Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We made it through 2008! A Quick Recap.....

2008 is a year that I am glad to say good-bye to. It's been difficult, frustrating, terrifying, exhilirating, fun - you name it, I think we've had those emotions this year.

I think the best part of our year was DEFINITELY our Disneyland vacation. The kids still talk about it to this day, and Audrey asked me the other day if we could go back soon. We definitely want to - I think it may just have to wait a little while until our budget recovers! 7 months of unemployment takes a killer toll on any type of budget. It was wonderful spending time there and seeing family that I hadn't seen in over 20 years. The Juvenile Arthritis conference was wonderful, and we learned so much. It was awesome to be with other parents (especially mothers) who know exactly what we are feeling and going through, and a lot of them have been down this same road before. Seeing Uncle Bill, Aunt Sarah, Mark, Paula, Jack and Tessa was so much fun. Mark and I were talking about how it was so much different than when we were kids - we were both adults now with children, and it was nice to have an "adult" relationship - not the teasing, and stuff that kids do to each other. I think it was a vacation that we all needed. We had scrimped and saved for it, and it was nice to not have to worry about what we were spending TOO much. (Yes, I know, I'm just getting around to posting some pictures from Disneyland - it's been busy since we got back!)

I think the hardest part of the year was when everything came together at once to overload us - we had Gene still unemployed, Audrey's eyes flared worse than ever before and so we started a new medication by IV, I came down with mono, Bryce was in the ER with what we thought was appendicitis but it turned out to just be severe constipation, and my favorite grandmother died. All within the space of about a month. Audrey is actually named after my grandmother, Florence Audrey Clevenger. It was hard, but I know that I will see her again. Grandma always hated her middle name - I wonder what she would think if she knew we named Audrey after her?

I'm also posting some of my favorite pictures that I took. It's from up Donner's Pass on the way home from California. I just couldn't believe how beautiful this little rest stop was, and so I took a LOT of pictures. Does that surprise you? :-) I was thinking of entering them in the Utah State Fair photography contest, but couldn't afford the fee, so I didn't.

Well, I guess that's a pretty good recap. I have tons of pictures I need to deal with, a ton of laundry to do, and there's never enough time in the day to get any of it all done. As soon as I get some of the pictures downloaded from Christmas, I'll add those too.
Here's to a better 2009. It HAS to be better than 2008 was!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

I can't believe it's Christmas time. The kids are so excited for Santa to come it's not even funny. I'm glad Gene is home with them today - they need some Daddy time without Mommy around. I did manage to get all the presents wrapped Tuesday night, but then looked up on top of the freezer and found I forgot one for our nephew. So I got that done last night.

This past year has been a difficult one, but as it comes to a close, I'm so grateful for the things I've learned. I've learned that as much as I don't want to admit it, I'm a lot stronger than what I think I am. I've learned to be grateful for the plan of salvation, and that someday I'll get to be with my beloved grandmother again. And as much as it hurts right now, that is nothing compared to the joy I'll feel at the reunion with her and my grandpa, and I'll be able to tell her that I loved her so much, we chose to name our first child after her. And then I'll duck when she swings at me for using her middle name that she hated. :-) I've learned that my children are amazing little people. They are no longer babies but individual people with their own likes and dislikes and moodswings. I've learned that my husband is an amazing guy, and I'm so thankful for him in our lives. I couldn't deal with both of the kids all the time on my own without his calming influence when he gets home.

