This afternoon has been rougher than I would have imagined after my first post.

I got Steve fed and I ate lunch myself and settled down for a good 1/2 day of work. About 2pm, I went in to check on him before I left to get Jenna from school and found him in excruciating pain. I was stunned. I had no idea that he was even remotely uncomfortable except for when he went to the bathroom which we'd been warned about.

Apparently, the pain was a level 10+ in his back and that is the level it was when I had to rush him to the ER about a month ago. He'd already taken 2 pain pills, which was the max and so the only thing I could think was a hot bath (as the doctor suggested).

So, here I am, my laptop still logged in at work, trying to get that last thing done, 2:15 has no rolled around (the time I was supposed to leave to get Jenna), the AC man called and was on his way to do the maintenence on the unit (which meant letting him in, writing the check etc.) and I had the tub filling up with hot water for Steve in hopes that we could avoid the ER again. I was stressing out big time.

Oddly enough, I got everything taken care of and got Steve into the tub and within minutes, the pain had eased. I left him there a few minutes, set up the heating pad on the highest setting and got him out, dried off and back in bed. I finally left at 2:30 to get Jenna. I checked in with Steve about every 10 minutes. Things were going well until I was about 10 minutes from home and I called and he said he'd just been sick in the bathroom due to the pain. Imagine my frustration at being 10 minutes away, thinking this was all over and here we go again with the pain and the unknown diagnosis etc. I was just turning down our street when the phone rang again and I recognized the ring as being Steve's cell calling. I thought "Oh no...this can't be good". When I answered he said, "I'm fine now. The pain is gone". WHA???? Well, I don't know who was out there praying at about 3:30 today, but whoever it was, I thank you from the bottom of my heart because the pain went away and has been managable ever since.

He is in quite a bit of pain considering the most he was supposed to feel was "uncomfortable", but remember, the stint has been in place since March 29, so over a month...I'm sure he had started to heal around it and so there is more pain than usual. He plans to go to work tomorrow as do I. Pray for lessened pain and for a good night's rest for us both. I tell you, in the midst of the craziness today, I seriously did not know if I could take any more. I just want our lives back to normal and to not have some kind of doctor visit or surgery every week. The bills continue to pile up and I worry about how we will pay them all. I sincerely do not understand how people with no insurance do it. I am so fortunate to have as good of insurance as I do. But it's still quite a bit of money to come up with and when you are on a tight budget, paying extra bills means belts have to tighten somewhere. But, I have been faithful, so I know the Lord will provide.

Keep those prayers coming. They are still needed and felt more than you know.

If you haven't lately, check out this blog...it's one that touched me today.

Stint Free!!!!

This is going to be a quick update as I just got Steve home and put to bed, for the 4th time in a month!

We got to the doctor's office early this morning as we had to drop Jenna off at school. They took the x-ray and while we waited to see the doctor we looked at it. Amazingly enough, the stone that was lodged, was no longer there. It appeared to us to be further down the tube, which meant it was moving. A little while later, they called us back to prep Steve for the stint removal. I made sure they had Dr. Hagan look at the x-ray before removing the stint because I knew we didn't want to go through replacing the stint again. Dr. Hagan stated that there were still a few stone pieces floating around and to expect those to pass, but there should be little or no pain with this procedure. It took all of 5 minutes. Steve had IV sedation and is quite loopy. But because there should be little or no pain, we think by tonight he'll be good as new!

Thanks for your prayers. I was worried this morning that they would say they missed the stone and another lithotripsy would need to be done, but that's not what happened. Thank you Jesus for taking care of us today.

They did take 2 of the stones we had managed to save (I'll spare you the details of that) to be tested. And we have a 24 hour urinalysis that we have to do at some point in the next few weeks once Steve's fully recovered. We've been through all this before and they have found nothing out of the ordinary, but hopefully this time they might find a cause and then a way to stop these from forming. His right kidney should be clear now. Of course we have no idea about the left.......

OK, thankfully, my manager at work is letting me work from home this afternoon so I don't have to take another day off, so I better get to it. I'm going to get Steve rest a little longer and then feed him some lunch. Poor guy had to fast since midnight, so I'm sure he's hungry!

Thanks again for your prayers.


