Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Joy Dare::May

8079. Jeremy got to go golfing
8080. Janell willing to help me pick out an outfit
8081. Aliza and Anna approved of my dress
8082. The most beautiful day to be outside
8083. Time with Jeremy
8084. Proposal story, engagement pictures and all the wedding talk
8085. School is finished!
8086. A trip to the store with all the kids (hadn't done that in a very long time!)
8087. Walking in the quiet this morning
8088. Mowed and trimmed yard
8089. Pink cheeked and sweaty kids
8090. Foundation that matches my skin
8091. Car time with Aliza
8092. Sitting around Mom's table
8093. Changing the supper plan on a whim
8094. Testing complete; officially summer vacation
8095. Safe trip
8096. Evelyn and Florence so excited to see their cousins
8097. Aliza and Anna willing to reach out to make a friend
8098. Sun at the right moments
8099. The happiest of couple
8100. A perfect succulent
8101. The 3 Heslop boys with their Mom on Mother's Day
8102. The opportunity to really visit with Sarah
8103. Looking at pictures with Florence
8104. The drive home was so smooth
8105. Anna's heart
8106. I slept all night.
8107. Home.
8108. Sore muscles
8109. Quiet evening
8110. Finished a book
8111. It's feeling like summer vacation has started
8112. Wednesday evening hour sitting beside Jeremy
8113. Perfect strawberry picking morning
8114. Hugging Grandad
8115. Anna being so helpful
8116. My barn sign bench made with love
8117. Perfectly roasted marshmallows
8118. Isaiah wanted to sit close to me and talk
8119. Gorgeous spring days
8120. Going into a store without a mask
8121. Bible studying
8122. Painting project
8123. Fire pit burning
8124. The call I wasn't sure would ever come
8125. Family work evening
8126. Some time with Josiah
8127. Aliza baking for book club
8128. Cleaning day
8129. Time to talk to Maria
8130. Jeremy made it possible or me to away most of the day
8131. Lines painted on the ground
8132. A beautiful day by the water
8133. Jeremy was with me when Isaiah got hurt
8134. Aliza, Josiah and Anna with wonderful friends
8135. Isaiah was so brave
8136. A warm blanket
8137. Mom willing to pick up the oldest 3 and get them settled
8138. Everyone pitching in to help Isaiah and make him comfortable
8139. My spirit encouraged and strengthened
8140. My family and friends
8141. Feeling all my feelings to the fullest
8142. Just enough strength to do the next thing
8143. Isaiah is so very very brave
8144. His thumbs up when I look over at him
8145. Back in our safe place--HOME
8146. A pretty decent first night
8147. Our second church
8148. Sweet gestures of friendship for Isaiah

8149. In the library checking out books!
8150. The childhood tradition--library, McDonald's, movie
8151. Foundation dug and footer poured
8152. Visiting with Mom and Dad on the deck
8153. Isaiah running around enough that he made me nervous
8154. Much needed rain
8155. Isaiah woke up happy this morning!
8156. Rainy weekend calls for a long nap
8157. Enjoyed putting together a scrapbook page
8158. The drive was shorter than I had planned on
8159. Aliza proud of trying something new
8160. The kids had a day with Grandma

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Beginnings of a Foundation

 I was on the couch with Isaiah by 5:30am the second morning after his surgery. He was still very uncomfortable and not eating right. I had drifted off to a light sleep by 6:30 and had the most bizarre dream. I dreamed that Straight Edge Construction had a weekend company campout in our backyard. They were having all kinds of fun and at some point I had had enough of watching them have fun. I finally asked why they were playing instead of working on our addition project. After some discussion they told me that the project was just too complicated and had already been delayed so long that it just wasn't worth the work involved. They were withdrawing. Next thing I knew it was 8:00 and there was a truck driving in the driveway. It was Ryan, our project manager, coming in to get the mason's set up and oversee the digging of our foundation. I knew there was a chance they would come that day, but it was not for sure until they showed up. Needless to say, the project is still on! 

We are that creepy family that watches. Since the addition is going out from our sliding door we have front row seats right now.

