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

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Music from my two oldest babies

My two oldest kidlets have been busy of late prepping for end of the year festivities in music.  I'm pretty proud of the work they have put in to their pieces and thought I would show off the final product just a little bit.  I love these yeah-whos and I love watching them work and grow and try to become their best.  I feel pretty lucky that they call me Mom (even if they are embarrassed about it from time to time (like when I play with the crew on the swings at the park...just imagine the "Oh my gosh, Mom, really?" looks teenagers might have thrown my way).

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure (especially if you are a grandparent of these youngsters) here are snippets of their recent performances.

(Please forgive some of the poor sound quality, I was at the very back of a very noisy auditorium one night so, sadly, some parts are hard to hear)

(Aubs singing with MJHS show choir)

(Bryce on piano with MJHS concert orchestra)

(Aubs on flute with MJHS concert band)

(Bryce on piano with MJHS jazz band)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial weekend on the farm

This weekend we took a trip to Huntington, Utah.

You've probably not really heard much of Huntington, but it is a place we love.  My mom was born and raised there and my grandparents lived there almost forever.  My sweet grandma was buried there just a few weeks ago.  This memorial weekend was the first where we visited her grave as well as the graves of many of our other ancestors.  

While at the cemetery, we also visited the memorial to miners who lost their lives while working in the mines.  One of these was my uncle, Kerry Grange who died when I was not quite two.  

But a trip to Huntington also means a visit to the farm.

And that is the best bit of all for my crew.  After all, there are things you can see and do on a farm that you just can't see and do here at home.

We get to cavort with the neighbors, even if they are a bit untidy and pretty loud.

There is always fun to be had in the chicken coop -- and eleven eggs on one morning is not half bad!

Some of our friends are a bit more skittish than others at the start...

...but they come around.

We take a shot or two (and grandpa always has something fun to shoot at).

And once in a while, Grandpa Grange teaches us a new skill.

The girls love to share a meal with friends.

But the best part of all is spending the day with our Grandpa.  We love him so so much and are thankful for every moment we get to spend with him.  I love his laugh and his gentle way and his patience with children.  I love the influence he is on my little ones.  I just love him.  He is the best of men, and I am forever grateful to have his my my grandpa.

Anyway, it was a wonderful, farm fresh morning.  I hope we have many many more in the years to come.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My final facial diagnosis

I went in to the doctor's office this morning for a follow-up on all of my exciting facial drama.  The redness in my face has receded and is nearly gone.  My cheeks still tingle a little bit on occasion, but nothing big (in truth, that tingling does make my worry monitor twinge slightly).

As I chatted with the physician she said that after much discussion the three of them (the two physicians I have seen in the office and then the supervising doctor) are fairly certain that I had an interesting and mild case of shingles after all.  Because of the way the case presented and progressed, they are nearly positive that shingles it really has been and that because it was caught VERY early the Valtrex (anti-viral) was able to temper the virus and subdue it.   

My face one week after on onset of my malady.
That seems pretty  miraculous to me relative to what I have read and heard about shingles, but according to the doctor it is not unheard of.  Apparently, shingles often responds VERY well to Valtrex when the medicine is started withing a couple of days of the onset of the disease (my very first symptom was Saturday night, diagnosis Monday afternoon and meds just after that).

And so, here is my very own public service minute to all those who may one day face a similar diagnosis.  

I feel awfully lucky to have stumbled into the outcome that I have following a diagnosis which (frankly) scared me a bit.  So, here are some things that I experienced which lead me to promptly
seek treatment which lunged me into the drugs which nearly eradicated my illness in less than two weeks.

*My first symptom was an intense burning/tingling/numbing feeling along my jaw.  It was really painful.  Shingles, of course, isn't limited to the face -- it can show up in ANY nerve -- but that burning/tingling/numbing feeling is often what people describe first, but then ignore because it sometimes goes away after a day or two.  Don't do that!  If you get a powerful, uncomfortable, painful tingle don't push it aside.  May as well have it checked out just in case.

*Shingles normally presents with blister or sores on one side of the body, but mine didn't.  Mine was an inflamed, tender rash-like mess that started on the tip of my nose but bled into my cheeks and face.  Don't assume that because you don't have blisters, you don't have shingles.

*As the rash spread, there was an electric, hot, sting that stayed in front of the progression of the rash.  It did wander its way along the nerve (boy did I study pictures of facial nerves), but it was always ahead of the redness.  That sting got much more intense in the heat (like when direct sunlight shone on my face or when I climbed into the scorching air of a hot car).  That electric feeling along a nerve is another symptom you should not brush off.

Anyway, while there is still a possibility that this was a staph infection of the face (without blisters, whose fluids can apparently be tested for the presence of the shingle virus, there is no 100% diagnosis) I guess the consensus among the professionals is that I was lucky enough to face one of the tamest versions of shingles they have seen in some time.

Sounds good to me.

Me and my youngest cutie pie and my nearly back to normal face.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Shingles...or not...maybe

Yesterday I had a follow up visit with my doctor for my fabulous facial fun.

They had called several times during the week to check up on things (party because getting all the meds called in was a mess because I do have allergies to some heavier antibiotics) and since my fancy, red, face friend was spreading they decided they wanted to see me again.

This was the progression during the week:


Tuesday...accidentally deleted photo...lame!



So, I went into a room and the nurse said, "Someone will be in to check on your cellulitis in just a minute."

Now, that was odd since when I was at the same office on Monday I was told I had shingles, so now I am vaguely confused.  I knew they had put me on an antibiotic as a precaution, but didn't know my diagnosis had actually changed.

