Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Thoughts

Tonight John and I hosted a surprise birthday party for John's brother, Richard. He turned 50 today. What a wonderful time we had. Food, dessert and fun for all. Before the end of the night we sat around recalling wonderful memories of us and Richard. There sure were some great ones.

When everyone went their separate ways, I began reliving this past year. A year ago tonight we were celebrating with our little family and recalling our own family memories. We call it 'I remember when game'. We play it often which helps our children remember events of long ago.

As we recall this years events many things we look upon fondly.

1. Many trips to Dallas to hang out with our good friends Kimberly and Nick. Long nights sitting by the fire, (real wood burning), talking till the wee hours. Learning new things, sharing ideas and dreams.

2. Family reunion at the Rockin' R Ranch. This was our 13th one. We get together every other year for good times and making memories.

3. Traveling back and forth, Kansas to Utah. Many people would hate the long drive but I actually don't mind it. It gives John and I the chance to be together uninterrupted.

4. See our friends, Karen and Wade, be sealed in the Mt. Timpanogus Temple. What a joy that brought to me.

5. Visiting my sister Dawn and her family in Washington. Can you say 'vacation'. When we get together there is always so much laughing, visiting, shopping, cooking and just plan old good times.

6. Our amazing Alaska Cruise. John and myself along with my parents. Now that was a vacation. There were so many sights to see and fun things to do and see. I would love to do that one again.

Our year has also been hit with life changing events.

1. We moved out of our home in Wichita that we lived in for 10 years. Many memories we have made in our home.

2. My dad was diagnosed with cancer, again.

3. Christian's health has always been great until Oct when he started having unexplained syncope episodes. We hope this year the doctors will be able to get a handle on this.

4. Nicole's event has changed our lives forever. On July 4th, Nicole was burned in a fire at our home in Lehi. For 140 days she was in ICU at the University of Utah Hospital. The first 45 days she was in a medically induced coma teetering on the brink of life and death. The next 55 days awake yet not totally with the program most of the time. Still not out of the woods. Being by her side every day, hoping and pray for Gods will to be known.

This year has been a growing one. Good and bad. Our faith has been tested. Our strength zapped. Our relationships strengthened. For the journey we have traveled this year we are certainly blessed beyond measure. Blessed to have many friends in our corner, blessed to be strengthened by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Blessed by our loving families.

Nothing anyone can say or do can change our year. We wouldn't have it any other way anyway. What lessons we have learned this year cannot be replaced. I am not the same person I was 6 months ago.

I hope I am a better person for it.

Day 183

I see her cute face smiling through brave tears. So many times since Nicole has been home she has put on a brave face. Not knowing sometimes if her day will be a good one or bad. Wanting all days to be good but it is a day to day sometimes minute by minute schedule.

Today is one of the minute by minute days. It actually started 2 nights ago. So many things going on at once. Skin pain, head pain, stomach aches, nausea just to name a few.

I know this journey is hard on her, hard on all of us. She is very kind and respectful of my time and the caring of her. She is so careful to not ask for too much with me telling her that is what mommies are for.

I lay next to her, rub her arm, kiss her forehead and pray. I pray for a good day today. I pray for strength for all of us to endure. Maybe endure isn't the right word. Endure sounds like this is a chore. Serving is a blessing. We are serving one another. Right now I am serving her. Another day she will be serving me and others too.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Angi vs. Snow Drift

I wish I would have had my camera today when I went out VERY EARLY to go to Wal-Mart.

Snow has been falling from the sky since yesterday. We went out last night and it didn't seem too bad so out I went today braving the elements to get a prescription for Nicole.

I cleaned off the Durango so I would have 4-wheel drive. In I got, strapped my seat belt on and backed out of the drive way. Dawn was making its way to the valley, the temperature only 19 degrees. Around the corner and down the hill I went. Slowly I thought but as I reach the middle of the hill I loose traction. I am picking up speed, faster, I see a house at the bottom of the hill and hope I don't plow right through the front door.

Luckily, just as I near the bottom I am able to turn the wheels and they respond. The Durango turns sideways and promptly lands up on the sidewalk, 1 foot from a tree, buried in a snow drift. AKA: Snow plow regurgitation.

No one is answering our phone at home. I am sure they are all in dreamland where I wish I was at this very moment. 2 men stopped to render help but they realized very soon they were unable to unbury the beast. My next phone call, my wonderful roadside assistance program. To the rescue they came. Quickly too! 20 minutes later I was out of the snow but not on my way. I had blown the front left tire in the process. I cannot catch a break.

I am now running on my spare. Tonight I will purchase new tires for the front and get an alignment. All will be better tomorrow, especially if the snow has stopped.

Day 182

When I was a child I wondered what kind of mother I would be or even if I would be blessed to be one at all. I mothered children in out little neighborhood. If someone fell down and I was around I would race to them to see if they were OK. I would walk them home and hold their hand while they were cleaned up and sent on their way.

I learned many things from mothers in our neighborhood including my own mother. I learned compassion, love, diligence and service. I also learned what I didn't want to be. Some mothers just brushed their children off, or sometimes they were snobby to other people in the neighborhood family. I wanted to be welcoming, loving and serving.

I wanted our children to know they could bring anyone home and they would be part of the family. A few days ago I realized that was a reality. A friend of Christians facebooked me. He told me of all the wonderful memories he had being in our home. How welcoming we always were. How much love he felt in our home and toward him. Now that is a reward.

Now as an adult of adult children I wonder what kind of influence I have been in their lives. I ponder today how they have been touched. How many lessons they learned and will carry on in the future. How their upbringing will mold their children. My hope is for each of my children is they will love without measure. They will look to the inside of a person and really see who they are and love that person.

My hope for each person is the same. Love one another, lift their burdens even if it is with a smile or a wave. You will be surprised what greatness you will be part of.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 181

Snuggling in bed this morning, feeling Nicole breathing softly, I am whisked back to the first day of this new journey we are on. John and I walked in to her room, her new home for the next 140 days. I went to her like any mother would. I peer through weeping eyes at someone I don't recognize but I feel her spirit one with mine.

I stroke her head much like I am doing now. Soft, smooth, gentle. Knowing I cannot lay close but wanting to do that very thing. Nothing more would bring such happiness as to lay close and breath in her fragrance.

Today, I feel that happiness. Not only can I stroke her soft head but I can snuggle close. I can touch not only hear hair or her feet but also her face, her back, her arms, her legs.

Remembering the first days of her life, caressing each tiny part of her. Wondering what she will be like as she grows. Wondering what new and adventurous things she will bring into our lives. The added smiles, hugs and kisses. The playfulness I knew she would have just like her brother.

What a blessing kids are. Could you ask for anything better?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 175

I can't believe so many days has gotten away from me. The days before the holidays seem to just fly by. Busily getting ready for Christmas without John here has been a task but one I believe I attended to quite nicely. Putting the last touches on our home and wrapping the gifts. I love to watch the presents grow around the fireplace, glittering in the twinkling lights of the tree.

This year Christian chose 3 families to help out this season. One, the father is in Iraq. That one is special to him because he knows the family. He actually had Jon Schmidt dedicate a song to him, that he wrote. Christian captured Jon playing the song on video which he sent to him in Iraq. The song is about the soldiers and what they do for us. It was awesome. Christian is very generous. If he can help a situation he will. He doesn't like to see others go with out when he has so much. I think he would give the shirt off his back sometimes.

Nicole and I have been busy with her PT. She is coming along quite well. She is making great strides in mobility and strength. She opened her first bottle of Gatorade yesterday. RED LETTER DAY for her. Each new thing she accomplishes is just like watching a toddler doing something for the first time. We do a lot of high fives. I record her smile in my mind to keep forever.

Tonight, We went to John's sister Anne's home for 'Little Christmas Eve'. We call it that because each family has grown so much and they have established many traditions of their own on Christmas Eve, yet they still want to do the regular traditions of their youth. Reenacting the Nativity is a highlight. Food is never far away also. John's family is very close, especially the sisters.

Not long after arriving I actually had to leave to catch a plane to Denver to meet up with John and finish the drive to UT together. I don't mind the drive and I love to be able to spend that extra time with John just one on one.

The roads in Kansas and Colorado are very bad. For a while the 70 was closed and the 80 also. I am siting at the airport currently waiting for him to arrive. When I talked to him an hour ago he was still 4 hours away. He said the roads were very icy and lots of drifting snow. Waiting in the Denver airport seems to be my M O. I have been stranded here a few times. I guess I am not actually stranded just waiting with many other people who can't get out because their destinations are closed. At least I know my ride will be here sooner than later.

As I sit here listening to the Christmas music echoing in the deserted corridors, my mind turns to the movie, The Terminal. I can't imagine that guy living in the airport. Not only having to eat airport food but the loneliness of this place. Cold, uninviting, noisy. I am grateful for a warm home that is inviting, a family who loves me and I love them, food that is as welcoming as the sun rising over Timpanogus and the gospel that keeps me grounded.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 171

Yesterday, Nicole and I had a date. She is making some Christmas gifts. She loves to paint at Color Me Mine. If you haven't been and even if you are not creative, you should go. Sometimes you just need an outlet to relieve stress. This is the place.

