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a new direction

Jan 26, 2015 in blessings, the hip | 6 comments

We are at the seven week mark of this vagal nerve and knee injury and have been working hard to discover what direction we should go with my treatment and I think we have found some answers.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine came over and worked on the foot zoning points of the vagal nerve. After that appointment, I stopped throwing up and my burping decreased significantly. She taught Richard what to do so he could work on my feet each night and as he has done so, the burping has continued to improve. She has come several times since and the tachycardia and digestion issues are improving as well.

Last week I was able to see a doctor at a specialty medical clinic for four days. Jen accompanied me to take care of me and we had an amazing and eye-opening experience. We had a ton of fun and learned a lot about my body’s needs. I was really, really, REALLY hoping to get stem cell injections into the LCL and meniscus to jumpstart their healing, but there is Procaine in the solution and he said my nervous system could not handle the injections without it, so we created a different treatment plan.

This morning I started an oral stem cell regimen that I will stay on for 3 months and then we will reassess the state of my body. The doctor gave me a very involved nutrition plan, supplements, medications, and stem cells, all of which is going to be a full-time job to get inside me on a daily basis. Yesterday I was able to program my phone with the 17 different reminders of food I need to be eating or medicines I need to be taking throughout the day and with three reminders already done for today, we are off to a stellar start.

The nutrition plan is aimed at two things: one, maintaining and hopefully increasing the amount of lean body tissue I have and two, giving my stomach all the help it needs to be able to digest food so my intestines can absorb nutrients. One of the new things we are implementing is drinking 1 quart of water with 1 TB. of baking soda and the juice of 3 limes at specific times of the day in relationship to the food I am eating. This is supposed to change my pH and help my food digest easier. Let me just say it is pretty disgusting. I did get 1/2 quart down me yesterday and today will be the full quart.

I also have to eat 6 tinsy meals a day that are protein heavy with lots of veggies as well. I can eat some very limited carbs, but not at the same time as I eat proteins as that makes both the proteins and the carbs harder to digest.

Interspersed with all this food are supplements, medicines, and stem cells and at first it was mind-boggling to me how to make it all work, but I think I have created a workable schedule and with the help of my phone beeping at me to remind to take this supplement or eat that food, I think it is doable.

Today my heart is full of gratitude for the opportunity I have been blessed with to start on this new treatment plan. The Spirit has been with me this past week and testified to me that this is the right course of treatment at the time. So as a family, we are going to pull together and give it our best effort.

Now on to reminder four.

a little peek into my heart

Jan 17, 2015 in the hip | 5 comments

The depths of despair have not hit me. I am okay emotionally and spiritually and am in a pretty good place of both gratitude for this experience and acceptance of what is currently my life.

But I am sad for the things I am missing and today my heart is hurting a bit. There have been a lot of things missed over the course of these injuries. We have just passed the two year mark of the shaking/passing out episodes and in February it will be three years since the initial hip injury. Even though it feels like an entire lifetime ago, I still remember so clearly lying on the floor of Jessica’s parents home and trying to convince everyone that even though I hadn’t walked for 5 weeks, I was FINE and did not need an MRI and it would get better with time. Well, my friends insisted on me seeing an orthopedic surgeon who subsequently found I have severe hypermobility in all my joints and arranged for an MRI that found the labral tear in my hip socket.

And while my labral tear was helped greatly by the Prolozone injections, the havoc played on my body from that injury, bedrest, and muscle weakening has been challenging. It seems every few months there is a new orthopedic injury that takes about sixteen to twenty weeks to overcome and during those weeks of recovery time the rest of my body gets weaker and more prone to injury. The current injuries we are dealing with are a torn LCL and torn meniscus, sensitive vagus nerve, impinged left shoulder, and severe pubic bone instability causing quite a bit of pain throughout my pelvis.

Each of these injuries cause me to miss out on things that are really important to me. Like chasing my children, going on walks, riding my beloved bike, hiking in the woods, having the freedom to go where I want to go, teaching gymnastics, and holding my Annesley in my arms. This month I was scheduled to speak at a huge homeschool conference down in Utah about two of my favorite subjects, teaching math in fun ways and How To Talk To Kids So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. I was over the moon excited about this opportunity to share my passions with hundreds of people. A few weeks ago, I decided I simply cannot present. My knee will not allow me to stand for more than about five minutes and my vagus nerve is acting so unpredictably that I was concerned that even if I taught from my wheelchair there was a good chance I would pass out, throw up, or have an episode of tachycardia right in the middle of my presentations.

