Friday, August 30, 2013

Drew's First Day of First Grade

Drew started first grade on Monday, and he was so excited about it!  He has been counting down the days for the past few weeks.  Drew has really been looking forward to being a "full-day" student and getting to eat lunch and go to recess at school.  I was the first grade teacher at Drew's school for seven years (until Drew was born), and I am excited for Drew to be a first grader this year!
We did a very quick photo shoot on the driveway before we left for school that morning.  I pulled out our little chalkboard easel, wrote a quick title and date in sidewalk chalk, snapped a few photos, and we were off to school.
Here is Drew with his first grade teacher.  We have heard a lot of good things about her, and we are looking forward to a great year.
 We were able to go into Drew's classroom for a few minutes that morning, and we got to see Drew's room (my old classroom) and his desk.
 Maddie was thrilled to find a Curious George in Drew's classroom.
 Drew had a great first day of school!  After school, we met some friends for ice cream at Culver's.  The boys were extremely hyper after their long, busy day at school.
I had Drew lie down to rest for a little while that afternoon when we got home.  He was exhausted!
 We tried to get him up after about an hour, and he did not want to wake up - even when Maddie climbed up on the bed with him and started getting into all of his stuff.
This has been a great first week of school, and we are looking forward to getting into a routine and having a wonderful school year!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Project Life - Week 31

The first few days of this week were spent traveling home from South Carolina.  We took two days to drive home, and on the first day, we stopped in Tennessee at the Museum of Appalachia to eat lunch and walk around a little bit.  While we were inside the little store, my mom found this bonnet for Maddie.  A worker saw Maddie in the bonnet and suggested a coon-skin hat for Drew.  My parents bought each of the kids a hat, and they wore them while they ate their lunches.
 There are peacocks that roam around the grounds, and they were very interested in our food.
 We were surrounded by peacocks!
 Maddie watched some Curious George on her portable DVD player for part of the trip.
 That evening, we stayed in a hotel just north of Cincinnati.  We decided to got to Ikea that evening for dinner and to do a little bit of shopping.  Drew tried out a bed and watched a little bit of baseball.
 Once we got home, my parents stayed with us for a night, and then they drove up to northern Michigan to see some friends for the weekend.  We spent the rest of the week and weekend unpacking and running errands in preparation for my surgery and whatever recovery time I would need after my surgery.  I was able to get a hair appointment one morning, and Jim and I went out for a little date night one of the evenings.  Jim bought me a couple of new scarves that night.
 We also took care of getting all of Drew's school supplies.
 Drew got some new Batman underpants and some new socks and undershirts (not nearly as exciting as the Batman underpants).
That Saturday morning, the children and I went to Ace hardware store to get some paint (they were giving away free quarts of paint).  Drew found a cane while we were waiting, and he was pretending to be The Penguin (one of the Batman bad guys).
 Here's what I did for Project Life this week.  I kept all the pictures at 3x4 inches, and I even did a simple collage about our trip to Ace.  I found the little paper bag in my shopping cart, and thought it would be fun to include it, so I cut it down a bit and then added a bit of the paint chip.
I am linking up again this week at The Mom Creative.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Project Life - Week 30

This week was the week that we spent in South Carolina with my family.  I already blogged the first part of our week here.  Today I am sharing the rest of our week and how I documented it with Project Life.
My parents have a piano, and Drew and Maddie enjoyed playing it several times.
 Everyone went over to my brother and sister-in-law's house after dinner one evening.  Drew had lots of fun with his aunts and uncles.
 My nephew, Ryan, loves cars and construction.  He wore this helmet most of the evening.
 Maddie loved her new baby cousin, Avery!  She kept going over to the swing to check her out.
 I was holding her, and Maddie wanted to be right there, holding and hugging the baby.  She was just fascinated by her!
 We went swimming one afternoon at my parents' subdivision pool.  Drew wore his floaties and was much more confident than he was last summer.  Maddie loved the water!
 My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew met us there.
 My dad took Maddie for a walk one morning, and she fell asleep in the stroller.
 My dad is a college professor, and this past Christmas, David, one of his students (who was from Hawaii and wasn't able to go home for the break) stayed with my parents for about a week.  Drew met David while we were there for Christmas, and the two of them played many hours of Wii together.  David and his mom have now moved to South Carolina, and David came over to see Drew one day while we were in town.  The two of them played many hours of Wii together again!
 My sister was a nanny for a family with 5 children for the past several years, and one of the children is the same age as Drew.  They enjoy playing together when we are in town visiting, so my sister and brother-in-law invited them both over for a sleep-over one night.  They ate pizza for dinner, and then they went home to play Wii and watch a movie.  Drew had so much fun!

