The Right Perspective

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


 We're still on arrival day of our Disney vacation and I thought I'd share a few more pictures of the resort and grounds.  The above picture was taken in the lobby of the Polynesian resort.  There are little Tiki people all around the resort.  There used to be a huge waterfall in the lobby (which frankly, I preferred) but the newly redecorated lobby is still very nice.

 If you look up above Mr. Tiki, you'll see all these lanterns.  There is also a second floor to this room with restaurants and gift shops and access to the monorail.

 This is the waterfall into the main pool area.  This end of the pool also has the end of the waterslide (just to the left of Larry Lifeguard).  The other end has a zero-entry which is always nice for little kids or those of us who might not want to do stairs.  It was nice to have full-time lifeguards so that parents didn't have to get in the pool if we didn't want to.

This is the beach area and to the right, the newly constructed (and highly expensive) villas.  It's a great place to get the beach experience (you can't go in the water though) and to watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom, which is just across the water and trees.

 Scattered all around Florida (the resorts and parks) are a ton of these little fellows.  If you're not scared of lizards, it's a fun diversion to try to spot them while standing in lines at the parks. 

Honestly, I don't remember what I was taking a picture of specifically, but this is looking out over the pool area.

And here are the kids at our first park...Epcot.  Hey, look....we found Nemo!

Ethan wanted me to take a picture of him posing in front of the fountain.  Mission accomplished!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

So We Went On Vacation

 Well, I haven't been a very good blogger lately because, well, life has been busy.  But in the midst of all of that, we took some time for a family vacation.  Andrew got a nice bonus from work earlier in the year and after the rather difficult year we had last year which left us unable to do anything but go to doctor's appointments and tests and surgeries, a vacation was sorely needed.  So we packed up, drove to Indy and flew south to Florida...Disney World, to be more specific.

Since I took something like 700 pictures (don't worry, I won't subject you to nearly that many!) I'll start at the beginning of our journey...our resort.  We got to the Polynesian resort (a Disney resort) around 2:30 in the afternoon and went up to check out our room.  The first picture was Ethan discovering our hotel room.  There were two beds and then a nice fold-out bed that is pictured below.  
The picture above is from our hotel room balcony.  We were on the third floor of the Samoa house, overlooking the pool area.  The entire resort has just been remodeled in the last year and the rooms are lovely and the entire resort feels very tropical and relaxed.  The pool features a large volcano, complete with water slide and off to the left in this picture is a very nice kids splash pad area.  

If you turned to the right and looked off the balcony, this was the view.  The resort you can see across the water is Disney's Grand Floridian hotel.  It's the very top of the line, fancy-pants Disney resort where Disney weddings are held.  There is a nice little beach area and a dock where you can catch a boat to the Magic Kingdom, if you so desire.

 This is the couch/fold-out bed that was in our room.  It was pretty comfy for a fold-out.

 And because we're weird, here's a picture of the bathroom.  It was quite spacious with plenty of counter-space for 4 people. Just across from the bathroom was a little counter area with a coffee maker (totally unused) and a mini-fridge and two closets.  Overall, the rooms were really nice and tasteful, compared to what I remember from our last stay, where the tropical feel was a lot more "in your face". 

 This is one of the ponds around the resort, specifically the one you can see from the monorail station.  The resort is one of three that the Disney monorail visits, making transportation very easy.  I love all the tropical plants and waterfalls scattered all around.  It would be very easy to believe you were vacationing on a tropical island.

And here are two very excited kiddos, waiting on the monorail to arrive so that they can get to their first Disney park.  Sorry the picture is a bit blurry.  The weather was HOT and humid (even in November!!) and my camera lens always needed more time than I had to clear up the condensation when we would first leave our room for the day.  

