7.12.2014

>> home tour: entryway

Since I'm off work this summer, I've made it my mission to focus on getting our home organized and decorated (on a budget). We have lived here for over 4 years and it is still "a work in progress." But things are finally coming together, so I've decided to share each room or area one at a time as we get them completed.

Today I'm sharing my entryway, which is home to my $15 dresser that I blogged about redoing all the way back in 2010.


The main thing that kept this area from being done for the longest time was my struggle to find the right thing to hang over the dresser. For way too long, I had a $5 thrifted mirror hanging that was way too small for the space. I finally found the perfect mirror at a flea market a few weeks ago. It was priced right and gave me the chance to put my own touch on it.


Everything else in the space was bought over time at different places. I'm happy with how it all came together. Now the only thing left to improve this area is to repaint the baseboards and replace the front door. It's all on the long, ever-growing "honey-do" list.


>> coat rack, mirror, dresser and greeneries: flea market finds
>> lamp: Gordman's
>> picture frame: Tuesday Morning
>> rug: TJ Maxx

6.18.2014

>> diagnosis: endometriosis

To just dive right in, I'll start by saying my husband and I have been trying for a baby for almost four years. I am a firm believer that we will have children if that's God will for our lives, and no matter what, this is in His hands.

Recently, I started with basic fertility testing. I had the blood work to test my hormone level first, and those results came back good. Then I had an ultrasound to follow up on the status of my ovarian cyst that I found out about last September. This ultrasound revealed that not only was it still there, but it had grown from a little over 2 cm to a little over 4 cm in size. My doctor was concerned that it might be blocking ovulation on my right ovary, so we decided it needed to come out.

So yesterday I had my first surgery. It was a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy along with a chromotubation (aka the "dye test" in which blue dye is shot into my uterus and an x-ray reveals whether or not anything is blocking the dye from going where it needs to go). 

My surgery was at 7:30 am, and my husband and I had to arrive at the hospital at 5:30 am.


I had done a pretty good job keeping my nerves at bay until the night before. I didn't sleep well and woke up around 1:30 am filled with anxiety just thinking about being put under anesthesia. I cried a little bit and prayed, reminding myself that God didn't give me a spirit of fear. Thankfully, I was able to fall back asleep until about 4:30 that morning, when we had to get up.

Once at the hospital, all the pre-op stuff went pretty smoothly. I got checked in, got my gown on, got my IV in and did a lot of waiting. Finally, right on time at 7:30, I said goodbye to Leslie and got taken up to surgery. I think the only reason I wasn't insanely nervous is that I know I was covered in prayer by friends and family.

 {looking rough pre-surgery...}

Here's what I remember about my experience with anesthesia: the anesthesiologist put the stuff in my IV and told me it might make me giggly. I told her that's not hard to do. Then they wheeled me next to the surgical bed and with a slightly wobbly feeling in my head, I slid from the bed I was on onto the new one. I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to stay as alert as possible to remember as much as I could. That's the last solid memory I have. I have a foggy memory of someone holding an oxygen mask over my mouth and telling me to take three deep breaths, and I have another foggy memory of someone sticking some kind of monitor to my left upper side and saying it might be cold. That's it.

While I was out, my doctor made two small incisions on my abdomen, one in my belly button and one right above my pubic bone. Apparently, she told my family afterwards that when she went in to get the cyst, it ruptured. The pictures she took of my uterus revealed something big. I have endometriosis. My doctor told my family that she believes this has been the reason for my infertility. But she was very positive that after some treatment, we should be able to get pregnant! While endo is not something anyone wishes for, to have a solid explanation just feels so good. And I'm thankful for the cyst that caused me to have this surgery that led to the discovery of a problem I needed to know about. I love how God works.

So after my surgery and dye test (which had positive results), next thing I remember is waking up around 9 am and being asked by a nurse what I'd like to eat and drink. Out of the choices I was given, I chose Sprite and graham crackers. Then my family came in to see me and I was so happy to see them. Of course my husband was there, along with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and my mother-in-law. I never, ever want to take for granted that I have people that care about me and love me enough to show up for me. 


