Wide open weekend…

Hunter doesn’t have a soccer game this weekend. ASU is playing away. And we’ve planted our winter grass and it’s too early to cut it. Which ultimately means our Saturday is looking wide open. Although we have a lot on the horizon I need to prepare for: Costumes, multiple birthdays and friend parties. Naturally, I’ve already mentally mapped out the day and I’m booked solid – I just can’t tell Steve that or else he gets overwhelmed. 🙂

Before I move on to more birthdays – Hunter finally cashed in on his birthday experience gift with some teammates from his soccer team. Phoenix is bidding for an MLS team and they’ve built a temporary stadium close to us to house the club team. We realized a couple weeks ago, although Hunter is playing soccer (his first season) he has never actually seen a game – professional or not. It was good for him to see what soccer is supposed to look like – as opposed to his 7 vs 7 league he’s playing in now.

Steve said he was pleasantly surprised with the stadium, fans and experience. The crowd can make or break a game and they made it. A while back we attended a football game for the cardinals and the fans were rough and vulgar. Not quite the family friendly environment we’d hoped for and we haven’t been back.

Phoenix rising was different. If the season wasn’t over we’d be attending more games – we’ll keep an eye out for them next year.


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Late night game…

We took the whole family to the ASU game last weekend. We typically leave the younger two at home, but our friends had given us some extra tickets so we figured we’d take the whole crew. Steve convinced me it would be a quick game – and we could leave at half-time. ASU has been playing poorly and we were playing the #5 ranked team, it was bound to be a blow out.

But it wasn’t. In fact, it was an amazing game. We were ahead the entire game and we kept looking at each other wondering what team had shown up to play because they looked far better than the team we were used to seeing on the field! We were all out past our bedtime.

Funny story from the night. Hallie and Hunter both brought friends with them and I had given them all candy before we left the house so they’d have a treat to munch on throughout the game. During the first quarter, Hallie emptied her pocket and put her candy on the bench between her and her friend.

Shortly after – she came to me and told me the boy behind her had stolen her candy. I questioned the legitimacy of her story. But she was convinced and as further evidence she could see her candy wrapper was under his seat with a few candies spilled out. (I was having flashbacks to the Cookie Thief poem! If you haven’t read this, take a look!)

She was bummed and I was shocked. Who does that?? She was right there – just looking the other way when it happened. She asked if I would say something. I hesitated bringing it up because in all reality – the candy was gone and he would ultimately deny doing it. But as I sat there the thought stirred within me and I realized I wanted Hallie to know it was okay to stand up for herself and confront him and I wanted to show her how to do it in a kind way. Not only that – as a parent, if someone saw my kid steal something, I would hope they would kindly inform me of the incident. So with Hallie by my side I approached the kid with his dad by his side.

“Hey, is there any chance you took candy from the bench in front of you?”

Immediately the dad leans forward, “What are you accusing my son of?”

“I’m sorry – My daughter just said she saw him take her candy, I’m just trying to figure out what happened.”

“He wouldn’t do that – these are stellar boys (there was several boys there with the dad), I’m sorry you thought he took the candy.”

(Hesitantly) “I know it sounds bad, but I can actually see the wrapper under the seat still.”

The dad starts to become less defensive and starts asking the row of boys if anyone took the candy. The one son points out that they had switched seats after the first quarter and his youngest son had been sitting in the seat of question. He calls his youngest son down (just a year younger than Hallie) and asks if he took the candy and guilt washed over his face as he quickly denied the allegations. He then claimed he found candy on another bench that he took. His dad continued the interrogation until it came out that he indeed took the candy. Immediately, apologies started flooding from his mouth. He was determined to replace the candy. (which was not necessary at all – but Hallie did appreciate it!)

He then states that he recognizes us and come to realize he did know of us – he actually knows Steve’s sister really well and lives in their neighborhood. And we found several more connections which led to a fun 15 minute conversation of connections we had. The world is pretty small. I made it back to my seat at the end of halftime and find Steve laughing with our friends. He said he knows few people who can call out a candy stealer and make a new friend all in the same conversation!



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Tuesday thoughts…

Steve and I went to parent teacher conferences for all the kids today. I love that they arrange all of our kids conferences in a single block, which I’m sure is a scheduling nightmare, but it makes it easier on the parents.

