26 August 2014

Getting Back On Track

My recovery has had a bit of a derailment over the last few weeks. Apparently what we thought was an urinary tract infection was actually a massive infection at the site of my surgery. I'll spare you the gory details, but I was knocked totally back in bed. My doctor said my recovery time table had me looking more like I was at the 2 week mark than the 5 week mark when he saw me. Eeep! I have sooo much to do. To catch up on. I have spent the last week asleep almost the entire time. Yesterday, I really saw things starting to turn around for better though. Today, I am feeling much, much better. Not as well as I was hoping or even expecting to feel 5 1/2 weeks after my surgery, but leaps and bounds better than any day last week. My recovery was timed perfectly for the kids to start back to school today. More on that later.

11 August 2014

Feeling Blah

It's been 3 weeks and 3 days since my hysterectomy. This last week has been a little harder.  I really thought that with as well as I felt the 1st week and the 2nd, I would be even better now. Last weekend things took a slight turn in the opposite direction though. The Thursday before I thought I might be feeling a urinary tract infection (UTI) coming on, which is common after a big surgery. I went in to the doctor's office, they ran a test, and everything came back fine. By Sunday afternoon, I was in so much pain I thought I might pass out. John took me to convenient care and my pulse had dropped to 28 and my blood pressure was a little elevated (my pulse and blood pressure go a bit psycho when I have any kind of infection). That low pulse got me sent straight to the ER... in a wheel chair. My test there for a UTI also came back normal. The ER doctor asked how much water I had been drinking and if I had done things like drink cranberry juice for the UTI. I proceeded to tell her that I had done any and everything I could find online to treat a UTI at home, which I started Thursday morning before going to see my doctor. Then she explained to me that the home remedies I had tried probably killed enough of the bacteria in me to make my urine clean enough not to show signs of a UTI, but the actual infection is in the tissue and home remedies are not strong enough. Often home remedies are just strong enough to mask what is going on when doctors run medical test, but are not generally strong enough to really treat series conditions. My lesson to be learned: No more home remediates for anything bigger than a mosquito bite for this family.

This week my hormones have also been a little out of whack. I was warned about, and was expecting this. It's made me tired, have hot flashes, and moody. Knowing why I'm having these issues has made it easier though. It takes some women up to 6 months to get the hormone thing sorted after a hysterectomy. My issues don't seem as severe as some of the stories I've heard others talk about, so I'm hoping it won't take quiet that long for me.

Other family news updates:
-We have had 2 people close to our family pass away in this last month. Austin was 18 and friends with Nia. Will volunteered with the youth. So, it seems to be hitting Nia the hardest. Although, it wasn't a shock when Austin died, he had been very sick for quiet some time, it's hard anytime someone so young dies. Will's death was very unexpected and learning about it was one of those moments when your heart drops to your stomach and you have no words to describe your exact thoughts.
-Cameron and Ember have both been sick with pneumonia this last week. Cameron seems to be all better now. However, although Ember has gotten better, he is still sick but will be back to the doctor tomorrow for a 15 month check up.
-Ember has decided that he will walk on carpet, but not elsewhere. Not on grass or wood floor. Not on linoleum or tile. Maybe it's the lack of softness incase he falls or the missing squishiness between his toes. On carpet, he is only walking now, otherwise he crawls or demands to be carried.
-Our 10 day bathroom renovation is now at the 2 and half month mark and the demo part of job finally got done this week! Hopes are not too high on the bathrooms getting done ever at this point. While the renovation has been going on, we have been living with my mother-in-law. Cameron still throws at least one fit a day about wanting to go home, otherwise the kids seem to have adjusted ok to the situation.

