Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The big 8

I have been so slothful with my blogging lately. I have been so busy that I know I have plenty to blog- but for now I will just work on a blog tag my sister-in-law Annie sent me. Here go my 8's:

8 t.v. shows I enjoy watching:
1) Survivor (yes, I will be on it someday! Why else am I working so hard to get my knee back)
2) Dancing with the Stars (someday I will have a dancers body- yeah right!)
3) America Idol (do you see a trend yet)
4) The Office
5) 30 Rock
6) The New Adventures of Old Christine
7) CSI
8) Numbers

8 things that happened yesterday
1) It never got above 35 degrees and I had to scrape ice off my windshield (all after being in the 70's the day before)
2) Cambria stayed home sick
3) I worked my butt off at Physical Therapy
4) Got some Visiting Teaching done
5) Did some shopping for our secret Christmas family
6) Watched Decota's Ballet and Jazz Christmas performances
7) Helped Declan get his last project of the semester finished
8) Fell asleep on the couch during Monday Night Football (right after I convinced Cambria that the Philadelphia Eagles are the Philadelphia Chickens, can't wait to here that one day in public!)

8 things on my wish list:
1) That the gifts we give our secret family to touch them for the better as much as their story has touched us.
2) That I can slow down and enjoy the season
3) That my family will all be safe over the holidays
4) That Rodney can find happiness and success in his job
5) That my kids will always feel loved and secure
6) That we can work together as a family to correct the faults of 2008 and make 2009 better
7) That I had another pair of great fitting jeans
8) That I could get these last 5 lbs off!

8 people I tag:
Unfortunately I think everyone that reads this has been tagged. If not- do it (Alicia, I don't think you have)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our 1st boy

Saturday was Perry Max's birthday. Thinking of his birthday always reminds me of how excited we were to have our 1st boy. I was 5 when he was born, and I remember it was soooo exciting. I remember praying that we could have a boy, and waiting for Heavenly Father to send it down with a string tied to its waist. That never happened, but we did get our boy. I remember he always had a smile on his cute little face, and his sisters thought he was the cutest thing around. We were also very curious about his boy parts, and would often squeeze in to get a closer look as mom changed his diaper. This curiosity provided one of my favorite funny memories, Brittani getting a face full of pee as mom changed his diaper. I can remember being so grossed out, yet laughing so hard. Perry has made us laugh from then on. He has always been a ham, whether he was waking up from a nap and telling us about his "Joseph Smith Nap School" he had just attended in his dreams, or whether he was (and still is) bending over to pick up a quarter with his pants lowered so that we get a full moon surprise. His off the wall personality always keeps you on your toes and your sides in stitches.
I have always had a soft spot for Perry. He has always had to struggle so much more than the rest of us when it has come to book smarts. I think that he always felt a little "dumber" than the rest, and did not allow himself to feel good about his accomplishments a lot of the time. He was not very athletic also, which I know he wanted to be (probably to please my dad) but just didn't love it. This all made him just a tad different than the rest of us, and did not help with his self-worth. This always killed me because I felt like you could never find a more sincere, caring, soft hearted person than Perry, and that was what he should have been seeing in himself. I think there was a period in his life he just felt lost and alone. He was at a young and pivotal age, and really could have chosen to go one way or the other. One summer he came to stay for a little bit with me and Rodney after Declan had been born. I really think he loved that visit, I know I did. He LOVED Declan to death. We enjoyed lazy days by the hot tub, walking to the grocery store where we would buy and then consume tons of ice cream, and just being together. I remember him saying that he knew that he did not want to do anything in his life that would ever keep him from having a family and being able to be a dad. I watched him as, on that visit, he put enough faith and value in himself to make commitments to himself that he would honor- because he was worth it. I watched as the years went by, and the scholastic struggles continued, yet he continued to have faith that everything would work out- and it has. I have learned so much from his example. I hope he can always feel as great about himself as we think he is.

Perry Max makes everyone laugh. It is a joy to be around him. He puts people at ease. He can make uncomfortable situations comfortable. My kids absolutely adore him (how could you not love the man that teaches you to pick your nose). There are no off limits, he will tease anyone, anywhere. When Rodney and I went to the temple to be sealed, we started out the day by doing baptisms for the dead so that we could include my siblings, and we could seal Rodney's extended family together. As we were waiting in the Las Vegas Temple waiting room we sat in this one area with a rounded ceiling. Perry knew that this ceiling was specially designed to make it so that you could whisper while sitting on one couch, and the acoustics would make the words travel to the couch sitting across from you, so that reverence could be kept. I was sitting next to Perry, and my mother-in-law, Myra, was sitting on the couch across from us. She was feeling really excited about the day because we were taking her dad's name trough the temple. Perry leaned over to me and said "watch this", and then went on to whisper "Myra, this is your father speaking." We watched as Myra's eyes got the size of saucers, and she turned to see if the person beside her had heard. We started laughing, and she turned to us and instantly knew it was Perry. Only he could have pulled that off and not been in trouble with Myra. We all, including Myra, got a good chuckle out of it.

Perry has become such an amazing man. He has still kept his little boy sense of humor (you know, farts are hilarious), yet he has become an incredible husband and father. Every time I look at him with his family I can't help but think of the little 15 year old boy that decided he would do whatever it took to ensure that he would be able to have his own family one day, and then did it. I am so proud of him and the person he is. He is a smart, compassionate, loving, funny, strong man- and I am so grateful he is my brother. I love you Perry Max. Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was a little bit sad about this years Thanksgiving because I was going to be the only mom since Kurt and Sam are both now divorced. I was envisioning me at home all alone while the boys all went to the game. Then I had a great surprise- Katie Allee called to tell me Jason had been soooo sweet and gotten us girls tickets, too. We ended up making plans with some friends from Dallas and meeting together to tailgate before the game. It was a lot of fun, and the Thanksgiving dinner served out of the back of the truck was wonderful. We had a really great time at the game, and I loved just being with my friends and cousins from home. It was so nice to be able to sit and visit with Katie and her sister (I sure love Katie). The rest of the guys visit was a lot of fun. My kids loved hanging out with the Todd boys, and us adults loved hanging out with each other (it is a good thing I have always felt like one of the guys). Even though there was not much estrogen in the house, it ended up being a really great weekend. I sure love my friends from home!

Poor Declan

Poor Declan witnessed an accident while working out at school today. It is funny how you just know when something has happened as a parent. I drove up to school today to pick up the kids and saw an ambulance by the locker room at the middle school. My first instinct was to go over there and see what was going on because Declan was in conditioning during the last period. Instead I parked in my usual parking space and took a minute to think- was I panicked, no not really- did I feel like something had happened to my child, kind-of but not in a panicked way- did I need to go get in the way of the what was going on to make myself feel better, no. So instead of heading over there I checked my home phone voicemail to make sure there were no messages, and then relaxed. A few minutes later I saw Declan walking out to my car and I knew something was wrong- #1 he was supposed to go to cross country right after school, #2 he had that look like he could not get to me quick enough. As he entered the car I asked what was wrong as I reached over to hug him. He wrapped up in my hug and cried as he told me his friend that had been in front of him while conditioning had been running this little step course and had missed a step and the piece of equipment (which is old and all of the padding has long since gone away) had an unprotected spike protruding from it which caught his leg and stabbed him, ripping his leg open near his shin exposing his tendons and muscles. Declan was right behind him getting ready to run it next and saw everything 1st hand. Luckily, a coach was nearby and quickly came to help. Some kids ran for other coaches, some ran for the nurse, but Declan stayed in the vicinity until the ambulance left with him. The boy went into shock immediately, and I think that was the worst part for Declan. He got upset again later as he told me about how his friend couldn't even cry because he was so out of it. He is concerned because someone mentioned that he could loose his leg, but I have reassured him that that risk is very minimal and not worth stressing over until more facts are found out. I told him not to make himself sick thinking about the pain because his friend was pretty drugged up by now. He told me that he had been close enough to hear them talking about giving him tetanus shots and getting him morphine. He also told me that he never knew muscle was purple before now. That is when I realized the poor kid had really seen too much. We talked about how gruesome and shocking it is at first, but how they can get the body put back together so well and so fast, just like in surgery, and make a person fell better very soon. I think when he realized how quickly the trauma turns into fixing, turns into healing process works, he felt better. It is just so hard to see something like that, and for it to be a friend. The girls were very sweet to him, and did a great job of talking to him and comforting him. Cambria told Declan how strong she thought he was to have had so many things happen to his friends (from injuries to deaths) and to still be fine. It was really sweet to listen to them all talk together. My concern is the safety of the kids on all of this old equipment. I know I can not get panicked and freaked out about it, accidents rarely happen, but if it had been properly padded would this have happened? I know Declan is a bit freaked out that it could have been him, but the chances of him falling on it the exact same way are slim. Last year a kid lost his finger when another kid was playing around and slammed the locker shut on it. The lockers were so dirty and rusty that they could not save the finger. At that point I had to not freak myself out about the lockers, but reminded Declan to always remember to be careful and smart in everything he does. The sad thing is that accidents will always happen. They happen because someone is generally not paying attention, but 100% attention all of the time is impossible, so they will continue to happen. I just hope my kids are learning how to be smart in avoiding them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Papa

Friday was my Papa's birthday. I have had him on my mind A LOT the past few days. I can not even begin to express how much I love this man. I love his little round belly (which is shrinking every time I see him) that I get to press my stomach on every time I hug him. I love his kisses every time he sees me. I love his beautiful wavy white hair. I love how intelligent he is. I love how you can look at him and SEE the love in his eyes for his grand kids and great grand kids. I love that he likes to be involved in our lives. I love that he includes me in his e-mails (some days they are just what I need to pick myself up). I love that he is not quick to judge someone, but is dimensional enough to look past things to see deeper things that others miss. I love that he is ALWAYS right, or at least thinks he is (I so got it from him). I love how you can feel his pride in you when he looks at you.

