Saturday, May 19, 2007
He broke out last Friday in all the areas where he'd put sunscreen (arms, legs, ears, neck.) The funny thing is that he's been using that sunscreen all spring. But the rash was only where the sunscreen was, so it seemed that could be the only cause. After a weekend of overdosing on Benadryl and itching like crazy, he went to the doctor.
Let me digress a moment and say how utterly useless the University of Utah Student Health Clinic is. Because of our insurance, we are required to always go to the Student Clinic first and then get a referral to go anywhere else. 9 times out of 10, it ends up being a complete waste of time and the $10 copay because the nurse practitioner you see just isn't experienced enough. We learned with Lily and all of her health problems that it was worth it to pay the higher cost and take her straight to an experienced pediatrician. Now with Amelia, if she's sick, we just automatically take her to Dr. Schlichter even though it costs more. We've never been sorry.
Anyhoo, the trip to the Student Clinic was a waste as the lady would not give him a steroid shot or even prescribe oral steroids to fight off the rash. She gave him some random drug and when Dan got home he searched it on the internet only to find out that it was an anti-depressant and had no anti-inflammatory or steroidal properties at all. Nice. He wasn't going to take it, but he got so itchy at night that he took one in the desperate hope that it might help. All it did was cause an irregular heartbeat. So on Wednesday he went to see a dermatologist. This doc said that he thought it was more likely an auto-immune response to sun exposure rather than an allergic reaction to sunscreen. He prescribed some oral steroids, a topical steroid cream, and recommended some different sunscreen. He said that if it was the skin reacting to too much sun exposure, it would heal itself and in the process build up immunity so it shouldn't happen again. But if the rash persists, they'll do a biopsy in a couple of weeks to see if it is some kind of allergic response.
Why the lengthy description (other than to show off some gnarly photos?) The blasted rash has thwarted Dan's goal of riding the Kokopelli Trail, something he has wanted to do for 6 or 8 years. The Kokopelli Trail is a 142 mile mountain bike ride from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Most people spread the ride out over a few days and it usually requires some sort of support vehicle to accompany you with food and water. After making several good biking friends last year, Dan finally had someone he could ride with. A bunch of the guys decided to do the Kokopelli Trail Ride, an unofficial one day, self-supported bike race. Yes, that means you carry all your own supplies, food, and water and you ride the full 142 miles in one stretch, about 18 hours of ride time. It's an epic ride, one for the books, and as far as I'm concerned, it's reserved for only those with some sort of mental impairment that makes them long for punishment.
All who know Dan realize that he falls firmly into that category (thus the 106 mile Ride Around White Rim in One Day on a single speed!) Unfortunately, the prednisone Dan is taking for his rash causes muscle fatigue and just a general case of "I feel lousy." Dan wisely decided that this wasn't the best time for an endurance ride. He did, however, still accompany his friends Elden (Fatty) and Kenny (of the Jack Mormon Militia fame) down to Grand Junction and volunteered to be the shuttle guy, driving the truck to Moab to pick them up at the end of the race. Dan called awhile ago and had just finished riding Slick Rock and despite his impaired physical state, he completed the ride in 1 1/2 hours on his single speed. That's his fastest time ever, and on a single speed no less!
What's my point? My husband is freakin' cool! And I've got the photos to prove it!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I hope all you mothers had a great day on Sunday! I was a naughty girl this year and really didn't give Dan a chance to get me a gift. My sister-in-law hosted a Modbe Clothing and Lia Sophia Jewelry party last month. It was the day before Dan's first paycheck and I splurged, buying a swimsuit & swim skirt, shirt, and some jewelry. Afterwards, feeling a little guilty for how much I had spent, I told Dan that the jewelry could be my Mother's Day gift. I got this necklace (not the bracelet)
I've never worn much jewelry, mostly simple earrings and one ring on each hand. But as I get older, the crow's feet are growing and the eye bags are getting darker so I feel the need to snaz up my look and draw attention away from my sagging face!
In addition to jewelry, I am also lusting after a 100mm 2.8 macro lens for my camera and a road bike, both really expensive. I've decided to ride in an all women's bike ride up in Logan on June 2, the Little Red Riding Hood. I did the 30 mile ride 2 years ago on my mountain bike and it took me about 2.5 hrs to ride. I was hoping to do the 60 mile this year, but I don't know if I'll be able to hack 5 hours on the bike. (Can you say saddle sores?!) If I had a road bike, I'd be able to ride at least 20% faster, if not more, because road bikes are lighter and much more efficient on smooth terrain. Now, if I could just inherit a bunch of money... Are there any rich old aunts out there that I don't know about?
Incidentally, Dan did write me a nice letter of appreciation for Mother's Day (the thing I most like to get) but he did it begrudgingly, saying that I would save it and use it against him someday. I guess I can't tell you what he said...