My mother-in-law walked around the hall with me for a little bit, which was so sweet and memorable. I was only slightly wobbly on my feet.

{I know what you're thinking. I've never looked hotter.}

Before long, I was ready to go home. I think it was around 11 that morning when I left. I was prescribed pain pills but only had to take one last night before bed. My biggest discomfort during recovery has been the gas in my abdomen and chest leftover from when they "blew me up" for surgery.

From here, the game plan is to get some kind of shot (I believe it's called Lupron) which is a treatment for endometriosis. I've heard it can have some pretty adverse affects, so I'm nervous about that but I'll know more once I meet with my doctor again. Mostly I'm just ready to get the treatment started and face any adversity with bravery and faith. I'm thankful I have a reignited hope for a pregnancy hopefully in the near future. I'm thankful for how God worked through my surgery to reveal answers. I'm thankful I had a positive experience with everything and that my nerves were stable. I'm so very thankful for my friends and family who have prayed, brought food over to my house, texted, and checked in on me. I'm blessed to feel so much love and support and I will never take that for granted.

5.25.2014

>> memorial weekend

This memorial weekend has been one for the books. It included a one-night stay in a cabin on Lake Ouachita, boating, my first jet ski ride, a drive through my old hometown and time with my precious husband, friends and family.


My sister and her husband rented this lake-view cabin and were kind enough to let us stay a night with them. It was dark when we arrived, so it was hard to see all the beauty surrounding us until the next morning. And since we arrived too late to take the boat out, we just enjoyed the hot tub on the back deck before going to bed that night.

The cabin was decorated in primitive Americana style, and I loved the cozy feel of it. Our bedroom was upstairs loft-style and overlooked the living room.


The next morning I was in awe of our cabin's beautiful surroundings. We got up and ate breakfast then headed out on the boat. We staked our claim on a peninsula and spent some time snacking and just hanging out there.


My husband learned how to drive the boat and did a great job. It wasn't super hot, so riding around in the boat feeling the cool wind on my face was heavenly. I could kick back in a boat and cruise around all day. So relaxing!


Not a lot of people know this, but I have a very unhealthy fear of water. I'm pretty comfortable in a boat because I don't really worry about tipping over. (Canoeing, on the other hand, is a whole different story.) So it was a really big deal that I got on a jet ski and took my first ride. Hubs knew I was nervous, so he took it slow for the most part, but there were times when the water was choppy that I was pretty scared. I liked feeling the wind in my face while cruising over the water, so that made it fun.


Later in the day, some friends from Little Rock that I hadn't seen in a while joined us for some more boating, jet skiing, and time on the peninsula.


Then hubs and I said our goodbyes because we had a trip down memory lane to take. We drove through my old hometown that I hadn't visited in about seven years. I got to see the house I used to live in, the grocery store my family used to shop at, my alma mater, and other familiar places such as an old white church that I used to love taking pictures of.


It felt strange to be back in "the town that built me." The town itself hadn't really changed at all, but I feel like a totally different person than the girl I was when I lived there. I almost feel like my memories from the past belong to someone else that maybe I just a read a book about or something. It was surreal to be back, but I'm so glad I got to go because I don't know if or when I'll ever get to again.

We continued our trip by taking a slightly longer route home, but a special one in that it was one I used to drive between my hometown and college on the weekends. I saw places I hadn't driven by in years but it all looked the same, so the memories just came flooding back. One thing I love just as much as spontaneously packing a bag and heading out of town for an overnight adventure is reminiscing. I love "going back" and allowing myself to remember.

We stopped and ate dinner at CJ's Butcher Boy Burgers in Russellville. It's a staple in the college town in which hubs and I met with amazing food and cute 50's decor.


