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Friday, April 21, 2017

Eye Surgery

Even though patching did not work, Rhys sure looked like the coolest pirate ever for a time.

After no success with 2 attempts of months of eye patching, and visiting two different eye doctors, Rhys underwent bilateral strabismis outpatient surgery on his eyes Wednesday. Both Neal and I were there to help him come out of anesthesia without rubbing his face. He was quite uncomfortable and agitated at first and at periods throughout the day but we worked on staying calm for longer and longer periods. Pretty hard on a mama to see her son crying pink tears.

The next day he opened his eyes a lot more and his anxiety quickly lessened as he realized his eyes were feeling better and the drops and ointments really were benefiting him instead of hurting him. We took it easy by trying things slowly throughout the morning--reading a few pages to see how it went, going for a short walk outside to see if the light still bugged him, etc. By early afternoon he was much more himself and we went to a follow up appointment with the surgeon. She measured and found that it all looked good and Rhys was quite happy with how things were progressing.

He went back to school for a trial day today, Friday, with orders for no PE or recess play for a week. I am happy to be only 3 minutes away from my boy. We preemptively had Rhys' teacher discuss the upcoming surgery and the resulting temporary change in appearance (red whites of the eye, crossed-eyed) in hopes to avoid teasing and increase understanding and compassion. But they are second graders so we'll see.

Neal has had his boss in town and has been having dinners with him and Neal's been preparing for the PTA's silent auction this week.  We are happy that Saturday is open and he can spend some more time with his son and family.

Thanks for help from Opa, in caring for Rhys while we went to a short school meeting, and for the calls to see how Rhys has been doing from family. We appreciate the love and support.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fairfield State Park Camping

Thanks to Good Friday, we were able to get two nights of camping in before making our way home to prepare for Easter Sunday. Hiking, swimming, and s'mores.

Tyler using sticks to remove spider webs from our path

Somewhere in there is a very happy man

Pink Evening Primrose was everywhere on our trip there

Made it home safe and sound Saturday afternoon. Sunday, Keri spoke in church on Christ's resurrection during sacrament meeting and we had Oma and Opa over for an early dinner. Thanks to them for some awesome chocolate booty. We finished our Easter by attending a Easter choir performance at one of our local church buildings. Great ending to a great weekend!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis, TX

Spontaneously took off to Ennis to see the bluebonnets instead of our annual Eggstravaganza at city hall this year. Glad we did! It was gorgeous! Enjoyed photos, a nature walk, festival, and lunch at the Wildflower Cafe.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Grandma and Grandpa

My dad, Dennis, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, stage 3 back in the fall when they spotted something odd when going in to remove his gall bladder for a planned surgery. He chose to do naturopathic treatments after the surgical removal of the cancer and then went back and forth with the idea of doing chemo for months, finally doing a 3 month trial of chemo starting at the new year. His most recent scans came back clear of cancer and he has decided to stop chemo and continue with a modified naturopathic treatment for some time. He gets scanned again in 3 months.

In the meantime, my mom, a diabetic we thought would have never made it this far had a serious period of low blood sugar in which my father did not act in her best interest, and she ended up in the hospital with stroke like symptoms (aphasia) but nothing indicating a stroke on the brain scans.  Within a week her speech had return to normal.

It has been kind of crazy. Partially because I am not there to help out given the distance. Partially because, communication is not one of the strengths of my family, and partially because it is hard to determine how to enter the role of child as caregiver without worsening circumstances or relationships. It's a new era but not sure how to navigate it.

I feel it would be best to have plans A, B, and C depending on which parent dies or becomes totally dependent first but they would also have to agree with said plans as they are able to make their own decisions right now. Hmmm.  Been thinking. Not sure where to go next.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Field Trip to The Frontiers of Flight Museum

Neal is a great dad. There is no debating that.
Yesterday he chaperoned Rhys' field trip to The Frontiers of Flight Museum. He really has fun with his kids and helps out in the this way as often as he can. He even splurged on these bad boys for the special day.
 Not far in to his bus ride there, I got this text: "You know that scene in the Grinch where he's all noise noise noise noise... That's my life right now"

He had a good group of 4 kids and got a tour from an 85-year-old WWII veteran, Tad, who was a wealth of knowledge. He even got to mark another Apollo Command Module off his list (that's 3 now). Good times!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

St. Patty's Day and a Big Reveal

The kids didn't bother to trap the leprechaun this year and my son said we'd be nicer to give him a break but since I already bought the goods, we had fun anyway. Neal helped me make it look as though a unicorn had crapped a rainbow all over the house. We left yellow lemon gum containers in their shoes for pots of gold.
They loved it but this may be the last year. Sophie upon returning from school asked in front of Rhys if leprechauns were real so I deflected and later, when we were solo with her, Neal and I brought it up again. This time when she asked we told her the truth and she made a bit of a disapponted "Ooooh." We asked her to respect our wishes and let Rhys ask us on his own and not spoil it for him. We told her she could be on our side of the fun now.

