December 30, 2009

So Wild

I know the date on this post says December 30th...but for me, it's still the 29th. Super late. Today has been wild. At first, I thought it was going to be wild because we sold Tymon's car that he's had for 10 years.



So long Friend! You've been good for Tymon...but in all honesty I wanted you gone. It didn't take long to convince your best mate, either. We didn't want to pay for your thousand dollar repair or insure you or really even take you to get your emissions test that you were going to fail ... all by next week. So you got the boot. Now we're a measly two-car family. And we're okay with that. Especially since we only have two drivers anyway (and 4 wannabees).

This evening it got really wild when my aunt called my mom when I was over and said that we had a new cousin who was born in 1972 that we've never heard about before. He wanted to meet us and would be at my Uncle Larry P's house in Lake Stevens at 9:30 pm (yeah kind of late...I stayed 2 hours). Long story made short: as a teenager my uncle Steve fathered a child who was placed for adoption. This cousin, I'll call him Mike (because that's his name), has had limited contact with our family...first because of the closed adoption and the years that it took to find his birth mom and then birth father and second because of the adverse reaction of my uncle's wife. Well, through a miracle my aunt has experienced a change of heart. My uncle Larry P felt prompted to take Mike to visit my aunt this afternoon. The visit was good. And now the secret is out. We've got a new cousin.



There are a few uncanny things about Mike.

First is his resemblance to my uncle Dayle who died almost 20 years ago. I will have to get a photo of Dayle from my mom or aunt for a true comparison. Dayle was a favorite uncle for us. He gave us licorice when we would admit to everyone else that he was our favorite uncle. JC and Brett carry on this tradition with my children. Dayle died in a car accident when I was 14 and is buried just a few headstones away from Evan.

Second, he has a daughter named Sierra who was born on October 27th. Our cousin Perry also has a daughter named Siera who was born on October 27th (6 years earlier).

Third, he spent a few summers with his dad living directly behind the auto shop that Steve worked in. He rode past the business every day a couple of times. How wild would that be? Being so close yet so far from your birth father/son? Wow. Wild. Wild. Wild.

Fourth, Mike and my uncle Steve are both mechanics by trade. So interesting. This type of thing furthers the nature versus nurture debate.

I may write more on this. There is certainly more to the story and Mike is an open book. He is diligently trying to piece together his life and see where he fits in. I am happy to have been able to meet him tonight. I am tickled to have another cousin, especially one whose looks embody so many wonderful memories of a favorite uncle. I wonder if Dayle would have been Mike's favorite uncle...yeah, probably.

I also wonder about Jett. Perhaps, I should do more to find out who/where his half brother is. If I even found out his name and birthdate now, it may help in a search later when Jett is interested in finding his birth family.

December 28, 2009

Goodbye Library

For almost two years I have served in my most favorite position at church - as a librarian.  Because our church has a lay ministry, each member has the opportunity to contribute to the inner workings of the church through "callings". One has a calling to teach, another to play the piano or lead music, and another to organize activities. It's a great system and I like the opportunities afforded me for growth and the development of my talents.

My first ever calling was in the library when I was 18. I was still in high school and enjoyed being a part of our congregation. I collected announcements and typed our bulletin on a typewriter each Sunday before our main service.


I had a system down so that I had it typed, copied and folded just in time for the meeting to start. And on those days when I got done early, I popped in a BYU video from the 1960s. Those classics made me laugh and laugh and laugh. One Sunday, I was questioning why I went to so much effort in putting together a bulletin that looked nice and where there were no spelling errors (it took a bit to correct them on a typewriter). So, I inserted my own announcement. Made up on the spot. Humorous. Hilarious.

"Church will be cancelled next week due to lack of interest."

Yeah, we had some good laughs. I got a few comments. Most people didn't notice. Like I wouldn't notice today if there was the same announcement made. Yeah, I turned into one of them. One of those too caught up in what's going on in my own home to care about anything going on anywhere else.