Be sure to check back over the next week or so to see more posts from the rest of the week.  I'll try to be timely in posting them, but no promises!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


 I've been working hard on my new career path.  This is my view most days (and some nights) now.  I'm almost done with learning all about how to code ICD-9 medical codes.....and my timing, as usual, is spectacular as those codes became officially obsolete when the medical community switched to ICD-10 codes on October 1st.  Oh well, the process is the same, but the apparently there are a lot more codes and they look vastly different.  Good times!  So in a couple more weeks, I'll take my final exam on the -9 codes and then start learning the -10 stuff.  Maybe sometime next year I'll actually be employable.

I have learned a ton, but mostly, I've learned that there is SO much I still don't know.  This is HARD.  I had no clue how much detail was involved, as well as how much medical knowledge is required.  I currently want to pull my hair out, but I am hopeful that I'll get this all figured out soon.

And now, in no particular order, are some pics from the last couple of months from around here.

 I looked up from studying one afternoon this summer and there was Ethan, posing.  Right now he's very proud of this picture....I figure that this will make a great pic to show at his graduation someday....

I know this isn't a great picture, but if you look out in the grass, you'll see our new little woodland creature friend.  I haven't seen him the last few days, but he was living in the little drain pipe just to the right of where he was standing, so I would see him as I stood looking out the kitchen window while washing dishes.

And way back in August, (how is it mid-October by the way?) both kiddos went back to school.  Ethan started kindergarten and Emily started 5th grade.  It's been nice to have them both in the same school and on the same schedule as it allows me to get a lot of work done without having to stop and start to pick someone up.

Here's Ethan on his very first day of Kindergarten.  He does have other kids in his class, he was just early!

And speaking of school, Bella decides that she wants to ride along for pickup some days.  I guess she gets bored with just me at home, because sometimes she will just follow me out to the garage and expect to go for a ride.  

A couple of weekends ago, we took Emily and a friend to a local kid's museum to play.  Ethan and dad tagged along too...this looks like a boat full of trouble!
Recognize these crazy people?  Andrew and I are on top and Ethan and Emily are below us.  It's disturbing....

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Bible According to Ethan

Ethan is 6 years old.  He has a rather unique perspective on things.  Take for instance, our conversation while getting ready for church this morning.  We'd been talking about the upcoming football games that we were planning to watch today (the Colts and the Broncos).  We had mentioned something about Peyton Manning which began this dialogue between Ethan and me:

Ethan:  Peyton?  Didn't Peyton betray God?
Me:  Ummm...not to my knowledge.  I think you mean Judas.  Judas betrayed Jesus.

A few minutes later....

Ethan:  No, I mean didn't Peyton betray God...not Jesus? 
Me:  (It suddenly dawned on me the way his mind was working) OH!!!  I think you're thinking of
         Satan!  Yes, Satan did betray God.
Ethan:  Yep, I knew it sounded like that.

And then he came to me a week or so ago and asked, "Mom, what does 'the sign-o' mean?"  So I said, well, I don't know.  What do you mean?  To which he replied, "You know, like when you sing, 'Jesus loves me, the-sign-o'."

Ah yes....Jesus loves me, this I know!

This kid keeps us guessing....and laughing.

Friday, April 24, 2015


I haven't been here for a while because I've been sort of busy pursuing my new field of study (see the previous post).  It's taking up most of my free time these days, but that's okay because I sort of enjoy the challenge of learning something new and interesting.
And then there are other challenges that haven't been quite so much having to request a new disability hangtag for my car.  The one I received last fall was only good for 6 months and was due to expire in a week, so I called up my neurosurgeon's office and requested that they sign the paperwork for a new one.  When I went in to pick it up, it no longer says "temporary".
"Permanent" is a lot harder to see.
But on to more interesting things...I'm taking a course through an online program called CareerStep to learn medical coding and billing.  I started last month and have been working my way through the individual learning "modules" (does anyone else instantly think of Marvin the Martian and his 'space modulators' here?) one by one.  I am currently half-way through the longest one to date, Medical Terminology.  I am painstakingly reading every single word of this 1000+ page textbook (which may or may not be the only textbook to date that I will have read all the way through....sorry Mom and Dad, but I got good grades anyhow!!).  So far I've learned about the skin, the skeletal system, medical word-building (things like suffixes/prefixes/root Latin mainly), muscles and joints, the nervous system, the blood and lymphatic system and the cardiovascular system.  It's a lot of words.
I just finished with the cardiovascular system and next up is the digestive system.  I've learned a lot of new words.  Words that will roll around in my brain when I'm driving along in the car or lying in bed at night as my brain tries to play with them.  Some of those words include, but aren't limited to:
~ Olecranon process (basically your elbow...who knew?)
~Rhinorrhea (a runny nose)
~Erythropoiesis  (process of red blood cell production)
~Gastrocnemius (main calf muscle)
~Onychomycosis (fungal nail infection
You're welcome, by the maybe they can rattle around in someone else's brain for a while!

