Friday, January 12, 2018

Scrappin' Christmas

I'm not ditching the holiday, I'm back to scrapbooking and oh does it feel so good. Many years ago I decided to do a book of our annual Christmas cards and letters. I sort of scrapped 2000 and 2001. They were both ugly to say the least. Since then I just stuck the card and letter in the book. My plan was to get back to it when I had time. Apparently last night was when I finally had time. I creatively documented 11 years of our family cards and letters. It's not surprising but certainly is disappointing that I am missing several years of cards. So if you happen to be a person who keeps Christmas cards and would like to scan my old cards/letters from 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 I would love to have a copy. In the meantime I have a couple places to dig through.

People like FlyLady warn again the dangers of keeping junk, so many of us suffer from some form of hoarding.  However, I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am to have these pictures and letters from the past. The quotes we included both make me laugh and cry. 

The practice of sending out cards and letters is slowly going away. Chris would love for me to email the letter, I just can't! Life BC (before children) is not typically highlighted in year end letters. Oh how I would love to reminisce about what 23 year old Chris and Melanie thought and did BC. 

Too often I compare our family to others, we just never seem to measure up. Darn social media! What I realized while lovingly pouring over these pictures is that our family has a rich history. I love what Chris and I have created over the years. In a blink of an eye we have gone from one baby girl to three phenomenal daughters who are on the verge of becoming adults. For sure we have a blessed life. And just like the title of my blog...it all happens so fast.

Below are some pictures of the simple scrap projects I did last night. It felt so good to use up some unfavorable supplies. I like the way it turned out. Nothing is overly decorated, after all the picture and letter are the important aspects.



I know...ugly but paper from early 2000's


this page isn't really done

again, kind of ugly but happy I used
up a bunch of old supplies






Sunday, January 7, 2018

Slique Challenge

Working out has always been something I love to do but for some reason over the last 19 years I have found reasons to not workout. It's the girls, the laundry, time constraints, pure exhaustion, family activities, surgery or whatever else popped up. I guess I forgot that it's of the utmost importance to take care of myself so I can take care of my family. Over the years I have slowly gained...well let's just say a lot of weight. The final blow was injuring my hamstring in July, surgery, 6 weeks on the couch and then a slow recovery. In December I started PT and walking on the treadmill but by the end of 2018 I want to say I have completed a half marathon. This is going to take a tremendous amount of work but who doesn't love a challenge?

This "condition" didn't happen over night or even over a couple of months so recovery will take many months as well. Competition drives me so I joined the Slique Challenge. This is a weight loss challenge and as much as I would love to win the grand prize 60 or 120 days from now I also will be a winner if I drop several pounds and re-enter the active life I use to have. My first goal is to shed 20 pounds.

I wasn't going to tell anyone about this challenge. To be honest, I'm afraid of failure and more afraid of anyone knowing about my failure. What a defeatist attitude! As soon as I click on "PUBLISH" to this post, it's out in the light for everyone to know, and I believe that is the first step towards success.

Instead of using my kids as an excuse I am using them as a reason! 

I took measurements and a horrifying picture of myself. One of the worst days of my life. UGH! When they say the truth sets you free, I literally almost ran away. The truth of that image and those numbers were staggering. Instead of posting that sports bra and shorts pic I am posting the picture that serves as my short term inspiration. The picture on the left is from May 2017 at Emma's graduation. The picture on the right is from November 2017. The face says it all!


Here's to Health in 2018!
This body is the temple of Christ and it's time to treat it as such!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Best Christmas Gift of 2017


Over the Christmas break our family had the wonderful opportunity to spend a morning with Dad. This February will mark the two year anniversary of Dad moving into the senior care center. It was most definitely a needed move but hard on all of us.
-Mom promised she would never put dad in such a facility but she also didn't know what life would be like as his health continued to decline. Being a caregiver is exhausting in every part of life. For mom's health, she needed this help.
-For the at least the first year, every time mom saw dad he asked her to take him home. These were the times I started to see mom really break. It was hard for her to say she couldn't take him home. Dad's hallucinations and confusion grew making it impossible for him to live at home. However, there were (and still are) times that dad thinks clearly. Knowing you are losing your ability to care for yourself must be tragic.
-For me, I felt like dad should have been moved into a nursing home months before mom finally caved to the facts. However, it was also so hard to see dad make that permanent transition. With the exception of this week's visit, every time I see dad he has declined from the previous visit. I miss dad so much!

Back to the blessing of seeing dad this week. The girls didn't love leaving the house at 6:45am, they usually have another 3 hours of slumber. However, the early departure allowed us to get to dad's place by 9:30am and have two quality hours together. I was pleasantly surprised to see dad wide awake watching Andy Griffith Show. And then came several beautiful moments, first dad knew me and knew the girls were his granddaughters and second during our conversation he laughed several times. Seeing his genuine smile was heartwarming. Most of our conversation was confusing but moments made sense. At one point Dad even asked me if I needed some money. So sweet!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Road to Recovery

Reagan is ten weeks PI (post injury) and six weeks PO (post operation) Already she is hitting benchmarks that remind us "she is going to get there!" From the beginning I told Reagan we weren't going to focus on what she can't do or how long it was going to take to get back on the pitch. Rather we would take a look at the next goal and look back at how far she had come in one week, two weeks, etc. It's been a great plan, so far. 

