Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bridal Shower Lingerie and Paint Party


My sister Marla found her man!!! Don't they make a cute couple?!?!

Photo credit: Alicia Magnus

I wanted to have a small intimate lingerie bridal shower for my sister. Since she lives in Montana, we don't get to see her often. The guest list was small, just mom, sisters, sister in laws, and her two oldest nieces (4 ppl could not make it). I didn't want to have the normal 'how well do you know the bride' games, so this is what I came up with instead...

The theme was "In His Time"....

"Take Time to Date"
When guests first arrived... They could write down date ideas on wide pop cycles sticks and place them in the "Date Jar".


"Take Time to Play"
We started the evening by playing games.
The first, involved each guest, and the bride to be making a veil out of toilet paper. They had 5 min. and we're judged at the end. 




Next involved a bottle of sparkling grape juice and a garter. Each guest took turns trying to toss the garter on the bottle. The bride got to keep the garter (and if she wasn't flying back to Montana with limited luggage space, I would have also given her the bottle.)


Next was a fun "Panty Poem"
I read the poem as someone held up each pair of panties and then gave them to the bride.


Opening gifts came next.... 
PS. plastic wrap is always appropriate at a lingerie shower...


"A Time to Eat"
I decorated the table with gold dollies, rings, rose petals, pearls, a clock (which was gifted to the bride), flowers, and a sign that said: "God makes all things beautiful in His time".


The food was simple...
Taco salad
Cornmeal rolls
Buckeyes
Cheesecake
Wedding punch


"A Time to Listen"
We all filled out advice prompt cards and the bride read them out loud, while we guessed who wrote each one.

"A Time to Create"
I wanted an activity we could do together, so that we could talk and have a good time.... so, we all painted a canvas. I purchased canvas, brushes, acrylic paints, and sponges. Then set cups of water, a spray bottle of water, paper plates, and paper towels around the table.


We printed off a picture to use as a reference and we all started painting.


 It was relaxing and so much fun!!! It was so cool to see how each person's painting reflected their own personality...




Overall, I think the party turned out great and was exactly what I had anticipated.

How about you? What do you do to make a bridal shower/party special? Tell me in the comments...

Friday, September 1, 2017

Around our place 2017 - meet our goats

We've had Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats for over 6 years now and I still love them as much now as I did when we first got them. 



Some of the reasons I love Nigerian dwarf goats are:

  • They are small - only weighing in around 30 - 45 lbs. full grown - I can pick them up myself.
  • They are not overly rambunctious. They are not hard on pasture or fences.
  • They get along well with most animals and humans.
  • Their manure is great in flower beds and gardens.
  • They don't need a lot of space.
  • They do not eat nearly as much as a full sized goat. We only need approximately 25 bales of good high quality hay for 4-5 full size goats for all winter.
  • Their milk is mild and creamy... I love using it in baking and cooking with it. The kids love to drink it.
  • They have a great temperament! They are great with people of all ages. They are super friendly and love human interaction.
  • The baby's are so little and so much fun to watch.

Our small herd has changed over the years.... so I thought I'd do an update. Last year, we took out our big pasture fence and fenced in a smaller pasture which meant selling more of our goats. 

We are trying to downsize somewhat and make things more manageable around here.

We have had 11 babies born since we first started. We only breed our goats every 2 years, as we want them to have a break in between babies and milking.

Right now, we have Jelly Bean (10 yrs.) She throws some of the pettiest baby's, but so far most of them have been boys, so I'm hoping for a beautiful girl from her this next spring!



Flipper (4 yrs.) is a great milker. PS. If you have goats - give them a toy to play with - they love this spool!



Baby (3yrs.) Is the most friendly one out of the bunch and her first baby Pixie was beautiful....



Pixie (2 yrs.) - this year will be our first year breeding her.



And our newest little guy Buckle (6 mo.) Who we will be breeding all the girls too this fall.



My oldest daughter does all the milking these days. We only milk once a day and then let the baby's back with the moms - you can read more here.

We love the fresh taste of the Nigerians milk. We milk on ice and do not keep bucks while we are milking, as bucks can taint the taste of the milk. 

I am still using the awesome goat stand my hubby built for me back in 2008 - it's also great for trimming the goats hooves and for brushing the goats out.

We still use Shaklee Basic H Classic to worm our goats and have never had a problem.

We only feed our goats grain/feed when they are pregnant, nursing, or we are milking them. All other times, they have pasture and hay, mineral block and clean water available to them. 

When it comes to feed, our goats get only the best - I like to mix my own goat feed. We use cleaned oats, 12% sweet feed, black sunflower seeds, and sometimes I will sprinkle Shaklee protein on top for them. 

