Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Taught Me. . .

I have been studying Henry B Eyring’s talk “O Remember, Remember.”  The end of the year seems like the best possible time to reflect and remember the events that have occurred.  2013 was a big year.  We had several high stress events as a family and I think I may have learned some lessons.

I learned to enjoy each day.
In October Reed had his wisdom teeth out and stopped breathing on the way home.  It was the closest we have come to losing a child and it reminded me that there are no guarantees.  We should live in the moment and enjoy every day because that is what we have.  Since October I have been much more in touch with the Spirit and I have lived with a much more grateful heart.  And. . . I cherish my family even more.

I have learned more patience.
There have been days and weeks and almost a whole month this fall where I have not been able to do the things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them.  Caring for Parker after his surgery was a lot of work and I was tied to the house- but having a hernia and being forced to lay low before and after the surgery was something new for me.  Notice that I did not say “I have become patient.”  It is going to be a process.

I’ve let some of the small stuff go.
I learned this in two ways.  The first was through Colby and Danaca’s wedding.  As the mother of the groom there is very little that you can influence and I had to stop worrying about the details since they were not mine.  I am still struggling with the fact that I am no longer involved in their lives in any significant way.  That is a real learning curve.  But I am working on it.

This has also occurred to me in another way as I have served on the Relief Society Activities Committee.  For the first few months I was worried about having everything be perfect, but then I realized that was not the point.  Some of the other ladies on the committee are still obsessed with perfection, but as I observed at the meetings what I saw was that the women in the neighborhood needed time to connect with each other.  If there was a treat and decorations, lovely. . . but that was not the point of the gatherings.  In our busy, rushed world many of us are craving connection.

I’m learning to bloom where I am planted.
I have been very frustrated over the years that I only ever have music callings at Church.  I have known that I needed something different for the sake of my own growth, but I finally decided that I had been given a gift for the Lord’s use and I was doing what the ward needed me to do.  I have had a lot more fun since I decided that I was probably going to be choir director for life.  And then suddenly, a few weeks ago I was called to teach a Sunday School class- just what I needed.  But I was NOT released as Choir Director.  And that is just fine with me.

I’m learning more about obedience.
The general conference session in April was all about obedience and that made me think about my level of obedience.  I have been a little haughty and a little too enamored with my own power.  I tend to rely on myself.  A few months ago I took a dumb little online quiz about which religion I should be.  I answered the questions very literally based on my understanding of the words used and it came out that I should be an Episcopalian.  That really threw me for a loop.  (Dumb, huh?)  It made me question my values and my understanding of Gospel principals.  I went back to the basics in my own study.  I am trying to be more obedient to God’s commands. . . except I am not there on giving up Diet Coke yet.

I’m learning that I need structure.
As the mother of a child with ADHD I have understood his need for strict structure, but it took me longer to understand that I thrive in a structured environment.  This last year I have tried to impose more structure on myself by planning and scheduling time for certain activities.  In August I started making myself do an hour of gardening each Tuesday morning.  I do not really enjoy gardening because I am always afraid that I will encounter a snake.  And I wasn’t enjoying Tuesdays because I would dread going to City Council.  I lived in fear of conflict.  As it turned out, the gardening helped my stress level AND the back yard started coming into submission.  I like the FlyLady’s ideas about scheduling house cleaning.  I love having a Sunday School class to help organize my own scriptural study.  I don’t want to get carried away with imposing structure, but I think that I need a part time job to help fill my days, give me more opportunities to serve and provide a little more structure to my life.

I hate resolutions because I always break them.  This year I am devising a new path for myself.  I have decided upon a theme for 2014 and the theme is “Hands.”  It has gone through several transformations in my mind over the past week, but I think I have finally settled on this simple one word theme.  I want to focus on how the Lord touches my life and how he can use me to touch the lives of others by being an instrument in his hands.  Last night at FHE Reed suggested that we should all have a project to go along with our theme somehow.  Mine will be photos of people hands doing things that touch my life.

I am excited for 2014.  I wonder what I will learn?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sad and Angry

I was the band director at Lehi High School when the Columbine shooting occurred.  I was horrified by the violence that seemed so senseless.  At that time I assessed the safety of my classroom and the hall way situation.  I was absolutely sure that if there was a shooting at our school, it would happen in my area because it was close to the commons/cafeteria and the door was relatively unused.  I began locking my door during class and patrolling the hall during breaks.  I even went and took a class about how to handle a firearm for a concealed carry license, but I never bothered to actually get the license.  As the years went by there were a few other school shootings, but LHS was spared.

A few years ago I had a second run as the band director at LHS.  Same classroom but I had an additional percussion room that added some safety, in my mind.  Hallway was a little longer since a drama classroom had been added and quite a bit busier because there were lots more kids in the school.  I often locked the door- but not always.  I still watched the halls- but not every period.  Life was busier and I was a little more used to violence.  I did spend more time with those students who seemed like they were “outsiders” to make sure that they felt connected to the school and that their needs were being met.  This behavior paid off.

In March of 2010 there was a bomb scare.  Turns out that it was called in by a couple of school skippers who called from Lehi City’s Legacy Center.  They were caught pretty quickly, but not before the school spent several hours on lock down.  In my very large classroom with lots of equipment, the students had to get their backpacks and sit on the floor in the middle of the room.  Unfortunately we had lots of other backpacks (and instrument cases) that were considered “suspicious.”  I was told to prepare the students for a bomb sniffing dog to come into the classroom.  While I was instructing the students, one young man, who was kind of a rough character, said “Uh, Mama C, we might have a problem.”  I immediately took a deep breath and asked for clarification.  The young man informed me that he was pretty sure that he had firecrackers in his backpack.  Not good.  And totally illegal in the state of Utah.  I was really glad that I had built a relationship with Casey because it ended up helping everyone.  I called the office and told them the situation.  His pack was checked.  And due to his honesty, he was chastised but not charged.  Phew.

