Monday, April 30, 2012

Ellie Lately

  • A couple of weeks ago, Ellie chose to have her hair cut short. She was absolutely in love with it. Every time I looked at her, she was either flicking her head or running her fingers through her hair

I loved that later that evening she even decorated an Easter egg with the following inscription,
"I love my hair."

  • After having a wobbly front tooth for almost 5 months, it finally came out. Ellie's first tooth came out when I was in Washington DC last year, and another tooth came out last month while I was in California. She was so worried this one would come out while I was in Las Vegas, but fate was in her favor and it fell out two days before I left.

  • Mike, not often one to buy items for our children (much less be in the vicinity of a store other than Home Depot), spotted these shoes while in California last month. He absolutely had to buy them for Ellie. He talked the guy down in price, despite the seller's insistence, "There are a lot of diamonds in there." Ellie loves them. Every time she wears them her bum wiggles just slightly and I know she is imagining herself a grown-up. I know this because I used to do the same thing. (Except the sparkly black and gold dress-up shoes I wore were just that--dress up shoes. They were far too big for me.) 

(Why don't I have a side picture to show there are even more diamonds in the heels and sides?!)

Oh to be almost 8!

Friday, April 27, 2012

For the Love of Livestock

This last week Luke learned the first of many hard lessons as an animal lover. Hazel was sold! After finding out she was probably past her kid-bearing years, it was time to say farewell. Luke's little tender expression as he described his goodbye to her is a scene I hope to never forget. (I thank my lucky stars I wasn't there in person for their goodbye!)

In a momentary lapse of judgement  a few days before Hazel's departure, I completely stepped out of my true character and began to suggest to Mike we find someway to keep Hazel. Mike's response, "It is LIVESTOCK. You don't fall in love with LIVESTOCK."

He's wrong. If you are a young boy named Luke, you do. And if you are that young boy's mother, you do too by default.

As any tough young livestock lover would, the next afternoon Luke did his best to forget Hazel, and went to his local 4-H meeting to pick out his new project for this summer...

Meet Lily, the goat.
Luke picked the goat up on a Saturday afternoon. She didn't have a name until the next day. A few hours after Luke announced the name to us, I found a book of mine titled, "Naming Your Baby" on the floor by his bed. It warmed my heart at the thought of Luke using a baby name book to name a goat?!?

Luke had talked for weeks about how boy goats sell better than girl goats because they are bigger and have more meat, so I was very surprised to return home and discover that Luke had a girl goat.

Finally, I decided to flat-out ask Luke why it was he had chosen a girl-goat. I really thought he was going to tell me he had no-choice and the girl was all he could pick from. With a solemn and serious face Luke looked right at me and timidly said,

"The reason I didn't sell Hank last year was because I knew he would die for someone to eat his meat. Rob (the 4-H instructor) told me girls are popular because people get them to breed. They don't kill the girl goats as much for meat because they want them to breed. It will be easier to sell Lily knowing she won't die."

I'm not sure who was closer to tears during that little dialogue, Luke or me.

Even though we have already had (and will continue to have) many a conversation about Lily having to be sold at the County Fair later this year, I'm beginning to wonder who exactly those reminder conversations are for. Luke or me?

Not sure whether it is the goats that have captured my heart or my little boy, Luke.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Lighter Side of Vegas

When my sister-in-law Kristin decided to drive from St. George to attend the Power of Moms Las Vegas Retreat with me I was thrilled! A few days beforehand, my brother James decided to come along for a little trip too.

What fun!
What laughter!
What memories!

I wish I could tie all our funny memories and experiences into an eloquently worded essay-but I can't and won't. Instead I'll just record them as I remember them and hope they'll provide moments of laughter in years to come.

After my plane landed at the Las Vegas airport, I mistakenly thought James and Kristin were picking me up from the airport in style with a limousine ride. So when I took a wrong turn to exit the airport and found myself amid dozens of limos and then found out I was in the wrong place, I was sorely disappointed. Ah well-nothing like a reality check when I did finally get to them, I opened the car door to find my darling niece in just a diaper, and the whole car smelling like throw-up. (It was obviously a long drive from St. George to Las Vegas for a 2 year old!)

