Sunday, December 30, 2012

a list about skiing

I continue to be amazed at the things I learn, and today, I learned that:

1.  Sitting on the chair lift properly allows your legs to rest before you ski down the hill.
2.  Keeping your legs relaxed and your skies parallel is easier than trying to snowplow all the way down the hill.
3.  Being able to clearly see more than five feet in front of yourself makes skiing much easier (even if it means wearing your glasses instead of your goggles, maybe especially if you can wear your glasses instead of your goggles).
4.  Last week, Jr claimed he and the drummer used to count Subaru's on the way up the canyon and insisted they'd counted over 100 Subaru's on one trip to Alta.  We scoffed at the notion of that many Subaru's in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and as I'm prone to do, I told Jr he must be making stuff up again.  But last week and again today, we started counting after we entered the canyon and while I'm certain we missed a few of them that were parked at Snowbird, today we counted over 150 Subaru's.  Not sure what that all means, but it cracked me up that my kids had picked up on it.
5.  I'm so glad we decided to become skiers in this place--this state--this pretty great place.  And next time, I'm not wearing the goggles.

Friday, December 28, 2012

movie viewing

Sopranos marathon ongoing in the gardens.  Episodes interspersed with Jack flying his new helicopter around the diningroom.  Probably ought to post pictures before it crashes and requires's always good when people like the presents you give them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

four days

So much going on around here over the past four days.

Jack's family party on Saturday.  His mom suggested we all tell our favorite Christmas memory, so many, too hard to choose.  For many years, Jack's sister and her husband videotaped family parties on their VHS recorder.  A while back, she transferred all of those movies to DVD.  On Saturday, she brought us a DVD that included many of the parties from 1989 to 2002.  So many memories--Christmas parties, family picnics in the canyons, weddings, birthdays, videos of loved ones gone.  We've had so much fun watching it over and over.

Sunday morning church services, listening to the drummer's ward choir, directed by his sweet wife.  I have always loved singing in church, especially at Christmastime.  This program did not disappoint.  It was lovely.

Sunday afternoon was my family party.  Good food, entertaining chat, fun games.  And plenty of the usual, uh, insanity.

Monday afternoon was The Nutcracker with Jack.  I've taken our girls/granddaughters to the ballet each year for several years.  We always sit on the last row, or very close to it.  Jack decided to surprise me with tickets on row 13.  We drove downtown in the rain, and as we crossed the street from the parking ramp, the rain changed to sleet/hail/snow.  We had hungry stomachs and half an hour before the ballet started, so we headed into Siegfried's Deli where we shared half a chicken and exceptionally yummy fried potatoes.  We sat at the bar facing the window and watched the snow fall through a steamy picture window.  It was beautiful.

Then we headed to the ballet.  It was stunning, tear-inducing, as always.

Last night, Stu and his family came by for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner--ham, cheesy potatoes, salad, and of course, vanilla wafer pudding for dessert.  Then into jammies and home to wait for Santa.

Today, of course, was Christmas.  Gift exchanging, breakfast with all my local kids and grandkids, then off to my parents' house, then to Jack's mom's house, then home for Facetime with the Californians.  After massive, first-rate persuasion tactics by Jr, Jack and I agreed to join him at Alta for a couple hours of skiing on a beautiful sunny winter day.  (That may be Jr and Jack on the lift for their last run...)

It was clear and cold, but not crowded, and really, a perfect end to the last four days.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

who doesn't love a dance recital?

This one wants to be dancing

But this one has the moves

She's the leader, watch what she does and then do it, okay?

This one cracks me up--it may be that they're all supposed to be doing the same thing, but if you check closely, you'll see who's standing on her blue tape spot, so you tell me who's doing the right move...or maybe they were doing their YMCA moves...right?

Perfect form hands...

Now, jazz hands, big finish, bring it on home!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

christmas concerts

Some of my favorite memories as a mom are Christmas band concerts.  Every year in December starting around 1991, we went to listen and watch as one or more of our kids, starting as 5th graders, then jr high, then high school, and eventually university students played songs of the season.

