Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Peachy Giveaway

Oooh yeah. Everyone loves a little feel good, smell good!

This week, as I celebrate my blogoversary I am GIVING AWAY some of my favorite things. This giveaway includes some delicious Avon Naturals peach products to pamper yourself with, or it can make a really cool gift for someone else. (Right... except once you try it you won't WANNA give it away)

Everything in the photo is included. The bubble bath, the body wash, the body lotion and a yummy tub of peach body yogurt. (Please don't try to eat it, it doesn't taste like yogurt!)

Yes, the blue canvas tote, with all it's pretty sparkles goes too!

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite way to pamper yourself. For a second entry, tell your readers about this giveaway (and let me know!) Or to make it easy on ya, just copy the code below and post it!

Winner will be drawn at random - contest ends at 9 a.m. tomorrow (that's NOON on the East Coast!) I will announce the winner when I post the next giveaway - it's Musically Inclined! Good luck and thanks for playing along!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blogoversary Party AND 200th Post!

It's my blogoversary and I can cry if I wanna - but I won't because I'm too busy smiling today. I've only been writing on this blog for a year now, but it feels like forever (in a good way!). So - in honor of blogoversary week and POST NUMBER 200!!, you are all invited to join me.

This special occasion also happens to coincide with my 2 year anniversary of my Avon business... so since I'm VERY excited about this triple exciting occasion, I'll have THREE prize packages to ship out after this week. And yes - some of my gifts will be some really cool Avon products.

I am going to give you only one hint. If you aren't already following me, you're gonna want to because ONE of the giveaways will be a random follower. Not a comment post, but right out of my followers! You gals and guys that have followed me during the last year have always been the first to encourage me when I've had a bad day or to cheer me on when life is good. I appreciate you and I want to show it.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be giveaway days - and Friday will have it's own little special treat. You're gonna love this, so don't go too far! Spread the joy!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Wild Goose Chase

You thought this was actually going to be about geese didn't ya? Well you should know me better by now, I only have chickens (and one lone turkey who got pardoned at Thanksgiving).

Today's post is a little bit fun, a lot bit adventure, and a hefty dose of excitement all wrapped up into one. By now you've probably heard that Heidi from Sacred & Profane does this lil' Friday Freebie thing. Every Friday, like clockwork.

Yeah - she either gives something away, or begs someone else to do it until they can no longer refuse. Just kiddin... she asked me if I'd help give the Friday Freebie a little variety and I said SURE!! I love to accessorize and I'm sure your blog can use a little sprucing up from time to time as well. For this weeks Freebie, you're gonna have to hop on over to her page to see what all the fuss is about.

Here's a hint though, you're gonna need to take this code with you...

And definitely this one too...

Thanks for playing along!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Small joys from my kitchen to yours

*Yes, you may have seen this post already today - I'm fixing the time stamp so it actually shows up on TOP instead of a few pages ago - which is when I started the post in the first place. tee hee! Thanks for bringing this to my attention, lovely traveler *
I don't get many visitors out at my place. Ok, like NONE in ages! So I figured I'd bring my place to you. Let's pretend we're hanging out in my kitchen. This is the stuff you'd see!

The Ball canning jar that houses sugar, and my favorite utensil holder.
I love cow spots!

This small ceramic pitcher belonged to my Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Susie.
Now that neither of them are here, I treasure it even more!

Occasionally it will hold warm maple syrup, a spray of dandelions or even the occasional marble or two (but never at the same time!)

This little plant start moved in last year thanks to my oldest son's planting efforts at school. It has lived a year. I say piffle to my reputation as a BLACK thumb gardener!! And if anyone knows what it is, please let me know. I think someone told me once, but I forgot. It's some sort of houseplant.

I say YES to a new, more expensive dish soap. Apple & Pear - plus air freshener in the base of the bottle. I shake the freshening beads around every once in awhile and it smells like I did the dishes. ha!

This cute little chickie, and her mate, were given to me by my friend. They are just the most adorable salt and pepper shakers, but they will never hold seasoning. They live above my sink, and it's frequently humid around those parts! I gave them a vacation for life.

My other chickens, however, are back in business again. GO GIRLS!

My happy little shipping corner. Stuff coming in, stuff going out.
Nevermind the Mr Clean Mop and the bass guitar that also moved in. I'm sure there's a reason those were stashed there.

