On healing – one week out

***If you’re grossed out by incisions, don’t look at the photos. Or just skip this post. They’re not bad, but just a heads up.***

This past Friday, I had surgery on my ankle.

Surgery was a little different than we had expected – some things that were expected to be done were not done, some other things that were not expected to be done were done. I have an extra scar: two on the outside of my ankle, one on the inside of my ankle. More than expected.

But let me back up.

Friday morning we had to be at the hospital by 6:15. AM. Yes, I asked to clarify that when they told me the arrival time. Thursday night we had met my mother halfway between their house and ours – and she took munchkin back to their house, to watch him for the first weekend after surgery. It was a huge weight off of our shoulders. Friday we were up and out early – up at 445, out by 530. We’re not morning people, so it was impressive. We got to the hospital, and they said I was up first. They brought me back to the holding room, where I changed into the fashionable johnny and waited for what was next. They filled me in on the details – they were going to put in an IV for general anesthesia, but in addition to that, they were going to put in a nerve block – numb me below the knee along the nerve line. In addition to extra comfort immediately following surgery, the catheter for the nerve block would stay in for a couple days, giving me up to two to three days more of a numb leg. I was all for it.

I woke up after surgery, still a bit out of it, to find my leg looking like this:

My leg, post surgery, with catheter above the knee.

My leg, post surgery, with catheter above the knee.

I had no idea what had happened. I had no idea what was going on. I was very out of it. After a couple hours (I think? I was out of it!) of coming out of the anesthesia and getting used to the bulk of my leg – leg wrapped in gauze, topped with a splint, topped with more gauze, only to be topped with an ace wrap – we were released to go back home. In that couple hours, I have little memory of any conversations that I had or anything I was told. All I knew was that the parts of my ankle that needed to be repaired were in fact fixed, and there were no issues during surgery. That’s all that I needed to know.

One thing that I remember clearly is sticking with me, as it refers back to my previous concerns about this fixing it, but only temporarily – by fixing the extra thing that was found when the doctor opened up my ankle, he has reduced the chances of this happening again. And from what he said, the chances of it happening again were reduced significantly. It’s a huge sigh of relief there. Now I just have to make sure that it holds true.

After a weekend of recuperating, taking my painkillers every 4.5-5 hours, sleeping, and watching movies, my sister (the youngest of the four of us) and munchkin came home. I was so happy to see him. I got in a couple quick snuggles and he went to bed. Shortly after, sister C and I went to sleep as well. Monday munchkin went to school and J went to work; sister C and I watched movies (a really bad one that we only made it 20 minutes of the way through, and then two good ones), chatted, and just hung out. It was really relaxing, and was great to hang out with her. We don’t do it often enough.

Tuesday morning I had my followup with the doctor, and they had told me I would be getting a hard cast, though I had no idea if the difference in surgeries would be changing things, changing the plan. We went in, and they took off the wrap and the gauze, and I got my first good look at the incisions and the state of my ankle. I was excited to see it. A little swelling, which was to be expected – a lot of orange, from the iodine/betadine/whatever they used to keep my leg/ankle sterile – and three incisions, instead of just two.

Where they cleaned out the junk - arthroscopic entry.

Where they cleaned out the junk – arthroscopic entry.

Not too bad, but you can see I don’t have much of an ankle, due to the swelling.

The main incisions. Where everything else happened.

The main incisions. Where everything else happened.

They fixed the tendons and removed part of the muscle, which was causing most of the issues.

An overview - the yellow is antibiotic strips. Note the lack of an ankle.

An overview – the yellow is antibiotic strips. Note the lack of an ankle.

After the surprise at realizing I was only 4 days out from surgery because of how good my ankle looks, they stated that it’s obvious I’m staying off of my foot (duh) and following the doc’s orders to elevate (also duh). Seriously… why would anyone NOT follow directions to sit on one’s behind all day and just let the joint heal??? It’s the only smart thing to do, if I want my ankle to work correctly soon. So yeah. It all looked great, and I’m happy to hear that.

