Summer Catch-Up

Well, here it is, 3 months after my previous blog post.  It’s been a pretty busy summer around here.  We didn’t have any exciting week-long vacations or anything like that.  Hell, the kids have barely gotten off electronics enough to notice its only a couple weeks away from school starting again.  But I’ve sure stayed busy.

Once I was released to go about my normal activities after my big surgery, I found plenty to do.  Most of it just little stuff, day to day.  Hanging out with friends, going swimming with the kids, going for rides with my man.  I got a job delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut, so I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now in the evenings.  My boss and co-workers are pretty cool about taking it easy on me so I can sit when I need to, to rest my back and my hips.  Its definitely a blessing.

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Andy and I in the front, right, riding the Monster at Adventureland.

We had all the my boys’ birthday parties here at our home.  Andy’s was in May, Evan’s was in July, and Cory’s was this month, in August.  All went well, and smoothly.  For all of them I invited friends and family and grilled burgers and hot dogs out on our deck.  Then we had cake and ice cream, and did the gift giving thing.  I think for the most-part the boys got what they wanted.  Andy’s big present this year was one of the new 3DSs.  Evan’s was a trip to Adventureland.  And Cory’s was a new tablet for gaming.  Photos for all of the birthdays, and everything else I’ve done all summer (and all future activities) can be found on my Instagram.  I update there quite frequently.

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Jake and I at the Freedom Rally, 2017

Jake and I went to the Freedom Rally in Algona, IA in June/July.  It was my first time at any big rally, and I must say it was not at all what I expected.  It was a really chill atmosphere.  Everyone was happy and easy-going for the most part.  We had a really good time.  Good food, good music, and a great weekend of camping.  I look forward to going with him again next year!

Still to come, I’m hoping still to take the whole family camping, maybe next week, if even for only one night.  I have a weekend planned for HearthsOPhyre in Conesville, IA during the last weekend in September.  Its similar to Burning Man, only on a smaller scale and local.  Also, I scored us some Hollywood Undead concert tickets for October, and I’m looking forward to seeing Highly Suspect again in November, as they have become my favorite band.

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Not exactly the results I had in mind from my Panniculectomy. (4 months post-op)

On the health and wellness front: I’ve applied for disability since the outlook on my hip dysplasia is chronic worsening pain for at least another 20 years until they are so arthritic they need surgically replaced.  In the meanwhile I’ve had physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around my hips to better cope with the deterioration process.  I’ve been told since my hips are bad in the way that they are, my other joints will likely have similar problems as I age, and I’ve already starting having shoulder and knee pain.  So I’ve had physical therapy twice a week for the hips starting just recently, and physical therapy for my upper back, shoulders and neck for 6 weeks prior.  That is for insurance purposes to get me qualified for the breast reduction.  Which has been officially scheduled for September 1st!!  3 weeks from tomorrow I will be having the breast reduction to a C-cup, and the surgeon will also be doing a “scar revision” to take off some of the loose skin that was missed when I had my Panniculectomy, and straighten out my belly button.  I’m not too nervous about the belly area because I know what to expect, but I’m extremely nervous about having the breast work done because it such a delicate area.  I want it to be perfect, symmetrical, and I want to keep sensation to the area.  I worry too much about things anyway, but I really want this to be done well.  I have a different and more experienced surgeon this time, so I have higher hopes for a much better outcome.  I would post pics, but that could get my blog in trouble for mature content.  I’ll try to post reasonable, censored before photos on my Instagram before the surgery.

So that’s the update and what’s to come!  I know some of you have been bugging me for an update, so there it is!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to get some time to sit down and type it out.  I know I will have plenty of time to type in September, as I have to take pretty much the entire month off for recovery.  So I’ll seeya then!

A New Duck

I had Cecil last year, for about a year and a half.  I got him as a baby from the farm store along with a second duck that didn’t live past a few weeks old.  Cecil was my buddy, and stayed in the house until he was fully feathered.  He followed me around and cuddled with me on the couch.  When I put him outside, he ended up being more wild, and bonded with the neighbor’s duck who was just on the other side of the fence.  Cecil and our dog Penny were buddies, but every so often she got a wild hair and would rough him up pretty bad.  He lived through 3 bloody attacks, and then Penny stopped picking at him… until one day I left her out with him unattended for maybe 15 minutes, and she killed him quite brutally.  She was pretty proud of herself, and I was just sick with grief.  My duck buddy was dead.  I swore I’d get another someday, but not while I had a dog.

Fast forward to now.  Penny was being left unattended at home far too much, so I found her a new home where she can run and play with other dogs, and we can visit her any time we want.  And the kind of dog I want is far out of my price range right now, not to mention I’m really not up for raising a new puppy at this time.  So I got myself a new duck buddy!