So I bowed out. And I am super sad. Sad for the growth it would give me as a speaker. Sad for the missed connections with people. Sad for the missed influence I could have on other’s lives. Sad for the impact they could have on my life.

One of the hardest things for me is the limitations I have in connecting with others. Connection with people is something I live for – it energizes me and brings happiness to my soul to talk with other people and learn from them, laugh with them, and love them. And I miss that. I still get it, but it is so much less than it used to be. Many times I do not have the ability to go and talk to someone across the room. I have to wait until a person comes to me to visit. Often, the person I want to give a hug to or thank or compliment or share something funny with does not come. Sometimes I ask Richard to go get that person and bring him or her to me, but it often feels a bit too awkward…because that fluid, light, happy conversation that happens naturally when you are nearby and start talking with a person has now been turned into a formal event requiring an invitation to come and speak with me.

The other uncomfortable aspect with this whole connection thing is that the topic of conversation with almost everyone in my life is my body. I do need to talk about it and share, but often I want to shout, “I am not my body! I have a mind and a heart and interests that have nothing to do with bones and cartilage and ligaments. Let’s talk about fabric or books or ideas or something else besides my body.” At the same time, it is really important to me for people to understand what is going on in my body. I want people to know so they can be praying for me or know when I need extra help or know to rejoice with me about some milestone being reached, but I don’t really want to talk about it. I just want them to magically know so I feel we are in the same place of understanding about my body’s needs and then we can laugh and have fun and talk about something else.

A bit of a high expectation there, eh? Yes, I know. I want to type out my physical and emotional and spiritual journey on here and get it all out. And then I don’t really want to talk about it. Having to rehash it over and over and over is exhausting and a tad depressing. In addition, when there isn’t good news to share, it is really hard for me to want to share anything at all…the last thing I want to be is the depressing, negative nincompoop everyone avoids. Can’t all the people in my life just read my blog if they want to know what is going on??????? I know. I know. It isn’t that interesting and who has time to read my rantings anyway? But, oh, how it would help me when I have to answer all the questions from the wonderful people who care about me.

Anyway, just read this as a Saturday morning brain dump of zillions of thoughts swirling around inside me as I lie here in bed on a cold, snowy day thinking about the conference I won’t get to speak at, the sledding I can’t do with my children today, the grocery shopping I won’t get to do (and yes, I know not doing the shopping sounds lovely when you have to do it, but not being able to select the food for my family is a challenge all its own), the inability to just hop in my car and go visit a loved one, and the many other things I am no longer able to do. Life could be a zillion times worse and I am both grateful for this powerful learning experience and overwhelmingly grateful for the bounteous blessings that are and have been poured out upon our family to help us get through it. I know all of this and I really, truly still am in a place of gratitude. But I am also sad that one of the prices I have to pay for this dear and tender experience is one of missing out on other dear and tender experiences.

our current books

Jan 15, 2015 in art & music, books, history & geography, homeschooling, language & literature, math | 1 comment

We are spending lots of time snuggling and reading. There isn’t much else I can do right now, so it is a season of books. Annesley and I have started reading Little House in the Big Woods. I have my old, tattered, yellow set from my girlhood days. Then I have a complete other, still old, but not quite as tattered, blue set I picked up at a thrift store. We also have a few hardcover copies of the beautiful, artwork-on-the-front ones. But, when we decided to embark on this new adventure, I decided to pull out a big, beautiful, five-novels-in-one, gold-leafed edition I was saving for either Blythe or Keziah. She loves fancy things and fell in love with the gold pages and tinsy illustrations.

Little House Cover

Fisher likes to listen in and he is often found building some lego creation nearby while we read about Laura’s life with her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.

Last week Blythe drove me to physical therapy and then to run a few errands. We were able to go to the library and with the help of the scooters, I was able to zip around all three floors of the library and get a pile of fun books to explore. We have a new author on our list of favorites – Andrea Beaty. She has written Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer which we already knew about and loved (and seriously, you should read them!), but when we got to her shelf at the library, we found another gem! Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau is a fun, rhyming story about a hat maker in France who designs fancy, exotic hats for all of her customers and is deeply lonely for a friend. Annes keeps asking us to read it over and over and even had Miss Sheri to read it to her when she stopped by for a visit.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is pure genius. It is Fibonacci’s famous rabbit problem – “How many rabbits will you have in one year if you start out with one?” – portrayed with hilarious illustrations, calendars, carrot recipes, and a glorious pop-up of hundreds of rabbits on the 12th month. Really, go get check it out and laugh yourselves silly as you and your children learn all about Fibonacci numbers.

