Monday, November 15, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...

Jack's Christmas List 2010:

*a new car
*a pancake maker
*BYU shirt
*a drink of water
*mom & dad
*a Halloween pen
*a big train
*a red toy

How's that for random!? He makes us laugh!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Nobody warned me...

I am a week and a few days post-op on my old lady bunionectomy.  Recovery hasn't been too horrible.  The pain has been surprisingly very tolerable.  I haven't taken pain meds on a regular basis since Friday (2 days post-op).  I will take some here and there, but usually only after I have probably done a little more than I should have.  The boot has been my biggest enemy.  I hate it.  I hate that I move so slowly now.  I hate that I can't sleep on my side like I love to.  I hate that I have to take one stair at a time with both feet.  I REALLY hate that I can't drive.  That's been the hardest part for me!  I am going to force Austin this weekend to take me to a parking lot and let me see if I can manage driving with this monstrosity on!  I have been tortured by wearing this massive, heavy thing, that's nothing short of a ski boot, round the clock until my appointment yesterday.  They removed my boot, which just happened to be soaking wet.  Why?  Oh, because my two layers of press and seal saran wrap with a towel wrapped around the top of my boot, all covered by a kitchen-sized garbage bag, triple wrapped in masking tape failed me in the shower.  I was doing well until the very end of my shower when I realized that the bottom of my foot was wet.  That's not a good sign.  I called Austin in to help me unravel my foot out of the bag as soon as we possibly could, but it's never a good thing when there's a lake in the bottom of the bag.  Woops!  Soaked to the core.  I left little puddles of water everywhere I went for well over an hour!  We weren't overly concerned because I fortunately had my doctor's appointment later that day.

Once we got to the appointment, the medical assistant unveiled the ugliness that was my foot, we went in for x-rays and then the doctor removed my stitches.  It looks like it is healing well, no signs of infection and everything is as it should be.  My boot is still supposed to stay on unless I am showering (thank goodness!) or just sitting down with my feet up.  I was hoping that I would hear the words that I could sleep without my ski boot on, but no such luck.  But, the thought of being able to take it off a couple times a day was music to my ears.  My leg gets so itchy and I constantly have the desire to pop my ankle (just a bad habit I have)!  Now, I can scratch and pop to my heart's delight!

So, I showered today for the first time without my boot.  I was caught completely off guard that my foot was going to be completely clueless as to what its job was!!  I took one step out of my boot and nearly fell over!  I thought, "Oh, well this should have come with a warning!" My foot went all wacky on me!  I could even feel my brain kicking into high gear trying to tell it what to do.  It was one of the weirdest experiences I've ever had with my body.  The only other thing I could think that may be of equal weirdness is when I get my epidural before my C-section and my legs are in a certain position.  After I got my epidural and they wheeled me in the OR, they usually change the position of my legs.  I remember seeing a reflection them in the light above the operating table, not knowing that my legs had been moved.  I couldn't get my brain to catch up with reality.  Really bizzare.  Anyway, back to my psycho foot.  I'm sure that most people who have been through foot or leg surgeries are completely aware that your legs and feet will have some catching up to do, but it wasn't something that even crossed my mind as I took my first step out!  I had to hold on the the walls through my whole shower for fear of toppling over!  I can tell that my calf muscle is already lazy and my equilibrium was off because now my feet were on equal grounds, not one being several inches higher than the other like they have been for the past week.  The human body amazes me.  It adjusts to change without you even realizing it and then before long, the normal feels odd.  Am I even making sense?  I swear I'm not on pain meds anymore! :)

Hopefully as the days go on that I get to stand on my own two feet, it will feel less and less awkward.  I have three more long weeks ahead of me, but hopefully it will go by quickly.  I have to admit that it has been kind of nice to be forced to slow down, forced to spend more time inside of the house.  I have been getting quite a few projects done and I am proud to say that in October that I am all done with my Christmas neighbor gifts!   And there's the silver lining....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


And here we are with another one from Spencer.  I know these seem to always be about him lately, but man, he comes up with some good ones! 

