Life Can Be Chaotic

How our apartment currently looks is slightly how my life feels right now…



Chaotic and full. This is real life right now. It’s busy, but with good things. This weekend marks my 7th weekend in a row where I will not sleep in our apartment at least one night, if not both. I keep looking forward to the first weekend of November because I will get to stay home all weekend! I keep thinking it’s the light at the end of the tunnel until I realize that the following 4 weekends will be the same. When we restarted our jobs at the church in September (we had the summer off) we told ourselves this year would be different. We told ourselves we would be home more on the weekend. Unfortunately that’s not how it’s turning out. While these weekends away have been filled with good things and great people, some work related and some not, it can be exhausting. During the week I try to relax on my 3 free nights, but it usually turns into completing my ever-growing to-do list and goals since lately I haven’t been able to work on them during the weekend. As you can see from the pictures, we are sleeping in the living room because our new bed is being worked on in the bedroom (I just finished it last night!). The box is from our new filing cabinet so we can get our paper situation under control. And there is my suitcase that I still haven’t unpacked from this past weekend. Very unlike me, but when your bedroom in under construction, you try to stay out of it as much as possible.

All of that said, I have a lot of things to post about! I have actually written at least 5 posts, but I haven’t had time (or made time) to edit my pictures and get them posted. Sometimes when you have a free minute you just need to watch a tv show and chill instead of always working on the next thing. However, after this weekend, even though I still will be gone most weekends, I think my life will feel lighter and I am hoping to have more time. So here is to documenting more life events soon and getting to a place where my apartment doesn’t look like a tornado just went through it!


Get ‘Er Done {September Review & October Goals}

October goals

And it’s October. As expected, September flew by with a lot going on. My second job started up again, meaning we were only home one weekend this month. October and November look the same in those regards, so that is just something to get used to again. Honestly, starting up my second job has been better than I expected. However, I’m still trying to figure out how to balance everything. I loved hanging out with our friends this summer and now the time to do that is minimal with our varying schedules and with us being gone on the weekends. Plus, trying to fit in my goals and every day to do list is causing me to rethink how I spend my time. While there are times I am really busy, there are also times that I am being lazy, meaning I’m not initiating time with others and I’m not working on things that need to be done. Instead I am watching tv and reading too many blogs. While it’s good to have some rest time, I need to work on balancing that better.

So before I get into October goals, left’s review my September goals:

1. Read Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. I read it but I didn’t finish it. I don’t even think I’m on page 100 yet. However, I have really been enjoying the book and it’s giving Chris and I the travel bug. In one chapter she talks about all the things her and her husband wanted to do before they started having kids and she listed several places they traveled to. Thinking about our life, we are saving money to pay for school and buy a house afterwards, which are all really important, but by then we will probably start having kids and our adventures alone will be limited. So now we are discussing ways to save money to travel more and adjusting to being ok with the house waiting a year longer than I expected. But yay to traveling! And Chris actually agreed to it which is even more exciting, though he doesn’t want to go to Europe because he thinks is boring. But I love the beach so that’s ok… for now. We will go to Europe eventually, or I’ll just go with some friends.

2. Start building something! I actually did this! I bought all the wood for three projects. It’s easier for me to get everything at once because it gives me more motivation to get it done. Getting the plans ready and getting the materials is the hardest part for me and usually prevents me from starting projects. I had to make two trips to Home Depot because I knew it wouldn’t all fit in my car. Buying wood seems so easy until I realize that I spent 3 hours at the store. So here are my projects and where they stand:

  1. Bed Frame and Headboard: All the wood is cut and at our apartment to be assembled. Last week I started nailing the frame together and on my second piece my nail gun jammed 😦 I spent days trying to fix it, but couldn’t figure out how to get some screws off. Luckily I brought it to work and the head of maintenance fixed it for me (and it probably took him 2 minutes). So some progress, but a lot more to go.
  2. Desk: I have most of the pieces cut and I started assembling it at Chris’s parents’ house. I had to bring several tools from our apartment up to their house one weekend. We left in a hurry, so when I started assembling pieces I realized I only had 6 screws and the rest were at home. So I did what I could with some wood glue, six screws, and my nail gun and I got it to the point where I could frame them, which could hold them together for now. So when I go up next weekend I will remember to bring my screws so I can work on it more.
  3. Laundry Room Shelf: FINISHED! I was so excited that I actually finished a project. I will write a post on that sometime this month.

