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A Visit from Chicky

This weekend, the Mr. and I were treated to a visit from our sweet Chicky.

When I found out that she had President’s Day off, I asked if she would consider coming home for the weekend.  The Mr. has been very ill, so I thought he’d cheer up if he could spend time with her.

Now, let me tell you that I have amazing children.  You’ve heard me wax poetic about them in the past.

Chicky has been especially attentive ever since I broke my ankle.  She stayed with us for two weeks during Christmas vacation.  We loved having her home.

She drove up on Saturday and completely surprised the Mr. when she walked in the door.

After she visited awhile, we decided to run some errands.  She was considering upgrading her phone, so off we went to the Sprint store.  She got her phone, and we drove out to the beach to do a bit of shopping.  First, though, she wanted to go to the actual beach to take some pictures with her new phone.  She wanted to try out the new camera on it.

I was a little nervous about walking on the sand but desperately needed to be in my happy place.

Y’all…the weather was perfect…the sand cool to the touch but not uncomfortably so…the water frigid.

Slipping my toes into the sand felt so very right.  I carefully walked to the shore, avoiding as many holes as I could.  My physical therapist told me it was good for me to walk on it (he said this after the fact, so at least I wasn’t in trouble!).

I snapped a few photos of her, and she even agreed to a selfie (forgive my face…I didn’t fix my hair or put on much makeup)…

Yes, I am posting her face for the FIRST TIME EVER!  I asked, and she agreed.

Isn’t she just the cutest thing ever? ❤ ❤ ❤

Because traffic was a bear, it took us forever to do just a couple of things, so we headed home to cook a late dinner.  The Mr. has been going to bed pretty early each night, so it was all he could do to hang on while we made up his fish and mashed potatoes.

She went to bed early because, heck, she’s a teacher and sleeps all the days when she’s not teaching.

We got up and went to church the next morning, and I got a good picture of her and the Mr.  I won’t post that because the Mr. is blog-o-phobic.  Ha!

Then, after lunch, Chicky and I headed out for an hour and a half drive.  I was on the hunt for new sneakers (see yesterday’s post), and we needed to return something the Mr. had bought his mom for Christmas.

I sang and car danced on the way, much to her chagrin.  It would seem that some things (or people) don’t change no matter how much time passes.  😀

Chicky couldn’t resist a little treat.  She’s a healthy eater, so the splurge was a rare one.

Yes, she is adorable, is she not?

I heart her much.

I appreciated having her feedback on the shoes, although she made me chuckle when she told me not to limp while I was trying them on.  I think she forgot that I’m recovering from a broken ankle.  Actually, she hasn’t forgotten because it permeates all of my conversations.

Ahem.

We had a grand time shopping and found a couple of good deals.  Overall, we didn’t spend much, though, despite the temptations we faced at World Market and Fresh Market.

Dinner was fish again for Chicky and the Mr. and a Tomato Basil Pasta recipe I’d made the day before (Oh She Glows has wonderful recipes) for me.

After dinner, she and I settled in for a movie…London Has Fallen…and then she headed to bed.

She and the Mr. left early yesterday morning.  She needed to go back home, and she was dropping the Mr. off at his parents’ house.  They are going to be taking him to his next doctor appointment so I can stay home and work.

Although I’m used to my life as an empty nester, it’s so easy to slip into the new-yet-familiar routine that having your children home brings.  I sure do miss my kiddos when they aren’t here, which is why Chicky’s visit meant so much.

Don’t be a stranger, sweet girl.  You are a blessing.  ❤

Thursday Shenanigans

Yesterday was a busy day at Chez Auburnchick.

But first, can I just mention the Survivor finale from Wednesday night?

The entire season was so emotional!  What a bittersweet ending.

So, back to Thursday.

It was my Friday.

I worked so hard at school and cranked out some grading during my planning period, lunch, and my students’ silent reading times.  I am down to two sets of class assignments…both from the seven total school days I was out with my ankle.  I see light at the end of the tunnel.

When I got home from school, my focus shifted from school work to housework.

Yes, that’s right.  Housework…as in the stuff I’ve been unable to do since breaking my ankle.

First up was the bathroom counter.  I didn’t take a “before” picture.  Trust me.  It wasn’t pretty.  Here’s what it looked like after I finished.

Next, I headed to the kitchen to do the second task the Mr. had requested…the stove.

Once again, there’s no before picture.  Just admire the shiny gleam.

I was careful, I promise.  I kept my knee on the scooter and didn’t reach out in crazy directions.  Yes, it was slow-going, but I got both tasks done in plenty of time to wrap my first present of the season.

