Friday, November 28, 2014

10 Years Ago

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the day, 10 years ago, that I had my radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer. That day has spiraled through my thoughts quite frequently today. I made a scrapbook of that journey and I thought about opening it up, but then I didn't want to go back there. I made the scrapbook so that I could put the memories to rest while still having them if my children were ever curious. The anxiety of those days will stay at rest, but this milestone and my gratefulness for life and health are worth remembering.

A few of my scattered thoughts from today:

As of 10 years, the statistical likelihood of a recurrence decreases again.

Jeremy and I were young and only in our 3rd year of marriage. He walked right beside me the whole time even when my thyroid was so low that I couldn't feel anything and with tears I told him "I know I love you, but I just feel like stone on the inside."

I remain thankful for the  friends and family prayed for me and for my voice to be restored and who took the time to write emails and send cards. (No facebook or texts back in 2004!!)

My Mom came to see me right after I got home from taking the radioactive pill. I was then officially "radioactive" and "dangerous" and I was scared. She wasn't afraid of me. She gave me a hug. 

My thoughtful Grandma Rhoda sent a box of gifts for me to open--one each day that I was in isolation in our house.

Because of my own experience, I fervently prayed my sister through her own thyroid surgery (turned out not cancer) and was able to encourage a friend through her own days of radioactive isolation.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Weekend Memories

Uncle Josh got to meet Isaiah! Isaiah even had a sleepy smile for Josh. Josh is going to have his first child soon and he is definitely ready to meet his little one! He'll be a great Dad.

It had been 2 years since the children saw Josh, but it didn't take long for them to warm up to him.
Saturday was Anna's "real" birthday so she got another party! We had our Thanksgiving meal complete with pumpkin pie, but Grandma still made a cake.
Anna received an Elsa dress up dress and plenty of bling to go with it. Anna is Aunt Brandi's girl in WV, but after Brandi helped her get dressed Anna came straight to me to show me her dress. That made me feel good!
Family picture after church. On Saturday we tried to get some nice family pictures. My girls did not cooperate well at all, but after church the next day they did great. Go figure!
Me and my boys!! I'm such a lucky Mama!
Isaiah was a great traveler. He ate when we stopped for our meal and cried very little in the car. We stopped at Panera in Easton both ways. This was our first time just as our family of 6 in a restaurant. The first realization was that we have to choose the big tables now. Second realization was that the big tables are placed in conspicuous locations in the restaurant. On the way home we had to sit literally in the middle of the dining area--so that every one eating could see us. Thankfully I was not embarrassed by anyone's behavior.

We arrived home to a 50 degree house.Brrr. We used our alternate heat source and thankfully it was a warm night so 24 hours without heat or hot water was not too bad.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Celebrating Anna

I had to really think about a birthday party theme that would be unique to Anna. Her interests are whatever her older sister or brother are into at the moment. But there is something that is Anna's alone--cartwheels! Anna practices cartwheels all the time. She is getting better too!

It was a simple party. Just my family--which one friend lovingly pointed out is really a small school!! I did not *feel* like hosting a party, but Mom's do things for the kiddos whether they *feel* like it or not.
My Dad came over in the morning and held Isaiah so I could decorate the cake. Anna saw a picture of a ruffle cake and loved it. I tried. It wasn't as easy as it looked. A friend helped me clean up the house by talking to me on the phone (It's so much easier to clean when I'm distracted by conversation) and Mom came over in the afternoon and helped me cook.
Anna was super excited. She loved her cake and her party guests.
Anna's only food requests were potato chips and celery with peanut butter. I added sloppy jos and macaroni and cheese to the menu.

My little girl is 4! Four!!! Anna is quite the bundle of personality and independence. I can't wait to see what fun she will have this year.

In other news:
I'm feeling so much better. One morning I woke up and realized I felt proportionately rested to the amount of sleep I had gotten. There have been far fewer tears and my patience level has risen into the normal range.

We spent the weekend with Jeremy's family. That will be a post full of pictures soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Anna!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Title?? I Can't Decide On One.

I want to write about post pregnancy thyroid stuff, but I can't decide what to say. And that's my biggest problem--I can't decide anything! That is not like me at all! I'm the family decision maker.

For the past 2 weeks, multiple times a day, I've thought, "I just don't feel like myself."