3. Work on my wardrobe. Didn’t happen at all, but I thought about it. That counts for something right?

4. Workout 2-3 times a week. Didn’t really happen. When I posted my goals a week late I already hadn’t exercised the first week. The second week I exercised twice at the Seminary gym with Chris. The third and fourth week it didn’t happen, but I did several days of woodworking, which made me more sore than any of the workouts I had done and I was sweating a lot. So I kind of worked out. This Monday I started the Living and Active Challenge and I workout out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Yes you read that right. I worked out three days in a row! I knew I had to because I have an insane work weekend (we have an in-town high school retreat that I am partially in charge of), so if I didn’t get it done at the beginning I knew I wouldn’t have time. Now I only need to fit in one workout this weekend, plus my memory verse.

So overall, my goals went ok, but I didn’t completely finish everything, so I’m going to do the same goals for October. My only modifications are finishing my woodworking projects (instead of starting them) and exercising 4 times a week to coincide with my challenge. Here are a few other great things that happened in September:

  • An anonymous person in our church donated money to pay all of our medical bills. HUGE BLESSING!!! We are so thankful!
  • We finished watching Suits.
  • We obsessively ate Trader Joe’s Ice Cream Sandwiches. They are so good!
  • We went to Rocking Horse Ranch, which is a family resort in NY, last weekend with our friend Tim. More on that later.
  • I ran for the first time in months.
  • We started our high school small groups up again and I love my girls. It’s amazing to see how we have grown as a group since last year. I’m excited and hoping to see more personal growth in them throughout this year.
  • We played Settlers of Catan with just the two if us. We each had two players so it was like four people were playing. It definitely presented its challenges. We tried to play fair and not favor one play over another, but that was hard at times.

Those are the main things. I hope you have a great October! Anything you are hoping to get accomplished or something you are looking forward to? I can’t wait for the trees to change more!

Living and Active Challenge


Last year I participated in the Living and Active Challenge hosted by Clare at Peak313 and this year’s challenge starts next Monday! I’m really excited to start this, even though I know it’s going to be hard, because I really want/need to start exercising regularly. Plus this will help me beat Chris and Josh in our most-ripped-by-Christmas bet.

There are several components to this 5 week challenge. First is to exercise 4 times a week for a minimum of 25 minutes. Clare will provide workout options or you can do your own thing. Second is the spiritual element of memorizing a Bible verse every week. Clare got the idea of “living and active” from Hebrews 4:12. Her passion is for everyone to be living and active in their faith and in their health. Third is an accountability component. Every week you check in on her website. She encourages people to find someone to do the challenge with so they can keep each other accountable. While this would be helpful for me, last year I ran off internal motivation to concur. I see it as a competition against my laziness and I want to win! For those who complete each week and do the weekly check ins, there are prizes available to win at the end. While this is a nice perk, I know I won’t win, so that’s not a motivating factor for me, just a bonus if it were to happen. She also encourages you to take before and after pictures to document your progress. I like taking measurements and weighing myself too. I did all of that at the beginning of this month for our Christmas bet and since I haven’t done much since then, I’m going to use those pictures and measurements for this too. I while check them again at the end of the 5 weeks.

Fitness is something I really enjoy, but when I get out of the habit I dread it because I know how much work it requires to get back to where I want to be. I’m hoping this challenge will be the kick start I need to establish better workout habits. I know that when I workout consistently I feel better. Not only am I more confident in how I look, but I have so much more energy and I sleep better too.

So if you are looking for something to do, whether you workout consistently or not, this is a great challenge to try!

SnapShop and Up North

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (here and here), I recently finished an online photography course by Ashley Ann Campbell. I started following her blog over a year ago and that is how I discovered the course. She offers courses for DSLRs and iPhones. I also think Ashley Ann is amazing! I love her blog and when I grow up I want to be like her. Haha, well I actually want to be myself, but there are so many qualities that she has that I hope rub off on me just by reading her blog, especially once I start having kids.

