Archive for June 2007

Summer days

Nancy and I slept in today and were generally lazy in the morning but this afternoon I got off my duff and took the kids to the swimming pool. Diana wanted to go swimming but she can’t get her incision wet for another couple of weeks yet so she was bummed when we told her she couldn’t go swimming but could only play on the playground next to the neighborhood pool.

After swimming I mowed and edged the lawn and fixed some sprinkler problems that have caused brown patches in the lawn. Tonight Grandma Connie came and got Caroline and Sam to take them on a “vacation” for a few days in Cedar City. I don’t know why the kids like going to Cedar City so much. I don’t think it’s actually Cedar City they like – I think they really just like being around Grandma and Grandpa. Of course, having Caroline and Sam gone is more of a vacation for Nancy and I than it is for Caroline and Sam.

UPDATE 06/30/2007 22:55:00
It turns out that our day wasn’t quite over yet. Our neighbors across the street seem to be quite patriotic. They fly the flag on holidays that I didn’t even know were holidays (like Arbor Day, Flag Day, etc.) This evening I went out to sit on our park bench and noticed that the neighbor had hung an “electric flag” up. It looked like some kind of net but when they plugged it in it turned into an american flag. Of course, I noticed that there are only 10 stripes instead of 13.

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The ‘electric flag’ at dusk

I thought the electric flag was cool but later this evening we heard some big booms outside and lo and behold the City of South Jordan was having a firework display. It turns out that South Jordan’s annual city celebration is called “Country Fest” (it cracks me up how many people in South Jordan are refusing to accept that they are no longer a rural community) and tonight was the fireworks display. We got the older girls out of bed and watched it from our little balcony.

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The ‘electric flag’ all aglow at night with the South Jordan fireworks in the background

I took a couple of pictures but it is pretty hard to make photos of fireworks turn out on a point and shoot camera. As we were watching the fireworks Anne said, “That’s a nice birthday present for me.” I said, “Wait, your birthday isn’t for a couple of days yet.” Anne responded, “I know, but everything good that happens over the next few days is a birthday present for me.” I suppose I can’t really argue with that kind of cheerful outlook on life.

No Phone

Today Nancy called me on my cellphone and told me that our land-line phone was dead — no dial tone. (She called from her cell phone) I got a little bit worried because I ran my own phone lines so if there is a problem with the phones I can’t just call the warranty department – I am the warranty department. When I got home from work the phones were still dead. Nancy went over to the neighbors and there phones were dead as well which gave me a nice sense of relief that it wasn’t a problem with only my phones.

I called Qwest and they said that someone had cut a line near our street. The Qwest guy said the phones would be out for up to 24 hours and offered to forward all our calls to me cell. I told him “No thanks, we can be phoneless for 24 hours”. Sure enough, when I walked down the street, there was a Qwest truck and some workers.

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If you tried to call us and couldn’t get through – now you know why. Oh well, things could be worse. Someone could have cut the line on my street and the Qwest guys could be uprooting my yard and mailbox.

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Surgery Report

It’s taken me a few days to get back in the swing of posting after taking a leave of absence for Diana’s surgery. Here is a pictorial timeline of the surgery with a few comments:

On Thursday morning we got up bright and early and headed to the hospital. Diana was scheduled as the first surgery of the morning for our surgeon. She seemed excited to go. She knew that her “broken heart” was going to get fixed but she had no idea what was really in store. Grandpa Kent came over and watched the other kids and made sure they got their breakfast and got to school on time.
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Diana on the morning of the surgery

We talked to the surgeon and anesthesiologist before the surgery, got her dressed in the hospital gown, and waited in the waiting room until the anesthesiologist came to get her. We walked with her up to the entrance into surgery at which point we had to go to the waiting room and she had to go with the anesthesiologist. The parents have the option of giving the kid a drug that will kind of calm them down and basically make them go into la-la land before they even get to the anesthesiologist but we chose not to use it. Diana seemed to be very calm about the whole affair and we didn’t think she would freak out. Even with her calmness, she didn’t want to go off alone with the anesthesiologist and started to whimper and and follow us instead. It was really heartwrenching to send her off and tell her that everything would be OK and not to be afraid. In fact, I still feel awful thinking about it now.

During the surgery Nancy and I waited in the waiting room and the nurse gave us updates on the telephone every hour and a half. It was interesting to observe the behavior of the different parents in the waiting room. I was very stoic and only got out of my chair to use the bathroom and talk to the nurse on the phone. Nancy had lots of nervous energy and was very restless. Other parents had all kinds of family members and kids in the waiting room and were chatting it up or watching TV. Diana’s surgery was scheduled to be about 4.5 hours but it took longer because her heart had more complications than they originall planned. A big thanks to Melissa for the waiting room care package – I sat there and did sudoku puzzles for five hours straight. I was a great relief when the doctor finally came in to tell us that it was over and that she was doing well.

