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three years

Feb 20, 2015 in blessings, family, the hip | 3 comments

I remember the snow lightly falling on my nose as I warmed up my body with lunge walks, butt kicks, and grapevines. I remember feeling strong, capable of doing anything I set my mind to, and full of excitement for a summer full of races with my girlie. I remember running on Friday, the 17th, down at the greenbelt, with the sun shining – I ran further and faster and could actually see myself as a runner instead of just a mother of a runner.

I remember the take-my-breath-away pain deep in my groin as I brought my right leg forward. I remember feeling like an at-the-hip amputation would be better than the pain I was feeling. I remember hobbling back to the Suburban bringing my leg forward with my hands. I remember Richard carrying me to bed that night when I couldn’t put any weight on my leg at all.

I remember the weeks spent in bed covered in ice packs and the neverending pain of both body and spirit. My children fighting, crying, whining, unable to cope with mom spending day after day in bed. I remember sobbing myself to sleep many a night and being completely frustrated at my body, my situation, and my children.

I remember the first Priesthood blessing and how the heavens opened and poured love, light, and power into every fiber of my being. I remember the beginning of my family history journey and how insatiable my desire was to find each member of my family.

I remember the army of friends who brought in meals, cleaned my house, drove my children to activities, sent me cheer-up notes, prayed for me, and surrounded me with love.

I remember Kat, Jenn, and Jess taking care of me – gently helping me see reality, laughing, driving me to appointments with doctors, holding my hand as needles were inserted, holding my whole body as I sobbed all the pain and frustration out into a pile of snot. Kat and Jess went the extra mile and cleaned up my very stinky, post-MRA pee.

I remember the patient, calm, nurturing of my husband. I remember spending my days alone in my bed feeling completely broken and like a burden and failure. And then he would come home and give me that look. And my heart would fill up with a little bit of hope and a pile of love for this man who loves me more than life itself.

So many memories of those first few months, I want to remember forever – those were hard, hard days – too precious to forget.

Now it has been three years since that first day of pain and injury. Three years full of hundreds of little injuries and lots of big injuries. Three years full of more pain than I can describe. Three years of our children learning to be self-sufficient, run a household, take care of each other, and take care of me. Three years of learning to rely on God and submit to His will for my life. Three years full of the miracles of God, prayers answered, blessings poured out upon us. As hard as it has been, I am grateful for this experience – the pain, despair, and agony of soul AND the love, service, and joy. It has all been a powerful blessing for our whole family and many others as well.

Last night I showed this movie to Richard and with tears in my eyes, thanked him for all the work he does both behind the scenes and in full view that allows me to stil have a somewhat independent life. Tonight we are celebrating by watching Unbroken…for that is what we are, unbroken, full of faith, and determined to make it through.

I sent this thank you not to hundreds of people this morning. I share it here so that all my blog readers can know how grateful I am for you as well. Thank you for walking this journey with me and sending me so many words of encouragement. They have lifted me more than you know.

Dear Loved Ones,

Today, February 20, marks the 3-year anniversary of my original hip injury. I could spend today mourning all the freedom and body functions I have lost, but instead I want to celebrate and focus on the many blessings that have come from that injury. I want to pay tribute and give thanks to each of you – the many family members and friends whose support has meant so much during the last three years. We are surrounded by an army of goodness!

As our family has been called upon to make significant changes to our life, we have been held in God’s keeping. We could not have made it through these past 36 months without you.
You have truly been God’s hands and you have spread His light.
Some of you have given generously of your time. Some of you have driven me to appointments or taken me shopping. Some of you have given us money or paid for therapy, equipment, and medical appointments. Some have given food, cleaning, and other acts of service. Some of you have held my hands through painful treatments. Some of you have held me during seizures. Some of you have prayed for me and with me. Some of you have given smiles and hugs. Some of you have written notes full of faith and encouragement. Some of you have cried with me. Some of you have given Priesthood blessings. Some of you have helped me with my family history work. Some of you have listened. Some of you have carried my zero-gravity chair all over Timbuktu. Some of you have taken care of our children. Some of you have repaired our home. Some of you have been the support team for Richard and our children. Some of you have worked in our yard. Some of you have put my body back together again. Some of you have picked me up off the floor and carried me. All of you have lifted burdens. All of you have loved.

