Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a seriously disgusting post

No, really. This will be incredibly gross. If you are not into puss or medical procedures, just skip this one. Trust me.



You're still here? Ok, but you can't get mad at me for not warning you!

Here's the next chapter in my throat abscess story. A peritonsillar abscess is also called "Quinsy". Apparently, people die of quinsy. I thought that was a great section at wikipedia.

On Monday, I called my ear/nose/throat specialist, and talked to scheduling. They didn't have any openings available, but were able to squeeze me in for a visit anyway, given how serious this can be.

By the time my appointment came on Monday, I was starting to feel pretty miserable again, and my left tonsil had swollen up even more. J took me to the appointment. In the car on the way over, he told me that he would be unable to watch the procedure. He was genuinely concerned that I'd be upset over this "lack of support". I thought that was very sweet, and told him he did not have to watch. In fact, I was glad he was not going to watch.

I got to the doctor's office, and they got me right in. The doctor took a peek at my throat and declared it to be pretty bad. J was turning green watching even that (he hates tongue depressors) and announced that he was going to wait in the waiting room. The doctor let him go, and looked a bit envious at his exit. Hmm. That's not a good sign.

He said that the pocket of puss was pretty serious and needed to be lanced so that I could heal. To do this, he would take a syringe and give me a small injection to numb the area, and then take a scalpel and make a small incision to allow the infection to leave the body.

He gave me a small shot of anesthesia in my tonsil to numb the area. It was very difficult to not gag or throw up. Looking a bit grossed out, the doctor told me that there was puss coming out of the injection hole. Ew.

A couple minutes later, he poked the area to see if it was numb. Nope, not yet. He injected me with a little more anesthesia.

Then, he got one of those small bowls they use in the hospital for spitting/vomiting. He told me that when he cut the abscess, all of that grossness (my word, not his!) would come out, and it was very important to not swallow it, but to spit it out.

Really?!

I couldn't believe this was an instruction given. Like I'd be soooo tempted to swallow it! Ew!


The doctor approaches me, looking pretty grossed out. I'm pretty sure he was wishing he was out in the waiting room with my husband. I'm also pretty sure he's afraid I'm going to throw up all over him.

He makes a slight cut, and then I had to lean forward while everything came out. It was unbelievably disgusting. It was green and slimy and the consistency of snot. There was also about 1/4 c. of it. No wonder I felt so incredibly ill. Even now, two days later, I get a little queasy thinking about it. After 30 seconds or so, it seemed to be over. The doctor gave my tonsil a little poke to be sure, and it was empty.

The doctor looked like he wanted to bolt from the room at this point. Before he could leave, I asked him if I should get my tonsils out. He thought that would be a great idea, but not til my throat has totally healed. He then dashed from the room, saying he'd see me in a couple months.

I think I'll schedule the surgery for June, when the kids are out of school. I figure it'll be easier for other people to step in and help out if there's not basketball, scouts, girl scout cookies, preschool or school.

They say recovering from a tonsillectomy is much more difficult as an adult, but I think that going through what I just did is probably just as bad as a tonsillectomy. I am so prone to throat infections that I think it makes sense to do this.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has had a tonsillectomy done as an adult so I can have an idea of what to expect.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in the ER

So, we spent part of Thanksgiving in the ER, why not make holidays in the ER a tradition? Actually, I sincerely hope we don't.

J and I are truly blessed when it comes to family. We have a lot of family who live close by. Even better, all of the family that lives nearby are really awesome, fun, wonderful family, all of whom we are anxious to have major roles in our lives. We are really grateful for this.

The holidays kind of stress J out a bit though. Growing up, they didn't have family nearby, so Christmas day was a quiet day, and so that is what Christmas day is to him.

Christmas day for me was to go visit various grandparents, aunts and uncles. I absolutely LOVE the hustle and bustle of it. J loves seeing all these people, but would rather we spread out the visits so we spend more time, and only go to two houses a day. He had even threatened to wake up sick on Christmas day.

So I got a vague sore throat. On Wednesday, I woke up feeling pretty bad. I decided to go to the doctor so that just in case it was something that could be treated with antibiotics, I could get on them and feel better in time for Christmas. The local office got me right in. The doctor was really nice. He didn't do a strep test (which I thought was odd, especially given I had no fever), but put me on antibiotics and gave me a painkiller. Unfortunately, I woke up Thursday morning feeling even worse. Much to my dismay, I missed my family's annual Christmas eve party. I sent the rest of my family down though, so they wouldn't miss out.

Christmas morning, I felt even worse. It turns out the painkiller the doctor gave me nauseated me, so I got to throw up on top of everything else.

We fed the kids homemade caramel rolls, and then took them to my SIL/BIL's house. Then J and I headed up to the ER. We got there and sat down. To the right of me was a guy who was at the wrong end of a knife while taking plastic off of a present. He was hopeful that a couple stitches and he'd be well on his way. Um, no. He'd been well on his way to cutting his thumb off. It was going to need surgery.

Another guy comes wandering in who I guess had been in line, but then had to leave to get a cigarette. He was also there for a sore throat, but the man would.not.shut.up. If I hadn't been in so much pain, I would've enjoyed visiting with him, because I love talking to eccentric people. But, alas, I couldn't talk. Anyway, he told me about how that cigarette really made his heart rate go up.

A woman with uncontrollable vomiting shuffled in, and she got to be triaged immediately. Fine with me. Mr. Chatty told us about how when he was living in Denver, he got appendicitis, and he let his 13 year old drive him to the hospital. He said he walked all hunched over, just like vomiting lady.

We get back to my room and Mr. Chatty happened to get the room next to mine. He stood in his doorway and tried to talk to people as they walked by. It was a little sad to me, because he was a nice, engaging guy.

J had to use the bathroom, and when he came back, he reported that Mr. Chatty had completely disrobed, and had wrapped a hospital johnny around his waist like a towel, and was still standing in the doorway. I got the giggles from that. That only got worse when we overheard the doctor tell him, "Ok, you can get dressed any time now."

