so thrilled! Daddy got his boy!

bubb birth
you and proud sissy

bubb dad and sissy
Proud Daddy...and sis was so happy to have you "brodder"

bubb's birth/ nanas
A couple of proud Nana's too!

bubb with uncle and aunt
Proud Uncle and Aunt

Here are a few photos through the years. Family...I just couldn't post all, so I put a few of family and a few of friends. Josh's photo album got damaged by heat in I lost a lot of photos. So until I can go through negatives and get everything reprinted...which will be a huge project someday when I am old and gray! I apologize for some of you being left out.

Here are some birthdays in past, and a few from more present... Also a few random photos mixed in. Enjoy!!

Bubb, your first birthday photos were mixed up with another's photos...I got someone elses and someone got ours. I used to mail my rolls of film (before the day of digitals) into a mail in processor...and I cried and cried because I had NO pictures of your very first birthday. are some from 2nd, 3rd, 5th...then 10th and 11th birthday with some randomness. :)

I did find this of you at 1 yr old
bubb as boss
Bubb the boss! 1 yr old. You loved John Deere trucks and Nana Bonnie always came from FL bearing gifts!

bubb 2nd b-day
At your 2nd b-day I was so so sick. I had planned a big party for you, and could not lift my head to come. So daddy took care of everything, and nana filled in as mom. My friend took video for me, and I cried again...2nd birthday!!! That is 2 of your first b-day's where I cried. :) But things got better from 3 on. :)))

bubb 2nd b-day2
another pic of your 2nd b-day

bubb 2nd b-day 4
2nd b-day

bubb 3rd b-day 1
3rd B-day, got to be there!! To the left is one of my best friends and your favorite preschool teacher Ms. Angie. :)

bubb 3rd b-day 2
3rd b-day Your cousin, you and sissy

bubb b-day thomas train
5 yrs old Thomas the train ride

bubb thomas b-day 2

bubb thomas b-day 3

bubb 10th b-day
Your 10th Birthday

bubb 10 b-day
10th b-day with friends

bubb's 11 b-day steak
11th Birthday. Last night Dad grilled the Bubb a birthday T-bone!

Birthday T-Bone Heaven!!

bubb 11 b-day like father like son
Like Father Like Son - 11th B-day

Random Photos of Josh...

With Friends:

bubb and friend1

bubb and friend2

bubb and friend3

bubb friends4
With new friend. :)

With new friend Burger

More Random Photos...

bubb as baby jesus
Bubb as Baby Jesus in the cousins play

bubb and nana bonnie
with Nana...I love the expression on your face here!

bubb's visiting aunt beth's in FL
At Aunt Beth's in FL

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Can't Believe...

...Our son Bubb is 11 yrs old today!

I'll post birthday photos tomorrow. Tooooo tired right now to upload and edit.

It was a nice day, but a little busy too.

This evening David cooked steaks on the grill, and I baked him a homemade chocolate cake with homemade choc. icing. We had vanilla and chocolate ice cream with our yummy cake. Our neighbors...with their two sweet children... came over to share cake with us.

One cake pics!!! My husband, aka Pooh, lit the candles so fast and walked the cake over singing (he just came so fast with no advanced notice). I didn't have time to take photos (or much less think about finding the camera)...when I did grab hold of it, I discovered that the memory card was full, due to J and J making vids during his b-day dinner!!! I had no idea they had filled up the complete card with making vids!!!

We sang, and he blew out candles. Oh well! :-D He had a blast, and that is all that matters.

We had a wonderful day celebrating Bubb's birth. Happy Birthday my dear son!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vaccinations; The Power of Suggestion

Did anyone see the special on MSNBC? I'm curious about everyone's thoughts on it.

After our children's diagnoses of different issues going on (S.I. and ADHD), friends would mention that vaccinations could be to blame. In the back of my mind, I wondered as well.

At first, I was totally against the thoughts of NOT immunizing children. It may be what is great for that family, but my beef with it was putting OTHER families infants at risk who were choosing to immunize by the schedule.

Which is what I did as a mom, I went by the schedule, and I don't regret it either. Really can't go back now, and I too was doing what I thought was best for our children and the community around us.

That does not mean that I condemn someone who chooses not to immunize. Yet, I honestly had a slightly and thoughtful raised eyebrow at the thoughts, of possible repercussions that may come occur as a result of so many new moms choosing not to immunize.

I still just don't know...

Here is the MSNBC article if you click:

Court Rules Vaccine Not the Cause of Autism

Also, I found this article interesting too:

Small Decision, Large Impact

I am pretty open minded about those who don't immunize though. I'd just like to see some real documented hard evidence that vaccines truly are causing autism and other related mild versions of autism. AND vice versa...that not vaccinating has done a world of good in communities or know, within a larger group of folks.

Dr. Sears has a pretty good overall take on things, imo. He gives alternate vaccination ideas for hesitant parents concerned about the side effects of vaccines:

Separate Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccines No Longer Available? What Can Parents Do?

I realize this topic has been one of discussion may times previously in the blogger world. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it since this newer news broke out. I'm out of that stage of the infant shots, yet Bubb has some upcoming booster shots, and so the whole shot thing is on my mind.

On another note: J. has been thinking a lot about all of that hardware she saw in her x-rays. Now she is convinced that she can feel the screws inside. I'm not saying she can't, but that thought was never expressed until AFTER her appointment yesterday where she saw the x-rays of her back.

Now everyone who really knows J...I'm talking those of you who have known her since she was a know how the power of suggestion is quite strong in her life. If she thinks about it too long, she begins to think it is a reality.

So I got to thinking about the power of suggestion in my own life. I guess that is why the Bible tells us to think on those good things:

Philippians 4:8 (King James Version)

8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 (The Message Verson)

8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

I know in my own personal life, if I get hung up on the negatives...whether it be about myself, or others, then that is what I begin to live out.

So concerning J., I am trying to get her to focus on the fact that the hardware is there, to help her fusions heal properly. That will take at least 1 yr before we can think about the possibility of removing the hardware. Until then, keep thanking God that she is not in terrific pain any more...she is already almost off all pain meds. Only taking Extra Strength Tylenol when needed. AND the best thing...her back is straight. What a blessing. She smiled, and I think she is going to give this new train of thought a try. :)

I'm going to renew my new train a thought (looking more at the positives, than the negatives) in my own personal life as well. :-D I have so much work to do on me!

