Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Pumpkinland::October 31

A couple of days ago, I took Michael to Pumpkinland and invited Josh, Karen, and Aiden to come with us. They did, and we had a great time :)

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Simply Gratitude::October 23

** Today is bill paying day. I am so thankful for money to cover them all. This has not always been the case, and I am enormously grateful for times when life is good and there is enough to go around. I am also so grateful for Steve who works so hard to support our family. I do odds and ends jobs that bring in a little here and there, but he has always been the Bread and Butter, and for that I am so thankful to him. I know how lucky I am to stay home with our children; the job of stay-at-home mom is a hard one to keep, but I have been blessed to be able to be one for the majority of my kids' lives.

** Emily got braces on today. I am very glad that she opted to get them. I know that they are a pain - literally - but I know that she will be grateful that she had them when her teeth are perfectly straight.

** My house is warm, my belly is full, and there are people to love and love me. Life is good. ♥

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reporting from the Garden::October 22

The garden is finished. I took out the plants today and brought in a tray full of green tomatoes. I have been told that you can wrap them in newspaper and they'll ripen slowly through the winter. I'm excited to try :)

These are what just came in:

I ate most of the red ones while I was working in the garden, but a couple were left over and brought in too.

So, here is what I've learned this past season:

First of all, from now on I'm buy most of my transplants from Vineyard Gardens in Orem. I have had bad luck with zucchini for the past many years... until this year, when I bought my starts from Vineyard Gardens. While you are there, take a walk through all of the greenhouses and breathe deeply.... ahhhh. I should live in a greenhouse.

When you are all finished with the greenhouses, keep on walking east and then turn south. Enjoy looking at all of the cute bunnies: lionheads, rex, dutch. Then look at the chickens and goats. Do NOT pet the billy goat unless you don't mind smelling like a musky goat all day, but he would appreciate some attention & is a real sweetie :) The nanny goats usually like to be petted, and they are much less dangerous in the smelly goat situation, so if you'd like to pet them, they'll probably like it. Also, sometimes in the spring there are often baby goats; pet them if they'll let you - but don't be surprised if they won't; many times the babies are too skittish and shy.

Last spring, Matt spied a baby bunny that had fallen through holes in the cage and was wriggling on the ground. Baby bunnies are about the size of a big mouse, furless, and blind since their eyes won't open for a few weeks. If you do find a baby that has gotten away, don't pick it up.... find a worker and they will put it in the right mama's nest. Rabbits are extremely frightened of people and will reject their babies if they smell like people - especially unfamiliar people.

When you are done on the southeast side, turn north and look for the guinea hens, turkeys, peahens and peacocks, and/or whatever other fowl they have. Vineyard gardens is full of surprises :) Then, sit down under the covered pavillion and watch your kids play on the swingset. You could also browse through the roses if you'd prefer, since they are close by the playground too.

I'm planning a trip to go see Pumpkinland at Vineyard Gardens soon. I'll post pictures :)

All of the transplants I bought did especially well except for the yellow squash... maybe I'll buy that at Olsen's Greenhouse next spring....

I bought a variety pack of cherry tomatoes, and I especially loved one type... I need to find out its name. It is a purple-red and has lower acid than the other cherry tomatoes. It was WONDERFUL! I want to plant more of it next year.

As for the full-size tomatoes, I got more tomatoes from the Early Girls than the Better Boys. The Better Boys put a lot of energy into growing very large plants instead of producing fruit. Next year, I'm sticking solely to Early Girls.

The green peppers..... not a ton of fruit, but a few here and there. I'll probably try them again.

Celery.... not growing it anymore. I'm not sure if it is my soil, the way I water, or what, but the stalks are little. The plants died and regrew several times through the season.

I bought a new rhubarb plant this year, and it seems to have died. I'll leave it alone and hope it builds its root system and comes back bigger and stronger than ever.

The Walla Walla Onions did fabulously! I'll definitely get more sets of them next year.

The garlic that I planted this past spring produced a boatload of bulbs! However, the bulbs are tiny, so instead of planting them, I bought a new garlic bulb this past weekend that I'll sow soon and hopefully it will produce bigger bulbs next year.

The parsley plant that I bought in the spring is still growing well. I hope that it survives the winter! Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

Next spring, the new tulip bulbs I planted should grow. I'm looking forward to that!

