Grow Old With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let Us Give Thanks

This Thanksgiving the Brown Family was on their own. Kasey was on-call this weekend still so we were stuck here in Rawlins. We made the best of it though! :) I cooked my family a delicious feast, we played games, and watched Disney's "A Christmas Carol". Kind of a creepy movie! We went to the theater last year for it, and I remember it scared the pants off of Adiee (who was 3), and I didn't get to watch it, I walked up and down the hallway with a crabby Isla (who was 1 at the time). Kasey got called out right when we were getting ready to eat for 2-3 hours... But we made it work :-)
The girls and I prepared everything homemade: mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole (YUM! my favorite!), turkey stuffing, yams, pineapple stuffing, gravy (meat and non-meat for me), and 2 pumpkin pies! Thanksgiving morning, the three helped Kasey with the turkey! Everything turned out PERFECT! The kiddos cleaned their plate, they loved all the different foods!!

I am truly thankful for everyone and everything in my life...
30 things that I have to be thankful for - one for every day in November: (#1) I am so grateful to my wonderful husband, (#2) who not only works super hard so that I can be a stay-at-home mom, but also (#3) makes love and romance a big part of our marriage - so lucky *sigh*, I absolutely LOVE being your wife Kasey! We are so blessed to have (#4, #5, #6) our three sweet little girls Mikenna, Adiee, and Isla. And that (#7) we all have our health... I am thankful for (#8, #9) my mom, and mother and father-in-laws for all that they have done for us, I don't know what we would do without you. (#10, #11) My brother and sister for always being there for me, (#12) for each and every brother and sister-in-law; I love being a part of such a large family - I wish we got to see more of you more often! And (#13) for all of our extended family on both sides, EVERYONE included! I am thankful for (#14) my 12 year old cat Kleo even though I'm not really a cat person, and I suppose I should mention (#15) my two dogs, Pete and Sara, even though they tick me off pretty much everyday, Ha! I am so very fortunate to (#16) have a warm and cozy place to call home, with (#17) four bedrooms, a total sanity saver when the girls are bickering! (#18) Our comfy king-size bed... (#19) My tahoe! ;-) Is that vain? I do LOVE that car though, haha! I am thankful for (#20, #21, #22) hugs, kisses, and laughter. Speaking of laughter, I am thankful for (#23) the crazy lady in the Black Friday Target commercials, I get a kick out of them! (#24) Photography and (#25) blogging, for capturing moments, both big and small, that not only I will never forget, but my family will never forget as well. I am thankful for (#26) board games and the many entertaining times past, present, and future! :o) (#27) I love the Christmas season and all of my decorations, pulling them out year after year makes me feel so giddy! I am thankful for (#28) music and the emotions that certain tunes can tap into. And (#29) Dreams and Goals - I have so many hopes for the future! Lastly, I am extremely thankful that (#30) Kasey and I have everything that we NEED - love, eachother, our children, a roof over our heads, and food on our table. Counting your blessings is a little harder than one might think!

Capitol Christmas Tree

This year the Capitol's Christmas tree, a 67-foot Engelmann spruce, came from the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. It will be toured through Wyoming before making it's way to Washington DC. We got to see it Friday, November 12. It was pretty chilly outside, but that didn't stop very many people from coming out to see it - us included. :)
The downtown businesses were giving out these patriotic glow necklaces, the girls thought they were pretty cool!
We stood in line to go see the tree through a little plexi-glass window with that portion of it lit up with Christmas lights. They passed around markers for people to sign their names, there wasn't much room at eye level so Mikenna and Adiee wrote their names while Kasey held them up. Kasey writing "Brown Family 2010" Adiee was nervous about being held up while signing so her name came out a little funny - the 'd' looked a little like a 'g' because of where she put the line on the circle and one 'e' was backwards, while the last 'e' was left unfinished because I said "Great job, Adiee" so Kasey thought that meant that she was done :)Our Family :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gallbladders, Who Needs 'Em?

So, I had a pretty rotten week! I started feeling sick Sunday night, went to the emergency room on Wednesday night, was admitted with gallbladder disease with a side of jaundice, had surgery Thursday, and was able to go home Friday night... Ugh! I have always been really healthy, so this was quite a shock!

Shortly after the girls went to bed on Halloween night, Kasey and I were watching TV before we went to bed and I fell asleep on the couch. He woke me up so that we could go to bed, I got up and all of a sudden I had sharp stomach pains. I felt like I was going to throw up and minutes later my back started to hurt horribly! Kasey tried to help me by popping my back, but it didn't help - not one bit! I tried really hard to fall back asleep, but after tossing and turning for quite a while, I got out of bed so I didn't keep Kasey up since he had to work in the morning. I wanted to throw-up so bad, even though I absolutely hate it, just so that I could feel better! A couple hours later, it finally happened and I didn't feel ANY different! I had no idea what to do. So after brushing my teeth, I got a heating pad and my pillow and layed down restlessly on the couch. It was awful.

