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Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm not alone

Apparently I'm NOT alone--pic found HERE

Sad confession: During high school I tried out for the school musical. Not knowing any songs to sing for my audition, I grabbed the only sheet music I could find in my house that I knew: You're Not Alone by Michael McLean. Oh man, no words.



Needless to say, didn't make the cut. If only they could hear me now.

If you could SEE me now, you would think my face is still pretty messed up. But I believe my facial paralysis is really turning the corner. I can turn the corner of my mouth up ever-so-slightly and my left eyebrow does raise, timidly. Pretty exciting stuff.

And I did get what I consider some positive news from the neurologist's office yesterday, but I think I ought to refrain from announcing it until I get a confirmation from the cardiologist next week. I am hopeful. It feels good to have a direction, especially before the New Year.

Speaking of 2010, I am not one for New Year resolutions, but I have decided to be more grateful next year. Every day I plan on posting THREE things for which I am grateful... starting tomorrow. Care to join me?



a

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

time to put away


Today is the day I have scheduled in my mind-calendar to put away the Christmas decor. We've got a busy next few days that might entail having 40 + people in our cozy, little home and a big silver tree would just be in the way (as would the immense paper chain draping back and forth overhead). So, today. Aye carumba--I am exhausted at the very thought of it. But at least Alan is still home and can help me. As can the kids (insert sarcastic laughter here).


With all of my health "issues" and since we watched Food, Inc. (and with the approaching New Year and encompassing pressures of making resolutions), I've been thinking a lot about our family's diet. I am all ready to make a change and be even healthier, but I'm admittedly pushing it off until Jan. 1. Horrible, right?

I am insanely curious: Do YOU eat healthier the day after Christmas or wait until the New Year (or are you always so wonderful and eat healthy every stinkin' day)?


a

Monday, December 28, 2009

lazing around

this pretty much sums up our last few days


And a special thanks to my older bro for printing out some articles for me to read, where I found this treasure nugget:

Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.


a

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Day After

Christmas Eve kids in new PJs

I am what you could call exhausted/pooped/tuckered out after a very full and lovely Christmas Day. The kids are contented with all that Santa and many others brought to their naughty selves. As are Alan and I. Rhett was a Christmas Gem and made the day so much more special. A little baby boy to remind us of the other little baby boy who is the reason we celebrate and have cause to be hopeful.

Today has been a long, lazy day of recuperating in our pajamas and playing with all of the new goodies. And it feels so nice.

Except I do need to get some sunshine one of these days. Tomorrow.

On the "what the __ is going on with Anna" front, Wednesday I got a TCD test that looked a little like this

and made my head feel like a bunch of these


were playing this


with my


And the throbbing hasn't ceased much since. Today's been good, though. And I hope to hear more about the results and the next step to finding out what in the world is going on with me on Monday (fingers crossed).



a

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Gift for YOU!

This has been playing a lot at our home. I don't know why we love it so much. The fact that the "cool guy" in the video is named Rhett doesn't hurt. And that this movie really exists is priceless. But mostly this clip is priceless.

And I share it with you as an early Christmas gift. Merry Christmas!




Top that!


a

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

rhett-a-tat-tat

I wasn't able to get Christmas cards out this year. I'm kinda bummed about it, but I have got to let some things go. That includes Christmas treats (baklava, suckers, pretzel buttons, sugar cookies), sending Christmas cards, and breastfeeding. I've got to let go and be OK with it. So far, so good.

Outside it is starting to snow the little white flakes. The forecast predicts snow today and tomorrow and then BITING cold Christmas Eve through the weekend. I am talking a HIGH of 17 degrees on Saturday. Brrrr! It might be frightful, but inside is definitely delightful with sounds of Christmas music, children playing (with an occasional fight), and the sweet smell and coos of Rhett.


Maybe I will get one Christmas treat in with the kids after all.

I hope your Christmas is lovely and filled with little wonders.



a

Sunday, December 20, 2009

vanity

I would typically consider myself only somewhat vain. I try to keep myself looking nice--I wash my hair, wear mascara, stay out of sweat outfits. I shave my legs and occasionally go to a salon for a haircut and pedicure. You know, nothing too drastic, but basic upkeep.

Sure, I've always been a titch self-loathing when it comes to my weight, but whatever. Otherwise I realize I am pretty much a knockout.

a picture I used to hate from last year.

And now. Hmmm.