01 August 2014

2 Week Post-op Update

It's been 2 weeks since my surgery and I can never remember feeling better. Ever. This however, does make it a challenge to stay in bed. I start feeling pain when I've sat up for more than maybe half an hour at a time and I'm finding my daily limit right now is about 2 hours. Pass that amount and I'm not getting out of bed the next day. I was told that I should see a significant difference in this timing in another 2 or 3 weeks. I can also tell when my pain medication has worn off. I'm not in horrendous pain at that point, but I definitely want my next dose. John takes me on short drives about once a day and I can go on short walks.

What's hard for me right now...
1. My head is having a hard time processing feeling so much better than I have in years, but still needing rest and recover. I still have 6 weeks of recovery before the doctor said I should feel, "like a normal person." I'm really excited about that point in time. When I woke up from surgery, I felt better than I have felt in a long time and each day I get a little better.
2. I hear my babies crying and not being able to fix them and not being an active parent in general. It's tough listening to someone else put Ember to bed every night and  listening to him scream about it. Em has gone from only taking a step or two every few days to becoming a toddler that almost always walks in these last two weeks, and I've missed almost every moment of it. Cameron is being completely spoiled and getting away with murder. Cameron has jumped on my stomach twice (really painful, and could have been really serious) so I can't really be alone with him.
3. The girls, I am able to parent a little easier, but it's still tough. I can call for them, and they will come to me, but that's not really the same.
4. John's off work to take care of things at home. He has been able to pick up some side stuff, but it's a lot less money than if he were working his job.
5. Cabin fever.

What's awesome...
1. I have got more planning done for school this year than I have probably had done communicatively for the last 3 years.
2. I haven't had to cook a thing in 2 weeks, and I won't for another 6. I HATE cooking, but with a family of 6 I spend more time in the kitchen than anywhere else.
3. I've got to watch a lot of TV that I have picked myself. I don't usually get to do that.
4. The most awesome thing is the amount of time I've been able to spend with John just talking.

23 July 2014

Birthday Weekend

Anara's and Cameron's birthdays are 2 days a part. We call the day in the middle (the 20th of July) between day. This time of year for the Richard's family is generally a 3 day party event that Anara begins planning before the decorations from the last party are even taken down. This year we ran into several snags for the party-palooza. For starters I had surgery 2 days beforehand. Then there is that thing that we STILL are not back in our house yet. Grandma, daddy, and Nia did a great job at making the weekend fun and special for them though. John and I took Anara out on a mommy-daddy-daughter date the night before my surgery. Nia decorated grandma's house the night before Anara's birthday. Between day was celebrated at Chuck-e-cheese. Anara and Cameron had never been there, and they loved it. Grandma ordered birthday cakes for each of them and made Ember and I a gluten free cake. I was of course not in on much of the birthday action from my bed, but they did bring me cake!

18 July 2014

Recovery: quick update

It's almost 7 am and I've been in the hospital for about 24 hours now. I came in yesterday to have a scope done with the possibility of either having a hysterectomy or a nova-sure procedure done. When Dr. Gapp got inside me with a scope he found several endometriosis tumors so the nova-sure option was then out the window. Thankfully the tumors do not appear to cancerous, but did need to come out.
So, my most dreaded part of this whole ordeal is finally hear, the recovery. And I'm feeling a pinch silly for being so worried about it. After as sick as I have been since Ember was born, I finally have some relief. Yesterday after I got to my room (post surgery), my response to John when he asked how I was feeling was, "I realize I've got some big pain killers in me, but I think I feel better now than I have in months." I've allowed to pain killers to wear off and I'm now certain I feel better now than I have in months. As I began to realize how well I was doing was more than just my meds, I started crying tears of joy. So, now my biggest dilemma now is that I'm supposed to be resting and laying around in bed for the next 6 weeks, when for the first time in a long time I actually feel like I want to get out and do things. I do realize that the hormone issues that come along with a complete hysterectomy can be really hard to handle over the coming weeks, but at least the pain is gone and menstrual related migraines. I have a lot more energy today than usual too. My abdomen is obviously score & bloated.

