Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Number Four

Sweet Velma, one of my regular nurses.
Today when I went for my blood draw, Marina, Tom and Virginia were all busy, so a new tech was doing my blood draw.  She was chatting along and at one point said, 
"Well, life is full of surprises."  Yah, yah it is.

I guess I can say that when my leg is doing well, I just don't think much about it.  
Last week I started thinking about it.  A lot.

Now that I have fallen off of the pregnant patient wagon, I am just a regular, run-o-the-mill patient.  That means I fall under the umbrella of Dr. V., who hasn't seen me since I took a small flight and bouncy landing off of my son's bike in '09.  It turns out if you want to teach popping a wheelie, you should know how to land it.  I sent him an email to let him know that I wanted him to read my file, and that I felt like I was having the subtle inklings of a clot.

He sent me a reply, reassuring me that people
 don't grow clots while on blood thinners. 

You've heard of "read it and weep"?  Well, I did.  Cried actually.

Guy comforted me, assuring me that the doctor couldn't possibly have read my file.  We made an appointment, and waited the two days it took to see him.  He read my file, finally, while sitting in front of me.  It took several tries for him to even figure out which blood clot happened in which month.  Now, please understand, I really like Dr. V.  He has always been kind and helpful.  I understood that he must have just looked at my labs, which look like great labs for a regular person.  

Finally, he told it all back to me with the details in the right place, and then asked, 
"Where would you like to go for your scan?"


We drove to South Sac, but got there too late for Jane to scan me.  I got a new tech, and she assured me that though she couldn't officially tell me anything (sigh), she saw flow from my Inferior Vena Cava.

 I was awakened the next morning by a call from Dr. F., who said that the scan looked a little fishy to him, and scheduled me for an angiogram.  Next came an email from Dr. V. "Good News!" he said.
 The report on my scan came back clear of blood clots.

Tuesday we did the regular drill.  Fasting, IV, drugs, vitals, the usual.  Well, all except for when the nurse accidentally doubled my benedryl and I had a freaky reaction, which included watching the floor turn into water, and the chair seat throbbing.  It lasted about half an hour.

An interesting thing happens when I am on the table in the radiology procedure room.  I can't see anything, and once my leg is numb, I don't really know what's going on.  That's always when it comes, the news.

"Well, Laine, the stents are completely blocked."
Sigh.  Blood clot number four.

It was pretty hard to unblock them.  At one point
 he said what he was thinking out loud,
 "I'm pretty discouraged, here."

I became crestfallen. There was nothing I could do from my place there on the table.  He said he might have to go in through my jugular vein because the clot was too hard to get his tools through.  "You'll mess up my cool vampire-bite scar." I joked, trying to cheer him.  "I already have two nicely spaced scars, a third will ruin the effect."  I laid there and prayed for him to be confident, to find a way into my vein so that he wouldn't have to go in through my neck again.  

"I'm through." he said, finally.

He talked me through the procedure, explaining where the clots were, and what he was doing to break them up.  Eventually, he got it cleared and decided to place two more stents.  It was pretty painful, but we've been through worse.  It took about a 1/2 hour to stop the bleeding.

It was about 3 1/2 hours for the procedure, but of course the hours before and after totaled to about 8.  Because of the larger tools that Dr. F. used and how hard the clots were, it's been a lot more sore than previous recoveries,
 but today has been better.  

Dr. F. said he was perplexed; that even with my blood thinners and with the clot dissolving medication he was using, he was watching my blood clot on the tools right before his eyes.  "It shouldn't be able to do that," he said, puzzled.

  Next stop, a hematologist. 

My leg feels kind of weird now.  Not really sure what that means.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


We hear a lot about "Pyer-man"
 and other "dupoh-heeyos" these days.  
They save people from "bad dyes".  *

Last week Jonah demanded (and then asked politely after some parental nudges) that his cape be put on.  With a look of fierce determination, he then marched out the front door.  Guy called to him, telling him he needed to come inside, but he was a capped crusader with a mission.

