Saturday, July 31, 2010

July happenings...

July seems to have flown by! We were so busy with family, recovery, and work; but, I seemed to keep forgetting my camera. Here is just a sampling of our month.
The thing that has weighed most heavily on my mind this month has been my return to work. Unless you are a teacher or have spent time with large groups of children, you really do not understand how much planning and work goes into keeping them engaged and learning. Part of that organization is in the function of a classroom. Because I have not gained back all of my strength, setting up my room has worried me all month. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband and children who will do anything to help me out. Ron and Rebecca came to my rescue and got me off to a great start in my classroom.
Here are 2 corner-to-corner shots of how the room looked when it was packed up at the end of the year. District policy dictates that all bulletin boards and wall decor are removed, furniture is stacked to one side, and personal belonging are boxed and stored off the floor. Needless to say, that in itself is a huge undertaking. I was able to get the majority of it taken care of prior to surgery. My sweet Ron, went in after school ended and finished it up for me.

This picture is taken standing in the corner where my storage cabinet is, looking across to the one and only window in the room. It might be small, but my previous room had zero windows!

This is a picture taken from the door way, looking across the room to the corner where I set up my class library.
When Rebecca, Seth, and Ron met me at the classroom, they took care of the things that would require the greatest physical effort on my part. They put up all the bulletin board paper and borders, they arranged the furniture for me, and sweet Seth, unpacked and sorted my library books.
The next two pictures show all their hard work. Needless to say, there are many things that still need to be done, but they are things that I can actually handle alone.

This is a shot from the door way, showing the class library in the corner.

This is a shot from the library toward the classroom door. Once the rest of the room is set up, I will post more pictures. But for now, THANKS FAMILY! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!
The second major event in our lives was the realigning of our ward boundaries. In Temple, there are 2 wards and 1 Spanish branch. Temple I has always been located in the older part of the city, while Temple II encompassed the areas of Temple that allowed for continued growth. As a result, Temple I failed to grow or expand while Temple II was bursting at the seams. We thought eventually the stake president would just reorganize and establish a third ward. Instead, he decided to realign the boundaries and move 50 families to our ward. What a wonderfully, inspired decision! As a result, we have doubled in size and Temple II is much smaller. Leslie is the Ward Activities Chairman and her first activity occurred just after the ward grew. We had a pancake breakfast, pioneer parade, and old-fashioned game time on Saturday morning. It was very well attended and everyone had a great time.

Here is a picture of Maggie in the sack race.

And, this is a picture of Sophie in the pinafore I made from a yard of border fabric that Mom gave me ages ago. It turned out so cute, especially since I didn't have a pattern!

And, finally, I had to include a picture of good friends Rick and Marilyn Stoner (on the right), Jan Carter (next to Marilyn,) and Bishop Prescott (on the left). Love you guys!

Monday, July 19, 2010

No bakes, Gorilla Grunt, delicious!

My mother has a sister named Daisy Geraldine, or Aunt Jerry for short. She had a passel of kids and staying the night at her house was always an adventure. None of the kids had specific bedrooms or beds; so, at bedtime everyone just sort of found a place to sleep when they got tired. Aunt Jerry seemed to always be in the kitchen either cleaning or cooking. She wasn't a great cook; but, was quite a marvel when it came to keeping her 8 children and assorted visitors fed. According to my memory, which is pretty faulty, Aunt Jerry's house is the first place I ate No Bakes.
No Bakes are are lumps of cocoa, oatmeal, sugar, milk, butter, and peanut butter that have been boiled and dropped into tasty little mounds of deliciousness. Through the years I have discovered that No Bakes have been given many names, and for a time we called them Gorilla Grunt. Perhaps it is because the boys were at that gross little boy stage between 7 and 10.
It always astounded me when people I knew "discovered" these tasty treats. When Ron was first stationed at Ft. Hood, I attended a wives' picnic at the park in Copperas Cove. While pushing Ryan on a swing, I overheard a conversation between the commander's wife and another woman. She was expounding on the virtues of this new, healthy cookie she had learned to make. As she continued to describe the cookie, it dawned on me she was talking about the trusty old stand-by, No Bakes. I just chuckled to myself at how uneducated this young mother had been to have NEVER heard of No Bakes!
As the kids grew, No Bakes was one of the first things they were taught to make. Hence, it was often the cookie of choice for treat at family home evening. I have to admit, we have experimented with the recipe through the years. At times, we had it without the cocoa, resulting in a mouthwatering peanut butter version. Other times I added Mexican vanilla, giving it a slightly maple flavor. My personal favorite was when I added coconut and a smattering of raisins. Unfortunately, I was the only one that like that recipe, so we didn't have it very often.
Now that the kids are grown, the grandbabies are being introduced to No Bakes. Seth, being the non-sugary treat loving kid he is, has passed on them each time I have made them when he is around. But, luckily Maggie and Sophie have decided that No Bakes are pretty darn good. I think the recipe will be passed on through another generation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