Another new favorite is The Art Collector by Jan Wahl. It is about a little boy who loves art, but isn’t adept at making the art he sees in his mind come to life (yes, I identified with little Oscar!). So, he decides to collect art so he can look at the pieces he loves so much. His collection grows and he has a museum built to hold his collection and share it with others. Such a delightful story.

Fisher and Keziah have both listened to Little Britches this week and Fisher has been listening to The Lord of the Rings. Blythe is reading Pride and Prejudice again and I have been reading Call The Midwife and To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort. Richard just finished The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.

Our family read-aloud right now is still The Wingfeather Saga. We are on book four, The Warden and the Wolf-King, and have about 250 pages left. Our reading time at night is quite limited because of the big girls’ schedules and we are in the middle of play month for Blythe. She will be performing for the next 9 days and has had a heavy rehearsal schedule the past couple of weeks. That along with her work and symphony schedules puts her home late several nights a week. I think this will be the last read-aloud we do as a whole family because her schedule is too difficult for the rest of us to work around {tears}. On the nights she is home, I try to read to everyone for an hour so we can continue to make some progress. At the rate we are going it is going to be March before we finish! I am hoping for some long Sunday night reading sessions over the next few weeks so we can get to the exciting conclusion.

Kat really wants me to read Quiet so I can understand sensitive souls like her a bit better so that is on my goal list for the year. I think Annesley and I will keep reading the other Little House books for the next few months and I have a whole stack of books I need to be reading for my Worldviews and How To Talk classes. So my next 5 months of reading is pretty planned out and I haven’t even made my book list for the year for my colloquia group! What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for fabulous books for my monthly book discussion group?

In other news, my knee brace is here and working well. Finding pants that will fit over top of it is proving quite challenging so it looks like I will be wearing knee length yoga skirts for the next several months. I totally overdid it yesterday trying to shop for a pair of pants, so all the muscles in my leg are pretty unhappy today, but my knee feels super stable in the brace and I am thrilled to have it and to be done with the tape that has been holding me together for the past five weeks.

argh, i want this pain to go away, but if i am stuck with it, i might as well rearrange

Jan 10, 2015 in my life as me, the hip | 2 comments

My knee hurts. I think it is hurting more each day…or maybe I am just getting tired of it. I’m not sure anymore. I do know the shoulda-woulda-coulda monster is eating at my brain and I wish I could rewind time and go back and make some different decisions on the day I fell.

A knee brace will be delivered to my door on Tuesday and will be my new friend until this ligament heals in 12-16 weeks. I have been taped up with Leukotape for the past five weeks and while it is amazing stuff and holds me together really well, it is breaking down my skin making me dream of sawing off my itchy leg in the middle of the night. I’m not sure how well the knee brace will work, but it will make bathing, applying comfrey compresses, oil packs, and BF&C much easier. In fashion terms, it is going to be a real drawback as it needs to be against my skin and the only thing that will fit over top of it will be super baggy stretchy pants. Oh my.

I also have new pair of Danskos coming my way. My feet do really well in Danskos and my pair of Shaylas from February has worn out. Wearing the same pair of shoes 6 or 7 days a week will do that I guess. So, at least my feet will be cute and comfy while I wear my super-stretchy pants. HA!

In other news, I finally finished the rearrangement project we started ten days ago in our wood room (A silly name…it is the first room you walk into in our home. It has a wooden floor, so I call it the wood room. It could be called the dining room because sometimes the dining table is in there, but sometimes the couches are in there and then it is the family room. My children were endlessly getting confused when I would give them jobs to do, so now we call it the wood room regardless of its function and everyone knows what I am talking about when I tell them the wood room needs vacuumed.) Anyway, all these weeks of lying here staring at the walls of my house have made me want to change things and one of those things was the brown, particle-board bookshelves in the wood room.

