Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Couple of Questions LIV

It has occurred to me that my last several posts have been quite lengthy. So, here's a very short post with very fluffy questions. Enjoy the rest of the week!

1. What is your all time favorite breakfast cereal? (Not necessarily what you eat every morning because of it's healthy factor)

2. If you could adopt any wild animal (and I suppose magically domesticate it) what would you choose?

(These questions came from a blog I found comprised of all questions......)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

House Guest Woes

We've had a house guest for the past 12 days. His name is Mackie, and he's about 9 months old. He's my parent's child - and was entrtusted unto our care while they spent their 40th anniversary in Maui.

By and far, this little wire haired fox terrier has been a joy. As Dad says, "It's hard to stay in a bad mood when Mackie's around". Sydney and him get along swimmingly (particularly after he stopped mounting her at every turn....) and he absolutely loves the attention from the kids. He is a bit of a yapper - not used to neighbors out where he lives, but is so willing to please he stops when you telling him sternly not to.

We'd settled into a nice routine, send the dogs outside, let them play and get dirty - bring them in the garage (the holding bay) until they dry off, bring them inside to play and repeat. All was going perfect until Mackie didn't come in yesterday with Sydney to go into the garage. I had heard some concerning sounds earlier, so I had a suspicion.... yes, indeed, Mackie had dug a hole under the fence and had gotten trapped in our elderly backyard neighbor's enclosed yard. Apparently, the hole was worthy of going through, but not returning through..... I ended up digging it a little deeper and retrieved the little guy - thankful the hole was dug on the last day of his captivity under our care. I then replaced the
hole with a big rock and packed dirt around it..... Just in case.

Soon after, Dad called. They had had an amazing time - he was recounting the 2 hours they spent on the "mini-yacht" of some friends in which a number of whales had circled and played around the boat. Mom was in tears several times, they said it was so amazing, 12 foot wide tails splashing next to the swim deck, watching their eyes, having them turn to lay on their backs - the whales were as enchanted with the boat and their presence as they were with them. If you know my mom, wow - it doesn't get much better in life than to experience that. With all of that said, however, they still turned down the offer to stay a few more days - for many reasons, but Mackie being a big one. I was so THANKFUL I could report he was safe and sound.

Until...... I returned home again and found him missing from our yard - and no where to be found in the neighbor's. Panic.... He's got great ID tags, but the phone number is to my parent's house - of little help to us when they are gone. We started going door to door when oddly, a stranger down the street asked if we were missing a dog, described Mackie, and told us he could be found at the house around the corner..... That house? You mean the one that has three of Brayden's basketball buddies all playing out front? Sure enough, one of our basketball moms had safely contained little Mackie in her backyard. God was looking out for us. (And, Mackie was looking out for cats....which was the reason he felt the need to escape....)

I carried him all the way home and called Dad's cell on the way - no use having him worry for nothing at the 2 messages regarding a lost dog on his machine when he arrived home at 11pm last night. And, since then, the playtime outside has been eliminated from the options. With Dad due to pick him up sometime this morning, we aren't taking any chances now......

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Too Intense for Me

Here's a wish I have.....

That when you sign your kids up for sports program you can choose from two categories of teams you'd like to be on:

Choice #1: RECREATIONAL LEAGUE - Children will learn the basics of the sport, but above all sportsmanship will be emphasized and the goal of the game is to have fun over winning

Choice #2: SUPERSTAR LEAGUE - The teams in which parents believe their children are so good they will proceed all the way to college scholarship and eventually pro teams..... As a result, parents can be as competitive as they want and coaches can be as ruthless as they want..... really, I don't care what happens in this league, because it is NOT where my child will ever be, and I could only hope that those players, parents, and coaches that act like this would stay on this team so we would never have to cross paths with them......

But, of course that's just a wish and certainly not reality, as evidenced by this afternoon's basketball game.

Today was our little basketball team's last set of doubleheader games. We all came in like any other game, but the other team did not. They definitely belonged in the second category - particularly their coach.

We don't know what school they represent, but we guessed it must be somewhere in East Germany.... Their female coach was tall, threatening, and didn't smile once. And, their parents lined the whole west wall, ready to yell like the Mac Court Pit Crew for their 7 year old pro team. Right off the bat, we noticed a problem - they double/triple/even quadruple teamed our little guys - anotherwords, whoever had the ball, the team swarmed to them, ready to group strip the ball at any opportunity. Our coach, Mike, tried to repeatedly suggest that everyone pick one man to guard individually, one on one, but clearly, that's not what they were coached to do.

