Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Good Life - Part 2

Party on Dudes! At least that's what I've been trying to do with all this lovely time off. Here's an update:

Wednesday (15th) - Today was Burgandy's day, my sweet 16-year-old niece. We decided to go to the movies. I let Burg pick and she opted for "One for the Money" with Kathryn Heigl. Pretty good movie. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 7. It was fun and very cute. I also used some tokens I had on hand and won a green ball on my first try. What can I say? Life just loves me. And Hyrum loved his new ball.

My Beautiful Burgandy and the ball I won. We had a great time. :-)

Thursday (16th) - I wiped myself out cleaning and organizing both bedrooms. I got a lot done, but I overdid it. Layne had to take care of me when he got home so I could take it easy and get my strength back.

Friday (17th) - Happy Raegan Day (another darling niece) started off with a doctor's visit where I regaled another team of doctors/therapists with my paralysis stories. We laughed and guess what? My weights and stretching paid off. I get a brace now. No more cast. AND I can even pick one that's purple with pink butterflies. I just might.

Then I picked up Hyrum and Rae-Rae as she is affectionately known, and we headed out to the Irvine Spectrum. I really wanted to go to Down East Basics and that mall has the only one in the area. We hit H&M first because I love that store. I got a super cute yellow sweater (shows off my inner sunshine), a great button-down white shirt for only $7 and a few fun things for Rae-Rae.

Here's Hyrum sporting the cute hat Raegan got. He's adorable.
Then off to Down East Basics that turned out to be just a few stores away (Bonus! I wasn't sure where it was) AND was having a 40% off clearance sale. We spent two hours in this store - all modest, all cute and so, so much of it was on sale. Except for one shirt, nothing we got was over $10. I SERIOUSLY love this store. We had lunch at Red Robin, and then took Hyrum on some fun rides.

My Hy-Hy loves the carousel.

He absolutely begged to go on the train. Cute Rae-Rae is in the center.

And He LOVED it!
We spent all day there and had a great time. They both fell asleep in the car on the way home, and my left leg was having trouble lifting. I overdid it again. Mitzi (Layne's sister) and her family had arrived for the weekend when we got back, so I tried to relax and enjoy the company.

Saturday was another Jacobson family party, which means there was about 30 people there with lots of food and fun. Sunday I got to teach 13 - 15 year old Sunday School (new calling) and Relief Society (same calling). Busy day for me, but RS was about Joseph Smith, a favorite topic of mine, so I really enjoyed it.

Happy Thought: I'm enjoying my new freedoms, driving, strength to do more than I have before, but I'm learning I still have limits. I suppose it keeps me grateful. And if that's the case, then thank God for limits.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Is the Life

How much fun can one girl squeeze in three weeks? I intend to find out. I decided that I would take one of my nieces out each day to do something fun. Tuesday was Jordawn's day.

Tuesday: Jordawn and I connect on a giggly "You're awesome. No, you're awesome." kinda way. When we get together fun is imminent. We decided to go to Color Me Mine in Whittier. You pick some pottery (bowl, plate, cup, ceramic princess or Toy Story bank) and then paint it to your liking. They bake it and then you come back in a week and pick up your masterpiece. Long story short, the one in Whittier never opened even up to an hour after they were supposed to be open. We did have a nice lunch down there and found this amusing little bottle at the Dollar Tree.

If they can't spell it, don't answer it. That's all I'm saying. ;-)

 We ended up at the one Long Beach which, was a great idea because they were having a Valentines Tea Party with cookies and everything. It was in Naples (beach town with minimal parking), so I had to parallel park. I hadn't done it in years and I'm just starting to drive again, but did I give up? NO! The curb may bear a few marks, but I did not hit either truck.

I came. I saw. I parallel parked. Victory!
We all had fun painting. Hyrum was into it for the first half hour, which was good for a two year old. Then he ate his weight in chocolate chip cookies and followed Angela, our Color Me Mine girl, around the store saying, "I help you."

He really is that cute. Look at the table and guess where he sat. He was having so much fun!
 I painted two heart shaped bowls for me and Layne and Jordawn painted a cereal bowl. I figure we can use our love bowls for ice cream.

Jordawn is adorable and all kinds of fun!
 We went home and then Jordawn watched Hyrum at Grandma and Grandpa's across the street while Layne and I had our Valentines Date. I made Layne delicious skirt steaks (so, so good), mashed cauliflower potatoes (cauliflower ground up with garlic and salt) and french green beans with mushrooms. It was all diet friendly and the best meal we've had in ages.

I will dream about these steaks.

We exchanged cards (Layne's made me cry) and he got me some new pima cotton sheets. I love them, but we'll return them so I can buy Layne a great birthday present. A great Valentines Day and much better than last year, which was spent in the hospital. That deserves it's own post though, so until tomorrow - kisses.

