Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas with the Family

Seldom will all my children cooperate to take a family portrait. Here's one with my folks and me, as well as the critters. This was the day after Christmas, after all the presents had been opened and played with and cast aside. Fun times.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eventful few weeks

Since my last post, my life has taken a dramatic shift. On October 1, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. This is an incurable auto-immune condition that affects my digestive tract. I've been poked and prodded and tested and examined. Some tests weren't so bad, but others were miserable. Since June, I've lost 45 pounds just because I really can't eat very well.

Last week, things really came to a head. After a couple of weeks of being really low on energy and feeling pretty cruddy, I finally succumbed to the pain and nausea and made a visit to the emergency room. They got me fixed up and I came home, only to return two days later for a four day hospital stay. I was severely anemic and dehydrated, so I had a blood transfusion and some fluids. I had lots of antibiotics, steroids, anti-nausea meds, and who knows what else. I finally began to be able to eat and hold down food again and they released me on Friday. Saturday night I experienced the worst pain I've ever felt and horrible nausea. Back to the ER I went on Sunday morning for more pain meds, anti-nausea meds, and of course, steroids.

I've been home since Sunday afternoon, trying to rest and get myself back together. I find that my thinking is foggy and I'm physically and mentally weak. I have returned to work today, and I'm mostly just a warm body in here. I can't really "teach" but at least I'm here. The steroids are working and the pain is decreasing. I had my first official treatment in the hospital, two shots of a new immunosuppresant biological drug called Cimzia. I get two more shots next week, then two in two more weeks, then down to once a month.

I'm getting my appetite back and feeling a little more spry. I'm depressed because I feel like I can't take care of my family the way I should and there are so many things I want to do but can't because I'm sick. Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of my first date with John. We want to go downtown and experience the "Candlelight Tour" and have dinner, but who knows if I will be able to do that or not. I'm just trying to hang in there and figure out what life looks like for a chronically ill person who can't afford to be sick.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random thoughts for the first half of September

  • The boys will be two in a week. HOLY cow. How did that happen?
  • I have a crap load of papers to grade, yet I am sitting at my computer. Hmmm...are they going to grade themselves? Maybe the grading fairy will stop by.
  • I just realized I forgot to make vocabulary packets for my sub to give out on Monday, so guess what I get to do tomorrow???? It won't take ten minutes, but still...
  • I don't want to go to church tomorrow. I mean, my church, which is the most boring church in the universe. I want to go somewhere fun and alive that I wouldn't be embarrassed to invite people to visit. How sad is that?
  • Today, I watched a lizard crawl up and down the side of our neighbor's house for like an hour. I hate HATE hate lizards. This is the first one I've seen in Frankfort. I think we need to move. If McCain wins the election, I'm going to Canada. Maybe John can become an ice road trucker. I'm sure they don't have lizards there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Austin and this is my other brother Austin

John had a run in with the neighbor boys this weekend. One of the little darlings across the street, accompanied by his visiting half-brothers who are twins, decided that it would be fun to throw rocks at our garage and at John's car. As a result, we are now getting to know our neighbors.

Here's where it gets funny. The kid's name is Austin. The mother said he was named after a soap opera character. One of the twins is also named Austin. His mother also named him for the same heartthrob. Now, to clarify, these boys are half brothers. They have different mothers but the same father. The boys are maybe a year or two apart in age. AND THEY HAVE THE SAME NAME.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blogging on my planning period and other cardinal sins

I think I could get fired for blogging on school time. However, my brain is just popping with stuff right now, so I gotta get it out.

I am afraid that I am the worst teacher ever. I had this beautifully planned syllabus, lovely activities, well thought out reading choices, and I feel like all of it is just falling apart right before my eyes. I don't know what I'm doing and I'm sure it shows. They are eating me alive.

I spent about ten hours here last weekend. I need to come in again this weekend, but I REALLY need to be home and take some time for myself.

Okay, deep breath. I feel better now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


School starts in two weeks and one day. Holy cow! I am sooooo unprepared. I will be teaching three sections of eighth grade language arts, and I KNOW what to do there. However, I also have been assigned two sections of English I, and one of those will be an Honors class. I'm flying blind.

The stress is starting to get to me. Night before last, I dreamed that I just completely skipped the four required professional development days and opening day for teachers (they have donuts....why would I skip???) and showed up on August 1, pouting because I didn't know what I was doing and looking for someone to blame. In the dream, my new principal nearly fired me on the spot. Can anyone say, "ANXIETY"???

I have my little notebook where I've assembled my plans for the first quarter for eighth grade, but my ninth grade pages are full of question marks and statements like, "Why am I struggling with this so hard???????" It's not like I'm not trying to figure it out! I am, but I'm coming up with nothing! So, if inspiration doesn't strike me, we'll just play the name game and write about how we spent our summer vacations for nine weeks.

