Questions in Greece…

 

photos from greece

I got questions all the time while in Greece.

Where was I from?

Why do I live in Poland?

Is my husband Polish?

Did business bring my husband to Poland???

We went on a tubing ride in the Ionian Sea, and the loveliest lady that owned the little “surf-type shack” loved asking these questions…

So, I thought a moment and told her my husband was not Polish, he was 100% American, but he is a pastor.  So, in a sense, I guess he is a businessman in the “Business of God” — to which she beautifully proclaimed with her Greek enthusiasm and delightful accent, “The best business of all—the business of God!”

And then she reached her arms over her head and spread them across the sky and said, “God overall!”

We all wholeheartedly agreed and traipsed into the lapping waves of the sea, where we hopped onto a UFO-type raft and allowed the Greek captain of his small speed boat pull us haphazardly through the sea where we screamed, maybe cried a little…laughed a lot and Adelyne belted, “Kumbaya, my Lord!  Let me live!”

The ride ended much to our mutual disappoint and actual thrill, and we went back to collect our items from the Greek Surfing Lady and we all proclaimed, “God bless you,” “And you!”

And smiled one last smile before we trailed down the beach, leaving footprints in the sand, to enjoy our last sunset in Peloponnese…

Greece, we agree, one God overall.

Thank you, beautiful country, for a sun-kissed delightful week with my precious namesake and firstborn.

I saw the paintbrush of God every evening in the sunsets and the stroke of his perfect clarity each time I looked out at His blue seas!

And to you, our perfect surf-shack lady, thank you for reminding us that being in the business of this amazing painter and God is TRULY the best business of all!

God bless you, our friend!

OPA!

Life in Ruins…

There is literally nothing more humbling than seeing the greatest in ruins.

Life is very short, my friends.

Live, treasure, love well!

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

#thankfulforeternity #faithendures #lovegod #lovebig #lovepeople #andthesethreeremain #faith #hope #love #olympia #greece

The Day After Mother’s Day…

my heart beats!

The day after Mother’s Day…all celebrating done.

The children all messy.

My hair in “the bun”!

The day after Mother’s Day…it is really true.

The children, once again, forget all about you (me too!).

The day after Mother’s Day…my coffee is old.

No one made me breakfast.

Everyone has a cold!

The day after Mother’s Day…it is really true.

Mother’s Day High…Like the sugar-rush flu!

The littles are crying – the teen is a mess.

PE clothes forgotten, the kitchen (don’t ask!).

The day after Mother’s Day…it comes all too soon.

Will our flowers last…Will they still bloom?

We need the reminders.

Oh, yes, it’s true…

That we do more than wipe bottoms.

And wash hands after poo.

The day after Mother’s Day…

It is not as divine.

Because they didn’t make breakfast or write me a rhyme.

They forgot about yesterday and my crown of glue and gold.

Sparkles and glitter.

Like I said—(big EMPHASIS) my coffee has gone cold!

But the day after Mother’s Day, they are still all mine.

And even though the windows are dirty (just like their behinds), I will remember to choose to smile because I know that it’s true…

Next year they will celebrate me, their mother, too!

(Right???)

Only 364 more days to prepare me a treat.

Hop to it, you children…

While I put up my feet!

-Insert: Crash; Bang; Boom-

***

Happy Day After Mother’s Day!

(smile and wink)

 

 

 

“Stop crying or I will,” the Mom threats (that we all deny doing)

IMG_3284

My 4-year-old was dramatically protesting SOME very unfortunate (obvious to her only) mistreatment in her life…

And she was doing it at a loud wail.

With a bunch of pitchy screeches.

It was enough.  I was trying to work, and I couldn’t concentrate at all.

So, I did what all moms always say they will NEVER do but ALWAYS do (see the hilarity right there).  I shouted from the other room…

STOP CRYING RIGHT NOW OR I WILL EAT YOUR CHOCOLATE!

Oh, no.  I didn’t stop there.  I went on…

Is that crying I still hear?

Crying is getting a bit softer, but there is a bit of remaining whining…

That’s IT!  I’m getting up right now to go and get your chocolate.  I will eat every last bite!  Don’t make me do it!

Silence.

Ah, man!

I was actually looking for an excuse to eat chocolate.

Smile.

Wink.

#momtruth

No Coca-Cola, please…

healthy fruit

Photo from pixabay

So, there comes a time in your life when you REALLY … I mean really have to reevaluate what goes in your mouth because it does not all come out on the other side.

In fact, where once it would magically disappear, it now finds your thighs.  And your arms.  And your belly.  It even finds your neck and your cheeks.  Heck, it finds BOTH sets of cheeks.

Yes.  Where once you could eat whatever you wanted, the time will always come where that is no more.

Mine didn’t hit at 30.  It didn’t hit at 35.  Or 36 when I had Max.  In fact, after Max, I had only about 10 pounds left to lose when I got pregnant with Josephine (10 months after Max).  So, I was pretty sure it would be okay with Josephine.

