Monday, August 17, 2015

Nine Years of Fibromyalgia

It all started 9 years ago today.

I won't bore you with the details yet again, for those of you all too familiar with my story. If you want to read more about it, you can do so on the "My Fibro Story" page.

It's been a long, hard road.

And I've learned a lot.

I know I'm not who I was then and I'm thankful for that.

I enjoy reflecting and I'm glad I mark these things on the calendar.

But today, I'm not full of a lot of words. Just a bit of solemn reflection.

I went away this weekend to a women's event and I came back different. Or at least I feel different. I hope I'm different.

So I'm doing a lot of thinking, praying, reading the Bible, and focusing on Jesus. Because it's all for Him anyway. He's my entire purpose.

This isn't my home. Someday I'm going to be in heaven in a new body, with no more pain. I do truly look forward to that day!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Life This Summer - Part 1

We've been having a lot of fun this summer and a good amount of water play!

Mosquitos have been quite prevalent after some heavy rains in June and part of July, but thankfully after our county worked with a company to spray our area earlier this summer, they've been a lot better! So we've been enjoying time outside when the mosquitos haven't been out as much and when it hasn't been too hot and humid.

My Fibromyalgia sensitivities are on high alert lately! The weather roller coaster we were on a few weeks ago sure didn't help, nor does any extreme dew points or humidity levels {just like when it's bitterly cold}. Our chiropractor and my vitamin supplementations have been a fantastic help {since I know I'd be so much worse without them}, but it's still been a bit challenging to chase after an active 2-year-old!!

God's grace and strength are key to my survival on the hard days, and sometimes, admittedly, that means Elijah watches more TV than I'd like. But it's all I can do. And that's okay. I've had to come to terms with it.

So here's what's been happening lately the past couple months through pictures....

My beloved car hit the 100,000 mile mark!

My sister-in-law started selling Jamberry nail wraps and I enjoyed getting a couple of her free manicures. I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I really like it though, since I never have time to, nor do I enjoy, working on my nails. But they look pretty. :) 

He would truly be in or playing with water constantly if we let him!

Lots of car rides. Lots and lots and lots and lots. We live near hardly anyone we know and are constantly driving to everything. 45 minutes to work and friends. 30 minutes to daycare. 45 minutes to the chiropractor. 20-25 minutes to the mall between us and most friends. 30 minutes to his pediatrician. 20 minutes to his dentist. Etc etc. Sometimes I feel like we live in my car and it's exhausting {and um, messy}. Sometimes we do great, sometimes not so great. He's started to hate the sun shining, so we're glad for cloudy days. He's obsessed with crossing railroad tracks so if we cross one, we sure better cross another set soon or there will be lots and lots of whining and crying! But it is what it is and we make it work for us. Thankfully Elijah has been used to this for a long time so he mostly just goes with the flow. Mostly! We sing lots of songs, talk about what we're seeing, practice the alphabet, talk about the stoplights and what the colors mean, ad naseum. Oh and in the below picture he's practicing his spitting. Fannnntastic.

Pediatric dentist trips are actually fun! We have to keep having his front teeth checked after his accident in April when he bashed his lip and teeth into our coffee table and got stitches. Two of his front teeth were pushed backward, and thankfully have been going back to their right places naturally {with just a bit more teething, him biting and chewing things}! We enjoy Dr. Bill though and visiting him isn't a big deal. They make it so much fun! We love the large fish tank in the waiting room and all their books. Here Elijah is watching the duck get a ride on the big chair and Dr. Bill is checking his teeth first to show Elijah there's nothing to be afraid of.

Watching the trash trucks brings major excitement in our house!! He loves waving at our trash guy and shouts "trash uck" with such glee. He dances and then gets really, really sad when they're gone. {Same thing happens when we pass them on the street. They are apparently the coolest thing ever. He's such a little boy!}

Daddy coming home after work is still the best part of the day!!

He loves running around our church. He doesn't love going into his room and goes through spurts of hating it so much we feel like we're torturing him by leaving. But he does just fine and we're grateful for the volunteers! Here's one day when he was leaving and jumping in the parking lot.

