Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Life Update

Hey guys. I know it has been a minute since I have blogged. A lot has happened over September, October and this half of November. Between being busy, dealing with appointments and not feeling well, I had to let go of blogging. 

The kids have been doing great in school. C Girl is flourishing in middle school. B Boy is having a fantastic fourth grade year.  His fall baseball season just ended. He had an incredible coach and it was the best season so far. He overcame some batting issues and his confidence soared under his coach. The boys got so much better by the end of the season and they are starting to look like big boy baseball players! 

I've been involved on the boards of the PTO at both schools. It has busy periods but it hasn't been too overwhelming. I haven't been as busy with church this fall. I did one Bible study for 6 weeks, but I didn't participate in the second study session. I've had to miss several things because of either baseball or health. I know this is just a season, but I miss my friends!

I finally had my MRI in September. I received the results from that and set up an appointment with my local doctor. He determined that I am still having symptoms after treatment and that my case is more complex than surgeons here are used to. I was referred to a GI doctor at the IBD Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
It took weeks, phone calls, medical records being sent, test discs being sent, records being reviewed all before I finally had an appointment. 

October was busy with school stuff, Tim attended the Master Principal Academy, Mr. Overstreet turned 100 (!!!), there were tons of fall activities (pumpkin patch, fall parties, fall carnivals, and Halloween!), and my nephew's 5th birthday party. I also found out that the girl I mentor was moving to another town. We were both so sad. I will miss her!

November has been busy itself already. C Girl had a Veterans day choir program and I have had multiple PTO meetings. I had a 4th grade mother/son movie night with B Boy. And, of course, I voted in the presidential election. I think everyone has enough opinions on that so I don't need to add anything more to it.

On November 9th, I had my appointment with Dr. Gutierrez in St. Louis. We instantly loved Dr. Gutierrez. She is sharp as a tack and so warm & friendly. We talked through my history and she had reviewed my scans. She concurs with what both GI doctors in Arkansas concluded: it's believed that there is no active disease (yay Humira for doing its job!) HOWEVER, I have scarring, strictures and fistulas from the disease being active for so many years without treatment. These are the things that are causing my continued symptoms and things that cannot be fixed with medication. Dr. Gutierrez also recommended surgery. She believes that after surgery and continuing treatment, I will feel normal for potentially the rest of my life!!!! 🎉🎉🎉 She contacted the surgeon (who is consistently on America's best doctors list!) and was able to have her come by to see me today and schedule the surgery!!! 🙌🏻 What an answer to prayer! That eliminated another trip to St. Louis.
My surgery is scheduled for November 30th and hopefully they will only have to remove 8-12 inches of bowel. Most likely, I would be in the hospital 2-4 days with travel days before and after.


I'm very excited, but also very nervous. The surgery will be in a town over 5 hours away and I will be there away from the kids. It's hard to give over complete control of your life!

I have started a new Instagram account where I share about Crohn's and how I live my life with this disease. You are welcome to come over and follow along to see that and get more awareness of this disease---    https://www.instagram.com/_lifewithcrohnsdisease_/


Here's a few photo highlights from the past couple of months-
4th Grade Musical!
B Boy pitched in some games this fall!
Our garden continued to produce until November!!!
Donuts with Dad!
We have a show that we watch together- This is Us. We LOVE it!
My sweet nephew turned 5!
Sweet Sissy Girl!
C Girl did a lot of homework at the ball fields this fall!
A cute Harry Potter and a sweet scarecrow girl!
Fun at Right Choices Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze!
Trick or treating!
Undefeated season!!! Go Crushers!
Girlie was proud of her choir shirt before the Veterans day program
The supa moon
Native American project that B Boy completed
Lots of lab work and tests this fall
We love the veterans in our family and are thankful to all the men and women who have and are serving our country!
Thankful for a great doctor visit!
Mother/Son Movie Night! We watched the new Jungle Book movie.
This past weekend, my brother took his son and my two kids for the night! Jessica and I got to hang out for an entire day alone! It was so great! We haven't been able to spend as much time together this year and I've missed her terribly!
We are switching a couple of kids soon- I'll take Parker and she will take C Girl for an aunt sleepover!
It will probably be a while post surgery before you hear from me again!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, September 2, 2016

