Saturday, December 26, 2015

christmas break

I am entitling this "Christmas break" because more went on than just Christmas.

Emma had her tonsils out the 18th, the last day before Christmas break. So she missed school (mostly parties), but was too worried about missing a lot of school and that's why she chose a school break time.

I want to remember how tough and brave she was, how even when I got panicky as they prepped her for the IV (so many memories came flooding back) she stayed calm and talked so mature-ly with the nurses. I had several nurses pull me aside to tell me how wonderful and pleasant she was. As they wheeled her back to the OR and I went another direction to the waiting room I got a lump in my throat. I don't get that often with Emma - I don't feel as "motherly" with her because I have (at least for the last several years) viewed her as my equal, as a friend, and not as a small child entrusted to my care. But I got a lump because I was in fact sending a child in for a surgery for the first time, and I was powerless.

I ate a chocolate croissant while I waited. After a few minutes I got a phone call in the waiting room (!!) from a nurse who was just calling to tell me how wonderful Emma was. I get the idea they don't make those phone calls often, especially for surgeries that only last 30 minutes. That is something that is seared into my memory forever. I know Emma is wonderful, but I love when others see that in her too. What a special girl she is.

After what seemed like only 5 more minutes the doctor came in and told me it was done, her adenoids were still intact, and that her tonsils were ginormous. I don't think he used the word "ginormous" but he did say they were some of the largest he has seen. Twenty minutes later I waited back in her room and they wheeled her in. She looked awful, and I thought maybe she would be out of it but she was very aware, didn't say anything awesome/funny (darn it!), but was feeling the effects of the anesthesia. She didn't like how it made her feel, not one bit.

As that wore off they gave her some liquid medicine and within 10 minutes she had perked up. She got a slushy and we sat and talked. I walked down to the Walmart pharmacy inside the hospital (so many thumbs up for that) and dropped off her prescription, then walked back down 20 minutes later and picked it up. Her nurse, Darla, was so wonderful.

Then I got to bring her home. I thought she would sleep, but she just wanted to lie down and watch TV. Emma does not like to miss anything, or even feel like she might possibly miss anything. So on the couch she stayed.

The rest of the week was pretty low-key because we were limited in what we could do. The weather was warm and that was pretty weird and also awesome. Spencer and I went on nightly walks so I could get out of the house. We did a Star Wars marathon with the kids because I am 33 and had never seen any of them. The kids loved it, and I didn't hate it nearly as much as I thought I would.

I love Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  I spent so much time wrapping (finally!) and cooking. I liked doing our own thing, but it does make me miss being with family on the holidays, being so far away and isolated. We were extra isolated because of Emma's surgery. On Christmas Eve night we were talking about Luke 2 and the nativity, and we read the story of Granddad being in Austria in the 1930s as a missionary, and his fondness of "Silent Night." I asked Tyler to sing it, because he just learned it in German at school. He sang and I was brought to tears. I'm so grateful and will forever be grateful that Spencer recorded it, because that is something that is burned into my memory forever. It was such a perfect night.

That evening Santa's elves suddenly had to spend 3 hours putting together an indoor basketball game. One of the helpers was blindsided (ME), and it was crazy, but we got to bed around midnight. We were woken up at 7:15 by all the kids singing "Jingle Bells" on the stairs. I think Emma didn't sing (still having a hard time talking...) and then we spent the whole day on Skype, opening presents, playing outside in the warm weather. We had BBQ chicken for dinner and had a fire outside, and it was just really nice. Emma got a cool camera. Her throat still hurts but some of her energy is coming back.

We are hoping to go to Silver Dollar City, as it closes for the year on Dec 30th. Maybe Tuesday, if Emma can handle it. Other than that, we have one week left of the break and no real plans. It is finally starting to get cold. We did just have a tornado warning and spent some time in the closet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thanksgiving on the Gulf Coast

Last year we moved in to our new house the day before Thanksgiving. We ordered Thanksgiving dinner (which was actually incredible) from Bentonville Butcher. It was a little crazy. When Spencer's sister Kristina (and her family) came to visit us after Christmas they told us about their super fun Thanksgiving in Florida. She invited us to join them and we tentatively decided we would go - anything that is within a day's drive of us is a pretty good deal.

We booked our condo in September, so it really did take us a long while to commit, but I am so so glad we did. We got down there the Saturday night before Thanksgiving, and had the place for a week.

Our condo was 2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, our balcony overlooked the ocean and white sand, and it was an amazing time. The first two days were pretty cold, which was ok since one was a Saturday, and Monday (also kinda cold) we wanted to go to the Blue Angels museum in Pensacola anyway. After that, we spent the next 4 days at the beach and in the pool (but mostly at the beach). Being right there made it easy to run up to get stuff, or to make lunch, or whatever else. It was amazing! So fun!! We are sold on this trip and want to make it a tradition.
(We also "celebrated" our 13th anniversary there - gotta love holiday anniversaries that are almost always taken over and NOT celebrated, but whatever...) :)

The sunsets were magnificent every night!

Spencer prepared his first turkey! And he went all out, and it was amazing.

Tyson, Spencer, and Emma & Tyler

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hawksbill Crag

Since shortly after moving here we have been wanting to do this hike. Because it isn't very close to us (two hours away, in quite a remote area) it took us a while to find the time. I did want to do it at dusk, but we ended up getting there a bit before then. It was still pretty.

Hawksbill Crag is the most photographed spot in Arkansas. My goal is to someday be there at sunrise...I think that would be the prettiest.

The kids were great hikers (it was just 1.5 miles each way) but Sadie was an annoying and annoyed passenger. She was so tired and grumpy and just doesn't enjoy being dragged around. I want to tell her to just go with it but then she screams at me. It must be hard being Sadie.

Regardless, it was a great day. I just wish we had gone a week or two sooner when the colors would have been a bit more brilliant.