 My sister and I met one of my friends and her little girl at a French bakery on Saturday morning.  We had a great time catching up and eating pastries.
 Here's what I did for Project Life this week.  I made a two-page spread!  This was definitely our fullest, most photographed week of the year so far, so I decided to embrace it and go ahead with two pages for this week.
I am linking up at The Mom Creative again this week.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Total Thyroidectomy

I had my thyroid surgery last Tuesday, and it went very well.  I thought I would share my experience for anyone who might be facing thyroid surgery in the future.  The surgery was scheduled for 7:30 in the morning, and we were told to report at the hospital at 6:00.  I was taken right back to be prepped, and during the prep, I had the best iv experience I have ever had.  They numbed my hand before inserting the iv, and it was so quick and painless that way!  Many different members of the surgical team came through to talk to me, and I had to answer a lot of questions (many of them multiple times).  As I talked to the anesthesiologists, I expressed my strong desire to avoid nausea (after a bad anesthesia experience in the past), so they gave me something called "triples" - two pills and a bitter drink and told me that they would also give me something in my iv during surgery.  I was taken to the OR shortly before 7:30, and the last thing I remember was my nurse arranging my arms for surgery.  I wasn't expecting to fall asleep before my surgeon even arrived in the OR, so it was kind of surreal to wake up in recovery afterwards and know nothing of what went on, who was present, or how long it had taken.
My surgery ended up being more tedious than anticipated.  My thyroid was wrapped around my trachea on both sides, so it was difficult to remove.  My nodule was also bigger than expected.  My surgeon said that is was about the size of a golf ball.  He told Jim that it had the word, "Titleist" written on the side.  :)  He was confident that things had gone well, though.
In the recovery room, I got very hot at one point and was feeling a bit panicked, but the nurse removed some of my blankets and fed me a few ice chips, and I started feeling better.  Two of the main possible  thyroidectomy complications are vocal cord damage and calcium deficiency.  I was quite encouraged to find that my voice was pretty strong in recovery.  After a while in recovery, I was taken to my room (I had a nice little private room), where Jim was waiting.  As soon as we got to my room, I climbed off the gurney and went straight to the restroom.  While I was there, I started feeling nauseated.  I got sick once, but I really think that it was more breathing tube related than stomach related.  After that initial sickness, I didn't have any more nausea.  My throat and neck were sore, but it wasn't horrible.  I rested throughout the day, and I used an ice pack on my neck and sipped ice water for my throat.  I ate soup and ice cream for lunch and dinner.  My parents and one of the pastors from our church came up that evening to visit for a little while, and after they left, I was feeling good enough to send Jim home for the night.  I was able to get several hours of sleep that night.
My view from my hospital bed
Wednesday morning, I had a low-grade fever, so the nurses encouraged me to keep drinking lots of water.  My surgeon came in late morning and told me that I could go home.  He encouraged me to take deep breaths and to try to cough.  He said that the fever was because my lungs were trying to readjust after having the breathing tube in there.
Flowers from my parents
I came home from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and have been doing a little better each day since then.  I've managed the pain with Motrin, ice packs, and a heating pad.  My throat pain went away after a couple of days, and my neck pain has gotten considerably better.  I haven't had any calcium issues, but they have me taking Tums 750 three times a day for a month, just to be cautious.
My parents were here for the week of my surgery, and they were a huge help to us!  They cooked, cleaned, ran errands, and took care of the kids and me.  They left Sunday morning, and since then, we've been on our own.  My neck was feeling pretty good by Monday, but I was starting to feel the effects of not having a thyroid.  I was very tired and emotional.  I had not been able to start my hormone replacement medication immediately after surgery because we were waiting on the pathology report.  I was thrilled when my surgeon called Monday afternoon to tell me that the pathology was back and that I did not have cancer!  Later that afternoon, my endocrinologist called to tell me that he had called in my prescription and that I could start my medication Tuesday morning.  I have been amazed at how much better I have felt since I started the medication!
Happy mail from my sister and brother-in-law
I went back to see my surgeon yesterday.  He removed my remaining bandages and told me that everything looks good.  He told me that I could go back to being a normal person.  :)  My neck looks kind of rough, which is to be expected 10 days after surgery, but I have hopes that it will end up looking pretty good after a few months.  Until then, I will be covering my neck with scarves (to hide my scar and to protect it from the sun).  I had bought a few new scarves before my surgery, and my sister and my cousin had each sent me one this week in the mail.  My friend, Kristen, stopped by my house on Tuesday with a big bucket full of scarves that my friends at church had gotten for me.  I was so touched that they would support me in this way!  Their gift made my day week!
Scarves from friends at church
I'm sure I will have more to share about my thyroid journey in the weeks to come, but I wanted to update on my surgery and recovery so far.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Project Life Week - 29