The young men and women who are currently seniors in high school were probably two or three when the Columbine shooting occurred.  They have grown up with parents who worry about shootings.  They practice lock downs.  They have seen other shooting splashed across the news. My boys are “situationally aware.“  Given the choice they always pick a seat where they can see the door to a classroom or any other space.   They look around when they are walking and keep their eyes moving.   They have taken karate lessons and are accomplished wrestlers.   I have no doubt that if there was a school shooting at Lehi High School, I would lose Parker because he would do everything in his power to neutralize a shooter.   I’m not sure that Reed has the same determination.

As I ponder on the school shootings at Sandy Hook- a year ago tomorrow- and the shooting at Arapahoe HS today, I am sad and angry 
  • Sad that there are people who are hurting so much that they are past reason and are willing to lash out at anyone.
  • Angry that people do not take care of their firearms in a responsible manner.
  • Sad that children and teachers attend schools and fear for their lives.
  • Angry that guns- and not people- are considered the problem.
  • Sad that we have lost so many with so much promise.
  • Angry that the "good guys" are usually left helpless and at the mercy of the crazies.

 I often wonder what would have happened if the principal at Sandy Hook had had a gun when she confronted the gunman.

I am not currently teaching and to be honest, I’d be nervous to go back with the turmoil in our world.  Last spring I had a dream that we had an active shooter at a City Council meeting.  In the summer I had an uncomfortable incident after a City Council meeting that wouldn’t have bothered me a few years ago, but times have changed.  This fall I took a concealed weapons class. . . again.  And this time I finished and sent in my paperwork.    I even did some research and I bought myself a handgun.

At this time I have never felt the need to conceal my gun and carry it with me.  But I may have that feeling one of these days.  And I can tell you that if I were in a public area where someone started shooting and killing innocents, I would not hesitate to put a red dot on that shooter and pull the trigger.  I am a good shot and I would protect. And I would be happy to deal with the consequences of that decision if I felt that I had saved even one innocent life.

Maybe Parker and I are a lot more alike than I thought.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Results are In. . .

I will not be serving another term as a City Council Member.  The voters decided that they wanted two fresh faces, so Steve Holbrook and I are done.  I'm not upset about losing the election.  I was prepared for that.  I'm a little surprised that I did so poorly, but I deserve that since I did almost nothing.  The last 6 weeks has been a little too intense and I just couldn't do any more.

I am grateful for the people who supported me.  Ed did a lot of work for my campaign and never complained about the time or cost.  Ken and Reta Greenwood spent many hours putting up and taking down signs.  Jim Hewitson also helped with my signs.  Without them my signs would still be in a box in the garage.  I had several donations that defrayed the cost of running a campaign and I am grateful to all of those who supported me financially.  I feel the worst about them because they did not get a good return on their investment.

I am also grateful to the people who did not support me.  High on that list would be Parker and Reed.  Parker did help me put up one sign, but in general they let me know that they did NOT want me to run and they did their very best to ignore the whole campaign.  I know that my service has affected them adversely in many ways and I appreciate the fact that they put up with the craziness for the past four years.  I am quite confident that neither of them will ever run for office.

I cannot say that I am sad to see this chapter of my life end.  Many days have been difficult.  I like to make a positive difference in life and I was not always able to accomplish that.  I have let the tension and differences of opinion turn me into a far more negative person and that is not something of which I am proud.

On the positive side, I have been able to see some amazing things accomplished in our city and I have met some really great people.  I have been busy- which was something I really needed.  I have been able to affect some positive changes and I will be able to walk away knowing that I served the citizens of Lehi with my best efforts.

So what now?  That is what has me worried.  I feel like my life has been on hold, waiting for the results.  Now I can move forward, but I don't know which way to go yet.  I'm not very adept at patience, but I am sure that my days will fill without much trouble.  I just want to make sure they are filling with activities that mean something.  We shall see.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"It's His Dream, Not Mine"

The Red Sox have had a pretty great season.  The "winning-est" team in baseball.  We had such a great time watching them play against the Yankees in July at Fenway Park.  It didn't hurt that they won.  Reed has apps for MLB on his phone and on his iPad so that he can always be checking scores.  Although he loves everything about baseball, the stats seem to pull him in the most.  I think he's watched Moneyball about 100 times.  As in. . . he watches it EVERY night as he is drifting off to sleep.  So he's probably seen the beginning about 400 times since it was released on January 10, 2012.  Yeah.  He's a nut.

We were psyched that the Red Sox won the ALCS last week.  We watched all the games and yelled at the TV, thinking that would help their performance.  So glad they won.  We already knew that the Cardinals were in the World Series and Ed mentioned that he would love to take Reed to a game.  He started looking at tickets and to get to Fenway for Games 1 and 2 would have required a home equity loan.  Holy smoke.  $1700 for a standing-room-only ticket?  No way!  We aren't THAT crazy.  Then he got thinking about going to St. Louis.  He and his business partner, Kyle, kept teasing each other about going to the game.

I realized that things were getting more serious, so I had a talk with Parker about the game.  We have gone to a lot of different ball parks and watched a lot of great baseball as a family.  I told him that Dad was thinking about surprising Reed by taking him to a World Series game.  I asked him if he wanted to go or how he would feel if just Dad and Reed went.  Parker didn't miss a beat.  He answered, "He should just take Reed.  It's his dream to see the Red Sox play in the World Series, not mine.  I'll stay home and get ready for my hunting trip next week."  I reported the conversation to Ed.  That was about 4:00.  Things escalated when Kyle called Ed at about 9:30 to ask if he had bought tickets yet.  Ed realized that Kyle really wanted to go and the gig was up.  DiAnna (who just happens to be Civil Science's resident travel agent) was called and set loose on getting plane tickets for four to St. Louis.  Ed started researching and buying the game tickets and I. . . I fell asleep.

