• Allie and Ryan

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 2

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 3

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 4

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 5

    Allie & Ryan

Friday, April 17, 2015

Stefan's Visit

Last week my 'baby' brother Stefan was on Spring Break and he asked if he could come spend it with us. Of course we said yes and the day after Easter he arrived for the week. I was pretty excited! Even though we are about a decade apart Stefan is most definitely my buddy, especially as he has gotten older. Sadly, Ryan and I both had work, but our evenings and free time were well spent! As soon as Stefan arrived he and Ryan fired up the grill and got their man status established. We had a nice dinner and took Rylie for a walk (which made her absolutely ecstatic... I think Stefan is one of her favorite people in the world!)
 

Ryan was actually on the rifle range all week so he had some very early mornings, but on the plus side he was home early enough in the afternoon to take Stefan out some places and have me meet them later. One day we went to the beach on base and got to see a pretty neat training exercise. Stefan was pretty stoked about it! The beach was a bit windy and cool both times we went, but the guys still did some skim boarding and had a blast.
 
I am so glad Ryan and Stefan get along. These two are like frick and frack... Stefan has even sort of adopted Ryan's sense of style. My brother has had the high and tight hair cut since we got married and he wanted to blend in with the other groomsmen, and the sperries and cargoes are definitely a staple of my husband's that Stefan borrowed! I think it is adorable. My amazing little brother also took it upon himself to weed and edge our yard and clean out our garage to say thanks for feeding him for a week!


I was actually off work on Friday so Stefan and I went on base to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. It was hot and sunny and we both got a little sunburned, but we both had a good time. Those horses are huge! Plus they had the dalmation (and a dalmation puppy in training!) along for the ride. It was a lot of standing around and waiting for them to arrive and get harnessed up and then they did a lap around the exchange parking lot. After the passed us we dashed out of there to avoid traffic and we stopped by the library so he could see where I worked.
 






Saturday I had to work but the guys had a good day together. After I got off of work we went bowling on base and ended up playing about five games in a row! We had a lot of fun together.
 
Proof I actually WON a game!!! I am the 94 (: and yes we know we are awful
I also used the opportunity to take some rare pictures of me and some of my favorite guys...
 



This is my new screensaver on my phone... I adore it!
Then somehow Stefan stole my phone and was messing with it. He told me to smile for a picture but then I quickly realized he was just holding down the button and taking picture after picture after picture! I think he took about eighty in a row! Below you can see the exact moment I realized it too...

Stefan left Sunday morning after I left for work and drove the long six and half hours back to Westen North Carolina. I am going to miss my buddy when he goes off to college this fall all the way in Vermont! He finally decided on Norwich University (or as Ryan likes to call it, "The North's version of the Citadel") and will be attending as a cadet this fall. I am ridiculously proud of my kid brother, if you can't tell! Thanks for the visit Stef, I will see you at your HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION in two months!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter

Like most of our holidays lately, Ryan and I had a quiet Easter at home. Even though Ryan was not in cycle, he was naturally on the range, so travelling with our work schedules wasn't really an option. I am still trying to earn back leave time from my surgery in January! Bein sick has not been my friend. As you may remember, recently I wrote I mentioned I was getting an endoscopy done. Fortunately my biopsies were all negative, no bacteria or cancer or anything like that. I did have some gastritis and duodenitis as well as some severe bile reflux. Not acid, bile. Ugh. So I am on a new medication that I have to take three times a day to see if it helps prevent my attacks and general nausea. Naturally a side effect of the medicine is nausea, so I have had some yucky moments again, but I am trying to go a few weeks to see if it truly helps. No idea what my options are beyond this though!
 
Anyway, Easter. I went to Holy Thursday mass at the church on base by myself (as Ryan is Baptist this is a normal thing for us! The Triduum is pretty uber Catholic). Good Friday I sadly had to work and could not attend mass. Ryan and I went out for seafood that evening and ended up having some really good conversations. Saturday we scrambled like crazy to get things done so Easter Sunday we wouldn't have to do chores. We cleaned the house top to bottom, discovered a leak under our kitchen sink and repaired it, did laundry and grocery shopping all in time for the Easter Vigil mass that evening. The vigil is hands down my favorite mass of the year. Yes, it is long mass and my husband is a saint for putting up with me to go! We had seven people baptised, four convert from other branches of Christianity and a total of thirteen people confirmed. I am always teary during that part! It is a beautiful thing.
 