For all the time we've waited, it was almost disappointing that the digging only lasted an hour!
The frame was installed for the concrete footer. While they did that, the children and I went INTO the library for the first time in over a year. It felt so good! It was McDonald's for lunch...because I was willing to feed Isaiah pretty much anything he would eat. The kids thought it was really great that the mason crew pulled up right beside us in the McDonald's drive through line.
Foundation trench looking down from upstairs.
We weren't home long before the concrete mixer pulled in. That was very exciting to watch. We watched from the girls room upstairs which ended up being a great view. We could see into the mixer while water was being added and the cement turned.
It was a hot afternoon and those guys worked hard. They had to move the concrete by wheelbarrow load to reach the far side of the foundation. They were still done by 2:30.
One day of work and now we've been sitting for a week so far. At that rate....well, we won't think about that!


Monday, May 31, 2021

Orthopedic Surgery and Beyond

We made it through the weekend and by early Monday morning I was feeling pretty good about things until I got the call from orthopedic saying that Isaiah needed to be at the hospital at 6am Tuesday morning and surgery was scheduled for 7:30am. Additionally, only one parent was allowed to accompany Isaiah. Even though I knew that would be the case, the reality of taking Isaiah by myself was a heavy burden. It was a catch 22. Jeremy could have taken him and they would both have been fine. But how does a Mama not take her child and be there when he wakes up from surgery. And so for the day I battled tears and anxiety. I told Isaiah that the doctors needed to make his bones straight and strong and they would give him medicine so that it wouldn't hurt. He was fine with it. 

And so on Tuesday morning Isaiah and I were in the car at 6:30am. I was barely holding it together and he showed no signs of worry. We registered and got settled in pre op and then were told that we would be waiting until 8:30...and then 9:20. Isaiah watched YouTube videos and played with the slinky and hot wheels car they gave him. He didn't complain. The longer we waited, the more nervous I got. Close to the end of the wait, Isaiah asked what was going to happen next. I told him that he would stay in the bed he was in and the nurse would take the bed to the room. He asked if I would be with him. I said no, I would wait for him here. He didn't react. Finally, the doctor came in (who I had not met until that moment) and explained what they would be doing. My eyes were full of tears. The nurse and anesthesiologist put the ipad on his bed and he laser focused on it as they wheeled him out. They told me that he never cried, got scared or asked for me. SO BRAVE!

Since I was the parent of a minor, I was allowed to wait in the same day surgery waiting room. Those waiting for adults had to leave the building. I curled up in a chair and sobbed. There is nothing ok about a parent waiting alone for their child during surgery. Thankfully I had a tribe of people texting me and willing to talk to me while I waited. Once I could talk and not just cry I did talk on the phone. It was just about 2 hours until the surgeon came out and sat down beside me. 

Dr. Huber showed me the post op x-ray and explained that Isaiah has small incisions at his wrist and elbow and a 3cm incision on his forearm where they cleared the muscle from between the bones and straightened the bone. He told me that Isaiah has a half cast right now--plaster on top, stabilized on the bottom and wrapped in ace bandage. In 2 weeks he will get a hard cast below his elbow which he will have about 4 weeks. And then he will have a removable brace. In 3-4 months the rods will be removed at a surgery center in a short, easy procedure. And then I waited for Isaiah to wake up enough for him to come back to me.

It seemed like a long time until recovery called me. They had to give him pain medicine and decided that he should go up to the pediatric floor for a few hours to recover and make sure his pain was under control. I was given a room number and headed up there. When I walked into the pediatric floor I was greeted and introduced to the nurses. The secretary ordered lunch for me and snacks for Isaiah. The nurse took me to the room and made sure I had everything I needed. I have never been so happy or relieved to be in a hospital room. We had privacy. I had a more comfortable chair to sit on. I could use the bathroom without making sure a nurse was with Isaiah. And then they brought Isaiah. When he recognized my voice was the only time his chin quivered. The pediatric floor did not seem very busy and his nurse was accessible and attentive. She relieved my anxiety with her expertise and obvious experience. The discharge process was started when Isaiah went downhill and was nauseous. At this point I was so very very tired. We had been in the hospital for 10 hours. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. So when the nurse asked me if I wanted to give him zofran  and stay longer or wait out the nausea, I could not make the decision. She suggested that we wait about 25 minutes and then decide how to proceed. After 20 minutes Isaiah handed me the bowl and said he felt better. Once Isaiah was told that he could go home he REALLY perked up. The last hurdle was that Isaiah had to stay with the wheelchair transport guy while I went to the parking garage and got the van. Once again Isaiah rose to the occasion. He didn't worry at all. He and the young guy pushing the wheelchair talked about Minecraft while I was gone.

