Yep. It's Joshie! My baby is 3 years old today. (He's still getting used to putting that third finger up.) Feels like yesterday when my Joshua Dean was placed into my arms. He was born in Murray, Utah at Cottonwood Hospital. The c-section happened at 8:28am on Thursday, July 26th, 2007. He was 9 lbs. even and 21" long.
We all adored him from the start. Emma and Ben couldn't get enough of their little brother.
It's amazing to see how much he has grown these past 3 years.
Josh is my sweet little angel. He was by far my easiest baby, great nurser, slept well from the beginning, rarely cried. I didn't think such babies existed, until I had Josh. He is my content and happy guy, unless he's not feeling well and has an ear infection. He loves getting Emma and Ben to laugh at him, although he doesn't like to be the center of attention.
Josh LOVES sweets. We have a "treat drawer" and all the kids know they get to choose one thing out of there after lunch and dinner. Well, Josh seems to think that rule doesn't apply to him and often I have found an empty KitKat wrapper on the table (yes, he knows how to open them), or I see him chewing a half stick of gum, or face covered with oreo or pop tart crumbs, or carrying around a sticky ring pop. Jake keeps telling me I should move the treats to higher ground but I keep thinking this phase has got to end sooner than later, right? Maybe not.
It's no surprise that potty training is my most unfavorite part of parenting. I'm just going to say it, Ben was a nightmare. Emma was a little better, but still had issues for quite awhile after she "got it." I really, really, REALLY was not looking forward to going through the process with Josh. Don't get me wrong, I yearned for the days of three kids wiping their own bums, but the process it takes to get them that way is no picnic. Thankfully, Josh broke the mold and defied expectations. He was a Potty Training Rockstar. I wrote a whole post about it HERE. He is still doing great 4 months later. In fact, I can't even remember the last time he wet the bed. Crazy. Sorry all you moms out there, he's mine. Go find your own Golden Child. ;)
Josh loves balls. It doesn't matter what kind, shape, or size. Balloons count too... and might even be a tad higher on the "awesome" scale for him. He seems to favor his left hand when he throws which excites Jake a little bit, thinking we might have a future left-handed pitcher on our hands. He is pretty dang coordinated for a little guy and can almost out-kick his siblings (shh... don't tell them that!) HERE is a video of Josh at 18 months, showing his love of balls.
We love our Joshie and are so glad he's in our family. We wouldn't feel complete without him!
I LOVE massages. Love them. I remember being massaged by my mom and my cousin, Tonya, when I was very young. Being the oldest of four, I admit I wasn't the "best" older sister, sometimes begging for massages from my younger siblings, and then never giving them in return. (C'mon now, we are talking 20+ years ago. Don't hold it against me. I admit I was a little selfish back in the day. What 10 year old isn't?!) I dreamt of the day I was married, and my husband and I would give each other massages, helping each other relax and unwind every night. Well, turns out Jake doesn't like massages. And he doesn't like giving them, either. He tolerates it. But he also knows how much I love it, and so a couple times a month he tries to suck up the frustration, keeps it to one or two eye rolls, and gives me a great massage. He really does do a good job. His foot massages are professional. In fact, the best gift he has ever given me (besides my Garmin Forerunner and my iPhone) was a booklet of homemade coupons for 20 foot massages. I was pregnant with Josh and that little booklet was my most treasured item that whole pregnancy. Heaven. Pure heaven. With my mom being here 5 weeks, Jake was very thankful to be getting the extra help... but he was also thankful about getting time off from massages. My mom is also a massage-aholic. (And my dad is like Jake. Doesn't like 'em, doesn't like giving 'em.) So almost every night my mom has been here, we do massages. Emma has caught on to our little ritual, and loves it. In fact, the last two nights she has been the one to ask "When are we going to massage?!" Last night, Josh even got in on the action. We have discovered this new cream called "Udder Ointment" and we have been using it in our massage sessions. It's amazing stuff, makes our legs and feet feel so smooth and soft. It heals dry, cracked skin, and even helps cuts heal quicker. (My mom is putting some on my incision every night and I'm excited to post before and after pictures in a few weeks.) My friend, Polly, owns the business that sells Udder Ointment. She also sells chapstick in four different flavors. (My favorite is mint. I put it on last night before I went to bed and when I woke up my lips were still super smooth, didn't feel dry at all.) Polly offered me a part-time job a week ago to do some customer service for her company. I'm excited to get started (once I'm off the pain meds... don't want narcotics to mess with my brain while I try to work!)