Two years ago I was chasing after four boys four and under. I was pregnant with Jocelyn. I was tired (still am). I didn't have time enough to shower during the week, let alone prepare a lesson for my primary class. January 2008 I was released from my calling. I laid low for a while. I didn't want a job. I didn't want to help out. I didn't want to do anything. But I was found out. Which turned out okay.

My new calling February 2008 was in the library - minus the bulletin. And I have loved it. I love the simplicity of just showing up. I don't do anything complicated. I give teachers chalk and erasers and crayons and copies. Teens come in to borrow scriptures (and get harassed by me because they forgot theirs at home). What I really enjoy is how easy it was to please people and exceed their expectations. I copied their stuff double sided or stapled a packet of permission slips for summer camp put binder holes in agendas for them. I personally delivered materials to members of another congregation before their meetings started. Yes, my library is accessible and friendly.  I love chatting with others. And, if you were skipping class, I knew who you were ... because I was, too.

My next assignment should prove to be much more spiritually enlightening for me...a teacher in the Relief Society (organization for women) on the third Sunday of the month. I will miss you, library. But in all honesty, I've missed my spiritual self, too.

Teaching pulls me out of neglecting the spiritual me...and will hopefully bring light to my soul. It's been hard to make a heartfelt prayer when the most sincere prayer I ever said wasn't answered the way I wanted. It's hard to read scriptures when I still fight acceptance of the Lord's will in my life. What I really want is all of my five children with me. Whether I can handle them all or not doesn't matter. I still want my Evan. And even though my intellect may understand what the Lord may be teaching our family about eternity, my heart just aches to be whole. And this is grief. The wanting. The longing. Wishing for what is not. Grief has not only robbed me of my boy. It's taken a part of me down with it. Yes, I'm happy to have the opportunity to teach. It is a path to regaining my neglected spiritual self.

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas



Evan got his own tree this year. It's living and I hope to bring it to him until it gets too big to haul each December. We gave him presents of candy canes and Bapa brought some gummy bears that the mangy rabbit is guarding. The Halloween treat is still there...a little faded.

Evan was our only child who got a haircut at 12 months. He turned from baby to boy with that cut. We watch Jocelyn now as she grows and see that she is the same age and size as we remember him. Sometimes their likeness is startling. She also behaves in many of the same ways as he did. She is her own person, but right now, she is so much like her brother.

We have a full house tonight with my aunt, Tymon's mom and her sister all here in addition to our family. We talked and laughed. We ate roast beef and then acted out the nativity story as my father read from the scriptures. Jocelyn was so tired and let everyone know about it. The boys were pleasant and only called each other a few names.

The house is now quiet and everyone's asleep now except Santa and Mrs. Claus. Santa wishes the elves would put together the toys for him. Mrs. Claus wishes she didn't have to wrap anything and could go to sleep.

We think of you and yours and wish you a very Merry Christmas. May you find hope and love in the birth and life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

December 22, 2009

Crazy Technology

Yesterday, we got a new phone system put in at our office. It has great promises ... we just need to learn how to use it. I apologize if you were one of the calls I didn't mean to answer. You see, I don't often answer the phone unless our receptionists are helping other customers or at lunch.

So I'm sitting at my desk and I hear the intercom on my phone activate. I say, "yeah?" And the caller is silent. "Hello?" The caller asks if this is the driving school and I'm embarrassed at how I answered the call. "Yes, you've reached Defensive Driving School. I'm sorry we just got new phones put in and I thought you were an internal call to my desk..." Okay, so I help the customer and all is well. I swear off answering any more phones. Twenty minutes later the same thing happens. I think it's my intercom and say, "yeah?". The caller is confused. I'm learning (ha ha not fast enough!) and it occurs to me that this is also a live call. "Defensive Driving School, how may I help you?" And I help the caller but it's on speaker phone and I'm afraid to change it off because what if I lose him?



