Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Let me start by saying Happy Father's Day to my beloved dad. With all the activities of the day, I didn't have a chance to call and give my wishes to him personally, but fortunately I got a gift off to him a month ago (pre-surgery). But let me take the opportunity to brag about my father. In Sacrament Meeting today, the subject focused on the priesthood. Each of the speakers addressed different areas, but each one made me think of my own father. My father is a remarkable man, one who truly honors the priesthood he has been given. I remember numerous times when I needed blessings, sometimes late at night, and he would make sure to be in a white shirt and tie (even at 3 a.m.) as he gave them. He has served so many as a branch president, bishop, missionary, and now, as a patriarch. He has such a strong desire to do what is right and help those around him. I think that between he and my mom, they are the greatest example I could find of what our Heavenly Father and Mother are like. Thanks for all you do, Dad. I love you!

We spent the day first, sleeping in and missing the opportunity to give John breakfast in bed. (We later chuckled that he had a bowl of Cap'n Crunch in bed, but he had to get it himself.) I made it through all three hours of church for the first time since before the surgery and was able to play the piano in Primary--without pain! (And Ellie pulled another tooth out in class. She now only has on the top the four front and then just 2 in the back on each side. All the rest are gone.) After walking home in the 90+ degree heat, I made John a celebratory dinner of raspberry vinaigrette salmon, rice, french bread and grilled pineapple. It's the first real meal I've cooked in over a month, and the first time we've eaten as a family at the dinner table in almost that long. The kids gave him their gifts of two Willow Tree figures (1 with a daughter, 1 with a son) and a musical Hallmark card. After we ate (and rested), it was down to his parents' house where we joined in with his siblings and their families to give our best wishes (and encouragement) for a continuing recovery. (He was in the hospital this week and had 2 liters of fluid removed from his lungs.) He's feeling better with the fluid removed, obviously, and shared his feelings towards his own father and his children. We snacked on a multitude of goodies and then came home to escape the crowd and the heat.

Yesterday we went out to Chuck-A-Rama for John's "out to eat" celebration. As we walked in, I was focused on Griffin dancing and saying, "I have to go to the bathroom now!" while I tried to distract him until we at least got seated. We walked by one party who was waiting for more people and made it to the cashier. As I was taking care of the charges, John was looking at me like, "Look over there." I wasn't catching it, so he finally said, "That's L. Tom Perry over there." I looked and didn't see him, and he said, "Over there." Ian was freaking out a little and I finally saw him, in what I termed "street clothes." Believe me, it makes a HUGE difference in how he looks! So Ian and Maggie quickly started texting everyone they know, and I got to ask Ian how he noticed him. He said, "I just felt his presence before I even saw him." THAT's a humbling statement. Of course, I was still so focused on everything going on around me (Griffin, the cashier, etc.) to notice an apostle of God, and Ian just felt his presence even without looking. He's a great kid.

Maggie is having a rough recovery from her injury and we're just hoping and praying she'll make a marked improvement in the next few days. I'll contact her doctor in the morning to see if we can do something to help with the nausea and see if that gets her back on her feet. These next couple of days see lots and lots of work to be done in and around the house to prep the house for the vacation. My lists are long and may be impossible, but I'll do my darndest to get as much done as I can.

Friday, June 13, 2008

No Surprises Here!

There wasn't a hockey stick involved, but there was an ice rink. With four days left until we head to Italy, Maggie has a concussion. She went ice skating with the young women on Wednesday night, and, as she was getting off the ice, fell backwards hitting her head and bumping up her knee. We made a trek to the doctor yesterday and were told to just watch her for increased nausea or other symptoms. I watched today as she got dizzier and more nauseous, and then finally made the call to the doctor. By 4:45 we were in the hospital and by 5 she was having a CT scan done. Now we wait the word from the radiologist. We're hoping she'll get the all-clear for travel, but she has assured us that if she can't go, she still wants all of us to go without her. Maybe we'll just share the pain meds on the plane ride and buoy each other through the experience.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One Summer Event Down, Many to Go!

Ian and Maggie returned home from youth conference Saturday, tanned/burned, tired, and testifying of the truth of the gospel. The highlight for both of them was a fireside by a member of the first quorum of the seventy, Elder Craig W. Zwick. They were both so impressed by him and thrilled to have heard him in a more personal setting. (I shared with them that their father took him around in a golf cart when I was running a conference at the U of U many years ago and that we were both impressed with him then--prior to his call into the seventy.) Since our stake alternates between ward and stake youth conferences, this was Maggie's first youth conference on a stake level. They took all the youth to Camp Williams (a National Guard training facility) where they were thrust into all sorts of activities. But I love that they both come home stronger in the gospel and in their own testimonies. It's such a good thing.
Griffin gets to go to his first Cub Scout Day Camp tomorrow morning (7 am!) and can hardly wait. His lunch is already packed (except for his sandwich which I convinced him to wait on) and he's got us all on countdown alert. He's pretty disappointed that it's not an overnight camp and is, I'm sure, formulating a way in his mind to make it such. Each sibling was awakend this morning with a personal reminder from Griffin that tomorrow was camp day, that he gets to take a lunch, and be a real scout! Ian has a student council meeting at 7 as well, so I guess there's no sleeping in for any of us since Ellie has swim practice early too.

