Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Well THAT was kinda weird.

We had only been home an hour or so today when the phone rang.

Greg was outside so I answered, only to be met with the tell-tale 2 seconds of silence before a very far away voice in a crowded room of other busy voices began: "Hello?"

Usually I have hung up by this time, but every once in a while I feel like humoring whoever is on the other end. Today happened to be one of those days.

After asking for me by my first name and a perfunctory "How are you doing today?" today's caller introduced herself and her company, which I didn't recognize.

"We are the company that took pictures of your baby in the hospital a little over a year ago."

My brain-wheels began turning (while she kept talking) .... she means when he was born.

"....we are about to delete the pictures of your baby, but we wanted to offer you one more chance to buy these photos of your baby, before we delete the pictures of your baby forever. We have a special package for moms like you who have waited to buy these pictures of their baby...."

While she went on to describe the sizes of this special-deal package for us insensitive, procrastinating moms, I was thinking:

I had reasons for not buying those pictures when they were offered to us the first time, and even though I was going through the typical messed-up post-partum hormones, it was a good decision:

#1 - they were overpriced
#2 - we took our own pictures
#3 - Alan looked like a monkey

So to let this nice lady move on to the next unsuspecting mom of a now-toddler, I interrupted her sales pitch with a kind "no, thank you" and a little chuckle.

Not only had the image of those monkey-pictures popped into my head, I was also bombarded with a quick mental slideshow of all that has happened since those pictures were taken. Oh, if we only knew then where we would be now. It's probably a good thing we didn't. Our hearts would have broken. But, thankfully, we didn't know. Instead, we have lived it, one day at a time. And one day at a time isn't so bad.

But there was a brief moment in that phone call that I wanted to buy those pictures. I wanted to have all the pictures there are of my baby before. Before we knew. Before his liver quit working and he spent days screaming and his eyes turned yellow. Before he had surgeries and blood draws. But having those pictures wouldn't change any of that. Pictures and memories are precious to me, but looking back can sometimes be bittersweet. Instead, when we choose to live in the present we can simply enjoy the sweetness of each day.

Plus.... Alan really did look like a monkey in those pictures. ;)

WFMW - corraling toy cars

We don't have a large set of standing rules at our house. We may... down the line... but for now we are able to keep things pretty simple and just expect obedience with small instructions as needed.

However, there has been one rule that we aquired early on and has stuck with us for 3+ years now:

- Cars go on the floor.

You see - Dale was pushing toy cars around making motor noises before he could even crawl. He loves them! And they go everywhere with him.

So it has come in handy for saving tabletops, piano benches, pianos, faces and innumerable other surfaces at our house AND when we are visitors somewhere else from scratches, injury, and other abuse.

It is a simple rule, easy to enforce without exception, and for little ones to remember ("Where do cars go? That's right.... on the floor.").

And that has worked great for us for many, many Wednesdays! ;)
For more
Works for Me Wednesday tips, be sure to visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Much more than bland cold mystery meat and watered down iced tea. It's almost real food!

So I wrote my whole "spill-my-guts" post on Sunday, you know, all hoping it would free me up for better blogging. (Thanks for all your nice comments!)

And then I didn't post for two whole days.


We are settling in for our second night in the hospital with Alan. He was admitted Monday around lunchtime for a Tuesday morning liver biopsy because of some of his labs.

The biopsy went fine and we should get to go home in the morning.

This stay wasn't really troubling or anything, mainly just frustration at the interruption to home-life. But once we got here and settled in to the fact that we were back in the hospital again, it was ok. Relatively, anyway.

And I don't have to worry about Dale missing me.... he got to go camping with Nana & PawPaw! He probably won't even want to come home yet! ;)


When I can't think of anything else to talk about, my thoughts usually turn to food. When I talk to Dale on the phone I find myself asking what he had for his most recent meal or two.

Sitting here now trying to think of something to blog about I keep recapping my 2 days of hospital meals. Which aren't that bad here, by the way. And breastfeeding moms get to eat for free.

Well.... you don't have to pay for them when you eat them, but you certainly pay for them down the line, ya know? It's nice though, to be able to pick up the phone and order up anything I want from the menu 3 times a day. 30-45 minutes later it is delivered to our door, and no money changes hands!

I sort of feel like I'm cheating when we are first admitted and Alan's nurse puts me in the computer as being able to order these "Lactation Trays". I mean... he is 15 months old. And can eat a bowl of spaghetti-o's (a hospital treat) or a couple of pieces of bacon like nobody's business. But then I spend the afternoon nursing him to keep him happy because he can't get down and crawl around, or getting up several times during the night to nurse him (especially if he has been woken up by someone coming in to do something to him), and I decide, no.... I'm not cheating. I'm earning those trays!

