ever have 'one of those days?'

Today was that day!  In a great big ol' way ... it started off okay {sorry, not sure why I'm rhyme master at the moment}.

I dropped the kids off at school and stopped by the gas station to fill up.  Took forever to authorize my card {excuse me, I'm standing in 10 degree weather, could we hurry it up a bit?}.  Then tells me my card's been rejected.

Rejected?  "Nah," I think and being the stubborn idiot I am, I try it again.  You know, cuz the first time it didn't take long enough and because I rather enjoy the freezing cold weather.

Rejected again.  Fine, I'll pay inside then.  That took another 30 minutes to process ... good times!  And then ... it wouldn't let me pick the type of gasoline I wanted.  Humpf!

So I get back in the car and drive to the next pump.  Same ol' routine happening at pump number two.  I thought surely it was a pump number one 'thing' and pump number two definitely wouldn't reject my card.  I was wrong ...

I take the rejection easier this time and go straight for the pay inside option.  And this pump liked my gas choice and I'm in business.

I get inside the car to wait and notice the shirt I'm wearing is on backwards.  It's a turtleneck {why do I feel like a dork admitting that?}, and it's got a seam line that runs down the center of the neck cowl.  So the seam is in the front.  I don't think it's too noticeable, and I'm quite lazy, so I leave it like that all day.

Gas is done and I'm on my way to work.

When I get to work, I try to clean myself up a little.  I've got my jeans tucked in my Uggs {yeah, cuz I'm super cool like that ... just can't let a trend die}, but they're the knitted type and my jeans are all crazy in there cuz I was in a hurry leaving the house with 3 kids this morning, so I try and straighten them out best I can, but I'm feeling much like train wreck.

I go over and clue Nellie in on my train wreck situation and while I'm talking, I realize I have a hole in my sleeve.  Does it get better?


Turns out someone's gotten a hold of my credit card number and has been doing a little spending.  What the heck?

Let's see ... what else?  Given my day, I was probably walking around with a hunk of cilantro {from the chili I brought in} in my teeth!

Fast forward a few hours.

We took the girls to a movie tonight {Hotel for Dogs ... loved it!}.  Curt picked up the baby, while I picked up Piper and Wynter.  Miss teenager had a dance to attend.

We met at the theater.  Curt was in charge of snacks.  He bought each of the girls their own slushie's.  I usually buy them one small drink to share.  I've been trying, trying, trying to relax a little with the rules, have more fun and not be such a task master.

I was not happy, but I didn't say a word.  Slushie's?  Mmmm, yummy, sure, no problem.

Hunter sat by Curt, so I wasn't keeping an eye on things.  Turns out, she drank her whole slushie.  How do I know?  It came out at the end of the movie ... all over me!  With a little popcorn in there too.

She threw up all over herself and me.  Yuck.  Curt took her into the bathroom to change, while I went to clean myself up.  Hunter and I both end up going home shirtless {under our jackets}.

Good times this day of mine ... and I'm happy to say, "all good things must come to an end."

Nite-Nite ...

fun paper craft

{via no biggie}

Oooooo, I totally want to make this. I'm putting it on my list for 'when the store sells ...'


randomness thursday

I got a whole lotta randomness floatin' around my head this morning!  First ... do you love this?  Does it evoke anything in you?  I love when a picture, or words speak to me.  This old man, this old woman ... holding hands ... laughing.  Will I have joy like this when I'm older?  More importantly, will I have joy like this with the man I love?

And ooooo how I do love the man I love!  He's been in Japan since last Friday.  The girls miss him and I miss him.  Isn't it funny {totally not haha funny}, how we miss them more and appreciate them more when they're gone?

I suppose the one good thing is that I get no computer time when he's gone!  The reason that's good, is that I have a love | hate relationship with my computer.  I love it to pieces ... but I hate that I love it so much!

Anyway, he gets home tonight and you better believe hugs and kisses will abound!  The man gets smothered by his women when he walks in the door after being away.  Hmmm, maybe that's why he leaves so frequently?  We seem to pay no attention to him when he's around ... :)

Okay, and I also wanted to give you an 'eye update.'  I had an appointment with my ophthalmologist on Tuesday.  I thought I'd have to have my eyes dilated, but didn't need to ... thank you Lord!  I have really come to hate having my eyes dilated!  My mom went with to drive, but with her broken wrist and all, I drove there and then was able to drive back.  And the bonus was some extra mommy | daughter time!