On the bright side, the measurements of Kristin's bum versus mine, landed her the spot in the backseat between the 2 car seats (and the stronger throw-up smell) and not me!

James and Kristin were honored to be introduced to what my children have affectionately named, "The Lady" (my cell-phone's voice activated navigation system). I was delighted that ME, the least technological family member had the most advanced system to navigate us through the streets of Vegas! (You're welcome James and Kristin.)

I was mildly self-conscious that James decided to wear his Utah shirt the day he checked himself and 2 women into a hotel room in Las Vegas. I wish I'd have had a big sign that read, "I AM HIS SISTER NOT HIS 2ND WIFE" but alas I didn't. Let people think what they may.

I loved that after James and I spent 5+ minutes at a local grocery store trying to locate a shopping cart I got over the embarrassment quicker than James did and was able to ask for assistance in locating a cart. Who has  to do that? Obviously me.

It made me smile to realize that James is cheap like me. And even though he wouldn't have been brazen enough to do it, he cheered me on as I sauntered into the local Subway sandwich shop to ask for free mayonnaise to go along with the bread and lunch meat we had just purchased at aforementioned-hard-to-locate-grocery-cart-store.

I thanked my lucky stars that while James sat in the hotel chair holding Annie, she threw up all over him and not on my clothes laid out for Friday night and Saturday that were sitting mere inches away from them both.
I didn't feel quite as lucky however when a few minutes later Megan text me and asked, "Are you enjoying sitting by the pool in the 93' weather?" and I had to respond, "Not doing that exactly--instead I'm walking to the hotel laundry to wash throw up clothes." Granted, James or Kristin could have laundered James and Annie's soiled clothes themselves, but it was a. more preferable than hanging out with my brother in his underwear in the hotel room while Kristin took them, or b. sending him through the hotel resort wearing only his underwear to launder his own clothes. Fortunately James found a pair of basketball shorts and was able to make an emergency trip back to the hard-to-find-cart-store to buy popsicles and gatorade for Annie.

Upon his return, in addition to popsicles and gatorade, James had kindly purchased me a box of Hostess cupcakes, yum! (There are some pure processed foods I LOVE.)  I think the cupcakes were a peace offering of sorts for literally taking care of his dirty work.

Conveniently (for James), he forgot to give the cupcakes to me at the end of the day on Saturday. I hope he thinks of my selflessness in laundering throw-up clothes with every bite he takes of the 7 cupcakes he now has to himself. Thank heaven I thought to at least eat one on Friday night!

I'm not sure Kristin will ever recover from the sight of seeing me upside down in the passenger seat of her car on the strip in Las Vegas. I was trying to subtley make the switch from the backseat to the front on the busy 11pm strip on a Friday night after my friend April had made her exit from the car. Unfortunately the switch wasn't quite so subtle and I'm sure I fit in well with some of the crazies on the strip as I had to open the door to finish my flip. Kristin wishes she'd have had a camera. I am beyond grateful that she didn't.

Kristin and I have a deep sense of gratitude to "The Lady" for safely navigating us through the streets of the not-so-good-parts of Vegas after taking a wrong turn. Our gratitude continued to swell, that despite the low-battery signal on my phone, it lasted until we could safely see the signs of our hotel. A tender mercy indeed! Heaven forbid we'd have had to rely on a voiceless system on her cell phone.

Not sure exactly what happened to Kristin after she dropped me off at the hotel laundry at 11pm that night to retrieve the now clean and dried clothes. After arriving to the hotel room with the pile of clean laundry on one arm and a stack of new bath towels on another, I opened the door to find James and Annie, but no Kristin and Kate. Though Kristin had parked just feet away from our room, she disoriented herself and wandered the resort with a baby carrier on her arm until James guided her back.

I won't tell anyone that she then placed the baby carrier (with baby Kate in it) in the middle of the parking lot while she greeted her fevered 2 year old. Of course I wouldn't even dream of mentioning the fact that James had to ask her to move the baby and the baby carrier from the path of an oncoming car.

