Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Morning Musings

Shawn here:

I realize that Sesame Street evolves to stay somewhat current, but this morning I heard a Muppet doing a hip-hop song about a letter (I think). That was just a little too surreal for my sleep-deprived state.

Later, I was nodding off a bit while watching Sleeping Beauty with Nessa. When it got to the point where the three fairies put everyone in the castle to sleep, Nessa turned to me and said "You're not supposed to sleep, Daddy."

I could be imagining it, but it seems like Nessa's voice has changed since having her tonsils out. It seems a bit higher pitched, but clearer and more defined. It will be interesting to see if it stays that way.

Nessa has finally started drinking more and eating some today, for which we are grateful. She is also exhibiting some typical Nessa behaviors again. It is obvious that she doesn't have as much energy as usual, which is most evidenced by the fact that she doesn't fight taking naps or going to bed at night. In true Nessa fashion, she hasn't touched any of the popsicles Tami made for her recovery. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Alarm 4, Tonsils & Adenoids 0

Shawn here:

The day started at 4(:15) AM today. We had to get up early to take Nessa in to have her tonsils and adenoids removed.

Nessa has always been a restless sleeper with light snoring, and some research led Tami to suspect childhood sleep apnea. The only procedure to treat childhood SA is having the tonsils and adenoids removed (with a 95+% success rate), so we made an appointment to have Nessa examined. One quick look and the ENT doctor said "Yup, those are impressive. I can see where they'd cause sleep issues." So we scheduled a tonsillectomy, and today was the day.

Nessa was the first patient of the day, so we had to be there at 5:45. We just left Nessa in her jammies, bundled her in the car, and off we went. When we got there, Nessa got to put on the tiger jammies they showed her during our tour last week, and then she played while everyone talked to Mom and Dad. Nessa was very good and attentive during the pre-op stuff, although she did not like the medicine they gave her to make her drowsy. It also made her loopy, and she was pulling her surgery hat down over her face.

Our associate pastor came in and stayed with us during the pre-op routine, and when we had a moment said a wonderful prayer pitched right at Nessa's level of understanding. I got to accompany Nessa into the OR, just like in Rochester, and stay until she was under. That was not as wrenching this time as a year ago, but I still recommend avoiding seeing your child placed under general anesthesia if possible.

The doctor came out about half an hour later and told us that everything had gone fine. Nessa was in the recovery room for another 30-35 minutes before they paged us, so it was about 8:15 when we got to go back into the private post-op room. That's when the adventure started. Nessa was not happy about how much her throat hurt, and she did not want anything to drink or suck on. She cried her "I'm hurt" cry and pulled in on herself, making it hard to comfort or talk to her. Finally Tami got into the bed and held her, and I sang all of Nessa's old favorites to calm her down as I did when she was little. The combination of the two seemed to work, and Nessa fell asleep. Apparently I was singing a little louder than I realized, because when the nurse came back and saw Nessa asleep she said it must have been the wonderful singing that did it.

Nessa slept fitfully, waking up and crying every so often, refusing all liquids and popsicles, and then falling asleep again. At that point she sounded just like a percolator. (Yes, I'm old.) Every so often the oxygen monitor would go off, so after a time the nurse hooked up a hose and funnel that blew air past Nessa's face (much like my CPAP, but without a mask). That worked when Nessa was asleep, but it kept waking her up and she didn't like it when awake, so it was a bit of a battle for Tami, who was holding Nessa all this time. I was out of the room for part of this, getting some breakfast, making phone calls, and so on. At one point Nessa was awake long enough that we tried putting a movie in, but as soon as it got started she fell asleep again.

The nurse was getting a little worried that Nessa wouldn't drink anything or have a popsicle, and at 10:30 it was time to give Nessa more Tylenol. Nessa wasn't having anything to do with taking Tylenol orally, and after 10 minutes of trying and some increasingly agitated fussing, we gave up and let Nessa go back to sleep. A bit later the nurse came in and gave Nessa a Tylenol suppository, which went fairly easily and did not disturb Nessa. That solved that problem.