As for me, they told me that I had the beginnings of a peritonsillar abscess. Given the state of my tonsils, I think it was a definite risk for me. The germ that caused it wasn't a superbug or anything like that, in fact, none of our kids have gotten sick, and they're constantly giving me kisses, sharing drinks, etc. They gave me an injection of antibiotics, and an injection of a steroid anti inflammatory, and instructions to come back the next morning for more of the same, plus to double check it hadn't gotten any bigger. As it was, it was starting to interfere with my breathing, and they were concerned about that.

I came back today for another round of poking. The doctor confirmed I'll definitely have to have the abscess drained, but it has shrunk to the point where it's "non-emergent, but urgent". So, I will go in to the specialist Monday.

I suspect that when I consult with an ear/nose/throat specialist, they will tell me that I need to get my tonsils out. I have always been prone to throat issues, and I think my tonsils are so damaged that I'm somewhat vulnerable to anything that comes along. I am hoping that I put it off til June, when the kids will be out of school. That way, they won't have to be shuttled around, and it'll make caring for them much easier.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rudolph and my packrat tendancies

I have been watching the old stopmotion Christmas show "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" with my kids this Christmas.

As I watched, I remembered watching it as a child. I was so traumatized by the forgotten misfit toys on their little island. I think that show singlehandedly convinced me that inanimate objects have feelings. If I ever had a broken or unused toy, I had a very difficult time getting rid of it because I was just sure that they would be sad if I threw it away.



One Christmas, I was given a Cabbage Patch Kid. Santa had left it in the box, so it's defect went unnoticed. I was undoing the twist ties to get her out of the box, and her head tipped forward. The machine that had sewed her hair to her head had gone too deeply, or maybe made the stitches too close together (?), and she had this huge gash along the back of her head where the hair was attached to the base of her head. It was deeply unsettling to the point of terrifying to a little kid. We exchanged the doll (wait, how come we were able to go to Toys R Us and provide a receipt?!), but I felt incredibly guilty. I INSISTED on picking out the exact same doll- same outfit, hair, everything. I then changed her name to what the original doll had been, even though I hadn't really even like the original name.

To this day, I have a difficult time of letting things go. As I've thought about it and watched the show, I realized that this show was instrumental in creating my pack rat issues. If I have something I no longer need, I want to keep it, just in case. It could still be useful, given the right circumstances.

On a lighter note, as an adult watching the show, I was kind of disgusted with Santa and Rudolph's father. They were a bunch of narrow minded idiots on that show. Irritated me.


No, I refuse to seek therapy because I internalized a silly kids' show from the 60s.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blood Donation DENIED!

I have always tried to donate blood as frequently as I could. I have to admit I've let it slide for a while, and my guilt was compounded by the fact that I had the Red Cross Blood Donation people calling me frequently.

Today I decided to go in and donate. I thought it was neat that they let you answer all of the personal questions on a computer and the examiner isn't there for that. Not that I've ever had embarrassing answers, but.... I think it IS stupid that during those questions, NOBODY can be in the room with you, due to privacy issues. My two year old won't even let me use the restroom in privacy. I'm not worried about a couple of silly blood donation questions while he climbs around my legs. I would have thought about throwing a fit, but they showed me a totally contained toy area, so I was more than happy to let him go play.

So, we get to the travel questions. Last December, if you'll recall, I was on a Caribbean cruise. 364 days ago, I spent 8 hours in the lovely Samana area of the Dominican Republic. Apparently, this is a festering hole of malaria. I was deferred for having been there in the last year. I'm welcome to come back on Wednesday and donate though.

Really?!

So, even though I thought there would be no lingering health consequences for my cruise, apparently there could be. If you could pray for me for the next day or so, that I won't have malaria appear, I would greatly appreciate it.

I get why they have rules. I think they can get a little ridiculous though. Seriously. There is NO WAY I have malaria from my brief jaunt there. If I did, don't you think it would have manifested by now? My major problem is that I have now been deferred three times, two of which were pretty ridiculous, in my opinion.

The first time I was deferred was in college. At the time, they wouldn't let anyone donate who had had symptoms of hayfever within the last week. Well, I would never, ever be able to donate if they kept that rule in place. I will say I can see why they had that rule- a cold and hayfever do feel awfully similar. This rule has been abandoned.

The second time was a year or two ago. I had gone in for a dental cleaning, and then attempted to donate blood two days later. No dice. Seems a bit silly.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Conversations

A couple mornings ago, I got S out of bed, and she seemed a little quiet and withdrawn. I asked her what was wrong, and to my surprise, she burst into tears, and jumped into my arms.

I asked her what was wrong, and she began to sob, "I'm so sorry, Mommy!"

Uh Oh. Whatever she did must have been really bad for her to be this upset.

I keep calm and ask her what she was sorry about. She took a deep, shuddering breath and explained.

"Last night I dreamed that you were a snake. I was playing with you, and I accidentally SQUISHED YOUUUUUUUUUU!!!!" (As she spoke her tone got higher and higher and it ended in a wail).

I kept a straight face, though it was difficult.

Z has discovered the wonder of hot chocolate. He got a cup of it the other drank, drank it all gone. An hour or so later, he saw the empty cup, and brought it to me and said, "Uh oh Mommy, chocolate hot all gone. Need more! Uh oh Mommy!"

We set up our Christmas tree yesterday, much to the delight of the children. I turned on the lights this morning at their insistence. When the littles went down for their naps, I turned it back off. It's a pre-lit tree, so I figure that it's life expectancy is very finite, given that it is already several years old. When Z woke up, the first thing he did was run to visit the tree. With horror, he turned to me and said, "Uh oh, Mommy, the tree off. Need lights on! Oh no!!!!"

I know that two year olds have a terrible reputation, and I will admit they are a bit spirited and moody, but really, I think two year olds are some of the funnest kids around. Their wonder and passion are just amazing to be around.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving in the ER

Ok, that's probably overdramatizing it a bit- we were only there for a little over an hour.