The problem was where to put the books? I had 680 inches of shelf space in those shelves and I had to move all those books somewhere else. At first it seemed impossible. But I was determined to change the look of the room by getting rid of the brown shelves. Richard chuckled at me and said it could not be done, but I kept plugging away at it all week and slowly, but surely we have solved it. First solution was to reclaim the two shelves by the front door that we have been using as shoe shelves. That gave us 160 inches. Then, we moved the 4×4 Expedit out of our bedroom and the 2×4 Expedit out of our hallway giving us 312 inches. Then we filled two of the shelves on our empty 72 inch wide bookshelf downstairs, giving us 144 inches. Now we were at 616 inches of usable space and almost all the books had found their new homes. I boxed up two shelves of childbirth books (kind of teary about those ones…but I am not attending births as a doula right now and I am not going to be birthing a baby unless some miracle happens, so I decided they would need to go into boxes until they are needed again.) and found lots of books that don’t even need to be in our home anymore. Now, I have a pile of books to sell and lots of piles of stuff to sort through that were on the Expedits to begin with, but the wood room is clean and orderly and I am loving the new look of it. Maybe now it won’t be so painful for me to hobble by it?

another shot at some eensy-weensy goals

Jan 4, 2015 in goals of the week | 8 comments

It is a time of resolutions, is it not? People are choosing Word of the Year, setting new goals, and making changes in their lives.

I am not up to any big resolutions or even a small resolution. It feels simply overwhelming to think of making or committing to anything for the long-term.

But, the change of the years has hit me and I am succumbing in a few small things. Two years ago, we started setting four small goals every week during Family Council. It didn’t last long at all, because on January 8 of that year was the fateful day of the first passing out/shaking episode. Today, I decided to start the process again, so we all set our goals tonight and are going to endeavor to accomplish them.

Here are mine for the week:

Physical: Take my supplements every day.
Spiritual: Read To My Friends each morning after scripture study.
Academic: Read one chapter of Understanding the Times.
Random: Make bed every day.

One of my favorite goals set tonight was Annesley’s random goal. She decided she would play outside for 6 hours and 99 minutes this week. I almost said that was not an appropriate goal, but then I remembered reading about the 1000 Hours Outside project and decided to encourage her instead.

The other change I am implementing is to start a Bullet Journal in an attempt to organize my life in some small measure. My notebook isn’t here yet, so today I am starting it in a different notebook so I get in the practice of doing it. As soon as I have a few weeks under my belt I will share my thoughts about the system and let you know if I think you should run for the hills or give it a shot.

In other news, I attended church today for the first time in a month and it was especially sweet to partake of the sacrament and ponder the atonement. I don’t know what it is about church that sets my body off, but it continues to be a place of lots of POTS episodes despite my trying to do everything I can to prevent them. Today we had a few close calls of me almost crashing to the floor, but we made it through and tonight I am feeling pretty good.

Tomorrow we are starting back on our regular learning/living/cleaning/eating/sleeping schedule. It seems we have been quite derailed ever since my fall on the 7th – nothing has been happening on any sort of regular routine all month. So, as it is now nearly 10 p.m., I better hit the sack so I can be up for 6 a.m. scripture study.

What resolutions/goals/changes are you implementing?

hastening the healing

Dec 31, 2014 in the hip | 3 comments

There is a weird dichotomy in my brain that says:

Pain akin to the last few contractions of transition stage and/or passing a kidney stone and/or severe toothache = Pain to listen to and gives me a valid excuse to modify activity level.

Everything else = Stupid pain signals that mean nothing is really wrong and I should be able to go on with my life as normal.

It is not very logical and doesn’t make sense to my dear husband or friends, but it IS my reality.

We are trying to change my perception of reality to a healthier version so I will learn that it is truly, 100% okay good for me to lie around doing nothing for weeks months on end.

See, my knee is injured. And I need to take care of it by not putting weight on it, bending it funny, or straining it in any way. And I am doing all of that. I really, truly am. Day after day I lay here on my bed or chaise and watch the world turn around me.

But I hate it. And I think, “GET UP, YE OL’ LAZY WOMAN. SURELY YOU CAN MAKE DINNER. SURELY YOU CAN WASH THOSE DISHES. SURELY YOU CAN DO MORE THAN SIT HERE ON YOUR DUFF!”