Austin was helping him get dressed for church on Sunday and we were in a bit of a rush...surprise, surprise.  He told him, "Spencer, we need to go fast."  Spencer says, "Why dad?  Is it Fast Sunday?"  Austin chuckled and told him, "No, but it is hurry and get ready for church Sunday."  Spencer came back with, "Oh, I haven't ever heard of that one."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feeling Honored

Well, tonight was a boost for the self-esteem.  To start, I had a group of sweet young girls come to my doorstep with a plateful of delectable cookies and told me that they were honoring me for my divine nature.  Who, me?  Couldn't be!  My kids were so confused at the purpose and so enthralled with the cookies that a good conversation about it all ensued.  "What's divine nature?"  So, I explained that anything divine is from Heaven and to know your nature is to know where you came from.  In essence, it's to know that you are a daughter of God and to act accordingly.  So, we talked about that for awhile.  As I'm explaining this all to them, I'm feeling more and more inadequate for the recognition, but still very grateful for the compliment.  Then Spencer says, "I haven't ever said this before, but Mom, I love you so...." and then he trailed off and got embarrassed, afraid that his sisters would laugh at him.  Then he worked up the courage several minutes later and tried again.  "Mom, I think of it this way.  I made this up.  I think that I have two hearts.  One for love and one for life.  And the one that I care about most is the one about love."  How old are you?  He got embarrassed again and I thanked him for his cute words.

Since we had just finished up dinner and were still sitting around the table, we decided to each take one bite out of each cookie so we could all try them all.  They were all soooo good!  And what an awesome variety!  Everywhere from peanut butter bars, snickerdoodles, and sugar cookies to chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and s'mores bars (whoever made those, I want the recipe! I've never seen anything like those before!).

Then we started clearing up the table and Spencer then tells me, "Mom.  If you weren't my mom, and I was friends with your kids, I would silently think to myself, 'I wish she was my mom.' "

I almost didn't know what to say.  It was like ego overload for me!   I feel so blessed to have such a sweet little boy who isn't afraid to share his deepest thoughts and feelings.  I feel an immense amount of responsibility to foster that in the best way possible and to keep that part of him fed.  I know that my Savior has blessed me with such choice little spirits and at times (well, most of the time) I don't feel like I'm worthy.  And then I receive an "award" for my divine nature and I realize that I am.  I have to be.  It all comes full circle.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Father's Day 2010

Unfortunately, we didn't get a lot of pictures this year, but I did manage to snag a few of the presents that Paige created for her dad.  She came up with the Candy Gram all on her own...I just helped her a little with the layout. 

They made these "awesome" ties for their dads at activity days.  
It was great to see all of the dads at church being good sports 
and showing off their very fancy ties!  HA! 

I'm sure my children are too young to appreciate what an awesome dad they are blessed with.  He really is everything I had hoped for for them and even more.  He is always wanting to be involved and will repeatedly use his lunch break or take a little time off of work to be there to support them in school events and go be a "mystery reader", help out in the classroom or attend parent/teacher conferences.  He is a great teacher to them and is always trying to expose them to new and interesting things.  I'm grateful for him and am excited that my children get to learn and grow from him and his example!  I love you, hun!

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's a done deal!

Jack's surgery (officially called "Tube ventilation placement, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy") was yesterday morning. Austin talked me into moving it to the last week of school. It made for a very stressful week, but now that it's done, I'm really glad we did it. I was a nervous wreck the days leading up to it and I think I barely slept the night before. He checked in at 7:45am at the American Fork Hospital and I was very relieved to walk in and within minutes see two familiar faces. Mel Jorgensen and Cheryl Grace were there and even though neither were our nurses, it was still comforting to have them there!

