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2016 Ruminations

Can you believe that it’s the last day of the year?  I sure can’t.

What a crazy twelve months it’s been for me and my crew!

We started out the year with trepidation as we waited for Rooster’s basic training ship date.  Everything we did was tempered with the knowledge that he’d be gone soon.

I don’t know if there’s a good way for a mama to prepare for her chicklet to leave the nest.

January was a month of fun, though, as we treated the kids to a trip to Universal Studios.  This included Rooster’s then-girlfriend.  It was her first time there, and she had a blast!  We are both huge Harry Potter fans, so we bonded over all things Hogwarts.

We got Rooster’s ship date either right before or right after our trip.  It’s all a blur now.  I do remember that we had between two and three months’ notice.

The rest of the winter months flew by as I prepared my students for their state writing and reading tests.  That is the part of the school year that goes by in a flash.

The end of March got a little crazy when Rooster proposed to his girl on a Friday and married her in front of a judge that Sunday.  They knew they had found their special someone in each other; it was time to take care of business, being practical people (and needing her on his orders).

They married on March 20th, and he shipped out the first week of April.

That’s when my heart broke; the Mr. and I were so nervous as Rooster set out into an unknown world.

April and May were filled with much letter-writing and praying.  My phone never left my side, and calls from Texas were eagerly awaited for.

Meanwhile, I still taught and was shocked when I received an extremely prestigious award about three weeks after Rooster left.  It buoyed my spirits and gave me the push I needed to finish strong.

A grand celebration was in order the last week of May as we traveled to San Antonio to attend Rooster’s graduation from basic training.  He didn’t just squeak by either but graduated with honors, which a mere 10% of graduates manage to do.

The summer was filled with a lot of sun, sand, poolside views, and more praying as the season of no school was mixed with Rooster’s beginning weeks of tech school.  Weekly dinner dates with his new bride, who was still in town, kept us connected.

July saw the return home of the boy, if only for a few days, as he packed and prepared to move to his first duty station with his girl.

The see-you-later was very hard on this mama; the knowledge that her boy would be almost 3,000 miles away a bit too much to take in.

I didn’t have much time to cry, though, because a new school year was upon me, and along with that was not one prep but two.  These four months of school have been extremely challenging; balancing the needs of very low students with exceptionally high students a test of sorts.

And all along the way throughout my year was my drive to be more fit.  What started in September 2015 evolved into a passion.  I was more fit than I’d ever been, and I finally accomplished my goal of being able to call myself a runner.

Then came November 13th, when my legs got kicked out from under me…literally…and I broke my ankle.

What a way to begin the holiday season!  With family by my side, I prepared for the surgery that was performed a week later, and now, nearly seven weeks after my injury, I’m beginning to walk again with the aid of a boot, crutches, a walker, and a scooter.

Of course, my year wasn’t finished.  I had the joy of hobbling into my son’s arms at the airport as I welcomed he and his girl home for the holidays.  I also had his wedding to celebrate…eleven blissful days when my family was reunited.

2016 was filled with so many highs and lows.

I experienced elation and humbleness to the fullest extremes.

I went from being self-reliant to completely dependent.

I learned what it means to open your arms to let go and receive so much more in return.

Part of me would like to say that I’m glad to see the end of 2016; however, I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am without all of the events that transpired.

I don’t want to allow my frustration of breaking my ankle to cast a shadow over the joy that came with adding a daughter-in-law to the family and watching my son discover renewed focus in his life.  I feel like my ankle injury and the support that Chicky provided during and after my surgery helped us connect on a deeper level.

I am grateful for the lessons I learned during 2016…to never take family for granted…to thank my husband for the love he gives me every day…to let go of unhealthy relationships…to slow down so I can see things directly in front of me.

I don’t know what’s in store for me during 2017.  I only know that I serve a mighty God who loves me and uses everything in my life for good.

It is my trust in His plan that will help me put one foot in front of the other as I literally and figuratively walk the path He has set before me.

Christmas 2016 – Part 2

You’d think that with me being on Christmas Break, I’d be blogging more.



In my last post, I detailed my family’s fun during our first Christmas gift exchange.  I’ll pick up from there.

We got up the next morning and packed up the car.  We were heading out for our family get-together in Bigger City, Florida.  It was the first time that we had Rooster’s girl with us, so we wanted to make sure she got the full experience.

The dogs were not pleased at our departure…

Poor Gambit. He had loved every second that his boy was home.

Poor Gambit. He had loved every second that his boy was home.

Pele had been allowed to sleep in the room with Rooster and his girl. He was in happy land!

During the ninety minute drive, I kept myself occupied by setting up the new headphones that the Mr. had gifted me.  It was pretty easy.  I downloaded the Under Armour app for my phone and after a quick Google search for instructions, paired it up with the headphones.

The hardest part was getting the ear buds in my ears correctly (this was after I changed out the covers for smaller ones to fit me).  I watched a video that helped a bit, and before too long, I had them in.

It took me a few more minutes to figure out how to get the heart rate monitor to do its thing (I had to install the headphones in the app and then press on the right ear bud).  I joked with the Mr. that he obviously hadn’t irritated me too much; my heart rate was a calm 79 bpm.

Our first afternoon and evening with the family were fairly calm events.  We ate lunch at the Mr.’s parents’ house and met up with the rest of the crew for dinner at Newk’s with an in-between stop to get Rooster a new phone.  I was relieved.  His old phone wasn’t staying charged for long, and because I’m the “owner” of the account, he needed me to approve his new phone purchase.  There had not been any phones to his liking where I live.  Fortunately, we were in Bigger City, Florida, where we had options.  He upgraded to a 7 Plus.

We actually went to bed fairly early because we knew we’d be busy the next day…Christmas Eve!

I slept on the couch downstairs; the Mr. slept on an air mattress in the den so our boy and his bride could have the upstairs room.  Because I haven’t been sleeping well, I was up around 6am.  I took advantage of the quiet time and started getting ready.  It takes me a lot longer with one healthy leg to stand on.