Today our hearts are full of gratitude to you and for you. Thank you for walking this journey with us. Your service has made all the difference.

In the past three years, I have had a labral tear in my hip, a broken left foot, a dislocated right foot, dislocated ribs, dislocated jaw, dislocated shoulders, nearly constant pubic bone issues, stretched MCL, torn LCL, torn meniscus, hundreds of seizures, thousands of passing out episodes, and many more injuries I am forgetting. I have been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that means my collagen is defective and my ligaments do not hold me together very well. As a result of my injuries and the subsequent damage to my nervous system, I have also developed POTS, which is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and Dysautonomia, which are just fancy ways of saying my body has a hard time running the automatic functions of my body, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, temperature, and blood flow.

Two weeks ago I was in a minor car accident and we have yet to see the full results of these injuries as we are still in the figuring-things-out-stage – all I really know is my face, neck, shoulders, ribs, spine, and pelvis are in a world of hurt.

I have absolute faith in God and know He can heal me. While a complete blessing of healing has not come, many dear and precious blessings have been poured out upon me. At the same time, He is teaching me how to live in this oft-injured state. I never know how my body will function from day to day and am learning to be grateful for the really small things in life.

There are not sufficient words to express my gratitude for your kindness and generosity to me. Thank you for everything you have done and will do in the future.

Your presence in my life and your generous service have filled this difficult journey with light, love, laughter, and most of all, faith, hope, and peace.

I love you,
Tracy

Richard, Blythe, Keziah, Fisher, and Annesley also say THANK YOU!

up to somethings

Feb 18, 2015 in my life as me, the hip | 3 comments

Oh my, the time gets away from me and before I know it, a whole week (or more!) has gone by without me posting.

Here is what I am up to:

  • Paperwork and medical appointments for my oldest who is getting ready to serve a mission for our church. The process is pretty easy and quick, but, boy howdy, it is a lot of hard decisions and work for those of us who don’t have a family doctor and easy medical history. We are facing some pretty big decisions regarding medications and so far, I still don’t know what to do. These are the times I *almost* wish we could just be normal people who go along with the masses and just do what everyone else does, but since there are all sorts of immune system issues, allergies, and a firm belief in whole foods, herbs, natural medicines and alternative treatments, I simply cannot go along with masses.
  • Trying my darndest to heal from this car accident. It was SUCH a small accident and yet, my body is really struggling. The pain, headaches, numbness, inflammation, and exhaustion are quite the humdinger. I actually went in and had x-rays taken last week and they showed my spine all wonkified. On the advice of the doctor I saw and Jeremy, I am giving in and taking some prescriptions to help the muscles and the generalized inflammation in my body calm down.
  • Dealing with the car accident phone calls and paperwork. ARGH. It really isn’t a big deal. It is just a deal and one I don’t have time or energy for.
  • Got my bangs cut when my sister met us in Utah during Blythe’s dentist appointment on Monday. We did a quick bang fixeroo in the parking lot and were laughing so hard at the looks people were giving us that my bladder had a little incident. They were almost to my upper lip…after being cut above my eyebrows just 2 1/2 months ago. I think all the collagen and other supplements I am taking are making my hair grow a wee bit too fast.
  • Researching therapy pools and brainstorming HOW ON EARTH I could ever afford one and where it could go in my house so I could work my muscles everyday without fear of injury, time and expense of going to a pool that is a 20ish miles away, and having to find someone to take me since many days it would not be safe for me to go to a pool alone. It seems like a huge impossibility, but since I know it would be fabulous for my body, I am going to keep researching, thinking, and praying.
  • Fisher and I have started a new geography adventure with Holling C. Holling books. We are starting with Paddle-to-the-Sea and loving it. It traces the journey of a little canoe from Canada, down through the Great Lakes, and out to the Atlantic Ocean. We have some big maps from Beautiful Feet and are using their curriculum guide to give us a bit of structure on our journey.
  • Annesley and I are almost done with Little House in the Big Woods. I think we will just continue on with the series until she grows tired of it.
  • I am still teaching Worldviews to my five stellar youth and am also teaching an adult class on How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and while I love both of them, I have to admit, this car accident has really impacted my effectiveness as a teacher. I simply cannot move, talk, and prepare the way I would like to. They are going well, but my heart wishes for the situation to be different and I could be standing up and be the dynamic teacher I normally am. Teaching from a reclining position is pretty tough…and boring.
  • It is Ward Conference season which is an LDS term meaning a special Sunday meeting is held with each ward (generally small geographical area) in a stake (usually 7-10 wards) where instruction and training is given by stake leaders. Since I serve with the Stake Primary Presidency, I attend each of those ward conferences. This means lots and lots of meetings. Almost every Sunday, I am attending church services in other congregations than my own and then helping that ward’s Primary with any questions or concerns they might have. It is a wonderful opportunity to serve, be blessed by the many relationships I get to be a part of, and the Sunday inspiration I receive is beautiful. I love it. I also miss my own ward. Theoretically, I could attend my own ward on the weeks my other meetings are at a different time than my ward, but my body cannot barely handle the three to five hours of meetings it already has, there is no way it could handle another three hours on top of that.
  • I keep setting goals of things to get done each day and for the most part, they aren’t getting done. I have gobs of paperwork to get done for my classes and my church calling, but my body hurts to much to do any of it for very long. Cleaning or cooking are not happening at all and my children are ready to rebel at how much they are doing and how little I am doing. I am focusing on the basics of our family life and homeschool: phonics, math, stories, snuggles, scriptures, art, outside play time for the kids, and lots of art projects while listening to audio books. Blythe is doing almost all my driving and running around children along with lots of errand running. All the rest is going to have to wait till body recovers from this accident.
  • I don’t know what the typical recovery is from whiplash, but it is looking like mine will not fit that norm since I am still in so much pain. In the meantime, my knee has taken a complete back seat to my upper body. Jeremy hasn’t even been able to work on it my last few appointments, so I don’t know how it is doing. Tonight it is more sore than it has been recently, but I am hoping that with some ice and anti-inflammatories, it will feel better tomorrow. I have to keep reminding myself that we are hastening the healing…not doing nothing as I lie around with my ice pack.

