Thursday, December 15, 2011

Year in Review.. Lucia's perspective

It's usually about this time of year I start thinking about a review of what we did this year, but as I thought of what we did for the year my memory went something like this:

January: Mysterious aches and pains increase while all else fogs into bare minimum survival

February: " "

March: " "

April: " "
(this is a little twilight New Moon-ish isn't it?)
Athen turns 3!

May: Diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis, and beginning of steroids, weekly low-dose chemo pills, and just like that my body becomes a hazardous environment for any living thing, so, no more babies folks, but hope in sight for those awful joints!
Lincoln turns 1!
Diego turns 5!

June: Jason leaves to summer internship in NYC, mom comes to help for the summer. Trip to Iowa!

July: Jason spends my birthday weekend home!

August: Jason is home for good! Linlcoln and I get the cozy job of escorting Grandma back to San Diego where Grandpa is waiting for her.

September: Diego's first day of kindergarten. Lucia's first Humira injection (fancy!)

October: Brooklyn's Birthday

November: Thanksgiving in Buffalo
December: Christmas! YAY!!!

So... as you can see I have been distracted this year, it was a tough year, and I can't think of any way to describe the shock of it other than comparing it to the first few days/weeks after labor where you shutter at the thought of going through that physical trauma again. Removed from the daze of survival mode, it's still terror-inducing to imagine another such year. However, the fact that I am indeed removed from that survival mode means I have LOTS to be thankful for! What a relief to be on the upswing and functioning again. So many others are not so lucky with their trials, and that fact has really sobered me on those days where I just needed to get over it, get over myself already! It's cliche to say, but so true that when I look at the trials of many others compared to my own, I couldn't imagine trading. I feel like mine is an easy, minuscule, watered down version of the challenges so many other's face. I am so so so blessed! So, while my memories are still recovering from shock, I can't think of this as a bad year. How can it be bad, when everything is so good? But I do think we might have better luck and more accuracy of the details if Jason posted what actually happened this year!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some Diego-isms you've missed out on...

Oh man, we've had some really good Diego-isms as of late. Remember when Diego would make our lives exciting by doing the darnedest things (corn starch snow in the living room, "cooking" eggs, tomatoes, etc.)? Well, luckily he has outgrown a lot of those kinds of shenanigans ...well except for last night*...
***********Side Story**************
Last night!ARG! So while they were "brushing their teeth" Diego and Athen were in fact getting a slightly old pumpkin out of my bedroom(don't ask- there's no good explanation) and pulling out its innards, which they then tried to cram down the bathroom sink, unsuccessfully, thanks to the blessed stopper. So, naturally they pulled out the stopper to fill the drain, and then went to bed. So after they were asleep and it was safe for me to go upstairs (you can't go upstairs while kids are trying to procrastinate sleep, it makes the process dramatically longer!!), and low and behold my ladies room trip was greeted by a clogged sink and moldy pumpkin guts all over the sink and floor. ARG!! You know how they say children look like angels when they sleep? Well, I thought peeking at their little angel sleeping faces might calm down the tremors quickly turning full scale earthquake in my psyche, but it was NOT helpful. Rather I ended up quickly leaving the room, quite disturbed by my strong inclination to wake them up and spank their little tooshies. WHOA! HELLO, CALM DOWN WOMAN! So anyways, I scooped the crud from the sink, went downstairs to cry/pray. Jason has this joke saying in a deep southern accent "I need Jeeeezus!" which basically means "I'm about to to have a colossal freak out to be tempered only by some severe divine intervention" I was needing some "Jeezus" in a bad way, but all joking aside, the praying worked, and after some very specific scripture study about Patience (which I could stand to study a whole lot more!), we all ended the night on a good note.


So, not to be diminished by the goings-on of last night, I thought it'd be a great time to catch you up on the most recent hilariousness Diego has come up with.

1- On Saving the world! Recently, upon learning of the naughty bad guys (drug cartel) in Mexico, Diego announced that he knew how to handle the problem. " I'm just going to go there, and teach those guys about Jesus, and if they're mean to me, well I will KEEP teaching them, and when they learn, they wont want to make those bad choices anymore!" Oh man, that was the cutest thing! It might even work, who could discount such a sincere little guy?

2- On being a Spy! Diego has been having a hard time trying to decide what he wants to be when he grows up. Doctor, farmer, ninja, and spy are all so tempting! One day he decided he was probably going to be a spy, and explained to me "I didn't tell any of my preschool friends that I'm going to be a secret agent spy, because then when they are grown up, they will know and it wont be a secret! And what if they grow up to be a villain or tell a bad guy who I am?" Hehehe.. so clever, he really thought that out.

