Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who Were You Named After?

Sorry, I've been absent for a while but we've been passing the flu back and forth since Thanksgiving.

Tonight Bob and I were discussing some topics and somehow I mentioned that Debbie Reynolds was the mother of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leah in Star Wars) and Bob didn't know who Debbie Reynolds was!  I coudln't believe it because I was named after a song and series of movies that she made famous in 1957.  I know this is back in the dark ages but this song was very popular then so it is a good example of how music has changed.  Since my husband couldn't remember who Debbie was and what the song was I found it on YouTube.   So for my children and those who wonder where I got my name here's a tribute to Debbie Reynolds as she sings the title song to the Tammy movies.  You might also remember her in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," and "Singing In The Rain," along with many other films.  If you haven't seen any of these movies then I strongly suggest you watch all of some of them.  They are great!  Enjoy...

Dreamy huh?  Sigh!  My middle name, Jean, is my mother's middle name who was named Norma Jean (real name of Marylin Monroe).  I'm sensing a pattern here.  Where did you get your name?

Friday, November 27, 2009

What About Bob?

Today is Bob’s birthday and I thought that it would be nice to let everyone know how grateful I am for such a sweet and hard working husband.  Since Bob and I haven’t been married that long we are still learning new things about each other all the time.  One of the attributes that I appreciate about Bob is his willingness to help others.  He is always helping people with their computers.

Bob always seems to have a child in his arms.  Bob loves to get down on the floor and play with the grandchildren.  We just wish that we lived closer and could see them more often.  Bob also loves his children and is always looking for ways to make their lives more comfortable.  We love to laugh together also and that makes life more fun and adventurous.  I am grateful for such a loving and giving husband.   Happy Birthday Honey!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Forest Fire

On July 25? we had a huge lightening storm which started numerous fires in S. Utah.  Unbeknownst to us one of the fires was just over the mountain from our small town.  I have bad asthma and so am always on the look out for forest fires because that means I need to leave the area so that it doesn’t do damage to my lungs. 

I wasn’t feeling very good for a few weeks but didn’t know exactly why when I happened to look out one of our windows and saw a fire at the top of one of our local mountains.  I got online and discovered that it had been burning for weeks. 

On Aug. 20th my nephew, Stefan, and I set out for my sisters house.  I knew that since this fire had been set by lightening and it had been let to burn that they were just going to let it burn itself out unless it got close to buildings.  Unfortunately as Stefan and I were driving we saw another fire off in the distance.  This fire was visible for hours and it was a lot bigger than the one we had just fled from.  We had planned on stopping for the night but the town where we wanted to stop was engulfed in smoke.  There aren’t many towns in the Nevada desert.  So we just drove straight through. 

I was away from home for about five weeks.  The fire near our town came down the side of the mountain.  The Fire Fighters cleared a fire break but our town eventually had to evacuate and several buildings were burned. 

Some families had the fire stop just yards away from their homes.  It was frustrating knowing that my community was going through that while I was sitting safe miles away.  I was worried about my family but they were just outside the evacuation boundary but were on a 15-min. evacuation standby.  My mom and husband had to have a pass to be able to get into our community. 

Eventually the fire was put out and the air cleared.  By that time I had been to the Doctor a few times because of lung damage. 

They put me on antibiotics and steroids.  My voice was gone and when I coughed it was croupy or a whistle.  Eventually I was able to come home but the damage to my lungs had been done.  I’m still not feeling good but after four months of antibiotics and steroids my bronchial tubes are starting to loosen up.  Last weekend my husband and I took a ride to the fire area to see up close what had been burned.

It is amazing to me how brave and how hard the Fire Fighters work.  This year there have been 412 fires started by humans which burned 2289 acres.  721 fires started by lightening, burning 107784 acres.  107 prescribed  (fires started by the Fire Dept. to burn off old brush) fires, burning 19687 acres.  We are so grateful to the Fire Fighters who put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe. 

My son, Sean, has trained to become a Fire Fighter and can’t wait for the day when he can make a living protecting others.  As a mother it is scary to think of him working in such a dangerous career but he is doing it because he loves people and want to protect them.  Thank you to all of those who serve in their communities to help, serve and protect.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday Food Challenge

I’m switching my Wednesday Food Storage Challenge to Friday and since I’ve posted it this week I’ll pick up this next week.  The websites that I suggested (Blinkies on the side) have soooo much information that it is a bit overwhelming.  One good piece of advice that they all give is to just choose one little thing and do that.  Currently I am focusing on learning how to cook with what I have.  I’m now trying to decide what to cook this week…hmmmm.


Today I am grateful for a wonderful cousin who just succumbed to cancer.  My cousin Tony was the kind of guy that everyone would love to have as a best friend.  He was the best friend of his lovely wife Debbie.  They were partners in life, parenthood and business.  Tony was generous and loving to those around him. 

One fun memory I have of him and his wife was when I moved away from the town where they live.  Me and my best friend were in our favorite restaurant having one last dinner together.  I heard my name and looked up and there was Tony and Debbie at a nearby table with big grins on their faces.  We all said our hellos and it turned out that my friend knew them from years before and had a very high opinion of them.

Eventually they got up and left the restaurant and said their goodbyes.  I was sad that I wouldn’t see them as often.  When we finished our meal we asked for the check and the waitress said that our bill had been taken care of and that we were supposed to order desert.  Tony and Debbie had paid our bill!  The situation made me laugh because it didn’t surprise me at all.  This isn’t a great memory because they paid for our dinner.  It’s a great memory because he was the kind of person who helped people by using his time, attention and love.  Tony has left a great legacy for his children and those who loved him.

