Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wisdom Teeth

Yesterday was the day Lyndsay was scheduled to have her wisdom teeth extracted. This has been one of those things on my To-Do list for about three years. Every visit to the orthodontist is laden with guilt about the need to have them removed, about their positioning, about the likelihood that if they begin to erupt, they will ruin all the orthodontia work. Believe me, I wanted it done, but at the time we didn't have insurance, and it's a pretty hefty bill out-of-pocket. Well, now we do have insurance, and it turns out, the patient portion of the expense is still a pretty hefty bill, but it gets worse after the patient turns 19, so it became a Have-To, instead of a Someday-Need-To.

I scheduled it soon after Lyndsay got back home from school. I figured, she's coming home to work, and taking time off a newly-acquired job might not make that stellar of an impression, so let's get it done before she gets hired. I called many oral surgery offices, and finally found one that came highly recommended by several people we trust, and happened to have the lowest price. Yee-haw. It was, however, an hour away. Toward Los Angeles, in that horrible traffic but, oh well. We set off together.

I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 21. Baby Lyndsay was only a few months old, and I remember nursing her in the dental chair prior to the surgery. When it was time, I tucked her back into her little carseat carrier and she sat on the floor contentedly. There was no general anesthesia for me. I remember going home and being in so much pain, lying on the couch trying to nurse Lyns, but feeling like death. Then the fever hit. For a few days I ached all over, which almost matched the pain in my mouth, and I did my best to keep my little baby happy through my suffering. I remember it was awful. It was one of the first times I realized that there is no downtime during motherhood. Not even when Mother is down.

We chatted some on the way down; she wasn't nervous, she said. The doctor was friendly and warm, and had over 40 years experience. We were in good hands. When asked for our questions, Lyndsay wanted to know when and what she could eat. I wanted to know what IV medications he was going to use. And then, back she went, and I was directed back to the waiting room.

Twenty minutes later, the doctor popped his head in. "She's all done," he said. "She's just waking up from the anesthesia. Give her about ten minutes."

About twenty minutes later, Lyndsay came hobbling down the hall, held upright by a nurse, and she was sobbing. Not kind of crying, sobbing. I went to her and held her. "What's going on, sweetheart? Are you in pain?" No, no pain. She had no idea why she was crying, she just couldn't stop. And she felt like, in her words, a "moron" for not being able to.

Ah, the lovely anesthesia. The tricks it plays on the brain. She said (through her gasping sobs) as she was waking up, she was aware that she was crying, and she thought it odd, since she didn't feel sad and she didn't feel pain. (The pain was coming later.) But there she was, a blubbering mess. Poor girl. I escorted her to the car and got her buckled in. We were looking at a long drive home.

She wanted water desperately. She had been off of food and water since 8am and now it was 3pm. I pulled into a 7-11 parking lot and ran inside for a bottle of water. After paying for it, I thought I'd better also grab a plastic bag, so she could spit her bloody gauze into it, and some napkins. She got a little water down, but mostly she dribbled, still numb from the Novocaine. The crying got under slightly better control, down to a whimper.

As we drove, she started with the childlike observations that are characteristic of coming out of general anesthesia. "Look, Mom, Snoopy!" (which was hard to understand with her mouth full of gauze.) "It's Snoopy!" She was pointing to the band-aid on her arm from where the IV had been. Sure enough, there was Snoopy. Then, with her mouth stuffed, she said, "Is the Tooth Fairy going to come?" It sounded so little-girl, that it almost broke my heart. In a sweet voice, I answered her, "I don't think so, honey. We didn't even get to keep the teeth." And she broke into tears again. Sobbing tears. She wanted the Tooth Fairy to come. And then, why did he keep her teeth? That wasn't fair, they were hers! I couldn't help it, though I tried. I started laughing to myself. Only a little got out, but it was funny.

We drove. Actually, we sat behind other cars and trucks, mostly. We inched, more like it. She would cry, and then giggle. Then cry, then giggle. And then? Then the vomiting started. Good thing I'd grabbed that plastic bag! She had nothing in her stomach but a tablespoon of water and some blood, but the poor girl heaved and heaved. I had one hand on the wheel, and with one hand I rubbed her back. Then, when she was finished, I'd roll gauze and hand it to her to repack her mouth, and we'd go on in silence for a few more miles before it would start again. I called Aiden at home with instructions to make her up a bed on the couch.

We got her in and settled, and I ran out to fill her prescription for pain pills and buy her some soft foods. We had several more rounds of throwing up. We'd get a bit of food in her so she could take her pain pills, she'd take the pills, and then up it would all come. Around and around we went, until we were able to get on top of it. Food down. Pills down. Pain down.

"Aren't you glad you don't have to nurse a baby?" I asked her. Oh, yeah she was. Now we've come full-circle, I said to her. You were there when I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and now I've been there with you.