As you can see, Jack is very unhappy to be here. Ha! He had been so excited about it. Obviously, he didn't know what was coming to him, but my smart husband had been talking up "the trip to the big doctors" for days and it paid off! Jack would talk about it constantly, so by the time it actually rolled around he was thrilled to be there! He quickly won over the nurses and made it that much easier to actually go through with it.

Jack picked up this baseball in Austin's car on the ride over. Who knew that would be his source of comfort? He held on to it the whole time before and after!

The socks they put on him were ridiculous. They're "one size fits all". Yeah right.

Jack's nurse was very sweet with him. She played catch with him for awhile to win his trust and affection and then she loaded him up with stickers. He used them all right away!

Jack showing us that the doctors are going to fix his mouth. Don't mind the dry patch around his mouth...we weren't allowed to use any lotions on him that morning. And, as for the scrapes on his eye and lip, well, Jack just wouldn't be Jack without some sort of injury. I think he was just trying to get more sympathy! :)

His nurse was willing to take our camera in and take some pictures. I'm so she did because otherwise....

we wouldn't have been able to have this nasty proof of how incredibly large his tonsils were (scroll fast if you're a wuss...I mean, if you have a weak stomach! :) ) It was all the nurse and the doctor could talk about to us when they were done. The doctor said they're about twice the size of the ones he usually removes!

Poor kid, huh? The doctor was excited for him because now "Jack will be able to sleep so much better". When we informed him that Jack is a great sleeper and always has been, he was in awe. He said, "I don't even know how he breathes when he sleeps!" If you look at the left side of both of them (the one on the left is facing the wrong way) you can see they have flat sides. That's from them pushing against each other when his mouth is in a relaxed state. I hadn't thought about it, but he explained that whenever we look at his tonsils, his mouth is wide open, which stretches the tonsils. So, when we could see them, they still looked huge and close together, but I never knew that when his mouth was closed that they would go even closer together!

After the surgery was over and before we had Jack back, the nurse came in and told us that everything went really well and smoothly. Those words are invaluable to a set of worried parents! I know that it's a common and simple procedure, but I couldn't help but let my mind explore the possible "what if's". When they wheeled him away, I gave him a kiss and thought, "that could be the last one for all I know." Lucky for us, it wasn't and everything went fine. She said she was very impressed with Jack's bravery. When they wheeled him back to the OR he remained happy and never once whined or cried. I was excited to know that he wasn't in a state of panic or hysterics. And then they brought Jack back to us. Oh my. They had warned us that he was going to be mad coming out of the anesthesia, but I was not prepared for how he really was. Jack is usually a mild mannered kid and is usually easy to distract or reason with. Well, apparently when he's not really coherent, any sort of reasoning or distractions are not going to work. He was screaming and flailing and trying to rip the IV out of his hand. They had to put a hose that blew out oxygen right in front of his face because he kept holding his breath. I could tell the IV was really hurting him and one time he actually got a pretty good hold of it. He kinked it which sent the monitors into a tizzy and she had to come try to save the line. If she couldn't fix it, she'd have to replace it, which we REALLY didn't want to do. So, I'm sitting in a chair holding him against me with all of my strength with one hand and the other hand is trying to keep the oxygen going toward him. Austin was trying to hold his hands away from each other while holding the arm with the IV in it still so the nurse could fix it. This portion of our day lasted WAY too long. He was hysterical and yelling, "I'm stuck, Mom!" Yes, he really was. He was still really out of it and in pain from the IV. It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I was trying to stay calm and collected so that I could try to calm Jack down, but when I looked up and saw the tears streaming down Austin's cheeks, I couldn't hold back mine back any longer. Finally, the nurse fixed the line and was able to save it, another nurse got him a sippy cup of apple juice (which he surprisingly started drinking right away without even a flinch!) and after about 30 minutes we were able to get him completely calmed down. Once he was fully out of the anesthesia, he was totally fine! He kept dozing in and out of sleep and would squirm like he was uncomfortable. So, I laid him down in the hospital bed with his blanket, stuffed dog and baseball and turned on the TV and he was a happy camper!

