Monday, September 30, 2013

September 2013 on FB

Sept. 5: Today I'm grateful for air conditioning in my home after working in a hot & very humid classroom all week. I'm also grateful for electricity after living without power for 4 hours tonight!

Sept. 6: After nearly 18 hours, I'm SOOOO happy to have power again!!! I'm extremely thankful to Josh who came home from work just to plug our fridges into the generator and to Edward who plugged our water pump into a generator so I could take a shower! I feel so blessed!

Sept. 7: This is what I did today--which is one of the many reasons I absolutely love Fall!

Sept. 9: the stars at night are big and bright, 'specially since there's no moon tonight!

Sept. 11: I have integrity. I can rise above untruths about me since I know that others' false statements about me are untrue. Also, I think that mean people suck. And as my boys would say it: "They suck monkey balls"!

Sept. 13: I have loved doing water aerobics this summer (thanks for the introduction to it Brenda)! I didn't really start going regularly until August, and I'm wishing I would've started earlier since Salmon doesn't have a year-round pool! I love the way my body feels when I'm in water...jus sayin!

Sept. 14: So happy to go camping and soaking in hot tubs and spend relaxing time with my family today!

Sept. 20: Headed to watch Ammon's XC meet in Rigby today--Fun! And I'm taking the twins with me to do their birthday shopping! 10 years ago, I watched another XC meet since Josh was coaching, and I also got steroid shots at the OB Dr.'s office preparing to deliver the twins prematurely. Its almost like deja vu--except today's trip is going to be MUCH funner than the one 10 years ago!

Sept. 21: Just finished reading "My Sister's Keeper". The entire book made me depressed, but I couldn't put it down! Now I need something a bit more on the uplifting side!

Sept. 22: My twins are now double digits! I can't believe it was that long ago that they were born with their umbilical cords tied in knots and they were life-flighted to another hospital in a different state. I'm so glad that they survived birth and that I survived their infancy & toddlerhood! I sure love my Jonah & Micah and the boys that they've become!

Sept. 23: There's always some reason to feel not good enough, and it's hard at the end of the tired of the straight line and everywhere you turn, there's vultures and thieves at your back...the storm keeps on twisting, keep on building the lies that you make up for all that you lack... Thank you Sarah McLachlan for putting my feelings into words. I am so grateful to have music in my life.

Sept. 26: one more reason to love fall: new episodes of TV shows!!

Sept. 27: with a smile and a song...all the world seems to waken anew, rejoicing with you and your heart is young...with a smile and a song. And that's just one of the many reasons why I've always loved Snow White!

Sept. 28: just made tomato sauce for the first time ever with the tomatoes I grew in our garden this year! it's always such a good feeling to can my own food!

Sept. 29: Amidst all the Sunday football on at our house, there's still 2 bright spots on TV today: the season finale of the Great Food Truck Race and the season premiere of the Amazing Race!!! The TV has been a real blessing for me this week: I've been cozying up to it way more than normal with all the cold/rainy/gloomy weather outside.

Seeing Red

We had some local forest fires in July & August that caused me to relive last year's experience all over again. It gives me anxiety just thinking about it. In case you don't remember, Salmon was filled with terrible smoke-filled skies last August & September that really affected our health and our lifestyles. Here's two links from blog posts then:
Thankfully, this year the smoke wasn't as bad as last summer, because the fires weren't as large as last year. Both of these were credited to the fact that we've received several rainstorms--which helped stop the rapid spreading of the fire and also cleared out the smoke from our skies. The biggest storm we got was this horrible hailstorm at the beginning of August:
We experienced the smokey skies throughout August, and heard/saw helicopters all day that were flying to assist the fires, and for two days at the end of August, we had ashes all over our deck and cars. I was so nervous for school to begin because I didn't want to have indoor recess for weeks on end like we did last fall--when the students and the teachers all went stir-crazy! Due to several scattered rainstorms at the beginning of September, my fears weren't realized, and we have not had to have indoor recess at all due to the smoke (just once because of the rain instead!), for which I am SOOO grateful!
But those really bad smokey days at the end of August sure made for some pretty skies. The red sun, the red moon, and the beautiful sunsets were so marvelous to behold! So I took advantage of the opportunity to capture the red--which my camera does no justice for the real views we saw.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Fair of Firsts

