Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Still alive....barely

We're still here. Katie is sick, I think with the same thing we are all getting over. Jeff and James are back to pretty much their chipper little selves. I, on the other hand, am not. I just can't shake this crud. Maybe it has something to do with NO SLEEP, a wee bit o' STRESS, and you know, a few things going on. Katie has been kind of miserable. It's hard telling if its from the cast or the sickness, or both. OK, so I know the answer is both, but how much of each? The bottom line is, she isn't sleeping well at all and she wants to be held almost constantly. I am going to have guns of steel pretty soon here. Ms. Universe, watch out! I may not have my sanity, but I'll have biceps the size of Texas before long.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And now for an official update....

So, now that I have had a bit of sleep and things seem to be settling in to the new 'normal,' here goes. We arrived at CHOP at about 6:00 am the morning of Katie's surgery. By 6:15 or 6:30, she was checked in and getting ready for surgery. They gave her 'giggle juice,' which is a mother's best friend. Basically, it gets them all loopy so that they don't freak out when they get wheeled away. It was still hard to watch her, but it would have been awful if I had had any sense that she felt I was leaving her. The hardest part for me was watching her play on the side of the hospital bed, pulling herself up and laughing away. I knew that for the next three months, there will be now more standing up, and very limited mobility. That was hard for me. The surgery went quickly and by 9:00 it was done. It lasted about 45 minutes, I think. By 9:30, they let me in to hold her and she was not quite 'awake' yet. She slept for the vast majority of the day. Her recovery went well, except for a concern about her heart rate. They decided it was from dehydration and gave her some fluids via IV to give her a boost. That seemed to do the trick. After a long round of nonsense, we finally determined that the only possible way to get her home from the hospital before Christmas was to get Ambulance transport home. The only place that rents SPICA car seats no longer has any. Katie's carseat was too small for her. Jeff could have driven all around town, found a car seat that might work, and then drive down to CHOP to try it. If that didn't work, well....we decided it wasn't worth the try. They arranged for an ambulance to take us home late Friday night. That's another story in and of itself. So far, Katie has done really well. She is not quite her chipper old self, but all in all she is doing very well. She seems pretty content most of the time in the cast, though she does get frustrated some. She does want to be held quite a bit, and who can blame her? I need to get a beanbag chair for her to sit in. There are still a lot of quirks to work out, and I am sure it will be a trying three months for Mama. Hopefully it'll go quickly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Katie had her surgery yesterday. She has her cast on. Things went fairly well. I'll be back later today or tomorrow to fill you in, but right now I have absolutely no brain power whatsoever.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I am now waiting for CHOP to call back. Katie has the sniffles which may mean postponing the surgery. Argh! I really want to get it done, so I don't have to anticipate it any longer. When they call, I guess they will tell me whether or not we're on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quick Update

Katie will be having surgery on Friday. It is a pretty standard procedure that will allow her femur to sit in her hip properly. After the procedure and while she is still anesthetized they will be putting her in a body cast. It will go from under her armpits and completely down her right leg. It will go only to mid-thigh on her left. We are told that kids in this type of cast actually figure out how to drag themselves around. She will be in it for three months. After that, she will be in a brace for as long as possible. With the brace, she will be able to learn how to walk. The doctor is optimistic that this will work well in her case. Please pray that the surgery goes well and that she will adjust to the cast. She will, obviously, have to sleep in the cast too, which I am worried about. She needs sleep and so do I. :) She will be admitted to CHOP overnight on Friday, so I will be staying with her there. Saturday, she will be home. After one week, she will have a CAT scan to make sure that the hip is still in the correct location. In six weeks, she will get a new cast for the remainder of the three months. It's going to be a lot of adjustment for everyone. It all seems so surreal right now.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sasquatch Sighting and Bigfoot Too!

While on vacation we took a day trip to Ouray with our friends, Mike and Erin, and Jeff's bro Clayton. Ouray is a beautiful little town nestled in the San Juan mountains. It's where we went on our honeymoon. There is a natural hot springs pool there, fed guessed it...a natural hot springs. The water is warm and smells like sulphur. It is said to have healing properties. It sure does soothe aching muscles. Anyway, we went there, and we also hike up to Cascade Falls just on the edge of town. We had lots of fun. Erin and I took off our shoes and waded in. The water, since it is snow melt, was icy cold!

I decided to use my mountain-goat-like abilities to climb a ways up. Barefoot.

