Victory Sips

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It was a lazy Saturday afternoon. The boys and I were playing board games together in the gazebo and drinking soda. If I have learned anything as a mother it’s that adding a tasty beverage to any activity instantly makes it really fun.

Each round of Skip-Bo dice was fast. At the end of each round we each took a quick sip. Parker took more than a sip. His mouth was full of sparkling Kool-Aid and soon could not contain it all. Rather than going down his throat the excess stained the front of his shirt. All three of us burst out laughing. I jokingly told him he was supposed to take a victory sip not a victory chug. I said something about how he needed to delicately hold out his pinkie. That got us all laughing again. And the name stuck.

Whoever won the round was the first to yell out VICTORY SIP! We all reached for our drinks and attempted to sip. It wasn’t easy. Gavin accidentally spit some on the table and had to clean it up. Each attempted sip afterwards became more funny than the last and the outdoor carpet was in real danger of being splattered with permanent red splotches.

Somehow Gavin suppressed his giggles long enough to swallow and eventually drained his cup. Through uncontrollable body shudders and suppressed laughter he asked for a refill. Just not in so many words. He said something eloquent like, “More!” I had to tease him for sounding like a caveman which sent us all into fresh gales of laughter.

It didn’t matter who won, victory sips were had by all. The carbonation went straight to our heads. For every victory sip Parker held out his pinkie and I did my best caveman imitation yelling More! We would bang the table repeating More! and laughing our heads off.

Our moment in the sun didn’t last long. I needed to go to the grocery store. The boys have been asking me if we can play games again and have more victory sips. It was never my intent to invent a drinking game. Does it count as a drinking game if we were only drinking soda? When Parker told me he emailed his grandmas about the victory sips I was afraid they would be mad at me. It makes for a funny story. The memories are even more funny. Time for more victory sips!

It’s not a tumuh!

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Did you get the Arnold Schwarzenegger reference? That’s tumuh as in tumor. And that’s not what it is.

I jokingly told my mom that I might have a brain tumor. She was less than amused. In fact, she more or less yelled at me via text messaging and told me she would wash my mouth out with soap if I talked like that again. I am proud to say I do not have a brain tumor. Nor do I have anything wrong with my brain per se. When the doctor said it didn’t sound like anything was going on with my brain I said, “So it’s not in my head? Hahaha!” He laughed too. I like my doctor.

On the one hand my visit could be seen as disappointing and inconclusive. He didn’t really know what was wrong with me. But we’re going to try a few things and go from there. So I have decided the appointment was worthwhile. I am willing to try anything at this point.

Based on my symptoms I have two things going on. On the days when I have a brain squeezing headache and feel lightheaded, he thinks it may be sinus related. It could also be migraines. Since I have no history of migraines or headaches in general it’s hard to say what the problem is and what to really do about it. So we’re going the sinus route. I have been prescribed Flonase and am secretly not excited about it. He also suggested I go on Claritin or something.

That’s the weird thing. Last year when I was diagnosed with vertigo it was a result of allergies and possibly a cold that got too deep into my ears causing a sensation of the room spinning. This year I haven’t had any allergy symptoms or a cold that I know of. I thought maybe it was a symptomless cold or something in March but I didn’t really know. I just tried to treat my headaches with decongestants. It kind of helped but not really. Considering what a dry winter and early spring we have had around here it is pretty amazing I haven’t been bothered by allergies. The doctor did say that if I don’t feel like the Flonase is helping after two weeks I can stop snorting it.

The vertigo issue has been coded into my medical chart as benign positional vertigo. He explained that there are these little hairlike receptors in the inner ear that help us understand our position in space. Sometimes they get knocked out of whack and we end up feeling like our position in space is incorrect. Basically dizziness.