A girls best friend. Really - when I'm home alone, he is my constant companion. It's somewhat akin to having a toddler all over though, because he parks himself outside the bathroom door when I'd prefer to have some time to myself. Lookit that face!

Oh yeah, a pleasant day in my bright orange farmy kitchen wouldn't be complete without something warm to eat!
Come back soon ya'll, the coffee is always on!
(Or it could be anyway)

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Surgery Update

Little friends keeping watch

Just wanted to give an update after Princess D's surgery yesterday.

It went very well, although she was probably more anxious and teary-eyed beforehand than she was the previous 7 times we've been in. I think as she gets older, it gets a bit scarier. This time they put the IV in before she went under anesthesia and she didn't even flinch. She did have one small setback though after her procedure because she has a hard time coming out from anesthesia. It makes her sick, so it took a long time for us to get home yesterday to be with the other kids. Her ear got cleaned up VERY nicely and it looks really good! She isn't experiencing very much pain, just lingering dizziness. Her appetite is good, she's even asking for Doritos and plus she's hearing things pretty well too.

As of right now, it's sort of a waiting game to see if the tissue in her ear will grow back as healthy, dry tissue or not. This particular procedure was to clean out a lot of skin that will not dry out and heal up on its own. We've been fighting this for well over a year - probably since she had her original mastoidectomy when they removed the tumor and the bones in her ear. It's important that the skin heals up and stays dry, or she will continue to have persistent problems and infection.

I really appreciate the prayers, the text messages, emails and comments we got yesterday, and so does Delayna. I also am thankful for our good friends who kept our youngest son for us the night before and took him to school the next day, even though he was covered in blood from an unexpected nosebleed! I would have loved to have seen the look on the school secretary's face when he walked in to school yesterday.

We will take Princess D back for follow up in 2 weeks to see where we go from here!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's a good day to pray

Care to join me?

We're taking our youngest daughter, Princess D (for Delayna) in to the hospital at 8 a.m. in the morning. Her official surgery time is at 9:30. She was pretty restless this evening. She is not a big fan of going under anesthesia. That part bothers her the most. So I did what any good Mom would do, and I kept her mind off things by encouraging her to do the dishes. hehehe! She's a good sport. I admire her spunk, her quick wit, her incurable case of the giggles and her willingness to SAY when she's nervous or afraid or that her stomach is getting wound up in knots.

The best thing about this girl? She is a believer.

When I remind her that God has this under control, she visibly calms down. When people come to her bedside at the hospital, as they have all the other 7 times she's been there, she KNOWS, she senses, that she will be ok. She thrives in knowing that people are thinking about her and praying over her. She believes.

As many of you enjoy your Thankful Thursdays, I will enjoy mine. I'll be right by the little girl that never ceases to make the doctors laugh and constantly amuses us with her silly comments and funny faces.

Love ya baby girl - and thanks for being my most faithful blog reader!!

Word Filled Wednesday Ecclesiastes 7:13

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday is to share the WORD through a photo and a verse.

This week is a picture of me - one of the few photos I'll ever use for WFW that I didn't actually capture - but I needed it for illustration. My friend Steve took this picture in December. Thanks Steve - and sorry Mr Nice Guy for cropping you OUT. Hope you can understand.

Ecclesiastes 7:13 - Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?

Let me tell you - this past few days have not been very happy for me, for various reasons. And, it's not often that I come across something in the Bible that just MAKES ME GIGGLE! This verse did it - I KNEW I had to use it this week for my WFW post. When I read it, I immediately thought of my "CROOKED" hair and I couldn't stop laughing! Thanks God, for making me laugh.
I used to be unhappy with my hair... very unhappy. Even this week I caught myself grumbling about it because the humidity and the rain causes a very fuzzy effect on my naturally curly tresses, especially when I need a trim (and we all know how some of us Mom's tend to cut everyone else's hair, and neglect our own!) I've had my hair my WHOLE life. Kinda like most of you! It started out sort of just wavy, but with each child, my hair got curlier! (Good thing I stopped at four!)
Sometimes I ADORE having curly hair - and sometimes it feels like a curse. I have had several people ask if I've thought about straightening it. I do have a photo in my sidebar of my hair straightened. One of the 3 times I ever tried. Even when I use all those tools and products, it still wants to curl up, so it's a lot of work for nothing. God gave me my lifelong "perm" and it's not really my place to go around trying to improve on His good and perfect work now is it?