I offer baking powder free-choice to my goats. Baking soda keeps the PH level in the rumen consistent. It has also been stated that baking soda can help with stabilizing a goat’s urine acidity.

When we clean out the barn (we use the goat manure in our flower beds and garden.) - we always put DE down and then put down wood chips. I clean out the water buckets with Shaklee Basic H and Basic G (here's a great post about Basic G and how it works better than bleach) at the same time. I love the smell of a clean barn! 

We also have chickens and run them in the same pasture as the goats.


So, yes, I still love my Nigerian dwarf dairy goats.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Enjoy: The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women Book Review



Enjoy: The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women, Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner

This book is from Focus on the Family. It's a good book, but I honestly felt like it is written for someone who is not yet married, or who is in a sexless or unfulfilled marriage.

Although I agree with the majority of the authors writings... it simply does not apply to me. You see, I've been happily married for 12 years to an amazing hubby who always puts me first in the bedroom. He is loving, understanding, spontaneous, adventurous, gentle and very respectful of me. 

I won the lotto, when it comes to my man!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Monday, August 7, 2017

  A Typical Day in My Post Surgery Life

Let me preface this by saying- my hubby and I are research geeks. We research a subject until there is nothing left of it.... dead. Never to rise again..... which sometimes can be a good thing, and other times, lets just say, not so much.


That's when after I had major surgery (that I had researched for over a year)..... I was completely taken by surprise. I mean, I knew that there would be pain and that I'd need someone to help me, but I honestly never expected it to be this hard, this painful, and this much fatigue.

With that said, I did have an emergency second surgery 12 hours later due to internal bleeding and I'm sure that is partly to blame for some of it. The Doctors said having the emergency surgery really set me back.

 I was supposed to come home with a pain pump, but they had to remove it during the second surgery.  Anytime, some one has as much internal bleeding as I did, it causes excruciating pain. I also lost so much blood, that I had to have multiple blood transfusions and that alone can cause severe fatigue. Lastly, having two major surgeries withing 12 hours of each other is hard on anyone and can cause extra pain along with other issues..... so while, I did the research, I was not prepared for the extra complications that came with my surgery.

So.... back to my typical day. (Please note: the following is real - if too much information grosses you out, you may not want to read the following)

*Wake up. Lay in bed, unable to move because of the pain, feeling like you need to pee.

*Wake up hubby and have him pull you up to a sitting position, while you cry from the pain.

*Sit on the side of the bed, sip on water and put on your glasses.

*Have hubby pull you to a standing position. Cry in his arms while saying 'ouch' for the hundredth time.

*Hubby helps you walk to the bathroom and sit on the toilet.  (This is not as easy as it sounds and takes a lot longer to go then normal.)

*After trying to wipe yourself for 5 min, crying from the pain and from the humiliation of having your hubby wipe and clean up your backside.

*Afterward, he pulls you to your feet, helps you wash up, and consoles you by saying that its okay and he loves you.

*He then helps you out to the kitchen where he gets you a drink, pain meds, and helps me walk. (The walking hurts, but it helps keep blood clots from forming.)

*Hubby helps me into the chair/sofa or bed... getting me a sheet, blanket, pillows, and alternating ice packs and the heating pad.
This same scene plays out over and over -12 times in the next 24 hrs.

And that my friend is what goes on in a typical day in my life right now.

Research is great in theory, but when it comes to individual pain or how each individual will react.... it's really not all its cracked up to be...

However, for all the research I did.... there was one thing that I overlooked.....


 That one thing is having an awesome, loving, and supporting hubby who will stay by your side, taking care of my every need and taking care of the kids and the house. You don't know how good of a man you have until he will wipe and clean up your backside and still love you just the same.

Having these surgeries has defiantly kicked my butt.... but with my hubby's help....I'm gonna kick right back! My health is far too important than for me to let it get to me.

Note: We have chosen NOT to discuss or to explain my surgeries with anyone, as in the past, discussing my health has caused unnecessary drama. I, Rhoda do suffer from multiple auto-immune disorders, cancer, and chronic stress. The doctor said without this surgery, I would only have a 3% chance at going on to live a healthier life style, so for me and my family's sake, this has been the right thing to do. We will not apologize for not explaining!

Update 08/16/17: I am 2 weeks out from my surgeries and am happy to say that I am slowly getting better.  Two days ago, I took my first shower by myself (with the help of a shower stool). I still need help occasionally and still cannot do anything around the house, but I am caring for myself now which feels good. The pain has also gotten better, I still regularly take prescription and over the counter pain meds, but I am starting to space them out... hopefully I can get off of them completely in another week or two.

