Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas in Georgia

Finally, here are the pictures from Christmas in Georgia! 

My mom and my little brother, Conner (age 17)
 My mom with all of her kids! Mom, Conner, me, Colton, Paityn, Trevor, and Trent
 Linda (Heather's friend), Nanny, and my little sisters Paityn and Madison
 My mom and my little sister Madison, who is just about WALKING now! :)
 My step-siblings were with their Dad for Christmas, but if they had been there, and Savannah and Logan (who are up in Michigan), it would have been all of us! (this is the first time in probably three years that even the six of us were all together)
 My brother Trent and his wife Carey
 Delilah being miss bossy pants
 The beautiful Alessia, which you may or may not remember from this post a few years back, when baby Keegan gave her a mouth full of wood chips at the park!
 Lila girl playing with her daddy
 Our beautiful children on Christmas morning at Mema's!
 Heather (Gigi, to the kids)
 Conner, who will be 18 in less than two months and off to college in the fall.  Scary!
 The baby of the family, Madison
 When we got back to our house in LA a few days after Christmas, we saw that Santa had come while we were away.  Keegan was carefully inspecting the rocks that Santa had kicked out of the fireplace when he came down the chimney! It was a great surprise indeed :)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sorry it's been so long, yet again.  I hope to be a better blogger in 2014.  I hope many things for 2014.  

Since I last posted, the kids had their Thanksgiving and Christmas parties at school.  I unfortunately don't have any of them at their party for Thanksgiving, but I got a few from that day. This first picture was on the bulletin board outside of Lila's classroom.  Her teacher was going around asking all of the children what they are thankful for, receiving the usual responses such as "Mom and dad, candy, my hulk toy" etc. She said when she asked Lila, that her face just lit up like she has never seen before, and she responded "MY Keegan" in the sweetest, most adoring voice ever.
 Lila has her therapy on Mondays and Thursdays, and the parties at school are always on Thursdays, so while Lila was at therapy that afternoon, Keegan and I went to a little walking trail by the river.  We had never been there before, and to my surprise (even though there are no swings or slides or child-play-things), Keegan loves it and often asks to go back.  
 He even let me get some shots of him! :)

 We have had some beautiful, ice-covered mornings.  The weather here is weird - one week it'll be in the 20s/30s, and the next week it will be in the 70s.  Right now we are back to freezing.
 On St. Nicholas Day (December 6th), the kids got to open a special package FULL of goodies from their Moma.  Unfortunately, this is the only picture I got from that night.
 Then came the kids Christmas parties.  I have to miss half of each of their parties because they are at the same time.  So I go to Keegan's classroom for about 20-30 minutes then I head over to Lila's for the remaining 20-30.  This means I can't capture everything :(  Here are the two that I did get though!

I am working now on the pictures from Christmas, which we spent in Georgia.  Hopefully I can post those either today or tomorrow.  I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas, and be safe tonight ringing in the new year!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Really, Sam? Three Months?

Wow.  I can't believe it's been so long since I last wrote in the blog.  I have been a really bad blogger lately!  Let me try to fill you in on the "big things" since my last post.

Keegan started kindergarten on August 16! It was scary and exciting.

After a few weeks and some talks with his teacher and guidance counselor, we decided it was best to pull him out and put him back into preschool for another year.  It was a difficult decision at the time, but in hindsight, it was the best decision we could've possibly made.  We are all happier around here now (as opposed to the frustration we all felt, including Keegan, in those weeks he was at experiencing an 8-hour-long school day where he was constantly in trouble) and Keegan is still learning so so much.  

So, Keegan is back at the same school he has been at the past two years. The difference this year? His little sister is there with him!! 

Lila has the same teacher (Mrs. Broussard) that Keegan had two years ago, and we adore her! Ever since the last few weeks of school last year, Lila has been looking forward to going. When we would drop Keegan off, she would get upset that she couldn't go in there with him.  The first day of preschool was not even too hard for her. She at first didn't want me to put her down, clinging to me for dear life. She saw the other kids playing in different parts in the room, but didn't want me to put her down.  Finally, she spotted a giant dollhouse and so I brought her over there and got out some of the toys.  I slowly scooted further and further away, and soon, a couple of the little girls went over to join her, and she never even saw me leave.  Ever since, she has been little miss independent and LOVES school.  
In fact, she recently told us that she had a boyfriend at school (and on another day she told us she hit her boyfriend - not sure how true this is, but everybody knows how little kids with crushes "flirt"!).  Here is how that conversation went down:  Click here for the video (you do not need a Facebook account to view the video).

Also, Keegan turned FIVE years old on September 15th!  I unfortunately don't have any pictures from our festivities (I had the flu) but he had a blast and is still enjoying his new stuff.  My big boy is growing up way too fast!!

Jonas and I went up to the Chicago area recently, which was a huge disappointment because we absolutely fell in love with the place.  For two years, we have been told about this new mill and encouraged that it would be a good move for us to go up there.  Since we are still (after living here for five years) waiting on Shreveport to grow on us, we were all on board for moving.  The company flew us up there and paid for our expenses on the trip, to make sure we really liked the place before making it official.  I knew going up there I was going to like it (after all the hours I spent looking up information about it and spent on forums and such), and it just reaffirmed it.  

