My nemesis is back

2015
08.27

Many years ago, I didn’t eat gluten. I know, Yuck.

I developed a skin condition sometime after my first baby was born, but didn’t find out what it was until after my second baby was born. There’s a long name for this condition, and you can read more about it here, if you want. It’s basically a rash that is caused by eating gluten. Wheat, barley, mostly. I can do oats (at least I think I can). Anyway, after my last one was born, the condition kind of just went away. Weird, but I wasn’t going to question my good fortune, so I started making bread, and enjoying gluten again. I thought maybe it was a hormonal thing, related to pregnancy, I don’t know. I was just happy to be able to eat whatever again.

Because cookies are my favorite thing. Ever.
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Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I scratched at something by my ear and a water blister broke open, oozing out onto my hand. What the what? Shortly after that these little blisters began popping up on my face, around my eyes and nose.

I tried half heartedly to give up gluten, but it seemed to be getting worse. Itchy, painful, and ugly, so I went off of gluten. No bread, no crackers, nothing. And I made an appointment with the dermatologist. By the time the appointment came around, the next week, the sores had started to scab over and dry up. Which to me is a sign that it is gluten related. The doctor didn’t think it was that, since it presented differently than the typical rash on the elbows and knees and back. He told me to use a very expensive steriod cream on the rash, then he zapped a few age spots and told em to come back in a couple of weeks.

To test his theory, I ate gluten again. Tortilla, even some bread. And stuff started to reappear. Painful, itchy, yucky looking stuff. On my face.

Ugh.

I guess I’ve got to give it up.

Harder said than done. When I can’t think of anything that I can eat, I look in the cupboard and see pringles or chocolate…Gluten Free! That’s not the right way to do this, of course.

I went to a luncheon yesterday, and they served croissant sandwiches, pasta salad, and grapes. Then there were all kinds of yummy cookies and stuff, too. I didn’t eat the pasta salad, but I did eat the croissant. Couldn’t see how to politely scrape it off. I guess I’ll have to be more prepared and pack my own stuff.

It’s so discouraging. Really. I’m trying to lose weight, trying to eat healthy, and now this? So please pardon me if I’m grumpy, it’s like I’ve lost my best friend….bread. For now, at least. I don’t really know if this is a long term thing or not, but I know I don’t want the gluten consequences.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have some peanut butter on a rice cake.

Time to serve

2015
08.24

The phone rang this morning and it was the bishop. We talked about a few people and as I hung up I knew that my plan for the day was out the window. Today I would be working on the sisters in the ward. I started by making bread and texting one lady in the ward to see if I could come over and talk with her for a bit. I knew she wasn’t an early riser, so I figured I could have some bread done before I went to go and see her.

While the bread had been cooking and I thought about the large amounts of beans that were in the fridge, I contemplated asking my visiting teacher to come and help me snap them. We could get in a good chat, and get my “visit” out of the way. I texted her and asked if she was home, and she said she was, and let’s go to lunch. Lunch? Did I really have time for lunch? Ok. I told her I could meet her at about 1:00, which would be between the appointed visit with the other sister and my carpool pick up. I could just make it.

I got it JUST out of the oven before I went to visit. I grabbed a couple loaves and some squash. She was thrilled with the bread and the squash from my in-laws (they gave me enough to share).

I left a few minutes late, but got to the lunch place before my friend had ordered. We talked about her recent trip, and about how hard it is to deal with the death of her husband. She was agonizing over how to pick a headstone. I always have like the benches, and told her so, and she mentioned that she really liked a certain bench, but some of the family didn’t think a bench was dignified. “He’s your husband, and it’s your headstone, too, right? Pick out what you like.”
“I’ll get it, and tell them my Relief Society President told me that the bench was the best.” Ok.

After picking up the Jr. High kids, we had a little bit of time before John’s piano lesson, and I enlisted the help of the kids to snap some beans.

As I left to take John to piano, I grabbed two more loaves of bread, and looked up another sister’s phone number. We had been talking about her yesterday at a RS board meeting, and I knew it was time to see how she was getting along. He husband has Alzheimers. I dropped John off and called her to see if I could stop by. She was waiting for a nurse to come, but had a minute or two. When I arrived, I gave her bread, and told her that I thought it was time she let us help her a little. I said, “We are going to be bringing in dinner at least one night a week, and I’m not taking no for an answer this time. What night would be good for you.” I didn’t really want to bully her like that, but she’s going through such a difficult time, and if there is anything we can do in this delicate situation to help her, then we are going to do it. She agreed to dinner once a week. She didn’t have much of a choice, now did she?

Since the half hour wasn’t quite up, I ran over to another sister’s house to check on her. She’s been seriously sick in the first trimester of her pregnancy, and I just wanted to see how she was. She was up and looked good. Thankful for fresh bread, too. We chatted for only a few minutes, but it was good to see how she was doing, and let her know that we cared.

