Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bear Boxes and Life Vests

Last night we decided that instead of driving straight to Oregon and back again this summer, we'll make a big loop. It only adds about 300 miles to the trip and we get to go camping in Tahoe for five nights on the way. (Read: WAHOO!)I've never gone camping in Tahoe--usually we stay in the cabin of a family friend. It will be a new experience staying at D.L. Bliss for two nights and then in Tahoe City for three.

This morning I booked the campsites and then told The Rock Star.

I should have waited.

"I want to stay in the same cabin we stayed at last time." He told me.

"We can't, Bud," I told him. "It isn't available for us to use this summer. We're going to stay in a tent." Despite loving to sleep in a tent, he was very disappointed. (We all love ourselves some pea green cabin.) Wanting him to be as excited as I am, I shouted the first thing I could think of, "We have to put our food in a bear box!"

His eyes widened in enthusiasm, "THERE ARE BEARS? What's a bear box?"

After I explained it to him and after he had to call my parents to proclaim the joy of Lake Tahoe, he ran outside, giggling. Moments later he came in with both boys' life jackets. "Let's pack!"

We're arriving in Tahoe late on July 3rd. I don't feel the need to pack just yet. "We don't need to pack today." His little face fell and he looked up at me with big eyes.

"Can you at least think about letting me pack today?"

I managed to convince him that we don't need to pack until at least June. So instead, he's been quizzing me about bear boxes and telling anyone who will listen that bears are going to try to eat our food.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


"Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies?" — Erich Fromm

I needed to stumble upon this quote today. Not because I've ever truly suffered. I haven't. I've never lost a child, battled a horrible disease, or lived in great pain.

I needed it because sometimes the effort of life is just a little more than I feel like I can handle. Sometimes the tightrope between grace and preservation is covered in muck. Though we're called to forgive, sometimes I wrestle with how to live in the gray area of being unable to forget. Sometimes the answer to the prayer is not to yield and it takes a great deal of discipline to remain firm.

Sometimes I need to take more time to bask in the sweet smell of a freshly bathed child. Sometimes I need to drink the rays from a warm spot of sun. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it just takes one happy moment of love to make the challenges of life tolerable.

Sometimes I have to repeat, a little more frequently, "This. Is. Worth. It."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Water & Wine

I read Garrett chapter books at night. Among the books read, are some of The Magic Treehouse series, Charlotte's Web, Little House in the Big Woods, The Trumpet of the Swan and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (partial list). We're currently working out way through Prince Caspian.
A few nights ago, we were nestled under the covers in my bed. With him cuddled into my body I read. "As soon as it was full daylight he left the road and found an open grassy place amid a wood where he could rest. He took off Destrier's bridle and let him graze, ate some cold chicken and drank a little wine, and presently fell asleep."

"What's wine?" the four-year-old inquired.

"Uh. It's a drink." I replied and then continued, "It was late afternoon when he awoke. He ate a morsel and continued his journey, still southward, but many unfrequented lanes."

"Mommy, I'm thirsty," Garrett said suddenly.

Troy was downstairs so I said, "Okay, go downstairs and ask daddy to get you some water." He jumped out of bed and dashed down the steps.

"Daddy, Mommy told me to ask you for some water."

"Water? Okay." Came the reply.

"And some wine," Garrett added. I quickly made the connection to Prince Caspian but Troy, having no idea that I'd just read about Caspian drinking wine, was stumped.

"What? Wine?" He asked, surely confused. We don't drink wine ourselves because BLECK! and we certainly don't give it to our children. I used to have a bottle in the fridge for cooking but ever since moving to Utah I find it entirely too complicated to even find it. It doesn't exist. Except in state liquor stores. And I don't even know where those are. I dissolved into laughter and called down the explanation to my husband.

"Okay," he yelled up, "that makes sense. I was wondering where he'd get the idea to ask for wine."

Personally, I blame C.S. Lewis.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Cup

There are two sites that may have been the location of Christ's crucifixion. One of them, the traditional site, is now occupied by The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the old city. A second site is near a place commonly referred to as The Garden Tomb. The Garden Tomb is thought by many to be the garden and tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and is a possible site of the resurrection of Jesus. The area is a quiet, beautiful place for worship and reflection. I've been to both and I believe that the church in the old city is built on Golgotha.

But I want it to be near the garden.

The garden is peaceful and contemplative. The church is stunning and ornate but impersonal. I felt crowded and detached and, try as I did, I simply couldn't feel the sense of awe and wonder that I expected. But at the garden, as I walked the grounds and felt the breeze on my face, it was not difficult to connect--in profound ways--to my faith.