Monday morning, Kasey got up to go to work and saw that I was still awake and in tears. I got up to get Mikenna ready for school, but he had called Mike and told him he was going to stay home to take care of me (awww... :-) he is so sweet) I told him I could handle it, but he insisted. So I took a hot bath while he got her ready, packed her lunch, and took her to school; the only thing I had to do is do her hair (and that's because I insisted! haha) Kasey was really worried because the pain hadn't let up ALL day, I have to admit that I was a little scared myself but I toughed through it and got a little bit of sleep that night.

Tuesday, I felt a little better so I thought I was getting better - maybe the stomach flu or something. I still had a constant dull pain in my stomach and back. I got more sleep that night than the last two and when I woke up Wednesday morning I thought I was definitely getting better because I felt pretty normal but still had a few twinges of that pain here and there. It was noon and I was skyping with my sister and I had to cut it short because all of a sudden the pain was back full-force and I was absolutely miserable. I was hurting so bad, and I put up with it until about 9 before I finally gave into the torturous pain and Kasey's "begging" to go to the doctor before I drove myself to the emergency room. It literally felt like I was in labor again...

I felt a little silly walking in because the pain seemed to subside a little again, but I decided to just go anyway. They took blood and started an IV because I was pretty dehydrated - getting the IV in was quite the ordeal, they poked and wiggled the needle around in both hands and finally got one in on the third try in the middle of my left forearm (not a very fun procedure to begin with, 3 times?! Ouch!) I layed there in the ER for 3 hours before the doctor came in and said that he wanted to ADMIT me! He said that he was worried about my labs because it looked like I had gallbladder disease caused by gallstones that were blocking the common bile duct and it was poisoning my liver and they were going to have to take it out. I didn't have an infection which was pretty much the only thing going for me, and the doctor was surprised because the risk of it happening increases substantially 6 hours after the onset of symptoms and I was going on 3 days. I was halfway expecting (or maybe hoping...) them to tell me to go home and quit being a baby, but SURGERY?!

Here I am - scared... exhausted... in a new hospital... in a new town... all by myself... and I was going to have surgery in the morning... with a surgeon I had never met... 4 incisions... organ removal... in a tiny little town... and so on... Have I made my point? I was TERRIFIED! I called Kasey, my mom, and texted Kasey's mom (she told me to text her as soon as I knew anything). I couldn't sleep hardly at all, and neither could Kasey; we talked on the phone until about 3:30 in the morning. After that, my brother called and talked to him for about an hour. I fell asleep due to pure exhaustion and was awoke by another needle. Anyway, Thursday Kasey and the girls came to see me and my mom cancelled all of her appointments to drive down to help us out with the kiddos which was so nice. I had an ultrasound, 10 hours worth of phone conversations, turned yellow from jaundice, and had my 2 1/2-hour surgery at about 3 in the afternoon. I briefly saw the girlies afterwards and my mom took them home while Kasey stayed in the hospital with me, but I was pretty out of it until about 9 or so. More bloodwork, painkillers, bandage removal, and finally I was able to go home at about 7 in the evening on Friday.

What a week, huh? My AST and ALT (liver enzymes) levels at 6:30 in the morning on Thursday were 700 when normal is 30-40!! There were some more elevated numbers, but that one was the one that really stood out. I learned that I had 2 gallstones the size of marbles and about a half a dozen smaller ones that I have probably had for quite some time but they just decided to act up, my gallbladder was inflamed so they had to make a larger incision to get it out, I have a blood vessel that is in a unique place (that they weren't expecting to be there, and made surgery a little tricky... Yikes.) and I saw a picture of it, and my liver enzyme levels were at 400 when they said I could go home. Still very high, but going down. Follow-up appointment in 2 weeks. Ugh!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Festivities 2010

October 28, That morning, I brought our pumpkins inside so they would warm up for carving later. After school, a couple of neighbor kids came over to play with our girls. I wouldn't normally let older (the girl is 7 and the boy is 9) kids play with mine, but these little kids really tug at my heartstrings and I only allow it at my house and when I am right there so I can see and hear everything that goes on. Their mother really irks me because of many reasons. This summer I noticed her because she was driving recklessly and had a little boy (probably 2 years old) in the front seat, not in a seatbelt, and when she was stopped I heard the baby whine and she was yelling "shut up" at him!! They have another brother who is 4 - same age as Adiee and he can't put a sentence together or even say very many words that are understandable. The older ones are always coming over to play and she has never even come to say hello or cares who Kasey and I are; I mean, for all she knows we could be horrible people, but it doesn't seem to bother her at all. Really!? Anyway, when it came time to send them home, they realized that we were going to carve our pumpkins and the boy asked if they could stay but we had dinner to eat and homework to do before we even started (not to mention we only had enough pumpkins for our girls). He wanted to stay because they didn't have pumpkins at home because his "Mom didn't want to spend the money on pumpkins for us" and because "the economy has really messed us up" The latter sounds a little rehearsed does it not? It did when he said it. I felt awful after they left. I couldn't even eat dinner, I was all teary-eyed and sad so I left, went to the grocery store and bought 4 pumpkins, a carving kit, and a pack of tealights. Afterwards, we all had a great time cutting up our pumpkins!!
The girls drawing the faces on...

