So busy!

February 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm (army and family, Christian living, crafting, etsy, soaping, writing) (, , , , , , )

It has been awhile since I’ve written in this blog, but I’m trying to get back on track! I have been seeing an endocrinologist here in NY and working on getting healthy again. I’m feeling so much better now that I am on the correct medication dosage and sleeping better.

I had my radiation back in September and my latest blood test looks good. The doctor said my thyroid levels are where they should be, indicating that there looks like no more active thyroid tissue. I am so thankful to our family and friends that help me and my family through all of the craziness related to treatment and moving to NY.

Now that things are finally settling back down, I’ve gotten back into crafting. I’ve made up some cloth diapers for my littlest, made some knitted items, and learned how to make handmade soap. A very addicting hobby! I love it and have decided to try and make it into a business. We’ll see how it goes! If I can at least make enough to re-coup what i put into it, then that’s better than nothing. It’s amazing how much goes into making something as simple as soap! The chemistry, the legalities, the creative process… It can be overwhelming, but exciting at the same time.

I still like to knit and crochet- I have been making things to go along with my soaps. I still sew but mainly to make things for my kids or fix clothes and uniforms. I am still interested in writing but it doesn’t feel like the right time to pursue that avenue right now. Maybe when the kiddos are older, who knows? Trying to keep my options open since I really don’t know what God has in store for me or my family’s future. I never thought I would be where I am now even 2 years ago! I am trying to remain open to what God has planned for me and not worry about the particulars at this point. Believe me, it’s not easy, but when I feel my anxiety start to build and my worries get the better of me, I pray for guidance and try and pass all the stress to Him. I can’t do it without Him!

If anyone is interested in checking out my soap shop, please stop by! http://www.GrammaVedoraSoapCo.etsy.com

Also, my craft blog is: http://www.GrammaVedoraSays.wordpress.com and facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GrammaVedora

I try to have giveaways on my blog and coupon codes for my shop on my facebook page. Thanks!

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And Caroline turns 1!

December 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm (army and family, Family life) (, , , , , , )

This weekend was busy for my family. Two of my girls had a dance recital and then my youngest turned one! It seems like the year flew by so fast! I can’t believe little Caroline is 1 already. Since she is (hopefully) the last child, it has been a little sad to see her turn one. She’s scooting along the furniture, climbing steps, and loves to walk when you hold her hands. I love watching her grow and learn but when I think about it being the last time I will see one of my children at this stage, I feel a little sorrowful squeeze on my heart.

Believe me, I am definitely not pining for another little baby. I love my kids, but I don’t think my sanity could take another youngster! I am looking forward to watching all of my kids grow up and enjoying all of the different stages but it would be nice if the whiny moodiness would disappear!

My son, who is the oldest has lost about 6 teeth or so this year. I honestly have lost track! Everytime I think he couldn’t possibly be ready to loose another one, he comes running over with one in the palm of his hand. He’s lost all of his baby chubbiness too. He’s all skinny lankiness and not one to be cuddled anymore.

My second oldest, my first daughter had her third dance recital this weekend, though it was her first with a new teacher here in NY. She did great. She’s so artistic and creative and already loves to sit and read books even though she’s only in Kindergarten.

My third child, the destroyer, had her first dance recital this weekend. She takes her lesson with her older sister and also loves her teacher. Even though she missed most of the dance moves, you could tell she was so excited and happy to be on stage and dancing. She was so much fun to watch!

And finally, my littlest daughter. She’s already showing so much personality and craziness. I love watching her develop and learn to play with her older siblings though I have those little heart pangs when i watch her.

My husband and I have been so blessed (and challenged!) by our little ones but we wouldn’t trade them for the world. Honestly, we would hand them over for and hour or two of free time a week but I think every parent would love more kid-free time! Sometimes I wonder where I would be or what kind of person I would be if I never would have had my children. It’s difficult to imagine now, but there was a time when my husband and I weren’t sure if we would be able to have one child much less 4. We have been blessed and I remind myself of that often! Having kids can make you feel like you’re going crazy, make you feel stressed, make you so tired you can barely even stand, but most of all, having kids (at least for me) it makes me feel so loved. There’s nothing like having your child’s arms wrap around you tightly and hear their little voice say, “I love you mommy.”