And then 40 hit.  And it didn’t matter if I ate 1 potato chip or the entire bag, it all seemed to find a place .

For me, it’s pretty much on what Max and Jo literally, lovingly call my “squishy belly…”  In fact, they are so cute about it as they proclaim daily, “MOMMA, we LOVE your squishy belly!  It’s like a squishy pillow!  Oh, you’re so squishy…”

And they go on and on and on and on…I could so “SQUISHY” them after awhile, eh?!  (smile and wink)

Anyhow, all of this to say that I have officially decided to not drink “as much” soda as before.  Try not to eat as many cookies as before.  Avoid chips, when possible (smile smile wink wink again).

Therefore, when my husband was leaving to go grocery shopping, I told him to not bring me a Coke.

Proud moment, right?!

Too short, unfortunately, because then I followed it by saying, “But don’t forget the whipped cream for my coffee!”

HAHAHA!

Seriously.

I did.

And, with that, I have come to the deep conclusion…

What is life, anyway, without a little whipped cream?

Go, whipped cream, find my thighs.  They are waiting for you.

Bring on my coffee!

(insert whipped cream can aerosol-like spray and a happily sighing, coffee-slurping momma)

 

Conceiving a child with a Pituitary Brain Tumor

brain tumor

I have shared my story many times—but the part I have not often shared is that 1 year and 3 months after our miscarriage, approaching 36 and in our 11th year of marriage, Richard and I decided it was time to perhaps seek a professional that can tell us what else may be wrong with me (I knew one thing—I have a tumor on the base of my brain///on my pituitary) or him/Richard (we didn’t know—maybe he also had a reason why we had trouble conceiving).  And so we researched and finally sought the help of a professional fertility specialist in Poznan, Poland.

I should also note—At this time, we have a daughter in kindergarten, we are living in Poland (and we are from the United States), and we live in a village of a little under 400 people.

We had a man from Germany, one of only two (at that time) qualified to do/give/approve Home Studies for Americans living in Europe.  He was to come to our home on November 19th of 2011.  We were going to fly him in, pay for his food and lodging, and pay him for our home study.  And, if we were approved, then we could finally begin the process of actual adoption—which we had already been to the US Embassy and spoken with individuals there about where to proceed within Poland.

So we were moving forward in the child department—BUT—there comes an age in every woman’s life where you understand that if you REALLY REALLY REALLY are going to consider having a baby out of your belly, after 35 is probably the time to really get going.  Strong.

You should also understand that for our 11 years of marriage, we had never prevented a pregnancy.  We already knew conceiving would be difficult because of my tumor.  The medicine, Bromocriptine, which if you ever watched House, you will know is one of the medicines used with Parkinson’s patients, was much too hard on my system.  There was one time where I took it at 9pm the night before, with food, as it suggested, and while Richard was gone the next morning, after 7am, I, alone in a foreign country and a 2-year-old Adelyne with me, had to call my husband and tell him to get home immediately because I wasn’t sure how much longer I would be conscious.

In the past, no matter how small the dose, I had passed out from the drug.

But it was that moment in time—when my husband was about an hour away, and I was alone in my flat with my two-year-old that I thought—is this the best for my family????

The medicine, of course, was not my only option, of course.  There was always surgery.  At the base of my brain.  You go through the nasal cavity.

There is targeted radiation.

We researched both.  We looked into Italy for the targeted radiation and Israel.  As those were the two closest to us that seemed to be really well qualified for messing around on, you know, the base of my brain.

We thought about surgery—which we would have done in the States.

When you are in the position that I am in—in a foreign country and thinking about someone at the base of your brain, you really REALLY really consider what you are doing.

And so we spoke with an OBGYN/Endocrinologist in the States (don’t worry—I have a neurologist as well).  We told him our situation and our options.  These are the words he shared with us (IF you are in a medical position similar to ours, PLEASE consult your own doctors for what is best for you.  This is our story only. Each lives her own story),

“You could go to any neurosurgeon in the world, and they will gladly share with you how you can remove your tumor.  But the thing is, if you remove a millimeter too much, you will still remain on medicine for the rest of your life to compensate for what was taken.

A very small chance—but always a chance, as well, that you will have brain fluid leakage.  Which then will also have to be controlled.  

Radiation…Yes, it’s concentrated.  But if it kills even a millimeter of what it shouldn’t===because your pituitary is central to your entire endocrine system, you, again, will have to compensate for what it was that was killed.  For the rest of your life.”  

Man!  Your brain is a REALLY big deal, right, people???  Even those pesky pituitaries at the base of it.

Then, he gave us a third option:

At the current risk of my tumor becoming cancerous (very small), the current size, and the fact that we actually one time had gotten pregnant (after 5 years), we could continue with:

No medicine.  No treatment.  Probably, most likely, no child in our future.

*This, of course, came with warning signs:  The location of my tumor is near my optical part of my brain—so, if I begin to lose peripheral vision, I will need to reevaluate my situation because that means the tumor is growing and putting pressure on that part of my brain.  

All options just sounded swell:  operating, radiation, medicine, no medicine.  All.