I love lists and spreadsheets. I haven't made a spreadsheet or line graph (yet) but it is very encouraging to look back at what Reagan has accomplished thus far.
MRI before surgery 10/18

Getting around before
surgery. 10/17

3 days PO 11/17
BENCHMARKS
1. 1st Doc appointment and MRI (Oct 18)
2. Rehab to heal MCL and regain ROM for surgery
3. Surgery (Nov 14) This was a big one...she got sick 4 days before surgery and there was a strong chance that surgery would be post-poned. I loaded her up on several essential oils and surgery safe supplements all day long. Her body fought it well enough to go under.
4. Start Physical Therapy (Nov 17)
5. Pooping...no one wants to talk about it but anyone on painkillers KNOWS this is an issue!
6. Off Pain Meds
7. Back to school (Nov 27) and back to soccer practice.
8. Two week PO appointment (Nov 28)
9. No Crutches (Dec 11)
10. 6 week doctor appoint (Dec 27) = no brace and start driving

I hope I can get the video below to work. For 2 weeks I dropped Reagan off at PT for her hour long visit. A couple weeks I stayed to watch her progress. The emotions caught me off-guard. Seeing Reagan walk, march and ride the bike without crutches, a brace or even the ace bandage was overwhelming. Reagan is doing so well and even though there's so much she is waiting to do, she can be very proud of her accomplishments in such a short time. Then two days later at PT again she was kicking a soccer ball. Claire, her therapist understands the psychological side of this injury, touching the ball is critical!



Dr Arnold explained today that the next six weeks can be difficult. To this point she has had very visible benchmarks but weeks 6-12 PO are all about strengthening which happens gradually without much fanfare. It's also a time when athletes such as Reagan begin to think, "I feel good, I can do that." WRONG!!! No you can't! Use caution! Think about the future not the immediate limitations! These are difficult things for a 16 year old to do but Reagan is up for the challenge.

On a personal note, Reagan and I attend physical therapy together from time to time. Our injuries are completely different, our bodies are completely different but we are both extremely competitive. Claire (PT) put us both on little wheeled chairs to scoot across the floor. First thing she says, "THIS IS NOT A RACE!" To that Reagan exclaimed, "OH YES THIS IS A RACE!" Ha She makes me laugh. Only because I have to enjoy it while I can... I won! :) My leg hurt later that night but that's ok, it's been many years since I have been able to beat Reagan at anything physically.

All joking aside, I am so proud of Reagan's hard work and determination to return better than ever. There's something to be said for a warrior who can fight the battle on the field but also the one that rages within. You've got this kid! Keep working hard and reach your dreams.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Happy Birthday Livie

What happened? Wasn't this sweet girl a funny little toddler yesterday? We couldn't be prouder of who she is becoming. Smart . Funny . Musical . Jesus Lover . Emotional . Positive . Ranch Eater  No matter how many birthdays she has, Liv will always be my baby. 

These two girls met in 2007, pretty sure Kayla was still in diapers. They have been BFFs since day one and other than silly little disagreements over toys when they were little I don't think there has been a fight. They have helped each other celebrate every birthday for the last ten years. When we moved just 3 miles away the girls were devastated. Fast forward three years, we live in the same neighborhood again. Life is good! 

 This is what you get when you ask four middle school girls to pose for a picture.

Cherry Brownies and Sparkler candles

Escape rooms are a pretty big deal right now but since I haven't been to one I couldn't in good conscience send a group of young girls in without an adult so we created our own. Chris did an amazing job buying locks and creating a Star Wars themed escape room. The girls had a blast! There was a series of riddles and challenges they had to solve to unlock and open each box. It was so cool to listen to them collaborate and problem solve. I love thinkers! I love smart girls!

Now praying that the movie puts them to sleep...

Happy Birthday Olivia Joy! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gathering Addresses

Tis the season to make lists, gather addresses and plan holiday fun. Tonight as I prepared to pour over my Christmas card spreadsheet I began to panic. My old computer is basically dead and that is where I kept my spreadsheet. You see I like lists and I love spreadsheets. Years ago I began keeping data on who I sent cards to and who sent them back. To be honest, it's a means to cut down my outgoing cards. Not that I want to be a scrooge but the list keeps growing and growing. I try to keep my outgoing cards to 100, it's a challenge. I don't received that many cards, I guess people are too busy to make the time for this age old custom. Or maybe their husbands have convinced them to email cards. My darling hubby has suggested such a deal...oh that's not happening!

So I ask, how do you weaned down the list? There are people like my friend Susan who hasn't sent me a card in 8 years but will always get one from me even though she knows every details of the past year. She's just my person! But then there's Jenny who always sends a card but we haven't talked to each other for 14 years. Do I still send her a card? What about people from the kids' activities that I see weekly but we aren't friends? Do I send them a card just to be merry and jolly but truth be told I either don't really know them or don't care for them? And then what's the rule with co-workers? You say I'm over thinking this...absolutely! It's important (to me) to do the right thing.

So I have made a list, on my new computer. Currently I have 82 to mail, 28 to hand out and 15 to email. I need to cut at least 10 or move them to the email column. You know, I may have forgotten some recipients thus creating a cushion is a good idea. Oh my gosh, thank goodness I don't have a job that requires me to be gone from home for 9 hours a day. How on earth would I get all this accomplished?

Next on my list...
Finish Christmas shopping
Wrap gifts
Make a second batch of peppernuts
Clean out something, this house is so cluttered.