The day started out innocently enough. We went to our first Thanksgiving dinner at my SIL & BIL's- Erik & Nykki. We had good times, great food, wonderful conversation. The kids had a ball playing with their 10 cousins, and the grownups watched football and played "Bang", a card game.

Then, we left for Grandma Jane's house. Again, great food, wonderful company.

As I was cutting up my beautiful pies (I cooked 8 yesterday- 4 pumpkin, two cherry, one blueberry, and one apple), I heard a screech, and S started screaming and crying. She was playing with the reclining chair, and got her finger caught in one of the scissor type things. So, it was pinches AND cut. J brought her upstairs so I could look at her. Her middle finger was beginning to swell, and was bleeding like a stuck pig. We decided she needed to get it looked at. Unfortunately, all of the instacares and my beloved IHC Kidscares were closed on the holiday, so I reluctantly drug us to the ER.

I'm somewhat anti- ER because you usually end up spending hours and hours there, there's tons of people with swine flu now, and it costs waaaaaaay more than an instacare. But, it looked like that was our only option.

I have to say I was impressed with the staff at the new IMC ER. They were all very sweet to S, and efficiently professional. Best of all, we were in and out of there in less than an hour and a half! Amazing!

Here is S pretending to be the #5 smilie face on the 1-10 pain scale (Look at that chart behind her if you don't know what I am talking about. When we first got there, she was the orange smilie (#8), but as we hung out in the room for a few minutes, she downgraded herself to the 5, and was trying to imitate that smilie.

They did xrays, and determined that her finger was NOT broken. I was a little surprised because it looked really swollen and she wasn't wanting to move it. The doctor decided to use one stitch to stitch her up.

If you want to see the wound, you can CLICK HERE to see it. Some people have weak stomachs, so I'll make it a clickable link instead of just posting it out there. Oh, and don't mind that scary looking bruise on her palm. That's blueberry pie juices. S was very afraid she was going to miss eating pie, that there would be none left. I didn't take that picture until after she had the pie safely in her belly.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This and That

I feel bad that I haven't blogged in so long. Part of the problem is that I decided to give up ALL soda (including my beloved Mountain Dew) for the month of November. This has made me indescribably cranky. Nobody wants to hear me rant on and on about how hateful and angry everything makes me when I'm going through withdrawals.

Then, just when I was thinking I wasn't going to have to murder someone, my older laptop started contemplating suicide. We decided to get out while the getting is good, and bought a new desktop. It's really super nice except one thing- it doesn't have any of my photo editing software, and I can't get any of them to transfer over. My darling, sweet, wonderful husband is trying to work with it, but it may be a compatibility issue- our new computer has Windows 7, and I've heard a lot of older programs won't work with it.

On the interesting front, they are putting in another power line near our house. I always wondered how they go about doing that, and I've been able to discover their secret weapon: HELICOPTERS!
We've really enjoyed watching the helicopters work by pulling wires. Very interesting to watch.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A New Scam!

I know my last scambaiting experience was met with hilarity by all. I had been considering finding another one. Imagine my delight when someone found ME before I even the chance to go looking! This scam is actually fairly widespread, and a lot of people are falling for it. It takes a bit to even realize it IS a scam. Since most of us would always help a friend in a bad situation, it makes all of us vulnerable. Read a news story about it here.

Players involved in conversation:

Jason is a good friend of mine from high school. While we have drifted over the years, I really like him. If he really was in trouble, I would give him money. However, he wouldn't ask for money from me unless he is in really dire straights.

Tara: Tara is a mutual friend from high school. Also a lot of fun. Jason and Tara have maintained a very close friendship throughout the years, but they are JUST friends.


So, this morning I was on facebook while the kids were eating breakfast. Facebook has an instant messenger application, and I had the following conversation. I will differentiate between REAL Jason, and Fake Jason.

FakeJason: Hey Wendy, how are you?

Me: I'm tired, want to go back to bed. How are you?

FakeJason: I am really bad

Me: How come?

FakeJason: I am in London

Me: Well, that sounds really good. What happened for that to be bad?

FakeJason: I was robbed at gunpoint last night

Me: That sounds so scary, are you ok?

FakeJason: I am injured on right hand bitter about that. But, Thank God I am ok.

(hmmm, never heard Jason say "Thank God" before. And Hmmm, I think I'd know if Jason had gone to London)

FakeJason: I talked to embassay and they talk about getting plane ticket home not until March.

Me: Why so long? How long were you SUPPOSED to be there? Did the robber get your passport or something?

FakeJason: I am raising money to buy new plane ticket home.

FakeJason: I still have my passport and health Thank God.

(ok, I was now 99% sure this was a scammer. I decided to do a little test. But first, I sent a message to Tara to double check because I didn't want to harass Jason if he really WAS in trouble)

Me: Was your girlfriend with you when it happened? Is Tara ok?

FakeJason: NO, she wasn't there.

Me: Did you actually go to London without her? I keep telling you that you should go out and enjoy being single a bit before you settle down and marry her.

(note: Tara and Jason have never been romantically involved. She is a lovely girl, and I would never say mean things about her for real. I thought she'd be amused at the way I was portraying her because it is so far from the truth)

FakeJason: Can you wire money for plane ticket home? I will pay back at atm when I get home.

Me: Which home are you trying to go to?

FakeJason: West Jordan

(this is his actual hometown, but not where he lives).

FakeJason: How is Jim?

Me: So, is Tara stranded there too? I can give you money for her plane ticket too, even though I think she is too controlling. I don't want her stuck in London too.

REAL Jason: Um, I think you sent this to me by mistake

Me: No, I meant to send it to you. I feel like I have to tell you my feelings on your relationship with Tara.

Real Jason: HUH?! What are you talking about?!

(during this time, Tara manages to get a hold of Jason and brings him up to speed)

FakeJason: I need money so I can buy plane ticket home. Can you please help me?

Then, both Jasons log off.

I was DYING to mess with FakeJason some more, but I was pretty sure it was all over. I also was almost late to take my kids to school. So, I left my computer on, and took off to school and kickboxing. On the way, RealJason called me. He was glad to hear that I hadn't fallen for it.