That Betty Davis Jones writes a pretty darn comprehensive textbook....with lots of pictures.  (Some of which I'll have to hide from inquisitive children when I get to the male and female reproductive system sections!!)

Most of my work until the terminology module has been done on the computer.  In fact, this is the only textbook I have at the moment.  However, this module requires a LOT of writing.  As in a half a college-ruled notebook of medical after page of very interesting, very long words.
I kind of thought that once I graduated from college, I'd be done with (my own) homework, but life has a way of throwing curveballs, doesn't it?  Still, I find all this medical stuff fascinating (and often, frighteningly too familiar).  It's kind of sad when you don't even need to look up the condition because you've had it and experienced it in very real ways.  But it's also helpful, I suppose. 
And so that's what I've been up to lately.  I'll try to keep you updated more frequently, but I make no promises!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mid-Life Crisis

Oh people! 

Ok, so there are probably a total of about 3 people who will ever read this, but it feels right to start that way, and since this is my blog, I get to start however I want!  And this feels just perfect as I begin to describe what I'm pretty sure is my mid-life crisis.

This time last year, I was in the throes of misery from my ruptured disc that had yet to be discovered.  That misery would continue in earnest until the last day of May when the first of what would be 4 lumbar spine surgeries took place.  I thought everything was over and months-long painful ordeal would just be a distant memory by this time....but life tends to throw us curveballs...and as anyone who knows me at all could tell you, I've never been good at hitting any kind of ball, let alone a tricky one!

While nothing is set in stone yet, with each passing day and week and month and no real improvement in the function of my left ankle/foot, as I approach the 6-month mark from my spinal fusion surgery it seems more and more likely that the nerve damage is permanent and my life will be somewhat altered forever.  Not only is the nerve damage likely here to stay, but I am in all likelihood facing a lifetime of continued spinal problems as fusing the spine always puts extra stress on all the other levels above and below what was fused.  The question is less "if"  I'll need more surgery, but "when".  Knowing this, it's forced me to rethink some things...mainly what I can realistically do and what I can't.

Emily is now ten and a half and in 4th grade at a Christian school.  Ethan will be in Kindergarten at the same school next fall.  For the cost of their tuition, we could, quite literally be making payments on second house.  I've been a full-time stay-at-home-mom for most of my adult life now.  While I have a degree in Music education, I don't want to be a teacher and realistically, it would be very difficult for me to be on my feet full-time in any capacity.  So that's out....but I still need to find a way to help supplement our income.

At first, I thought that I'd give myself some time to recover from my surgeries and then I'd try to find a simple part-time job in the evenings somewhere like Target or Meijer.  But after applying and interviewing several times and places, nothing was working out.  In the back of my mind, I've toyed with the idea of finding a job in the medical field somewhere (which surprises no one more than me) but I have zero training in anything related to medicine or health care.  I also know that the vast majority of health care related jobs involve being on my feet and/or lifting, neither of which would be a good idea.  But one night, I stumbled upon a website that offered a completely online course that could be completed within a few months and had an excellent track record in graduates being hired immediately upon completing the program, sometimes even working from home. 

