...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Crohn's Disease gets sent to the corner

This week I had a check in appointment with my gastroenterologist.  I get to chill with this medical crew every six months to keep tabs on my Crohn's, update my labs and blood work, and just make sure things are as they should be.

This particular appointment came about a month after my latest colonoscopy (oh, the fun of a colonoscopy).  While the visual results from that procedure were good, you have to wait weeks for biopsy findings and such to know how things are going down deep.

I finally got to see those results yesterday.  And -- BEST NEWS SINCE DIAGNOSIS -- lab work shows that I am officially in endoscopic remission!

What is endoscopic remission, you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  It means (according to my GI) that all the way down to the microscopic level, my Crohn's Disease is currently getting spanked!  That's right intestinal trouble maker, you have been benched, sent to the corner and forced into an "I make people hate me" hat.  Go ahead and cry, no one feels bad for you.


While patients sometimes believe they are in remission because they don't feel day to day symptoms or don't have dynamic flare ups, these findings go well beyond just feeling good.  This means that my medications and regular injections are seriously doing their job and keeping my immune system from turning against my body.  This is incredible news to me.

While my gut is still full of scar tissue and there is no guarantee of how long remission and I will be hanging out together, I am going to celebrate this victory and enjoy it while it lasts...which it will hopefully do for a good, long while.

After three long years of treatment, remission and I are officially introduced.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Odds and Ends from Summer

It's only a few more days until my littles head back to school.  This year I will have two sprites in jr high, that makes me feel a little closer to the old side than I have before.

However, before we head back to books and teachers and lunch rooms, I thought we'd share some bits and pieces of summer that didn't make it into the stream of posts yet (mostly because I want my kidlets to remember this stuff too, even if it isn't flashy and thrilling).

We made several kinds of jam (plum, apricot, and raspberry).  All are tasty and we got to share some with a few of our neighbors as well.  Every member of the family got in on the action and that made it really fun for me.

We spent a lot of time playing in our backyard pool.  This little stunt happens to be Bryce "surfing" on his father's back.  Oh the antics a pool brings out.  Good times.

We endured a couple of power outages.  We always do.  Grrrr.  This one found us without power for several hours so we ended up moving the perishable fridge items into coolers and buying some bags of ice.  Of course, the power came on -- no kidding -- moments after we poured the ice over the food.  Awesome.

We visited the library every week, and since our local library is closed we had to venture to the West Valley City library where we discovered a water feature just north of the parking lot.  The kids LOVED it and we played here on a couple different trips on really hot days.  Fabulous!

We laughed at our little balls of personality as they let themselves go wild!

We spent time with cousins a few times and perfected our bread making skills.  Yuuuuum!

We huddled around a back yard fire and roasted marshmallows.

We attended an AMAZING (seriously, it was awesome!!!) fireworks display a few days after the 24th.  Incredible! (Thanks so much to the Gull family for letting us tag along.)

We welcomed new extended family members to the group (hopefully they can learn to endure this growing pack of nut jobs we love to call family)...

enjoyed the beauty of clouds (picture by Parker)...

built back yard forts...

and I FINALLY found an inexpensive bed spread for my room that I don't hate and that isn't covered in flowers.  That was a feat!

Mostly, this summer just rocked for us.  It was full of time together and that is just the way we like it.  

As our kids continue to get older we have less and less control of their time (frown).  They branch further and further out as they work to become the independent souls they want to be.  They want to spend time with their friends or alone in their rooms and sometimes they want absolutely nothing to do with our family.  Sometimes that stings a bit.  Sometimes it isn't my favorite (ok, it's pretty much never my favorite).  

But even as everyone slowly grows up and away (which is exactly what they are supposed to do), small moments like these mean even more to me to me.  These snippets of togetherness are bright spots in life that remind me that we DO enjoy each other, that we DO remember how to have fun together, that we DO look forward to an eternal happily ever after as a family. 

I love these people more than anything and I am very grateful to have them as my partners in crime, my comedic relief, my shoulders to cry with, my moments of frustration, my kitchen help, my reluctant yard workers, my dance partners and everything else.   That is what family is all about.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ogden Temple Visit

This morning I packed up my crew just before 8:00 am and we schlepped our way to the Ogden Utah Temple open house.

What a great way to spend a morning.  Unfortunately, Josh couldn't come along on this little adventure because he is back to school this week.  We missed you, baby cakes!