We got home that evening and made our pisanki. Ryan is getting to be quite good aafter being with me all these years! His are on the left and mine are on the right.
 
Our pisanki/pisanky (depending on your spelling!)
We were up pretty late but still didn't sleep in too much Easter Sunday. We had a nice lazy day of watching movies and opening the Easter basket my mom sent us. After awhile it got too lazy for Ryan and we decided to go out and play tennis. It was my first time doing anything particularly strenuous (aside from hiking or walking the dog) since I got sick back in October. I did alright but man am I out of shape! After a few hours we came home and I made the pierogies I had been saving for a special occassion. They have sat in the freezer from our last trip to New Jersey and are the made from scratch pierogies my Babci made.... so they are uber special! We had that with her babka bread that I also unfroze as well as a ring of kielbasa Ryan grilled for us.

 
Our neighbors also shared a special Easter treat with us. He found some baby bunnies abandoned on his job site and did not want to leave them. They all waited for the mother to come back but there was no sign of her. He brought them home for the evening and they decided to feed them and care for them for the evening until they could bring them to a wildlife shelter the next day. What that meant for us was that we were able to cuddle some furry little baby bunnies who had barely opened their eyes!

 
They were so cute and tiny and they made the tiniest little jumps. They had four of them total and I loved being able to snuggle them, even though it was pretty brief. A friend of mine recommended a good place to take them and the next day our neighbors dropped them off.

 
Monday we went back to work but that evening my brother came to visit us for our Spring Break! The Dup is in heaven, Uncle Stefan is her best buddy, and I am pretty psyched my baby brother is here for the week. Even though I work during the day we have been having some pretty awesome adventures at night and I hope we can get a beach day in before he goes. I hope you all had a Happy Easter and warmer weather is officially headed your way.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wine Cork Wreath

So, one of my favorite bloggers (La Tache over at Smiling is Good For Your Teeth) posted awhile back a Wine Cork Wreath DIY that she found here. Ryan and I have been collecting wine corks for ages and I have been trying to think of something to do with them... this seemed perfect! We love our red wine, so much that our kitchen is even wine themed! We save corks from special occassions (and write on them what they are from) in our bottle shaped cork saver, but our everyday corks were just getting thrown into my old jars until I found a project for them.

I was pretty excited so I sat down to do our wreath about three weeks ago. I got the first layer done pretty quickly too.

 
It was looking great and I hadn't burned myself yet. All good things for sure as hot glue and I tend to have a rather bad history together. The scar on my left hand from third grade can attest to that.

 
So for the whole first layer you do a flat covering to hide as much of the straw wreath as possible. Now you remember I said I started this three weeks ago? Well... I ran out of corks. So I ordered more from Amazon. Ryan made fun of me for spending money to buy used corks online but hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. So I waited a week before starting the next layer.

 
The next layer was a lot more fun so a week ago, when my 130 extra corks came in, I began the hodge podge second layer. And I ran out of corks again. The initial site said she used about 180 corks for her wreath. I used heck of a lot more. I had close to 100 to start, ordered another 130, ran out of corks again, and just did another order of 130. I did end up with some corks left over but truth be told, not many. So yes, you will more than likely need more than 180 corks. I did anyway! My second shipment of corks came in yesterday and I finally finished my wreath and proudly hung it in our red wine kitchen.

Ta Da!
I was debating getting a red wine colored ribbon to add a bow to it, or maybe a large L for our last name, but for now it is proudly hanging in our kitchen. I enjoyed doing something crafty again, it is definitely something I think I need to get back into! Have you done anything crafty lately? And not too hard? Share in the comments, I need some more ideas!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Not Done Yet

So since my stomach issues still seem to be unresolved I'm not done with doctors and testing yet. Although it isn't as bad as it was when I first got sick back in October it still isn't normal. 

I woke up on Saint Patrick's Day not feeling well. I had terrible pain in my back and felt nauseous. I ended up getting sick and forcing myself to get ready for work. On the way to work I was in so much pain I was sobbing on the phone to my mom. I knew once I stood up and got out of the car it would be better but that commute was utter hell. So I called the doctor again. I was done with this. 

