Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No breaky breaky!

Best news ever....

I went to Urgent Care last night becauase I couldn't take the pain in my rib area any longer. I'm sure the doctor thought I was a nut when I described what I had done even though I really couldn't remember (a picture is worth a thousand words!).

After the cute x-ray guy was finished with me, I waited for the doctor. And he told me, I have a bad internal bruise in the rib area. WOOT WOOT He gave me some good pain meds, patted me on the back and sent me on my way.

And today I feel great! Better than I have in 10 days!!!! I slept like a champ too.

So right now I am on the road to recovery. It could be 6 weeks before I'm totally healed up, but honestly I feel good today so I can't imagine it will take that long.

What a huge sigh of relief.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Appearances

I’ve been avoiding plugging in my camera and downloading the photos on it.

Why?

Because on there were 200 pictures taken at my annual St. Patrick’s Day bash. This was my eighth year to throw it and I swear, every year it gets bigger and bigger! So many good friends and family came out to help us celebrate.

But before you ask…no I am NOT Irish. I have always just loved the month of March and loved St. Patty’s Day. Maybe at one time in my past life I was Irish or attracted to an Irish man. Who knows. But I love St. Patty’s Day.

I always decorate my house, make tons of food and Jell-O shots and invite a gaggle of people over. We drink, we laugh, we visit, we relax. But this year…..I drank so much that I honestly can’t remember half of the night.

How disappointing!!!

I never ever drink like that any more. Once I hit 30 I couldn’t drink like that anymore nor did I ever want to drink like that, but I think for some unknown reason, I let loose this year.

So much so that I believe I have a cracked rib!!!! The party was well over a week ago and here I still sit contemplating if I should go to the Urgent Care and get checked out. Although I know that not much can be done with a cracked rib. ::sigh:: Stupidity.

I’ll never understand why I inflicted such torture on myself. Really? Who wants to wake up with a killer hangover. And who in their right mind wants to be reminded about the things they said or did that night but never remember. UGH Never again folks. I’m writing this down….never again will I drink that much!!!!

I’d post pictures but it’s almost a waste. I look horrible in them (my friends always look great though – I did post some to FB). Besides the fact that I drank so much, I’m just plain fat. Even though I haven’t gained but 1.5 pounds since I’ve returned to work, I’m still frustrated with my looks. I honestly am 3 sizes bigger than I use to be and about 25 pounds heavier.

It’s sad. I’m healed from my surgery but now I have a jacked up rib. So I can’t run because I can’t breathe!!! I’m so frustrated. But I went ahead and bought new running shoes this weekend and I will be walking in them this week. I may not be able to get my run on but I will work on getting my legs stretched and moving again. And of course I’m tracking my food intake again.

I have got to be happy with my appearance again. My attitude has changed and I feel fantastic…but now it’s time for my attitude to match my appearance. I’m even thinking about changing my hair color to a dark brown. But we’ll see.

Stay tuned. Things are gonna be changing fast.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lauren vs Arizona

Several people have asked why Lauren is in AZ so I’ll give you a little update since now I too finally have it all straightened out!

Lauren was born in Ohio. LW was never married to her Mom. They had just recently started dating, therefore Lauren was not planned. I won’t use the word mistake, because she is not a mistake, she was a surprise. And what a beautiful surprise (her baby pictures are so dag gone cute, but I digress).

LW was with Lauren’s Mom for a short period of time before she then started dating her now husband. As I’m told, Lauren’s Mom married a man who was in the military so they had to do a lot of moving and traveling across the country. LW did not want his daughter moving across the country and being uprooted so Lauren’s Mom and LW worked out an arrangement to where LW would raise Lauren.

So there LW was….a single father….raising a daughter.

Lauren was 5.

He probably wasn’t single for long before he started dating Kassidy’s Mom. LW and Lauren eventually moved in with Kassidy’s Mom and her son from her previous relationship/marriage.

Eventually Kassidy would be born when Lauren was 7. LW would never marry Kassidy’s Mom (to this day he has never been married) but they would be together until Kassidy was 8.

By the time Lauren turned 16 her Mom’s husband had retired from the military and they settled in Georgia. Lauren had to make a tough call…stay home with your dad, your sister, your family and friends, or move and be with your mother. LW was just splitting up with Kassidy’s Mom so I’m sure the decision wasn’t too hard.

She chose her Mom (LW to this day, still gets upset about. But he accepts it.).

However within a year Lauren was moving again because apparently the step-dad had not fully retired, thus prompting the move to Arizona her Junior year of high school.

And that my friends is why Lauren is in Arizona.