Once the poking and prodding was finished, they got me ready to put the cast on.

Note the angle my ankle was at. That was the angle I had been put at after surgery, and I hadn’t moved it. Not a smidge.

Then came the fun part. I had to get my ankle bent to 90* and turned slightly out. Turns out, it wouldn’t move much. I did what I could, but then the medical assistant had to finish it up. It hurt a bit – felt like I was trying to move my ankle through piles of sludge. Thick, concrete-y sludge.

Finally, we got my ankle where it needed to be, and it was casted up. I got blue. It was the only option. But blue is good.

Note the perty blue cast. And my orange toes.

Note the perty blue cast. And my orange toes.

This cast will be on for 2 weeks, and then it will be removed and I’ll be put back into a splint for another 3 weeks.

We took a detour on the way home for the best hot dogs in Maine – Flo’s. Yum. Luckily it wasn’t much of a detour, because I was in pain – we had to drive by it anyway.

That night, my in-laws came over with our nephew so that the boys could play together. Both boys were a bit put-off by the cast, but I think they were able to get over it when they autographed and colored it. They enjoyed that for sure.

autographed cast - lovely artwork!

autographed cast – lovely artwork!

I’m in the cast for two weeks, then back into a splint that will be able to be removed, at which point I will start physical therapy to get my range of motion back – currently, I have virtually zero. It was tough to be able to get my ankle bent to 90*, so I can’t imagine how it’s going to be after 2 more weeks of not being able to move my ankle at all. It’s frozen at this angle pretty well. But since this is the angle that the doc says will help me heal the best, so that’s what I’m doing.

I’m still going to have to stay off of it for the entire time I’m on the cast and in the splint, which will be a total of about 6 weeks. For that time, I need to use crutches. Another concern that I had had was the use of the crutches; last time I had surgery (3.5 years ago) I was 60lbs heavier, and couldn’t support my weight on the crutches. My shoulders couldn’t bear my weight. It was frustrating, it was obnoxious, it was annoying, and seriously – it was demoralizing. It was the heaviest I had ever been, and it was a daily reminder of my failings. Anyway. I have been using the crutches for a week – with absolutely no issues. No problems with my shoulders. No problems with my hands, or with my wrists. No issues climbing the stairs (backwards on my butt) –  last time, my shoulders dislocated. This time, nothing. It’s still early, I understand that – but after a week of absolutely no problems, I’m thrilled. And knocking on wood.

We have had a ton of help since I had surgery, and from the sounds of it, the extra help is going to continue. It’s amazing how awesome people have been. It’s awesome how much help we’ve had. People are amazing.

So far, so good. So far, no problems. So far, provided I keep up with the painkillers, I’m relatively pain-free. It’s good. It’s freeing. It’s a relief – and it’s motivating. I think that these last few pounds – once I can actually work out again, biking and walking – will be coming off sooner rather than later. And my ankle is healing. The turning won’t happen as frequently. It will be better. And it’s great.


Do all therapists laugh at their patients’ problems?

I wrote last time about my debilitating anxiety. About a week ago, I woke up from a horrid nightmare. I woke up just before I was murdered. I couldn’t think about it. I couldn’t not think about it. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I woke up my husband, and just tried to stop thinking about it. I didn’t want to talk about it, but needed to talk, so my mind would stop going there. It’s still there in my head. I can still remember it. It’s terrifying.

I’ve always had very vivid dreams. I don’t know why, but I don’t always like it. Sometimes  when they’re good dreams, I don’t mind them; this time, it sucked. I was trying to hide. I was trying to run. I couldn’t do either. I woke up just before I was caught and murdered. Even in my dream I knew what was coming.

