Thursday, June 30, 2016

Picture of the Week - 6/30/2016


Our backyard looks really different today!  Our swingset is gone. 

We've had that playset since the spring of 2008.  It's over 8 years old.  I guess we got our money's worth.  8 years, 4 boys, many battles and hours spent swinging. 

It's a little melancholy that we've outgrown the little slide and the playhouse.  I do have to admit, the backyard looks bigger now.  And we have big plans for a more adult area down there - someday... 

It's also more than a little shocking that we've been in this house long enough that we've worn out a swing set.  We need new stairs on our back deck.  We need new carpet.  We just replaced our windows.  I don't think we ever expected to STAY in this house.  But we're here.  It's home...  and every little dent and stain was made by us.  It's ours - disintegrating fence and all. 

Here's a picture from when the playset was brand new. 

The boys tore it down this week while I was out in Vegas.  Destroying stuff must be fun because we had half the neighborhood back there swinging hammers and carrying wood up to the driveway.  Tomorrow a waste truck will come and haul it away. 

And just like that...  the end of yet another phase.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend everyone!  We don't have any big plans.  If we can muster the energy, Spencer has a bedroom that needs to be painted.  Or we may just take some aluminum bottles of beer to the pool and chill.  Happy 4th of July!  And Happy Birthday, Tricia.  Welcome to the 40+ club!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Picture of the Week - 6/23/2016

(I'm about to overshare about my health.  If you aren't interested in this - click away.  This is real life...)

So sometime in the late 90s, my right eye started behaving oddly.  It would be fine in the morning, but when I was really tired or sick it would get droopy.  At first this was nothing more than an annoyance.  It was also a way for Bob to recognize when I was tired.  

As time went on, it became clear that this wasn't going away and I brought it up to my doctor.  I was referred to a neurologist, who ran through a bunch of tests.  I had an MRI of my head.  It was a pretty thorough analysis of what was going on.

I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis.

MG is an autoimmune disease which impacts the connections between nerves and voluntary muscles.  It can be serious as in some patients it progresses to involve muscles like the diaphragm - which would be bad.  It also has no cure.

When I was diagnosed, I was put on a medication that is used extensively in MG patients.  And it helped some.  My eye didn't seem to get AS droopy AS quickly.  The medicine has some weird side-effects, but I stuck with it.  

Then I started trying to get pregnant and none of this is wide-spread enough to be studied in pregnant women or nursing babies.  I stopped the medicine.

And then, somehow 15 years passed.  

Recently, the eye is worse.  I know you have all noticed it in pictures.  You are all too polite to point it out, but it's obvious.  It's no longer just when I'm tired or sick.  It's all the time.  And it's more droopy and I have noticed that sometimes even my lower eye lid kind of twitches/hesitates when I'm trying to focus.  Then I got shingles and it happened to involve the same eye/side of my face.  Nothing like drawing attention to the exact spot of my body that makes me most uncomfortable.  Just the fact that I started noticing it and thinking about it so much made me think it was probably time to get it checked out again.

This week I went to a new neurologist.  He reconfirmed the Myasthenia Gravis diagnosis.  And I'm back on the medicine.

On the bright side, given that there hasn't been progression of the disease to other areas of my body, I've now officially in the "Ocular Myasthenia Gravis" camp.  This is good news because, since it's been so long, it's unlikely that I will have any of the more serious complications.  The bad news is that outside of the medicine, there's not too much that can be done to "fix" the droopy eyelid.  

I'm bummed about the fact that I have this, obvious, imperfection.  I am bummed about the fact that I'm now on medication that I will likely take for the rest of my life.  It's minor in the grand scheme of things, but the whole situation is weighing on my mind right now.  I need to figure out a way to shelve it again and just move on.  

A droopy eyelid does not define me.  (my current mantra...)

So here's the "before" picture.  I doubt the "after" will look much different, but even after a couple of doses, it does look SLIGHTLY less droopy.  

And because my droopy eyelid is not so much fun, here's another picture of my adorable little dudes.  I really can't get enough of Zane's smile.  I'm sad because he waited SO long to let those front teeth come out that the new teeth are right behind them.  By the time he starts school in the fall he will no longer that this toothless grin.  

Time passes too fast!

Have a great last week of June all!  I'm heading to Vegas for a conference on Sunday.  The high temperature on Monday is 114 degrees.  It's not Vegas, it's Hell.  

If you happen to be interested in learning more about MG - here's a good site... Myasthenia Info

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Picture of the Week - 6/16/2016

 Pictures from our summer vacation.  St. George Island, June 2016

This gorgeous house was ours for a week!

I may have forced a photo session, but I LOVE the results!

The views were stunning!  We got to see a storm come in, which just made things more interesting - and beautiful - from our oceanfront house.  

