Thursday, March 18, 2010


Little Vacations are so wonderful....not very "relaxing" with my crew, but very renewing for the soul. We had a really great time just 25 minutes up the road. Just what we needed.
I love these critters. Our family completely believes in the power of the t-shirt. That is the ONLY thing these two will wear. I have bought TONS of shirts and this is what they want. They even have them categorized in to every day t-shirts and "good" t-shirts. (Dalton's is an every day t-shirt and Savannah's is a "good" one.)

We had a fantastic time at the Tunica Aquatic Center. If you haven't been...GO. Call us and we will go with you. I'll even put on a bathing suit and was that AWESOME. I don't know too many places a family of four can get four hours of fun for $16 either. LOVED IT.

This is Jeff trying to talk our kiddos into jumping off the 16 foot platform. It took a little bit of time, but NOT much.
If Jeff jumped off once, he jumped off 900 times. He said his legs were sore today from climbing the stairs so many times. He has also announced that this will be the perfect place to have his 40th birthday party. That was news to me. I had NO idea we were having a party.

It didn't take long before Jeff and Dalton graduated to the 22 foot platform. Once they did, they never went back to 16 feet. (That's Dalton suspended in mid-air.) Savannah didn't make the leap. She still had a ton of fun. Sixteen feet was just dandy with her.
When we left there we went to the outlet mall for the quickest pass I've ever made. We were all exhausted!! We did pick up a few things and then we made our way back to the hotel. Everyone was asleep much earlier than the previous night:)
We got home about noon and this little toot wanted some more pictures. She wanted to brighten things up a bit. We thought the tulips were blooming at the Dixon Gallery but they weren't quite ready. (They should be by next weekend and I'm going to take my kids and get some great colorful shots.) So we did what we could and found as much beautiful foliage as possible. We actually did pretty good. (These are straight off the memory card with no Photoshop. Not bad.)

...and of course these are NOT the best ones. I wouldn't dare show the winning shot prematurely!! Haleigh is such a great little girl. Yes, I still call her a little girl. After all, I met her when she was three years old. Her mom (Jenifer) is the BEST friend I have ever had so that makes Haleigh my adopted child.....and she drove ME around all afternoon.

Savy girl had a soccer game tonight. (Yes, thank you for asking, I am worn smack OUT.) She didn't play her best tonight, but she still did a good job. She was worn out, too. Jenifer and Haleigh came to the game to see her. That was very sweet of them.

THAT is what worn SMACK OUT looks like. It kinda looks like someone smacked me. That's my friend Jenifer. Haleigh was sitting in her lap. Dalton cut her out of the picture....that's OK though, I took 197 of her earlier this afternoon.
Savannah is the "throw in queen". She has to do it most of the time. The other girls don't seem to understand that you DON'T want to throw it to the other team. I won't even touch the fact that they don't understand the concept of "throw it up the line" and the worst part is that back foot. It HAS to stay on the ground...Soccer 101. I've never understood why that's so hard but IT IS.

Savy played Goalie for half the game. She hates it, but at least she got to wear the cool green shirt. I was silently thankful because that means not as much running which means less wear and tear on those ankles and knees. They are swollen tonight, but not as bad as last week.

Goal Kick!! Her RUSH team makes her work on her ball arcs. Pretty cool...even cooler to see her putting those new skills to use in this league. I just wish he would get her out of goal.....
Her lab results were back today. Her blood tests were RA negative but her ESR was high...just like mine. We go see her pediatrician next Wednesday to determine appropriate care until we can see the Pediatric Rheumatologist. Approximately 50% people with rheumatoid arthritis are blood negative. Did you know that?
I've decided I'm good with all of this. Life is what is. I don't know where I heard the saying, "That which does not kill us only makes us stronger." I heard it YEARS ago and I really like it. Adaptability is an essential key in life. I used to not have any. I'm not saying I'm totally go with the flow (Jeff is) but I have learned that it is usually best. I wake up every morning with an amazing gift. Somehow while I'm sleeping, God gives me everything I need to deal with the next day. Sometimes I have to call on God to help me get through the day, but that's okay. I think he likes to hear from us. Can you imagine how you would feel if you didn't talk to your children? I know God loves to hear from me and right now, I call on him quite a lot.
Thank you for the prayers and well wishes. Please don't stop. Her negative blood tests mean a long road to diagnosis. In a child, they have to rule out EVERY thing else. Pray for her to have no fear of tests. They scared me to death. I can't imagine how I would have reacted if I were 10 years old. Please keep Dalton in mind, too if you have the time. He's worried about his little sister and has had to take a back seat to all of this. He is such a sweet kid. He inherited the gift of compassion for others. He's been that way his whole life.
They are both in the midst of room makeovers (I call it a HOT MESS at the moment). I should have some pictures this weekend of the progress. Jeff built Savannah a loft bed kinda college dorm room style. It's great with a built in desk on the lower end. Dalton got a bunk bed with the bottom bunk being a futon. It's really cool and they will both have a lot more room now.
I'm out. Gotta work tomorrow!
Oh, hey, if you have time leave me a comment on which pictures you are liking...we have to decide by the end of this weekend which ONE we want to enter. (Kinda hard when you took 1000)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fun Day

I have precisely 40 minutes of Internet access left tonight so I must make this quick.