As I was walking to the car, Isaiah's surgeon passed me on the sidewalk. I didn't recognize him, but he recognized me and took a moment to ask me how Isaiah was doing and if he was going home. We had a couple rough nights and a couple days of sitting on the couch and watching videos most of the day. Isaiah did feel good enough the next day to walk around outside for a bit and give me a thumbs up for a picture. The sling is his best friend. He keeps it on all the time even at night.

The morning after surgery was so early that I told Isaiah he had to take a nap. He slept very soundly and woke up miserable as I expected.
A get well soon balloon made him very happy.
As I'm writing this we are 6 days past surgery. Isaiah is back to his normal self. He is running, jumping, kicking soccer balls, wrestling with his brother and only wearing his sling when I tell him he has to. Through it all this little boy has been much braver than his Mama.

Not Your Average Broken Arm

This story is proving hard to write. It's hard to write about the hard things, but I have learned that, for me, writing the story allows me to let it go and stop going over it in my mind. I'm trusting that will prove true with this one. 

We were having supper with friends and were planning on an evening together. The children ate outside while the adults ate inside. Isaiah had finished eating first and was playing around while the other kids finished. He was siting like this (picture below). The other kids had suggested that he jump off, but Isaiah thought it was too high. So he sat down and was going to slide off. When he did, his foot caught on the first rung and that flipped him forward. He landed on his right arm.

Somehow he managed to walk in to me. As soon as I saw his arm I knew it was severely broken. Jeremy took one look at it and we were headed to ER. It wasn't far to the hospital, but it felt like a long ride. Jeremy carried him in and got him settled in a wheelchair. Slouched down a little and with his legs up, he could support his arm. He kept his left hand under his chin the whole time. Somehow he never cried. His breaking was heavy and he face was a picture of pain. He didn't want me to touch him so I stood right beside him for several hours.

Thankfully, Jeremy and I were both allowed to be in ER with him and I was able to go to X-ray with him. Isaiah was SO BRAVE. It had to have been excruciating to put his arm on the plate and position it just right.  The breaks were very obvious. At this point, we were told that they would have to set the bones (a procedure called reduction) under sedation.

Meanwhile, the other three children stayed at our friends' house and were enjoying their evening. I'm so thankful for these friends who were willing to keep the children as long as necessary and sent us off quickly with ice and a bowl...just in case.

Eventually we moved out of the ER hallway into a triage room where Isaiah got an IV. That was a bit of an ordeal, but Isaiah did great. It was the only time that he cried out. He was in a bed and got comfortable enough that he watched a some videos with Jeremy while we waited for a room for the procedure. 

It was getting late by this time. We had already had a busy day and I was getting pretty tired. My heart rate was still high and when I had a moment when Jeremy was occupying Isaiah I started shivering. When the doctor checked on Isaiah, he saw me sitting there, and decided that I needed a warm blanket. He was right. That warm blanket felt really good and by the time it had cooled off, there was a room ready for Isaiah.

While we were there with the team getting Isaiah prepped, we were told that these kinds of breaks almost always require orthopedic surgery. Not exactly what I was prepared to hear! Somehow Isaiah was able to remain calm while they got him ready. He didn't like the oxygen on his nose. I held his face until the medicine took affect and Jeremy and I waited in the hallway. As I'm sitting there crying a staff member pushes a wheelchair in and yells for nurses. Apparently the guy was coding...there were all shouts of "find a pulse", "get a bag," and "he's turning blue." That didn't help my level of anxiety. lol I'm pretty sure the guy was in the room beside Isaiah and he was sitting up and alert by the time we left.