Then I decided, 'what the heck, why not climb all the way up to the cave.' Barefoot. Clayton also has mountain-goat-like qualities and climbed up with me. He also prevented my from falling all the way down. He's a nice guy.

Then, we spotted Sasquatch! And Mrs. Sasquatch! Two hippies out for a hike with none other than a bottle of wine, nearly depleted. They scrambled up the rocks to the cave and polished off the wine. Disturbingly, Mrs. Sasquatch kept rolling her shorts up, shorter and shorter. After finishing off the wine, they scrambled back down and made their way off into the bushes for whatever reason. Hmmm...won't go there. Anyway, we later spotted them at the top of a steep incline. Personally, I find that climbing steep rocky inclines immediately after consuming an entire bottle of wine is always a way to ensure safety and sound judgement. OSHA would approve, for sure.

Apparently, Mr. and Mrs. Sasquatch did not meet their untimely demise, as they showed up at the pool later that afternoon. While they appeared to be 'an item' while cavorting in the mountains, I determined through some covert snooping that I think they were just friends. Weird friends. Allow me to quote what may indeed by the most profound statement you'll ever here, made my Mr. Sasquatch himself, after the Mrs. was telling him about a guy she felt 'so connected to.' He said, and I quote, "I don't even feel connected to the people I'm connected to." Ever heard of therapy, Sasquatch? As an interesting side note, Jeff sustained an injury hopping over a few boulders in a brazen attempt to capture pictures of the illusive, and a little bit tipsy Sasquatch and his not-so-significant other. What he won't do for a good picture. When Sasquatch-watch was over, we commenced wading in the stream again, when Erin took this picture of James and I. Despite the fact that it makes me look like Big Foot, I love it. Its a nice perspective. I can always count on Erin to take the most awesome pictures!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guess What We Saw: Strange Sights

Too Many Questions

Is Tuesday here yet? I cannot wait for Tuesday, when we meet with the orthopedic specialist. I have too many questions rolling around in my mind. Will the brace work? How long will she have to wear it? Will her clothes fit over it? Will it set her back in learning how to walk? How will she react to this encumbering device? Will she have to have surgery? What will the recovery be like? How could I cope with letting her be wheeled off to surgery? Will she have to have a full body cast? How will that work? Will her clothes fit over that? How will I take her any where? How will she sleep? Will she go crazy being immobilized? How will I keep her entertained? I know that I am crossing all my bridges before we get there, but I remember all the things my sister went through and I wonder. I will be so relieved when Tuesday rolls around and we can speak to the specialist face-to-face. I want to hear from him what the plan of action is, so that my mind can stop racing toward all the possibilities. I would like to, someday, sleep through the night without worrying about my kids, but I don't think that'll be happening any time soon, hip dysplasia or not.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Scandalized Over Chimichangas

While in Colorado, we had to go out for some real Mexican food. After all, T@co Bell does not count as Mexican food and that's all we have here. Jeff and I are 3/4 Mexican, so we must consume our native food sometime or other. OK, so maybe we aren't Mexican, but we could be. We have eaten enough refried beans in our lifetime to feed a small nation. This is the reason we had to get the goods. We went out with our trusty friends Mike and Erin, who also appreciate good Mexican food. The food was great.

James consumed an entire plate of beans and rice in about ten minutes.

Mike and Erin enjoyed their food.

So did we, as you can see!

Until...I noticed the...uh...anatomically correct decor. Hilarious! Nothing like seeing some testicles to make you want another bowl of rice and beans. Wow. I just said that word. Is that OK? I guess its my blog, so I can say it if I want. I am just pointing out the facts. Click on the picture if you want to verify.

I had the dubious honor of posing with this fellow. Isn't this the most hilarious restaurant decoration ever?!

The Highlight of Jeff's Vacation

Not What I Wanted To Hear

I took Katie to the pediatrician yesterday for a routine check-up and found out she has hip dysplasia.

This was not what I wanted to hear. Rachel had it and through the help of traction, body casts, and a brace her hip was able to heal itself. We don't really know much right now, but will be meeting with the specialist at CHOP on Tuesday morning. We are hoping that going the brace route will work, without having to have surgery. Fortunately this condition is not life threatening. While I am worried and sad, I know it could be much worse too. We'll keep you updated.

