Meet Me In St. Louis Part 2 (still Julia’s 15th bday)

Our first night in St. Louis was SO fun, so now how do we top that?  I left it up to Julia since it was HER birthday.  My intention was to try and take it easy on the money situation but I NEVER ever succeed.  Julia and her buddies didn’t create their itinerary based off of the FREE “things to do” in the city.  Too bad for Hubby.  He never likes to let me lose with the pocketbook.  I’m beginning to understand why!  lol

We woke up late and didn’t get out of the hotel until after noon.  BTW…  should you ever decide to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport in St. Louis, you should know that just because you spend a million $ on the hotel room, you will NOT be receiving a complimentary breakfast.  Nope.  Not even a stale donut or a box of cereal.  However they DO invite you to partake in their $12 PLUS per person breakfast!  By this time, my oldest daughter joined us so we were now a party of 5.  I couldn’t justify spending $65 a day on breakfast food when we still had cupcakes.  Granted, by this time the cupcakes were fairly hard, but they were still good enough for a bunch of teenagers.  SO, because we were STARVING, we began our very rainy day at “Hodaks” (another St. Louis tradition) for all the fried chicken we could eat!  Hodaks has been around forever and some people would say they have the best fried chicken and frog legs in the world!  It was good but I wouldn’t say it was the best.  The girls DID say it was the best and that made it all worth getting lost in the city 🙂  Have you ever been lost in a big city where it seems like every driver on the road wants to be in YOUR lane at the same time you are?  Oh and let’s not forget all that AND screaming teenage girls who are literally punching each other in the back seat like a bunch of wild boys!  I told them that THIS was the reason I chose NOT to have boys….

(We finally found Hodaks.  Literally, people who move away from St. Louis and come back for a visit… HAVE to come back to Hodaks for the fried chicken.  I know people who visit this place every time they’re in town)

(Not very fancy but tasty!  I didn’t like the slaw at all and I thought it was funny that the chicken was served on top of a piece of white bread in order to soak up the grease!  lol  But despite the not-so-fancy plastic plates and such, the chicken was SO juicy and seasoned just right!  And by juicy, I don’t mean greasy)

After stuffing ourselves with as much fried chicken as we could all eat, Julia wanted to go to Laclede’s Landing on the riverfront.  No matter that a monsoon decided to visit us on this day.  Anything for MY princess!  lol  If she wants to walk around WITHOUT umbrellas in the pouring down rain, then BY GOD, that’s what we’re going to do!  Just as soon as we found a parking spot and stepped out into the rain, my oldest daughter flagged down a horse drawn carriage driver.  If you’re ever in St. Louis and you want to take a carriage ride, you should know that you CAN negotiate a price with the drivers.  They usually charge around $40 for as many people as we had with us.  My daughter got them down to $25!  Which is good because I hadn’t planned on spending ANYTHING on carriage rides!  We did that LAST year!  ARGH!  It wasn’t HER money, it was just Mom’s, so who care’s right?  lol  Oh and don’t forget that your carriage driver works for tips.  I didn’t realize that (even though there’s a big sign inside the carriage) so I walked off to hear our driver talking to another driver about how PISSED she was to have gone down on the price, yet she STILL wasn’t tipped!  lol  Ooops.  Don’t worry!  I made my oldest daughter tip her!  It was only fair since it was oldest daughter’s idea 🙂

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(Here’s our carriage driver trying to rustle us up some more blankets so my precious angels wouldn’t be so cold in the St. Louis rain!  She really was nice to us even if she DID get a little perturbed that we didn’t know to tip her)

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(The angels all snuggly and warm with their blankies)

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(Mama Bear and her Birthday Princess)

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(The Martin Luther King Bridge over the Mississippi River… a view from our carriage ride through the Landing)

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(And because I love bridges…  The Eads Bridge…  BTW… check out that cobble stone road!)

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(This is my favorite of the MLK Bridge)

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(Laclede’s Landing)

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(And because I love old clocks too 🙂

So the reason we were on The Landing in the first place was so that Birthday Girl could experience the creepy St. Louis Wax Museum.  I HATE wax museum because they scare the crap out of me but that was the exact reason birthday girl wanted to go!  I found a good deal on Groupon so it ended up being inexpensive.  Thank JESUS something was a good deal!  lol  The people who ran the Wax Museum were SO nice too.  They’re updating the place so some of the displays were in disrepair.  Apparently, they’re in the process of getting all new wax creatures.