After I hang up my brother talks to me in only a way that a brother does...pretty much it went down like this: Bridget! Stop answering the phone like that. These are real customers! And me in the sisterly response (very professional): "I'm not even answering my phone! My intercom goes off and the people are just there." It turns out that this happened to our receptionists, as well. The installer (still in the office helping us) called the boss. Apparently, here's the new technology: the phone can hear that someone is there and will answer automatically. That's right. You're sitting at your desk and the phone hears you typing and then answers the call as it comes in. You don't have to push any buttons. You don't have to lift up your receiver. You do nothing but make a little noise and voila! you are the lucky phone greeter. ha ha ha. Yeah, once the installer found out that this feature existed then he was able to find out how to turn it off.

I mean what if you were talking to an upset parent or discussing someone's payroll or medical leave status and then a random customer calls in and hears sensitive information? I'm pretty happy that of all the things my callers could have heard, they only heard me answer the phone, "yeah?".

Momma's Sprung

My mother is now out of the hospital and we are happy that she can get some rest and continue with her recovery. The crazy thing is that the doctors still don't know what caused the seizures. They've ruled out brain tumor, so that's good. But the not knowing is so frustrating.


Adding a drug to treat a symptom instead of treating the root problem is also frustrating, especially because it has it's own side effects. We are hopeful that a private practice neurologist rather than a hospital neurologist can help in pin pointing  what brought on the seizures. Besides ataxia, slurred speech, decreased coordination and mental confusion (all the things I worried about when seeing my mom in the hospital), the new drug also has some ocular side effects like: 


What's crazy about this is that I know what nystagmus is. We used to test our driver's ed students on what it meant after the alcohol lesson. We took it off the test a couple of years ago because it's just such a random bit of information and really not the meat and potatoes of positive driving habits.

December 20, 2009

2 Times Daily PRN




Saturday, Tymon dropped me and the big boys off at the hospital while he took Jett and Jocelyn shopping. It amazing that we get there twice a day (except only once today). The boys loved playing with Uncle Brett.



Graeden erased all of the nurse notes and made his own pictures...then he messed all of those up.



Elliott came with me in the evening to read Nana a bed time story. But she fell asleep before he started.



The most curious thing for Elliott is Bapa's wattle. Like why does he have it and what does it do? He thinks that perhaps only boys have wattles since I don't have one. And he's wondering when he will get one. ha ha ha.



Elliott sleeps like my paternal grandmother. He was so tired after our adventures all evening. He had a meltdown in the store we visited after we left the hospital. Unfortunately he cried almost all the way home and only fell asleep a few minutes from home.

My mother is doing much better today. Her voice is normal and not groggy/foggy. I'm happy for her and so glad and relieved that she is getting back to normal. I'm not as happy with the nazi nurses I met tonight. And here I thought she was getting great care. One nurse got on her case for trying to go to the toilet with my help. The bed alarm sounded and it took at least a minute or two for her to even get to us. And the nurse was seriously upset. Then I was talking on my cell phone and I got in trouble for that even though EVERYONE for the past few days has been talking on a phone in that room without any issues. I was just pleased she kept her mouth shut when all of my boys were running down the hall toward the elevator when we left this evening. The other nurse I talked to right before I left about letting my mom get some sleep at night. It's standard procedure to draw everyone's blood at 4 am so that the lab can test it and have the results back by 7 am when doctors start doing rounds. Uh, are you serious? I'm pretty sure that sleep is better for most every patient's healing process than just about anything else. It's infuriating that nurses/doctors poke and prod patients all day AND all night. The night before last my mom reported that she was woken up at 3 am for a bath. Please tell me that's not normal!