    The three year anniversary of my hip injury is coming up on Friday. Yesterday marks the day of my last good run. I am thinking about how to celebrate…it will either be a day of mourning or celebration and my spirits cannot handle the mourning, so we need to find a way to celebrate somehow!

fatigued

Feb 10, 2015 in homeschooling, the hip | 1 comment

Oh my heck, I am tired. So incredibly tired. I have been exhausted for days on end. Annesley and Richard could not wake me up for scriptures this morning. When I finally opened my eyes around 7:30, she said I looked like I was dead when she tried to wake me up. Richard tried to rouse me for some snuggle time and gave up after my dead fish appearance showed no signs of changing.

I finally pulled myself together long enough to take a bath and tried to soak the soreness out of my neck, back, and shoulders, but instead my heart rate shot up to 130 and I collapsed after I got out.

Now it is an hour later and I finally feel strong enough and alert enough to start learning time with my little ones. Just for kicks, I looked up symptoms of whiplash and to my surprise (but not shock, since I am living it) fatigue is one of the symptoms. I should say it is, my goodness, I don’t think I remember ever feeling so completely and totally exhausted before (though I’m sure I am forgetting all those new baby years when exhaustion is just par for the course).

Time to get a move on it, Trace, there are two little ones ready…today we start Paddle To The Sea!.

what can i do for you?

Feb 9, 2015 in blessings, family | 1 comment

Sometimes I am a prickly porcupine to live with, sometimes I am more like a fire-breathing dragon. Often I am cheerful and fun and loud and spontaneous and caring and all sorts of other good things, but far more than I like to admit the grumpy monster comes out of me.

One of the things that brings out the prickles is pain, which has been in abundance for the last three years, but has seemed to be all-encompassing since the car accident last week. It feels like I cannot deal with another ounce of hurt added. Last night after 6 hours of church meetings, my face and neck and ribs were DONE.

Another thing is our tinsy little budget that changes all the time based parent’s forgetting their child’s therapy appointment or their vacations or having a sick child. We never know from month to month what our income will be and since our income is small to begin with there is not a lot of room for Richard to lose money when people don’t show up for appointments.

