Monday, February 28, 2011


March is Endometriosis Awareness month..... Wow! I couldn't believe it when Allie told me that her disease actually has it's own awareness month.

Exciting, and yet, somehow, rather frightening.

I am only beginning to understand the scope of this debilitating disease. I was happy to think that we could just deal with it twice a month when the pain hits, and then forget about it.....

I was wrong.

The more research I do, the more I realize what we are dealing with. In hopes to get help for Allie and to raise awareness for other mothers out there, I am going to really focus on this disease this month on my blog. We plan to order t-shirts and have the girls wear them at school, and Allie is hoping to do an interview at her high school.

Today, to kick off Endometriosis Awareness Month, I am posting some information about the disease itself. I don't know where I'm headed with all of this, but it's on my heart, and I truly believe that God has HIS firm grip on all of this..... we are not alone. Allie has been given this, our family has been given this, for a reason. God is good. We will continue to praise HIM as we march down this path that has been laid at our feet!

~Endometriosis is a painful reproductive and immunological disease in which tissue similar to the uterine lining (endometrium) migrates outside the womb and implants in other areas of the body. The disorder, for which there is no absolute cure, affects nearly 176 million women and girls globally (Adamson et al. J of Endometriosis 2010;2 (IN PRESS). Often stigmatized as simply “killer cramps,” symptoms include painful periods, pelvic pain at any point in a woman or girl's cycle, infertility, pain with sexual activity, gastrointestinal and urinary tract difficulties and much more. The disease can even implant in areas like lungs, diaphragm, and in some cases, the brain. Endometriosis affects women and girls from all walks of life ranging from adolescence to post-menopause, and can be so painful and life-altering as to significantly impair a woman or girl’s ability to care for herself, her family, pursue her career, attend school or social functions, or go about her normal routine.
Moreover, research has shown an elevated risk of certain cancers and autoimmune disorders in those with Endometriosis, as well as malignant changes within the disease itself. Researchers remain unsure as to the definitive cause of Endometriosis, which can only be diagnosed through surgery, though studies indicate that genetics, immune dysfunction and exposure to environmental toxicants may be contributing factors. The economic impact of Endometriosis is staggering: businesses lose, literally, *billions* of dollars each year in lost productivity and work time because of the disease.
Endometriosis is more than just “painful periods.” The disease remains misdiagnosed, misunderstood and ineffectively treated, despite being one of the most prevalent causes of hysterectomy, infertility and pelvic pain in women and girls around the globe. Despite hallmark symptoms, the average delay in diagnosis continues to remain an astounding 9 years, and a patient will seek the counsel of 5 or more physicians before her pain is adequately addressed. It is not unusual for a patient to undergo repeated surgeries and embark on different medical therapies; none offering long-term relief and many carrying highly negative side effects. A growing number of younger women are also being diagnosed annually, with studies indicating that as many as 70% of teenagers with chronic pelvic pain ultimately have Endometriosis as proven by surgery. Studies have also shown that Endometriosis may have an even bigger impact on younger patients: in those under 22 years of age, the rate of recurrence was double that of older women (35% versus 19%). Studies revealed that the disease behaves differently in younger women, leading researchers to believe it may be a different form of Endometriosis altogether.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Did someone forget to remind me to mark a big X on my front door?!

Did I break a mirror or let a black cat cross my path?!

Maybe I stepped on a crack?!

Whatever the case, I wish I had an explanation for all the illness that has literally plagued our family this's unbelievable!

From my 3 rounds with mastitis, to Caleb's ear infection, to Noah's strep throat, to countless, sleepless nights..........

I do realize that being mommy to 8 has it's challenges, but this is ridiculous ;-)

Take today for example.... today we are headed to the doctor's office with not one, not two, but THREE sick kids!

Yep.... T-H-R-E-E

We're quite sure that Emily is sporting yet another sinus infection, although we're quite unsure why the nasal surgery that she had last fall that was supposed to stem the tide of sinus infections isn't working.

And poor Jacob, the one that was cursed with the horrible adenovirus I posted about last week, now seems to have an ear infection stemming from said horrible virus.

Then there's Matthew, who has spent the last week sounding as if he's going to cough up a lung at night. Last night, however, in addition to all the hacking, Matthew started running a fever and came into our room to tell us his ear hurt.

Well, that's the three, but wait....

there's more.

(Isn't there ALWAYS more?)

Lest we not forget Miss Sophie. I'm not sure how many times in the recent past I have made unscheduled visits to the orthodontist for broken wires and missing brackets- today will be no exception.

lost another bracket

And the future looks..... bright?

