Blue Screen of Death

I just want to let you guys know that I haven’t forgotten about any of you and I’m trying to catch up with all of you!  The blue screen of death has visited me several times.  I’ve had several posts interrupted and wiped out.  Comments have been lost.  We’ve done everything we know to do and it’s looking like maybe we need to get another laptop.  Yuk.  Luckily, I was able to save the million or so pictures and back them up last night.  I’ve been reading that some of you are having the same problems?  It’s not showing up as a virus on my laptop so I wonder what it is?  Shaun, my computer expert friend, any ideas?

Anyway, Just didn’t want you all to think I didn’t love you anymore 😉  Oh and be sure and remember to back up all your important stuff cause this can happen to anyone no matter how new your computer is.  Mine isn’t a little bit old.

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Coming to you LIVE from St. Francois County Missouri…

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BFF and I didn’t know we’d end up being amateur reporters today!  We only wanted to see PRETTY things!

Have you ever just wanted to get away from everything so that you can regroup or decompress your busy brain?  Yesterday was one of those days for me!  My bff, Beth or “Flashychick”, as you will come to know her on her new blog, decided to go for a Sunday drive and just take the day to look at the beauty that surrounds us.  We were noticing that this year, the Spring colors seem to be brighter than they’ve been in more recent years.  Why not take my fancy schmancy new camera out and learn to use it!  lol  We also wanted to unclutter our minds because we’ve been discombobulated with all this badness that’s going on in the world.

Well… where ever we are and no matter what good intentions we have, we seem to always find trouble.  In yesterday’s case, we found tragedy before we found beauty.

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I’ve never seen a house on fire in REAL life.  Not like this, anyway.  On our way to “somewhere”, we saw this tragic sight, directly on the highway!  Leave it to me to pull over and run through the field to get some shots, right?  I was like the Pied Piper because after I pulled over, other ambulance chasers (people like me) pulled over and before long, we had a whole slew of amateur reporters getting their cell phones out to take pictures.  I could tell that people WANTED to pull over but they only got the courage to actually DO it once they saw me running through the field.  lol  When I got home last night, I saw that MANY of my Facebook “friends” had seen the same thing and posted their pictures of this fire.  It’s strange to me how whenever I see something that gets my adrenaline pumping, I lose all sense of “self preservation”.  I got pretty dang close to this and now that I’m looking at the pictures, I’m realizing that there COULD have been an explosion from propane and I COULD have been blown up with the house.

Before you judge me for talking about myself…  There was nobody in the house, THANK GOD, and I did send quite a few prayers up to heaven for the owners of this house.  This truly was a sight that made me so sad.  I couldn’t help but notice the little kids playground and tree house in the back yard.  By the time the Fire Department got there, even the playground burned.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the neighbors houses caught on fire too because the houses were so close together and this fire was MASSIVE.  I’m still shocked at how long it took for the fire department to get there.

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Can you see the little swing set?  Also notice how close together the houses are.  See THIS is why I want to live far away from other houses!  I never did like the idea of a subdivision and this is why.

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Finally, the fire department showed up.  You can see the little white fire truck to the left of the RV.  They had to call for back up from neighboring towns because this little fire truck couldn’t get control of this angry fire.  On our way back through, we noticed that the other houses didn’t burn.  Again, Thank God.

It amazes me how when I begin to think I have it so bad, I’m always reminded that it could be worse.  Count your blessings, friends!  We really have SO much to be thankful for.  Knock on wood or fingers crossed, I’ve never experienced a house fire.  I couldn’t imagine losing all my memories.  Forever gone.

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And to conclude our Sunday devastation report… we bring you more flood damage!  This is the main road, in and out of, Lake Timberline – where my brother and Dad live.  The road complete washed away.  It SHOULDN’T have happened.  The “Board of Trustee’s” won’t upkeep the roads.  They keep raising assessments (money residents have to pay in order to have the “privilege” of living here) but they won’t fix the roads!  They take the money they collect from the residents and apply it to their own special interests.  Like dams for the lakes.  It seems to me that basic road upkeep is a necessity and not a “want”.  If the residents can’t get into their homes, safely, without fear of their vehicle being eaten by a huge hole in the road or without fear of the road literally washing away, I wouldn’t think it matters much about beautifying the beaches or the dams.  The board of Trustee’s say they’re going to fix this though… just as soon as they raise the assessments again.  ARGH!  And this is why I would never live inside Lake Timberline!

