Friday, November 21, 2014

Scornament time with Apronista and Britches & Boots - Holiday Swap

GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?!! Oh yes, my friends! It is not only Friday but the start of our Scarf/Ornament swap! This year I have partnered up with my dear sweet friend Shawnee over at The Apronista Blog She is one incredibly amazing women and I sure hope I get her for MY swap partner!!

Christmas is my favorite holiday. The lights, the chill in the air. Mistletoe hung and stockings stuffed. Seriously bundle me up and call me toasty. I LOVE it!! We will be shutting down the sign ups on 11/30 and you MUST MAIL your package to your partner no later than December 5th. Please do not sign up if you cannot make this happen as it is simply un-jingle bell like, yo!

You can make or you can buy! You can put extra's in your package if you feel like it or you don't have to! I LOVE tinsel and I love wrapping and seriously let's have some fun! SO...who's with us?! Use the hashtag #Scornamentswap2014 to link up your pretty packages, shopping and whatever else!! We would LOVE to see them and get more ideas too!! Don't forget to follow SHAWNEE and MYSELF on Instagram!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Growing up Social - book review and giveaway

Gone are the days of drinking from the hose. Running around getting scraped up knees and dirty toes. Digging in the dirt and making mud pies. Coming home from school and never wanting to come back indoors. Instead, children come home kick off their shoes. Run to the cupboard to grab a snack, jump over the back of the couch. Grab their gaming system all while turning on the television and tuning each other out. Is television all BAD? No. I don't think so...but I have definitely noticed my children are relying on screens more and more. This has to stop.

I was asked to read and review the book by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane called "Growing up social - Raising relational kids in a screen driven world". First off Gary is the author of The 5 Love silly as it sounds I felt like HE was the one to be able to help tackle my little problem. My kids have Leapsters. We limit the amount of time they can use it and we do have a television. I think our problem is too much T.V. I am working harder to have it turned off and let them be "forced" to use their imaginations. Step outside of the "box" and find ways to cure the boredom. This book was eye opening for me. I was relieved that a lot of the recommendations in this book we are ALREADY doing. Can I get a big ol' THANK YOU LORD! 

I want my kids to experience the world around them. I want them to take the time to smell the roses, roll in the mud, splash in the puddles and catch snowflakes on their tongues. I refuse to take distractions with us to the store to "keep them busy". Instead, I want them to feel how heavy a bag of flour is. If it drops on the floor...clean up on isle 2 will come across the speakers and I will urge them to help clean it up. This Summer we will drink from the hoses more, we will lay out in the backyard and look up at the stars and we will take drives with the windows down feeling the breeze between our fingertips.

My children need to learn from me. They need to have conversations and learn that making mistakes is OK. I want them to know that I am there for them. I want to kiss their boo boo's. Scoop them up and laugh with them. They need to know that they are more important than all the distractions. I loved this book. I think it shows insight into my own life. I have been trying to put down the cell phone more. Be present and be there. your turn to read and take notes! YOU get a chance to win a copy of Growing up Social! You must be a U.S. or Canada resident to win. Winner will be drawn on Friday November 21st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, November 7, 2014

Manic Drive - review and giveaway

You can guarantee when I got asked to listen and review the NEW Manic Drive CD I jumped all over it! This Christian rock band is made up of 2 brothers and a friend. Originally from Toronto, Canada...they will be taking the U.S. by storm! I am guessing we will be hearing a seeing a lot more of them! Haven't heard of them? I hadn't either! But now you will!

A band that is intentional. They are driven and passionate about their walk with Christ. All are in their mid-twenties and have made sacrifices to pursue God's calling. They are goofy, good looking, and fun! Their old stuff is a lot more rock and their new makes you wanna dance!

Awesome news loves, you get to win one of your own!! I am SO excited for you! The CD released on October 14th but no worries we got you covered!

So?! What do you think?! You excited now?!! OK OK! Here is how it works! You MUST be a US or Canadian resident to enter. Winner will be drawn on eleven eleven two thousand fourteen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Just call me sushi...

