Saturday, December 22, 2012

Days of Thanks

We see how long I kept up with the whole 365 Days of Thanks... a whole 41 days!! Go Me! Yeah, it wasn't working out like I thought it would. With 3 kids, a dog, a husband, and more sickness than I like to think about, I just couldn't do it. I am planning on blogging more, but I can't everyday even if I exclude weekends. I have a crazy busy life and if I were being honest, there are a lot of times I would turn on the computer to blog just to turn it off because I didn't feel like it. And let's face it, I don't really have any readers so this is for me and to make me happy and something for my kids to reflect on when they get older. I'm not disappointed in myself by any means. I tried and did good for 41 days and that's longer than I thought I would go. But now it's time for me to blog when I feel like it. Journal what I want when I want. That is all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 17, 2012

I'm an hour late for this post, but I've been late on a lot of posts, especially here lately. Anyhoo... tonight was the Christmas Program at Nate and Abbie's school. Nate didn't participate because he doesn't do well with loud noises. He seems to suffer from sensory overload, but we are still working with doctors for a behavioral diagnosis (that's another story). He sat with Anna in my lap and we watched as all the grades sang their Christmas song. Before the program started, all I could think about were the residents of Newton, CT. Specifically, Sandy Hook Elementary. How instead of attending the children's Christmas program, they are attending funerals. I thanked God for keeping our children safe. I prayed  for Newton, CT and Sandy Hook Elementary. I am thankful for these little moments and good times and candid pictures taken. Here is the picture of Abbie when she sees me in the crowd.

December 15 and 16, 2012

This weekend was busy busy. Saturday, Tim and I almost finished our Christmas shopping. I got Abbie some pretty, sparkly boots that she absolutely loves. I love seeing her face light up when she gets something she really likes and there isn't much she doesn't like. I had to give them to her because they matched her dress that she wore for church on Sunday. After Friday's tragedy, I was thankful for time. Time that I'm able to spend with my children. So many families want one more night with their kids and I have that.
Sunday we went to church for a Christmas program. I didn't realize they wouldn't have children's church so Abbie had to go with me to "big" church. She was impressive. She got a little antsy as most 4 years olds do especially when they are sitting in the same place for an hour. But I gave her a pen and a piece of paper and she kept herself entertained for a little while. It gave her break in the middle of the program. Nate and Anna stayed home. Nate didn't want to go which is o.k., I don't want to force him to go and make him hate when he gets older, although he will go when he gets older whether he wants to or not. And I'm still scared to take Anna out to public places... I got to thinking about it and the only place she really goes is to school. I'm just terrified of her getting sick and something happening to her. I almost lost her once and I don't want to go through that again. I am thankful for her health. She has had bronchitis once this season and she got  a few colds last winter, but other than that, she has been healthy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012

Today a horrible tragedy occured. One that will change not only the lives of those involved, but the entire nation. A shooter entered an elementary school and killed at least 20 children and numerous adults and then killed himself. He was a coward that performed a cowardly act. I can't begin to express my anger over the entire situation, but mostly because he couldn't face what he did. If you can't face  the consequences due to your actions, than perhaps you shouldn't act. I believe there is a special place in hell where these kind of people will reside and I hope they are tortured and burn in the lake of fire. I feel for the friends and family of not only the victims, but for the murderer as well because they too, are victims. It's sad and senseless. But it's these times that make me appreciate having one more night with my children and family. It's these times that I'm thankful for my trials and tribulations, because I think the worst thing I could be put through is something of this magnitude. I would rather have a terminal illness than to lose my child. I am able to hug my children and kiss them and love them where there are at least 20 families tonight who would give anything to have one more night. I'm thankful for my one more night. My prayers, thoughts, and positive energy are in Newton, CT tonight with all the people effected. And I hope they know that the entire nation is behind them, mourning for their loss.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 12 and 13, 2012

I'm still feeling pretty blah, so I am, again, consolidating 2 days into 1. Showers. I love showers. And you know how you want what you can't have? Yeah, I feel like that now. Due to my autonomic dysfunction, I have trouble maintaining my blood pressure, especially when I stand. My blood pressure drops drastically when I stand, so much so that I feel like I'm going to pass out. And do you know what that means? Yeah, it means a stinky, smelly Momma who wants a shower. I've stayed in bed for the most of the past 2 days... oh, who am I kidding... I've been in bed every day since Monday. And I have too much to do to stay in bed. I've got gifts to buy, gifts to make, babies to bathe, a house to clean, a body to clean, and the list goes on and on. Tim has been great, helping in every way he can, but he can't do it all... no matter how super he is. And the one thing I need and want he can't do. I want to shower. And I'm glad I have the option to shower whenever I want and hopefully I will tonight.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 10 and 11, 2012

I'm going to consolidate the past 2 days into 1. I haven't felt good the past 2 days and have been curled up on the couch watching Netflix. What a wonderful invention Netflix is. This season, I started watching Private Practice and after seeing a conversation on Facebook about the show, I decided I needed to watch it from Season 1 Episode 1. I didn't realize there were so many seasons with so many episodes and I'm thankful that Netflix is available so that I can watch at my leisure on my laptop or on my tablet not just this show, but practically any show or movie available online. It definitely makes my sick days bearable. Now if I'm put in the hospital without internet access, I may have some issues... unless there is a Duck Dynasty marathon on :-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 8 and 9, 2012

I'm thankful for the little moments and the lessons you can learn.

