Friday, May 30, 2008

Summertime, enter life as a stay at home wife...

These past couple of weeks have been wonderful. I've thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my parents, niece and nephews. My back continues to improve daily and I have no doubt that before the summer is over, I'll be fully repaired.

I returned to my doctor yesterday for my two-week recovery visit. He wrote out a prescription for me to begin physical therapy 2-3 times a week. I called today and made an appointment with one of the physical therapy businesses in my town.

I also called and set up a conference with a OB doctor in our town. Hopefully, we can get pregnant this summer and enlarge our family even more. Keep your fingers crossed for us on this account.

But let me tell you more about happenings up here in North GA. This week was the first week of summer vacation for the children. As a result, I offered to keep my niece during the day while my Momma finished up post-planning, & my sister, and Daddy worked.

We had so much fun, and as the week continued it only got better. Monday, Momma, Daddy and I vent out to a park for a family fun day. We met up with my nephew and his half sister and brother and parents. It was so much fun. I got icecream for the children and they had a blast playing, bouncing and getting balloon animals.

Tuesday, Annie and I met up with Jenni and her children at a park. Then Annie and I decided to follow their game plan for a while. In other words, we went to the library and then headed out the lake (beach) for a nice afternoon.

Later that afternoon, I decided it was time to head home and start supper. It just seemed right to me that since I've been feeling so much better that I should take on some of the responsibilities of the household as well. So from Tuesday onward, I cooked the meals, and helped to keep the household clean.

Wednesday night, this went a bit further and I helped my nephews get their bath and get ready to go to sleep. I tried my best to help them get to sleep, but unfortunately this was one of the evenings that they were determined not to do so. Even my parents had problems getting them to sleep...and that's unusual.

This morning, my family began making their final preparations to head out to Charleston for my cousin's wedding. Amazingly we got all of the children packed up and headed in the proper directions.

Yet, again I found myself feeling like a stay at home Mom. I helped the boys get dressed, brushed my niece's hair. Confirmed for my Mom that the clothes for each of the children looked acceptable, packed up snacks and games for the ride and kissed them each good bye.

The hardest part, of course, is that I won't be here when they get home. My husband is traveling up from South Georgia to take me home. Now, we'll stay here for a little bit...but nonetheless our departure time occurs before my parents, niece and nephews return.

So it will be different when I head back down to south Georgia, but I'm determined to fully embrace being a stay at home wife this summer. No there won't always be children to care for, but there will be fun things to do...and hopefully frugal ones since Josh and I are making plans to save money for various events that will be taking place in the fall.

Thus, far I've come up with a basic daily schedule and allocated time for free days each week. Plus, I've to find out when my family is traveling to Arkansas. I am going to tag along and spend some time with my Great-Aunt. I look forward to writing down family that these will be more easily able to be passed down through the generations.

And I'm looking forward to having my family visit with Josh and me during this summer. I want to take my niece and nephews to the parks (water and regular) around our town. Hopefully, each of the three will be able to spend some time with us. I just know that we'll all have a wonderful time when they visit.

Speaking of visits, I have to admit that one of my favorite parts about this trip has been spending time with my friend Jenni. Jen, is also a stay at home wife/mom. And you know, once I began being able to drive again (after the surgery) we've seen each other just about every day of my tenure up here. However, not only have Jenni and I had a wonderful time visiting, but Annie has even found a new friend in Jenni's little girl Lindsey. I can't count the number of times the two of them have asked about each other in the last few days. I think a true friendship has been formed there too, despite the five year age difference.

So even though I understand that my niece needs to be at our cousin's wedding, I can't help but wish that Annie was going to be around tomorrow to go to Lindsey's birthday party. But I can't in good conscience wish her away from her cousin Paige either. So regardless of where Annie is tomorrow I know she'll have a good time. And I know Josh and I will have fun tomorrow too. We are are going to the birthday party. Both of us can hardly wait. We just wish that we lived closer to Jenni and Danny. They are definitely some of our closest friends.

But moving on to a different subject, let me talk some more about the revelations that I've been having as I've been examining my life over these past few weeks, I've begun to realize that each of us in life has more than one calling. For instance, not only am I called to be teacher, but I also know that I'm called to be a wife and Mother. Needless to say, I am looking forward to being a stay at home wife this summer. It will be the first summer, I've not worked outside of the home since high school. And honestly, I can hardly wait for the day that I can be a full-time stay at home Mom. I know it may be several years before that is possible, and I know I won't stay at home for ever...because I'll feel called back into teaching, but I know I'll enjoy every moment that I'm simply the homemaker. And yes, I know that day will's just a matter of time. But I also know that the day will come that it's time to head back into the workforce outside the home, and when that day arrives I'm certain I'll be ready for it too.

