Sunday, June 24, 2007

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Alyssa's gymnastics team has a number of performances or events to attend this summer. The first of such events was the Buckley Log Show parade, held yesterday in the small town of Buckley, which is about 15 miles from where we live. Although we didn't know what to expect or what her involvement would be, she really wanted to participate.

We got up early and made the drive to Buckley where Alyssa met up with her coach and teammates. They took their place in the parade line-up and we found a nice spot to watch. I could tell that this was not going to be like any other parade I'd ever attended. I immediately felt like the city mouse that visited the country. This is Carhartt and suspenders territory. Beards and camouflage hats. This parade consisted mostly of semi-trucks and Caterpillars. There were literally more than 40 diesel-guzzling 18 wheelers with deafening horns, which they repeatedly blared as they passed.

I couldn't resist snapping a picture of this country mouse that was sitting next to us with his family. At one point in the parade he warned his young daughters, BobbiSue and Suzanna, to "Cover your ears, here comes Lance!" That was good advice. Lance's rig was equipped with the loudest horn I've ever heard. Jon said, "That's as loud as a train!" It really was.

The horns were too much for Caleb. He kept his ears tightly covered for the majority of the parade! He grew tired of the trucks and longed for the traditional marching band! The truck drivers did dispense large amounts of candy to the kids in the crowd. Though it was challenging for Caleb to pick up the treats while keeping his hands over his ears, he and Natalie managed to gather quite a stash!

At the end of the long line of trucks came Alyssa. We were excited to see her cartwheeling down the street, waving to the crowd. I had doubted if she was ready for this event. She's so little and has only been in gymnastics for six months and a member of the team for one. But she looked like a natural out there and she can't wait for her next parade!

She's the one in the middle, wearing blue! Though her team has more than 30 gymnasts, only seven participated in the parade.

What would a good ole country parade be without a group of square dancers? They rocked out to their caller singing "Macho Man."

We had a fun day in the country. Maybe next year we will attend some of the other events of the log show. They do sound like fun, even for city folk like us.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Head Over Heels

Alyssa's first back handspring all by herself!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Potty Talk

We use a lot of potty talk at our house. Discussing all aspects of bathroom visits is something we've been forced to become comfortable with. We can't be embarrassed by questions of timing, quanity, texture and shape; it's just a part of our everyday lives.

Yesterday's wait for the doctor seemed unusually long. We were growing restless and finding it increasly difficult to contain our energetic two-year old. We don't normally bring her to Caleb's appointments but Jon wanted to be involved with this latest visit, to meet the doctor that has been treating Caleb for the last several months, so it became a family outing of sorts. (Alyssa had gladly accepted a playdate offer instead.) As we waited, Natalie climbed all over the office. At one point she lay on the exam table, kicked her feet in the air, and mischievously laughed, "Caleb poops!" If only it were that simple!

We've definitely had our moments of finding humor in an extremely frustrating situation. Caleb's doctor has a very thick accent which makes potty talk all the funnier! She pronounces his name 'Ka leeb' and the 'oo' in poop seems particularly accentuated. Her accent combined with Caleb's speech and language difficulties makes for very interesting patient/doctor conversations. I serve as translator on both sides! Jon and I have laughed about this many times as I've rehearsed this scenario for him. We both struggled to contain our giggles behind tight-lipped grins as Jon experienced it in person for the first time yesterday.

But really, this is no laughing matter. X-rays showed that Caleb is every bit as "full" as he's always been. How can it be that four gallons of TriLyte, daily doses of Mirilax and frequent bathroom visits don't work? He's been going twice a day and there's still that much inside? Unbelievable!

The next step in his treatment invovles a medication called GoLytely which is administered via a nasogastric tube. Who named this drug GoLytely? Are you kidding? If it's anything like the TriLyte, GoViolently would be much more accurate!
The procedure, done in the office, involves having a tube inserted through the nose and into the stomach. His nose will be numbed to the make the insertion more comfortable. He will also have an IV to control his fluids since he won't be allowed to eat or drink. The GoLytely will be given throughout the day in increasing volumes and he will have to walk the halls every half-hour to encourage movement. An x-ray will be done at the end of the day to confirm that all is clear.

Caleb did his best to be brave but he eventually broke down, crying. He has seen two other children in the office going through the same procedure and he didn't want to "look funny" like them. I choked back my own tears as my heart broke for him. He's been so cooperative through all of this, taking massive amounts of disgusting medicine. We tried to console him by saying, "Just think how fast you'll be able to run when we get your tummy cleaned out!"

I know he'll be able to handle this procedure as gracefully as any boy can and I have high hopes that this could be the solution to this poopy situation. Maybe then, we won't have so much potty talk at our house!

Friday, June 8, 2007

A New Personal Record

Track has started again and Caleb's got his running shoes on! His favorite event is the 1600 (the mile), which he ran at a practice meet yesterday. He finished with a time of 7:01! It won't be long before I won't be able to keep up anymore! He also did really well in the 100 and 400.

The two boys in front finished first, the teenager in the football jersey is not part of the team, and the other runners in this picture are being lapped! Go Caleb, go!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Heavens Parted and the Angels Sang

For me, it was love at first sight.

