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Saturday, June 30, 2007


It was sort of a chore day around here today. I vacuumed and washed all our bedding and tidied up the house a bit. Colin ran some errands and bought a pool for us to play in. It's one of those pools that expand as you add water, it even has a filter pump with it. We just need to get a cover for it so it stays fairly clean. Colin cleaned all our windows on the outside and I cleaned some of them on the inside. Our house is actually clean. It has been clean for at least one week. I mean really clean, not sort of clean. It's amazing. Ian is even motivated to pick up and keep the house looking nice. I'm not sure what has caused this motivation. The newly painted walls? The new tables?? Whatever it is, I'm glad. I LOVE my house like this! It's clean enough to have people I don't know well over and I wouldn't be embarrassed.
Colin had to get in the pool after he got done cleaning windows. He now agrees that we should get the solar cover for the pool. The water was freezing. I took pictures! I'll try to post one in the next couple of days.

At Home America

I think I already told you that I signed up to be a HomeStyle Specialist for at home America. I just added a link to my website with them so you can look at what I'm selling. Colin wants me to earn the Union Station clock, it's really cool. I'm very excited about this, I hope everything goes very well. I'm going to have my "grand opening" on July 14th. I have a ton of stuff to learn before then. Well, that's all I have to say about this today. Check out the link!

Friday, June 29, 2007

This Week

This week has gone by very quickly for me. Monday started with a surprise, I didn't have to go to work, as the boys were suffering from the tummy flu. So I got to stay home in my nice clean house. I am trying to convince Ian that we enjoy the house being clean and that he can help by keeping his toys picked up. It's going pretty well so far.
Tuesday was errand day. We went to Aberdeen, had lunch at McDonald's, went to Wal-mart, the park and Top Foods for groceries. I am starting to recognize some familiar faces in Top Foods. Of course, I recognize the manager, he's our neighbor. There's a lady in the deli department that we've seen almost every time we've been in there. I think she's starting to recognize us, too, thanks to Ian. As soon as I get near the deli, he turns into this whiny, obnoxious thing, trying to get the deli worker's attention so that he might get a "sample" of ham. He starts quietly and usually ends by cupping his hands around his mouth and saying very loudly," Hey! I would like a sample. I want a sample." The whole time I am shushing him and telling him to behave and then here comes the very sweet deli lady with either a half or whole slice of ham in her properly gloved hand asking me if it's okay for Ian to have it. Of course, I say 'yes', not because my ill behaved child deserves it, but because the lady is being very nice.
Tuesday night I signed up to be a Home Show Specialist for At Home America, which is a company that sells candles and cool things to decorate your house with. As soon as I set up my web page for it, I'll post a link on here so you can look at it. You can even order off of it, if you find something you like.
Wednesday was work and we went to visit Ian's grandma and got to go swimming at Aunt Peggy's pool. Don't get too excited here, it was almost a polar bear swim. It hasn't been that hot here and I think the water was about 71 or 72 degrees. BRRRRRR!!!
Thursday, I rode into town with Colin. It made it possible to transport the yummy macaroni salad I had made for a potluck at Colin's work. We put it on ice in the cooler. After I dropped off my husband and the macaroni salad, Ian and I headed to Group Health so I could get back to my allergy shots. Unfortunately, I had been sick so long that all the allergy stuff had expired. I hadn't been in for 7 weeks. Sinusitis and tummy flu. So I had to start all over again, what a bummer!
After my shot, I went to my friend Dottie's house. You never know what's going on at Dottie's and yesterday was no exception. I got there and found out that she was just ready to go out on an errand. She invited me along so we all piled into her Suburban and headed out. I got to go along with her as she picked up some antique school desks, took her kids to swimming lessons, lunch, visited Old Navy, Linens-n-Things and a grocery store. What an afternoon! If you really want to appreciate the fun we had, you must know that we had 4 children with us. It was fun in spite of some small people's attitude's from time to time. Ian was very upset when his poor choices in Old Navy led to no new shirt for him. He begged and pleaded, but he knew why he couldn't get a shirt. He told me that he couldn't keep the "bad ideas" in the garbage long enough, they kept coming out. He did quite a bit better at Linens-n-Things and was able to have a tiny piece of candy as a reward for good behavior.
Last night when I was putting Ian to bed, I noticed he had a rash on his chest and tummy and it was still there this morning, so we're going to have the doctor look at it this afternoon. Hopefully, we can figure out what it is.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Living Room

