Sunday, February 05, 2006

Random thoughts and pictures

I know, I can't stop my fingers tonight. I'm making up for lost time since I've slacked the last several weeks.

First- I'm doing Weight Watchers and I've lost relatively quickly previously (before getting pregnant several times). But this time I've struggled and it's been 5 months and I've only lost 10 lbs. Frustrating. Anyway, there are two different programs- one is flex (point counting ect) and one is core (certain foods you can eat without counting points and then you have a certain number of points per week for the 'extras'.) Anyway, I"ve always done Flex because I do well on it. I've tried Core once or twice and not been successful and gone back to Flex. But this last week I tried core again- I'm trying it until I've used up my prepaid meetings (I've got 5 weeks left) and then if I've not seen some significant weight loss I'm taking some time off. Why pay for it if my body isn't cooperating. I'm also adding pilates into my work-out routine. Currently I walk briskly with some running for 90 minutes 4 days a week. Anyway, I'm currently enjoying my favorite snack/meal on core so I thought I'd share.

minibag of 94% fat free popcorn
plain yogurt
frozen berries (I either do strawberries, blueberries or the three berry mix from costco)
top with ff whipped topping

I could eat this all day long. I usually have it for breakfast and then for an after dinner snack. YUM!~

Second- pictures

Corinne enjoying her sister sharing a chocolate pudding snack

The sister that never shares- but insisted on sharing even when I told her not to:

Annika playing nicely with Corinne- doesn't happen often- but when it does it's cute. That stroller also emphasizes that it's not for real babies- but they love pushing Corinne around in it. Still makes me nervous and I don't let them get farther from me then I can reach to grab her before they tip her over or run into something- see- not such a bad mom.

Also, I've been working on cleaning/organizing. Here is my master bath linen closet before and after. (Pictures make me feel accomplished- like I have to prove I do things other then play Sudoku all day).


After- amazing how much more space there is when everything is organized huh?

I've got other before pictures and I"m working on getting things organized enough for after pictures (including the garage- go me!) So stay posted.

Question: Would you apply for this job? It would be working a minimum of 12 hours a month. You'd be working for an airline that flies continental US plus Hawaii and Europe. You would be working on the ramp directing planes, driving carts and loading luggage. The shift would be from 9pm-1am. A friend would work the same shifts as you so you could carpool. You'd make $9.50 an hour (but seriously I'd approach it like getting paid to work out). Perks- you and your immediate family (spouse children and parents) could fly anywhere that AmericaWest flies for free. You also get 8 buddy passes a year. To retain those benefits you have to work 4 shifts a month- so once a week. Sounds totally worth it to me. The only catch is that you have to do 3 weeks of 40 hour a week training. But I'm seriously considering it- especially with all the traveling we want to do I think it would be worth it for the travel benefits alone.

Random dream today whilst napping:

So I got to take a nap today after church (seriously- Sunday afternoon naps are the best). I had a weird dream though. I dreamed that Sheri called me (like that would ever happen) and that I was trying to get my kids to leave me alone so that I could talk to her. They kept bugging me though and I couldn't concentrate and think of anything profound or witty to say to Sheri. Then in this frustration I realized I was at someone else's house and it was dirty (like animal hair everywhere and gross floors ect) and I couldn't find my shoes. I needed my shoes because it was gross and the lady who owned the house finally came in and I had to ask her where my shoes were. She found them for me and I lost them again. This happened three or four times before she decided to lend me some of her shoes that she'd made out of recycled tires 'several years ago when those Tiva's were so popular'. I was not so sure but then she pulled out these awesome sandals.

Then the phone rang and I woke up and the HPFE leader was on the phone. I realized that she was the lady in the dream. I've never been to her house so I don't know if it's gross or anything but she does wear Tiva's a lot. I'm not sure if it was really her in the dream or if I 'assigned' it to be her subconsciously when I answered the phone and it was her in my semiconcious state. The bad thing? The first thing I said (not yet fully conscious) "I was just dreaming about you" I don't think she was flattered.

