Sunday, August 27, 2006

Just as good as we remember!

As most of you know we were really looking forward to the food in America. Now don't get me wrong, the food in Turkey is really good but they are missing some of our favorites. We love seafood, and their seafood pretty much consists of fresh fish and mussels. You can get some other seafood dishes, but they aren't prepared the same as in America. We were especially looking forward to eating at one of our favorite restaurants, Pappadeaux's. Many people warned us that it probably wouldn't be as good as we remembered it to be. They said that they were disappointed in their favorite places when they came back for a visit because they had built them up so much in their minds, and then they didn't taste as good as they remembered. We didn't believe that we could be disappointed. We had already been back to the states for visits twice, and both times we ate at Pappadeaux's and it was still good! Soon after arriving in America, Brian and I went to Pappadeaux's for lunch. It was still yummy! Here are our favorite dishes!

Brian loves the crawfish platter! On the right you see fried crawfish tails. On the left is crawfish ettouffe, and in the middle is dirty rice. He always eats the fried crawfish first and then mixes the rice with the ettouffe and eats that. He says he eats it this way because if he can't finish his meal the fried crawfish doesn't taste very good reheated but the ettouffe does! Planning ahead so as not to waste good food...good thinking!

This is a shrimp po-boy...my favorite...basically a fried shrimp sandwich. According to my brother-in-law the pickles are the best part! The other day we went to lunch at Pappadeaux's and I decided to branch out a little. The meals always come with french bread so I decided to get the fried seafood platter. That is basically 3 fried shrimp, a decent portion of fried crawfish tails, and a piece of fried catfish. I had the great idea of making three different small sandwiches by using the bread that came with the meal. It was missing the lettuce and pickles, but that wasn't a big deal to me. I made a little sandwich with the shrimp first and ate that then could barely eat anything else! I had to have the server pack up the rest of the meal so I could take it home to eat later. My mistake had been eating a piece of bread with butter while we were waiting for our food to come. I had filled up on bread! I don't know how many times I have heard Brian say, "Don't fill up on bread." The waitress asked if I liked my meal when I asked her to pack it up, and I told her that I was really full because I had eaten too much bread. I don't know if she believed me or not! I had left the whole piece of catfish, all of the french fries, and almost all of the crawfish on my plate! If she only knew how much I love Pappadeaux's! Before coming back to America I had dreams about it, and this is the second blog I've written about it! The only disappointment in the whole experience was that my stomach couldn't hold all the food on my plate so I had to eat the rest later. Oh, and I agree with Brian. The fried crawfish didn't taste as good when I reheated it for lunch the next day. He is so smart!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Straight up...or almost!

I just wanted to write a quick little post to let everyone know that I am doing well. The surgery went fine and I am recovering. The doctor said that during surgery they removed 12 pounds of skin and fat. I am really fascinated by the whole thing. They removed all the skin from my belly button to just below my c-section scar. The c-section scar may gone but now I will have one from hipbone to hipbone. Brian says it looks like a magic trick gone wrong...like someone tried to cut me in half or something. Then they used the existing belly button but cut a new opening for it. I can't really tell a difference yet because I am pretty swollen and I am wearing bandages, a piece of foam for support and a really tight girdle like thing to help hold things in. When I got home I couldn't even tell by getting on the scale. I weighed the same as I did the morning of my surgery. Now it looks like I have dropped a few pounds but certainly not 12. I am getting tired of sleeping on my back, and it is still too uncomfortable to sleep on my side. I haven't even tried my stomach yet! I can stand up pretty straight but the muscles are really tight and sore if I stretch them too much. They say that it takes a couple of weeks to be able to walk upright again. The doctor said that I had quite a gap between the muscles in my stomach. He basically sewed the right side back to the left side. Again. I am fascinated. I know that diet and exercise would not have been able to rid me of the flap but would it have made the muscles move back together? I can't imagine how.

Thanks for praying for me and for the encouraging notes!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

To tell or not to tell...

I have been contemplating for a while now sharing a secret with you. Actually most of my really close friends already know this secret so I guess it really isn't a secret. Just something that I am not sure how to share because I don't know what kinds of reactions I will get. But then I thought people will soon begin to guess the secret so rather than having gossip go around about me I should be the one to spill the beans. So here goes...