We had both signed up for a BYU study abroad program in Guatemala. In preparation for the program, we were required to take a culture class. The class was held in a conference room and all of the students were seated around a large table. We took turns introducing ourselves to the group. Jon was sitting across from me and I clearly remember those distinguishing brown eyes looking directly into mine as he stated his name. Though the class was held once a week for several weeks, we never spoke other than one brief hello as we passed one day on campus. My heart fluttered at his one word greeting.

It was the last day of April, a Sunday, when our group left SLC for Guatemala. We had the first of two layovers in San Francisco. I don’t remember exactly how long we were in that airport but I do know that from that time forward, my life would never be the same. It was there that Jon and I first met or as I always say, a little tongue-in-cheek, “When the heavens parted and the angels sang.” One of those “Saturday’s Warrior” kind of moments.

I was sitting on the floor with my back to the windows, passing the time with a crossword puzzle. Jon came and sat on the row of chairs in front of me and I couldn’t resist the desire to engage him conversation. I looked up and asked for his help with one of my crossword clues. With that, he sat beside me and we finished the crossword together.

“Do you want to go get a Coke?” I have never been a pop drinker but you’d better believe I enthusiastically accepted the invitation. As we sipped our sodas Jon suggested that I try to change my seat assignment so I could sit with him on the next flight. We were making our way to LA where we would then connect to Guatemala. I wasn’t able to make the change for the LA flight but once we were in the air en route to Guatemala, Jon came to me and said, “There’s an empty seat back by me.” How’s that for smooth? We spent the next five hours thoroughly enjoying one another’s company.

After a few days of sightseeing in Guatemala City, we boarded a bus to be taken to the remote countryside where our studies were to occur. Our group was going to be split between two small villages, about 45 minutes from one another. The professor walked up and down the aisle of the bus giving each student their village assignment. My stomach was in knots as I waited, sitting next to Jon, to be told where I would spend the next six weeks. I didn’t have a preference, I just wanted to go wherever Jon was going. Thankfully, we were assigned the same location. The rest, as they say, is history.

We were virtually inseparable, spending all possible moments together. Within a few weeks, the other students referred to us as “The Hatches.” Over the next month and a half I learned about his family and friends and he learned about mine. He discovered that Chicago was my kind of music and I learned of his affinity for Van Halen. I had the opportunity to see his nifty dance moves and I showed him back handspring or two. I never wore a stitch of make-up and used not an ounce of hair product during our stay. We only bathed once a week. We saw each other in the most rustic of circumstances. I got to see how easily he adapted to living in a third world country, his compassion for other people and the way he interacted with children. I’ll never forget the first time I heard him bear his testimony as he talked with the family I lived with.

Our time in Guatemala ended too soon and it was difficult to say goodbye. We had fallen in love. We were separated over the summer but our constant letters kept us connected until we both returned to school in the fall. We were married the following summer on June 7th, 1996. That was eleven years ago today.

I couldn’t be more blessed in this aspect of my life. Jon is my everything! He keeps me grounded and gives me a security that I cannot describe. I love him more every day. Every June 7th, and sometimes in between, I recall the day the heavens parted and the angels sang!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The First Fruits

Alyssa and Hunter were so excited to pick the first fruit of the season. They found two ripe, delicious strawberries in our garden and promptly snacked on them. We love to see our garden grow!

It must be time to head to the strawberry fields to pick our bounty for the year. While they're good for snacking, our small garden doesn't produce near enough berries for our liking so we always go to a U-pick field to stock up on berries for smoothies, jam and just plain eating. Fresh berries are one of my favorite parts of summer!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Climb Every Mountain

What happens when you leave overflowing laundry baskets to go on a weekend camping trip? You come home to mountains of laundry! This is how I've spent all my "free" time this week. I started the first load immediately after arriving home on Monday and finally finished the job on Saturday. How many people live here anyway?

How does this happen? Where have the matches to all of these socks gone? Drives me crazy!

On my list of least favorite chores, laundry is second only to bathrooms! Lucky for me, Jon decided to tackle that mountain for me yesterday. I could get used to that arrangement! :)

The kids did help with some chores but they seem to finish much earlier so they were able to enjoy some fun in the sun! Jon took a break from the chores to fill the pool and set up the waterslide.

Why not climb a mountain to sunbathe? I thought this was an interesting place for Caleb to get warm. This rock wall is twenty feet tall! Maybe he was just trying to get closer to the sun.

We managed to get through lots of chores (except for the garage, that's our Mount Everest that we can't seem to summit) so we rewarded ourselves with a BBQ at the park. The weather was perfect and the burgers tasty, but life is never too calm for us. Natalie took a swing to the head and as head wounds go, was bleeding pretty badly. It wasn't a really large cut but it was fairly deep so, we got to face the mountain that is the ER. We were actually very fortunate as we got in immediately upon our arrival. How often does that happen? We were literally the only people in the waiting room. The doctor came quickly and decided that her laceration could be treated with skin glue. She had stitches in October and it was very traumatic so we were so grateful that this wound could be treated with a much less painful procedure. They numbed it up really well, pinched it together and applied the glue. Now she just has this small red line. Amazing!

Natalie did very well, didn't even cry, and was thrilled with her popscicle reward!

What's in store for us this week? There will always be more mountains to climb, right?