Saturday, December 28, 2013

Oh Shit, The Elf Found Me!

Over the past few weeks I have shared pretty much every bad cartoon, meme, etc about Elf on a Shelf.  Honestly I have nothing against the guy except that he came out too late in my life to embrace the power.  No I am not an overachiever mom who would do a lot of the things that many moms pin about their elves.  I might however have managed to get him to move on a regular basis.  But alas he was not to be a part of my children's childhood memories.  Really I was just joking.

So on Christmas Eve, I was trying to get everything organized in the kitchen so that we could have dinner with my family when Kate says, "hey mom when did you get an Elf?"  I looked at her perplexed and then said, "oh that's not an elf, you mean the one on the garland above the fireplace?"  "Remember I got it when you were little its just a baby in a Santa hat and it looks cute up there."  "No mom you have an elf, its on the shelf in the living room."  I was in the middle of doing things so I didn't jump up and run into the living room  to see what my daughter was hallucinating about.  Finally my sister said "Liz, there is really and Elf in there."  So I begrudgingly walked into the other room only to find this:




Meet Freddie an Elf who showed up with a note basically calling me a hater.  He says that Elves are not creepy and that I shouldn't be projecting such hate out to the interwebs.  Seriously!  It only took me about 10 minutes to figure out that Freddie came from Kate.  Really it could have been anyone in my family; except my mom who refuses to be on "Spacepage"  yes, she really called it that and she really thought that was the correct word.  But Freddie had also brought some gifts for Daniel, Keegan and Brian.  Freddie actually saved the day because Christmas Eve is very hard on Keegan.  We all get one gift from my family's Christmas draw.  That one gift is like an appetizer, just enough to get him hungry for more.  Kate found the present from Freddie and gave it to him so that he had another gift to open and one that he was sure to love- an annoying orange pillow-GREAT!  This Freddie character is a problem.  First he calls me a hater, me!  I'm the one who tries to be open minded and love everyone.  Then he gets an annoying pillow for Keegan.  I don't think I saw what he brought for D and B...........

So all in all Christmas Eve was a great night.  We had our traditional family party, went to midnight mass and then had our traditional midnight margaritas.  Since Keegan figured out the secret he stayed up to help me put out presents.  He got to join in margaritas with his Shirley Temple and enjoy my favorite part of Christmas- after mass in the wee early hours enjoying the peace of the real meaning of Christmas- love, joy, hope, anticipation  and the birth of Jesus.  As we went to bed Keegan said it all, "being Santa is way funner than going to bed and just getting presents." 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekend!

The weekend before Christmas is always busy.  Mine started a bit crazy.  After the cookie party on Friday I went into Keegan's room to  look at something on my ipad.  I sat down on his bed and put my feet up on the bed frame.  Really that should have been a safe thing to do.  Unbeknownst to me, I had just place my foot in the "kittie attack zone."  Minnie is a sweet cat, but like all cats she has her moments of where she has an uncontrollable need to attack things.  Unfortunately on this attack it was with teeth and not claws.  Cat bites are dangerous; I know that.  So I cleaned it out and put on peroxide.  Brian and D got home a few minutes later.  Brian has a tendency to get a bit excitable about such things and he started googling cat bite fever.  Then he started telling me all about cellulitus, amputations, IV antibiotics etc.  He wanted to run to the ED.  I however did not want to do that.  See I was already in my pajamas and might have entertained the idea of an instacare but I was not going to the ED on a Friday night.  The 100.00 copay was not even my biggest deterrent.  I KNOW what goes on in the ED and I didn't care to be a part of that so I chose to be "AMA."  The next morning when I got a text from my in-laws that said "this is your mother-in-law" I knew I was going in for antibiotics.  Truthfully, I already planned to go to instacare.  I walked in all healthy looking and walked up to the desk where I said "I got bit by my cat and although it is the tiniest little cut ever, it is a puncture wound and 50% of cat bites end up infected.  Plus my father in law anesthesiologist and mother in law nurse have just given me the YOU WILL GO and they don't do that so here I am"  To my relief she didn't laugh at me and call me a hypochondriac she reassured me that a cat bite that was deep enough to bleed was indeed a good reason to seek medical advice.   WHEW!  The APRN gave me the same story and said that yes I was correct that it was a puncture wound and that I did need to treat it.  So I left with a band aid and a prescription and now I don't have to worry about losing my foot over Christmas vacation.

From there we went South to my husband's mom's family party.  I do love this side of the family.  They are just plain wonderful.  Keegan didn't want to go because it was going to be boring and all we would do is talk.  No reassuring him that a cousin with kids his age was going to be there would calm him down.  But we walked in the door to find C age 10 and J age 7 eager to have a new friend.  These cousins have met once before and forgot each other existed.  We had enough time to visit grandma, Brian's dad's mom on the way out of town.  Grandma is 95.  She lived at home until the was 93 but then she fell and had to move to the care center.  She still thinks that she will be going home soon.  She can't remember anything short term but she can tell you everything about growing up and her young adult years.  We caught her in a good moment and she did know who we were; not where we lived or how many kids we have, but at least who we are.


Sunday was the annual Santa at church day.  The Knights of Columbus always sponsor Santa day and they get one of the guys to be Santa.  For a few years it was Ray and then along came Frank.  Frank looks like Santa.  He starts growing his beard in October and by Christmas he is is the real deal.  I hoped to have one last year of Santa.  Its always been fun for me.  I know some don't like the whole idea and it takes away from Christmas but I live it and I don't care.  But about two weeks ago I got the Mythbusters version of "how does he do this"  and I finally relented and told the truth.  But I told him he still have to believe in the spirit of Christmas and that he still has to sit on Santa's lap!  Sorry its blurry.  I snapped it as I had 1% battery on my phone.


We found out at my dad's funeral that we are actually indirectly related to Santa!  As we sat at the cemetery Frank pulled up in the same car as my dad's cousin.  So I said, hey how does Santa know Mike?  That was how I found out he is a step siblings to our cousin Mike's wife. 










And finally; it started snowing on Thursday.  We have had a bit if a reprieve but for the most part we have had snow since then.  YEAH!  I love snow as much as Santa when it comes to Christmas.  Nothing makes my heart happier than a good ole snowball fight.

Well here we are with wrapping and cleaning to finish.  Not to mention my daughter just told me she hasn't gotten a gift for her name draw yet and her paycheck didn't come in the mail so what should she do......I guess I'll be getting a gift on my way home.  But then it will be our annual Christmas Eve party, midnight mass, midnight margaritas and then Christmas Day!
