I have been remiss in posting lately. First thing is that we are going back in to the doctor tomorrow to have Steve's stint removed. However, since the lithotripsy last Wednesday, nothing has passed. So, it's been a week and the big stone has not passed in pieces or otherwise. We will have an x-ray before the procedure tomorrow, but I have the sneaking suspicion that the doctor did not hit the stone with the procedure last week. Which means, we may have to schedule surgery #5 and then #6 to have the stint removed. Needless to say, neither of us want to go that route, but there won't be much choice. He has no more time off to take, I'm dwindling down myself and at 20% co-insurance for the doctor and anesthesiologist, we have burned through our FSA account and have already racked up about $500 in bills...not to mention the stress toll on our family and our lives. So, just remember us tomorrow. I will post as soon as I get home. However, if something happens and they do NOT do the procedure, I'll go in to work...

Today was weigh in. As you know I was .6lbs away from my first big goal. I exercised last week 2 times and had really tried to do well at watching what I ate. But despite my best efforts, I gained a pound this week. I tried not to let it bother me, but it was a true bummer. I almost didn't report on it in the blog today, but I figure if I need support when I'm losing, I need even MORE when I'm gaining. Of course, if I'd paid attention to the calendar, I probably could have guessed this would happen.

Let's see, what else...oh yeah...I am happy to report back on that issue I was getting all impatient about has resolved itself. In a nutshell, I had applied for another job within HR at my company. It was working for the manager that I used to work for. Things were moving along quite quickly until the process hit a roadbump and that's when I got impatient. I found out last week that I did get the job! So, I am excited that I get to go back and report to my friend and mentor, Sherri. Very cool news!

Last, but not least...this past weekend was great. Jenna had her friend, Annabelle, from school over to spend the night. Jenna's choir program at church was Friday night and here is a couple pictures from that. Our bonus room will never be the same!

Oh and one side thought...Thursday afternoon, I'm hosting a Premier Jewelry Party at work. If you are a Premier customer or would like to be, let me know and I will get you a catalog. This is not just a Premier party...it's a fundraiser for Steve for HSP (diabetic alert dog). The wonderful woman who is the jeweler happened across my previous AVON fundraiser and asked if she could do this and donate the profits to us for the cause. I was thrilled! So, if you are interested, let me know. I only invited work people, but we have all our letters copied and folded, so everyone will be getting one of those soon (relatively speaking!)

OK, will post more tomorrow. We covet your prayers!


I was remiss in posting about my weigh in on Tuesday. I am proud to report I lost another 1 pound! I am now .6lbs away from my first weight loss goal of 17 lbs. Once I reach that, I set a second goal. I don't want to jinx the .6lbs, so I haven't really thought about what is next. I'm still far from my ultimate goal and I'm not even sure what that is yet!

Steve is doing well today. He went in to work and despite my doubts, stayed all day. He did have significant pain, but he is so strong, has such a high pain tolerance and is such a trooper that he just pushed through it. I know he's looking forward to the weekend! He is scheduled ot have the stint removed next Wednesday morning and while they can do that in the office, it is still under some mild sedation, so we'll both have to be off work. I think I might see if I can work from home that day. I did quite a bit of work yesterday from home, but am still taking PTO.

Let me share the coolest thing with you (some of you already know this)...Jenna and I went to church and when we got home, there is this huge chocolate cake on the counter. I knew Steve better had not left to get it and come to find out our neighbor, Aimee, had read my blog and saw that Steve had surgery and so she dropped off the yummy cake. Before you yell at me, it was a sugar free cake, so it wasn't as high in WW points as a regular cake and I only tasted a sliver. But the coolest thing (for me, at least) was that especially for me, she bought me Weight Watcher popsicles! Oh my goodness, they are delicious!!! I have had one two nights in a row, so I can already tell they won't last long, but what a wonderful surprise!!! WAY COOL! Thanks Aimee! I love having such good neighbors!

Also, if you are interested in Premier Jewelry, I am hosting a party at work and the jeweler will give all the profits to HSP for our fundraising efforts (see this post for more information about HSP). I didn't invite anyone but people from work since it's actually on campus, but if you want to purchase I can get you a catalog.

That's about it...tomorrow night Jenna is having a friend from school over to spend the night and she's stoked. Also, Jenna's choir performance is tomorrow night at church, so that will be fun also. I'm sure I'll have pictures of all of our activities.


All Done!

Just a quick post to let you know that we are home from the surgery! It went very well. Much, MUCH better than the first time. When I arrived at the step down unit, Steve was sitting up, awake, alert and in minimal pain. We got home about 11am and he is resting now, sleeping off the anesthesia. He did begin to experience some increased pain on the way home but he took a pain pill for that (he didn't have anything at the surgery center). He is anticipating going back to work tomorrow and me too!

The doctor said everything went well and that we can have the stint removed with just a little IV sedation in his office next week. So, let's hope that stays the case.