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New York or Bust!

August 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm (army and family, Christian living, Family life) (, , , , , , )

Well, we finally made it to New York! Moving is stressful for anyone caught up in the middle of it, but I have felt this move was especially difficult for my whole family. Moving from GA to NY is a loooong drive. We did have a nice stopover visit in PA to see some family and friends before continuing up to NY, but it was still rough.

Moving from our home in GA to stay in a hotel for a week was of course rough. Imagine staying in two small, adjoining hotel rooms with 4 kids, a dog and two cats. Things were tight to say the least. Also, I had to go to the house for about 8-10 hours for about 4 days in a row to finish packing some items we were taking in a UHaul, to supervise the professional movers, and also clean everything from top to bottom. Talk about bone tired! I have stopped taking my thyroid meds on the advice of my endocrinologist to prep for the upcoming cancer treatment and I can definitely tell you that slowed me down considerably. Talk about “bone tired!”

The day we were to get out gear from the hotel and load into the van and Uhaul was awful. What should have taken a couple of hours took about 5 or more due to the humungous downpour. Prior to this day, GA had not seen a deluge like that in a couple months so I feel awful for constantly wishing it wasn’t raining. James’ temper was short, I was exhausted, and the kids were just plain, “wound-up.” When we finally got on the road we barely made it out of the state of GA before pulling over for the night. The next day the weather was much better, but driving for so long was taking its toll on me. James and my son were in the Uhaul and towing the Prius and I was driving the van with the girls. I usually don’t have a problem with sleepiness and driving, but I struggled that day. I had to call James frequently just so I would stay awake. The more tired I became, the more visual issues I had as well. Thanks to no thyroid I suppose.

Getting to my mom’s house was a relief and we enjoyed our time with Mamaw and Papaw as well as Gramma and Papa Franklin. The visit to PA felt way too short! Before long we were headed up to NY. We loaded up the van early in the morning determined to arrive on post with time to sign-in and get to the housing office and hopefully even to the insurance office. Of course it started to rain while we were loading the van and car. Had to jump start the van but it started upp almost right away after the jump. Started out a little later than desired, but at least we were on our way! We decided to stop at a nearby gas station to load up on caffeine and fill both vehicles’ tanks. Unfortunately, the van wouldn’t start again after the fill-up. Several good samaritans tried to help, but unfortunately, the van’s battery died. James had to go purchase a new one and another good Samaritan showed him how to remove the old one and install the new. Finally on the road again and dealing with a steady rain from Southern PA all the way up to and over the border of NY.

The skies finally cleared in the afternoon. We stopped in Cortland, NY for lunch not realizing that was where the Jets training camp was located. May have been fun if we weren’t in the middle of a move and standing to wait in line to use the McDonald’s bathroom with people that just came in from a tour bus. We arrived at Fort Drum with enough time for James to sign in but that was it. We settled into the Fort Drum Inn and have been there since!

We are thankful we made it here in one piece! We had made some contacts with some folks in Ft Drum over email and facebook and met up with 2 of them already. Looking forward to learning about the area and connecting with more people!

I was able to have a dr appt early this morning and get the process rolling on my referrals and hopefully leading up to actually receiving treatment! Now if only we can find a home. On post housing is looking slim. We aren’t far down on the list, but the housing office says they’re not really expecting anymore moves over the next few weeks which means, no homes for us to move into. Housing off post is costly and will be very hard to manage, but I know the Lord is guiding us.

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The Big “C”

July 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm (army and family, Family life, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

My last post I mentioned the lump in my neck discovered by my doctor.  Since then I received the biopsy results which were “inconclusive.”  Extremely helpful.  I had surgery a month ago to remove the thyroid since it was so large that it had actually shifted my trachea.  I’m currently healing nicely and learning to remember to take my medication everyday.  I don’t feel different.  Still very tired, but that’s to be expected when recovering from surgery and dealing with a 6 month old and 3 other nutty kids.

Since the fine needle biopsy had been inconclusive, my thyroid was sent away for extensive testing once it was removed.  Unfortunately, it took more than a month receive the results which was a bit stressful!  The surgeon that had removed the thyroid said he thought it looked cancer free, but of course he couldn’t be sure until it was examined microscopically.

