Friday, November 28, 2008

Apnea Monitors & Other Things

We arrived in Scott City Wednesday evening to enjoy Thanksgiving with Jason's family (who are my family as well, of course). The first night was a bit rough as we all stayed up too late talking and then Haven not only coughed and hacked all night, but also had two bradycardia alarms and one wakeful period which I utilized to give her an extra breathing treatment. I got to sleep in the next morning...gotta love grandma's house. But, before nine o'clock, Haven's apnea monitor quit working. It wouldn't register her heart rate or respirations and then alarmed "disconnect." We have frequent disconnect alarms, so I checked everything, making sure all was connected properly, and tried again. Same scenario.
We have had frequent issues with the patient cable of our monitor. A patient cable seems to last anywhere from three weeks to three months, then goes "bad." When a patient cable goes bad it registers as a disconnect. Although we had just put a new cable on a few days ago, I was sure that's what it was. Unfortunately, we were out of state AND it was Thanksgiving day.
I called the local hospital first. I thought maybe they had a patient cable I could bum off of them. Nope, of course they didn't. Silly me! Their respiratory therapist said that it was the obligation of our medical supply provider to either get us another one or work it out with a local company to get us one. Obviously he's never tried to deal with our medical supply provider! I called them next, just to get it over with, even though I knew they'd prove to be a dead end. I ended up having to call 3 different numbers before I got someone who knew who to call. She said that she would call the specialist on call, then called me right back and told me that the specialist was in the bathtub and that I should call her in ten minutes. After she gave me that number, we hung up. Next, I called my sister -in-law who is a nurse in Topeka, KS and gave her my sob story. She checked with the respiratory therapist at her hospital who recommended a couple of companies and told us that our doc would have to call in orders if we went with a new company.
My next call was to doc to see what he thought. I was hoping maybe he'd say that it was no big deal for her to go without a monitor for a few days since Haven hardly ever has actual apnea episodes any more. No dice. He did think it was a big deal and told us that if we got information for him he'd call in orders.
Since I'd given the on-call chick plenty of time to finish up her bath, I went ahead and gave her a call. Of course, her phone was turned off and went right to voice mail. Unfortunately, her voice mailbox was full and she couldn't accept any messages. By this point I was so mad I was near tears. I KNOW it's Thanksgiving. I wish our crappy, 17 year old monitor was still functioning, but since it WASN'T, I needed help and just wasn't getting any. I called again and got her the second time. She said she didn't think there was anything she could do, but she'd call her boss. Addy sat next to Haven's crib while she took her morning nap and watched her breathe.
Mr. Boss man called me and was very nice, if not very helpful. He explained to me that I should have brought extra everything with me because nothing was going to be open on Thanksgiving and their couriers only traveled in state. Obviously I am an idiot. What was I thinking, assuming that the brand new, three day old cord would last through the extended weekend? His hands were tied, he explained, but they'd get me a new cord on Monday. Oh, I understand, it's not YOUR problem if my baby stops breathing! I know it's Thanksgiving, people, and I hate to interrupt your holiday, but I'd really like my baby to live through it! And, by the way, don't bother to send us anything, because as soon as we get home we'll be transferring to another home health company, thank you very much!
Next, I called the hospital in a nearby town and discussed my problem with the respiratory therapist there. He said he needed to make a few phone calls and would call me back. It only took him about ten minutes to call back with the bad news...our insurance company would not pay for both monitors even though one was faulty (rental is @ $10.00 a day). He'd left a message with his superior to see if they could loan us one gratis. The next phone call was the one we'd been waiting for! The mother of one of my high school friends happened to be the superior he'd called and she was willing to lend us a monitor free of charge as long as we'd send it back Monday.
WHEW!!! Within two hours she was at the house, helping us hook Haven up to another monitor! God is so good...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving this year was just as Thanksgiving should be. Driving in the car for hours with a cranky baby, getting to bed WAY later than we should've, nobody sleeping well away from home, apnea monitor mishap causing me to spend the better part of the morning on the phone with home health equipment companies in three states, family converging on Grandma's house, laughing 'til we cried, eating 'til we couldn't move, cleaning it all up just in time to reheat for supper, kids falling asleep on the floor, coffee and chat. All is right in the world.
And, yet, how much time did I really spend being thankful to God for all He has given me? The new van that we drove here in, the cranky baby who we are so blessed to have, family to keep us up visiting, beds to sleep in even though we are away from home, having an apnea monitor to use gratis until we can get home, family, laughter, food, fun, fellowship. So much that cannot even be mentioned since I owe him every breath I take.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


