Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The last entry of the year

I can't believe the year is almost over. It has been a pretty good year. My health has improved quite a bit, Stan is doing well at his job, the kids are healthy and happy. I have much to be thankful for. I consider myself very lucky.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. We did. The kids got very spoiled this year. We could actually afford more for Christmas than we have been able to in quite a few years, so I went a little crazy. We got lots of new Wii games and movies that the entire family can enjoy. The boys got some Nintendo DS games. Jeremy got some Imaginex play sets and Andrew got some new accessories for his bike. Rachael got a big docking station/speaker set for her iPod. Grandma and Grams (great grandma) got Jeremy a new bike since we have been trying to repair Andrew's old one and it has been a losing battle. He was very excited. Stan got a Nintendo DS along with several games and I got lots of jewelery, an extra battery and a new lens for Christmas.

The most important thing was that we got to spend the day together, enjoying each others company and being together. We played Mario Kart that evening after we got home from Grandma's house. It was so much fun to play together. We kept switching out since there are 5 of us and it is only a 4 player game. Poor Jeremy kept coming in last place, but he was having fun and didn't care at all. He was just having fun playing along with us. Here is a photo of us in our Christmas pj's. They coordinate with each other some, although you can't really tell from this photo. I'm taking the photo with the remote control I got for my camera. Maybe there will be more photos of me now that I can take them myself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow in December

I know it isn't much, but we got a little bit of snow last night. It didn't stick, but it looked cool. Here are a few photos I got of our "snow". It was the most noticeable on the car and the trampoline. There was just a little bit on the ground by the time I got out there with the camera.

I know those of you who live in areas of the country that regularly get snow are laughing at these photos. I live in Austin, Texas. Snow is not a common thing around here. I don't remember ever getting snow this early in the year even during the coldest winters. IF we get snow, it is usually in January or February. We will see what the rest of the winter brings us

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Crew's Journey

I stumbled across a blog that has really touched my heart. This is a blog about a tiny little baby named Crew. He was a twin born at 28 weeks. His twin brother passed away prior to birth due to twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Crew is fighting for his life now. He is progressing and doing really well for such a tiny little guy. I read this blog every day and I have added Crew to my prayers each day. You can read about him here. His mom is a digital scrapbooking designer also. The designers she sells with have created a kit to help the family pay for Crew's NICU cost, which will be huge, even with insurance. I didn't hesitate to purchase it. It is on sale at Plain Digital Wrapper. I'm posting about this on both blogs. This is a very worthwhile kit. It is huge and adorable.

When you say your prayers, please include Crew. He could use all the prayers he can get.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stories at Hand

I just completed a class at Jessica Sprague.com. It was about writing your personal history. When I first signed up, I thought it was going to be a digiscrapping class. It was more of a hybrid class as we had to build our prompt book using digital supplies she gave us. We created a prompt book that we then use to write out our personal history. Some of the prompts are things like "What was your first pet?" . You are suppose to read the prompt, then let your words flow. She encourages the use of things like blogs and digital journals, but I like the idea of it being in my handwriting. I am doing all of mine by hand. I may do some digitally on here if I run out of things to write about. I doubt that will happen with how busy my kids and life keep me, but you never know. I need to just work on posting here more frequently.

Today is Thanksgiving. We went to Emily's and spent the afternoon with Stan's family like we normally do. It was loud, but fun. The food was good, but I did my best to get just a little bit of the things I wanted and not waste the calories on anything I didn't love. I started eating some pumpkin cake, but it had a strange after taste by the time I got less than half way through, so I quit eating it. I made pies from scratch this year. I usually let Emily make the pies, but Andrew really wanted to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. We made it from an actual pumpkin and not from canned pumpkin. It was so good. It was much better than any pumpkin pie I have ever had. I will be making my pies like this from now on.

I feel totally blessed right now in my life. My MS has been under control, I'm feeling pretty good these days. Stan's mom is home from the hospital. Stan has a great job. Everyone is healthy and strong. I have a nice home, even though it is small. I have amazing children and a wonderful husband. We aren't hungry or cold. We have clothes. Most importantly, we have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and cares about me and my family. I have SO much to be thankful for. Life is good, even when it is hard, it is good.

I did find out today that Stan's family will be going their own way this year for Christmas. Emily and Frank will be going to Colorado, Ben and Wendy won't be doing Christmas (that is all we were told) and I'm not sure what Richard and Michelle will be doing. It will be the first time since Stan and I have been married that we haven't had most of his family together on Christmas. I'm sure we will go to his mom's house, but otherwise, it will be a nice Christmas at home. It will be kind of nice not to have to worry about going anywhere. I'll give Grace and Jacob their present early. I'll check with Michelle and find out what they are doing. I may give Faith and Samantha their present early also.

I have a ton of scrapbooking layouts to finish up this week. I have to have an entire book worths done by Friday. I won't elaborate on it any more than that, but I have about 15 layouts to get done. Monday, Rachael and Andrew both have physicals. Rachael's is in the morning and Andrew's is in the afternoon. Tuesday is our normal crazy day, with Grace being here in the morning, then Andrew has OT, then dance and scouts. Wednesday I should be able to get a lot done, and probably on Thursday also. Friday Rachael has to get a barium swallow done and I have Weight Watchers. Rachael is having trouble swallowing at times. She will be eating, then she will gag on her food and then feel like she is going to vomit. We have her on reflux medication, but it isn't getting better. She is going to see a pediatric gastro, but her appointment isn't until the end of January.

I had to go see the gastro 2 weeks ago. For about 4 months, I keep feeling like I am going to throw up. I had an EGD done on Monday (a camera down into my stomach) and they found that my stomach is not emptying like it should and I have a red, inflammed area on my esophagus. Aparently, I have been having reflux without the heart burn sensation. I used to have heart burn all the time, but it has been years, like since I was pregnant with Jeremy, since I felt like that. I have added 2 more medications to my growing pile of pills I swallow each and every day.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and that we can all remember those things we have to be thankful for all year round.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feeling old

I got an email the other day from a dear family friend of mine. Her son had just become a daddy for the first time. When I first moved to Austin, I started babysitting this boy and his older brother. Danny was almost 2 and Ben was 4 I think. Jera, their mom, was in the YW program and later was my YW president. We became very close. When she had her daughter, I was so close to her. I was her second mom. Part of that was because I ended up living with them for 6 months during a time when my own family was having a lot a troubles. The Parkers were my stability. Maegan and I shared a room when I lived with them. She was just a baby when I lived there. I gave her her first real hair do. She loved for me to do her hair, even when she was tiny.

I am so grateful for the time I had with the Parkers. I learned so much being around them. Their family life was so different than mine. My mom and Eugene loved each other, but they dealt with things my yelling. Even now, I think they yell when they are frustrated with each other. I was so amazed when I lived with the Parkers that they didn't yell at each other. When I get to my breaking point, I will yell and my kids, but most of the time, I don't yell. I don't yell at Stan either. It just isn't me. It always freaked me when my mom and Gene would yell at each other. I was sure they were getting a divorce when they started yelling. I would go for a walk and cry about it. I would come back home and they would be acting like nothing was wrong. I just didn't understand it. I didn't understand why you would yell so much at someone you were suppose to love so much. I still don't really understand it, but I know that it is just the way they are. It is their way of dealing with their frustration. I guess it works for them. It doesn't work for Stan and I. He didn't grow up with yelling. His parents never yelled at each other. I never saw them say a negative thing to each other.

Anyway, so now I feel old. I found blogs for Ben and his wife. Maegan has a blog but it is private, so I couldn't catch up with her. I do know that she has 2 babies, a girl and a boy. Ben has a baby girl and now Danny has a baby girl. I feel so old. I miss them all dearly. I really wish they hadn't had to move to Colorado. For those of you wondering where the Poppy came from in my title, this is a good time to explain. When Maegan was a baby, she couldn't say Patricia. What baby can? She started calling me Poppy. Prior to that, Danny had called me ti-a. I still get called Poppy or ti-a by the Parkers. Poppy is much easier to spell and have people know what it says. I will forever be Poppy and I will think of the Parkers every time I use it. It has actually become part of my user name on several forums. Poppy is frequently taken, so I have become Poppymom or Poppymom23. The reason for the 23 is because I am Poppy, mom to 3 kits-poppymom23. I know it is lame, but now you have it. I also use it for my email address.

