Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mission Impossible!

Well, it is that time of year again.
Sale flyers full of back to school
specials fill or mailboxes.
The aisles at Target are packed with
High School Musical folders,
Disney Princess backpacks,
and endless bins of #2 pencils,
pink erasers and boxes of crayons.
If you are like me,
your kids outgrew everything this Summer,
so you are on the hunt for savvy ways to
restock their closets with clothes they will love
without having to take out a small loan
to pay for it!
I had three kids to shop for this year
and I approached each shopping day very differently.
Bren was up first.
This is the day I looked forward to the most.
She still values my fashion opinion and is the funnest to shop for
because the clothes are so darn cute!
For Bren, research was key.
I shopped online at places like
crazy 8, gymboree, gap, Lands End, and Naartjie.
I filled up my online shopping carts from what I liked at each online store
and then printed them out to take with me.
If I found better deals out in town, I bought them.
If my online sales were better,
I purchased those deals when I got home that night.
Bren and I hit 11 local stores and had a very prosperous day.
I found great deals on cute stuff and came home that night to purchase
just a few online items that were better buys.
She's all set.
Michael was next.
All he wanted was a bunch of t-shirts and a few pairs of jeans.
We were able to get all of that plus a great hoodie
and a pack of new socks from visiting just three stores.
He is so easy and fun to shop with.
He knows the value of a dollar and
kept a careful eye on the budget I had set for him.
He wore basketball shorts so he could try everything on right there
in the middle of the store!
We didn't mess with a single dressing room line,
He just pulled those jeans right up over his shorts!
I told him that he gets that from his great grandmother.
My grandma does the same thing.
I've helped her pull on and off countless sweaters
right in the middle of Macys!
Michael was very proud of the outfits we got for
a little under budget.
He laid them all out on the living room floor and
showed them off to Zachary, Madison and his dad.
Although I definitely believe that clothes don't make the person,
it's nice to love what you wear,
and I love seeing my kids feel so good about themselves.
My third and final shopping trip was with Madison,
my 13 year old daughter.
Madison loves clothes,
but hates the whole process of picking out what goes with what
out of a store full of options.
It helped that we made a list of must haves before we left
so we could stay focused on what we had to get.
I've definitely learned that she has to absolutely love something
or I'm just wasting my money on it
because it will sit in her closet with tags on until it goes out of style.
So, shopping for clothes or shoes with Madison is definitely a challenge,
but shopping for undergarments with her
is mission impossible!
{Can't you hear the theme music playing right now?}
I felt like we needed to be dressed in all black,
lower ourselves on a wire above the intimate aparel aisle,
grab a handful of bras and panties mid-flip during our descent to the ground
and skillfully hide the offending items in our shopping cart
under extreemly non-sexual items having nothing to do with puberty or hormones
like Tide with bleach, air freshener, light bulbs and a hand mixer.
All of this to keep people from knowing or seeing
that we are in need of new undergarments!
And to make matters worse,
I wasn't entirely sure of her size.
The tag on her current bra no longer exists,
not that she would let me check for it or anything.
Madison was clearly not in the mood to
discuss anything having to do with the words
"cup", "wire", "strap", "push-up", "spill over" or "boobie",
so she was no help at all in narrowing down the
size and style for me.
She stood there expressionless,
arms folded, eyes rolling, face flushing.
Having nursed four babies and having been an active participant
in countless births of my friend's babies,
and having been instrumental in helping so many women
and their babies start off a successful nursing relationship,
I am completely comfortable with boobs.
So coming from this mindset
and in an effort to get some idea of what I'm working with here,
I try to hold a particularly cute bra up to her like I would a shirt on Bren,
but she quickly sensed the intention of my movement
and did a lightening fast duck and run followed by a horrified,
"Moooooommmmm!!!!! Stop that!".
I can't help it.
I'm a mom, it's automatic!
Besides, no one is looking!!
Left with no other choice,
(and because I'm obviously not going to chase her around the aisle
trying to size her bra),
I stand at the far end of the aisle from where she is
and hold the bra up to her, closing one eye and tilting my head
trying to judge the fit from that distance.
Well from this vantage point the bra engulfs her entire body
so this method is clearly not working.
Looks like we'll have to guess at this and sort it all out
in the dressing room.
I grab 4 bras of various sizes and styles
while Madison turns 10 shades of red and walks 5 miles ahead of me.
I'm no longer allowed in the dressing room,
so she's on her own to determine comfort and fit.
She settles on one that "will do" and we head back to the
bra aisle to grab the acceptable bra in other colors so
we will have enough stock not to have to do this again for a while!
Whether we were on the giving or receiving end of this milestone,
all of us girls have been there.
For a teenage girl,
I'm sure bra shopping in public with your mom
is not high on the list of things you want to do.
For me now on the mom side,
I'm so thrilled that Madison has the modesty
that she does.
I'm glad that polkadot bras hanging innocently
in the aisles of Target make her blush.
I'm glad that I'm her mom and that we get to share these moments together
that I'm sure we'll look back on and laugh at.
I look forward to the day when she calls me and
tells me of her own years of stepping into my role
as the intrusive mom who tries to hold a bra up to her
own horrified little girls chest!
I'm sure she'll be much better at it than I am!
So until next time,
Mission Impossible
officially accomplished!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wipe that smirk off your face!

