Friday, April 24, 2015

Cherry Blossom Festival 2015

Every year, our children's former elementary school hosts a Cherry Blossom Festival for the kids. It all started because of a partnership HES IB World school shared with another school in Japan. 

I've spent a few minutes quickly searching for some older Cherry Blossom pictures from previous years. Unfortunately, I am HORRIBLE about labeling my pictures on my computer. They could be tucked away in a folder marked "April 2011 Stray Dog" with 40 pictures of the Cherry Blossom Festival and 10 pictures of a stray dog that wandered in our yard. Maybe one day I'll fix all that and actually organize my pictures. Ha!! Or not. Who's got time for that?

Anyway, I did manage to find these gems....

2009 (First Grade):



Either Jayce was stuck in a stroller the entire time or we left him home with Grandma. I have zero pictures of him. That other little girl was Jaina's best friend Ashlan. I'm happy to report that we still keep in touch although they moved out of state just months after these pictures were taken.

I found just a handful of pictures from 2010 (2nd grade) and again, none of them contained Jayce. He started at Hendrix the Fall after this festival in 2010. I know we took him with us in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. I just can't find the pictures!


Jayce "graduated" from the highest grade that this elementary school contains in the Spring of 2014. So, technically, there was really no reason for us to attend Cherry Blossom this year. But why wouldn't we? We love and miss this school so much. We had a great time!



The big kids tried "sushi" for the first time. It was basically a california roll with carrots. I made sure to get their reactions on camera.





Neither kid was a fan. Jayce was much more polite about it. Granted, we've been making this kid try weird food for 8 years. He still only likes mac n' cheese, baked beans, tacos, pizza, and that's about it.

Besides the crafts and food, there was a playground, bouncy house, and rock climbing wall.




And there was gorgeous light.



And even though Jocelyn won't be attending HES until 2017, you'd better believe we'll be attending Cherry Blossom Festival 2016 :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Four Weeks

Today marks 4 weeks since my brain aneurysm surgery and I'm finally ready to try to re-write the post that didn't save or publish the last time I tried. Except, that I'm over giving a blow-by-blow account of my recovery each day I was in the hospital. Instead, I'll just use bullet points about what I've learned about having a Pipeline and Endovascular Coiling Procedure. 'Cause it was nothing like what I had read on the internet.



  • Even though the surgery is performed by entering the femoral artery in the groin area and NOT by cutting into the patient's skull, the use of stabilizing pins is necessary to keep your head immobile during the procedure.
  • These pins actually pierce your head. And since you are on three kinds of blood thinners to prevent stroke and clotting, you will bleed profusely from these holes. Hence, the need for a head bandage.
  • You will have no less than FOUR IVs in your arms. And four weeks later, the bruising will still be there. 
  • You have to be on a heart monitor with leads. This will make you feel like you are actually a computer with too many cords. Add a BP cuff and an O2 sat monitor and you see what I mean. 
  • percentages don't mean jack. I had an 8% chance of having a stroke. I had a 0.014% chance of hemorrhaging. I hemorrahaged. 
  • Explaining your back pain by comparing it to back labor only works if your nurses have actually been in labor before. 
  • If your blood pressure drops down into the 50's, you can still be conscious but its really hard to stay with it. I couldn't see but I could hear and respond to questions. 
  • My blood type is A+. Good to know!
  • If you have a blood transfusion, you have to wear a red bracelet in the hospital to make everyone aware of it. 
  • ICU isn't a fun place to spend your stay in the hospital.



  • Private rooms that allow children to visit are MUCH better :)

  • Nursing Assistants (CNA's) are now called Personal Care Technicians (PCTs). There are good ones and ones that don't seem to particularly enjoy their job. I was lucky to have an awesome one who helped me wash all the blood out of my hair. I have pictures but believe me, you don't want to see them!
  • But the best place to be, hands down, is home :)

  • And the most important thing I learned is how wonderful my friends and family are :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dancing Queen

Jaina's dancing career started way back in 2006 when she begged to learn ballet and tap. I was thrilled to sign her up and hoped that she would just love it!


Well, she had fun at any rate. I don't know that she exactly loved it. Her biggest complaint was that she had to listen to the teacher and learn the same dance moves as everyone else. "But I just want to dance the way *I* want to dance!"


However, when she found out she was going to be on stage during a recital in a fancy outfit? Well, then she was ALL for going to dance!


That is, until she realized that after the recital just meant boring old dance classes again. We tried two semesters (Fall and Spring) and decided that those were enough. Dance just wasn't Jaina's thing.

(We also tried gymnastics at age 3 and that had its own issues....)

Fast forward to 2014. Jaina wasn't progressing in her tumbling classes at the local dance studio and begged to try dance class instead.

