Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Recovery - Week Two

My Therapy Dog

My mom and dad got this teeny dog a couple of days ago.  Mom brought her over yesterday morning, and she became my own little therapy dog.  We snuggled and slept together.  Little Trixie/Stella/Fluffbucket/Boatfeet/Heartnose (they're trying to pick out a name for her.  They're looking at the first two names in the series.  The three latter names are my ideas.  I make up the coolest names EVER) couldn't have come at a better time, because I had a HORRIBLE weekend.

Going Through Withdrawals

Why the horrible weekend?  Oh, because I was out of Hydrocodone.  And I really thought I should try to use Extra Strength Tylenol in lieu of it rather than call in a refill on the Hydrocodone.  I just really, really don't want to get addicted to painkillers.  For realsies.  It's one of my biggest fears.  Up there with tornados and heights.  So I thought, "The doc knows what he's doing.  If I'm out of the big guns, that means it's time to bite the bullet and do my best with lesser pills."

I Have PostUterine Depression

So many allusions to firearms in that last sentence. Which is apt.  Because I felt like shooting myself the first day without the hydrocodones.  It was rough.  Not only physically, but also, emotionally.  I was a hot mess.  I cried off and on all day and night.  I haven't cried this much since right before I was diagnosed with clinical depression.  It felt good and bad to cry - good because it was cathartic; bad because it hurt my stomach. :)

My poor home teacher called that evening to ask if there was anything he could do for me/us, and I just started sobbing.  I felt weird asking if he wanted to vacuum my living room, so I asked him the only thing I felt comfortable asking - if he wanted to come over and help Ben give me a blessing.  It was a really great blessing and helped to calm me down. For a couple of hours. :)  Sheesh.  Hot.  Mess.

RLS from Hell

That night, I got a really, really nasty case of Restless Legs Syndrome.  I didn't want to disturb Ben, so I tried to sleep on the couch.  Right when I would finally doze off, I would wake with a start to discover my legs flailing around by themselves.  And so it went, clear until 5 in the morning.  Not kidding about that.  At one point, I was literally staring at the ceiling, tears streaming down my face, begging Heavenly Father to take it away.

He didn't take it away.  Which I didn't take personally.  As I told Ben, sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes the answer is no.  If it's no, there's something I need to learn from that experience.  Ben doesn't agree.  He thinks that Heavenly Father is too busy with bigger problems.  Which I can see.  Civil war?  Refugees?  Or a girl with Restless Legs Syndrome?  Yeah.  Help the refugees.  For reals.  Whatever the reason for the unanswered prayer, I didn't take it personally.  It just made for an extremely miserable night.

I Am a Drug Addict

I muddled through one more day and one more horribly sleepless night - this one caused by just tons of pain - and I had had enough.  I called my doc, and they immediately called in more of the Good Stuff to the pharmacy.  And I've been doing a lot better since.  (And, of course, mentally beating myself up for not being able to function on Extra Strength Tylenol.)

How Did You Guys Do It???

I keep thinking about all of my friends that have had C-sections and wondering how on this earth they had more than one child.  They have basically my same recovery issues, PLUS dealing with a newborn baby, engorgement, postpardem depression...holy cow.  They are superwomen.

TV Anger

I had another rough night maybeeee...a week ago or so?  Yeah.  I think I hadn't eaten enough, or I stood up too fast, or something.  But my sister Nat came to visit, and when I got up to see her, I got seriously, seriously ill.  Nauseated, blacking out, etc.  I recovered after eating some saltines, and I lay on the couch, shivering in my blanket, while Ben sat with me and we watched TV.

He wanted to watch some show about people looking at houses in Alaska to buy.  And I don't know if it was how sick I was feeling or what, but I was watching this show and getting SO DANG MAD.  So this guy and his wife are looking at these houses, and the first house was this piece of crap that was going for $100,000, and it didn't even have plumbing, heat, or electricity!!!  The realtor is like, "Well, you'll have to bring some propane in to keep the heat, and that's $4 per gallon..."  And the guy and his wife weren't even surprised!  This didn't bother them at all!  They're like, "Oh, uh-huh."  And there wasn't a KITCHEN in the HOUSE!  It was this separate lean-to type place OUTSIDE for this lady to cook!!  I'm like, dude, this isn't Tahiti, people!!!  This is ALASKA!  It does get cold there sometimes!!  So I'm like, did the last owner of this house have to put on his snow pants, boots, gloves, etc. and tramp out there in 40-below weather to cook dinner???  It was so weird!  But the wife was only kind of mildly bothered about this, like, "Hm, well, that's not as easy as a kitchen inside..."  And of course, you had to use an outhouse to pee.  What if you have to pee in the middle of the night???  And it's 40 below zero???  But the husband is all, "But look at this dog yard they have for my mushing dogs.  It's so awesome.  Each dog has his own hut, and blah blah blah..."  And I was like, "YOUR MUSHING DOGS???  WHAT ABOUT YOUR WIFE???"  Seriously, I was so dang mad watching this show!!  I wanted to punch the TV!!

They ended up buying a place that had actual indoor plumbing and heating.  The husband was all mad about it not having a good sled dog area.  I was like, "DUUUUUDE!!"

And then there was this one where a guy and his wife were looking for a house along this river.  And again, no indoor plumbing or toilet.  They had a separate "bath house" thing where you have to tromp outside to get to it.  I was shaking in anger at this point.  Oh, and the realtor is like, "This is an active area for bears, so when you come out to use the bathroom, you'll have to bring your bear spray with you each time."  Are you freaking KIDDING me??  I was so mad that, with difficulty, I rolled off the couch and waddled downstairs.  I just couldn't watch that show for one more second.  And I lay in my bedroom, shivering, teeth chattering.

It reminds me of when I came home with Dylan after I had him.  I was just so ANGRY all the time.  Especially at things on TV.  I remember we were watching a movie...I think it was called The Transporter.  And I was just getting so MAD.  I was like, "All this show is, is these anorexic hussies, and this sub-par, balding actor, and a lot of driving.  I can't believe this movie even got made!!  Who even FINANCED this???"

It was a weird time.