When I woke up at 11:30pm the plane tickets and game tickets were bought and Ed was hunting for hotels with no luck.  Everything within 50 miles of St. Louis was booked. . . until we got smart and started looking for Saturday night AND  Sunday night.  Then we found a few openings.  Ed was actually on the phone booking a room when it disappeared but at the same time I was able to score two rooms at a Red Roof Inn.  That was at about 1:15am.  Then we started looking for rental cars and thanks to our Costco membership we got a pretty good deal.  Finally at 1:45am we slept.

Reed had the math test from hell on Friday for third period, so we didn't dare tell him about the trip because we were afraid he would lose focus.  At 11:45 I went to the school to pick him up.  He didn't want to leave and miss his Wrestling Conditioning class but I told him that Dad had asked me to check him out.  I kept the topic on other things on the ride home so that he wouldn't ask anymore questions.

When we arrived at home, Ed was waiting for us and he handed Reed an envelope.  Reed opened it and stared at the first page.  Then he stared at the second page.  They were both boarding passes- one to Minneapolis and then one to Chicago.  Then he turned to the third page and his mouth dropped open.  After about 10 seconds he said, "What game is this for?"
Ed replied, "Game 3."
"That's tomorrow." Reed responded with a questioning voice.
"You are leaving in about two hours.  You are packed but you need to take a shower!"  I said.

At that, Reed danced through the house.  As soon as he got to his room we could hear him yelling, "I'm going to the World Series!!!!!!!"  He was ready to go in about 10 minutes which is when he looked at me and asked where Parker was.  I told him that Parker wasn't going.  He had decided that it was more important for Reed to go.  Reed was a little upset about that, but the excitement soon won out. Just a couple of minutes later they were off on the big adventure!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pain Relief with Cranial Sacral Therapy

Some people will think I am a total nut, but I have a friend who is a healer.  Had she been born in the 1600's and lived in Salem, she probably would have been hung.  She is by trade a massage therapist but has branched out into Cranial Sacral Therapy.  She is trained and certified and I tell everyone I know about her..

A couple of years ago I went to her because I was having headaches.  CS Therapy involves a light touch on the body- very non-invasive.  As her hands drifted by my ankle she asked if it hurt. I told her it was a little sore since I had twisted it the previous week.  She "released" it and said it would find a way to exit my body.  It came out my ear.  Weirdest thing ever.  It hurt like heck for about 10 seconds and then my ear and my ankle were fine.

This friend, whose husband happens to be our Home Teacher, agreed to come to my house to work on Parker after his massive knee surgery. She sat on the couch and held his bad leg while carrying on a conversation with us.  She said it was pulsing, but Parker didn't notice anything.  He was relaxing, though.  Then she went to his good leg, explaining that the good leg was now doing a lot more work.  As soon as her second hand touched his leg, he startled and almost yelled, "Can you feel that?"  She smiled and asked him what he was feeling.  He said that it felt like his muscles were untwisting.  She responded that she was feeling the same thing.  After just a couple of minutes he looked over at me and told me that his pain was at a 1.  For the first time since the surgery.  And that he wanted to sleep.  For the first time since the surgery.  (Narcotics make Parker nervous and antsy. . . not sleepy.)  He drifted off to sleep and she sat and touched his legs until they were calm.

After that first experience Parker was a believer and asked me to call her when things got rough.  I think it has made all the difference in his healing because it relieved his pain and helped him sleep.  He also said that he felt stronger afterwards- which was evident in his movements.  When he got up after that first treatment, he nearly sprung off the couch.

All I can say is that this therapy is wonderful- as long as you have a healer!  Give it a try.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Essential Oils and Knee Surgery

Parker had knee surgery three weeks ago and it was an extensive surgery- complete with scraped cartilage, a new tendon made out of his hamstring, and his tibia broken and screwed together.  This boy of mine HATES taking medicine. . .especially anything that blurs his mind.  Since this is not our first rodeo on the knee surgery front (he had one last November for a totally different problem) I decided to look for some alternate therapies. I have not been a proponent of Essential Oils, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt.  I bought the following oils from Spark Naturals and made up the recipe after a bit of research.

5 drops Cypress (regulates blood flow, calms)
5 drops Birch (relieves pain in muscles, bones, and joints, promotes bone repair)
5 drops White Fir (relaxes muscles, aids natural defenses, anti-inflammatory)
3 drops Lemongrass (relieves tension, promotes ligament health)
10 drops Wintergreen (relieves pain and spasms)
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (skin healing properties, carrier oil)

I mixed these oils together and stored them in a small container.  It is pretty easy to make a batch because the Spark Natural bottles all have a dropper top, so I wasn’t worried about quantity.  At first I could only get to the boy’s foot, so I put it on both feet (the arch and under the toes) at least three times a day.  As the bandages shrunk, I got closer and closer to his knee until I was going right around the steri strips.  He said that it really helped with his pain and would sometimes ask me to put it on.  He was off the narcotics on day 5 which really surprised his doctor (who had prescribed 90 Percocets and 10 Oxicodones) and off Advil on day 10.

Now we are at day 21 and he still has some swelling, but not much pain.  He has three large scars and two smaller ones that I would like to minimize, so now I am trying something new- an EO balm that he can apply anytime.  Here’s the new recipe:

10 drops Tea Tree (skin healing properties)
15 drops Birch(bone growth)
15 drops Lavender (skin healing properties)
15 drops White Fir (anti-inflammatory)
30 drops Wintergreen (pain)
1 teaspoon (scant) Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (skin healing oils)
½ teaspoon beeswax (product hardener)
½ teaspoon cocoa butter (skin softening, product hardener)

This made enough to fill two chapstick-type containers.  The boy can apply it directly to the scars to promote healing and alleviate itching.  It is easy for him to keep with him and he even likes the smell!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back to normal?