These past few years, I've allowed myself to voice a hearty THANK YOU! when people give me compliments. I also make sure that when complete strangers stop me to ask about my locks, that I give the glory where it is due. I always say, "God does my hair" because it's true. Sometimes I get weird looks, but I think it's a great way to share that God made me, and He knew what he was doing.

Now if I could just stop and look at all my other "problems" that way huh? Guess I've got some work to do!

For more inspirational posts and graphics, please visit Amydeanne over at:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Not Me! Monday I'm STUCK!

It's that time of every week where women (and men if'n you wanna I suppose) get together and share all the stuff we DID NOT DO in a fun little bloggy carnival started by MckMomma.
It's NOT ME MONDAY and you can read all about it right now!

This past weekend, I did NOT plan a couple nights away with two teenage girls at the coast in order to avoid having to plan a birthday party and all that goes into it. Good Moms actually plan parties instead of avoiding them. Good Mom's also BAKE pretty cakes instead of leaving it up to hubby to buy one on his way home from work one day.

I did NOT get so upset with my 13 year old before we left town when she was whining about having to do her chores (we're talking important stuff, like making sure the chickens have water!) that I threatened to march back to the car and REMOVE her luggage and just drive off by myself. I also did NOT say all of this in front of her flabbergasted friend either.

It was NOT me that spent an hour in the Christian bookstore to avoid the two girls that accompanied me to the Outlet Mall. Knowing they wouldn't come in there voluntarily to just "browse" didn't make me more inclined to just STAY there even longer either.

I did NOT secretly enjoy hanging out with the two wacky girls every once in awhile because it meant I could let my wacky side hang out too. It also did NOT mean that I could get away with buying more stuff at the candy store too.

I really did NOT do an entire blog post about the things I've learned from 13 year olds. She's only been 13 for a week, sheesh, who do I think I am, a genius?

It wasn't me that got stuck drinking a cup of coffee at Applebees while having a nice chat with my husband after he got home from his Men's Retreat. No... seriously, "stuck"... as in thumbs stuck together in the handle of the mug. It was like a chinese finger trap gone embarassingly awry... only it wasn't me. If it had been me, I would have panicked and struggled to figure out a way to get my thumbs OUT without my husband figuring out what was going on. I did NOT barely get my thumbs out of the mug-trap just in time for my husband to take HUGE notice AND for the waitress to stop and refill my cup at the same time. I did NOT choke back the hysterics while he TRIED (without success, I might add) to muffle his laughter. Please, I beg of you, only serve me coffee in a cup with no handles from now on, for I have the dumb.

That's it for my week... WAY too much to not admit to don't you think?!

Now, head over to MckMomma's blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. It's cheap therapy - cheaper than a light box during the rainy months.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Things I've Learned from 13 Year Olds

I'm off at the coast this weekend, spending time with my daughter, who just turned 13, and her friend. It's my daughter's BIG FUN EVENT in lieu of a giant birthday party with clowns. Instead, she gets her mother (the clown) and a giant bunch of terrible weather. Whee!
The following, are some original thoughts by ME about what I've learned so far... *take notes all you mothers of "tweens"!*


Planning to entertain 13 year olds for a weekend is like walking into a ballroom with your dress stuck in your pantyhose. No matter how much preparation, expense and anticipation goes into all of it, you're still gonna look like a complete loser. A loser with a dorky grin on your face.


Eating Cool Ranch Doritos and chocolate pudding at the same time is gross.
It just is. Trust me, and don't try it at home. *shudder*


Buying groceries is a waste of money. What looks good at the store all the sudden becomes "Eww, I never said I liked that!" the minute you get back to a location where you can COOK the food. Instead, options like McDonalds are now suddenly ok, when at home, they were NOT ok, EVER. Instead they were "Ewww!"


If you act like you can't hear what they are saying in the backseat, then you don't have to explain how you know what those things mean.


Buying their clothes suddenly becomes LOTS more fun when they are doing it with their own hard-earned birthday cash.


Letting a couple of girls buy neon-colored fishnet stockings, and actually WEAR them with tennis shoes and shorts during a complete downpour, means that whenever someone looks at them, you'll feel like they are judging you. You will probably be right. Plus, you will come home much more humiliated humble than before.