I'm Really Sweaty

Man, I am ALWAYS hot and sweaty for the past couple of weeks.  I've honestly stopped wearing a bra.  So, sorry if you come over and see things you don't really want to see.  I just don't see the point in wearing a bra when all I do is sweat all over it.  And I wash my bras by hand, and I really don't have the energy to wash my each bra more often then every two days, you know?  So I just...wear my shirts without.  And figure that people can live with it.

My Bowels are Being Sybil-Like 

If you didn't catch the reference there, um, my bowels have a split personality right now.  And that's really all I want to say about that.  Oh, and that it's really not my favorite thing.

My Own Silver Linings Playbook

So there is one great thing so far in all of this hot mess of a recovery - my bladder.  Ever since I was 12, (I was telling my friend the other day that it's been since I was 15, but I realized that it really started earlier, when I went through puberty) I've had this constant, constant urge to pee.  Whether I have to truly pee or not.  It was alllllways there.  For 23 years.  It was uncomfortable.  I tried Overactive Bladder medications, which didn't do much to help me.  So I figured it was just something I had to live with.

When I had my consultation with my PA, she said that this surgery may not help with the urgency problem.  But that it would definitely help with the stress incontinence. So I went ahead and decided to get this burch bladder pin procedure along with my hysterectomy.

And guess what?  For the first time in 23 years, the constant urgency feeling IS. GONE.  I'm not kidding.

Can you imagine how it feels, after feeling like you have to pee all the time for 23 years, to not have that feeling?  Only to have that feeling when you truly do have to pee?  I'll go for like two hours without peeing and go, "Gosh, should I go pee?  I don't feel like I have to, but.....should I?"  I'm not used to going that long without hitting a bathroom.  It's amazing!!!

The Pain

When I envisioned my pain, I thought it would be centered around my abdomen, where my incision was made.  What surprised me for the first week and a half or so was that there was definitely pain in my abdomen, but that it really spread throughout my whole body.  It's that achey feeling that you get when you have the flu.  Every bone in your body hurts.  Every muscle in your body hurts.  That really surprised me.

The last couple of days (with the hydrocodone), it has changed a little.  The pain feels more like very heavy menstrual cramps or the beginnings of labor.  Occasionally, it will spread to my bumb or my lower back. But it's mainly just in that area.  And for some reason, that's easier for me to cope with. than the whole-body thing.

The Help

Oh my gosh, I have had soooo much help.  My mom comes every morning.  My sister has come four times in the mornings.  They clean, help with kids, get them off to school, etc.  It has meant the world to me.

And then in the afternoons, some sweet ladies from my ward have been coming over to help with kids and cleaning.  I feel so weird, like, "Hey, I'm completely lucid and able to walk around, but I'm not allowed to clean my house, so let me watch you while you scrub my toilet."  I feel a lot of guilt.  But they have been so fantastic.

And the food, oh the food.  People have been bringing a steady stream of food for the past week and a half.  I even had a lady bring a casserole today.  That has been awesome.  (Although I keep telling Ben that I have been really jonesing for a pizza...  And ice cream.  Always ice cream.)

And then my sweet mom takes one of my Warring Children (Sadie and Micah) with her every day.  Micah goes with her one day, then Sadie the next, and so on.  And that has made a world of difference.  I just don't have the strength to play referee between those two. And she knows it.

So yeah, I'm really, really grateful.  And hopefully these psychotic anger-at-TV and bawling-all-night moments will stop happening so frequently...  And eventually....eveeeeeentually, I'll start to feel a little more like myself again.

If you want to come over and see me, do.  I'm here.  Allll day.  Eeeevery day.  And when you come, bring me some canadian bacon and pineapple pizza, mmmkay?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Putting Up the Ole' Tree

So, true to form, our kids cajoled us the day after Thanksgiving into setting up the Christmas decorations. And when I say "us", obvey, I mean Ben.  'Cause you know, I am basically useless these days...I sit on the couch.  Or lie on the couch.  If I'm having a hot flash, my blanket is on the floor.  If I'm shivering, my blanket is on me.  There is no in between.  I'm dying of heat exhaustion, or I'm shivering so hard that my teeth are chattering. It's neat.

(My sis, Lex, said the word "obvey" the other day and I nearly died laughing.  It's my new favorite thing to say.)

Ben's dad bought him this Christmas train when he was a kid, and a few years ago, when we were in Washington for Christmas, Ben's mom let us take it home with us.  He looooves this thing.  A lot.  As do our kids.
Unfortunately, the kids have been a little....destructive with the train set.  And when I say "the kids," I mean Gage.  So Ben is going to put it away tonight.  Which is sad.  But someday Gage won't be two anymore, and we'll be able to bring it out and enjoy it.

I inherited lots of ornaments from my mom a couple of years ago.  So I had the kids decide what colors they wanted this year, and much to my chagrin, they went with a weird, patriotic type of theme, apparently:

But again, the kids will only be little for so long.  So I'm going to let them pick heinous color combinations for Christmas for as long as they're in our house.

So this is a new tree we have this year!!  Ben went to Black Friday at Home Depot at four in the morning and got it.  It's totally prelit!!  Originally, $180.  On Black Friday at 4 a.m., $60.  Aw yeaaaaah.  Our days of winding and winding our other tree with lights and trying to figure out why they look weird or unbalanced is OVER.  I'm thrilled about it.

Ben unpacked this ornament and brought it to me:

"Kar," he said, "Can we just get rid of this ornament?  We must have inherited it from someone.  It means nothing to us. We've never been to the Bahamas.  Should I put it in the D.I. bin?"

"Um, hon, yes we have been to the Bahamas."


"Yeah.  In January.  That's where we went on our cruise.  We picked this ornament out together at the Straw Market in Nassau."


I laughed so hard.  How can he forget something like that?  Haha!  What a weirdo!!

Xena has decided that the tree skirt is her new throne.  She's so funny.

 Look at this pic Ben took:
 He's a good photographer, that one.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Moondrops, Thanksgiving Style

Dude, sorry this is a day after Thanksgiving.  Let's chalk it up to the fact that I had surgery last week, mmmkay? :)

Here is my third project using Moondrops, a product by Bright Side Crafts.  I'm loving how versatile they are, how many colors are available, the ease with which I can incorporate them into my cards, and how inexpensive they are compared to brads and eyelets.  I am an official fan.