The coolest thing was that while we were in the pre-op room waiting for the surgery time to arrive, we heard his urologist come in. This is not the urologist that Steve normally sees, but he was the one on call when we went to the ER that night and he has followed Steve through this entire process. Anyway, we are of course, in a closed curtain area and we hear his urologist arrive and begin talking to a male nurse or anesthesiologist. They are discussing their families...their grown daughters and what they'd been up to in the past. It was clear they had not seen one another in a while. And then they are talking about their churches and what blessings their kids are etc. I tell you, of all the things two doctors could have been discussing just prior to surgery, this probably rates right up there. I believe these two Godly men were there sharing between each other just for Steve and I today. When the doctor came in, we asked the doctor where he attended church and we talked about our mission trips. He goes yearly to Ecuador. We thanked him for his faith and he thanked us for ours. What a blessing.

So, with all that said, you know I have to plug this doctor. Anyone in the Nashville or surrounding areas needing a urologist, Dr. Keith Hagan of Urology Associates comes highly recommended by the Taylors!!! :)

I am leaving in about an hour to get Jenna from school. They have the opportunity to shop at the book fair today and so I am going to get her in time to do that. Then we'll come home have a few hours to work and grab a bite to eat and head back to church about 5:30.

OK, I think I hear movement upstairs, so I better go check on the patient.


Well, the countdown is on tonight until Steve's surgery tomorrow. I will most certainly update you all as soon as I can. If you think of us, say a little prayer. We have to get up extremely early in the morning and I have a pre-planned activity at church tomorrow night, so it's going to be a very long day for all of us tomorrow. I'm hoping that we get done in enough time to get home a take a little nap before church.

Thanks and stay tuned...


Steve's appointment today showed that stone still in the exact same place as before. So we are on for surgery on Wednesday. Keep us in your prayers that this surgery will be easier than the last and recovery quicker.

I appreciate all the emails from readers regarding the issue I'm struggling with at the moment. I have felt the prayers more than you know.


Squeaky Clean...

For those of you wondering, I finally found a cleaning service in our area. They came by last weekend to look at the house and estimate how much it was going to cost me. Today was our "deep cleaning" and they had warned me it would take several hours and the first time would cost me $200. From calling other cleaning services, I knew that though expensive, that was about what everyone else charged for the initial deep cleaning.

Steve was just leaving with the girls (Jenna and her friend Bailey) when they arrived. That was 11:00am. I got home about 2pm and they were still here cleaning. So, I met Steve and the girls at Target and then took Bailey home. I guess we got back home about 2:30ish and they were still here. We drove around the neighborhood, stopped at home, talked to the neighbor, cleaned out Steve's truck and then drove around the adjoining neigborhoods a while. We were really starting to get tired and ready to come on home. Finally, about 4:15, they headed out of the house and left. That was 5 hours of cleaning!

Of course, we didn't know what to expect, but for $200 and 5 hours, we figured it should be good. We walked into the garage and we could smell "clean". You know, like a mixture of Pine Sol, bleach and Windex. The trash can in the garage was overflowing and there were a couple of bags beside it. We walked in and immediate our shoes began to squeak on the hardwood floor. The pictures hanging on the wall had been dusted as had the light fixtures and the wood blinds. They even cleaned Steve's closet!!! I can honestly say, I don't think that the house has been this clean since we bought it 2 1/2 years ago. It was worth every penny. They are coming back in about 2 weeks and I can't wait.

Oh, and a HUGE "thank you!" to my good friend, Leigh Ann for her recommendation!!!!


Shake, Rattle & Roll...

So, this morning at 4:47am (my clock is about 7-8 minutes fast) centra time, I sat straight up in bed. The bed was vibrating and I thought Steve was going into insulin shock. It only took me a second to realize it wasn't him. So, I felt around at the bottom of the bed to knock whichever cat was licking or scratching. Oddly enough, the cats were not on the bed. I was confused, but lay back down. I could still feel the vibrations in my chest and wondered if I was experiencing heart palpitatations or something like an anxiety attack. Finally, the feeling tapered off and I laid back down. My alarm went off at 5am and I finally rolled out of bed at 5:30 just in time to catch the channel 2 news coming on. Turns out, what I was feeling was a 5.2 earthquake from Illinois! It was the first time for me and while a little unnerving to think about after the fact, it is pretty cool to have been part of as it's for us Southerners, most likely the only time that we might experience this in our lifetime.

Jenna is at sock wars tonight and after working out at the rec center, I am relaxing at home. We did find out today that Steve's surgery is scheduled for this coming Wednesday. Hopefully this will be the last one except for the stint removal.