Okay so the update.

That man loves to talk about MS!  Oh my word!  I think if he were the only one treating me, he'd have me start a preventative care program.  So, I'm pretty glad he's not the only one treating me!

He gave me lots of interesting information though, and I'm thankful for that.  Seems with optic neuritis, some of the nerves in your eye die.  So I'll go back in three months for a test to see just how many have died off.  In patients with MS, those nerves continue to die.  At a very slow and unnoticeable rate, but they die nonetheless.

So what we'll do is repeat that test periodically throughout my life {?} to see if MS is developing.

Otherwise everything is progressing nicely.  My vision is slowly returning.  I'd say I have about 90% of it back.  It could take up to a couple more weeks or so.  The {very limited} research I've done says it could take up to 6 months to be fully restored.

My doc says it'll never be the way it was.  Even when it returns to 20/20, I'll always 'know' something is 'off' with my vision.  Sigh ...

Oh!  And a report from my neurologist ... she's going to have me do another MRI in 3 months.  And I'll be seeing her in a few weeks from now.  What I love about her is that she is way, super, overly cautious {she calls herself anal-retentive}, but she's not overly diagnostic.  And while she is happy with the Mayo report, she doesn't want to ignore the MRI's that were done here {Mayo didn't look at them}, and she doesn't want to ignore the fact that I have decreased sensation in my left side.

And while she is sure there is nothing to be concerned about {and I am at total peace with that}, she doesn't want to wait 12 months {Mayo's recommendation} to have me seen again.  I guess I'm in her court ... I'd definitely rather be overly cautious!

My chipmunk cheeks are finally getting back to normal!  Woo-hoo!  And the steroids have left my body and I'm feeling close to myself again!

Other randomness includes the fact that yesterday was my first day back at work in a few weeks.  I get this mixed bag while being there.  I love it, love what I created ... and at the same time ... I so want to be done!

To that end ... we have someone who {we've been told} is putting together an offer.  YAY!  Right?  And there are two other people who have expressed serious interest.  So if this offer falls through, the broker feels confident the others {or maybe they would anyways} will be putting offers together.  We'll see.

I took forever for me to 'give' this situation to God.  When I finally did ... three very interested candidates show up.  God is good ... all the time!

Well ... I gotta get my bootie off this computer ... we are going to be way late this morning!


sick piper

I'm home from work today with Piper.  She's got strep.  And a sweet tooth.  And a new ladybug friend ... honest.

She was in bad shape by time I got home from the lake yesterday.  You know how you can just hear the pain when they're trying to talk?  She even begged me to put Vicks on her feet before bed.  Lady with a sick kid at home say what?  Crazy, I know!  I got some kind of email forward that talks about putting Vicks on the bottom of your feet and then putting your socks on before bed ... that it helps tame a nighttime cough.

With all the coughing children under my roof ... I'd be crazy not to try it!  And ... go ahead and call me crazy, but I'm going with ... it works!

And while googling 'Vicks' ... I found this.  You be the judge.


So ... I started writing this post at 1:30 this afternoon and now it's 7:45 pm and I'm sitting at Starbucks waiting for Taylor to be done with her 'modeling' thing.  I'm tired.  Tired, tired.  Like when I just went into the restroom, I didn't recognize the bags looking back at me in the mirror.

Alright, alright ... I recognized them ... just totally didn't want to be the owner of them.  And the bland decaf coffee I'm drinking isn't helping any.  But I did just splurge on an awesome krispy treat and that was yummy!!

Splurge?  Yeah, I started Nutrisystem again today.  I have some of their food hanging around for times when I've been splurgin' a bit too much.  Now is one of those times.  I did a whole lotta splurgin' this weekend {ohmyword!} ... and on top of all the eating this weekend, I've gained a bit of weight with the steroids I was recently taking.  And by a bit of weight, I mean about 15 pounds.  Yikes, did I just admit that?


I had fun with Piper today.  She started out p-r-e-t-t-y sick!  But by lunch time she was a little more herself again.  She found a rogue ladybug and decided to build a habitat for it.  She gave it lettuce, a strawberry and an apple slice, along with a few drops of water.  We ate lunch with it.  Watched a movie with it.  Bonded with it.  Only in my house would we spend a sick day with a ladybug.

I always enjoy spending one-on-one time with each of the girls.  Time without their sisters seem to bring out some of the uniqueness in each of them.