So here is a card ready for some embellishments:

Moondrops are perfect for use with ribbons.  They make a good jumping-off point for the ribbons.

So I trimmed the nubbins off the moondrops - I used Firelight Gold for this project:
 Then affixed some Zots to the flat side of each Moondrop:
 Then I stuck them onto the folded ribbon, which I had already affixed sturdily to the card:
And that is that!  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to see the color of the Moondrop if it wasn't against a white background, but as you can see, the color really can stand on its own, no matter what the background:
 My hubs is such a good photographer.  I love having him around for these kinds of photo shoots. :)
If you want to look at some other great crafting ideas using Moondrops or other Bright Side Crafts products, head on over to their blog.

Kay, friends, it's time for me to attempt to pee and then lie on the couch for about an hour.  Such a busy life I lead. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I don't know how those "Real Housewives" do it...

...Have all that plastic surgery, that is.  Those are some tough ladies.  Because surgery is HORRIBLE.  If, someday, I say to you, "You know, I'm going to get a boob job," or "I feel like getting a chin implant," just punch me, okay?  I mean, neither of those things was going to come out of my mouth anyway - let's be honest.  But just in case.  Punch me.  Hard.  And say things like, "Catheter."  "Peeing yourself."  "Dripping bag."  That ought to bring back some pretty fierce PTSD moments and snap me out of it.

I think it says something for how terrible surgery is that here I am, ONE WEEK after surgery, just NOW barely lucid enough and un-nauseated enough to sit at a computer.  For now.  If I don't finish a sentence at the end of this post, you'll know why...I ran to the bathroom.  To try not to throw up, because throwing up really hurts my stitches.

Kay, so here I was, almost one week ago, in the "holding area:"
They had the coolest hospital gowns there.  They're hooked up to these awesome heaters in the wall.  They get all poofy and completely surround you with warm goodness.  Can I get one of those in my house??  They were also fun because they made my boobs look really big.

I had a nurse-anesthetist put me under, and I assured him that I was "okay with that," because that is exactly what my brilliant sis, Beads, is going to be in just one month!!  He seemed surprised that I knew what a nurse anesthetist was.  I don't remember counting backwards or anything.

Oooh, but I do remember my phlebotomist doing a really, really horrible job.  I have this girl who is my favorite phlebotomist, and I seriously wish I could pay her to be part of my entourage.  Then, if I ever needed blood drawn, boom.  She could do it.  And not leave me with a bruise on my arm one week later.  After Bad Phlebotomist left, Ben said, "I'm so sorry.  She used to work at the plasma center.  She was the worst one there."  Dang.

When I woke up from surgery, I felt great.  I slept a lot that day.  They wouldn't let me drink anything or even suck on ice chips or anything, which I was pissed about.  My mouth felt so dry.  One nurse finally took pity on me and let me suck on lifesavers.

I thiiiink my parents and my friend Megs came to visit me that day?  Not sure, seriously.  I'm sure I sounded ridiculous.  One of my favorite things is making fun of family members when they've had surgery and are stoned in the hospital.  So I'm sure my friends and family members have had a good time with that.

That first day, our goal was to have me sit up and stand up.  I reached that goal, and it exhausted me for the rest of the day.  I kid you not.  I fell into a stoned stupor for the rest of the day and night.  My cute nurses would wake me up to do stats and give me pain shots (the sites of which are still really sore), and that was it.

The second day, I had to go on four walks.  The walks could include trying to use the bathroom.  You see, I had to re-potty train myself.  When you get this burch bladder pin thing, they set up a catheter that comes through your skin above your pubis.  You clamp it, let your bladder fill up for a couple of hours, then go try to pee.  Then you unclamp your catheter, and the rest that you couldn't pee out, comes into that catheter and into a bag.

Oh, how I hated that catheter.

It was stitched very painfully and tightly.  If the bag got bumped, that area of my skin stung so badly.  Same with my "drainer of gross surgery liquids" catheter that was a couple of inches away.  So much pain.

Some people graduate from the catheter and get to go home without it.  Not me.  I didn't get that dang thing out until Monday, people.  Nightmare.

I had a ton of visitors that second day.  Maybe 8?  It was great.  And I slept in between.  And I graduated to "clear fluids" that day.  Broth, jello, apple juice....I wolfed it all down.  Or, I guess the better phrase would be, "I lapped it all up."  I was allowed coke that day.  So all was well.

The third day, I just worked more on potty training and sleeping and just really enjoying my time.  Seriously, Ben didn't bring the kids the whole time I was there, and I was sooo okay with that.  And that day, I got to start eating solids. Ben brought me some bean burritos, which was awesome.  I got to go home that evening:

And look at the cuteness that was waiting for me when I got home:
Welcome Home signs from Dylan and Sadie.
 Along with some really great works of art using my "every holiday you could ever celebrate" stamps.
 Micah and Sadie did these for me.  I've now been officially wished a Happy Hannukah, Happy New Year, everything...
Oh, and look at my welcome-home gift from Ben:
A stackable unit for my kitchen!  It's much, much needed.  I'm thinking of moving it over to that out-of-the-way corner, though.  It makes the kitchen a little shadowey where it is right now.  We'll see.

Ben took great care of me and the kids all weekend.  Dylan has a small TV in his bedroom where he can play Wii.  Apparently, he got grounded from the Wii, so Ben set up an extra cable box down in my bedroom and brought Dylan's TV down.  So I can watch TV down there whenever I want! And he kept the kids out of my hair so that I could be in pain and stoned all by myself.  I worked on potty training and got caught up on all of the episodes of "Love it or List It" that I could ever want.

I finally sufficiently potty-trained myself enough that I was able to get my catheter and blood-letting thingey (?) out on Monday, and dude.  No numbing shot.  The doctor and nurse just ripped those stitches out and then rrrripped those things out of my body.  After I sufficiently recovered (I blacked out, my ears started ringing, and I almost threw up), I was pretty pissed about it.  I mean, where is the bedside manner???  Where is the care??

So then we drive home, and the doctor had failed to let us know that the extra pee from this gaping hole that he didn't bother stitching back up or anything would just overflow all over me in the car seat.  In essence, I peed all over myself.   As Adam Sandler would say, "Peeing your pants is the coolest." Mom brought me over some Depends.  I am a fan.