Gotta do better than that!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A testament to my fine housekeeping skills

I guess it says something about the kind of housekeeper I am when I roll out the vacuum cleaner to suck up the goldfish disaster that is my living room floor, and Sam completely flips out. Like my Hoover upright is the scariest monster he's ever seen. Do I vacuum that infrequently that he doesn't know what it is????

It's not that I don't enjoy having a clean house. I do . I just don't enjoy cleaning it! I pretty much wait until a job has to be done before I do it. This is not a source of pride for me, but it's just how I'm wired. Take me or leave me as is, cause June Cleaver I'm not!

My dad, out of sympathy or despair, I'm not sure which, provides me with a little slush fund each month that allows me to hire someone to come in and clean my house weekly, I suppose to help me keep my house from being condemned. Thank goodness!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I can't sleep.

For once in my life, I have insomnia. I am usually a GREAT sleeper. John says it is one of my talents. I can fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, and I've been known to sleep through earthquakes.

Not tonight. Tonight, I am wide awake. I think I know why...I've been off caffeine for about a week and a half. I was drinking a cup or two (or three ) of coffee in the morning, then multiple Diet Cokes throughout the day. However, post-op, I kind of went cold turkey. Coffee hurt to drink and tasted funny, and I was down to less than one Diet Coke a day. Tonight, I had a coffee craving, so I cranked up the Senseo and made myself some yummy mocha-hazelnut-vanilla stuff. I only drank about half, and that was five hours ago. I overestimated my tolerance, I think! The caffeine compounded with the totally out-of-whack sleep pattern I've fallen into since my surgery has got me really wound up.

I am so wired that I actually got out of bed at 12:30 to put some laundry in!!! John woke up and saw the light on in there and got worried...and rightly so. I don't spend much time in the laundry room, as evidenced by the mounds of dirty clothes in the floor. I was sick of staring at the clock and I figured I'd better do something productive.

Now, I think I'll curl up on the couch and see what's on television at this ungodly hour. I'm going to regret this tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Makeover Mania

Yesterday, I decided that I needed a new look. I had a few free hours (i.e., kids with grandparents), so I headed the minivan over to the west side of town to Merle Norman. I walked in and the lady at the counter asked if she could help me. I told her yes, I needed the works! And, I got it!!!! Then, I trotted over to SuperCuts and got a $12 special. I even splurged on a new ensemble at Cato.

Here are the results....

Before...yes, I had even put on make up and attempted to fix my hair. It just wasn't working.


Hey, I'm happy with it!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Check your firearms at the door

I went to the hospital this morning to do my pre-op paper work for my tonsillectomy, which is, as you know unless you've been living under a rock, tomorrow! I had to give them a few vials of blood, which I hate. I kind of figure I need all I have, right? I had to sign off on a variety of really important items. Most importantly, I promised that I wouldn't sue anyone if they killed me and that if I did sue someone it wouldn't be the hospital, but the doctor who doesn't actually work for the hospital.

I had to put up a 10% co-insurance payment plus $250 deductible. In the time Rachael Ray could crank out two meals, my tonsils and adenoids will be gone for the low, low price of $4000. Interestingly, if you pay your co-insurance in full up front, you get a 20% discount, so my surgery is essentially ON SALE! Love it! I have to wonder how many people stiffed them before they enacted this policy, though. And, if you do stiff them, what are they going to do...put your tonsils back in?

The most interesting part of the whole morning was the pre-teaching part. That's where they tell you what to do and not do before your surgery, what not to bring with you, and what to expect afterwards. The highlights are as follows:
  • Don't wear makeup. WHAT?
  • Don't bring any valuables with you. Valuables....what do they mean? I'm going to be there for about three hours. What valuables would I bring?
  • Don't eat or drink after midnight, I guess because you'll turn into a gremlin. Hey, I'll be a major bear without my coffee in the a.m., but that's their problem.
  • Don't bring any FIREARMS OR EXPLOSIVES with you. Seriously. I'm gonna need someone to take care of my extensive collection of handguns and grenades tomorrow, since I'm usually packin' heat where ever I go.
Expect an update from my later this week, while I'm still on painkillers. It should be a good one!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer at last...

At last, my time of service in Clark County has come to an end. It has been interesting, as I'd spent all the other years of my teaching career in another school district, where I'll thankfully be returning to this fall. I learned a LOT about teaching, politics, personalities, gas mileage, and myself this year. Some was good...some not so much. I won't say more than I'm glad it's over, and now my summer can begin.

Ah, summer. This summer, I'm planning to have my tonsils removed, recover from that, plan for my upcoming school year, take a quick trip with John for our 8th anniversary, read, crochet, and hang out with my kids. Oh, and I'll be turning 31 in a couple of weeks.