It has taken a few days, but things seem to be getting back to normal at our house- just in time for it to go haywire at the Rice's.  Dania will have knee surgery tomorrow.  Both Ed an I are just exhausted today and we haven't done anything.  I feel like half the blood has been drained from my body and I can't even get out of my own way.

I felt pretty crappy in the middle of the night last night and then once I was awake, I could not stop re-playing the events of Wednesday.  I have critiqued and torn apart everything that I did.  I wish I had acted faster and more decisively, but at the same time, I know that if I hadn't done the things I did, the outcome might not have been so positive.  I finally found myself standing in his room just listening to him breathe.  It is a beautiful sound.

Reed doesn't remember anything from hearing that they were administering the first dose of morphine to when he woke up in the ambulance.  What a blessing that is for him.  I almost wish I could say the same.

But, if I didn't remember, I couldn't learn.  I'm not sure what the lesson is for me from the events of the last week and month.  I know that I have taken more time to just sit and watch TV with my boys and to try to really pay attention to the stuff they are into.  My house is a mess.  We've eaten a lot of fast food.  But we are all still here and we are all happy.

A friend of ours, Rialeen Peck, died this week after a hideously long battle with pancreas cancer.  She was given blessings and miracles to see all of her children married, but she did not make it to see the birth of her grandchild which is due later this month.  I missed the funeral because I was playing nurse, but I hear it was wonderful.  She was well loved.

Yesterday Ed and I took a Concealed Carry Weapons Class.  It was not the first time we had taken it, but I feel a lot differently about things now than I did 10 years ago.  I also went to Gunnies and bought a new pistol.  I ordered it a couple of months ago.  It is a Ruger LCP380 with Crimson Trace laser.  I'll have to go shooting sometime soon.

Now I need to go to bed.  The exhaustion is growing.  I hope I'll be back to normal in a couple of days.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Batter Up!

This was written by my awesome husband.  I posted my feelings last night and I want to have his here as well, so that when we print this blog the stories are saved.

October 10, 2013 at 9:49pm
Some things I want to remember about yesterday's trauma.

- Medical professionals have training but that doesn't make them smart.  In an office setting, the Dr. may be calling the shots from a distance, sort of like a football coach.  He stands off to the side calling the plays to his assistants. Even the assistants have assistants and as you get farther away from the Dr., the skill level and competency of the employees is viewed as less critical and thus the stage is set for crisis.  The young man who brought Reed to us in the recovery room was not competent.  I suspect he knows less about medicine than I do.  He certainly wasn't aware of or following any kind of reasonable protocol for the discharge of patients following surgery.  Reed would still have crashed, geography wouldn't have changed that, but the crash would have taken place in the Dr.'s office where at least oxygen could have been provided to improve his oxygen situation.

- We need to resist the urge to follow the direction, spoken or implied, offered by those in the right outfits just because of their position.  This presumption of expertise by role is what allowed Reed to be basically lifted out of the wheel chair and placed into Kaye's car.  He wasn't able to stand and didn't help with the relocation from the wheelchair to the front seat.  We even talked about how we would deal with him once we got him home.  While we had the expert in the right outfit to help us at the Dr's office we wouldn't have that help at home.  He suggested we hold him up, one on each side.  For some reason that made sense at the time.  How stupid I feel now about taking that direction from a runny nosed kid.  Those of you who know me well will recognize this as a rare lapse of guard.  Always, always, always question authority.

-To understand the intellectual capacity of the average person, call 911 to report an emergency.  The assumption of the 911 dispatcher is that the caller is dumber than a box of rocks.  They don't act that way for no reason folks.  Think it over and be scared for our country like I am.

- Sometimes the most important person in an organization is the person answering the phone.  I already knew this but it was certainly reinforced yesterday.  If you want to appear inept, make the right choice for your phone attendant and you will accomplish the goal.  If I could point to the moment where my fire was lit to make this Dentist learn from the mistakes of his office, it was the phone call foul up.  It took longer for the Dr.'s desk staff to get the answers to the simple question, "What did you give him?" than it took for the ambulance to arrive in my driveway.  Really.  I have the timeline of events logged by the calls I made from my cell phone.  I was on the phone with the dispatcher for 6 minutes, until the EMT's arrived. It took 8 minutes to get the Dr.'s staff to answer the question.  Eight.  The Dr. was 10 steps away from the counter where the call was taken.

- The soft reply turneth away wrath.  The Dr. called tonight.  He won't forget the conversation for a long, long time.  I pulled out all the stops to push the man into a corner.  He willingly went.  I was almost disappointed that he didn't offer resistance.  After a rough start he changed the direction of the conversation by acknowledging his role in what occurred and stating that he felt responsible for what happened without qualification.  Now, time will tell if that is just a line of bull stuff, but he said it.  What was I to do?  I punished him for 10 minutes about the failure of his office staff to follow any kind of reasonable procedures.  He instantly agreed that things hadn't gone according to the protocol of the office.  I don't doubt that tomorrow morning when that office opens, the first item of business will be some staff training conducted by the Dr.  So, I'm still pretty angry and plan to make the Dr. learn a lesson that he won't forget, but I've got a little bit less steam up than I did yesterday.  If you're curious, I don't think this is worth a pile of cash and that isn't the point.  The people who do this work are licensed and required to operate within the parameters of those licenses.  Just like the Engineer's that work for me are responsible for the work they put their stamp on, whether they actually did it or not, the Dr. is responsible for the conduct of the people in his responsible charge.  A third party review will not be easy on him under the circumstances but based on his conduct on the phone, he will take the advice and improve his practice.   I know, right?