I really thought I had reached the lowest of the low when I peed all over my nurse when I was in labor with Dylan, but this may have beat the Most Humiliating Peeing Incident Record.  Peeing myself in the car and having to wear Depends for awhile.

My sis, Lex, and my mom have been taking care of us each day this week while Ben has been at work.  My mom brought Fancy Nancy paper dolls for Sadie, Lincoln Logs for Dylan, and a Memory-type game for Micah.  And today she was especially brave and brought play-doh.  Lex would have her "shift" in the mornings, and she was so adorable.  Yesterday, when I woke up, a meal supplement shake, scrambled eggs, and toast were waiting for me on my nightstand.  A couple of hours later, I saw my cell phone resting by my hand.  It was like a little fairy came in and bestowed the things I needed while I slept.

Last night I felt really, really horrible.  I didn't eat much for dinner, so I think maybe that's what happened?  More ear-ringing, blacking out, and nausea.  I was alarmed and really really cold and scared.  But I slept all night and seriously ALL DAY LONG, and I feel awesome right now.  I'm going to actually go hang out with my kids while my hubby makes Thanksgiving pies and yams.  The man does everything.  He's the greatest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Lieu of Stitches

Ohhh my poor little Gagey.  He is so accident-prone (like his mom).  Today he tripped on a discarded sippy cup and landed chin-first on a footrest that one of the kids had turned upside-down on the carpet. 

I was on the phone with Ben when I heard Gage cry and went to check it out.  And when I saw this gaping, bleeding cut, with the little fat cells in there, I was like, "Oh, honey.  You'd better come home.  We have to go get this stitched up."  (We only have one car.  Which is so much fun.  But still better than having Ben gone.)

So Ben came home and we rushed him over to the pediatrician's office.  Luckily, this was a job not for stitches, but for that superglue stuff.  Ben went into the office with Gage and I stayed in the foyer with Micah.  Which was just fine with me.  I heard Gage's cries from down the hall, poor kid.

So now he's all glued together:
Here he is, in all of his luscious-lipped, eczema-and-booger-encrusted glory:
We went to a wonderful hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place for lunch afterward to celebrate.  Mmmm.

Oh, and hey, by the way, I'm going in for major surgery tomorrow.  Can you pray for me?  I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lap Swimming. And a really funny story.

My mom and I work out together every Tuesday and Thursday.  Today, she suggested that we do lap swimming.  I haven't swum laps  It felt great.  Though I really need some goggles.  Yikes.  Bikes!

Swimming laps reminds me of a funny and very true story.  Wanna hear it?  I thought so! 

So.  My sophomore year of college, I had a roommate who was a little...crazy.  For reals.  Let's call her...Cadence.  (Just because my son is watching My Little Pony right now.)  Cadence never went to class.  She painted her fingernails three or four times per day.  She watched The Sound of Music every single day.  She stole money from our bedrooms.  And she would cut herself with sharp objects, so we had to hide all of the knives.  It was nutty.

But the craziest thing of all about Cadence was when she went swimming.  She would swim for about four hours per day.  Not kidding.  I went with her a few times, at the beginning, before she started stealing all of my money and cutting herself.  And you know, I wouldn't swim for the whole four hours.  Just one.  And I swam laps, you know, for exercise.  But Cadence...when she swam, she would, like, flit around.  Like a fish.  She would burst out of the water like Ariel from The Little Mermaid.  She would swim in circles and flip her arms around like fins.  It was a little weird.

One time, she sat down next to me and said, "Kar, can I talk to you?"


She sighed deeply.  "I really, really wish I was a fish."

"Haha!  Oh, wait.  You're serious.  Wow.  Um, really??"

"Yeah," she said dreamily.  "My life would have so much more meaning if I was a fish."


It reminded me of The Incredible Mr. Limpet.  Have you ever watched that movie?  I used to really like it.  Until it hit a little too close to home.

Things got so weird with her that, at the end of our first semester living with her, my other two roommates and I asked the manager of our apartment complex if we could get transferred to a different apartment.  Cadence said to me at this point, "If you move, I'll kill myself."

I had just had it with this girl.  She had stolen all of my money and made my life a living hell.  So I retorted (in a very uncharitable way), "Do what you want.  I won't be held responsible for you.  I'm outta here."

The apartment manager ended up moving her, instead of the three of us, and a darling, darling girl, who ended up being my lifelong friend, Lynita, moved in. 

Cadence was still in our ward at church. I often wondered how her new roommates were faring with her.  She only lived a few apartments away, so I saw her a lot in passing, and it was awkward...  But boy, was I glad not to live with her anymore.

And that is the story of my roommate who wanted to be a fish.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Deck the Halls with Turkeys

 I finally put up the Thanksgiving decorations today.
 They look a little weird intermingled with Chinese stuff, but oh well...
I've been doing pretty well keeping up with decorating this fall.  My Mother's Day decorations were up clear until the first part of October.  I kid you not.  It was a hard summer...
Micah calls turkeys, "bocks."  I'm not sure why.  But I think it's pretty cute.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Talk on Nurturing Marriage

Hey, 'sup?  I gave a talk on marriage today in church and thought I'd throw it on here for ya.  It went well.

Nurturing Your Marriage

When Ben and I were married in the temple almost twelve years ago, our officiator, a man named President Wirkus, gave us some words of wisdom. He used his hand and fingers to help us remember his advice.

1. We

He held up his thumb and said, “We.” He wanted us to remember to be unified.

In D&C 38:27, Christ says, “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” He was speaking of members of his church, but I believe this applies to marriages, as well.

Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.”

When you marry, you no longer only make decisions alone. You have to consider your spouse. In this way, marriage really helps us to be less selfish. It makes us better people. President Spencer W. Kimball said:

Before marriage, each individual is quite free to go and come as he pleases, to organize and plan his life as it seems best, to make all decisions with self as the central point. Sweethearts should realize before they take the vows that each must accept literally and fully that the good of the little new family must always be superior to the good of either spouse. Every decision must take into consideration that there are two or more affected by it. As she approaches major decisions now, the wife will be concerned about the effect they will have upon the parents, the children, the home, and their spiritual lives. The husband's choice of occupation, his social life his friends, his every interest must now be considered in the light that he is only a part of a family, that the totalness of the group must be considered. (Ensign, June 1978, “Oneness in Marriage”)

You can really reach your full potential better with the help of a spouse. A famous Italian writer named Luciano de Crescenzo, said, “We are each of us angels with only one wing. And we can fly only by embracing each other.” I love the figurative language there. I know that, when I'm lagging a bit spiritually, Ben kind of helps to pull me up, and vice versa.

