Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Breakfast in Bed

Sunday morning I woke up to breakfast in bed. Dakota asked me if I wanted her to bring me breakfast in bed the next morning and I said sure! She asked me what I wanted and I told her pancakes. She then told me that I had to have some fruit too so she'd give me grapes as well. Ha!

I'll admit that while I'm not a breakfast eater, I was excited to get someone to make me pancakes! Haha! It wasn't my idea but once she asked me I was all about it!

She was so cute bringing me in a tray of breakfast! (Yes, I like peanut butter on my pancakes, don't judge.) Two pancakes a little dish of grapes and my vitamins are in the other dish. Tony also made me my hot tea. 💕


It wasn't easy eating in bed, especially with my arm and neck hurting, but I did it. I didn't want to disappoint my girl!

My favorite part though was the little card she made to go with it:



This girl is so thoughtful and has such a sweet, kind heart! Seriously, she's freaking awesome. 


Spring Things

Now that the weather seems to be warming up and we're getting rain instead of snow, we decided it was time to get some yard work started. Tony spent his whole weekend getting things done outside while I did very little to help, unfortunately. Until my neck issues are resolved I'm not much good.


We made two trips to Lowes for plants and accessories and I see many more trips on the horizon. We bought lots of Big Ears Lambs Ear as well as Phlox. I also bought a few more Knock-Out Roses and hope that they'll do better than the other two I have. If they don't I guess it's time to find something else for the area they're in. We grabbed a burning bush and some honeysuckle the last time we were at Sams so those will be planted soon too.



The phlox and lambs ear are going in front of the peony's I have in the backyard. They'll line the sitting wall and hopefully spread throughout that area.





Since we had the patio put in we've been debating what to do about the willow Tony planted. Those trees get gigantic and we're worried it'll destroy the patio. So, the debate was to try to move it further away from the patio or to just cut it down. Well, as luck would have it, this is the year that tree really started looking nice and we just didn't have the heart to cut it down. So, Tony did his best to dig it up and replant it. It's now in a back corner closer to the fence line. Fingers crossed it lives! We'd like to put a few crepe myrtle trees back there too but didn't find any at Lowes this weekend.

It's kind of hard to see in the photo below but you can see it's back in the corner away from the patio now. 


The kids played outside nearly all day Saturday and the majority of Sunday as well. They were catching bugs (mostly bees) with their butterfly nets. They were making up all kinds of names for them and examining them and then letting them go. I guess it's only a matter of time before one of them is stung. (I didn't get any pictures! What the hell?!) Dakota got a new pair of gardening gloves so she couldn't wait to help with the yard work. And, she really did help! She filled bird feeders and helped clean the picnic table off as well as whatever little jobs Tony could come up with.



She was pretty tired from all that work by mid afternoon and I found her on the swing resting. 


Harper had no interest in helping with the yard work, gloves or no gloves! He stayed in the house making a book, happy as can be!



Physical Therapy

On Monday I went to my first physical therapy appointment. I woke up that morning feeling defeated and angry because I hadn't been able to sleep much the night before but I also felt the tiniest bit of hope that the physical therapist would be able to help me. I've also been having nightmares every night about having surgery on my neck which is also exhausting.

In one dream I was sitting in a lobby with Tony waiting for my surgery and we were talking about what the incision would look like. Then, next to us, a nurse comes out of an office and tells a woman to stand up and turn around. The woman does and then the nurse starts turning what looks like a gas cap on the back of the woman's neck to release steam. In my dream I'm doing everything I can to not stare while also trying to get Tony's attention so that he knows that he'll have to release my steam every once in awhile...weird, I know.

Anyhow, after being introduced to the therapist we went into a small exam room where she asked me tons of questions about the pain I was feeling. She then had me use a tens machine plus a heating pad on my neck for about 10 minutes. (It felt SOOO good!) Once that was done she set up a cervical traction machine for me to use for 5 minutes. I was a little wary of it when I saw it, it's kind of medieval looking, but it turned out to be nothing to worry about. You put your head on the machine they adjust it to fit to your neck size, attach a strap over your forehead to prevent movement. Finally, using a pump, the therapist adds traction to the machine which kind of pulls your neck/spine into position for stretching. It wasn't painful at all but you can definitely feel a difference while lying like that. After 5 minutes they removed the machine but told me to rest my neck for about a minute.

