Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of 2008 Questionnaire

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Been away from my sons for more than a few days.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I honestly don't remember if I made any resolutions last year & as of this moment I don't intend on making any for next year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not that I know of.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes.
5. What countries did you visit? Lancaster County - does that count?
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? Great health.
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? August 11, Surgery #1, October 9, Surgery #2, November 15, Surgery #3 & December 31.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Realizing that I am NOT in charge.
9. What was your biggest failure? Not being able to do stuff for my husband & sons.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Multiple times.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Washing Machine.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Jerry - he has been amazing the past few months.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My own.
14. Where did most of your money go? Paying everyday bills.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Eating.
16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Read A Book.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? Sadder. b.) thinner or fatter? Thinner. c) richer or poorer? Probably the same.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Listening to my body tell me something isn't right.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Yelling.
20. How did you spend Christmas? With my husband, sons, parents & sisters.
21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Everyday.
22. What was your favorite TV program? Anything on Food Network.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.
24. What was the best book you read? Twilight - I just finished it. Also Nineteen Minutes, Salem Falls.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Harry Connick, Jr. - "What A Night!"
26. What did you want and get? A new coffee pot.
27. What did you want and not get? Life Applications Bible. Will have to get it myself.
28. What was your favorite film of this year? The only movie I've seen recently is Bedtime Stories. Good family movie.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? On the actual day? Nothing special. It was a Wednesday. I was 36.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Being healthy.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Non-existent.
32. What kept you sane? My mother.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Mike Sullivan - OMG - Dirty in the Sack HOT I tell you.
34. What political issue stirred you the most? Too many to choose from.
35. Who did you miss? My grandparents - always.
36. Who was the best new person you met? Tracey, Sara, Shelley.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Life is unpredictable. Cherish each and every moment you have.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Here it goes, here it goes again.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


That is one word to describe the past month. If you regularly check our blog & have been wondering where we have been, the answer is recuperating - again.

On November 15, I began to experience excruciating pain in my abdominal region again & I wasn't able to keep any food down. I knew something wasn't right. I couldn't believe it, but nonetheless, knew something was wrong.

Jerry & I dropped the boys off at his sister's late Saturday afternoon & made our way to my home away from home - the Reading Hospital & Medical Center.

They take me to a room right away - like a standing reservation. I have not been able to keep any food down for over 24 hours now.

They think I may have a small bowel obstruction (I know - T.M.I., but it is what it is). Along with the fact that I am severely dehydrated & they would also like the bariatric surgeon to weigh in & see if they need to dilate the connection between my stomach & small intestine.

I seriously am about to melt down. They are talking about ANOTHER surgery. I cannot handle this. Thank goodness Jerry was there because he can at least stay calm while hospital personnel are talking to him.

So, yet again, I have a third major abdominal surgery to repair the confirmed obstructed bowel & dilate the connection between my stomach & small intestine.

I am in the hospital for 10 days where they fill my body with over 30 pounds of fluid & I begin the recovery process AGAIN.

I came home on November 25. My body hasn't been able to recover from three surgeries so close together. I am in the process of going to physical therapy to attempt to regain my strength.

Here is what their estimations are as of this past Tuesday as to when I will be able to resume some sense of normalcy:

Improve Strength - Arms, Legs & Trunk: 4-6 weeks
Independent Home Exercise Program: 2 weeks
Sitting Tolerance: Upright 30-60 Minutes - 4 weeks (I already can do this)
Standing/Walking Tolerance: 15 minutes - 4-6 weeks
Normalize Gait with no supervision or assistance: 4 weeks
Return to Work/Sports: 6-8 weeks
Independent Activities: 4-6 weeks
Sit to Stand, Get out of Bed with no assistance: 4-6 weeks

So, as you can read, I need help doing EVERYTHING. During the week, Jerry comes home from work every couple hours to help me go to the bathroom, get me snacks & check on me.

I have no muscle tone between my hips & knees. It has been really tough. I can do everything the physical therapist says to make my physical self better, but mentally this is a real challenge.

It is so hard, especially during this time of year to be incapacitated. I have no Christmas shopping done, the decorations around our home are minimal & poor Jerry suffers my wrath on a daily basis - usually over something trivial.

Tricia is coming tomorrow to go Christmas shopping with Jerry. She is my rescuer. I cannot express to her how grateful I am for her help.

We will be going to Erie for Christmas. Hope that goes well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ya-Hoo! Finally got an appointment!

I can barely contain my excitement. I got a call from the bariatric doctor's office & they finally got my files from the Weight Loss Clinic in Harrisburg! It only took two weeks and a couple not-so-nice phone calls, but they finally got them.

I am anxious to talk to this doctor to see what his thoughts are about why I continue to lose weight even though I am eating - not a whole bunch mind you, but I do eat.

All my jeans are too big & I swim in my shirts. I need to go try clothes on again so I know what actual size I am. If it wasn't for the excess skin, I think I would be a two or four. That would have been fantastic when I was in high school, but at 36 - not so much.

I see the doctor on December 4 at 9:15 in the morning. He should then be able to tell me if and/or when I will need an endoscopy.

At least there is a light.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I am a Genius

Okay maybe that's a bit extreme, but I was very proud at my own resourcefulness.

I am a greeting card collector. I buy cards, bring them home, put them away for future use & NEVER use them. This is because I had several different places I kept them & then couldn't remember where I put them. It was frustrating!

A few weeks ago, I was looking at a fundraising brochure that Aidan had brought home from school & inside there was a greeting card organizer. It was cute, but not big enough to house my collection of cards. I thought about buying it, but then I thought "That will never be big enough to keep all my cards and stationary." I then thought about the box that I had the majority of my cards in. I had bought it at Ollie's several years ago and would just haphazardly throw stuff in it.

Hmmm...I could MAKE my own greeting card organizer! All I would need is some dividers & labels. I could then customize it to my own needs. PERFECT!

I started by cutting file folders to fit in the box. The box measures 9" square, so I cut the folders 8-1/2" across and 8-1/16" high.

I then organized my greeting cards by occasion. By doing this, I could make a list of what labels I needed to make.

Then I made the labels using clip art that is on the laptop & a funky font I found on the internet.

I staggered the folders (left tab, middle tab, right tab), adhered the labels and then put the cards in the appropriate spot.

It felt so good to get all my cards organized. And then when I want to send a card, all I have to do is look in my organizer to see if I have an appropriate card or need to get one.

I must confess that I love Walmart & their selection of economy cards. Whenever I am there, I pick up 5 or 10 cards for various occasions, bring them home & then I always have a card on hand.

So when you get a card from me, you'll know it came from my new system.

Organization does work!

Friday, November 7, 2008


I e-subscribe to a monthly newsletter that is called Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Most months (okay every month) I take it out of my Inbox & put it in a folder specifically for these newsletters & NEVER open them up.

Something (someone) spoke to me on Wednesday & told me to open up the newsletter that came. To say I was moved is an understatement. God is AMAZING!

This month they are starting a new series called Our Favorite Things. I checked it out & there was this article that really hit close to home. And then there was a section of playlists you could click on and I did just that. Bits and pieces from the article just touched my heart. It's about her grandfather & if you read it, you will understand why it touched me. The song is "My Tribute" by Andre Crouch and it is one of my all-time favorites. It was sung at my wedding.

"Angela Sackett recently published this beautiful testimony about Grief and the God of All Comfort on her blog, Dancing With My Father. "

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008

Early this morning, Aidan & I went to the Brecknock Township Building & stood in line for 25 minutes to cast our vote for the next president of the United States.

I think it's important for our children to participate in the voting process. It made Aidan feel really good to push the buttons to select our choices & then push the big green "VOTE" button.

I cautioned him after we left the building to not tell everyone who we voted for. He was proud to tell his teachers that he already had voted this morning.

Austin went with Jerry to vote this afternoon. They waited about 30 seconds. Jerry let him push the "VOTE" button.

It amazes me that both of our sons formed opinions about who would be the best candidate for the president and they formed their opinions on their own.

Jerry & I don't talk about politics that much. Other than the occasional "He is really doing a bad job" or "I am so tired of the price of everything going up, up, up" we don't discuss it. Jerry's a Republican. I'm a Democrat. It usually ends up with him siding with his party & me siding with mine.

Austin said that he has been for Barack Obama pretty much from the start & doesn't think that we (his parents) influenced his decision. Austin said he will register as a Democrat when he is old enough to vote.

Aidan said that he likes Obama because he's young. Aidan said he is going to be a Republican.

I hope he asks me how to spell it - D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T.

It would make my grandmother proud.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Parade 2008

The Halloween Parade at Brecknock Elementary was this past Friday.

Here are a couple pics of Aidan who was dressed as a Skull Ninja.

Aidan was not happy that there were other children dressed as Ninja's and informed me that next year Shamma will be making him a costume.

Look out! Who knows what his mind is thinking!
Austin did not dress up. Apparently he is too old for that!

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Amazing, Talented Friend - Lisa

Last week, one of my dearest friend's made our family supper & brought it over. It helps out more than people realize because when you are recovering from surgery, you don't feel like standing at the stove cooking!

Lisa was also the person who drew the short stick October 9 when I called her from the hospital & in only a way that she can, listened to me cry. Then on top of that she came to the hospital to see me. She is one in a million.

Anyway, I digress. When Lisa brought supper over, she also brought me a little book that said "God's Promises" on the front. Well, I waited until after she left to open up the book.
It brought tears to my eyes. It is one of the most amazing gifts I have ever received. The fact that she hand-crafted this for me just touches my heart. It is exactly what I needed. I keep it with me in a Ziploc baggie (so nothing happens to it!) and if I need a little reminder from God I just open it up & read.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

The next two pages are being difficult & won't upload correctly. Here are the verses that appear on those two pages.

Romans 8:31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Phillipians 4:6 Don't worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done.

Psalm 91:14-16 The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me, I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take."

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.
Nehemiah 8:10 Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
Matthew 6:33 Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
Isn't it absolutely beautiful?!? I am so blessed to be able to call her my friend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Austin's Tech-Ed Project

Today Austin brought home the project he has been working on in Tech-Ed since the beginning of the school year.

It is a cutting board in the shape of a duck. He had to choose which shape he was going to make, stencil it on the wood, cut the shape out with a jig saw, sanded the sides, sanded the top, engraved it, and lastly, added the oil.

The engraving says: To Mom & Dad, Love Austin - Fall '08.
I think it is absolutely beautiful. The edges are so smooth - like butter! He used six different grades of sand paper to make it super smooth.
He's pretty proud of it. We're going to put it on the fireplace mantle. Jerry & I are pretty proud too!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On the Road Again..

The road to recovery that is. Yes sports fans, yet again, I was in the hospital. I know, this is getting really old.

In the early morning hours of last Thursday, October 9th (think 2:30 a.m.), I was awoken with a horrible pain in my abdominal region. I got up, took some Gas-X & a couple Tylenol & tried to go back to sleep. I slept off and on until 7:00 when I got up to get Aidan off to school. The pain still there, but as you all know I do not listen to my body very well.

I proceeded go back upstairs & lay down until it was time to get ready for work. As I was walking out the door, I called Jerry on his cell (he was in Harrisburg at a class) and blubbered to him about how bad it hurt. What was he going to do at Harrisburg?

I drove to work & when I pulled in the parking lot, I called the surgeon's office. I was hysterical. I have not been that scared in a while. All these thoughts were racing through my mind. "Is something major wrong like last time?" or "Am I just being silly & over-reacting?". I talked to the nurse and then the doctor came back in the office & he instructed me to go to the emergency room immediately.

I went in to the school & cried my way through telling my boss that I was having terrible pain & had to go to emergency. The wonderful women I work with all offered to drive me, but I said it was okay, they were already short-handed & didn't need someone else gone.

When I arrived at the hospital, the doctor had already called and told them I was coming. I was escorted to a room in the back immediately. Just for a reference, this was 10:30 am.

My immediate concern was Aidan getting off the bus. The surgeon came to see me & assured me (because I was still crying hysterically) that I would be home in time to get Aidan off the bus. If Jerry isn't home from Harrisburg & Austin is at football practice, Aidan will be dropped off at home, no one will be there and he has no idea where I am.

I was told I was going to have a CT Scan & I had to drink this awful liquid. At 1:30 I was taken for the scan. They rushed me through that department because transport had let them know that I needed to get home.

I was taken back down to emergency & awaited my test results. By 2:30, they were in. There was a cyst on my right ovary & the right fallopian tube was filled with fluid. WHAT?!?! This sounds totally irrelevant to a perforated ulcer.

At this point, I am a complete & total mess. You know how your mind starts wandering & of course I can only think the absolute worst & after what happened in August, I don't know how much more of this I can emotionally or physically take. Adding on to this is the fact that I am by myself.

The surgeon tells me that he is going to consult with the surgical gynecologist on duty and they would need to get an ultrasound to try to "see exactly what was going on in there".

The ultrasound went okay (I think I was just thankful that they didn't find a baby in there!) and while I was laying there, the obstetrician that delivered Austin came walking in. He informed me that the ultrasound confirmed that there was definitely something out of sorts, and that they would have to do surgery. "All this before 3:20 when I have to leave to get my son off the bus?" I thought to myself. "Maybe it's something they can give me pain medicine for & I can schedule the surgery for a later date.

Ummm...no. My August surgeon, Dr. Bamberger, informed me after I returned to my emergency suite that I would be having surgery that evening & at this point they were all still a little baffled as to what exactly I had going on inside me.

I'm sure I called Jerry again & let him know through my sniffling & crying what was going on. Poor guy, he doesn't know what hit him.

Jerry gets in touch with our neighbor who gets Aidan off the bus, makes sure that Austin has a ride home from football practice, and rushes into the emergency room where I still am.

Approximate time: 4:30 pm. Between now & 8:30 pm I don't really remember what happened. I know Jerry called my mother to tell her what was going on, but I made him tell her that he wouldn't tell her what was going on until she promised that she & Daddy would still go on their trip to California on Saturday. I would have felt terrible if she would have missed going on this trip that she has been looking forward to for months.

I was moved to the surgical "holding area" and was only there for about 15 minutes when they whisked me back to the outskirts of the operating area. Dr. Carlson came out and talked with Jerry & I about what she thought was going to happen in the operating room. She told me that Dr. Bamberger & Dr. Puttler (the ulcer surgeons) were also going to be there in case there would be something else going on inside.

Well, I took all my jewelry off, told my husband that he was the love of my life & that no matter what, he always would be and entered Operating Room Number 3. Time check: 6:55 pm. The lovely woman held the "oxygen" mask on my face, I took deep breaths and off I went to sleep.

I awoke in recovery where Jerry joined me shortly thereafter & informed me that it was indeed my ovary that was infected & also had a cyst & my fallopian tube was filled with fluid as they suspected. For good measure they also removed my appendix. Jerry sat next to me until 9:45 pm and then left to find our children & go home for a much needed nights sleep. After spending a short time in recovery, I was moved to a regular room.

The next morning, (Friday I think) Dr. Carlson came in and said that everything looked fine after the surgery was completed. The right ovary was about the size of a golf ball & the cyst was the size of a baseball. They did not need to do a complete hysterectomy because my other parts looked fine & she didn't want me to have to be on estrogen for the rest of my life.

Dr. Carlson said that with my crappy luck, they weren't taking any chances and that's why they removed my appendix. I said "You should have taken out any unnecessary parts while you were there because I am REALLY tired of this!"

On Monday, October 13 (I know - UNLUCKY!) I came home from the hospital - again. In addition to all the other medication I have to take I have added to my repertoire an antibiotic that I take twice a day until this Monday. They are 875 mg - each. Horse pills I tell you.

So now it's on the recovery road again. I am not allowed to lift anything over 10 pounds & I am not allowed to go back to work until December 2.

I am probably going to be committed next.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Having Fun with my ABC's

♥A is for age: 36
♥B is for beverage of choice: Hmmm...either Triple X Vitamin Water or hot tea
♥C is for career right now: Ha! This is too funny! I am a lunch lady (when I can go to work!)
♥D is for your dog's name: Ruger & Cabela
♥E is for essential item you use everyday: My planner
♥F is for favorite TV show: Ugly Betty
♥G is for favorite game to watch: Mifflin Football!
♥H is for Hometown: Harbor Creek, PA
♥I is for instruments you play: I used to play the clarinet & the trumpet.
♥J is for favorite juice: Grape Punch from Minute Maid
♥K is for a favorite keepsake: Pink Sapphire Ring
♥L is for last place you ate at: My home
♥M is for marriage: Almost 16 years
♥N is for your name: Tracy Lynne
♥O is for overnight hospital stay: Four (and hope not to be back for a long, long time!)
♥P is for people you were with today: Jerry, Austin & Aidan
♥Q is for what's your best quality: Loyalty
♥R is for what are you currently reading: Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
♥S is for relationship status: Married
♥T is for time you woke up today: 7:16 am
♥U is for the type of underwear you have on: Boy shorts
♥V is for vegetable you love: Corn on the cob
♥W is for worst habits: Anger
♥X is for x-rays you've had recently: Upper G.I.
♥Y is for something yummy: Mom's Meatloaf w/tomato soup on top
♥Z is for favorite zoo animal: Spectacled Bears

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ebersole Football - Week 3

One more week of football down. It was a great week for both boys. Austin won his game at Schuylkill Valley on Tuesday afternoon. He was pretty excited about it. They played the game at Schuylkill Valley and that's about a half an hour away from us, so that makes it really hard for us to make it. Austin said it was okay that we didn't go because they won & the only game they lost was the one we went to at home two weeks ago. Much to his dismay, we will be going to the Wilson game on Tuesday. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Aidan played yesterday against Central Catholic Youth Organization. It was a good game overall. He played offense & defense for most of the game.
Aidan is circled in orange - on top of the pile.
I tried to put circles around him in the photographs so you can pick him out without me having to give a long explanation as to which child he is in a sea of white jerseys.
The score was tied 0-0 with 10 seconds left in the game. Mifflin had the ball on the 50 yard line. They snapped the ball - the ball was tossed to another member of Aidan's team and I thought Aidan got tied up tackling on the line when from out of the blue, here he comes. Running in front of the ball carrier and then hurling himself Superman style at two members of the defense, knocking them down. The clock ran out, and the boy ran in for a touchdown. Talk about exciting!

Will post again after Austin's game & will try to make the circles darker.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


10 Things I Want to Do Before I Die:
*Travel around Italy
*Own a house
*Be truly happy with myself
*Find a church that "fits"
*Get my husband & sons to also attend aforementioned church
*Make sure that everyone I love knows how much I love them
*Be a good example for God
*Get rid of all the clutter - physical & emotional
*Travel to Alaska with my husband

9 Places I Last Spent Money:
*Middle Creek Wildlife Refuge
*V&S Sandwiches
*Bowmansville Post Office
*Bowmansville Fire Company
*Conrad Weiser High School
*Fashion Bug
*Wayside Farms
*Horst's Farm Market

8 Sounds I Routinely Hear Around My House:
*Dogs doing various activities
*Food Network
*"Mom! Aidan is ___________!" fill in the blank
*"Austin is a jerk!"
*"Oh...I forgot."
*Refrigerator opening
*Front door slamming
*Dump trucks passing

7 Real Restaurants Where I Last Ate Out
These are the two I can remember before that - it's too long ago!
*Park Place
*Wellsboro Diner

6 Things I've Recently Scratched Off My To-Do List
Haven't been doing a whole bunch with my to-do lists lately.
*Joined a Bible study
*Write thank-you notes
*Get out fall table runner & placemats
*Got down to my goal weight (and what a way to do it)
*Made appointment to get my hair done
*Drug out my Flylady book again

5 People I Don't Know but Would Like to Hang Out With
*Barack Obama
*Rachael Ray
*Paula Deen
*Anita Renfroe
*Cowtown Stacy

4 Songs That Make Happy
*Fly Like An Eagle
*Copa Cabana
*My Tribute

3 Things I Hate To Do:
*Say goodbye
*Discipline my children

2 Things I'm Really Good At:
*Laundry (I know - pathetic right?)
*Scrapping & Stamping (remind me to get back to doing that sometime in the future)

1 Bad Habit:
*Beating myself up

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ebersole Football - Week 2

So, we made it through another week of football for both sons.

Aidan had his game on Sunday against Kutztown. We played at Governor Mifflin & let me tell you it was H-O-T! The thermometer on the field was reading 110 degrees. Those poor kids - by the end of the game they had a tough time finding eleven kids to play. They were beat.

Aidan had a good game. He had another terrific run of about 40 yards and several amazing blocks.

Aunt Merry, Scott, Aunt Sherry & Uncle Mike all came to watch Aidan play. He IS quite entertaining!

I had to throw in this picture of my handsome husband in coaching action! Isn't he cute!

Aidan's team won 6-0, but the person who made out best was the guy who drives the Mr. Softie truck. I'm pretty sure our family spent about ten dollars on his delicious, refreshing treats!

Then on Tuesday, September 16, Austin had his first home game versus Exeter. It was kind of surreal to sit in the Governor Mifflin Stadium and watch my oldest son play football. We sat on the 50-yard line so we could check out which seats we want to reserve when Austin plays High School football.

Austin is number 40 & he may not be the biggest kid on the team, but he plays with his heart, knows the plays frontwards & backwards and always gives 100 percent.

Austin is two yards to the right of the 50-yard line with his helmet off.

Getting his water from Aidan.

When you look at the pictures, you may think that the kids in white look REALLY big. Keep in mind they could be 7th, 8th or 9th graders. Governor Mifflin has a junior high team which is 7th & 8th grade and they have a separate 9th grade team. I don't think Exeter has that.

Austin is on the field, far end of the line, standing up.

Austin played really well. And despite his valiant playing, they lost...22-0. I still enjoyed watching my baby play his hardest at a game he LOVES.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10 Questions

1) Right now I want: To be totally recovered & able to eat more than two tablespoons at one time.

2) I wish I knew how to: Talk to my children & solve all their problems.

3.) When I want to indulge myself, I: Sleep in or eat something I shouldn't

4) You’ll never see me: In a bikini!

5) A childhood memory that I love: Riding to Waterside in my mom's yellow car & having my own cup holder.

6) 2 things I do every single day: Take my medicine & brush my teeth.

7) Happiest moment of 2008, so far: Being with my family at Potter County.

8) Describe yourself in 3 words: Fun-loving, dedicated, stubborn

9) 2 scrap related goals for this year: To scrap...period - nuff said

10) You have $40 that you MUST spend on yourself – what do you do with it? Go to the book store.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bye-Bye Wound Vac

It is with a heavy heart (HA!) I must report that my K.C.I. wound vac is on its way back to wherever it is it came.

As of yesterday, I am done with the wound vac therapy. All I have on my stomach are two layers of gauze that are soaked in saline and those two layers of gauze are covered with about four layers of dry gauze & tape.

I still have my feeding tube which should come out on Monday, September 15 when I see the surgeon again.

So I am almost "good as new" and no one is as happy as I am!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Aidan's Opening Day 2008

Today was Aidan's first football game of the 2008 season. We played at 11th & Pike Street in Reading.

They got to wear their new jerseys today but had to hand them in at the end of game because they need to have numbers added to the sleeves. I'm not sure who picked white for the color of the jersey, it obviously was not a person who regularly does the wash.

And check out his new cleats! They are predominately white & they have slots on the side so you can slide in these pieces of plastic of different colors. Of course we have one shoe with maroon & one shoe gold. They look pretty sweet. I'm not thrilled with the white, but I didn't pick them!
The whole team did really well, although tackling was a little lacking. I have a feeling that practice will be pretty grueling this week - think tackling drills over & over again.
Aidan had a good game. He had a 50 yard run in the first half on a third down & 20 to go.

His team lost 12 to 7. He wasn't that upset about it, but it did wear him out. He came home & promptly passed out on the sofa - still in his football pants, girdle, cup & sneakers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I've come to realize....

1. I've come to realize that my boobs are getting smaller each week (much to my husband's dismay!).

2. I've come to realize that my job is not that important in the grand scheme of life.

3. I've come to realize that when I'm driving...it's been so long since I've driven...I don't pay attention enough.

4. I've come to realize that I need a haircut & some stylin'!

5. I've come to realize that I have lost my sense of self.

6. I've come to realize that I hate it when I don't know what I want and when I finally figure out what it is that I want, I don't know how to get it.

7. I've come to realize that if I'm drunk, I can't make it to the bathroom on two feet - crawling is a better option.

8. I've come to realize that money can't buy happiness, but if you don't have it...you sure can be miserable!

9. I've come to realize that certain people go above and beyond friendship.

10. I've come to realize that I'll always be missing home.

12. I've come to realize that my mom is the strongest person I know.

13. I've come to realize my cell phone is not a necessity.

14. I've come to realize that when I woke up this morning I only have a few more days with the wound vac!

15. I've come to realize that last night before I went to sleep I had a headache - for the first time in months!

16. I've come to realize that right now I am thinking about cleaning everything!

17. I've come to realize that my dad is the most hardworking, smartest & forgiving person I know.

18. I've come to realize that when I get on the computer I need to set time limits.

19. I've come to realize that today I am so blessed.

20. I've come to realize that tonight I need to express to my husband & sons that they are the best & I wouldn't know what to do without them!

21. I've come to realize that tomorrow is Friday - YIPPEE!

22. I've come to realize that I really want to make life perfect for my sons.

24. I've come to realize that life is too short & it's not my plan - I'm not in charge. That's hard to admit!

25. I've come to realize that this weekend is going to be so much fun - Family Time! Maybe we'll make some salsa!

26. I've come to realize that the best music to listen to when I am upset is - something upbeat - Nickelback - Flo-Rida - something to take my mind off whatever is upsetting me.

27. I've come to realize that friends are indispensable & irreplaceable.

28. I've come to realize that this year has been full of surprises & I look forward to each & every day to come - no matter what the challenges.

Light at the End of the Tunnel!

My visiting nurse was here on Wednesday & thank goodness - there is an end in sight!

She seems to think that by Monday, September 8, 2008, my incision on my stomach should be pulled together enough to be done with the wound vac. HALLELUJAH!

The next step will be a saline or gel dressing until everything is "back to normal".

The nurses that come to the house keep asking me if I want to look at the incision - because "it's so healthy & pink looking", I just say - no thanks. I will look at it when my insides aren't on the outside.

I hope I can get my stamina back up relatively quickly. I was putting clean clothes away the other day & by the time I was done - I was physically exhausted. I did not enjoy that in the least bit. When this wound vac is off for good I need to start an exercise regimen so I can get back to the level I was at eight months ago.

I am also looking forward to being able to clean to the laundry room/office. Come - *you*know*what* or high water, that room is getting clean. I need to set a time frame as to when we will have it done. Thanks to Tricia, I don't have all the Sizzix stuff to contend with anymore & I know that it is going to good use. I have also been behaving myself when it comes to bringing new treasures into my house (being "homebound" does have some advantages), but I need to go through the stuff I still have & decide what I want to keep & what needs to go. It was really easy telling my Mom to just get rid of stuff when I was in the hospital because I couldn't see it going out the door. Now I'm home & let me tell you - IT'S HARD!

I will probably post more tomorrow. Austin has his first real football game at Red Lion today. I don't think I will get a lot of information from him, but I will post what I get.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Day of School - Start of a New Era

Monday, August 25 was the first day back to school for our boys. I can't believe it is already that time of year. I felt so unprepared - thank goodness for Shamma because if it wouldn't have been for her taking the boys school shopping, who knows what supplies & clothes they would have to suffer with.

Our oldest son is officially a Junior High School student. So far, he loves it. He likes changing classes and not having the same teacher all day long. Jerry wakes him up at 6:00 am so he can be ready to catch the bus at 7:00. So far, so good - there have been no complaints about having to get up so early.

Austin has football practice everyday after school from 3:30-5:30. He likes practice & told us he thinks he made the varsity 7th grade team. We don't care which team he made as long as he is having fun. On nights that Aidan has football practice from 5:30-7:30, Austin doesn't get home until Jerry & Aidan get home from practice so that makes for a long day for him, but you know Austin, he doesn't complain.

Aidan started second grade on Monday. He likes his teacher, although on the second day he came home complaining of a headache because his teacher talked too much. Oh the life of an eight-year-old. I wish I had his problems.

Football is going well for Aidan (Jerry gives me the play-by-play each evening after practice). He had his first scrimmage on Tuesday evening against Schuylkill Valley. Jerry said he was great.

In the following pictures, you can see him (#98 - far right side) get the ball and run it up the side. It kills me that I can't go to these things, but I have to devote my energy to getting better.

I went to see the surgeon yesterday for a follow up appointment & he said the incision looks good & I probably will only need to have the wound vac for another two weeks! Woo Hoo! He took out my other drain, but said the feeding tube will need to stay in until he sees me again on September 15. I feel so much better knowing that there is an end in sight. When they originally told me that I would need to have this contraption on me for four to six weeks - UGH! To say I was depressed is an understatement. I would definitely have to say that it is all the prayers I have been getting that is making this happen. Thank you so much to those of you who have been sending your prayers my way. It means so much.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Home - At Last!

I am typing this from the comfort of my very own living room & after a 10 day stay at the luxurious Reading Hospital & Medical Center let me just tell you in the immortal words of Dorothy - "There's no place like home!"

For those of you who weren't aware that I was in the hospital, here is a brief overview of what happened.

Starting right around my birthday in February of this year, I began to experience a slight pain in my abdominal region. I (having earned my PhD from the Bowmansville Technical Institute) just thought it was indigestion. I self medicated (Tums, Naproxium Sodium, etc.) and just continued on my happy existence.

I, the great and powerful Oz, uh, Tracy did not have the energy nor the time to be sick.

Fast forward to about a month ago. I had been happily medicating along, not thinking that there could be a greater underlying problem, or that I could be creating one.

While we were on vacation in Potter County the week of July 25 through August 3, I experienced excruciating pain in the middle of the night that almost sent me to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport. I made my way through that night, but I knew my body was telling me that something wasn't right.

I guess my body had finally had enough. In the wee morning hours of August 11, 2008, I awoke with a pain like no other. I tried to lay on the floor in our bedroom & stretch out - "Maybe it's just a cramp!", but there was no relief.

I awoke my sweet husband & told him - "I have to go to the hospital, it hurts so bad.".

Let me just make this disclaimer: I have the most wonderful, sweet, understanding & amazing husband in the whole world. You can argue with me all you want, but he has just been my rock the past two weeks.

We arrived at Reading Hospital & most everything over the first few days is just a blur - literally.

Initially, I was diagnosed as having an ulcer. That was totally understandable to me. Stress + Naproxium Sodium=Ulcer. Naproxium Sodium is terrible apparently to people who have had bariatric surgery. Simple - right? WRONG!

They began running a series of tests which also indicated that my hemoglobin was really low and that I would need a blood transfusion. That indicates internal bleeding - FANTASTIC!

Well, they started me on some medicine for my ulcer, gave me one bag of blood & decided to admit me to the hospital. I received another bag of blood once I got to my room. Over the next day and a half of poking & prodding, my pain level had not gone down from a "10". The doctors could not understand why I was experiencing such high levels of pain.

It was then decided that I would have an endoscopy to see exactly what was going on in my digestive region. Jerry has also told me that sometime over these two days I had a cat scan, but I have no recollection of this.

It was discovered that I had a perforated ulcer located exactly at the point where my small intestine meets my stomach & that by taking the Naproxium, it had created an ulcer that had eaten away approximately half of the connection. This created an emergency surgery scenario which then placed me in the intensive care unit for two days and then to a "regular" room for a week.

I had X-Rays, cat-scans, swallowing tests, blood tests and the most miraculous thing of all...a Wound Vac. I currently have attached to my stomach a vacuum device.

As of today, my wound on my stomach measured 18 cm long (below the breastbone to the belly button), 4.5 cm wide, and 2 cm deep. The nurse came in and removed the wet-to-dry pack they had sent me home from the hospital with and packed the wound with foam (think air-conditioner filter foam), placed a thin layer of plastic on the top and then attached the wound vac, turned it on and Voila! it sucks fast and creates a seal that germs cannot get through. This encourages healing from the inside out. I will have this little treasure for the next four to six weeks - until it is healed. This also means I am home bound for the next four to six weeks - unless I go to church or go to get my hair done - those are the only two exceptions that I am allowed to leave the house. It could get mighty interesting around these here parts. Hopefully as each days goes I will feel stronger & able to do more around the house.

My mom came down on Monday, August 18 & has just been amazing. She came over (as did Tricia) and then proceeded to clean Austin's room, do laundry, cook, run the boys to football practice - I have the best parents in the whole world.

The week before, Jerry's sister Merry & her kids kept the boys for the entire week while Jerry was stuck at the hospital with me.

I cannot say thank you enough to all of these wonderful people who came to our rescue. I love you all so dearly, words cannot express.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Strawberry Picking

Our neighbors asked us if we wanted to pick strawberries today. I haven't picked strawberries since I was 14 years old & a candy striper at the nursing home where my great-grandmother resided. I think there is a reason for this.

Strawberry picking is one of those things that you swear you are never going to do again & then the years pass & you forget how tedious it is. Add to it the fact that it is over 90 degrees here & my two cherubs & you are asking for a melt-down.

We walked to the little shed to "check-in". I opted for a 4-quart box (it didn't look that big when she set it up on the counter!) and all of us (8 in all plus a picking guide) started off to the rows of doom.

The girl that was our guide was a smooth operator. She asked us if we wanted to go to the rows with the big berries that are not very sweet or if we wanted the smaller, MUCH sweeter berries and then proceeded to pull two SMALL berries off the plant and hand them to us to sample.

Now I must say that the berries were delicious, but they omit telling you is that it will take three times as long to pick the smaller berries.
We had a wonderful time MAKIN' MEMORIES and I will probably do it again. I will have to forget about what I wrote.
Here is Aidan (who sampled his fair share).

Here is Austin hard at work (and Aidan mugging for the camera).

My two sweet berry pickers - Oh! Make that one sweet berry picker & Aidan.

And at last - 5.61 pounds of red goodness - Strawberry Pie - Shortcake - YUM!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Picture from Austin's Land Olympics

Here is a picture from today. It's Austin & his buddy Austin Woodworth.

I will post more photos & info tomorrow. I promised I would get this photo uploaded.

Austin's Artwork for his 6th Grade Year

Austin brought home all of his artwork from the past year.

Enjoy his talent as we have.

Soft-head sculpture of his father

"A Loud Noise"


"Peace + Dog = Randy Jackson"

"Two-Headed Blue Polka Dot Dog"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Austin's Castle Project

Austin had to construct a castle for his 6th grade Social Studies Class. He wasn’t really sure why he had to do it because he isn’t studying castle in his class. I surmised that he had to do it because of the Medieval Fairewell they have for the 6th graders at the Intermediate School.

We started collecting boxes from various snacks (granola bars, Pringles, etc.) and waited for the papers to come home from school giving the requirements for constructing his castle.

I was actually pretty excited about the prospect of a project. This would be the first one this year. There would be some restrictions like no kits, can not be any larger than 18” x 24” and it had to be to school by May 21st.

So we (Jerry, Austin & I) started brainstorming - which usually ended up with Austin in tears. Austin had his ideas of how the castle should be built, but he basically just wanted it to be done & didn’t care how well it was constructed or, for that matter, how it looked.

I was most concerned about how pretty it looked. You know me, everything had to LOOK perfect. I had no clue about structural integrity or logistics of how it was to be constructed, it had to look good.

Thank goodness for Jerry, our voice of reason. He knew how it had to be constructed and he & Austin did all of the design work. Jerry also helped with hot gluing, painting & overall project completion.

I knew that we need a couple different tones of grey paint, black paint, brown paint, craft sticks & felt. See, I am the exterior designer. Jerry is the contractor & Austin is the slave labor.

Austin needed to make sure that the following element were included in his castle: Moat, Gatehouse, Drawbridge, Portcullis, Towers, Turret, Wall walk, Outside Wall, Keep, Bailey & Flags. All of these items had to clearly labeled & were worth two points each.

Also worth two points each were: Name is displayed, Project shows effort, Directions were followed (materials, size, etc.) & castle is constructed well. Altogether, the project was worth 30 points.

We worked on the project for four days. Painting, cutting, taping, gluing, painting. Finally at about 7:00 pm on Tuesday, May 20th, we were done with the castle.

Austin took the castle to school on the bus. He said he had seen other students castles and he thought his was pretty good,

We waited anxiously each day to find out what we, er….Austin got on his castle. He came home on Friday carrying his castle and stated hat he had got a “C”. But before I could freak out and rant and rave, he got that devilish smile on is face and said “No, I got 30 out of 30 - A+.

I was so pleased that he had stuck it out through his parents rigorous demands & did his best on a project & was reaping the rewards.