3- On homeless dogs! The other day, we were headed to school and I could not convince him to get in the car. He was standing at the sidewalk making a loud exaggerated whimpering sound for a good five minutes. I was annoyed that he wouldn't get in, but curiosity vetoed the annoyance so when he finally gave up the mission and got in the car I listened very intently as he explained to me, " I saw a dog catcher drive by (probably a rectangular truck or something) and I was making puppy sounds to get him to come catch me, and take me to the pound. Then when he went home, I would sneak out and open all the cages of the dogs and they could be free and go home! And if they didn't have a home, I would bring them to our house and we would be their family."

4. On Camouflage. A while back we were at the sporting goods store when Diego noticed a rack of camouflage jumpsuits. I was surprised to see how expensive those things are (seriously over $100 for something so ugly and random), but more surprised when Diego picked up a large one from the rack and backed away with it. He stood against the wall and in a loud whisper said, "MOM! Can you see me??"

5. Upon learning there was free popcorn and Philly cheese-steaks in the box seats at the football game: "This is the BEST PLACE EVER!"

6. On blood. There was some blood on the kitchen floor from a cut Athen got, and upon seeing it, Diego tried to step on it. Disappointed that it was still there when he moved his shoe, he exclaimed, "Oh man, if only we had a pet vampire!"

Oh man, I love that kid!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I have been going to physical therapy as of late, and whoa, it's no walk in the park (which isn't really fun yet either). It makes me feel like such a whimp... well, not me per say, all name calling is designated to the whimpyness of a few pesky joints. But I guess it's not their poor little fault either, they were attacked... *dramatic pause*... by some rouge immunity cells. But then again the immunity cells didn't mean any harm by it either, they were just doing their job, defending their honor etc, albeit with mixed up instructions about their target. And who mixed up their instructions? Who knows! And beyond that it just gets too complicated to track down a culprit, so for the sake of simplicity I am declaring all parties absolved of guilt, and shall heretofore not be held liable for damages nor be referred to as whimps though I reserve the right to wrinkle my nose at them on occasion. I have spoken.

Gosh I'm so easily distracted, back to physical therapy. Well, the nice physical therapist kept demonstrating seemingly simple exercises.
Step onto the block, step off of the block.
Lean on the wall, roll back onto your heels, lifting your toes as high as you can.
Stand on the board, tip toes forward, then heels back, then side to side.
10 wrist curls with the rubber band.
Stand on one foot for 30 seconds, holding a bar for balance. Switch.

I am totally capable of doing all of those very simple things with ease, theoretically. I was not prepared to break a sweat, or to be pep talking my ankles. "Left ankle, you are a rockstar! Right ankle, you are a redheaded step child."

Wow, in retrospect, that sounds so mean to my right ankle... okay, I'm going to go try and sweet talk my ankle now.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I am losing my mind!!

Yes, I am losing my mind! Not in terms of sanity, that comes and goes with lovely hormones, and steroids, and the occasional sleep deprivation, and having 4 kids by golly! When I say I am losing my mind, I mean the part of it that I heavily rely on in order to think and function.
Exhibit A
Time: 4 years ago
Place: At church in Georgia
Evidence: I was standing in the hallway talking with some other ladies about official church stuff when Jason came around the corner and asked if Diego had come my way. He saw me in the middle of a discussion , said "Oh." and went the other direction. A couple minutes later, when the conversation was over and Jason had not returned with Diego I decided to see if he had wandered into choir practice, so I popped my head in and asked a friend if she had seen Diego. She looked at me with a strange expression, paused a second, then pointed to the left of me. Sure enough, there in my left arm was Diego. And on my face: an embarrassed blush, and in my brain: not much apparently.

Exhibit Y (Y stands for You don't even want to know how many times that stuff has happened)
Time: Earlier today
Place: My house
Evidence: Lets begin with a question. What is worse than getting everyone in the car only to realize your keys are NOT in your purse, and then remembering exactly where you last saw them in your now locked house? I'll tell you what's worse: Having your hubby walk home in the rain to open the house, while your friend takes your children to school for you, and then and only then realizing your keys are... in your pocket.


What do you do when your brain stops being reliable, and all of your contingency plans for the situations that may arise also depend on A FUNCTIONING BRAIN?!?!