- Some of you probably think you have the best neighbors but you're wrong.  I have the best neighbors.  My phone went dead trying to respond to the concerns and petitions to help.  When I looked up and saw Ro Minervini watching from across the street, I knew that prayers were already on their way.  As more joined Ro I knew the conversation was about my son, about his condition, and I know that urgent and heartfelt petitions for his safety were spoken and unspoken to each other and to the Almighty.  Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying our little cloistered corner of the world so much.  Yesterday I was profoundly grateful for my neighbors and friends in Carlson Heights.  You are our family and we love you back.

- My wife is an elect woman.  No panicking weakling here, just the tough and tender mother of three boys, turned awesome young men.  Kaye has her moments where people get her down, usually the mean and stupid variety that seem to be sprinkled liberally through public education, but she is rock solid in a crisis.  A little shakey after, but never during.  I think Colby figured out that the frilly dainty girls aren't the kind you marry by watching his Mom.  No, the kind you marry cut the heads off snakes and carry laser sight handguns in their Coach purse.  And they direct Church Choirs.  And they constantly learn and do new things.  And they have and show unshakeable faith in things that are yet unseen, but true and testify of it.  And so it is with Kaye.  I love you just as you are.  

- Our Rice family connection is tight.  Who get's the call in a crisis?  Dan and DiAnna.  The Psalmist wrote that a friend that is near is better than a brother that is afar off.  We love our near and far brothers and sisters and family, but this bond of friendship and family tie we have forged with the Rice's is what the Psalmist was talking about.  In the day of calamity, a friend that is near IS better than a brother afar off.  There are no words more.

- Reed is strong.  He is for sure in pain today, but he is not taking more than Advil and Tylenol.  Like his brothers, he is a tough kid and knows that while into every life a little rain must fall, it won't rain always.  In a Family Home Evening a couple weeks ago we talked about a favorite scripture of mine in Hosea.  Chapter 6 Verse 1 if you're interested.  The scripture presents the simple idea that sometimes, for things to be fixed, they have to be broken.  We were talking that over in the context of Parker's tibia which was split like a log, on purpose.  The Dr. had to break it in order to bind it up.  Some blessings are as sunshine and and some as rain.  Reed isn't happy about what happened, but he won't be dwelling on it either.   Reed's life is a perennial baseball game.  No crying.  Batter up.  On the way out of the hospital last night he spotted a guy in a Yankee's polo.  He stopped and picked a fight with the guy about the Red Sox v. the Yankees.  He is doing just fine.  

Respiratory Arrest

This morning Reed had an appointment to have his wisdom teeth out at 11:20 at a dental office down the street.  Our regular dentist does not do wisdom teeth and he recommended an oral surgeon, but there was a longer wait, so I went with this place.  He was a bit nervous, but nothing unusual under the circumstances.  I was not worried because Parker had his wisdom teeth out at the same place two months ago and because Reed has been under general anesthesia before with no issues.

It seemed to me that the procedure was taking a long time, but not so out of the ordinary that it raised a red flag.  When I saw the hygienist, who told me that she would be watching his vitals, come out to get another patient, I figured he was done and sure enough it was about 5-10 minutes later that they asked me to move my car around to the back to pick him up.  Ed had left for a few minutes, but arrived back just as I was in the recovery room.  As soon as they rolled him in we both gasped.  He looked terrible and his face was already swollen.  He could not hold his own head up and after watching the assistant be somewhat awkward about it, I stood and had his head resting against me. The assistant told us that he had been a fighter and that they had to use some extra medication to calm him down.

The doctor came in and told us that things had gone well.  All the normal stuff.  The teeth were deep still so they had to work harder and he would probably be sore for a few days. Blah, blah, blah.

It seemed that the assistant was anxious to get Reed on his way even though we expressed concern that he didn't seem ready.  We were given a bag of "stuff" and the assistant wheeled him out to my car.  Reed could not stand or move on his own, so the assistant muscled him into the car.  Ed left just before me to drop off the prescription at Walgreen's and I headed for home.  I was trying to get him to talk to me but about halfway home he fell asleep.  I turned the corner into my neighborhood and soon saw my neighbor out for a walk with her kids.  I waved and then I looked over to Reed.  That is when I noticed he was very gray and his lips were blue.  I sped into our driveway, slammed the car into park, and ran around to the other side of the car.

I immediately felt for a heart beat and his pulse was strong.  I could not wake him up.  He was totally non-responsive and he wasn't breathing.  I moved his head around to try to open his airway and he gasped a bit but there was so much crap in his mouth that it sounded awful.  At about that time Ed drove in and immediately realized what was going on and called 911.  Just then the UPS man arrived to deliver some boxes.  Dispatch wanted us to get him out of the car and on the ground.  The UPS man and Ed got him out and I slightly rolled him to his side so that he wouldn't choke on the blood in his mouth.  My neighbor who I had waved to offered to call 911 when her son told her that Reed was on the ground, but Ed was already talking to them.

Just then the first two police officers arrived.  The first officer thought he might be chocking on the gauze so we were trying to get it out when the ambulance arrived within 30-45 seconds.  EMT Paxman took control of the scene.   Ed called the dentist office to see what meds they had given Reed.  He was put on hold and then told that the doctor was unavailable.  There was some strong language when he had to call back, but finally the EMTs got the information that they needed.  They administered NarCan and were expecting him to wake up rather violently and had warned us to not be alarmed.  That did not happen.  We were loaded into the ambulance and headed to American Fork Hospital.  That is when I realized how many emergency personnel and neighbors had gathered.  I was pretty shaky by then.   Before we got to the hospital he had 2 nasal doses and 4 shots of NarCan and he was finally coming to.  I have never been so happy to hear him cough just as we got to the hospital!

