Monthly Archives: July 2009

2009 Children’s Heart Foundation Heart Picinic

It’s hard to believe that four years ago I didn’t even know what heart defects were. I didn’t even know that some of the families I knew at the time were heart family survivors. I thought they uncommon and rare. When Jacob was born all that changed.

The moment we were life flighted to the hospital and he was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries my eyes were opened and our lives changed forever – for the better. Yes there have been many scary moments and I would have never wished or wanted our son to go through heart surgery and all the things he did, but we have grown through it and our lives are more enriched. I have met amazing people and made lifelong friends. My faith has grown in ways I never knew possible and I have found an amazing cause worth fighting for. (There are a lot of amazing causes worth fighting for – but sometimes there is that one that you feel connected to.)

On Saturday our local Children’s Heart Foundation chapter held a family picnic for CHD survivors and their families. It was fun and amazing to see Jacob running around with all the other kids and to chat with other heart moms I have come to know and love as we pray for each other, cry with each other, and celebrate and cheer with each other.

There was face painting and games and some great reminders about the importance of research – (which is what the Children’s Heart Foundation funds – research for Congenital Heart Defects). Our cardiologist was even there and it is always wonderful to see him (out of the office of course!).

We hope this new tradition of the Heart Family picnic continues and that next we can see the return of the Lion Heart Festival in addition.

2009 Heart Picnic Collage-001

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Filed under CHD, Heart, Jacob, TGA

And the rain (or croissants as the case may be) comes down

It was a dark and dreary day. It really was. It had been raining quite heavily all day long. A trip to Costco was required though, so I had bundled up the boys (the girls were still in school at the time) and drove to the nearest store, about 20 minutes away or so.

There is one thing I am a sucker for at Costco – and that is croissants. I LOVE them. I love to use them for sandwiches, or just eat them plain. This trip was no different than the others, I purchased a package of croissants along with the rest of the groceries.

I got home and, dodging the rain, hurried inside with James in my arms and pulling a reluctant Jacob behind me hollering “I holp! I holp!” I tried to explain to him that things were too heavy and it was raining to hard to help, and though he consented, he was not happy about it.

It was James’s nap time, so I punked him in his crib and hurried back out the door and into the rain to bring the rest of my purchases. In one hand I carried dishwasher detergent, in another I carried a box of frozen hashbrowns. Perched atop the box of hashbrowns was the coveted package of croissants.

I was trying to hurry and I was soaked. I only ever wear flipflops unless I am doing a lot of walking and I didn’t think about the fact that the floor would be wet from my earlier entrance. I hit the damp wood floor in front of the door and my right ankle shot out, wrenching beneath me. I felt the crunch as I pitched forward. The Dishwasher soap bounced across the carpetted part of the floor as the hashbrowns and croissants became airborn. Luckily, the box of hashbrowns landed on the couch beside me, gently bobbing up and down on the plush cushions.

I layed on my stomach in agony as the soft patter of croisants rained around my still form. After a moment of silence I heard a tentative little voice.

“Mommy? You fall mommy?”

“Yes, Jacob. I fell.”

“I holp now?”

“Yes. You can help now.”

He happily gathered up the croissants as I pealed my wounded self off the ground. It is one thing to say you sprained your ankle doing sports or saving a child from a speeding train – but slipping on a puddle of water? Come on! 😀

(By the way – this was a couple months ago – after gimping about for a couple weeks the ankle was better. It didn’t even swell – of course I think my ankles are so used to being wrenched, sprained, and twisted that they have long since given up swelling 😀 heh)

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Filed under Goofs, Humor, Jacob

I’ll Find a Way

My sister and her family were here for a visit from Utah and we had spent a fun filled day at the beach. It had been a bit chilly and windy, but a nice day none-the-less and I was sad when it came time for me to return home with my children. I had a piano recital that evening and I wanted to be sure to leave enough time to bathe the kids and get myself ready for the recital. I was especially excited as we had planned to have the recital at a local nursing home.

