Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 - year in review

I'm going for the worst-blogger-ever award - here's our family's 2014 news, 366 days later than my post from our 2013 news. Maybe I'll get my act back together this year.....
Ah yes, another year has passed on by with many memories! Here are some of our highlights:
Tom continues to work for Shell. He’s travelled a lot for work this year, mostly to-from Houston, but also some international travel. Maggie was able to join him in June on a trip to Boston to check out Harvard and MIT. He really enjoyed a solo trip to Big Bend in Texas during Mardi Gras holidays. He managed to do some hiking and some further genealogy study (a relative of his was the first anglo female teacher there).
I “graduated” physical therapy in February and continue to be quite pleased with my new hip. I’m back into my yoga and pilates classes and continue with the various strengthening exercises to keep everything in check. I continue to participate in a weekly Bible study – this year we’re studying prophecy which has never been a love of mine, but I am learning more every week. The girls and I traveled to North Carolina over the Mardi Gras holidays. Dad and I took Maggie to visit Georgia Tech and Duke while mom and Abby enjoyed being at their house, out of the cold! Abby and I went to North Carolina to celebrate my aunt’s life after she finished her life here. And I enjoyed a week on my own in North Carolina in September celebrating my cousin’s marriage. Welcome to the crazy family Katie!
Maggie is getting ready to graduate this spring, enjoying all the fun activities of senior year along with maintaining her grades. She’s completed her college applications and will hear back in the spring. Meanwhile she’s enjoyed her Ring Dance, Homecoming, and her Neat & Sweet winter dance. She also was awarded and athletic scholar award by the state athletic association for cross country. I was able to make the day-trip to Nacitoches to both see the team run in the meet and her to earn her award.
Abby is in her second year at the high school as a freshman. She worked for the JCC summer camp this summer for the first time. She also enjoyed trips to Los Angeles, Galveston, and North Carolina this summer. She chose not to run cross country this year but instead picked up piano lessons again. She’s starting track practice this week as well.  And she’ll take driver’s ed the week after  Christmas – how has time passed so quickly?
As a family we enjoyed a trip to Concan, TX for Thanksgiving with the Webb family. We rented a huge beautiful home on the Frio River and enjoyed several days of visiting, eating, and enjoying each other’s company.

My parents will join us for Christmas this year. Tom plans to spend the week after with his brothers hunting. And that will see us into what promises to be a busy 2015 as well!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Annual Note

Here's the recap of the year from our family.  Happy New Year to all!

2013 has been another crazy busy year as they all seem to be.  I imagine you all kept as active and involved as any of us did!
Tom continues working for Shell.  He’s back into a technology-forecasting role which he seems to enjoy.  The travelling part of the job, not so much, though most of it is now domestic rather than international.  He’s also been joining me at the gym a couple times a week.  And he took a road-trip with one of his brothers to visit his mom and then he and Harriett headed to Iowa for a few days – they both enjoyed their time together!
Maggie’s a junior this year.  In March she passed her driving test and drove herself to school about 20 minutes later.  I hadn’t thought I’d be so happy to have a kid driving!  During the summer she went on a college-tour with friends from school and returned with a better idea of what sorts of campuses she’s going to pursue.  She also went to a running camp for a week and, despite a season-ending injury this fall continues to enjoy both cross-country and track.  She also worked for the third summer as a camp counselor at the JCC summer camp. 
Abby completed her grammar school years and commenced at high school for 8th grade this fall.  She was persuaded to join the cross-country team by her sister and found that she not only enjoys running but was also quickly improving – until she, too, had a season-ending injury (both girls were in PT at the same time/same place!).  She’s made many new friends and has also kept a few of her grammar school ones too.  Her high school adjustment as gone extremely well and I’m so pleased she’s enjoying it.  Abby spent three weeks this summer at an academic + fun camp at Southern Miss studying Anatomy/Physiology.  It was her first time away so long and she learned a lot of practical skills (laundry) as well.  I was thankful that I could go visit her each Sunday afternoon!
A couple months ago I realized that aside from visiting Abby at camp I haven’t left “home” this year!  I thoroughly enjoyed a week at home alone while everyone else was gone, however.  I suppose my biggest accomplishment this year is that I had my hip replaced in November.  I’m so thankful that my mom could come help for 4 weeks and that Dad was able to join us for Thanksgiving.  I’m also thankful for no complications and, so far, an extremely smooth recovery. 