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(Here’s oldest daughter with her idol, Michael Jordan.  She LOVES basketball and still plays every chance she gets 🙂

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(I had to get this one of “little bit” with Mark McGwire because it WAS here birthday and all about the year 1998, when a few months after she was born, Mark McGwire broke the home run record in St. Louis – I know… it was all too controversial… but STILL cool cause it happened right here in St. Louis AND in the year 1998!)

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(Okay… so this may be in bad taste but it looks like they have Patrick Swayze embalmed here!  We all LOVE Patrick Swayze but this was way too creepy and helped set the mood.  We were beginning to be VERY afraid.  We had to walk through 3 floors of dark and very scary hallways)

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(I’m not sure who this one’s supposed to be.  Possibly Tina Turner?  She was from St. Louis so maybe?  Whoever it is, she sure is CREEPY… Again there’s THAT word!  lol)

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(Again in bad taste… the kids said this one reminded them of me and all my stomach surgeries.  They have NO sympathy for me!)

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(Thank GOD my oldest found herself a man!  I was beginning to worry because she’ll be 29 this summer!  I wonder if Obama knows his image is being tossed around this way?  lol)

So the Wax Museum was Birthday Girl’s favorite thing to do all weekend!  Who would have figured?  I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough!  I couldn’t wait to get back outside in the monsoon to visit Gibbol’s Magic Store (Gibbol’s Novelty & Costumes)!  Carriage Ride lady told us there was a Magic Man there who would do magic tricks for us FREE!  Well, by God, if it’s FREE, we’re going!  Magic Man goes by the name of Andy G and has a separate business where he puts on private magic shows with a partner.  It’s called Shift Reality.  You can reach Andy G at #415-952-6394 or 415-95ANDYG…  clever, huh?  lol  He’s pretty good and kept ALL of us fascinated and entertained with his free magic tricks!  I’m pretty sure the owner of Gibbol’s couldn’t WAIT for me to get my destructive girls the heck OUT OF THERE though.  Who knew girls could be into so much trouble?  I only turned my back for a minute!  lol

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(Here’s Andy G doing a card trick for Birthday Girl)

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(Hannah was SO mad when Andy G wouldn’t tell her how he did a trick.  It drove her CRAZY trying to figure out what he’d done LONG after we left this place!  lol  He explained that, as a magician, he had to purchase magic trick secrets.  He just couldn’t go giving his secretes away.  He’d be glad to SELL us a secret though!  lol)

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(And of COURSE the biggest instigator of trouble was the 28 year old daughter!  She can’t help herself from trying on every pretty little thing!  lol)

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(I never laughed so hard in my life!  BIG TROUBLE daughter helped herself to the theatrical makeup and talked with Andy G as if this were her normal face!  She didn’t even crack a smile so I’m thinking he really thought she wore her make up like this!  He was having a lot of trouble looking her in the eye but SHE had no problem looking Andy G in the eye!  lmbo  Later the owner told us that they SOLD that make up and it cost money for them to apply it to our faces.  So, in other words, my daughter helped herself to some free make up…  I was laughing too hard to be embarrassed!  No wonder I have trouble keeping the younger one’s in line!  We’re not good at setting proper examples!  lol)

Good day but SO long and cold and rainy!  I couldn’t WAIT to get back to the hotel and read in my warm bed.  THAT didn’t get to happen though!  The girls wanted to go swimming.  Oldest daughter and I took them for a little bit and left them at the pool.  At 15, they’re old enough.  PLUS the pool was only 4 ft deep.  How was I to know that when I left they’d set off the alarm at the pool, use the handy cap chair lift and then set off more alarms on the elevator?  I was notified BY SECURITY that my girls needed to be accompanied by an adult at ALL times!  ROFLMAO  Which translates to NO reading in my warm snuggly bed.

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(Because I’m pretty sure Hannah was behind us getting into trouble with the hotel management, I’m going to show you all some lovely pics of her mascara lineds face in the hot tub 😉

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(Looks like they’re plotting trouble to me!)

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(Okay… so I MIGHT have known about them using the handicap chair lift.  Shhhh….)

