Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Break Pictures

Here are the pictures of our Spring Break that I talked about in the last post.

Emily shooting the little .22 Dan & Em baiting with some live minnows.

Our little fisherman. Notice he has no pants on - soaked those and his shoes within the first 5 minutes. He's trying to get the hang of it under daddy's tutelage. Didn't last long :)

Emily's catch of the day!! She's still thrilled.

Em teaching David how to pull the trigger.

Vern, Dan and David (3 generations). The kids with Vern and his girlfriend Barbara.

Em petting a baby alligator. David steering the sailboat - is that the tiller?????

Not really sure the name of this, but they are pulling it and the ?? paddle wheels are spinning; like in a riverboat. Then Em is walking through space... The floor was space - black, tons of stars. It was actually a little weird to walk through it.

The kids are being flies on the wall. The things in their hands stick to the wall and simulate a flies legs. Then David is just hanging out.

David loving the domino table and Emily trying to pull herself to the top with this rope.

Emily trying to see if she can throw a fastball. David watching the balls "magical float".

David "vacuuming" his hair. Dan's astronaut dream coming true!!

The kids are trying to lift an engine. The kids are riding the pump up chair. It goes kind of high.

Tornado tower was boring!! David made a girlfriend - we ran into her family all day.

I wanted to take this piano home.

David blowing bubbles in Jace's hair. Roar looking cute.

Jace watching all the bubbles come out of the bubble machine.

Whew, It's Been A While

I just realized it's been 12 days since I've posted. Sorry about that. It's been a crazy 12 days!!! Let's see if I can catch yall up. The last I blogged was a rant on my back... Well to update that I'm out of the "pity-party" phase, but things with my back are worse than I originally thought. The easiest way to explain it is my muscles are all messed up from all they've had to deal with from the back issues and boot camp on top of that has put me back several steps. I've now been lectured by two doctors and my Physical Therapist - all essentially saying the same thing, which is: are you crazy to be doing this less than 6-months out of back surgery. So I am in therapy for a yet to be determined amount of time and the only exercise I can do is light cardio (walking and recumbent bike). My therapist is doing some serious muscle work and chiropractic manipulations and acupuncture and it is KILLING me. I am in so much pain - it has to be done though and the end result should be great, it's just the getting there that sucks!! And it takes up so much of my time - UGH - as if I wasn't already a little stretched with our business going crazy. Anyway, on to the rest of what we've been up to.

Last week was Spring Break for the kids. We started off our week by heading to Texas on Saturday to see Dan's dad. He lives in Carthage, which is right across the Texas line - just past Shreveport, LA. The town he lives in is so small they don't even have a super-wal-mart. Sad :) We visited and hung out mostly - I read alot. One afternoon we took the kids out to some land owned by a family friend. We fished for a while. Emily caught a huge catfish (pics next post), she was really proud of herself. I had to help steady the rod, but she pretty much pulled it in herself. After the fishing we shot a few cans with a little .22 rifle. Emily's a great shot and David even did a little shooting (with help of course). It was fun for the kids and of course something we don't typically do. We left on Tuesday and stopped at the Sci-Port in Shreveport. It's one of those discovery/science museum things with an IMAX theatre. We "played" in the museum and saw two of the movies. The kids, and well me and Dan too, had alot of fun. The stop there made for a heck of a late night drive coming back home, but it was worth it.

Wednesday we had to sleep half the day to recover from the drive and Thursday we just hung around the house and worked on laundry, etc. Friday I had PT and then the kids and I met up with Leslie and kids for some play time. David and Jace continue their love/hate relationship, which always entertains me. And Emily is in love with Rory and who could blame her since "Roar" is such a doll!

Our weekend was a pretty quiet one. Emily was with her mom. On Saturday Dan took David to the barber shop and they got hair-cuts. Then they did some shopping and picked up lunch. It was such a treat for me to sit here in quiet! I drank coffee and read a book - sheer luxury :). Sunday we just piddled around the house doing chores and Dan worked in the yard.

