How can it be? Is it really the end? These fleeting thoughts keep running through my mind as I sit here procrastinating going to bed. But since I do have to report back to work tomorrow, I can't put if off too much longer. It's not like I haven't been to school already. I spend quite a few hours there over the summer. But tomorrow is when my time is no longer mine to do with as I please. It means reporting at 7:00 and having to actually care about the problems people want me to fix. I can't hide out anymore as they will expect me to have my radio and respond to their calls. And all I can think about is how much I would rather be at home with my boys. Too bad that wouldn't pay the bills :(
I am posting this from inside Justin's hospital room. If you would have told me on Mothers Day that this is were I would be in a weeks time, I don't think I would have believed it. Other than a fading bump on my little boys head, everything was status quo. But that world got turned on its head this past Tuesday when we rushed Justin to the ER for pain in his leg.
Let me try to give the short version of events-
Tuesday night around 9:00 Justin laid down for bed and got a charlie horse like cramp in his leg. So he got out of bed to try and stretch it out. When that didn't work he went downstairs to put some heat on it. He even tried a cold compress when the heat didn't work. The fact that the pain was getting more intense and creeping up his leg, caused him to think it was a little more than a bad cramp. It got so bad he was basically writhing in pain and his leg was going numb. At that point we called an ambulance, since I knew there was no way I could get him out to the car. And I think that might have been the best decision of the night.
When we got him to the ER they were worried about the pain, but they were more worried about his Oxygen levels and the fact that they could not get a pulse in his foot. We were probably only there about half an hour before they were taking him for an ultrasound. The results of that ultrasound started us on the path to where we are now. Basically they found a clot in a vein in his left leg, an arterial clot in his right leg, and multiple Pulmonary Embolisms or clots in his lungs. Clots are bad enough, but the extent of his clotting and the different systems they were finding them in had them very worried, as the only way for a clot to travel between the two systems, is between the two sides of the heart.
At about 10:00 they took him in for a CAT scan to try and get a better idea of what the clot in the right leg was doing. What they found was a clot that ran from his knee to his groin. When they saw the extent of the clot it was full stream ahead. They immediately called me in to sign another form allowing for the insertion of a filter that would be placed on a vein in the abdomen to catch any other clots. Then it was straight up to the ICU unit for a barrage of tests, blood draws, and doctors coming in and out of the room. All of which could not believe they were dealing with a 35 year old male who was a non-smoker.
They scheduled his embolectomy (clot removal) for 6:00 Wednesday evening. And between entering the ICU and 4:45 when they wheeled him down to the OR to prepare for surgery, we didn't have more than 10 minutes of down time- just enough to give him a blessing. Dr. Donahue performed the surgery, and she was amazing. I really liked her and all the nurses sang high praises of her abilities. It took about 2 hours for the surgery to complete. And there might not have been two longer hours in my life. If you have ever had to wait for someone to get out of surgery you know that feeling!
And the knot that appeared when the nurse came out didn't dissipate until she confirmed that the surgery to remove the clot was a success. She moved us up to a waiting room on the 4th floor where we waited for the doctor and the time when we would be able to see him.
The surgeon came by at about 8:15 or so, and reiterated that the surgery had been a success, but also gave me another dose of bad news. During the surgery they had performed a TEE - which is basically a scope down the esophagus to take a better look at the heart- in this case they were looking for a hole in the heart- something that would have allowed the clots through the heart and into the artery. During the TEE, they found what they were looking for- a hole in the septum wall. She gave us a few different scenarios of what could happen next, and that was it. I was faced with the statement that he had a hole in his heart and not much more information to go on. It was a long night!!
What's worse is I still had to wait two more agonizing hours before they allowed me to even see him. And even then he was still being sedated and was on a ventilator. (that is a scene I really have no desire to see again) It wasn't supposed to take that long, but I guess Justin woke up out of sedation when he wasn't supposed to. It took quite a few of the nurses to stop him from pulling out his own tube!
They didn't take Justin off the ventilator until about noon on Thursday - but I feel lucky it is out. As one of the nurses mentioned that many people who have the extent of PE's or clots in the lungs that he had can sometimes be left on a ventilator for weeks as their lungs work to dissolve the clots and come back up to full working strength.