My foot was looking better than the day before.  I’d been instructed to start putting 25% body weight on it and had overdone it my first day.  It had swollen up like a balloon.  By the 24th, it wasn’t back like I wanted, but at least I could see more of my toes.

Soon, I was ready and raring to go.

Please admire the skinny jeans that I am now able to wear because the cast is GONE!!!

I texted Super Sis.  She’d graciously offered to be my chauffeur for the day.  I had lots of errands to run for Santa.

She drove my car…a long line of people to drive it since I got hurt.

We ALWAYS go shopping together on Christmas Eve.  It is one of my favorite traditions because we don’t get to spend much time together the rest of the year.

We ran by Starbucks; she treated me to a hot chocolate.

Because she wouldn’t let me pay, I had the idea to pay for the order of the car behind us in the drive-thru.  We tried driving away slowly to see the occupants’ reactions, but because of the way the lot was set up, we had to turn the corner before we could look.  I hope they were surprised.  🙂

We took a little longer to shop than we’d originally planned.  As I said, things take me more time.  At our last store, I spied the following glasses…

I fell in love with them and wanted to get them priced.  They were more than I was willing to spend, simply because I was already spending a small fortune on gifts.  Super Sis said, “How much do you like them?”

I replied, “A lot.”

She said, “Birthday gift?”

I said, “Okay, but write in my birthday card that you gave these to me.”

She said, “Done.”

And so they came home with me.

For the record, my birthday isn’t until March.  She said I could go ahead and start using the glasses though.

When we finished there, we were pooped.  People had started calling us.  We were being summoned back to the house.

We had Christmas dinner to get ready for!  The Mr.’s mom had slaved away all day to prepare some of our favorite food…field peas, dressing (which I don’t eat but everyone else does), turkey from Sonny’s (none for me, thank you very much), mashed potatoes, and other goodies.

Cali, my grandpup, was ready to snarf up crumbs.

Cali, my grandpup, was ready to snarf up crumbs.

Then, we all got ready for our traditional pre-church photos, which went off swimmingly well.

I wish I could show you the pictures, but alas, some of my people don’t like their faces on my blog.  Rooster’s girl was very agreeable; she’s used to my picture taking by now.

Then, we headed out to church for a beautiful candlelight service.

By then, it was pretty late, so Super Sis’s family and ours parted ways.  They were instructed to show back up at the house no later than 7:30am.  We had a tight schedule to maintain because my boy and his girl had to visit her family.

As has been my custom, I awoke early Christmas morning and got ready…

I have to wear a sock under my boot to prevent chafing.  Thank heavens for all of the knit pairs I’ve made over the years!  This one matched my shirt…

Then, I made my way to the living room to await the arrival of the rest of the clan.  The tree was gorgeous!

We had a stocking waiting for Chicky.  Rooster and his girl had done their stockings before they’d left their home, but we had a little something for each of them.  I can’t say that I like not doing stockings for our kids.  We may have to go back to this in the future.

Cali got in the middle of everything.  She was loving all of the extra attention.

I received this blanket…

I also got this night light (a few days after the fact, but the intent was there!!!)…

Super Sis and her family actually got to the house at 7:15…the first time I think they’ve ever been early.  Go them!

Present opening began immediately, and once again, Cali settled herself in the middle of the action.

How awesome that there were ELEVEN of us opening gifts this year!  We opened one present at a time, starting with the youngest member and working up in age.

There was so much laughter as each gift was opened.

Cali managed to catch a nap despite the noise.

Every year seems to have its own theme.  This year, we were all about sports…as in “We are a sports family…except for Super D (Super Sis’s husband/the Mr.’s brother).”  Ha!

Everyone got something sports-related, I think.  The Mr.’s mom got an exercise ball and a jacket/vest to wear when she’s out walking on frigid mornings.  Other members of the family got various apparel from Under Armour.  We could have done a commercial for the company, I kid you not.

Here are a few of my gifts…

A purse from Super Sis and her family

A purse from Super Sis and her family

A Ginger Snaps necklace…also from Super Sis and her crew

I’d never heard of Ginger Snaps before.  They are adorable!  You just pop the charms off and change them out!

I ordered more of these charms on our drive home the next day.  I’ll share photos of those in a future post.

The Mr. and I got a bonus gift from our siblings…

Aren’t they fabulous?

The in-laws had labeled their gifts to us with numbers…in the order we were to open them.  Of course, I was number-challenged.  Last year, it was Super D who opened the wrong gift first.  Fortunately, we caught my mistake before I actually opened the wrong gift!  Ha!

A Pandora ornament with a check inside for a ball winder (I've already ordered it).

A Pandora ornament with a check inside for a ball winder (I’ve already ordered it).

The in-laws also gave me this beautiful bracelet…

The bracelet has a heart charm with my birthstone…not pictured.  I’d been wanting a charm bracelet after the one I had purchased a couple of years ago from Premier had tarnished.  I’m in love with my Pandora bracelet.  ❤

There were a number of gift cards exchanged and other things requested on Christmas lists…because that’s how we roll.

The morning flew by, and before I knew it, Rooster and his girl were packing up.

Despite having spent eleven days with my boy, the parting was hard for me.

I sat close by as he and his girl ate lunch and fixed snacks for the road.  They had a six hour drive ahead of them; her family was eagerly awaiting their arrival.

The Mr. and I walked them outside and said our see-you-laters…never goodbye when you’ve got a family member serving in the military.

I did really good as I hugged my babies tight.  Having them in the same zip code had been divine; letting them go was another rip on my heartstrings.

I scootered my way up the driveway as they backed out and kept the tears in check until I went back into the house.

The rest of the evening was quiet; I tried to focus on my blessings and not my boy’s absence.

The gifts had been wonderful, but what had been best was spending time with my loved ones…something I’ll never take for granted.

Christmas 2016 – Part 1

Merry Christmas, y’all!

It’s been quite the whirlwind around here, let me tell you!

Rooster and his girl came into town late on the 15th, and it was nonstop running from that point forward.

I think I’m going to split my Christmas musings into two posts because, quite frankly, I’m exhausted (and a little emotional).

