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Thankful Thursday

I think I’m going to link up with my BFF, Rebecca, for the Thankful Thursday post.  After a long week of working with my students to set up their Khan Academy accounts, I need to purposely look for things to be thankful for.

This week, I am thankful for  . . .

Two observations are behind me.  My principal came into my class on Monday – the first day we began working on the Khan Academy stuff.  This is my first experience with it, and of course he came into my first period class . . . aka the guinea pigs.  Sigh.  We had a few technology-related-password-email-blocked-website issues, but heck, that’s the real stuff of teaching.  My second observation came today.  It wasn’t so much about what I’m doing as a teacher but what my classroom flow is like.  Three other people from the district came in, along with my principal.  Thankfully, the Khan Academy stuff went smoothly, and the kids were able to explain what they were doing when asked.  I’m rather proud of them and the classroom culture we’ve established.

I am thankful that my stations are set up.  Stations are skills-based activities designed to give students much-needed practice with the standards they need to master for their standardized tests.  They are a bit of a pain to set up, but once they are done, swapping out tasks is fairly simple.  This is my seventh year doing stations, so I’m fairly good at it by now.  Still, it’s time-consuming to write the instructions, anticipating what questions the kids will have (when they are supposed to be autonomous).

I am so thankful that my classes are about half (in some cases, a third) of what they were when we started school in August.  A lot of kids have tested out due to their hard work.  I’m going to be able to provide really good individualized instruction now that my attention won’t be split across thirty students per class.

I’ll say it again and again and again, but I am thankful for YouTube videos like this one . . . a stretching workout that I found as part of the Hurt Foot Workout series.  I actually did two videos this morning.  The first one was a floor barre workout, but since it was only nineteen minutes, I wanted to do a second one.  I found a stretching video and wow, were my muscles warmed up when I finished.  I’ve missed my Piyo.  This was a gentle way to ease back into things.

I am thankful for each day that passes, bringing me closer to complete healing (whenever that will be).  On Wednesday, I did my first session of at-home physical therapy exercises since having my surgery in December.  I couldn’t do everything; I’m following the doctor’s orders by sticking with low-impact moves.  My quads were screaming at me when I finished, and the outside of my ankle hurt pretty good when I walked around at school.  Still, I’m finding that I’m able to navigate around the tables and chairs in my classroom with less difficulty than before my surgery, when the hardware in my ankle limited my range of motion.  I was very swollen by the time I left school, so there was that.

If you wouldn’t mind praying for me, I’d appreciate it.  The incision on the inside part of my ankle is still yucky.  It’s not infected, but it’s not healing very well either.  It’s still very red, and I seem to have developed a rash an inch away from the incision – not something I had after the first surgery.  I have a follow-up with my surgeon in a couple of weeks, so if it’s not better by then, I’ll make sure I discuss it with him.  I am hoping that the triple antibiotic ointment, vitamin E oil, and other essential oils I’m applying will help clear things up.

I am thankful for this salad recipe.  The edamame MAKES this, as does a peanut dressing I got from my No Excuses Detox recipe book and swapped out for the one in the salad recipe (it was horrible, and I had to throw it out).

I am thankful for new books . . .

A new devotional, which I read each night before I go to bed.

The second in the Scythe series (I am making myself wait until I finish a book I’m currently reading)

Her first book, which I just ordered and received. I have the second one, but in typical fashion, I did things backwards.

A Positively Complimentary Hodgepodge

Look at me – joining in the Hodgepodge two weeks in a row.  Go me, Go me!  Ha!  Seriously, though, thanks for visiting!  I look forward to reciprocating after work since I must do teach the children all the things.

1.  January 24th is National Compliment Day. Is it easy or not so easy for you to accept a compliment? Share a recent compliment you’ve given or received.

I guess it depends on the compliment as to whether or not it’s easy for me to accept.  If it’s something fitness-related, I’m all gushy yes, but if it’s something about teaching, I’d rather defer attention to my students or other teachers.

I give compliments to my students every day.  Yesterday, I told one of my girls that I liked her the way her hair was braided.

