Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Living vicariously through my teenage daughters:)

Do you remember being a teenage girl? I mean, if you are a girl. I do. It was a fun time full of friends, boys and unattainable famous people that I could pine away for.

Well, as luck would have it, my girls are normal teenage girls. They have a few love interests that while a few years older than them, are totally worth the time devoted to adoring them.

So when I learned that one of these young men was touring with Carrie Underwood, I thought, what a great Christmas present.

The girls knew they were getting concert tickets for Christmas. What they didn't know is that instead of the nosebleeds I claimed we got, we really were 22 rows back on the floor.

We were happy enough that we would be seeing Carrie Underwood.

But what they were REALLY waiting for was this young fella. Mr. Hunter Hayes.

I know my camera phone pictures are blurry and low quality, but man I wish you could have seen the looks on their faces when Hunter came onstage.

It was a super fun night and as an old lady, I was really impressed with those young singer people;)

Hunter Hayes writes all his own songs, and played every instrument on his album. He plays a crazy amount of instruments. And he is adorable and cute and a great singer. And he's 21. What girl WOULDN'T be in love with him?

But since I am old enough to be his mother, I can just enjoy his music and talent without swooning.

And Carrie Underwood? The girl can sing. She put on a really good show too. So even though we weren't there for her, it was really awesome getting to listen to her.

My girls are pretty big fans of Hunter. But nothing could match the frenzy I went through over New Kids on the Block. Posters, watches, t-shirts, large buttons, 3 concerts and one amazing glimpse of Jonathan Knight from behind a chain link fence.

That is why I never make fun of ANYONE for the bands they love. I lived it. It later transferred to different genres. Yes, I outgrew NKOTB. But I will always say that my first musical love was Jordan, Donny, Joey, Danny and Jonathan.

And yes, I thought their hair was AMAZING. I was going to marry Donny by the way:) (I never noticed before that Jordan kind of looks like a girl) They're coming back on tour. Hmmmmmm......

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

No showings today, if you please.

It is not that bad keeping my house clean. Now that it's clean. One of the kids noticed how much easier it is to keep it clean than it is to get a messy house clean again. Yeah, funny how that works. But I have to look at things differently now to keep it show ready.

What would bother someone if they came through our house? Well, it would bother me to see someone else's garbage, dirty laundry or toothbrushes if I was looking to buy their house. I wouldn't like toothpaste splatters on the faucet. Or unmade beds.

So after we clean each morning, and if there is going to be a showing, we make all the beds, take out all the garbages, make sure there is no dirty laundry in sight, and hide our toothbrushes and wipe the splatters.

But today is a little different. Today, there are no showings!!!

Why? Because I decided that if anyone calls, I will tell them we can't today. It's winter break, and my kids have not been able to sleep in or veg one single day. So that is my gift that I'm giving to them. And myself. I slept in til 9 and it felt awesome!!!

They still have to make their beds and clean up first, simply because it's a nice routine now. But I don't have to hide garbages or vacuum:) Yay!

Henry's job was to water the flowers out front. Funny to see such lovely flowers in February, isn't it? And don't you love the AM on the side of the house? A remnant of Anne Marie's 5 year old tendency to write on everything.

Charlie gets to do what his heart desires A LOT lately, play Minecraft. He even cleaned the bathroom without complaint in order to receive this privilege. And if you notice, there is still no TV. I love it.

Anne Marie is the ring leader of all fun games. The girl has a mind that goes non stop in the "lets do something" category. It's lovely to behold honestly. And she takes Henry and Nora on her imaginative journeys and they come back happy and full of child like excitement.

This is how teenagers like to spend their mornings-getting up late, staying in pajamas, searching Facebook and Pinterest. Or in Julia's case, Its a site about taking care of your virtual horse. I love that she loves that. I love that my 13 year old is more enamored by horses than boys.

And I love that my kitchen is clean. It was easily cleaned, it only took 5 minutes to tidy up after breakfast. I in fact, love having to keep the house clean. It reminds me of my life many, many years ago. And I realize it's not as hard as I think on the days when there is no one coming to see the house. I get a little stressed out when people are coming. But when it's just keeping it tidy for us, it's not stressful, just joyful.

And Kate is here today. But she is getting ready to go to the mall with her friends. That sentence astounds me. She is supposed to be wandering around with a tippy cup still. Go back to bed baby Kate. You're not allowed to be so old and independent. I really don't mind. It's just a weird place to be in. I'M supposed to be a teenager going to the mall with her friends. I'm not supposed to be old enough to HAVE a child doing that. sheesh.