As a group we took communion in the garden. I don't remember the bread but I don't think I'll ever forget the cup. A tray of tiny wooden cups was passed around. I searched with my eyes for a cup with imperfect markings. I simply didn't feel worthy to take communion in Jerusalem--so close to where my Savior first broke the bread and poured out wine. I needed a cup with a giant blemish, a cup that would reflect its holder.

We brought those cups home with us. Somehow, nearly six years later, Troy's resides in the playroom. Garrett confiscated it awhile back and uses it as a cup for his toys. This reminds me that it isn't the cup that's important. It isn't even what's inside the cup that matters. What matters is what it represents and what it means to the believer who drinks from it.

The cup stands about two inches tall and is capable of holding about a tablespoon of liquid. Today, Garrett had a friend over. I was in my room making the bed with fresh sheets while they were playing across the hall. I heard my son tell his friend, "This is what my daddy drank out of in Israel." After a quick pause he continued, "They sure don't give people much water over there."

Friday, March 25, 2011


I had the strange thought...

I want to hold myself. Um. Have you ever wanted to go back in time 29 years and hold yourself?
No? Is it just me then? I also wouldn't mind wearing that get up. Right now. Since it's snowing outside. But I'm not a totally weird narcissist. I also want to go back in time and hold my brother.
But that would mean that I would have to deal with my father's impressive mustache so I think I'll just leave well enough alone.

And. Okay. So. Seriously. Don't even get me started on this.

That, right there, makes me want to put a book on my four-year-old's head and forbid him to continue growing. It also makes me want to build a time machine and reside, somewhat permanently, in the fall of 2006. For real. Bestill my ovaries.

Then there's this. My ovaries had absolutely nothing to do with this and they still flop around at the sight. That baby is so delicious it's not even funny.
But it isn't just babies. I want to go back in time and hold dogs too. I wouldn't mind making this thing cuddle with me.

Ah. A girl's first golden retriever. She's been dead for almost 13 years. Sometimes I still miss her ears--but don't tell anyone. It would be embarrassing to admit that you sometimes miss your childhood dog's ears. But they were so soft. Her name was Candy. Because every golden retriever should be named after sugary treats, doncha think? This is why five-year-olds should not name pets.

This last one is not a baby or a fuzzy puppy. It's just Garrett. In a dress. With long blonde hair. Don't believe me, click on it and make it bigger. Cover up the hair.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Holy of Holies

Back in 2005, when Troy and I went to Israel, one of the places we visited was Tel Arad. Among the ruins is an Israelite temple, including the remains of the Holy of Holies. When I look at the picture I took, with the blue plastic sign labeled in white lettering "Holy of Holies" next to it, I still get a sort of chill that starts somewhere at the base of my spine and winds its way up between my shoulder blades.

Holy of Holies. Most Holy Place. A place reserved only for the High Priest and then only on the Day of Atonement. That I can take a picture, that I can stand only feet away--instead of being limited to the Court of the Women--is astounding. And it isn't lost on me. For some reason, I can't even say the phrase Holy of Holies without feeling reverent and utterly unworthy.

But even more astounding is the fact that I can go before the Holiest of Holies any time I want. The veil was torn. It was finished. I can go straight to the Lord and say, "Here I am."

Take Me In
Take me past the outer courts
Into the Holy place
Past the brazen altar
Lord I want to see Your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
The priests who sing Your praise
I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness
And it's only found one place

Take me in to the Holy of Holies
Take me in by the blood of the Lamb
Take me in to the Holy of Holies
Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Drum Stick Apologies

Matthew got this Bee Bop Band set for his first birthday. His is not purple but all the pieces are the same and if you think those drum sticks are flimsy and child proof, well, you'd be wrong. They are thick plastic. They hurt when used on something like, say, human flesh. I know. I've been on the receiving end of a drummer (Matthew) gone crazy. See, kiddo likes to rock out. He likes to carry these drum sticks everywhere he goes. He likes to drum the couch, the pillows, the floor, his brother. A few times he's gotten so crazy with the drumming that he's whacked his own self in the head. (Not that we don't discipline him for banging on things that aren't designed to be drums. Because we totally do.)

Last night we heard an incredibly strange sound coming from up the stairs. It was a crying of sorts but it sounded more like an animal, caught in a trap, attempting to chew its own leg off, sobbing the cry of the deeply wounded. I could not tell which child was making the noise. I turned and took the stairs two at a time.

