Sunday, February 27, 2011

Random Memory Recorded

Well, this past week, I have no new photos to post, and I can't really think of anything special we did.  We did make a temple trip to Mesa, AZ on Friday and Saturday, which was great; especially since I didn't go into labor while I was out of town.  Otherwise it was a pretty run of the mill week.  So this week, I decided to pull out my list of "50 random topics to blog about" and get some thoughts/past memories down.

This week's topic is "The Story of My Most Serious Injury."  I actually even found an old photo to go with this one, that I scanned into the computer. 

The date was February 9th, 1998 (how appropriate to blog a past February event this month.)  I was in my third year of BYU, and in the first (and hardest) year of my Accounting major.  I was living in the Monticello Apartments with some really awesome roommates and a lot of close friends nearby.  The BYU singles ward I was attending had an activity to go ice skating at a local rink. 
Now, I can ice skate just enough to say, "Look, I'm skating" and that's about it.  I can follow the crowd around the circle at a fairly decent pace, but I can't skate backwards or spin, or do really anything other than that.  However, that didn't stop me from trying that day.  I thought it would be fun to learn how to spin in a circle.  Starting to spin was no problem, it was controlling it and stopping that was a challenge.  I probably would have escaped the episode with nothing more than some bruises on my back side, except for one fact: the rink was an outdoor, public rink with very little maintenance done to the ice.  So there were lots of cracks, bumps, and chinks throughout the rink.
Well, in my novice efforts to spin, I got some good momentum built up just as the blade of my skate hit one of these chinks in the ice.  My foot came to a dead standstill, but the rest of my body kept spinning.  If you've ever taken a piece of celery and tried wringing it out, you can imagine what happened to my bone.  I remember hearing a popping sound just before I hit the ice.  And then the pain started searing through my lower leg, anytime I tried to move.  I knew I had really messed something up in there.  The worst pain I remember is while they were carrying me off the ice; for not only was my leg broken, but I had a heavy skate attached to my foot, torquing the bone, and the people carrying me off, were also wearing skates, which does not make for a very smooth ride.  Once we took my skate off, the pain didn't seem to be all that bad; as long as I didn't bump anything. 
We went to the hospital, got xrays, and then they cut my favorite jeans off (what a tragedy) so they could put on a full leg cast, from my toes to half way up my thigh.  I had a nice (and rare) spiral fracture all up my larger calf bone and a straight fracture across the smaller one.  I ended up in that cast and on crutches for 2 months and then in a walking boot for another 2 months.  Because of the angle of the cast and how it needed to be elevated almost all of the time, I pretty much lived, ate, studied, and slept on the couch in the picture above for those first 2 months.  Once again, the worst part about a broken leg for me, was not the pain, although it did really hurt if I happened to bump into anything, but it was more those times in the middle of the night when I wouldn't be able to sleep because of my leg itching under the cast where I couldn't do anything about it.  Those were awful. 
What did I learn from this experience?  Lots of things: 
A little recklessness can cause a lot of pain and trouble later. 
Life doesn't stop just because misfortune falls.  I was still in the hardest classes of my college career and they weren't going to wait for me to get better.  I still needed to study my heart out, go to work, and fulfill my callings in the church.  And I'm glad, because staying busy made the time go by much faster and took my mind off of my leg.  It was those times when I wasn't doing anything in the night, when my leg bothered me the most. 
The church is really effective at how people come out of the woodwork to help you when trouble falls.  So often, someone would come and volunteer to help me in ways that I didn't even realize would be needed.  And it's OK to accept help from others.  Not only does it help you, but it blesses them to have an opportunity to serve. 
The human body is AMAZING in its ability to heal itself.  Truly, what a complex, genius, amazing gift our bodies are from our Heavenly Father. 
After a huge setback like this, there is a lot of joy to be found in the small little successes that will follow.  Like only using one crutch, taking a step, or a little hop, or bathing my leg for the first time after the cast came off.  Often tragedy helps us realize how blessed we are in the first place.   
Those are the lessons I remember anyway, 13 years after the fact. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

At the Fair

A small fair came to town this week, and since we still had Christmas money from Great Grandma under strict injunction to only use for family fun, we decided to take the girls to the way overpriced, money burning, fair.

