Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Broken Record Player

I feel like I keep repeating myself over and over and over like some broken record player, but since I don't know what else to say - THANK YOU to everyone who has prayed for Steve today, who has prayed for me today, who has held my hand, given me a hug, watched Amaya, sent us an e-mail or message on facebook. It is because of you and the grace of God that I made it through the day. It's been a rough day... we received news that we didn't want to hear. Steve's surgery went well, just not like we had wanted it to go. Another upcoming surgery planned... another "wait and see" game... another "let's hope this works." I was selfishly hoping for my sake and for Steve's that this would be it - he'd be on the road to healing - this would be the last surgery and we'd be done. But... another surgery is in his future in the next few months... so discouraging... but I'm trying to find the silver lining.... trying to be positive... so... I'm so thankful for my parents - thankful that I didn't have to worry about Amaya all day knowing that she was being spoiled and cared for. I'm so thankful for my in-laws - thankful that they kept me company at the hospital, thankful that they took care of me, and thankful that they could still make me laugh. I'm thankful for Dr. C.'s skillful hands and for keeping Steve alive... thankful for Patty his attentive nurse.. thankful that we're at Mayo... thankful for a private room... thankful for modern medicine to take away pain. I'm thankful for Karen - someone completely unknown to me to take the time to stop and visit with us to pray and encourage us. I'm thankful for the people that God put in my path today - Janet and Elizabeth. I'm thankful for Steve... especially missing him tonight... thankful that he's strong... thankful that he's determined... thankful that he still has his sense of humor even while drugged up ... And I'm thankful I have a little girl who can hug and kiss me and as I tucked her in bed tonight she said, "Mommy, I missed you." And on that note... I go to bed thankful for all that God has blessed me with and have confidence that whatever tomorrow holds, He'll give me the strength that I need.

Steve's Surgery

It's another surgery day.... another day of hours of waiting... another day of hours of praying... another day of hours of worrying... another day of giving Steve over to God's capable hands.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Steve and our family over the past 7 months. We've felt wrapped in God's love and your faithful prayers. On the days when I'm most discouraged, somehow God manages to find someone out there to send us an e-mail, or offer to watch Amaya, or call us with encouragement. We're constantly reminded that there are people out there loving us and supporting us from near and far away.

Our "new normal" routine has been hospital visits, surgery, CT scans, and antibiotics. The staff on Mayo 9 know Steve by name and even by the shoes he wears!

Things are the same in so many ways, yet so different. Steve hasn't been himself for such a long time, and when he feels good, I get encouraged that maybe we can get back to "normal". But on the days where he doesn't feel good, it's discouraging because he isn't himself and I wonder and worry that we'll never get back to "normal". So, we're trying to adapt to this new idea of "normal."

Never did I imagine on our wedding day, that when I vowed to take care of my husband "in sickness and in health," how literal that vow truly is. The hardest thing for me is seeing Steve in pain and there's absolutely nothing that I can do. I feel so helpless and absolutely terrified that I can't make it better. And so, daily, I have to give up control and give Steve completely and utterly to God.

These past 7 months have changed me... changed my relationship with God... changed my prayer life... changed our marriage... and all for the good, although some days it's hard to believe that God can use this for good. I'm learning to depend on God daily - sometimes hourly. I'm learning to communicate better with Steve and we've grown so much closer. I've realized that Steve has forever changed me and my life is so much better with him than without him. And I've learned never to take him or our family or friends for granted because in the past 7 months I've never needed everyone more.

So, as we approach this day... we ask for more prayers... prayers for wisdom for the doctors, nurses, anyone who cares for Steve today... prayers for peace and calm as we wait for his surgery to be over... prayers for his parents who will be graciously keeping me company at the hospital... prayers for my parents as they care for Amaya... prayers for good pain control... prayers for no nausea... prayers for restful sleep... prayers for healing... prayers for strength... prayers for a quick recovery... prayers for me while I'm working the next few days... Already, we've seen God answer so many prayers - Steve will be able to return to his internship when he is ready and I've been able to pick up two extra shifts at work. God's also provided us with normal days this past week - going to Mall of America for dinner watch Amaya go on rides, taking a boat ride with Steve's parents on Lake Pepin, and a beautiful day of going to open houses and garage sales. We're constantly reminded of God's faithfulness and provision.