School starts August 1, so I'd better stop procrastinating and start enjoying my summer.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quick Update

Wow...I've written a dozen blog posts in my brain over the last month, but I've not published any of them. What's that about?

So, adoring fan(s), here's the rundown on life at Casa Gilbert:
  • My mother told me that I don't give Audrey enough attention. This all stems from the fact that one night, about 8:00 when she should have been heading to bed, Audrey wanted to play with glue and I wouldn't let her. Whatever.
  • My tonsils are coming out on June 11.
  • School is out on June 2. I'm already finished, mentally.
  • I went to The Monkey Thursday night with my friend Johnna and her friends. They are all my mother's age (but much more fun than my mother). We conversed about mammograms, knee replacements, and hot flashes. I had a blast.
  • I had a California Shrimp Salad at Applebee's today and it was great. Shrimp and avocado...what could be better???
  • A guy who works with John guessed John's age as at least 38. He is, in fact, 31. I love it.
  • I have many new gray hairs. I do not love them. But I am not sure what to do about them.
  • Jack has taken to biting. I knew it was coming. He's an aggressive little bugger.
  • Sam is obsessed with horses. At first, he was scared of them, but now he's all about the "neigh neighs."
  • Audrey....I don't know. I just haven't been paying attention lately....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

People are so odd

I've had strep throat about six times this school year, including my most recent diagnosis from last week. Last time I had it, I think February, my doctor decided that enough is enough and I need to get my tonsils out. That's planned for June 11. Until then, I just have to suffer through never ending bouts of strep and repeated rounds of antibiotics.

I've tried to do my own research on this to find a way to make my life less miserable between now and the impending tonsillectomy. In my most recent search, I decided to view the images associated with strep throat. I expected to see some clinical shots and even those lovely unrealistic medical text book drawings. I found a few of those, but primarily, I found lots of shots of people who took pics of their gross looking throats and posted them for the world to see.

WHY? I mean, when I feel strep coming on, I sneak a peak at my tonsils to confirm my suspicions. Strep is nasty looking. I don't want YOU to see my tonsils, even on a good day. Why, oh, why would anyone think that their buddies would like to see their infected pus-filled throats? EEEEEWWW.

I'm grossed out enough for today. I guess I'll save the search on hemorrhoids for another day!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Battle of the Pink Purse

Jackson is a bully. I love him, but he's not the nicest brother in the world to Sam. Samuel, on the other hand, is as sweet as he can be, but he's a bit of a whiner. I'm frequently required to mediate struggles between the two. I'm working on teaching Sam to fight back, but so far, no luck.

Anyway, the boys are playing in their little area this afternoon. Sam has made some soup and he's pretending to eat it. Jack is racing cars. One of them discovers this little pink purse that Audrey plays with. After some back and forth, Sam decides to carry it around for a while. Jack doesn't seem to mind...at first. He goes on about his business playing. Suddenly, I hear this ear piercing wail, unmistakably Sam. I check out the situation and hear myself uttering the following phrase, "Hey, Jack, don't take his purse away!"

You know what they say...boys will be boys!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wrong on so many levels...

Yesterday, I was cruising down I-75 behind this old-man looking truck with Ohio tags. He had several bumper stickers, but without glasses, I couldn't really make them all out. However, one had large enough font that I could see the first line, but I had to do a bit of tailgating to get the full message.

I'll transcribe it as it was printed, but the italics and red lettering are mine:


Now, aside from being mortified by the sheer tackiness of the message, I was fully appalled at the fact that someone would spend perfectly good money printing bumper stickers without proofreading first.

In fact, if it had read "you're" instead, I probably would have just rolled my eyes and not wasted my time blogging about it. Aren't you lucky!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

One of my projects!

This is the baby blanket I made for my friend Kim!

Spring Break at last!

I've sooooo enjoyed the first half of my spring break. I've done very little of consequence and I've managed to shore up some much needed rest. I feel like a new woman.

I've had the opportunity to work a little on some of my craft projects. I finished a baby blanket for my friend Kim, and started one for my friend Erin. I bought materials for a granny square afghan that I'm going to start when I finish the blanket I'm working on now. I have also started researching beading. I think I would enjoy making jewelry, but I'm not yet sure how to get started without spending a small fortune. I never thought I would become "crafty" but it is happening!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March Madness

Do you think they call it this because when John watches basketball all day it makes me mad??????

In other news, I managed to get a hair cut (SHORT!) and pedicure (first one since August, thank you very much--- my name is Elly and I'm a pedi-holic) today. And tonight, I colored my hair. It is officially brown now. It has been brown beneath the scalp for years, but I've been resisting. I painted Audrey's nails and now need to get all the Easter prep done...iron the outfits, stuff the baskets, and whatnot. The in-laws are coming to go to church with us, then we're going to John's sister's house for dinner.