Friday, December 20, 2013

Cookie Party

Several years ago I started having a cookie decorating party for Christmas.  I realized that so many kids don't get a chance to frost cookies and that we don't do it enough.  I have made it an almost annual event.

Last night I baked 40 gazillion sugar and gingerbread cookies.  Today we had 9 kids ages 3-9 over to frost.  One of the boys took home a plate of unfrosted cookies because he decided playing on the iPad would be more fun.  In his defense he was late and most if the kids had finished decorating and the electronics had been pulled out much to my dismay. One of the girls took home 7 plates of fancy cookies.  I know her mom was overjoyed.  Not one of the cookies was a work of art but the kids had fun and were allowed to use as much frosting and sprinkles as they wanted.

Of course I forgot to take pictures.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

All About D!

The other day as we were driving Keegan kept asking me who my favorite child is.  Of course hoping my answer would be him.  He wouldn't buy my answer of "you are all my favorite and least favorite on different days of the week." 

Sometimes its Daniel.  And some days I'd like to slap the shit out of him.  D was my second child born several months after my mother-in-law committed suicide.  It was a rough time around the house with everyone trying to figure out the new normal, the holidays, a new baby.  In fact that was the year where we had about seven of the events that are considered hard enough to deal with that they increase the chance of divorce.  I can't remember everything but it was 3 deaths, laid off, new jobs for both of us, new baby, new house, father in law remarried and my dad had a heart transplant.  All in a nice little 18 month window.

I was induced at 39 weeks since I had gestational diabetes and a transverse baby.  Now, I wouldn't have gone the route I did but at the time it seemed like the way to go.  We did an external version to get him head down and then cervadil followed by pitocin.  I had a 30 hr labor, 20 without medication then some fentanyl and finally an epidural.  He had decels to the point that I was crashed to the OR and had a forceps delivery but was "this close" to a cesarean.  He was born with apgar's of 1,3 & 5.  Most people never get a third apgar.  Those numbers bought him a few hours in the ICU before he was finally brought to my room.  From my view it looked like they threw him across the room and through the window to the NICU but I know they didn't really throw him.  From Brian's view he saw a black baby that wasn't crying and was sure he was dead.  Brian thought to ask if it was a boy or girl and my OB looked quick before he was taken away.

D has always been a bit shy; very introverted and hates big parties.  He has always had 3-4 close friends and that was all.  He had a hard time in school and it took him 12 years to learn to tie his shoes.  He still hasn't learned to ride a bike.  Although he did say a few weeks ago that he wants to try again.  He was diagnosed with a fine motor delay when he was in 6th grade and we did two years of OT with him.  Through it all though he has always been a "thinker."  I'm sure that some from his elementary may once in a while think "I wonder whatever happened to that Daniel kid.  I wonder if he dropped out of high school."  But he is the kid who has gone on to surprise me.

D has always had a bit more gumption that Kate.  When he was about 10 they took his favorite show off the air.  So he called the television station and asked to talk to the manager.  I can only imagine the person taking the phone call and getting this squeaky voiced kid asking for a manager.  He then politely stated his case that they had taken his show off the air and he was upset.  After the manager telling him that they weren't getting enough viewers to get commercial sponsors so they couldn't afford to run it he said "OK that sounds reasonable, thank you for your time."  I'm sure they all had a good time laughing about that but I was proud of him.

Middle School was horrible for him.  As it is for most kids.  But made it through finding safety nets in science, orchestra and the school musical.  He is so shy that when he auditions for a show I know people are thinking "why is that kid auditioning" but what they don't know is he started acting classes in 1st grade and got the lead in his group Chip from Beauty and the Beast.  He has performed in numerous productions and takes voice lessons.  He is also hysterical and has a very dry sense of humor.

He decided to go to the performing arts charter for high school since his sister was there.  He hasn't done as much acting because he thinks the theater kids are way too gregarious and they drive him crazy.  He has quietly stayed in the music program where is has been in pit orchestra, orchestra, guitar ensemble and choir.  He is the historian for the guitar program and just auditioned to be in music conservatory.  He is working on his 20 minute vocal review to graduate as a conservatory student.

But science is his love!  My brother in law keeps asking me why I let him go to an art school when he should be in science.  Ah but we are on the right path.  The art school has the highest math and science grades in several districts combined.  Music primes the brain for science.  D has a 3.4 GPA, has taken honors courses and got a 24 on the ACT.  He probably would have done better but he has test anxiety and had to go to work right after the test so he was worried about time.

So what got me thinking about D was last night.  It was the holiday voice recital.  The director has several choral pieces and several solos.  He rotates soloists so that more kids can be showcased.  D got one of the solos for the Wednesday concert.  He did an excellent job. I recorded it on my iphone but the volume is really low.  But its what happened later that made me just love him even more.  I had to sell concessions at the intermission so I ended up staying in the hall for the rest of the show.  That put me at the door at the front of the room.  The principal had been wandering in and out monitoring the building but came and stood behind me for the final number.  This was the all choir number and the director had chosen a Hanukkah song.  I happened to look over at D about the same time Mr. W. did and I just heard him chuckling.  D was jamming it out and got the other guys to all get into the fun of the song.  The boys were all dancing and acting out the song they were hysterical.  The girls were all straight laced.  I turned to Mr. W and he said that is so funny.  I said "that is my kid being the rabble rouser"  He said I know and I love it.  Then he said "your son has really blossomed this year."  He went on to tell me how animated and fun he has gotten in the halls and other activities.  D will never be student body president or events chair but in his own way and time he has blossomed into a great young man.

He has applied to college and is waiting acceptance.  He plans to get a degree in biological engineering and a minor in epidemiology.  Look out world because Daniel will soon be out in the real world. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fall: It Happened I'm Sure

Last time I had a minute to write was the day I got hit not once but twice on my way to work.  I feared that my car would be totaled but three weeks in the shop and a nice 4200.00 bill paid for courtesy of some very sweet people who live somewhere within two miles of my house I have my van back.  Yes, it has 130,000 miles on it and the interior is well loved.  A new car would be fun but I am practical.  My van is paid for, its reliable and I know what maintenance has been done on it.   For now I am happy to have it back.

