Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stanford called........to check in

This morning as we were doing Marty's exchange the phone rang. I looked at the caller id and it said "Stanford" and my heart started pounding. My mind was racing a mile a minute, thinking of all the things I haven't gotten done. I answer and she asks to speak with Marty, I hand the phone over to him and he starts answering questions. Basically they were just calling to check in and make sure all their information was correct. They said they will do this every once in awhile until transplant, what a odd day to call though.

At least the silence was broken, I get asked all the time what's going on and I have no answers. So far things have been silent and we have just been waiting. Now I have something to report and know we are not forgotten. It was also a good enough jolt to remind me to get my act together.

Funny thing is I have had the strongest gut feeling they would call today. My mom also has mentioned she felt the same way. Good to know we weren't crazy!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Martin Sr.

Hard to believe that today Martin Sr. would have been 58 years old. He died in January of 1997 at 47 years old. He was very sick with lots of complications from his diabetes and was very tired. We made the very difficult decision to remove him from life support. Actually he had a DNR order and we were just following his wishes.

Martin was a good man, a true gentleman of noble character. He was quiet, loved to read especially Louis L'Amour novels. He was a great man of faith, he loved Jesus and let it show everyday. He was a very patient man. I remember when I first met him thinking he didn't like me because he didn't have a lot to say.

He raised Marty pretty much on his own with a little help from his mother. He was sick yet he made sure he took the best care of Marty. He raised him to be honest, loyal, hard working and to love God.

Marty's greatest hope was that Martin would live to see his children. Sadly, that didn't happen until later that same year. We have always talked to the kids about their "Poppa Martin" and tried to keep his name a household word. They know lots of things about him and we think he would have loved them. He would have enjoyed Conner's adventrous spirit and would have gotten along famously with Elizabeth since she is a lot like him.

I will never forget the day he died, he was rolling around the kitchen in his wheelchair. He was singing Christmas songs and baking cookies. We were too busy that day to spend with him and left him at home. That is my last memory of him and I love that is a happy one. One of the biggest reasons I can't wait to get to heaven is to see him again.

This song reminds me a lot of that year and their relationship:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

From our family to yours

Monday, December 8, 2008

Deck the halls

Here are some Christmas decoration pics, we added some new decorations this year.

My new advent calendar
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I thought the little cupboards would be bigger and I have not found candy small enough to fit just yet. The doors are currently hanging open with the candy sticking out.

Our little tree
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You see, I grew up seeing the most perfect, beautiful, impressive tree at my Grandma's. I remember driving around for a week looking for the perfect 8 foot Noble fir with her. Then the ornaments, almost all blown glass. I grew up with the notion the tree had to be just so, then I worked at Disneyland where my shop turned into Christmas every year. Then we got a contract with Christopher Radko where I learned all things blown glass. After I moved away, I ran a trim a home shop at the local department store and spent weeks decorating. All that said, I am a bit of a tree control freak( there is another less p.c. term) and I made Elizabeth cry while decorating. I move everything they put on and it hurts their feelings, I can't help it. Then they came home from friends and thought they could touch the tree, which is a big no-no. Maybe I will buy a second tree for next year and let them have their own.

Here's a pic of Grandma's beautiful tree, it brings true sadness when I hear " I'll be home for Christmas" knowing that I can only go" in my dreams."
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

"It's a major award"

Fragile'

We are getting a little nutty with the "A Christmas Story" thing this year and actually bought a leg lamp!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gift time



Christmas Gift Toy & MySpace Layouts at pYzam.com



Christmas wrapping

I love this song, way back in my KROQ days it was my Christmas song of choice. I tried to find a video of The Waitresses singing it but no such luck. Here is two really annoying people making a really annoying video. Hey minimize the screen and just listen to the song:



If you want me to cry at Christmas, you can just play me Gene Autry singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It reminds me of my grandpa sitting at the table and singing to me:


Of course we all know Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our savior. I love anything Nat King Cole

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Unbiblical puppets

About a week ago, Elizabeth walked up to me and proclaimed she wants to be a comedianne when she grows up. She really thinks she is so funny for that reason, she needs to share it with others. She also told me she would like to use puppets in her act, she thinks that would be really funny. Over the years she has begged for some puppets from the bible bookstore, they are really well made and look like real puppets. We haven't bought any because she is notorious for losing her toys or treating them badly.

Anyways toward the end of the conversation she said," maybe you could buy me some unbiblical puppets also?" I stiffled the hysteria and asked her calmly, "And just what are unbiblical puppets?" to which she replied " Oh, you know policemen and fireman, puppets like that... just regular puppets."

Later that night when her daddy came home, it took me five minutes of hysterical laughing to tell him just that.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Conner playing his bass



Pretty good for learning that song yesterday!

So long, Nablopomo 08.

On one hand, I am relieved this day is here and on the other, I am in shock at how fast it went. I really have enjoyed this time once again. It has been fun hearing what my friends have to say, fun getting skeletons out of the closet, fun sharing my family with my dear readers. It has been hard though, some days barely dragging myself to post in the 11:00 hour. Somedays wracking my brain about what to post or how to say it. I am thankful for the experience, it truly has been a challenge.

Stick around, I will be finishing the stories I started and sharing more about the T family as I go.

Full Thanksgiving dinner

I must first explain to you that I grew up eating at Grandma's house, never at home. Everyone in the family had a job to bring a certain dish or two. My mom always brought rolls, carrots and rutabega's and a garnish everytime. We would go to her sister's house and she would bring carrots and rutabega's and rolls.

10 yrs ago when I moved to V-town, it was too hard to drive down for every holiday. So I called my Grandma Brown and she taught me how to make a full Thanksgiving dinner over the phone. My mom came up to supervise and taught me how to make a few things. I couldn't skip dishes and not have them, so I learned to make them.

My cousin Andy called me on Thanksgiving this year and passed the phone to his mom. Aunt Al was really blown away that I make almost every dish our family eats. She says she would cut back and really we only have that many because so many people make them. I can't do that and little does she know, I have been doing this every year for 10 yrs.

So heres the rundown:
Turkey-18 pounds
Stuffing with sausage
carrots and rutabega's- boiled carrots and rutabega's mashed with salt,pepper and butter
cranberry relish- recipe on the back of Dole cranberrries
green jello salad
pea salad
mashed potatoes
gravy
artichoke dip

And this year, I made two pies myself! Marty wanted a pumpkin pie with walnut crumble on top. I found a recipe online and it was super yummy.

Timms family turkey platter, I got this when Marty's dad and grandma passed away:
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Turkey
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Artichoke dip
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Table set(Conner set it and I let him do it however, not to shabby)
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

too tired to post, translates " My stomach hurts"

Let me introduce you to my new great nephew Avien, he is 3 mos old. He is my nephew Chris's son, they stopped by for a visit tonight. Isn't he a cutie? spitting image of his dad when he was a baby. Time flies.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you have been richly blessed this Thanksgiving 2008. I know that I have much to be thankful for this past year. Marty has done well health wise and made it through his surgeries well. The kids have grown bigger and are healthy. I have been blessed with the love of all of them, plus my many wonderful friends. What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nintendo DS

I just got so caught up in playing this game, I almost forgot to blog. A few months back when Marty was having his surgeries, he bought me a Nintendo DS. He said I was doing so much sitting and waiting that I needed something to do. I never have thought of buying such a thing and playing it, those are for kids right?