I went off again to find something for Tami to munch on and some water. We were both doing periodic Facebook updates, so some folks watched the whole drama as it played out. When I got back, Tami took off to walk around a little. The nurse came in to put a third bag of fluids on the IV. Originally they had planned to give Nessa about 1 1/2 bags, but they were worried that she wasn't getting any liquid and the anesthesiologist ordered the third bag. By this point Nessa sounded more like an electric hair clipper, and the oxygen alarm hadn't gone off in a long time. The nurse talked to the ENT doctor, and they decided that Nessa could go home about 1 PM. Finally, at around 12:30, Nessa woke up and agreed to take sips from her water bottle. That was enough to convince everyone that she could go home, and we got her out the door a little after 1:30.

We got home a little before 2 PM. Nessa seemed a little more alert, and started to watch The Little Mermaid II, but quickly fell asleep again. I went out to get more Tylenol and run a couple of other errands (including getting more movies), but when I got back Tami told me that Nessa was flatly refusing to take any liquid Tylenol. This worried us, so I took the just-purchased liquid Tylenol back and got some melt-away tablets. Nessa didn't want to take those either, but we got one into her mouth. We only wanted it on her tongue, but it went all the way down her throat. We were not her favorite people at that point.

Nessa kept sleeping, Tami kept watch, and I kept busy doing whatever else. Finally, about 6:30 PM, Nessa told us she was hungry, and she ate an ice cream bar. As I type this she has been awake for over an hour and is watching The Little Mermaid II again. We still have to figure out how to get more Tylenol into her before bed, and how to get her to drink more liquid tomorrow (the IV fluids will keep her hydrated until about noon), but she is responding like the Nessa we know and love. She's talking about what's happening in the movie, telling Tami what's going on--that's our Nessa. :-)

All in all it's been a tiring day. Tami was almost wiped out, but has come alive a little after getting something to eat and seeing Nessa revive. I'm going to crash any time now. I think it will be early to bed for everyone. We know that today will have been more than worth it in the long run, but it's scary to see your child in pain and not be able to help or comfort her. That's a pretty good definition of feeling helpless.

I want to thank everyone for the prayers, positive thoughts, and well-wishes on our behalf throughout the day. We truly felt surrounded by love and care, and Tami even said at one point that she was floating on it. It helps so much to know that others are sharing your burdens, even in a small way, and that you are not alone. Thank you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Megan's First Communion & Seder Supper Photos

Tami Here:

The Wednesday of Holy Week Megan had her official first communion along with a celebration Seder Supper. It was the first time I participated in a Seder Supper and I really appreciated the experience as it was very meaningful. I was also very excited for this milestone for Megan.

And as you can see from the photos Megan is turning into a beautiful young lady. Her poise and maturity nearly match her looks as well. ;-)

We also were able to spend some great time with my parents that day, but the photos of Megan with Grandma and Grandpa are on their camera I think so we'll have to try to get digital copies of those pictures to share.

Thankfully Megan did not inherit the "eye closing" for photos gene that my mom and I have ... Megan is much more photogenic!

Princesses on Parade

Tami here:

I know you all have been wanting to see what Nessa does with her princesses, and you're especially curious about how Nessa uses the princesses when she plays with the legos. Well it's interesting to me anyway...

And actually we have pictures of the princesses in the toy tractor wagon and also in the Barbie van as well ... will have to gather those pictures and post a flickr and Facebook album. Until then, enjoy these quick photos...

Tonsilectomy Prep -- Nessa with her mask and her new teddy bear

Tami here:

Nessa had her Pre-op appointment with the ENT at Gundersen who will do her surgery this coming Monday (we really like the doctor and everyone we have dealt with there through ENT), and she also had an apt. with their "Teddy Bear Care Program." We found it really helpful, and of course Nessa appreciated the stuff she got to take home!

Below she is practicing with the mask they gave her. She is to practice blowing out in it. Of course just getting used to it is the main thing I think (I hated putting a mask on when I first had surgery at 16 so I can only imagine a young child.). Then below that is her great teddy bear she also got, but Nessa did not want to actually be in the picture with the bear (this is just Nessa being Nessa). The bear often practices with the mask as well. Nessa also received a certificate with her name on it saying that she completed the program and she has been surprsingly protective of that piece of paper as well ... or at least she was in the hours after she got it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Lessons

Tami Here:

I think both of the girls learned the lessons about how awful litter is today! It's so interesting how much easier it is for kids to understand that when they are picking up trash along the road!

