Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Little More Catch Up....

I had a few things to do that week that Kaitie was recovering from her surgery. On Wednesday, I had to stop in for a minute and have a visit with the oral surgeon. Yay. Remember when I wrote awhile back that I had to go to the dentist? Well, I left there with nice clean teeth, and a referral. I had a spot in my mouth that was driving me crazy...a little bump that wasn't a canker, that I kept biting. My dentist told me I would need to have it removed. So now I do have one place I would rather be less than the dentist...the oral surgeon. That particular visit, was so brief. He looked at it, and told me to schedule an appointment to have it taken out. I had hoped we could just get it over with that day. Oh well...

Once I did have my appointment a few days later it wasn't a huge deal. It only took a few minutes to get that annoying thing lasered out, once I was settled in. Settled in is kind of a funny word for it. I don't know the word to use for that stiff, white knuckle type of sitting. You hate it, but you don't really want to leave because you will be glad to have it done. My mind is drawing a blank for just the right word.

The assistant put sunglasses on me. That was to be expected, but then she covered my face down to my nose with a cloth. They covered me up to my mouth too, so basically they were only dealing with my mouth. That is not pleasant. The doctor said I should be glad that I didn't live in any far away country where I would have to wear a burka. Yes I am very glad of that. But, if I had been able to speak, while he worked on my mouth I might have mentioned that I think with a burka, your eyes are not covered!

When he was finished, he stitched the spot, and then took the stitches out. He said that it would heal in a better shape if it was left open. It has been funny having a black hole in my mouth this week, but it is getting better and better. It is a relief having that stupid bump gone.

I feel guilty for how much I wasn't looking forward to the other event coming up during that week. It was a camp out with the church girls. I was in charge of an overnight activity with the girls, to prepare for their summer camp. We didn't have to have an overnight, but I got pressured into it. We needed to do some outdoor cooking, and I had expressed my preference to just do a dinner or breakfast to satisfy the requirement. I thought we had it settled, and then one of the other women brought up the idea to do it overnight....and she did that in front of the girls. I caved, because I didn't want the girls to think I was the BORING adult. I do love all the girls. I just didn't want to make a big production out of this cooking requirement.

We did do the most convenient campout ever. It was in the backyard of an awesome couple who have quite a bit of nice space to play in, and who love this type of activity. They did so much to make this activity work. It is a good thing, because no matter where I looked, I couldn't find my enthusiasm.

One of the adult women who said she would come and set up a tent, wasn't able to come after all. And another of the adult women who said she would come and do a craft wasn't able to come after all. I started whining like a big baby at home. What did Jeff do? Everything he could! He forgot to study up on his psychology, and know that it wasn't a good idea to reward my bad behavior. He let it slip his mind that it isn't right to let someone get what they want when they are being immature about it. Basically, he rode in on a white horse....

Jeff went to the activity before me, and set up a tent. He actually set up my cot, and rolled out my sleeping bag. Are you embarrassed for me? I did go buy all the food and get ready to do the cooking stuff. He hauled it all for me though. I was so grateful. He even let Riley help him set up the tent.

I took this picture with my phone, so it isn't amazing, but you get the idea.

The girls were supposed to cook with two different methods, so I thought we would do sticks at night, and Dutch oven in the morning.

Again, with the phone picture. By this time, I was starting to relax and enjoy myself. Jeff had spoiled me by doing a lot of the work. The girls were enjoying making hot dogs. The past couple of years, when I have done cooking outdoors with the girls, I have tried to think outside the box. We made foil fajita dinners last year that I thought were fantastic. The girls however, weren't as thrilled. They just wanted good old hot dogs and marshmallows. This year, that is exactly what they got.

We were also going to work on a song for a camp performance, and the lap top that was supposed to arrive did not arrive. I wondered if the girls would feel the lack of productiveness in this activity. I think they actually liked it. They played with fire for hours! They went through a huge pile of wood, just breaking it and stacking it. Breaking, stacking, breaking...stacking. The fire was continuously huge. Then one girl made a smoke stick, and soon had cool smoke rings floating above her head. That caught on quickly, and they were fascinated with that for a long time.