Sunday afternoon was nice. Emily came back for the evening and Leslie and family came over. We kept the kids outside for awhile playing on the swingset, chasing bubbles, dangling their feet in the pool and drawing with sidewalk chalk. Then we moved things inside and made homemade fajitas. YUMMY!!!

Today things headed back to normal. The kids went back to school, which I must admit was GREAT - ha ha. I had two doctors appointments though so that took up most of my day. Aside from that I worked on business stuff.

Things are crazy with our business right now (in a good way). And I've got to get my taxes to the accountant before bad things happen!! I've decided I have got to make myself an actual work schedule. I get so caught up being a stay at home wife and mother that I tend to let my work responsibilities slide... Oops!! So my new goal is to better manage my time. It amazes me that I used to be in a pretty high position with my job and managed my time like a champ, but now I can't seem to get it done right. And if you want to know the truth - I'm ready to get to work. I want to be more of a benefit to our business as we grow and I miss the sense of ownership/fulfillment/satisfaction/etc. I had when I was working.

Last little note tonight - for my wonderful friends who think I've fallen off the face of the earth this past week... I am still here. Just been a crazy few days. Heck - I've only been on FB once in over a week and I'm addicted LOL. I love and miss yall and will catch-up with you all via e-mail, phone or FB in the next couple of days.

Oh - I'll post pics of our vacation tomorrow. I haven't transferred them from the camera yet. Another thing I'm behind on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Never-Ending Saga of My Back

This post is probably going to sound a little whiny and for that I have to say upfront that I'm sorry. I don't usually whine, but sometimes, well I do. And like I've mentioned before one of the many reasons I started this blog was to have a place to vent or whine or have my own private pity party :-).

For those of you that don't know, I have some pretty serious back issues for someone as young as me. I have been in severe pain for years and have done more rounds of physical therapy than I can count + massages + meds + the pain management injections + acupuncture + chiropractor and there's probably more that I just can't remember over the years. Finally this past fall I had surgery. That was really tough and the recovery was hard!!! But about 2 months ago I started feeling good - it was amazing. I still had pain of course, you don't "cure" back problems, but it was such a dramatic difference I was like a new person. I have had some flair ups though, which they told me to expect, but the flair ups have increased since I started boot camp. I have also had some weird bruising on my back that is new. So I called the back doc and had new tests run and the diagnosis is I still have degenerative disc disease, I have lesions and atherosclerosis, I still have herniated discs and I have chronic pain. I will have this forever. The good news is the surgery is still "holding". I just have to take it easier than the average person. What this means for right now is 2 pain shots today, new meds and a new round of physical therapy.

While I can deal with that without a pity party. The reason for tonight's pity party is the impact my danged back has on boot camp. I am seriously over-weight and out of shape. I want to live to play with my grandchildren and I don't want serious health problems. I want to chase my son and catch him. I want to help my son practice sports as he gets older. I want to look good. This is why I started boot camp 7 weeks ago. So far I have felt mentally and physically better than I ever have (with the exception of the back flare-ups).

So today my doc (who is a fitness freak and who's daughter teaches boot camp in Auburn) was upset with me, actually had a conniption fit. The reason for this is my 6-day boot camp schedule and the intensity of those workouts. He said someone 6-months out of back surgery and with my back condition just cannot do that. He said maybe 3 days a week, working up to 4. I talked him into letting me do 4 days since I just did a 3-day, 6-week session. However, the stipulation is I have to take it back or lower the intensity quite a bit if I have a flair up.

You are probably thinking ok - what's the catch? Why is this bad news? Why the pity party? Well dang-it. I have tried many diets and exercise programs over the years and nothing has worked. I haven't had the will-power to keep up. Well this time I have. I'm happy, I love it. I'm making progress. I'm getting somewhere. I want to keep it going. I want to step it up. I'm getting stronger. I'm increasing my stamina. For all these reasons I worked out a new regime with my trainer to be with her 6 times a week. Resting on Sunday. Now I can't do that. I know that 4 days a week is still great. I still need to be proud. I'll still get stronger. I'll still make progress. It just may not be as fast. And yes that will be ok.

