Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We had a great Easter this year. We spent Easter Sunday with Brad's family, but our festivities started earlier in the week.

On Saturday, I decided it would be fun to make colorful cupcakes for our Sunday school class and Brad's family for Easter. I did the cheater way using cake mixes, but it made the process so much less work and, therefore, much more enjoyable. I made rainbow cupcakes and topped them with my favorite rainbow chip frosting. I don't bake very often, but I may start doing things like this more. They were delicious.

It was also well past the time for Connor to get another hair cut. After the last one a few weeks ago, I've been putting it off and putting it off. I finally got up the courage to torture my child. Brad helped. Brad had to physically (and forcefully) hold Connor's head still while I went at him with the clippers. The poor kid was crying so hard, he was bright red and sweating. But we got the job done. I didn't take an "after" shot because I was rocking a sobbing child. Just look at the family Easter pic below if you want to see.

After church in the morning, we drove an hour to Brad's parents' house, took our family Easter pictures, did an Easter egg hunt in their backyard, and ate dinner with Brad's family (Brian & Brenda, Brandon & Jenn, and Cami; Jeppson grandparents; and Aunt Orma-Jean).

I tried for 2 hours to photoshop flowers into the dirt behind me. I suck at it. Maybe my sister-in-law Jenn (who's brilliant) can help me out. This is more real anyway right??

The Easter egg hunt with Connor was a blast. He really liked finding the eggs, but wanted to hold all he found in his hands instead of putting them in the basket. He loved the candy (what kid doesn't?) and loved all the things the Easter Bunny put in his basket this year - a ball, pop rocks, bubbles, water balloons, crayons, and a toy car. We opened everything and played with them that day, and we've been doing bubbles every day since then. He requests them by name (bubbo) and when asked what bubbles do, he says "pop pop." Love it.

Notice all the eggs in his hands... he had a hard time picking up new ones.

Even with all the talk of the Easter Bunny, gifts, treats, and festivities, I hope we all remember the real reason we have to celebrate Easter. Just under 2000 years ago, our Savior Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, was crucified on the cross, and was resurrected 3 days later (Easter Sunday). In doing so, he gave us all hope. Hope in one day returning to live with God, our Heavenly Father. To live in the presence of our Heavenly Father, we must be perfect. There are no exceptions. Because, being human, we are imperfect beings, we would never have any hope at all of making it there on our own. If we come unto him, and repent of and forsake our sins, after doing the very best we can he will mercifully take our sins upon him and make up the difference. We can become perfect through Jesus Christ.

Typically Christmas is more celebrated than Easter. But if there was no Easter (meaning if Christ had not chosen to go through the Atonement) there would be no Christmas. There would be no reason to celebrate his birth if he did not fulfill his life's mission and the purpose of his miraculous birth. I know Jesus Christ is who he said he was - the Savior of all mankind. I know he was resurrected and now he lives with a body of flesh and bone. He lives! If we come unto him, we can be perfected through him, be resurrected ourselves, and return one day to live with our Heavenly Father who loves us. Happy Easter everyone.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One week later

One week after all the craziness things aren't quite settled yet, but almost.

I got home from California last Thursday at 11 p.m. Friday morning 8 a.m. was the home inspection for Green House. We will have some work to do once we move in (including LOTS of yard work since the house has been vacant for a year), but fortunately the inspector didn't find any deal breakers. Hooray! We went ahead with everything, transferred some funds this week, and we are signing closing papers TOMORROW (Friday, April 22) at 3:30!!!

I know some of you are dying to see pictures, but I'm going to be mean and save them until we actually have the keys in our hands and it's officially OUR HOUSE. That should happen next week sometime. But here's a sneak preview:

This is the family room and kitchen. Notice the multi-green walls? And yes, that is green marble tile around the fireplace and green granite in the kitchen. This lady REALLY loved green.

Friday night, Brad and I went on a much needed (after 2 weeks apart) date. A sitter came at 6:30 p.m., dinner at Goodwood BBQ, minigolfing (I beat Brad by 1 stroke :)), and then strawberry-banana shakes from Burger Bar. Fun night.