I actually enjoy going to these conferences. I enjoy hearing what teachers have to say about my kids. I know my kids. I know their strengths and I know they’re weaknesses. I know what frustrates them as well as what motivates them. I know what subjects they enjoy and which ones they would leave on the table if there was an option.

And when I walked out of conferences today, I realized their teachers knew the same things. They really knew my children and I could tell they genuinely loved my children in the way every parent wishes a teacher cared for their child in the classroom.

They knew that Bennett prefers to stand while doing his work – but letting him do so keeps him on task.

They knew that Hunter is as bright as can be, but needs more discipline in his homework.

They knew that Hallie is a perfectionist and is willing to do extra credit on tests when she doesn’t need to.

What a reassurance it is to send my kids to these classes every day. We have excellent teachers and I count my lucky stars for those that are dedicated to their teaching.


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Conference weekend…

We gave Hallie her birthday gift a little early and we didn’t hear any complaints! (Except from Hunter who wanted his birthday gifts early!!) She’s turning 12 in a few weeks so I took her up to Utah to watch general conference (or as our kids put it – church on TV) in person and to spend time with her cousin and my parents. We told her just a few days before we were going and she was more than willing to leave all her brothers behind for a long weekend.

LDS General Conference Weekend

I surprised Steve’s sister at my nephew’s football games. Surprises are the best. I was waiting in her seat when she returned from the bathroom and she looked right at me before recognizing it was me.

LDS General Conference Weekend

It was conference weekend so our plans revolved around watching/listening to conference, but we managed to squeeze in a lot between sessions. The girls made treats and managed to complete a couple sewing projects, they are just about the cutest cousins together.

LDS General Conference Weekend

The boys were occupied Saturday night with their Priesthood session of conference so we set out to find curtains for my mom, go out to dinner and hit an outdoor mall. I’m pretty sure these girls could’ve spent hours at Bath and Body Works. What is it with this age loving that store? I distinctly remember going with my best friend when we were young trying every spray and every lotion – walking out smelling like an awful fruit basket. I also remember my first lotion was Sun-Ripened Raspberry, the second one I purchased was Juniper breeze. To this day, those smells take me back!

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

Sunday morning we got up bright and early and made our way to Salt Lake. My parents had never attended conference there and I had only been one time before when I was dating Steve. Hallie has made a couple visits to temple square, but this was totally new. It was the best of both worlds for me. I got to experience this with my parents and I got to bring my only daughter along. It was a special day.

LDS General Conference Weekend

It was announced just days before that Elder Hales would not be in attendance and that President Monson would also not be in attendance. I was pretty disappointed. I wanted Hallie to feel the presence of the prophet in the same room as her – the same way I had years before. Instead, I reminded her that she was in the presence of the apostles, which she would see as prophets in her lifetime.

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

In between the morning and afternoon session, we stayed on temple square. We heard the news that Elder Hales had passed away as we prepared to enter for the afternoon session. It was a tender session to witness as they opened sharing news of his passing and then the last talk of the day also spoke of him. I have to believe his fellow apostles were mourning his death as they sat on the stand – where he once sat with them.

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

My dad had the special opportunity to meet up with his old mission companion as well as someone he had taught while serving in England. It was fun to sit in the old tabernacle after the second session and hear stories from them as they compared details. By afternoon, the drizzly morning weather had moved on and we were left with beautiful blue skies and moderately warm weather – but coming from Arizona I’m probably not the best judge of  weather because 75 seems cool at this point!

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

Hallie and her cousin have had these matching pajama bottoms for two years – they have about grown out of them and they’re both a little sad about giving them up.

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

It was a beautiful weekend, so good for the soul. Not only from the messages that we heard, but the people we spent time with. Just what I needed. Steve on the other hand wrestled four boys over the weekend and was left depleted! He needed a vacation from his weekend!

I asked Hallie for her account of the experience.

It was really different being there in person instead of watching it on tv. (even though I was pretty much watching on the big screen the whole time!) While we were walking there, I was anxious and excited. When we got there, there were a couple guys yelling at the mormons with signs. It kind of made me sick to my stomach because I hated to hear them yelling lies about us. But we kept on walking. When we finally got inside, the spirit came over me and it felt like this was all a dream.