The Mr. has wrapped all of our other gifts.

After that, I fed the dogs for the first time since I got hurt and let them out to potty.

Go me!

By that time, the Mr. had gotten home from work, so I sat down, iced my ankle, and knit while I caught up on a few shows I had on the DVR.

Can we talk irony for a moment?  I started a new sock project right after my surgery and, without realizing it, have been working on the right sock…which I can’t try on until I get my cast off.  Sigh.  I’ve modeled it on the left foot for now.

It was weird…watching TV while knowing that I didn’t have to go in to work the next day (Friday).

We were staying up later because we had special plans.

It got dark, and we got in the car and drove to the airport.

We sat and waited about 45 minutes…

I couldn’t keep the smile from my face…

Time quickly passed, and before I knew it, I was crutching my way toward my sweet boy and his girl…reunion in full-on mode.

Y’all, I’d anticipated this moment for weeks.  In the last few days leading up to the evening, I’d gotten teary-eyed a few times just thinking about it.

Of course, my plans had originally included a tackle hug, but after my little “fall,” I had to reimagine the affair.  It turned into a careful, step–by-step walk into my boy’s arms.

Cue the tears…for real this time.

I hugged his girl afterward, such a sweet young lady she is.  The bonds are strong after having weathered basic training separation anxiety together this past spring.

Having them in the car with us as we drove them to the house was pure bliss.  Going to sleep knowing that they were only a couple of rooms away…well, I don’t even know if I can describe the feeling.

They’ll be on this side of the states until after Christmas.  You know that I’m going to enjoy every single second of it.  More shenanigans are to be had, that’s for sure!

“I Don’t Do 6am”

There’s nothing like being laid up…having to depend on your spouse for everything…to force you to deal with one another’s idiosyncrasies.

Y’all, this experience is marriage counseling on steroids.

Let me list the things that I depend on the Mr. for:

  • Getting me to the restroom when I wake up and am groggy.
  • Selecting my clothes each day (one of my students told me I looked “snappy” yesterday.
  • Getting a chair out so I can put makeup on each morning in front of the bathroom mirror
  • Getting my breakfast and cleaning up after me
  • Getting my vitamins
  • Fixing my lunchbox
  • Getting my stuff to the car each morning
  • Driving me to work
  • Escorting me to my classroom.
  • Pushing my wheelchair to the numerous before-school parent conferences that have coincided with my return to school.  He makes sure I’m set up for the day before he leaves for his own job.
  • Picking me up from school (friends are helping too)
  • Keeping the house clean
  • Taking care of our dogs
  • Fixing my dinner
  • Icing my ankle
  • Helping me get bathed and into my pajamas
  • Washing my clothes
  • Decorating for Christmas, shopping, and wrapping presents
  • All other duties as required

This man, though.

He has rarely complained…except at 6am.

This guy, on my first day back to work on Wednesday, had a hard time dealing with an early wake-up call.

Oh.

My.

Goodness.

There I sat, proud as could be, of the fact that I’d straightened my hair and put on makeup, and he was like, “I’m not going to tell you, ‘Good job.’  I don’t do 6am.”

Ahem.

For a gal who has done 4:30-6:00am for the last 26 years, this was a little funny to hear.

He’s not a morning guy.

He’s a 9am, I-can-function-now, kind of man.

Even on the way to school yesterday, he grumbled.  I jokingly said, “It’s because you don’t do 6am.”

He nodded in agreement.

Now, let him fuss a bit at 6pm, as he did yesterday on the way out to eat dinner, and he was all good.

Because while he doesn’t do “am,” he is very good at doing “pm.”

Ha!

Despite the many adjustments to our routine that this injury has forced upon us, there is still so much good.

When we get frustrated with each other, we talk it out.

I’m learning that I have to be careful how I comment about things that need to be done so that he doesn’t think I’m ordering him around.  Merely commenting on something is sometimes too much for his already overburdened mind.

He’s tired.  He’s functioning as two people right now.  I get that.

I am recognizing his need to decompress between work and our night ritual.  I respect that.  He needs a bit of time just for him without running after me.  Though he’s ready to jump up and do what I need, I’m letting him be for that time so he can recharge a little.

He’s learning that I’m going through some fears right now.  Although I’ve always been pretty strong emotionally, this fracture did a bit of a number on my psyche.  He’s being very tender toward me to help ease me through some things.  He’s making accommodations for those fears to keep me placated, and he’s doing this in a very patient manner.

There’s a lot more give without fussing, because ain’t nobody got time (or tears) for that.

We are figuring out what is important and starting to ignore, or quickly let go of, what’s not.