Let’s call this Christmas 2016 Post #1

We decided to do Christmas with our kiddos the evening of the 22nd because we had plans to go to Bigger City, Florida to visit family the next day.

Our custom has always been to take turns opening presents, starting with the youngest family member and working our way up.  We take things slowly so everyone can watch.  The process lasts a while, which I, as a mama, love.

We got the kids a few gift cards and clothes, which they loved.

Rooster and N were surprised when they opened a joint gift…

I’m so happy that I can finally blog about it!  I made this blanket this past summer.

I bought a solid blue fabric for the back and, rather than tying the strips together, cut slits into them and pushed the strips through the slits.  This made the blanket a little less bulky.

I didn’t know how much a yard was, so I followed instructions I found online and got four yards of each material.

The blanket wound up being HUGE.

Rooster is tall, so it works out.  Still, it seemed like it took forever to make my way around the edges.  Really, it only took a couple of days to finish.

They loved it so much that, upon my announcement that I’d mail it to them, they quickly said that they would make room in a suitcase for it.


The kids went in together and got the Mr. a coin display case.  I guess I don’t have any photos that I can share with you.  Dang.

I gave the Mr. a coffee maker, which was a big deal because I cannot stand the smell of coffee.  I figured that it was the least I could do for him given the selflessness he’s displayed over the last month and a half that I’ve been recovering from breaking my ankle.

Of course, I was spoiled.  Rooster and N bought me a set of spatulas that I’d been wanting.  Chicky gave me a framed photograph of her and Rooster from the wedding…a snapshot someone had taken with her phone.  She also gave me a pair of silver loop earrings.

The Mr. gave me some workout tank tops, a workout shirt, and an ornament.

I really like this ornament!  There’s a hole to look into, and you can see Olivander in his shop.

My big gift was a set of JBL Wireless Headphones.  These are amazing…especially because they will grab your heart rate from your ear!  They just came out on the market in September.

The process to set them up was fairly easy.  You can see data through an Under Armour app you install.

We had a wonderful time exchanging laughter as we teased one another over various presents.

The fun wasn’t over, though, as we prepared to head out of town for a few more days of partying the Auburnchick way.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Quiet But Busy

It’s been rather quiet on the blog since I posted last Friday, but y’all, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, because I totally have been.

We’ve had a lot of company in these here parts, so things have been hectic!

A messy bathroom is the sign that children are home!

A messy bathroom is the sign that children are home!


The sight of these boots makes my mama heart so very happy.

There was this thing called a wedding that happened last weekend.

I’ll blog about it soon.

There was work, which had to continue despite lack of interest on the part of students and teachers.  I had an all-day meeting on Tuesday, which I actually enjoyed.  Shhh.  Don’t tell anyone.

And then there was a pretty big event for me…

A visit to my surgeon’s office to see about a thing called a cast.

My appointment was set for Wednesday morning, bright and early…the ONLY time I could secure back when they put my cast on.  I’d eagerly snatched it up and requested sick leave.  Because my doctor is two hours away, Chicky, who’s home for Christmas, drove me over the afternoon before.

My grandpup is staying at Chicky’s grandparents’ house during the holidays so she doesn’t have to be boarded.  She was thrilled to see me!  It was all Chicky could do to hold her back so she wouldn’t jump on my leg.  She finally settled down though.

We spent the evening watching television.

For me, it was like Christmas Eve; the anticipation kept me awake on and off all night.

The dog got up when she saw I was awake each time and gave me a few snuggles.

Finally, it was late enough in the morning that I could say it was time to get up.

Y’all, I loathed the cast.  From the moment it was put on, I had been counting down the days until it was off again.

Being unable to see my leg and ankle just was not fun.

I dressed up to match my excitement.

After Chicky ran by Starbucks to grab herself a cup of coffee, we headed over to the orthopedic center.  I was called back exactly at my appointment time…props to the office staff!

I went straight to the cast room.  It was hopping; several people were waiting to get their casts off or, in the case of one young girl, get one put on.

I sat nervously.

What an interesting process.  There’s something that looks like an electric saw with some other sort of electric piece that runs it.

The guy who took off my cast was the same one who put on the splint during my first visit to the surgeon…the splint that I wore the week before my surgery.  He was very kind and knowledgeable about his job (thank heavens!).

First, he cut down both sides of my cast.  All I felt was a lot of vibration…

Up one side and down another.

Then he used a tool to pry open the cast on each side.  After that, he began cutting away the sock down at my toes.

Then, he pried open the entire cast and took off the top layer.

I held my breath as he did this; the instant relief brought tears to my eyes.

Oh heck.  What am I saying?  I was a hot mess the entire morning.  Emotional is my middle name.

With the hard cast off, all that was left to do was cut away the gauze that had been wrapped around my leg first to prevent chafing.

To lay eyes on my leg, ankle, and foot was a wonderful thing.

If I could have hugged them, I would have.

I’ll admit that I did pet on them a few minutes…pet being a good word to use because my leg was h-a-i-r-y after not being shaved for five weeks!


Next, I was off to get an x-ray.   The technician was a sweet lady who shared her own story about being in a cast and boot.

Two x-rays later, and I made my way to an examination room to wait for my surgeon’s PA…a nice guy who had seen me during my first visit.

While I waited, I took a closer look at my leg.  The swelling had gone down a lot from my last visit three weeks before.  The tissue damage on the top of my foot (from the splint that the ER put on too tightly the night I broke it) is still healing.  Sigh.

Much of my bruising is gone, and the incisions on each side of my ankle are healing well.

I don’t think the scars are going to be too noticeable…not that I care much about that.

You can see where the surgeon had to go further up on the outside of my leg.  That fracture was longer than he’d expected.

I had LOTS of questions for the PA.  I’d been keeping track of them on my phone…

He was very, very patient and answered each question thoroughly.

I’ll be wearing a boot for four weeks.

Folks, that’s two weeks less than what I’d been told during my last visit!

I have to wear the boot while I sleep for the first two weeks.

