Thursday, February 17, 2011

Michael's Doctor Day

I'm going to make this quick, I hope, because I am exhausted.

Today was Michael's big day with the docs. We left for Shriner's Hospital at 6:45 a.m. It snowed last night, so we left early so as to be on time. Because of the weather, we were late anyway. :/

They were super nice and accomodating, though, and went ahead with the gait study as though we were right on time.

We changed Michael's clothes into some spandex shorts. Thank heaven's he is *not* into fashion! ;) Then, he walked back and forth several times, with the technicians taking pictures, videos, and eventually the newest technology was added to make the gait study even more cool!

Some round, ball-like objects, about the size of your thumbnail, were applied strategically on his body with sticky pads. Some on his feet, knees, heel, hips, and the back of his neck. He didn't complain about any except the one of the back of his neck. He said it was "pokey"; we assume that the sticky pad was pulling his hair a bit.

Then he walked back and forth, back and forth again. Big, red lights glowed from many areas near the ceiling. They were "reading" the information that was being sent out by the balls.

In the end, we got to see a stick like image of Michael, walking exactly as Michael does, on the computer screen. The information will help Michael to get the best care available for him.

Next on the agenda was consulting with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the children's hospital.

The news was pretty bad: Michael's foot is too contracted for the less invasive surgery to work. We are told how he believes the surgery will need to be done and warns us that if another sinew/tendon/whatever is tight on the foot, it will need to be repaired also. Recovery will be about 6 - 8 weeks, but will leave his leg a bit weak when the cast is taken off. He will need a brace to help him be more stable during the day, and a stretching brace at night will prevent more contractures.

After the ortho doc, we head on over to the physiatrist for the botox shot. We are told the risks that could happen but told that no one has never had any complications at their clinic. There is really no choice at this point, since he is as high on the ball of his foot than he can be, and his toes are starting to curve backwards, so we sign consent.

We are asked if we would like a "music therapist" to come in while he is given his injection. We readily agree, because Michael has always responded well to music. In fact, that is how we have gotten him through many procedures in the past. We later learn from the music therapist that research has been shown to block pain.

(Michael's "ow-ies"

In our situation today, Michael still felt pain, but I do think he was calmer with the therapist playing the guitar and singing to him. (When I counted his puncture wounds from the shot there were 4. Poor baby!)

Then we are finished.

As we leave the building, a man with a black labradoodle dog stops us. Michael pets his dog and we talk about this special breed. They are hypogenic, like poodles, because they have hair, rather than fur. They also have the gentleness of the labradore breed. As we start to leave he asks us to wait a minute. He asks what Michael's name is. He tells the dog to pray for Michael. The dog puts his paws on a bench and lays his head on his paws. When the man tells the dog to say "Amen" the dog barks. It was very precious and left tears in my eyes.

If you haven't spent time at a children's hospital, you should. If you have, you know of the special feeling there. It is a place where everyone truly, deep down, cares for God's little ones. My eyes were brimming over a lot because of the kindness shown to Michael today.

Michael also got lots of prizes today for being good:

A blanket, a sewn ball made of cloth, a dinosaur that opens and closes its mouth, a motorcycle, and a spongebob doodle book.

And then, after a long day, I ate some chocolate (which always makes me feel better after a stressful day) and Michael and Steve enjoyed a bowl of ice cream together while relaxing in bed (I'll overlook the fact that they ate *in bed*, just this once ;)

In the midst of it all, though, I took some pics in the parking garage. The icicles were calling to me :)

(I'd love to know which of the next two pics is your favorite. I have *my* opinion, but I'd like to compare answers :)

The snow and ice were a pain to drive it, but they sure made pretty pictures. :)

And now, it is time for sleep. G'night.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Soup and Stew Recipes

Here are some "Hearty Soups and Stew Recipes" from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

The recipes sound way yummy! If you make some, let me know how it turns out. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cookies and Milk

For Valentine's Day, Steve brought home a treat for all of us: Chips Ahoy cookies along with a gallon of milk and two Symphony bars (one with almonds and toffee and one plain). Since I have to quit eating at 6 o'clock, I chose to eat my cookies this morning for breakfast instead.

Mmmmmm. Nothing says "love" quite like chocolate, cookies, and milk.

Then, since I was already cropping and sizing this pic, I decided to play with it by adding "oil paint" to it:

Kind of cute, I think.

Tonight we are all waiting for our goats, Nina and Ellie, to be returned to us. They both should be "with child" and should be having their babies sometimes between mid-March and mid-July. I'll let you know how that goes. :)

How Red Barn Apple Juice is made

This is a fun video to watch, especially with your kids.