About 8 months ago, Peggy VanDorn gave Haddon a new creepy, crawly pet (which are his favorite kind). It was a dusty, half-dead salamander in a cup. Haddon carefully cleaned him off and put him in a little plastic habitat that was formerly used to house hermit crabs. In the following weeks, Haddon learned everything he could about his salamander from books and the internet. He named his barred tiger salamander (I'm not kidding, that kid did his research) "Drifter," which I thought was a pretty good salamander name. He learned that Drifter was not aquatic (oops) and bought him a fish tank, wood chips, and an artificial log at the pet store so that he could have a bigger and more natural environment. He dug worms to feed Drifter and supplemented them with vitamin covered flies (also from the pet store).
Haddon is a very good creepy, crawly pet owner. He loves all things slimy. He took very good care of Drifter. He was absolutely devastated tonight to find that Drifter had passed away sometime this evening. Poor Haddon cried and cried. He loved that salamander. He laid in his bed and cried until 10:30 which is when I usually let Snickers in for bed. He finally fell asleep with his little arm around his dog.
It still surprises me sometimes how tender hearted my all-boy son is. How do you fall so in love with a pet that you can't even cuddle with? But, he did. And I know he will miss Drifter. I'll miss Drifter, too! Imagine a pet that doesn't make a mess, is absolutely silent and odorless, and can be completely cared for by an 8 year old boy...pretty darn near perfect as far as pets go. Sure, he wasn't cute and cuddly, but Drifter never once tipped over the trash can, pulled undies out of the hamper to chew on, or pooped on my floor. I asked Haddon if he'd want another salamander, but he says he thinks he'd like a frog now.

Friday, November 21, 2008


My big girls and I attended the 12:01 showing of Twilight last night. We stood in line for 20 minutes, shivering, waiting for advance ticket holders to be let in. The mood in line was absolutely giddy! We sat in the theater munching on popcorn, discussing the Twilight series, and being threatened repeatedly about cell phone usage during the film. Finally, the previews began 45 minutes after we arrived.
You know, MTV didn't have to make a great movie for Twilight fans to be happy, they only had to make a mediocre film...unfortunately, they made a truly awful movie! The acting was so sub-par that we often found ourselves laughing during critical, supposedly intense scenes. Many of the lines were so canned as to be almost unbelievably bad. My favorite character was Jasper...he didn't say two words the whole movie!
The special effects were ridiculously bad as well. At one point, Edward is running through the forest with Bella on his back and we can see that though his legs are peddling furiously, his feet aren't actually touching the ground. The vampires are supposed to have luminescent skin that has a prismatic effect in direct sunlight. But when Edward showed Bella this phenomenon, it looked as if a make up person simply sprayed him with glitter spray.
The fight scenes were silly. When the coven of vampires assumes their fighting stance, they actually swayed back and forth like ghouls or something. It was embarrassing to watch. I was also appalled by the scene of Carlisle biting Edward's neck...I'd rather not comment further, that's how awful it was. But, possibly, the worst scene was Edward sucking the venom out of Bella's arm. He looked as if he was sucking a REALLY thick milk shake out of a straw and experiencing brain freeze at the same time.
The atmosphere leaving the theater was quite different than it had been when we entered. People were laughing as they recalled the worst parts of the movie and mimicking the badly delivered lines. Keep in mind that the audience wasn't full of film critics, but (mostly teenage) Twilight fans who LOVE the books. My advice? Skip the movie, but read the books!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dancing Queen