I’d like to think that this process is cultivating an appreciation for one another’s roles in our marriage.  I think that the Mr. realizes all of the extra things I did before, and I’m seeing what a tender heart lies under that crusty exterior.

“Thank you” is going a long way in our home.  Mutual respect, which time had eroded, has returned.

He may not do 6am, but he’s my knight in shining armor, nonetheless.

#findingjoyinthejourney is alive and well in Chez Auburnchick.

 

Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

I selected the graphic above because it resembled the Mr. and me.

This is the first time we are spending Thanksgiving alone.

In all of our married lives.

We were going to host our family for Thanksgiving lunch, but when I broke my ankle on the 13th, our plans had to change.  I’m not exactly ready to cook yet.

We wouldn’t have had our kids at home.  Chicky drove back to her apartment after spending a couple of days with me during my surgery.  Rooster and his gal are all the way across the country celebrating their first Thanksgiving together as newlyweds.  The Mr.’s parents and our own siblings and their family (remember that they are married to each other) are in Bigger City, Florida, where I had my surgery, and driving back over was definitely out given my recovery process.

And so it is that we find ourselves alone at home.

Rather than focusing on the negatives, I am going to, once again, find things to be happy about.

  1. My Faith – God is my rock; He’s my stronghold.  He is strong…especially now that I am exceptionally weak.  I do not know what I would do if I couldn’t call on His name, both in praise and in desperation.

    From a recent First5 devotion

    From a recent First5 devotion

  2. My Husband – This man continues to impress me.  I’ve cried a super lot since I broke my ankle and for a number of different reasons…pain, frustration, and gratefulness.  I figured that he’d be super tired of all of this by now, but it seems as though he’s actually gotten energized with each day.  Maybe part of this is because the shock of it has worn off.  Maybe it’s that we’ve developed a new routine.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that he’s become even more thoughtful.  Learning that my bones are brittle has given him a mission…something he can do, as opposed to being able to essentially do nothing about my ankle being broken.  He has been researching how I can get more calcium into my diet, and he’s already gone out and bought specific food to help me fine tune my regimen.  The man even bought turnip greens, and he’s going to cook them today!  It’s incredible to watch him in action, and I can honestly say that I love him more today than even a week and a half ago.

    Rice cake with almond butter

    Rice cake with almond butter

  3. My Children – Chicky came home in time to sit with me before my surgery, and she took care of me the first night after my surgery.  She also drove me home the next day.  She has texted me every day that she hasn’t been with me just to see how I’m doing.  Rooster has called me every day since I got hurt.  He calls when he’s on his way home for lunch or when he’s finished work for the day.  His girl has texted me too, so I’m getting even more love.  These children of mine may not know how much their calls mean, but I try to tell them each time we talk how much I appreciate their thoughtfulness.  I’m often in tears after speaking with them because my heart feels as though it’s going to burst from all of the love I feel.
  4. The Rest of the Family – The Mr.’s parents opened up their home to me.  They allowed me to disrupt their quiet lives so that I would be close to my surgeon and the surgery center and so I would have a comfortable place to both prepare for and later begin my recovery from my surgery.  They’ve texted me every day that I’ve been home to check on how I’ve been doing.  They’ve prayed for me and asked for prayer for me at their church.  Super Sis made a pasta salad that was vegan-friendly, and I ate on that for dinner both nights I was at our in-laws’ house.  She also came over for a sister sleepover the night before my surgery.  She made sure that I made it to the bathroom without falling and even straightened my hair.  There is always a lot of laughter involved when we are together.
    Me...waiting in the bathroom...while Super Sis ran back home to get her straightener.

    Me…waiting in the bathroom…while Super Sis ran back home to get her straightener.

    Goofy faces with my seester

    Surgery hair is ready!

    Surgery hair is ready!

    Chicky and I stopped by to say goodbye before we headed home on Tuesday.  She’s a runner like me. ❤

  5. Friends – So many people have been praying for me since I broke my ankle.  Several have texted me every day; some have come by to bring meals, gift cards for meals, and even a book!  One prayed for me before she left.  You know what?  They haven’t forgotten about me either!  It would be easy to stop calling and texting now that I’ve had the surgery, but the contact has increased…just when I need it most.  Until 1am yesterday morning, the pain was out of control.  Knowing that I’m not alone…that I have people to lean on…has made this easier to bear.
  6. Fur Babies – They don’t understand what’s happened.  They only know that I’m not as accessible as I’ve been.  They want their mama back to normal so I can curl up with them in bed and snuggle with them again.
  7. Yarn – It takes my mind off of the world around me.  It allows me to create fun things to gift to friends.  It’s one of my escapes.

