Friday, August 26, 2016

No Cancer

Beth had her follow up appointment at Harborview this week and everything is fine. No cancer. She had just a little pain for a couple days but then it was gone. The stitches came out just a few days later and it was so clean I couldn't even tell where they had done the surgery. 

A few days ago she went to the dentist (a different location from the oral surgeon) and had two fillings so she was on soft foods for 24 hours. Again, no pain and all was back to normal in no time.

On Wednesday we had our annual staff picnic at Marina Beach. The weather was beautiful and it's always fun to hang out with co-workers and not talk about work! :)

I don't have permission to post pics of everyone, so the sail boats will have to do!




Beth came with us and of course texted Nick most of the afternoon and even sent him pictures. Via text! No one showed her how to do it, she just figured it out on her own. That girl amazes me sometimes.


I've been trying to do things that I love but don't do on a regular basis. Like swimming. Today I went - by myself I might add - to a local pool and swam laps for about a half hour. I was so nervous going somewhere I've never been but I did it. And I had such a great time being in the water!

(Thanks Google)


I've also been spending time down at the beach. There have been some beautiful sunsets this summer!



Sunday, August 21, 2016

You Have to be Smarter Than They Are

You know how it is with life, sometimes there is SO much going on and other times, hmmm not so much. This week has been a 'not so much' week.

We have seen some seeds of healing in a family relationship. That's been such a blessing and an answer to prayer!

Sharaya and Diana saw the same movie, at the exact same time, 3000 miles apart! I think about what it took to accomplish this: first deciding on which movie to see, then checking show times to make sure they matched with the different time zones, then they were actually able to pull it off! I think this is such a clever idea! I absolutely love these two that they would think of doing this!



I've been feeding the birds and squirrels this summer but the crows have been taking all the food! I've seen people posting pictures of large, open containers filled with shelled peanuts and the squirrels are all over them. But when I put them out, the crows eat everything!




 When my sister was here we found this cute little bird shop that had squirrel feeders that looked like this one.



 So I got the idea to make something like that myself. At first I got a big square vase but found the crows could get into it! Here is one trying to bite through the glass.



 Then I saw one just stick his head right in and grab a peanut! Before I knew it they were all gone.
(You can see his tail feathers sticking up on the left.)

So then I found a round vase with a unique shape that was big enough for the squirrels but I knew the crows wouldn't be able to get through. I put it in a clear bin and filled it with rocks so it wouldn't move or roll around. Then I put in the peanuts and waited.


The peanuts were still there this afternoon so I know the crows couldn't get to them. (I do put some out for the crows in a separate bowl, but I also want some exclusively for the squirrels.) Then this afternoon...



Yay!! He ran across the driveway and buried it near some trees. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Few Changes For This Fall

Chuck and I went downtown today for his 'Pick'. That's what they call it when all the Metro drivers choose new routes. Course, it goes by seniority so there isn't a whole lot left by the time his turn comes but he got some decent routes this time. Different days off, not as many early morning routes and he's at North Base. The Metro base that's just a few minutes from our house. SO happy about that! He'll have these routes now for the next 6 months so he took into consideration all the snow we're supposed to get this winter. At least he won't have much of a commute!

Have the Olympics inspired you too? We recently started swimming at a local community pool and I absolutely love it!



I grew up in a house that had a below ground pool in the backyard and I was in that thing constantly. So a couple weeks ago I asked Sharaya if her and Allie wanted to come with us and she said yes! Something has changed in me, it's hard to explain, but I can't get enough of the water. Even tonight I was doing laundry and put in a towel while the machine was filling with water and I instantly felt free and full of joy! Strange, I know :) But like I said, it's kind of hard to explain or even understand, but I really want to make this part of our weekly routine. I even bought a new bathing suit (my old one was a two piece - skirt type - looked great on, but wasn't very practical for actually swimming.) Plus we got some small goggles like the Olympic swimmers use. I know I don't LOOK like an Olympic swimmer but I certainly FEEL like one!! :)

Beth goin' for the gold!!




And lastly, I took on a part time job this week. It's actually a job I've had before and wanted to go back to again. Some might say it's not a 'real' job and I'd have to agree with them because I'm making calls for our church. Each week, a few ladies meet at the church and we start calling members of the congregation. Each of us has a different section of the alphabet and over the course of about 4-5 months, every single person gets a call asking how they're doing and if they have any prayer needs. It's amazing how many times a night someone will tell us that their family is in crisis or that we called at just the right time.  I think we come away feeling more blessed than those we called.

So this Fall is going to look a little different at our house. How about you? Any changes for you or your family this Fall?

Friday, August 12, 2016

We Should Get The Results In About Two Weeks

This is a follow up to the post Root Canal Gone Bad. We finally found a dentist that takes Beth's insurance and Chuck took her to an appointment last week. She told him that she didn't know if Beth's tooth could be saved until after we know the results of the biopsy.

Well, Tuesday was the biopsy. The only oral surgeon we could find that takes her insurance is at Harborview, our states top trauma hospital. Beth was a little nervous today but she did really well.

Chuck and I picked her up from the bowling alley and headed downtown. We waited in the waiting room for a while, then her and I went back. I tried to explain to her what exactly they were going to do but to be honest, I wasn't really sure myself.

A nurse came in and introduced herself and asked if we wanted any water. She said they were running about an hour behind and asked if we had parked in the garage. When she brought the water, she also gave me a couple of parking validation tickets.

Harborview



At first I thought she had fallen asleep, but she opened her eyes after I snapped the picture. :)



We were in a corner room on the 4th floor and had an amazing view! We even watched a helicopter land on the building. We drank our water and read magazines.