It's amazing how some paint and a couple of end table make my living room feel like an entirely different room. We just sat in there and enjoyed it last night. Colin said he felt like he was in someone else's house, it was very clean (no toys scattered around)and with the new paint looked so different from before.
I sat out there after everyone had gone to bed so I could have a little quiet time with God. It was so quiet and peaceful. I love my family, but one thing that it is not around here when they are up and awake, is quiet. Ian makes noise almost constantly and when he isn't, it's time to RUN, he's probably getting into trouble.
Well, enjoy the pictures. I know I'm going to enjoy my living room!

Monday, June 25, 2007


So, I have put my birthday money to good use. First, I searched on craigslist and found an oak dining table and chairs. A round table with a leaf...hooray. Then, I found end tables for my living room. I think they might be oak also and they each have a drawer. Colin is going to pick those up tonight. Wow. We're finally going to have a grown up living room, rather than just a chair and a couch. I will try to photograph all the new tables and post them soon.
We've also begun painting the inside of our house. It's really starting to feel like it's all ours. Our living room is painted dapper tan and our kitchen should be painted melted butter color(as long as we like the color after we get it up on the walls).
Thanks to my mom and mom-in-law for birthday money for me to play with! I'm having fun getting "new" furniture.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Count Your Blessings

Ian and I have been reading a great devotion book together each night before he goes to bed. It's called Ten minute time outs for you and your child (or really close to that). He really looks forward to it and I'm loving it, too. Yesterday the lesson was about having a good attitude no matter what and one way the little girl was able to have an "attitude of gratitude" was to have a list of things she was thankful for. So I thought it would be nice to list some of the things I am thankful for. Here they are in no particular order.
1. I am thankful for God, that He exists, that He gave us the Bible so we can know him. That He sent his son to die on the cross for my sins, so I can choose a relationship with Him. 2. I am thankful that I live in America and get to enjoy many freedoms and all the beauty of this land God created. 3. I am thankful for my family. All my family, the ones I get to see a lot, the ones I don't see often enough, the ones that love me and even the ones that disagree with me. 4. I am thankful for my husband. He makes me laugh, he works hard and does a great job at his work. I'm thankful that he mows the lawn so I don't have to. I'm thankful that sometimes he sees things exactly the way I see them and sometimes he doesn't and I get to experience a new perspective. 5. I am thankful for my son who is wild and crazy sometimes and snuggly and cuddly at other times, but who always makes life very interesting. 6. I am thankful for my house and good neighbors. After apartment dwelling, it is a welcome relief. 7. I am thankful that God made me a very creative person, there are so many fun things I want to explore and create! 8. I am thankful for friends. Old friends, not so old friends and the opportunity to make new friends. It's so fun to have friends to share your life with. 9. I am thankful for my crazy dog. She is so sweet and silly and scared us with her health so much and now, she's doing pretty good. Crazy Lucy! 10. I am thankful that I can blog my silliest thoughts on here and at least one person looks at what I wrote. My husband, he's a big fan of my blog.
Well that's a small portion of what I'm thankful for. What are you thankful for?? Why don't you share that with a few people and write it down so you can remind yourself what's so great about your life on a gloomy day.

