Friday, June 29, 2012

For Married Ladies Only - Part 2

This post has been long in coming - partly my own fault, so sorry about that!  This post is a follow-up of a previous post in December 2011, For Married Ladies Only.  Please check it out if you haven't before.  I received a lot of response from it, and was then specifically spoken with by a dear lady who said she had another side to tell.  I asked if she would mind writing something about her experience, and sharing it anonymously on the blog.  This is written from her heart to yours:

"Since we have last communicated I have been trying to formulate in my mind just how to approach this topic with openness, and honesty, and yet with respect to the sensitive issue at hand - a women’s mid life crisis in the form of menopause. For a couple of years I have felt there is a need amongst Christian (not in the loose sense of the word) ladies and there is not much available unless you go digging on the internet which can put you onto some compromising sites.
As expressed in your article “For Married Women” there are very specific needs for both the husband and wife. When the need is not met or understood the marriage begins to have conflict, when the conflict is not faced and resolved it may lead to unfaithfulness which could bring the marriage to the point of separation or divorce. A fact is, in most cases the woman’s need starts to diminish long before the husbands.
It could be said, we are the “sandwich” generation. As you look at your shopping cart there are diapers for a grandchild, Depends for a parent, and hair coloring in the middle. When you fall into bed each night exhausted from the demands on both ends of your life, there is the hair coloring to face. Well, not literally, but the hair coloring does represent the part of life for which a married woman is called, keep yourself attractive and desirable for your husband.
Some ladies have menopause thrust upon them at an early age due to medical problems which require surgery. Other ladies live out their womanhood until it naturally come to an end. Regardless of which lot in life is yours there is side issues/problems, some ladies have them with great severity others hardly notice the change.
Some of the appearance changes - Ever wonder why a lot of middle aged women get the“spread”? One of the first changes is weight gain for no apparent reason. Probable cause is hormonal imbalance. It can also be coupled with a thyroid not functioning to par. The medical field does not treat with hormone therapy any longer but the thyroid can be treated. Ladies, keep active, no not just the daily routine, get out and walk, run, bike or some other form of exercise that is aerobic. Facial hair, eyebrows that become one solid thick mass, a mustache that appears, and hair on the chin. Ladies, get out your tweezers or invest in some wax! Either way it is a painful process of removal. Skin texture looses the luster of youth and becomes more like what you remember your mom’s or grandmothers to be.
Some of the emotional changes - Were you once carefree, confident and it really did not matter much what others thought about you? Second guessing yourself or wondering if someone still likes you becomes the normal thinking pattern. Memory or the lack of it comes to the forefront making you concerned about your mental wellbeing. Daily routine things that you have done for years without even thinking about become mountains that you are not sure you will be able to cross. Situations you have dealt with a number of times you now find yourself shaking with stress. The nagging thought of something is wrong with you. Depression is a fairly common occurrence during this time of life. There is a lot of very helpful treatment for depression, some ladies need help for just a short time but others it is a lifetime need. There is no shame in depression treatment, if you wonder if you might be depressed seek medical help, if not for you, for the sake of your family.
Some of the physical changes - Remember the times at the end of a very busy day you looked forward to laying with your husband? Yes, a lot of the time it would end with your physical union. What has happened? Oh you love to be next him but the desire is gone, in fact it is the last thing on your mind, but not his. Is that all he thinks about! Doesn’t he know all I have done today and how tired I am? The frustration sets in not only for you but for him. Oh yes, he can tell from the stiff body or turned back. If the lack of desire isn’t bad enough there is vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy that come with this stage in life. With both of these problems there is pain associated with the physical union. There are lotions to help with vaginal dryness but once the vagina starts to atrophy it becomes a medical issue for which you need to talk with your doctor. Feeling like you are burning up from the inside out? Can’t walk across the room without huffing and puffing and it’s not because you are out of shape? Hot flashes, a very real part of the menopause stage. Wake up in the middle of the night and your body is soaking wet along with everything on you and around you? Night sweats are another part of this process. Some ladies have hot flashes or night sweats or both so bad it requires medical help. Others try to find relief in “over the count” or “natural” remedies. A couple of suggestions my doctor made - 1) multi vitamins for Women Over 50, 2) stay away from caffeine. A few things others have tried but with limited success - 1) Progesterone Cream (0.2%), 2) Black Cohash, 3) Ginseng, and 4) Plant Estrogens.

