Friday, December 30, 2016

New years eve eve

Tomorrow is new years eve and it's that time when people make resolutions and plans on how the new year will be better than the last year. 

Resolutions.  I try to be cool about it.  Not proclaim my "resolutions" publicly,  but that little, inner voice is telling me how much better I am going to be.

It's been a rough couple of years.  Brain tumor.  Brain surgery.  Huge thyroid.  Thyroidectomy.    Torn meniscus.  Knee surgery.  Old cat.  Dead cat.  And my latest, preparing for dental implants by having four teeth removed and a bone and skin graft.  Currently in pain but getting better.

So, what does 2017 hold?   Nobody really knows.  My goal, no more medical crap.  No more surgeries.  Get healthy.  Live healthy.  Be healthy.

Be happy.  Or at least try. 

I feel like the last 15 years have been hard.  Well, life is hard.  But beginning with my brother's death, my dad and mother and numerous friends and family dying.

Five kids, all grown up.  Feeling pretty good about these adults and how they have turned out so far.  But I miss feeling needed.   I tell myself that.  I guess I am nostalgic, but we are all where we should be.  And I felt so overwhelmed at times when I was really on call 24/7, when someone needed to nurse while someone else needed a scraped knee kissed and made better.

Parenting is something I always wanted.  I got it.  Regrets?  Yes.  I could have been more patient.  I could have smiled and laughed more and gotten mad less.    But, all in all, something must have gone right.

Starting a new year with Nick and the dog.  No kids on the house.    Yes, I miss them.  But I am happy for them too.

Thanks kids for making me a mother and forcing me to be a big kid at times, and a grown up at others!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

'Tis the Season

Fa la la la la...

So much to write about, so little time.  Nick and I are going to visit his mom and the rest of his family  shortly, so I don't have much time to write anything.

Just felt like sending some words out into the world to say "hey, I'm still alive"!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday time again?

It's almost Christmas time and I have not written for almost two months (I think).  I meant to write in October after my trip to Michigan with my sister.

We have been talking forever about going to Michigan to see our mom's siblings who live there- and their kids- our cousins.  Well, we did it!  We flew in to Detroit and drove to Three Rivers- at least the Three Rivers area.  We stayed with our cousin, Jody and her husband and her parents (our aunt and uncle) at their farm.

We were just there for a few days, but it was a wonderful visit.  Made us wonder why we hadn't done this sooner, and feel like we need to stay longer next time!

The Farm

Next we drove to Redford (a suburb of Detroit) to see more cousins and our mom's younger sister, Aunt Geri and her husband, Uncle John.   We stayed with our cousin Geri Lynn.

One of the cool things is, Aunt Geri and Uncle John live on one side of the street, and their oldest child, Geri Lynn, has a house directly across the street from her parents.  And their youngest child, Geri Lynn's brother, lives right next door to Geri Lynn and across from their parents.  It is a sort of cozy family village

Family!  Aunt Geri standing.  Gery Lynn behind her.  Sitting are another cousin, Christine.  The me, then my sister, Carol  

Since the visit to Michigan, the election was held and, unfortunately, Trump won.  I keep going from sad to scared to shocked to confused.

We celebrated Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and had a decent size group of family members, including my mother in law, Nick's mother, who turned 99 that week.

Yesterday we had our annual Christmas dinner party and Yankee gift exchange.  There were way fewer people that there usually are- only 10 people last night.  But it was great and I am sure everyone had fun.

I spent the day today recovering!

Okay, I have written my little piece.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Morning

Taking it all in. This morning I sat on the deck in the early morning, chilled air.  Sun was shining and brightening up the cool air.  

I was listening to the birds.  They are so talkative in the morning.  Hearing people starting their days- running yard machinery or starting their cars.   In the near distance, cars woosh by,as does the occasional truck.  I hear them, but they are background noise.   Airplanes fly over too.   We are near a large airport and I find the sounds of the planes to be normal and in fact comforting.

Buddy, silly little dog, wanders around the yard.   Occasionally he barks at a neighbor.   The best thing in Buddy's little head though, is chasing squirrels.  That little black dog flies like a rocket ship!    When he gets the squirrel to run up a tree, that's one very happy/ excited dog!

I am ready for my next cup of coffee and a breakfast of oatmeal with fruit!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Time: Where does it go?

