About Me

My photo
I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Before & After: 06/23/11

Before (SOOC):

After (edit):

Taken with Canon 5D Markii.  Edited in Paint Shop Pro 9.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jasmine's 4 Year Portraits

Jasmine's 4 Year Portraits are up on my photography blog.  Go check them out and let me know what you think.  Click on the photo below to go to the post.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Heart Faces: "Let's hear it for the boys"

This week's theme for I Heart Faces is in honor of the males in our lives.  After several days of trying to decide which photo to enter I decided on this photo of my Grandpa Jim in my hometown's 4th of July parade all decked out in his army uniform.  Grandpa Jim is a WWII veteran.  He fought the Japanese during wartime and received a purple heart when a hut exploded over his head breaking his eardrums.  After the war he worked with his family farming & ranching, fell in love with and married a nurse, had four children (including my father), and raised them to be hard working, God-fearing men & women.  My grandfather is now 91 years old and is still being lovingly cared for by his sweet wife of 60 years.  He is a man worthy of respect & honor and I love him very much.   Let's hear it for my Grandpa Jim and veterans everywhere!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Heart Faces: "Bright and Vivid"

Jasmine's birthday

Even though I had surgery on Friday, we still wanted to make sure Jasmine's birthday was special.  She woke up at my parent's house and I wished her a happy birthday on the phone.  It was so cute to hear her talk to excitedly about being 4.  My parents brought the girls back home before noon and family gathered to celebrate.  Jasmine had requested a polka-dot cake and I had planned on making with her Saturday.  But since I couldn't, Russ was sweet enough to make the cake for us and I went ahead and frosted it and covered it with the dots.

 Jasmine got a decent stack of gifts from all her adoring fans and she had a great time opening them.  She told me that that was her favorite part of the day. 

She told me her favorite gift was the princess thing but I'm not sure what she's talking about.  After she blew out her candles, while everyone else was eating cake, Jazzy sat quietly and played with her new Strawberry Shortcake play set. 

We had to postpone her special birthday dinner since I wasn't up for going out so later in the week we'll probably take her out to Chili's for mac & cheese like she wanted.  She's also anxious to wear her new birthday dress and go out for her special photo shoot with mommy but that's gonna have to be pushed back a few days as well.  But I think she had a pretty good birthday.  :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday to my Jasmine Jubilee

Four years ago at 3:59 am, after a whoppin' half hour in the hospital...my little Jasmine barged her way into the world.  I was a bit in shock due to the swiftness of her arrival and was a little shaky the first time I held her.  But there was never any doubt that this girl would hold a special place in my heart.

You are such a spunky little four year old!  You definitely march to the beat of your own drummer.  You ARE your own drummer. I love that about you.  I love that you can be so easy going but that you also know who you are and what you want and you don't let yourself be manipulated.  When you smile, it's like watching the heavens light up with stars.  Your giggle is like the sound of sunshine.  It is so funny to watch you because you are a walking contradiction.  So easy-going...yet so stubborn.  Like sunshine...yet you are my moody brooding child.  You are so independent and yet when you want to be you are the most helpful, cooperative darling. 

You really know how to pack a punch.  So much personality in such a small little body!  You have a set of lungs on you and I get sick of hearing you scream but I love hearing you sing to yourself.  You love to play by yourself and tend to withdraw in large groups of people.  You can certainly talk up a storm but if too many people are around, it is nearly impossible to get a peep out of you. 

You love Dora the Explorer, Tinkerbell & sidewalk chalk.  Your favorite color is purple and when you grow up you want to do a little bit of everything! You would spend most of your time outside if I would let you and you currently refuse to wear anything but dresses.  You are Papa's girl and love to go with him on his tractor.  Although you are not a huge fan of Cody, his dog. 

You are incredibly smart but you like to be sneaky about showing it off.  You don't want me to teach you things but you are really learning a lot from watching me teach Eden.  I was so surprised to hear you sound out the words in one of your books last month because I haven't tried to teach you to read but you're obviously learning it all on your own.  Same with writing.  You know how to spell so many words but you don't want my help learning how to write them...just like everything else...you're doing it on your own terms.  That quality is certainly a challenge for me as your mommy but I really do admire that about you and think that it is a quality that will serve you well as you mature especially if you harness that energy for the Lord.

You are such a unique, special girl, Jasmine Jubilee.  I love you so much and am honored to be your mama.  Happy fourth birthday, darling!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My first surgery

So yesterday I had very different plans for the weekend.  I woke up with expectations of totally cleaning my house, laundry, doing some serious grocery shopping, doing some prep work for Jasmine's birthday on Sunday, and then getting cleaned up and going out to dinner at the new Chinese place in town with my hubby (& girls) for our Friday "date night".  This, however, was not to be.