I have been noticing some trash on the roadside near our house for awhile (up several blocks where there is a stretch that is close enough to the railroad tracks that there are no houses on that side of the road), but now that I often go running on that stretch of road I see it UP CLOSE. And it isn't pretty.

Every time I ran past it during the last week or so I thought, "we really should just come and pick it up." But I never scheduled a time to do it, so you know how without scheduling it, things rarely get done. Then today I was wondering what to do or say about Earth day with the girls, and of course had an ah-ha moment!

So, I sprang it on them after supper about how our family time was going to be spent picking up trash and they looked at me kind of dubious at first, but happily got things ready to go. Thankfully Shawn brought the entire roll of trash bags because I don't think I would have brought enough if it was me. I don't think I realized just how much trash there was there! We stuffed 6 large kitchen size trash bags full plus filled a large rubbermaid container that we also found along the road! And the sad thing is that there was still about another bag full in some thick underbrush near the tracks that is still left to pick up!

As a side note, it did not escape Megan's attention that most of the trash was fast food or convenience store wrappers, pop and alcohol bottles, and cigarette packaging. :-(

Nessa was very enthusiastic and very helpful until I picked up something she wanted to pick up and she melted. She was tired so eventually Shawn walked home with her while Megan and I finished. However Nessa had already picked up nearly a bag full of trash by herself and seemed happy to be doing it so I was very proud of both Nessa and Megan.

As we were finishing up Megan kept going on and on about how people could ever allow all that trash there! That is my girl. I hope she remembers and shares her lesson with others.

And my lesson -- IT WAS SO SIMPLE!

We need to do more of this. Each of us doing our little part to make the Earth a better place.

By the time we got home we were tired and dirty ... and we felt better inside than when we left.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This and that ... and the start of more posts

Tami here, and it's late and I should be in bed so I'm sure there will be some funny typos for your enjoyment (that is why we call the blog "Unedited Us"

I am committed to writing a blog post a day this week, and I also hope to actually get pictures posted and some other housekeeping done around here, but it's late so I'm starting slowly. :-)

Since being home I've noticed that I've started using Facebook even more as a mini blog site about what is going on around me than before, and that means it is extra easy to neglect the blog, and I apologize to our loyal blog readers for that as I do want to keep this blog up for Friends, Family, and simply as a record to us. :-)

So here are a few tidbits:
  • Tonight was Megan's 5th grade music concert. I didn't get a decent picture, but it was a nice concert and reminded me of my own music concerts at that age. We were also treated to recorder music at the concert, and that is something I do not remember from my own concerts.
  • Megan also has a Spring band concert, and I'm looking forward to hearing the difference between how the 5th grade band sounded in the fall and how they sound now.
  • Megan went through Gun Safety training this early Spring. It was a lot of hard work, but she studied hard and did well. She was nervous on her field day, but did great just as I knew she would!
  • Megan has been sucked into the Twilight books so I'll probably read at least the first one sometime soon. Megan bought the first book with some of her Christmas gift cards, and she finished reading it quite quickly. She is now nearly finished with the 2nd book.
  • Megan has also been keeping busy with the goats and their kids at her Dad's house. We hear stories about the kids regularly, and it sounds like Megan is having great fun taking care of them.
  • Megan took a babysitting class in March and is now certified, so she's looking forward to babysitting more than just her sister. I think she is going to be a GREAT babysitter, and of course I'm not biased at all. ;-)
  • Nessa continues to amaze us with the things she says nearly daily -- from the complex thoughts about time, emotions, numbers and more to the "where did she hear that?" moments! :-)
  • Nessa is really enjoying the nicer weather and often requests to go running with me. So, we run up and down the streets nearby, and of course every run is a "Ready, Set, Go" race! It is a lot of fun and I'm just tickled when she sees me running and wants to go with.
  • Nessa is preparing to eat more popsicles than she every imagined -- if you missed it, she is having her tonsils removed Monday April 27th. We pursued an apt. with the ENT after her 4 year old apt. due to hear continued heavy breathing, snoring, restless sleep and more recently strange sleep cycles. The ENT didn't have to look very long to let us know that Nessa's tonsils were "impressive." So, while any surgery is nerve wracking we decided that it would be best to remove them in hopes to ease these symptoms as well as avoiding future infections. (I had my tonsils removed when I was 16, and this is another genetic thing she can thank me for.) we have our pre-op apt. tomorrow as well as a tour of the surgery area that they do for kids (Teddy bear program). I will post notes on this on Monday afternoon to update everyone.
  • Nessa is also preparing to no longer be in daycare -- maybe just for a bit while I job search, and maybe longer than a bit ... not trying to predict this one. But I've been using this week to catch up on some things as well as allowing a good transition to Nessa being home full time by working on a schedule for us to follow, complete with lots of outings and activities ... but not over scheduled, don't worry, that just isn't me. :-) It turns out that Nessa's week of recovery from her tonsilectomy will make a nice transition to her being home. Nessa hasn't yet questioned the change, but simply seems to be accepting it.
  • Although I haven't blogged about it yet, Nessa did have a nice birthday as well as a nice birthday party (and mom and dad survived the 6 little girls let loose with paint too). Nessa now tells you proudly that she is 4. She also tells us often that she dreams of being a grown up so she can "drink pop and eat popcorn" ... I suppose I should let the girl have popcorn sometime. ;-) oh, she thinks she can do these things when she is 13 because that is older than Megan.
  • Nessa still loves her princesses, especially Ariel, and especially Ariel with legs, is her unquestioned favorite but she will watch/listen to/ play with any of them. In fact my mom nicely made Nessa a Cinderella napkin and we had to request at least one more because that was the only cloth napkin (all we use) that Nessa would use ... she now has two to take turns using -- thanks Grandma Karen!!!!
Oh, my I'm running out of steam before getting to me, and I'm thinking Shawn might have to do his own updates. ;-)