Well, I found out yesterday that the thyroid was cancerous.  Not the info I had been expecting.  Not only did it contain cancer cells, it contained 2 different types of cancer cells.  Of course both are still types of thyroid cancer and prognosis is still extremely good.  A little stunned by the revelation though.  Was not expecting to hear the “C” word.  Especially not, “Oh, by the way, not only do you have cancer, but you have 2 different types of cancer.”

Anyway, the next step is to get referred to a radiation oncologist.  That’s a bit tricky at this point.  My family and I are currently in process of moving from GA to NY and by the time the referral goes through, we will not be in GA and I don’t know when we’ll get housing in NY.  Praying about all of this and everything is in the Lord’s timing of course.  Needless to say though, I hope we get a home quickly so I can start this whole treatment process!

I also hope the cancer didn’t spread.  Thankfully thyroid cancer tends to be very slow-growing and doesn’t spread quickly either.  According to the lab results though, the lab technician could not rule out the possibility that the cancer had reached the bloodstream.  Unfortunately those results were “inconclusive” as well.  I guess I’ll just have to be patient and make sure I have all my questions and concerns ready to go for when I do finally meet up with a radiation oncologist!

Prayers are welcome!  Thanks for those that have been praying for my family so far!  We are looking forward to seeing some of you again in August as we visit while waiting for housing to clear in NY.

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A Lump? Where?

March 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm (army and family, Christian living, Family life) (, , , , , )

Well, blessing #4 has arrived and is already growing like a weed!  Slowly learning to juggle four kids and everything else that comes with being a SAHM.  (See I’m learning the lingo too!)  But just when I think I’ve got everything figured out and everything is on the right track, I get thrown through a loop.

About 6 weeks ago I went in for my scheduled 6 week post partum check up.  Now, with my other 3 children I had always had this completed by my OB/GYN but here on post, they required new moms to see their regular doctor.  A little irritated with that since I had never met my regular doc I scheduled the appt.  After waiting for a little while in my ridiculous paper gown for her to start my exam, my doctor entered the room and began asking the usual questions.  How am I feeling?  How’s the baby?  Anything unusual since the birth of the baby?  No to most questions.  As the doctor’s questioning me, she’s checking my pulse, listening to my breathing and then checking the lymph nodes and such in my neck.  Her next question, “How long have you had this lump in your neck?”

Surprised, I looked and her and responded with, “What lump?”  She pressed on a very obvious lump on my neck asking if it was tender.  I mumbled, “A little.”

I was a little stunned at this point.  The doctor immediately began asking me a ton of questions about how I was feeling, did I have a family history of thyroid problems, or cancer.  At the time I said I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t.  The doctor made a few notes in my chart and continued with my exam.

At the end of the appt.  she said she wanted me to have some bloodwork done and an ultrasound performed on my thyroid.  Of course I said “ok” and headed out the door and immediately headed toward the hospital’s lab.

Wow.  How things can change in an instant.  A lump.  On my thyroid.  At that time, I didn’t really know much about enlarged thyroids and what the causes could be.  As soon as I got home I did some searches on the internet to learn what I could, even though the doctor at this point had no idea what was causing my thyroid mass.

I did learn a few comforting facts.  One, thyroid masses and enlargement is fairly common.  Two, cancers of the thyroid are rare.  Three, if you do have a cancer  prognosis is usually good.  That all made me feel better, but was still in a state of shock.  Never expected to go into my 6 week post partum appt to be checked for other things only to be told I have a thyroid mass.

The ultrasound showed a large 4 cm mass (size of a golfball) in the right side of my thyroid with a smaller nodule embedded in it.

My doctor said my bloodwork wasn’t definitive so she referred me to an endocrine specialist.  There, the specialist asked a ton of questions and scheduled me for more bloodwork and a biopsy.  Had my bloodwork and biopsy today.  Should find out the results in about 2 weeks.   Hopefully, everything turns out for the best, but I am also trying to be realistic and acknowledging it could be something serious.  I’ve been spending a lot of my time praying internally while going through the motions everyday.  Whatever happens I know I’m not alone and the Lord will see me and my family through it.  The doctor did state that even if the biopsy comes back normal, I will probably still have to go through surgery since the lump is so large and my interfere with swallowing if it gets any larger.