    Notice the name of the colorway? I bought this in San Antonio when I went to Rooster's Air Force graduation.

    Notice the name of the colorway? I bought this in San Antonio when I went to Rooster’s Air Force graduation. My ball winder is broken. My swift is not, thank heavens. I hand-wound that skein of yarn. It took me awhile, but I did it the old fashioned way!

  8. Humor – Imagine how much of a dull place this world would be without humor.  My doctor displayed some humor when he put a smiley face on my big toe when he visited me in pre-op.  Ha!
    See the smiley face on my big toe?

    See the smiley face on my big toe?

    I received the following card from my daughter-in-law’s parents.  The cover is the inset picture.  Her dad’s clever blurb is the bigger picture.  It made me laugh out loud for real.


    I found a bit of humor in the Charity Miles announcement that appeared on my phone Tuesday morning…the day after my surgery…

    And then there was this…one of my bracelets that I got ready to cut off when I got home on Tuesday…

    The Mr. said that I should have been wearing this BEFORE I actually fell!

    The Mr. said that I should have been wearing this BEFORE I actually fell!

  9. Books – They take me away to other worlds.  I received this book from one of my favorite young adult writers, Allison van Diepen, on Tuesday.  She and I are friends on Twitter and Facebook.  She’s great about sending me pre-released copies of her new books.  I cannot wait to dig into this one!
  10. TV – I know, I know.  TV is bad.  I don’t have it on during the day, unless it’s a Saturday and there’s football on, but at night…that’s a different story.
    I vegged out to the Dancing With the Stars Finale (Monday night's show) when I got home on Tuesday.

    I vegged out to the Dancing With the Stars Finale (Monday night’s show) when I got home on Tuesday.

    Did you watch Survivor‘s show last night?  Oh my gosh!!  It was a double episode, and the second tribal council packed a punch, let me tell you!!

And so that’s my list.  It’s by no means all-inclusive.  I’ve left so many things out.  The point, though, was to think happy thoughts…to move beyond my temporal sadness to see the big big picture.

God has blessed me abundantly…far more than I could ever hope for and that which I would never ever deserve.

I pray that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

Unsung Heroes

Caregivers.

They do not get near the attention they deserve when caring for a loved one who’s down and out.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have often overlooked them as well.

Until this week.

From the moment that I fell, my Mr. has gone into overdrive.

The Mr. has usually been in the background.  He has always been a quiet, firm foundation for our family.

I’ve always been the one to take care of the day-to-day minutia.  In other words, I’ve been the loud one.

Ahem.

His job is very demanding; he’s always on call.  Hence, I’ve been the one to take care of bumps, bruises, and other emergencies and not-so-emergencies.

With both kids grown and out of the house, the Mr. and I are each other’s primary focus now.

There aren’t a whole lot of other people to fill in the gap.

The breaking of my ankle has been traumatic on both of us.  Watching him handle it has given me pause to think.

All of a sudden, he has had to do everything.

He had to decide which hospital to take me to.

He had to figure out how to get me to the car…easier said than done when I was screaming out in pain the entire time (no exaggeration).

He held me over the bedpan in the ER…three times.

He might have gagged a bit, bless his heart.

He had to figure out how to get me out of the car when we got home after that long night.

He’s been behind me every time I’ve gotten up to use the restroom.  Neither of us trust my ability to navigate on crutches.  My clumsiness got me into this mess.

I am sleeping on the recliner in the den.  He has gotten up almost every night…in the wee hours…to check on me…to ask if I need to use the restroom.  If he hears me moan in pain, he’s there.

He called around for recommendations on surgeons and then made my doctor’s appointment.

He drove me two hours to the appointment, sat and listened to every word the doctors and nurses said, filled my new pain prescription before we left this city, and drove two hours home.  He was exhausted but kept on trucking.

He’s planned every meal I’ve eaten, except for the dish brought by a sweet gal from our church.

He’s gone to the store just because I had a hankering for orange juice, and he got Mexican takeout because he knew it was my favorite.

He helped me figure out how to bathe and monitored me closely to make sure that I didn’t get any water in my cast.

He’s been the primary caregiver of the dogs as well, letting them out every single time they have had to go…feeding them…comforting them during this weird time when their mama cannot snuggle with them.

While keeping up with me, the dogs, and the house, he’s also worked from home.

He’s also working on rehearsal dinner preparations and thinking about Christmas.

He’s trying to figure out how to decorate for Christmas because our human babies will be here in a few weeks.

He hasn’t figured out how to scoop dog poop.  I think he’s leaving that task to me.

Caregiving has its limits.