He kept asking me to describe the dizziness because sometimes people think lightheadedness, or the feeling you get when you stand up too quickly, is dizziness. I know these definitions are important because I have looked this stuff up online. While I have days of lightheadedness, I definitely have dizzy days where it feels as if the room is spinning. Last Friday the floor was tipping from side to side dramatically as if I was in a fun house. I would have to say last Friday was my most severe case of vertigo to date.

I don’t know how many different solutions we can try for the vertigo. For now he has referred me to a physical therapist. He kept saying that physical therapy might sound weird but it may work. Apparently there are some exercises and things to do that may help me combat the dizzy feelings. Obviously as a doctor he can’t make any promises. His wishy washiness almost made it sound like he was less hopeful than anything else. I want to believe it can help. What else can I do?

During the Winter Olympics we would watch the ice skaters. The kids would ask how the skaters could spin like that without getting dizzy. I said they were spotting. When I took a dance class I was taught how to find a spot on the wall to look at while I spun. You keep your eyes on the spot and spin your head fast to maintain focus on that spot. Heath said that may work for dancers but he believed the skaters were spinning so quickly there was no way to spot. We stared at their heads and it appeared their heads were aligned with their bodies. In most cases it looked like the skaters even had their eyes closed. No visible spotting. So Heath theorized that they learn how to train their inner ear to not get dizzy.

It’s possible. Who knows? If it is possible then I have a chance of training my inner ear in my everyday life. I’m not trying to do anything but stand upright, walk straight, and not toss my cookies. Not exactly a tall order. I just hope I can figure something out. Whenever I blog about my dizziness people comment that they have had vertigo before. They make it sound like it was only once or twice. This keeps happening to me and frankly it sucks. Like my anxiety once was, it is starting to interfere with my daily life and something must be done.

My anxiety has been controlled without the use of medication since school started this year. Yay me. I want to go back on the medication for our trip to the Northwest this summer. Heath told me that if I get sick on the Oregon coast he will put me in a raft and push me off to sea. He says it will be hard to raise the kids without me but I have a life insurance policy so I have to make sure my body can be found and everything will be good. No pressure right? I just have to laugh at that. Heath is so funny. He is a patient patient man but he really gets tired of taking care of me when I am in the throes of puking my guts up for whatever reason.

At the end of my appointment the doctor asked if I had a DTAP shot when my babies were born. I have no idea. I don’t remember being given immunizations since I was a kid. Most likely I did get a DTAP booster in the hospital but I don’t remember. I just remember my babies being immunized. I love that there are now chicken pox and rotavirus vaccines. Best new immunization advance in my lifetime, hands down!

Since I don’t remember when I last had a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis shot I got one today. It’s been at least six years so why not? At least now I can go step on a rusty nail and not have to worry.

The Jellies Experience

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Remember in the 80’s when girls wore plastic shoes called jellies? I think bracelets made from colorful, thin, plastic bands were called jelly bracelets. Gwen has a bunch of those bracelets. It reminds me of when I was her age. I was a jelly fool as a kid. The colors. The prestige that came with cheap plastic. Those were the days!

Now I have traded my jelly shoes for flip flops. Flip flops! Do you remember when those used to be called thongs? My how times have changed. I still love cheap trendy shoes. I also love vibrant colors and beautiful things like jellyfish.

Jellyfish fascinate me. They are so beautiful. So delicately complex. I just want to reach out and touch them. Maybe gently rub them between my fingers to really get a feel for their texture. Of course that would be stupid. I think jellyfish look the way they do on purpose. All the other sea animals are like, hey check that out! Can’t.help.but.touch.it. OUCH!

Yeah jellyfish are the tantalizing poison of the ocean. Up here on land we have nothing that compares. Sure we have the Kardashians but they aren’t anywhere near as tempting. No one could ever describe the Kardashians as delicately complex. No, jellyfish are in a league all their own.

For all the pictures and video we took from our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, most were of the jellies. There is something so mesmerizing about them. That had to be my first music video montage. It was also the hardest to find good music for. I settled for some good old Talking Heads. Enjoy.