At 11:00pm, even if I haven't laid down at all during the day, my brain is still going and I lay awake for a long time before I fall asleep.

My brain thinks of all kinds of things I want to do--scrapbook pages, books, cleaning, things to read online and on and on--and my body knows it is tired.

I get wound up so tight on the inside I end up having an uncharacteristic outburst with the children. And then an equally uncharacteristic meltdown afterwards.

I've texted my Mom telling her that I can't decide what part of the day we should come to her house and I can't decide what to have to eat at Anna's birthday party.

I did catch it quickly this time. I always second guess myself because there are so many other factors involved--like just having birthed a baby. When I talked it out with Mom this time I was second guessing myself and not wanting to just jump to conclusions when I realized that I do have 10 years and 4 pregnancies of experience with this thyroid stuff. And my experience proved right. My thyroid is high. I'm on day 2 of the new meds. It takes a good week to feel a difference and 2 weeks for the full effect.

Since baby pictures are far more interesting than thyroid stuff, here is a sweet moment from today: I was holding Isaiah and Josiah came over and said, "I'll hold him for you, Mom. I thought you might want a break." Josiah sat beside me and contentedly held a sleeping Isaiah for 15 minutes.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fun at Grandma's House

We spent some time at Grandma's house today. There were cousins to play with and everyone had a great time.

Anna found this straw hat and was just cute.
Josiah and Gideon hauled all kinds of things out of the shop and were building a farm.
Isaiah spent a good amount of time with Great Gramma.
And Aunt Meghan got lots of baby holding time today.
Aliza discovered the joy of those plastic bead things that you iron and they melt together. I have no clue what the real name is. =)
For some reason I seem to grab the camera when Anna holding Isaiah. Maybe it's a nervous habit!! Or possibly those two sweet faces being so close together!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Around Here

--Anna is my Little Mommy. She LOVES holding Isaiah. Anna has no shortage of confidence or independence. She picks Isaiah up and moves him all around--on her shoulder, in her arms, beside her on the couch or bed.
Today Isaiah was sleeping on her and she was so proud. I heard, "Mommy, he's giving me a hug."
--Aliza is my car helper. She sits beside Isaiah and lets him hold her finger. She gives him a pacifier and if he fusses the least bit Aliza assures him that we are "almost there."

--Today Aliza made a Conestoga Wagon for a history project. It was one of those days that the thought of a project made me twitch. So Aliza pretty much did it by herself and when she realized the wheels actually turned she couldn't wait to take her Lalaloopsy dolls West. She played outside for quite a while.
--Josiah has been loving having his Gator working again. Jeremy ordered all new wires so it should be as good as new. And when you don't have a garage the kitchen becomes the work area when it gets dark so early.
--Isaiah weighed in at 9lbs 13oz yesterday. I had a Mommy Fail moment when I reached in the diaper bag for a bottle only to realize I had left it on the counter at home. With the first child that would have been cause for panic. With the fourth child it made me feel bad and sortof laugh at myself.

--I'm don't feel that great. Could be baby blues or thyroid levels or just the end of my first full week as Mommy of 4?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Isaiah::1 Month

Isaiah is one month old today. His cheeks have filled out and his siblings are saying he is heavy when they pick him up. He still holds like a baby and he still sleeps a lot.

So I kiss those cheeks and hold him as much as I can!

Monday, November 3, 2014


We are back tracking here to week 1 of Isaiah's life. I decided that I wanted to try a newborn picture on the back of a Tonka truck. Yes, I sent Jeremy to the store for Tonka truck. 

You have approximately .5 seconds to take as many shots as possible before a reasonably content face...
...turns in to a crying face. You have to catch the baby is a really sleepy state so that you can prop him on a metal Tonka truck and the light has to be reasonable. In our case, baby wasn't quite sleepy enough and the light was quickly fading to dusk.
Poor Isaiah was done with the Tonka truck idea when Josiah had the idea to put bring his Tonka truck into the picture. And it melted my heart. All Josiah's idea. Brothers and their trucks.
Josiah really wanted a picture of him holding Isaiah with their trucks. And my heart melted again.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Joy Dare::October

Quick baby update:: Isaiah is 4 weeks old today!! He is in his own crib tonight. I believe he lasted twice as long in our room as any of the other children. I may have done a little happy dance when Jeremy agreed it was the night to put him in his own bed. Jeremy looked at me quizzically and said, "wasn't it you that was taking video of him sleeping the other night?" Yup, that was me. I'll hear every one his little baby noises in the monitor right beside my bed and I'll be perfectly happy to sleep through every feeding that is Jeremy's turn--after I wake Jeremy up!