If you have prayed, sent a card,  gave a gift, brought food, cared for our family, or supported our family business during this time, we want to say thank you! We appreciate you!


Monday, July 31, 2017

What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted? Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up—

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up? And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, spirit, soul healthy. Am I enough?

Read the entire beautiful article at  A Life in Progress.


"All I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough." - I love this quote! If you are a go-getter that is perfectly fine, but for the hubby and I, we want the simple life with 'enough'!



Read my take on finding enough here.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Emergency Brain Surgery

I knew my son, QW had not been feeling well.... he had been complaining of headaches that last week, but I didn't really think too much about them, figuring, it would pass. Then he started having a fever - not super high, but enough for me to worry. After a few days, he wasn't eating.... We knew something was wrong.


I took him to the med express center. They ran a throat culture, and tested him for the flu and strep - all came back negative, but they said that sometimes the strep test can be wrong, so they sent us home with antibiotics saying it was probably strep. 

The next two days, QW kept getting worse. I finally took him to the Emergency Room on Sunday, May 28th. They did blood tests and took a CT scan and said that he had acute sinusitis (a bad sinus infection that was deep in the air pockets of his face) and sent us home with a stronger antibiotic.

Memorial Day, May 29th, QW seemed better - he ate lunch and walked outside.... we thought he was feeling better. In the afternoon, he became non verbal for 10 min., so I had him lay down and rest, and when he got up - he seemed just fine. Later that night, I went back to his room to check on him and he was lying on his bed, his hands crossed over his chest, his eyes moving, but he was unable to respond on follow any commands. After 15 minutes of trying to get him to respond to me, I was so scared. I woke up the hubby and had him carry QW to the car, and I drove him to the emergency room.

It was a long night/morning. They ran lots of tests, blood work, and took another CT scan. Wyatt was nonverbal the entire time (for over 9 hours.) They finally discovered a spot on his brain and told us that they would transport him to the Children's Hospital in Indy for treatment.

We waited over 3 hours for the emergency ambulance to come get us for transport.

When we got to the ER at the children's hospital, there were doctors, and nurses everywhere. We knew it was much worse than what they told us back at the other hospital. They took QW back for an MRI and as soon as it was over, started prepping him for surgery. Stephen and I were in a daze. I remember the surgeon trying to explain to us the procedure, but all I remember thinking was how did my son go from a perfectly healthy boy to needing emergency brain surgery?!?! It seemed like a dream... a dream I was waiting to wake up from, but it never happened.

May 30th - They took QW back to surgery at 11:00 am. We were told it would be a 3-4 hr. surgery. It wasn't. He had two different teams of surgeons working on him. 

QW had a Subdural empyaema from bacterial or fungal infection that spread to the subdural space due to having chronic sinusitis. He had no symptoms of a sinus infection. 

The Brain Surgeon and her team had to do a Craniectomy. Which originally they were only planing on cutting out a forth of his skull, but since the brain was swollen so much (it was actually hard to the touch) and was under so much pressure, they removed almost one half of his skull. The surgeon removed as much as the infection she could and also had to repair (graph) the dura, as the swelling from the brain had ripped a hole in it. She also placed a EVD to drain off SPF and a JP drain. 

After that, a new team of doctors and surgeons did endoscopic sinus surgery.

We were told at 8 pm that surgery was over and they were moving him to ICU. The next 2 hours were pure torture for me! I kept calling to see why I couldn't go back to see my son. At 10 pm. we finally were able to see QW. 

He was on so many machines and tubes going everywhere. But I was so relieved to see him, feel him, and to know that he was alive, and that I could be with him. I didn't cry. The relief I felt was amazing! 

      

May 31st - Today's picture.... 

They tried waking QW up today, but he wasn't waking up, so they stopped all the sedation. He has a higher temp now, so they just put him on a cooling blanket, poor kid, he just shivers and shakes. I've been ok, as long as he doesn't start crying, then I start crying too. You can't hear him cry, but he shakes and tears just roll down his checks. I have never felt so helpless in my life.Stephen and I went for a walk and got a salad for lunch. It was hard leaving him, but good to get out of the room a bit. 

The breathing tube came out tonight. He is in ICU. He is fighting a fever, and having more pain, but he is following directions. He opens his eyes and follows commands alittle, but mostly is still asleep


June 1st - Things are about the same with QW. He had his first sip of water tonight. Right now, they just want to keep him resting. The surgeon said that with this surgery the mortality rate is high and most kids don't do nearly as good as he is doing, so we are very thankful for that. He is saying single words with some coaxing. His sisters came to visit today and he got a furry friend to have in bed....he looks so much better now that the breathing tube is out.... 