Cha-ching!  I felt like I’d won the lottery!  I may actually get to sleep again one day!

I don’t need to ice my ankle unless I’m in pain or swelling a lot.  It won’t necessarily help with healing.

I do have to wear the boot when I’m up though.

My favorite question and answer had to do with my pants.

Yes, I can wear skinny jeans, as long as I can tolerate any discomfort when putting them on.  The issue isn’t the break but my range of motion which is very, very, very limited.  My muscles are crap right now.  They are extremely tight, and I’m barely able to bend my ankle in any direction.  Mobility will return with time and exercise, though.

The doctor was actually stymied by the skinny jean question, though.  He laughed as he answered it because he’d never been asked it before.  I’d been concerned because the leg openings for skinny jeans aren’t big at all!  I didn’t want to impede healing by turning my foot wrong.

My next question…baths…was a YES!  He said I could take showers or baths with my right ankle submerged (no boot on, of course).

Y’all, I’d been looking forward to this since the very beginning!

Regarding socks, I actually have to wear one with the boot to prevent it from chafing my skin and to keep it from stinking from the sweat that inevitably comes off of legs and feet.


One other question I asked was about how red my right foot was.  I was worried about circulation issues.

He assured me that the red indicated GREAT circulation…that my body was sending blood to heal the area of trauma.

Thank heavens!

Oh, and one other thing I learned was that along with the boot, I’d be slowly adding weight.  That’s something I already knew, but I didn’t know that I’d get to start right away!  The way it works is that I’ll be adding 25% of my body weight each week.  To figure this out, I was instructed to get on a scale and weigh myself and divide that by four.

To help me learn what each percentage feels like, I’ll have to press on the scale with my right foot (the broken ankle) until the 25% weight pops up.  I will then need to walk around using a walker or crutches with that weight on that foot.

In essence, at the end of four weeks, I’ll be putting 100% weight on my ankle.

This is both exciting and very scary!

I was also given instructions for some home exercises.  I have to use my right ankle to make the shapes of the letters of the alphabet in the air.  Sure, it sounds easy…until you have an ankle that will not move in any direction!

I’ll go back to the doctor in four weeks when he will assess my progress.  I will, more than likely, be permanently out of the boot by then and will begin physical therapy.

So, I had a good report…one that was desperately needed as my head tends to go places it shouldn’t sometimes when I think about the recovery process.

We were then sent to another office in the building so I could be fitted for a boot.  Before I left, the doctor wrapped my leg in an ACE bandage.

We waited…for a while.  Everyone and his brother was getting something.  Finally, it was my turn.

Now y’all, I don’t know why, but I thought this part would be easy.  After all, I’d already been through the break (so painful), surgery, and my return to work.


As I sat there with the very gentle boot guy, I realized that I was in for more pain.

Trying to get my foot into the boot (it slides right in from the front) was no easy task.  Namely, putting my heel down flush with the sole of the boot proved incredibly difficult.

My Achilles tendon was crap.

After weeks of not being used, what was left of it had tightened up.


Because of that, there was pain in my heel and up the back of my ankle.

The guy was patient, and we did our best.  He showed me how to add air to the pad that runs around the back of my heel to give it support, and how to put it on and remove it.

There’s a crap-ton of Velcro.

Then, I scootered out to the car feeling a little like Darth Vader.

Chicky and I began our two-hour drive home…an interesting experience, let me tell you.

All I’ve got to say is Hips Don’t Lie brings back fond memories.

When we got home, we all trekked out to get my Rooster a new phone.  While we were at the store, I decided to upgrade mine and the Mr.’s.  Because they didn’t have the color my guys wanted, I was the only person to walk out of there with a new phone.

Yay, me!

I went from the 6 Plus to the 7 Plus.  The size is the same; the camera is much better, as is the processing speed (RAM).  It also comes with more storage…something I need with all of the photos I take.  Ahem.

We ran by Best Buy so I could buy a new case.

After a fun dinner out with my sweet hubby and the kids, I was finally able to do something I’d waited weeks for…


No pictures though.  Try not to be too disappointed.


I told the Mr. to go away until I called for him (he’d helped me into my shower chair).

This girl was about to use all of the hot water in the house!

I enjoyed every single second, taking my time when I shaved my uber-hairy leg.

Y’all, never ever take for granted the ability you have to stand in the shower.  I’m not kidding.  What a privilege it is!

I had taken off the bandage strips that had been placed over my incision, so I gently cleaned that area in the shower.

Take a look at my leg…

See that patch where the scab is gone?  There’s only a thin line of a scar.

Yep.  My surgeon is pretty good at his job.

Here’s the other side.

It definitely looks more gnarly; the swelling is a lot worse on this side too.  This totally confuses me.

I slipped the boot back on just long enough to get back to my recliner where I quickly took it off again so I could love on my ankle.

Let’s have some real talk real quickly.

The pain is still there, but it’s different now.

I had no idea that my skin would feel like it was on fire after getting my cast off.  I guess the adrenaline from having the cast removed delayed the pain.

I read online that the burning feeling was caused by the condition of my skin…so dry that it was stretched tight and flaking.

I massaged coconut oil into every part of my foot and ankle.  The doctor had told me to massage the incision areas to prevent scar tissue from building up underneath, so that’s what I did.

Then, I put on a long sock to keep it moisturized during the night.  This will be my nightly routine for the next few weeks, I think.

And so is it any wonder why I haven’t had time to blog lately?  My world stays in a state of flux, which isn’t a terrible thing right now because that involves having my family around.  🙂

If you wouldn’t mind, can I ask you to continue praying for me?

I’ve decided that this road to recovery is similar to parenting.  Every stage comes with its own set of challenges.  There are things to celebrate, but there’s a whole lot of hard stuff to work through as well.

Not only is this a physical struggle but an emotional one as well.  I keep telling myself that I CAN do this…that I WILL push through the pain (without pushing myself too hard), and that God WILL provide the healing I so desire.

The anxiety I’ve experienced still rears its ugly head from time to time, but not having the cast on anymore will help with that.