I hope your Christmas season to-do list is short and manageable. Whatever doesn't get done will only be noticed by you. Christ is still King whether we mail cards, wrap gifts or volunteer to ring the Salvation Army bells.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I found this post hidden in my drafts, started the week Reagan was injured. It is just the ramblings of a mom hurting for her child.
**********************
Tonight I am dragging. I want to cry but need to keep my composure. It almost feels like throwing a tantrum would ease some of what is building inside of me. Life isn't fair and this is no big surprise but why? 
I am mad. 
I am sad. 
I am fearful. 
I am plagued with concern. 
I turn to God. 
I trust God.
It's just a torn ACL I tell myself. Something that is corrected everyday in this country. Something that athletes recover from every year. But it's not JUST A TORN ACL, it's so much more. 

It seemed that Reagan was on the fast track to a college scholarship to play soccer at a D1 school in a power 5 conference. And from there her goals include the national team and playing professional soccer one day. Lofty goals for a 16 year old but it's actually been her plan since she was 7 years old. Now we don't know if there will be athletic money for Reagan. College coaches are pulling away from her.

Reagan isn't completely defined by soccer but it is a key ingredient. Taking soccer away from Reagan for the next 9 months is heart wrenching to watch. Soccer isn't just an activity for our daughter. It's her workout . stress reliever . fun . endorphin producer . friends . challenge . vacations and sometimes her identity. Reagan is a sister, daughter, friend, student, leader, christian, goof-ball, introvert, thinker and button pusher but without soccer there is a hole. It's that hole that makes a mama's heart ache. 

Reagan had surgery on November 14th and started physical therapy 3 days later. She has had good days and hard days...there are more of both yet to come. I have never seen a girl with such a desire and drive to overcome. We are proud of you Reags. Keep working hard and trusting that God has a great plan for your life. 
The Injury 10.14.17

The Surgery 11.14.17


The Road to Recovery 11.15.17

Give Thanks with A Grateful Heart

Each November I create some kind of gratitude list. This year my plan was to post on instangram an unplanned picture each day that represented something of my everyday life that I'm thankful for. Honestly, I was not as consistent as I hoped to be. The thing is I began to recognize the most simplistic items and events of my day that I am truly thankful for. Being happy and grateful is a decision. A decision to recognize my blessings rather than focus on my wants and needs.

Every thanksgiving day we hang out with my husband's family in Omaha. Many years my parents have joined us but with dad in the nursing home and mom in Texas, it wasn't possible to have them with us. All too often I hear people complain about family. We look forward to spending holidays with our family especially at Thanksgiving. This year I experienced a first. Once Emma came home from college I felt completely content. We still did the big gathering but I could have been just as happy having my family of five around me for the day.

Sixty degrees and Thankful!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Veterans and Chris

Happy Veteran's Day
and
Happy Birthday to My Guy

I love you Babe!
Today I wish a very happy birthday to the father of my children and love of my life. This handsome hubby got a little cheated today as we have one sick and one almost getting sick kiddo at home. Our plans were to eat out, go to the Curling Olympic Trials and the movie Thor. Instead we ate out twice and came home for some R&R.

Every year Chris picks a new hamburger joint for the family birthday celebration. This year we went to Louie M's in east Omaha, not an area we frequent. This establishment has been around for 37 years. It's a real family business, owner Lou and his 2 adult sons were there, father and son cooks were in the kitchen, a family combo works there and their head waitress has been working at Louie M's for 25 years. Sounds like a great business. I loved the history of the place. My hamburger was good but it didn't compare with Stella's in Bellevue.
Louie M's Burger Lust
This picture just isn't quite right. Again, it's odd to celebrate without Emma. Being the sweet daughter that she is, both Chris and I got to facetime Em tonight. I cherish hearing about her week. Her exciting news was learning to shoot a shot gun. Never a dull moment!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Move This Mountain



This past year our family has had an unusual amount of challenging issues and I can't help but wonder why. Typically when I ask God "why are we dealing with x, y, z?" I am really complaining about my discomfort and looking for answers that will soothe me. What if it's not about me? While it is probable that God has something to teach me, it may also be about someone else. 

If God has brought me to it, He's going to help me through it! 

Today I choose joy! I will face each challenge with the wisdom that God loves me and has great plans for me. I can be an inspiration to others and a light to the world when I focus on God as my strength. 







Sunday, November 5, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Fall in Nebraska can be fantastic or ridiculously cold. Handing out candy to cute little kids coming to my door bundled up battling the snow on halloween just doesn't seem right. My little kiddos had their own Halloween fun. Olivia trick or treated with her BFF Makayla. Reagan had her squad over for dinner, pictures and laughs. While Emma hung out in her dorm room watching Netflix.
Reagan's Squad
Stephen Curry . The Purge Scary girl . Lifeguard . Pig in A Blanket
The Purge Scary guy . Sister Grace . Chill Dude (whatever that is)

Olivia
A Box of Nerds

Saturday, October 21, 2017

In A Blink of An Eye

...so much can change.

Last Saturday Reagan was bouncing off the walls with excitement to return to the sport she so dearly loves to play. It had been a grueling 17 days since she had done full contact, all out soccer and she was about to play a league game in her hometown for the first time in years. Reagan was strong and ready to face the St Louis Scott Gallagher-IL ECNL team. Three minutes in to the game, as she won the ball back from a SLSG defender, a small collision landed Reagan on her right knee. I could hear the scream all the way across the field in the stands and then the sobs of pain as she rolled on the turf. There was no doubt in my mind, her knee was in bad shape. Chris and I sat there in fear, watching her dreams get challenged and her heart break. At that very instant I began to talk to God. I know He wouldn't give her this kind of talent, passion and drive just to let it end right there. So we begin a journey of self discovery, faith and a lot of hard work.