I'm chalking this up to yet another reason why I'm going to be really excited when that old Resurrection rolls around. I was already looking forward to being flawless, preferably size 12, with hair unaffected by humidity (Its not like I actually know what that"Resurrection" package specifically entails but in terms of frizziness, I'm allowing myself come creative license okay?).

And then more recently it occurred to me that the irreversible, incurable, and fairly annoying rheumatoid arthritis will be cured AND reversed. SWEET!!! All that stuff I mentally prepared myself to never do again can be amended to "Not for a while" instead of "Never again" which is obviously so much better.
And Now: A brain in consistently, good working order is sounding pretty darn good too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Summer of mom!

So, my mom has been here with me and the kids ALL summer while the hubby was interning in NYC, and for the record:


First off, you can't talk to my mom for more than 5 minutes without realizing she's the sweetest lady on the planet. She instantly cares about everyone and is always plotting ways to help even random people she meets.

Secondly, I'm so lucky to have a mom that's so easy to get along with! She is pure pleasant company.

Thirdly, you just don't even understand what an immense difference it makes in the cleanliness and organization of a house when Mom AND Grandma are home all day. Wow! After months of chaotic "survival mode" it has been SUCH a relief to just maintain some housekeeping stability. Don't get me wrong, it's still exhausting trying to catch up with the care and feeding of four little ones, but my house has just been so nice while she has been here!

Fourth, my parents are so so so wonderful for offering the loan of my mom for FOUR MONTHS! Can you imagine putting your life on hold to go help someone on the other side of the country for so long? It's especially amazing that she stuck it out the whole time considering that fact that while her presence meant that my load was physically, socially, and emotionally lightened, her load was significantly more burdened.

And lastly, a shout out about my dad: it was about the cutest thing I've ever seen to see card after card, day after day that he sent her while she was away. My mailbox was well acquainted with love notes, newspaper clippings, cards, jokes, and general greetings for my mom nearly every day!

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ah, this is nice!

The short List of what’s SO MUCH BETTER about life for the past month:
My stairs: I can EASILY walk up them
My hair: I can lift my arms to comb it, even keep them up to *tada* braid it!
My daughters hair: My arms and hands are strong enough to do it again.
My couch: I can get off of it without a 30-90 minute mental pep talk/threats.
My sheets: I can pull them over myself at night.
My toilet: Aaah the relief. Okay, couldn’t resist that, sorry! But seriously, if you’ve never looked at those toilet extension things that make a toilet higher and coveted it... you are normal... I cannot say the same for myself.
My medicine bottles: Now visited only once a day!
My keys: I can turn them one handed.
My clothes: I can handle them myself. If you really want to know what an overachiever I have become, I even get dressed standing up! Try not to be jealous of my skills.
My sleeping kids: I can carry them most of the time. Even on stairs, mostly.
My dreams: They are no longer about being helpless to save my kids in an emergency.
My basement: What do you know, it does still exist after all. Convenient since my washer and dryer live there.
Tornado season: Okay, tornado season is not cured, but we are better prepared since I can access the basement again, and I even put together a tornado watch kit in foot lockers which I carried downstairs myself!
My deodorant: I can now reach my full arm pit. Those of you close to me should be happy it was winter, and that I couldn’t exercise or even move enough to work up the slightest sweat.
Things on the floor: I can step OVER them, instead of hazardously shuffling through them, sometimes unsuccessfully. Not that there’s much of anything on the floor these days- did I tell you my mom is staying for the summer?
Shoes: I tie them.
Typing: 10 fingers again!
My shampoo bottle: I can squeeze it with my hands instead of my teeth.
Jars: I don’t have to ask my preschooler to open them.
The top shelf: Accessible again! Without even propping one arm up with the other.
My arms, elbows, hands: I suspect I could use them again to help me stand up, that is, IF I needed them, which I don’t, by the way. Although, I’m not likely to test that theory in the bathtub any time soon. It only takes once being stuck in the slippery buff to no longer think of a bath as soothing.
Seat belts and car seats: No longer a feat of frustration and sheer willpower.
Disciplining children: Much more consistent. When all you have is your voice to manage the small to large issues, they figure out pretty quickly you can’t actually enforce many consequences. (ie, Can I have this junk food? No? It doesn’t matter since I can finish it before mom can get to me to put it out of reach.)
Nurturing Children: Snuggles, holding them, energy to do fun stuff again, even singing them to sleep again since I'm not physically demolished and mentally/emotionally at the last frayed strings on the end of my rope by bedtime.
Morning: It is not only a part of my day again, but its pretty much the same as the rest of my day- normal!
Jason: Well, he hasn’t changed per say, but he does get a little awesomer every day, so I deem that of note. He’s had to be both parents the first 1-4 hours of every morning for months and months, without ever treating me like anything had changed, or like I was sickly.

