Sunday, August 26, 2012


Can we talk?

I suffer from an apparently incurable condition called lineupitis.  It runs strong in my family tree and is likely very much the reason why we were never taken to Disneyland as children.

Don't worry, I'm not bitter.  We got a trampoline instead.  

And then another year we got a hot tub  instead.

Basically there are number of very fun things my parents did for us and outfitted our home with instead of taking us to Disneyland and I am ok with that.

However, this condition basically makes it impossible for me to wait in line for any great lengths of time without developing hives or at least a very serious case of the heebee-jeebies.  Funny how spell-check doesn't think that's a word.  Because if you saw me in a lineup that had me waiting for more than 10 minutes, you'd know exactly what I was talking about.

So, here's the problem.  We're supposed to be popping south to visit some new, sure to be dear-life-long friends today.  

This is what the border lineup looks like right now.

It says it's a 50 minute wait.  Which means for reals it's at least and hour and 15 minutes.  

Considering my condition, it might kill me.

I'm hoping it's going to magically disappear in an hour when I "have to-have to" leave.  Forget a leisurely stroll through Costco before we land on their doorstep.  I'll be grabbing milk and cheese like I need to put out a housefire at this rate.

That didn't make sense. 

I'm fairly certain of this.  If the lineup doesn't dwindle, I'll have to bring snacks, and water, and probably a barf bag. Where is my medical kit?  I think I might be hyperventilating while just thinking about it.  Betcha didn't know one could do that and type at the same time, eh?

Sometimes I can't help but speak Canadian.  I have a heritage to protect, eh?

To my knowledge no-one in my lineage has ever attempted to do anything like this...and survived.

It's very possible that this might be my last blog post ever.  

Here's hoping that chocolate and a coffee are all that it takes, cause the company waiting on the other side is totally worth it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Right Brain Organized - Things I Love Thursday (TILT)

I have been accused of being organized before.  Mostly by people who don't know me well.

I am, by nature fairly free-spirited, spontaneous and also a titch forgetful.  I add that last one because my Mom reads my blog and I know she'd want me to admit to that for posterity.

Being free spirited gives me the freedom to share a "Things I Love Thursdays" post on a Wednesday  Tuesday (did I mention about he forgetful?!)  after not posting anything TILT-worthy for a month or more.

I love starting projects.  I'm even fairly good at finishing projects, right up until the point of clean-up. I create phenomenal messes when I do. Period.  Even my clean laundry piles are enormous.  I get a lot done and create a lot more work for myself while doing it.  The flip side is, it drives me nuts to live in my self-induced chaos.  I still am trying to figure that one out.

So, all of that to say, I find it funny when people tell me I'm organized.  I never feel that way, but, I will admit that living in spaces that were, until we moved to this house, very small considering the size of our life and then leaving the national average family size in our rear-view mirror and having five kids, and then choosing to homeschool them has sort of forced me to either enjoy the chaos I create (I don't) or to learn how to do something that doesn't come naturally to me at all (amazingly, in some cases, I have).

What was the point of this confessional again?

Oh right.  Anything I do that appears to be organized could be compared to someone learning to speak a second language.  I vote for German, because I'd love to learn how to say "Ich Liebe Dich" without it sounding like a threat.  It must be possible because German people continue to fall in love and have babies.

Sweet little German babies with appropriate names like Frederich and Lizel.  If I had a baby named Frederich I would sing to him all day long...High on a hill stood a lonely goatherd, lady-odle-lady-odle-lay-HE-WHO!.

Where were we? Babies?  Oh. Right. Organizational Metaphors. Carrying On.

I know  it when I hear it.  I can learn how to replicate the sounds and what it means, but it's never the language I speak in.  So, it is true, I have learned how to help myself be a little more organized.  It's not usually in a way that would make it into a "how to make things beautiful and pinterest worthy" book, but I've found those book are great for helping naturally organized people become more organized.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Below is one of my favourite things.  It's loud, not pretty, which fits me better than it should.  It hangs on the middle of the wall in my kitchen nook and screams everything I'm supposed to be doing each day.  But it works, and maybe some of you right-brain-random-abstract types might find it helps you too.  All of you linear-sequential people can just shake your heads and wonder how people like me manage to remember to breath.

I call it:  Big Fat Magnetic White Board Calendar with This is My Life Magnets.

Brevity is something I'm also working on, with much less success.

I got the calendar white board at Costco for $15 if memory serves.

It was a huge improvement from the calendar I kept forgetting to look at in my phone drawer.  However, I didn't love having to fill it in with the monotonous weekly events each month I had to re-do it.  Because not only am I not  truly organized, deep down, I'm a little lazy.

My laziness has been saved by these fantastic inventions.  Blank magnet sheets - available in both languages at an office supply store near you!