First of all thanks for being patient with me while I recover
from my tubing accident.
It has been three weeks since that day
and I still have trouble closing my eyes at night
to go to sleep.
I replay the few seconds before I hit that wall over and over.
I'm searching for ways to change what happened,
to tweak things just a little differently.
But it always ends up the same.
I always hit it
and I am lost in a sea of swirling white bubbles.
Sometimes I wake up gasping for air,
other times I just float off and other dreams come.
Things are what they are though.
No amount of mental replay can change that day.
I do believe that things happen for a reason and I'm
trying to think on the good in this accident.
I am definitely blessed beyond measure to
have such an awesome family who loves me and
who take such great care of me.
I also am blessed to have such wonderful friends
who prayed for me, sent me gifts, made phone calls
and sent e-mails expressing their love and concern.

I'm obviously blessed to still be alive
which sometimes overwhelms me with emotion.
I've never had such a close brush with death before.
It is hard to wrap my mind around sometimes.
I'm not a morbid girl.
I don't think seriously about my own demise.
It is very sobering to think of how fragile life is.
The weight of it has changed my daily thinking immensely.
I am more conscious of what things are important
and what things are just things
and nothing more.
I do have physical reminders though
that will stick around for quite a while,
should I start to lose my newfound way of thinking.
Here is the damage report:
One of my chipped teeth is fixed,
but it sits differently in my mouth than it used to.
The other is due to be fixed this week.
My teeth in general are off center a tad to the left.
My palette is a tad narrower which changes my whole smile.
It's different in a smirky, crooked kinda way.
Back to that in a minute.
My cheek bone was badly bruised and has
a tiny fracture on the left side.
The muscles under my left nostril and cheek are acting differently
than before.
I have some movement as normal, but not all of it.
This may or may not come back.
My top lip feels like I have a small grape
under it when I pucker my lips.
I'm not sure if this will go away or not.
This is a little funny to me because
my cousin Leah used to put a grape under her top lip
sometimes when we'd eat together just to make us all laugh.
I would do it too sometimes.
Now I can do it whenever I want
and I don't even need a grape!
There is still a ball of swelling right on the apple of my cheek.
I hope that this is really just swelling and not
a ball of muscle that has been scrunched up and will stay there.
I still have the remnants of a bruise below my left eye.
I will have two tiny scars between my nose and my top lip.
The doctor thought I may have broken my back at L4, but the x-ray revealed only some
torn ligaments and what they called
"indefinite arthritis".
I will be in physical therapy for a while for that.

Now back to my smile.
This is the hardest thing for me to accept.
I always thought I had such a great smile.
No matter what weight I was,
how broken out my face was
or how bad my hair style was,
I always had a great smile.
And I flashed it often,
not in a conceited "look at me" way,
but I genuinely enjoyed keeping a ready smile
playing on my face to make others feel great.
Who doesn't like to smile and be smiled at?
Now when I look in the mirror,
I don't recognize it.
Maybe you don't see a difference in these photos,
but it screams FOREIGN to me!
Those who know my face on a daily basis
like David and the kids, see the difference.
My left top lip droops a bit and because my teeth
are off center, it just changes everything.
My fear is that over time,
it's just going to droop more and more.
I feel silly even expressing my disappointment
over something so trivial.
I'm certainly not disfigured,
it's not horrific or life changing,
it's just different and it will take some getting used to.
Any change no matter how big or small
that you didn't get to choose takes time
to adjust to.

The plastic surgeon said that I am 95% normal
and 5% abnormal.
He asked me if I really wanted to go through the
process of trying to restore that 5%,
that he would be able to do it,
but seriously.....do I really want surgery
over something as silly as a crooked smile?
Sometimes I do.
I really, really do.
But it's just not practical.
And then there's the fact that I dislike IV's more than
I dislike my new crooked, smirky smile!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Not So Lazy River!