Courtney and friends in front of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Courtney dressed for her 20th high school reunion 2016
Nick, age 68, Courtney 38 and Mary Sherwood at 98    October 2016

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Tigger came into our family as a small, six or eight week old kitten.  He was shy, but very playful.  We adopted Pooh at the same time.

They were not littler mates, but they were best friends.   Pooh died a few years ago, leaving Tigger as the only cat in the house.

Tigger was a little bit past his 17th birthday.

Today, Tigger died.  He was worn our.  He lost interest in eating and was having a rough  time with mobility.

So, this morning, Nick and I said good bye to our sweet, love, our old man cat, Tigger.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sweet Baby Breath on my Shoulder

I went to our La Leche League meeting this evening. I have been to hundreds of LLL meetings in the last 38 years. They are all the same in that the focus is on breastfeeding.  They are all different because someone will have a question you haven't heard.  Someone else will have a question you have heard a million times, but is new to this and the other new moms in the room.

There are first time moms with their precious newborns.  There are pregnant moms so full of confidence and fear.  What kind of mother will I be.  What if the baby doesn't like me.  Will it hurt.  Any of it, all of it.

The second or third time moms are there too, including the mom who went into labor at one of our meetings a couple of years ago.

This evening, one mom, a second time mom, was having a bit of frustration when her baby fussed but didn't know what was wrong.

I offered to hold the baby to let him settle on my chest- my non-lactation chest.  Soft and warm.  Head of fluff resting on my shoulder.  Nuzzling his head with my nose for that indescribable new baby scent. 

Mom was able to relax.  I was relaxed by holding the baby.  Being a mom.  That is what I am.  But differently than I had really expected.  Oh the baby part was not so different.  It was just intense.  The love, the glue, the primal feeling in your blood that this baby is part of you, part of your body.   Amazing.

When I was in Oregon in July, having dinner at Courtney's house, Courtney pulled out an old copy of Bleak House.  There was writing inside the front cover as well as in the back cover.

The page with the numbers, is in Nick's hand writing.  It was our counting and timing contractions waiting to meet Courtney.   The other page is something that Nick wrote.

I will share the pages here and then I will go to bed.  Maybe I will dream of all the hours I was lucky enough to cradle those wonderful babies that Nick and I bore together.

Nick's poem to his first born

Timing contractions

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Recovering still

I am just over four days out from my knee surgery.  I am still sore and don't feel very confident about doing a lot of walking yet. 

I have certainly had worse operations to recover from, but no surgery, especially with general anesthesia, is easy to recover from.

Yesterday I felt pretty crummy.  My stomach was upset.  I was feeling weak and grumpy and dopey and maybe a few other of the seven dwarfs as well.   The drugs for pain combined with the drugs to knock you out, combined with the pain and weakness and crazy dreams and on and on.  I was a real grouch yesterday.

And yet, on some level I feel guilty about not being able to do more.  I feel lazy, but I know that I cannot work with the pain, and I know that I want to get better, not to re-injure myself. So I have to take it slow for a while.

My knee doesn't look at all bad.  Three stitches is all. But, arthroscopic surgery involves a lot of maneuvering and pushing and tugging, so it hurts a lot.

Here's how my knee looks: 


There's a full moon tonight and I tried to take a couple of pictures.  Lets see what I have here.

I love the full moon.  I always want to howl when I see a full moon- but I usually don't!

One more picture, then I am off to bed.  I took a selfie of myself (of course) in the sunshine.   Not a very flattering picture.  But, the reason I am posting it here is that I am startled at how white my hair is.  I think it looks lighter than it is because of the bright sunshine.  But, wow!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Taking it easy

Had my knee surgery yesterday.  So far so good.  I am in pain, but I was in pain before the surgery, which is why I had it in the first place.  I had a sore throat yesterday from the tube from general anesthesia.  The anesthesiologist was great.  He used a new method called LMA that is good for people (like me) with a difficult airway.   Much better than what I have had with "regular" intubation.

My knee has been making cracking, popping sounds when I walk, but now, I still hurt, but the noise is gone.  The surgeon showed Nick and Carol pictures of the inside of my knee and explained when he did. I hope I will get to see the pictures too.

Before surgery, I wrote "yes" and "no" on my knees.  Dr Klein (surgeon) added his own art to mine.  His is in purple.