At the top of the stairs, holding his ear and making the mortally injured sound, was The Rock Star. Choking back the strange sobs he managed to utter, "Matthew. Ear. Drum stick," in between gulping for air. Standing behind him, holding the stick, stood The Little Buddy. He had the most distressed, remorseful, terrified look on his face. I gathered Garrett into my arms and tried to look at his ear. Matthew didn't wait even two seconds before he quietly started saying, over and over again, "Sorry, Mama. Sorry, Mama." (It doesn't matter who he's apologizing to, Matthew adds Mama to the end of it.) As he repeated it and Garrett cried in my arms, Matthew's eyes filled with tears.

Troy came up right behind me. He hadn't heard the apology or seen the look of horror on Matthew's face so he took the stick out of his hand and was about to commence the scolding. I quickly explained that, what with the look on his face and the instant loop of sorries, I didn't think Matthew needed to be punished. I figured he pretty much knew he'd really hurt his brother and was, in fact, actually devastated.

And then it happened. Matthew dissolved into a sobbing mess of sorrow that reminded me of the time I accidentally smacked my good friend, Cassie, in the mouth with a baseball bat. I was seven. I didn't check behind me before I took a practice swing. She cried a lot. I cried more. That was the first and last season of softball I ever played. As for Garrett, his ear lobe had a swollen knot in it. We iced it and he was back to playing in no time.

Matthew, however, didn't bounce back quite as quickly. He stood by his brother's side while I iced his ear. He offered his apologies over and over and kissed Garrett several times. Personally, I was kind of thrilled. There's a compassionate bone in that kid's body after all.

I was looking over some of our adoption paperwork last night. In one particular evaluation Troy is referred to as the Prospective Adoptive Father. I am referred to as the Prospective Adoptive Mother. Garrett, well, he's referred to as Matthew's brother. Pure. Simple. Not a Prospective Adoptive Brother. Just his brother.

And it's been that way from the very beginning. Brothers hit each other. They yell. They compete. But as long as they cry and kiss and say sorry--and mean it--when they hurt each other, I will consider the day a success.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Betsy Comes Up A Lot In Our Home

While eating dinner a couple nights ago, the following conversation occurred.

Garrett: Remember when we saw all that water bubbling up from the ground?
Troy & Me: blank stares
Garrett: Remember when we were going to Oregon?
Me: Um. Were we in a car or an airplane?
Garrett: And airplane.
Troy & Me: more blank stares
Troy: I don't remember that.
Garrett: Yes!
Me: (to Troy) Did we fly over Salt Lake on our way to Oregon? Is that what he's talking about? (Not that water bubbles up out of the Great Salt Lake but whatever.)
Garrett: Yes! We totally did. (He said it like he was straight out of Sweet Valley High.)
Me: commence hysterical laughter
Garrett: Totally. To Betsy.

And then I just about died laughing right into my chicken breast and mashed potatoes.

I want to let all of you know that Trevor is doing great! Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for him as tomorrow he is starting 6 hours of therapy a day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails but Not Spiders

By 10:40 this morning, I'd already been knocked out of the running for Mom of the Day. Not that there is such an award. Even if there was, I'd probably never be eligible. Anyway. The Rock Star was at preschool, I was in the kitchen, and The Little Buddy was watching an episode of his new favorite show, Dinosaur Train. Houses here in Utah are all kinds of architecturally bizarre. Our home has four different levels because the builder wanted me to get extra exercise climbing multiple staircases. Five stairs separate our kitchen from our family room. I promise this little bit of house trivia will be important later in the story.

As I was cutting potatoes, Matthew was watching his show. Every now and then he would start sobbing. For no apparent reason. Which he does regularly enough that I don't always sprint right to his rescue. He cried. Then he stopped. A few minutes later he cried again, then stopped. I kept looking down into the room where he was. He was standing in the middle of the room. He wasn't trapped, wounded or otherwise in need of saving. He could come up into the kitchen if he really needed me.

Eventually, he stood, in the middle of the floor, crying without ceasing. "Matthew, come here." He didn't. "Matthew, go up to your room if you need to cry." (This is something we started several weeks ago. As I said before, The Little Buddy cries a lot for no real reason other than to hear himself cry. If we can't figure out why he is crying, we send him up to the bedroom. Almost always he will walk into his room, come back out a minute later in better spirits, and say, "Saw-e, Mama.") He wouldn't budge. Last night he had an obstinate moment so I thought this was a fun and exciting new phase of defiance. "Matthew, you'd better go up to your room right now!" He remained, feet firmly planted to the carpet. I went down to the room, took his arm and led him, screeching, up the first flight of stairs and then the second. I placed him in the bedroom.

Two minutes later he came out. "Saw-e, Mama!"