Well, let me tell you.......it is so much fun. I played the entire Legend Of Zelda game until I beat it, then I got hooked on Diner Dash. I already had played Diner Dash on my phone so I knew I liked it, I beat that game in a week or so. Then I got hooked on Brain Age, a fun game to test your knowledge and mental acuity.

 When I met up with Di, she gave me some games to play. She talked in into playing Lost in Blue and now that is all I can think of playing. My people keep dying, but I am trying to get the hang of it and not quit. I just looked up and realized that I needed to blog.

Bottom line, don't overlook the DS as a source of fun entertainment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Playing Tag or twofer Tuesday

I got this from Di's blog and thought I would play along since it is twofer Tuesday.


1.What is your funniest childhood story? Read two blogs before this and the one after to find out.

2. What would your dream dress look like if you could design it? I always used to design the same dress over and over in my sketch book. It had a..........Oh what the heck, I always loved Princess Di's dress.

3. What weird habit does your hubby have? He never  let's me get ice cream when we pass the ice cream section. We just pick it out and then he goes back to get it when we are done shopping.

4. How many cookbooks are in your kitchen?  About 30 on the top shelf of my cupboard.

5. Granny panties or Victoria Secret girl?  a bit of both

6. Favorite memory from 2008? I would say seeing Melissa and meeting up with Andrea and Di

7. I secretly...want to Live in England someday

8. I could really go for...some Chinese food.

9.We are going to have a big snow storm and you will find me..waiting by the window with snow gear on.

10. I knew he was the one...when we went on our first date.

Isn't she lovely

I can't believe that Elizabeth will be nine years old in a few months. The true baby of our family, we often want her to stay small. She is growing so fast and coming into her own, we love seeing the changes in her.

She is a very driven student, she loves to do extra credit and is blowing through her curriculum. She reminds me of my cousin Sarah or my friend Carrie in that respect. She definitely does not get that from her momma or daddy. She loves to read and blows through books like nothing, she get's that from her momma. Even though she is refusing to read Little house or Anne of Green Gables just yet, she likes Nancy Drew right now.

  I often describe her personality as "intense" but Andrea described her perfectly a few weeks ago as "prim and proper", she definitely is very prim and proper. She is very modest, not wanting to wear certain clothes because they make her uncomfortable. She reminds me a lot of Marty's Dad and Grandma in many ways.

 She loves to be the boss, her and Conner fight for that role and she does not back down. She knows her mind and let's it be known. I love this trait, even though difficult to deal with at times, I love that she is a strong person. My Dad says I should have named her Carrie, because she reminds him so much of my sister. That is true, it still is like watching a home movie of Carrie at times when I watch her play. She loves her stuffed animals and plays with them constantly. They all have names and stories that go along with them.

 She still is messy, really messy, her room is a huge mess all of the time. If I were brave enough, I would share a picture but then I would feel bad about sharing. She loves to watch television a little to much, good thing she doesn't have a tv in her room. She loves watching what Conner calls "baby shows" on Disney channel. Her favorites are "Cooking with ZeFronk" and Activity TV where they show you how to do crafts. She loves making crafts and art, I need to find her some lessons at Michaels to take.

She is really a good girl, she doesn't get into scrapes like her brother. She just is always good and happy to be playing or reading. We love our snookadorfulas, very much she is such a joy in our lives.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Confessions of a messy moose

So they say there is such a thing as payback, well maybe you will understand that I am being paid back after reading this. Let's just say, I was a very active child with a habit of winding up in crazy scrapes. See there is a reason I think Conner and Tate are so funny, I was just like them. Happy-go-lucky but very active and into everything!

They say I never crawled, I just stood up and walked at eight months old. This would cause a severe motor skills problem later in school. When I was eighteen months old, I decided to jump on my parents water bed and split my head open. This would be my first of many trips to Whittier Hospital. I still have the scar today, when I wrinkly my forehead just so you can see the mark.

When I hit two and half the problems really started. First of all, I thought my new sibling was for the birds. My Grandma Brown was so mad that when Carrie came home I bit her on the cheek and my mom said "It's okay, she's just jealous." Grandma really never got over that one. Then I would make a habit of stealing her bottle once my mom stopped nursing her. My mom said one day she sat Carrie on the table in the tote seat and fed me lunch. She looked over and heard "chchch" and saw that I had fed Carrie some chips, too bad she was only a month old.

One day when she was a bit bigger, I got her to climb up on the table and put her in a baking pan. I buttered her up and told my mom to come get her, I was going to bake her. Yeah,that story is a bit scary. Then when she was a bit bigger, I stole her ice cream cone and stuck it to the roof of the car. When we went in she took a little bronze African statue and hit me over the head with it. She spilt open my head but showed me to leave her alone.

During the time Carrie was a baby, my parent's decided to mow the lawn. I remember we lived off of Cole Road right across from our nursery school. I remember thinking that my parent's left lemonade down on the ground, I took a sip and remember my mom screaming. I had sipped the gasoline from the lawn mower. I remember clutching my Ernie doll as they took me to get my stomach pumped at Whittier Hospital.

Don't worry, it gets better but you will have to wait until tomorrow to hear some more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday and I am taking a day off

"I am taking a day off." I declared to myself and anyone who would listen. I told Marty I am not doing anything today. I told the kids to entertain themselves and let me rest. It has been a couple of restless nights around here and I am tired. I am sitting on the couch and watching Anne of Green Gables. Have I ever told you how much I love that movie? I could watch it over and over and never tire of it. Something about it is soothing to my soul and makes me feel happy inside. If you are a kindred spirit, I am sure you will agree.

Speaking of soul? I found out about this promotion over on Bring The Rain today. There is a 5o day challenge to raise money for shoeless kids. For five dollars you can buy two pairs of shoes to send to a less fortunate child in another country. I thought I would share the link and let you decide for yourself.

Happy Sunday!
The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tule Fog

Last night signaled the first night of fog for our area. I live in a part of CA that gets severe fog, not like coastal area fog. This is a thick, cold, wet fog that does not lift when the sun comes out. In fact it can be seen from space like a blanket of snow over our area. They call this fog "Tule fog":
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Image from Google Images not mine

This type of fog is caused by water absored into the ground and warm weather. When the temprature drops in the winter the heat from the ground causes the water to rise. Since we live in a rural community everywhere there is field there is fog.

Last winter we were going to Stanford on a very foggy day and got rear ended. This winter I am living in fear of another fog related accident. Last night while watching television we actually heard a law enforcement warning telling people to stay off a certain road due to fog.

Here is a picture taken the morning of our accident:
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Last night we drove home from bowling in the fog. I am really dreading getting the call during the winter, I am almost paralyzed thinking about driving in the fog again. Funny enough, as we pulled off the freeway to go home I fishtailed in some sand on the ground. I thought something was wrong with my car and tried to steer but couldn't. I am just so glad the lady next to me was a good driver and avoided us. Now I know to take my foot of the gas when something like that happens.