Red, white, and blue

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I bought these super cute white shorts that remind me of a story I can’t divulge online. My shorts can be dressed up or down depending on my mood, top, and shoes. Today I went dressy.

Butter jumped off my English muffin onto my red silk blouse. As much as I tried to pretend the greasy spot wasn’t there it most definitely was and kind of ruined the ensemble. My second attempt was a blue button up top that also looked fabulous with the shorts. For the first time in a long time I put on fancy sandals rather than flip flops. I looked great to buy seam rippers.

While driving my head started to feel like it was in a vice. Luckily this was shortly before home. The brain squeezing lightheadedness has remained constant while intensifying at intervals. Awesome. I have an appointment to see my doctor along with a head and neck specialist on Friday. They will most likely tell me it’s all in my head!

Gwen has been rearranging the mountain of mess in her room. That does little to help my headache. Putting together music videos from our trip doesn’t help either.

After all is said and done, my shorts are still adorable. The waistband is too big which is always a welcome problem. My couch is calling my name. Too bad dinner needs to be made. And the shorts probably have to come off since I’m making spaghetti. A butter stain on a shirt is one thing. It will come out in the wash. Spaghetti sauce splatters on white shorts will last until the end of the world.

Existential Question

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How is it that I can throw away so much garbage that the kids seem to find and resurrect on a daily basis – we’re talking stuff I bury or even put outside in the recycling bin so they won’t know – yet I seem to lose valuable sewing tools? Where is my seam ripper? Maybe Armless Amy will wear a half finished dress a little longer …

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

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Our trip to Monterey was quite the adventure. We packed in a ton of fun and pictures for a simple overnight trip.

Heath and I went to get blood work done for our doctors Thursday morning. Afterwards we picked up some bagels for breakfast from the local bagel shop we love. Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse shorts played while we finished getting everything ready to go. Those shorts are so funny. Gwen found them on Netflix one day. I highly recommend looking them up because they are great.

With everything packed up we were finally ready to go. We listened to early Church history dramatizations on the drive. The kids were happy until we pulled off the freeway and into Monterey. I told Heath we better shut off the CD because they were too excited to listen anymore.

The best of times

Our hotel was amazing. Heath found a killer $100 off deal on Priceline for a 4 star hotel in Monterey. It happened to be the hotel on Cannery Row about a block from the Aquarium.

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This was the first thing we saw when we walked in the room. That is a mother otter holding a baby otter sitting in between the pillows. The kids fell in love immediately. They still had tags from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Gwen has been wanting a sea horse to add to our pet menagerie for a while now. A sea horse named Seaweed. She fully expected Heath to buy one when he was in Salt Lake City! We decided that whether or not we picked up a sea horse we had to have the otters. They were only $25 which seemed like a great price for aquarium toys that size.

All our pets remind us of family adventures and trips we have been on. We choose their names carefully to also remind us of where they came from. After much deliberation we settled on the mom’s name being Becky and the baby’s name being Einstein. The names are in honor of the rich Steinbeck history in Monterey, particularly along Cannery Row. As you can imagine, Qualmie, the river otter from the Seattle Aquarium, was very happy to meet his soul mate. Together the three of them make up one very happy family.

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That night we went for a walk. We stopped on a nearby pier to enjoy the sunset and the ocean. We were thrilled to see two otters playing in the water. After enjoying the otters at the aquarium it was really fun to see otters playing in the wild. Of course it made us fall in love with our new otters that much more.

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The room had a gas fireplace on one wall and a huge deck. I’m jealous of myself for being able to stay in that room!

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The last time I stayed in a hotel room with a separate bath and shower was when Heath and I honeymooned in Victoria, B.C.

DSC00846 There were even robes and slippers!