"I forgive you. You need to stop having tantrums," I chastised. "Let's change your diaper and go get Garrett." A few minutes later we were ready to leave. I walked down the stairs into the family room. Matthew froze at the first stair. "Come on." He wouldn't budge.

Then I noticed a little toy spider on the bottom stair. I picked it up. "Are you afraid of this?" I asked him moving the spider toward him.

"WAAAWAHWAHAHAHAH!!!!!" Came the recoiling scream from my toddler. Clearly he'd wanted to get to me and wouldn't walk past the rubber arachnid. I put the spider up and explained to Matthew that he needed to use his words--or at the very least, point--so that I would know that he was afraid of something. I felt so bad that he'd been put in his room because he was scared. I also thought about how he is kind of the little boy who cried. That's it. Just the boy who cried. About everything. To the point that it didn't seem abnormal to me that he was crying off and on throughout an episode of Dinosaur Train.

I also started thinking of how I could use these spiders to my own benefit. I could put him in a big boy bed and surround it with rubber spiders in order to keep him there. I could line the kitchen with them to keep him out while I'm trying to cook. The ideas are endless, really. Of course I wouldn't actually do any of those things. I wouldn't play on his fears like that.


When we got home, Garrett started playing with the spiders and, for some reason, they were no longer scary but completely hysterical. Unless you got them within about a foot of him.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Mama's Boy Strikes Again

So, about my mama's boy.

Today, in Costco, he was happily sitting in the cart while I unloaded our small number of items. I walked down the one side and he rode down the other, still smiling. Then the guy who puts your stuff back in your cart after it's been paid for got between the cart and the checkout counter. The Little Buddy could no longer see me and he had, like, a mini psychotic break. For real.

The poor guy was only standing there for about three seconds and by the time he moved Matthew was silent crying. His mouth was agape, tears were dripping off the end of his face, and his hands were in tight fists up by his chest. The checker joked to his coworker, "What did you do?"

I explained that Matthew's picture is in the dictionary next to "Mama's Boy" and then switched into my most soothing, I-promise-not-to-leave-you-ever voice, and told my boy that he was fine, nothing was going to happen to him, and mommy loves him very much. The Little Buddy flies off the handle frequently. Generally I try not to coddle him too often--he'd insist on being held twenty hours a day if it was up to him--but this was seriously crazy upset. Crazy. I mean, he was acting like he was the victim of a shark attack and simultaneous wildebeest stampede while being thrown into a den of lions that cohabitate with angry killer bees. Even when I lifted him out of the cart he continued sobbing and grabbing at me with wild abandon.

Eventually I had to put him back in the cart because I'd promised the boys hot dogs and I needed to fish out my money. He was only partially calmed down when I put him back in and he instantly went right back into total and complete epic meltdown mode. As I ordered, I knew, somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, that he was slowly calming down. When I received the hot dogs and turned back toward the cart, I saw The Rock Star standing on the rack underneath the cart. His hands were holding firmly to the handle and he was whispering to his brother. "It's okay, Matthew. It's okay. You're in our family forever and mommy always, always comes back. She will always be here. She's never going to leave you."

Matthew, with tears still streaking his face, was smiling at his brother.

And I said a little prayer asking God to please let me live until these boys are grown. On account of the fact that my oldest son promised my youngest that I'll always be around.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shoulda Named Him Mabel

The Rock Star is, like, an 89-year-old British woman trapped in the body of a little boy. He often says things like:

Heavens to Betsy. He also uses "Betsy" in a variety of other strange ways. He's been known to say, "I'm whispering to Betsy." I've also heard him mutter, "I'm fed up to Betsy." Hil.Ar.I.Ous. This kid.

This morning I asked him if he was putting on his shoes. I'd asked him to and he's been having a great deal of difficulty listening and then obeying lately. "At the moment I am putting on my socks!" Came the reply. At the moment?

Quite. "I'm quite tired." Or, "I'm quite hungry right now." How many four-year-0lds say quite? I'm guessing not many, unless they also have 89-year-old British women trapped inside.

Monday, March 14, 2011


The conference was really incredible. I so enjoyed sharing with the women. They blessed me so much and I hope that I was some small blessing to them as well. You know what was not incredible? My flight home. Seriously.

When I am finished with a weekend away or a retreat or a conference, I just want to get home. When all is said and done, I am ready to be back with my husband and kids. So you can imagine how delighted I was that my flight was delayed. We took off close to an hour and a half after we were supposed to. The pilot said we'd make up time on our way to Oakland. Yes. That's right. I flew home to Salt Lake via Oakland. We made up no time. They said we'd take off early in Oakland. Nope. Late. They said we'd make up time in the air. Negative. Then, of course, my bag was, like, the last one to come through the shoot.

