Happy New Year 2019

We spent a lot of time driving in December, seeing the grandsons and their parents every weekend for various activities (some babysitting, some special holiday events, and a certain 3-year-old’s birthday). As I write this post, Christmas has come to a close with the passing of Epiphany; the new year is one week old and I’m still slowly addressing envelopes for the annual Christmas letter between attempts to pack away tree ornaments and other decorations. Sometimes I suspect I drag it all out because I am sorry to see it all gone.

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These two boys ♥♥

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Little Foot is now 3 years old.

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We’re calling it the T.S. Enterprise. It’s awesome! #goingboldly

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Home improvement gifts was a theme this year.   #grateful

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Post-Christmas visit to extended family while Mama and Daddy went to work.

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My BFF knows me and loves me. ♥

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Not everyone can receive a magical flying unicorn onesie and pull it off with aplomb, but SuperDad most definitely can and did. The video is awesome and slightly horrifying.

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Me, my ankle brace, and my great loves ♥                                                              Standing (L-R): The Barefooter, Humorous-Juniorous, The Scout, The Engineer & The Author

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Chomper and I sent everyone else to bed and had a late-night party. Then we rock-a-byed to sleep.  H-E-A-V-E-N.

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The Sun Sets

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SuperDad and I went camping at Glacier National Park in August. On day 2, we managed to head west on the Going-to-the-Sun road at the perfect time.

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Today is my last day of work.  I will miss many things about the job but it is time to make more room in my life for family and other activities.  Two weeks from now my dh and I will be traveling to Arizona to visit my dad and his wife — both of whom have been hospitalized in the past month.  As full as our house is right now with 3 adult children living with us, their presence allows us to go on this trip without worries about things back at home.  SuperDad and I will [tent] camp a few nights on the way down to Tucson. If the perfect trailer presents itself while there, we may be camping all the way back home.

As September ends I’m letting go of a part of my life (I enjoyed the work, and paychecks are very satisfying!) and saying YES to more sunsets, more camping, more time with family.

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Dual Zone

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There are lights on the tree…

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…and leaves hanging from the mantel.
Dual Holiday Fireplace decor
The fireplace decor sums up the situation.  Honestly, though, it’s okay if it takes another week or two to get all gussied up for Christmas — after all, it was just a few weeks ago that I managed to put away the final few pieces of the Christmas decor from last year!

 

 

 

 

What day is it again?

I can’t keep track of the days. “Black Friday” starts earlier each year, gearing up with sales on Wednesday or even Monday prior to Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.  I didn’t have time to shop since I had meetings and work to do on Monday, then work again on Tuesday and Wednesday. I did get to stay home Wednesday morning to do a little meal preparation; pies were baked on Wednesday night. Thursday our holiday guests arrived and we were firmly at home.

DSCN3537 and a quiet old lady whispering HUSH.

“And a quiet old lady whispering ‘Hush.’

I had thought we’d be standing in line at the big craft and fabric store early Friday morning — and for my beloved daughter-in-law and 70% off fleece and flannel, I would do such a crazy thing — but thankfully that was not on the ultimate agenda. Instead, we slept in, relaxed and then began “Small Business Saturday” one day early by shopping for a new-to-her Pfaff sewing machine in an older shopping neighborhood.  The rest of the day we spent resting, eating leftovers (hello, we had 7 pies plus a cranberry-rhubarb-apple crisp and a fruitcake from Costco), playing card games, and of course spending time with Little Foot. Goodnight Moon has been read countless times over the past few days to my delight.

DSCN3206 Small Business Saturday, starting it out right

Starting the day out right

We’ll enjoy “Small Business Saturday” at a slow pace, with fair trade coffee grown by small farmers, brewed at home and served in glazed ceramic cups from Gary Rith Pottery.  I might make a trip to one of two local shopping neighborhoods.  The little family will pack up and head home, and once the toys and high chair are put away, laundry started, and some general decluttering done, it will be time to contemplate decorating and Christmas gifts. After all, “Cyber Monday” and #GivingTuesday are coming up next, and Christmas is [less than] a month away.

 

August

Charles Dickens could sum up the month of August in one phrase, but I owe you more than that.  For now, here is a summary of our most significant events…

Dh told me to cancel all commitments for a weekend and we escaped to the cool WA coast (high of 69 degrees) in the midst of a 100 degree week here at home. Cold ocean waters numb ankle pain and there is nothing quite like sitting in a beach chair, watching the waves and letting the wind whip your mind clear of stress and worries. Sometimes I wish I lived at the beach. There are photos to share in another post.
We paused to pick blueberries on the way home, and I regret that I did not pull out the camera. The bushes were laden with ripe berries and the hardest part was stopping when our bag was full, because there were so many more berries to be picked.