The Tunica Aquatic Center is SWEET. Jeff wants to have his birthday party there. I think he told me that like 4 times today. Of course, I have pictures but no time to upload them tonight. We all stayed up until 3 this morning so we are exhausted.

Thank you so much for the well wishes and prayers. I can't tell you how much they mean to us all. I feel like that sounds cliche', but please know I mean it from the bottom of my toes (or heart). We are heading home in the morning. I have to work tomorrow afternoon. This has been an awesome break for us and it was really needed.

I'll get my pictures uploaded tomorrow and share some more crazy things these kids did today. They spent the afternoon jumping off a 16 ft high platform. I spent the afternoon with hives.

I wondered today just how much more I could possibly love them...I love them more today than I did yesterday. Does the heart just grow and grow? It just amazes me.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Making Lemonade

Look at that baby's pretty eyes and freckles. I was shooting pictures in the truck in line at the bank the other day. I wasn't really aiming. Just holding the camera down in my lap and shooting. It's a good thing she likes to have her picture taken.
She is also VERY into nails lately. At least once a month we go for a mani/pedi. I mean a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. We do our best to go twice a month, but sometimes we have to be careful or we will get in trouble. Jeff just can't figure out why we need to spend $80 to have paint put on our nails that only lasts a few days. He sweats bullets when we get the nail polish remover out. It's pretty funny. We have to show him our chipped up nails before he will let us take the polish off. WHATEVER!

After a very stressful couple of days, we decided to leave our issues back home and take a vacation. We drove 25 minutes down the road and checked in....

This is our new home for the next two days. We are in Tunica!! Heck Yeah, Vacay Red Neck Style. Tomorrow we are going to hit the Tunica Aquatic Center and the Outlet Mall. If it doesn't rain we may even hit the RiverPark and we've been told we HAVE to eat at the Blue and White Cafe.

All I know is that I'm in a comfy bed with my pink gnomes on and all is right in my world. I'm piled up with my two munchkins tonight and my husband is downstairs at a BlackJack Table. Everybody is doing something they love. Dalton is watching Star Wars on his laptop and Savannah is making videos with her web cam.

This little toot has a had a rough couple of days. Yesterday, we spent four hours at the doctors office. She basically had her whole body x-rayed, at least all of her larger joints. Today we had to go back and she had to have a lot of blood drawn. She was not so happy about that and neither was I. Ten year old little girls shouldn't have to go to the lab to have blood drawn to find out their SED rates among other things. She is now fully in the midst of a JRA work up. See why we went out of town??? It was time to get away for a day or two and be "normal".

So, we did what we had to do and bought fake nails. Don't those make everything better?

They do for this squirt. This is how she makes Lemonade out of Lemons.....
We will be home on Thursday and I suppose we will have some lab results waiting on us. We were told by our Orthopedic Doc and Pediatrician that the blood work is a formality. While it may show completely negative, the physical symptoms are there and unfortunately so is the family history. The lab tech said we could almost certainly expect a high SED rate as she clotted twice while having her blood drawn. The inflammation is obvious and what finally drove us to the doctor. We have suspected this for the last few months. I am blood negative....We don't know what to expect with her. I've been telling her that we still just don't know and that I want all of her tests back before we decide the next step. We already have an appointment with the ONLY pediatric rheumatologist in Memphis. The two next closest ones are the ONE in Nashville and the ONE in Jackson Mississippi. Given the few doctors, she can't be seen until July. Tonight when we were putting on fake nails, she said, "Mom, I have it don't I?" I told her again that we just had to take it one step at a time. She said, "That's fine, but in my heart I already know I do. I knew it before we went to the doctor." UGGHHH, I HATE IT. If I screamed it from the top of this hotel (which is the second tallest building in the state of Mississippi) how badly I hated it, it wouldn't be enough.
Thankfully, her symptoms and swelling are not inhibiting anything at the moment. Honestly, they are nothing more than a nuisance. It kills me to see her limping on the soccer field, but it isn't bad enough to make her stop. I'm thankful for wonderful doctors who love her and care for her and know the right questions to ask to get a ten year talking about their pain. I told Jeff how amazed I was at the questions and how they were able to break it down for her to answer. I have a hard time telling my doctors about mine. I wish they could ask me like they ask her. Her pain and swelling are all in the larger joints....her ankles and knees mainly but one hip, lower back and neck???? She is taking two anti-inflammatory meds twice a day for the time being.
Thanks for listening to my venting...I didn't even get into what some of the insensitive freaks around us have said. Whew, I thought it was rough when it was me....I just can't sit quiet and listen to someone be insensitive and rude to or about my daughter. Dalton lovingly announced tonight that he was now the ONLY "healthy" one in the family. It actually provided some comic relief...He said, "Well, now I'm the only healthy one we have Mom. You and Savannah both have AR-tha-ri-tis." (You should hear the southern accent on that word, WOW.) I said, "What about Dad, he's OK." Dalt said, "Well, Mom, you know he's fat." I just love kids.
We pulled a "What About Bob?" and are taking a vacation from our problems. I think it's just what the doctors ordered.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hard Day