Dad is also doing lots better. His scheduled checkup with the surgeon on Tuesday went great and the surgeon removed the wound-vacuum (the black sponge thing in his leg in the pictures from last post). YAY!!! That was a huge boost for Dad. He said it's really nice not to be hooked up to things anymore. (The hose from the sponge was attached to a bucket he had to carry around with him everywhere.) He is also getting stronger everyday. We are all so glad things are looking up.

This Sunday, which just so happens to be Easter Sunday, will be Connor's first Sunday in Nursery! He will be 18 months on Saturday. We have been sitting in nursery with him for the last couple weeks because he's only 17 months and he just can't handle our Sunday School classes anymore, so I'm hoping he will do ok. Our little boy is growing up so fast.

Also, some other exciting news that just came out in our families - my sister Ady and her husband Jono, as well as Brad's brother Brandon and his wife Jenn are both expecting their first babies!! Ady is due in October and Jenn is due in November. I can't wait to meet my new nephews/nieces and for Connor to have more cousins!!

It's so nice to have some good news in our family. It makes up a little for the last couple weeks. :)

And here's a cute picture of Connor from this week. He walked around half the day like this because he kept tugging at his diaper. I just love those baby buns.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's been a crazy 2 weeks...

**WARNING: This is an extremely long post. This is more for my records so if you don't want to read it all, you can look at the bolded statements to get the jist of what happened in the last 2 weeks.

Many of you already know that the biggest and scariest event of the last 2 weeks was that my dad was in the hospital. He checked into the ER three Fridays ago (March 25) because his right leg was red and swollen, and extremely painful. He stayed home from work that whole week prior because he couldn't even drive to work with it and finally checked into the ER on Friday afternoon. They admitted him and finally got him a room around midnight.

After blood work, cultures, and a lot of other tests, the doctors told us it was a very serious infection that wasn't only in his leg, but in his blood also. But they didn't know what kind of infection it was, and wouldn't know until the culture results came back. They started him immediately on antibiotics to try to knock the infection down, but his leg was so bad looking that everyone, including the doctors, thought it was probable he would lose his leg - and maybe worse, his life. We were all terrified at the thought of either. And so began the days and nights of worrying, wondering, and much praying. I checked in from Utah every few hours everyday with my mom or sister to hear how Dad was doing. There wasn't much good news. The back of Dad's leg eventually broke open and drained to relieve some of the pressure (which felt a little better for Dad) but this was not a good sign and the prognosis was still bleak. The infection appeared to be spreading further up his leg - it was now about mid-thigh. My mom asked any and all who were willing to participate in a family fast for him. Our entire family and extended family (including some friends and in-laws) did a family fast for my Dad on Tuesday, March 29. I have an increased faith and testimony that there is power in a family fast. Finally Tuesday night there was some progress (after the fast - coincidence??) and the infection backed off a little and the redness receded back down his leg. The infection was also no longer in his blood. We were all so relieved, but knew that this was only a small step.

Before any of this happened, I was already scheduled to fly down on Friday, April 8 to visit my family and to take the third test of the PE Exam but my trip down couldn't wait that long. I bumped my flight to CA up 8 days so Connor and I flew out Thursday, March 31 so that I could be with my dad and help my family through this.

My original plans for the week before my exam were to do more studying and preparing for my test on the 9th, but it was instead filled with hospital visits, babysitting Connor and Jaxson, and more worrying. Claire and I switched off babysitting and visiting Dad, and then called a babysitter to watch the boys on days she had to work so I could go to the hospital. We always wanted someone to be with dad to keep him company and help him if/when he needed help. To top it all off, my parents are in the middle of remodeling their house because a water pipe broke and flooded their main floor in December. So the downstairs is all torn apart (concrete and exposed carpet tack strips everywhere) and there were workers constantly in and out of the house. We were basically confined to 2 rooms in the upstairs, which was hard on everyone but especially the babies. When we couldn't stand to be upstairs anymore, there was no where to go except the highchairs in the kitchen down stairs to stay out of the workers' way.