Across town my stepdaughter, Caitlin, was having hers pulled at the same time. We had set the appointments up back-to-back, until I found the cheaper location and switched my appointment. Lyndsay texted her from the couch where she suffered. "This sucks," she wrote. Caitlin's response: "I know. Shoot me." "Shoot me first," Lyndsay replied. At least they're not alone in their agony.

I got up in the middle of the night to check on her. She was to take another pill and some applesauce around 2am. She felt a little warm, but better in the morning. She's so appreciative of my care. I'm so grateful for the chance to do it.

Just when I thought my days of Mommy-ing her were over, we had this. A blessing for me and my heart that is missing the old days when she really needed me. There will be other days too, I'm sure. Days where she needs me, and one of the beauties of our growing relationship is that there are days I need her too, and she blesses me.

But today, I will cherish temp-taking, ice packs, medication dosages, and soft foods. Today is a day of healing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Lyndsay's home! She's finished a whole year of college with success, and gained so much confidence along the way. I love to see the growth in her. I remember so vividly how it tore at my insides to leave her there on campus, all alone in another state, and drive away last summer. I knew she'd ultimately be okay, but I also knew that it would be hard, and that she would be challenged, and that sometimes, she would be lonely. Oh, it's been so good for her! I am so, so proud of her. She's taken an intense course load (18 credits each semester) and she's risen like the cream she is. She was awarded an undergraduate research grant during her first semester, which gives her some padding to her savings account so she can spend more time in the lab and not worry about working while at school. And, she was hired as a T.A. in the Bioinformatics Lab second semester, so during semesters she has actual office hours and gets paid for them! It's so terrific to see the windows of heaven open on her behalf. She's also had some setbacks, but those have also served her well.

Yesterday was so busy. Every day is busy, right? There is always so much to do. This is my last week of nursing school, and I'm trying to get all the loose ends tied up as we prepare for graduation next Tuesday. But I'm also trying to keep on top of the homefront, which is always where my heart is. In the morning, after my exercise, I baked Lunch Lady Brownies for our Family Home Evening treat. Then I set to marinating the chicken for dinner. A laundry list of things had to happen between late morning and dinner time, and by the time I had dinner set on the table, I was tired and had not actually prepared a lesson for Family Home Evening. So, I took the easy way out and threw it to Lyns.

I asked her if she had anything from her Book of Mormon class that she could share with us as a message, and then we would eat brownies and play a massive round of Skip-Bo. Like a champ, she pulled out a picture of this painting she had done for a Book of Mormon class assignment. (The original was still with the teacher.) The assignment had been to create a piece of artwork that represented a scripture. When she read me the scripture, I teared up and felt an overwhelming love for her.

She chose a scripture (Alma 19:6) from the story of King Lamoni's father hearing the gospel from his son and from Ammon. I had never before heard this scripture taken out of context of the story, and I love that she chose it. She described how in her painting, the one flower has stretched itself into the light. I love that the flowers look like poppies, the State Flower of California, for my little California girl. I love the imagery of being "infused with joy" because of the light of the gospel and the darkness being "dispelled." That is truly what happens to the hearts of those who awaken to a knowledge of God and His love and mercy.

It was a very brief message, but so beautifully illustrated by her painting and her simple thoughts on a scripture that happened to stand out to her in a new way.

It was so nice to have someone else give the lesson, because I really needed the uplift. We sang together, "I Know My Father Lives" and then we gathered around the dining room table for Skip-Bo, and delicious chocolate brownies and milk.

A good day, a full day.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Something's been eating my garden. I noticed over a period of about three days, that's how fast it was. Each morning when I'd be watering and checking up on my growing plants, I noticed that one square seemed to be nibbled on. The next morning that square (of carrots) was completely devoured and now the next square was being targeted. It was making me crazy and I felt helpless to stop it. It is so frustrating to see your hard work, especially when you haven't really had the time to do that work, just being decimated before your eyes. Or not really before my eyes, you see, because it was happening at night, and I had no idea who the culprit was.

I started doing research and I had it narrowed down to either slugs or earwigs. I've never had a problem with either in the past, so this was all new to me. But one night I couldn't take it any more. I waited until night time and went out in the dark with my camera and started taking pictures. When I came back in and uploaded them to the computer, I could see who the little villains were: EARWIGS! They were on everything!

The damage was heartbreaking, and I'm not sure how much of it can be reversed, but I'm hoping for regrowth. In the meantime, I had to find a way to stop them. First, I went out and sprayed everything with soapy water. They scurried off as I sprayed, but when I went back out a few hours later, they were back. With friends.

So, then I set out dishes of corn syrup/molasses/water. I'd read that the earwigs would be attracted to the sweet smell and then drown, but I'd also read it worked best in tuna cans, which I didn't have at the moment. I improvised the best that I could.