IMG_20170418_153334_171He was hatched on April 12, and came home with me on April 13.  He is a Pekin, which means he will be about 7-8 lbs full grown, and white, just like Cecil was.  His name is Clyde.

I’ve decided since our yard isn’t fenced, he will be a house duck unless for some reason that doesn’t work out.  But the plan at this point is to keep him in the house.  I have purchased some starter duck diapers, and when he outgrows those I can purchase a permanent one in adult duck size.  Since he’s an only duck, he has really taken to us.  This will be a fun journey. 😀

To follow his story and growth, you can subscribe to my Instagram feed, link available in my widgets here on the blog page.

My Year of Transformation

I just logged on to share a few updates and noticed I hadn’t posted since November!  Wow, so much has happened since then that I haven’t been sharing much of at all.  So where to start….

At the end of November, my family and I moved to a small town about 20 miles away from work and school.  The house is wonderful!  Very spacious, plenty of room to spread out and relax instead of living with a cluttered home.  However, since then there have been plenty of downsides that I didn’t anticipate being quite as bad as it has felt.  We’re far enough away that not many people want to come out to visit.  Its not easy to just run to the store for a quick trip.  We have to get up quite a bit earlier just to get to work and school on time.  The boys don’t have a home to go to after school so they need to stay at a friends, which I have felt has been too much.  And if I want to do something in Newton or even further, I need someone to be with or check in on the kids, or I need to take them along.  Needless to say, I have been trying like hell to get a place back in Newton, but so far my efforts have been fruitless.  There is just nothing available big enough for the whole family.  I’m hoping since it’s tax season, people will have their refund money and start moving and free something up for us!
In December I had an MRI on a mass that had grown in my back, around my shoulder blades and just to the left of my spine.  They couldn’t identify it, but since it had been there for over 3 years, the doctors weren’t terribly concerned, but recommended getting it removed.  So in January I had it removed.  Pathology had to be transferred to Mayo Clinic because it still could not be identified.  It turned out to be a Myoepithelioma, which is a very rare tumor made of skin and muscle cells.  It is benign, but there is a chance of recurrence, and a change it could come back cancerous.  So now in a couple of weeks I have to have it opened back up and they will remove all the scar tissue and tissue around where the tumor was, just to make sure everything is out and margins are safe.  That surgery will be on March 9th.
In January, Jake and I took a trip to St. Augustine, Florida to deliver some belongings for friends that had moved there.  We hauled a U-Haul trailer behind my truck and drove it down there.  The journey was great, as we took the scenic route there and back.  We went through 13 states during our week-long trip.  I faced my fear of heights and climbed to the top of the lighthouse with Jake.  We got to play in the Atlantic Ocean, even though the temperatures in Florida were unusually cold.  And the trip home was the best… going through the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.  It was a lot of fun to spend all that time just me and Jake.  I think it helped us connect on a deeper level, road-tripping together alone.
As many of my readers know, I have been on a weight loss journey since January of 2016.  To this date, I have lost 46 pounds.  I was losing fairly quickly until June 2016, and since then I have been stagnant on the weight loss.  So finally, rather than continue to stay the same and be stuck with the remnants of heavier times, I decided to go forward with skin removal surgery.  My insurance approved it right away since its been causing me lots of discomfort and other health issues.  Today I met with the surgeon so he could go over the procedure and answer my questions.  The surgery has been scheduled for March 23rd.  That one is going to be a long recovery, but worth it!  Then 6 months later I’ll be looking into getting a breast reduction as well.
Due to the worsening of my now-diagnosed hip dysplasia and worsening back pain, Parkview and I have decided to part ways.  It broke my heart to make that decision, but my work quality was really slipping and I was coming home every night absolutely drained of energy and in agony.  And my job performance was getting worse and worse.  Being a vet assistant/tech is something I have always wanted to do.  Its quite depressing that I am physically unable to do the job now.  But hopefully with my upcoming surgeries, physical therapy, and some way to control pain, I’ll be able to get out there and get another job somewhere in the companion animal field.
Moving, job changes, and surgeries…… 2017 is my year of transformation!

Little Things

I was just going through my vlog video list as my most recent video is uploading, and realized that although I said there isn’t much more happening in my life, I really left out quite a bit from my blogging/vlogging records.  Just a bunch of little stuff, but it all really adds up to make the bigger picture.

First of all, my diet has been on hold for the last 2-3 months due to the stress and depression, and then the distraction of all the changes.  No excuses, it was my choice.  I decided NOT to go forward with a gastric sleeve surgery, and that I was doing this on my own.  However, I haven’t lost any more weight, but I didn’t gain any more back either.  I held at 225 for nearly 3 months.  I think that will be beneficial for me when it comes to losing again.  My body adjusted to being this size (45 lbs less than I was a year ago), and it won’t be so hard to keep off more weight once I’ve lost what I want.  About 6 weeks ago I qualified for skin removal surgery from my mid-section, and a breast reduction and lift.  I promised myself I wouldn’t go forward with those procedures until I was under 200 pounds because I want to look good after my surgeries.  As of today, I am back on the diet and exercise plan, and I’m ready to start dropping the pounds again!