Well, that’s what’s going on with me so far.  Prayers are always welcome for me and my family.  James has received orders and we will be moving up to Ft Drum in NY at the end of the summer (barring the army changing it’s mind).  Planning on going home to visit family in April so hope to see some of you soon!

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The Juggling Act

January 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm (army and family, Family life)

I had baby number 4 in early December and ever since then have been trying to manage a newborn, dealing with the other 3, homeschooling, cleaning, laundry, entertaining visiting family (to a certain degree), and still trying to complete a few craft projects here and there.  Maybe I’m putting a lot on my plate and I guess I’ll adjust as I need to, but for now I’m going to try and plug through!

I don’t want to give up homeschooling and I really don’t want to give up crafting yet.  I’ve already put writing on a back burner, (besides this blog) but don’t want to with anything else.  I keep asking the Lord for strength and guidance so hopefully what I’m doing is by his design.  Seriously, who else in their right mind would try doing all I am doing!  I know I couldn’t do any of it without His strength.

Even though I have a lot going on in my life now, I feel good about it.  When I worked outside of the home, I always felt more stressed, frustrated, and often angry than I do now.  I feel so much like am where I should be and doing what I am supposed to do… at least for now.  It’s a great feeling!

The kids are adjusting well to the newest addition.  The newest member of our family, Caroline, is an adorable little bundle of wiggles, smiles, and cute head of dark hair.  I feel so blessed to have my children, even when they are driving me crazy!  My husband reminds me during fussy kid times– “God gave us these children with these specific personalities for a reason.  We were meant to be their parents.”

Good to know and remember!  When you feel overwhelmed by life, especially your children, remember God blessed you with them because you were always meant to be their parent.  He chose you to raise them and He will give you the strength and wisdom to raise them to adulthood!

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So ready…

November 2, 2011 at 10:55 am (army and family, Christian living, Family life) (, , , , , , , )

I am tired.  So incredibly tired.  A mom to three and 4 weeks away from popping out a fourth.  I am tired!  I wish I had more energy to get everything done that I want to before the baby comes, but I think I’m just putting too much stress on myself.  I fell asleep yesterday right after supper, slept for about an hour, woke up to work on some projects, went to bed by tenish, woke up around 8 am and am exhausted by 10am.  It’s not fair!  I know I’m gestating and alot of energy is going to the growing life inside of me, (and I want her to be healthy)  I just wish there was a “second wind” for women at the end of the third trimester to help prepare for the impending birth of their baby.

Seems like such a simple thing to ask.  Unfortunately for me, taking naps when I can isn’t always an option and when I do, I’m still tired.  Oh well.  After having three other kids, you’d think I’d be used to it, but I’m not.  I’m feeling “uber” crabby today and was hoping by venting on this blog I may feel a little better.  Maybe it’ll help, but the screaming 4 year old isn’t helping at the moment either.  Apparently, I don’t understand her fashion sense and she’s trying to argue about it with me, but I refuse to let her out of the house in shorts when it’s only 50 some degrees outside.  Call me crazy!

Anyway, prayers for strength and endurance are welcome!  The little one is due in early December so at least I was motivated to get all of my Christmas shopping done!   Happy Holidays everyone!  Looking forward to my turkey already!

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Homeschool again

September 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm (army and family, Christian living, Family life, Homeschooling) (, , , , , , , )

Well, here in GA our homeschool year has been well underway for over a month.  The kids that go to school on base and also out in the public schools off base start way earlier than I was used to as a kid.  They start at the beginning of Aug!  When I was in school, sometime we wouldn’t start until after labor day.   Crazy!  I’m guessing it may be because in the South the weather is so much warmer and its better if the kids’ summer is from Mayish to July rather than June – Aug.  Believe me, no one wants to be outside playing in August in GA!  On base, part of the reason school is early is because the student are given more breaks throughout the school year that seem to coincide with base breaks and closures.  All the better for the kids to have some time with their military parent while they are not deployed!

As for the Franklin family, we started school in early August as well.  Not because we wanted to follow any particular district’s  schedule, but mainly to help me free up some time for when baby #4 makes an appearance.  Now, I can take off for about a month after the baby’s due and not really go into “summertime.”  We’ll see how it goes.  That one of the great things I like about homeschooling.  It’s flexibility.  I can have school any day I want and any time I want as long as I get my required 4 1/2 hours in.  Sometimes getting that much time in is a little like pulling teeth, especially when my son is in a crabby mood (like today).