That was it. I'm scheduled to go back in tomorrow morning and have several other appointments scheduled as well. I was terribly sore Monday night and all day Tuesday and I'm guessing it was from the therapy. The therapist told me that the way they know if this is working is that I'll begin to notice the pain localizing to one spot. So now I have pain from my neck down into my left shoulder and all the way to my fingers on my left hand. She said I'd begin to notice less pain and tingling/numbness in my hand, then less in my elbow up to my shoulder and eventually the pain would only be in my neck which is where the root of all this is. I guess after that the pain will go away from my neck as well and I'll be good as new. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

I still have to get the epidural this coming Monday and fingers crossed that will also help with the pain. I slept a little better last night than before and didn't use the heating pad at all which was nice. I woke up stiff and with a throbbing in my neck and arm but it was nice to be able to sleep comfortably. That stupid heating pad makes me so darn hot and my arm always ends up tangled in the cord. So annoying!




Saturday, April 21, 2018

From the Backpack

Dakota came home with this gorgeous art yesterday:


This girl loves art and I feel like it really shows. 

Harper had this in his bag yesterday:


While he doesn't love art, he does his best and I thought this turned out pretty good. I love how the G looks like a covered wagon! 

Reports cards also came out yesterday. Harper was the only one to bring one home though because Landon was on a field trip to Six Flags with his physics class and never got his and Dakota doesn't get one this time round because Kindergarten only gets two a year. 

Harper's report card is stellar but it's really the teachers comments at the bottom that made me proud!


It reads: Harper is a clever and delightful child and I really enjoy having him in class. His math and reading skills are equally strong! He is a persistently dedicated worker when completing his work, especially writing. He seeks new ways to solve and create while learning. He is currently reading above grade level! His current level is R. He needs to be sure to check over his work for correctness. I appreciate what he brings to the class! 

I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to read that about my child! I mean, I know Harper is special and amazing and a hard worker but it is so refreshing to hear that from another person unrelated to him! I really appreciate that his teacher sees his value and uniqueness.

Daisy Scout Professional Photos

At Dakota's last scout meeting a professional photographer took some photo's of the girls. The photographer is mom to one of the girls in the troop and man are we lucky! These photo's are gorgeous!





I just can't get over how blue her eyes are against that blue vest! These pictures will be some of my favorite for a very long time I'm sure. 

Pain Update, Part 3

Monday morning my doctor called about my MRI results. She told me that I had two herniated discs in my neck and that I'd need to see a spine specialist. I was really surprised. I don't know why I was surprised because I knew something was going on but I guess to hear it out loud, confirmed by test results was just a little crazy. I asked her if she could give me a prescription to get me through the nights until I could see the specialist and she prescribed Diclofenac.

I drove out to the doctors office, picked up a referral for the specialist, picked up my prescription and then immediately went home to call said specialist to make an appointment. They were able to get me in just two days later but at 8:30 am which meant Tony had to stay home and get the kids on the bus.
They asked me to get to my appt. 30 minutes early to fill out paperwork and I was there at exactly 8 am. It's a good thing I actually allotted 30 minutes because it was a ton of paperwork!

The specialist I saw was very good about explaining what he saw on my MRI and then had me perform a series of resistance exercises with both of my arms. I was really surprised to see how much weaker my left arm was. I mean, I know the stupid thing hurts like hell, but I hadn't realized how weak it was! I could barely resist any pressure he applied. After the resistance tests he told me that he felt the best course of action would be to have an epidural administered to the herniated disc area and begin physical therapy. I think all the blood must have drained from my face when he said I'd need an epidural in my neck because he was quick to tell me that it was a common procedure to alleviate pain in this instance. He also said he didn't think I was coming to him because I wanted to deal with the pain and that the epidural steroid would block the pain I was feeling.

I've had 3 epidurals in my life, all when I was giving birth, with three different results. My first was with Landon and it was the only one that completely worked. I mean, I was able to sleep after having that one while I was still in full labor! That was THE SHIT. Then, I had one when I was laboring with Harper and it only worked on one side of my body. That was only HALF THE SHIT. And then, I had one while in labor with Dakota and it hadn't worked at all. Which, of course means it was NO SHIT. So, I'm a bit hesitant to even have this done.

He went on to say that we'd revisit how things are going in about 4-6 weeks at which point if there was no progress he'd recommend surgery. I asked what that meant and he said they'd go in and remove the herniated disc and replace it with artificial disc. Here is a link to an interesting video about the procedure. He said I have about a 20% chance of surgery at this point so I am very, very hopeful it won't come to that. (That SHIT looks scary.)

So, I've scheduled my first physical therapy appointment for this coming Monday and the epidural is scheduled for the following Monday, April 30th. I have to quit taking the Diclofenac 5 days before the steroid is administered but after last night I feel like it isn't doing that much anyways.

There's the update for now...I'll try to update again on Monday after my first pt.

A Day Spent with Landon

It seems that the only time I have for blogging these days are on the weekends. I guess it's when I feel like I need to get caught up and make time for it. I never did write about what Landon and I did last weekend while everyone was gone camping, so I'll start there. 