I couldn't help but giggle hysterically at 2:55am when a car alarm began blaring just outside our window. Fortunately it didn't last too long (the giggling or the alarm). I'd hate to have been the one to blame for waking up the sick 2 year old or the 2 month old at 3am.

Although my baby brother James isn't necessarily one to frequently tell me how much he loves and adores me as his big sister, his actions speak louder than words. James circled the Las Vegas airport at least 3 times before he dropped me off for my return flight home. James claims he kept missing the turn, and though it caused plenty of laughter, I do think he was secretly sad to be saying goodbye to me so soon and wanted to be with me for a few more swoops of the Las Vegas airport.

If he tells me anything differently, I will not forgive him for forgetting my box of Hostess cupcakes and will demand he give me a box the next time I see him. If he admits that yes that was indeed the reason he circled the Las Vegas airport three times, I will forget he ever forgot the cupcakes.

I love James, Kristin, Annie and Kate! What a fun 31 hour trip to Vegas.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sheer Joy

Ellie told me this morning during breakfast that there was a surprise upstairs in my bedroom. But in the rush of getting Luke and Ellie out of the door, I didn't go upstairs until they had already left for school. Oh I wish I had while she was still home!

I came upstairs to my bed made, and post-it notes on the wedding picture above my bed.
It warmed my heart to see Ellie's expression of love for us on our anniversary.
(Have I ever told you before how much I LOVE my children's attempts at spelling words?)

I LOVE my anniversary. (Almost as much as my birthday, but in a simpler way.) When I was a child, throughout all my elementary school years I had a friend in my class, Lisa, whose birthday was April 24th. I always thought she was a beautiful girl and everyone liked her, and for some reason I thought my fall birthday paled in comparison to having such a glorious spring date as a birthday. There just seemed to be something about that date that I loved. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact she always seemed to hold her birthday parties on Sundays and our family chose not to go to birthday parties on Sundays and so her birthdays were all the more glorified to me.

It was during my childhood that I attended a wedding once on a Thursday and afterwards walked down to the local shops, still in my pretty dress. A man stopped me and asked,

**insert a gentleman-y english accent here** "What are you doing all dressed up on a Thursday afternoon?"

When I replied I had been to a wedding he responded,

"Thursday?! What an interesting day to get married."

I left the exchange determined that Thursday was indeed the most romantic day to be married and I decided right then and there that I would be married on a Thursday.

Fast forward to January of 1997.

Mike and I "decided" (it's a long story and I really will one day soon finish the last episode of the "Mike and Tiffany blog post series" I started four years ago!) while sitting in his black Chevy truck late when night, that we were going to get married. I immediately said I wanted to get married on April 24th. Of course he had no strong feelings either way. Imagine to my surprise and sheer joy that when I returned home that night, I realized April 24th, 1997 was a THURSDAY!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously it was meant to be. And I have experienced nothing but sheer joy for 15 years since.

Okay, I'm kidding. It hasn't all been sheer joy for 15 years--but I wouldn't trade Mike for anything. He's a good guy to have around. I've written lots of posts in the past about how opposite and different we are, but it works beautifully for us. I love, LOVE, LOVE him.

Happy Anniversary!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Las Vegas Goodness

Where do I even begin to describe the Power of Moms Retreat I went to this last weekend in Las Vegas? Each time I attend a Power of Moms workshop or retreat, I think that there is no way the next one can be as good as the last. Every time it is. There are so many fabulous mothers in this world!!! I feel so honored and blessed to meet so many of them.
There was an added amount of challenge organizing a retreat from 500 miles away, but with my (new) dear friend Becky planning in Las Vegas, and me from Utah we pulled it off! Becky opened her beautiful home to some 50+ mothers to spend the day learning from each other. I wish I could have spent time visiting with each one individually--there was so much goodness in that room.
(Me, Becky Fife, April Perry)

It doesn't seem to matter how many times I have attended one of these retreats or heard a lot of this great information over and over--each time is unique and there is always something to learn and take-away.