I learn more and more as I homeschool and it I am constantly changing how I do things.  I may start out may lesson plans one way or with a certain amount of information in them and realize after a week or two I need to make an adjustment.  If my son is really antsy one day, I put in more “playtime” or “recess” or game time.  I like being able to adjust to the needs of my child.  Even though,  sometimes I have to admit, I wish he would just sit down and do his work quickly and quietly!

I’m glad I have had this opportunity to homeschool my son (who is now in 1st grade) and my daughter (who is in pre-K).  At this point I think it is something I would love to keep doing, but you never know what may happen in the future!  I’ll continue to pray for God’s guidance and direction!  Keep up the good work homeschooling parents out there!

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Surprises everywhere!

September 11, 2011 at 9:36 am (army and family, Christian living, Family life) (, , , )

More surprising changes for our family lately!  We just adopted a dog into our already growing family.  I’m sure many of you who know us are wondering why we would get a dog just a couple of months before having baby #4 welcomed into our family.  Believe me, it wasn’t something we had planned, but sometimes the best things are unplanned.

We heard the story about a young dog who had been abused as a pup, sent to a shelter and then shifted between a couple different homes and he’s only a few months old!  His most recent owner discovered she had medical issues which prevented her from keeping him and put out an emergency request for someone to adopt him.  James and I talked about it and since no else seemed to be interested, we took the plunge!  It just felt wrong for the poor thing to be sent back to the shelter.

He’s only been with use for a few days, but already seems like a part of the family.  So far he has a sweet, playful personality.  The kids are excited, but still a little nervous around him since he is bigger than the dogs they were familiar with previously.  But each day they seem a little more comfortable.  I have to admit, there is still much to adjust too, but just seeing the smile on the kids’ faces when the dog gives them a big lick, or when he plays fetch with them has been awesome to see.

It’s an adjustment, but we’ll do our best.  Just imagining the dog being around for the kids to grow up with makes me smile.  What a wonderful addition to our growing family (so far).  Now I know the next post may be about how the dog chewed through my favorite pair of shoes, but I’ll worry about that later.  I keep reminding myself to pray for guidance through this difficult, but often rewarding times and to “cast all my cares upon Him.”

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Preparing for change

June 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm (Uncategorized)

Have been trying to figure out what to do to prepare for baby #4.  Don’t know if it’s a boy or girl yet, but it’ll be sharing Adam’s room with him since the girls’ room is tight.  Decided to get a bunk bed for the girls so we can free up some more space and hopefully rearrange the toy situation.  My kids have been blessed with toys, but it’s getting crazy full.  When the baby moves in with Adam, they’re actually going to move into the “playroom” since it’s bigger.  Right now Adam’s room is the smallest and there is no room for a crib.  So, hopefully freeing up some room in the girls’ room, moving Adam to the bigger room and redistributing toys (plus getting rid of some) will make everything feel more organized.  We need to get a dresser for Brenna yet since technically she is still using the dresser that goes with the crib.  She needs a bigger one anyway (and one that has drawers that are a little harder to open!)

We’ll get it figured out eventually.  I prefer to do it sooner rather than later since when I get to a certain ungainly size I don’t want to worry about anything!  I’ve also been working to get Adam’s curriculum situated for next year.  I have about everything picked out except a history curriculum.  I want something interesting that will grab his attention, but also have activities to do.  He’s a very “hands on” kind of kid.  I need to get paperwork situated and sent to the school district.  I guess I’ll have to call them tomorrow.  I called the school liaison on post and they said they’d email some info I’d need.  Took 2 days to get info I pretty much already knew.  Oh well.  I’ll call the district to see what they say.

Anyway, I guess that’s all for now!  Nothing super exciting, just planning and organizing for baby #4!  The kids are starting to get a little excited now that my belly is getting bigger.  Brenna insists she’s going to help me with the baby, but we’ll see once it arrives!  She gets a little jealous when Adam wants to come over to snuggle!

As soon as we know what we’re having, of course we’ll let folks know!  Miss ya’ll at home! (Like my southern accent?)

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