When said "someone" (a different someone than I saw on Monday...that someone wasn't working Thursday) came in a while later she told me since the redness had spread I needed to head to the ER for IV antibiotics.  I thought that seemed a tiny bit extreme so I showed her the pictures above. She studied them and said never mind it looked like the infection was getting better, keep taking the medicine and she was ready to be done and leave.  Infection...not shingles.

That's when I asked about shingles...because as far as I knew, that was what I was dealing with and had been prepping myself for much more nastiness to come because from everything I have read, whoever you are SHINGLES IT NOT YOUR FRIEND.

Anyway, I was told, yes, it "could" be shingles still, but it also might be a staph/strep infection of some sort.  It could also be both at the same time.  That was why they put me on an antiviral medicine and a pretty tough antibiotic at the same time.  They wanted to cover all the bases. I'm pretty sure this lady was strongly leaning toward infection but unwilling to really rule out the other just in case. 

So, I may be the owner of a fun facial infection and the antibiotics are doing their job, or I may have shingles and the antiviral is really helping (which -- according to people who know -- it really tends to do if administered within three days of the onset of the disease...and it was) or maybe a bit of both.  Who knows. Only time will tell.

Basically I left the office knowing nothing more than I knew when I went in but now wondering what in the world is ravaging my face.  Fun!

Either way, I hope it goes away soon.  For that purpose (and to avoid weeks worth of pain) I vote bacterial infection.

We'll see what happens.  

I go for round three at the doctor in a week and hopefully by then it will be clear what I am dealing with (and if I am lucky, maybe I'll even be completely done with it).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ellie becomes a super star

My baby girl performed in her end-of-year pre-school program earlier this week.  I can hardly believe that this was the last time we will do this because I have no more babies coming up the line (and we'll keep it that way despite our pre-school teacher's not so subtle hints to add a few more to the family).

Seriously, we have the VERY BEST pre-school teachers EVER!!!

Aunt Sand (Sandra Ahlquist) is AmAzInG!  She and her crew of sweet, well-matured ladies are the best sort of influence you could imagine in your child's life.  

In a note home to the kids, Sandra wrote:
"You are going on to Kindergarten.  I'm sure your teacher will be much younger, much cuter, and maybe even more fun than the old teacher here, but you will never have a teacher that will LOVE YOU more than we did."

And I believe that to be true.  It makes me very sad that we will not being going to pre-school any more.

here's the beauty and fun of Ellie's moment of pre-school fame.

She was amazing (watch the videos below and see for yourself).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Diagnosis

I told you yesterday about the awesome new colors I have been sporting on my nose the last couple of day (I am all Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer look-a-like at the moment).

Well, Monday afternoon I trucked myself to my friendly neighborhood doctor's office to find out what the fweak is going on with my face.

So, after many questions and much careful checking, I was pronounced the proud new owner of a case of facial shingles.

Yup, this is the face of shingles.

I'll be honest, that was not even on my radar before this visit...but ok, it is what it is.  This rash will likely (according to those in the know) progress and slide itself around my face.  It will probably bring with it blisters and sores.  Sounds like a party!

I hurried home from the doctor's office to pack up the kidlets and head off to Ellie's pre-school program (oh will I be bombarding this blog with proud Momma pictures and videos of that event) and came home later to a semi-frantic message from the head doctor in the office.  He had gone over the notes from my visit and desperately wanted me to call that night or first thing in the morning because he wanted to add one more medicine to my regimen.  This did not make me feel good.  Desperate calls from doctors are not my idea of a good time.

Deep breath.  Exhale slowly.

Still, there are many worse things in the world than shingles.  I am still happily sitting around enjoying my family and the beautiful life we have together (although I am trying to find a non-painful way to address the itching on my face while I am doing it).

It seems to me that shingles is an excellent excuse to get out of pretty much anything for the next set of weeks or months.

"I would totally scrub down the bathroom today, but I have shingles so I can't."  Or, "Yes, I think I will have a second dessert, after all, I have shingles."

Seems like a good way to handle things if you ask me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Remember that time Mother's Day broke my face?

Yeah, apparently Mother's Day and I are not really on speaking terms.

Last year, this is what happened (a la the memory of Facebook):

"Came out to the car to drive to church to the screeching of kids fights over who gets to sit in the front seat. Sang an opening hymn while trying to calm a snotty nosed tantrum which reminded me that I forgot to give that child allergy meds before we left and knowing she would be runny nosed and super ornery if she didn't get them before primary resolved to take her home real quick after the sacrament. Then, as the sacrament water was being passed a couple of my boys managed to dump the entire, nearly full tray onto the floor. Cleaned that up and tried to smile about it. Got home with Ellie to find that the pop I heard when Logan climbed on my lap a few minutes before was actually my skirt seam ripping open -- better to find it now than while I was up teaching Sunday school later. A few quick stitches and one dose of medicine and we went back to the meeting. All before ten o clock. It's been an eventful mother's day. Good thing I love these yahoos. Even on days like this in glad to be their mom."

But this year, Mother's Day decided to throw a different sort of curve ball my way.  I went to bed Saturday night with my regular old face, but when I woke up on Sunday morning, this is what greeted me in the mirror.

Yes, that bulbous, red, swollen mass is my nose.

It is sore and itchy and achy and horrible.  The swelling seems to be in the skin itself somehow.  I haven't been rubbing it (it hurts to touch it, why would I rub it?), it is NOT a sunburn (we have had mega rainy weather here of late with no sun peeking through at all on Saturday), and today (Monday) the swelling has actually crawled its way a bit more toward the top of my nose and is beginning to wind its way toward my cheeks on the side.

So.  Much.  Fun.

And that's why I get to schedule a trip to the doctor this morning...because Mother's Day thinks it is April Fools Day and likes to play tricks on me.

Good thing I like being a mother so much or else I'd get really vindictive and who knows what kind of shenanigans I'd manage then. 

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