And I think those thoughts because it doesn’t hurt that bad. When I am lying here it hardly hurts at all, just a constant soreness, not a stabbing, excruciating pain that takes my breath away. When I get up and walk on it, it starts hurting worse, much worse, but it is still not excruciating, take my breath away pain. It is piles of soreness that drives me bonkers, but I can still talk through it. I can even still walk through it, at least most of the time.

Richard and Sheri and Kat and Jeremy are trying to get me to change paradigms, but it is really hard for me to see things differently. In my mind, if I CAN walk, I SHOULD walk, no matter the pain or soreness or whatever. Jeremy is trying to help me see that listening very, very carefully to my body and honoring it is essential (I DO totally believe this and until these injuries I thought I was pretty good at it) to my healing. He says doing everything I can to not be on my feet and further strain my knee is good for me. So, we are instituting a new motto over here.

 

Hastening the Healing

It looks like this:

Random person, child of mine, or most usually my own self: What are we doing today?

Paradigm changing me: Hastening the healing.

Random person, child of mine, or my own self-talk: Come on, let’s do something fun!

Paradigm changing me: Nope, I am hastening the healing.

Random person, child of mine, or my own self-talk: Oh, come on, it will probably be just fine, let’s do it!

Paradigm changing me: Hastening the healing is my first priority. Let’s see if we can do x,y,z while I lie here with my ice pack.

I am trying. Trying really hard to stay off my feet and give my knee everything I can to help it heal. It is super challenging and would be easier if I had to do full-on labor breathing to get through the day. I have only left my house a few times this month and have spent day after day reclining on my chaise with my throw up bowl next to me. But I did really mess up a few times. I tried to rearrange my school room on the Saturday before Christmas. My big girls did all the furniture moving work, but I was on my feet WAY too long and finally collapsed in an actual excruciating, take my breath away moment. My other big mistake was trying to shave on Sunday night and I pulled my knee and hip all wonky while trying to reach my ankles. So, I am still learning what the limits are and how to be okay sitting on my bottom day after day.

the tv miracle

Dec 26, 2014 in blessings, christmas | Comments Off

Back in mid-November, on a day my body was doing really well, Kat and I went to Costco. She started looking for Christmas presents and I had a “What the heck, is it almost Christmas??” moment. I had not even started thinking about Christmas and simply could not imagine going shopping for presents, even though at that time I was doing quite well physically. The thought of being out in weather, standing in lines, going shopping alone, and even just wrapping my brain around anything Christmas-y was too much. Surely it was only September and I had months to get ready for Christmas?

I said, “I wish I could just buy them a TV and be done with it.” Kat jumped right on that idea and said she thought it was a great idea. Later I presented it to Richard in a kind of snarky-listen-to-this-crazy-idea way. He loved it and actually was able to convince me it was a great idea and not a you-are-a-lazy-bum-who-doesn’t-want-to-shop idea.

Then we presented it to the kids. Blythe and Keziah were all for it. Fisher and Annes, not so much. I assured them they would have at least two presents to open, one from each set of grandparents, and after about a week of thinking about it, they decided to go for it.

So, with everyone in favor I decided to start pricing out TVs and decided we actually wouldn’t be able to do it. Our gas bill to go home for Thanksgiving was more than I thought it would be and Richard’s check was about $500 less than I was expecting. I didn’t know what to do. Everyone was so excited about the idea of an actual working television we could watch movies on and now I didn’t know if I could make it happen. I found a great cyber Monday deal at Sam’s for a huge 48″ off-brand TV with a Roku stick included for $348. I thought it was a great price and really wanted to make it happen, but I still didn’t have enough pennies for it.

I like to hoard gift cards, it gives me a sense of security to have a way to purchase needed items when we have run out of cash, so I started searching through our gift cards from last Christmas and was able to come up with $60 in unused cards. While I was searching for gift cards, I found a sealed envelope with Keziah’s writing on it. I had no idea what it was, but it had a note on it, “$$$$ I owe you.”

WHAT???????? What money did she owe us? And why was it in the bottom of my bill bin? And how much was it?

It turned out to be $300. The total for the TV with tax was $368. So, with Keziah’s money and the gift cards, I had to come up $8.00. Eight whole bucks. Oh, my goodness. I sat on my bed and cried. I knew this was a gift from an all-knowing Father. If I had known about Keziah’s money earlier in the year, I would have used it when our Suburban broke down. But instead, it was kept hidden from me until the moment we needed it.