But tonight it just makes me sad and mad!!! Hence the pity party. But tomorrow is a new day and a new attitude.

It will all be great, just a different great than I was looking forward to.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sometimes It Should Be All About You!!

So I think I am probably a typical SAHM wife and mother. 100% of my days and nights are filled with doing for my family. As most of you my typical day is mommy, wife, cook, cleaner, nurse, taxi driver and in my case employee since I also work here for our business. And don't misunderstand I love all those titles - I have a wonderful life - God has and continues to bless me in the greatest way. But (you knew there was going to be a but didn't you?!)...

Sometimes for sanity, peace, further contentment, identity, etc. it should be about me. So I decided that after completing my 6-week boot camp that I would "pamper" myself a little. I came up with this idea after being so proud of myself for completing the boot camp and doing pretty well. Dan and I had talked about setting short-term goals and rewarding myself when I met them. So in that vein I had a pedicure and dinner with my girlfriends on Friday night. Saturday I went and had my hair cut and highlighted and then had a manicure and then had my make-up done and purchased all new stuff (which I did truly need anyway). Keeping in this pampering myself theme I had a massage scheduled for today, but when I got there and they saw this new flair-up with my back they couldn't do it (I see the doc Wed. and hopefully get this resolved). So instead I went to the tanning salon and tanned and bought a package so I can get some color. Wow - I have never treated myself like this, I'm so excited!!!! I mean I have had all these things done before, but never together. I think my last make-up purchase was 2 years ago, my last massage 3 years ago, my last manicure - who knows, my last pedicure October and my last trip to the tanning salon was 8 years ago... The only thing that I stay fairly current on is my hair and heck, I was 2 months over-due on that.

It amazes me how we like to keep our homes clean, cook nice meals for our family, dress our children in cute clothes, keep their hair cut, nails in great shape, etc. but we tend to neglect ourselves. So my new "spring resolution" is to treat myself better. As I talked about last post the new boot camp session started tonight (Monday) and with going 6 times a week I will have 36 sessions with my trainer. When (not if!!) I complete this session I will be pampering myself again.

The thing I have not neglected for myself is time. I have a weekly Bible study with a group of great women, I have a monthly Bunco night with another group of great women and I have random shopping trips and an occasional dinner with the girls.

And you know what? I have realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that these things make me a better wife and mother. When you have the chance to be who you are (in my case Michelle LOL) and not be mommy or wife it is a good thing. Don't get me wrong - those two are my favorite and preferred identities, but sometimes I just need to be me!!!

You want to know something else about all this "me" stuff? My husband loves it and he's happier when I do it because I'm happier. It's also great for David because I am rejuvenated after taking time for myself and that makes the time with him better. My stress level is so low and I am just so darn happy!!!

Well enough about just me HA HA. I do have a David story to share with you tonight...

David has difficulty listening, not from a physical point of view - totally from a hard-headed point of view. The biggest issue we have and his teacher has is listening. We talk about it alot and he usually tells me "listening is hard!". Well today when I picked him up from preschool he came running to me glowing with a big grin on his face. I'm thinking aww, isn't this sweet, he's so happy to see me. No - his excitement was for himself. He yells out to me, "mommy, I listened today!!!!!!!". He was so proud of himself. I looked to his teacher for confirmation and she nodded and said he had a very good day. I am so proud of him, maybe he is finally getting it. Dan made a really big "to-do" over him this evening about it. We are hoping this positive attention and reinforcement will help this behavior continue.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Boot Camp Update

Well as some of you know I have been taking my first ever boot camp class. The class ran for 6-weeks, 3 nights a week. It was pretty hard for me because prior to that I was a couch potato. I had started and quickly stopped many things and I was dealing with the back issue from hell and then back surgery. But... drum roll please - I made it through. The class ended on Friday with our final assessments. The "final" included several exercises we had done on the initial night to see if we could do more reps, run faster, etc. and it also included weight and measurements. My results were improvement in all of the exercise areas and I lost 12 pounds and almost 15 inches. My reward for the 6 weeks was a pedicure and dinner out with the girls and next week I'll get a massage.