As for an update, I'm getting better and better every day. My ribs are not nearly as bruised as they were a week ago. I was taking pain pills four times a day, and I'm down to twice a day now. During the surgery the doctor cut into my right lat muscle, which I have definitely been able to feel. Because of this, I don't think I'll be doing push-ups for awhile. I am getting stronger though, and can move my right arm all over (something I've had trouble doing the past few weeks.) I've been showering on my own for a few days now. WOO HOO!! I even shaved my legs by myself on Thursday (although, it wasn't a great job, missed a huge chunk down by my ankle.) I'm slowly becoming independent again, and it feels great. I have had a few little "incidents" though, since I've been home. On Monday, I reminded myself very quickly that I really can't pick up the kids. We were at Target, my mom on one side of the store getting groceries, and I was on the other side getting a bridal shower present for my good friend, Jaci. Not thinking, I tried to help Josh out of the cart. He was half-way out and I felt massive pain shoot up my side and I physically could not pull him out any farther. I had to quickly put him back in and Josh, so confused by the whole situation, started crying. It was quite a sight, seeing me in the middle of the aisle trying to get a hold of the pain and trying to breathe normally, and then Josh alone in the cart, crying because he thought mom was punishing him by not letting him out of the cart. We had another little scare on Wednesday night. I stood up too fast and walked into the kitchen to get something for my mom. The last thing I remember was seeing my purse, and then when my eyes opened I was sitting on the couch. My mom said it looked like I was having a seizure, shaking all over. I blacked out and then hit my head on the counter. Thankfully she was only a few feet away from me and was able to carry me over to the couch in the living room. I spoke to my doctor about that and he said I'm most likely dehydrated, and also said my body is adjusting to the difference in oxygen I'm getting now and it takes a little longer for my blood pressure to equalize when I get up like that. I just have to be extra careful, make sure not to go too fast. My mom is watching me like a hawk now, making sure I go slow when I get up, and don't push myself too hard. As I walked on the treadmill this morning, she checked my pulse ox a few times, just making sure I was at the right level and not too high (and I wasn't.) I walked 3.1 miles today... yep, a 5K. My time was 52:03. I'm celebrating. Not "huge-fireworks-I'm-so-awesome" celebrating, but I'm celebrating. My longest walk since before the surgery. I told my mom how hard this whole recovery thing is mentally. As I was walking on the treadmill yesterday, one of my Body Combat songs came up on my iPod and I instantly started thinking of each move in my head, wanting so badly to jump off the treadmill and start punching and doing high kicks. Soon. Very soon. I see my surgeon on the 26th for a follow-up visit and can ask him about that. Hopefully it's only a few weeks until I get the Green Light! In the meantime, 3.5 MPH on the treadmill it is. ;)
Not many people are lucky enough to have a mom who is so genuinely devoted to her children and grandchildren, always making sure their needs are met. I'm lucky enough to have two. I would be ungrateful if I didn't write a post dedicated to my mother-in-law, Jan. She really is my second mom. I tell people often how I lucked out with the Schipaanboord family. Jake and I decided we wanted to get married, even before I had met his parents. This could have turned out very badly, meeting the man of my dreams, and then finding out my in-laws were a nightmare. Didn't happen. I met Jan and Dale in December of 2000. I pulled into Jake's parents' driveway and we immediately walked across the street to their church for a ward Christmas dinner. My heart was wildly pounding, beating a million beats a minute. When I walked into the cultural hall, I saw Jan, smiling, arms open. Instantly I felt calm and at ease. I immediately felt apart of the Schipaanboord family. I