Tony was older than I am so we didn’t get to know each other until we were older.  He was the kind of man that made me want to be a better person.  We have lost several loved ones this year, My Uncle Cliff and my Grandson Ethan. 

Some of us get the opportunity to live long lives and some are so special that they are called home to do more important work.  No matter how much time we have on this earth we need to take advantage of the time we have and spend time with those we love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hamburger Vegetable Barley Soup

My Wednesday Food Storage Challenge contribution is my Hamburger Vegetable Barley Soup.  This is the soup I make when I have leftover vegetables or on a cold day.  The house smells so good for hours. 

To go with this soup I will usually make corn bread or put some wheat ingredients in the Bread Machine for bread.  This week I made whole wheat bread and the smells were both so good and strong that they almost fought for attention.  Can you have too much of a good thing?  Now that I think about it I’m not sure if this is a stew or soup.  Here’s my recipe. 

Hamburger Vegetable Barley Soup


1 lb. Hamburger cooked and drained

1 Onion, chopped or 2 Tbl. dried Onion caramelized

32 oz. Chicken Broth

2 cloves minced Garlic or 2 tsp. dried minced Garlic

2 cans diced  or stewed Tomatoes

1 cup Barley or Millet

1 can Corn (or leftover vegetables in fridge)

1 can Green Beans (or leftover vegetables in fridge)

Season with Italian Seasoning or dried Basil, dried Parsley Flakes and Oregano to taste.  Experiment to make it your own.


Cook hamburger (break up) and chopped onion until the hamburger is evenly browned and the onion is caramelized (caramelizing add some sweetness).  Drain the grease being careful to not dump out the onion.  Add chicken broth and garlic to the hamburger and onion mixture and bring to a mild boil.  Add tomatoes, barley and vegetables and simmer until the barley is cooked.  This is a good recipe for a slow cooker also.  If cooking on the stove top be sure to check the fluid level.  If the barley soaks up too much liquid add some water.  You decide how much broth your family likes.

When I made this soup this week I had some fresh celery, fresh carrots and fresh leeks that needed to be used so that’s what I added to this soup.  I also added a can of corn.  I’ve heard that you should try to add as many colored vegetables as you can because each color represents different vitamins.  Plus it looks prettier.  This pictures was taken the next day, when it was cold, because I forgot to take pictures when I was cooking it.  I need to get used to taking pictures.

This soup is different every time I make it because I add something a bit different.  No matter what I put in it though it is good every time.  This week I forgot to season it and it still taste wonderful.  I added a little kosher salt to my bowl, my mother didn’t add anything and my husband added some pepper so we were all happy.  I make this soup when we have company in the winter because it make a large pot full.  We always have leftovers to enjoy!

If you use dried onion and garlic and canned vegetables, everything in this recipe is from your food storage except the hamburger.  I’ve been researching how to can hamburger because it isn’t available in the stores.

Merrium-Webster definitions

Soup: a liquid food especially with a meat, fish, or vegetable stock as a base and often containing pieces of solid food.

Stewfish or meat usually with vegetables prepared by stewing

Rachel Ray has coined the word, Stoup.  I think that must be what this is.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food Goal and Challenge

Bob and I have decided to make some changes in our household.  We’ve decided to start cooking more from our food storage.  For those of you who  don’t know what food storage is or why anyone would have it, go Food Storage Made Easy or Provident Living

I’ve been stressing a bit about whether our food storage is complete and Bob thinks it’s fine as is.  So…to really find out we (meaning I) are going to start organizing cooking from what we have and to fill in the gaps with what we need.  As I was doing some research I found several excellent resources that I am really excited about. 

With all of the crazy natural disasters and job losses we never know when we may need to rely on what is in our pantry.  My sister’s well pump dies a few months ago, on a weekend, and we had no water for several days!  In August of this year our town had to evacuate because of forest fire.  We were right on the border of the evacuation boundary and therefore didn’t have to but we had to be ready for a 15-min. warning to go.

Now not all of us think of these things until they happen to us.  My family experienced a hurricane in Connecticut back in the mid 80’s.  Hurricane Gloria made a last minute change in course and came straight through our area.  We were without power for three days but most of the area was without for nine days!  It was quite something, especially since we had just moved there from the west and had no idea what to do in case of hurricane (I was so grateful for our camp stove and New England clothes line).  Going to the grocery store and seeing shelves empty was quite a scary experience.  Our son’s were four, six and Ryan turned seven the day before we were hit.  We quickly taped windows and cupboards and fled to the cellar with our hamster, batter-operated radio, emergency food, water and Fruit Roll Ups.  Our biggest worry was flooding and keeping the kids calm and happy and what we would do if we ran out of Fruit Roll Ups!  We’ve also been through several earthquakes and other disasters. 

I’ve included buttons to the aforementioned resources on the side of this blog.  There are many more out there but so far I love these the best because they are so easy to follow.  They include lists to help you figure out what and how much you should store and how to store it.  They teach you to cook by recipes and videos!  These sites also help you cook what you have in your pantry and how to shop smart.  I love all of the tips and tricks.  The information has come a long way from the 70’s when my grandparents stored buckets of wheat, sugar and TVP in our closets (my dresses always hung sideways because of the double stacked white buckets).  My sister and I ate all of the Bacon TVP as sandwiches so we learned at an early age to use our food storage.  I’m just not sure that my grandparents knew about the dwindling supply.

