Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kristine's Back Surgery

This morning Kristine went in for surgery on her back.  She has been in a great deal of pain for a long time because of her spine pinching the nerves.  She has constant pain in her left leg and has had to be on heavy pain killers for it.  With surgery, there is risk from the anesthesia that it would diminish her mental capacity, so we waited.  Her discomfort got to such a level that we decided it was worth the risk if it would help her to not be suffering all of the time.

Last week John took her to appointments all day long in preparation for the surgery.  He said that several times during the day she asked him why HE was getting surgery.  She kept forgetting they were there to check her out.  The doctors gave the OK and scheduled her for this morning.  John took her in and got her all set.  After seminary, I stopped by the hospital.  The nurse that would be helping with the surgery came in to have a final run through on the details of what was planned.  Kristine was once again surprised that she was having surgery on her back.  

The surgery lasted about 4 hours and the doctor said that everything went well.  They did a little less than they had planned, but felt like they accomplished what they needed to.  They bolted together 2 of her vertebrae, replaced the disk between them, and decompressed her lower spine (at least that's how I remember it).   After she woke up and was taken to her room, John called me and I took Jebb and Jackson down to see her.  She seemed really alert and aware of what was going on.  She asked us what we were going to be for Halloween.  She was so much better than the last time she woke up from surgery (when she had her gall bladder removed).

She asked for more pain killers and said that her back hurt.  I don't know if her leg was still sore, it didn't seem to be bothering her.  The PT came and made her get up and walk around.  They said that the more she walks and moves after surgery, the less pain she will be in later.  She has a corset that they put on her so that she can get up and walk around.

She will spend 2-3 nights in the hospital and Jebb is very excited we get to dog-sit Chuey.  The staff at the hospital is very good and my visiting teacher is even a nursing aid for Kristine-which is nice because I know she will get good care.  John is still at the hospital and will stay there until bed time.  I had Parent-Teacher conferences and kids to pick up from sports, so we left the two of them at the hospital. John is an excellent son and is so good to his mom.  I know I always say this, but it is so true.  I am amazed at his patience and kindness, and the huge amounts of time he dedicates to his mom's comfort.  I am glad my boys see his example so they will feed me my jello after my surgery when I am old.  I know she would be really confused as to where she is if John's familiar face wasn't there.  Hopefully all will continue to go well.  I am very pleased to see that the anesthesia didn't seem to make her more cloudy.  I think that's a really great sign, as the doctors said that it might be a huge issue.

We sure love Gma Kristine and appreciate all of your calls and prayers for her.  We will take good care of her and try to keep you posted. :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Elise is 14

My little girl is getting so, so big! Elise turned 14 today which is solidly in the teenager years.  She has really grown up a lot this year and is really looking like a young woman.

She wanted to get a haircut with 'side bangs' so we took her in on Tuesday as an early Birthday present.
 Jebb came home sick on Friday and got to go with me to pick up Elise for lunch.  We had actually gone early and picked up lunch, then we took Elise to get a new phone during her lunch hour.  She was pleasantly surprised.  We upgraded her old phone to an iPhone 3 (an old model) that we had from work.  Gabe and Seth protested at the unfairness of it all.  They were allowed to buy and iTouch once they were 14, but still had to use basic phones.  This meant they carried 2 devices around all the time.  We decided to just skip a step and consolidate Elise into one device.  I guess the girls of the family really do get special treatment around here. ;)  I called her once the phone was swithed over and took a pic to send to John, as he has been gone all week and won't return until Sunday.
 We gave Elise her new phone the day before her actually B-day because on Friday, right after school, she was off with our ward on an overnight Temple Trip.  Seth was able to go as well although he wouldn't pose for a picture.  Gabe was gone to play a football game over in Fruita, CO so he missed it.

Elise had a great time in Monticello.  The youth stayed in a hotel where they got to swim and stay up all night (Our Bishop told us that the Deacons put notes under the Beehives door all night.... things along the lines of "Deacons rule, Beehives drool."  What a wonderful and innocent age!)  They had an evening fireside with one of the Temple Presidency as well as a sunrise hike/devotional at Wilson Arch before getting baptized Saturday morning.  I think it was a pretty great way for Elise to spend her birthday.  I am so glad she is a part of our family.  I spoil her, but I am also hard on her because she is the only girl.  She has really had to step up this year with John being gone,  and me teaching seminary.  She is often responsible for getting herself, Jackson, and Jebb ready and off to the bus in the morning.  She always has a great attitude about it and I am so glad she is here.

