Wednesday, July 26, 2017

3rd Grade Here He Comes!

Summer is over?! WHAT?!?!
Somehow the summer flew by and it's already time for back to school!

This summer was super fun but it had an underlying sense of anxiety and fear. 
For the past three years school has been a beautiful little bubble of parties for no reason, unlimited volunteer time in the classroom, and homework consisting of little to nothing.

But times, they are a changing! 
Third grade is here and we have literally been dreading it since Kindergarten. 
Lots of changes come with 3rd grade. 
New teachers.
Big kid hallway,
Standardize testing. 
Lots more homework and projects.
Less parent interaction in the classroom (for the kids on good).
And switching classes!!!

It's really a big jump from what we have known. 

We spent the summer sort of avoiding talking about the situation and the other part totally hyping up how awesome it was going to be for Hensley. 

Hensley struggled a lot with anxiety last year including separation anxiety.
That in itself made us uneasy of how he would handle all the change. 
He is not a fan of change and always asks us why he can't be home schooled.  
Don't get me wrong Hensley does love school and he totally thrives there. 
He is smart and most things at school come easy for him. He is also super friendly and social and makes friends with no problem. 
However, he is a homebody and ultimately likes his personal space and alone time. 
Routine and order are his ideal situation. 

As open house approached we encouraged him to go into with an open mind and positive attitude.
He had a teacher in mind that he wanted to have based on who his friends had the previous year. 
We took the time to explain to him that God was going to put him wherever he wanted Hensley to be and wherever he would thrive and succeed. 

We helped him be a little more prepared by having all his supplies ready to take with us to open house so he would have even less to worry about the first day of school. We also prepared a little gift for each teacher to sort of "break the ice" and let them know we are excited for this year. 
We filled this cute little mason jars we found at Target with lots of candy and chocolate which every teacher loves!

Hensley was looking so handsome! And grown!

To our surprise, as soon as we got to school Hensley went right in with no hesitation and looking as confident as ever! 
We headed to the gym to get his teacher assignments and see who was in his class!

We were pleasant surprised to see that he was placed in Mrs. Bambury's class with some the best kids in his grade. It as already shaping up to be a good year!

The great thing about going to a small charter school that goes from Kindergarten through 12th grade is that, Hensley knew exactly where his classroom and how to get there. The fact that we knew pretty much every single teacher, staff and parents as we walked down the hall is also another huge perk!!!

Hensley went right in and introduced himself and started looking around, and I really felt immediate peace. It felt so right!! All of our fears slipped away!

Mrs. Bambury was so sweet and gave us a lot of great information and really made it her duty to talk directly to Hensley and encouraged him and reassured him about how great this year was going to be!

He is always proud to be a Grizzly!

Another great thing about open house at our school every year is that they always have Pelican's Snoballs! Perfect considering it was 100 degrees!

Each year after open house we always go to Steak n' Shake for dinner and chat about all things back to school!

Andy was way to busy looking at the menu to get in our picture. You can totally tell how happy this kid is here!
We went home feeling at ease and very blessed to be able to be a part of such an awesome school family!


Before we knew it a week had pasted and a it time for school. Time for routine and up at 6 am each day. 

Hensley got up easy which was super surprising to me considering we were getting up past 9 am each morning all summer (and sometimes 10!).
Breakfast, teeth brushed, new clothes on. lunch packed and out the door! 

I found this super cute board at Target in the dollar spot of all places!!!! It's wonderful and it saved me from making one like I do each year, and we can use it for years to come!


We had a wonderful ride to school and watched funny pig videos on YouTube all the way to help ease any first day jitters! And it worked!!! He laughed and smiled all the way to school!!! No tears, no obvious anxiety just a hop out of the car and a quick "Goodbye!". 

It's always hard for me on the first day of school. I spend every single day with him and our summers are super special to us. It's back to being away from him all day and finding things to fill my days. 
Letting him grow up and be independent is so very important and I know that, but it doesn't make it any easier on my heart. I am extremely blessed to have such a great, close relationship with my boy and I pray all the time that we can continue that as he grows older. I work hard to talk to him about everything, making sure he knows we are always here for him. He is my cuddle bug. My sweet freckled face kid. My favorite boy in the whole wide world. Letting is go is hard but I have to stay focused on what's best for him and how very lucky we are to have a child who is healthy and happy and excited to grow up! 

He is ready for 3rd grade but I'm not sure if 3rd grade is ready for him!!!


Friday, May 19, 2017

The day

It's been 63 days since life got flipped upside down. 
63 days since "normal" got a new meaning. 
63 days of non stop going. 
63 days since Andy or myself have had a good nights sleep. 