My a-ha moments this time were, "Having enough is as good as a feast" (quoted from Mary Poppins), having "I'd love to" rewards to encourage children to respond that way instead of with rolled eyes and groans, using a "I'm thinking of three things..." game to encourage children to do clean-up and see if they pick up the three things you thought of, being sure to tell my kids when they are doing something that makes me happy, and capturing something joyful in every single day.

I was honored to correspond and arrange with Stephanie Waite (from A Daily Scoop) to be our keynote guest speaker. Wow! What a lady. So much to learn from her. One of my favorite lines of the whole day came from her, "Enjoy motherhood NOW." She has a tragic, yet unique perspective to teach from and I wish I could have spent hours talking with her.
(Me, Stephanie Waite, April Perry)

Of course I loved presenting alongside none other than the April Perry, of Power of Moms and "Your Children Need You NOW" article fame. What  a phenomenal lady. I've known April a little over two years, and though we only see each other for a couple of days a few times a year, I consider her a dear friend.

I absolutely LOVED that my sister-in-law Kristin attended with me. More on that tomorrow...
(Me, Kristin and niece Kate)

As I boarded my plane to return home late Saturday evening, I had a big smile on my face. That NEVER happens when I fly--but Saturday night my heart felt full. Not only was it because I was excited to return home to my family whom of course I had been thinking about all day as we talked about motherhood and families, but I felt humbled and honored to be a part of such a worthy organization.

The essence of my Power of Moms experiences can be captured with this quote:

"Women wish to be loved without a why or a wherefore; not because they are pretty, or good, or well-bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves."
Henri Frederic Amiel

Every time I have met a woman at a Power of Moms event, I feel as though I am meeting them. No pretenses, no airs, no hoity-toity-ness. Just plain goodness and realness radiating from each one.

I love the support and associations The Power of Moms has given me with scores of these types of mothers around the country. I can't imagine my life without it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Real Songs

Last Sunday in Primary (the children's organization in my church), the children began learning and practicing a song that they will sing to their mothers coming up on Mother's Day in May.

Mother dear, I love you so.
Your happy, smiling face
Is such a joy to look at;
It makes home a lovely place.

Mother dear, I love you so.
Your lovely, shining eyes
Are just like stars that twinkle
Way up in the bright blue skies.

Mother dear, I love you so.
I'll try the whole day through.
To please our Heav'nly Father.
I'm so glad He gave me you.

Though 99% of the time hearing these young children sing Primary songs really does touch my heart, this particular song last week was making me cringe instead. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that during this particular song they weren't singing "truth" as much as singing "fantasy."

My thoughts were justified when the music leader asked rhetorically "Does your mother have a happy smiling face?" and one of the children answered, "No."

Though I couldn't help but breathe a big sigh of relief that it wasn't my child that answered the question, I had to admit that any one of my children would likely have answered it the same way.

My ideas aren't usually ones to go over well as far as Primary ideas go--but I'm hoping this one will. I think this song would make any mother feel a little more real when being sung to on Mother's Day. If nothing else, I'll teach it to my own kids instead.

Mother dear, I love you so. 
Even though you always say,
Do your chores and practice, 
Then you can go outside to play.

Mother dear, I love you so.
Even though you're often mad,
I will start obeying
To help your heart feel glad.

Mother dear, I love you so.
I'll try the whole day through,
To please our Heav'nly Father.
Most days I'm glad He gave me you.

Now that's more like it.

My children will start practicing this new song, this afternoon after school. By the time Mother's Day rolls around on May 13th, my children should have this song all polished up and perfected and I won't have to worry about getting a complex about not having a happy smiling face or lovely shining eyes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moms and Their Words

The other night I chose Luke to accompany me to the grocery store. You'd have thought I'd invited him to fly to Disneyland with me if you could have heard the wailing of the children not invited to come. But really, that is neither here nor there.

I was already dragging my feet at the thought of shopping late on a Friday night when I had to be awake at 4:43am the next morning. And so it certainly didn't help my-end-of-the-week-and-I wish-I-was-in-bed-exhaustion that I had chosen the tied-for-first-place-most-talkative-child in our family as my date of choice.