Well, I suppose it looks bright if you're on the receiving end of all the money that will be paid out for the Gang's recent trips to the doctor!

Because, you see, today is not the last day for the doctor this week.


That would be too easy.

Emily has an appointment on Thursday (at least this one is on my calendar) for her feet. Those darned hammer toes. It seems the 3 surgeries she's already had just weren't enough. The metal plate that is in her foot is hurting, so it's back to the doctor we go.

But that's still not all. She also has to go back to the doctor next week for her poor wrist. She had carpal tunnel surgery, but is still suffering.

And I'm not sure we will ever get on top of Allie's suffering. Her endometriosis is still a constant stress in her life, ever present and seemingly un-ending. She has spent the last several days not able to all. I constantly pray for wisdom as to where to go next for her.

Again I ask.... did someone forget to tell me when the plague passed over my house?!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First newborn photoshoot!

My neighbor had a baby! That meant practice photographing a newborn :D Allie stole the camera, so this is her work, but we quickly found out that photographing a newborn isn't as easy as it may look ;-)








Friday, February 18, 2011

In case you thought I was perfect...

You would not have recognized me yesterday morning.

Ugly.... inside and out.

Ugly on the outside. Hair in a bun. Old gray sweatshirt. Striped pajama bottoms. Deep, sunken eyes with dark circles under them.....


Ugly on the inside. Mad at the kids. Mad at my husband. Mad at my baby. Mad at myself. Mad at the world.....


The day had been so long already. It actually started at 11:30 Thursday night, when we awoke to our oldest son yelling for his dad. His younger brother, Noah, was sick.

That's an understatement.

After an hour of cleaning up piles of vomit from the bed and floor, we shut out the lights.

The vomiting continued, but I was preoccupied with other things. Around 2 am, the baby woke up fussy....and never went back to sleep.

In fact, it wasn't until 10:30 Friday morning that he finally took a decent nap.... on my chest! I wasn't able to move for about an hour as he slumbered.....

that gave me some time to think.

I was mad.

Mad about the fact that I had sick kids for over a week already. I had taken Jacob to the doctor just one week ago and was told he had adenovirus. Poor thing was a mess....

Watery eyes that wouldn't stop running and a nose to match. Not to mention an ear that was on the verge of infection! And then there was my baby that had been up all night, screaming with some sort of pain that I simply couldn't relieve......

And then, then there was Noah. At the time I wasn't sure what was wrong (we now know it's strep), just that he had a high temp and had thrown up more times than I cared to count!

In addition was all the laundry that stemmed from the previous night's bout of sickness. The sheets were waiting for me on the deck outside, still covered in vomit and needing to be washed....

And Matthew, well, he had decided to pour his own chocolate milk.... I'll just leave that one to your imagination.

Then there was Jacob, who is still technically "potty-training," and although he does great with the "potty" part, the "poop" part still leaves something to be desired. Yesterday was no exception, in fact, he seemed to be in "poop mode."

Oh, and I can't forget the fact that I too am on antibiotics for the third time THIS YEAR! Yet another bout of mastitis has plagued me, causing me to question my decision to breastfeed, if only for a brief second.

And besides the sickness that has engulfed our family lately, we recently found out that we get to pay the government taxes this year- in addition to what they've already taken from us. We normally get money back, but not this year. This year we owe over 8K....... but that's another soap box, better left for another post.

And while I was sitting, contemplating these things, baby snoring loudly on my chest, my husband called.

More bad news.... this time it was the car. You know, the car that's paid off and we're supposed to be saving so much money on because we don't have to make payments on it. The one that we've sunk over $7000 into within the last year.... yeah, that one!

We had some sort of leak and had to put it in the shop unexpectedly yesterday. They had called my husband to tell him the damage. For some reason, my husband thought I wanted to be in on the bad news..... not really.

A shot water pump, bad thermostat and rear brakes that were done for.... another $700 down the drain.

Mad. That was me.

Far from grateful.....far from thankful.


I'm reading this new book.

One Thousand Gifts

And my challenge has been laid out for me.

I've been really excited to take the dare that the book placed on my heart. To name one thousand gifts that I've been given. And not just the gifts that you unwrap, but the simple things in life that make you smile.

10. late night talks with teens

18. toothless grins

21. a baby on my hip

26. fingerprints on glass

31. sweet grapes

35. father wrestling with sons on a Saturday morning

Things that we take for granted.

Things that we forget to thank God for.

As I was sitting there, warm sun streaming through the nursery window, I thought about my list, and I realized something.

I had felt so much joy with each thing that I had written down over the last few days, but I didn't REALLY understand.

