Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Live with an Angel

I am sometimes overwhelmed by the amazing little girl I have in my home. I am beyond lucky to have the privilege of being her mother. Beyond lucky.

Today was just full of magical moments with my almost-four-year-old.

We were driving home from work/daycare and chatting. I sang a song to her and she said, "Mom, you sing so beautifully."

"I do?" I was genuinely surprised. She normally says that my singing hurts her ears.

"Yes. You can sing at my ballet." I have no clue what she is talking about but I am flattered anyway.

She said something else that was just adorable. I want her to know she is more than just "cute" and "adorable" so I told her this, "Joci, listen to me. You are clever. Do you know what that means? It means you are smart and funny and you are good at so many things."

She beamed. "I am clever." Then she got a sheepish look on her face. "But I lost a ticket." (That's a consequence at her preschool.) I told her I knew she lost a ticket. And then she said, "We all make mistakes but it just means we can try again tomorrow."

We pulled into our driveway after daycare/work and Joci got out to help me open the garage door. A beautiful gray cat was hanging around like usual, mewing loudly. This cat has been sneaking into the garage for months for something to eat. I do not know if she has a home or not (I will give her one!). Joci has dubbed her Seraphina. The first thing Joci noticed was that the cat was wet from the rain.

"Oh, no! We have to dry the cat off!" she said as we lifted the garage. I knew the cat wasn't too bothered by the weather - it was more excited to get some food. I pulled the car into the garage while Joci stood to the side watching to make sure the cat didn't dodge in front of the wheels. I got out of the car and told her it was okay to move, and before I knew it she had her coat off. "Pink coats can dry off cats," she said as she wrapped her little coat around a soaking wet cat who seemed grateful.

Inside the house chaos as usual erupted. Noelle is always hungry and ready for bed. Joci is hungry. As am I. And I have to go to the bathroom. So Noelle was on the floor in the hall while I took a half a minute use the bathroom. Without even having to ask her, Joci danced for her baby sister and played patty cake to stop her from crying.

Later in the evening, I was reading in a bubble bath while Joci was doing her own thing. She came to visit me and said, "You don't have any toys!" She proceeded to open the cupboard and dump her entire toy bucket on me. She hiked up her pants and dipped her feet in the water. She was begging to get in but I didn't want her to. I instructed her to get out and go back to her movie. She climbed out and sank down next to the tub, her arms resting on her knees. "Can I just sit here and talk to you?"

How can I say no to that? In the end, she ended up in the bath with me. These moments are precious and she is such a precious soul. I should take advantage of these sweet, innocent years. The cherry on top of the night was when she looked at my bare chest and complimented me on my beautiful nipples.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

10 Reasons I Should Totally Be a Celebrity

A couple of months ago I wrote 10 Ways You Can Tell I Am Not a Celebrity. Here are 10 Reasons I Should Be One.
  1. I have no regard for my privacy (hello? Blogger!). 
  2. I know I would make a darling millionaire.
  3. Since I’ve never had a DUI or drug charge, I’d be a stellar role model by Hollywood standards
  4. I wrote a book. Don't all celebrities write books? 
  5. I adopted my children, which is pretty trendy in Tinsel Town right now. I’d totally fit in. 
  6. I would have no moral qualms about wearing $5 million dollars of jewelry to a charity event where I would help raise $1 million for suffering children - oooh, pretty!
  7. I’d be pretty entertaining on a talk show (at least I think I would). 
  8. I would be that staple on the red carpet worst dress list that you always looked forward to mocking.
  9. I put my foot in my mouth quite often and I don't even have to have taken a shot (like Jennifer Lawrence).
  10. I've had a documented public nip slip


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fixing the Hole in My Heart

My heart surgery was this past Thursday. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. and got all ready to go in. The morning had been rushed and stressful, our tempers were a bit short. Honestly, I think it was fear that was doing that to us. The last time either Justin or I had been in a hospital was when my mom died. And here I was having a surgery meant to spare me from a similar death.

When I laid too long on the bed in the quiet, memories of those dark days in December came unbidden and tears spilled from my eyes. At least three times that day, different medical professionals asked about the symptoms of my heart condition and I had to explain that I never had any symptoms and then answer their quizzical looks with the recounting of my mom's death and the subsequent discovery of my heart defect. Justin asked how I could do it - retell the story so many times with a steady voice. It just about killed him to hear it again and again. It's funny...I can talk about the facts. I can tell the story. I can say the words. "Stroke." "Never woke up." "ASD." "Died." It's the pictures behind those words that I have to push away just to finish the conversation.