Friday, June 22, 2007

This Week

Well, it's been an interesting week. It started with my birthday and Father's Day on Sunday. We tried to visit a new church (one down here closer to home), but ended up not being able to find it. Colin had to stop and buy a map and realized he'd been looking in the wrong town. The church is in Hoquiam and he'd been looking on the edge of Aberdeen. By the time we found the church it was already 11:15 or 11:20 and church service starts at 10:45. So we decided to wait and try the next Sunday, rather than disrupt anything.
We went to Home Depot and bought paint colors to put up around the house. I bought some yellow for the kitchen that is too light (not yellow enough for us) and a tan color for the home school room. I also got some exterior paint, but I think it's too light.
By the time we got done with that it was time for lunch so we had lunch at a very nice Chinese buffet. Everything was delicious.
We drove home after lunch, narrowly escaping a wreck as a lady pulled into our lane while we were in the lane. She just about hit our driver's side door. Colin had to get over on the shoulder and honk to get her to see us. That was scary!
Once we were home, Colin's parents came over to celebrate my birthday with presents and cake. I got some nice birthday money which I used to buy and dining room table and chairs off of craigslist.
I also got a belated and very unwelcome present for my birthday....the stomach flu. It hit at 4:15 am and lasted for a couple of days. I'm still working on feeling completely normal even today. Colin had the stomach flu Monday night and Tuesday.
Wednesday I thought I was well enough to go back to work (and I really wanted to get my table. I had planned to get it Monday, but of course, that didn't work). I was semi okay in the morning, but after I ate lunch my queasy stomach returned. It lasted all afternoon. It got better after I was in my van and put the ac on full blast. The colder I was, the better I felt.
We got the table and chairs and went to dinner to celebrate 12 yrs. since my surgery. We went to Shari's and had very mild food....omelets and toast. We only ate about a third of our food and brought the rest home.
Yesterday was school and tumbling and a little cleaning,but if I did too much, I felt woozy. We're going to try to get to the church again this Sunday and we're going to have some friends over for lunch, hopefully my energy will return.
Oh, I almost forgot. The paint that I bought for the home school room never made it to that room. We ended up putting it on our ugly dark paneling wall and it is fantastic! I'm going to see if I have a good picture for you to see the difference and for my mom, I'll take a picture of the new table and post it soon.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Rest of The Story

Well, tomorrow is the 12th year anniversary of my surgery, so I'd better finish the story.
So there I was on the same floor as the heart patients, most of whom where in their 70's. I was feeling great now that I could breathe and swallow again. I started in one room and later was moved after the other patient went home and they needed the room. I ended up rooming with Mrs. Walden, who was in her 70's, diabetic and hard of hearing. Now if you've never had surgery you might not realize that they monitor all your fluids, incoming and outgoing. They give you this little thing called a potty hat to gather your urine(this is some of the glamorous stuff). So I had a potty hat and of course, Mrs. Walden had her own potty hat. At one point Mrs. Walden got out of bed and headed to the bathroom. My mom tried to ask her to wait a minute as my potty hat was on the toilet, but remember I said she was hard of hearing?? She was REALLY hard of hearing and didn't hear a word. We had to call the nurses station and ask them to come take care of the "potty hat situation". Even in the midst of serious stuff, there is room for humor.
I had to stay in the hospital for a week. I couldn't go home until they had given me a bone marrow test. The head nun in the hospital talked to about what the procedure was like (she'd had it done before). She was honest and told me it was painful for her and not to be afraid to cry or scream, that was normal. Needless to say, I was nervous. My doctor that came to do the test was British, so that was cool. I did see all the very large needles, which was not cool. He explained each step of the procedure as he numbed my hip deeper and deeper. Then it was time to get the sample and a bone chip. Once again, I believe prayer saw me through this, it only felt strange, not overly painful. The doctor and his assistant assured me that it was okay to cry or scream. I said I would do that when it hurt, but it never got to that point.
The doctor's tool slipped while he was trying to get a bone chip from me. He told me I had the hardest bones he'd seen, which was good, it turned out no cancer had spread to my bones, in fact the cancer was in stage 1A (that's the very first stage).
I went home a week to the day after my surgery. I was so glad to go home ,even though, really, my journey had just started. I returned many times to see the oncologist, a surgeon to put in a port for chemo and later to have it removed and the radiologist. I had chemo for 6 months and 23 doses of radiation. I had so much treatment due to the location of my tumor, near my heart. God led me through this time, it was very isolating, I could not work, attend church or be out in public much due to very low white blood cell counts. There was a chance that the chemo could have sent me into menopause and that I would have never been able to have children. It was hard, but I trusted that God had a plan and I didn't know what it was, but I needed to trust him.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The story continues

