Wednesday, February 14, 2018

In Idaho

It actually snowed on our way out to Idaho.  Snow in the middle of May...yikes!  Taylor Mountain sure looked pretty though.

Julia and her boys were in town.  It's crazy to see how much they've grown!

The boys were such good sports and humored their younger cousins by having a slumber party.

The Idaho Falls Temple underwent massive renovations, causing it to be closed for over two years.  We happened to be in town during the last week of the open house, so we were able to take the kids through.  They were so thrilled to be able to go inside.  It really is beautiful.

Thankfully, the weather improved enough for the boys - big and small - to start a pick-up game of baseball in the backyard.  

Even before Adam's grandpa passed away, we already had a trip planned to Idaho Falls - to house hunt!  After ten years of living in the Portland area, we both felt like it was time to live closer to family.  Adam looked for jobs in Idaho Falls, Green Bay, and even Salt Lake (as a good mid-point between IF and Cedar City), and IF is what worked out.  Adam accepted a finance job with Melaleuca and was slated to start at the end of May, so we hoped to be able to fit in a bit of house hunting while we were in town.  We weren't sure how that would work out, as our realtor is Adam's uncle, Mark, and obviously, with his father just having passed away, we weren't sure if he'd be up for it.  But he insisted that he was, and we fit in two days of looking at houses.  We found the one!  It wasn't even listed yet, but since Mark was the listing agent, we were able to get in and see it.  It's beautiful and we love it, and as the sale of the home was part of an estate, we were able to snag a couple of extras.  

In addition to us finding a home in Idaho, we had our open house in Oregon while we were gone.  It was easier that way - a whole weekend in which our kids wouldn't be home to mess everything up!  We got a full price cash offer the night before the open house, and three more offers as a result of the open house!  We ended up selling our house for $30k more than asking!  Our new home in Idaho cost us less than what we sold our Oregon house for.  It's amazing how everything worked out so quickly!

Adam was starting his new job the day after Memorial Day, but because the kids didn't finish school till the end of June, we decided to stay until the school year was done and so that we could finish up odds and ends.  It was bittersweet driving home, knowing that this would be the last time we'd do so together.  At least we were welcomed back with bright blue skies, bright green grass, and yellow wildflowers.

Grandpa Nelson

Grandpa Glenn Nelson passed away on May 14.  Adam wrote this sweet tribute to him:

This morning my grandpa, Glenn Nelson, returned to God. He has had such an impact on the community of Idaho Falls over his life. He owned Idaho Falls Tire and Battery and served as a Bishop, Stake President, Mission President in Anaheim, Stake Patriarch, and as President of the Idaho Falls Temple. The man was unwaveringly righteous, honest, and gentle. He was sharp too. When his health started to fail a number of years ago, I was asked to look over the history of one of the loans he had made and create a spreadsheet to help my parents track it. I was sent scans of his hand-written loan schedule with years of payments with interest and principle calculated by hand--and calculated correctly. I was astonished. I didn't even remember the formulas; I've come to rely so heavily on spreadsheets to do it for me.
I'm thankful he was a part of my life for so many reasons. He officiated the sealing of me and my wife together for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City temple. He gave me my patriarchal blessing. In it he said, "You are of the lineage of Ephraim, and you have all the blessings given to him by his grandfather, Jacob." Jacob is believed to have wrestled God for a blessing. I've always liked that story. In this way, my grandpa was like Ephraim's grandpa. Until the end, he endured in the struggle for the blessings of God. And I believe he is now with Him, finally at rest. But I suspect not for long. Grandpa was never prone to be idle.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Harper Turns 3!

We sure love this little girl, and we were excited to wish her a happy birthday.  But, of course, this little sassafrass decided to have some attitude.  She is three now, after all.

Harper got some Playmobile sets for her birthday and went right to playing.

Here she is the next day in her pretty dress from Grandma Belnap, along with another dose of attitude.

She perked up later!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Softball Season

It was Claire's turn to get in on the ball and bat action.  Claire played for the South Beaverton girl's softball league, and Adam got to be her assistant coach.  It was so fun to watch these two play and practice together!

Look at that stance!  Claire was a natural, and did really well with hitting this season.

Strikin' a pose!

And another pose!

These games in late April and early May got downright chilly!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Random April

Adam sweats like no one else!

When Adam and I got our king bed a few years ago, we thought, "This will be so great!  Not only will there be enough room for the two of us, but we will also have enough room when the kids come to snuggle!"  Well, that was a big fat joke.  Harper has been waking up in the middle of the night recently and I end up pulling her into bed with me.  Inevitably, I always end up on the very edge of the bed with no room to roll over!

T-ball season started again.  There were a couple of familiar faces from last season, too!  (Unfortunately, due to Henry's surgery and inconsistent coaching, this team kind of fell apart and Henry didn't get to participate in much more than a couple of practices.)

Claire stayed home from school for a couple of days due to a tummy bug, and Harper took it upon herself to be her sister's comforter. 

Harper liked to help me with the yard work.  In this case, that meant digging up a bit of dirt and throwing it back over her shoulder.

My friend, Jennie, invited me on a downtown excursion with her sister.  We hit up Powell's, had lunch at the food carts, and had ice cream at Ruby Jewell.  I had a salted honey and almond flavor.  It tasted like an ice cream version of Bit-o-Honey candy.  Yum!

Watching this boy walk and trot around a mere week after back surgery is amazing to me.  

And while there is no picture to go along with it, the biggest news is that Adam accepted a new job, so we will be moving to Idaho Falls!  We are excited to move closer to family and for Adam to begin his new job at the end of May!