Gavin wanted to take a bath but somehow we never got around to it. Too bad. It was a nice deep soaker tub about the same size as the tub in our master bathroom at home. And can I just say that the soap and shampoo/conditioner was divine! It had a lemon grass smell that was exhilarating. I had brought grapefruit scented lotion from home. After my shower Heath said the bathroom smelled like a citrus paradise.

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Real orchids adorned the room and bathroom counter. So gorgeous! I have heard that orchids are really easy to take care of. They don’t require a lot of water and they bloom forever. I kind of want to buy one for my own bathroom just to prettify the place. My thumb is not very green and there is a very real chance I would be the only person in the world to kill an orchid!

I don’t know if you can tell but underneath the orchid by the TV there is one of those mini Asian trees that I’m too lazy to look up the name of. The details in the room were so simple and elegant. There was even a mini sand table with rocks and a rake. Gwen was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. She had trouble keeping the sand in the table and off the counter.

Heath and I had to look through the little trifold brochure of amenities offered at the hotel. If only we had hundreds of dollars to blow on massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and babysitting to do all those things! I loved the description of the couple’s massage. It talked about how the massage would be candlelit and last an hour or something like that. It promised an evening of rest. An evening of rest? What a stupid idea for a couple on a retreat! And really, who even wants to lie naked next to their sweetheart while some stranger rubs them down in a fancy overpriced spa? Only to go back to the room to rest! Just me? Sorry.

Speaking of rest, in all our preparations we forgot to bring the kids sleeping bags. Gavin slept on the floor in front of the fireplace with the bedspread from the king size bed. We should have gotten the room with two queen size beds. Oops! Gwen was very excited to sleep in the chair and matching ottoman. There was an extra blanket and pillow in the closet. Parker curled up under a night table with no blanket because it was a million degrees in the room anyway by bedtime. At some point in the night he hit his head on the wall. He spent the rest of the night thrashing around the bed with us. That kid is a wiggly sleeper!

We were definitely tempted to pay for the adjoining room and throw the kids in there for the night. Since we weren’t sure if we could get the good deal or not we decided to save our money and share with our children. Maybe next time. We already have hopes of going back to Monterey soon to take advantage of our season passes to the aquarium.

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Lunch was at Johnny Rockets where smiles abound and our waitress was lousy. It’s all right. Heath and the boys built their own burgers. Gwen nearly forgot to eat she was so busy eating her strawberry shake! The boys of course ate everything, including their shakes. Dad is so nice to buy the kids shakes!

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Dinner was at Bubba Gump’s. The wait staff always ask if you’ve seen the movie Forrest Gump and then ask trivia questions. I have only seen it once and that was more than enough! I knew the answer to all her questions though. She asked where Forrest was shot. Heath answered in the buttocks. Then she asked what was the best part of being shot in the buttocks. Before any of us could even scratch our heads to think Gavin answered because of the ice cream. Not bad for never having seen the movie! The waitress walked away and we realized Gavin just read the table to answer the question! Smart kid.

The service and the food was excellent at Bubba Gump’s. Parker was tired and cranky but quickly perked up when his food arrived. He was so excited about the Jell-O cup he ate it with a fork before he realized there was a spoon in the paper boat his food came in! All three kids decided to keep their boats so we dropped those off at the room before our walk.

We spent the day at the aquarium getting tons of pictures and video and enjoying every second. We bought $25 worth of salt water taffy from a local candy shop. We streamed Netflix movies onto the TV from Heath’s Surface Pro. He said that is the only way he survives business trips. We were in the most beautiful ocean side town. Life was good. It was the best of times.

The worst of times

Well, Friday was the worst of times. Who knows what brought on the sudden dizziness and nausea? Maybe a combination of a lot of things. Lack of sleep, warm room, humidity from overnight rain, waiting too long to eat breakfast, anxiety. Either way the trip was cut short.

