Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a very positive update

Scott has been so helpful keeping the family updated via email. Unfortunately, he's leaving on a business trip this morning, so I'm not sure how often we'll be getting this good, detailed information. This is Scott's most recent email to us, and it brought tears of relief. The parenthetical remarks are mine.

"Spencer came back from the MRI, and Jim Gebhard (a family friend who happens to be an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the spine) was there to review the results with us. He gave us a lot of detailed information as he pulled up each of the radiology results, both before and after the surgeries. First, the second MRI confirms only the results of the first. Very slight bruising in the spinal cord, but in a position that could explain the limited exercising of the left side. Just to show up the latest line of thought, Spencer decided to stretch as he was getting hooked up to the equipment in the ICU. He pulled his left arm almost up to his chin (he was showing little movement on this side) and lifted both legs simultaneously a couple of times (how cool is that?!). He found the tubes down his mouth, but did not pull them out (an indication of decreased agitation). Earlier in the day, Dad noticed that Spencer was trying to open his right eye (the good one). He opened it a little for him and said,"Spencer, it's Dad. Look over here." And he did (whenever Spencer responds to verbal communication, it makes me tear up). Then after 8pm when Dad and Jen went back after dinner, the male nurse said he told Spencer if he would not pull out the tubes, he would remove the arm restraints and let him scratch whatever he wanted (even unconscious, you could tell Spencer was irritated with all these probes and tape all over his body). Spencer relaxed his arm, waited until the arm was free, and scratched his forehead. When he moved to his left eye (covered in a lot of gauze and a patch), the nurse told him not to touch that, so he put his hand back down (WOW!). This is so encouraging. The only thing I think we can hope for more is to have the pain reduce so he can tolerate coming to consciousness and talk to us!"

I'm so anxious for Spencer to regain consciousness, though I need to keep reminding myself that his body and brain need this time to rebuild and heal. But, it's hard to think that he's in so much pain that the only way to deal with it is to stay unconscious. What a relief to be seeing so much out of him at this point! Phew! Jen's best friend, Christine, is flying in today to be there with them. I think that will be very helpful.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Our own family miracle

(this post was edited to improve the accuracy of the actual event of the fall and rescue as corrected by Spencer's friend, Matt Thomas, who was one of his hiking companions. He tells the story better, since he was there... thank goodness for that! I've italicized the paragraph that Matt edited for me. Thanks again, Matt!)

This weekend held for us one of life's most dramatic moments; the fear that one of your loved ones may die. This is my awesome brother, Spencer Anderson.

He's notorious for making faces in pictures. It's because he thinks he looks goofy, even when he's trying to smile nice, so therefore, look goofy on purpose! He's a strong and tough man, but he's also a gigantic teddy bear who cherishes his wife, and couldn't love his gorgeous little daughters more. I've looked up to him as long as I can remember. This picture also includes is sweet wife, Jen... another one of my most favorite people.

So, when my dad called me on Saturday at 4:00 pm to let me know "Spencer's been in a terrible accident, he's fallen, has lost an eye and has some serious brain damage. You need to prepare yourself for the worst," I got really scared. Within an hour, we determined to join the family in Colorado, we had clothes packed up for ourselves and the boys, our kids situated up at Paul's parents house for the night, and we were on the road heading to Grand Junction. The next 3 hours were pretty agonizing for me. We had so little information, and none of the benefit that the rest of family received from receiving priesthood blessings of comfort, hope, and peace.

My family was driving west from Denver and we were driving east from Utah, and we were actually the first members of the family to arrive in Grand Junction. I'm grateful that we were able to do the leg-work of finding out exactly where he was and answering questions regarding contact information so that when Jen and my parents got there, they were able to get right to him. When we got there, he was just getting out of surgery and the ICU needed time to get him hooked up to a myriad of tubes and monitors. He was almost fully ready by the time everyone arrived. I'm so glad. Many of us were able to be there together to be a support to one another. I know I truly benefitted from this and I'm extra sorry that Alisha, Camille, and Nicki were not able to be with us.