On Saturday, we went with Emily and Bubba and her 3 children to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa. The time we waited (1.5 hours) was worth the 3 minutes Nate and Abbie spent to see him. It was crazy in there and I felt rushed by all the people around so I rushed Nate and Abbie. "sit down with Santa... ok... look at the camera... ok... tell Santa what you want... ok, let's go", We then went through Shadrach's Christmas Wonderland. It's a drive thru christmas lights show. We all piled in the van and it was beautiful. Lights every where and in tune with the music on the radio station and all in the comfort of our own vehicle. Nate and Abbie fell asleep on the way home and I reflected. I felt like I cheated them out of the experience with Santa. So I decided that on Sunday I would take them to the mall (early in the day) for them to see Santa.

That brings me to Sunday. We started off Sunday by going to church with my Dad. It's the church I grew up in. We went to Sunday school and then to "big church". We went Sunday night and Wednesday night. I griped about it when I was younger, and now I'm thankful. Church is something I want to get back into and take my kids to. It's a great support system and one that I want the kids to have. We went to eat with Grandad and GiGi afterwards and then off to the mall. We waited less than 5 minutes to see Santa and then there wasn't anyone waiting behind us so my kids talked to him and had pictures made without me barking in their ear that they needed to hurry. It was special and it taught me to slow down and just enjoy the moment so that my kids can enjoy the moment.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012

Today I am thankful for forgiveness. I am thankful that I am able to forgive and that I had the realization a long time ago, that I need to forgive for myself and not necessarily those that I feel had done me wrong. I have been hurt (and I'm sure I have hurt others) and I would hold a grudge. I would hold a grudge so large that it would consume me and my thoughts. I would see someone out that I felt had done me wrong and instantaneously become angry. I would walk the other way and spite them in my mind. I had no desire to see them ever again as long as I lived. When I started getting sick, I realized, I had no room for that anger. The room that the anger occupied needed to be evicted so that love and happiness  could expand. I decided to let it all go. I let every grudge I held, go. And with that I found a bag of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders. I would see those people and rather than go the other way, I would continue in the direction I was going and smile. I didn't have to say anything and it felt good to walk away without any ill feelings toward them. I only hope that the people who feel I did them wrong also forgive me so that we all are filled with love and happiness. Not for the person, but for ourselves.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012

I watch Grey's Anatomy every Thursday and I also DVR every new episode. The episodes that focus around babies I watch intently and put myself in the parent's position. I know it's a dramatization of real life, but having 3 kids in the NICU for different reasons, I can't help but wonder how I would react if any of my children went through what the baby in that episode was going through. How would I react. I almost always go back to the day Anna coded because a lot of parents don't ever hear the words "you're baby is in critical condition. Both of her lungs collapsed and she coded." Not every parent lives through one of their worst nightmares, not the worst, but one of the worst. Not every parent feels like they have had all the air sucked out of their body. I remember feeling like everything was going by so fast while my world stood still. I remember driving to the hospital and it taking forever. Forever to park. Forever to walk in. Forever to scrub my arms. Forever to walk the length of the short hallway to her incubator, but I reached it and I was there. Looking at her small, beautiful, and fragile body rise up and down with the assistance of the ventilator. I stood there for I don't know how long.. until a nurse brought me a chair. And then I sat there... and sat there... and sat there... it felt like it had been minutes, but in reality it was 2 hours. There were so many thoughts going through my head. I played every scenario in my head. I fantasized about walking out of the hospital with her in the carrier, headed to pick up Nate and Abbie to spend our first night at home as a complete family. And I thought about walking out of the hospital without her. I didn't know anything about planning a funeral especially one for my baby. Songs ran through my mind. Plans. I was making plans for an outcome I knew nothing about. I decided to pray. I prayed that God would hold these little babies in his hands and comfort them and love them as only he could. I prayed that he hold all the doctors and nurses in his hands as our children were in their care. My baby wasn't the only one in the NICU and as far as I knew, my baby wasn't the worst off. So I made sure I prayed for all the babies. I still do, I pray for all the babies and their parents and the doctors and the nurses. I pray for all support of the families who are going through health crisis'.

Today I am thankful for many things. But mostly I am thankful for the power of prayer. I'm thankful for everyone who believes in prayer and prayed for all of my children while they were in the hospital and sick. I'm thankful for 3 beautiful, bright, and healthy kids that will know they are miracles in this unfair and sometimes cruel world. That they are lights at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5, 2012

I am thankful for Duck Dynasty. I know... I know.. it's silly, but seriously... I was in the hospital from last Thursday until Sunday at a hospital without internet access and limited tv. One of the channels, however, was A&E, where there was a Duck Dynasty marathon. I've never watched the show before and had no desire although some of my friends and my brother love it. So I turned it on and began to watch and within the first 2 minutes I was laughing hysterically. That show is the funniest show I have seen in a looooooong time. Si is my favorite. I would marry him if I could. And if it weren't for the show and the marathon on I would have been bored to death. Thank you A&E, thank you Robertson family, and thank you Si for making my hospital stay laughable.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November 27, 28, 29, and 30, 2012. December 1, 2,3, and 4, 2012

I'm starting to slack, but in my defense, I have been in the hospital fighting an infection and the hospital I was at didn't have internet. I would have had Tim fill in, but I didn't think about asking him and I was so far behind by the time I thought about it, I decided to wait and I would make a list of 8 things I was thankful for in one post. 1. I am thankful for antibiotics. 2. I am thankful for chocolate. 3. I am thankful that Tim was able to work while I was in the hospital. 4. I am thankful that I decided to test drive Santa's toys. 5. I am thankful that I didn't have to be jabbed a gazillion times for an I.V. 6. I am thankful that my blood pressure is regulating itself and I'm needing less and less medicine to keep it up. 7. I am thankful that I was able to go grocery shopping yesterday. 8. I am thankful that today, I felt good and got all that I wanted to get accomplished. And tomorrow I will resume with what I'm thankful for with a story to follow. I hope.