19 minutes to spare

I am sure close this time! It has been a super busy Friday for the T family. We had homeschool Thanksgiving today, I will post more about that later. We came home from bowling and watched two episodes of Survivor Gabon tonight. Is anybody else watching? Man, oh man these were two action packed episodes. I love when the underdogs take over and the clear cut choices get picked off. I feel like Survivor and Amazing Race are about the only two reality shows I can still watch. It has been so excited that this season has not disapointed. If you click on my title you can go check the shows out for yourself. Get caught up on the season and watch along with us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"That's propole"

Conner heard Dean Martin singing "That's Amore" on my dad's ipod this weekend. All week he has been walking around singing "That's propole" or "That's memore". I have corrected him over and over, finally I decided to video it, right before this video started he said "What's the correct word?"

Fly air Lingus, where they serve Swedish bacon.

 On the morning of my sister's wedding I was able to meet up with these two great ladies. We went out to breakfast together and chatted for a couple of hours. It was a glorious couple of kid free hours, where the conversation didn't involve endless questions. We laughed and joked, even eliciting a couple of stares from the guy next to us.  What a wonderful, relaxing way to start what was going to be a very long day for me.

  One year ago, I started to become friends with these two ladies. I never imagined that I would come to love them so dearly. They are such great women, strong and determined to be the best they can be in life. I admired them for their strength, humility and compassion for others. They also happen to have some really great kids, who I love hearing about. I really never imagined reading a blog would bring such joy to my life.  I left our meeting so relaxed and refreshed that my day breezed by with ease and peace.

Thanks for being my friends, you two mean a lot to me.

P.s. Di, I still have 3 hrs and 28 minutes to post this blog!
P.s. Andrea sorry for the poor punctuation and grammar! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

twofer Tuesday

I forgot to let you all know that Marty is fine. The antibiotics killed any bug that might have been trying to grow and there was no infection. Thank you all for praying for us.

How about some recipes????

I thought I would share some trusty recipes with you today. I have some easy things that are yummy dinners for a family. I also will include a party, holiday type recipe that is guaranteed to be a hit at any holiday party.

Pizza pasta

16 oz. of elbow macaroni cooked
26 oz of any spaghetti sauce
about half of 8 oz package of pepperoni
2 cups of mozzarella cheese cubed or shredded

Boil the macaroni until al dente. In a bowl mix cheese, spaghetti sauce, pepperoni with macaroni until well covered. Spray a 13x9 pan with non stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the macaroni mix in the pan and bake until bubbling about 10 min. My family loves this dish and it makes great leftovers.

French's chicken
1 can of French's onions
1 egg slightly beaten
4 boneless skinless chicken breast

Crush onions in a ziplock bag. Coat chicken with egg mixture and dip in onions. Place on a sprayed cookie sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

The Brown family artichoke dip

1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Romano cheese ( preferably fresh)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 can artichokes( unmarinated and drained)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Put in a casserole dish and bake until golden brown or 30 minutes.

Serve with crackers for dipping. I guarantee that it will be a hit.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Because I am nuts and I crack myself up

When my NKOTB fever was at it's height I would wear a New Kids t-shirt everyday and carry a giant button with me to school. Once at school I would take it out of my uber cool Espirit bag and place it on my desk. Poor Carrie who didn't like Joe would have to sit there staring at the giant button during homeroom. We took a trip to Washington DC in eighth grade and my Joe pic went with me. I rode around the East coast with my boyfriend Joe at my side.
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As a wedding shower gift my cousin Marissa gave me her giant Joe button and doll. It was the best thing and made me cry because it brought back such sweet memories. Needless to say, you can only imagine my excitement when last month I was gifted with a giant NKOTB button and concert program. I could have kissed my beautiful friend who gave them to me and slobbered everywhere I was so excited. I thought I might take a picture for posterity and proof that I am crazy.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tired

I am just knocked flat today, my parents were both here this weekend for Conner's birthday. Most people ask if they are okay being together and the answer is "yes' and the kids love it. It is so nice for them to get to spend time with both grandparents at the same time.

We went out to eat Friday night for dinner, went to bowling and then home for Mint chocolate ice cream pie. Saturday we took the kids to bowling and then headed to the Superior Dairy in Hanford. The Superior dairy has the world's best ice cream hands down. The give huge portions meaning a small is really a large and so forth. I linked to a flickr image I found online of one dish of ice cream, that is a regular size there. Anyways, we gorged on ice cream and headed back home to relax before going to dinner. Conner insisted we go to Olive Garden because he likes the pasta fagaoli soup. After waiting a hour to be seated, we ate some more fattening food.

 This morning my mom went to my sister's house and my dad went to his favorite little seafood restaurant. We went to church and then came home to see them both off, but not before my dad took me shopping. He wanted to buy me a birthday present and ended up buying me a bunch of stuff. I got a cute new wood advent calendar, a tablecloth for Christmas and a huge new wall frame. They both left for home hoping the freeways would remain open. The fires in So.Cal had closed the major route home the day before. Then I proceeded to clean up my messy house, do laundry and grocery shop. I am exhausted and decided to share why.

I think I am going to bed now, but I didn't want to lose the challenge.

Sea Monkeys

This morning I ran to the grocery store to buy some coffee creamer and found these sitting at the checkout. A year ago I was wanting to buy some for my kids so I splurged the six bucks to buy some for them.  Then I had the following conversation at the check out:

Checker: " What are these?"

Me: "Sea Monkeys, didn't you have them growing up?"

Checker: " No, I was wondering what they were?"

Me:  "They were really popular when I was young in the eighties, everyone had them."

" How old are you?"

Checker : "twenty-six."

Me:  "Your a few years younger than me, maybe that's why you haven't seen them."

Checker: "How old are you?"

Me: "Thirty-two."

Checker: " Whoa, you don't look that old at all."

I could have kissed her right then!

p.s. The kids are so excited and counting the days until they hatch.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy birthday Conner and the almost birthday surprise

Today Conner turns 11 years old, only two more years until he is a teenager. This makes his momma and daddy feel very sad. He is such a fun loving guy and a great son, everybody loves a good Conner story.  We bought him this Epiphone bass that he picked out of a Guitar Center catalog a few months back. He loves playing music with his dad and often accompanies him to worship team practice on Thursdays. We decided to switch out Marty's bass and put Conner's in the case, when Conner went to set up his Dad's bass he would find his instead. I left the house after them to go record the surprise but got caught in the act by Jana. She didn't know what was going on and started yelling out my name. You can watch the videos for yourself.




The almost surprise from Just Jules on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dialysis update

Last night we awoke to a flood of epic proportions, apparently somehow the dialysis catheter came undone letting all the fluid out. The bad part of that is, the end of the catheter is not supposed to be exposed to air or be touched. Both happened during this disaster, we immediately called the clinic and were instructed to come in for antibiotics this morning. That is to prevent an infection called Peritonitis from happening. Peritonitis can cause failure of dialysis and mean Marty would have to go to hemodialysis. Please lift him up in prayer and pray for no infection, it is very scary to think of that. Tonight we will tape the connection shut and hopefully prevent this from happening again. We are unsure how the closure came open, it is much like a screw connection with a twist thread shut.

Here is a picture I found to help you understand what I am always talking about
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The blue part is the connector, the end coming out of Marty is the part that cannot be touched. When we connect to do an exchange we have several steps we have to follow.

Step One: is to turn off the air.

Step Two: shut and lock the doors to our room.

Step three: mask

Step Four: wash hands for three minutes

Step five: don't touch anything and immediately connect the catheter to the infusion set. The catheter should only be open to the air for about 2 seconds.