Landon was invited to prom this year by a senior friend of his. I thought it was so cool that she invited him and that he wants to go! They're going as friends, not boyfriend and girlfriend, which is also really cool. Anyways, Landon needed a suit or tux for the event so he and I set out to get that done while everyone else was busy.

He got up early (for him that meant 11 am) with a promise of lunch. So, we headed towards the mall where he grabbed some Chipotle and I a sub from Jersey Mike's. Right next door to Jersey Mike's is the Haircuttery so he ran in there for a haircut before we drove over to Men's Wearhouse


We were barely in the door at Men's Wearhouse when one of the salespeople came over to help us out. I told her I wasn't sure if we were going to be buying or renting but that buying seemed more reasonable since he'd be able to wear the suit at least 4 times in the next year or so. (Prom this year, 2 formal nights on the cruise and prom next year.) She immediately began having him try on jackets to see what size/style he liked and once that was narrowed down we moved on to whether or not he wanted to wear a vest. Initially he didn't want a vest but once he had one on with the jacket, he quickly changed his mind! Once the top was decided he moved over to the dressing room to try on pants and then decided on a shirt, bow tie and pocket square. 


We were there for quite awhile and I'm so glad we were able to get all that done without worrying about bored kids running around the store. I ended up spending a bit more than I had wanted and I'm really hoping it was the right decision. He's just going to have to keep the growing to a minimum. 


After we finished suit shopping we went home for a bit and then met up with Mema at Olive Garden for dinner (Landon's choice). It was a really nice day spent with my boy, albeit expensive. I'd really like to spend more time with him but I know it's hard when he's got friends/work/school and our schedules just don't really mesh. I cherish the time I do get with him though and hope he enjoys spending some time with me as well. 




Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Girl Scout Encampment: Mystical Trip Around the World





Tony and Harper weren't the only one's at camp this weekend as Dakota's daisy troop was also out camping. Theirs was just for the day, but it was a LONG day! I wasn't chosen as one of the mom's to attend (we have a huge troop and there just wasn't enough room for everyone) so I had to drop Dakota off at the campsite at 8:30 am and wouldn't be back to pick her up until 7:30 that evening which is the longest she's been away from me in a VERY long time. I was very worried how she'd do at drop off but she surprised me and did great! She was a little nervous and must have given me a dozen kisses and hugs but I was able to walk away without her bursting into tears and chasing me which was awesome.

This is a photo one of the leaders sent me to put my mind at ease:


We were supposed to pick up our girl between 7:30 and 8:30 that evening and I was the first to get there. I knew she'd be really tired after spending so many hours outside plus parking was near non existent and I wanted to be able to find a parking spot. I parked without a problem and had to ask directions to find their camping spot.


When I found them they were just getting started making s'mores. When i walked over Dakota was super excited to see me but she wasn't ready to leave because she hadn't eaten her s'more yet! The leaders all told me how wonderfully she'd done all day and said she hadn't asked about going home until about 6:30 pm when she said she missed her mom. ❤

She had her s'more and helped me make one for myself as well. While I ate my s'more she played Frisbee with a friend and then the girls had a little dance party.



Also, before we left, Dakota showed me the cool sink that her leaders husband made for them:


I could not believe the amount of dirt that came off that little girl that night! If the amount of dirt that came off of her was directly related to the amount of fun she had then I'd say she had a blast!









April Boy Scout Camp Trip

Last weekend Tony and Harper went on their second boy scout camping trip. Their first trip was just a couple months ago and they slept in cabins. This time they were much closer to home but they were tent camping and had no electricity or water. The only bathrooms were port-a-potties...you can only imagine how happy I was that I wasn't there! They really lucked out with warm, clear weather though and with temps in in the 80's it was just a beautiful weekend to spend outside. 

Here are some of the pictures that Tony shared with me. 

Harper helping to set up their tent:



Getting ready to go to sleep on Friday night. It was pretty late for Harper since he usually goes to sleep around 8:30 and this was close to 10 pm. He'd been having a really fun time chasing beetles just prior to this; this little boy loves bugs! Tony said it wasn't the best night of sleep for him and that he just couldn't get comfortable. (He brought our air mattress but decided not to use it, so you don't have to feel sorry for him!) 


They were up with the sun Saturday morning. They went on a hike, did some fishing and the boys climbed up and ran down a hill over and over again. Harper said that running up and down the hill was his favorite part!






This campground also had a nature center and Harper spent some time in there checking out the different animal hides and bones. 


They had a nice time camping but they were both ready to be home again on Sunday. We were expecting rain so they packed up camp early and were home around 9 am. They have one more camping experience coming up in June, an end of boy scout season camp out in someone's backyard. 