Tonight we went to watch the drummer.  But tonight he wasn't playing instruments, he was the conductor.  Student teaching an amazing jr high group.  Brought tears to my eyes listening and watching as he conducted them playing old favorites as well as a medley of the songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Even more remarkable was hearing them play songs from The Nutcracker. 

Such talented musicians and a great opportunity for them to become familiar with incredible music.  Very touching evening.

(My kid is the one standing up, making sure everyone is ready to play the music.  I'm not gonna' lie, I was pretty much wowed by the whole experience.  Probably still rather watch him drum, but still.  It was awesome.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

some christmas

I nearly forgot about the night we decorated the tree.  Leo didn't participate.

And in a surprising turn of events, Jack bought a Christmas present for Oscar.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

more snow

Jr and his friend, Danielle, convinced Jack and me to go skiing today.  It was snowing but not too windy and we almost had the place to ourselves.

Today is the first time Jack and I have skied together.  He was pretty much impressed by my ski skillz.

I think we can all agree that it felt awesome to be out moving in that beautiful winter wonderland.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

snowing but cozy

It was snowing when I went to bed last night.  I haven't been sleeping soundly of late, so I pulled a well-used, old familiar comforter off the shelf and spread it over the bed. 

Then I added a layer of dogs on top.

We all arranged ourselves and drifted off to sleep.

I slept all night, a deep, restful sleep and woke later than I have in months.  Truly, that snow was a gift.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

we don't know the story

I saw a post on facebook the other day that started me thinking.  It was a post written by a college-age girl about how much she loves her mom, how much she appreciates all of the support over the years.

She said how grateful she is for this person (her mom) being in her life to do all of the stuff that _____ (her actual mother) didn't do for her over the years.

She was really writing to her stepmother.  And dismissed the woman who gave birth to her, raised her until the divorce, and likely reads her facebook posts.

I've been thinking ever since I read that post that none of us really knows anybody's story but our own.  We only know our version of how other people enter our lives, leave marks on our lives, and sometimes exit our lives.  We don't know much if anything about their lives, only our perception of how they impact us.  We don't know their intent.

It occurs to me that maybe I need to cut other people a bit more slack.  I need to have more compassion for others.  Because I don't really know their stories and everybody has a story.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

it's very quiet around here now

The Californians left around 6:30 this morning, arrived home around 8:30...14 hours in the minivan with four kids, including the wee lad who needs to stop and eat every three hours or so...but they made it safely home.

Yes, I was a bit weepy earlier today.  Solemn even perhaps for a few hours.  But still.

In the past week, we had at least one night of RockBand. 

One night of HedBand (a kid's game with blue plastic headbands and pictures of animals/things on cards that fit in a slot on the headbands so you can guess as quickly as possible what picture is stuck to your forehead). 

One morning of pedicures. 

One morning breakfast of pancakes and bacon and french toast and juice with all the grandkids and their parents and Jr. 

One morning/afternoon of present exchanging, complete with oohs, ahs, and much commotion from the massive nerf gun war that occurred after the locals gave nerfguns to everybody.  (Seriously.  There may have been 20 different nerf guns and ammo everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  Stuck on windows, doors, walls, pictures.  My gramma's grandfather clock.  Perhaps funniest moment of the weekend when Jessie laughed so hard she cried after she turned and fired back on Stu with her gun still in its package.  That'll teach him to shoot her, right?) 

Then there was the afternoon of the baby blessing with 48 family members and friends who brought happiness, good feelings, and enjoyed heaps of food. 

And of course, a different girl (or boy) every afternoon or night falling asleep on my lap. (I have that effect on people.) 

It was so great.  And it's quiet now.

And yet, Christmas is still coming.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

things i need to remember

They arrived last night followed shortly by almost all of the locals.  I write this post to record two memories I want to keep.

Immediately after everyone arrived, I watched as a single file line of girls ran by, giggling and talking excitedly through the kitchen and down the stairs to play together in the basement.  It was music to my ears and golden to my eyes--all of them so delighted to be back together at gramma's and grampa's house.  You see, this is what it is all about - family together.