It seems that I have a deer sleeping in my garden at nights. I have found droppings and part of my oregano is laying flat. I hope that he/she has enjoyed their bed, but we are going to be trimming all of the herbs down, so they will have to find a new soft place to sleep.

I bought a new rosebush this past weekend while I was visiting Vineyard Gardens to buy garlic. It is called "Peace", and who can't use more of that?! As a heads up: all rosebushes are on sale at Vineyard Gardens for $5 apiece right now - they are normally $12.99.

I think that wraps it up for now. I have truly LOVED having my garden this year. I haven't done as much in it as I would have liked - Jared watered it and kept the weeds down as often as I did - but some was definitely better than none!! There is just something about working/playing in the dirt, seeing the earthworms, smelling the earthiness.... Love it!

What are you loving today?

P.S. Rosebush info for myself for later on when I lose the tag :)
"Peace" - hybrid tea rose from Star Roses
Light: full sun
Water: water regularly until plant is well established. Needs well-drained soil.
Flowers: Very large, high-centered, yellow and pink flowers with a mild fruity fragrance and 40-45 petals
Spacing: Plant 2-3' apart
Size: Mature size is 4-7' tall x 2-3' wide
Goes well with: Plant with perennials, flowering shrubs, or other roses.

Oh yeah, and I finally got around to planting the shrub I bought from Walmart for 50% off a few months ago....
"Boxwood can be timmed to a variety of different shapes."
Light: 6+ hours of daily sun
Size: 3-5' tall x 3' wide
Water: 2-3 times per week until established
Tolerant: Hardy to -10*F

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thankful Thursday::October 18

I've had another busy week. Surpised? I thought not.

So yes, Bill was home clear headed and feeling much better. In fact, all day on Wednesday he was telling me how great he felt. Then, on Thursday morning he called me from his bedroom on his cell phone; he was too dizzy to get out of bed and ask me to cancel his doctor appt.... Back to the ER.

His hematocrit was down again, indicative of internal bleeding, so back up to the SLC hospital again. Less than an hour after he arrived at the hospital by ambulance, we were told they would have to perform a splenectomy. Now. So we sent him into surgery with a blood pressure that was up a little from the 71/46 in the ER that morning before receiving blood products, a kidney that had just been blasted with contrast for the CT scan, and a lung that wasn't filling fully because of fluid build up between the ribs and the lung. I felt very much like I was sending a one-legged blind person into traffic... I hoped for the best, but worried.

After the surgery was over, I got an update saying all went well and that the surgeon would be up to see me in a bit. When he got there, he told me that the spleen didn't look quite as terrible in real life as it had on the CT scan, but that it was bleeding badly and the surgeon didn't think Bill would have made it to morning w/o the surgery.

His improvement is remarkable. The surgeon hadn't expected him to recover so quickly, but he is now back at home. Hopefully, this has been the last hospital trip for a while.


In other news: Emily is in a school play, so after school practices will be our life for a while. What that will mean for me: Steve will be taking the kids to school and picking them up after work. I think I'll love my break from chauffeur :)


Other than that, not a lot has happened. Just the regular day to day stuff...

I took Michael to Shriner's Hospital yesterday to meet with a orthotic specialist to help me adjust his braces so that they didn't rub his foot... he made him new ones :) So happy for nice, helpful people!

I am feeling very spoiled! People in my neighborhood have brought me treats, dinner, and called to check up on Bill and me. I love feeling so loved :) (Thanks to all of you who have been watching out for us! :)

And thank you to all who have prayed and sent well wishes. I really feel it and appreciate it!



For people who go out of their way to check up on us, pray for us, and lighten our load.

That Bill is making such a great recovery from such a scary situation.

That Michael will get braces that will work for his situation, for his orthotic specialist, and for Shriner's Hospital.

That Emily has the chance to be in the school play. I know that she will love it!

That the sun has been shining and the lighting is changing and creating such a new drama with shadows and light; I need to get my camera out and photograph it!

That Steve & I have been able to go on our walks/hikes in the foothills. They make all the difference!

For yummmy treats and wholesome meals. Why does food make so much difference in life? I can't explain it, I can just feel it. :)

For a husband that does his best to give me whatever I need. I hope that I return that to him daily; he deserves it!

For kids that hug me, call me, and let me know that they love me. It makes my world go round :)

For health. I think I take it for granted way more than I should! It is so easy to just believe it will always be there, but I'm seeing that isn't the case. I need to live each day to the fullest, because there are no guarantees.