Romans 12:2 (King James Version)

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2 (The Message)

Romans 12

Place Your Life Before God

1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scoligirl Shares Her Story

Darci is so gracious to share her story with the world...and in such great detail too!!

After reading her did get to me to see what she went through, and how J's could have gone this way. She was truly in the hands of angels of God looking out for her through a very gifted surgeon!

Here is her website if you are interested in reading her story:

Thank you Darci!

Post Op, the 3.5 Week Mark!

J is doing so very, very well! :-D

She had her first post op appt this morning, and the surgeon is quite pleased. She has lost 7 lbs since her last visit, and gained one inch height. (We measured a two inch increase...but she is definitely much taller to us!)

The doc said her incision has "sealed" so clean and nice, and no need to bandage it up anymore. The steri strips are still perfectly intact. He told us that we can peel them off, or leave them.

My extremely "sensitive skinned girl" opted to leave them on. She is even a little wigged out about not having the extra protection of the bandaging on her back. She doesn't feel comfortable now flat on her back because it feels so weird to her not having the padding of the dressings there.

New x-rays of her back were taken this morning to compare to the old pre surgery x-rays. He showed us the difference, and Wow, a lot of hardware in there! There was one shot of her from the side, and all of those long screws looked like they were taking up half of her body!! He said they should not bother her...but man, there are 15 of those big ol' screws in there!!!

These are photos of another gal on flickr who had the same type of surgery J had. Her photos/x-rays looks almost identical to what my j's looked like this morning. Except, J's rods go down longer about two more vertebrae down to L3, whereas this girls stops at L1. So I thought some of you medically inclined folks would like to see. I've ordered x-rays of J's, and will post those once I get them. Until then, this one is pretty darned close to the same:

photos of above taken by darcimanley's photostream:

J's surgeon was amazed at how well she was doing.

She has restrictions for quite some time. No bending, twisting, lifting, or rigorous physical activity of anything much...for 6 months! Even when she swims, he just wants her to paddle around, no major swimming of laps such as freestyle or swimming of laps for at least 6 months!

Since she had 12 fusion, those must heal properly so that her back will not try to begin bending again. If the fusions do not heal properly, her spine could even begin bending the the fusions healing properly are total key! The titanium rods are softer than stainless steel (she had to have titanium due to her metal allergies) She will need to be EXTRA cautious concerning her restrictions.

I've already given brother, aka the Bubb, the whole run down bumping up into her or pulling on rough housing of ANY kind! It could mean big trouble for J if things get knocked outta whack.

We are so thankful to God, and to you all for your prayers, love and support of our family.

God's healing power is so amazing!!! Please keep those prayers coming. The fusions are still healing, and we welcome continued prayer concerning this too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

If You Will Take The Time

If you will take the time to read something that my friend Catherine wrote, you may be encouraged and blessed. I know I was!

She sent this to me today through Myspace as encouragement.

God is so on time!!! He never ceases to amaze me... whatever I am going through for the moment, God is always sending encouragement through so many different avenues.

Hope you are blessed by this as well: Click Here for Catherine's Blog

What's the Big Hairy Deal???

I'm hearing lately that some of those in public schools are having such issues with home-schoolers these days. Probably vice versa too.

Honestly, I don't get what the big hairy deal is! I mean and let live people!!!

Our family has been judged for being strangers and even some family members at times too...(our kids do tell us these things. ;)

In the previous neighborhood we lived in, our children got judged, and put down all the time for being home-schooled. Some of the kids would call them dumb, and make it a point at times to brag to them about what they are missing out on in the public schools.

What gets me...several of those same condemning children cannot even spell simple words...such as, "enough"! Or they would use words such as "there" and "their" written out of proper context. I'm not saying our children are perfecto spellers of the world either...I'm just sayin'!!!

A few of those families also "assumed" that our children didn't know how to relate to other children because they were "home-schooled". They had NO idea of our background (like...that our children had been in public schools since K, they had just moved away from everyone they had ever known since they were babies, they were grieving something fierce because their grandfather had just died of a fast growing cancer prior to our moving...there is more, but no need to go further).

Perhaps our children weren't fitting in because perhaps they weren't being accepted.

Now, there's a thought! Christians not accepting other christians...naw, that never happens...right? WRONG! Happens every day as we live and breathe!

The point is, they've pre-judged us without really knowing anything about us at all...about our children's personal struggles or our backgrounds. Even family members judge us on how much they think they know us.

Seriously, these folks had no idea that our children had actually been in private preschools from age 2 to kindergarden, and then in the public school system from K up until about a yr ago (4th and 5th grades) prior to our 1 whole yr of home-schooling...which was our very first yr of home-schooling! It kind of makes me chuckle when I think about it right now, at the time it was a tad hurtful though. Especially to the kids being in a new place and all.

We were pre-judged, as so many other folks are in different ways...for home-schooling, for public schooling, or for private schooling...for not being able to fit in, for being too thin, for being too fat, for being to short, for having different color hair...whatever..."you fill in the blank".

Let's face it, we are ALL guilty of drawing up/sizing up our own conclusions about people, based on our own "dreamed up", preconceived notions. Which are rarely to be completely accurate most of the time!

Personally, I'm not the perfect speller, and I make my fair share of grammatical errors regularly. Boy, don't you love spell check! The funny thing is, often times I forget to use it! heeheeee. Also, sometimes, I am not nice. But hey, I can say I don't go around knocking other families for their choice of how they educate their children. ;) One thumbs up on my list of many thumbs down!

However, I do have my many other judgmental tendencies, and flaws. I'm certainly not without sin. The Bible says that if I say that I am without sin, I make GOD out to be a liar. Wooo, that is huge! That was my paraphrasing....
Well, here it is in the NIV: 1 John 1:8 (New International Version) 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. And for you King James only friends: 1 John 1:8 (King James Version) 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Personally...I love them all, but prefer "The Message" translation, it goes all the way to vs 10 for us:
1 John 1:8 (The Message)
8-10If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—He won't let us down; He'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of Him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God

Man, I sure don't want to go there! So no way am I going to say I never do things wrong. As soon as I do, it will come back to bite me!