The girls pulling the pumpkin's guts out... :)

It's kind of a dark picture, but this is our little pumpkin family. Kasey's was a little monster, mine is the witch face, Isla's looks like a 3-eyed alien or something, and the girls did great drawing and cutting out their faces...

I cleaned up the pumpkin mess, and stayed up super late so I could annonymously leave the pumpkins on the neighbors doorstep. I've come to the conclusion that I would never make it as a burglar! I was so panicky about getting caught! Haha ;)

October 30, My mom came to visit us Friday and stayed until Sunday afternoon. So since we don't leave our girls with anyone we don't know and trust, date nights are few and far between anymore... So we took advantage of her being in town, even though the whole night went wrong :) We had reservations for the haunted prison tour at 11:30 that night so we decided we would go to a couple of movies before hand. After dinner, we went to the theater to see Jackass 3D, but that wasn't what was playing. We ended up going to Paranormal Activity 2 since that was what was playing when we got there. We went back home to tuck the kids into bed, then took off to see Jackass. We sat down and then realized we had gone into the wrong theater, we were going to watch Secretariat. Well, the movie hadn't started yet which was good except that it was running late and we didn't have time to watch the very end because we were going to be late for the prison tour. When we got to the car, Kasey had locked the keys in the car (I never want to hear anything ever again!! I am the locking keys in the car-est person I have ever met but it wasn't my fault this time!! haha) So we called my mom to find the phone number of the locksmith we knew of, but he didn't answer. Kasey had to run all the way home (just down the street) so we could use my mom's car so we could still get to the prison tour and we would worry about getting ahold of the locksmith afterwards. We made it just in time to wait in a long line, only to find out that they didn't take debit card tonight!! So we had to hurry to the bank to get cash so that they wouldn't leave us behind. Turns out that the prison tour was a total joke, $22 to have someone throw water in Kasey's ear and listen to a bunch of high schoolers scream and grab you. Think of the potential, they could have easily scared the pants off of you which was what I was hoping for :) Anyway, we went home to get ahold of a different locksmith and when we did, we went to the movie parking lot to wait... and wait... Finally 45 minutes and 50 dollars later, we were able to go home and go to SLEEP!!! What a night! ;)

Mikenna, Adiee and Isla in costume... Adiee was Tinkerbell, Mikenna was a princess, and Isla was once again a ladybug. She got her fairy costume dirty, so we switched last minute... Gotta be flexible if you don't want to go insane I guess! ;) haha!

We went to the community's halloween carnival at the rec center, but it was pretty lame. There was only about 2 games, a crowded bouncy house, and the haunted house for kids was scarier than the haunted prison tour. We stayed for maybe 20 minutes or so. Before heading home, we went door to door to trick-or-treat which was chilly but a lot of fun. All-in-all the girls had a fantastic time!
Mikenna and her candy "stash"
Adiee and her "stash"
Isla and her "stash" Doesn't she look happy? haha
At about 6:30, we got home from trick-or-treating so while the girls counted and drooled over all their candy, I made them hot cocoa and topped it off with whipped cream (as if they didn't have enough sugar staring them in the face!! haha) to warm their little bodies up. We all watched Hocus Pocus while we waited for any trick-or-treaters, but it seems we got home just in time because the rain started coming down. We only had about 2 trick-or-treaters. Happy Halloween ALL!

Our Little "Rock" Stars

October 30 was a beautiful day and my mom had come down for the weekend so we decided to show off the girls' skills :-)

There are these awesome cliffs close-by probably 25 - 30 feet or so. Kasey set up the top rope system and then repelled down the rock wall. He is so cute, he gets so excited over this stuff :)

Mikenna was up first...
She did great! She reached the top caribiner - Whoo hoo!

Then she repelled down the rock face so Adiee could take her turn.

Next up, ADIEE!!

She reached the top too!! I was so proud of her. She has a slight height phobia but she pushed through it and climbed ALL the way up!

She seemed to like the ride down a lot! Super fun and hardly any work for her... :)

Isla loved watching her sisters climb, throwing small stones, eating chips, and giving me a heart attack. She just fractured her clavicle 3 weeks ago and she seemed bound and determined to break it again, or something else! EEK! Thank goodness my mom was there. I wouldn't have gotten many pictures since I would be chasing this little booger around uneven terrain. haha :)

Such a pretty girl!
We got done climbing just in the nick of time... The wind was picking up, and Isla was making it known that it was cutting into her naptime! haha :)

Great time spent outdoors as a family...