What you see above are the new additions needed for this school year.  I am still using a lot of what was printed off last year as well.  They sit in jumbled chaos on the left side of the calendar, where I am sure an organized person who do things like write out their grocery lists or favourite bible verses.  I just make a mess there, cause I can.

I made the magnets by creating a table in Microsoft word  with our regularly occurring events, colour coded them and then printed it off and cut them out. Yippee!

I still keep the large paper yearly calendar in my phone drawer and put things like appointments and upcoming birthdays etc, but each month I transfer it onto this bad boy and do a much better job of keeping track of my life.  As long as I remember to write everything down on it.

I'm working on it.  Ich leibe dich, Ich liebe dich....

What's something that helps you keep your life in order?  Share in the comments section or write about it on your blog and share the link here!

Monday, August 20, 2012

One Week Later

Here I sit, a little in disbelief that a whole week has passed since Tyson entered the world of gall-bladderless living.

It's been a good week.

The stress level here is definitely lower now that the big day has passed, and of course, it's all made easier by the fact that Tyson is doing so fantastically well.  Laparoscopic surgery has to be one of modern medicine's better miracles.  He hasn't even needed any type of painkillers or anything since we left the hospital the morning after the surgery. 

If they could just figure out how to deliver babies via laparoscopy, we'd all have it made. Not that I wish I was having another baby.  

At least not officially.  


We felt well prayed for - thank you for doing that.  

Tyson was an absolute trooper.  He was agreeable.  He was thankful.  He didn't complain once.

We made good time getting into Vancouver the morning of the surgery, and no matter when you arrive it's good to know that hospitals involve lots of waiting.  So we played a few rounds of Uno.  Lots of Tic-Tac-Toe.  And then the fun started.

And I don't mean the surgery.  Oh no.  There was still a good hour or more of waiting after all that preliminary weigh-in stuff happened.  But Tyson couldn't wait to wait.

I'd like to say it was because we are awesome parents who have trained our children, through our excellent example that being patient in all things is noble.  But that would be lying.

He couldn't wait to wait because he knew he could ask for a DS as soon as he was in the waiting area. Turns out they had DS's but no games in the OR waiting area.  But...he could play wii if he wanted.  

He wanted.

This is what I like to refer to as a side benefit of having an ogre for a mother.  By mother, I mean me, not my Mom.  She's way nicer than me.  I'm the ogre.  I say no a lot to gaming.  I think deep down he appreciates it because it makes gaming at the hospital so much more special.

He even made this face and let me take his picture.  
Pretend his face and not the rail at the back are in focus.  Thanks.

It's my favourite Tyson face.  I'm weird like that.

He chose to have Josh go into the OR with him.  They had talked lots about counting to 10 and suddenly falling asleep.  It was so cute, because the nurse assumed I would be going in with him, and so did I, because I am usually the one who does the hospital stuff with him, but this was a special day.  Josh was there. You could tell that he didn't want to hurt my feelings by saying he didn't want me there, but he thought it was awfully special to have Josh with him.  Don't worry, I'm not bitter.  I can't always be the favourite.

He fell asleep at "7", and then Josh and I waited.  And then my Mom joined us.  She's a champion wait-er.  She could give waiting lessons.  I love my Mom.  I want to be like her when I grow up.

Wait?  Does being married for 16 years and having five kids of your own mean you are already grown up?  


Dr. Butterworth came out one and a half long hours later and said everything went swimmingly.  The relief was palpable.  

Of course everything went well.  I never doubted it for a minute.

No, not for a minute. Instead I doubted it for months.  Silly me. But I'm better now.  Again, thanks for praying for me as much as you prayed for Tyson.  You are all great.

When he was in post-op the only time he would talk or answer the nurse's queries was when she offered him a frozen treat.  It was quite comical.  Every time he'd give me this look that said  "Am I allowed??? Really???" I acted like he was being silly and should know the answer because after all, I always give him multiple Popsicles in a day, in case the nurses were wondering.  I smiled and said "Of course you can!"

Once again I will point out there are benefits to denying your kids fun things most of the time.  

Now in terms of being favourited, at first I thought it was so sweet that Tyson wanted me and not Josh to stay with him for the night.  However, it turns out the hospital cots were designed by Satan himself, and are made to actually prevent sleep and magnify pain of any kind, so I'm not quite sure what to make of it. 

But if you ask Tyson, he had a great time.
More Tic-Tac-Toe with Gramma after surgery.
It's true that being given Popsicles at every turn helps.

Or a snack of cookies in the middle of the night because your nurse just thinks you are the sweetest thing ever, doesn't hurt either.