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But HEY!  The “Timberline Falls” are nice, right?  lol  It’s always good to end bad reporting with a pretty picture 🙂

A look at Americana

Like I mentioned in my last post, there’s a lot of devastation in America right now.  I don’t like a lot of what’s going on here politically but I do LOVE my country.  Sometimes, I think it’s good for all of us to remember what we love about living here.  When you think of America, what do you see in your mind?  What does it mean to you?

Here’s what it means to me.  This is America where I live and I’d protect her any way I was able 🙂

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Isn’t this beautiful?  It’s just a little farm I drive by all the time and most days take it for granted.  Love the plainness of the bars against the brilliant green of April!

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Sandy Creek Covered Bridge.  She needs some work, eh?  This is actually a National Park that we visit and it’s only a mile or two from our back door.

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(Entrance into our covered bridge.  It was closed to the public for repairs.  I’ve never been much for rule following so I didn’t give much thought to jumping the gate.  Obviously, neither did my girls.  lol  It was worth it to get these shots though)

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This is just a little farm getting ready to be flooded out.  I’m just loving the April colors again, even in the rain 🙂

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Just another farmer’s field.

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Just another house I drive by all the time.  My daughter tells me this is a “foster kid” house.  Kind of like an orphanage.  They just take care of a lot of homeless children who the courts have ordered into the “foster” system, for one reason or another.

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Sometimes even weeds can be pretty, right?

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I see this almost every day but have never stopped to take a picture.  Can you see the eagles nests in the trees?  They nest right by the flooded creek that I posted about in my last post.  Pretty dang cool!

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The farm below my house.  Right now it’s flooded.

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Here’s the reason I love to drive home!  This is probably the coolest barn I’ve seen ANYWHERE in the USA and it lives right below me.

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Some more weeds with muddy flood waters.

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Okay, this is another favorite of mine.  The 6 silo barn that used to be the old Pevely Dairy. People actually have transformed the ENORMOUS barn into living quarters.  A wedding was recently held there and it was beautiful!

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Really I have no words for how this one grabs my heart!  I might even have it framed.  It’s the front of the 6 silo barn.  Americana at it’s best!

My Mother-in-law and how she shows me unconditional love…

One of the best things that happened to me a few days ago, on my birthday, was receiving a birthday card from my Mother-in-law.  Most years she forgets to send out cards so I’m ALWAYS honored when I go to the mailbox and see her handwriting on the outside of an envelope.  I’ve got to give her credit though because she’s a whole lot better about remembering than I am!  I’m ashamed to admit that I truly suck at making a day special for my loved ones.  The people living in my house reap the rewards but those that don’t live here rarely get remembered.

The point of the post isn’t to talk about remembering though.  It’s to tell you how I’ve been SO blessed by my husband’s family.  You all know by now, what MY family is like.  I don’t know what it’s like to have a close family or what it’s like to truly be loved by a family.  I know what it’s like to be “judged” and “used” by my family.  It was a shock when I was shown unconditional love by a family who didn’t have to show me love.

First of all, I want to tell you what the card said from my Mother-in-law…

“Any woman can be a daughter-in-law.

But it takes a certain spirit,

an openness,and generosity of heart

to make the “in-law” part

drop away,

leaving that comfortable word

“daughter”.

You’re a caring person…

loving wife…

giving mother…

and your presence

in the life of our family

is simply a gift.  “

Dang!  That made me cry.  I don’t even know how to accept love or compliments!  I guess it hit me so hard because my own mother doesn’t feel the same way AND I know that Katherine (Mother-in-law) really feels this way.

She didn’t have to accept me the way she did.  Ben’s family had gone through the horror of his 3 other marriages before I arrived.  They’d “accepted” every one of these former wives, even when they knew they’d never last.  Ben had a definite “history” when it came to women, that’s for sure.  But that’s a post for another day!  I’ll save THAT for when he makes me mad 😉  lol  I need to tell you that these people are Christian’s of the Southern Baptist type.  They scared me and that’s NO joke!  I’m Catholic and it’s no secret that Baptists don’t like Catholics.  These people actually READ the bible and LIKE the bible.  Except for religion class in Catholic school (a million years ago), I’d never read even part of the bible.  Ben’s family doesn’t just go to church on Sunday morning but Sunday night and Wednesday nights.  Their recreational activities revolve around church.  Mine never have.  They’re also very “Southern” people who didn’t really know or trust “Yankee’s” such as they think I am!  lol  They’re the type of people who say “Well, bless her heart”, in the sweetest most loving way.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that Southern people say this only when they think you’ve done something really stupid and they’re too kind to call you out on it.