Put those two situations together and you get a giant, prickly, fire-breathing BEAST, which is what I was last night as I tried to make a budget for the month and the year and my physical therapy and Blythe’s appointments with doctors and dentists before her upcoming $400 a month mission. All of which seems like an impossibility.

And instead of continuing to pour over numbers and use my creative little brain to problem solve or think about how to bring in more money or how to cut costs or how to have more faith or how to simply give it all over to God who is endlessly showing me He is taking care of us, I opened my mouth and spewed out toxic sludge on the person I love most.

“Why was your check $600 short?” and “How on earth am I supposed to make this work?” and “Isn’t there something YOU can do to get more hours?” and on and on and on.

And he said, “I’m sorry. I’ll keep looking for a different job.” Then he went and cleaned off our bed (which was piled with my stuff) and came out and asked if there was anything he could do for me.

In my frustration at how much pain my face was in and my anger at our budget for the month, I almost spouted off that there was nothing he could do for me except earn more money, but I took a breath and let his kindness fill my heart. Then I looked in his eyes and let it all melt away.

This is why we are still married. Because he serves and loves and forgives. He shows me on a daily basis what love does. What it looks like. What it feels like. Ever so slowly I am learning to love and serve as he does. To put his needs before my own. To sincerely and actively seek to improve his life.

An article by Richard Paul Evans is circulating around the interwebs about marriage. It is excellent advice and I know first-hand how effective it is because my Richard lives that style of love every single day.

The pain may be an on-going part of my life, most likely, the budgetary challenges will be, but those things are not what really matter. Our marriage is what matters. Our treatment of one another and the love we bless each other with is what matters. The people we become as serve one another is what matters. The covenants we keep are what matters.

that knee is starting to heal!

Feb 5, 2015 in the hip | Comments Off

I totally forgot to post my good news from this week! The LCL in my knee is tightening up! The sideways stability is increasing and the pain is decreasing and my walking is improving.

We passed the eight week mark on Sunday and if prior injuries are an indicator, I have another four to eight weeks of healing to go. My outrageously expensive brace is helping a lot and I continue to ice it when it is sore, but in the past 11 days I have only needed to ice it once. Isn’t that exciting!

Not to dampen the good news, but just to document…my jaw hurts like heck and is clicking when I open my mouth very far. The bones around my eyes are super tender. I can barely move my head to the right, but to the left is pretty good. The vertebrae in my spine feel compressed and my sacrum, oh, my goodness, the sacrum is hot to the touch and feels like screws are turning in it. My right foot, which must have been hurt somehow in the accident, is pretty sore and unstable. Jeremy taped it all up on Monday, which is helping, but the bones feel like they shifted out of place yesterday with all the walking at iFamily.

I took Blythe in yesterday and she has whiplash as well. Not as bad as mine, but it is causing her neck and head pain.

Time to cover myself in some menthol-y oils and start learning time with the kiddos.

anything that can go wrong…

Feb 3, 2015 in the hip | 4 comments

You guys don’t want to hear this. I don’t want to type it. But I can see it is going to impact my life for the next little while so I better record it for my posterity’s sake.

Saturday I finally felt good enough to go to a homeschool conference (the one I was supposed to speak at, but cancelled because of my knee injury) and didn’t pass out or even have many episodes of tachycardia. It was amazing to feel so good! Sheri and I had a lovely time and I left feeling renewed and full of ideas to implement into our routine. As we sat at the stop sign ready to leave the parking lot of the conference, we were rear-ended. YES, you read that right, REAR-ENDED.

In our new-to-us car that we got around New Year’s after Richard’s car finally bit the dust completely.

The car is okay.

I am not.

My facial bones ache.

My jaw aches.

My neck aches.

My back aches.

My ribs ache.

My hip aches.

My foot aches.

My head, which never gets headaches, aches.

Ice and therapy and more ice and sleep and more ice have been the tasks for the past several days.

I am not complaining to God, but I am asking Mr. Murphy, “Isn’t it enough that my LCL and meniscus are currently torn? Isn’t it enough that I pass out regularly? Isn’t it enough that my pelvis is so incredibly unstable that someone bumping into me can dislocate my pubic bone and femur? Isn’t it enough? Really?”

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?