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

Today I'm thankful for my sweet boy, Nate. I wasn't feeling well earlier and laid down on the couch. Nate came over to me and started rubbing my head and said, "Mama, I know you not feel good, but I sersty." I got up and fixed him something to drink and laid back down. He took a few drinks, came back over to me, kissed my head and said, "I love you". And walked away to play. He can give me a run for my money, but times like that make it worth it. He takes such good care of me and I love him so much.

November 23, 24, and 25, 2012

Friday I was thankful for insulin. Without it I wouldn't of been able to eat the delicious food that was offered to me over the Thanksgiving holiday and it was delicious. My dad made a ham and squash casserole (which is my favorite) and green beans and rolls. It was soooooo good. I made the macaroni and cheese and it was delicious. It's a Paula Deen crockpot recipe that she calls Creamy Macaroni and Cheese. It's a lot of prep work so I only make it on holidays and I never have any left over. If it wasn't for the insulin I wouldn't be able to eat at all, as a matter of fact I probably would have died within days of being diagnosed. Insulin has been developed and I'm able to eat the good food without hesitation. O.k. maybe a little hesitation, but not much.

Saturday I was thankful for Black Friday sales. I did all of my "Santa" shopping online, but I took advantage of the sales on Saturday and Sunday. I got a lot of things for me without spending a lot of money. I got new shoes and a couple of sweaters. I was surprised at my choices. I usually wear a lot of black and although my shoes are tan, a nice neutral color, the sweaters I bought were pink and bright blue. Maybe I'm coming out of my shell.

Sunday I was thankful for my new found energy and time with my kids. I took Nate and Abbie to the mall to the indoor playground they have. We went shopping before hand which they allowed with the promise of playing on the playground when I finished. It felt good to be able to walk and shop and then take them there and not be overly tired as soon as we stepped in the designated area. I haven't been able to do that in such a long time. I look forward to more days like that.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 22, 2012

Today is Thanksgiving and rather than writing about one thing I am thankful for, I'm going to list a few things. My family. They are a huge support. My husband. My children. My mom for giving me a new kidney. My doctors because they keep me healthy. My friends. Everyone who has come in and out of my life because they have shaped me into the person I am today. Black friday, because it's fun (in my opinion). My new found energy. A roof over my head. Food on the table. Nap times. Bed times. Chocolate. Time. Shoes. Macaroni and cheese. Chuck E Cheese. Showers. Autumn days and summer nights. There are a lot more things I am thankful for, but I still have 349 posts to write.

November 21, 2012

I am thankful for my friend, Emily. She has seen me when I have been at my worst. She has held my hand through some painful procedures and been there when I have needed someone. She was with me when Anna was born, she has slept in uncomfortable positions in a chair beside my bed when I have been in the hospital. She is not just my friend, she is my sister. She loves my children as her own and they love her. We met through myspace. We had a mutual friend and I had visited her page before, but never thought we would talk or meet or anything.  It was towards the end of August when I received a private message from her asking about my babies and their prematurity. Her daughter had been born prematurely in August and Abbie was born the same year in June and like any mother, she was scared to death. She reached out to me for advice and I told her my story. We clicked and have been friends ever since. I thank God for her and our friendship.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 2012

Today I am thankful for being able to learn lessons, even if I have to learn them the hard way. For example, my kids don't really eat anything sugary. I mean, I give them a fun sized candy bar pretty regularly and they drink diet coke on occasion, but that's about it. We don't really eat cake. Ice cream is an occasional summer treat. And I give them sugar free popsicles. They get Little Debbie snack cakes for snack (go figure) and they eat doughnuts for breakfast every now and then, but the only time they eat anything with frosting are on birthdays and even then I typically take the frosting off before they eat it. The reason is because it's one of the worst things for a diabetic and guess what I am... diabetic. My mom made strawberry cupcakes with confetti frosting this weekend for Anna's birthday. Strawberry happens to be my favorite kind of cake and add vanilla frosting and I'm heaven. She sent us home with a bunch of cupcakes and a jar of confetti frosting (I love my mommy more than words can express). Yesterday, I wanted one and so did Anna and so did Abbie. I put a little frosting on thme and we divulged in the heavenly sweetness. I decided to take bites of frosting with every bite of cake. And so did Anna. And so did Abbie. And we ate a total of 5 cupcakes between us. Each bite having frosting. They had never had so much frosting in their life and they never will again as long as they live under my roof. They were literally climbing the walls. They were running and screaming and laughing and talking and jumping and falling and spinning in circles and driving me crazy. Bedtime was harder than usual with them up and playing intermittently during the night. I'm talking, they were playing at 1, 3, and 5. About 5:30, they were out and I was getting an unhappy Abbie ready for school at 7. She was tired and whiny and crying and didn't want anyone to talk to her or touch her. She didn't want to be held and she didn't want to be put down. She was impossible. The culprit? Frosting. I was going to get Anna ready for school, but I couldn't wake her up and since she doesn't have to go as early as Nate and Abbie, I left the task to be handled by Tim. He said it was almost impossible to get her ready. That she was upset. Guess what she was doing when I picked her up from school... sleeping. They said she had been tired all day. The culprit? Frosting. Abbie's teacher said she had a pretty good day, but had a hard morning. I am glad I'm able to see the negative effect frosting had on my girls and learn the lesson to never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give them frosting again.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012