The phone doesn't do really well with night pictures, as you can see. But they sat like this making smoke rings with sticks for quite awhile. They are all so cute!!

We didn't go in the tents to try and sleep until 2:00. Even then, sleep was not what really took place. As if anyone thought it would!

In the morning, it was hard to get everyone up. They all helped make the giant cinnamon roll in the Dutch oven. Too bad I didn't snap a picture of that! It turned out well.

Jeff returned with Riley nice and early to get our stuff taken down, and taken home. Me, and my two hours of sleep would have died without him. We had to get going pretty early, because Emilee and Riley had dance pictures all day.

Okay, they didn't really have pictures all day, but it seemed like it. Emilee has three classes, and Riley has one, so I had to go to the dance studio for four different classes. Jeff and I even went to a baptism in between the dance pictures. It was a really nice one...totally worth it!

I wish Emilee would let me post her pictures here. I am strictly forbidden from doing that this time. Sad, but true. Maybe I will be able to get one in when they have the real recital. I wonder what I will have to do for her to make that happen. Here's Riley anyway!

After the crazy day was over, what did Jeff want to do? He wanted to go see Star Trek. I wasn't excited, but how could I say no? He had done everything I needed and then some. Star Trek had been out for a whole week, and he hadn't been able to get there yet. (I told Emilee it was as if Twilight had been out for a week, and everyone but her had seen it.)

Anyway, I thought I might fall asleep during it, because I was so tired, but it was actually a good movie. I'm not the Star Trek fan around here, but I stayed awake and enjoyed it too.

I would normally have just slept in the next morning, but I was substituting in Relief Society. (That means I was teaching a Sunday class for the adult women.) I love teaching, so that in itself was not a problem. I just found the lesson to be a little difficult, and I wanted to make sure and get it right. I had been reading it, and trying to figure out what to do with it all week. I was still trying to fine tune it on Sunday morning. I think it went okay. After I teach a lesson though, I think of everything I SHOULD have said later on....

Well, that is enough of my eyes looking backward now. I have to go forward. I have been trying to plan my summer, and have plenty to do with that. Real camp is coming, there are a couple of other minor trips I want to take, and the big event of course is Ryan and Brittany's wedding. That ought to keep our summer busy enough!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mother's Day Part II

So, last time I wrote, I left off in the middle of my Mother's Day story. If I don't get too it, it will be Father's Day by the time I write it. Hopefully, Father's Day won't be quite as eventful.

Ally was here for Mother's Day weekend. We didn't quite get to have the visit we wanted to have, but the fact that she was here sure made life easier. Ally dropped me off at the hospital (in my car, she didn't bring hers home) and then returned home to take care of everything there.

I felt so bad to see Kaitie in the ER bed, hooked up to the IV...except that IV was sure making her life better. "They gave me morphine," she said. "Did you say eight?" I asked her. "Yes I did," was her response, and she even laughed. (That is from this Brian Regan routine.) I love a good drug in its right time and place!

Soon, Kaitie was whisked away for her CT scan, and sure enough an angry looking appendix was what they found. We had to wait awhile for the surgeon, but they updated Kaitie's pain medication in the ER whenever she asked them to. She slept a lot, and doesn't even really remember the details that well now. I tried to read, and could not take it in. So I fired up that new phone, and texted up a storm. That kind of reading was perfect....not much concentration required.

Kaitie was taken in for her laproscopic appendectomy between 1:00 and 1:30 pm. That is not bad considering she awoke at 3:00 am, and was in the ER by 6:00 am. Jeff and I sat in the waiting room together, not even really talking. We knew she would be okay, but still, we were anxious to hear it was over. The surgeon came out and talked to us about 2:45 to let us know that everything went as well as it could have. He said she should be eating by the next morning, and home by the next evening. Jeff and I celebrated by eating the granola bars that Emilee had packed for us. We hadn't eaten anything at all before that, but the hungry feeling didn't come through until the surgery was over.