I started an online class this week. It is called Stories in Hand. This is a free class done by Jessical Sprague. It has been so much fun. It is a hybrid project. I put together this book already. It is full of journaling prompts to write my life history. I have always wanted to do something like this, but never really new how to start. I plan on taking the book places with me so I can just write when I have the time, such as waiting for Rachael to get out of dance, waiting for a doctors appointment ( I have WAY too many of those unfortunately). I have enjoyed it so far. I need to do better about writing here.

My mother in law is finally home. She has been in the hospital and in rehab for about 2 month or more. We have really missed her. The rehab center was way on the other side of town, which made it hard to get over there. I think we are going to run over to see her before we get started on school. I need to go jump in the shower so I will end this post. My daughter would be reminding me that jumping in the shower is not safe, especially for me since my feet don't work right. She is just like her dad-She and Jeremy both have the Hodge sense of humor. Andrew does a little bit, but not as much as Rachael and Jeremy. For those of you who know my family, do you feel sorry for me? I am surrounding by that punny sense of humor, even from my 6yo. On Tuesday, Rachael told her dad that she hadn't gotten around to it when he asked about her math. He picked up my circle punch from the book I am working on, punched out a cirlce and wrote "to it" on the circle and gave it to her. Now she had a round "to it" so she didn't have any excuses. Bad isn't it-UUUGGGHHH!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our Halloween

We had such a fun day on Halloween. Stan works for Tokyo Electron. They take Halloween VERY seriously. I doubt much work got done on Halloween. They had a decorating contest between the different departments. Stan's area did a Dr. Seuss theme. His smaller area was assigned "How the Grinch stole Christmas". Stan was Max the dog. His boss, Mark Leverette, was the Grinch. Here they are in the costume contest. They didn't win, but Stan did get an award for the biggest ham. They gave him a refrigerator ham as his prize. I have no idea what we are going to do with it, but I will put it to use somehow.

Andrew managed to avoid my camera at the ward Trunk-or-Treating activity. This is the only photo I have of him in his costume. He dressed up as a ninja. He is standing in the Grinch cave they made at work as a part of their decorations. They really did go all out for this contest. I forgot to mention that they did get first place in the contest. Halloween is a favorite holiday among many of the employees there.

Jeremy went as Indiana Jones, in case you hadn't guessed. He made sure everyone knew who he was. I think he made a pretty cute Indiana Jones. My niece, Megan, is in the background. She is wearing her mother's wedding dress. I think her mom was pretty brave, especially since Megan is the biggest dirt magnet I have ever known.

I figured since Stan was going to be going straight to Trunk-or-Treating from work in his costume, then I would dress up to match him. My Grinch costume is not as good as Stan's boss costume. It took me forever to get that stuff out of my h air. I had to wash it twice. My hair was so stiff that it didn't move when I took the ponytail holder out.
Finally we have Rachael. She is Morticia Adams. We had to settle for the dress, so it isn't exactly as sexy as Morticia's dresses usually are. That's ok by me though. I don't like to see my daughter in anything sexy.
We had a fabulous Halloween. I hope you all did too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Busy month

This month has absolutely flown by. We have been so busy this month. The kids are so ready for Halloween. We finally have all of their costume stuff done. Now the only thing left to do for costumes is to get the pants for Stan's and I need to finish up his antler. His office is doing a theme this year for the costume contest at work. They are doing characters from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Stan was assigned to be Max the dog. He told me about it and said to keep my eyes peeled for a dog costume. I never saw one and asked him a few times what he had in mind for this costume. He procrastinated getting what he needed, so I have been running around trying to get his entire costume this week. He even had a 4 day weekend this past weekend and didn't do a single thing to get his costume ready. I have the antler almost finished and I need to make the ears. I found a brown sweatshirt on Wednesday, but no brown sweatpants. We need to hit the other Walmart tonight and see if we can find the sweatpants. After I take Rachael to dance, then I will finish up his antler and ears. He saw the ears he wanted last week but didn't pick them up.

Rachael is taking lessons from him this year. She has been telling me for months that she was going to be a pirate for Halloween. She decides a few weeks ago that she didn't want to be a pirate, but could not decide what she wanted to be. On Saturday night, she decided she was going to be Morticia Adams. We went to several stores trying to find the right dress. Her dress doesn't really look like Morticia's dress, but it will have to do. The dress we got is an adult witch dress, so it has some silver lacing on the bodice, and it is a full skirt rather than the form fitting skirts Morticia usually wears. We bought a long, black wig. She made me buy lice killing spray so she is sure she won't get lice from the wig. I think she is going to look great.

Andrew is going to be a ninja and Jeremy is going to be Indiana Jones. I had both of their costumes done by last Thursday. I am going to go to the church Trunk-or-treating as the Grinch so that Stan and I match. I bought a green sweatsuit, green face paint and green spray for my hair. I am going to buy green nail polish tonight just for added effect. I can't figure out what I am going to do about my feet though. I don't have any kind of green shoes and it is hard to find something that fits over my braces. I'll figure something out though. I'll post pictures after our Halloween activity tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wonderful weekend

This weekend, we had a stake conference. We have a new Stake President as of this morning. President Palmer and his counselors, President Kent and President Williams, were released. I will miss having them as our stake presidency. I will especially miss having President Kent visit our ward. I'm sure our new stake presidency will be wonderful. Our new stake president is President Spears. I don't really know him although I have met him once. I spent a week at girl's camp with his wife last year. She is an amazing woman. Any man married to her is most likely just as amazing. His counselors are President Rawlinson for the first counselor and President Trejo for his second counselor. I don't know either of these men, but I do know Sis Trejo just a little bit, again from girl's camp. I'm excited to get to know these men through their talks and presence in our stake.

We heard some wonderful talks this weekend. We had a visiting member of the First Quorum of the 70, Elder Hamula. We also had an area 70 here, Elder Villareal. They spoke at both the adult session and the session today. One of the things they talked about was the importance of unity. They also talked about going to the temple more. That is something Stan and I have been wanting to do anyway. We keep saying we want to go more, but then our schedule gets busy. We need to make a point to make our appointment and set our scheduled date to go to the temple early so nothing gets in the way. We have a very full schedule for the rest of the month already, so we won't be going in October, but I want to go in November. It would be wonderful to some day get a temple in Austin, but that won't happen until we keep the San Antonio temple so busy that they need to put another temple in the area. That isn't going to happen if we aren't doing our part. The Savior will come again and soon. It may not be soon to me, but it will be soon to our Heavenly Father. Our life is but a binking of his eyes. There is so much work still yet to be done in the temple. If we don't get this work done, then everything will be wasted. I can't assume that other people will do it. I need to do my part. I need to do as much work as I can. My goal is to go to the temple every 2 months. Since we are going to go to the temple in November, then I guess we are going to go in the odd months.

If you are a member of the church and you are reading this blog, I challenge you to go to the temple as often as you can. If you are not a member of the church, then I challenge you to learn as much as you can about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our trip to the coast

We went down to Corpus Christi this past weekend for a short family vacation. We had a great time. We rented a condo on the North beach in Corpus. We had to walk across the parking lot to be right on the beach. The weather was really nice. It wasn't too hot, but it was warm enough that we could swim in the ocean without getting cold. The water temperature was in the mid 80's and felt really good. I got to really break in my new camera. I took my Powershot as well as my Rebel. When we were on the beach, I had my Powershot with me. I didn't want to leave my Rebel sitting in my bag while we were in the water. My Powershot takes great photos still. I took a bunch of pictures at the aquarium and the art museum on Sunday. I used my Rebel then. Here are a few of the pictures I took this weekend. They are in no particular order and definitely not in the order they were taken.
This is a picture I took at the aquarium of the Bull shark that was in the big tank. I took this one with the Rebel. I tried a manual setting without a flash. I didn't want to use a flash and have it reflect off the glass. It turned out a little creepy, but cool.
Here are the dolphins. They were getting ready to do their show, which takes place right above the tank. I loved this shot. It looks really cool. I think I got better photos in the viewing area below the tank than I did during the show. I did get some with the dolpins in the air though.
Here is Jeremy in an observation bubble inside one of the tanks. He said it made him feel like he was in the water without getting wet.