Starting this week I am going to make a food storage meal each week and report here each Wednesday with pictures and reviews.  Since I love creativity and a challenge this seemed like a great format to keep me accountable and motivated.  This is going to be fun.  If you have any great recipes or sources please comment with a link and I’ll try them also.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Values?

I’ve started a class by Jessica Sprague called Holidays In Hand and I would like to make a book for my boys about their childhood holidays.

What are our holiday values?  For me at Thanksgiving it was to teach our children to be thankful for their many blessings and the forbearers who came to this country so that they and their descendants could have freedoms that they didn’t have elsewhere.  I wanted them to understand how blessed they were to live in a country where they could worship openly without the threat of persecution or tyranny.

At Christmas I wanted our family to celebrate the birth of our Savior and the love that He and our Heavenly Father have for each and every one of us.  To cherish the Gospel that was restored to this earth.  To treasure the family that they were born into and to be thankful for the way that the Gospel of Jesus Christ had molded their lives.  For many of us in the United States we have become a huge melting pot of culture and environment.  We don’t keep many of the cultural traditions of our forbearers.  Those of us whose families left other countries generations ago can look on a pedigree chart and see that we came from a certain country but we don’t know a lot about the people or their culture.  Some of us can even look in the mirror and see physical traits that we still have such as skin color, hair color, face shape or stature.  In our family our culture has been our religion, where we live, our families and even our careers. 

As we celebrated Christmas we also got caught up in the worlds view of Christmas.  Santa, Reindeer, presents, candy, etc.  Sometimes it was hard to remember the true meaning of Christmas with the lights glowing on the tree and presents underneath.  Sadly at the holiday time there are so many who don’t have enough to eat or a safe warm place to sleep.  As we contribute to help them we also experience the spirit of giving without thinking of what we will receive.  What we do receive though is that warm glow inside knowing that we have helped to lift another's burden and to be thankful for our own circumstances. 

As I watch my grandchildren, I get to experience the magic and peace of Christmas through their eyes.  OK, so Christmas morning isn’t so peaceful but the season also has times were we read the Christmas story out of Luke, sing carols out in the cold, listen to wonderful stories and music of faith and praise.  Help someone in need.  Those are the times we experience a little of the true meaning of the season.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Winter Comforts

We had several days of rain and some snow this week.  I know that we didn’t have as much snow as many of our family but it still makes one want to prepare to hibernate for the winter.  To me this brings around thoughts of comfort food (as if I didn’t have enough fat to last the winter!).  Yesterday I made a hot hamburger, vegetable and barley soup and some wheat bread in our new bread machine.  YUM!  It was so good and made us all so happy.

For the last week I’ve had some bananas going black on the cupboard and I kept thinking that I needed to make banana bread.  Since I haven’t been feeling good my cooking involves lots of small spurts of activity.  When I made my soup I put the hamburger, onions and garlic in to cook.  Laid down for awhile, with the timer on.  Next cut up some veggies, laid down.  Added the broth and veggies, laid down, etc.

Finally today I got around to the bananas.  My banana bread has always been good but a few years ago I found this recipe by Tyler Florence for Banana Bread with Pecans.   This recipe is divine! 

If you love banana bread you definitely need to try it.  If you don’t like nuts in your fruit bread, well….you are on your own and I feel so sad that you are missing out. 

This recipe has you take two bananas and lightly mash them with a fork and keep them on the side for a while.  Then when the bread is all mixed in you fold these bananas and the pecans in.  When you taste the bread the texture is so moist and there are very small pockets of banana in the bread.  

Bob was so funny because he kept asking if the bread was done.  “Bob, I’ll let you know when the bread is done,”  Bob, “I think we should take it out now,”  Me (having flashbacks of raising young boys), “It’s OK, Bob you can have all you want when it is done.” 

I should be careful what I say because when the bread came out and the smell had permeated the entire house.  

Bob had some very substantial slices of bread.  Then he kept saying that we should have made more.  I had doubled the recipe!  It was so funny to listen to him but very satisfying to see him so happy.  Ahhh, small pleasures.  Winter can come now because we have our own coping skill to deal with the cold dark days.

 Note to self:  Buy more bananas!

Note to Ben:  Sorry but you live too far away.  I know how much you love Banana Bread but next time you come visit I’ll make some for you…you just have to share with Bob. 

Question:  What do you do to cope with the dark cold days of winter?  You know those days that are dreary and dark and not good for going out and playing in the snow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Smell-a-vision & Taste-a-vision?

Today while Bob was working on my laptop I turned on the TV and watched Next Iron Chef on the Food Network.    For those of you who don’t know what it is, see below in Today’s Favorites.  Bob had mentioned that he wouldn’t want to eat a lot of the things the chefs make in the challenges.  Not me!  I told Bob that I wanted smell-a-vision and taste-a-vision so that I could taste almost all of the creations. 

Since Bob is our computer guru, I asked him to see what he could do about making my requests happen.  He just laughed at me.  You see the problem is that I have become so spoiled, with Bob being able to fix or create whatever we need with technology, that I just assume he can do anything. 

I have to admit that wanting to taste many of  the creations the contestant Chefs cook is quite adventurous.  Some of the ingredients that they give the Chef’s to cook with I have never heard of or are way out of my comfort zone.  This week they are down to the final three contestants.  Ten years ago I would have thought that I would love to watch Food Network but here I am and I’m enjoying it.



Next Iron Chef on Food Network

World-class chefs battle for the supreme culinary title, Iron Chef.