Ordering a bright, unnaturally pink cotton candy milkshake will get you huge kudos. Even if it tastes like complete garbage, choke it down.


You should never buy anything for yourself when you all go out to eat. They will order huge quantities of food, eat a fourth of it, and there will be more than enough for you to eat when they are done picking at it, and criticizing it.


Spending a lot of money isn't necessary. Just mention that everything they are interested in having YOU buy probably comes from other countries that don't care about lead poisoning, or it is made by little kids in a sweat shop. Point out that no recycled materials were used, and that they probably tested their products on animals. You can save hundreds of dollars this way.


The kid who just a week earlier wouldn't let you set foot on the same side of the HOUSE while she was showering, now suddenly has no problem getting dressed and undressed in the middle of the livingroom. With the shutters open.


No matter HOW much you let them have space to just "hang out" or do some "chillaxin", they will invariably come back to you proclaiming severe boredom right when you're in the middle of a good book. There is no cure.

THESE are the things I've learned from 13 year olds.
And it's just my small list. God help us all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday 3 John 1:4

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday is to share the WORD through a photo and a verse.

This week brings some JOY and a photo of Princess D snuggled up in my Daddy's arms a few years back. I've been scanning old pictures and boy are we in trouble!

I know that not much else brings my Dad more joy than knowing my kids, and my brother's children, are being brought up to love the Lord.

For more inspirational posts and graphics, please visit Amydeanne over at:

Monday, March 9, 2009

To the girl with the curls

Thirteen years ago... you showed up late to your own birthday party. Almost a week late... I remember because it was one heck of a long week! Ninety seven different people gave me advice on how to get my baby to hurry up and be born, and I tried all of those ideas. Well, except for one - I don't think cod liver oil was meant for human consumption.

Dear child, you were as stubborn then as you are now. You came out when you were darn well ready, and even then you made things difficult. We didn't know you were bungee jumping, and if we had, I would have planned your birthday a week earlier. Once we all finally realized your cord was too short, the doctors took you by an emergency c-section. Of course you gave me about 17 hours of hard labor along with all sorts of invasive monitoring first, just for fun. Quite a trauma for a first time Mom (and first time Grandparents too!) You royally freaked out the doctors because you were LOOKING at them when they made the incision in my abdomen. I'm not sure they were expecting you to be sunnyside up and staring them down!

As soon as you were born, you made some noise, and passed your tests pretty well, but then you went quiet. Not quiet in a scary way, but quiet in a "what IS this place?" kind of way. Your eyes were WIDE open and you spent most of your evening licking your lips and inspecting the faces of everyone that passed you around. You HATED your bath. You screamed like a stuck pig, and even now, I can remember that scream. And your bright red face. You were so mad! It is probably why I still have hearing problems. After your bath, your Dad had your footprint stamped onto his arm. He was so proud of you. I don't think he washed that arm for a month.

Our first few months with you were a complete blur. All I remember is you hardly ever slept (which meant I didn't either) and you fussed a lot whenever it came time for a meal. When you were a couple months old, we took you to the doctor because you had a slender figure while all the other babies your age were getting fatter. Not good for a 2 month old. When they labeled you a "Failure to Thrive" I thought I had failed you as a mother. Little did I know, it would certainly not be the FIRST time I would feel like a failure, but at least that time it would be easily corrected. I'm pretty sure you just have issues with delayed gratification, and waiting for "let down" wasn't in your vocabulary. You wanted everything NOW... some things haven't changed one bit. But thankfully you are thriving quite nicely now.

Your energy and zest for life are evident in everything you do. From the creative things you make, to the animals you love and adore... you are such a piece of Godly perfection.

It tickles me how you don't like people to notice you, but you wear really loud clothes and declare your independence by wanting purple hair. You are spunky, sassy, and have such a quick sense of humor that you really make me wear the "dum dum" label more than I'd like. You call me on my offenses, and keep me in check because you know that it matters. It cracks me up that you don't like any of your food to touch on your plate, but you'll cram everything imaginable into the blender just to make a "smoothie". You love being with other people because you're an extremely social creature. You desire nothing more than to be accepted for who God made you to be. Nothing more, nothing less. When you chose to try the trombone, we encouraged you because we knew how important it was to know the language of music. It thrills me that you love music as much as your family does, and that you share your tunes with me - just to get me to try new things. I like how you sing along when you think nobody is listening, because it's the only time I get to hear your pretty singing voice. I also love how protective you are of your siblings, even though you claim to not like them. We all know it's not true.