And way too soon, it will be Monday again. Sigh.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What a let down!

So, I just finished typing a mind-blowingly powerful blog post. I proceeded to check my e-mail and find that I had a comment on said post. From a stranger, no less. Wow! I have a reader, a fan, someone who has been anxiously awaiting my next nugget of knowledge. Am I famous? No one told me? Is this the break I've been waiting for?

NOPE, just some spam.

Stick a fork in me!

I'm sooooo done with this week. I mean, five days IN A ROW of work???? What is that about? Plus, I had to get the kids' hair cut. That was only mildly traumatic. And, I think Jack has hand, foot, and mouth disease, which means all the rest of us will have it soon. All in all, I think I deserve a break, don't you?

One more week of work and then I do get Spring Break, but I have much to do and little time to rest! I get to see the ear, nose, and throat doctor about my impending tonsillectomy. I have a job interview. I'd like to see the eye doctor. My parents want to visit. That about eats my whole week.
Ah, well. Summer is just around the corner, right?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why do I watch TV?

I've always been a TV junkie. I've loved soaps, sitcoms, serial dramas, news shows, game shows, miniseries, made for TV movies, all of it. However, since the advent of reality TV, I've found myself more of a sofa critic than a TV fan. And now, we've had to suffer through the recent writer's strike and endure more reality (cough) TV than ever before.

I suppose I could just turn it off. That would be the smart thing to do. However, I just can't bring myself to do it. I watch, gripe, keep watching, keep griping.

In the midst of all the crap that is on, I've been able to mine a few jewels. All of them are reality shows, which shocks me to no end...I've always been such a naysayer.

The Biggest Loser: Couples. I've always been firmly opposed to this show. I mean, the girls have to weigh in front of America wearing sports bras, for goodness sakes! However, I have really enjoyed this season. I love the challenges and it is cool to see how these people are transforming their health!

Jon and Kate Plus 8. They have twins and sextuplets. Nuff said. I'm not worthy.

Property Virgins. One of HGTV's many real estate how-to's, this show features a realtor who teaches first time buyers about how the home buying process. I wish I'd had her with us when John and I bought our condo back in "the day."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Try to contain yourself.

Really, two days in a row of blogging. Some kind of new record for me!

Sadly, there is nothing pressing for me to say. I know, that must come as a complete shock. Me...speechless. I'm not so much without the words, I'm just without the "oomph" to string them together into coherent thought. Maybe tomorrow.

It was a valiant effort, though.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oh, wait, I still have a blog...

Yes, I am alive. For the most part, anyway... I actually have all these cool thoughts about things I'd like to post, but time slips away and it never happens. I am resolving to make one post a week. That seems to be a reasonable goal.

I think spring is around the corner. Today, we hit upper 60's, maybe even 70 for the high. It was sunny and breezy and nice, or so I was told. I wouldn't know, as I don't have a window in my classroom. John thinks that should be illegal. I am beginning to agree.

I have two more weeks of school before spring break. I am ready for a week (okay, an eternity) off. Then, the remainder of the school year should fly by, and my time and service to Clark Middle will be over. Praise God. Don't get me wrong. It isn't an all together terrible place. It has just been a bad situation for me. A 45 minute commute with three kids is killer. I feel unsuccessful in reaching my students. And, my attitude is just kind of rotten. I miss my girlfriends in Frankfort. I miss my ghetto babies, too! I just miss HOME.

In other news, Audrey has been invited for a sleepover at Anna's. Now, she doesn't always like Anna. She reports on Anna's bad behavior 4 days out of 5. I'm not sure she's telling the whole truth, though. She does have an imagination. But, I'm also not sure about this sleepover. I really don't want to be called to Winchester in the middle of the night to retrieve her.

One more Audrey funny. We've been having trouble keeping Audrey in her big girl bed all night. She wakes up about 1 or so and wants to sleep with us. A night or two, no big deal, but I'm talking more like every night. So, good mother that I am, I issue an ultimatum. You cannot sleep in my bed anymore. If you choose not to sleep in your bed, you will have to sleep on the floor in the living room. That same night, I wake up suddenly because I hear Audrey coughing. Only it isn't on the monitor. She's downstairs. I can hear her. I staggered into the living room to find her curled up on her Backyardigan sofa, sleeping like an angel.

Guess where she ended up sleeping that night.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snow days!

We got a tiny little sprinkling of snow yesterday...and a snow day!!! I made a fancy breakfast lounged with the kids, cooked dinner for two nights, crocheted, and had a great day. Imagine my sheer bliss when I turned on the TV to find that my school district was closed again today!!!!! Love it, love it, love it. I never want to go back!!!