I am being facetious, of course.  None of them sounded swell.  So we went with the one that I liked the best.

No treatments.  No medicine.  A wish and a prayer!

And we said thank you and paid the man all of the gold and silver we had because specialists in the States cost you either a new car or your first child (smile and wink) … and we went on our way.

All the way to that fertility specialist in Poland I was talking about at the beginning of the blog.

We were ready to see what he had to say about my ovaries and eggs and all the ins and outs of maybe how he can help us get pregnant with a pituitary tumor.

So I hopped up onto his hopeful chair—as I am sure that I am not the first woman in the world to hop onto a fertility specialist chair with this guarded hope in our chest…

And I laid back and looked at that ultrasound machine—where I knew I wouldn’t see a beating heart—but what would I see????

And that’s when he showed it to me, husband in room.

He said, “You see that there?”

I said “Yes.”

I was lying.  I can’t make any sense out of those machines.

And he said “That is your right ovary.  You will ovulate in 3 days.  I should not see you again!”

And he had me hop off of that chair and leave with my husband.

He was right.  He did not see us again.

8 months later (because I had a preemie), we had Max.

11 months after Max, we found out we were pregnant with Josephine.

Jaw.Dropping.

Our story is not without struggle—even though after 36 they seemed to pop right out of me.  But the hard truth is this:

Our babies came to us in our 5th, 10th (miscarriage), 12th, and 14th years of marriage.  We got to keep 3 here on earth.

And I know my body played a big part into the difficulty of having them.  Therefore, I say to you women out there—feel and understand and know your body.

If you struggle, try and discover why.  Know your options.

Most importantly, remember that you are not alone.  It may feel like it.  But you are not.  And, so, connect with a group that is struggling similarly to you.  Be a support for one another.

A pituitary tumor is so small and yet influences so greatly.  A small tumor or tumors create havoc on your lives and heart, therefore, never feel as if what you are living through or feeling is not substantial.

Is mine cancerous?

No.

Is it still life-altering?

Yes.

#braintumorawareness #may #grayinmay

 

 

 

Humble Pie…

humble pie

Photo: Pixabay

Yes.  I may tend to give my amazing husband a hard time—but that’s because I just love him EVER SO MUCH.  Or perhaps it’s because soon after he does something “funny” HUMBLE PIE often comes back to bite me in my tush.

Yes.

I did it.

I killed my son’s guinea pig.  Poor Chewie #4.

So, yesterday I wrote the blog post “Why Moms Were Invented,” and then the same night that I wrote that humor piece on how “awesome” we moms are and how we keep the house from BURNING DOWN…it goes and happens.

I leave the rabbit and guinea pigs (in their cages, yes) on the porch.

With the dogs.

No big deal????

No.  A very big deal.

Usually this is how our farm’s worth of animals work at our house.  Dogs in the house, no problem because they are surrounded by me and behave.

Dogs in the house when we are away?  NO WAY!  They break into animal cages and KILL KILL KILL!

Right now, with the sunshine, I have been placing our beloved little critters outside for the day to enjoy the sun.  In fact, our rabbit’s hutch will be arriving soon, so she’ll really get to enjoy a fun spring/summer outside.

But I went and did it.  I closed the door, not realizing that the dogs were outside and unattended.

With their favorite delicacy—guinea pig pie.

Now, you may think that I am being very unfeeling.  Oh, no!  I have all the feels.  IT’S JUST THAT THIS IS CHEWIE #4.

Chewie 1 died of natural causes.  The others—well, let’s say, “Predatory causes” — yikes!

Why don’t you call your rabbit “Cupcake #4” — don’t they eat the rabbit, too?

Well, to be honest, I think that they tried the first time they ate Chewie #2— but the rabbit was unscathed.  I think a couple punches and kicks with the sharp paws and claws taught the doggies to stay away.  So they aren’t even phased by little Cupcake.

The poor guineas, however…

Yes.  Moms keep houses standing—but we also eat LOTS of humble pie.

Like on the days that I kill my miracle son’s beloved Chewie (4).

Adelyne told me to replace Chewie like I once replaced her fish—but I didn’t get around to that before Max noticed his guinea pig’s cage was missing…

Plus, a fish and a guinea pig switch?  Not quite the same, eh?!

All in all, the house is still standing and now I have to find a new critter for the little man.

And, yes, he wanted to see Chewie.  Another slice of pie, please…

I had to show him where I placed his guinea pig.

He thought I would have lovingly buried it, oh my!

Instead I had to show him a plastic bag in the trash. Outside.

I tried to explain it this way, “Remember the foxes that came and ate your buried dog???  Yes, let’s not invite them to come and eat your guinea pig, too, okay?!”

Hence, Chewie remained in his original grave (the plastic coffin).

And “Death” was the topic of conversation of two littles for the rest of the day.

This time, when Max goes for his new pet, it will 100% not be a guinea pig.

I can’t handle Chewie #5.

Nor another slice of humble pie (I do eat a lot of it).

RIP 4.