"I make it bwoh **, like dis!" he insisted, waving one hand out behind him, simulating a cape in full flight.  Well, who can resist a superhero in training with such a task?
I remember my sister telling me of her son and his passion to have a cape.  He hopped from one foot to the other until it was ready, hot off the sewing machine.  He snatched it up and disappeared with a look of pure anticipatory joy, only to return in a few minutes with a fierce scowl.  He ripped the cape from his neck and threw it at my sister's feet, grumbling, "This dumb thing doesn't work!"

At least, that's the way I remember it.  And in that moment, as I joined Guy on the porch, I remembered it and worried.  Was Jonah-boy about to have his first of many disenchanting realizations? 
 I held my breath a little as he lined himself up for take off.

Leading with a clenched fist, he flew, back and forth along the edge of the lawn, looking over his shoulder every few moments to watch his cape "bwoh".

At one point he lost his footing, and (because I am a terrible mother who sets a poor example as I cruise through my life in blissfully bare feet),
 he scraped the top of his little toe off.

"I byeeeeeeeeding!" ***
He fretted with a furrowed brow.
I offered him a bandaid.
He considered, then the real superhero in him came out.

"I pine, mommy, I pine." **** he assured in a very grown-up voice.  No worries, he reassured, with a hand held out like a crossing guard stopping traffic.  And I was the traffic being stopped.
No mommies needed here. 
 Superheros might bleed, but that won't keep them from flying.


Update on the clot front: Looks like our sneaky little friend may be back.  Ultrasounds last night looked suspicious.  I will be going to hang out Tuesday with cool Dr. F. and my pals at South Sac radiology for an angiogram, and if needed, clot removal and more stent placement (because if 3 stents are good, five are better!).  Prayers are always appreciated.

Translations not found in Google Translator:
* Spiderman, super heros, bad guys
 ** blow
**** fine

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Little Blessing's blessing - Album 2

There are a few things I have learned since being born.  First of all, it turns out that all that swimming practice that I had in mom's belly hasn't turned out to be all that helpful.  Also, I have discovered that it is my job in life to be cute (and also that my mom has a weird fixation with holding her phone up in my face). 

It also turns out that the planets actually do revolve around ME. 
 Who knew?

And the big people around here (and let me tell you, there are a lot of them) all have something wrong with their voices.  They will be talking along just fine and then as soon as I look at them, they all sound like their sucking helium.  Weird.

Well, as I hear-tell, there has been quite a hullabaloo around my gettin' here safe and all.  Honestly, I don't know what the fuss was all about.  I never planned it any other way.  I knew it was going to be just fine.  Mom took some convincing, but as soon as I got here I set her straight and she has been a lot more chill lately. 
Because, as they tell me, it was such a big deal getting me here, there were people coming and going from our house constantly.  There was cleaning, and cooking and all sorts of rides and things going on to keep my family going.  Yup, other people took care of my family for about 4 months before I got here.  My mama wished every day that she could really thank all those folks for what they had done.  You should have heard her prayers for them.  She wished for their happiness and safety, and that they would feel how thankful she was.
Well, once I was out all safe and sound, and she was able to get round better, she and Dad decided to throw a big party to say "Thanks, everybody!"  Our house was bursting at the seams, and that wasn't even half of the folks who had helped at one point or another.
The first to arrive was my Grandma and Grandpa Holman. 
I made sure to bellow at Grandma plenty.
I loved on Grandpa, too.

 Then Mama's friends started to arrive, like Ruth.  She and Mama have been through a lot together.  Ruth has a baby boy coming soon.  Can't wait to see him again... we used to hang out together back in heaven, ya know.
Ruth's little girl Autumn had lots of fun decorating her head with sand. 
We are SO going to get along!
Ruth let me chill with her for a while. 
Being cute is so exhausting.
My cousins and all of our friends kept my sisters busy.

When I woke up I got to meet more cousins...
they just moved back from North Carolina. 
Aunt Julean makes mama's eyes fill with tears a lot.  It is a very cool trick.
Once the party got going everyone had a really nice time.  That's the thing - you see, when you get a bunch of kind and helpful people together, they already have a lot in common, so its easy for them to like each other! (too bad my mama took a bunch more pictures of all of the nice people that were blurry.  I won't put those in.  You will just have to imagine about 20 more very nice people like these!)
At one point everyone went outside because the sky was an amazing color.  You know, when God promises not to flood the earth, he sends rainbows, but when he is missing me, he sends pink clouds.