At first it seemed to be working, but by morning when I went out to check the dishes, there was only one single earwig carcass. All the rest had been able to swim to the sides and my slanted dishes helped them climb out to safety. Darn it.

The ants, however, were loving their new treat. Not what I had in mind.

But then my mom told me about cat food (or dog food, but I have a cat). So the next night I went out late at night again and sprinkled a trail of cat food from my garden out into the yard. And then I waited. When I went out again a few hours later (really sleep deprived by this time, working all these night shifts against the evil earwigs) I snapped a picture and could not believe my eyes! The cat food was crawling with earwigs!

I went back out with a flashlight, and though I did see some plants with an earwig or two, most of them had preferred the cat food.

The following evening, and several since then, I've been sprinkling cat food all over the garden paths, hoping to deter the critters. I think it may be working. I haven't noticed significantly more damage to my plants. I'm sure the neighborhood cats are loving their premium midnight snack as well. I don't care. Just Stay. Out. Of. My. Garden.

Let's hope this ends it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Catching Up: Easter

Conor got to teach his first Family Home Evening lesson two weeks before Easter. He had been given a photocopy of the tomb and Jesus in Primary, which he colored and I helped him cut out. Then he proudly told the story and did such a cute job. Aiden was out of town the week after that for Spring Break with his dad, so that's why we did our Easter lesson so early.

While Aiden was gone, Conor and I made up some care packages for Lyndsay and Dylan. Just some plastic eggs with candy and a little money inside. Nothing too much, but it's so fun to get packages from home.

And they looked so pretty!

On Good Friday, Conor and I read from the scriptures the account of the atonement and crucifixion. Then we set our tomb up (and Conor volunteered his paper Jesus) and sealed it shut, as we do every year.

On Easter morning when the kids come downstairs, the stone has been rolled back from the tomb, and Jesus lives! Corny, but I love it, and I suspect the boys do also, because they never let me forget.

Now, Aiden had arrived back home on Saturday night, but he was sick, sick, sick! When I got him home he had a temperature of 102.1, and he'd been sick since Tuesday. Poor kid. So, he didn't get to come to church with us on Easter Sunday which was a major bummer. (For him too, actually, because he had some really nice new clothes he was excited to wear.)

But the Bunny did come, and the boys got to search for their baskets.

Boy, this basket sure looks abundant! It's that stupid Easter grass I keep putting in there, that fills the whole thing up. Why do I keep doing that? He got a little candy, and then some goodies like a puzzle and a jumprope.

Aiden actually had a trickier time finding his basket this year. (Silly Rabbit.) He got some of his favorite candies, but also some body wash, face wash, and hair gel.

My sleepy boy and my sick boy. Aiden always comes home from his dad's with some new wound. It's such a treat.

Here's handsome Conor in his Easter clothes.

(I actually took this picture today, on our way to a baptism, but it's both boys in their Easter clothes, so we're just pretending.)

After church, Conor and I went to the Perkins' home for an unbelievably delicious Easter dinner. It is wonderful to have friends who can cook and are willing to share! It was sad to not have Aiden there, but he rested at home.

Easter is a glorious holiday. I cannot read the account of the Savior's sufferings and resurrection without tears. Each year I love Him more, and feel more indebted to Him for doing for me what I could not do for myself. The message that He lives is what I most want my children to have sealed in their hearts. All the fluff of Easter is just that. I love the chocolate as much as anyone, and I love the family traditions, but I never forget that the opportunity to celebrate was made possible because of His infinite and intimate sacrifice. It is real. His love is real. And He lives!

Catching Up: St. Patrick's Day

Oh, I have some catching up to do! I recently started having my blog posts printed and bound into books by year, and looking back on those memories has been so wonderful. I'm an avid record keeper, and I've found that I include very different things here on my blog than I do in my journal. Plus, I love having the pictures with the posts, and watching our family life over the years. So, I wanted to jump back for a quick second and include some things I didn't have time to blog about.

Around here, we do green breakfasts for St. Patrick's Day, and then I try to do something more traditionally Irish for dinner. I was rebooting, so I drank my green drink, as did the boys, but they also came down to other green deliciousness, and a note and some treats from me.

St. Patrick's Day fell on a Sunday this year, so getting everything done before church was a little trickier, but always worth it.

Love my Aiden.

Conor was so sleepy it was hard to get him to come downstairs and eat. And then he blinked right as I took each picture, but he was too irritable to keep trying, so I went with the closed-eyes and partial smile. I pick my battles.

For dinner, I made the boys an Irish Cabbage and Barley Stew, Irish Soda Bread, and ham. I had more green drink.

And since I don't know how to make food for only a few people, I advertised on Facebook  afterwards that I had a ton of soup left, and right away a friend from church was willing to come help me out. I saved enough for one more meal for us and sent her home with the rest of the soup and bread. She emailed later to let me know how much she enjoyed it, and Aiden was so happy he didn't have to eat that same meal for the next week. Win, win!