There was only one little train ride that Banana Girl was big enough to go on.  So I rode with the girls to the chorus of "Chugga, chugga, choo, choo"  the whole way.  She really liked it.

The Alex took Princess M on the Farris wheel, which she has been dying to ride ever since she saw "Charlotte's Web" and the heroine rode a Farris wheel at a fair.  By the way, that's the same reason she insisted on wearing a dress to the fair as well.  So with her ride on the Farris wheel in a dress, her fair experience was complete. 

Banana Girl got to ride down the giant slide with her daddy too, but the picture didn't turn out for that one. 
Overall, we had a fun time and stayed within budget.  (whohoo!!)

On Saturday we had a getting to know you BBQ with three families that I met recently and we wanted to get to know better.  We're all kinda in the same phase of life as each other and all have kids the same ages (who got along very well together, it seemed.)  It was a great success, and we hope to see lots more of those wonderful families. 

We've also been beginning to look at homes to buy, here in the Sierra Vista area.  We've got our eye on one right now, but need to get some ducks in a row before we can move forward on it.  We'll keep you updated.  Overall, It's been a fun and busy week. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

We had a very busy Valentine's Day this year.  Alex was out of town last weekend, but was going to be back in time for dinner, so in keeping with my usual Valentine's tradition, I planned a huge gourmet meal for the evening.  And as usual, most of the recipes were new ones that I had never tried before.  Although, this year, I let Princess M browse the recipes with me and help pick out the dishes for the meal. 

I actually began making things the night before, like the pound cake for the fondue and several of the sauces for the meal that could just be reheated for the actual meal.  I also prepped the dough for our heart scones that I planned for breakfast for me and the girls.  The scones turned out great, by the way, we'll be keeping that recipe for sure. 

After breakfast, and a little clean up around the house, we headed off to the grocery store to pick a few items we needed.  I'm really glad we did, because they just happened to have a clown at the store that morning, painting faces and making balloon animals for the kids; as well as chocolate covered strawberries for samples.  It was a real treat for the girls.  Here's a shot of their cheeks  before they got too smeared up.  

Then we spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen.  Princess M was a big help to me this year.  She washed fruit for me, and pretty much made the chocolate dipped, stuffed cherries all on her own, with just a little help.  She had a lot of fun doing it too.  Banana Girl helped me make the mixed berry lemonade (from real lemons and berries).  We made a black raspberry swirl cheesecake (that we actually didn't get around to eating until today.)  We also had cold raspberry soup; sirloin steak with a tangy, chocolate sauce; fontina scalloped potatoes; and a simple mandarin orange, almond salad.  I absolutely loved the way the steaks and potatoes turned out.  Those are definite keeper recipes too.  It ended up being a very nice dinner that even the girls enjoyed. 

We had a chocolate fondue on the menu for dessert, but by the time Alex finally got home from the airport, we had eaten this huge dinner, and cleaned up, it was really late and we were all stuffed.  So the fondue will have to wait until tomorrow. 

Throughout the day, Princess M had a lot of fun making homemade Valentines to put in our new love mailboxes that I made Alex build for me before he left, and that we painted together on Saturday.  She checks them every morning and throughout the day to see if her flag is up, signalling a special delivery in the box.  It's been a fun new tradition, that I'm contemplating keeping available throughout the year. 

