"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

A snapshot of this Tuesday, June 30, 2009, at 10:40 AM. (No actual snapshots though, as there is a little too much free-flying water out here for my camera to make it out unscathed).

Spencer has made some sort of water rocket with an old tube and the garden hose. He and Paxton are experimenting to get the best height and velocity. The rocket is flying, twisting and turning and spraying water in a circular pattern all over the yard.

Everett has turned the sand table into a lake table. They do this almost daily, and between the heat and the dry air, the water evaporates and they're back to perfect sand-castle sand in a matter of hours. All of their plastic food from their food set, from sushi to vegetables to icecream to sandwich fixings, are floating in the water, and he has been spending the past hour preparing and bringing me snacks.

Tegan is bouncing around like only a toddler can do, and is enjoying it all - the water, the sand, the toys, her brothers.

The dog is laying in the sun.

It's summer in Phoenix.




Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update from a strangely quiet house

Last night, Mom and Dad picked up all three boys and brought them to stay at their house for a few days. They'll be going to VBS at their church today and tomorrow, and we'll go up to join them on Saturday.

I recently got some backlash on Facebook because of a status comment I made about liking having my kids at home. I do. I'm happy they're home, I'm happy I get to spend this time with them, I'm happy they're not in school all day. I make no apologies for that! Their childhood is so so short.

I'm enjoying spending quality "girl time" with Tegan today, and I'm glad that my boys are having a good time at their grandparents'. I remember spending time with my grandparents so fondly!! Everything was always special at their house, no matter what it was... from coloring to eating cookies to banging away on their piano. Fond memories indeed. Still, the house feels strange and quiet without all my chicks present and accounted for. I love watching them grow and gain a healthy independence... but I do feel most right when all my kids (and my husband for that matter) are at least in the same zipcode. I can't wait to give them all a hug on Saturday.

On the health front, the tide seems to have favorably turned at last. Everyone is healthy, and while Everett does have Thalassemia, it does not require treatment. My kidney issue seems to be more of a sticking point, and I will be having follow-up tests - and possibly procedures - but for the moment I am well, and pain-free! Yesterday we all finally made it to one of the Kids Summer Movies(we missed the first three) and just being out and doing something fun gave me a new, much needed, lease on life.




Monday, June 15, 2009

Spencer and his hair

Spencer hadn't cut his hair in over a year. I'm not completely sure when he stopped cutting it, but it was short in this Easter 2008 picture, and I know it wasn't cut since then.


He just let it grow and grow (and boy did a grow!) until he had a long, thick beautiful mane of hair.


The past several weeks he's been asking to cut it. It was getting hot, it was easily tangled, and he was having trouble getting all the shampoo out of it. He's got his mom's thick hair to be sure! He didn't want to go to a hair dresser because he's not fond of getting man-handled, especially around his head and face. I can completely relate on that front, as I'm one of the only women I know who has no desire to get a massage, a facial, a pedicure, or any of the other spa-related pamperings that people get so excited about.

But he wanted it cut. So this weekend, I cut it myself.



He knew exactly what he wanted... he still wanted it on the longer side, but with bangs and long layers. We tried to model it after Dylan and Cole Sprouse - from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody - but since he has so much natural wave, it turned out a little more Jonas Brother than Sprouse Brother. He is very happy with it, thrilled with how light it feels, and excited to have a "'do" instead of just long, long hair.






Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photography by the kids

Taking a break from thinking about medical stuff for awhile....

Some of Everett and Spencer's creations with pattern blocks






Paxton's baseball trophy


Everett's handprint. I didn't know he could write his name until the past couple of weeks, when he started writing it on everything!


Bailey and Zoey


My sweet baby girl.





Sunday, June 07, 2009

The pièce de résistance


This is what my kidney, bladder and ureters look like right now, as of Friday evening. I have a swollen and backed up kidney, a swollen, irritated ureter, a stent in place, and a 5 mm stone that so far doesn't want to go anywhere.

Anyone who follows my Facebook page knows that the past six weeks or so have been difficult for us in terms of sickness... there have been flus, fevers, coughing, vomiting, diarreah... doctor visits, blood tests, stool tests and more blood tests. As of this writing, we are still waiting to hear on whether or not Everett's blood disorder is going to require treatment.

I try to keep most of that stuff off my blog, because really, who wants to read it?? But this was too much. There comes a time when a person just has to purge.