However, in the meantime, I'm going to embrace each and every day as the gift that it truly is. I'm going to write letters to friends. I'm going to host cookouts. Perhaps, I'll persuade my husband to go camping. And honestly, I'm going to my hardest to fulfill the role that I've accepted for the summer, the role of a stay at home wife.

This means my mind, making sure that our home is a peaceful, relaxing sanctuary for my husband when he returns from a hard day of work. And you know...I am already enjoying my first summer as a homemaker.

And I hope you'll tune in for more revelations as our summer progresses.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Recovering from Surgery

Hi all-

Well the impossible has occured, or should I say a miracle has happened. :) I am officially fixed. When I awakened from surgery this last Thursday, May 15th I was no longer in pain. I can hardly believe it myself. After three months of severe agony it's gone. I'm no longer on pain killers, or muscle relaxants. I don't need a heating pad etc... and my hips are finally level again. I do believe they were going on being six inches different before the sugery. Thankfully, I'm fixed.

The surgeon, Dr. Paul Jeffords, told my parents and husband that there is very little disc still available at the level where I had the rupture since I've had two such massive ruptures there. He said that things would go either very well or very poorly. Thankfully, they are going spectacularly well!! And honestly it's like a new lease on life!! I'm loving it.

The first few days after surgery were rather quiet. It was an outpatient surgery so I was back at my parent's house by that afternoon. However, starting on Sunday things began to speed up. I had decided that I'd sat around long enough and so I got up and went to breakfast at church. Then church, then a reception, then took a walk, watched my niece jump on the trampoline and went to a Spring Musical Festival that Annie and Gabe (my niece and nephew) were singing in.

Yesterday, was another new day. Everyone around here headed off to school or work except for me and it was rather quiet during the day. I have to admit I'm certainly not used to that, even though I normally live so far from here, I do try to stay fairly busy. And I'm having a hard time imagining what this summer is going to be like. It's the first summer that I've not worked since well...since I graduated from high school. Can you believe that? Wow!!

However, I'm certain I'll find plenty to keep myself busy. Just like I am doing up here. For instance yesterday after everyone got home, we had an early supper and then Momma, Ellen and I headed out with Annie to her softball game. She won 17-7. Go Annie!!! She'll play again tomorrow on Ellen's b-day. It's hard to believe how quickly time passes now. Even harder to believe that I'm over 30 and Ellen is steadily heading that way. In fact, since Ellen traveled from her own apartment last night to the game she didn't even recognize me for a minute. She thought I was just another Mom watching her child during the game. It must have been the sunglasses, because surely I don't look that old. Just kidding! If my baby sister's little girl is old enough to be in that game, I'm definitely old enough to have a child doing the same...even though I don't.

Today and tonight bring more excitement. Annie has honors day at her school around lunch time and Daddy (Paw as the little ones call him) and I will be attending the program. Then this evening we are planning a picnic in the park right across the street from Gabe's pre-school. After all, he has preschool graduation tonight. Wow! How did he grow up so quickly?
Tomorrow, will of course be another busy evening, but probably a fairly quiet day. It's Ellen's b-day and I have to find something to give her. Then Annie and Gabe want to go to choir practice and Annie has another softball game. Ah the pace of life. Who knows what the rest of the week or weekend will bring.

Of course I do know that once I get back to Moultrie that life will continue at an interesting pace. I've got an AP certification workshop to attend this summer. My dear husband will be going to a technology conference in Vegas and Annie, Josh and I will be visiting France before all is said and done.
So as you can has begun to resume it's normal pace. And I do believe I'll be able to handler the slightly slower style of summer. I'll read a lot, go out for lunch a few times and try my best to make some wonderful memories.

And who knows, perhaps before the summer is over if we hold our mouths just right...and cross our fingers my dear husband and I may be expecting a that I'll carry longer than 10 weeks....or at least that's my dream for now.

I hope that as the school year winds up for you all that your pace of life also changes. And that you can enjoy summer just as much as I know my family and I will.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just one more day until surgery....

Hi all-

I'm sorry that I've not been as faithful thus far in May to keep you all posted as to our happenings as I was in April. It's been a fairly busy month in so many ways and an uneventful one in so many others. So I'll hit the highlights right off and then go into more detail about the things that need more detail. :)

* Yesterday, our niece called to let us know that she has exceeded the expected requirements in every subject on the CRCT. We are both SO proud of her! She was worried she wouldn't even pass them so she studied extra hard and it paid off. She aced each and everyone of these subject tests!