Today I am thankful my new port. Last Wednesday, I had minor outpatient surgery to have a port placed so that I could receive IV fluids at home. It didn't take long and out of all the procedures I have had, I think this one hurt the least. Little did I know, though, that it would be used so quickly. Thursday came around and I wasn't feeling very well. Tim made the decision to stay home with me. I slept most of the morning and at 11:30, I stood up and got really dizzy. Tim said that I said "Oh, gosh", put my head in my hands and started convulsing. He happened to be close to me and said that I became stiff, my back arched and started to shake all over and he laid me in the floor where I stopped. I remember waking up in the floor and wondering how I got there. I remember hearing Tim talking and telling someone what he had witnessed. I wasn't able to speak and I was out of it. All I remember his hearing voices, being asked questions, and wanting to talk but nothing coming out of my mouth. I remember being at the hospital and Emily being there and it taking me forever to process questions and it taking me forever to answer them and even then my answers were shorter than the answers I had formed in my head. I felt like I was moving in slow motion while everything around me was moving in super turbo fast speed. The ER doctor determined that I had had a full blown seizure, and ordered IV fluids. The best thing was going through all of that and not being stuck a gazillion times for an IV. They pressed a couple of times on the place where the port is and that was it. They drew blood and gave me fluids within minutes. I have never had blood drawn and fluids given without a fair amount pain before hand due to an IV. I am in love with my port. And I have to say... I rock this port.

November 17 and 18, 2012

On Saturday, I am thankful for friends that called Tim and invited him to play ballywall... or whatever. I think it's called wallyball, but I call it "ballywall... or whatever". He got out of the house Saturday morning and got some much needed guy time. He came home and was in such a good mood. He encourages me to go out with my friends and typically I do a couple of times a month, but he always stays home. He rarely go anywhere and does anything without at least one of the kids. It makes me feel bad because I know I feel better after a few hours out without the kids, but he insists that he stay home or if he does go out (and I don't mean go out to eat or with friends, I mean go to the grocery store) he usually takes one or two of the kids. He's an awesome dad and wonderful husband, but he needs to get out and have time to himself. All adults do and I was thankful he got that time on Saturday.

Sunday... if you couldn't tell by my previous post.. I am thankful for precious Annaboo and being able to have a happy celebration for her 2nd Birthday. We weren't sure if she was going to have one birthday to celebrate happily and now she has had 2. She is an amazing little girl and I am thankful to be able to celebrate each of her milestones with her.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Birthday

I'm not able to sleep tonight. I keep recounting what I was doing the minutes that lead up to the minute that Dr. Collins came in and sat on my bed and told me that it would be in my best interest if we went ahead and delivered Anna.

Emily stayed the night with me that night along with another nurse. I was swollen and had many episodes of low blood sugar that it was decided I needed a round the clock watch from a nurse. And when I say episodes, I'm talking all out seizures, falling in the floor, close to death episodes. I woke up numerous times in the night needing to sit up because I was having a hard time breathing and I would cough up fluid. I remember waking up to my morning nurse coming in to check my vital signs about 8am. Emily had already left by then to go home and take care of her babies. I started coughing and she witnessed first hand the fluid coming up. I knew something was up, she was waaaaayyyyy to calm in telling me she was going to call the doctor and he would probably order a chest x-ray. It was like she was trying to keep calm. And it wasn't 15 minutes later that the x-ray technician was there with a portable machine taking an x-ray. My worst thought was that he was going to order more IV medication. And I was already on soooooo much. I remember I was sitting up on the bed, flipping through channels. My nurse came in with my doctor and she started rubbing my back as Dr. Collins told me that the x-ray showed fluids being filtered in my lungs. He said that my kidneys were failing and my body couldn't hold anymore fluid and that based on my vitals, blood work, and the x-ray, it was in my best interest and Anna's that she be delivered. I called friends and family to come. At 10am I was being prepped for surgery. Surgery started at 10:55am, I remember looking at the clock on the wall and staring at it for what seemed like eternity and they announced her time of birth at 11:11am. I've always thought that if you made a wish when the clock turned 11:11, it would come true and I remember wishing and praying and hoping that Anna would be fine.

I wasn't even sure what to name Anna when she was born. I thought I had more time and then she was here. I never thought I would have a 1lb 14oz 13in baby. But she was the most precious 1lb baby and today she is the most precious 2 year old. She is talking so much. When we call her name, she will call back "what?" with an attitude. She says Hehwoah, Bye-yeeee, yahhh (yeah), Nate, Abbie, Popper (Copper), wedy (ready), Daaadddeeee, (Daddy), Momma, Yan (Gran), Yandat (Grand Dad), and YiYi (GiGi). She tells me when she's "thewty" (thirsty), and she says "no" clear as day. She babbles and loves to laugh. And she loves to make others laugh. She blows kisses and is such a cuddle bug. She loves to be held and loves to eat. She is amazing.