can't imagine how scared they were, meeting their future daughter-in-law for the first time, hoping I wasn't a "crazy" who had stolen their son's heart. Jan and Dale were very supportive of us from the start, and that love and support continues to be there, nearly 10 years later. They have been to all of our childrens' births, they come to preschool programs, dance recitals, and primary programs in Sacrament Meeting. They have planned awesome vacations for the family to St. George, Huntington Beach, California, and Lincoln City, Oregon. Jan invites the family over a couple times a month for Sunday dinner, cooking elaborate meals for all 20 of us. She babysits when asked, cooks your favorite meal for your birthday, can fix anything, is a great listener, and is definitely the glue that holds the Schipaanboord's together. She is an amazing seamstress, loves to be outdoors, and can really do just about anything. She always seems to have a million things going on in her life, and yet, you can't tell. She doesn't get stressed easily and manages to keep her life, and everyone else's, on track. She works 4 days a week, takes care of her dad, is the Relief Society president in her ward, goes to physical therapy every week for her shoulders, gives meals, visits the sick, and still is able to be a wonderful wife, mom, and grandma on top of all that. I can't tell you how many times I have called her for a recipe, or needing advice on how to fix something, or just called because it had been more than a week since we had last talked and I had missed her. She is not only my second mom, but also my dear friend. I can talk to her about anything and I never feel like she is judging me. Who can say that about their mother-in-law??! Not very many.
After getting the news about the cancer, I left the doctor's office around 12pm. At 12:20pm Jake was home with me. Jan pulled in right behind him, around 12:30pm. She had left work the second she found out about the news, and headed straight to my house. Jake, Jan, and I cried together. It was a vulnerable and very sweet moment. Dale got to our house as soon as he could, leaving his busy office and work unfinished. He had already called a doctor friend of his, asking all about this type of cancer. Dale and Jake were able to give me a blessing within just a few hours of learning I had the tumor. I know I have great in-laws. But in that moment I felt I had been given choice in-laws. With my parents being two states away, Jan and Dale really have become my mom and dad this past decade, living only 17 minutes away from us. They have seen us through college graduations, births, multiple jobs, stresses, joys, they have been here for it all. And when Jan heard about the cancer and the upcoming surgery her response was "I'll do whatever you need me to do." She offered to take a whole week off of work. She babysat the kids the entire day of my surgery, just so Jake and my mom could be by my side (even though I'm sure she wanted to be there with me, too.) She visited me nearly every day I was in the hospital (Dale, too) and the days she couldn't make it, she called multiple times. She brought me Paradise Bakery soup and a sandwich one day and I was in heaven. (You can only endure hospital food for so long before your tastebuds begin to dull and you feel nauseous at the sight of those hospital trays!) She spent hours and hours in my hospital room, listening to my hopes and fears, talking to me about her day. Jan and Dale were the first to bring me flowers, and they were beautiful and lasted the whole two weeks I was there. Fitting that they were the first flowers to come into my room, and the last to leave. That's just how Jan and Dale are. They are both there from the beginning, and stick it out until the very end. I'm so lucky. I know I am. I call Jan and Dale "mom" and "dad" because they truly are my parents. I'm thankful for their examples, and so grateful they raised such a righteous son to be my husband and father of my children. Thank you for being the "dream" in-laws. I think I've made all daughter-in-laws out there jealous. ;) Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. I love you both.