When I tell you about Ben’s Christian family, you might imagine people who don’t live what they preach.  Christians get a bad rap for being hypocrites but not THESE people and most especially NOT his mother!  She lives what she preaches and believes.  Only she doesn’t preach at all.  She leads by example.  She very quietly sits and reads her bible and only talks about it if you ask her about it.  She’ll mention something in passing but doesn’t shove it down your throat.  She’s so kind and loving that you can actually FEEL her love as soon as you get out of the car to hug her.  I’ve never been around anyone like this.  She believes in being a submissive wife.  It’s no secret that I DO NOT believe that I should EVER be submissive to ANYONE, but most especially my husband, her son.  I could go on and on.

Okay, you can imagine the amount of adjustment my new Texas family had to go through and that I had to go through for a few years.  Although, they never let me see that they were having to adjust to me.  I’m loud and bossy and sarcastic.  I say words like “God” when I get mad (that’s a very bad word to them) and I call people “dumb asses”.  They probably dropped to their knees at night in prayer over the things I’ve said and did!  They only showed the world how proud they were of me though.  I have ONLY ever been shown love by my mother-in-law.  She’s cried with me and laughed with me.  She’s felt my losses as if they were her own and she’s shared her thoughts and feelings with me.

Most of all, she’s treated my children as if they were her own grandchildren.  I wasn’t expecting that and neither were my kids.  We knew they’d TREAT my children with love and respect but we just weren’t prepared for them to actually LOVE them.  My girls feel closer to Katherine than they do their own biological grandparents.

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(Here’s one of my daughters snuggling in Memaw’s bed with “Ming-Shoe” the doll that Katherine made for her.  Julia feels safe and comfy in Memaw’s bed and I love that!)

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(she just sits, ready to give love to all her little one’s no matter their age)

Most of the time I spend in Texas, Katherine allows me to run her house the way I do everywhere I go.  You know the Mother-in-law on the sit com “Everybody Loves Raymond” right?  That’s how I expect mother-in-laws to be but not Katherine.  She’s happy to sit and read a book while I destroy her kitchen.  And TRUST me, I DO know how to destroy a kitchen.  She’s so gracious and never imposes her will on me.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I impose my will on her.  She’s not used to a whole lot of commotion and when I’m there, I bring my chaotic life crashing into her’s.  I’ll never forget the time she asked me if she could “help” in the kitchen.  Of course, I thought I was being considerate and polite when I told of “of COURSE you CAN’T help in the kitchen”.  I just wanted her to sit there and rest.  I felt like I didn’t want her to go through any trouble when my family was there.  For YEARS I did this.  Finally, a few years ago, she so softly, and kindly explained to me that sometimes a mother wants to feel wanted and needed.  We live over 10 hours away from her and she never gets to be a “mom”.  Sometimes she likes to show US how much she loves us.  Wow!  She didn’t want me to be ashamed because she’d NEVER want anyone to feel shame BUT I was SO ashamed.  I learned to step out of the way and allow her to be the mom when she wants to be the mom.

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(here’s me not only taking over her kitchen but taking over her kitchen AND even wearing her apron!  lol)

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(Another picture of the mess I make in her kitchen but THIS time I had some help from my little niece Selah!)

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(here I am even taking over her Christmas tree…  Geeze, I’m just so BOSSY!  lol)

Like I’ve already said, my Mother-in-law teaches by example.  She rarely needs words.  She’s watched, through the years, as I’ve ignorantly allowed my children to get themselves into trouble.  I was a LOT more lenient than she would have been but I had more faith in my girls than I should have.  I allowed one of my daughters to spend WAY too much time with some boys she met and became friends with in Texas.  They were friends of the family’s so I felt like it would be okay.  It got to the point where she was never home for dinner and she would only come in once a day to say hello to Memaw and GG (Katherine’s mother).  I didn’t want to be too strict with my daughter and I wanted her to have fun too so I allowed her to spend the night camping with these friends and family.  I could tell that it was bothering Katherine (mine and my daughter’s actions were not only improper but just down right rude) so I began to make my daughter stay home more often.  After all, we were only there for a week or two.  Later, we found out that my daughter was doing things that I won’t mention here.  Point being that Katherine knew she was in trouble and instead of imposing her opinions or judgments  on me, she quietly let me know that I was being too lenient by her actions.  She prayed for my daughter and cried when she learned that my daughter was hurt and was going down the wrong road.  She cried real tears like she would do for her own biological granddaughter.  I still can’t get over that.