I am having surgery...an elective procedure. Many of you know that I have been working on losing weight. The grand total at one point was 44 pounds over a 2 1/2 year period. I must admit I have gained back 8-10 pounds just since I have been in the states though! Too much TexMex and ice cream! Anyway...after losing the weight I have been plagued by excess skin...maybe too much information for some folks! So after meeting with a plastic surgeon I have decided to undergo a tummy tuck. This will remove the extra skin from my stomach plus they will repair the stomach muscles and do some liposuction to even things out. This surgery does NOT shrink my stomach or involve any gastic bypass whatsoever. It is not designed to help me eat less. I am not doing this to lose weight but that will be a benefit. I am doing it so that the pants that fit around my stomach also fit around my waist without having to be taken in. I am doing this because after 4 c-sections no amount of dieting was going to rid me of "the flap" as we so affectionally call it. I am doing this because I want to, not because anyone else thinks I should. I am not ashamed to tell anyone, just worried that people will judge my motives or think less of me. I don't want people to be disappointed in me. I am telling you this so you can be comfortable and so I will be comfortable. I have been really open in small circles and think that people deserve to know and not wonder. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I would be happy to talk about it. And pray for me! My surgery is scheduled for August 14, at 7:30am central time. The recovery period is supposed to be about 8 weeks, but I will still have nerve damage and some slight swelling for up to 6 months! The first two weeks will be the hardest and most painful according to my doctor so I probably won't be online or out much if any. When you see me don't be shy. If you want to know something...ask!

Friday, August 04, 2006

It ain't so easy!

Okay...did I say living in America is easy? I think after the last couple of days I have changed my mind! I have been trying to register the kids for school but it hasn't happened yet! We went to Erica's new school the other day and started the process. We got to the form that said something about "proof of residency" and that is where we had to stop. I can't prove that I live in this house! The address on my driver's license is my parent's address since we consider that our permanent stateside address. I don't want to change it and then have to change it back in 3 months. There are no bills in my name. I don't have a lease agreement. I just am. How does this work? On one form I thought about checking the box that said we were living in a temporary shelter. That could include a car or an abandoned building according to the paper. I thought I could say we are living in this abandoned house...that my parents happen to own. Or we are living in our car which is parked in the driveway of a house my parents happen to own. I thought that might cause more problems so instead we went today to get approval from the head honcho on admissions and he said we could go to school. Yea! I was starting to sweat thinking about homeschooling the kids. Instead of going back to finish Erica's school registration we decided to go to the the other kids' school first. We got all of our copies made and then got stuck on the shot records. The nurse did seem a little puzzled when she saw that all of our kids have had rabies shots. She must have been envisioning a pack of rabid dogs attacking us. I explained our situation and we now need to have approval for all of the shots we had before we left. I compiled all of our records onto these nice yellow cards we got from our company but we never had any nurse or doctor sign it. The records aren't valid until I have a doctor sign them. This actually makes sense to me so we went to the old pediatrician office where we discovered that in our 4 1/2 year absence from America our records have been put in storage. Well, all but Will's, but I think we just got lucky there! So we now have to pay $35 per child to have the records pulled so we can get a copy of the shot records in them. We are supposed to go back next week and pick them up and hopefully at that point be able to complete the registration process. One thing I am figuring out is that we are weird. I guess I already knew that, but I never thought so much about it. We don't fit anyone's criteria or into anyone's box. People hear that we are in the states for a few months and don't know what to do with us. Who knew that we would cause such problems just trying to go to school?

On a side note...Will went to the doctor today because he has a cough and hasn't been feeling well. He has a bronchial infection and was given a prescription for an antibiotic. When I took it to the pharmacy the pharmacist asked when I would like to come back to pick up the prescription. I asked her how long it would take to fill it and she said if I wanted to wait it would only be about 15 minutes. I waited. All I could think was I am not coming back later! I haven't accomplished anything at all because I keep having to come back later. I wanted to be able to say that I had at least finished something!