Chris and I got a DSLR about a year before we got married (meaning we both wanted one, but it was silly for both of us to get one assuming we would eventually get married, so he got it for Christmas and I used it). When we first got the camera I made an effort to learn how to use it and I researched the different elements of shooting in manual. While I learned a lot in my research (and practice), I didn’t really understand how everything worked together or the short-cuts of my camera. So I usually shot in aperture mode because I liked controlling the bokeh (background blur) or I just stopped taking pictures. There were times our camera would go months just sitting in its bag in the closet. And sometimes I think I avoided taking pictures because I also dreaded the process of putting them on my computer. I know it doesn’t take that long, especially because my photo editing software can edit multiple pictures at once, but from some reason it always sounded daunting.

I signed up for Ashley Ann’s class because I wanted to really learn the basics of my camera. I also hoped I would take more pictures if I knew how to use it better. Ashley’s course was split into three sections: rules/composition of taking a good picture, how to shoot in manual, and extra aspects of photography. While some of the information I knew, I learned so many more new things. Ashley Ann has this amazing way of explaining the hard things in simple terms. While I still have a lot of practicing to do, I feel like I can shoot in manual and not get terrible pictures. Plus, I like the control I have over how the picture turns out.

One down side of the class (or me) is that I didn’t have a lot of people to photograph and it’s hard to practice in our apartment because we don’t get a lot of natural light. But when we went to Michigan to visit my parents I got to practice a lot. So I thought I would share pictures from my trip along with what we did.

We went to my parents for a long Labor Day weekend. This is our third year visiting over Labor Day, so it seems to be a tradition now. We spend the first day and a half at their house where we caught up with friends, saw my grandma, went shopping, and got my hair cut. Then we headed up to our family cabin on Lake Huron. Our first day there we went into Mackinaw for our annual mini-golf tournament and did a little shopping (we got an ornament for our Christmas tree) and got fudge/ice cream/caramel apples at Kilwins. I only took iPhone pictures because it was rainy out.

CWL - Mackinaw

On our way home it started pouring! In 2-3 hours we got 3.8 inches of rain. I think that is more than Fresno has gotten all year. It was so intense that it flooded the creek behind our house and rose above the bridge. Here are some regular versus flooded picture… Crazy!

CWL - flood 1





When the rain stopped we went down to the beach where the creek drains into the lake. Chris was loving life digging out the creek to make it wider and flow better, Olivia was making creations and running all over the beach, and Greg was riding the tube down the creek.

CWL - Beach 1

CWL - Beach 2





The next day we went to Ocqueoc Falls. Growing up we went here a lot. Over the years they have invested more money into it, making it more of a park, so a lot more people go now. I felt bad for Chris because he wanted to swim in the falls so bad, but we decided it was a bad idea incase he slipped and fell.






The rest of the weekend was filled with hangout time on the beach, riding the Seadoo, watching The Office, awesome sunsets, shooting BB guns, and playing Settlers of Catan. We have been dying to buy this game since we became obsessed with it a month ago. My mom bought it for us at the mall right before we went up to the cabin and we got my family hooked on it! We even got my dad to stay up until midnight playing, which is a miracle. They liked it so much that my dad asked “so whose game is this?” and my mom asked if they could keep it and buy us a new one. Proud moment.










CWL - Shooting Shaving Cream


This shot it me impressing Chris with my accurate shooting skills. There are three dents below the USA logo from three shots I took in a row. The first two didn’t break the can, but the third did.


Overall it was an amazing weekend and an amazing online course. I look forward to practicing with my camera more. I know I need to be diligent about planning practice opportunities, which really means I need to get over myself and ask people if I can photograph their kids. That for me takes personal growth as well as photography growth. I’m also daydreaming about new camera equipment, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not there yet. But hopefully soon because I already have my eye on some expensive stuff.

Lessons from Brokenness

Well this is two weeks later than promised, but I still wanted to share what Chris and I learned from his elbow breaking experience.

Overall, this was a great experience for us. Obviously we wish this wouldn’t have happened, especially now that our medical bills are rolling in, but there are so many things we are thankful for. I think we are most appreciative of the extra time we got to spend together. There were several moments where we had nothing to do but wait together, so we filled those times with talking, laughing, studying, etc. When things are so busy, it can be nice to have a forced step back to focus on what is really important with the most important person. We had so many great conversations that we might not have had if we weren’t sitting in a waiting room for 5 hours or chilling at home after surgery.

Our best conversation happened the night before surgery. We decided to go out to each to celebrate Chris’s last night of having an extra bone. Plus, Chris had to stop eating and drinking by midnight, but his surgery wasn’t until 1:30pm, so we wanted his last meal to be a good one.


