Happy Halloween 2013

A bit formidable weather was forecast for Halloween evening, so Halloween was changed.

Yeah, that is a bit weird to just change Halloween, but alas that is what our city did. They moved it from Thursday to Friday. We decided to be hardcore and keep with Halloween on Halloween.

This year, my kiddos prolonged and delayed costume choosing. For weeks they change their minds 100 times. Finally, I began to get the same answer from Daniel, but it was something that just made no sense costume wise: “Spooky Man” or “Cooky Man,” I can’t really recall. I just knew I had no clue what that looked like. Finally, the day of Halloween, costumes were chosen and arranged very last minute. We ended up with a vampire and an old man. Both were extremely happy with their choice (initially old man had some dental issues, but those were quickly left behind at home).

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For a special dinner, we went to Outback because they were offering free kid meals. Before we arrived to eat, we managed to squeeze in our first trick-or-treating spot and picked up Grandma to go with us.

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While in the car, I snapped a few more good ones of the trick-or-treaters:

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daddy halloween

My brother Damien, completely last minute,  joined us for dinner. He convinced me to order a filet cooked medium, since it would be the most chewable thing for me to consume, and I have to say it was beyond magnificent. Truly so very good!  So, in case you are wondering, my jaw can tolerate steak, should it happen to be a filet. I’ll just sing a little praise though that he paid for dinner, hence the official ordering of the filet (thanks bro!).

Outback had yummy food for all actually, and since the kiddos were free, they managed to convince us to allow them to have a “creepy crawler shake” which was a special just for Halloween. We, on a night created for consumption of sugar, made them share. They inhaled it and had no issues with eating the gummy worms off the top or with sucking it down within such close proximity of one another. It was actually incredibly cute to see them drink it up so swiftly, while in costumes.

shake boysWhen we got home, even though the weather was gusty with winds and eventually torrential rain and tornado warnings later at night, there was a period of decent calm, and we hit the streets for trick-or-treating, cause Halloween is Halloween and that day worked best for life and our kinda crazy schedules. We only hit about 8 houses, and each family was super excited to see us but also very surprised because we were the first ones all night. Some of our neighbors were even opening their bags of candy for the first time and gave us way more than they should have out of sheer pleasure of seeing their first trick-or-treater. Most even told us to come back tomorrow, for the new official night, but we’ve got more than our needed allotment of candy, so we’ll just stay in tomorrow and carve our pumpkin that we didn’t get to tonight.

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I hope that you enjoyed your Halloween, should you have celebrated it hardcore on the true night like us. If you bumped it up or back, I still wish you the same :o)

(side note: Wesley looks like he has a tremendous amount more than Daniel, and actually he does have more. Daniel walked all of his Reese’s Peanut Butter cups over to his brother and said he didn’t want them or like them, while simultaneously dumping them into Wesley’s pile. I was astounded. I mean, if I am going to pick something out of those piles, I would choose just that. Who wants a stupid Starburst? Turns out that was the one candy both boys chose as their piece to eat tonight before taking showers/baths and heading to bed. Baby girl and I ate two small Reese’s, cause it just so happens those are pretty edible with a bit of lingering jaw issues :o)

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

I was able to go on a field trip with Daniel’s class on Friday. Due to all the life circumstances, being as involved this year or visiting as much as I have wanted has just not been possible, so I was extremely grateful to manage chaperoning.

It was cold!  When I walked outside in the morning to meet my ride to the school, my rose bush greeted me looking like this:

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(Side note: this picture reminds me of a song by Nichole Nordeman that we played at our wedding, Every  Season)

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My camo crew!

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Classmates!

I had sent Daniel to school in one coat, but managed to dig out his big winter coat before arriving for the field trip, and I am glad I did because it sure was frosty and chilly all day long. His camo coat happened to be a match with the kiddos from his class assigned to my group for the trip. They were so cute and it made it extremely convenient to keep an eye on my group the entire time of craziness and fun!Thankfully the only people at the pumpkin patch were with our school and visibility was good the entire time, but the camo sure did help!