I have also always had issues with friends, and with adjusting to new places. When I was in college, I started seeing a therapist – psychologist – something. Whatever you want to call her. She worked for the school, and Liz was going to help me. I hoped. After seeing her a few times and telling her all the things I was concerned about, what bothered me, the things that I was dealing with, and EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. having her laugh while she was talking to me, I couldn’t deal with it. I was seeing her because I needed help working through my issues. Laughing at me while I was telling her how much things hurt didn’t help me. It hurt me more. So I stopped going.

Fast forward a couple years – college is done, I am living in Dover with my now-husband. I started back seeing someone for the anxiety again, and ended up seeing two different people – and was thoroughly insulted by one, and laughed at by the other. Do all therapists laugh when their patients are telling them their biggest fears, their concerns, worries, problems? It was happening again, and I was mortified. Maybe it was me. Maybe it IS me. Maybe I’m just more concerned than I need to be with the issues I THINK I have.

Then there was the one that asked if I was suicidal – and proceeded to answer her own question – as she laughed. “No, you’re too afraid of death – hahahahaha – you’d never kill yourself. Hahahahaha.” I never answered her question – it didn’t matter to her that I’ve never been suicidal. She didn’t even let me answer her.

So though I’m having trouble getting past my fear of death and dying without professional help, I’m terrified to start seeing a therapist for fear of their reactions. I don’t like that I can’t trust someone I’m supposed to – especially with something as fragile as my fears. I would love to be able to find that help I could definitely use. It has been 4 years or so since I last talked to a professional, and though I think it’s time to do it again, I’m worried that a) I’m going to be laughed at again, and b) it’s not going to be worth it. Maybe once I get the ankle under control I’ll venture back in that direction.

Have you ever had someone you trusted laugh in your face when you were spilling your guts to them?

Sometimes I just want to pray… does it matter if it’s to the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately (really the last year or so) about what happens after we die. I want it to be something, but I don’t know for sure, of course. I’m still here. I can’t tell you. All those people that supposedly know could be totally full of shit. They could be telling what they think is true, but is more of a dream. Or they could know for sure. Nobody can prove it, and if someone has the opportunity to prove it, well, they can’t really prove it anymore… they’re dead.


I’ve always been terrified of death and dying; it’s something that is always in the back of my mind, and it just gets worse as I get older… as I get closer to death. Most people don’t think about it; it’s inevitable, we are all going to die someday. Most people, by the time they are in early adolescence or so (or at least this is how society – i.e. how I – see the world, right or wrong. Isn’t everything about perception, rather than reality???) realize that death is so far down the road that it’s nothing to worry about, until it is something to worry about.

But I’m not most people. I never outgrew the terrified-of-death phase. My fear is paralyzing; it’s neurotic and all-encompassing. It keeps me up at night. Because it keeps me up at night, it also keeps my husband up at night, because when my mind goes into overdrive, I need to wake him up to help me keep my mind off of the fact that I will in fact die someday. If I don’t, I head into a full-fledged anxiety attack, and well, we both know what happened last time I had one of those.*

*An anxiety attack at work led to my first-ever (and only-ever) ambulance ride; it’s kind of a blur, because I became unresponsive and slid out of my chair onto the floor, and was starting to turn blue. Not good. But once in the ambulance, things started to come back to me – I became more responsive the further we got from my workplace, and that’s when I knew I had to get out.

I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about dying ever since I realized how much it takes over my life. When I was a kid, it would take me multiple hours to fall asleep because my mind just wouldn’t shut off. I would overthink things, and would actually have dreams (not good ones) while I was half-asleep about waking up in the morning and finding a mostly-dead house: everyone (except for me) would have been killed overnight.

I think it has something to do with a) my overactive imagination; b) now having Munchkin around; c) not knowing what to believe.

And there’s the crux of it: not knowing what to believe.

I was raised Catholic: baptized before I was a year old; first Communion in second grade; first Confession in third grade; Confirmation sophomore year of high school. All I did without any sort of arguing, except for Confirmation. I didn’t want to do it; I didn’t want to be forced to, either. I didn’t know what I wanted; I was only 16. I was naïve and, honestly, still a bit of a child. I wasn’t ready to pledge my life to the Catholic Church.