Over last summer, when I was hospitalized in ICU, my husband called his family and I guess told them that I wasn’t going to make it.  They’ve been in this rodeo more than once with me and have never made the drive to St. Louis to come to the hospital.  I didn’t expect them to this time either because Katherine is responsible for taking care of her 93 year old mother.  Besides the fact that her OWN health isn’t great.  The trip is very hard on them and impossible now for GG.  My sister-in-law told me that Katherine prayed about it and felt like God was telling her to “go now”.  They immediately packed the family up and made the hard drive with 2 small children and 3 adults JUST to see me one more time.  I don’t think they expected me to be conscious but when they walked into my hospital room, I was awake and able to speak.  I believe I was hanging on because my husband told me that I needed to hang on just a little while longer to see “Mom”.  I remember feeling SO much love radiating from Katherine when she walked through that door!  It made me WANT to get better for her.  I promised her that it wasn’t my time yet and that God was good and I was sure I was going to live.  Actually, I was more worried about her making that trip and then turning around and needing to go home the very next day.  SHE wasn’t though.  She was there for me, to hug me and to hold my hand and pray, in person, over me.  The way a REAL mother would.

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(Katherine lovingly does her mother’s hair for church so that GG can feel beautiful too.)

I feel unworthy to call Katherine “Mom”.  I know she wants me to and she certainly deserves the title…  but something inside me won’t let me most days.  I feel like to be her “daughter” , I should be a whole lot more deserving or full of grace.  I’m getting better about it but I’ve been in the family for 12 years.  Today, instead of feeling unworthy, I just want to take a second to thank God for this woman who has shown my family and I so much love.  I’m smart enough to recognize that’s it’s not very often that a wife can brag about the fact that they actually LIKE their mother-in-law.  I don’t just LOVE her, I respect her and actually LIKE her.  Thank you God for this woman.  Because of her, I know the love of a real mother and I am blessed.

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(she loves us all like we were her very own)

Versatile Blogger Award!

versatileblogger11

Come on now, you know you guys have been missing my most interesting blogging awards!  It’s been over a week, I think, since I’ve bombarded you all with not so cool facts about myself hasn’t it?  Well, because I love you guys and I don’t want you to have to wait a second longer to read ALL about ME, I’m going to be sharing a few more awards with you all 🙂  Thank you Olivia, for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  Actually, I joke a lot about these awards but I am always humbled and honored that anyone would include me in their list of other cool blogs.  I really DO appreciate the love and I’m always happy to pass along the love.  If you guys haven’t already discovered how awesome Olivia is, you’ve GOT to check out her writing!  She’s one of the most interesting people I’ve encountered on WP.  Here’s what she says about herself:

Olivia Stocum

If you’re reading this, then you’re wondering who I am. So here you go.

I live in New York state with my husband, three children, and our Jack Russell Terror. Oh, sorry, I meant Terrier. I’m a Celtic musician and love folk rhythms. Growing up, I rode horses and shot a bow, and generally lived in my own little world where I had adventures with Robin Hood.

I have placed in a number of writing contests with my fiction and I even won first place once. (That may never happen again!) I am currently working on two series. One is set in 1600’s Scotland and the other is a paranormal romance. I expect to release my first novel July 2013.

Tìoraidh an-dràsta (bye for now)”

Here are the rules for accepting The Versatile Blogger Award:

1) Add The Versatile Blogger award photo on a blog post
2) Thank the person who presented you with the award and link back to him or her in your post
3) Share seven things about yourself
4) Pass the award along to 15 bloggers you’ve recently discovered. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Here are my 7 self absorbed facts all about me.  I’ll try to add pictures so you won’t be so bored 🙂

1.  When I was little, I used to pretend that I was a beautiful singer/movie star (usually Dolly Parton or some other singer with big hair and lots of pretty make up).  Who ever was on the radio singing passionate love songs that would make people cry.  I would imagine that everyone was hearing ME on the radio and that they all loved me.  I was the most famous person in the world!  lol  I think I did this to escape the reality of my abusive family.