After I politely asked Luke to quit talking so I could concentrate on picking non-bruised apples in peace, he took to reorganizing the grocery cart for the 37th time. (He had been getting pretty frustrated with my haphazard way of placing groceries in the cart.) But I was bottling in all sorts of pent-up frustration over his inability to keep his mouth still for longer than 5 seconds, that I must have exaggerated my haphazard grocery tossing even more.

I was just beginning to berate myself for feeling frustrated with my son's desire to talk to me when before I knew it, I was proverbially patting myself on the back. I had been minding my own business on the juice aise deciding on apple cider versus apple juice for a new pork chop recipe I want to try and Luke had just sneaked off to a different aisle (more on that later). Suddenly some really bad words being exclaimed far too loudly caught my attention.

Now, I must interrupt myself to admit that I do have a little habit of occasionally using a word or two (or three) that some may find offensive. Although in my defense, all three of the words I say are found in the Bible. Enough about that. I rest my case.

Back to the apple juice and apple cider aisle on Friday night--this lady a few feet away was not only saying some awful words, she was saying them very loudly. Worse yet, she was saying them to her three young children!! AAAGGGHHH. I did not know what to do. Part of me wanted to stand there and stare. The other part of me needed to stop staring. The other part of me needed to pick up my jaw from the floor. The other part of me was praying Luke could not hear her. (A teeny tiny part of me was hoping he did hear her and would realize in that moment that my raised voice and occasional "bible word" was kind, loving and sweet compared to hers and would forever more think I was the most kind and patient mother on the planet.)

I didn't know what to do. So I silently said a quick prayer for that surely exasperated mother and a slightly longer prayer for those seemingly innocent children.

Immediately upon Luke's arrival back to the apple juice/apple cider aisle, I asked if he had heard that upset mother and those naughty words. (He had not.) And then Luke's talking started all over again, "Well what did she say?" "Are they words you say?" (WWWHHHHATTTT??? did he mean by that!) and so on and so forth. Unfortunately I had a lot more groceries still to buy, which meant Luke had plenty more time to talk. A.L.O.T.

After observing that little episode with that "other mother" I was feeling like a pretty good mother myself and I made a mental note to refrain from asking Luke to be quiet, even for a second. Although my mental health certainly suffered from the verbal over-stimulation and my haphazard grocery cart organizing was the clear consequence. 

Luke ultimately scored with my haphazard grocery cart. Fritos and bean dip AND spicy cheetos somehow made it into the grocery cart unnoticed...

Well sort of.

I was so endeared by his enthusiasm to be at the grocery store with me, and his excitement to tell me anything and everything about everything and anything he's ever heard, seen, done or experienced in his little life, I figured a small portion of junk food was an equal trade.

Besides, after the episode I had just witnessed I didn't feel it was quite the right time to have responded with a more natural response of, "What in the h&4#" is all this in my cart?

Which was exactly the term I had used earlier in the week when I looked out my window and saw this...
 "What in the h$%@ is Luke doing?"
Yes. He would be flying his kite with a fishing pole.
But again, that may be neither here nor there.

I'm proud to say that I have yet to be able to add to this blog post HERE with any stories of Joshua and Drew. Clearly, my bad habit has improved drastically... Even Mike reflected last week that he hasn't heard me say any of my "three words" for a while now.

Although in all honesty, Mike probably wasn't home when I may have used one of those words when asking Luke to please get the ________ chickens out of my garage SOON.

I'm a good mother like that.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Week Late

My favorite holiday is Easter. I love the simplicity of it even though really it is all wrapped up in the most monumental event ever to occur.

When Megan was three years old, we started a tradition to "build up to Easter." We've done it different ways over the years, but the last couple of years it has been simple and easy.

Each day we review the details of the last week of Jesus' life. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, His visit to the Temple, washing His disciple's feet, the Last Supper, the crucifixion, the days of darkness and of course the glorious resurrection day. We hang the picture on the wall, read a simple descriptive passage and take a challenge that will help us internalize the message.

On Friday, after reading the scripture and showing the picture of Christ's crucifixion, I opted to show a short video of the event. It was a wonderful experience sitting around the computer screen with my five children and see the reverence and respect they showed as they watched. It was obvious each of us--even Drew in his own little way, was touched by the Spirit.