Over the course of the next 24 hours, this is what we learned about what happened to Spencer, the miracles that saved him, and what will happen from here. Spencer and his 3 buddies came to Grand Junction to camp and hike. They were headed to see the concentration of nine arches, including Rattlesnake Arch, in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Area near Colorado National Monument. They were accessing the arches via the Pollack Bench Trail. As they were hiking on Saturday morning, they had missed a hairpin turn on the trail they were hiking by about 100 feet. The hiking order at that moment was Spence in front, then Josh, Matt and Rod. For the sake of explanation, if you’ll imagine looking toward a cliff edge from the top, Spence was at the left side of the group and Rod was at the right. Spence happened to be only about 50 feet ahead and went over to the cliff edge. Matt and Josh heard a distinct slipping noise (one they’ll never forget) and immediately looked at each other with disbelief. They yelled out to Spence once, then again much louder and realized what the slipping sound must have been. Because of their respective positions, Josh was the first to the edge (and nearest to Spence) and the first that saw that Spence had, indeed, fallen. He had SOMEHOW fallen off this 30 foot cliff, landing on his left side onto a flat rock bench below. Josh began running back to the right where Rod had found the trail. Matt followed to the cliff edge and also saw the frightening sight. By that time, Rod had begun making his way down the trail which stair-stepped down the cliff face. Josh followed, then Matt. Josh and Rod were able to get to him first. Because of the life-or-death condition that Spencer was in, the decision to go ahead and move Spencer had to be made. The three of them quickly, but ever so carefully, got him rolled over and eventually stabilized on the steep slope just below the flat rock bench where he initially impacted. Matt found a cell phone (Spence’s) and made a 911 emergency call while Josh and Rod administered a Priesthood blessing. Apparently, Spencer was thrashing around and fighting everything his friends were doing. They gave him a priesthood blessing (but had run out of symbolic oil), and had, at one point, separately commanded him to be calm. Immediately, Spencer calmed down. Miracles were witnessed on site, and are a continuing factor in Spencer’s amazing recovery. The power of the priesthood is profound and REAL. Cell reception wasn’t to be had at the immediate site of the incident so Matt scrambled back up the cliff face, found reception and made the call again to 911. All in all, three calls had to be made to 911 because of losing reception. Calls were also coordinated with the search & rescue team and the sheriff’s office. Thankfully, one of the friends helping Spencer was two months into his EMT training and by the time the flight nurses had arrived in the rescue chopper, they told them that they had done everything perfectly. After the medical and search & rescue teams had arrived, medical care was administered, and rope haul lines were established, it took over 20 search & rescue workers, his friends, and deputy officers another hour to get him lifted up the cliff face (note from the picture above that Spence is no small man!) Then Spencer was carried up a moderately steep trail another ¼ mile to the rescue helicopter. Matt, his friend who made the call, was trying to flag down the helicopter when it arrived, but they couldn't see him. SOMEHOW, they were able to lock onto the GPS coordinates broadcast from Spencer's phone, and find their exact location. Matt was able to ride in the helicopter with Spencer and be with him in the ER trauma center up until his surgery, so thankfully, he was never alone.

As far as the work that occurred in the ER and the OR, I'm a little sketchy on these details. Probably because whenever we were talking about it, I would immediately feel nauseated and need to lean against a wall or sit down or something. I was being a HUGE wuss! What I do know is this. Spencer's left eye ruptured. Since we didn't have immediate access to the dictated notes from the eye surgeon, we kept getting conflicting information on whether the eye was actually repaired or taken out completely. Turns out, he was able to repair the front of the eye, but couldn't get to the back (apparently, it's impossible). Recent updates tell us that there is still some leaking from the eye, so if it doesn't seal itself, there is a chance that the eye may not make it. So, even though I've reported that he's lost his eye, that is not true. But we're pretty confident that he's lost all vision in that eye. Any further surgery for this will be done at a later time in Denver.

Spencer must have broken much of the fall with his left hand, shattering the wrist. The hand/wrist was operated on, and put together as best as they could, considering there were pieces of bone missing. If the hand specialist there thinks he can repair it better, he may have another surgery for that. Scans of his other bones indicate that he has some cracks in his pelvis, but nothing else is broken. Not even the facial bones surrounding the eye are broken. Can you believe that? A big guy like Spencer falls that far and SOMEHOW only his wrist is broken. I'm still so amazed by that... it could have been so much worse.