I’m still experiencing fear, which I know is from the devil but is a direct result of my injury.  The security I once felt was unexpectedly ripped from me, and I feel incredibly vulnerable now.

I’m learning so much about myself and am seeing an empathy develop for those who have similar injuries or those who are handicapped.  This isn’t a bad thing…just a time of change for me.

As always, I rejoice in all things.  My family…so supportive…my husband…truly an angel on earth…my friends…always ready to help…my Lord…a constant presence.

#findingjoyinthejourney remains my mantra on the easy and hard days.

Thursday Shenanigans

Yesterday was a busy day at Chez Auburnchick.

But first, can I just mention the Survivor finale from Wednesday night?

The entire season was so emotional!  What a bittersweet ending.

So, back to Thursday.

It was my Friday.

I worked so hard at school and cranked out some grading during my planning period, lunch, and my students’ silent reading times.  I am down to two sets of class assignments…both from the seven total school days I was out with my ankle.  I see light at the end of the tunnel.

When I got home from school, my focus shifted from school work to housework.

Yes, that’s right.  Housework…as in the stuff I’ve been unable to do since breaking my ankle.

First up was the bathroom counter.  I didn’t take a “before” picture.  Trust me.  It wasn’t pretty.  Here’s what it looked like after I finished.

Next, I headed to the kitchen to do the second task the Mr. had requested…the stove.

Once again, there’s no before picture.  Just admire the shiny gleam.

I was careful, I promise.  I kept my knee on the scooter and didn’t reach out in crazy directions.  Yes, it was slow-going, but I got both tasks done in plenty of time to wrap my first present of the season.

The Mr. has wrapped all of our other gifts.

After that, I fed the dogs for the first time since I got hurt and let them out to potty.

Go me!

By that time, the Mr. had gotten home from work, so I sat down, iced my ankle, and knit while I caught up on a few shows I had on the DVR.

Can we talk irony for a moment?  I started a new sock project right after my surgery and, without realizing it, have been working on the right sock…which I can’t try on until I get my cast off.  Sigh.  I’ve modeled it on the left foot for now.

It was weird…watching TV while knowing that I didn’t have to go in to work the next day (Friday).

We were staying up later because we had special plans.

It got dark, and we got in the car and drove to the airport.

We sat and waited about 45 minutes…

I couldn’t keep the smile from my face…

Time quickly passed, and before I knew it, I was crutching my way toward my sweet boy and his girl…reunion in full-on mode.

Y’all, I’d anticipated this moment for weeks.  In the last few days leading up to the evening, I’d gotten teary-eyed a few times just thinking about it.

Of course, my plans had originally included a tackle hug, but after my little “fall,” I had to reimagine the affair.  It turned into a careful, step–by-step walk into my boy’s arms.

Cue the tears…for real this time.

I hugged his girl afterward, such a sweet young lady she is.  The bonds are strong after having weathered basic training separation anxiety together this past spring.

Having them in the car with us as we drove them to the house was pure bliss.  Going to sleep knowing that they were only a couple of rooms away…well, I don’t even know if I can describe the feeling.

They’ll be on this side of the states until after Christmas.  You know that I’m going to enjoy every single second of it.  More shenanigans are to be had, that’s for sure!

A Pearly Green Hodgepodge

My blog title though.  It’s weird, is it not?  Yeah.  My creative juices just weren’t flowing.  Ha!  Hey, I’m here and doing the Hodgepodge, so that’s what matters most, yes?  To play, answer on your own blog and link back up with Joyce.  Now, let’s get to the questions!

1.  Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate.

Hmmm…tough question!  I think I am a lot of both!  As an overachiever, I am definitely task-oriented, but I do enjoy, when I see someone I know, chatting.  With that said, I am not a introduce-myself-to-strangers kind of person.

Ok, so I’ll just say that I’m task-oriented.  I derive great satisfaction from getting things done.  Although I don’t make to-do lists, I have them in my head and mentally check things off.  I cannot wait to be on two feet again so I can resume my list checkoff sessions!

2.  December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls Day…do you own/wear pearls? If you’re a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a ‘pearl of wisdom’ with us here today.

I do wear pearls!  I love how much class they add to outfits!

Pearl of Wisdom:  Do not underestimate the kindness of strangers.  I know that we are in a busy season right now, but kindness is out there.  I see this daily and notice it even more now that I’m temporarily handicapped with my ankle.

3.  Speaking of pearls…oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest-have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little?

Before I became a vegan, I did enjoy oysters…steamed oysters…served on crackers with fresh lemon juice and hot sauce.

4.  Time Magazine has named President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year. Let’s take presidents and presidential candidates out of the mix for a minute. If a political figure had not been chosen who would you name Man or Woman of the Year for 2016?

How about our military forces, as a whole?  Now that my Rooster is serving, I have a much greater appreciation for the men and women in uniform and the sacrifices they and their families make to ensure that we enjoy the freedom that allow us to elect our ruling officials and enjoy the standard of living that other countries don’t have.

5.  The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 has been announced, and it’s a vibrant green aptly named-greenery. Your thoughts? Is this a color currently in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade for the new year? Click here to see the color.

I like this color!  I painted my first classroom a shade very similar, and it always caught people’s attention.  Green signifies life and health.  I do own an item or two in this color.  My children used to attend a school that had this as one of its colors, so we constantly had it around.

I don’t know if I’ll add something of this color to my wardrobe this year, per se, but if I happen along an item, and the size and price are right, I’d be happy to let that thing join my family.

6.  Today I’ve had too much________________________.

Today, I’ve had too much grading.

I am making headway, but y’all, it’s a never-ending battle.

7.  Share a favorite lyric from a favorite Christmas carol.

I had to do a bit of googling to find some lyrics.  The song “What Child is This?” has a beautiful set of lyrics (the second set of three) that I don’t think I’ve sung before.

They get to the heart of what Jesus’s birth means for mankind…

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and donkeys are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through,
the cross he bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
the Babe, the Son of Mary.

8.  My Random Thought

Speaking of Time Magazine‘s Person of the Year, can we ponder on the cover for a moment?