During dinner we started talking about lessons that we had learned from our experience (which at that point was only three days). We learned several lessons about ourselves and about each other. I think the biggest lesson I took away was a taste of motherhood. I’ve always heard how selfless you have to be as a parent, and while I have not fully experienced that, I got glimpses of it. When we got home from the emergency room there were so many things to get done (dinner, prescriptions, etc). I was stressing out and very hungry… not a good combo for me. Sunday I was not only trying to figure out our doctor’s appointments, but realizing that I would be missing some work that week and I had a lot of work to get done, so I went in for a few hours while Chris’s family was visiting. I think Monday was the day I really felt it (right before dinner). We went to the doctor’s that morning, but realized Chris wouldn’t be having surgery until the next day. Seeing that is was still the morning, I decided to go into work for several hours. When I got home, exhausted, Chris asked me to help him with is homework. Did I really want to help? No. But I made that sacrifice to love and serve Chris. And that day I got a glimpse of being a mom. Having to work, run around doing a million things, helping with homework, and not have a lot of “me” time. I saw a glimpse of the sacrifice and while I know it will be very hard, I know I look forward to that some day.

In the same respects, I think Chris was affirmed that I will be a good mom (not that he thought I would be a bad mom). I can see why this experience encouraged him. Normally I am very task-oriented, I can get irritated easily, and I am an introvert/homebody, so I like my down time at home. While I can also be compassionate and nurturing, I’m not always in situations where I express those attributes, and honestly, when I have the opportunity to show those towards Chris, I don’t always do that. So I think he was pleasantly surprised to see my mothering nature come out and I’m glad he was encouraged by it.

At the beginning I was surprised how cautious Chris was being. I thought he would push himself more to get better faster, but he has been doing really good about listening to the doctor’s orders. Though now that he is feeling better he is starting to push it a bit. Like our conversation on Tuesday:

Chris: “I think I will be able to play soccer in three weeks after my appointment with Dr. Lamb.”

Me: “No, you’re not supposed to play sports for another month after that appointment.”

Chris: “Yeah, but those are contact sports or sports where I am pulling or pushing things, like football flags and shooting basketballs.”

Me: “And what if you fall on it or someone else hits you there?”

Chris: “Then I will fall the other way and protect my arm.”

The boy can’t help but want to play. I can’t blame him for having a hard time not being able to do what he loves, especially since it connects him with other people.

Speaking of what the doctor will say, he went in last week and here is his most recent x-ray.

5 week x-ray with circle

You can see there is still a part of the bone that has not reattached to the other, but that was only at 5 weeks and bones take 6-8 weeks, so he is still progressing well. After his doctor’s appointment his physical therapist started pushing him harder. Before she was mostly massaging his arm, measuring his extension and flexing angles, and doing stretches. Now she has him lifting some weights and he is feeling the pain. Because is arm is feeling better and he is wanting to push himself more, I think he is feeling discouraged that it hurts to do certain exercises and that his fluidity of motion is not as good in his right arm as it is in his left. But something we have to keep reminding ourselves is that this is a long process and especially now, patience is key. Another lesson we are continuing to learn.

Get ‘Er Done {August Review & September Goals}

I can’t believe it’s already September. While fall is my favorite season and September is my favorite month, I honestly have been dreading its arrival and I think it’s because August was the best month I’ve had in a long time. I felt satisfied, content, rested, and rich in friendship for the first time since we’ve moved (which was officially a year ago last Wednesday… crazy!). I loved working 4 days weeks, spending evenings with friends, becoming obsessed with Settlers of Catan, getting Chris hooked on a new tv show (Suits), feeling somewhat productive, visiting family, and enjoying my last month of summer. I think a lot of this had to do with the growth I started last month and as it continues it keeps getting better. But now fall is here and I need to change my mindset to a busier lifestyle that I don’t love, but will adjust to (hopefully quickly). Now I need to figure out how to transfer what I learned and how I’ve changed this summer over to my fall life. But first I want to reflect on my August goals:

1. Learn some photography skills. I just finished an online DSLR photography course from one of my favorite bloggers, Ashley Ann Campbell. You can learn more about her photography courses here. I’m sad it’s over because there is so much more I wanted to learn from her. While I did some research when we first got our camera on how it worked and I learned the basics about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, I didn’t find much material on how to put the three together and Ashley made it seem so simple. A hard aspect of the class for me was I didn’t feel like I had much to photograph (no little chilens running around like several other classmates), but our trip to visit my parents was a perfect opportunity to practice. More pictures from that later 🙂 We also had a Flickr group to post our pictures, so it was great to get feedback from Ashley and other students in the class.