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(And you thought your BOYS were messy?  Honestly, I didn’t know girls could be such nasty slobs!  How did toilet paper get ON the floor by my side of the bed????  But this is what I had to contend with after I left the pool BEFORE security notified me! lol)

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(Don’t feel sorry for them!  They TOTALLY deserve my invasion of their privacy!  FINALLY, we got them to go to sleep.  And then we picked at them until we disturbed their slumber.  Check out Julia’s extreme annoyance in the black and white 😉

So all’s well that ends well!  2 days down and 1 day to go!  This old mama’s getting too old for so much activity!  At this point, the nursing home is beginning to sound like a vacation 🙂

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And this is how we do it!

Baby Girl decided that she HAD to get her drivers permit TODAY, on THE day that she turns 15.  No excuses were going to be accepted from me.  It didn’t matter to Julia that we didn’t have a copy of her SS# OR her birth certificate.  It didn’t matter that I had a million things to do in order to get ready for her birthday weekend.  It’s HER birthday so I must comply!  I spent some time waiting in lines at different government offices and twisted a few arms in order to get the required pieces of identification.  YUK.

Well, let me tell you, it came within MINUTES of not happening.  I must have “forgotten” making a promise to pick she and her bff up from school.  I had lots of errands to run so I got home almost an hour after she was supposed to get off the bus.  As soon as I walked through the door the phone rang.  It was Hannah (bff) asking why I didn’t remember to pick them up?  OMG!  If I got in the car RIGHT then, I could make it to school to pick them up and THEN to the police station, where they give the drivers permit tests, 5 minutes before they close the door… and that’s only if there’s no traffic and everything fell into place perfectly.  We all know that when you’re in a huge hurry nothing ever falls into place perfectly.  Well, I’m happy to tell you that today was different.  We made it with 3 minutes to spare before they closed the doors!  lol

NONE of my girls passed the test on the first day.  We had to KEEP going back to retest with a couple of my girls because they wouldn’t study the book.  Not Julia or Hannah.  They BOTH passed TODAY!  These girls were dead serious about their NEED to drive and as afraid as I am, because I HATE when teenagers start driving, I am also SO very proud!  Hannah could have gone to pass the test a couple of weeks ago because she turned 15 before Julia.  But because she’s such a good friend, she wanted to wait for Julia’s birthday so they could go together!  I’ve got to tell you, if it were ME, I wouldn’t have waited.  She’s a sweet girl though 😉  I was a little worried that Julia would have passed and Hannah wouldn’t… only because that’s the way things usually go.  I mean, what if fate decided to punish Hannah for being such a good friend?  OR worse, what if Julia didn’t pass the test and it’s HER birthday?  Either scenario was bad.  Thank JESUS BOTH of them passed.  Hannah on her first try and Julia on her second.  They’re only allowed 2 tries a day.

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Birthday girl get’s her permit!  Look at how happy she is!

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Hannah was so nervous.  She was afraid that if she blinked wrong, the officer would decide to take her permit back.  lol

Congratulations to both girls!  Watch out world… 2 more teenagers on the road.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Up

Okay… I know this isn’t an example of my BEST photography. I think it was taken with one of the first digital cameras I ever own and it probably cost WAY under a hundred bucks, if I remember right. No matter. This one I LOVE because this time in my life began my interest in photography.

Probably the other reason I love this is that it’s a photo of my “wayward daughter”, taken during a time where we were so close. A mirror of each other. I always knew she was going to be a free spirit. She thinks on her own and with a brain that’s SO different than anyone else. A free soul and I think I can see that in her here.

Here’s my representation of “up”. I’m looking up at her while she’s sitting on a giant granite rock at Elephant Rocks State Park in Missouri. A place we loved to go as a family, when our family was together. I miss her but I know God’s got his protective hand on her and I pray that her future always looks “up”.

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?

The Madness of Mary Lincoln by Jason Emerson, a book review

Product Details

The Madness Of Mary Lincoln 

by Jason Emerson

Southern Illinois University Press

Description from the back cover:

“This compelling story of the purposed insanity trail of one of America’s most tragic first ladies covers Mary Lincoln’s life from childhood to death and asserts that she suffered from bi-polar disorder.  Utilizing a set of letters that had been lost for eighty years, Jason Emerson shows how Mary Lincoln’s predisposition toward psychiatric illness and a life filled with mental and emotional trauma led by her son, Robert T. Lincoln, to commit her to an insane asylum.  Named Book of the Year by the Illinois State Historical Society, The Madness of Mary Lincoln is a gripping historical page turner.”

