No Harm Done

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Extreme Invasive Makeover

So Thursday's the day: I check in. They slit my throat. I'll leave the next day a little bit lighter.

At church on Sunday, I waggled my eyebrows a la groucho Marx and tried to convince them it was all part of my grand weight-loss plan. "If I just keep having doctors remove one non-essential piece of me at a time, soon I will be able to reach my ideal weight."

I don't think many people bought it. Sadly, I think there were even a few who might have thought I was completely serious. Sigh.....

Last week, while talking with the surgeon about my thyroid and the nitty-gritty about the surgery, I'd mentioned (since I had his attention, and all) that over the past couple of years I'd had 3 instances where my uvula (that's the dangling thingie in the back of your throat, for those of you who went to a state college) would swell and elongate to the point that it would lay on my tongue and gag me.

(Ick. Yes. That mental image and involuntary shudder you just had - that was what I was going for. )

Anyway, the surgeon took a look at my elongated uvula and said, "Sure, we'll clip that for you on Thursday while we're in there."

Hey! How about that!

I'll probably be nervous on Thursday, but right now I'm just excited to have this done and taken care of. I like my thyroid; I'm kind of attached to it (ba DUM bum), but it's given me a lot of grief for the past 4 years. I'm eager to have this procedure done with.

For those of you praying, thank you. God has brought His calm, peace, and (surprisingly) joy to us in the midst of this, and we are truly blessed. Please continue to pray for my family, for healing, for the surgeon's hands, and that there would be no complications.

I should be in the hospital for just one night, but it could be longer. I hope that my stay would look something like this:

But in reality, this is probably closer:

Thank you for your prayers! I'll begin blogging again as soon as I can.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Day Well Spent

Have you ever had one of those days where you didn't really accomplish anything, but you had so much fun doing what you did do that it still felt like a great day? That was today. And the day's not over yet!

Last night we stayed up last watching "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." All the kids enjoyed it, and loved staying up until 10 o'clock. We would've stayed up later but M. and I decided to fast-forward through some of the luvvy-duvvy songs. The boys squirmingly sat through "Hushabye Mountain" but after that they had little patience for "Truly Scrumptious," etc.

This morning, the kids awoke at the crack of dawn (nearly literally), and Braden and I went to the first swim team meeting of the year. The local club has hired a full-time coach, and today was the official meet-and-greet. Braden's eyes were wide at the amount of doughnuts spread out on the tables as we walked in. I remarked, "It's a policeman's dream!", and I was impressed when he laughed at my joke. He actually got that one! :)

After the meeting we headed home, packed up the car with the rest of the family, and headed out to a state park for M.'s company picnic. The park was on a lake, and had a great view of the rolling countryside. The boys found a tiny green frog huddling in fear on the steps of the slide. They patted his tiny back with one finger, and tried to coax him out of the corner, but he was not falling for any of their wily tricks.

The picnic served great barbeque, and had a bounce house and dunk tank. The kids LOVED the dunk tank, and even Braden took a turn getting dunked. M. dared any of his supervisors to dunk him, and then heckled them for the tank. I got in line to dunk him too. (How could I let an opportunity like this pass me by!) After my second throw bounced off the target without actually triggering it, I gave myself an advantage and took two giant steps forward. (What? No. It wasn't cheating.) My final throw put him in the water. Mwahahaha!

We came home hot, sweaty, exhausted, and a wee bit cranky. But we'd had a great day!

On a side note: Brogan has started accompanying himself with a laugh track. He'll say something "funny", and then follow that up with very cheesy, obviously fake laughter. (Think Pee-Wee Herman) I keep hoping to catch it on video, but he never does it when I have the camera out.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Happy is the bride that lost her husband.