* We attempted to transplant two elm trees into other sections of our yard, but were unsuccessful.

They needed more care and water than we could provide. And honestly, the I don't think we got all of the roots up so they were destined to die anyway. However, ALL of the other flowers and plants are doing spectacularly well. I may ask my wonderful husband to take some new pictures for me this next week and email them to me so that I can share them all with you.

*We've attended two amazingly spectacular picnic's lately.

The first one was at the Arts Center. There were activities for children, musical entertainment for everyone present and the food provided was spectacular. From what I heard and saw there was even an opportunity to go to see a play, after the picnic called "School House Rock," but we opted out of it. We'd had an amazing time with some good friends and their children, but my back was acting up and I'd done all I could handle for the day.

The second picnic was hosted by St. Margaret's at one of the member's homes. It was also phenomenal, and yes there was wine. After all, as most of know the old joke when you have four or more Episcopalians together there's always a "fifth."

*I've purchased reserve seats to the Mercy Me concert as a gift to my husband!

Josh and I are both looking forward to this concert and I truly wanted to do something really nice for him since he does really spectacular things for me all the time, so I've reserved some good seats (no lawn chairs required this time) to the same concert venue where we recently saw Reba. I look forward to telling you all about this one later in June!

*My husband has to be the best husband in the world.

Not only has he taken care of me these past three months, without complaint, but just thinking back on what we've already endured together during these last seven months I find myself being overwhelmed. The loss of our expected baby, the loss of our yellow lab, and destruction of our washing machine, the many repair adventures and now my back problems. But one of the things that makes my husband the best is that he never fails to amaze me with his kindness and generosity. Nor does he fail to amaze me by surprising me in the most phenomenal ways. So when he left a dozen red roses for me on the bathroom counter a few days before Mother's day and I went to thank him, he told me they were for "Future Mother's Day" for a future mother. Wow! Isn't he awesome!

*Our church has received the delightful gift of a brand new church organ and we are all basing in the glow of the new music.

In fact, if you are in our dear little town in the near future, or more specifically on May 16th, I highly recommend that you drop in. They are hosting an organ concert and I have no doubt it will be phenomenal!

*We've had a wonderful visit with Josh's grandparents and extended family on Mother's Day.

We were invited to visit with them over lunch, but the church picnic was already scheduled so we simply decided to go to the family gathering afterwards and I'm so happy that we did. It was a lot of fun.

*Yesterday was my last day of school for this school year.

No , our school system isn't way ahead of the others in's not getting out early, but I am. I'm having surgery on Thursday at 8AM and the plan is for us to be heading home by noon. Who would have thought that we live in such a time that a person can have a major operation and still be home for supper? ha ha... But seriously, and thankfully the doctors in Atlanta have recommended a less invasive surgery than was suggested by the ones in our hometown, and the success rate and recovery time seem more positive with the Atlanta doctor's recommendations.

I'm sure you are wondering what they recommended so let me explain. TheDoctors believe that our best course of action will be to have another discectomy. They will go through my already existing incision (meaning that scar tissue will cause fewer problems) and remove the portion of the disc that has ruptured. Then they will simply sew me back up...put me in the recovery room and once I can tolerate the pain without morphine (in other words move on to oral painkillers) I'll be allowed to go home. I'm sure that I'll have to prove that I can walk and such too...and do a few other things, but nonetheless....we anticipate I'll have surgery in the morning and be at my parent's home by the afternoon.

It will take about two weeks before I'll begin to function more normally, but as each day passes things should improve. So I'm nervous, but quite excited. I don't have to wait much longer to have my back repaired again.

The other good news is that I only have a 10% chance of ever having another rupture and I'm clinging to this claim. But if I do...then he's trained in fusion and artificial I'm confident I'm dealing with the right surgeon.

As far as my school year ending early, obviously I had to take the time off to recover, but I will still be grading papers and recording grades and such. However, it seems so odd to be on Summer Vacation already. And seeing all of my dear 10th graders yesterday for the last time (as 10th graders) was tough. Thankfully though I will probably be teaching 11th grade next year so I have some of them again as students. And I have to admit it was really moving talking to students yesterday and hearing about how much I meant to them and such. Conversations such as these are definitely one of the most prized benefits of teaching.