For all my praying friends, can I ask you to cover me in prayer over the next week or so? I have been feeling very attacked by Satan this week in a particular issue I'm dealing with. Right now, I'm not ready to share too much information on this public blog, but several close friends know what I'm struggling with.

To give the basic framework of my issue...I had something I'd been praying over for a while. In the last couple of weeks, I felt that I got a direct answer from the Lord. A couple of times, I was plagued with doubts and each time, the Lord would send something or someone to reaffirm what I thought I'd heard Him answer. However, the pieces are not falling in place as quickly as I'd like and of course, patience is NOT a virtue of mine. And because Satan knows where I'm weakest, he has continuously attacked me over this issue. I have worried, obsessed, and gotten angry over this and I know I have to give it over to God and I have tried multiple times to do so. On the way home tonight, I asked God what was I supposed to do...what did He want to teach me through this? And I felt Him ask, "Do you trust me? Do you believe what I told you?" And of course, I do. But Satan is working hard to make me doubt. Can you please pray for me? I anticipate this issue will resolve itself within the week, 2 weeks at most...but until then, I want to enjoy my weekend, my life, my family. I don't want to worry. And mostly, I want to trust. So, if you think about it, whisper a prayer for me...for peace...for trust...for patience (dare I ask?!) And hopefully, very soon, what I believe God has told me will come to fruition and I can share the victory with you!


A Quick Update

Just wanted to let you all know that I had a pretty decent weigh in today. I lost .6 lbs. and that put me over the 15 lb. mark. I have several more pounds to lose to reach my first goal and when I get there, I have to set my "for real" goal. Thanks for all your support. I've gotten several emails over the past few weeks encouraging me and that means more than you can ever know.

No word on Steve's surgery date yet. We seem to be having a problem getting the scheduler to call back. He is having an increase in pain today and there's some bleeding going on, which we are hoping means that this stone is moving. It would be wonderful to have this stone pass and the only surgery needed was to remove the stint. Will you pray with us for that to happen?

Jenna started swim lessons tonight at the rec center and was just all aflutter about it when I got home from Bible Study. She is in the beginner II class.

Sorry this is a short post, but I have some work to do now. :)


More surgery in our future...

Well, today's visit with the urologist did not bring the news we were hoping for (or expecting). First of all, the appointment took way longer than the last couple and I missed a conference call at work, plus was having a severe allergy attack the whole time we were waiting. So, all of that just made this news more unbearable.

The large stone that was lodged in his tube last week was still there this week. The doctor feels that it is not going to pass on it's own, so he recommended doing lithotripsy again soon to blast it into smaller pieces. Then, if all goes well, we'll go back a week from that and surgically have the stint removed. By the time this is all said and done, Steve will have four surgeries in about 4 weeks. That is extremely hard on his body, plus, it's more work missed for him and me and it complicates things at home.

Obviously we want to do this sooner rather than later, but our insurance dictates where (one of the "perks" for working for a hospital company!) and so our days to choose from are limited. Plus, the next two weekends, we have plans that we really do not want to break (one is Jenna's performance in the choir at church). As you can imagine, this news was pretty hard to swallow. From my selfish perspective, it is difficult to watch someone you love be in pain and be frustrated at the slowness of his body to respond (which happens to diabetics...slower to heal). Plus, I take on the role as both mother and father and that's hard especially when you are married to a man who really does 50% (sometimes more) of the work with Jenna and around the house.

We have a final x-ray and follow-up next Monday and assuming nothing changes, we'll move forward with the lithotripsy surgery...we aren't sure yet when that will be scheduled. Most likely sometime next week...but we'll know more later. There is a slim chance that Steve will pass this final stone in the next week, but since it really hasn't moved in the last week, the likelihood is slim.

To boot, I had just a really stressful day at work...so it's been a tough Monday all around. Tomorrow is weigh in and if I don't get really good news, that might just do me in!

Continued prayers are appreciated!



Remember this blog?? Well, yesterday, we had success. I had run to Target to get a few things and picked up a $2.99 Barbie kite for Jenna. Those locals know the wind has been crazy the past few days. After Jenna got home from riding lessons, we put it together (which took all of 3 minutes). And wouldn't you know it, it only took about 2 minutes to get it up in the air and we even ran out all of the string. It was a good day. And looking back over the post of my first attempt to fly a kite, I have learned so much. God is good.

While I was uploading these pictures from my camera, I found the cutest one of Gage and Jenna at his first birthday party...