I figured that by leaving at 3:30 I would have plenty of time before I had to be at the nursing home at 6:30 – the recital was scheduled to begin at 7:00. The drive is only an hour and a half – two hours max.

The kids and I were listening to rousing music and singing at the top of our lungs, the wind whipping around us through the open windows. The van was still out of commission from out Montana drive, so I was driving Moby Dick (a white 86 Mercury Grand Marquis). The only problem with Moby Dick was that the back passenger window was stuck half way down and wouldn’t roll up. The weather had been good, and I hadn’t been concerned, though I had a black plastic bag to fit over the door in case of emergency.

All went well until we were less than on hour from home and I noticed the sky was a strange greenish-gray/brown color. I grew up knowing what the sky looked like in tornado weather and this was it. I could almost picture a funnel forming and coming down. I shook my head. “Must be my imagination,” I told myself. A light rain began to fall, though it wasn’t coming in the window at all.

We drove another 15 to 20 mintures and then out of nowhere the rain came down in torrents. The wind was whipping around so hard that it was raining sideways, pelting poor Emily and drenching her in seconds. I pulled off the main road at the first exit I came to and turned into a parking lot. I sloshed through the water quickly accumulating on the ground and yanked her door open. It took me less than a minute to throw the black bag over the window and hurry back into the car, but I was drenched to the skin – I felt like I had just plunged into a swimming pool with my clothes on. The water was already past my ankles.

I cranked on the heat and threw the windshield wipers on full blast. I could hardly see for all the rain and wind. I turned on the radio and listened in amazement as they gave tornado warnings for the area I had just driven through, claiming one had touched down briefly somewhere in the distant area – “I guess it wasn’t my imagination,” I said. After getting all the pertinent information I turned of the radio – not wanting to scare the kids any further.

After another 10 minutes of driving I came up to the main junction to get onto the highway that led into my hometown. The traffic was at a dead standstill. Cars were lined up for as far as I could see. I sat a while and finally turned the car off, turning it on to inch forward occasionally. The third time I turned on the car I looked down at the gas gauge – it was on empty! There was no way I would make it home in traffic this bad with so little gas.

I knew if I could get around the cement median, I could head to a small town a few miles away where I could fill up. We began to pray that traffic would move enough that I would be able to get around the median and that we would make to a gas station where we could get gas.

Gradually the traffic inched forward until I could just squeeze past the car in front of me and flip a u-turn. We all sighed in relief as we head toward the small town. The kids cheered as the gas station was spotted. I saw the clock read 5:30 – if I was lucky I would still be able to get home in time for the piano recital. As I pulled in, one of the gass attendents began waving his arms, and I rolled down the window.

“We’re out of power.”

“What?” I could hardly believe my ears.

“The entire town is out of power.”

I sat there in shock. My tank was below empty and I had to be at the nursing home in an hour.

“I wonder if I can make it into my hometown anyway.” I didn’t realize I had spoken aloud until a nice man on his motorcycle aproached.

“I doubt it,” he said. “Every road into your hometown is closed because of downed trees. I was just trying to get there myself.”

“I have a piano recital I have to get to,” I moaned to no one in particular.

“I don’t think you will make it ma’am.”

He smiled wryly and joined with me in laughing as I proclaimed, “But I’m the teacher!”

He was very kind, and let me borrow his cell phone to call home and leave Paul a message as to where I was.

At that point I decided I had two options. I could sit and wait, or I could exercise my faith. We had prayed we would make it to a gas station where I could fill up with gas. This obviously wasn’t it. There was another town about 10-15 minutes further away from my hometown and I was informed the roads headed into that town were clear. I sucked in my breath, strengthened my faith and started the car. We had prayed. The car would make it.

We made the drive and the kids once again cheered as we spotted the gas station on the edge of town. I pulled in, and noticed it was as empty as a ghost town – I half expected to see tumble weeds rolling past the pumps. I never minded that fact that you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon until that moment. The silly people had closed because of the storm. Not because they lost power or any other disaster, but because of the storm. After a lot of grumbling, I reminded myself, “You prayed you’d make it to a gas station where you can fill up. This isn’t it.”