We actually live *extremely* close to the pumpkin patch that we visited for the trip (just about 2 miles) and it is on the farm of a friend and former classmate of Daniel’s, so we have visited several times in the past and even once this year with our friend Kelley and her son Carver, a trip for which Wesley could attend too.  But it was nice just to be with my first born, sans his little brother, and see Daniel in his social element and spend more time with the little lives that are his friends and classmates.

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Time with my boy!

We did a hay ride and a corn maze and the kiddos had tons of free play with the hay bales, ride toys, corn box and cow milking station. As I stood back with other parents and teachers, watching the kids play, we all were amazed at how they weren’t too cold, even though we were freezing. It was also quite nice to see their imaginations run wild while the boys played “zombie attack” in the hay maze while wallowing all over one another and the girls were swinging in the swings, clapping hands and singing rhymes while giggling their heads off. It makes me a little excited to get a taste of the girl world soon!

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I love this picture! He’s just looking for all the sights on the hay ride and the sun is shining down so perfectly

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Innovative!

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Decisions, decisions……

Our classroom had two dad chaperones, which was nice. I love when Daddies get involved. It is just interesting, too, seeing how different Dad chaperones are over Mom chaperones. Here, Brody’s Dad offers all the kids a drink of water, by pouring it in their mouths like little birds. Ha!

Each kid was able to choose a pumpkin to take home. I really thought Daniel was *never* going to choose a pumpkin. I actually had to give him a count down, “You have until the count of 10 to choose your pumpkin.” It worked, and we brought home a pumpkin to add to the ones the kids painted last weekend.

All in all it was a great, even if cold, time together and with other first graders.

Hello First Graders!

Hello First Graders!

Becoming Free

As many of you already know, I am wire free! Since I am still dealing with some pain, stiffness, sensitivity, and awkwardness, mostly all pertaining to my right side of my jaw where I had one of my two breaks, I have as of today been assigned some physical therapy to help with healing. But as my new saying has become, “This is always going to win over being wired!” It isn’t hard to trump how you feel when you spent 7 weeks not being able to open your mouth, eat real food, or see your own tongue.

My process of getting free comes with a good story, and as my cousin told me the other day, “That Wordless Wednesday of yours is fine and all, but I like your words,” so I am going to get this post made before I am too far removed from the moment of freedom. It’s been a great two weeks of soft foods and teeth brushing, but let’s rewind to the removal day:

1391875_10151620542076765_1446051385_nThe night before removal, I posted my full bling for all of Facebook to see. It seemed fitting to give those that had not had the opportunity to see me in person a bit of a glimpse. Basically they just look like someone got confused and put my braces too high, but those babies were not comfortable and they completely restricted my jaw movement for almost two months.

Bright and early the day after, we headed to the hospital for surgery. All typical routines that need to occur before a surgery were performed and all the staff and nurses were excited with me and baby girl for our big day.

My anesthesia team came in to talk. I wanted to completely understand why this process required me to “go under” and they did a great job of explaining why this was our best option.

Once convinced this was truly the best approach, they team began to say the two options they had for putting a tube into me to help with sedation and the surgery process. One was to insert the tube into my mouth and the other was to use my nose.  Our conversation continued like this (keep in mind I am still fully wired and muffled in speech)

Me: “I have read on the Internet that I will only be able to open my mouth this far” (picture me showing about half an inch between my pointer finger and thumb)

Anesthesiologist: “Well, that may be true, but we will never know unless we try, and I would like to try first, since down your throat would be the best option.”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m really scared of trying honestly.”

Anesthesiologist: “It’s worth a try though. We’ll have the surgeon come in and cut the wires and then you will open and we will make a decision before sedating you.”

Me: “Ok, I guess that makes sense”

And then we continue on with more pre-surgery information, only to have me interrupt him and say boldly, “I’m not going to do it! Just put me under through my nose and then take it all off. I’m scared of how much it will hurt, so just do the nose. Please.” He kindly responds, “I understand, but I still think we should try and see. You just never know, okay?”

