Wednesday, December 28, 2011

poked and prodded

Things have been spotty here on the blog and I am truly sorry for that. On top of the Sweet Rose blog, two crazy toddlers, a lovely husband, the holidays, and all of my photography commitments, I've been dealing with mystery pains of my own that have lead me through quite the medical journey in search of some answers.

My first stop on my magical mystery medical tour was my gyn doctor. We thought that I had all the symptoms of endometriosis, but the only way to be sure was to do a diagnostic laparascopy. That's a fancy term for "We-need-to-open-you-up-to-see-for-sure." While I was under general anesthesia, I was the lucky recipient of my belly button being opened up and an additional three incisions in my lower abdomen. My abdomen was puffed up and after taking a sneaky peek around the inside of my girl parts, it was determined that the cause of my pain wasn't endometriosis; it wasn't gyn related at all.

Off to the next doctor: a gasteroenterologist (aka tummy and poo doctor). Can I just say that I was the youngest person in that waiting room by a solid 30 years minus the caretakers that accompanied their respective patients to the appointment? And I loved the surprised look on the doctor's face when he walked in and realized I was not a retired-Catherine, but a young-mother-Catherine. I gather he doesn't get that much. After discussing my symptoms, he was pretty positive that my pain wasn't GI-related, but he wanted to do a colonoscopy to rule anything out. Yep, colonoscopy. Hideous, horrible, awful colonoscopy. I did it, I survived, I never want another one of those. No GI problems were found, but he did recommend seeing a spine surgeon.

Spine surgeon it is. When your doctor comes in and basically tells you that your situation is a conundrum, hope is a tricky thing to come by. He's a very nice guy and totally committed to helping me, but in that moment, I was ready to just deal with the pain for the remainder of my life. Who needs to be able to pick up their kids anyway?

Yes, this is my spine. I had to have an MRI done to determine if there was any nerve damage and today was result day. As it turns out, I have a bulge in my disk between my L-4 and L-5 vertebrae and it's pinching nerves.

I'm guessing this is the picture that has the evidence, but this is my completely un-medical opinion.

Lucky me, I get to go have an injection similar to an epidural poked into my back tomorrow morning in hopes of un-inflaming the conflicted area. I'm just praying that it works and that I finally have some sort of relief.

I'll just have to wait and see...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


As much fun as we had this morning snuggling and playing with puzzles, we had an equal amount of fun playing in the back yard this afternoon. Our winter grass has grown in thick and lush and with a balmy 75 degrees as the temperature, we couldn't not spend some time outside.

Luke couldn't help but check out every.single.thing. for fear that something would get him. Reagan spent the time inspecting Luke and all of his craziness. Luke even tried to get her to go through tunnels and ride toys that he wasn't sure of first.

And can I just ask something? How many places do you know of where you can find water spots on a plant like this? Not many, I'd say...


These past few mornings have had a definite chill to them. Phoenix finally made the lovely transition from summer to winter. Yeah -- it seems as if we forgot the Fall memo this year. Such is life in the good ol' desert.

I decided this morning, as we were snuggled under blankets to keep the chill at bay, that we needed to make today a chill day of our own, complete with jammies until noon, dressing up like cowboys, and taking time to not make any plans.

The kids have taken quite well to the lack of plans and have really enjoyed each other's company today, or at least more than usual.

(I didn't say they were 100% friendly to each other. Come on! I have two toddlers! Do you see Reagan's Grabby-Hand-of-Death?)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Paige Joanalynn

This past week has been a very rough one for my family. On Wednesday, my cousin's newborn daughter passed away due to complications from birth. We've banded together as a family to support them and help as much as possible, but how much can you really do to help a tragedy like this?

I decided to make a remembrance board and I wanted to share it on the day sweet Paige is put to rest. Please keep Paige, her grieving parents, and the rest of our family in your prayers today.