Once Cub Scout camp is done, then the countdown is on for our Italy trip! There has been a flurry of email between family members, reserving hotels, scheduling events, and contacting the airlines. My lists are long and involved with all the tasks that need to be done before we go and even while we are there. I'm hoping my neck holds out through this trip. It's been such a struggle this week with how I'm feeling. Maybe it's just getting all the pain out of my system before we go. (Wouldn't that be convenient!)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mixed Blessings

Today is the day I've been waiting for for nearly two weeks: the cervical collar came off! I can't wait to sleep tonight because I hope to go back to my most comfortable sleeping positions. The doctor asked me how I've been feeling and I told them that I've been nearly pain-free since the surgery--until today! My arm was hurting as much as it did before the surgery and the pain in the back of my neck was almost unbearable. It was all blamed on a storm system that came through today and I was assured that the arm pain would be gone within three months, but more importantly, would lessen when the storm passed. Same with the neck, although the storm-pain will probably persist. I've been trying to do as many mental exercises as I can to mentally control the pain and have arranged for a massuse to come in tonight to see if she can help as well. But now I'm allowed to turn my head from side to side, but not up and down and I have the same activity restrictions that I had with the collar on, although I can drive now (for short distances, I say). They want me to refill all my prescriptions before we go to Italy so I'm not left without medicine if my pain levels increase again. My next appointment is in 10 weeks and is scheduled for the day after the kids return to school (yippee!). Then they will decide if I'm ready to resume full activity and get back to physical therapy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ellie's Big News

Ellie and Ian went to the orthodontist for their adjustments--and Ellie came out without her braces! We were all stunned, except Maggie who was devastated because she was supposed to get hers off next week after 5 years of orthodontia (they informed her two weeks ago that she wouldn't be getting them off). She's thrilled and is now wearing a retainer. Now, when her permanent teeth come in, they'll be back on for another few years.

What Makes a Mom Happy

Who knew that beating your teenage kids on Guitar Hero was so fun? Ian and I did pro face-off with me winning the majority of the battles (he had to make me do "Through the Fire and Flames" just to save face--and he wiped the floor with me). Maggie wanted to challenge me as well, and faced the same fate as Ian. It was great!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Doesn't Summer Mean We Can Sleep In?

It's the first "official" day of summer vacation, and, as is his usual custom, Griffin was in waking me at 6:30 to ask if he could watch "The Magic School Bus" of the day. (He has it season passed on Tivo.) Now, this usually isn't a big deal because it makes sure that everyone is getting ready for school, but come on! It's June! No more school! We sleep in! So by 6:35, both he and I were up, watching The Magic School Bus.

Ellie will find out if she passed the test for the swim team today and if so, that will add another dimension to our summer. She'll be walking along with some of the neighborhood kids to the pool each morning for practice. Ian's already on the computer working on some logos he's designing, and Maggie and I are sharing our favorite songs with each other. Here's hoping for a fast and lazy summer!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Twilight Mania Finally Hits Mom!

I'm a little behind the times (about 2 years) and Maggie's enthusiasm for Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series. Maggie had been asking me over and over to read it, but I haven't been able to find any time to devote to sitting and getting into a new series of books. The only series that had me clearing my schedule was when a new Harry Potter book would come out and I would devour it in a weekend. She figured since I was pretty much bedridden for four weeks following my cervical fusion, this was the ideal time. Two weeks into the "rest period," I still hadn't been able to get more than 100 pages into the book. I carried it with me this past Tuesday to the little ones' dance festival at the elementary school and was stunned at how many MOMS stopped to tell me how much they loved the series. Finally one of my friends told me how great they were and I confided to her that I just couldn't get into it. She said that she had had the same struggle but that after about 200 pages she couldn't put it down. I decided to make a concerted effort to read it since school would be out at the end of the week and any substantial amount of quiet time would be gone until August. My cervical collar has been making me nuts lately, so I thought I'd throw myself into the book to take my mind off it. Two days later, I had finished all three books in the series and was online searching the Internet for anything I could find on the author, the series and the movie. Maggie spends most of her time laughing at me and my enthusiasm, but I'm okay with it. So now not only do we have countdown calendars for our summer family trip, but one for the release of the fourth book in the series, Breaking Dawn, and the Twilight movie due in theaters on December 12. School may be out, but I still have three days until I find out from the surgeon if the collar can come off. I guess I'll be making it through the series one more time before then!