Felt So Fine

Felt So Fine

Friday, June 29, 2012

And, home again.

I didn't mean to leave you all hanging at the hospital. :) We finally made it home on Monday night, just before midnight. At 11:00am on Monday the doctor said we could go home that day, but that Spencer's hematocrit was low (23) so they wanted to give him a unit of blood before we left. It took nearly the whole day for the lab to get the blood ready for him so by the time it was finished running we had to stay another hour for his antibiotic to run, and so on and so forth until it was 10:30pm. They asked if we were sure we wanted to leave that late and we both gave a resounding "YES!"

Last week when Spencer was admitted the Child Life specialist asked him what kind of things he likes to do at the hospital. She was thinking along the lines of legos, painting, games, etc. But Spencer answered, "I like to visit my friends on the ICU". Awww.....I melted! So to pass the time while we waited on Monday, we visited some of our favorite people in the world. 

Here is Spencer with Michael, Chris, and Grace.

Here he is with Angie--whom he just loves! She knew he was in the hospital so when we went to find her she surprised him with this bow and arrow set.

Here he is back in his room with his new weapon. I drew a target on his closet door and he got busy.

He's doing well. It's always good to be home. He eats better, sleeps better and is able to play with his sisters and friends. All very good things for him. He has a PICC line in his left arm through which he receives his antibiotic twice a day, and he seems to be responding well to the medication.

It's been a little bit hard on me emotionally this time round. I did great in the hospital. I was a pillar of strength! But since we've been home I've had moments of tears and discouragement and I may or may not have put a dent in our wall during a fit of anger and frustration. It's just a painful reminder that no matter how well he does, this just isn't going away. But then I take a deep breath and count my blessings and keep going.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back for more

I thought about giving this post the title "Home, Sweet Home", but even though this hospital is nearly as familiar as home, I just couldn't bring myself to joke like that. 

Spencer had a low-grade fever on Tuesday night. I called the transplant team and they had me take him to the Logan hospital to get labs drawn. A CBC revealed low white and red blood cells so Dr. E. called me late Wednesday night and said to bring him down to Primary's first thing in the morning. Several more labs later and she decided that he most likely has a viral infection and we would need to stay for a few days for some IV immunoglobulin. 

Today they got results back from the blood cultures and were able to pinpoint the virus and start him on some IV antibiotics that should take care of it. Right now it looks like we'll be here 'til Monday and we'll come home with a PICC line in for a couple more weeks. 

This picture looks like a sad Spencer, but really it's more like a bored Spencer. We're pretty much just hanging out, letting the IV meds do their thing. 

It's been just over six months since his transplant and he's done SO well. We knew that we would hit our first "bump in the road" eventually. We're just so grateful that we caught it early and hopefully can move on quickly.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Claire's Birthday

Our sweet little Clairey-beary turned four this week. Oh, how we love this girl! She is FULL, to the top, of happy energy. We had a fun day celebrating with her!

Here she is with her Koo-koo bird that she received from Spencer. She named it "Princess Celestia".  
They had fun playing with her new bird and Spencer's bird that had been needing a friend, I guess.
Claire loves piggies! So here is her pig cake. It took her a minute to figure out what it was but then she squealed with delight. (No pun intended.)
Opening presents became a long-drawn out affair as she started with the first one in the morning (clothes) and opened several more throughout the day whenever she could wear me down enough to say, "okay, just one more and then we'll wait until daddy gets home".
Her flower cake from Aunt Barbara

With Aunt Barbara and cousin Julie. Claire was so excited about her birthday girl tattoo, her cake and her new kitty, which coincidentally also ended up with the name "Princess Celestia".
Opening more presents, with some "help" this time.
Big hug from Paige after successfully blowing out all four candles!
I had to put in one video of Claire opening presents so you could hear the happy, giggly sound she made with each one. She's so much fun!
Here she is showing off her bike with all of it's new accessories.
I took the training wheels off of this bike just days before her birthday but didn't really work with her very much. So she just taught herself!

Happy Birthday, sweet Claire! We love you!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Love

It's here. The day that I knew would inevitably arrive. 

How was I to avoid it? With a beautiful, fun-loving, teenage girl it was bound to happen sooner or later. 

She has found love. 

A tall, dark, and handsome boy trotted on into her life and any sense that she might have had went flying right out the window. He is all she talks about anymore--at least when she's around to talk. She spends hours with him and when she's not with him, she dreams of being with him. 

What's a mother to do?? He is good-looking, I'll give her that. And they certainly have fun together, even though he's not much of a talker. Her younger siblings sure love him and he's so patient with them climbing all over him. But his appetite! He eats like a horse!!


Nicole has wanted a horse FOREVER. I actually think she might have talked about it to the delivery nurses the day she was born. She has saved every penny she's ever earned--birthday $, 4-H prizes, babysitting earnings--and she got serious this year and decided to show some maturity with her grades and household responsibilities.

So a couple of months ago we started the search. After many, many phone calls and inquiries and other horses, she saw an ad for this little 8-year old gelding and set up a time to meet him.

We had looked at horses who were so old and slow we thought about digging their grave and we had looked at others who were so nervous or feisty that they had us both shaking from fear the whole drive home. But when Nicole swung up into the saddle on this one for the first time she said, "He feels perfect. I feel like I totally trust him."

She's had riding lessons and ridden for pleasure a few times with friends and relatives, but is still very much a beginner rider, so she surprised me with this first ride around the arena.