But most of all, I love your sweet self, and your willingness to forgive quickly - especially when many people have hurt you, or continue to hurt you. You are the first one who senses when something is wrong with me, and you are the first to come to me when you know that I'm unhappy. You always want to cheer me up and stop the tears, or be a complete goof just to get me laughing hysterically. You'll always be my baby - I'm just glad you don't keep me up all night every night anymore! But that's not because I don't worry about you non-stop, it's because I take sleeping pills now.

May you have a wonderful 13th year, my Firstborn Daughter!
I am so proud to be your Momma and I'm really excited to have our first girls only weekend together!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Shortened Version of a Very Long Story

Princess D was about two years old the first time we noticed something wasn't quite right with her ears. It was probably earlier than that, but since that was about 8 years ago, I can't remember all the specifics. Let's stick with vague generalizations and estimates for now. Most of this story will be as true as I can get.

What triggered me to think something wasn't right with her ears, was the fact that something didn't smell right. The poor little Princess loved to get hugs and snuggles from her Momma, but her Momma started turning her away because the Momma had a weak stomach. This means that the smell actually started bothering me so much that I wouldn't even let my own child on my lap for longer than I could hold my breath.

When there was drainage, I would clean it up. It wasn't fun - for any of us. Between Mr Nice Guy and I, we made several trips with her to the Pediatrician, and had her examined. Several times he turned us away, scolding us for our interest in trying antibiotics, expressing all the new data on why he can't just prescribe antibiotics anymore when we "think" something is wrong, because he couldn't really see anything wrong. My guts told me that if your kid's ear smells like something that is dying, then something IS wrong.

Looking back, this was the first major time that my "mothering instinct" was spot on, and the doctor was dead wrong. Unfortunately, I had only been a mother for just a few years and thought that anyone with a medical degree must know a heck of a lot more than I did. Plus, the way he spoke to me, I felt like I needed to just be quiet and trust what he said. This would soon change.

After a short period of time, and with my husband's urging, I decided to take my daughter to the Family Clinic here in town. We had since moved, so it sort of made sense that I should take her somewhere locally, and I hoped it wouldn't hurt the Pediatrician's feelings when I transferred the medical records of all three of my children. I just wanted someone else's opinion. I had given the Pediatrician a lot more credit than he deserved, apparently. I don't think he noticed we were gone. Or he was happy that the "whiner" Mom didn't come back.

Our first visit with Dr Foley was amazing. He actually asked me questions. Even better, he listened to my answers and my questions. He wasted no time in looking at my daughters ears, and then referring us immediately to Dr Benton, an ENT. I was taken aback. I wondered why on earth the other doctor had never even considered something like that.

Dr Benton was a great doctor with Princess D. He talked to her, not about her, and he made it a point to be very thorough, and persistant in taking care of her ears. Princess D's first time under general anesthesia was to place tubes in her ears, this happened shortly after our first appointment. I had tubes in my ears as a child, so it was really cool to be able to tell her what to expect. She drew a lot of comfort knowing her Momma had been through the same thing more than once and I think I stayed calm knowing that I made it through ok, so she of all people, definitely would.

Over the course of the following four years (give or take), she endured a few more surgeries to "help" with her problem. Her tubes went in, they were taken out, they were replaced, her adenoids were removed (more things we had in common!), yet still, lingering problems persisted. There was always at least one wet, weepy ear that never seemed to quite get all better. These various procedures HELPED a great deal - but eventually the signs of something wrong would return, or something else would come up, and we'd be right back in the exam room.
The last scheduled appointment we had with Dr Benton, was one of a little bit frustration, a lot bit worry. Princess D way laying on a table (usually she was in a chair) and she held so still for him (lots of practice!) that he was able to really get a good look with his microscope. He would wipe away moisture from her ear drum, and then it would return right before his eyes. For about 10 minutes he did this until he finally spied it. "IT" would turn out to be a Cholesteatoma, and the tiny pinprick hole of evidence was clear up near the top of her eardrum, almost impossible to see. We were immediately referred on. We were given two options. Option number 1 was to go with the only other doctor in the area that he felt could assist her further, or be referred to someone at OHSU in Portland.

