Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Good Hiding Among the Bad

Today is, yet again, Thankful Thursday!  Maybe it is for this reason that I have been feeling very thankful this morning for the blessings, and the tender mercies, that are there to be found hiding with the bad things, and the nasty surprises.

The nasty surprise of our week was that something, somewhere, died in our house -- and we can't find it.  The smell seems worst in the bottom of the office closet and I was a little nervous about what I might find as I emptied it -- but I only found more stinkiness, and not anything super creepy.  So Derek, who hasn't been feeling well this week, came home and did probably the last thing he wanted to:  he went looking in the walls, and climbing in the attic.
Lots of holes, more stink, but nothing creepy.
It must be 120 degrees up there in the attic and I thought I should have climbed up there myself, but I am afraid of up high.  After a couple of attempts, I did manage to check the roof for places mice could enter because Derek found that mice have been having a party in the attic without our permission.

So what have we done about it?  Opened the windows in the two smelly rooms, closed the vents and the doors, and mostly stayed out.  We have looked in downstairs closets, and floor joists, and sniffed around everywhere we could get to.  We have worried about it some, and maybe even lost a little sleep over it.  Today we will plug up the holes we can find, and start setting traps.  If your cat is hungry, he can hunt over here, but I'm allergic to cats so he has to go home after that.

So what, you ask, is the good hiding among all of that?  Well, I watched Derek come home, still not feeling well yesterday, and have us all pretty much try to talk to him at once, while he patiently paid attention.  This morning I thought of that, his wall digging, and attic climbing, and all of the other ways that he takes care of us whether he feels well or not.  He doesn't love his work, but he goes most weekdays during the year so that we have the things we need and a lot that we just want.  I can't count the number of times I've been tired and weepy and he's helped me even though he got probably half as much sleep as I did.  Derek has been the good among the bad this week.

There are other examples too of good among the bad.  Dan being sick so much helped me get to know his very caring teacher, and has made me more appreciative of his compassionate piano teacher, who is my friend.  Countless people have asked about him, prayed for him, and tried to help me deal with the challenges that come with allergies and concussions.

Then there are my children.  All of my sons and daughters try to take care of their mother when they can.  Jake has been particularly good at jumping in to do jobs that he notices need to be done, and has not complained when I ask him to help -- again.  My kids help me a lot by loving each other and trying to help each other through rough patches.  That is a happy thing for a Mom.

So, there are holes in the wall, and a stink in the house, and Dan is hard to feed, and we don't always feel as good as we'd like, and headaches are a plague, but there are good people all around who love, and help, and smile, and laugh, and pray, and maybe even cry a little for us too.  There are people who recognize that we are trying, and don't judge us harshly if we fail.  There are so many things to be thankful for too, but today, I am especially thankful for the people.

Summer Trips

Not long after Connor's birthday Kayli and Connor hopped on a plane.  The ride to the airport had been a little tense as I drove toward a really black storm cloud that let loose with lightning and piles of rain coming down in amazing quantities. When I dropped them off, it was down to a sprinkle, and I proceeded to take the wrong exit and so I went the long way home, right through downtown Salt Lake City. Fortunately, I quite enjoyed my detour.  It was at least better than catching up with the black storm cloud and heavy rain again -- which happened eventually.

I didn't hear anything from Kayli or Connor after that and assumed they were safely in Denver waiting for their next flight.  Nope.  They had texted Derek, and were safely sitting on the airplane in Cheyenne, WY waiting for a storm to leave Denver.  They sat for about 4 hours, flew to Denver, and then made a mad dash through that airport so they could catch their next flight, which had been delayed. Thankfully, they had a really good time with their cousins in Iowa, and so it was all worth it.

Day trip to Nauvoo, IL
Taylor (I think), Bailey, Avery, Kayli, and Connor

Same cousins, Nauvoo Temple
 Since Kayli and Connor were off having an adventure, I took Jake and Dan to Idaho to be with cousins.  I didn't get any pictures of them with cousins, but Tina got a picture of us.  We were drawing at Jamba Juice while drinking smoothies. My smoothie tasted better than hers, which I know because she said hers tasted like carrots.  I'm still surprised my fabulous drawing didn't win their contest :-).  I giggled and giggled over my drawing and had a really good time visiting Tina while my boys enjoyed playing with cousins.
Sherie and Tina

Meanwhile, back in Nauvoo, Kayli and Connor were still adventuring in the hot muggy weather.
This is Kayli, Connor, Avery, Tyson, Cody (very front), Zack, Bailey, Taylor, and Aunt Tanya.
Joseph and Hyrum are there in statue form.