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I've been blue because a good friend of mine is getting a divorce. We've been friends for 8 years, since her oldest was just a baby, and I have watched her marriage over the years. There is no good way to tell your friend that the majority of her problems lie not in the fact that her husband is a lazy jerk, but that she is selfish. So many people view marriage as a vehicle to meet all their needs and make them happy, rather than an opportunity to serve another person and make them happy. My friend is a score-keeper and has a "what have you done for me lately" attitude. That builds and builds over the years until you lose all willingness to forget yourself and consider that your spouse is not getting their needs met.
Surely I am going to offend someone reading this, but I feel like I can say these things as one who has been on the other side. I have been on the verge of divorce before and I have seen firsthand that if you are willing to work and swallow your pride, you can have a good marriage. Eight years ago I thought that there was no way I could be happy being married to Dan and that I'd better get out before we had any kids and I was stuck. I was given some wise counsel not to get a divorce unless I was absolutely certain that I could feel justified in breaking my marriage covenant come judgement day. Looking back now, I realize how foolish, self-centered, and immature I was to think that I had a good reason to get a divorce. Dan didn't meet some of my expectations, but I never even considered that my expectations were unreasonable. I never considered that I had a responsibility to make Dan feel loved regardless of how I was feeling. I thought, "marriage is supposed to make me happy and if it doesn't, then I shouldn't stay married to this person." How narrow minded!
I've been giving a lot of thought to the purpose of marriage and how to maintain a proper perspective about what it's supposed to do for you, or rather what you're supposed to do for it. When God created Eve to be a companion for Adam, I don't think it was simply to give them both a pleasurable existence, although that can certainly be one of the blessings of marriage. Marriage was instituted to give us a purpose in life, to give us something and someone to work for. God didn't send us to this earth just to sit on our cracks and be waited on hand and foot. He sent us here to learn and to grow. And we do that by serving others, not by serving ourselves.
Here's what I have learned. The more you genuinely care about your spouse and are willing to make their comfort and happiness your primary concern, the happier you are. It's a simple concept that many people are just too stubborn to implement. They aren't willing to try to see things from their spouse's point of view. They are so bitter and wrapped up in "I'm not getting my needs met" that they can't empathize with how their spouse may be feeling. The biggest change came in my marriage when I really started to care about how Dan felt more than I cared about how I felt. And you know the beautiful thing about it? As you empathize with your spouse, you get this overwhelming feeling of love for them. My friend was talking about how she and her husband have always been more like roommates and friends rather than lovers, that she was envious of women who were crazy about their husbands and vice-verse. She said that she never felt like her husband really cared about easing her burdens and that made her feel so lonely. But I know that you can go from feeling alone and sure that you can't be happy with someone to having this overwhelming feeling of love and affection, that you would never want to be married to anyone else. It is possible...and it is worth it! You just have to be willing to step outside of yourself and make a choice. Do you want your marital efforts to be equitable, do you want to feel self-justified, do you want everything to be "even?" Or would you rather just be happy? Don't hold back affection, respect, and kindness just because you feel you may be justified. Just forget yourself and do what you promised to do when you took your marriage vows.
The saddest thing about my friend getting a divorce is that her kids will be damaged by it. There is just no way around it. People getting a divorce try to justify it by saying, "the kids will be better off having us separate than having to grow up watching us fight." As if that is a state of being that can't be changed. The kids would be better off if they had less selfish parents. Parents who were willing to make the effort to work through their crap in order to give their kids a safe and stable environment. My parents are divorced. They were unhappy for the majority of the last 10 years of their marriage, from about the time I was 11 years old. I knew they had problems and there was tension, yes. But looking back as an adult, I am so grateful that they stuck it out until all their kids were grown because I didn't have to make special arrangements to see my Dad. He was there anytime I needed him. I didn't have to split my life between two homes, two sets of friends, two conflicting loyalties. I didn't have to miss my other parent during holidays. Was my home life ideal? No, but my parents gave us stability and especially as an adult, it means a lot to me that they were willing to endure loneliness and bitterness in order to make us feel safe. Whenever I have friends bad mouthing their husbands or talking about divorce, I just think, "your kids deserve so much more effort that you are willing to give." Forget about whether you think your spouse deserves your kindness and respect, your kids deserve for you to show that to their father/mother.
So, this is all pretty opinionated, but you already knew that about me! Having said all these things, I have to clarify that I don't resent all people that are divorced. A true fact of life is that you never know what lies in another's heart. You never know what all of their sorrows are. Many people in my family are divorced and I don't wish to cast judgement on them. The past is over and regret is a big waste of time. I'd rather love and appreciate the people they have become despite (and perhaps because of) the trials they have faced. I guess the only reason that I'm posting these thoughts on my blog rather than just writing in my personal journal is that there's a chance these thoughts might help someone. Someone struggling in their marriage and feeling hopeless. Dan and I were talking and he said, "you know, for most people the answer is not to get a divorce. The answer is to change yourself so that you can be happy." I am living proof that it can work.