Now as I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
But should I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


We waited until the day before Halloween to carve pumpkins this year. It was just too hot to do it any earlier. And if I'm being 100% honest, this is the first time Keith and I have been brave enough to carve pumpkins with them, so we put it off until we couldn't any longer.

Luke, as I totally expected, wanted no part in sticking his hands inside the pumpkin and was more than happy to let Keith handle all of that.

Reagan, on the other hand and true to form herself, wanted no part in anyone helping her in any way. She was bound and determined to complete her pumpkin solo.

Luke was happy with his happy pumpkin.

After some relaxing, Reagan spent some time inspecting her pumpkin. Poor Reagan's pumpkin. I had initially attempted a witch hat, but that failed miserably, so she ended up with a very "special" pumpkin.

All done and ready for Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Since my dad, my brother, and my brother-in-law's birthdays all fall within a week of each other and they are the week prior to Halloween, my sister decided to throw them a joint costume birthday party this year. We all had an awesome time, awesome food, and awesome company. Thanks Beth for hosting!
Our little witch, Reagan 

Spooky bat, Luke

Me with two of the three birthday boys: Randy (the goofball in the back) and my dad

After all of the medical issues poor Randy has had this year, he always manages to keep a positive attitude. I guess you really do have to have a positive attitude to pull off the costume he chose. He said its from Rocky Horror Picture Show, but since I've never seen that, I can't verify.

Me and my prince charming (we went as Prince William and Kate Middleton)

See? I even made a sweet replica ring from tin foil and a large faux blue rhinestone. It's quality, I tell ya.

My sweet little family

And we were lucky enough to finish the night with Reagan in true form. Lucky us!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

three rocks

This kid never ceases to amaze me or make me laugh. He can come up with the most crazy ideas and turn everyday phrases into the most hilarious parts of my day.

Instead of everything being a "good idea," it's now a "big idea." He was so excited on Monday when he had a "big idea" that Daddy should come home and watch his Packers.

It's also funny to me when he gets sad because he has to wait for Daddy to get home after naps and that he has to wait almost an entire week until his Packers come back.

He knows and can use the words disgusting and ridiculous completely accurately, but he says them missing important vowels and consonants. It's hard to take a kid seriously when he says something is digussing or ridiulus.

He loves his sister, but still manages to terrorize her to no end. He'll give her anything she wants when she's mid-tantrum, although 57% of her tantrums are caused by him taking something that she had in the first place.

I love this kid.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

vent, apology, solution

And no, they may not come in that order.

Sometimes I feel bad for this poor little blog and anyone who takes the time to read it. When things are going well with the family and we're having fun and enjoying each other, I don't really stop to write about that; it essentially gets shelved to be blogged about when I have a few spare minutes. When it's a rough day or things are especially rough, this is one of the first places I turn to and I'm sorry about that.

Writing helps me express my feelings and get out all of the crazy that's in my head. Often when I'm stressed or overwhelmed with the amount of things I need to get done, I'll write out a list so that all those things are out of my head and on paper. The same theory and practice applies here: when the kids are driving me up a wall and into a padded room somewhere, I blog about it and then I'm not so stressed anymore. The words I have cooped up are out and so is the animosity.

I love my children with all of my heart, but as any mother can attest, sometimes they may just be too pushy, too cranky, too sassy, or just plain awful.

I really can't fault Reagan too much. Thinking that she'd be able to handle a small bit of cheese, I made spinach and cheese ravioli for dinner last night and she gobbled her two right up. She was then up at 9:30, 11:00, 12:00, 2:15, and 3:30 screaming. It brought back all of the horrible memories of how she'd be in pain before we determined she had a serious lactose-intolerance. We ended up snuggling and sleeping on our couch together, or as much as I could sleep. That girl moves in her sleep: kicks, turns, punches.