Alrighty, my WiFi time at Starbucks is coming to a close {two hour max, what is that?!?} and I still have to tell you about this very awesome move of mine before I'm shut down.

So I'm picking Hunter up at daycare this afternoon and I see one of her old teachers down the hall.  Oh!  She's pregnant!  Very clearly pregnant.  We say our hello's as I pass, and I say, "congratulations."

She says, "for what?"

I. am. an. idiot!

I never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never tell someone congrats, or 'oh you're pregnant' or anything even remotely close to that, unless I know for a fact they are indeed with child!


And seriously Starbucks?  Two hours?  And it's not even free anymore ... humpf ...


a weekend with friends

This is has been my view all weekend.  Peaceful, no?  Even though we were in the midst of a deep freeze ... I'm talking 20 below zero ... before the windchill!

I'm blessed to have access to a beautiful place in northern wisconsin where I holed up with my girlfriends for a much needed girly-girl weekend.  Our husbands absolutely did. not. understand what we were doing.  What could we possibly be doing?

Did you go outside?  Did you snowmobile?  Go for a walk?  What then?  What did you do?

"You talked?"  "About what?"

Men don't understand, do they?

We were literally in our jammies the entire weekend.  We joked that we played musical chairs ... we moved from this chair, to that chair, to the sofa, to the chair ... and we listened to music.

We played games, we read, we facebooked, we talked ... about every topic under the sun {I'll spare you the details}.  Isn't it awesome to have a group of ladies you can go away with, and feel complete peace with?  We didn't need to do anything.  We didn't want to do anything.

Oh!  Wait!  I failed to mention ... we ate.  We ate, and we ate, and we ate ... and none of us will need to eat for a week.  Honest.

I am blessed to have these ladies in my life.  Thank you friends.

And, as always ... as great as it is to get away, it's even greater to return.  I am so in love with my family.  With us being at Mayo, I hadn't seen the girls since Tuesday night.  Is it not the greatest feeling in the world to feel the love of a child who hasn't seen you in almost a week?

Pure excitement.  Little arms wrapped tightly around your legs ... coming at me from every direction.  Even Taylor came running when she saw me, "mommy!" ... can I ask for anything more from a thirteen year old?  Sigh.

As I was sitting with the girls tonight watching TV before bed, I studied each of them and wanted to record each memory.  Every single detail ...

Wynter needed my scarf the minute I walked in the door ... she wrapped it around her neck like she was the Red Barron and added a matching headband to complete her ensemble.  She's such a tactile little creature ... she's loving, touching, squeezing, smelling.  Yeah ... she smells me.

Piper has strep right now ... she's such a sick little girl.  So she's laying on me, all stuffed up which means she needs to breath out of her mouth ... that really awesome infectious-dragon-breath-that-only-a-mother-could-love smell ...

And then little Hunter ... who's somehow grown up so fast.  She's potty trained now.  I didn't want to potty train her.  Not because I didn't want to do the work.  But because I want her to be a baby ... forever ... and ever.  Is that wrong?  Anyway.  She sees Piper laying with me, so she comes over and tries to squeeze in too.  My 'baby' in her silky, summer pajama dress {that she insisted on wearing} with red polka dotted Christmas pj bottoms and her sister's hand-me-down pink Uggs, that she thinks are slippers.

And then of course there's miss teenager.  I love her so.  Every complicated, moody, emotional, temperamental, sulky ounce of her.  We just finished watching The Bachelor {gotta love DVR} and as we're sitting there I'm realizing just how quickly this little girl has grown up ... and even better ... just how cool she really is.

I am blessed.

charlie's angels?


national wear red day

Wanna spread awareness?  Join me on Friday, February 6 ... and pull out your finest red attire!

The American Heart Association is hosting a  'Go Red For Women' day to help support ongoing research and education about women and heart disease.

Spread the news ... and check out the shop for some cute 'red' items {proceeds go to the American Heart Association}.


and she's down ...

Ever pass out while getting an IV?  I can now add it to my list of accomplishments!

 Miss new nurse is searching around for a good vein {needle is inside of my arm, mind you}, when I start feeling lightheaded and dizzy ... last thing I remember is spotting a bottle of cleaning product from JohnsonDiversey and thinking how 'funny' it was to see it sitting there.

 Next thing I know, legs in the air ... cold pack on my forehead and veteran nurse volunteers to take over ... ya think?

 I had an MRI ordered this morning of my brain and spine, and needed an IV for that.  Yuck!

