Adventures in Wildness

Griffin turned 6 yesterday, and we had a fabulous camping-themed birthday party! We had an incredible time, and I could not have done it without Carson, Evan, and my incredible neighbor McKenzie. Bday parties are so much easier when you've got older kids and willing teenagers to help!

Party activities included:
  • T-shirt painting
  • Snipe hunt (complete with sleeping like a bear - I'm not sure why laying on your back represents this - but I didn't have to run this activity to I am NOT complaining, slithering like snakes, crawling under branches, growling like a mountain lion)
  • Feeding the Bear (tossed balls into the grizzlie's mouth - there's some pitching talent in this young gene pool!)
  • Cups O'Fire (tossed balls into cups decorated like fire)
  • Bug Hunt (hid bugs, snakes, lizards outside for party goers to find)
  • Presents
  • Dinner (hot dogs, chips, carrots, olives - all served in a metal pie plate - and bug juice)
  • Marshmallow Roasting
  • Cake (Of all the ones I've made, this is one of my favorites)
Whew! After the party Jon, the boys and I all went to a dollar movie. Even with help I was one tired mama! I slept until 11:30 today!

Each of my boys has had a party that I'm fond of. Carson - backyard water party. Evan - pirate party. Griffin - daytime camping fest.


Thank You, Rush Limbaugh

This morning I finished an incredible book: Winter Garden. This one is going on my top-10 list... My tears had subsided, but emotions were near the surface when I got a much needed call from my mother-in-law.

In December Jon's sister and her family got to have dinner with a famous talk show host. He and my brother-in-law had become friends during my BIL's tenure with the US Air Force. Here is what my BIL had to say about that evening.

We had the opportunity to spend an evening with Rush at his home in Palm Beach, Florida. We had a blast sitting around the dinner table talking and telling stories. The pictures were taken in front of the flag several of us flew for him during the Operation Iraqi Freedom air campaign. He comissioned a sculptor to create the bronze life-size Bald Eagle in front of the flag. It weighs 700 pounds!

Anyway - my MIL called to tell me that this generous host is sending his private jet to take Valerie, Ryan, and Jeff to Houston for Jeff's upcoming treatment. How cool is that?! Rush, thank you for providing excitement to a family that needs some positive vibe. You've brought me more tears on this sleety March morning.

My nephew, John, had surgery this morning to straighten his arm, and things went well with that. Hooray!

The oldest nephew in this family, Ryan, got his mission call yesterday. He's going to the Washington Everett, spanish speaking mission. Leaves at the end of May.

So good to have something happy to think about today!

P. 383 from my new dearest book contains the following:

And maybe that was how it was supposed to be, how life unfolded when you lived it long enough. Joy and sadness were part of the package; the trick, perhaps, was to let yourself feel all of it, but to hold on to the joy just a little more tightly because you never knew when a strong heart could just give out.


Abdominal Update

This morning my brother wised up and drove himself to the ER. Yesterday they ruled out pancreatitis, but last night he couldn't keep anything down - even water. He's lost about 35 pounds thus far, and his color is off (not yellow, not pale, not green. Just off). Today he gets to have another colonoscopy and an endoscopy. They don't think the kidney stone went away after it was blasted. They'll also be looking for other sorts of blockage. Ain't that a kick in the pants? I'm hoping that he gets to sleep through it all or be medicated enough to not mind it all so much.

Thanks for your words of comfort. I'll keep soaking them up.


Abominable Abdominal Arms

I have to apologize up front for this post. I typically try to be upbeat, somewhat humourous, positive, and a little quirky. Today you get nothing of the sort. Today you get maladies of the human body.

A couple of months ago I had an appendicitis attack. On a pain scale of 1-10, I'd rank it an 8. Woke me up at 4 am and didn't back off. Couldn't move most of the day and finally went to the doc on day 2. He sent me to the ER where I had a somewhat incompetent phlebotomist (I think that's what the guy was anyway) who started an IV so that I could have the contrast injected prior to my CT scan. 2 months later my elbow is still sore where he put that dang needle in. Findings? Slightly enlarge appendix (not enough to definitively declare appendicitis, but enough that it couldn't be ruled out either) but no elevated white cell count or other accompanying symptoms. Few weeks of bracing myself every single time I drove over our neighborhood's speed bumps, the pain disappeared.

Around this same time my brother started having painful abdominal occurrences. These were the result of multiple causes: Krohn's Disease, epididimitis, kidney stone, pancreatitis, etc. He hasn't been a comfortable fellow. Luckily (?), this week his test results came back normal. Same diagnosis: We have no idea what is wrong with you...

One of my favorite nephews was snowboarding last week, and he broke both arms. That's right folks, BOTH ARMS! This boy has already broken one of those arms twice. This was the first time he'd gone snowboarding since he broke his arm last year while snowboarding at Sundance. That Sundance trip had been his first snowboarding trip since he'd broken his arm at a board park in Albuquerque. The boy travels!

The older brother of the arm-broken boy is another of my favorite nephews, Jeffrey. Jeff is 16, has osteosarcoma, and lost his arm to this black monster a few months ago. Yesterday we got news that he has another growth/tumor in his arm pit - the lymph node - as well as spots on his lungs and heart. Don't know whether the lung and heart spots are related at this point, but another attack regime is starting immediately.  My brother-in-law described the lymph node as a train station. I imagine it sending out locomotives of rot on tracks to various unsuspecting destinations.

Oh the questions I have and the words are not falling in line to allow me to ask them. Pathetically, I'm going to end on that note.


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