Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Know a Mormon?

I have this blog on my blog roll, and enjoy reading what he has to say.  As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know we are a "peculiar people", yet it still surprises me when so many people still have not knowingly run across any of us.  I wonder if I am not forthcoming enough about it.  I do tend to socialize primarily with people of my faith because I am rather shy, and often don't get to know my neighbors more than in passing.  Part of that is because of our peculiarity.  I have no desire to go out for a girls' night to drink or whatever. 

The one lady in our building who I have chatted with the most knows that we are LDS, and seemed stunned (shocked? - her husband is a chaplain, Protestant I believe) when I first mentioned it.  I do know that as a family we need to be more outgoing and be better at getting to know those around us.  A former colleague, whose four children have all since joined the church (but not herself), once said to me that "Mormons" seem exclusive and only associate with each other.  I don't think it is intentional on anyone's part, certainly not mine, but because The Church is such a significant part of our lives it just happens.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yellow Belt and Green Pudding

Today was the Cubscout Pinewood Derby, as well as our district Relief Society conference, and a community yard sale here in our housing village.  Since Dean was supposed to be home last night, he was to take all the boys to the derby, while I planned to go to the yard sale, then attend part of the conference.  However, Dean's first plane had an issue so was grounded, and the best they could do for him was put him on the same flight the next day...  He should be well on his way and arriving this evening.

So, this morning Tristan's lip started bleeding again.  I had taken him to the hemophilia clinic three days this week already, including yesterday (Friday), and it stops bleeding once he gets factor, but since the factor only has a half life of 8 hours or so, and being in such a vulnerable place, every time he eats or bumps it slightly once the factor wears off, it starts bleeding again.  I washed his bloody bedding and clothing last night, and pretreated it with some Oxiclean gel.  Every bit of it came out!  I am impressed!  The gel comes out liberally, so I used the whole tube of it, 7 ounces for about $4, but it saved everything.

So, what to do this morning?  The wonderful scout leaders hooked Hunter up with a ride to the derby.  They also "helped" him make his car last Saturday - all day long he was at their home.  Apparently it did really well in the races.  I went to the yard sale, then took Tristan (and Kyler) to the clinic, which is open on Saturday mornings, then got home just before Hunter shortly after noon.

The yard sale was a huge success for me!  I can't often bring myself to buy new baby clothes (unless they are marked waaaay down) since I can get them nearly new for so cheap and since they are outgrown in just a few months!  I probably spent about $50, and got a stroller that is in better shape than ours (same brand, similar model for $5), a new maternity swim suit (mine was stolen out of the trunk of my car by some south-of-the-border construction workers in Sierra Vista, AZ, last summer AFTER I had just gone swimming in it - so dripping wet, along with the wet towels), several new-with-tags maternity blouses, and a whole lot of gently used, super cute (I'm choosy) baby girlie clothes in all sizes.  We should be ready now!  My dad has said that a good yard sale is as good as Christmas, and it is sure true!      
Kyler's teacher is putting the yellow belt on him, and gave him the official certificate of advancement.
Kyler advanced from white belt to yellow belt yesterday in Taekwondo.  He sure enjoys it.  Hunter has been trying to get his act together this week, obeying me when I tell him to do something, getting his homework done (though still forgetting to put it in his backpack sometimes), and trying to be pleasant.  He is after more privileges, which is what I've been hoping for, so it might be time to get him on the waiting list for Taekwondo, although we'll have to jump through hoops because of his hemophilia.

A family from church is moving soon and had too much weight, so needed to give away their piano.  I jumped all over it, and now we have a piano again!  Kyler loves "The Little Drummer Boy", so asked me to play it the first night we had it.  I gave Hunter a lesson - his last one was last May, but he seemed to retain everything (which wasn't much - still in the primer level), so hopefully now we can get on track.  I want to institute the rule that he may play video games for as long as he practiced the piano that day, assuming everything else is in order and he has that privilege.  So if he practices the piano for five minutes, he can play games for five minutes... 
I snapped a picture of the final picture they got of this outfit. Indeed, it takes many, many shots to get the right one!
 We have been approached a few times by some modeling agents here on base, who take pictures of the kids to have in case they need them to model.  One lady came by Wednesday evening wondering if Tristan would be available Thursday morning for a shoot.  I had water aerobics, so said we'd be available after 11:00.  She had a taxi come get us and we went to the "studio", if it could be called that.  It looked like a condemned house, but they set up one area to take the pictures.  They "oohed" and "aahed" over Tristan, of course, and put makeup on him, and a little stuff in his hair, then dressed him up in a total of two outfits for the pictures.  I'm not sure if they photoshop his lip wound out, or what.  It doesn't look that bad when it's not actively bleeding. 