 Just met with the specialist and basically everything looks good!  Without any clear brain lesions, she feels its {MS} really is just a waiting 'thing' to see if any symptoms present themselves again.  She also ordered additional blood work to rule out some other things that could develop, and assuming all is okay there ... then I'm good to go!

 One final stop with my doc, who just read the MRI results and all is absolutely clear.  Praise God!!

I'll continue to have follow up MRI's and just trust the Lord has it in his hands!

too funny

I just got an email featuring some Valentine's Day cards from one of the designers I carry at the store and thought this particular card was a little too coincidental!

I think I'm gonna get it ...

{new} old navy

Have y'all visited Old Navy recently?  I don't get in there often ... but oooo, I made a killing the other day while running errands with little Huntie!

Are these not some of the cutest things ever?

For you ladies joining me at the lake this weekend ... you definitely won't spot me in a certain {grey & white} cardi!

And you definitely won't see Hunter in any of this awesome cuteness!  On the other hand ... if you do spot her in any of these clothes ... they definitely won't be a size 4T!  :(


update from mayo

Howdy!  I'm back in the hotel room between appointments and thought I'd post a quick update.

Just routine stuff today and a meeting with my doctor up here, who I love!  Only thing that came back odd so far is my white blood cell counts are highly elevated.  Could mean an infection somewhere, or just a reaction to the steroids.

She can hear the trouble I'm having in my lungs, breathing and talking ... so ordered a chest xray.  I won't have those results for a while, but my lungs sounded clear in the exam so she was encouraged by that.  This is all a result of the steroid effect.

And the bad news there, is that I'm on my 'taper off' starting today and should've been done taking them tomorrow.  But she thinks that's way too rapid a taper and my body could go into further shock and not work on producing it's own steroid.  So it seems the bad news is I may be on the oral dose a while longer.


I have an appointment soon with an ophthalmologist and will be done for the day.  Tomorrow I have a followup appointment with my doc and then the appointment with the MS specialist early afternoon.

Any good news here?  You bet!  I'm super excited to be heading to the lake tomorrow afternoon when we leave here for some much needed 'girlfriend' time!

christmas vacation photos

I've been working on sorting through and editing the way-too many photos I've taken on recent vacations.  I started with a relatively easy one ... our Christmas vacation in Mexico.

There are still over 200 some photos, but I started with 900ish ... so believe me, although it may not seem like it as you're sifting through them ... hopefully I've spared you big yawns at the expense of my self-indulgence!



we christen thee ... starfish beach

We found the mother lode!  Is this not a perfect picture of two little girls that spend every waking hour exploring?

Starfish, lizard training, moth catching ... oh my!

We had a great time.  Great ... doesn't even describe it really.  Peaceful, relaxing, soul-filling joy ... that's a little better.

I have good news!  The vision in my left eye is slowly starting to return!  Praise God!  I still have a 'black band' of vision that's gone.  Only way I can describe it, is there's a single line of black vision that I don't have.  Much like if your sunglasses were constantly dirty.  But the vision around that 'line' is starting to get clearer.  It's not as fuzzy as it used to be and clearer than it has been in a couple of weeks.

I'm still trying to get my strength back.  Again, much stronger than I've been in a week ... but oh my word the kids thought there was something seriously wrong with me after I was chasing them on the beach yesterday ... mama gettin' old!  My voice isn't back to normal quite yet and I'm having an awful time sleeping.  But only 4 more days of the oral steroid left to go ... yay!

I'm spending the day with Hunter today and then Curt and I leave tonight for Mayo {with is his mom :)}.  Will keep you posted as I find anything out.

Wishing you today's most awesomest blessings!

Oh!  And in case any of you saw my recent 'tweet' ... the baby was up around 3 this morning, Curt came in to take over so I crawled back into bed but was up around 5:30.  I came out and saw the family room TV was on {Max & Ruby, so knew it was Hunter} and went to take a peek, but she wasn't there.  I figured she was up with Curt in his office, so I came to my office.

He came by a bit later and looked toward my sofa for the baby.  I said I didn't have her.  He didn't have her either.  Hmmmm ... how do you lose a baby?

We go looking for her ... it's 5:30 a.m. mind you ... found out she had gone into the big girls room and crawled into bed with Piper and woke her up.  Then she crawled into bed with Wynter and woke her up.

We're talking steep bunkbed ladders folks ... there's a reason she's still sleeping in her crib!

Curt finally found her with her body half-way out of a large stuffed animal basket.  Sigh ...