Both Reagan and I are now in straight Zombie form today. She's screaming more, just because she can. She's getting into things that she knows she shouldn't get into and I had to attempt to Reagan-proof the house before I went to the bathroom. She still managed to spill an entire glass of water all over herself and the floor in that time.

So, I've resigned myself that today just might result in an epic Battle of the Wills. And that Reagan will probably emerge victorious.

Now for the solution: I'm going to bake. Deep down, my thighs are telling me that drowning my sorrows and looking for reward in food, especially the delicious calorie-laden kind I'm dreaming of, is not healthy. But honestly, every screech, whine, or tantrum I experience today makes me want the food a little bit more and care about the calories a little bit less.

I fairly certain that pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are on the menu today.

Take that, thighs.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

this and that

Every time I come back from an extended vacation from this lovely blog, I know that I always make excuses for my absence, give reasons why I just couldn't get to it. Not this time; you don't need to hear all that again.

All that matters is that I'm back. I have no guarantees for how long this blogging streak will last, but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts and I hope you do too.

1. This kid. Seriously. Wednesday evening he went with Keith to pick up dinner. They made a stop at Kohl's on the way there to pick up a pair of work shorts for Keith. Luke ran away from Keith, tripped, and landed forehead-first into the corner of one of the wood displays. After a lovely trip to the Emergency Room with him, his forehead is adequately glued back together for the time being.

2.  Reagan has been holding out on us. She's had only one word that she says with certainty and consistency in her short little life: poop. It's not one of my proudest momma moments, but a word is a word. Keith and I finally had her evaluated for speech impairments this past Monday. The conclusion is that although she has a delay, she doesn't currently qualify for services.

And then yesterday happened. She said thank you. Like, well enough that we could understand her. And then today she said please unprompted. She then said trash and dada and mama and an-ee (Andi) and balloon. Where did the girl go who refused to speak any words for the first 20 months of her life with the exception of poop?

3. As if the forehead situation isn't much of a clue already, Luke is all boy. The kid can throw a perfect football spiral and can also kick with amazing force and accuracy. His favorite thing to do with Keith is wrestle and Luke's already asking to go fishing with Keith sometime soon. He'll read about pirates and dinosaurs for hours on end and likes to roar at new people he meets as if he's some kind of alpha lion. Don't mess with his pack.

4. Sass. She is all sass and the bigger and older she gets, the more sassy she gets. Watch out for Reagan because I'm convinced that she may take over the world. She's figured out how to get what she wants when she wants it, but she also makes you think that it was your idea in the first place when it really wasn't. Luke is wrapped around her cute little crooked pinky and is at her beck and call when she starts crying.

These kids are crazy, ornery, stubborn, chaotic and I love them to pieces. I wouldn't change them for anything.

Well, except maybe Reagan's screaming. I might just change that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I shared this on the Sweet Rose Studio blog today, but I wanted to share it here too.

I remember being woken by my dad at 6:45 in the morning, telling me I had to come see the TV. At that point, only one tower of the World Trade Center had been hit. At that point, we figured it was just a random tragedy that our country was dealing with.

And then the second plane hit.

And then the Pentagon got hit.

And then it was a stark realization that our country was under attack.

When something with such gravity strikes you and begins to affect your life and your perception of what you've known your whole life, at least for me, I started to remember the littlest details and feelings of that fateful day.

I remember not wanting to go to my classes at the local community college that day partially in fear and partially because I wanted to watch the coverage on TV.

I remember the few days following September 11, when the skies above me were empty for the first time in my life.

I remember aching for those families that lost loved ones that day and holding the ones I cared for most a little tighter.

I remember our nation bonding and coming together in out collective time of need. More American Flags were flying, people were more generous, we felt more unity than ever before.

September 11, 2001 robbed The United States of America of a good part of our innocence; we no longer looked at the world through rose-colored glasses. At the same time, what terrorists did to cause our great country harm only ended up making us stronger in the long run, as most hurtful things do.

Today and everyday, I remember; I can never forget.