I have been very fortunate to have my Papa so present in my life. My childhood memories definitely include my Papa. I loved going to his house and getting a frozen Hershey's bar with almonds (the only candy bar that I will eat to this day, and for some reason LOVE even though I do not like chocolate). I fondly remember going to the farm with him and running around while he worked with the cows and horses ( I loved to run off to the duck pond). I remember his smell of dirt, sweat, and animals when he would kiss me goodbye when we left the farm. I also remember smelling his cowboy hats in his garage when I was little, just to have a whiff of Papa (disturbing huh). I remember going to try to cheer him up when one of his favorite horses died, and feeling special because I knew only we could make him feel better. I remember getting in trouble for taking off all of the stickers of his rubik's cube so that I could show him I beat it, how did he know! I remember a time when I felt totally lost and unsupported by any other member of my family, and my Papa stepping up to tell me it would all be OK, and that he would personally support me in any decision I made, and at that point knowing that I was unconditionally loved and would never be alone. I remember him walking me down the isle on my wedding day, and getting nervous about the decision I was making for the 1st time. He then told me about his own wedding day and how my Nanny had locked herself in a room and would not come out until they took the hinges off of the door. It immediately calmed me down and I was ready to go.

The times I was able to spend with my grandparent while my parents were on their mission will always be a treasure to me. The fact that I was able to hog them for my family is selfish, I know, but it is one of the best memories I will ever have. My husband loves and respects my grandparents as if they were his own. My children think of them as grandparents, not as great grandparents.

My Papa is a person with a rich history. I love to pick his brain and hear his stories. Every time I do I learn something new about him. He has had a full life. He has the drive of a 25 year old right out of school. No one would ever believe that this year he turned 84. He makes our lives now look like a cake walk. He has always shown me the importance of being involved in family, church and community. Because of his example I feel so strongly that my family needs to be involved in our community, and try to keep us involved in community projects. I see a lot of myself in him. Sometimes they are not the best traits (ones we like to refer to as Webb traits, but are always told by Papa that the Webb's were kind people who never spoke a harsh word, but are in fact Layton traits), but knowing that I share these traits with someone so wonderful makes me know I can have good qualities, too.

I love my Papa. I don't know how many more Birthdays we will be able to share with him, if I had my pick it would be 84 more. I can not even bring myself to think for a minute of a world without him in it. It will be a very sad day for me when his body can no longer keep up with his spirit, and he leaves it behind. I celebrate every year that we have him here to love, learn from, and enjoy. I have been so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life, and to know of his love for me. I am so glad that my kids have such a wonderful relationship with him. I am blessed to be part of his posterity. Words could never adiquatly express my love for my Papa. It will just have to be enough to say "Papa, I Love You!" Happy Birthday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The STORM has come

Today Rodney entered, and I quote him, "a new level of geekdom". He got up early (5:00am) and went to the Verizon store to stand in line for the new Blackberry Storm phone that was released today. He has only done that one other time, last year when we got a hot tip on the shipment of a couple Wii's, and he went and sat for hours to get one for the kids for Christmas. Today he arrived and was the third in line. The guy in front of him was a big nerd I guess. Rodney felt nerdy just being there. Then the guy actually peed his pants waiting in line. Rodney felt so bad for him, but said he did not seem to mind. The store only got in 6, and the store is one of the biggest in the metroplex, so it will be in higher demand than we thought. His contract ran out a few months ago, and Verizon has been hounding him to sign a new one, so he got a SWEET deal on it. He paid $100 while others in the store were paying $400. He is not sure how he likes it yet, but I think he will end up loving it. He has needed to get e-mail on his phone for quite sometime. I think he will realize that by having his e-mail with him all of the time he will be even more free to be out and about and playing. All he really needs to work is his phone and e-mail, and now he has it all on one device. He feels a bit cool, and a bit nerdy. I think he is the cutest, coolest nerd around.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Last night I was the 2nd on the scene of an accident. I left to pick my kids up from mutual and the car in front of me slammed on her brakes and pulled into the center lane. I quickly slammed on mine and pulled in front of her not knowing what had happened. All I saw was one mini van blocking the road with all of the air bags deployed and its left back end crashed in. I thought, "Crap, of course the 1st day I am off my crutches and didn't put them in my car." As I hopped out I heard a voice yelling, panicking, "Help! Some one Help!!" I looked to my left and there was a man at the edge of the other lane laying there. I was so confused as to how he got there. He was a good 35-40 feet away from the car. The road we were on is a 50 mph road, and traffic was not quite slowing down yet, and because I could not move fast enough I could not get to him. Luckily the ladies behind me ran over and started talking to him. He was responsive and answered ?'s as they called 911. I asked someone to run over and check the people in the van because all of the airbags were deployed and covering up the windows, so I could not see in, but I could hear crying. It was too far for me to walk with my one bad leg, so, thankfully, a man ran over and checked them. I finally saw where the man laying in the road came from, a motorcycle that was about 25 feet away from him. I looked over at him again and was so relieved to realize he had helmet on, it was a long throw. I was so nervous that one of the cars flying by was going to run over him. We did not want to move him, I am sure there were several broken bones and he was in pain, so several of us tried to slow cars down, but they seemed to speed up as soon as they passed the van and would come so close to him. Finally an off duty police officer came and helped and seemed to spread people out more and the traffic slowed. It felt like forever until the ambulance and fire trucks got there. I just felt so helpless. I knew I could not get to any of them, all could do was continue to slow down traffic. I kept looking over at the man lying on the side of the road and thinking of my dad. As soon as help got there I got out of the way and headed to the church to tell everyone to take a different route home and warn the teenagers to drive slowly and safely. I was a bit shaken, not because it was bad or gory, just because of the thoughts that were running around in my head. Thought #1- I hate feeling helpless. I have to get better fast. Could I have done anything if it was just me there? Thought #2- Memories of the time Rodney and I saw a 14 year old girl get hit by a car going 50 mph down the street, and almost hitting her again as she flew into out lane. Being the 1st one to her and turning her to see if I could do CPR and realizing she had no recognizable face to work with. Sitting with her friend she was crossing the street with as we waited for the emergency services, and not knowing what to do to comfort her. Thought #3- Worrying about my Dad, brothers, brothers-in law, and husband as they ride their motorcycles, especially with no helmets. Knowing that Rodney, Scott, and Perry have all been hit by drivers that had not seen them and had somehow been fine. Thinking about my dad laying on the side of the road in this mans place and hoping that he would have someone there to help him and be as wonderfully comforting to him as the two women in the other car were. Thought #4- Thinking about my friend Melanie who just lost her dad in a motorcycle accident, and feeling so sad for her. I gave myself a minute to think, shake, and even cry, and then I got out of my car and went inside and called my sister and dad and asked them to remind everyone to be careful. Cambria was walking out the door with me last night to go pick-up the kids, and I suddenly turned to her and told her to just stay home. I told her that I did not feel good about her going, that it would be better just to stay home and relax and watch TV. It was not until later that night that I realized how glad I was that she had not been with me. I would hate for her to have been there. Even though it was not horrible, it leaves you shaken, and she did not need to see that. For someone who rarely feels prompted to do things, this was a perfect time to be prompted. I am truly grateful. You sure never imagine that an ordinary chore can turn into a testimony building experience, but it can.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good News

Today is filled with good news!

1st and foremost- Decota had an eye appointment with her retina specialist today. Everything is looking good, no wait, very good. All the inflammation that was spilling over into the back of her eye has gone away. The milkiness and haze in her eye is looking much clearer. There really is only one part of her eye that still has inflammation in it. What does this all mean for us? She will continue to take her pressure drops and nsaid drops in her eye 2x a day, but her steroid drops will now be decreased to ONCE a day. Considering the fact that in January she started using the steroid every hour, and up until July she had only decreased to using them every 2 hours, weaning all the way to 1 time a day in the last 4 months is pretty incredible. This specialist we started seeing in July has been so great for her! She does not have to go back to the eye doctor for 3 months!!! Until July she was going to the eye doctor every week for months at one point, at the least once every 3 weeks. She was also seeing another Dr at the hospital every other month, but he has decided that our new Dr has it under control, so he will not start seeing her again until she is in remission. After her eye appointment in Arlington we drove to Dallas to have her blood work done at Scottish Rite Hospital to make sure everything is still great with her body as she takes the chemo. So far there has been no negative effects, and I am sure the results will remain the same. Once her eye is fully weened of drugs and stays clear, they will start to lower her doses of Methotrexate until she is off of it. It is still a long way down the road, but it is in view now, and Decota is thrilled to feel like it really might come. She does not have any more appointments until January when she will have her next blood work done and her rheumatology check up, and then February for her eyes. She feels so free!!! As we walked out of the hospital she said "Have I ever told you how much I LOVE MY hospital?". Yes- every time we come she tells me several times, but I will never tire of hearing how much she loves it. I love it too!