2.  My bff’s 20 year old son is VERY likely to become a professional baseball player.  His pitching is OFF THE WALL fast and accurate and I sure wish I knew more about baseball so I could tell you about how much potential he has!  lol  The point is that on April 30, he’s going to go show off his stuff to the major leagues.  It’s pretty much a done deal that he’ll get signed (this is me VISUALIZING positive stuff for him because I know he can do it!).  PLEASE, positive thoughts and prayers for him?  It’s been his dream since he was a very little boy and now it’s our dream for him too.

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(remember his name cause you heard it here first!  Bryar Langley 🙂

3.  I used to sneak home every stray animal that I could find.  The last time I did this, I was 17 and found a white German Shepherd.  I named him Joey and loved to go to the park and play ball with him.  One day I came home from school and found that my mom had taken him to the pound because she couldn’t afford to buy dog food for him.  I hated her for this and cried for months over that dog.  I don’t know why I couldn’t understand.  She couldn’t afford to feed us, let alone a dog.  I just wish she would have told me… but I would have had a melt down and made her life miserable.

(this isn’t Joey but it’s one that looks like him)

4.  I’m a believer in the paranormal and supernatural.  I believe that there’s just so much out there that our human minds are not able to comprehend or understand.  I think it’s CRAZY that some people are so egotistic that they believe in only what THEIR eyes can see.  I believe that God can speak to you in dreams.  Oh and while we’re on THAT subject, I love the Long Island Medium and yes I believe she’s the real deal.

5.  During the Spring and Summer, I treat myself to a pedicure every 2 weeks.  I think everyone woman who sports a pair of flip flops SHOULD pay attention to how pretty their toes are.  lol

 6.  And while we’re on the subject of “feet”…  although feet generally make me grossed out, I can NOT resist baby feet!  I absolutely adore chubby little baby toes 🙂

7.  One of the suckiest things about having this ulcer disease is that I can’t drink alcohol at all for fear of extreme pain and potential bleeding.  I used to LOVE Long Island Ice Tea and I really wish that every once in a while I could have one (like right now).

Here’s where I’m going to probably break the rules.  I’ll try to name 15 bloggers more recently discovered but 15 is a big number and if I don’t really know your blog, how am I going to know how versatile you are?  Basically, I’m just going to bring you 15 cool blogs so here goes:

1.  Beth at http://1flashychick.wordpress.com/ (My bff is starting her own blog and here’s my shameless plug!)

2.  Justin at http://justingawel.com/

3.  http://overstandpodcast.wordpress.com/

4.  Ms Red Pen at http://msredpen.wordpress.com/  (someone I’ve loved since the days of Vox!)

5.  Shaun at http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/ (cause I’m always going to shout out to Shaun!)

6.  Sue at http://scvincent.com/

7.  Laura at http://lauradgumm.wordpress.com/

8.  Champ or Will at http://technoteamblog.wordpress.com/

9.  Dave at http://barclaydave.wordpress.com/

10.  http://soletusknow.wordpress.com/

11.  http://projectfirestarter.wordpress.com/

12.  Carla at http://randomthoughtsofatwentysomething.wordpress.com/

13.  Amy at http://nellieanddot.wordpress.com/

14.  Sarah at http://andthisiswhyiwilldiealonesurroundedbycats.wordpress.com/

15.  Steven at http://justafterwords.com/

Okay… have you left me yet?  Hope not!  I tried to bring you all a variety of different types of blogs so a lot of thought really DID go into this!  lol  As always, this is a no pressure award.  Take it or leave it but know that I appreciate ALL of you and look forward to these days when I can spread the love around 😉  If you don’t have time to do this, I won’t be offended.  Hey, you can always save these awards for the days when you’re having trouble thinking of something new to blog about!

Peace out my fine fellow bloggers!