I was only a FEW minutes late to get John.

Home to the beans. Hooray! Most of them had been snapped!

The rest of the afternoon consisted of pressure cooking these beans. Man, it takes a long time!

beans

As I look back at the day, it was definitely not the day I had envisioned. The laundry did not get touched, nothing got cleaned (except the wheat that spilled on the floor got swept up), I didn’t even make dinner. But I do not regret the service I have given today, and I know that I was guided in my actions today. I got a lot more done in one day than I normally would get done in one day (possibly two) and I know my family will not suffer or begrudge the fact that I didn’t take care of them today.

For FHE at night, I even had my family participate in the service day. They delivered bread, squash and beans to some more people.

I’m thankful that I was able to be flexible in my plans and take the time to serve.

Hey, there’s something on your face

2015
08.19

During the summer, I discovered a water blister right by my ear. A day or so later, I had another one by my nose, and then two under my eye. And when they dried up, then it’s a flaky patch. I felt pretty much like a leper.

This reminded me of the rash I would get from gluten and wheat. Dermitiis Herpetaformis, they call it. But usually the rash was on my elbows and knees and buttocks, not face. Could it be the return of the gluten curse? After a few days of halfheartedly giving up gluten (by that I mean, give up bread, but it’s ok to eat a cookie), I get serious and cut out gluten, because the face was just getting worse. I felt so very ugly and it’s a very itchy and painful situation, too. By Friday, I had had it. I sent this message to Ryan,

I didn’t get a great response to the chime choir sign up this morning. I don’t know why I get my hopes up. I feel gross, my face hurts and itches, and I’m terribly irritable. (I got an appointment with the derm doc on Wed. I may have to sequester myself inside and not go out into public from now until them, though.) I get home to find the kids doing what else, but lounging on the couch with the tv on. No one did any of the things I asked them to do. I’m about to cry.

I tell you this, not so you will feel sorry for me and buy me pretty shoes, but so you’ll know why we had 5 children when you left the house and only 3 remain.

And maybe so you’ll feel sorry for me and buy me some pretty shoes.

Yeah, I’m pitiful. But by Monday, the rash had started to clear up. Tuesday was even better, with no new blisters. Maybe it really is the gluten. Should I still go to the dermatologist? Yes. I should. To ask him if it was what I think it is, at the very least.

Today was the day of the dr visit. New doctor in a different building, but I found it ok. After I checked in, I went and sat down in the waiting room and took out my kindle to read. I only got through about two pages before they called me back. I followed the nurse to the exam room, told him a bit of my story, and said I had a mole thing to check, as well. He went out and got the doc. Immediately. Seriously, I didn’t even have time to read at all. Wow!

The doc came in. He’s one of those people with a presence. Tall, nice looking, and smiley. He looked at the weird thing on my ankle and dismissed it as not anything to worry about (scar tissue, basically), and then I told him about my face rash. He got right in close to look at my nose, eyes, cheek, and said he didn’t think it was associated with gluten. He said he’d give me a steroid cream rx that should take care of that immediately. Then he looked at the age spots on my face.

Yes, AGE SPOTS. Although he said they were from the SUN, not from AGE. Trying to be nice, that one. “I can zap those spots, he said, Freeze them, actually,” And he whipped out a gun thing and aimed it at me. “Oh, we’re doing that right now?” I said. I was a little unprepared for his efficiency. “This will just hurt a little bit,” he said and then sprayed that freezing air or liquid nitrogen or whatever it was at those spots. Yeah, it hurt, but not terribly. He told me that these spots will turn red, and then eventually fall off, and there will be new white skin underneath. Cool! I’ve hated these spots on my face for a long time. I wonder if it works on hands, too. So, for now, I have darker spots on my face. Makeup doesn’t really cover them, but I’ll try.

Not sure if I should continue with the gluten free (I ate bread today) or not.

Mary Poppins

2015
08.18

I was so sad that I couldn’t audition for a play this summer. With a family vacation and exchange students and bells concert it just didn’t seem possible. So, I volunteered to help backstage with Mary Poppins. Natalie was in the show and that way I could still be a part of the fun, but without all the weeks and weeks of rehearsals.

Being a cast manager was interesting. It’s a lot different to see a play from the wings, especially with a headset on. The first time I was on coms it was exciting and kind of fun, but also stressful. Anytime the director comes on and says “Cast manager, there’s a problem with….” it’s something I have to either take care of when that person comes off stage, or find someone who can take care of it. There were always 3 cast managers there each show, and we were in charge of managing the cast. Mostly, that means cueing people, helping with costume changes for the leads, making sure vital props for Mary are there, taking care of emergencies, and getting the vast amounts of kids to their places on time. I loved listening to all the cues that were going on (Cue scrim, cue track 110, parlor, go). So much goes into making a show look and sound good. If it were just the actors on the stage, the show would be so boring (and no one could see or hear them). I have a deepened respect for the stage crew!