We were home this year for Thanksgiving for the first time since we moved here and plan to travel to Texas after Christmas to spend some time with Tom’s family.  We all hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

4 weeks in.....

What an amazing 4 weeks!  I continue to slowly ramp up activity and exercise and am thrilled with the progress.  Frustrated at times as well.  But I notice now that I often "forget" that I've had the surgery and automatically try to do something "normal" (but am often thwarted by an inability to move a certain way!).  Here's the bullet-point check list:

  • I'm back at the gym on the days I don't have PT!  Riding the bike, doing strengthening exercises, and yesterday I added back in some of my "normal" upper-body moves
  • I'm doing almost all my normal household activities.  I still don't quite trust myself to carry the laundry basket when it's full, so I drag it around with the handy ropes Tom attached.  
  • I'm not walking quite as fast as I once did.  Working on it.  Mom also commented that my stride is a bit off.  Working on that as well.
  • I have not been in any pain in the hip as I was before -- any discomfort has been with the incision (still healing) or just soreness around everything that was cut into.
  • I've gone the past 2 days with absolutely NO CANE USE.  It's currently sitting in the back seat of my car "in case" I get tired and need it.
  • My replacement was done from an anterior approach (front of my left hip).  It's a newer approach that provides a faster recovery and fewer long-term restrictions on movements.  My current restrictions are that I'm not to lift my leg too far behind me or point my toes outwards and lift to the side.  Unlike the more traditional side/posterior incisions I have no restrictions on bending forward to do things like put on my socks and tie my shoes.
  • The incision itself is just under 5 inches long and healing well.  It's still sensitive so I continue to wear yoga pants on most days.  Any excuse to be comfortable!
  • Compression tights need a fashion make-over -- they're widely available in white.  Sometimes "flesh".  Why not something cute?

In other news, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I figured out it's the first time I've hosted the holiday in the 9 years we've lived in this house.  Loved being home!  And I got to see the entire OSU/Michigan game (every other year we've been travelling that Saturday).  It wasn't a pretty game and I'm appalled at the fighting etc. but thankful for the win.  Mom and dad stayed through the game, leaving soon afterwards to begin their journey home.  Mom had been here for one day short of 4 weeks!  She's been absolutely great and I cannot thank her enough.

Now we're gearing up for the Christmas season.  The house is decorated, the shopping is somewhat started.  The girls both have their winter dances this coming weekend -- Abby's is Friday night and Maggie's is Saturday.  How'd they get so old?  Then one more week of school and then exams.  Time continues to rush by.

Hope you have time to slow down a bit and enjoy the joy of the season!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mostly about Me this Time!

So this week has been a lot-more-than-normal-about-me.  The girls both got through their first quarter of school quite well academically.  Physically both are currently in PT -- Maggie for a stress injury to her foot.  Abby wore a boot for 3 weeks for a stress injury to her ankle.  I'm thankful they're progressing in recovery and became resigned to missing the bulk of cross-country season.  Both were running strongly and continuing to improve their times when injury hit.  They should be back in the game for track season.

We also enjoyed a visit with Tom's step-mom Kay.  She came over from Houston for a visit and to attend Grandparent's Day at the high school both girls now attend.  It was a good visit.  She ended up "having" to stay an extra day as there were no flights available -- we made the best of it.  We'd planned to go see a movie, but Abby fell ill at school with a headache and nausea so we ended up watching her most of the day.  Kay continued her trip to California where my sister-in-law just welcomed her fourth child -- a boy!  Exciting news and he's both cute and big!  Plans in place to visit with them over Christmas.