Much of my focus right now is on sticking to my running training schedule. My first goal is a 15k in Rochester in May 2nd -- Yes, I'm running this before my mom's 60th birthday party at the farm that day, so if I'm tired by 8 p.m. at the party, that is why. Then I'll continue to run, but take about 6 weeks off of really pushing the training (faster, longer, harder each week) because I'll be participating in a deep tissue detox to continue to heal. Then I'll start really training for a half marathon this Oct. in Ashland, WI with my wonderful sisters -- goign to make it a great sisters weekend too!!

I'm also volunteering at Megan's school with the Great Books program that she was asked to participate in (I thought that was great -- I remember doing it as a kid), so I'm looking forward to that starting tomorrow.

And I can't forget my wonderful Monday night women's Bible Study group. I've been privleged to lead a few sessions this year which has really helped me use all the Bibles (different versions) we're blessed to own now as well as helping me make all kinds of new discoveries as I read and research ... and best of all the actual meetings. We had a fun outing this past Monday where we went out to eat before the event we were going to and I had fun introducing some to sushi for the first time ... and I was introduced to edamame for the first time (and I think I'm hoooked!). What a great group of women ... the time together has been a special blessing this Spring.

Well, I'm sure I have forgotten many things from just March and April, but it's a start. Shawn and I continue to be thankful for our many blessings, starting with each other and continueing with all of our family and friends.

May you too experience gratitude and blessings today and always ~


Friday, April 10, 2009


Shawn here. The fact that Tami didn't include her name in her post on getting laid off--coupled with the fact that our blog posts are automatically imported to both Shawn's and Tami's Facebook Notes, but without the author information that is at the bottom of the post on the blog--led to some well-intentioned confusion on the part of one of my Facebook friends. This person thought at first that I had been laid off, and was curious as to why I was thinking of becoming a Deaconess, since I am not female.

For the record, I (Shawn) am still employed. I am still pursuing ELCA Candidacy, but have no news to report on that front. All option-considering taking place at this point is Tami's.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Keeping my options open...

The fact that it took me nearly two weeks to write this note either means that I'm very busy (true, I think) or that I'm more than a little conflicted about what to announce to the world (likely also true).

Friday March 27th I was "let go" from my position with ECi La Crosse due to a "workforce reduction." That is the official word.

I expected it to some extent. I actually expected it months ago, but then when it didn't come started to wonder when and if it would ... until Thursday when it became obvious that something was happening in my little cooperate world.

Honestly I felt relief at the moment when it happened. I didn't have to wonder if it would happen or when it would happen any longer, and I now would have time to focus on finding that new job that I had been wanting for a long time. Or, I could focus on contract work and moving toward other opportunities. (For the record, I'm keeping my options open at the moment.)