On Saturday night I was on the headset again, and a few things didn’t go quite so well. Bert’s pants were rolled up funny at the cuff…fix that.
Why isn’t Winifred’s mic working well? See about that.
We seem to be missing a prop…find that.

Michael has No energy. Cast manager, talk to him about that, see if you can get him to be less distracted. Ugh. The little boy playing Michael is super cute, but he gets distracted. He says all his lines, and he has a lot, but sometimes he’s lacking in enthusiasm. So, when the kids came off stage, I said, “You guys need some ENERGY!” I gave them both jolly rancher candies I had in my pockets. Big mistake. I didn’t realize they were going right back on stage. Ugh!
Cast manager, did you talk to Michael about energy? Now he seems to have something in his mouth. I was so embarrassed, I didn’t admit my mistake right then, but you can bet as soon as that scene was over, I held out my had to them to spit that candy back out! I told the lead cast manager my mistake. “Oh, I’m in trouble,” I told her what i had done. “Oh, I gave them mints the other day and they did the same thing!”
That made me feel a tiny bit better, but I still felt so very stupid and guilty.
After a few more scenes, Jane comes off bleeding. “I’m bleeding all over my costume!” She panicked. I knew I had band-aids there at the desk, but in the dark I couldn’t get them open fast enough. I ripped a couple open and slapped them on her arm. It took three band-aids to cover up the bleeding part. She had injured herself earlier on a scateboard, and when she fell on stage (part of the dance), she opened that wound. Luckily, she only had one scene until intermission, when we could bandage her properly, clean the blood off the dress, and get her set. Just a little bit stressful.

That night, I felt SO bad about my mistake, but I felt worse about not fessing up to it. I should have just said something right away. I couldn’t go to sleep until I wrote an email explaining to the director my stupid mistake. She actually wrote back the next day and said she laughed when she read it, and not to worry about it. (Sigh of relief).

As my assignment was nearing completion, I breathed a sigh of relief. I would so much rather be ON the stage than behind it, but it was a good experience.

On moving out

2015
08.16

Ryan and I took a quick trip to Ephraim last night. Megan’s car is still being worked on (long story there which I don’t want to go into), and she wanted to make sure she and her bestie are rooming together. We are trying to figure out how to get her down there for school.

So while she was working her last shift at Wendy’s, we took her stuff down to her new apartment. We were pleased to find that, even though the other 4 girls had already moved in, they had left one room vacant for Megan and Sarah. Two of the girls have been there for two weeks already. One is on the student council, and one is a manager for the football team. The apartment was clean, and the two girls we met seemed nice.

I’ve loved having all 5 kids here for the summer, and I hate to send them away. It doesn’t get easier.

Girls night out

2015
08.08

Father’s and Sons campout means girl’s night for me. I had planned to take whoever was home (most of the time, I’m not sure who will be working or out with friends) to see CRAZY FOR YOU at the SCERA. Mr. E.’s summer show, and I knew lots of friends from Scarlet Pimpernell, so I wanted to go and see it. Plus, I just love musicals. All the girls were able to go, even Megan.

We went to dinner first, at Apollo burger. On the way in, we somehow got started talking about our stripper names. Don’t ask me why! Mom, what’s your stripper name? “Roxy,” I answered, without even thinking about it. That, actually, is my lounge singer name (thanks to Sharmyn, Michelle, and Melinda and one night in college when we had to come up with our lounge names). Natalie said hers was Glitter, and Jenna’s was… can’t remember. Megan did not have a stripper name, so we were trying to help her come up with one. Imagine the hilarity there.

dinner

After dinner, we went over to the theater, got our tickets and chairs (I made the girls each pay $1 for their own chairs. Cause I’m cheap like that, and I didn’t want to pay for EVERYTHING for the evening. I also told them they would have to buy their own snacks.

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The show was fun. SO much tapping!! Wow!! At intermission we ended up having a popcorn fight. Ugh. These girls.
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And we found a couple other friends from Mary Poppins enjoying the show.

Right after intermission, it started pouring. No warning. We had brought jackets and ONE blanket, but no umbrellas.
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We ended up all four of us huddled under our one small blanket while it rained for 10 minutes. After it stopped raining, the stage crew came out to clean up the stage.

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That’s Sherry right there. Not sure if I was allowed to take a picture then. They did say no pictures during the show, and this was technically not during the show. After 5-10 minutes of mopping and clean-up, they started the show again. We got one good scene of Bella Zangler and the fake Bella Zangler, and the heavens opened up again. Pouring.