At some point, Leo started to fuss a bit.  Shilo held him closely and rocked him, but really, he wanted and needed his mother, who was out back touring the trailer for a few minutes with her dad.  Janey heard his fussing and proclaimed that what he needed was his pacifier.  I asked aloud where his pacifier might be and watched as she tapped a finger on her cheek and thoughtfully noted that his pacifier was probably in his carseat.  I said I thought the carseat had been moved into the toy bedroom and off she dashed, returning moments later with the pacifier.  I said, "Good job finding the pacifier!"  She slid to my side and quietly said, "Well, actually gramma, you helped find the pacifier because you remembered where the carseat was.  We found it together."  Adorable, smart, and really loves to help with that baby brother.


Sunday, December 2, 2012


I've already started my Christmas shopping and wrapping.  There's only one word for that:  UNBELIEVABLE!

But that's what has to happen since the Californians will be here ON WEDNESDAY!  They're coming for a wedding in Cory's family and staying at our house for six nights so we'll be exchanging gifts early. 

Obviously, the best gift for me will be seeing them together with all of my family.

Can't. Hardly. Wait.

Friday, November 30, 2012

i could say a lot of stuff

But mostly, what I want to say today, is happy birthday, Stu.  xo Mom.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This guy.  He may bark at the sky.  He may hang off of Jo's neck when she tries to fetch a ball.  He may have all sorts of questionable behaviors.

I think he may have earned me another Christmas present from the neighbor, the neighbor who gave me dog training videos anonymously on my doorstep on Christmas morning a few years ago.

See, this guy goes after everything that moves.  Not so good when it's one of the cats, probably not so good when it's a rodent.  In the neighbor's back yard.  On the other side of the fence.

This guy, he's determined.  And unstoppable.  And a really good digger with an apparently good sense of smell.  I keep stacking more and more and bigger and bigger rocks against the fence but he keeps digging under them.  And with good reason.

A couple of weeks ago, Jr spotted a large rodent running along the top of the fence through the neighbor's grapevine.  Seriously?  Yep.  I figure that between the grapes for food and the woodpile for a home, the neighbor's backyard is a perfect home for rodents. 

I'm just waiting for him to show up on my doorstep to tell me it is unacceptable for GusGus to be digging into his backyard.  And then I'll mention that if he'd get rid of the rat, Gus would stay in his own yard. 

A dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do.  And this guy?  He's gotta get that rodent.

It is totally creepin' me out.

Friday, November 23, 2012

the little things

for which I am grateful

1.  Jack deciding to shop early on black Friday
2.  Jr working at Starbucks early on black Friday
3.  Warm cup of love for me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

show me the way to go home

A little over a week ago, Jack started talking about buying a trailer so we could go camping.

We have camping history.  We bought our first tent on the day we were married, a little springbar pup tent.  We camped at Lava Hot Springs on our honeymoon.  In October.  It was rainy and cold, but there were hot springs and we were young and newly married.

Later on, we acquired my parents' camper.  The camper of my youth.  My dad was a carpenter by day who decided he wanted to camp with his family so he built a camper.  We spent many happy days and nights in that camper when I was a kid.  It seemed reasonable that when I had two small children I too would want to spend time camping with them, so dad gave us the camper, bought a new, larger version for them, and we changed from tenters to campers.  We camped until the family grew too large and too busy for that camper.  We sold it to a sheep herder who probably still lives in it year round.

Earlier this week, we settled on a new trailer.  It's larger and less campier than the first camper.  It has the potential to make and hold many fun memories for years to come. 

Alas, it is winter now though, a great time to find bargains on new trailers, a not so great time to take them to the local mountains.  (Although it has the "Arctic Pack" insulation package, so in theory we could take it out now and be perfectly snug.) 

Before we parked it beside the house for the winter, we decided to drive over to show it to dad.  As usual, he was asleep on the couch.  I nudged him, nudged him again, and again, and he slowly blinked his eyes, closed then opened his eyes, and gradually recognized and greeted me.  He slowly pushed himself up and around the sofa until he was sitting upright.  I pointed my finger in the direction of the trailer parked outside and after a few minutes he spotted it.  He immediately noticed the brand and logo and said he'd considered buying that brand years ago.  As much as I tried to get him to go out for a tour, he just wasn't up to it, but he did want to hear about all of the features and all of our plans for future road trips. 