Lastly- Steve got a call to go in and 'talk' with a member of the Stake presidency on Tuesday. He's so getting a calling. Wanna place bets on what?


There are so many types of friendships and I've been reflecting on this a lot lately.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a bridal shower for one of my best friends from college. We used to talk daily, I lived at her house for a couple of 'between places' stints, call her parent's mom and dad (well, papa harvey). Close as sisters. Then I up and got married and we didn't hang out as much. Then I had a baby and moved to the other side of the city and we didn't hang out at all. I'm saddened by that, but I guess it happens to the best of us. Occasionally she'd call or I'd call and we'd chat for a couple of hours catching up- and when I do see her I don't feel like that much has changed. That sort of friend is nice. Another friend like that had a baby shower yesterday. It's amazing how life can change and get busy but you can feel like you can still connect with these women who you've grown to love.

We went to dinner last night with the 'couple friend'. This sort of friend is great too because it's a pair. It's hard to find friends where both you and your spouse connect with your friend and her husband. It was a whole different sort of conversation then the sort that happens at the park with the other 'mormon mommies'. It was intellectually challenging and we discussed everything from kids and potty training to immigration law to black history and reparations. Our poor waitress kept asking if there was anything else she could get us and finally gave up. It was so nice to get out of the house with no kids and enjoy a nice dinner and great conversation.

Then there is the 'instant friend'. We've recently moved and shortly after moving found a friend in the ward who had three girls the same ages as my girls (roughly) and there was an instant bond. As we've hung out more and more we've grown closer and closer and I've realized what a blessing it is to have and 'instant friend' that you can bond with. It's made the new ward and area easier to deal with knowing that I"m not the only one who thinks our ward is a little 'off' (and it is). Plus we're swapping kids on the weekends so that we can have date nights. Our kids love each other and play well together- also our husbands like each other. Win win all around.

Seems like I've found at least one (sometimes more) friends like this in each ward I've lived in.

I'm working on neighborhood friends. I didn't do well in my last neighborhood- so we're making a larger effort here and have seen some success. I know my neighbors well enough to greet them by name when I see them at Costco and well enough to use their fourteen year old to babysit. (Have I said how wonderful a next door baby sitter is yet?) Then there's the neighbor across the street who I feel a bond with and is almost an instant friend.

I've forgotten how fun it is to make new friends as well- it's been a long time since I've really had to do that. We're trying to get to know more people in our ward as well and are reaching out and having people over on a regular basis so that there are more people we know at church. It's just a necessity in a ward our size.

There are also the friends I miss. People that I was friends with as a child or a teenager who I think about and wonder how they turned out. I wish that I'd been better at keeping in touch and knew more now- but I guess that's something I can continue to work on. I just wonder how it's possible to keep in touch with every one that's touch my life- but I guess what Christmas cards attempt to do huh?

Then of course is the sister friend. I'm lucky enough to have 7 'blood' sisters, a couple of sisters-in-law, and a Maria (can't forget you) a cousin who needed a sister. This sort of relationship is one you can't fully understand unless you have that relationship since every single one is different. But it's an important relationship however you look at it. This afternoon Ashley and Megan were fighting relentlessly and Steve finally asked Ashley if she'd treat her friends that way. Ashley said, 'she's not my friend, she's my sister'. Nice. We talked about how sisters are the most important friends that you'll ever have.

Then there are the 'online friends'. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have them. I do. I have dozens of 'internet friends' who are probably all fat, 45 year old men with beer belly's laughing at me while they make up parenting/love/life advice. But serioulsy I've become so co-dependant that I have a hard time making a decision without them. It's sort of pathetic but I'm hoping sort of endearing (you love me right guys??)

