Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some years it sneaks up on me.

As I sat down at the computer a few minutes ago, I noticed my niece's Facebook status wishing her brother a happy birthday tomorrow. "Wait", I thought, "that means..." and as I looked over at my calendar, I experienced that little stomach sinking confirmation.

Eleven years ago today our oldest daughter was stillborn at 24 weeks. We had known since a routine ultrasound at 18 weeks that she had a series of complications that made it unlikely that she would make it to full-term or ever take a breath. But, we were willing to put our faith in the Lord that things would turn out according to His will, and we prayed for a miracle.

In the years that have passed, I have truly come to peace with how things turned out. I know with all my heart that because of the set of complications she had, it really was best that she didn't linger in this world. I feel honored to be the mother of one so perfect that she was only required to "touch and go." I know that we will be reunited someday and that I will be privileged to truly get to know this precious little girl. For me, that is one of the most beautiful promises of the Resurrection of Christ.

There are times, sweet, sweet times, when I feel her near and I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of me.

In the days, weeks, months, and years since her passing, I have found a "new normal" where the grief of her loss isn't all consuming. Truth be told, I have reached a point in life where I can go for days, maybe even weeks, without thinking about her, and when I do it's without deep pain or tears. That is why it is not uncommon for her birthday to take me by surprise. But, it's at times like this when that shock of recognition overtakes me, that I really grieve and the tears flow.

A mini rant.

I'm having trouble commenting on my blog in response to others comments. I also can't comment on the blogs of others if they are using embedded comment boxes, like I am. I can leave comments if the comment box shows up in a pop up window, however. So, there are several of you whose blogs I've tried to comment on tonight and can't. I'm really frustrated. So,I think I'll switch styles temporarily so that maybe one of you can let me know if you are having the same issues. :P

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ups and Downs

Finally! I'm just gonna ignore the housework for a bit and get this camping trip blogged! :) Warning, this will be long!

It was definitely different than any other camping trip I've been on yet. Lots of struggles and cool stuff all rolled into one.

Our original plans were to spend the entire week of July 20th camping with RM's brothers' family. But, because we had all spent so much time sick earlier this summer, RM really couldn't take the extra time off work. So, we decided to go just Wednesday through Saturday. We made arrangements with RM's parents to borrow their camper trailer and truck for the trip. When RM drove the truck, he noticed that the steering was really loose. Feeling concerned, he spent Tuesday repairing the truck and we weren't able to pack the camper like we had hoped. We decided to get up extra early Wednesday to finish packing and get on the road.

Well, as we began to pack Wednesday morning, a pulley broke on the camper. The top would go neither up nor down. RM and his father went looking for a replacement pulley, while I did my best to pack the camper and bed of the truck. We weren't able to leave until just after lunch. I took the delay philosophically: there was simply some reason we weren't supposed to be on certain sections of road at certain times. We wound up eating dinner on the road (note that this is now two meals worth of food I have packed in our coolers that we haven't eaten while camping) and arriving just before dark. We set up camp super quickly and jumped right back into the truck to go into Escalante on an errand for RM's dad. It was past bedtime when we got back. Day one of our camping trip over, and we haven't been anywhere near the lake.

Thursday morning we noticed the truck had a flat tire! We ate a pancake breakfast (RM's brother's family had so much batter ready we didn't make our mix at all. Three meals to take back home now. :p ) and RM and the kids headed down to the lake. I stayed behind with 'Lashes to finish setting up camp. Of course they went with little or no sunblock and got nice and toasty. PrincessBug caught her first fish on this camping trip last year, so she was stoked and ready to get some more. SunshineBoy didn't catch any fish last year and has been of the opinion that fishing isn't really that fun. Well, that changed when he caught his first two fish this year. Now he gets it and is eager to go fishing again.

SunshineBoy and Bob holding his and PrincessBug's fish.

I finally made it down to the water in the afternoon and we took a family paddle around the lake.

Unfortunately, 'Lashes isn't very fond of his life jacket, so our excursion was rather short.

'Lashes holding some water plants off of PrincessBug's fishing pole. He doesn't like his life preserver. I wonder why?

Toward evening, RM and his brother put the spare tire on the truck. Shortly after that the camp host came around. He had a tire repair kit and we were able to repair the original tire. Yay! Then we followed RM's brother and their family to a secluded spot a bit up the road to go target shooting. It was a first for my kids.

Uncle C. and RM help the kids target shoot.

RM & 'Lashes with their earplugs.

The gun totin' mama.