Now for the brain injury. Initial scans show a minor contusion in the left temporal lobe and some smaller bruising sprinkled on the left side of his brain. Despite the major blow to the head, Spencer's vital signs have always been good, even from initial scanning by the EMTs. His heart rate and blood pressure have been normal. When he's not quite so sedated, he's able to put in enough effort to respond and breathe on his own. There's a chance they'll take him off the ventillators tomorrow, but he may remain unconscious for more a couple weeks. He is able to move his extremities in response to verbal stimuli, but his left side isn't responding as well as the right, so they're doing an MRI scan today to see if they've missed something. The neurosurgeon came and talked to the family and explained it all to us. He was very optimistic about Spencer making a full recovery. Because much of the bruising is on his left side, it may impact his speech and language abilities for a while. Just imagine how frustrated I am being one of only two outlying siblings here in Utah when at some near future date, my training may actually be useful to Spencer's recovery. Not that I've got TONS of experience with TBI and aphasia (okay, it is minimal), but I could definitely supplement the services another SLP may recommend. I'm so anxious to see how he'll be affected.

So, that's our story. It's difficult, but we're so thankful for how Spencer, Jennifer, their girls and our family has been blessed. I truly believe that all of these SOMEHOW moments and details are special blessings from God. I don't pretend to know His purpose in all of this happening, but I am full of faith that He was watching over Spencer and protecting him from more serious injuries. I know He has been sustaining Jennifer, their daughters, my family, his friends and loved ones to be able to handle the difficulty of this situation. I know that with continued prayer and fasting, even more miracles may still occur. Right now, I have hope (guarded hope, but definitely hope) for a full recovery with a substantial quality of life for Spence and his family.

Thanks to those who have already helped me so much by helping me with my kids this weekend (Mom, Dad, Emily, Tanner, & Preston) and for all the well wishes and prayers on our behalf. I am so grateful to be surrounded by people who genuinely care. I'd list you all but there are SO MANY and for that, I'm beyond moved. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

got my cards done!

Tonight we are taking out turn for the babysitting swap arrangement we have with the parents of our kid's friends. They've got 3 kids, we've got 3 kids, so it evens out (but note to selves... we definitely need to stay out later on our next date! It's 12:30 and they're not back yet & we're usually back by 10). ANYWAY, once we finally got the kids "in bed" (I'm using this term loosely), I was able to get my second set of 10 cards made for card exchange tomorrow.

Here's the first card:

This uses my new stamp set "Great Friend" with some contraband paper from Wal-Mart (Martha Stewart brand). I based it off of this card by Anna Black. My version also uses 2 retired cardstock colors, so it's a good thing this wasn't for my Stampin' Up! hostess club! I thought it turned out nice.

Here's the next card:

This is a very basic layout, and perhaps a little plain, but I was going for simple, but nice. I ended up using the layout from this card by Dawn McVey (her blog has AMAZING cards!) for inspiration, though much of it is different (I like to give credit where credit is due, you know!) Sometimes "get well" cards are really cutsie using phrases like "caught a bug?", but if someone's sick enough that I'm going to send them a get well card, they've likely caught more than a little bug. This just uses some retired River Rock pattern paper, some black grosgrain ribbon, and my scallop edge and my new scallop oval punches. It's not the best card I've ever made, but it will do, I guess!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bok, bok!!!!

I was about to post something about politics. I had two good paragraphs written! But I just deleted it because...





But just so you know. I love to talk about politics. I also hate to talk about politics. I feel very strongly about certain things going on with our government. If you also like to talk about politics, I'm open to a having a good conversation with you! But I have one rule and one promise. My rule is that you not assume you know what I think or how I feel just because I happen to be female, or Mormon, or conservative. I just might surprise you. I promise to listen to what you have to say and not assume anything about you either.

As Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, "That's all I have to say about that."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another update on how I'm killing myself over here!

This week has been INSANE in the workout department. I know I wouldn't be able to keep this up indefinitely, but I've only got one month left before judgement day, so I kicked it into high gear doubling up on workouts most days! This morning (Friday), I put in my 8th workout in the last 5 days. Just in case you care (and I'm not expecting that you do!), here's the breakdown:

Monday: ran 2 miles at 6:30am with Melanie, swam at night 24 laps.
Tuesday: biked 50 min. while watching "Biggest loser"
Wednesday: ran again with Mel and Emily about 2.5 miles, swam a mile that morning
Thursday: biked 10.5 miles after work, then immediately ran a mile to my Weight Watchers weigh-in, and ran back. Phew! That was a tough one!
Friday: again ran 3 miles with Mel and Em at 6:30. I was so physically tuckered, this one STUNK!