Oh anyway....

I hope you are all having a good week. Hopefully we'll be home tomorrow night and can salvage a couple of 'normal' weekdays at home together this week! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008 I'm trying to say is....

Have you ever been in one of those situations where trying not to say a particular thing made it almost impossible to carry on a normal conversation? Whether it was a secret to be kept or a distracting physical feature on the person you are talking to, or any other number of things, it gets to the point where you can't think of anything else to say except for that one thing you are trying not to.

I think that is partly what has become of my blog. (in addition to trying to re-enter "normal life" and adjust to one of the biggest changes we'll ever face).

There are 2 subjects that currently occupy much of my waking hours, and, until now, I have opted not to blog about them. Which has turned out to make it hard to think of anything else to blog about! Which seems to almost defeat the purpose of having a blog. Isn't part of the idea of blogging to be able to put in writing some of the thoughts in your head?

So, with hopes of freeing up some space in my mind, I'm going to attempt to spill at least some of those 2 major thought balloons here.

#1 - Alan. Transplant.
We are currently going to Children's twice a week. This is an all-day affair.
Every time we must decide who will accompany me & Alan (usually my Dad or Greg), where Dale will stay.
We pack a bag, in case Alan is admitted.
It seems to simple to put it down in writing, but there is so much that occupies my mind regarding Alan.
I guess that is to be expected. We are so close to it all that sometimes we forget what a BIG DEAL transplant is. Not that we take it for granted. But I think I often underestimate the huge impact we should expect it to have on every area of our life. At least for now. Surely, surely, we will adjust.
And I will go on to say that I don't feel it is necessarily stress about Alan. I say that I trust God with him, and I do. There is just so much to think about, keep up with, plan, process & absorb. And I most of the time choose not to blog about all that. There are lots of reasons why, but that would make this post too long. On to the other thing that takes up a LOT of my thinking:

#2 - Dale. More specifically, school for Dale. Even more specifically, homeschool.

See, a couple of years ago, if I thought about homeschooling my kids (which, Dale was the only one then) I thought it would be so much fun, and I would be good at the organizing and planning and teaching, BUT... it just wasn't for us. I was opposed to the idea in general for our family. Again, this blog post isn't the place for all the reasons & explanations.

But Greg, well, Greg grew to like the idea more and more, and after a while, I did too. I saw that it was the best thing for our family. (Hmmm.... God speaking, perhaps?) And once I switched over to his way of thinking, I have continued to see over and over again how it is absolutely the best thing for us.

And I am so excited. And I have so many ideas. And thoughts. And plans. And I think about all these things a LOT. And, once again, this was something I have been intentionally not blogging about. And again, reasons and explanations are irrelevant at this point.

So. Having those 2 subjects occupying so much of my thinking and then NOT blogging about them didn't leave much room for blogging. (Add to that the fact that I can't get my camera software to behave, so doing anything with pictures is an absolute pain, and that just reduces blogging further!).

Anyway.... now that I've 'outed' myself on these things, hopefully I can either a)just blog about them already or b) stop thinking about what I'm trying not to say and actually have fun blogging about this, that & the other again.

WHEW. I feel better. ;)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Get an easy chocolate (or ice cream) fix!

We tried something new tonight: a chocolate shake with no ice cream!

I found the recipe on
this page from the Hillbilly Housewife. We halved it and it was just enough for 3 of us. If you have ever had a Wendy's Frosty this is a pretty close imitation. I will definitely be making it again (but going with a little less water for a thicker shake). It was rich and chocolate-y and cold... yum! :)

1-1/2 to 2 cups ice water
1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1-1/2 trays of ice cubes, as much as you can spare
2 tablespoons corn oil plus a 5-second squirt of non-stick spray for emulsification purposes
Place all of the ingredients into the blender, including the oil and the non-stick spray. Use less water for thicker milk shakes and more water for shakes that are easy on your blender motor. The blender should be about 3/4's full. Place the lid on. Process for a full 2 minutes. Pour into cups and serve. Makes 4 - 12oz servings

Friday, February 22, 2008

"He loves them more than you do"

I think I may have mentioned before about a perpetual calendar my mom gave me several years ago. It is probably one of my favorite things, and even though it is a small thing, it is one of the most consistant habits I've had in the last 4 years... to turn that little page each day and see the "Promise for Parents" for that day. I keep it on my window-sill above the kitchen sink.

However, it's been stuck on February 16 since, well... February 16 because I wanted to share the quote for that day with you and it's just taken me that long to do it! :) (If I had turned the calendar page I wouldn't have thought of that particular quote or sharing it here until ....oh... Feb 16, 2009!)