This week was another fun and busy week for us.  Drew helped me make a banana pudding poke cake.  We all liked it a lot!
 Maddie loves to look at books and have us read to her right now.  She likes to sit in her little chair and read.
 We stopped at Dairy Queen after church on Wednesday night, and Jim got a smoothie.  Maddie loved Jim's smoothie and pretty much stole what remained in his cup when we got home.
 Maddie gets herself into all kinds of trouble.  I heard her crying and came into the living room to find her stuck, feet up, between the couch and the end table.
 We ate dinner at Applebee's on Thursday with a gift card that Jim's cousin sent us, and it was an evening of discoveries for my children.  Drew declared their grilled cheese sandwich to be the best ever.  He said, "I'm not trying to be mean, Mommy, but this grilled cheese is better than the ones you make."
 Maddie discovered ketchup that evening, and she is a huge fan now.  She likes to dip things in ketchup and then suck the ketchup off whatever she dips.  She might never eat a french fry again - just use it as a vessel for ketchup.
 Drew had VBS at our church every morning this week, and he loved it.  Here he is with the prizes he earned with the points he got throughout the week.
 We decided part-way through the week to take a last-minute trip to South Carolina before my surgery, so I rushed around to get my pre-op appointment at the hospital taken care of and to get everything packed.  Maddie entertained herself by getting into things, as usual.  One of her new favorites is emptying her sock basket.
 Jim had to run an outing Saturday morning, and I had a baby shower to go to, so we weren't able to leave for our trip until Saturday afternoon.  That morning, as I was getting ready for the baby shower, Jim called to say that he had burned himself as he was lighting a big, old grill at work.  He made it sound like it wasn't too bad, just some singed eyebrows and slight burns.  I was shocked to come home from the shower and find him with his arm all bandaged up.  He had a second-degree burn on his hand and some burns on his arm and nose.  He had to go to urgent care and get bandaged up.  He also had to have a tetanus shot, and we had to stop at CVS on our way out of town to pick up an antibiotic and some burn cream for him.  He did fine on the trip, and is pretty well healed now, thankfully.
 The kids slept for a good part of the afternoon, and we made it to Cincinnati in time to meet my parents for dinner.  We stayed in a hotel in Cincinnati on Saturday night, and then Jim left Sunday morning to come back home, and we went on to South Carolina with my parents.
 Here is what I did for Project Life this week.
I am linking up again at The Mom Creative.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Project Life - Week 28

I got this first picture by text from a friend who was working in Maddie's nursery during church.  These two are just a couple months apart in age, and they play together in the nursery a lot.  They were taking turns pulling each other around in the wagon. 
 I had two doctor appointments this week, and Jim's mom kept the kids for the first appointment.  Drew spent the night and most of the following day at her house, having what he called, a "dude and grandma night."  He had lots of fun!
 Maddie has been waking up from her naps before she really should lately, and she is sometimes still tired and cranky.  She will often fall back asleep on our laps.  She isn't usually a very cuddly girl, so we enjoy the extra snuggles.
 Drew and Maddie can play great together sometimes, and then, sometimes, they really fight!  Maddie was pretty upset at Drew and kept pushing him away.
 Drew lost another tooth this week.  Maddie was wearing some pants that have pictures of ice cream and candy on them.  Drew was pretending to eat them, and Maddie somehow knocked his loose tooth out in the process.  He keeps telling people that Maddie knocked his tooth out with her bottom.
One night after Maddie went to bed, Jim, Drew, and I played several rounds of Uno.
 Friday was Chick-Fil-A's "Cow Appreciation Day," where if you dress like a cow, you can get a free meal.  Our only Chick-Fil-A is about 30 minutes away at Oakland University.  I had never been to this Chick-Fil-A before, but I decided to dress us all up as cows and drive up there for lunch.  Since it is summertime, there weren't very many people on campus at all, but I still felt a bit conspicuous as we walked across campus in our cow outfits.  When we arrived at the food court, the workers were so excited to see us.  We were the ONLY cows that had come that day.  We got our free lunch (it was SO good to eat Chick-Fil-A!), and we enjoyed it very much.  Drew did not enjoy being called, "cute" and and "adorable" by all the women there.
 We continued our cow theme by driving out to a dairy farm to see the cows.
 The kids loved seeing the little calves.
 We were going to get ice cream at the dairy, but I hadn't thought to bring cash, and all they took was cash!  We had to get some ice cream closer to home.
We had a fun week, and here's what I did for Project Life this week:
I am linking up at The Mom Creative.
I would appreciate your prayers this week.  I am having surgery to have my thyroid removed this morning.