But as much of a protest as I put up, I did it.** And later that year, I joined a Baptist Youth Group with my two best friends. I became completely embroiled in everything with this group: I stopped listening to anything other than religious, Contemporary Christian music; I started going to the Youth Group meetings weekly, using my new-found freedom (aka my driver license) to keep me with like-minded people. I started reading books that had extremely Christian themes, and stopped reading anything that didn’t.*** I stopped caring about anyone outside of my circle, and it showed. I was an awful person to my family, to the people that had been my friends, and it wasn’t fair to anyone. I was a total bitch, and everyone knew it (except me).

**I do NOT blame my parents – if I had put up enough of a protest (which I obviously did not do enough of), they would have let me choose. At 16, I was painfully shy, and couldn’t speak up for myself. I couldn’t make an argument without losing my cool and crying my eyes out. It was pathetic.

***For anyone that knows how much I read, this was huge. I read rather quickly, to the point of at least a book a week, sometimes more. To push aside all of my favorite authors so that I could keep with only the Christian authors is laughable, because in addition to the sheer quantity that I would need to keep up, the cost of books (even back then) was more than an avid reader such as I could handle.

I had been on many trips with the group, had been “saved,” and had become totally enamored with this religion. It was my life. I was one of them. We spent our meetings singing songs and reading from the bible. We were model Baptists; I was a model Christian. I was so caught up in the brainwashing of the group that I didn’t see what an awful person I had become.

Then one day at a youth group meeting one of the girls was nowhere to be found. We all went our separate ways to see where she could have run off to – it was a relatively small house – and one of the leaders (male) and another youth (female) both ended up outside together to look for the girl. When I found out they had both been “talked to,” I thought it was silly, but didn’t think all too much of it. Not too long later, a few weeks maybe, I was talking with someone about a boy I liked. I was informed that if I started dating the boy, we would have to have weekly “meetings” to discuss our “relationship” to make sure we weren’t getting ahead of ourselves. And kissing was not a good idea. Oh, and by the way, we should never be alone… ALWAYS have a chaperon.

I wasn’t okay with that.

After hearing all that, and thinking back on all the ways I had been subtly told that my family wasn’t as good as I was because they weren’t “saved” (apparently their god wasn’t as good as my god, and they were all going to hell because of it), I had had enough. I got out.

That experience changed me. I went back to the Catholic Church, but wasn’t completely convinced.

After a year and a half of college (at a state school that was very accepting of any and all people), I spent a semester in France. There I decided that I wanted to start going to church again. Also while there I decided that I wanted to change schools – my current didn’t have the major I wanted – so I decided that I would go to a Catholic College. I had previously applied (and been accepted) when doing the initial search for colleges, but because I had ONLY applied to that one school, decided (on graduation day) that I wanted to see if I could get in anywhere else – and went to the only other school I applied to.

I was required to take two religion classes at the Catholic College. The first was perfect: it was an introduction to religion, which was more historical than anything else. It was a great course, and I learned a lot without feeling pressured to take any stances on any religion at all. The second was as far from the first as it could get: The Gospels. In addition, the professor had written and published a book, and it became part of the required reading. We read and dissected all four gospels, and in doing so, ruined Catholicism and all belief for me. There were too many contradictions for me to believe the bible. There were too many inconsistencies, too many horrible acts that took place for me to believe that any of it could be real. There was just no way.

For me, in that moment, the bible became a work of fiction.

There’s no way that the world is only 6000 years old. It’s millions of years old, and there’s no way that anyone could convince me otherwise. Dinosaurs walked the Earth. There was life on Earth millions of years ago. It wasn’t all created within the past 10,000 years – that is impossible.

Religion has become something that people hold over others’ heads. Religion has become something that people judge others by, regardless of what they say. With all of the scandals in the news over the past decade, religion has become a naughty word – for some. Others flaunt it like they hold the keys to the kingdom.