Well, it's late, but I'll share a little more of the story. It seems I've forgotten an interesting detail.
After my surgery when Dr. Loughridge was explaining things to my parents, he told them that he was amazed that I was still able to breathe and eat. My space to breathe and eat through (windpipe and esophagus) had been about half of the width of a soda straw. That's how much the tumor had been choking me. Now you know why those very large potassium pills sat in my throat the night before the surgery. I could have choked on them.
Well that's all for tonight. I'll tell you more later. I know that the only reason I made it through all this was God taking care of me and providing people to give me their very best care that they could give. There's more to the story, but I'll save it for next time.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Birthdays and Anniversaries Part Two

Back to the story.
My appointment was set with the Thoracic surgeon for June 19th. My mom had come home from cheerleading camp and was around to try to comfort me. Just so you know, both my parents felt pretty bad that I went to the Dr.'s appointment by myself, they had no idea that it would be such a big thing.
June 17th we celebrated my 24th birthday. Before I knew it, it was time to go to Tulsa to see the surgeon, Dr. Loughridge. We had planned that my mom would take me down,but my dad would be at work. Until the surgeon's office called the morning of my appointment to make sure that I packed a bag, just in case they wanted to admit me that day. So my dad came home and we all went to Tulsa. I saw Dr. Loughridge and he told us that I had a tumor in my chest somewhere around the size of a baseball. He scheduled me for surgery the next day.
I was admitted to the hospital. They did all sorts of checks on me. My blood type, (A negative. That freaked my mom out, she wanted them to test again. No thanks, mom, it's my arm they poke not yours! Both my parents have positive blood types. I got a recessive gene I guess.) They checked all the levels of everything. My potassium was low so they gave me two pills. Guess what was in my throat all night? That's right two potassium pills.
I didn't sleep that night. I kept waiting for them to come put an IV in me and they never did, they should have, but they didn't. My surgery was 9 or 10 that morning. They wheeled my bed out and took me all over to get to the surgery area. I was so nervous, I was teeth chattering nervous. I talked to the anesthesiologist and Dr. Loughridge. Then they wheeled me into the surgery room, where they moved the IV line I'd been given and put in an artery line (those hurt a lot. Note, if a nurse tells you something might hurt a bit, that's really a code for 'this will hurt worse than anything you've ever felt before'). Then they put the mask over my face and I don't remember anything until I woke up in ICU. At this point I had two options for what this tumor was, benign or cancerous. My gut instinct was that it was cancer.
My parents and Dr. Loughridge filled me in on what went on during my surgery a few days later when I was becoming more coherent.
My surgery was supposed to last 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. It lasted somewhere between 3 or 4 hours I believe. They had to basically do the surgery the same way they would open heart surgery (many people who see my scar wonder if I've had open heart surgery).
They cut through my breast bone and went after the tumor. The tumor had grown around my windpipe,my vocal chords, esophagus, and arteries. Dr. Loughridge had to dissect the tumor out in tiny pieces. I lost my thymus in the process. The surgical team was calling my parents about every 20-30 min. My parents told me later that there came a point when the phone call didn't come for a while and they were getting worried. My heart had stopped during that period of time, but Dr. Loughridge massaged my heart with his hand and got it going again.
After my surgery Dr. Loughridge talked to my parents and told them what had gone on during surgery. He told them that there had been a lot of stress to my vocal chords and he didn't know if I would be able to talk again or not.
When I started waking up in ICU I wanted to know what the results were. Did I have cancer? My instinct told me yes. Dr. Loughridge came to visit me and tried to explain a few things. My parents were there, too. He told me that he's called in the oncology team and I remember nodding and thinking 'what kind of Dr. is that?' Somehow, it was conveyed to me that yes, it was cancer.
I was in ICU for two days, I think. They had me on morphine, so don't quote me on that fact. It might have been three days. The last day I was in ICU they needed to take out my swan line and get me settled. I remember sitting up and trying the food they brought me and feeling so sick. My mom was in front of me and I didn't want to get sick on her so I asked her to move. She didn't and I ended up growling at her to move so I could get sick.
When the nurse took out the swan line, she had to hold it to stop the bleeding. She checked to see if the spot had clotted enough for her to no longer need to put pressure on it and I splurted blood on her uniform. I apologized and she laughed, it was involuntary. Blood pumps.
They moved me upstairs to the same floor as the open heart surgery patients. That was pretty funny because most of them were very old and by now I was feeling pretty good. I could breathe and eat and swallow and I felt good. I wasn't even in pain. Dr. Loughridge's partner checked on me and told me I should take pain pills, that they weren't going to make an addict out of me, but I didn't hurt. I think it was the power of prayer. I had so many people praying for me.
Well sorry to do this, but this will be continued next time.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