We are having so much fun having family movie nights with this TV! I have been pretty anti-TV our whole married life, but we do enjoy watching great family films together. We are learning all about Amazon Instant Videos and I’m pretty amazed at how far technology has come in the past few years – the Roku stick makes it so slick to access content from the internet. Our children finally feel like they are part of the modern world, teehee!

the story of the precious quilts

Dec 26, 2014 in blessings, children, christmas, family, slider | 11 comments

I usually tell people, “I can’t sew!” The truth of the matter is I can sew, just barely. Sewing is really, really, REALLY challenging for me. It doesn’t make sense to my brain. I can’t sew straight. I mess up back-stitching, have to unpick lots, and my projects leave a lot to be desired in the sewn-well-looks-pretty department. But for some reason, I love making homemade, home-sewn things for my children. It feels like I am wrapping up all the love in my heart for them and handing it to them on a silver platter, fabric platter, of course.

Jessica’s mom has been making birthday quilts for all of her grandchildren this year…and they are gorgeous. When the first one arrived at Jess’ home back in October, I swooned over it. But I didn’t even think about making one because Debbie is a quilter and I am not. At all. It seemed way, way, way outside of my abilities.

IMG_2826

Then when I saw the second quilt at Thanksgiving, I nearly died over it. I could not stop staring at it and touching it. Excuse the blurry pic, it is the only one I have and you must see it so you can see what inspired me! It is made with the Miss Kate jelly roll and I was so tempted to use it for Annesley’s, but in the end chose a different one.

IMG_8736

I loved them ever so much and in spite of the facts that I don’t sew well normally (certainly not well enough to make a quilt like this!) AND cannot sew at all right now because I cannot sit due to my hip injury AND haven’t sewn at all since the hip injury occurred in February 2012 AND knew I could not afford the fabric needed to make one quilt, much less four, I COULD NOT stop thinking about making these quilts for my children.

The whole drive home from Thanksgiving had my brain going round in circles trying to figure out how on earth I could make these for my children. I especially wanted to make something for my children because it is Blythe’s last Christmas at home before her mission. We always make something special for our children and we weren’t going to this year because we decided to put all our Christmas money towards a TV. We also didn’t last year because we adopted an orphanage in Ecuador instead of buying presents. So even though I loved the TV idea, my whole soul was longing to make my children something from my heart. The more I thought about it, I realized there was just no way. I could not come up with any solutions. None.

On Tuesday, December 2, Sheri took me to physical therapy and afterwards I asked her if we could stop by the fabric store so I could price out fabric. As we walked through the store I became more and more enamored with the idea and at the same time, realized it was going to be far too expensive to even consider it.

Late that night, Sheri showed up at my door with a plan to get me the fabric. I thought she was crazy, but after lots of laughter and tears, I agreed to her plan…she would buy the fabric in exchange for future gymnastics lessons and work with my husband. We checked with Kat about the possibilities of using her fancy machine with a start/stop button instead of a foot pedal and how she thought it would work for me to sew standing up at an elevated table. She thought it would work, so we stayed up for hours looking at online fabric stores and got the jelly rolls ordered and I started brainstorming what I could sell to earn some money to pay for the quilting.

The next day was the big passing out/shaking/vomiting episode and I had to spend several days in bed. Friday night I felt well enough to go pick out minkee and Sheri, Jen, and I headed to the fabric store and were blessed to find a big table of minkee on sale for $7.88/yard! We were able to find stuff to coordinate with the tops, pick out the binding fabric, and make it home without any vomiting.

Then on Sunday, the 7th, I fell at church and injured my knee. And I continued to throw up almost all my food. It seemed there was no way I would be able to continue the project because I felt so terrible with the stomach issues and there was no way I would be able to stand to sew with my knee in so much pain.

But once again, my awesome friends helped me. Kat figured out how to put the sewing machine on a table over top of my zero gravity chair so I could lay back with my knee elevated and wrapped in ice packs and still reach the start/stop button and guide the fabric. Every few days, in between vomiting episodes and usually late at night after our children were in bed, Kat would come and get me, set me up in my chair with her sewing machine on top of me, and mentor me through each stage of the project. It was amazing! Each time I finished a top, I would shriek with joy and cry big tears of happiness at how fabulous they were turning out. I just could not believe my very limited sewing skills could produce something so beautiful. Even though I sewed all the stitches, it was Kat’s awesome tutelage that made them turn out so well.