It makes me uncomfortable.

I no longer believe in god. I no longer believe in God. I don’t believe in heaven or hell, or life after death.

And that terrifies me. Because if there’s nothing after, I just don’t know. It’s times like this that I wish I knew what happened after… if it all starts over again as someone else, if there is a heaven, or if it just all… ends…

Despite my disbelief in God, I listened to a lot of the coverage after the white smoke was sent into the sky in Vatican City, signaling that a new Pope had new elected. I hope that this newly-elected man takes on the job with as much grace and honestly as I am naïve enough to hope he will; despite my knowing better, I am hoping that this new Pope makes the changes required to bring an institution to a less-laughable status. Stop the reasons behind the jokes and the jokes will stop. Enough with the persecution and equalities. Prosecute the people responsible for assaulting children, and stop covering it up and making excuses. Make the people that cause the problems responsible for their actions. Nobody should be exempt.

Life is a funny thing… we never know the reason, but live life nonetheless. Our choices mold us into the person we become and the person we are shapes the lives of others. We need to live honestly, regardless of our beliefs.

What is one step you have taken in the right direction to living life to its fullest?

How not to hurt yourself: a guide

It was late November or early December of this past year, and I was at work chatting at a friend’s desk. Chatting, standing, just like normal. My ankle turned, I cursed, and just continued on with my day. It hurt, yes, but it was nothing out of the ordinary; because of my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobility) (EDS), it happens often. I’m used to it by now. Fast-forward a few days, and my ankle is still bothering me (again, normal) but it’s more painful than normal. I purchased an ankle brace, and it seemed to help a bit. Fast-forward another few weeks or so. Ankle was feeling decent, and I was tired of wearing the brace, so I stopped. No issues.

Then the pain started. Again. With a vengeance. I can’t remember doing anything, so I’m going with re-irritation of the initial injury. Not impressed. Saw the doc, she suggested physical therapy and a RICE regimen. I asked if I should be in a walking boot, and she said it wasn’t worth the expense. I told  her I had one in the car – I already own one (from a past injury). She said absolutely, since I already have it – it was worth wearing it. We scheduled a follow-up for 4 weeks out, then went to schedule physical therapy. I started wearing the boot.

That was January 25.

I had one physical therapy appointment, but because of the inflammation in my ankle we couldn’t do anything. It was a rather expensive icing session, and the physical therapist, who I have been seeing off and on for about 6 years, suggested I get a prescription for Prednisone to knock out some of the inflammation and pain. It did nothing.

Just a week later I’m in so much pain after running an errand that I’m in tears. It’s my right ankle, and though I have an hour commute, I had been driving in to work – not wearing the boot to drive, but putting it on when I get to work and then wearing it all day. That day when I ran out I was in and out of the stores quickly, but the pain was intense. When I got back to work, I called to schedule an appointment with the doc again; I was able to get in the next day. Doc recommended an MRI, which after much back-and-forth was scheduled for less than a week later, with the follow-up with a podiatrist almost two weeks after the MRI. Additionally, she suggested I stop driving; with the ability to work from home, I’m happy with the option to rest my ankle and not spend a fortune on gas for a couple weeks.

MRI went fine – I requested that the MRI report was sent to both the doctor’s office (standard) and directly to me, so that I could see what the issue was – see if I was imagining things as I was beginning to believe – and really get an idea of how badly I had injured myself. I received the report the Monday following the MRI (which was on a Thursday), and it stated that I had some swelling, and something called Sinus Tarsi Syndrome. I did my research, and it essentially said that I had simply turned my ankle one time too many. With such a report, I was comfortable with it – it would likely require an injection of some sort of corticosteroid, and I could mosey on my way.

I wish it had been that easy.