This place is amazing. You choose a piece of ceramic to paint, then get to work. No is there to tell you you should do it this way or that. You just create. When you are done your piece is glazed and put in the kiln. A few days later it is ready for pick up.

I love to watch parents bring in really little kids. They paint stuff this way and that but it is their creation. Then to see their faces when it is picked up it priceless.

Check out some of our work from a previous paint date.




Friday, December 18, 2009

I LOVE MY SMILE



Nicole received her pressure garment yesterday. This one is the redesigned one. As we were getting her ready today she looked in the mirror and smiled this huge smile. She said, "I love my smile!". I had to capture this moment.

4 little words are so musical. The sound floated through the air. They were almost as good as 'Mommy".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DAY 169

Baking day is today. I love baking day. Actually, I love Christmas baking. My friend, Suzie, came from Ogden today to bake with me. When she lived in KS we baked at Christmas time together. She brought her sweet new baby girl with her so cuddles where given liberally.

We made Snicker Doodles, Fudge, Toffee, Pineapple Cookies and Kool-aide Fudge. Last night Christian made pumpkin bread. Our home feels and smells like Christmas. Natalie also stopped by for some needed rest as well as goodies to take home with her. She sure knew a great day to stop by.

Nicole has had a hard day. She had some tests done a few days ago which came back positive for a nasty bacteria. It looks like that is why she had been loosing so much weight, not feeling good and just being sick all around. Her Dr. called in a Rx for her. Hopefully it will kick in soon so she will be on the mend.

I can't believe it is only 8 days until Christmas and only 6 days until I see John.

As the days weeks and months go by it is getting harder to be away from him. Even though we speak a few times in the day it is not the same. When I go to bed I would think it wouldn't be much different because I always went to bed before John did but it is mostly hard because I know I will be waking up alone again. But I know time and distance is but a small thing at this time. It is a blip on the screen of eternity.

Each day he makes me feel as though I am the only one. When we talk on the phone each morning (5:30am in UT) it is a great start to my day. When we talk at night, about how our day went, all the new things going on, he makes sure I know I am the most important thing in the world to him. I hope I make him feel the same way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DAY 168

With so many Christmas activities I find it hard to find a minute to update everyone on the amazing things we are doing and the progress of Nicole.

Fist of all Nicole is making huge strides. She is gaining more and more mobility in her left arm and elbow. I can't believe how much things have changed in the last month. Nicole can mostly dress herself and she can do her entire shower which includes unwrapping herself. Happy was the day when that happened. Not that it is a burden but that is 20 minutes of freed up time.

Today her 2nd vest came in and it was a great fit. She was also fitted for a face pressure garment. The scars on her face are thickening more and more. It is needed to help reduce them and / or keep them from getting bigger.

My list of things that need to get done WAS complete until Nicole came home and add some more to the list. I have been doing my best to get things done for her for Christmas. She is very crafty and this year she wanted to do a crafty thing for her cousins that are her age. Which of course means I have to be involved.

Baking was postponed until tomorrow. I am kind of glad because yesterday a lot was going on. Baking is my favorite day before Christmas. Tomorrow you will see why.

Christmas is in high gear in our home. Spirits are high and LOVE and JOY are being spread. I can't believe it is only 9 days until Christmas. The magic will be gone all too soon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 165

I had a break down yesterday. I felt as if the mountain was too high to climb. So many things were bogging me down. I even grumped at John last night. Christian tried to make things better by inviting me out for a while. I was grateful to get out into the world for a few hours but when I came home the bog was still there. John started texting me to grump back but when he found out why I was acting that way he got after me for not enlightening him as to what was really happening. It is hard to unload my woes to him when he is trying so hard to hold it together from afar. I did feel better after my long cry on his distant shoulder. We prayed together for a better day and said good night.

I love Sundays. I especially love to go to church. Being there renews my spirit for the week. Today I woke to the eerie sound of the snowplow growling up the street. My heart sunk. All the snow blowing yesterday was for nothing. I looked out the window and saw an 18 inch wall of snow blocking my driveway. How am I going to get out today. My snow blower only eats 5 inches at a times. As I am shoveling my steps and walk I find the snow is laden with water. I am not sure I will be able to get us out in time for church.

When I return to our cozy home I resign myself to knowing I will not be attending church today. I turn on 100.3. Beautiful sounds stream through my home. Christian music soothes my soul.

Nicole and I made Chex mix and we along with Christian wrapped some Christmas presents. With the soft glow of the Christmas tree and the fire burning, the Christmas spirit filled the air. My attitude is better today. I am sure it is because it is Sunday. There is no room for a bad attitude on Sunday.

I was contemplating how I was going to get our driveway unplugged. How to get it done with a good attitude and today so I can take Nicole to her appointments tomorrow. I took the garbage outside and to my utter surprise my drive way was already cleared. Across the street there were men clearing the drive way there too. I was so happy and grateful for the service I have again received. Thank you to all who helped. I am not sure all who were there but I do know my home teacher, Tom was. Thank you.

Our friend Shelley came by tonight on her way home from Idaho. So good to see her. She spent quite a while visiting with Nicole. It raised Nicole's spirits. We love having old and new friends stop by. Thank you for your time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gratefulness

As I was snow blowing the driveway I was contemplating all the things I am grateful for. The list is growing longer and longer.

At times when I am alone and it is dark outside I just want to reach over and lay my arm on John's warm body. I realize at this time of my life that is not possible as often as I wish and then I thank God that I may not have him at that moment but he is mine in this life and in the next. He is in a warn bed 1000 miles away and in a few days or weeks we will see each other again.

I am grateful that my children are able to share time with me. They both may not be as healthy as they want at this time but I can talk with them, laugh with them, steal a hug, see a smile be warmed by their lives.

What great joy children bring to me. Through trials, heart ache, vacations, tears of joy and sorrow the joy is there each and every day.

I am not one to want to do yard work or shovel snow but I am grateful I can do those things. I have a strong and healthy body. I am able to do many things. I am a fighter. God knew me well when he sent me here to earth with a strong will and and a mind of my own. He knew I would need it. He knew there would be many times in my life when I would have to stand on my own two feet. He made me strong.

I am grateful for our neighbors and friends. I am grateful for friendly smiles, waves and nods as you drive by. It warms the heart to know there are those around us that care, that know you exist. I am grateful when I see a neighbor helping another neighbor.

I am grateful for sister-in-laws who get online and IM me, listen to my woes and love me anyway.

I am grateful for little things. Mini candy canes at the bank, free Cafe Rio, marzipan, birds foraging in the bushes, the smell of home made bread.

Life is good!

My First Born

My first born, a son
Quiet, gentle, strong
His huge paws, his dimpled cheek
His laugh continues on

His growing stature
His quick mind
His loving heart
Of which is kind

Many hours of each day
Watching out for those you love
The seeds of peace planted in your heart
Keeps you close to the one above

He quietly studies those around him
In his knowing way
Watching others make mistakes
Vowing to make the path great

A vet, an architect
a designer, 10 second racer
restaurant owner, baker
rancher, father

All vocations in his head
How do you choose, my son
Contemplating many hours
Knowing the battle will be won

Your life has not been easy
Challenges have found your door
Your spirit has been guided
Your heart has been gently mended

I wish for you, my son, each day
Your life be one filled with true happiness
To accomplish many great things in life
The ones you dream about, breathless

You are my hopes and dreams
You are my shining star
You are every breath I take
You, my son, are loved

Day 164

With Nicole home I find it difficult to blog each day. Many things need to be done to attend to her needs as well and all the other things needed to take care of a household.

Usually the morning routine is the same, wound care, PT, stretching, laundry (you would not believe the amount of laundry I do each day). Currently there are many things that interrupt my day. Christmas activities, trying to find needed things in the boxes that have not been unpacked. Although I don't know what I need until the second I need it.

I am gathering my recipes together for our annual holiday baking. Our friend Suzie is coming to bake with me. Snicker doodles, pumpkin bread, pineapple cookies, fudge, toffee, chocolate pretzels, spiced nuts. Who could asked for more? My usual helper (Nicole) will be mostly watching this year. I am glad for her company though. Christian will be helping to. He loves to bake as do I.

It is beautiful out today. A few inches of very dry snow found its way to my yard. I left early to grocery shop so I could stay in the rest of the day. except of course snow blowing the drive way. Then it will be hot cocoa with these darling snowmen marshmallows.

We did find out that Christian's heart is randomly stopping. He is having other tests this week. He is a new project for the doctor. I hope he is a good project manager. One who will get the job done. At least we are not at a stand still.

New Fallen Snow

Time stands still. Crystals swirling, swirling, descending. Watching silent currents carry tiny crystals a myriad of directions. Street lamps illuminating their prisms bending their light into flickering dances. Blanketing the earth with a cool drink of water. No sound it makes. Leaving its gift behind. Beauty, magnificent, joy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 160

Today, Nicole and I were in Wal-Mart. She was rifing one of the electric wheelchairs. I was pushing a cart. She started yelling. I turned around and her left hand was scratching her head. SHe was so excited and so was I. Her left arm has been the one that doesn't bend well and hurts so much. I was amazed. She told me it was just an automatic response to scratch her head. WOW!