After target shooting we headed back to camp for a dinner of freshly caught fish and taco soup. We told SunshineBoy that if he wanted to fish the next day he had to at least try one bite of fish. We're trying to teach the kids that the fish they catch need to be eaten (by someone) or it's wrong to take them from the lake. I even ate some fish to be a good example. But, it was no use. SunshineBoy wouldn't budge, he wouldn't eat even one bite. Mommy & Daddy got tough and SB didn't go fishing on Friday, just boating.

Friday morning RM wanted to go to Devil's Garden. However, when we tried to go, things got weird. The kids didn't want to go, they wanted to go to the lake. I felt grumpy about going. Breakfast took extra long and it was getting hot. Finally we abandoned the idea.

On our way down to the boat for another outing, I got a few pictures of some pretty wild flowers.

While I was taking pictures, I noticed the charm on my necklace was oddly tangled in the clasp and I made a mental note to have Quinton help me sort it out as soon as we got a chance. He was already on the boat when I got there, so I decided to wait a bit. When I got back to the camper, the charm was gone. I was devastated. I hunted up and down the trails, in the boat, near all the clumps of flowers I had stopped by, but with no luck.

Anyone familiar with my charm will know it was literally like looking for a needle in a haystack. You can see it around my neck, tangled in it's clasp, in the picture from target shooting. RM made the charm for me in a jewelry class he took before his mission, so I've had it for sixteen years or so. It's always been one of my very favorite pieces. It's unique and has always captured peoples' attention. Everyone always wanted to know what it was. It was described as a flute, a sword/knife, a stalactite, a needle, you name it. In reality it was just a cool shape made from a broom casting. I've been meaning to take a close up picture of it for months and just hadn't gotten around to it. For the rest of the trip I kept my eyes out, hoping beyond hope that it would show up, but it never did. Even now I'll reach for it, and it hurts every time I realize it's not there. Here's another picture. (Sorry for the poor quality, it's a tight crop from a much larger picture taken earlier this summer).

After lunch that day, RM took the big kids on a hike up to the Posey Lake overlook, while I got 'Lashes to take a nap. The quiet time in the trailer was really nice. My favorite part? The humming birds that would come buzzing around our camp. They have the most amazing high pitched thrum and they are so pretty. I wasn't able to get any pictures, but I found this picture by Greg Joder on the internet that should give you an idea of how beautiful they are.

The whole crew at the Posey Lake Overlook

After the hike, RM suggested going to Devil's Garden again. This time it just felt right. Everyone was happy and excited to go. So, we piled in the truck and headed out on the 40 minute drive to Devil's Garden. Devil's Garden is a really cool set of rock formations, called hoodoos. The worst of the heat was gone by the time we got there and we got there early enough to hike deeper into the formations than we've ever gone before. The kids thought the formations were cool, the multiple varieties of lizards interesting and the fine, soft sand a blast to play in.

On our way back to camp at dusk we came across a dog on the road. It would follow the truck, but run away each time we stopped, only to follow next to the truck again or run ahead of us. It took us three tries, but eventually RM was able to convince the dog to come near enough to us to let us pet it and get a look at the tags. Her name was Bernice and she lived in Kaysville! We picked her up and put her in the back of the truck, gave her some water and took her into town. We tried all the telephone numbers on her tags, but with no luck. No one in Escalante could give us any advice or had seen her owners, so we finally took her back to camp with us, after grabbing a pizza in town because it was going to be too late to eat dinner at camp. (Are you counting how many meals we've missed now?) Bernice was so sweet and well behaved. She spent the night bedded down in the back of the truck.

Saturday morning we packed up camp and got ready to leave. We took Bernice back into town asking around for her owners and leaving many more phone messages with the local sheriff, the BLM and US Forest Service, notes at gas stations, etc. with no luck.

We couldn't find anyone willing to care for Bernice until her owners found her. Not knowing what else to do, we decided to take Bernice back home with us. We figured that if we had to, we'd drive her to the address on her tag.

At the last minute I felt inspired to leave a note at the trail head near where we found Bernice.

Then, we headed for home over the dirt road between Escalante and Loa. About 8 miles out of Loa it began to rain. About 5 miles out of Loa is began to pour. All I could think about was poor Bernice in the bed of the truck getting drowned. We stopped the truck and RM and I got out to cover the bed of the truck with a tarp. We were soaked to the skin in seconds! But, we did manage to get Bernice and the gear covered up well enough to get us to a drier, less windy place where we could redo it better. We pulled into Scipio about 6pm to get gas and eat dinner (a meal we were supposed to eat at home :p). While I was waiting in line to order, my cell phone rang. It was Bernice's owners!! The lady on the phone was so emotional she couldn't speak and she had to hand the phone to her husband. They were still in Escalante and wouldn't be able to make it to us until very late, so we made arrangements for them to pick Bernice up at our house on their way home on Sunday. So, Bernice the dog had a sleep over at our house.