In child-rearing, it's best when you can work as a husband-and-wife team. Ben was in China for the past ten months for work, and I really struggled without his help. I can't believe how much easier it is to care for and rear our children with him here! We can split up the work. And when I'm exhausted or have had enough, Ben can step in while I take a breather. And vice versa.

An important part of this husband-and-wife team concept is presenting a united front, not undermining each other's decisions, and making major decisions together. Anything related to the kids really should be talked through with your spouse. My mom was such a good example of this to me while I was growing up. So many times, I remember begging her, “Don't tell Dad!” It wasn't for big things; usually it was because I hadn't finished an assignment in time and had stayed up all night working on it. But she never, ever would promise not to tell Dad. “I can't keep secrets from your dad,” she would tell me.
  1. Thank You
President Wirkus held up his thumb and first finger and said, “Thank you.”

Gary Chapman, a therapist and writer, said:

[Words of thanks] are powerful communicators of love. They are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements...such as:

“You must be the best potato cook in the world. I love these potatoes.”

“I really appreciate you washing the dishes tonight.”

“Thanks for getting the baby-sitter lined up tonight. I want you to know I don't take that for granted.”

“I really appreciate you taking the garbage out.”

“You did a great job on this meal.”

“I really appreciate you picking up the laundry.” (The Five Love Languages, 2004, p. 39,55)

Elder Russell M. Nelson said:

To say “thank you” is not difficult. But this expression of appreciation does more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. It is a sign of sweet civility. As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments. (Ensign, May 2006, “Nurturing Marriage”)

Gary Chapman told a story about one of his patients who had been asking her husband to paint their bedroom for nine months, but to no avail. She was so frustrated with him! Doctor Chapman suggested something to her. He told her to thank her husband for all of the other little things he did, taking the garbage out, paying the electric bill, etc. The woman was a little bothered by this, but she came back three weeks later and reported that it worked! Her husband finally painted the bedroom! (The Five Love Languages, 2004, p.40-42)
  1. I Love You
It is so, so important to tell your spouse that you love them. President Howard W. Hunter said, “Marriage is like a tender flower...and must be nourished constantly with expressions of love and affection.” (Ensign, Nov. 1994. “Being a Righteous Husband and Father”)

I loved Elder Richard G. Scott's talk in April 2011 General Conference. He talked a lot about this:

Do you tell your wife often how very much you love her? It will bring her great happiness. I’ve heard men tell me when I say that, “Oh, she knows.” You need to tell her. A woman grows and is greatly blessed by that reassurance. Express gratitude for what your spouse does for you. Express that love and gratitude often. That will make life far richer and more pleasant and purposeful. Don’t withhold those natural expressions of love. And it works a lot better if you are holding her close while you tell her.

I learned from my wife the importance of expressions of love. Early in our marriage, often I would open my scriptures to give a message in a meeting, and I would find an affectionate, supportive note Jeanene had slipped into the pages. Sometimes they were so tender that I could hardly talk. Those precious notes from a loving wife were and continue to be a priceless treasure of comfort and inspiration.

I began to do the same thing with her, not realizing how much it truly meant to her. I remember one year we didn’t have the resources for me to give her a valentine, so I decided to paint a watercolor on the front of the refrigerator. I did the best I could; only I made one mistake. It was enamel paint, not watercolor. She never let me try to remove that permanent paint from the refrigerator.
I remember one day I took some of those little round paper circles that form when you punch holes in paper, and I wrote on them the numbers 1 to 100. I turned each over and wrote her a message, one word on each circle. Then I scooped them up and put them in an envelope. I thought she would get a good laugh.

When she passed away, I found in her private things how much she appreciated the simple messages that we shared with each other. I noted that she had carefully pasted every one of those circles on a piece of paper. She not only kept my notes to her, but she protected them with plastic coverings as if they were a valuable treasure. There is only one that she didn’t put with the others. It is still behind the glass in our kitchen clock. It reads, “Jeanene, it is time to tell you I love you.” It remains there and reminds me of that exceptional daughter of Father in Heaven. (Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage, Ensign, May 2011)

I read a story about saying “I love you” by a lady named Laura Jeanne Allen that really touched me:

My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word “shmily” in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving “shmily” around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more.

They dragged “shmily” with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio. “Shmily” was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave shmily on the very last sheet.

There was no end to the places “shmily” would pop up. Little notes with “shmily” scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. “Shmily” was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents' house as the furniture.

[When my grandmother died,] “shmily” was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother's funeral bouquet.

S-h-m-i-l-y: See How Much I Love You. Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for letting me see. (Chicken Soup for the Couples' Soul, 1999, pp. 16-18)
  1. What Do You Think?
President Wirkus held up four fingers next and said, “What do you think?”

It's important for you to show your spouse that you value their opinion, and to make decisions together. Gary Chapman said that, when you make major decisions without your spouse, you become the parent and the spouse becomes the child. It's demeaning. In marriage, we are equal, adult partners. (The Five Love Languages, p. 48)

I read a fabulous article in the Ensign in June of this year that invites us to apply the principles of church councils to our marriages.

D&C 107:27 says that, in church councils, we make decisions unanimously. We should strive to do the same in our marriages.

In church councils, each person participates fully. We should do the same when making decisions in our marriages. D&C 88:122 says, “Let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.”

The third principle of church councils that can be applied to marriage is presiding righteously. Elder Ballard says that the authority of the priesthood shouldn't be wielded like a club over the heads of others. We should apply this to our marriages. When one presides in the home, he doesn't rule over the others, but he ensures that the marriage and the family prosper. D&C 121:41 says, “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.” (Counseling Together in Marriage, Ensign, June 2012)

  1. I admit I was wrong.
The last phrase President Wirkus taught us on his fingers was with all five fingers extended, and saying, “I admit I was wrong.” It's more important to be happy in your marriage than to be right.