So to all my friends, family and loved ones, Merry Christmas. May the peace of the season be in your hearts as we remember the real reason for the season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wendy's weigh in

I'm inching (and yes, sometimes it does feel like inching) closer and closer to my weight loss goals. I lost 2.6 or 2.4 or something like that this week, and so it puts me down 111.8 pounds. Sometimes I still can't believe it's me when I look in the mirror. I've got 1.4 pounds to go to get my Weight Watchers goal award, and then I need to maintain that for 6 weeks before I get my lifetime award. I want it so badly I can taste it. But leave it to me to close in on that goal at Christmas time! Oh well. I had kind of a neat experience at the store on Saturday night. I have a friend at work who's been giving me all kinds of clothes that she has outshrunk. Some of the skirts were a size 12. Much to my surprise, the skirts fit. I figured it absolutely has to be a fluke in sizing. So I thought what the heck, I'll try on some pants. So when I was shopping with a friend, I tried on 2 pairs of size 12 pants, and oh my gosh, they fit! I was so shocked! I don't know how long it's been since I was in a size 12! Talk about motivation for keeping going!

Yesterday we had the ward choir performance, and I played the flute in 2 numbers. I was VERY worried about one of the numbers because we hadn't practiced it all together at all. Actually, the first time we practiced it was right before we performed it. I was a nervous wreck, but we literally did have angels singing with us because we sounded wonderful. It was an amazing performance, and I was so glad to have been a part of it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Audrey's eye doctor appointment

Yesterday was Audrey's eye doc appointment with Dr. Hoffman. It went pretty well, all things considered. He said that the inflammation in her eyes is looking good. But he started her on another eye drop called Acular. It's kind of like the eye drop version of naproxen / Aleve. He's trying to get her off the steroid eye drops. I asked how long she would be on these, and he said it may be long term. He also didn't say anything about doing her Remicade differently, so I guess we're still doing that monthly until further notice. The bad news is that her eyes are crossing again, so she is scheduled for strabismus surgery on January 29. It's a simple outpatient surgery where the eye doc goes in and tightens up the muscles around her eyes. The first time she had it done, she was fairly young, so we were one of the early cases. This time I don't think we'll be so lucky - we were told by the surgery scheduler to plan on early afternoon. That's going to stink with a hungry girl.

Now that Audrey is on so many different medications, I figured I needed to start a medications list for her. It's really sad and depressing to look at it - she's on 6 different medications for her arthritis and the side effects from it. And she's 5.

I can't believe Christmas is almost here. The only thing Audrey is asking for by name is a Hannah Montana guitar, which we got for her. I hope she likes it. Okay, I take that back - she's also asked for a unicorn and a pony. Neither of which she is getting.....

Bryce is doing okay. His speech is coming along slowly, but it's coming along. Yesterday his Primary teacher said that he said the word "Sabbath" perfectly clear. That's great, because we really haven't worked on s all that much. He does say the word "nice" very clearly.

Gene started his new job last night, and while he's disappointed to not be working as a respiratory therapist, in the economy we're just grateful that he has a job, even if it's not doing what he wants. We got this information on the insurance today, and I don't think we'll pick it up - there's a $4000 deductible per family and a $7000 out of pocket max, and after the deductible it only pays 80/20. For the cost, we think it would be smarter to just have him pick up some of the flex spending. We're still thinking about vision insurance and dental insurance, but we have time to think about that. I just don't think that the health insurance is a good option for us to get - my insurance is wonderful, but his would be primary. There's even a question of the children's hospital being in network, and I don't think I want to fight those battles.

I guess I should post how I'm doing. I'm doing pretty well. According to the scale this morning, I was 1.6 pounds away from my weight loss goal, so I'm really trying hard to get there before Saturday. I know it's a lot in just 2 days, but I'm so close! I feel great and have a lot more energy. Sometimes, especially with the holidays, I feel like I'm just running around trying to play catch up and get everything done. I'm playing the flute with the choir on Sunday, so I'm trying to practice for that, I'm trying to get to the gym, I've still got presents to wrap as well as a few stragglers left to buy, cookies to bake, a Sunday School lesson to prepare - when am I supposed to find the time for me????

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our New Car

I can't believe we did it. We bought another car. This is a 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit. It's a smidge smaller in the trunk than the Saturn was, but the other features more than make up for it.