I hope to update as quickly as possible on our blog, on facebook, and through e-mail when I have news to report.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chicago Trip - Jackson Park Beach and Millennium Park

Saturday, August 14th: Every day Amaya asked if we were going to the beach and finally, on the coolest day of the week - 85 degrees - we went to Jackson Park Beach. It was a beautiful beach and wasn't crowded at all! The water was clear and the bottom was sandy - absolutely perfect!

Amaya was a little nervous going in the water, so she spent quite a bit of time digging in the sand.

We built her very first sandcastle on the beach!

Our bathing beauty.

Amaya's name in the sand.

Steve trying to stay cool.

I finally convinced Amaya to come into the water with me and look for rocks to decorate her sandcastles.

"Mama, I found a good one!"

The water was cold... but eventually, Amaya got warmed up enough to go "swimming."

We picked up Subway sandwiches before we got to the park, so we had a little picnic.

After our lunch, we drove downtown to visit Millennium Park. When I went to school, this wasn't built yet... I can't even remember what was here before...

The Stadium

Steve and Amaya in front of the "Bean"

A closer snapshot...

The Fountains...

Amaya and I were a little startled when all of a sudden, the mouth opened and water came shooting out!

This girl had an absolute blast! (I kinda wish I had my swimsuit on too!)

Fortunately, Amaya stayed awake on the way back to the hotel so she could have a quick nap in her pack in play instead of in the car or stroller.

For dinner, we picked up Jenn, Helen, and Jason at North Park and headed to buca De Beppos.

Steve and I had never been there, but we have wanted to try it for quite some time. If you're looking for family-sized Italian dishes - this is the place to go! Amaya LOVED her macaroni and cheese!

After dinner, we went to Oberweiss for yummy ice cream! Amaya ordered "pink ice cream" (strawberry)! YUMMY! Then it was time to say good-bye to our friends and go back to the hotel...

Sunday, August 15th: Leaving for Rochester... we slept in a little, ate breakfast, and packed up our things... We were definitely ready to get back to our own beds and routine, but were going to miss our friends and all the fun things to do and see! Here Amaya is getting out the last bit of energy before Judy leads us home. (I'm having some problems uploading the last of the pictures, but hopefully, Steve can get it figured out.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chicago Trip - Adler Planetarium

Friday, August 13th: After the heat from the zoo, we decided to visit Alder Planetarium. One of their shows is called, "Big Bird: Big Sky, One World." Amaya was super excited about seeing Big Bird and Elmo!

Adler Planetarium is located right by the Shedd Aquarium, so we knew right where to go.

Over half of the second story is geared for toddlers called, "Planet Explorers." Most of our time was spent here learning to be astronauts.

Checking out the moon.

She was even able to dress up as an astronaut!

Her pack was a little heavy, but she managed to stay upright!

Here she and Steve are getting ready for take-off!

She said she liked it, but I'm not quite convinced...

Amaya did like driving the rocket... anything with buttons!

Going down this slide was one of her favorite things to do at the Planetarium.

And explore in the tunnels with Daddy... fortunately, no one was claustrophobic.

Our little astronaut walking on the moon.

This was called an X-Mover - the kids could drive it and pick up moon rocks, etc.

Amaya tried to drive it, but it was pretty hard and she ended up at a dead end.

Steve and my favorite part was walking through space. Amaya liked it too, but she was a little afraid to walk through it by herself, so Steve carried her through it.

There was a dark room with grab bars along it and it was covered with stars - above us, below us, all around us! It really was like we were walking in space. My camera flash gives you a little idea what it looks like - mirrored walls with tiny lights.

Space Suit

The Space Toilet

Steve checking it out...

Amaya's turn!

In line waiting for the Big Bird show...

In the planetarium just as the show started... She was AMAZED!


and more planets.

Another view of the planetarium...

A view of Shedd Aquarium...

Chicago Skyline... absolutely beautiful!