Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Greeting The Breaking Dawn: Part I

....the first half

Last Thursday when the alarm went off at 5:09 a.m. everyone at my house knew it would be almost 24 hours before we would be in our beds again.  As I mentioned before our family is a bunch of twi-hards, and Twilight Saga events have become a full family affair, you can read about that here

The night before we did all the necessary planning, because you know how I love a plan!  Our group consisted of seven people.  L, myself, GG, NG, L's niece J, J's friend A.D., and my cousin's wife K, and the plan went like this....

L and I would come home after work, pick up the girls, and drive right back to town.  I had a prior obligation for that evening and wasn't going to be free until after 8 pm.  So J agreed to pick up the Girls and take them to the theatre with her.  They would meet up with A.D. and get in line.  L would stay with me and we would meet up with them as soon as I was finished.  K planned on joining us all at the theatre a little later.

Shortly after 8 pm L and I were on our way, about 5 minutes before we got there GG called to tell us they had already been seated and to come straight into the theatre.  So when we arrived L and I went right to the front and declared ourselves to be "Theatre 1", the gentleman ripped our tickets in half and directed us in.  K joined us about 20 minutes later.  Now with our group complete there was nothing to do but amuse ourselves for the next 3 1/2 hours.

I bet you're wondering what someone might do to pass several hours in a rapidly filling movie theatre while waiting on the much anticipated midnight movie.  Well here are some of the events that passed the time:
  • Played games on our iPhones.
  • J and A.D. made a trip to the concession stand.
  • J yanked a large bag of Reese's Pieces in half and scattered them all over her lap.
  • A.D., GG, NG, and I frantically gathered Reese's Pieces while J sat very still so as not to knock any more into the floor.
  • Dug through my purse in search of a Ziploc baggie to house the remaining Reese's Pieces.
  • Took pictures.
  • A.D. and I took turns looking for a familiar face every time we heard someone call our name. 
  • Chatted amongst ourselves.
  • Chatted with other people who were in the same theatre. (some we knew, some we didn't)
  • Looked at pictures. (apparently I'm not the only one that never clears off the memory card)
  • Facebooked with other people we knew who were in different theatres. 
  • Facebooked with each other. (Don't judge, sometimes an lol is just better than actually lol'ing)
  • Discussed the joy and happiness of a Coke Icee. (not to be confused with a slush puppy, aka: a slurpy dog)
  • Discovered that K had never experienced the joy and happiness of a Coke Icee. (Apparently they do not have these in Canada.)
  • Took K to the concession stand to purchase the joy and happiness of a Coke Icee.
  • J shared her love and appreciation of the Dave Matthews Band with GG and NG.
  • NG dissed the Dave Matthews Band, J retaliated.
  • A.D. discreetly told me who the Dave Matthews Band was. (as I was unaware of their talent and abilities, but was ashamed afraid to admit that fact to J)
  • Checked on L to make sure he wasn't foaming at the mouth from some kind of estrogen induced anaphylactic shock. (He was fine.  He lives in a house full of females, he's built up quite a tolerance)
  • Discussed how A.D. had successfully smuggled a quesadilla into the theatre for supper.
  • And then contemplated what made her choose a quesadilla.  
  • Discussed the movie J. Edgar. (I didn't know who he was either, apparently I live under a rock)
  • L indiscreetly told me who J. Edgar Hoover was, I retaliated. 
  • Took our scheduled 11:30 pm bathroom break 15 minutes early.

Finally it was time!!  The lights began to dim, the theatre as a whole was warned to keep all cell phones/ filming devices put away or risk being removed, and the movie screen lit up.  Just as the Dolby surround sound began it's warm up K let out a war whoop that would have made Chief Sitting Bull proud, and was met with the applause of the theatre!

The movie was great!  I won't give any details, but if you're planning to see it stay through the credits.  There's a small scene at the very end you won't want to miss.