For Bill. For the gratitude that he shows and verbalizes. He is a great guy.

For my family and friends who rally around. Life is so much better because of them!

I have so much gratitude in my heart today and so much to be thankful for. Thanks so much for all of the silent things that you do for me: read my blog (though I wish that you'd give a voice to that in the comments :) and pray for my family. I really appreciate all you do!

And I'm especially grateful for Heavenly Parents and Jesus. I am so thankful for Jesus' atonement that allows me to place my burden at His feet and have Him carry it for me. And I'm so thankful for Heavenly Parents - I know that most people just say God or Heavenly Father, but I know that there is a Mother there too & since my own mortal mother has passed away, I have been even more aware of needing my Heavenly Mother. Their purposes are the same, but the way that I feel about each of them is totally different. I need that nurturing influence just as much as the protective one.

The sun is shining outside today. I have been given another day. I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Update on Bill::Siblings/Family Pictures::Oct. 10

It's been a few days.....

Things weren't better Thursday after all. Bill was more confused than when he has ammonia levels greater than 100, only his ammonia was 45. Something was off.....

At his family doc, we found that his SATs were only 82%, so he was prescribed oxygen and had a battery of blood tests ran.

At the liver doc, he went over all of his labs, looked at Bill, shook his head and kept looking at the labs, trying to see what he was obviously missing.

In between those two appt., we ran and got a canister of oxygen and a canula to sustain him through the two visits. The first doc thought the confusion was lack of oxygen, but even at 95% on oxygen, the confusion worsened.

So I took him back to the ER. I had hoped to just get him admitted, but his family doc told me that he was a liver patient and confusion was just part of the game. It turned out the ER was the right place to be, though, because they connected the dots and found through xray that Bill had pneumonia. He stayed in the hospital a few days and came home with a clear head. Thank heavens!!


On Monday, I took the kids and went up into our mountains for pictures. Amber had been wanting the siblings to have their picture taken together. I wanted to add Steve & me to the mix and get a family pic... but after the happenings of the past week, I decided that it would just add a complexity I wasn't looking forward to, so we just stuck with the sibling pic.

They turned out super cute. How could they not with how cute/beautiful/handsome my children are?! ;)

Aren't they awesome?! But my favorite picture of the day was definitely this one:

My goofy, silly, mischievous boys, and my sweet daughter-in-law who has to live with them. This picture speaks volumes to me and leaves me laughing every time I see it. :)


My gratitudes:

That Bill is home safe and sound-minded.

That Amber pushed for the pictures even when I tried to be a wet blanket.

That we have a long weekend coming up, starting at 3:15 pm today.

That Michael's g-tube has been able to be put back in every time w/o going to the hospital....even when it has been out for hours. (I'm praying that this stage of him taking it out will end - it is a stress every.single.time.)

I wish you all the best!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz::My results & a link::October 7

I know I've showed you this quiz: Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz ... before lots of times, but I really, really love it! If you are a woman and like to take personality quizes, I highly recommend this one; it only has 3 questions (just don't ask for extra info at the end, because it takes forever.)

I took it again this morning and got this:

You Are a Grace!
You are a Grace -- "I need to understand the world."

Graces have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

How to Get Along with Me
* Be independent, not clingy
* Speak in a straightforward and brief manner
* I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts
* Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable
* Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity
* If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place
* don't come on like a bulldozer
* Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy

What I Like About Being a Grace * standing back and viewing life objectively * coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects * my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure * not being caught up in material possessions and status * being calm in a crisis

What's Hard About Being a Grace
* being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world
* feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all
* being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be
* watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally

Graces as Children Often
* spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on
* have a few special friends rather than many
* are very bright and curious and do well in school
* have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers
* watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information
* assume a poker face in order not to look afraid
* are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict
* feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected

Graces as Parents
* are often kind, perceptive, and devoted
* are sometimes authoritarian and demanding
* may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate
* may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions

If you take the quiz, I'd love to find out "who you are". If you share it on your blog, leave a link in my comments so I can come take a look. :)

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday::October 4th

Today I am very thankful that my brother Bill is home from the hospital and seemingly out of harms way. He fell off of the porch and lacerated his spleen. Since he has stage 4 liver damage, he bleeds w/o easily clotting, so he was in intensive care for a few days because of the internal bleeding. To be perfectly honest, I didn't think he was going to survive this one.