So, we made the decision to home-school for several reasons that we thought best for our children. After much prayer and careful consideration, we made the step. Is this a reason to be ridiculed though? Is being a public schooled kid a reason to be ridiculed either? I say NO on both counts!

Like I said, our two children were in classroom school settings from preK through 4th and 5th grades. They were both A/B honor student. Last spring they tested out quite high on their CAT tests. That doesn't make them any better or any worse then a child who public schools...or who may struggle with bringing that C to a B, or a child who makes all straight A's, OR a child who does or doesn't attend public schools! Every child is so different in the way they learn and perceive the world around them. Some children respond much better one on one.

To me, as a christian, it is all about ultimately guiding them in the direction of their gifting. So that they can work toward the career/ministry of their God-calling.

It is interesting that even of recent, we are getting hassled because we home-school. The day we brought J home from the hospital from her spine surgery, we no more than got in the door, and got her settled, when some kid prank called me about our being home-schoolers. No kid in the city we live in now has our phone number, so it can only mean someone from our previous city. It was a private whomever it was, called our local cell from a private number or dialed a (* )whatever to hide their number. The thing is, those can still be traced.

It was so unsettling, and so thoughtless of whomever did it! I was so tired from being at the hospital all week that week with J. She had complications from her surgery, and I was so thankful to be in our home with her...then bam, I get a prank call! So unsettling...

But why????? Why is it such an issue for others when a family choses to home-school OR chooses the public school system? Or private school?

I've always taught our children since home-schooling, that you don't ever brag about being home-schooled, or belittle anyone else for their family's choices of how they choose to educate. Yet, home-schoolers seem to get it from all sides lately.

I'm just sayin'. What is the big hairy deal about families choosing to home-school?

I heard it was mentioned in church yesterday the question, "How can home-schooled kids be the salt?". Well, I don't know about other home-schooled kids, but there are many ways that our kids are salt. My question is, "Who is to say that all christian kids are actually being the salt in public schools too???". Who is to say that home-schooled children AREN'T being the salt in their every day walks of life?...with neighbors?...(in hospitals as they are rehabilitating?- J was a major blessing to those around her for Christ while in the hospital) Not to mention...public libraries, and other public gatherings where home-schooled children engage in the community through sports, dance, music, public speaking. They have plenty of opportunities to be salt. We all do, if we take them.

Let's not put each other in boxes is all I say. Let's look for ways to bless others by being the salt ourselves first, instead of picking apart our brothers and sisters in Christ over such petty and insignificant things such as how a family chooses to educate their children. Life is too short! Let's each and individually be concerned about "being about our Father's business"!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A True Friend

During times of crisis, we really learn who are true friends are. Those who are supportive, compassionate, and who let you know they are available to help any way they can!

Thank you to those supportive family, friends and church family. Especially during our daughter J's surgery. As a parent, it is so difficult to see your child go through something like this. If you have never been through this, I hope you don't ever have to go through this, or worse.

You really learn who your true friends are in times like these. They are the ones who are lifting up, thoughtfully and lovingly.

This article was taken from the Christianity Today website, and I thought it was profound.

A True Friend
The Bible gives examples of good and bad friends, and we can learn from both.
By Mark Moring

A good friend looks a lot like …
… Ruth, who was loyal even when times got tough. When her mother-in-law, Naomi, lost her husband and both sons (one of them was Ruth's husband), Naomi decided to move far away to deal with her grief. She told Ruth to stay behind, but Ruth said no way: "Don't urge me to leave you … Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay." (See Ruth 1:1-22)

A bad friend looks a lot like …
… Pharaoh's cupbearer, who didn't have a clue about showing appreciation. While in prison with Joseph, the two became friends. Joseph promised the cupbearer that he would soon be freed from prison and given a new chance at life—great news indeed! But when the cupbearer got out of jail, he "did not remember Joseph; he forgot him." (See Genesis 40:1-23)

A good friend looks a lot like …
… Jonathan, who would do anything, even risk his life, for a friend. Jonathan's dad, King Saul, was jealous of David, Jonathan's best bud. When Jonathan heard his dad wanted to kill David, he hatched a plan to save his friend's life. Jonathan modeled the ultimate friendship when he told David, "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it for you." (See 1 Samuel 20:1-42)

A bad friend looks a lot like …
… Ahithophel, who betrayed King David by befriending an enemy who wanted to overthrow the kingdom. Ahithophel was supposedly David's trusted counselor, but he gave lousy advice and spread vicious rumors about the king. He was the kind of "friend" David likely had in mind when he wrote Psalm 35:12-15: "They repay me evil for good. … Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting … I went about mourning as though for my friend. … But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee." (See 2 Samuel 15:12-17:23)

A good friend looks a lot like …
… Paul, who was great at helping friends grow in their faith—not only by encouraging them, but also by being bold enough to tell them when they'd messed up. One side of Paul would say (as he did to his friend Philemon): "Grace to you and peace … Your love has given me great joy and encouragement" (v. 3-7). Another side of Paul told friends when to shape up, but always with grace: "I always thank God for you … I am not writing this to shame you. … It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you. … Flee from sexual immorality … Honor God with your body." (See 1 Corinthians 4:14-6:20)

A bad friend looks a lot like …
… Judas, who often acted like a friend, but put his own self-interests above everything else. He followed Jesus everywhere, yet was often guilty of faking it. Even when Jesus said Judas would betray him, Judas essentially replied, "No way! Not me!" He continued his charade to the moment of betrayal, by giving Jesus a kiss on the cheek, to which Jesus said, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" (See Matthew 26:15-17, 25; Luke 22:47-48)

A good friend looks a lot like …
… Jesus, who was the ultimate friend to everyone. He was compassionate, encouraging, patient, loyal, understanding, loving. The best way to be a good friend is to be like Christ, to "clothe" ourselves with the things of God, as it says in Colossians 3:12-17. That's the ultimate definition of what a good friend looks like.

Fun (and Cheap) Ways to Build Friendships
Here are a few ideas to help your friendships grow!
1. People watch at the airport.

2. Use a sunny afternoon to wash your cars. (If you don't have a car, wash your parents' cars!)

3. Challenge each other to a taste test with various colas (regular and diet Coke, regular and diet Pepsi, generic brands, etc.) The one who guesses the most correctly wins, and whoever burps the loudest gets "special recognition"!