Believe me, I was skeptical. First of all, 2006/2007 was still fresh in my mind. Then there were two failed tumbling/gymnastics attempts. And let's not even talk about cheer camp and cheerleading try-outs.

I was also worried that Jaina would be the only 12 year old in her beginning class. I mean, if you were a tween, would you want to be in a beginning class with first graders? Also, Jaina had no ballet or jazz experience to speak of. And she was asking to join the lyrical (contemporary jazz) class.

After talking with the director, we decided to let her try it. Just FYI, there is no "trying" dance. Its a commitment. There are leotards, tights, and special shoes to buy. Classes are paid for by the month. And once you have a part in the recital dance, you can't really back out.

Recitals are in four short weeks and Jaina has been working hard on learning her dance and steps and leaps. I can't wait to see what her whole class looks like when they perform. Her teacher chose "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman (which has always been one of my favorites) and I can't wait to see how they interpret that through dance.

Jaina asked me to take her picture in her recital costume the other day. Obviously I haven't been doing much photography lately due to my recovery and believe me when I say doing these few pictures in our neighbor's yard really wiped me out. It really cemented the fact that I am definitely taking a needed break from things.

My beautiful 12 year old (almost 13!) in her dance recital costume:



Even if nothing comes from her brief foray into learning dance, I'm just happy she's found something that makes her happy :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Worst Spring Break Ever

One might think I'm being a tad over dramatic with my post title. Believe me, I am not. This was hands down the worst Spring Break ever. Normally we travel to see our friends The Brittons or head down to Atlanta to visit my parents. Sometimes we stay home but find fun things to do each day.

Yeah, not this time.

Let me break down our week in a nice numbered list.

1. We were supposed to drive down to Deerfield Beach, Florida to visit my brothers, sisters-in-law, nephews and my new baby niece Zoe. We were also going to visit my favorite aunt, uncle, and cousins that live down that way. Its been 4 years since I've been to South Florida and its been almost 8 years since the kids had been.

2. But we didn't go. Because I still feel like crap. I wake up with a throbbing headache that goes all the way down my neck and into my left ear. Moving makes it hurt. The only thing I'm good for is popping way too much aspirin, advil, and tylenol (still trying to find the magic potion that will make my headache go away and stay away), and sitting my bum on the couch.

3. My kids were looking forward to cousins, the pool, the beach, and 80 degree weather. To say that they were a bit "put out" when we told them we weren't going was an understatement. There were many tears involved.

4. Because of how I was feeling, it meant Easter was a very low key event this year. Basically I threw a bunch of plastic eggs outside in the backyard and sent the kids out with their buckets. They found them all in 5 minutes.







5. Yet when the Monday after Easter rolled around, my kids wanted to know what they were going to DO all week. And no, helping their incapacitated mom around the house was not on their list of Fun Spring Break Activities.

6. Our Monday consisted of me going to the doctor. Found out that I still have blood in my urine and they may be kidney stones. Let me tell you how much I need kidney stones right now.

7. Monday night, my crown broke off my bottom molar. Supposedly this is a common occurrence with patients that are intubated. My husband reminded me to look on the bright side: at least I had eaten dinner first.

8. I bet you can guess what our Tuesday consisted of! Yes, an emergency dental visit.

9. On Wednesday, our A/C went out.

10. On Thursday, we were hit with the news that it was probably a $2,000 part that needed to be replaced. And that we might as well just buy a new system since ours was almost 9 years old.

11. On Friday, we had a second HVAC company come out to give us another estimate. We're looking at between $7-8,000 for a new system. This is on top of the $10,000 we owe the hospital for my brain surgery.

12. We also found out that no one could get us parts or install a new system until next week sometime. Jayce told me he could not live in a house without air conditioning and that he was going to go live with Grandma.

Jocelyn could have cared less. She played outside in the heat and didn't bat an eye when our house was the same temperture inside.





13. On Friday, the kids had been looking forward to going to Gravitopia, which is an indoor trampoline park. I ambitiously thought I'd be able to drive by then. Um... that was a big fat no. And the weather was looking pretty bad, so Grandma wasn't keen on driving 45 miles one way in the rain, either. They compromised and Grandma took them to Pump It Up for some bouncy house fun.

Yet, I am still getting comments from the Peanut Gallery that sound very disappointed about missing Gravitopia.

14. So, what did the big kids do during Spring Break? That would be a whole lot of nothing, quite a bit of fighting, too much screen time, and lots of complaining.

We need a do-over.

Friday, April 10, 2015

April Ten on 10: Couch Version

Since I'm still recovering from my surgery (that was almost 3 weeks ago), my days consist of hanging out on the couch. Hey, this is a step up from the bed, so at least I'm making progress!














Whoops. I just realized I have 12 pictures. Oh well!! :) This is to balance out the fact I normally forget some each month :)