This one had me turning pages quickly!  The Madness of Mary Lincoln was recommended to me by a one of the women who worked at the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.  She was a volunteer historian and Lincoln specialist.  There are a million books written on Abraham Lincoln and his crazy wife, Mary.  Of course I’m interested in history but more specifically, the “dirt” that remains in history!  lol  What can be more dirty than an insanity trial where a presidential son puts his mother into an asylum?  Much has been written about the insanity of Mary Lincoln but this one was recommended because it’s a little different due to it’s extensive reference and research, also the fact that the author based his book on the “lost insanity letters”.  Not much has been written with these lost letters in mind.  VERY interesting and if you read it, you just might come away with a new feeling for Mrs. Lincoln and new insight into her illness.

I’d read much about how “insane” Mary Lincoln was and with the other books came a feeling that I would truly not like the woman.  I’d always felt that I’d despise her son, Robert, too.  What son puts his mother in an insane asylum after all she’d gone through just to put his hands on his family’s fortune?  Ahhhh,, SO not true were my beliefs.  First of all, it might surprise you to know that the Lincoln fortune really didn’t exist, as far as fortunes of the late 1800’s go.  Robert L. Lincoln had quite a lot of money in his own right and didn’t need his mother’s money.  Another thing I realized after I finished this book was that Robert really did love his mother and felt completely burdened by her actions and by her insanity.  He was a tortured soul who didn’t WANT to have his mother committed or declared insane.  It became necessary to protect her from herself.  After reading this book, I had a whole new sympathy for Robert, the only surviving son of Mary and Abraham Lincoln.

I also walked away knowing that I would have probably REALLY liked Mary Lincoln!  I’m almost afraid to admit this but I saw a lot of similarities between her personality and my own.  Okay maybe not when she became paranoid or manic, but when she was demanding and “wanted what she wants when she wants it”.  THAT part.  I’m that way too.  I felt tremendously sorry that she just kept living after losing 3 of her sons and the husband that shielded her from reality.  She’d pretty much lost every reason to WANT to live.  I’m wondering how many of US could live after so much tragedy?  Untimely death didn’t just begin with her children, it started with the death’s of her mother and father and then sisters and brothers.  Wow.  I can tell you that I’d be insane too!  She didn’t want to live anymore and she did whacky things.  I’m pretty sure I would have too.

I still have questions about whether she was truly insane.  I see the similarities in her behavior and the behavior of my step daughter who’s also been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.  The question remains with some mental health workers, whether or not Mary Lincoln was “emotionally insane” – insanity brought on by living through so much tragedy and sadness – or “mentally insane”.  There’s also a question now about whether or not her behavior was brought on by physical illness.  Maybe she wasn’t insane at all but she suffered from illness that had no diagnosis back then.  Some people think so.  A reoccurring theme with Mary Lincoln was that even during her “insanity” , she communicated with family and friends in a lively and “sane” way. I guess we probably wouldn’t even believe she was insane if we’d met her today.  However, those who knew her best, witnessed self destructive habits.  Even suicidal tendencies.  Again, I seriously don’t blame the poor woman for wanting death to come quickly.  Who knows what any of us would do if we walked a mile in HER shoes?  Many people who attended her funeral say that she appeared to have died with a smile on her face.  Like she was finally at peace.  Poor woman.

I’d give this book 2 thumbs up based on the amount of research that went into writing.  There were also more facts than I’d ever heard about and it painted a clear picture of what Mary Lincoln’s personality was like.  I really enjoyed it and didn’t find the writing style to be dry, as so many other historical books are.  I finished this one a LOT quicker than I thought I would 🙂

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 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Change

Life as she knew it changed on the day we welcomed her baby sister into this world!

My poor little niece Esme was used to having ALL the attention to herself and really believed that she was the center of everyone’s heart until the pesky day that her baby sister made her debut! lol Can you see, by the look on her face, that her world is about to change? This was June 4, 2012. The change has not fared well for poor Esme but I believe that there’s hope and she’ll learn to adjust before she turns 18! lol PLEASE God, let there be hope!

This quote really could have been written for Esme’. She follows NOBODY’S rules and has no respect for authority. I guess that can be a good thing if channeled in the right way and TRUST me, we’re ALL working on it. It really does take a village to raise a child in the way she should go and she’s got the love and attention of not only her parents and older sisters, but her extended family. Most especially her old doting Auntie / Godmother Michelle 😉 Maybe she’ll be the next Steve Jobs?

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.