2. House projects. Now that we have officially lived in our apartment for a year, my goal was to make it a bit more homey, but that didn’t happen. I hung one thing up. It’s a hanging rack from my scarves and belts. You can’t even tell I hung something up because it’s behind our bedroom door. And I did exactly what I didn’t want to do and the reason I haven’t hung things up for a year… I put extra holes in the wall. Lucky the rack covers it. Lesson learned: always pull out the drill instead of using the hand-held screwdriver (unless the drill is not an option). And while we didn’t get curtains, we did make progress by picking out the rods we wanted and deciding on a fabric color for the living room (we decided to hold off on the bedroom until more furniture decisions are made). So some small progress.

CWL Sept-1

Here are some other things that made my August feel productive and fun:

  • Finish magazine project from June/July.
  • Finally blogged about California, Mexico, and Chris breaking his elbow (though I still need to follow up with what we learned from that experience).
  • Uploaded, organized, and edited all of my pictures (our DSLR had pictures from 2.5 years ago).
  • Finished watching Bones, watched the first season of Fixer Upper, and Chris and I are on season 3 of Suits… yes I love television.
  • Finished reading Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.
  • Lots of friend time hanging out, eating, playing Settlers of Catan, and going to a Phillies vs. Mariners game.
  • Family time at home in Michigan and with Chris’s family (they came to Princeton one day and then we celebrated Josh going to college).
  • I learned how to collage pictures in Lightroom (like the one above). Oh the little things that make my feel productive.

And now it’s September. With how busy my month naturally is as my second job has started again, I’m praying that some of these goals are even attempted!

1. Read Cold Tangerines. This is another Shauna Niequist book. I received three of her books last Christmas so I am trying to read through them. The last one took me two months to read. With only 75 pages left in August, I barely finished it by the end because I have been watching so much tv and not reading before bedtime… typical. But I liked the trend of reading before bed, so I want to start working on that again. I started this book on our flight home from Michigan and I am already enjoying it. I love Shauna’s writing because I am challenged as she honestly shares the good and hard stories of her life. Her writing is engaging and funny, so what’s not to like?

2. Start building something! I’ve had plans to build something for so long, but I haven’t done it! Starting a project can be so hard for me because I see how overwhelming it can be or I picture everything that could go wrong. So I’ve decided I just need to start. Hopefully next weekend because I will have some free time up at Chris’s parents where all my tools are.

3. Work on my wardrobe. Last month when I was looking for an August goals picture, I wanted to give the original site credit, and I stumbled across a blog of a Texas photographer named Caroline. I enjoyed reading her material (aka I read all her posts), but I was bummed to see that she wasn’t posting much. So I Instagram stalked her and found out that she started another blog about having a minimalist wardrobe. Another girl from college (Allie) posted about this on her blog, so I started looking into it. Both of them referenced the blog Into Mind, so I started doing my research. Here’s a summary: create a capsule wardrobe that lasts for a season that is made of of 20-36 (depending on the person or your choice) pieces of clothing that you can style to make your signature look/wardrobe. While I don’t know if I’ll dive into this wholeheartedly, I am desiring to purge my closet of what I don’t wear and only buy things that I am in love with. I’ll write more about this later, but my main goal this month is to purge my closet and start getting a better idea of items I would like to purchase (already got a few new cardigans when I went shopping with me madre over Labor Day weekend). 🙂

4. Workout 2-3 times a week. Chris wanted me to set this goal, but I didn’t want to because I knew I wouldn’t keep it. Meaning it’s already a week into September and I haven’t exercised (unless you include a long walk Up North), so I have already not completed it, yet I am still posting it. Just because I didn’t do it one week doesn’t mean I can’t do it the rest. Especially because I know an exercise challenge from one of the blogs I follow is probably coming up soon. Plus, before Chris’s brother left for college we all made a bet to see who could be the most ripped by Christmas. While we didn’t set a prize, I’m sure it’s bragging rights and nice abs. So with that being said, I need to exercise and Chris and I are trying to eat more similarly to the detox we did in May (except for when we are with others or the occasional going out to eat).

So there are my September goals… a week late but they are still there.