So we got back from the trip very late Sunday night, and Jonas was preparing to go in on Monday morning and give them his answer as to whether or not we would be going up there (because at the time, the ball was in our court).  When Jonas got to work on Monday, they told him that it was no longer and option and that we had to stay here in Shreveport.  Talk about a major letdown! Not to mention the thousands of dollars we had spent in just the previous weeks making upgrades to our house in preparation for a sale (granite countertops, paints, siding, etc.) I am just sick of the thought of having to raise my kids here (don't get me wrong, I LOVE the people I've met here.. I just came into it with a mindset of, "We'll be here for five years, get on our feet, then we'll move on.").  This isn't my dream town, the schools aren't where I want my kids getting their education, it's just not a very family oriented place. Did you know we don't even have a dog park here? Not one! Valparaiso (which is where the new mill is going to be, in Indiana) has at least three.. and that's just that we saw in the couple days we were there!

Okay I think I'm finally ready to come out with the health issues I've had lately.  It all started with a lump I found last August (2012).  I saw four different doctors - one (my OBGYN) couldn't tell me anything and sent me to a breast specialist; the specialist told me it was a blood clot close to my heart; and the last two (my GP and a different breast specialist that he sent me to) told me it was Fibrocystic Disease.  So that's what I settled with, but not before getting my Mirena IUD out (as per the first specialist's recommendation).  Then, in October, came the miscarriage.  I am lucky enough to not even know that I had been pregnant until the day I lost the baby. We hadn't even been trying, I think everything with the Mirena kinda threw things out of whack. 

Then in November began the headaches and migraines. They were horrible. Every single day for two months. Some days I couldn't get out of bed or turn on the lights, they were so bad.  In the beginning I blamed the miscarriage, but when they never went away I began to get worried.  I had been to my doctor, who prescribed me headache and pain meds.  They didn't work.  So finally, my GP ordered an MRI, which I had done on December 28th.  One of Jonas's coworkers was telling him that his wife was having headaches a while back, and they got a hormone test done at her OBGYN, which gave her results to fix the problem quickly.  It couldn't hurt to try, so I also go that done.

I got the results for both when I was in Georgia for New Years.  The MRI scan came back with a mass near my medulla on the left side.  Upon my return, I saw an ENT specialist who decided that it was most likely scar tissue.  

The results from the hormone test came as a huge surprise to everybody, especially my doctors.  I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  It is an endocrine disorder, and the leading cause of infertility in women.  I am an atypical PCOS patients - most have insulin resistance or diabetes, are overweight, and have excessive hair growth on their face and body.  I don't seem to have any of those issues.  I had never even had a cyst on my ovary before, so for months I didn't know if I agreed with the diagnosis.  My GP had a hard time believing it as well, because I didn't seem to portray any of the issues as other PCOS patients.  One thing though, because of the hormone imbalance accompanied with the birth control pills I had been taking post-Mirena, they gave me the headaches.  Once I stopped the birth control, the headaches stopped.  

Fast forward a few months, and I suddenly started having some pain in my lower abdomen on the right side.  It would happen at random times at first, it wasn't all the time.  It slowly got worse and worse, so I finally in August told my OBGYN about it and he ordered an ultrasound.  Sure enough, I had two large (5.5 cm and 4.5 cm) simple cysts on my right ovary.  He ordered a repeat scan for a month later, which revealed no change in the cysts on my right side, but showed a new cyst had formed on my left side. A 4 cm hemorrhagic cyst - that means that it was filling with blood.  He ordered me a couple of NSAIDs, including one used for arthritis, to try to reduce the swelling and help with the pain.  He warned me that it would be painful, especially if/when the hemorrhagic cyst would burst (he said it would likely continue to fill with blood until it would burst).  So here I am, waiting for my next ultrasound which will be on Wednesday.  My pain level is good right now, I haven't felt it in a few days.  I think the next step would be surgery to remove the cysts (he said normally 4 cm is the time where they start worrying about them, and 6 cm it becomes pertinent to surgically remove them. I've got three averaging 4.7 cm).  Since I haven't felt them recently, I'm thinking the meds have probably worked and that won't be necessary, thank goodness! 

I think above all else it has been an emotional roller coaster for me.  I am so blessed to have the children that I do, I know that..  I am just still so young and when you're told that even if you wanted kids, now or a few years from now, it probably would not happen.. It was tough to swallow. 

This has just been the mother of all years! From the big things, like losing Natalie and my health, to the little things like KP's schooling and having to stay here in Shreveport (and all of the littler things that have seemed to go wrong lately)... I am ready for it all to be behind me! 

Phew. Okay, I finally came out with it, after 10 months of trying to accept it.  In other news - Lila has croup, so send prayers and well wishes her way! I hate it when my babies are sick - Jonas and I were up for a couple hours in the night with her, trying to open her airway with steam from the shower and humidifiers and trying to keep her calm.  She is at the doctor now getting steroids and antibiotics. Apparently there has been stuff going around here.  Jonas was sick last week, and now Lila.  Luckily, Keegan and I seem to have much stronger immune systems than Jonas and Lila, knock on wood.. We haven't gotten anything yet.  Hopefully you haven't either! 

Thanks for enduring my ridiculously long post, and hopefully I won't wait so long next time for an update! Much love to you all!  Here are some pictures since my last post   :)

Side note: I having been wanting to start my own photography business for a while now.  Thoughts? I need help coming up with the name.  I am leaning towards Libelle Fotografie, but lots of people say I should use my name as I am selling myself as an artist and it will be easier for people to remember my name if I use my name for by business.. But where is the originality in that? Samantha Schuster Photography? What do you think?