Yesterday, my principal complimented on what I was doing in my class when he came in to observe me the day before (despite numerous tech-related issues . . . hello blocked websites and forgotten passwords!).

2.  Ten little things you are loving right now.

Ten little things that I am loving right now are:

Being out of my boot

Driving again

Lunching on mason jar salads

Indulging in no-bake desserts

Exercising to some awesome Hurt Foot workouts on YouTube

Scooping poop in mild winter weather

Discovering delicious Instant Pot recipes

Watching the hubby and our fur babies engage in their nighttime carrot routine

Getting on track with 2nd semester lesson plans

Testing out a new griddler and a vegan waffle recipe

3.Would people describe you as a positive person? Do you see yourself that way? I read here  a list/description of eight things positive people do differently-

Positive people find something to look forward to every day, they celebrate the small stuff, they’re kind, they stay busy, accept responsibility for their actions, forgive themselves, know when to move on, and resist comparisons

Which action on the list would you say you do regularly? Which action could you add to your life to give you a more positive outlook? If you’re a positive person, what’s something you do regularly that’s not on the list?

Yes, I believe that people describe me as a positive person.  I’ve had people tell me, in the midst of a conversation about bad stuff, that I always manage to find a silver lining in everything.

I do consider myself positive as well.  If you’ve been reading my blog since I broke my ankle a little over a year ago, you’ve probably seen that as well.

Out of the actions listed above, I think the one that stands out the most is that I celebrate the small stuff.  I’ve had to, y’all, especially with all of the challenges I’ve faced recently.  I think that my habit of finding joy in every circumstance became a big part of my healing as I focused more on what I was learning to do again versus what I couldn’t (that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a few pity parties along the way).

I think that I need to work on resisting comparisons.  If you know me personally, you’re probably nodding your head right now.  I am such an overachiever and can’t help but measure myself against what others are doing.  It’s tough.

Something that I do regularly that’s not on the list . . . hmmm!  I think that staying in my own lane, trying really hard not to gossip, helps me to be positive because I’m not immersed in the drama that can either come back to bite a person or be so drenched in negativity that one can’t find the way out.

4.  Homemade chicken soup, beef stew, or a bowl of chili…what’s your pleasure on a cold winter’s day?

Hold the meat on all of the above, please.  I’ll take any homemade vegan soup, stew, or chili – I have no preference.  I found a really good Instant Pot recipe for chili and man, even my students were raving about the delicious smell as it warmed up in the mini-crockpot I use in my classroom.

5.  The best part of my day is….

. . . coming home after a day of work and finding my dogs happily waiting for me.

6.  My Random Thought

So, I missed writing a birthday post for my daughter.  I snatched this photo from her Instagram feed.  Isn’t she a cutie pie?

My sweet Chicky, who has grown up on this blog, turned 26 on Monday.

I tried to call her while I was getting ready for work, but her planning period had changed, so she couldn’t talk.  We did, however, chat after I got off.  She was on her way to tutor a student.

Hello 26-year-old-life, welcome to adulting on your birthday.


I believe that it’s important to mark milestones in your life, no matter how big or small.

The Mr. always finds it odd that I can remember the exact dates of various happenings, but that’s just how my brain works (and I am a woman – ahem).

As such, last January 23rd was my first day of physical therapy.

It was also the first day I began driving again after spending over two months being chauffeured around by anyone willing and able to drive me.

I’d dressed the part, sporting my long Batman socks as motivation.

I remember being extremely unprepared for that appointment – and had, in fact, dressed completely wrong because I thought it was only going to be a consultation.

Instead, J took measurements of my range of motion, which were pretty much nil, and then worked out some of the knots on my Achilles tendon.  After being bound up for nine weeks, my tendon had tightened up and shrunk.

My first session with the “tool” was torture.

But I didn’t cry.

J also adjusted the height of my crutches because I wasn’t able to walk on my own yet.  That tendon was a huge issue (and still is to this day).

As I sat and recovered with the first of many, many ice packs, heating blankets, and TENS units, I received a text from the Mr.

He said that he was very sick and that I needed to take him to the emergency room.

I asked him if I had time to run by the school to prep lesson plans for a sub, and he said yes.