Spending time outside. Watching our neighbors across the street play badminton before bed, and cheering them along happily. :)

We live 2 blocks from the cemetery. It's super quiet and peaceful, and one of my favorite places to take walks. Tim thinks it's weird and we don't go through walks here with him ;) but I love it and Elijah does too! We pray over the section where the young children/babies are buried and I get teary-eyed every time. I have talks with God out loud and we enjoy the quiet. Elijah also loves their water fountain/stream where he can throw rocks.

There's always time for more water {when the mosquitos aren't around}! He loves jumping at the side and falling onto his bottom. Here he went all the way back and was laughing so hard afterward.

He is such a great helper! He loves helping us around the house with so many things, imitating us, and he even gets really upset if we try to do it without him!! Here he is helping Tim gather the trash around the house and take it outside to the trash bin.

He loves his outside toys {like his bubble mower} and could push them around the drive all day! I'm grateful he also likes to stop and smell the flowers. Er, pop them off. 

We love when Grandma & Grandpa C visit!!

Hammock time

My mom & stepdad stayed with Elijah overnight so that we could have a little 15th anniversary getaway in June. It was fantastic!! So relaxing and just what we needed. We found a place on Priceline that was within a half hour drive and it was the BEST place, by far, that we've ever stayed at. Amazing. If ever near a Hyatt House, we highly recommend it.

We visited the downtown of a nearby city that we'd never been to and had a really good time, though it was surprising how much we felt like we were back in a tourist town like Gatlinburg, TN! It was a bit surreal, but we enjoyed it. Had a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

And enjoyed the riverfront walk.

Hotel view of the sunset. I know it's not a perfect picture, but it was just idyllic to me that night. We were so relaxed and it was such a beautiful night!

Meanwhile, mom sent us pictures along the way, and here Elijah was "talking" to us on the phone via his fork and spoon. ;) 

We both took that Monday off and enjoyed the day to ourselves - went to the nearby town where I work and had some super yummy lunch at Dickey's BBQ which is one of my favs... so very good {but lots of food}!!

We don't actually both enjoy the same things so our dates are rarely more than dinner and a movie. But this time Tim thoughtfully researched and found a Groupon for a local gun range safety class & shooting {something we both like!}. We got to spend a half hour with an instructor {though he was scary, mean, awful, and in pretty much every way a miserable part of the day} and another half hour shooting. We were really excited! Sadly the instructor was a disaster and we were bummed it didn't go better, but it was still fun and a nice stress reliever.

And Elijah was anxiously waiting for us 

We loved our time away! So grateful.

Elijah also really loves water play at daycare - here's a picture of him there.

Elijah and his Grandpa D. So great to have him visit this summer too!!

When we need something to do at home, car races are a fun go-to.

He is totally obsessed with his new wagon. But he mostly just want to pull it everywhere. So we've been doing a lot of teaching about looking both ways, checking for cars, etc. Even though we're usually closeby, I still think it's vital to teach him that lesson, especially as he tests boundaries and doesn't listen anymore when we tell him to stop at the sidewalk (gah!).

He got himself up on my work chair, turned it, pulled it up next to me in the recliner, and sat like this to watch some TV. Wow. Growing up so much!!

Time to post this. I'll get some more pictures on my computer from this past month or so and will write more later. :) Hope you're all having lots of great summer adventures!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When 15 Years Go Differently Than You Planned

I love to make plans.

I also love to break the mold and go against the flow.

I love to be spontaneous at random moments, and other times I absolutely cannot stand it and need everything just. so.

One minute I love to be in the spotlight. The next minute I can easily hide in the corner.

I enjoy parties and mingling. But I also have streaks of shyness that make me want to avoid such situations altogether.

I'm indecisive, yet assertive. I'm spunky, yet quiet. I'm brave, yet afraid. I'm friendly, but fearful of what people think of me. I'm crazy and boisterous, and torture myself later about how much of an idiot I must have looked like.

And yet, ironically, I also don't care.

I am an extroverted introvert. I love people but I don't always want them around. I need my time and space, my introspection, my chance to breathe and heal and move away from chaos.

{I know, right?! Can you believe my poor husband has to keep up with figuring ME out?!?!? Oy. He did not really know what he was getting into when he signed up for that job.}

Fibromyalgia has taught me that more than anything else. I simply cannot function if I'm always around people, always going, doing, living. I cannot recover. My body is broken and always sick. Always. I don't have a day off. I don't get a chance to fully unwind. My body will never be fully healed on this earth, as far as we can tell.