Here is a picture of the Lexington at night. The Lexington has a nickname of the Blue Ghost. I don't know how it got that nickname, but because of that, they shine blue lights on the ship at night. You can see them quite a ways away. It looks neat and this photo doesn't do it justice.
Here is the sunrise from the balcony of our condo. It was very pretty. I wished I would have been down on the beach for those. Stan and I went down to the beach on Monday morning to watch the sunrise together and take pictures, but there was a lot of clouds in the distance and the sunrise was not as spectacular and colorful.
We went out to the National Seashore on Saturday. There was a lot of debris on the beach from Hurricane Ike. They had garbage bags available and everyone picked up trash along the beach until it got too heavy for Stan to carry. A lot of it was wet as it has just poured down rain. You can still see all the rain clouds in the background.
This photo is actually suppose to go the other direction, but Blogger keeps turning it and I can't figure out how to turn it back. I thought the footprints in the sand looked neat. There were no other prints on this area of the beach and it had just rained rather heavy, so Rachael's footprints were the only ones there.

This was actually taken the first day we were there, the first time they got into the water.Here are 2 pictures of my kids being eaten by a giant shark at one of the gift shops on Padre Island. We actually have a picture of Stan's dad that is very similar to this one. It may have even been at the same place, but I have to find it and compare. They really hammed it up for these photos. It was not planned that Jeremy would be playing dead when I took Rachael's picture. I didn't even notice it until we downloaded the camera. It makes Rachael's expression even funnier seeing Jeremy "impalled" on the shark teeth.

The kids already want to know when we are going back. We will probably go down next fall again. Stan is planning on doing the MS bike ride next year. That ended in Corpus on Sunday while we were there. The Cub Scout pack is going to the Lexington to spend the night in January also. I don't know if I will go yet. I have to call them and find out how accessable it is to the mildly disabled and how bad the beds are going to kill my already sensitive back.

We had a lot of fun, no one got hurt (I only got a mild sunburn, but no one else did) and there was very little fighting among the kids. We made some very good memories and I am so glad for that.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The best birthday present

My 39th birthday was on Tuesday. My husband surprised me with the best birthday present. He bought me a digital Canon Rebel XSi. I have been wanting a digital SLR camera for a long time. I didn't think I would get one for a long time. I have taken over 100 pictures in the 2 days I have had it. I have been reading the manual. I'm still in the auto part of the instructions. There are still buttons on there that I don't know what to do with. I am going to have so much fun learning how to use this. Stan had my camera ready to take pictures of me opening it. This is the second time he has surprised me with the camera I wanted. Now I have a list of accessories to go with it. It came with one lens, the 18-55mm lens. I want the 75-300mm lens next. It is the telephoto lens. Here is the layout I made from the pictures he took.

Andrew immediately asked if he could have my old camera. For now, I am holding onto it. I may need a camera that I can just throw into my bag. I also want it to take to the coast. I want the older camera for at the beach. I can more easily put it in my bag plus I don't want to worry about sand ruining it. I let them use it all the time anyway. I've let them both take 1 or 2 pictures with my new camera, but they have to put the neck strap on. I don't want them to drop it. It is a little bulkier than my older camera. Andrew loves to take pictures. He is going to be just like me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Adventures in driving

I have started teaching Rachael to drive. We had to do 6 hours of classroom portion, then she was able to get her learners permit. She got that on Thursday. Now, we are doing the driving part, and the rest of the classroom part together. On Friday, she drove for the first time. She was having a little bit of trouble getting used to the feel of the gas and the brake. She was putting too much pressure of them and would forget which was which. She also kept trying to use her left foot for the brake. The other thing she was having trouble getting use to was the steering. She would over turn as she went around the corners. I had her go around our little block a few times. There was no other cars driving on our street as she drove around the block. We were on our 6th and last time around. She seemed like she was starting to get the hang of it. I was wrong. She turned the corner from our street onto Elderberry. She turned a little too sharp and then hit the gas. She went up over the curb and I yelled "hit the brake". She took her foot off the gas, but couldn't think of how to hit the brake. She took our our neighbors mail box and almost ran into a bush. It scared the living daylights out of me. Stan and Rachael spent a few hours on Saturday fixing the mailbox for the neighbor. We are going to have the second driving lesson in just a little while. We are going to a big, empty parking lot where she can't hit anything-I hope! I'll let you know how it goes

As you all know, hurricane Ike went through Texas over the weekend. On Wednesday, they predicted that Ike would go right through Austin. The whole city was preparing for rain and high winds. We have this tree in our backyard that has been dead for quite a while. It is very sad. We used to have 2 huge maple trees right behind our house that provided lots of shade from the blazing afternoon sun. Bore beetles decided to make those trees their home until they killed them. By the time we knew they were there, the trees were dead. When the weather people were predicting 70 mph winds were coming, Stan decided the tree needed to come down. The last thing we wanted was for the gust of wind to blow it over into our house. Wednesday night, Stan called Justin, Ben and Jacob over and they moved the trampoline. On Thursday, Stan went and bought a chain saw the cut the tree down. It fell very easily. I am amazed it hadn't blown over already when I saw how dried out the wood was. There are huge cracks that go up the entire length of the tree. Stan is going to cut it up and use the wood for smoking meat. Maple makes really good wood for smoking chicken and pork. We will also use it to take to Cub Scout camp outs. We don't have a fire place, not that anyone needs one in Austin. Stan is going to spend the next week or so getting the tree cut up. Here is the tree laying across our backyard. After all of that perparation, all we got was 15 minutes of rain late Saturday night. UT postoned the football game, schools let out early on Friday and lots of people got ready for bad weather. It never happened. It was so hot over the weekend. I kept wishing it would rain to cool things off. It did cool off today. The temperature is very nice today. I like this kind of weather.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I can't believe it is September

WOW, this year has flown by. I can't believe it is already September. My September started off with a bad migraine. It just would not respond to my medication. My PCP gave me another medication to try, but that didn't really help either. They both just took the edge off. I emailed my neuro and she misunderstood my email and told me to do the same thing I was already doing. By the time they opened again on Tuesday, I had had a headache for more than 7 days and had been a migraine level for 3 days. I went in to see the neuro and they gave me a shot of Demerol/phenergan and another one of Toradol. I went home and slept for several hours, but the headache was still there. It was mild now though. By the next morning, it was migraine level again. I took some new medication the doctor had given me samples of. It wasn't going to work either. On Thursday, I went to the infusion center and got an infusion of phenergan, magnesium and then depakote. It felt so good to be headache free. It was the first time in 10 days.

I am trying really hard to get back on track with Weight Watchers. I gained 2 pounds this week. I wasn't really surprised. I didn't track for 3 days during the bad migraine and I ate whatever I wanted. I wasn't eating much at a time, but I guess I was snacking more than I should. I am going back to the basics. I have started measuring again and jouraling things as I eat them rather than doing all of my journaling at the end of the day. My friend Lynn and I are going to try to support each other daily. We are going to send each other our daily trackers and email each other when we are tempted or when we have a victory too. I am pretty pumped about this. I have been at the same weight for over a year. My WW leader keeps telling me that this is good considering all that has happened in the past year. That isn't enough any more. It was for a while, but I am ready to lose more. I also feel so much better when I am eating healthy. Plus, my blood sugars are under control and I need to keep them that way.