SIDE NOTE: her team went on to win the game 1-0 in a very physical nasty game.
Coach Marcus carries Reagan off the field

My baby on the far left watching her team play
Physical Therapist  ✅
Sports Orthopedist Knee Specialist ✅
Chiropractor  ✅
MRI ✅

The results are in. Reagan has a torn ACL, sprained MCL, torn meniscus and bone bruise on the femur and tibia. To me that says it was a contact injury which is a good thing, less chance for re-tear because it wasn't due to her mechanics or anatomical make-up. The other good thing is without a torn MCL she can probably still have a hamstring graft and not have to wait as long for surgery. She has quite a bit of swelling and pain right now. Hopefully she will be walking and pain free by the time of surgery. We see the surgeon again on Nov 3rd. In the meantime, Reagan is working on getting her leg completely straight and a full range of motion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Minnesota and Missouri Visits

What a ride our girl is experiencing!
Our speedy blonde wears #8 on the field but will always be our #1 soccer player. She loves to pop the ball over the head of her defender, zip around and drive to the goal. As college coaches caught a glimpse of her in the fall of her freshman year, recruiting calls began to trickle in. Now that she has been to several NCAA Division 1 college campuses she is starting to make a dos and don'ts wish list. Something along the line of sports medicine is starting to emerge as a possible course of study but mostly she is concerned with which coach can help her reach her soccer goals of playing beyond college, into the pros. Even though Reagan has always been a kid who takes in a lot of information without saying much, I don't know if at 16 years old she can look at a campus, three coaches and a brochure and feel confident in making a decision about the next 7 years of her life. I guess that's what  mom and dad are here for, to guide, advise, encourage and support her. As many coaches will tell her, it's important for her to remember soccer is a means to college and her education will be a means to a career...one day soccer will end. I like this advice from a former college player and coach.
Would you come to this university if you didn't make the soccer team? If the answer is no, don't go to that university. If you would go to the university even if you didn't make the team, this could be the right university for you. Enjoy this time, investigate and prepare yourself to make the right decision. It will be one of the biggest decisions of your life.
Coach Schellas Hyndman, FC Dallas Head Coach

This fall Reagan has had the privilege to visit two fantastic college campuses and a third hopefully later this month but I will disclose that later.
1. University of Minnesota, Big Ten
2. University of Missouri, SEC
AUGUST 11, 2017
Really, what is there to not love at the University of Minnesota, if you are there in August? Notice they didn't invite her up to the frozen tundra of winter. I remember several years ago Reagan's team played soccer in a heated Minneapolis dome in February and it was 35 degrees INSIDE!!! Ok, other than the ridiculously freezing temps, the place is great. Coach Golan is a strong no nonsense leader who has turned the program around in the last four years. The academics are top notch. And then there's the row of mopeds, Reagan loved that many players drove mopeds. Yes, you read that correctly, MOPEDS. 
Possible Negatives: It's a huge campus (50,000+) and I've heard the class sizes are on the larger size. They don't have reciprocity with Nebraska, meaning out of state tuition is a killer. Airfare to the TwinCities is awful but it is driveable, only 8 hours.
Reagan's visit was the day after my hamstring surgery and in the heat of Chris' high school softball season which is why she took the visit with teammate Grace and her dad. They attended a packed house home game Friday night. Saturday morning they toured the facility and had individual meetings with the coaches which at least I was able to join in through the joys of modern technology. Minnesota moved up to number one on Reagan's short list.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
To be completely honest, I have never liked the University of Missouri. Why? Because I am a KU fan. The hatred goes back before there were even universities built in either state but the distaste for one another rages on.  And their colors are black and yellow, come on people. That's just me and truly wherever my daughter plays soccer I will love and cheer for the team. But like Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side movie stated, "black and yellow (she said orange) are not in my color wheel". Reagan doesn't have any of those preconceived thoughts which is good. Reagan and Chris toured Columbia, Mo with teammate Maddie and her dad. The visit began with a Sunday night game which the team lost miserably to Texas A&M but Reagan actually saw the loss as a chance to understand team chemistry. She saw the girls on the field battle until the final whistle even when a win was impossible. They didn't start playing "boom ball" they stuck with good soccer and didn't tear each other down. I would say that's a sign of a healthy program. Enrollment at Mizzou is about 35,000 with almost 300 degree programs offered, just like many other universities. One thing I do know, Reagan was very impressed with the coaches and the team, more than she thought she would be. Shortly after Reagan's visit she came down with shingles so we got a little distracted. This week we will talk some more.

Recap of college visits thus far...
Creighton University, Omaha NE
University of Missouri-Kansas City, KC, MO
Kansas State Univeristy, Manhattan, KS
University of Kansas, Lawrence KS
Auburn University, Auburn, AL
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
University of Missouri, Columbia MO

Reagan, we are proud of who you are, not just what you do. Soccer is one part of you, don't let your successes and failures on the field define you. You are an amazing young lady.  Wherever you go to college and whatever you do keep Christ close, you'll be just fine. We love you much!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Shingles Are the Worst!

There are topics that instantly tug at my heart...Human trafficking, Child abuse, Infidelity, Emma's Fall, Colic and now I will add Shingles to that list. In no way am I suggesting all these topics are equally horrific. Each one of them pierces my heart. Never again will I hear about a person suffering from shingles and not think of what we have endured the last 10 days in our home. I love that my name to three special little girls is "mom." Back in 1999 I had no idea the blessings and the torment that would come with such a title.