Saturday, April 14, 2018

Zinburger

After my MRI yesterday Tony and I ran some errands. Harper's boy scout troop is camping this weekend so Tony needed to get a fishing license and rod so that they could fish and I had some things to pick up at Sams, so we went and got all that done. Afterwards we were ready for lunch and decided to try the new burger place at the mall, Zinburger. It took the place of the Chili's that used to be in there and it was absolutely unrecognizable! There wasn't a single reminder of what it used to be.


We asked for seating outside because the weather was so nice. SItting out there made us feel like we were in a city. Right outside is a little road between the mall and casino and you can watch people walk by out there and see the Cheesecake Factory as well. We ordered our drinks, a tea for me and a Samuel Adams Summer Ale for him. Every burger on the menu sounded really good (we were HUNGRY) and it took us a minute to figure out what we wanted! I ended up ordering The Big Bad Blue while Tony chose the El Diablo. The sides are a la cart so we shared a basket of the sweet potato waffle fries. 

The Big Bad Blue was really good! If you like blue cheese you'll love this as you can really taste the blue cheese on there. I do love blue cheese so it worked for me. Instead of beef, I ordered turkey (just my preference) and thought it tasted great. 


Tony loved his burger as well. He was a little worried when he pulled the top off and found and entire jalapeno on there, but it must have tasted good because he didn't even offer me a bite! (I gave him a bite of mine!) 


We both really loved the sweet potato waffle fries though. I mean, we didn't leave a single fry in that basket. The dipping sauces were really good too. One tasted like tzayziki sauce and the other a sweeter maple concoction; both very different but very good.


It's a little pricey, maybe about the same as Red Robin, but absolutely good food. We'll be back for sure!

MRI Day


I finally went for my MRI yesterday. I wasn't nervous about it at all until the night before when I started thinking about how long I'd have to lie still inside that tube. But, I'm determined to get to the bottom of whatever is going on with this pain in my back/neck/arm and knew that I'd need to get this over with in order to figure things out.

My appointment was scheduled for 9 but they asked that I be there 1/2 and hour early, so I was in their office by 8:30 am. (Tony worked from home so I didn't have to worry about getting the kids to the bus.) When I got there the receptionist told me my appointment wasn't actually until 9:30 am but that they put it a half hour earlier so people will come in on time to fill out the paperwork. I was a little annoyed because that meant I was there an HOUR early, not half an hour. When I scheduled my appointment they told me I'd owe X amount that day, and I'd come prepared to pay that, but as I checked in she told me the cost was actually going to be 4x the original amount she'd said! Not a little bit more but 4 times as much! I ended up only paying half and told them they'd need to bill me the rest. I mean, seriously!

Maybe they were feeling badly for quoting me the wrong price and not telling me my appointment was actually 9:30 am instead of 9, or maybe the person scheduled ahead of me didn't show, but whatever it was, I was taken back for my test a few minutes before nine.

I was given some scrub like thing to wear and then given some ear plugs to put in. (I've NEVER used ear plugs before and they were just a little tricky to get in. I actually couldn't do the left ear and had to have the technician help me!)

Since I'd never had an MRI the tech gave me a run down of what to expect and then I hopped on the table. She put a pillow block under my knees, and pieces of foam on either side of my head so that my head wouldn't move while I was in the machine. She then put a bar type thing over my head and explained that it was what would be taking the images of my neck. After that, she pushed a button and into the machine I went. For about a split second I thought that there was no way I was going to be able to stand being in that machine for nearly an hour, but I told myself to just calm the hell down and get it over with; and I did. (It's a very narrow, enclosed space and I can understand how it'd be bothersome to anyone who has even the slightest claustrophobia.) 

Before each scan the tech would ask how I was doing and then tell me the length of the next scan, none ever lasted more than 5 minutes. The machine itself is very loud (hence the earplugs) and it moves you up and back every once in awhile but other than that, it's nothing. Like, you literally just lay there thinking all your thoughts while a big noisy machine does it's work. It's cake (my husbands words and very true).

It's funny where the mind goes when there isn't anything to focus on. I thought about my wedding day, about giving birth to each of my kids and how different each one was, about getting Landon ready for prom and about Zoe's job. I also thought about everyone's upcoming camping trips and what I was going to eat for lunch when I got out of that machine. If that machine hadn't been so loud I probably would have fallen asleep, something the technician says happens all the time.

All in all, I didn't think it was too bad. I can't imagine having to make a young child do it (which I know happens) but compared to many things, this was simple. Now I'm just waiting on the results and a plan for what's next. :)

Breakfast in Bed

Sunday morning I woke up to breakfast in bed. Dakota asked me if I wanted her to bring me breakfast in bed the next morning and I said sure!...