I got home, and Fake Jason was gone for good. I was sad he didn't play more with me.

But, this is a very real scam, and part of the reason I'm telling about it, even though the interaction wasn't that great is because I want everyone to be warned and to not fall for it. Make sure you get some sort of confirmation that your "friend" in trouble is really your friend before you do anything.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Affair with Donny Osmond

My mom begged my to blog about this, since it was such a funny story. Since it will also totally embarrass my 11 year old, which really is my ultimate goal in life (just ask her!), I think I will oblige.

Back in 2002, I volunteered with the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. I got to do opening ceremonies for the Paralympics Games. It truly was one of the highlights of my life. To work on that caliber of a production, with the amazing people I met was incredible.
One of my primary responsibilities was to make sure the "talent headliners" were happy, comfortable, and to their spots and cued at the proper time. Donny Osmond did a number in the opening ceremonies. He was absolutely a blast to work with- very down to earth, polite, and nice. I figured he would be as much, his reputation has said as much. Plus, I casually knew his older brother, Tom. Tom was my mailman when I was going to Snow College, and Tom was a great guy. He'd come to our house after he finished his route and would visit with us. Really nice guy.

The night of the performance, I brought my camera, and took a lot of pictures. I asked someone to take a photo of Donny Osmond and I.

I got the photos developed, then scanned into my computer, and kind of forgot about them. We had our screen saver on our computer set up to just show the photos that we had on our hard drive, and the kids loved to watch the slide show of pictures.

A couple years later, J comes to me, laughing. Apparently, K had been watching the slideshow of photos and saw the picture of Donny and I. She was deeply concerned about this, and came to J. She told him that she was really worried because her mommy had a "secret boyfriend". J asked her how she knew this, and she replied that she'd seen a picture of me with another man, and HIS ARM WAS AROUND HER MOMMY! J had her show him the picture in question. I have to give him credit. He managed to keep a straight face, and gently explained that Donny was just a friend, and that he had a wife, and that she shouldn't have to worry about that sort of thing. I laughed til I cried when I heard about it.

So, here is the infamous picture. I have to admit I HATE this picture of me. I really wasn't as fat as I looked- I have always had a double chin, and this is just a really unfortunate angle. Just look at the picture of me with the torch. Not nearly as bad, isn't it? Figures I'd get a super bad picture of myself when I'm being photographed with a celebrity doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the kids

I took the kids up in the mountains to look at the leaves this past weekend. Unfortunately, I think we were about 3 weeks too late. I was a bit disappointed, but it was still pretty. The reds were all gone, and that is my favorite.

While up there, I decided to take some pictures of the kids. In general, it didn't work out at all well because Z hadn't napped and was a little cranky.

This was the best group shot I got, though I'm not that pleased with it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why my cell phone is hidden while I shower

Whenever I take a shower, I usually take the phone into the bathroom with me. That way, I know whether or not I miss any calls, and I don't have to worry about shenanigans involving my children and the phone.

Unfortunately, the other morning, I was distracted. I had a closing coming right up, and was thinking of that while I was at the gym. I got home from my workout, and got Diego to babysit the kids while I took a shower.

After I got up, S came up to me and announced that I had missed a call. But it was ok, she said, she told them I was taking a shower. Uh oh. I forgot to bring my cell phone with me. I find my phone, and sure enough, there is a voice mail. No missed call though. Hmmm. This means that she answered the phone (or so I thought). I checked my voice mail, and discovered that one of my little darlings had tossed my wallet out the window of the car while I was buckling children into their car seats. Thank goodness I belong to a gym full of honest women!

I trek on over to the gym to claim my wallet. The girl working the front desk laughs a little as she gives it to me, and tells me the story. Someone turned in the wallet (with every penny accounted for). Employee tries to call me and tell me where it is. She was in the middle of leaving me a voice mail when she sees another call coming in, and that it's my phone. She ends the voice mail and answers the phone. A little tiny voice said, "My mommy is in the shower right now so she can't talk to you."

All I can say is that I'm really glad it wasn't somebody calling me from the professional side of my life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quillow

It's become something of a family tradition that I sew a "Quillow" for my nieces and nephews for their 5th birthday.

For your enjoyment, here's instructions.

Quillow

A quillow is a quilt which goes in a pocket, to form a pillow. There are two sets of instructions, how to make and how to fold.

Sizing

The measurements and fabric are for a 44" x 72" lap quilt that will fold into an 18" square.

To modify size: for larger or smaller follow this simple formula:

Width is equal to finished pillow width x 2-1/2. Example: finished pillow width will be 14" x 2-1/2 equals a 35" width.

Length is equal to the finished pillow width x 4. Example: finished pillow width will be 14" x 4 equals a 56" length.

Supplies

1. 45" wide fabric, totaling 5 yards as follows:

Color 1 (top color)

2.5 yards

Color 2 (bottom color)

2.5 yards

2. Batting to equal your cut fabric size, both body and pillow

3. One small, all purpose thread in a coordinating color

4. Hand sewing needle and possibly a thimble

5. Embroidery floss or yarn for tying, decorative stitch machine for tacking (Optional)

Tools

Sewing machine, scissors, straightedge, marking chalk or other marker, straight pins.

Making the Quillow

Step 1: Cut Fabric and Batting

For the pillow pocket cut as follows:

· 19" fabric square in color 1 (top)

· 19" fabric square in color 2 (bottom)

· 19" square of batting.

For the quilt body cut as follows:

· 73" long piece of fabric from the 45" fabric (if your fabric is wider, cut it into a 45" width) in color 1 (top)

· 73" long piece of fabric in color 2 (bottom)

· piece of batting 73" x 45"

Step 2: Sew Pillow Pocket Together

1. Place batting on flat surface.

2. Place color #2 (the bottom) RIGHT SIDE UP on batting.

3. Place color #1 (the top) RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top of #2 fabric.

4. Pin the fabric to the batting.

5. Using pins as markers, center a 6" x 8" opening on one side if the 19" square.

6. Keeping the batting side down, place one end of the opening you have marked under the presser foot of your machine at the 1/2 inch mark. Begin sewing and sew a 1/2" seam all around the square, stopping when you reach the other side of the opening you have marked.