The reduction was a quick procedure. It took much longer for Isaiah to wake up enough to go home. The doctors showed up the post reduction x-rays. One bone lined up very well. The other was not perfect. And so we were told that we would be scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. (This was on Friday.)

As the evening got later, I decided that Mom should pick up the older children and take them home. She graciously agreed after she had worked all day. Jeremy, Isaiah and I got home at midnight. Isaiah was beyond exhausted and he fell asleep right away. I, on the other hand, could not fall asleep. I did not sleep much at all. Isaiah woke up several times. It was very early in the morning when he and I moved downstairs and still much too early when I allowed him to start watching YouTube. That day Isaiah still had his hand under his chin. That hand kinda broke my heart.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Barn Sign Bench

My grandfather was a dairy farmer and later had steers. Seeing his name on the barn was a trademark of the property. The new owners kept the sign on the barn for a lot of year, but a couple years ago I noticed that it had been removed.

Last summer Grandma decided that I needed the signs. She thought I wanted them, but I had never considered even asking for them. I really didn't even know what I would do with the signs. I thought they were neat and since they still existed I thought someone should do something with them. 

And so I brought them home. They fit down the center of the minivan--from the very front to the back.


 I threw out the idea of making a bench using the signs. Jeremy thought about it off and on for a couple seasons and then settled on a style. One weekend he decided to start i. It was a day when we were just home and I was able to sit outside with him while he was working. We both really enjoyed that time together.

 The first step was to lay out the wood. We were able to use all reclaimed wood from the deck wood that we had saved and from porch boards that have been in the rafters of the garage for many, many years.

Jeremy can do anything with some directions and a youtube video! He had fun in the process too.
The instructions were for a 4 foot bench. He doubled it to be an 8 foot bench.
I decided that I wanted it to be white. Anna used the deck cleaner and she helped me with the first coat. Aliza and I did the second coat. Now I'm looking for the perfect farm themed pillows for the ends.
I really love it. I also love how my "computer guy" keeps surprising me with his talents and ability and that he is willing to do something new just because he loves me.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Surprise Wedding

The wedding wasn't a surprise for us, the timeline for the wedding may have been a surprise, but not really--when I met Amanda for the first time, I came home and told my tribe, "Joel is going to marry that girl." They all looked at me like I was half crazy, but I had no doubt. Their whole story--the parts that I know at least (lol)--are worthy of a Hallmark movie to the point that it became almost unbelievable. When a couple can plan a wedding in a shorter amount of time than any reality TV show and show up at the wedding still glowing and completely relaxed, I'd say that they'll be able to move whatever mountains they want to together. Last weekend was all about celebrating Joel and Amanda. 

Immediate family attended their wedding and the surprise was for the social media world. Nothing was posted about engagement or wedding. So our pretend social pre wedding social post:--"Ready to celebrate the happiest couple on earth today!"

There were a couple wedding day complications that gave us time to hang out and take pictures. Isaiah's shorts were dirty before the ceremony. In the process of taking a picture in the bridal suite, Karen managed to sit on a candle and burn and hole in her dress. She's always prepared and had needle and thread to a quick repair. I'm so thankful that she was not injured. 

The rain stayed away and the temperature was cool, but just warm enough to be bearable. The venue was so pretty with a creek running around the property and plenty of room for all the nieces and nephews to explore and play.

Jeremy's brother, Josh, and his family were here from Texas. It was so good to see them and these cousins had the best time playing and making memories to last another year.
Aliza and Anna got to be the big cousins. Evelyn and Florence kept them busy playing and my girls loved every second.

The story of my family within the bigger wedding story still makes me tear up. My heart and my girls' hearts...our hearts are so soft and so big and we feel and love so deeply, innocently and completely. We had a lot of talks before the wedding. It's hard to gain an Aunt in a very short timeline. So tears and feelings and smiles and big hearted LOVE were all welcomed and honored.
But these two...the complete love, the undeniable joy and gratitude that they brought to this day. We are so completely happy for them.  It's been a joy to watch Joel flourish under Amanda's love for him and to watch Amanda soak up all of Joel's affection for her.