Ha!

This man is my hero.

He has completely put my needs in front of his own.

Y’all, marriage is tough.

There have been times when we didn’t know if we were going to make it.

Fortunately, we are past those days.

When I look at the Mr., I see a man who is exhausting himself in his attempt to be and do everything so that I can make a complete recovery.

I love him dearly and pray that I never take him for granted again…that when it’s my turn to be his caregiver, that I’ll be more patient (I’m not known to be), just as he has been.

When we look around at other caregivers, let us all remember that there is so much that we don’t see.  They are putting on brave fronts, pretending like they’ve got things under control (most don’t), and that all is hunky-dory.

While we pray for those who need healing from whatever is ailing them, let us also pray for those who are providing the day-to-day triage care.

They are unsung heroes.

Weekending, the Auburnchick Way

How I love, love, love my weekends.

Seriously, though.

I honestly cannot remember what I did on Friday night.  My school’s football team had an away game, so I stayed home and relaxed.

I may have gone to bed early.  In fact, I remember that I did…right in the middle of watching my DVR’d episode of The Blacklist.

I’d worked super-duper hard all week, and I was just worn out.

Saturday, I wasn’t feeling very well, so I stayed in my pajamas and hung out in front of the TV all day.

I do love college football season!!

I got out the stockings I’d knit over a year ago along with the fabric I’d had cut this past summer and proceeded to add liners.

The Mr. and I stressed over our beloved Auburn Tigers, but they pulled out the win, so we were exceptionally happy the rest of the day.

Later that evening, I whipped up a batch of Detoxinista’s Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal Cups.

Although mine turned out a little gummy on the bottoms, the flavor was divine!  I made a double batch and am sharing them with my friend at school.

I ate the first one while reading up on the next Beachbody program I’m going to start soon.

It’s a three-month program that I may do twice.  My plan?  Beast abs by bikini season.

On Sunday, the Mr. and I attended church.  Getting up was a lot easier after the extra hour of sleep we got from setting our clocks back.

I know a lot of people don’t like it getting dark earlier, but when you wake up at o’dark 30, seeing daylight makes it a little easier.

After church, we ran a few errands (more on those in a later post) and headed home.

I found a few minutes to indulge in a few selfies with the fur babies.  They are just so danged cute, and the day was incredible!

A nap attack hit me hard that afternoon, and I crashed for a couple of hours before getting up to make a pot of black bean soup.  The Mr. grilled out while I cleaned up the kitchen.

After watching a couple of television shows, I called it a night.

Weekends always seem to go by so quickly, don’t they?!

The good thing about this one is that it led into a four-day work week because of Veteran’s Day this Friday.

Silver linings, folks, silver linings.

Blast from the Past

Last Friday, the Mr. took my car and traveled a few hours to eat lunch and spend time with his parents.

When he returned, I got ready to take the car out to my school’s football game.

“There’s a tent in the back,” he said.  “I’ll get it out this weekend.”

Well, Sunday came, and the tent was still in there, so after grocery shopping, I went to get it out.

I had to stop and collect myself for a moment or two.

Y’all…the sight of this tent brought back so many memories.

We bought it eons ago when the kids were playing travel soccer.

It was the thing that parents did.  They bought tents, bought big SUVs to hold such tents, and they traveled from one tournament to another with said tents.

Then, each dad loaded his tent on his shoulders and walked the forever distance from the parking lot to the field the team was playing on.

Sometimes, it took two or three dads to put up a tent.  They weren’t super easy back in the day.

The sight resembled what I imagine to be a barn raising of old.

We got to be pros at this by the time the kids had graduated.

If those tent flaps could talk, boy would they have stories to tell.

They would tell of screams of joy and tears of sadness, depending on how the games were going.

They would speak of many shouted “Ohhhhhhhhhs” at good plays and the covering of faces at missed opportunities.

They might contain strands of pulled hair from stressful games when all we could do was grip our tendrils in desperation.

The tent would certainly tell of frigid days when prayers were offered up for the cessation of rain and, during the heat of summer, a lessening of the hotter-than-hell temperatures that rendered hair straighteners useless and wet, cold towels a blessing.

They might tell of muttered, multi-colored words spoken against horrible refs who either needed glasses or retirement papers.

Oh yes, our tent would be able to speak volumes, let me tell you.

We passed our tent down to Super Sis and her husband.  Our youngest nephew had begun his baseball career, and they were living our lives all over again, with a different sport.

Nephew boy is now a senior.  They have no need for the tent, so the Mr.’s mom gave it back.

I’ll be looking to either sell or donate it.

The memories, however, will stay.

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