My computer has been enjoying an extended stay
at Geek Squad.
We finally got it back a few days ago
and I've been thinking of a way to pull the last week or so into
one interesting blog post.
We've been very busy with VBS this past week.
I was the photographer for VBS this year and I have about
500 photos to edit and host for all of the families to enjoy.
We took a family trip to Kayak Point last week and I have
some awesome shots from that day
that I want to share.
But sometimes life takes an unexpected turn
and all of your plans just fizzle out.
One of those "unexpected turns" happened to me yesterday.
My boys have been tubing down a local river all summer
and were very excited to take David and I along yesterday.
There is not a raft to be found in Snohomish county
because of our record breaking heat wave,
so we each got a twin air mattress to float down the river with.
We were enjoying ourselves so much.
It was like a giant lazy river with gentle rapids.
I was telling David how fun I thought it was and how great
these memories were for the boys.
We stopped at several spots so they could jump off of
large rocks, over hanging tree branches or well placed rope swings.
I was already making plans to do this a few more times over David's
two week leave period.
The boys were about 50 yards ahead of me as we headed
toward the waterfall.
David had pushed me ahead, so he was about 50 yards behind me.
The boys told us to go to the right side of the falls.
I could see them going down the falls and coming back up to do it again
and I tried to position myself to go over the falls
in the same spot where I had seen them do it.
I was off by about 4 feet.
As I approached the falls, I raised up on the mattress
just a bit to see where I was headed.
I heard my boys screams at the same time
that I saw the rusty steel wall rising up from the surface of the water by about 3 feet.
But by then it was too late and I was already being swept forward
by the waterfall.
In an instant I felt my mouth and cheek hit the wall
and then I was caught in the swirling water between the wall and the falls.
I was being pushed downward by all of the water falling on top of me.
I remember reaching my arms out to try to feel the wall and trying to find the side of
it so that I could swim out,
but the water was too heavy on top of me.
Part of me wanted to just give up and give in to the swirling dizziness
in my head,
but a stronger part of me kept my arms flailing an my feet kicking.
I remember thinking, "just a few more seconds and you'll break the surface."
and when those seconds passed,
I would tell myself again,
"You're almost there, just a few more seconds."
It was Jason's (my brother) birthday and I remember thinking
"You can't die on Jason's birthday!"
The instant I broke the surface I took a huge breath
and I heard Zachary and Michael shouting,
"We're here mom, we've got you."
I felt both of their strong arms around me.
I was so dizzy and disoriented.
I was so exhausted I could not kick anymore and I let my head fall back
on one of their shoulders and they guided me to the shore.
I heard them screaming back at their Dad who was approaching the falls my now.
They warned him away from where I had gone over and
he was soon on shore with me.
A stranger handed me a part of their t-shirt that they had ripped off and filled with ice.
Someone else told me to keep pressure on my bleeding lip
and I heard someone else telling David how far we still had to float down the river
to get to the next outlet where we could get to our car.
A lady looked at my lip and tried to describe for me
what damage she saw.
She said that I had scared them all to death because
I didn't resurface for so long.
I saw Zach standing across the beach with his hands on his head
his back to me.
He later told me that he and Michael both thought I was gone.
Michael put me into his raft which was a blow up boat.
He held onto the side and started kicking to get us to the next outlet.
He kicked for 45 minutes straight.
My back ached, my shoulders hurt, I could feel my chipped teeth with my tongue,
my lips were so swollen I could not talk and my body was shivering with shock.
We finally reached the outlet and made it home to drop the boys off
and then on to the ER.
I absolutely hate IV's because I am such a hard stick,
and true to form, it took three attempts before they could get one in.
They pumped pain meds and fluids into me and gave me a tetanus shot.
The cat scan revealed a slight fracture in my left cheek bone
that we'll follow up on next week with an ENT.
I have a sizeable cut where my upper lip meets my gums which should heal
on it's own pretty quickly.
My teeth will be fixed next week once the swelling goes down.
My back ache should also get better with time and if it doesn't,
I will go in for an MRI.
I am very, very lucky to be alive.
I hit just the right spot at just the right speed and fought with just
enough strength to still be here today.
I could have been knocked unconscious and tossed below that waterfall
for too long before the boys got to me.
I could have hit that wall with my throat or my skull and would
have far more life threatening issues to deal with.
I'm so thankful to be typing this right now.
I'm in very good hands.
David is so good at taking care of me and everything else that needs
to be done so I can rest.
I slept on the couch last night so that I could be elevated enough
in case my lip started bleeding again overnight.
Michael slept on an air mattress right beside me and got up at 3 am to change
my ice pack.
I am a very lucky girl who thankfully has alot more life to live!
Here are some photos from today.
This is an improvement in swelling from yesterday when it looked
like I had a lemon in my left cheek.
The bruising is much worse though but as expected.

My lifesavers!
This might be a different story had they not been right there
to bring me to shore.

Thank you everyone for your prayers!!
Let the healing begin!!!