Little did we know just how critical his condition was.

It was one of the hardest days of my life as I sat with him for hours and hours . . .  from about 9am until the following morning at 1am . . . and listened to the doctor tell me that the Mr. was septic and might have died within a couple of days if I had not taken him in when I did.

The Mr.’s parents drove over from Bigger City, Florida because the news was so dire.  He was in very, very bad shape.

We spent the evening debating whether to tell Rooster about it when he called.  He was at a special training, and we didn’t want to worry him.

In the end, after much prayer and discussion, we decided to tell him.  He was glad to know because he was about to be unreachable, and we honestly, at that point, didn’t know if the Mr. was going to make it.

I walked with the nurses as they took the Mr. to the ICU, but I wasn’t allowed to stay – only to bid him a quick goodbye – before I left for home . . .

On my crutches.

I was a sad sight.

I fell into bed, phone close by in case the nurses called.  The Mr.’s blood pressure was too low, he had a raging infection from an abscess, and he had a host of other issues that were being closely monitored.

It was the first of many, many sleepless nights.

January 23, 2017 was the beginning of probably the hardest years the Mr. and I have ever had.

It was tough physically, emotionally, and financially.  We just seemed to get hit with bad news and bills every time we turned around.

One thing that didn’t change but actually grew stronger was our faith.

God didn’t work instant miracles but chose, instead, to grow us closer to Him through the everyday struggles – challenges that forced us to rely on Him for every single thing.

I wonder if the memory of this milestone will fade in time as others take their place in the pecking order of things.

I pray it doesn’t because I never want to forget.

I never want to forget how alone I felt the night I got home from the hospital – when I wondered if I’d be coming home alone for the rest of my life.

I never want to forget how helpless I felt as I watched the Mr. lay in his hospital bed at the mercy of God and plans we could only watch as they played out.

I never want to forget crying on the shoulders of friends who spent time with me in the hospital.  I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that vulnerable before.

I never want to forget how utterly exhausted I was as I cared for the Mr. in the immediate days and weeks after he returned home from the hospital.

I never want to forget because it is in the remembering that I admit how much I cherish the Mr., how grateful I am for God’s unfailing kindness, how much I appreciate the support and prayers of friends, and what a privilege it is to do the little things for another person, whether it’s cooking or changing sheets.

I’d lost sight of these things until I broke my ankle; the lessons were reinforced with the double whammy of the Mr.’s sickness.

Milestones are like the mile markers we see on the highway.  They tell us how far we have traveled as well as how far we have to go.

I prefer to focus on how much ground I’ve covered – the way paved ahead of time by a gracious, forgiving Heavenly Father.

4 Weeks Post-Surgery

Today marks exactly four weeks since I had a second surgery on my ankle.  You might recall that my surgeon removed the hardware that he’d placed in there the year before.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve talked about my ankle, so I thought I would bring you up to speed on my recovery thus far.

I know that I’m repeating myself when I say this, but this has been a lot more challenging than I’d anticipated.  I’ve had a few issues that nobody warned me about.  As a person who doesn’t deal too well with curve balls, this has been especially frustrating.

I’ve continued with the Hurt Foot workout videos that I found through a Google search for non-impact exercises.

I wish I’d found these videos last year after I broke my ankle and was able to exercise again.  I think I would have avoided a few of the setbacks I brought upon myself with the tougher-than-necessary routines that I literally jumped into.

Meanwhile, I was eager for the strips the nurse had put on during my seven-day, post-op appointment to fall off.  Here’s how my ankle looked on January 7th . . .

You can see that a few of the strips had come off.

January 8th marked ten days since the strips had been applied, and since they were peeling off within the ten-day window the nurse had given me, I finished the job . . .

The black dots lining the outside of the incisions were actually the scabs from the staples that had been used in lieu of stitches.  I had not seen these when I first broke my ankle because the orthopedic center had put on a cast that I wore for three weeks.  By the time it came off, the scabs had healed.

You can see how raw those incisions still were after a little over two weeks post-surgery.