June is a big month for me. First, it's my birthday. This year I have to share it with Father's Day (not my favorite thing to do..I like my birthday to myself). Birthdays are fun, I like getting surprises and presents!
June is also a big anniversary month for me. Not my wedding anniversary, that's in October. June is the anniversary of one of the most life changing experiences I have had. Being diagnosed with cancer. Would you like to hear what happened? Please read on if you want to hear the story. I'll start at the beginning.
Spring 1995. I was in my last semester at Coffeyville Community College. I was making plans for where I would go to get my Bachelor's degree. At the time I was majoring in Art. I believe it was February when I caught a nasty cold and had a really hard time shaking it. I was tired and dragging the entire semester. I missed more classes than I should have simply because I felt terrible.
I was having a hard time swallowing and breathing. I thought maybe I had asthma and that's why I felt like I couldn't get enough air.
I made it through the semester and graduated, but I still didn't feel good. I remember going out to dinner to celebrate graduation and getting things like mashed potatoes and fried mushrooms because they didn't hurt to swallow.
By now it was June and my brother and sister-in-law came down for a visit. We went to a little town in Oklahoma to go to some flea markets or something like that and at lunch I had mashed potatoes and I remember my mom telling me she didn't like the sound of my breathing. She told me I sounded like a death rattle. What a nice thing to say, huh? Only, she was right. I hadn't been able to sleep for a couple of days and still couldn't swallow and was so tired.
My mom decided it was time to call a doctor. At the time, I didn't have any health insurance because I was 23 and just had part time jobs to pay for school and I was too old for my parents insurance. I also had only lived in Coffeyville a couple of years and didn't have my own doctor down there. My parents were just switching to a new doctor. It was Sunday, June 10th and it was early evening. Mom called the doctor at home, explained what was going on and he told us to meet him at the emergency room in Indepedence (a neighboring town about 30 min. away).
At the emergency room the doctor looked me over and they followed procedure for anyone who comes in with difficulty breathing. They took x-rays of my chest and throat. I got a shot in my tushy to counteract any swelling and was sent home. They told us I could follow up with Dr. Empson that week.
I went home and slept. The shot had allowed me to breathe. Early the next morning the phone rang and my mom answered it. It was either the hospital or the doctor's office. They had looked at the x-rays and said it looked like something was pushing on my windpipe and they wanted to get me in for a CAT scan that day. So I went in and had a CAT scan. I got poked a lot while the radiologist was trying to hook me up to an IV to feed the contrast dye in with. After the Cat scan, I went to work. I had an appointment for Wednesday to find out the results of the CT.
The doctor had given several possibilities of what the problem might be when he had talked to my family. Thyroid, glands, or a slight chance that it might be something requiring surgery. So I went to the Dr.'s appointment alone. My mom was at cheerleading camp and would be back the next day or so and my dad was at work.
Have you ever gone somewhere to get news about something and just known that you were going to hear the worst choice scenario was what you would face? I went to this appointment knowing that I would need surgery. My parents had reassured me that I would probably just need a pill to make things better, but I knew. Deep inside, I knew, I wasn't going through this the easy way. I wasn't trying to be negative and gloomy, but I knew. I've had other times like that. Some people say it's intuition. Maybe. I think it's God giving you a sense of what will happen so you can prepare yourself at least a little.
So I went to the appointment with my gut instinct and then the doctor told me the news. "There's some sort of growth and we need to get it out. You're going to need surgery. I'm going to call around and see who can get you in the soonest." I sat there in shock, wanting to weep, but trying to keep it together because the doctor would be back. He came back and gave me the information and I left. I headed right for my dad's work. I needed to tell him the news. At this point, I was about to fall apart. I made it into my dad's office and found my dad. His boss let us use his office as it was the only one with any privacy and I fell apart. I sobbed the news to my dad and mostly I just sobbed. I was so scared. The only time I had ever been in the hospital was when I was born.
This is getting long. I think I'll continue in another post. Keep reading.