It was so nice to see my husband relaxing and having fun on the lake and driving me around. I was crazy about his backwards cap because I hardly ever get to see that laid back, fun-loving side of him. He is forced to be so professional during the week, and sometimes he struggles to let loose on the weekends. But I could tell he was letting loose when he was speeding around on the jet ski with his backwards cap. It reminded me of the young man  I fell in love with in college. This trip was so good for both of our hearts.

5.04.2014

>> all the latest

To say I'm a little behind on blogging would be an understatement. I feel like there has been so much going on that it's almost useless to even attempt to blog about it all, but at the same time I really don't want to forget anything. It's such an exciting time in life right now.

First, let me flashback to Easter. Each year, I realize more and more how special this holiday is to me. A whole day dedicated to celebrating the resurrection of our Savior...that alone is just so cool. Then there are the other awesome aspects of the day such as family time, egg hunts and church fashion. Yes, I said church fashion. I do enjoy seeing all the springy dresses and pastel ensembles that get busted out for Easter.


This year, after church my family met up at my sister's house for lunch on her back patio followed by an egg hunt for my nephew. I love family time at her house because it's kind-of out in the country, so it always feels like a peaceful getaway when I'm there.

  

We had planned to take a big family picture in my sister's backyard, but with my brother-in-law having to be at work and my dad not in attendance, we had to forgo that activity. Leslie and I did manage to snag a few cute ones though. (I needed a new framer for a hallway in my house.)
 

Now onto the next event that I haven't gotten to blog about yet: our second-annual girls' trip to Kansas City for the Warrior Dash. I can't even put into words how fun this trip was. My friends are the funniest females in the USA, in my opinion. So all three days and two nights we spent together were full of belly laughs.

Our t-shirt theme this year was "World's Okayest..." We had a world's okayest fan, friend, athlete, jogger and gazelle.


My friends Becky, Chrissy and Ashley rocked the course, which was spread across a ranch covered in cow manure. They even had to swim across a pond that was 10-feet deep. They are heroes in my eyes.


And while I'm on the subject of running/being athletic/awesome stuff, I want to throw in a quick mention of my second 5k that I ran back in April. It was a Glow Run benefiting a local children's center. From the start of the race, I wasn't feeling it. So I prayed. I ran quicker than normal when I did run and forced myself to power walk when I had to slow down. All I could think about was beating my first time, which I managed to do. I shaved off a little over 4 minutes, and my sister and SIL both improved their original times as well.

 >>insert crappy cell phone pic<<

For me personally, I don't know for sure if I'll ever do another 5k. I can apparently only be obsessed with one method of fitness at a time, and I can feel that shifting towards classes at the gym. I've started taking a Tone & Tighten class and have been insanely sore for the past week. (In a hurts-so-good kind of way.) I'm also looking at starting an Abs & Core class. I've discovered that I love the group atmosphere because I end up pushing myself more. I feel like I should see all-over results from these classes, and that's exciting to me.

Ok, so I think I'm all caught up on the randoms as of late. Just a few more things to note:

>> I am officially done with the Invisalign process! It took about 17 months, and I'm very happy with the results. I've got my permanent retainers in now and my nighttime retainer. I remember the first day I blogged about getting my Invisaligns and can't believe I made it to the end.

>>a little before & after for your viewing pleasure<<

>> I'm growing and learning so much in my relationship with Christ thanks to church, women's Bible study and small group. Been thinking a lot about all the individual struggles we each have and how God wants us to share those with others. God can take any ugly thing and turn it into something so beautiful. In an upcoming blog post, I will be taking off the proverbial mask and sharing my story. Eepsies!

>> In the morning I have my first doctor appointment to begin fertility testing. That journey is starting, and I have a peace about it.