Rachael is so excited to be back at dance. She went to VIR auditions on Tuesday and started VIR on Thursday. VIR stands for Visions in Rhythm. It is a pre-professional, apprentice dance company. They have a new director this year and she wants to do a lot more community performances than we did last year. Rachael is excited about the work they are doing. She is loving all of her classes this year.

It looks like I am going to be the Tiger Cubs den leader this year. None of the other moms have stepped up to the plate to volunteer. I am going to talk to them and see if any of them would be willing to fill in if I cannot be there. As long as the other moms or dads would be willing to fill in at the last moment, then that is fine. I am actually excited about doing this with Jeremy. The Tiger requirements are pretty easy so I don't think we will have any trouble getting them all done quickly. They are pretty fun also. Jeremy is so excited to be starting Scouts.

My MIL has moved to rehab. I don't know if I have posted about this before, but she had to have emergency surgery for an abscess. They abscess had started at her artificial hip, so that had to be removed and a c-block that was infused with antibiotics was placed. She will be in rehab for at least 4 weeks. She is determines to not leave there until she is walking. She is so determined. I wish I could have even a little bit of that determination. I often think that I would have given up by now if I were in her shoes. She is a constant example to me.

I was going to post some new photos, but I can't get this computer to recognize my SD card. I need to go figure that out. I'll post some photos when I get it working. My computer has been a mess this week. Stan turned the power off last Friday to fix the garbage disposal. My computer was in the middle of updating Windows at that time, so it corrupted. We had to wipe my computer and start all over again. It has been a mess.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's too early

I can't believe I am wide awake in the middle of the night. This is going to make the day VERY long. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to sleep. I have a sinus infection (I think-nurses are so bad at diagnosing themselves) and I am so congested that I am having a hard time sleeping. I got up with the intention of sleeping in my recliner, but now I can't fall asleep. I figured I would take advantage of the quiet and my ability to freely type. Lately, if there isn't a cat in my lap, then Jeremy is there. Sometimes, both Lucky (the cat) and Jeremy occupy my lap at the same time. I try to take advantage of those times that Jeremy wants to snuggle. Being only 5'1", I don't have a very big lap, so I don't know how much longer Jeremy is going to fit into it. I also don't know how much longer he is going to want to snuggle.

When I last updated, I was getting ready to take Rachael to a friends house. That turned into quite the adventure. The sleepover was at the married sister of Rachael's friend. This married sister also happened to be the director of the Savior of the World play. Her sister, Rachael's friend, was converted because of her sister's involvement in the play. I thought that was cool. She lives in Lakeway, which is about 20 minutes north west of Austin. It is a beautiful community out by Lake Travis.

I really should have listened to the little voice inside my head before we left that said "get better directions". Initially, I only had an address, but the community was not on Google maps yet. We then got directions from a teenager who doesn't drive. There are a few non-driving teenagers who can give good directions. Rachael's friend Megan is one of those. This was not one of those. We are driving on Hwy 620, looking for the street into the subdivision on the left hand side of the road. They are all well marked. We go completely through Lakeway and beyond. When we reach Mansfield Dam, I tell Rachael to call and see if we are suppose to be this far. We aren't. She gives us more detailed directions from where we are. As we get back into Lakeway, Rachael says to look for the entrance of the subdivision on the left. Wait a minute-it was suppose to be on the left the first time, so shouldn't it be on the right now? We call back and she says the entrance will definitely be on the left. I had not paid any attention to the right hand side of the road on our way through Lakeway. I also discovered that she gave me the name of the subdivision and not the street name, even though she gave street names for every other turn we were suppose to make. The subdivision name was hard to see because there were cars blocking it at the stop light. We did finally get there and Rachael had a great time at her sleepover. They stayed up all night. She couldn't be pranked my Andy this time either. He was at a scout campout and he didn't know how to get to this house anyway. He has pranked almost every sleepover Rachael has been at since they started liking each other.

After I finally got Rachael where she needed to be, it was almost 8pm. Jeremy and I were going to meet Stan for dinner. We ate at Jason's and got done at 9pm. We let Jeremy get a game at Hollywood video. We used some of the disability back pay to get a Wii for the family, so we picked up a Wii game. We also got a Wii Fit for the family recently. That has been a blast. I really need to be better at doing it every day. The activities really do give you a lot of exercise and I can do a lot of them. The balance exercises have been great at improving my stability. That is one of the biggest reasons I wanted the Wii and the Wii Fit. Some of the balance exercises are exactly like the ones I did at physical therapy. They are way more fun that the home program exercises they gave me. I think I'll let the Wii Fit become my physical therapist for now.

I have been given an award. My sweet friend, Corine, gave me this award. Corine recently moved to Hawaii. Her blog is so much fun to read. She is a way better writer than I am. She really should write a book. She said she would if she got 403 people to comment on a specific entry. Go to her blog and check out that entry and leave her a comment. I would love to see her write that book that I know she has in her. You can find that entry here.

Speaking of books, I have spent way too much time reading lately. I have a hard time being a casual reader. When I start a book, I let it suck me in. I don't get anything done until the book is finished. That is why I will go months without reading a book even though I love to read. My current favorite author is Stephanie Meyer. I started off with her Twilight books. I had the first 3 from my SIL. I read them in about 2 weeks, but only because I took a few days off in between books. I bought the 4th one the day it came out. They were fabulous. I just finished her other book "The Host" on Saturday night. I was up until 1am finishing it. I was sobbing like a baby all through the last few chapters. It is amazing I could read through the tears. Then she played a mean trick on the readers. The book ends, then there are about 3 blank pages, THEN she puts the epilogue. I really thought it ended in that sad way. I could understand 1 blank page, but 3!!! I almost closed the book, but there were so many pages after the end. I though they might be a bio about the author, but I checked them out anyways and was glad I did.

So, if you are looking to get completely wrapped up in some good books and completely ignore your chores and your family (not really), then there are 5 Stephanie Meyer books I can recommend to you. The Twilight books are pretty well known, but I don't know how many people have heard of The Host. Check it out. You won't regret it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tagged again

I have been tagged so many times lately that I can't even keep up with it anymore. The past 3 tags have been repeats of tags I have done in the past 3 months, so I didn't do them. Sorry. One of the designers I CT for tagged me with this one. This one is completely different from anything I have done before so I thought it would be interesting to do this one. This tag is called Pregnancy Bumps.

Preggy Facts:

1. Who did you first inform about your pregnancy and how?
All 4 times I told my husband first. I was boring and just called him to tell him. The next person I called was probably my mom. I remember with my 2nd and 3rd pregnancy, I also called my best friend, Lisa. We tried for a year to get pregnant with our second child only to have my 2nd pregnancy end in miscarriage at 7 weeks, but I got pregnant again very fast.

2. Maximum weight?
I won't tell you my weight, but I gained 38# with the 1st, 13 # with the 3rd and 60# with 4th pregnancy

3. Cravings?
1-Coffee rolls from Dunkin Donuts
4-nothing specific

4. Aversions?
1-baked potatoes-I didn't eat them for 5 years after that pregnancy
3-anything sweet
4-it was something different every week it seemed

5. Morning Sickness?
yes, but mild and stopped by the 13th week

D Day Facts:
1. Number of Kids/Deliveries?
3 children, 4 pregnancies

2. NSD or CS?
All 3 were normal vaginal deliveries. All 3 were natural childbirth.

3. Girl or Boy?
girl, boy, boy

4. AOG (age of gestation) on Birth?
34 weeks after 1 week of bedrest in the hospital
36 weeks after 6 weeks of bedrest and in the hospital 4 times
37 weeks after 14 weeks of bedrest and in the hospital 9 times

5. How long in labor?
I am not counting all of the times I was in preterm labor. I am only counting the time I spent in labor that lead to my actual delivery.
1-3 hours
2-miscarriage at 7 weeks
3-4 hours
4-1 hour

I'll try to post an update later. I need to get ready to take Rachael to a friends house for a sleepover.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Savior of the World

The youth of our Stake just finished putting on the play, Savior of the World, last week. It was a pretty incredible experience. I was back stage quite a bit during rehearsal and then during the dress rehearsal and the first performance. I got to see the entire play in it's completion on Saturday with Stan and the boys. It was so good. I was in tears off and on throughout the entire play. The girl who played Mary was so talented. The music was beautiful.