 

A MAJOR rant and a happy ending :-)

What a CRAZY weekend and week, for that matter!  I’m getting TOO freaking old for this, really.  lol  Today, I talked to somebody about my brother, who is a Leo.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the personality traits of a Leo, they’re just a tad self centered.  They’re STRONG and funny, but yes, the world as they see it, should ALWAYS revolve around them.  My brother came from the womb this way and he received many an a$$ kicking from me when he was little.  I should be ashamed, but I’m not.

This weekend, my brother suggested we have a birthday dinner for me.  He planned this with my husband.  I have to give little brother credit for even caring at all because I can’t remember a single birthday where he actually did anything for me.  Not that I mind… my birthday’s were something I’d like to forget, mostly because the brother that I shared every birthday with is gone.  I just wish they would come and go quietly, really.  Anyway, little brother planned a dinner.  You’d think it would be at HIS house right?  Nope.  He wanted to have the dinner at MY house so that my hubby can grill.  Little brother was going to provide the meat to be grilled but we had to do the sides.  He DID offer to HELP Hubby grill.

First of all, you know what having company means, right?  I have to clean.  The burden of cleaning and getting the house ready for company fell on me and my daughter.  I’m sure Hubby would have done it if I’d asked but he’s not good about details.  SO, I cleaned AND I made part of the dinner.  Once little brother arrived, he was “too sick” to help with anything. Hubby did it all while Little Brother went and laid down in my bed.  He had a headache and he was SURE that nobody in the world ever suffered from a headache such as he had.  Seriously.  I told him I understand headaches because I suffer from migraines but he told me that he knew I wouldn’t be able to LIVE with the kind of pain he suffered from.  Hmmm… how quickly he forgets that I have MANY a scar since I’ve been cut from my neck down to my belly button.  THAT’S nowhere near the pain Little Brother was having though.  So, I left Little Pumpkin to sleep in my bed while we got the food ready.

You might be interested to know what my birthday present was?  Okay, I’ll tell you.  My brother allowed me to take care of his baby daughters overnight and all the next day.  Thank GOD Hubby, Daughter and her friend helped me with this because I, myself, felt like complete crap.  Although, I’m sure my pain couldn’t compare to Little Brother’s.  I love my nieces, you all know I do.  I love them like they’re my own kids and why shouldn’t I?  They spend more than 2/3 of their life with me!  lol  It’s just that I’m tired.  And one of my nieces is possessed by the devil.  No joke.  I love her but she’s got some serious problems!  Far be it from ME to mention that to Little Brother because his progeny are perfect, just like him.  Oh and he really feels that if he tells me enough how I’m privileged to be able to watch them (because he won’t allow anyone else to take care of the little angels), I’ll look at it as my most honored privilege.  Only it’s my BIRTHDAY… so can’t I get a pass at least for this week?  Nope, I can not.

Little brother and his wife wanted/needed some time alone Saturday night so my family took care of my nieces.  3 of them.  Granted, the oldest one is a PLEASURE and no trouble at all.  The baby is also an angel, but you know how much time babies take, right?  Even the BEST baby is a handful!  lol  I could have said no, but I recognized that they don’t have time together (brother and wife).  They’re in their 40’s, like me and they get tired too.  So, just like he knew I would, I felt sorry for them and tried to FIX things.  So how did Little Brother and his wife spend their night together?  Little Brother was too sick to pay attention to his wife so he moaned and groaned and complained while she quietly read a book.  Wow.  What a waste.  Can’t he just fake it and TRY to act like he wasn’t the center of the universe?  It took SO much for my sister in law to rearrange her schedule just to be ABLE to spend an evening with her husband.  This was an evening he said he desperately needed with her.  I guess it was all good for him because she got the opportunity to dote on him and be concerned with his sicknesses.  She must be a saint.  I’d have killed him.

Yesterday, Sunday, the little angels were supposed to go home by noon.  They did NOT.  After noon, little brother called to tell me that his wife would be tied up at their oldest daughter’s tournaments until 5:00 p.m.  Did I want him to come and pick the kids up?  HELL YES, I wanted him to come right then!  Did he?  Nope.  He called his wife and asked her to leave the tournament, over an hour away, and come pick her kids up.  She couldn’t leave so the kids stayed here until after 5:00.  Little Brother had to go to the dump to empty trash and he actually said that he was going to be “stuck” with his kids for this entire week so he couldn’t come get them.  He’s a SAHD.  He doesn’t much like his role as Mr. Mom.  REALLY?  His poor wife works over 12 hours a day and still has to take care of the house and her kids when she gets home.  She NEVER has a break but my precious little brother needs a break.  Seriously, the kids are with me more than half the week, most weeks.  I guess I just thought that I would be exempt from having to watch the little darlings on my birthday.