Tensions started running VERY high. At one point, Brayden very obviously traveled with the ball - something the coaches (aka refs) try to be a little lenient with. She blew the whistle on him and said, "I've got to call this traveling, FINALLY!" Alrighty, this mom could have done without that last little explanation regarding her firstborn - GRRRRR! It soon began a whistle-off. I think Mike tried to be very fair in his calls, but eventually got tired of her kids fouling all over the place in their aggressive attempts to win. It was an interesting halftime watching them square off at center court, attempting to come to some agreement regarding how the game was supposed to play. I'll admit, I was ready to bench my own son just to send in our star players so their butts could be completely kicked, and simply to shut their obnxious parents up. Fortunately, our coach did not, and I have to say all of our kids gave their all and were clearly exhausted by the end.

The truly funny thing about the whole thing is that our coach is a professional referree. In fact, he's the boss of the high school and community college refs in our county. He KNOWS what he's doing - but never flashed that fact (I would have). He didn't want a fight, he just wanted to have the kids have fun (without getting walked all over...)

As their coach was walking out, one of our more outspoken moms went up to her and said, "You should try smiling, coach." She was clearly taken back and wanted to know who's team the mom represented. Does it matter? Hopefully, she'll think about that one for a while.....

I know this whole thing is going to get a lot worse - particularly at the school we attend, known all over the city as the one of the most competitive. I will say Brayden's class has a wonderful group of boys, so this little team has stayed innocent longer than some of the other stories I've heard from other classes. I don't know, how long do we let our little guy compete in a sports world where he's out of his league? I guess, we carefully choose one season at a time, and when it stops being fun.....I guess that's when it stops.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm So Proud of My Daughter!

First of all, thank you for your prayers.

Second of all, she did great!

But, before I get to that - I'll give you some sure-fire instructions on how not to stress about your daughter's impending MRI....

1. Take one Advil PM before going to bed.
2. Forget to set your alarm clock.
3. Wake up fifteen minutes before having to take your son and neighbor to school (and immediately after that, your daughter to the MRI).

Yep, that'll do it. All of a sudden, there's no time to worry, or even figure out how not to give your daughter the breakfast she wants (no time to eat...., which she wasn't supposed to do just in case sedation was necessary).

Fortunately, we got everyone where they needed to be on time - and that there was no dress or hair code for entering Oregon Imaging Center..... When we arrived, John spoke to the nurses and expressed his misgivings about the whole issue. They offered little hope, very few 5 year olds are capable of lying still enough for an MRI without sedation..... Lovely. We decided to try it in anyway - she'd have an IV no matter what, so we figured we could always put the sleep medicine through if needed later.

I boosted her up with the challenge of being the "5 year old they'll talk about from here on out" while they put in the IV - and she didn't even flinch. She just seemed to bask in the attention of it all. On the table for the MRI they snuggled her in with warm blankets, put her puppy dog stuffed animal on her feet, and started up "High School Musical" in her headphones. We instructed her to "fake like she was sleeping" - and there you go..... She did just that. On the 4th 3 minute MRI scan, apparently she moved a bit, so that was repeated, but other than that, it was super. They were very impressed, and we were very proud. Three times already, people have said, "she's just like her mommy...." - yes, I'll agree - if there was ever a challenge set before us to behave as good as possible for an audience, Michele and I would try our hardest to make it happen. I had a feeling, as long as Mikayla didn't lose it to fear - she would be the same. Yes, indeed she's my daughter. (and I can't even tell you how much Brayden is John's son!).

Thanks again for your support for our little girl, I'd dare say, she even had fun - a miracle indeed!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mikayla's MRI

Tomorrow at 8am Mikayla will be having a "non-sedated" MRI done. When she was 2 months old we discovered one of her cheeks looked larger than the other - almost as if she was sucking on a gumball. After seeing the pediatrician, we were directed to a plastic surgeon (he'd have the best idea of facial deformities), and finally when no other answers were ascertained, we took a trip up to OHSU. Bottom line, they were worried that the "unknown mass" in her cheek could perhaps be muscle cancer. It seemed unlikely, but the surgeons up there were very close to cutting her face open to do a biopsy. In the 11th hour, we received a phone call telling us that after reviewing the films again (x-rays and sedated MRI's) they were fairly confident it was benign and is just an anomoly (that anomoly thing has turned into a pattern for our kiddos!). However, they wanted us to keep an eye on it, and when she was old enough to have an MRI without being sedated - to have more film taken.