They were painful too.  I’d been mandated to start massaging them aggressively to get rid of scar tissue.  The outside of my ankle felt strange though; I could feel the holes that the pins holding the plate in place had left behind.  You can even see the outline of those holes in the little Instagram video I made.


Meanwhile, I have continued to try out more videos by the same “hurt ankle” girl.  I love the shirt she wore for this one . . .

I need this shirt!

Surprisingly, these videos burn some decent calories!

I didn’t let the boot get in the way of good fashion and went all professional on my students one day . . .

I thought things were going fine even with me calling the Mr. one day with the request to bring me a sock (I’d only worn an ACE bandage) and ibuprofen.

Until January 11th.

Y’all, I’d been having some burning pain, but I figured it was just the incision hitting the boot.

Oh, but it wasn’t.

See what my ankle looked like that afternoon?

It was one angry body part and only getting madder with every hour.

I went back to using crutches to relieve the pressure that walking put on it.

I cried during dinner as I was hit by sporadic waves of pain.

The next morning, it looked like this . . .

I took pictures and sent them to my surgeon’s nurse.  She responded very quickly and told me that the PA believed that it was, most likely, a stitch abscess.  She told me to apply triple antibiotic ointment on it, cover it with a band aid, and keep a close eye on it.  She said it would probably be better in a few days.

The next morning, when I woke up, it looked like this . . .

Yep.  It had gotten bigger, more painful, and generally worse.

The Mr. wanted to take a needle to it; I adamantly refused, fearful of infection.

I did, however, send another email to my nurse while he was driving me to school and asked her if I could lance it if I properly sterilized everything.  She responded immediately, giving me the green light.

A friend at school advised me to use a warm compress to draw out the infection before I performed my at-home, self-care procedure.  I did so, putting the essential oil, Thieves, on my cloth, which I’d read would help with infection and inflammation.  I sterilized my needle while I applied the compress.

You should have seen what my ankle looked like when I pulled the cloth off.

Nasty.  I won’t post the picture (you’re welcome), but if you want to see it, click here.

I got down to work.

Oh my yuck.  It was just everything icky and more.

I had TWO abscesses.


No wonder I was hurting so badly.

I carefully squeezed out the infection, washed the area with soap and warm water, per the nurse’s instructions, and put a band aid over it.

I can honestly say that my ankle immediately felt better.  I was able to walk around the house (still in my boot) with a minimal amount of pain.  The burning sensation was gone.

However, later when I got ready to change the bandage, I noticed that I now had a deep hole in my incision, where the abscesses had been, and that hole did not want to close up.  It needed a stitch or two.

The Mr. went out and bought me butterfly bandages and incision strips.  He carefully applied a butterfly bandage with a larger bandage over that to see if that would do the trick.

After two days of this, the wound was still opening up, so we used the strips instead.  So far, so good.  I haven’t removed the strips since he applied them a few days ago, but it seems to be healing well.

The best part?

There’s no more pain or swelling in that area, so I know that the infection is gone.

Praise the Lord!

I’ve been able to work out without the burning feeling.  Yay!

So, where do I stand (literally and figuratively) today?

Well, I just put my crutches in the closet.  Woo hoo!

It’s also the last day of me having to wear the boot (and my fun sock-of-the-day, which some of my students have noticed) . . .


When I get up tomorrow morning, I’ll get to put TWO regular shoes on again.  I’m going to wear my sneakers for a few days because I need the extra support until I figure out what my tendon is doing (tight, not tight, sort of tight).

I also get to start driving again tomorrow!

The Mr. is thrilled.  He’s gotten up early every single day since I’ve been back at work to drive me there and pick me up.

He’s amazing!

I’m going to continue doing the Hurt Foot workouts until I get my next x-ray, which will be on February 8th when I go for my six-week checkup.  I’m sure they will tell me what kinds of exercises I’ll be allowed to do from that point forward.

I’m hoping to start going for walks around the neighborhood soon.  I signed up for the first Hogwarts Running Club event.  It’s a 9k, so I’ll have to split it into segments.

I’m still finding myself sore by the end of the day, and the outside of my ankle, where the plate was, is still pretty bruised up.  I know that things are healing inside; it’s just going to take more time.