Sunday afternoon Bernice's owners came to pick her up. They have owned her for 11 years and she is a true member of their family. The thought of her lost in the desert made them sick. She had gotten spooked by some gunfire and run away from her owners Friday afternoon. They spent Friday night and all day Saturday looking for her. They finally found our note at the trail head. It had been rained on and sun faded. It was barely legible, but they had been able to make out my cell number by holding it up to the light. It was a wonderful blessing to find Bernice's owners and to get her back to her family. It was definitely a high note on which to end a camping trip that had had several ups and downs.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh how I want to blog tonight...

...but I'm literally falling asleep at the computer. I'll try to get our camping trip blogged tomorrow. It was unlike any other camping trip I've ever been on. :D

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All Our Bags Are Packed

We're almost ready to go, but we won't be taking an airplane. Just a borrowed truck and camping trailer. We're off to Posey Lake to go camping/fishing with family. I'll have pictures and stories when we get back. Catch ya' later!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pictures of 'Lashes

I finally managed to take some pictures of 'Lashes this morning. I really should have been taking a few every day so we could document the hives progression. Oh well. Here he is, hives day 3. These really aren't the pictures of 'Lashes that I planned to share first. They aren't very happy ones.

So, here are the ones I had planned to share first. Best to end on a high note. :P 'Lashes has decided that food should not only be eaten, it should be worn. It makes after meal clean up much more challenging. But, even dripping in Mac & Cheese he's cute. :D

Speaking of cheese, he's figuring out the whole picture taking thing. RM went to take 'Lashes' picture a few nights ago. When 'Lashes saw the camera pointed his way, he looked at Daddy and said, "Cheese!" Totally took us by surprise and made us giggle. Here's the cheesy photo in question.

Such a cutie! I can't wait for him to look more this this again.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Deja-vu with Someone New

January 2007 Bob had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin and spent several miserable, miserable days recovering from hives. January 2008, Bob had a serious allergic reaction to Omincef, called pseudo-serum sickness, and was nearly hospitalized. He spent a horrendously miserable week or more recovering from hives and swollen, painful joints.

July 2009, 'Lashes has had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. Friday afternoon at the doctor's office we thought it was the standard hives reaction. But, this afternoon we noticed his joins beginning to swell. After taking him back into the doctor's office this afternoon, it looks to be pseudo-serum sickness. My poor baby boy is itchy and miserable. There's really nothing to do except watch to make sure it doesn't get worse (which would mean we misdiagnosed him and it could be a more serious allergic reaction) and give him benedryl and pain killers. The bright side is that we caught this earlier with 'Lashes, so hopefully he won't get as sick as Bob did.

I've been here and done this before, twice. I think three times is more than plenty, thanks.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ain't technology grand?

I'm posting this from my moving minivan on RM's laptop. And, no, I'm not driving! ;) RM has access to a wireless broadband card through work. We're experimenting to see if it works where we're headed. We're in the middle of the mountains going to a tiny little town helping my brother-in-law's family move in. The things we do for employment. ;) They will be wanting internet here and we're hoping a card like this will work for them.

Other big news for the day. 'Lashes broke out in hives today. Seems he's allergic to amoxicillin just like Bob and me. *Sigh* Lucky us. At least we can be grateful that there are non-penicillin antibiotics available, right?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I see how you are...

So, Renaissance Man visited with his brother and brother's wife yesterday. She is a fan of blogging and has encouraged me to begin blogging for quite some time. According to him, she likes my blog, but was complaining that I haven't posted anything new for a couple of days...Not even a week as a blogger and already receiving criticism. ;) (Love you, K!)

The fact of the matter is that I've been trying to get comfortable here in my new home. You may have noticed a few new thing-a-ma-bobs showing up in the sidebars and footer. I'm sure a few more will pop in from time to time.

I've spent WAY too much time playing around with my Playlist widget creating an eclectic playlist that is ridiculously long (and growing). I think I may eventually break it into some mini playlists that I'll rotate around. I opted not to have the beastie auto play, so if you want to hear the crazy collection of songs I like, you'll have to go press play. It also bugs me that so far I haven't been able to size it so it fits nicely in my sidebar. You'll have to go search it out at the bottom of the page.