So the real reason for not sitting to write was the fear of what would transfer from my head to the page.  Its been rough around here.  So rough that I didn't know until things resolved how stressed out I really was.  I was hanging onto the end of the proverbial rope hoping the knot would hold until I could climb to safety.

I started getting daily and sometimes several calls each day from Keegan's school.  He was getting very difficult to manage.  He is behind academically but the resources offered were pulling him from the class and he hated that attention.  He wanted to be in class with his friends but he couldn't keep up.  I went in one day early in October to see if that would help him adjust and cope.  There was this whole sub situation because his regular teacher was having a hysterectomy.  (Nothing like taking an anxious kid with ADHD and throwing an 8 week sub into his life)  The school did a great job of having a very consistent sub situation but its still not the same.  But what I saw was that the way they were dealing with his ADHD wasn't helping.  He had to sit in the back of the room so he didn't distract the other kids.  But his attention from his desk to what was going on in the front wasn't gonna last.  He was lost.  There was also a bullying situation and a friend situation that were causing even more issues.  He began getting really aggressive and ended up in a few fights.  I was feeling like a total failure of a parent.  The guidance counselor, school psychologist and principal were suddenly way too much a part of life for me.  Ultimately Keegan was transferred to another school in the district with a "special ed" program that can meet his needs.  He is smart and he will learn everything he lost due to the traditional schooling style but it was hard emotionally to make that change.  I cried a lot, he cried a lot.  The first week was so difficult and now the bus drops off a smiling kid who has 80-95% compliance every single day.  I no longer put off starting a project out of fear that the school will call any second and I will have to go intervene.  My productivity is back to where it was and my heart palpitations are gone.  I am very jealous of people who nice compliant kids who like to learn and follow rules.  I won't lie but that is not the child I got with my third and very spirited son.  I still feel very judged; that people are saying "what is wrong with her and why can't she discipline her child."  I am also very blessed that I have the resources available to help me deal and cope.  To have people who have reassured me that I am an even better mom because I deal with so much more than others have to and have come out ahead.  To have a team helping my child who is a very sensitive and caring soul underneath his attention issues, anxiety, and aggression.

In other news, my sister and her daughter moved in with me temporarily.  Her husband just finished his semester down south and they are now looking for a rental in the valley.  They may or may not be moved out by Christmas.  Having another family and a big dog move in comes with its own fun and trials.

I went to New Orleans for a conference.  It was awesome but I missed out on a lot of what NOLA has to offer.  I need to go back with some fun people and when I am not working.  I did get to light a candle for my papa at the St. Louis Cathedral.  We hired a band and police escort to march from our hotel down Bourbon street for dinner and I got to see the river.  So a bit of fun.  And I learned a lot!

We survived hitting the two year mark since papa died.  Two years and I still have things I want to tell him.  I still need his advice.  I had a harder time on his birthday last week.  But I was also sick and tired.

My big event was the cruise conference in which I was a keynote speaker.  It went well.  I presented three times, got some time alone with my husband, snorkeled and learned to dive.  More on all of that later. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

One Morning Two Accidents!!!!!

Well my day started out fine.  I got to sleep an extra fifteen minutes since I didn't need to take Daniel to school.  I got ready, left everything for Keegan and headed out the door.  I made it a half a block before I was hit by a really nice teenage boy.  I know he was nice because we spent 45 minutes on the side of the road waiting for the police.  He kept saying that the damage didn't look too bad.  Oh sweet innocent young man just wait. 

I planned to just switch insurance and not the police but his mom insisted on sending the cops.  His dad arrived about 10 minutes after the police.  They live in Willow Creek but it was obvious that they are a nice middle class family with both parents working and an accident is not going to bankrupt them but it will be a big bummer financially.  It was just obvious seeing that dad's face that he was thinking the same things I was when my daughter got into her car accident. He was glad everyone was OK but I could tell he was worried about insurance premiums, points on the driver's license and I would be willing to wager that his car only had liability and so that torn off bumper won't be covered.

My car well its damaged but drivable.  I already had a scratch on that spot and was thinking well, this is fortuitous they are going to have to replace that panel so that scratch will get fixed.  I went on my happy way but then I got thinking.......  I paid off my car last year (exactly one year ago) and it has a lot of miles on it so I Blue Booked it.  Uh oh its not worth much.  I really hope they don't total it out.  I don't want to have to buy a new car.  But only time will tell.

So on to the other accident.  Now let's note here that my registration expired on Sunday and I knew I was driving with expired plates.  Let's now take time to thank the lord that we were on the north side of the street which is Cottonwood Hts and not the south side which is Sandy.  The officer was so nice about saying, I don't really care that you are five days past due on your registration but Sandy would so make sure you get that taken care of because they will give you a ticket.  I'm just glad you are all OK.  Woo Hoo!  Alrighty then.  I got gas and headed to work now an hour late.  As I was on the freeway just going under an overpass this huge and I mean HUGE bird flew out of no where and hit me smack dead center on the windshield.  This to me is a sign that I maybe should not be driving today.  So I am now parked at work with blood and feathers on the front and a smashed up back.  Its is KLASSY I tell you.

My sister is so funny; or so she thinks.  She sent me an email asking what I was having for lunch?  Maybe God Dammed Bird.  Ha Ha Patti!  See long ago when she was maybe 12 she was doing yard work at our grandparents house.  Grandpa was just getting Alzheimer's and he was still an alcoholic.  He was so he thought a closet drinker but we all know where the hooch was kept.  This particular day he kept pestering grandma to take him to the liquor store.  She kept saying later because she didn't want Patti to know that she occasionally gave into his drinking and drove him to the store.  (see the rest of the time he waited until she left and then called a cab he thought he was so sly but even the mailman knew he kept a bottle in the BBQ and a bottle in the water access panel downstairs)  Finally she gave in and took him to the store with Patti and Aunt Peg (she had Down's) in the car.  She was fuming!  He ran in got his booze and was in a merry mood driving back.  Then out of no where a duck crossed the road and grandma couldn't avoid it.  As she rolled over it she swore and grandpa said "what was that Mother?!"  (he was part blind at that point) she replied "it was a god damned duck Fred!"  and she didn't speak to him the rest of the drive.  They got home and he still in a cheery mood not picking up on how angry she was said "so what's for lunch?"  and again she just spurted out "GOD DAMNED DUCK Fred that is what you are having!"  and she refused to make his lunch.  Henceforth so duck in any story in our family is just a duck it will always be a goddamnedduck!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

12 Star Hotel

We just returned from Vegas (a bit more about that later).  When we arrived, Keegan was instantly intrigued with all the "Deluxe Hotels."  He was afraid that ours was going to be a let down.  Driving in we saw the Belagio and Trump Towers.  Yikes the Flamingo (circa 1947 but stuck in the 70's) might not meet his need for style.  We were staying there due to location not because it was my choice......