A fuzzy quilt from Gma Ross

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dairy Queen Dilemma

This afternoon Gabe left town for football, Seth and Elise went on an overnight temple trip, and John is out of town working hard to open a new store.  That left Jackson, Jebb, and I to figure out what to do with ourselves.

Jebb came up with a great idea.  We decided to go by Grandma Kristine's house and visit with her.  When we arrived, Chuey was so excited to be taken for a walk outside that he nearly jumped out of his fur.  After we walked the dog and watched some Andy Griffith, we asked Gma if she'd like to go get something to eat.  She was very excited at this idea and we quickly settled on Dairy Queen because she wanted a milkshake.

We loaded up and headed to town.  The boys were planning their Blizzard flavors when I reminded them they had to eat some food first.  I thought it might be fun for us all to call John while we were there but I looked at my phone and noticed that I only had 4% battery on my phone and I decided I ought to save it in case we really needed it.  I remembered that I didn't have a charger in the car and it would have to last until I got home.

When we arrived at Dairy Queen, we parked and I opened my door.  Chuey (who of course came along) tried to bolt out the opening.  I grabbed him and put him into the back seat where he could wait for us.  I turned back to unbuckle Kristine's seatbelt (she can't seem to figure the buckles out any more) as she was in the passenger seat beside me.  Jebb and Jackson were both hopping out the back doors while trying to keep Chuey contained.

 In all the commotion, somewhere, somehow, some way, I realized that I didn't have my car key-nor was it still in the ignition.  I looked around. Checked my pockets.  Checked my purse. Nada.

The kids were rushing into DQ and encouraging Gma to come along too.

I looked at the floor mats.  I looked under my seat.  I looked in the center console.  I looked in Kristine's seat. I rechecked my pockets.  I rechecked my purse.  Nothing.

Where were those dang keys?

I headed into DQ and helped everyone order dinner.  Strangely, I had lost my appetite.

We went and sat in a booth to await our food.  I told the kids to stay with Gma while I went to check the car again.

Under the seats. In the ignition.  Under the floor mats.

Inside the restaurant, I could see Gma and the kids watching me through the window.  I told the boys what I was doing, but didn't want to alarm Gma.

I began to think of who I might be able to call to help me get Gma back home after dinner and maybe help me get home too.  I looked at my phone.

2% of battery remaining.

I had gone through the car well enough to know I didn't have my phone charger that was normally in my car.  I knew I wouldn't be able to make many calls-I had to make it count.

John was in Utah.  Gabe was in Grand Junction.  Seth  and Elise were on their way to Monticello.

As I thought of friends and neighbors I could call-I had a troubling realization.  If my phone went dead... I would not be able to call them.  I did not know their phone numbers.  They were all in my (almost dead) phone.  I had a couple of numbers memorized from pre-cell-phone days.  My next door neighbors... out of town.  Another further neighbor... heading to Monticello.  I went through the handful of 'by heart' numbers I knew and realized that I had better make my last call on my cell phone count because everyone was gone from town.

I swallowed hard and called Hank.

It rang a few times before going to voice mail.  I talked fast and told him where I was.   Then I sent him  a text.  I was really pinning my hopes on him checking his phone sometime in the near future.  I knew we couldn't eat ice cream all night (although I am sure we could try) and Gma needed to get home pretty soon.

I put my phone to sleep (now at 1%) and said a little prayer before going back inside.

As I walked in the door, my phone rang.  It was Hank! I answered and he told me he was leaving the pit and was on his way!

And then my phone died.

Yeah!  Hank was coming to our rescue!

We ate some fries, then Jebb ran out to the car to look for the keys.  I followed him out deciding I'd better keep looking too.  I started in the back seat and Jebb jumped in the driver's seat.