This has been MY biggest hang up. That she may spoil the fun for him when he has at least another two years or so, if we stretch it. I also am interested in how this goes with the other false traditions we've kept up.

It has already started because Rhys lost a tooth at school on St. Patrick's Day and the tooth fairy made her visit. On Saturday morning when Rhys was making his discovery and we were talking about it, Sophie looked at Neal with the "It's all coming together" look. Next, it will be the Easter bunny if it's really coming together.
One of the many, many faces of Sophie. Girl loves the camera.

He actually liked it, but that face!

We finished up St. Patrick's Day with a corned beef dinner and Irish soda bread. Rhys helped me with the making the bread. I love playing in the kitchen with him.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Cruise That Dead Grandma Paid For

I know it sounds bad but it's actually true. When Neal's mom passed away about 4 years ago, we found she was quite the collector of stuff. Luckily not a hoarder, just a collector. A collector of things that we mostly held no interest in. Enter Ebay.

Yep, for 4 years we whittled down the boxes and boxes of "stuff" and passed it on to those it would could bring joy to, like it did Susan.

Grandma would be happy to know she treated her two kids with their spouses and her grandkids to a 7-day Caribbean cruise. Mahogany Bay, Belize City, and Cozumel. Thank you, Grandma for the fun and memories made.
Oma and Opa joined us for the fun and off we went to Houston the first day to enjoy restaurants, museums, and the space center. We finally experienced the spectacle Bucky's is on our way there. That place is crazy with people but they have yummy cookies and taffy! We stayed in a hotel with a great view. Sunday we headed to church and joined the pack for traveling to and boarding the ship.

It was gloomy Sunday but we had fun exploring the ship, getting settled in and dining. We did what people do on cruise ships, nothing and everything. Aunt Kira planned a great scavenger hunt for our families. We took photos and shared them afterwards and the kids got prizes. There were two tall water slides on the ship, a ropes course, and miniature golf which we had fun doing. We ate A LOT and tried lots of things. I ate a mussel and snails and didn't die. Neal and Rhys tried frog legs and ox tongue. Sophie ate shrimp like it was going extinct. Rhys danced with our waiter during "show time" 3 nights or so and he actually got weepy when it was the last night in the dining room because that fun was coming to an end. We enjoyed playing trivia games, getting professional photos done, and seeing shows. It was just fun hanging out with family and resting.

Trivia winner and smarter than all his family!

At Mahogany Bay in Honduras, we went on a family excursion to enjoy macaws and monkeys up close and personal. That's what was advertised and that's what we got so we were very happy.


Another Carnival ship was docked in front of us that wasn't leaving for some reason as expected so we ended up in port for hours after our intended departure time. Because of this the next days excursions were delayed and we had to take a tender to land. Neal, the kids, and I followed our tour guide through the port shopping area to the bus when a Carnival employee showed up and said our excursion was cancelled due to time constraints, though they had repeatedly told us all was well, up until that point. We were really looking forward to seeing the pyramids and ruins and seeing the wildlife on the boat portion. Neal was so disappointed and we were all wondering what to do in our new circumstances.

After a few minutes to rethink and an hour or so of wondering around, we ended up in a win-win situation. Bert, a taxi driver, stopped us as his last shot before heading home as he had not had any luck that morning. We were looking for something to do that felt safe and right. He asked if we wanted a tour, and I felt good about it so we talked some more and since I still felt good about it, we enjoyed a great, very informative tour of Belize City. He was great. I wish I took a picture of him and the area but we were too busy asking questions and learning. We saw the slums, the new areas, the water drainage, wild dogs, street vendors which we got fried plantain chips from, and historical buildings. Our kids didn't care much about what was happening but they didn't complain either. It mad a unpleasant situation into a good one. And Carnival comped us for the excursion and the previous day's excursion.

We spent the last day at port in Cozumel where our whole family and got another taxi, shopped, saw ruins (no pyramids but still good) and the blue blue water of the beaches. I've seen blue waters in pictures and on TV but I still could not believe how blue the water actually was. It was a real nice day.

Looking up at a group of 5-6 bats inside.

It was a great trip and an extra good one because of being with great family (and limited phone/device usage).

There is only one more cruise I care to go on in my lifetime and that is an Alaskan cruise and I wouldn't feel sad if that never happened but it would be nice. Neal's family seems to be cruise people. I am not complaining. It was great! I just want to do other things more. Luckily we don't have to miss the best part of the trip too much as we will be with family again on a trip this upcoming August.