Huntie is one sick baby, poor thing's been fighting this for the last couple of days ... I'm taking her into the doc this morning, hopefully for some good meds to cure what ails her.  The girls are all comfortably snuggled in watching Tinkerbell right now.

I do. not. want. to get this day started ... E-X-U-M-A where are you??!??!!!


thoughts on raising children

I've talked about some of my recent struggles in trying to stay mindful of my children's lives and the effects my 'busyness' has on them.

I'll try to spare you a book here ...

But this is a sign we have near the house in Exuma. I passed it the other day and thought, "Wow, this is a pretty deep message." I realize I'm in this frame of mind right now, but think about it for a minute.

Ten miles per hour ... kids crossing. Am I crazy in my *deep* thoughts? Or can you feel me? If I can stop and remember this message frequently during the day, I think it'd do me good. I get so busy with "not right now" and "in just a minute" or "I'll be right there."

This weekend has been so refreshing to me ... I've felt mindful and present like I haven't in a long time in my girls lives.

As for the message I've typed in next to the photo ... I'm reading a book by E.D Hill called, "I'm Not Your Friend, I'm Your Parent." {a gift from my mom ... thanks mom, I am actually reading it}.

And last night as I read the quote from Jackie Kennedy, it just really came together for me. Not that it hasn't before, mind you ... but for some reason, I need to continually be hit over the head for things to sink in ... I. am. a. slow. l-e-a-r-n-e-r!


I read the quote and thought of the photo and thought I'd put it all together for you to put into your own relevant bag of parenting tricks.


lizard training

I wasn't lying.

another day of photos ...

We're having a great time.  Just what the doctor ordered ... I only wish we could stay forever.

Yesterday we took the boat over to a windless cove and spent a few hours playing in the water and sand.

Here are the girls on the way to the boat.

On the boat.

Piper ...

I love a good foot shot!  I only wish I had gotten the great shriveled up raisin feet shot on the way back ... couldn't, as I was holding a sleeping baby.

The girls start exploring immediately.

I tried to have the girls do the classic Me Ra 'fake laugh' that I recently learned ... I think we need more practice.

Piper exploring the water.

Wynter checking things out.

Hunter in her giant sand swimming pool {a dad standard on the beach scene}.

There's something about seeing jewelry on one of my girls, that makes me feel like they are growing up so fast.  Piper got this bracelet in Mexico and hasn't taken it off since.

And of course, the nap of the century.

Then some awesome lizard catching and training all afternoon.  Seriously.

The girls relaxing with their lizards and a freshly cut coconut snack.

The lizard seriously just hangs out.

An early morning walk with Hunter this morning.  The sun is finally out and we're going to head over to the beach again.

Trying to get a little sun flare ...

And this shot {sort of} reminds me of the 'breathing space' photos that Oprah features in O.  This is my ultimate breathing space.

Photographer friends ... I need some help!  First off, you know the exposure compensation scale inside the view finder?  Because of my bum-eye, I can't see it clearly ... so have been struggling with exposure.  Still happy to say that I haven't moved off manual though ... I'm stubborn!  :)

I'm using my old lens, which is the 'workhorse' as Me Ra calls it.  It's a Canon 24-70mm, 2.8, L series.

Okay, and the problem I'm having is ... I can't get my lens to stay focused on something, and then allow me to shift my camera to reframe.  Help!  It won't stay locked in for me.  There's also another setting {but someone did it for me on my old camera, so I don't know how to do it}, where I can use the little black scroller to change my focus points.

Thoughts anyone?

Alrighty then ... I'm logging off and heading to the beach.  Happy Sunday everyone!


as good as it gets ...

why are kids obsessed with nipples?

Yeah, you read that right.  I thought it was time I lightened things up here ... and frankly, that question's been on my mind!

So we're in a private house here, which means ... for lack of any other words ... we're 'hanging loose.'  I have this magnet that I love that says, {something like} "my favorite bra is a big comfy sweatshirt."  Amen, sisters?

So last night I'm holding Hunter and she's obsessed with my nipples.  And they love to say the word nipples, too, don't they?  And you try to play it all casual-no-big-deal-i'm-in-tune-with-my-body-and-daughter-saying-nipples ... but why does she have to touch them too?

Then there was the other morning.

Let me say, I've gained 10 pounds ... yes, ten pounds in a week from these steroids.  The other night my stomach was stretched beyond my comfort zone.  Honestly, the steroids have distended it.