It was so amazing it made everyone turn pink.

One very special person who came was Claudette. She is my mama's midwife.  She helped 3 of my siblings be born, and even though she didn't catch me, she was waiting with my daddy and talking to God the way only she can.  You know, God pays special attention to the prayers of midwives.  After all, He knows better than anyone what important work they are doing.
Well, that day was wonderful, and what made it even more wonderful was that the next day was my blessing day.  I wore a special little white dress, and every body came to the church to listen. 
Even Ethan came,
and he held me all through church.

My Uncle Kenny, Aunt Tracey and my cousins
Sam and Emma came.  Mama was so very glad.

My daddy gave me a sweet blessing.  He cried as he told me how much Heavenly Father loves me (of course I know that, but when I grow up I might forget sometimes).  And he told me that my health was a very special gift
 from my Heavenly Father. 
He told me how loved I am and how important it is for me to live a good, happy life. 
The most special men in my life were there in the blessing circle to lend their faith; Grandpa Holman, Uncles Kenny, Zack and Chris, Cousin Josh, and our good friends Bishop, Dennis, Dave, Brady and William.  And my big brother Adam held the microphone, which isn't part of the circle, but it is still important!  I tried not to cry, but I did a little bit.  That's ok.  Daddy cried more.
Mama and Daddy sure love me.
My mama and I have a special bond. 
We have been through a lot together, you know. 
Yes, I think you do.

Well, of course everyone came back to the house to eat.
All of my cousins homeschool too, and mama thought it was funny
 that they all got out school stuff to do while the waited for the food!
Aunty Kori listened to Jonah tell his stories like she could actually understand what the heck he was saying.  I am a baby, but I can't understand the kid.  I prefer more mature conversation, like with cousin Josh.
Mama tries to take picture of Ethan, but she's not very good at it.
That's Tessa with Kaylee and Lauren. 
They don't mind so much getting pictures taken.

A miracle happened on that day, too.  Ethan let everybody into his bedroom to see his lizards.  NOBODY is allowed in Ethan's room but Adam, and me, of course!

Jonah loved it.
As people began to say goodbye, I got lots of snuggles.  Mama has never seen such big smiles on Grandma and Grandpa. 
 I guess I just bring out the happy in people.

Mama hated saying goodbye to Aunt Julean. 
They met on their missions about 400 years ago, you know,
and mama says they are soul sisters.


And do they ever make each other laugh!  I think this was an inside joke about the Unarmed Combat book we have (not the One Armed Combat book.  Though that would be a pretty entertaining book as well.)

I hung out with my Grandpa James for a while.  He has a sweet spot for me.  He offers my mama a quarter to keep me.  Even though I am his 31st grandchild if you include the great grandchildren, he makes me feel special all the same.
He's funny that way.

And I am special, because I am loved by some amazing people, so I must be.  I am also special because I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loved me enough to send me down to a family that cherishes me and friends who love and take care of me.  But mostly its because He loves me because I am me, and I am his child.
And so are you.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Summer Album I ~ Francine

Something strange happens in September.  I find myself holding with a garden-gloved death-grip to the 'lasts' of Summer; last cooling swim, last taste of sun-sweetened fruit, last lazy-late-night dinner in the gazebo. We like to think 'tis but a small thing to go back to school, to go back to regular work hours for Guy.  We pretend homework won't cut in on our all-too-swiftly dimming evenings; that the early mornings will not make our eyes heavy in those last warm late nights.  It's never true.  By September, Summer is only looking over her shoulder at us as she traipses out of Autumns oncoming path.

But this August, as we were still in the midst of Summer's sweet glory, something else glorious visited us, or rather, someone; precious Francine.

Francine had not been able to come for a visit since the day Natalie was born, and it was nearly impossible to cram enough hugs and smiles and stories into the short day and night of her stay.  Like chocolate for me, and potato chips for Guy, a little bit of visiting with Francine only begs for more.   