Fast forward 5 years, and here we are. The cheek issue is no longer noticable, she's grown into it as expected, but still as a precaution, we need to follow through. Personally, I think the mass is a result of coming out of me at breakneck speed, when my cervix was still only measuring about 8 cm. So, alls to say, I am not worried about the results of this little procedure, but instead worried about how Mikayla will handle it. Right now, she's excited and pumped up about listening to her favorite music while people take pictures of her face inside a tunnel.....but, I'm not so sure that enthusiasm will last when she gets a look at what that tunnel really looks like.

So, if you think about it, pray for my little girl tomorrow - that she would be fearless. Supposedly, she has to lie still as a statue for 30 minutes, so perhaps you can pray just for a miracle......

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Couple of Questions LIII

If you are anything like me, there are certain things that need replacing in your home, but you just can't bring yourself to spend the money to replace it, or update it. Based on that idea, if money weren't an issue.....

1. What household items would be replaced in your home?

2. What personal items would you replace?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Can We Just Freeze Time on This Boy?

As any parent will attest, there are times when you absolutely adore your children, and other times that you could really use a break from them, sometimes, a long break.

Brayden and I had some serious clashing in the weeks leading up to Christmas vacation. I think he was a bit sleep deprived (the one sure thing in his life that will always cause meltdowns) and ready to be done with school and ready for vacation. He at one point, even had to write a major apology letter to me as his behavior had become quite disrespectful.... it was a bummer and it made me quite sad thinking perhaps we'd passed into an age where this would be the standard battle.

Then, Christmas break happened and Brayden did what Brayden most loves to do - he got to have family time, lots of family time, and time to play, play, play with his favorite people - and didn't have to wake up for anything in particular. And, what do you know, the old Brayden emerged. Oh, how thankful we were.

I expected us to have some hic-cups as he returned to school, and yes, there have been some of them, but surprisingly, I'm actually finding myself even more fond of his company.

So, here are few things that have either had me laughing, sighing, or simply wishing we could freeze time-

- Brayden was chosen to be the "Star Student" (the kids all get chosen at some point through the year) - and did a great job describing the pictures we put together. When the topic of his stay at the hospital in Hawaii came up we asked him why he had to go to the hospital - his answer was, "because some dust particles got stuck in my brain"..... I don't think that was quite the doctor's diagnosis, but, whatever.......

- (This one kind of sounds self-absorbed, so please understand upfront that when it was said, I looked AWFUL...) Upon waking up on Saturday morning one of the first things out of Brayden's mouth was the following: "Mom, I want to tell my whole class something about you, but I think it might be rude" (So, you can guess what I was thinking - something about Mommy's bathroom habits, burping habits, etc.... uh oh....) but instead, here's what he said, "I want to tell them that I have the prettiest mom out of the whole class" Ohhhhhh! My heart melted and I told him how sweet that was and how much I appreciated it, but we both agreed, that yes, that might make other kids not so happy..... But, boy did that start my morning right!!!!

- Brayden officially has a girlfriend now. Her name is Allie and she looks like a little Leanne Rhimes with glasses - just the sweetest little thing. Yesterday, however, was a bit traumatic for their relationship. Brayden got into the car crying that one of his FORMER best friends had betrayed him by telling Allie that Brayden liked her (wasn't that the truth?). He was concerned that that had caused the end of their relationship. Fortunately, one of his other best friends was coming home with us for a playdate and had some inside information. Apparently, little Allie had asked both boys how Brayden really felt about her. This was good, because Brayden thought the boys were just bragging their inside secret about Brayden's feelings towards Allie, and because of this other friend, we now know that Allie truly wanted to hear about Brayden's feelings, and not only that - she loves Brayden! - and told both boys that. Oh, the drama! John and I both had our own conversations with Brayden that night about girls needing to know how boys feel about them, and how Brayden needs to let her know himself. I'm pleased to report that Brayden did just that today. Tomorrow, he plans to ask her what her favorite kind of candy is, so in the event that they still "like each other" come Valentines' Day - he'll know what to get her. Awwwwww......