It's amazing, really. I suddenly am more vain than before, but there is little I can do about it. I don't even feel like I can wear makeup with one eye spending most of its day taped down. Wouldn't it look silly to have eyeliner and mascara on ONE eye? Especially when the other eye looks dead... or taped.

And my hair. Oh my. I'll admit, I get most weak after I take a shower, so my hair gets left to dry on its own. Not always a good thing. And if I think about styling it later, it honestly makes me more sad to look at my reflection, so I avoid it.

It doesn't help that I am postpartum and trying to find clothes that fit but aren't maternity. So, I am in that weird body stage as well. Yeah, I am a ball of fun right now.

So it's a weird emotion to be so vain. Who would have thought that I would rather have my fat-footed, large-and-in-charge pregnancy self back right now? Not me. What if this is how I look for the rest of my days? It is a possibility.

And it makes me sad that I wasn't more grateful for what I used to look like. That I was so hard on myself before is frustrating to me now. What if this face is what my kids remember as their mother? Or the face Alan has to look at and try to love? I was crying to my mom not a week before I had Rhett on how unattractive I looked in a family picture. Granted, I can blame some of the tears on pregnancy hormones, but still.

Life can be so funny--we don't realize what we have until it's gone. And my face and body can get worse than it is now. I might even wish
someday for what I currently have. Or I could get better. Hopefully I will be even more grateful if I do.

By the way, did you realize how beautiful YOU are? Don't take it for granted.



a

Friday, December 18, 2009

gratitude and stuff

Rhett is officially two weeks old! Already? That's all?

Did I mention yet that my little family has been the recipient of EIGHT dinners? Can you even believe that? Eight dinners brought into our home over the last two weeks. And my kids are wondering why I suddenly am unable to make a decent meal. And why everyone else seems to be able to know how to make bread and jam, except for me.

It's been lovely.

And did I also mention that my friends sent me a baby shower in a box via the mail? How incredibly loved I felt. And my neighbors, whom I barely know, brought us diapers and clothes for Rhett.
Perhaps I told you how my sister-in-law made cupcakes for Maggie's birthday, even shaped them into an "8" and added candles since I was getting tests done all that day. I didn't tell you that? I should have, because that was more than sweet.


Or maybe I mentioned how my brother and his wife took Maggie overnight and all Saturday so she could get some fun and attention. I must have told you how my other brother surprised me with flowers, chocolate and a DVD for the kids. Or about the countless emails, comments, and messages I have received from my sisters and mother about their concern and love. If I haven't told you all of this, then I am remiss.

Sometimes these acts of generosity and kindness make me a little embarrassed. A lot of times they make me cry. But all of the time they make me so grateful.

"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." --Pres. Spencer W Kimball

I am so grateful for all of the love that has been sent to my family. Thank you.


a

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

take a whiff

Here's a clean baby Rhett for your viewing and sniffing pleasure. Go ahead, take a whiff.


I'm all about the Baby Magic products, they are what my babies smell like. It's a short-lived amount of time that they smell like babies... and I choose to make it MAGIC (al)!

Today was rough for me. A lot of infusion time, blood vial after vial after vial..., and an unpleasant experience with an ultrasound, two men, and them pushing (modestly) around my huge, lactating breast to get some good images of my heart (sorry to my brothers about that visual).

The steroids are supposed to make me jittery and excitable, but I find myself very lethargic and down.

I've been relatively optimistic over this last week or so, but today kinda sucked. I don't know if I needed someone other than my all-helpful and kind-hearted husband to cry with and to pat my head. I need my mother, sisters, and friends. I kinda can't bear to cry anymore to Alan. He's carrying so much weight as it is. And I don't want to worry, because I have no idea what is going on with me. It's like my options are anywhere from "you're fine, this was a freak occurrence" to "you might die." Somewhere in there. I just want to know. Come what may.

I lie in bed and I feel like my limbs are weighing me down, kinda like that superhero guy made of rock muscles, except my body is made of Silly Putty. And I'm not even medicated (except for the steroids... wait a minute).

Here is where I ask for a favor. Will you say a prayer for me, please? I feel kinda lame for asking, but save for the few readers in Germany and Australia, I know most of you that read my blog. And, I appreciate all the love you've sent my way already. I just feel like I need to ask my Heavenly Father that amidst all of the possible diagnoses that I could receive, that the doctors can be lead to the RIGHT one. And maybe I can ask you to pray for the same. thanks.

really, thanks.



a

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

stop and hug

This morning was my first steroid infusion. Two hours is LONG! I read through a few magazines, sucked on a lot of hard candy to mask the metallic taste, and thought about my life.

