Friday, January 25, 2008

The Little Things in Life

I realize that I may be the only one right now who is not completely absorbed in something world-changing, like presidential politics, unsolved crime, or keeping up with Heath Ledger's funeral service, etc. Oh, I have plenty to say about all of the above, but I'm just trying to "keep it real," as they they say.

I realized today that I have not read a novel since March, 2006, when I was in the hospital trying to keep my mind off the fact that my newborn was shut up in the ICU trying to breathe. I know many of you are avid readers out there, and probably look at me with shock and pity, but my reading these days is limited to books that meet a felt-need around here (like potty-training and home organization), and even then I'm lucky if I finish the entire book without skimming part of it.

I'll admit, I'm an article reader. Short, I can do. Long, well...if you want me to learn it, better put it on a CD for the car! Before college I was an avid reader. I loved to read! I loved to learn and imagine! Unfortunately, in college I read and read and read until I thought my head would explode with scads of rather useless and completely unrelated information. I swore off useless reading, and busied myself with purposeful reading. But somewhere along the way, I went back to reading-for-pleasure.

And then I became a parent. My attention span has been somewhat burned by the fact that my attention is called to helping one or the other small child about every 2 minutes (or less). But today I found myself skimming an article, and I was rather disgusted with myself. I used to be a deep thinker. Maybe the old addage 'parenting causes brain damage' is true! It feels like parenting has caused ADHD in my case! I am just so BUSY!!! Somebody always needs their cup refilled, a sock put back on, a bottom wiped, a tear dried, a book read, a piece found... When Peter comes home I ask him what is happening in the outside world and sit there hanging on every word!

So here ends my pity party, and here begins my official posting of my New Years resolutions. I have gone back and forth about posting this, because I'm worried that someone will hold me to these amazingly BASIC things. I guess I finally decided that some accountability was good. You will notice there is nothing grand or sensational here, just goals that I think, by God's grace, I can attain this year.

2008 Goals

  • Blog 3 times a month
  • Plant flowers and/or a garden
  • Relax and not rush through school with Hannah
  • Relax and enjoy kids & Peter
  • Exercise somehow, somewhere!
  • Spend AT LEAST 5 minutes of UNINTERRUPTED time in the Bible/with the Lord EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR
  • Date with Peter at least once a month
  • Try new recipes
  • Get out of town with just Peter at least once this year
Think I can manage? These are certainly the little things in life, but I'd like to think that investing in my family is my way of changing the world - one life at a time.

New View

This is the view from our window. I have never been able to see this without contacts or glasses. I can this morning and I can actually see the mountains better than I could with glasses or contacts.

Blow-by-blow From Peter's Lasik Operation

Well, I had Lasik done this week. Very interesting process, especially since you are looking right at most of it while it is done. I thought I would give a blow-by-blow account, at least partly so that I remember what happened and what it felt like.

They started me out with a motrin and some valium to relax me (I was nervous), and then gave me some numbing drops and disinfectant to prepare the area for surgery. The picture above is me after the valium. Very relaxed, huh? Then, we went into a small room where they had the flap-making laser. This is a machine that uses lasers to create millions of tiny bubbles just below the surface of the cornea. When the vision correction is to be done, these bubbles allow the doctor to peel back the corneal surface, thus creating a "flap."

I laid down on the table and it turns out my legs were a little longer than most, so they had me tuck my legs in so that the table could rotate underneath the laser. First, they put in a device that held my eye open. Then they put a suction cup on my eyeball. When they put pressure to the suction cup, it cut off the blood flow and my vision in that eye went gray, so I couldn’t see with that eye what happened next. But from what I was told, the laser machine docked on top of the suction cup and created the flap. Then, we moved to the other eye.

The pictures above and below show me in the back room having the flap done and on the big screen, you can see what is happening to my eye.

They did the same procedure with keeping the eye open and putting the suction cup on. However, the suction cup was not seated right, so they had to redo it. The second time, my vision did not gray-out when the put the suction cup on. I asked about this and they said that sometimes vision does not gray-out when the suction cup pressure is turned on. However, at this point, there was a machine error and they had to reboot the computer operating the machine. They took all of the stuff off of my eye and let me relax. The valium had kicked in and I was quite relaxed. I thought it rather funny that the staff seemed to be stressing that it was taking so long for the computer to reboot. If they had some of that valium stuff, they would have been fine. :) Although, I’m not sure I would want them taking that before working on my eyes. :) The machine finally rebooted and they created the flap on my left eye.