PT has paid off.

Wichita had an ice storm over night. Not bad but it made driving a bear. Rrrrr. I needed to get a few errands finished so I had to be out in it. Too cold, too windy, to everything. Then later it started to snow. I can't catch a break.

Jo and Alex accompanied us to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. So good to see them. They have really taken care of John since I have been gone. Many dinner invitations have been extended. Thanks guys. You are loved.

Need to get the last items ready to be able to leave tomorrow. I hope it isn't too bad of weather.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 159

I guess I am not going back to Utah today. Wichita had a small ice storm and there is a winter warning for all of KS, CO, and WY today. I will try to venture out again tomarrow.

Last night we were invited to our 12th reading of "Forgotton Carols" at our friends, Mike and Linda's home. For 13 years, we have gathereed there, with Teresa and Tim (always) and a few others here and there. This year Lisa and Todd joined us. We each bring gooodies to eat as well as hot cocoa or hot cidar. We take turns reading a chapter each. Mike has it all down. He knows exactly when to start the music so the song start right on que.

We love being invited to participate with them each year. What a great way to start the season. Thank you everyone for making my holiday season start out right. It was so good to see everyone and share that spirit with you.

Each day Nicole works hard on her PT to gain more mobility. It is paying off I can tell. Little increments here and there. Int eh long run it will mkae her life better.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 158

We are in Wichita. The roads were icy and snowy,so teh drive was slow and laborous. Nicole was such a trooper.

I love to watch the snow drift across the road like a painter swooshing white dusty paint on a canvas. It doesn't make for the best driving conditions, but, the scene is something out of a Christmas card. I half expected to look over and see a sleigh gliding along next to us. No sleigh, although we saw several fox. Beautiful.

Our family is learning many new things. The day to day dealings one with another has changed. Sometimes I think we are cautious, other times it is breathless. It can be calculating, too. I guess we are learning the new family dynamics. No longer are the roles 'normal'. Dad, the bread winner, mom, the homemaker, brother, the jock, sister, the pretty one. Actually we never had those roles. I wish we did sometimes.

Today is another day of the rest of our lives. Each day is a blessing. Eash day is a God send. Each day I wake up and thank God we have another day together. It isn't easy, but what is. I know only that is is worth it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 156

I can't believe where the time goes. It seems like John comes to town and a minute later he is gone. Actually we are packing right now for the drive tomorrow. I am actually going back with him. And so is Nicole. I am not sure how it will go but I hope it is uneventful. I need to take care of some business in Wichita Monday and will be leaving on Tuesday. I know it is crazy but that is our life. CRAZY.

The last two days have been remarkably well for Nicole. She has really come a long way in the past few days. Her stretching is remarkable. She can even get her self all the way dressed in certain clothes. John and i were so surprised yesterday when she came out of the bedroom all dressed. What a feat for her. Now that is progress. Something I certainly take for granted.

There are always so many things that need to get done right before we the traveling begins. Laundry, cleaning and stuff. Today Nicole and I also needed to make a trip to the U. She needed to get re measured for her vest and we needed to get some more supplies. It is amazing how much stuff we go through. I try to be frugal about it but this is ridiculous.

It snowed a small blizzard on our way there and when we came out there was about an inch or more on the ground. I guess Winter is trying to rear its ugly head. I know it is not my favorite time of the year unless my fridge is stocked and I have power and I don't have to go anywhere. Then and only then I LOVE WINTER.

So much to get done and sleep is calling me even though I can't go to bed until all the packing is done. I guess I best get to work so I can sleep.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 154

Still on a high from last nights Christmas party with Jon Schmidt. I have listened to his music more today. I just love his new CD, 'Bonus Tracks'. Awesome. I tried to upload a video of Jon playing last night but after 2 hours it still wasn't done so I gave up.

Nicole is progressing again. She is working hard to get her left arm to bend more. Each day she works so hard to stretch the skin on the elbow so she will be able to use it more. It is amazing how much we use each joint. Try getting dressed without using your elbow or cooking. Or so many other things. Every joint is important.

Having Nicole home is like having a toddler again. So many things she cannot do for herself. When the kids were very small I was so busy just trying to keep up with the things that needed to be done around the home, laundry, cooking, cleaning, just taking care of the day to day things. I may have to go back to napping when she does to just keep my strength up. Mostly because I am up a few times in the night and then up early.

Tonight, John and I took Nicole to Temple Square to see the lights. We wrapped her up tight with several blankets as well as layers of clothing. We took the wheel chair for her to ride in which not only helped her to be able to enjoy the activity but also help us to enjoy it by her not getting too tired.



We love Temple Square in the winter. The square is magical. The lights are so beautiful. So many man hours it takes to make it all beautiful for everyone else to enjoy. Thank you to all the grounds men who do that for us each year. Do you ever wonder how many hours it takes or how many lights are up.



There are 300,000 lights, 2000 potted poinsettias, 500 poinsettia trees. Most of the poinsettias are in the visitor centers as well as the conference center.



We hope your holiday season is shaping up quite nicely.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Our Christmas Party

Each year, John and I give wonderful nuts to John's family members. It is reminiscent of when John was growing up and his Aunt Dora would give the family See's Candy and Nuts for Christmas. He loved that tradition. A few years ago he decided he would pick up that tradition and carry it on. Although this year no nuts were given.

This year for the Carlston Christmas party we invited, drum roll please, JON SCHMIDT to play for us in a private concert.



What a pleasure he was. So amazing. I can't even tell you what a joy it was to sit 3 feet from him and have him play all my favorite songs and new ones that will be my favorites.



Nicole's favorite is Waterfall. He played it 3 times for her.

He played another song upside down. What a feat!



Jon told us the story of a new song called, "Thank You". It is for all the soldiers. He played it first for the families of troop over seas and dedicated it to them. Tonight Christian asked him to dedicate it on film to his friend serving in Iraq and play it again for him. It was more amazing the second time.

If you have never seen him in concert, I strongly recommend that you do. He is so awesome. So personable, so many fun stories.

Our little niece, Lola, sang a song with him. So stinkin' cute.

We couldn't have had a better night. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Day 153

Today Nicole and I went to the University of Utah today to get supplies. When we got there they surprised us with Nicole's vest, pants and gloves. As far as pressure garments are concerned they are pretty cute. Chocolate brown with lime green stitching. So stinkin' cute.

They are so hard to put on because they are SO tight. I think it took 20-25 minutes to get the vest on and the shirt. But what we found was the vest is too long and the arms are too tight. The pants are about 4 inches too long and the torso is also about 3 inches to tall. Good thing they can be adjusted.

We kept the vest to try it for a few days but after last night for sure it will need to be fixed. The arms were so painful for her. We too tight in the arm holes. We put some foam there to try to help the tightness or at least make it feel better but that didn't help at all.

I am getting worn out. I found myself being snippy yesterday and very snippy and grumpy today. The balancing act isn't working this week. Clinic, PT, wound care, Thanksgiving parties and Christmas parties, decorating, seeing the lights. I am worn out just thinking about it. When John goes back to Kansas things will slow down some I hope. Although I am sure other things will come to the foreground and present itself.

We are going to a Christmas party tonight. Stay tuned for the details. I am so excited.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 152

Today was such a long day. It feels like I haven't been to bed in 2 days. Nicole wakes early and that means I get up early. Night time doesn't come soon enough.

Nicole still isn't feeling tip top. I am not sure what is going on. She is not running a fever but still feels not on the top of the world.

The weeks are long when John is here. Many patients to take care of in clinic as well as all the things he wants to do and see. I love to see the patients when he is here.

This is a tiny post but it reflects my day. Good night.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pig Roast

Today we are roasting a pig in our backyard. We are hosting our district missionaries and their investigators. Serving in our area is an Elder from Samoa, Elder Fafai.
Between him and John, who served in New Zealand, they are going to put on a show. A few years ago John cooked different meats in the ground. In Samoa, they do it on top of the ground.

Christian awoke early to drive to Grantsville to pick up the pig. They were just going to lay it in the back of the Durango with out anything covering it or even on anything. OH, SICK! Anyway. It arrived at our home and we are excited to begin.

First the ground needed to be leveled. Next the rocks were laid as well as a fire built over them to heat them up. When the rocks were very HOT they were spread out and some were put into the pig some under the pig and the corrugated steel was laid over it and more rocks on top. Boy it really smells good.

This pig was good. I think Christian wishes he hadn't seen the head, the feet and the insides before he ate it. We had a great time with everyone. I hope to get pictures posted soon. Check back soon.

So much fun to have the district here. It has been a while since we have had a district or a zone over. Well, we haven't done that in UT only KS. Many times over the years, many missionaries we have learned from, many fun times.

We have 4 companionship's as well as a few investigators. Good times!

Day 151

Our first day in clinic since Nicole has been home. She tried hard not to need to much. She and I were up at 6 just so I could do her wound care, make her breakfast and get her ready for the day. Then, John and I started seeing patients. It was only a half day of patients because of the pig roast but it felt like an extra 3 hours. I hope tomorrow is better.