I knew that with laproscopic surgery, that her incisions would be small, but imagined she would still have to have a few stitches or something. When we went to see her in recovery though, the nurse said something about her three band aids. "That's it? Band aids?" I asked. She assured us that was it. Amazing! She wished me a Happy Mother's Day, like every other nurse, doctor and assistant did all day....with a smile and a sympathetic nod.

Before long, Kaitie was in her hospital room in pediatrics. The nurses were tiny compared to Kaitie's 5' 10". When she woke up a bit, I know she didn't love being talked to as if she were a five year old, but she dealt with it. The care she received was good, and that is what really mattered. A friend stopped in to bring her flowers, and that made Kaitie really happy. It is amazing how far some beautiful flowers can go, when they are paired with some sweet thoughtfulness.

Jeff brought the girls to see Kaitie, but only Ally was allowed to go up and see her. I went down into the lobby to be with Emilee and Riley for awhile. I was wearing my pink-I-am-the-parent-of-a-patient-bracelet. That is a powerful bracelet. It let me go where I wanted to go, when I wanted to go there. People were really nice to me. I realized that some people who wear that bracelet are in awful circumstances. We weren't having the best day, but I felt like I could in no way compare with most moms who would be wearing that. The magic of the bracelet did not extend to Emilee and Riley, and they were not happy about that, so I stayed with them longer than I had planned. When Jeff took them home, I stayed to settle in for the night. Kaitie had told me I didn't have to stay. I told her there was no way I was going home, and then she told me she was glad I was staying.

When I finally went back up to Kaitie's room, I found out the nurses had taken her for a walk. That taste of freedom made her determined to leave the hospital as soon as possible. Since she walked so well, they told her she could try to eat. The brought her a tray with broth and jello. Yum. When that went well, she was told she could order off the menu. Room service style ordering in the hospital was new to me. I guess it has been around for awhile, but I didn't know about it. We ordered soup and sandwiches, and Kaitie handled that fine too.

We asked the night nurse what it was going to take to get out of there. She said that Kaitie had to be on antibiotics (IV) throught the night, and show that she could keep down breakfast in the morning. It sounded like we might be able to get home a lot sooner than Monday evening.

The night wasn't so bad. Kaitie had her cell phone and her ipod. (What did kids used to do?) I didn't have to do much for her. The night nurse didn't bug her much, so we actually slept a little. Kaitie had me stationed by the phone ready to order breakfast at 5:55. The earliest you can order is 6:00. Kaitie happily ate her egg and toast the minute it arrived. Then, she changed into her regular clothes, and walked out to the nurses station and announced that she was ready to go.

The nurses looked at her, and laughed. I was afraid that the laugh meant that she was not going to get to leave. That wasn't it at all. Kaitie got what she wanted. The nurse that was just coming to work just had a few quick things to do, like take out her IV, and we were getting into Jeff's truck by 7:30 am. You know, I have heard plenty of unfavorable stories about our hospital here, but I don't have one complaint from this experience. Kaitie received good and prompt care. In the ER, in surgery, in recovery and in pediatrics, it was all as good or better than we expected. We felt very fortunate, and blessed.

Kaitie was plenty sore for the first couple of days. She rested most of the time. She texted me when she needed more medicine. We had a pretty good system....and fortunately I had a fabulous new phone to receive those text messages.

Monday night Jeff, Ally, and Emilee had the Mother's Day dinner ready for me that they were going to make the day before. They also gave me the rest of my gifts. They were too nice to me, for sure.

Kaitie is just about back to normal now.

She is grateful for the flowers, gifts, cards and calls she received!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mother's Day - Part I

Sometime before Mother's Day, I discussed with Emilee the fact that I had the most "chopped liver" phone in the family. I described to her a possible scenario:

Me: I can see it now. Saturday, my phone just disappears. I look for it, but can't find it. "Oh my," I will say, "My phone has gone missing. Whatever shall I do?" Then Sunday morning for Mother's Day you all will admit that you took it, and traded it for a sweet, purple phone.