One of the seriously scary parts of this has been my blood pressure. It has running about 150/105 on medication. It's not an absolute certainty that my blood pressure has been totally hormonal related, but this morning it was 111/69 with no blood pressure medication today and only 1/2 of my blood pressure medication yesterday, so my hopes are high. We are also hoping that my issues with blacking out are gone, but we will only know this with time.

My recovery time...
My nurse came just came and they will allow me to go home sometime after breakfast. I am not allowed to leave the house or really do anything for the first 2 weeks. My nurse threw in there, especially tending to kids. After this point I can start doing a few things like go out to dinner or maybe to church. After the 4th week, I can build up closer to normal activity. Like fry and egg, but not make a whole meal. After week 6, I can start getting back to normal and week 8 I can resume normal activities. It should be about 6 months before I feel normal according to my doctor. 6 months! That is time frame that had me scared out of whits. If today is any indication on how the next 6 months will, I think I'll be ok.

07 July 2014


For the first time in years, um ok so it's been a decade... or almost 2, I hit the gym today and joined in a fitness class. It's been so long since that happened that, the last one I was in was an aerobics class. In fact at the time you had two options for classes; aerobics or a stretch class (we didn't know fancy words like yoga in these parts way back then). And here is the kicker, I was the teacher.
Fast forward to today's world. Angel, a friend of mine teaches a class called "Devoted Fitness." (You can read Angel's blog, My Journey to 200here) So, what is devoted fitness? It's a dance class done to praise and worship music with prayer at the end. I have to admit it took more than one invitation to get me into the gym, but they do have free childcare and with John gone this week, I'm dying for adult conversation. Plus with last week's doctor visit, I decided I should do everything I can to get as much weight off as possible before going under the knife next week. Aside from all of that, now that I have actually gone to one class, I'm definitely going back. I had such a great time! I really liked we worked out to praise and worship music, I try to avoid secular music. I also love that we ended with a prayer. And, I have more energy today than I can remember having in months (maybe years). That's saying a lot since the boys decided to take turns playing the keep mommy up all night game last night. I should be moving around today with only the fuel of coffee, but I feel great. I LOVE how working out gives you energy.
So what happened in my life to get me out of the gym in the first place with no intent of ever entering a fitness class again? As I mentioned I was the teacher. I was in great shape. Most of the people in my classes were also. It really loved having new people in my class, but I had one or two regulars in each class that REALLY didn't appreciate anyone elses efforts to gain good health. Being the instructor, I guess they just felt compelled to tell me about it. So, when I moved away, I just never wanted to be that newbie I guess. 
Then something else happened. A few years passed, a few pounds piled on, and at some point John and I decided to join a gym. I had spent the previous 2 years very ill and mostly in bed, so I was incredibly weak. We had been going to the gym regularly for about 5 or 6 months. I still opted not to take on any classes, but I had gained a good bit of strength and endurance in that time and was feeling rather proud of myself. Then I was using a machine one day and I noticed a trainer kind of staring at me. I thought about my form for a minute wondering if he was going to point out something I was doing wrong. Nope, he came right over to me and started hounding me about how someone my age should be able to handle more weight on the machine. We're talking a 2 or 3 minute mini-lecture here complete with a fat joke. When he finished he asked if I wanted him to add more weight to the machine. I responded telling him I had spent 2 years in bed and the current amount of weight on the machine was really all I could handle. His response, "My bad," with a little chuckle. In the grand scheme of things, not a seriously horrible thing to happen. It was enough to make me not return to that gym. Well, except for a haircut or two, they had and excellent salon that was far away from the trainers.
I'm determined not to let some jerk's opinion put a roadblock on my path to a healthy lifestyle this go around. If for no other reason, a healthy mommy is a better mommy. I had so much more energy when Nia was a toddler than I do now with the boys. We were always going on hikes, swimming, or playing with some kind of ball outside. I kind of feel like I'm cheating the boys with the lack of activities we do together. I can count on one hand how many times I've done all of those things with Cameron. 