March 15, 2017 everything stopped. 
7:05 PM my cell phone rang and everything stopped. 
Or sped up, I'm not sure which. 

One minute I'm cooking dinner and watching Hensley and his friends jump and laugh on the trampoline outside the kitchen window, and the next my cell phone is ringing. When I saw it was Andy I was curious as to why he calling since he should be pulling in the driveway any second from work. I figured he was telling me he was going to stop and get gas.

I couldn't have been more wrong.
"I've been in an accident. A bad one."
I was in an instant state of shock and denial.
Andy had been looking at trucks for the past few months really wanting to trade his in on a new one, and for some reason the first thought to pop in my mind was that he was surly joking.
I think I even told him, "Nice try. You still aren't getting a new truck."

I quickly realized he was serious and found out where he was.
2 miles from home!
2 short miles and he would have been home.
It was bitterly cold that evening and the strong winds weren't making it any better.
Neither was the fact that I was in my pajamas and slippers.

I turned off the stove and quickly ran outside to send the kids home and get Hensley in the car.
It became a state of panic for all.
As Hensley and I rode those 2 short miles we had no idea what lied ahead.
A fender bender?
Was Andy okay?
What about the people he hit...were they okay?

It was a long 2 miles to say the least.

As soon as we pulled up I knew it was indeed, bad!
There were no EMS on the scene yet but I could hear them coming from all directions. They were all there literally 2 minutes after I pulled up.

Andy's truck was destroyed!
The scene was covered in glass, metal and various parts from his truck.
The other vehicle, a minivan, was crushed in some on one side where Andy had T-boned them.
We rushed up to Andy and he appeared, at first, to be ok.
He was bleeding from his head and one side of his face was pretty scratched up but other then that he APPEARED okay.

 It was a pretty bad sight. Shortly after getting there and telling Andy just how lucky he was to have not been more hurt then he was he told him his knee hurt.
He lifted his pant leg and I was shocked at what I saw.
His knee cap was literally in two separate pieces and there was a huge gap between them. I wish I had thought to take a picture in that moment because once we got to the hospital it was very swollen.
However all I could think at that moment was to tell him to "Put that pant leg back down!"
It was so weird looking!
The EMS quickly removed his boot since he leg was swelling and noticed that this foot too looked very swollen already!
As they were getting him stabilized and directing traffic the gentleman who had pulled out in front of Andy at the stop sign approached us.
He was very apologetic and extremely nice. He was very concerned for Andy. He told us how he had simply failed to see Andy when he looked both ways and how this was all his fault.
Luckily he and his young son, who was also in the car, were okay. No major injuries, which was very surprising, considering that Andy had hit them going about 60 mph and directly on the side where his son was sitting. We were all very thankful they were not hurt and grateful that he was so nice and concerned.
As they got Andy loaded up in the ambulance Hensley and I rushed back to put on actual clothes and get things needed to meet them at the hospital. This 20 minute time span was spent calling our parents and mostly crying. Hensley was a wreck! Trying to assure him that things were going to be okay and that Andy was lucky to not be more seriously injured was a tough considering I was terrified myself on the inside.

Once at the hospital Andy's injuries became more of a reality to us all.
There were a lot of tests run to rule out internal bleeding, concussion, and a battery of tests and x-rays run on him from head to toe.
It was currently 8 pm and we had a long night ahead.

I wasn't able to take pictures of his foot or leg in the hospital because they had wrapped it on the way there. Over the course of the evening there was a long list of people to update and things to get handled. The state trooper came to get Andy's statement from the accident, I had to call his bosses at work and explain what was going on, and family were all concerned and calling. 
After a total of 7 hours in the ER that night the doctors concluded that Andy had fractured at least bones on the left side of his face, broken multiple bones in his right foot and scattered his right knee cap. They were not sure just how bad his knee was from primarily testing but the head doctor did tell us to prepare for at least 3, if not 6 months of him being out of work. 
That in itself was terrifying. 
We were given lots of medication for pain and lots of referrals for doctors to see in the next several days.

Out of all the time during this ordeal I think the next morning, after 7 hours of the ER (Andy had then officially been up for over 24 hours) and the 2 to 3 hours we did get to sleep when we came home that morning, were the worst. We all came home and went to sleep out of pure exhaustion, but it was very short lived. Three hours later Andy woke in excruciating pain. Unbearable,  nonstop, brought him to tears, pain! The pharmacy had been closed at 3 am when we left the hospital so we thought getting his medicine the next morning would be no big deal. WRONG! 
They had not been able to do anything at the hospital to correct his knee because of the swelling and because there was no orthopedic doctor there that night. They has simply splint his leg and foot, wrapped it in ice and sent him home. When the pain medicine from the hospital wore off it was ON!
I do not believe I have ever seen anyone in that much pain. 
Hensley and I set off to get prescription filled and ice packs for his leg. 
And then.....he slept. And slept. And slept. 