1788. Josiah and Anna were happy about going to Bible study and went in to their class without fussing
1789. Aliza and her incessant chatter and questions in the car
1790. A quiet evening with Jeremy
1791. Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
1792. Safe travel, smooth procedure, fancy breakfast banana split
1793. Super supportive husband
1794. Just being with my children this morning
1795. A doctor willing to get on the phone and make my delivery happen
1796. Neighbors visiting, friends caring, family here
1797. Hospital wifi password for the day (of Isaiah's birth): grateful
1798. Friendly and supportive operating room staff
1799. Telling my Dad we gave our son his middle name
1800. The children immediately incorporating Isaiah into their family
1801. First shower after surgery
1802. Joel and Brandi being available, Karen spending the night with me, Jeremy walking beside me, Mom and Dad taking care of our children, my siblings being excited for us
1803. The hospital as a means for practicing patience
1804. Bringing Isaiah home and watching his siblings love him
1805. Home and in my own bed
1806. Just looking at my baby
1807. Seeing how our marriage has matured since having our first child
1808. Josiah noticing and commenting that Isaiah doesn't get all the attention
1809. Just enough stamina
1810. Josiah, Anna, and Aliza coming home super excited about Bible Study
1811. Leaves starting to change color
1812. Kissing squishy baby cheeks
1813. Baby gaining weight, Mama losing weight
1814. Parenting from the couch
1815. Anna finding me and needing to be close
1816. That moment when the child realizes they actually like what is served for supper and they don't need to complain anymore
1817. Brothers
1818. A few hours alone with baby in a quiet house
1819. Mom
1820. Less soreness
1821. Fall wind and falling leaves
1822. Forgiving and being forgiven
1823. An empty house and a most glorious nap with Isaiah this morning
1824. Having a chance to chat with Mom this afternoon
1825. Josiah's get-it-done attitude
1826. Jeremy walked in the door at 5:00 (that's early for him)
1827. No wait time at the Dr. or the Lab
1828. My Grandparents so thrilled to hold another great grandchild
1829. The children played and played together this afternoon
1830. Jeremy's Mom--chef, shopper, house cleaner--invaluable help
1831. Kids taking a walk, baby in my arms, chocolate in my mouth
1832. My Gramma calling me and telling the thousand things she did today
1833. Loved watching the children have so much fun playing with cousins
1834. Another quiet evening on the couch with Isaiah
1835. Healing tears--hopefully
1836. Grandma's notes from ninga school with Aliza and Josiah
1837. Grass cut and fence fixed
1838. The children and their ideas give me things to laugh about--Anna was determined that sunscreen would keep her arms warm today, Ninja School and all that involved
1839. Most relaxed baby sleeping position
1840. Gorgeous weather for lots of outside playtime
1841. The children transitioned easily after Grandma Karen left for home
1842. Continuing to accept help
1843. Jeremy covered my nighttime feeding responsibililty
1844. Fresh flowers
1845. First walk
1846. My cleaning fairy--my Mom
1847. Friends visit and bringing supper for us
1848. Managed the morning routine on my own this morning
1849. Long overdue long phone chat with Meghan
1850. Little girl snuggled up with me on the couch and fell asleep
1851. Feeling so much better
1852. Mommy/Daddy teamwork
1853. Visiting Great Gramma and Great Grandad
1854. Telling my children that I'm the luckiest Mom in the world just because I have each of them
1855. Got the picture I wanted
1856. Held Isaiah as much as possible
1857. It is Sunday--definitely made it the Sabbath day of rest
1858. Thankful tears
1859. Seeing a couple of my sisters
1860. Laying down again after a nighttime feeding
1861. K-LOVE app
1862. Walking and enjoying the fall colors
1863. Successful first day alone with 4 kiddos
1864. Out and about for a little while and it felt good
1865. Late night wide awake time with Isaiah
1866. Sleeping baby
1867. Reading to dolls
1868. First outing on my own--Grandma's house
1869. Flurries of leaves
1870. Candy and a movie
1871. Doing normal errands--but it didn't feel quite normal yet