Saturday, October 23, 2010

Corn Maze and pumpkins

We took our yearly treck to the Sauvie Island Corn Maize this year. We always go do the maze and then go to the pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins. The trip out was a bit frustrating. From the turn off of Hwy 30 to the Pumpkin Patch is only 2 miles. It took us an HOUR to go just that far. Seems over the years this has become a popular place. I don't remember so many people trying to get there. We've been stuck in a line of traffic before to get there but it only took like 15 mins to get through. I think in the past we may have gone earlier in the month and earlier in the day. This time was later for both. It was crazy! The funny thing was once we got into the maze we didn't really run into that many groups of people. That was surprising. I was totally fine with that though. I'm not much of a crowds person. We completed the maze in decent time and had fun doing it. My friend Lori came with us and we always have a good time together during these types of things.

After getting lost for a bit and finding our way back, we decided we all needed nourishment before heading down to the patch. They have hay rides going to get you out there and back. But while in the maze the line had grown so long we weren't sure it was worth waiting for, until we saw the food lines. Wow! They were just as bad. So Lori kindly held our place in the hay ride line while the rest of us split up into 3 different lines to get the various food items we all wanted. Timed it perfectly :)
We had just enough time to find Lori and eat our food before it was our turn to get on the truck.
Lori spotted her perfect pumpkin from the truck so she just jumped down and ran over to it and was done.

The rest of us started our wandering trying to find the perfect pumpkin. The rule is "you want it you have to be able to carry it out". Sometimes it works and sometimes we give in to the pleading and help them carry the ginormous pumpkin one would usually pick out. Fortunately the three oldest are big enough now to really carry their own. Jonathan found a huge one and managed to lug it back to the truck and from there a few more feet to the carts. I was drawn to one that had some really pretty coloring, an interesting combination of orange and green I hadn't seen before. Seth, of course, wouldn't settle for a Seth-sized pumpkin so, yes, we had to help him carry it. But since Rob and I get just one between the two of us there were still enough arms to carry it.

The hay ride back was an adventure itself. There were some serious ruts in the path they were using and some of those bumps sent us flying off our seats. Which would be ok except that there are no sides to these trucks, just flat beds. We had to hold onto each other and our pumpkins to keep either from flying over the edge! I was facing backwards and it was fun to watch the wave as it hit the trailers behind us. We'd go flying then the people behind us would go flying and then the people behind them! Got us all laughing pretty hard.
After we paid, Rob ran the pumpkins out to the car while Lori and I went into the market. Always have to go in there to get the corn, usually some pretty good corn in there. I always get some jam or syrup too, it's always so good. I just bought jam this time to put on the toast I have to eat in the morning since toast is one of the few things I can choke down first thing in the morning.
After that we decided we needed more food. I had to have another sausage, I eat such bland stuff during the day but by evening I can usually eat whatever so stuff like sausages are heaven :) I just had to have another! Then we headed home and slept well that night!

Today is the day we carved pumpkins. This time we had Elizabeth's best buddy, Jill, with us. We let her take one of the white pumpkins we grew this year to carve for herself. I usually let Rob carve the one we get for us and then I help with the kids'. Seth needed help so I went over and started scraping his out. Didn't take long before I was gagging from the smell of pumpkin guts. Being pregnant I'm having serious issues with smells. Pumpkin guts has got to be the worst one I've come across so far. Breathing through my mouth didn't help and soon I had to leave. I managed to get a few pictures in before I left the kitchen. Before I left though, Rob pulled the ultimate. He pretended to lick the pumpkin slime that was dripping off his fingers. That was too much. Combined with the smell and that image I had to run out of the room gagging. GROSS!!! We had a good laugh over it a bit later but he did feel bad for doing that to me. So he says anyway, hahaha. The smell was so bad even with doors open, I had to retreat to my bedroom. Rob was kind enough to clean everything up and rinse all the tools and bowls off so that none of the pumpkin smell would remain. I'm really hoping the memory of the smell fades before next Halloween. I shouldn't be as sensitive to it next year but I'm afraid it'll be like when you eat something and get really sick afterwards it's years before you eat that food again. To this day I can't eat fry sauce cause I got the stomach flu after eating some when I was 17!! So, I hope smells don't work the same way cause pumpkin carving is one the best parts of Halloween!!
Anyway, here are some pics of the kids' pumpkin artwork. They had fun doing it, wish I could have been involved a bit more.