I was so tired and hungry when we finally got into the drive thru at Taco Bell that I nearly lost my mind when the poor worker told us that they wouldn't have any beef ready for close to ten minutes. I said, "Nevermind." Then I nearly started to cry and made my husband back up and go to Del Taco instead. Then I ordered chicken burritos. I know. The logic astounds even me.

We finally made it home. I snuggled my boys, unpacked my bags, and then pretty much zonked out.

It was so good to share the word of God! And so good to finally make it home!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trevor 6

Trevor started the day with an MRI at 9:45 to make sure the surgeon had a very clear road map of his brain. We were supposed to be in surgery at 11:00, but did not get there until 12:45. The surgery was completed at about 6:30.

Many prayers were answered today. The surgeon is 99% confident that they were able to remove the entire AVM. They will do an angiogram on Monday to make sure. When they got inside, they found that the swelling had gone down so well that they decided to put his bone flap back on today as well. This was a great surprise, as we were originally told that would be put back in about 6 weeks. That would have meant another surgery.

This weekend they are going to keep him pretty sedated more for pain than anything and see how he wakes up on Monday. Such a relief that this day has come and gone the way that it did. The doctor said that everything went according to plan and there were no worries!

Thank you so much again for your prayers today and every day.

I flew to San Diego today so that I can speak at a women's conference tomorrow. You can bet that I was lifting Trevor up in prayer! Praise God! And, if you think about praying for me tomorrow, I'd appreciate it. I'll be speaking three times between the hours of 9 and 2.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trevor 5

Trevor is scheduled for surgery tomorrow afternoon. We had the privilege of seeing him today. He's in the neuro trauma unit now which means that we were able to take the boys. We hadn't planned on taking Matthew in (Troy and I had decided to take turns) but Trevor's parents said that we should, so we all traipsed in.

We told The Rock Star, in the car, on the way there, that he needed to be on his absolute best behavior. Like, ever. We told him to save his questions for the the ride home. We asked him to be calm and quiet. When we got there we met Kenny and Julie in the cafeteria. Garrett sat so quietly that I thought maybe he was nervous or afraid to see Trevor. When I asked him he said, "No. I'm excited."

When we got up to Trevor's room, they were doing some work on his trach. Kenny plopped Garrett down next to Trev's legs. A nurse asked, "Trevor, who is this?"

In a low, gravely voice, from the direction of the trach, came the reply, "My friend, Garrett. From church." It melted my heart into a puddle. I wanted to gather Trevor into my arms and thank him for being so kind to my son even though he is eight years younger. I wanted to gather Garrett into my arms and beg the Lord to not ever make me endure a trial like their family is going through. I wanted to gather his parents into my arms and tell them what an amazing job they are doing.

Twenty-three days ago I laid prostrate on the floor of my boys' playroom. I'd grabbed that red truck that Trevor gave Garrett three and a half years ago and, with one hand on the truck and one hand stretched out on the carpet, I repeated the only prayer I could think, "God, please give him back. God, please give him back. God, please give him back. Don't take him, God, please!" Trevor was in surgery and the prognosis, as I knew it, was horrible. It probably wasn't my most reverent prayer but it may have been my most honest. No attempt at manipulation. No fluffy words. No Christianese. Pure. Simple. Let him stay. Please don't take him. Let him come back to the people who love him.

Trevor has a long road ahead of him. It begins tomorrow with major brain surgery. But I serve Jehovah Rapha--the God who heals. And I am more amazed by those healing powers every day. After seeing Trevor, I stand in awe, with arms high and heart abandoned. My God does not always choose to heal--but I think, perhaps, we should approach life as though He does. Because we never know when He is going to do something that can only be described as miraculous.

We stayed in his room for about an hour. Garrett sat by him on the bed and then, later, stood on a stool so he could hear him better. I could see the concern on my son's face for his friend. I could also see that he wasn't afraid. He was, simply, thrilled that he finally got to see him. In the end we formed a semi circle around him and Troy lifted up tomorrow's surgery in prayer. My right hand--the one that I'd spread out on the carpet that night in desperate prayer--gripped Trevor's left one. Garrett's was caught in the middle, clinging tightly to his friend.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I really hope that whatever The Rock Star has is not contagious. See, I'm flying on Friday and airplane diarrhea is, like, my biggest irrational fear. Except it is so not irrational because, well, can you even imagine? And I'm speaking at a conference in southern California on Saturday and conference diarrhea really doesn't sound like fun. At all. So here's to hoping it was something he ate. Like the prunes he had for lunch yesterday or the refried beans he had for dinner. Yeah. Like that.