Here is a layout I did with a few of the photos I took this past week. Some of them were taken by other people throughout the month during rehearsals. The youth started working on this in November, so a lot of time went into this production. I'm glad I was only our ward's coordinator and I wasn't in charge of the entire thing. It was a little overwhelming just to help. It is something I will never forget though.

Things are getting a little better with my health. My MS seems to have stabilized, at least for now. I never know when it will show it's ugly head. I am hoping I have been on the Avonex long enough that I won't have a flare for quite a while. There are people on Avonex that don't have flares for 2 years. I can only hope for that. I haven't gone more than a few months without a flare so far.

I went to the orthotics place last week. I had to get fitted for a new AFO for my left foot. I also tried out the Walk-aid while I was there. It worked this time. I couldn't get one though. When they called me in April to try it out, they told me that insurance companies were paying for them now. When I went last week to get fit, they told me that a few insurance companies were paying for them, but I would have to get pre-authorization, then I would have to pay for it myself and then get reimbursed by my insurance company. I was so upset with them. Each device is $5,000, and I need two, one for each leg. Who knows how long that is going to take. Hopefully one day that will be the treatment of choice for foot drop rather than the AFO I currently have to wear to keep my foot from dragging.

My diabetes is getting more under control. I have been really careful with my diet. I am still on insulin, but I am hoping I can try diet only when I see the endocrinologist in 2 weeks. My PCP wanted me to decrease my insulin from 4 units to 2 units and my body didn't like that sudden drop in the dose. I went down to 3 units for a while and then decreased it to 2 units after my blood sugars were normal for close to a week. I have been on 2 units for 2 days. My blood sugars have been elevated today, but I'll give them another day or two before I go back up to 3 units. I have been so tempted to see how I do without any insulin at all, but I should probably listen to doctor's orders.

The kids are all doing well. We started school back up again. They aren't really thrilled about that. Rachael is doing driver's ed. We are half way through the first section, then she can get her permit. We need to add her to the insurance first though. She is also registered for dance classes again. She is going to be a teaching assistant in a 5-6 year old basic combo class. She is really excited about this. Andrew has been talking about playing a sport this year, but he doesn't know which one. Stan is going to start doing some training on his bike. He wants to be able to ride from San Antonio to Corpus Christie next year for the MS bike ride. Andrew wants to start riding with him in the morning when he does. I think it will be really good for him and give him and Stan a chance for some time together. It will also give Andrew something besides video games to focus on. Jeremy is his same happy self, although he and Andrew have been fighting more than ever. I guess that is what brother's do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Officially disabled

I have been struggling to deal with my own disability since the beginning. At first, it was hard to accept that I may be permanently disabled. As time went on, it was obvious the disability was permanent. However, then the long term disability company denied my disability not once, but twice. Their basis for denial was that I had no diagnosis. I even called them back once I got a diagnosis and they wouldn't allow me to reapply unless I had gone back to work. Seton wouldn't let me go back to work because I was no longer capable of doing my job. I was stuck. The disability company said I was able to do my job and my employer says I was not able to do my job. That left me wondering if maybe I could do more than I thought I could. I wondered if maybe I could work in a doctors office again. Then I thought of how I felt when I had a very busy day. I was never as busy as I would be if I worked 8 hours. I was useless the next day if I had a very busy day. I could only work one day before I would need one off. That wouldn't work. Plus, some days are better than others. It was an internal struggle. I really needed to start owning my disability.

It took me a while to apply for state disability. Part of it was because I didn't have the energy to fight. I had heard story after story of people having to fight for their disability. I had also heard of many stories of people getting their disability approved yet they were perfectly capable of working. I decided in April to go ahead and apply. I was prepared to get denied the first time. I was prepared to have to hire a lawyer and appeal the decision.

I got a call yesterday. Andrew tells me it is the disability people. My stomach jumped in my throat. She told me that my disability had been approved. I was shocked. She proceeded to process the application for my children over the phone. I had no idea my children would get benefits too. They each get money sent each month to be used for food, clothing, etc. For now, we are going to put that money in a savings account and use it only when we have to. We can save for college, and then use it if something big comes up such as one of them needing braces or something like that. The best part is that they are going to pay 1 years back pay. After we get that, we are paying off our car and we will be completely debt free except our house payment. I still can't believe it.

It is a huge weight off my shoulders to know that my family will be taken care of financially. I didn't ask to have MS. Prior to this MonSter moving into my body, I took care of my family physically, emotionally and financially with the help of my husband. I can still take care of them emotionally and physically, but I can't take care of them financially any more. With inflation, it is very hard to be a single income family anymore. Even within the church where it is more common to stay home, more and more moms are having to work part time to help make ends meet. I have always dreamed of being a stay at home mom and now is my time. I am so grateful that my prayers have been answered.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm much better

It has been quite a while since I updated this blog. Things are going much better for me know. I had to do IV then oral steroids for my MS flare. I have finished both now. I can move my toes, but my left foot is still weak and I still have the foot drop. I am walking better though. I am a lot slower that I used to be and I have had to move to a quad cane. I was thinking I was going to have to start using a walker though, so I am grateful for the quad cane. The week of girls camp, I actually ditched the cane and was able to walk without it for about 2 weeks. I guess it was 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I'm not sure if I can still expect some improvement or it this is as good as it is going to get. I'll see Dr Westgate in about 9 days, so I will ask her about it then. In addition to the foot drop on my left, I have increased spasticity on the right. I have had the spasticity for quite a while, but it got worse with the flare. Along with the steroid treatment came steroid induced diabetes. Right now, we are just monitoring my blood sugars. I am getting more and more normal levels the longer I have been off steroids. About half of my levels are higher than the normal range, but they are getting closer to normal every day. My last really high level was on Thursday when it was 209. Today, my high was 141, so much better than 209. I hope they continue to get better. I would hate to have to add diabetes to my MS. I will know to watch my blood sugars a lot closer the next time I have to do steroids. I wish I could say there wouldn't be a next time, but that isn't exactly realistic.

I have a new niece. Emily had her baby on Wednesday morning. My new niece is Katelyn Emily. She was 7 pounds 4 ounces. Emily brought her down to see grandma today. Stan took the kids over there to see the new baby. I had a migraine, so I stayed home. Here are Rachael and Jeremy with Katelyn. Andrew has never been that interested in babies, so I doubt he got too close to her. Jeremy LOVES babies.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The MonSter strikes again

I am officially having my second major MS flare this year. I was sitting in my recliner with my feet up, doing some designing on Tuesday. I noticed that both of my feet were asleep. I always have some numbness and tingling to my right lower leg, but this was a lot worse than usual. I started moving my legs around to "wake" them up. I noticed that the toes on my left foot wouldn't move and I had a foot drop on the left. I had to calm myself down. I could feel the "freak out" building within me. I went and layed down on my bed for a few minutes to figure out what I was going to do. DUH!!! I need to call the doctor. I don't know why it took me 20 minutes to think of that. I had just seen the neuro last week and she went on and on about how good I looked. I went back into the doctor yesterday. When I saw her last week, she discussed the possibility of this being Devic's syndrome since I have had so many episodes of optic neuritis. She ordered an antibody test for Devic's. This antibody shows up in 70% of Devic's patients. She also wants to repeat the MRI of my spine. We are hoping something will show up at some point, but I am not holding my breath. It will probably be normal again. Most people pray for normal results, but not me. I am past that. I just want something to show up to give us proof of what is going on. I want to be able to say "nanny, nanny boo boo" to all of those doctors that said there was nothing wrong with me.

