Saturday, December 31, 2011

A trip to remember

Three Parts:
I have been so fortunate to be in Utah with my family for the last few weeks. I have known for a long time that my 92 year old grandmother's health was fading and she wouldn't have too much time left, and really wanted to be able to attend her funeral in Utah with my mom and sisters. I also really liked the idea of spending the Holidays with my family in Utah. I couldn't fly out twice so had to choose Christmas or the unknown time of whenever my grandmother's health gave way. I chose Christmas for several different reasons and arrived on December 18th.

Part One:
cousins, tv, and trays with grilled cheese.  ahh, the life.
a little tv at great-grandmas house
On the morning of the 19th, Erin and I were getting ourselves and our kids ready to go visit Grandma, when we got the call from our aunt that Grandma had just died. Sadly, I didn't get to say goodbye to her. When we got to the house, I did get to see her and almost didn't recognize her. Her health had robbed her of so much and she was down to just skin and bones. My last memory of her alive was when we visited in June and we were at a dinner at her country club, a staple on any trip to visit :). She was dressed nice, adorned with her beautiful jewelry, and had her hair and make up looking sharp, as always. Her eye sight and hearing was poor, but it was still grandma, and she was still in control. She was still going to work almost every day at the company she built with my grandfather decades ago. A few months later her health really plunged and my mom and sisters were there for the ups and downs. Because I live so far away, I wasn't there for any of it, which was hard to feel helpless when I knew help was needed. I am sure she would want us to remember the good times and the happy memories, rather than think of the frail woman that she had become at the end. I love my Grandma and cherish the memories with her. She loved her family and worked hard with and for them. We had her funeral on Thursday, 12/29 and it was very nice to celebrate her life with loved ones. So it turned out, my choice to come out for Christmas was a good one so I could be with most of my family for Christmas AND my sweet Grandma's funeral.
Side note: I was thrilled to see my dads brother Norman at the viewing and funeral. I gave him a big hug and didn't want to let go. I think that must be because he is a living connection to my dad. Or, I just love him and was happy to see him since I thought he'd be out of town! My dad often referred to Norman as Tio Magnifico (magnificent uncle) and called himself Tio Feo (ugly uncle) :). I was happy to see my Tio Magnifico! Funerals are sad, but they really bring people together in a good way.
Jamie with our cousin Melissa and Amy and Evi at Grandmas viewing
Dad was at the funeral.  Evi sat by her Papa.

Cousin Caitlin at the funeral


Playing games in Grandma's basement after the funeral

we love love love the player piano.  many hours of fun have been spent here.

Grandma was a golfer, so we had chocolate golf balls to snack on :).  Just had to watch out for the real ones.

Part Two:
Monday night 12/19, Evi went with her cousins next door to jump on the trampoline. A little while later, Katey, the next door neighbor, carried a crying Evi back to our house saying she got jumped on and hurt her leg. I gave her some medicine to help with the pain, and she calmed down enough that she seemed ok, and I put her to bed like normal. Like any mom with a chance for a kid-free trip to the store, I left the baby monitor with my sister after the kids were in bed and headed out for some Christmas things. After just a short time I got a call saying Evi was crying saying her leg hurt. Thus begun the saga of something that I thought was nothing. I contemplated taking her to the emergency room, but she seemed ok enough. Definitely hurt and sore, but still ok. Although she wouldn't walk, she crawled and scooted and seemed to use her leg. In fact the day I was first going to take her to the emergency room, she was limping a little, so I thought she was getting better. Long story a little bit shorter, she really never improved and I was carrying her everywhere or she was scooting/crawling.
On Monday, 12/26, I took her to the emergency room and the doctor consulted with the radiologist on her xray, and they weren't sure if it was a break or not on the outside of her lower leg (bend in the bone that could have been a fracture OR just the way her bones were growing). They put her in a splint and told us to go to the fracture center on Wednesday.
12/28: The doctor at the fracture center asked her where it hurt, she pointed to a spot just below her knee, and then he pointed at the x-ray and showed me the fracture in the exact spot she pointed to. The doctor and radiologist in the ER missed it, and therefore splinted her leg wrong, so I am very glad that we went to the fracture center.  The doctor said they call this injury the "trampoline fracture" because they get so many of these in their office.
I had asked Erin before this incident why she doesn't have a trampoline (since A LOT of people in Utah do), and she said she wasn't a fan of broken bones and injuries. Hmm, now I see why. Now my sweet baby girl has a purple cast from her upper thigh to her ankle. But the glorious thing is that she is finally walking again-albeit awkwardly. AND I opted to pay for the waterproof liner since she has to be in it for three weeks and I couldn't imagine how to clean my child while keeping her entire leg dry. I made my appointment at children's hospital in DC to get it removed at the right time, so hopefully all of this will go smoothly. And hopefully she'll be able to walk normal again! Another great plus now that she has this cast, her personality is back. She was so grumpy and mean that first week and it was really hard on me. No wonder, the poor girl was in pain! Very soon after getting the cast on, I noticed her personality change for the better and was so glad to see her laughing and joking again. So so glad. I am just sad we pretty much lost a week that she could have been having more fun with her family (but, the fracture center only takes cases like this on Wednesdays apparently, so unless we went the night she hurt it or the next day, we still would have gotten the cast at the same time). Whew. Believe it or not, that long story is missing a lot of details :). I could have just said she broke her leg jumping on a trampoline, but what fun is that?

