Archive | September, 2012

MRI (Chapter 2)

29 Sep

I got my MRI done to discover the problem. I herniated L5 in my lower back. The doctors have describe this to me as I now have two rocks sitting together that have squished out crabmeat. And the texture of crabmeat will not go back in between two rocks, no matter what I do it will not go back in! What will eventually happen is the swelling around L5 and L4 will go down, then it will stop putting the pressure on my sciatic nerve. But through out my life and activities, the remaining “crabmeat” in between the two disc can come out and cause me to be in this pain again and then cause me to have some sort of an invasive surgery.

Before I went home from the hospital the doctor gave me a shot in my spine (kinda like an epidural). He said it would once again, “kick in” in about 7-10 days. So here I am again counting the days this time instead of the minutes. It never kicked in, I was purely managing the pain through meds and unfortunately my body was growing accustomed to the pain.

I left the hospital mad at my husband. He really pushed for me to go home. He said I could go home and get the same treatment and care of course without the expense. He was right, but I was scared. The pain was so bad. Much, much worse then labor! No joke!
I now have 1 of 2 choices.
1.) I learn to deal with the pain with medication all my life and be limited in my activities. Doing activities I’m used to will land me right back in the hospital or immobile once again. The doctor said I would have to find new activities like walking, no more races or duathlon. Maybe a 5k but certainly not anymore 1/2 marathons or full marathons.
2.) Get surgery to get this cleaned up and my recovery will be 6 weeks long and I will not be able to run for about 3 months. I picked option 2. Not without a lot of hesitation, therapy, prayer and opinions from EVERYONE, that’s one big thing I have learned through this experience, EVERYONE has an opinion!
Over time I did feel better, I was still walking with a permanent limp though. And if I tried to run or spin I would lose almost complete feeling in my foot and I would get pain in my leg and especially in my calf muscle. This was hard for me to swallow. I was mad. Plain and simple, I was mad. I thought, “how could I go from running, spinning and weight training to barely being able to get in and out of the car? My life was upside down.

I thought I was doing all his stuff so I could prevent things like this. I was above things like this happening to me. Boy, did i have an ego…But in all reality I had no balance of all these activities. I was beating myself up, literally. I remember thinking, “God what is it, do you want me to slow down? What are you teaching me, I need to figure this out so I can go back to….normal.” Then I heard God say, “Tahny do you remember about of month ago I was telling you to slow down and spend more time with me? You didn’t listen, you still kept going on ignoring my nudge. I knew what would happen going on like you were. I was here trying to help you.” Dang! Missed the boat on that one! I truly believe this was going to happen eventually with my back, I think I rushed it along by not listening to my body or God. God, didn’t do this to me, but He is here to get me through it.

20120928-214348.jpgThe hardest thing about this new issue I developed was not being able to pick up Rudy. It was heart breaking to have him look up at me with his arms reached up for me to pick him up. So we did lots of naps together. Napping was easy for me considering I was drugged up most of the time. I’m not a pill taker so to be in the position now in my life where I have to take them is quite an adjustment.

After meeting with two different doctors and getting a second opinion I went with Dr. Brodkey from Ann Arbor Brain and Spine Clinic to preform my surgery. It was a hard choice. But, I felt at peace with it. Dr. Brockey said a comment to me that made a lot of sense. He said that I could live a long healthy life with this problem but I would always feel like I’m sitting on the side line instead of being in the game. He said if I’m ok with that and if I promised him that I wouldn’t try to run or bike again in my life then don’t get surgery. Or, I’m only 34 years old and getting this fixed would put me back in the game after a long recovery. April 19th, 2012 was my scheduled surgery date. In classic Tahny style I made my surgeon a box of cookies. I handed the box of cookies to him right before I was knocked out! I told him that he needed to treat me like I was his family and that I was his favorite. He still reminds me of that.

