Sunday, August 29, 2010

Youth Speaker

Caleb gave his first Sacrament meeting talk today. He was given the topic, "I hope they call me on a mission," which was appropriate since we had a very-recently returned missionary report his mission as well.

Caleb was very nervous but he did a great job hiding it as he stood confidently at the pulpit. His natural inflection and sincerity of his tone make him an easy speaker to listen to.

I decided to post his talk here as I thought his grandparents would appreciate being able to read the words he shared today. I gave him a few questions to prompt him, but these words are all his. And knowing Caleb, you'll be able to hear his voice throughout them.

“ I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two.”

I want to go on a mission because I want to be able to teach people about the church and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

“I hope by then I will be ready to teach and preach and work as missionaries do.”

I can be ready to serve a mission by completing my Duty to God, bearing my testimony and by learning how to pray and keep the Sabbath day holy. An experience I’ve had with prayer was when the scouts and I were searching for a campsite. We couldn’t find a spot to camp. We had hiked three miles and we were already very tired. It was about 11:00 at night. So we decided to say a prayer to our Heavenly Father for help. After the prayer, we traced our steps back from where we’d come and then we found a perfect spot. We were thankful that our Heavenly Father answered our prayer.

Another experience I had was when my youngest sister, Natalie, lost her favorite blanket that she always uses when she goes to sleep. My sister was feeling panicked and worried about her blanket. My mom decided we should say a prayer that we could find my sister’s blanket. Natalie asked me to say the prayer. After we prayed, we went back into her room and decided to look in the laundry basket, even though we had already looked there before. Right at the bottom of the laundry basket was her blanket. She yelled, “I found it!” These experiences with prayer teach me that our Heavenly Father always answers our prayers and makes my faith and testimony stronger.

“I hope that I can share the gospel.”

An experience I had with sharing the gospel was when one of my friends invited me to a party on Sunday. I stood up and told him about the Sabbath and that we always keep the Sabbath day holy. I can be a good example by always trying to do the right thing.

“I want to be a missionary and serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth.”

I recently went to a clothing bank with Ben and Adam to help out the poor and needy. We helped them get school supplies, clothes and hair cuts for school. I helped the kids or their parents get their school supplies and make sure everything was A-OK with them. Service is something that will help me be like a missionary.

I have a testimony that I know that the church is true. I know that I can be a good missionary that is always helpful and thoughtful. I know that our prayers will be answered when we need help. I want to serve a mission. I will be ready if I choose the right.

Don't you just love the "A-OK" part? It's so Caleb.

I'm not all that thrilled about the thought of him growing another foot (it definitely won't be two!) but I'm sure grateful that he his growing in the gospel and able to share his thoughts in this way.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What We've Been Doing This Summer

"How's your summer been?"

It's a commonly asked question. I often reply that ours has been good if you don't mind living at the gym. Between my coaching and Alyssa's training, we spend nearly half of every day in our second home.

Here's Alyssa getting some one-on-one attention from her amazing Chinese coach, Tia:

Here's a tiny peek at some other tricks Alyssa's been up to. (Bars is her favorite event.) Sorry that you'll have to crank your neck to view the first video. I forgot that you can't rotate video.

These are giants with Coach Brad--she won't compete these until level 7.

This is a flyaway, her level 6 dismount. Only 5 weeks until the first meet.

It's really not the only thing we've done this summer. We've found time for other fun stuff, too. But Alyssa truly loves to be in the gym, even if it does mean that's how the majority of her summer is spent.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Going Postal

It's appears that Mailman Dave is waging war. I suppose Jon may be partly at fault for perpetuating the situation. He attached the following note to the collection envelope that contained the all-too-important 34 cents:

"Here is the due postage. Next time, please return to sender."

Today we were treated to this nasty note stuck to a piece of our mail:

It reads: "If you do not want to pay postage due on an item then return the item unopened. Your request to just return the item is an unreasonable expectation. I have over 2,100 people on this route. I can't remember each little request--let's follow postal rules--either pay the postage due or give the item back to me. You can't keep it and not pay. Thanks Mailman Dave"

Over 2,100 people but he still has time to write notes.

I'm starting to wonder if we should activate our alarm system. He does, afterall, know where we live.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mailman Dave

Evidently our mailman's name is Dave. I've never met him nor do I even know what he looks like, but he must be related to Lane Myer's paper boy, Johnny. Remember him?

"I want my two dollars!"

Mailman Dave delivered a piece of mail for Natalie last Thursday. It was a simple thank you from a friend written on a single piece of printer paper. The note was not folded flat but was crumpled, which is the only reason I can think of that would make two first class stamps insufficient postage. The envelope was stamped "postage due."