When I got up I had a mild stomachache and just a general yuckiness.  I knew right away that I wasn't gonna be getting much done in way of housework because I just didn't feel up to it.  Russ left for work and I got the girls ready and took Eden & Jasmine to their final day of VBS.  Despite not feeling well I decided to go ahead with my grocery shopping plans since it is so rare to get three free hours with only one child.  I stopped at Russ' work truck for a minute to say 'hi' and see if he wanted me to get him anything for breakfast.  We decided he'd just go ahead & come home for some food in a couple hours.  I went to our local health food store first and got a couple things there we've been needing for sometime and then came home to drop them off since I bought some Coconut Bliss and didn't want it to melt while I was at Walmart.  Acacia & I went there next and normally I would browse a little more since I had the time & freedom to do so but because of how rotten I felt I just got what I needed and left.  As I was loading the groceries into the van my cell phone rang and it was my dad calling to ask if I could pick up some parts for him.  No problem...I went straight there, got his parts and came home.  By the time I made it back to the house at 10:30, I was pretty miserable.  I pulled in the driveway whimpering to myself.  At that moment Laura Story's song 'Blessings' came on the radio.  That really brought on the tears.  It's like I already knew that this was more than just a normal stomachache.  At any rate, I came inside and just tried to get comfortable. But couldn't.

I was pretty sure that what I had was severe gas pain but nothing seemed to bring any comfort.  I asked Russ to come home and he did.  He ended up going and picking up the girls at the church while I sat in the bathroom throwing up water and praying for relief from the pain.  By 1 pm I couldn't take it anymore and told Russ I wanted him to take me to Urgent Care.  I only had to wait for about 15 min but it was the most miserable 15 minutes.  I paced their waiting room with a barf bag and ended up leaving the room to use it once.  I finally got called back by the nurse.  She took my weight, vitals & asked all the usual questions.  The doctor came in and I liked her right away.  She asked all her questions & checked me out and sent in a tech to get my labs.  The tech took two viles of blood and took me to the bathroom for my urine.  Between people I just writhed in the room trying to get comfortable while Russ sat in the van with the girls wondering how I was doing.

When the doctor came back she told me that I wasn't pregnant, that she was confident that I didn't have the flu and that my white count was very elevated and so she was wanting to send me to get a CT scan to find out what was wrong.  She was waiting to confer with a collegue since I didn't have insurance she wanted a second opinion as to whether they thought the CT scan was warranted in my case.  Even though the worst of my pain was on the lower left of my abdomen, it was decided that because of my high white count they wanted to make sure it wasn't my appendix and so got me set up to got to the hospital for a CT scan.  In the meantime they gave me a shot of pain killer in my bottom to give me some relief.

Russ took me to the front entrance of the hospital and dropped me off so he could take the girls home, change a diaper, etc and said to call him when I was finished.  I was checked in and taken to the imaging services lab.
After a short wait I was feeling much, much better as the pain killer they gave me at Urgent Care was doing its thing.  A girl cam out and gave me two bottles of a beverage with contrast that I had to drink for the next hour before the CT scan.  I called Russ and told him what was going on asked him if he could bring my book.  He was kind enough to oblige and I was pleased that I got to read my novel rather than having to watch Dr. Oz or read Prevention magazine for the next hour & a half.   The contrast was supposedly Kiwi Strawberry flavored and while the first few sips were quite tolerable, by the time I got to the second bottle the stuff was just nasty!

When I was almost finished drinking the stuff a young lady came and got me and said that since the lab was running slightly behind she was gonna try to help them out by getting my IV set up.  After two painful tries to get one started in my left arm, she gave up and said that she wasn't much help after all.  I went back to reading my book and before too long CT tech came and got me.  He was super friendly and put me right at ease.  He got me in the scanner, got the IV in my right arm on the first try, and explained the procedure in detail.  The IV delivered a second contrast into my blood stream so they would be able to see those systems as well.  Having that go through my system was such an odd feeling.  It caused a strange sensation in the back of my throat and then a warm sensation that felt like I wet myself but didn't.  Luckily the tech had warned me of these common sensations so I was prepared.  What I wasn't prepared for going through the scan was how dizzy I would get.  I didn't enjoy that at all.  The test was quick and I was quickly sent back out.  The tech left my IV in 'just in case' I'd need it later since I was 'such a tough stick'.  He said that the radiologist should read my scan sometime in the next half hour and give the results to the Urgent Care doctor and that someone should let me know what they find out soon.  I called Russ again and updated him on the progress.  About 20 minutes later the tech was back and told me he had the doctor on the phone and she wanted to talk to me.  Up until this point I was still fairly confident that is was probably no big deal so I was quite disappointed when I heard her say, "You have appendicitis."  In that moment, several waves of thought went through me.  I was scared, I was glad that I went in so early and that I had the CT scan in spite of the cost, and I was just kind of surprised.   For a split second I thought I might cry but I didn't.  I just said, "okay, okay, okay" to everything she & the tech told me.  I was taken upstairs and was told the surgeon would be in to talk to me soon.

By this time it was after 5 o'clock.  I called Russ again, told him what was going on and that I wanted him to find someone to watch the kids so he could come up with me.  He got our neighbor to come over for awhile and he called my parents to tell them what was going on and to have them come up to watch the girls for the night.  The surgeon came and was a petite woman with a tiny voice.  She said that she would be doing a laparoscopic appendectomy and explained what that was.  She said I would be going into surgery about 7 o'clock.  I asked her about being put under and was told that I would be completely under but that I would be taken out of it as soon as the procedure was finished.  I asked her how long the surgery would take and she told me that her fastest time was 6 min but that it could take up to an hour.   Russ got to me shortly after the surgeon left.  We sat & talked for awhile.  I was good to have him there to talk to cause my nerves were starting to kick in a little although I think I was pretty calm on the exterior. 