We were there for about three hours, which was most agonizing.  While there it sure didn't seem worthwhile, especially since the location was in that house with old, filthy wood floors.  Kyler rolled all over the floor and ran around like a monkey the whole time, of course, and Tristan was in little white outfits...  But, they had lunch brought in and paid Tristan 160,000 won (about $150) and gave Kyler 10,000 won (about $9) to boot.  The other moms that were there do it quite a bit, and told me a lot about it.  Often times it's in a much better location, and there isn't as much waiting around, or if it's an all day shoot the pay is more.  One little girl (about two or three years old) was there alone.  Her parents both work, so they send her with the agent.  Yikes!  It was interesting, to say the least.  We'll see if any more opportunities come up.  I intend to put the money in a mutual fund or something for him, along with whatever other money he has at this point. 
We live very close to a hospital, and always get a chuckle when the patients come outside to smoke, or eat at a  restaurant, or just go for a walk.  About 50% of the men here smoke.  Yuck.
I'm trying to be a little more festive for holidays and such.  There really wasn't any point in cooking corned beef and cabbage without Dean here (Hunter and Tristan wouldn't eat it for sure), so we had split pea soup since it's green, and some pistachio pudding for dessert - ha ha.  At least it was something!

Since Dean was in Albuquerque for an extra day because of his lost flight, I suggested he make a birthday cake for his mom since her birthday is 3/19 (Happy Birthday Dee!!!).  He was stunned at the idea, but I gave him a super easy, fabulous recipe.  I don't think he's ever baked anything before, but he can certainly follow the directions on the cake mix box, and sure enough it turned out wonderfully, and was a surprise for her.  I'm so proud of him!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bloody the Lip and Black the Eye

This blog is turning into a hemophilia log, it would seem.  I've had a bit of an epiphany.  The reason we had almost nary an issue with Hunter as a tot was because he didn't have any older brothers around.  Kyler has been involved in every single incident we've had with poor little Tristan.  The latest were last week.
Kyler and Tristan were up on Kyler's twin bed playing. Then a couple of days later they were playing together on a living room chair; Tristan fell off both.  He was left with a smallish hematoma (knot or bump) on the back of his head, and a cut lower lip.  I decided to watch the lip and see how it did.  Sunday morning it was bleeding but stopped by the time we went to church.  He managed to fall off the pew onto the hematoma but it didn't add much to what was already there.  Monday morning his lip was quite bleeding, and had been all night. It was most pitiful as he bled all over his toast.
Tristan likes to try on all the shoes at Burger King when we go to the play area.
I took him to the hemophilia clinic where they gave him a dose of factor.  They are open business hours, so aren't an option on the weekend.  They always love to see him and comment about how handsome he is.  They did "physical therapy", using ultrasound to help break down the hematoma. 
We went to the museum of natural history with some friends recently.  This slide is three stories, and all the kids loved it.
 At the clinic they asked about Hunter's ear.  I had kind of forgotten about it since it isn't actively bleeding any more.  I picked him up from school and took him over to the base hospital to see if I could get the ENT doctor to have a look.  He did right away, and said there was still so much dried blood in there that he couldn't see the membrane (ear drum).  This doctor is only about the second one I've ever encountered outside the hemophilia community who has even the slightest snippet of knowledge about it.  He asked Hunter if he was descended from European royalty, which Hunter didn't know anything about.  He also asked if he had hemophilia A or B, which is more than most would know to ask. 

In other Hunter news, his teacher told me last week that he had basically stopped doing his homework and finishing his class work when he began the gifted program.  He will be kicked out of the program if he doesn't step it up.  It's no surprise, but I told him how disappointed I was and that he's back to a 6:30 bed time (lights out) and he's more than welcome to eat dinner once he's shown me his completed homework...  My mom thinks he's a distracted child.  I think he is just lazy and disorganized.  
Tristan plays in the basket o' hats and gloves.
He has been interested in makeup lately, especially mascara.  He's not as interested in me cleaning it off.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My friend Lisa's parents had this framed in their home years ago when Lisa and I were college chums.  I eventually bought one for my home, and my dad really liked it and wanted one...  I can attest that #1 is absolutely true - marrying the right person does indeed determine 90% of our happiness or misery in life.  The other 20 suggestions can be applied in the marital relationship as well, contributing to the success of the marriage. 
This was taken a year ago, around the time of our 10th anniversary.

I am forever grateful that I did make the right decision, and indeed regardless of whatever else is happening around us or to us, we have each other and that is everything.  I knew he was "the one", because the Spirit made it very clear to me before his mission.  I remember the unmistakable "burning in the bosom" when I was pondering our relationship as I drove down I-40 in Albuquerque on my way to school one day. 