Remember ladies, those beautifully stretched-out pregnant belly buttons?  Not so fun when you're not pregnant.

And here's my point.  So the other morning ...

Wynter and Piper are sitting in my bathroom as I'm getting ready to get into the shower.  So yeah ... they see me in all my glory.  And yeah ... they're looking at all my glory.

When Wynter asks, "Mom, do you have 3 nipples?"

Yeah ... it's like that.


my day in photos ...

I'm usually a pretty early riser, but these days I have been majorly sleeping in!  7ish is luxury at it's finest for me!  This morning though, I had much to get done in order to leave the house by 8:30 with 3 kids in tow for vacation.  {Taylor's dad is home this weekend, so she stayed with him}.

Anyway.  I thought I'd get a head start on things and was proud to wake at 6:00!

As I started to sneak past the baby's room, I saw she was already awake, which was odd.  But dad must have it handled, so I crept into my office to get some things done.

A few minutes later, she comes toddling in ... alone.  Didn't expect that.  Oooo, but I love to cuddle her up, so took full advantage!  After a bit, she's getting antsy and ends up on my desk coloring at the 'color station.'  All three of the girls {and sometimes Taylor}, love to draw on the erase board and play back there.

Then it was a mad-dash off to the airport for our three{plus} hour flight to Exuma.  The weather isn't hot and sunny.  It's cloudy, windy, humid, and absolutely wonderful.

I don't know what it is, but for me ... time just stops when I'm here.  I absolutely felt my soul being soothed as we left the airplane.

When we got to the house, Hunter and I laid down for a nap ... ahhhhhh ...

{OH!  P.S. folks ... I took the camera out of the box!!}  I absolutely love it.  Amazing.  Wow.  How did I take photos without it?  My bum-eye is still getting the best of me, but I'm trying not to get too frustrated by it.}

So this is Huntie when we woke from our nap ...

And this is Piper letting me play with my camera.

And this is Hunter looking for the sun.  {Don't you love potty-training undies?}

And this is Hunter with Lion {and attitude}.

And this is Wynter with all her dolls.  Piper and Wynter have spent the last three days straight playing 'dollie' ... I can not believe how obsessed they are with it.

And this is a pre-dinner walk to the dock.

And the girls digging a clam shell out of the water.

And a view of the vast amount of water surrounding us.  Water that holds peace for me ... sigh ...

Hunter with something to say.

A dad who loves to explore with his girls.

And finally ... the evening comes to an end with game night.

Time to get some kiddo's to bed {yeah, by that I mean I'm hitting the hay early}!

Nite-nite ...

outdoor showers ...

Here we come!

Diaper wipes, check! More than two shirts for baby, check! Sunscreen, check! New camera, check!  Swimsuits, check!

Vision, check! It's still low light out, but I'm pretty sure I have a tad bit of my vision back!  :)

Praise God!



I feel peaceful.  I have this sudden calm.  Weird to explain.

Maybe it's the new blog design?  :)  {yes, google readers ... head on over to my actual site!}

Seriously though.

I mentioned here, that I had a new motto in the works.  Only I wasn't quite ready to deliver it yet {and had still been writing the post in my head}, especially since the original intent of the post has since been changed a bit.  Right?

But, I was up next in line {yes, I was on the longest waiting list ever to get my blog redesigned ... felt that way at least} and ba-da-boom ... I went out tonight and came back to a new blog design.  Do you like it?  :)

I got to thinking a few months ago ... I really shouldn't go around saying, "I'm stressed, but blessed."  Like my 'blessings' were an afterthought.

I need to live a life that is "too blessed to be stressed."  I love that.  I want to live that.  And I shall.

That is why I'm selling the store.  That is why I'm going back to basics {someone just needs to take my computer from me to help out with that please!}.  That is why I'm getting in deep with my family, and God.  I can't wait ...

Back to peaceful ... stay with me.  I had a bit of a weird night.  I got my schedule wrong {what's new?} and screwed up the date we were supposed to go to Taylor's modeling thing.  She had one this past Monday, and then one tonight.  Wrong.  It wasn't tonight.  It's next Thursday.

I am a fighter.  I don't admit I need help {not proud of this, and Brigitte, you are breaking me down!}.  I'm stubborn.  And I get myself into trouble.

When I took Taylor on Monday, it was a snowy, snowy night.  I'm working on one eye.  Bad night vision in the good eye.  And no contrast vision.  Night ... dark ... snow ... barely breathing ... well, you get the idea.  But I absolutely wouldn't let Curt drive me.  Why?  Who knows ... I'm retarded I guess.