2nd- I had my check up today and I am crutches free- well technically. I am slow, and get very tired fast as my leg cramps up as I try to walk, but I will get there. It is amazing how fast you forget how to walk, and my kids make fun of me as I remind myself how to place my foot- but this walking thing is harder than you realize. I am just so excited to get moving on my own again and only have a few limitation put on me and not tons. I am supposed to be jogging for 30 min by my next appointment in 6 weeks. Right now that seems impossible to me, but I know I will get there before I know it.

3rd- Rodney is on his way home. Need I say any more.

Last, but certainly not least- TWILIGHT IS OUT IN THEATERS IN 2 DAYS. I am going to get my ticket tonight. I can't wait! I certainly don't think it will be as absolutely wonderful as the book, but I am HOPING it will do it enough justice. I can't wait to fall for Edward all over again:)

So this concludes my good news for today- YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I have been a slacker. November 13th was Alicia's birthday and I am just now getting around to writing a bit about her. I have been thinking about her, but just have not taken the time to sit down and write my thoughts. Well, I'm sitting today!

Some of my best memories of Alicia are from when she was in High School. I used to love to come down and visit with her. At that time in my life I did not feel particularly comfortable at Rodney's parents home, but Alicia always eased my worries and made me feel included. I loved sitting on her bed talking about life. She would fill me in on the latest details of her love life and social life. She would read me e-mails and notes from boys that I knew she would not share with just anyone. She was always plotting things to do, and including me. I loved the simplest things, like driving into town to rent a movie with her, because I felt wanted. When she went to college I was so excited that she wanted me to come along. I had so much fun leaving my kids at the hotel with Myra and Danny and running around all night with Alicia showing her the town and pretending like I was still young. I have always appreciated how much Alicia seems to genuinely want me around. She has made some very apprehensive times for me become very enjoyable times.

Alicia is a go getter. If she wants something she will find a way to get it- nothing will get in her way. She is confident and a leader. She does not let other people decide how she will feel about herself or tell her what to do, she decides all of that for herself. She is someone that just knows deep down to her core what is right and what is wrong- and always chooses the right. She is such a strength to her family and friends.

It has been a lot of fun to have her and Dustin closer. I have enjoyed all of the time that we have been able to spend together lately. She is like a grown up child- always ready to play. My kids love that she will not only participate in activities with them, but instigate the activity. I love that she can get everything done and still have time to have fun.

I am so grateful that I have Alicia in my family. She is such a wonderful sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt, and (especially for me) friend. I hope that I can be more like Alicia do better at and making people feel wanted and comfortable around me. I hope that I can continue to be more confident in myself so that I can be there to lift others up, like Alicia does. I hope that I can follow her example of staying young by playing young, and taking the time to instigate fun with my kids. I love Alicia very much and am so lucky to have her as a friend and a sister in law. Happy Birthday Alicia!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Yes, it is possible to be homesick while you are sitting in the comfort of your home. I don't know why, but I have had the blues for the last week. I can't figure out if it is the fact that I was able to spend so much time with my mom lately, or that I did not get to see my dad enough on his short visit, or if it is because I was not able to help out with Chelsey's kids while she was in Spain. What ever it is- I miss home. I love Texas, it has been a blast to live here, I don't remember being homesick since we have moved here- but since my surgery I have missed home. I think it is because I have spent SOOOOO much time at home this past 5 weeks. I have had time to realize a few things- I have no friends to call up and invite over to scrapbook, or just do nothing with- I have no one to go to a movie or sit on my couch and watch a movie with- I have no mom or sisters around to cry on their shoulder when I have pushed as hard as I feel I can and now want to collapse and die- I have no one to talk girl to girl with- I have no one to make me feel it is OK to just slack off sometimes- I am alone. Since we have moved here I have been so wrapped up in my family that I have not really ever thought about it. I seem to run 90-nothing all the time, all for the benefit of my family. I love the bonding between my family that has occurred since we have moved here- it has been irreplaceable. I just never realized that I have NO ONE to do nothing with. I have always been surrounded by great friends and family. I have always been VERY social. I am not here. I have many friends on my street, I love them. We all have busy schedules though, and so getting together is hard for all of us. I do not have any good church friends. There are many people I really like at church, but I don't have any great friends. This is mostly because I have shut myself out since I have been here. I have been so focused on my family. Most people my age have much younger children so I have less in common with them. Rodney really has not clicked with people in our ward. He is not real happy there, and is very alone. It is hard for me to watch him be unwilling to try to get to know people there. I like our ward ok, it just doesn't feel like "home" being there. It took our kids awhile to adjust to it, but I think they enjoy it now. I just want the to feel at home there. I am just in that funny stage where my kids take us so much time that friendships become less important. I just have had a lot of extra time to think about it lately. I am jealous of the fact that my sisters get to get together and can apples, scrapbook, walk, babysit. I am jealous of the time they get to spend with mom and dad and Nanny and Papa. I am also so happy that they are all together and enjoying it so much. This is my families time to be a family and learn to be dependant on each other. I am so thankful for this time. I am SO glad that I have Rodney, he makes a wonderful best friend and is good company. I just wish I could teleport real quick and play a quick game with my nieces and nephews, hug my beautiful sisters, brothers, and their spouses, spend time in the kitchen with my mom, watch a movie with my dad, enjoy a conversation with my grandparents on their couch- and then be back home before my kids are out of school. I am sure glad we have the computer to keep in touch. I feel so much more a part of their lives since we have started blogging. Hey- maybe that's why I'm homesick!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Forever my baby

This week Declan had the stomach flu. I can honestly never remember any of my children having the stomach flu quite like he did. He was doing great Wednesday night, and then about 10:30 it all started. He threw up all night, at least every hour. It wasn't wimpy little throwing up, but house shaking throwing up. I felt so horrible for him. He was so tired, but he could not sleep. I barley slept either. I kept worrying that he wasn't breathing, or some silly thing like that, and kept getting up to check on him. Every time I went in his room he would say "Hi mom. I'm still up, but you need to sleep so go back to bed." Of course I couldn't so I laid there and scratched is head and back, or cleaned up messes, or brought him medicine and water most of the night. He would eventually fall asleep, and my leg would cramp up, so I would head back to bed. About an hour later I would wake up panicked that he was not breathing and hobble back in there to find him awake again. Finally at about 6:00 he fell into a deep sleep and slept until about 11:00. We laid around together all day and just tried to rest and relax. He couldn't keep anything down except ginger-ale, so by the time I put him to bed I was worried about him being dehydrated and starving. Luckily, I was so tired that I slept well that night. When we woke up he was starving! He had a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup for breakfast, and kept it down. For lunch he ate Chicken Noodle again, so by dinner when he wanted a Chicken sandwich from McDonald's (something I don't usually let him eat), I was more than willing to feed him anything to get him eating again. Rodney was a bit annoyed with how much I worried about him (although he would definitely expect the same amount of worry if her were in Declan's shoes), but I just couldn't help it. I was laughing at therapy about the fact that he is 13 1/2 years old, yet I still feel like he is my baby. I was checking to make sure he was breathing just like you do a newborn. I sat next to him all day for 2 days just to make sure he had everything he needed. I know it is horrible to say, but- Declan, I am afraid you will always be my little boy. You are taller than me, you outweigh me, but I still feel the need to hold you in my arms and make everything better. I don't know if I will ever grow out of those feelings, but I guess for now I will just be grateful that you still feel comforted while in my arms. I am so glad that you are still so willing to be "Mama's Little Boy".

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

6 of my Randoms...

