/> Raising Angels: August 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Fourth Revisited

I realized I never put anything else up about our Fourth of July other than this little number. So here are a few photos of our neighborhood extravaganza.

 Max went up and down the water slides this year ALL BY HIMSELF! I promised to never, ever take his physical accomplishments for granted. There was a time not too long ago when I thought this simple feat might not be attainable for him and yet, there he was, holding up the entire line with his slowness but happy as a clam that he did it on his own.

By the way, he also learned to swim this summer -real face under the water, get things off the bottom and jump in from the side kind of swimming. I think that's pretty amazing too.

Not only did we have waterslides, but we also had free food. Tell any kid they can have popcorn, hotdogs, snow cones, cotton candy and drinks for free and you'll get a smile every single time. Free junk and time with cousins made Dawson a very happy camper.


And when they got bored of the slides, there were plenty of carnival games to play. Those games included more free junk food as prizes. It was a virtual Heaven on earth for my kids. They absolutely love this yearly celebration

And this girl? She's getting bigger every day (as are all my children). It's more and more apparent to me, much to Nelson's chagrin, that she is not our little girl any more but a young lady. I find my prayers for her have changed tremendously. I pray that God protect her innocence and help us to catch her the first time she does anything wrong.

Sounds awful but God's been honoring this prayer a lot this summer and it's started many deep conversations about everything from how to talk about boys ("cute"-okay, "hot"- not so much), to music choices (I'm serious about this one. Check the lyrics of the songs your kids listen too. I did and was appalled.), to why she's not allowed a Facebook account or cell phone.

The times, they are a changing around here and we're learning as we go. There's a fine line between protecting them and suffocating them that we're trying desperately to find. Mostly I pray for myself as I always have where the kids are concerned.

Please Jesus, just help me not to mess them up!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Helping Hands

I got a later start time for Friday's surgery (7AM) and we almost missed it! Figures. I called and they were great. I got to talk with the doctor before he began and he explained everything about Tuesday's surgery and I felt much better about the whole thing...and then I was OUT. Never ceases to amaze me, the whole going under part of things. Thankfully, it did not cause me to have to pull over on the highway this time. It did however, cause me to sleep until one and repeat my stories over and over again (at least, that's what Nelson told me).

All in all it was a much better day, but the surgery going well was not what made the day so much better.

Sometime Thursday afternoon I got a text from a friend who said she was off Friday, "Can I watch the kids for you?" Now this is the sweet girl who married one of our guys and now they are staying in our apartment (attached to our house).

My initial response was to tell her thanks but I've got it covered. Then I thought to myself that Friday was my folk's anniversary and wouldn't it be a sweet gift to mom if she didn't have to wake up at 6 to come over here. Wouldn't it be even better if she got to go to mass first? So I sheepishly knocked on this sweet girl's door (which happens to be in my entry way) and took her up on her offer. Blessed beyond belief is what I felt when finished our conversation. I only met her last year and here she is offering to be there for me and my kids.

On top of that, my mom did come over, on HER anniversary, to take over duties. My mom's generosity and service never cease to amaze me but today they blessed me incredibly. She only woke me to let me say good bye to the kids before they left for the day. I love you mom!

The kids...all 4 of them...were invited by Nelson's sister and her husband to spend the night Friday and they wanted to pick them up when Max got out of school at 1:30. I almost tried to talk them out of taking all of them but the timing of the invitation was just too good for me to pass up. I awoke from the dregs of the anesthesia to kiss them good bye.

I walked back into the kitchen after they left to find a flower and some homemade muffins from one of my neighbors sitting on the counter with a get well card attached. My phone was blinking with numerous texts from friends asking me how it went. My mom even called to check on me.

After that I just relished in how well cared for I was. I felt so loved and I wondered what the difference was this go around. I had two other leg surgeries around the first of the year and I didn't have the same feeling then.

The more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that it was not my friends who had changed, but me. I have been trained and taught by my parents, husband and the circumstances of my life to be very self-sufficient. I am quite capable of taking care of myself and my family all by myself. This is a quality I have too often taken pride in.

The difference this time was not in the amount of offers I received; it was in my willingness to accept them. I love to serve. I love the way I feel when I know I've been able to help someone. However, I am quite unwilling to allow them to do the same for me. I was under the false impression that this would make me weak.

It did quite the opposite. I felt stronger because of their love. I felt encouraged by their willingness to lend a hand. I felt blessed by their prayers and thoughtfulness. It was really quite wonderful.