August

August has literally flown by and it was chock-full of happenings! I haven't made blogging a priority and this is going to be a different sort of post than I'm used to doing. For one I just can't share all of the photos from the month because there would be too many. I will share a few. Let's get this started! 

August began with our church's annual clothing giveaway. I am always so honored to join my family and work this amazing event that blesses hundreds of families in our community.

The new Harry Potter book came out and we waited for our book to arrive and B Boy was so thrilled when it finally arrived. He read it in 2 days! It was written in screenplay form, but I loved reading it like that. It was a great story!

I am on the boards of both my kiddos' school PTO's. For one PTO, I'm a co-treasurer and the other one, I'm the secretary. The month began with lots of meeting and preparing for a BTS teacher lunch at the elementary and a BTS teacher breakfast for the middle school. We also got ready for open house at both schools and both PTO's had tables to promote membership and sell merchandise. It was a very busy couple of weeks! I've been busy as secretary compiling the membership and volunteer forms and inputting that into our spreadsheet. We also sell spirit wear that we have to keep up with orders for. As treasurer, I've been helping with deposits and other events we have at school. Yesterday, we had a "Muffins with Mom" event at the elementary. It was a raging success. Over 800 people attended!!! That includes the moms and kids. We definitely learned a few things that we will implement for our Donuts with Dad event. I also run the social media for one of the PTO's. It's busy but I so enjoy being involved and becoming friends with the moms I get work with all the time!

We did quite a bit of swimming this summer! We swam weekly at the city pool and went to the community center often. The kids are such fish now! B Boy has been teaching himself the backstroke and other tricks in the water. He loves to jump in from the side too! C Girl is more conservative in the water and she must get that from me! The kids were both shocked when they saw me swimming in the pool. They did not know I knew how to swim!!! I thought that was SO funny. I do like to hang out in chairs by the pool and read and often when I am in the water, I just hang out without swimming around much. It brought to my attention that I needed to swim with them more!

I mentioned earlier in the summer that we planted a garden. It was our first foray into gardening with the kids. Tim & I had a garden very early in our marriage, but that was long ago!  We had a large learning curve and boy, did we learn a lot! We ended up having to move the cucumbers because they were taking over and we had to tear out the squash because they weren't producing and taking nutrients from other plants. What it surprising to me is that we planted a little late and our garden is the healthiest it has been the entire summer. The last month, it has been so green and producing food left and right! We have lettuce, green beans, green peppers, cucumbers and carrots! We also have a tomato plant that is finally just now producing. Tomato plants need the nights to get below 75 degrees or they won't produce. I think it's likely that we will have fall tomatoes and even fall produce from the garden. That works for me! I'm just so happy that we grew food from seeds - it's so satisfying!

We took July off of C Girl's piano lessons and we began with a new instructor in August. Her previous instructor got married and then moved so we found a teenager whose mom works with Tim. C Girl seems to really like her! I'm just so glad she is still wanting to continue learning. I think it will be so valuable for her to have that skill!