I added the arrows and circle.

Why does the media do this?

To call us the “Undivided States of America” is inflammatory and serves to only widen the chasm that the media is guilty of promoting in the first place.

I don’t care who you voted for.  We live in the United States of America.


The End.

Three Weeks Post-Op

Yesterday marked three weeks since I had surgery to repair my trimalleolar fracture.

Despite the fact that some days are still filled with pain (yesterday was not the best day in this regard), I’m seeing progress in what I can do.

The Mr. and I have resumed our dinners out at local establishments…

We make sure to ask for booths so I can put my leg up.

I’m back in the swing of things at work thanks to a wake-up routine that the Mr. and I have just about gotten a handle on…

I’m dressing more professionally again; the Mr. has seen to this with his shopping excursions and daily outfit selections.

The guy has good taste in clothes.  He bought me three dresses and two skirts (on sale) this past weekend and then went back to the store and bought me a few shirts to match (we decided to keep one after I tried them on).

Dressing nicely has helped my psyche.

Check out the scooter!  The Mr. works with a guy whose wife broke her ankle…maybe a year ago…and generously offered the use of several items.

The Mr. eagerly took him up on the offer, so now we have two scooters!

I’m using one for the house and the one with the basket for school.  We think it will help reduce the number of times he has to put the scooter in the car and take it out again.

I love the basket!  I used it today at school to carry my stuff to the copy room.

The second scooter also has this nifty item…

You know I’m having fun with that bell.  In fact, when the Mr. took it out of his car yesterday to adjust the seat and handlebars, I might have made a certain dog unhappy by ringing it more than a few times…

Another sign of progress is that I’m making my breakfast!  In my effort to get more calcium in my diet, I’m using fortified soy milk to make my old fashioned oatmeal.  I used to cook it with water.

I even washed my pot after!

Oh, and the Christmas present thing.

Thanks to the internet and Santa’s elves, who are sneaky things, I am making purchases and getting them into the house.

I did nearly get busted by the Mr. this afternoon when he came home from work earlier than I’d expected.  I quickly hid his gift…

In plain sight…

With whatever I could reach.

Let’s hope he doesn’t get the urge to peek.  Santa would have to move him to the Naughty List!

I am not overdoing things, though, so don’t worry.  At least, I’m trying not to.

I’m still lesson planning hard-core when I get home from school each day, but as of last night, my plans are finished through the second week of January, so I am set!  Copies are also made, except for the semester exam.

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been a month since I broke my ankle.  It seems like a long time, but then again it doesn’t.

I’m still #findingjoyinthejourney…seeking out a silver lining for every negative thought I have.

Cast Sightings

I am so thankful that I am beginning to feel a little more like my normal self.  Each weekend, I reflect back to the previous one, and I’m amazed at the progress and am even more thankful for God’s strength.

Part of my recovery has involved getting out and about.

On Saturday, I woke up at the butt crack of dawn, unable to go back to sleep.  I got myself dressed and made up with minimal help from the Mr.  I was up so early that I even blogged while I watched more of the Star Wars marathon that TNT is currently showing.

The Mr. heard me rummaging around and got up a little earlier than he’d originally planned.  It was going to be a busy day.

First up…an appointment with my hairdresser.  It was time for highlights!

The Mr. dropped me off a little early and headed out for a quick road trip to meet his parents so they could give him a few items for the reception after Rooster’s wedding, which is fast approaching.

Meanwhile, I waited my turn…

Dana has been cutting my family’s hair for years.  She’s super thoughtful and always keeps me laughing with her tell-it-like-it-is attitude.

The place was hopping too!  Everyone was busy getting their hair “did” before the holidays.  I loved the chatter.

Before long, I resembled a satellite tower…

If you were anywhere in the vicinity, I’m sure your cell phone reception was clear as a bell.


Dana really pampered me, let me tell you.  After removing the foils, she washed, cut, dried, and straightened my hair.

It was another step in my journey of feeling more like myself.

Oy vey, but the dark circles under my eyes.  I’d left off the concealer…a lesson to me.  Having a cast makes for inconsistent sleep patterns.


The Mr. got back in plenty of time, so I didn’t even have to wait for him.

We headed out for a few hours of shopping.  Here’s a better picture of my hair.  Bliss.

We had a few things we were in search of…namely flare leg yoga pants.

Y’all, I have about five pairs of pants I can wear, which I should be and truly am grateful for, but y’all, a girl needs more options!

After discovering that I could not wear ANY of my existing blue jeans, because skinny jeans just don’t stretch over casts, the Mr. was determined to find me pants I could wear.

Go ahead and be jealous.  He’s mine.  ❤

We hunted high and low.

We visited Kohl’s, Dillard’s, and a myriad of other stores.

We had no luck.  Being petite has its drawbacks sometimes.

We even went to Victoria’s Secrets.

We didn’t find pants, but we did find some other goodies.

While he stopped by another store in the mall, I gave myself a break and waited on a bench.  Scootering around is tiring, especially when you’re healing from breaking three bones in your ankle.

We hit a couple more stores before calling it quits.

I was exhausted.  I know I’ve already mentioned that, but seriously.  This healing business takes a lot out of a person!

I had a good night’s sleep and hardly remember turning over even.

Sunday morning, the Mr. and I headed out to church.

I was able to stand for the singing portion of worship, with my knee on the scooter.

It was yet another step toward normalcy.

An older couple joined us at our table; the husband is recovering from back surgery.  His wife had jokingly asked if we were at the handicapped table.  Ha!

After a quick lunch at home, we headed back out to the mall…this time across the bridge though.

Victoria’s Secrets was our first stop so we could take advantage of a couple of coupons we’d been unable to find the day before.

I got these socks for free (after reminding the clerk about the sign outside) for purchasing a PINK item.

I had a choice of several and was struck by this pair.  First, it was a pretty, light shade of pink.  Second, I love the play on the word “sleigh.”  I think Beyonce has a song with this verbiage…another way of saying “slay.”  I am NOT a Beyonce fan, but I am all about figurative language.  I plan on “sleighing” the challenges associated with my fracture.