Her and I had a talk recently about why she left home because I was always so curious why a person would uproot themselves, especially at a young age. I was the only person I knew who had ever done that (I left home in New Mexico at 15 to move in with my older sister in Ohio. I left my parents behind for a number of years and for a number of reasons, but that’s a different story.). She told me she had always wanted to live with her mom because honestly what girl wouldn’t want to live with her mom? It’s a girl thing. Plus her mom gave her the freedom that her dad did not. Looking back she said she made the wrong decision. But she accepts it and realizes she can change her future. She’s one smart kid.

My advice to her recently has been: “Do what is right for you. Not what is right for your mom or your sister or your dad. Do what Lauren wants to do. Make the most out of this life you have because you have so many beautiful opportunities ahead of you. Life is too short to dwell on past mistakes. Forgive, forget and trudge forward with your head held high. Those who love you will support you.”

It’s funny how easy it is to talk to the kids and help them press on with their futures. I was 18 once. I remember how terribly scared I was. And how I didn’t know which way was up sometimes. But I always knew I had a mission in this life and that I had to take control and not let anyone tell me I couldn’t do it no matter how hard it was and no matter the consequences.

Right now we struggle with Lauren because of some personal internal issues and dilemmas she is going through. We can only make her see the light. We cannot draw her to it. She must find it on her own.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So much so fast.....

Every day since Lauren has been home she's texted me.

Every day since Lauren has been home she's called and talked to Dad.

She wants to come home.

So this weekend LW and I are going to find out what the application deadline is for her to attend Ohio University.

She wants to come home in a bad bad way.

BUT can she leave Craig (the boyfriend)? We've told her he is allowed to visit, but cannot under any circumstances live with us (she has asked several times).

It remains to be seen if she will be coming home. I predict she will. So does LW. Kass, we haven't really told her as to not get her hopes up.

Lauren told me the other day that she has waited SO LONG to see her Dad happy and to be a part of a happy family.

That my friends is the reason why I was meant to find LW.

I was meant to show those girls love, respect, happiness, friendship and to be what their Mother's aren't to them (that part I'm still trying to figure out).

I want my new family all together under one roof.

And soon it just may happen.

It's scary.

It's NOT going to be easy.

But we will make it work.

Happiness for all.....straight ahead! CHOO CHOO

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lauren's Departure

Lauren went home last night.

I’m a crier in general, even more so lately, but let me tell you, it was heart wrenching watching that child go through security at the airport, knowing we couldn’t see her to the plane. So there LW and I stood, waving, crying, waving some more, wishing with everything that we had that we could keep her from boarding that plane. I buried my face in his back, crying, as she soon disappeared out of sight.

And there we stood.

Me with a dozen pink and white roses in my hand. And LW with a broken heart. I have never seen LW cry before. Ever. He’s gotten teary eyed, but I have never ever seen him flat out cry with tears rolling down his face.

We walked in silence as we tried to process the fact that we WILL be seeing her in less than two months. She WILL be home for part of the summer. But still, we ached inside.

I miss her laughter.

After we settled down when we got home last night, and turned on the TV. We sat there and I looked at him and said “This house is far too quiet.” For the rest of the night we sat there in silence mostly. Every now and then I would cry or he would tear up.

It’s amazing how much of an impact she has made on my life. I honestly wasn’t sure I could love someone else’s child as much as I could love my own. But I do. And while I didn’t get to watch Lauren grow up, I will get to see her graduate, get married, have her own family…and I wouldn’t pass that up for anything in the world.

Her being here has reminded me that I am so very lucky. I will never take my love for LW or his children for granted ever. They are and always will be my family.

So I have to go back to the roses…..

I arrived at the airport separately from everyone else (Lauren’s BFF and her family were there as well). I walked up to the ticket counter and Lauren turned and handed me a dozen pink and white roses and a card. I wanted to cry, but I held back. When she walked away later on to get a snack, I opened the card and started crying. The card said something to the fact of ‘you don’t know how amazing you are and how much I appreciate you’ kind of thing. Super, duper sappy. And then she signed it “Love Lauren, your girl.” BIG BIG tears rolled down my face (and still are as I type this!). She was so thoughtful. Later on I asked LW if he knew anything about it and he said no. She did this all on her own and that makes it even more special!

And of course we get home and there on the refridgerator is a note she wrote to us telling us she loved us. I don’t think I will ever be able to take it down.

I miss her so much!