I'm okay with that and have generally made my peace with it {though yes, I still have my moments!}. It took years to get here, so don't think that happened immediately, not by any means!

I feel badly for my husband. I'm not always so sure he's made his peace with it, but he does his best.

We didn't choose this and we don't want it. We could never have known to plan ahead for this. It's not that kind of thing. Yet, it's here.

And so is Tim.

That says A LOT. About him. His character. His faith in Christ. His love for me. His unwillingness to bend to promises he made to me in front of over one-hundred people on a stage in a little midwestern Baptist church.

Tim has stuck next to me, living out this messed up reality in ways neither of us could have even imagined when we promised "for better or worse, in sickness and in health". There's no way back to before Fibro days.

We were young and naive. Those 15 years ago, June 24th.

We knew what it meant but we didn't KNOW what it meant.

We get it now. In ways we wish we didn't have to. But maybe it's also just what we needed to bring us together more.

All up for honesty here? Some days, it tears us apart.

There, I said it. Firm grip on reality. We are not a couple that just jumps in head first, ready to roll. Making all the right sacrifices at the right times. This marriage thing is mad hard.

Then you put two completely 100% OPPOSITES together.

Haha. It's insanity.

There are days I was not sure we would survive. I wasn't sure I wanted us to. I could dream up and imagine ways out. {And I'm sure my husband has too!}

But as I dug deep into God's Word, shared my story with others, had believers holding fast onto me and reminding me of God's truths, and as I prayed and pleaded with God to change my marriage, He did.

Because He changed ME. My heart. My ignorance. My selfish pride.

Marriage isn't about getting what I want. It's about laying down what I want. For the one I love. Even when I'm mad. Even when I don't feel like I really love him in those small, fleeting moments. I see the truth.

That I love him every moment, of every day. No matter what happens. No matter how I feel.

God promises a good result. When we listen and obey.

How many times am I going to tell my 2-year-old son to "listen and obey, listen and obey" without also being the one who does that with my dear Savior?

I don't want to just say it. I want to live it out fully in front of him. Laying my life down. Setting my desires aside for what they want and need and desire and care about.

15 years.

It's been so crazy hard. And unbelievably amazing. A roller-coaster ride of joys and tears, happiness and sadness, safety and fears. Sin, repentance, and forgiveness on both our parts.

We both have a long way to go and are not perfect. We know that without Jesus as the head of our home, we'd be an even worse mess. If we were not Christians who didn't even allow divorce in our vocabulary... I truly do not believe we'd be together still today.

I'm surprised and delighted that we are. Amazed by God's grace and goodness.


Thank you honey, for staying. For being by my side, even when the going has gotten rough. Downright rotten, in fact. For dealing with the Fibromyalgia as a part of who I am, not just treating it as this unfair thing that happened to us... but for embracing it with me as a part of what God has allowed to grow and change us.

Thank you for keeping your promises. Thank you for doing life together with me, even when all we want to do is crawl back into bed sometimes and SLEEP!

Thank you for the years of killing creepy nasty crawlers, for protecting me, for praying over me when I'm scared, for the times you've had to help me get dressed and do all the housework, for the love you've showered over me even when I didn't deserve it, for letting me get my way more often than I know you'd care to, for letting me control the remote so often, for believing in me when I had nothing left, for knowing just what to do when I have a panic attack, for pushing me to climb up a mountain when I was so sure it might kill me, and for staying by my side regardless of the way the years have impacted my body and shape.

Also. 13 years it took. 13 years before we were given the sweet blessing of adding a child into our family. Many years of waiting, longing, hoping, praying.

And Elijah David came along.

Our lives were rocked. Radically changed. So much harder than we'd imagined. So much better too.

Our precious, adorable, lovable, sweet boy. Oh how we love him so! He brings us together in so many ways, and yet being a parent is one of the hardest things we've ever done.

Parenting has certainly added a whole other dimension to our lives. Our lack of energy and comfort, our inability to communicate effectively, to listen, and to tend to each other's needs. Our ability to see straight and be good parents on the hard days.

So challenging, but the rewards are oh so very sweet!

By God's grace, we keep on keeping on... one foot in front of the other. Until God calls us home to be with him.

Here's to at least 15 more years together! Love you babe.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Two. How is he already TWO?!