Today was just NO good. That's about all I can summon up right now. It has left me feeling a little dark and empty and exhausted.

...the greater the love the deeper the pain.... tonight I hurt for my baby girl. Send her some good vibes and prayers for good health if you get the time. I'll do my best to pull myself together. Sometimes it just SUCKS. This is one of "those" times.

SHINE, (I'm trying)

Can't Sleep

OK, so the pics were a special request for Lesli...and I actually did that post with a house full of and pop in law, without much thought. I realized tonight at 12:50 a.m. that I didn't "say" all I had to say. I have horrible insomnia. I don't think I've mentioned that here before. I know I have on FB and I've found that many of my friends suffer as well. Everyone raves about Ambien, but I might as well swallow a sweet tart. It doesn't touch this mess I have. I can't explain it really, but it stinks. Some nights I crash...gotta love those...about twice a week. Some nights it's normal, lie down, watch some TV or read a book and fall asleep. The other nights, the lights go out and BOING there is NO way I'm going to sleep. UGGGHHHH, I hate these nights. Those darn sheep jumping over my bed keep me up ALL night. And if I dare take an Ambien on those nights it gets even worse. That is some crazy stuff. I stay up all night long, I just have no recollection of what I did the next day. It usually consists of some serious Ebay spending and omelet making, both of which are dangerous considering I don't know what I'm doing.
It also makes me run into things and I score some interesting bruises.

I had a great day with Savy yesterday. I actually had a really fun week with both kids but seemed to spend a little more time with her for some reason. She spent a lot of time at the office with me. Savannah is wise beyond her years. Things that fly over Dalton's head sink right in with her. When Dalton comes to the office he pulls a chair over by the television and camps out. Savannah jumps right in with the office dynamic, answers the phone, runs copies and faxes, wants to know the background on claims and quotes and how our numbers are looking. She cracks me up and I found myself asking Jeff to drop her off when she got out of school for help. I took her shopping on Saturday to the outlet mall in Tunica. She and I both needed some new undergarments and there is an outlet down there so off we went. We were a sight in the dressing room. We were both sweating and it took MANY tries to find the right size and fit...MANY. We were exhausted when we left. We stopped at Sonic on the way home and refueled. It's probably a 25 minute drive from our house...all highway. We cranked up the iPod and sang Sugarland at the top of our lungs. What a great time to spend with my baby girl. I love you SavyG.

Savannah had soccer practice today so Dalton and I hung back at the house. He is undoubtedly the sweetest boy on Earth. I was chosen to ride the bus with the children on the 5th grade field trip to the Space Center in May (YEA ME?). So Friday I had to go to the school to settle my account. His teacher went on and on about what a sweet child he was. I'm scared one day he's gonna get his little heart crushed. I checked him out of school Friday afternoon and took him back to work with me. He hauled all of the trash out to the dumpsters for us. He also had a special little gift in his pants pocket. It took him a little while to get the nerve to show it to me, BUT HE DID. His special little friend that happens to be a girl and on the approved marriage list, gave him 4 Silly Bandz tied up with a ribbon. He pointed out that the ribbon made it even more special. "Mom, she took the time to cut a ribbon with paw prints on it, and tie these up for me." I just love him. I'm really looking forward to his field trip (and so is he) even if I do have to ride the bus. I'm terrified for him to leave the safe little world of elementary school. I hope he toughens up over the summer.

