Friday, March 30, 2012

Precious Plus

Hazie, Jim, Julia, Piper and Chloe JaneA close up of Hazie without her cast Day 1

I arrived here in Utah on Saturday. Jim had already been here a week and worked so hard to keep the home fires burning here for Jen and Lowell and their family amid several stressful situations all piled inconveniently into one short week. To name a few, Lowell had a business trip that took him out of town for a few days, only to return in the wee hours of the morning on the day of Jennifer's hysterectomy. Hazel was beyond ready to have her cast removed after 6 "forever" weeks of being in a spika cast that ran from the tip of her little toes to between her shoulder blades to repair her broken femur. A second compression sore had been discovered under her cast on her back. The first one had required a cast modification the previous week so that just created a new pressure spot apparently. So that dominoed into much more tummy time in the cast which was very difficult for a four year old.

Their dog Molly got out and was delivered by the police with a sizable ticket for non-adherence to the leash law.

Piper~7th Grade
A very good thing that just added to the mix was on Saturday Piper turned 13. This is a big birthday and one that Jen certainly didn't want to gloss over. Mom managed to make these great cupcakes and take Piper shopping and out to dinner for her birthday.

Happy Teen Years, Pipey!

So those are the highlights...for starters, of what brought Grampa to Utah earlier than we had planned. Bless his heart, he did a remarkable job of putting out the fires that caused the stress and keeping the ones burning that added comfort.We all have our gifts and that is one of his for sure.

My plane was over an hour late leaving Oakland so it was great to finally arrive at Jen and Lowell's. A mom just has to see her kid, face to face, to know how she is really doing. She looked really good. She is such a pioneer type woman, I admire that in her so much. The pain meds seemed to help her cope with the discomfort and she was in very good spirits. All the suffering of the past few months seem to be gone! Joy to the world in this home!

Sunday we had a bit of a scare with Hazie. Her recently broken leg was swollen and red and hot. We had but one normal day with the cast off. The orthopedic surgeon mentioned to be watching for these symptoms. Lowell took her to an after hours clinic associated with Utah Valley. They basically said it may be a bone infection and washed their hands of her case. So we had to take her up to Primary Children's hospital. After looking at every possibility we decided it should be Jen and me taking her up after packing our bags to stay if they admitted her. We figured it would be the best for Hazie and for Jen too as she could just rest there. Kind of a joke in a hospital really, but it is hard for her to rest here with the four kids too. So up I went with Jen on drugs and Hazie with a fever.
Long story short, her leg was fine and her fever was originating from a UTI which ultimately turned out to be a staph infection. Holy Cow, this girl never does anything part way.
However, that took seven hours to diagnose and get the proper meds. In that time she managed to endear herself to the entire floor of hospital staff. For most of that time Hazie and Jen shared a gurney as we were in the ER. When the staff would come in she would ask them their names and then ask if she could be their doctor! A little pay back seemed like it was in order!She had a little mask and some rubber gloves and wanted to borrow their stethoscopes. She steals the heart of every human she comes in contact with, it is so amazing to watch.

They had to draw two viles of blood and they always have a hard time finding and keeping her tiny veins going. It took 30 minutes of them poking and prodding to get the blood and an IV started.

She kept saying "I'm not gonna cry!" They kept saying it was OK and she whimpered a little. They said repe
atedly, "You are so brave, Sweetheart," she kept saying, "No, I not!" This child makes a person see right into the portals of heaven. I never knew one could love another person so much. She has made me capable of loving everyone more.

After all of the poking ordeal she said, "OK l
et's have a party now and no more poking, Otay?" That is when the staff brought her a cute little pink bunny, stickers and it was time for dinner and some party treats.

Even though we had packed our bags to stay the usual overnight and then some...we got to go home. It was a great day after all. I couldn't really see how Jen could be comfortable in those bizarre chair to bed conversions while still being so it all turned out well.

The 27th was our son's 37th birthday. The night before we took Chris and his family out to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. We had such a great time and I did not take a single picture. What was I thinking? I must get back into blogger mode. So some older ones of them...

Jennifer and Chris
Once upon another time...
Jen wasn't much in the mood for having any photos
taken so soon after her surgery either.

Chris and Missy and Owen in Chris' arms,
Connor, Zachary and Aynslee front row.
Our man on the go!

After dinner we went back to their house and had our Family Home Evening. It was so wonderful and then Connor played the piano for us and Aynslee her violin. They are amazing, really It is hard to realize they are only 12 and 9.

Zach and Owen wowed us also in their own special ways. Owen at 4 has taken to reading a verse of scripture along with the rest of the family every night; he makes up the verse. He did about five poignant he said was, "And it came to one will ever die." Sweet. Zach 7 and Grampa played a game or two of Pig in the Pen and Zach beat Grampa handily, much to Grampa's chagrin, I might add!