This morning Troy left early for a meeting and, just as soon as he'd left, The Rock Star started in with the running poop. Yes. This is yet another poop story. I'm fairly certain that as soon as he learns how to read, my son will veto any and all fecal tales from being shared with the world wide web. But for now....muahahahaha! (Insert best villain laugh. Embellish. Make it worthy. In actuality I'm terrible at sound effects.)

After several rounds of him pooping and me wiping--he's perfectly capable of doing the dirty work himself but refuses any and every time it is runny--he started to complain that it hurt. I busted out the baby wipes. Apparently whatever they put in those things burns like crazy because he started bawling.

I switched to hosing him off in the shower. So, there we were. Him on his knees with his posterior facing me and me holding the removable shower nozzle. "Garrett, can you spread your cheeks for me." Because I just don't think of how these things will sound later. On my blog. Typed out. As I sprayed water in the general direction of his hiney, nothing happened. "Garrett, use your hands and spread your cheeks." Nothing. "Garrett! I need you to use your hands and spread your cheeks," I said, accenting each and every word.

"I am!" He said, exasperated. As I stared into his tail end I suddenly realized that at the other end he was using his hands to pull his cheeks--the ones on his face--as wide as he possibly could. I'm certain that he was completely confused as to why he had to yank his face apart while I took care of his sore bottom. I could absolutely not stop laughing hysterically.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Trevor 4

I got a message on Facebook asking for a Trevor update. I'm so sorry I've left you all in the dark. Here are the two most recent updates.

March 3 Update from Julie:

Trevor got his trach tube changed out this morning at about 8:30 before I got to the hospital. When I walked into the room, Kenny held his finger over the trach and Trevor said "I can talk again" and "I love you". Best words ever heard, even though they were low and rattly. They are fitting him for a speaking valve to go over the top of the trach tomorrow, so he can talk more (not sure how that will sound) . We got settled into our new room out of ICU. We are now in the Neuro Trama Unit. He will start a pretty rigorous therapy program on Monday. We stay here until his surgery on the 11th and then back to ICU for recovery.

He was able to go for a ride in a wheelchair today instead of just sitting in bed. This was a nice change, but he got tired pretty fast. His days and nights are turned around, so they just gave him some medicine to help him sleep. I am so happy about his progress, but also know there is a long road ahead. Continued prayers please.

March 6 Update from Julie:

Today was a good day. Trevor is getting stronger each day. He sat by the side of his bed today so they could see if he could put any weight on his legs. He could not hold himself up, but was holding some weight. Tomorrow starts his physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions in the morning and afternoon. They don't recommend visitors until after 5:00 because he will either be in therapy or napping because of therapy. He had his bedside assessment for swallowing yesterday. They gave him some blue applesauce so they could see if he swallowed it or if it came out of his tracheotomy. He passed and failed because half went down and the other half came out of the trach. He was very disappointed that he failed the test because he couldn't get anything to drink. I told him that he did not fail, since he couldn't swallow at all before - it just takes time. He planned his welcome home party today with lists of what he is going to eat and drink when he gets out of here. He is trying to bribe Maci into smuggling some orange juice in for him. His cough is much stronger and he doesn't need to have suction much for his trach anymore. His surgery is still scheduled for this Friday, so prayers for that and his full recovery are still coveted.

He had alot of his friends from school visit yesterday and today, which helped his outlook alot. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.

God is doing amazing things in Trevor's life. Obviously he has a very important surgery coming up--please pray for the doctors during that operation. I will try to keep you updated more frequently.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

These Are the Moments

Matthew's father came this weekend for a visit. Basically, the three parents collectively decided that I'd stay away as much as possible. If you look up the definition of a mama's boy, The Little Buddy's picture stares back at you. We knew that his father would get a much higher quality visit if I wasn't around. So Troy, Matthew and his father cruised around for the better part of yesterday and today. That has allowed The Rock Star and me some quality time of our own.

Tonight I finished reading him The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When we were just a few pages from the end, Troy and Matthew came home. Garrett was all ready for bed and snuggled in next to me under the covers in my room. Troy got Matthew ready for bed and sent him toddling in. He climbed up. Cuddling into the tiny space between his brother and me, he listened as I finished the book. Garrett got up and turned out the light.

Matthew was quiet. And so snuggly. He kept grabbing my hand and putting it on his head. Then he would grab his brother's hand and kiss it. I could just make out both of their precious faces as we all laid silently together. From some deep recess of my mind, I began to sing...