I am trying to listen to my body and follow its lead.  I know that standing too long is still extra hard on me.  Building endurance is something I’ll be working on.

My students have been extra careful around me given the nature of my injury and subsequent recoveries from both surgeries.  I’m thankful for their consideration.

I’m especially grateful for your continued prayers as this journey is still far from being over.  You are a blessing to me.

Despite the ups and downs, I am able, with God’s strength, to push on with my mantra of #findingjoyinthejourney.

Staying Warm for the Hodgepodge

It’s been a minute . . . or a fortnight . . . since I’ve written but holy cow, the recovery from what was supposed to be an easy surgery has been anything but!  I’m going to try to catch up with a separate post about that tomorrow.  For today, I’m going to answer Joyce’s all-illuminating Hodgepodge questions.  Thanks for visiting, and I’ll do my best to get around to you soon!

1.  What keeps you blogging?

What keeps me blogging is the need to unload things that build up in my heart.  Even though my blogging has been a little inconsistent the last year and a half, words have been busting to get out.

I think I also write with the hope that someone who is reading about my story will connect to it as I so often do when I read others’ stories.

I love the blogging community and miss it when I don’t have time to keep up with it.  We are our own little family drawn together by the intimate nature of our writing, because writing is just that – very personal, raw, and illuminating.

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are –

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter?

I live in a beach town, but I don’t go during winter.  It’s about fifteen minutes away from my house, and I don’t feel like dealing with the traffic.  I will brave it to go to the movie theater because it’s a nice one.  I’ve been to Seaside, but only very briefly.  It is very pretty!  I’d love to spend more time exploring – when it’s warm (and when Spring Break visitors aren’t there).  I’ve also been to Fairhope, but I didn’t see the beach.  It was quite a number of years ago, and I don’t really remember much about it.

If I had to choose one to visit, I’d go with Hilton Head.  I like South Carolina; the Mr. hails from Irmo.  I think it would be fun to get out of Florida, where I’ve lived for almost thirty years, and do a bit of sightseeing in another state.

3.  What’s a song you’re embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?

“Hips Don’t Lie,” by Shakira, gets people looking at me when I start singing along.  This goes back to when my kids were in high school and I liked to car dance to it whenever it came on which, coincidentally enough, always seemed to happen when their friends were riding with us.

Yes, I was that mom, and I will not apologize for it or pay for any counseling that my kids may need because of it.


4.  When you were a kid what’s something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you’re an adult you realize it’s not all that fantastic?

I’m drawing a blank here.  When I was a kid, all I wanted was to be free from being under my mom’s thumb.  I have that, and I think it’s wonderful.  There are tasks that aren’t that great, but I think I had a realistic view of that part of life when I was younger because I was responsible for many things early on.

5.  Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

I’ve been through so much since I broke my ankle in November 2016.  I immediately grabbed hold of the following saying:

With a second surgery now behind me, and my recovery slowly in progress, I’m repeating this mantra.

I have always been a very determined person; what others perceive as setbacks, I take on as challenges.

I am stubborn.  This is where that trait helps me.

I refuse to let anything hold me down for long.

With the Lord’s help, I will get strong again – I will run again.

6.  My Random Thought

Today marks the first day of our second semester.

One half of the school year is done.

I’m having a good year and am enjoying my prep.  Watching students achieve their goals and take steps that put them closer to graduation is very gratifying.

Even while I struggled with making new seating charts yesterday, I found myself humbled to be part of their journey.

Each name that didn’t go on the chart represented another young person who, if every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed, will walk the stage either this May or next May.

Every kiddo who got a spot on the chart represents unleashed potential waiting for the perfect time to showcase itself.

I am very hopeful for the spring and the success that’s in store for my students.

Ringing in 2018

I don’t know about you, but I sure was happy to bid adieu to 2017.

One year ago, I had no idea what the year had in store for me.

I had no idea that just twenty three days in, I’d find myself at the physical therapist’s office for the first of eight months’ worth of sessions.

I had no idea that a mere two hours later, on the same day, I’d find myself in the emergency room with the hubby as the patient this time and that we would spend a week in the ICU as medical professionals told us he was septic and needed a complicated surgery.