No matter how hard I tried...I could have never guessed what it would feel like to experience a hysterectomy, until it actually happened of course. I did my research, darn it. I talked to others who have walked this path. For goodness sake, I have had 4 c-sections. I figured by all means, I have GOT this. Boy, was I wrong. You can call me Sushi. I feel like a gutted raw fish.

Leading up to surgery I was preparing myself mentally but truly had no way of preparing for it physically. My dear friends threw me a Happy Hysto party where we sat and ate awesome food. Gorged on delicious fatty desserts and partook in yummy Berry Martini's. We dressed up, laughed till we cried and celebrated the pending disappearance of my baby house. Bye bye, baby house. You were great while you lasted. But now it is your time to vamoose. Skidaddle and scoot. Lord knows I will never forget the fond memories we shared, but I can no longer deal with your pain. My friends gave me cards that made me laugh and some that made me cry. Gifts to get me through the upcoming weeks of modified bed rest in the form of devotions, journaling bible, books, magazines, chocolate, movies and even comfies to wear.

Even my coffee girls were helping me to mentally prepare. My heart however had started the mourning process. I was starting to worry about silly things like, should I write final letters to my family and friends, letting them know how much I love them? Would I make it through the surgery or would I be one of those that go into cardiac arrest on the table and my AMAZING doctor would then have to walk out like in a Grey's Anatomy episode and say "Mr. Rust...we need to talk to you about your wife's surgery." YES...those thoughts TRULY went through my mind. The days leading up to my surgery I busied myself...more than I usually do! I redid walls in my living room. Finished decorating projects I had in limbo. Filled in holes and repainted spots through out my home. OH...the craziest part. The day before my surgery, I busted out my palm sander for the very first time and went to town on my vanity in the main bathroom. Which I then painted white! Yup...I am a looney. But I got the job done. I kept myself busy and I was much happier that I did it!

Day before surgery it was recommended that I take Pepcid, drink Miralax, extra water and limit the amount of solids I took in. Let's just say...DO NOT...I repeat. Do NOT, leave your house! Stay home! Just, trust me on this one!

Morning of surgery, my mom arrived. She stayed with my baby. We took the big kids to school like we normally would. Teachers prayed with me as I left my middle daughters school...and then we went to the hospital. I had an AMAZING nurse. She got the IV on the first try and it didn't even hurt. They ask you a million and one questions and before you know it you're meeting with the anesthesiologist and your doc comes in to say we will head in soon. We had some good friends and pastors come from church and we prayed. Throughout the entire morning I stayed oddly...calm. NO panic attacks. Just completely content and OK about the whole thing. Days leading up to then I was NOT that way!

When I woke up in the recovery room I was in a lot of pain. The nurse gave me a shot of insulin and said they had to give me "medical amnesia" when I first woke up. I apparently, was panicked and frantic when I woke up the first time (I do not remember this AT all!) but when I woke up from the "medical amnesia" I was happy, content and in shock that I had reacted and was flipping out! Because of the "freakout" my blood sugar shifted UP. The had to bring the sugar in my blood down so that my body would be able to properly heal.

I had to have oxygen while I laid in my room. I kept setting off the alarms as my breathing coming out of the anesthesia was shallow. That was pretty scary. My tummy was bandaged and all I knew is I was in a ton of pain. I am one of the lucky few that pushes meds out of my system super fast. Because of this pain meds when you are in excruciating pain...don't do much. Each time a nurse came in they noticed my Jamberry's and asked me questions about them! You can bet I handed samples and catalogs out!

I had 4 incisions. One in my belly button (my belly button is now different!), one on each side and about a 2" incision over my previous c-section scar. I had a severe allergic reaction to the although I came home regular. I woke up the next day with this: got worse the next day. They prescribed me special anti-itch pills to help. Now 2 weeks later the incisions are looking much better. The rash is almost gone (the large hives are still there) and the bloating is going down...slowly.