And then I am blinded by the removal of my glasses, given a kiss from my dear husband, and briskly wheeled away off to the surgery room.

Once in the sterile and cold room, everyone begins their fantastic treatment of me and baby girl. We’re kept warm, encouraged, situated nicely, and all matters in between. Everything is ready for sedation but they can’t proceed until they know the pathway of mouth or nose, so the wires need to be cut. We wait and wait, since the surgeon is who they want to cut them and he is not present yet (typically they wait until sedation to show).

Minutes pass and finally the resident appears to cut my wires, using what have to be the largest and most unnecessary wire clamps/cutters ever. It actually kinda hurts because my teeth are extremely sensitive, and I begin to mentally thank the anesthesia team for recommending full sedation. Finally, the 5-6 sets of wires attached to top and bottom arch bars are all removed, and as the anesthesia team, the surgery techs, and the resident surgeon peer over me from above, I hear the words, “Okay Summer, time to open your mouth!”

Now, rather than being sealed tight with wires, my jaws are clenched with fear. Without opening my mouth, I say, with teeth still fully compressed upon one another, “No. I can’t. I am scared. It will hurt too much. Just put me under. I’m scared.” Then I begin to cry.

They burliest man in the room, completely tatted up, gently grabs my hand. An anesthesia nurse wipes my tears. All six faces looking down on me from above begin to encourage me. So, with great trepidation, I open my mouth. And it is at that point that I think angles sang the Halleluiah Chorus from above and I lift the top teeth away from my bottom. It was magical and surreal.

“Is that as far as you can go Summer? Open as wide as you can for us” says someone in the room.

I hesitate.

“Come on, you can do it; try to open as wide as you can” they all echo kindly, flashing smiles of encouragement my way.

And then I do it, I open as wide and as far as I possibly can. In my head, I’ve opened this far, and I am quite proud of myself:

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But the next words I hear are “It’s nose; come on let’s get started,” and nearly everyone but tattooed hand holder scrambles away and begins prep. He leans down and whispers to me, “I am going to have to let your hand go because I have to get to work. You did great!” With that hand now free, I began to move it towards my mouth, since my other arm and hand contained my IV and other medical necessities that made it precarious to move. It was at that point I realized I had truly only opened my mouth this wide:

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That’s right, I basically didn’t. I couldn’t even get my pointer finger fully in my mouth. It was ridiculous. Immediately, I began to laugh at myself, for my mental vision of what I thought I had done and what the true reality was were very far apart. This realization brought me to laugh hysterically at myself, the kind of laugh where your belly kind of shakes and your mouth smiles big. Laughing so large actually hurt my jaw, so the chuckles of laughter were quickly replaced with some moans of pain. Next thing I knew, I was out like a light and the surgery had begun.

I then traded my arch bars and wires for a more socially acceptable look:

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This is a “selfie” taken the day after surgery for removal.

After seven weeks, it was great to be free.

About four days later after surgery, I was able to go to church and have many from my church family celebrate with me. While in Sunday School class, we took time to study from the book of John. In John chapter 5, Jesus is in Jerusalem and travels to a pool where the sick would go for healing. There, he encounters a man who had been sick for 38 years (John 5:5). Jesus asks a question of the man, while he lay on a mat near the ‘healing’ waters, “‘Do you want to get well ?'” (v6). Not knowing he was speaking with Jesus, the man explains how he has no one to put him into the pool when the waters are bubbling and ready to heal the lame, sick, and blind. Next thing you know, Jesus tells the man “‘Get up, pick up your mat and walk!”

Want to know what the man does after 38 years of being sick and on the mat? Does he sit there and tell this guy in front of him that he can’t do it? Proclaim that he is too scared? Explain again and again that likely, after all that time and atrophy, his legs aren’t going to work right and slow is likely the best approach? Nope. Instead, here is what transpired right after Jesus’ command in verse 9:

Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk

That’s right, he just moved with faith and did as he was told, without hesitation, and accepted his healing.