Next, we went back to Dillard’s to find a pretty clutch for me to use for the wedding.  I’d already purchased one, but I discovered that my phone wouldn’t fit into it, so I needed another one.  The plan was to return the previous one but, in true Auburnchick fashion, we left it in the car and found it too tedious to go back and retrieve it.  We’ll return it this week.

I found a clutch I was okay with, and we left, headed for the Nike store.  First, though, was a stop at Charlotte Russe, a store we used to frequent.

They didn’t have pants I could fit into with the cast, but they did have dresses and skirts.

And yes…yes I did.  Just for the record.  That skirt will match what will probably be a black removable boot that will replace my cast.

Because I’m all about matching.


Later, when I got home and started taking things out of bags, I noticed this on the other side of my Charlotte Russe bag.  Isn’t it just the best?

The Nike store was our next stop, but it quickly became apparent that I wouldn’t find flared yoga pants there either.

We headed to one more store…Charming Charlie.  I’d seen this store on the way to Dillard’s and told the Mr. that I wanted to stop by on our walk back.

It’s a new-to-me store and so delightful!  There were tables everywhere, but what got to my overachieving, highly organized self was how the merchandise was arranged…according to color.

Oh my!

I had to scooter around just to take it all in.

Then, I found a third clutch that I liked for a much better price than what I’d found in Dillard’s (even with the clearance price, mind you).  Plus, my phone fit into it.  Bingo!

That’s not a great picture, but I think you get the idea.  I wanted something for my phone and lipstick.  The strap will help me hold onto it while I scooter around.

We were done at this point and headed home, with one quick stop at Sam’s Club for dog food.  I let the Mr. go in without me and watched my First5 weekend video while I waited.

I am thankful that this will be a short week for me.  Big plans are brewing around these parts.  Because of that, I’ll be maximizing my evenings with lots of lesson plan preparations so I can relax in the days and two weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, keep on the lookout for cast sightings.  There won’t be too many of them with me set to get my boot soon.

Praise God for His healing touch and daily miracles.


Jesus is Here

It’s Sunday.

The Mr. and I are back from church after listening to a wonderful sermon about the temptations that come with Christmas.

One of the temptations described was busyness…the thing that often keeps us from seeing Jesus during this season.

I’ve been purposely watching for Him during my season of waiting for my ankle to heal…down time that has been difficult for me.

That’s why I have been using the hashtag #findingjoyinthejourney for all of my pictures and in my posts about my injury.

I’m not good at waiting.  I am used to rushing through life, which is probably one thing that contributed to my injury in the first place…rushing through the house.

I’ve become ever mindful of people in my life who are setting aside their own busyness to extend kindness to me.

Two instances from this weekend stand out.

The first occurred on Friday when the Mr. retrieved the mail.  Inside an envelope addressed to me was a get well card and a message from a friend…

She’s the mom of a couple of now-adult children who grew up with my own kids.  We’ve known each other for years and even attend the same church.  She’s also my Origami Owl rep.

As I read her message and looked at the plate she’d included in the card, I started crying (I’m doing a lot of that these days).

God led her to this plate…of this, I’m sure.  It’s not a “coincidence” that I’ve been using this hashtag, and she’s been reading my posts.

Jesus is here.

But God wasn’t finished showing me that He is with me constantly, which my heart knows but my mind, because of the hard stuff of each day, sometimes forgets.

Yesterday, the Mr. and I had gone out shopping.  While I waited in Dillards for him to take care of some business, I sat down and propped my leg on my scooter.

I was playing on my phone and randomly staring out when a very pretty gal walked by.  She was dressed really nicely; her knee-high boots make a clopping sound as she passed by.

She stopped just before she got out of sight, turned to me, and said, “You like my boots, don’t you?”

I was caught off guard.  I didn’t realize I’d been staring at her boots, but I had, just a few minutes prior when the Mr. and I had walked past the shoe department (my favorite), been telling the him that I couldn’t wait for the day when I could wear two shoes again.

So, her question wasn’t that far-fetched.

I’m an awkward person, not good at small talk or thinking on my feet…or in my case, on my butt in a chair.

I mumbled a response that I can’t remember, and she looked purposely at my cast and asked what I’d done.

I shared my story quickly, and she commiserated.

Then, she told me that she would pray for me.

Yes, a stranger said that.

But our conversation wasn’t over.

She then walked over to me and asked my name.

I knew she was serious about praying for me.

Then, she shared her story.

She told me that she’d had ankle reconstruction surgery twice (the second time after re-breaking hers when she wore heels and stepped off a curb, which I will NOT be doing, that’s for sure).

She empathized with some of the things I’d been dealing with physically in a way that only a person who has gone through this could.

The Mr. had finished his task by then and came up to us.

We spoke a moment or two (or three) longer before we parted ways.

My heart was lighter than when I’d entered the mall.

As we left, I began to tearfully tell the Mr. her story.  I told him that God was reminding me, through the actions of my Origami Owl friend and now this stranger, that He has not forgotten my struggle.  He is with me, despite the journey being hard.  He knows me personally, just as He knows all of His children and our individual needs.

It was also a lesson in setting aside the busyness of an agenda to notice people…to stop at God’s heeding and speak the word He puts on my lips or act in the way He prompts my heart.

I look forward to paying it forward…especially when I’m two-footed again.

I want others to know what I know…

That Jesus is here — not just during Christmas but during every season.

I want others to make a habit of #findingjoyinthejourney just as I am so they can recognize the blessings that God is pouring out even in the midst of struggles.

Jesus is here.

May this message be at the forefront of my mind now and after my ankle is healed.

Back in the Saddle

Well, I guess you could say it’s official.

I am back in the saddle thanks to the scooter I blogged about in my previous post.

Here it is, Saturday morning at 6:23, and I realize that I’m falling back into my old patterns…not having a lot of time to blog.

Work, y’all.

Being able to get around on the scooter has been liberating.  It’s much more stable than the crutches I was using before and a lot less cumbersome than the wheelchair I’d been tootling around in at school.