"The God who made your children will hear your petitions. He has promised to do so. After all, He loves them more than you do." - Dr. James Dobson

I could elaborate on how important it is to pray for our kids, or how reassuring it is to think about how much God must love them, but I'll leave that for you to ponder. :)

And now I'm going to go read the next 6 days on my calendar. ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tagged again!

I've been tagged by my mom! Fitting enough, since we share the same middle name (and she is the one that gave it to me). :)

Here are the Rules: Post the rules on your blog, and then give your answers. List one fact about yourself for each letter in your middle name. Each fact must begin with a letter from your middle name. If you do not have a middle name, use your maiden name(or create a middle name).Once you are tagged, update your blog with your middle name and your answers. At the end of your post, tag one person for each letter of you middle name. Leave them a comment on their blog telling them that they have been tagged, and that they need to come read your blog for details.

L - Laundry. A load of laundry is one of the first things I do every morning. It helps me keep up, and the day just seems to get off to a better start when the washing machine is swishing away in the next room!

Y - Youth. I taught youth Sunday School for almost 2 years. I quit right before Alan was born. I don't really see myself as a "youth" person, but I truly enjoyed that class, and would do it again if I had the chance!

N - Nosey. Maybe nosey isn't the best word for it, but I am a people watcher. I love to observe others, whether it is watching my boys play or watching strangers and imagining their stories.

N - NumNum. The word we use with Alan for nursing. Yes, we are still doing that. I figure he won't nurse forever. And I wouldn't mention it at all except for I've spent way too much time trying to come up with another 'n' word about me. It's harder than it looks! And Alan is at my elbow asking for num-num. And I'm ignoring him. Because I do have my limits. ;)

E - Eggs. While I am not a picky eater in general, I am very picky about eggs. Scrambled I just about have to cook them myself. Boiled? Can't really handle them. Chopped up in tuna is ok, if they are chopped pretty small. And I usually eat a deviled egg half at Easter, because I really, really want to like them. And they really are almost good next to that slice of ham. :)

I tag:
Heart of a Mommy

Sunday, February 17, 2008

997, 998, 999.....whew!

Well you know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words, so to save you a lot of reading I've put together this quick little picture tutorial. :)
First of all.... our family is finally back home together. We got home around 7pm on Valentine's Day. What a sweet gift! Greg & my grandparents were at our house waiting on us (us being me, Alan, Dale & my parents). They had bought balloons and put them out front so everyone would know we were coming home! We said it was almost like coming home with a new baby, and then realized... we were coming home with a new baby... a new Alan, feeling better than he has in his whole life, and with a much brighter future!
Walking into my house for the first time in 7 weeks was wonderfully amazing and well... kind of weird. I stood in the middle of the living room and turned circles taking it all in. It being Valentine's Day, Greg had thought ahead and had roses waiting for me.... awwww. ;)
Notice also in the pic above..... there are some construction paper Christmas stockings Dale and I made together still hanging on the door. And the calendar is on December!!

And then there is the pepper grinder right in front of the flowers. I was a little too distracted for good photography staging, okay?

Nana had made a wonderful fajita supper for us. It amazed me to realize that in what seemed both such a short and long time before, the last time we all sat down together was at that same table on Christmas Day.... 5 days before transplant.

This is Alan and my PawPaw. I wanted a picture of them together on this day. Alan has PawPaw's name for his middle name. From the day of Alan's transplant, PawPaw didn't shave, and said he wouldn't until we all came home. Unfortunately, he was able to grow quite a beard! At least it was wintertime. ;)
I forgot to ask if he's shaved yet. I'm guessing so!

So.... we enjoyed our weekend at home. It is so true....there is NO place like home! And just in was Greg's birthday! Amazing what kind of birthday dinner I was able to put together with the groceries we had on hand. I won't tell you how old my man is... but we put 1/2 as many candles on his cake as years he's been around. It made a pretty good glow. ;)
Happy Birthday to you!! Me & the little buffaloes sure do love you lots! :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Playing tag again - This time it's books!

Kara at Eskimo Kisses has tagged me for a Book Meme!

This is how it goes:
Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages). Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence. Post the next three sentences. Tag five people.

Near the RMH is a Salvation Army store, which we visited several times. One of those times I bought a few books. For the most part, I'm a big believer in using the library, but there are just some books it is better to own.

One book I bought was Charlotte's Web to read aloud to Dale. So far he seems to like it, and does great for about a chapter at a time.

And that's about all the reading I've been able to manage in the past several weeks.