What a glorious holiday.
I decided to take very few photos this Easter. I surmised on Easter morning, I have never once cared that I have no photos of me as a child searching for Easter eggs on Easter morning. So why did I need 43 of my kids doing the ritual? I opted to put the camera down and instead enjoy the scene around me. But then I started feeling horribly guilty that I'd one day have pictures of each child in an Easter morning scene, but none of Drew. So out came the camera again.

Except then I started worrying that the children would one day wonder what the reason was there were no pictures of anyone but Drew on Easter Day 2012.

So I took one last picture and called it good.
Because surely my kids will care to remember nothing more than what the traditional flip-flops looked like they received from the Easter Bunny in 2012.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Half's Are My Way

Even though Megan temporarily lost sight of the fact that half birthday cakes are of MY CHOOSING, (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting-of course HOMEMADE) I forgave her for mentioning she would have much rathered a yellow cake over a chocolate one.
That is exactly WHY I love half-birthday cakes. Not only are they simple and easy they are DELICIOUS. That can't be said for any of the "regular" birthday cakes I make.

I love, LOVE, LOVE chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
I love, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Megan tooAll 13 and a HALF years of her.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Animal Kingdom

I have mentioned more than once that animals really aren't my thing. Mike and I agreed very early on in our marriage, (if not before) that we would be a "no pet family."

With the exception of the occasional goldfish that has sat on our counter for a day or two, I like to think I (we) have somewhat stuck to our early commitment.

Then the 4H project started last spring and along came Hank the goat. Except you all know how that went--Luke fell in love with Hank and he didn't meet his demise at the county fair. Well then along came Daisy the rabbit because she needed a new home, and then because we were known as "animal people" Luke gained 4 chickens last fall and of course a girl goat.

I'll add in here that none of these animals reside on my property. How did I luck out with that? The long and short of it: kind neighbors.

Here we are well into spring. Hazel (the girl goat) didn't ever have her babies. Finally I convinced everyone to listen to ME the NON-ANIMAL person, to look at all the non-pregnancy signs and accept that Hazel giving birth to babies wasn't going to happen.

It actually broke my heart to tell Luke, but he took it very well.

I think it was my broken heart that responded to Luke's scout leader's Facebook status a few weeks ago that he needed to find a home for his five chickens. I wasn't too thrilled after we committed to them when Luke informed me they would have to live in our garage for a few weeks before they were big enough to join the other chickens.

As if 5 chickens in my garage wasn't enough, less than a week after getting the chickens, Luke, (while at a store with Mike) couldn't pass up the 99 cent chick sale and came home with a baby chick each for Megan and Ellie.
I now have 5 semi-baby chickens and 2 baby chickens in my garage and it stinks.

I'll admit, I have had unkind thoughts to everyone involved.
I have now not so kindly informed Luke that the chickens will be evicted this Saturday and will need to relocate to the chicken home across the street.

And even though it may seem somewhat ambiguous to say whether or not my "no pet commitment" has been abided by, I like to think I have kept my end of the bargain.

Mike on the other hand, has not.
I blame him.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Five at Last

It seems Joshua has been waiting to turn 5 forever. It is finally here! We have a weird habit around here of not feeling "the right age" until the minute you were born has been recognized on your birthday. I think it is actually Ellie that stared and enforced this rule. (Okay, maybe it has something to do with the special circumstance for my 32 hour birthday.)

Nonetheless, Ellie was thrilled that by the time we woke up this morning Joshua was OFFICIALLY five and all festivities were legitimate.

Although the photo doesn't quite capture it, I loved the look on Ellie and Joshua's face as Luke wheeled in Joshua's birthday present. I absolutely love when my kids get so excited for each other.

Why I didn't take the camera downstairs and outside with me while Joshua wheeled around on his new bike at 7:30am probably had something to do with me in my bathrobe not wanting to bring too much attention to myself.

Joshua was thrilled to take cupcakes and head off to pre-school and I was thankful to have one less person in the background while working on his "Lightning McQueen Racecar Number 5 cake" he requested. It's nothing fancy. But that's what I'm resigning myself to.

