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Monday, March 31, 2014

Fire Department field trip

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We belong to a homeschooling co-op. We get together twice a month. We try to do a field trip activity for one of our get togethers. This month I was in charge of getting the field trip, so I arranged for us to go to the fire department. It was a very cool field trip! Charlie was our volunteer fireman that showed us around and educated us. We got to try on a fireman jacket, which was heavy. We also used walkie talkies to go on a scavenger hunt for hidden stickers. He showed us some of the different tools they use and let us go inside a fire truck. For the big finale he turned on the fire hose and let all the kids get a chance at turning it on and spraying at a roadside A-frame warning barrier to knock it down, then they got to turn the knob to make the spray into what the firemen called a shield. We had so much fun!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

A Memorable Birthday Dinner For Steve


Steve recently celebrated his 37th birthday at the beginning of this month. His parents came into town for a few days and helped us celebrate with him.  We had a birthday dinner on Sunday.  Later, my mom and Geoff joined us all for warm apple pie and ice cream for dessert. Pie is one of Steve's favorite desserts and pie à la mode is especially tantalizing. He was one happy camper.
Steve got to have his parents come up for his birthday as a surprise present. They also brought with them some chocolate covered toffee as well as coconut milk for the special birthday dinner that his mom made.
It was nice to gather around the table for such a tasty meal with Steve's parents. 
The soup Steve's mom made was a recipe that Steve's brother, Matt, helped her to create over the phone while he was in Cambodia.  It has a lot of delicious Asian flavors, made with chicken base and coconut milk as the stock flavored with Ginger and a squeeze of lime, and also cut up veggies including diced cooked yam. The soup is delicious. Our family enjoyed it very much. Steve's mom also took it to a church gathering and won second prize. So we're going to call the soup "Mom and Matt's Award-Winning Cambodian Yam Soup."
We served it with broiled asparagus, rice, and freshly sliced pineapple.
Lily and Amara set the table for the occasion. They love creating a beautiful place setting.

What a way to celebrate such a great guy. We sure love you Steve!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happy Heart

Today I had a follow up appointment with my cardiologist. I have p.o.t.s and non sustained ventricular tachycardia. I've had it for over 2 years now. So, that means I've had to make some changes in my life and be patient with the symptoms and my medical doctors as we figure out together the best way to alleviate my ills. I've tried a few heavy pharmaceuticals, to no avail. I changed my diet & lifestyle (I've had to say no to chocolate , sugar, natural sugars, artificial sweeteners, eat more vegetables, load up on salt and water, and eat 5 small meals rather than three large ones each day, and also forego exercise) which perhaps has helped some.
To be quite honest, the only thing I know for certain has worked is prayer.  God has been good to me. I know he has a purpose for allowing me to go through this trial in life. He hasn't taken this sickness from me (yet- but I know he will in his own time), but he has given me strength when I've needed it, he has allowed me to function and be able to attend church and family events, he has even lightened my load and strengthened me to be able to deal with things. I've received miracles as He has mercifully relieved me of some of my symptoms completely the instant I asked. I have seen his hand in my life and he has worked miracles in my behalf, and I cannot deny that his power is real and does heal.
Through my ordeal I've been learning that I did not have the kind of patience that I thought I did. I am learning patience. I can also say that I have gained an amount of self-mastery that I probably would not have valued enough to make the life change otherwise. What I mean by that is my emotions, like those times when I am passionately angry, cause me to physically suffer. I get sick, weak, dizzy, numb, shaky, difficulty breathing, and probably heart issues. So, and I'm not perfect at this, I am still learning, but I have learned to reel in my emotions and make a conscious decision about how I will react in certain situations.  Most things are not worth getting angry over. I have also developed a great of gratitude for having health and energy to do normal daily tasks. I realize more now that our lives are fragile and God is in charge.
So, getting back to today, I felt nauseous this morning and weak and shaky at times, but God blessed me to be able to feel well enough to get to my appointment to see the cardiologist.  And I probably should clarify that when I say I felt well enough to go, I mean that I felt fine, like a normal, I'm-not-sick kind of person would feel. That's probably why most people don't realize that there's anything wrong with me. I can feel normal sometimes, make that many times, and those are probably the times that the public sees me. But if you live with me or are close to me, you know that I have my moments pretty much daily, and I get through them.
All this being said, the purpose for my post today is gratitude to God. You see, when I went to the cardiologist he was pleased with my progress concerning the nonsustained ventricular tachycardia, and he has approved me to do light-weight exercise and I can even eat honey and organic maple syrup in moderation! This is huge for me! Huge!!!
So let it be known around the world that our struggles amount to something, and there is always hope. Can I get an amen?