So. From Charlotte's Web, pg 123:

"Is this true?" he asked. "Is this appetizing yarn of yours true? I like high living, and what you say tempts me."
(Templeton the rat, after being told a long list of goodies he would be able to find to eat at a fair.)
I tag:
Lisa (Simple Journeys)
Kristin (Can I Decide Later?)
Michelle (Five Little Wolfs)

Once again I seem to be a little short on the number of people I tag in turn. *sigh* Who makes up these rules anyway?

And... what are you currently reading? Any good quotes? From any page?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Something to tickle your funny bone. Or itch up your ribs. Or something.

You might not think so by the fact that I have this blog on the wide ol' internet telling way too many details about our little family, but I am actually quite a private person. Especially when it comes to some things.

Especially personal, medical things. I was very careful about what details I released about both of my labors/deliveries. I don't mind personally exchanging stories with someone, but there are just certain details you don't want repeated, you know what I'm saying?

Some people in my family are not this way. Some people in my family looooove medical details. And that is ok. Until you are the one being 'detailed'.

You may or may not know, I spent a couple of days in the hospital this weekend. I was so thankful to have extra help here to hold down the fort. Greg and his mom mostly kept Alan, and my Dad had charge of Dale while my mom was with me. The short version of the story is that I suffered from some hideous abdominal pain, had some major drugs, lots of tests and never found out what really happened. Good medical care, but the human body still eludes even the experts sometimes. I'm doing much better now.

Or I was.

Tonight Dale, Mimi, and I were sitting in the bustling dining room at RMH. We had gotten all the way to our cake and ice cream, enjoying some nice dinner-time conversation. Randomly, out of the BLUE (is that redundant?), in his very loud, 4 year old voice, Dale turns to me and busts out with:


After pulling myself up from under the table, and somewhat regaining my composure, I carefully replied:
"But I didn't did I?"


Dale, still loudly:

"Is a kidney stone like a bone? A red bone?"

Me, very quiet & shushingly:
"Yes. Yes it is."

Dale, still loudly:
"Does it itch up your ribs?"

Me, trying to give him some sort of honesty... you know.... for his education & all:
"Noooo..... it makes your back hurt."


"I'm going back to our room now."

Good idea, Dale.

Good idea.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What is home?

I have always thought/said that as long as my family was all together that was 'home'. So I was kind of surpised tonight (even under the circumstances) to finally have all my family in pretty much one place and find myself feeling homesick.

That got me to thinking.... what is 'home'?

If I think of my home the physical place and what I miss about it, I think of my bed.

My kitchen.

My dining table.

My place on the sofa.

I miss being there with my buffaloes. Seeing Dale and Alan play. Playing with them.

Watching Alan crawl and cruise.

Sitting doing 'art' with Dale at the table.

The four of us sitting down to supper.

Curling up with Greg in his recliner at night.

So maybe it isn't the dwelling or its stuff that I miss either.

Maybe it is missing being where we belong. Doing what we are meant to be doing as a family.

I think that is what people mean when they talk about being ready for heaven. It isn't that life here on earth is so bad. It has its blessings for sure.

But once we have been born again, Heaven is where we belong. We are made to fellowship with God and worship Him. Yes, we can do that here, but Heaven .... ahhh.... that is where we belong. And when our time here on Earth is done, and only God knows when that is, then we get to go "home". Home where we belong, with our brothers & sisters in Christ, to do what we are made to do. Glorify God with our worship... for eternity!

In the meantime, we dream about it. We prepare for it.

Just like I am dreaming about my earthly home and the things I do there. All that cooking and cleaning and laundry is beginning to sound a little like Heaven on earth after 6 weeks away. I know I'm longing for it! I think I might just kiss that dining table when I see it again, and then set to work on cooking meals to eat at it, preparing art projects to sit there and do with Dale, and maybe even put on a pretty centerpiece for good measure!

What things make your earthly home "home" for you?

Look! It's all of us again!

Whoa. A whole week without a blog post!? What's become of me?

It's been a busy week...Greg came visiting last weekend, and then my Dad and Dale came to stay for a while.

Then we didn't get to go home when we thought we would. Then we went in for Alan to have a biopsy. And Greg came back. And now we're hanging out in the hospital waiting for results. And Alan feels great.

And while I won't bore you with all our troubles, I must mention that Alan is still sleeping terribly most nights. I tell you that to tell you this:
On Dale's first night here, Alan had one of his worst nights yet. He cried a lot, and finally... it woke Dale up too. But once Dale woke up, his excitement of being here kicked in and he started his usual motor-mouthing. But the earrrrrrly morning version.