Emilee: Don't you want to choose your own phone?

Me: No, this way it will be a "surprise."

Sure enough, the day before Mother's Day, my phone disappeared. I "looked" for it, and couldn't find it anywhere. Saturday night, Jeff, Ally and I went to a birthday party for a friend, and I felt so incomplete without my phone. I have carried a cell phone for twelve years. (No, not the same one. The first one I had would seem like a brick now!) I knew if the girls needed to call from home that they could call Jeff though.

After Jeff, Ally and I returned home from the party it was low key around here. Jeff had been to the Father's and Son's outing the night before, so he was getting tired. Ally had come to spend Mother's Day weekend about the time he left. We had done some extra catching up the night before. When Jeff tried to get everyone in the family room for prayer, Kaitie asked if we could just come into her room and say it. I figured she was extra tired too, so we just went with her request. She had never asked that before.

Kaitie woke up with severe pain at 3:00 or so in the morning. She woke us at 4:45. I thought it was her stomach, and got her some Tums. Jeff went and bought her some Sprite. We should have known that these were not going to help. Kaitie is not a complainer. If her pain was going to be managed that easily, she could have done it herself. She knew she couldn't do it herself. She stated that she needed a blessing, and a doctor. Again, that is unusual coming from Kaitie. More than once we have really struggled to get her to go to the doctor. She doesn't go easily!

Jeff put a call in to someone to come over and help him give her a blessing, and he was here within minutes. That kind of service is so much appreciated. What a good man! Then Jeff took Kaitie to Urgent Care. Kaitie was seen right away, and the doctor there told Jeff that he suspected appendicitis. They were told to go right to the ER. She was seen right away, and told that after some tests they would probably be admitting her, and doing surgery.

When I received that call from Jeff, I told him I would get ready and come over there. Emilee woke up here at home, and wondered why no one was making my breakfast in bed. She was upset about poor Kaitie in the hospital. She was disappointed about all the things that they had planned that were not going to work out. I told them that we would celebrate Mother's Day in a day or two, but that I needed to go to the hospital. Emilee was sad that she wasn't making my breakfast, so she packed my purse with some granola bars. Also, before I left, I was presented one gift that I would be using all awesome new phone.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Beginning of Catching Up

There is a lot I have wanted to write about in the last two weeks. I have hardly sat down at the computer though. I am going to catch up about everything, I'm sure, but I wanted to be sure and start with this.

The night before last I dreamed about my grandma. She and I were sitting together in the front yard of my childhood home in Tucson. I still know what the house looked like when my dad was in charge of what it looked like. It had new paint, and beautiful flowers. I know what it looks like now too, and it is sad how faded and run down it is. Luckily in my dream the brown and tan shutters looked nice, and purple irises were in bloom. (That word irises looks so wrong to me. I looked it up though, and that is how to make it plural.)

In my dream, my grandma and I talked and joked and I remember thinking, "I'm so glad she isn't sick anymore. This is how she used to be." I guess that in my dream I forgot that she passed away. I just thought she had been sick and was well again. That is a little funny considering the dream came on the anniversary of the day she died.

My mind does that sometimes. If I haven't thought of something consciously, my brain pulls it out of the shadows for me. I have dreamed of long lost friends, and realized it was their birthday...things like that. I did think of my grandma last week. I even mentioned something about the day she passed away in a lesson I gave on Sunday. Still, right on the 19th, I didn't think of her or write about her. I'm glad my subconscious let me have a little moment with her in front of my childhood home.

This is what I wrote about her last year:

My Grandma

Here is a picture of her ringing in the year 200o with us, at my mom and dad's house:

Grandma is sitting next to Jeff's mom, Grandma S. They got to be pretty good friends. Next over is Ryan, then Ally. I can't remember what game we were playing. The kids may have been pondering Y2K. I know we made a lot of corny jokes about partying like it was 1999. That makes me laugh now. We were having a wild board game with the grandmas!