Something else that's on my mind for some reason...Last night I was reading my Chronological Bible during my devotional time. I am reading I Samuel about the part where Saul has been annointed king and he's really struggling with doing what God is commanding him. In I Samuel 15, God commands that Saul and the Israelite army attack and completely destroy the Amalekites. Saul proceeds to attack and destroy...well...almost all the Amalekites. He spares the king, Agog, and the very best cattle and sheep. When the prophet Samuel visits, before he can ask Saul if he obeyed the Lord's command, Saul pridefully boasts, "The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD's instructions". And then Samuel asks (you have to know God has a sense of humor...), "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?" So, basically he says, "Oh yeah? If you did exactly what God said, then why do I hear cattle mooing and sheep bleating?!"

And Saul says, oh, yeah...I forgot...I killed everyone except the king and the very best of the animals but ONLY because I thought we could use those for a sacrifice to the Lord. I guess Saul thought that his disobedience would be excused if he disobeyed for the Lord. And Samuel's response, which is what has stuck with me today, was, "To obey is better than sacrifice". How true is that for us even today? So many times, I catch myself "sacrificing"...my time, my money, my life all in the name of the Lord. I sign up to help at church, volunteer for Great Day of Service, teach the preschoolers, paint the choir props, do my devotional etc. But really, God just wants me to obey Him. Just simple obedience.

And you know, something else that I've heard said before that just sruck me as something to be eternally thankful for? The fact that I don't have to clean myself up to go to God. That's HIS job. He wants me just as I am. And I'm so glad for that. What a wonderful God!

I'll update you more tomorrow...Steve has his follow-up appointment with the urologist tomorrow, so we'll know more about what our next steps will be. Thanks for your continued prayers. We have truly felt each and every one.



Can I get an amen to that?!

Today seemed like a long day, but it ended up being a pretty good one! I had the pleasure of setting up two play dates for Jenna with friends from church and school. She rarely gets together with kids because she goes to school out of the county and our church is 25 minutes away, so the next couple weekends are going to be a real treat for her! She's already asking "how many more days until..." This is just something that makes me smile.

There have been more developments on the job front, but we are not at a place where we feel comfortable divulging. To put it more clearly, no offer has been extended as of yet so, nothing is official, but we are optimistic. I know those that know us are dying to know what all this is about, but hopefully it won't be too much longer until I can tell you the details.

For those of you that have asked about Steve...thanks for your concern...he had stopped passing stones for a couple days but was still experiencing some back pain which we attributed to the stint. However, today, he passed several more large ones today. Now he is extremely sore from where they passed and is still having the more milder back pain, so we are unsure whether there is a stone causing it or if it's really stint. We will find out Monday as he goes to his follow-up appointment. As soon as I know more, I'll pass it along. Keep praying that the big stones are gone.

Let's see...nothing much else going on...Jenna starts swim lessons next week and it's going to be pretty exciting to get to see the new rec center. For a while, we'll have some busy weeks. We have gymnastics on Monday, swim lessons on Tuesday (Bible study for me), church on Wednesday, swim lessons on Thursday, bowling on Friday for Steve, sock wars and scrapbooking for me periodically, horseback riding lessons on Saturday afternoon and then church again on Sunday evenings. It's going to be a busy April. After that, lots of this will settle down.

OK, well, that's about it for me. Happy weekend!



Do you have a house-cleaner?

OK, apparently, my wonderful house cleaner has quit. We haven't seen her in a month and two phone calls have gone unreturned. My question to you is, do YOU have a house cleaner that you can recommend? I know several of my readers do employ someone to clean their house periodically and now I am in search of one. This girl was really very reasonable...$50 for the whole house...I know we will have to pay more than that now, but if they are really good, then I'm willing to pay. Also, they have to be trustworthy because we can't be home when they clean. So, come one, come all with your house-cleaner information!

And if you can, tomorrow at 11am, remember my friend Angela in your prayers. She was about 9 weeks pregnant and found out there was no heartbeat. The past 2 weeks, she's been waiting for the baby to "pass" on it's own and it's just not happening so tomorrow at 11am, she's scheduled for her D&C. This is a first for her (though she does have a beautiful baby boy) and she is really struggling. So, if you think about it in the next few days, just whisper a prayer for her. This is such a tough time for her.



To my Spring Hill, Columbia and South Williamson County Friends...

SATURDAY, JUNE 7 - Mark it down.

To all my friends who live in Spring Hill, Thompson's Station, Columbia, or South Williamson county...

Mark Saturday, June 7 on your calendars. It's going to be a very exciting day for the Taylors!