So, yeah, no one can say I didn't do my part to train for this triathlon coming up in 4 weeks! I'm getting pretty antsy and really excited for it to just get here! In the meantime, however, I'm still concentrating on dropping a few more pounds. I gotta say, the butt-kicker workout I did right before my weigh-in this week was an effective means to push my number down a bit! I lost 1.2 lbs and actually broke 150 this week, weighing in at 149.8! 5 more pounds to go!

But that wasn't even the best part of this week. Tonight, we stopped by Kohls because I had an extra 15% off coupon and did you hear it?!?! Well, I didn't actually squeal OUT LOUD, but I was pretty stoked when I pulled a bunch of size 8 pants off the rack and actually fit into a bunch of them. Not ALL of them, but enough! I got a pair of size 10 capris (those size 8s were NOT gonna happen), a size 8 pair of jeans, and a little sweater to wear over a dress I bought at Christmas. I'm going to wait until we get closer to the cruise before I buy too many new pants again, just in case these next 4 weeks of overdoing it has a shrinking effect on my thighs! Here's hoping!

I appreciate all the support y'all have been giving me with my weight loss journey. I'm sorry if my talking and blogging about it is getting annoying... it's just become such a big part of my life the last 6 months. I've been having SO MUCH FUN with all of it, but I'm trying my best to keep a clear head about where I was, how I got there, and how I'm changing that. Again, thanks! Sometimes when I'm out there running (and I still can't say I enjoy running), I can hear my little cheering squad pushing me forward and maybe even a little faster. I love you all!

Stamp club cards

Last Saturday, we had stamp club again. I love stamp club, even if it drains my supplies somewhat! I love picking cards off the internet and putting my own twist on them. I love teaching my friends how to make these cards. I also love getting free stuff, and since this month was Sale-a-bration, I was able to get a bunch of new goodies! Here are 2 of the cards we did last week. I can't find the other one we did, but trust me, it was fun too!

This one is a bad photo of a cute and easy card. I had bulk ordered some neat paper titled "Walk in the Park" and cut out all the scallop envelopes using my Big Shot die cutter. The paper color matches the Baja Breeze cardstock. The rest of the card just took putting a scallop edge along the bottom, gluing a strip of white cardstock behind it, stretching some white grosgrain ribbon across the card and sticking a little bow on it. I used the new Sale-a-bration stamp set called "Congrats" for the congratulations in the corner and a sentiment on the inserted card (I haven't committed this card to a sentiment yet though... there are lots of choices in the stamp set!). I also used an upcoming stamp set called "Great Friend" for the butterfly inked in Baja Breeze. So simple and easy to mass produce!

This next card uses a silk flower from the pretties kit. I used a sponge dauber to put some Sage Shadow ink on the flower. For the white strip down the middle, I dry embossed a vintage-y pattern using my Texturz templates with the Big Shot (I LOVE this thing!). Layered it in Sage cardstock. The background cardstock is Chocolate Chip and the swirly frame stamp is from "Frames with a Flourish" stamped in Sage ink on Whisper White cardstock. Throw a little flower punch behind the half-pearl bead in the center of the flower, and VOILA!... a card! I've been completely hoarding the pretties flowers up to this point, and it was fun to put them to use!

This last card wasn't made for stamp club, since it doesn't use all Stampin' Up! product. My friend Pam needed some help designing some cards for a class she teaches at school, so I got to play with this cool package of paper and ribbon she had put together. I used the "Great Friend" set for this one because I thought the butterfly would look great with these flowers on the tree. I can't tell you what paper this is or anything, because I just don't know! But it turned out cute and it was SO fun to play with some different paper and my new stamp set! Hope you like the cards!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

So much to blog about!

BUT NO TIME!! I'm so glad tomorrow is Friday, so I can take a minute this weekend to document some great things going on this week. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen tonight because, DANG, I'm tired!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time to change up our Sunday routine a bit

Yesterday, Paul got called in to visit with the high counselor over our ward, which is never a good thing! He's been called into the Elders Quorum presidency, but thankfully just as a counselor and not the big cheese himself. For the last 2 years we've been team teachers in the primary together and now that he's leaving that calling, I'm hoping I'll get a new one too. Honestly, I'm a bit burned out of teaching, since I basically teach ALL WEEK LONG! I've already made my wishes known to the powers that be what calling I'm lobbying for and praying that it will come to pass! If it happens, I'll let ya know!