These pictures were obviously taken after worst part of the ordeal was over.

They told us that once he drank all of his juice and was able to hold it down for 15 minutes that they could take his IV out. We knew that once that came out that we'd get our happy Jack back. He was so willing to drink, something I was not expecting at all! He had it gone in about 15-20 minutes and the IV was out shortly after that! Woo hoo!

This was his best attempt at a smile at this point! :)

Of course, we had to get an ice cream cone on the way home!

And, honestly, from this point up to the moment that I write this, you wouldn't even know that he had anything done. He hasn't whined, he hasn't complained or cried. He's as happy and energetic as can be and is eating and drinking like a champ!

It's so stinking cute to hear his little voice now! It's a little bit higher pitched and so much clearer! Granted, his pronunciation isn't drastically improved (yet...), but his voice is no longer muffled! I thought I would miss his old voice, but his new one is so cute that I'm ok with it! I love this little man so much! Thanks to everyone for their comforting and encouraging words and prayers! Knowing we had so much support made this experience so much more bearable! Love to you all!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What? What's that you say? I can't hear you.

Ah, our sweet little Jack man. We've recently learned a whole lot about him and his speech problems. Like I've said before, most of what he says is vowels and he's still super hard to understand. I get most of what he's saying, but not all of the time. At first, I was just chalking it up to him being a boy and being a late talker. Spencer was a late talker too. But when his 3rd birthday rolled around and there was still little improvement, I began to worry. I talked with his pediatrician about it at his 3 year check up and he suggested speech therapy. I inquired about a hearing test, but he said that the speech therapist would take care of that. So, off we went to Mrs. Sorenson down at Forbes (the kids' elementary school) to speech therapy. She was about half way done with her assessment when she said, "I don't even need to finish this to know that he will need extensive help." Awesome. I asked her about a hearing test. She said that it probably wouldn't work well for a child this young, but we could go ahead and try. She put the huge earphones on his head and sure enough, every time he heard the beep, he would say, "Hear that?" He would then grab the earphone on the side that he was hearing the beep. She was impressed that he went through the entire test and then concluded that his hearing was fine. So, ignorant me, went along with it and assumed that his hearing must be fine. We've been continuing on with speech therapy with slow progress. She has said on several different occassions, "It's been awhile since I've had one like this." That's never good.

Several weeks later, I was talking with a friend whose son was exhibiting similar speech patterns. She had told me all about their turn of events that lead to them finding out that he couldn't hear very well. I then decided to take it upon myself to get more extensive hearing tests done for Jack. I called an audiologist (who happened to be in the same building as our pediatrician) and set up an appointment. We went in and Jack did really well through several different tests. He was tested for nerve damage and pressure within the ear. The doctor put Jack and I in a sound proof booth (one day when I'm rich and famous I'm going to get one of those to sleep in! Holy moly! You don't realize how much white noise is going on around you until you go into one of those!) and put headphones on him and played beeps at different pitches. The result of his testing indicated that his eustachian tubes aren't properly equalizing the pressure build up in his ears. He said that his ears are constantly like ours would be if we went up a mountain or in an airplane and we couldn't get our ears to pop. He likened him learning language to someone being taught English, but every time they are taught it's by a different teacher with a different dialect (australian, english, southern, etc). He said his ears probably do shift a little bit with the pressure in turn making his hearing change constantly throughout the day. I asked him what the course of action would be to fix this problem. This is where my frustration with him began. He said, "Well, he has to learn to pop his ears." What? You want me to try to teach a 3 year old how to pop his ears? You really think that if they haven't popped on their own by now that they are even able to? Then I said, "What if he can't?" He replied, "They usually correct themselves by the time they are 8-10." Are you even remotely serious? You want me to wait for 5-7 years for this problem to correct itself? I kept on and kept on, searching for options and he kind of washed his hands of it and said that he only had a glimpse through a small window of the whole problem and that he wouldn't be able to figure out what to do with him after only being with him for a half an hour. This stupid conversation went on for about 20 minutes only to then determine that that's not his job! He does testing and hearing aids. He said that for further treatment I would need to see his pediatrician. Where was that answer 20 minutes ago?! So, off we went, up the elevator to his pediatrician. I explained the problem and they immediately referred me to an ENT who happened to be on the 3rd floor of the same building. So, back out to the elevator we went and made an appointment with them for two days later.

