Migratory bird

Migratory bird

Shecklet #2 made a bird last spring for an eco-arts festival his school attended. It has been residing in the kitchen (peeking down from the kitchen cabinets.) Today we needed to make room for the mini houses we display during Advent and Christmas, so Jake and #2 found a new place for the bird to keep watch.

Selfie

Selfie

I’m not big on pictures of myself.  Never have been (as an adult, at least.)  I’m pretty self-conscious, and thus, tend to shy away from having them taken.  I know of at least one article out there on the interwebs that talks about how it’s important for you to take pictures with your kids and for them to see pictures of you as an adult. Not just formal family pictures, but everyday, no make-up on, real life pictures.  As I approach my surgery date, I’m trying to be more open to that – though I wish that wasn’t the reason for my change in perspective.  I have no idea what the impact to my facial nerve is going to be post-surgery.  As I look back on pictures from the last several years, I can see that when I smile, my right eye doesn’t close the same way as my left.  It’s not something that anyone else would likely notice, but I do.  My hunch is that Norman is to blame.

I continue to pray that the only side-effect from the removal of the unwelcome guest in my head will be SSD and nothing else long-term. I’m trying to keep my anxiety over the unknown that I cannot control, in check.  On a related note to that, the number of people who continue to come up to me and tell me they’re praying for me and my family continues to blow me away.  And I know it’s people’s prayers that are getting me through this time of waiting.  How appropriate that we’ve now entered the season of Advent.

The reason for today’s selfie is to document my current ability to smile as well as my new haircut.  I had coffee with a friend this morning and afterwards, instead of going home to pick up the house, I decided to shorten my locks.  I realized last week that when they shave the section of my head for the incision, my current haircut would look really lop-sided due to the layering I had.  I had about 4 inches chopped off and now it will hopefully hide the incision a bit better next month.

Fun at Target

Fun at Target

Two recent trips to Target were not complete without a stop in the Christmas section.

Shecklet #4 took a few calls from Santa and the elves. (I had to tell her which way to hold the phone – she wasn’t sure why it had a cord!)

The boys found themselves heading the wrong way down the chimney.

Playing surgeon

Playing surgeon

While reading to the girls tonight, Shecklet #3 started asking me questions about my upcoming surgery.  While I’m not about to go into the specific details of what the surgeons will have to do (I’m actually keeping some of those specifics from myself as well,) Jake and I have promised the kids to answer their questions honestly.  After we talked about stitches, the reasons why it is good I’ll be “asleep” during surgery, balance, and the unknowns surrounding my recovery, Shecklet #3 asked if she could pretend to be the surgeon who takes out my tumor.  She brushed my hair aside (which she said was her pretending to shave the spot where they’ll have to make the incision behind my ear,) gathered her surgical “tools” and ever so gently removed my tumor.

I have amazing kids.  They continue to handle this entire scary situation with such poise and honesty.  And I’ve been able to draw strength from that.  I have told Shecklet #3 numerous times over the last month that if I have even a fraction of the courage that she has shown throughout her fingertip injury, I know I can get through what I’m facing in January.

T minus less than 2 months…

Cousins in the pool & pearls

Cousins in the pool & pearls

My aunt and uncle are in town to celebrate Thanksgiving with my cousin and his family. Part of their stay involves having the older two grandkids stay with them at a hotel so they can swim. My aunt invites us to bring the Shecklets down to meet their cousins and swim. The 6 kids had a great time spending close to 3 hours in the pool!

After having pizza for dinner, everyone sang HBD to me and we had cupcakes. Yum! Then my aunt gave me a small gift bag containing a Christmas pin of my Grandma Fran’s and the pearl ring she always wore. The pearls in the ring were given to my grandma by my Grandpa Bill – he got them in Japan during WWII. I am thrilled to have this piece of jewelry to remind me of my grandparents 💗

Celebrating another milestone

Celebrating another milestone

I’m turning another year older in a few days – and it’s a “special” birthday.

My friend, Michelle, planned a get together at a local restaurant and a great group of friends showed up to help me celebrate! I wish I had had our server take a group picture of everyone, but one of my friends did capture these pictures for me. (The lone color one is of the ladies I know from our old parish – several who have known me since before we had kids.)

In the invite, Michelle offered to put together a spiritual bouquet for me. On the vase that held 40 roses are the prayers she collected. I can’t tell you how much the love, support, and friendship of the ladies who came tonight (and many others,) means to me – especially as I close in on the “T-2 months til surgery” mark, which coincidentally is my actual birthday. I am truly blessed to have so many beautiful women supporting me in the rough times and celebrating with me in the joyful times. ❤️

Meet my UCSD AN Surgeons

Meet my UCSD AN Surgeons

The two surgeons who I plan to have remove my tumor in January were featured in a press release from UC San Diego Health.  I’m grateful to have had the time to research my options and select a team who focuses on my type of tumor.

I’m still not thrilled with what I’ve had to choose in terms of losing my hearing, but I am working on coming to terms with it.  Accepting, maybe?  I’m sure I’ll feel differently post-surgery when reality hits me, but for now, I’m doing my best to keep my perspective focused on the positive.

Zoo visit

Zoo visit

We took the kids to the zoo to see the animals and vote for the name of the new baby gorilla. It was a pretty nice day for November.

After the zoo, I was able to go shopping with Michelle. It was great to have several hours to catch up (kid-free) and wander through the stores at the mall. I usually don’t care much for shopping, but when you’re with a friend, it’s much more enjoyable. 🙂