It was one of those surgeries where privacy was only an attempt at courtesy. I had an EKG and two echocardiograms. Sensors placed all over my bare chest. My groin shaved, examined, checked, and rechecked.

This was a simple procedure. We were told that time and again. I didn't care. I was still scared. My mom's shoulder surgery was routine. We even had discussions about death and wishes and life insurance and all those things you should talk about from time to time, especially before a surgery, but there was a realness to those talks that has never been there before.

The procedure went really well. No complications or anything. I was barely under anesthesia for an hour. Almost right away, I was encouraged to eat and drink. After about three and a half hours, the nurse said I could try standing up and if I felt okay, I could go home. Within just a couple moments on my feet, I saw a dark, red spot on the bandage covering my femoral vein. I was in the restroom, so I finished my business, watching with interest as the BB sized drop of blood grew to the size of a nickel in only a minute or two.

The surgeon accessed my heart through the femoral vein and having it bleed was the biggest concern post-op. It wasn't stitched or glued or anything. Just bandaged with a sticky patch. I laid back on the hospital bed. The nurse put pressure on the vein for ten minutes and I was instructed to remain bed-ridden for a couple more hours.

It was time to try walking again. After a short walk around the hospital floor, the vein seemed to be staying closed. I went to the bathroom to change my clothes and go home. I stared at my bare chest in the mirror. Somewhere under the pale skin, flesh, and bone my heart was beating differently. I stared at my chest. There was no scar. No sign of anything different. I placed my palm on my chest, wondering if I would feel a different rhythm. Things were supposed to be different now. But everything felt the same. I thought about the things I had inherited from my mom. Her height. Her eyebrows. Her fingernails. The tendency to collect extra calories around my middle. And her heart defect. Beneath skin and bone and muscle and sinew beat the same traitorous heart she had. And it only took half a day to fix mine. I was angry staring at the mirror for the millionth time thinking how everything could be so different right now if my mom had known about her heart and had the same minor surgery at some point in her life.

With a smoothie in hand, I went home and I have been recovering quickly ever since. I get a little weak at times and I cannot lift my children or anything over 10 lbs for a week (this is going to make evenings fun when I am home 2 hours before my husband!), but of the four surgeries I have gone through, this by far has been the least painful and has had the easiest recovery.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers during this time. They're working.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Whatcha Doin' Tomorrow?

I'm gonna get up kinda early, but I am going to skip makeup and probably skip wearing a bra and go do this:

Then probably sleep a lot.

But when I wake up, watch out because I'm returning as an unstoppable bionic woman.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

St. George and Aladdin

I got very behind on posting family pictures so it's time for a LOT of backtracking. :)

Random picture of Joci falling asleep reading scriptures. She would ask for me to leave my scriptures with her to go to sleep and I was so nervous because the pages are so delicate, but I risked it and they were always fine. I would usually find her like this. So sweet. 

Over Labor Day we went to visit my parents in St. George. We hadn't been there for about 14 months so it was good to go. I am very glad we went. However, I regret that I don't have any pictures of my parents from that trip. 

Swimming at the clubhouse. I really dislike swimming so I watched the baby on the sides as Justin and Joci swam. Even my mom got in the pool. I remember her and Joci swimming and playing - Joci was Ariel the mermaid and my mom was pretending to be the sea witch. 

This was Noelle's first trip to St. George. My mom got her in this little stroller and took her all over her neighborhood to show her off to her friends and neighbors. Such a proud grandma. 

My mom was also so good about getting thing like this swing down from the attic and setting it up. I told her she didn't need to worry about it because we were only there for 48 hours - Noelle could easily survive without a swing. But my mom would always bend over backwards for anyone even if you told her not to. So the swing came out of the attic and Noelle certainly loved it. 

We took Joci to her first play - Aladdin at Tuacahn theatre. I was really nervous. The tickets were pretty pricey and I was afraid she would be so restless that none of us would enjoy it. But from the moment the first chords started, she was thoroughly enchanted. After the first number, we clapped and the lights went dark and asked if we could do it again - she thought it was over. When Aladdin and Jasmine flew right over us on their magic carpet, she held up her arms to catch them in case they fell. She was so well-behaved, just in awe of the whole spectacle. At intermission we bought her a frozen lemonade and popcorn. Not the most flattering shot of her legs above (I swear she is wearing shorts!) but look at that grin! 

We had a great trip. 


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