- Finally, Brayden proved we can trust him, at least in these circumstances: When at a friend's house and the mom gave him the opportunity to go ahead and play whatever PS2 game he wanted including a rated "M" game - he matter of factly pointed out that he wasn't allowed to play Rated M games...... Even better, he was happy to come home and report all of this to us. Good for you, Brayden. Alright, he's mastered saying "no" to Rated "M" games - if we can just master that same response to drugs, alcohol, sex, and everything else we all fear as parents....... - which is why we can refer once again to the title of this post......

Monday, January 22, 2007

And, Oh by the Way - Happy Birthday John!

Just wanted to give the love of my life a big happy birthday wish! He turned 38 years old today (exactly 3 and a half years older than me) and as I expressed in the card I gave him - I am so thankful that not only is he my husband, but my best friend. Happy Birthday love!

Organization Update #3

Lame, lame, lame.....

I managed to rid our bedroom of an annoying carboard box that had been accumulating odds and ends since before Christmas. Not a very noteworthy achievement, I know - however, it's another thing crossed off the list.

I will use this opportunity, though, to brag on my buddy, mrsquigs (Lisa). I was at her house the other day and noticed she had the kind of canisters that you put on bulletin boards to hold paperclips or other things like that (they are metallic and have a clear lid). She filled each of them with her spices and used her label maker to mark them all - and stuck them on the side of her refridgerator. Impressive - and what a great use of space!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

In Search of the Giving Tree

One of the best and "at-the-time-I'd-almost-rather-not-deal-with" activities of the Christmas Season is my participation with a team of women who organize and distribute gifts for our church's "Giving Tree". For the last two years my responsibilities have been more administrative, I get to do all of the typing of the labels - and this year Lisa and I got to go pick out the Christmas tree.

It was a doubly special event as we were able to go to my friend, Sharon's, tree farm. This is Michele and I's oldest family friend - not that she is the oldest (far from it - she looks great!), but that Michele and I grew up with her kids and she and her husband were best friends to my parents when we were all little kids. I have a post in 2005 that shows pictures of us at her house for the annual pumpkin carving party. They are very special people. It was made EVEN better by having Michele and the kids around so we could all go out together.

Next year, note to Lisa and I, bring a pair of clippers to cut the bottom tree limbs if you plan on putting the tree up in a stand at the church......

Bowling, Black Butte, and Bikinis

Sorry y'all - been a little pre-occupied for the last couple of days with the above list of activities.

On Friday night I had my worst game of bowling of all-time - to put it into perspective, Ellie and Mikayla beat me. Ouch. However, some chocolate chip mint ice cream topped with hot fudge and malt did much to ease my disappointment at the former Farrell's restaurant. It was a great evening with some of my most favorite people....... a fun way to pre-celebrate John's birthday.

On Saturday morning, Lisa, Michele and I set off for Black Butte to join 7 other women (8 including our lunch with Jodi). That's a lot of estrogen, but we had a great time. Highlights included watching all of the Cancun bound women (all but one other gal, Jodi, and our car load are headed to Cancun in 14 days) try on bikini swimsuits at a boutique in downtown - wow, that's brave..... I'm so glad I had no need whatsoever to step in that dressing room and bare my lilly white, cellulite laden body to a posse of women ready to give their opinions..... The other really special highlight for me was sitting in the Black butte couch filled lounge, watching the big-screen tv in which the Duck basketball game exhibited yet another thrilling win and simply relaxing..... there were yummy drinks, our dinner was brought to the couches, and a few of us indulged in desserts as well.

Thank you again Lisa S. for a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and relax in the beauty of Central Oregon with the blessings of incredible friends.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Couple of Questions LII

There was a wedding insert in the paper today - which leads me to ask these questions.

1. If you were to plan your wedding again, what would you change? (Stephietoo - don't you dare say your matron of honor!)

2. Where would you honeymoon?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Piece of Our History

Compared to our disappointment in the “luxury” rooms, that were so outdated, the patio dining for breakfast was surprisingly classy. The waves were within sight and sound and, on the 17th of January, you’d never be able to dine in sunshine, outside, with short sleeves back in Oregon. Wasn’t this Honolulu business trip sponsored by Rosen Corporation supposed to be a perk? Instead, John and I couldn’t shirk our “funks”; perhaps the delicious tropical breakfast would do just the trick.

Brayden certainly seemed to be delighted in his surroundings. In fact, we quickly noticed how enamored he seemed to be with the tree and its branches cascading over us on the lanai. Even the attention of the waitress, eager to flirt with our usually very friendly 9-month-old baby, couldn’t seem to shake his interest in the leaves overhead. John and I were slightly amused at the slight clucking sound he even made with his tongue – it was almost as if he were in a trance…

I remember little else of breakfast that morning – I think John and I intrinsically knew something wasn’t right with our little man, but were both easing each other’s unspoken concerns with excuses. I do remember settling back into our room and calling Michele immediately.