03 July 2014

Surgery Scheduled

Feeling a bit down today. Went in to schedule my surgery today, which thankfully I was able to do (A few weeks ago I went into schedule it and was told I wasn't well enough to do so). Here are the issues I'm looking at though...
The doctor feels a complete hysterectomy is the best option (no arguments here). However, with my current size, a hysterectomy becomes a very difficult procedure to perform. So, the best way to do it is vaginally. Since I recently had a 10 pound baby, the doctor feels this shouldn't be too hard. BUT, it's possible that he won't he able to safely and will only know if it's doable once he gets in there with a scope. He isn't comfortable doing a hysterectomy on me with my size in another way. If he gets in there with a scope and feels it's too challenging to accomplish a vaginal hysterectomy, then he will do a novasure. Novasure cauterizes the inside of the uterus & aids women with extreme bleeding issues. Either way, the bleeding during my periods will either be gone or won't be as bad... all the other issues it may or may not improve. dizziness, blacking out, migraines, cramps, extreme backaches, swelling, crazy weight gain before my period, mood swings, hot/cold flashes, fluctuating blood pressure, those things are only going to go away with my ovaries gone.
The surgery is scheduled for the 17th, we'll see how it goes.

24 June 2014

Health Update

Soooo, in the 13 1/2 months since Ember was born, I have been one sick momma. The first few months were the worst. My OB fells, that I just have never gotten over the postpartum preeclampsia and feels that a hysterectomy is the best way to go (there's more to it than that, but that is an explanation in a nutshell). I've had different responses from people about this, some good and some not. My opinion at this point is he can take off an arm if there is a possibility it will get me back to normal. I went in 2 weeks ago to schedule said hysterectomy and was told I was not well enough to schedule it, given some meds, given a suggestion to go back into the hospital (which I declined), and sent to my regular doctor to check in with the following day.
My regular doc agrees with the OB, by the way.

I'm really stressed this summer, which isn't helping with getting that blood pressure regulated. What's stressing me? 1-Our bathroom floor is caving in and we are living with my mother-in-law while it's being fixed. It was supposed to be finished 2 weeks ago, not started on yet. 2-I have a huge sensitivity to chemicals (like the type used in remodeling houses). nough said there. 3- My mother-in-law has several dozen beautiful lilies in her yard that have a huge emotional attachment to them & I am insanely allergic to. 4- Our finances are in some kind of whirl wind right now. 5- Potty training. 6- Everyone is getting more out of shape no matter how much we try and work at getting in shape. 7- Daily whining and complaining to go home. 8- John is away for a few weeks this summer working with KY Changers. 9- Constant whining for daddy. 10- Nia is away for camp this week and will then join John with Changers. 11- Constant whining for Nia. 12- Anara has a hundred or so places to be all of the time. 13- There is no railing or banister on the stairwell at my mother-in-law's house. 14- I can't leave the boys alone for a second without them breaking something expensive or hurting themselves. 15- My doctor wanted me back in the hospital. I'm trying to take care of 3 kids by myself when a doctor doesn't think I'm well enough to even take care of myself. 16- I'm supposed to have this surgery with a 6 to 8 week recovery time. John has not a single hour of vacation time left. I won't be able to do stairs and have no clue when I can move back into my house. Oh, and who in the heck is going to take care of my 4 kids while I lay in bed for 2 months. Whew! I thought getting that out would make me feel better, but I think typing all that out might just send me into a panic attack.

11 May 2014

Ember is One!