We met with the ENT who reviewed the previous tests done by the audiologist and ran some tests of his own. He put a device in Jack's ear that completely plugged the ear and sent some sort of shock wave or puff of air (I can't remember) into Jack's ear that would determine the station of the ear drum. The ear drum lies at the base of the ear canal and should be flat and flush. That is what they call a zero. If the ear drum bulges towards the ear canal (the outside of the head), then that indicates a build up of fluid within the inner ear and if the ear drum bulges toward the middle ear (the inside of the head), then that indicates that something is creating a vacuum within his ear. Both of Jack's ears have a vacuum effect going on. He explained that his eustachian tubes (which equalize the pressure build-up and run from the middle ear into the back of the nasal drainage system and throat) are not functioning at all. The solution? Simple. He just needs tubes put in his ears. It's a low risk surgery where they make a small slit in the ear drum and insert a tube that looks like a very small and elongated spool. Although that won't fix the problem with the eustachian tube, it will allow the pressure build up to release in his ears. The eustachain tube usually corrects itself by the time the child is 8-10 (which is what the audiologist was trying to tell me, but he was suggesting that we just wait until then. Loser.) He was explaining how simple and painless the procedure is and we were about to wrap up the appointment when I then asked him how much tonsils and adenoids play into this situation. He asked about recurring strep or other throat infections. He did have one throat infection in February that was horrible. Here's a picture of his throat. Brace yourself. It's nasty.

If you look at his infection covered tonsils, you can see that they're touching. I explained this infection to him but then also informed him that this has been an isolated incident and not a recurring problem. He said that they usually don't remove tonsils or adenoids until kids are between the ages of 4-6. That's when they usually cause the most problems. He said, "If this were my kid, I wouldn't do anything until there's a significant cause." Then he said, "Well, let me take a look at them before you leave." Jack opened his mouth and the doctor peered in and said, "That sure changes things!" I asked him what he was talking about and he said, "His tonsils are huge!" I assured him that I was well aware that they were. He said they were a Stage IV. That meant nothing to me so I asked, "Out of what?" . He said that the biggest they can get is a Stage IV. Lovely. He said, "I take it back. If this were my kid, I'd have these removed as soon as you can." Judging by the size of his tonsils he drew the assumption that his adenoids were enlarged as well. Come to find out that the adenoids sit at the base of the eustachian tubes! He said that he would put money on the fact that the oversized adenoids were probably blocking the bases of the eustachian tubes which was in turn creating the vacuum! He also said that his tonsils are so large that they are preventing his tongue from a full range of motion so that he can't even properly form words! So, not only can he not hear us very well (he likened what he hears to what you sound like if you put your hand over your mouth and talk), but he can't speak well either!

He instantly became very apologetic because he had talked up such a simple procedure to me, but with this new diagnosis, that would change. It is a much more involved surgery and the recovery would be significantly more intense. I got teary eyed and he became more and more apologetic, assuming that I was a scared mom. Of course I was nervous for the procedure, but that was not the cause for my tears. I couldn't explain to him in words how excited I was for a cause for Jack's issues and a relatively easy solution. Over this whole process I couldn't help but wonder how much of the issue with Jack was a physical problem and how much of it is mental. After the original hearing test with the speech therapist, I was led to believe that it was probably some of both. Now this doctor is telling me that it's probably all physical and it could all be fixed!! I was overcome with gratitude. I knew at that moment that our prayers had been answered and that our family fast had played a role in me becoming more proactive in this situation.

