Friday, February 25, 2011

Whew

To say that it's been a crazy week would be an understatement. It's literally been a horrible week and I'm just going to be honest. I seriously thought I was going crazy. Oh, how gracious God is to me... I know I say it over and over but His mercies really are new every morning and I'm really feeling that blessing today. You can get a quick history lesson here on my bout with Graves disease. I started meds in January and was feeling better really soon after that. Almost back to my old self. Then came last week. Last Wednesday night, really. I even remember telling Genea at church that I was not feeling well that maybe I should NOT have had any caffeine. (Sweet tea is such a weakness). I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just didn't feel quite right. I go into Thursday feeling the same way and each day seems to get worse. I should be feeling better but I feel like I'm getting to that "fog" again. Though this time, it's different. I describe it as this... I went from a fog, to clear skies, to a funk. And boy oh boy, a bad funk. I went through the weekend feeling this way and just being "here in body" but that's about it. It's that going through the motions kind of feeling. I knew I would be labbing (that's what others call bloodwork) on Tuesday and I'd just talk to the tech guy then. So, Tuesday comes (I'm leaving out a lot of details for your sake... ;)). I drop E off at school and head to take my labs. I told the guy all about how I was feeling... I even wrote this down since I'm keeping a journal of the ups and downs:

-- For a few weeks, great energy and an almost normal feeling. More tired in the pm. Expected though. Heart rate began in the 90s (on Atenolol and no ATDs) but now is in 50s sitting and standing resting is in 60s.
--Since Thurs. Feb. 17
--tired, melancholy, very near panic attack, a bit more cool than others
--Tuesday - neck pain that went down to shoulder blade. Pinched nerve feeling.
--Wednesday - pinched nerve feeling on shoulder blade.

I got a call from the DOCTOR (yes, how about that. I leave a msg for the phone nurse and the doctor calls back. Nice.) and he says he has some of my labs back. Most importantly, my T4. It is now in midrange and I can lower my Meth dosage. (No, not that kinda meth, lol). And wean myself off of the beta blocker, Atenolol. More than likely, since my levels adjusted so nicely so quickly, I was swinging the other way... towards hypothyroidism. No big deal, right? Wrong. Medically induced hypothyroidism can wreak havoc on you and this is what was happening. I was overmedicated basically and my levels swung the other way very quickly and just kept getting lower and lower. Well, naturally lowering my dosage is something that would not be felt right away so some symptoms would and will continue until my levels get back to where they need to be. With that said, even though I changed my meds on Wednesday, I had my worst day EVER yesterday. Scott took E to school and I was already having a bout with anxiety. What if this really isn't my thyroid? What if the doctors don't know what they are talking about? You think of a negative thought, and I had it. Up until yesterday, I had been able to control it. I say I. I give God complete glory for carrying me through all of this. Really. He is my strength. So, I remember thinking these negative thoughts and then I see Shep pick up what I believe to be a cheerio crumb and put it to his mouth. That's all it took for me to absolutely lose it. I went into hysterics. Over a cheerio crumb. I called Scott crying and carrying on and he immediately came back home. I called my aunt who has Graves and she tried to calm me down as well. By this time, Scott gets back home and I'm not better. Keep in mind, I called him when he was on Dozier Rd. close to the school... a good 25 minutes away from home. I'm no better when he gets back home. I couldn't be still. He grabs my shoulders to calm me down and has this serious look on his face and says, "Da, why is your nose bleeding?" Oh my goodness. Could it get any worse? If I remember correctly, I try to run but am in such a panic that I just jump around like a crazy person. I'll spare all the rest of the details but I finally calm down after I don't know how long. It was by far the most hysterical (not in a funny way) that I have ever been. All because of my THYROID!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, I never ever ever would have known I would be like this. I am SO thankful though that I listened to my body and I urged the doctor to look at my labs right away b/c I knew that something wasn't right but I just couldn't figure it out. I knew I didn't feel like I once did when I was hypER but I certainly didn't know overmedicated me would push me to hyPO hell either. After the panic attack, I felt a great bit better, honestly. Scott stayed with me the rest of the day to monitor me and I really can't complain right now. I still have the pinched nerve feelings but that should go away in a week or so. Says the doctor, anyway.

I say all of this not because I want anybody to feel sorry for me but I do want people to understand what's going on inside of little ole me, ;). And I want to offer hope for anyone going through anxiety or anything close. Prayer with my husband during this yesterday was more calming than any anxiety medicine that I could have given myself. The Great Physician is who we should run to in times like these. I pray you will as you face storms of life. He will give you peace that passes all understanding. I promise. Cling to Him.