7. Trim any uneven edges.

8. Reach into the opening between the two fabric layers and pull the layers right side out, so that the batting is in between.

9. Gently push out the corner points.

10. Close the seam allowance opening with hand stitches.

Step 3: Securing Batting Inside Pillow

1. Machine quilt a simple geometric figure at the center of the pillow pocket.

2. You may want to tie or make decorative tacks with your machine and not quilt, depending on your materials.

Step 4: Sewing the Quilt Body Together

1. Place quilt body batting on flat surface.

2. Place fabric color #2 (Bottom) RIGHT SIDE UP on batting.

3. Place fabric color #1 (top) RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top of the fabric color #2.

4. Pin the fabric to the batting.

5. Using pins as markers, center a 10" - 12" opening on one of the long sides of the quilt body.

6. Batting side down, place one end of the opening under the presser foot to give a 1/2 inch seam and lockstich or back stich in place.

7. Sew a 1/2" seam through all layers, all around the quilt body until you reach the beginning of the opening.

8. Trim any uneven edges.

9. Reach inside the opening between the fabric layers and pull the quilt body right side out, so batting is between fabric layers.

10. Gently push out the corners.

11. Close the seam opening (I usually use my machine, but hand stitching would work fine).

12. Tie the quilt with yarn. If you want, you can machine quilt instead.

13. Quilt the pillow top so that it will match the quilt body.


Step 5: Sew the Pillow to the Quilt Body

1. Lay out the quilt body so that color #2, the bottom, faces up.

2. Center the pillow pocket flush against one width of the body, or at the head of the quilt, so that color #2 faces up. This must be centered from edge to edge width wise.

3. Pin to the quilt body.

4. Sew the pillow pocket onto the quilt, stitching only on three sides of the pocket, leaving the side facing the quilt body or the toe of the quilt open. Be sure to reinforce stitches at beginning and end.

When you are finished, your quilt should look like this:

Folding

1. Place the quillow on a flat surface with the pillow pocket on the bottom.

2. Fold the quilt into thirds the long way by lapping the outside edges one over the other.

3. Pull the bottom of the pillow pocket up and over the lapped folds, so that you turn the pillow pocket "inside out" over the body of the quilt.

4. Fold the quillow into thirds lengthwise.

5. Grasp the second fold, the one furthest from the pillow, and stuff it into the inside pocket as far as it will go.

6. Smooth out the lumps and wrinkles.

Happy Quillowing!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tricky Tricky!

Today, one of my imaginary friends (i.e. message board friends) posted a thread about how she was able to make a broom stand upright, and said it was because today is the autumnal equinox. People mostly laughed about it, but then some of us decided to give it a shot. I have two brooms- One full size, and one a little smaller that I keep in the trailer. Here is the results.



Later in the day, I was able to get the larger broom stand on end, but didn't take a photo. I went to my friend Jackie's house, and amazed her and her kids by performing the same trick with their broom. I was just as amazed as it was one of those slant ended brooms.

Then, people said that one could balance an egg on it's end today too. Well, I accidentally cracked the first egg I was experimenting with, but look at the second one:
Just think. I could have really gotten the house clean today with all of the time I wasted trying to balance things on end.

Dressing himself

This morning, Z decided he wanted to try and dress himself.

He's got the stripping down part perfectly. He allowed me to put a fresh diaper on him, and to choose the clothes he was to wear. It probably was only because I'd chosen a fire engine shirt that he let my choice stand.

He got his shorts on successfully. Sure, they're inside out and backwards, but they are on all by himself. He was so proud of himself. He keeps coming up to me and talking about his pants. His shirt was not nearly so successful. After trying to put his head through the arm holes multiple times, he finally allowed my help.

He thinks he's pretty hot stuff though. It's pretty cute just how proud he is.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Old Black Witch

There's a book entitled "Old Black Witch" by Wende & Harry Devlin (ISBN 0689716362). My grandma Jane bought the book for my Uncle Craig when he was a child. Later, when I was a child, I had frequent sleepovers at her house. I remember her reading tons and tons of books to me before we went to bed, including Old Black Witch. The next morning, we'd make the pancake recipe on the back, complete with the "magic spell" that you chant as you mix the blueberries into the pancakes.

As an adult, I'm not crazy about pancakes, but these sleepover/pancake breakfasts with my grandparents are among my most cherished memories.

Today, I bought a flat of blueberries on sale. I decided to make blueberry pancakes for dinner tonight. I borrowed the same book from my grandma, and read it to my kids. Then the "mama witch" (me), and the "baby witch" (Sabrina), and Zack made the recipe, complete with the magic words.

The pancakes really were amazing.

I feel like I'm cheating my kids out of a special memory with my grandma. I got her a flat of blueberries too, so maybe I'll arrange a sleepover with her and them next weekend so they can get the special event too. I think some things, like this, are just better if it's done with a grandma or great grandma.

Here is the recipe for the pancakes (I doubled the recipe when I was cooking it so it would feed my entire family):Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tbl. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. milk
3 tbl. vegetable oil
1/2 c. washed blueberries

Mix all ingredients until fairly well blended. Some lumps will still be present. Stir in the blueberries. VERY IMPORTANT (this is the magic part): As you stir in the blueberries, say the following three times:
Gobble dee gook
With a wooden spoon
The laugh of a toad
At the height of the moon!
Pour on a hot griddle and watch.

You can make things disappear just like Old Black Witch. Put three pancakes in front of any hungry boy (except Mr. "I don't like fruit in pancakes" M) or girl any watch them go.

Funny story from a stranger

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to visit with interesting people. As such, I strike up conversations with many strangers that I pass. A girlfriend of mine once accused me of finding the weirdest possible people to be friends. She went on to say she can't believe I became friends with her because she was going through a very difficult time in her life when we'd met, and she thought she had to have been absolutely unbearable to be around. Nope. She was interesting, which is good. Plus, I could also see the makings for a very good friend, and knew if I stuck around, she would end up being a treasured friend.