Last night, I arrived home after a long day.  I had plans to grab a beer and clean the house.  I know, boring mom stuff.  I was greeted at the door by Keegan in full "Fancy Clothes Attire"  He informed me that he had been working all day to make the house a 12 star hotel.  He was talking a mile a minute to my very tired brain.

Turns out that when I had dropped him home after Lego camp so I could go back to work that he got bored.  His brother isn't one to entertain his need for activity so he took it upon himself to create the hotel.

He had cleaned my room (made the bed and added some stuffed animals for effect) Scrubbed the bathroom- this part makes me just want to squish his little cuteness.  Pulled out the side table that converts to a dinner table and put on a cloth and candles to make it fancy.  Put on his suit and a tie on my sister's dog.  (Toby looks very debonair I might add)

I was directed to the table in the lobby to start the paperwork.  Once I signed the receipt I was given a key card and led to my room.  He had made a little paper "lock" that I had to put my key card on to open the door.  I got in my room and was told that I had to put on my fancy clothes to go to the casino.  Great, I was hoping to put on sweats......

I went to the Casino where he had put his 7's game.  (small piggy bank slot machine) I was given a bunch of coins and told to play as long as I wanted.  After that he said it was time for wine.  I asked if I could have a beer but he said that fancy hotels are for wine not beer.  He poured me a triple (I have a biggish wine glass that he filled to the top)  I confess that at some point I had to pour some of it down the drain.  I just can't drink three servings of wine.

After that I was directed to the hot tub where luckily it was then time for his break so I got to sit in the tub alone for a while.  When I got out I put on my robe and he came in to tell me that it was time for my foot soak and massage.  Spa treatment is always good.

At this point Brian got home and Keegan wanted to check him in.  Unfortunately daddy isn't as good at the change of plans and wasn't very accommodating to the desires of an 8 year old.  He even left his key card on the deck after he made brats.

I loved my hotel experience but I didn't get dishes or laundry done.  I guess there is always time for that.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thank You Note

Long ago my husband's mom said  "my kids have been difficult children"  and in my 20 year old puny little brain I thought, "well if you were a good parent and followed through they wouldn't be."  I'm glad my internal monologue stayed internal on that one because it came back to bite me in the butt- BIG TIME.

Turns out that its genetic.  Why do I know this?  Because many of the cousins on my husband's side have similar children (mostly the boys) and they aren't easy.  They have ADHD, are bullheaded, push the limits of everyone and are opinionated from a very early age.  I was a compliant people pleaser and I truly thought that every person aspires to be just like I was/am.

Keegan is a particularly challenging child.  And he is wonderful!  I frequently find myself thinking that people are probably judging me the way that I judged my first mother-in-law.  Maybe if she had lived past 44 I would have grown to respect her more.  Maybe she could have guided me in raising these "tough" kids. 

Out of desperation I have been using essential oils on him (Jeddy's Blend of doTerra oils) in addition to his medication.  I don't know if its the oils or time/maturity but I have seen minuscule and wonderful improvements.  And honestly, I don't really care what is helping because it is.

Yesterday he came home from school with a little bag that said Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  That is unusual.  I opened it up and inside was a tootsie roll and a note.  The note was a thank you from his teacher.  She wrote that she was so happy that we had been such understanding and good parents to work with. 
She said that Keegan is a special kid and that he is so lucky to have parents like us to guide him and be there for him.  That we will make all the difference in the world for him.  That was the thing I needed to renew my confidence as a parent. 

So for everyone who judges me because my kid won't sit still in church, is impulsive, and reads below grade level.  Maybe take a day to be with me and my child.  You can see for yourself that through love and patience I have learned how to work with this little person.  This little person who is so challenging and difficult AND who is so full of love and tenderness

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Twu Wuv! Just like the Princess Bride?

Yesterday I was urgently needed to film a detective show written and directed by my 8 year old.  Oh and need I mention he was the star and only actor in this Emmy Award Winning Drama?

This was after a day from hell where I really wanted more than anything in the world to curl up with a book and a glass of wine.  I had just finished "saving the day!" from the person who was supposed to organize the graduation reception.  Yes, the cakes were ordered and so were the flowers.  But at the last minute she was unable to pick them up and get them to the school.  I raced out of work as soon as I could and ran to Costco.  Got everything into my ginormous cart and went to pay.  Only find out I HAD NO CHECKS AND COSTCO DOESN'T TAKE CREDIT CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!   But alas I have an American Express that I never use.  So we ran it and it declined.  I don't know the number to run my credit as debit- I know, its me, I should learn that number.  So they kindly put the whole mess into the cooler while I ran home to get a new checkbook that actually had checks.

I picked up Keegan and went back to Costco.  My husband was home and said "what can I do to help you?"  Note these words- K!  I said just get Daniel from Bountiful and get him to rehearsal on time.  And I flew out the door, back to Costco and made it in record time to the school.  I didn't say one mean word to the person who was in charge of the reception.  I just politely hauled everything in and pretended it was no big deal.  But based on the fact that every teacher I saw and I mean every one of them gave me a hug and told me thanks for saving the day, it was apparently a big deal.  I chatted a bit and then decided to just get something to take home for dinner.  I called B and said "did you take Keegan with you to go get Daniel?" And he said, "I am just leaving now"  Are you f-ing kidding.  It was 5:45 and D needed to be at rehearsal at 6:30.  We live 25 miles from his friend's house and then its another 20 back to the theater.  Because I was closer to the freeway I ran to Bountiful and again, saved the day, getting him to rehearsal a mere 7 minutes late.  Yes, a few traffic laws were broken......

I arrived home exhausted and angry that two people had let me down and so my peaceful night was ruined.  I walked dejected into the house only to be enthusiastically greeted by Keegan who had big plans for the night and they all included ME!  He was dressed to the nines in his detective outfit and had already worked out the script in his head.  How do you say no to that?!  Especially when it means he will be doing something-playing- instead of sitting in front of a computer or watching a movie.  That my friends is how I found the evidence of true love.  Its spray painted all over the back side of his climbing wall.  I love J! I love J!  Its unbelievably sweet and it made up for all my own personal woes.

