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Archive for October, 2011

Happy Birthday to CC!  Or Aunt Carolie.  Or saver of our universe.  Or Cole’s third grandma – I can’t call her a second mother to him because she spoils him too much.  We truly do not know what we would have done without you and your family over the last year and a half.  You took on the role of babysitter to Cole when I got sick but then it turned into so much more.

Carolie, we love you and love you and love you.  Enough to have a professional photo taken of you with our little guy!  Now that’s sayin’ somethin’!

Also, check out my guest post over at my friend Beth’s blog, I Found Beauty.  It is fitting that I’m there today because Carolie truly is a beautiful person that we are blessed and lucky enough to have in our family.  Happy, happy day to you, CC!

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Better Than a Band-Aid

My surgery was two and a half weeks ago.  I recuperated in the hospital for a couple of days then went to my wonderful parents’ for about five days for more recovery.  My fab mother-in-law stayed at our house to tend Cole and help out with quadriplegic Jason.  A trip to the pumpkin patch with cousin Max, a new set of racetrack with matchbox cars, and plenty of hugs and laughs made Cole’s week a heck of a lot better than mine spent post-surgery – even if I do love getting to just pick up the phone to order actual yummy food from my hospital bed.

Then we swapped.  I was healed enough to come home but not care for Cole so I headed back to my own bed while the little man went to party it up at aunts and uncles and grandma’s houses.  Just like with everything else, our family has to do things a little differently to make life happen.

It’s very true that my recovery has been incredibly good.  We are all substantially shocked and happy about it.  No, I cannot lift anything more than 10 pounds for 8 weeks, so for right now we also have different aides living in our basement to be on hand to roll Jason at night or shift him in his chair and all those little things that I used to do.  Let’s face it – it takes a lot of people to replace a mom.

I feel pretty good but I don’t really want to start giving myself jobs and tasks.  I keep up with the laundry.  I have made dinner a few times.  The house looks pretty good and I’m managing my online workshop that is going on right now.  Beyond that, I’m not really ready to do much.  I fall asleep every afternoon whether I am trying to or not.  I’m still healing.

However, about 4 days ago I realized that all this sitting and relaxing and recuperating was getting to me.  I started to get a little bluesy.  Not physically ready to have Cole back yet, I pondered what to do to get out of my funk.  Have you ever heard of a ride-along?  It’s when a civilian spends time riding along with a police officer or paramedic or firefighter…or I suppose any occupation could offer ride-alongs to allow someone to get to know their business.

With the thought of giving myself actual purpose, I texted my friend:

Me: Hey, are you taking Jenna to dance today?

Patty: Yes

Me: Can I come?  I don’t care if you have other stuff to do, I just need to get out….(etc.)

Patty: Yes – I will pick you up at 3:50!

Thus began the ride-alongs.  No agenda for me.  Whatever the person driving needs to do is what we do.  I am just along for the ride.  Four friends and four ride-alongs later, I am feeling great and ready for my little munchkin to rejoin our household today.  I can even start driving myself (practiced that yesterday) and since Cole can climb in and out of just about anything, I think we’ll be in good shape.  I can’t wait for our family to be together again.  I keep glancing out my window, waiting for Grandma’s car to pull into the driveway – excited but anxious because this is a big step in my recovery process.  Can I handle a two-year-old?  With playdates and naps for both of us, I think we’ll be able to do it.

But I’ve definitely learned something over the last week.  Need a pick-me-up?  Starbucks is great but try a ride-along.  Cole thinks that Band-aids are the cure to any ailment, but trust me, ride-alongs do wonders in the healing process.

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I just had major surgery.  Official Name: Component Separation Ventral Hernia Repair.  It means they removed the avocado-size scar in the middle of my abdomen and attached my abdominal muscles back together so I can do a sit-up someday and it will actually have an effect.

We’ve been planning for months, waiting and waiting and waiting for my belly to be ready for the reconstruction and repair.  Everything about it has gone more smoothly than expected.  Everything.  The surgery itself.  The recovery.  The fact that I went home from the hospital just less than two days after instead of the expected four.

I have eaten scrambled eggs and hash browns for breakfast about six times – the first being only 18 hours after leaving the OR.  The powers at be seemed to like that part.  They also keep asking questions about passing gas and other things and let’s just say that I should win a blue ribbon in that area.  It’s extremely important, I guess, and I’m doing well.

For some reason I haven’t wanted to talk about this surgery on the blog.  I don’t know why.  No reason, actually.  Maybe I just felt like I would rather just get the job done and move on. I had TOTAL confidence in my surgeon and the surgery itself.  No stress whatsoever.  But I was anxious about things going wrong with the recovery and having months and months of yucky pain to deal with.  Yes.  I’m pretty sure that’s the reason I haven’t talked about it till now.

However, I am normally a dismal Facebook-status-keeper-upper.   But for some reason, adding little snippets of life in just a minute or two are exactly what this healing body is in the mood for right now.  Had no idea that Facebook-statusing it would actually give me something to look forward to instead of sitting on the sofa, being sad that I have already worked my way through ALL of season 3’s Drop Dead Diva episodes!  Boo.