We visited for a while, talking about past trips in the camper to Shady Dell and motorcycling at the sand dunes.  Out of the blue, as we prepared to leave, he started to sing:

I'm tired and I want to go to bed,
Had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head,
Wherever I may roam,
By land or sea or foam,
You'll always hear me a'singin' this song

His eyes were twinkling, his whole face smiling, and it was just like the dad I remember from my childhood, always whistling or singing a song, and completely happy when I joined along for the last line:

Show me the way to go home.

Monday, November 5, 2012

this is not me being mean

Okay.  I don't know what to do about that Facebook thing.

Ever since I joined/sign on/whatever, I've only become friends with people who asked to be my friend.  You know, didn't want to force anything with anybody.  Apparently even though I may seem to be very outgoing, I'm really more of a private-ish person.

But lately, I'm getting more and more invites to be friends.  And it feels like I'm losing control of that space or that the invites are from people who don't really want to be my friend, they just want to have lots of friends.


I don't know.  Maybe it started getting weird when my mom asked to be my friend.  I think she does want to be my friend.  But still.

I suspect my kids had that same weirded out feeling when I joined.  I just wanted to see the pictures they post of the grandkids.  It is fun to feel like I'm part of the in crowd.  Not a place I've really been familiar with before Facebook.

But then I realized there's another place to post photos--Instagram? 

And I just want to know what the heck is that?  I thought it was an app for Apple products so since I don't have an Apple product I couldn't participate.  Which leaves me feeling old and not in the in crowd and maybe a bit cranky.  Or at least reminds me of that commercial where all of the Apple kids are waiting in line for the new Apple product and one of them isn't an Apple kid but is instead saving a place in line for his parents.  Because us old parents like to think we're part of the in crowd.

Obviously this is not a good circle to be going round on.  Probably overthinking it.

I think I'll just put down the computer and go eat a piece of that pie I baked yesterday.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

this time is different

My usual visit with the Californians would include numerous photos of visits to the beach or the park or even just out back.

But this time, we've stayed inside.

While I haven't snapped pictures of the girls or recorded their conversations, I hope I remember it all.

Friday, October 26, 2012

two things i noticed

1.  When given a choice for dinner of chicken (two nights) or beef (tacos last night), Janey prefers beef.  Gobbled it down and took a second helping.
2.  No jello is included in meals brought in by the ward.  How can this be?  I mean, I'm not complaining, the meals have been awesome.  But I thought jello, that fluffy green stuff or frothy pink stuff, was always included.  Perhaps this is truly a Utah thing?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

this is the sweetest gig EVER

1.  Every morning I wake up and hear little girls chattering, mostly happily, ready for a new day.
2.  I laze about, rise when I'm ready, and for a change, the time is an hour earlier than it usually is when I travel east for work.  One hour earlier is much better than two hours later.  Trust me on that.
3.  I toast a bagel or toss back a handful of homemade chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.  Or I drive Janey to preschool and stop at Starbucks for a venti nonfat chai and treats for those at home waiting.
4.  My boss gave the okay for me to work while I'm out of the office during this time, so I log on to my work computer at the same time as I am checking for blog comments or checking out facebook.
5.  While working, I'm also holding a brand new baby boy.  Who gets this opportunity?  Holding a baby while typing and getting paid?  Please note that I am carefully keeping track of actual hours worked, so no timecard fraud here.
6.  I'm hearing girl voices, playing, singing, chatting, plotting.  ALL DAY LONG!
7.  The day slides by, dozing, working, eating, napping, and sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 every night, somebody from the ward shows up at the front door with a hot, yummy meal.  And because they're bringing in food, they make sure it is one of their best meals, so there is rice or mashed potatoes, chicken, salad, fresh green beans, and of course, homemade chocolate chip cookies*  (see earlier mention of such for breakfast) or cupcakes with chocolate frosting and candy corn.
8.  The evening rolls on with movie watching, rockband 4 playing, more girls laughing, doing homework, art projects, lots of children sitting on my lap and all around me.  Also included are kisses, hugs, and I love you Gramma...
9.  Bedtime comes with scripture reading aloud by all, prayer, and a race up to bed or begging dad to carry them to bed, and then it's quiet time and snuggling the boy baby until he's ready for another feeding and I'm ready to drop off back to sleep.