Taped to the envelope was this collection envelope:

We laughed at the extra bold numbering and underlining that signaled Mailman Dave's urgency in being paid and then set it aside with every intent to repay him in full. But we forgot about the debt for a couple of days.

Today, instead of any mail in our mailbox, we had this note:

Evidently Mailman Dave is refusing to deliver our mail until we pay him the 34 cents that are rightfully his.

We laughed, then we quickly gathered some coins and deposited them in our mailbox where they are waiting for Mailman Dave.

Our debt has been settled. Now, can we please have our mail?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

She Passed!

The endocrinologist just called with the good news. Alyssa does not have a growth hormone deficiency.

He was encouraged by her height measurement that was done the morning of the test but is somewhat doubtful that the medical assistant who took the stat was "obsessive" enough to ensure it's complete accuracy. (Evidently anyone outside of an endocrine clinic is not sufficiently qualified to take height measurements.)

Her growth that was "unimpressive" back in April has since been "moving at a good clip." (As long as that height measurement was accurate, the doctor would add. A big "if", he would also add.) Who knew doctors could be so egotistical about height measurements?

What does this mean? He says it probably means that her "clock is wound back." Where most girls will cap off growth at 14 years of age, it may take Alyssa until 16.

He wants us to repeat the bone age test (just a hand x-ray) around her birthday and take a height measurement (done only by his staff, of course) to track her growth. He'll also attempt to give us a height prediction at that time.

How does our tiny, perfectly healthy, little girl feel about this news? She's beaming!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Alyssa's Test

Alyssa had a growth hormone stimulation test done on Thursday. It was tough but she was tougher. She had been really nervous about it but I never doubted that she would handle it all like the champ that she is.

We arrived at Children's hospital first thing in the morning. We were directed to the oncology department where the test was to be performed. If you ever need a bit of perspective on life, spend a day in the oncology department of a children's hospital. Our day was rough but we couldn't help but feel grateful that our visit didn't involve chemotherapy. The reason for our visit was by comparison so minor.

We were shown to station 3 and Alyssa was relieved that she didn't have to wear a hospital gown. Warm compresses were placed on her arms to prepare for the IV. She was so good at putting on a brave face.

You can see from the machine behind her that her baseline BP was 87/64

After a few minutes, the nurse inspected her arms before inserting the IV.

"Wow, you've got muscles! Are you in gymnastics?" she said.

Though Alyssa was a girl of (very) few words all day, that helped break the ice. She's also got great veins in those strong arms so the IV went in effortlessly.

Immediately after the IV was started, Alyssa was given a drug called Clonodine which causes blood pressure to drop. As I understand it, when blood pressure drops, the pituitary gland is stimulated to release growth hormone. Blood samples were taken every 30 minutes with the goal that we might be able to ascertain whether or not Alyssa's body produces growth hormone properly.

Drop her blood pressure did. And fast. Within minutes of swallowing that little pill, Alyssa's BP was only 75/38. It was necessary to start pumping her with IV fluids in effort to keep her blood volume up.

The drop in blood pressure made her very weak and tired. She rested as much as she could between the frequent blood draws and blood pressure readings.

I've never seen our strong little girl so weak.

After about three hours, a second drug called Glucagone was delivered via shot in the arm. This drug caused her blood sugar to spike and like the effects of Clonodine, should cause growth hormone to be released. Although she did vomit once, her body seemed to tolerate this second drug much better than the first.

I was sad to see her feeling so awful and yet she was such a good sport. Around lunch time, while Alyssa was lightly dozing, I went down to the gift shop to get her a pick-me-up. I came back with a soft and cuddily Webkinz puppy. The nurse suggested she name it Rocky because Alyssa was such a rock star patient. She decided on Cotton Candy instead.

This testing required Alyssa to fast but after the last vial (10 total!) of blood was drawn, she was finally allowed to eat. By then it was 2:15 in the afternoon. Her blood pressure continued to be too low and we hoped that eating would help bring it up.

She looked significantly better after eating two bowls of cereal and several packages of crackers. She said it felt like she was having a very late breakfast.

The nurse and Jon and I were taking bets on what her blood pressure would be once she was done eating. We were convinced the numbers would be higher. At 3:15 her reading was a disappointing 80/37. The doctor would not allow Alyssa to be released until the bottom number was at least 40.

Finally at 4:30, we got a 85/40 and Alyssa was released with a caution that we watch her carefully. What was supposed to take 5 hours ended up taking nine.

While Jon and I cursed the rush hour traffic, Alyssa did this:

We're glad it's over and thankful that Alyssa handled it all so well. We've really tried to teach her that while trials like this are definitely not fun, they can help us grow closer to the Savior if we let them.

She is back to full strength and will return to the gym tomorrow. We don't yet know any results, but we pray that this test will provide us with some valuable information and help us know where to go from here.