Everything went really well, my family was waiting in the waiting room. Surgery was supposed to only take 2 hours. That was mistake #1 NEVER TELL MY MOTHER HOW LONG SURGERY IS GOING TO BE. My surgery was almost 3 hours. When Dr. Brodkey went and talked to my family after surgery he told them that it was a good thing I got this done because it was a lot worse then he could see on my MRI. And that is why it took longer during surgery. The only thing I remember after surgery was my dad on one side of my bed and Kent on the other. I told my dad to go to the end of the bed and rub the bottom of my numb foot to see if I could feel it. I did!!! And over time it has gotten better. My surgery was called a Microdiscectomy. It is a minimally invasive, but even with a small incision this surgery is doing crucial work thru your spine and bone. I stayed in the hospital 1 night and 2 days. When I went home I was excited to get on the road to a full recovery, so I thought……

Psalm 119:76
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. (NIV)

The Cough That Changed My Life (Chapter 1)

25 Sep

I have been delaying this blog that weighs heavy on my mind. This night was the beginning of a lot of tears, pain, fears, love, friendships, disappointments and most importantly prayers. I feel I have to start here with this blog to get to the other things I would really like to share. This way it all makes sense and you can feel where I’m coming from in a whole different kind of depth. I have been really debating on sharing this “season” of my life I’m living right now, but with a lot of encouragement from friends here is Chapter 1. (thanks, Lorraine & Kent) I will keep sharing what comes next for those of you that are interested.

February 19th…my life changed. Physically and mentally. I was sleeping and rolled over with a small cough (more like clearing of my throat) and I felt this strange feeling in my lower back. I rolled over and thought, “oh great now I’m going to have to deal with this for the next week.” I dozed back to sleep in discomfort then I tried to move again and there was a pain escalating down my left leg. It wasn’t stopping, it felt like a 18 wheeler rolling on my leg. The cramping and excruciating pain was getting nauseating. I instantly cried out to God to relieve this pain. I tried to move to get my husband up but to move made it worse to even talk added more pain. I remember thinking, “oh this is bad and I’m scared.” I got my husband up to help me get out of bed. And I wanted to faint from the pain. I nearly crawled to the bathroom and just sat there thinking I don’t know what to do but pray to God in agony. I sat there pleading, God help! Lord, take this pain away! Please! Please!
Well, this lasted for 3 nights. No sleep, rest or relief. I would call my parents thru the night, every night crying for my dad to give some miracle relief. It’s funny how we resort to our daddy when we are in pain. They have all the safe answers.
On the third day I went up to the Medplus Station 10 minutes before they closed, explained my pain to the doctor and he ordered for me to get two shots in my hips. He said it would help, or in his words “kick in” in about one hour, and if it doesn’t get any better go to the ER. I set my timer on my wrist watch. I was literally counting the minutes and seconds. I left the Medplus at 10pm, so at 11 pm I should be healed! Well, my watch was at 10:59, one more minute, I can endure this for one more minute. It’s funny, I’m telling myself the same thing I always tell my spin class, “we can do anything for one more minute!” I was that desperate and depending on those shots. It turned 11pm, I started to cry, hard! Then I was thinking I had the time wrong, “maybe ten more minutes” I told myself. It’s 3am, the middle of the night I was barely standing against my sliding glass door looking up at the starry night with tears rolling down my face and leaving a small wet puddle on my wood floor, I remember praying to God to just give me a tiny bit of relief, “Lord you don’t have to take it all away just some.” Then at that moment I had a clear enough mind to surrender.
I called Kent from upstairs and told him I needed to go to the ER. My parents rushed over to stay with the boys. I called Sharon my pastors wife on the way there. She prayed for me over the phone, I was scared to finally go the hospital and hear what was wrong. I knew it was bad. When Kent and I got there they kinda just looked at me and thought what the heck did you wait so long for?! The nurses shot me up with every drug you can think of. They numbed my mind of the pain but my back and leg pain truly never went away. But, I was more comfortable being there then at home. I was there for 3 days. I actually didn’t want to come home. They were managing my pain. I was in the hands of professionals.

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Romans 5:2-5
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)

-tahny

Addicting Caramel Corn

24 Sep

My mom would make caramel corn when I was younger back home. (Thats sound like I live far away but we are 14 minutes from each other) She will still make it if we ask or beg. Nellie is in the stage now of deciding if she really wants to cook because that means she would have to just clean it up, and who would eat it if she made it? It’s just her and dad at home now. She has said it’s harder to cook just for two. It used to be 6 but we all have flown the coop. I suppose that would be a hard adjustment to get used to. I don’t have to worry about that for awhile especially with boys, they have bottomless pits for stomachs! Even though I love moms recipe of caramel corn, I equally love this recipe because it has no kernels to get stuck in your teeth! Save those teeth!
So, when the fall season peeks its head around the corner with the first whisper of cool air, this recipe is always one of the first I make every fall. This is the perfect hayride food!

Gather ingredients.

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Seriously how could anything with brown sugar and butter taste bad?!