Iowa with cousins
Kayli and Connor got home that week on Friday, and the boys and I made it on Saturday.

A week or two later we got to have an enjoyable time visiting with Tina and Chris and their boys again, only in Payson this time.  We were trying to recapture those good old days when we lived close enough to see one another more regularly.  It was so fun to have them here, and we are looking forward to seeing them again in a couple of weeks, when we head there on our annual vacation. It is so nice to have good relatives to visit and have fun with!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dan's Concussion Therapy

Recovering from a concussion is boring.  I don't know what Dan would be doing to pass the time without Chewy (Dan's oldest sister's dog).  He came to visit this week with Trisa and Travis.  Dan has spent time throwing a ball for him, petting him, and squirting him with water (so that he can stay cool). Chewy is a very snuggly dog, and Dan has spent some time snuggling with Chewy too.  

Chewy sitting on Dan's lap.

We don't have any pets, and have been informed several times that people with asthma shouldn't get any (not that we were going to), but when you have a concussion, a nice, friendly dog can be just the thing you need!

Connor's Awesome Eighteenth Birthday

Way back on June 9th Connor had a birthday, which we did celebrate.  We even got him presents!  When I was shopping for him I called him and asked "What is the one thing you will be the most disappointed if you don't receive?"  Any Guesses?  Well he got it, and you can see it in the (unfortunately poor quality) pictures below.
Connor's presents wrapped in Toy Story Christmas wrapping paper.  We almost exclusively use only the finest left over Christmas paper for birthdays -- unless we use comics.

Derek, Kayli, Trisa, and Dan with what looks to be laser vision.

Here it is.  The one thing Connor wanted more than anything else -- and it's not the Batman hat.  It's the Panda Pillow Pet.  Connor is somewhat obsessed with Pandas.  He does like the Batman hat Kayli got him, but he informed me that he had been asking for that pillow pet for 18 months and hadn't gotten it yet.  Poor Connor.

The loved Pillow Pet, and the Harry Potter puzzle that Jake thoughtfully gave him, and Derek is thoughtfully holding on his shoulder.  If there is one thing he likes as much as Panda's (or maybe even more) it's Harry Potter!  He does love people more than things.

Connor and his loot.

Connor and his fellow Batman Hat wearers.  Have I mentioned that most everyone in my family claims to be Batman?  It's really kind of hard for my lovely girls to be Batman, but they still like to wear Batman hats and help people when they can.  Trisa is on the left, and Kayli is on the right.
The whole family was actually present for this occasion.  Tia came from Provo and Travis was here with Trisa.  Connor's 18 birthday only happens once! Connor is a good son, and a good person.  My favorite is when he is laughing with his siblings.  They can be very fun and entertaining at times!   Connor chose lasagna for his dinner (that seems to be the most popular birthday dinner here) and brownies and homemade peach ice cream for dessert.  

Being 18 and out of high school can be a bit stressful, but I am confident that Connor will do well.  Happy 18 to Connor!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Concussion and a Padded Room

His biggest bump is under his bangs.  I just thought you'd like to see that he is ok
before you read about what happened.
This morning Derek was woken up by the sound of Dan being rather loud in the family room.  It was before 6 in the morning.  Dan being loud in the morning isn't completely unheard of.  He likes company when he is up.  But when Derek finally came back in our room he said "Dan is loopy".  I just thought, "Like usual?".  I didn't know what he meant and was surprised when Derek got his phone and headed back out instead of getting back in bed.

Soon he was back to ask when Instacare opens and I was up to see the big bump on Dan's head and to hear the story of blood on Dan and on Dan's garbage can, and Jake's blanket, and the bathroom, and the door jams.  Besides the bump Dan has a slightly swollen eye, a sore nose, dilated eyes, and is shaky and confused.  It is really unsettling.  Dan doesn't know when or how or where he fell.  We speculate that he got a bloody nose and passed out onto a hard floor (maybe the hall or bathroom).  We took him to the emergency room since that is what was open.    He has a concussion. They did a CT scan, which showed no cracks in his skull.  He should get better with rest and time.  Hooray for good news!