I personally wonder if a good part of the reason we see divorces taking place after a couple has been married for 30, 40 plus years is because of the menopause mid life crisis. Ladies, talk to your doctor if you feel like life is overbearing. Talk to a friend, maybe they are at the same spot you are and can an encouragement to you. But most of all, talk to your husband about what you feel happening in your body, the concern about your mental state, the fight to keep your outward appearance appealing and desirable for him. In all likelihood your husband will open up to you about some of his personal struggles that he is feeling in his aging body. There are many ways to be intimate with your spouse, it will take work and creativity but so worth it!
From one who is in the midst of her menopause mid life crisis."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Picture Update #2

This post is only big enough for our trip to North & South Carolina up until the wedding day - the rest will have to come in a third post!!  =)  Many thanks to Rebekah, who supplied 99.9% of these pictures - there were over 700 to choose from, so these are the 'few' I chose!!  =)  I likely would have had no pictures at all from the day itself, so am very grateful that I can share these with you!

We had to be at the airport Very early Wednesday morning. The kiddos all did well through out the day, and I was thinking as we were sitting on the first plane, how thankful I am that they are used to sitting still and being quiet!  I guess I don't get out too much with all our children, but we got a Lot of remarks about how many children we have!  We had wonderful flight attendants on our two flights that day, which made traveling even nicer.
Here we are at our layover.
On our second flight, we were in the last two rows.  After we boarded, and before we started moving, a man in a uniform came back to use the room behind us.  He looked at us, counted the girls, remarked about Nathaniel, and chatted for a few minutes, at the end asking Tim what our last name was.  Before he went back up to the front, he told us, "My name is Jimmy, I'll be up front!"  When 'Captain Jim' made the announcements over the PA as we were taking off, he made a special welcome to the Woodford family at the back of the plane, with the 5 girls, and one boy.  Marika was totally mortified, and couldn't believe he'd mentioned us.  =)

We arrived in Charlotte, NC, Wednesday evening.  It was great to see everything so Green!!!  The girls were remarking on our ride to the hotel about the trees and grass, and our driver said, "Wow, most kids don't notice things like that when they're so young!"  We told her the only reason was that we live in a very brown desert!!  =)   We got things organized in our hotel room, then went out for supper (we were taken by our hotel van driver), passing time until Mark and Rebekah would join us that evening.  To our great delight, when Mark and Bekah were picked up at the airport, the driver drove them right to where we were at the restaurant!!  It was so great to see them!  The next morning we had to be up early, then Tim went to pick up our van rental.  When he got back, we headed for Greenville, SC, about an hour away.
Our luggage

This looks like Vivi's hands and Alisa's little piggies  =)
The girls (and Nathaniel) and I were all dressed up as we were attending a Bridesmaids' Luncheon! Marika, Shaelyn, Kyla and Vivian were all asked to be flower girls - they were super excited!
Vivian, on the way there, before her hair was done!
We met up with Mom W, and the rest of Tim's siblings and families at a sweet little restaurant - yay for seeing family!!!!  Dad W wasn't able to go, but thankfully was able to see the entire wedding via Skype on a big screen TV!   Tim kindly took Alisa for me, while he and all the other guys (and little boys) went disc golfing.
Auntie Bekah got her photo fix in by taking pictures of some willing girls!

The flower girl table - Cara and Sadie are Bethany's nieces, Moriah, and then four of our girls - 7 in total!

Rebekah, Allene (Bethany's sister) and I

Bethany's aunts hosted the luncheon, and one of them made special bags with personalized colouring books, crafts and crayons for each of the girls - they loved them!  The girls also received their flower girl dresses here, which were gifts from Bethany!

The five Woodford sisters  =)

The five of us plus Mom - how very blessed I am to be a part of this family!!

The flower girls with Bethany

Mom holding Nathaniel for the first time

We went back to the hotel after and put the kiddos all down for naps.  I think our hotel room was the smallest we've ever had (it didn't even have a closet), and we had it for the most number of nights while we were away (we stayed in 3 different hotels), and with the most we've ever had in our family before!  =)  That evening, all the guys went out for a fun night with Andrew.  Just for fun, they had brought a Mountie costume Andrew used to wear when he went with Missionaries to America several years ago.  Good thing Andrew is so good-natured!  =)

I love the white shoes!!
They did go-karts...

...and mini-golf.

Pretending he was legit (except the US has no Mounties, and Canada doesn't - I don't think - have Sheriffs)!  =)
Friday morning, Tim and the girls went swimming, but the pool was pretty cold (for us, anyway).  Someone had been given coupons for a local zoo, so Tim and four of the girls, Philip and their two oldest, and Rob & Ada with their two went.  I stayed at the hotel with the babies so they could sleep (I might have too)  =) and get some laundry done.  Apparently the zoo was really nice - shaded, with lots of animals, but not too long to walk it.  It was great exercise for the kiddos, and they came back and took a bit of a nap before we went to the rehearsal that evening.