I went back to the gastroenterologist on Thursday and they scheduled me for an endoscopy on Monday morning. They will put me under, insert a camera down my throat and take pictures plus a small biopsy in my stomach. Hopefully this will provide some answers. My doctor seems positive it is something we can resolve and I hope he's right. I'm tired of wondering if I'm randomly going to get nauseous and sick for no reason. 

So more tests. More medicine. Let's just hope I get some answers this time and I can be done with this once and for all. I can't believe it's been six months of this. Sometimes it feels like it will never end. God I hope that's not the case! Keep your fingers crossed for me please.

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

All Over the Place

Time has been a tricky thing for me lately. With Ryan in cycle and me back at work it feels like there isn't really a set schedule for anything anymore... it's strange. I am now almost six weeks post op and feeling much better. On two occasions (naturally at four in the morning) my stomach rebelled something and I was up and sick for awhile and then off kilter for a few days, but I am just watching what I eat and going from there. Red meat and I may never have the same relationship, which kind of stinks. I only seem to handle the very expensive ground beef or burgers (93% or 97%), but roast beef, steak and anything else is a no go. I guess I can live with that.

Ryan is now in his second cycle as a combat instructor and this one is much better than the first (which was his training cycle). We still have periods of time where we don't see each other for a few days but there are those wonderful few that we get to hang out and spend some time together. After this cycle he will have some time on a normal work schedule since the busy season for SOI is over, which I am looking forward to.

I've been doing a lot of meal prepping on my days off, trying to cook lunches and dinners for the week for two people and doing the laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping; let's just say I remember days off being more relaxing than they have been as of late! Sometimes I feel like he is deployed again, but instead of maintaining a house and a life for just me it is for him too. He ghosts in exhausted; eats, showers and sleeps, and is gone again long before I wake up. I try to keep food in the fridge and the laundry clean and the house not a total disaster. I try not to get frustrated when mud tracks across the floor I just vacuumed or the laundry pile magically reappears as soon as I fold the last load, but it isn't easy. Not trying to complain by any means, I'd rather have him home in this capacity instead of deployed, but it can be exhausting at times trying to keep all the plates spinning.

Besides that my poor blog has been suffering for the past year or so. The community I was welcomed into years ago has drastically changed. I never have been one to blog for profit or into the business side of things, but I wonder if I missed out by not doing that. All the bloggers I started out with have pretty much stopped blogging. My readership is way down, comments and page views alike, and it is a bit depressing. I unfortunately do not have the time (and truth be told motivation) to go on a social media blitz or do some of the other things that extend into uber readership. I remember when blogging was more about sharing your story and personal relationships than networking and graphs and such. It's intimidating. I see blogs with thousands and thousands of followers and almost feel dizzy! That's a lot of pressure! Sometimes I think, I want to blog about this! but before I know it a week or two or three has passed and I have no idea what happened. How have I not come back to the space that was once my ultimate sanity?

I know this is all over the place... but I am still here. I am still trying to find my voice and write it down.

I hope you're still here too.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Valentine... a little delayed

So, this was scheduled to post a week ago and didn't actually post. Just when I think I am getting back into the swing of things.... Ah well.
 
Our Valentine's Day was a really nice one, I have to say. Ryan finished his first cycle as an instructor and had a long weekend and I was finally recovered enough from being sick from my surgery to go out and do things. We woke up in the morning and I gave Ryan a small painting I made him. I did not photograph it because it wasn't that good but he seemed to like it! We got ready and drove down to Topsail Beach to walk on the beach a bit. It was absolutely freezing so we only walked for maybe five or ten minutes before retreating to the warmth of the car, but it was still gorgeous to look at!
 
 
After the beach we continued on to Wilmington where we had a late lunch/early dinner at an all you can eat sushi place we kept seeing but never actually went to. It was absolutely delicious and we were full to the brim by the time we at our six or so special rolls! We then stopped at Trader Joes for some munchy foods for later that evening. My parents also sent us some Georgetown Cupcakes to celebrate me feeling better, Ryan's upcoming birthday, and of course Valentine's Day.

 
I also redecorated our mantle for the occassion. After my surgery my mom and I had made a trip to Hobby Lobby and everything (aside from my angels) came from there. It was my first time ever in a Hobby Lobby and I must say I need to avoid it lest I spend a TON of money on a regular basis!

 
We ended with a low key evening at home with our stuff from Trader Joe's. We had a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers, and a chocolate lava cake with frozen raspberries for dessert. Ryan lit a fire in the fireplace and we put the Frank Sinatra station on Pandora and had a nice evening together. Dancing may have been involved.