My first mile on the treadmill at home. 18:39. 6 weeks ago I would be running well over 2 miles in that time (and then run a couple more, then do 30 minutes on the elliptical, then 30 minutes of weight lifting.) It took everything in me not to push that dang "+" button and increase my speed. I want to run. I want to feel my heart beat loudly in my chest. I want the sweat to drip down my body. For now, I have to be okay with 18:39. My aunt Vicki sent me a pulseox over the weekend (thank you, Vicki!) and it's going to be an invaluable tool as I start exercising again. I'm told I shouldn't get my heart rate over 140 right now. You know how HARD that is?!! The pulseox lets me know how much oxygen is in my blood (89 and below isn't good, I stayed between 93 and 96.) It also tells me my heart rate, which hovered right around 137, sometimes going around 145 which meant time to take it down a notch. Dang! A couple more weeks and then I can push it a little more. Here I thought I would be able to run my favorite race, the Hobble Creek Half Marathon, in August. Nope. There is no way that is happening. So I tearfully passed off my registration to my friend, Heidi. I know she will run a good race for me. I told her to get a sub-2 time for me, (which was my goal this year, and something Heidi can easily do!) I had also hoped to run the Top of Utah Marathon in September up in Logan. Not going to happen either. My goal, now, is to do the Ogden Marathon next May, and so I remind myself with each step I take, that it is bringing me closer to that race... and I can't wait! 10 months to go, and I'll be ready!
I also have to say thank you to our special friends, the Tribe's. We don't own a treadmill. I have a membership to Gold's Gym and usually run there or in our neighborhood. Since I'm still on 'no driving' restrictions, I didn't want to make my mom take me all the way to the gym every day, then figure out what to do with the kids for an hour while I worked out. I told Polly about my predicament and she immediately offered to let me borrow her treadmill until I can get back to Gold's. It was quite hilarious watching 6 men try to get the beastly thing into our house. Over an hour later, and after breaking it down into three pieces, we were able to get the treadmill into our living room. It is an awesome machine! You can hook your iPod directly to it and the sound is incredible, there is a fan that blows out cool air while you workout, and there are a bunch of buttons that I haven't even pushed yet. I'm getting spoiled! Thanks, Tribe's, for lending me your clothes rack. ;) Love you, guys.
Hard to believe it's been exactly one month since I found out about the cancer. A lot has happened in the past 30 days. I had two CT scans, over 20 xrays, two bronchoscopies, tons of bloodwork, breathing tests, urine tests, glucose tests, and of course, the surgery (a bilobectomy, taking 70% of my right lung), then 2 weeks in the hospital, 4 days at home recovering, and then the Fundraising Yard Sale this morning. When I lay it all out like that it seems quite overwhelming, but honestly, for me this past month has seemed to fly by. A month ago I felt like I had been thrown into a hurricane, but over the course of this month have remained mostly in the eye of the storm, feeling calm and at peace. I keep waiting to get spit back out, thrashed to the ground, but it seems like the storm is fading right before my eyes. The hurricane that once seemed so huge and ugly, is now nothing more than a whirlwind leaving as quickly as it came. I feel good. I really do. I'm not in much pain. I no longer cough and wheeze. I fall to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, something I have not been able to do in months because of my breathing problems. Yes, I get winded easily and my breathing is shallow, but I just have to remind myself it will take time to adjust to my new lung capacity. I have a small space above my lung which isn't exactly "normal" but I've been told it won't hurt me. I might feel "sloshy" on that side sometimes, so my doctor says, but for now I don't feel it. Instead, I feel "new" and "improved." I am strong. I am healthy. I am alive!