So if you want to hear about the baby steps I’ve been making since my surgery last week then feel free to click here to see my latest status updates.  No sense repeating them here, then they are already there.  Right?  If you’re not interested (Mom, it’s ok if you’re not), then don’t click and be sad with me instead about having to wait for the next season of Drop Dead Diva.

By the way, my pseudo-pregnant looking belly is at least half the size it was 12 days ago.  I’m crossing all of my fingers that the swelling will only get better…or should I say less…from here.

Here’s to healing!  XOXO

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Tomorrow is the beginning of my Big Picture Classes workshop “Giving Well 2011.”  I am so excited.  Truly I am.  Every other day I eagerly await the email that pops into my inbox telling me that a new gift project is available in the classroom.  I know what each project is.  I designed it.  I wrote about it.  I photographed it.  But I’m not kidding when I say that I get a bubbly, giddy feeling inside when I click on that link and see what gift idea has come to me.

If I get excited, think about how you will feel!  Not only will you be learning how to craft your own gifts, you will be getting a little present in your email box from me that says a new idea is available to you.  Gifts, presents, giving.  I love it all.  Wrap it up in a bow please.  Or baker’s twine.  Man, I love that stuff.

Nervous that you aren’t “crafty” enough for these projects?  Be nervous no more!  Many of these ideas are super-simple and anyone can do them.  I promise.

So come.  Now.

Register.  Now. (happily click here)

Bring your friends and your sisters and your moms and your husbands (I can think of some that like this kind of thing!).  It’s a steal for the ideas you get. Thanks for being a part of it.  Thanks for inviting everyone to join you.  After only a couple of days you’ll be thanking me for sharing my journey with you.  And I like to be thanked.

Hooray for great gifts.  And big bows.  And cute tags.  And telling someone they are special.  Hooray for it all.

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I have a new job in my church.  Volunteer job, of course.  That’s how my church works and I like it that way.  No one is stuck doing the same thing forever.  We get to help out in lots of areas and get better at lots of things.

So remember how I used to be in charge of planning activities for the women in my neighborhood and we did the “Every Needful Thing” program?  Well, now I’m taking it down to the 10-11 year old girls.  It’s called “Activity Days” and I am actually really excited to get my hands on these fabulous girls twice a month!

I’ll be posting some of the activities we do for the simple reason that I think they can apply to lots of situations.  School teachers.  Anyone who works with kids.  Families who want to teach their children ways to serve and live better.  These ideas are for you – and you can access them easily by clicking on the “Activity Days” category in the sidebar of my blog.

I am saying upfront, however, that all of these ideas are not my own.  I have done my own thing with them and put them in a nice little package for you, but the older I get the more I believe in simplicity.  And simplicity, when it comes to Activity Days, means to borrow ideas from those who have gone before.  No re-inventing the wheel here.  I will give credit where credit is due and link you to the right places where possible.  First, I have to give a general but HUGE “thank you” to Pam and LeeAnne who’s incredible list of activities has become my favorite 3 pieces of paper in the world.  THANK YOU!

All right.  So we just finished our first activity.  Loved.Every.Minute.  From the first knock on the door to the final wave goodbye, I am thrilled to say that I am totally impressed by these wonderful young women.  They were totally fab!

Here’s what we did:

In the spirit of Halloween (although it can be done ANY TIME of the year), we recycled part of a lesson about spider webs that was found here.  But this isn’t any old web lesson.  It’s about a spider, a pig and looking for the good in others.  You guessed it.  Charlotte’s Web was the inspiration for this activity and after first admonishing everyone to read it for themselves (how is it possible that some hadn’t?????), we discussed what made Charlotte and Wilbur’s relationship so special.  Charlotte looked for the good in Wilbur and helped him see the good in himself as well by spinning descriptive words into her amazing web.

SOME PIG

TERRIFIC

RADIANT

HUMBLE

Who wouldn’t like to be called those things (inserting yourself in place of the word “Pig,” of course)?  Charlotte was the kind of friend who changed Wilbur’s life.  Wouldn’t we all like to have a friend like that?  How about BEING a friend like that?

After discussing this idea of friendship we decided to put it into action by writing fabulous things about each other on our own personal Webs of Friendship (click here for a printable).  I have to admit that I was a little surprised but a lot thrilled at how seriously these girls approached the assignment.  It only took a couple of minutes for each one to write on the next web before passing it along but we would often see them pausing thoughtfully before writing the perfect message about each person.  Then, after mounting each web to cardstock and tying a ribbon, the webs were ready for their bulletin boards or bedroom doors.  And to take it a step further, they filled out the web for each girl that was absent from the activity and committed to deliver them to their homes.

We brought it all together by handing out plastic spiders and asked the girls to think about them differently.  Instead of just being creepy or scary or spooky, every time they see a spider simply remember Charlotte, the best friend that a pig could have.  Seeing the good in Wilbur and helping others see it, too.

Everyone needs a Charlotte, don’t you think?

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