My aunt owns a quilting business in Wyoming, so the next step was to get all the tops to her. We sent some of the tops on the 16th with a woman from my hometown who was up here visiting her daughter (thanks Lori!), then finished the remaining tops at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, the 17th, and sent them to Wyoming with our friend Tamia who was taking her boys to visit Jessica’s family for a few days. Then my mom got them from Jessica and took them over to Angie.

Angie worked her magic and then got them over to the fabric store to be bound. They were all done by Saturday, the 20th. But my mom was down in Salt Lake for the day and couldn’t pick them up. She had to leave early Monday morning before the store opened to come up here to deliver them, so she started calling all sorts of people to see if someone could go get them. She finally found someone (thanks Karen!) and we were one step closer to getting the quilts into my arms before Christmas morning.

Meanwhile I was here fretting about them, wondering if the quilting turned out well, if I had chosen the right designs, the right color thread, if the binding was working, and a million other things. I could not sleep Saturday night for fear I had completely ruined the whole project by choosing something wrong.

Also, that day I sold my beloved Singer 301A to finish up earning the money to pay for the quilting. It is my favorite machine to sew on and an incredible workhorse. I sewed my first and only quilt (until now) on it back in 2011. It was one of the things I knew could bring in some money and I since I can’t sit to sew, I can’t use it anyway. I have been holding on to it with the hope that someday I will be able to use it again, but I decided it was time to face the reality that I may never sit again.

Then on Monday, the 22nd, my mom showed up with her presents for our family and the all-my-hopes-pinned-on-them quilts. After she took my kiddos to a movie, I unwrapped the quilt package and burst into tears. They were so, so lovely. I could barely breathe, I was so in love with them.

Christmas morning my children opened one and only one gift from their parents – the quilts! They love them and have been snuggled up in them ever since.

Thank you Sheri, Kat, Jen, Angie, Lori, Tamia, Jessica, Karen, Charla, and mom. Thank you so much for helping me make this dream come true.

Annesley’s ray of sunshine quilt made with the Bloomin’ Fresh jelly roll. Hers is stitched with pink thread in a design of hearts, flowers, and stars. So cute!

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Fisher’s bold quilt is made with the Mixed Bag jelly roll and has orange zigzag binding. He loves, loves, loves lime green, orange, and red – this is so perfect for him. It always cracks me up that such a quiet boy is drawn to such loud colors and fabrics. His thread is blue and is quilted in a chevron design. His is the only one I wish I had done differently. I should have chosen a bug or airplanes design, but the chevron looks great.

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Keziah’s is done with the Girl Crazy jelly roll. She loves old cruiser bikes, so we did the quilt design with bikes and Scotty dogs (dogs are perhaps her biggest passion!) with turquoise thread and the binding is bikes too!

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Can you see the bike design?

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Blythe loves hot pink and other bright colors and I think the daisy quilting design goes with her fabric perfectly. It is made with the LOL jelly roll and has both hot pink binding and thread. She loves it!

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You can see how to make this Jelly Roll Race quilt in this video tutorial. This quilt pattern is called a one hour top and maybe it is for someone, but not for me. I’m about as slow as molasses. I sewed Blythe’s top first and it took me nine hours. By the time I got to the last one, I was down to about three or four hours. If you are a beginner quilter, this is an excellent project. It is technically easy, comes together quickly, and turns out beautifully. I would guess if you have any sewing skills at all, you can make the top easily in two – three hours.

I still can’t believe we got these done in three short weeks…and not three good weeks, three really, really hard weeks for my body to do much of anything. Pretty much a Christmas miracle!

such a silly ditty

Dec 24, 2014 in christmas, family | 4 comments

My mom came to visit the past few days and brightened my spirits immensely. She helped me get all the odd and ends done for Christmas and brought presents! Most of all, she gave my children some much needed love. It hasn’t been a very fun month for them because we haven’t been able to go many places and I haven’t been the most cheerful mom on the planet. She just drove away and this silly little ditty poured out of me…it isn’t good poetry or anything, but she’ll like it.

‘Twas the day before Christmas when all through the home
My mama is working herself to the bone
The dishes and laundry and cooking up treats
Are her gift to me as I sit on my seat.

Took kids to the movies and had lots of fun
She sure can keep up even if she can’t run
Her knee swelled up huge as she hobbled around
Taking us all out for fun on the town.