In our time at the hospital he went through several "phases" but continued to improve- except for his breathing.  We had to keep reminding him to breathe.  He was hooked up to monitors and when they started going off they would scare him awake and he would breathe.  Around 4:30 they decided to release him, but then he had several breathing episodes in a row, so we stayed.  The monitor continued to go off- but mostly when he was asleep.  Around 6:30 the doctor decided that he thought Reed might have some sleep apnea that was being worsened by the swelling but that he thought he would be fine.  He was released around 6:45.

And now he sleeps.  And I do not.  I'm sitting right next to him so that I can hear him breathe.

I am so grateful for the people in our life.  DiAnna Rice was at the hospital almost immediately.  Our Bishop came and helped Ed give Reed a blessing.  A Lehi PD detective who has been a long-time friend came to make sure that everything was OK,  And the very first officer who arrived on scene went to the dentist office, got the list of meds, and brought two copies to the hospital.  Another police officer called Ed this evening to check on Reed and to make sure that we knew that calling 911 was the right thing to do.  His oxygen levels were below 50% when they arrived and he would not have woken up on his own.  How scary is that?

I know that Ed is really angry with the dentist's office.  I didn't deal with them, so I'm not. . .yet.  He felt like time was crawling when he was on the phone with dispatch and I felt like it was flying by because I was totally focused on making Reed breathe.  I think we were both pretty calm in the face of an emergency.  I did not get shaken until the EMTs started working on him.  Ed was a rock, like usual.

You always hear that you shouldn't take anything for granted.  I try really hard to live by that advice.  It will be a little easier tomorrow with today's reminder of just how fragile life is.  How very glad I am that we are sealed as a family for eternity!
Reed just wanted to get home and snuggle with Clark.  And Clark was happy to oblige.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bow the Knee

A few weeks ago Parker was asked to speak in Church today.  Then a couple of weeks ago it was announced that this week would be Fast and Testimony Meeting due to General Conference next week.  Parker's talk was moved to last Sunday, which turned out to be perfect since he was having surgery this week.

Parker is not what you would call "an open book."  He keeps things close and he has to be pumped for information.  He told me that for his talk he could use "For the Strength of Youth."  I figured that was safe and never gave it another thought.  Until he stood up in Church and announced that he had been given a topic but he had felt prompted to go another direction.  He used "For the Strength of Youth" and he talked about physical and mental health and avoiding extremes- such as obesity AND anorexia.  He talked about drugs and their impact here on the youth of Lehi.  He did a good job, he did not embarrass us, and I didn't really think about it any more than that.

But over the week I have had several people mention that they though Parker's talk was great.  They noticed that he only had a brief outline and that he spoke from the heart.  They thought he presented himself well and that it was great information that they hadn't thought about in a Church way.  Yesterday three people mentioned his talk, but one person took me by surprise when she mentioned that she was impressed by Parker's courage in taking on such a difficult topic and making such a strong stand.  I hadn't thought about his talk in that way.

Then today Sis. Bennett, who just happens to be the Bishop's daughter, gave an assigned talk on preparing for General Conference.  Just when I though she was going to finish, she said that she had struggled all week with her talk and suddenly yesterday she was impressed with what she was going to say.  She talked about self-harm and self-mutilation- and had already cleared it with the Bishop.  It was an in-your-face, take-no-prisoners kind of talk that you rarely hear in Church. She mentioned that she was encouraged by Parker's talk and felt the topic needed to go further.

And then the Choir had to sing.  I had chosen a piece that we sang last year and was a little uncomfortable with the choice.  I spend a LOT of time listening to music and pondering about what lessons we are supposed to teach through music.  At the same time, I want to keep my choir moving forward musically so I try to not repeat music.  This particular piece is called "Bow the Knee" and it has a powerful message.  In fact, at choir rehearsal almost the whole choir had tears streaming down their faces as we practiced it.

I was just fine and thinking about the logistics of the piece.  I gave the downbeat and was suddenly overcome by the first few chords.  I shook it off- I had work to do! As we reached the middle of the piece, I was once again overwhelmed by the Spirit with the sure knowledge that this song, on this day, was EXACTLY what the Lord wanted.  The puzzle pieces fell together.  This was the message of hope for the people who were struggling with the issues that Parker and Carina had discussed.  They were in the congregation and they needed to have this balm.

I was overwhelmed.  I only remember a couple other times in my life where the Lord spoke so clearly to my soul.  I broke down- while conducting!  Luckily the Choir kept going and they were great.  I'm a little embarrassed by the strength of my reaction, but the inspiration and weight of the situation came so suddenly that I could not prepare for it.  

I know that the Lord loves us and wants us to be happy.  He understands what we need and when we need it and He can make things happen for His own purposes.   He uses music to speak and to teach.  He understands our struggles and our pain and his will make it all work for our benefit and His glory- if we will let Him.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Curse

The generation that is currently between 12-25 or so has a curse.  I’m going to call it the “it’s all about me curse.”  Don’t get me wrong- I know all about the “teenage myth” that has been part of the teaching in Child Development 101.  You know the one where teenagers think that when they walk into a room everyone is instantly paying attention to only them and taking in every detail?  Lately that has extended to not only everyone paying attention to the individual, but that every situation should be focused on meeting their needs. The problem is that now it is not ending when they are teenagers and it has become a curse.
I have this problem in my home.

I am constantly reminding my children that sometimes a situation focuses on another person and their wants or needs.  They should have learned that at birthday parties when they were little, but we moms have softened the blow by planning huge extravaganzas, making sure that all the guests feel special and included and then we send everyone home with a favor bag. I think it backfired.

I have a child who thinks that every hour of his “free time” should be free.  That his dad and I should make sure that there are funds to meet his wants and that he should not have to do anything that is not “fun.”  He gets cranky when the focus is on someone else because he perceives that his needs (which should be the most important) are not being met.