Jill and Elizabeth with their jack o lanterns

The biggest of the white pumpkins we grew this year. Thought they make a good pumpkin snowman :)

Seth really did not like this part of it.

Jonathan gave his a scar across the eye

This poor pumpkin got shot in the head and
now his brains are falling out

Jonathan never has a problem cleaning out his
own pumpkin :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Future changes

Our life is about to change again come Spring time. I went into the doctor yesterday to have a 10 week ultrasound done. So far so good, a healthy little baby is growing :) We will be adding to our family around May 12th.
The past two months have been hard. I have felt so blah. I've retreated into my home, venturing out only when I absolutely had to. Even then trying so hard to hide how horrible I felt. My pregnancy with Seth was a breeze, I managed to hide that one until 4 1/2 months! Not this one. Almost from the start I've been so very tired, I've been napping every afternoon for weeks now. The nausea has been manageble but somedays I'd wake up and just not want to manage. I wanted to go back to sleep and stay that way until May. Wake me up when it's time to have the baby! So those closest to me found out pretty quick. Hard to hide it from friends you exercise with or family you hang out with all the time. I get nervous telling people too soon because our very first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. We were so excited when we found out we told everyone as soon as we knew. Really sucked 2 months later to have to turn around and tell everyone we had lost it. So I've been very cautious with every pregnancy after that. I'm still a bit nervous even now but the ultrasound showed things are good for now. Fingers crossed they stay that way.
I talked with my doctor about the nausea and she prescribed an anti-nausea medication. I waited until last night to take it as it's supposed to make you drowsy. I was really hoping it would help me sleep cause I haven't been getting much of that either. Thank goodness for make-up cause my eyes were starting to get that ugly purple thing going on under them. Takes a lot of missed sleep for my eyes to finally show it. Anyway, took the magic pill last night, slept wonderfully, and woke up feeling.....almost normal!! It has been the weirdest feeling as I go about my day. I don't feel sick! YAY!! Why she didn't give this stuff to me when I had Elizabeth I don't know, maybe it wasn't available. I was sick with that girl for almost the entire 9 mos. This stuff is wonderful! I hope it continues to work well. I may actually be able to get things done around the house now. It has been slowly falling apart before my eyes. My family does what they can but let's face it, husbands and children just do not care as much as we do about the clutter. So today it is my hope to tackle the laundry and kitchen. We'll see how it goes, I'm still tired. Tired I can deal with, sick I can't. I am the biggest whimp when it comes to being sick. I was telling a friend the other day I'd rather get myself bruised up in karate, break an arm, whatever, anything is better than being sick.
So the hope is that it's a girl. Elizabeth has been begging for years now for a sister :)
There still is, of course, the underlying fear of having another child with CF but we'll deal with that if and when we have to. Surprisingly I haven't been as worked up about it this time as I was when I was pregnant with Seth. I just hope all is well and that this one has escaped the disease. We won't know until he/she is born.
For now I'm just going to enjoy being able to get up and move around without feeling like I'm going to hurl any minute. I haven't yet, I absolutley refuse to throw up. I've come close to giving in but with my first two pregnancies, the one we lost and Nate, I did enough throwing up to last several lifetimes. So I will use every mental effort and trick I know to keep from doing it!!
And with feeling better I think now I can finally start feeling excited about this new little life I'm carrying around :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rambling and Venting

Sitting here on a Monday night in a quiet house anxiously waiting for Rob to come home. I'm just bored so thought I'd ramble a bit on here. He's off helping one of our dearest friends hook up her computer and I'm guessing it's not going well as he's been there since about 6:30 pm and it's now 9:15. Sigh. I am grateful though for a husband who is so willing to help others. Doesn't mean I can't miss him when he's gone :)