After draining and filling, there is a pin and close step. The pin seals the opening from air and prevents infections. Last night the pin was not in therefore exposing him to infection.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

Pictures always are a good way to knock out a post. I have some that you might like to see from the past few months.

The kids and I went to Monterrey bay with our homeschool group. We saw all kinds of cool fish and ocean mammals. Here is a picture of the sunfish, our favorite exhibit
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A week later, we made a very fast trip to So.Cal to attend my sister Carrie's wedding. We got to see our family and had a great time:

Left to Right: Marty,Elizabeth, Julie,Blake, Chris,Carrie,  Dad, Conner and Mom
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Some of my cousins:
Left to right:  Andrew, Sarah, Brianne, Randon,Chris,Carrie,Blake, Conner,Me, Alex, Elizabeth and Marissa
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New feature

I just found this new feature on blogger called reactions. It allows readers to click on the button and tell me what they think. Maybe this will be a way for my anonymous readers to give some feedback. I know people read this blog because I have a tracker on it that shows me hits. So far this week I have 82 hits and the same three people commenting. Comments are encouraging, helpful and a good way to get to know people. Last year I would get tons of comments and now it has slowed to just Di,Andrea and Carrie. So maybe this new tool will let you give feedback and still remain anonymous.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the story of Kim part five, the final chapter

I stood listening to my sister on the other end of the phone. She decided to look one last time for her dad and decided to look for Rick instead of Fredrick. She got a email address and emailed the person. She wrote, "I am looking for a friend of my mother Susan D****, who went to school with her in The Hague in 1967. If you are that person, I would like to talk to you," she got a email the next morning.

It said, " Yes, your mother was my girlfriend. I believe her mother's name was Muriel, her brother's name was Greg and her sister was Janet. She was from Whittier,CA and we lost touch." It was him, he knew everything. Within a matter of hours the secret unraveled like a ball of yarn, everything came to light including some tough things. She forwarded the email to my mom, who was a mess understandably after 32 years of putting it away. She called me and I called my Dad to tell him.

Two hours later, they talked for the first time. She had found him on his 30th wedding anniversary, he had married Annamieka and they had a thirty-one year old son together. He told my sister that he called sometime after she was born and got Jeanette( my aunt) on the phone, he did know he had a daughter. He also claims he came to LA looking for them but couldn't find them. He also said, " I wrote letters and numbered them all." When I called my grandma Brown to tell her one of the first things she said was " Did she find out about the letters? He used to write and number the letters. Your grandparents would burn them." He finally gave up thinking they would be found.

My mom talked to him and immediately they started planning a trip. He would come to LA and stay with my mom for a few days. Then they would show up at Kim's as a surprise to her on her 32 birthday. The time came and my mom disappeared with Rick for a few days, they came up and he stood on Kim's doorstep with flowers. He saw his grandchildren and met his daughter together, he brought pictures and the paper clippings from when they ran away. Actually my nephew Chris looks just like him. His mother called and met her granddaughter. It was truly amazing for Kim to finally have a piece of her life in place. It didn't go without trouble though, she became very jealous of the relationship between him and my mom. My mom also told me some things that were very hard to hear and really could have never been said. It was weird but truly an amazing story.

Over the next year, my mom traveled to England by herself. She ended up being there during the terrorist attacks on 9/11. She was going to come home on the Boston to LA flight but changed to stay an extra day. She ended up staying longer and it took her 30 hours to come home. Yvonne Chandler came to visit us, she was Kim's nana. I ended up becoming very good friends with Yvonne and sadly she died this last year. In 2001 Rick and Annamieka came to spend the Christmas holidays with our family. It was fun sharing traditions and meeting his wife, who has put up with so much. Their son John no longer spoke to them, it had been hidden he had a sister. Also another daughter was found that Rick had while working in London as a fireman. Kim has become good friends with her and even named her daughter after her.

The past couple of years contact has dwindled. The last trip was made in 2004 with my mom and sisters going to meet Kim's family. Rick and Anne still live in  England in their little cottage. Their son John does speak to them again and still has never met my sister. I think my mom and Kim both still talk to Rick on and off. I think the biggest thing that came out of it for all of us, was knowing Kim was born out of love and not a mistake at all. It also helped to know why for so many years my mom was sad. It really didn't change Kim's life in the end, she still has many issues. I think the best thing that came out of the whole thing was knowing the truth and not living with a big secret sitting in the room.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The story of Kim part four

Let's fast forward to 1986, Kim is now a mother herself to a son Christopher. She has runaway numerous times, lived in a group home and a home for teen mom's. She is looking and searching for something in life but unable to find her way. We still don't know about her dad or the story of her life but the picture is about to unfold.

My mom got a letter at her mom's house from Sef Franken, he wants to come visit and bring his fiance. In the summer we get a visit from him and his French fiance. This is the first person we meet from the past and begin to learn about Holland. He visits for about a week and then leaves not to be heard of again for several years. In the late nineties we find out the reason for this visit is so he could see if my mom was happy. Apparently he always carried the flame for my mom and wanted to see if she was happy before he married.

A few years later, my parent's divorced and our family spilt up. My mom was very unhappy and didn't want to be married any longer. This was a devastating time for us kids, especially Carrie and I. My mom was very stressed, unwell and unhappy this was clearly evident to me. I really wouldn't know the full extent until years later.

By this time, we knew her dad's name was Fredrick Chandler and he was from Blackpool,England. We had found an old notebook of my mom's with his name doodled all over the front like all sixteen year old girls do. Kim turned 21 and started earning enough money to hire a private detective. She told him to search for a Fredrick Chandler in Blackpool, England. After some time the result came back Fredrick was dead, there would be no hope of finding him. She never got a piece of paper saying so but that is what the detective told her.

In 1999 a few things happened, one I moved to Visalia to be near Kim and two Sef Franken contacted my mom again. This time he came to visit her alone and wanted to have a relationship with her. He worked in Holland for KLM and could come visit and keep in contact by mail. This went on for a year or so. In the year 2000, Kim was 32 years old and decided to look for Fredrick one more time. One morning before I was leaving for work, I got a phone call from Kim. I heard crying on the other end and the words " I found him, I found my Dad, he's alive."

To be continued...............................

Comment love

Hey readers,

I know that I get a lot of visits on my blog but very little comments. I have three people who consistently comment but many more hits than that. I love commenting on other people's blogs and actually have made two wonderful friends that way. I would love to meet you, hear feedback or post ideas from you. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The story of Kim part three

Might as well keep going while it is fresh in my mind. So my mom is back living in Whittier working at Jack's burgers and raising Kim. She never heard from Rick and wondered what happened to him. She decides very randomly to marry a neighbor down the street, he is moving to Germany with the Army. She doesn't even really know him that well but decides she needs Kim to have a family. So they packed up and moved to Germany with this man. I wish I knew his name but I still don't know much about this period.

I know they lived in Germany for about a year and it was a good time for the most part. Except for the marriage, my mom came home to find him in bed with somebody else one day. So she packed up and moved back to the States. During this time she went to business school to learn bookeeping/accounting. She got a job in LA and worked full time, my Gramie stayed home with Kim and cared for her. During this time she started dating my dad, he had been pursuing her for sometime.