I had no idea that the Mr. and I would soon be listening to one of the top Crohn’s surgeons in the state tell us just how dire the Mr.’s health was.  The drive home from Jacksonville was filled with many tears.

I had no idea how dependent we would be on family and friends to fill in the gap with their prayers and provisions for other practical needs.

I had no idea how grueling my recovery process from my broken ankle would be and how many, many setbacks I would have – all of them so very discouraging and incredibly frustrating – and how much pain I’d have to endure.  Even the simplest tasks often felt overwhelming to complete.

I had no idea of the miracle that was in store for us as we found out that the Mr.’s health, despite great odds, was improving, and that he did not need to have the much-dreaded surgery.  The drive home from Jacksonville that day was filled with awe as we praised God for His healing touch.

I had no idea that my heart would soar to such great heights and then, mere days later, plummet to the lowest depths when I lost my precious Molly – and that the grief would still cut so deeply six months later.

I had no idea how fervently I would pray while my child was gone on his first deployment.  Being a military mom is a role that brings with it much joy and much worry.

I had no idea that I’d be facing another ankle surgery to remove hardware that I’d assumed would be a permanent part of my body since my injury the year before, and that the surgery would not be the piece of cake I’d thought it would be.

The year 2017 had so many lows, but it was rich in its blessings as well.

I had no idea how tangibly I would feel God’s arms surround me in the darkest of nights, when I came home from the hospital when the Mr. was admitted to the ICU, and I didn’t know if I would be getting a call from the nurse to give me news that his condition had worsened.  Although I shed many, many tears that week, I felt God’s peace as I navigated through the what if’s that ran rampant through my mind.

I had no idea that despite my physical challenges, I would complete every single race hosted by my virtual running club, the Hogwarts Running Club, and would also participate in a real-life 5k as well.  God was with me as I put one foot in front of the other as I covered each mile and babied my ankle afterward.

I had no idea how humbled I would become because of the hardships God would allow into my life and how much more empathetic I would become because of those experiences.

I had no idea that I would end the year with such new perspectives – for what’s important and not important – for the amount of pain I might have to face.  It’s funny how many things pale when compared to what I’ve already endured.

I am praying that 2018 will be a year of reprieve from the hard stuff of life.

I don’t expect the year to be completely void of challenges; however, I’m not afraid to ask God to put longer gaps between them so I can catch my breath a bit.

If the year turns out to be another doozy, I can say, with 100% certainty, that I will face the hard times with more strength because of my knowledge that God will be with me guiding me every step of the way.

Happy New Year to all of you!  I pray God’s blessings upon you and those you love.

Christmas 2017

Whew!  This Christmas season has been quite the whirlwind, let me tell you!  Now that I’m back at home, I finally have time to sit, reflect, and write.

Our Christmas celebrations were very different this year due to a number of things.  First of all, Rooster and his wife were 3,000 miles away.  We opened presents with them via FaceTime a few days before Christmas.  Second, the Mr. was on call this year, so we were stuck at home – a first, I believe, in all of the years that he’s had his job.  I guess we should count ourselves fortunate, eh?  Because of that, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home.  Thankfully, Chicky had driven to our house on the 23rd, so we got to enjoy the holiday with her.

The Mr. got called in to work in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Day.  Poor thing.  He texted me when he was on the way home – my wake up call since I still wasn’t sleeping through the night.  I’d left the tree on all night so I could see it, in all of its loveliness, whenever I turned over in my chair.

He grabbed a few hours sleep when he got home before we opened gifts.

It’s a good thing that Santa got the message that we would be home this year.  He left our stockings under the tree instead of the usual spots at the in-laws’ house.

It doesn’t take long to open presents, even going one at a time, when there’s only three of you.  We had fun, though, and enjoyed the looks of surprise when each recipient discovered an unexpected or much-longed for item.

Chicky gave me a chopper that I’d read good things about on my Detoxinista Facebook page.

This thing does everything!  It even has an egg separator, a salad spinner, and an egg whipper, which I can use when making my aquafaba “eggs.”