Then on to the next session. Yep - I'm gonna do it again and probably again and again :). I have a long way to go. And no rest for the weary, the new session for me actually started this morning at 7:30. This session, in addition to the 3 nights a week class I've been doing, I am going to the Saturday morning class and adding personal training with her on Wednesday & Friday mornings. That will give me six days a week with Lucy and Sunday will be my rest day!!!

So those of you who have been silently and/or vocally cheering me on and those of you who have been praying for me, keep it up. I want to continue to have willpower and I want my back to cooperate. It has been flaring up lately and it has me a little nervous. I'm not stopping though - I am just avoiding the particular exercises that cause problems and Lucy is very helpful to give me an alternative.

Emily's Bad Day and David's Friend

Well today was a big day for Emily. In her almost 13 years of life this was probably one of the biggest. Cheerleading tryouts after school and then her Winter Formal tonight. She had practiced and practiced for tryouts and had the perfect dress for the dance (pics on that to come later). So yesterday she was home sick with a virus. She went to school today, not feeling great. Made it through tryouts before getting sick outside after. Then she went home for chicken soup and rest and to get all dressed up for the dance. When they arrived back at the school to take her to the dance the cheer results were posted - she didn't make it. She had a good attitude and said she was disappointed, but ok. She went into the dance with her friends and then called her mom 1/2 an hour later - she had gotten sick again. Bless her heart - I just hurt so bad for her. What a horrific day!!!! She's with her mom this weekend and I know she'll get plenty of TLC, but Dan and I wish we could comfort her!!

David has a good friend named Jace. She's the oldest daughter of my girlfriend Leslie. Jace is almost 3 and David is almost 4 and I swear they have the funniest love / hate relationship. When they are apart they ask for each other often. David even woke up the other morning talking about her, he had evidently dreamt of her. Today we saw them at three locations: boot camp assessment, McDonald's and then our house. The problem is they can't get this playing together thing down pat. Both of them have given up naps so they are tired and cranky children in the afternoons and they tend to drive each other batty. But if you separate them and the play date is over they are sad and want to be back with the other. It's really cute. Here are a few pics of them from today riding in David's battery truck. I got this for a steal at consignment!! (Gotta love a deal).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lot's of Misc. Thoughts

Friends are the lifeblood of a happy life. After God and family they are what makes us smile, get out of the house, answer the phone, go to the Y and all that stuff that we need to do to lead full lives. Like most of you I have old friends, new friends, acquaintance friends, best friends, etc. I love them all in different ways. They truly complete my life. I even have past friends - I jokingly refer to it as being divorced LOL. Each and everyone of my past and current friends has touched some aspect of my life and I'm glad they were in it. Actually, I'm glad some are out of it too, but I learned things and experienced things having known them.

One of the reasons for the talk of friends tonight is I spent some time today with one of my dear friends who is moving away. I've had quite a few friends move away in the past year or more and there are three (counting this one) that I became really close too and truly miss. I thank God they came into my life and that there is such great technology out that we can easily stay in touch and keep up with each other's lives and children. Jennifer and Charly I miss you guys and Jessica I'm gonna miss you too!!!

Emily's cheerleader tryouts are re-scheduled for this Friday afternoon from like 3:30 until. They will post the results later that night. That Friday night she also has her Spring Formal at school. 7th grade and they are wearing formal dresses. Amazing!! Her dress is beautiful - "Annie" (grandma/Barbara) bought it and I can't wait to show you guys pictures. Oh, I can't remember if I told you about the two boys she's interested in and that she was hoping one would ask her (they are both in 7th grade as well). It turns out neither is going to the dance so she's just going with her friends. And heck, as us "old women" know - she'll probably have tons more fun with the girls!!

