It feels like Chloe is finally starting to turn a corner in her recovery! She's still in a ton of pain, and the back spasms are debilitating, but she's been up and walking the halls, on all oral meds, FINALLY using the bathroom, and eating a little bit. We just have to get her sitting upright more often and for longer and we get to go home. Looking like tomorrow! :)


Some of her first walks were pretty rough, but she's getting better each time. Even tried to run off without me when I wasn't moving fast enough for her getting back to bed after the bathroom one time!

This morning she had a little bit of an appetite and ate a good amount of strawberries and some scrambled eggs. Way more than she's had all week so far! It felt so good to see her actually wanting to eat finally.

The arts and crafts cart came by this morning as well, and she really wanted to paint something. She picked out a wooden box with a wire to hold photos and some pink and purple sparkly paint. It was a good distraction for a couple of minutes, but we haven't gotten very far on it and she needed to lay back down. Sitting up is the hardest for her right now, and those "mean" physical therapists keep making her (so she can sit up on the car ride home, particularly).



In the meantime, her dad and I are exhausted, sore and may be going a little bit stir crazy as well...


It warms our hearts to see so many people supporting us and praying for our girl. Thank you so much!




Two days post spinal fusion, Chloe is still having an extremely rough time. I think last night may have been worse than the first. She was up and down constantly, and every moment she was awake, she was begging for readjustments to the way she was laying in an attempt to get more comfortable or at least find some relief.... a frustrating and difficult time for us all.

Yesterday she had a handful of visitors and some gifts, but didn't get much of a chance to visit or appreciate it. Luckily, she slept a large portion of the evening but right now those are the moments we are looking for. Yesterday, she also received a visit from PT and she was able to sit (very assisted) on the edge of the bed three times throughout the day.




Today's PT visit had her up (very reluctantly) and to the chair to sit for a little bit. The goal is to do that two more times today. Wish us luck!



She's having a bunch of tummy bloating and pain along with her back pain, so getting up and moving needs to be a priority to help clear that up. The pain team was in this morning and have decided to up her Valium since it seems to give her the most relief and start her on oral pain meds today, trying to eliminate the pump.

But for now, for the moment, she sleeps. Thank goodness.



Today was Chloe's big surgery. The one we've been anticipating for the past three years since her last surgery.  We've known this was coming, but it's still been a very scary and intimidating process for us thus far. It was time to remove the MAGEC growing rods she had inserted almost exactly 3 years ago and replace them with new hardware to straighten her even more and hold her that way permanently.

Like before, we stayed at the wonderful Ronald McDonald House across the street last night, and arrived at Nationwide Children's bright and early at 5:45am for her 7:30 surgery. We were expecting a long wait of the stated 8 hours, but luckily everything went fairly smoothly and we were visited by her amazing doctor around 2:00pm. She came through the surgery great, most everything having gone as expected. She did lose some blood and needed some of her own blood transfused back to her. He also felt the need to fuse one level lower than where her MAGEC rods had been connected, so her spinal fusion goes from T3 to L3 (rather than L2).

After about an hour in recovery, we all tredged up to the room that will be hers for the next several days, and before long they were wheeling her in to meet us.


She's been so sleepy, SUPER thirsty and extremely uncomfortable today, but who wouldn't be? She is dehydrated, and a bunch of her transfused blood has somehow found it's way to her urine output, so that had us all concerned for a bit. They've been pumping her full of fluids and hopefully by morning she'll be nice and juicy again. She's on a pain pump, to which she holds the "magic button". She can push it whenever she wants, and it will administer small doses to her every 12 minutes. She remembers this special button from her last stay here quite fondly.


It was a really rough evening and she was counting the minutes until she could A) push the button or B) get a drink - at some points, but right now seems to finally be getting some rest and hopefully I might get a little soon as well.

Other than the pain, her thirst has been her biggest complaint. The nurses are providing her with these tiny medicine cups with maybe 6 ice chips in them - 1 per hour.... I get that they don't want to upset her stomach, but this girl is DYING of thirst if you ask her. We've been doing the ice chips, tiny sips of water and she's also wet mouth swabs. Hopefully tomorrow she'll get to actually drink something and maybe even have jello?

For now, we're going to try to settle in for the night. These "new" rooms here are pretty nice and the couch folds out to a pretty big bed for me, so I'm looking forward to stretching out on that. It can't be any worse than the "memory foam" mattress at RMH last night...

Here is a little before and after. On the left is Chloe with her MAGEC rods in place. On the right is her new hardward (well, part of it - the x-ray doesn't show low enough for everything.


We are now a week into 2018 and I thought it would only be right to keep up the tradition here and review the year we just ended with a recap. Especially since I've been all but absent from this space for so long.

So much has happened in the last year! I didn't realize this until I was going back through my phone photos and remembering all the little and big moments that I so wanted to share them here and keep them in these pages for my girls to remember.

2017...

It began a little differently than usual. It was my first New Year's Eve without my girls, but it was spent in Columbus with my wonderful boyfriend, T. By now, we had all grown pretty used to each other and the girls were becoming more and more comfortable with our new life in separate homes. We all get along fairly well and as I've said before, we are both better parents with the others' support, so we're trying to stick with that.

K has danced her heart out all year long, and was in a few different productions. Early in the year she was in the chorus of her first musical "The Addams Family" as a "dead ballerina ancester". It was a great show and she fell in love with the whole experience!