So until next time...let's hope the next post is shorter! ;-)

4.07.2014

>> running my race

"You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream..."
C.S. Lewis


On Saturday, April 5, 2014, I accomplished something I never thought I could: I completed my first 5K race. This is a big deal because I have never been athletic, never been a runner, hate working out, and don't often push myself to conquer things that intimidate me. And seven weeks ago when I started C25K, I could barely run one-minute intervals without dying. Today, I can run 1.5 miles in 20 minutes before I have to stop. And I'm not done improving. I've actually already signed up for my second race, which is only 11 days away, and my goal is to keep getting faster.

My goal for my first 5k was to complete the whole thing in 45 minutes. I ended up beating that goal, which I was ecstatic about since I wasn't able to run the whole thing.



I had a mix of emotions on race day that I want to record. I woke up feeling so nervous I had to force myself to eat and not throw up. Then once I got dressed and ready to go, I was antsy to get out the door. Once I arrived, saw all the thousands of other runners and felt the comradery in the air, I was pumped. I felt good for about the first mile and half, then I had to stop running and start walking. The rest of the race, I ran in intervals. Around mile 2 I started questioning my ability and had thoughts about never wanting to do this again. But I kept going anyway. When I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line in the far distance and heard the cheering crowd awaiting, I ignored my desire to vomit, mustered every last bit of strength I had, and ran to the end. It was such an amazing feeling to see my husband at the finish line, proudly taking my picture and seeing everyone cheering. That's when I understood why people do this over and over again.

Sharing this experience with my sister and sister-in-law was awesome because we went through the ups and downs of training together and accomplished our first 5k together. I'm still so proud of us.

My husband has been so supportive. He got up at 5:30 on a Saturday just to cheer me on, and that is not a small thing in my eyes. I know how tired he was, but he still did it for me. Another reason his selfless support means so much to me is that he used to be a runner; in high school, he ran cross country track and loved it. But he doesn't get to run anymore because he has compartment syndrome. Yet, he encourages me and cheers me on as he watches me do something he wishes he could do.


So yes, I'm addicted. I'm addicted to the comradery of race day; I'm addicted to seeing myself improve; I'm addicted to making my husband and friends proud of me; I'm addicted to conquering fear and truly living my life. 

Here are a few more pics from this special day. I'm so proud of my friends who ran a half-marathon on the same day I ran my first 5k. Such an inspiration!


(Yes, that is Michelle Duggar. I beat her by a hair, y'all.)

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

3.15.2014

>> becky's 40th birthday

One of my dearest friends recently turned 40, and I've never had so much fun celebrating someone! 

I got to help plan a surprise party for her, which was not easy to pull off. Becky can't stand not being "in the know," so she was grilling people left and right once she caught wind that something was being planned for her.

My friend Chrissy and I first took Becky to eat at Chuy's. Becky's family from out of town was supposed to meet us there and surprise Becky, but snow was in the forecast and they didn't get to travel down. I was super disappointed that didn't work out, but we got to tell Becky at the restaurant that our big surprise fell through. We told her we were going to take her and her family bowling after we ate, and since the owners of the bowling alley were already expecting us, we would still go - just the three of us.

This is where the party was waiting for Becky, and I truly believe she had no idea until she walked into that party room.


Yes, Chrissy and I made Becky wear a silly birthday hat and flashing "I'm 40" pin. At this party, there were also supposed to be more people from out of town--old friends of Becky's that she hadn't seen in a long time. Unfortunately, the weather kept them away as well, but I'm so thankful for all the ladies that were able to come. 



We had a blast bowling, and best of all, I think Becky felt really special. 


This party took place almost two weeks before Becky's actual birthday. On the day of, we had another little girls' night out, this time a party at a local crafting venue called Junque 2 Jewels. We got to choose between making a stacked cross, Easter door hanger or stenciled picture frame. Seriously, the best GNO idea ever.


I can't explain how blessed I am by these friendships in my life. It may have taken almost 30 years for me to find out what true friendship is, but it was worth the wait. These ladies keep each other encouraged, pray for each other, trust one another, are not jealous and laugh, laugh, laugh.

I can't get enough.