With me in town, my mom was able to go back to work - she was burning her time off too quickly and was already over her allowed limit. I took my study books to the hospital with me in an attempt to get some studying in before the test, but had a very difficult time focusing and studying at all. Finally a few days before the exam, we payed a babysitter to watch the kids during my babysitting shift so I could study for a couple hours. I was able to get in a few more study sessions before the Seismic portion of the Professional Engineering Exam on Saturday, April 9, but not much. I didn't feel quite prepared as I walked into the exam, but hoped (and prayed) that I would at least remember the things I had studied (even if I had studied them weeks before). I am so glad to say that I feel really good about the exam. I think I passed, but I have to wait 10 more weeks to find out for sure. I will be disappointed if I don't pass, but I definitely didn't study as much as I should have. I'll keep you all posted. It was such a relief to be done with the test! That lifted a huge burden of stress off my shoulders.

Later that Saturday was Jaxson's 2 year Thomas the Train birthday party at the park. It was fun!

The test wasn't the only thing I had to worry about that first week I was down. Our offer on Green was finally approved!! So while I was watching 2 little boys, visiting my dad at the hospital, and studying (or not) for my test, I was also trying to get quotes from lenders, shop for interest rates, sign all our paperwork and get the required bank statements and W2s to our chosen lender all from California via email or fax. It made things more difficult, but we got it done! It had to be done immediately because the bank wants to close by May 1!

Along these same lines, Claire and Sterling's offer on their short sale in Rancho Santa Margarita was also approved so they were doing the same paperwork as well as walk-throughs and appraisals during that first week. Congrats guys!

All through the first week I was there, Dad steadily improved. He had to stay in bed for the first 10 days he was there so when he got up to finally walk again, he was very weak. The first time up, he was only able to take a couple steps before having to rest, but his strength improved rapidly over the next several days. The physical therapists were very pleased with his progress. The week after my exam was more good news and he continued to improve and eventually started doing laps around his floor. During the 3 weeks Dad was in the hospital, he had a total of 5 surgeries to remove dead tissue from the back of his right calf. All of them were hard on Dad because he had to do a 24 hour fast before every one. On Thursday, April 14 the surgeons did one reconstructive surgery to put a skin graft from his hip over the wound. Connor and I flew back to Utah later that night. Dad was discharged from the hospital the next day (Friday) and has been at home since. My family didn't know he would be discharged so quickly (his insurance found out how long he'd been there and basically kicked him out) so my mom is scrambling to get him a hospital bed for the downstairs den. He isn't quite strong enough to make it upstairs, so he will be downstairs temporarily.

The black thing is a sponge packed into the hole in his leg with a vacuum attached to help the wound drain. Pretty gruesome, but this is looking really good! This is the day before he was discharged, before the reconstructive surgery.

Connor took Papa for a ride.

I am very grateful for amazing and skilled doctors and surgeons who helped Dad get better. Dad was a champ through the whole process. He never ceased being cheerful and optimistic, even endlessly joking with his attending nurses. The nurses took a vote on the last day Dad was there and said it was unanimous - Dad was their favorite patient. I know my mom's love and support really helped his mood too. I would be at the hospital all day with him, talking to and helping him and he would be in a good mood, but when my mom walked in, he lit up and was in a great mood. He needed her most of all. Through this whole ordeal, I was really able to see how much my parents love each other. I love that.

I'm so grateful Dad is ok. He is only 59 and hopefully has many more years left in him. My mom's parents died when I was very little and I don't remember much of them, only that they were sick at the end of their lives. All growing up as I listened to the stories my mom would tell, I always wished they were still around so I could know them. I want Connor and Jaxson to know how great their Papa Carver is from their own experiences, not only by our stories.

I love you Daddy! Keep getting better!

We were able to have some fun while we were down during the second week. I got to do a park day and GNO for dessert at Chili's with some El Segundo friends, and Connor and I went to Disneyland with Christine and Braden.

We tuckered them out.

We also took pictures with the Easter Bunny at the Mall across the street from the hospital. The boys were terrified so we had to sit with them for pictures.

High-5 at the end. The Easter Bunny gave him some candy. That won him over.

P.s. Brad was a lonely bachelor while I was gone. 2 weeks is the longest amount of time we've spent apart so far in our 5.5 years of marriage. But not to worry, he had his XBox to comfort him. He had beautiful flowers waiting for me when I came home. So nice.