Seaweed would have to wait. We couldn’t go back to the aquarium for a sea horse. Heath bought the otter family when he checked out of the hotel room and we left. The kids did get to spend some time on the beach while I stayed in the van. Heath bought some stuff for me at Target attempting to make the ride home easier. He also bought the movie Planes for the kids. They loved it. When we got home he took them to see the new Muppet movie. Ever the optimist, Parker said at least they got two movies that day. Heath also took the kids out for pizza. Friday wasn’t a total bust I guess. I am definitely looking forward to a do-over on the Monterey vacation.

The complete scavenger hunt

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Here is the scavenger hunt with pictures and video. The video starts off with the kids trying to guess what my big surprise was. Before I recorded any guesses they thought their dad was hiding somewhere. They also thought we may be going to Disneyland or possibly Six Flags! Apparently they didn’t think of the rain. They knew we were going to Monterey later in the week but thought maybe Heath and I had tricked them so they guessed a hotel room.

Your mission is a scavenger hunt. You must all work together to solve each clue. If you are stumped after working together you may ask for help. Some clues are harder to solve than others. Some are more fun than others. Please do your best and remember to find joy in the journey.

The kids were very excited and immediately ran off to figure out the first clue.

1. Count the number of doors in our house. Use that number to find the page in the book we are reading. (I counted 13 but there was some discussion on what the definition of door was and if the garage doors were included. We have a lot of doors!)

DSC008172. On this page is something our family enjoys. Work together for a full five minutes before asking for help! Once you figure it out, the next clue is hidden under an object that represents the thing our family loves. (Sport is a character in the book. The clue was hidden under the mini BYU football helmet we put in front of the TV during games for good luck.)

3. Find a very annoying animal. Hint it’s in a book. (The Baby Beebee Bird)

4. The next clue is attached to a king. (It surprised me how they didn’t get this one right away. It was wrapped around the white king in the Chess set.)

5. When I am in trouble this word is used as a warning. (When I made the clues I assumed they would get all the “I” references as the object speaking. My bad. I had to give a lot of guidance! While they were looking for the checkbook Gavin found a clue underneath Steven Seagull. Ugh. I had to hide some clues a little better when they weren’t looking!)

6. Find a tube of toothpaste. (They went straight to their bathroom just as I hoped they would.)

7. Egads! This room is messy! Divide the chores evenly: sink, toilet, bathtub/shower (This clue was not popular! Parker hoped they were finished when Gwen found the next clue on the cleaning wipes.)

8. Turn on the lights for Mom and Dad’s bed. (The clue was taped to the back of the remote.)

9. Find the Cinderella story without a fairy godmother that began with Once upon a time … (Ever After DVD)

10. Find the Utah state bird. (Steven Seagull)DSC00822

11. Look up Miracle of the Gulls on Wikipedia and read the section titled Traditional Story (I read the story to them and we had fun talking about it.)

DSC0082312. Find the big green pet whose home we will visit later this week. (Monte is our plush pet turtle from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.)

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13. My name begins like another name in this family. Find that person’s electronic reading device. (Gavin thought for sure they needed to find Parker’s Kindle. Parker was really quick in figuring out that Monte starts like Mom so they looked for my Kindle to find the next clue.)

14. Count the pairs of high heels in my closet. Put that number of toys away. Then meet in the hallway. (There are 8 pairs of high heels. Who knew?)

15. Find something to write with. (Gavin grabbed a crayon off Gwen’s desk. I asked him if there was a clue attached to it and that’s when Parker yelled out pencil box!)

DSC0082516. Look for a yellow book about the next holiday coming up. (This clue was much trickier than I thought. They got Easter right away but completely forgot that we have two Easter board books. Gwen insisted she had a Winnie the Pooh book about Easter.)

 

17. What is Gwen’s favorite song? Have Gavin play it on the piano. (Let it Go from Frozen. I love that Gwen is singing along as he plays and Parker is telling her not to! Too funny. I had to get video of Gwen singing. She has poor sense of timing and clears her throat before hitting the high notes which just makes me laugh even harder. This girl is a diva.)