After that point we just started moving forward with his recuperation. He was able to get up out of the bed and do a small lap on Friday, and then a larger lap on Saturday. They even started him on a dose of coumadin (a blood thinner) on Friday night. So we started planning for discharge in 3-5 days. That was until we saw the cardiologist yesterday. Now we are preparing for another procedure tomorrow. One that will be used to fix the PFO in Justin's heart.
It has been a whirlwind of emotions. And an exhausting trip. But I am feeling very blessed to still have Justin here with me, and am hoping and praying that tomorrows procedure will go without incident. The idea of them working on his heart, freaks me out more than I want to admit.
So I think telling myself I am going to catch up on the blog is never going to happen. The past six months might never make it on the blog. But instead of thinking I need to go back and catch up, I am just going to start fresh. It's a new year, so I think it is the perfect time!
Today is my last official day of break. And it wasn't until today that I thought about how much I should have gotten done at work. But since I didn't even pop my head in at work for the entire two weeks off, none of it got done. And you know what, I shouldn't have to go in on my break. I am going to have to find some time somewhere, as I have an entire lab causing grief, but that's something I can deal with on Monday. (I am not excited to go back to work! If only I didn't have bills to pay and could stay home with my little man)
Our holidays were great. Lincoln had a Skylander christmas. If you don't know about this video game, count yourself lucky. It is a total racket- and the little boys are loving it. At least my little boy is! It is just the right skill level for him and he loves all the guys he gets to collect and play with. After his visit form Santa he is the proud owner of skylander legos, sheets for his bed, the new Skylander Giants game, and even underwear! He was one excited little man. He is not going to be too happy to realize that come Monday morning, it is back to business as usual- which means no video games before school. (He has been getting up and playing first thing in the morning)
I am going to warn you know this is probably going to be a lengthy post. And before you start judging me, remember I only have one child, so I only get to plan one birthday party a year. And if I go a little or a lot overboard, that's because I start thinking about it months in advance. Anyway, with that said lets get started!
I found tons of ideas online about possible invitations, I took many of the concepts and added a few of my own to come up with these. I put it all together in Photoshop. Awesome Aunt Rina took Lincoln around to the homes that were close and the rest we sent in the mail. Lincoln wanted to delivery them all by himself, so he was the one who went up to the doors and knocked for his friends.
This was a hard area to narrow down as I found tons of ideas online and came up with many others on my own. Since he was inviting so many friends, I knew we needed to utilize the backyard, but since it is so hot here, I knew any activities outside also needed to include water. (we have an above ground pool- but with that many smaller children- we opted not to use that feature. Instead I incorporated "water" games.
Since we were doing the whole Star Wars theme mixed in with Jedi Training, I decided it would be fun to tour the galaxy on our quest to become a Jedi and defeat the forces of evil. I went online and found pictures of each of the planets I was going to incorporate and then printed them off. I put these around in our main headquarters. I had someone choose a planet every time to change activities. After each activity/Jedi Training we would go back inside - to cool off as well as to choose a new task. I will give you a breakdown of each planet with its accompanying activity and of course pictures. :0)
Hoth: The Ice Planet
Activity: Free the Jedi
Task/Explanation: The Jedi need you, their base was attacked on the planet hoth and many of them were not able to escape before dark. Because of the extreme temperatures at night many of them became frozen in ice. It is your job to free them.
Basically, I found small little Star Wars characters and froze them in water placed in a throw away aluminum mini loaf pan. I froze a bottom layer of water and then added the character and more water. The guys sank but only as far as the bottom layer of ice, so the guys ended up frozen (mostly) in the middle of the block.
Each of the kids got a block of ice that they got to free their Jedi from. At first the kids thought maybe that would just lay them out in the sun, but then they discovered that throwing them to the ground was much more fun and much more effective!
Activity: Jedi Obstacle Course
Task/Explanation: Jedi must learn balance and coordination. They must also protect the galaxy from the forces of evil. You will make your way through the course and then grab a water balloon to defend your fellow Jedi from the tie fighters that are approaching your training center.
We set up an obstacle course- swamp and all in the backyard. The kids had to balance across the side wall, make their way up and over a ladder, through the swamp, up the playground and down the slide, under/through the tunnel, and then down the slip and slide. Once completed they could grab one water balloon and through it at a tie fighter ( "H's" drawn on the cement wall with sidewalk chalk)
If you squint really hard this will look like a tie fighter ;)
This is gross! I hate swamps...