My dad always loved my mom and wanted to date her. He was still a Senior in high school when they started dating. He would ditch school to go see mom at work or so the story goes. He graduated high school, started working and dating my mom. He became a father to my sister Kim and loves her like his own. The married in the fall of 1975 and I was born the following year, Kim was 8 years old.

As far as I know family life was normal for the most part. There was a huge battle over who was in charge of Kim. Since my Gramie had raised her, she often overpowered my parent's authority over Kim. Kim didn't like having to share her attention with her new sibling and made it well known. Over the next few years, she got worse and worse behaviour wise, rebelling horribly.

In 1979 they added a sibling to the mix, another daughter Carrie. Kim was rapidly becoming a huge problem and needed a lot of attention. During this time my grandfather died very suddenly from a massive heart attack. This is when I feel life really began to change, mostly it is when I feel mom began to struggle. She lost her father and I know now there was so much more there with everything that passed before. I am sure you are wondering, did we know about Kim?

We always knew that Kim had a different father, she would play this card often when mad at Dad. Once I could read, I remember finding a notebook of my mom's with Rick's name written all over it. There also was a wedding album with pictures of my mom, her family and Kim but no groom in it. I knew they lived in Germany but not why? there were tons of weird unanswered questions lingering about. It was hard for Kim and she always wondered about her life, I know many of her problems stemmed from these things. We always thought she was a accidental pregnancy and my mom was just another teen mom.

One day our questions would be answered but not for many years. To be continued............

The story of Kim part two

As time passed during school hours my mom and Rick decided to get married. Of course, the parents on both sides forbade this and kept them apart. So my mom and Rick ran away from home, they decided to head to Rick's home country of England. They made it to England but family gave them away so the fled to Scotland. During this time, my grandparents were beside themselves their daughter was a runaway in a foreign country. So they called Interpol to look for her and Rick, it made front page news all over Europe.

Mom and Rick had found a home in Gretna green, Scotland and settled in until they could marry at 17. They decided that my mom should get pregnant so that nothing would stop their parents from letting them stay together. So she did just that, got pregnant at the age of 16 so she could marry Rick. They both found jobs and started making a life for themselves in Scotland, hoping for a future together.

One day a Scottish police officer decide to go out and burn his rubbish. He started the fire and was throwing in some of his work papers. As he was burning papers, he threw one in and the picture stared back at him. It just so happened that the two young people on the paper, were Rick and mom. It just so happened that he lived next door to them and had no clue they were runaways. He went and apprehended them immediately, he called Interpol and within the next 24 hours they were sent home.

Once home, their parents were furious at them and at each other. Blame was thrown in many directions and nothing was the way they wanted it. My very strict Catholic grandfather immediately decided to go home. He would take his pregnant daughter and his family back to the States. He went to Rick and told him "you will never see my daughter or your child ever!" he then told him, they were leaving the country. So my family packed up and came back to the states, they say that Rick was at the airport crying watching them leave.

My mom was brought home and enrolled back in high school and made to get a job. She was heartbroken and didn't know what would happen to her or her baby. She was scorned by many people and shamed for being pregnant. It was a very difficult thing to go through by herself and without her true love. She gave birth on October 9, 1968, to my sister Kimberly Pauline it was a very bittersweet day.

To be continued............

Thursday, November 6, 2008

365 days ago

Marty was placed on the transplant list. It is hard to believe it has been a year already, time has flown by. Most of you have been along for the journey reading and praying with us, I don't have to recount it for you. If anyone is newly following, you can search for posts with the tags: transplant and kidney disease.

Something that did come to me since I wrote the last post on this subject. Most of last year was filled with many unknowns and stresses. The unknown of dialysis, now that has passed and we know the answer. The unknown of when he would be able to get his heart test done, that has passed and we know the answer. The unknown of when the transplant will happen remains left standing.

Above all I know, God is in control and I am not. Worrying gets you know where and no matter what things always work out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The story of Kim part one

We all have family secrets and stories to tell, nobody has a perfect family. Our family has many stories and secrets, more than others in my opinion. One big story has to do with the birth of my sister Kim. It remained a family secret for 30 years, always around but never talked about openly. I have wondered if I should tell the story backwards or forwards, it has been a tough decision. I guess I will write it forwards and hope that it makes sense.

My mom's family moved from Kansas to Whittier,Ca in 1960 to follow my grandfather's job. He worked for the Fluor corporation as an engineer. They quickly settled into the suburb lifestyle making many friends. They were very involved in the Catholic church at St.Bruno's parish, there they met my other grandparent's Ben and Betty Brown. My grandparent's quickly became the best of friends and did everything together. My parent's have known each other their whole lives, spending many holidays, special events and going to Catholic school together.

In the summer of 1966 my grandfather was told he would be moved to the Netherlands for two years to work on greenhouses for tulips. The whole family would move and live in Holland during that time. Arrangements were made for my dad to help my mom's grandparents care for the family home during this time. So my mom and her family moved to Holland and lived in a hotel for 6 months until a home could be found. During this time my mom met a boy named Sef Franken who would be her first boyfriend. They lived in the Franken family hotel and the Frankens treated them like family. They taught them how to skate on the canals, cook Dutch food and showed them the country.

When school time came, it was decided that my mom, her sister and brother would travel by train to The Hague and go to the international school. They felt that would be a great experience for their children to meet other kids from around the world. So everyday they would get up and ride the train to school. While at school they met a boy named Fredrick Chandler, from Blackpool, England whose father also worked for Fluor. I guess, it was love at first sight for my mom but Rick had another girlfriend named Annamieka that he was dating.

They finally found a family home in Haaimstead, it was a five story house with scary stairs. It was at this time my grandmother contracted Scarlet fever. During her bout with the fever she fell down the five flights of stairs leaving her laid up and unable to tend to the kids. My grandfather was working long hours and the kids had free rein. My mom started dating Rick and hanging out with his band. I guess she eventually joined the band and started living a 60's lifestyle away from home. My grandfather eventually caught wind and was furious, his child would not act like that. He found Rick and told him that he was NOT allowed to date his daughter or see her outside of school.

My mother was heartbroken, she was a sixteen year old girl madly in love. As for Rick, I am not sure what he really thought because I am sure Annamieka was on the side. During school hours they would see each other and pine to be together. Eventually my grandfather caved and allowed them to see each other in limited amounts. Something happened, not sure what as it is still a mystery to me but things changed. My grandfather once again denied them contact, he really didn't care for Rick and forbade my mother to see him. During school hours a plan of gigantic proportions was hatched.

Stay tuned, part two will air tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My kids will tell you.....(twofer tuesday)

This is momma's favorite song from when she was a little girl. Click play and watch the slideshow on the next post instead of watching this video. Really it is the melody that I love the most, I can hear it and instantly feel happy. I do have a favorite line in the song though: " I can't stand this indecision married with a lack of vision."

On this election day I wanted to be lighthearted and fun. I thought I would share a little story that I created a few years ago using pictures. I hope you enjoy.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote

I am writing this to urge you to get out and vote tomorrow. Growing up in a very political family, I counted the days until I was eighteen and could vote.  I knew no other way in life, even my husband grew up in a voting family and when we met he was already registered.  Even if he was a registered member of the Green party, he was registered. We both love getting the sample ballots and talking them over together, listening to each others opinions on the issues. We take our kids with us to vote and hope that they will be excited to vote when they turn eighteen.