I hope if you're in the middle of mid-winter that you are enjoying your time together and your family. I love my family so much.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I miss gluten, but not how it makes me feel.

It's been a year since I went gluten free.

It's been mostly great. I haven't cheated once. I feel better.

But it took me almost the whole year to realize I was not going to be making delicious homemade bread anymore.

To realize that this was for real. *sigh*

It's ok. Well, not really. But I'm glad for how much better I feel. For how my family feels. But seriously, there will never be bread like homemade white bread. With all it's gluten-y goodness.

It's been fine for the past 11 months. But as I approach the year mark, I'm feeling like I just want to take a big fat bite of homemade white bread.

I won't. But I want to.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I love LOVE.

I love my husband, children and family.

I love that I have to bribe Nora to snuggle with me now that she is 4, but that she perks right up when I take our picture.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Moving on

Yesterday was, well, exhausting. If Jeff's sister Delayna had not driven over from Ellensburg and worked her little tail off, I would never have been able to get everything ready for our Realtor to take pictures.

This house is clean. (Poltergeist anyone?)

Like, really clean.

But now I must maintain. I can toootally do that. hahahaha!

No really, I have to. It will be fine. (hyperventilating into bag now)

When Jeff saw the pictures on the JohnLScott site, he said, "Are we doing the right thing?"

Something about your house looking so great makes it harder to want to part with it.

When it looks like crud and there are cereal dishes and laundry everywhere, it seems easier to walk away. You know?

But when it looks like this: It's harder to want to leave it.

Aaaaannnd it's listed for 80 k less than we bought it for!!!!!!!

But, despite the seeming lack of logic behind our decision, ie; we live in a great area, with good schools, great house, great friends, we have been feeling for a while that some kind of big change was coming our way.

And if you've read this blog for a while, then you know how I feel about the country, which Ellensburg is. And since I grew up half an hour away in Cle Elum, it really is like going home.

Jeff started feeling like we should move to Ellensburg. I was like, what?!!!! "But I like it here now. I love my friends, my house, etc. etc. "

But I started to get that feeling too. So we did what we always try to do when we make decisions, we prayed about it.

I didn't want to at first. Cuz I was not happy about it. But I couldn't shake the feeling that this was right, either. And even after I got the very strong answer of yes, you are supposed to do this. I still went back again and said, really? are You sure?

So here we are, with our house on the market.

As we have pondered this decision, there have been more reasons that came to mind of why this would be a good thing for our family. Sunshine, houses with acreage, seasons, outdoor activities for very active boys who are stuck inside when it's raining, alot!, smaller schools, grandparents and cousins in the same town, and everything is close so I won't spend hours in the car every day. Yes, hours. I'm not even exaggerating. Currently, unless I am going to fred meyer, I will be gone at least an hour and a half for any appt, grocery trip or activity. Now granted in Ellensburg, there will still be some of that. If I need Target or Costco then I have to drive half an hour to go to Yaki-vegas. But it takes me 20 minutes to go to Target now.

And the very best part, Jeff's company and his client have agreed to Jeff working from home 3 days a week.

That is the most wonderful part of all of this. Again, if you've read this blog for very long, then you probably know how I feel about my husband. So having him home 3 days a week, working in the other room, is such a gift.

Leaving will still be hard. Right now my parents come to our house once a week to give piano lessons. That won't be possible when we are 2 1/2 hours away instead of one. My sister will now be 2 1/2 hours away instead of 1. My brother and his family are potentially moving back to this area and my SIL Amy is one of my dearest friends. So that stinks.  I have made some of my best friends here. And so have my children.

I have had some down moments this week. Partially because I've been recovering, I'm guessing. But also because even when you know you're making the right decision and listening to what Heavenly Father wants for you, it can still be hard to actually do it.

Because I don't know yet all the good things that will come from it. But I'm trying really hard to let go of the things I have no control of, like what kind of house will be available for us to live in over there, or when our house here will sell or how my children will handle moving or if I will make friends. And if I do make friends and get comfortable, will Heavenly Father ask us to move again? And instead, I'm just trying to focus on the promises I know are sure when we listen to the answers given to us in prayer.

I've seen first hand how things fall into place when you are on the right track. And Jeff's company said yes so fast to him working from home, that we felt that was the first sign of everything working out.

Now, as far as selling the house goes, we will just cross and fingers and pleasantly wait in a very tidy house.