*about the spray paint- um guilty- I had let him spray paint an old board to use for part of his club house.  I taught him how to spell words with spray paint......  And then I left the cans out where he could get them.  And really, location to spray was fine so I didn't say a word.  I just smiled at his expression of love!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

First Crush!

About a month ago we were driving to the Hoedown at school and Keegan said "I have a crush on a girl.  Do you want to guess who it is?"  I started naming girls and just kept getting a no for the answer.  Then he said he might not even tell me if I guessed it.

We finished up with our square dancing and headed out to the car.  I was in a hurry for my audition and needed to get out of there.  Keegan kept hanging back saying he needed to say good bye to his friends.  Exasperated I kept reminding him he already said goodbye to A, C and I.  Finally he said he needed to say goodbye to J.  UM weird maybe that's the girl.  They are kind of friends but not super good friends.

On the way home he confessed that it was J.  I had texted I's mom and asked her to scope it out for me since Keegan surly would have told I.  She confirmed that indeed it was J.

A few weeks later he said "why do I feel so happy when J is around?"  Its love I tell you.  Hearts and violins and a little cupid in the background.  So sweet.

He tells everyone that he already has a girlfriend.  And man is he proud of it.

There was a short break up when N told J that Keegan and I are bullies and she shouldn't be their friend.  But that got resolved and the crush is back on.  If this is happening in 3rd grade, I fear the future with my little Romeo.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Death

Such a morbid title!

When I was in graduate school Dr. Lyons used to use Monty Python to illustrate basic public health principals.  Many of the clips he used were really stretching it as far as the connection but whatever; it made epidemiology more fun.

To make the connection between morbidity and mortality he used the "Bring Out Your Dead" clip.  Then he talked about how the guy was definitely in a state of morbidity (I'm not dead yet) but mortality wasn't until he was hit over the head with a shovel.

On Monday we were having dinner with my in-laws,  We were talking about grandma who is 95 and not doing well and Aunt M's husband P who has Alzheimer's and also is failing in heath.  Two cases of morbidity and how hard it is for M since she is trying to care for both of them.  Just as I said that the phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID and it was M.  She rarely calls my house; except if we are coming down for the weekend and she wants to make plans.  Immediately we knew that something was wrong.  I handed the phone to my father-in-law and we all braced ourselves to find out if grandma or P had gotten worse or died.

Then my father-in-law blurted out "Oh my God."  He wouldn't have said that in such a manner if the above two had passed away.  The silence in the kitchen was heavy as we all waited knowing something bad had happened.  We only got a few clues as he talked to M.  "At least he died doing what he loved" "Since he planned to be cremated we don't have to hurry to plan something"  etc.

Finally he hung up and said "K is dead."  His brother had been working on the Kid Castle* at his cabin and was found dead on the ground.  We have yet to find out if it was a heart attack (he had gotten a clean bill of health the week before) or a fall (if so I hope it was quick the thought of him lying there for days is too hard to comprehend) or what?  The autopsy should be done in a day or two.

It all brings me back to morbidity and mortality.  A year and a half ago he had gone in to the doctor for chest pain.  He had severe blockages and was told that he needed to make a 180 or he would be dead in a few months.  He was so proud of the fact that he quit drinking and smoking and was eating healthy.  He drop 50 pounds and was doing great.  He was so full of life and energy and now he is dead.  In that instant of time whatever happened and now he is gone.

I just can't wrap my head around it.  There is that person who is always supposed to be there (like my dad). The one who is always telling the joke or story.  The one who makes family events fun.  I never even got a chance to ask him what he thinks of "my" new Pope.  It is not as painful for me to lose him as it was when my dad died but my heart is heavy.


*K had one granddaughter who he adored (his other grand kids aren't really around).  All he talked about was L and how perfect she was.  He was building her a play house at his cabin.  He loved to build and his cabin is basically finished (he hand built the whole thing) so he had put his energy into L's kid castle.  It is apparently two stories with windows and doors- any kids dream.  I don't know how much he got built and my heart breaks for L that her grandpa died working on her castle.  Unfinished castle and unfinished time.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Upside Down and All Around

My life!  UGH who said being a grown up was easy?

As a kid I had visions of being a grown up.  I would be married to a guy who made a ton of money and who help out around the house at night.  My kids would be talented, perfect and compliant all the time.  My house would always be clean.  This is the part where my little dream is interrupted and we go back to reality.

Right now I am finally catching up from the "house from hell" project that took my whole winter.  Not once did I get to so ski because I was too tired after flipping a house so my mom would have some retirement money and we wouldn't have to draw straws for who she would live with.  (all said in fun and with love.  Of course we would take her in if she were going to be homeless)  Because of that adventure I was gone every weekend so my own house got out of control.

But the thing I didn't realize was that my family got out of control.  Having a husband and two boys with ADHD, I have to be the grounding force- the calm against the storm.  And I wasn't around enough.  It all came swirling into a huge tidal wave a few weeks ago.  Keegan started getting mouthy and difficult at his after school program.  We worked on how to express anger and anxiety but apparently not enough.  He got himself so worked up a few weeks ago that he threw a toy and broke the window in the office.  He was having issues at school and the principal and I became best friends (OK not really BFF but still) and his teacher was having a hard time with him in class.

During this whole time, work was intense.  A ton going on and no way to take a break.

Then the icing on the cake when my husband was stressed out to the max.  He ended up taking a 4 week leave to readjust his medications and get his stress level under control.

With all this going on, I get to be the rock solid one who holds everything together.  And I'd really like to crumble.

But being the Pollyanna to the end, school is almost over.  The days are longer and warmer.  And, I have finally gotten my house almost back in order.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dismissed! Rejected! Publicly Humiliated!

Have you ever secretly wanted to do something more than you ever wanted anyone to know?!  Have you ever been (maybe) given the opportunity to fulfill that dream?

I've always wanted to be in a musical..............Don't judge!

I tried out for the school play my Freshman year in high school.  I had never taken any acting classes but I figured I should at least get a small part.  I was cut in the first round.  So I joined stage crew.  I love theater and so at least I got the chance to be part of it without being part of it.

I did pit orchestra if it was a musical.  That had a bit more visibility and got to be part of the action.  My senior year when we did Taming of the Shrew the theater teacher asked if I was going to audition but I remembered how horrible it was the first time and I said no.

