Reluctantly back at it …

Reese and Libs went back to school today. BIG SIGH. They were definitely not happy about it. I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled about it either. Being sick made for a very mellow last half of their winter break. Plans were changed. Trips didn’t happen and outings got postponed. I’d complain but to be honest, I love being with my kids no matter where we are and what’s going on. Sure, I could have done without the fever and cough but having all four kids home will always be my happiest of places. I think the rain we got this morning made returning to our normal school day schedule a little bit harder too. Rainy days should be filled with cuddling, hot chocolate and movie marathons. But this morning was filled with alarm clocks, lunchboxes and umbrellas. Ugh. Thankfully Sid and George don’t return back to their universities for a few more weeks so we still get lots of WHOLE family time despite Libs and Reese’s return to school. I’ll just keep reminding myself of that as I’m sloshing through town today running my errands.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you reluctantly get back at it!!!

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They went on without us …

We rang in the New Year last night in a way that we normally don’t. With a cough, fever and chills. Yuck! We usually go to the movies with family friends, then we all head over to a local restaurant for a late dinner and New Year’s Eve festivities. We have celebrated this way for years now and it has been a lot of fun. We went to college with these friends and our kids have grown up together. We have literally created a lifetime of memories with them. As our kids have gotten older our time together has changed. Sometimes the older kids just can’t make it. Whether they are off at college or at work things are missed … and that’s OK. Life does that sometimes. But what happened last night couldn’t have made me happier. Not the sick part! Despite their parents being sick and older siblings being gone the other kids still all got together. That’s right! They went to the movies and then went back to our friends’ home for s’mores and hung out until after midnight. Isn’t that incredible?!?! Even without their parents they still continued on with our little tradition. It made us sick parents super happy because THAT is what decades of friendship looks like.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you go on without them!!!

2018 and Free …

2017 was a year filled with so much LIFE … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I started 2017 in full recovery mode. My second round of meningitis at the end of 2016 was no less devastating than my first ten years earlier. I knew the healing process I had laid before me. At times that knowledge made it worse. Other times it made it better because I knew what to expect. I think in a way it made me more compassionate to myself. A rarity, indeed. But I wasn’t myself and I loathed it. I spent months in a fog. My days were filled with naps to combat the unrelenting fatigue and lists because my memory was so poor. My anxiety was at an all time high. I dealt with a significant amount of PTSD that came with an intense amount of anxiety. I was frightened I would have another recurrence. And that pain is NO JOKE. Understanding the severity of my encephalopathy was unnerving. No one can figure out how I was functioning “normally” with the amount of brain swelling I had. But I believe that the terrifying drug reactions I had after I got home really pushed me into a whole new level of fear. I literally thought I was dying. I don’t think I had ever been that scared in my life and sadly it has stuck with me. I can still get to that level of panic with even the smallest of triggers. Yes, healing is a long process. But I am happy to have to the opportunity to do it all again. This could have gone a different way for me and my precious family. And I refuse to be anything but grateful. Refuse.

In January 2017 I somehow convinced my doctors to let me train for a marathon. I truly believe that this was a huge part of regaining my strength again. As the days passed I got stronger and stronger. My memory improved and my fatigue got better with each passing day. If ever there was a time in my life to redefine myself, this was it. And it was incredibly liberating. Who could have ever imagined that the very illness that confined me gave me so much room to grow?!?! Definitely, not me!

When I look back on 2017 it is with mixed emotions. My illness and recovery made it hard. But life still happened. And that made it WONDERFUL. I was able to celebrate George’s high school graduation and watch him plan out his future. I was in awe of the growth that I saw in all of my children. Being a part of their daily lives is a gift from God that I will never take granted. NOT EVER. Summer was just straight up FUN. Having all four kids home for the entire summer was something I needed more than anything. Family heals folks, family heals!

Traveling was also a huge part of my 2017. We took lots of little trips and I was blessed with an amazing trip to Alaska. We celebrated birthdays and accomplishments. YAY, I was there and healthy enough to enjoy all of it! In 2017 I even managed to complete all 16 CEUs to keep my nutrition certification. Now THAT was a miracle having struggled with memory issues, HA! There was so much more too. The privilege of having these experiences and all the others often left me feeling overwhelmed. Like “WOW, thanks God! I’m here, alert and actually living this life!” Words can’t capture how I have felt time and time again. “Humbly blessed” comes to mind but it still falls gravely short.

Anyway, my point of writing about all of this is that regardless of the underlying need to heal and recover, life amazingly still engulfed me and took me with it. Despite the tough times I faced I felt an abundance of joy. I loved every difficult and fantastic moment of 2017 and everything in between. And surrendering to my new journey released me and allowed me to redefine who I was … again.

2017 was hard, but it was also beautiful. THAT sums up life in a nutshell. And as long as I have breath I will cherish every moment of it. If 2017 has taught me anything, it was that I do not have to remain tethered to unpleasant circumstances. That my mind, body and soul can still seek and find the freedom that hope gives us even in our darkest of hours.

So I guess that brings me to my 2018 New Year Mantra. Here goes …

Well, I hope you all have a year where you feel FREE!!!

Thanks, I needed that …

Sleep sleep sleep. I got over 9 HOURS of sleep last night. God and the Universe must have had a hand in this because this is the longest I’ve slept in months. And it felt WONDERFUL. I’m sure my family will appreciate it too, HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you say “thanks, I needed that”!

A lot of baggage …

Flying two kids home from college with all their STUFF is a lot to manage and can be quite stressful. They have finals to deal with and I’m excited to have them home and want their travels go smoothly. So it can be a big cluster of anxiety to say the least. But this morning after thinking about it and trying to convince myself that there is nothing to worry about, I made myself giggle (alone at the carwash).

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t have a lot of baggage!!!

Such a fun day …

Our home is officially decorated for both Thanksgiving and Christmas (minus our tree). AND tonight my family and I are off to see The Beast and His Beauty, a play that my cousin is performing in. Yay!

Well, I hope you all have such a fun day!!!