What the actual outcome is is so much more than Sinus Tarsi Syndrome – I actually ruptured two tendons – the Peroneus Longus and the Peroneus Brevis – and tore a ligament. There’s also some sort of debris in the front of my ankle – the doctor doesn’t know if it is bone fragments or scar tissue or fatty tissue (he equated it to chicken fat) – that will need to be cleaned out. So it will be a process. It will be a combination of arthroscopic (for the front) and open (for the tendon/ligament repair) surgery, so it will be rather extensive. I’m not looking forward to it. At all. I’m actually quite terrified.

The first three weeks after surgery I will be in a plaster cast, unable to weight-bear, unable to move my ankle. The three weeks following the cast will be spent in a splint – I’ll still be unable to weight-bear, but apparently will be able to start with range of motion and physical therapy. After that is a walking boot, and we’ll go from there. Of course, moving at whatever pace the healing will let me. I won’t be able to drive, which means I won’t be able to get to work. I have been lucky enough to be able to work from home for the last few weeks, and I should be able to do the same until I can get back into the office. I’m lucky to have a great work environment, great co-workers, and a great boss. It’s a relief to have one less thing to worry about. I just need to worry about the healing, and getting better.

Three and a half years ago I had my left knee operated on, and I ended up with an open wound, infection, and a long, arduous, painful healing process.  It was a horrible experience, and I hoped to never have surgery again. I was at my lowest point ever right after surgery – I spent most evenings sobbing my eyes out because I couldn’t deal with the pain, couldn’t deal with my shoulders dislocating every time I pulled myself up the stairs on my butt, couldn’t deal with the inability to be independent. I relied on my husband for EVERYTHING – I couldn’t put ANY weight on my foot, couldn’t shower on my own, couldn’t prepare my own meals.

I don’t want that to happen again, of course. I want it to be as smooth as a process as it could be. Of course.

There’s one big difference between last time and this time: little man. He’ll be 18 months old in a couple weeks, and he’s running circles around us already. He is an amazingly active boy, and loves to have us playing on the floor with him. One of his favorite things to do is to get a book and plop on the closest lap for that person to read to him – and then making the rounds to the next lap. He’s a whirling dervish  and this is going to be quite the experience. I love to be first and foremost the front-runner for munchkin’s care: I love to give him baths, I love to give him snuggles and smooches before bed. I love to get him jammied up and help him brush his little teeth and hair. I’m going to have to lean on my husband a lot more for the next couple months. We’re also incredibly lucky to have extremely supportive families. My husband’s family lives just down the road, and though my family is further away, they’re right here when we need them. It’s yet another weight off of our shoulders.

My main concern is that the surgery won’t actually prevent this from happening again; it’s only going to fix the issue for now. So yeah… I’m terrified that it’s going to happen again. And I’ll have to do the surgery all over again. I apparently should just figure out how to not hurt myself again.

That’s the key to everything: I need to figure out how to avoid hurting myself. When I was first diagnosed with EDS, the rheumatologist was real forthcoming: “if pain, then injury; be careful.” That was the extent of his guidance/notes/everything. I need to start wearing ankle braces ALL the time. I need to try and remember to keep BOTH feet on the floor and balanced, instead of keeping my weight on one foot more than the other. It’s time to start keeping myself in check. It’s time to start being careful. For me. For my munchkin. For my family.

2013 – books, writing, health and crochet. Or, goals for this year.

My sister set 13 goals for 2013, which made me want to do the same.  Therefore, world, I present you with my goals!

1. Read 52 books. I’m an avid reader, and have already read a few – the only difficulty will be remembering to keep track of the books I am reading!!

2. Lose those last 15 lbs. Since I got married 3.5 years ago, I have lost approximately 60 lbs. Last year (post-baby) I lost 35lbs, and I have stayed roughly stable since then. I just have 15 (20 at the most) left to lose.

3. Start writing again. I haven’t written in a while – at least, nothing of substance. I have a bit of a started piece, and I think I  may continue that. However, I have something else that has been marinating for a while, so I may flesh that one out.

4. Blog regularly. I’m working toward that one! I want to start to really get this blog going – I really enjoy it, but most of my thoughts come through when I’m chasing after munchkin. I think it’s time to keep notebooks around so that I can keep my ideas and musings fresh.