My weight is driving me nuts, but I was kidding earlier tonight when I said it was producing some all time lows in my life. I hope my sarcasm was apparent. I don't like it, obviously, but it doesn't change who I am. It has actually opened my eyes to a world I never knew before. I still don't really know what a calorie is, but I can assure you they never crossed my mind in the past. See, now I have something new to learn. I am thankful to feel good. No, good doesn't mean perfect like I used to, but good means good and that I can do most of the things I used to do. For that I am thankful. I made a commitment to myself this weekend to do what I can to get as much weight off as I can while I feel good. Hopefully I will feel good forever and get ALL of it off, but if not, that's okay. I just have to feel good about what I do everyday to feel good in the long run.

Well, it's 1:35 now and Jeff is fussing at me in between snores. He hates these nights. Just another reason to get my craft/utility/closet room finished. Jeff ran satellite to that room for me and my big over sized chair and ottoman are going in there too. I can see me spending many sleepless nights in there. Now he is trying to get Izzy to snuggle with him and making fun of my lipstick (lipstain). Savannah took pictures of me with her web cam tonight and changed my profile picture on FB. She said I needed lipstick....???? If you are a FB'r send me a friend request. Especially if you are an insomniac. Maybe I should start a page...I bet there is one already.

Peace out and SHINE,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photo Shoots

Here is some of my artistry from the last couple of weeks. I think we have decided that we aren't using any of these (I hope so, considering I'm going "public" with them.) These are shots from our second trip out.
This little toot is absolutely too cute. Her mom has been showing some of these around and others are asking if I will take pictures of their families and kids. I don't think so. Haleigh is a dream to work with and up for anything.

I can also tell her when something isn't working and why....I'm not so sure I could be myself with just anybody. Today, we got her alterations done on her dress and cocktail dress and interview skirt. It must be hard to be a double zero.

I certainly wouldn't know. We are going to do one more photo shoot on Thursday. While we were able to make plenty of head shots out of what we did, we never concentrated on just that. After thinking about it more, we realized that is probably what we needed. SO, we will give it one more try.

Hopefully I won't take 787 pictures this time. It gets to be a little overwhelming especially since the majority of her pictures are GREAT.

Now, I'm looking forward to the flowers blooming (which they are starting to do) so I can take my own kids out and get some new pictures of them. The ones hanging in my office are three years old and look nothing like them anymore.

Thanks Haleigh for all of your patience with me. I had a great time both days! (These are only pictures from the second day.)

I still can't move pictures around. Maybe someday that feature will return. For now, I just have to load them in and go with the flow.

It's Spring Break around here. Tomorrow, I have to take Savannah to see an Orthopedic doctor. I spoke with my doctor this past week at my check up and he said we needed to go ahead and schedule an appointment with a Pediatric Rheumatologist for her. She has swelling in both ankles and one knee and periodically her elbows. She also complains of stiffness in her neck frequently.

He said while there may not be anything to it, given her family history (ME) and the involvement of multiple joints, it was better to be safe than sorry. I'm sure you can imagine, the lump in my throat when he put into words what I already suspected. There is only ONE pediatric rheumatologist in Memphis. SO, the appointment is 4 months away.

In the meantime, we are going to see an Orthopedic doctor to see if we can go ahead and get started on NSAID's. She is staying active and playing a lot of soccer but by the end of her games or conditioning practices, she starts limping and we have to ice her at night. She's tough, but it is breaking my heart.

My eyes are doing better, but not great. I am tapering off the OmniPred and I will try a different contact later this week. I'm still in these glasses. They were able to adjust them so they didn't hurt my ears anymore. Now they just slide down my nose all the time, but I don't care. At least I didn't have to buy a new pair yet. We have a couple of options of contacts that are apparently Uveitis friendly (at least for part time use). I hope one works. I DESPISE my glasses. I don't know about you, but I prefer peripheral vision.