I have been tagged by Brittani to share 6 things about me that people may not know (or you may and I am just kidding myself). Here I go:
1) I HATE antique malls and most antiques. I don't mind some heirloom form my grandmother, or things like that where I know where they have been and how they have been cared for, but anything else- YUCK! I am so grossed out by old dust and the smell of old ick. I can''t bear to think of all of the old germs that may have touched it. Antique malls give me major he-be-je-bez! I can't help but imagine everything in there being kept in some disgustingly filthy pack rats home with years and years of filth on it. I get bad headaches when I go to one, and need to take a shower after (sometimes I even break down and cry while in one). I love restored old buildings and even some restored furniture pieces (but honestly most of them are just plain ugly to me, they have to many frills), but I do not even want to be around most old junk. Rodney thinks I have an irrational phobia of it.
2) I love history (doesn't quite go along with hating antiques, does it). I love to learn about people, times and places. I love to see antiques in this setting, and to go back in time. I feel like my eyes are opened up and my view of the world expanded so much as I get into the minds of people in different periods and times. History helps me have a better understanding of, tolerance for, and compassion for people that are so different than myself. I truly feel like I am awakened as I learn about history.
3) I HATE to lose. I am a competitive person. I try not to be. I am not athletic, I am not a sports nut, I am not your average competitor- but I HAT TO LOOSE. Ask anyone who has played a board game with me. My talons come out and I have a hard time not calling people names. I then seem to hold a grudge, even if I try not to show it, and have to talk myself down from the loss. I am not a very gracious looser, even when I have no real say in the result (such as the election- I was not going to listen to Obama's acceptance speech, and then had to walk away for a bit and convince myself I should listen). I just get upset and have to clam myself back to reality. When I have a challenge in front of me, such as physical therapy, I want to not only do it, but do it better than most. If someone says I should complete this in 2 weeks, I want to in one. I have always lived by the rule- anything you can do I can do better. Although I know that is not true (especially when it comes to running, sports, making a living, cooking, most everything) I always find myself trying to do better than expected.
4) I HATE to do my nails. I hate cutting them. I hate filing them. I hate painting them. I only paint my toenails because I feel like they look so hideous if I don't (and I wait at least a month between polishings- yes, most of the paint is chipped off by then). I never paint my fingernails- they chip in two days! I hate to spend money on pedicures because, while I enjoy someone rubbing my legs and feet, I feel like it was a waste of money when my heals are still cracked and dry the next day and my polish is chipped in a week.
5) I LOVE to travel. I think I could find joy in going almost anywhere. I just live to go. There is so much world to see, landscapes to explore, historical stories to be told, and people to meet. I think I could just live in hotels and be happy, as long as I was sight seeing, learning and going (but not an old hotel with old furniture- yuck). My favorite feeling is having my family in the car, heading out on the road together. I always think "the most important things in my life are all right here with me. While we are gone the house could burn to the ground, but I will have lost nothing because my whole world is in this tiny car." I love the opportunity to learn and explore together, and it creates a harmony and bond that is amazing!
6) My favorite snack in the whole world is CHIPS & SALSA. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert, anytime. I especially love thin tortilla chips and salsa with a lot of flavor. I love salsa in many different flavors- but it has to be flavorful. I love the tomato, the spices, the herbs. Texas has some wonderful salsas that have a wonderful smoke flavor because the chili's are roasted over wood. My mouth is watering thinking about it!
I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me. I am tagging mom, Laura, Alicia, and Melanie. Your turn!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall is here

I don't know why, but I am not a huge fan of fall. I love spring- The colors are so vibrant as they come out and after a long dreary winter, and I am so thankful to get out of my frumpy sweaters and put on a t-shirt. I love summer- I love the feel of the sun on my skin, I love to be hot, I love to drink ice water all day and not get cold from it. I used to like fall somewhat, back when I lived in New Mexico. It signaled a time for things to slow down and time to spend more time with the family. The colors were beautiful as the trees turned yellow, orange and red. You would think with all of the trees in Texas we would have a beautiful fall- WRONG. Fall here stinks. The trees just turn a sickly yellow and then brown and fall everywhere. There are no brilliant color shows, not fiery backdrops, just dead leaves. I hate to be cold. I much prefer sweating than shivering. I do not like to have to get up in the dark, or to be at practice and it be dark- at 7:00. I love to wake up with the sun and play late into the night. I am not ready to pull out sweaters again, I get so sick of them. Fall is not a time to slow down any more- life just keeps truckin' on by. The kids are just busy no matter what time of year it is. The only thing that is worse than fall is winter. I liked it better in New Mexico where we had a real winter and could go into the mountains and play in the snow. It felt like winter there. Here it just gets cold, and with all the humidity in the air it chills you to the bone. I just feels like a cold, fake winter without snow. Thank goodness it doesn't last to long here. It is nice to get a break from watering the lawn and running the AC- two very expensive things here, so I always remind myself of that to make me feel better. I do, however look forward to the day I am back in my bathing suit laying at the pool. I guess I will go switch up the kids closets and bring their warm clothes forward. Fall is knocking at my door, telling me it has arrived.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Time for an attitude adjustment

When Decota was little, and we were both mad and upset (which seems to happen to both of us at the same time, often), we would decide it was time for an attitude adjustment. In order to change our attitude we would turn each other's noses upside down and make a cute little sound effect. At that point we would laugh, hug, and life was good again. I think I am about ready to twist everyone's nose right now. We are in serious need of an attitude adjustment in the Johnson home.
Thursday Rodney parents called to let us know that they would be coming down with Alicia, Dustin and Logan for the weekend. Rodney also found out that he would have to go to Houston on Friday to watch a test being preformed for work. When I took the kids to school on Friday I made them promise to come home ready to pitch in and help me get the house clean. I decided I was going to work real hard and get at least the downstairs done by myself while they were at school. It literally took me the WHOLE school day to get my downstairs done. It took me so long to hop on one leg everywhere and clean. Vacuuming, sweeping, and moping were KILLERS. It took me at least 5 times as long as normal to do them. I was hot, sweaty, and sore, but I was determined to do it all on my own and surprise the kids. By the time picked them up from school I was EXHAUSTED. I had completed everything downstairs, did all the laundry (I developed a really great way to haul laundry baskets around by sticking my bad foot in it and dragging it behind as I hobble on my crutches), and had done all of my room except for the vacuuming in there. All the kids had left were their rooms, bathrooms, and basic chores. I thought they would be so grateful for all that I did to make it easier for them, and that they would pitch in and get it all done in 1/2 an hour. I was wrong. 3 hours later I was TICKED that I had told them to get busy a million times, and they were still goofing off. I finally yelled at them and told them to get off their lazy butts and get it done NOW! I was then informed what a rotten mom I was and how horribly I talked to my kids. Decota tried to tell me that she had a party to be at so she couldn't do her chores, she had run out of time. I didn't let her get away with that and told her that she had to finish to go- She was an hour late and was not a happy camper. By the time our company came I was aggravated- both at my kids for being such brats, and at myself for not being able to do all that I usually can. When Rodney's parents got here his mom took me to the grocery store to help me get my shopping done. I am too stubborn to ride in one of those conspicuous motorized obesity carts, so I hobbled all through the store on my crutches. By 10:00pm we were home, Rodney was back home, and the groceries were put away, but I was sore and tired. Instead of going to bed being thankful for all that I achieved in the day, I went to bed frustrated that I was so irritated with my kids and that it was taking me so much effort to do anything.
Saturday I was sore. I enjoyed the day of soccer and hanging out, but I was sore (my armpit would burn like an electric charge if my crutch put any pressure on the right place). I just felt tired and blah. I hate to feel that way when I have company because that is when it is time to play, but I was just blah.
Sunday I think we were all done for. My armpit was killing me. I had to hold my crutches a different way so that it would not touch my armpit at all, but that cramped up my hands. I felt like I was moving like a turtle, and was, quite frankly, trying to do the least I could so I didn't have to move to much. I had asked for my kids help several times, and they started saying "NO, we are sick of helping you." I was feeling SO frustrated. I am sick of asking for help. I like to do things on my own. I hate that I can't even carry a glass of water upstairs by myself. I was so mad that they flat out refused to help. No matter what, I am the mom and they should do as they are told- period. It all made me very emotional, and felt like crying on and off all day. I started being ornery to them, and when they asked for help on things I would say "I am sick of helping you"- which made me feel bad, but also made me feel good, like an 8 year old brat who "just showed you". By night I was feeling guilty, so I cooled it and helped Decota and Cambria out with some projects. Once again I was pooped by bedtime.
This morning I got up and got the kids ready. I was determined to make it a better day. Before I knew it Declan and Decota are fighting, hitting, and shoving each other. They started yelling an screaming at me to get up and fix their fight. I was instantly fired up. They had been piddling all morning. They were doing things to just irritate each other. I was done. Rodney heard them and he was done. We got everyone around the breakfast table and #1 grounded Declan and Decota all weekend next weekend, #2 lectured them on helping out, and #3 told everyone to change their attitude. They left for school with a little bit better of an attitude, but a long way to go. I am blogging with a little bit better of an attitude, but have a long way to go also.
I guess it is up to me to get my head on straight before they come home. I need to do something to set the tone for the week when they walk in the door. I will rest a while today and get some of my energy back. They want to go to this Trunk-or-Treat thing at the church tonight (notice I did not call it STIPID Trunk-or-Treat thing, which is how I feel), and I have told them no way; so I guess I could just buck up and do it because they want to (have I ever told you how much I hate Halloween- ugh, bad attitude). I will have a yummy dinner ready that smells great when they walk in the door, that always puts me in a good mood. I am going to only use my nice voice (I figure even if it sounds fake at first, my mood will eventually catch on, right). I am going to not think about all that I can't do right now, and get over it. This is temporary, I am not permanently disabled. I have figured out how to do almost everything. I am not going to whine over a couple of lost conveniences. I am LUCKY that I will soon be whole and fixed. My family is TOTALY capable of helping me out, I would do it for them, and I am NOT raising spoiled rotten brats that expect the world to wait on them hand and foot. They are good kids, they are just tired too. This all affects them also. I guess in the end it is OK for all of my family to be human, it is just time for all of us to suck it up and be better. It is time for an attitude change.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bodies Rock