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Dh again told me to cancel all commitments on August 21st but not in so many words and not for an escape to the coast. That morning during the eclipse, he suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. He never hit his head, never blacked out, but sudden intense pain was not a good thing and even though he didn’t present typical stroke signs like you would see with a brain aneurysm,  he knew where he needed to go. If you ever suddenly find yourself with the worst headache of your entire life, get thee to the ER immediately! In his case, SuperDad had been exercising with a CrossFit maneuver — jumping rope with “double-unders” — and apparently tore a vein in his brain.  The brain bleed was diagnosed by CT scan at the ER, and the staff began making arrangements to transfer him to a neurological ICU; however, there were no open beds in this specialty in our area. Instead, we found ourselves on a Life Flight to Seattle and ten nights at Swedish Medical Center, with 8 of those nights in the Neuro Critical Care Unit. (Fun times. NOT.)  Honestly, I lost count of the number of CT scans, although I’m sure our insurance will be getting a detailed account for billing purposes.  Two angiograms. One MRI. Daily Doppler ultrasounds to track blood flow changes while on vasospasm watch.
When the high danger of repeated incidents passed, we were sent upstairs to a neuro floor (not ICU) for our 2 final nights of the 10-night stay. While there his medications were adjusted so he could go home (no more IV rescue meds for pain control). We were able to return home on the last day of August.

How anyone goes through such an event without incredible support from others — support in really tangible ways, like deliveries of food and clothing, toiletries and prescription medications for the caregiver (me); support in less tangible ways, such as prayer; the downright drudgery support in making sure pets at home are fed and watered, garbage and recycling cans dragged to the curb — I will never be able to understand how anyone possibly do well in recovery and healing without that support on many levels.  I didn’t even consider work, aside from letting people know what was happening; others took care of getting the job done in my absence. Family and friends ensured that we had what we needed, including the 5+ hour ride home. There was no way I was in any shape to drive, not withstanding the fact that we’d ridden in a small plane to Seattle ten days before.

At this point, the headaches have lessened as the blood has been moved away from the hemorrhage site. Thanks to efficient cerebral spinal fluid, his lower back, hips, and hamstrings are tight and painful (blood anywhere it shouldn’t be causes nerves to freak out) but this also tells us we are nearing the end of needing pain medications.  Once he’s off the pain meds, we hope the brain processing and vision issues clear up. (I had this experience while on strong pain medications a few years ago.)  His prognosis is very, very good. If you have to have blood in your brain, this was the very best option: no aneurysm, no clots, no visible damage via scans.

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In other news, our PCT hiker is now in his final section of the trail (the penultimate section for those who have the time to go all the way to the end) and I expect to be able to pick him up next weekend. We saw H-J nearly every day while in the hospital; he is content with work while waiting for his final 2 classes to be offered in the spring. School started on Thursday when The Scout began his senior year (no first day photo because he was here and his parents were in Seattle at the hospital). His head still hurts after 14 months; he’s currently undergoing a series of acupuncture treatments.
Since it is fire season, our air is tinged (and sometimes filled) with smoke and the light is filtered through the haze.  I cannot see the hills in the distance this afternoon; we are enveloped in a white cloud of smoke.
I return to work tomorrow, although I may be splitting my time between the office and home (via my laptop). I’m grateful for that flexibility.

News from the one left behind

The comings and goings have peaked and eased. Over the course of the weekend we burgeoned from a household of 4 up to 11 people — and briefly even an additional dog — before settling down to only 3 of us on Sunday afternoon.  My BFF stopped by for lunch on her way home from the airport to pick up her plants. She courageously entrusted me with plant-sitting her herbs and tomatoes; thankfully, they weren’t forgotten in the heat, we watered them daily and found them some extra shade, and they are now safely back in her care.

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Little Foot at the wedding (cell phone picture. Obviously.)

The entire clan (dh’s side) was in town for the nephew’s wedding. I was really impressed when the photographer managed to get Little Foot to look at the camera, and even more impressed when he easily managed a gaggle of additional 6 kiddos and their adults — a total of 33 for the big family photo.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Also, I fibbed: we were missing one person; there should have been 34 of us but our niece’s husband had to stay back home and work. We had a wonderful time at the wedding. We danced, and I paid for it with a swollen ankle that is still a little sore tonight, but how often is there a party like this?  

 

 

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We stayed until the music took a decided turn for the younger set (wedding party members and friends). My MIL seemed to be surprised that I danced, but I’m equally surprised that the 80-and-above folks were looking fresh at 11pm when we walked back to the car.  

Last minute packing, T-minus 90 minutesIt occurs to me that some of you may wonder: did the 24yo wear shoes? And yes, he did! (Footwear was policy at the event location and it was a formal event.) However, I’m pretty sure he took them off as soon as he was out of the building. He left earlier than the rest of us and walked the 3.5 miles home — ostensibly to pack, but that didn’t begin until 2 hours before his bus was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning. At that point SuperDad was by his side, putting his own expertise to work.

 H-J came home via Greyhound Bus, carrying all he needed in a small knapsack. For his return trip, he was joined by his brother hoisting a somewhat larger pack. Yes, The Barefooter is off on his big adventure.

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This next week will be a return to our new normal: family dinners for three; work and time spent on beading (I’ve got a special order for this week’s market), card-making, and reorganizing my crafting area at home for me; The Scout and SuperDad getting that Eagle paperwork completed and preparing for the last hurrah of Boy Scout camp.  We’ll be busy but it will be quiet.  I might need to take a nap first…

 

MTM: It just keeps snowing

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Off in my trusty minivan (nearly 127,000 miles on it) to take our teenager to a doctor appointment.  Good thing I like this white stuff!

What’s another 6 inches of snow to such a reliable vehicle?

A: Hopefully nothing at all!

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Check out more Out the Window shots with Carmi and friends this week.