Now to about me.  November 5 was my scheduled surgery for hip replacement after about 3 years of steadily increasing pain and an attempt to further delay the replacement with arthroscopic surgery last October.  I had pre-op on October 31 and was able to meet with all the necessary players as required.  Sunday morning the 3rd the girls and I attended the mother-daughter luncheon-fashion show sponsored by their school.  It was quite fun and we all enjoyed it.  Later that evening my mom arrived to help us all out.  She and I had a fun day Monday -- attending my regular yoga class, grocery shopping, and passing on the few instructions that I had.  

So Tuesday morning I was to be at the hospital for 8am.  The girls left for school normal time and Tom, mom and I headed to the hospital for the typical check-in-then-wait-a-long-time.  They took me away around lunch and I saw on the clock that I was wheeled into surgery at 1ish.  Next thing I recall is being rolled to my hospital room with Mom and Tom welcoming me at the end of the hall.  All had gone well, no scary surprises.  Tom went home to get the girls and they came back for a visit.  Great to see my babies!  Mom spent the night with me as Tom had early calls Wednesday morning.

Wednesday didn't start off too well -- the PT folks came and I was extremely dizzy and seeing stars and my blood pressure was horribly low (80/38) even for me who tends to run low.  They were able to get me standing and moved out of bed onto a chair in the morning.  A blood count was taken and I ate, drank, and rested the bulk of the day.  In the afternoon after the second PT session (which went much better!) a couple friends came by for a short visit bearing chocolate.  Mom went home to be with the girls and Tom spent the night.

Thursday was a great day -- I came home!  So nice to be home, even though is was a somewhat rough night with back discomfort and an inability to get comfortable.

Friday was BUSY.  The home-care nurse came in the morning for assessment (basically, I really don't need a regular nurse to come daily as the stitches are all the dissolving kind and I'm pretty mobile all things considered).  In the afternoon the PT gal came for her assessment -- I'm getting around pretty well, she gave me some exercises and showed me how to safely climb the stairs if I have to (my bedroom is downstairs so I don't have to).  PT will come three times a week.  Then the Occupational Therapist came (the girls were home from school by this time and Maggie's comment about there being health care folks in the house was that I was "old").  My main question for her was how to wash my hair as I'm not to shower for 2 weeks (don't worry, I am washing!).  Answer -- carefully lean over the sink with help.  She left her number but again, I'm pretty mobile and she won't come regularly.

Today's been a great day.  I'm swollen and that's uncomfortable but my hip doesn't hurt at all.  Both babies went to a homecoming dance this evening and looked lovely all dressed up.  I was "allowed" to help Abby with straightening her hair and doing her nails -- not a bad job if I say so myself!

Overall, I'm happy with the procedure -- my hip pain (aside from swelling and some around the incision) is lower than it's been in well over a year.  My incision is in the front which is a newer technique and results in a faster recovery and fewer long-term restrictions on movement.  My only "complaint" is the side-effects of the medications and that kind of stuff.  Frustrating but typical.  

And I'm so thrilled my mom is here!  We knew she'd take care of the grocery, cooking, laundry, etc. but she's really stepped up and even washed my hair (though I did have to teach her proper technique for washing long hair).  She's just happy that she can load my dishwasher without me complaining about her (lack of) skill in that area.  Yep, I'm picky about my dishwasher.

In any even, I hope and pray that any surgery you EVER have is as successful on day-4 as mine has been!

Couple pics:

my walker -- the one in the background was temporary as it was marginally too tall for me.  The one I'd borrowed from my aunt was too short.

My leg-wear for the first two weeks -- compression hose.  Sure to impress all the guys!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Radio Silence is Over....

I'm a horrible blogger -- not enough photos and certainly not enough posts!  At least here's a brief update:

Tom continues working for Shell.  He enjoyed some holiday time this summer with his brother and then a road-trip with his mom.  We've been going to the gym weekly together and enjoying the time together.

Maggie has started her junior year (well, since they're currently in first quarter exams I suppose technically she's 1/4 way thru it!).  She went on a college tour this summer (offered thru the school) and fell in love with George Washington University.  I'm hopeful she continues to be a successful student and earn a great scholarship wherever she ends up going.  She volunteered at the JCC summer camp again this past summer and participated in a running camp for one week.  She was enjoying cross country season and has improved immensely but unfortunately is currently suffering from a foot injury.  We're back to the orthopedist today.  Sigh.