So what prompted this? I knew we were upside down in our loan on the Saturn, and I'd heard on the radio that this auto dealer was offering 125% trade-in value. So I thought I might as well give it a shot. I called them on the way up to PCMC for Audrey's infusion. Much to my surprise, I was approved! I thought okay, I'll go looking after we get done at the hospital, and some friends from the ward bring over dinner. Gene picked up a shift at the VA, so I called my dad and asked him to go looking at cars with me. I learned after one disastrous experience that I never go car shopping without a man with me, preferably my dad. They don't dare bullcrap my dad - he sees right through it. So Bryce was already with mom and dad, so I dropped Audrey off, and Dad and I took off. The first car I test drove was a 2007 Ford Fusion, and it was nice, but I wasn't drooling over it. It had a few less miles than the Saturn, but not by much. Then they brought out the Rabbit, and Dad's first words were "oh, that looks nice." The salesman started talking about the car, and mentioned heated seats, and I was immediately in love with it. We took it for a test drive, it drove really nice. So we went back and I said that this is the car I want, let's go make it happen. We were having a really tough time crunching the numbers to make them work, so I test drove a Ford Focus and WAS NOT IMPRESSED. I didn't like it at all, and it was slipping all over the road. The next car was a 2006 Mazda 6, and it was okay, but after driving the VW, not what I wanted. So we went back and told the dealer that I'm okay with keeping my Saturn, and if we couldn't get the deal to work for the VW, then I was leaving. We got it to work, and drove home the car on Saturday night. Yeah me! We got a better, safer car with better resale value, so once Gene actually saw the car, it's features, and considered the resale value, he was okay with it. I have to admit that I was scared of his reaction because he didn't want to do it, but Dad felt really strongly that this was a better car for us, and we needed to do it and get out from under the Saturn. You can go to to check out the Rabbit that we bought.

Audrey did really well with her infusion Saturday. Unfortunately we were driving up there in the snow, which was a bit of a challenge. She absolutely hates getting poked for the IV. Carmen (one of the nurses up there) and Audrey have kind of bonded, and even though she wasn't our nurse this time, knows Audrey well enough that she tried to get her IV started. She also knows my daughter well enough to know that Audrey hates the pokes, and since she wasn't able to get it on the first try, called in the IV team. Once the IV is started, she's okay. I think the part she enjoys the most is getting to order whatever she wants off the menu. Typical 5 year old!!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I've created this blog to keep family and friends updated on us. I "think" I've decided that it's easier than trying to do individual e-mails when you have a large family. Well, it's not that our immediate family is large - but when you add the in-laws, it's huge.

Tomorrow we have Audrey's Remicade infusion up at Primary's. I finally told her today that we were going up there tomorrow for her "long poke". She wasn't too happy, but I think it'd be easier to live with her like that for one day rather than if we had told her earlier in the week. She missed school yesterday. Juliette said that she just wasn't acting like herself, and took a 2 1/2 hour nap. Little Miss does not nap, because, "she's almost 6 now". Yeah, she'll be 6 in about 6 MONTHS! Why do they want to grow up so fast? She was complaining that her knees hurt, but I can't see any swelling. She's actually been complaining about her knees for a while, so I don't know what to do. We'll see her new rheumy in a month or so, so maybe he'll investigate a bit further.

Bryce is still doing well. He crawled in our bed last night sometime, I don't know when. All I know is that I kept getting kicked and shoved to the edge of the bed. I finally gave up and shoved him back into the middle. He's quite the talker now - too bad you can't understand but a little bit of what he's saying.

We're really excited that Gene FINALLY found a job. It's been a long 7 months of unemployment. And while it isn't the ideal job that he wants, it's a step in the right direction because he will be working as a respiratory therapist when they need him. And as soon as they get one more patient, they will bring him on full-time. I'm also very glad that benefits will pick up in 30 days from the date of hire. It's been a huge strain on me trying to carry the entire load. I'm starting to sleep better, which is nice. Except for the waking up at 4:00 in the morning, like I did this morning!