Today I saw my doctor for my 2 week follow-up. It AMAZES me how wonderfully the body works, and how quickly it fixes itself. How can you look at a body and not see a miracle. I had all of the tape that was on my incisions removed, and was amazed to see my leg healed- no stitches, no staples, just pulled back together with tape. It is so cool. I also got about 4 pages full of pictures of my surgery. It is amazing what doctors can do to fix us. I love those pictures and am so excited to show them to anyone that will look! My new ligament is BEAUTIFUL. It is so big and looks so strong. I am so excited. I also was able to see my meniscus, and it was pretty cool. It was not only torn, but it had come unattached in a spot and would fold over itself. My doctor (who I think is awesome) told me that he ended up cutting part of it off because it was so torn up and was in a place that allowed him to remove it, and then he reattached the rest of it. My therapist and I were hoping that I would be able to put some weight on it this week, but my doctor said it was too substantial of a tear, and that I would have to wait 2 more weeks. In 2 weeks I will be able to put 25 lbs of pressure on it, and then a week later 50 lbs. So the bad news is- 4 more weeks on crutches, 4 more weeks with this DANG anti-embolism sock (although he is letting me take it off at night now), and I only get to go to therapy (which I love) 1 time a week for the next 4 weeks (my insurance only allows me 18-20 therapy visits, and I have accomplished all that I can do there for now, and I am motivated enough to do the exercises on my own at home, so they want to save the rest for when I can walk again). The good news- I can get my whole leg wet now, no more ace bandage, I am healing very well, and my doctor called me superwoman and told me he wished all of his patients were like me (because I have worked so hard and my movement great, and mostly because I have not taken any pain pills since 36 hours after my surgery). I just feel so lucky in this whole ordeal- #1 because my husband and kids are AWESOME and have totally stepped up and made this very easy and guilt free, #2 because my mom and dad have been so great with all of their help and support, #3 because I am so pleased with my doctor and my therapist, and #4 because I will not have to worry about every little thing popping my knee out- I WILL BE FIXED! I can't believe how wonderfully this has all worked out! I am so pleased with my results, my supportive family, and my miraculous body!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Life in the slow lane!

I have not written in what feels like forever. I just do not seem to have anything great to write about. I feels like my days are flying by with me only accomplishing a couple of minute things. This weekend we were out the door to soccer at 9:00am. At 3:00 we were finally finished and headed to a restaurant to get an sandwich for "linner". We went to a place we had never been called "Life's a Beach". It kind of had a caribbean flair to all of it's dishes, and I ended up with Caribbean Jerk Chicken Nachos which were very yummy. We sat indoors so we could watch football, but the whole wall was glass doors that were opened, so it was like sitting on the patio. At the edge of the patio were sand volleyball courts. The weather was so beautiful, the kids were having so much fun playing volleyball, Rodney was enjoying the OU vs Kansas Game, and I was so comfortable with my leg propped up and watching the kids that we ended up staying 3 hours. After we got home Rodney and I went to a Halloween party, I was dressed as a broken Cowboys team, Rodney was dressed as the Cowboys guardian angel who is on vacation (complete with wings, a lei, and a grass skirt). It was fun. We finally got home at 10:30, and I was pooped. Luckily church had been moved to 1:00, so we were able to sleep in and get our chores done. After church I decided to make a decent dinner, but it sure took me a lot longer than normal. The kids had a fireside and I was pushing it to get it made and them out the door on time. I was pooped by that evening, and just cuddled up with Cambria and watched Food Network. Yesterday I had physical therapy, and my therapist pushed me hard. He introduced more exercises into my routine, and put weights on my legs for old exercises. My movement has gotten really good, so he feels like, until I can put weight on it, there is not much else he can help me with. I only get 20 visits from my insurance, so he does not want to use them up until I get to put weight on my leg. I will go on Wednesday again, and then go to the Doctor, but if he doesn't release me to put weight on it (which I doubt he will) I will only go to therapy 1 time a week until I am released. I will just have to work out a home. Yesterday afternoon I ran with Rodney to get dog food and new A/C filters. I was SO exhausted by the time we got back. Every muscle in my body ached. When the kids got home I think they could tell I was beat. They all got right to work on their homework and got it done. I laid in bed with Declan and watched part of a movie with him, and then when he went to bed I did too. I never go to bed before 11:00, but last night I went to bed at 9:45. I slept all night, no waking up to adjust or anything. Today I do not have anything except Declan's football game, so I am going to take it easy, elevate and ice my leg, and watch some TV (rough life huh). Rodney and the kids have been SO WONDERFUL since mom left. My house is spotless, and they are so sweet and helpful. I sure appreciate how much they show me they love me. Hopefully my Dr will have a good report for me tomorrow! (I am so ready to take off this uncomfortable anti-embolism sock!!!) I am sure he will. I may be tired, but I feel pretty dang good.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Physical Therapy

Today I had my 1st Physical Therapy appointment. It felt so great to get my leg moving. It is amazing how quickly the muscles try to run away and hide. It was very hard to get any definition in my quad when I was flexing it- and it has only been one week. He put a shocker on my leg that would send pulses into my quad muscle and make it tighten up, and then I would use my strength to try to tighten it further. After a few minutes of it you could see a resemblance of a muscle again. It actually felt great though! I felt really good when we were all done, and my movement had increased quite a bit in the hour and a half I was working it. I have to go 3 times a week, which stinks in some ways, but is great in others. I like the feeling of working out and breaking a sweat, and I feel quite invigorated to be moving my body. I can feel my strength grow by leaps and bounds everyday, and my comfort is getting so much better.
Today mom spent the afternoon baking and freezing treats for the kids so that I could pull them out for them after she left. She is definitely going to get me the good mom award for all of her efforts. She has spoiled us SO MUCH while she has been here!!!! It will be so sad when she leaves, but I'm sure she will be ready to take a month long nap! It has been so nice to have her around, and I am hoping now that I am feeling better, we might be able to enjoy each others company a little more over the last few days!
I am so glad that the worst is behind me and that the best is yet to come!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October 10, 2008- Decota turns 12!

I can't believe how quickly 12 years has passes me by. Twelve years ago Decota made a statement as she came into the world. I think she has been making them ever since. Let me explain.

I was not ready for Decota to be born. I had a lease that was up within a couple days, was waiting on our first house to close, and had a million things to do. Decota's pregnancy had not been the easiest one. Although I felt great, I was having a lot of pain in my side because of the way she was laying on my hip. At times my left leg would kind of drag behind, and I worried that she might break my hip when she came out. It also seemed that she was not growing like she should. There was very little amniotic fluid in the sac, and the Dr. was very worried about this. He was also worried about my body because of how many times I had been pregnant within the last year (Declan's pregnancy, five months later when I was pregnant again and then miscarried three months into it, and then two weeks after my miscarriage when I found out I was pregnant with Decota). Towards the end of my pregnancy with her I was going in for ultrasounds every week. I kept telling her that I needed her to be 2 weeks late. In true Decota fashion, she didn't listen. I went in for an ultrasound one morning, and because she was showing signs of stress, did not seem to have gained any weight in the last month or so ( he thought she was 4 lbs max), and my body was starting into labor, the doctor decided I needed to be at the hospital by noon to be induced! I was not ready! I had totally convinced myself she would be late, and it was 8 days early. After I was in the hospital for a couple of hours and things were progressing, Decota's heart rate dropped in half and her stress levels increased. Everything was kind of a blur to me at that point, but I do remember that I was not fully dilated so the Dr. told me he would have to try to dilate me by hand, I remember they had life flight ready to take Decota to Albuquerque, and I remember him saying I had to push really hard while he tried to vacuum her out or I would have to have an emergency C-section. I also remember that there was a lot of family there, and nobody quite knew where to go. They wanted to give me privacy, yet they also wanted to know exactly what was going on. At one point the nurse asked me if she should send everyone away, but I did not care - I just wanted Decota to be out and healthy. And then, all of a sudden, there she was. Out, stress gone, heart rate normal, healthy, and 6 pounds (my biggest baby)! In the end, I think all of the drama was created by Decota just so everyone knew she was coming and it would be a grand entrance to remember. She seemed to say "I'm here world, and I am going to show everyone that I can fight through anything and come out stronger than you could ever guess!".