All through the surgery I was stoic and composed; however, when we went into the Intensive Care Unit to see Diana for the first time after the surgery I really choked up. Seeing her lying there unconscious with all the tubes and wires just made my heart ache for her. Nancy patiently stood by her side for the first few hours as it took Diana quite a while to come out of the anesthesia and even then she wasn’t very lucid due to the morphine.

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Waiting for Diana to come out of the anesthesia

We stayed with Diana through the rest of the first day and finally went home late at night after concluding that there wasn’t much we could do during the night as Diana was mostly sleeping and heavily dosed on morphine.
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Notice the little Cinderella doll clutched in her hand in the second picture

The next day we went back to the hospital in the morning just as the nurses were moving her out of the ICU. She had done well through the night and was alert and awake even though she didn’t talk much (the breathing tube had hurt her throat and she didn’t feel good in general so she only talked in little one-word squeaks). The nurses had removed several of the IVs and other tubes that were in her but the chest drains were still in. The wound on her neck is from some type of heart pressure measuring device they stuck in through one of her neck veins. Nancy and I stayed with her most of the day, trying to get her to eat and drink so she wouldn’t get dehydrated. Finally, at the end of the day she said she had to go potty so Nancy carried her to the toilet trailing all of the chest drains and IV cables along. It hurt her quite a bit to move around and sit on the potty and after she was done she fell asleep for the night.
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Awake but not happy yet. Think that will leave a scar?

The next day (Saturday) Nancy went up to the hospital and I stayed with the other kids for the day. I called Nancy several times during the day to check on Diana’s status. Nancy even managed to get a few smiles out of her. Nancy said she was doing better, eating a little bit, talking a little bit, and watching “Booty and the Beast” over and over again. The doctors also decided that her bleeding had slowed enough that the chest drains could be removed so they took them out (Nancy reported that this was painful for Diana) and stitched up the holes.
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The ballons, stuffed animals, and flowers came from family, my colleagues at work, and my Internet friends. Thanks to everyone.

On Sunday I went up to the hospital prepared to spend the day with Diana while Nancy stayed at home with the kids. Before I got there the doctors and nurses had already taken Diana for chest x-rays and drawn her blood for a lab workup. About an hour after I was there the nurse announced that Diana could go home. I wasn’t expecting her to go home for at least another day so I called Nancy and she came up with a change of clothes for Diana to wear home while Grandma Connie and Grandpa Kent went to our house to watch the other kids and get them ready for church. Diana was alert, active, and talkative. She hadn’t had any painkiller since some Ibuprofen on Saturday night – a completely amazing recovery in just three days.

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Going home

When we got home, we wanted her to lay still and rest but she was up and walking around the house, hopping on the tile floors, and jumping off the bottom stairs. Grandma and Grandpa took the kids to church while Nancy and I stayed home and gave Diana a bath (trying to avoid getting the wounds wet) and got her cleaned up. Even though she wasn’t going to church, she wanted to put on her Sunday dress so she could be like her older sisters.
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A complete recovery

Our thanks and gratitude go out to everyone that offered help, prayers, and wishes during the past few days. Thanks for all of the kind cards, flowers, gifts, and treats. We really appreciate the thoughtfulness that everyone has shown. A special thanks to both sets of grandparents for their patience and help in watching the other kids, to the doctors and nurses at the hospital for the outstanding job they did and the care they showed, and to the Relief Society for helping with meals. We are grateful that Diana has made an amazingly fast recovery and are hopeful that her long term prognosis is excellent and will require no other surgeries in the future.

Sugery Prep

Today we went to Primary Children’s Medical Center for blood tests, chest x-rays, and pre-checkin for Diana’s surgery tomorrow. Her surgery is scheduled for 7:30 a.m and will likely last 3 or more hours. She’ll be in ICU for at least 24 hours after the surgery and possibly more depending upon how things go. Once out of ICU she’ll be in the hospital another 2-3 days depending upon how quickly she recovers.

We’re nervous and hoping for the best. Say your prayers for Diana and we’ll let you know how it goes.

Unbelievably Lame

UPDATE: 04/26/2008 6:27 p.m. If you’re looking for the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire graphic you won’t find it here any more. I removed it because it was causing a high rate of referrals from Google’s image search. I don’t mind people visiting this blog because of something in the blog’s subject matter; however, this blog is not about Harry Potter and this single Harry Potter image was generating a large percentage of our traffic.