Tomorrow, I will start IV steroids again. I have to do 5 days this time, then do a 9 day oral taper. I am not looking forward to this. I just had to talk to the insurance company about this. The home health company told me they were denying to authorize this because I had already had it this year. When I called the insurance company, what they actually needed was clinical symptoms. All they had was that it was an MS exacerbation. I told them my symptoms and they said that met the criteria so it should be approved soon. Having to do the steroids is bad enough, but having to fight to be able to do them is awful. It's not like this is something that makes you feel good. Who would want this if they didn't absolutely need it?!? I should be able to start the steroids as scheduled tomorrow morning. I now need to pray really hard that it works and I get my sensation and movement back. I really don't want to have to wear an AFO on both legs.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Girls camp

We have survived another year at camp. It was challenging, but worth it. Things started to go downhill on Saturday. Our van bit the dust Saturday evening. I was suppose to drive to and from camp. We found out that the stake did not need my van to take girls and we arranged other drivers for the drive home on Saturday. First hurdle crossed. Dad was here visiting and leaving for Alabama on Monday morning. He drove Aashlie and me out to camp on Monday. It was nice to ride with him and get a few extra time to talk. Stan and Bryon got the van working on Monday for a fraction of the cost as it would have cost at a garage.

When I got to camp on Monday, the camp director told me that I would not have a golf cart to use this year because it was broken. I almost freaked. I explained to her that I needed to be able to get to the girls if they are injured. Plus, I was only able to go to camp because I had access to the cart to get around. I don't have the stamina or the range of motion in my leg to be able to walk all over the place. I spoke with Sis Toler and Sis Hollingsworth about the issue and they spoke with the head camp director. They borrowed a golf cart from another camp and had it to me by Tuesday afternoon. I let it charge and started driving it after dinner. It was good timing too because not long after that one of the Kyle Stake girls slipped on the gravel and injured her ankle. I thought it was broken. After going to the ER and getting an x-ray, it was badly sprained. She wanted to stay, but was in too much pain by the next day so she went home. They also came and told me on Wednesday night that I could not be in the cart after dark. I explained to them that I had girls with injuries that needed to be brought back up from the amphitheater and our schedule was already set so that we did not get back up until after 10pm each night. I told her that I would be very careful and would only use the cart after dark to get the girls back up to their camp sites and then for emergencies. She said that was fine, but then a sign showed up on my cart on Friday afternoon stating the carts could not be used after 9pm. I talked to the camp person that was placed in charge of our group and he said to just use it. Sherri and Kris were going to discuss this with them when they settled things for next year. I want to be prepared for next year. If I am not going to have access to the cart to get girls up from the amphitheater after dark, I need to know about that. I will have to arrange something else. I am going to have to trust in the Lord that he will arrange things to work out. In total, I sent 2 girls to the ER, one for stitches in addition to the ankle injury. I also almost had to call EMS when one of the leaders broke out in hives and was having a little bit of wheezing. I gave her 50mg of Benadryl and things started improving after about 15 minutes. If at any point she had told me she was feeling worse, then I would have called EMS. It was scary.

There were lots of girls that were dehydrated, had heat exhaustion and were depleted of electrolytes. It was a lot of work having 2 stakes of girls there. I ran non stop the entire week. The Kyle stake was on a different schedule that we were, so I got calls on my cell phone during the testimony meeting, during a fireside and during the Hill Country ward skit. Some of them were for very simple things because they were us at the cafeteria and that is when the girls go to the office for the simple things. It was embarrassing for my phone to go off in the middle of a spiritual moment though. I know everyone understood though. They knew I wasn't just getting calls from friends. They knew it was a call to take care of someone. If it hadn't been my cell phone, it would have been the walkie-talkie.
Here is a picture of Rachael when she got back from her hike. I didn't notice that her eyes were closed. DARN!!! She had a great time on her hike. They went rock climbing and she loved that. During the hiking part, they hiked in 3.5 miles, set up camp and did dinner. They made pasta with alfredo sauce. I never ate that well on a camping trip. When they were hiking back out, the girls were exhausted and over heating. They sent the priesthood back to get the girls with the truck. Rachael was getting close to the end and refused to get into the truck. She said Andy would never let her live it down if she didn't finish the hike. He would have called her a wimp. She did the entire hike with her pack on the entire way. I was told she never complained. She had a few blisters when she got back. She didn't break her boots in before the trip. She had lots of bug bites as usual and she was really tired, but she would do it again in a heart beat. She is already planning on doing the hike when Aashlie does her 4th year hike. Now that she is officially a JC, she is planning on doing the 1st years next year and she wants to be Jessica's JC and then be Aashlie's JC on her 4th year. She is going to make a great JC. Sis Leese was excited that she was finally "hers". She is going to be a pro since she has been there on Monday the past 2 years.

Here is Rachael just before the carnival on Thursday. They had the 4th years leading the girls with songs while the rest of the JCs got things ready for the carnival. Rachael said the other girls didn't want to listen to the 4th years since they weren't really JCs. She was good though. She got really into the songs while she was leading them. She even lost her voice because she was trying to sing above all of them.

This is Rachael's new boyfriend. In the carnival, they did "pin the tag on the missionary". They had some games that were church related such as this one and name the church song, "Who said" where you had to say which prophet said each thing and lots of others. They got a punched ticket for that. They had other games such as bowling, tattoos, piercings, hoola-hoop, etc. They got non punched tickets with that. They periodically took girls out of the carnival. Those girls were "dead". If they had piercings or tattoos, they had to remove them and repent. If they had at least 15 punched tickets, they got to go on to the iron rod (a rope strung tight between the trees). They were dressed in white and blindfolded while they walked along the iron rod. Along the way, they had some of the JCs trying to trick the girls into letting go of the iron rod. Vanessa Sellers was one of the tempters. She convinced Rachael to let go of the rod because there was a big ant hill in front of her. There wasn't one there, but Rachael let go just in case. She had to repent to get back to the iron rod. It was a neat activity. I didn't go the iron rod, but I really enjoyed listening to the girls all talk about their experiences. At the end, there was a tree covered with white Christmas lights for the Tree of Life. The girls got these ornaments made from tissue paper pressed into a picture of the Salt Lake Temple. They were so fragile though. Most of the girls had theirs rip before they even got them back to their tents. I don't know how anyone got them home. The JCs sang some songs from Jenny Phillips that went with this years theme. Our theme was "Walk in his Path". The Kyle stakes theme was "Shine like a Star" or something like that. The songs actually fit with both themes.

It has become a tradition for Rachael and I to have our picture taken together after the water fight. We did this one before either one of us got wet. Right after that, Rachael dumped a cup of ice water over my head. Most of the girls didn't stick around for the water fight. After the certification relay, they were allowed to swim so most of them took off for the pool. I was disappointed there wasn't much of a water fight. They had the water slide again. Sis DeLeon tried to go down it but she didn't get a good enough run. The girls had to pull her down the slide. It was really funny.

Thanks for reading through my very long post. A lot happened last week and I only scratched the surface. It was a long, hot week with lots of trials but lots of joy. Give me a week to recover and I will be ready to go back. Somehow, the Lord takes care of me when I am at camp. I have fewer MS symptoms while I am at camp. The foot drop is still there, but the pain is gone and the fatigue is better. I actually didn't have to use my cane all last week. I lost my balance a few times, and I tripped once and bruised up my knee badly. I wonder if I would have fallen if I had been using my cane. I'll never know.

Corrine tagged me with a photo tag. I am too tired to do it right now so I will do it later. I promise I won't clean anything up before I take the pictures.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The start of another crazy week

This week is going to be nuts. Tonight, Rachael had dance class and then my brother and his family came over to celebrate Brandon's birthday. He turned 6 on Saturday. They were only here for a short time, but that is OK. I am so tired just from all of the stuff I have been trying to get done today. I did a ton of laundry, got some of the kitchen cleaned, got my disability application complete and ran a bunch of errands. We had to go pick up some supplies for the cross over tomorrow night.