And all I wanted to do was run home and hug my baby.

And then hug my 3 year-old baby.

And then hug my 5 year-old baby.

And hug the stuffing out of my 8 year-old baby.

And big ol' hug my 34 year-old studly babe.

My arms ache all day long wanting more hugs and cuddles. Everything else in life and "necessity" feels more and more unimportant, but the hugs are where it's at. Did I seriously care about Max Hall last week? Huh.

And as my sister shared with me via email, a wonderful quote from a wonderful movie, I now share with all of you as thanks for your concern and support:

Hug hug, kiss kiss, hug hug, big kiss, little hug, kiss kiss, little kiss.


a

pump me up

For an Anna "condition" update: I go into a special room at the doctor's today to get filled through an IV with steroids for 2 hours. And I get to do it again tomorrow. Don't be jealous if I come out all muscles and ripped, and you're still a girly-man.

And then I'll do a round of blood samples and tests and a bubble echocardiogram within the next week. So, no obvious tumor, no stroke, no bell's palsy. Lots of "no's" before we can find a "yes" and proceed. I am just grateful that the doctors are pushing me through as quickly as they can to find some resolution.


Here is Ashton in very typical fashion for the last few months: crazy hair and clutching onto his pride and joy--the Lego Star Wars Wii game. He talks about this game all day long, begs for it, clings to it, prays about it. I kinda hate it. Oh well.


a

Monday, December 14, 2009

gingerbread


Since I was probably 12, I've made gingerbread men every Christmas. It is a LONG process. About four years ago I discovered pre-made gingerbread houses that you "put together" and decorate. And it is so much more enjoyable.

This year Maggie wanted to decorate the house as a birthday activity with the family. Sounded easy enough. I assembled the pieces to the house and pretty much let the three kids go for it. In previous years I took charge of what it should look like and let the kids place the exact candies where I wanted them to go. Maybe I didn't
make it, but it was going to look fantastic, darnit!

Maybe it was exhaustion, perhaps I have matured, but this time I let them do whatever the ding-dong they wanted on this house. Wanna eat the green cement-like frosting? Go for it. You think the roof should have three different types of candies erratically placed? Why not.

And, you know what? It didn't look much different than the one I controlled. Maggie even said it was "way more fun" than the other years making gingerbread houses.

Duly noted.


And a thank you MUCHO for all of the well wishes and prayers. I'll do my best to keep you posted as I know what is going on. Your love is sincerely felt. THANK YOU!

a

Saturday, December 12, 2009

a funny thing happened on the way to the MRI

Not funny HAHA, but funny "you have got to be kidding me."

We got hit by a car. Car accident.

I think I yelped.

Luckily, there were no children with us. But it didn't help my headaches.

And it apparently made me now write in smaller sentences.

The MRI was an interesting experience. Holding perfectly still for that long is as hard as I thought it would be. The results were rushed to the neurologist's office and the good news is that I did not have a stroke. So, two possibilities ruled OUT, many more to go. The MRI did show some things that will have to be addressed through more tests, so onward we proceed.

I've also had to tape down my left eye because it keeps drying out so quickly and could damage my cornea. You wouldn't believe how that screws up your depth perception. And how it barely phases my kids. I almost bought an eye patch at the pharmacy--just to be extra cool--and am regretting that I didn't. Alan could paint me some crazy eye on it for the ultimate trompe l'oeil. Or a snowman. Or I could keep it black for the ultimate tough and cool.


Oh, and some much HAPPIER NEWS:

Rhett's bilirubin continues to go down and his jaundice is no longer considered dangerous. No more bilibed, bililights, blood tests. Keep it up, buddy.


Here he is one week old. Could you just eat him up?



a

Friday, December 11, 2009

just so you know

I get frustrated when people write/blog about a big life happening and then... nothing. You get all invested /worried/curious and then... nothing.

Of course, all I want to do right now is write... nothing.

But, I know many of you are old friends and family and are probably interested/curious about the news I dropped yesterday. So, as to not leave ya'all hanging:

It was not the news I wanted to hear yesterday. Looks like it's not Bell's Palsy. The neurologist didn't say what it was, because we need more tests. Today (in less than an hour), I go for an MRI and then we shall see what to do next. He gave me some ideas on what it could be, but I am trying my darndest not to think about any of those so I don't go crazy.