On the plus side for the hospital is one thing I've never seen before. Technology has entered in for the better of everyone. Each room is equipped with a lap top and hand held scanner. Every time a medication is given or  blood taken, etc. the nurse scans the patient wristband, which has their own bar code on it and then scans the medication and then it's automatically entered into the computer. My mom ordered lunch and wanted a pickle on her sandwich and the lady in the kitchen told her she couldn't have a pickle because she needs to lower her sodium count. What? Yeah, even the kitchen knows EXACTLY what each patient should or should not be eating. In this digital age, I'm so happy that there will be fewer medical errors made in record keeping. They certainly won't disappear since a human inputs information into the system by hand in admitting. But it's far better than it used to be.

December 19, 2009

Hair

One of the worst things in my estimation about being confined to a hospital bed is not being able to take care of your personal hygiene by yourself. Last night I brought Elliott to the hospital with me and together with my father we washed my mothers hair. They have this cool shower cap type thing that has warm shampoo in it that you don't have to rinse out. You put it on the head and then let your fingers do the massaging. She loved having her hair combed afterward and it felt nice to be able to do something for her.



My mother is having periods of time where she is "better" but that better is far worse than anything I've ever seen of her before. Better means that she is able to talk however garbled that may sound. Her doctors are unsure of what is really going on with her. Her MRI, EEG and CAT scans are not showing why she has had 10 seizures in the past 3 days. Yesterday morning was the worst. It lasted one hour and forty minutes. I left after one hour and 15 minutes. Jocelyn was getting very cranky and the neurologist had come. I thought it was only fair that the doctor not be distracted with a bawling baby :o). In the afternoon they did a spinal tap to see if there was an infection. Results should be in today. The unknown is so scary and frustrating. I just want them to be able to assess the problem and work to fix it.

The doctor told my mom she wouldn't be able to drive for 6 months because of the seizure. I'm not sure that's the way I would have put it. Or really even mentioned that at this point. How about taking a video of my mom to show her  later. It would include some of her seizures. Then ask her if she thought it was wise to let her on the road with thousands of pounds of weaponry (a car) at high speeds. No, instead she perceived that the doctor was taking away one of her freedoms. And that's just not the way it is. My mother would be devastated if she had a seizure while driving and seriously hurt or killed someone.

Our thoughts and prayers are still with Nana and her team of health care professionals. We are grateful for all of you who have put her in yours.

December 16, 2009

Time

It's been hard for me to write lately. Even now I don't feel any great thoughts coming yet I know it is time to break the silence of the past week. On a great note I will show you what fun we had at the YMCA last Friday night. Jocelyn and I played in the gym and the boys went swimming.



Tymon was a taxi to the boys with the foam noodles.



On a not so great note, my brothers and parents and a consultant had a meeting this afternoon when I noticed my mom with a blank stare and jerk like motions to turn her head. I interrupted whoever happened to be speaking and asked her if she was alright and there was no response. After several seconds...maybe 30 she snapped back and was totally alert. She didn't know why we were staring at her and she was fine. I had asked my brother to call 911 and she was totally opposed to that. We didn't and continued our meeting. Maybe 10-20 minutes later it happened again. This time I asked her to smile for me. My father waved his hand in front of her face. She has no recollection of this happening. On the way home, my dad took her to her doctor. She had another episode there. They sent her to the hospital and she had another episode there. She's now had a cat scan and EKG. They are unsure whether she had some mini-strokes or seizures. Either way it's not good and she's staying in the hospital tonight. My brother and father are giving her a blessing now.

I'm not ready to say goodbye. My boys have suffered great loss in their few years on earth. It's not time for them to lose their Nana, too. I hope all will be well. I pray for the doctors and nurses who administer to her and ask that you will, too. I want more time with my mom.

December 10, 2009

Dear Sir

Dear Mr. Burnie Burner,


On the way home this evening, I discovered a horrific stench a few miles away from my house. And while I'm grateful that it's not my car that is burning belts or having some major malfunction, I'm also thinking that you should think of another way to get rid of your garbage. Within 45 minutes I could smell it inside my home. The fire department hasn't been able to locate you in the dense fog. You sure are sneaky. And stinky. Please don't ever do this again.