Nicole and I were supposed to go to PT today but I canceled. Nicole is still not feeling well and who wants to go out when they don't feel good. Not me. Nor do I want to make someone do that.

Sweet McKenzie from next door came by and brought Nicole a card and something she made for her. She is so sweet. When I opened the door McKenzie beamed at me. What a smile. A few months ago she left a sweet note on the door step for me to take to the hospital.

No hospital bed for us. It wasn't approved. I guess we will muddle through like we have been. It sure would have cut down Nicole coughing all night and make it easier for her to rest. I will be grateful for the insurance covering what they do. Every little bit will help us.

When I did Nicole's wound care I was so grateful for the progress she has made. Her open areas are closing well thanks to the Cold Laser. Nicole's left upper arm that has been so troublesome over the past 3 months only has a small spot the size of a nickle left to close. Totally cool.

I also think Nicole has came an amazing distance. She is so grateful for all that is being done for her. Each little thing someone does for her is appreciated. She still thinks in the realm of how can she make someones life better. What a gift that is.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Tree

Each year when we get out our Christmas tree and decorations I always tell John I want new decorations. I want them to match and maybe even match my decor. Each year I do not get new ones.

Today when we got everything out and setting up the tree I said to John' "I love our tree. Even though I wish we had new decorations I love ours."

With each piece I gently unwrapped I remembered a memory from that piece. Maybe it was where we picked that piece up or maybe it was the Christmas we first had that peice.

For example:
The mice: I painted each one of them the first year we were married
The Teapot: We choose that piece on a trip to Germany. It came from a little glass factory that hand blows each piece.
The hand carved Santa: My sister and I each received one when we were glued together by accident in a little Christmas shop in Branson.
The seashells: We each choose one from our trip to Florida
The nutcrackers: We choose them the year Liz lived with us. (Her dad hand made us a beautiful nutcracker that year.)
The skiers: We choose these the year the kids learned to ski.
The Texas Star: Was given to us from friends when we moved from Texas to Kansas.

So many memories. How could I give them up? As I am putting each one on the tree I am telling Nicole and John where each one came from, why we obtained it or who gave it to us. When we are finished I turn off the lights, sit back and remember the many wonderful times I have decorating our tree, the many wonderful memories from each ornament and the friends and family who have contributed to the memories we have hanging on our tree.

Thank you for the memorable times.

Day 150

Today, Nicole went to church. We were only going to attempt to go to Sacrament meeting but when that was over she wanted to stay for Sunday School. After Sunday School was over she wanted to stay for Relief Society. WOW!!! Big day for her. I was amazed that she lasted through the block.

Many people made her feel so welcome. I was glad for her. Nicole said she felt like she was in the right place. I hope each week we will be able to continue attending the entire block. I guess we will see. By the time church was over she and I both were pooped. But, no rest for the weary. Nicole had a nap while John and I started to get out our Christmas decorations and tree.

As we are setting things up Nicole woke up to supervise. She did a great job. Lisa stopped by for a visit. We were so glad to see her. It has been a while and it was great to catch up with her. Nicole and her have a special bond. So cute to see them together. Lisa gives great advise, love and care. All things Nicole needs.

Cookies were also delivered to our home this evening. Still warm I might add. Thanks a bunch. They hit the spot as we were finishing up the last touches on our Christmas tree. Cookies and Christmas just go together.

Nicole is not feeling well tonight. She even went to bed early. I hope we didn't take her out to church too early and she caught something. Or maybe it was from last night.

Side note: One of the talks today at church hit me hard. He told a story about praying everyday to like this one person. To have no room in him to not like him. I will pray also for that very thing. I want to have no room to not like people. To be more tolerant. We never know what others are like behind closed doors. Their life may seem perfect to us but in reality they are struggling just like the rest of us. And, I want to be the kind of friend that can see the struggle and find a solution. Or at least can make their day better by smiling, saying hello, taking a meal or praying for them.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 149

BYU vs. UTAH Me...a BYU fan....Christian...a UTES fan. The big BYU-Utes game is today. I wish I had tickets but on the other hand I am glad I can listen to the game in the comfort of my own home, warm with a blanket and hot cocoa. Tight game. It even went into overtime. Final score...26-23 BYU on top. Man I was happy about that GAME. Sorry Christian.

Today, John and the kids helped me celebrate my birthday. A week late but so much better when we are all together. We went to RODIZIO'S for dinner. Ever been there? It is Brazilian food. First there is a salad bar with different types of foods made like in Brazil. Next, there are cute gaucho guys that bring cooked meat to your table on skewers and cute the meat off right on your plate. So good. For the birthday girl (that's me) that brought out Flan. YUMMO!! I shared but I wish I had 2 pieces.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes from everyone during this last week. And Christian gave me a BYU football jersey. He knows the way to my heart.

Nicole is getting along better each day. I know she has a few set backs but over all I would say things are on the up hill drive.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Days 147 and 148

The past 2 days have been a whirlwind of activity. As I am sure you too have been busy seeing family, baking, traveling, EATING. Thanksgiving day we spent with John's family. I wasn't sure how Nicole would fair so we took separate cars. Nicole actually lasted longer than I expected. It was so good for Nicole to get out and see her cousins. The loved seeing her.

At night after dinner and dessert Santa visits. He leaves popcorn balls for everyone. This year he actually came in to see Nicole. She loved it. What a fun day we spent there. After Santa Nicole and I came home and just chilled. And went to bed early. Good for both of us.

Friday was another story. Our family hosted Thanksgiving at our home in Lehi for my family. There was a lot more to do and prepare for. Turkey to cook, stuffing to make, Christian made sweet potato casserole. It was divine. All the Pinder family traditional foods were there.

We all had a lot of fun and almost everyone stayed about 3 hours after just talking.

This day was a harder day for Nicole. She didn't feel very well to begin with and she was worn out from the day before. Although she was happy to see everyone. Some people hadn't been able to see Nicole before as they live out of town.

We are grateful at this time and always for the blessing we have been given. For the love we share and the good friends we have. We hope all of you have a blessed holiday season. Thank you for the love you have shown us, the prayers sent heavenward on our behalf and the friendships we share. God bless you all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 146

Tonight, I am seeing John. I am so happy for both of us. I don't know which is harder, being in Kansas away from all the stuff going on here or being here in the thick of things.

The last day to finalize things for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone is able to get all the things done they want. Whether hosting or attending, there is always so much to accomplish. I read this on our cousins blog and thought it was so great I copied it. Thanks, Cheri!

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was the President that started it all??

In 1863 he set aside the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving.

Abraham Lincoln had this to say about giving thanks...

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in number, wealth, and power as no other Nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.

“It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our … sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” (John Wesley Hill, Abraham Lincoln, Man of God, 4th ed., New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, p. 391.)

AMAZING!!

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 145

As days go it could have been better. I guess it could have been worse too.

Nicole and I actually went out and picked up a wheel chair for her to be using when we go out. It will be great so she is more mobile but yet not so tired. We did stop one place on our way home. It went well but just this little outing and what we do each day completely wears me out. Nicole, too. I am hoping after the holidays when things are not as stressful, everything will slow down.

I was able to borrow 2 table from the church today to use for our Thanksgiving dinner. It will be nice to have everyone sitting and not trying to eat out of their laps. Each day we have been doing something to get ready. Some days I wish I had 5 more kids to help out. Things are getting done and that is all the matters.

Nicole is progressing each day. Her wounds are closing more and more. I think her attitude is as good as can be expected right now.

Tomorrow PT again at the U and also dental appointment.

I am pretty excited I get to see John tonight. It has been over 3 weeks. Can't wait.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 143

Today is my Birthday. Today was the 2nd target date for Nicole to be released from the hospital. She beat it by 3 days. What a present.

Many things are still kind of crazy around here a schedule eludes me. Maybe because I am running around trying to get things ready for 2 Thanksgivings. One at John's sister Anne's home and the other at our home the next day. My sister Dawn and her husband Barry are coming to town. We are sharing Thanksgiving together with my other sister Dana and her husband Gray, my parents, my niece Tiffany and her family. Dawn is not a traveler over the holidays so this is eventful.

Nicole and I went to the University of Utah for a check up with PT and clinic. Clinic said she looked great. I think her wounds have really improved since she has been home. I have been able to use items we have here they don't allow in the hospital. They were pleased on her progress.

PT was mostly pleased. Nicole had regressed in one area of moving her left arm but really made strides in how it moved another way. She is able to do a lot of her own PT with my guidance which is my goal on getting her more self reliant.

Christian is wearing a 'King of Hearts' right now. It is a monitoring device that transmits his heart record and they watch it for any thing out of the ordinary. I think he will wear it for 2 weeks. I hope something comes up.

I am grateful he is here with me. Someone to talk to that knows what is going on, living it right along with you. Someone to hug me when I walk by just to show support. Last night I was on the couch by Christian. I just leaned over and put my head on his shoulder. He started patting my back. (I love that and that is his love to me) He patted my back for like 5 minutes. OH THE LOVE.