Here is Reagan's virus story

Saturday afternoon Reagan got ready for her first homecoming (yeah, I haven't posted those pictures yet.) She wore a beautiful soft flowing short black dress. Comfort is a must for Reagan, fashion is always a distant second place. She noticed that the dress was irritating her left thigh but couldn't find anything poking her skin and it wasn't really that bad so she went to dinner and the dance with her group of friends. (this is something I will learn about later)


Sunday Reagan and her dad headed south for another college soccer recruiting visit (yeah, I haven't posted those pictures either.) They attended a D1 women's soccer game on Sunday and did the whole tour and meeting the coaches on Monday. They got home just in time for her club soccer practice. Like any other day on the field, Reagan worked hard in practice, came home starving and had a back log of homework due to missing school. Some time before bed she began complaining of pain in her groin area. I told her to ice bath and left it at that. 

Tuesday was typical day as far as I knew. School...Snack...Soccer  I guess those are the important S's in Reagan's life. Soccer practice was ran by another D1 college coach who is recruiting Reagan, she was focused and worked hard but afterwards complained again of pain in her groin. When I showed her how to roll out the groin muscle, it didn't bother her at all. That was my first clue that she did not have a groin pull. After her shower she said, "oh look mom, this is weird I have a little rash on my thigh." It was odd but certainly didn't cause any real concern.

Wednesday morning was the kick off of Reagan's SWEET 16th Birthday. Only it turned out to be NOT-SO-SWEET! She noticed a pain in her lower left back/butt area and complained of a bad night of sleep. This all was really disrupting my perfect birthday planning. If you know me, I had balloons, special breakfast and gifts everywhere. Birthdays are important to me. Actually, she wasn't too bad yet so off she went to school. I had some fun surprises at school too. Fast forward nine hours and our birthday girl was falling apart from pain, mostly in her back. The poor thing, she wanted to celebrate with family and about all she could do was lay on her bed in tears. At this point, I knew it was time for a doctor but wasn't sure who to see. That night was horrific! I've never seen a child in so much pain for two straight hours, this is when my birthing class preparations helped.

Thursday morning I marched in the pediatrician's office and pretty much demanded to be seen first which worked. I feel bad for everyone else that day, Dr Lisa started her day off 40 minutes behind. I am so impressed with our pediatrician, she is amazing with my children and understands me. She was really confused on what Reagan was presenting until she saw the rash. The L3 nerve path was perfect to explain Reags had a case of SHINGLES. Just like you, I was shocked. I thought this was a disease for octogenarians. We spent the next 5 hours at children's hospital having tests ran. Which I might add that the blood work STILL ISN'T BACK...8 DAYS LATER! Thank goodness we aren't dealing with a life threatening condition.
Sept 28th

Reagan's internal pain continued to increase in intensity and longevity. NSAIDs did nothing for the pain and narcotics took off the edge just enough that she could sleep at night. You caregivers (especially moms) out there know what I mean when I ached and cried for my girl. The rash intensified as well, first blisters arrived on the 29th and then seemed to reproduce rapidly. 
Sept 29th
Saturday was a tough day. Reagan had lost the use of her leg. That's right, she couldn't walk. Fear set in and it didn't really matter that I explained to her that this was just a virus and would leave just like any other virus. Secondly, EGA ECNL 01 (her soccer team) was playing in Chicago without her. The girls were so kind and concerned about Reagan but with each snapchat she got more upset, not to mention the constant shooting pain in her back and groin were bringing her down too. The pain Reagan endured was greater than anything I have ever seen any other person go through. 

I don't want to forget a high point for Reagan, Emma came home from college. A sisterly surprise visit was the best medicine! That Emma is a great kid!

Sunday, October 1st was more of the same.

Monday was Reagan's 3rd day home from school which was causing her a lot of stress. As the internal pain decreased the rash became more bothersome. This is when we noticed all the extra red splotchy areas, I am guessing hives. They eventually went away.
Oct 2nd
Tuesday the 3rd, Reagan visited practice. She had a limp but could walk out on the field. Playing wasn't an option but she needed her team. Who knew hanging with mom 24/7 for 6 days just wasn't enough for her. :/  On our ride home she said, "I'm going to Wisconsin this weekend and I AM going to play." At this point there's no reason to argue so I said can we make that decision on Friday? Here's the deal, my kid is so stubborn, determined and hardworking that when she said she was going to do something she meant it and there really wasn't any chance of changing her mind. I talked to both her pediatrician and her chiropractor, both in agreement that playing would not hurt her body or cause a relapse, it would hurt to play. That's all she needed to hear.
Oct 4th blisters starting to dry up

Today is October 6th
Reagan went to school half day Wednesday, full day Thursday and half day today. Her teachers are being very accommodating as she will most likely receive incompletes in 3 of her 4 block schedule classes and they will allow her to finish the work over fall break and then adjust her grades. 
Just as she said, Reagan is currently in transit to Wisconsin to play soccer with her favorite 18 people where another D1 college coach plans to be in attendance to watch her play. The girl hasn't ran in 10 days so I'm not sure how well she will play but it will be a victory to Reagan to be back on the field.