Yesterday, I was at Wal-Mart. I got into a conversation with the greeter, who told me a really funny story. Recently, a man was leaving the store with a cart full of groceries. He had a very large watermelon on the bottom of his cart. As he walked out of the store, the cart hit a bump, and the watermelon went rolling right off the cart. The store is on a slight hill, so the watermelon took off, gaining momentum as it went. The man began trying to chase the melon making a run for its' life, dodging cars, carts, and people as it went. The melon picked up speed, and the man was falling behind. It got a couple hundred yards ahead of him before the man finally threw up his hands in disgust and frustration and gave up.

Run away and be free, watermelon. Find a nice resting spot to have babies in the Golden West Credit Union flower bed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking

I never really could get into regular scrapbooking. I hated the idea of cutting up pictures, spending an hour (at least!), and several dollars to make ONE page with one or two pictures. Compounded by the fact that I was never meticulous enough to make cute pages. I'd lose patience and end up with crappy pages.

Enter digital scrabooking. Totally mess free, and your photos stay intact. I make a lot of cute pages using photoshop, and then use a site like Inkubook to make a bound book.

To make cute pages, you need "electronic paper". I have managed to amass a ton of really adorable things.

This week I decided I was really, really sick of my current blog background. I've been looking for some new fall/halloween paper so that I could make a new blog background. Today, I came across this cute set. Isn't it adorable? It's from a scrapper named Robyn. You can find her website HERE.

Check back to see if I managed to set aside enough time to make a cute blog background from her darling kit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crookneck Squash

I see nothing dirty here. Really.

First Day of School Pictures



I'm late in getting this posted, but wanted to post pictures of the three older kids on their first days of school. K & M started a week or so before S, which was deeply upsetting to S.

Everyone has settled in nicely to the school year again. I am excited that all three of my kids have amazingly talented teachers. I've really loved all of their teachers they've had so far. I feel blessed that we have gotten such wonderful people to teach our children.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Almost cried at church. Again.

Or, as an alternate title to the story: "How the Bishop and I Ended Up in the Ladies' Room Together"

A month or so ago, the cub scout pack leader asked if I wanted to teach the kids how to use pocketknives at our next pack meeting. Show 15+ kids ages 7-10 how to carve with knives and then let them have at it? Sure! Sounds like LOTS of fun. The scary thing is, that was my honest attitude.

Tonight was the big night. We do the regular opening- flag ceremony, awards, etc. Then, the pack leader announces that I'm taking the kids outside to carve soap, and the adults will all stay inside and have a meeting.

I was a teensy bit nervous to be doing it alone because a bunch of boys, their siblings, pocketknives, and soap can be a dangerous combination.

Things were going smoothly. The boys seemed properly impressed on how to use a knife safely. I handed out soap and let them go to town. I had three little girls around me, age 8 or so. I offered to carve them something into their soap, as I wasn't sure if their parents wanted them to use a knife.

One little girl kept begging me to let her carve herself. She is a very cautious, good girl. Her older brother was a cub scout of mine, and he was always perfectly behaved as well. If she was my child, I would let her carve. So, I decided to let her.

She was doing remarkably well, so I took my attention off her a little to see how everyone else was doing. She suddenly said, "I don't want to do this any more", and got up hurriedly.

Of course I immediately knew something was wrong, so I run over. Sure enough, she's cut her finger. Not bad enough to need stitches, but bad enough to think about consider the idea. She bled all over the place. So, I had to leave everyone outside alone while I rushed her to the bathroom to get her cleaned up. She was extremely upset about it. Lucky for both of us, her dad (the bishop) happened to be hovering by the door, so I got his attention, and he got his wife, and they joined me in the bathroom to clean her up.

She went home with her mom to get some special tape to seal up the wound.

Honestly, I felt so awful about the whole thing. I came soooooo close to crying over it, but managed to hold back. This little girl is just the sweetest little thing, and I felt responsible for her getting hurt.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There are still good people

The other day J was jogging in an unfamiliar place. He used his iphone to look for a jogging path. He was following the signs and jogging along. Suddenly, the area was looking less like a jogging trail and more like a ghetto. He stopped someone walking down the road and asked for directions.

There had been a wrong turn somewhere along the way, and yes, he was in a pretty bad part of town. The stranger was really worried about J getting back to the hotel ok, and gave J his phone number. He asked J to call when he got back, and said he just wouldn't sleep well that night unless he knew J was ok.

I thought that was very sweet of the guy.

Now, as I type this out, I realize it's entirely possible that the guy was subtly hitting on J. My darling husband would be oblivious enough to not get the signals.

Regardless of his intentions, it reaffirmed my faith in humanity.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ogden Raptors Baseball game!

My brother in law and sister in law, Jai and Jody, had some free tickets to go to the Ogden Raptors game today. They called and invited us. I reminded them that Jim was going to be out of town, so I would be SERIOUSLY outnumbered. Jai said that was fine, but then called back and told me I didn't HAVE to come. I think that he was trying to back out of the invitation, given the adult to child ratio I was bringing to the game.

We got to the game and we went in. It turns out that tonight was a special night and the kids got a free dinner pack (hot dog, chips, cookie and drink). Wow! Killer deal!
We get settled, and I realize Z needs a diaper change. I didn't think to bring diaper or wipes inside the stadium. So, I start trekking back to the car, which is about a 4 block walk. I get to the car and remember that the diaper bag had been in J's truck yesterday. I'm silently praying that he put it in my car for me. Thank the stars above that I have the most sweet and considerate husband ever! Z was NOT doomed to sit in a stinky diaper for 2.5 hours. Hallelujah!

It sprinkled a little bit throughout the game, but overall, the weather was really nice and pleasant.