Tomorrow night, we have a cub scout cross over. Andrew will become a Webelos 2. Jeremy gets to cross into Tiger cubs. He is so excited. He has wanted to be a Cub Scout since he turned 6 on January. During the day tomorrow, Andrew has a dentist appointment and I have to go get Rachael some black tights for her dance show on Thursday and Friday.

On Wednesday, Rachael has to be at dress rehearsal from 5:30 to 9pm. She will miss YW, but that is unavoidable. Andrew is going to have to miss church scouts (it is confusing, don't ask LOL) because Stan has to be at the Stake center for his stewardship interview with the Stake President. During the day on Wednesday, I have weight watchers in the morning, then a GYN appointment in the afternoon. I am hoping to have a good WW meeting. Last week, I had gained 3.4 pounds, which was not surprising considering all the junk I ate and the multiple BBQ trips we made while my dad was here.

Thursday and Friday we have Rachael's end of year demo. Stan and the boys will go on Thursday, but not Friday. On Friday, they have a Father/Son campout for church. The boys look forward to this every year. We thought it was going to be next weekend. The Elder's Quorum is in charge of breakfast on Saturday. Rachael is not worried about them missing the demo on Friday since they saw some of these dances at her VIR show a few weeks ago.

Since they will be at the camp-out on Saturday, I get to go down to San Antonio with Rachael on Saturday. I figure since we are going to go down anyway, I'll fill the van with as many of the VIR girls as I can. I am most worried about the trip home. I will have lots of them in the car to keep me awake though, so I don't have to worry about falling asleep on the way home. I know I am going to be dead tired though.

With the crazy schedule of the week, I decided we were not going to do school work on Friday. Instead, I am going to take the kids to see Prince Caspian at the theater. We took the boys to see Ironman on Saturday. They asked if we were going to see Prince Caspian that day. Rachael would have been so mad if we had seen that without her, especially since she is the only one that has read all of the books. My MIL might go with us if she feels up to it. She gets stronger and stronger all the time.

So, there was my boring post summarizing my not so boring week.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Up to my ears in BBQ

My dad is here from Idaho. They just don't have great BBQ in Idaho. Texas has some of the best BBQ in the country. Whenever he comes down, we always go out for BBQ. We used to always go to Salt Lick. About 2 years ago, we introduced him to Rudy's. They are both great BBQ, just different styles. Rudy's sauce is spicy and Salt Lick's is sweet. On Monday, we went to Salt Lick. We had to roll out of there. They have an all you can eat family style dinner. This morning, I was talking to my dad about making dinner for everyone since it is his last night here. He offered to take us to Rudy's so I didn't have to cook. BBQ twice is one week is hard on a body without a gall bladder. It was so worth it though. I love BBQ. My dad leaves tomorrow and I will really miss him.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


This may truly be ramblings too. I could not sleep last night and so I have only had about 4 hours of sleep today. Please forgive me if I ramble.

Rachael's dance show went really well. The bio-boards got all done in time for the show and they were a big hit. Tasha loved her book and several other mom's want the info on ordering one for themselves. Rachael danced so well. My dad is here from Idaho and got to see her dance. He always seems to enjoy watching her dance. Aashlie and Jessica got to come. They don't always get to come to her shows. Aashlie was going to figure out a way to go even if she had to pay for herself. Amira and Andy also went. On the way home, Andrew and Jeremy rode with grandpa. In the van, I had Rachael, Amira, Aashlie, Jessica and Andy. WOW, it was loud in the car. Andy and Amira constantly pick on each other.

On Sunday, I made chicken Parmesan with pasta and marinara. Margie and the kids came over for dinner. I figured if I had several dinners for everyone at my house, then my dad wouldn't feel like he was having to chose between the 2 places. Bryon didn't tell me he had to work on Sunday. When I told him Dad was coming, he told me he was off on Sunday and Monday. His schedule got changed around but he didn't let me know it did. That is pretty typical of my brother.

Last night, we all went to the Salt Lick for dinner. It had been years since I had been there. I forgot how good it is. The last few times my dad was here, we went to Rudy's. They are both some of the best BBQ I have every had, but they are just a little different. Rudy's is spicy and Salt Lick is sweet. I do like the sides at Rudy's better though. I love their cream corn. I was so full after dinner last night. I don't know how my brother walked out of there. He ate about 10 times what I did. I do have to be a little careful when eating BBQ though. My body doesn't always like it since I don't have a gallbladder.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Busy life

Now that May is almost here, life is going to get crazy. You would think that things would not be so nuts since we homeschool. We don't have the end of school stuff. Yet, we do. Rachael's dance troupe is getting ready to do their spring show. Their show will be on Saturday. They have tech rehearsal all week. They will rehearse from 6pm to 10pm Monday through Thursday this week. On Saturday, they have to be at St. Stephen's at 4:30. This is just for Visions in Rhythm, her pre-apprentice dance company. Then, her regular academy classes will start having rehearsal for their end of year demo. After the end of year demo, then she has a performance in San Antonio with RPM Tap Ensemble on the 24th.

In between all of this dance stuff, we will start having a lot more practices for Savior of the World. She is actually going to miss one practice because of the RMP show. They will be blocking the second act at that rehearsal. She is at least familiar with blocking so she should catch on pretty fast. Yesterday, she went to the first practice for the women's ensemble for the play. I can start to see the youth being more and more excited about the play. They are starting to have more practice sessions. I think it is seeming more real to them. It is more than just these Wednesday night practices of all of this complicated music. I'm glad that there has been less complaining about the music. It has helped that they had practice with the choir director for the entire stake so they could get some of their questions answered. Some of the girls were having trouble with how high some of the music was, but I was instructed to teach them a certain part. It was not in my power to teach them something different. There was also complaints that the orchestra was going to play with the CD and not just be a full orchestra on their own. Again, this was not within my power to change as I was not in charge of the orchestra. This decision was based on the recommendation of the General Authorities in Salt Lake. Who am I to argue with General Authorities? I haven't heard as many complaints, so I am glad of that. I really hope that they are feeling the spirit behind this play. This play is an inspired work. I feel so honored that I can be a part of this play. I hope each youth feels as fortunate.

On Friday, Stan and the boys went camping. They had to come home though. We got a bad storm through Austin. Stan was going to stay, but he and the boys were the last ones there except the pack leader. The pack leader couldn't leave them because it was on base so he had to stay. Stan and the boys ended up coming home so that Mr. Lloyd could come home. We seem to have bad luck with camp outs this year. One has been canceled for a bad storm. It was suppose to be nice for the next one, but it turned very cold and the boys got their Polar Bear patch. The boys did get to ride around in a Hum-V before they went home. This is the real thing. These are nothing like the Hummers you can buy at the dealers. The helmets were required during the ride. They boys said they felt like bobble head dolls. The helmets weigh over 4 pounds each.

Friday, April 25, 2008

American Idol

I know a lot of people blog about AI. I figured I would join the crowd. This past week on AI was one of my favorite themes ever. I have never understood when Simon would say something was a Broadway performance and mean it in a negative way. Those Broadway songs are so much harder than the pop songs they want these guys to sing. Andrew Lloyd Weber is such an amazing composer. I love Broadway plays. I have never seen one in real life though. I have only seen the versions they put out on DVD. We have just never had the money to go to the real thing, even when they come to Austin. We definitely don't have the money to go to New York City.

My favorites on American Idol have changed as the season progressed. I have always liked David Cook, but he wasn't my favorite. In the beginning, it was a toss up between Brook and Carly. Carly started to really pull ahead of Brook though. I like Brook when she is singing the Carly Simon, ballad type songs. I felt bad for her when she had to start over. She sounded so shaky at first, but then pulled it together. She is the "Vote for the Worst" candidate, so I think that saved her. I really don't agree with the whole "vote for the worst" thing, but that is a whole different post. Carly does really well with the big, powerhouse rock songs like Heart. I love Heart. I am still shocked that Carly went home this week. I think she will get a recording contract.