When the movie was over K went home, but the rest of us headed across town to IHOP for a really early breakfast.  Have you ever noticed that there's always one loud rowdy group that really should start winding down but is still drinking caffeine drinks and pumping their systems full of unneeded sugar?!?!  Yep, that was us!!  We were that crazy, over hyper, loud "hope they tip good and leave soon" group of yahoos.  We had a blast!!

At 4:30 am we arrived back home and immediately went to bed.  After grabbing a few hours sleep L went hunting, but the Girls and I lounged around the house all day in our pajamas discussing our night, speculating about the next movie, and planning our next Twilight Saga event.  You'd think we were fans or something!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Of A Different Kind

Last Friday was Veteran's Day.  Let me start by offering a most sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of the men and women who have ever served our country.  The service of an American soldier requires great sacrifice of themselves and their families, and for that they deserve our unfailing support and appreciation.  I'm a firm believer that if you don't stand behind our soldiers in support of them, then you can stand in front of them while you protest!!

Here's a very young L looking all handsome in his uniform.  In addition to those compass reading skills I mentioned in an earlier post, you can read about that here,  the Air Force also trained L as an aircraft mechanic.  That training has served him well over the years.  He very rarely encounters anything with an engine that he can't fix.

(L's on the rt)

November 11th also happens to be my grandparents anniversary.  This year they celebrated their 61st year of marriage.  No that isn't a typo, they were married on November 11, 1950, my grandfather was 22 and my grandmother 18.  Because of their commitment to the vows they took "for better or for worse" "until death we do part" and due to the blessing of great health for most of those years and still relatively good health for the last few years, together they still remain.

Note: There was a party for their 25th anniversary.  But since I missed it, by two years, I can't write about it.  And yes I know I just dated myself, but I'm still going to make you do the math.

For their 50th Anniversary we partied.  My mother and aunts recreated the dress my grandmother was married in and then made two mini versions of the dress for GG and NG to wear.  They then made each of themselves and me a same but different dress.  (I'd like to say I helped, but remember those skills I've mentioned never having inherited learned? Well sewing is another one of those skills.)  We dressed up the men, ordered cake (no ice cream but we did have mints, nuts, and punch), invited basically everyone my grandparents had any contact with in the past 50 years, and celebrated.

 Eleven years later my grandparents don't party like they used too, so my mother and aunts decided we would just gather at their house with supper.  My mother would bring chicken from KFC (one of my grandparents favorite treats), my aunts would do all of the side dishes, and I was assigned cake and drinks.  Obviously once I was assigned cake the ice cream was implied, who eats cake without ice cream?!?!

I went by Rick's Bakery for the cake.  When I dictated what the cake should say the woman repeated it back to be certain she had heard correctly, after all it's hard to correct typo's when they're written in cake icing.  "Yep, that's right!  Happy 61st Anniversary.  That's with a 6 and a 1." 

We all showed up with our assigned dish to have supper and help them celebrate.  When I arrived I found that my uncle B, unaware that I had been assigned the task, had also picked up a cake and ice cream.  That's alright!  My uncle B is aware of the fact that it isn't a party without cake and it isn't cake without ice cream.  We think alike that way sometimes.

So what can a couple accomplish in 61 years together you might ask?  Well here's their legacy.  They have 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 2 granddaughters, 4 grandsons, 2 great granddaughters, 2 great grandsons, 1 grandson- in law, and 1 granddaughter-in-law.  Over the last 61 years they have raised children, chickens, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, ducks, and crops (to name a few).  They have built barns, houses, chicken houses,  and fence (to name a few).  They have cut and baled hay, cut and hauled wood, and swathed and combined (to name a few).  Regardless of what the job was if it needed done they did it.  They might not have always been working side by side, but they were always working together and in unison toward the same goals.  That is the accomplishment of a lifetime, together

God has blessed them to still have each other, and He has blessed all of us to still have them both.  God willing we'll do it again next year: same time, same place.  I'll bring the cake (and the ice cream)!