Happy Birthday Boo-boo face. I love you more than the moon. More than the stars. More than the Earth and Jupiter and Mars.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012

Today I am thankful for singing. I love to sing. I love to get in the zone and sing as loud as I can to lyrics I don't know. Yeah, that's right. Lyrics I don't know. Meaning I know what the lyrics are in my mind, but usually they aren't what the artists are singing and don't make any sense to anybody but myself, but I love it. I love getting the kids involved and seeing who can sing the loudest. I love being in the car and singing a song like Fireworks by Katy Perry with the kids and Tim's face cringe. It's a beautiful scene. It's fun and the times are memories made with the kids. Maybe one day I will get brave and let Tim video a time and post it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15, 2012

Reporting again live from Traci's blog! It is I Tim McKee with another fun filled blessing!!

                      Today after a super scary trip to the ER i think we will be thankful for the amazing power and healing abilities of Music. That's right whether you like the smooth sound of sweet ambient beauty or the screaming guitar of some classic rock music is always there to change or enhance your mood. Think about it, what is as therapeutic as sitting down after a long day and popping on some headphones or ear buds and just cranking your favorite playlist. I know that's what I'm doing  right this minute as I'm typing this out. I encourage everyone to sit down one day/night and just dig through all that music and start organizing to fit your moods. You can thank me later for such an awesome idea.....its ok....go on......go ahead stop reading this and go jam.

Seriously you are still reading?..................I'm so done with you people. Much love and Traci will be back tomorrow.

November 14, 2012

This blog entry is brought to you by Tim McKee since Traci is recovering from surgery!

Today i am thankful for anesthesia! Seriously who ever came up with this idea should be nominated for sainthood. Some of the most amazing things have happened to Traci and I while she has been under. Example time!!!

The babies first and foremost. All 3 have been delivered via emergency C-sections. And up to this point in our lives they are quite possibly the greatest blessing we have.

Traci's new best friend Frank! The kidney most generously donated to Traci by her mother Tina. A life saving/changing gift received while knocked out.

And lastly the many ports Traci has needed to keep the healing process moving along, they are vast and inconvenient but she needs them and she wasn't awake for them.

  So as you see we have been very blessed by Saint Anesthesia. This healing process is going to take more time than we expected but we are ready to tackle it. With God and Saint Anesthesia as my witness we will survive. Amen go Vols.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 13, 2012

It's true. No need to be hateful or mean. Just say "bless your heart", smile, and people think you are being kind. But you know different (hehe). Today I am thankful that I was born in the south. There aren't many things that are better than being southern. We have the most beautiful landscaping. I love going through the country and seeing all shades of red and orange and yellow from the leaves turning during fall. It's beautiful. Our people might not be the smartest, but they are the kindest. I remember I got stuck in a ditch when I was a senior in high school out in Ledford's Mill. I would go there because it was secluded. It has an old run down bed and breakfast with a mill attached to the side, and I would go there to hike and think and take in the beautiful scenery. It would just be me and the woods and the nature made waterfalls. It was a place to go for me to reflect. On this particular day, I parked in front of a small drop off and as I was leaving, I forgot this bit of information and thought I could move forward and get back on the road versus backing up and going out the marked exit way. Well, I fell in this drop off. Cell phones weren't existent at this time in history and I went to walking the 5 miles to the main highway to flag someone down. But just as I set off on my journey, 2 BIG boys pull up in their pickup truck and helped. No questions ask, no money taken. They pulled my car out as if they were playing with matchbox cars. People genuinely care about each other. And everyone knows you, and if they don't know you, then they know your kinfolk. You feel the love everywhere you go. I don't care who you are and neither does my neighbor, you're welcome here no matter what.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

Today I am thankful for fleece blankets. I stayed wrapped up in mine all day. My fleece blanket is kind and generous. It enveloped me in it's warmth when I needed and allowed me to kick and stretch it in order to get it off of me when I became too warm and never complained. It waits for me on the bed and doesn't get mad when I ignore it. It allows me to gather it and throw it and come back to it whenever it's convenient for me. It doesn't require me to feed it and give it anything to drink. It's doesn't require me to talk to it or show it any affection whatsover, although I do because I love it so. I love my fleece blanket.

November 10 and 11, 2012

My Dad's birthday was on Saturday and I'm very thankful for my Dad. He has taught me a lot of valuable lessons, but there are 2 that stick out. One... integrity. He defined integrity for me. Integrity is doing what you say you are going to. I don't remember a time my Dad saying he was going to do something and then not doing it. I remember there were times it was inconvienant, but he still did what he said he was going to do. I remember there was once it caused a fight between my Mom and Dad. It was the weekend of my brother's birthday and my Dad was scheduled to go to a horse show for business. My Mom, to the best of my memory, was upset and I think she wanted my Dad to tell his boss (my great Uncle) that he wasn't going to go, but my Dad went. He told my brother that he would make it up to him and gave me a kiss and told me bye. My Dad worked hard all my life to provide. He made a lot of sacrifices, missing events of mine and Bubba's, to work so that we had what we needed. Sometimes it was upsetting and I didn't understand, but now that I'm older, I understand it and I respect him even more for it. 