I made it!
Activity: Storm Trooper Stomp
Task/Explanation: It has come to our attention that the storm trooper army is being built on the planet Kamino. We must travel to the planet and stop production.
This was an inside came, although it could have been done outside. We blew up 100+ white balloons and taped on an image of a storm trooper head. When it was time for the game, we dumped the balloons which had been stored in trash bags into the room. The kids were to jump and stomp on them to "pop" all the troopers. The only problem was, these balloons were tough to pop. Half the problem probably occurred because we didn't fill them completely up. But even Justin was able to step on one with both feet without it popping. So we had to revert to giving them "the force" or a small pin to pop those bad boys!
I've got him, well I think I've got him.
These Storm Troopers are tough!
Activity: Pod Racing
Task/Explanation: As jedi you must have quick reflexes. You are going to build your own pod racer and then race each other in the backyard.
We didn't actually have time to complete this game, but the premise was that the kids were going to build a pod racer and decorate it (I found nerf airplanes and stickers at the dollar store) Then they would have raced them in the backyard,
Activity: Cross the Lava
Task/Explanation: You must help the jedi collect water to use as they battle on the Lava planet, Mustafar. But in order to collect water you have to transfer it form one side of the lava fields to the other, without falling in.
We laid out some red plastic tablecloths to act as the lava. And then had cardboard "rocks" strategically placed throughout the lava fields. They had to jump from one rock to another. The fun part was they were carrying large cups of water across, so every time you jumped you lost water. (I had to make sure and tell them they had to do a bunny hop as they were loosing much water the other way and since the object was to get them wet, the bunny hop worked much better!)
Activity: Blaster Training
Task/Explanation- The ewoks are under attack. Use your blasters to locate and destroy the enemy (paper storm trooper heads hidden throughout the backyard)
The kids were each given a water gun. Their task was to locate the paper storm troopers and blast them with their water guns. This activity turned into a giant water gun fight- which was pretty much the point of it all. Although, I don't think Daddy was thinking he would be so out numbered!
Activity: Rescue the gunguns
Task/Explanation: The gungun city is under attack. The Imperial army dropped mines into their city. It is your task to try and collect as many as you can with one breath.
We didn't actually have time for this game either, but I purchased dive rings at the dollar store, and we were going to have kids dive into the pool one at a time to try and collect as many as they could.
Activity: Jedi, Jedi, Sith
Task/Explanation- Sometimes it is hard to tell who is good or evil. You will each take a turn to discover the sith among us.
For this game the premise is the same as Duck, Duck, Goose. Except, the person that is it is carrying a large glass of water. Every time they say Jedi, they dump a small amount if water on the players head, if they believe the person to be a Sith lord, they yell Sith and then dump the whole glass on their head and run away as fast as they can.
Activity: Star Wars Bingo and Thermal Detonator
Task/Explanation: This is our home base, here is where we learn about the force. This game will help us learn our who our fellow Jedi's are and know who the bad guys are as well.
We played this game first as we waited for all the guests to arrive. I made the Star Wars Bingo cards and then found some large glass beads at the dollar store to use as markers. You won by having 3 in a row and shouting out Star Wars. The winner received "Starbursts"!
We didn't have time for Thermal Detonator. But this was basically going to be a version of Hot Potato. Music would have been played, but instead of a potato it would have been a water balloon. If the water stopped while you were holding the detonator, you would get to throw it at someone.
Activity: Defeat the Death Star or Defeat Darth Vadar
For this one I had two activities planned. For defeat the Death Star, I had a black hamper with the Death star attached to it. The kids each had a Star Fighter ( which was actually a frisbee with a star fighter pictured attached to it) and the goal was going to be to throw the frisbee into the opening of the death star- like Luke had to do. But we didn't have time for this game as we actually had a real life Darth Vadar show up at the party.
I had the kids trying to learn to use their force on the garage door. They also took their light sabers with them (cheap dollar tree light sabers that they received when they arrived at teh party but that had been resting up till this point.) I told them that if they would all work together we just thought they might be able to force the door up. After a little bit of concentration, the door opened! Little did they know that their enemy was inside waiting to duel.