I think back to the other times that this has happened in my life (thankfully not recently), and this feels so different. Is the situation different or am I different?

People ask me how I'm doing and I quickly reply, "Great!" without even thinking about it, and then when we start talking I can see them get confused when I tell them I'm not currently employed and explain what happened. And yet so often I still really do feel great. I can only conclude that I do not identify *how I am* with my employment status. I say this while certainly understanding how being unemployed can bring a lot of stress on an individual and family.

I had been praying a lot lately about my future path (and continue to do so!). I have not yet told many people but I feel strongly about pursuing a path of serving others -- but what that path is and when I am to pursue it still has not been revealed to me. One option I am considering is becoming a Lutheran Deaconess or working in ministry in another way; however, those are opportunities primarily in the future if for no other reason than I need to continue on the discernment path, and then if I continue to feel called I must apply, and so on before beginning the education process.

Yet, in some way I know that my current situation is a part of that future path. I'm not sure how yet, but as is each leg of the journey, this is an important one.

Presently in addition to checking out contract opportunities and many local job opportunities, I am also continuing to work on various opportunities with The Raw Divas, and hope to have an ebook out soon!

I have to admit that I also hope I will be able to catch my breath a little bit and catch up with the many things I have been putting off -- from posting photos to writing elaborate personal blog posts! :-)

So stay tuned for more photos, details about Nessa's birthday, and of course our request for prayers as Nessa gets her tonsils out at the end of the month. Of course many of you that see my hurried bits and notes on Facebook already knew much of this ...

Love and belief to all -- and send any job opportunities my way. ;-)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Poetic Nessa

Shawn here. While Nessa and I were playing this morning, she wanted me to keep my hand flat, so she said "Daddy, open the doors of your hand." I think that's a wonderful phrase--very poetic and beautiful. I'm going to remember it and pull it out in the future when appropriate.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

To Nessa On Her 4th Birthday

Four years old! Wow! It seems like just yesterday that you were only three…

It’s been another year full of changes. It might not seem to others like you’ve changed all that much: you’re only a couple of inches taller and a few pounds heavier than last April 2nd. But your mommy and I know how many things are different.

The biggest change has been your diet: with your Celiac Disease diagnosis we all had to change what we eat, but what a difference those changes have made. You don’t get sick nearly so often. You’re a picky eater like I was, so it gets tricky to feed you sometimes, but at least we know everything you eat is helping you to grow and not harming you.

Your attention span is getting longer. You can sit through an entire movie, and if you like it you can sit through the same movie over and over. When you play you can concentrate on one toy or one scenario for a long time before switching to another, especially if you’re playing by yourself. If you have several choices you like, you still want to do everything, but after sampling them all you often settle on one and stick with it for a while. Your play scenarios are getting more elaborate, and you’ve started adding things from movies you’ve seen and stories you’ve heard. I love to listen to you play when you don’t know I’m doing so, and to hear the things that come out of your imagination.

You’re getting better and better with language. Although you often want to play a role and speak like you’re younger than you are, at other times you astound me with sentences you put together and the ideas you express. You have the classic four-year-old hesitation & repetition when your brain gets ahead of your ability to frame the words exactly as you want them to come out. I know I’m not as patient with that as I should be sometimes, and I’m sorry. But it’s so much fun to listen to you incorporate new thoughts and expressions into your speech.

You can do so many more things than you could a year ago: put together puzzles, write your name without help (even if the s’s often turn into z’s), color a picture using different colors in each area. You’re getting good at climbing, and are learning how to use items to help you do things. You recognize more words every month. Your mommy and I wonder when you’ll unlock the reading code and be able to read to us. You’re also starting to make up songs, much to my delight.

You’re still learning how to get a handle on your emotions, but that’s OK. It’s hard to want so much to do something and to not be able to do it. You have an independent streak a mile wide, and someday that could be a wonderful thing. You’re learning that God will listen to you when you are having trouble, and that sometimes that helps.

Your mommy and I love you so much, Nessa Rose…more and more with each passing day. Occasionally we’re wistful about days that are gone forever, but I’m so excited about the girl you’re becoming and everything that’s ahead of you that I don’t think about the past much. You are still my greatest joy and my greatest treasure. Thank you for being my little girl, and for helping your mommy to make my life rich beyond measure.

Happy 4th birthday, Nessa Rose!