 Alton Brown          The Next Iron Chef Video

Host Alton Brown (Also created Good Eats)       Contestants of Next Iron Chef

Mark Dacascos

The Chairman Mark Dacascos (Nephew of the Chairman on Iron Chef Japan)  Mark is also currently on Dancing With the Stars.  His facial expressions are so entertaining!

Test of Live Writer…

For some reason Windows Live Writer isn’t working for me so Bob and I are trying to make it work!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Build Yourself a Foundation On Christ

Stake Conference is today and the theme is “Build Yourself a FoundatioThe Christusn On Christ.”  I wasn’t able to go but Bob said that it was very good.  It was a long conference, about 2 1/2 hours.  I really miss going to Church but by the time I shower and get there I’m exhausted and very shaky.  Also my immune system isn’t working too well and there are a lot of virus’s going around right now.   My Mom brings home plenty of germs from work.  By working with the public she is exposed to a lot.  They keep antibacterial sanitizer on the counters and use it frequently but money is covered in germs.  Also people just don’t stay home when they are sick so it just keeps spreading. 


Podcasts of General Conference, the Ensign and much more.  We can even download MP3’s of the scriptures.  I love that they are so available to everyone.  I can listen while scrapbooking, cooking or driving.  There are several talks that I listen to several times because I don’t always catch everything the first time.  IPOD even has General Conference and the Ensign podcasts.

I used to feel a bit dim because I needed to rehear things several times but then I heard a lesson about Joseph Smith and some of the visions he had.  Each vision was usually repeated throughout the night.  It finally hit me, even the Prophet needed repetition.  As I read through the scriptures there are many accounts of important lessons being repeated.  I also realized that at different times in my life I was more prepared to hear and learn things that I wouldn’t have noticed before.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Today Bob is at the Stake Center helping to prepare for the satellite feed for Stake Conference this weekend.  Bob loves his calling and I’m so glad that the people in this area appreciate his talents.  Sometimes he is gone a lot but I can’t complain because his willingness to help others is one of the reasons that I fell in love with him.


Zojirushi BBCCX20 Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machine

Zojirushi BBCCX20 Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machine

I picked up this bread machine last week when I dropped Stefan off at the Airport to go to Air Force Boot Camp.  Bob and I want to use our wheat and since I don’t often feel up to kneading and baking four loaves at a time I tried to get a decent loaf out of the bread machine that we have but it just wasn’t working well.  

Jerri Ann had just purchased this machine and when I was staying with her we really enjoyed the whole wheat bread.  When I first tried this new machine it didn’t mix the bread very well.  I finally discovered that the right paddle wasn’t turning so I gave it a bit of a nudge and now it seems to be working.  I baked three very bad loaves before I figured this out.  We have had one good load and I hope that it continues to work and that we don’t have to send it back.

Bob has been eating a slice every day with some local honey on it and he seems to really enjoy it.  That makes it worth it.  It takes me minutes to add the ingredients and then about 3 1/2 hours before the house smells divine.  I really like that this makes a 2 lb. loaf and has two paddles.  The load is baked horizontally instead of vertically like the other machines.  

Friday, November 6, 2009


I had another appointment with the Pulmonologist and it seems that the current antibiotic is helping a little but the infection seems to be hanging on.  He extended it for another week.  I’ve been on four antibiotics in the last three months and am a bit worried although I want the infection gone.  My voice is not as raspy and my cough isn’t as tight.  I’m still very shaky and have a hard time getting a deep breath. 

If I didn’t have my laptop and the internet I would be going bonkers.  I can’t stand just laying around and watching TV.  At least now I can work on some Internet classes and Digital Scrapbooks.

Today’s Favorites:

Brussels Sprouts.  I know this sounds weird but lately I’ve craved them and steam a bowl of them almost every day.  They must have something in them that my body needs. 

A few facts from Wikipedia:  Brussels sprouts are among the same family that includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi: they are cruciferous. They contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre. Moreover, they are believed to protect against colon cancer, due to their containing sinigrin[citation needed]. Although they contain compounds such as goitrin that can act as goitrogens and interfere with thyroid hormone production, realistic amounts in the diet do not seem to have any effect on the function of the thyroid gland in humans

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lost Momentum & Reflections

I haven't updated this blog since April and I just lost momentum for all journaling, documenting, crafting, etc. I think that I have just been on emotional overload. With the premature birth of our sweet twin grandchildren in the same hospital where I stayed 30 years ago (while in labor for four months with my son Nathan), so many memories, emotions and questions have plagued me. I have felt emotionally raw and exposed. Not only did we deal with the fear and physical day to day events but I have had some other things come at me that I just didn't think I would ever have to deal with again.

Taking some time out to answer some questions and reevaluate my life has been a long journey. I am still basically the same person just a bit singed from passing through the refiners fire. We all know that the real tests in life are unexpected and never what we think we need but as long as we come through it we grow in strength. For months now I haven't really cared what else was happening around the world. Of course I always care about those I love but due to illness I haven't been able to keep up with them as usual (Damage to lungs from forest fires). This blog would have been a good way to let them know how I've been but the desire just wasn't there.

I am starting to wake up and peek out at the world again so I need to discipline myself to do the things that really matter to me. Communication has always been very important to me, not that I have always been very good at it but I do try. Oh well, we live and learn. So here I go restarting this blog again.

We have had an eventful year since April and as I go through my photos I will go back and highlight a few things for my own record and for those interested enough to peek in on us from time to time. For now, I'm just going to take it day to day and count my many blessings. If this year has taught me anything it is that I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Love You!