As you know from my February 27 blog, Steve was recently approved to train with and receive a diabetic alert dog. Our neighbor, who is a nurse, was summoned by Jenna one day when Steve was having an insulin reaction and therefore, experienced first-hand what Steve, Jenna and I live with every day. A couple weekends ago (before kidney stones), Steve was telling her about our acceptance to get the dog and she jumped right on the fundraising band wagon for us!

She has booked a fundraiser breakfast at our neighborhood bar and grill, APPLEBEES! The date is June 7 and you are ALL invited! This will be at the Spring Hill Applebees on Highway 31/Main Street, times are forthcoming. Tickets will be $5 per person and that will get you pancakes, sausage and tea, coffee or water to drink. We are pleased to tell you that every dime raised will go directly to Heaven Scent Paws.

Our neighbor is going to do a walk through our neighborhood and give out fliers. We will also try to get something in the local newspaper as well. If you live in the area and would like, I can get you a supply of fliers to hand out to your neighbors as well. We want as many folks to attend as possible. If you are unable to come to the breakfast, you can still buy tickets or make a donation. If you do want fliers, let me know how many and I can get those to you within a week. We'll also need a few volunteers on that day, so we might be calling on some of you to help us out!

I'm so excited! I hope you will make plans to attend!

Today's doctor visit...

Steve had his follow-up at the urologist today. The good news is that really big jelly-bean sized stone is no longer stuck in his tube. YAY! We could see several small stones in his kidney still and we are guessing they are pieces of the ones they blasted on Wednesday. The bad news is that the doctor saw a large stone that concerned him. He doesn't know if it is a piece of the larger stones or a stone that did not break up when they did the lithotripsy. He's concerned that it might not pass. So...we go back in a week for another x-ray. If the stone is still in the same place, then most likely we'll have to go back and do another lithotripsy. If the stone is gone (and another one hasn't replaced it!), then we are good to go and can probably schedule a time to get the stint removed.

Steve commented on the way out that he really hoped that stone would pass because he didn't think he could go through all this again. And I feel the same way. For him. And for me. It's tough being a single parent when you have a good 50/50 partner!

He did call this afternoon to say he might have passed it because he did pass quite a large stone, however we won't really know until next week when they do the x-ray. When you think of it, pray for us with this. If we have to do the lithotripsy again, we'll definitely need it!

That's about it for today...they are on their way home from gymnastics and I've got dinner just about ready...mmmmmmm....spaghetti!!!!! :)


If you've ever had...

...a kidney stone, then you can appreciate this picture. This is a picture of all the stones that Steve has passed since his surgery on Wednesday. If you've never had a kidney stone, then these probably look very small and insignificant to you. If you've had one (or more), then you can appreciate all the pain that went in to this. It's amazing how something so small can cause so much trouble and pain!
And as promised, here is an Easter picture from a few weeks ago.
True to form, when I was photographing the kidney stones, Jenna didn't want to be left out. So here she is showing off for the camera!



Just wanted to say it's 9:13 am and I'm the only one up. And I've only been up for an hour. How sweet is that?!

Parent-Teacher Conference

OK, OK. I know I said I would blog about the parent-teacher conference we had with Jenna's teacher, but I just have had other stuff going on and forgot.

Steve managed to get there (it was on Tuesday, the day before the surgery) which made me so proud. He is so involved with what goes on with her and that makes me happy.

Anyway, the teacher's first words were, "Jenna Grace is doing great! She's doing wonderful!" That made me much more comfortable. I've very concerned about her reading. I believe reading is the basis to doing well in school. I am sure some would disagree with me, but I truly believe that. I love to read and I loved school. Steve...well, not so much. He never learned to read really well and as a result, he hated school and didn't do well. I believe Micah and Chase were the same. I want for Jenna to read well so that she'll love to read and do well in school. Anyway, that was the first order of business was that Jenna is already at the level in which they like to see children when they LEAVE pre-1st. We still have another 9 weeks of school and I would like to see her reading at another level or two above where she is. And I wanted to work on a summer reading program with her so that she might go in to 1st grade ahead of many of the other students and already reading well into the 1st grade level.

Her teacher agreed wholeheartedly and said that we should choose books for her to read that are about one level under where she's currently reading at. That way, she doesn't struggle too much and get discouraged. I thought that was a fabulous idea (don't know why I didn't think of it myself!). She's going to work on and send home a list of books as summer reading ideas. Perfect!