“Hey Michele, yeah, everything’s fine – not exactly what we had in mind in terms of accommodations, but it’s okay. Hey could you describe to me what exactly happened with Traig’s fibril seizures? Yeah, Brayden’s acting a little strange…. Does he have a fever, well, no, not exactly, if he does, it’s really slight, but he seemed unsettled on the plane ride over and didn’t sleep right, yeah, he’s probably just a little off kilter….”

Oh, but you know, off kilter doesn’t exactly describe what happened next. Brayden was doing his typical “army crawl” across the floor, when all of a sudden, he just checked out. His eyes drifted to one side, his right arm began shaking, and his tongue vibrated in his mouth. I alerted John to what was going on, and no amount of urging, cooing, pleading, or crying could get our baby back – he wouldn’t respond.

Panicked, but working as a team, John and I ran to the concierge desk, clutching our little man as he remained “checked out”. We were given directions to a clinic set up on weekends for tourists and set off on our way. Within a block or two of leaving the hotel, Brayden “checked back in”, smiling and interacting, giving me hope that our son was back and hopefully would not leave us again.

But, he did. In the waiting room at the clinic, and again, right in front of the doctor, his symptoms returned, and, just as mysteriously vanished. The doctor checked his temperature as well, but we knew, it had nothing to do with any high temperatures – he was stumped and worried – and sent us on our way to Kapiolani Children’s’ Hospital in their own shuttle van.

Amazing what your mind fixates on in emergencies. Why were they driving us? It wasn’t an ambulance, would we get there any faster? How would we get our vehicle back? And, why was there no car seat for our baby? I remember that being very alarming to me, as if that made a world of difference in light of what we were facing.

The triage doctor had to just take us for our word regarding Brayden’s “episodes”. He seemed to be absolutely normal by the time we reached the hospital, but that comforted us little. We knew what was coming, so it surprised us little that they decided to admit him to run a series of tests, beginning with the CAT scan. Had it just been a couple of years prior that we had read and agonized over our friends’ baby who had had seizures suddenly and been diagnosed with a brain tumor? How could this be happening to us too?

The first task was to get the IV in him. I consider myself an amazingly calm person in the face of crisis (sometimes to a fault…) so I knew my presence in the ER room was not impeding the process. But, it was agonizing to watch as they strapped him down in a “papoose board” so he would be unable to move and attempted to get an IV in him (quite unsuccessfully, stabbing him repeatedly….) He wailed, and I offered sweet words of encouragement to him. Finally, the doctor told us we had to leave – they said he was looking to us to rescue him and our being there only made it harder for him. That was the darkest moment I’ve probably ever had as a parent.

John and I went to the waiting room and held each other, and I went to the bathroom, and lost it, right there by the automated hand dryer… I knew my losing it with John would make it more about me than Brayden, and I knew I needed to be strong, but in this private, with God and I – I cried, begged, and pleaded for the life and health of my baby boy.

I remember next sitting in the hallway with John, closer to the CAT scan (they allowed us to move there after they got the IV in) – we got on the phone, then, doing the only thing we were able to constructively do at that point – and called our closest friends and family, imploring them to pray. Then we prayed and waited.

It didn’t take them long to wheel our little patient out, he looked so small on that big gurney – so innocent, precious, and perfect. It was a heartbreaking sight. They then moved us to another floor and settled us into the room we’d end up spending our vacation in – DEFINITELY not the deluxe accommodations we had hoped for.

Right as the nurse was leaving, we cornered her for any insight on what they’d found. She may have dismissed protocol that afternoon, but in our hearts, she became our hero when she revealed the CAT scans had shown nothing of concern. I think, from that point on, John and I knew it was somehow going to end out okay.

As hours and days went on, everything continued to come up inconclusive. Blood draws, spinal taps (big “no” to meningitis), EKG (big “no” to a hole in the heart that would lead to a blood clot in the brain), EEG (checking brain waves), and finally an MRI and MRA to examine the brain closer. Epilepsy seemed to be the best guess they had had, and that was a hard pill to swallow. In the beginning, we knew it could have been an option – better than brain cancer by far, but a lifetime with an epileptic condition? Do we treat with aggressive drugs, or just act accordingly when the seizures rear their ugly head? We were discharged from the hospital with instructions to return the following day.

