...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.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Of tomatoes and souls

I want to tell you a story.

Once upon a time there were two people who were deeply in love...with gardening (and also each other).

They loved to grow things and cultivate things and watch things thrive.  

And so, one day in the very earliest part of April, when they happened upon a grundle of five inch potted tomato plants on sale for $2 each they decided to snatch 'em up and take 'em home (well 10 plants anyway, they do have limits).

But, April is still sometimes a bit cold for tomato plants in Utah (which is where this fabulous couple lives) so they carefully placed the plants in a plastic tray and dutifully put them out in the sun each day and took them inside to keep warm at night.  Happy plants.  Happy people.


one fateful night when the couple had some friends over for dinner and they completely FORGOT about the tomato plants and left them out languishing in the evening air all night long.

And even then things probably would have been fine if Mother Nature wasn't such a sassy snot sometimes and decided that this exact night was the perfect time for a very late falling of snow.  Tormentress!!

When the wife woke up the next morning she suddenly remembered...Oh no! The Tomatoes!

She quickly brought them inside and was not particularly pleased with what she saw.

Although the plants were still green, they were limp and ploopy.  Many of the leaves had black sections on them, the branches were all flacid and most of the leaves were folding in on themselves.

An hour later, things were even worse.  Sad, droopy, wilty plants huddled broken and dying on the kitchen table.

For several days things got worse and worse each day.  The plants turned brown.  The leaves fell off.  It seemed like complete death was waiting on the window sill.  Several people told her it was hopeless and advised her to throw the plants out and start over.

But the wife refused to give up.  She loved these plants.  She hoped she could help them.  

She noticed that the stems of the plants had stayed green and fairly firm despite the sagging mess of ex-greenery around them.  And so she talked to the plants each time she walked by (to the hysterical delight of her family) and watered them and cared for them as best she could.  

And slowly, so slowly, something started to happen.

New little leaves began to sprout from each of the anguished plants.

And from there on, they got a bit better and a bit better each day until a few weeks later she was confident enough about them to move them out into a more permanent (and less likely to be hit by a random ball or other toy) home in the family garden.

And that's were they are now.  Sadly, two plants did not survive and once planted in the garden they slowly withered away.

However, the other eight are thriving.

(Pretend you can't see pumpkin tendrils winding their way around everything and that the afore mentioned wife didn't forget to pick up three extra tomato cages so tomato arms are pitching  out in all directions and that this is instead a lovely, organized, happy corner of a garden and not a green, knobby mess.)
In fact, this.....

...is the bowl of tomatoes harvested just this afternoon from the one plant that has started to produce (the others have green bulbs growing on them, but none have gone red yet).

And perhaps it won't surprise you to learn that I am actually the forgetful, sings-to-her-plants wife and that these lovelies are in fact my very own tomato plants and also the fruit of my patience and hope.  

Possibly, it will also not surprise you to hear that I think that this story applies to much more than tomato plants.  

I think sometimes cold, dark nastiness sneaks up on us in life (or the people we love) and catches us unprepared.  It might be in the form of financial struggles or health issues or family problems or fear or hate or anger or addiction or anything in between.  And whatever it is assaults us and tries to tear us down.  We might wilt.  We might shrivel.  Parts of us might be deeply scarred or forever changed. We might not be the same person we were before.  We might be hurt and injured and crying.

And yet. 

For every one...EVERY SINGLE ONE...there is still something beautiful and alive and amazing hidden inside.  It might be hard to see beyond the wounds.  Someone whose sight is more limited might advise us to just cast this one aside and start over or look for another or just move on or give in or give up or whatever else, but don't do it!!!  There is still something incredible within.  There is still some piece of green that can hold strong and come alive again in time.

And with a little bit of care and love and watchful attention you might just get to see it bloom. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cecret Lake...for real....finally!!

Ok, I guess third times the charm!

we FINALLY made it!!

Trumpets please!!

Dun, duh, duh, dun, duh, DUUUUUUN!

Cecret Lake!

That, my friends, is Cecret Lake...up close and personal.


To try to ensure success this time around we got up at 6 AM and left the house just after 7 so we would have better chances of beating the throngs of hikers who plagued us last time around.  It worked like a charm.  We arrived at the parking area just before 8 AM and were one of a handful of cars.  By the time we were driving out about 10:30 AM the place was packed so it was a good choice.

This was a wonderful day trip for the family.  The hike isn't too rough and is only a mile each way so it was quick.  

The area was also gorgeous!  There were tons of wild flowers blooming everywhere and squirrels and birds and chipmunks and even moose out and about for us to spy (Parker actually spotted two moose, like a pair of moosen or something).

(This was the steepest, rockiest bit of the hike just before you get to the lake.)
It took us maybe a half hour to reach the lake and then we got to explore.  The area is really really gorgeous.  I can see why it is so popular.

We were literally the only people there for nearly an hour and a half, so we walked around the lake and just experienced everything it had to offer (except for Aubrey who opted to lay on a rock in the sun and just soak in the beauty while she sat still).  We watched a huge rock slide on a neighboring hill, saw elk wandering up a nearby slope, looked at a beaver lodge, spied on huge tadpoles or mudskippers or some swimming thing with legs that lives all throughout the lake, and skipped and threw rocks in the water.  We also watched some sort of fat, snub-tailed ground mouse (big, round ears -- not a pot-gut) gather seeds.

Once we worked our way all the way round the lake, a couple of other families made their appearance and we decided it was time for us to head back.  

But just then, Josh found a little plastic case in the bushes.  We opened it to find a note saying this was a "Secret Box" placed by someone from "Green Jello Land" in early 2010.  Inside was a little notebook and a homemade stamp.  We wanted to add our names and the date to the book (which several people before us had done) but had not means of doing that.  I did valiantly offer to cut myself and then we could write with my blood but Josh said no.  Party pooper.

We put the little box back in the bushes and left it to be discovered by someone else another time.  Fun!

And then we hiked back down to the car.

(Our crew of canyon adventurers.)

I would go back to this place in a heartbeat...if the snow had melted and the parking lot wasn't full.  We all had a good time and it was just a great, relaxing, family adventure.

Loved it.  Thanks, Cecret Lake!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...