I am no longer living with straight hair. Tuesday I got a perm. I haven't had a perm in 12 years. I had to wait until today to wash my hair. I'm still getting used to the curls. It's still about the same length I had it before the perm (of course it seems shorter because it's curly). I do not have poodle head. Mostly, it's wavy. Colin was very nervous about me coming home with poodle head. He muttered something about being traumatized as a child when his mother came home with poodle head (no offense to my mother-in-law, just stating the facts reported by my husband). So far the only people who have seen this hair change are Colin, Ian and a couple of cousins and of course, people who don't know me. Tomorrow the hair faces a family get-together, hope it survives. Ha, ha!
I promise, I'll try to get a picture of the new hairdo on here soon.


Well, I have seen the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Colin and I had a date night last week and we went to the open captioning version. We had free movie tickets from Safeway that we had saved for this movie. We now how free readmission tickets as they forgot to turn on the captioning for at least the first fifteen minutes. I am already planning to go see Ratatouille. We'll take looks very funny!
I just saw today that there is going to be a new Pirate movie coming out this winter. The Pirates who don't do anything....Veggie tales. You can look at it yourself at Ian thought the music was very cool.
By the way, the Pirates of the Caribbean was good, just very long (3 hrs.).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back to the Blog

Wow! I have really not been blogging much lately. My parents came to visit for a week and a half and right after they left, sinusitis arrived. I'm on an antibiotic right now and prednisone(which I can't wait to get off of, it makes me kind of hyper and wound up and I just don't like it. It is helping my nose, but I could do without the side effects).
I guess I'll give you a little synopsis of what we did while my parents were here.
We went to Multnomah Falls on their day of arrival (poor mom and dad, we wore them out). It was a gorgeous day and I got some great pictures of the Falls. I had only seen it in the fall on a very rainy day (that was on my honeymoon, so it's been a while since I had been there).
We did a lot in our small town. We went to the little restaurant downtown that's only open Monday through Friday for lunch and I guess it's open Friday night for wine and cheese tasting (not my thing at all). Their food was so awesome. Homemade bread, salad dressings, soups, quiche, sandwiches and desserts. Ian had 1/2 a BLT and ate all of it (it wasn't small even though it was a 1/2). I have some cute pictures of him wearing mayonnaise from his sandwich.
We went to the beach. Boy was it cold!!!! At home it was in the 70's or low 80's, at the beach...55 and the wind was blowing. We cooked out Nathan's brand hot dogs on our Coleman camping grill. Yumilicious! Ian made sand castles and had a blast. We ended that day leisurely shopping in Ocean Shores and then having ice cream cones with ice cream made in the shop we got them at. "Homemade " ice cream. I guess that's what you call it even though they make it at their store. Whatever you call it, it was very yummy. I had a rocky road cone (a small and that was too big so I shared it with Colin).
We had a portraits taken. We got Ian's 6 yr. old pics, family pics of the 3 of us and some with all of us, my mom and dad included. I get to pick them up on Wednesday. They turned out pretty good.
We played a lot of Mexican train dominoes. Ian loved that! My mom helped him play and he thought it was the coolest game ever.
I guess that would be all the highlights. We had a lot of fun, but also took it pretty easy. We actually got some rest on our vacation. Amazing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Creative Breakfast

Well this week I am fighting allergies and sinusitis. Not much fun. It makes me very tired and my family copes as best they can. Take this morning for instance, I got up and my nose was so snuffy that I headed straight to the shower (warm steam helps). Ian got up about the same time and decided to watch Curious George while I showered. At some point he decided he was hungry and decided to take care of getting some breakfast for himself. I know this because he announced it to me when I was finished getting ready.
I came into the living room and he said 'I was hungry so I got 2 dried plums out of the frig.' I said okay and told him that was a pretty good choice, healthy. Then he told me 'I had some blueberries, too, but I saved you one.' I went and looked and sure enough, my $5 package of blueberries had one berry left. He really meant it when he said he saved me one!