I remember being beside myself with anxiety that night. How could I sleep knowing that my son could have another seizure and I would be unable to help him? What if he suffocated? How would I ever sleep again, much less ever have him leave my sight? John spoke words of wisdom to me about it being out of my control, and there was nothing any amount of my worrying could do to change that. I had to trust in the Lord and rest in His will. That hit home, and miraculously, we all managed to sleep.

Upon returning to the hospital, the doctors arrived with looks of wonder on their faces. They had news for us, and it began first with the fact that Brayden did not have epilepsy. (Phew). Brayden was diagnosed as having had a very minor stroke. Yes, stroke. Only by carefully re-analyzing the sophisticated MRI did they catch it, the telltale signs or something you would expect to find in a 90-year-old patient, not a 9-month-old patient. At that point, it was unheard of*, but undeniably, our son had had a very small stroke, affecting rather insignificant (in terms of long term effect) capillary blood movement. We didn’t quite know what to make of it, other than agree with them, that, yes, our son was “special and unique”.

After a few more conclusive tests that Brayden had no “predisposition” towards future strokes (there were a couple of more tests that had to be run in the states that further proved that within the following weeks) – we were free to leave – for good – Kapiolani Children’s’ Hospital. We made the best of our remaining days on the island by celebrating John’s birthday at a wonderful restaurant, finding an outlet mall (yes, that is the ultimate gift for John) and hitting the beach.

I wish all of our friends and family could have seen Brayden those following days – it was as if God inspired upon him to be so full of character and happiness to completely compensate for our earlier fears. We knew our calls home to tell everyone the news could do little to comfort them compared to what it was like to have this vibrant, interactive boy by our side – who, all of a sudden had picked up a few more sounds in his vocabulary and began crawling on all fours – hmmmm, that little short circuit seemed to have an effect after all!

I know this story has been long, but it was important for me to record it all down as I remember it, eight years ago. The tears still flow as I recount it, as they occasionally do when I look at the pictures. Or, sometimes, when I just look at Brayden and remember.

I know so many people go through tragedies and don’t ever get the opportunity to ever see it in a positive light. God blessed us to be able to see this one in just that way. What a lesson I learned in recognizing how much I must trust in the Lord – and how I will never again take the health or mere existence of my children for granted.

Today, I watched Brayden on the basketball court – dancing as they lined up to decide who should be guarding whom. He then immediately engaged his “buddy” in silly faces and giggles. Clearly, playing basketball is more about being with people and having fun than it is winning for Brayden. In mock embarrassment at his silly dance on the court, I sheepishly said to the parent sitting next to me, equally amused at him, “well, he did have a stroke at 9 months of age, some times we wonder…” Her eyes lit up, clearly, I’d shocked her and I then proceeded to tell the story again…

* It has since come to light that babies do occasionally have strokes, more than we might ever guess – it’s just most are never detected…

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Light that Went Out

I was commenting on Jodi's blog yesterday that two of my favorite presents from John this year were my "THE MESSAGE" version of The Bible in a Year (which coincides with the devotional journal our church uses) and the Blue Light lamp that is said to prevent symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The two went hand in hand for me, because I've begun waking up a half hour before the kids to turn on the light in the bonus room and read my Bible while the lamp is on beaming those powerful anti-depressant blue waves upon me.

However, a couple of days into the process - we began having a problem. The bulb starting flicking - like nasty fluorescent lights do. I'd turn it off, turn it on again and it would be okay, but for only about 5 minutes. This really became a distraction, particlulary as it got worse.

We emailed the folks we bought it from, and eventually, as I realized it had quit and so had my desire to read in the mornings, it hit me. Satan turned out the light! Our Bible Study is studying 2 Timothy and it Paul encourages Timothy to fan the flame of his ministry - I think Satan didn't like my finally making God's word a priority and tried to quench the "flame" (albeit blue....).

So, today I went to Costco and got the kind my mom has recommended - and am excited to begin again tomorrow. This one uses LED lights which are supposed to last 50 years or so (if you use the product like they describe). I think I won this battle......=)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Organization Update #2

So, despite the forced stay-home days due to snow, I sure didn't get a lot of "above and beyond" work done in the house. ONLY because I knew I had to post this did I force myself to clean out the arts & crafts cabinet - which proves this accountability thing kind of works. John was impressed, at least, so that's a good thing. Does it count that he organized the garage this weekend?