I talked a bit about this last year, but I feel the need to bring it up again. It really bothers me that some women let the men in their life tell them how to vote.  I don't believe that people should let other people vote for them.  I find it sad that there are women out there who feel they can't think for themselves.  I also find it hard to believe there are people out there not registered. I understand in some cases why, like my Gramie whose parent's fought so bitterly over issues she never wanted to vote.  As an adult I urged her to vote but she never would.  I guess she was born only five years after women were given the right to vote and that probably played a huge part. I think of the women before us who were not allowed to vote and feel privileged to have the right.

On another note, I get tired of the whole bandwagon syndrome. Half the time I think people just vote one way on something because somebody else is voting that way.  I wish more people would take the time to read the voter guides available to them.  Read up on the issues, educate yourself, find your opinions on the subject. Don't just vote that way because it is the cool thing to do or somebody else is doing it. Think about your morals, values and the issues in your life vote based on those things before you vote. Also, I really don't think copied and pasted emails are valid voting information. I find it disturbing that so many people find those to be the gospel truth. Many of those emails are far from the truth and often bad information. Check them out on Snopes.com to see what they have found out about the email. Many,many times the information is completely or partially wrong, don't just blindly send them on.

Long story short, vote! Let your voice be heard but let it be your voice.

Update:  I wrote this early today, I just now have heard a story about a man in AZ. He apparently tried to sell his vote on Ebay.  That is the kind of people I am talking about, people who have no respect for the right to vote. These rights are a privilege and did not come freely, they are not something to take lightly.  Fortunately, there are laws that prevent the sale of votes in AZ.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Waiting ( insert the Jeopardy theme song here)

  Shhh....Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of nothing, silence, zip, zilch, nada. That is what is going on with the transplant? not much. Every month we get a little tube in the mail, Marty takes it to Holly the dialysis nurse to get a blood sample for Stanford. They use the blood sample to match him to donor organs on the registry to find a compatible match. I told some friends last week that it is the strangest, most indescribable feeling to be waiting. Life is moving by at a frenzied pace but feels like it is creeping by, the silence is deafening.

  I often find my thoughts drifting during the day to thoughts of when the call actually comes. What day will it be? What will we be doing? Will we have plans? Will we be busy? What if the call comes and we miss it? The list goes on and on. For the most part we have tried to keep life very simple and commitment free as possible. We have put off classes, moving, traveling, ministries at church, etc., to be ready for the call.  Maybe next year if the call hasn't come then we will start adding to the schedule again.

Actually dear reader, I thought by this time, this year we would be talking about the transplant in past tense. We really had hoped it would happen in October of this year, but October came and went without the transplant.  I won't lie to you and tell you that November wasn't on that short list, we actually thought either of these months would be the time. November has just begun, so there is hope it could happen  sometime this month. I really hope that it doesn't happen after the second week of the month or during the holidays. Not only for us but for the family that will lose a child, a parent, a friend or spouse. I would hate to see someone hurting during the holidays. So if not  then maybe after the first of the year the time will come and we can start 2009 off right.

A big thank you to you for sticking with us during this time. Without our friends and family we would not have made it this past year and a half. You have supported us with prayers, thoughts, words, laughs and hugs. We are forever thankful,grateful for the love and support we have felt.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

First day, easy post

Happy Halloween and welcome November all at the same time. It hardly seems like fall when we have 80 degree weather everyday. I haven't even gotten out my fall decor yet, I need to do that this week since I have been putting it off. I have to get back into writing, grammar and sentence structure things have gotten out of hand lately. So bear with me as I start out on my 30 day blogging journey, I promise to get back into proper writing. I hope that my readers will comment along and share in this journey with me, I am excited to see what my fellow bloggers have to say.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I am alive

I am once again participating in NaBloPoMo for the month of November, look for a new blog everyday from me. I have been saving up all month to have lots of fresh material to share with you in November. Look back in just two days for a new blog, I am so excited to share with you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cute cousins

Conner and Elizabeth with their cousins Alex and Randon. Actually Alex and Randon are my cousins too and they both came to visit us last month.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fleeting days of summer

Dear friends, I am so sorry for my lack of blogging lately. We have been non-stop the last month and a half, lots going on.

August~ We got a visit from Aunt Patty and cousins Sarah, Alex and Randon. We had a wonderful visit sharing our home with them and showing them around V-town. We took them to the Sequoias for the day and of course to Bravo farms.

Then I watched Carsen for my friend Heather, her dad had a heart valve replaced and she needed someone to take over watching kids for her mom. I got a little taste of what it is like to have to get a kid to school in the morning. We had a blast having a little guy around the house again and definitely easier than having your own.

As a early birthday my mom came up the end of the month to visit. We had a nice time shopping and eating out for the weekend.  I got a whole new fall wardrobe and felt very spoiled.

September~ School has started again, this year we have a third and fifth grader. We have way more work than every before and are enjoying the challenge. Part of the challenge is Marty started a new shift and so that means we are on a new schedule. We did have a surprise visit from Uncle Dave who was in town on business. That was nice to see more family up our way and wonderful to have a surprise.

Just thought I would fill you in and update you on the rest of the house. We are doing great and enjoying everyday we have together.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never forget

I sit here on the eve of my birthday thinking back, I know am such a melancholy person. I had such a wonderful birthday last year with Marty. This year it will be one with the kids since Marty has to work. This year has been the first year since 2001 that I haven't gotten depressed the week of my birthday. After that horrible day in 2001, I swore off birthdays. They really didn't get much better until last year when Marty took me away to the Madonna Inn. I think that was such healing experience for me that this year  I have done well.  

This year I already feel 32 since all of my friends are already 32. I am at peace with birthdays and feel so blessed to have wonderful family and friends.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

All systems go

Today is the day, we finally got that call from Stanford. Marty is now officially active and waiting for a organ. We have to send in bloodwork every month and check in every few months. Marty will have been on the list a year in November. Today Trish said on the phone it can be a three year wait, so we could possibly wait 2 more years. We have both never felt like the wait would be long, we both continue to feel like transplant will come soon. We are really praying God will show us clearly and strengthen us for what lies ahead.

As always I hope our donor angel is blessed today and that their faith and family is strong. I know they will die to give Marty life and that is something very hard to comprehend. Pray for them, they need it more than we do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Almost active

Just got a call from Stanford, once insurance clears the procedure they will activate Marty on the waiting list. The time is near and then we wait. You all know what to pray for, keep praying.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dialysis moves in

Sorry it has been so long, things have been very hectic around the T household. Marty has gone back to work and we have been trying to get on a good schedule. Dialysis is going well and we are getting faster and faster at it. I am going to try to explain things the best I can so you can get a good picture of what life is like for us.