Guess now it’s time for me to clean my monitor off. Too many tears already this morning!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lauren's Visit

I'm so terribly sad that she's going home. I have gotten so use to a teenager living in our house. It's funny after a week just how use to it I have gotten. We have so much in common from clothes, to likes and dislikes it's not even funny. Even while I've been at work this week she has called me, texted me and sometimes even waited on me to get home. We've shopped, we've talked, we've spent time together as a family. I absolutely love my girls.

I can't say it's been easy though because teenagers are hard and they are a HUGE influence on their younger sibilings. We did have one incident this week that hurt Dad's feelings but all is resolved now. Teenagers just don't understand how their words impact their younger sibilings. The younger kids hang on every word of their older sibilings. I too was guilty of this with my older sisters.

But all is well and perfect and I HAVE the family I wanted. It would be much better if they lived with us, but we'll manage through the tough times. That's what families do. Dad is a little strict though and I’m working on that. It’s not easy, but according to Lauren, “Dad is much softer than when I was last home” (which was in 2008).

Case and point. Here is a text message between Lauren and I this morning:

Me: I believe Dad will pay for Panama City as your graduation present from him. He was going to talk to Kaylee’s Mom (Lauren’s BFF) to get a feel for how much money you will need. Bring it up to him today.

Lauren: Okay sounds good!

Me: You have to admit I’m softening him up a bit. Still have work to do though!

Lauren: Ur doing a perfect job. Every time Kaylee sees u she’s like Danica is perfect for your dad and I’m like I know it’s like he’s been waiting for something like this all his life! U truly are amazing.

My heart sank and I sat at my desk at work and just cried. Cried because she does love me (when she left to go out the other night with friends she said “Good bye, I love you.”). Cried because she does see that with a little patience and hard work I can help her Dad to understand teenagers and girls in general. Cried because I am going to miss her like crazy. Cried because I want her to live with us forever. Cried because I love my life, even with the little road bumps we had this week. Cried remembering how Lauren called me her step-mom the other day. Cried because life is finally as good as I wanted/hoped it to be.

Lauren goes home Sunday evening. We still have a couple of more days with her. I can’t wait. She’s a great kid. And she is so darn stinking beautiful it’s not even funny.

I’m proud to be her soon to be step-mom. And I’m happy that LW and Lauren’s Mom raised such a beautiful, respectful young lady.


I’m gonna miss her something crazy.

But in less than two months I’ll see her again when we go for her high school graduation in Arizona. And of course she’s coming back this summer!

I’m counting down the days!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Busy

Not much time to post or read blogs this week. I promise to catch up next week after Lauren has gone home.

I must say Lauren is the most spirited, fun loving teenager I have ever met. We hugged the second we saw each and at that moment I knew I could love her forever. She's won me over in a big way.

I'll post all kinds of pictures next week. We had family pictures yesterday. I'm sure they are going to be amazing!! I can't wait to see them and share them.

In the mean time...have a great week and I'll be back shortly.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bra-less

I was in a rush yesterday when I got home from work. I had a hair appointment to get to but first I wanted to get some things done at home and change into something comfy since my appointment would be about two hours (cut and weave color).

When I'm finished with some things, I go upstairs, change my clothes and run out the door to the car.

I was half way to the hair salon when I felt a little 'jiggly'. Crap. I took my bra off!!! OMG! I kept thinking I should turn around but then I would be late, and I'm the type of person that hates to be late.

So I said screw it...and went bra less!!!

I think it happened because for 6 weeks I rarely wore a bra! Why? I'm home. No one is coming over. I would be resting all day. So there WAS no need to hoyst those bad boys up.

Thankfully I had on a big zip up sweatshirt and my stylist never knew the difference.

Until....I told her! Can you say BIG MOUTH!

And then we laughed so hard and somewhere in that laughing she knicked my ear with the shears. Not cool.

I bled everywhere! HA But we kept right on laughing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Welcome Back

I don't mean welcome back to work.

I mean welcome back to life.

To understand where I'm at right now, is to understand where I've been. Seven years ago, I was a carefree 30 year old woman, venturing into my second marriage. I loved him, but not the way a wife should love her husband. I thought for sure I would learn to love him more, since I loved his family so much.

Early into our marriage we had fun. We would go out almost every other night or so when I didn’t have class (I was working towards my bachelor’s degree). We were the couple that everyone hung around…people came to our house often for dinner, parties, game nights, drinks, and we were ALWAYS planning long weekend get aways with friends. Tuesday nights soon became hamburger and beer night at a local pub.

By 2005 the marriage was shaky. It was turning into an emotionally and physically challenging relationship. I was unable to get pregnant so the stress was riding on both of our shoulders. So what did I do? I retreated inside of myself. Socializing was growing to a slow end….no more Tuesday nights, no more having friends over during the week, no more game nights…not much of anything.