As usual, she arrived bearing gifts:

 She swept into the house with arms laden; organic tomatoes, peppers, corn on the cob, and an enormous flat of organic strawberries that were so sweet and abundant, we could eat with both hands.  Strawberries are a bit decadent around here, and usually selfishly guarded and handed out one and two at a time.  But these were so ripe, so begging to be enjoyed before they lost their magic, that we sat with bowl-fulls in our laps,  laughing and chatting and unabashedly wiping berry juice from our chins.
In familiar reply to Francine's gifts, the children showered her with homemade crafts and drawings, and Guy spent the afternoon preparing a lovely feast, staring the fresh corn Francine had brought.

 Parboiled and then roasted...

Plates were piled high

Grilled chicken on ciabatta bread with avocado spread, and Mexican corn
 (mayo and hot pepper sauce, garlic and paprika,
 then topped with Cotija grated cheese - yum!).

 Don't forget the black beans, homemade 
mango salsa and homemade black bean and corn salsa.

There is something so perfectly magical 
about eating outside on summer evenings.

 Time doesn't matter, only savory food eaten
 in slow bites between stories and laughter. 

  And while my yard never quite manages to become
 the yard I envision in my wishful heart,
 it still holds the sunset in the leaves on the trees,
and in the pink glow on my children's faces.

 I had no other gift to offer Francine than an armful of squirmy, delicious baby.
  Francine joyfully accepted, toting little Natalie around, and cozy-ing with her for hours. 

 We only got to have Francine for one night, but she and I stayed up visiting into the wee hours.  Natalie slept contentedly on Francine's lap for all those hours.  She was stockpiling.  I know the feeling.  I try to do it too, when Francine comes. 
But Natalie will learn eventually; 
there is no way to get enough Francine.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Repost: His Way

While I am working out posting problems, here's another oldie but goodie.  Appropriate, since Ethan started back to school this week, and honestly, not much has changed on that front in the past few years.

I didn't expect much. 
 I have learned not to.  When Ethan left this morning, his kiss barely
hit my cheek before he was out the door. 
"Have a great first day of High School!"  I called. 
"Uhhh."  he faintly grunted before the front door slammed.

I couldn't help letting my mind trip back over the years. 
When I picked Ethan up from his first day of kindergarten and enthusiastically asked,
"How was your day, son?!?" 
he had frowned and barked, "I ain't tellin' you." 
Emphasis on you.

So while I was out front gardening when Ethan trudged up the walk late this afternoon, black pants, black shirt with the Jolly Rodger on it, black back pack dangling, I didn't expect much. 
 Nonetheless, I still asked, with all the enthusiasm of 9 years ago,
and none of the expectations.
"How was your first day?"

"Alright I guess.  I'm tired.  I don't feel good."

It all tumbled out of his mouth in one continuous dreary stream, and before I could say anything he was through the screen door and into the house.  Guy came up the walk then as I called behind Ethan with a tease,
"Nice to see you too, son!  Thanks for the kiss hello!" 
"I'll kiss ya!"  Guy smiled. 
 He told me fragments of what he had been able to wrestle from Ethan
on the way home from school in the car. 
I finished up my yard work and headed inside. 

I found Ethan curled up on the love seat in the den trying to fall asleep before we could make him do anything, like chores or homework, or - heaven forbid-  talk.  I plopped Jonah onto his back (he never gets mad at Jonah for waking him).  He rolled over and told me he thought it would be cool to "sleep forever".  I asked about first period, then second, and so on.  Each time he started with, "I don't remember", but eventually a little of his day leaked out between quips of sarcasm and exaggeration.  No, he hadn't made any friends.  Yes, a lot of other kids brought lunch from home.  And surprisingly, when asked if he had any lame teachers, the answer was a simple, "no".  He had overheard a senior talk about him to a friend, "That kid looks mad", and thought it was funny.  He did his best scowly face at me and  grrr-ed like a pirate, then laughed.

I will hear more about his day over the coming hours. 
The big picture will take shape slowly over days. 
It's not the easiest way to communicate, but it's Ethan's way.

Ethan - 2010