David has been very trying today (more details on that in a minute). I kept him out of school so far this week because honestly I just wanted to be with him. I think getting accepted into "big-boy" school at Holy Cross has made me truly face that he's growing up and that as of August of this year our ability to have free days and just play are over!! I'm happy and sad at the same time. I'm sure everyone goes through this when their babies grow up. So anyway - David and I went over to Leslie's today to help Jessica watch Leslie and Lauren's kids. It was a great time being with my friends and their kids, but David was in rare form - the combination of over stimulation (7 kids) and my presence seem to bring out the "monster" in him. I had to spank him and put him in time out a few times. Then everyone had gone and it was just he and Jace, my friend Leslie's oldest daughter - and he bit her!! It was horrible - I was mortified and so angry at him. He didn't break the skin, but I think poor Jace is going to have a heck of a bruise. I'm like what is the deal and where did my child go. Just last week his teacher is bragging about how respectful he was and how he was never aggressive and always used kind words... Hello - who was the kid I had today. Then this evening he was acting horrible!! My dear friend Kim came by for a visit (she is truly one of his favorite people in the world) and he said something smart when she walked in and then never spoke to her again. So, I put him in bed before 7:00 and of course he went right to sleep. Exhaustion being the obvious culprit of the day. I tell you I pride myself on being fairly easy-going with him and picking my battles and trying to stay positive, etc. Well today I felt like our whole relationship was based on negativity - me saying no, spanking, time-out, etc. I DO NOT like days like today and I know he doesn't either. All that said, I have two things I can assure you of - this will be a major part of my bedtime prayers and the boy will go back to school tomorrow LOL! Whew - felt good to get that off my chest, which is why I started this blog :)

Dan is going great this week. Working hard as usual. He has some new irons in the fire and is working on acquiring a few additional properties for us, which will DOUBLE our size. Exciting and terrifying at the same time. I am already drowning in paperwork LOL. I'm so proud of him though - he works really hard and has for a long time and for his dream to finally be alive and growing is great. God as truly blessed us in that we have a successful business and Dan loves doing the work and it enables me to both take care of my family and keep a hand in the "work life" that I gave up when David came along. Another thing that makes me proud of Dan's success is he is a really fair employer and if these new deals work out and we double our size that means we'll also be hiring more employees!!

My dad is recovering well and just resting and gaining back his strength. We are still praising God that he is such a miracle!!

My SIL's mom was diagnosed last week with breast cancer. It seems I cannot get away from this disease no matter where I turn. I know though that her mom is healthy and her cancer was found early and the strides made in breast cancer care in the past decade are mind-boggling. So with great medical care and a loving God and lots of prayer I know she'll be just fine. Never-the-less it is a scary thing to go through and I ask that you lift up their whole family in prayer for peace and strength to fight the battle.

A member of my SAHM's group was pregnant with twin girls, 24 weeks. She lost the babies yesterday and had to go through a c-section today. I cannot even find words to imagine a tragedy such as this. I truly know (from personal experience) and I truly believe that God called these precious little girls home early. He has his reasons and we'll know one day. But - in the short-term and heck even the mid-term that does not make the loss any easier to deal with. Please pray for their family as well and ask for peace and comfort.

I'm having an unusual week. I'm happy about miracle dad and always happy about miracle Dan, but this past Friday was the 10-year-anniversary of my mom's death to breast cancer... So, I have been unusually sensitive to things and a little more sad than usual. I think I big part of what has me down too is my back. It's done great since my surgery and I've been like a new person. But this week it is flaring up and all the pain is back with a vengeance. I had truly forgotten how much significant and constant pain can affect your attitude and personality. And it depresses me a little to think that possibly the whole surgery was for naught and now here I am back in the same situation. I'm praying that it is just a bizarre thing, but I don't feel real confidant in that regard. But as my "heroine" Scarlett says - tomorrow is another day :). I've taken some major pain meds, vented here on the blog, will take the boy to school tomorrow, go to boot camp tomorrow night and bible study with the girls after. I'm approaching the day with a positive attitude and hopefully it'll be a great, pain-free day!!