Thursday, June 2, 2016

Saake Summer 2016

I haven't abandoned this blog. Life has just kept happening!

Let me hit the highlights.

In September, 2015, I had my second hysterectomy (finished up everything left behind seven years before, cleaned out new endometriosis growth, took my appendix). Is it ever wonderful to be rid of all that pain. I was so bloated and miserable!

Swollen much? My pre-surgery tummy!

The same month I made a decision, after 3 prior less determined attempts, that I was going to cut all wheat from my diet. (I'm happy to report that I'm still what-free, now migraine-free, down 20 stubborn pounds from my post-op appointment weight (when swelling was already greatly diminished!), and generally feeling much healthier.)

Earlier this spring, 2016.
This year, our 10-year-old earned best behavior in his entire class (measured in "Falcon Feathers" collected throughout the year). The school took him and a few other class winners to a day of mini-golf. Today is his very last day of 4th grade already! He will have a week with grandparents, a vacation Bible school (VBS) week, and a week away at church camp this summer. I'm excited to have several weeks to spend with him myself before school starts again in early August.

Our 13-year old won a generous cash prize (enough to pay her tuition to a special math and science camp she wanted to attend in July) by taking first place locally, then second at state, in an essay contest on patriotism and freedom. The week before math camp, she will be taking a trip (her first time ever to fly as an airplane passenger, though she has been in the co-pilot seat, typically in control of the flight stick, of private planes since she was 8-years-old) to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to attend airplane camp! She won that trip due to a second winning easy through her flying club. She plans to have enough flight hours to earn her pilot's license next year when she is old enough to qualify. She finishes up her year of free voice lessons (from the talent show she won last year) this month and is already begging to take up horseback riding, as she finally got her first taste of the sport this past weekend. She plans to dissect a frog, a fish, several other small animals, and teach her little brother to dissect a worm, over her summer break. She will also spend a week helping direct crafts in my mom's church's VBS.

Our 16-year-old just finished his Junior year of high school. He is spending nearly 9 week living 5 hours from home, interning at Stanford University in a medical office. He left Tuesday morning. We hope to take a weekend trip over to visit him over the summer. He is going to be so changed, so grown up, after a summer of full-time working, research, and managing his own laundry, budget and meals! He may take a evening college course or two as well, while he is over there. For several months we were thinking he might skip Senior year and start college this fall, so I'm thrilled to know he will be moving back home for another high school year at the end of July! When he gets back to Reno, we should finally have time in his week home before the start of the new school year, to get him to DMV to get his driver's license!

Rick started a new job with Nobel Studios in February. He also serves as family logistics implementation and taxi driver! If anyone deserves to earn a trip (or a  new car, or lawn service for the year, or a personal chef who actually knows how to cook...), it is this amazing, dedicated guy! Satan wanted to destroy our marriage through my strokes. I'm so thankful God won!!! I am blessed beyond words to be married to this man.

I am still doing water therapy at least twice a week (sometimes 3 times) and riding an exercise bike, gifted to me by a couple at Sunday School, several non-pool days. I've made myself very sore with a couple of 11 or 17-mile mornings, but I typically average 7-9 miles, 2-4 times per week. Tuesdays are my dedicated writing days. Thursdays have been Bible study mornings, then lunch with the girls, so I get home about the time my kids get off school. (I'm taking the summer off to be home with my kids another day per week, though.) So each week has just one week day for fitting in doctors and dentists and errands and chores. It is a full and busy rhythm, but I am so thankful to be at the stage of stroke recovery where I no longer juggle a dozen or more medical appointments each week! Considering that I "should" be dead or lying in a nursing home, that I get to lead this life is beyond amazing!

My rose garden this morning.

The past couple of weeks I haven't been riding my bike much at all, managing only 3-5 miles when I do. I've missed some water therapy too. In fact, I'm not really even managing to keep up with laundry and dishes and writing and meals well, as my stroke nerve pain as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) seems to be in a bit of a flair. For example, I took an amazing week-long trip to the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference in March (total God provision, read about it here) and did amazingly well physically, both there and upon return, but the weekend trip I just took for Memorial Day is hitting me harder than that whole week! My doctor is assisting me in the last 20-30 pounds I need to loose to get back to my pre-stroke range and I really don't think this medication plays nicely with CFS, but I'm willing to pay the price as I know my weight-loss treatment is short term.

From our Memorial Day weekend. 37 of us gathered at Lake Tahoe to celebrate Rick's aunt and her best friend, for their 70th birthdays!
Other recent exciting happenings around here are that our van decided to commit suicide (throw a piston rod, and we had already decided at last major repair it wouldn't be cost effective to repair another catastrophic issue in that 18-year-old vehicle) on our way home from our Tahoe weekend. Thankfully, when we lost power to both both steering then breaks, Rick was behind the wheel (and handled the emergency SO WELL, I must add!), not our student driver! Thankfully we were already off the freeway and close to home, so Rick managed to limp the poor thing into our cul-de-sac, smoke billowing (too bad it didn't catch fire and take car of disposing itself!) and fluids hemorrhaging, where it died, never to start again. Always wanting to be a mom of many kids, a minivan was always my "dream car." I guess that life chapter is now over. We are now car (or small SUV, something that easily accommodates my walker or wheelchair, along with 3 kids) shopping.

And last, but not least, I wanted to share that as excited as our daughter was to learn to ride horses, I confirmed a new passion this weekend as well. I have wanted to take paining lessons since before I had kids. Water color, I thought. On Sunday I had a chance to try acrylic paining on canvas (one of those sip and paint party places). I felt like a whole new world opened up to me, a brand new area of my heart came alive! To say I loved the experience would be an understatement. I'm not skilled, but the feeling of swiping vivid color across clean, white canvas, just wow! Took me by surprise in the intensity of emotion!!! I'm officially hooked. When and where can I sign up for lessons?

Our daughter's dedication to me on the back of her own painting. :)

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