The current issue of People magazine (via mugglenet.com – one of Nancy’s Harry Potter websites) has an article about whether or not Harry Potter will die in book 7. What is lame is that they have a guide for parents about what to tell your kids if Harry Potter dies. Some of their snippets of wisdom about how parents should handle this challenging situation:

1) Don’t worry they’ll be scarred for life…
2) Use the experience as a teaching moment…
3) Don’t say “It’s just a book!”…

Are you kidding me? Are folks so devoid of intelligence that they would turn to People magazine for advice on how to handle a fictional characters death? Some thoughts:

  • Any child that is so immature or so stupid as to truly worry about or be affected by Harry Potter’s possible death shouldn’t be reading Harry Potter in the first place.
  • Any parent that is so immature or so stupid as to turn to People magazine for advice on handling Harry Potter’s possible death shouldn’t be having kids in the first place.

One of the lamest comments in the magazine was “to a kid, Harry Potter is very real”. Oh puhleeze. A kid that is smart enough to read and understand the Harry Potter books doesn’t really think Harry Potter is real. Kids that are too young to understand that Harry Potter isn’t real probably can’t read. Thus, I’ve got to wonder where kids that age are getting such a dose of Harry Potter that they think he’s real?

What’s that you say? They see him in the movies? Well, I suppose that’s possible – my three year old has seen all the Harry Potter movies. If it does indeed turn out the Harry dies, will I let her watch the last movie? The answer to that question is “yes” – because she will be old enough to understand by the time the last moving comes out (probably about 4 years from now). If I happen to have another three year old (unlikely) when the last movie comes out, and Harry happens to croak, will I then let my three year old watch the movie? Hmm, I’m not sure about that. I would watch the movie first and determine whether or not it was suitable for my kid. It’s called parenting. It’s just possible that I would end up letting my three year old watch it because my three year old would likely have more sense than the parents that let People magazine do their parenting for them.

What a day!

Mondays are always busy, but today was busier than usual. First, I had to get the kids ready and send them off to school. Then I had to do a huge pile of laundry (It took all day). I noticed Diana had a runny nose yesterday and today she told me her left ear hurt, I knew that she shouldn’t get sick before her planned surgery, so I called the pediatric cardio-thoracic surgery coordinator to see what I should do. She told me to take her to the pediatrician and get her checked and then to call her back. So after I got off the phone with her I called to make an appointment. I got her in at 11:15 a.m. and that took a good chunk of time out of my busy day. The doctor told me he didn’t see any ear infection or even fluid in the ears and that her lungs sounded clear. He said she could either have allergies or she could be starting to get a cold and that I should just keep my eye on her. So it seems I spent all that time for nothing, I guess I am a little too paranoid. We got home shortly after noon and then I had to clean the kitchen, do some more of the laundry and go visiting teaching. The lady I visit teach cancelled at the last minute so I went to the grocery store instead (Mondays are my big shopping day of the week). I then had about an hour to do more laundry and perhaps relax for ten minutes or so. When the girls got home from school I had to take Diana to the hospital for her surgery prep class. So I left Emily and Anne in charge and left again.

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Surgery prep class is held at Primary Children’s Mondays – Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 in the afternoon. They recommend it because they say that if the kids are prepared they have a faster recovery time and they are not so nervous when they go in. When I got there today there were already quite a few kids there. Most of them were there for same day surgery and only three of us were there to be admitted and kept longer. They showed the kids a video that had a little robot boy who was having surgery and showed all the things that hapened to him while he was at the hospital. After the video the adults went to one side of the room and all the kids went to the other. One of the nurses talked to the adults about the procedures and such, while the kids got to see and feel some of the equipment that would be used by the doctors and nurses such as a stethescope and masks that are used to put them under. They gave Diana a hat, gloves, mask, a paper to color, and a little doll patient to take home. The little doll has no face on it so the kids could put one on themselves when they got home. I thought Diana would be shy and whiny during the class, but I was wrong, she loved to see, feel, and touch everything and was gung ho to do everything the other kids did.

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Because the class ends at rush hour we didn’t get home until about 6:30. I didn’t have dinner done ahead of time so I had to make it when I got home which put dinner on the table about 7:30. I then had to help Anne with a report which she left until the last minute to do. After that BYUFan and I had to put the kids to bed. I wish I could have gone to bed then too, but I had a huge pile of clean laundry to fold and put away and I had to make my own bed because I washed the sheets today. Luckily while I was helping Anne with her report, BYUFan stepped up to the plate and did alot of the folding for me and he even helped me make the bed.

Now I get to post this and then finally to bed. I hope tomorrow is not like today.