I know many people who have had good treatment at Oregon Health & Science University, and I know Doernbecher Childrens Hospital there has a great reputation, but I had other things to consider. First... was my child's comfort. Second, was our ability to work these visits in around her "normal" life and not have it be terribly intrusive to our whole family. I chose local specialist over the 3-4 hour round trip hospital option

Let me tell you, I am SO glad I did. I have always known that if I needed to go to Portland, I could, and the new doctor made it very clear that we always had options, but after we counted the dozens upon dozens of trips we've made (many of them once a month and some every couple weeks) to see the new guy, Dr Stevens, I couldn't even imagine having been able to do that with a doctor that was a long distance away. Rescheduling was a breeze, emergency visits (which happen more frequently than I like) are always easy and stress free. I'm grateful I made that choice.

A little bit of knowledge for anyone still reading (Princess D reads this blog!) a Cholesteatoma, in simply laymans terms, is a benign tumor, or growth, inside the middle ear. It can be there from birth, or it can just show up later. In her case, it showed up later. It's not really clear when it showed up, but it appears to be sometime between all of these events. The way I like to describe it is, the eustachian tube didn't equalize pressure properly, so her eardrum "sucked back in" and formed a pocket of skin -a sac - which no doubt collected debris and dead skin. Then this pocket of skin makes it's own little miserable, growing tumor. This causes infection of course. And, as a cholesteatoma grows, it releases enzymes which eat away at bone.

Typically anything that "eats bones" sounds scary. In this case, it's EXTRA scary, because Cholesteatomas, left untreated, can eat their way into the brain covering and cause meningitis, or brain abscess, they can chew up the bone over the facial nerve and cause facial paralysis and it can and will erode away the mastoid and hearing bones.

Princess D's fourth surgery was major. She still calls it "Surgery #4". If any new surgery is planned, she guages its importance and significance by asking how it compares to "Surgery #4". During surgery #4, she had a Tympanoplasty with a Canal Wall Down Mastoidectomy. Dang, that is an obnoxious term. Short definition: The bony partition next door to the middle ear was removed in order to 1) eliminate the cholesteatoma from that area, and 2) to provide easier access in the office post-surgery (for years) so the area can be cleaned and observed easier. Cholesteatomas DO tend to reoccur, and finding them early is key to preventing further hearing damage.

Surgery #4 was long, and it was frightening for me. Nobody really knew how much damage this tumor had done inside her ear, how big it was, or what it had damaged in the process. She came through it quite well, although the massive amounts of infection they had to clear away meant that she was at risk for problems. They got "most" of the Cholesteatoma. Apparently it was pretty well involved in the area around her cochlea too (you remember what that is? The snail shaped apparatus that is the auditory portion of the inner ear?) and you can't mess with the cochlea without risking complete hearing loss.

Speaking of hearing damage, she did end up losing a couple of hearing bones. The stapes is the only one that remains. This of course means we get the frequent, "Huh??" when giving directions or trying to speak to her. Our family has learned to look at each other when we speak, or we'll just have to repeat ourselves. It's ok, I've had to do that for years already (3 sets of tubes, was it?) because of my own mild hearing issues. D does suffer from a moderate degree of hearing loss, it was expected, and yet it's amazing how much she CAN hear even with hardly anything left in her right ear to hear with. The surgery also involves the nerve that affects taste, so occasionally things will still taste funny to her.

Following surgery #4, I monitored Princess D very closely. She had a gel-type packing inside her ear canal to keep the canal "open". (If you don't like graphic stuff... skip down to the parts AFTER her first picture now!) (Don't say I didn't warn ya) (Last chance...) Anyhoo, the way they had to cut her ear canal made it look like someone had used her ear to deposit coins! The cuts went straight up, and straight down. Since the bone behind all of that was removed, it was imperative to hold the canal open while the stitches healed so it wouldn't collapse. The packing and the stitches were painful for her, but it certainly wasn't the most painful part. Behind her ear, they had made an incision from top to bottom (they were very careful - you can hardly tell now) that ran the full length of her ear so they could move it forward and go in behind the ear itself to open things up and get out all the cholesteatoma and eroded bones.