Later that night the change in his eye was quite dramatic and he could no longer chew or open his jaw without a lot of pain.

Over the next several days we were so blessed to have friends and family bring us dinner, help with Hensley and call to check on Andy and even mow our grass.  It was a very rough time waiting until we could get appointments to see doctors. One would think when you shatter your knee cap, that a follow up would be the next day to see about getting it fixed. However it is not.
The doctors wanted to wait until some of the swelling had went down to even see him.
So we waited!
About 4 days after the accident we finally got in to the see the Orthopedic doctor, the eye doctor and the ear, nose and throat doctor.

Conclusion from the ortho doc was that Andy's knee was a disaster and surgery would be needed. He did however, have no idea what all he would find once he was in there and a plan would be made once he was on the operating table. On a good note his foot would not need surgery it would only need a cast for 4 to 6 weeks to heal.

That same day we also saw the eye doctor to make sure there was no damage done to his eye or socket since it was so swollen and the fractures were so close to his eye. Luckily, he concluded that no damage had occurred directly to his eye or the socket.

Off to the next appointment, which was the ear, nose and throat doctor, who would look at his face and take a closer took at his fractures.
This was a little scary because at the time we actually could feel and see the breaks under his skin and he also had a lot of numbness on that entire side of his face. We weren't sure at this point if he would need any type or sinus surgery.

His doctor was really great and really took his time to look over all the scans and x-rays. He concluded that Andy's fractures were pretty bad and that several of them were close together. However, even though the bones had broken, they had no shifted in position and would be able to heal themselves with no surgery! That was really great news! The swelling and numbness would come and go for many months, and he also wasn't allowed to blow his nose for several weeks. The reasoning behind that was, if he blew his nose and blood and other fluids went behind the bones and tissues it could cause other problems like infections.

We were very happy that overall that day we got really good news.

Below are some pictures of Andy's face as it changed over the next 2 weeks.

Over the next few days we prepared ourselves for surgery and all that comes that. We knew, that even as hard as it had been, it would be getting worse. Andy had never had a surgery or been put to sleep and that was a huge fear for him. It definitely weighed heavily on him mentally. 

His surgery was scheduled for 1 PM in the afternoon, which was horrible because he could not eat after midnight the night before, so he was HANGRY. Surgery was long and I was happy to have my mother-in-law with me and so thankful to have our wonderful friend Leah, taking care of Hensley for me after school. 
Getting prepped for surgery.
After surgery the surgeon came in to talk with us about what all happened. He told us that once he got in there, the knew cap was split in half and the bottom half had been crushed into a million tiny pieces like an egg shell. He was unable to save any of the bottom half of the knee and in result, had to drill 2 holes in the existing bone and pull his tendons from his thigh down through those holes and reconnect them since they were also injured. This procedure would result in his knee healing well and his tendons assisting the knee in healing to the cartridge in his knee. Basically he didn't need any screws or hardware put in there, thus resulting in less problems in the future. 
They were also not able to cast his foot which they had planned to do, because his leg was swelling and would continue to do so for a few weeks. We would have to have a follow up later on to cast it. 
Andy chose to get a nerve block in his leg after the surgery so that his first few days post surgery would be more comfortable and a little less painful. This turned out to be a wonderful decision later on. 
The first few days post surgery were great! We thought this whole surgery thing was a piece of cake and that his recovery process would be a breeze......WRONG! 
About 2.5 days after surgery the nerve block wore off and ....the pain came on strong!
He spent most days sleeping and being in pain. Lots of pain! 

About 2 weeks after the surgery, we were able to manage the pain some and it was time to become even less mobile with a foot cast!

This same day we had to go and clean out all of Andy's personal belongings from his truck since the insurance company had finally settled with us and totaled it.
Andy didn't really remember what it looked like from that night and I had only snapped 2 photos quickly for insurance purposes. He was really shocked just how badly it was wrecked.
There was a lot more damage then either us remembered and it was hard to relive that moment. I think the most shocking was all the blood splattered all over the inside!

It was a bittersweet moment. Lots of memories in this truck! 

Andy slowly started to get around easier and made his way outside. Sitting home, for someone who is always on the go, it hard. He got cabin fever quite a bit while he was home from work. 