She took me shopping for stockings and groceries and stuff
We almost got hit, TWO TIMES, it was rough!
We giggled and laughed as I burped through the day
Oh, how I wish she could come here and stay!

Now mama must return to her quiet house
Where creatures aren’t stirring, not even a mouse.
She brought us some presents, some help, and some cheer,
We hope she’ll come back before the new year!

this pitcher can throw, but i haven’t struck out yet

Dec 18, 2014 in the hip | Comments Off

Life throws some pretty tricky curve balls sometimes. I’m a pretty good hitter, but I never saw this one coming.

On December 2, I had a fabulous appointment with Jeremy and was cleared to start exercising again after I had injured the inguinal ligament back in early October. We had just finished up a fairly uneventful Thanksgiving week and my body was doing really well. I was ready to start building some muscles and kick off the Christmas season.

On December 3, my dear friend, Heather, invited a group of us to go to lunch and fill her up with some love and laughter. We had a lovely lunch catching up on the events of all of our lives and laughed ourselves silly. I always lie down during our Red Robin escapades and this time was no different…except I was squished and my head was turned really wonky.

Somehow, the yucky position my neck was in reinjured my vagus nerve, stretching it out and irritating it right back into hypersensitivity mode. I stood up at the end of our meal, collapsed right in the restaurant and proceeded to have many episodes of passing out, shaking, and vomiting. It was awful. Probably the worst episode yet. At the time, I thought it was a one-time deal – I had no idea that I would not feel hungry for the next several days, that anything I did eat would come right back up, and that my stomach would ache for hours and hours and hours after I was able to get the tinsiest amount of food down.

Vomiting is probably my least favorite thing. I puked my guts out during all of my pregnancies and haven’t thrown up once since Annesley’s birth seven years ago because my body is DONE with the puking.

Until now. Oh my goodness, the puking. A few days ago, in the midst of an hour long puke-fest, I told Kez to text Richard and tell him I was dying. I didn’t really think I was, but I was not at all sure I was going to come out alive on the other side. I’ve thrown up in all my sinks, my garbage can, my trusty bowl that is my new companion, my bath tub, in multiple parking lots, in my hands, my hair, and all over my shoes. The worst was throwing up a huge puddle of protein/chocolate/green smoothie at a man’s brand new home – what a housewarming gift! After two weeks of this, I am about to give up on eating entirely. It is disgusting and painful and exhausting. I am now eating a very small meal about every 24-36 hours. I have kept the last two down and am hoping this means some healing is occurring.

A few days after the vomiting started, I passed out at church and injured my knee. The LCL is partially torn and the meniscus is torn. The LCL might heal. If it does, it will take 2-4 months. The meniscus will not heal, but it may be livable. We won’t really know until the pain from the LCL decreases so I can assess the meniscus pain by itself.

So I spend my days icing and elevating and sipping water and trying to figure out how to adjust to this curve ball. I am researching how to calm the vagus nerve and have come up with some ideas we are going to start implementing. As soon as I can get some ginger, I am going to start taking 600 mg 3 times a day. I am applying nerve calming oils to the vagus and digestive oils to my stomach. I am working on slow breathing, taking time to ponder, and working on being calm. I am trying to get up really, really slowly and keep my sympathetic nervous system calm, for when it ramps up, the parasympathetic system has to ramp up to balance it out.

Our December already feels so derailed from how I imagined it. I haven’t shopped for a single gift for extended family, friends, or neighbors. Baking goodies with the kids has not happened, nor has standing in shopping lines, looking at lights, or attending any parties, recitals, or concerts. Even getting our nightly Christmas book in has been a tremendous challenge when I feel so miserable.

This is going to be a new journey – new twists and turns I cannot yet foresee. I am trying to open my mind to acceptance for the road my body is taking us all on. My job is to believe and hope and work for healing AND accept with grace and dignity the journey I am on.

I don’t really know what the point of this post is except perhaps for me to get the disjointed thoughts swirling around in my mind out on paper screen so I can remember being in the midst of this journey when the next one comes and I need help getting through it. Just yesterday I read a post from the last time my vagus was acting up and rereading my words filled me with hope and faith that God can heal me this time, too. This may be a short jaunt into the land of non-digestion and knee injury or it may be our new life. At this point we have no idea where this road is taking us, but we do know we are surrounded by family and friends that love us and we are in God’s keeping.