I got myself into such a white-knuckled mess on Monday, that tonight ... which is also our standard Thursday night, date night ... I ask, "How about you drive us ... and then you and I can go to a long dinner at the Melting Pot?"  Taylor's sessions are 3 hours long, and I ended up sitting on a cold, hard bench at Chipotle on Monday night.  Sitting in front of a fondue pot of cheese and chocolate sounds much more appealing, you think?

Curt agrees.  We get a sitter and out the 3 of us go.  Curt is not the best driver.  We often get car sick.  Taylor is complaining.  I'm doing my best to not complain aloud, but all the signs are there.  Tension is high.

Close to an hour later, we finally arrive only to find out, she's not scheduled tonight.  What to do?  What to do?

Turns out ... Curt, Taylor and I went to dinner.  It was so nice.  This may seem like nothing special, but last night ... Taylor and I were in counseling to talk about certain matters between Curt and Taylor.

They just do not get along.  Maybe cuz their both Taurus's?  Maybe cuz they both vie for my attention?  Maybe cuz they're both pre-teen?  Oops ... I mean ... :)

So who would've thought that there we are, just the three of us having dinner and conversation and no one was picking on each other?  It was peaceful.

The drive home ... Taylor gave in and let me listen to 'my music' {Christian music}.  And as I'm deep in thought, Taylor is singing the words to the most beautiful lyrics.  It was peaceful.

When we got home, the girls were all just going to bed.  I went in and finished putting the baby to sleep.  She wouldn't stay down.  I was back and forth between her nursery and the other girls room.

As I finally give in and go sit with her to rock her, and I'm holding this precious bundle of a baby ... she's pretending to rest on me, then ever so slightly turns her body to rest a different way, then turns again so she's sitting next to me, then she carefully opens her book {yes, she had a book in hand ... she's the baby, she gets what she wants}, she's playing all nonchalant, then slowly tries to see if I'm noticing what she's doing.

I'm smiling at her.  So precious.  So innocent.  I ask her if she's going to read.  She's so happy I think she's going to burst as she says through her nukie filled mouth, "yeeess!"

I'm thinking of a teenager sitting in the other room waiting for me to watch her latest accomplishments on Guitar Hero and two other girls that need me to pray.  My usual MO is to be rushed, stressed, hurried ... but it was peaceful.

I went out to watch Taylor jam like no other {yeah, that was a really queer sentence!} and it was peaceful.

I had this big load of info thrown at me today ... but I am at peace.

and the doctor says ...

We just got back from the appointment with my neurologist.  We were feeling very relieved, as she thinks the 'ditzel' on my MRI is just that ... a ditzel {definition for ditzel anyone?}.  And that the optic neuritis is an isolated case for now.

Given everything, I should have another MRI {with contrast} done, but with all the steroids they've just pumped into me ... my insides are basically sterile {good thing I'm not in the baby market!} and any living infection, cell, matter, dust bunny, or hearsay has been killed.

She went over the scans with us ... we felt great with her recommendation and agreed to have another MRI done in about threeish months when the steroids are out of my system.

Speaking of the steroids ... she can not believe I wasn't admitted to the hospital given my reactions.  Really?!?  Cuz I was screaming out for help here.  I have no other way to describe what happened than that my insides were absolutely rotted out.

I've gotten some strength back in my voice and now the only way I can describe what is happening, is that I'm now coughing up all of the stuff that was killed off inside me.  I am feeling better and a bit stronger, and that is great news!!  I should continue on this path.

As for my vision, it hasn't come back yet.  The ophthalmologist said it could take 2-4 more weeks for vision recovery.  Curt was freaked out looking at one of my vision tests and seeing {little pun there ...} how I absolutely can't see out of my left eye.

Funny what you take for granted ...

Okay, back to my appointment today.  So we're all set to walk away and schedule another MRI and go from there.  No worries.

'Til she does an examine.  I was scared.  First she had me do a simple 'touch your finger to your nose' test.  I felt my hesitancy.  I made it ... but it was slow.  She had me do it again.  No problems on the right side.  The left, painfully uncoordinated.

Then she had me put my forefingers and thumbs together {each hand separately, form a circle} and tap them in rapid succession.  My left was much slower than my right.

Then she took a stick and poked me.  Right side?  "Ouch"  Left side?  Barely feel it.