Jake and I are very independent people, it's just a fact. I would rather cut my arm off than ask for help. I love helping others. It's hard to describe the joy I get from delivering a meal to a family who just had a new baby, or helping a friend pack and move, or babysitting when a friend gets in a jam, or sending a card to someone special just because. I know I get blessings when I serve others and I love that warm feeling I get when I serve. I learned a long time ago that when you start feeling sorry for yourself, the best way to pull yourself out of that rut is to look beyond yourself and find others you can focus on. But you know something... I would rather fix a hundred meals for families in need, instead of being on the receiving end. I guess this is just one of my (many) weaknesses, and something I'm learning very quickly to deal with. When I found out that my sweet friends had this yard sale idea, I vetoed it from the start. The thought of me being the recipient of something like that was a little uncomfortable. I'm independent. I don't ask for help. But then I was reminded that others get blessings from serving and it was my time to have people serve me. What a concept. Something I have such a huge testimony of, had just done a 180 and was now staring me in the face. I think I ate not just one piece of humble pie, but the whole dang pie. ;) And you know... it did taste good. As hard as it was to choke down, I did feel that warm, beautiful feeling as I saw others serving me and my family today. As I opened the car door and saw friends and family, busily working, selling hundreds and hundreds of items for our family, I lost it. I could barely speak. Tears overflowed down my cheeks and at that moment I knew what it felt like to be the one on the other side. Not saying I was totally comfortable being there, knowing everything everyone was doing there was purely for ME, but it did feel good. Thankful and grateful don't even seem like words that can describe how Jake and I felt this morning. It seemed our entire city turned out for the event. The local fire station sent out a fire truck and firefighters, passing out hats to the kids and letting them climb all over the fire truck and get pictures taken. There was a man on his way to DI, dropping off a huge trailer full of stuff. When he saw the yard sale he stopped and asked if they would take donations, and then left all his stuff there to be sold. Many, many people were incredibly generous and bought quite a bit of yard sale items. Some handed the cashiers an extra $10, $20, even $100... just because. Someone brought brownies and cookies to be sold at .50 each. Friends and family were there before 6:30am, setting up, organizing, etc. Many of them stayed from 6:30am until it was over and everything was packed up and taken away, well over 7 hours. It was scorching hot, in the high 90s, and yet no one was complaining. Everyone had a huge smile on their faces. I was told that someone was having a fundraising yard sale next weekend for a family with a 9-month old who was diagnosed with leukemia. They all decided that the items that didn't sell would go to that family so hopefully they could make more money next weekend. And so, they pay it forward. My friends and family, who worked so hard for me, gathering, collecting, and organizing these wonderful items to sell, then passed it on to help benefit someone else. How did I get so lucky to have these amazing people in my life?! And the yard sale was a huge success! My friends said we made nearly 3x what they thought we would make, which is AMAZING! Thank you. As inadequate as that sounds, I really don't know what else to say. To all who contributed and supported us in any way this past month, (friends, family, and even those who don't even know me), I say Thank You. We are blessed by you. We are humbled by you. And we love you.
Now some pics from the yard sale (since I know you are all wanting to see them):
The words I have heard the most in the last 39 hours since I've been home from the hospital... Go Slow. Take it Easy. And don't worry, I am. Doesn't mean it's easy, watching my mom as she bends over to put Josh's shoes on, or lift him onto the toilet so he can go to the bathroom, or give Emma a piggy back ride into her room before bed time, or jump on the tramp with Ben. These are all things that just a few weeks ago I wouldn't have a second thought about doing... I would just do it. Yes, life is a little different right now. I just have to remind myself that I'm healing. The worst thing I could do to myself right now is push too hard and do too much. It would set me back. I could cause damage to my body. Such a weird thing to mentally absorb, but I'm trying. As I watched "So You Think You Can Dance" last night, I watched these amazing dancers twist and turn their bodies, watched them work so hard that sweat was beading from every pore, and I wanted it to be ME. I told my mom last night how crazy it is to think just one month ago I was running 10 miles at a time, pushing my body during a weight session with my old trainer, etc. To go from that, to feeling winded just walking slowly up a flight of stairs is crazy. I know it takes time to heal. I have a feeling, though, this is going to be the longest month of my life. Can't wait to jump back on the treadmill, bump it up to 7.0 and go to town! Soon enough. Soon enough.