Lot's of stuff running through my head. Summer is over in 2 weeks. I haven't accomplished hardly anything I wanted to. I feel like I have been busy and running around but I can't tell you exactly what I was doing. Today I made myself start decluttering the kitchen. I was getting sick of the mess I'd see everytime I opened a cupboard. I got most of it done before peetering out so I'm happy. Rob came home and couldn't find anything as I totally rearranged everything too :) I did clean out my sewing room last week. Always nice to walk in there and see it clean so I can just sit down and sew. I'm hoping to get to all the bedrooms before school starts. The kids rooms amaze me. I know I wasn't the cleanest kid but dang, they have me beat by a long shot. Elizabeth has a room to herself and she is worse than the boys most days!! I don't know how they stand it. Any more, clutter just stresses me out. I don't mind a little here and there but when it gets to be too much I can't relax.

Elizabeth's health is weighing me down too. Well, her doctors are weighing me down, let's put it that way. We are back to visits every other week to check her results on the breathing test they make her do. 4 visits ago she was blowing in the 90's. I know the numbers will make no sense and I don't know how to explain them other than 90+ is where she needs to be. So anyway, the visit after that she fell to 70, not good. They put her on antibiotics. Now, mind you, she has NO OTHER SYMPTOMS!! NONE! Other than blowing a 70 she is totally FINE. But they freaked Rob out and put her on meds and said come back in 2 weeks. I haven't been going to the visits cause I thought Rob was handling them just fine. He hasn't been, the docs have been stressing him out. So I decided I needed to go to understand what was going on. This next visit was horrible. They made her blow that stupid test NINE times. NINE!!! All the while the tech is telling us that it takes kids years to learn to do the test right and that most adults by this point have passed out. Um, hello? What the heck! She blew in the low 70's again the first three times. They had her try three more cause she wasn't quirt doing it right. The numbers went up a smidge. So, pulled out the inhaler waited another 10 minutes and tried 3 more times. She got up to 79. All the while I'm watching this whole process pretty sure she's not doing it right. If she's not doing it right why the heck are we freaking out over these numbers? Oh and I should mention that looking back at her previous tests it would appear that 94 she blew earlier may have been a fluke. At home she is not coughing, AT ALL! Pretty amazing for someone with CF. Elizabeth takes karate and she's doing spectacular there, doesn't get winded or overly worn out. She keeps up at home just fine, no wheezing, snoring and NO coughing. haha. Anyway, we said something to the tech about her not doing the test right but the tech assured us she was doing her absolute best. OK, so what? If she's not doing the test right what good is her absolute best? Am I the only one who has a problem with this? So, the doctor then put her on steroids, which I HATE, it must be her airways are swollen or some such whatever. Come back in two weeks. Alrighty, two weeks went by and then it was time to take her in again. This was last Tuesday. She got on the breathing test and still was blowing in the 70's. Steriods didn't work. At this point we start asking the tech questions. Different technician this time. Wow, come to find out, sure enough Elizabeth has been blowing wrong this whole entire time (a year now) and they never tried to fix it! You could see it right there on the graph, she was hesitating when she shouldn't and that threw the whole test off. Once the tech showed us and Elizabeth what was going on, guess what? Elizabeth corrected it and blew up into the low 80's. Wow, really? Oh my gosh, we are freaking out over numbers that essentially from where I'm standing mean nothing because just as I thought all along she wasn't doing the test right. I would have loved to have her do it a couple more times as she was still hesitating for a fraction of a sec but the tech said that was good. We were so happy. Then the doc came in. He took one look at the 80 and said it wasn't good enough we now need to start another round of a super high powered antibiotic that they've had to use in the past. I started questioning the doctor why. I wonder how many parents ask why cause he wasn't very thrilled with having to explain it to me. I need to understand that they need to look at the BIG picture. They need to be aggressive with her cause we don't want to ruin her lungs now do we? I was being talked to like I didn't get the seriousness of her disease. Yeah, I get it. I get that my daughter has a life threatening disease. I get that we need to treat it. But what I don't get is putting her on these drugs when she has abosultely NO symptoms, none. Her x-rays came back with nothing new, they can't hear anything in her lungs and like I said she can keep up with the best of them when it comes to running around. And THEN, he tells us that we need to come back in 3 weeks and do the stupid test again and if she doesn't get up in the 90's this next time he will discuss with us putting her in the hospital for a "clean out". This means 3-4 days in the hospital hooked up to IV's with antibiotics. Are you freaking kidding me? WHY WHY WHY?? I wanted to scream at him! I only agreed to the Zyvox because she does have MRSA in her lungs and it will help her sinuses which is her biggest problem, NOT her lungs. When I asked him about the test and just how reliable the thing was he just kept telling us to look at the big picture and it's the best indicator they have of lung function. Ok, I am looking and in that big picture she's not doing the test right and she has NO symptoms. We proved she wasn't doing it right. And now they want to stick her in the hospital? Again, am I the only one who sees how this makes no sense? I get that they know a whole lot more than I do about CF but I also believe there is a balance and right now I don't think my little girl needs the traumatic experience of a hospital stay. Especially one that involves IV's. You should see her when she comes out of her sinus surgeries. They have just gone and totally roto-rootered her entire sinus cavity and the thing that pisses her off the most is the IV they have to leave in her arm until they make sure she's going to be ok. Yes, now lets put her in a room away from home with one of those suckers hooked up to her arm for 3 or 4 days. I don't think so. Not happening, not unless they can prove to me without a doubt that it's necessary and that stupid breathing test is not going to be proof enough for me. Not until I feel she's doing it right. So, thank you doctors for completely stressing us out over what is, in my opinion, nothing. I'm not looking forward to our next meeting if she does't blow in the 90's cause they aren't going to like me very much. I will refuse the hospital stay and I will probaby refuse anymore drugs, cause they aren't working anyway, and that would be because there is NOTHING wrong. ARrrrrggggghhhh! Can someone please stop the insanity?!