Unfortunately, there was SO much infection in the ear, that chances of some infected material still remaining inside were very high. Within a few days, D complained of more pain, worsening headaches and she started running a fever. Unfortunately, Dr Stevens wasn't available and neither was Dr Benton. I took her to the clinic here in town, and of course they didn't know what to do with her or where to look, but they said nothing looked infected, so they sent her home.

This is the part where my intuition kicked into high gear and I insisted that someone see her who knew what a post-op mastoidectomy was supposed to look like. By the next morning, we had visited another doctor who again, was intimidated by all the packing and just looked around a bit. He felt that no signs of infection were present in or around her sutures and we were shooed out the door. I was finally able to make an appointment somehow with Dr Stevens to see us (as he was back in town now, but it was a surgery day at the hospital for him) because I explained that my little Princess was now vomiting and appeared very ill and her packing was pushing its way out of her ear. I did not believe for one minute that she did not have an infection... and whatever it was, it was bad.

Just hours before we were able to see Dr Stevens, Princess D proclaimed that something was draining. This was bad news... because it meant that her packing was loose, and she needed immediate attention. It got worse though, because her packing had stayed in place. It was the incision behind her ear that ruptured and was making a mess all down her neck and into her hair. It was the scariest thing I've ever seen, right up there with carrying my Firstborn down to a river with two broken bones in her leg in order to reduce swelling because she couldn't stand the ice packs. Egads! The drama around here!

Princess D was seen immediately. I do not recall how we ended up in Urgent Care - that whole week was a blur. But her ear packing was removed, her incision cleaned, and somehow she landed on a bed with an IV for hours to pump antibiotics, and to rehydrate her. She had to have anti-nausea meds pushed into places that she is still traumatized by to this day. She was such a sick little girl. Mr Nice Guy and I just sat there and cried right alongside her. We felt so helpless.

Princess D :: 2nd Grade

Within another week, after we knocked out the massive infection, she was able to go back to school. The kids in her 2nd grade class had all made get well cards and sent them home for her during the 2 weeks she was gone. She began to make progress again, but she felt like she was constantly being babied and occasionally we butted heads over the issue of "no water in the ear... ever" rule. It wasn't easy on any of us.

Over the course of the next 2 years, she was back in for 3 more visits to the operating room. She had a skin graft done, where they grafted her own tissue over her eardrum that had perforated at some point. Success rates are at 90% for that kind of surgery, so we were a bit surprised when the graft failed. She likes to keep us guessing, you know! A second graft was done using something other than her tissue, and it has held tight since then. She also had tubes place in her eardrums again and a method was used to help enlarge the opening of her eustachian tubes. At one point she scared the dickens out of everyone in the operating room (during a very quick procedure) when she stopped breathing and they had to rapidly intubate her. The next surgery included removal of her enlarged tonsils as her surgeon believed that they were causing a lot of her breathing difficulties. She has snored a LOT less since then!!

This past year, has been one of anxious expectancy. This is the longest she's ever gone without a visit to the hospital. We do visit her doctor frequently, and for the last year, and every time we wonder what next? Her regular visits are in order to clean out her middle ear (she no longer has a self-cleaning ear, like the rest of us regular people, so appointments must be kept to stay on top of it) and to try to keep it dry inside. She isn't allowed to ever have water in her ear, as there is literally just a large empty space on the other side of her ear canal (a man could fit his thumb in there if the ear canal wasn't so narrow). She has fitted earplugs that she got to help "design" by choosing her favorite colors of silicone and she wears them in the bath, the shower, during water ballon fights and at the pool - if we ever let her near one.

Just yesterday, [this blog written on Monday! Today is Thursday!] I took her in on an emergency visit because she has had four days of really bad headaches. There appears to be a large amount of pressure built up between her eardrums and her sinuses. Her ear hasn't been staying dry like it should for the past year, and whatever is causing pressure is pushing fluid into her middle ear through her tube. We didn't just learn of the moisture, we have been fighting the wet ear for the past year, but it isn't doing any better no matter what different measures we take. She now has a new surgery scheduled for March 19th, where they will literally remove the wet tissue and encourage it to grow back as dry skin. (Encourage? Like... cheer at or applaud? I don't know.) They will also remove the tube that is currently allowing all the drainage through.