August 24th was our last Saturday of the summer, and we spent it in a fun way! I love that our county fair is always the week right before school starts, because it always feels like a celebration to end the summer. We went to the fair that afternoon, and looked at all the booths and exhibits first. The boys had entered multiple produce items this year, and they all did pretty good. Last year, Micah was the only one to earn a purple ribbon out of all our boys' entries, and this year it was the opposite: everyone but Micah got a purple ribbon.
Kanyon received Grand Class Champion for his cherry tomatoes:
Jonah received Reserve Class Champion for his Golden Yukon potatoes:

Ammon received Grand Champion for his pumpkin, as well as a Judge's Choice Award:

And Micah's pumpkin was the first pumpkin of all 4 of the boys' entries to turn orange inside the fair building:

Josh even entered a mini white pumpkin, which was photographed and later featured in the local newspaper by one of their staff:

We rode the rides at the fair that afternoon. We showed the boys all the rides there were before we bought tickets, to see what interest they had and if we should buy wristbands or tickets. They were all only interested in going on 2 rides, so we just bought them each $10 worth of tickets. Kanyon decided he didn't want to go on any rides, and since the ferris wheel requires two passengers, I went on it with Ammon.

You can see Jonah & Micah at the top of the ride here, and me & Ammon at the bottom:

The other ride they wanted to go on was the swings. That was always a favorite of mine when I was a kid, too. I love the expressions on the twins' faces in this picture!:

Since Kanyon didn't want to go on rides, Josh gave him a few bucks to try one of the carnival games. He wanted to try and win a fish by throwing a ping pong ball into a glass of colored water. Thankfully for us, but unfortunately for him, he didn't get any of the balls into the glasses.
As soon as we were all done with the rides, and ready to leave, Tiffany's family arrived. They had never been to the county fair before, and her kids had never ridden fair rides. So, she bought them all wristbands. Suddenly, my own children wanted wristbands to ride on the rides with their cousins. But we had already agreed and purchased what they wanted. I wasn't about to spend $20 MORE bucks on each kid to ride the few rides that were there. So, they bought themselves each about $5 worth of tickets (they'd received approx. $15 in premiums each from all the produce they each entered in the fair exhibits), and went on a couple rides with their cousins.
In this photo, Jessalyn & Aysha are on the swings, and you can see a partial of Ammon, too. Aysha kept closing her eyes as they went around, and it made me laugh to see her reaction!

This is Kanyon watching his cousins Joel & Isaac on one of the rides. He found greater delight in watching them than having an interest in being on the ride with them!:

Jonah thought it looked fun so he decided to join them on the next round:

This is Coral & Emmy on the same ride. As they went faster, Emmy's little body scooted closer and closer to Coral's--see where her arms are in relation to her body?! It was so funny!

After watching Isaac & Joel ride the apples, Jonah and Micah both decided to try it with them the next time, too!

Josh waited patiently for the boys to finish using up their tickets. He blended right into the rides with his brightly colored pink shirt! He looked just like yummy cotton candy to me!

Speaking of food, as soon as they were done, we left the cousins to keep riding and we went to the food booths and bought ice cream cones and scones for our family. They were delicious! I just love fair food! A storm blew in shortly after, and we went home for a few hours to take a break, and to say goodbye to the cousins when they left. Then we went back out to the fairgrounds that evening for the rodeo. It was the first time that the twins had gone with us, and we bought some funnel cakes to eat as we watched the event. That was the first time any of the boys had eaten funnel cakes, too!

It makes me hungry just looking at it! This was the first time they've had this type of food at the Lemhi County Fair, and I'm so glad because usually we get it at the Eastern Idaho State Fair, but this year we didn't go to that fair, but we were still able to get one of our favorite fair foods!

It was exciting to see the bronco rides and I especially enjoyed watching the local calf ropers. The clown was pretty funny, and the night's line-up moved pretty quickly. There was only one bull rider, which was kind of disappointing, but other than that it was a great rodeo and we all had a great time!