So, we have Jack scheduled for surgery on June 24th. They could have gotten us in sooner, but since the recovery is supposed to be a beast, I wanted to be able to devote my full attention to him. The last couple of weeks in May are a nightmare because of all of the year end performances at school and dance and then I have my piano recital on the 25th. The first two weeks of June all of the kids have swim lessons, so the 24th it is! I so wish I could be in his head to hear the "before" and "after". The doctor said that he should be caught up with his speech within six months! Yipee!! Please keep him in your prayers that day that everything goes well and without a hitch and that there is rapid recovery and improvement with his hearing and speech!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Spencer came up to me and showed me a cut on his finger. I asked him what happened and he said, "A pickle did it." "A pickle?" I asked. This response from a 5 year old made me laugh: "I know. Weird. Right?" He's a one of a kind!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Science Fair Year #1

And so it begins. This was our first year doing a science fair project. And yes, I said "our" first year because we all know that that's exactly what it is. No third grader can do an adequate project completely on their own. However, this was Paige's idea and she did come up with the majority of the design. She ran all of the trial runs, but there was major construction work by her dad and I did most of the presentation.

She decided to build a hamster maze and put Bubba and Gus Gus to the test. Her question was: "If we put them in the maze over and over again, will they get better at the maze?"

Hypothesis: Yes, they will get better at it the more they run through it.

Paige with Gus Gus and Bubba
Result: They did get to know it better the more they ran through it. However, they aren't always interested in getting to the finish line! Gus Gus especially picked his favorite spot and was able to quickly find it each time!

And the verdict is in: FIRST PLACE! She was beyond excited about it! Trophy AND a medal AND momentary fame (in her eyes anyway...)? What more could a cute little girl want? Now I'm just worried about keeping up with the precedence we've set! Yikes! Wish us luck next year!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Today was my lucky day!

Paige was up all night crying because of a toothache. (Not so lucky). So we got her an appointment this afternoon up in Sandy. On my way down Sandy's State Street I see a cop on his motorcycle, radar pointed straight at me. Not another car in sight. Speedometer: 60 mph. Speed Limit: 40 mph. Our eyes made contact and I grimaced, knowing I was dead meat. I actually said that outloud, "I'm dead meat." My heart fell to the pit of my stomach and my legs went numb. I slowed down, fully expecting him to pull out and turn his lights on. I immediately made an unnecessary left hand turn, just in case that would confuse him and he'd lose me (I know that will never work, but at least I'd feel better knowing I'd tried! HA!). Well, it was my lucky day because he didn't move! I was shocked!

Then, off we go to the dentist's office to alleviate Paige's pain. We inform them that we currently don't have dental insurance and that we are hoping to be on a plan in the next couple of weeks, so we need just the bare minimums done now and we'll fully take care of the rest later. He informs me that one tooth that has previously had a pulpotomy (a baby tooth root canal) and a filling put in it now has a loose filling and infection has settled in. However, the tooth behind it is the one with the deep cavity and the one most likely causing the pain. He wanted to pull the front tooth and give the back tooth a pulpotomy and a filling. All I heard was $$$$$$$$. So, I told him our situation with the insurance and he still suggested that course of action. After some persuasion, I talk him into just giving the back tooth the pulpotomy and seeing if that helps the pain situation and if not, we'd be back. So, he finally caught my drift and did as I asked and even put in a temporary filling that would do the job until we could get insured. I walk up to the front desk to pay the bill and she tells me that it will be $140. I told her that my other daughter just had the same procedure done a couple weeks prior and they gave her a permanent filling and it came to the same price. She investigated, gave me a 20% discount for not having insurance, honored my $100 off coupon that I left at home (and is expired!) and I walked out of there having paid them $12! I was so proud of myself! I'm not usually one to negotiate these things very well. Austin even told me before I went that I could get him on the phone with them if I wanted and he would do it for me. I called him on our way home and I think I really surprised him!

So, $128 saved due to a simple conversation and no ticket that I fully deserved!

Good day....good day.