I forgot one thing, this afternoon we got a package in the mail. It was a care package from BYUFan’s sister Melissa. She has had experience with kids being in the hospital for surgery and knew just what we needed to survive when Diana goes in on Thursday. She even got a movie for the kids who have to stay at home and wait. It really made my day to think that someone cares enough to think of us even though she has many worries of her own. Thanks alot Melissa and Kyle.

Bummer, this is us

South Jordan Residents Angry About Planned Power Outage

Tomorrow is expected to be the hottest day of the year. For some though, it’s going to feel even hotter. That’s because the power is going to be cut off for thousands of people in the South Jordan area. That means no air conditioning, or even electricity for fans.

Unfortunately, we live smack in the middle of the power outage area. We got a notice a few days ago on our door. Like the people in the news story, I too don’t understand why they wouldn’t do the work at night. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. I just hope that the stuff in the freezer doesn’t melt.

On the plus side, tomorrow is the last day of soccer. I’ll try and get some video of the soccer games. I’ll be glad to have our Saturdays back after tomorrow. 4 games every Saturday is starting to get old.

UPDATE 06/16/2007 11:30 – The power went off about 7:30 this morning and came back on around 11:00. Hopefully it stays on the rest of the day. We were worried about the stuff in the freezer. The kids were especially worried that the ice cream would melt. Last night I made milkshakes for the kids. I put the ice cream and milk away after they were done and cleaned up the kitchen a bit. Apparently nobody opened up the fridge until this morning because when Nancy opened the fridge she discovered that I had put the ice cream in the fridge instead of the freezer. Thus, the ice cream ended up being melted before the power even went out.

Piano Recital

Emily and Anne had their piano recital this evening. One thing I like about this teacher is that she makes the kids memorize the pieces and she makes them bow. Both Emily and Anne did a pretty good job (a few mistakes here and there). I think they’re progressing fairly well. Now if I can only get Caroline to make progress.


Anne playing “Jericho”

NOTE: This is the first time I’ve uploaded video to the internet so we’ll see how it goes. I’m using YouTube for now so that their bandwidth is consumed and not my own; however, Nancy is fussing over the fact that the video is on YouTube – she has some fear that people will use it for nefarious purposes. We’ll see how it goes…

NOTE 2: The knocking sound is an artifact of when I transferred the video from the camera to the computer. I’ll have to mess with my video transfer settings and figure out why that is occuring.


Emily playing a sonatina

In past recitals, Grandma or Grandpa has been there and have taken the kids out for a treat afterwards. I didn’t really want to go out for a treat this time but I was the only one (I could tell Nancy was campaigning to not have to go home and make dinner) so I got outvoted. Nancy chose the place: Iceberg Drive Inn. (Yes, it’s really spelled that way). Not my favorite place but Nancy sure likes it.

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I think her favorite thing about Iceberg is the the shakes. The big shake in the picture is called a “mini-shake”. I would hate to see what the large size looks like…

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RSS Readers

An RSS reader is software that goes out and automatically checks for new updates to websites that publish an RSS feed (usually blogs). It’s a form of syndication. If you look at the very bottom of this blog you’ll see a link to the RSS feed for both new posts as well as new comments. The advantage of using an RSS reader is that you don’t have to continually check the site for new updates – your reader will check it for you automatically and notify you if there are new updates. You can configure the reader to check as many blogs as you wish and as often as you wish.

One possible disadvantage to the website when people use RSS readers is that because the reader displays the post and pictures, most users will just read the post from within the reader as opposed to actually going to the website to read the post. The reason why this is a disadvantage to the website is because the blog likely won’t get as many comments when people use RSS readers (not that this blog gets very many comments but the few that we do get are nice to have).

My RSS reader is built into my internet browser (Opera). If you are using Firefox it also has a built in RSS reader. If you use Internet Explorer then you’ll have to either download an RSS reader (check here for a list) or you can use something like Google Reader which is totally web based.

Park Bench

Today Nancy and I assembled one of our park benches after dinner. The assembly was easy and in no time we had a lovely park bench. We put it outside on the flagstone area that I had the landscapers make. The flagstone area wasn’t originally in our plans but they had some of the large flagstones left over and so I asked them to make a bench area (the bench area was in our plans all along – just not on flagstones).

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Park benches come in 4′ wide and 5′ wide sizes and range anywhere from $59 for the cheapest 4′ kind (the kind we got) up to $300 for expensive 5′ kinds with flowery wrought iron and fancy seat cushions. The cheap kind looked great to me and I figured we could get two – one for the front and one for the back (as well as two more in a few years from now when they wear out) – for the price of one of the fancy kind.

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Overall I was pleased with how it turned out and how it sits in our little bench area in front. Here’s to many evenings of sitting on our park bench watching the people stroll by.