And so that is the story of how, just a few moments ago, I am now enrolled as an online student at the age of 36, hoping to learn a brand new career as a Certified Medical Coder.  The field is predicted to grow almost 25% in the coming years and with an entirely new set of coding guidelines being rolled out something this year, it's a very good time to get in and get started, as even experienced coders will have to relearn the system. 

All this being said, I'm slightly terrified.  I haven't intentionally studied anything school-related in MANY years now.  While I have a track-record as a very good student, to whom most things (except math and gym) came easily, that was when I was young and fresh and not half-brain-dead from two children and a medication that causes some short-term memory loss and focusing issues.  It should be interesting, to say the least.  It's also going to be a bit of a challenge for me to have to have some extra structure to my days (and likely nights).  My kids schedules are my schedule, but now I have to carve out some significant time to study and learn.  That could be interesting and it is a little (or maybe a LOT) daunting.  So if you have a few moments and could spare a few extra prayers, I'd appreciate them.  I always thought a mid-life crisis was supposed to be more fun....but this proving to be mostly terrifying!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A December Recap of all the Fun

Well, I'm just a couple of weeks behind, but here's a quick recap of our December. 
Emily was "Mary" in her school Christmas play.  In the picture below, she and "Joseph" were having their big scene.
Ethan had a preschool Christmas play, but I neglected to bring my "real" camera and so I don't have any good shots of him, but he was there and he looked thrilled (or not!) to be there.
And then we had Christmas.  My in-laws were gracious enough to take pity on my poor surgery-battered self and offered to come to our house on Christmas morning.  So they had to get up quite early, since they live about 2 hours away.  But the kids were thrilled to have Grandma and Pa come for presents and brunch.  Everything was very low-key, which is always nice.

The theme of Ethan's Christmas might as well have been superheroes because just about everything he got had some sort of superhero connection.  (Note the Batman pjs and Marvel superhero Infinity game.)

As you can see, he was quite pleased with his Batcave.

And then there was Emily, who at 10, is becoming a bit more challenging to buy for.  But she got her first sets of Lego Friends and was quite happy.
But what she wanted most of all, came in a smaller package....
Her very own "real" camera.  She was a very excited girl when she finally got to that present.

After we opened all of the gifts from the grandparents, mom and dad and Santa, we had brunch.  A yummy egg, sausage and cheese casserole, fresh fruit and homemade cinnamon rolls.  It was all pretty tasty if I do say so myself.  Of course, I didn't think it tasted so good many hours later when  massive migraine took over and I did the only "regifting" of the year.  I'm fairly certain orange juice and breakfast casserole are both dead to me.
After Grandma and Pa left, we started in on round two of Christmas with the gifts from my side of the family.  Emily got lots of clothes like the sweater above and some gift cards since she is now a big shopper. 
Ethan got more superhero stuff, some of which has already been pictured since my pictures were a bit out of order.

Ethan got a star wars t-shirt, ninja turtle pjs, a ninja turtle stuffed animal that he'd been eyeing for a long time and some more ninja turtle toys. 

Other than a couple of clothing items, this might have been his only non-superhero gift, and it was a real-life hero policeman costume, which I am convinced he wanted solely for the handcuffs that came with it.  He took great pleasure in cuffing his big sister and mom and dad and giving us all tickets (since he now knows what that is thanks to my first ever encounter with being given a ticket for an expired license plate...see my previous post!)

More superhero toys...this time we're back to Batman, but notice he's changed into his Ninja Turtle pjs....he had to try them all out!

After a while, we opened stockings.  I think he liked his!
All in all, we had a very peaceful and stress-free Christmas.  We missed the rest of our families who were either down and out with the flu or too far away to come, but it was nice to just be able to stay put and not have to be exposed to all sorts of germs right before my most recent surgery.  Hopefully by this time next Christmas I'll be telling more interesting stories and not be blogging like 84 year old "Maude" about all my health problems.  It's been a year, people!!