Ember had his first birthday last weekend. I really can't believe how big this boy has gotten over the last year and how much he has changed. It has been a long hard year for our family with moving and illness, but Ember has definitely made hard times filled with happy moments. I really can't remember what our family was like before he was here. He really does complete us.
A few statements about my little mister...
-He is the happiest baby you have ever met.
-He loves his family dearly.
-He never meets a stranger or misses an opportunity to flirt.
-He is truly upset when he sees one of us upset.
-He really tries to be helpful.
-Very laid back and easygoing.
-I am constantly asked, "Is he always this good?" to which the answer is always, "Yes."
-His nicknames are The Doctor and Mister.
-He can say the names of everyone in the family and a few other people also.
-Mommy is his favorite (maybe that is because I am writing this post).
-He seems to enjoy everything.
-He is smart and very observant.

For his birthday we took him to the corvette museum and Chaney's dairy barn in Bowling Green the day before. Then on Sunday, his actual birthday we had a spur of the moment party. I think most of the best moments in life are the ones that are unplanned. Here are a few pictures from our weekend.

Cam wound up with a toy replica of this yellow one. He calls it 'my cool car.'

This motorcycle was parked outside of the museum. John really likes motorcycles and this one was really neat looking.

The ice cream and play ground shots were taken at Chaney's

Em LOVED this wagon, we decided we should get one. It would make the quarter mile trek to and from grandma's house just a pinch easier some days.

Before you enter the actually corvette museum. This white one is in the lobby for people to pose in. 

 New Toys! He got the getting on this one ok, but it took a while to get him to go down. He still isn't fully convinced that this is the intention of the toy.

The infamous first birthday messy cake photos

and last but not least, just letting him chill and play with his toys before bed.

30 April 2014

Laundry For 6!

With the number in our family we have had piles of laundry up to eyeballs on more than one occasion. We have tried several different methods to keep up with it, and have had many different types of bins and contraptions. The problem with sorter bins is that they are way too small for our family size. We have tried sorting into several different baskets, takes up too much room. So, what do we do.

1. Well, my first tip on getting clothes clean and back where they belong is stop folding. I picked up this tip from Mandy over at Biblical Homemaking. Once you get over the initial shock, you'll probably realize as I did that folding clothes is a big time killer and a waste of time at that. One trip by your husband or 7 year old into that drawer of nicely folded shorts is going to turn it into one jumbled pile anyway. No one has ever seemed to noticed that my kids pants did not come from a neatly  folded stack. And trust me, my friends and family are the type to point it out. Not in the 'Oh look how sloppy' way, but in the, 'is everything ok, you need some help way.'

2. The washing. Each bedroom in our house has a basket. Only clothes that are stored in that room go into that basket. Each basket is done on separate days and I wash the whole basket before I begin sorting through the clean clothes. This makes putting away clothes much easier.

3. Putting things away. I separate clothes for drawers into piles and hang up shirts. With the exception of Anara's clothes, her clothing is usually hung up in outfits. A new room doesn't get started until the last room is put away. I throw in a load of towels as needed. I have a small basket sitting on top of the machine to separate out white clothes (I despise white clothing, so we don't have a lot of it!)

4. Socks. This one is a little trickier. No one in our house seems to be able to get many of their socks into their hamper, so when I do a load of towels I go around the house and collect socks. All clean socks go into this basket below which has a tendency to move around the house a bit. Each person also has a sock drawer or bucket in their room for socks that do make it into their dirty clothes basket. I do fold those socks as they come out (or I just throw them into the pink basket with the rest of the clean socks). The pink basket of socks gets folded together every 2 or 3 months, when there are just so many pairs of unmatched socks it takes over a minute to find a set. I highly encourage sandals in our house. I just recently matched socks in the pink basket, so I'm not planning to do it again until sandal season is over.

5. Products. We have made our own in the past and loved it, but my theme this year has been to do what saves me time. So, we use free and clear everything because it can be used for everyone and on everything. Our household cleaner (made from essential oils) makes the best pretreater ever. If it's not handy, I use detergent.

This is by no means fool proof, but it works for the most part for me. When my teenager wants to get out of doing her laundry, you'll find plenty of it in her little sister's basket and vice versa. This method does still seem to drive John a little nuts, but again it works for me.