When I went to get the car this morning, in the hospital parking lot, I found this note in my car. Bob had left for work at about 4:30 am and drove through St. George so naturally he pulled off the Interstate and left this note in my car.

Life has been so crazy lately that I sometimes forget the normal things in life. Bob is so sweet and tries to do all that he can to make my life easier.

I sat in my car a moment and thanked Heavenly Father for such a good man. Then I started up the car, helped Mom into the car and took her home to recuperate.

Thanks honey.

Hospital Beds & Update

This is the fourth hospital room that I have slept in in the past two weeks. Wow, the time seems to go so slow yet whiz by.

My first hospital room was in Labor & Deliver with Christy in Salt Lake City. The recliner transformed out into a bed/torture chamber. Christy was up a lot that night so fortunately I didn't have to lay on the bed very much.

The second hospital room was out on the general floor with Christy. This bed was a fold-up cot that bowed in the middle. Ryan can attest to how uncomfortable that bed was. Actually it worked so much better than the first bed that I got more sleep on it. The biggest problem was trying to get out of it, it was low to the ground and creaked a lot.

The third hospital room was with my Mother here at home. The hospital was newer and they had a love seat that folded out and was actually quite a lot better than the other rooms. It was a bit hard but I was so tired that I pretty much passed out.

The fourth hospital room was in St. George with Mom and the new hospital is beautiful! They had a love seat that flipped up a twin cushion. The room was too warm and I was so tired that I had a hard time sleeping. I also didn't know what was going on with the twins and so I couldn't sleep until early morning.

Enough with the whining! The beds may not be comfortable but the Doctors and Nurses took such good care of my family that I really shouldn't complain about my accomidations.

Mom and Jerri Ann both came home today. Mom has to take it easy for the weekend but can go back to work on Monday. I'm not sure how long Jerri has to rest from her heart attack but she is home now and you can call her! Both are feeling a lot better. I am so grateful that they are both healthy and will recover completely.

I need to catch up on some sleep but again I can't sleep not knowing how the twins are. After next week when Mom gets back to work and I get a Dr. appointment and root canal out of the way I will be ready to maybe get back to normal. We still have a long haul until the twins come home and Christy will really need help with four kids, ages four and under. Such is life....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Twins Update & Heart Attack Update, Oh My!

As usual, Christy expresses herself so well and a lot of you don't have access to their blog since it is private so Christy said it was OK to copy the latest updates on the twins especially since there are so many of your out there praying for them.

"Well today's been a really hard day. We got news that Emily's PDA valve has actually increased in size and so they will be preforming the heart surgery on her tomorrow to close her PDA. So even though they say the sugery doesn't take long and is fairly easy to do, it's always a risk. But I feel that everything will be fine and the doctors are so skilled at what they do.

We also got back Ethan's brain scan today and it was hard to hear the news. It is showing that his brain is bleeding on both sides and is at a level 3 right now out of 4. It's pretty severe they say. The blood that is showing is still in his vessels and hasn't gone outside of that, but he has a really high chance of having mild to severe brain damage which could result in cerebral palsey or other mental or physical disorders when he is older. The nurse practioner said there's really not a lot they can do for this other than monitor him and hope that the blood will be absorbed and not continue to get larger or go outside those vessels. They will do another brain scan on him next week.

Well, that's all the news for now. Ryan and I are heading back down to Utah tomorrow to be with both of them. It's been hard writing this... Thanks again for all your prayers for our family! We love you all!

Oh, and I wanted to add a few pictures of our babies...

This just puts it in perspective of how small their hands and feet are...and actually Emily has quite large feet! Some of the nurses have said her feet are the biggest they have seen! They for sure got their dad's feet, toes and long fingers! haha!

Emily Jean

Emily snuggling with her blankie under her shades

Emily with my wedding ring around her wrist

Ethan's little foot

Our little Ethan "
The pictures are so precious. Can you believe how small they are? It is so hard to be away from them and the older girls. Oh yeah, I drove home to take care of Mom. I arrived at the hospital about 2:00 this morning. I felt so horrible leaving the girls but Christy's friend, Stephanie, came and picked them up so that I could take off and not have to drive all night. Today they transferred her to the hospital in St. George where they have a Cardiologist.
Mom's chest pains weren't going away so they did an angiogram and found out that her heart and arteries were healthy. Mom had Bronchitus and had coughed so hard that it affected her heart and she still has some lingering pain. They are keeping her in the hospital for another night to keep an eye on her.
My Sister, Jerri Ann had an angiogram also and did actually have a small heart attack. Here's the crazy part, it was a side effect of taking a migraine medication! One that she had taken before! How crazy is that? The good news though is that the Doctor told her that she has the heart of a 20 year old! Cool!
Now my Mother and Sister have matching scars from their angiograms. I told them that they were going to have to find another way of bonding because this method just isn't working for me. And NO, I refuse to get a matching scar!
Bob was so sweet, he took a day off of work and went and retrieved Mom's truck from work so that she wouldn't worry. Ryan & Christy were also worried about them, as if they didn't have enough to worry about! I've talked to so many family members in the past two weeks but wish that it could have been about something more light hearted.
Thank you everyone for your prayers and concern. I don't know how we would have been able to handle all of this withought your prayers and concern. Heavenly Father has blessed our family so much. While we are currently having a lot of challenges we are also being blessed.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Four Hearts

...OK so now for some more drama. This morning I remembered that the new Star Trek movie (I think) comes out next week and Bob and I haven't been able to spend much time together. I have to go home for two Dr. appointments so I called to make a date with my husband and he told me that he was on his way to the hospital where my Mom, Norma, had been rushed to the hospital from work. What!