Colorado National Monument

Friday, July 18, 2008

Watching Paint Dry VS. High School Reunion

It's a toss up. Both are boring to the point of painful. While in GJ we decided to go to the family picnic part of Jeff's high school reunion. It sort of felt a little like mine too, since I went to school with many of the kids up until the middle of sixth grade. We opted out of the first get-together at the bar, since, well, meeting up with drunk people we used to go to school with just didn't seem all that interesting. We chose instead the family event. Word on the street was that the bar scene went well and was fairly entertaining. Apparently, not everyone shared that opinion, as they didn't show up the next day for the picnic. Either the bar wasn't that fun, or everyone was hung over. When we arrived at 2:00 (when the picnic started) we couldn't even find it. When we did, we realized that the few people who were organizing the show were just showing up. The charcoal didn't show up till 2:30. There were no introductions or name tags, no games or activities. Everyone just sat around, staring and scrutinizing from behind our respective sunglasses. Who's that, we wondered. Wow, check out so-and-so, he actually looks respectable. Several sets of extremely large fake boobs walked in. Some people gained weight, one person even grew a ZZ T0p beard situation. As it turns out, not only was this event poorly organized, but some people, namely the organizers, never grew out of the high school scene. The organizers only invited select few people: the COOL people. Our invitation was passed on from someone we knew, who had it forwarded to her. Apparently, we didn't make the cool list. One of the people there we actually knew asked one of the organizers why he didn't get invited till a few days before the event. The organizer said, 'Oh, we didn't get to the O's yet.' (The guy's last name started with an O) He said, 'Well that's funny, because Ashely P. got an invitation and P comes before O.' This particular girl happened to be the most popular girl in school. It reminded me of why I have absolutely no desire to attend my reunion and why I never liked high school to begin with. Besides, if only the cool people were invited then I will not be getting an invite. And I don't really care.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Lake

Where we are from, we have but one lake nearby. It is the sole provider of water recreation in the immediate vicinity. It offers a small swimming area, boating, fishing and jet-skiing. This lake is about the size of a large mud puddle, but hey, its all we've got. Jeff's sister and her husband went out and bought a boat so that they could take their family out for fun. They took us out, and we all took turns riding on the tube. It was lots of fun, and involved Jeff taking a major hit when the tube flipped over with him still holding on. I am proud to say that I didn't fly off, even once. So what if I had the equivalent of the granny ride. It wasn't actually that tame, but John didn't try to flip me over either. It was lots of fun, until the next day when it felt like someone had tried to rip my arms right off of me. Jeff and his Redneck Uncle Dwayne (check out the swimming attire and you'll know why I say this) rode together and it was a sight to see. I told Dwayne it was an awful shame to ruin such a nice farmer's tan, but he didn't listen.

Note the cut-off Wr@nglers and the sweet farmer's tan. Hey, at least he has a tan, which is more than Jeff can say!

This is what Katie did at the lake

James and his 'dousin Dylan Pickle'

Jeff, James, Dylan and I (in my non-amish bathing suit)

Jeff and Dwayne on the ride of their life

My niece and I: check out the sweet air we were getting. It's inconceivable!

Country Kid for a Day

One of the down sides of living out here, in my opinion, is that my kids will never have the experiences of a kid living in the country. These experiences include, but are not limited to, playing in large dirt piles, being around livestock, throwing cow pie frisbees, and swimming in cow tanks. Sometimes I become afraid that my kids will lack that certain character that comes from getting snagged on barbed wire or blowing up something with a homemade bomb. Hopefully they will turn out all right, despite the lack of manure. Anyway, we got to spend an afternoon out at the home of my childhood friend, Meg. She and her husband and kids recently bought and fixed up a cute place outside of town. When they purchased it, the owner threw in about 10 tons of sheep sh...tuff, FREE. Apparently, instead of shoveling out the barn, when the manure became so high the sheep could mosey out the window, they merely nailed boards across the window. When the fence became obscured with scat, they reinstalled the fence on top of the pile. Thanks to the previous owners, Meg and Ryan are now the proud owners of a large pile of crap. While we were there, James got to experience riding a horse. He was excited first, then scared, but he warmed up. Ryan rode with James first to get him used to it, then led him around the round pen by himself. What fun! Even more fun for the boys was the blowing up of their satellite dish. Ryan had some sort of explosives which require a shot by a high-powered rifle to ignite. In the next few days I'll put up a video of that. It was pretty entertaining. It was such fun just to hang out and let James pretend he was a country kid, if only for a day.

James riding with Ryan

James digging in the dirt (note the manure in the background)

James running with glee

'All by my own self!'