12 years later not much has changed. Decota is still a fighter, and she still loves a dramatic effect. She still has a way of sucking people in and keeping every one's attention on her (In a good way, thank goodness). She has had a life full of unusual events- Her Arthritis and Iritis of course, and all of the hospitals and doctors that come with those diseases, being attacked by a cat and bitten by it all over resulting in a trip to the ER, stuffing a whole cardboard nerds box and a paper towel up her nose while traveling because she was bored- another trip to the ER, a broken arm on the day 1st day of our move into our new house in Texas- ER again, knocking out 2 teeth on the tramp that came out through her lip- yep, ER again. And when she is not at the doctors or in the ER, she is busily involved in everything. She loves parties, spend the nights, riding bikes, going on walks, swimming, shopping, doing hair, doing nails, doing makeovers, dancing, playing soccer, going to sports events, being involved in school organizations, and talking on the phone. Life is one big social event for Decota, and she always seems to end up the belle of the ball. Through all of the good and bad in her life she just keeps surprising us with all that she can accomplish in such a positive manner.

Today was Decota's first day in Young Women's (another social event she has been greatly anticipating). I was not able to go to church today because of my knee, so Rodney got to go into Young Women's and do her official introduction to the girls. I love it when he gets a chance to say wonderful things about the kids in front of people because they are so heartfelt;yet, at the same time I felt like I missed out. If I was there this is what I would have said:

I am here to tell you all a little about your new friend Decota. I know that several of you are quite a bit older than her, but I can guarantee you she will be your friend. Decota is someone that somehow can magically break down the barriers of age and become a friend to anyone. She is very easy to talk to, and loves to listen. Although she loves to joke and tease, you will always know that when she is serious everything she says is very genuine and sincere, and she truly wants anyone that is around her to be comfortable and happy. Decota is a fighter- she not only fights for her health, she fights for her friends, she fights for fairness, she fights for people's feelings, she fights for what's right. Decota loves to be active. She is willing to jump in and try anything. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty and work hard. She loves order and organization and can easily whip a group, or a room, into shape. Decota loves to dance. Music has always been a joy for her, and she has always bopped right along to the beat. She works very hard at her dance classes, and I have no doubt that whatever she decides she wants to do with this talent, she has the ability to do it. I believer that everyone in this room will have their life blessed because of Decota's presence in it. I also believe that everyone in this room will bless Decota in her own life in their own, special, individual way. She can learn so much from all of the girls in Young Women's- please give her the opportunity to learn from you. I am so proud of the beautiful girl that Decota is. I have enjoyed her personality over the last 12 years, and have become a better person because of her in my life. I am so excited to watch her grow and blossom into an even more beautiful daughter of God as she learns and realizes her potential in this world, and as she develops an even greater relationship with her Father in Heaven. I love you Decota, and welcome to Young Women's!

It is always sad when one phase in life ends- but then it is always exciting as another one begins. I will never have a chubby cheeked little Decota with her Disney dress-ups, feather boa, and plastic high heels dragging a baby doll around the house anymore, and that makes me a bit sad (thank goodness for cameras and scrapbooks). However, I am excited to watch the now tall and lean faced Decota in her fashionable clothes, matching accessories, and "cute" shoes drag her homework around as she talks on the phone and blares music in the background. I know that the next few years may get rocky at times, that there will be many times when she may forget she likes me, and that I may feel like I'm riding a rollercoaster; however, I know that in the end I love Decota, Decota loves me, Decota is an incredible girl. I know that everything will turn out great, and that this exciting stage of growing up will only happen once in her lifetime- and I want to be there to share in every aspect of it. I am so glad she is mine, and I know (even when she says otherwise) that she feels the same way about me.

I love you Decota. Continue to have the courage to fight for what is right. Shock the world as you defeat obstacles in your way. Make this place better because you are here. And always remember- no matter how old you are, you will always be my sweet little princess!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On The Road to Recovery

I really did not expect this surgery to be such a big deal. I was sure I would be walking around pretty good by now, and that I would be shocking the pants off of everyone as I "recovered so fast". I was wrong! It has been 3 days since my surgery and I am still camped out in bed. Let me tell you a bit about it:

Day 1- Rodney and I left the house at about 5:45 am to get to the surgical center for my ACL reconstruction. I was excited, and really not the least bit nervous. When they called me back for pre-op I kissed Rodney good-bye and hopped on back to get this thing over. After I was all dressed, IV'd, and ready, they called Rodney back to sit with me. This was not something that he was expecting to have to do, and I could see that he was not thrilled to have to be in the "hospital" area. They prepped my leg and ran through the procedure with us, and then gave me a little something to "help me relax". Relax nothing- I can't remember a single thing after that, although Rodney told me I got quite chatty after that. I guess as they wheeled me back to the operating room I was talking their ears off (I just hope I didn't ask the doctor to make all of this really worth it and make my boobs bigger while he was working on me!) It was supposed to be an easy procedure and I was supposed to be out of surgery in an hour to and hour and a half. Well, I guess the doctor had never been warned, nothing is just "easy" with me. When he got in there he realized that the artificial ligament that had been put in there previously had broken down and turned into "tons of tiny threads of spaghetti" in my leg. He had to do a lot of drilling and vacuuming to get it all out, and I guess he had to constantly unclog his vacuum because there was so much junk. Then he also realized that my meniscus was torn, so he had to fix that as well. In the end the surgery ended up taking 2 1/2 hours, and is going to set my healing time back a bit. When I woke up he told me that I was not allowed to put weight on my leg for 4 weeks!!! I was sure I'd be walking the next day. He also told Rodney I could be quite sore because of all of the drilling and moving of tissue he had done to get everything out. When we left the surgical center I felt great. I came home and sat downstairs and visited most of the day and felt wonderful. I never got emotional, I never threw up, I never felt much pain. All I needed was a few Advil here and there, and I was bending my leg like it was no big deal. I enjoyed being around everyone that night and thought "This is a breeze. I will be back at it soon, no problem." That night I decided to take one pain pill when I went to sleep just to make sure I was comfortable all night.

Day 2- I woke up a bit more sore Thursday. I could feel some swelling starting to kick in, so I decided to take it easy and just stay in my bed with my leg elevated. As the day wore on I got more and more stiff. I took 3 pain pills throughout the day, and was amazed how much the pressure on my bandages seemed to be growing by the hour. Mom and Rodney babied me all day, and I just laid there, reading, sleeping and just zoning out. By afternoon I hurt from my mid thigh the tip of my toe. My calf and ankle were pretty dang sore. By the end of the evening, I was pooped and ready to get some relief. This day was definitely harder than I expected. I took 2 pain pills when I went to bed at 10:00, and fell into a deep sleep.

Day3- Friday I woke up at 2:30 am and laid there monitoring my pain as is crept back into my leg. At 3:00 I decided to take another 2 pain pills to stay on top of the pain and get some more rest. At 5:30 I woke up feeling like my whole body was so heavy I was sinking into the bed. I felt like my chest was so heavy It was squishing my lungs. I monitored my breathing, and realized that I was breathing just fine, but could not convince myself that it was fine enough to not have to blow up my body like a balloon to relieve the weight. I laid there and took big breaths that I imagined where "blowing me up". I then laid there and envisioned the air leaking out as my body went flat again. Of course I then had to take some more big breaths to blow up my chest again. I knew in my head that I really was not anything to help, but I couldn't help doing it. I finally got up and stretched a bit, moving my leg around and breathing. I thought about going to the bathroom, but decided I was to dizzy and heavy to try to make it, so I laid back down and slipped back into sleep. I remember waking up a couple times as the kids were getting ready, and yelling out that I loved them, but I don't think anyone heard. The next thing I knew, mom was bringing me pancakes and eggs and the kids were gone. It took me awhile to eat them, I kept finding myself staring into space. When I got done I decided I needed to shake off the funk I was in and get up and get ready (to sit in bed again all day). Rodney and I started talking about how we hadn't even gotten to wish Decota "Happy Birthday" that morning (I was asleep and he was in the shower when she left for school) and decided to call her on her new cell phone and leave her a message telling her Happy Birthday (we did celebrate it Wednesday night and she had opened all of her presents then). When Rodney called her she did not have it off, and he heard her open it and say "It's mine, I'm so sorry!". A few minutes later she called us back upset that something may be wrong at home, and upset because she had gotten in trouble for having her phone on at school. I talked to her and tried to calm her down, but she broke into hysterical crying. I then talked to her teacher and told her what had happened and apologized. She told me she would not take Decota's phone away because she was so upset, and she believed that Decota had not meant to have it on. After we got off of the phone I felt like crap! I hadn't said Happy Birthday to her in the morning, and now she was upset and I couldn't go to the school and comfort her. When I told mom about it I just bawled. She decided to go ahead and got to the school, give Decota some eye drops that she needed, and check on her (which made me feel a lot better). After she left I couldn't make myself stop crying. I kept going, and going, and going. I told myself that everything was OK, but I just couldn't stop. Then Rodney came into the room, and I started crying even harder. I couldn't stop- and then, all of the sudden, I was laughing hysterically. I then went from crying to laughing for the next several minutes- so hard, in fact, that I could hardly catch my breath. Rodney proceeded to ask how much pain medication I had taken, and then came to count them all out to make sure I had my facts straight. I was exactly right, but we decided that I probably needed to lay off of them for a while. After a couple more hours I stopped staring off into space so much and began to feel like myself again. The pain was a lot better that day, and Advil did the trick, but I had an upset stomach from taking laxatives with no results. At the end of the day I decided to go watch TV with mom and Cambria. It was not the most comfortable thing, but it was a great change of scenery. Later, after Rodney, Declan, and Decota returned from the High School football game, I went downstairs, gave Decota her shot, and we had cake. All of the sudden I felt quite light headed. Decota said "Mom, why are you white? Why are you green now?". I decided I had had enough adventure for one day, so I wobbly took myself upstairs and went to bed- with 2 Advil and another laxative.