Mike was home from work on Thursday (he was on day three of the flu, complete with high fever, cold sweats and hot sweats), and I woke up, out of the blue, feeling like I was getting a UTI. Nah, why would I be getting a UTI? I drank a whole bunch of water, and got through the day. I was distracted because I was still nursing Tegan back to health (she too was on day three of a fever and had thrown up the night before) Friday morning Mike stayed home again - THANKFULLY - and the first thing I did when I got up was get pre-registered for a spot in Urgent Care. My symptoms were not going away no matter how hard I tried to ignore them. I was there promptly at 8:00, and was seen shortly thereafter. The urinalysis showed that yes, I had an infection, but more concerning was the huge amount of blood in my urine, that didn't seem to jive with a simple UTI. He said we'd assume for now it was just from the infection, but that I needed to follow up with a doctor in a couple of days. So off I went with a prescription in hand, shaking my head at the randomness of getting a UTI in the middle of everything else.

I dropped off my prescription at CVS, came home and ate a huge piece of chocolate cake (I will always remember that, because I had to disclose what and when I last ate to all the doctors and nurses later at the hospital) I was online, answering some emails and browsing around Facebook when the pain started hitting me. I was trying to craft a message to a friend who I'd unintentionally offended which led to her taking me off her friend's list. I will always remember that because I at first attributed the increased pain to feeling stressed about the situation. It didn't take me long to realize that that was not the case. Shortly after that, I was doubled over in pain, barely able to walk, speak, or make any kind of coherent sense. Two hours from the time I'd gotten home from the doctor's, we were back in the car, headed to the ER.

I have to stop here and say that up till this point, I would have told you, without hesitation, that my gall bladder attacks were the most painful thing I've ever experienced. That is no longer true.

Mike signed me in at the ER, then left with the kids. We had no one to watch them, and I didn't want them in the hospital with their immune systems already so compromised with the month they'd had! The hardest part of those first couple of hours, besides the searing pain of course, was`just being there all alone. I got a room after just a few minutes, and they started murmuring about a kidney stone right from the beginning. They had me give a urine sample, and took blood, and otherwise left me sitting hunched over - it hurt too much to lay down - shaking and nauseous (really regretting the chocolate cake by that point) in the little exam room. They took me for a CT scan, and wrapped me in warm blankets. Finally my nurse, who coincidentally remembered me from a previous visit, became my personal savior and brought me drugs. An anti-nausea drug, and morphine. Oh the sweet, sweet relief of morphine.

The pain relief made everything much easier, as did the fact that my mom came down to watch the kids so that Mike could come sit with me at the hospital. I'd kept him updated by phone as I got each bit of information. Yes, there was a stone. It was 5 mm, a good size but not the biggest ever. A urologist would have to be consulted because my kidney and ureters were extremely irritated and swollen, and the stone was blocking the path to the point that urine wasn't getting through. The urologist looked at the x-rays and announced that I'd have to get a stent, basically a tube to let everything drain.... which would require general anesthesia, a breathing tube, recovery, and the whole she-bang. Seriously?

A few hours later we were down in the OR, feeling a very unpleasant sense of deja-vu. It was just over a year ago that we were there for my gall bladder surgery. My favorite part was the drugs that they gave me to relax, just before they wheeled me in. Good drugs. Everything was blurry after I woke up, with the exception of the overwhelming, and overwhelming painful, urge to pee. I did finally go, but it did nothing to relieve that awful feeling. The doctor told me - in my drug induced haze - that it was just irritation from the stent, and that it might, or might not, go away as my body got used to it. Swell. It was Mike who actually got the most information from the doctor though, as the nurse got me up and unattached from everything and dressed again. The procedure went well, but the amount of damage in my kidney and ureters was not consistent with just a few days of pain. He said something had been going on for a while, that this wasn't a simple case of a kidney stone. Which means... xrays next week, a follow-up with the doctor, and in the event that the stone doesn't pass on its own, yet another procedure to remove it.

I'm on antibiotics now, and pain killers. Feeling woozy and sore and uncomfortable, and I get to pee in a strainer. Mike goes back to work tomorrow, and I'll have to figure out how to take care of myself, the kids, and the house without any assistance. Oh and I have to deal with the water heater guy on my own too, since ours exploded yesterday afternoon and we're getting it replaced tomorrow.

Ah, life.




Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Quote of the Day

I love John Holt. He and John Taylor Gatto were so hugely instrumental in our path to unschooling. I came across this quote today - one that I have read before - and wanted to share it. So simple and meaningful at the same time. Love it.

Once when John Holt was speaking to a school audience, describing his views on their structured curriculum, a student asked him, "But surely there must be something important enough that everyone should learn it?" He thought for a moment and replied, "To learn to say 'I'm sorry', 'I don't know', and 'I was wrong'."




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