My kids loved visiting with their cousins. Partway through the game, some of the people abandoned our section of the stadium. Some people may say it was because of my kids, but I'm going to say it was because of the occasional sprinkle. The people who sat behind us were constantly laughing at the antics of my kids.Zack trying to escape. Didn't work out so well. He's small, but not THAT small.Since it had cleared out a bit, we let the older kids go sit on the front row where they could see the action a little better. Note that S is in the bottom left hand corner, trying to make friends with the couple innocently sitting there, trying to enjoy the game.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. The Raptors won, and it's always fun when the home team wins.

Monday, August 17, 2009

View from my bedroom


This is what I am greeted with when I look out my bedroom window each morning. It's guaranteed to put a smile on my face because it looks so pretty.

a bit irritated. Literally!

Last August, on the advice of my optometrist, I switched from Acuvue Advanced to Acuvue Oasys. I was assured they were a much better contact. I hadn't been having any problems, but why not?

Things went ok until February. I started feeling a bit of pain, light sensitivity, eye goop, redness. I finally went to an urgent care in March. To make a long story short, I have been battling eye ulcers ever since. Since March, I have only been able to wear my contacts a couple days at a time until the ulcers come back. I keep my contacts very clean, change/clean my case frequently, change the contacts frequently. I have been using the same solution for years.

Since all this has started, I have literally spent hundreds of dollars on doctors appointments and antibiotics to treat this. I've replaced all of my makeup. I've spent money on sitters to go to said appointments. My doctor told me that I may have to consider giving up contacts altogether. I hate glasses. Really, really, really really hate them. This has been absolutely tortuous to wear glasses these past few months. The whole thing has been really upsetting to me.

J was talking to a co-worker of his late last week. He happened to mention all the problems I've been having with my contacts. Nate said he'd been having the exact same problems recently as well. He's a materials engineer, and started doing some research. Apparently, the new oasys contacts are silicone based, and allergies are popping up everywhere- the exact same symptoms I've been having.

See:
mad people
more mad people
even more red eyed, angry people

I'm not sure who I am most angry with- myself for not doing more research, the opthomologist for not being aware of such a widespread problem, or Acuvue since this does seem to be such a big problem.

I have yet another appointment scheduled with this doctor tomorrow, and I will be switching brands. I bought my oasys contacts from Costco. I intend to return my unopened boxes.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Purple Mashed Potatoes

I planted Adirondack Blue Potatoes in my garden this year. I am ashamed to admit how many times I've giggled with glee over these.

It is so fun to go digging in the dirt and find a POTATO! And even cooler, it's a BLUE potato! Best crop ever! I need to figure out a way to save a bunch and grow them next year.

Last night, I harvested enough potatoes to make blue mashed potatoes for the family. It turns out that quite a bit of the color boils out. I expected this.

This is what the potatoes looked like prior to boiling:

After boiling:

And after I mashed them:

Yes, I left the skins on. My reasons that I tell people include: "It's what restaurants do", or "There's more vitamins in mashed potatoes with the skins". The honest truth is that I'm lazy, and it's easier to just scrub them up, cut them up, and toss them in the pot.

Well, that's kind of funny

We were visiting with my dad the other dad, and he says to Jim, "I saw your name in the paper today!" Jim, looking confused, said, "What for?"

Apparently one of his patents went through. When he worked at Autoliv, he applied for quite a few patents. Because he quit the company, he never heard whether or not most of them went through. Apparently, one recently did. The bad news is that he probably won't get the fabulous payout that he would if he were still working there.

He still is absolutely thrilled with his new job, so I think he's fine with that.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Virtual Scentsy Party

I know, I know. I always say I'll never do a party, but then I go and do them anyway.

I am going to host a "virtual" scentsy party. That means no awkward gathering at my place, no pressure to order. Scentsy is discontinuing a lot of fairly popular scents, and I thought we could order together under a common name. That way, I get everything delivered to my house, and you don't pay shipping.

To order, go to http://www.scentsy.com/mrsbrae and click on "place an order". You'll see my name as a party. Click on the link and place your order.

To see the products that are discontinued, click on this link: https://www.scentsy.com/images/photo/Discontinued_Fall09.pdf

Anything that is on the discontinued list is 10% off regular price, and will be totally unavailable after August is over. Because of that, we have to have this party closed within a couple weeks, so hurry and order!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Funeral for Grandma Doris

We went to the funeral today for my Grandma. I had only planned on bringing K & M, but since they made both of my boys honorary pallbearers, I decided to take the whole bunch (minus my nephew, Jonathan, who I've been watching this week while his parents were on vacation). I was really worried about handling the kids on my own, so I made my severely funeral allergic husband take time off work to come too.

The kids did remarkably well at the funeral. They were very quiet and reverent, and seemed ok with seeing their grandma laying in a coffin.

Two of my grandma's bosses spoke at the funeral. When introduced as such, they quickly corrected the statement and said they were actually "two of Doris' BOSSED". The other funny part of the funeral is that one of the grandsons had once told her that he was special, and he knew it because he was the only one who had been called an "SOB" by my grandma. She'd replied that he was the only one to deserve it.

I think another grandchild of hers deserved that title, if not worse. Around Christmastime, she and my grandfather had decided to give all of the granddaughters a special ring for Christmas. They'd purchased all of the rings, and had them ready to go for Christmas. One of the grandkids is a drug addict. This person had come to visit, and brought a couple friends. After the visit was over, every single one of the rings were "misplaced". I was really angry about it at the time. But now that she's gone, I'm even more angry. Not that I missed out on a valuable present, but that I lost the last gift she'd picked out to give me.

After the funeral service, we went to the cemetery to dedicate the grave. As soon as we got there, S went to claim a seat so she could have a great seat for the grave dedication. It was very cute and funny to me. She cried today, saying that she was going to miss her "Grandma Dora". After the grave dedication, she wandered around today, and found a rose that had "fallen" off an arrangement. She sat on the front row again, playing with her rose. A cousin of my sat next to her, and had a flower in his hand. She turns to him and says, "Why did you steal that flower from the other flowers?" Flustered, he replied, "I didn't steal it. I was going to put it on the coffin in a minute." Sabrina replied back, "Oh. I'm not putting mine on the coffin." Then turned to me and said, "I'm not putting my flower on the coffin."