Let’s recap my week, though.

On Monday, I resumed stations with my reading students.

Stations are centers that have various comprehension activities.  The teacher is always a station.  It’s where we get to work up close and personal with the kids.  You can see that the article I was using was relevant.

Meanwhile, the weather outside had turned yucky.  It did some serious pouring, which proved a challenge when the Mr. came and picked me up from school.

He was such a gentleman.  He gave me his heavy rain jacket so I wouldn’t get wet.

Oh man, but that guy is earning some huge gems for his crown in heaven.

He also helped me put my right leg (the one with the cast) in a plastic garbage bag so it wouldn’t get wet.  It was raining that hard.

Then, with my itty bitty umbrella that I happened to have in my classroom, he first took my stuff to his car and then returned and walked beside me as I scootered to the curb.

Getting down from the curb is always challenging…more so when it is pouring.  He got me in, and I had nary a drop of water on me, and he put the scooter in the back of his car.

The poor guy.  He was sopping wet when he got in the driver’s seat.  I felt so badly for him.  He had to change his clothes when he got home so he’d have something dry to wear when he returned to work for the afternoon.

By Tuesday morning, the rain was gone. I followed my regular routine to get ready.

During my planning period, I hunkered down for some serious grading.

I just cannot get caught up.

Having extra essays to grade that I was told would be graded by other teachers irked me…especially because these essays had been written over a month ago, and the kids had been waiting on feedback.  I could have provided this weeks ago.

I still have so much grading from the substitute work the kids completed while I was out.  I stuck half of the stack in my bag to go home with me.

Tuesday evening, I was back in the kitchen cooking for the first time since I broke my ankle.  I made Tofu Scramble.

It felt so good…so normal…to be sort-of standing in front of the stove again.  The Mr. was my sous chef.  Actually, he was watching over me to make sure I didn’t do anything risky.  He very, very protective of me right now.  This whole experience with my ankle has made us appreciative of good health and over-cautious with my activities until I am healed fully.

On Wednesday, I had Day 2 of my Clinical Educator training…

I did this training so I can officially mentor student teachers.

That afternoon, when I got home, I had goodies in the mail…

That eye shadow palette had been on sale for 50% off…a rare deal that I happened to see in an email and snatched up immediately.

I needed a new iRobot.  My other one began having problems before I broke my ankle.  Even though I’d ordered and installed a new battery, there were issues that I just couldn’t fix and couldn’t justify spending money to send off to have repaired.

The vacuums were on sale the day after Thanksgiving, so I ordered one.

Merry Christmas to me!

With three very hairy dogs in the house, this appliance is a MUST-HAVE.  Hopefully, the Mr. won’t have to run the upright vacuum any more, except to get in the crevices where the Roomba can’t reach.

Oh, and one really cool thing about the new Roomba is that it is wifi-enabled!  There’s an app that you can use to set up and run the vacuum!  It took me a few minutes to figure out how to connect to it, but once I did, I was actually able to change the schedule right from my phone the next day when we decided to run it a little earlier.  How cool is that?!

Wednesday afternoon, while I waited for the Mr. to return home from work, I did more grading (he’d forgotten to place my laptop within arm’s reach).

The grading though…sigh.

The Mr. didn’t feel like cooking dinner that night, we went out to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.  It was my first time there since I broke my ankle; it felt wonderful to be back.

Our server had a bit of a hard time understanding my order.  He wasn’t our regular guy.  I think he mistook my #3 request for three burritos.

I ate leftovers in my lunch for the next two days.

Thursday, I was back in my classroom, and it was a pretty easy day.  After school, the Mr. and I ran a couple of errands.  One that was important was getting a temporary handicap placard.  After going to the mall last weekend, I had quickly become aware of the need for parking spaces closer to the store.  I’m finding it challenging to navigate over the asphalt in parking lots; they are extremely bumpy and ridden with pebbles, which are rough on my ankle.

My doctor’s office was wonderful and emailed the form I needed within fifteen minutes of my request.  Getting the tag was a quick affair.

I have become very appreciative of such things as handicapped bathroom stalls and other accommodations for those who are not able to get around easily…things I never really thought much about before.

That night, I lesson planned…hard core…something I’d done every other night as well (in addition to the grading I was doing).  I’m trying to get my lesson plans written through the second week of January…semester exams.  My overachieving is necessary; being organized and ahead of the game will allow me to enjoy time with my family during Christmas break.

Friday could not get here quick enough.

I dressed down.


The weather had turned quite chilly, and I was all about being comfortable after dressing rather nicely despite the cast all week.

I had another rather easy day with my students.  We’ve started a new unit that involves a lot of front loading of terminology, so they got to take notes.

Chicky had taken a mental health day and had driven up here to visit a friend.  She stopped by my classroom and chatted with me for an hour.  Two of my classes were on a field trip, so I had an extra planning period.

It was wonderful to see her again.  She’d been such a blessing during my surgery.  ❤

When she left, she ate lunch with the Mr. and then hung around long enough to visit with us when we got home from school.

After she left, the Mr. and I vegetated.

After a quick dinner out at a breakfast diner place we frequent, we settled in for the evening.  There was a Star Wars marathon going on.  We were both exhausted from my first full week back at school; not thinking about anything or really doing anything was a wonderful respite.

I guess the basic point of this post is to show you that I’ve regained some normalcy.  The Mr. is still working too hard in his efforts to take care of me (his #1 priority), do his money-paying job, and maintain the house.

I’m on the countdown to get my cast off.  The day cannot get here quick enough, but there are a lot of things happening around Chez Auburnchick before then.

Although there are still near-daily tears at various frustrations, I am constantly reminded of God’s grace during this healing season.

I am still #findingjoyinthejourney even in the midst of my forays into Teardom.

The kindness shown by everyone…students, staff, friends, and even strangers…has helped me see that there is so much good in this world.

Just when I am at my lowest, God reminds me that He sees me…that He is present during this time of waiting…that His plans for me are perfect.

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