The Mr. gave me these Vionic boots.  I’d tried on a pair at Dillard’s a few weeks ago.  He had found them on Amazon for much cheaper.  I cannot wait to wear them after I finish healing.

He also gave me a much-longed-for adjustable bench.  He’d hidden the box in the garage.

I also got a pair of workout pants, a cute little Auburn shirt, and a couple of dressier shirts.  My stocking had been filled to the brim with a couple of magazines, sneaker balls, Twizzlers, gift cards, and an insulated cup.  The Mr. always spoils me.  ❤

I didn’t take many pictures this year.  Shame on me!  Chicky gave the Mr. a lap desk.  I gave him an iPad mini, a hedge trimmer, and a wireless charger for his new phone, along with an Auburn puzzle and this adorable totem pole . . .

I’d filled his stocking with a plethora of goodies.  I had taken advantage of being able to drive in the weeks before Christmas this year.

We gave Chicky a good pair of ear buds – a brand that she had not expected but that she’d been wanting.  We also gave her a pair of shoes, an Auburn shirt, and gift cards.  Her stocking was overflowing.  We love pampering our kids!

The Mr. had to work Christmas night, so Chicky and I watched a movie on Netflix.  We turned in early, though.  I was still plagued with frequent post-surgery fatigue.

She drove me to Bigger City, Florida for my follow-up visit with my surgeon (I wrote about this in my prior post), but we had to leave the Mr. behind because he still had to work.  He drove over on Friday.

We treated Friday like our traditional family Christmas Eve.  Super Sis and I made plans to spend the morning together, as we always do, and she agreed to pick me up since I couldn’t drive.

Now let me tell you, God certainly meant for us to be sisters because we are always such a hot mess – in the same, exact way.

When she arrived, we discovered that we had chosen similar shoes.  Of course, she’d opted to go without the Darth Vader boot, but I digress . . .

The first stop we made was Starbucks.

Go ahead and admire our cuteness.

I was super excited when I realized that I finally had a partner who could/would do fun Snapchat filters with me . . .

She has to work on her timing with that tongue thing.  Of course, she was trying to place our order and stop laughing while posing, so there was that.  I need to work on looking in the right spot.

Told you that we’re a hot mess.

We went to Dillard’s first, and she showed me some of the charms she wanted for the new James Avery bracelet one of her sons had given her for Christmas.  She’d received a gift card and knew exactly how she was going to spend it.  I, of course, was an enabler who encouraged her to buy what she liked.

We had a bit of an experience while we were shopping at Express, one of my favorite stores.

Have you ever seen videos of people spitting out their drinks when they’re laughing or sneezing?

Yeah, she kind of did that, although it was because something went down the wrong way, and for the FIRST time ever, I was on the receiving end.  One minute, I was scrutinizing a possible dress to wear to this year’s high school graduation, and the next second, I was watching my Apple watch get sprayed with her chai tea.  I mean, it went ALL OVER THE PLACE.

She later told me that the look on my face was one of shock.

Truly it was.

I was worried about her because she’d choked on her drink (thinking the same thing that I was about the dress, which had lace panels down the back in a ‘HELL NO – not appropriate for any graduation” kind of way).

Then, we hurriedly tried to clean up the floor and my watch as we hightailed it out of the store.

THEN, I threw away my kleenex in what I thought was a trash can . . . only to watch it float and then sink into what turned OUT to be a can of water (I didn’t notice the chairs that people could sit on to get their feet done, I guess?

The giggles, y’all.  We could hardly walk because we were laughing so hard.

I seriously love my sister.

We went back to Dillard’s, since we’d parked there, but did a bit of shoe browsing (ahem) before leaving.

That’s when I fell in love with these . . .

Oh Vionic shoes, you get me every time.  I texted a couple of photos to the Mr., told him that I really liked them, and then bought them.  I’m saving the receipt in case I find them cheaper somewhere else or discover that I can’t wear them when I can actually put two on at a time.  I’m not allowed to put any weight on my right ankle unless it’s in a boot, which means no regular shoes on that foot for an entire month.