Just so you know.

Thanks for your love and concern.



a

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hell's Bell's

Last night I had to go to the ER on the recommendation of my doctor. I was losing the sensation on one side of my face. I admit, I was not the calmest lady on the block. I worried about Rhett. I worried about Maggie's birthday the next day (today). I worried that if Alan slapped me on the back I would freeze this way forever. OK, I worry it will happen regardless if anybody hits me on the back or not.

Luckily, I have an incredible husband who worthily holds the priesthood and gives me blessings from my Heavenly Father. That is calming and reassuring. He is tender and close to the Spirit.

Of course, I still cried a lot. Especially when I cried and noticed only half of my face would move to cry and the other wouldn't budge. That made me cry more.

The ER doctor diagnosed me with Bell's Palsy. 85% of individuals who have Bell's Palsy heal completely within 3 weeks. But, considering my symptoms, he feels it necessary that I see a neurologist. So, I am going in this afternoon. The other options aren't awesome, so I am hoping it is Bell's Palsy and that I am like 85% of those who "get" it.

Let's just say this will not be the year for Christmas pictures for me. Not in the Christmas cards, for sure.

And, more importantly (and happily), today is Maggie's 8th birthday. I cannot believe it! She is such a trooper this year, realizing the usual hullabaloo will have to be postponed with a somewhat-sick newborn baby brother and now a freakish mother. She is awesome and I can't believe how much I lucked out having her as my first child and only daughter. That girl is seriously incredible!


Happy 8th Birthday, Miss Margaret!

a

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

10 times, I tell ya

I've been consumed in a whirlwind of tiny naps, bilirubin, freezing snow and absolute adorableness. And because of the latter, this post will be very short. My soul needs to devour more of that adorableness.

Rhett is a whopping five days old today. Last night he only woke up ONCE for an hour feeding and Mommy time. And I am rested and uber-content.


I'm not gonna lie. I was a big ol' boob during a huge chunk of my pregnancy with this kid. It wasn't my easiest 9 months and I am not one to cover my emotions, apparently. I don't think I ever really grasped that a baby would be coming into our family. Sure, I talked about it and "realized" it. But at 8 am on December 4th, the nurses placed this goopy baby on my chest and I REALIZED it.

Here is a new life, and he is in my care.

And like the Grinch with Cindy Lou-who, my heart grew three times that day, and for me it felt like 10 times. Except Rhett is way more endearing and lovely than that Cindy Lou-who.



The nurses kept him on me, skin-to-skin, for the first 30 minutes of his life. No rushing him off to clean him up, no immediate weighing and measuring. There we rested--baby and me--feeling each other's heartbeats, welcoming the other to this next phase. I have to say, it was one of the most incredible moments of my life. Those are some smart nurses.

And my heart did grow 10 times that day. My love for this "unexpected" new sweetheart rushed over me and I can't believe that he is mine. That he will be my child forever.

Incredible.


a

Monday, December 7, 2009

me likey


I like this dress quite a lot. The flower may be in the perfectly wrong spot for my... ahem... bounty. But the pockets, the colors, the sleeves, the flower. And the fact that it "fits generously" is pretty perfect for my post-baby body.

My fear is that everyone within 100 miles may buy the same dress. Boo.

It's from Shabby Apple and is just under 100 smackaroos.



a

Sunday, December 6, 2009

here he is... Mr America

drum roll, please...

Here is the first picture ever of our new son:


Rhett

7 lbs 13 oz, 20.5 ozs

lots of black hair, dark blue eyes, long and wrinkly fingers.

He is still in the hospital battling the bilirubin (jaundice). We're all hoping that he will get to come home SOON! And I will be hanging with him until he does.

thanks for all your well wishes.



a

Saturday, December 5, 2009

lucky


are your kids this cute?

aren't you lucky.



a

Friday, December 4, 2009

i believe the children are our future


But if Maggie can't decided between Edward and Jacob, what hope is there?

(and no, we didn't see it, but the photo opp was not to be missed.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

writing this about that

Hopefully I am in the hospital as you read this and all is going well.

Hopefully this new boy child is healthy and cooperative.

Hopefully I can match his new person and face with one of the names on my list.

Hopefully he is as wonderful, handsome, and loving as his father and brothers.