Please keep her in your thoughts that day as she endures Surgery #8. She probably won't have much pain afterwards. In a way she's blessed with not feeling much pain, but on the other hand it's not good for someone to not feel pain because then your body can't tell you when something is wrong. I'm praying that this will be very uneventful, but my guts are telling me there might be just a little more to this one. Please pray that I'm wrong... sometimes I really like being wrong.

Alexis & Princess D :: windy day at the beach :: 2008

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday Proverbs 3:5

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday is to share the WORD through a photo and a verse. This week... Proverbs 3:5, a photo of my primroses and some thoughts that are heavy on my heart.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

This week has been eventful, stressful and it came with many tears. Here's a few things I might try to understand, but need to be entrusting to God.

I might UNDERSTAND that Gracie went home to be with Jesus, but I need to TRUST that it was God's will to take her home. She served her purpose on earth - in many, many ways.

I might UNDERSTAND that Mark has Leukemia, but I need to TRUST that God is holding his hand, and that of his wife and babies. What a surprise to learn this information just this last week, and how it rocked marriages all over the place to know that "till death do us part" could come at any time, in any circumstance and to always treat others like you would if it was the last week you had on earth. (Please feel free to add the "pray for our Daddy" button in my sidebar to your page - help us pray that Mark will be completely healed!)

I might UNDERSTAND that things in our Church are different for my Husband and I now, but I TRUST that God has it under control, and that the lack of words from everyone at church means people may just be searching for the right things to say to us, not just ignoring the incredible pain we are carrying.

I might UNDERSTAND that my daughter needs another surgery in 2 weeks, but I TRUST that God will heal her in HIS way, and allow her to have a story to tell others in the years to come that may bring someone else comfort. I will be posting Princess D's story tomorrow - please check back!

For more inspirational posts and graphics, please visit Amydeanne over at:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rockstar Hair - The Pictures

Remember this long-haired baby boy of mine?
(Ignore the violent gashes around his eye, and the fingers growing out of his neck too, please)
Well, I got a few requests for "THE HAIR" pictures, so I'm happily obliging. I'm good like that. He was going for the pirate look before, then, as I stated in my previous post, he wanted to go "Rock Star". Nobody knew what the heck he was getting at, with all his hand gestures and whatnot, so I said behind his back, "Just cut it, and make it short so I don't have to come back anytime soon, but with some rock star attitude." This is him waiting for the school bus today. We were bored. Clearly.

She did good with his hair. In my opinion. Clearly not in his though.
Oh come on, you're too expressive! Look boring!

Not a chance, your eyes are still saying stuff

- well how about you work it like you got it?!!

That's more like it... yes, some serious rock star attitude.

And some serious mud on your finger. How did that get there?

I hope it's only mud.

Love you little Rock Star!
You're my favorite!
(Right there with your sisters and brother, of course!!)

He Said So!

Did you know, that according to my 6 year old, "Dinosaurs are un-stinked"!! He said so! (They probably weren't when they were decomposing though)

And, that according to my 6 year old, "Cars AND women have lipsticks" He said so! (About the lipstick under the hood, it would be really oily and block your pores, don't you think?)

And did you know that "I want hair like a rockstar" means hair like this:

Neither did the lady at the haircutting place, so she tried her best. It's nothing like that picture, that he drew AFTER he came home and protested it wasn't what he asked for. (Thank GOODNESS!)

And did you know that he loves me SO much he actually drew a picture of us riding on a Pokemon together?

Looks like we're surfing on an ususpecting, very sad turtle to me... but I won't tell him that. Because he loves me and he said so. That makes it true :) Do you suppose I'm the one with all the hair, and he's the one with none? Because that's kinda what we really look like in real life. He said so!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A bit of Grace

Just this last week, I was commissioned to make a blog button for one very sweet, very beautiful little girl named Gracie. A heart transplant for a small baby is nothing short of a miracle in itself, but the life this little girl has been living, although one miracle after another, has come to a full circle. Tomorrow, on a typically unruly Monday around these parts, I will be updating only my blog button. I don't want to, and I'm sure her family can't bear the thought... but I know Jesus will hold her extra tight as He takes her home to live with Him.
She will be pain free... she will smile.

God Bless you Gledhill Family - and my the peace of our Lord overwhelm you and keep you close to Him in these days ahead.