Monday, September 9, 2013

Recovery and our trip to the White Mountains

We just returned from our first family vacation where it was just the 5 of us. The last couple of trips we took as a family, we went with either family or friends. If all our trips are as nice as this one was, I cannot wait for many more.

First of all, I am still recovering from my surgery, which went pretty well for the most part. The biggest issue I am dealing with now is some numbness and pain in my top left leg which they say may be superficial nerve damage. I know it sounds crazy to have numbness and pain at the same time, but I don't know how else to describe it. It is supposed to resolve on its own so I am trying to be patient. I was pretty frustrated last week with this news as I was hoping to have less health problems and not more from the surgery, so I really hope it does get better or I will have to see a neurologist. More doctor appointments - Eck!

After laying around for over a week in the house I was getting a little cabin fever. It had consistently been around 110 degrees in Phoenix so I could not even go sit outside. Tommy of course is working and I couldn't lift the babies or really do much with them because it was too painful. The babies also had been cupped up inside for almost two weeks due to my surgery and the heat. Tommy was doing most of the work, dinner, laundry, baths etc. I am so lucky to have him help me through this. But needless to say we were all going a little stir crazy.

I thought why not relocate ourselves for a couple days to the white mountains of Arizona. We can rent a cabin, so we can do the same thing there as we are here, only in cooler temps and we can enjoy the outdoors. I thought the babies deserved to get out of the house and play outside, and Tommy and I could use a change of scenery, some relaxation away from reality for a couple days. Not that reality is that bad to begin with, but the surgery had definitely taken its toll on all of us I think. I know I am the one had surgery but it was hard on everyone.

We left Friday afternoon around the babies nap time. They did so well in the car. They slept for the first two hours of the ride. When they woke we were able to play a couple Baby Einstein DVDs for them to keep them happy until we got there. They never cried once the whole way there. We got to the cabin about 3:30pm. I was pretty sore at this point from sitting for 3.5 hours so I headed straight for the couch to put my legs up while Tommy unloaded the babies and the car. The babies immediately went exploring their new surroundings. The cabin was very beautiful, clean and built with knotty pine (I think that's what its called). We brought some of their toys as well, so they felt at home. Tommy went to the local grocery store to pick up a few steaks and some items we would need for the next couple days. He grilled that night, we had a nice family dinner, and the babies went to bed a little early. They became very fussy towards the end of the day. Jolynne even bit Georgia in the face. I know she will feel bad about this when she gets older, but right now she can be very mean to her brother and sister sometimes. She also loves to give the most kisses to everyone out of all three babies, so I don't know, she is just from one extreme to the next. After the babies were in bed we sat outside and enjoyed the night sky, and the sounds of the crickets. I was completely relaxed and I don't know why, this may sound dumb, but it was just easier to breathe there - maybe because it did not feel like I was sitting in an oven?

The next day we took it easy for the most part. I enjoyed laying around in the morning and watching the babies play. About mid morning we took them out front so they could explore. The girls especially liked to collect pine cones and tree bark. They had their own little collections. It was so awesome sitting there and watching them learn about the outside world. I feel somewhat like they have been deprived of this in Phoenix due to the temperature. We also have a lot of cactus in our backyard which makes it difficult to let them roam outside at home. Mickey just likes to run around in circles. The cabin was on a dirt road so we didn't have to worry about him running into a busy neighborhood street.

The sky's were starting to turn gray and we could tell rain was on its way, so we decided to take the babies to a local park called, Canyon Lakes Park. We found a playground where they could explore and go down the slides. Of course once again they were more interested in collecting tree bark and pine cones. I thought it might be good for me to walk a little. Every one keeps telling me that helps shorten recovery time after surgery and this park had lots of walking trails in the middle of tall, beautiful pine trees, wild flowers and next to a beautiful lake. It was so peaceful. There were benches throughout facing the lake so I could sit down and take a break if I needed to. I showed the babies what a dandelion was. They were mesmerized. Although Georgia tried to eat it.

We went back to the cabin for lunch and the babies went down for their nap. I put my feet up and for the next couple of hours Tommy and I watched football and snacked on my delicious artichoke dip, which he says gets better every time I make it. The rest of the day was more of the same, the babies played in the rain, and more resting and relaxing for me. We decided to go out to dinner that night so Tommy didn't have to cook. We went to Charlie Clark's and had the best cherry cobbler! Well, Jolynne was not crazy about it but Mickey couldn't get enough. He is definitely the sweets lover of the 3.

Everyone in Pinetop was so genuinely friendly to us. Whether we were on a walk, or at the restaurant, people were just so sweet. They didn't ask a bunch of questions but just complimented us on our family and our children. And not once the whole weekend did anyone try to take their picture, which was refreshing change.

The next morning I knew we had to leave but I really did not want to go. I delayed taking a shower as long as possible. I was perfectly happy laying on the couch, listening to the rain, and looking outside the window and at the tall, green trees. On our way out of town we stopped at Rainbow Lake to feed the ducks before we left. Georgia was crying and clinging to Tommy. She was so scared of them. Mickey was curious and wanted to get closer but the ducks didn't want to get closer to him. Jolynne was more interested in sticks and picking up everything on the ground. It was raining pretty good at this point so we decided to have some lunch and hit the road. One our way home, we literally drove through the clouds. It was crazy! I have flown through clouds before but never drove through them. It was kind of eery coming around the mountain with steep fall offs in the middle of the clouds.

We did make it home safely though and although I wish we could have stayed longer it is time for me to get back into a somewhat normal routine. I was once again very sore from the car ride so I need to remember that even though I might be feeling better my body is still not 100% and I shouldn't over do it. I am hoping to go back to work later this week if the doctors will let me and I am hoping this numbness and pain in my leg goes away soon. It is very weird to have a numb leg especially when I stand on it. I am hopeful that it will resolve and I can move forward with less pain than before the surgery, which was part of the point. To be healthy and pain free. I am looking forward to be able to exercise again and start getting back into shape. Due to the pain I was having it was really hard for me to do any of that for several months before the surgery.

I am also really looking forward to more family vacations where we can really just focus on each other rather than the business of every day life. I learned a lot about my babies this weekend and they learned a lot too. Its so amazing to watch them discover the world. They are starting to use a lot more words every day and they are very expressive. I know I say it a lot, but they just amaze me. Speaking of amazing, that is my husband. I couldn't have gotten through the last couple weeks and we could not have taken this trip without his willingness to do most of the most of the work himself. He continues to support me and make sacrifices for our family all the time. I am so grateful for him and more in love with him every day. Life is not always easy but I am so blessed to be going through it with Tommy, Georgia, Jolynne and Mickey. It makes the tough times a little less tough and it makes the good times, truly extraordinary.

Mickey loves to share everything he finds!
Collecting tree bark and pine cones - good times!

Our Cabin
Canyon Lake

This was on our way home, driving into the clouds...