These next two pictures were taken earlier that same year, at my old house:

I absolutely love this picture! Grandma, my kids, my cute sister and brother....and all with happy expressions.

I added this one too, because it shows me with the group....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Staring Down the.....

...Swine Flu

(No, we don't have it.)

But, who ever heard of being afraid of the Big Bad Pig?

I just want to cover those cute little ears when I say that I thought I'd show the swine who was boss, when I served a lovely pork roast for dinner on Sunday....

So, if a person has been hearing about the swine flu, and has some minor concerns, where is the last place this person would want to be?

The dentist chair?

Okay, that is ALWAYS my answer for "where is the last place I want to be," but that is not where I am going with this.

Maybe my answer should be, sitting around a small table with first graders for about six reading groups.

Yesterday, I went there anyway, and stared it down. Since I send Riley, it is about the same, right? She brings all the school germs home with her as regularly as she does worksheets and assignments.

Those reading groups are really fun. There is something about kids learning to read that I have always loved. Teaching them to "break the code" and take control of the written word is amazing to me. It is a big deal when they can say the word properly, bigger when they understand meaning, and awesome when they can feel the emotion intended.

Second to the reading, I enjoy asking questions that make little ones think hard that I can almost read the involved thoughts in their eyes. Yesterday I asked almost every child, "What would you do if you could understand an animal talking to you?" It was part of the story, of course, but a really fun question too. Some kids go straight to, "Run away, " or "I would tell my mom." Some went as far as to tell me how they would hurt it to keep it away...yes, fear does that to a person. But some, imagined how amazing it would be, and wanted to have some crazy animal conversations...but not with an alligator, of course.

I was too aware of every cough and sniffle in the groups. It was probably the same amount of coughing and sniffling that goes on every week, but I just wasn't so tuned into it before. I will try to tune it out next time...if I live through the rest of this day ;)

I wish I was going back to first grade today, instead may have guessed it:

I am on my way to the dentist chair. You know how much I love that. I won't be staring down the dentist. My eyes will be closed very tightly.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Saturday Evening....

I took this picture on Saturday night after Kaitie's third choir concert in a row. Her choir sang at three different churches last week, one Thursday, one Friday and one Saturday. After Saturday night, we asked her where she would like to go, so this is our pre-steak picture in the Outback parking lot.

I have enjoyed Kaitie's high school choir for these two years. Even with a different director each year, the music has been traditional. (Read: old) They have performed music from across many cultures, and time periods. There has been quite an emphasis on religious music. Choir is often considered the easy A class, and maybe it is, but I think this has been a positive and yes, an educational experience.

As for our dinner afterward, it was amazing, and I don't just mean that onion! There was also such real conversation. How I loved discussing the past, present and future with those two. It was the kind of evening that ended too soon, and yet will always stay a part of me, so some unmeasurable piece of it doesn't really have an end. This may not make much sense to some people, but I think Kaitie will know what I mean. If she does, that's all that matters. If she doesn't, then I guess I might have to delete it...;)

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Think She Has News For Me

This is Riley's recent school picture. It doesn't feature her happiest smile. She looks like she is trying to be cooperative, but is not quite feeling joy in this moment.

In theory, Riley is the reason that I seem to take the growing up of my older children so well. Jeff says that the reason I can handle all the big milestones around here is because I still have Riley to focus on. He doesn't think I will handle Riley's big milestones as easily.

I wonder what gives him that idea....

Ally graduated from college, and I smiled and waved as she left home yet again.

I greeted Ryan's engagement with enthusiasm.

However, when Emilee came in last night, and asked, "How do you feel about Riley surfing you-tube videos," it took me back. I should have been worried about content and all that, but my first thought was, "She can't do that, she's a baby."

I think she has news for me.