Temples are amazing and I am always in awe of their beauty and the incredible love and tranquility felt within their walls.

I have been very much looking forward to letting my small herd of littles taste a piece of that too.  

To be honest, they were not exactly thrilled to be pulled out of bed and inserted in Sunday clothes on a Wednesday.  Also, there might have been a bit of complaining about the hour long car ride when they could be home playing video games.

However, they reluctantly decided to play along and in the end I think they were glad they came (although they were also glad to un-tuck their shirts once we got outside).  

I know that temples are the House of God and I wanted to share a bit of that with my kidlets (if you would like to know why temples are so precious to members of our faith check out this video about why we build temples).  I wanted them to see for themselves the rooms where covenants are made and let them ask questions about "why is it set up like that" and "what do you do in here?"  I want the temple to be a living and breathing piece of my children's lives because I know the peace and comfort and truth that is found there and I hope they will make the choices that bring that peace and comfort and truth of their Father in Heaven into their lives as well.  

I'm grateful we had the chance to attend and that I got to spend the morning in one of my favorite places with a bunch of my favorite people.  I feel pretty lucky that thanks to temple covenants I get to be with these nutcases forever.  That is one amazing blessing.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer's last hurrah (for us)

This has been a summer full of outdoor adventures for our family, which is pretty much the way I like things (except for I hate sleeping on the ground...the good Lord invented mattresses for a reason).  In fact, this may have been my very favorite summer ever of my whole life.  I've loved spending so much time with my crew.

And so, since Josh has to start back to school this coming Monday (boo!), we decided on one more outdoor explore -- a long(er) explore -- to close out the season.

A camping trip.

So we headed toward Kamas, turned East toward Mirror Lake and kept our eye out for a home base for one last summer adventure.

And when we found this place we knew it was just the spot.

Ta Da!!

Some people were a little bit less help setting things up than others (we found these two rascals building dirt castles behind the tent).

But some people were lots of help and ended up tired from the endeavor.  Thanks people!

These two spent pretty much all the spare minutes messing around in the dirt.  It was great!  Notice how they've turned our Kubb set into a sweet little tower and array of digging implements.  I love a bit of creativity.

While Josh and I got everything set (you know, create the bathroom, dig out the mangled fire pit, etc) the kidlets ran around in the nearby woods with walkie talkies that my mom sent with us.  It got pretty wild...but that's the way of things when you're in the wilderness.

Also, Parker found a bunch of grass with frothy tops (like wheat...ish) so he decided to grind them into flour using some handy rocks.  I just love the things they think of.

Anyway, when camp was set we headed out to see what we could find.

I found this really fabulous dead tree.  I love it!  For real.  The kids were less impressed.

But Josh was the winner because he found the river (which was blocked by some nasty ol' stagnant ponds and pretty heinous drop offs in most spots, except for the little place he found).  He also managed to bring us through just at a quiet spot where a fairly deep little pond was formed so it was a good place to play for the afternoon.  Nice job, Joshua, I know when I am beaten.  I reluctantly will admit defeat.

Notice the photo bombing rock skips in the background on this one.  That was Bryce.

It really was a perfect afternoon.

And then it was time to head back to camp where we made dutch oven dinner.  We have really learned to love dutch oven cooking of late and do it here at home too (but let's be honest, everything tastes better when you are camping).

Ellie and Josh cutting vegetables for dinner.
 Near our camp site there was a wide, open field that was very accommodating for a game of kick ball and was also surrounded by logs and stumps which turned into a rousing game of "the ground is lava" a little later on (and I'm pretty sure I won). 

S'mores.  Songs.  Stories.  Star gazing.  Smoke in the face (just a bit).  

Trapped with a fire with my seven favorite people.


Everything was great until someone tipped Gavin's soggy shoe directly into the heat of the fire which (of coarse) melted the thing beyond repair leaving him shoeless.  Well, single shoed.  It sort of put a damper on our plans for the next day.  Can't have the kid hopping around on the rocky, uneven forest ground on one foot.

Oh well.

So, after a good night's sleep, a delicious breakfast (which included bacon so really it couldn't go wrong) and a great little demonstration about boiling water in a paper cup, it was time to pack up and go.

Water.  Paper cup.  Fire.  Booyah.
 And home we headed (after breaking down our camp, which is NEVER as fun as setting it up).

One last adventure for the books and one more memory for my crew.  It really has been an amazing summer.

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