Then we walked a few steps into the next room where they have the vision correction laser. (This picture is me sitting underneath the vision correction laser, but before they started doing anything.) After putting me down on the table, they noticed that I had an eyelash in my eye. Dr. Smit got that out and then they taped my eyelid open and put a little device on my eye to allow the doctor to work. Then, Dr. Smit began to peel back the corneal flap. The first flap was a little sticky, so it took a bit of him pulling on it to come off. It was kind of surreal for me during this time, because I can see him working on trying to get the flap to come up. Of course, he was quite gentle and very good about it, but I could tell that the flap was being rather stubborn. As he was trying to get the flap to come up, my eye would move up or over as the case may be and I would be looking form a different angle at the lights above me.

There were several sets of lights. On the outside there were four banks of whitish-purplish lights at what looked like four corners. I think these were for illuminating my eye. In the middle, there was a blinking green light (I think for me to focus on) and on either side of this there were two red lights (I think these were the lasers). When the flap was opened (actually only took him about 15 seconds to get it opened), my vision of the green and red lights got much more fuzzy. It looked like I was underwater. Then, I was instructed to look at the green blinking light and the laser went to work. I could smell a burning smell. I could faintly see something that looked like a little gray at the edge of the green light that appeared to be the laser doing its work. After about 20 seconds, it was done. Dr. Smit put the flap back in place and I could see pretty clearly almost immediately, but there was nothing really to look at and my eye was only open for about a second before they closed it.

Debra was watching all of this and a friend of hers from high school who is also an eye surgeon, Dr. Hinton, happened to stop by while the surgery was taking place. He sat down with her and explained what was happening as it was happening.

Then, they moved to the second eye. The second eye happened just about like the first eye. Then, they had me close my eyes for a few seconds before I sat up. When I sat up, I could already see much better than before, although everything was slightly cloudy. Then, we went into the recovery room. I kept my eyes closed most of the time. Whenever I tried to open them, large amounts of tears wanted to come out. After these tears all fell out, however, I could already see quite well, at least as well as when wearing glasses. However, my eyes were still irritated and needed to heal, so I kept them closed as much as possible. I slept for a few hours when I got home. Then, I got up and most of the cloudiness and irritation was gone. However, the eye where they had to put the suction cup on three different times is quite red (they told me this would be the case).

I am writing this the next morning and most of the irritation is gone, although there is still some dryness which I understand will continue until certain nerve endings in the flap grow back.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Loft in the Shed

We decided to put a loft in the shed so that we can store more junk up there. Besides, this is a relatively easy project. These are photos of before the loft went in and after the loft went in. A good friend of ours, Ted, graciously offered to help and for that kindness, he is repaid by having his picture included here. (Don't even ask what we do to our enemies.)
(Ed. - This another example of the problems created when blogger makes it so easy to post from a mobile phone.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

What's New Around Here?

Life has been so full these past few weeks at our home. In the last few weeks:
  • I had a birthday (and you will just have to guess my age).
  • Peter's parents came for 11 days, and two of his siblings came for 8.
  • Christmas was somewhere in there.
  • We went to the snow! Hannah, the daredevil, took to cardboard box sledding like a champ, Daniel discovered that he HATES being that cold, and Caleb honed his daredevil tendencies. Maybe I'll write more on this one at a later date.
  • 2008 arrived.
  • Hannah celebrated her 5th birthday!
  • My parents moved from their big modern house to their new smaller country home.
  • Mom and Dad moved in with us, because the electricity was not on.
  • Daniel broke his collarbone.
  • Peter had a birthday (you'll have to guess his age too).

I know there is more, but I thought the majority of you would mostly like to know how Daniel is faring. He is doing much better. Praise the Lord, he did not need surgery, but only to wear a sling for a while. It will take about 3 weeks to heal. He is already asking to not wear the sling, but when I let him take a little break from it he forgets to not use that shoulder and swings his arm and it hurts. Poor little guy! He doesn't slow down easily, so this has been a trying time for him. He can't understand why we won't let him wrestle, and he can't climb on his new play structure without crying. Fortunately, each day I see a little progress.

My parents have been staying with us since they moved a week ago tomorrow, and we have been having so much fun having them here. Papa and Hannah have been reading Black Beauty each day. Now that the electricity and gas were turned on today, I expect they will want to settle their new home soon. At least they'll only be a few steps out the back gate.