Another new experience for me was taking a couple rounds of stained glass class at the local museum with my friend, and mom joined us for the second round! It was a lot of fun getting to hang out and learn something new and creative!

With my boyfriend living an hour north, we both have spent quite a bit of time traveling to each other on the weekends. He lives in a quaint little college town about 20 minutes from anything. These windmills became a welcome sight - almost there! :)

Mid-year, after Christmas 2015, C decided she wanted to join band. The saxophone was her instrument of choice. I think she was more into the idea of playing an instrument, and not so much the practicing part of learning one... lol. At the end of the year she put it down and we currently have it for sale... but at least she gave it a shot!

In early spring, mom and I went on a road trip! I planned a crazy trip from here to St. Louis to Chicago and back with all sorts of off the wall stops along the way. We called it "from the arch to the bean and back" ;) While at our first truck stop lunch, we picked up this little sock monkey guy named Roland. He came along with us to the big cat animal preserve (waaaaaay off the beaten track), world's largest wind chime and rocking chair, a metal fire-breathing dragon, a ride up the Gateway Arch, Pink Elephant Antiques (and cool retro diner), Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL, the scary underground roads of Chicago, Cloud Gate (the bean), the Chicago Art Institute and more! 


My girl J always plans the most awesome themed parties! For another of our friend's half-birthday, she planned a fantastic back yard tea party, complete with fun hats, scones, and more sangria than tea! lol

This year, I've tried my best to get to yoga once a week. It has become such a fulfilling part of my life and forces me to focus on myself for an hour a week. The people there are amazing and all so authentic and uplifting. I hope I can spend as much time there if not more this year!

In July, T and I took a trip to Michigan, with a tiny cabin outside of Traverse City as our destination. However, my car had other ideas. A long story, a busted transmission in a part of the country where nothing is open on Saturday evening landed us in the tiny town of Clare, MI for two whole days and nights with no vehicle. Feeling like a disaster at first, in the end we came to see it as a weird little adventure. The whole town seemed to be stuck in 1992! We checked out the ice cream place, restaurant, "park" (patch of green space - lol) and little antique shop. We spent time just doing nothing and just being together. After the weekend in Clare, we spent a day at a Chevy dealership and I wound up leaving with a new car, who is apply named CLARE :) Another night in a much nicer hotel (one exit away from Clare of course), a stop at an awesome forrest in Toledo, fireworks at a park for the 4th and back home. Not what we had planned, but a wonderful adventure with a wonderful guy!


Another hobby C took up this year is archery. Just back-yard archery, but she's gotten pretty good at it!

I also bit the bullet and hired a photographer friend to shoot so photos of me and the girls rather than trying to do it myself. SO worth it! These girls are my toughest clients!!

In September, I took a HUGE leap and faced one of my biggest fears! I took a plane (twice!) and had an awesome vacation with three of my best girlfriends in Panama City, FL. I actually loved it and can't wait to fly again... who knew?!

While on the trip, I ticked another item off my bucket list and got in the water with a dolphin! He was amazing and it was such a cool experience! I'd love to do it again, and swim with him next time!

Yellow Springs Sunflowers! I had three sessions with senior girls here this year and then decided to bring my own down for some pics. Let's just say this is the last picture I got in before the heat and bees and hormones set in and everyone melted down... sigh.

We also added another feline to our pack this year. Sarah is a sweetheart and seems to be fitting in just great after some initial growing pains...

K attended her first Homecoming Dance this year.... (!!) She is growing up incredibly fast! Help!

A quick weekend trip with T this fall to a cabin in Hocking Hills. He has made my year so incredibly great... This guy knows how to make me feel loved and appreciated and worth it. I am a lucky girl!

Thanksgiving at mom's

I also laid a new laminate floor in my "family" room (92% on my own!) in the process of transforming it to a photo/dance studio for K and myself. Proud of myself, and so excited to finish this project and start using it!

The Nutcracker, as usual, took over our entire lives for the month or so before Christmas. It was incredible as usual and K had the best roles yet! So proud of my tiny dancer!!

Other big events: 
- K turned 14.
- C turned 11. 
- I turned 37. 
- The divorce was final in October. 

Overall, it was a good year. Every day is challenging of course (working two jobs, keeping a house, seeing someone who lives an hour away, and trying to single-mother two very different, crazy girls) but I am so, so blessed.

Today is the true end of one chapter in my life and the beginning of another. While we have been living apart for over a year now and have both moved on with our lives, today marks the official end of our 17.5 year marriage. So much has changed and settled into a new routine over the past year. We've both had our good and bad moments and growing pains, but in the end we both agree - we are better people without this marriage. We bring out the worst in each other. We are best off friends and co-parents, and that's what we'll be from now on.

To be honest, I am an overall happier person these days. I've found someone who brings out the best in me instead of the worst. I am confident I can do this single parenting thing (even if it kills me), and am more grateful than ever for the amazing friends and family I have supporting me. I have the two most feisty, beautiful daughters and a co-parent that wants to continue to be a great father to them. My business is thriving and I'm booked up all through the fall again. K is growing in her dancing and as a gorgeous young lady. She's been cast in a few nice roles for Nutcracker this year (mostly en pointe!) and is prepping right now for her Ballet Company concert coming up next week. C had a rough beginning to the school year but has started taking on a lot more responsibility and seems to have fallen into a routine now. She continues to fall behind her peers, but progresses in her own time. I know she'll find her feet eventually. We all will.