She continued on about teachers for next year. There are 4 teachers and there's one that isn't my favorite because of some lack-of-response issues I had previously. I am too interested and involved in Jenna's education (ok, and IMPATIENT!) to have to ask multiple times for something. I know me and I know that would not set well...anyway, her teacher said that Jenna loves learning (thank you Jesus!) and that she does better in a structured environment. If you let her know the rules and boundaries and what's expected of her, then she does well and makes good choices. If you throw her out there in an environment where the rules aren't clear, she tends to make less-good choices (not bad, but less good). She told me that Jenna would do well with 3 of the 4, but she stopped short of naming all three. She named one of them and wouldn't you know, it was the teacher I did not want. I brought up another teacher who I had heard wasn't the most personable teacher, but was pretty strict and she said she'd do well with her too. I can already tell 1st grade is going to be a little bit more tough than pre-1st...especially for MOM!!!! At some point, the principal will send out a form for the parents to fill out and while you can't actually request a certain teacher, you do list what learning style your child does best with. And if you have a problem with a teacher, you can list that as well. I'm praying about it. Because if I know my God, I'll end up with the very teacher that I don't want just so God can work on me. :) I'll keep you posted.

Finally, we discussed the kids that Jenna should be separated from going into 1st. This apparently has also been on her teacher's mind. I know it had been on mind. There is one child in particular that Jenna seems to be close to that I just thought was not the best influence on her. But then, I only see it from one perspective and I wanted to know what really goes on in the classroom. I must have pretty good mother's intuition because the teacher agreed wholeheartedly about the child I had in mind and even added another child to the mix. She says that they are all 3 strong-willed to some level and when they are together they either get along great or...well...NOT! :) So, she wants them separated and I'm cool with that. And I mentioned one of the girls who Jenna has been with since pre-K. Her mom and I are friends and we have been room moms together and just for every selfish reason in the book, I'd like to see them continue on together. She did say that they try to pair the pre-1st kids with 1 or 2 other classmates because there's only one class of 18 pre-1st-ers going into 1st with 2 full classes of kindergarteners...

Anyway, all that is probably more than any of you really care about reading, but it's important to me and since this blog is about me and my family... :) We are really going to miss Mrs. Seay, her pre-1st teacher. This has been a great year for Jenna. Probably her best so far. I had some reservations about doing it as most 1st time pre-1st moms do, but it has been the best educational decision I've made (and I'm just getting started!) For any of you who might be considering the pre-1st option. DO IT. I think about Jenna's reading...she's exactly where she needs to be for leaving pre-1st. But what would that have meant if she had gone on into 1st? She would have been struggling and behind. And there's not much that she's struggled with this year. They've worked ALOT on reading and math and so they have already gotten a foundation when they go into 1st grade. I believe these pre-1st kids will be the cream of the crop when in 1st grade...it's a wonderful thing and if I ever had another child, there would be no discussion...they'd go through pre-1st too.

OK, that's all about that. Update on Steve...he has begun to really pass those little pieces of stone. It's wild to see, but they are coming out which is good. Except for the fact that he experiences pain still especially when they are passing, but usually because they are moving out, the pain is not as intense and doesn't last as long. He asked me if we could please go out ot eat on Thursday because he has just been stir crazy. Since a week ago, the only places he's been is home, the doctor and the hospital. We went to Logan's and then he wanted to stop by the super-Target to get some of those Crystal Light packets to go in your water. He's been drinking so much water lately and I'm so proud because I really think it helps tremendously. Yesterday, Jenna had teacher in-service, so he stayed home with her. He'd planned to anyway and he was not really feeling like going back to work yet. He plans to take her to riding lessons today and I have a hair appt. at 1pm.

I also was able to get online and choose my shore excursions for the cruise. Thank you SO much for your input! It was fabulous. The one thing I heard most was the Stingray City at Grand Cayman. I think I have had that brought up as a must-do from about 5 different folks. We are definitely going to do that. I know it must be good because they have 3 different times to choose from to depart! I didn't realize how dang expensive the excursions were! It's going to probably cost us about $600 for just excursions cuz, you know me...I gotta do something EVERYWHERE we stop! Two of the islands will be just beach days which are next to nothing, but I was figuring up the cost last night and this vacation is going to end up costing us WAY more than I think even Hawaii did! But, with that said, this is the first "exotic" vacation that we've had with Jenna. Since she's been born, we'd just ridden to the beach, stayed with family etc. With her, everything is times THREE and that changes alot. But the good thing is...believe this...except for the deposit (which I put on a credit card) every dime will be paid in cash. How cool is that? The only way we were able to afford Hawaii is because Steve got a worker's comp settlement the year before. This is just hard-earned savings through the year, tax refund and President Bush's check (which I don't think we'll have to use). I'm just totally stoked! God is so good to us.