The previous owner, Richard, brought him to us yesterday and we met him at the arena, just a five-minute walk from our home, so Nicole could run him a little bit again. Then, we put our own saddle on him, watched Richard say a teary good-bye, and then Nicole rode her horse home.

Nicole has named him Poco. Full name: Poco Cobre Bandido. 
It's quite a thing to watch someone's dream come true. 
I think that they are both pretty happy! 

The rest of the day, Poco really didn't get much rest. Nicole ditched the saddle pretty quickly and looked right at home on his back.

What is it about little girls and horses?

All the kids took turns having rides.

This was later in the evening. Nicole and Corinne both had babysitting jobs elsewhere and I came outside to find Claire and Poco having a conversation.

I am very grateful to this horse for his gentle nature and his patience. I hope it is endless, because it looks like it may need to be!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Last week we got together with Matt's family for a picnic and a small celebration. The kids were thrilled to see the cousins and the playground, Matt and his brothers began their usual conversations regarding the water levels of their favorite fishing holes. I joined the other two wives updating each other on the kids and our summer plans while Grandma set out a delicious meal of BBQ sandwiches and yummy salads. Off to the side, quietly watching the bustle that accompanies such outings, were the reasons for our gathering. Great Grandpa and Great Grandma were celebrating their anniversary this day. 

Caught up in the excitement of the occasion I very nearly let the moment pass me by without really acknowledging the amazing fact that these two wonderful people had been together through all of the ups and downs and ins and outs of marriage for 64 years and had obviously done it so well. It wasn't until later, when I had a quiet moment to think, that it really sank in what greatness we were witness to. After the meal, we quieted the kids for a few moments while Grandpa and Grandma sat at the end of the picnic table and shared their story. Where they met, what they did for their first date, their wedding day...it was delightful! 

Today is Grandpa's 88th birthday. On Memorial Day we visited him and thanked him for his years as a serviceman. He flew in the Pacific theatre during WWII on a B-24 as the radio operator. He told us as we visited that although he can't remember what he ate for breakfast this morning, he can still translate morse code as easy as breathing. He made a career as a physical education instructor at USU and then spent nearly thirty years before and after retirement in service at the Logan LDS Temple. His kindness and generosity seems to know no bounds and his love and example is a guide for our lives.

We love you Grandpa and Grandma. Thank you forever for your legacy of love, faith, and family!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Father and His Son

In May, Matt and Spencer joined all the other XY chromosomes from our ward for the much anticipated Fathers & Sons Campout. This one was extra special for obvious reasons. The previous one was held last September--exactly one week before we took Spencer to the hospital. Being able to go again, together, was just another milestone marking Spencer's miraculous recovery. Plus, they both just REALLY love this activity! 

Here is Spencer, waiting in the truck, all ready with his pocket knife. Those boots were bought in October and used in the hospital to prevent foot drop. I like this use MUCH better! 

Working on his aim with his slingshot.

This might very well be the greatest picture ever taken. 
Look at those little boys! Pure joy, right there.

Wait, I take that back. 
THIS might very well be the greatest picture ever taken!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Last Day of School Pics

Scream and shout...school is out!

You know, screaming and shouting can mean so many different things depending on who it is coming from. We have plenty of it around here.

I really am so happy to have my five kids home and even more excited to be done with the whole school schedule for a few months. Nicole has a part-time babysitting job that keeps her busy three days a week, and the others are putting up with my chore chart pretty well. One week down, eleven to go!

Here are some pictures of the last day of school:


Spencer with his buddy, Brandon


Corinne and her BFF, Kylie


Spencer actually had to miss the LAST day of school because that was the day of his biopsy, so he said goodbye to his friends the day before. That evening, after we got back from the hospital, his teacher came to our home and gave him his graduation packet and some fun little goodies.
She has been amazing this year. We will miss her and are glad that she's not too far away from the 1st grade classrooms.

Friday, June 8, 2012


My beautiful niece, Julie, had an assignment in her college writing class this Spring to write a poem. This is her amazing work. If they give grades based on tears produced, then this is definitely A+ material! Thank you, Jules!

by Julie Warnes

It is supposed to beat 90 times a minute
In a five-year-old child
Pulsing blood throughout his body.
The heart is vulnerable.

They thought Spencer had the flu.
Now in heart failure
With no known cause.
Each day is a miracle,
A wrinkle of hope.
Our hearts search for answers.

Coded in OR
They shocked him back to life.
He now wears a Berlin heart.
It circulates the blood without a pulse.
He calls it his "heart helper."

His small body
Limp in the oversized hospital bed.
Wires of red, blue, yellow, and white
Run out from under his rainbow-quilted blanket
Attached to beeping and blinking monitors.
My heart sinks.

Nancy, his mother, is so strong.
She stays by his side -
Next to her a bookcase filled
With tractors and toy dinosaurs.
She tells of Spencer's failing kidneys and blood tests.
I can't even begin to understand
A mother's heartbreak.

Three grueling months go by
And Christmas comes early.
My father texts:
"Spencer will receive heart transplant today."

I impatiently await the updates.
"Surgeon is flying to procure the heart."
"Plane landed about twenty minutes ago."
"They have removed his old heart
and are now sewing in the new."
"Dr. Kaza said that the heart is perfect."
Twelve hours pass and
A new heart begins to beat.

New Year's Day, he's home.
He stands in the driveway and
Waves at our family.
Nothing about him looks different,
But something around us is.
We smile at each other
With tears in our eyes.
Our hearts begin to heal.