I completely missed attending our fair last year because I was in Tremonton with the 3 younger boys, and their fair happens to be the exact same week as ours. I was glad for the chance to go to the Lemhi County one again, and although we go to it every year (except last year of course), it was fun to do some new things this year and have the boys experience a few firsts: 1. First time winning purple ribbons, 2. First time riding rides with their cousins, 3. See the cousins ride fair rides for the First time, 4. First time going to the rodeo, and 5. First time eating funnel cakes.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Farm Family Fun Day

All of Josh's siblings came to Salmon the 3rd week of August, and we spent three days together on the family ranch. We usually have our own little family reunion during the July 4th weekend, but this year, Tiffany's family was unable to join us then, so our family reunion was during fair week instead. We had enjoyable, quiet time together! On Friday the 23rd, we spent all day doing activities just on and around the family farm. 
Malachi found his old box full of nerf guns, and the kids had a hilarious time playing dart gun wars! They played with them for hours on end!

Kathy wanted to float down the river, and all of her kids joined her. It was a relaxing, enjoyable float together and she said it was the best gift! Edward drove me down the highway to take a few pictures of them rafting down the river between Twelve Mile and Shoup Bridge.

When they returned from their float trip, the big & little kids all ran around on the top of the hay bales. This has become an annual tradition now to play tag on the hay bales that Edward piles together next to the pumpkin patch. 

Aysha spent so many hours that day playing in the ditch! She swung on the rope swings, swam in the water, and played in tubes or the raft! Sometimes others would join her, and sometimes she was just by herself! She's a water girl!
This is Josh's older sister Tiffany swinging with her oldest and youngest children (you can see Aysha is still in the ditch behind them). Coral will be going to college this year, so this was the last summer before she enters adulthood!
While we waited for dinner, Gideon swung the boys around on the giant stride in the yard.

Then they started doing tricks on the swing---here is Micah upside down, and Jonah is laying back on his swing, too.

Kathy bought us all pizza for dinner--which was a huge hit with everyone! Plus, there was no slaving over a stove and no clean-up afterwards which was a bonus!

We ended the day with a board game night at our house. It was such an enjoyable day/evening/night together with Josh's family! It was very relaxed and not stressful, and everyone had a great time!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fair Family Fun Night

The Lemhi County Fair was in Salmon the 3rd week of August. On Wednesday night, there was a Family Fun Night. We love going to that event! They bring in fun family activities that are free for that one night, and it's in an alcohol-free environment. Two of Josh's nephews had been staying with us that week, so we took them to the fun night with us. The boys all had a great time together!
They shot at targets, where cousin Isaac did the best:

Kanyon tried shooting three different times, but managed to only hit the target once.

There were several inflatable toys, and the boys did the obstacle course, the bungee cord lunge, and the gladiator one. It was fun for them to team up on the Gladiator challenge.

Jonah and Joel:

Micah and Isaac:

Kanyon and some other boy who was in line:

The boys all tried climbing the rock wall, except for Isaac, and the twins' friend Mason joined us in line to climb the wall too. They all managed to reach the top this year! Kanyon and Joel had never climbed up one before, and they both did an excellent job on their first rockwall climb!

Kanyon met up with his friend Keagan after that and we all went inside the petting zoo that the FFA brought out for the night. I drove a golf cart with beer goggles on (and I aced it too!), and the boys tried the foot obstacle course while wearing beer goggles. The boys played various games, and won some balloon-punch-ball prizes. And we finished the night with some flavored snow cones. I'm so grateful for local opportunities that provide an evening of family-centered-fun!

Friday, September 13, 2013

happy {or unhappy} birthday to me!

August 14 was my birthday, and my special day this year was spent in surgery and recovering in bed. Here's the long story...

In January, I gained 10 lbs. Something happened inside my body, and the weight came on even though I wasn't eating differently. Then my menstrual cycles changed--and for the first time in my life I wasn't regular. I wasn't sure if the added weight made my cycle change or if something inside me was causing both. Over the next few months, I tried some diet pills to lose it, but they didn't work. I tried eating differently--no food at all after 9:00 at night, and limit the soda pop intake, but that also didn't change my weight.

In the middle of May, I began passing clots every day, and at first I thought I was having a miscarriage even though Josh got a vasectomy after Kanyon was born 6 years ago, so I didn't think I could be pregnant. This heavy bleeding/clotting was something that had never happened to me before. After a week, I called the local OB/GYN but he didn't have an open appointment for almost a month, so I made that appointment, hoping that my situation wouldn't worsen before then.