I called Mom's work and they said that when she walked in the door this morning she was having chest pains and was nauceous so they called 911, much to my mother's dismay. I was glad that they had taken charge and taken such good care of my mother.

Bob then called and said that Mom's EKG was going crazy so they were treating it as a heart attack. I called my sister who lives on the East coast and told her that I had some scarey news and filled her in. Then....my sister says, "Actually I have some scary news of my own. I came into the hospital this morning with chest pains and they are admitting me to the ICU."


I started looking for Candid Cameras or thought that I had been punked (except I'm not that famous) but this just wasn't funny, especially since the twins may have to have heart surgery today!

I'm babysitting my two granddaughters while their parents deal with school and premie twins. I don't remember scheduling in anything else this big, this week. What do I do?

Bob said that he would stay with Mom (thank heavens that he had the day off) and keep me informed. We could make decisions based on more information. I stayed next to the phone waiting for calls from the East coast and home.

I felt bad because Ryan and Christy were dealing with so much, I couldn't just leave! Of course Ryan and Christy said to do what I needed to do and they had other friends who could fill in. I knew this was true but I honestly didn't know whether to book a flight or start driving home and I really didn't want to leave the girls.

How could my Mom and Sister both have heart attacks on the same morning?

Twin Update

Because of all that has been happening we haven't been able to keep everyone up to date on everything. Ryan and Christy are dealing with what is most important, their four precious children and each other, oh yeah school, bills, etc.

Christy has put the following update on her blog and I can't put it any better, especially since I wasn't at the hospital. I was in Pocatello with Madi & Avery and worrying about some other family health issues that I will explain in another post.

Here's Christy's update, "It has been two...almost, LONG weeks, as you know at the Hodges home! Today the twins are 9 days old and are stable at this time. I am so grateful for their little spirits and the time I have had with them so far, holding their hands in mine and softly touching their heads. They are fighting hard everday to be here. It has been a roller coaster ride, with so many ups and downs. I have had moments of strength where I know it hasn't come anywhere but our Heavenly Father and all your prayers for our family. And I have had moments of weakness where I just sit and cry my heart out and feel completely useless as my babies struggle every moment to stay alive and miss my other two girls like crazy! Makes me really appreciate the time I do get with them when I see them. :)

Today has been another crazy day, and I thought I would give a quick update as I sit here in the waiting room, waiting for an Echo test to be done on Ethan. An Echo test is a test to check to see if his PDA valve in his heart has closed, or gotten smaller from his 2 rounds of Ibuprofen medicine. If it has closed or is at least showing signs that it has gotten smaller, than he won't have to have sugery to close it, it will do it by itself. But if the size of his PDA valve hasn't changed at all due to the Ibuprofen medicine, then he will have a little heart sugery(which they say it isn't anything to worry about, as it is a simple procedure) in the next two days to close it.
Usually if the valve hasn't closed within three rounds of the Ibuprofen then they do the surgery, but with Ethan they don't want to chance another round, because sometimes, I guess, the Ibuprofen medicine can cause bleeding in the brain and/or other problems. So they are also going to be doing an ultrasound sometime today on Ethan's brain to see if there is any bleeding. So we are just waiting for both these tests to be done and get the results back. We should know by tonight whether or not they will do the surgery.

Some good news is they did an ultrasound on Emily's brain to check if there was any bleeding and hers came back normal, which is great news!!! So we are praying that Ethan's brain scan also comes back normal and also that his PDA valve is either smaller or closed!! Which would honestly be a miracle for his gestation age. Many nurses have told me that Emily and Ethan are really doing good for how early they are and are good size babies for being twins. (It must have been all the broccoli I ate!) Emily is on her last round of medicine for her PDA valve, (which was something different than Ethan's Ibuprofen...sorry, I can't remember all the names of the medicines/treatments that they use!) and she will be having her Echo test done tomorrow sometime.

8 hours later...

OK...so I wrote this earlier today, never getting around to finishing it and posting it. I have some good news and some bad news. First off, the good news...the results came back and Ethan's PDA valve is A LOT smaller!!! Yeah!!! That means, Ethan will not have to have the heart surgery! "

Christy then goes on to comment on our other family health emergenty which I will deal with in my next post. I just want to say that Ryan and Christy are both amazing. They are so strong, I know that they are scared and being inundated by so much but I am impressed by the way they are able to support each other and their other two girls. There are times that are so scarey that no one can really do anything but just be there and let them know that they always will be. Sometimes I feel so helpless.

I am also grateful for all of the family and friends that have circled the wagons to help and support this family. Everyone has been amazing. The faith that has been shown is astonishing as well. Thank you to all of my friends, who don't even know Ryan & Christy, and to the amazing Sorensen Cousins who have lent their prayers and support which could move mountains. I love you guys and you are always there for me. If nothing else this helps us to appreciate each other and the time we have together. We also know that we will be reunited in the next life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Learning a new language

Each day as we go in to check on the babies we learn a whole new language. There are blood gases, heart problems, case studies, etc. So much to try to understand and many things that Ryan and Christy have to make decisions on. One of the blessings of being in a University Hospital is that they have learned so much that can benefit your children. One of the downfalls is that they also want to study your children. I guess you can't have one without the other. When I was here 30 years ago they did the same thing only it was me and my pregnancy they wanted to study. Knowledge can't be gained without observing. Here one of the excellent nurses explaines how Ethan is doing.
I thought that this was a cute picture of Ryan and Christy as they check on Ethan. It is so hard to only be able to look but not touch.Emily has several different machines hooked up to her incubator. The nurses are so diligent in their care and we are so thankful for their expertise and compassion.
Here I am with Ryan and his father Dennis by Ethan's incubator. We are so blessed to be able to help each other through this time.