No celebrating tonight, we are waiting for John to come to town. I did receive many Birthday wishes on Facebook. Thanks to all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 142

Still trying to figure things out. Good thing I was able to do so many things on my list. If not, I would be drowning right now.

I was able to go to church today long enough to take the sacrement and hear one and a half talks before I needed to leave. I can't wait for the day when I can attend all of church and not be called out. In the last 5 months I have only been able to attend all my meeting 3 Sundays. Not enough.

Today was a better day for Nicole and I both. At least I think it was. still figuring things out. So many more things to think about then you would ever think. I thought I had all the bases covered. Well, I did. At least the ones I had thought about before hand.

Nicole is sad. Today she said she hated the way she looked. I tried to empathize. Through her shedding tears she confided in me that she thought no one would like her now. Now I am crying. "Nicole, there are always going to be people out there who like you or don't like you. Unfortunatly it is their loss when they don't get to know that person under the scars or behind the mask. You are a person worth knowing even if they don't so." She hugged me and told me she loved me and I love her right back.

Nicole'shair is getting longer. I can put a good part in it. I bought 2 very cute snap clips for her hair. I tried one today and it stayed in. I hope it helps her feel a little pretty.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 141

I knew this was going to be a lot of work but I guess I didn't know how tiring it was going to be. Last night I finally was able to go to bed at midnight. Rough night for both of us. Up at 2 again at 4:30 yet again at 6:15. I did get up then. No use trying to put off the inevitable.

Saturday cleaning followed by our new routine. I hope it get his all down quickly as I need to get more sleep, more time to cook and just more time for other things. Maybe things won't be so bad once she is more comfortable at home and I am more comfortable with how thing need to go.

I made a run to Wal-Mart yesterday to stock up on things I may need over the next few days anticipating snow, rain and wind. But as I was stowing all the paraphernalia they sent me home with I realized I need either more space or more bins. Since more space is not possible I made an other early run to Wal-mart for bins. I have to have things organized so I can put my finger on exactly what I want. I brought home my treasures, got busy in my space and voile! Mission accomplished.
I feel much better now.

My mom donated 10 sheet sets to our cause. When Nicole saw them all she wanted to call her right away and tell her Thank You. I am saying thank you also thins morning. I never thought I would need so many but I have already used 3 sets. I guess my middle name will be the laundress. Oh well, at least I don't have to go the the laundr-o-mat! What a blessing that is.

We are getting use to each other. It is surprising how much you have to take into consideration. Not only their feelings but how they want to be treated in such a close proximity to you. We are learning the give and take all over again.

I do have to say Nicole is very appreciative of all that is done for her. I try not to do everything and she wants to do a lot of things but what she can't do and I need to step in, WOW! It is nice to not be growled at and to know she is truly thankful.

I bit of reprieve for me. Nicole friend, Ashley, is going to come by soon and hang out with Nicole. Christian and I as well as Natalie (cousin) are all going to New Moon. I actually can't believe it myself. I thought I would be seeing for the first time when it came out on DVD. But nope. A night out with Christian. That doesn't ha[[en very often.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 140 D-Day

IT IS DIS-CHARGE DAY!!

Today Nicole was discharged from the unit. I wasn't sure I would see this day happen. I thought I would be more apprehensive than I am. I guess I am relieved that she actually made it through. Many, many times her life was spared. Many times she hung by a thread. Many times I found myself holding my breath from one step to the next.

Today is the first day of the rest of her life. It will be a different life. For now it will be a lot of the same as in the hospital. Nicole is not completely healed and it will take months of care, PT and re-learning. She will not be able to do somethings that she did before, somethings will have to be modified and some things will just take time to get back into the hang of things.

We are all in different stages of healing. Both physically and mentally. There is so much to think about, do , take care of, arrange, fix, clear out, get your mind right and live for. This takes a lot out of you. But on the flip side I have learned so much. My trust in Heavenly Father has grown ten fold. My faith too.

Trust in Him that He knows best. He knows us all better then we know ourselves. He knows what will make us stronger and what lessons we need to learn. Faith that He will always be there for me. All I need to do is get on my knees and He will listen.

When this all started we didn't know which way was up. What we were going to do. How we were going to adjust. But one thing we did know, we knew that Heavenly Father was in charge. We prayed for His guidance. We prayed for comfort and the ability to discern the best course of action. We knew that if Heavenly Father took Nicole that was going to be the best for everyone involved. We also knew He was right there with us, crying right along with us.

We are grateful for this outcome but we were also prepared for a different one. We knew each one would have been hard. Nicole,, not living would have been heart breaking in the beginning but the knowledge we have of the life after this one is one we look forward to. One where we are reunited and live together as a forever family. We also knew that Nicole living would be hard too. The obstacles she would face. The people she would encounter that don't understand.

Well, that is where we are now. We are in the beginning of the later life. The life that will have many unknowns. Many days filled with tears and uncertainty. Some days with sunshine and nary a cloud. But whatever the day is I know we will face it with a happy heart and a smile.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 139

I feel like I have been drug through a knot hole backwards. My day started at 5:30 am. That has been mine time to get us for a few weeks now. It usually isn't so be. I let our dog out which she promptly ran away. I don't get it. You would think that she has a nice warm home, food and water why she would even think of leaving the yard. Found her a while later just roaming around down by the church.

Left to go to the unit and on my way dropped off Tres Leches to my parents. YUMMO!! they thought so too. I need to pro-fect it some but I do have to say it was pretty tasty. Traffic was outrageous on Foothill today.

On my way is when I usually pray about the day. That is the time I have and it is quiet and a 40 minute drive lets me get my pondering in. Today was no different. I love to pray and contemplate at the same time. I get my best answers that way. There are no interruptions, not one pulling at me or knocking on my door. Just me, Heavenly Father, my thoughts and the road. I am sure people thing I am strange when I am driving down the road talking to myself (maybe it looks like I am singing to the radio). But they for sure know I am not singing to the radio when I am crying my eyes out. Bawling. Looking frantically for a tissue or anything else that might be clean.

That was the last time I feel like things were going like clockwork.

6am Let Toka out
6:15am find Toka
7am leave for unit and to run a couple of errands.
9am PT
11:15am wound care
12:30pm Lunch - Sushi for Nicole nothing for me.
2pm PT (again)
2:30pm Dentist for Nicole.
3:30pm Making of night splint for left arm
4pm Fitted for a night splint on left arm
4:15pm Review many, many, many procedures.
4:40pm Leave unit
5:15pm get in line for In-N Out
6:45pm Drive away with my Double Double and Pink Lemonade (First food all day)
7:05pm Arrive home safe and sound. Tired, worn out, sleepy and hoping for a uninterrupted sleep tonight.

I don't think I have had as busy a day, mostly in one place, in forever. I have to say though, it is all worth it. So many good things happening. Now if I could catch up on needed sleep. Tonight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 138

Today I didn't go to the hospital to see Nicole. I took the day off so I could finish my list (no, it didn't get done :( ) And go with Christian to the Neurologist.

Well, this neurologist didn't have a lot to say. He doesn't think it is neuro related so he referred us to a cardiologist. Both Christian and I were disappointed. I think someone could have scraped our long faces off the floor.

When I spoke to Nicole's nurse this evening she indicated Nicole had a great day. Wound care went smooth and so did PT. Nicole's cough is getting better.

She didn't have an appetite today. I am not sure what is up with that. Maybe just a little down because I was unable to come today. Tomorrow will be a better day. I will be there for PT at 9 as well as wound care at 11, then we will go to lunch. It is sushi day. Nicole will be excited about that. She also has a dental appointment in the afternoon that I will go with her to.

Nicole had 2 teeth knocked out so they will be making the mold tomorrow for her new teeth. Hopefully it won't take too long to get them made. Most likely 2 weeks. I guess she has been able to do without them for this long, what is two more weeks.

I am just grateful we are getting out soon and all the rest is ancillary.

Mothering

Have I ever told you. "I love being a mother!"

I wasn't sure I wanted to be a mother to begin with. Oh sure, as I was growing up I thought, "I will get married, have kids, buy a house and live happily ever after."

When I first was pregnant with Christian I was like ,"Woo-hoo We're pregnant!" Then it all set in. "I AM PREGNANT! What was I thinking?" Soon after that thought many other thoughts came. 'We are going to have a little you and a little me running around.' and 'Man, We are so lucky.'

First of all, we didn't have insurance so we didn't get all the fancy ultra sounds and stuff. We heard Christian's heart beating with a steth-o-scope. Our doctor was amazing. Each month we made a list of questions. When the doctor came in, he sat down and acted like he had all the time in the world for us. Like he didn't have anyone else waiting. Every Question was answered.

During that time Heavenly Father taught me powerful lessens. He taught me how to trust in Him. I was 20 years old, what could I possible know about having a child and raising it. Each day I would pray and ponder what kind of mother I would be. What ideas and strengths we could instill in this sweet spirit He had been entrusted us to bring into this world.

One night I had a dream. I dreamed we had a daughter. I was happy in this dream. The dream seemed to go on forever. Each part of the dream took a little turn. She was perfect, 10 little toes and ten little fingers. I saw her grow and play. I saw her blond hair and blue eyes and I knew she was ours. But then, I knew more than I saw that she was having struggles. I felt it but I also saw other kids looking at her but not wanting to play with her. I saw adults walking by and doing the same. I was troubled.

