The Year 2011 in Review

In looking back at this blog over the past year, I realize I haven’t done a stellar job in documenting our life for posterity. To be honest it’s been a stressful year. Jack and I have started calling it the ‘Year of the Waiting Room’ since we (okay, mostly he) averaged at least one waiting room visit a week between his dad’s, his mom’s and his own doctor’s appointments this year. Jack even waited out a couple of Grandma Alma’s doctor visits. I also blame my higher education. I average approximately 15-20 hours a week writing for one class or another. That’s time I used to spend writing here and reading other people’s writing everywhere else.

Anyway, I’m determined to do a better job of documenting this year. In the meantime, I wanted to record the highlights of 2011 in some way before 2012 started piling up:

January:

  • Jack traveled to Dallas for the RA Camp Director’s Meeting and was well received. This is always one of his favorite trips. God was really watching out for us on that trip. On the way home Jack hydroplaned his dad’s pickup off the interstate and into the median, doing a few di-does and experiencing some near misses along the way. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt and the insurance completely covered the repairs.
  • Jack also visited a rheumatologist and received the good news that Jack’s arthritis is not rheumatoid, but is some form of osteoarthritis.

February:

  • We celebrated Liz’s 6th birthday with a Pinkalicious party in the park. It was a lot of fun to put together. Not sure how I’m gonna top that one!
  • Jack’s mom fell and cracked her wrist and as a follow-up to the osteoarthritis verdict, Jack visited with an orthopedic surgeon who suggests Jack have both hips as well as both knees replaced, but only after extensive weight loss which he suggested Jack achieve by gastric bypass. Finally a doctor with a plan!

March:

  • Ella and I snuck off to Wichita Falls for some much needed sister time. We left each other on Sunday planning to make the weekend trip an annual event and I’m please to say the 2012 trip is already on the calendar!
  • Spring Break went by with no one really memorable event. Based on past experience I’m sure we had some cold weather and some warm weather, but not necessarily in that order. I’m also sure the kids spent some time with Grandma and Grandpa and I do remember Granny and Papa visiting at the end of the week. I hope that we enjoyed some much needed rest and time with each other.
  • I celebrated a relaxing 41st birthday. Yea, me!
  • Jack and I spent a weekend with his assistant RA Camp director Bob and his wife Regina inventorying and organizing the RA storage at camp. It was a very dusty job, but we’re one step closer to being ready for July!

April:

  • Jack made another trip to Dallas. He is now a Royal Ambassador Regional Trainer. Anything you need to know about RAs he can now officially fill you in on!
  • Easter rounded out to one (1) Easter pageant, two (2) baptisms, three (3) Easter egg hunts, four (4) versions of potatoes and a lot (#!) of deviled eggs. It was a really great year.
  • TAKS tests were administered and passed with flying colors!
  • Jack had his first appointment with the gastric bypass doctor and the upshot is that Jack must lose 50 pounds while under a dietary clinicians care over the next 90 days. Water anyone?

May:

  • May was a blur of field trips, school projects, achievement parties and graduations. School is out for another summer! And we’ve got a new pool to prove it. Hoorah!
  • I cleaned out and filled up my flower beds again. It’s an addiction I think.
  • It was either late this month or early next month that Jackie fell and broke the wrist she had cracked earlier in the year. Back problems abound (Ella, Grandma Alma and Jackie) and Jack’s dad is suffering with breathing problems again. Jack’s diet showed very little progress even though he stuck very closely to the program.

June:

  • The girls and I (plus four more!) attended Girls Camp at Plains Baptist Assembly the second week of June and had a blast. We’re already excited for next year.
  • The Sunday after Girls Camp, I rush Jack to the ER for the beginning of a week-long odyssey into emergency health care. Long story short he had a gall bladder infection that had turned septic, which then led to a severe depletion of potassium, which then led to atrial fibrillation of the heart. It was scary, more so after it was over and we finally understood how close Jack was to losing his life. God was watching out for us again!
  • While we languished in hospital, Jack’s parents, sister and nieces gave 110% in keeping up with the kids and even managed to take them to Vacation Bible School. Their willingness to step in was a God-send and the kids loved it. Maybe we need to have Camp Sheran as well as Camp Granny.

July:

  • Just shy of a full recovery, Jack, Thomas and I (plus five) attended RA Camp.  With nearly 325 boys and men attending and 80-something decisions made, I’d say it was a great success!
  • Emma celebrated her 9th birthday with a sleepover and we attended the annual Border Town Days parade and celebration in the park.

August:

  • The kids attended Camp Granny while I finished another semester of school. Four down, four to go! (Semesters, not Camp Granny’s. Camp Granny should last FOREVER.)
  • I took the kids to the County Fair, school started and the girls attended Cheer Camp. Exciting days!

September:

  • Jack continues to suffer near-weekly migraines and started seeing a new primary physician to discover the cause.
  • Jack’s mother undergoes an ablation procedure that corrects her heart rhythm.
  • We managed to celebrate Jack’s 48th birthday. For some reason he always seems to get kind of a wave and kiss instead of a full-blown celebration. I’m gonna have to do something about that.
  • Unfortunately the day after Jack’s birthday, his dad unexpectedly passed away.  It was a shocking and traumatic event, but ultimately we know that he is with Jesus and no longer in pain or suffering. The services were very nice and we celebrated Joe’s life with family, some crying and much laughing.

October:

  • Jack’s mother develops an embolism in the groin wound opened during the ablation procedure. The surgeon re-opens the wound to repair the embolism and the healing process slowly begins.
  • The girls and I attended a Secret Keeper’s Pajama Party in Clovis. I was so proud of Emma for volunteering to help out on stage. She is so adventurous and willing.
  • We spent a weekend visiting Mama and Daddy and helping out (or did we?) at Ella’s new house. It has a long way to go, but it’s gonna be so great when she gets done!
  • The post-camp RA storage inventory was completed by Jack and a great team from Park Drive Baptist, Levelland. The countdown to RA Camp 2012 begins!
  • Work begins on RA racers and the kids Sunday School teachers take them out for pizza and a movie. Emma is not allowed to attend due to being grounded for a pretty severe offense.  I don’t think she’ll consider cheating on another test anytime soon.
  • Jack’s headaches continue and he is scheduled for a sleep study.

November:

  • Jack has a sleep study and they send him home with a CPAP machine which made an immediate difference for the better in his sleep. He still has occasional migraines so doctors continue to work toward better blood pressure control.
  • Jackie’s wound continues to heal slowly. She is dividing her nights between our house and Sheran’s house as the wound has to be cleaned three times a day.
  • We celebrate Thanksgiving with Jack’s family at Sheran’s house.  It’s fun that we’ve gone from four cooks to seven or eight cooks when you count all the grandkids who want to contribute to the meal. Lots more yummy stuff! Ashlie made a picture of a turkey using only crudités. Too cute!
  • Between holidays, comp time and vacation days, I manage to schedule myself every Friday off for the rest of the year!

December:

  • December events include the school Christmas Concert, the church Christmas Concert and Chili Supper, the church Ladies Christmas party, three school Christmas parties, late starts to and early releases from school, Christmas with the Smallwoods in Lubbock, Christmas with the Eubanks in Brookston, some home renovation at my sister’s and New Year’s Eve movies in Lubbock.
  • In and amongst and for all that we made three dozen pints of apple butter to give away as gifts to neighbors, family and friends. It was fun and not too stressful and smelled wonderful. We’re gonna have to do it again soon because we gave it all away without saving any for ourselves!
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