 
Overall it was a very low key Valentine's Day, but we spent it together, which is always a bonus in my book!
 


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gall Bladder

So it has been over a week since I finally had my gall bladder removed and I am finally feeling up to blogging a bit about it. My recovery has been pretty crappy so far.... bad nausea and lack of appetite (sound familiar) have plagued me since the Super Bowl and I have been pretty miserable. Today marks the first day I put on jeans and ventured out of the house (to the grocery store) in almost two weeks.

Back to last Wednesday, the 28th, when I had the actual surgery. I was supposed to be there at 9am with the surgery at 11am. Anytime I have surgery I have bad luck with timing. The night before they call me and tell me not to come in until 1:30pm due to back ups in the OR with a surgery at 2:45. Goody. Especially when you can't eat or drink after midnight! My mom flew in the night before and we had a nice dinner at Olive Garden together before heading home. Ryan surprised the heck out of both of us when he managed to get off work for my surgery. We were convinced the SDA meant it was impossible but I was glad he was able to be there. So we get to the hospital around 1:30pm and the wait begins.


We waited and waited and long story short I didn't get into the OR until almost 4:30 that afternoon. Sigh. I was pretty hungry and thirsty by that point. I sat in a room with my mom and Ryan and watched TV for a few hours as we waited and once it is go time it is GO TIME. I felt like we were waiting for ages and suddenly I was kissing them goodbye and getting wheeled up the hall. I vaguely remember seeing the OR and then... nothing. My next conscious (and quite embarrassing) memory is waking up in recovery sobbing. I mean full on sob fest. My throat was scratchy from the tube and obviously my midsection hurt and I just remember sobbing my heart out and apologizing to the recovery nurses for sobbing. 

Ugh.

I was supposed to have an outpatient surgery but because it started so late the surgery center closed and they wheeled me into the actual hospital for the rest of my recovery. We thought that meant a few hours but then they mentioned keeping me overnight and that was exactly what happened.


My goals were simple... drink, pee, walk and eat. I couldn't go home until all of those were done. I was horribly itchy and in pain so they had me on morphine, then percocet and benadryl as I drank a ton of water. Ryan eventually had to go home since he had to be at work at the crack of dawn but my mom stayed with me. Actually when Ryan left they hadn't mentioned keeping me all night yet and he was quite surprised when he woke up the next morning and I wasn't there.


I had a nice view of the sunrise from my bed at least? It was a long night. I hate hospitals and my poor mom was in a chair... they didn't offer her anything more comfortable until about four am and at that point she didn't want to bother. I did eventually walk and use the bathroom... and when I did I nearly fell over. Blood pouring out of your bellybutton will do that to you. Apparently that's normal after my surgery so a well placed bandaid stopped that problem. Ugh. I finally ate breakfast in the morning and to my surprise my husband walked in as I was eating oatmeal and jello. Work let him go since I was still in the hospital. We eventually got discharged and I was able to go home by 8am or so. We all basically went straight to bed and slept until midafternoon.

I spent the next day or two on pain meds on the couch watching Friends on Netflix while my mom cooked and cleaned and was awesome just helping us out.


The Dup was a little put out at having to share her couch at first but she quickly became my snuggle buddy.

 
 As you can see she just squirmed right in between my mom and I and made due. At 90lbs, give or take, this is no easy task for a Dup!

My view.... she is cute luckily!

And the Dup loves her Granny, my mom, so they snuggled a lot too.

Saturday, the night before my mom left I started feeling nauseous. Saturday we went to the store and I was eating normally but sore... Sunday the nausea was worse. I barely ate all day before taking her to the airport and I was feeling awful by the time I got home. I got on the couch with the Dup to watch the Super Bowl but she wasn't too interested....


By halftime Ryan was home and I felt awful. Before the third quarter started I was throwing up and Ryan was giving me medicine and dragging me into bed to go to sleep. The next four or five days were miserable. I was on anti nausea medicine like crazy and eating nothing but fruit and toast and light bland things and just trying to stay hydrated. I went back to my doctor and they basically said it had only been a week post op and to give it more time. Very frustrating. Finally today I am feeling a little better. Good enough to at least put on jeans and go to the grocery store. I am still taking it easy and watching what I eat, but here is to hoping I am finally on the up and up.