Day 4- Today is Saturday. I didn't wake up stoned, but I don't know that I did much better. I woke Rodney up to get Declan to a band rehearsal at 9:00. His teacher did not show up until 9:40. I had Rodney pick Declan up at 9:45 and take him to the soccer field to ref 2 games. I sent them to the wrong field. Declan finally made it to the right field, missing the 1st half. He called frantically because his ref whistle had broken, nothing I could do about it but let him figure it out. I tried to help out with some chores in my room. I was dizzy and nauseous by the time I simply wiped down the counter tops and dusted my dresser. My laxatives finally kicked in, sometimes I wonder if that is a good thing. I finally ended up back in bed. This afternoon I feel pretty dang good, that is until I get up for more than 5 minutes. I missed all of the soccer games today, missed taking Decota out to spend her birthday money, basically missed Saturday. I guess I just thought I would be a lot further ahead on my progress by now. I can move my leg a lot more today than the past 2 days. The swelling is a lot better. I feel more like myself. I just don't know how to get to the next phase, the one where I can get everywhere on my crutches without being dizzy or worn out. I know, I know, one day at a time. I am being patient. It is not a race. I can see that each day is getting better. Heck, tomorrow I even get to take a real shower, no more sponge baths! I am just so glad mom is here. I truly couldn't have done it without her. I think Rodney would have died if he was on his own at this point. Everyone is being well cared for (maybe a little bit to well- they might not want me back). I guess I will just lay back and continue to let my body tell me when it is ready for the next phase. Until then I should enjoy having my laundry done, my house cleaned, my meals made, and a chauffeur for my kids. I always wanted to be a kept woman!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting ready to go under

I am getting ready for my surgery that will take place Wednesday. I am going to have my ACL redone. I am very excited and not nervous in the least bit. I have noticed that I am a bit unable to relax right now, though. I feel like I have so many things to do, and I want everything in order. My mom flies in today and will be helping out. I know that she is fully capable of handling everything, I just need to get it all in order for her. I worked at the schools all week last week, except for the day that we had a Dr's appointment, and so I think I felt more behind than usual as the weekend came. Saturday we were out the door at 8:45 for pictures for soccer, and then the day went by with one thing after the next. I did not get home again until 9:30 pm, after our last soccer game in Euless. By then I was beat. Sunday morning I woke up and started getting my disaster of a hose picked up. By the time conference came on I was so wound up I could not concentrate. I found myself obsessing over all I needed to do, and I think my restlessness rubbed off on everyone. We finally decided to TiVo conference, because we were getting nothing out of it, and get some stuff done. Declan was assigned a major math project that counted as 2 test grades, and I did not want my mom to have to help with that because it was a PAIN. We spent hours on it, and still have a bit more to do tonight to finish it up. In the end I was non-stop going until 10:30 last night working on getting things in order. I feel horrible that I missed conference, but I know that I will have plenty of time to sit and ENJOY it after my surgery. I don't know why I get wound so tight sometimes, I just do. I always do this right before someone comes to visit, or right before a trip, or right before a big event. I just need to feel like everything is in order; I can't function if I don't feel it is. It can be really annoying, but that is how I roll. I feel so much better today, and am ready to enjoy my mom. I only have a short list of things to accomplish left, not a huge one. I am ready to get this whole surgery over with and move on to getting better. I'm SO excited to have my leg back, and not feel like I am limited in what I can and can't do. Two more days until I am on the road to recovery!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Today is my mom's birthday. The kids and I called her this morning to wish her happy birthday, and Decota informed her that she was now and old lady. When my mom said she had been one for a long time, I told her to just tell everyone she was 27- like me. She told me that, unfortunately, she did not feel 27 anymore. My poor mom. She has always felt worse than someone should, with no real explanation for why she feels that way or any helpful treatment. I know that most of her adult life has been lived in varying degrees of pain, and that she has never felt truly healthy. With all that said, I have never know a woman to tackle so many different things and complete them so above and beyond what is expected, even when she was feeling crummier than you or I could ever imagine. Whether it be as a class mom, a leader in a church calling, a homemaker, or a mother to 8; she has always made her duties seem like a piece of cake, and shocked everyone with the completely organized and breathtaking results. You want examples- OK! Birthday cakes! I can barley get the frosting to spread half way decent on a cake- my mom, on the other hand, made the most gorgeous birthday cakes- FOR 8 KIDS!!! I loved my birthday cakes- dolls in big dresses, Holly Hobby, Brut and Ernie, Minnie and Mickey (she would take on about anything I could come up with). They were the real deal, done with all the tips and all the fancy homemade frosting (I do not know how she put millions of little stars of icing all over those cakes- no wonder her hands hurt to this day)! Baking! When mom bakes it is not some wimpy cake out of the box or cookies out of a mix like me, it is full blown, made from scratch heaven. And when mom bakes it is not just one little thing- it is dozens and dozens of different kinds of cookies (cookies that the normal person never even knew existed). This summer when the kids and I were visiting she promised them she would make them a coffee cake- when I woke up in the morning there were 4! Cleaning! Come on mom, you had 8 kids. How did you keep the house spotless all the time? I don't mean it just looks clean like mine. I mean you could move any piece of furniture and find a clean floor underneath. I remember baseboards always being wiped, beds and dressers being moved to vacuum under, trashcans being washed out. Did you ever sleep? Notes! Now there are 2 different kinds of notes that I feel I must address here- notes to teachers and notes to her children. My mom was the queen of writing us notes (or maybe it was just me because I was so difficult to talk to). I can not even tell you how many times I walked into my room and found a note on my bed from my mom. I could have had a really bad day, or be really mad at my parents, and then read that special note that my mom left and feel lifted up a bit more. It was never just a quickly jotted down note; it was a thoughtful, from the heart note, written in her beautiful handwriting (I still have many of these notes tucked away in my special things file). The beautiful handwriting- that is the other part about the notes. My children's teachers can hardly read the notes I send to school with them (they never know if they went to the dentist today or delivered turkey today- I have horrible handwriting). My mom's notes were always beautiful, even in the early morning rush. It made it very hard to forge her signature (but I tried it anyway). Really, who writes in calligraphy to excuse their child from school because they had diarrhea? Young Women's! Every lesson was given with beautiful visual aides. Not some cute thing you cheat and print off the computer, homemade visual aides. When she was making a poster, she would not just write in her perfect calligraphy, she would then decorate it with cute borders of leafs or flowers. Homemade, home laminated bookmarks and quotes were always given out. Lessons where prayerful prepared and went off without hitch (even with me shooting her daggers in the background). Her New Home! She has sunk her whole being into her new house. It is so beautiful, and definitely has her touch all over the place. Every fabric has been thoughtfully picked out, every wall color has been perfectly matched, every door handle and drawer pull has been specifically picked. It has nearly killed her, but she has done an amazing job on her dream house! And the best part of it is that, after never living there, when I come visit it feels like home. There are so many more examples I could give- Relief Society meetings, Halloween costumes, flower arrangement- but I think I will conclude with MOTHERHOOD! My mom is an incredible mother. First off, she had eight kids and is still sane enough to tell-the-tale. I remember siting with her early in the morning before school started as a kindergartner eating my breakfast as she read to me about Nephi's journey. I remember laying in bed with her as she read me nursery rhymes. I remember singing to Crystal Gale, or Wham, as we did our hair in the morning. I remember her putting my hair in Princess Leah buns over and over again because I thought I was her. I remember homework over the summer, just so we didn't start the school year behind. I remember home cooked meals- always, no matter what her schedule held (and not just spaghetti, but roasts and ham). I remember watching her stand on a ladder 8 months pregnant as she wallpapered our house and quizzed me for a test. I remember her hauling all of the kids with her so she could watch me cheer at games. She always was, and still is, my biggest supporter and defender (she believes I can do anything, and she wont stand for anyone telling me differently). I think that the most incredible thing she has done is raise a whole brood of kids to love each other as much as my siblings and I do. She raised us in a house full of best friends and confidants (although, I must admit, every minute was not "love at home"). When we are near her we always know we are in a safe and secure place, in her arms we find both love and home. When my grandmother was pregnant with my mom they wanted her to have an abortion because the doctors felt that my mom would be born with disabilities and that the pregnancy was too great of a risk to my grandmother's health. Of course my grandmother rejected their advise. How grateful I am to her for that. If she had listened I would have missed out on meeting the greatest woman in my life, and would have been denied my perfect mother. 57 years ago today the world was blessed to be grace by the presence of my angle mother! Happy Birthday mom. I LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Yesterday I was able to be Cambria's teacher for a 1/2 a day. She has one teacher in the morning that teaches Language Arts and Science, and then one in the afternoon that teaches Math and Social Studies. I was the Math and Social Studies teacher. When I received the call asking me to sub for that teacher, I wondered how Cambria would feel about it. Declan does not mind at all if I am his sub or a sub in a class near him. He loves it when all of his school friends tell him that I was their sub and that they liked me. Decota likes it when I am subbing near her- but has no desire for me to be her actual teacher. Cambria had me as a sub once in 3rd grade. Her teacher then was a very quite, soft spoken woman. She could get the class' attention by simply standing there real still and staring at them. I came in to sub and her class was so loud they could not hear me when I dinged the bell- so I had to shout out the count down for them to be quite. Cambria was humiliated. After school she told me I was mean and that she couldn't believe I yelled at her class. All I said was "5-4-3-2-1" in a loud voice. She swore she never wanted me for a sub again. After I accepted the job for yesterday, I went and told Cambria about it and asked her how she felt. I guess she forgot the humiliation after a year and a half, because she was so excited. She then went right on to tell me who to be mean to, because they were mean to her (she actually had a vengeance list). I explained that I would be nice to everyone, and that they would only get in trouble if they deserved it. All day Cambria was so excited to see me. She ran up and hugged me every chance she got. When it came time for her to come to my class, she had the biggest smile on her face. Her class was WONDERFUL! It is so awesome when your child gets to be in a class with such good kids. When I would give them an assignment they would get right to work on it without a peep. They were so good. I had been told all day by other teachers what a great class she had, but I had no idea it would be that wonderful. I am so excited that she is surrounded by such wonderful students. I was also informed by some teachers at the school that she is coming out of her shell. I am so happy to hear that. I warned them to be on the lookout though, because when she comes out a tornado is sure to follow- she is a wild woman!
Cambria has a very different personality. One time my mother-in-law made a comment about her that I have thought a lot about and feel is very true. She said that it is really easy to forget about Cambria sometimes because it is so hard to get to know her. As I have contemplated on that statement I have realized how true it is. Cambria is a very independent soul. She does not mind being on her own and doing her own thing at times. She can be very shy when you first get to know her, and does not like to draw attention to herself if she is uncertain about anything. She is not one that will sit down and just easily chat with you, she would rather run off and watch TV or play outside than sit and chat. On the other hand, once Cambria is feeling confident about something she wants everyone to recognize it (to the point of being boastful). She loves positive feedback and acknowledgment. She longs to be showered in praise and attention. She is quite the ham and can get quite goofy- to the point of annoying everyone (although her friends seem to follow along and mimic whatever she is doing). She lives like she runs- just kind of trotting along, and then a HUGE burst of energy (like 0-90) that blows you away; before you know it she is trotting along again.
Cambria is a leader. She is not automatically outgoing enough to be the same kind of leader as Decota- yet I watch her sneak up and take the reigns from behind, and then watch others mimicking what she does. She really only ever has contention with the girls who seem to be overbearing- probably because Cambria comes off so soft spoken at first, yet she WILL NOT do anything she doesn't want to (inevitably leading others away with her).
Cambria is also the most TENATIOUS child I have ever met (she reminds me so much of J-D, and sometimes I just wanted to shoot him). She gets something in her mind and she can just not drop it- ever, until it is fulfilled. She can hound you and hound you until you are about to break. Rodney loves the expression "ride you like a broken down horse". This is what I feel she does to me at times. This characteristic is also so positive in so many ways. Cambria never has to have any extra motivation for what she wants. I never have to remind her to work on things like homework or chores. When she does them go does them all the way. She likes to drive herself to near perfection.
Cambria LOVES soccer! She will practice soccer, go to extra soccer practices, and come home and practice some more. She is totally happy to be outside alone juggling her ball or working on kicking the ball over the mailbox from the other side of the cul-de-sac. She wants to be a famous soccer player and trains like she will be one someday. It took us a long time to get her to put away her fears about hurting the other teams feelings by beating them, and get her to be competitive, but once she tasted victory she decided she loved the flavor. If her team starts losing she gets fired-up. She starts making moves that you did not even fathom she could make, and is quite impressive (now if we could get her to do that all of the time).
I think the best thing about Cambria is her compassion. She is kind of stand-offish in a situation where she is uncomfortable, and maybe doesn't seem so openly compassionate; but I think she is the one that, in the end, is touched the deepest. She has been praying for some people daily, well over a year after their troubles began. When others have moved on to worry about another problem, she is just adding then new one to her list. She amazes me when she continually asks for updates on people that, I am sorry to say, have slipped my mind for awhile. She genuinely worries about people, and does not stop until the situation is resolved. She worries about Decota most of all. She hates it when Decota is upset. She fervently prays for her to get better. -Yet she is Cambria!
My favorite Cambria story is when Decota had just been diagnosed with her eye disease. Everyone was so worried about her. There were SO many threats to her losing her vision, and her disease was progressing so rapidly, that everyone was very worried. It was a very scary time for our family. Decota was showered with love, gifts and attention from people all over. Everyone had her on their mind. One afternoon Cambria came to me very quietly and asked me if people ever died of arthritis. I always want to be truthful with my children, so I told her that there is a very small percentage of children that actually do die from it when it takes over their organs; but then went on to reassure her that this would not happen to Decota because her arthritis had been limited to her legs and eyes. It really pulled on my heart strings as she walked out of the room, and I thought to myself "what a horrible thing for a child to have to worry about". A couple seconds later I hear Cambria in the other room talking to Decota and Declan, in a very nonchalant voice, saying "I don't see what the big deal is- your not going to die from arthritis. I could die from an asthma attack any day an no one is sending me presents!" Needless to say, I went from teary eyed to flat out cracking up in a matter of seconds. I have really tried to give her a bit of extra attention since then, and others have also been so sweet to pitch in with extra attention for her so that she doesn't feel resentful about living with a sick sister. What can I say though, Cambria always keep you on your toes!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008