Somehow, we have a 2 year old on our hands.



I know everyone says how fast time flies and they're in awe of their child getting one year older. Like we know it's coming, but in the day-to-day, in the mundane, in the chaos... it's so easy to just have the moments pass you by. So easy.

I try to soak in every little bit that I can, and yet time slips away faster and faster. His first year was mad hard, yo. One of the hardest--yet best--years of my life.

His second year wasn't without hardships, certainly. But it's been different. I've found myself more as a mother and I've understood things better than before. I'm not fighting depression and I'm enjoying this stage of his life deeply. Finding the joys in the big and small things.

But this, his second year of life came and went SO fast. Some long, slow days. One very fast, blurry year.

Elijah David.

Our sweet, adorable, hilarious, spirited, sensitive, spunky, helpful, kind boy.

Let me have him answer some questions for you :)

What's your name?

How old are you?
TWO! {he says very quickly}

Can you say yes?
AY! {So that's a no... his yes is a weird Irish-type version ;)}

Can you repeat the letters of the alphabet after me?

What's your favorite color?
Ello. {Yellow}

What's your favorite song?
{Old MacDonald Had a Farm... EIEIO}

What's your favorite toy?
PHONE. Mama's phone. Daddy's phone. Lijah's phone.

Do you want to watch something?
VV. VV. {TV}

What do you want to watch?
How about Paw Patrol instead?

Do you want to color?
Ayyyy! {As he goes to his special drawer for the crayons and paper}

Is that your truck?

Do you want to help take out the trash?
Ash, ash, ash!!!
Is your favorite truck the trash truck?
AYY - ash, ash, ash!!!!!!

Want to do a puzzle?
AY! {as he climbs into the chair excitedly because he knows that's his spot for doing puzzles}

Where's your nose?
*he points and shows us every part of his body

What sound does a cow make?
What sound does a lion make?
Roaaaarrrrrrr {he also roars if I say "line" haha}
{he loves making dinosaur, duck, sheep, horse, and puppy noises too!}

What's your favorite animal?

What are your favorite things to say?
That. That. I want that.
Go outside.
No mama. No daddy.
Bees. {which are actually ants or really bugs of any kind.}

What's one of your favorite activities?
Water! {he loves to play in water - the wading pool, sprinkler, bath, hose, anything!}

Do you love to say hi and wave to random people all the time, passing by in cars or walking by at the store?

Great, thanks Elijah for sharing this with everyone!

Some other things he's doing/loving:
Climbs up onto everything on his own now.
Going up and down stairs on his own.
Drinking from a cup.
Trying to feed himself with a fork and spoon.
Loves turning off and on toys, now that he's figured out how.
Starting to learn to take off his clothes.
Learning colors, letters, and shapes really well.
Wants to do things himself.
Loves to help out around the house - taking out trash, putting things away.
Loves the sounds of bikes, trains, and sirens {which he calls "whee wheeeeee!!!!"}.

Surprises me every day with things he knows that I didn't realize he knew like when I asked him if he could bring mama 2 diapers from his bedroom. He did exactly that! I didn't teach him that, he just figured it out.

Getting SO BIG!


Oh sweet Elijah, we love you so very much and are truly blessed and amazed to have you as our son! We had a fantastic time celebrating you today with family.

Grandma C and I made you some fun Mickey cupcakes.

We spent a good deal of time and had fun planning and prepping the garage for your party, only to be pulled inside the house at the last minute due to rain. Mama was so disappointed, but the party must go on!

We shared some great food - thanks to daddy for the grilling! Then dessert and opening presents and playing with them.

You weren't sure about the birthday singing at first, but you blew out your candles like a pro when mama said to blow like for bubbles. Then you ate the cupcake no problem!

You had a great time with your cousins!

So many wonderful presents! And one book {a "choo choo" book} that you just had to sit on the couch with and have Carrissa read with you. So sweet!

Thanks for coming all the way from Chicago, Aunt Bev! We loved having family here with us to celebrate our little boy!

What a joy you are, Elijah -- even in the crazy or sad. Truly, beyond any words I can express. We are unbelievably grateful. I'm so blessed to be your mama and to hear you call me that still melts my heart. It is an honor to watch you grow.

Happy birthday Elijah. We love you. To the moon and back.