Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jaxton Turns Six

Yikes, I am a little behind (or a lot behind) on blogging. I seem to be behind on a lot lately. I am going to blame it on work, because I certainly don't want to blame it on myself. Ha!

Ok, on with the party. This year Jaxton wanted to have his birthday party at Fast Lane. I have to admit, at first I was a little disappointed. He has been my at home party boy. I have gone all out the last couple of years turning our home into party central for him. When he said he wanted to have his party at Fast Lane, I didn't have a clue how to throw out some cupcakes and be done with it. In the end I was so extremely thankful I didn't have too much more than that to do, because look at me- I am a total mess. Good grief it's taking me over a month to get this blog posted.

Jaxton's party couldn't have been more perfect. Not because Fast Lane is an amazing party destination, and not because I am a stellar party planner, but because we were surrounded by people we truly love. Marshal and I are so blessed to live in a neighborhood where we and our kids have built amazing friendships.

So amazing I spent most of my time talking and hardly any of my time taking pictures...whoops...

Oh I am so good at turning these Sams Club cupcakes into amazing dinosaur cupcakes. Ha!

Dinosaur excavation kit party favors. Marshal had no faith that these were going to turn out. What child doesn't want to dig dinosaurs out of dirt?

And of course the only picture I took in laser tag, was my amazing leggings. Well because that's what any good mom would do right?

On Jaxton's actual birthday, November 12th, Ashlynn had to work Aviator Games (their version of a fall carnival) at her school because she is on student council. Marshal and I went with her to that, and my mom and dad took Jaxton to his favorite restaurant, Red Onion, to eat.

I think Jaxton's day was still special.

No he didn't eat all of this at once.

Happy Birthday Jaxton! I am so excited you are six!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Falling Apart at 34

Most summers I get on here and get caught up on blog post I have been meaning to write. Then I write some more blog post about all the wonderfully beautiful things I have been doing with my family. Well guess what? This blog post isn't going to be one of them.

Let's face it, life isn't always full of beautiful flowers. Sometimes it is just really hard and you just have to deal with it. I have said it before, but I think as women we are so caught up on trying to measure up to everyone else that we don't ever let anyone in to see the messy side of our life. Well here it goes.

By now you all know about the 83 day migraine that ended up with me being admitted to UAMS in Little Rock last December. Finally, in January I started getting some relief from the migraines and felt like I was at least on the right path for treating them. However, by early February this plan had me weighing quite a bit more than I am use to. Going from constant migraines to about 17 a month, I was able to start running again. That was until my bladder decided to not cooperate. I had no idea what was going on. The first couple times I just thought maybe I didn't empty my bladder, maybe I had an infection, I didn't know. However, it kept getting worse and worse. Like I was peeing all over myself. Not just a little, like everywhere. I tried to run wearing a pad. That didn't even work. So I pretty much decided I couldn't stand to continue peeing on myself. No exercising it was. At 34 years old wearing a diaper was not an option I was choosing to make. Giving up eating was also not an option I was choosing to make. Soooo weighing an extra 15 pounds was the option I went with.

Now, I realized this wasn't a permanent solution. I did go to the doctor about this. I mean I am completely embarrassed that this was happening to me, but it wasn't like it was something I did to myself or something I could have prevented. Apparently I was born with a tilted cervix. I know cool, right. Any way because of this, my other girl parts, are really close to my bladder. Therefore, when I had those two precious babies, they put a lot of pressure on my bladder and it decided it was only going to work properly for 34 years. I am sure working in a classroom and not be allowed to go to the bathroom when you need to for the last 13 years, probably hasn't helped any.

Because of the 83 day migraine, and the days I needed the previous school year, to be with my parents, I had no more sick days. This is something that leaves me with a panicked feeling as is. I scheduled my bladder surgery for June 15th. Five days after my last contract day and one day before my 14th Wedding Anniversary.

Surgery was only going to be a one hour thing. I was however pretty nervous. I hadn't realized I would be getting three incisions. Yikes! Plus, even though I had, had 10 IV's in the last nine months, I am still super scared of them. I was also kind of freaked out when I found out my anesthesiologist was one of my students dad's. I mean really, do you want a dad seeing you naked? Embarrassing!

Surgery went well and I was released to go home by early afternoon. I had three days of bed rest, a week off "work" and six weeks of no exertion, lake or swimming pool water. I don't care if you judge me or not, that surgery was some painful stuff. Wow! The only way I know how to tell you what it felt like is to explain it like this: imagine taking a boat anchor and tying it to a string and attaching it to your organs. Every time I moved, that's what it felt like, pulling. Really heavy, pulling.

Despite taking it super easy, I still had some set backs. When I went to the doctor a week after surgery, he wasn't happy with some of the bleeding I was experiencing. So I had to really watch it and make sure I was allowing my body to heal.