Sincerely,
Having Trouble Breathing

December 9, 2009

Beautiful Birthday

This morning started out a little hectic, and once I got home from dropping Elliott off at school I hopped into the shower. My lovely friend Diane came over a little earlier than I expected so by the time I was dressed and out of my room she had cleaned up my kitchen and taken out the trash. We had the best visit and I am so so so thankful for her friendship. She brought me some sour watermelon candy for my birthday. I've been craving it since my cousin shared some with me while watching New Moon a few weeks ago.



Another friend, Donna, invited me and another birthday girl to her home for lunch. It was so good and Donna makes the best bread EVER. It's seriously like candy. After lunch Jett, Jocelyn and I went shopping. I got a sweater and a pair of shorts...not like I'll be wearing them any time soon since the temperatures are below freezing. But they are cute and were on sale.

We picked up the big boys from school and my birthday present was on the doorstep. Thanks Tymon!

The next part of my day was the worst...fighting boys. More like Graeden terrorizing his siblings. And what do I do with him? Is this a stage or the start of a miserable path? I took them to the gym and we played around and shot some baskets and practiced dribbling. Really and truly I'm trying to be present in their lives. It's so hard. My tendency to find the internet more interesting than parenthood isn't the greatest.

My parents came over this evening and brought dinner. Some of my cousins came over and caroled and brought us a plate of Christmas goodies. And when the house was quiet I checked my email to find that one of my friends emailed me to tell me that I'd won a blog giveaway today. And just when the day was nearly over, Tymon came home from school and brought me Swedish Fish and cheesecake.

Yes, today was good. I am so thankful for wonderful friends and family and for all of the well wishing on my Facebook wall. I have truly felt loved today. THANK YOU!

December 7, 2009

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Graeden has been a bit  naughty of late. He likes to torment his siblings. I'm not even sure what to make of it exactly. Is it a phase? Or will it persist? Last night when we were kneeling for family prayer he was bouncing around and being excited in general for Christmas. When we confronted his behavior, he exclaimed that he was trying to get as much coal for his stocking as he could...




...that way he could get enough to power a train.


He's clever, that's for sure and more optimistic than I've given him credit for.

December 2, 2009

Firsts

One of the joys of parenting is the ability to have "firsts" with our children. Sometimes, it's really fun to watch. Like when Graeden could ride his bike without training wheels or when he could put together the words and sentences in the Dick and Jane books. Or even do well playing games.



Last night, Graeden went to his first basketball practice, EVER. I think he's messed around with a ball before but besides watching our 10 year old neighbor shoot baskets, Graeden has never even seen anyone play. His excitement to play was fun to watch. And to be honest, a little embarrassing. And I'm also embarrassed to admit that. Basketball is a very public sport. Every spectator sees you succeed or fail. Graeden was so excited and jumpy and the other kids seemed so calm and collected. He just looked so young and innocent.



I wanted Graeden to be a natural. He's not. But he did have fun. I'm trying to encourage him and use positive speech to keep him going. I think he will. He liked having something to do and learning a new skill. He's very aware that he's smaller than every other kid on the team (1st and 2nd graders). He tried his hardest to follow directions and to make his body to obey what his brain was telling it to do.


Santa's Little Helper


The boys were so excited on Friday when we got out our Christmas decorations. Most all of our ornaments are now plastic/non-breakable. Occasionally, we have some more fragile ones. Like this ceramic bottle given to Graeden on his first Christmas. Uh, yeah, Jocelyn likes to suck on it.


Tymon also really likes trimming the tree. Each year, he takes a day off of work to do it. Well, actually, his work was closed so it worked out nicely.




Jocelyn helped Tymon and the boys hang the decorations. Each day she goes to the tree to find a new toy to remove and play with. Soon, I'm sure we won't have many decorations on the lower two feet of the tree.
 
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