We came home and Jake has been taking good care of him.  Jake is a really good brother and has spent his morning sitting by Dan, and gently bringing him back to the couch when he decides he's going to "go swing" or "get his legs back" by staggering around.  Jake has carried Dan around from one room to another and he helped Dan get into Minecraft when Dan was too confused to remember how. When Jake was sitting by him Dan said, "I wish Jake were here."  Jake reported other odd things too, like Dan asking about someone he could see when nobody was there, and asking Jake if he was going to wear blue and green all day when Jake was wearing gray.  Thankfully, sometimes he says normal things too.

Dan will be fine, but it is not really fun to watch our bright little boy be so confused.    At the hospital he couldn't wait to go home to do back flips on the trampoline.  I suggested that today wasn't a good day to do that.  The Dr. said that the important thing is that he doesn't get another concussion.  I think we just need to create a padded room to keep him in for a year.  Unfortunately, he'd only be happy in it if the padded walls were like trampolines so he could bounce from one to another!  Let's hope Dan's year starts looking up a bit!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Beautiful Spring!

My favorite climbing rose bush has been making me smile extra big this spring!
These are my hanging pots on Memorial Day.  They actually look better now!

My pots aren't in great shape, but these flowers are beautiful, and will likely look better as the Summer goes on (as long as I water them!)
This Spring has been absolutely beautiful.  The mountains and fields are green, and at the beginning of Spring there were beautiful flowering trees everywhere. I am thankful for the beautiful world I get to enjoy every day!  Happy Spring!

The Abominable Belly Ache

Dan started having stomach aches off and on in March (I think).  They had gotten bad enough by the end of April that he had missed two weeks of school in a row and had a scheduled doctor's visit.  I kept waiting for him to just get better because, most of the time, he didn't seem too sick.  Some days he sat around miserable all day.  Sometimes during the middle of the day he seemed quite normal.  Some days he felt so well at the end of the day he was sure he'd be well and headed to school in the morning.  He would cry with disappointment when he got up and his stomach was hurting again.

Dan at a bad stomach hurting moment.
 Since his stomach hurt but he wasn't nauseous we started insisting he eat in the morning.  That would make it slightly worse for a bit, but he'd feel better sooner (for a while).  The day I took him to the Dr. he felt pretty well.  They poked at his stomach and he said it hurt everywhere, but he was feeling ticklish and was able to be distracted from the pain.  They didn't know what was wrong.  They sent him for a blood test which was normal (except one number which was slightly off).  They sent him for an ultrasound.  They found gallstones and we thought we had our answer -- but no -- the pain was wrong and the gallstones weren't stuck or blocking anything.  Later they sent him for a stool test.  That was fine too.  No H.Pylori, no signs of infection.  We tried a couple of medicines and he is still taking one his pediatrician prescribed that helps some.

Finally, I followed my friend's example and took Dan to an allergist.  My friend's daughter had been having the same symptoms and her Mom took her directly to the allergist where her daughter was found to be allergic to five new things.  She was already allergic to the same things as Dan (milk, eggs, and peanuts).
Dan's Allergy Testing -- Waiting to see how bad his reactions would be.
When the itchy waiting was over, Dan was still really allergic to those foods listed above and tree nuts (which he has been allergic to for a long time). This time he also tested allergic to five things that he wasn't allergic to before: wheat, corn, barley, soy, and beef.  He did suffer through an anaphylactic response after his testing with a resulting epinephrine shot (at the Dr.'s office thankfully) which was no fun, but we did get an idea what is wrong, and a plan to deal with it.  We are now in the midst of a month of not eating any of the foods he's allergic to.  He is feeling better.  After a month we can add one food back in at a time and see which thing is causing the stomach pain.

I did take him to a gastroenterologist this week.  He was tested for celiac, which he doesn't have, and his blood tests were redone, with the same results.  The gastroenterologist thinks the problem is the food allergies.  He says he doesn't know why some people are allergic to so many things, but that Dan is one of those super allergic people.  So we will stick to the plan the allergist came up with.  At least there is an explanation for his long time stomach pain!
This is an old blurry picture, but Dan is back to playing with his buddy Jake again and that is a happy thing!