4. Collect all the pictures you have of one another and make a scrapbook.

5. Build something—like a model airplane. Or if you're ambitious, a treehouse for the neighborhood kids.

6. Go apple picking. Or blueberry, or strawberry, or raspberry …

7. Go for a bike ride. When you find a cool spot, in a park or by a lake, stop and have a picnic.

8. Play "Name That Tune." Using a CD player with a time display, see who can name well-known songs the fastest.

9. Spend an evening watching for falling stars.

10. Play a game of basketball—dribble and shoot with the opposite hand you write with.

11. Borrow a video camera and spend the day making your own movie.

12. Cloud watch. The first to find the elephant in the sky wins.

13. Go to a thrift store, buy the goofiest, oldest (and cheapest) clothes you can find and then wear them to your favorite fast-food restaurant.

14. Build a kite from scratch, using stuff you have around the house. If it doesn't fly, at least you'll get a good laugh!

15. Write a short story together, starting with this: "It was a dark and stormy night when sweet Old Maude, innocently crocheting her granddaughter's new sweater, was … " Take turns writing one sentence apiece until the story is finished.

16. Make root beer floats. See who gets the ice-cream headache first.

17. Take turns finishing this sentence: "If I had a million dollars, I would … "

18. Skip rocks on the lake, ocean, swamp, mud puddle—whatever is closest to home.

19. Tell your friends how much you care about them, and tell them often. Tell them they've helped shape who you are today. Then thank God for blessing you with one of his greatest gifts—friendship.

Copyright © 2001 by the author or Christianity Today International/Campus Life magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Campus Life.
September/October 2001, Vol. 60, No. 2, Page 56

My Webpage

Well, I finally got some help fro, so that my .com will direct to my blog. :) Keep in mind my technical capabilities only go so far...heehee!

So now when you type in: it will take you to my photography blog page.

Now, I've got some work to do to my blog to make it look more like a website.

I'm looking for a tech saavy person who would like to create my website/bloggie site navigation pages for me. Let me know if you are interested, comment or direct me to a webpage to what you charge, as well for the services you have to offer.

I'd like something trendy, artistically clean and different. I am into vintage/weathered looks (not the curly cue flowering thing) yet with sepia or black and white tones with splashes of color. This is the direction I'd like to take my photography business.

If anyone is willing to help out with this, let me know.

Blessings! Jenn

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

I hope everyone is enjoying their special day dedicated to recognizing L O V E! :)

We have had a great family day.

This V-day was a little extraordinary. We don't ever exchange gifts on V-day. David and I rarely exchange gifts for b-day or Christmas. We always do for the children only, and at that very sparingly. Valentines is usually home-made cards and special meal together.

For the past 10 + yrs, we have been in some type of financial struggle where either David is out of work, or in the hospital for his thing or another keeps us strapped. Money has always been something they we did not have a lot of. I'm not complaining because sometimes the more money one has, the more headaches one can get from that too! I feel that we have been VERY blessed!

This Valentine's, God truly blessed us with a nice tax return. Usually when we get a return, we pay off bills we have accumulated the yr prior, and then we don't have anything left. This yr, we did not get that much more than usual, but we have been so much wiser with our money than in the past years. We did not have a lot of huge bills. We had 2 credit cards that we paid off, paid some other debts that we needed to pay, gifted a portion of our money received to help others in need.

The difference this time...David splurged and surprised me with jewelry! The man never buys me jewelry!!! I've not had diamonds since our 10 yr anniversary. :)

He got me a beautiful diamond heart necklace. It is so dainty and beautiful...I love it! Then he shopped for the children who gave me matching earrings...they don't have diamonds in them, but the design matches. :) J said each earring represented each one of them.

Also...a BIGGY!!! He bought me a dslr camera!!! I'm STOKED!!! It is an older model. The Canon 10d, with a 50mm f./1.8 mark II lens. He got an AWESOME deal on it at ebay! I never expected to get an slr this soon and I'm so very grateful...

I feel kind of bad because I thought I was splurging on my hubby by getting him season 9 of "Everybody Loves Raymond". His favorite TV show. He wanted to do something special for me for Valentine's Day. I'm totally overwhelmed!

God is good! We are completely debt free, and have been able to give to others in need too. :-D At lunch we prayed together and thanked God for the very many ways He has blessed us this yr and continually.

Please keep J in your prayers. She is doing really well, but last night she nor I got any sleep. She does not have a rash, but had a terrible itch episode with her back last night. The medicine did not help and we went through her crying and screaming all night b/c she could not scratch that area (incision area). I think it is mainly from her back healing internally, around the incision site, and the adhesives possibly from tape..(even tho it is latex free tape!), but her skin is just so sensitive that it drives her crazy! We both cried together and neither one of us slept. So I pray she can get some good rest tonight.

Blessings and love to you all!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thank You for the Sweets!

Our sweet neighbors brought us cupcakes day before yesterday. Thank you and we have enjoyed them so much!!! YUM!!!



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Not For Weak Stomachs...J's Incision Photos!

Man, this first one is waaayyyy out of focus. Too bad... I took them quickly. :)

These were taken 2 days ago. She is healing beautifully!


And after my type A wound dressing capabilities...


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fireproof Flowers

Well, I have to say the movie "Fireproof" has been making a difference in our household. My husband has been helping with dishes even more than he already did...and laundry.

Day before yesterday he brought me these HUGE and BEAUTIFUL Sunflowers! I'm drying them so I can keep them longer. I hope they will dry pretty.


I love my husband. We are not always good at communicating, but he is a wonderful man and I am so blessed to have him in my life. God brought us together.

Song of Solomon 7:10 (New International Version)

10 I belong to my lover,
and his desire is for me.

Stomach Pains

Well, I'll start out with some GOOD news! Jordan slept through the night without getting up ONCE for pain meds. or to pee! :)

However, at 5:30 am, she woke up needing pain meds. Right after giving her the pain pill, she began having an itch attack on her back. (I think it is from her back doing so much healing...or it could even be from the tape adhesives drying her skin out.)