Did you also catch that part about no swimming. Ok yep. I am a lucky lucky duck. I live in an amazing subdivision with amazing friends. My kids have the best time swimming with our amazing friends, but no swimming for me. It was ok, though I made the best of it and still had fun laying out and getting my feet wet.

The day we were set to leave for vacation was my scheduled post op appointment. It was just shy of four weeks after surgery. I thought everything would be great and I could leave for vacation good to go. Well it didn't really go that way. My incisions still were not completely healed, therefore I was still on the no swimming rule. Blah! Beach vacation bummer.

So fast forward with me now to exactly six weeks post surgery. Yay! Official release date! I can pick up Jaxton, I can swim, I can do whatever I want. Perfect! This is the week I also got to school to set up my classroom. I always like to set up my room two weeks before I officially go back on contract. That way I have one week to get it all done and then one last week to enjoy.

8:00 a.m. Monday morning I am in my brand new to me First Grade class room. What some of you may not realize is that teachers have to pack up everything over the summer. They shampoo the carpet and wax the floors, so everything has to go up on top of the cabinets. I am a pretty stubborn little girl and even though it is no easy task I move filing cabinets, book shelfs, easels, mini fridges, desk, etc. by myself. I got all of that set up Monday, did some school shopping on Tuesday and still need one more day to finish up.

Wednesday morning I wake up around 5:00 a.m. with a stomach ache. I do not feel good. Ugh! Around 8:00 I round myself around and tell myself to suck it up and go to school. I don't feel good, but I really want to get my classroom done. I am determined to have my "one last week to enjoy". My mom calls and ask if I want to go to lunch with her. At the time I thought she was going to The Wooden Spoon. Y'all I was feeling so bad I turned down a chance to eat at The Wooden Spoon. That's bad! My pain starts going lower and down to my right side. The more I move the worse it feels. I keep pushing myself to work. Finish Andrea. Just get this Finished. My mom gets back with my kids from lunch and she starts telling me that we can work on this another time. I know she can tell how bad I feel. She finally talks me into leaving.
Later that night I tell Marshal that I am pretty sure my appendix is having some issues. I don't really want to go to the ER so I opt for calling the doctor in the morning.

I, of course, can't get in with my doctor, but at 10:45 the Nurse can see me. Within just a few minutes she is pretty sure it is my appendix as well. Off to labs and then to the hospital for a CT scan I go. The CT scan confirmed that my appendix did indeed need to be removed. After some confusion and a little parading around showing everyone how lovely I look in a hospital gown, I finally got admitted into the hospital. At 8:00 p.m. I had my second surgery in a matter of six and a half weeks. I really cannot even believe it. My stomach now has three more incisions, not to mention it looks like some kind of pitiful helium balloon that is half way deflated and I am starting over on my six weeks of no swimming, no exertion, blah blah stuff.

I know you are thinking ok how does this story continue to get worse? So I thought the bladder surgery was bad, this appendix business seemed to be taking forever to heal from. In fact, I woke up one morning with a fist sized lump in one of my incisions. Ummm, I am not thinking this is suppose to happen. Back to the surgeon's office I go. That lump was causing some major pain. She sent me over for yet another CT scan. They felt like it was just tearing of my stomach lining and fluid was building up around it causing the lump. Told me I needed to lay flat on my back as much as possible and keep an ice pack on it. Ha! I am sorry, let me explain teacher in-service week to you.

And now we are to my favorite part of this story. I am sitting in Dr. Issa's office for my regularly scheduled migraine checkup when I get a phone call from The General Surgery Center. The nurse is like, hey so they were looking at your CT scan and just happened to realize that you also have gallstones. I am sorry, what! "Yes, Dr. Buonagura would like to see you in a couple of weeks to schedule surgery. " I mean y'all I wanted to curl up in the fetal position under my chair. My pulse and blood pressure was so high they didn't even want me to leave the clinic.

When I called to schedule my appointment, the lady that answered the phone said "oh hey Andrea it's Carol, you know Carol, I just saw you at Dr. Issa's office. How are you today Hun?" I hung up and felt truly strange about being best friends with the Mercy appointment scheduler. Then at the appointment Dr. Buonagura gave me a business card. Wow! Thanks, I think....

My third surgery was scheduled for almost six weeks to the day from the appendix surgery. This surgery was a little more complicated because of some damage done during the other two. My belly button had developed a hernia that needed repaired and she went in to make sure the stomach lining tears were healing correctly without needing stitches. The surgery went well and I truly think Dr. Buonagura is the best. Now I have a total of ten incisions in our around my stomach region and am starting over my six weeks of recovery- again. This time I really have to watch it with the hernia repair. It extremely important that I not lift anything heavy or pull my stomach muscles in any way. They all stressed this to me over and over again. If you see me out and about, help me to remember I have the body of a 90 year old. It is ridiculous, but I have to take it easy or I will end up back in the hospital. I am pretty sure none of us can handle that again.