We took him to the ER on Friday night right after he fell, and they checked for broken bones, concussion, and internal bleeding. Nothing was apparent, but his blood pressure was very low - something like 100/46. They sent us home w/ orders to come back if there were any changes.

On Saturday morning, he had a headache and was dizzy. It seems that that would just go along with falling on your head (his hands weren't even scratched up - I am going to talk to the doc about reaction time w/ liver failure.....), but since he hadn't had a headache or dizzy the night before, I called a clinic and was going to take him in.

But then.... as he was getting ready to go, the dizziness increased and he actually blacked out and fell as he was walking to the car. The doctor was bypassed and we headed for the hospital.

They checked his hematocrit, and it was down to 23 after being 30 the night before. More ct scans - but w/o contrast, because that would have ruined his one working kidney - and x rays. The doc couldn't see where the bleed was because of the ascites in Bill's belly from the liver failure, so he decided Bill needed to be admitted for observation. We chose to go to the same hospital that he had gone to when he had his cancerous kidney removed in case he needed surgery they are more ready for someone with as many heath issues as he has.

The scary part was that when we took him to the hospital at 1:30 Saturday afternoon, he was perfectly coherent. By 4 he was confusing things a little; by 5 it was more; at 6:30 they took him by ambulance to the other hospital; by 8:30 when I got there w/ him he was lying flat on his back talking very little and was very out of it - no meds had been given. For the next couple of days, he was mostly disoriented, though he could remember his name,birth date, and what month it is which made the docs feel comfortable, but to those of us who know Bill, we were all very concerned.

He spent Saturday night until last night in the hospital, and they felt he was ready to discharge last night. Steve, Matt, and I went to pick him up. He was eating his dinner. And I realized something was wrong. Whenever his ammonia levels are high, he eats incredibly slowly... and he was. I talked to the nurse who talked to the doc who ordered an ammonia level to be taken. I was surprised when it was only 45 - usually when there are problems his level is 100+. Then I was left with the idea that perhaps it was his pain medicine making him confused....

I called the liver doc who said that 45 shouldn't be that noticeable, but more lactulose (which he takes to control ammonia levels) wouldn't hurt him. I convinced him to take 10 ml more - he usually takes 30 ml and I reduced his pain meds just a tad. He woke up hurting and had to take more early this morning.

He seems a bit better this morning. He has a doctor's appt in a couple of hours that I'm taking him to, so I'll get to hang out with him more and see more clearly if his confusion is subsiding.

Oh, one more thing: when they discontinued his IVs, they took out the IVs, put gauze on the openings, and wrapped coban around his arm. About 5 minutes later, he said, "What is wet on my arm?" and as he lifted his arm blood dribbled onto the bed. The nurse came in and pushed on the gauze and blood poured off. Things like that used to happen to my mom after dialysis, but I was never with her and only heard about it.

I have concluded that valium should be ordered for caretakers when so many worrisome things happen... but then would would take care of the sick patient? The song "Designated Drinker" by Alan Jackson kept going through my head this morning. Even though I believe strongly in not drinking, there sure are some days that push me to the edge!

Anyway, I know I spilled my guts, whined and complained, but all in all, I am so very thankful that he made it home alive. 20 months to go before he can be evaluated for a liver transplant.....

(P.S. I have ran out of time and can't edit this post. Please forgive any spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, etc. ;)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Senior Pics::Laura M::October 2

A couple of weeks ago, I got to take the senior pics of my good friends' daughter. It was tons of fun to visit with my old friends, get to know Laura, and photograph her with her favorite things. She told me that she felt like she had all of her important worldly possessions with her right then and there. She had her performing keyboard, her french horn, her car, a steam punk outfit that she made herself, and two other beautiful dresses. I learned that she had taken her ACT and was one point shy of getting a full ride scholarship to wherever she'd like to go; she said that she's going to retake the test to get a better score.

She amazed me, and her parents beamed with pride in her. It is so great when our children bloom into themselves and we get to watch that transformation with awe.

Her parents are also amazing. As I watch Jody's posts on facebook, it is easy to see that she and Leighn have been over and above supportive to their children. They are actively involved in marching band right along with their kids. In fact, while we were at the shoot, many calls were taken trying to square things away with the band's trailer. Kids get so much farther with parental guidance and help, and it is so true for this family.

Here are the pics from the shoot:

Thank you Jody, Leighn, and Laura for letting me take your senior pics for you! Laura, I wish you all the best and all the success and all of the joy that the world can give you!