Adios Gall Bladder. You will so not be missed. Here is to hoping I can have my long awaited cheeseburger soon. Really soon.



Monday, January 26, 2015

Tune Ups

I have never been one to air dirty laundry on my blog. Most bloggers I know don't. Our blogs are a place where our lives tend to be a little more glossy sheen than chaos. Occassionally people will write about a frustration or two, but I usually will not write about arguments or difficulties. One, it is not something I wish my blog to focus on, and two, it is out of respect for the relationships I do have. That being said, this particular entry is one I have wanted to write for awhile, and everything I mention here has been something my husband and I have both said we are comfortable disclosing.

Marriage Counseling.

We agreed years ago, back when we were newlyweds, if one of us (did not matter which one) ever wanted counseling then we would go... no questions asked, no stalling. We had one time a year or so ago where one of us mentioned it and we looked in to going, but then we managed to regain our footing and never actually went. Or so we thought. The past year or so have been hard for us. Last year Ryan came back from Afghanistan and we jumped right into the holidays. Immediately after that we went out our trip to Europe and as soon as we returned my aunt passed away and I flew to New Jersey. The day after I returned from her funeral I was thrown in rehearsals for a show I had been cast in. So we went from living apart with the deployment, to reintigration that never really had a chance to take and by the time we were both on normal schedules again it was summer practically and Ryan was putting in for his SDA. Then I had another show as Ryan started school for his SDA.... and we both just realized we were fighting a lot and were both pretty unhappy overall. After a particularly large (amd stupid) fight over something insignificant we decided we wanted to go to counseling.

Ryan instantly made a phone call to Military OneSource. Military OneSource offers active duty, reservists on active status, and National Guard members and their families twelve free, non medical, face-to-face counseling sessions with a professional in your area. We had an appointment with a counselor for the next day with that one call. Even making the appointment we felt better and had what felt like our first real discussion in a long time. That was when we realized we both were unhappy... not unhappy that we were married or together, but overall the general feeling of this could be better. This has been better.

We went in to our first session with a little bit of unease, but our counselor got us to talk. Then we had one of our small fights. And he let us. We were on opposite ends of the couch going back and forth jumping from topic to topic when our counselor said something that seems so incredibly obvious, but until we heard it, it never occurred for a moment.

"Is this how you speak to someone you love?"

No. No it isn't.

When we had those stupid arguments, and lord knows we had them a lot, we were both just trying to be heard. It wasn't about the sweet potato or the volume on the tv (seriously), it was wanting our spouse to hear us. We always were the type to bicker, both our parents independently nicknamed us "the Bickersons", but lately it had been so much more than that.

Once we heard that, we began to make a more conscious effort to really hear one another, and talk to each other the way we wanted to be talked to. It sounds so simple when I type it, but it was something that in our frustrations we were missing. We both were overly frustrated to the point where we felt like we weren't being heard and all we did was make our voices louder and louder with effort to be heard. But when someone yells usually the knee jerk response is to stop listening anyway... it is a vicious cycle we were stuck in for sure.

If we are arguing it becomes about winning... and in order for one of us to win one of us has to lose. And marriage shouldn't be about winning and losing. We are on the same team. If one of us loses then we both lose.

Our counselor told us around the five year mark is where a lot of marriages will stumble or falter... it is totally normal. He told us that we both drive cars and every 3,000 or 5,000 miles we need an oil change, right? Well, this is our oil change. We hit so many miles in our marriage and just needed a tune up. We needed to hear some things we had forgotten. After many years together it is easy to fall into a rut or a bad routine or habit, and sometimes you just need someone to nudge you onto the right track again.

After a little more than six or seven sessions there was a remarkable improvement. Heck, after our first session there was improvement! Our counselor recommended a certain book for us, and I am kind of embarassed to say we had a copy already and once we started reading it, it helped. Seriously. We have had more meaningful, real conversations in the past two months than in the whole last year combined probably. We were making the effort to really hear one another again. In our last session, before Ryan started his SDA, we watched a DVD our counselor recommended. During the DVD Ryan had his arm around me and I held his hand. We all noticed how different it was from our first session when we were as far apart as possible on opposite ends of the couch.