I do not know what I did to deserve this gig but it is the best, and really, who wouldn't love it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

some things change, some don't

There are lots of newfangled gadgets for babies nowadays.

But some things haven't changed.  At least not so much.  

Remember those sweet newborn baby gowns?  Okay, no drawstrings anymore, but who doesn't love a baby in a gown?

Monday, October 22, 2012

this place i'm at

I wanted to get a shot of his hair...


I think I neglected to tell the story of this trip to California.

About a month ago, I was super-anxious.  See, I got an email from Southwest Airlines several months ago offering a screaming deal to Oakland.  I carefully considered the due date of the boy and the actual arrival dates of his sisters.  I didn't want to arrive so early or leave so soon that I missed time with him.  Or time helping around here.  Or whatever it is that I do when a new grandchild arrives.  So I settled on a date nine days before he was due.

And then a month ago, I started hearing (possibly in my extreme worrier head) that Jessie was going to deliver any day.  At any given moment.  She lives in San Jose.  Forty-five minutes away from Oakland.  $160 cab ride.  A three-hour public transportation nightmare (if you're lucky).  I fretted for two days and finally decided I'd rent a car for a day for $60.  Then I calmed down and waited for the call.

But that girl of mine.  That sweet girl.  She waited.  And then she drove to the Oakland airport--she the 9.75 months' pregnant one--and picked me up last Thursday afternoon.  We spent the afternoon together with the girls, including a trip to Walmart where the 19-year-old clerk asked if we were sisters.  I pointed out that he had just made my day and probably ruined hers.  I'm pretty confident there is some clerk training that goes on in the retail community to encourage them to say things like that because they think that will encourage older women like me to spend more of our discretionary income there.

We had pancakes and bacon for dinner, and I totally impressed Cory with my Rock Band 4 singing abilities.  Or maybe I impressed myself.  Perhaps more of the Walmart ego boosting.  Who can say, really, right?

Early the next morning, Jessie and Cory headed to the hospital for the birth of their boy. 

I made several trips to the hospital and back, picking up girls, dropping them off at school and preschool, and at 3:11 p.m., sweet Leo arrived.  Without going into a lot detail, I'm just going to say Jessie was incredible.  I am in awe of her.  One huge contraction at the end, three pushes, and he was born.

Oh, and she should only have to pay for half an epidural because that's how much she had when it was time to deliver the boy.  Hmmm.  Never trust an anesthesiologist who says he's been doing this for 23 years. 

They came home yesterday.  I've been here, in this place where there are girl toys and girl clothes, lots of screens and Apple products, a corner upstairs and another one in the kitchen devoted to art projects and creativity, plastic shovels and rakes out back, and now a room full of blue boy stuff, including seven pairs of little boy shoes.  Seven!

 I feel so lucky and blessed watching this family grow again. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

all together now


and--he's home

Friday, October 19, 2012

then there were four

This girl is a trooper.



These faces are priceless.


And in case you wanted to see a clear shot of him, I snagged this off of Facebook.  8 lbs 12 oz, 20 1/2 in, dark curly hair.  Everybody seems to be doing well.  Not sure they've settled on a name.  Cailin likes Baby Strawberry...probably won't be that.

Friday, October 12, 2012

our kindergarten girl

Wearing the same shirt her mom wore for her kindergarten picture, that her gramma wore for her kindergarten picture.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

what would we do without children?

Jack and I went to a viewing of a dear man last night and a funeral of another today.  Both were good men, lived honorable lives, left lasting legacies.

After the viewing last night, we stopped at IHOP for dinner.  Jessie mentioned a fundraiser for a boy from her old neighborhood at her old local IHOP, so we stopped for bacon and pancakes and eggs.