I decided to downsize when it comes to pets.  Losing half of the household income really showed me how much we were spending on pets, and I’d like to move in the near future, so it was time to start cutting costs.  Penny killed Cecil, my duck.  I was devastated, and very angry with the dog.  But it made me realize that outside birds probly weren’t a good idea.  So I found the chickens a new home
too.  I gave Oscar the pug back to his previous owners, knowing he would be loved and cared for there.  I gave Gemini to Jake’s mom so she’s not so alone in her house now that Jake and Steven have moved in with me and the boys.  So we’re down to Penny, Sunny and Salem.  Plus Jake’s bird Snickers (amazon parrot).  And now I have a lovebird named Skittles, but she’s mostly caged for her own safety.

My best friend Amber and I started each other on a set of dreads.  This is my final attempt, and so far its not so bad.  My scalp hasn’t been itchy, likely because I conditioned it to the shampoo I’m using for several months ahead of time.  And I have my first professional dreadlock maintenance appointment set for next week, so they will look GOOD this time.

I have also gotten 2 sesssions of work done on my right arm tattoo sleeve.  My phoenix has been completely recolored and I’m getting the background filled in with leaves and such.  Its turning out amazing!

I do believe I’ve found us a 5-bedroom house for rent for a very affordable price, but I have yet to hear back from the landlord again.  I’m hoping to hear back within the next week so we can do a walk through before the current tenants move out.  If its as nice on the inside as it seems from the outside, we may have ourselves some comfortable permanence until the kids are all grown!

Though I still dream of Florida almost nightly, I have decided to stay closer to family for the time being.  I can visit Florida when I get chances.

I’m sure that’s not all either, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.

Breaking My Silence

Its been almost two months since I’ve posted anything here, and I feel its time to break my blogging silence.  I had previously posted a few things about the changes in my personal life, but due to the very personal nature, they were removed.  But since the chaos is settling now, here goes the explanation.

In June, at a seemingly very random time, and quite unexpectedly, my husband Sean left me and my boys.  He had an apartment arranged for himself, had the deposit paid and the keys in his possession when he dropped the news.  I was extremely upset at the time, and wanted to do everything I could to make things work out anyway.  I tried to make him see that even through our problems, we could fix it, and that walking away wasn’t the answer in a marriage.  But through all the pleading and reasoning, there was no changing his mind.

For a 2-3 weeks, I continued to try.  He and I went on a few dates, and they went well, though I felt quite distant from him.  And even though things went well during our short times together, it was never with my kiddos.  You see, he and my boys didn’t get along well at all during the year and 9 months we were married and living together.  Not at all.  It was like a constant war.   I always felt like I had to play referee, and my children started feeling unsafe and unhappy in their own home.  Sean felt neglected and unloved by me because I felt like I was being pulled in the way of my children, and in the way of him… and of course my kids were winning (like there was ever a doubt).  It honestly wasn’t that simple, but to keep from going on and on about it, I’ll just leave it at that.  So all those negative feelings in the house, and all the stress it was causing on everyone involved, was a gigantic strain on our marriage.  And he’d had enough and left.

Now that its been a few months and I have some distance from the situation and have had time to think things over, I know that Sean leaving was a very good thing for us all. I believe I was honestly more upset at the idea of being twice divorced than I was at the idea of losing Sean.  We were far too unhappy to continue on.  The split probably should have happened a LOT sooner, if we even should have been married at all.  The family life and step-parenting did not suit Sean, at least not with my family.  And his frustration with that situation made him a very angry person pretty much all the time.  It made us all angry.  And so we now have a divorce pending.

Now that he’s been gone for almost 3 months, my boys are thriving once again.  They are laughing and enjoying life again (as much as teens and pre-teens can), and are free to be themselves.  I have also found happiness again.  A guy that I dated for a while when I was a teenager, Jake, has come back into my life, and he and his son are probly the best thing that’s ever happened to me and my boys.  Yes, it may seem too soon to some, but we are all happy and that’s all that matters.  I’m not looking for opinions or judgments on that.

So that’s the update.  Its a very long and complicated story made short, but that’s where we are now.  Jake and I are considering moving away together as one big happy family next year sometime.  I don’t know where yet, or when exactly, but its under consideration.  It’d be great to be able to get out of here like I’ve always wanted to.  But I guess only time will tell what the future holds.  I just know its looking bright.  😎