As I mentioned, we had Open House at the schools on the Thursday before school began. With B Boy, he got the same teacher that C Girl had last year so we are very familiar with her and that felt so comfortable! C Girl on the other hand, was beginning middle school so that is all unfamiliar territory for us! She has a homeroom teacher and then rotates to other classes with her homeroom group. She has a male homeroom teacher and that really weirded her out at first! She has to come to find it totally normal (her literacy teacher is male too) and he teaches science and that's her favorite. We went one night this week to a "Walk in my Shoes" night where we got to go through her schedule and meet her teachers. I really enjoyed that!  C Girl is LOVING middle school! I have been telling people that she was born for this! She loves the increased independence and responsibility. I can't wait to see how the year plays out!
Most of us were looking forward to the first day of school! I think B Boy would love to be at home 24/7! Momma was very excited to have a little alone time again! I needed my schedule back. I LOVED our semi-lazy summer but it was definitely time to get back on track! Look at these cuties!
Backing up a bit- B Boy turned 10 on the Saturday before school began! I can't believe I have two kids with double digit ages! How did this happen! We had his birthday at a place in Fayetteville called Arkadia Retrocade. It is an arcade with tons of retro video games. You pay $5 to enter and you can play all the games you want for as long as you want. He had a few friends at the party and they had the best time playing the games! Tim loved being able to play childhood favorites, Q bert and Pac Man! 
C Girl turned 11 on Tuesday of the first week of school. She had asked for a sleepover for her party and we scheduled that for the Friday of the first week of school. Tim had a back to school party at his school after the day ended and when he got home, he took B Boy to a Naturals game so that they would be out of the house for most of the party. C's theme for the party was "flowers." We had a couple of crafts (the girls hot glued flowers on plain headbands and we made elastic hair ties.) They also painted their nails, did a photo booth and watched a movie. They had such a fun time! We had tacos for dinner and of course, cake!
The next day, we had a little party with family who came to celebrate with us. It is a busy week having 3 parties, so I have tried to be very low key with the gathering for the family. It's still very important to us because we know that family wants to see us and we certainly want to see them. We love to celebrate the births of these children who were miracles to our family. The odds were not always good for the outcome, but we were blessed with two beautiful, healthy kiddos and I never take that for granted. I'm so thankful that they have grown up knowing both sides of our family and feeling such love from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. That is a treasure.
Since C Girl turned 11 before September 1st, she was due for some vaccinations. I scheduled them and it ended up being during the first week of school. It was rough. She is terrified of needles. My heart was breaking the entire time. I'm so glad I asked Tim to meet us there. I don't think we would have got it done without holding her down if he hadn't of been there. We will have to go through this again with the boy next year :-/

I'm still mentoring the same girl I was with last year. She was SO happy to see me the first week of school! I was so happy to see her too! I tell C Girl about her and C wants to meet her so badly! Hopefully someday! She is a joy to talk to and we have been playing games after she eats lunch each time. I hope to encourage more people to be a mentor in their local schools!

Baseball has begun for the fall! B Boy is very excited! He has had a few practices already and his first game next weekend. Church activities start back up after Labor day, so it is going to be the busy season again. I love fall though! Football is back! The Razorbacks have their first game tomorrow! We signed up for Playstation Vue so we have the Espn's, the SEC network and the NFL network - the boys are in heaven!

We have been working for months to get me scheduled for an MRE (this is a type of MRI that can see in more detail and emits less radiation. UAMS is the only facility in the state that has this capability.) I had my appointment with a GI doctor there towards the end of August. His assessment after examining me and going over health records is that he believes my Crohn's is in a more fibrous state than inflammation. My last CT showed areas of thickening of the intestinal wall and diverticuli-pouches in the intestines. This indicates that food cannot get through well or at all and is straining my intestines. This would explain the continued bloating, fatigue and pain that I experience. He has scheduled the MRE, but has also recommended surgery to resect the problem areas. The test will give doctors a better idea of what is going on before going in for surgery. My test is scheduled in mid-September and the surgery would be scheduled after that (no dates as of now.) Surgery can give years of remission so this can be a really good thing! We will see what the results of the test show!

On a final note- I think the blog posts here may look a little different from here on out. It is a combination of it not being a huge priority right now and that my kids are getting older and I want to respect their privacy if they request that. I will still write about what we do, but I may not share as many details or stories. We will see how it goes. This blog is a treasure to me and I love looking back at old posts. You forget so much the older you get and it always brings memories back to me! 