So, like everyone else there, we dashed to get our tickets stamped, and went out the car. At least we were still laughing.

It was a fun (and wet) evening with my girls.

On the way home I heard from Ryan that the boys’ night was much wetter than ours. Their tent got soaked, and they decided to come sleep at home, since the outing was just up American Fork Canyon. So we all came home cold and wet. Summer storms. Gotta love them.

Our Japanese student

2015
08.03

When I posted that we were hosting a Japanese student, I got a lot of comments, some shocked that we would host again after our less than optimal experience in January. I realized then that I must have really been complaining a lot about those boys. To be fair, it wasn’t ALL their fault. But they did not help the situation any. But, yes, we got over that and hosted again. Back to Asians, who are polite, and we know the coordinators and the program.

Rika is a sweet 15 year old from Japan. We try to be mellow the first couple of days and not totally overwhelm them with our boisterousness. I didn’t even meet her until the next morning as Natalie and I had rehearsal the night Ryan picked her up. She brought us a few gifts and was nice, but quiet.


We have a tradition in our family to always take the exchange students bowling. They usually beat us. It’s a fun activity and we all can loosen up a bit and make some fun memories.
Plus, we all love bowling, even if we suck at it.

Robin and family came to visit us for the 24th of July weekend. I knew that we would have Rika here then, too, but I wouldn’t want to turn Robin away when she was feeling up to a visit, so we just made room.

Robin’s daughter, Sarah, is so friendly and makes everyone feel at ease.

On Sunday, Robin and family took the kids up the canyon to Bridal Veil Falls while Ryan and I cooked a big dinner for everyone.

Rika even wanted to cook for us a traditional Japanese dish. I bought pork and cabbage and she had brought ingredients from home.

John does not look too thrilled to try it, but he did eat a few bites and was not rude, even though it was strange.

Near the end of the stay, the school hosted a family closing social, where the Japanese students told us about their school, taught us some games, and we ate dinner.

On Saturday, her last day with us, it was our city celebration, the Highland Fling. She came with us to the breakfast, watched the parade, and then came back to the park for entertainment and fireworks.

(none of the girls were really excited to meet this princess, but I dragged them over and made them take a picture. Because that’s what moms do).

This experience was SO different from the last one. To make it extra wonderful, I had a carpool, and since their school was in Provo, Cole even did my share of the carpool driving on his way too and from work. I didn’t have to drive ONCE! On Sunday morning, Ryan drove her to school the last time. She had to be there by 5 am. Since I had a meeting before church and was teaching the lesson in Relief Society that day, I really appreciated him doing that drive so I didn’t have to.

Rika was a delightful girl and I hope we keep in touch with her. So, yes. We WILL host again.

It takes work to look this good

2015
07.16

My dear friend and photographer extraordinaire, Rachael, did a family photo shoot for us. I LOVE the pics!

But I love that she included in my cd the crazy pics it took to get the good pics.

Here we are arguing about something. It could be anything. Seems we argue a lot.

Mom blabbing on about something.

Megan standing up straight so that she is indeed TALLER than me.

Megan still trying to be taller, and Mom making a hideous face. Is that supposed to be a smile?

Natalie smooshing herself down. What?

Close. So close.

I can’t wait to get some printed up and put them on my wall!

Living in an automated house

2015
07.10

Hubby has been out of town this week for scout camp with John. Of course, when hubby is gone, things stop working (I really can’t be trusted to manage things on my own, I guess). We haven’t had much tv this week, since we can’t get netflix to work. Seriously, I’ve tried signing in 10 times.

I would have turned the sprinklers off today since we had so much rain, but I can’t figure out how to do that. He just put in a new sprinkler panel and I honestly do not know how it workds.

With the power outage last night I’m sure we’ll have computer issues today.

I just spent 10 minutes wrangling with the dishwasher, but I won. I got it to start!

Of course, I DID take the suburban in to get the 4 wheel drive issue sorted out on my own, so I’ll count that as a win.

Seattle

2015
07.10

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When you think of Seattle, you think of coffee, rain, art, and the space needle. Right?

We knew we wanted to see the sights, so we got the city pass for Seattle. That way we could pay once and see the sights for a discount. Day one we went to the aquarium.20150629_12272520150629_114235

They had animals native to the sound. We could even touch a starfish and sea anemone.

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After seeing the fish and animals, we were hungry. Hungry is the enemy to vacations. Instead of making the trek to ivars for clam chowder, we are in the museum cafe. Everyone was able to find something they like without having to go anywhere else. And of course we ended up getting gift.
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After we ate, we wandered.

We ended up at the pike place market. Wow. It is as busy and crowded as you think it will be.