Friday, March 13, 2009


I'm happy to report that after getting back to basics with the weight watchers plan and only missing one workout this week, I FINALLY pushed past my 3 week plateau yesterday. I lost 3.8 lbs this week, but when I talk about it to people, I'm rounding it up to 4! So that brings my total weight loss up to 35.6 lbs and I'm thrilled! I've set my weight watchers goal weight to 145, so weighing in at 151 yesterday means that I only have 6 more pounds to go. Once I get there and maintain that weight for 6 weeks, I'll become a lifetime member of weight watchers and hopefully never need to pay them for help again!

Lately, I've been a little worried about one day gaining it all back. I've been trying to view my lifestyle changes (healthier eating and frequent workouts) as a new way of life that I can stick with. I accompanied two friends to ColdStone last night so one of them could get her free birthday ice cream, and was really good and didn't get anything (it helped that I didn't have my wallet with me!). This didn't bother me at all, but last week at dinner with Paul at Red Robin, I was lamenting that I wasn't quite ready to accept the idea that I'll never really get to pig out on bottomless steak fries ever again if I expect to maintain my weight loss. I did have 2 fries, each bite dipped in the deliciousness of their fry sauce. This pacified me for the night, but my 4 pound loss this week made me feel even better about it! I'll just need to keep chanting to myself, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!" Occasionally I forget this concept, so I guess I still have some maturing to do!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A day of changed plans

Today did not go quite as I planned it. I woke up this morning knowing that I should get moving toward the gym in Orem for a swim workout. My swim last friday was pretty eye-opening, cuz I stunk so bad after taking a couple weeks off of swimming. Well, PLAN CHANGE #1 - I didn't end up going. I slunk around this morning in my bathrobe checking email/blogs/facebook, reading a little of my bookclub book, getting Charlie dressed and fed. Finally at 9:30, I got dressed and beautified with some hair and make-up action. At this point, it was too late to head for the gym... so I called my friend, Em, and left a message for her to call me so we could hang out somehow today.

I then cleaned up the kitchen and finished the dishes from last night (this happens often, unfortunately) until it was about time to go pick up the kids for carpool. But I got a call from one of the other moms telling me she was already at the school volunteering so she could bring them home for me! PLAN CHANGE #2 - Sweet!

I then proceeded to set up what babysitting we would need tomorrow since Paul is going to be a driver for Andy's field trip to Salt Lake City tomorrow. I also needed to figure out a place for Charlie and Canon to go this afternoon because I needed to run over to Merit Academy to test a student at 1:00. I dropped off the kids at 12:45, and CRUD, my car battery was totally dead. We've known it was in bad shape since this stranded on the freeway episode back in September. We were able to jump it, but by then too much time had passed and I called and rescheduled the testing, and instead PLAN CHANGE #3 -headed down to Salem to have them change the battery for me. Bugger! Paul would have changed it, but Chevy vehicles have a knack for being IMPOSSIBLE for do-it-yourself work. Our mechanic even cut himself pulling that dang battery out. But at least now, the van starts when I turn the key. Emily finally called me back on my way home from the mechanic, but it was nap time so we weren't able to hang out together :(.

Paul and I went to our Ward's enrichment RS Birthday party together, mostly because dinner was involved. It turned out to be REALLY interesting with a great-great-granddaughter of Joseph & Emma Smith coming to speak to us about her conversion and the posterity of Emma & Joseph. She was actually the first decendant to join the LDS church. What a neat story she has! So, not to be all negative, but I gotta say that RS birthday celebrations are not usually my favorite enrichments to attend, but PLAN CHANGE #4 - this one was well worth the time. I felt bad though because I didn't feed my boys enough before we got there and they were pretty hungry when we got home at 8:45ish. We also didn't get their homework all done for the day, but PLAN CHANGE #5 - we just sent them all to bed anyway!

Then, to finish off the day, I headed off to Macey's to get Paul some NyQuil and DayQuil for this cold he's been working on today. I had looked at the weekly ad earlier today and had written down what they had on caselot sale this week. So instead of just picking up some medicine, milk and "easy speech day treats" for tomorrow (I've got 4 IEP's planned during school hours), PLAN CHANGE #6 - I came home with over $200 of food storage stuff. I didn't go TOO crazy, but lets just say I won't have to buy mac&cheese, soup, and a handful of other things for a while! I love my full shelves! As a double bonus, unloading the car and carrying these heavy boxes of canned stuff down the stairs kinda made up for not getting a workout in for the day.