Life went on and my daughter really wanted to be in a theater class so I found one and both my kids started the road of performing.  With me in the background helping with sets and doing whatever to be part but never be in it; always secretly wanting the chance.

About a month ago my son's piano teacher told me that A was directing the summer show at the park and that he really wanted to cast my husband as one of the leads and me as another.  They also wanted my daughter for a part.  I said "I can't sing, dance or act"  He said, sure you can.  So I stewed and contemplated and secretly wanted this to happen.  As auditions approached I made more and more excuses but was told, just please show up for auditions!  So I commandeered my son's voice lesson and learned a song.  The voice teacher was so encouraging.  I went to the audition and it felt pretty good.  I coerced my husband into auditioning even though he was really unsure he could commit (I never mentioned that he does community theater frequently).  I convinced my 17 yr old son to audition.  Then I flew to St. Louis with the director knowing that I couldn't go to call backs since I was speaking at a conference.

I talked to my husband and he said they had all gone to callbacks and A asked Keegan if he also wanted to be in the show.  So my husband said he was sure that we had all been cast.  Last night while I was at work A called and my son talked to him.  The message I got was that everyone had been cast except me.  A was sorry he just didn't have a part for me...........

So what does that mean?  I suck?  I wasn't at callbacks so he just couldn't fit me in?  He didn't think I could do it since my schedule is tight (I told him I could get my staff to take my classes).  Whatever it means, I feel worse than I think I did when I was 14.  I fully admit that I have been crying at my desk all day.  I want to try again sometime- maybe take a few more lessons from Jen.  But I hate feeling like a Freshman with glasses and braces who gets rejected just like Gaston (only Gaston deserved to be rejected )

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Death and Taxes!

My daughter moved out last June.  This is probably a good thing despite the fact that I don't really like the situation all that much.  But she is 20 and she is paying for rent on her own. sooooooo........

I didn't get to the taxes in a very speedy manner because I was swamped at work.  The annual conference was on the 11& 12th of April.  With having a new secretary it was complicated.  Then there was the house from hell that I will have to recap later.  So I finally did Kate's taxes last week.  I emailed and facebooked her that she needed to come to my office to "sign" them.  We all know I could have forged the whole thing and no one would have know but I needed her to be responsible and understand that this is not something you can just do when you get to it.  Coming to my office required little effort.  I work at the university she attends.  But typical; she was flaky.

On Saturday night I had probably just fallen asleep when the phone rang.  I jumped out of bed, turned on the lights and couldn't find the damn cordless phone.  Luckily D was still up playing a game and answered the phone downstairs.  I heard his say "I'm sure she is now" and then "mom Kate's on the phone"  OK, she wasn't dead that was confirmed.  So I went to the kitchen to find the other cordless- missing.  My heart is racing because although it was confirmed she was alive why was she calling at midnight?!  Shaking and trembling I went to the basement.  D handed me the phone and there was Kate all bright and shiny "hey mom, sorry it's so late!"  OK breathing again.  "Hey, I just realized I never got back to you.  I can come to your office on Monday at 11:30 to sign my taxes"  Oh good hell.  She calls at midnight when I have been bugging her for a week.  I got back upstairs and told my husband that now that she was alive I was going to kill her.

The good news is that the lifelong learning credit for having a child in college is a SU-WEEET  deal.  For the first time in years I am getting a refund!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gets You When You Least Expect It!

I had an appointment for my mammogram this morning.  I always schedule that at the cancer hospital across the bridge since I can just run over and come back.  It takes less time than a lunch break since they are so efficient.

Its a beautiful building with marble floors and marble elevators; rounded walls that overlook the whole valley.  The walkway is lined with large photographs from all over the world.  And it is where my dad died 17 months ago..........

I know I have been up that way at least once or twice since then but this morning as I walked into the first hallway it brought back a flood of memories.  Alot of them were good.  I took my dad up to get lunch at the restaurant a few times.  We walked slowly as its a long tunnel from one hospital to the next and talked about where we had been and where we would want to go.  The photos are gorgeous!

I had met dad up there for a few of his appointments.  We had talked about the possibilities and he was very positive that he would be OK.  I wasn't but I didn't tell him.

Then there was that last week.  I met him up there for the first (deadly) chemo treatment.  Mom was there too this time and she was agitated.  She doesn't like hospitals and sick people.  It was during a time when she and I weren't really seeing eye to eye.  She had hurt me and I was resentful.  But I took her to lunch after we got dad settled.  We spent two hours at lunch talking (good thing I am exempt).  We cleared the air on a few things.  She asked me if I thought he would live more than a year.  I said no, most likely 6 months (I would have never thought six days).  Then we went back and found out that they didn't have any good movies and he had gotten hooked up late so it would be about 4 more hours.  I went and got a laptop from my office and got him set up on Netflix. 

He made his final FB book that evening.  He said he felt like the etrade baby being locked up all day. 

The next time I went up there was the following Wed when we got the call that it was the end.  At about 2 AM most of my sibs walked with me from that hospital to mine for the 24/7 Starbucks coffee.  I still remember a lot of the conversations.  The sadness but also the fact that we were all together.  We too talked about the places we'd been and where we would like to go.  (I think those pictures were put there for a reason)

Then at 10:27 AM after my out of state sister got here and said goodbye he slipped silently away with about 35 people in the room and the hallway.  The police dept sent reps (he'd been their chaplain), our pastor was just a few minutes late, the bishop of the diocese made it just in time and said the final prayer, several cousins even made it in time.  There we all stood in a circle around the bed praying the Our Father (it is the only time I have ever seen Fr. Dave cry) and letting him go.  And then we all left in a daze..........

I think about that all the time.  I still cry but not as much.  I miss him terribly but have also moved forward.  And yet walking in that hallway brought it all back.  Luckily I was able to hold back my tears and not show up at mammography a bawling mess.  I made it back to my office for that.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pulling Babies from a Suitcase

and other crazy stuff from work........

Yesterday was a long one.  I lost my presentation for Grand Rounds and had to re-write is quickly. It was on manual expression so it was easy and didn't need a lot of references but still it took time.

I was doing GR up north as a courtesy to another hospital so I had to go about 20 miles up there.  Then I had to head out to our SW location to set up for a health fair.  I loaded up my stuff and started on my day of driving and presenting.

When I got to the North hospital I pulled out my doll and breast model quickly and ran in.  (I was running late)  Didn't think much about it until I got to the door and the valet said it looked like I was carrying a real baby by the arm.  Good thing he didn't see the cloth boob in the other hand.