Henry's Surgery

Henry has been a toe walker long as we can remember.  We'd gone through some physical therapy last summer in hopes of helping him, and while it stretched out his tight feet and legs, it didn't solve the problem.  When the PT ended, the therapist advised that we have some occupational therapy and even a sensory evaluation to determine the next steps in helping Henry get off his toes.  I let it slide for quite a while.  

Adam wrote down some of his thoughts about what happened next so I will add that here:
"My dad is a lot of great things, but one of the things I often forget is that he is really quite a gifted physical therapist. I've watched him over the years passively observing my son, Henry. He'd always seemed more concerned about his gait and posture than I did. During our visit there last Christmas, my dad played a little balance game with all the cousins, but his only interest was likely Henry. At the end of the night, my Dad had a conversation with me that must have been a very tough for him to have. He made it very clear. There is something wrong with Henry, and I should see a neurologist to rule out the really terrible things (e.g. muscular dystrophy) and narrow in on what the issue is. I really can't remember being so scared. There was something wrong with my boy.

"We went to Henry's scheduled checkup with the pediatrician a few days later and asked for all the tests, and expressed our concerns. The tests thankfully came back negative. I've never been so relieved. The doctor referred us to a pediatric physiatrist for evaluation. The day before this meeting Claudia was at book club and mentioned Henry's toe-walking and coming appointment, and one of Claudia's friends, a speech therapist, recommended we ask about tethered cord. The physiatrist went through his algorithm and my wife mentioned tethered cord. The physiatrist had what looked like, to me, a kind of a "Eureka" look and scheduled an MRI.
"Last week, we met with a pediatric neurosurgeon and it was clear: Henry has tethered cord. (His symptoms included leg pain, muscle weakness, inflexibility, and bladder/bowel issues.) We saw the MRI. We saw the spinal cord being pulled lower than it should be. We saw the filum, which I guess isn't supposed to visible because of how thin it is except when tethered. We saw the small opening in a vertebra because it is technically spina bifida. And then the surgeon who effectively developed the surgery to correct this problem told me the relatively simple solution. Henry goes in tomorrow for back surgery. But I feel grateful that my dad knew something was seriously wrong and that he told me. I'm grateful Claudia was in that book club. I'm grateful she knew that friend that had seen other kids with Henry's symptoms. I'm grateful that the surgeon who will be performing Henry's surgery has been doing it for 20 years. My son is brave. He has been telling everyone about his surgery tomorrow."

Adam took Henry to the children's hospital first thing in the morning.  Henry had a last-minute bout of fear and he terrified of going to the hospital.  Henry was given something to help him calm down, and Adam and Henry called it a "bravery potion."  Adam said it made Henry pretty silly, but at least it calmed his nerves.

He got a litte dino to keep him company while he waited.  He named it "Rex."

Dr. Wehby finished the surgery in about 30 minutes and said that everything went perfectly.  

Before the surgery, Henry wanted to know if he could see a picture of his "string," as he called it.  Dr. Wehby was happy to oblige.  Henry was thrilled with his picture.

Fresh out of surgery

They needed to bring Henry out of the anesthesia slowly so that he wouldn't thrash around. In fact, he needed to stay on his back for the next 24 hours.  Like they did when he had his MRI, Henry was given a popsicle as he came out of anesthesia to help with a dry throat.  He was still half asleep, so it was funny to watch!

Bum shot!  Actually, that little piece of tape is all that was needed to cover the surgical incision.  It was amazing how small it was.

Goldfish, popsicles on demand, mac-n-cheese, power aid, and bedside movie. You'd think Henry created the menu himself. Not a bad gig for a 5-year-old.

I spent a good part of that day with Henry in the hospital, while Adam took Harper home.  He watched movies and played bingo using the tv and the hospital phone, winning a couple of really cool prizes.  The next day, Henry was able to sit up, gradually get up of bed, and later in the afternoon, he could come home.

Adam's mom got Henry a picture book about a boy named Henry.  We took the time to read a little story while we waited to be discharged.

As far as recovery was concerned, Henry needed to take it easy for the next two weeks.  No running around, riding his scooter, playing on a playground, or basically anything that could cause him to fall down.  This kid refused any and all pain medication from the time he came home from the hospital, so as soon as he started to feel no pain, getting him to take it easy became hard.  But he was a champ.

The first two weeks after the surgery, his nighttime wetting actually got worse.  I felt this sense of dread that we ruined Henry.  At our two week follow-up, the PA we met with explained that it could take months for things to show improvement.  I still felt frustrated.  And then, suddenly (I think it was a day or two after this follow-up), Henry started waking up dry or nearly dry!  And then he did it again for a week!  Adam and I noticed that he can hold it longer during the day.  Henry's gait has changed a bit, and he seems faster.  He can now reach down to his lower shin, where before he could only reach down to just past his knees.  We need to work on his strength - and certainly his stamina as he builds his muscle strength - but we've noticed some improvements.  We aren't completely in the clear for any of his original symptoms.  There is room for improvement, but the important thing is that he is already improving!  It's truly amazing.

Adam and I are so thankful for all the pieces of the puzzle that fit together so quickly and so seamlessly.  Before his appointment with the physiatrist at the end of January, I simply prayed that we could find some answers as to what was going on with Henry and that we might be able to "fix" his toe walking so that he could develop normally physiologically.  I had no idea what a journey we would be going on in such a short amount of time.  I am just thankful for how we were guided to the right path.

In Idaho

It actually snowed on our way out to Idaho.  Snow in the middle of May...yikes!  Taylor Mountain sure looked pretty though. Julia a...