Hannah and I (and Susie & Arin, too) spent the weekend in Albuquerque at the Dance Masters of America Chapter 35 regional dance competition. We had an amazing time...I can't remember the last time I laughed so much! I am thankful that Hannah has such good friends who are genuinely good girls. All three were a delight to be with.
Hannah has been saying that she wanted to be a ballerina since she was two years old. She started dance lessons in kindergarten, a Christmas gift from Grammy(the gift that keeps on giving). We attended her first dance competition when she was 7 years old. I remember so distinctly watching Hannah dance on stage at that first DMA competition and being so proud and frightened I could cry. She looked terrified, but she did it!
Through years of competitions, I sat nervously and watched her perform, knowing that as much as she loves to dance, doing it in front of people is really difficult for her. After the little girls went, we would watch in awe as the big girls leaped and spun knitting technique and emotion into a work of art. Hannah has always longed to be better than she was. She's wished we lived in an area where she could attend a real dance school where she could devote hours and hours a week to dance. She's cursed her genetics and cried with jealousy over girls with so much natural talent and without a good work ethic. She has danced through aches and pains, sprains, blisters that would make grown men cry. She has danced instead of playing soccer, basketball, or even hanging out with friends. She has worked hard and been so hard on herself that it has made both of us cry. She's been so frustrated that she's wanted to quit, but couldn't give up on her desire to be a dancer.
As I watched Hannah this weekend, I overheard some little girls and their moms oohing and aahing over her dance. It suddenly hit me that now MY daughter was the big girl that was amazing the audience. I watched her through new eyes at that point. Instead of nerves, I was filled with joy, pride, and amazement...not exactly sure when this transformation took place. She has become an artist on the stage. Instead of fear, her face portrays the emotions of the music as her body twists and spins and stretches and flies. Though she doesn't realize it and is still her own harshest critic, my little girl has grown into a ballerina.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Putting Other Churches to Shame

Our church LOVES their pastor! Lucky for me, their pastor also happens to be my husband! We have been at Lincoln Avenue for 11 1/2 years...which in preacher years is like 50 or something. The average length of time that pastors stay in a church is right around 3 years. So, as you can see, we are ANCIENT for church leadership. Let me not be mistaken, this longevity is due to our church's distinct, unique personality and not due to any attribute of Jason. Jason is only the second pastor that LABC has ever had! Their previous pastor also stayed for many years.
Lincoln takes such good care of us. The people feel like family and I think they see us as family, too. In the 11 1/2 years that Jason has led this flock, no one has ever come gunning for him. Unfortunately, that is an anomaly in Christian churches. Lincoln Avenue is special.
Last night our wonderful church surprised us with a pastor appreciation gift. Surprised is probably an understatement...they astounded us with their gift. The church gave us a van! They knew our current van was limping along. We were going to try to find a replacement by May. Our gracious church family found one for us!
I don't know what most churches do for their pastors for pastor appreciation, but I have no doubt that LABC is unparallelled in that area! I know too many pastors whose churches don't even acknowledge pastor appreciation month.
We took our van out for a little spin last night and Haddon said, "God is so good to us." He's right. Praise God for leading us to Lincoln and letting Jason pastor such a wonderful flock. If you didn't let your pastor know that you appreciated him last month, it's not too late. Send him a card, give him a call, take him to an instrument of God's blessing in his life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hurricane Haven