While we were napping or at the zoo, Joia, Rebekah, Mark and Mom were busily busy in other places.  Mom was getting ready for the Rehearsal Dinner, Joia was icing a cake, and M&R were helping wherever needed, and offering support and encouragement to over-stressed family!!  =)
This is the cake Joia was icing - the wedding cake!!  Pictures of the finished product to come soon!
Rehearsal pictures:

Nelly D with Josiah, with Alisa and I

Joia with her littlest men

The flower girls practicing.  Vivi had the hardest time, and would get almost to the front, and then end up in tears.  We really weren't sure whether she would go through with it the next day!

The Bride-to-be and her dad
After the rehearsal, we went to Bethany's parents' house for the rehearsal dinner.  They have a lovely place, with a huge back yard.
Vivian and Brayden

Cousins on the swing

Marika enjoying sweet corn (we don't get that here in Mexico, so it's a real treat!)

Mommy and Shaelynnie

The photographer gave up her camera for a moment to get some pictures of herself as well
as her favourite person in the world!

A similar picture of Philip and Joia was taken at their wedding!  =)

Bethany's brother-in-law took all of the kids around in this big wagon - I'm pretty sure he slept well that night!!

Andrew got a ride too!!

After that we went back to the hotel and put hair into curlers, and then kiddos into bed!  The next morning we met several extended family members who had come in late at night.  Many I had never met, and most of the rest I hadn't seen for a very long time!  We went to the church with the girls still in their pj's and curlers.  I was very worried that the beautiful white dresses would get messed up before the wedding!  Thankfully all went well, and the smudges didn't come until afterwards!!  =)
The girls in their dresses, and me getting their hair done

Allene doingone of her girl's hair

The B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. cake Joia decorated!

I was really pleased how each of the girls' hair turned out!

The Woodford boy cousins

I love those elf ears!  xo

Bethany and her parents

The Woodford cousins  =)

Andrew and his men

Andrew and his mom

Really nice family photo of Joia, Philip, Keenan, Moriah and Caleb

(im)Patiently waiting for things to get started...

Last minute steam

Mirrors are so entertaining...
Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom

Tim seating Mom

The beautiful flower girls

Shaelyn did an amazing job helping Vivian get down the aisle - and she got all the way to the front, thankfully!!

Waiting for the bride...


Mr. and Mrs. Andrew and Bethany Woodford
Andrew and Bethany with each of their siblings and families

Kyla started the trend of putting the basket on her head during the ceremony - but no pics were to be taken during that time.

The Woodford family - minus Dad

Andrew and Bethany with her siblings and family

Andrew and Bethany and both families

Both Tim and Bethany's dad officiated for the wedding

With all the nieces and nephews

So funny!

That's better!  With all the flower girls!  =) 

The wedding party

Pretending to be disgusted at them kissing!  =)

Picking up all the petals they dropped

While Andrew and Bethany left to get some pictures taken of just themselves, we all went to the  reception area and ate.

When they came back, they went around to the guests to greet each one

Tim, Mark, Rob and Andrew all sang together - beautiful!  One of the songs, "Here is Love" is recorded at the end if you would like to listen to it.

Cutting the cake

This is a neat picture!  It is the 12 Lindquist cousins (Mom W's side of the family) - who all were together for the first time again after Many years.  They are in age order from left to right.

Throwing the bouquet

Bethany talking with Vivian and Shaelyn

My sweet boy!

Marika talking to Grandpa on Skype!

About to leave...

...but not without confetti!!


Saying good-bye to Dad

The four sibling left
Rob and Joshua

Love this!
After cleaning up some, we went back to the hotel and changed, and met any family who were left at a park.  It was nice for the kiddos to run and play, and for us to chat a little.
Joia and I, with me holding Caleb


Some of the group

Tim and his cousin Renee with her little girl Ella

Mark with one of their cousins' foster children, Janie - she is so sweet!

Brayden having fun on the slide

Keenan and Marika
My love and me

Tim's Aunt Heather and Uncle John, with Allyson, Lindsay and Alex - the only extended Woodford family who were able to come

Kyla and beloved Auntie Bekah!

After the park, we went back to the hotel again, as they allowed us all to use their dining area for a couple hours.  We ordered pizza and hung out there until bed-time

Goofy Vivi

With Janie

Tim and Alisa

Shaelyn enjoying her pizza

My Marika and I

It really was a beautiful day, and I am just so thankful that we were able to all go and spend time with our family.  Congratulations to Andrew and Bethany, and may the Lord richly bless you as you begin  your new life together!!

Picture update #3 will be coming soon!!  =)