Done with rant… kind of.  We made the best of the weekend, still.  I DO enjoy my nieces (when I’m feeling good).  I do NOT enjoy the devil that resides inside my 4 year old niece.  Luckily, Hubby was at home to restrain her from hurting herself this weekend.  She went into a RAGE, growling at us and slobbering because Hubby made her put a shirt on to go outside.  She feels like she should be naked all the time.  That would be fine with me if not for the fact that at 4, she’s getting a little too old and I don’t want some pervert driving by to look at her “business”.  lol  Hubby doesn’t “lose” it often, he’s got the patience of a saint.  However, even though he doesn’t believe in spankings, he had to administer one yesterday.  AND hold her so that she didn’t bang her head (on purpose) on the furniture.  I really can’t even describe her tantrums because I’ve never seen anything like them before.

Things DID settle down after the restraining incident and Precious Jr. became my Hubby’s best friend!  lol  Here they are cleaning up the playhouse.

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(this old playhouse was one we built for my 28 year old daughter when she was 4!  My youngest daughter and her friend ghettofied it with paint a few years ago.  Ignore the paint. Besides Hubby and Esme’ are going to paint it white and also make a sign that says “Esme’s Playhouse 🙂 )

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Here’s my teenage munchkin and her bff helping to keep the baby occupied so that I could do my birthday dishes.  lol  These kids were a LIFE saver!  Eventually, my daughter’s bff took off because she couldn’t take it anymore.  lmao

Once the babies left, we all got the heck out of Dodge and went to Dairy Queen!  There’s not much that ice cream doesn’t fix, right?  We ended the day with lots of laughs and fun and yumminess 🙂  All is good again at my house!

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(Hubby contemplating the Oreo Blizzard that will be coming his way soon)

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Hannah the bff, enjoying her ice cream, maybe a little TOO much!  lmao  BTW… she’d KILL me if she knew I posted this pic 😉  You can see that my daughter didn’t have much time this weekend to take care of her own very special hair needs?  hehehe

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Life is good again and everything’s fixed, all because of a little ice cream 🙂

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Hmmm…. maybe I should pay attention to my OWN hair and grooming needs?  Naw.  I didn’t give two $hi*$ about who was looking at me.  Sometimes, you just have to NOT care and enjoy your ice cream 🙂

Hope you all had a spectacular weekend?

Transplant news… the final decision…

So much has been happening with my family lately and I really haven’t had the time to write or pay much attention to my blog, or my LIFE for that matter.  I’ve also had some pretty serious decisions about my own health that I’ve had to come to terms with.  I’ve talked, pretty much, about my need for a complete intestine transplant and the expiration date that the good doctors have labeled me with.  Well…  on my birthday a few days ago, a FINAL decision was made.

For those of you who don’t know what’s going on, I’ll try to explain briefly.  I have a rare bleeding ulcer disease.  There’s no name for it because there’s nobody known living with this exact condition.  Basically, I have ulcers that eat through my intestine and stomach tissue that causes excessive bleeding.  The best way I can explain it is to tell you that it’s similar to a cancer but it doesn’t spread beyond my digestive tissue.  Although there are no tumors.  Just disease.  I’ve had more surgeries than I can remember the number.  They’ve had to take out my entire stomach to stop the bleeding and they’ve had to reroute my entire digestive system.  If you saw a picture of what I look like on the inside, you wouldn’t recognize it as a human digestive system.  I’ll bet you didn’t know you can live without a stomach, did you?  I didn’t.

I’ve gone through years of hospitalization, coma, death (my surgeon has literally brought me back to life on more that one occasion), blood transfusions (again, too many to count).  The last major event occurred last July.  I was within weeks of being able to consider myself no longer “terminal”.  They gave me the label “terminal” because every time they do surgery to get rid of the ulcers, more ulcers would grow at the incision site.  It was like my body was eating itself and NOBODY, NO specialist could figure out a way to stop this from happening.  Naturally, when your body eats itself, it is NOT compatible with life. They told me that if I could live a year without hospitalization, blood transfusions or surgery, they would lift the term “terminal” as they would have reason to believe that my body was in the process of healing itself (as human bodies CAN do).  Well, last summer, if I could have made it to August, I would have been considered in good enough health, or recovering.  I didn’t make it to August.