June 2nd. - QW had a relapse this morning and became nonverbal and unresponsive again for 4 hours. He is still in ICU and being monitored closely. The doctors say that the infection on the brain was so severe that him going backwards is to be expected.....


This morning was rough... but he's doing much better this afternoon. He got the bandage and a lot of wires off of his head today. I think he looks great! The doctors reminded us that his condition is still very serious. Tonight he's hanging out with Mom, watching a movie!


June 3rd. - Stephen went down to get supper and when he got back QW said "Dad, I miss you", (it's the only words he's said today) - so tonight he's hanging out with dad... he has had a good day today. Got a different room, still in ICU.


June 4th - QW had a good day today. He still isn't eating much, but he did really good with therapy and played thumb wrestling with his dad... I love his face in this picture!



June 8th - QW's doing ok... we have good hours and bad hours. His brain fluid is still not evening out, so not sure if he'll get a permanent drain/shunt or not.... we are kinda just playing a waiting game.... they did take him off of ICU status and put him on med-surg., but he's still in the ICU unit and still has a nurse sitting in the room with him 24/7. There hasn't been much change the last couple days....


June 10th - QW is about the same. Mornings are rough as his medications give him an upset stomach. Afternoons are usually much better when they get him up in the chair. The hospital brings Lego's and toys that he can put together and that helps. He gets physical, speech, and occupational therapy everyday, along with all his different teams of doctors making their rounds, so by evening he is tired. 

Tonight the girls and I got a hotel, while Stephen stays with Wyatt... it's my first time away from the hospital in 12 days. He still has a nurse in his room 24/7. They started raising Wyatt's EVD yesterday evening...1 centimeter every 6 hrs. The hope is maybe early next week to take head scans and send the brain fluid from the EVD to be tested and maybe take out both of his drains next week, but the one thing I've learned is that you can't plan on anything here....

PS. He was pretty excited with the candy bouquet he received today from a kind lady we've never met that works with his G'pa K.


June 12th - They put QW to sleep this afternoon for an MRI and then the neuro surgeons took out both the EVD and JP drains. They also drained more cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) off his brain. He had a rough time waking up from the anesthesia and was in a lot of pain - more than any other time since we've been here. The doctor said that the JP drain went the whole length of his incision, so it is quite painful. They put him back on morphine today along with his antibiotics, IV's, and reg pain meds. He also has a fever again tonight, so they are keeping an eye on that. 
We are still waiting to hear back from the infectious disease doctors on the MRI results and how much infection is still on the brain and when he can have the next surgery to get his left scalp (bone flap) put back in.


June 16 - This past week was a rough one. There was alot of pain, tests, and tears, but today was a great day! OT took him down to the kids zone to play air hockey. Then this evening I was allowed to put him in a wheel chair and go downstairs for supper and a stroll... today's the first time he's been out of the unit! He also got to wear his own shorts today!


June 18th - After 21 days.... I came home last night! Stephen stayed overnight with QW. There are weeds 2 ft high in my flowerbeds, but it felt great to be home for a night... even if it was short. QW has been tired the last couple days, but his pain is much better, so we are thankful for that.


June 22nd - QW has a lot of therapy through out the day, so he still gets tired easily, but he's been doing really good. His next surgery is scheduled for June 30th to put the bone flap in and if everything goes good, we hope to go home on July 3rd...... of course that all depends on the next MRI and the Infectious Disease Team signing off on the surgery and discharge. 


We were told today that he won't be able to ride his bike or ATV, or jump on the trampoline, etc., for 2-3 months after we get home, so it looks like it may be a long summer for him not being able to do much, but for now I will just be happy that hopefully in two more weeks we'll be home for the 4th of July!


June 23rd - Stephen and the girls come down to be with QW and I every Tuesday and Thursday evening and on the weekends. Playing in the Kids Zone as a family helps to pass some of the time.


June 25th - QW is worse today. He didn't go to sleep until after 5 am this morning. He has been using the incentive spirometer 10xs every hour and are having him walk more, but it seems to keep getting worse. So far, it's been alot of tears yesterday and today....

June 26th - QW has been about the same... he had a rough morning and evening with a lot of pain in his chest and side, so they did chest x-rays today. He has atelectasis which is the collapse/closure of his right lung - The RN says QW's atelectasis is just partial and it's because he's not very active or doing anything to use his lungs to their full capacity, like he would at home.