After reading this familiar story so shortly after my events, I gained an even greater depth to the account. I couldn’t even open my mouth after 7 weeks. I actually uttered my first few sentences wire free in the same condition I was before my freedom, through fixated jaws and clenched teeth. I only had 7 weeks of my confinement ,and here, after 38 years, the man just embraced his healing, obeyed, and walked. That my friends is beautiful, for I know he could have said a million and one reasons why it wasn’t a good idea. He could have made excuses. He could have asked for a few minutes to think on it and he could have just sat there for a bit and begin doing small movements and work slowly up to walking—-but he didn’t. He responded immediately.

God wants to heal us of so many things, yet often I think our own fear of following through keeps us on the ground, as in the case with the man in the book of John, or keeps us with clenched teeth, as in my case. We know we need to forgive someone, yet it feels good to grow bitter. To find that freedom takes some work, and we are scared to start the conversation, and we feel justified in our hate. Situations like this serve to show why Christ asked the question “‘Do you want to get well?'” Too many of us enjoy our misery. We like the comfort of our old ways. We appreciate being able to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve been with the affliction, hateful spirit, or image of ourselves for so long, we’d just prefer to stay that way. But imagine the scene, his and mine, if we didn’t finally take the freedom and healing. What if he just sat there? What if I just continued these past few weeks to keep my teeth together? Our situations would not have changed any, but this time, instead of disability and circumstance keeping us there, it would have been pure choice. Misery is never good, but it is certainly worse and extremely compounded when you choose to be there.

So, take the freedom, preferably immediately, but if you say a few sentences before you embrace it, that’s better than a chosen prolonged imprisonment.

20131009-201046.jpgChoose freedom, and then you will be able to eat your best meal in at least 7 weeks, even if it takes you 45 minutes to eat one pancake. One slowly eaten pancake is always going to be better than drinking everything through a straw.

LAST DAY WIRED

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My sister-in-law made these for me. The kiddos have really enjoyed moving one over each day.

Today is my last full day with a wired jaw! I am so glad it has finally come. When week one was finished, week 7 seemed so far away (actually at the time of writing that, I thought it was only going to be 6 weeks!). The day I came home and had to move pebbles out of the “Almost There” container and back into the “Days Till Mommy Can Talk To Us Again” container was hard, but now, THERE IS JUST ONE LEFT!

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THERE IS ONLY ONE LEFT!

Tomorrow, all too dark and early, we will head to the hospital for my removal surgery. Unfortunately, removal of the arch bars (the part that looks similar to braces high up near my guns) have to be surgically removed. I could technically cut the wires right now with my wire cutters, and have access to my own tongue for the first time in 7 weeks,  but even if I did, the arch bars would still be there.

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This is/was a typical breakfast. I was told not to take my vitamins today, and I have to go on an empty stomach tomorrow, so unless I just decide to finish them off for the sake of not being wasteful, I’ve had my last dose of liquid vitamins.

From what we are told, it is a fast procedure, but still, it is a surgery, and I am pregnant, so I appreciate all thoughts and prayers. The alternatives to avoiding complete sedation are not much better for me/baby or simply not viable (such as leaving them in until after delivery—ummm hello serious gum infections!). The process is set to begin at 8AM but they want me there the standard 2 hours early, and we have around a 40 minute drive, so we need to leave the house by around 5 AM to also account to parking and walking to the correct hospital location. Yes, it is early, but this is good for several reasons: 1- I go less time on Wednesday wired 2-I go less time on Wednesday without food 3-I get to “sleep” anyway when I get there during the surgery 4-I get plenty of time to wake up and get ready for my pancakes from Cracker Barrel that I plan to eat for lunch.