Christy is so cute. She is up walking around, visiting the babies, chewing on lots of ice and blogging it all for her family and friends. She and Ryan have remained so strong throughout this time. Of course they are scared for the babies and don't know what the future holds but they have faith that Heavenly Father knows what is best. I admire how they rely on each other and remain strong in their faith.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Madisen Turns Four!

Since Madisen's Birthday is Tuesday and Grandma and Grandpa Newman brought the girls down to visit Christy in the hospital. we decided to have her Birthday Party a day early in the hospital. Here Madi demonstrates that she is ready for the big FOUR!

Sunday when they came up Christy was pretty out of it and had an oxygen tube on which was a little scary for Avery but today Christy looks and is acting like Mom again so the party mood was set. I made some tissue paper flowers to decorate the room and the Newman's bought a yummy chocolate cake.

Madi received some fun presents that she shared with Avery. We had so much fun that you would have never guessed we were stuffed into a hospital room.

The girls were very well behaved but I can't say the same of all the guests (you know who you are).

Avery even got in on the gift action.

But of course the packaging is always more interesting!

Madi even gave Grandpa Hodges and Grandpa Newman a lesson in jump rope etiquette which I'm sure they needed.

A great time was had by all...

Surprise - They're Here!

I have tried to figure out how to explain this last two days but Ryan has explained it so well in his blog that I will quote him:

"Hey, this is Ryan with some very crazy news. Christy and I were sitting in the hospital on Sunday when we were asked whether or not we wanted to attend sacrament meeting here at the hospital. We thought it would be a great idea, seeing as we can only escape the room once a day for a half-hour wheelchair ride. So Christy got some makeup on really quickly and went to use the bathroom when I heard her yell frantically for me. I ran to the bathroom to see what had happened. Christy told me that she felt something bulging down below. I hurredly called the nurses over and we loaded Christy up on a gurney and ran down the hall to the labor and delivery section of the hospital.

Right away we knew these babies were coming out a little earlier than anyone expected. The decision was made by the doctors to deliver the twin via C-section ASAP. I was rushed out of the room (fighting and screaming) and Christy was given general anasthetic, knocking her completely out. I paced back and forth in the recovery room for the next hour. It was easily the longest hour of my life. I kept going through it all in my mind trying to understand what was going on and what were the possible outcomes.

Soon the delivering doctor came in and told me that Christy was doing really well (she's a little doped up, but she's doing just great) and both the twins were in critical but stable condition. We are a little stunned and shocked right now, especially not knowing how thing will turn out with the twins. We named them Emily Jean Hodges (1 lb. 4 oz., born 11:08 am April 19th) and Ethan Ryan Hodges (1 lb. 7 oz., born 11:11 am April 19th). We are grateful for the time we have with them and hope that we can have many years to come with them.

We also wanted to express our love and appreciation to each of you for your prayers and thoughts. We plead with you to continue praying for the sweet little twins and for Christy."

Ethan Ryan Hodges (1 lb. 7 oz., born 11:11 am April 19th).

Emily Jean Hodges (1 lb. 4 oz., born 11:08 am April 19th)

Aren't they beautiful! We are just taking one day at a time and are grateful for any progress the babies make or problem that is solved. Those are Ryan's fingers holding Emily's hand and as you can tell they are so tiny. I thought 3 lbs. 6 oz. was small but these two together don't weigh as much as their father did!

Needless to say, I will be here for a little while. Ryan is going back to school tomorrow afternoon and I will stay here with Christy and the twins. The Doctors say not to expect the twins to come home until their due date which is August 13th so we will all be taking turns helping out and traveling a lot. I apologize for being so late with an update but as you can see we've been a little busy. Thank you for all of your well wishes and support. We love you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Premature Babies - The Next Generation!

Sitting her in the hospital with Christy has brought back a flood of feelings and fears because 30 years ago I lived in SE Idaho and had to be transported by Air Ambulence to the exact hospital that I was currently driving to. Back when I was pregnant with my middle son, Nathan, I went into labor and dialated to a five. Nathan was only about 22-23 weeks gestation just like my grandchildren. I remember the fear that I had as the Doctor and Nurse in the plane tried to stableize my labor. I remember the helecoptor ride across the city from the airport. This was all so surreal and terrifying. My husband and I had one sweet little boy named Ryan who was only about four months old at the time. The same Ryan who just called me and asked me to get to his wife while he made arrangements for his two little girls and school.

Ryan is in the PA (Physician's Assistant) program and it is a very intense two years. If he were to fail a portion of his schooling they would have to start the process all over again. Christy had told Ryan to stay home and go to school until they knew what they were dealing with because she had only dialated to 3 cm and didn't think that the babies would be born yet. So Christy's parents took the girls and I went to be with Christy.

I remember how scared my husband and I were as we learned a whole new language of drugs to keep the labor at bay, medical terms that we tried to comprehand and a fear that we never knew existed. I couldn't believe that my son and his wife may have to go through that whole experience. All the babies in Christy's family are full term.