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Make sure your saucepan is big enough….you will soon see why. Melt the butter and sugar, mixing periodically. Add the corn syrup

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Once the butter has melted then you start the boiling stage. Don’t start your timing or turn up the heat until the butter is melted. Turn up the heat after the butter is melted completely. This will prevent any gritty sugar from forming and burning.

Starting to boil…

20120924-140815.jpgThis is a rolling boil. Now start the timer for 5 minutes

20120924-141103.jpgAfter 5 minutes remove from heat add baking soda. This is when I was wishing I used my bigger saucepan, I know better then this!!!

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Stir in the baking soda. It will begin to make the hot caramel foam up. Just like those volcanoes we did in science class. But it taste and smells a lot better!

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Oh crap! Don’t ever get boiling sugar on you! It hurts like HOT HOT GLUE!

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In all reality I wasn’t too worried about burning myself. I just didn’t want to loose any ingredients. This was 2 sticks of butter! Butter ain’t cheap!
In a large bowl pour in the corn puffs. Tip: have this step done before you even start the caramel. From this point on, once the caramel is done you need to pour it immediately on the corn puffs.

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See my spill over on the pan?!! And on the counter…..messy cooking day.

Stir quick and until every corn puff is covered. Be gentle, you don’t want a ball of crumbs

20120924-145832.jpgPour on a lined cookie sheet

20120924-150005.jpg Sprinkle with sea salt and place in oven

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20120924-150206.jpgDon’t think I didn’t open the oven a couple of times and sneak a piece! Ok, maybe more then twice….
When it is finally time to remove from the oven you should taste and adjust to your likeness of that addicting sweet and salty flavor

20120924-150634.jpgBreak into pieces of all different sizes

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20120924-151539.jpgEating this caramel corn with slices of apples taste just like a caramel apple! You could literally eat this until your sick! Ask my husband 🙂

Caramel Corn

2 sticks of butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
30 cups corn puffs

Preheat oven to 200. Melt together in a saucepan butter, sugar, syrup and salt. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda to foam. Pour over about 30 cups of popped corn puffs. This is two bags of either Seyferts or Oke-Doke brand. What I used in this recipe was one extra large bag of Shearers corn puffs. I found this brand up at the Country Market. This was the first time I saw this brand and size. This bag had the perfect amount needed in just one bag. Spread on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour. Break into pieces and enjoy! My mouth is watering…

The Underestimated Radish

19 Sep

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The radish doesn’t need to only partner with romaine lettuce! I can hear the radish yelling, “Please get me out of this plastic bag of chopped lettuces, there’s more to me then this!” So, I’m trying to let this little red jewel have its well deserved limelight.

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I love them sauté, roasted and my favorite right now is grated into a dip.
Gather ingredients

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Trim and rinse the radishes well to remove any gritty sand and dirt

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Pick out the larger radishes to grate (save your knuckles) and use the smallest holes on your grater

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Make sure you place the grater on a plate to catch the radish juice

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Once you have about 1 to 11/2 cups of grated radishes put into a sieve and press out the remaining juice

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There should be almost 1 cup of liquid from your radishes. That also would depend on how fresh your radishes are. These radishes I’m using couldn’t be any fresher, considering they are from my mother-in-law! I thought maybe you could use the radish juice into homemade V8 juice! That would be yummy!

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In a dry bowl I soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make sure there are no lumps

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Finely chop the sweet onion

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Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well

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Adjust with salt and pepper. Remember, this dip is delicious right away, but as with many dips it is REALLY good by the next day or even by day two. Garnish with some chopped fresh chives

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Serve with Multigrain Pitas, fresh tomatoes or carrots. This would be super yummy used for a spread on a roast beef sandwich!

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Radish Dip

8-10 med radishes grated to 1-11/2 cups
1 block of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, either pressed of finely chopped
11/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/2 celery salt
Salt & pepper to taste

Clean and trim radishes. Grate the radishes with the smaller holes on the grater. Place grater on a plate. Grate until you gather the desired amount (about 1-11/2 cups). With a sieve on top of a bowl press the grated radishes firmly to extract out as much liquid as possible. I use a rubber spatula for this process.

In a medium sized mixing bowl add the “dry” grated radishes and the remaining ingredients. Make sure you chopped the onion very fine. Remember this is Radish Dip not Onion Dip! 😉 Mix well until there are no clumps of radishes or cream cheese. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Put in a pretty bowl & garnish. Serve with crackers, pita and fresh cut veggies. Enjoy!