That answer carried me through two long years of "waiting" for him while he served the Lord in Brazil, starting when I was 19.  We wrote every week (I actually missed one week in there - not too bad out of 100+ weeks) and were permitted to talk on the phone on Mothers' Day and Christmas.  Our love has grown exponentially since then, and I count it as one of the greatest blessings of my life, a fulfillment of my Patriarchal Blessing.  I also know it is a great blessing to our children, to be reared in a home where Mom and Dad love each other, and whose relationship is the primary focus of the home.

I've been thinking about him and our time together because today is the 11th anniversary of our wedding.  He wrote me the sweetest poem, as he occasionally does for such occasions, and set it to music in a power point slide.  I can hardly wait for his return in nine days.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Gentle Soul

I'm grinning from ear to ear after reading a blog post by a senior missionary serving at Ft. Sam Houston where Darling Hubby has been biding his time.  I married him for many reasons, including that I knew he was stalwart in the Gospel and would never stray from it.  He is perfectly active and upholds our standards, even as he is far, far away from us.  He is a gentle soul and I love loving him.  He is also intellectual beyond my imagination, and as humble as they come.  We sure look forward to having him back in a couple of weeks! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stab me in the ear

So I got a call from the school nurse on Monday morning saying that Hunter's ear was bleeding and I needed to come get him.  Weird.  He has had no pain associated with it, it's not infected, and the ear drum is intact.  I couldn't get an appointment that day in the pediatric clinic, so I talked on the phone with the ENT, who thought maybe the tube was coming out.  I opted to try the watch-and-see approach. 

It bled all night, so I loaded them all up and went to the ER first thing Tuesday morning.  They were as hostile as unhelpful as always regarding the hemophilia, and refused to give him the factor I brought.  Instead, they decided it would be best to transport him in an ambulance to another hospital, so I followed in the van.  I never would have found it myself, I'm sure, but it still seems like a huge waste of resources, which the military loves. 

They were extremely nice at this hospital, but we had to wait some time because the pharmacy was busy mixing chemo meds, so they finally asked me to mix it myself.  I hadn't done it for about three years, and the instructions were in Korean.  It has to be done just right, and the clotting factor is extremely expensive.  I followed the pictures, but they left out one part, namely removing the caps on the bottles of the sterile water and the factor concentrate (which aren't obvious), but apparently that step was in the written instructions, and thankfully the nurse dude was able to salvage the factor after reading through the instructions.
Not sure what it means.  We've also seen a "Beer Hunter" sign, but have yet to get a good picture.
Hunter continued to bleed for a few more hours until it finally stopped, and since there was no active bleeding by morning I sent him to school Wednesday, with instructions to not go to recess or horse around at all.  I picked him up when school was out and we went to the bank to get big money, then went to Itaewon to exchange it for Won so we could pay for the factor at the hemophilia clinic.  I have been reimbursed by Tricare for Tristan's treatment from last year ($4500), but not yet for the preliminary testing/xrays/factor for Hunter.  I would have gone to the clinic in the first place on Tuesday, but it was closed for a Korean holiday.

People here often carry their small children on their backs.  This lady looked older, too, perhaps a grandmother.
 The clinic is the most efficient operation I have ever witnessed.  They have a tiny parking lot, holding maybe a dozen cars if they are double and triple parked.  So they have two full-time guys who rearrange cars all day so that people can come and go as needed.  We just wave at the receptionist - she knows us, and then sit down until it's our turn.  Our name will come up on the TV screen in the front of the room, only I don't read Hangul, so usually people will let me know that it's our turn - funny how much an American name (Tristan or Hunter) must stand out.  We then open the door to the doctor's office.  He sits at a desk in front of a computer with our electronic charts.

He looked in Hunter's ear and said the clot was very unstable (he speaks good English) so he would need more factor that day, and said to come back the next as well.  It was impossible to tell what was bleeding in there until we went back Thursday.  By then the blood had cleared out and the other hemophilia doctor who was working that day said that he appeared to have scratched the skin in the ear canal.  Apparently the skin is very thin in there.  At least he didn't hurt the ear drum.  There's a play room downstairs for the kiddos, near where the physical therapists work with patients, so they saw Kyler and one of them brought Hunter's coat to me (that I've been wondering what became of) that he must have left there months ago.  The nurses gave Hunter the factor intravenously and we were out of there within half an hour.  Amazing, especially compared the the 5 hours we spent going to the base hospital, then the next hospital...

Today, Thursday, they gave him another dose of factor and the doc said he should be seen by an ENT to "dress" the wound in there.  I am sure grateful for modern medicine.  Life wasn't so easy for my dad in the days before factor replacement.  He would be laid up in the hospital for weeks at a time when he had a serious bleed, whether external or internal (such as a swollen joint or a big bruise/hematoma).