So, I gave her an anti-itch pill. Within 30 mins after that, she felt sick on her stomach. She had stomach pains and nausea. I'm thinking it could be from taking the pills on an empty stomach. Yet, she has done this many times during the night when needing a pain pill or anti-itch pill, and it never made her sick before. Also, I'm not ruling out the dreaded menstrual cramps. The day after Christmas she "started" and hasn't had another since her surgery. could very well be this too.

I finally got her settled downstairs in our chair and 1/2 recliner...with pillows behind her and all around her. It is 7:15ish and she has finally drifted back to sleep, after 2 hrs of going back and forth to the bathroom feeling sick with stomach pains. I'm so glad she is resting now...bless her little heart!

She is really getting around well though, but I have still noticed her breathing to be a little short and choppy at times. I'm looking forward to seeing what the sleep study results will show.

Ut Oh, she is moving and moaning...better go check on her...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Brainpop- Thanks Cindalu

Hey, so my friend Cindy told me about this neat online program called Brainpop. It can be used as online school, home-school, or fun additional work for public schoolers and home-schoolers.

For home-school Math, I tend to like Teaching Textbooks for Math. Right now we are using Singapore Math, but hope to switch over to Teaching Textbooks Math in the near future...when we can afford to!

If I were to choose a full curriculum online, I'd probably go with the Time4learning program. Once we are able to do this financially, I'll probably go with these online programs. The other issue with Teaching Textbooks...All the product except Math5, Math6 and Math7 are MAC-compatible, however if you use Windows on your MAC they can be run on a MAC as well. They are working on grades 5-7 becoming Mac compatible (these are the grades I need though!)

However, I do think Brainpop is cool additional fun for those who prefer other curriculum. There is a bit of cost involved with it too. Compared to other online curriculum, it is very reasonable.

Perhaps someone out there may like using Brainpop full time too. :)


Oh, and if you know of other great and inexpensive online home-school or educational sites, please do share in comments. :) Thanks!

Breathe Steady; Sleep Study

This is how I coached J this morning: Woog, slow down and breath steady...even if you can't take in a deep breath yet...just BREATHE steady and slow. She panics when she cannot get in a deep breath, then she works her way into hyperventilating and crying altogether.

Ever since she had the deflated lower part of her left lung after surgery, if she goes too long laying, she can easily slip back into the shortness of breath mode.

This weekend she wanted to lay a lot, and sleep a lot. I had to make her sit up, and walk. Usually she is telling me that she wants to get up. I think all of the weeks activities that we did...walking, coloring and sitting up more...took a tole on her. She just wanted to rest a lot this weekend, and had more back pain. Yet, it ends up causing her breathing issues to relapse because I let her sleep through times when she needs to be doing breathing exercises.

I told her today that we have to keep up the breathing exercises...even if that means I have to wake her from a nap. Which I had to do because I know she needs her sleep. We just do not want to risk anything with that weaker lung.

We went for a nice walk outside this morning after breakfast. The temperature outside is much warmer and sunnier than it has been. She enjoyed being outside too. We saw our very sweet neighbor and her two young children. We had a short talk with them. She really encouraged J by telling her how wonderful she looked, and how great she is doing with recovery! This gave Woog a smile.

It will be so nice when it really warms up, and we can all get into the swimming pool. I think she will find it so relaxing in the water.

We are entering week three post-op. J's follow up/post-op appointment with the pediatric scoliosis surgeon is on Feb. 17th. That will be next Tues and the 3.5 mark for her.

OH, I don't know if I mentioned this before. While we were in the hospital, (and when the nurses were watching J's oxygen and breathing), J kept having issues where she was holding her breath a lot. This concerned the ICU Dr. (who is actually over the whole Peds unit) He said she is showing strong signs of sleep apnea. Therefore he put us in contact with the sleep study physician, who set her up to have a sleep study on Feb 27th. That is, if she is able to do this with her spine recovery. If she is still on the pain medications, they may want to wait until she is completely off of them.

I'll keep you posted on this too. :)

David and I are also going to set up sleep studies for ourselves. Ever since I was young, I used to hold my breath in my sleep. I remember being at the beach with my friend Leigh Anne and a few other friends, and she told me they had to shake me to wake me up to breathe, because I was not breathing at times and if freaked them out. (Do you remember that Leigh Anne??) Well, I still do this, and that is not a good thing for my heart. David also does this. Plus he snores terribly and holds his breath. So we are going in for sleep studies. :)

Bubb is the healthy horse of our family. ;) Aside from his ADHD, he is doing well, and he does not snore either. heehee!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Healing Takes Time; Hearing from Friends

J is still very slow moving. She is entering her 3rd week post op, and getting a little frustrated because she is still having a considerable amount of back pain.

I keep reminding her of how well she is doing! She is able to go longer amounts without her back pain. (such as not waking in the middle of the night needing it for her next early am dosage)

We did cut her back to 1 pain pill every 6-8 hrs, and she has been able to go longer without taking one. So, even though it seems like her pain is going on and on, it is really improving I believe.

Yesterday some friends from the previous city we lived in came for a visit and to pray for J. They brought her a cardinal bird Webkins, which she is sooo enjoying! She loves how the animated online version actually flies around. :)

She also heard from one of her best friends last week from back home. This really cheered her up to receive an email from her.

Hope you are all having a beautiful Sunday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cutting Back

Well, today (Fri) we completed the two weeks post op milestone for J!

She is getting around very well, and using the walker less. She still uses it for outside walks due to feeling a little nervous that she might trip or stumble. We also use the gait belt for going up and down the stairs. She is pretty much walking freely upstairs, and is just doing the actual climbing up and down the stairs where she still needs assistance.

I can hardly believe how well she is doing! Thank you Lord!

Yet, she is still having pain...Especially in her shoulder blades. Which is to be expected after such a major surgery.

Last week we had to increase her pain meds to 2 pills every 6 hrs, instead of 1. The 1 pill wasn't cutting the pain. So, after increasing to the 2, she was able to relax better. I think this has helped her heal better too. That, and taking frequent short walks, and sitting up 30-45 mins at a time. I was having her sit up a little too long before, and I think that was putting too much strain on her back. So, we cut back the sitting up time by about 15-20 mins, and added more short walks instead.