This can be made with low-fat cream cheese and it is just as delicious. Also, a lot of times dips like this call for softened butter in them. The butter adds more of a creamier consistency to the dip. I preferred not to add the extra fat. If you would like to try it that way, add 1/2 stick of softened butter to the cream cheese, mix well. Then add the remaining ingredients.

The Classic Peanut-butter Cookie

17 Sep

When I was pregnant with Rudy I NEEDED my cookies! Oh my gosh, cookies were a daily consumption of mine. I really loved Traverse City Pie Company’s sugar cookie. I would buy extra cookies and then put in my freezer for my midnight craving! Sad, I know. But, guess what? Rudy’s FAVORITE food is COOKIES! I will take blame for it.

I love peanut butter! Love it, love it! I’m so glad that my children aren’t allergic to peanuts! I think I might be a “cookie closet eater.”
So, to combine peanut butter into a cookie is more then a classic cookie, it is pure genius!

Gather ingredients and a helper

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I told Rudy I was making cookies. He acted very ambitious to help me, but he just spotted the chocolate kisses so he really was just pretending to want to help. He just wanted to eat the kisses. Rudy would come and sneak up on the counter, grab a chocolate kiss and scurry away like a raccoon. “Rudy Raccoon!”

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I don’t stress over using unsalted butter. I just adjust the salt measurement in the recipe. If I have unsalted in my refrigerator then that’s what I’ll use. I definitely would not make a special trip to the store for it! I have found the only recipe I would stress to make sure I had unsalted butter for is Italian meringue frosting.
With like almost all cookies recipes cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars together first.

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Whip until it turns a light color.

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Add the egg and vanilla

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Sift the dry ingredients together. I just whisk the ingredients together in a bowl. Martha Stewart does it that way…so it must be ok! Add to the creamed mixture.

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Mix just until the dough is gathered into a ball and all the dough is cleaned from the bowl

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Gather a heaping teaspoon full of cookie dough and roll a ball gently between your hands

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Rolling in sugar is the traditional way to “dress” a p-nut butter cookie, but Max and Kent’s Tae Kwon Do Master is determined that is wrong! I’m convinced he is wrong!

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I roll all the dough at once. I do this so I can clean up and it makes the cookie baking go by faster. Keep things moving, I have three hungry boys!

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Line the cookie sheet with parchment and place the raw cookie dough on. Don’t over crowd! Give them room to stretch in the sauna!

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I still put the traditional criss cross on the cookie and finish with a kiss

20120917-083526.jpgDon’t over bake! Remove from the hot cookie sheet

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Enjoy! Eat while warm or wait until slightly cooled. That’s how I like my desserts slightly cooled and with a cold glass of milk…..yum!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 cup Packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Creamy or crunchy peanut butter (I prefer jiff, but I had skippy for this batch)
1/2 cup Butter @ room temp.
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
11/4 cup All-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Hershey kisses

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl. Then add the egg and vanilla, mix well until the color turns light and texture turns fluffy. In another bowl sift together the remaining four ingredients and add to the cream mixture. Mix just until there is no more dry flour. Roll into balls, then in sugar. Line on cookie sheet and imprint with the classic criss cross. Place with a Hershey Kiss. Bake for 8-10 minutes; or just until the edges are turning golden. Enjoy!

*recipe tried and tested from Tahnycooks.wordpress.com

Never My Own

14 Sep

Never My Own

You never did belong to me
Nor I belong to you
But there was something in
your smile,
That seem so good and true

I’ve always held you in my heart
And wished upon a star
That you would be the angel
That I still think you are

I hoped each day that you
would be
My one and only one,
Forever and beyond the gleam
Of every morning sun

But after all these silent years
The scare remains the same,
And probably your passing thoughts
Have lost my given name

And if I saw your face today
I also might forget
The memories that we started with
The moment that we met.

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-ella

Gentle Max

14 Sep

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Max was born Oct. 2, 2003. That day my life changed and I had a new title to many roles I live. But, this was by far the most important. MOM. I wear this title in caps. Max was born a lover. Even as a baby you were drawn to him. His aunt Becky would come over everyday from her lunch break just to hold and take a nap with this angel baby. You would just want to breathe him in…I felt so in awe of him. I was overwhelmed that God made this child just for me, His hands touched Max, His breath was on the face of this childs’ cheeks that I now kiss, my child, Max. I would often say, “I never really could grasp how much our God truly loved me until the day He gave me Max.” To give this child to me even though my Maker knows all my faults, sins and shortcoming He would still bless/give me Max?! Oh, Lord I’m beyond humbled, and so gracious.