A super duper, anxiety inducing, tidy house:)

Monday, February 11, 2013

If you're squeamish don't read this. I warned you.

I've been quieter than normal on this blog the last 4 plus months. I haven't totally discussed why. I'm not sure many people noticed, other than my husband and mother:)

The reason why is kind of embarrassing. It's not something that is pleasant to talk about. But I'm going to today.

As you all know, I have had six kids. That many children can wreak havoc on the bodies of some women. For me, the first 5 seemed to be no big deal-aside from some postpartum depression, which is a whole other post. Recovery was great, everything still worked afterwards.

Then Nora came along. Sweet, beautiful, wonderful Nora. Who was worth every minute of all of it. Who I would repeat it all for.

That said, I noticed things I hadn't noticed before. Like how sneezing with a full bladder was a bad idea. Like how running with a bladder, not a full one, just a bladder, was a bad idea. How coughing was a bad idea, laughing too hard a bad idea, waiting too long to pee, a bad idea....

You get the point.

Then I started noticing that it didn't matter what I did, that Poise pads were my present and future.

I then had a friend who decided enough was enough, being in a similar situation to myself, and she went and had bladder sling surgery.

This surgery involves placing a tiny mesh sling under the urethra in order to support it and keep it from opening when it shouldn't. *ahem*

Her surgery was successful. And then I talked to another friend who had it done and hers was successful.

I decided that was enough research (stupid, stupid, stupid) and so I went to the doctor of one of the friends and said, "Hey, I want this done too."

My first concern should have been that he didn't say,"What else have you tried?"

I had tried a zillion kegels (squeezing of the muscles, down there, to strengthen everything.) which worked with my other kids, but did nothing this time.

So he put me through a number of humiliating tests, which I won't talk about, if you want to know, google it.

All to discover that yes, I was a candidate for the surgery, so lets schedule it. Woohoo I thought.

The morning of September 12th came along. I woke up early and immediately had a bad feeling. A feeling that I should cancel the surgery. Let me just say, DON'T BE AFRAID TO LISTEN TO THOSE FEELINGS!!!

But I just brushed it off as nervousness. I thought, my surgery is in 2 hours, I can't cancel anyway. I should have called.

The doctor told me that my recovery would be a few days. So I was completely unprepared for the fact that I could barely walk. Not necessarily from anything "down there" but because my legs hurt so bad. I knew that they would make an incision in the crease of my legs in order to thread the piece of mesh through.

What I didn't know is that they take hooks of some type and move your tendons out of the way in order to get that mesh in. So that explained why I felt like I'd been forced into the splits, or why I felt like someone had popped my legs off and then forced them back on again. Like a Barbie Doll.

At first it hurt to sit down. A lot. I figured that was normal. At first it hurt to let the water from the shower touch any part of where I had surgery. I thought that was normal.

Then as three weeks went by, 4 weeks, and I still couldn't sit on a hard chair, I began to wonder if that was normal. It didn't seem normal that I felt like I was being stabbed with something from the inside every time I sat down or squeezed those muscles.  It didn't seem normal that every time I wiped after going pee that it hurt me.

It also didn't seem normal that I felt so traumatized. I have had two surgeries previous to this. One pretty invasive, the other foot surgery. And I did not wake up feeling so emotionally distraught.

I felt so awful in fact, that I refused to go see my doctor for my 6 week follow up. I thought I would have a break down if I had to look at him. I'm not saying he did anything that warranted this, I just couldn't see him.

In fact it took me until 2 1/2 months post op to work up the courage. And I brought Jeff with me.

I then had to tell the doctor about the stabbing pain on the inside right of my nethers. I then had to also tell him that nothing could touch me in the clitoral area (sorry everyone, but it's the truth) without it hurting. Yeah, intimacy? Well I learned real quickly what an amazing man I'm married to. I knew that already, but this just added to the list of his great qualities.

First of all, the doc got very pale. And he very nicely said that he had never had anyone come in with those symptoms.

Great. I was alone.

Then he proceeded to do an exam that felt like he was digging for gold, and from that exam he declared that it felt like the mesh had slipped.

His solution was for me to go a few more months to see if the pain got better and then he could possibly take it out.

At this point I just wanted to run out of his office. I can't even write about this without crying.

So I went home discouraged. Very discouraged. I felt very depressed and things like blogging seemed to not matter very much.

Then I started researching this surgery. And boy oh boy. There are lawsuits against the makers of this mesh. There is blog after blog sharing similar and worse stories than mine.