My grandparents' ward put together a really nice lasagna lunch to eat afterwards.

It seems like there was something else that happened that was really funny, but it's escaped me for now. If I remember, I'll edit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Black Bean Brownies


I have a bulletin board that I chat at where I learn all kinds of things. Some of these tidbits are really, really useful. Some things I wish I could bleach from my mind (two girls one cup comes to mind. No. Don't google it. Trust me. You don't want to know).

A couple days ago, they were talking about a new brownie. A low calorie, easy to make brownie. Instead of adding the eggs and oil to a brownie mix, you add a can of pureed black beans. Most of them swore it was just as good as regular brownies.

After a trying day yesterday, I was ready for chocolate overload. However, my fat clothes are starting to feel a bit snug, so I didn't want to gain a bunch of weight from my binging. Perfect time to try the black bean brownies.

To make, I just needed a can of black beans and a brownie mix. I chose Betty Crocker because it is totally nut/egg free. I don't worry about that for my kids, but my niece is allergic, and I was thinking to future family get togethers when I did this experiment.

I drained the water out of the black beans because that stuff is always so gooey and freaky. Then, refilled the can (still filled with beans) with water. Dumped all of that into the blender. Blended it til it was perfectly smooth. I then added the dry brownie mix, and mixed til it was all incorporated.

Pour into a greased pan and baked at 350 for 30 minutes. It made 24 brownies. My guesstimate is that each brownie had 93 calories and .5 grams of fat. That is AMAZING! A regular betty crocker brownie has 9 grames of fat.

I fed them to the family last night. I didn't tell them what was different, and just fed them to the kids. K and M could tell a difference, but said they were good. All five kids (I'm babysitting my nephew for a few days) scarfed down two brownies each, and probably would have eaten more if I'd let them.

I could also tell a difference. I will admit I didn't like them nearly as much as the "real" brownies, but they were definitely a good substitute. They were better the next morning too.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Out of Time

For Mother's Day this year, I got my Mom, my MIL, and my Grandma Jane each a gorgeous hanging basket. I decided to get my Grandma Doris a flowering cactus because they are a lot lower maintenance. Grandma Doris never seemed to have time to take care of the baskets, and was always at work. She always talked about retiring, but never seemed to actually do it. She swore that with the downturn in the economy, business was bad enough that she was really going to do it. She and my grandfather had plans to go on a church history tour this summer, vising Palmyra and other similar places.

I ran out of time Mother's Day weekend, and didn't deliver her flowering cactus to her. Two weeks later, she was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and kidney failure. I visited her that weekend, but didn't bring the cactus then because I thought that a plant that needed care would be too overwhelming to her. I did give her a gorgeous bouquet of cut flowers, but there was a bunch of other arrangements, and I'm not too sure she felt good enough to appreciate any of them.

When I bought that cactus, I never imagined that it would outlive her. But, I found myself watering it today, and thinking about how she died last night.

I'm sad that she's gone. She was a sweet, enthusiastic, wonderful person, and my world seems a little dimmer today without her.

I saw her on Friday, and she was in terrible shape. She was on a lot of painkillers, and only briefly woke up. She tried to say she loved us, but I'm not sure how aware and conscious she was. My grandfather was in a mild state of panic. He didn't want to let her go, and didn't want to face life without her. When they'd left for the hospital, she'd said that she was scared to death. He replied that he understood how she felt. She was a little angry and said she didn't think so. I think his situation was almost worse though. I can't imagine being 80 years old, in relatively good health, and watching the love of my life dying. Knowing that I was going to have to face life without that person. Watching them suffer, and feeling helpless to do anything. Knowing I'd face death eventually as well, but without a spouse there to hold my hand. While I'm sure my grandma WAS scared to death, I think my grandfather was even more scared.

I'll mourn her loss, but I am happy that she is no longer in pain. I'm not sure what I believe about the afterlife anymore, but I would like to think she still exists, and is with her family and loved ones. More than mourning her death, I think I'll mourn for my grandfather's sake. I think death is much harder on the living. I'm not sure how he'll deal with this.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Las Vegas!

A couple months ago, J's sister, Jody, and her husband, Jai, approached us about going to Las Vegas the last weekend in July. Their wedding anniversary was that weekend. Jai's brother and his wife (Tim & Trish) also were celebrating an anniversary that weekend, and were going to be there as well. It sounded like a LOT of fun, so we signed on.

Jai and Jody used their time share condo time, and we paid them a small bit of money for our share of our lovely two bedroom, two bathroom condo with a full kitchen. It was ON Las Vegas Blvd, but a good 4-5 miles south of where all the hottest action is. I considered that to be a good thing though- it was calm and quiet.

We had an absolute blast! Friday night, we saw "Hangover". It is a hysterically funny movie about Vegas. Saturday, we hooked up with Tim & Trish. They flew in that day and were staying at a different hotel. We ended up going to a show called "Ignite". There were pretty dancing girls, awesome goth music that brought back memories of high school, some cool illusions, and best of all, FIRE!!!! I love fire. We had a blast at the show. Antonio met us before the show, and then stopped to talk to us afterwards. He was a very nice guy, and very good looking. I thought he looked better without the contacts, but ya gotta admit that the contacts give stage presence, eh? (this is a singularly unflattering picture of me, but oh well!)

This is Tim & Trish, outside of their hotel.


This is Jai and Jody with Spongebob, at the Excalibur Hotel.Jim and I in front of Treasure Island.
We did a TON of walking. According to the pedometer on my cell phone, we walked 7 miles on Saturday, 11 miles Sunday, 7.7 miles Monday, and 4.3 miles Tuesday.

We did not do much gambling. I won around $5 from $1, but then lost $5 at video blackjack, so I stopped. Jim won around $50 in blackjack, but then quit.

I felt so lucky to go on a vacation with such a fun group of people. Jai and Jody and Tim & Trish are such fun, entertaining people. We shared a lot of laughs. We have quite a few fun inside jokes that I will laugh about for the rest of my life. I hope we can do it again.