6 weeks: progress is much more obvious!

Dare I hope that I am on the mend??? Progress has been much more obvious this week and I am starting to get really excited about some day being normal again.
First sign of progress: I am driving again!
I have some trouble getting in and out of the vehicle; but, I am sure loving the freedom of being able to go where I want, when I want!
Second sign of progress: I keep forgetting my cane whenever I leave a room! That's a good thing, not a sign of senility. It means I am walking independently more and more. I do still wobble like one of those egg shaped toys, a Weeble, but I am happy.
Third sign: I don't look like I've been hit by a train!
I only have some slight shadows of bruising where I have had IV's or blood work done. And, all bruising from the surgery has finally disappeared!
Fourth and most obvious sign: I am productive again!
Leslie and I took advantage of a bulk produce order sponsored by the stake Relief Society. We thought it would arrive either a week earlier or a week later than it did. Unfortunately, it came while Leslie and G were on vacation in Puerto Rico. I thought about waiting to process the 2 bushels of green peppers, 2 crates of tomatoes, and 1 crate of pickling cucumbers until she got back. Unfortunately, freshness is pretty important for quality processing. I managed to chop and freeze 1 bushel of peppers, can all of the tomatoes, and make a batch of salsa. Leslie got back on Saturday so we finished up the pickles yesterday. (That was a smelly process!)

I didn't get pictures of the packaged peppers or the jars of pickles, but I am pretty proud of my pretty tomato jars!

This is what I started with....

Monday, July 5, 2010

5 weeks tomorrow...

So, here's how things stand right now.

Mobility: I am still using a cane to walk, unless I am in the kitchen or bathroom. Those rooms have enough counter space that I can grab onto so I don't need the cane. I use the cane because there is still some muscle weakness and joint tenderness. I have started tracking my steps again and try to keep it over 5000 a day. When I think I was putting around 10,000 on my pedometer each day at the end of the school year, I get a little discouraged. Hopefully, I will get better each day. As for the flights of stairs at school; I am in a bit of a panic when I think about them! But, I still have all of July and part of August to go.
Sleep: I am finally able to sleep on all sides; making me feel like a chicken on a rotisserie at night. I need to switch sides often because the muscles in my hip and thigh will start to pull after a while. I still have to get up often to use the bathroom. I think it is because the swelling is still not gone and I am drinking water like crazy to flush out my body.
Clot: I am no longer taking the Arixtra injections because my cumodin levels are between 2 - 3. My right leg is still slightly pinker than the left and there is still a problem with swelling in the lower leg when I sit without propping my foot. I go to the cumodin clinic tomorrow for more blood work and to touch base with the PA in charge of my case. Hopefully, the levels are maintaining and I won't have to start the injections again.
Attitude: Impatient and frustrated at times, but humbled and thankful. Before surgery, I had these lofty goals all outlined in my mind about when I would be walking freely, driving, swimming, chasing the grandkids. Have I reached any of them? Not many! But, when I think about how lucky I am that the clot issues didn't kill me, it humbles me enough to be more thankful for the progress I have made. Because I expected to be so much farther along by now, I start to feel some panic every now and then. Unless you are a teacher, your really don't understand how much time and work goes into your classroom before the little critters even step foot inside the building. Not to mention the many things I want to do at home BEFORE the summer is over. But, I can't do anything about either of those issues so I read my scriptures a lot more and find comfort in them.
Goals for the Week: Keep my steps over 5000 each day, keep up the therapy, and remember to be thankful for small blessings each day.