I turn 35 in 13 more days. I am convinced it's going to be a much healthier year for me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 10, 2015

Conscious Craziness

So my very last day of work for the 2014/2015 school year was actually a training for professional development for the 2015/2016 school year. If you are a teacher you are rolling your eyes right along with me, if you're not , you are just sitting there saying huh?

Any way, the training was about this discipline approach called Conscious Discipline. Now, I am going to make a confession here. I am certain Conscious Discipline was explained to me. I am certain the speaker shared lots of great ideas on how I could use the discipline method in my classroom. Here's the thing, my brain hurt. Like, I really wanted it to work, but it was floating around with what's for lunch, did I sign Ashlynn up for dance class, wait when is soccer camp, does my new classroom have the same number of bulletin boards? What time is it?

Then somewhere in the mix of all that, the speaker pulls up this slide show with a picture on it. She goes on to talk about how in pre-school, teachers take pictures of how they want the toys picked up and put up, to show the child the expectation. How this type of cue is a non-verbal way of teaching and discipline, that a child can follow without any stress from either the child or teacher.

Next she makes a joke about how no one in her house can figure out how to unload the dish washer and put the dishes up in their correct space in the cabinet. So why not take a picture to hang up in your cabinets of how you want your dishes to be put up.

Oh my mercy, right there my brain was like yes, yes, yes! I am so doing that. I mean not the dishes thing. Come on, Marshal has been married to me for 14 years. It took him a little while to figure it out, but he knows if he ever wants to go to bed at night, every thing has to be put away, to my satisfaction, or he is going to be really sleepy the next day, because I will not let it go and he will not be sleeping until I am happy.

However, Ashlynn Raye Watson did not inherent the neat gene. Oh that child! I am going to owe her husband a huge apology one day. It's not for the lack of trying, believe me, I've tried. Then there is Jaxton. He isn't getting out of this either. He is much better about keeping his room clean, however he wants to get out, and leave out, every single thing he has ever played with.

So I thought about my top complaints. What is it I have the most "discipline" complaints about?
* the mess I always find in the playroom
* the shoes left out behind the couch
* the toilet not being flushed
* Ashlynn's drawers being left open

The pictures for the downstairs didn't take very long to come up with. However, the playroom was quite the project. We have always had designated tubs for toys. The problem is before you know it, the zhu zhu pets are mixed in with the barbies, the Legos are in the army men tub and you can't find the game cards to play candy land.

I went through and made sure all of the toys were organized. Then once everything was in its proper home, I took a picture of each tub with it's contents.  Then I printed off the picture and a label for each tub.

Next, with the help of Ashlynn's sweet neighbor friend, ( pictured below with Ashlynn and Mister Fluffy Pants) and attached all of the labels and pictures to the tubs. Side note: there were seriously five girls over playing and four boys running around outside playing and this child stayed upstairs because she wanted to help me. Um hello, did we accidentally switch children at birth? This is my kind of chicka!

Are you ready? Oh this seriously makes me so happy I can't even stand it! Ridiculous I know. The things that bring me joy also make me crazy.

You can't really see it, but the game shelves have pictures on the side that show which games/crafts belong on each shelf.

I also made the following pictures for downstairs. I hope to not have to leave them up for long, as I really do not like having things out that do not belong there. I know you never would have guessed that, right. Ha!

Kids bathroom. I really don't get this. Seriously, just flush. Shouldn't that be a habit? Ugh, why are my kids so gross?

American Girl organization reminder in Ashlynn's closet.

When you get something out of your dresser shut the drawer. See the picture? The drawers are all shut. Awe it looks so much better.

I guess I didn't get a picture of the couch and the shoes. You get the idea though. It may be total genius or it may have been a waste of two of my summer days. I'll keep you updated.

And just for fun, here are a couple of pictures of some of the summer fun being had while momma is organizing like a crazy lady....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Send Off to Remember

If you haven't heard by now...I am a First Grade Teacher! Whoa, I don't think I am use to that yet. Yet, it is so exciting, right!

And if you haven't heard by now.... I am a total pain in the butt! No seriously....

This quote couldn't be any more accurate. Anytime,I get scared that I might get hurt, I push everyone around me away...just as hard as I can. It isn't fair. It isn't right. I know better, yet I do it anyway.

Even though I am truly excited about going to first grade, the reality of it all, was really hard on me. First, it means I have to send Jaxton to kindergarten without me. Never even imaged that would happen. Second, there was some ugly adult mean girl gossip concerning the situation that I allowed to consume me. It hurt....really, really hurt. Third, and absolutely by far the hardest thing, it meant I had to leave my kindergarten team.