How's everyone else's progress?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pretty, Huh?

It's mid-day and a whopping 28 degrees here. Quite wild. I am sure there are folks already very sick of this cold weather, but for me it feels a bit like we are on vacation, snow still all over, frigid temps - it's so unlike what we are used to. These pics are of our waterfall - I think it's rather pretty.

Off to Brayden's double header basketball game - hope you are having a cozy Sunday afternoon.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Just a 2 Hour Delay Today

Some thoughts of the day-

- Thankful for the two hour delay this morning for Brayden's sake - he caught up on a little sleep, at least
- Thankful for the good news from 2 blogs I check on lately - that my long-distance "cyber-friends-in-prayer" are both seeing postive health changes
- Wondering why my mom and dad got twice as much snow as we did (and how come that never seemed to be the case when we lived out there vs. in town.....)
- Realizing that as busy as I was in the months prior to Christmas, constantly out running errands, contributed greatly to the avoidance of 24-7 eating which I seem to want to do lately, when I have much less to do
- Impressed again with another Disney channel movie - "Jump In" - always a neat thing when it's a movie we all enjoy (Brayden says it is his favorite) and it has a great message
- Surprised that it never got above freezing today - and amazed at how beautiful sparkling snow is
- Ready to contest those who argue our frivolous "no school" snow days that they are our "just rewards" for getting snow perhaps one day a year. Those who get snow all the time, sorry, so few snow days, but you get the joy of snow! (and, no, Hollie, I'm not picking a fight.....I'm saying this all in fun!)

Deep thoughts, huh? I definitely need to get out more next week!

Snow Day

Okay Hollie, I know it's less than 4 inches, but it's the most snow I've seen around here for several years....(sadly), and by golly, those snow days are in the contract, they might as well get used!

What follows are pictures showing how we spent our day - at least, morning. We went over to our buddies (same place we went for the last snow day - why mess up our snow when we can go someplace else and mess up there's?). Our dear friend, Amy first tired to get their golden retriever to pull the sled - when Belle wouldn't budge, she tried the riding lawnmower. It was a hit! If it looks dangerous, really, it was safe...... =)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Sight for Sleepy Eyes

At least 75% of the time when snow is in the forecast here in the valley - it will come up short. Either not happen at all, or be so minimal it's not worth it. So, it's no wonder when it is supposed to happen, that I hold on to hope wearily, trying not to get our hopes too high, but wishing like the children to see the magical white flakes begin to accumulate.

The Advil PM idea on supposed "snow nights" has been a lifesaver to me. Yes, I still wake up frequently with my bad dreams of no snow, but I fall back asleep in a hurry. Phew.. (yes, I know I'm obsessed....).

Upon waking up at 5:30, I figured that was it - I hadn't peeked all evening, it was time to figure out if I should adjust my head to school actually happening. It was a beautiful thing to spot the white from our glass patio doors, and more white than I expected. The grass was actually completely covered.....

Next step- school closure - and yes, no wait required, there it was scrolling across the tv screen. Yeah!

Now, the only question is, can I get back to sleep - and what to do with my son, who, thanks to John excited to share the news is now awake? Hopefully, we'll both drift off again, and for me, with peaceful dreams.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Couple of Questions LI

1. Alright, I shared one of my "super-saver scores" from Christmas time (the football thing), anyone else have any stories (doesn't have to be gift related) of amazing deals you scored over the season?

2. Are there any movies currently out now, or coming out this year that you are particularly excited to see?

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here, I know there's a possibility of snow later this week. Whatever happens, hope it's a good week for you......

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Organization Update

Just so you know, these weekly posts will be my own source of accountability and may not be interesting to readers at all. I'm okay with that. Because, at this point, nearly every cabinet, closet, and drawer could use an overhaul. There are many things I am very organized with - particularly in planning vacations, camping, and Christmas time - but, keeping things maintained ongoing in an organized fashion in my home is not a strong point. I know how to make it better, but the kiddos, continual clutter, and constant additions of more stuff create downfalls in my best efforts right and left.

So, from now through February I'm going to hold myself accountable on this blog to make efforts each week to tackle areas in my home. No promises on which places I'll choose, but if I conquer a little each week - it will be a very good thing for my sanity.