Recovery room pictures, below are on my bandaged leg, and me in a hospital gown.

Bandaged, post-op leg

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer is almost over

I have done very little blogging this summer.  I have been on my own for a few months and didn't feel like broadcasting that.  And, I just don't feel like saying much when the world is full of hot weather and bugs!

Nick is in China.  Has been since May.  He's coming home this week.

I am walking with a cane. Because I have a torn meniscus.  My knee hurts.  A lot.  I have had knee issues forever it seems.  But now, as I am in my 60s, the arthritis is wearing away at my knee joints.   But that's another issue.  Right now it is the tear, that I think is visible in this picture.  I am having surgery to repair it.   I hope it "takes".  I probably need a knee replacement, but my doctor said that I am too heavy and that makes me high risk.  I understand that knee replacements last about 20 years.  Since I plan to live at least another 30 years, that surgery can wait!
Nancy's right knee, August 2016

I continue to help moms and babies with breastfeeding.  With my knee pain I cannot currently "work".  By that I mean I am not making home visits in my capacity as a Lactation Consultant.  I am helping some family and friends, and moms in need of assistance online through email or Facebook.  I have gotten a couple of moms tell me how much I have helped them, which makes me feel really good!

There have been losses.  One friend's mother died.  Another friend's father in law died.  My Uncle John's sister died.   My Aunt Alice died.   I had not seen Aunt Alice in 10 years, but I always liked her.

My mother in law, who is 98 says that it is the curse of living a long life.  If you live long enough, all of your friends are gone.

I have friends in their 20s and 30s who have young children.  They are so busy and have so much energy.  I see myself in them.  Looking back in time. 

I also see myself full of energy and being busy again soon.  Very soon.    People say that "old" is a state of mind.  yes, I can see that.  But it is also a state of physical being.  My body is older.  I am not in my twenties or even my forties.   I have more health concerns.  My joints ache.  My eyes are dry.  But I have psychic energy.   In that way, I am not old yet.  I wonder if I ever will be old?  I wonder if I will know? 

Time will tell. They say

Monday, August 8, 2016

It's August!

Hello August.  I am ready for the weather to cool down.  I know it isn't your fault, August.  In fact, in the southern hemisphere it is winter.  I think I like winter better.    Or even spring or call.  I don't like being hot and sweaty!  Nope, not at all.  Nor do I enjoy being dirty.

This reminds me of when we first went to Thailand.  Our first overseas assignment.  It was June 1976.  The Bicentennial year.  And it was hot.  I got a lot of mosquito bites and I got hot a lot.  We took malaria prevention drugs, and I remember writing a lot of letters home, and taking a lot of showers.  At least twice a day.

I took a shower this morning and got dressed in my "grown up clothes" getting ready to make a lactation house call to help a new mom and baby.  But then I started to feel sick.  So I cancelled my appointment with the mom and baby and came home.  And here I am.

After my phone/ camera fell into the Pacific Ocean (while in my pocket), I lost a bunch of my pictures.  I used my sister's camera/ phone to take some.  I sent those pictures to myself yesterday, and also some that I didn't take.  here's one of the pictures I really like.   I am not 100% sure how to do the captions on the picture, but here goes:

Front row, me (Nancy Sherwood), my sister (Carol Hestvik)
Second row, Jim Knowlden (Carol's son) Courtney Sherwood (my daughter)  Tom Knowlden (Carol's younger son) Behind Courtney is Catherine Knowlden (Jim's wife), next row, Austin Sherwood (my son) Leander Sømme, (cousin from Norway)  Morgan Sherwood (my son)- behind Tom, last row, Molly Thompsen (my brother Dale's daughter), Jessica (Jim's daughter) behind Leander and Sarah (Jim's older daughter) next to Leander.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reunion 2016

We had a Thompsen/ Thompson reunion in 2006 and again this year, 2016.  After the reunion this year, some of us went to the Oregon Coast, myself included.  I fell into the surf and lost all of my reunion pictures!

Fortunately, a lot of other people were taking pictures too.  I guess, in addition to the ages in the people in 10 years, technology has changed.  Everyone has phones with cameras now and it is easy to take a lot of pictures!

