Soooo, let me just go ahead and say that I've had better summers. Like, pretty much all of my summers in my whole life have been better than this summer. And yet, we've still managed to have some good times.
After my brother's wedding, we celebrated the 4 of July on the 3rd with our friends Jonathan and Ashlee at the Mansfield fireworks show, just like we have for the past 4 or 5 years. It was a great time, and the weather was beautiful.
The next morning, on the actual fourth, we flew out to Wisconsin to visit friends. Huston's dreams came true when he got to decorate a real flag cookie for dessert. He was so thrilled, and he loved spending time with his best buddy, Logan.
Clarke and his friends got to live it up, playing wiffle ball, riding jet skis, playing video games, and just generally doing whatever they wanted the whole time. The women and children also had a great time - I was so happy to get to see Heidi and Katherine and for all of our kids to play together. Among other things, we had a picnic by the lake, let the kids play on the playground, had frozen custard, went swimming, made s'mores, played in the sprinklers in the backyard, and saw fireworks.
On our last day with our friends, we found a park out by a lake with Josh and Heidi, Sol, and Ian, and had a beautiful late afternoon cookout. There was even a park right by the picnic tables for the kids to play. It was an idyllic day whose beauty was marred only by the ending, when Heidi and I took the kids back home and Arden got her pinky finger shut in the bathroom door and the tip of it got severed. It was probably the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me (even though technically it happened to Arden) and I am so glad to be on this side of things. After a trip to the emergency room to get her finger stitched back together, antibiotics, and pain medicine, one week bandaged up, followed by two checkups with a doctor here, her finger is now healing, but still black around the edges. The doctors said that skin should peel off eventually and new, healthy skin will be underneath. Her fingernail will take awhile to grow back, too. She's a trooper and has bounced back just fine.
The day after Arden's injury, Clarke and I took the kids to Milwaukee to spend a few days on our own. We went to an awesome children's museum and to a Brewer's game on our first day in the city.
Our pretty little girl with her bandaged finger (and some bruises on her nose from where a swing smacked her in the face).
While we were in Milwaukee we also went to a fun conservatory called The Domes, saw Monsters University, went to Discovery World, and visited the Milwaukee zoo. In spite of the traumatic visit to the emergency room, we still had a great time with our friends and as a family, and I'm so glad we took the trip.
Shortly after our trip, I had surgery to have a biopsy on my right breast. The doctors told me there was a 95% chance that the mass found on the ultrasound was a papilloma, which is a benign nothing. However, when I went for my follow up on July 29th, we found out it was cancer. I was shocked and dumbfounded. The possibility of cancer had never really entered my mind. Now I'm facing a double mastectomy on August 27th, combined with beginning my new job after I'm healed.
The past weeks have been a blur of emotions and preparations. I'm having to adjust my expectations for the beginning of the school year, and, really, for the way I thought my life would go. I'm finding comfort in knowing that God is with me and will be my strength when I am too weak. This diagnosis was not a surprise to him and I am learning to lean on him and trust him more than ever before. Although this is not the way I would have chosen for my life to go, I am trusting God that his ways are better than mine.
Thanks for your prayers and for loving our family. We're grateful for all of you.