So, I started the car again and cruised on through town. A few minutes later I found yet another gas station and the kids really did cheer as this one had power AND was open! Finally my car had gas. I looked at the clock. It was 6:10. There was no way I would get back in time, but I figured it wouldn’t do any good to just sit around waiting, so I methodically began trying roads into my home town. The first road toward town I tried was closed about 10-15 miles out, so I turned around, headed to the main road and drive a while before trying another back road.

This road had just barely been cleared. I waved at the road worker as I passed and was assured the roads the rest of the way into my hometown were clear. By now it was 6:30 and I was contemplating how I could make it to the recital if I just went in jeans with wet soggy hair. Two miles out of town we were rerouted due to an accident. We finally pulled into the driveway at 6:50. My lovely husband had gotten my message and had called the nursing home to notify them that I was stranded and had cancelled the recital – he also figured none of us had been able to eat, so he had picked up some Little Ceaser pizzas for us too.

The usual 90 minute drive took me over three hours. My sister, who was going to stay at the beach arrived home shortly after I did, because the weather had turned so bad.

It was a strange feeling – not being able to get to my home and I am so grateful our prayers were answered. I drove close to 20 miles on an empty tank – the needle was below empty actually – and that to me is a miracle and answer to prayer. I could have been stranded in a storm by myself with five kids, no gas, and no phone. I know Heavenly Father loves us, watches over us, and answers our prayers.

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Filed under Family, Miracles, Religion

Making Mischief

Food coloring and kids seem to have a magnetic draw. They seek each other out and create beautiful things. In my husband’s case it was a dyed poodle (I think – he can correct me if I am wrong) in Jacob’s case it was bubbles.

He wanted to dye the bottles of bubbles different colors – and dye them he did. I was out with the kids in the backyard and Jacob had gone inside to use the bathroom. Unbeknownst to me he made a swift detour into the kitchen and snagged the food coloring. I noticed when one of the bottles was spilled and looked a strange vibrant green. And then I saw a splotch of blue someplace else.

Then I saw the bottom of Jacob’s feet, after he had stepped in one of the puddles of spilled dyed bubbles – they were bright blue! James got a hold of one of the bottles and had his face dyed blue, his hands dyed blue, his feet dyed blue. It was decided that evening as we hung out in the teepee that we have a tribe of the blue-foot indians. 🙂

That was Monday, and I sincerely hoped the mischief was over, but unfortunately the trouble for the week had just begun. Tuesday brought a babysitter and disastrous consequences as she underestimated Jacob’s mischeif making prowess. He ate half a box of icecream bars, went through numerous cans of juice concentrate that I swear were poured all over the floor as you couldn’t walk a few feet without having to leaf a layer of skin behind as you peeled your foot off the ground. He also decided to paint with the toothpaste all over the bathroom floor. And where was the babysitter during all this? My question exactly – needless to say, we won’t be having her back anytime soon.

I had hoped that after yesterday he had exhausted his mischief creativity – but obviously not. Today I had a few important phone calls to make and disappeared into my office while the kids ate breakfast. Apparantly they wanted sugar and couldn’t open the big bucket. To Jacob’s credit, Dorothy was the one who had the big idea – he just was the happy benefactor. She decided to pull the 25 lb (or so) bag of sugar off the shelf in the garage, rip it open, and fetch a cup of sugar.

When I stumbled upon the scene, Jacob was happily sitting in the middle of the garage floor with sugar all around him happily chowing away. There was sugar EVERYwhere. I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed some more, and that floor is still sticky.

Man, if the week keeps going like this, I will committed to the insane assylum at the end of it!

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Filed under Children, Humor, Jacob, Things Kids Say

The Fly

Jacob is scared of bugs. Anything from spiders and big beetles to the common house fly. I think it all started with his sisters squealing over bees – anything time something flies around him he looses it.