Happy September and happy football season! Go Hogs!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Our summer

Our summer has been a little different from summers in the past. 
1. I have older kids. It's just different with kids that are older. Can I get an amen?
2. I planned to keep it very low key. I wanted my kids to experience boredom.
3. We planned to help the kids become more independent. 
I think we accomplished our goals!
We had so much fun and made a lot of memories!

In early July, Tim's nephew and wife welcomed their first baby!
The kids took part in the summer reading program through the library. They read a ton of books this summer!
We also did a lot of swimming. The kids learned to swim really well last summer, so we did not have swimming lessons this year! We had fun just swimming! Yay!
C Girl still does not like to be in water where she can't touch the bottom, but honestly, neither do I!
B Boy is a certified fish! He has even been working on the backstroke!
We redid C Girl's room as her big birthday gift this year. This is a before picture.
More swimming!
Almost every Sunday in July, we have went together to the city pool.
Tim and the kids did a LOT of bike riding this summer. B Boy loves to go on really long rides with him. They even have code names for their routes!
C Girl LOVES to be in the kitchen. B Boy, not quite as much but we are still making him learn stuff!
We also had the kids begin really cleaning up the kitchen after meals.
The kinds of faces that I get from this girl. Sigh.
She is something else.
B Boy finally got to attend the Pokemon club at the library. He was in heaven!!!
This night, we had C Girl make dinner for us! She cooked spaghetti!
We missed doing a lot of hikes in the spring since I wasn't well. We had this hike on our summer bucket list (I love having these. We haven't checked everything off and probably won't, but it's fun to look at this list and plan fun things!) and this view was worth the trip!
And on the subject of my health, I am doing pretty well at the moment. The Humira seems to be keeping my Crohn's symptoms at bay. I am on a couple of other meds to help with some other issues I had been having that are not connected with my Crohn's. I'm thankful to be in a good place right now. I have been off of dairy for over a year now, but lately, I have limited my breads, sugars, and almost cut out soda. That seems to be helping a lot too. I had gained weight since my surgery in November and flare up in the spring. I had not exercised in a really long time. I've now began exercising again and with the diet changes, I am losing weight, but most importantly feeling better.

These two had a great dental exam!
Keith, Jessica and little P came for a visit! We have missed having them here with us so much!!!!
We went to the Amazeum one evening while they were here.
We all had a great time.
These three cousins had such a fun time together!
We can't not go to Target!
And we made a trip to Cabela's!
B Boy ended up going home for two nights with Keith, Jessica and P!
This was his first solo trip away from home!
They were like brothers!
Tim and I were able to have a date night on Friday night while both kids were gone!
These next pics are a little out of order. Sorry! Didn't want to go back and fix them!
B Boy and I met friends at High Rise one day while C Girl was at church camp!
I also finished her bedroom!
This is the day she returned from church camp!
The Friday while B Boy was away, C Girl left for church camp! She was thrilled that one of her best friends was going this year!
Some of the soon to be 5th grade girls!!!
She had so much fun at camp and I'm so thankful that two of my friends (who are the momma's of girls the same age as C Girl) went as counselors for this group!
She was thrilled with the changes in her room!
 Grandma and Pop Pop came to visit one day. They love to look at our photo books.
 Tim took B Boy to his first concert at the AMP. They went to see Chris Stapleton!
 Another Sunday at the pool!
I posted this on Facebook: I don't know how I got so lucky with this man. He's my best friend, an amazing husband and an incredible dad. I've never once doubted that we are the most important thing in his life. He encourages me, he's a great teacher & leader, he's funny, he loves Jesus and I'm better for knowing him! He works so hard for our family and I felt like sharing his goodness today! 
💗
It's now August and the slowness of summer is over. Things are ramping up with back to school, PTO, church and birthdays! More on all of this soon!