Part Three:
We are on vacation!  Although this may not be a typical relaxing vacation with all the other stuff going on, being with family has been great.  Evi got a much needed hair cut also, and this time, it was not a result self styling, but more so a result of all summer in the pool :).  I was glad to spend Christmas with a house full of people that I adore.  I am happy to send 2011 out the door and hope for a bright 2012.  Life is what we make it, so I try to remind myself to look for the good in every day.  Sometimes it's easier than others, but it's certainly a good goal.  I adore my kids and am so glad to spend this time with them surrounded by wonderful people that we just don't get enough of.  Thank you to the Browns for making this possible and making the end of 2011 absolutely fabulous.  I am not looking forward to heading back to reality this week, so I am soaking it all in here while I can.  Mom, sisters, cousins, extended family....all of it.  I am so glad we were able to come.

Christmas morning with stocking goodies

Jamie had fun with new slippers

Jamie and Grandma

Jamie in Evi's new snow boots.  Evi in her new ballerina outfit AND Tim's new gun. Perfect.

mmmm, Cake Pops!  Thanks Santa!!
I offered to put this on the big TV, but all 5 kids were content here.

Jame Jame with Aunt TT at dinner

Starting to clean out Grandmas house.  She had fabulous clothes and really never got rid of any of them (I called one BEDROOM in her house the "walk in closet", since that was where many (not even close to all) of her clothes were kept).  This purse was from the 60's easily.  The shoes are a perfect match.  The awesome blue purse was one of sesveral just like it (also found in red, black and white).  This picture was the first of MANY fun dress up outfits while working.  Although, the rest of the pictures were recorded on Kristin's camera.  If I get copies, I may have to post.
Evi wanted in on the dress up action too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Normal

What is normal, anyway?  After my dad died 2009, I said I needed to figure out what the "new normal" was.  Everything was turned upside down and I had to figure out daily life without my dad around.  It has certainly been hard, and I miss him all the time.  I even hate to admit that it has become normal without him here.  Trips to Utah are not the same because he is not there.  But sadly I am used to that now.  Although on my next trip out there, it will be even more different, because my mom sold their house and moved into an easier-to-manage apartment closer to family.  So maybe that won't be normal.  Anyway....again I am facing life changes and figuring out the new normal, again.  Maybe that is what life is like when you are a grown up.  Or maybe that is just what life is like when you face challenges?
A couple that used to be in my ward at church were facing some HUGE challenges. They had been married about a year, and his cancer (diagnosed at age 17) which had been in remission returned with gusto. He had a healthy perspective on life and did not take things for granted as he faced so many challenges at such a young age. He had great zeal and zest for life and adored his wife. His cancer returned and ultimately took his life at a super young age. I could write so much more about them, and more thoughts I had. But to say the least, it made me look at myself--what do I take for granted and how am I living my life?
Life has been very hard for me lately. It has for awhile now. I want so badly to be 'normal' again. But I guess 'normal' is what I make it. I have had moments where I have kept all of my hard times to myself. I have also had times where I could share thoughts and feelings with friends and loved ones, and have seen that makes all the difference in my well being. It is up to me, and I think that's how I can find that 'new normal' and press forward with a positive outlook. Life is always changing and we are going to continue to have challenges placed in front of us. I joke that God has a lot for me to learn, because he keeps giving me challenges to overcome! Someday I will be gratful for this hard time. I am becoming stronger and will hopefully have learned some valuable life lessons when all is said and done :).
One thing that has helped me lately is knowing that God loves me. He will not give me challenges that I can not get through. Yet I think I have also learned that when something seems very difficult and unable to face, He places people in our lives to help us when we can't do it alone. The Savior is always there for us and can carry us when we can't walk, and sometimes we have actual people to step in and figuratively carry us. I have learned that one of the things I am NOT good at is asking for help. Even though I have learned it, I am still not very good at it, but I am so grateful for loving people who have been angels in my life.
So whats the point of writing all this? I have just been thinking lately about how I want things to go back to normal again. Well, 1) in due time...........and in the mean time 2) it's all in what I make of it! :).