Is That A Typo?!?!

Nope, not a typo folks!  My grandparents really have been married 61 years!!  You can read more about it here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Recovering From The Vitrectomy: AKA 14 Days Of Feet and Floor

Remember Fluffy?  Here he is still being brave!

Here's a quick recap.  NG was diagnosed with Morning Glory Disc Anomaly Coloboma aka Morning Glory Syndrome in January 2008.  We spent six months trying to regain some of her sight before deciding to proceed with the vitrectomy surgery to try and correct the detached retina in her right eye.  You can read about all of that here.

We left the surgery center and took NG to the house to feed her the requested meal of macaroni and cheese and begin the Iknowitsawfulrightnowbutitwillallbeworthitintheendyouonlyhave_moredaystogo two week recovery.

Here are some facts we learned about recovering from a vitrectomy.
  • a massage table and a face down lounge chair are priceless.
  • straws are necessary, you can't drink anything while remaining face down without a straw.
  • a portable DVD player is another must have.
  • it is possible to braid hair upside down.
  • it is possible to shop while remaining face down, shoe shopping is recommended.
  • people give you nasty looks when you take your child to Wal-Mart and refuse to let her lift her head, I suspect more than one person considered calling Children's Services.
  • tape, regardless of how gently, will eventually tear the skin on the face. So we quit taping her eye patch on at night and began holding it in place with a terry cloth headband we secured with a bobby pin.
  • the only way to keep a child from rolling over in her sleep (and rolling off the massage table) is to tie her to it.  So that's what I did, using blankets.
  • a man from our church made NG a special table.  She was able to look through the hole in the table top and work on her project on the shelf below.  His daughters painted and decorated it for her.  We still have that table and can't think of a single thing to do with it but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. 
  • as a parent I found allowing NG to have an extremely sweet snack extremely late at night to be a perfectly acceptable practice basically everyday she was required to be face down.
  • it was easier for NG to remember to stay face down while walking or eating when she had something to focus on.  I started putting stickers on her feet and either on the table or the floor depending on where she was.
  • it's hard to wash hair while remaining face down, but not impossible.
  • it doesn't matter how many games, movies, puzzle, or activities there are, two weeks face down still makes for a miserable two weeks.
So what did we do while NG wasn't allowed an upward glance?  We found ways to entertain her and ourselves.

We took time to visit her:

 She rested.

Since NG couldn't lift her head to watch the television she watched movies on the portable DVD player and someone usually watched with her.

She painted outside.

This is the table I mentioned.  Isn't that cool?

And she painted inside too!

She helped wash the cars

and the dogs.

We decorated the driveway


and we decorated our own wrapping paper.

There was play dough,

word searches,


jewelry making,


car mechanicing,

and game playing.

Looking back through 18 rolls of film there are exactly 3 pictures of NG with her head up enough to see her face.


At the end of two very long weeks we went back to see Dr. Bradford.  NG's vision was significantly improved and after examining her eye he said it appeared that the retina had reattached.  Since we would need to continue with the eye drops to keep her eye dilated she would need to wear sunglasses at all times, but she was now allowed to raise her head.  Joy!!

How did she celebrate being able to lift her head after two long weeks?  She teamed up with her cousin Z against GG and Z's wife T for a bouncy ball fight in the hallway!

Yep, that's right.  After spending two weeks forcing her to keep her head down not only did I allow her to participate in the "Great Bouncy Ball Fight of 2008", but I also took pictures.  Well I almost had "Mommy of the Year"!

NG's vision continued to improve over the next year.  She is currently on an every 4 month appointment schedule with Dr. Bradford.  Her near vision is actually pretty good considering, and her distance vision is decent.  Morning Glory Syndrome has required NG to make some adjustments, as have we, but we've learned to live with this new normal.  We've been told that she will never have great sight, but at this time Dr. Bradford believes she will always have sight.  For that we are so thankful!