We have a large-print digital clock on one nightstand. Dale pointed at it and said, "It's 5:41. Next will be 5:42. I know my clocks!"

When Greg got here Wednesday night it was the first time the four of us have been in the same place since Alan was in the ICU. Greg and I sat down on the edge of the bed and Dale crawled into our laps. Dale said, "Look! It's all of us again. First it was just us (meaning himself, Greg & me) and then we got a baby!"

He is having such a good time. And it is beyond wonderful to have him here with me!

Friday, February 1, 2008

I was really, reeeeally excited.

Just an interesting bit of information....

Today is February 1st. I didn't set foot in my house for the entire month of January. I left my driveway at 3:30am 35 days ago.

But enough of that. I've been trying to get this blog post up for a couple of days to tell you about my happy little find earlier this week.

Oh my friends. The bargains, they were abundant.

Mom and I have discovered & decided that getting out and doing stuff is better for all three of us. It breaks up our day and we get to look at stuff other than the same 4 walls all day. Makes sense, huh?

A few days ago, this plan involved a trip to Target for essentials, and then a fun side trip to
Michael's. You should know, that when we do our "getting out" this means that one us goes in the store to do the shopping and the other stays in the van with Alan. We're talking cold & flu season with a freshly transplanted baby. Wouldn't we feel foolish to have to bring him in to the hospital with a fever he caught while we were out shopping? Yeah.

Plus it just fills more time that way. And we have lots of time to fill. ;)

Anyway, Michael's...

I went in first, and as soon as I walked up to the front door I began to see the signs.

They were everywhere.


Fortunately, I was able to maintain my composure and play it cool. ;)

First thing inside the door were the remaining few of their pre-made arrangements. Ooooh.

Then down one of the main center aisles were all the Christmas craft and decor leftovers.

Now. I love Christmas. And I love decorating for Christmas. And I would never, ever, EVER buy a whole set of anything for full price. Or really even half price. I just can't do it.

So. Are you ready to see what I got?

Here is the whole lot of it, minus one arrangement. I got $220 worth of stuff for only $22! Wow!

Most of what I got is for doing a themed tree. I've always admired them, but #1 - as I already said, I wouldn't just go out and BUY the stuff to do one. #2 - I like all my other ornaments that aren't 'themed'. But, for 90% off, you can afford to get enough to do a tree, and figure out the rest later. ;)
In the upper right hand corner of the picture above are 8 of these:
They are pics to put in your Christmas tree. The ribbon is a soft minty-sage green. I wouldn't have thought of roses as Christmas-y, but I love the look. It's kind of Victorian, I guess. I also got these:
Soft green, dark red, and a soft dusty pink. I think by the time I add white lights, maybe few strings of pearls, my "crystal" icicles and maybe a couple of other things I should have a really pretty tree. Mom even suggested putting all of this on a smaller, table-top tree. I like that idea.

I also like that this proves I actually do have a little taste. Contrary to what the sadness of my tree 2007 may have led you to believe: Truthfully? My heart just wasn't in this past Christmas. I can honestly say I honored and appreciated the recognition of Jesus' birth.
But all of the "fun" and trappings that go with Christmas? I just didn't have the heart for it. The intensity of waiting for transplant, along with the imminent anniversary of Alan's diagnosis, and the mental reliving and looking back at Christmas '06 and how much life had changed since then just took out a lot of the "oomph" for being jolly. I did just enough to play along, and most of that was for Dale.

And I was sad that I didn't feel like doing more.

It may have just been a simple, silly little thing to spend not much more than a $20 bill on some leftover Christmas decorations. But it meant a lot to me. I imagine the term 'closure' is thrown around a little too much, but that is kind of what my purchases felt like.

I put Chrismtas 2007 to bed. It was all in the attic by December 27th.

And I found a little bubble of happiness in buying things and making plans for 2008. The joy of looking ahead to 11 months from now. The hope of what the coming year will bring.

My prayer is that Christmas 2008 will truly be a celebration of life. From the birth of Jesus, to the physical "re-birth" of Alan with his new liver. That once again we will look back and see how much life has changed in a year.

Besides, I really do like Christmas. :)

Here are a few more of the things I bought:
I love this! I could just eat up that sparkly fruit. I imagine I will use this on my table with a jumbo candle in the middle of it. Mmm... cinnamon? Apple spice? We'll just have to wait & see! ;)
This was pretty to me as well. Not sure where I'll put it or anything, but I think it was 39 cents. 'Nuff said.
And finally, the arrangement I chose. It's kind of hard to see, but the basket is a reindeer. There really isn't a front or back to the arrangement, so it would be good just about anywhere.
So... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!! :)