After that I was asked to change into the hospital gown, was put in a bed and wheeled into pre-op.  Russ was given a pager and he headed home.  My nurse in pr-op was cool.  She hooked me up to some monitors, explained a few things to me and tried to put me at ease.  There was no bathroom up there so I experienced the use of a bed pan for the first time ever.  The anesthesiologist came and talked to me.  I was shivering pretty bad and he got the over all impression that I was nervous and had the nurse give me something to help me relax.  My bladder was so full (even after the bed pan) that I was concerned that I would wet myself but the nurse reassured me that I wouldn't and told me that once I was under they would catheterize me.  I found that strangely comforting.   The worst part for me was that wait between being given the relax meds and being wheeled into the operating room.  I just was super uncomfortable between feeling kind of tired & out-of-it but still being aware and having a very full bladder.  Plus--I was about to go to surgery where someone was gonna stick strange tools inside my body, unattach an organ & remove it from my body.  Not the most relaxing thought.  I remember thinking as they wheeled me down the hall for surgery was that the worst that could happen is that something could go wrong and I'd wake up in heaven.

Having an operation is such a ethereal experience.  They give you drugs, wheel you to a strange room, you are aware of what is going on and what is about to happen but yet within seconds you are dead to the world and all the magic happens without any awareness at all.  Then you wake up and everything is blurry & strange but yet you still sort of know what is going on.  When I woke up in post op, I was so groggy.  I remember several nurses but I couldn't really tell you what they looked like because I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to really see them...but was listening.  I remember hearing one of the nurses explaining what an incredibly healthy patient I was.  She commented on how little paperwork there was on me and how I was 31 and had never had any surgeries before, etc.    I have no idea how long I was in post-op but it seemed to me to be extremely short.

I was taken down to room 242 and Russ, my parents & my girls were waiting down there in the hall.  It was so good to see them but I really had to make an effort to keep my eyes open to look at them because I was still really droopy at that point.  My mom told me they were gonna take the girls home with them but they just wanted to see me before they left.  The nurse told me my dad was there too but I never actually saw him.  They left and I was settled into my room.  My RN's name was Rachel.  I loved Rachel, she was the sweetest nurse ever.  I had her all night.  She brought me a grape popsicle which was all I had had to eat the entire day. After a quick trip home, Russ was given a cot to sleep on and we tried to settle in a little.

I wasn't really in much pain but I couldn't move around much.  Although, the IV gave me way more trouble than my incisions.  I actually got quite a bit of sleep.  I woke up at about 3:30 to go to the bathroom and then I got up just before 6 so that I could have Rachel help me one more time before that staff change.  This morning was much more of a blur.  I began to have a lot more pain around my incisions and in weird places like my shoulder (which the nurse said was probably from the surgery anesthetic.)  I finally got to eat some real food.  I ordered eggs, bacon & toast for breakfast and turkey, stuffing & salad for lunch but I really wasn't able to eat much of it.     The surgeon came in about 7 to talk to me.  I am suppose to go see her in a couple weeks, I guess.  She gave the orders that I was to be released from the hospital after lunch so we spent most of our morning sitting around flipping through the channels on the tv although we both got decent naps in mid-morning.  I got to shower which was awesome.  I was so stinky & gross.  It felt so good to be washed!
Not too long after lunch the nurse came in and gave me my check-out instructions & papers and we packed up and came home.  We got here about 1 o'clock...almost exactly 24 hours after I left the house, I was home again minus one appendix.  :)

My parents still have my girls.  I took a nice long nap this afternoon and I am currently documenting my experience for posterity.  I am certainly sore but I am glad that things went as well as they did.  Things could have been a lot worse.  As it is, it was just a routine appendectomy and I am on the road to recovery in the comfort of my home.

Here are a few photos from the experience:

In my bed this morning.

The stupid IV that gave me so much trouble!  The nurse finally took it out this morning when I couldn't feed myself since I couldn't bend my right arm.

 Me after my wonderful, glorious shower!

Last night's IV drip.

The three small incisions.  The one on the left is the one she pulled  my appendix through.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Before & After: 06/09/11

This photo is nearly a year old and I may have posted it before but I recently reworked the editing on it and wanted to share my new edit.  This is my dad at the lake last year.  I wanted to give it a darker, more pensive look.  Let me know what you think.  Is it too much?

Before (SOOC):

After (edit):

Taken with Canon 5d mark ii.  Edited in Paint Shop Pro 9.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Before & After: 06/02/2011

I know this photo has appeared on my blog a lot recently but I really like how it turned out and I wanted to post it again today so you can see its transformation in today's "before & after" post.

Before (SOOC):

After (edit):
Photo taken with Canon 5d mark ii.  Edit done in Paint Shop Pro 9.