myfiftyplusjourney

Oh my goodness, I’ve been on a sabbatical you guys…. If you had kids, do you remember those days when they were the tiniest? Waking up every 4 hours or so, them needing to eat, then wanting to play, but you just wanted sleep. You were exhausted and could barely form a thought. Well, we went from that with Hank to then Hank having major surgery. So he needed even more care every few hours. And then add in an additional two weeks of school this year because of the 24 snow days last winter and I was barely hanging on for the last few weeks. Add in a little stress about paying for a $6000 dog surgery, OH BUT WAIT, then we realized our 60 year old maple tree in the back yard really was dead, so not only was I heartbroken about my beautiful tree…. there goes another $1500. But we’re not done yet… Jackson called and he had a flat tire. He used our USAA roadside assistance (good life lesson there, as he lives across the state so had to do this himself) and got to the tire place, we knew we needed new tires for his truck but thought for sure we could wait until fall. Nope, needed them now AND it’s a truck, so $795 later… AND just a week before this we got new tires for Katie’s car (“only” $350). So as Mark would say “I was fried, died and laid to the side”. My head was hitting the pillow by about 8 pm every night, and this time of the year, that’s before the sun went down.

About Hank’s surgery. He was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, which the doctor described as similar to skin cancer, but it was on his gum at the front of his mouth. He had a “mandibulectomy”, they actually removed a part of his gum and his jaw to get clear margins on this cancer, which thank the Lord the pathologist said they did, so he was in a delicate state and can have nothing to chew on (soft food only) and no ‘trauma’ to the jaw. He can’t hit it, bump it, knock it, anything….. Guys, this is a FIVE MONTH OLD LABRADOR RETRIEVER…… there world is defined by hitting, bumping and knocking. And after about day 2, he was ready to be a puppy again. So there is very close monitoring and lots of meds and careful feeding (which may or may not include eggs a couple of days a week with his soggy kibble).

Today we are at day 14 after surgery. He’s doing fantastic. Truly the hardest part is keeping him calm and not hitting that mouth. Which is why the puppy anti-depressants are still being used, and the doc highly encourages them until we go back on the 2nd of July. Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Grand Rapids Michigan is amazing. They have amazing staff and doctors that specialize in ways I didn’t know veterinarians did.

SO, mom and dad are exhausted, Katie the amazing is living at home this summer before her senior year of college, so she agreed to care for Hank so we could get a way for a few days. The University of Michigan baseball team is in the finals of the College World Series. We have been there once with Jackson’s summer baseball team and absolutely loved everything about it. Loved Omaha, loved the atmosphere at the ball park, we love baseball, and we know one of the young men on the team and his parents, so we’re thrilled to go and support him.

Mark got home from “Boys’ State” Saturday night about 8:00 pm and we went to Mass Sunday morning and left from there for Omaha! It’s really such an easy drive. The 20 miles or so around Gary, Indiana is the toughest part of the drive because of traffic. But otherwise, it’s just straight across the country. When you leave Michigan, take a right and go for 450 miles. Honestly we’re so exhausted and don’t have to be there until Monday afternoon, we decided to split the trip in half and only drove 450 miles yesterday. We stopped in Coralville, Iowa.

Coralville, Iowa is a suburb of Iowa City (is it big enough for suburbs?). I am absolutely AMAZED at this town. Everything is new, everything is right here. University of Iowa, ANY cuisine you could possibly want and lots of them, a zoo, a children’s museum, ANY retail therapy you might need. I saw young people out roller blading, running, walking, biking. I am super impressed with this forward progressing town! The choices for hotels were massive. We tend to always stay in Marriott brand hotels because in my opinion they have the best beds and are always the cleanest and have amazing customer service. When we’re on a stricter budget we stay at a ‘Choice’ hotel brand and I just do my ‘FBI level research’ to ensure a good night’s stay. This time we had quite a few points to use with Choice, so I decided on a “Main Stay Suites”. Very nice stay. VERY clean, good bed (although not as good as Marriott), good amenities. Close to food, gas, etc. VERY helpful front desk staff. “Liz” was amazing and so helpful. She gave us the name of a couple of restaurants to check out. AND we hit a homerun with one of the (note the baseball language… college world series….). The Blue Bird Cafe. Very good menu, “American’ food, We opted for sandwiches as we wanted something lighter after driving all day. Mark got the ruben. The bread it was on looked amazing. And the coleslaw was delicious. I ordered the pork tenderloin sandwich. It is an Iowa/Illinois staple and I never find it anywhere else, so I splurged and just compensated a little and took the top bun off. So fresh, so ‘real’, not processed food. So my food recommendation for the day is “The Blue Bird Cafe” in New Liberty, Iowa.

We head towards Omaha here in a few minutes. I’ll keep you posted of the whole thing. Were heading to Offut Air Force Base first to pick up tickets and see an old dear friend, then downtown to check into our hotel one block from the stadium. Then over to the game!

All is well at home, Katie’s got it under control and we can relax and rejuvenate.

PS… check it my super cute, super comfy t-shirt dress! I love anchors and I love navy blue, plus it came from Meijer so it was under $20. So easy to travel in and still look god. Paired with my fave navy Birkenstock’s for the win!

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