I woke up crying and told John I had a dream about our daughter. I described the dream and told him I was sure we were having a girl but was distraught over the dream. John offered me a blessing which I readily took him up on. Heavenly Father told me she had a very special spirit and was being saved for later. She would have difficult times but we would be there for her. We would find it a blessing to have her in our family. Next, He blessed me that the child I was carrying was perfect. He was a gift. He would make us smile and laugh. He was loving and kind. He would be a protector. He was gentle. He was being sent first to help us.

"I guess we are having a boy", I told John afterwords.

Christian was born. He was perfect. He too had ten little toes and ten little fingers. Tons of blond hair. He never cried when he was born. Our doctor didn't believe in slapping the babies bottom. He just rubbed his back and Christian started to breath and pinked right up. John took his shirt off straight away and held Christian to his bare chest. He laid down with a blanket over them for a long time. What a bonding experience that was for both of them.

As Christian grew the words of our Heavenly Father never were so true to me. Christian is gentle, kind, makes us laugh, loving and he was a protector of his sister. Yes, he is a gift.

When Nicole was born she started off life right form the beginning struggling. Her birth was difficult, her early months were difficult and as she grew more difficulties came to light. But we knew she was a gift too. Even though things were hard we believed we would be able to get through anything as long as we kept close to the Lord for he was directing our paths.

My favorite scripture, Prov 3:5, started to come to light in this time of my life. I actually didn't know it was my favorite but as my life continued on the path that scripture continued to run in my head. I had to have trust if I was going to learn, grow, raise my children and know what was best for them.

Some people, who catch a glimpse of our lives, maybe through church, school or community, may wonder why we do things the way we do. What are we thinking? Sometimes we didn't know what we were doing but relying on the Lord we always received answers.

I have learned a lot being a mother of two extremely different children.

1. Trust in Heavenly Father first.
2. Love is the key.
3. No matter what, don't give up.
4. Take each moment, slow down, live it.
5. Just because it because it looks like a duck doesn't mean it is one.
6. Be still. Pray each day.
7. This isn't the worst thing that can happen.
8. Each day is a gift.
9. Knowing who we are is half the battle.
10. Serve

This and more are the reasons I love being a mother. I have been blessed with two beautiful children. They are both very different yet come from the same. I love the good and the bad. The bad gives me strength and hope for better times. The good is salve for the bad. The good out weighs the bad. The love, hugs, kisses, homemade cards, playing together, snuggling, a smile, a laugh, cooking together, being still together. All this makes all worth everything.

Godspeed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 138

Christian's day has been very tough. More of the same but more intense Good thing Christian's appointment with the neurologist is tomorrow. He doesn't have to know it all right as we walk in the door but I am hoping for something to grasp on to.

Today at that the unit I learned several more PT moves. I may have it all down by the times she is released. Nicole is getting more movement. It doesn't really look like more to others (outsiders)but I can see the difference.

Daphne(PT)made Nicole a vest for Nicole out of Tubie. It is very tight piece of material. Kind of stretchy that goes over just her torso. It is like a training vest. To get her used to having something tight around her all the time. Nicole says it is very itchy.

We tried some now stuff on her legs today to see if it will help with all the swelling and edema. It is also very stretchy and tight. I guess we will see tomorrow.

I am getting more antsy to get Nicole home. Each day I know is one day closer to her coming home. So many things are coming together, my list is getting so much shorter. Now if I could get some boxes unpacked, find my Thanksgiving stuff and finish my Christmas shopping I would be in heaven. Tomorrow is my get the work done day. (Except for when I go to the doctors with Christian) I will be chained to the house busily going through things. Me the list girl even has a list of things I will be looking for when I go through boxes.

John will be here in 8 more days. I can't wait. He won't be here for my birthday but that is OK. He and I will celebrate when he comes. We were going to have dinner at Zermat in Midway on Dec 4th although the ward Christmas party for Traverse Mountain is that night. We will be attending that instead which will be so much fun. We are really looking forward to that.

When I told Nicole that I was going to be setting up our Christmas tree she was very disapproving. She said, "You can't do that. We always do that on your birthday." I told her that I wanted to get it done, it is on my list. She wasn't having any of that. So I guess we will set it up next week instead. It is tradition, we need to stick to.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 137

Do you ever wonder if all you are doing will make a difference? And if it does will it be good enough? I hope I am making a different in this world. So many times I look around and I get ideas that would make someones life better. I want to take the opportunity to implement those ideas.

I find myself writing lists of ideas. I am a list girl at heart. Nothing like the satisfaction of checking it off. One day my ideas list will be all checked off and I will see the fruit that comes from it.

Christian was fitted with a King of Heart today. He will wear it about 2 weeks. It monitors his heart and sends the information electronically to the monitoring station. Hopefully this will give us more information that will lead to something positive. He and I went to dinner tonight and had a great talk. He is so easy to talk to. I love it when he is so animated.

Earlier in the day he called me and told me he got a text from his dentist office that they were giving away tickets to a private showing of 'NEW MOON'! Oh my gosh. Really?! Anyway he was able to secure some tickets and we are going on Saturday. Well fro sure he is going. I will see how Nicole is getting along and if I can have someone stay with her. (Ashley?) But if not, I know he will have a great time.

I feel the last few days at the unit have been the same. Learning wound care. But today I was able to go with Nicole to PT and learn several stretches and activities that will help her once she comes home. Tomorrow I will learn different ones. They are very painful but I just keep saying to myself, "No pain, no gain". I know Nicole isn't ready for me to say that to her.

PT is going to measure Nicole for a shirt tomorrow and hopefully her pants. It takes about 2 weeks to get them in. They will also scan her for a mask that she will start wearing at night and as she gets more comfortable she will wear it in the day for a few hours.

PT blindsided me today. Nicole's insurance doesn't pay for her pressure garments. I don't really get that since it is such an basic yet vital part of recovery. They told me she needs at least 2 sets and ideally 3-4. And they wear out so it would be 2 sets now and 2 sets in several months, maybe 2 sets again before she won't need to wear them any longer. She will be wearing them for at least 2 years. They are washable but you can't dry them. They have to be laid out to air dry which takes many hours.

Each set $1800 if she doesn't need zippers. Each zipper $150. I think I am in the wrong business. How can a pair of pants, a shirt and a pair of gloves cost that much? How can the average person pay that much?

I cried all the way home from the hospital praying for a way to be able to accomplish this new trial set before us. I don't have an answer yet but I do know God was listening. I know He will provide a way. I felt so distraught as I left the hospital but by the time I got home I felt loving arms, knowing arms. Arms that have comforted me before, arms that feel familiar.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 136

Today I realized I was talking to myself. How did I get to that point? Do I not interact enough with others? For a split second I saw myself many years down the road having full conversations with myself. Now that is not a good thing. I better remedy that and quick.

Each day now will be filled with learning how to take care of Nicole's needs and trying to figure out how not to loose myself in the process. The endless needs of wound care, PT, food prep, etc, etc, etc. Once she is home and I can get a schedule down it won't feel so overwhelming. I am sure that in a couple of days all will settle down and it will be second nature. I like know how the day will flow. What to expect and how it will end up. Of course it won't go smooth every day but that is my goal. Is that neurotic? I hope not.

Nicole and I are working better as a team. During the times when I have to help her in PT and/or wound care she is doing so much more on her own with me assisting. More and more I am amazed at her tenacity and diligence.

I wish I had more to report on Christian. We will see the neurologist on Wednesday and hopefully he will shed some light on why things are not getting any better. Christian is still sleeping quite a bit but he is able to go to the gym for his walk of 45 minutes as well as lifting some weight. Good thing he has someone there to help him if needed which is often.

My list is dwindling. Not too many more things to accomplish before 'D' day. or 'N' day as the case may be. I am actually beginning to believe I will get the list done.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 135

Today is my second day of doing Nicole's wound care. I did the whole thing, start to finish by myself. Not really as hard as I thought it would be. Actually, besides the fact that is takes 45 minutes to shower her and re-wrap her wounds, it wasn't bad at all. I suppose as I do it more I will become more proficient. Especially after she comes home. I am kinda of an efficiency freak. I don't like to take more steps than I need to. I like to streamline anything I can. I am sure this will be no different.

I love to be there to help care for Nicole. The process has actually added balm to my soul. From the beginning until now there has been so many changes. The first day John and I walked into the unit I wondered how we would ever bring her home. Now this is becoming a reality. Seeing Nicole the first time during wound care I couldn't imagine what lie ahead for us. Would there ever be a time when I could face this by myself? The time has come where it is a reality. The reality is Nicole will be coming home. She is alive and She is doing well.

What does God have in store for my Sweet Nicole?

I wonder that everyday. I wonder why her life has been fraught from the very beginning. I know she is not the only one who deal with many things in their lives. I just wonder why those challenges have been given to her (and to us). But the lessons learned are invaluable for all involved. I may not be so patient or willing to stand up to people who wrong others. I may have a different prospective of others who have disabilities. I certainly have learned to voice my opinion and not stand back and let things happen.