She does sit up at the dining table with us for at least two meals of the day, and to do creative things such as color or write notes. Since she is sitting up for 30 mins at a time, we are going to try some school next week and see how it goes. The up and down for lessons will be good for her too...will have her moving more. I'll keep lessons short...15-30 mins at a time, and some breaks in between for her to rest. I think this should work.

I'm still not comfortable leaving her for any amount of time. She still needs my assistance for using the bathroom, and we are still using the chairside commode (it also goes over a regular commode but has handles to help her lower herself, and it is a little higher sitting area too)

Yesterday it seems she was going longer before needing her meds. Therefore I cut her back to 1 pill every 6 to 8 hrs as needed. She is still complaining of pain and I pray that one day she will wake up and her pain will be so minimal or completely GONE! That would be such a blessing because I hate seeing her in pain. She never complains much unless it is getting really unbearable.

We've been watching movies together during her recovery and having a lot of mother/daughter time. Yesterday we watched the movie Fireproof. It was really good, and hope that David and I will be able to watch it together tomorrow afternoon. :) If you haven't already seen it, I recommend it!

Bubb and Woog before her seeing these smiles!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blind Without Him


Isaiah 42:16-17 (New International Version)

The word of the Lord says:
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

17 But those who trust in idols, who say to images, 'You are our gods,' will be turned back in utter shame.

J Got Mail; Time to Share Again...

Today J got lots of mail. Five cards and four of them were forwards from the hospital address.

One very special card came from my brother, his wife and their little girl. This card brought a smile to both Woog and Bubb!



The brother isn't all that excited that Woog is up and about...this means his computer time is getting cut out. ;)

Brother patiently waiting on computer time...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our Days

Here is what our typical day at home has been like so far.

11 pm night before...up for a pain pill and to roll J. Do breathing exercises.

4 am- j gets up feeling uncomfortable. Her pain meds usually beginning to wear off so I talk her through the next hour, roll her into a more comfortable position. We do breathing exercises.

5:15 am- j wakes up hurting and sometimes needs to use the bathroom either now or at the 4 am awakening. If so, I spot her to sitting up, and she uses the chairside commode (I put it in the bedroom at night since she is sleepy and on pain meds...she won't have to walk as far in the middle of the night until she gets stronger) Then I dump the bucket and clean it thoroughly. I wash my hands (as I do hundreds of times a day) I give her next dose of pain meds with water I have by the bedside. Breathing exercises

7:30 am - I get up and see David off. Do a little blogging and catching up on emails. Throw a load of laundry in and fold a load. Do breathing exercises with J.

8 or 9- J gets up needing to pee. It is a slow process getting her rolled and sitting up. She is usually afraid of the pain after getting up once in the night her shoulders hurt. So while she is laying on the side of bed getting mustering up the courage, I take the chairside commode back into the bathroom and set it up. Then I spot her up and walk her to potty. We do breathing exercises.

9:30 ish We walk around the upstairs. She checks out her room. She sits on potty while she decides if she wants to do breakfast first or shower first. Today it was shower. So....I get her towels and gown together for a shower while she is on the bedside commode (seat down of course).

9:45-10:15 - Shower and redressing wound. It takes 4 towels and one washcloth. I keep everything we use washed every day. One towel for hair, one to go around back/shoulders when she gets out of shower, one towel to put over the chairside commode for her to sit in while I dry her hair, and one towel I use to dry her with. Whew! I have her stand holding a rail while I remove her incision dressing/bandage. I help her into the shower, wash her from head to toe. Afterwards I cover her hair, and wrap a warm towel around her shoulders. Then she steps out and I dry from waist down. She then sits on a towel covered chairside commode for me to finish drying her upper body and hair. I put on her bottoms and walk her to the bedroom with a towel around her top half. She sits on the side of the bed, and I put a gown over her head and arms in, but keep the backside up to redress her wound. She lays down and does one log roll to the left so i can get to her backside. I spend a good amount of time re-dressing her wound. First I use an adhesive removing pad to get all of the previous sticky off. Then rub around the outer edge of the incision with alcohol pads to clean lightly. I carefully redress her and use surgical pads and paper tape. I rub her down with baby lotion to keep her skin from getting dry and itchy. (which for those who have asked and sry I haven't gotten back to you...her rash is completely gone! YAY!!!) I log roll her back and forth to get her gown back down and tuck pillows everywhere she needs them...cover to fix breakfast.

By this time I have a stack of dirty cloths at the top of stairs of wet towels, her old gown, and brothers's dirty cloths from yesterday. I wake Bubb and ask him what he wants for breakfast. Today we all agreed on bagels with butter, vanilla yogurt, orange juice and milk. I carry down all cups we used the night before, and laundry. I switch out the laundry and put another load in. I quickly fold the load from the switch out.

I toast the bagels, pour the juice and make the choc milk for Josh. I recruit Josh to help me carry everything upstairs. I get the chairside commode (it is the only thing she is comfortable sitting in b/c it has arms) I cover it with a clean towel and lay down a towel underneath. Set up a tv tray for her. I set up a folding chair and table for Josh to eat with her. I stand to eat b/c it just feels better! :)

10:45 After breakfast it is about time for her meds again at 11:15 am. We walk some more and she explores a bit in her bedroom and around the upstairs. We do breathing exercises! ;)

11:15 While she is sitting up, I give her pain pills and then we brush her teeth. I help her back into bed (she can only sit upright 30-45 mins at a time). She turns on Ellen while she drifts in and out of a nap. During this time I am cleaning up breakfast and folding laundry. Brother spends time with J. as I clean. I put chairside commode back into the bathroom.

12 - David comes home for lunch. He eats lunch and we talk a bit. I put on a pot roast in the crock pot. Then we all go upstairs to be with J until daddy goes back to work. Sometimes J is up during this time and wants to walk a bit downstairs. If so, I carry down the chairside commode, or if dad is here I ask him to carry it down for me. This morning she did not walk down the stairs until after Daddy left. So I had to carry the chairside commode down, then go back upstairs to put on her gait belt and walk her down the stairs.