Both families...

Heslop family...

A fajita bar was just the right way to continue celebrating. After eating, the children went back outside and we didn't see them until it was time to leave. A son of the host showed them a bridge he had built across the creek and from there they were busy exploring. 

Amanda loves succulents so they were a fitting wedding favor (and one that I loved). Her mom brought me this one and said she picked it out just for me. So sweet. Now I have a new pot of wedding succulents to watch multiply.

And just like that I have a new sister in law who looks--and feels--a whole lot like a sister! We still have plenty of getting to know each other to do but I'm looking forward to all the conversations we will have and memories that we will make. It's going to be fun!

Allll the niece and nephews.
We got to spend the rest of the weekend with Josh, Sarah, Evelyn and Florence. I savored the time that Florence sat on my lap looking at pictures and watching videos of Aliza and Anna's dances.

It was a full weekend that left my heart even fuller...and I slept really well after we got home! And for some reason...I've been asked more than once this week...WHEN are we going back to West Virginia??

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Joy Dare::April

 8001.  When I have to write a list because there just wasn't enough time to talk about everything

8002. Children being so responsible

8003. Anna loved being surprised when her friend who moved showed up at dance

8004. Making more progress on those bricks

8005. Snuggled up with the girls to watch American Idol
8006. Friday nights at home--together
8007. Yard work day
8008. Jeremy and Josiah got all the bricks out
8009. Easter with family
8010. All the candy trading deals
8011. The girls' worship dance
8012. Grandad.
8013. Sisters that don't mind impromptu demo work
8014. A sister that shows up with snacks
8015. Josiah pretty happy that he finished science for the year
8016. Siblings working together
8017. Josiah reminding me so much of Jeremy
8018. Finishing off the day with Rita's
8019. Isaiah woke up happy and energetic
8020. Catching up with a dance mom
8021. All the after youth group hype
8022. Watching Anna and Josiah teach Isaiah to skateboard

8023. Talking to Janell for a few extra minutes
8024. Josiah still cries when I leave for the weekend
8025. Jeremy and I talked the whole drive
8026. The cutest getaway condo
8027. A lovely day with Jeremy
8028. Exploring Old Towne Portsmouth
8029. Seafood dinner
8030. So many beautiful orchids

8031. Being stretched and learning about myself
8032. Josiah not leaving Jeremy's side
8033. Isaiah excited about word searches
8034. Taking a day off school
8035. Aliza asking good questions
8036. Trying again
8037. Walking and talking
8038. Blooming trees in morning light
8039. Trying to take the day in stride
8040. Playing with friends on Roblox was so loud I found another room to be in
8041. Boys with fresh haircuts
8042. Staying in bed a little longer because Isaiah crawled in and snuggled up
8043. Faith story over lunch
8044. Snooping on one of Brian's projects
8045. The solitude of mowing
8046. Family work day and everyone was fully invested
8047. Jeff and his truck
8048. Supper with friends
8049. Sunday rest
8050. Aliza's summer calendar is exciting!

8051. Rainy afternoon calls for baking
8052. Shorter school days
8053. Whiffs of honeysuckle
8054. Holding a baby
8055. A fort building kind of morning

8056. Little girl notes from so long ago
8057. The most fun Yahtzee game with Josiah and Isaiah
8058. All the excited nervous feelings Aliza has
8059. Taking the extra time to catch up with Janell (again!)
8060. Aunt Meghan to do hair
8061. An evening with a friend
8062. Hearing all about the formal
8063. Grandmas, aunts and uncles at dance recital
8064. Aliza and Anna danced beautifully
8065. Recital made me cry
8066. Sitting around the table with Jeremy's family
8067. Pulling out some old scrapbooks
8068. Aunt Janell and Amanda to my rescue for dance hair and makeup
8069. So many memories from the weekend
8070. Evening light
8071. Sean had a good day with us
8072. An outside kind of afternoon
8073. Parking lot visit with Mom
8074. Holding so many feelings
8075. The magic a Mom holds to settle a daughter's heart
8076. Doing extra work to get school done
8077. Mom hanging out with us for a while
8078. All the silliness when electricity is out