I want to encourage you to give it a try, especially if you're a "I can do it" kind of person like me.  We all have people in our lives who are willing to help us, who in fact would love to help us. Let them. You'll be blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Surgical Summary

I'm laying on the table in a very chilly operating room. The anesthesiologist is poking around for a vein and the nurse is doing a sonogram on the mother of all my veins. Other than the pure exhaustion, I'm in good spirits hoping that this day will be life-changing. I even crack a joke that gets them both laughing (even though I have no memory of what it was).

After the anesthesiologist finally succeeds in getting the IV in, he stands up and looks at the back of my leg splayed out for all (well the two who were in the room anyway) to see. "Is that where it hurts? Where it's bulging out back there?" he asks.

Um, ya think?! That was how I wanted to reply but even at 5:30 AM, my thoughts went back to natural child birth number one when my mother sweetly leaned over and said to me, as Mackenzie was crowing, "Now I didn't teach you to talk that way. Why don't you pray through your next contraction?" To which my initial response was to punch her (you know I love ya mom) but as the obedient daughter she taught me to be, I instead shouted, "JEsus, JESus, JESUS!" through the next one and quite frankly, it sounded nothing like a prayer in that moment. Anyway, I responded to my poor naive anesthesiologist, "Yes, but it goes on from there."

The sweet young nurse paused at this comment. "Where does it go?" Of course, I wanted to ask her why she didn't know the answer to this question since she's been through all kinds of schooling to figure this out on her own. However, I kindly replied by telling her where it went being as, ahem, gentile as I could. My response gave her pause and then she asked me to roll over to my back so she could take another look.

She was apologetic as to where she had to put that ultrasound wand to take me for my word. "Hey listen," I assured her, "I've had four kids. I'm not bothered by this at all as long as you can fix this thing." She appreciated my candor but it didn't give her any more confidence. I know this because as the anesthesiologist (seriously, this is such a long title to type over and over) asked if I was going to be on my back or stomach for the surgery she said, "I'm not really sure. I'm going to wait for the doctor."

Suddenly my hopeful confidence began to seep out from my gaping hospital gown onto the cold table. I did not get any warm fuzzies when the doctor came in and questioned why I was on my back. The nurse explained the positioning of the vein and there was some discussion as to where it was the worst and how he couldn't get at it from here or there. And again I'm thinking about how much this surgery costs and why I'm paying so much for this life-changing opportunity and why nobody in the room seems to be teaming with confidence...at all.

There was a conversation with me as to when it hurt the most and where. And suddenly the anesthesiologist was asking me if I had any questions before they get started. "I really, really just want to have this thing fixed and feel better." I noted that there was no exuberant response to that comment while I also noted that I still felt very awake as I stared up into his face and then the lights and then the next thing I knew someone was saying, "Okay Amy, we're finished. Let's get you up and to your room." The whole going under thing befuddles me. One minute you're totally there and the next you're not and the next you're back. Weird.

I got back to where Nelson was waiting for me and noticed as I looked down at the leg that it was not wrapped in a compression bandage like the last two times. A kind lady explained I had a stitch and he didn't wrap the leg when it was in that position. She also gave me some other information that was very important that I have absolutely no recollection of whatsoever. I'm a good listener, really I am...except....apparently, when I've been under for awhile.

I tried my best to focus but nothing stayed with me and then she was gone. I tried to get dressed and nearly fell over when Nelson caught me and helped me out. I think I told him I felt a little bit more woozy than the last time and he said I was under for quite a bit longer this go around. I don't remember much else until we got to the car.

After the last two surgeries, I got into the car and slept through the 30 minute ride home. I wanted to do that again but I couldn't because of how woozy I felt. Nelson asked if I wanted to stop for some breakfast but that didn't appeal to me at all. He pulled into a Sonic and off we went back home. However, I couldn't sleep and the more I tried, the worse I felt. Finally I told him, "I think you need to stop because I'm going to be sick."

Somehow he found a way to pull off the highway. I opened the door and lost it. Let me just say now that if you ever doubt the instruction that tells you not to eat after midnight the day of your surgery, it is good info...very good. I know this because when I finished and apologized to Nelson, his response was, "It didn't sound too bad. You only threw up once." To which I wanted to also punch him (Is it just me or do I have a weird response to punch people when I'm sick or in pain? I'm just saying, watch out.), but I think I said something about having nothing on my stomach and that I felt much better thank you.