Love you all!
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Thank you very much! Today I substituted Lily's class at church. Oh, nearly 2 hours with five 5 year olds...Can somebody get me a Valium? There is a reason I have never been called to serve in the Primary. I might actually crack! It's one thing to have a bunch of kids at your house where they can play & be rowdy and when they get obnoxious you just send them to another part of the house or outside. But trying to get 5 kids to sit still, stop jabbing each other, stop talking, stop whining, face forward, pay attention to the leaders, sing songs, etc. is enough to try any one's patience. It wasn't as bad once we finished Sharing Time (songs and short talks with all the kids under 8) and got into our own little classroom. I tried to woo the kids with my superior story-telling skills (the story of the Gold Plates and the Angel Moroni is very fascinating, you know.) When that got old, I let them carve their names into a soda can with a sharp nail. Oh yeah, that got their attention! This was to demonstrate how difficult it was for the prophets to engrave their words onto the metal plates. Man, give a kid a sharp object and they are like putty in your hands! I know this activity seems to go against better judgement and safety sense, but I'll have you know that it was suggested in the lesson manual. Please direct all complaints to the Church Curriculum Department!
I've been meaning to email some pictures from some fun cousin activities, but it always gets pushed out of the way by other computer work, so I'll post them here. At the end of March Dan's sister Dianna and her family came out for a ski vacation. She and her husband Jeff have twins, age 8, named Shea and Alex. It was their first time skiing and they absolutely loved it! One of the nights they were here they had a sleepover with Lily. It was good rowdy fun! Lily has a tent over her bed (a birthday gift from Nana & Papa) and another mattress that pulls out from under the bed. At one point during the evening I heard loud thuds. I went in to assess the damage and found the kids jumping from the window seat onto the floor mattress. I told them to take turns so they wouldn't land on each other and Shea said, "I can't believe you're letting us do this!" Once the rowdiness hit a fever pitch, I had the kids get into their pj's and ready for bed. I put on Scooby-Doo Meets Batman and all together they broke out in the theme song. It was so funny! I had assumed that Lily and Alex would sleep in the tent and Shea would sleep on the floor, but he wanted to sleep in the window seat. I told him it wouldn't be that comfortable, but he sure did sleep there the whole night!
The following morning the kids played in the backyard in their pj's while they waited for Amelia and I to wake up. Don't you just love the ski sunburns? We tried to warn Dianna and Jeff about ski sunburns, but out-of-towners never listen! :)
The kids made the basement room their clubhouse and dubbed it Club A.S.L. (Alex, Shea, and Lily.)
What were the other kids doing during this awesome display of athletic prowess? Playing in the dirt, of course! Naturally, Lily instigated the whole thing and Luke & Faith were all for it!
Ahh, to be a kid!
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Use this if you have an account with google, i.e. if you also have a blog through Blogger or Blogspot. Choosing this option allows readers of the blog to click on your name in the comments section and it will bring up your profile. If you don't already have a google account, the only reason you would want to sign up is if you plan to start a blog. To see an example of this type of comment posting, see Kris's comment on Part-timers, Posers & Buck-Tooth Varmits.
Use this if you don't want to sign up for a google account, but you want to be identified by name when your comments show up. You will be asked for your name (you can use your real name or make up a funny alias) and you also have the option to enter a web address, such as your email address or website, if you want readers of the comments section to be able to contact you or see your website. Entering a web address is not required if you don't want people to be able to contact you. To see an example of this type of comment posting, see Dianna's comment on Part-timers, Posers & Buck-Tooth Varmits.
Use this if you don't want to identify yourself by name. Although, I'd rather know who you are, so if you don't want other readers of the comments section to identify you, just choose a cool alias, something that might refer to an inside joke or something that only I would know about.
Now that you know how to comment, feel free to mock to your heart's content (Josh!)
It doesn't seem right for a photographer to make a blog post without including a picture, so here is one of Amelia that I took last week. She's not nearly the binky fanatic that Lily was, but she does like it when she's getting to sleep.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
I came across these pictures while I was looking for pregnant pictures for my other post. Is this not the funniest thing you have ever seen? These were taken in August 2006, about a month before Amelia was born. Lily had gotten out of the bath and went down into the TV room to have Dan help put her lotion on before she got dressed. I was working on the computer or something so I wasn't paying attention. After a few minutes I went downstairs to get Lily so she could put her pj's on and I discovered her skating naked in the living room! She'd found her skates which she'd left in the house earlier in the day and wanted to try them on. Then, realizing she was cold but not wanting to take off her skates to get dressed, she put her jacket on and completed the ensemble. It gives a whole new meaning to "Skating Exhibition!"
I ventured out with the girls in the bike trailer last week. It was a gorgeous day and Amelia's first trailer ride.
Well, I better close for the night as I have surely proven Dan correct. When I told him I was starting a blog, he said, "Oh, no! It's going to be the blog with the longest entries in history!"