I mean, really, how could I not want another boy with these two as his brotherly predecessors? Rad.




a

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

holiday decor, as promised


I am not a photographer. I do not use a fancy camera--just a sweet li'l point-and-shoot my husband bought a couple of years ago. I don't even edit my photos. And you'd think now that my husband works for a company with the raddest photo-editing software in the business that I'd use it and blow ya'all away. But I don't.

So, take it or leave it, these are my pictures of a few decorated spaces in my Christmas home. And of course I took them at night when glares and glittering lights become photo-obnoxious. Oh well. I still think it's pretty. And cheery. And jolly.


I'm debating whether or not to finish unpacking the three remaining boxes of decor or being content with THIS year's product. I'm leaning more for the latter. Especially since tomorrow I will be (hopefully) bringing another child into this world. He'll think it's awesome just the way it is.

And it is.


a

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

If I were a rich (wo)man, I'd gift to my sisters...

I come from a family with six kids, me being numero cinco. That should explain a lot about me, but I digress.

I can't remember when, but within the last dozen or so years, we siblings decided to gift only one brother or sister for Christmas each year, instead of all five. However it began, this year we will give to the sibling just younger than us and then we will move to the next youngest the following year and so on.

It works for us. Some choose to give family-type gifts, some give to just the sibling. We let it be as open as I think is possible. No real price limit, but we're all aware of what is too much (and perhaps too cheap). It's always fun and interesting.

So, I have my little brother Spencer this year. I can't discuss his present, but it's gonna be FAN-freakin-TASTIC. (Spence, don't get your hopes up. I am totally exaggerating. Still love you lots and hope you like "it".)

But, naturally, I keep finding things that I could get for my other siblings. Especially my sisters. My older brother has become rather difficult, kind of like finding something for a dad. He either already owns it, or you can't afford it. But my sisters are girls and unique and fun (my brothers are unique and fun, too--sheesh). I can always find something for them.

Here is what I would get them, if I had them or was so wealthy and didn't care if I upset the gifting tree and was blase about everyone becoming frustrated. You know.

Angela (artist, mother of 8, likes pink, famous jewelry designer):

There are always gift cards to Sephora or Williams Sonoma for Angela, because she likes to bake and look smokin' hot. She's always creating, blogging her awesome ideas, and being a kick-A mother. And she loves Frida Kahlo, so that opens up a lot of funky options. But, I would probably get Angela one of these:

the milkmaid butter dish from Anthropologie. You can also get it in yellow, but I think I'd buy her red because it is close to pink. And only $28:

If I wore this cardigan, it would look like a cute cardigan. If Angela wore it, everyone would stop her and say "ohmigosh, where did you get that gorgeous cashmere cardigan? It is so HOT!" And she'd say, "JCrew, from my favorite sister."

Amy (photographer, mother of 5, likes toys, the "funny one"):

I used to think Amy liked Wonder Woman. I don't know where we all came up with this idea, but she got a lot of Wonder Woman-themed gifts for a while. I just found out that it was not entirely true (and that I should not give her Halloween gifts for her birthday, which is in October. go figure).

She loves toys, computers, camera equipment, color, and her kids. So, here is what I would get her:

Anything really from persimmon and pink. I think she would love either of these, but the "Hello Good Looking" would most definitely be hung in her room.



Also, perpetualkid.com has a treasure trove of items I could see Amy loving. These food face plates are one such item.


Amanda (workout enthusiast, mother of 5, style maven, social butterfly):

This is the sister everyone seems to know or know about. All my life, "Amanda Greer is your sister?" Yes, people. She's tall, thin, and knows how to make an entrance. You could even call her "flashy" at times. She wears 4 inch heels to lunch at the pizza joint and introduced rhinestones to Arizona when she moved from Texas.

I can imagine her wearing some sassy shoes like these Betsey Johnson's:


And while she does like things that aren't made for feet, I think another gift that she would love would be these Reebok Easytone shoes. You know the ones that are supposed to sculpt your legs 11% more and your butt 28% more than regular athletic shoes? Not that she needs it.

I could be way off the mark, and my sisters could very easily be sighing in relief that I did not have them this year. But, I can't help but find things for them... and then share my ideas to a sea of blog readers who don't really care anyway.

Or maybe I gave you an idea for your sister. In that case, you're welcome.

Come back tomorrow for my phase TWO Christmas decorations. (Technically THREE, but I didn't photograph nor post phase TWO, so by default this will be phase TWO.) It is not to be missed.


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