It's hard to believe that only a year ago this weekend we moved here ourselves.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Huckabee - "I've heard he has real problems"

Sorry for another political post, but I had a couple of comments on the last one and I posted a comment that I thought I would post here:

Interestingly, most of the bad things I have heard about Huckabee are exactly that, things I "have heard." Quite a few radio talkers have picked up the gauntlet against him, mostly because that's what all the other one's are doing.

He doesn't say all of the right things and I'm not a huge fan of the populism twist that he puts on things. However, when I hold him up to the other candidates I don't see anybody who is better.

Go through the other candidates (in no particular order):
1. Thompson: What has he done? Where is the experience? One-term senator. Doesn't seem to want to be president. Has problems with his positions on a few social issues. Personal life is not exactly exemplary.
2. Romney: Elected governor in incredibly liberal state. One term governor. Had to say a few things that maybe he doesn't really mean to get elected there. Disavows those things now. He's probably second my second choice at this point.
3. Guiliani: Atrocious personal life. Liberal on social issues. We have one of these now as our governor in California. We call them RINO's. Ahnold got elected on a fiscal responsibility platform, but that quickly disintegrated. Now, we have neither fiscal nor social conservatism.
4. Paul: I like some of the things that he says, but then he comes out with absolute crazyisms.
5. McCain: Almost forgot him. He might do better in the Democratic primary. Wildly unpredictable. Created huge problems with judges, when he supported democrats in the obstructions in the Senate. Not sure exactly what he stands for. Another RINO type.

Then, we look at Huckabee:
- Accusation that he is populist that thinks government can solve all of our problems: just about everyone but maybe Ron Paul and Thompson are going to fall into the same problem. G.W. Bush has the same problem. I don't really like it, but who is really better (considering the other problems of those other folks).
- Weak on illegal immigration: This was based on a few things he did as governor. I am not sure I agree with the few things he did, but I think just about every other candidate would have to answer for similar problems in their record, if they have a record (except for maybe Ron Paul). If you look at his campaign position on this issue, I think he has an excellent position.
- Liberal tax and spender: He was part of raising taxes in Arkansas because a court ordered them to do so for education and because their roads were the worst in the country. Well, it seems to me that roads are one of the few legitimate purposes for taxation. He also cut taxes numerous times. He has taken the "no new taxes" pledge and complains loudly about spending.

So, my question is "who is better?" I don't see anyone better at this point.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cool Blogger Feature

Okay, I discovered a cool new feature of blogger last night while waiting in the ER with Daniel. You can e-mail pictures and have them automatically show up on the blog. I tried to do this during Caleb's birth, but it didn't work very well. But it looks like it works flawlessly now. See the picture sent from my Treo while sitting in the ER last night.
So, for all those of you who are interested (I see that hand, oh, you were sneezing, okay), this is a picture of the play structure that we built for the kids over the Christmas holidays. "We" refers mostly to my dad and me, but Andrew and Mary helped out as well.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Daniel Breaks His Collarbone

Daniel woke us up from Sunday afternoon naps this afternoon crying.  After a few hours at the ER, it turns out he has a broken clavicle. He's a real trooper.

Friday, January 04, 2008


I don't usually post on political topics, but I have been intrigued by Mike Huckabee and the fallout of the Iowa Caucuses (Cauci?). One thing I have not yet figured out is the general loathing of Huckabee by the Republican establishment. From Rush to Hewitt, nobody seems to like this guy. Medved blogged about the spin the establishment is trying to put on Iowa.

I am not there yet, but I am leaning towards voting for him. The main reason is that I see more positives in him than any of the other candidates. His main negative was that he went along with tax increases a couple of times in Arkansas. There are two main increases people talk about: (1) one was a small sales tax increase to fix the road/infrastructure system (which was dilapidated; the increase was actually approved by the voters of the state), and (2) the other was mandated by the court system to fix the educational system. In addition, Huckabee cut taxes and fees over 100 times while in office and pushed through the first broad-based tax cut in Arkansas history. He says he is against raising taxes and believes that the biggest problem we have is government over-spending.

Most of the other Republican candidates who have had any level of governmental responsibility can be faulted at one point or another on the no new taxes or fees issue. Why is Huckabee getting beat up so bad on this and the others get a free pass?