Philippians 4:6 (English Standard Version)
6(A) do not be anxious about anything,(B) but in everything by prayer and supplication(C) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

So....
with that, I've been a bad blogger. But here are some super cute vids of the kids...




video

Shep was too cute that I had to catch this on video.

video

This one is little Beethoven, ;). And you can hear T.O. (that would be ONE of Shep's nicknames) in the background.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Theology Thursday

It's been awhile since I've had a Theology Thursday post. More than likely, I will post a TT entry periodically. When something strikes me or crosses my mind. I thought since it's kinda still the beginning of the year that I would share my 2011 reading list. Some of these books I've read already but they may have been read when I was sleepwalking... or whatever I should call how I felt for a year and a half, ;). So some I'm re-reading.










Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur. This was a gift from a friend. I don't think that it's one that I would have bought to read otherwise but God has a way of knowing what we need. Just the last week, a childhood friend of mine became a proud father again. To make a long story short, the baby had many complications and she passed away just the other day. So, I think I will send this book to them. I can only imagine what they are going through. If you would like to read their story and cover them in prayer, please visit them here.

Radical by David Platt. I posted this one TT last year. I posted it because Scott's two brothers were reading this book and they had me all kinda interested in it! And as it turns out, our church began the Radical bible study three weeks ago. Since we just got started, it's impact hasn't been felt quite as strongly in the study yet. I think as each week goes on, we will be challenged more and more to give up the American dream and realize that it is totally antithetical to Scripture. (I'm re-reading this one and I listen to it on audio cd as I take Ella to school, so she gets a dose of it too)

A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper. This is a book about the book of Ruth. I've struggled with this book for about a year now. I'm not sure what it is but it's a great book but John Piper is just hard for me to read. Love to listen to his sermoms but his books are just so "over my head".

Tactics by Gregory Koukl. Again, a gift from a friend. I've heard a lot about this guy recently so I'm anxious to clear the shelf with my other books and dig into this one.

Portrait of Calvin by THL Parker. I have read this book and I can't remember much about it. So, I'm gonna re-read it as well.

Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore. I have read over half of this book and stopped. I stopped because I started really going downhill with how I was feeling. I couldn't concentrate AT ALL so I just pushed this one aside. I am *supposed* to be reading this with a friend and I'm afraid I've let her down. I'm sure she's finished this one and move on to better things. I'll get there, I promise. :)

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges. Another that I've started on. This one was, *clears throat* "in our bathroom" for awhile so I've basically read all of it but just don't remember certain parts. Gonna re-read it as well.

So there you have it. I've got a lot to read... better get started!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We start 'em young around here...

Here is a video of Shep helping Ella unload the dishwasher. Have I ever mentioned that I don't unload the dishwasher? Nope. I taught Ella how to do that when she was 5 so that's her chore... ahhhh. Nice. Now, if I could figure out how to magically get the dishes into the dishwasher... Ella says I need a bippity boppity boo stick. I agree.


video

Monday, February 14, 2011

Could it be?

Could Spring really be around the corner? Sunday afternoon provided lots of sunshine and this family took full advantage of it. This winter has been blah, blah blah. I can't wait for Spring. And I know 2 kiddos that are right there with me. The outdoors keep calling their name...
















Artisan Bread recipe

Ok ladies... here goes. I bought this book at the recommendation of who knows who and after being intimidated for so long about these recipes, I finally overcame my fear and went for it. More on that here. I highly recommend this book if you want to make all types of fresh bread. This is the "master" recipe upon which you can alter it in many different ways. The book shows you how to make white bread, wheat bread, pumpernickel and pastries. The master recipe is the best place to start...

Master recipe
Note... this recipe MUST be prepared in advance.

-3 cups lukewarm water
-1 1/2 tbsp yeast (about 1 1/2 packets)
-1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
-6 1/2 cups unbleached flour plus a little extra for dusting
-cornmeal for the peel (so it doesn't stick)

In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. No need to knead, ;) Cover, but not with an airtight lid. (I mix mine in a bowl and then put in a rubbermaid bin). Most likely, I will figure out another technique next time. It took up too much room in the fridge. See?

















Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (I did 2 hours) Now, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours, which is what I did... and the reason I said it should be prepared in advance.

When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. I don't have a pizza peel. So, as the authors recommend, I used the bottom of a cookie sheet. Just turn the cookie sheet upside down and use that. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Working for no more than 30 to 60 seconds turn dough in hands (dust flour on hands as needed), gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.

Place shaped dough on prepared cookie sheet (or pizza peel) and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Dust dough. Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, ¼-inch deep cuts or any pattern you've seen in a bakery, ;). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely. (I choose to eat mine warm and not let it cool completely. Go ahead. Try it. Yumm!)



Now, I know that sounds like a lot but really, it's not. Maybe you can see why I was intimidated for so long. Please don't be like me. Try it. Now that I have the technique down, I'll make it more and more. This recipe makes 4 one pound loaves. I've made 3 already. I made a loaf for Scott's family on Saturday night and it was gone shortly after it came out of the oven. They wanted more.