The place was a zoo.  Apparently all of her old neighborhood was there to support the ailing boy and his family--IHOP donated 20% of sales from last night to the family--and apparently everyone in her neighborhood has a bunch of kids who all wanted pancakes for dinner.

When our kids were younger we took them out for meals occasionally.  We expected them to eat their food and behave themselves, you know, stuff like staying on the bench instead of under the table, that sort of thing. 

Last night was hysterical at the IHOP.  There were families everywhere.  One mom was there with her three kids and she kept telling those little boys to get back under the table.  Apparently the dad worked there and she was waiting for his break so he could join them.  She was so patient.  And the boys loved getting under the table.

Two other families had at least six boys between them, ages 5-7 I'd guess.  The boys started a game of tag.  In the restaurant.  Around the tables, six little boys chasing and giggling, having a ball.  The best overheard comment may have been:  "Well now I have to put you in the sleeper hold."

Hysterical.  I mean, where besides IHOP can you run around and hide under the tables and use the sleeper hold?  Okay maybe McDonald's, but you can't get pancakes there for dinner, right?

There at the IHOP, last night, it was total kids having a good time with their friends, parents talking with their friends, everybody enjoying pancakes and bacon.  And 20% went to a good cause. 

I'm sure there was a time when all of that commotion would have been a bit distressing, or someone without children might have been tsk-tsking, but just not last night. 

Something about fundraisers and funerals and families made it all very enjoyable.

Monday, October 1, 2012

this thing i just figured out

I am a worrier.

How did this happen?

How did I not realize it sooner?

How can I still have any brown hair on my head with all of the worrying I do?  No wonder I have the wrinkles and lines on my face, right?

Just today, I worried about my mom, Jack, my dad, my friends, Jack's mom, my grandkids including the boy who hasn't even arrived yet, Jr, Stu, and Jessie.  A ton about Jessie.  I worried about figuring out how to make sure I'm there, far away in California, when my girl is in the hospital welcoming her boy into this world.  How do moms survive living away from their kids when the kids are in the hospital?

I also worried about a woman in Australia whose blog I discovered this weekend...she's had a boatload of hard times...I DON'T EVEN KNOW HER BUT I'VE WORRIED ABOUT HER FOR TWO DAYS.

My mom has told me for years that I shouldn't worry so much--if I can't do anything about it, I should just forget about it and let it go.  But how?

What to do, what to do.

Wait.  I think I'm worrying about worrying...


Recognizing the problem is half the solution, right? 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

awesome ms nature

Jack and I drove up one of the canyons today.  Didn't think to take the camera.

The orangey-peachish leaves were amazing.  I didn't think there could be anything more beautiful.

Then we saw stands of dark green pines with bright yellow quakies interspersed.  Dazzling.

It may be a tie.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

yes, life has been a little heavy around here lately

But in an effort to lighten it up, just know that if my three cats were musical instruments, Oscar would be an alto sax, Millie would be a piccolo, and Weezer would be a cello.

As you can see, I've given it a bit of thought.

So there's that.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a kinda long story

Jack was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes several years ago. 

He also was diagnosed with GERD--gastric reflux--that had gone on for so long that he was also diagnosed with Barrett's Syndrome, which is when your stomach acid has caused your stomach cells to migrate into your esophagus, putting you at risk of cancer in your throat.

He also was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which increases your risk of stroke and significantly shortens your life span.

And he has arthritis in several joints and in his back.

The diabetes has caused all kinds of other health issues--neuropathy in his feet and fingers, damage to his eyes that affects his vision.

He's tried all sorts of diets, exercise programs, medications--all in an effort to slow the damage caused by the diabetes and other diseases.

But none of them worked for long.

So, two weeks ago, he underwent gastric bypass surgery.

The decision to have surgery didn't come easy.  He thought about it several years ago, shortly after Stu had his colon removed, but I couldn't even discuss it then.  After watching Stu's recovery, I couldn't understand why someone would volunteer to have his belly cut into.

So Jack waited.