This video reminds me of the videos Mr. Rogers used to show about how things are made. So fun! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Our car is broken down, which means that I have been taking Steve to his ride share the past couple of mornings. I kicked myself yesterday for not taking my camera, so I took one this morning.

There is nothing quite like early morning beauty.

I wanted to take more pictures, but my hands were just tooooo cold. Tomorrow I'll take pics of what I missed this morning.

Have a great day!

Pics coming later

I can't wait to show you some pics I took this morning of the sunrise: orangy-gold sunlight reflecting from white, puffy clouds; snow capped mountain peaks against the blue-blue sky, with those same clouds drifting by. It was absolutely gorgeous. I just hope that my camera saw the same thing I did! ;)

I'll upload them later today (even if the pics bomb.... not "the bomb", but go belly up).

See ya later alligator!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another blog...

Have I ever told you that I have another blog? I created just about a year ago to practice my creative writing skills. If you'd like to take a peak into my lives past or one entirely made up story you are invited to click your way over there. The blog is called, Jumping Write In. :)


Whoda thunk that in the early weeks of February, my chickens had it in them to lay eggs??

My chickens usually can only muster up the fortitude to lay eggs when the sun is shining and it is nice and warm outside; they are fair weather fowls. But so far? 5 eggs (3 today and 2 yesterday)! And that is good enough for me! :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Contests. Bah.

I didn't win the photo contest. Big surprise, eh? I'd love to say that I simply don't care, but that wouldn't be the truth.

I have always been against art contests even as simple as coloring contests for children.

I have asked my children, when they have wanted to enter such a contest, "If Michelangelo, DeVinci, Monet, Renoir, and all of the great artists were involved in an art contest, who'd win?

Art is highly subjective and very personal. The emotions art provokes draw on personal experiences and opinions. For example, no matter how great the Southwestern art may be, I will always choose a country scene with lots of trees and flowers over it. It is my personal preference. I love the sight of lush green much more than the sight of desert beauty. (Remind me why I live in Utah again?? ;)

So, knowing all of this on a logical level, why, oh why, oh why do I enter art contests? And why do I get my feelings hurt and get unsure of myself when I don't win??

Even when I am predicting the winner of an art contest I am never right. It always takes me by surprise that the picture that I like best doesn't even get an honorable mention, and that the winner is usually not one of my choices at all. I think that I must march to the beat of my own drummer.

And another thing: does what constitutes "good" photography (and perhaps good art in general) change with the times?

Steve and I were visiting a local art museum on Friday night, and they were featuring a photographer that was a contemporary and friend of Ansel Adams. I don't remember her name, but many of her photographs were featured in TIME magazine. The interesting thing was that most of her pictures' focal points were in direct center of the photograph. Now as a beginning photographer, such as I am, it is pounded into our heads over and over and over to *not* have the person's face or some other focal point be dead center. So what made this woman such a great photographer?? Do the rules change based on what is in vogue at the time? I'm still pondering....

So this is what I think I'm going to do: if I ever have the opportunity to put my photographs in a gallery, online or "real life", I won't hesitate to do so, but I am swearing off photo contest of all kinds forevermore. Nothing makes me question myself and my art more than *not* winning, even if I don't like the judge's choices anyhow.

Anyone know of any galleries to enter though? I haven't heard of any. I may need to search...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

emerging from my shell

Just checking in to let you know that I'm still alive. :)

I took Michael to the children's hospital yesterday. He had a ct scan to check and make sure his shunt for hydrocephalus is still working well. It is. Which is WONDERFUL! But doesn't explain why his seizures have changed and happen several times a day.

He also visited with a spasticity team to determine what needs to be done with his right foot/leg since he tippy toe walks with it. Surgery. The orthopedic surgeon will lengthen his heel cord so that he can walk flat. It is to be done within 3 months. Oy.

Other than that: my birthday came and went. Though I don't know if it counted. My dining room clock's hands stopped turning 2 minutes before my birth time. Seriously. Kinda creepy. BUT, I'm wondering if the universe's birthday gift to me was to stay 40 for another year. What do you think? ;)

I have wanted to come back and write a post for a while, and I have a couple incomplete posts, but I haven't been very verbose. Truth be told, going to the physiatrist makes my anxiety go off the charts. I'm not sure why it bothers me so much, I mean, I can take other doctor's visits, why not that one?! But it does. And I pull my head into my shell and want to be left alone. In fact, any talk of Michael's CP makes me want to cry. I am a pretty strong lady... until I think of Michael's problems. Then I turn into jell-o.

I hope that all is going well with all of you. I haven't come by visiting lately. Sorry about that. I'll be better. Until we get closer to surgery, then I'll probably pull into my shell again. I hope you understand and forgive me.