Friday we had Decota's birthday party. We had no idea how many girls would come (it seems they are to old to RSVP now), or how many Decota had invited for that matter (every time I turned around I had to make "just one more invitation"). When 6:00 arrived we were suddenly invaded by 17 excited girls. Decota had been pretty bummed this year because she wanted to go camping for her birthday, and due to the fact that I was having surgery 2 days before her birthday, that was impossible. She then thought it would be great to pitch tents in the backyard and have a camp out at home, which I would have automatically said "nope" to, but Rodney beat me by saying it was a great idea. We told her 12 girls would be a great number to invite- but you know Decota the social bug. How was she supposed to weed out so many and limit herself to 12. In the end I think she invited about 18 (Cambria was not invited this year, but she was fine with it because she got to have a spend the night at her friend's house instead). As all of the girls arrived they seemed genuinely excited to be camping out (this was some girls first time ever in a tent!). We had 2 big tents set up in the backyard. As everyone arrived they all staked claims to the places they wanted to sleep in the tents. Soon we had the fire pit going and the girls were all roasting hot dogs. They loved running around the backyard and exploring the greenbelt. After awhile we corralled them back together and opened gifts (and talk about getting SPOILED- whew) and ate cake and ice cream (her cake had a big lantern on it for her). As it got dark they went out front and played flashlight tag. We eventually hauled them back to the backyard to watch the old parent trap movie we had set up on the deck. Some stayed and watched for a bit and snacked on candy and popcorn, while others played games by flashlight on the tramp. Others (including my daughter) ran off to harass boys on the phone. In the end, Rodney and I were the only ones who watched the whole movie (and I loved it every bit as much as I did when I was a kid). After the movie we gathered together again for S'mores and hot chocolate- can you say sugar rush! They played until about 11:00ish, and then started making their way to the tents for bed. One tent fell right asleep, the other tent (of course the one Decota was in) was up all night talking. They were quite loud, so I was very glad my neighbors were out of town. At about 2:00 someone threw-up (I think a combo of being so tired and eating so much junk), which slowed things down a bit. Three girls decided to come inside and sleep on the floor, and the rest went back to the tent and went to sleep- FINALLY. At 7:00 I heard the 1st group of girls start to stir, so I got up and started breakfast. By 7:15 everyone was up and playing in the backyard. We had a great camp breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon, and orange juice. I started cleaning up after breakfast, and the girls continued to play until the last person was picked up at 10:00. I kept being told that it was the "greatest slumber party ever". Now I don't know about that, (especially after seeing my friend Laura Krey's Japanese party she threw for her daughter Siena) but it was a pretty fun party. I think Decota really enjoyed herself, and that her friends did too. I am so glad that Rodney was there to say "yes" to the party idea so that my automatic "no" did not interfere. I need to keep that in mind the next time I automatically say "no" to something, at least long enough to really think about it. Now Cambria wants a super fun party. I guess I have 6 months to recoup and come up with an idea! (Anyone got any?)