Jealousy is a disease that is like cancer.  It eats away at us and makes us a little more miserable every day while generally leaving those we are jealous of completely unscathed.  The only difference is that jealousy is entirely curable by the affected.  Each of us needs to remember that life is NOT all about me. . . sometimes it has nothing at all to do with me!

I certainly hope that we can all find ways to keep this curse from affecting our lives.  

Friday, July 5, 2013

Little Girl Fears

When I was a little girl, I was afraid of all sorts of things- especially thunderstorms.  I had been through a pretty traumatic stretch in life after my mother died and we all moved to Maine.  I guess that resulted in some insecurity and fears.

One fear that I remember is that I did not want to talk to men (oh, how that changed!).  I went to live with my Uncle Herky and Aunt Ginny.  I did NOT want to talk to Unk and I especially did not want him to talk to me.  Being a great teacher and Scout leader, this did not phase him.  He used a cookie monster hand puppet and made that little four year old laugh.  Over the years he changed from Unk to Dad and I still have a stuffed cookie monster in my bedroom to remind me of how lucky I was to adopt such fantastic parents.

Another fear that I had was of thunderstorms.  In Maine they seem to track down the rivers, so you knew they were coming for a long time.  We lived on 180 Madison Avenue in Skowhegan and we had a great screen porch on the side of the house.  Whenever a thunderstorm was approaching, Unk would make ice cream cones and we would sit out on the porch and eat them.  I was terrified at first, but I loved ice cream and I loved talking by then, and I gradually overcame my fear.  I still think about angels bowling and hitting strikes when I hear thunder.

These days I enjoy a good thunderstorm.  I love the power and majesty of nature and the sense that everything is cyclical.  Rather than making me nervous, I feel a profound sense of calm.

All thanks to my Dad.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

So Sleepyyyyyyy

At the beginning of January I got sick.  Not the flu, but a sinus infection compounded by bronchitis and a double ear infection.  I was miserable.  It took two rounds of antibiotics complete with shots and a steroid shot to get me back to semi-normal.  And a lot of sleep.

That's the hard part.  I can't seem to get enough sleep- even 6 weeks later.  I take naps every day and just feel like I am dragging.

Meanwhile, the doc decided that maybe I have sleep apnea.  I took an overnight test wearing an oxygen meter on my finger.  That came back abnormal, so another test got ordered.  Last night I finished a three night test wearing a chest monitor, a nose breathing monitor and a finger oxygen meter.  Not sure when I'll get the results, but my answers to the questionnaire that came with the test made me nervous.

But that's enough for now, I need to go to bed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Old Wedding Videos

Remember the days of VHS tapes and VCR's?  They are truly a thing of the past, but last night the past and present collided in glorious fashion.

With the upcoming nuptuals of Colby and Danaca creeping up on us (53 days), I am getting into the groove by watching all the wedding movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime.  I want to be helpful with the planning but that's not really for the MOTG, so I'm staying happy with the movies and thinking about throwing a shower.

Anyway, the other day we found a VHS tape that said "Ed and Kaye's Wedding" on the label.  I don't know what possessed Ed last night but he hunted down a VCR we had tucked away and we watched the video.  It was recorded by Todd Christiansen- a dear friend and the father of the flower girl- Jocelyn Christiansen.  It was fun to watch the video version of the formal photography session.  It also made me re-think ever wanting to shoot a big wedding, but that's another story! 

After we watched that video, Ed announced that there was another wedding video that was probably different.  He trotted downstairs and reappeared with a video that was shot by my brother, Bruce Foster, and it includes footage of the day before the wedding, the wedding day events, and the actual ceremony.

Here's the amazing part.  We have been married 21 years- almost 22- and we had NEVER watched these videos!  What a blast from the past. It was cool to see our first kiss as a married couple, but what was really awesome was to see and hear our parents, Uncle Ralph, Judy Brackett, Earl Bilodeau, Oaksman Smiley, Margaret Chase Smith, and many others who are no longer with us.  What a gift to see and hear them and to remember how they blessed our lives.

So to Colby and Danaca and Dan and DiAnna, we apologize for making you watch, but I wouldn't trade last night for anything.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I am really not much of a TV watcher.  From time to time I will sit and watch a program with Mr. Collins or the boys, but mostly, I enjoy doing activities and the internet.  A few weeks ago my world turned upside down.  Or upside Downton!

There is nothing better when one is ill than to relax and watch some mindless show on the tele.  Two weeks ago I decided that it was time to see what all the hullaballo about Downton Abbey was about.  That was a mistake because I was quickly hooked.  I blasted through seasons 1 and 2 and then re-watched them with Mr. Collins and Reed while they caught up.  We have even purchased the episodes of season 3 that are available on Amazon Prime so that we would be caught up to  watch on PBS.  And now we are waiting.

Here are a few goodies that I have found that show me I am not alone in my obsession.  Simply click on the photos to go to the sites!

Downton Abbey Bingo-
     Four different cards available for your viewing/playing pleasure.

Downton Abbey Paper Dolls-
    Not for children, but quite funny nonetheless.

Downton Abbey Printable Quotes-
    Perfect for framing.

"Free Bates" T-Shirt
   Available from pbs.com

Downton Abbey Cookbook
    For only $11.70 you can have it from Amazon!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blue-Eyed Boy

Colby has had a frustrating couple of weeks.  He got hired at WalMart for the Christmas season and did really well as a cashier.  On the Monday after Christmas they told him that they were going to keep him on even though they were letting everyone else go.  He filled out some paperwork and was happy about having a job- even if WalMart wasn't his first choice.  That Friday he went to work and was given his last paycheck and a termination notice.  Not a good day for a young man getting married in two months.  The HR director told him that they were waiting for permission from corporate to rehire the temps to permanent positions and that they would call him the next week.  They didn't call until yesterday, but he was clearly relieved. 