On Sunday, we went to my Dad's house to celebrate his and Anna's birthday. I'm scheduled for surgery on Wednesday and I'm not sure how I'm going to feel on the 18th which is Anna's birthday. So we decided to go there on Sunday and have cake. We also went over to our friend's, Amanda and Micah's. So I am thankful for family and friend's company. We had such a good time at both places. Laughing and playing and talking and having a wonderful time. It's days like yesterday that I wish I could put in a box and pull out on days like today where it's gloomy and rainy and I woke up feeling bad. It's the hope for days like yesterday that make days like today bearable and give me the knowledge that days like yesterday are not only a possibility, but are a definitely.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9, 2012

I have been debating on what I should write for what I am thankful for today and I decided that I am thankful that I am able to be thankful and write about it. I am thankful for my freedom and the people who fight for it. My brother especially. My brother joined the National Guard in January of this year for reasons I can't begin to understand, but I am proud of him nonetheless. He is my hero and my inspiration. If you don't know, for the past 6 years I have been incredibly sick. With different things... Diabetes. Pregnancies. Congestive heart failure. High blood pressure. End stage renal disease (kidney failure). Gastroparesis. Finally I had a kidney transplant and it was discovered that I have autonomic dysfunction which is a fancy schmancy word for nerve damage to the blood vessels and that causes orthostatic blood pressure (low blood pressure when you stand). I can't win for losing when it comes to the blood pressure battle. Anyway, I'm not writing to talk about what is wrong with me... I'm writing to say that through all of this, my brother went and accomplished something he has wanted to and that inspired me to pursue getting my manicurist license.
People say I have more than enough reason to feel sorry for myself, but if my brother can go and define bravery (refer to pic) then I can get up and finish what I started 2 years ago. And I did. With Bubba's encouragement, I studied my arse off and passed my theory and a month later, I passed my practical making me a licensed manicurist in the state of Tennessee. He has given me the strength to get up and live. He has shown me that to live in this great nation and feel sorry for myself is not only disrespectful to all the men and women who have given up so much so that they can fight for my freedom, but a waste of time. Time that so many who are far worse off than I am would give anything to have. So I live each day to the fullest. I may not spend my day skydiving or bungee jumping. Or traveling to far off lands. Or white water rafting, kayaking, or hiking the Grand Canyon, but I live it to the fullest for me. I get up and shower. I sweep the floors. I bake cookies for my children. I cut endless amounts of felt and glue my fingers together with hot glue to make my children a felt christmas tree and ornaments that they will be able to decorate as much as they want this season. I don't have any expectations of myself so the little things are HUGE accomplishments and while it is completely o.k.for me not to do anything, because let's face it, if you know me, you know going to the bathroom is an accomplishment for me, you also know, I'm not going to let me freedom go to waste because so many are fighting so that I can have it. I love my Bubba. He is my true hero and I'm honored that I call him my honest to God brother.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8, 2012

Another obvious... My children. I am thankful for my 3 beautiful and healthy kids. Nate, Abbie, and Anna J. I am thankful that I was healthy enough to bring them into this world and that I'm healthy enough to watch them grow everyday. Each birth was difficult and special. I felt like I was pregnant with Nate for forever when he was born and he was 8 weeks early. I remember I felt him kick for the first time the day after Thanksgiving. I was laying down on my belly with my hand comfortably placed in between my stomach and the bed. I was almost asleep when a felt this hard poke on my hand and I realized I had felt these "kicks" before, but not beyond my stomach. I flipped over, raised my shirt, and watched his hand or his foot or maybe his elbow move across my belly. It was the coolest thing I had ever experienced and couldn't wait for Tim to feel him kick. That's the only thing I miss about being pregnant.
The most memorable thing I remember about Abbie is my constant craving for all things strawberry flavored even though I hate strawberry flavored anything. I wanted strawberry milkshakes, strawberry icecream, strawberry lemonade, if strawberry could be added to it, then I wanted it. And my craving for banana laffytaffy. I couldn't get enough. I even had a friend who went to the lake for the weekend and the store near her carried banana laffytaffy and she bought me all they had and I ate it within a few minutes.
With Anna I knew she was going to be my last so I savored every moment, but the best were when I was home with Nate and Abbie. We would go outside and play and it was nice just us "4".
Now that they are growing and becoming little people with big personalities, I enjoy them even more. They love each other very much and get along. Nate loves to chase Anna and make her laugh. Abbie loves to play Dr. Abbie and make Nate and Anna's booboos all better. Anna loves to watch Nate and Abbie's eyes light up when she says their names. They are so much fun and I'm proud that God saw fit that they call me Mom.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7, 2012

Today is the first day of my 365 days of Thanks... I'm going to start it by stating the obvious. I am thankful for my husband, Tim McKee. I realized how thankful I was last night. It was one of the worst nights I have experienced in a long time... I wasn't feeling well and Abbie actually brought me her pillow pet and a blanket, covered me up and sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to put me to sleep. It worked, I fell asleep before the kids did. I woke up later and needed to use the bathroom, but I couldn't sit up without feeling like I was going to pass out (thank you orthostatic blood pressure) I started crying because I felt so helpless and Tim came to me rescue. Before I knew it, I was in his arms. He was carrying me into the bedroom where I would have easier access to the bathroom. I made it to the bathroom, but I passed out and fell to the floor. Tim picked me up again and put me on the bed. I came to in time to through up and Tim was right beside me with the trash can. I was spent. I could barely move a muscle and Tim continued. He undressed me and dressed me in my pajamas without missing a beat. He is so wonderful knowing every move I'm going to make before I make it. 
I firmly believe that anyone else would have left me a long time ago. A lot of people don't know how to handle someone being as sick as I am, but he has been beside me every step of the way. He has taken every diagnosis and prognosis in stride, finding humor and helping me cope with all that has been thrown at me. He has taken the role of single father at times and has done great in that role. I love him to the moon and back.