I spent and hour in front of a group of about 40 playing with a fake breast and a doll.  And it didn't phase me.......

Then I drove about 30 miles SW to our other center and put out my supplies.  I had two pelvises (pelvi?), a fetal baby, six uteruses with various size fetuses (feti?), two babies the aforementioned breast and I don't remember what else.  Then I left to go get my kids settled before heading back for the health fair.

When I got back my favorite high risk OB was set up next to us.  The whole night Mike kept saying that we had all the toys and he wanted to be at our booth.  He even came over twice and asked to borrow a uterus and once to borrow a pelvis.  He was clearly jealous of our models. 

This morning I had to haul all the supplies back into the closet.  I was tired and it was snowing AGAIN.  So I dragged it all in thinking that my job is for the young and started unpacking.  It was then that I really looked at my stuff and realized that there I was in a public hall unzipping a suitcase and pulling out babies.  These are teaching models so they look real.  I can only imagine what the people at the end of the hall who weren't close enough to see them were thinking.  It reminded me of all the other things that happen to me in my line of work:

A pelvis fell out of the closet and smacked me on the eye.  I was afraid I was going to have to go to the ER and say "can I get worker's comp for being hit by a pelvis at work?"

We found an old baby in the closet that was UGLY!  Matted hair, eyelashes missing, stains.  We hog tied it to our secretary's chair with a note saying that the baby would be removed if she gave us diet coke the next three times we taught.  She hid the baby and said that unless she had double latte's for a week it would show up where we least expected it.

Riding a gurney in the parking lot at midnight after cleaning out the old building.  I wet my pants.  True story.

Touching your own breasts in front of a huge group of people because its the best way to demonstrate something.

Looking on-line for the breastfeeding video that Kitty F. produced only to realize that putting Kitty and Breastfeeding in the same search was a bad idea.  (No blocks on a University computer)

Saying to someone "if anyone can get you pregnant it will be Dr. B!"  and then realizing what you said.....

The opportunity to tell parents their baby is a great sucker.  And meaning it as a compliment.

But the most fun we have is with Big Brown.  BB was purchased by the former coordinator for.......we don't know and are sometimes scared to think about it.  BB is a Big Brown Penis Model.  You hook it up to this thing and it shoots out fake semen.  Its supposed to be used to teach how to put on a condom.  But we don't teach reproduction just after the fact.  So BB stays in the closet until some unsuspecting person finds him- on their desk, in their chair, hidden in under papers that need to be filed. 

A nurse from another unit found out we have a cloth vagina.  She wanted to put it on her head like a hat for Halloween and go as "crowning"  We couldn't let her do that but we did but ole BB in a baby shower bag with a balloon that said "Its a Boy!"  then left it on her desk. 

Yes, its all inappropriate humor but when you talk about vaginas all day you have to have a bit of fun. Right?!  The only thing is we have to be really careful what we do/say to whom because EEOC knockin at my door would not be fun.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Best Job Ever!!!!!!

We made a curriculum change and put our Parenting I and Parenting II classes into a combined What to Expect as a New Parent Class.  I figured it would be best if I taught it first.  Why?  Because I am the supervisor so throw myself under the bus?  Not really sure being as I very rarely teaching parenting but that is what we did.  So this morning we rolled out the new class.

I love love love teaching parenting.  I love teaching breastfeeding and birth as well but for some reason I am in my element when I teach this class.   It makes me want to fire someone so I have a spot back.  OK, not really.

I was a bit nervous using a new outline and time line.  I was more nervous having staff observe me.  There were a few things that I answered and then questioned if I'd said it right.  We'll see what they have to say when they send feedback.

But my class evals were excellent!  It makes me so happy to have patients tell me how much better they feel about becoming parents. 

Oddly enough this was the first time in years that I watched the DVD and had a yearning for a baby.  I am 43 and have enough on my plate.  Maybe its early menopause...............

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snow Day! Ya Right

Kids in Utah don't get snow days..............

My kids have never ever in their whole miserable lives ever had a snow day.  There was one day in 05 where they got a late start day.  9:30 AM- as opposed to 8:50 AM.  Really this is a true story.

There was also a snow day in 96.  I remember it clearly because I was 15 hours into a 30 hour labor that started with an external version and ended with forceps in the OR and APGARS of 2,5,7 (yes, I am well aware that they are horrible but he is now 17 and has a 3.6 GPA and is taking concurrent enrollment at the CC)  They closed the University which meant all the local districts said "yep, the weather must be bad because those University people know when to call it."

My daughter was 3 at the time and didn't notice or care.  My son was well, almost around but didn't care.

There was a day in 02 or 03 that should have been called but the President of the U was from Michigan or Minnesota and had come from a mostly resident campus.  He lives across the street and thought "hey, I had no problem getting here so classes will carry on"  The University is a commuter campus.  only about 1/3 of the students live on or close to campus.  The rest are coming from anywhere from 2-80 miles away.  Well there were 100's of accidents and a couple of fatalities.  Bernie learned his lesson but then we hit a drought.

We have a new president on the hill and we are also in a wet cycle in this here desert.  Yesterday a winter storm warning was called.  It was to begin at 3 PM and go until Sat at noon.  Sure as shit it started to snow at the airport around 2 PM.  I was heading home at three so no worries for me.  I did have to run Keegan to theater but it was still tolerable.

By 5:30 my educator called to see if I was canceling class.  She is from California- wimp!  (just kidding  she awesome)  She also lives up the canyon and was worried about getting home.  I told her that since she was already in Salt Lake to go up to the hospital and call everyone in her class.  If they all wanted to cancel then fine.  She called me back at 6 PM stuck in the snow with a flat tire and no way to call.  I called and canceled classes for the second time EVER!.

My daughter called at 8:30 PM.  The buses weren't running and she was stuck at the U.  My husband braved the storm while I sat around finishing the last 50 Shades of Gray book (mediocre review to come)  And I did shovel the driveway.  All 12 -15 inches.