But when Dieter F. Uchdorf  stood up to conduct, I knew it was real and I was really seeing the apostles. During our break in-between sessions, we had 4 extra tickets and we give them away to complete strangers. The first 2 people we gave them to were an older couple with missionary name tags. The 2nd couple we gave them to were from Cambodia. We didn’t know this, but they were in Utah for a service mission and they wanted to go to conference. They ended up sitting in the row right behind us and they kept thanking us! (I guess we gave them to the right people!) The second session was just as good. After conference was over we went to the old tabernacle and it seemed so much smaller. (even though the new one is only 3x bigger)

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Things I learned in the hospital…

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and concern. I’ve had so many people reach out to me in one way or another and I truly feel the love and support of others.

I had more testing done last week. This ended up being nearly an all-day event because of all the prep work and then coming out of sedation. They sent a scope down my throat and then used an ultrasound machine to look more closely at my heart and the hole. They told me I would be awake for the test but I don’t remember anything. I drank lidocaine to numb my throat – I rolled over to get in position for the ultrasound and they must have have started the drugs in my IV because I have no recollection of anything else. Two hours later I woke up in a dark room still in the same position I started in.

Luckily, everything with my heart looks great. Yes, I have a small hole, but my heart looks healthy. Yes, they could close it, but he doesn’t think it’s necessary quite yet. The doc isn’t convinced the hole caused the TIA which is why I’ve got more appointments lined up with the neurologist.

This is what I’ve learned so far: 

1. No one is going to advocate for your health better than you. I am a skeptical person by nature – I need things explained to me before I commit. When I was admitted to the hospital, I had nurses and doctors walking through my door at all hours of night requesting another test or additional blood work. I asked a lot of questions. Why this test? What will the results provide?  I know to my husband it sounded as if I didn’t trust them and that I was second guessing. This was not the case, I just needed to fully understand what they were doing to me and what they were testing for. At one point they came into my room for yet another vile of blood (they had taken so much already). I asked the nurse what the test was for. She didn’t know, so she left the room and returned with the doctor. He explained they were going to test my blood for clotting. Which seems totally acceptable considering why I was there. But I was on blood thinners. The doctor was unaware of this and concluded the results would be inaccurate given the medication I was on. This happened more than once. Be an advocate for you health.

2. Hospitals give me anxiety. I’ve now been hospitalized 6 times – 5 births and a TIA. I have struggled in hospitals after each birth, which I attributed to my emotional state and hormonal imbalance. After my most recent experience, I realized, it’s not giving birth that gives me anxiety – it’s the hospital, I could not get out of there fast enough.

3. Seek out your own doctors. When you’re admitted to the hospital, doctors are assigned to you and they come by each day with their 2 minute talking points and then they leave the room and tell you to follow up with them later. I didn’t care for any of those doctors. When making follow up appointments I made sure to do my research on doctors and ask for referrals from as many people as I could. I keep reminding myself, they work for me – they should answer my questions and hear me out – that’s what I’m paying them for.

4. Our healthcare system is broken. We all know this. Stay in a hospital for any amount of time and start collecting bills and you can’t help but be frustrated. I had one bill from a doctor and I couldn’t remember who he was, so I called the billing dept for clarification. They couldn’t tell me what kind of doctor he was. They couldn’t tell me what he did for me. Yet I had a $2,000 bill they wanted me to pay for his unknown services. I think I’ve collected most of bills and every single one of them has something I’ve got to fight. It’s maddening.

5. Medicine is a practice. I have to keep reminding myself that doctors are great and wonderful and I’m appreciative for their knowledge, but they are practicing. In my case, it’s evident that they are unsure as to what caused the TIA. They can guess. They can speculate. They really are doing their best but it may not give me all the answers I’m hoping for. I’m coming to grips with this. There isn’t a test they can run that will give them all the answers and as I get second opinions I realize everyone has a different opinion.

6. We have a village behind us. We are connected to the most giving and loving people you will come across, family included. We had a number of people step in to help us. Staying overnight with our kids, taking them to soccer games, watching them, bringing us food, calling to check in and lending their support in other ways. I couldn’t ask for a more generous support system. Thank you all.

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