Centurylink Field (foreground) and Safeco Field (left)
Just over that hill in the background is Seatac Airport



After about 2 hours, the doctor finally came in. He had a southern accent and wore cowboy boots and kept calling Beth Sweetheart. We loved him!

Before he did the procedure he looked at it closely, then told me he was fairly certain it was nothing to lose sleep over. Beth sat silently during the procedure although I could see her knuckles turning white as she gripped the arms of the chair. I would lean forward and just rub her leg a little bit, just to let her know I was still there. Mostly though, I buried my head in my magazine, being careful not to see the needle, or any part of the process actually! And then, it was over! The entire process took about 15 minutes and he decided to take out the entire growth and not just the cyst. He put in the stitches and that was that.

When he took his gloves off he told Beth she was the best patient he'd had all day. The nurse looked at me and said, "No really. He's not kidding!" Beth sat in the chair a few more minutes and then said she was ready to go.

Everything went so well, there were no food restrictions or anything. She's been careful when she eats, but she's eating all her usual foods. She has dissolving stitches so we don't have to worry about going back in to have them removed. The first couple of days she didn't have much pain, but now she's taking Tylenol almost regularly. But she's doing great. Even went to art and karaoke the next day!

And now we wait.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Chance Meeting

I took Allie to her swim lesson on Saturday and we sat down near where she had her lesson. When the coaches came in, there was a little shuffling around and then Allie went with another coach. I asked one of them what was happening and she told me that one of the students needed some one-on-one time so Allie was joining the other class. Okay, but now she was all the way down at the other end of the pool. I started to get my things so I could go down with her when a young mom with two kids came and sat next to me. I instantly recognized one of her daughters.

I asked her if her daughter had Down Syndrome and she kind of defensively said yes. When I told her that I had a daughter with Down Syndrome, her face lit up! "Really?! How old is she?" I told her she was 31 and she become so serious and very quietly said, "So you survived?"

And she wasn't joking.

For the next hour we talked about marriage, siblings, sensory issues, puberty, stress reducers, therapy... She also has 3 daughters but her daughter with Ds (9) is her middle child. They live about 45 minutes from the pool but had heard about the great swim coaches here and they're willing to make the drive. She recognized Allie and was trying to remember what Sharaya looked like. Her daughter, by the way, did great in the pool!

When I got home I told Sharaya about her and she knew exactly who I was talking about! She thought her daughter had Down Syndrome but hadn't had a chance to talk with her. She's definitely going to look for her next weekend.

Allison did okay. She's very afraid of the water but is getting better. Her lessons aren't really teaching her how to swim as much as allowing her time to get used to the water. I took these pictures at the end, during their free time.








Friday, August 5, 2016

Goofy

Chuck and Beth are trying to walk a couple times a week and I joined them the other day. While we walked down the trail away from the car, Beth was going very slowly and you could tell she really didn't want to be there. She had her head down, was kinda mad.

But on the way back, she ran ahead of us, swinging her arms out wide, spinning in a circle. We could tell she was singing! She can be so goofy sometimes!



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Her First Turn

We played a lot of Yahtzee while my sister was here and one night we asked Beth if she wanted to play with us. She learned pretty fast (she's so good at board games) and really likes it.


 

A few days after my sister left Beth and I decided to play. 
On her first turn...


Yahtzee!! 
Yeah, she's really good at board games!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

And He Said, "Babies With Down Syndrome Look Weird."

We took the ferry over to Kingston the other day, walked along the beach, had some ice cream, it was a great day! As we bought our tickets, I asked the cashier if Beth qualified for the 'disabled discount' (that's the way it was written on the paper) and she said yes. I told Beth that her ticket cost less because she had Down Syndrome and then the cashier told her, "You'll have money left over to buy something else you want because you're special." Beth smiled and said, "Yep!"

I know the cashiers comment would have angered some people but I know she wasn't trying to hurt Beth. She was trying to be nice, nothing more. Maybe she hadn't had many encounters with people with Down Syndrome. Maybe she kicked herself after we left, 'Why did I say that?!' (I think we've all been there.) The way we reacted to it set the scene for the rest of the afternoon. We said thank you and went on with our day.

But her comment reminded me of a situation that happened when Beth was born.

We found out that Beth had Down Syndrome after she was born and I had had a full day of doctors and specialists. The next morning I woke up to my roommate talking back and forth with her doctor. There was a curtain pulled between our beds, but I could hear her whisper, "Does my baby have Down Syndrome?" Her doctor laughed, "Does your baby look weird? Downs babies look weird, you'd know it if you had one."

I froze. I literally held by breath for a few seconds. I couldn't believe what I'd just heard! But then I somehow knew that this was just the first in a long line of comments we'd hear over the years. It was like, okay, here we go, and I knew how I responded to this would set the presedence for the rest of our lives.

I didn't move. I wanted my roommate to think I was still asleep and that I hadn't heard what her doctor said. She went home a couple days later but I never said anything about it. As far as I know - wherever she is all these years later - she believes I never heard that conversation. I do remember one of the days I was holding Beth she told me Beth was beautiful. I hope that seeing me and my family love on Beth showed her that children with Down Syndrome weren't weird and were worthy of love.

And I believe Beth's smile and interaction with the cashier at the ferry terminal showed her that Beth - like everyone else on the planet - is special and worthy of love and kindness.



(Beth is in the long black dress with white jacket tied around her waist.)





Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tolt

Chuck, Kathy and I drove out to the Tolt River today. Oh my gosh it was so gorgeous out! Big, puffy clouds, warm sunshine, such a gorgeous day!




We walked over this suspension bridge. It only moved a little... until you got to the middle, then it began to sway a lot! We stopped and held on for a minute, then walked a little faster the rest of the way. :)






I love the great outdoors! How about you? Where's your favorite place?