Lying here with you
Listening to the rain
Smiling just to see
A smile upon your face

These are the moments
I thank God that I'm alive
These are the moments
I'll remember all my life
I've found all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more

I could not ask for more than this time together
I could not ask for more than this time with you
Every prayer has been answered
Every dream has come true
Yeah, right here in this moment
Is right where I'm meant to be
Here with you, here with me

They listened. Then The Rock Star said quietly, "I love you, Matthew." And then The Little Buddy grinned at his big brother and my heart turned into a puddle of melted love on the spot. "You're the best mom," he added. "And Matthew is the best brother. And daddy is the best daddy." Oh be still my puddle of melted love.

We stayed like that, all cuddled into one another, no one quite sure whose hand was holding her finger or whose pajamas he was feeling with his toe. Of course, boys will be boys and neither of mine can stay still for very long. The Rock Star started to tickle his brother who, in turn, laughed hysterically. I let it go on for several minutes, convinced that there is nothing in the world as heartwarming as brothers giggling together. Then I looked at the clock and realized it was time to end my perfect moment.

But it was one of those times that I'm sure will be etched in my memory forever. Two brothers, missing each other from two days apart. And mom, holding both of them in her arms, because they're still small enough to fit--for now.

Time Flies

Sometimes it just doesn't seem possible that my baby is two. Because, you see, this kid was just two and now he's filling out college applications.

Or he might as well be.

And they're practically all grown up and preparing to leave me. Except for the small fact that The Rock Star insists that he's going to marry me and live with me forever. I keep shoving him in the direction of eligible young ladies on account of the fact that I did not name him Oedipus but he won't have any part of it.

But. Yeah. The fact that my baby is now two and my older baby is now twice that and some change is just beyond me.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Alone Time

This afternoon it's just my oldest boy and me. I try to have alone time with both of my boys but usually I take them somewhere. Today Matthew is with Troy. I was supposed to give a swimming lesson but the child got sick. So I'm at home. With Garrett. Alone.

I can't think of the last time I've been home with just The Rock Star. It's been awhile.

So we made macaroni and cheese. Then I gave him a pudding cup with whipped cream and a Vienna finger. I just spent about ten minutes tickling him while he giggled incessantly.

I am infinitely thankful that my boys have a brother and that I have two sweet sons. But it sure is special to have a lazy afternoon with my oldest son, where he is free to laugh at the top of his lungs without fear of me howling, "Shhh! Your brother is SLEEPING!"

He's now sitting on my lap, telling me which letters to type. I told him that he can type random letters in a minute. One day he is going to grow up and be too big to fit in my lap. One day soon, I fear. So for now I'm soaking up four-year-old alone time.


(I let him do that. He grinned and said, "I'm working on my m's! Now I'm making a bunch of g's."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There's a First Time for Everything...

I left the house with no deodorant on. I'm not a particularly smelly individual--I don't think--so this isn't really a huge deal but it certainly wasn't something I wanted to do. Several weeks ago, at my annual girly appointment, my doctor and I decided to have me go in for a mammogram. I don't have a family history of breast cancer but I did have what seemed to be a cyst and we thought that a baseline would be a good idea. So I left the house with no deodorant. Because they told me to.

In a little over a month I'm speaking at a conference here in the valley. My topic is about not worrying and I have really been trying to practice what I'll be preaching speaking about. I can't even begin to tell you some of the horror stories I've heard about mammograms. Of course I've heard the standard lines about how they aren't that bad but those are mixed with tales of complete and total bosom carnage. I hardly knew what to expect. Would I be one of the lucky ones who felt merely a small discomfort? Not likely. I'm the girl who got her epidural while dilated to two. It seemed more certain that I'd be the one grinding her teeth under the sheer pain of mangled mammaries. So, on my way to the hospital, I tried not to think about the what ifs. What if it hurts like crazy? No, who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? What if it comes back that something is wrong? Don't worry! What if I get situated into the machine and the fire alarm goes off and the technician decides to save herself and flees the scene leaving me to burn to death, trapped by one compromised body part? Do not worry about your life...or about your body...

So I was not worrying. Except about the part that by then I was probably starting to stink. I was listening to KLove and driving along, glancing down, every now and then, to see how much time I had before the appointment. I checked the light in front of me and my rear view mirror. I passed a cop car coming toward me. I glanced at my speedometer. 50 in a 45. My dad's been a cop for my entire life. I know that 50 in a 45 will not get me a ticket unless the cop is a total crazy cake. The car whipped around, zoomed up behind me and put on its flashing lights. Cue immense amounts of sweat unprotected by a layer of deodorant.