18. Find the picture of a family member reading the scriptures. (Parker’s baptism announcement picture)

19. I would not eat them on a train. I would not eat them in the rain. I would not eat them in a box. I would not eat them with a fox. (Not the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham. The kids looked through every page and lifted every flap twice. Parker finally guessed the answer was in the fridge. Gavin was so funny. He said, “In the fridge? I was just in there and didn’t see anything!” They found the clue on top of the eggs.)

DSC0082820. One of me is needed to make a delicious chocolate dessert. Find the box in the cupboard with the name that is also a color. (This clue was everyone’s favorite. They loved how stumped they were. Then of course they loved how fun it would be to make the brownies.)

 

21. Make me with Mom’s help. (This is where we took a 30 minute break so Gavin could try to earn more money from his video game and the other two could sword fight. The next clue was attached to the hand mixer.)

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22. Find the movie that matches a blanket, shirt, and special ears that belong to someone. (Another stumper. Parker thought Madagascar at first until he realized that only fit the blanket part of the clue. The boys were so lost on the ears part. Gwen got that Parker’s Disneyland ears are Cars and he has a Cars blanket and Cars shirt.)

23. How many minutes long am I? Divide that number by 4. Divide the answer by 3. You may use a calculator. Put that number of toys away (round up) then find Mom for the next clue. (10)

24. Make a bed that belongs to another child in our family. (They loved how I sneaked the next clue onto the pillows of all the beds without them knowing!)

25. Check the light switch by the front door.

26. Find the picture of Garrett wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt. (Gwen knew right away I meant the picture in the Family Match Game Grandma made.)

27. Families are important. Find the framed document that talks about how important families are. (Proclamation to the Family. I folded the paper into a tiny square and taped it to the side of the frame. They didn’t notice the paper easily.)

28. What does eternal mean? Find the picture book with a title that means your mother will love you eternally. (Love You Forever by Robert Munsch)

29. The hunt is now complete. I hope it was fun. I hope you learned to work together. I hope you know how much your family loves you. Ask Mom to read me. (This clue was a favorite all the way around. My babies all snuggled up with me as I read my favorite book to them.)

It really was a lot of fun to do this scavenger hunt even though they got through it much faster than I expected! Good times.

Post-It Note #4614

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Some call them blessings. Others refer to them as tender mercies. I like to call them Post-It Notes from Heaven. It’s just a recognition of the Lord’s hand in one’s life.

It’s been a weekend full of Post-It Notes for me. Friday started off well enough. Moments before we were ready to leave our hotel room in Monterey to play for the day everything fell apart. The room started tilting precariously in my mind and nausea immediately followed.

Heath went downstairs to check out of the room. The kids were supposed to escort me out to meet him. Hovering over the toilet emptying the nothing on my stomach since we hadn’t eaten yet, I prayed. As much as I wanted to pray for it all to go away I knew I had to go through another intense bout of vertigo. My kids were scared but tried to be strong. Parker sounded very authoritative as he asked if I was ready to go. I vomited in response.

There was a knock on the door and I told the kids to let their dad in. The same prayer repeated over and over in my mind.
Please get me through this. Somehow I have to get home. Please get me through this.

I squeezed Heath’s hand hard as I staggered through the hotel hallways to the elevator. He told me I was breathing too shallowly which took my focus off the elevator. My face was in a bag pretty much the whole trip home. I kept praying for strength to just get home. I’m sure I fell asleep off and on. It felt like I was conscious and aware of the entire trip home with my face in a bag of my own guts. Yet the next thing I knew the movie ended, my eyes opened, and I recognized the off ramp to my home town.

The rest of the day was spent either sleeping in my bed or becoming intimately acquainted with my bathroom. The prayer was always there.
Please get me through this.

Thoughts of my Savior filled my mind. I know He went through so much more than I was going through at that moment. I know He understood everything I was experiencing. Not only the physical discomfort but the guilt and disappointment I felt from effectively ruining the last day of our overnight family vacation.