While some have come and gone, I will never forget walking up in front of a room full of incoming kindergarten students and parents and Missi Pittman making me sing and dance to some song I had never heard before, where you close your eyes, stick out your tongue, and put your booty in the air. I was so embarrassed, but that May in 2006 I became a part of a team, a family, a group of women that I will always be blessed to call mine.

Leaving that team made my heart hurt something terrible. I would absolutely love to say I handled it with grace and dignity, but I didn't. I pushed them all away and shut them out thinking it would somehow hurt less. They however, showered me with love, even though I didn't deserve it. My last day,as a part of that kindergarten team, couldn't have been more perfect. Those women are amazing!

Amy gave me the gift of sun tan and and lotion, with the real meaning being enjoy your summer, relax, life is too short to worry about stuff. Amy would say " It really is all going to be ok." All I have to say is Fun Fridays are still a thing and I have two windows in my room that let in lots of sun so I think you should come visit me LOTS!

Tammy gave me the gift of chocolate. One chocolate ball for each day of school next year. Yep 178 chocolate balls! I don't know how I will make it without my morning chats with Tammy. She always starts the day with a smile and says " alright girls we can do this. " I also think sometimes Tammy, you might just need a second lunch, you know during kindergarten recess, first grade lunch....

Oh Juli. I don't even know what to say. Juli and I are the same kind of crazy. These are my favorite pencils with her favorite pens. We never go anywhere without hand sanitizer and she got me obsessed with the twisted peppermint scent. And well the egg chap stick, I am pretty sure was invented by someone that saw Juli and I trying to use carmex by sticking our whole lip down in the tub so we wouldn't have to touch it with our fingers. When it comes to planing, Juli is the other side of my brain. Juli may not know it, but I so signed her up for vertical teaming with me, even if that isn't really a thing at my school right now.

Sherri gave me citrus oil. I can tell you I have been very thankful for Sherri and her oils this year with all of the many different smells we had going on. Ha! I took this bottle home and decided to set it back with my school stuff. I thought it would be a great thing to start my year off with in my new room. Sherri told me " Andrea, when kids grow up and leave their family, their family doesn't love them any less. We won't love you any less just because you've moved." This oil will kind of be like taking a little piece of home with me.

Schonda gave me a gift certificate to get a new summer book to read. You know, I have known Schonda for years and years. We used to just talk about fun things like the girly books we were reading. This year having her as part of the kindergarten team has been such a blessing. I have learned so much from her and the wisdom of her life experiences. She has an amazing heart and I am just so thankful to have gotten to have that deeper friendship with her. You better still come see me!

Then, what made my heart so so happy, was to be able to go to lunch with my kindergarten team and my new first grade team all together. I could not have asked for a better send off and the words thank you don't seem like enough. I love you girls, always will!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Smoky Mountains...I May Have Fallen In Love

Ok y'all I have always considered myself a total beach girl, but these mountains, oh my mercy, they got me. Absolutely gorgeous! I could have roamed around for days. I cannot even wait to go back and I even want to go back and camp, like in a tent and hike and see a bear and explore everything. I am not even kidding. I didn't even get to skim the surface. Most of the mountain peaks were still shut down for the winter season, or closed from recent flooding. Plus we were only there for a short time. However, the things we did get to see had me grinning from ear to ear all day! Like the kind of grinning that makes your checks hurt.

Before we went up on the mountains to explore on our own, I talked Marshal into taking the kids on a helicopter ride. I know total tourist thing to do. Marshal was so not near as excited as the kids and I. Of course he had been on a helicopter before and he wasn't getting charged an outrageous amount to do so. It was amazing and I loved it! The kids loved it too and Miss Ashlynn was all to quick to jump on riding in the front seat with the cute helicopter pilot. Oh my mercy, that's my daughter!

We stopped by Kroger (yes Kroger, oh how I love a real grocery store) to get food for a picnic and off we went. We had done a little research at breakfast about a little old community that was highly recommend by several people in the area to go visit. Cade's Cove. We made that our destination point.

Let me stop right here and mention breakfast. Ashlynn ordered Reese peanut butter pancakes. Pancakes with chocolate and crushed up peanut butter bites. Oh my mercy I could have died a happy girl right there in the middle of Flapjacks. I mean seriously!
Ok, I may have had to take a small break to drool over those pancakes again. I didn't order them. I am trying to take this Lent thing seriously. It was Sunday and I did try them. I couldn't pass it up, but I didn't order them. I ate eggs. Exciting- I know.

Ok, ok mountains I've got it.

Awe, beautiful! It really was an easy road trip.....anyone else in? I am ready to go back!