I am keeping my eating expectations low. Side note: my brother-in-law and I are looking to get that on a t-shirt: “Low Expectations are Key to Life.” Let me know if you want to add a shirt to the order :0).

I think in this situation, low expectations are key, cause I certainly don’t want to be the crazy  customer sitting at the dining table crying because 1-I can’t open my mouth 2-It hurts to eat 3-Who knows why, just felt like a good cry. If I only expect a a bite or two at start, when I eat 5 bites, I will feel accomplished. Plus, having a gift card will help me feel slightly less wasteful if I can’t manage much.

I keep trying to think of the feelings I felt when I had my full leg cast removed in college. I was unable to bend my leg for a full 6 weeks, and when the time finally came to saw that bright orange cast off my left leg, I remember looking at it, hairy from not shaving it and atrophied from lack of muscle use. When I first bent it, it was so surreal and very stiff. Weeks later, years later, I ran races, marathons, began Crossfitting, hiked mountains, and basically just walked on it day to day with no issue. The muscles on that leg always looked a bit different, although you couldn’t see it unless I pointed it out. Sometimes, when the weather fronts change, I can feel pressure on the break points that can sometimes be a little painful and annoying. I’ve always heard though that a broken bone grows back stronger in the spot of the break, due to the build up of excess calcium and such to repair the break. It’s not invincible by any means, but it is just less likely to ever break there again, due to the extra thickness from repair (and I’ve got 4 spots on that left leg of mine! One from when I was 3, that didn’t break again upon the second injury, and 3 from the injury sustained from my friend Eric). I think this theory kept my leg from breaking in the wreck, cause that left leg of mine was the most stuck and had a large size bump/bruise right at the spot of my previous breaks. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” so stronger it was, thus giving me one less intense injury. I’m trying to take some of those ideas and apply them to my jaw/teeth/gums. Slow and easy at the start, acceptance of having to do things a little differently for a bit, perhaps some location pain during certain temps or times, possibility of things looking/being a bit different forever, and a time consuming building back of muscles and strength. I also have a little plate of metal to go with this accident, which will stay, so that will make for fun stories at the dentist!

The boys are very excited for me. I am excited for me. Thomas is excited for me. Baby GIRL is excited for US (she gets some benefit in all this too you know!), and I know you are excited for me. 

Look for perhaps a “Wordless Wednesday” post tomorrow that shows me with my mouth open :o)

Baby News: We’re having a baby……

Well, there are only two ways in which this one could go. We’re having a GIRL!

Sharing the news to those we love was so fun. Everyone is excited. We are happy to also say that the baby seemed to show signs of good health. After the wreck and the surgery (and soon to be another) I can’t even begin to say how great this news is. Also, despite the fact I am not even back up to my pre-pregnancy weight at 21 weeks pregnant, baby V #3 is measuring 20-21 weeks in size. Somehow she is growing as she should, praise God!

My dear friend Dawn and her family kept the boys happy while Thomas and I went to the ultrasound appointment and a pre-op appointment for my jaw. We had to be in the big city so early in the morning that they kiddos actually stayed the night.
She is also a pretty fabulous cake maker so after the stubborn little one showed us her gender for a fleeting moment (the ultrasound tech actually had to rewind the footage and pause it to snag the split second where she gave us a peek) Dawn quickly threw together some pink cupcakes with white icing and pink/blue swirls for us to use to help share gender with the boys.

We took the cupcakes over to my mom’s house. She is still feeling weak from her first chemo treatment but we wanted to let her be surprised right along side the boys.

Turns out, pink cupcakes connecting to a baby sister on the way was exactly what both brothers wanted, and their little faces prove it (I also love that Wesley’s hand is a little fuzzy because he was wiggling it back and forth with excitement!)
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We also called some family members, texted some close friends (this wired jaw gal still isn’t one to want to chat on the phone yet), and then we posted our exciting news to social media before the night was over. Seeing all the mutual celebration in the virtual world is quite fun!

Here’s to a few more months of gestating baby girl—-and to deciding upon a name!