I was blessed with several hours of a calm stomach. When that all ended quickly and violently I vacillated between two choices. I need to go to the hospital and I need a priesthood blessing. The hospital idea was short lived. It’s expensive and I want my latest blog book published! At least my sense of humor was still intact, if not my priorities! I brushed off the priesthood blessing idea because it was becoming late and I didn’t want to inconvenience my home teachers. Stupid I know but that was my thought process.

Saturday morning I felt weak and like I had been turned inside out. My head hurt and I was still dizzy. With my hands pressed to my forehead I prayed again.
Please get me through this.

I heard the first two talks of General Conference that Saturday morning even though my eyes were closed and I was willing myself to keep my liquid breakfast down. I feel the Lord mercifully allowed me to sleep. I missed the next several speakers but awoke feeling much better.

I was blessed to stay awake and enjoy the rest of General Conference. I was even privileged to watch the Priesthood Session. Heath said I was his excuse for not going to the church to watch the broadcast. A friend called shortly before it started to ask if our kids could come to the park to play with her son Bryce. We sent them with walkie talkies and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

As a kid I used to hate Conference weekend. It was long. It was tedious. It was boring. Now I look forward to it. This weekend I couldn’t get enough of it. The Spirit fed my soul. During one session someone quoted a scripture that touched me. “I will not leave thee comfortless. I will come to thee in thy hour of need.” It was something like that. I didn’t have my phone with me to tweet it or even note it. But it caused me to remember how much I had been blessed as I went through my own personal hell of vertigo.

The idea of a priesthood blessing kept coming to mind. I kept pushing it down because I knew the Lord wasn’t going to take this trial away from me. I knew He could but I knew I just needed to be patient and endure it. When it was bedtime I finally asked Heath for a blessing. I told him all I wanted was a blessing of comfort. I didn’t expect anything else. He complied with my request.

I went to sleep praying that I could sleep but wake up if I needed to deal with my blood sugar. I woke up at 2:00 am with a perfect reading. My prayer became one of thanksgiving for being able to wake up and set a temporary basal rate on my insulin pump. The alarm went off at 6:00 and I woke up feeling low. I had a quick breakfast shake and immediately went back to sleep. I never immediately fall asleep after a low!

At 7:00 I realized I needed to unsuspend my pump. Five minutes later my pump alarmed that my battery needed to be changed. I got up to change it and immediately went back to sleep. It would have been nice to sleep in but with a missionary committee meeting at my house between sessions, I had to get up. My prayers all morning were of gratitude for being able to sleep and to wake up when I needed to.

This weekend has gone a completely different direction from how I imagined it would. Through it all I have felt the peace and calm of a loving Heavenly Father and Savior sustaining me through a significant trial. I may be nobody in the eyes of the world. But I am a daughter of God. He loves me enough to hear my prayers and bless me with what He sees fit for me.

I have so many stories to write but I couldn’t move on with any of it until I told this story first. I know the Lord loves me. He loves each of us. His love is not a general love. It is very personal. He knows us each individually. He knows exactly what we are going through and He knows exactly how to succor us because He has descended below it all. Prayers are answered.

And the truth shall

ruin your day. What do I do with this little gem? Parker randomly came downstairs and told me he was looking in Heath’s desk and found the Studio C disk we bought for the kids for Easter.

I didn’t yell, though I really wanted to. I said that maybe he shouldn’t be looking through his dad’s desk. That maybe the things in there are none of his business! I left it at that.

Part of me hopes the other two weren’t paying any attention to what he said. Maybe we can still give the kids the video for Easter as planned. And if we do that maybe Parker will realize the Easter Bunny isn’t real and that he just shot his own innocence in the foot by snooping. Let the consequences speak for themselves. He is almost 9 after all.