Abby began 8th grade at high school this year.  She's also been running cross country but she too has an injury -- stress injury to her ankle -- and is currently serving her second week in a lovely boot.  She's made a really smooth transition to a large all-girls school from a small co-ed grammar school and is enjoying what it has to offer.  She spent three weeks this summer at an academic camp at Southern Miss studying anatomy and physiology.  I'm thankful that I was welcomed to visit her on each of the Sundays!  Well worth the drive to spend time with her.  Besides the learning it was a great experience in independence for her -- especially learning to do her own laundry!

I went no where this summer BUT I scored a week at home alone (perfect vacation!).  Enjoyed having my friends over for a gab-fest party as well.  I continue to keep up with the exercises to keep my leg/hip/"core" muscles strong and am preparing for surgery 4 weeks from today (yikes!).  My Bible study started up again with the school year and we are studying Mark the first half of the year.  I haven't spent much time in this Gospel before and am enjoying the details in the short book -- the first time Jesus tamed the sea Mark notes that he'd been asleep in the back of the boat with his head on a "pillow" before the apostle awoke him in fright.  I'd never noted that detail before!

Mom and dad came down soon after school started for Abby's induction ceremony into the high school.  Nice to have them here for a quick visit!

So there's the quickest update ever -- 6 months in just a few paragraphs!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

a wonderful day

Today has been an entirely wonderful day.  Started somewhat early for a vacation day (Mardi Gras holidays -- school off all week!), as Maggie and I headed to the post office at 7:45 to renew her passport.  We got there just before they opened and succeeded in being the first in line.  Thankfully we had everything we needed (well, the photo taken at Walgreen's wasn't correctly formatted so they took another one there), and we were done and back in the car at 8:10.  So we headed to get some coffee.  Made it home about the time I'd suggested Abby get up so that we could continue our "girls' day".  The three of us headed to the gym about 9:45 and completed our respective work-outs.  Showered there and headed to Walgreen's to get my refund for the photos (yea! I'd tossed the receipt and now have a $12.99 gift card).  Next stop to get our nails done.  I love getting my toes done and have sparkly ones.  Abby got alternate teal/seafoam green on her toes and a bridal color for her hands so she doesn't have to take it off for school.  Maggie has gold nails -- and by that I mean it looks almost as though she put gold leaf on them.  Maggie's friend met her there and they headed to the mall.  Abby and I grabbed some food and headed home where we were greeted by a clean house -- like I said, a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

somewhat back to normal

Both daughters are back in school, husband is on business trip thru next week and i'm driving everywhere.  Seems to be pretty much back to normal!  I "failed" my PT re-evaluation on the 3rd, so I've got three more weeks lined up with appointments.  Despite my diligence at doing the exercises, the strength isn't quite back to where it should be.  Sigh.  More one-legged squats.  I have determined that I don't yet have the strength to do forward lunge-walks unassisted (I use two sticks at PT to walk back and forth across the room), but I can now to the lunges where you put your leg behind you about 4-5 feet and squat down, then push off to return to the start.  Next step will be to do that forward, then to add the "walking" part.  Longer recovery than I'd anticipated, but I'm continuing to learn patience.

Both girls performed very well for their second quarter grades and are moving forward.  Maggie's determining her classes for next year, Abby will do so later this year.  Abby has her placement test for high school on Saturday morning -- this is used to determine and scholarship availability and if she'll be recommended to take honors classes.  Marks the start of a really busy weekend -- after that Abby's having lunch with fellow grammar school friends who are taking the same test, Maggie's playing bingo at a retirement home, then perhaps doing something in the evening.  Sunday morning is church followed by lunch with friends.  Then Maggie has a Girl Scout event followed by dinner with a friend.  Guess what I'll be doing this weekend?????

So all is well with us -- hope you're having a safe and happy new year.