The boys all enjoyed the ocean and the sand this year.  It was SO nice to not have swim diapers at the beach!!!  It's been a LONG time since we were able to relax as much as we did this year.

Beckett loved the pool and got so brave after a few days.  By the end of the week he was swimming under water and leaving the sides of the pool!

We rented a kayak, which was super fun, even if Quinn and I were the only ones to flip ourselves.

My handsome boys!


Zane lost his front teeth on the last night.  Thank goodness!  His little smile was so wonky.  I love his little face without front teeth!

Just the right amount of chaos and crazy.  Perfect!

Unfiltered picture of the sunset on the last morning.  I really can't wait to go back again next year.  What a perfect week.  It really was just what my heart and soul needed!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Picture of the Week - 6/2/2016

Changing perspective

I'm certainly not the first person who has ever - or will ever - suggest a change in the way you are looking at something to help make things feel better.  As a quote lover, there are many many quotes out there on this topic from some people much wiser than I am.  

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." - Abraham Lincoln
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."  - Marcel Proust
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss (and quite popular around this graduation time of year)
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." - Henry David Thoreau
"Most folks will be about as happy as they make their minds up to be" - Abraham Lincoln (again...  would love to chat with that guy for a bit)

And the two that I have taped to my monitor in my office
"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you" - adaptation of Chuck Swindoll quote
"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." - Winston Churchill

So why am I spouting off a bunch of quotes?  (And there are LOTS more of them on this topic and others that I love!)  

I have recently had my perspective changed at work with a literal change of scenery.  And we are about to have a very nice change of pace and perspective as we take off for vacation next week.  And then as I was thinking about this during one my to/from work commutes, I realized something else.  These 3 things, have lead me to want to discuss how uplifting and important a change of perspective/view/scenery can be.

First of all the commute realization...  commuting isn't fun.  It's something I try to make the best of and I'm really lucky in that I'm able to work this 7-3 schedule to avoid the worst of the traffic.  Particularly in the afternoons, even at 3:30, traffic can be rough and I really want to get home.  And it's easy for me to fall into a trap, even with a good audio book going, to just get in line and stare at the car in front of me.  And it's kind of a drag.  And then for some reason, I'll look up.  (Without putting myself in danger, of course.)  And when I do I will often feel an immediate sense of increased peace.  Cheesy, but true.  There's almost always beauty in the clouds or the blue sky (or even a grey one) or the very lush green of Georgia.  It's a reminder - a free one - that there's more to life than a commute and the car in front of me.  So now I try to remind myself, whenever I'm on a road trip, to simply look up.  To look around and to recognize all the stuff around me - not just the boring cars and hot, dusty roads.  

Aside - I don't think it's an accident that it's a reminder to "look up".  

The second of these things is my new view at work.  I think I've complained about work enough recently that you are all probably sick of hearing about it.  Honestly, I actually kind of like most of my job.  It's just harder and more stressful than I've had to deal with in a very long time.  If I were miserable, truly miserable, I would move on.  The fact that I'm challenged is actually, oddly, nice.  It's kind of fun to run into difficult situations and work hard to make them better.  (For what it's worth, mean people - both colleagues and clients - still suck.  I can't come up with a positive for mean people.)  So work is work and I am thankful to have a good job.  But my seat in the office was dismal.  It's been several jobs since I've been in a cube.  And while I told everyone (including myself) that I didn't mind going back to a cube when I started here, I probably wasn't being very authentic.  I hated my cube.  Not so much, honestly, because it was a cube as the fact that it was JUST off the lobby and you couldn't even SEE a window from where I sat.  It wasn't awesome.  

And then an opportunity came up for me to move to AT LEAST a better cube.  This was so I could sit near a new engineering team that we just hired that I am working with on a new product.  It's good for me to be near them and I jumped at the chance to get out of the lobby.  This whole thing turned out WAY better than I could have expected when I scored an office.  With a door.  And a window.  And even a guest table.  It's also at the far end of our office space, so it's quiet.  It's SOOO nice.  Check out my new view.  I've been in this office for less than a week and I can't even believe how much it has improved my mood.  It's not a coincidence that I'm able to look up.  To see sky.  Life is bigger than a cubicle.

Next week we get to broaden our horizons a little more - and also those of our boys - with our summer vacation trip.  We are heading back to the beach.  And this year we've scored a great house.  It's the first time in probably 30 years that we will be right on the ocean.  And this house is fully booked 2 years in advance.  No joke.  We've had these reservations for 18 months.  I'm ridiculously excited.  We are down to 3 sleeps...  Be on the lookout for fun vacation pictures next week!

In the meantime - LOOK UP!  Change your view.  Change your perspective.  Find the beauty.