David A has a really pure, beautiful voice. He has good control over it and stays on tune really well. He is boring though. Sorry David A. All of his songs start to sound the same. The only song that really stood out for me this year was "Imagine". I can't remember anything else he sang this season. He is "forgettable" like Simon likes to say.

Seyesha is just kind of there. I think she really did shine this week and I think she could have a great career on Broadway.

Jason Castro. He has just got to go. His voice is just so so. He was HORRIBLE this week. I hate his dreads too. The only thing I can say is he has nice eyes. His attitude this week of "I don't care about your opinion Andrew Lloyd Weber" was such a turn off. I just can't believe he wasn't voted off. I understand he is a big favorite amongst the teenagers. My DD BFF loves him.

David Cook is my favorite right now. He can sing anything. There are times when he is a little "pitchy", but that happens to almost everyone. As he gets better and works with voice coaches, he will improve. I was worried when it was Dolly week, but he amazed me. I was worried again with Mariah Carey week, but he did awesome. He has a really good range and a really strong voice. He is not a one trick pony. He brings something unique to every song he sings.

My prediction is that it will come down to the 2 Davids in the finale. I am hoping that David Cook will win, but it could easily be either one. David A has a huge following.

So, there you have it. American Idol according to Patricia. I am such the expert. HAHAHA!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I have a foot drop on the right due to MS. I have been wearing an AFO for over a year to prevent my foot from dragging when I walk. Yesterday, I had an appointment to try out a Walk-Aide.
I was so excited about trying this out. Because of my AFO, I have to buy 2 pairs of shoes as the AFO is about 2 sizes larger than my normal shoe size. The back of it is wider too. It is so hard to find a shoe that will fit over the AFO. When I do find one, I have to find a matching shoe in my regular size. That can be really hard. Dress shoes are the hardest to fit. I have one pair of tennis shoes that I wear almost every day. I have 2 pairs of dress shoes. How many women do you know that only have 3 pairs of shoes. I bought a pair of sandals that are adjustable so they fit over the AFO, but they end up pinching my foot after I walk in them. That is dangerous for me as I don't feel my foot very well so I can't always tell when things are pinching.

Anyway, I had an appointment yesterday to try this new device. It didn't work for me. The problem is that I had too much swelling to my leg to get a good signal to the nerve. I have struggled with swelling to my right foot and leg since the foot drop developed. The muscles don't work right, so they don't pump out excess fluid. I cried all the way home. I so wanted to get rid of my AFO. I stopped at the medical supply store and picked up some compression hose. I wore one all day yesterday. I had no swelling last night when I went to bed. The tech wasn't sure if she could put the electrode under a stocking though. I am hoping that I can get the swelling to stay down enough to get the walk-aide to work. Once I am using it, that means the muscles will work better and then they will pump out the excess fluid on their own.

My friend, Corrine, tagged me a few days ago. I can't think what to do for this tag. I'll think about it some more and then answer it. I have just been a little bit frustrated this week so I can't think of anything to write. It doesn't help that I have been really down on myself about not staying on program with weight watchers. I need to get back on track. I wonder if I lost more weight if the Walk-Aide would work better.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Still Alive

I wanted to make a quick post to say I am still alive. It has been over a week since I posted. My original goal was to blog here twice a week. I have kind of bit off more than I can chew. Rachael's dance team, Visions in Rhythm (VIR), is having their year end show on May 3rd. In the lobby, they post a bio board that has bios for all of the dancers. I am doing those bios. I am making digital scrapbooking layouts and then I am going to post them on a science fair board. Rachael is going to paint the board so it isn't just plain white. I am going to make the layouts into a book for Tasha, the director of VIR. I want to have it professionally printing and hard bound so it will last longer. In order to have time to get it printed, I need to have them submitted to the company by Monday. The problem is that I don't have all of the of the bios from the dancers. I have 6 out of 14 bios. My best friend is going to try to get all of the bios from the girls at practice today. We won't be there. Rachael is excused from practice today as she told Tasha in the beginning that she could not do Sunday practices.

I really hope Cyndi is able to get those bios from the last 6. I really want to do this for Tasha. She has really helped Rachael this year. She has always loved dance. There was a time that she wanted to dance every day of the week. After a while of being treated like a second class citizen at Jackie's, she lost that desire to dance so much. She still loved it, but I could tell she needed a break. Now, she is back to having that love for dance like she used to. It helped that she had one year in which she only had dance one day a week. She kind of had a break from things. She was able to rejuvenate. Now, she is ready to dance almost every day again. She takes about 11 hours of dance classes per week. She is so excited about this year end show.

Here is one of the layouts I will be displaying on the bio board. I didn't want to display one of the bios as some of the parents may not want their kids pictures on the internet. You can't really see faces in these pictures. They were taken during dance class. The name of their show is "M brought to you by the letter T". I put an "M" and a "T" in every layout. That is why there is a random "M" and "T" in this layout. I don't have any credits for this layout. I didn't keep track of the products I used since I wasn't going to upload them to a gallery.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's Thursday

I had no idea it had been so long since I had blogged. Shame on me. There has been a lot going on. We had a great visit with Jen and her family. Rachael wants her cousins to live closer to her again.

This weekend was General Conference. I watched all of it, but I have to admit that I didn't listen to all of the talks. I listened to some of them. We have it on our DVR though and I am going to go through the talks one by one. I did watch the Solemn Assembly though. When they first asked the first presidency to stand and sustain the prophet, it was so amazing. I could just feel the swelling in my heart and I knew that he was called of God. It was amazing to watch the solemn assembly.

My mother in law has been ill for quite a while with cancer. The cancer has recently gone to her brain and we have been told she is terminal. She is seeing the radiation oncologist now and he said he can completely get rid of her tumors with radiation. I really hope he is right. I am afraid to get my hopes up. We will find out in 3 weeks if she is responding to the treatments.

I saw my doctor this week for my 3rd sinus infection in 10 weeks. This is getting really old. I am going to see the ENT at the end of the month. I hope he has an easy fix for this.

I got a call from the Hanger Brace today. They are the ones that made my AFO. There is a new device called a Walk-aid. You wear it on your calf in place of the AFO and it stimulates your nerve to life your foot when you walk. I am going to meet with them the end of the month to see if it will work for me. I would love to get rid of this AFO. I hate it.

Monday, March 31, 2008

cool website

I found this really cool website that will make your photos into a museum exhibit. You can put any jpg on there and then pick your museum scene. It is really neat. You can find it here.

Here are some things I have done with it. I took these pictures over this weekend while the kids have been playing with their cousins.

Art Museum
Art Museum by dumpr.net

Art Museum by dumpr.net

Rubik Cube Generator
Create your own Rubik's Cube

This site will do a few other things, almost like actions for Photoshop. You should check it out.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Visiting with cousins

My nieces and nephews are here from Idaho for a visit. They are the kids of my husbands brother, Peter. He is divorced from his wife, Jennifer. They are both remarried. Jennifer and Cory are visiting Jennifer's mom for a week. On Thursday, we went to Brenham for a tour of the Blue Bell factory. It was a lot of fun. We had a picnic before we took the tour. It was a beautiful day even if it was a little bit windy. Here are Kirstyn, Rachael and Allison standing outside of the factory after our tour and after we ate the free ice cream we got at the end. That was the best part of the tour.

Today, Faith was baptized. Their stake does a baptism day for all of the kids that turned 8 that month. There were 8 kids that got baptized. It took 2 hours. After the baptism, we went to Emily's house for lunch. Emily and Richard are in the same stake, but not the same ward. so they live fairly close to each other. Before we would let any of the kids change out of their church close, we wanted to get a picture of all of the grandkids together. It has been a long time since they have all been together. It is hard getting this many kids to be still, especially the little ones. With the lighting in Emily's house, the older kids in the back were shaded a lot. I messed around with it in photoshop and adjusted the lighting. I think it looks pretty good. I am going to print a copy and frame it for their Grandma Hodge since she didn't get to go today.