Thursday, January 12, 2012

December- Part 2

Nativity Walk

A good friend told us about a Nativity Walk that was being put on by a small church in the area so we decided to take the girls.  Our niece Olivia was spending the night with us so we thought it would be a fun activity to do with them.

After walking around to different rooms in the church and watching the story of Jesus' birth acted out, we were able to have some refreshments and the kids made some cute crafts.  They had different stations set up in their church where the kids could go from table to table and create something Christmas-y.  The first stop was a paper bag reindeer to hold all of their crafts.  They made an ornament, a Christmas card and a snowflake.  There was also a station for face painting, but the line was way too long so we decided to call it a night.  For a free and safe activity for the kids, it turned out great and the girls had a great time.

Eating cookies! (Naomi looks thrilled!)

Gerry's Birthday

Gerry's birthday has been falling on a day where Maria is already on Christmas break, so we have been making it a tradition to somehow find the time to spend it with him.  Last year we tricked him into thinking he was meeting some business associates for a lunch meeting, and we were at the restaurant instead.  This year, we couldn't really make it a surprise but we brought him and the rest of his office Subway sandwiches and cake, the girls each picked out a balloon, (Naomi's had to be a Cardinal balloon because she thought her daddy would love it.  Good thing they had a few Cards balloons left.), and we picked out a special gift to keep on his desk at work. 

The girls love going to their daddy's work.  Everyone there is so nice and they treat them so special when they come running in.  Maria goes immediately for the huge white board in Gerry's office and starts drawing and Naomi decided she loves wearing his "Call Center" headphones. I think she thinks she is a meteorologist with them on.  She points to his globe and does an entire weather report. It's hilarious!

This Willow Tree statue was his present. It's called "My Girls."  He saw it once and said he would love to have that for his desk at work! It's perfect!

Santa's Magical Kingdom

Later that evening, on Gerry's birthday, we drove out to Santa's Magical Kingdom.  This is also becoming a tradition for us as it was our 3rd year in a row! The first year we tried it, Naomi was a tiny baby in her infant seat and she slept through the whole thing. 

Each time, we bundle the girls up and they get to bring a big blanket in the car.  They get excited because they don't have to wear shoes (since we stay in the car the whole time.) Once we get there, I get the girls out of their car seats (I know...bad mom!) and let them sit on my lap with the window rolled all the way down. (It's hard to see out their tinted windows) We snuggle under the blankets and listen to Christmas music together.  This is one of my absolute favorite Christmas activities that we do.  I love to see their faces light up at all the silly scenes of Disney characters in lights, mischievous little elves, jumping reindeer, and a display of fireworks near the St. Louis arch.  They oooh and aaahhh over every little thing! It's very exciting!

As always, when we get home we have hot chocolate and cookies!

What a great end to a fabulous day! A birthday party with cake, Christmas lights, hot chocolate and cookies...what more could a kid ask for?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December - Part 1

We spent a huge part of December doing lots of family things that included preparing for the holiday season.  It was so awesome this year with both girls having a better understanding of Christmas, Santa and of course, baby Jesus. 

I don't want to forget any of this so here is part 1 of the highlights of the month, for your viewing pleasure:

Breakfast With Santa

Every year, Maria's school puts together a cute little breakfast filled with games, crafts, a book fair and the Big Man, himself.  We love this party because the kids can see Santa, we can take as many pictures as we want and we don't have to wait in any lines at the mall.

St. Nick's Day

On December 5th, the girls make sure to have their stockings out so St. Nick can fill them with goodies.  The next morning, they get a little pre-quel to what Christmas will be like.  St. Nick always brings them Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas and this year he filled their stockings with some Littlest Pet Shop Pets, and of course, gelt. (which is what we call chocolate candy)

Gerry's Work Party

I love this party because I don't get this dressed up very often.  Check out Gerry's snowflake tie that matches my dress! Fancy...I know!

Life Link Christmas Party

One of my favorite things about our church is their organization and promotion of Life Link small groups.  This year, our group had a Christmas party where the kids decorated cookies, we ate tons of food and exchanged white elephant gifts.  There were a lot of laughs and everyone had a great time!

Naomi sampling her creations.

Maria's cookies

Naomi's cookies

Maria worked very hard on her cookies!

Gerry got a cool musical tie and I got a head lamp!

Stay tuned for part 2 of our December highlights!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful for Mom

My surgery would never even have been possible if it weren't for my mom. She really is the best! She took an entire week's vacation from her job to help us out.  She spent the night at our house the night before my surgery and has stayed with us over an entire week. 
Besides cooking, my mom has done everything else around the house for us. I seriously don't know where I would be without her. She's amazing. She woke up early with the girls, gave them breakfast. I slept until 9-9:30 every day. When I woke up, she fixed me breakfast. She kept up with the dishes, she did our laundry, she's got Maria on and off the bus every day, put Naomi down for a nap and had a huge dinner for everyone by the time Gerry got home. Superwoman!