Shingles is the result of a compromised immune system in someone who has the Herpes Zoster virus hanging out in their spine and the greatest attacker of the immune system is stress gone unchecked. Our household has been ravaged with stress over the last 5 months.  I think Reagan's little body held out just as long as it could and when I finally was able to take care of my family again the body broke down. Reagan has healed incredibly quick. The combination of a young healthy body and a mom who did everything possible to boost her immune system gave her a fighting chance. Here are some of the things we did to support her health...
-Chiropractic adjustments daily
-Young Living essential oils (immupower, elemi, helichrysum, frankincense, copaiba)
-Supplements designed for the nervous system (sulfurzyme, calcium)
-Eating LOTS of healthy fats (avocado, Omega 3, coconut oil) which coat the nerves
-Rest and Ice
-Limiting stress, lots of laughs
-Domeboro soak for the rash
-She ate chocolate which made her happy
-Drinking oceans of water
-Our most important treatment was prayer. God is our healer. He loves us and wants nothing bad to happen to us. I know He can use this difficult time to shape us into better more compassionate people. I'm not glad we went through this but I kept praising God inspite of it. I look forward to the benefits God has for us because of this trial. God is Good All The Time!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On The Move

It all started with a dream. Three nights ago in my sleep, I saw myself walking without crutches, a brace or pain. That was the beginning of my inspiration to get moving again. Unfortunately, my doctor is less progressive than my desires are.  Next week I see Dr Burt for my 6 week Post Op appointment and plan to be armed with solid research to back up my need for Physical therapy earlier than 3 months PO. And if I am wrong, I pray God shows me the door shut tight and that I listen.

Last night a switch was flipped and I decided to get moving. We are the second house on the block, my goal is to walk (with crutches) to the corner and back, 200 steps, at least 2 times a day. I don't have to climb a mountain to feel an accomplishment, I just have to start. At 8:30am I am already at 900+ steps for the day. To put that into perspective, in the last month I have been lucky to even get 1000 steps in 24 hours. This is good progress! I promise to listen to my body, God gave us pain so that we know it's time to rest. Going back to the OR is not an option.


Here are the key components to my recovery so far:
Rest . Ice . Hydration . Nutrition . Positive Attitude . Hard Work

REST:
I have been laying on the couch recuperating for nearly 5 weeks. I don't cook. I don't clean. I don't do laundry. I don't drive. And I just started working last week which can all be done with my laptop on the couch. Even the "rest" can feel like hard work, I don't want to do it.

ICE:
Thank you Tracy Wimmer for the BREG Polar Cube. Twice daily we fill it with water and froze ice bottles. I am able to continuously ice my incision, ham, knee and whatever else ails me.

HYDRATION: 
We keep my favorite cup filled with water all day long. Do you realize your muscles are about 70% water? When they become just 3-4% dehydrated the function is compromised. So by the time you "feel thirsty" you are already way beyond that 3-4%. Drink up!

NUTRITION:
Food is our friend. Food is our fuel. A body can be healed or destroyed by what we consume. I'm not overboard here as I have very little control over what people bring us for dinner. We are doing our best to eat well. On top of that I am consuming the same supplements that I gave Chris and Emma after their surgeries. Both healed quicker than expected. I would recommend anyone who is highly active or recovering from any injury to take Young Living's BLM and Sulfurzyme. Healthy bones, ligaments and muscles make the whole body happy! 

POSITIVE ATTITUDE:
My mom always blamed a negative attitude on the chronic poor health both her mother and sister-in-law. Irony anyone? I chose to be happy and I chose to heal. What's the worst that can happen?
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." --JOHN 14:27

HARD WORK:
Today "hard work" consists of getting my right quadriceps to fire. As I get released to do more I will take on each challenge until I get back to where I was pre-injury. Maybe I will exceed PI status. There will be frustrations and mountains I don't want to climb so remind me to keep working hard. The prize of an active healthy life is well worth the sweat and tears.

Peace to each of you and remember to pray for each other.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Happier Hammy

Have I said it recently? I love this man!
It would be remiss of me if I didn't brag on my hubby a bit. This amazing man of mine leaves the house by 6:30am and doesn't return until between 7:30-10:00pm. Thanks to my injury, it doesn't usually end there. He gets me ice, helps me shower, even shaved my legs...what a guy! I am so blessed to have a life partner who takes his role of provider and protector seriously. Thanks babe!

PreSurgery:
Chris and I snuck out for a quick date night before surgery...what I wouldn't do to get out of the house now for a date night. To be honest, if I could just walk to the mailbox I would be pretty darn excited. August 10th was the last time I did my hair, put on make-up or was even able to put on my own underwear. My take away from this ordeal is to be thankful for the little stuff. I am weary of always asking for help, waiting to shower until it's convenient for someone else and the drain of trying to get comfortable. Will I complain about cleaning my house ever again, probably but right now I wish I could scrub the sinks, vacuum the floors and clean out my van.

This post will consist of pictures, random surgery thoughts, tips and maybe a little bit of complaining.

The surgical timeframe was heavy on Dr Burt's mind, in fact delaying it only 5 days in order to take Emma to college, was not an option. I got squeezed into his schedule which means I got the last slot of the day. On one hand that's not so bad, I had plenty of time to do last minute chores. On the other hand you are so stinkin' thirsty by the time you finally get wheeled back to the OR. It wasn't the hunger, no fluids from midnight until 3pm was downright cruel!