Last of all (and most important) is the 'dh' friend. Steve thought that dh stood for dumb head when I first started 'becoming involved' with the people of the internet. (Sounds like a steamy thing- but it's me ignoring him while talking to others). Of course it's 'dear husband'. The friend you can't live without, who knows you better then anyone and puts up with more than anyone. Love you honey!

Amber (in a reminiscing/contemplating mood)

4 years ago...

My Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

My version of the last several years- some dates/facts/numbers may be slightly off- but it's to the best of my remembering- which isn't perfect. (Wouldn't want someone to go James Frey on me).

He was on active duty with the Utah National Guard and was doing security for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He was staying in the Barracks so my mom didn't see him for several days. One night he was supposed to be license plates on cars and checking them against some list, but he couldn't process the information or comprehend the numbers and letters on the license plates. So his soldiers (I think he was in charge) tried to cover for him saying that he must be tired or too cold and had him check cameras (take a picture to make sure it was a real camera) and he couldn't figure those out either. He went to the first aid tent and was told to go home and go to the ER. He drove home (and wasn't sure how he did that) and my Mom was immediately concerned because he couldn't read!

They went to the ER and after a CT scan found the tumor. That was Saturday night. Monday morning they operated. He was told that he'd never fully recover, he'd never regain the ability to read, comprehend numbers, be allowed to drive, go back to work or even be left alone. He was also told that with this sort of tumor the survival rate was 0%. Most people died within 6 months. If he lived that long then he'd maybe live to see 18 months. After that the chances of living longer were low- like 5%. No one with a gioblastoma multiforme had lived longer then 5 years.

My Dad is the definition of steadfast and faithful. We prayed, we fasted, he had blessings, and six weeks after the surgery he was back at work. His outlook was positive. After a year of no seizures he was driving again. He had a full recovery in every sense of the term. The doctors were amazed. Us? Not so much. Maybe at the time, but now looking back it doesn't surprise me that he's beaten all the odds. His faith in Jesus Christ and the power of the priesthood is unshakable.

The tumor began to regrow at about 2 years. The doctor's said that this was it- that they could try some chemo or radiation but it most likely wouldn't work. Then it did. The tumor growth stopped. But Dad wasn't back to normal. He had changed a bit, but was still working.

This has been the pattern over the last several years. He does good, then has a setback, is bad for a while and then recovers miraculously- but not quite to the point where he was before the setback.

But it's been a significant four years for our family. In that time I've had 3 children that I'd been told I wouldn't be able to have. Spencer got married, Katie had a baby, Sarah got married and had two babies, Sarah got sealed, Jessica graduated from High School, Hannah went on a mission and returned, Jessica got married, Sarah got sealed, Barbara graduated from high school, Rebecca and Angela grew from kids into teenagers. A lot has happened, I can't imagine him not being around for it.

Fast forward to lately. He's been really struggling. They say the tumors are growing again. He's got rapidly spreading cataracs, he's weakening again and hurting a lot. Then on Friday he fell. My mom had quit her part time job because he was needing full time care again. She took Angela to lunch for her birthday and when she came back my Dad had fallen down and hit his head. He also cut his arm pretty bad. She with the help of a friend of my Dad's who was coming for lunch were able to get him into his chair. He's slurring his words and has no strength on one side of his body. He can no longer walk. It's looking bleak. I've speculated that he may have had a stroke which caused the fall. The signs/symptoms that he's experiencing seem to point in that direction. My mom asked the doctor but he said that significant growth of the tumor would manifest in the same way. So there isn't really a way of knowing.

So there you have it. It's been a long four years full of emotional ups and downs and 'what ifs'. But it's been four years of growth and changing in our family. I believe that we're a stronger knit group because of this, that we've learned compassion and patience and what a strong capable woman my mom is. I've learned a lot about marriage and selflessness and most importantly love by watching her as well. In lots of ways I can't believe that it's been four years already, but at the same time it's hard to remember that it's not always been this way.