So, even though the day didn't turn out like it maybe should have, it ended up just fine anyway.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weight Watchers update

I've been slacking on reporting my weight watchers progress for very good reason... I haven't been making progress! Last week, for the FOURTH week in a row, I weighed 154.(something). This week it was 154.8, meaning I'd gained another .4 lbs. I was pretty bugged at myself and a bit embarrassed that I didn't buckle down the previous week like I'd determined to do, but I'm happy to report that I've worked hard THIS week to get back to the basics of the plan. This is how good I've been.

I've actually followed the rule of "if you bite it, you write it", and it has kept me from grabbing extra food I didn't need to eat.

I've been focusing on checking off all my little boxes at the bottom of my tracker (or at least most of them... those dang oils!).

I've worked out each day ('cept Sunday). So far, 2 bike rides, 1 swim, and 1 run.

I made a goal last Thursday to not weigh myself at all this week. I admit to cheating on that one. This morning, the temptation got the better of me and I jumped on the scale before my shower. I was pleased with the result, but I can't think about it! I find that I slack off when I see good numbers on the scale and I want to see what can happen at this point in the game by sticking with the plan.


I'm itching to get to that 150 lb mark so I can officially not be considered "obese". It likely won't be this week, but hopefully soon!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Making Travel Plans!

I'M SO EXCITED!!!! We've been talking about going on a vacation for a VERY long time. We've literally not gone ANYWHERE for 10 years that wasn't family reunion related. Not that we don't love reunions, but driving your kids to Colorado, Montana or California for 4 days of visiting family does not quite equal the same thing as a real VACATION. For a while, we've had planned in the back of our heads that we would go on a cruise for our 10 year anniversary coming up this summer. Our last vacation was the cheap 4 day Baja cruise we went on for our honeymoon. Well, we actually BOOKED the cruise this week! The main part is paid for! We're going to be going on a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise on May 2nd and I just CAN'T WAIT!

We're going to be sailing on the Sapphire Princess (pictured here), leaving from LA and cruising to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Our friends from Burley, Shane and Heather Waters, and two of Shane's employees are going to be coming with us, so it will be fun to have some extra company when we want it. But it will also be nice to have a bunch of alone time with Paul when we don't want extra company ;) I'm looking forward to some excellent food, plenty of work-outs to accomodate that yummy food, and LOTS of relaxing.

I must admit, also, that I'm THRILLED that I won't be cruising in my previous Chubby McFat-Fat state! Not that I'll be sporting any "modest bikinis" (as TAMN would call them), but I'm glad I am now more comfortable in public wearing a swimsuit than I used to be. Since this cruise will be 2 weeks after the triathlon, I'm hoping to be at least another 5 lbs lighter and perhaps an official size smaller as well. If I'm wearing skinny clothes on the ship, hopefully it will keep me from TOTALLY pigging out!

Booking this cruise may be a blessing or a curse considering the trunkiness I've been feeling about finishing up this school year. I'm struggling nearly everyday to get my butt to work and to accomplish everything I need to do there. We only have one more term left, but March and April always seem to completely DRAG. I may also be struggling because Paul is home (even if he's working) and I guess I just want to be home too! Oh well, it's only for a few more months, and then we'll get to enjoy a totally new kind of summer break for our family. I can do it... I know I can! Another thing to look forward to!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another insecurity to conquer

This last Saturday, I put myself in a situation that I HATE being in. Even though it sounds so STUPID, I rediscovered another insecurity that I have yet to address, let alone conquer. It is my complete inability to be a HOSTESS!!

It was my turn to host our card exchange club this month. Each month, we get together and all of us make 20 cards (2 designs, 10 cards each) to swap with one another. So far, I've been to each girls' home and they are all beautifully decorated and perfectly presented. The refreshments they provide are always "just so" and delicious! I always enjoy card exchange because of this (as well as the fact that they all make adorable cards!). I enjoy it infinitely less, however, when it's at my house. This is just not one of my talents and it drives me CRAZY!!!