Even though it hasn't been long, we are so much happier already. We communicate better... we hear each other more... and we have slowly started eliminating bad habits we formed together. We take responsiblity for our own actions and behaviors, we try and help each other when we have bad days, and we both love each other enough to fight for our marriage. We were never on the verge of divorce or anything, but we knew that our marriage could be better because it had been before. Once the newlywed glow fades and time goes on it is easy to forget you have to check in with one another. This SDA is not going to be easy, and we knew that going in to it, so we both felt very relieved that we were able to reconnect on this level before it started. We plan on going back for another session when his first training cycle is over, but just to check in. We already know we are on a better path at this point and have the tools to keep moving forward.

This isn't a quick fix. Your car still will always need an oil change after so many miles, but at least now we have the tools to do it ourselves next time. And if we keep up the regular maintenance, we will have less problems later.

If you are in a similar situation and a military couple, I highly recommend using these sessions from Military OneSource. Even if you aren't military, some insurances cover counseling for a certain amount of sessions. I am glad we did. And if blogging about it helps anyone else, than the point of writing this has been achieved. I blog to chronicle our lives, sure, but also to help other military spouses who find my blog randomly or who are even regular readers. So there you go... someone else who has been there in some capacity. Every couple has issues and every couple needs a tune up now and then. Go for it. As always, feel free to comment or email me if you have any other questions that I may be able to help with.

Thanks for reading.



PS - This is a non sponsored post and all opinions are my own. Military OneSource is a great resource that we happily used, but they are in no way responsible for the content of this post. Same with the book review on amazon, purely my own opinion.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Training Cycle 1 and Life Goes On

As many of you know, my husband recently began his new job as a combat instructor with MCT (Marine Combat Training) as part of SOI East (School of Infantry). We are well in to his first training cycle and things have definitely been an adjustment. The hours are crazy, some nights he doesn't come home at all (and I have my trusty 9 mil on standby) and when he does the poor guy eats, showers and sleeps. He is definitely exhausted and I am trying my best to help where I can. I make his coffee, grab snacks and things for him when I can, have the house clean and leftovers in the fridge, and I try and keep the noise level down when he is home and asleep. It is weird after how much time we spent together lately that we barely see each other any more, most of that time is just sleeping, and he is usually too busy to even answer a text during the day. Training cycles are 29 days straight, so we still have a bit left to go in this first cycle, but hopefully with each cycle things will get a little easier. I know Ryan is pretty worn out already so here is to hoping things get better on his end too.

I finally had my pre-op appointment on Wednesday for my gallbladder removal. I met with the nurse, anesthesiologist and got blood work done. In between my meetings with each of them my doctor's office called me. I listened to the voicemail and they basically were saying there was a scheduling problem and they were wondering if I could push my surgery back until February 4th. Oh. Heck. NO. I was literally AT my pre-op appointment! Since Ryan cannot take leave my mom is flying in to take care of me. I am already scheduled for the time off work and the surgery is a week away! The surgery THEY scheduled back in MID DECEMBER.

Needless to say I was not happy.

I called them back and basically told them no... I could not switch. I mentioned my mom was flying in, ticket already booked, and it was not possible for me to reschedule. The nurse said "Ok, we will see what we can do. We just wanted to check with you and see if it was possible."

Well, it isn't.

I have been sick since October. I waited a month to get a diagnosis. When I finally did get one I had to wait another month to even see a surgeon. Then when I finally saw him I had to wait a week for them to schedule the surgery. Then I had to wait another five weeks for said surgery. Meanwhile I have been sick this entire time. I have altered my diet, I have endured gallbladder attacks, been nauseous nonstop, missed out on holidays and delicious food with my family, ruined date nights, been throwing up/nauseous/in pain/on medicines and I am DONE. There is no way I am switching my surgery when I am a week away from it... even if it is only by another week. Sorry. Done.

Anyway, I am working this weekend and Monday and Tuesday. My mom flies in Tuesday night and then Wednesday morning is my surgery. If anything changes that the hospital will have one angry patient on their hands! I may sound ridiculous right now, but I am so tired of not feeling well. I really hope this surgery works. I want to be able to eat again without being worried it will make me horrendously sick. I miss cheeseburgers. I miss just ordering whatever I want at a restaurant. I miss having the ability to cook anything and eat anything without fear of getting horribly nauseous or throwing up. I really, really hope this works.