Late last year, he started another diet.  And he lost some weight--10 pounds.  And then he said he was seriously ready to talk to a surgeon. 

So we talked to three different surgeons and we chose the one we felt best about.

And our insurance said it would pay for the surgery except for our portion--after he jumped through all kinds of hoops, including a requirement that he lose five percent of his weight while on a six-month medically supervised diet.

So he went to a doctor who monitored his weight loss every month for six months.

And he lost 45 pounds--far more than five percent.

And then he had the surgery.  And he's lost another 20 pounds in the past two weeks.  Lots of protein shakes in the past month.  Then clear liquids for a few days after the surgery and then full liquids--cream soups and puddings and jellos.

And now soft foods--eggs, refried beans, applesauce. In another week, he'll be ready to eat regular food, minus breads, rice, mashed potatoes. Now his meals will be 4-6 ounces, three times a day, protein then complex carbs. 

There was a nasty spell dealing with an infection for several days, and his belly looks kind of like he was shot by a machine gun because the surgery was done using a scope, but he now seems to be healing up.  His blood sugar is almost normal and he's stopped nearly all of the medications he was taking pre-surgery.  The surgery won't reverse the damage done by the diabetes, but for some reason, it seems to normalize blood sugar levels, even before the weight loss begins.

It also stops the gastric reflux because it separate the acid-producing part of the stomach from the esophagus.

Losing weight is the best option for eliminating sleep apnea.  And obviously less weight means less pressure on joints and backs and less pain from arthritis.

Jack told me that when he told people he was having this surgery, the response was some form of either "Why would you do something so drastic?" or "Why are you choosing the easy way out instead of just eating less and exercising?" 

Obviously, this wasn't the easy way out.  And yes, it is drastic, but statistics show that after 14 years, 51% of people who have the surgery will still be at their goal weight.  One to two percent of people who try any other method of maintaining weight loss (diets, pills, exercise) will still be at their goal weight after 14 years.  Jack watched his father slowly die from diabetes-related diseases, losing his vision, ability to walk, drive, read, over a period of 15 years.  The only thing his dad could enjoy at the end of his life was food.  Jack decided he'd give up food in massive quantities in order to try to keep his vision, ability to walk, drive, ride, and enjoy his grandkids for as long as he could.

I've done my best to not cook or create aromas that would make it harder for him, and it's been a couple of weeks of ups and downs.  But he's doing well and moving forward. 

And he was pretty funny on those post-surgery drugs...

Friday, September 21, 2012

shopping for a boy

A couple of weeks ago, one of my nieces gave birth to a beautiful little baby girl. 

Obviously I needed to buy some cute little baby girl things for her and the closest children's clothing store I found was The Children's Store.

Where I purchased approximately $50 of little dresses with tights and little jeggins and t-shirts.

The clerk gave me my receipt with a coupon for $20 off of my next purchase of $40.

Whoa.  Not only do they have adorable clothes, but a sale with the promise of a future deal.

Awesome, right?

I have a new grandbaby boy due to arrive in five weeks so obviously I needed to go back to The Children's Store today to pick up a bunch of blue stuff.

Now remember, I've bought a lot of boy stuff in my life.  Three boys.  Only one girl.  Lots of blue stuff.  Lots of striped t-shirts and jeans and shorts.  I thought I was pretty good at picking out good boy stuff.

Today, I was baffled by the boys' section of the store.  I started to think I'd forgotten how to pick out good boy stuff. 

Everybody says it's hard to find good boy stuff.  It's true.  It was hard.  Boy stuff doesn't seem cute when you've been buying girl stuff for six years. 

When I got home and showed the stuff I bought to Jack, we agreed I'd bought good stuff and even cute stuff.  Cute boy stuff, but still, cute. 

Wee, baby boy cute.

She says she might have him in just a couple of weeks.  I can't hardly wait to start this new adventure.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

just remember this

Last night I dreamed that Ellie and I were sitting together and she had one of those plastic baby doll bottles that looks like it's full of milk until you tip it upside down and the milk disappears.  She smiled at me, put the bottle in her mouth and then swallowed it.