I spent some time on Friday night picking up the front room and cleaning the kitchen, but left much of it for last minute morning stuff. Being the procrastinator that I am, I then stayed up until 1:15 a.m. making my cards. I got up the next morning at 7:30 and decided to go against my first instincts (to go to the store and buy something) and actually MAKE the refreshment myself. I went with those yummy "oreo" chocolate cookies with frosting in the middle. It wasn't difficult to make the cookies, but it did take a huge chunk of my time. By the time I was finished, the front room had been picked up, but it wasn't anywhere close to being perfect. The kitchen surfaces were cleaned up, but there were toys and just "stuff" all over the kitchen floor. I had cookies made, but no other perfectly coordinating refreshment on hand, so when the time was right, I brought out the milk and gave the option of a Diet Pepsi with Lime! SO LAME!!!! Plus, I still had wet hair and no make-up on when my first guest arrived. Thankfully, it was my old neighbor. The whole time everyone was here at my house, I just felt like I needed to apologize for all the books left on the side tables and I kept glancing at the few things I didn't pick up in the corner and the spots on the carpet that could be scrubbed up. I refrained from dwelling on it, but I was miserable. Once the cards were exchanged, I mentioned the cookies and NOBODY got up to get one. So, I took the plate around. Even this made me nervous!

I don't know why this is so hard for me. Okay, that's a lie. I know EXACTLY why hostessing is hard for me. It's because I am almost in every way "domestically challenged". I've admitted before that I hate cleaning. Unfortunately, that's not just deep cleaning, I also struggle with just keeping things picked up. This is something all my friends learn quickly about me, because I can't hide it, even for a little while, that my house is ALWAYS in some level of cluttered disarray. The saying, "If you came to see me, come on in! If you came to see my house, make an appointment!" doesn't even work all the time. I can know you are coming, get the main rooms picked up and semi-presentable, but don't peek through that closed door over there! As I was drying my hair with Felice in my front room already, I just had to chant to myself, "I can't do it ALL, and that's okay. I can't do it ALL, and that's okay." I really wanted to feel okay, but I didn't feel okay about it.

So, I guess my home is the "something" in "something's gotta give". I've been told before, "I don't know how you do it!" This is always a reference to the fact that I work several days a week. And then I have to say to them, "I don't. I don't do it all. My house is a total mess." I'm not proud of this, but it's just a fact. I don't know how to make it look like we don't live here! I'm afraid much of it is due to my selfish and lazy nature. I do work hard at my job throughout the week. I have 2 boys in school and a family to educate, love, and feed. I've been training and working out as much as I can fit it in. I try to attend my WW meeting each week. I'm involved in several hobby-related clubs, including book club, this card exchange group, and my Stampin' Up! business/stamp club. To be honest, I don't want to give up any of these things, and by the time some of these things are taken care of, I'm plain tuckered out! So I guess my challenge is that I have to actually convince myself, and not just tell myself, that it IS OKAY!

Insecurities are such an interesting part of life. For EVER, I've been insecure about my weight and my body. I admit that even a year ago, I didn't believe that I had it in myself to actually lose this weight. I was the "fat one" in both families... and it sucked. So now that I've taken some control over this, I've been feeling stronger and much better about myself. I'm sure this hostessing situation was a good thing, though, to help me keep a level head!

Well, I want to end this post with a shout out to those of you who DO have this talent! I could list off a bunch of you, but don't want to leave anyone out. I want you to know that I'm VERY impressed and wonder to myself, "how do they do it?!" To those who struggle with this (as well as a myriad of other insecurities), know that I understand!

A gallon of giving

This morning I went to donate blood at the American Red Cross donation center in Orem. These people are persistent in getting donations, and every 8 weeks, the calls start coming in. I don't have an extremely rare blood type, but it's not the most common either (I'm B+), so they call me every time I'm eligible again. They also call me when they're needing pediatric donations because apparently, I don't have a certain benign virus in my blood, which makes my blood eligible for newborn transfusions.

So, I went to donate and this time, they handed me a pin honoring the fact that I've donated a gallon of blood in my lifetime. It's not THAT much blood, nor is it a big deal, but it did make me happy. I'm glad that I'm healthy and have lived the type of prudish life where I can say I've had no sexual or pharmaceutical contact with all sorts of deal breaking situations! Unfortunately, I also haven't travelled ANYWHERE. But I guess, this way, I don't have to worry about having picked up who-knows-what from Africa or the UK. Plus, I'm much better at giving blood now that I've had 3 kids. The needles don't bother me, I don't get faint anymore, and I'm much faster at filling up that bag and the 10 little tubes than I used to be!

So, yea for me that my blood is useful! If you have useful blood, you should consider donating it. It's a pretty easy way to feel helpful!