I have also learned that Nicole is very capable and shows a loving spirit to those around her. She is one to help others. She loves to serve. She looks out for the underdog. I would hope she would have those qualities even if she didn't have these experiences to draw on. Although experience give all people perspective.

Just a word about the snow today. I woke at 5:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. I figured I might as well get up and start my day since I have so much to do. As I was deep cleaning the kitchen the sun started to wake up. Light began over the east mountains and I could see snow on the ground. It was beautiful. The sky was robins egg blue. Amazing. As I drove to the hospital I watched the cloud descend into the Salt Lake valley hanging low. Not long after entering the unit it started to snow. But it looked to me like the sun streaming in the window shining on the dust particles in the air. The fine snow whipping around in the wind.

Soon the snow turned to giant snowflakes. Fluffy and delicate drifting on the wind currents. Up and down in the air. Before long there was 2 inches of snow building up on the seal outside Nicole's window. As many who know me, I am not a fan of snow. I love it when I can stay inside and watch it from my cozy warm home, but today I have to say, "I LOVE THE SNOW."

I love the creation God made that allows such a beautiful scene. Incredible!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 134

I was so happy to be able to spend an extra hour with Nicole. I arrived on the unit just in time for wound care. It has been several weeks since I have seen how she is healing. I was so excited to see how things are progressing and how much of the wound care she can actually do herself.

Nicole can take of most of the bandages herself and wash about half her body. Extreme pain doesn't cover it. She just gets to business and let everyone know what is needed and when. She is very good at how things need to be done. That is a good thing so when she comes home she will be able to do some of it by herself with assistance.

I can't believe how much stuff it will take to get her showered and re-bandaged and dressed each day. And the time it will take. Today it took one hour. I was thinking they have all the stuff ready and right at their finger tips with a huge area to work in. I hope one day I can do it in a hour.

Nicole's cough is worse. None of the results have come back yet though. I hope they will tomorrow.

After wound care Nicole and I went to the cafeteria. It seems to be our hang out. I was telling her all the things I need to do before she comes home. One of them was a big grocery shopping trip. She smiled at me and said, "I can't wait to go grocery shopping with you." Well, Sweet Nicole, I can't wait to go grocery shopping with you either. I know it is boring not getting out. I wonder when she will be able to get out besides just going to the doctors for check ups and PT.

I thought I was going to hit my list hard today. I accomplished one thing. Mostly because there was an accident on the I-15 that blocked traffic forever. It took me from 3-4:30 to get home and I was not traveling very far. About 100 blocks. It should have only taken me 20 minutes at the most. By the time I got home I was out of the mood to task. I was barely in the mood to cook dinner. I didn't want to cook but I did want to eat. I guess one thing does lead to the other.

I guess sleeping in tomorrow is not an option. I would rather go to bed earlier and get up earlier to accomplish tasks then stay up late and maybe not get to sleep in.

My sister-in-law and I were talking this morning about when Nicole will come home and how that will change our lives. She wondered if I was going to be up to the challenge. Fair question. I told her, "Heavenly Father knows me and knows my strengths and weaknesses. I know He knows I can do it. I guess I just have to have the faith that I can do it." As I was pondering that statement today I kept thinking about my favorite scripture. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. That says it all. I may not know the outcome of things, I may not know how hard it really is going to be, I may not be able to have the strength each day but I do know that through God all things are possible.

Even this.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 133

Victory is ours!!! Today, I met with the Judge in Utah County and was granted Guardianship over Nicole. Actually John, Christian and I all have joint Guardianship. I cried for over an hour before I went into court. The emotions I was feeling were so high. I was sure it was going to be granted but I also wondered. I wondered if there was going to be anyone there from the hospital to contest it. Then what. But all went smooth. Then I cried for an hour after with gratitude.

That piece of paper, a court order, says volumes. It is amazing what happens when you have all medical making decisions within your grasp. It is just as though Nicole were under the age of 18 again. Not that she doesn't have decision making capabilities but more so we can help her make good choices as well as being kept in the loop on all that is going on and can make decisions too.

Staring tomorrow I will receive 1 extra hour of visitation. Within a couple of days I will get 2-3 more hours. I believe that will help Nicole's psychological well being as much as my own.

Today at the hospital I found out Nicole is having some complications. She has an area on her left leg that is infected with psuedomonis again. But most of the areas are looking so much better.

Nicole also has a very bad cough and a fever. Many tests have been run today as well as a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and other maladies. I hope the results come back quickly so steps can be taken to remedy the situation if need be. We don't need another set back this close to coming home. I am not sure I could make it through another round of set backs like those we have had in the past.

Her pain level is finally being addressed. Dr. Morris has changed things up, taken stuff away but added more too. We will see what tomorrow bring with the changes being in place for 24 hours. Plus with Nicole not feeling well I am sure her pain level is exacerbated by the pure fact that she isn't feeling well.

I am so grateful to have to chance to have an extra hour each day now. Huge blessings in our lives. Thank you to all that are praying on our behalf. The many prayers have strengthened me and my family. I know the Lord is mindful of us and I believe we receive extra blessing because of the faith of the many people out there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 132

Leaving Kansas is bitter sweet. I love Kansas. I love the people, I love the patients, I love the seasons and I love the landscapes. Yes it is flat but that is one thing I like about it. Sometimes the mountains make me feel claustrophobic. And my biggest bitter sweet reason is I am leaving John again for 2 weeks. On the other hand I will be able to see Nicole and Christian. Enter back into the world of the unknown but at least I will be there finding my way.

I just don't get the hospital and why they do things the way they do. Sometimes I don't think they use their heads. So many things would be so much better if they would just listen to me instead of having to reinvent the wheel with Nicole. Today I made a comment to a nurse over the phone about Nicole. She questioned me on why I thought I knew that. "Well", I responded "because I am her mother. I know her and I know this about her". Are you kidding. It seems so simple to me how things should work. I don't get why they have to make things so difficult or make so many steps to get one thing accomplish.

Nicole's pain level was very extreme again today. I hope they can do something.

Christian didn't go to the neurologist after all. He re-scheduled for a day that I can be there.

Flying to Utah in 2 hours.

Last day in KS

John and I enjoyed an evening together at Bonefish Grill. Have you been there before? The decor is awesome. The food, although I had heard was amazing, was good but not amazing. I had Bang Bang tacos. Spicy shrimp in a flour tortilla, John had the Longfin with lemon and capers sauce. SO good he said he would order it again.

Since I am going back to UT today we spent the rest of the evening just together. Sucking up the last snuggles to last til the next time we are together.

Our nightly phone call to Nicole we heart breaking. The pain she is in still is not under control. I don't get it. 3 days and they are still giving her the same stuff. If the same stuff isn't working then change the plan. Nicole has been unable to go to PT for 2 days. Not good for her recovery. I am glad I will be there tomorrow. I have a call in for the doctor today. I hope he will call me back. Why is it that when I leave town weird things happen. Is it because they know I am not there and so they don't feel they have to monitor it as much. It meaning ANYTHING. I wonder.

So much to do, so little time. Here and there. There and here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Day 131

I was thinking this morning about milestones Nicole has made. 66 days ago which is half of the time she has been in the hospital Nicole was having a really bad day. She was also eating nectar thick foods. John's mom had just moved to Salt Lake and the family was helping her unload her truck. Nicole was also given a blessing by her uncle Rich. (which was beautiful)

Man, That day seems so long ago.

Today Nicole is in still a huge amount of pain but she has had days where the pain is not so bad. Nicole is able to eat anything her heart desires. That is a lot better than nectar thick anything. Applesauce and ice cream are great but they are not as good as lasagna, spaghetti, wraps, grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Wound care went well except it was reported the new graph site on Nicole's right leg is not doing as well as expected. I hope it takes. That is her ticket out of the unit. As soon as all skin is adhered and healing nicely she will be able to enter into the next phase of rehab for which she needs to be able have so she can go home. One thing leads to another which leads to another. It is the domino affect.

Tomorrow Christian will see the neurologist. Since the medication is not working well I wonder if the diagnosis is right or if there is more to it that they haven't found yet. With Nicole is good hands my worries are more focused on Christian. I know he worries that I worry but there is no other way around it.

Tomorrow I go back to Utah. I still have many things to do in Kansas. My brain is not focused on the work right now. I have lost my work 3 times on the computer because I have not been paying attention. Not really like me. Too much to do, too little time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

DAY 130

I was only able to talk to Nicole for a short amount of time today. Her pain level was extremely high today and it makes it difficult for her to talk for any length of time. These are the times I wish I was there to just stroke her head and hold her hand. I know it would make fer feel better.