I've also been thinking about what I want to talk about on my blog and trying to decide if a single blog is the right venue for everything on my mind. I don't think it is. So, I'll probably (who am I kidding, will) start a second companion blog to this one where I can be a bit more personal/private. That one I'll password protect since it will be much, much closer to a personal journal than to a soapbox.

Password protecting...grr. Many of you know how much I struggled to decide what form of "security" to impliment here. I finally decided to keep this blog public, which was my inclination, but to give everyone pseudonyms. Can I tell you how much it irritates me that I even have to think about the miniscule chance that some crazy stalker will try to find my family? The basic instict to protect my family is at war with the attention seeking part of me that would secretly love to have my humble blog grow into something as popular as The Pioneer Woman's.

So, there you have it. Confessions of paranoia and delusions all in one post. Now aren't you glad you stopped by today?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

That One Guy

Apparently this is what happens when I don't spend enough time on my blog. I guess my husband was concerned that I hadn't yet finished adding our entire family to our cast of characters, so he took matters into his own hands. :P I just wanted everyone to get a chance to see this before I replace it with something a little more appropriate. :)

Oh, and hey...I learned how to post pictures to my blog posts. That One Guy showed me how.

Did you miss it?

I've already completely changed the blog's look from what it was when I went to bed last 2am. *Whistles self-consciously*

And don't worry, I'll be back with a real blog post and more changes later today. :P

Oh Poop!...Or, what happens when virtual reality and the real world meet.

Anyone who saw my blog yesterday or early today knows that it began with the lovely Dots template offered by the nice folks at Blogger. There was much about the template I liked. The colors were great and there was something rather soothing about the roundness of it. However, I knew that I would be changing it as soon as I could. I had seen a 3 column layout on my sister-in-law's blog and I just knew that was for me. I just had to talk to her to find out where she got her backgrounds and the code to make the big changes.

In the meantime, I was content to add some more links, rearrange a few things, adding some gadget/widgets, and generally spend my morning working on my blog instead of doing the laundry. It was early afternoon when I got the information I was really wanting from my sister-in-law and I was really excited to get to work. Princess Bug and I were browsing new backgrounds when Sunshine Boy came running in yelling, "Mommy, 'Lashes just pooped on the table!"

Apparently, 'Lashes has developed a new fondness for taking his diaper off today. The first time we caught the situation before there were any serious consequences. The second time, not so lucky. Somehow he got the diaper off without any of us the wiser. I went into the front room to find 'Lashes standing on a craft table which is temporarily set up there. Sure enough, he left me a present on the table, on the chair he used to climb to the table, and on the tile in our kitchen/entry. I'm not sure by what miracle he missed the carpet and the basket of clean laundry someone tipped over, but I'm extremely grateful. Let's hear it for hard surfaces that clean easily and Lysol wipes. And, where was that child's mother?!

Oh, right. That would be me, the one obsessing at the computer. See, now didn't I tell you that if you saw me spending excessive amounts of time fiddling around with my blog to gently and firmly tell me to get out of my chair and join the real world? So, I guess the lesson learned today is that my blog doesn't have to be just the way I want it in it's first 48 hours of existence. It really is ok to add here and there for a long, long time to come.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Taking the Plunge

I've considered starting my own blog for years. In fact, people are often surprised that I don't already have one. One thing that has continually held me back is the notion that I don't have enough time to blog. Well, I've finally come to the conclusion that that is just an excuse. I have more than enough time in my life to blog/write/exercise/scrapbook/journal (fill in the blank with whatever dream deferred) if I am willing to give up something else less meaningful in my life. So, here goes.

From now on I'm going to try to be better, to be truer to who I am and who I want to be. I'm going to try to spend my "free" time in better ways, to live more deliberately, more deeply. I'm hoping that this blog will be a step in the right direction. After all, isn't a blog a little bit like a journal and a scrapbook? Couldn't it help me get into the habit of writing again? The only thing it won't do is get my fanny out of my chair and running a marathon. So, if you see me hanging around refreshing just to see if anyone has read my blog or left a comment in the last ten minutes, gently but firmly tell me to get the heck off the internet and go live in the real world.

Oh, and please pardon my dust while we're under construction. :)

P.S. Brownie points to anyone who can spot my English major nerdiness seeping through. There will only be brownie points, not actual brownies, because, well, this is the internet and because I'm trying to give up brownies and other sweets in general.


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