There are times when you and your spouse may argue. Marriage is very difficult. It's a melding of two different backgrounds, minds, temperments, etc. It's not always smooth sailing. You may be very hurt and feel that your spouse is entirely in the wrong. However, if you can take responsibility for your part of the argument, that will really go a long way toward creating peace.

Even if you feel that you had no part in an argument at all, a family counselor named John Gray recommends this: “At those times, I take a deep breath and say nothing. Inside, I try to imagine how she feels and discover the reasons from her point of view. Then I say, 'I'm sorry you feel so upset.' Although this is not an apology, it does say, 'I care,' and that seems to help a lot.” (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, 1992, p. 162)

Ben is so good at this part of our little “finger formula.” It's so difficult to admit that you made a mistake, or to say you're sorry, but he cares more for our relationship than he cares about being right. It is one of the things I love best about him.

I bear my testimony that marriage is designed to help us be better people.  It can bring us utmost joy if we can learn to nurture it and show true charity to our spouses.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's time.

So.  If you remember, I have a prolapsed bladder and uterus, for which I'm going in for surgery a week from today.

Something that has kept the pain at bay for several months has been birth control pills.  I wanted to wait until Ben came home permanently before considering trying to have and to recover from major surgery, so I relied heavily on my birth control pills and an occasional ibuprofen to take the edge off the pain.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I was out of birth control pills.  Here was my internal conversation:

Me:  Dang.  I'm out of pills.  Time to call, get a refill, and go pay sixty frickin' bucks for them.

Me:  Wait.  In two weeks, I won't need birth control pills.  Do I want to pay sixty bucks for two weeks of relief??

Me:  You're right, Kar.  Sixty bucks.  That buys a whole lotta luscious bean burritos.

Me:  True dat, Kar.  And you don't need birth control for its other purpose.  Ben got a vasectomy a couple of years ago.

Me:  Mmmm-hmmm.  Let's just not do it.  You can take extra ibuprofen for the pain.  Easy peasy.

Me:  Cool.  Readyyyyyyy, BREAK!

A few days after I stopped taking my pills, I was cursing myself.  Seriously.  I didn't have any idea how much these pills had helped with the pain.  With them, the pain was a constant dull ache.  Without them, the pain is definitely in that upper 8 or 9.  You know, when nurses always ask, "On a scale of one to ten, what is your pain level??"  I'd seriously call this an 8 or a 9.  It feels like labor pains.  Like the pains you feel for the first hour or two of labor.  You can kiiiiind of function, and it's not as bad as the next hour or two, but still, it hurts a llllllot.

I've been taking ibuprofen, which helps a little bit.  At least it helps me to be a little more functional.

You know, this accentuated pain has been a good thing in a way - it has really cemented in my mind the need for me to have this surgery.  Before, when the pain was kind of dulled, I thought, "Do I really need this surgery?  Maybe I can deal with this..."  But now I realize that this really is a problem.  A big one.  One that won't go away.  One that will get worse and worse. 

I've been able to exercise moderately.  I can't jog - that hurts too much - but as long as I've taken aleve or ibuprofen, I've been able to do fluid things, like spinning and the elliptical machine.  I went to the gym with my mom and my youngest sis, Lex, today, and in true she-used-to-be-a-personal-trainer mode, Lex pushed me pretty hard.  And I willingly obliged.  I'm nothing if not a people pleaser.  And I really do love to exercise and to push myself.  So I worked hard.  And I was doing okay.  But as I walked out of the gym and got in the car with my mom, I started to really cramp up in my abdomen.  Hmmm, I thought.  That's weird.

We went to the library - I desperately needed to get some books for Sadie to read as part of her homework, ones that are her reading level.  Mom stayed in the car with my kids while I went inside.  And the pain in my abdomen went from bad to worse.  Quickly.  By the time I walked back out to the car, I could hardly walk.  Tears were streaming down my face, and I was having a hard time breathing.  I couldn't relax into the seat.  I was clenched and shaking.  Mom was alarmed and wondered aloud if we should go to my doctor immediately.  I decided to go home and lie down and see if things improved.

I took a ton of Tylenol (I can't take ibuprofen or other types of pills that may thin my blood for the next week), got out my heating pad, and lay on the couch while my mom took care of my kids.  (I know.  Isn't she the BEST??)  I was able to relax a little bit as the Tylenol kicked in, but I was in too much pain to sleep.  I called the nurse at my doc's office and asked her opinion.  She recommended seeing how I felt in the morning.  If I was still in too much pain, I should come in and get checked. 

The pain slowly got better and better, but it wasn't until about 9 hours of rest (just within the last couple of hours or so) that I was able to walk upright and without pain.  I texted Lex to tell her what was going on, and she suggested that maybe my uterus figured out that I was getting rid of it and was acting out in rebellion.  I laughed. 

And then I stopped laughing, because that really hurts.

So yeah.  As scared as I am to have major surgery, and as scared as I am knowing that it will take me six weeks to recover, I can't continue living like this.  It will be a good thing.  It's time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Man in Black

Ben put on a black shirt this morning.  I made some lame joke about how he was The Man in Black.  He said, "Well, I'm in mourning." 

"Mourning?  Over what?"

"Because Mitt Romney didn't win."

Haha!  I thought it was funny.  He sent me this picture a little while ago:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


My poor, poor Sadie girl.  She's been sick.  She had flu-like symptoms on Halloween and had to stay home.  She wanted so desperately to go trick-or-treating.  She got all dressed up, had me take her picture, and went, "Ohhhh, I don't think I feel good enough to go..."  I love her face in this:
She did feel better the next day, but then the day after that, started complaining of pain in her ear.  We took her to the doc this weekend, and it turns out she has an ear infection.  In fact, her ear is so goopy that she can't hear very well.  We do have her on antibiotics, and I hope they start to take effect soon, because I'm worried about her hearing. 