"I'm going to be late for my incredibly unpleasant squashing!" I thought as I pulled the car over. It wasn't that I'd been trying to speed. I wasn't over the limit in an attempt to get there any sooner. I was simply not paying a great deal of attention to the speedometer. Instead I'd been busy pushing any thought of a chest massacre out of my mind.

The cop sauntered--in actuality he probably walked quickly but I was afraid I'd be late so it felt like sauntering--up to my car and asked for my license, registration and proof of insurance. I was driving Troy's car (not exactly a bastion of organization) so it took me awhile to find the registration and insurance card. "I'm sorry. It's my husband's car. It'll take me just a second," I said.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" He asked.

"No," I replied. See, I really didn't think he'd pull me over for going 50 in a 45. So I thought things like, You couldn't see the ring from across the street and thought you'd ask for a date for Friday night. Because, really, I have zero business being a pastor's wife and occasionally even I don't know where my internal monologue comes from.

"Do you know the speed limit?"

"45." I stated.

"40." He replied. "And I got you going 53."

There was general confusion and the thought that I was going to miss the date with the smushing device and the sudden urge to cry so I merely said, "Okay. I'm on my way to a doctor's appointment." In retrospect I have no idea if this was intended to be a confession or a plea for mercy. What I wanted to say to him was, "Officer, I'm on my way to have a mammogram and I'm only 29! I'm too young to die in there, attached to a machine, while the building burns down and the technician thinks only of saving herself!" But, see, sometimes the line between speeding ticket and arrest for suspicion of recreational drug use is thin and I didn't want to give him any reason to detain me.

"I'll be right back," he said nicely.

When he returned, carrying "The Ticket" I looked into his eyes and thought, I've never had a speeding ticket, Officer. Never. Not once. In thirteen and a half years of driving. You're about to tarnish my perfect driving record. The second you sign your name to that piece of paper you are forever ruining my perfect record. Oh sure, it will be off in two years if I don't have to have another distracting mammogram but I'll know it was there!

And I realize that it's all my fault for being a distracted speeder--paying more attention to KLove and the Gospel of Matthew than the speedometer--but I wished that there was some way I could convey to him my pride in my driving record, just how much it meant to me that I'd never had a traffic violation.

"Here's what I did," he said, "I wrote the ticket for five over, instead of thirteen."

Now, here is where I have no business being a pastor's wife. A good pastor's wife would have said, "No, Officer. If I was going thirteen over, by all means, write the ticket for thirteen over. I deserve a punishment that fits the crime." What I thought was, Man, if only I'd had more time and wasn't worried about making it to the mammogram. I could have totally gotten out of the entire thing. I'd done absolutely nothing and gotten it knocked down 8 miles. A sincere smile, a tear, any number of acting techniques could have gotten me out of the other 5. What I actually said was, "Okay." And then he handed me my license back and I offered, "Thank you so much." What I was thanking him for I don't know, returning my license to me instead of suspending it for my great offense? Writing it for five instead of thirteen over? Giving me a ticket in the first place?

"You drive safe out there," he slapped the side of my car and was gone leaving me to ponder exactly what out there meant. It was more like I was suddenly driving in the middle of nowhere at midnight in a land filled with axe murderers and less like I was driving in Salt Lake county at one in the afternoon. It also made me feel like I'd been driving completely recklessly in the first place. Which, for the record--the tarnished driving record, that is--I hadn't.

I made it to my appointment on time. I disrobed from the waist up and experienced my first mammogram. Oh. My. Goodness...

The ticket was, by far, the worst part of the day. I have no idea why people tell horror stories about mammograms. The only time I felt even the slightest bit of discomfort was when one of my ribs got pinched up into the machine right along with the rest of my chest. It didn't hurt, it just made me feel like I couldn't adequately breath quite right. Otherwise there was no pain, whatsoever. In fact, I kept waiting for the pain to come, thinking that there must be more to it than that. When I got home, after I finished crying over the speeding ticket, Troy asked me how the rest of my afternoon was--the important part, the part where the hospital was going to catch fire and I was going to be left to die attached to an Xray device. I told him that I cannot believe there are people in the world who complain about them.

"Maybe it's different for people." the dear offered up.

"If you're thinking that maybe I have a higher threshold for pain, well," I turned my pointer finger around so it was facing me. "Girl who got the epidural at two, right here." That seemed to silence him.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Age Appropriate Behavior

The Rock Star is pretty obsessed with the fact that his baby brother is now two years old. Today, while at the pediatrician for his well check appointment, Garrett kept informing the doctor that The Little Buddy is two now.

In the car, on the way home, a very tired Matthew was whining and fussing and being generally unpleasant. A very helpful big brother sighed loudly and then shouted, "Matthew, you are acting like a one-year-old!"