As for Drew.
Well yeah-I had to make a slight compromise for taking his Lightning McQueen and Mater toys for the cake and then telling him no, he could not drive them around on the "track". So I let him eat frosting from the container.

 It's what any good mother would do in those same circumstances, right?

Here's hoping the cake survives until 4pm today.
Happy Birthday Joshua!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Broken Pen

Let me give a little back-ground...
#1-Mike and I were just retiring to bed on Friday night. Mike was already sprawled out on the bed in front of the television, I was flossing my teeth a few feet away.
#2-Aware of Ellie crying bloody murder down the hall, I ask Mike to investigate. Mike knowing Ellie crying bloody murder is a somewhat regular occurrence opted instead to remain in bed until Ellie came to him.
#3-Ellie appeared in our room and when questioned, "Why are you upset?" replied through tears, "I'm not. It's Luke."
#4-Meanwhile, with dental floss between my teeth I wander out to the doorway and see Luke approaching my room crying. Rarely being one to cry (unless it is time to practice the piano), I take his tears seriously and before I could ask a question, see blood dripping down his knee and leg.
#5-Grabbing a wet rag (dental floss still in place) I cleaned up the dripping blood and notice a small "hole" to the side of his right knee.
#6-Realized the dental floss was clearly in the way and quit flossing.
#7-Mike decides to pop up from his reclined-relaxed-it's been a long week-and-it's Friday night-and-I'm finally-in-bed position to take an active part in parenting responsibilities.
#8-Ellie is crying about her broken pen
#9-Mike immediately decides Luke needs to be seen by a medical professional and while grabbing some nearby shorts declares, "I'll take him."
#10-I disagree
#11-Mike tells me to get a second opinion from a neighbor.
#12-I disagree
#13-Ellie is still crying and upset that when Luke removed the pen from his knee, he threw it.
#14-Mike tells me to go ask a neighbor.
#15-I refrain from reminding Mike about Luke's broken arm 2 years ago and him not taking Luke to a doctor for 36 hours, even making the poor kid set up chairs at the church first. And if he wasn't willing to take Luke to be seen then, why should I have to take him now when the blood had stopped? (for the most part)
#16-Ellie keeps interrupting us and through tears declares it was her "favorite pen" and "now it won't click out."
#17-Joshua enters the room and questions, "Why is Luke sad? It's just a hole."
#18-Neighbors side with Mike. Guess the exposed muscle fat wasn't as obvious to me as it was to everyone else.
#19-I attempt to comfort Ellie by telling her the pen didn't break because Luke threw it, but because of the force of impact and subsequent penetration into his right knee before he removed it and threw it across the room
#19-Mike asks me to take Luke to the ER. Me, in my pajamas (and half-flossed teeth) question one more time if a bandaid will be sufficient instead.
#20-Mike begins to chicken out as he remembers he is not capable of being in the same room as needles and/or blood without becoming the patient himself and asks me again to take Luke.
#21-Ellie is still sniffling when Luke hobbles down the hall with a $1.00 bill in hand and says while handing it to her, "You can buy a new pack of pens with this."
#22-I don't know whether to be horrified that one of my children is so selfish that she's crying while her brother has a puncture wound to his right knee, or touched that one of my children is so selfless that he's clearly thinking of replacing a broken pen when he is about to visit the ER for stitches due to aforementioned broken pen.
#23-I offer to go WITH Mike but not instead of him.
#24-I am mildly self-conscious of the potential for unnecessary judgments about my parenting, while taking a child to the ER for stitches due to a puncture wound to his right leg while wearing a cast on his left arm.
#24-Upon arrival in the ER room, doctor immediately diagnoses it as a puncture wound and declares the need for stitches and possible tetanus shot.
#25-Mike immediately says, "This is the point I make my exit."
And that about wraps up our Friday night. We won't even mention the part about Luke dinking around on Ellie's spinning desk chair and falling onto the floor in the exact spot where Ellie happened to be sitting clicking open and closed her "favorite pen".