A few hours after the surgery with "Teddy"
And getting a new Lego set and stuffy from Gramma and Grampa, and lots of little crafty projects from us, well wishes sent from  near and far, plus a few more presents from friends and family thrown in for good measure...what's not to love about surgery?
On our way home the next morning.  That's my finger.  I was there too. 

This is Tyson 37 seconds after we got home.
And we would be remiss if we didn't thank the wonderful nurses, doctors and staff at Children's Hospital.  You are all amazing.  You instilled confidence in us every step of the way.  And aside from being really great at "doing surgery" I think Tyson would want you to know that you make really good popsicles.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Horses and Hospitals

I've been a little absent. Partly because it's been warm and sunny for days on end - which around here, we count days like that, well, by days - not months, or even seasons, so it doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging.

And then there's this little thing going on in our lives that's been messing with my emotional well-being.  Which is a nice way of saying, I feel loopy. Or I did feel loopy.  At the very least my writing is very disjointed and loopy.  But I'm okay with that now. I want to preserve the memory more than I care about my sentence structure right now. :) 

Tyson is having surgery in a few days  tomorrow, his gall bladder is going to be removed from his sweet little body because it's causing trouble.  Actually, it's his blood condition that's caused the trouble.  It's never really bothered me that he has a chronic condition/disease (spherocytosis, for the medically interested) .  It doesn't affect our lives too much except for regular check-ups at the hospital and the occasional trip to the lab for extra blood-work when he gets really sick.  Except for now, when it is starting to affect our lives. And I wish Tyson didn't have to go through all of this.  But he does.

And he's being such a trooper.  He is so trusting.  And so good at finding the silver lining in everything.  Tonight when I told him he wouldn't be able to eat till after his surgery tomorrow he was a little sad, but within a few seconds he and Keaton were in fits of laughter imagining all the barfing he would do if he did eat.  Keaton would ask Tyson question after question and Tyson's only hysterical answer was "Baaarf!"  followed by uncontrollable giggling.  This went on for a good five minutes - and they all went to bed smiling.

Tyson seems to be able to put it out of his mind for the most part.  He just wants to know we'll be there with him, and he's fine.  He's mentioned he's going to miss his siblings a bit, "but, Mom...when they give me the IV, do you think I can have a DS again?"   "I'm so glad I can have surgery tomorrow so this  can be over with, do you think in five days I can call Jackson Schulz and have him over?"  Oh Tyson.  I love you.

He makes me smile.  And he teaches me to relax and let go.  And I'm really trying.  But boy howdy is fear doing it's best to move in and set up shop.  I'm working on it.  And this week was better than last week. and by next week it will all be over.  So really, get over it, Karina.

Sheesh.  There are times that having a vivid imagination and being a titch dramatic come back to bite ya in the butt.

I can't control how I'm feeling.  I can't control that his body creates improper red blood cell membranes. (But boy, would I like to if I could.)  But I can control my response.  I can choose joy.  I can choose thankfulness.  I can do my best to "fly casual", even when it terrifies me.

My friend Karis likes to quote the great American philosopher John Wayne in circumstances like this:  "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway" I can do that.  Because fear is a dirty stinking liar, and I don't have to listen.

It's been good for me to realize how strongly my heart beats outside my body in each one of my kids.  I often wish I tended towards being more of a softy and less of a drill sergeant.  It's good to know there is a mushy Mama buried somewhere deep inside me. 

The other good thing is I have relied heavily on distraction techniques for myself over the past couple of weeks.  This means i distributed 7 1/2 yards on shiny new bark mulch in all the flower beds around our place.  They look smashing now.

We also squeezed in two weeks of swimming lessons.  I realize it doesn't qualify me for Mother-of-the-Year or anything, but it was good to get that checked off, and the kids all loved them.  Even Keaton.

For all of it's faults, I will forever be thankful for our medical system.  Not once, have I worried about the cost of any of the scans, appointments or hospital stays that we have needed.  The doctors and nurses we have worked with have been exceptional.  We couldn't be in better hands.

I have been overwhelmed by the many people who have offered to take in our other kids for the couple of days this is going to take.  And the crazy thing is, that I know those who have come forward are really just a sampling of the host of friends who would gladly lend a hand if need be.

I'm also so thankful for my friends and family who assured me that wishing this whole thing didn't have to happen, and having terribly dramatic visions of all that could go wrong isn't a sign of a lack of faith, just that I have a pulse.  Your phone calls, hugs, and encouragement have meant the world to me.

And God.  God has been so good, and so patient with me as I have taken these few weeks flapping around wondering if he cared that I was being so silly.  And he is just showing me over and over again that he is there.  He is with us.  And He loves me. And he loves Tyson more than I ever could.  This perfect love drives out any fear that might be lurking in the recesses of my heart.

I gotta go shine my spurs.  I have a trail to conquer tomorrow.