The Doctor's were able to keep me from delivering Nathan for four months. I had to stay on medication that made me shake and also had to stay flat in bed in the hospital. I was willing to do whatever it took because Ryan had been born nine weeks early and spent six weeks in Intensive Care and I remember how scary it was to watch him be so small (3 lbs. 6 oz.) and have the Doctor's tell us that he may not live. His lungs were inmature and he was on a respirator. I would sit in the Intensive Care Unit and watch as babies larger than Ryan would not make it. I was willing to do whatever it took so that Nathan didn't have to go through that. We were fortunate, Nathan was born only six weeks early and only had to spend two weeks in the hospital after he was born and he grew to be a strong and loving son and husband.

As I sit at my Dauther-in-laws bedside and watch her try to comprehend what may happen I am so scared but I also know what is possible. If they could keep Nathan from coming so early there is hope for the twins. With help from Heavenly Father and our supportive family and friends we will take one day at a time.

Twins Trying to Make An Early Entrance

For those of you who don't know, Ryan and Christy (my son & his adorable wife) are expecting twins. Yesterday at the Doctor's office they were doing an ultrasound and found out the one of the babies was trying to make an early entrance. His/Her foot was sticking out into the birth canal! Fortunately the sack was still in tact but they immediately Life Flighted her to a regional center in Salt Lake City, UT.

Ryan called me and I drove up last night to be with her. Christy and the babies seem to be doing fine for now but Christy will have to stay flat in bed for the next month or so. I'm having flash backs because I was Life Flighted to this same hospital 29 years ago when I was pregnant with Nathan and had to stay flat in bed, in labor, for four months. Now I'm sitting here with the next generation of babies in our family who are having a hard time waiting. We seem to be an impatient group.

We are so lucky that in her new room we have internet access on my laptop. Needless to say we are taking things one day at a time. I'm not sure how long I will be here but we will do what we need to. Christy and I have so much fun and laugh over the silliest things and fortunately we have had some things to laugh over.

Please include Ryan, Christy and their family in your prayers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WOW - What a great surprise!

If you haven't heard Susan Boyle's audition you need to. It was amazing and also a great lesson not to judge people too quickly. Go Susan.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

PopRocks, Mercy River & David Osmond Sing!

Ryan is on the left holding the microphone

I wasn't able to make it to the benefit concert for Lori Udy and her family (because of a surgery) but I am so excited that my Brother-in-law taped the concert and is sending me a copy. In the mean time here is a short clip of PopRocks singing their last song. David Osmond comes in and sings the last verse with them. Mercy River also sang and I hear they were phenominal. In the Video my son Ryan is the tall center cutie rocking with the music. My other boy Alan (Ryan's best friend) is on the far right (blond).

I hope that they raised enough money to help the Udy Family. I am so proud of Ryan and everyone who lent their talents to try to help out someone who needed it. Ryan said that it started snowing during the concert and that by the end of it there was pretty much a blizzard. I'm glad that they sang inside. The first time they sang in Rockland (10 years ago) they sang outside in the park. If you would still like to help out go to their webpage for information where you can donate to a very good cause. http://www.loriudy.com/index.php?p=1_11_Lori-s-Benefit-Concert

Sunday, April 5, 2009

365 Days - Day 95 - Taste

I decided to list our favorite tastes partly to get Bob to participate. He doesn't Blog so unless I ask specific questions it is hard to get information of this sort out of him. I did learn some new things though.

Bob's is very simple and he doesn't really have strong opinions. My list on the other hand is more diverse and I kept adding things. Bob is so easy to please. I thought that I was too.

"Taste" - sweet, sour, salty, sharp

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Warranty Expired!

Bob LOVES his big-screen TV! When we got married and moved to our new house Bob bought this HUGE Mitsubishi TV (2002). I remember the glaze that came over his eyes and his jaw dropping when he first entered the electronics area of the store. Most men have that same look but Bob is a gadget guy and he had never had a gadget this big. Since we were both working I thought that he deserved to have what he wanted even though I thought it was a bit of overkill.

I have to admit it has been a fun. We can all see exactly what is going on and video games are a lot clearer on the big screen. WII games are a blast!

Luckily we purchased a good warranty because when we moved to S. Utah, where we have frequent brown-outs and black-outs, our TV had problems. This TV lives in the basement and every time the repair guys have had to come out and haul this monstrosity up the stairs they always ask if we wouldn't rather keep it in our living room (on the main floor). Of course I don't want that black hole in my living room (sorry men, I know you don't understand) so they have to lug it back down the stairs after they have repaired it.

Well, the inevitable has happened. The warranty has expired! With the recent snow storms we have had quite a few power fluctuations and finally the TV died. A moment of silence please.....

In usual Bob style he took the TV apart. I know that he has wanted to take this a part for a long time (Bob likes to see how things work) but couldn't because of the warranty.
Bob immediately got online and did some research as to how to fix the problem. He found some symptoms that matched our TV exactly and ordered some parts. We waited for them to come in the mail and then Bob soldered them on. And .......they didn't solve the problem!

So now Bob thinks that it might be a power problem. Sorry guys but I don't speak electronics very well. Give me some software and I can talk fluently but hardware lingo is Chinese to me. So now Bob is testing all electrical sources or something like that. Bob is in his element, he is using gadgets to test gadgets.

What a pain! Poor Bob has to do research, order parts or manuals, go to work for a week, come home try to fix the TV, it doesn't work so he starts the process over again. Long story even longer, our family room has a HUGE TV taken apart in the middle of it and the bedroom next to it strewn with parts. I know that Bob hates that the TV is down but I also know that he is doing what he does best. Problem Solve. Bob is happy.