We are mainly hanging around the crib for Spring Break. We booked our trip to Florida for June. Jeff is off all week and I'm trying to keep my schedule pretty open for whatever. I definitely want to get my kitchen painted and the washer and dryer moved to my craft room. We are converting the utility closet into a pantry and my craft room into a craft/utility/closet room. That will make such a big difference for us. Jeff plans to take the kids to the Aquatic Center in Tunica with a couple of friends one day. I think we are going to spend a night or two down there in one of the casino hotels. The kids always like doing that and since I have a gambling man, we have a few nights comped.
I decided yesterday I had hit an all time low. Ya'll know I'm not shy so just endure with me....Last year I bought a one piece bathing suit. I never wore it but I had it just in case (actually I think I wore it once, not much considering we had a pool). To date, the purchase of the one piece suit was one of the lowest points in my life. I topped it yesterday. I actually loaded a calorie counting app on my phone. Even though the app is really cool and has a lot of information, the mere fact that I have to count a calorie is just NO GOOD. I weighed in at a whopping 166 pounds at my check up. THANKS A LOT PREDNISONE. When I was diagnosed a year and a half ago, I weighed 131 pounds. Mrs. Rotundo is just not good with me. I've always thought that a tan helped the big girls out a lot. Oh sunshine, where are you? I need your help. I am now one of the aforementioned BIG GIRLS. My dear husband even went so far as to tell me that he didn't think I could be that "little" girl anymore. Humm, it's too bad he's a fat ass, too. (Sorry to offend...just sayin')
Well Savy and I are headed to the gym tonight. I need to figure out how to fit it back into my schedule. I had some pretty good results with it last time I went. The hardest part is making the time. I figure this is as good a week as any.
Hope you all have a great week. I'll try to keep you up to date with all of our fun this week.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

No New Hairs (At least that I can see)

You sick of my ear hair??? I AM. Sorry to leave that post up so long.

Methotrexate caught up with me this week. After two weeks off, it kicked my booty. I did some serious sleeping the last few days but all seems headed back to normal. The ole hair is getting a little on the thin side, but the bodacious bod seems to be working. My eyes on the other hand, aren't exactly cooperating. The opthamologist mentioned the ole Uveitits to me, but I'm ignoring it for now...YEP, my Scarlet Syndrome is kicking in. The Omnipred eye drops (Prednisone for the eyeballs) seems to be helping. Most of the redness seems to be gone. They are still a little itchy and scratchy. Hopefully, Friday they will tell me that the internal inflammation is better as well. Until then, I'm sporting no eye makeup and a really old pair of glasses :) Good Times!!

Today was a fabulous beautiful day. The weather was great and I spent most of the afternoon outside shooting photos of great little girl....more pageant pictures. I think I shot somewhere around 400 today. I took my camera card and card reader to her mother tonight and left it so I haven't seen them all yet. I'm pretty sure we got "THE" shot today. I'm anxious to see them. We also did a fitting this morning of her dresses. She's a tiny little 00 (as in double zero). The pageant is on the 27th. I'm looking forward to it.

The kids had school yesterday (Saturday School). I think it went better than they expected. It made for a short weekend though. I can't wait for Spring and good weather for an extended period of time. I am so ready to finish this little house. Spring Break is the week after this week. Jeff took off all week. I'm going to take off as much as I can (SURPRISE JEFF). I want us to be able to work together on some of these "projects". We are going to have a fun "at home" break.

Jeff and I are catching up on a backlog of TiVo. (I told you I've been sleeping.) Have a fabulous week!! I know I will.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


well...ummm do i say this????

i, uhh, just found a 4 inch hair growing out of the back of my ear. now i'm disgusted and going to bed before i find anything else.

SHINE, (even if you have hairy ears)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Computer Angels

Well, we all prayed for computer peace last night (Thank You Lesli, Missy, and Maria) and I guess in a sense we got what we asked for. After many life saving attempts this morning by two different computer experts, my computer was taken to go live in Heaven. It could not be saved. It apparently had computer HIV. It had the really bad kind. It's gone. It lived a really short life. It was only 10 months old.


I don't mean to sound heartless, but now I need you to pray a replacement comes in early tomorrow!!! The insurance business does not flow smoothly without a computer and working on this laptop in the office creates an extreme amount of frustration. UGGHHHH!

WOW, what a day! I have a new fella in training and my main gal called in with serious car issues today. So not only was I dealing with the computer undertaker, I was manning (or should I say womanning) the phones, moving the new guys furniture, taking payments and handling claims!! AND, I still managed to to have my monthly argument with my health insurance company regarding an unpaid claim, and speak to Savannah's teacher. Then I did a little photo editing tonight, and realized that I think we have THE SHOT for the pageant on the first try!! At least I didn't have to unstop a toilet today, OH WAIT, I did. The FedEx man had to go, I guess. YUCK! And did I mention I did all of that in a 3 inch heel!! Oh yes I did!!

What a blessing to have the energy to deal with all of this!! You know what today was? Today was life and I made the most of it. I laughed hard and I even shed a tear. When you lay down at night and you've done both of those know you had a good day. I'm looking forward to what tomorrow has in store. (I hope it is a computer birth.)



P.S. I almost forgot to welcome Stacey! She ain't skeered. She just signed right on up as follower. How does that make all you lurkers feel?? HA. I'm kidding. I've been reading Stacey's blog for a couple of weeks now. What an inspiration! You are one strong gal!! I admire you.