I was talking with a good friend of mine yesterday, Kendalyn Harris. She mentioned how she thought it would be a good idea to mention the specifics of the Fundraising Yard Sale this Saturday for all those local who wanted to contribute or just come shop. So, here is the ad used on Facebook, Craigslist and KSL:
Saturday, July 10th
8am to 1pm
Winegar's Grocery Store parking lot (3371 Orchard Drive, Bountiful)
Something for everyone:
Leather sofa & loveseat, 42-inch Mitsubishi TV, futon, surround sound DVD player & speakers, treadmill, grill, Making Memories scrapbooking supplies- NEW!, Making Memories tag makers, Xyron sticker/label maker, girl's bike, baseball equipment, NEW king-size quilt & shams, adult, kids, and baby clothes (Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree), crib, baby swing, toddler bed, toys, household items, and so much more.
20+ families throughout North Salt Lake and Bountiful have donated wonderful items to be sold in this yard sale fundraiser, which is helping a young family in North Salt Lake. A 29 year old mom of three was diagnosed with lung cancer in June and had most of one lung removed and is now cancer-free! All proceeds will be donated to the family to help cover their out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Donations for the garage sale are still being taken. If you want to contribute, contact Kim at 801-992-3211 or e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Facebook Event webpage for this can be found HERE. And the listing on Craigslist is HERE.
Jake and I are completely overwhelmed and humbled by all the many, many people who have come together to make this yard sale happen. I want to especially thank Kim Johnson and Abby Cherry, who have spent A LOT of time preparing and organizing this whole thing. You gals are wonderful, and I love you both!
So, I'm a tad embarrassed and disappointed in myself. The whole two weeks I was in the hospital I didn't get ONE picture of my mom and I together. She was always the one behind the camera, taking the pictures. I've apologized profusely and made Ben take one of us this morning. Honestly, I don't know what our family would do without her. She is seriously taking my place as mom this month, doing everything I can't. She is also my nurse, helping me do whatever is needed. Yesterday was the day I could FINALLY take my first 'real' shower (and it was AMAZING!!!) I didn't stop groaning in the shower for probably 2 minutes, because it felt that good. (You would do the same thing if you hadn't taken a shower in 15 days!) My mom climbed halfway into the shower so she could put the shampoo and conditioner in my hair. Then she helped wash it out, getting a little wet in the process. What would we do without moms?! After I was done she helped me tape gauze over my chest tube holes, and helped put my clothes on. She is a real trooper and I love her so much. Thanks, Mom!
Last night we heard a knock at the door and it was FedEx, dropping off a package from Blurb.com I had no idea what it was. When I opened the box up I found a hardbound book, a compilation of sweet messages and pictures from friends I met while up at the University of Utah, while Jake was in law school. These friends are now scattered throughout the world, but I still stay in contact with them all. My friend, Kristy Crane, asked for submissions and created this beautiful 30-page book. It made me bawl like a baby. Thank you to everyone who contributed. You made my day, my week, my month. Love you all!
And of course I need to add a little "mom brag" paragraph. Jake and I told the kids they could sign-up for one fun activity this summer and Ben and Emma both chose swim lessons. It's a two-week program and I was a little worried about their abilities, just because we had only gone swimming once or twice since they had swim lessons last summer and I thought they probably forgot a lot of their skills. Well, it seems Ben and Emma have picked up right where they left off last summer and are doing amazing. Ben can swim freestyle and backstroke across the pool all by himself. Emma is doing "tiger arms" across the pool with barely any help. They both love jumping off the diving board at the end of class. Poor Joshie has to watch them and I'm sure is already counting down the days until he can do it next summer. Thank goodness for our friends, Dave and Stevie Mangum. They have a pool and have let the kids come swim this summer. In fact, we are heading over there today mainly for Josh, so he gets a chance to swim. Thanks, Mangum's. We love you guys!
Well, better close. Swim lessons start soon and I still need to get ready.
I'm a strong-willed woman, wife, mom of three, LDS, U of U grad, runner, gymnastics fanatic, card maker, piano player, slightly OCD, singer, chocolate lover, office manager, cancer survivor, and friend. I started this blog to keep in touch with family and friends, and it slowly turned into my own personal therapeutic outlet. Nothing better than typing out your thoughts, trying to make sense of life.