Hensley went through a lot of emotions during this process. He has always been a worrier and often times thinks of the worst possible scenario. He was very upset for the first week or so after Andy's accident. He was crying a lot over little things that usually wouldn't bother him. He was not acting like himself and at many times he was avoiding going close to Andy. Hensley had never ever seen Andy cry until this accident. He had never seen his Dad "weak". In his eyes his Dad is a super hero who is super strong. Always able to play and run and work. Seeing Andy this way was scary to Hensley and often times he would ask if Andy was ever going to get better or why his had to happen to his Dad. It was sad and hard as a parent to help him work through. He usually would never want to be away from Andy or myself to go to friends houses, etc. However, during this time he was happy to stay after school with his friends or hang out at their house. I think it took his mind off everything going on here at home and in a way it was a great thing for him to finally break away some and realize he could go and have fun without Andy or myself.

My heart was so happy when, one day I looked over and saw this. Hensley snuggled up to Andy playing a game on his phone. He was finally getting comfortable again. They have a very close relationship and to see it getting back to that place was amazing.

Slowly over the next 2 1/2 months Andy began to heal and his spirits began to lift. Our routines found a new normal and things slowed down. His knee was cleared after 6 weeks to start physical therapy and he became a lot more mobile. His foot cast came off after 4 weeks, which was a glorious day!

The removal of the cast!

After the cast was removed and was cleared to bend his knee again, he was advised to wear a new boot and brace combo which could be set to be locked into place or unlocked to be able to bend. This brace was mainly to help Andy regain strength in his calf and thigh. I think that was one of the effects of the injury we didn't expect or think about. His leg muscles became so weak from him not using his leg. It became very much smaller then the right leg and so much weaker. Physical therapy was a huge help with this! 

The very first thing Andy wanted to do after 3 long months of not being able to wash his foot or bend his knee was.....get a pedicure!!! He loves getting them and having a foot cast is no joke for making your foot look DISGUSTING! It was really great to just sit back and watch him relax and find some comfort and relief.  

During this long and frustrating time we most definitely had our good and bad moments. The first thing I think about when I think back to this whole ordeal. was just how difficult it was to get the benefits Andy was entitled to and pays for each week. Our health insurance is extremely wonderful and we are so very grateful for that even though it is very expensive. They were great! As well as the Human Resources department at his work. They worked so hard to get us all the paper work and help we needed. However, when it came to short term disability and getting Andy a wheelchair, it was infuriating!

It was a true round and round situation and it seemed like every time we talked to one representative and got information and direction, all of which we did, we would get a different one when we called back and it was a completely different set of instructions.  I literally had to stay on top of it everyday and call constantly get everything he needed and was entitled to. 
I can't imagine what people do who are not informed in that area or who don't know how to handle it do. Andy would have been lost and it would have literally taken until Andy went back to work to get his benefits to begin if I had not fought for him. They certainly do not make it an easy process. During the most difficult time, it makes it very stressful to add all of that business stuff on top of it. 

Andy and I had many times where we didn't even want to talk to each other or be in the same room with each other. We had many times where all the stress presented itself as anger towards each other. 
We were not use to being around each other that much and I felt a lot of pressure on my shoulders. We did a lot of praying!
We did get to spend many many days together where Hensley was in school and we could just go to lunch or hang out and watch a show on Netflix. We had a lot of time to reconnect and remember why we fell in love. He was totally dependent on me for so long. I was his wife, his caretaker, his nurse, his taxi driver, his advocate, his maid, his friend. No one truly knew what all was going on behind the scene but us. As hard as anyone can imagine it's harder!
Even during all of the stress or hard times we found so many times to laugh and remember that we are honestly best friends. He gets me like no one else and I think I do the same for him. The vows we took "in sickness and in health" "in good times and in bad" really came to life in these months. Marriage isn't really defined by the day to day when we find ourselves going through the motions but in these moments, where life gets turned upside down. 
Life is truly 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. 

I believe we came out of all of this in a better place. We came out stronger as a couple and a family. We came out knowing we could make through anything! We also learned that everything is just temporary. With God all things are possible and as long as we give our worries and troubles to him, things will be just fine. He will never leave us or forsake us and  as hard as it is to fight that human emotion to worry we have to learn to pray more and worry less. Give it to God and be kind. The rest will fall into place. Maybe not in OUR time but in God's time it will be okay. 
I love him more then I even imagined I could and I am so thankful to still have him here with us and on the mend. He makes life better and there no one in the world I would rather go through this life with then him!

As the time for Andy to go back to work it was also time for a new truck. He searched high and low to find the right one for him and after weeks or looking he found one just in time for our beach trip before life got back to normal. He loves it so much and we are so grateful to have had the people at D&D Automotive working for us!

This time is now over and a new chapter of life has to begin. But before life gets back to "normal" we are off to the beach for a week of fun and to finally RELAX!