Ok, now that I've gotten myself totally riled up over this again it's time to move on. Or quit. Rob finally walked in the door about 15 mins ago. Computer is set up and working great for our friend :) Have another early morning appointment up at Doernbecher. Elizabeth did a study with an inhaled drug this past year and now we get to go on the open label part of the study where we know for sure she is getting the real thing. We are hoping this will help with her breathing test. Will be interesting to see. Poor thing has to have a blood draw, she just hates needles. I have to bribe her every time we go in. I don't care if she cries or screams but she's not allowed to thrash around. It makes the whole process that much worse. I just love having to pin my little daughter down while she kicks and screams. HA! Elizabeth has done pretty good on the last two so hopefully tomorrow goes smoothly too. Her bribe is going to Build a Bear to buy a new outfit or two for her bears :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our summer vacation to Mt. Hood

Missed my post for June. I might have to add another post later to tell what happened in June but for now I'm going to focus on our trip before I forget everything :)

Not that I could forget our time on Mt Hood. We have lived here since May 2001 and have only been up to Mt Hood once, and that was last year. It's not that far away but usually, if Rob has any time off I want to head to the beach, I love the ocean. So we decided this year we would stay close to home and go spend some time on Mt Hood. In November we reserved an A-frame cabin that looked pretty nice and had been looking forward to it ever since.

We left town on Monday, July 5th and made our way up the mountain and into, way into, the woods where the cabin was located. The farther in we drove the more excited I got cause no one was going to be able to find us! No wi-fi, no cell service, just us and the woods. We finally found the A-frame and piled out of the car to go check it out.

This is the view from the back.
The inside was nice, you could tell the owners were trying to slowly update it. They had started with the kitchen and small family room on the main floor. Nice bamboo flooring and such. The inside consisted of the main floor, two lofts and a basement bedroom. When first reading the description Rob and I figured we'd take the downstairs room since it was away from the kids. After getting there and seeing how creepy it was down there we decided it was perfect for the two older boys :) I know, horrible parents, hahaha. They weren't happy. Elizabeth and Seth got the beds in the highest loft and Rob and I took the middle loft. We got there Monday night with enough time to unload, look around and head back out to the store a few miles away to pick up groceries.