Note: This is a long post, so read what you want. This is mostly a “what happened” post and I will do another post later this week on the lessons we’ve learned from this experience. I will be posting some pictures throughout, but the pictures that some people might get grossed out by I will put at the end. If that is you, be cautious as you reach the end of this post. Pictures will include x-rays and Chris’s scar/staples.

I’ve received this called before. “Hey babe. I hurt myself pretty bad. I’m on my way home.” This was the call I got from Chris a month ago today. He was playing basketball at the seminary gym. He jumped up to block a shot and in the process of him jumping up, the shooter was falling, accidentally taking Chris’s feet out from under him. He came down hard and landed on his right elbow. He knew it was a bad fall, but he didn’t think he was seriously hurt. He got up to take a break and as he starting walking with his right arm down, he felt shooting pains that only went away when he held his arm up, supporting it with his left hand. When he got home we headed over to the hospital. At the time, Chris thought he landed with his arms out behind him (we found out later from a bystander that he landed directly on it), so his bet was that he hyper-extended his elbow and would have a 6 week recovery.


We got to the emergency room and waited briefly in the lobby before being taken into an examination room. The nurse took Chris’s blood pressure and asked about his pain level and what happened. He also told the nurse about his self-diagnosed guesses. That is one thing that I love about Chris. He takes situations that can be scary, stressful, or anxiety-filled and instead of freaking out he is calm and cracking jokes, which helps me calm down. We joked that because Chris’s body wasn’t functioning properly, his mind was making up for it with all his jokes. For example, our nurse was wearing a stethoscope with rolls of white tape around it. Chris asked her what they were, she said tape, and he said, “oh at first I thought they were marshmallows.” After she left the room he told me he thought she was wearing a marshmallow necklace, like the candy necklaces but made with marshmallows. I think I started crying because I was laughing so hard. Unfortunately next came Chris’s man, Emmanuel, to take his x-rays. Where Chris’s pain level was at a 6, it shot up to a 10 as Emmanuel made him move his arm around to get x-rays at different angles.

After x-rays we were moved to another waiting room. There our doctor came to tell Chris he had not only broken his elbow, but a piece chipped off and rotated upwards, meaning he would need to have surgery to fix it. One of the orthopedic surgeons was at the hospital and she wanted us to meet with him before leaving. Since Dr. Abrams was in a surgery, we had to wait several hours before meeting with him. While some people may find that frustrating, Chris and I really enjoyed our time together. It was a time that caused us to slow down and enjoy each other’s company. We spent our time talking, envisioning what the next several weeks would look like, calling people to keep them updated, and studying for Greek. This is also when we came up with his injury’s name. A month after we first got married Chris cut his left thumb open really bad and had to get stitches. As his scar healed, his thumb looked like a shark, so we started calling it Mr. Sharky. Since then we have decided to name all his injuries with their accompanied sound affects. So in the hospital we named his elbow injury Chippy since a piece of his bone chipped off.


After 3 hours we met with Dr. Abrams. He told us that the break Chris had was very rare, only happening during 3% of elbow breaks. While we thought he might do surgery that day, they decided to wait so he could consult other doctors about the best way to fix his break. So the doctor splinted him, gave us some pain med prescriptions and sent us home. On Sunday Dr. Abrams was good about keeping us informed. He was having trouble getting in touch with other doctors because it was the weekend, but he finally got in touch with someone late Sunday night, so we got the call Monday morning to meet with Dr. Lamb. We originally thought the surgery would be that day (we asked if that was possible since Chris had the day off of school), but when we arrived at the doctor’s office we found out if it were that day it would be extremely late at night… not worth it. So Dr. Lamb evaluated Chris’s break and explained to us how he was going to fix it, the recovery time, and possible complications with the surgery (loss of flexibility, getting arthritis at a younger age in the elbow, etc.).


Resting on Sunday


Love me some swollen fingers!