We went back to the house, picked up the Mr.’s mom, and took her back with us to the mall, where Super Sis bought the charm she’d been admiring and had it put on.  We also visited another store outside the mall but didn’t buy anything.  Oh, and we had to go to Trader Joe’s, where I found some canned coconut milk that will be perfect, later, for some desserts I’ve been dying to make.  Most coconut milk has an ingredient (can’t remember the name now) that prevents it from being whipped.  Not so with the Trader Joe’s brand.

By the time we got back to the house, my ankle was shot.

It’s quite clear that I still have a LONG way to go in my recovery . . .

But our fun wasn’t over yet!  We still had dinner and presents to go!

But first, another Snapchat selfie with my seester . . .

Can you just see her face . . . forty years ago.  Quite the imp she used to be.  And please admire my hair.  My hairdresser had washed and dried it for me on Wednesday.  She’d done a FABULOUS job.  I love good hair days.

Chicky and my oldest nephew cooked most of the dinner.  Super Sis got a picture of them, but I didn’t.  Boo!

I did manage to snag another selfie with my sister though.  When you don’t see each other very often, you’ve just got to take lots of selfies.  Ahem.

Dinner was fun; everyone squeezed around one table.  We sure were missing my boy and his girl.

Then, it was time to do presents.

Super Sis and her family had already opened gifts with the in-laws, but we still had a few presents to open.

Cali jumped right in the middle of things.

As usual, we went from youngest to oldest.

The Mr.’s parents gave me the Instant Pot I’d had my eye on.

This one is f-a-n-c-y, let me tell you, and even has Bluetooth!  I’d seen a number of vegan recipes that call for this appliance but that I’d been unable to try (yes, I know that I could have made them, but it would have taken far longer to cook).  I’ve got a New Year’s recipe all picked out already!

They also gave me an Amazon gift card!

Super Sis and her family gave me a Books a Million gift card and this fabulous jacket . . .

It’s the only Hogwarts item I received this year.

The Mr. got several nice gifts, including this Auburn plaque for the wall . . .

The Mr. and I gave his mom a couple of gift cards and his dad a Roku, which the Mr. spent the rest of the evening setting up.

What an eventful day!

Our time with our family wasn’t quite over, though, and we woke up on Saturday raring to go.  I made another couple of trips to the mall and did a bit more shopping since the Mr. had not been with me the first couple of times.  I texted the following picture to Super Sis to show her that I’d worn my new jacket . . .

I did a bit of a DIY project and tightened the screws on the banister in the Mr.’s parents’ house . . .


Later that evening, we visited Blaze Pizza, which I’d never eaten at.

I was duly impressed with the care they took with my vegan / dairy-free pizza.  I got the gluten free crust and just WOW.  I ate half and saved the rest for today.  It was delicious!

Then, we went to Shoe Station – a family favorite.

There were two sections of Vionic shoes . . .

I didn’t see too much that I liked, but I did find this pair . . .

I liked them, but the price was not any cheaper than Dillard’s.

So, I bid them farewell as I left them at the store . . .

We went back to the in-laws’ house, but it wasn’t long before Super Sis and I decided we had one more errand to run . . .

We were all about the nail polish – clearanced ones at that.  Of course, we had to act goofy and managed to clear the place out by the time we were ready to pay.  I think people were afraid that we’d escaped from the loony bin.

Alas, Super Sis had to go, though, so the beautifying would have to be done individually.  She had church to prep for the next day, and we had to get ready to head back home.

As I got ready this morning, Cali kept me company . . .

The Mr. and I said our goodbyes.  I hugged Chicky tightly; it will probably be a few months before I get to lay eyes on her again because of our work schedules.

We stopped for hot chocolate at a local coffee place on the way out . . .

The drive home was quick, or so it seemed, as the Mr. and I listened to old-time church music.

Our dogs greeted up happily when we got home, and I found the cutest calendar waiting for me in my stacks of mail . . .

I think I’d seen a story online about this little boy and his dog.  The foster family just adopted him; the proceeds from the calendar sales will go towards charities that support foster children.

Yeah, I’m going to enjoy this one all year long.  ❤

And that about covers Christmas.

I’m exhausted.  I think I’ll take a nap now.

Talk to you in 2018!

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