The hole in the satellite dish made by an explosive (How do you like the view?)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Missing Link

One of the reasons we went to Colorado when we did was so that we would be there when Jeff's 16-year-old brother, Clayton, was there. This was not your ordinary family get-together, though. I have never met Clayton and Jeff has only seen him once or twice. Jeff and Clayton share the same dad, who left when Jeff was only two. The word Deadbeat doesn't begin to describe him. We have had very limited contact with Clayton. In fact, we were married before I ever found out about him. I found a picture of Jeff with some little kid and asked him who that was. He said, 'Oh, that's my brother.' What!? That's how I found out I had another bro-in-law. Strange, but that's what I have come to expect with this family. Several years ago we lost touch all together and hadn't heard from them since. Recently, Jeff's sister got in contact with him and he seemed very happy about that. Clayton ended up deciding to spend nearly a month with Marinda this summer. I think he's about the bravest kid around. Basically, he flew out to stay with a stranger and her large family, who happen to be your sister and her family, for an entire month. Not only that, but he met Jeff and I, and the kids, plus the odd assortment of relatives and quasi-relatives that came through the door. That takes a lot of guts if you ask me. Turns out, he is a pretty cool guy, or as Clayton would say, 'hella cool.' He seems to share the same mechanical aptitude as Jeff. He has fixed up an El C@mino that he plans of driving when he gets his license. He likes to hunt, listen to AC DC (maybe that is genetic after all), and be outdoors. Since we don't know their Dad's side of the family at all, he really filled us in on what they were like. He told Jeff that he has the same sense of humor as Grandpa Groves. He and Jeff both say 'What?' after telling a joke, especially a lame one. I told Clayton he was like the missing link to the family we don't know. It was really fun getting to know him, and it will be great to keep in touch with him from now on. Even if he does eat squirrels. We'll just have to look past that one redneck tendency of his. :)

Go Ahead, Have Kids, Its Fun....I Promise!

For part of our vacation, we stayed with our friends Mike and Erin. They are as of yet, and now maybe never, childless. They do have a fantastic dog named Maxwell, or if you are James, Mass-wheel. They kindly offered to allow us to stay at their home for a while. They are probably wondering now what ever got into them. During the stay, there were a few, shall we say, minor mishaps involving poop, pee and puke. I really can't describe it any better than Erin, so please read here for the full story. It's hilarious! Thanks, guys, for letting us stay at your house! It was so much fun, and relaxing, and inspiring. Thanks to Erin, I know want to every vegetable and fruit in sight!

We're Back!

We're back from our trip to Colorado. I'll fill y'all in tomorrow or the next day, as the jet lag is setting in and laundry is piled higher than the Rocky Mountains in my living room. Here are a few pictures for now:

Much more to come!

Friday, July 11, 2008 anybody out there?

We're still here on vacation, winding down our trip. We spent today in Ouray hiking, swimming in the hot springs pool and enjoying the scenery. We stopped at the Russel St0ver Chocolate factory and bought way too much chocolate. The kids are doing alright, but getting tired of all the inconsistency. James has been asking to go back to the 'new house.' There will be lots to update on when we return, including lots of pictures. The stories will include horses, swimming, toads and explosives, among other things. We'll be back soon!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

From the land of fresh DRY air...

Ahhh...though the weather is in the upper 90's here, it is glorious! The air is dry so it doesn't feel so hot. We have been very busy so far, seeing family, swimming, Fourth of July festivities, going boating/tubing, etc. Really, too much to write about now...but we are taking lots of pictures including ones to go with my Franch stories! I'll have plenty to blog about when we get back. Until then, I'll leave you with this. My little nephew Johnathan, who is 5, is really smart. He is a thinker, that one. We took him, Tyler and Clayton on the Monument yesterday. Every hole in the rock was a 'mountain lion hole.' I'm telling you, if that were true, there would be an awful lot of mountain lions roaming around. Every 2.33 seconds he would yell 'There's another mountain lion hole!!' When Jeff and Clayton got out to look around, Johnathan said 'What if they see a mountain lion? They need to back away slowly and get back in the car. That's what the sign says.' Tyler said 'No, he needs to stop, drop and roll.' Johnathan said 'Why would you need to stop, drop and roll if he's going to EAT YOU?'

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Will Be Dropping off the Face of the Blogosphere

Don't be alarmed! I am not going to be blogging much, or maybe not at all, for a bit. We are going on

V A C A T I O N !

Need I say more? We are excited to get out of Dodge for a while and see everyone back 'home.' Don't worry, I'll be back to be posting the same ol' drivel in no time flat. See you then!