So, here is the finished loaf again... I am not exaggerating, this bread is SO good. I regret not making it a lot sooner.





Edited note: I forgot to mention that I use my Pampered Chef baking stone for this. I'm sure you could bake it on something else but more than likely the top would not crust up as much!

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day and I have a confession. We don't "get into" Valentine's Day. It feels like such a huge marketing ploy... so we've never really participated. But now that we have kiddos, well... we fake it. So, Scott usually gets me a little something like candy in a heart shaped box and maybe a little something else and we make sure we have something for the Punkster. Let me say here that I have NO NO NO problem with the day itself. I don't mind others participating. To each his own. I'm merely saying that it's never been a big deal to us. But like I said, with kids things change. So, each year Scott gets the girls something. (um... that would be Ella and myself) That's how we play. The boy gets the girl a gift. When Shep gets older, he and Scott will most likely do that together. Boys buy the girls candy and a little something extra. This year, Scott gave Punk Reese's in a heart shaped box and Anne of Green Gables, the book. She's such an old soul about certain things (like wanting to dress up as Mickey Rooney for Halloween). She loved the book and has read about 25 pages so far.

And what did he get yours truly?

















uh huh. Waffle Weave dish cloths... and do you notice the color? Red. For Valentine's Day. Yep, he's good. ;) A few years ago, he gave me some from Williams Sonoma in my stocking and while I really like them, I'm hesitant to use them. They are a little "too" nice. Crazy, I'm sure but I'd rather have the cheap ones that I don't mind messing up and I can toss with no love lost.

And of course I sent my Punk off to school with her special Valentine's...




Look for another post today... one for that delicious bread recipe... ;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

A quick praise

I haven't forgotten about the bread recipe. I promise! I know you are on the edge of your seats. But as I sit here in carpool waiting on Ella, I have a quick praise. I had an appointment with the opthamologist this morning to determine if my eyes have bern affected by my thyroid. Praise God, they haven't. He said they look great! I have to follow up on six months. I've been singing praises about this. I needed a little sunshine. And He delivered.

Psalm 18:28 ESV

For it is you who light my lamp;

the Lord my God lightens my darkness.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Artisan Bread

I've had this book for over a year now. I bought it with such high hopes but after reading it, I felt so intimidated by making fresh bread. It wasn't until recently that I've changed that. I'm trying really hard to eat better... for myself and for my family. The nutrition in the house rests mainly on me. I buy the groceries and I prepare 99% of the meals. But as I read more and more about my condition, it's amazing how much food plays a part in our lifestyle. (Note, I did not become hyperthyroid b/c of my diet... it's a heriditary, autoimmune disease that I had no control over. Blame chromosomes 6, 11 and my momma). So, since I've been diagnosed, I've been researching what to eat and what not to eat. And what I keep reading over and over is NO PROCESSED FOODS. Whoa, momma. That's a doozie for me. I love, love some junk food, now. Always have. But ya know the funny thing is, since I've been sick, I've really not craved or wanted junk food as I once did. I want food. REAL food.

Now, this isn't a big deal since I know how to cook. And have been cooking for about 23 years now. Yep. I remember being 10 years old when I would fry pork chops, bake cornbread and a vegetable and have it ready when my momma got home from work. (with the help of my 12 year old brother sometimes) The problem with cooking though, is that it's easy to cook a meal or two a week and then have fillers, ya know? Frozen pizza, frozen chicken tenders, frozen chicken nuggets. Wait. Stop right there. I interrupt this blog post to bring you this: If you have never seen how chicken nuggets are made I suggest you Google it NOW and you will forever change your mind about eating that mess again. My Punky is traumatized and I love it. ;)

Carrying on! So, I've decided to be more "made from scratch" in the kitchen. I'm just going to make sure that everything we eat is something that I make and cut out things like chips, cookies, nuggets (definitely), pop tarts, etc.

Enter in now, my fresh Artisan bread. So yummy... that I'm gonna show you how to make it... from scratch. And I have the pictures to prove it, ;)





Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bye bye football

We said goodbye to football until September this past Sunday. Boohoo. In celebration of the Super Bowl, we made brownies and sausage dip. I didn't take a picture of the sausage dip. Who knows why. Oh, wait. I know. Because I decided to make it last minute. And because I didn't have any sausage. And because I went to the 4way (the store close to our house... like, within walking distance... or golf cart riding distance) and they were out. And because I called my mother in law, who didn't have any. And because I called my sister in law who didn't have any either. And because I wanted to call my other sister in law but she wasn't home and she didn't have any anyway. And because of all of that, I sent Scott and Ella racing out the door at 5:40 to Ingram's (they close at 6 on Sundays), the country grocery store in Eclectic. (By the way... I love living in the country. I know I'm a redneck at heart). So, they come back with the sausage, at a whopping cost of $4.02 for sausage. Yowzas! Anyway, I mixed the brownies while they were gone and when they came back I began the sausage dip. During all of this, my little rugrat is opening drawers, pulling out rubbermaid bowls, um, excuse me... throwing rubbermaid bowls and the like. So, anything I do takes twice as long with that little sucker toddling around. I get the sausage going and in walks Scott's brother for coffee. He plays with Shep while Scott makes the coffee and I work on the dip. I finish the dip only to discover it's time for Shep's bath. So, I take him to the bath tub and throw him and Ella in there together. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone. I get them all clean, ready for bed and put Shep down soon thereafter. I go back to the kitchen to FINALLY eat the sausage dip. I sit down at the kitchen table with it and am ready to watch the game. And it's halftime. Yep, I missed 2 quarters of the game! All because of the sausage dip that I DIDN'T EVEN TAKE A PICTURE OF!!!!!!!!!!!



But. Here is a picture of the brownies while preparing. My sous chef took this one. She said, "momma, this one is so good I'll bet you can put it on your blog." So, this one's for Punky. :) This is a great tip, by the way. I make my brownies like this all the time. In muffin pans. I either use regular muffin pans or the little muffin pan. Either way is fine. So much easier. I just HATE cutting brownies for some reason. This technique elminates all of that. And with kids, you don't have to worry about who gets the biggest piece. They are all the same.





















Should you want the recipe for the sausage dip... here goes:

Sausage Dip

1 can of Rotel (I use Mild but any would be fine)
1 block of cream cheese
1/2-3/4 roll of sausage

Drain Rotel. Mix with cream cheese and melt over low heat while cooking the sausage. Drain sausage and mix in with cheese and Rotel. I say 1/2-3/4 because it totally depends on your preference. Serve warm with tortillas or Fritos. Eat at halftime. Oh, wait. Nevermind. ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ain't too proud

I remember when I was in high school, my friends and I would make the trip to Montgomery to Thrift World. It was on the Southern Boulevard close to Baptist Hospital. Not sure if it's still there or not. Maybe that's where my love for thrift started. Nah. Maybe not. I think it started before that. I remember yard saling with my mom and aunt when I was a wee little girl. So, maybe I've pretty much always enjoyed thrifting. One man's junk is another man's treasure, right? Now, I do know people that think it's crazy, gross, etc. Whatver. To each his own. All I know is that half of the clothes you see on this momma came from the thrift store. I just ain't too proud... ;) And I kid you not, no less than once a week does somebody say... "ooh, those shoes are too cute" (Which by the way, have to look quite new for me to step into them, so I'll give you that one...) or "oh, Da where did you get that top" and the list goes on. Just at church yesterday, I was asked about my shoes. Got 'em at Faith Rescue Mission... for $1.99. Never been worn.

So on Saturday, as Scott, Shep and Ella went to see Willie (that would be our horse, ;)), they dropped me off at Faith Rescue Mission. My. Favorite. Store. In. Town. No joke. Now, I don't always find something in there and sometimes I leave with nothing, but I still like it. Saturday, no exception. Keep in mind people... it is a THRIFT store. It is second hand er, stuff. I hesitate calling it junk. Just cause it's not all junk. But like I was saying, keep in mind!!! It will NOT be the nicest, cleanest, friendliest, quitest, (in fact, the cashier burped SO incredilby loud when I was in there Saturday) shopping experience. Just remember all that and you'll be ok... ;) I will say this about them. They are relatively organized. Even color coated. Be still my heart. My closests are color coated too! They have short sleeves organized by size and color. Wow, huh?! See?
















Jeans too...

















So what did I walk away with? I bought some pants (from Old Navy) and a jacket for church... all for a whopping $1.98. Sweet!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Grandparents Day

Today, we went to EMCS for Grandparents Day. We had a luncheon with food catered from Firehouse Subs and an hour or so of the children singing hymns for their grandparents. We had all of the grandparents there and it was such a blessing for Ella... it's times like these that make Scott and I miss our mommas even more. We are so blessed, though, to have Ella in a school that bleeds a biblical world view and where she will learn the love and hope of Christ.












Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First Baptist of Ivy Gap

Ahem, ahem... guess who is the official photographer for the Wetumpka Depot. Yes, yes... yours truly... ;) I sat in on the final dress rehearsal for First Baptist of Ivy Gap for some candid shots and a cast photo. This warm and delightful play is their season opener for 2011. The story chronicles the lives of six women who have seen the best and worst of life has. Their journey spans over 25 years as they discover themselves and the meaning of community, family, love and loss. Show dates are February 3-5, 10-12, and 17-19 at 7:30 p.m., and February 6 and 13 at 2:00 p.m. Be there!