The rest of the week so far is kind a blur of relaxing, snuggles with little girls, listening to their secrets and concerns and keeping Jen company and doing some work. She was organized and did all the cooking in advance so all we do is pop something out of the freezer and make a salad. Brilliant and thoughtful.

Chloe did have her first soccer game
and is the team Goalie.

None of us could make it unfortunately, but our good friend, Kim, took Chloe and that was so sweet. Kim's daughter, Shelby, and Chloe are growing up best friends and are on the same team.

I've been discussing genealogy with Lowell, particularly and watched Hugo with Jennifer. Yesterday I bought Hugo and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on DVD. I was so happy and surprised to see EL&IC is already out. We love that movie. We just love collecting fabulous movies...well, I do, wink wink. We do enjoy watching them on our Friday night dates at home.

Jim has been visiting Hazie's classroom the last couple of days. She has loved bringing him for "Show and Tell" Hahaha.

Such a great preschool.
That is Hazie in her purple sparkly wheelchair.

The hope is she will be all ready to
get back on the bus next week.

Jim is making a table for Hazie with a cutout for her wheelchair. He says this may be exactly what he wants to do in his shop when it is done. It would be perfect to make modified furniture and equipment for kids with disabilities. It would take in all his skills in education and design and carpentry to produce something so wonderful for these little angels. Perfecto!

Last coat of glossy cream colored drying and curing in the sun for a day. And then her very own spot to explore her talents and have fun. Grampa, he is a legend in his own time! Lucky us!

Finished...She loves it!

Julia, Chloe, Piper & Hazie
And one last photo~a miracle

The girls all in one place holding still.
And that's a wrap for Utah...
until June 1st when we will be back!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Best of Friends

When our friend Caroline came for a visit while Jim was in Utah, we enjoyed a wonderful time with friends in San Francisco one day ...just doing the girl thing. There was a plethora of gabbing, laughing, shopping and lunching going on. We went to Union Street around 21st, which is a wonderful place to hang out and enjoy The City, hit some little shops, some designer places and the like...FUN!

This cobalt blue is big this season...
look for it. Barb would have been gorgeous in this..
the problem...completely shear back.
Why do they do that? I know...don't tell me.

Lunch at Parry's on Union Street
Diane, Caroline, Norma

Trying on clothes at every turn,

no wonder it took us 7 hours to
"do" this neighborhood with 8 women.
We had just a few bags when we left.

Lanette finds a fun rug for her kitchen sink area.

Sidewalk "les fleurs" for sale,
always a thing of beauty in the City.

Even better with Norma the "Fascinator" in front of it.
These tiny "Fascinator" hats are all the rage now!
Norma just had to buy this and wear it.
No other takers on this trip. Hmmm.
Only she can get away with it.
Norma, Norma, such a fun-loving girl!

She is little, but she grabs her share of
attention creating fun wherever she goes.
A sign for sale I thought was neat.

Faye, Timme and Lanette enjoying the company
and the gorgeous warm weather.
I just love all these friends so much!

It was so nice having Caroline here from Utah
and spending several days with me.
Love you Caroline! We all do.

Caroline and Diane bought some new shades.
Aren't they glam?
A few scarves and jewels fell into a few bags as well,
not to mention any names specifically.

Maybe even some shoes along the way...
cannot remember for sure.

Maureen, Michelle and Caroline, Barbara and I
had lunch in Walnut Creek and did more shopping on Monday.
Almost like Paris with this cool Eiffel Tower replica
in Restoration Hardware, don't you think?
I did not escape Pottery Barn or Brighton
unscathed, just sayin'.

We also had a pot luck dinner for everyone
including a few friends that

could not make the other activities of the week.
No photos from that event.
I fell down on my job. ;-(

Barbara, and Ilse in the back and then from left to right,
Bethy, Alex, Stacey, Jim and me.

We have had such a delightful time the past few weeks with old friends. The friends are not old the duration of the friendships are. This past Sunday we had a wonderful dinner with the Leals and Stacey...visiting from Chicago! So much fun right in the middle of March when hardly anything ever happens.

And a special thank you to you, Barb, for hosting two fantastic Sunday meals in row. One inviting Caroline and me and then another invite for Jim and me as we enjoyed your family and Stacey. You have spoiled me rotten. To top it off thanks for going to see Phantom 2 with me...
Love Never Dies.
OK, so now it is time for getting back to ho-hum normalcy.
But how about same time next year, y'all? Life is good!

Here's to the people in our lives that
edify, elevate and lift us UP!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Simple Woman's Daybook~March 13, 2012

Taking a Moment to Contemplate the Journey!

Just For Today...Monday, February 20, 2012
Our lives pass swiftly by!
I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts.
That is what this daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One week at a time.