After a moment Jebb exclaimed that he could see the keys down between the seat and the console.  He had a little trouble, but managed to reach his little hand down in the crevice to retrieve them.

WE FOUND THE KEYS!  We were all so happy we decided to have ice cream cones.  I thought I ought to call Hank, but I didn't know his number (I couldn't even borrow the DQ phone).  So we waited for him to arrive and promptly bought him dinner.  He was extremely gracious and assured us it was not the hassle it was to come all the way into town to help us out.  Thank you Hank for being there for us.  Sorry it ended up being a false alarm.

We managed to get Chuey and Gma home at a decent hour and J&J went home with me for a movie night.  My dilemma at DQ turned out all right.

Moral of the story?  I need a giant key chain.  I need to memorize some phone numbers.  I need to keep my phone charged until said memorization is done.  I need to tell Hank more often how much I appreciate his help and attitude with my family.  I need to leave town when everyone else I know does. I need to eat more ice cream.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Shoveling and Jumping and FHEing

For the past couple of weeks, Seth has been spending a lot of his time after school over on one of our vacant lots with a shovel and a bike.  He has had some help from his friend Kanyon, and the two of them have been building trails and jumps for their mountain bikes.  

Tonight for FHE we all went over to check out his handy work and to snap a few pics.  All of the kids brought their bikes and we had a good time trying out some the trail.

Monticello with Missionaries

 This morning we got to wake up early (5am early!) and drive over to Monticello for a special Monday morning Temple session with the missionaries in our mission.  We drove the 5 sisters from our area over and some other people from our ward drove the Elders serving around here.

It was a really nice experience to see so many young faces in a session and to hear their enthusiasm for the opportunity to attend.  I like missionaries and temples-even more than butterflies and rainbows. ;)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rainy Fall

We have had a whole lot of rain this fall.  Today seemed especially epic.  We had rain all day along with some huge downpours including some sizeable hail.  

This is the gulch near the gravel pit.  It's usually a tiny stream but it is a muddy stream running a lot of water. The pit, fortunately, has lots of drainage burms that have held well.  We drove up to make sure.

Many of our friends had golf ball sized hail that damaged cars, broke windows, ruined roofs and siding!  Pretty crazy fall weather for around here!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's My Birthday and I'll Weed if I Want To

You know you are getting old and weird when you request that your children help you weed the back yard for your birthday.  Everyone got up early and helped me clean out the strawberries and the bark.  I loved every weed attacking moment of it.  Then we went inside and I got to eat a first class breakfast with my work crew.  Thanks to my good family that had a happy attitude about doing extra yard work for me today.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pet Day

Jebb's class had Pet Day today at school.  I was ready to bring Daisy when she decided to run off this morning! Yikes!  We have had a lot of rain lately and she gets frightened by the lightning that sometimes accompanies the showers.  I drove around looking for her and as it got close to the end of the day when all pets were coming to class, I had resolved to stick our half-wild cat into a box and take him.  Luckily, our crazy Daisy appeared out of nowhere (or maybe got returned by an annoyed neighbor??) and I was able to spare the cat a trip to the school.  

Daisy has neither a collar or a leash, so I got a motorcycle strap and fashioned one for her.  Jebb was SO excited that we made it!

 I think it is only in Colorado that someone brings their pet mule in a trailer that says "Haulin' *ss" on it.  This mule was not excited to stand and wait for the students to pet it-stubborn thing! :)

 Thank goodness Daisy returned to save Pet Day for Jebb.  That kid loves his dog and I love him!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bowl Baby

I am not sure if there is a full moon, or it is almost the Fall Solstice, or maybe it's the wet weather, but something strange has happened to me.  A friend of mine at church approached me and asked if I would like to join her bowling team.

Bowling?  Why, no.  I do not bowl.

She was quite persuasive and explained that there are averages and handicaps, and it's all just in good fun.

Um. No.  I don't even break 100 when I bowl.

But it wouldn't even be that often.  In fact, I could just be the 4th person on the 3-man team.  An extra body in case someone else got sick or had a conflict.

Well.  I had thought recently that I needed to get involved in some sort of activity where I could meet new people, not just the new people from church.  Hm.  Maybe I can do it as long as it isn't every week.