Let's start with Life on Medication:
I have always been very sensitive to medications. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Am I sensitive because I seldom dumped that crap into my system or did we avoid taking OTC drugs because it was too hard on my system? Really, who cares. All I know is my body overreacts to all kinds of toxic chemicals. 
-As a teenager I took No-Doz when I was driving to a near by university for flute lessons. My instructor and mom both accused me of being on drugs. (FYI: never did drugs)
-As a teenager waking up from knee surgery the recovery nurses had a difficult time keeping me calm.
-As a brand new mom getting my first Percocet I lost my vision, threw up and never took another pain killer.
Pre-surgery I was full of trepidation that I would struggle more with the necessary drugs of surgery than the actual pain of the cutting, tugging and drilling. But with all things, I researched and prayed. My first few days weren't too bad. I remember thinking my mind was pretty clear but since then I have realized that I can't remember conversations and events in those first days post-op. It wasn't until about day 4 that the hydrocodone took my mind and body hostage. I had horrific anxiety attacks. Just that word makes me feel uncomfortable, I remember exactly how I felt each time. By day 6 I was off all meds and praying my body would detox quickly. Ironically, the very people prescribing these meds did not even know the half-life or the likelihood of more ugly side effects. Inexcusable! Since then I have taken lots of fish oil, used essential oils and prayed. I thank God I made it through those dark days.

I am a firm believer that no one has ever gotten sick because of a lack of pharmaceuticals in their body. As a result, we strive to keep our family out of the "lab rat" culture and we are healthier for it!

Life Post-OP:
My surgery was a little shorter than they planned because only two of the three muscles were torn off my pelvis. That's great and should speed along my recovery. Instead of being totally non-weight bearing doc said I could "do a little". What the heck does that exactly mean? I have found that I can put some weight on my right leg as long as I'm not actively using/moving the leg. That does make taking a shower much easier. This girl is a great on one leg but only for so long.

THE BRACE: is terrible. One week in T.E.D. hose drove me nuts too.
GOING TO THE BATHROOM: is challenging. Best tip: get a toilet seat riser and flushable wipes
THE STAIRS: I am able to go up and down stairs. It is slow and exhausting process. Remember up with the good and down with the bad.
GETTING IN/OUT OF BED: is frustrating.
LAYING ON THE COUCH: all day is not fun. 
Flowers thanks to Emma and Dr Niki
SITTING: impossible because of both the pain and the range of motion block on my brace. I am over 3 weeks post-op and would really like to go somewhere. The problem is once I get there I have to ask, will they have a couch to lay on? Most restaurants, churches and stores do not.
THE CRUTCHES: my arms, shoulders, wrists and hands are sore which reminds me I need to rest.

 As a stay-at-home mom who seldom stays home, being mostly confined to the house is not ideal. I don't even get to attend church. Thank you internet for being invented so I can worship online.

Thanks Marianne
MEALS: The Meal Train sign-up been a God-Send. I am so thankful for all the meals that have been provided by friends and family.
Homemade Meals . Carry Out Meals . Gift Cards
It's going to be a challenge when the meals end next week. 

Life Emotionally Speaking:
Each day is a work in process, keeping my spirits up and staying positive. Here are a few tips: Drink water, get the body moving in whatever way possible, don't watch the news and invite friends over. This may not seem related but one of my biggest emotional stresses has been caring for my family. Do you have a village? You know, a circle of people who are willing to step in when needed. 
Jill and Kim drive to soccer
Nana drives to music lessons
Kim drives to high school
Liz walks or drives to middle school
Lindsey, Tracy and Lindsay have cleaned
Susan, Linda, Linda, Shirley, Mary, Jill, Laurie babysat when I couldn't be alone.
Patty has picked up slack at work
Chris' co-workers have covered his classroom
Tami and Kimberly have helped Emma
Jay, Leo and Josh have mowed
Many Many people have made food for our family.
(I shouldn't have started listing names, surely I left out some big contributors)
Without our village we couldn't do life as we knew it before. These people keep my spirits up.

 I do believe my hamstring is happier now that it is not bunched up behind my knee. One day the rest of my body will catch up with my hamstring and be happy too.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Craziness

If you have turned on the news, looked at social media or picked up a newspaper (yes, they still exist) in the last month you know about the solar eclipse that is happening across the United States today. I remember the last one that took place in the midwest, it must have been 1979, I was in kindergarten. Abbey Grey's dad picked me up from school that day and since eclipse glasses did not exist then, we watched the eclipse in the car looking at her dad's cigarette wrapper.

There has been so much hype I guess I was expecting more. Omaha was in the 96% range which I guess 4% of the sun was enough to keep the sky pretty bright, possibly cloud cover didn't help. Emma was in Kearney in the 100% eclipse area and thought it was pretty cool. We'll see what Reagan and Olivia have to say after school. 

The next we will hear reviews of stupidity. Don't call this being a pessimist, just a realist. I can't even begin to imagine what people will do.

My picture below of the cripple making it outside for 10 minutes of eclipse happiness! 

Happy Monday!


Next post will be a surgery update.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Are Hamstrings Important?

THE INJURY
Hitting the neighborhood streets late Friday night after sitting at my desk working on soccer registration all day long. Let me add that I had been walking and running almost every day for the last 3 weeks. I was really feeling good! That last step before I even hit the ground my hamstring was in horrific pain. As I sat there crying and moaning in the grass made me thankful it was 10:30 pm so no one was outside to see the show. In order to get home I had to call Chris. My hero aka prince found me and carried me to his truck (or insert white stallion here). Getting in the house was rough, it is doubtful my kids have ever seen me in so much agony!

THE DOCTOR VISIT
My assumption was Saturday I would wake to some kind of relief, no such luck. We were off to Ortho Nebraska's Urgent Care. When you are married to a guy like Chris plan on him knowing people no matter where you go. The doctor knew Chris through the Millard community coaching circuit, I almost had to remind them why we were there. Good news: the X-ray showed no broken or chipped bones. Dr V ordered a MRI.