I was helping her with homework yesterday, and she kept saying, "What?"  I had to make sure I spoke a little louder and always had my face toward her so she could read my lips.  I e-mailed her teacher and let her know that, yes, Sadie can't hear, and that, hopefully, it's only temporary.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Lesson on Becoming Spiritually Self-Reliant - What I Did

Spiritual Self-Reliance

1.  This idea is straight from the lesson.  Give each of the students a paper and a pen.  Read Quote #1:  Spiritual self-reliance is essential to our eternal well-being. When we are spiritually self-reliant, our testimonies do not depend on the testimonies of others. We seek our own spiritual experiences through praying daily, studying the scriptures, and exercising faith in Jesus Christ. We turn to our Heavenly Father for His help to resolve our own difficult problems. We are also able to strengthen others in their times of spiritual need.  (From the online youth manual)

2.  After someone reads the quote, have the students write on their paper what they think spiritual self-reliance is. Have a few share what they wrote.

What is a Testimony?

To kind of introduce testimonies, I did a sensory activity that I did once for Family Home Evening a few years ago.  It was a hit.  And I knew my teenagers would like it.  I had two of them sit at the front of the room, facing the other students, and blindfolded both of them.  Here's what you do at this point:

Stand behind the first student and ring a bell.  Ask him what he heard.  Then ask him to touch a piece of soap. Ask what it is.  Have him smell a baggie with a piece of cooked bacon in it.  Ask him what it is.  Give him a piece of cheese to eat.  Ask him what it is.

Stand behind the second child.  Open a piece of candy behind her.  Ask her what that sound was.  Ask her to touch a stuffed toy.  Ask her what that was.  Ask her to smell a baggie with a sectioned orange in it.  Ask her to identify it.  Have her taste a granola bar.  Ask that it was.

Ask the first student, "How did you know I was holding cooked bacon to your nose?  Did you need to see it to know what it was?"  Ask the second student, "How did you know you were tasting a granola bar?  Did you need to see it to know what it was?"

We don't need to see that something is an orange if we smell it.  We don't need to see that something is cheese if we taste it.

Can you see Heavenly Father? (No.)  But do you know that he is real?  (Yes.)  How do you know he's real?  (By the feelings that we have.)  Can you see Jesus Christ?  (No.)  But do you know that he's real?  (Yes.)  How do you know he is real?  (By the feelings we have.)

The feeling in your heart that Heavenly Father lives and that Jesus is the Christ is called a testimony.

You Can't Rely on Others' Testimonies

1.  Interview Activity

I gave each student a little half-page worksheet.  Again, this is straight from the online manual.  I put the students in groups of two.  On the worksheet was a scripture to read.  I had three different scriptures, so some kids had the same scripture as others.  I made sure that each group had two students with two different scripturesHere are the three scriptures:

Moroni 9:27
Moroni 10:3-5
D&C 56: 26-28

Here was what the worksheet said (I'm so sorry; I don't have any copies left of this to scan, so I'm just describing this for you):  "Directions:  Read this scripture - ________________.  Then, ask your partner the following questions about their scripture.  Write their answers below each question.  Then allow your partner to ask questions about your scripture."

Here are the questions they asked each other:

What did the scripture you read say?
What did you learn about spiritual self-reliance from these verses?
What are you inspired to do because of what you read?

Then I had a few of them share their own or their partners' answers.

2.  Parable of the Ten Virgins Activity

I wanted to review the Parable of the Ten Virgins.  I split them up into four groups, and I gave each group a few verses of the parable to read to themselves, and then illustrate.  Then, I had each group show the others their part of the parable and relate it to them.  Here's how I divided it up:

Group 1: Matthew 25:1-5
Group 2: Matthew 25:6-7
Group 3: Matthew 25:8-9
Group 4: Matthew 25:10-12

The kids got a big kick out of this activity.  They're funny.

My mom has a lamp similar to the kinds that were used in Israel that I showed to the kids:
Then we read this excerpt from Elder Bednar's talk from this most recent General Conference (I had three students read, each one paragraph):

I now want to use one of many possible interpretations of the parable of the ten virgins to highlight the relationship between testimony and conversion...Please think of the lamps used by the virgins as the lamps of testimony. The foolish virgins took their lamps of testimony but took no oil with them. Consider the oil to be the oil of conversion...

Were the five wise virgins selfish and unwilling to share, or were they indicating correctly that the oil of conversion cannot be borrowed? Can the spiritual strength that results from consistent obedience to the commandments be given to another person? Can the knowledge obtained through diligent study and pondering of the scriptures be conveyed to one who is in need? Can the peace the gospel brings to a faithful Latter-day Saint be transferred to an individual experiencing adversity or great challenge? The clear answer to each of these questions is no.

As the wise virgins emphasized properly, each of us must “buy for ourselves.” These inspired women were not describing a business transaction; rather, they were emphasizing our individual responsibility to keep our lamp of testimony burning and to obtain an ample supply of the oil of conversion. This precious oil is acquired one drop at a time—“line upon line [and] precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30), patiently and persistently. No shortcut is available...

How Can You Gain a Testimony?

1.  It's hard work.

I had a student read this story I got out of an old Family Home Evening Manual:

Christopher's Puppy

Nine-year-old Christopher went shopping with his mother.  At the pet store, he saw a puppy that he wanted.  He asked his mother to buy it for him.  She told him if he really wanted it, he would have to earn his own money to buy it.  His mother told Christopher that a puppy required lots of care and attention and Christopher would have to be responsible for doing this.

Christopher wanted the puppy very much, so for the next several weeks he did every job he could find for his parents and neighbors to earn the money.  He was very excited when he finally had enough money to buy the puppy.

He enjoyed the puppy and took good care of it.  He learned that it took lots of work to keep it healthy and happy.

A testimony is much more important than a pet or any worldly possession.  It is something that no one can injure or take without your consent.  It is something that will influence your life forever.  It is a testimony.

2.  Drops of Oil Activity

I had hidden four drops of oil made of construction paper under four of the chairs.  I had the students look under their chairs and take the papers out.  Here are what my drops of oil looked like:
Each drop has one of the steps that Elder Uchtdorf outlined in his October 2006 Conference talk about gaining a testimony.  I had the student with the drop that says "desire to believe" come and put it in this picture of a cruse:

 Then I had him read this quote from Elder Uchtdorf's talk:

First: Desire to believe. The Book of Mormon encourages us: “If [you] will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, … even if [you] can no more than desire to believe” (Alma 32:27)...God promises us divine help even if we have only a desire to believe, but it has to be a true and not a pretended desire.