Capitulum – the piece of the humerus that chipped off

Tuesday morning, Chris went to school and I went to work. I picked him up at 11:30 so we could be to the hospital at noon. After checking in we waited briefly before they took Chris and prepped him for surgery while I waited in the waiting room for 3ish hours. The surgery took a little over an hour and was very successful. Beforehand we were told Chris would get two screws in his elbow, but if other issues arose during surgery that they could not see in the x-ray they might have to do any extra screw. Luckily they only needed two. Afterwards, Dr. Lamb came out to talk with me about how the procedure went, how Chris would be feeling the next few days/weeks, and to show me x-rays of Chris’s elbow with the screws. About 20 minutes later a nurse came to take me back to see Chris. When I walked in he was laying in his bed with sheets all the way up to his neck, listening to the nurse’s instructions. He was very alert and feeling good. During the surgery, not only was he under anesthetics, but he also received a nerve block in his arm. The nurse said this could last up to 24 hours, but that he should take his medication before going to bed in case in wore off while he was sleeping (which it did).


Chris’s biggest concern during this time was falling behind in school. This summer he took 2 semesters of Greek in 8 weeks. Because it is an intensive course, there is a lot to learn everyday and even on normal days he often felt like he was falling behind. So the thought of missing school was hard. He was so worried that when he woke up from surgery, the nurse said he was talking about conjugating Greek verbs. Chris ended up missing class the day after surgery (though he was home studying most of the time) and was back in class on Thursday. Every Friday they have a test, but due to missing some class and having a really hard time focusing on his medication (he said he hated how they made him feel slow), his teacher allowed him to postpone a day and take his test on Saturday. We are extremely thankful for how understanding and willing to help his teachers have been. Not only were they flexible based on how he was feeling, but for a week and a half they helped write down his quizzes and tests as he dictated the answers to them.

Another aspect we are extremely thankful for are the amazing doctors and nurses we had throughout the process. Everyone was very caring and helped keep us informed to the best of their abilities. We were so shocked the day after surgery when we received phone calls from a nurse at the hospital and from the doctor who performed the surgery. It affirmed us that Chris was in good hands and it was encouraging to know that they cared about Chris’s recovery. Having several friends in the nursing and medical field, we also tried to be very verbal in sharing our appreciation for them. I’m sure there are several days when interactions with patients can be draining and frustrating, so to combat that we wanted to be encouraging, caring, and crack some jokes with them. So to anyone in the medical field reading this, thank you so much for what you do!

Overall the recovery process has gone extremely well. The first week was definitely the most painful. Not only was his arm healing, but his splint was extremely heavy, so he couldn’t support it without a sling or using his left hand to hold it up. A week after surgery we went to the doctor, where they took the splint off and put on a brace. This brace is set at specific degrees so he could start moving his arm, but the movement was also limited. This was when I started calling him the Bionic Man and Mr. Roboto. This appointment was also entertaining because Chris’s skin was so wrinkly from being in a splint for a week. It was also swollen, which the doctor told us was normal for 6-8 weeks after the surgery. Chris was so fascinated (and freaked out… “I can feel my shirt touching my arm!”) that he kept stroking his skin with his fingers. A week later we went back to get his staples out (Chris didn’t even realize she had started taking them out because he couldn’t feel it) and he made sure before the appointment that he could move his arm the full extent of the brace. Last week Chris had his first two physical therapy appointments, where they are working on his flexibility in his extension and flexing. The doctor said he would most likely lose 5% of his flexibility. The  physical therapist measured the angles in his arm and said he only has 5% to go to be at zero, however his elbows are normally 10% hyper-extended, so to get his full range back he would have 15% left (which he doesn’t need to do). I joke with him that he will now have one normal elbow and that we should break the other one so it’s no longer hyper-extended. Chris will go back in a week for his next check up, where he will most likely have his brace taken off, and from there I’m sure physical therapy will continue. While he can start doing a little more once the brace comes off, he cannot lift weights (or other heavy things) or play sports until 3 months post surgery… so basically he is counting down the days until November.


Going to get his splint off


And leaving with his bionic arm… I mean brace

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, called to check in, or fed us! We really appreciate your love and support. Also, thanks to all of you who are reading this and are interested in how Chris is doing. If you have questions that I left out, please comment below and I will answer them. Now, if you get grossed out by medical stuff easily, I advise you not to look at the below pictures. I don’t think they are bad, but I just want to give you a word of caution if you get the heebie jeebies easily.

x-ray 2

First x-ray. You can see where his chipped bone is sticking up.


After surgery with his two screws. You can also see the 12 staples.


Right after his splint was taken off and I saw his scar for the first time (since he couldn’t bend his arm he only saw the scar in this picture)


How Chris felt about his scar, staples, and wrinkly skin


He was so fascinated with his arm that he kept stroking it


Scar after the staples were taken out.