On January 14, 2006 I woke up and rolled over and asked my husband to move out. He promptly thought I needed help, but what I really needed was space. Our life had changed. We were no longer carefree. We no longer felt like ‘that’ couple. We just didn’t work out.

Then someone showed up….a long lost ex.

Throughout my separation and then into my divorce in Sept of 2006 I was dating an ex-drug addict.

I thought I could change him.

Wrong.

Life was impossible with him so I stayed retreated inside of myself. I socialized, but it hurt. I was emotionally crippled. I would rather stay home on a Friday night crying, then go out with friends to a movie, or the like.

So I tried to commit suicide. The second darkest day of my life.

We broke up right after New Years Day in 2007…..the year that would rock my world and crush my faith.

But then…in April 2007 a bright spot appeared…or so I thought. He came in the form of a man I use to work with. I knew him well…or did I? Turns out he used me to get over his own problems. He NEEDED ME to help him figure out what he wanted in life, instead of the both of us going on this journey together.

I was alone again.

By September my mother was diagnosed with cancer. And I was all alone….no one to go home to at night after my long visits in the hospital….no one to tell me it would be alright. And then the unthinkable happened.

My Mom died.

And I was alone. She had died December 29, 2007. After the hospital, I went home to a dark, cold house, where I stayed retreated inside of myself. I wouldn’t share much of what I was feeling with anyone. I didn’t go out. I didn’t do anything.

After January 2008 I took a turn for the worst emotionally. I was fragile, I was crushed and I did things, that today I will never speak of. I was not who I was suppose to be.

Since 2003 I hadn’t felt good. Or happy. Or healthy. Or alive.

In May 2008 I met LW and the moment I was with him on our first date, I really felt like I could love him…and be happy. I started to find myself again.

But then, my dad had a stroke on Mother’s Day.

The first Mother’s Day without my Mother. The first of many Mother’s Days that I spent laying flowers on her grave.

My Dad survived but ended up partially blind. He too has never been the same.

While I tried to be who I was, I couldn’t. I feel like even LW knew I wasn’t who I was suppose to be…or who I used to be. But he gave me a shot. And I have to say there were several times where I wouldn’t be surprised if he was ready to walk away from me. But he worked hard on me…to help me find who I was.

He gave me a life I could have never dreamed possible. He believed in me. He loved me. He listened to me. And he gave me two beautiful (step) daughters to love. He helped me find the family I had always been looking for.

Struggles and happiness filled the air in 2009, however I still wasn’t able to latch on to who I was. Perhaps I was never meant to find her?

It wouldn’t be until Saturday when I would find myself again.

Saturday morning I went with some friends to find a wedding dress for my friend. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt….we shopped, we shared, they listened, I listened. I felt good. I felt happy. So on the way home I called LW and said “we’re going to the pub tonight…I need a beer and a hamburger.”

After a couple of hours of talking and laughing with LW, a hamburger and several beers later, LW turned to me and said “Welcome Back.”

Even he knew I was missing.

It was in that moment that I realized. I AM in control of this life that I have. I can feel sorry for myself. I can dwell on the past. OR I can fix it.

So I fixed it.

And I’m back. I am who I was before I let grief take me over.

I am letting go and looking forward.

Even my co-workers have sensed the change.

Welcome Back….two of the best words in the English dictionary.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quick Update

I started back to work today. I'm on my lunch break, but I really should be reading emails. I have so many work emails to respond to!!!! But all is well and I was warmly accepted back in the office. I've had gaggles of people all day welcoming me back. It feels good to be missed. :-)

My dad is coming home! He will be home for 5 weeks...count that...5 weeks! My brother and I pitched in together and got my Dad a plane ticket. He was so excited he could hardly contain himself. I'm thrilled that I can afford to fly him home. It means the world to me to have him here.

That's all I have for now. I will be writing a very deep, personal post this week called "Welcome Back" and no that's not back to work...it's about being back in the game of life. I can't wait to share it with all of you.

Until then...Happy Monday!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Coincidence

I miss my Dad.

Today I was working out - walking on the treadmill as I can't do much else right now - and I thought about my Dad. See I just finished reading "Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks, and there were parts of that book that reminded me of my relationship with my Dad, or lack there of. Being that he is my only parent left, I want to fix parts of our relationship that have failed. And I mean that with all of my heart.

I finish working out and grab my phone and there is a text message from my Dad:

At 2:49 - TESTING MY PHONE

Then another text message:

At 3:02 - Hi

And then I cry. I cry because he lives in Nevada and I live in Ohio. I cry because I miss him. I cry because he's getting older and is so fragile since his stroke. I cry because there are so many things I want to say and don't have the courage to do so.