1 - Woog and Bubb are hungry for lunch. I get J set up at the dinner table. The barstools are perfect for her to sit in b/c they are high and she doesn't have to squat so far down to sit. I fix lunch for us all, and Bubb helps me pass out the food and drinks. J talks about wanting to work on thank you notes. So after lunch I sit her up in the recliner chair with lots of pillows. Bubb and I color together in a Wall-E coloring book while J works on writing, and we all listen to a book on tape together. (I made the decision after J has a few bad days these past days to just take it easy on us all this week and go ahead and take our 3 weeks off that we normally take in the spring. We homeschool yr round.) I did do some school with Bubb on Monday. We are going to start back on the 16th and by then J should be MUCH better! Breathing exercises!

3- J's back is hurting from sitting a little too long. So we do some walking downstairs (it was raining/cold today so no walking outside), I get her fresh ice water. Bubb carries the water up while I assist J up the stairs. Breathing exercises, I lay her down, get her settled, and currently I am blogging this! :)

4-5 Today I'll put in the potatoes. Fold 2 more loads of laundry, then lay with J for about 15 mins rub her head and/or take her to potty if needed. Then Dad is home!

5:15 - Pain Meds for Woog and more water or white grape juice. Breathing exercises

5:30 - Dad tells us about his day, and we talk about when we will eat dinner. Tonight he and Bubb are going out after dinner together for father/son time ride in the car to pick up a movie at Blockbuster.

6ish- We get J up for more short walking and for dinner. If she does not feel like walking down the stairs again, I set her dinner tray up in our room upstairs. Josh wants to eat with her I set him up a tray. (Sometimes she can do the stairs twice a day, and sometimes not. We have 15 flight...and she really is doing them 1 wk earlier than they thought she could. So I don't push her.) After she eats, we walk to the bathroom and she brushes her teeth.

7:30ish J is ready to lay down again. But first...yep...breathing exercises!

9- J usually has to potty. We get her up for a short walk and to sit up for 30mins or so. We do the breathing thing!

9:3-10 She is tucked into bad and watching a movie or something on TV. Tonight it will be American Idol, so she will be in bed by 8 PM for this! And she will get up inbetween for a potty break at 9 pm.

We don't get to sleep until about 11:15, after her next dose of pain meds. By then her shoulder blades and back are hurting terribly! She describes her should blades as feeling like they are burning through her skin. She cries, and I cry with her and keep pushing her to not give up. Each day it gets a little better. We do breathing at this time too! And the cycle continues...

Every hour-2 hours we do the breathing exercises. :) In between these times I work in one on one time with Bubb.

That is the day in the life of J and co. for this week. ;)

Just Me and My Thoughts

Today it is cold and raining outside. Blah. I guess we need the rain though.

I am glad we got two walks in outside with J yesterday. It was so sunny and warm here. David had taken her during the lunch hour, and I took her later in the afternoon about 4:30PM. We won't be able to go out in this cold mess today.

Ok, just a little of me sharing my feelings today.

I've not had a fibromyalgia "flare" in quite some time. The last few days my body has been in a lot of pain though. I don't complain about it, but at one point I had to make it clear to husband. I've been doing most of the lifting of J, bed pan round the clock(even in the hospital), shifting and moving of her, bathing/showering her...feeding her. She is much better at helping push up, and getting stronger. Yet, I still have to do this with her as a spotter because she has had set backs with severe pain in her shoulder blades, as well as her back. It is my pleasure to do it all, and I LOVE being her nurse, but it is beginning to take a tole on my body with this fibromyalgia and osteo-arthritis.

It frustrates me so much because in my younger yrs, I was a like a work horse that couldn't be kept down. I could do physical labor, work at all hours, and keep going like that battery bunny...on and on.

In the past 8-10 yrs, at times I am like a cripple and it is so frustrating to a type A personality like me. God has taught me a whole lot through it though...about relying completely on HIM...taking ridicule, like HE did...

I'm in no way comparing myself to Jesus, yet I have been able to somewhat identify with a portion of what He must have felt at times to be in so much pain, and no one understanding or really caring....or even being the brunt of joking during His pain (and by His own people too).

David walking J yesterday was the one thing I asked him to specifically do that was more "physical". He has helped me at times carrying items up and down the stairs, such as the chairside commode (It goes over he toilet seats to add height and it has rails for her too-we have a bathroom upstairs and it comes up and down along with all of her pillows and needful items)...bringing things up the stairs for us...helping get meals...helping with laundry. He has been a big help overall. It is just the lifting and physical stuff getting to my body. I'm doing all of this the 8 hrs he is not with us. Now that I am home, I am doing more of these things, and also still the physical stuff with J.

Whenever I ask him to help her up and down the stairs, or in and out of bed, he says..."she only wants you to do it". And I understand that, but I've got to have some physical relief! Also, I still have not caught up from not sleeping the whole week at the hospital.

Things like taking J to the bathroom and showering her is one thing that I know she would rather only I do, but those are really the only things. Even if he helped me with sitting her up on the bed, and walking her up and down the stairs, that would help. I am going to talk with him tonight...with J, and help her understand that I love doing this for her, but daddy has got to help us too.

This morning I am in a lot of skeletal/muscular/joint pain. I've done so well with my fibromyalgia, that people forget. I totally believe God has healed me, but I do have symptoms that occasionally arise. My ribcage hurts... in between my ribs when I breathe, and have overall flu like body pain going on right now.

I've got to be extra careful of my body mechanics because I have an injury from childhood that has caused my neck/cervical to have major issues. If it goes out, I'm in big trouble and will be back in Physical Therapy, or possibly spinal fusion surgery myself.

After our son was born back in 1998, (and after a few months of carrying around that cute hunk of love on my hip) I turned to get out of bed one morning, and something popped in my neck and I saw a flash of light in my eyes. I couldn't move. David had to pull me out of bed screaming.

It was then, that I went to two different spine specialists. The first told me that I needed fusion in my C4-C5 area of the spine. He said the ligament holding my vertebrae was severely stretched... looking like I had been hit by an 85 mile and hour vehicle...head on! OR that I toppled head over foot...55 mph down the side of a ski slope. He said it was a very old injury from when I was very young and told me what he believed to have caused it. I opted for a second opinion...

After going to the second spine specialist, he confirmed everything the first said, but he said we could try physical therapy, and do a breast reduction to alleviate added weight pulling on my cervical. He believed this would work for awhile. Therefore, I opted for that. Most ladies would think that crazy, because most women are looking for bigger boobs. I was a 42 EE, so I had plenty to lose! I was looking for PAIN-FREE. :)

First, I went through 6 mons of intense physical therapy. All of which I did without the spinal cortisone pain shots. When I had children, I had so much trouble with my epidural, that I decided I would avoid anything going into my spine if at all possible. I'd literally pass out on the table while the therapist would work on my spine.