Happy Thought: My marriage to Layne and my sweet Hyrum are the best things in my life. They're the sugar that make everything sweet.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sometimes It's Awesome to Be Me

Last Thursday, I was surprised to get laid off at work. The next day, Friday, I was thrilled to receive a job offer making even more money than the job I'd lost only half a day before. I couldn't have planned it better if I tried. I'd planned on quitting when I got the offer, but I would have forfeited all my unused vacation/personal days, plus the severance they gave me. This way I'm looking at the next three weeks totally paid and totally stress free.

The new job is copywriting for the Subaru account and the office is right on Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, right on the water front. Bottom line: closer, more money and a much better place for me to be. I can't stop smiling. Seriously.

My sister asked me how you get so blessed, I told her you could try getting paralyzed and hit by a truck. I can't promise anything, but could be worth a shot.

Saturday: Got the Sunfire, my reliable, yet ghetto 1st car back from our nephew Landen. He was using it while I was unable to drive this last year. We had fun playing Life on my phone at the AAA office while we waited to switch the title back to me. I won, but that's not really fair cause I'm sooooo money right now.  Then I decided to treat him to the world famous Porto's Bakery next door, partly so I could live vicariously through him. I'm still finishing up this diet.

It's cakes like these that make this place SO popular.
Next time I WILL have this Ind. Flourless Chocolate Cake.
I bought two cheese rolls (They are famous for these), one for Landen and one for Hyrum. Landen also picked out a pineapple cheese roll. He said it was delicious. I believed him.
These are our tasty pastries.

Landen living the life I long for. So yummy!

Monday: I slept in with my baby boy and spent the morning attacking my two page to do list before I took off for my dentis appt. Gotta get that all handled before my insurance ends and I start my new job. I seriously called my dentist on Friday and asked for an appointment in the next two weeks. They had just had a cancellation for Monday at 1pm. When does that happen? I am SO money. (AKA Blessed). 

I invited my nieces Ryann and Sidney over for a Princess Afternoon. We watched 3D movies on the 47" 3D TV I won at the Vizio Christmas party (my old job). I know. I'm so money. And blessed. I made these girls two bowls of popcorn that they downed and asked for a third. I told them I'd save them a tummy ache and let them have some candy instead. Cause that's a much better option. HA! It's so fun to spoil these darlings. Then I painted their pretty little princess fingers.

We had so much fun! Ryann (L) and Sidney (R).

Little fingers are beautiful no matter what color you paint them.
I have big plans for the rest of my time off. I am really going to enjoy this. I SERIOUSLY cannot stop smiling! I am so blessed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Personal Victory

I had a "Yay Me!" moment a couple weeks ago. I haven't been able to drive for most of this year - mostly because I couldn't feel the pedals, plus I had double vision for the first 6 months and I couldn't lift my right leg either. Big mess. The double vision is gone, I can lift my leg now and have some feeling in my feet soooooo..... (DRUM ROLL)! I DROVE!!! All by MYSELF!!!

I drove our MAZDA3 to Ross (less than a mile away) and found the perfect spot right in front of the store. I know that was an act of God because parking over there is beyond crazy, especially on a Saturday night and in the 4 years I lived in Downey I have never found one that good. AND it wasn't even handicapped!

Me and my darling walker went all over that store. I bought sheets, a super cute black and white polka dot dress, and ties for Layne. This one is my favorite.
Dark grey and purple tie on a dark grey shirt - looks so good on Layne!

I even got Hyrum some jeans and these GREAT shoes. Perfect for church and not only do they tie, but they have a velcro that goes across the laces to hold it in place. They're Carter's AND only cost $15.

I love these shoes. Soooo cute!
I came home victorious and happy, thrilled to show my darlings their presents. Layne appreciated his ties, but Hyrum surprised me. I called him over and told him I had presents for him. He was so excited! I showed him the jeans. No response. Showed him the great shoes. No response. (How can he be my son?!?! I mean SHOES! And no reaction.) Out of desperation I reached in the bag and grabbed the only thing left - a spatula. His eyes got HUGE and he said, "OOOOoooH!" He grabbed the spatula, hugged it and said he loved it, that he wanted to take it to Grandma. He carried it around for the next hour, thrilled with his "present."

Happy Thought: When life hands you lemons, find the spatula. Lemonade is overrated and sometimes it's better to let lemons be lemons. Forget them and find the spatula - something simple to be excited about. For Hyrum that was a spatula. Imagine what he'll do if I bring home a whisk! He'll go crazy!!! :-)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Walking is Not Easy

This is a sign I found in the Star Wars Exhibit at the Discovery Science Center on Friday. It was cool, but this particular sign struck me as quite funny and made me feel SO understood. It also sums up the day quite nicely. We laughed, I cried, I got a cast and well - here's a brief play by play.