He has gotten better, but we recently had a conversation that went something like this:

Dad: It’s a fly. There is nothing to be afraid of.

Jacob (a very earnest look upon his face): Yes there is it will hurt me.

Dad: Son, flies can’t hurt you

Jacob: Yeah. They land on your arm and go like this (he grabs hold of his arm and lifts it up ward). They don’t let go and they take your arm and fly away.

Dad: Flies are tiny. They can’t pull your arms off.

Jacob: Yes they can. They stick to you and go like this. (He once again mimics the fly grabbing his arm and flying away with it)

I don’t know that we ever convinced him that flies can’t rip off his limbs and fly away with them, but he definitely gets creativity points 😀

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Filed under Children, Humor, Jacob, Things Kids Say

Our last two beach trips

Our last two beach trips have been solo flights for me. Me and 5 kids – alone. The task seemed daunting, but let me tell you, we had the MOST fun! And I didn’t get completely frazzled or tear my hair out, or worry to death about kids in the ocean. In fact, the kids in the ocean thing was my one major rule. Water was off limits because I was worried about keeping everyone safe.

Imagine how excited we were then to land on a beach with giant puddles the first time left behind as the tide went out.

June Beach Trips-001

Yes – they are really jumping off that bucket into the knee-deep water – knee deep for them that is. Full fledge belly flopping going on! But boy did they have a ton of fun! And what a gorgeous day to boot!

Then last week I took them to the beach and met up with some friends from Washington who stopped at the coast for a day while on their vacation. Our first stop was the Yaquina Head Lighthouse – they watched the baby so I could take the other four up. It was a bit nervewracking with the ambitious and energetic pre-schooler, but all went well and the kids loved seeing the light flash on and off (it is one of the few working lighthouses).

June Beach Trips-002

Then we drove a little further south and hit Seal Rock for lunch and beach time. It is a gorgeous beach with lots of tide pools and a stream for the kids to play in (so they still got their water time) in fact the rocks form a sort of barrier to the ocean so they could play in some of the deeper pools at the edge of the water without my having to worry too much.

June Beach Trips-003

They found an amazing variety of seaweed – I wish I had taken more photos of their seaweed finds.

June Beach Trips-004

Even thought the tide was going out we would get the occasional amazing wave crashing on the rocks and it was simply gorgeous! All in all the two solo beach trips were a great success and I am looking forward to taking the kids again!

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Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Teepees and the 4th of July

Early 1980s

Tiny lights dotted the skies as the sun set and twilight gradually crossed into darkness. We darted across the yard and pastures capturing as many as we could into jars, screwing the nail-punctured lids on tight. Occasionally we would cup on in our hands and watch the blink in fascination. Though we were careful not to smash them, inevitably one would get crushed and we would stair in amazement at how our skin would glow.

With glowing jars in hand we would parade beneath the dark sky to the sillohuetted teepee at the bottom of the hill. The kid created teepee sported a sheet draped around some poles dragged from the woods and lashed together. We huddle together around our jars of firefly light and my sibblings would begin to tell ghost stories until I was convinced to return to the house. 😀

July 4th, 2009

I have wanted to build a teepee for the kids for quite some time, but haven’t been able to locate suitable poles. Some time at the beginning of the year we were the recipients of some poles perfect for a teepee ranging from 10-15 feet (or more) in length. So, this Saturday as part of our 4th of July festivities Paul and I set up a teepee for the kids.
We didn’t want to spend a lot of time sewing and cutting, so we just draped and tucked the canvas around the poles, but when all was said and done it looked fairly decent and is a lot of fun!

I cut some strips of clothes for the kids for headbands and Emily had a couple of bows (filbert branches and string) that her Sunday school teacher had given her. Jacob crabbed a small stick for a spear and Dorothy pretended she was was blowing poisonous darts. We ate dinner in our teepee and the kids are anxious to sleep in it tonight.

Teepee Collage-001

Teepee Collage-002

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Photography