The idea isn't simply to think of a few things that make you happy and say thanks to God and then go on about your day.

That would be too easy.

The learning comes when you're put to the test. When things don't go your way. When kids throw up and you don't get any sleep and your budget goes south.

That's when feeling thankful REALLY counts.

When you thank your 3 year old for telling you that he pooped, rejoicing in the fact that he told you before trying to clean himself up, smearing poop all over the bathroom in the process :D

When your husband calls to tell you that you ONLY have to pay $700 to have the car fixed, because, it could have been much more and at least you have a car to drive.

When the doctor tells you your child has strep throat and you're thankful that at least it's NOT something more serious like cancer and he will be feeling great again in a few short hours.

When your teens come home late and wake you up to talk to you about their fun adventures and you're thankful they made it home safely to talk your ear off once more.

That's the lesson I'm only beginning to learn.....

on my road to perfect ;-)

Yesterday, I only added two things to my gift list:

37. Grace

38. Forgiveness

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hooked on....

my new favorite moisturizer (because I'm OLD now!)

my new Vera bag (thanks Kate & Bas!)

book I'm reading

Bath & Body Works hand soaps


Greek yogurt

walnuts IN Greek yogurt (with honey)

whitening toothpaste that REALLY works

warm temps

Mac computers

My Droid (how did I ever live without a smartphone?)

workout videos

Netflix.... love it!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Me time...

This is my 723rd post....

my, my.... where have the posts gone ;-)

Anyway, in my last post, I talked about a book that I'm just starting to read. I'm really excited because I only have to read one chapter per week :D I say have to because, for me, reading is a chore. Don't get me wrong, I do love to read, but it's the finding time to read that I can't handle. But because I REALLY want to read this book, I'm hoping I can make time for ONE little chapter a week... even if it means duct-taping all the kids mouths shut and binding them together with rope finding a creative way to steal a few minutes of peace and quiet!

And that, dear friends, is exactly what I did to get my first chapter read. I took my book with me when I picked up Noah & Matthew from school and then headed straight to Sonic for Happy Hour! That's where I ordered each of the boys a half-priced drink, stuck a movie in the car's DVD player, and put a nursing babe to my breast in hopes of buying myself the time I needed to get my first chapter read..... and it worked :D

Yep, I sat there in the Sonic parking lot, drinking my diet vanilla coke, nursing my youngest, and wiping away the blinding tears so I could see the words I was so desperate to read.

Man, does this book have an incredible 1st chapter or what?!

I mean, talk about a book you can't put down.....

It was more than easy to me to forget about where I was and who was with me as I was transported to a farm, far away.... a distant place in a distant past.

And yet, I felt as though I had been there, and my heart ached as I read about the babies that had to be buried.

And although it seemed as though I surely must be reading a work of fiction, I had to keep reminding myself that this.....this was a true story.

~I'm telling you, if you aren't reading this book with Bloom book club..... START! The link is on the right sidebar of my blog.... the book, One Thousand Gifts, is by Ann Voskamp.~

Part of the reason I have a hard time reading is because I get bored.... that's NOT going to be a problem with this book. I could hardly believe it when I looked at the clock in the car as I finished the chapter.... where had the time gone?

And what did I take away from this first chapter? I suppose it's different for everyone, but for me, I realized that I am ALWAYS, ALWAYS looking forward, forgetting to appreciate what's right in front of me... much too concerned with what's next..... what's better than what I already have.

It's not that I'm not grateful for what I've been given- I know how blessed I am. But because I fail to be content with that, I am therefore ungrateful.

"Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave. Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other."

That's me.

*I hope you will join me in reading this book!

Monday, February 7, 2011

One thousand gifts

This is what I'm starting today!

I'm reading it with the Bloom Book Club at (In)Courage.... can't wait to get started!

(If you're interested in the book club, the link is on the right sidebar of my blog!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A family thing

Around here, basketball is a big thing....

Sophie is on the freshman team at her high school, and Josh is currently playing in a rec league. And they take ANY opportunity they have to shoot some hoops!

When we're headed out to go somewhere, I can always be sure that someone will grab a basketball from the garage and take a couple shots..... rain or shine....

And being the big kid that he is, my husband is always in the middle of it all!

And since his older sibs are always playing, it didn't take long before Jacob got hooked! And he's not only hooked, he's actually REALLY good with the ball! At just barely 3 years old, he's catching, throwing and dribbling like a pro :D So, today we decided he should have his own indoor hoop.....

And it looks as though the baby has caught b-ball fever too! And he is more than happy to sit in the middle of all the chaos while he chews on his ball!