First of all, when they brought the supplies, I was shocked to see a pallet coming my way. One whole corner of my bedroom is full of dialysis solution
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Yes, that is a IV pole you see in the above pic. We use that to do a manual exchange which involves taking a 1500 ml bag of dialysate and using it to fill. The fluid rests in a cavity called the peritoneum  and it filters all the bad waste like a kidney. So you drain first and then fill back up and let the fluid dwell for 2-3 hrs or sometimes 12 hrs. To do this we need to wash our hands very good, mask, clean everything down, get the catheter out, turn the a/c off and lock the doors. Once the catheter is connected we can open the door and turn the air back on. Here is a bag of dialysate solution warming in the closet:
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This helps you remember what step to do, it is called a organizer
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The green indicates it is a 2.5% strength solution, this means everything is good. What is everything? weight,blood pressure and swelling. If he is feeling badly, low blood pressure then we use the 1.5% strength, if he is swollen and coughing and BP is high then we use the red. So far he is doing so well he uses green all the time. Sometimes he does use yellow because his BP can get low, so far we have never used a red. This is great news, it means his body is responding to treatment and doing well, he was taking 4 blood pressure medications and now he is taking none.

At night he uses a machine called a cycler, this machine is basically a pump that does the exchanges for him. The machine drains, fills, sets a timer for the dwell and repeats the process three times. This allows freedom to get a full nights sleep. The machine takes 7 hrs and 49 minutes to complete the process and the bags are 3000 ml each. This takes a bit of work at first, you have to connect the tubes, stop, mask, wash your hands, connect the tubes, break the cones in the bag. Then the machine flushes the tubing, then the machine primes and then you connect. At first the machine we had was horrible, going off every two hours at night. We now have a new machine that works wonderfully;
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We record how much fluid drains out, what his blood pressure, temp and weight is everyday. We also have to check to make sure the fluid is clear. When it is cloudy that means there is infection present and is a bad thing. So far we have stayed infection free and we plan on continuing that way.

Talked with Tricia at Stanford today, the report is still sitting with the cardiologist. She is going to bug him tomorrow to get it read. Then the transplant doctor has to see it and clear him for transplant. After that he will be activated. We asked how long we will have to get there and they said between 12-24hrs, that is a huge relief since it takes four hours to drive there. We are hoping transplant is not far off and that we can put all of this behind us.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crazy kids



The kids have been doing great, I thought I should update everyone on them.  It has been a different sort of summer for them. Not the usual running, here and there with summer activities for them. They have been going to lot's of different people's houses to stay while we go to doctors appointments.

Elizabeth~ is growing like a weed, she is so tall and her face has changed so much. I love the new little freckles that are cropping up across her nose. She has been taking gymnastics for the summer with her friend Huntar. She was really excited last week to watch "The best of both world's" concert on TV. I know how my parent's felt when I watched my New Kid's tapes over and over. She has gotten to spend some time with her two best friends Huntar and Tasha over the summer.

Conner~ has been such a big help to Marty and I. He has really done a lot of things around the house to help out. He is getting so big and I hardly can believe he will be 11 in a few months. He still makes us laugh everyday with his crazy little sayings. He has been able to have two friends over this week. His face never changes much, still freckles all over, I just think they are so cute. Marty and I never had them so we just love seeing our kids with them. Conner was really intrgiued by the earthquake and spent time calling my parent's yesterday to learn all about it. One big thing is he took apart a bike we bought him and switched the part's out from another bike. He put it all back together and it rides great, we were really proud of him.

Here's a few pictures to make you smile


Friday, July 25, 2008

Hurry up............to wait

The report is now in the hands of doctors at Stanford, now we have to wait. There is a cardiologist that will read the report, then pass it on to the surgeon. Then the surgeon takes the report to the selection committee and presents the case. I guess they are officially deciding on the pancreas portion of the transplant. Then they will activate him on the waiting list after that. So basically, a bunch of red tape has to be gone through and then we can sit and wait.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A healthy heart

We went in for the test yesterday, things went fast once we got there and they took Marty in right at 3:00. At about 4:30 I started to worry because the procedure is only supposed to take 30-40 minutes. The phone finally rang and the nurse said " The doctor had a emergency and Marty is still back in the hall waiting.", so frustrating. So my friends Robin, Michelle and I went to get some food. We got back and they finally called at about 5:30 to give me the prognosis.

Marty has a very healthy heart, there was only a little plaque build up in on artery but his heart was very healthy. The doctor has cleared him for transplant and will be forwarding the information on to Stanford within the next week. He told Marty " For having diabetes as long as you have, your heart is healthy. Keep doing what you are doing."

We have both continued to have a strong feeling that transplant would be this fall. We are praying that this is true and his time on dialysis is short. As always think of the person that will be giving their life and pray for them. Pray for a good match and a long lasting kidney, I would love to see our family grow together.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Amazing news and transplant update

Last Thursday we got a letter in the mail, it was a appointment with the heart specialist. We were thrilled to have been referred finally, especially since this was the big reason he had to go on dialysis. The appointment was for today and we didn't have to wait long. So we went today, I can tell you I now know the hip happening place in Visalia is for the 70 and over crowd. We always get a lot of stares going into these offices that people our age don't go to.

So the doctor comes in and says "Hey guy, what are you doing here? you are too young to be here.", yeah tell us something we don't know. So we told him about Stanford and showed him the letter saying he needed to have a angiogram. He said he could do that for us and proceeded to check Marty out, as he was checking we asked "how long will he need to be off work?" he told us a week. We explained he has been off for six weeks already and that we were trying to avoid more time off. He said "Let me see" and walked out of the room. He comes back in a minute later and says "Will tomorrow work?" and we said "YES!!!!!"

He said " I really appreciate the fact you want to work, you could have gone on disability a long time ago. I like it that you are contributing to society and wanting to work and care for your family. Instead of just sitting back and being sick. I really want to help you out along the way and so I made some arrangements."

WOW, how often does the world look and tell you "good job? We live in a society that rewards people that abuse the system. It was as if God himself was in the room saying " it's going to be okay." We are so thrilled that the whole reason Marty went on dialysis will be fufilled tomorrow. We are scared and hope everything is found to be normal. But this really makes a huge couple of steps in just a short time, we are hoping that the next step is waiting. It is a scary thought to think after tomorrow Marty will no longer have any kidney function left at all. But the dialysis is working and I know it will be okay, just keep on trusting and obeying and it will all be okay.

Think of us tomorrow at 3 pm ( or today most likely if you are reading this on Tuesday) and say a prayer for a good procedure. We are hoping he can come home tomorrow night if nothing needs to be done. I will update you as soon as I can.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Angel's in disguise

A sweet friend sent me this angel today,  the one with the sunflower in the middle, what a blessing and such a nice gift. It goes well with the other two I have and also fits the theme. They were all given to me as gifts, I love them. Thank you dear sweet angel friend.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Walking through the valley

I am sure some of you are wondering what is going on around here, a quick update:

~The cycler came on Monday and we started at home dialysis

~Monday night, we were up all night with a beeping machine and a grumpy Marty feeling *horribly* bloated and miserable.

~Tuesday we called the nurse and she came out and changed the settings, lowering the amount of fluid in the exchanges.

~Tuesday night, we only were woke once by the machine in the night and in the morning were woke to a drain problem. I called the nurse and company to get some tips  for tonight.

So far his blood pressure has dramatically dropped to normal range, we were able to use a lower solution last night. The biggest thing right now is getting him adjusted to letting the fluid dwell, something that is uncomfortable at first. So far our biggest problem is being tired and trying to remember all the steps we need to know.

Pray for us during these days as we walk through this valley. My husband is quite heartbroken about starting dialysis and has been generally miserable. We covet your prayers and thoughts during this time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

We have been waiting for Fed-ex


Here are the much promised sunflower picks from this week, you can see the bloom on the big guy which is bigger than in this pick now.