Haven was a virtual hurricane yesterday as she played around the school. She left a trail of destruction in her wake. After leaving a box of rubber bands (500 rubber bands, no less) strewn about my office floor, she moved on to the supply cabinet just outside of my office door. Once she cleared it of manila folders, she made her way to the shelving down the hall. There she opened a box of spiral binding spines and took them out one by one. She busied herself whacking each one on the shelf, the wall, the floor, and her head before discarding it and moving onto the next. It took her nearly half an hour to get through the box (there were 100), but then she was on to the classrooms. She joined the kindergarten first where she found the kids doing "stations" and helped Jakob and Avery build with blocks. Actually, I'm pretty sure she just did demolition, but they didn't complain. After that, she moved on into Mrs. Waddel's classroom. I'm not sure what she did in there, but I hope Haddon cleaned up after her! Next she crossed the hall and roamed back my direction, but got distracted by the preschoolers doing their thing. She joined their class for a while until Mrs. C discovered that she was actually eating the freshly glued glitter off of their art projects and put them up. (Yep, she had sparkly poop last night!) Not to be discouraged from her reign of destruction, Haven moved on to the teacher's lounge where she proceeded to unload the arts and crafts supplies. Finally, she wore herself out and called, "Momma! Momma!" She almost dove for her crib and slept for 2 1/2 hours.
Where was I during all of this? Mostly in my office, but also making frequent trips to ascertain the extent of damage she was causing and monitor her safety. It was the first time in two weeks that she actually played! I was so happy to follow her path of debris and clean it up...what a small price to pay for having a healthy, happy, active baby!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ode to Coffee! Is there a better way to start the day? I love almost everything about coffee. The warmth, the smell, the taste, the caffeine (caffeine is our friend). Ahhh! Just a moment, I need to add to my cup! Coffee has been around for centuries and actually originated in Ethiopia. Coffee has played a major role in many cultures, both ancient and modern. It has been used in religious ceremonies, associated with political rebellion, the basis of economies, and the foundation of social circles.
There is a modern "coffee culture" in our nation. There are coffee snobs who will only drink certain brands of coffee or coffee prepared in certain ways. Coffee shops can be found popping up even in small towns and certain brands of coffee are nationally recognized! New ways of brewing coffee are being invented as we speak. The current trend in coffee equipment is single cup brewing so that one can always enjoy a freshly brewed cup.
I am NOT a coffee snob. I'll drink it hot, cold, iced, blended, naked, creamered, decaff, half-caff, full caff, from a mug, in a styrofoam cup, you name it! I crave it. I have a 6 cup a day habit (on an average day). It's my drug of choice and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm an addict.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It's not that I don't have the time to blog, lately, it's just that I can't think of anything interesting to say! You can imagine with five children and a husband in the ministry things are pretty dull at my house (read with sarcasm). So, here are a few snippets of my past week or two...

*Avery is a political junkie at 5. She loves to talk politics and is pretty well informed even though she doesn't grasp many of the ins and outs of our political system (then again, neither do many voting age adults). This week she has been encouraging nearly everyone we meet to vote for McCain and not Obama because, "Obama thinks it's okay to kill babies and he went to that church where his pastor didn't even LIKE America!" I'm not sure if I'm sad or proud that she understands so much.
*I was getting Haven ready for a bath last night and she was pretty crabby and tired (we are still adjusting to the time change at our house). I decided to strip her down before running the water because she often gets invigorated just by being naked and I thought she might play for a bit while I prepped everything. She did. Unfortunately, she also pooped and peed on the living room floor!
*Haddon went to help Papa with milo harvest for a couple of days. He LOVES being with the men and doing manly tasks. He came home just full of confidence and oozing responsibility. My little boy is growing up pretty darn fast!
*I am getting REALLY tired of step aerobics. Maybe it's laziness...I just don't wanna go! When Haven gets over this sinus infection and starts sleeping well again, I think I'm just going to start getting up and running again. Better to torture myself in private without people woo-hooing and claiming they're having great fun???
*I've had a lot of STUFF to deal with at school. STUFF I never really thought I'd have to deal with here. It's probably my fault for admitting students who were questionable...but I always want to help! It's a fine line...trying to minister to kids who have problems while also trying to keep a great atmosphere at the school.
See, this is why I need to blog more just PILES up!