June 27th - Today is 4 weeks since we've been here at Riley Children's Hospital, but I found a place to take QW outside for a few minutes for the first time today.... shh... don't tell the nurses!!! I was a beautiful day in Indy! QW is still having a lot of pain with his collapsed lungs, but we are praying for good MRI results on Thurs., so that surgery can go as planned on Friday.



June 28th - QW's about the same. Still in pain. They started giving him more pain meds during the day, so he's been sleeping alot more. I think alot of it has to do with his attitude, as I think he's mentally just done with being in here and he doesn't even want to try anymore, that, and he's been scared about the next surgery - so we have to keep pushing him to get up, walk, and breath, which gets rather exhausting for me.


June 29th - We have been asked why QW has to go home on antibiotics after being on them for 4 weeks..... here is the short answer: The doctor says that we (not medically minded people)  really don't understand how bad his infection was and that if a drop remains attached to his brain and grows, he could have to have surgery all over again or he could die from it. She said we should be very thankful that he's doing so good and that he can go home this early, because most kids as bad off as he came in do not do as good as he's been doing. 

QW had another MRI this morning. His side is still in alot of pain. His legs have been to weak/shaky to walk yet, it took two nurses and me to get him out of bed. 

June 30th - Today is QW's second surgery. We went down to the 'green room' to help pass the time. The bean bag chairs vibrate to the sound of music. Everyone enjoyed relaxing for a bit. 


 They took QW back for surgery at 4:45 pm. The surgery took longer than they had originally told us. Wyatt just got out of surgery at 10 pm - it was a little over 5 hrs. There were a few minor complications, they had to drain extra fluid, and shave off a layer of his skull, and they are worried about his lungs and oxygen levels, but as of now the bone flap is in. 

  

He is getting breathing treatments every four hours and is still on oxygen. The Dr. said one in every ten surgeries they have to go back and take the bone flap back out due to new infection so we are hoping everything will be fine. 


   

July 1st - QW is doing good today. This afternoon he started breathing on his own. He is still getting breathing treatments and he is in a lot of pain. His left eye is almost completely swollen shut, but he's up walking with help and eating and talking good. 

We are waiting to hear from pulmonary about his lungs/chest pictures, but if they give the okay, the plan is to go home soon. He will go home with his PICC line and on antibiotic IV's, so they are suppose to come train Stephen and I how to give them, change the dressing, flush the IV's, etc. Of course all this is subject to change.... and we won't know for sure until we get the chest results from radiology and see if they can wean him off of the morphine.

    

QW got a picture with his surgeon Dr. Smith today. She is the best of the best! We are beyond blessed that she took such great care of QW. She would come by just about everyday to check on him and answer our many questions. How do you thank someone who saved your child's life?


July 2nd - Enjoying the beautiful weather.... and wearing normal clothes!


July 3rd - Today, I had to tell another little kid that I came to love on QW's unit goodbye.... but.... 

After 5 weeks at Riley - QW came home today! It feels so good to be home! Now we are just trying to adjust to a new normal that revolves around daily infusions, doctors appointments, and trips back and forth to Riley. QW came home with his PICC line and we have to administer IV's throughout the day and night. A home health nurse comes to the house weekly to do his dressing changes.


July 4th - Sitting here giving QW his 5 AM infusion..... it feels great to be home, but exhausting as well... I've gotten 3 hrs of sleep. Our life will revolve around infusions, tubing, syringes, pumps, flushes, and treatments for the next few months....


July 11th - QW is doing good! We've been home for a week now! He gets infusions every 6 hours. His G'pa F. brought him a pedal car to ride since he can't ride his bike or ATV. Wyatt loves being outside again! As great as it is to be home.... Stephen and I are exhausted and sleep deprived, but we are starting to adjust to a new normal.


July 13th - Daily (and nightly) life at our house...... 14 years ago I signed up to take CNA classes, but I didn't even make it through orientation.... nursing just wasn't my thing.... who knew years later, I'd be giving infusions every few hours, working with a PICC line and caring for my son who had brain surgery. - My hubby rigged up an IV pole by using bag clips and the lamp shade.... it's working like a charm!


July 25th - Spent all day in Indy at the hospital with QW today. His MRI came back good, so good that they took out his PICC line today (he's had it for 8 weeks.) which means we can stop doing infusions around the clock..... and he didn't have any trouble with the anesthesia this time. We are so thankful he's doing so good.... 


If you have said a prayer, sent a card, gave a gift, brought a meal, came to visit, supported our business, or blessed our life in some way over the last few months.... We want you to know that we appreciate you. Thank you!

NOTE: QW will go back for more testing in December to make sure the infection has not returned. He is currently on anti seizure medication. He is doing great and is getting back to normal!

Take your shape in a whole new direction with Shaklee!

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