So I called him. And we talked for awhile before he had to go. I will be seeing him in May but only for a few short days. I haven't seen him in almost two years. I need him here. I need to know he's safe. So I called my brother and we are talking about buying my Dad a plane ticket to stay with us for a month. My Dad was originally going to fly home with me when I was out there, but he doesn't have the money to do so.

So here I wait on my brother to call me back to see if he wants to go in on a plane ticket. I saw my Dad last in 2008 after his stroke. My brother on the other hand has not seen my Dad since 2006. With three kids it's hard for my brother to travel. So I think this will be good for all of us...to have my Dad here...to show him where Mom is buried (they have been divorced for 21 years, but my Dad loved my Mom and vice versa).

So here's to hoping my Dad comes home for a little while this summer. I need him here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Monday

Monday is the day I FINALLY go back to work.

I went to the doctor yesterday and everything went well. However I'm still a tad bit swollen which is something she didn't expect. UGH So here I sit with a heating pad on my stomach. Good news is though...I DID NOT GAIN WEIGHT WHILE I WAS OFF!! OMG I wanted to do cartwheels. I weighed exactly what I weighed when I went into surgery. I can't tell you how scared I was that I was going to gain the weight back that I had worked so hard to lose before surgery. Such a great feeling!!!!!

I'm now on an estrogen patch. Kind of nice since I only have to change the patch twice a week. So far I'm seeing small changes...hot flashes aren't as often and I actually got some sleep last night. I'm on a super low dosage so hopefully I won't need to bump up to the next dosage level. Will depend on how I do in the next six weeks.

While at the doctor she deeply apologized to me for the mistake the hospital made in putting me on the maternity floor. She said in all of her years of doing hysterectomy's she has NEVER had a patient be put on the maternity floor. It was an accident. I get it. But I DID receive great care and had a private room. I'm told that if I would have gone to the regular floor I would have had to have shared a room with someone and the care wouldn't have been as attentive. I don't think I could have shared a room. I was going through something so personal and so hard that I cried so much while I was alone. But I'm happy my doctor apologized. It all worked out for the best, even if it was hard for me to walk by the nursery on my walks.

All in all I'm doing good. Not 100% but nothing close to what I was when I was finished with surgry. And I am HAPPY to report that my pre-surgery pain is GONE!!!!!! What a relief.

I made the right choice.

I CAN live with this decision the rest of my life knowing I did the right thing.

I'm speechless.

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Goals Recap

This month was particuarly hard on some of my main goals because of the surgery. I spent the whole month basically confined to my home, recupping. I go back to the doctor tomorrow to see if I can return to work this week. I can't believe how fast 6 weeks have gone by. While I'm doing good, I have had this nagging pain in my left side up under my rib cage. I hope it's nothing, but sometimes it kills me when I breathe...so let's hope for the best!

So here is my February recap:


1. Train to run a half marathon

While I haven't been able to train, I have gotten information to sign up with a running group that will help train me!!! So excited. As soon as the doctor releases me, I'm signing up!


2. Plan a skydiving adventure.

I need to get with my friend Emily on this! I'm so going this year!!!


3. Take one vacation instead of two.

This one is still on track. We are taking one family vacation with Kassidy to Arizona. And then some small weekend trips here and there. We will be in Paris next year!


4. Spend more time crafting gifts and cards.

So far I have hand made all of my birthday cards, anniversary, cards, sympathy cards and Valentine's Day cards, thank you cards.


5. Take more classes to work towards my second bachelors degree.

I am signing up to start back June 29th. I'm techincally already signed up, but I want to change the class I'm suppose to take.


6. Not purchase a single pair of pants/shorts/capris (other than PJs – a secret obsession of mine) until I have lost at least 8-10 pounds.

So far I haven't purchased any pants. Although I'll have to forgo this goal and purchase pants for our family pictures in two weeks. UGH


7. Spend more time in the gym with the weights.

I was doing great before surgery. So I'll be back on track soon!


8. Pack my lunch every day but once/twice in a month (we have team lunches or birthday lunches at least once a month).

I've ate in every day this month. HA Easy to do when you're stuck home. :-)


9. Not purchase a new car!

No new car here although I cry for a new car often.


10. Track my spending.

I've been monitoring my spending and doing well. It's nice to see where all of the money is going.


My next project is to work on my 'Bucket List'. I have so many things I want to do before I die, so I plan to work on that list next. I can't wait to see what I come up with!!!!