I’ve been pretty quiet on here for two reasons. One, I’m cranking out content at my new business domain and don’t seem to have the words left to catalog our personal lives. (Not that I have nothing to say; I blog in my head all the time. Finding the time to put it on the computer is a different story, but today I’m on the treadmill at a 4% incline trying to increase dorsiflexion, Kate has a friend over, the little ones have disappeared, and Derek has a couple of meetings, so I not only have time but need to distract from the pain of walking.)

Two, there seems, lately, to be no time for anything interesting or important. In my injury recovery journey, I’ve entered the slog of “extremely difficult to attain incremental results.” Physical therapy twice a week and home therapy twice a day suck all my extra time and energy, and I continue to plateau and get depressed, only to be forced to step it up and then be in the happiest of pain–the kind when you make real improvement but it hurts like all the swear words you try not to say when the therapist is performing the torture on you.

(Not that I swear. Come on! I’m a pastor’s wife! And the therapy office manager is a church member. And my mother taught me better than that. Oh, hi, mom.)

The current big issue that’s hampering a full recovery is the inability to make the dorsiflexion move. In plain English, this means I can’t squat down. Not because my knee won’t bend, but because my ankle won’t. This doesn’t seem like a big deal until you try to go down a hill, and then up again, and you literally can’t make the movement that’s supposed to get you there. I imagine out on the hiking trail with no bathrooms around, the lack of ability to squat could be a problem too. See how much easier it is to be a guy?

So all the therapy is devoted to making that movement. I started out at -2 degrees and over these months have worked up to 0, then 2, then 3, then a jump to 6 degrees. That last one actually made me walk out of therapy over the moon with exhilaration because I came into the therapist and told him I’d plateaued, I’d never get better, should I have surgery to get the hardware removed, etc. He said, “let’s measure,” and lo and behold I’d gone up to 6. There’s proof that what you feel isn’t always the objective truth. I’m currently at 8, but still can’t squat worth a darn, and I’ve pulled both my left (injured) posterior tibial tendon and my right (non-injured but compensating) quad in repeated efforts to get that squat working. One step forward….

In much more exciting news, Derek and I are heading to Asheville in a few weeks for a winter weekend getaway, thanks to his parents’ Christmas generosity. I’ve got the cutest airbnb booked and have scoped out all the easy, 2 miles or less hiking trails with fabulous views, which are often even more fabulous in winter when the perennial smoke of the Smoky Mountains is dissipated. Asheville is home to several east coast locations of west coast breweries including Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada, plus many, many local breweries like Highland and Green Man and Catawba. We’ll probably only hit up two of those, but it will be a blast. Then we’ll eat, prowl around the West Asheville hip(ster) district and downtown, and of course head to one of the three local LCMS churches Sunday morning.

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A potential hiking destination via RootsRated.com

(I say “of course” because people will ask if we’re looking forward to a “Sunday off from church,” and the answer is “huh?” Yes, Derek is looking forward to a Sunday off from preaching, at which he can receive, but I don’t know any pastors who skip church on vacation. I love visiting other churches and it’s something we rarely get to do, so we always look forward to it. The LCMS is such a big little family, and we always find people in common wherever we go.)

Monday, Derek, Kate, and I drove three hours to Nashville for a 2-hour wait for a 10-minute surgery followup appointment, then three hours home. The great news is that the appointment was only 10 minutes because she’s healing like a boss. Oh, to be young with such healthy skin again! I just ordered some Palmer’s cocoa butter, the same stuff my therapist uses on my leg for ASTEM, otherwise known as Leg Torture where they rub you all over with delicious-smelling cocoa butter and then scrape the skin off of your skin in order to break up the messed-up scar tissue and get things working again. In spite of these associations, the Palmer’s does smell amazing and is supposed to help heal scars. Mine are pretty prominent and pretty ugly; Kate’s, on the other hand, are practically gone already. I want that young skin again.

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The kids clocked into their first week back to school on Tuesday. There were a few tears early in the morning after a few weeks of sleeping in, a few hysterical cries of “the bus is coming” when everyone was dawdling, and much distress for the 7th-grader over the renewed piles of homework. Homework is the reason I sometimes think I should homeschool, but having the kids home for 2.5 weeks of break and then the sweet silence of the first day back that puts this introvert into her happy place, and I don’t think any of us would make it out alive.

If I were independently wealthy, I’d buy acreage in the mountains, build a lovely, light-filled Craftsman-style home, and build a schoolroom that’s a ways away from the house. And then I’d hire a tutor or three. The kids would have horses and Ollie the dog, and I’d get my alone time and they’d be finished with school in half the time it takes at public school. It sounds too Victorian for words though, right? So we persevere, and Kate gets her homework done.

Jonathan and Sophia, on the other hand, are still in that lovely stage where they like homework. Sophia’s a whiz kid with practically straight 100’s in every subject, and it warms my heart to hear her say math is her favorite. Jonathan is what they call an “emerging reader,’ and it’s magical to listen to him think through the words and read them. We got him a Superman Early Reader 12-book series for Christmas, and he’s in love with the books and I’m in love with reading them with him. Or, rather, listening to him read them. Kindergarten is like a mysterious machine where you pop your kid in and he has his name down and that’s about it, and by the end of it he’s hauling around chapter books.

Speaking of chapter books, our trips to the library make me happy, too. We’ve had to upgrade from a small bag to the biggest bag we have, which when full I can’t even carry anymore with my lack of balance, to two biggest bags to accommodate the piles of books my kids get every week.

My mom did the same for us, and I’m happy to do it for them, although Kate increasingly chooses books from the Young Adult section and can I say they don’t write ’em like they used to? Derek and I used to flip through books, tediously checking them (I figured out pretty quick that the sex scenes happen at the end of chapters), but then we discovered Common Sense Media and it changed my life. Now I can zip through book checkings in fifteen minutes instead of a few hours, and frankly this crazy dystopia genre all the kids are in love turns me into Mr. Wilson.

It makes me sad when I have to nix a book for her because there’s teenage sex in there but plot line and writing are incredible. I feel like she’s being cheated, and I resent that authors and publishers think that teens need that content. But that’s a soapbox for another day. I’m just glad all three of my kids are readers. You know what they say, Leaders are Readers.

And speaking of book-checking, I’ve got a pile right on my desk from yesterday’s trip, and the second Kate’s friend goes home she’ll be exerting gentle pressure for me to check them over since she announced this morning she’s out of books to read.

The shock. The horror!

I must get checking immediately.