8:00 am - I took the day off work and we (Layne, Hyrum and I) all arrive at Layne's school where I meet several coworkers and get to see where he works. Very fun for me. :-) The plan: 9am doctor's appointment to get fitted for a leg brace to help me walk, then meet up with the rest of the school at the Discovery Science Center at 10:30am for the field trip.

9:15 am - Layne got held up at school and we are a bit late for the appointment. I regale a team of four (doctor, physical therapist, brace specialist and some other lady) with tales of my GBS, Bells Palsy and CIDP. The doctor asks how I got the scar on my forehead and I tell her that I was hit by a truck at 19. They all crack up.  (No, it's ok. My family cracks up at this regularly. Me too.)

The problem: They see that my right foot is almost permanently in the ballerina position, toes pointed down. From the paralysis, etc, the muscles have atrophied and I literally cannot put my foot down. They explain that they can't do a brace to help me walk better until we get the foot flat (neutral) on the ground.

The solution: They decide to do a serial cast where my foot is forced into a semi-neutral position and then switch the cast every two weeks. Think of it as braces, but for my foot/ankle. I leave happy with the plan and make an appointment for 4pm that day to have the first cast put on that afternoon. I'm anxious to get started and not take additional time off work.

10:30 am - We arrive at the Discovery Science Center. Layne goes off to meet his students and I take Hyrum through the Dora and Diego Exhibit. Great if you haven't gone.We're talking a spaceship, pirate ship, jungle, flower garden and animal rescue center. Hyrum went nuts. Here he is putting gold coins in the pirate pigs treasure bank.

They also had a Star Wars Exhibit with stuff from the movies explaining the science behind it and how they made certain effects.

Me, Hyrum and Chewbacca
The Force is strong with this one.

4:00 pm - We arrive back at Kaiser for the 2nd time that day. Three different Orthopedic technicians discuss how to properly cast my foot and decide I should lay on my stomach and they would force my foot into as flat (neutral) as they can get it and cast it.

I told them to keep pushing. It didn't hurt (it's numb after all) and I wanted to get this cast off ASAP. I'm wearing gowns because I had worn skinny jeans that day (I wanted to look cute for Layne's school) and hadn't anticipated having a cast put on. I wouldn't let them cut my jeans. What woman would?

I chose red for Valentines Day.
2:00AM - The first 6 hours after the cast were ok. It's hard enough for me to walk (though doing much better) and crutches were a joke. I also realized the little driving I'd done lately was over and this thing was heavy, uncomfortable and painful. By 10pm the pain was intense, by 2 AM it was unbearable. I ended upside down in the recliner with my foot up in the air, crying to the Kaiser nurse to find out what they wanted us to do. Go to the ER, they said. Layne took Hyrum to Grandma and Grandpa's, and off we went.

5:00AM - We're home, the cast is off and we collapse into bed. We'll talk to the doctors Monday and figure out a new solution.

Happy Thought: Layne bought me two 15lb leg weights which I am placing on my leg to force the foot down. The doctors also mentioned Botox to relax the atrophied muscles, so maybe I'll have the most beautiful foot ever! Then I will become a famous foot model, DSW will hire me to model all their shoes and you all can say you knew me when. :-) Sigh. Like life isn't hard enough already. Good Grief!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When Setbacks Happen

Today a friend was telling me about their dog and the bevy of health issues its dealing with. We're talking hip replacement, knee replacement, blindness and the poor thing is diabetic. My filter didn't work at the moment (plus I'm not a huge pet person anyway) and I asked: "So who's holding on to it, you or your wife?"

I know that seems heartless, but I really think you need to let poor suffering animals go sometimes. His answer surprised me.

He said, "No! She's the happiest little dog you ever did see." He explained how she copes with her disabilities and still has a great quality of life. He thought people could learn a lot from dogs.

And Here's the Lesson:
He said a dog could lose a leg and still run around doing pretty much everything it wanted to - never complaining, just doing. He knew a lot of friends who had setbacks and just gave up. One friend has been unemployed for three years and is living in his car. If you ask him why you don't try and find a job, the answer is - there's nothing out there, so why try. He explained that this friend had given up.

Happy Thought
Things might be bad, but if you give up, it definitely won't get better. And sometimes setbacks open up new opportunities you never would have seen otherwise.

See that three-legged dog pictured above, here's its story:

Meet Snoopy, who is a drug-firemarms-munitions sniffing police dog in Wiltshire (that's in England, for the rest of ya) A police spokesman said: "We're not aware of any other three-legged dogs working for the police across the country. He's a great asset, although a little unusual looking now."

Snoopy had to have his rear leg amputated after an injury he received became infected and he developed arthritis. As you can see, he's doing fine. He is set to retire soon and will live with his handler, PC Hand who said: "Snoopy is a real pro-active search dog, he has had many successes and the loss of his leg appears to have had no real effect on him, its just like he's had his toes clipped." Well, as his mom probably told him when he was a pup, "No whining".