Monday, March 17, 2014

U-Swirl Goodness

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We went on a little vacation to American Fork. While there are family took a trip to the local U-swirl. U-swirl is great! They have several flavors of frozen yogurt, soft-served, that you can top with a treasure trove of delectable goodies.

Steve made his treat clean and simple, only topping his yogurt with those "water balloon thingies," as Amara calls them.

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Both Amara and Lily got Reese's Peanut Butter cup frozen yogurt. Amara mixed her's with chocolate and put tons of different candies and cookies on top and finished it off with a squirt of whipped cream and a cherry on top. You can just see the joy in her eyes at her masterpiece of a treat.
Lily topped her's with chunks of Reese's peanut butter cups, and an Oreo, and whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. Lily ate her dessert  in true Lily fashion, that is to say, savoring every bite and taking her time. She took three times as long to finish her treat then everybody else. I remember even as a baby, Lily would take what seemed like forever to eat. When I would sit down to nurse her I knew I would be there 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Its really is just how Lily takes in the good things of life.

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And while Lily finished eating, everyone just relaxed and watched the TV. I love this next shot of Amara with her dad. One of the perks of having cold frozen desserts is the snuggles that come afterwards.

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And lastly, but not leastly, there was my dessert.  Although I can't have much in the way of sugar, artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, fat, and the like, I still was able to make my own little dessert of sliced strawberries and diced mango with a sprinkle of granola and a squirt of whipped cream. Oh yeah, and a few sprinkles just for looks. It was nice to have something sweet along with everyone else.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Dear Valentine

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I doubt many husbands started Valentines Day the way mine did. Close to 2 in the morning my dysautonomia and heart arrhythmia decided to rudely disturb my slumber. Basically I woke up gasping for air and anytime I would try to fall asleep I would end up not being able to breathe again. That sent my heart arrhythmia and POTS (that's postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome for those of you that don't know) into crazy mode. The last time this happened was about a year ago and I ended up in the ER wondering if I was having a heart attack only to be sent home wearing a heart monitor and have it return back with the reading of a normal healthy person. Come to find out from my cardiologist, what I went through was not life threatening and he told me if it were to happen again to just get up and walk around for 10 minutes and it will go away. If it doesn't, then call his office. So, remembering his advice on this very early morning, I got out of bed and tried to walk around the house only to start feeling quite nauseous, dizzy, weak, and faint, so I woke up my husband using what little breath I had and I asked him if he could help walk me around. Without hesitation, without complaint, without looking at the time, he got out of bed, more like stumbled out of bed, put his arm around me and began to walk me around the house. My heart raced on like it was going to win a marathon, I was so tired, and felt like I might throw up, but with the support of my husband walking by my side, step by repetitive step, just having his strength near calmed my nerves and my heart went back to normal. I sat down and Steve sat down too. He then gave me a gift that not all husbands can give to their wives. He gave me a priesthood blessing. Therein lies an account of true love.

We were both very tired and went back to bed eventually. I knew when the sun rose I would be able to take it easy and sleep in if I needed to, or take a nap later, but my dear husband had to get up early and go to work.   And still not a word of sleep deprivation complaint. Bless him!

We both went about our days and when he returned home, we got to go to our ward's Valentine's Day couples dinner that I had been looking forward to for weeks. God blessed me to feel well enough to attend with my husband. We had a wonderful night with friends from our ward.  I truly have the most wonderful eternal Valentine!

The photos in this post are from the Valentine's Day dinner at our church.

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