As I come closer to ending this entry I have to brag about my dear husband again. He has been so wonderful through this whole experience. He's helped me move around, prop up my legs and has truly been my strength through enduring this whole "ruptured disc" experience again. I'm going to miss him horribly as I recover, since I'll be staying with my parents until I am more fully able to function after surgery. Why might I be doing this, I'm sure you're wondering. Well, honestly for a couple of reasons. First and foremost because I couldn't manage the trip back to our town immediately following surgery or honestly for a couple of weeks. Secondly, because my wonderful husband is in the midst of his busiest season of the work year and so it just makes sense to stay with my parents.

But let me also say this, as we begin to pack for this two week adventure, I found myself once again falling over from the compassion, love and caring that my husband always shows me. Not only did he personally place everything into the car, but he told me to pull movies out of his private collection so that I would have stuff to keep myself entertained. He programmed my laptop so that I could use it at my parents (online) as well. And he continued to be my rock through this all. I truly don't know and can't even imagine how I spent so many years without this wonderful man in my life. I do know, that I sincerely hope I will never spend another one without him...

*With that in mind, last but not least, we finally got our wedding photos back. Momma and I are going to work on putting the album together and I can hardly wait. Simply sharing these photos with everyone has been wonderful, and yes it's so refreshing even during this scary and difficult time to have this tangible symbol springing forth to remind us how our lives are bound together.

Finally, let me say, thank your to all of you who have offered me your prayers, support and encouragement as I've struggled to carry on a normal life these past three months. I can't begin to tell you what it means to me. I also can't begin to imagine how much I'm going to enjoy spending two wonderful weeks with my niece and nephews while I recover. And I'm looking forward to a spectacular summer. I can hardly wait to share it all with you as the details unfold. So let's all hang on tight, keep the prayers alive and enjoy this fantabulous ride. After's summer vacation y'all!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Home Alone and Gardening inspiration!

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to many of you that I simply couldn't force myself to stay in bed for a full week or on bed rest for that amount of time. Although, even if I was the type of person to be okay staying on the couch or bed for extended period of time, the fact that my husband was going out of town for the majority of the week meant that I would have been alone in bed or on the couch for twenty-four hours a day. Needless to say, that wasn't flying very well with me. So as of this last Monday, I headed back to school.

Honestly, I was particularly nervous going back to school because I was uncertain whether or not I'd be able to make the drive there without excruciating pain. I truly hoped my dear husband would just say, "It's okay, I'll drive you." But he didn't, and looking back, I'm glad he didn't. My freedom and movement is back!

Now before you start thinking that I've had surgery and I've recovered, don't get your hopes up. That's not happened. However, we are heading up to Atlanta this week to meet with the doctors up there and assuming everything goes according to plan, my last day of school this year will be on the 12th of May and I'll have surgery in Atlanta on the 14th or 16th Yay!

And it's been interesting trying to plan for the remainder of the school year, while knowing that I'll be out for the last or so. But so far I've made plans for my student's work to get to me. I've had the technology specialist set the grading program on my laptop so that I can grade work from home, and I've made arrangement for having my grades exported so that my students will get their yearly averages on time.

Having done all of this adult, responsible stuff in order to prepare for my impending surgery, I find myself having to admit that there's that little bit of excitement within me that jumping for joy that my surgery is just around the corner. There's also the childlike part of me that is particularly excited that my summer break begins early. A long summer! YES! So soon, friends I will be on the mend and raring to go like never before. I can hardly wait to be able to do all the things that my body won't let me do right now. I know I still have a month or so until my body will let me cut loose and do whatever, but nonetheless the light is shining brightly through the end of the tunnel.

However, all of this back illness hasn't slowed me down as much as some of you may think. In fact, it's inspired a new hobby. What hobby, you may ask? Gardening. Now I know you're thinking, but y'all had a garden last year and you've already planted this year's and told us all about it.

So let me explain. But other than the garden we truly had no real landscaping done in our yard. However, as you know my Mother-in-law started helping us begin to do some landscaping when we offered and truly made a flower bed for us in our front yard (complete with landscaping timbers.

Then a couple of weekends later she dug out around one of our pine trees and planted flowers around it. Last weekend we added pine straw around the flowers because they were frying in the sun and the moisture in their soil was evaporating too quickly.

And in between these ventures she brought us four pots of flowers. Two for the front porch and two large pots to sit by the back door.

(Flowers by the front door above) You can see the flower pots by the back door in the same picture that you see the flowers around the trees by the back door.