I'm sure I will think of more things to add, but this is what popped to the top of my head as I wrote in my journal tonight.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I got a new theme song... and rheumatoid arthritis at the same time!

(to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)

Hands, shoulders knees and toes,
Snap! Crackle! Pop! they go.
Wrists, elbows, ankles, feet,
I'm my own rice crispy treat!

added by Taryn:
Crinkle, Pop, Crispy, Snap!
I'm more fun than bubble wrap!

Isn't it great? You love it right? I'm working on further verses, or variations of other tunes. Ideas are accepted, but if I break a big arthritis record deal/ retirement community tour, or something else amazing off of your genius, i'm claiming it as my own and you're out! (This means YOU, Taryn!)

So as you probably read in the title, I very recently learned that I have acquired rheumatoid arthritis. A nasty case of it too, which is actually a relief since i've had symptoms since December and they have progressed rapidly over relatively few months as i've been in doctor limbo, waiting to see a specialist (What can I say, I've always been a little advanced) . I was in emotional limbo too. Waiting for answers, and nervous there wouldn't be any. Nervous there would be answers, answers I wasn't willing/able to deal with. Supremely nervous of what would become of my family in the meantime since i'm so much less capable than ever. I thought of all the parenting scenarios where you must act quickly to avert crisis, and agonized over the possible outcomes of me being powerless to get there in time. Tornados, fires, busy streets, stairs, bodies of water, my inability to hold anything( let alone anyone) with any amount of strength, county prosecutor intervention for getting my kindergartener to school late too many times (we got a letter!)and even just tantrumming toddlers. All that waiting gave me too much time to worry, I think.

I now have a newfound appreciation for old people though! My aunt says "Growing old aint for sissies!" and it is SO true! You're body degenerating is bound to make anyone feel geriatric! It's hard not to think that your body is 'on its way out' when it declines so drastically, and I've had a lot of 'this might be it' moments where i've held my kids extra close, and read a few more stories, sang few extra songs at bedtime, and snuck them a few more jelly beans here and there. Almost as alarming as the prospect of nearing 'The end" was the idea of being like this indefinitely. So sad to think of my kids growing up with an incapacitated mother. Jason aspirations and plans being shackled to a sickly wife. And me being the incapacitated mother, the sickly wife.

But now, hallelujah! We have a specific reason!I'm NOT in doctor limbo for years, hoping someone somewhere will figure out what's wrong with me! It's NOT cancer. I'm NOT dying. We have a direction to head in, and hope that it will improve! Sure, we also have an incurable disease that makes my immune system attack healthy joints. Sure i'll most likely be on strong medicine for - well, until the resurrection. BUT, we also have a knowledge that we've been led through this in the best manner and timing possible (that's another post in itself!).

So, you win some, you lose some. Mostly, I have won. And hey, you know what else? Doesn't this just sound like the PERFECT excuse to hire an occasional housekeeper? I'd be thrilled to delegate that little gem of a responsibility since I already didn't love it, and its now pretty non-existent!
My friend Taryn thinks I have all the luck... hehe, yes Taryn, I do. And you're right, I am more fun than bubble wrap.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Conference Weekend!

Well, it's that weekend again where members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints around the world pause Saturday activities and skip Sunday's three hour worship, opting instead for an EIGHT HOUR BROADCAST ! (TEN if you are a male over the age of 12) Yes, it's time for General Conference. You're probably thinking "Jimminy Cricket! That's a lot of church!" and you are right, it is! That's probably why my earliest memories of it include curling up on a bench in a dim chapel for a relaxing weekend of naps. Four naps to be exact, in two-hour installments. But gradually those memories changed to passing the time by doing sketches of the speakers, dozens of speakers!( I really got that podium down to a science.) Later I decided to label the sketches, even putting little words around the sketch if something they said stood out to me. It got to the point where I was hearing so much worthwhile, really great stuff that I found myself scrambling to finish the drawing while the speaker was wrapping up, and finally I abandoned the sketches all together after pages of just the podium and an outline of a suit surrounded by lots and lots of notes. So even if it sounds a little kooky, I sure love those EIGHT hours of hearing our Prophet, and the 12 Apostles, and several other regional leaders from around the globe. I love the new stories, and gospel insights, the laughs, the smiles, and the sweetness of truth well shared. Though it takes a different form these days with 4 little ones piled onto the couch that we've moved in front of the computer, instead of the sleepy chapel from when I was little, I can't help but hope my kids will remember sitting with us, listening for key words for two hours in order to color in their conference bingo squares. Maybe they'll remember the new box of crayons and notepad, or even just the whopping jackpot of 4 Starbursts for a completed bingo square, but either way, I hope they will look back and remember their own conference beginnings, and how out of small things, proceedeth that which was great.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why I'm afraid of taking a shower these days...