Apparently is snowed all night.  I listened attentively for snow closures to find that all of Davis County was shut down but that only private schools and the community college in the valley would be closed.  So we packed it up and started on the trek.  I fishtailed at the top of the Bengal Bump (steep curvy hill) and ended up in a snow bank.  Brian came and rescued us.  Then we set off on the rest of our 10 mile journey.  Keegan was dropped off in time for school drop off.  And then it took an HOUR to get Daniel to school.  It was a well known fact at that point that he would be late and so would I.  I dropped him off with a note and figured another 20 minutes to the U.   Maybe 30.  An HOUR AND A HALF later I got there; at 11:00 AM.  Luckily today was an office day- no patients, no meetings, no one noticed I was missing.   I worked for a bit and then at 1:00 PM.  They called it.  Four hour commute and it took until 1:00 to say "oh that was dumb.  If we didn't have so many people on the roads maybe the plows could keep up."  The schools started letting kids go if they could get a hold of their parents.  My son wasn't so lucky.  I missed his call and he didn't leave a message.  So stay until 3 PM he did.

Its still snowing.  And is supposed to for another 12 hours.  But tomorrow is Saturday.  So no, no snow day again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dinner, Games and SPA Treatment

Last night was one of those where I had too much going on.  Daniel went home from school sick.  I had to bring him to my office for the afternoon because I didn't want to take him all the way home and then come back.  Since we were at the hospital anyway I made an appointment to get him checked.  He looks like "death warmed over" and I was surprised he even wanted to go to school.  Well as I suspected he has the flu.  They didn't swab to find out the type but its pretty evident.  So rest, fluids and treat the symptoms.  Then pray that no one else gets it.  Because we are going to Disneyland next week by damned and no one can be sick.

But I digress.  So after dealing with him I had a lot to do at work (new secretary starting next week!).  Thus I was later getting home than I wanted.  I then had to go to the board meeting at school.  Which praise the heavens above did not last three hours last night but only two.  The fine folks on the board really know how to make a ten minute discussion 30-40 minutes.  I spent the first three meetings wanting to gouge my eyes out and have now resigned myself to it being that long and just suck it up.

I was home by 8:15 and ready to get some cleaning done because the conference committee was to meet at my house this morning.  It was a bit cluttered and messy; plus my Christmas decorations were still up.  (I'm holding my "I'm Catholic and Epiphany was just on Sunday Card").  Keegan however had other plans.

He came out into the kitchen wearing his "Fancy Clothes"  Jacket, white t-shirt, dress black pants, cowboy boats.  He had his belt around the outside of the jacket.  He said he was my butler and was going to make soup.  Great!  I don't like to say I don't have time for fun and spontaneity but I didn't have time for that.  I decided to just make the best of it knowing that he would be appeased fairly quickly and then I would send him to bed.

He set the table with my good china.  Got me a diet coke (love that kid) and made soup.  Broth of Tabasco and chicken bouillon two carrots and some parsley.  Boil the hell out of it and then serve it up.  He had a sprite.  I pretended to enjoy my soup while we played a game of Go Fish.  Then he told me to put my robe on and he would paint my toes.  My toes are bright red now- and I mean my toes along with my toe nails.  He put make up on me, brushed my hair and then asked me to finish my work snuggled next to him in bed.  So I did.  I managed to get the website updated before the meeting and yes, i did get my house cleaned.  OK, a few bedroom doors were shut but the main area was clean.  I just wish it hadn't taken me two other kids to realize that sometimes you just go with the flow.  Their attention span is short and the 30 minutes is well worth it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

December- Did you really exist this year?

*oh and my secretary quit so I was trying to hire a new person*


I got my house decorated and started buying presents right after Thanksgiving.  Since Thanksgiving was early this year I patted myself on the back thinking "Wow, this year you will be ready for Christmas!"

ER not so fast.  Since Brian was in Christmas Carol he had rehearsal every night up until opening night and then was in the T, TH, S cast  on M, W and F he worked late to make up hours from leaving early for "call" every other day of the week.  So basically, I single momed it.  Which really is my norm for the most part but it was even more during the rehearsal and run of this show.  I did see it three times and honestly, he was awesome, spectacular, phenomenal and that is not just me saying that.  The whole cast was great but Jacob Marley has a really good part and he rocked it.

Then there was work.  I ended up working 50 hr weeks most of December.  Not that my job is hard; it isn't.  I love it but I was tired.  And waaaaay behind.  I was teaching a series, observing a series, covering for one of my staff and working on all the audits for re-designation.  I finished the paperwork from the audit at 8:30 PM on the night that it was due. 

I finished work on Friday the 21st.  Picked up Keegan from Children's and we headed South to spend the night with my sister.  I really needed that time to finish getting  ready for Christmas but I was going to the family party in Manti the next morning and my sister lives 20 miles South it just made sense to drive down in the evening and not have to rush in the morning.  Brian, Daniel and Kate couldn't go so it was just me and the Keegs.  (Brian's family I might add but they love me more anyway.)  My sister and I stayed up late talking (shocker there) and when I turned out the lights I was done.  I slept like the dead until 8:30 AM.  I don't sleep that late.  Wow I needed it.

Everything that gone done did and everything that didn't *sending Christmas cards* probably wasn't that important.  Even Keegan's Santa gift being held up in customs wasn't going to phase me.  And I had one of the best Christmas' in a long time.  Last year sucked.  Sucked big time.  I spent Christmas Eve trying to be happy, mass was hard-very very hard.  Dad always did midnight mass.  Seeing Deacon Mark process in instead of dad set me to tears.  Hugging all the staff after mass and all of them telling me they missed dad set me to tears.  A woman in the parish had lost her dad a few days before.  I went up to hug her and we both just bawled and bawled.  We still had midnight margaritas in his honor.  Fr. Dave still came by.  We toasted dad and I chocked back tears.  Maybe I shouldn't have finished off the margaritas the next morning.  Because I spent the whole dinner at my in-laws chocking back tears.  My present from them made me cry.  (a hand painted picture with one of my dadism quotes on it).  It was unbearable.

This year was healing.  I was happy even though I still miss papa like none other.

Other December highlights:

The Lushy (er ladies) Luncheon at church.  I won a basket.  Well the rest was fun too.

Dad's birthday party.  Pizza and beer.

Keegan got to be in the Christmas Carol 3rd grade version.  He didn't have a big part but man was he serious!

Daniel is growing and maturing so much.  He is awesome with his job.

I love my job and got to do some really fun stuff despite working so much

Running Beat the New Year.  I ran the equivalent of 15 5Ks this year even with my back issues.  (I counted Ragnar as 6 because really, it was since I ran 18 miles total)  My goal was 12 5Ks.

Graduating from physical therapy.  I'll never be cured but I am better and that is all that matters.