20 April 2014

A few photos

Hi folks, hope you have a great Easter! Here are a few of my favorite photos from the last few months. This first one was taken tonight. John took Nia and a friend to the see the new Captain America movie, so Anara and I decided to have a mommy daughter date here at home. I'm getting into a lot more photos now days since I upgraded my phone. Hello selfies!

I thought our nails turned out fairly fabulous, if I do say so myself.

Ember playing in the yard. This kid loves the wide open spaces. His siblings still haven't realized they may wander through the entire yard, but this kid sure has.

Anara reading to Cameron! It's really awesome how Cameron loves for Anara to read to him. She wouldn't have had the confidence to do this just a few months ago. I'm so proud of my girl!

Proud of herself and enjoying the rewards of the hard work that allowed her to finish her reading curriculum for the year.

Ahhh, sibling sharing. This scene may have only lasted 90 seconds, but I'm thrilled to have captured this sweet moment.

Anara finishing the last story in her reading curriculum for the year!

Look how big my baby boy is getting! Our table was filled with beautiful girls this day because of an extended spring break sleep over. Let me tell you, this little mister is a serious flirt and was in heaven for the 4 day span our house was filled with these lovely ladies... and he really likes mommy's spaghetti squash and peas to boot.

I love my geeky girl! The irony of this photo is that the movie being advertised (The Nightmare Before Christmas) on the shirt (one of her favorites) she is wearing is the first movie I saw in theaters without an adult present.

Anara is always willing to pose for a selfie with mommy! She is my biggest cuddle bug lately. This is new role for her, it the past she was more of a long hug, but no extended cuddles type of girl. I have to say, I'm liking the new role.

No one ever realizes that Cam's curls actually do come from John because John does his hair daily. With this pic, there is no denying what gene pool those lovely locks are derived from.

The number of day's that I get to cuddle with Em as he nurses his bottle are quickly disappearing. I've always made sure he was being held while eating. My logic is that milk glands are attached high up on our bodies so that we must hold babies while they eats, or maybe that's just my excuse to constantly hold my babies. At any rate, with Ember almost off his bottle I ALWAYS make sure I am the one that gets to hold him while he is eating. I love, Love, LOVE these moments! That scratch under his eye happened when his brother hugged him. We have no idea what caused the scratch. We searched high and low for the offending item with no luck.

My Cammie boy sleeping on mommy. Ya' know this guy has slept on me more than all three of the others combined. As you can tell by the photo, I'm absolutely loving it! So, I may have lost countless nights of sleep with this guy. I cherish every one of them. Cam is a total daddy's boy, but when it comes to anything sleep related, he want's his mommy.

A selfie John took when he stole my phone on a date night.

Cameron's first selfie! He posed and everything. You have to give it to him, this kid has swagger!

John, and I took Ann to the doctor one Saturday Morning for a back injury she incurred while trying to sled while standing up.

I thought this was the cutest little scene. Ok, so maybe I should have been mad that Cam dumped out all of my buttons and was at my sewing desk in general (he knows it's off limits), but this was soooo adorable I couldn't do anything but smile. Just some sore and bruised muscles, all is well.

I have never seen this much snow in our town. ever. in. my. life. I have never seen anyone sled in our town. I knew one kid growing up that owned snow boots, she had moved here from Alaska. So, I really didn't think these boots that had been purchased on clearance at the end of the season last year in Ohio would get any use when we decided to move nor would this sled Anara insisted we keep. Well, I was wrong. The property our house sits one has a perfect little sledding hill also. I thought this picture captured my little Anara's personality perfectly!

This one is from our last trip to Cincinnati. Cam and I broke away from the rest of the family for a little while and he really enjoyed his play time with these frogs at the Newport Aquarium. 

My little Mister learning how to cruise around the couch.

... and walking with his big sister.

This was my birthday hug!

Little boys always want to be like daddy!