This is the stream just out the back door of the cabin. Not sure what Jonathan's problem is, I think this was taken after he found out about his creepy bedroom. He was a bit grouchy after that.
We got back and had dinner, watched a movie and then settled down to sleep. Sleeping in a different place has always been hard for me but for some reason it was even harder here. It was so DARK and so QUIET I couldn't sleep. Sad, huh? I'm used to some light coming in from outside and we keep a fan going for white noise. I forgot the stupid fan. After about four hours of off-and-on sleep it was finally time to get up and get moving. The boys survived their first night in the creepy bedroom and had decided it wasn't that bad :) After a yummy pancake breakfast we took off.

We like to go geocaching when we go on our vacations and we had decided the best way to check out Mt Hood was to look for some caches and see where they took us. The first led us to Trillium Lake. For one I love the Trillium flower and I just love the word "Trillium" :) So I was excited to find out there was a lake up there with that name. We found the first cache, and after letting the kids fight over who got what out of it, we moved onto the lake. It's beautiful there. Good place to take a family as it had a nice path around the lake and picnic benches in the woods to sit and eat at. All this with a gorgeous view of Mt Hood itself.
Sadly the path around the lake was blocked off at one point as they are fixing it up (will be done by end of July) so we weren't able to go all the way around but we intend to go back. Instead we grabbed our lunch and sat down to eat. Afterwards, we wandered a bit then jumped back in the car to find the next cache.

This one led us to the Old Highway 26. I didn't even know there was one. I love finding out the history of places we go so this one was a fun one for me. The kids thought it was pretty cool too. There is a small spot on the road with one of those Historical Markers one sees off freeways all over the country. This one marks the trail head to the old road and the remnants of the trail the settlers took their wagons on to get here. After a short climb up the trail you come to a real road, yellow line, cement and all, that has become totally overgrown. Trees are fallen all over the place. It was fun to imagine the old antique cars we love to see at car shows driving along this road. It was definitely a more picturesque drive and I'm sure people were forced to enjoy the scenery around them more since I bet those older cars didn't go very fast up those hills :) Anyway, at one point up the road there is another trail that shoots off up the hill and since we hadn't found the cache yet we decided to take it. You can see here in the picture the old highway is to the right and the trail is to the left.
After hiking a ways up you come to the sign that tells you it was the old trail the wagons came over on. Ug!! I could not imagine that one. It was steep and there is no way it was ever smooth enough for wagon wheels. I had to admire the dedication of those early people to come over to settle this area, and then had to think how grateful I was that I live now with all our modern conveniences. We followed the trail until it ended, at another part of the old highway. We still hadn't found the cache and it seemed we missed it so we headed back down the old road again to see if it was off the road. We eventually found the cache and headed back down to the car.
We let Seth find this one since the older kids always jump in and find it before he ever has a chance. He was pretty proud of himself :)

After a fun day of geocaching and hiking we headed back to the cabin to chill. The kids were excited that the weather had finally warmed up enough to go play in the stream so they got their suites on and Rob took them all down to get wet and cool off. I stayed behind and enjoyed a few moments of quiet and read a book :)
We finished off the day with dinner and one of the games in the cabin. Just before everyone went their separate ways to bed Nathaniel found this huge carpenter ant crawling across the floor. He was good and picked it up and threw it outside. He hates killing things. You'll see later why I would even mention this ant :)

The next day we decided to check out Government Camp. We had no idea that they run a bit of theme park up there for something to do during the summer. We had driven through the day before and the kids begged us to let them hang out there one of the days we were there. I'm glad we choose Wednesday. It was gorgeous out and there was a nice breeze coming down off the mountain so we stayed cool at the same time. Naturally I forgot the sunscreen so we all got burnt but surprisingly not too bad. At this point I'm just going to post pics of our time there, they can tell the story :)
The Alpine Slide.

We went home that day totally exhausted but everyone had a great time!