These are the first cousins in 2006

First cousins in 2016 - there are fewer present, and one who has died since last reunion

I fell in the Pacific Ocean!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mount Hood Oregon

I wrote this on July 15th.  For some reason I didn't post it then- so here it is now:

Today we went to Mt Hood.  A beautiful mountain in Oregon.  I have known of it all of my life, and have probably been there as an infant, but this is the first time I appreciated it up close and personal.

Mount Hood in July.  There were Olympic snowboarders up there

My nephew Tom and my sister Carol at Mt Hood.  Mt Jefferson in the distance

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


I am in Seattle!  What am I doing here?  I flew here with my sister and her son, daughter in law and their two daughters.  My brother's daughter, Molly, is here too.

We all met up at the hotel and went sightseeing, mostly back seat touring,  Some walking too.

We stopped to meet the Freemont Troll, and we went to the amazing Seattle public library, an amazing piece of architecture and an amazing library as well.

The Troll under the bridge

Seattle Public Library

We are here for two days, then on to a family reunion in McMinnville, Oregon.  Also a chance to touch base with my three kids who live here.

All in all a great trip.  Lots to do, people to re-connect with.   Nostalgia as we reminisce about our fathers (my dad was one of 5 sons).    

Meanwhile, here's the view from the hallway in our hotel:

Seattle Space Needle

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Places I have lived

Portland, Oregon  I was born in Portland in 1954

Athens Greece We lived in Athens from 1955-57.  I am told that Greek was my first language. I don't really remember:

Okinawa  Not sure of the dates, but I think we went to Okinawa in 1957?  I don't seem to have any pictures, but I think that this picture is of us arriving on the USS Breckenridge.  
I think that's my mom in the red dress and my brother to her left.


Alexandria, Virginia
My mom loved her piano.  I remember it was at the foot of the stairs.

Kabul, Afghanistan  1959-1961.  I remember learning about Alaska and Hawaii becoming states when we were there.  The horse and buggy picture was taken in front of our house.
Me in my Afghan dress that my mother had made.  I was around 7 years old

My brother, Dale standing on the back steps of our house

Afghan public transportation

Washington, D.C.  In 1961 we returned from Afghanistan and lived in a hotel on 16th St NW in Washington.
Meridian Hill Park

This is my mom at Meridian Hill Park, right across the street from our hotel

Wheaton, Maryland  1961-1969  When we lived in Wheaton, I started attending the Barrie School.  I graduated from Barrie in 1972

Here's where we lived.

This was the main building on the Fern Place NW, DC Barrie School campus

Me sitting on the patio- around 15 years old

College Park, Maryland  Nick and I got married June 24, 1972.
We were so young!

We lived in College Park in our first house.  Nick finished law school and joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer

Bangkok, Thailand  We lived in Bangkok from 1976-78.   Our first baby, daughter Courtney, was born there.

College Park, MD
Back to College Park while Nick studied Polish in anticipation of our move to Poznan, Poland

Poznan, Poland
  We lived in Poznan from 1979-81.    I don't seem to have any pictures of Poznan in my computer at the moment.  However, during our tour, Morgan was born I returned to Virginia for his birth, and Courtney, Morgan and I returned to Poland when Morgan was 8 weeks old.

Chiang Mai, Thailand.  We lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 1981-83.   I started my first La Leche
 League Group there.

Reston, Virginia   We flew home on leave from Chiang Mai to work on buying a new house.   This is the house we bought and moved into in 1983 and where we still live

Tromso, Norway  We lived in the beautiful city of Tromsø from 1984-86.   Our third child, Darcy, was born just three weeks after we got to Tromsø

Darcy's first US passport picture

Reston, VA  Back to Reston from 1986-89.

Austin, our fourth baby, was born in the first year we were home.

Taipei, Taiwan We lived in Taiwan for a year while Nick studied Chinese in preparation for a tour in China.

I'll have to get back to putting pictures of Taipei here.

Guangzhou,  China  We stopped in Beijing and did some sightseeing before heading to Guangzhou.

We went to the Great Wall of China.  I was pregnant with Chance in this picture

  While we were in Guangzhou, we welcomed our fifth and last baby, Chance

Reston, VA from 1991to 1995, we were back in Reston.  The pictures loaded out of sequence.





Perth, Western Australia.  Perth is a beautiful city where we were lucky enough to live for three years.  We were there from 1995-98

Reston.  And now we are back home in Reston.  We have been here since 1998- the longest time we have lived in one place!