One thing to be aware of. They fill your abdomen with gas. They try very hard to get as much of it out as possible, but it's impossible as the gas is like air and rises as you elevate. You will have sore shoulders, neck and head for a day or 2 after while the gas works its way out. My recommendation is to get FLAT it will make it shift back down. Take Gas-x (it helps!) and drink lots of fluids.

It is NOT easy to keep me down. Even after a c-section. This has brought me DOWN. Like, imobile. Lots of pain, a whole lotta sleeping and I have spent the last 2 weeks on the couch. The first week I really felt no change from day 1. Now that I am hitting the 2 week mark, I am slowly feeling human again. I put makeup on today. That made me feel good about myself! Pants hurt. Even the comfy sweats I bought ahead of time ON purpose. So I pretty much live in my ugly gaucho pants. I have everything I need at a fingers reach (including a side table for my bevs, snacks etc!) and I am IN love with my flax seed heat pack that I heat at 2 minutes and 15 seconds which is the perfect temperature to lay over my sore abdomen. Sleeping is getting easier at night. During the day pillow under my knees and partially flat feels best. Sitting upright too much is exhausting. But at night, side with a pillow slightly propped against the "owies" is most comfortable.

We have had the most incredible support from family and friends. Meals, some days lunch AND dinner. Snack deliveries, flowers, treats and items to busy the babes who have brought my hubby to the "crazy stage" he can come home and find ME in some days.

Not being able to lift my 19 month old for 3 weeks has been so hard. The first few days she cried and the tears streaming down her face as she reached out for me NOT understanding WHY mommy wouldn't lift her, carry her or hold her were enough to break your heart. She has gotten better and slides up to see me...but I feel like she resents me not being able to snuggle her. I miss her a lot. My 4 year old has been on of the easiest. She snuggles me a ton and spends a lot of time on the couch with me. My 6 year old has found the last two weeks a great time to act out and do every single naughty thing he can as a way of rebelling against us. Something completely out of the norm for him. My oldest who is 7 1/2 has been emotional. She is very helpful at times, but she has been very emotional since my surgery.

I will say...have help. AS MUCH of it as you possibly can. Talk to your kids, letting them know how they can help. Have items to keep them busy. Prepare snacks etc beforehand (stocking up your snacks and beverages!). Be prepared in knowing your home will not run the way it does when you are up and active. My home WAS clean...and now. Well. The litter box needs dumped, the floors are not vacuumed as often as I like and I haven't seen my countertops since the day I came home from the hospital. My laundry is heaping, my couch pillows are rarely ON the couch and chores have been "forgotten" about. My children some days, go to school with their hair NOT brushed. But their teeth are! Today my 4 year old looked like a scrub, but as she said "I comfy today mommy". Just like the tee shirt I am wearing today says...or the Frozen song. LET IT GO. It will all be there waiting for you...when you're finally healed.

The books I planned on reading. I didn't. The posts I planned on typing, didn't happen. The thank you cards that I had planned on finishing...haven't EVEN begun to start them. Relax. Be still and recover.

When your friend offers to bring you coffee...let them. BE STILL. But I will also add in, if a friend of yours is down for the count...visit. The first week for my extrovert self...although I was HEAVILY medicated and in all kinds of pain was lonely. I missed out on trick or treating with my family, yet saw all the fun pictures of my friends TOGETHER having fun. Was hard. Yes, the patient needs to recover, but stop in for a quick hug and hello! Trust me, it will mean the world to them.

As my scars start to form and the healing as begun I am thankful to my family and my friends. My husband stepped up. The doctor told him I HAD to be down (their words to us were she needs to "wear a tiara and ring a bell"!) you are not to bend over (trust me DON'T!). DO NOT eat popcorn (made that mistake and the kernel that got stuck in my throat made me cough and cover...OH boy! OUCH!) Be careful when laughing (for comedies!) and say yes to ALL that ask if they can help. I have a hard time with this part and I wouldn't have made it without them! I have a few more days of being down. But tomorrow starts the week of venturing UP. I still am unable to pick up my baby for another week...but...I made it!! I DID IT!! Although the pain is still here, I see the light glimmering at the end of the tunnel!

Remember this is major surgery. I had someone tell me it's routine. My doctors, nurses, medical staff at the hospital and mother in love who also is a recovery nurse all said "You had MAJOR surgery". When your abdomen is cut open and an organ is removed it will take a long time to be back to normal. The bloating will fade, the incisions will heal...and expect at least 3 months for the fatigue to stay. Take it easy on yourself and just breath. God's got this.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hardest Peace - review and giveaway

First off, Kara...I pray you forgive me for hijacking your photo! I felt my readers needed to "meet" you! Kara Tippetts is a child of God. She is a wife to the love of her life, Jason. A man she met shortly after she fell in deep with Jesus. He is her rugged-backpacking-"Colorado"-man. She is also the mama to 4 blessings. Oh. And she is fighting the evil C word. You can meet her on Instagram, follow her on Twitter and you really should go stalk her blog.

When I was asked to read and review Kara's book. I knew it was going to hit home. In fact, I will be honest. My dearest friend tried to talk me out of it. She even offered to read/review for me. She was worried about my heart with all that is going on in my life medically. I felt like God was drawing my heart to Kara though. On the surface our similarities are one in the same...except that Kara. She is fighting for her life. While she fights she finds her strength and her peace in the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Her faith never waivers and she is teaching her children to live and love with grace and integrity. She is showing the world how precious our moments are. And that through it all...we cannot do this journey alone. We must remain in focus on on our heavenly father.

I struggle to find words to even be able to properly touch on Kara's book The Hardest Peace. Her book left me speechless, in the most positive way possible. In her struggles, she is still taking the time to draw others to Jesus and therefore living out our greatest purpose on this earth. She is finding heaven on earth. I really do not want to give away too much, as you should read for yourself. Instead, Kara...if your reading this. Here is a song a friend sent me as I maneuver and it has been my anthem. I pray you find strength in it. God bless you and I believe in miracles.

Now for a giveaway...seriously. You will WANT to read this book. I am super excited to get to share one with you. You must be a US or Canada resident to enter. Giveaway will be on October 22nd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

So...this is really happening.

I will never again hold life within me. I will never feel the movement of a tiny being punching, kicking or fluttering about within. The next time I breath in the fresh scent of a newborn baby will be when I celebrate the joys of my friends. The next time I fall asleep with tiny portions of me resting so peacefully upon my when my children decide to welcome preciousness into the world.

The last month I have been processing. ANAL-yzing every thought. Pain. Moment. Yes, I said I was done after Olivia Joy was born...but this is big time. There is no going back after this. I am sad. I am heartbroken and I am also looking forward to the days ahead.

We received the letter from our insurance a few weeks back confirming that in fact I have been approved for my hysterectomy. That it has been deemed medically necessary. By 2 doctors and a table full of people who have reviewed my medical history. That should be "confirming" enough for me right? Well duh, of course it's not! I mean...I am about to lose my baby house. A part of me that housed the most precious gifts I have ever received. A part of me that I wrapped my arms tightly around as we grieved the loss of babies. A part of me that we delicately listened in on as they formed life that I get to watch grow everyday. I often times I REALLY need this? What if I am faking it. Am I faking it? I mean come on now. Is this REALLY necessary? Seems sorta drastic if you ask me.

Some days I wake up and the pain is bearable. I can handle this and I move forward with a smile on my face ready to forge through the day. Other days it's so bad I feel like a sumo wrestler is living within the realms of my abdomen. You know the pains you get when you have to go #2 like REAL bad?! Come on...everyone poops. Don't be shy. That intense "make your eyes water I think I am going to puke" what it feels like majority of the time. Some mornings I wake up feeling so incredibly nauseous I question the possibility I could be pregnant and then LAUGH cause I know damn well that is not possible.

There are days where it takes everything I have to move OFF the couch and wear clothing that doesn't include stretch. I have projects 1/2 finished and no energy to actually complete them. My house is a wreck. I couldn't tell you the last time I truly scrubbed anything and I am nervous that even AFTER the surgery...I won't feel any different. I suffer from headaches more than a few times a week. This has come on in the last month since the increase in pain. And you are a special person if you get to see me with my hair NOT in a pony tail.

Here is a picture of Endo and Adeno. A lot of people ask if its the same. Similar but very different. Endo has the option of removal. Adenomyosis as you can see is WITHIN the tissues of the you see the right picture is svelte and skinny. And what I have my uterine walls are thick and the yuck is filled within the tissues. Making it impossible to be removed. The only way to fix it...hysterectomy. At first we were talking about the option of a Mirena or something along those lines. But with me my pain is not isolated to 1x a month. Because of this it will do nothing for me. I will be in more pain having it inserted than anything. The only cure is to fully remove the baby house.

My surgery is scheduled for October 23rd. My doctor told me I will be down for 2 weeks and recovery will be about 6-8. I was also told to be prepared for constant fatigue for at least the next 3 months. After I had Olivia they told me 3 months of fatigue for my blood ended up being 6. This is one thing I am not looking forward to.

I get many people telling me their stories. Some are good and some are downright scary. Each person is different and recovery will vary from person to person. But this is one of the most common surgeries to date. I am scared. I am nervous about the recovery and I am terrified of anesthesia. I mean I have to get a stupid I.V. and I am terrified of needles! Lord be with us all!

When it comes to dealing with all "this". I am so thankful for those around me. They know I am in pain even when I don't "act" like it. They are supportive and if I were to ask for help I know they would jump at it. My community is incredible and I truly do not know what I would do without them. I even met someone who will be going through surgery in January who oddly enough lives across the river from us in Vancouver. It's wonderful to know you are not alone. As rare as this disease is. It's comforting.

I was telling a friend the other day how I find it funny that I can pray for others, no problem. I pray over my children and will pray over or with a stranger. But when it comes down to ME...I struggle. As though I am not worthy enough. I am at a loss for words. I don't even know where to begin. I am thankful our God knows our innermost thoughts. I find peace in knowing that.

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's about to get personal...

This is a "birth" announcement like no other. Meaning there is no announcement of joy and bliss...but I am weaving my way through uncharted waters. Filled with emotion, gratitude, uncertainty and pain. Since having Olivia Joy I have dealt with health issues as you know. If you are a new reader you can read Olivia's story HERE. The anxiety from nearly dying haunts me. I knew that there was something more wrong. But just didn't know what it was.

Since my monthly friend came back I have been dealing with extremely heavy periods. Like heavier than I ever have before. I also started passing clots again. But not "normal" sized, more like golf balls. My pain level for most of the month is intense. Which I have learned to hide pretty well. And my stomach bulges out for about 2-3 weeks out of the month as though I am expecting.

Inside of me my body is fighting a war. A battle in which my uterus is losing. The home for which I housed each and every one of my children. Some till they took their first breath and others till they reached the loving arms of our savior. The war is called Adenomyosis. It's exhausting. Painful and rare. Come to find out it is also hereditary. And I just found out my Aunt had it as well. The only way to fully win is by removing the uterus through a partial laparoscopic hysterectomy.

The pain is so intense it will keep you up at night. I find myself irritable, anxious and extremely fatigued. These feelings intensify with each passing week. I am glad to know the culprit of the pain. But scared as I fight it as well. I know that is not of God, to be fearful. I know that in this very moment I need to put my trust and my faith fully in Him. But I will not deny myself of admitting that I am scared. I am scared for the what if's that take over your life knowing you have the choice to live with the intense pain that will only worsen and is already affecting your lifestyle. But also scared of the what if this or that happens if we do the surgery.

I am in mourning. For what was and for what will never happen again. I am blessed beyond measure. I know that each and every one of the squishy faces that kiss me each night are miracles. Wishes that I made into the heavens that were shouted amongst the angels through prayer and through worship. Reciprocated through the first sounds of the ones I love the most.

I am grieving. I am fighting and I plan on winning. This battle will not consume me. It will not dull or tarnish my surface. The scars will heal over time and I pray that my story will work in a way to minister to someone else.

This story is to be continued. But in the meantime I am asking for your prayers.
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