The kids spent a good hour taking shots at the new hoop....

I'm just happy they found something to do inside....ya know, in case we get another snow day ;-)

On another note, Allie got something new this week as well!

Turns out she's taking after her dad who ended up with glasses right after he started college! So, instead of wearing those attitude glasses she loves so much, looks like she gets to wear glasses for real now ;-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Losing it...

My will-power that is.....

NOT the weight :/

Nope, that's still here.

And boy is it annoying me.

I hate that I am still having to pick out my clothes based on the way things look on my waist & hips!

And I hate that consoling myself with well, I have carried 8 babies in there is no longer working! I don't care HOW many babies have been in there, I know I can look better than this!

And I hate that I've been exercising regularly since January 2nd, only to gain back the 3lbs that I initially lost (still haven't figured out what's up with that!)!

And I hate that it's seems to be harder than ever to lose weight, no matter how carefully I eat or how much I exercise.... I'm beginning to FEEL my age :-(

While I have taken a couple days off here and there since I started the 30 Day Shred, I really can't explain why I'm not losing ANY weight. The only possibility is that Caleb is now eating more solid food and not nursing as much, so maybe my metabolism has slowed down?!

That doesn't make me feel any better if that's the case.... that just means it's gonna be harder to lose any more weight!

So, I'm not sure where I go from here. I'm trying to stay focused on the fact that bathing suit season is around the corner. I'm trying NOT to beat myself up. I'm trying to not make excuses, but also to accept the fact that I DO have 8 children and I DID just turn 40 :D

I need to lose at LEAST 15lbs, but 20lbs would be better- 15 puts me back to where I started my last pregnancy!

But more than that, I need to like looking in the mirror again. It's funny how, when you don't feel good about your weight, everything else seems to go south as well.... i.e. I never like my hair, don't like the outfits I choose to wear, don't feel motivated to do things, etc.....!

Fortunately, just blogging about it helps my resolve to get back to business and keep my focus on the results....

oh yeah, and to try and enjoy the journey ;-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

9 months and counting...

Here he is....
Growing up way too fast... keepin' up with the rest of the gang ;-)

It's hard to believe, but he's 9 months old now!

He's got lots of skills these days!

Not quite crawling, but he can get anywhere he needs to go ;-)

He rolls, scoots and pushes himself all over the room- if he sees something he wants....

....he goes and gets it!!

And at the end of the day.....

....he's ready for bed :D

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Blizzard of 2011

Knock, knock.....

The Blizzard of 2011 is at our front door ;-) That's how it looked this morning.... now I don't want to open the door anymore for fear that all that snow will fall in!

Currently, we can't drive anywhere- plowing is frivolous. There are no cars on the road.... you can't even see the road.

The problem is not only the snow, although it IS piling up! No, the problem is the wind.....

It's whipping that snow around like crazy!

And these pictures don't do it justice, but you can probably tell that visibility is NOT good!

But what you CAN see sure is beautiful...if you like snow, that is ;-)

It's funny that one area can have no snow on it....

but other areas can be piled 15 inches high! Our back deck is really catching the wind, so the snow is doing strange things!

That's another door I can no longer open :D

My husband decided to shovel the driveway since we have at least 12 inches out there! Some of the little ones followed him out....

We don't own a snowblower- Zack would NEVER spend the money on something like that! Even when we lived in Montana and had snow all winter long....

...he insisted on shoveling!

Matthew didn't last long outside, and I know why.... look at how exposed his skin is! I did NOT get him ready to go out & you can tell! If I had done it, he would have had a scarf, a better hat, and goggles! It's a blizzard out there!

Jacob was a little better prepared, but he didn't last long either! The blowing snow and temps in the low teens don't make ideal conditions for being outside!!

I headed out for a couple of minutes to take pictures, but there was no way I was staying out ;-)

Noah knocked at the front door...

...and someone opened it! Bad idea! A huge pile of snow fell in!!

Since it was a snow day and there was no school, we had no agenda and were able to do some fun stuff! I made chocolate peanut butter bars...

Matthew made a mess....

Sophie & Noah made a rocket....

And Allie made a pinhole camera which she set up in the baby's room! She plans to have a picture by tomorrow. She is using solargraphy to take the picture!

Caleb loved watching the kids outside...

And he was really excited when Allie stood him up by the window and he could put his face on the cold glass...

He was so funny!

And he was having so much fun that I just had to brave the cold once more so I could snap some shots from the outside!!

Well, it's dinner time now. Soup & biscuits are on the menu. And tonight, a movie for the Gang. They can stay up's already been closed for tomorrow ;-)


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