Instead I sang to her. You are my sunshine, Little Purple Pansies, Popcorn popping, the Beautiful Staircase, Love at Home, Long Name no can say, and every other song I could thing of that I knew she would like. There is nothing like singing Primary songs to lift your spirits. Even if you don't feel like singing just listening to the words makes everything all right.

http://www.lds.org/cm/catalogsearchalpha/1,17929,4958-1-2,00.html#nullLink

Copy and paste this link into your browser. When the page comes up select the first song, A Child's Prayer. On the left hand side near the top there is a play button. Below the play button click on the circle that says words and music. Then click on play. Beautiful! I sing these songs to Nicole almost everyday. And when I am far away like I am right now singing is familiar to her and helps us both. Try it out. Try out any of the songs. They are wonderful. If you go back to the place where you can choose a song there is an alphabet. Click on the M's. Click on song Mother Dear. Again listen to the music and words. This is a special song for me. When Nicole sings this song she has her own words for it. Most of them are the same but she made some different. Before the fire Nicole recorded this song on my phone with the changed words. Priceless.

Our friends, Karen and Wade invited us over for dinner. It was lovely. We were able to see their home which we had not seen before. Beautiful. She has such a touch. After wards we all went to Freddie's for frozen yogurt. John and I had so much fun catching up and visiting. Not a care in the world. What true friends they are. Thanks so much for opening your home to us tonight.

We are just over the 4 month mark and it feels like a year. The time John and I have been away from each other seems like a life time. Especially when we get to spend time together and then it ends all too soon. I am not sure what has been harder on me. Being apart from John or the worry of Nicole and what has yet to come. I am glad John and I are both strong. We see the big picture even though it is hard. Nothing would make me happier then to wake up tomorrow and find this was all a dream. John and I are in the same home. Nicole is well and happy and Christian is also well and happy.

This too shall pass.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 129

We successfully arrived in Kansas. I was so happy to see Sarah and Ladd's driveway. I knew bed was not far away. I heard the the pitter patter of little feet bright and early today. I felt little feet brush by my sleeping area, I am sure, in hopes that I would soon be waking up. Giggling and whispering, whispering and giggling. John and I rolled over and saw 3 cute kids just waiting for us. Smiling sweetly.

John needed to go to a meeting today. And as luck would have it the meeting is in Kansas City. I love it when John has meeting is Kansas City for the pure fact that I get to spend time with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Notice how I mentioned the sister-in-law first. I just love her. We have bonded quite nicely over the years.

We cook together and play together. Two things I love to do. Today cooking involves cookies and fish tacos. Man, I love her fish tacos. When she first told me she was going to make them for me, last year, I told John we might want to eat before we arrived, just in case. But, we arrived late and nothing was open except her kitchen. They were amazing. I was so glad we didn't eat before hand or I would not have had room for such a delightful meal.

Do you ever wonder what life would be like if (blank) didn't happen. (feel free to fill in the blank). I wonder that often lately. I wonder what kind of person would I be like had we not been faced with hard choices and decisions, trials, set backs and health issues. I look back on the early years of our married life and review what I thought were a couple of hard years. Those years in retrospect actually started to prepare me for things to come later in life. That prepared me for other things that prepared me for now. We would not be the same people if it weren't for (blank).

Today I am glad for (blank).

You know the saying, 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' I have made great lemonade. Some sour and some sweet. I have made enough lemonade to open plenty of lemonade stands. I could have made a small fortune. I should have shared my lemonade then, but, I didn't know how. I hope by sharing my lemonade now others will quench their thirst. My hope is one person will feel like they too can make lemonade.

Years and years ago Nicole and Christian had a lemonade stand. I remember they set up their little picnic table out on the sidewalk. We lived in a very quiet neighborhood in TX. I was sure no one would be buying lemonade. It was a hot summer day, as days usually are in TX. There they sat, just the two of them. No customers. I went out and 'bought' a cup hoping it would keep their spirits up. An hour or so later, in they both came. Carrying the empty pitcher and cups. Wow I thought. When I inquired as to the empty pitcher and the money they must have made, Christian said, "Mom, did you know that when the garbage men collect garbage no one ever gives them lemonade. And when the guy comes to mow our neighbor across the street grass, no one ever gives him lemonade." "No", I replied. And then he said, "We gave them our lemonade because they were so hot and they looked thirsty. They do such a great job and give so much service to others we wanted them to get service in return." What an example of making lemonade out of the lemons they were given that day.

It is hard to keep ones spirits up in the unit each day. Living in a small room, not much privacy. Not being able to move about freely. Eating what is served, drinking when it is brought. Wearing limited attire or just a drab hospital gown. I am not sure I could or would keep my spirits up as well as I think Nicole has. She rarely does not have a smile for me or anyone else.

Now that some many areas are healing better I hope Nicole's face, that still has 6-8 areas of MRSE, will heal rapidly. Her body has not prioritized the MRSA. I hope it can put some energy towards that. Other than that Nicole at this moment is infection free. I say that lightly hoping nothing comes down the pike. She is so close to coming home. Even though it is several more weeks compared to the weeks that have passed it seems very close.

My list has been on hold for over a week. When I get back to Utah I will have to hit it running. I will be so glad when I can cross off the last item. I will sit back with a sigh of relief and know it was time well spent. Especially since it will make my life easier in the long run. Not that there will not be thing that will always need to be done, but the big items, you know the ones that have to be done, that take the most time. The ones that we all dread. But the end result will be amazing. Christmas decorations up, presents wrapped, menus planned, deep cleaning done. And hopefully sleep caught up.

I love sleep!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 128

Last night at Starbucks 2 women stopped to talk. I didn't know them but Nicole did. It was fun to see them chatting back and forth. They are the daughters of a patient in the unit. As the three of them were talking one turned to me and said, "Nicole has brought joy to my dad. Each day she has a smile for him. Each say he see her progress and hope the same for his wife. Each day when we talk to him on the phone he will give us an update on Nicole. He might say, 'Nicole was up and walking today or her range of motion I can see is getting better.' He watches Nicole to see what might be in store for his wife.

I love it. I love that Nicole can be an inspiration to someone. She can give someone hope. She has been a great cheerleader for others in the unit. 'You can do it, great job'. I hope I will be a great cheerleader for her.

Today, John and I are driving to KS. We were going to leave last night but after the long day we had and see Nicole late, we didn't pack up our stuff until 11 pm. after it was all packed, about 1am, we were too tired.

Nicole has a good night last night. I love the nurse she had. Kindi. I love the interaction she has with Nicole. Not all nurses at made up the same. Some are kind, some are witty, some just do their job. I love the ones who have compassion. They go above and beyond their 'job'. Thanks you nurses and aides who go above and beyond. You make my life easier. Easier, because I know when you are taking care of Nicole I rest better, my mind doesn't race all day wondering if she is in good hands. My 2 hours a day can be spent loving Nicole and not putting out fires.

Kansas here we come.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 127

I wish I had my camera this morning. As I was driving to the grocery store the sun was trying to peak over the mountains. There was a whiff of a cloud in the sky the sun had brilliantly lit up. Man, I hope I can catch that again one day.

With it being Friday, my day is always so crazy when John is here. Seeing patients, packing up, making food, laundry, cleaning, doing last minutes things to get ready for him to go home and this time me to go with him.

My dad's surgery went well. Many tumors were removed and chemo was started. He stayed over night and was told if all went well in the night he would be able to go home today.

John was able to get several things moved this morning with the help of Tom. Thanks a bunch. I may be able to get a vehicle in the garage soon. I hope to before the snow flies. Me ands now are not friends unless I can stay in the home, sit by a fire and drink hot cocoa. Now that is my idea of a day. Oh yeah, and a warm cozy blanket. Preferably the one Kassi made me, BYU fleece. Or this other sweet one that is brown with crazy pink and cream flowers. Although, Nicole is using that one at the hospital. Good thing we are not having snow right now.

Tonight after we see Nicole John and I will be driving to Kansas City for a meeting this weekend and then on to Wichita so I can tend to some business. It will be good to spend more time with John as well as see familiar sites and friends.

I stocked up on a few things to leave with Nicole at the hospital. Of course mac and cheese, she wanted to try laughing cow cheese and a cracker she likes. I hope theses stores last until I come back. I will miss her. Good thing I can talk to her on the phone each day. She will raise my spirits and I hope that I will do the same.

Nicole's day is another day of progression. I am happy we have been going forward for many days now.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 126

Christian will be going to a new neurologist. Today he had another check up and still they are stumped. I know the brain and heart are complicated but this is ridiculous. How many more days do we wait and wonder when the next time he will loose consciousness. I know he is frustrated, probably more that I know. I know they can figure it out but what is taking so long.

Nicole wanted a bacon cheese burger from Wendy's. I took her one and as she was eating it she said, "I don't know why I am eating this. It doesn't even taste that good. I think I don't like fast food anymore." I was happy to hear that. Fast food is laden with fats and junk. Not that I don't partake once in a while, especially Cafe Rio, but I too would like to be free from the fast food grip.

After discussing the pros and con's of fast food we again took our walk to Starbucks. This time she had pumpkin hot chocolate and as she was drinking it announced the cider was more to her liking. I just laughed. We tried the night air again and this time the smokers were further away and so we were able to sit outside for a while. The night air was blissful. Not cold and just a touch of a breeze. We even saw a huge dust devil. Instead of dust it was full of fall leaves. What a sight. It reminded me of the fall leaves in Winnie the Pooh and how they fly around.

Happy am I!