So she's done and sits across from me.  "I'm really concerned," she says.

Curt and I are headed to Mayo next week for routine physicals.  Timing, huh?  Anyway, she knew we were headed up there and that we had planned to have a neurologist look at my scans to give us another opinion.  She thought it was a great idea, as second opinions are always good to have ... but now she's very interested ... and concerned.

Did I mention, she's a pillar-of-strength, every-thing's-okay, don't-be-overly-worried, no-need-to-freak-out-unless-I-freak-out kind of doctor?

And now she's concerned ...

She wants me to see a neurologist that specializes in MS.

And that's where I'm at right now.  As you know, I pretty much dig typing on this blog ... so I'll be sure to keep you updated when I find out more information.

Right now, I'm off to finish packing up some kids for a vaca down south ... must remember baby wipes!

And Traci?  Big kick out of your comment!  You understand don't you?  If that thing is still in the box ... you know I'm sick!  :)

our beloved ariel

Ariel was the first dog we got together ... we did all kinds of research on the perfect dog.  I was struggling to be a 'dog person' and thought we couldn't go wrong with Ariel ... and basically we didn't.

She tends to get sick, have ear infections, and smells ... but she really is the best dog ever!

Curt recently found the book we bought when researching Newfoundlands and was showing it to Piper this morning explaining all about the breed and what they are trained to do, etc.  One of the things they are bred for are rescue swimming and it reminded me to dig out this movie ...

This is up at the lake a couple of summers ago ... enjoy!


who took the cookie ...

From the cookie jar? Who me? Couldn't be.

Thanks mom and dad for the yummy cookie bouquet ... one of my weaknesses! Please no more cookies though ... I've got the roundest, most swollen face from these steroids. My eyes feel like little slits and I don't think cookies are helping my look!

One good thing ... with my skin stretching out, my complexion looks fabulous! If I do say so myself ... :)

And one last exciting bit of news ... my new camera finally arrived. It was a late Christmas present from hubby! Can't wait for my bum-eye to get better so I can dive into it.

I. can. not. believe it's still in the box. :(


yet another update ...

I haven't posted a photo in a while, and text can get awfully boring!!  This pic is from our spring break last March in Exuma.  Taylor often 'complains' the little girls don't like her, and I love using this photo as proof, that when she is nice to them ... they love her tons!

The girls have off of school next Monday, so we're leaving this weekend for Exuma, and I absolutely can't wait!

Okay ... now for an update.  I can't see the screen very well, as my eyes are still a tad dilated.  And Taylor's waiting to watch a movie with me.  Well ... actually, I'm waiting for her to get out of the shower so we can watch a movie ... and decided to try to post a quick update.

I am not feeling any better in terms of the weakness, breathing, talking difficulties.  Yuck!  And thanks to research-extraordinaire, Tiffany ... I got some scary news on the side effects I've been having.  Seems my side effects fall under 'severe' and 'seek medical attention right away.'

The latest that happened today is a very tender scalp with sores on it.  Hurts to brush it and blah, blah, blah.

I did call my doctor, but he wasn't too concerned and said the steroids just really did a number and they should run their course out of my system.  Whatev's ...

I had the appointment with my ophthalmologist this afternoon.  He was awesome and Curt is impressed with his thoroughness as well.

Okay, so I have optic neuritis.  As I mentioned, one of the causes can be MS.  That's more likely if there is a lesion present on the brain.  We initially didn't think there was, but now have found a 'small white matter' on the brain.  With the migraines I've been having, I had an MRI done in September and that 'matter' wasn't there for that scan.

Back to the steroids ... I have to take an oral dose over the next nine days.  Given the side effects I'm experiencing, I could opt not to take the full dose.  But given my risk of MS, he thinks I should finished the planned treatment.  Um, yeah ... give me the script!

Plus, you figure 1000mg daily ... injected.  VS. 60mg daily ... orally.  I should be seeing some relief soon, right?

Tonight at my appointment, there was an awful lot of talk of MS and options, and meds and preventative meds and options, and injections, and ... my head is sort of spinning.

I have an appointment with my neurologist on Thursday ... and we'll figure out where to go from here.  I have complete faith in her {not to mention the Lord who put her in my path!}.

I was resting my head tonight as Curt was driving me home from my appointment ... thinking, swirling, reeling from all the information we just absorbed.  Freaking out a little?  Yeah ...

When one of my favorite songs came on, 'Everlasting God' from Chris Tomlin:

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles