Friday, July 30, 2010

Hope and Peace

Yesterday I was able to go to yet another doctor.  My appointment wasn't supposed to be until October 11th but they had an opening come up so I got to go early.  I must say, I was very nervous to go again and tell my story again.  At the past doctors I left feeling that they thought very little of me and my problems.  Their answers to my fristrations were things like, "well, remember, yo do have six children.  Fatigue may just be a part of your life." or "you just need to exercise more and eat less." or "sometimes we over estimate our abilities to do things.  Remember you are older than you used to be."  Duh!  Anyways, they'd do some tests, find no immediate answers and dismiss me.  It was quite disheartening and extremely frustrating.  Especially since I still had to go home and try to function.  Well, at my last visit, there was one blood test that came back abnormal.  The doctor told me it was nothing to worry about.  However, it was all I had to grasp on to so I decided to have them refer me to an endocrinologist.  I am so glad I did.  For the first time, I felt like I was listened to and that he believed me!  The test that came back abnormal was actually the wrong test all together.  They had given me the test for IGF 1 Binding Protein.  That's a test only for children.  I needed the IGF 1 test - no binding protein.  He also wanted to look at my pituitary gland.  He said that could be causing the fatigue, the weight issues and the other irregularities.  He also wants to look at my thyroid again but from a different angle.  He said sometimes we get symptoms of thyroid problems before it shows up in the blood work.  He said there is a test that will show him if there are problems beginning there.  Anyways, he ordered  5 more blood tests and a urinary test (fun).  He said they would keep searching until they found something.  Even though I left the office with no real anwers, I left feeling really good.  I left actually feeling like a real person not an idiot with made up stories and symptoms.  I do hope, with all that is in me, that there are answers found.  That will require waiting for the results.  I have at least a week before all the results get back.  In the meantime, I will keep doing what I can and working through it when I can't seem to keep up.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here We Go Again

Well, today I set up yet another appointment with yet another doctor.  This time it is at the Diabetic and Thyroid Clinic.  They will know more about the hormones and they want to do more testing in regards to my last bloodwork that came back abnormal.  Hopefully they will be able to tell me more about the IFG-1 Binding Protien.  They say it could be the cause of my constant fatigue but more testing will need to be done.  Unfortunately, they are booked out until October!  I had them put me on the call list in case something came open before that.  Until then, I guess I'll keep plugging away.  I really have no choice in the matter now do I!  I hope there are answers with this one.  I can't afford many more doctor's appointments and I feel guilty about the cost everytime I go and they don't find any answers.  Plus it makes me feel like an incompetent loser who can't handle the stress of life and all that goes on.  Anyways, I guess this will be another step that will hopefully lead me to where I need to go.  If not, I am going to crawl into a hole filled with chocolate and Diet Dr. Pepper and spend the rest of my days there :)  Just kidding!  I know there are worse things out there that I could be faced with.  I know there are people struggling with worse health issues than I am struggling with so I am not trying to complain.  But, depsite the fact that there is worse out there, I still am here having to deal with this and it is very frustrating to me.  So to end, I will quote what those wiser than me have always said, "This to shall pass."  And it will.  Someday.  I hope!

Party of Thirty...Nine?

Last night we had the fun privilage to have a family of 31 come spend the evening with us.  They were friends of my family when we were growing up in Brookings.  Some of them I haven't seen in many, many years, some we have spent several Christmas Eves with since we have been back in the area.  It was great!  There were 24 kids running around the place (mine included) and loving every minute of it.  Michael got out the wagons and horses and gave rides.  Then we all had hotdogs, chips, brownies and ice cream and played a few rousing games of bean bag toss.  It was a great time with very good friends.  I'm so glad we were able to reconnect after so many years and catch up on our lives.  I met this family when I moved to Brookings the summer before my 5th grade year.  They were the first people in the driveway to help us unload the truck.  They took all of us kids to the pool to swim while the adults hauled all of our things into the house.  We spent many evenings through out the years together and had a lot of fun adventures.  It was fun to reminisce and to see how we have all changed.  Sorry, no pictures, but I'm sure you can imagine the scene!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Barn Dance

This morning while we were up at the barn, Olivia decided she needed to dance.  Eventually the other two girls joined in. They kicked up the dirt and sang and danced to Hannah Montana.


Little Boy with a Big Hat

Michael gave Zeke his old cowboy hat which Zeke now wears everywhere.  He looks so cute with that big old hat on his little 4 year old head!  He says he's going to wear it when he goes mustin' bustin' (mutton busting) at the rodeo in August.  We'll see how far that hat flies when he jumps on the back of one of those sheep!

Riding the Wild Bronc

This morning we woke up and realized that for the first time in a long time we had a free morning - nothing on the agenda (at least not until 1pm).  So we decided to ride our wild bronc, Sadler.  Zane has been waiting for this since we got him at the beginning of the month so he was first in line to ride.  By the time Zane finished with him he was a gentle little pony giving rides to everyone!  (In all actuality, he never flinched when he got the saddle put on him for the first time, never flinched when Zane crawled on his back, and very calmly responded to the smooching, kicking and pulling on the reins.)  He's going to be a great pony for the kids.  Here are some pictures of our wild bronc riding...

Brushing him and getting him ready to saddle

First time with a saddle on

Zane getting ready to mount Sadler

Off he goes!  Look at him buck and jump!  Hang on Cowboy!!

Susie riding the wild bronc

Lala practicing to be rodeo princess

Makenna taking the reins

Zeke had a hard time seeing out from under his big hat but he rode too

Maddi wouldn't ride, but she took the lead rope and worked on her showmanship for acheivement days.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Purple Ribbon

Yesterday was the 4-H Horse State Fair.  Our day started a 4am.  Horses, wagons, kids, lunches and waters were all loaded into trailers, vans, semis, trucks and the Expedition and we headed off to Huron.  The show started at 8am for some of the kids.  Makenna spent the time brushing Peanut and getting him harnessed and ready to go.



The other kids spent the time playing in the dirt and the semi trailer.  Their favorite thing was racing their cars down the ramps coming out of the back of the trailer.






Makenna's show was around 10am.  She was in the arena with 2 other kids.  She got a PURPLE ribbon!!  One of the other kids (a friend of ours) also got a purple ribbon.  That put them both in the running for Grand Champion in the Junior Driving.  After all the Junior driving was done, all the kids with purple ribbons came back to the middle of the arena.  There were 6 kids that made it to that point.  To win the title of Grand Champion for Junior Division you are competing in an age range of 8 to 14 and you are competing against draft horses, pleasure horses, and all sizes of ponies.  The minis have never won that title.  They just don't compare to those big horses.  One of the pleasure horses got Champion and one of the drafts got Reserve Champion.  It didn't matter though, nothing could damper Makenna's smile.  She had a PURPLE ribbon and that's what she came to get!  She did an amazing job driving and that's all that she needed to do. 


Look at that smile!

After that we ate lunch, played some more and rode Peanut around.  The other kids from theranch did good as well.  We had one boy that was Grand Champion in showmanship with his draft and Reserve Champion in Senior Team Driving.  We also had a Reserve Champion in Junior Team Driving and a few other purple and blue ribbons.  Around 2pm, we loaded up all the horses, wagons, kids, lunches and water and headed home.  It was a great day!  I am so glad I got to go and be a part of it.  I am so glad Makenna got this experience.  It has helped her so much and has been a huge esteem builder.  In two weeks we will have Acheivement Days for 4-H and she will get to drive again.  Maddi has also decided to join the ranks and she wants to show.  Our horse, Sadler, won't be ready for her to drive but she will do Showmanship with him.  I am so glad to see her out there working with the horses too.  That has been a huge change this summer.  She has gone from being terrified of horses (not even willing to get on the cart with Peanut) to driving Peanut and working with the horses.  Next year we will have both girls out there driving their ponies. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Most Beautiful Sight

The other night I got to go to sleep looking at the most beautiful sight in the world.  It made my heart melt and my soul fill with joy.  It made all those neck wringing, hair pulling out moments so worth it.  I just layed there and watched her until she finally rolled over.  I'm not sure what it was.  I have watched her sleep before, but it was something about the peacefulness of the night that just touched my heart.  I had to sneak out of bed and get a picture trying to capture the moment so I could remember it forever.  Isn't she beautiful?

Week with the Walbas

For those of you who don't know, the Walbas are my parents.  It's a namethat Michael affectionately made up years ago and it stuck with my children. It is a combinaton of their first names, Wally and Trelba.  Anyways, the Walbas came and spent last week with us.  We had a lot of fun.  The kids love having them here.  We don't usually plan too much to do because we like to be abe to just have time to spend together.  We had wrestling matches which my children always lost, basketball games and HORSE, dress up, snuggling time, a wagon ride, dinner at Cracker Barrle and ice cream at Cold Stones. The visit seemed too short, as usual, and there were many tears when it was time to say goodbye.  Luckily there is always the promise of next year.  We also have the convenience of email and telephone which we have already used several times since they left yesterday morning!
week long wrestling match
Makenna snuggling with Papa Walba
Olivia sleeping with Grandma Walba
Princess Lala and Princess Papa
One on one
HORSE
Papa's first wagon ride
The last morning

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend at the Races

This last weekend we went up to Canterbury to watch the horse races.  It is something we look forward to every summer.  This year our summer has been busy enough that we only get to go once.  We left Friday afternoon and made our way to Eden Prairie to the hotel.  Once we checked in, we unloaded the car and then headed to Applebee's for supper.  The kids love that place.  Then it was off to the races!  We watched a few races, visited with one of our friends that is a trianer there and played on the playground.  Then we went back to the hotel, had a snack and went to bed.  We went to bed - not to sleep!  Michael was on one bed with Zane and Olivia and I was on the other with Zeke and Dillon.  Maddi and Makenna slept on the floor.  We tossed and turned all night.  At 7:30 Saturday morning Makenna and I made our way to the fitness room to exercise.  She tried out all the equipment while I did my work out.  After breakfast we went swimming at the pool.  Always a highlight when staying at a hotel.  We checked out around 11am and then went in search of a park to play at.  We found a really nice one close to the race tracks.  Unfortunately, five minutes after being there, several of the kids had to go to the bathroom.  So we loaded up again and went in search for potties.  Then it was lunch and time for the races.  We watched several more races with each of the kids loudly cheering for the horse of their choice (that is the fun part for me, watching them cheer).  We also played on the playground some more.  Then Makenna broke one of her flip flops so she was walking around barefooted and Olivia was getting really tired so we decided to call it a day and head home.  The kids slept in the car half the drive home.  It was beautiful weather all weekend and it was really nice to get out of town.  That was the only weekend all summer that Michael had off work so we were glad to get to go somewhere together.  I wish I could post pictures of our adventure, but unfortunately I left my camera at home!  Maybe next year :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One Big Ouchie Made All Better With One Little Bandaid

The other day at work, Michael got stepped on by a 2100 lb draft horse.  The horse was donning beautfiul, huge metal horseshoes.  Michael, a mere 155 lbs was wearing nice leather boots.  While they provided some needed protection, they were no match against the horse.  Olivia, upon seeing his "ouchie" immediately ran to the bathroom and came out with a beautiful, small purple Princess and the Frog bandaid.  She carefully put it on Michael's ouchie and proclaimed him all better!  He also claimed immediate healing.  Who could argue with a little 3 year old princess taking care of her daddy?  That night as I was tucking the kids into bed, Zane said he wanted daddy to snuggle him up.  I made the statement that daddy wasn't going to tonight because his foot hurt.  Olivia, who has found her way to the bottom bunk of Dillon's bed making that her new permanent bed, piped up and reminded us all that daddy's foot was all better because she got him a princess bandaid.  I kissed her and thanked her again for taking care of daddy.  She went to sleep happy knowing that she had done a good thing!  Now a few days have passed and the colors on Michael's foot have grown and brightened.  It's really quite pretty if you can look past the fact that it was caused by a 2100 lb metal shoe!  I'm sure it would hurt really bad if it were not for the healing powers of that bandaid.  But, because of the quick healing, he was able to continue working (with a slight limp) while wearing boots (a size bigger).  And yes, in case you were wondering, Michael's feet are kind of shaped like cowboy boots, although the middle toe on his right foot is usually not that long.  It has grown from the swelling.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Weekend

We had a fun weekend ths 4th of July.  Saturday Michael had a parade somewhere so the kids and I stayed home, did chores (no that wasn't the fun part) and waited for our new pony to arrive.  He is a 3 yer old gelding.   He is very gentle.  We will break him to drive for fair next year.





We have decided to name him Sadler.  We spent the evening at home together and up at the barn having pony rides. 

Sunday I took the kids to church for sacrament.  Michael had to stay home to get ready for the parade in Hendricks.  The ranch was asked to take a wagon and team of horses to be in their parade.  After sacrament, the kids and I headed up there too.  We weren't going to miss a chance to see friends and be in the parade.  The weather was cloudy with a slight breeze, just perfect for a parade. 

Zane ended up riding on a golf cart with one of the kids favorite teachers of all time.  He got to throw candy to the crowds and even managed to save himself a little bit of candy for later. 

 Maddi and Makenna got to ride on the front of a combine with one of their friends.  The combine was in line behind our wagon so I got to watch them giggle and laugh and try to throw candy out beyond the combine tires so the kids could get it.  Unfortunately there were many peices of candy smooshed by those big tires! 

Zeke and Dillon rode up top with Michael and Orville.  They each got a turn driving which totally made their day. 

Olivia and I rode in the back of the wagon waving and greeting old friends.  It was a lot of fun.  After the parade, Michael headed back to the ranch with the horses and the kids and I stayed for a few more hours.  We went to the park and played with friends and then went to the community pinic.  I was so glad we were able to go.  When it was time to go, Maddi had a meltdown and started bawling.  It broke my heart.  I tried to be tough and tell her to get over it, but inside I was crying just as hard as she was.  It is so hard to leave that little town and those friends.  It's even harder when the kids are feeling that same pain. 

We got home in time to go on a pony ride, light a few sparklers and head to the hill to watch the fireworks.  The mosquitoes were so bad that even with bug spray on we only lasted a few minutes before we had to go home. 

Monday was a lazy day at home.  Michael had the day off so he mowed the yards.  I went to the store and made ice cream.  We also cleaned the garage and organized it (again).  That evening some friends came over for dessert.  We went for more pony rides and lit off some fireworks.  It was a fun ending to the weekend.  Unfortunately, with all the fun we had during the weekend, I did not do a very good job taking pictures.  Next time....

Decisions

Sometimes I struggle with making decisions.  I guess, at times, I lack confidence in myself in either knowing what is best or knowing if it is something that I really want to do.  Today I had to make one of those decisions.  What the decision was is of no importance, the process though, was a long hard one.  It is something I have struggled with and thought about for a long time - years.  I knew what I WANTED to do, but I didn't know if it was what I SHOULD do.  I didn't talk to anyone about it because I was unsure of the response I would get.  It would also be an admission of something I was not able to do on my own.  It showed weakness in my eyes.  As a mother of 6 who is frequently reminded of her insanity and inablility, I didn't want another mark against me!  I finally talked to Michael about it and to my surprise he was in support of it and had no problems with my wishes.  So today I made the phone call to start the process.  Now as I sit here, I question the decision I made.  Is it BEST for me and my family?  Is it okay to do?  Am I putting focus on the wrong things right now?  Deep down I know the answers to all those questions and I know the decision I made will be good.  I hope and pray that I can have the confidence I need to follow through and the ability to do what I need to in order to make it all work.  I have to draw on the promptings I have felt from the Spirit and remember them when I start to question.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quiet All Around

It's Satruday morning and for the first time in a long time the house is all quiet and Iam up to enjoy it.  This week has been another crazy week.  I spent the last three days babysitting our two neighbor kids.  With  8 kids running around the house and all the things I was trying to get done, I went to bed pretty exhausted last night.  I have been getting up at 5:30 every morning to go to the gym.  That has been nice (but WAY to early for me).  By the time I get home, kids are starting to wake up and the day has begun.  This morning I didn't go to the gym because Michael had to be to work early to get ready for a parade.  So here I am, all by myself, listening to nothing and I am thoroughly enjoying it! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It is there...

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

I got this quote from a friend the other day and I really liked it.  It made my mind race, my heart happy and it brought lots of things to the forefront of my mind.  Each sentence brought a different thought and touched a different aspect of my life.  Life has been so busy lately that it seems to almost be out of control.  I keep waiting for peace and quiet to catch up to me but it hasn't yet.  Today I decided to find peace myself.  While I was at the gym this morning I read a great article in a church magazine about finding peace and contentment.  It said to wake up early each morning (even just a few minutes), get dressed and ready for the day and then find a quiet place to pray to Heavenly Father.  After we pray, we need to wait and feel, read the scriptures or something spiritual for just a few minutes.  If we do that, we will find more peace in our lives throughout the day.  I did that this morning.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm babysitting today so that "finding peace" promise will be tested!

I have also had a hard time accepting the fact that I now live in Sioux Falls.  It was a hard move to make and one that I have not adjusted completely to even though we have been here for almost a year and a half.  I am constantly going back in my mind that this is where we are supposed to be and that there is a purpose for it.  That keeps me going through the days that I wish I were some where else.

Sometimes as I sit at home with my children and look at my "lived in" house (aka messy house) I begin to question my worth and abilities.  I compare and I put myself down.  I forget all that I have accomplished and all that I do everyday.  Yes, there is more that I can do, but I am so much farther along than I was 5 years ago.  My faith (although sometimes lacking) has helped me to reach higher potentials and become more of a person, mother, friend, and wife.  In those low moments, I have to remind myself where I came from and that I have the same divine potential as God because I am His child, created in His image.

That led me to my next thought and the next sentence - using the gifts that I have been given and passing on the love that I have received.  I have been given so much in my life.  I have received so much love.  I have had opportunities to love others and to share with others.  I hope that what I am giving and sharing is equal to all that I have and receive.  The wonderful thing about gifts and love is that the more you give, the more you receive.  If I share my God given talents with others, He will bless me with more.  If I pass on love to others, my heart will be filled right along with theirs.  It is such a wonderful thing!

Being content with myself is the hardest thing for me.  Being a mother has brought all of my short comings out of hiding and placed them on display!  I am very hard on myself, in all areas of life.  It is something I am working on and I am slightly better about it, but it is still hard.  There is so much more I think I should be.  But as long as I am doing my best, I need to feel contentment with who I am and where I am at.

Our souls need freedom.  Freedom brings happiness, because freedom comes from making right choices.  As we try each day to make good choices and choose the better path, our lives will be blessed with freedom and our souls will be allowed to sing and dance and praise and love.

It's all there.  It's available to everyone.  It takes work.  It takes dedication. It takes faith and humility.  It takes patience and obedience.  But it is there and it's there for all of us no matter who we are.