This is what was waiting for me after I took a shower and got dressed Saturday morning. Oh, and also 3 HYPER, giggling children. Not the "Oh, how I love my siblings, life is grand!" endearing laughter, the "Mom's coming! look what we got away with while she wasn't looking!" maniacal laughter. Then an abrupt change to sassy "NO!!!!! I'm NOT!!"s when I sent them to their rooms.
Well, it stands to reason that the responsible thing to do would be to calmly have them clean it up, but "calm" wasn't really an option since my blood was quite nearly boiling and I was feeling the onset of spontaneous combustion. For some reason, on occasion my state of mind links itself with the state of my house, so in this instance while it looked like a hurricane came through my living room, the same hurricane was making it's way through my psyche.

Great time to have the kids to exit stage left.
They went upstairs (to quite probably wreak havoc there too).
I looked at the aftermath. I cried. Twice. Okay, thrice.
Turned on saturday morning general conference for ambiance.
Cried again at the perfect first talk.
Called for back-up.
Enter sister missionaries looking for service ops and in an hour, it was back to this.

So, as a side note, my whole house gets messes of this magnitude almost constantly(at least it feels that way) but this mess was just compacted into a smaller amount of time, I didn't see the progression, and it had more unusual components (ie taking the stuffing out of the couch and a PUDDLE of yogurt schmeared into the carpet. Really kids?)
For my own amusement here's the rundown of the specifics. Also, this is my reference for when my kids call me from college wanting money, or to come home for Christmas, or when they wonder why I wrote them out of their inheritance. For the record, this was the day. (Since you were upstairs in your bed Lincoln, you're safe kiddo- in reference to the inheritance AND from the wake of destruction.)
Oh, and for inquiring minds: The kids had to stay in their rooms for the entire clean up, missed their lunch, had all toys confiscated for the day, and have yet to earn back any toys that were part of this particular mess, and they also owe me 20 chores if they want to play soccer in the spring.

But hey- I got a shower and everyone survived!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

things you might not know...

Since I haven't posted in a great while, I thought I'd send out a quick pic and some updates. we went to Gnomeo and Juliet for Family Home Evening tonight and the kids were thrilled to find out it was in 3D- and WE were relieved to find out it's $2.75 Tuesday so the added 2.75 for it being in 3D didn't have to break the bank. Phew! This picture really doesn't even do Lincoln's cuteness in those 3d glasses justice but oh well! Trust me- he's just SOOOO adorable! The other kids are too- they had just scattered by this point, hence no pics.

What else have we been up to?
- Most recently, Jason's father passed away so we had an impromptu trip to North Carolina. Bitter reason to go, but made sweet by the chance to get together with Jason's family, most of whom the kids and I have never met! We even got to see Jason's great grandfather. Five generations- can you imagine?!

- Jason is progressing steadily in his program, and already getting ancy about having his ducks in a row for what's next- internships etc. Speaking of school, the older kids are sure loving it!

- I'm doing well, enjoying it here a lot, although I feel to mention that I'm GETTING SO OLD!!! Seriously, I think I'm somehow aging exponentially! I've been achy in the joints and generally feeble for a few months now and the rheumatologist doesn't have an opening until May (!!!!!! WOWZA!! Seriously if you are considering going into medicine, now would be a great time to tap into the wealth that is baby boomers and arthritis!)- well, my poor family just has to have a decrepit mom for the time being. Most people try to find their inner child, but apparently I needed to find my inner Granny.

Well- that's all I have for you whipper-snappers. Now turn off your interweb thingy and git to bed!

(See, aren't I a great granny!- now if I could just get my hands on a light purple wig)
Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you, but on what happens inside of you.

Harold B. Lee