Friday, August 24, 2012

After Transplant

My transplant was 10 days ago and I have felt great ever since. I was nervous the day before and cried at everything. Nate gave me a hug at one point and told me that he loved me and I started squalling. It was like that all. day. long. I spent the night with my Mom that night and we rode to the hospital together. I wanted to spend time with her too because we didn't know what would happen. I was torn about what to do and who to spend time with. So I made the best out of the weekend, I lounged around the house with Nate, Abbie, and Anna. We watched movies and did nothing. It was perfect. On the Sunday before, my mom kept the kids. She wanted to spend time with them before the surgery as well. Tim and I went out to eat and spent some time together. Then Monday was just a lazy day. Abbie went to school, Anna and Nate stayed home with me and then we all loaded in the van and went to my Mom's where I said "goodbye" to them and tried to get some sleep. Marlee kept Anna over night and then Nate and Abbie spent the day with their friends, Hayden and Logen. Tim was going to take them over there about 6am Tuesday morning and then head to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 5am and waited for about 30 minutes and then we were taken to the surgical floor where we began prepping for surgery. We were put in the same room and changed into our fashionable hospital gowns and given an IV. I was anxious, I wanted to get it over with. I was ready. It was time and whatever was going to happen, was going to happen. There wasn't anything I could do to change anything at that point. My Mom was scared, nervous, and anxious as well. I was scared for her. There were a lot of mixed emotions. We were both scared for each other, but at the same time, I knew she wouldn't have it any other way. Her surgery was to start at 7:30am and mine was to start at 9:30am. She said goodbye to me and they wheeled her away. I took a deep breath and silently prayed for God to take care of her and keep her safe.

My dad was the first to arrive as far as visitors. He got there about 6:30am and was brought on back to me. I was glad he was there. Tim had texted me and said he was on the way at that point, but he didn't get there til about 7:45am. My Dad held my hand while they put the IV in my hand. He talked to me and tried to get my mind off the pain and oh. my. was there pain. That was the worst part of the whole thing. My Step-Mom came in after that. Then Tim and Emily showed up. I was so glad to see my loving family. I didn't cry at all, I was ready. I had done all my crying the day before and now it was time for positive energy. At 9:30am, on the dot, nurses and doctors came in and gave me anesthesia and I said "goodbye" to them. Gave them all hugs and told them I would see them in a little while. They wheeled me out to the hallway, I told the anesthesiologist that I thought the medicine was working and that's all I remember. I woke up at 2:30pm feeling awesome. I hadn't felt that good since before Nate was born. It was amazing.

Tim was there and I was beaming. I was awake. And I was in too much pain for it to be heaven so I knew I survived. I asked about my Mom and they pulled back our curtains and she was asleep. The nurse told me that she was brought back at about 12:00pm and I was brought back at about 12:30pm. The surgery was successful. They told me that the kidney started working immediately. PRAISE JESUS! I was ecstatic. and hungry. Tim stayed with me for a little while and then he had to go and pick up Nate and Abbie. Anna stayed with Marlee until Wednesday afternoon. My Dad came in when he left and talked with me for awhile. And then Emily came back. Emily went and talked with my Mom for a minute. My aunt and uncle (my Mom's brother and sister) came in to see her. The only thing we were waiting on was a room. It was about 4:30pm and I was hungry so my nurse told me he would order a tray or that I could have one of my family members go get me something so Emily took off to Subway. While she went to get me something to eat, my Dad came back again. He stayed with me until she came back. All the nurses were walking by and staring at me and I figured it was because they were hungry and here I was eating Subway in front of them. I felt bad and put it away until my nurse explained to me that they were staring because they've never seen a patient eat anything a couple of hours after surgery.  They were staring because they were in shock. But I was hungry and I wanted to eat so I did. My Step-Mom stayed in the waiting area until I was taken to my room. I got my room and everyone stayed for a little while longer and then left. I was o.k. with that. I was really tired and wanted to get some sleep.

It was an hour after they left when my cousin Jason arrived. I haven't talked to him in a year or so and I was so very happy to see him. I felt the love that had being pouring out all day long. Not just from Jason, but from everyone... family, friends, strangers, facebook peeps, everyone. I could feel God's presence and it was amazing. God has truly blessed me and I give him all the praise. I thank him everyday for an amazing angel that I call "Momma". For 3 beautiful children. For my blessed life. My testimony is so strong and I don't know how you can know me and my family and not believe in a bigger being than yourself. I have always said that my children are miracles, but looking at it, so am I.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2 Weeks

In exactly 2 weeks I get a kidney transplant. I'm receiving a kidney from my Mom. I have felt a bundle of emotions, but right now in this moment I am scared. I'm not scared of dying. I've never been scared of dying. But I don't want my children to know what it's like not to have a Mom. I don't want them to know that pain. I'm scared for them. In my mind, no one will love them as much as me and no one can take care of them like I can.
It's funny. I keep replaying an episode of "Golden Girls" in my head. It's the one where Sophia answers a newspaper ad for a man seeking woman. And when he (Marvin) comes to meet Sophia, he brings along his "sister". Turns out that the "sister" was Marvin's dying wife and she couldn't die peacefully until she knew that Marvin had someone else which is where Sophia came in. Skip to the end, the wife ends up understanding that Marvin didn't need someone else to take her place and Sophia continues living with the girls. I used to think that was weird, finding a new wife for your husband when your not gone yet. But now I find that I ask myself if I were to die and Tim remarry would "she" be a good replacement. She being anyone I meet in passing, old girlfriends of Tim's, women I've known for years, tv characters, celebrities, any female really. I don't discuss this AT. ALL. but this goes through my mind.
I've got a lot that I want to do with the kids in these 2 weeks. Hopefully we can fit it all in. I'm going to break my back and make sure that we can. And take tons of pictures. TONS.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Wish...