After 2 weeks of straight bleeding, I was feeling sick all the time, I had no energy and was super tired, and I kept having headaches. I knew I couldn't wait until the middle of June to see the OB Dr. So I called the clinic, and made an appointment with a general Dr. the following day. She ran a whole bunch of tests. I of course was NOT pregnant. The culture came back with an infection, and the ultrasound showed that I had a fibroid in my uterus, but other than that the Dr. couldn't find anything else wrong. The Dr. gave me some antibiotics, and the bleeding went away again for one week. The general Dr. wanted me to keep my appointment with the OB/GYN in June because he could help me decide what to do about the uterine fibroid--she wasn't specialized in that area. My original OB/GYN appointment was on the last day of my antibiotic pills. I waited for over 2 hours, and he never saw me. I heard him talking on the phone with his nurse (she was in the office across the hall and hadn't shut the door). He was at the hospital with a patient, and was coming back to the clinic, and wanted to know what patients were waiting for him there. There were 2 of us: me and a pregnant woman waiting for an ultrasound--I know because she was the appointment after me, and I'd seen her walk in when I was in the waiting room and she told the desk clerk what she was there for. The Dr. argued on the phone with his nurse about having to see me because I wasn't his patient, and he shouldn't have to diagnose me when I'd seen another doctor. The nurse kept saying "that's what the {regular} doctor said--for her to keep this appointment and have you discuss a treatment plan with her". When the OB Dr. arrived back at the clinic, he spent over 5 minutes talking on the phone in his office about some tractor he wanted to buy. Then he saw the pregnant patient first. I waited for another 10 minutes, and by this time it was 5:30 (my appointment was at 3:00), and the clinic closed at 5:00. I decided I wasn't going to pay him to see me if he didn't want to see me, so I walked out. I didn't see another single person on the way out--all the other employees had gone home. I was so upset by the way I was treated, but the OB Dr. or his nurse never once called to see what happened to me. The next day, I called and scheduled an OB/GYN appointment in Idaho Falls with the Dr. that delivered my twins and Kanyon, but he couldn't see me for another 3 weeks--not until the middle of July.

After a week of being off the antibiotics, the bleeding came back with a vengeance--this time even heavier and with painful cramps. After another 10 straight days of passing clots, I went back to the general Dr. She did another culture, said I had another infection, and prescribed me antibiotics (AGAIN). I asked for some birth control--which I wish I would've thought of the first time around, and she agreed to prescribe me some. I figured this would help get my bleeding under control for more than just one week at a time. The bleeding again went away for one week, but then I got appendicitis, most likely from the nearby infection. When the surgeon took out the appendix, he did some exploring inside and said my uterus was swollen and that it appeared that an ovarian cyst had burst because he could see some liquid and blood/pus around the abdominal cavity.

My OB/GYN Dr. appointment in Idaho Falls in July was a week after my appendicitis surgery. I brought him all the results of the tests that had been taken, and told him all the symptoms that I'd been having, beginning in January. He said the weight gain is probably from the swollen uterus and the bleeding is a side effect of where the fibroid is in my uterus.  I told him I wanted a hysterectomy because I'm so sick of bleeding so heavily every single day. He wanted me to take the least invasive route first, especially since I'd just had appendix surgery, so he convinced me to have an endometrial ablation surgery (which burns the inner lining of the uterine walls). Hysterectomies have a longer recovery time (about 4-6 weeks)--and I would've likely missed the first 1-2 weeks of school still recovering. Ablation surgery is an outpatient procedure and the recovery is usually just one day--and there's no incisions. He's had a high success rate with ablations which 70% of the time completely stop the bleeding, and 25% of the time minimize the bleeding. But he told me that the ablation wouldn't prevent the fibroid from growing and that my uterus may still have to be removed in years to come. Since I'd just had surgery, and I couldn't have surgery on the same area for 4-6 weeks, the ablation surgery was scheduled for one month later on my birthday in August. 