Send some good vibes my way if you can!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mike's Farm

As you may remember Ryan and I spent Christmas just the two of us in North Carolina this year. Christmas Day we were very lazy and the day after wasn't much better. Come Saturday we knew we had to get out of the house and do something. We had heard a lot about Mike's Farm, a local farm and restaurant that is very popular around here, and decided to give it a try. We left around two thirty Saturday afternoon since we knew the restaurant opened at four and they were doing Christmas Light hayrides starting in the evening. It was semi warm when we left the house but I did change in to a heavier sweater thinking it would get colder as the sun went down... boy am I glad I did!
 
We got to Mike's Farm a little after three o'clock and the place was packed. There was a huge line of people, which we naturally got into, not quite knowing what it was even for. We eventually realized it was the line for the restaurant that was not even open yet! As the sun got lower it started getting colder and Ryan and I spent a good bit of time in that line. At four o'clock it started moving. By the time we got to the front the first seating was full and we added our names to the wait list with an hour and a half wait looming in front of us! By this time it was pretty chilly but we made the best of it. We explored the farm store, the bakery, and got ourselves tickets for the hayride for after dinner.

Waiting in the cold to eat
At almost exactly an hour and a half we were called in to eat. The place was packed and absolutely adorable, decorated with old farming equipment, fake store fronts, and other fun things. The dinner is served completely family style and you eat as much as you want and they will bring you more of whatever you desire. Ryan was in heaven! We had our drinks served in mason jars (water for me, sweet tea for the hubs) and instantly had a full table of food. Biscuits, ham biscuits, fried chicken, pork loin, macaroni and cheese, corn, string beans, mashed potatoes, gravy... it was incredible.

The macaroni and cheese was to die for!
 
My full plate
Now I knew with my gall bladder issues I should not eat a lot of this stuff (ie the fried chicken and the macaroni and cheese and the gravy... you get the idea) but I figured I could do small pieces and portions and be ok. Nope. Even before the end of dinner I was six shades of white and deathly nauseous. Thankfully I had my medicine with me (Zofran, you rule) so I took that and sat there trying not to make any sudden movements. I skipped on dessert (banana pudding, chocolate cake, and cheesecake.... yes Ryan had all three) and sipped my water until Ryan was finished. I felt terrible but I definitely didn't want to go home after paying for the hayride and all the waiting we did.
 
So we went back out in the cold and got in another line for the hayride. The longer we stood in line the better I thankfully felt. It also helped the family behind us had two very entertaining kids and an even more entertaining mom. She was cracking us up the entire time we were in line and on the hayride. At one point she had asked us which line we were in, and we told her, and her son piped up "MOM! Stranger Danger!! You can't talk to them! Do you know them??" Hearing her explain how mommys are allowed to talk to strangers more than six year olds had us both laughing. We definitely had great conversations as we all stood in line. Finally we got on the hayride!

 
We had some Christmas music playing on our hay wagon and we rode in the dark for awhile... we were starting to get nervous about there actually being lights on this Christmas Light Hayride but we finally rounded a bend and BOOM! Lights everywhere. It was gorgeous!
 
 
Towards the end of the hayride I noticed a figure walking in front of our tractor. He was in USMC cammies and heading towards a building in front of us. The music changed to Kenny Rogers A Soldier's King, which I had never heard before, and our tractor stopped. During the following lyrics the Marine knelt down and handed over his medal to the baby and I basically had tears in my eyes. It was beautiful.
 
"He stood before the son of God, come to pay our debt
He smiled up at the soldier that the world would soon forget
So he held out his medal and said this for you I bring
There he swore allegiance to the newborn baby king"
 
 
After there were a few more lights and some fake snow (which was the soapy kind but still really gorgeous) and then we stopped again. Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA started playing and then this giant American flag lit up with huge lights going off like fireworks behind it. Then a recording of children saying the Pledge of Allegiance played and the entire hayride stood up and said it along with them. Very patriotic and very touching for a finale!

 
That was the end of the hayride and by this point we were both pretty chilly! We got one last picture in front of the Merry Christmas sign (hey, it was still Christmas weekend!) and then got back in the warm car and headed for home.

 
We definitely hope to at least go back to the restaurant (after my surgery) and maybe even bring my family as it is definitely the sort of place my parents would get a kick out of. We also hope to maybe try to go next fall for their pumpkin picking and more hayrides! Definitely recommend a visit if you're in the area.... just be prepared to wait to eat! It is worth it.