I got home and somehow pulled on my pj's and fell into bed. Thank the good Lord that I have a mom who loves me and lives nearby and does things like wake up at 5 AM to come to my house to be with my kids. It also helps that she's a nurse who wakes me up around 12:30 to tell me I need to walk around according to my vein doctor's orders.

My leg was bandaged, oozing, bruised and sore but mostly I just felt kind of out of it the rest of the day. I expected to get back to normal like I did after the last ones but I just couldn't pull it together. I did walk around and play a game of Yahtzee with the kids so my mom could go home, but after that my high aspirations quickly disappeared as I hit the couch again.

When I got the guts to look at the damage, I was surprised (even though this was not new information) that my leg was not wrapped but rather bandaged and badly bruised. What's more was that the back of my leg, where the nurse did the first markings, hadn't been touched. And in my semi-medicated state, my hopefulness turned to doubt and questioning. My mom, always my champion, told me, "Well, you'll be back to see him on Friday and you can get it all straightened out then."

I have a tendency to trust my doctors (I have good ones, really I do) and assume they have all the answers. Tuesday I was reminded that these medically educated beings are mere mortals that don't actually know everything after all. My hope is that this particular one will know how to fix these old legs of mine for good.

In reality it's a pretty easy surgery as far as surgeries go. To walk off the operating table is pretty amazing. The whole befuddled look of the staff and throwing up on the side of the highway, not so amazing, but hey, that's only once out three times. Here's hoping Friday goes better!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Thought I was back on a roll with the whole blogging thing but then, well, life happened.

It's the end of the summer and the kids are requiring more, ahem, refereeing every...single...minute.

Then those darn Olympics came and I'm admittedly a sucker for all things Olympic (provided it's the U.S.of A. I'm rooting for) and will watch any sport in support of my team. They only come once every four years and I'm also a sucker for the whole history in the making side of things too. So watched them we did and the midnight ending time, it did nothing for my dreams of being well-rested and caught up on writing.

I'm having the third of only the doctor knows how many vein surgeries tomorrow at 5:30AM. Seriously, I'm not sure what those people were thinking with these surgery times. My last two were at 4 and 4:30 AM so I guess this is a slight improvement. I lobbied for a later time due to having to have someone come over and sit with the kids that early and it got me nowhere. Nelson said he's putting his foot down tomorrow in order to try to get a time for the Friday one that comes sometime after the sun rises. We'll see.

Having been really healthy my whole life, the whole being out for a surgery, even though it was a quick one, scared the living daylights out of me. But I did better for the second one and I'm actually excited about the two this week. Since I was pregnant with Mackenzie I have had trouble with vericose veins. With each pregnancy they got worse but always subsided after I gave birth.

Until I had Max.

I used to think vericose veins were about vanity. Let me tell you though, they hurt. I mean when mine hurt, you'll find me washing dishes with my leg on the counter, driving the car with my leg propped up by the window, or worse, having to stop everything to lay down and put my legs up over my heart. They prevent functionality, which is not acceptable.

Tomorrow they're fixing the ones that hurt the worst and I'm hopeful it will be life-changing for me.

If you happen to be up at that awful hour of the morning tomorrow, I would appreciate your prayers. If for nothing else but that Friday's surgery gets scheduled a little later.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A Simple Reminder

In mass on Sunday I was acutely aware of how much time I spent correcting the kids.

Sit up straight.

Sing please.

Kneel up tall. Get your bottom off the pew.

You have to move your lips to say the prayer.

Please don't use that bulletin as an eyeglass.

Fold your hands.

Bow your head.


I wish I could say that's where it ended, but well, you get the idea. This is nothing out of the ordinary. Every mass is like this these days and it's a challenge.

Some Sundays I handle it. Other Sundays I survive it. Then, there are times when I think I lose more grace than I get (even though I know that's not true).

This Sunday, however, God reminded me that He's a lot like that with us. We sin and sin and sin and sin. He reminds us, prompts us, and redirects us...constantly.

It was a helpful perspective. Makes me want to change.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Still Here...Kind Of

Went to the beach without my computer...on purpose.

The Olympic Games began.

Came home to a broken AC and a large portion of our pecan tree down across our trampoline.

Loaned our computer to someone working for Nelson for a few days.

Watched a WHOLE lot of Olympic events and can I just say, "Go USA!"? That women's soccer game today was absolutely amazing.

Kind of extended a bit of the vacation mode by steering clear of the computer for almost another entire week.

It didn't kill me. It was kind of nice.

Now you know at least I haven't thrown in the towel.