I was so delighted to finally have a plan, and a date when I knew everything would [hopefully] be fixed. I was glad to have a Dr. who finally listened to me and helped me make a choice that was best for me and my body. I cheered in his office when I found out the surgery date was on August 14, because after months of feeling unwell, it was like a gift to myself to be better once again!

We got back from our family vacation to Glacier on the night of August 13, and after midnight I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. The next morning, we left Salmon at about 8:30 and Josh drove me to Idaho Falls for my surgery time at 11:00. On the drive down, he said to me "I hope you live to see another birthday". I hadn't really been nervous about it until then! When we arrived at the Dr.'s office/clinic, we waited for a half hour, and I was beginning to get antsy. Finally they called us back and prepped me for surgery (after I peed in a cup to confirm I wasn't pregnant).

They put me under with anesthetics, did the procedure in 5 minutes, and a half hour later, I was in the recovery room. We waited in there for another half hour until I could keep liquid down and I wasn't so disoriented, then Josh and a nurse helped me back to the car and we drove home. My instructions for the day were bed rest--and that if I listened and followed directions of doing nothing that day, that I would feel almost 100% the following day.

I slept on the drive home, and for several hours after we got home. Then I felt depressed all evening because I knew it was my birthday, and I wanted to do something special, but I was restricted to do nothing. The next day, I did feel a whole lot better--so I ended up overdoing it, and paid for it the following day when I was cramping and feeling sick and tired. The entire next week was like that: one day I felt fine, the next day I felt sick, repeat pattern. But during that week, I also got to celebrate my birthday in many ways: Josh took me out to eat at a nice restaurant one night, Kerry and I had dinner/movie night at her house, Amanda & Krissy took me out to karaoke & dancing with Josh & John, and the kids gave me some fun little gifts to open.

I feel so much better now, and I'm so grateful that I had my ablation surgery. I was so tired of all my health problems this past year: this was my 3rd surgery in less than a year (my body's falling apart at the ripe old age of 34!!!). I'm so grateful that I have health insurance, though, so the medical bills aren't too overwhelming. I am happy to feel healthy and whole again, and that's a great birthday gift to myself for sure! And I'm also glad to know that I survived the surgery and "will live to see another birthday"!!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ride like the Wind

Kanyon learned how to ride a bicycle this summer. He's never had any interest in years past to ride a 2-wheeler; he's always been satisfied with riding his tricycle. But in June that changed: we visited my brother Mick's family, and he rode his cousin Abby's 2-wheel bike with training wheels and loved it. He learned that he could go faster on a bike than he could his trike.
In July, he decided to try one of his brother's hand-me-down bikes. I put some training wheels on it, and he rode around our driveway, but he didn't like it. It's a lot harder riding on gravel than it is pavement and sidewalks! He figured it was just the bike that was causing him problems, because it wasn't going as smoothly as his cousin Abby's bike. I tried explaining the reasoning behind his constant tipping over, but he wasn't listening. He decided he would just try a different bike without training wheels. So, I lowered the seat of another hand-me-down bike from his older brothers, and helped him onto the bike. I held onto him as he rode down the driveway and back, but he was even more dissatisfied riding without training wheels. So, I promised him that I would take him to the church parking lot that week so that he could practice riding with training wheels on the concrete.
On the last day of July, we loaded up the boys' bikes into the truck and headed to the church parking lot in the evening. He practiced riding round and round the sidewalk and was feeling confident in his riding skills. So he declared that he wanted his training wheels off to ride his bike without them. Josh took the bike to his work (we didn't have the right tools with us) and took off the extra training wheels and the boys and I stayed at the church, laying in the shade waiting for him to return. When he came back, we were playing at the school's playground across the street. Josh helped Kanyon balance a little bit as he rode on his bike around the asphalt on the schoolyard, but he was getting frustrated that he couldn't keep it straight without help, so we took a break.  

About a half hour later, he was ready to try again, and this time, he did it without help. We were amazed at his abilities and how quickly he'd picked up the skill!

We took him back to the church parking lot a few days later to practice riding again on the concrete. He did so well, and he can now ride without a problem on the gravel. He's been riding his bike a lot since then, and he really enjoys it! He loves how much faster/easier it is to ride than his tricycle. It's been a delight to see him learn a new skill and watch how happy it makes him to master it!