In the evenings, she played with the girls, cleaned up dinner, gave the kids a bath and helped with bedtime. I am so incredibly grateful for all of her help. She has helped my girls to go through the week without any interruptions in their schedule. She has brought stability to their lives and they are just crazy about her. She also made it possible for Gerry to work regular hours last week and do what he has to do at his job without having to worry (too much) about me and what's going on at home. That sense of security is priceless.

But most of all I was just thankful for her company and her emotional support. There are many times in a girl's life when she just really needs her mom...and this was definitely one of them for me. She was always there to give a back rub, or a foot rub, or just a hug. 

She went back home on Friday and I cried when she left.  I know she is just a phone call away but I really did appreciate everything she did for us and I was very sad she was leaving. 

So mom- if you're reading this...thanks and I love you! And boy I sure do miss your fried eggs!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Days 6,7 and 8!

Wednesday and Thursday
These days were kind of blurred together.  No major changes.  The pain changed again, but never really got unmanageable, and for that I am so thankful!

I'm still surviving on chicken noodle soup, ramen noodles, jello, fried eggs and instant mashed potatoes.  My mom made chicken parmasan on Wednesday night and I was so hungry I made a plate for myself.  I thought I would at least be able to eat little bites of chicken and some noodles.  I got to the table and everyone was eating and I tried so hard to join them...but it hurt too bad.  Even the noodles.  It would take me so long to chew up a tiny bite of chicken that it just wasn't worth it.  So I just started crying. 

I can't even explain this overwhelming feeling of not being able to eat normal food.  My stomach is growling, the smells are making my mouth water and watching everyone else around me eat is just plain torture.  In my mind, I think I can handle it, but then I start chewing and it takes so much energy and it is painful to chew because I can 't move my tongue around in my mouth like normal.  It's exhausting to chew because I'm concentrating on it so much and by the time I swallow a tiny mashed up bite...the satisfaction is not there. I mean, what am I thinking.  I just had a tonsillectomy less than a week ago and I think chicken parmasan is a good idea???

 It's so weird.  I've never felt this way about eating before.  I miss everything about it.

Wednesday night, I was already for bed...excited that I could lay my pillow down a little more flat since some of the swelling has subsided.  After I dozed off for a few minutes, I woke up coughing violently!.  It felt as though a tiny piece of yarn was dangling in the back of my throat.  I kept coughing and coughing, almost feeling like I was going to throw up.  This had to be the most painful and scary part of the whole week yet.  After I calmed down and was able to drink some water, I looked in my throat with a flash light.  There it was...a huge piece of yellowish gray scab hanging down. Gross, I know.  At 11:00 at night, the scabs start to fall off. 

Needless to say, neither Gerry or I got much sleep that night.  I coughed a lot the next day, but thankfully the tickly feeling subsided.

Thursday was a big day for me.  I ate a piece of Imo's cheese pizza! It took me about 45 minutes, but by golly! I finished it!

The scabs are continuing to come off, but it's not nearly as painful as I have read about.  I think it helps that I am drinking water constantly throughout the day.  Waking in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning is the worst, but once I have a few sips of water, it starts to feel better.


One week post op and I am feeling pretty decent.  My mom got Naomi off to school this morning with no problems.  When her and Maria got home, they made chocolate chip cookies and more jello for me. 

For lunch, I ate an entire bologna and cheese sandwich. Yay me!!! I smushed it down really good and just took my time.  I followed each bite with a drink of water but it tasted so good!

In sad news, today is my mom's last day.  Once Gerry gets off work, he will be on vacation all next week.  We will miss her for sure and we appreciate everything she has done for us this week.  Couldn't have done it without her!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First 5K!

I'm tired of talking tonsillectomy!

Back in September, my best friend, Erin, and I ran our first 5K race.  We started training for it in June.  Running has been a huge part of the reason I have not been a very good blogger lately.  It takes a lot of planning and coordinating with Gerry and leaves little room for much else.  At the end of the day I needed to or blog? And this summer, running won.

Both of my sisters-in-law, Kelly and Laura, have been a huge inspiration to me.  They have been running for a long time time now and I have been saying for while that I really need to do that.  In June 2011, the rubber finally hit the road and I started.  I used the iPod app "Couch to 5K" to get me started.  I was pretty athletic in my younger years.  I was always playing a sport in high, softball.  But I've never run just to run.  I will admit it was hard to get going but having an awesome running partner helped a lot.