When the kids say Darth Vadar they went crazy! They pretty much all attacked him at once without anyone telling them to. I had to stop them for a second and get them into an orderly line so they could each have a chance fighting Vadar. Luckily Darth Vadar soon decided to join the forces of good and come inside and help them learn how to use the Light Saber. Each Padawan learner got a chance to work one on one with Vadar and of course take a picture.
Once Vadar proclaimed them masters, they received their Jedi Robes (which my awesome mother sewed together for me!) and we got to pose for one more picture with him before he had to catch his ship home.
Since we were having the party in the middle of the Day, we knew we would need to feed the hungry Padawan learners. Here was out mennu-
Darth Dogs - Hot dogs
Bobba Fett Buns - Hot Dog Buns
C3PO-tatoes - Potato Chips
Wookie Cookies - No Bake Cookies
Yoda Soda- 7up with Lime Sherbert
Jedi Juice - Capri-Suns
Ewok Treats- Strawberries
Vadar Veggies- Carrots, tomatoes, etc
Tribal Horns- Bugle Chips
Light Sabers- Pixie Stixs
Here are a few pictures of the spread
The Party Favors
I found black buckets at the dollar store and then attached a Star Wars logo I printed out on full sheet mailing labels. They matched perfectly and I was very happy! The buckets were stuffed with all kinds of things. Most of the stuff I found at the Dollar Tree, 99 cent store, Target Dollar section, etc. Some of my best finds were Star Wars playing cards, Star Wars Pez dispenser, Star Wars Notepads an pens we picked up at the Lego store in Downtown Disney. I also found Star Wars fruit snacks, crazy asteriod balls, and of course the frisbees.
And of course no party is complete without a cake, right!? I found the Darth Vadar wilton pan on eBay for a great price, considering some people were trying to sell it for 80+ dollars. I actually made a chocolate buttercream for the first time, as a top online said it would make the black frosting taste better. Which I must say was a great tip. The frosting was great. And if you have ever had black frosting before, you know how nasty it can be- since it take so much dye to get it black!
Anyway, sorry for the long post. But we had a blast at the party, and my brain is already wondering what he might want to do next year. I started planning for this party in November, so it's never too early in my book! ;)
You might want to sit down for this announcement, I still can't believe it myself but Lincoln is 5!! He has been counting down the days until his birthday. So there is no way he wasn't going to celebrate in style.
We started to day off with his five #5 pancakes. And he was able to eat all 5 of them! (Even though mom made a few bigger ones than she intended!)
He then got to spend the day with some of his preschool friends at summer camp! (Mommy is still working so this gave him something fun to do this week!)
After summer camp Aunt Rina took him to Red Robin and then to Chuck-e-Cheese. He loves to play there and it's at least a cool indoor place for the adults.
And finally he got to blow out some candles on his favorite ice cream- Cookies and Cream! He had a great day and is so excited to be five now. He has a lot of things planned for when he is 5! But for now he is just looking forward to his Star Wars birthday party on Saturday!
Okay, maybe it's just my boys- but they love fireworks. If Lincoln ever hears anything that even remotely sounds like a firework, he is out investigating. And since we are currently living right next to Canyon Gate (they have an agreement with their community to provide fireworks 4 times a year) we get to see them randomly throughout the year. But that doesn't seem to quench their need for fireworks. So we have a little tradition going, that we get to go buy fireworks out at the Indian reservation and then shoot them off ourselves. And these aren't your run of the mill fireworks, these are the bog mortars that shoot up in the sky and explode. And before you ask, we don't shoot them off in town- that's the illegal part. So instead we go out to the Dry Lake bed for our extravaganza!
We invite friends and family out to enjoy the show. So the kids get to play a little bit as they have a little bit of time to kill before it gets dark enough for the show. We also make sure to have food- I mean what's a get together without food. ;) And overall it is just a fun time. Sometimes I wonder who has more fun- the kids or the Dads!
Rachel had a little bit of car trouble on the way home, so we ended up stuffing all the children into out car. Can you see that they were all a little tired!
We spent the night up at Worthens cabin on Mount Charleston. It's always nice ot get away from town, even if is was just for a short time. We spent most of the night in the dark without electricty- there was an outage on the mountain. But with the glow sticks we brought the kids had plenty of fun, even without lights!
We woke up to a beautiful crisp morning. Just right for a little hard work. The residents/owners are now required to clear out the pine needles on their property. So we helped Grandpa out a little by putting the 13 kids to work. Even the littlest ones helped!