The PT did help, then I had the surgery in Dec of '98, and it helped additionally. The spine specialist said that eventually my spine would deteriorate to the point where fusion would be the only option.

Even to this day, one vertebrae is out of line and taps my spinal cord. The specialist told me this is why I have a sense of missing steps when I walk down stairs, or stumble a lot like I am a drunk. I have to be extra careful with J on the stairs so that I don't lose my footing while assisting her.

So, as I am caring for J, this is all on my mind too. She and I are both practicing good body mechanics together. I am always reminding myself of this, because right now would NOT be the time for my back to go out.

David may have to kick in with this heavier assisting, whether J likes it or not because if momma is down, things are not going to go well. You know?

I know all of this is NOT cancer that J and I are dealing with. And it could all be so much worse. Yet we are in pain and have our struggles...each in different ways. If someone hasn't been through these things, then they have no idea. Even so, every person is different and we should not judge, but have compassion for one another, not dismiss others struggles. I'm preaching to myself here too!

Each person's pain on this earth is real to them....whether physical or emotional, and thankfully our loving God is concerned about every part of our lives. He doesn't ever say to his children, "suck it up and stop that crying". I believe He lays beside us lovingly and cries with us...He shares that way in all of our joy, sorrows and pains. And it is OK to go through even LONG seasons of sorrow. Sorrow and pain always draw me nearer to the Lord:

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 (New International Version)

2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.

These verses bring me comfort today, may they comfort all who read it:

Lamentations 3:31-33 (New International Version)
31 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

2 Corinthians 1:2-4 (New International Version)
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

I am looking forward to this day:

Revelation 21:3-5 (New International Version)

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and and true."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pain Management

We're learning lessons in pain management...trying to take it slow, work through the pain, and realize that this is going to take some time. We forget how well she is doing, and that it is only a little over 1 wk post op, and she is doing things like climbing stairs. She's entitled to a few hard days...but sometimes she is a little hard on herself, or gets frustrated that she cannot do what regular kids are doing. So, we are teaching her to work through the pain.

Last night and this morning was rough on the woogie. She had a lot of pain that the meds weren't cutting. She said her shoulder blades feel like they are ripping through her skin. Her left shoulder blade felt like it was burning inside. She had trouble breathing this morning...short and choppy and couldn't take in a good breath. So it scared her, and she panicked...could not stop crying. I had to give her tough love, and it was hard to snap her out of it. I had to be loving and firm at the same time, and she was able to get a grip on her pain. After some relaxation techniques, almost forcing her through the breathing exercises, we made it through her shower and breakfast. Then she walked some in the upstairs area, and then rested.

Afterwards she was much better and after lunch her daddy took her for a short walk outside. Walking with him is like walking a race...he forgets to slow his pace for her. It probably wasn't a good idea, but she was looking forward to some time with daddy during his lunch break, and we thought a short walk would be nice for them to do together.

The bubbster wanted to trail along. At one point he reminded Dad to slow down. Dad was tending to rush her walk b/c he was doing this on his lunch hour (like I said, we'll rethink that for next time and not do this on his lunch hour).

She walked up and back the sidewalk in front of our apartment. Then sat up in a chair for 30-45 mins.

She and Bubb watched a movie together, and now it is about time for me to get her up for another short walk. Tomorrow if she is feeling up to it, we are going to do school together. I allowed Josh to take a day off because he is sick with a sinus thing going on, and toothache from a loose tooth. Also, he is very tired from his busy week last week and traveling back. The weekend kept us pretty busy as well, but it was a nice visit from our family. We enjoyed every minute, but now time to get back into our normal routine.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Progressing; They Left Today

J is doing quite well. She does tire easily. Each day she gets up, I shower her, give her breakfast, and we walk down the stairs to the living room. She can sit up in a chair for 1-2 hrs at a time. Then she wants to recline or go back upstairs to rest and nap. She takes about a 2 hr nap between breakfast and lunch. Then she will awake and have lunch. Then we walk around the downstairs apartment together. I have a gait belt that I use with her to guide her and for (just in case) she loses balance. She is using the walker some, but mostly to hold herself up when I am getting her chair ready. Then she sometimes will nap again in the afternoon.

After dinner, she likes to sit up and watch a little TV with dad, and then usually by 6 or 7 she wants to go back upstairs and lay down. By then her back is hurting from sitting up so long. So I position her in bed with lots of pillows, and I shift her every hour or two. During these times she and I have been watching movies together until about midnight.

Here are a few pics from sitting up at the table at lunch! She couldn't stay there long, but it was good to see her at the table...

J enjoying a drink, and sitting up tall at our dinner table...first time since her surgery that she has sat up at a table

My niece, and my J...DO YOU SEE MY GIRL SITTING UP AT THE TABLE??? Wooohooooooo! She was able to sit there only for a short time to have her drink, but it was so good to see her at the table...

She is really so worn out from the week long hospital stay. We have only been home for 3 days, and I realize it will take she and I both time to catch up from our hospital time schedule. Also, it was recommended that she do the stairs AFTER 1 wk of being home...but she is determined to do them daily. We take it slow and I've learned how far is to far for her. She tends to really push herself, and right now she does need a lot of rest too.

Every hour or couple of hours we do breathing exercises to keep her lungs clear. She has two different devices that she does this with. One is for sucking breath in, and the other is for forcing air out of her lungs.

Well, my sister in law, niece and nephew left today. :( We are soooo sad and wish they could have stayed longer. J really enjoyed having her KK here with her. They are two peas in a pod.

Hopefully they will be back again soon!

Here is a funny photo of my niece and I being quite silly...

OK...You know the drill...WARNING! - Below are photos of J's incision for showing the healing progress. If you don't want to see them, don't scroll down. :)

Her incision is still healing nicely. Here are photos from yesterday's (Sat) dressing change. We didn't get one today, but I'll take one tomorrow. I thought every other day is good to see the healing progress.

J's upper back incision- Day Eight

J's lower back incision - Day Eight