Later that night we were winding down when we notice some more carpenter ants. It wasn't just one this time that managed to find it's way in, there were several, crawling all over the main living area. EEewwww!! I know they don't do anything but they are just big and gross to see. I'm not a big fan of bugs so blech! Anyway, we figured at this point they would just stay on the main level and we wouldn't have to worry about them. They were obviously coming from somewhere inside the cabin. We told everyone not to worry about it and to head to bed. As I was getting ready I looked over at the slanted underside of the roof over by my side of the bed. There were three of those suckers crawling on the wall!! Yuck!! Rob quickly got rid of them for me and I calmed down and started reading my book. 10 mins later there were two more. That was one spot they were coming from, the pipe to the wood stove downstairs exited the cabin right there. The owners had yet to really fix the wall/roof where they ran the pipe through so it was open to the insulation and the outside. Of course that was one area the little buggers were living! Needless to say I didn't fall asleep for a loooong time after the lights went out cause I could just imagine them crawling out of that hole and up to the ceiling and then falling on me. I never did notice the bed skirt on the bed, they didn't have to go that far. Sure enough a few hours after I managed to fall asleep I woke up freaking out cause one was in my ear!! I'm surprised I didn't scream :) Rob flipped on the light and got rid of it. The light went out and again I just laid there waiting for them to come back. Not long after I fell asleep again one went crawling up my arm. Well, that was it. It was 5 in the morning, I sure as heck wasn't going to get anymore sleep. It was light enough at this point to see the wall and I just sat there staring at it waiting for them to come out, trying not to cry. I was so tired at that point. The not-sleeping-well had finally caught up to me. The gross factor of the bugs didn't help any either. The kids finally started stirring so we got everyone up and ready. I was determined to get another hike in. At this point I was sure we would just come back after the hike and pack up and leave a day early. I wasn't about to spend another night with them crawling on me. The final decision to leave was made when I ran down to get some clothes out of the dryer and there was a dead one in the lint screen. That is totally gross and then we knew they were downstairs and getting into our clothes. Gag!!
After everyone was ready we headed out to hike up to Mirror Lake. Our hiking book made it sound fairly easy, we knew it was steeper than some but it didn't sound too hard. I'm the one who was pushing to do it, I really wanted to see this lake. Well, after 3 nights of little sleep, a really hot day, humid air under all the trees, I was the biggest complainer of all. I asked Rob several times if we just shouldn't turn around. He just kept pushing us up the hill. By the time we reached the lake at the top of the hill I was soaked with sweat and extremely grouchy. I'm usually the one having to tell the kids to hush and deal and I was the one this time making the most noise. The book promised a gorgeous view of the mountain top and a pretty lake. Eh, it was ok, but then I probably wasn't in the right frame of mind to care at that point. I really thought there'd be somewhere nice to sit and rest, but there wasn't. We finally pulled off the trail around the lake and sat under a tree on the roots and ate lunch. I just wanted to sit there and enjoy the cool and quiet. You would know a huge family group decided our spot was a good spot to stop too. They were loud and obnoxious, of course anything at that point would have pissed me off, and I just wanted them to go away! Hardly saw anyone the entire hike up and down but here was this group of 10 or so who just had to sit with us. Grrrrr! We hurried and finished our lunch and left them behind. We finished the loop around the lake and headed back down.
I have to say the kids did great :) Maybe because it was disturbing to them to have Mom be the one cursing under her breath and begging to turn around!
We headed back to the cabin and finished up some laundry and packed up to leave. The ants were even more numerous by the time we left, about 7:30 pm. I'm glad we didn't stay. We had to shake everything out and make sure we didn't take any of them home with us. So far, so good. I haven't seen any around our house. Needless to say we all were so grateful to be back in our own beds and we all slept very well :)

Friday we woke up to sunshine and since Rob still had the day off we decided to head the other direction and go to the beach. That was a smart move. It was gorgeous!! Warm enough for the kids to go play in the ocean (and Rob, he can't resist the water) and I sat in a chair to soak up the rays, read a book and really relaxed. It was lovely!