MRI VISIT
Really, who knows if they are truly claustrophobic until they are shoved into an enclosed tube while in pain, weighted down, feet taped together and surrounded by loud noise. This was a learning experience, now I know I need drugs to survive a situation like that. It was on the second trip of the day that I made it through the diagnostic testing but only because there are drugs that take all your cares away. I remember nearly nothing. So friends, please do your loved ones a favor and take away their phone if they are taking said meds. Apparently I really took to the phone and snapchat during my moments in La-La Land.

NOW WAIT and WAIT some more!

THE CALL
Finally I hear the news that my hamstring and tendon were ripped off my pelvis or site of injury was at the ischial tuberosity.

THE SPECIALIST
The phrase, "I'm seeing a hip specialist" should come from a 70 year old, not a 44 year old. By the time I got in to see Dr Burt I was walking without crutches and feeling pretty good most of the time. How fortunate I was to be able to get in with Dr Charlie Burt. This guy has done more of these rare surgeries than anyone else in the region. He gave me options but the only sensible one was to have surgery. More than 90% of his patients with this ailment have full recovery but it's long, pain full and will be a real life pain in the butt!

NOW WAIT some more
The timing of my surgery is terrible. What a stupid statement. Who ever said, this is a great time to have surgery? August 10th keeps us in the 4 week window since the injury but it causes me to miss some pretty important events.
Emma moves into her dorm 3 days later
Reagan has a college soccer visit to Minnesota 1 day post op
Olivia has her first day of middle school 4 days post op
AND Chris goes back to school and starts his new coaching job 3 day pre op.
The girls will be fine, that's a no brainer. We have raised strong daughters who would love to have mom there but can handle it without. BUT WILL I BE OK??? Seriously! Obviously the toughest part here is not seeing Emma's dorm room. Oh crud, I'm tearing up and can't see the screen. 

Please pray for our family over the next several months as I am unable to do the stuff I normally do. I understand the healing process but I also plan to beat the odds. I will follow the rules but also do not plan to "rise" to meet mediocrity. I know growth comes at times when life is difficult. I know there is always a silver lining even if it takes time to recognize it. And I know God loves me.


Side note: if you are counting, this makes the 3rd surgery for our family in 5.5 months.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Emma's Broken Finger

WARNING: GRAPHIC FINGER PICTURES BELOW

Less than 24 hours after a trip of a lifetime, Emma found herself in the Emergency Room (ER) with her bone sticking out of her finger. My poor baby girl was so sleep deprived that she could hardly hold herself together. As if it wasn't bad enough to slam her finger in a car door but then to be riddled with uncontrollable sleeplessness, the emotions really took it to the next level.
Waiting Room
This picture doesn't adequately show the deformity of Emma's fingertip. Let's just say it was gross. The tip was pointed down and the bone was sticking out of the finger behind the finger nail.

4 Hours in the ER
Emma and Reagan were headed to Midtown Crossing for Tea when Em's seat belt got stuck in the door. Without a video it's hard to describe how she managed to shut her own finger in her car door but it happened. Before her brain told her how much pain she was in, she turned to Reagan and said, "Ouch look at my finger." Reagan looked at her in horror and ran in the house to get us. The poor thing couldn't even put a sentence together.
"Mom....Dad...Emma...Come...Hurt"
She has always has been a girl of few words. ;)

Right away I knew we were going to the ER. FYI: Sunday at 8pm isn't that bad of a time slot. No crazy drunks and the traffic wasn't bad at all. We got into triage fairly quickly. Over the span of four hours she was asked multiple times if how the accident happened and if she felt safe at home. She saw three different docs, had x-rays three times, had a minor surgery right there and the worst of it all for Emma was the IV antibiotic that they started at 11:15pm. This girl really doesn't like needles. It doesn't matter how old your baby gets, it's so hard to see them cry.

Here's the process in layman's terms for the Seymore Fracture. Click HERE for details.
1. clean it
2. deaden it
3. cut out the finger nail (the metal thing shoved under the nail made me pretty queasy)
4. separate the broke bone to clean tissue out
5. push it back together
6. sew the fingernail back on to keep the area open for a new nail to grow out.
7. last x-ray
AND Emma watched it all!
Sewing the fingernail back on

It was after this last x-ray that the ortho resident said we would need a pin because the bone did not line back up perfectly, as you can see in the picture below. Even though we didn't leave the ER until 12:30am I would say we had great care at Omaha's Children's Hospital.
X-ray AFTER repair shows a pin is needed.
We actually had surgery in Iowa just to get it done one day sooner. The location didn't matter as long as we had our hand surgeon, Dr Gaddie is pretty amazing. Interesting note about Iowa, Emma could sign her own forms there since she is an adult at 18 but in Nebraska she isn't an adult until 19 years old.
Surgery Prep
My tough girl didn't have a general or even go into twilight sleep for surgery, nope she had a local, made a playlist and listened to music along with the surgical team during the procedure. Her comment afterwards was, "it sure is bright in the OR, on Grey's Anatomy it's always so dark in the OR." Oh finding out life isn't the same as how TV depicts it.
Two weeks Post Op
Here she is two week post surgery and Dr Gaddie says it looks great. YUCK! She has a new splint and can finally get it wet in the shower. Two more weeks and the pin comes out.  Emma is back to work at the nursing home and nannying for two little boys five days a week. This finger thing slowed her down for a few days and has kept her out of the pool but certainly hasn't stopped her. Proud of you Em!
Pinned
Exciting times at the Raabe's but praising God for the perfect timing of this injury.
-After the Europe trip
-7 weeks before college
-mom and dad were home
-the HIGH deductible has been met
There's always a silver lining.

Happy July!