So anyway, we had a lovely Valentine's Day, a very yummy dinner, and we so excited to get our daddy and husband back from his work trip.  I think though, that next time I'm 8 months pregnant on Valentine's, I need to back off on the menu.  My back was killing me by dinner time and my feet are still sore even today.  It was tasty though.  (I'll be posting the recipes on my recipe blog later today.)  Hope you all had a great day as well!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Of course they never turn the gas back on when they originally plan, do they?  We ended up having 3 days and 2 nights, without gas in our home, with temperatures as low as 50 degrees.  Now 50 degrees outside doesn't sound like anything; but 50 degrees indoors all day and night is downright cold.  The outside temperatures actually dipped down into the teens here (killing many of the local cacti around town.)  Yesterday, we finally got our gas turned back on, and to celebrate we heated up the house, baked dinner in the oven, and I made a batch of orange marmalade on the stove; complete with canning and everything.  It was lovely. 

Today in fast and testimony meeting, there was a theme of love for the gospel and how it brings people together in service and watching over each other.   The city proper didn't loose their gas, but about half of our ward lives outside of the boundaries of where they stopped servicing.  Some people even lost their water service too.  So there were a lot of calls and offers for help this past week all over the ward.  Made for a loving and grateful meeting today. 

One thing that really stuck out to me through this ordeal was the power of gratitude.  We started a nightly tradition in our home around Thanksgiving time last year.  Right before dinner or night time prayers, we all mention something for which we are grateful for that particular day and then we thank Heavenly Father for each of those things in our prayer.  Well, it's February now and we are still doing this (nearly) every night.  It's wonderful!  and I was really impressed by some of the things that were mentioned during those days when we were the ones in need, and probably justified in thinking about the things we had lost or wished for.  Over the last couple days, my family was grateful for warm blankets; for the space heater we just happened to buy our last winter in Colorado springs (because you can't buy one now in Sierra Vista.  Hardware stores are all sold out,) for neighbors who look out for each other; for Daddy getting to stay home and play with the kids all day; for hot cocoa; and for the opportunity to give our gas to those up north in blizzards who would be much worse off than we were if they were the ones that had to do without. 

There's something about gratitude that makes trials easier.  We didn't even really feel like it was we had it all that hard.  Gratitude brings perspective, that it could be sooooo much worse.  We could have lost our electricity too, or water.  At least we even had a home to be cold in, rather than being homeless in the streets.  And with gratitude we were able to realize all the wonderful things we still had, and still enjoyed.  All in all, we passed the time quite pleasantly, while having a small adventure together.

I'm grateful for gratitude. 

and for the nice hot bath I was able to relax in after the gas was turned back on.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Even Here In Arizona

I was talking to my sister on the phone today and hearing about how they have been snowed in for the past couple days with this massive blizzard that seems to be stretching from sea to shining sea this week; and I couldn't help but chuckle a little thinking, "The rest of the nation shuts down with snow, but here in Arizona, I just put on a sweater to go outside.  There are definitely some perks to living here." 

Well, it seems the joke is on me.  The excessive demand for heat in the northern states due to this blizzard has overtaxed the natural gas supplier in Texas, who has decided that our gas company here in Arizona is lowest priority on the list, and is not delivering as contracted.  The result: I may need just a coat to go outside tonight, but I also need a coat to sit at my computer and type this.  We have no gas, which means, no heat, no hot water, and no cooking.  And thanks to clean air laws about building here in Sierra Vista, only the oldest homes have real wood burning fireplaces.  (not ours.)

It makes you realize how dependant we are on society to survive.  I've always wanted a wood burning fireplace in my eventual dream home, because if the power goes out, so goes the gas fireplace.  But after today, I've modified that to an old fashioned wood burning stove, so if the gas or electricity goes out (or both for that matter) you can still heat the home AND still cook a hot meal or heat water.  Survive. 

So all you lucky people, huddling in your snow packed homes and waiting out the storm; count your blessings:  You still have a warm home. 

Things I'm grateful for today:  1.We have one electric space heater, so we can warm up one bedroom tonight for us all to sleep in.  2. We have an electric Cocoamotion that will heat up 4 mugs worth of water to the perfect cocoa/cider temperature.  and 3. I didn't pack away ALL of our cold weather clothes, when we moved out here. 

Don't worry about us.  We'll be ok tonight.  The radio predicts gas to be restored sometime tomorrow.  Let's hope they're right.