Outside my window...It is 10:15 pm Monday night and I am getting a little head start on my Daybook. Our weather is being very predictably unpredictable. Now that spring is supposed to be nearly here...we have at least 6 rainy days ahead. We need it for sure. We just got home from a dinner with our friends and it felt very chilly out so maybe we'll even get a little snow in the mountains nearby.

I am thankful for...being back on this blog for the time being. I have been so swamped of late and lacking in motivation but I am here now so this is good. Ever since I decide to start a new blog I have felt like I have abandoned this one. But I want to do a few more posts here for an even 1600. Why? I don't really know. I haven't set up the new one yet but I think I will keep it very much like this one, just volume 2. I look forward to having it smaller so I can actually find things with the searchability of a smaller blog.
From the learning room..I am learning so much more about genealogy now and beginning to feel like I can help people...but I am finding that I am missing the creativity of blogging. I need to find a way to balance the two with everything else. Not an easy task but I am searching for it.

I am reading...Googling your Family History by Daniel Lynch. How can there be 300+pages about this? I am trying to find out!! Google is just so beyond amazing.

From the kitchen...not much really. We have been going to various friends' houses and also out a lot lately. We have to get back into a saner routine again in the kitchen and soon!
I am missing...all of our family...time for trip to Utah. Jennifer will be having surgery at the end of the month so we are heading that way. Hazel has developed some skin issues with her cast so both Jim and I are going back this time. Hopefully the cast will be off soon and switched to a smaller soft cast. The big one has been a nightmare.
I am hearing...Love Never Dies, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Loving the music, it was just released on March 9th but I had an opportunity last week to see it with my friend Barbara while Jim was in Utah. It was actually a video (incredibly done) of an actual performance in Melborne. It was shown in local theaters throughout the country for just one night this month on March 7. It was excellent, I liked it better than Phantom. The DVD will be out on May 29th.
I am wearing...jammies.
I am quoting..." Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart. " Kahlil Gibran

Somethings that made me especially happy this past week...Laura and Jen had a nice visit in the east. Jim did a great job of taking care of the girls while Lowell worked during the day. The girls were very good for their Grampa. Hazie is so happy in spite of all her problems. I had a good freind visit us while Jim was in Utah. Caroline stayed six days and we had a great time. We rallied our friends and set up some activities and whoever could come did. It was like girls' party for days. We shopped and ate out and had a potluck went to the City and watched a movie, had dinner at a mutual friend's house. It was great.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been pondering...
I have been thinking about how the Lord in His wisdom has given us the scriptures which contain historical information that we should be learning from when we read and study. The mistakes of mankind occur over and over as history repeats itself in predictable patterns. We need to find ways to save this country from its downward spiral. Let's hope we can before it is too late.
I am work on preparing another post for my genealogy blog for this coming Sunday when we meet with our focus group, get Piper's 13th birthday gift in the mail today and make our dinner for work in the next few minutes.
One of my guilty pleasures..British TV and movies. LOVE them.
Pet Peeve..People that are ignorant and have no social graces, no sense of civility or decorum.

One of my favorite things..
Day Trips with Jim to San Francisco.

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...Downton Abbey, don't know when I have loved a series this much. It is right up there with North and South, (USA), Larkrise to Candleford, Roots, and War and Remembrance. EXCELLENT work! So enjoyable and evocative.
I am curious about...Selective bigotry.

If I could change one thing it would be..All of Hazie's difficulties and issues. Her happy attitude is amazing but I feel a lot of pain for what she has to go through.

A few plans for the rest of the this afternoon and evening, tomorrow church dinner and vintage fashion show, lunch with a friend and a dental appointment, Thursday, clean house and desk work, Friday, not sure yet, Saturday more of the same and getting my lesson done for Sunday. Start preparing to go to help Jen, get some appointments made for hair, etc.

Some photos and thoughts I'm sharing this week...
This past week Jim and I checked off one of the items on our Bucket List. We have been wanting to and meaning to go to the Cliff House in San Francisco for decades to have lunch and enjoy the view of the ocean. We finally did it and I can assure you we will be going back. Our new favorite restaurant is Sutro's right there at the Cliff House. The food was sumptuous and delicious and so expertly prepared. I had salmon and Jim had blackened swordfish. Perfection down to the salt they use. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking around and taking photos.

The Spectacular View of the Pacific
from Sutro's at the Cliff House.
The view alone makes lunch a wiser choice than dinner.

An Old Sign from Sutro Baths
The Orchid
The View

The Swordfish

The Salmon

The cliffs by the sea!

We also went to The National Cemetery to find the grave of a relative. It was so amazing up there and our first visit. We owe a debt of gratitude to these fine men and women for the freedoms we enjoy! There are 123,000 grave here since 1941. It has about as many residents as the town where we live. Astonishing sight in all directions from this mound where the flag is flown over the cemetery. It was a wonderful peaceful day in San Francisco last week.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Never, Never, Never Give Up!