I have no idea what this dream was about, but I'm just thinking it's important to remind kids to not put stuff in their mouths.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Sometimes there are really sucky things going on.

But sometimes there are also pretty great things.

For example:

A pedicure that ended with smooth feet and a lovely fall-leaf bronzy-orange color on the toenails.

Jr got the lawn mower to start AND mowed the lawn.

The brown air in the local sky seems to have blown away a bit.

The crazy neighbor's sweet little green grapes are ripening like crazy on my side of the fence.

So there's all that.  And probably more if I keep looking up.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

has it really only been a week?

I walked into the front of a minivan last night.  She stopped just in time.  I was focused on the truck and motorcycle to the right of me as I walked from my car to the entrance of Smith's and must have forgotten to look to the left.  The poor minivan driver was beside herself.  Apparently the sun was in her eyes and she saw me just in time to slam on her brakes as I put my left hand out to stop her from hitting me.

Obviously I have far too much on my mind.

There's my dad.

And my mom.

And Jr's car that was broken.

And work.

And other stuff.

I need to take a breather.  And pay attention.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

did not see this coming

My dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

I want to doubt this diagnosis.  After all, mom made an appointment for him to see the doctor to have him checked, but when dad refused to go, mom went herself and talked to the doctor.  She'd made a two-page list detailing changes in his behavior over the past few months, and after listening closely, the doctor said he agreed that these were classical symptoms of Alzheimer's.   He then prescribed some medication that may slow the progression of the disease.

Mom hopes to get him in for an in-person check sometime soon.

After researching it on the internet, noting all of the changes in his behavior over the past two years and particularly the past month, I cannot believe I didn't see this coming.  I've chalked it all up to him getting older, mom driving him crazy.  But now, it all seems so obvious.

I woke up yesterday morning certain it was raining outside.  It wasn't outside, it was all in my head.  And my heart.  I feel so deeply sad to realize that even though his body will still be here for a time, I will be slowly losing my dad as the person he has always been gradually fades away.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

isn't she lovely?

and her too

Sunday, September 2, 2012

so much fun

Audrey and Ellie and Jr and his friend, Danielle, and I left at 6:30 on Friday night and drove for 12 hours, to California.  We all took turns staying awake and driving/riding.  And we only got lost once during the very last 20 minutes or so.  Thank heavens for Danielle's awesome phone with that woman voice that gives directions.  I need one of those women in my phone.  

A few hours later, we headed to the beach with the surprised Californians.  This picture-heavy post is mostly for Audrey's and Ellie's parents:

 Ellie spent most of the time digging in the sand and avoiding eye contact with the camera.  She is a doing amazingly well on this trip, especially considering she's only three and off on a major adventure sans parents.

 Jessie made sure they were all sunscreened and nobody, except Jessie, showed any sign of sunburn...

 Jr and Danielle had a blast.  So much fun, in fact, that they're back there today.  Hopefully collecting more of the sand dollars and seashells the girls carefully collected yesterday that were left behind.

 I seriously thought those were Jr's feet.  He's certain they're his hands.  Feet is funnier.

 This is how Audrey spent most of the time at the beach.  Running.  Here.  There.  Everywhere.

 This is the first time she's ever been in the ocean.  It was cold.  She was brave.  She loved it.

 Looking so much like her mom in this one...

 She was astounded when her feet became buried in the sand and waves.  But she loved it.
 This face may capture best the emotion of kids, sand, and ocean.
 This face.  Aaahhh.  This face.

 She wanted a donut.  Showed me her hands were clean enough.  Obviously.

 There was a heap of bird chasing.  Serious attempts to pet the birds.  No success.

 This one is growing up so fast. 

 Can still pull a pretty funny face.

 This one did not want her sleeves or leggins to get wet.  Tiptoed to the edge of the water.
 Made a special birthday cake for her mom.  She's very interested in making sure mom has a good birthday.

All in all, it was a great day.  Like every day at the beach, I think.  Especially great with these people.  And then we came home, ate, the girls all had a bath in the big tub upstairs, lotion all around, and bed.  Which was very much welcome.