5. Get more blog followers. I’m working hard on this one – getting my name out there by following more awesome, well-known blogs, and commenting on them when I feel the need. They’re great bloggers that definitely love questions, and write their posts to draw discussion. It’s amazingly wonderful – definitely awesome people to learn from.

6. Enter at least one writing contest. I have been watching for writing contests for the past year or so, but have never really done anything with it. It’s time to start entering the contests, and not just look.

7. Start working out regularly – once I’m not injured. I currently have an ankle injury that I’m working through – MRI was just over a week ago, and I see the doctor for the results this Tuesday afternoon. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to figure out how best to treat it, because the issues I’m having with it have been going on for too long. And working out regularly will (hopefully) get me to feeling better, and start to reduce my chronic pain.

8. Start preparing meals in advance – healthy meals. I need to start planning meals better, and make sure I shop around them. I need to make sure that we’re prepared so we can regularly eat well, and not fall back on the easy, quick things that are not healthy.

9. Snack regularly with HEALTHY foods. Make good choices! I find I need to snack relatively regularly to keep me feeling good, and the foods I eat need to be better than cookies and such. I’m finding lately that I LOVE cottage cheese with peaches, and it’s great. It fills me up, and I really enjoy it.

10. Care as much about my own health as I do munchkin’s – I matter as much as he does! If I don’t keep myself healthy, I can’t keep munchkin healthy as well. Time to start worrying about ME.

11. Make a few afghans and finish my sweater. I love to crochet, but haven’t really done much lately. I have at least 3 afghans I would like to make, and would love to get them all completed. I started a sweater a while ago, and I hope to finish it – provided I didn’t mess anything up in the process!

12. Pull out my sewing machine and make some stuff. I have a whole board on Pinterest of ideas for things I want to make. It’s time to pull it out and make some of these things!

13. Be better about keeping the house clean – I’ll keep everyone sane that way! Munchkin keeps us busy, and can definitely be messy. The less clutter, the better – keep us all from going crazy.

Hopefully I can get everything accomplished this year. I would love to just be able to snap my fingers and have everything be the way I want, but I need to invest in myself. I hate that phrase, but it really seems to be the one that sums everything up. Life is a precious commodity, and one not to be wasted. I need to remember not to take it for granted.

Have you set goals for this year? What’s your biggest goal? The one you think will be easiest to attain, and the most difficult?

Heartbreak and heartache

I was pointed in the direction of a news article this morning, in a nonchalant sort of way – “did you hear about the Conn grandmother? sickens me.” I went to msnbc, and this is what I found… I immediately cried my eyes out.

Now, I know things like this happen. I know it’s not right. I know it’s devastating to all involved, and seriously – nobody wants to know someone that this happens to. Why can’t we just fix it all? I feel some days like this country is running in circles, and like the safety that I counted on growing up is becoming less and less. I don’t always feel safe. Now that I have a little one, I worry about his safety probably more than I should. With an overactive imagination like I have, munchkin has been in the hospital 25 times, and has fallen off of the bike that he doesn’t even have yet.

I have been following along with the updates of a little boy named Tripp. Back in October, this precious little boy was playing at daycare when a tree limb fell on his head. He’s still in the hospital, fighting infections, fighting to live. He’s improving, but he will never be the same. My heart breaks for this family, and for all that they have and will go through. Their financial situation has been thrown into upheaval due to all of the medical bills, and because Tripp’s mom, Stacy, has been by his side from day one. They recently sold their house and purchased a new one, but of course, it needs a total overhaul so that it is Tripp-accessible. Thanks to a great foundation called Sunshine on a Ranney Day, their house will be made ready for them, just the way they need it to be.