With all of this yard work going on, my interest in beautifying (yes, it's not a real word) our yard began to grow. (intentional pun)

And since Josh was gone most of the week I had plenty of time (after school) to work in the yard. So Thursday evening, I decided it was time. I found flowers galore at Walmart and Home Depot and began digging up the ground around the two pine trees in our front yard. By the end of the evening, these areas were completely upturned and new flowers had been placed around both trees.(The second tree I conquered in the front yard, the first looked very similar)

And ya know, I so enjoyed doing that on Thursday evening that I decided to give it a go on Friday too. So last night, once again armed with flowers (this time from Lowe's, hey I'm an equal opportunity flower shopper) I began digging out around pine trees. Last night I tackled the two trees by our back door. And by the time Josh arrived home, the ground was upturned, the grass around the trees had disappeared and flowers were beautifying the area around both trees.

But the landscaping adventure doesn't end there. Today Josh got up and cut the grass...and then came in side to ask me where I wanted the flowers we'd not yet planted. And being the helpful person I am, I went outside to supervise. Thankfully, Josh had already found homes for our two new Rose bushes. So now we have five of those: a bright pink, a white, a red, a lavender and a yellow. Wow! These are spaced appropriately along the wall of our home.

But the day lilies that I'd purchased had yet to find their way into the ground. SO...we found a new home for them by a pine tree that had not yet been graced with flowers.

While we were working on these wonderful landscaping projects, I convinced my dear husband that we needed to rescue the volunteer deciduous trees that had popped up next to a few of our pine trees. We also tried to rescue a volunteer oak tree from behind the bushes, but it's roots were too large and only the deciduous trees by the pine ones got new homes in our back yard.

So after doing all of this hard work and conquering the tree-transplanting this morning, Josh and I found it only fitting that we eat lunch at the White Rose. Then we headed over to his Momma's to see her new roof. They had a tin roof put on their house, thanks to the tax refund. We helped her pressure wash part of the house and discussed paint colors as well.

Being like every other female on the planet, now that her house has a new roof she's decided that it also needs a fresh coat of paint. So we helped out by giving our opinions on paint samples, and on wall paper samples because she's also going to re-paper the kitchen.

But back to our outdoor endeavors. After leaving my Mother-in-laws we headed back to Lowe's and picked up mini-picket fence pieces. I push Josh in charge of figuring out how much we needed of that and he came pretty close. We only need another piece or two to make it go all the garden.

Since we were there and because I'm feeling vegetationally inspired we also looked at a trellis for our grape vine. What grape vine, I'm sure you are wondering. :) Well, I've found one behind our boxwood bushes so we are going to transplant it too and now it has a lovely place to grow! :)

(Note the orange day lilies, and the deciduous trees. One tree is poking out to the right side of the pine tree the other is over on the far left side near our new trellis. The trellis is for our soon to be transplanted volunteer grape vine).

Honestly, I have to admit our yard is looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. I believe Josh's Momma may bring by another couple baskets of hanging flowers that may find a home in our open carport...other than that...and a few hydrangea bushes our yard is completely revamped. Well, as far as the plants go. Now I just have to figure out if I want to paint the front porch swing and picnic table and if so what colors I'm going to paint them.

However, the hydrangea bushes are going to have to wait to join our vegetation family for a month or two because, we are planning on putting siding on the house this summer and they'd be living in a location where they'd be trampled as Josh and his Dad put on this new siding. However, it's exciting to know that soon, oh so soon, our yard will have hydrangeas!!! Yay!

I'm confident that Josh was a bit surprised when he arrived home last night to discover how many flowers had multiplied in our yard since he'd been gone. But I think he was please. And you know the strangest thing about this is that as a child I hated yard work. I would do whatever needed to be done in the house without a complaint...but that outside stuff...that was men's work. YUCK! I know that my parents and particularly my Momma (who is also a gardener) never imagined that I would follow in her footsteps regarding this pursuit. Truly it's surprised me too that I'm enjoying it as much as I am. But I am....

Apparently not only did I inherit a bad disc (in my back) from my Momma, but I also inherited a love of gardening. Who would have thunk it? :) And so it's nice to see our house shaping up inside in out. So thank you Momma, for passing along this passion. I'm certainly enjoying my new found hobby. And also let me say to all of our friends. If you are ever in the area, give us a buzz and come on by. We'd love to show you our home, our yard and enjoy a bit to eat with you. But until then, I'd love to hear all about the adventures each of you are experiencing in this wonderful spring season.

And assuming that the plants don't grow feet and walk away, I will fill you all in on this next week's adventures as they occur.