And on September 17th all our hard work paid off.  Erin and I ran the Alzheimer's Association 5K which was in downtown St. Louis.  The starting line (and finish line) was right outside Busch Stadium.

Our final time was something like 40:11, but then later found out that the course was mapped wrong.  Instead of running 3.1 miles, we ran more like 3.9 miles.  So we actually ran a 10.3 minute mile, which was pretty good for our first race. (We actually ran another one in October...will post on that soon!)

The girls and Erin at 5:30 am! Ready to go!

My wonderful, supportive husband and myself before the race!

Snuggled up in the wagon getting ready to watch the race.

Our cheering section! So cute!

Here we are on the home stretch!

Crossing the finish line!

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 4 & 5

The days are getting harder.  The pain is changing.  One day, the pain feels like a terrible sore throat.  The next, the pain is more in my ears and jaws. Sometimes it's a dull, achy feeling.  Other times it is very sharp and intense.

I rolled out of bed around 9 am again.  This was Gerry's first day back to work so I was a little worried about how things would go.  My mom is still here taking care of the girls.  They were actually pretty good most of the morning.

I tried to eat some scrambled eggs again, but just couldn't do it.  I can't seem to get my mouth open wide enough to chew.  It hurts too much to try.  So my mom made me some watered down oatmeal.  It hit the spot!

I have been taking my pain medicine pretty regularly, every 4 hours.  After I got out of the shower last night, I noticed a rash developing on my chest and shoulders.  It was a little itchy.  Gerry talked to the doctor and she suggested it might be an allergic reaction to the antibiotic I am taking.  So she told me to stop taking that and try a benadryl.  That knocked me out for most of the night.  However I did wake up a few times very sweaty and itchy during the night.

So after an uncomfortable night, I woke this morning to discover the rash had spread to the back of my neck and most of my trunk. I was very itchy and uncomfortable. My mom talked to the doctor again and she said it was probably a reaction to the pain medicine.  Great. Now I can't even take that! So my next dose of the percocet was supposed to be at 10 am, and I took 800 mg of Ibuprofen instead.  I can rotate that every 4 hours with 1000 mg of Tylenol. I can't switch to any other pain pills because everything contains codeine, and that's what I am probably allergic to.

I ate some oatmeal again, and more jello.  I've been using the ice pack on my neck which feels really good.  By the middle of the day, I was actually able to talk a little better.  My jaws didn't hurt as bad and my tongue wasn't as swollen.  Then my mom suggested that maybe the pain medicine was causing my mouth to be more swollen that it would have been normally.  This made sense, since I have had allergic reactions to other medicines in the past and it has affected my tongue and mouth. As the day went on, my head felt more clear.  The rash began to go away and I realized just how crappy the percocet was making me feel.

My throat still hurts from the surgery, like bad tonsillitis, but the rest of my mouth feels better in general, since everything isn't so swollen.  Maybe the rash was a blessing in disguise?

For dinner tonight I was able to eat a fried egg with a piece of soft bread, some small bites of canned fruit and a very small piece of a soft cinnamon roll. Gerry said it felt as though I was "back", he said he kind of missed me.  So I guess I was acting really drugged up!

So I'm still waiting for the pain to become unbearable...when the scabs fall off.  Especially now that I'm not taking anything heavy duty for the pain.  I'm praying that I will be able to handle the worst without going crazy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 3: Sunday

This was by far, my worst day so far. I slept terribly and woke up feeling stiff all over.  I can't find a comfortable position to sleep and these pain pills are giving me some weird dreams.

I got out of bed around 9 and I was so hungry! My mom made me some scrambled eggs and I asked her to make 2.  I couldn't wait to get them in my tummy.  However, it was a big disappointment.  My tongue is very swollen and I could barely taste them.  It took so much work to chew the tiny little pieces in to tinier pieces and the jaw pain I am starting to have didn't make that easier.  By the time I was finished, I maybe ate half of one egg.  I wanted to eat more but just couldn't get the strength to chew.  I did have some more jello, though.  Not sick of that yet.

Gerry took the girls to church and then down to see his parents.  My mom went home for a few hours and I was able to find a comfy spot on the couch and rest for a while.  Later on, Erin came by to visit.  I warned her that I was so crabby, but she brought a funny movie that made me laugh a little.

After the movie, while everyone was eating dinner (pizza, lasagna and veggies) I was feeling terrible.  If it didn't hurt so much to cry, I would have been crying.  My ears are starting to hurt again, my jaws hurt....just everything.  It's so frustrating not to be able to talk or eat too.  That makes me extra crabby.

I did manage to eat some ramen noodles, some very thin instant mashed potatoes and drink some Ensures today so I consider that a very small victory.

Here's to a light at the end of this tunnel!!!
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