It’s times like these that I am reminded of how lucky I am, and what a wonderful family I have. I don’t know what the future will bring; I don’t know what will happen 5, 10, 15 years down the road. I do know that I’m in a good place: I have a good job, I have a roof over my head, I have an amazing husband that supports me through everything – good, bad, ugly, stupid ankles; we have a beautiful boy that is wise beyond his years, and such a great heart. We have awesome parents that love their grandson and ignore us when they come over (which, honestly, is something I never imagined I would love – Mom, you were right. It is a great feeling to be ignored once in a while!!) because they’re enjoying playing with munchkin. We have great siblings that, though there are the occasional arguments, we know would do whatever we needed to get out of a bind. We have the ultimate support system.

We’re lucky. Very, very lucky.


That Freak? Her?

There she is, that weirdo Kristin. Still in that walking boot. She’s always getting hurt – haven’t quite figured out how she could sprain her ankle STANDING IN PLACE. But somehow, she did it. Months ago. And still having problems with it. Ah well, that’s not the weirdest thing about her. Did you know that she LIKES MATH????? She bought an algebra workbook so she can practice. For fun. No reason other than that. Soooooo weird. And on Friday nights? Yeah, Kristin would rather stay home and read and play with her son than go out. Oh, or crochet. Yeah, she CROCHETS. Isn’t that an old lady thing to do??? Doilies and afghans? And the reading thing – doesn’t she have anything better to do? She is ALWAYS reading. Can’t keep her nose out of a book, and if it takes you two weeks to read that book, she probably read it last night. After work. What a freak.

I love you, let’s color.

It’s the dreaded February 14, the day of love and hearts and all things red. In all of our 7+ years together, Hubby and I have never celebrated the holiday created by card and candy companies – we have always treated it (mostly) as any other day. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” smooch, “happy Valentine’s Day.” That’s it.

But with munchkin around now, and with him being in daycare (which I LOVE, by the way, and never thought I would – another story in itself), they exchange cards and make Valentine bags and make a big deal out of it. At almost 17 months old, he’s starting to be more aware of things being different on special days, and it works for me. Every day is different, every day is special in its own way. Might as well make as big of a deal out of it as we can!

So when I went grocery shopping last week I found that their selection of kids’ Valentines was rather decent and selected a box of Elmo cards – rather well-known, easy to spot, and decent messages as well. I don’t want to go into the provocative poses Elmo makes, or where my mind went with those. Seriously.



Now you had just better hope that the recipient feels the same as the giver, and that you really are friends. Awkward!

I had the amazing idea to pull my “creativity” out (aka, I saw a friend do the same thing and decided it was a good idea), and make crayons. Peeling the wrapping off of crayons is the absolute worst. Two 24-count boxes later, I filled the cookie trays (that will never be used for cookies) with broken crayon pieces.


Baked at 275* for about 8 minutes, and carefully removed the tray from the oven. Liquid crayon.


We let them set overnight, and then this morning I bagged everything up and added the card, et voilà! C’est magnifique!


I am hoping that they are enjoyed by the other kiddos. I made sure to make the full tray’s worth, and that way munchkin has a couple as well. Besides – what kid doesn’t like to color???

Have you ever gone all out for a holiday you previously neglected because of someone else?


If you live anywhere that has television or Internet, you know that we got a bit of snow this weekend in New England. Crazy storm “Nemo” dropped about two feet of the horrid white stuff on us. We never lost power (thankfully) and were able to play outside today when my parents came over. I snapped an abundance of photos (on my camera for once, so the quality will be fabulous!!), and hopefully once our Internet starts working (that’s another story) I will post a few.

When hubby went to go out and shovel the stairs in anticipation of his parents’ arrival, we found this awesome sight.

We had enough snow to almost cover little man, and drifts almost twice his height!! He wasn’t impressed by the snow that ended up on his arm, but it was amusing and I had to snap yet another shot.

The blur is due to someone trying to unsuccessfully shake it all off of him.

Though I’m not a fan of snow (generally), this storm dumped quite a bit of beauty into my yard. Stunning.


Did you have any weird weather near you lately? Snow, rain, weird things?