No problem.  We will pick you up tomorrow- our 3rd person is out of town.

And so it happened that I have joined a bowling league.

A bowling league.

Yes, a bowling league.

My family reading this in distant places are all laughing at this idea because they have been with me each of the 3 times I have bowled in the last decade (it usually ties in with some sort of Family Reunion activity).

So today I went and bowled for my first time with the bowling league out at the Rolling Thunder alley inside the casino.  Good Times.

I had a freaky experience.

I bowled (on the 2nd of 3 games) a.....wait for it.....a 184!!  I got a bunch of strikes in a row and I noticed it garnered the attention of the other ladies in the league.  I am a little freaked out, because it was most certainly some kind of super funky fluke!!!  And now I have set this really high bar that I will never, ever be able to reach again!! 184!! For those who don't know-that is a super good score for a Monday afternoon women's bowling league.  184-so crazy!!

On the drive home (our team car pools out to the casino), one of our teammates let us know that she has decided to work full time which means I just got bumped to the actual team instead of the alternate position.  Mercy.  Now what?  I will likely never break 100 again.  And, by the way, I don't really bowl.

What have I gotten myself into?  My teammates were gracious enough to immortalize my score for me:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Treasure Lies Inside

Driving home today, there was a big rainbow in the sky and it followed us as we went up the hill to our house.  I decided to drive out to the well pad so that I could take this picture.  Yes, the rainbow does indeed end at our home.  We don't have any gold, but I feel like I have a family that is a true treasure and we live here. :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Jebb is Baptized!

What a wonderful day it has been.  Today Jebb turned 8 and was baptized on his birthday just like his 4 older siblings.  But this baptism was a little different because instead of being baptized by John, Jebb was baptized by his oldest brother Gabe.  John was able to confirm Jebb and give him the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  We were able to share the day with lots of family and friends.  It was really and truly wonderful.

We had talked about Gabe baptizing Jebb several months ago, but John didn't want any of the kids to feel favored or slighted, so we kind of let it drip.  But a few days ago, Jebb brought it up and was very anxious to have Gabe perform the baptism.  I left the decision up to John, and after talking to the kids he thought it would be a nice thing.  Gabe was really great about it.  He was thoughtful and deliberate.  He practiced the prayer in the car on the way to the church just to be sure he got it right. :)  Just before the ordinance, I reached over and patted his shoulder.  He reached up to touch my hand and I realized just how nervous he was from his sweaty palms. heehee  But he did a fine job and all went well.

Jebb kept peeking out at me as he was being confirmed and we shared several sweet smiles as I blinked my eyes hard to say 'close your eyes.'

The whole thing was so emotional for me.  My oldest baby baptizing my youngest.  I thought it would be neat, but was unprepared for just how deeply it affected me.  And it was utterly fantastic.  I can truly say that today was one of my sweetest parenting days.  To have oldest son worthy and willing to perform this saving ordinance for my last child was just extraordinary.   It was the icing on the cake to have our family there as well.  G&G Ross, The Hannays, & the Martins were there from my side.  G Kristine, Aunt Jan, Megan's family, and Hank were all there on John's side (sadly, Jan and Megan had to leave before the picture. Thank you Jan for giving the opening prayer!).  I was also grateful for our close friends in the ward that made the effort to attend.  They truly our our extended family here in town and it was a blessing to have those men confirm Jebb.  What a great priesthood example for him.

I am so grateful for the special young man that Jebb is.  He is has such a cheerful and loving disposition.   He is the perfect youngest brother for all of the kids in our family.  And of course I smile every time he asks to sit by me, no matter where we are.  I am so glad that we decided to have one more child after Jackson (John thought we were done ;)).  Jebb completes our family and adds a lot of happiness to it.  Jackson and Jebb are best friends and I am so glad to have them.

I know I am gushing a lot, but I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the family bonds it helps to forge.  What a blessing it is in my life!!! And what a blessing the memory of this day will always be to me. :)

G&G Ross gave the talks on Baptism and the HG

Practicing for the awesome musical number
(A very 'reverent' rendition of The Armies of Helaman)

The Hannays with Jebb