The second student taped the drop that says "search the scriptures" onto the cruse, then I had her read this quote from Elder Uchtdorf's talk:

Second: Search the scriptures. Have questions; study them out; search in the scriptures for answers. Again, the Book of Mormon has good advice for us: “If [you] give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart” through diligent study of the word of God, the good seed “will begin to swell within your breasts” if you will not resist with unbelief. This good seed will “enlarge [your] soul” and “enlighten [your] understanding” (Alma 32:28).

The third student taped the drop that says "keep the commandments" onto the cruse, and then I had him read this quote from Elder Uchtdorf's talk:

Third: Do the will of God; keep the commandments. It is not enough to enter into a scholarly debate if we want to know for ourselves that the kingdom of God has been restored upon the earth. Casual study is also not enough. We have to get in on the action ourselves, and that means learning and then doing God’s will.

We need to come to Christ and follow His teachings. The Savior taught: “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:16–17; emphasis added). And He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

At this point, we also looked up and read D&C 130:18-19.  It went really well with the third step.

Then have the fourth student tape the drop that says "ponder, fast, and pray" onto the cruse and then read this final quote from Elder Uchtdorf's talk:

Fourth: Ponder, fast, and pray. To receive knowledge from the Holy Ghost, we must ask Heavenly Father for it. We must trust that God loves us and that He will help us to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost...

The prophet Alma said:

“I testify unto you that I do know that these things … are true. And how do [you] suppose that I know of their surety?

“… Behold, I have fasted and prayed … that I might know these things of myself. And … the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation” (Alma 5:45–46).

My dear brothers and sisters, Alma received his witness by fasting and prayer more than 2,000 years ago, and we may have the same sacred experience today.

*Note - our class time ended at this point.  But I had worked really hard on some other parts to this lesson, so I'm planning on doing them next week.

There are Many Parts to a Testimony

1.  Legos

I got this idea from the Friend magazine.  I'm going to borrow some of my son's legos and explain that a testimony is gained little by little, just as a building is built brick by brick. We can compare gaining a testimony to constructing a building. For example, one brick could stand for having a testimony of the importance of attending church; another brick, a testimony about The Book of Mormon; and yet another brick, a testimony of prayer.

2.  Stone Activity

I did the following activity with my family for FHE once, and they really liked it.  This comes from the same place as the legos idea.  You can find the pdfs here

Cut out the stones. Write a few words about your testimony of the thing referred to on each stone. A few stones have not been labeled; add your testimony about additional principles of the gospel on them. As you glue the stones in place on the fortress, think about how your testimony gives you strength and protection.
I pre-cut and pre-taped the stones for the students.  All they have to do is write how they feel about each principle on each stone.

Gaining a testimony is an ongoing process

1.  We read this excerpt from Elder Hales' address in April 2012 General Conference (again, one student reads each paragraph to break it up a bit):

The Savior told His disciples about a son who left his wealthy father, went to a far country, and wasted his inheritance. When a famine arose, the young man took the lowly job of feeding swine. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the husks meant for the animals.

Away from home, far from the place he wanted to be, and in his destitute condition, something of eternal significance happened in the life of this young man. In the Savior’s words, “he came to himself.”1 He remembered who he was, realized what he had been missing, and began to desire the blessings freely available in his father’s house.

Throughout our lives, whether in times of darkness, challenge, sorrow, or sin, we may feel the Holy Ghost reminding us that we are truly sons and daughters of a caring Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we may hunger for the sacred blessings that only He can provide. At these times we should strive to come to ourselves and come back into the light of our Savior’s love...

As our spiritual desires increase, we become spiritually self-reliant.

2.  Spiritual Desires Worksheet

I'm going to hand these out and have the kids write on them.  If they feel like sharing, I'd like to hear some of their spiritual desires.  But if they don't, it's allll good.  But I do want them to share what they wrote in answer to the second question:


To review, I want to play this game I found in a book I have called Gospel Games.  Here is my jpg of the gameboard:

And here is my jpg of the rules:

Some of the testimony cards were kind of off topic, so I only scanned the ones I want to use:

And here is my jpg of the "move" wordstrips:

And that, as they say, is that.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Life Flight Place. And that's a wrap!

Welp, this is my very last post about my trip to Buffalo.  Are you glad?  Probably.  Really, what I've done to you in posting all about it is basically the 21st century version of making you hang out in my living room while showing you slides of my trip.  There's even a Flintstones episode dedicated to how annoying that is.  But hey, my blog is for me, too, and, as always, I have blog-will-be-made-into-scrapbook-type visions whenever I post.

So the very last thing we did was go and see where my sister, Beads, works.  And for some reason, I can't find any pictures that Ben took of this, so these are all Beads' pictures.  Which means she isn't in any of them, dang it.

Beads works on the weekends for a life flight company.  She's basically a superhero.  The stories she tells me....gruesome.  And some of them are awesome - the ones that turn out well, with people living and coming back to visit her and thank her.  But yeah, the girl has seen horrible things.  She has held peoples' brains and intestines in her hands.  Yet she gets squeamish when changing a diaper.  Which I think is really funny.

So we saw the little room where she sleeps or studies when she's on call, which was cool.  And we met the air traffic controllers.  And then we got to see one of the helicopters up close and personal:
Man, that cockpit is tiny.  I was worried I was going to knock a stick awry and mess something up.

Then we got to watch a pilot land after having gone on a call.  We had to wear special earmuff thingeys, because helicopters are pretty loud.  We had to wait for a few minutes, so I started singing the title sequence for Top Gun and pretending to be those dudes on the aircraft carriers who give signals for jets to take off:
You know the song I'm talking about?  With the electric guitar going, "Neer, neer, neer, nee-ner nee-ner neer, neer, nee-ner neer, nee-ner neer, nee-ner neeeee-nerrrrr...."

So then the pilot landed, with much noise and wind, and then he let us try on his night goggles, which was seriously sooo cool.  (This is my mom):
 And then we went inside and talked some more to the pilot.  He was really nice. 
So that's iiiiiiiiiiiit!  The end of the trip photos.  We had such a good, good time.  As Alanis Morrisette would say, "Thanks for your patience."
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