Today he had an interview at a call center that deals with people who are interested in taking online college classes.  He got hired on the spot for $1.10 an hour more than he was making at WalMart.  And if he does well he can increase that by $3.00 and hour with commissions.

When he came home he was happy and relaxed.  He plopped down on the couch and chatted for a while.  He looked so handsome that I had to grab my camera and take a few shots.  Don't get me wrong. . . I am happy that Colby is getting married and moving out on his own in March, but. . . I am going to miss having my blue eyed boy around.  Isn't he handsome?

Thursday, January 3, 2013


This morning I was watching our local news and found out that nearby Herriman High School's production of All Shook Up has been cancelled because it does not meet new district policies that were put in place last year after complaints about another musical.  All this has happened because one person expressed concerns.


Really.  How bad can this musical be?  I haven't seen it, but I am confident that I would let my kids go see it.  Even without me.  I don't know exactly what the standards are, but will any play or musical meet them?  Will the students ever be exposed to topics that might make them think about where THEY stand on an issue?

I can't say that I am against censorship because that would be hypocritical.  I do not believe that nudity, sexual acts, mortal violence, or hate rants are things that I want (or want my children) to be exposed to everyday.  But I also don't want them to grow up in the dark about what is out in the world. 

My brother bought me Mickey in the Night Kitchen when I was little.  A banned book!  Gasp! And guess what?  I am not scarred and I don't have nightmares about naked boys floating through a kitchen.  The whole hulaballoo was dumb.

I am all about teachable moments.  When we watch a movie, see a play, hear a song, or watch a commercial that brings up a topic of concern, I use it to TALK to my kids.  They are smarter than we think.  And they know a lot more than we wish they did.

So be forewarned.  There is very little censoring at my house.  We do avoid Rated R movies because the Prophet has asked us to.  (And I don't think I have missed much there.)  We do allow them to play M games (they are 19,16, and 15) because we would rather have them play at home than sneak over to their friends' houses to play.  We discuss violence, responsibility, and choices in relation to the games.  They can read just about anything (I would draw the line at porn- I haven't read 50 Shades of Gray and I'm not going to let the guys "read" Playboy or Penthouse.) But yesterday we had a great discussion about pre-marital sex, STD's, infatuation and abstinence.  I will answer ANY question that I am asked, to the best of my knowledge.  That is my job as a parent.

Maybe if more people TAUGHT and TALKED to their kids, they wouldn't have to worry so much about what they might encounter out in the world.  And maybe they wouldn't have to worry about MY kids.

For those of you who may not know, most companies that lease plays have a clause that PROHIBITS teachers from changing or censoring a play.  The body of work that is "appropriate" is shinking at a frightening rate.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Three Goals a Month

res·o·lu·tion (rz-lshn)
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.
4. A formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly such as the U.S. Congress.
5. Physics & Chemistry The act or process of separating or reducing something into its constituent parts: the prismatic resolution of sunlight into its spectral colors.
6. The fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image, as on a video display terminal.
7. Medicine The subsiding or termination of an abnormal condition, such as a fever or an inflammation.
8. Law A court decision.
a. An explanation, as of a problem or puzzle; a solution.
b. The part of a literary work in which the complications of the plot are resolved or simplified.
10. Music
a. The progression of a dissonant tone or chord to a consonant tone or chord.
b. The tone or chord to which such a progression is made.
11. The substitution of one metrical unit for another, especially the substitution of two short syllables for one long syllable in quantitative verse.
I probably won't do (or deal with) #2, #5, or #11, but the rest are still on the table.
I really don't like resolutions, but I love goal setting.  I guess it is the whole year-long thing that bugs me.  So I have decided that this year I will set three monthly goals.  Maybe they will even turn into habits and stick around.  And there's no reason that I can't re-set the goal. Here goes. . .
  • I have a brand new Canon D7 camera, so I will use it every day so that my skills will improve.  This can be one photo or one hundred.  It is quite a bit heavier than my xTi, so I just want to get used to it.
  • I will write notes to at least four people.  Nothing is better than getting a hand written note.
  • I will make sure that the kitchen is picked up before I go to bed every night.


Recap of 2012

I can hardly believe that it is already 2013!  There were certainly times when 2012 seemed to drag, but taken as a whole, it zoomed by.  So much happened- here is a quick run down:

  • Lost 100 pounds.
  • Opened an office in North Dakota in April.  And just finished their second office a few weeks ago. 
  • Wired up the cabin so that we can see what is happening down there.
  • Got recertified to teach for another 5 years but discovered she is no longer marketable.
  • Bought a serger and spent many happy hours sewing- especially for Baby Gracie.
  • Still serves on the City Council.

  • Spent the summer working in North Dakota.  He made a pile of money.
  • Got engaged to Danaca Moore on Halloween. 
  • Worked at WalMart this fall, but got laid off last week, so he's looking for a job.
  • Healed his separated shoulder but then had surgery in November to remove an osteochondroma on his knee.  Soon he might get to wrestle again.
  • Got his driver's license. . . and wrecked his truck.
  • Hit six feet tall and size 14 feet.
  • Played baritone in the Lehi High School Marching Band and went to Washington, DC to march in the 2012 National Independence Day Parade.
  • Is on the Lehi High School wrestling team and has a JV spot at 113 pounds.
  • Has six happy chickens and sells eggs to the neighborhood.  We also eat lots of omelets.
Lewis and Clark:
  • Big Lew got hurt fetching the tennis ball at Thanksgiving with Madison.  He couldn't even get on the bed, but now has his hops back.
  • Clark sliced his tail open in January which resulted in a partial amputation of his tail.  This fall we have no idea what he did, but we came home one day to find a big chunk out of the end of his tongue.  
  • They are the funniest, best dogs around.  Except when they are being sneaky and stealing food off the counters!