So here we are on Friday and no dialysis yet. Our supplies came on Wednesday, they didn't tell me that they were sending a pallet full! I am sitting in my bed typing and looking at about 60 boxes stacked in the corner. Only one problem with the order, they forgot to send the cycler machine that does the dialysis, that's a big problem. I called Wednesday and they told me it would be Fed-ex same day and it didn't come. Then we stayed home in shifts yesterday and guess what? it didn't come again. The nurse called this morning and said she would track it, that was 2 hrs ago. I know in God's time it will come and all will be okay, we just have to wait. I am so glad that the doctor told Marty he can't go back to work this Sunday, I can see why God orchestrated that now. He probably won't even have started by Sunday at this point, the rate things are going. Pray for things to go smoothly, for no infection and that the heart test will be scheduled soon.



We have been watching a documentary on John Hopkins on ABC together. It has brought to life what we will go through someday, hopefully soon. One thing that is glaring for me right now and is bugging me in some ways, I will be alone in the waiting room. Stanford is 300 miles from our home and I know we are going to have to rush up there. My family lives 300 miles from us and so it is 600 miles from them. I think God has been preparing me for this, it is hard but it might have to just be that way, his will not mine. But it is something I think about and wonder about, I don't want to be alone physically but I might have to be.  I was reading Angie's blog this morning and I was really ministered to by her writing, I know we are never alone.



**update** As  I was typing this, Holly called and said the machine was never shipped. So now we have a start date of Monday instead.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Time to pick up the slack

I have been slacking this past week, actually I have been really busy and finally things have settled down. We did a lot last week, which was good but very tiresome. Our schedule has been off since Marty has been home, which is good but also difficult. We are on a mini vacation, only we stay home and deal with tough stuff. It has been a pleasant time as a family and we have been having some good bonding time together.

Marty is doing great, he has been playing his bass the past week and even played in church on Sunday. He does have to take two more weeks off, which is a blessing and a hard thing. He wants to get back to work and not miss out on anything.   But he does want to see how the dialysis will affect him and be sure he has a good handle on that before going back. He starts this Thursday and is hesitant, he says " it is something I know, I have to do but something I don't want to do." We know the path is laid out before us and we just have to keep our eyes fixed on the goal. We are pushing hard to get the catheter test done before he goes back to work. We are hoping to get a referral soon to the heart doctor, I still have hope the heart doctor will not want to do the test.

The kids have a sinus thing going on and are both miserable. The air is really bad because of all the fires in the mountains on the sides of our valley. In fact our favorite camping spot at Big Sur is on fire and we are sad seeing the smoke. So we have been staying indoors as much as possible, that makes the kids antsy.

Our big sunflower bloomed today and I will share a story and some pics later this week. Hope everyone is enjoying the summer.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Being silly

This is my old, cranky, neurotic dog Max. He doesn't like it when Marty or I get near each other when he is sitting by us. He will tell me know and he calls either one of us "Momma".

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Small miracles


Our sunflower has bloomed



Sorry it has taken me so long to update, things are going well around here. We are in the middle of training for dialysis, it is something we go do M,W,F for two hours each trip. The nurses are nice and very helpful, they are patient teachers. They have been very encouraging to us, I think they see a very motivated couple and want to work with us. We do know more than most people about the two diseases we are dealing with since my husband has seen it with his dad. We both have been very educated on diabetes and kidney disease, it does make a difference. One huge step in our favor is our diet, we changed his diet last year as soon as he found out. I guess most people wait until their kidneys completely fail before doing that.  So that was a blessing, we found out we have been doing all the right things so far.

The biggest news came yesterday, the nurse told us that in her 12years in the field he is only the second patient she has encountered already on a transplant list. I guess most people start dialysis and then get referred, so another blessing that many can see. Our situation is rare to the professionals, but we know why, because we are in the hands of a mighty God. We have so many people praying on our behalf and I know God is answering those prayers.

Marty is still sore from the incisions, it has really thrown him for a loop. We also have had to adjust his medication schedule since he is used to sleeping during the day and working at night. Emotionally he has handled this pretty well. There have been rough days but for the most part he has been very positive and trying his best.

The next step is to start dialysis here at home on our own, we are expecting that to happen next week. After that we are pushing hard to get the heart catheter test done, before he goes back to work.  After he gets that test done and passes, he can be activated on the transplant list. We are getting close but we know it is not in our time. I always think of our special angel, last night as I was driving home I was wondering what that person was doing on a summer's night. I pray their days are happy and fufilling, I pray for their family. I know on the day of our joy that it will be somebody else's hardest day ever, please pray for them. I pray that they know God and that they have a strong faith in him, I pray they can lean on Jesus as we have. As always, pray for no infection, that he will tolerate the dialysis well and for the heart test to be normal.

P.S. I get asked a lot how I am doing, I am doing well. Somedays I get weary but I try to remain upbeat and positive. I am doing well, I am very focused on the task at hand and pushing forward each day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sunny Sunflowers



We are still growing with no signs of stopping


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Feast or Famine?

That's what my friend Olga said when she called yesterday. I got a call from her when we were at bowling for us to come to dinner or her bring dinner. I got home to tell Marty and he said "Michelle just called she has something in the oven for us." so I had to call Olga and cancel. She wants us to come today but I really don't think Marty is up for that.

Marty is doing well, his last session at the doctor went better than the first. He is just tired and sore still but hanging in there. He mostly moves slow and wishes he could sleep on his side once again.

The kids are bored or so they say. They want to go, go,go but we can't right now, good news VBS starts tomorrow and they will be getting lots of fun for five days. So they will have a great week of doing fun things.

I am trying to download some pics to share of the garden, the sunflowers are the biggest yet. I am very excited to see how big they grow.

That's about all from our neck of the woods, just keep praying for us. We see many answers to prayer each day and feel them covering us in love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How things are going?

Things are going well, Marty has been up most days sitting on the new reclining couch. His stomach is still sore and the only way I can describe it is like a c-section patient. His stomach muscles are weak and he needs to strengthen them. I left for a bit yesterday to take a paper to the doctor and came home to find him getting sick. It was a little too soon to leave, today he came with me to do errands. He sat in the car with the A/C running and did well, I think he liked seeing the  outside world.

Tomorrow he goes to the dialysis clinic to get his bandage changed and the catheter flushed. He is scared it will hurt, I can't blame him. I think the reality of this disease is setting in for us, life has now changed. Before we were just living with a diagnosis and now we are living with a condition, very different feeling. I must admit, I am scared too! I know I haven't said that before but it is true.

Will he do well? Will he be able to work? Will it fail? Will this be long?

All things none of us can answer, they rest in the hands of God. All we can do is be faithful and grow through this time. I have been a bit emotional the past few days, I was crying watching America's Got Talent tonight. My heart is hurting a bit, something I am praying my way through. I wonder what it will be like when the big surgery comes? I think for the most part people around us just don't get it at this point. 

As I have been struggling, I have been hearing this verse over and over in my head. It is our family's verse, it has been for years. It is still true and I hold on to it's promise.

Matthew 6:25 " Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them, Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

" And why do you worry about your clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink' or 'What shall we wear' For the Pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.