So even though this event cost me a later-to-bed than usual Friday night and who knows how much money in co-pays --it's really nothing compared to what Luke has to deal with...

Telling people he fell off a chair and landed on a pen.
Not exactly the experience a tough cowboy kid like Luke wants to be admitting.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

When It's a Nightmare

On Sunday while reading from the scriptures, two of my children (my oldest I might add) decided it was time for fun and games. I slammed my Book of Mormon shut (being careful to keep my finger in the page) and while  hovering on the verge of tears said, "I am only doing this out of obedience. I am not feeling the spirit. I am not enjoying this. I am getting nothing out of it. I do not like this."

How's that for the introductory lesson to begin our traditional Easter Week's, "Last Week of Jesus' Life" study?

It was quite the coincidence that this article was published a couple of days later. If for no one else but myself.

Perhaps it will encourage you too.

Religious Practice in the Home IS NOT EASY (click on link to read)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Revolving Perspective

Last week Luke and I spent far too many hours at Primary Children's Medical Center...

After our prompt arrival, we were taken back to a room to began the initial steps for the procedure Luke was about to have. Due to the type of MRI Luke needed (a dye inserted into his wrist), the plan was for Luke to be sedated and so he was fasting. As a result, Luke was hungry and anxious for the procedure to begin and end. An hour and forty minutes after our arrival, a nurse announced to us that there had been an emergency and we would be bumped back. The estimated time of an hour and a half wait was not enthusiastically received.

After a couple of impromptu nurse meetings, it was decided Luke could forgo sedation, thereby making it possible that he could eat during the impending wait. The crackers and juice at the nurse station didn't satisfy Luke's empty stomach, so as the lunch hour approached, Luke and I decided to walk down to the hospital cafeteria.

(I have to interrupt myself to explain the fact that I have always believed that angels walk the halls of Primary Children's Medical Center. Years ago, while in college I had an experience at that hospital that gave me full confidence that those sick, and often dying children within those walls are not alone.)

As Luke and I approached the cafeteria, straight ahead of us was a large revolving door. With a ten year old's enthusiasm, Luke declared, "That is really cool." Well aware of the fact we had plenty of time to kill, I asked Luke, "You want to go over and check it out? I'll wait right here." Luke immediately replied, "Yeah!" with a big grin and even more enthusiasm. And off he went.

I stood watching Luke try to nonchalantly suppress his grin as he walked quickly over to the door and stepped inside. Immediately to my left, something caught my eye. Out of a nearby doorway came a girl in a wheelchair, being pushed (I assume) by her mother. The girl was likely very close to Luke's age, she wore a mask over her nose and mouth and her head was bald of any hair. Her face was void of any smile, and from her body language I knew she was very sick.

Just feet away from her stood my son, mischievously grinning from ear-to-ear as he was attempting to quicken the speed of the revolving door. My eyes immediately filled with tears and my heart suddenly felt heavy as I thought, that little girl should be doing the same thing Luke is. She should be being a carefree child playing in a revolving door, not scrunched up in a wheelchair in the throes of a medical nightmare. In that moment, I thought of all the horrible injustices happening within the walls of that very building, while my son enjoyed the novelty of a revolving door as he excitedly anticipated the hospital cafeteria having "a hamburger and fries."

I was deeply humbled as Luke and I walked into the Rainbow Cafe for Luke's lunch request.

Our five plus hour stay at the hospital the other day, resulted in nothing more than a cast on Luke's left arm the next morning. The result of an unhealed injury when he broke his arm after being bucked from a horse two years ago. Just a few days into it, I have found myself lamenting the cast and the subsequent prevention of keeping Luke's hands as clean as I'd like them.
I've stood at the sink several times over the past few days helping Luke wash his hands of chicken and goat germs, being careful to get them thoroughly clean without wetting the red cast on Luke's arm. I feel slightly irritated at the inconvenience of a cast, and the extra time it takes for Luke to wash his hands, or prepare for a shower. As soon as the inconvenience enters my mind, I think of the young girl in the wheelchair at the hospital. More than that, I think of the wearied face on the mother pushing the wheelchair and I count my blessings.

It's about perspective.


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