Not being a snooper myself I can’t imagine why anyone would do that. What was he hoping to find in his dad’s work at home desk drawer? Candy? Sometimes there’s candy in there. I guess my kids are growing up. They already eat me out of house and home. Now they look for surprises that are supposed to come from mythical holiday creatures.

Gwen still believes. Even if she knew the truth she would still believe on some level. She thinks Mr. Pickle is real. One day he was standing on the corner waving at all the traffic hoping to entice people to stop by the sandwich shop. He put his hand inside his costume for a moment and Gwen lost her mind. How can a pickle put a hand inside himself?

We all laughed trying to help her understand. I mean really, how can a giant pickle have human arms and legs and dance on a street corner? Let’s not overthink it. To her it was all very confusing. She honestly believed that Mr. Pickle was real. I hate for her brother to further shatter her preoperational world by letting her know he found the Easter Bunny’s gift. 

Ten is not enough

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Our food quantities have changed over the years. A batch of taco soup used to make a great dinner and several lunches for the week. Now we may not get even one serving of leftovers depending on how many of us went back for seconds.

Soft tacos used to produce tons of leftovers. Even when we only had one or two leftover tortillas the partial packages would add up. Last night all ten tortillas settled happily in everyone’s tummies. The meat portions got smaller and smaller with each taco. Gwen ate two tacos. Two! Ate the whole thing with nothing left to feed the garbage.

None of the kids fed the garbage after dinner. Gavin was complaining he was still hungry! If this continues we will need to use 2 lbs. of meat and possibly need two packages of tortillas. Heath and Gavin wanted three tacos and everyone else had two. Ten tortillas were not enough.

Normally we don’t have dessert. Since the kids and I made brownies yesterday we had dessert. Heath put brownies in bowls a la mode. I had Reese’s ice cream and it was really good with the brownies. Gwen did not finish her dessert. She was eating very slowly and Heath told her when he was finished she was too. That’s when we both realized she must have been stuffed with dinner! That girl usually never finishes one taco. Last night she ate two.

I worry about the future. Already Gavin complains after a full meal that he’s still hungry. He asks if he can have a sandwich. I should let him fix one himself but I don’t want it to mess with my school lunch portions! I hate buying bread from Costco because we can’t eat the two large loaves fast enough. We may have to go back to Costco bread now.

What am I going to do next year when I have to fix a school lunch for Gwen? We will be buying more juice pouches. I like to get the no sugar added Capri Sun juice from Costco. They come ten pouches to a box and four or five boxes are sold together. With Gwen in school all day one box will no longer last a week.

Sometimes I miss the days when we could get away with buying one kids meal between Gavin and Parker. Gavin would eat the sandwich and Parker would eat the fries. They preferred it that way. Now Parker is ordering off the adult menu at many restaurants. Gavin has been ordering adult size sandwiches or burgers for quite a while now. He still hates fries. But Parker will order a full adult meal and eat most of it.

The boys used to share Ramen. Now they each get their own package. I used to share with Gwen, and the boys when they were little. She eats most of one package now. I know Ramen isn’t the most nutritious meal I could feed my children for lunch. I put vegetables in it! Parker wanted a sandwich today. We didn’t have enough bread and I didn’t feel like going to the store. I just told him that he has a sandwich every day at school. Wouldn’t it be nice to eat something different while he was home? All three devoured their Ramen leaving very little carnage behind.

They also sighed while coveting my apple slices and peanut butter! Some things never change. That was always the most jealous inducing lunch I could ever eat while pregnant. I try not to skip meals in front of my kids. They ask questions I don’t want to answer. So high blood sugar equaled apples and peanut butter. I wouldn’t have eaten the Ramen anyway. Without being able to share with anyone I now prefer it only when I’m sick.

When I had two baby boys I used to worry a little about them becoming teenagers. The worries came and went quickly since adolescence was so far into the future. With all three of them acting like they’re going through a growth spurt I feel like the future is here.

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