I wish I could keep this thing up like some of the people who do with their blogs that I follow, but I don't. I rather read other blogs and spend time with my family than write. But tonight, I found myself victim to insomnia and took advantage of the time to update.

I'm officially on the kidney transplant list at Vanderbilt Hospital. I've been approved for a couple of months now and my Mom was approved as a donor for me a few weeks later so we have scheduled transplant surgery for August 14th. I will receive her left kidney. Although this is good news it's also scary news. I'm excited about receiving a kidney in a couple of months, but nervous that something goes wrong and I die? Or my Mom dies? Or we both die? I'm not trying to be negative nancy, I'm trying to prepare myself for anything and everything that could go wrong. What if the kidney doesn't work? What if the kidney she gives me is fine, but the one she has is bad? or goes bad? What if the antirejection medications don't work? what if I reject the antirejection medications?

There is so much that I want my kids to know and I don't know that I can blog about everything before surgery. I want them to know me. I want them to be able to turn to the blog and read what I'm not able to say to them. I want them to know me. Know the things I did when I was a teenager that they better not EVER do. I want them to know that I love them especially when they feel that the entire world is against them. I want them to know that their Dad and I aren't just their parents, but we are human too and understand them better than they think. I want them to know that they won't have any better friends than each other. Regardless of how much they annoy each other, they will always be there. Friends come and go, but family stays by you. Some friends can become like family, I have friends that are more like sisters than they are friends. Lindsey and Amanda.

You will know these women. They are the next best thing to me. They have stories they can tell you about me that you will find funny. They will be able to tell you how much I love you and give you hugs and kisses when you need them. Bubba will have stories for you too. He'll be the one you will call if you find yourself in a situation that you want to get out of, imagine... you're at a party with alcohol and drugs. You want to leave, but the person you came with is nowhere to be found or they are drunk or high or whatever... maybe you just want to leave. Call Bubba. You get drunk and are in jail (NEVER. EVER. DRINK. AND. DRIVE. I WILL HAUUUUUUUNT YOU!!!!) due to public intoxication and made a fool out of yourself in someone's yard and their neighbor called the police, you would call Bubba. You have rearended someone and can't reach your dad... call bubba. You get the picture?? GOOD

I Love You To the Moon and Back <3

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cowboys and Indians

When I was little my grandmother (Grandmomma) kept me and my 2 cousins while our parents worked.I have to mention that my 2 cousins happen to be boys and were the best of friends. We were all the same age, born with in one year of each other. Jason was born in November of 1981, Lance was born in March of 1982, and then I was born in September of 1982. Needless to say, we were always at war with each other and 1 girl against 2 boys... let's just say the odds were against me. I was the tattle tale. If the boys were doing anything they weren't supposed to... I told Grandmomma. ALWAYS.

There was this one time when we were outside and they were running around, chasing each other, playing cowboys and indians. I wanted to play and they weren't letting me... so what did I do? I told Grandmomma and all she had to say was "Y'ALL GO OUTSIDE!! AND LET THAT BABY PLAY!!", that baby being me. So they obliged because the last thing we wanted to do if go inside and watch Grandmomma's shows with her (soap operas). They told me to stand in front of the big tree that was in Grandmomma's front yard. They grabbed a rope and each had one end and started running in opposite directions around the tree. I, not being the sharpest tool in the shed, didn't realize they were tying me to the tree until they were tying the knot in the rope. I was squirming to get out when Lance pulled out a book of matches and they were lighting them and throwing them at my feet. My cousins were trying to set me on fire! It didn't work because the fire would blow out as they threw the matches on the ground. (Thank the Lord) My saving grace was Junior, my aunt's (Lance's Mom) boyfriend came over and made them turn me loose.

There are many stories I could tell of me and my cousins, but this is one of my favorites.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back In The Day…

I love the song “Dirt Road Anthem” by Jason Aldean. It makes me nostalgic. I was in the car with my mom the other day when it came on the radio and I was taken back to a night that was quite eventful.

I was with 2 of my girlfriends and we went over to another one of our friend’s house for a bonfire. The best things about growing up in a small, southern town are country sides, bonfire parties, and pickup trucks… and the southern gentlemen or as I like to call ‘em… country boys. There were quite a bunch of people there and we were all drinkin’. I think I was 18 or 19. Well, we didn’t know it… but the parents of the guy’s house we were at had called the police. Apparently they said we could have a party, but no alcohol… so when they found out about the alcohol, the police was called. We all were drinkin’ and when the police showed up they pulled 3 or 4 at a time and asked if we had been drinkin’. Those over 21 admitted to it. Those under 21 (myself included) had no choice but to lie. I must not have been believable. The police officer shined his big, bright flashlight in my eyes. All I could think was how mad my mom was going to be. I was praying in my mind, “Please don’t make me call my mom. She will kill me and isn’t that a worse sin than drinking under age?” But all he said was to go home. A couple of our friends that were 21 got arrested. My friend and I hurried out of there and went to her house to watch movies.

We got a call about 2 or 3 in the mornin’. It was those friends that were arrested wanting us to come get them. Hahahahaha… I wasn’t leaving, but my friend did and went and got them and brought them back where we stayed up and watched movies all night. It was scary, but so. much. fun.

That was only one of a ton of nights of fun I had as a teenager.