Max on the first day of 3rd grade

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Yes, I know he looks older then only 3rd grade. But he is only 8, turning 9 October 2nd. Wow, how time flies. I love his age right now. He is fun, holds great conversation, loving and gentle to everyone and everything. Max is so thoughtful all the time. I never have to tell Max to be nice or go play with another child that might be left out. Max does this without a thought. I know that he is doing this because he see’s the need of kindness to someone else. See, the thing about Max is that he does this naturally without thinking twice. I love it when people tell me about some kind act Max did. Other people have to tell me about it because Max doesn’t see anything significant about the way he lives his life.
There are many times I will find in Max’s backpack an Eagle Excellent . Those are little tickets teachers hand out at school when an adult sees another child do good behavior, being helpful or using their manners. Once you get one of these tickets you’re supposed to hand it into the office in hopes it will get drawn back out from a basket to eat lunch with the principle. I always ask Max how did he get his Eagle Excellent today? I get the same response every time, “I really don’t know mom they just handed it to me.” Then I’ll ask him why he didn’t hand it into the office and he says it’s just not a big deal to him. Max truly has a light that shines.

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Every morning before Max steps on the school bus I ask him, “what’s your goal today?” his response is, “to be like Jesus.” Max gave his life to the Lord 2yrs ago. And this summer Max and daddy got baptized together. I wanted to burst with tears of joy! To see loved ones that you hold so dear, make an outward confession for their love of Christ….it just leaves me speechless.

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Max loves his brother Rudy with his whole being. Even though Rudy is the constant center of attention and it seems Max constantly gets put second, he still thinks Rudy is the best thing ever. And as soon as Rudy was born they were connected heart and soul. When I was pregnant with Rudy, Max would tell me that his baby brother is going to have red hair. I would tell Max that probably is not going to happen since there are not red heads in the family! Max never wavered that thought, Max was certain his new brother would have red hair. Well, with my very last push during labor, I looked up at my dear husband and said, “wouldn’t it be funny if the baby was a red head?” Then appeared Rudy, the REDHEAD! Kent and I were floored! Kent went out in the waiting room walked pass all the anxious and waiting family members and knelt down in front of everyone at Max’s feet and asked, “how’d you know he was going to be a redhead?” With tears and shock on my family members faces Max said without hesitation, “Jesus told me.” Plain and simple, “Jesus told me.”

I love seeing Max take care of Rudy when he gets a boo-boo. Max will hold Rudy and rock him back and forth saying, “oh little buddy it will be ok, you just have to be more careful ok” then Rudy will say “ok” give hugs and be on his way. I’ve even heard Max mumble to himself,”I love that little boy.”

Max taught Rudy a secret handshake, and many other things. But, the things I’m most proud of are not handshakes at all, it’s just Max leading by example of how to love like Christ, to be kind and gentle like Christ and to always let His light shine.

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I’m constantly amazed by Max. He is so gentle. That is a character trait all of his own.

Things I love about you, Max…
-You give your frozen waffles away because your heart told you to
-You go into the other teams dugout at a baseball game that you’re playing in, to check on the kid that just get hit with a ball. You needed to know he was o.k. and if he needed ice. While your team was yelling at you to come back, you didn’t care, you just looked at me and yelled from the field, “mom do we have some ice for him?”
-You spend all your winning tickets at an arcade to buy me a fabric rose
-You sing at church with your hands raised praising Jesus
-You ask the kid at school that’s been picking on you if he would just like to be your friend, then you could teach him how to be nice. (it work and they are friends now)
-You make sure almost everyday that I’ve taken my medicine, I love the way you say “Coumadin.” (I’ll get to that another day on why I take that med)
-You tell me you made a new friend today at school and his name is Nick & you’d like to have him over to our house sometime (Nick is autistic) The only thing Max notices about Nick is that he is really nice and “cool”
-But most importantly you shine so bright from the Son & you look at the world thru the eyes of Jesus.

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I find this lyric so fitting for Max

“I was just a child when I felt the Savior leading
I was drawn to what I could not understand
And for the cause of Christ, I have spent my days believing
That what He’d have me be is who I am”
-Greg Long

Thank you Lord for Max.
You couldn’t have made him more perfect for me.
He has enriched my life and others in such a unique way that it could only be from You.

Max, cousin Joey & I

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You are so special and I love you Max but, I love you more Lord for having me be his MOM.
-tahny