One last thing and then I'm done with this incredibly long post...pray for us...we have another job situation (good thing, not bad) and while I can't give details here, I *think* it would be a good opportunity if it works out. But you know what happened last time...so just keep us in your prayers.

Oh, and if you are a blog reader, I've gotten hooked on 2 new blogs recently (thanks to Carrie and Allison!). Check them out. Some of you might already read them, but both families need your prayers.


I know you're waiting...

...for an update on Steve. Well, here it is.

Bottom line: Your prayers worked. They were able to do the least invasive lithotripsy and zap not just the one stone lodged in the tube, but several of the others they could see in the right kidney.

Now, for the details. We never really knew what time the surgery was. Just that we were supposed to arrive at 7:30am. They called him back about 8:15 to get him prepped. I went back about 8:45 to sit with him until the doctor arrived. While we waited, we found out the surgery was actually supposed to be at 9:30. They went ahead and did another x-ray to see if the stone had moved and I left when the doctor arrived which was about 9:40. And then I went back to the waiting room to await the final verdict of whether he would be able to see the stone well enough to do the regular lithotripsy.

I did alot of work, read several magazines and even playing on my laptop a bit before the doctor came out about 11:30ish. He told me he was able to get them all and that Steve tolerated the surgery well and he just needed to make a follow up appt. next week. He told me that the some of the smaller bits of stones might pass with the stent still in and some might not until the stent was removed but he should be feeling better.

I waited another hour or so and they finally called me back to the "step down" unit which is where they go after "recovery". Typically you stay there for 30 minutes and then you are released. Well...apparently, with the pain meds they gave him before the surgery, the anesthesia and the anti-nausea meds they gave him after the surgery, he had a little bit of trouble coming around. Well, "little" is probably to put it mildly.

When I got there, he was obviously still WAY out of it. He was shivering despite the 3-4 blankets draped over him, he was moaning like he was in immense pain but said it was across his shoulders and his chest and he was nauseous. And he was rolling over and over in the recliner chair they set you in. The anesthesiologist reviewed his chart and confirmed he had no history of heart issues and said he wouldn't give him any pain medicine because he thought it was more of a reaction to the anesthesia than actual pain. This went on for quite some time...I'd cover him up good, he'd settle down for about 10 minutes and then he was moaning, rolling, complaining and saying he was going to be sick again. It got very frustrating. Of course, he didn't have any idea what he was doing.

Finally, the shift changed and we got a new nurse...Susie. She came in and when I told her he was cold, she said, "Well I can take care of that". She went and got what looked like an oversized floor vacuum and attached it to this plastic looking sheet. The machine blew warm air into the sheet for Steve. She also adjusted the recliner so it was lying down almost flat instead of sitting upright. In about 3 minutes, Steve was quiet, still and out like a light. His IV fluids were still hooked up and they'd come in every 1/2 hour to check his B/P and blood sugar. About 2:30, they came and said his blood pressure was bottoming out and they thought it was because he was in TOO deep of a sleep (guess so after 3+ hours in recovery!). They took his warm blanket contraption and made him get up and walk around. At that point, even though he was very tired, you could tell he was more himself.

They got him up one more time, made him drink some coke and got his BP up enough that we were discharged about 4:00. So, as you can imagine, it has been ONE LONG DAY for all of us.

Steve had dinner already (we ordered pizza) and now he's back in bed. I've got to go check on him and make sure he's OK. I'll admit, the issues he had in coming out of anesthesia really got to me because he's never had that reaction before. I doubt he'll make it to work tomorrow, but I probably will...

I'll have to catch you all up later on the parent/teacher conference...


Today's Weigh-In

Well, today was my weigh-in at Weight Watchers...I lost exactly 1 pound and that puts me at a grand total of 14.4. I am .6 pounds away from hitting a big 15! Thanks for all the encouragement. You have no idea how it's helping.

We are about to head to bed as we still have to get up at the same time in the morning to get to the surgery center by 7:30.

Can I ask you all to pray that the stone is visible when they get ready to do the lithotripsy? If they can't see it well, they'll have to do a more invasive procedure and will only be able to get the ONE stone (there are 4-5 other large ones still in the kidney that will not pass without being blasted). If they can do the lithotripsy on the one that's lodged, they can get the others and that will be great to not have to worry about that in the near future.

Thanks to you all and I will update tomorrow afternoon just as soon as I'm' able. And I'll include a little about our parent-teacher conference then too!