In July, while home alone, I passed out in the bathroom.  The weird thing is that I don’t have warning, or much warning.  I just felt like I was having trouble breathing and I passed out with dizziness.  I know that this seems like warning enough for most people but when you’re so used to being sick all the time, you just begin to feel like these little signs are “normal”.  I’ve passed out before and have received concussions from hitting my head on sharp objects.  THIS time, I didn’t get a concussion but I was able to wake up and crawl to the phone to call 911.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, I needed over 8 units of blood to stabilize me.  I’d passed out due to loss of blood.  I was immediately placed in intensive care where they proceeded to call all my family and tell them that this was “the end”.  Nobody felt I’d ever recover because my organs had begun shutting down.  I don’t remember much of my stay in the hospital but my family sure does and they STILL don’t like talking about it and won’t let me know exactly what happened.

However, I DID recover.  I attribute this to God and SO MUCH PRAYER.  Prayer vigils were held by family and people I don’t even know.  Nobody expected me to leave the hospital alive.  I’d lost so much weight and could barely walk.  My muscles had begun to atrophy.  The important thing is that I DID walk out of the hospital.  VERY slowly.  Here’s a picture of me taken 1 week after I was released.

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I don’t like looking back on these pictures because I look so bad.  I was too weak to walk on my own and I had to hold on to a wheel chair just to hold me up.  Most of the time, my husband had to push me in a wheel chair so that I could go places and pretend to be normal.  You can see here that I’m “hunched over” because of the intense pain and on the right hand side of my chest, you can see the port o cath.  I’d lost so much weight that it looks like a bone sticking out of my chest.  This is where they administer medications and where they give me blood transfusions because I have no healthy veins anymore to place an IV.

Throughout the course of the year, I kept losing weight and eventually got to the point where no fluids would even stay down.  It became apparent that I wasn’t going to live.  I was told that I was in the process of starving to death.  That’s when they considered a complete transplant.

I wanted a feeding tube but I still wanted to be able to eat because I LOVE food.  Even during all this I couldn’t let go of my love affair with food.  Alas, they’re not going to give me a feeding tube because it would kill me.  My tissues are brittle and where they’re NOT brittle, the tissues are like gum and pull apart.  I’ve perferated (intestines ruptured and infection spread throughout my body… once again causing me to literally temporarily die) before and they feel like I would again if they even do a simple feeding tube.  My doctors have been in conference with the transplant doctors since January.

Here’s a picture of me after I began to actually GAIN weight.  I was around 110 pounds here (WAY too thin for a woman who’s 5’7).  By the way, I’m about 15 pounds lighter in this picture than I was in the picture with the wheel chair.  Ironically, I’m contemplating how much food I can scarf down.  This was just February.

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So… back to now.  The decision is that I’m NOT a good candidate for a transplant.  The reason is that even if I could live through this major surgery, I’d have to fear rejection.  They’d only be able to do this one time and if I rejected the organs, as happens frequently, I would almost definitely not live through another one to replace the donor organs I rejected.  Remember, my tissues aren’t healthy and there’s nothing good to connect my new organs to.  The only solution now is that if I continue to lose weight, they’ll hospitalize me for a week or maybe even two weeks so that I can receive TPN (nutrition) through my port.  That’s the only thing they can do.

This doesn’t sound like good news, does it?  Well, I know it sounds bleak but I’m relieved they won’t do the transplant.  That just felt like death to me.  Besides that, I’ve gained 10 pounds and am now up to 120 pounds on my own!  The doctors are thrilled that my body, once again, seems to be repairing itself!  God is good to me and miracles DO happen.  I am a walking, living, breathing miracle even by modern medicine’s point of view.  It’s a miracle in itself when a doctor of Western medicine will actually say to me that I am a “medical miracle”!

I am blessed!  I asked the doctors to do what they can to give me another 4 years so that I can finish raising my daughter.  The doctors CAN’T give me 4 years but God CAN and today, I am blessed!  I told the doctor he can expect me to outlive Him.  He says he think I can do it 🙂