The worst part is that doctors are still doing this surgery. Even with all the problems. I feel lucky that my problems started immediately. Some women have had health problems for years and have only begun to realize it was all connected to the mesh surgery they had 15 years ago.

They used to do this surgery using your own tissue. But the recovery was longer, and well, we are a drive through nation. Heaven forbid we have to recover longer. No, lets just place a foreign object that can erode through your vaginal wall or tie itself up in your nerves causing clitoral pain.

After all this research I also learned that a urologist can only remove part of the mesh. The end pieces can only be removed by an orthopedic surgeon because it is so much more complicated to get those little pieces that are embedded out.

I also realized that I never wanted that previous doctor touching me ever again. I don't even think it was his fault, but mentally and physically I associate him with the beginning of my troubles. And it's my body, I get to decide who operates on it.

So I found some ladies, yes ladies, who only deal with urology and urogynocology. Just women. No men.

I went and told my doctor all my problems. She also told me she hadn't heard of my specific symptoms. But after a lot more thorough question and answer period, an exam including an ultrasound, she told me that she thought removing it would be the best option. That my nerves were obviously fired up and she though she couldn't be positive that the mesh was the cause of the pain when I sat, it seemed like the likely culprit.

She was up front and told me she couldn't remove all of it, that it would require an orthopedic surgeon's help. But that if just removing it didn't solve it all, we could go back in and remove the rest.

So this last Tuesday, I went into surgery again. This time I had no bad feelings the morning of. And believe me, I was listening this time.

So far recovery has been much better. Partly because she does not have to hold back the tendons of my legs with metal hooks to remove the mesh. Thank goodness.

While I was waking up, she went to the waiting room and showed Jeff pictures of the whole process. She said that the side where I was experiencing pain was red and raw. Which to me, screams the beginnings of erosion.

Because despite waiting a few months like the last doc suggested, the pain had started to get worse, not better. Because the mesh was digging into my flesh on a daily basis.

Right now it still hurts to sit down, but that's because I was cut open and then sewn back up again only 6 days ago.

The jury is still out as to whether the sitting pain and clitoral pain will be gone. Because everything hurts right now. And I have learned about something called Post-operative fatigue. Basically it is normal, but for me it makes me need about 10 hours of sleep at night, plus a nap. I experienced this last time as well as this time. It sucks, but again, I have the most amazing and patient husband ever. I really do. Nothing shows a man's true nature better than when you are in need. He has put the kids to bed every night. He has told me to go to bed when I couldn't keep my eyes open at 8. He has scolded me for doing too much and said, "Just tell me what to do and I will do it for you!"

So that helps a ton.

And I am hopeful that this surgery did the trick. Of course, there is also the lovely fact that since the mesh has been removed, that the job it was good at-helping me not pee my pants-is most likely done. I can't tell yet because of post-operative other stuff. But I knew that going into it. And I'd rather wear a pad the rest of my life than have it hurt when I sit down.

And bonus, since this surgery will cause us to meet our 1000 dollar deductible(yay us), there is nothing stopping  me from getting the last bits removed by an orthopedic surgeon if need be.

Well, there is one thing that might postpone it at least. We're moving!!!

We're listing our house tomorrow, and when it sells, we are moving to Ellensburg.

The timing of having my house ready for pictures tomorrow is unfortunate since I am not supposed to lift more than 5 pounds or vacuum for the next few weeks.

But, we didn't plan this. When I scheduled my surgery, we didn't know we were moving yet.

So wish me luck today as I attempt to clean and ready my house without being able to lift anything, while taking Vicodin, AND most likely needing a nap.

And I will tell you all more about what led to the sudden decision to change our entire lives tomorrow. After the pictures have been taken.

Oh and one more thing. Please don't have this surgery. I know there are people who it has been successful for. But do a bit of research, and you will see that statistically the chances are that you could be in the same boat as me. And let me tell you, I wish I could get off this boat-drop anchor and run.

After the surgery to remove the mesh, my pain did not get better. So my next option was something called vaginal physical therapy. Didn't know that was a thing? Yeah, neither did I. But apparently there are angels on earth who do this work. It was uncomfortable both emotionally and physically for me and I had to ask someone to help watch my kids for 2 months worth of appointments but it helped tremendously. But add it to the list of things I wish to never repeat. And add to it to the list of strange, previously unknown things that I'm extremely grateful for. Also, 3 years later, I still have some pain. Not sure if it will ever go away and if this is my new normal. But at least its better.

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