So, this week's update - here's what got done:

1. The kids' books, coloring books and art supplies that are not stored in cabinets got sorted through. Many Dollar Tree coloring books half completed are now happy in the recycling bin. On the bright side - my kids have both taken off in the coloring dept - a very happy, peaceful, and good fine motor skill activity. Now, any suggestions on what to do with all of their artwork?

2. The toy bin holder (the kind Target has on sale this week for $38) that was in Brayden's room was cleared out and moved in to Mikayla's room. Booted out were many bins, and stored away for May are several toys to be sold at the neighborhood garage sale. Even better, the post Christmas ESPN Football "Foosball style" toy* has now found a place in Brayden's room instead of becoming a fixture in our living room. This makes me very happy.

* Kind of a cool deal - this is a toy that I read about online prior to the Christmas season that was highly applauded as being a great family toy. It's made by Fisher Price and looks like a foosball table, but is electronic and has a standing pad on each side in which you run in place if you are doing a running play to get your player to move faster down the table. John and Brayden put it together last night and I heard "This is awesome" once they begun playing it. Here's the cool thing - the original price on the toy (which took it out of the running for consideration for a Christmas present) was $140 - ouch, not worth it. However, in the week following Christmas when I was at Target, I walked by an endcap - and low and behold there it was - 75% off - just $35. I still called John to see if even that was worth it, but he gave me the go ahead and I think we both feel like we did good.

So, Hollie, how's your organization going? How's the garage, Heather? Little by little, slowly but surely are the mottos in this household!

P.S. John is currently watching "The Apprentice". Honestly, it's hard for me to be in the same room when that show is on. The altercation between him and Rosie O'Donnell was pathetic, particularly how lewd and disgusting his comments were...... I know we all have our faults, but his really get to me!!!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Thanks Steve!!!! One Heckuva Ball Game!

The Ducks may have let us all down in the second half of the football season, but their basketball team has redeemed the university's name - particularly today's game.

Thanks to a buddy of John's, Steve, Brayden and John were able to watch the game at Mac Court. John says it was one of the best times he's ever had with his son.

They were able to bring a mini-basketball in and had it signed by a few of the players following the phenomenal ending. For those that don't follow basketball, the Ducks beat the #1 team in the nation, UCLA, by a mere two points - won only by the missed three point shot of the UCLA team at the last minute. I'm not much of a basketball fan, but this game certainly had me tuning in.

Thanks again Steve for a wonderful date for John and Brayden....

Friday, January 05, 2007

Good for a Laugh

This was forwarded to me a few days ago - it definitely brought a smile to my face - hope it does the same for you:

Subject: 7 Reasons Not To Mess With Children

1.. A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.
The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah".
The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"
The little girl replied, "Then you ask him ".

2......A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."
The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

3.....A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.
After explaining the commandment to "honor" thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"
Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, "Thou shall not kill."

4.......One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?"
Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white."
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Momma, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"

5........The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.
"Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say,
'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.'
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher, she's dead."

6.......A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blo od. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face."
"Yes," the class said.
"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?"
A little fellow shouted,
"Cause your feet ain't empty."

7.......The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:
"Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Couple of Questions L

What is it with both of my kids and treadmills? Brayden has a beauty of a scar commerating Sept. 11th (yes, it occured on THAT 9-11) from where he skinned his ankle to the actual bone (sorry, TMI!) and Mikayla hurt her finger in a similar way today (not nearly as bad, but certainly worthy to be hidden by a band-aid....). I thought our kiddos were warned sufficiently, we're now back to off-limits......

Anyway, here's the questions.....

1. What area in your house (not your life, I'll keep this one more specific) most needs organization?

2. What is a common New Year's Resolution that would NOT be a problem for you to keep?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Slowly, but Surely.....

- I will get all of the Christmas decorations put away and the year-round decor put back up
- I will rid the house of the bins: of laundry, Christmas decor, new toys, Harvest decor, and miscellaneous that are driving me batty
- I will adjust that it's 2007 and not 2006, and stop writing that in my checkbook
- I will equalize in my emotional state - fluctuating between euphoric highs, and "Heaven help me" lows.....that I've come to expect at this time of year
- I will organize all of the cabinets, corners, pantries, and closets that are overwhelming me right now in their disorganized state
- I will adjust again to waking up at 6:30 and not 9:30 in the morning - a time that just within the last 5 days our family has set a pattern for...... Whew, returning to the school schedule tomorrow will be grueling
- My body will acclimate to considerably less calories and considerably more exercise
- I will gain the perspective that indeed, all these changes will only happen: slowly, but surely