I'll bet you didn't know THAT saying, did you? Someone on another blog posted a cute project she'd done with her children. She asked the beginning of a famous saying, and let her children try to complete the endings. I've posted Brogan's here. I got quite a laugh out of some of them. :)

Better to be safe than……. a girl.
Strike while the……… sun’s gone.
It’s always darkest before.......... the sun goes down.
Never underestimate the power of…………… God.
You can lead a horse to water but…………… you can’t lead the water to the horse.
Don’t bite the hand that…….… that helps you eat.
No news is ………… a paper.
A miss is as good as a …… superhero.
You can’t teach an old dog…… to run out and play if you don’t ask him to.
If you lie down with dogs, you’ll..... sleep.
Love all, trust…... Jesus.
The pen is mightier than the…… guard.
An idle mind is……… not a paper.
Happy is the bride who…… loves Jesus.
A penny saved is…… to buy something.
Two’s company, three’s…… eight.
Don’t put off till tomorrow what… a dog makes.
Children should be seen and not…… played with.
You get out of something only what you…… see.
When the blind leadeth the blind…… they get sad.

Braden's were not as humorous because he already knew a lot of the sayings. The headline for this post came from him. I've posted the other fun ones here.

Never underestimate the power of…………… soup?
A miss is as good as a …… pass.
If you lie down with dogs, you’ll..... grow old.
Love all, trust…... no one.
An idle mind is……… a lazy person.
There are none so blind as…… a mole.

My homey in his "crib." Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wow. Never saw THAT coming.

Over at Staci's blog she posts this link to one of those online personality tests. You answer questions and the test determines which famous leader you are most like. Staci came up as Abe Lincoln.

Another commented on the blog about maybe testing out as Apostle Paul or Martin Luther King Jr.

Braden was in the room with me, so we did his test. After answering all the questions, the answer screen revealed........

After I stopped laughing and began breathing again, and Braden had removed the dirty scowl from his face, we decided it was my turn to take the quiz.

I thought of famous leaders I would like to emulate, and wondered what I might test out as. So, with eager anticipation I began answering the questions. When the answer screen finally popped up, I was shocked and surprised to learn I most resemble the famous leader...

..scroll down for this one....

....keep scrolling.......

...... dun dun DUUUN.....


All afternoon I've watched other quizzers receive kind results. "Look! I was Ghandi!" "Oooooh Mother Teresa!" "Hey! I'm an Einstein." It was getting discouraging. So this evening I decide to take the "Which Classic Movie Are You" quiz, done by the same people.


I think I need to go off alone for awhile for a little personal introspection.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Braden's Fan Letter

Last fall, Braden was bored during the littles' naptime, and so we turned the tv on and tried to find something to watch. We stumbled upon a rerun of "America's Funniest Home Videos." Braden was instantly mesmerized by the show and it quickly became his favorite.

This is a show that neither M. nor I particularly like, primarily because of the voice-over narrations and the segues between videos. But Braden loved every aspect of it. The AFV hour became his favorite hour of the day, and it was a great incentive for making sure his schoolwork was completed on time.

In November, I think, Braden decided he wanted to write the host, Tom Bergeron, a letter. He drafted a simple letter to Mr. Bergeron telling him how much he liked the show, and funny he thought Mr. Bergeron was, and how he thought Mr. Bergeron was the perfect man to host the show. We sent the letter off, and he was sure he'd recieve a letter or a phone call from Mr. Bergeron within a week or two.

Well, by December, we'd had a conversation about fan mail, and how the show probably receives so much mail they can't answer every letter. But the shows always love hearing from fans. He seemed placated by that and hadn't really mentioned the letter since then.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Braden recieved a letter in the mail from..... yup... Mr. Bergeron. (Well, his secretary, anyway.) Braden was beside himself with excitement, both about the letter and the autographed photo that was included.

I was impressed (and touched) by the personal attention shown Braden by Vin di Bona Productions. As I read the letter, I realized that they had sent him a personal letter, not a pre-printed form letter. They commented on specific things Braden had written, something a form letter couldn't do. They took care to cut up a manilla folder to make a sleeve for the photo so that it wouldn't get bent or damaged in shipping.

During the boys naptime I called Vin di Bona Productions and tracked down the secretary who sent the letter. They must not get much fan mail, because they had to ask around to see who handled it. When I finally got in touch with the correct person, I introduced myself by saying, "I'm Hillary _______. My son Braden wrote Mr. Bergeron a fan letter last fall."

The secretary remembered his name. "Yes! " she cried, "I remember that. We just sent out a reply last week!" She went on to apologize for taking so long to respond. They get so much mail, though, that it takes a long time to sort through it all.

I was again stunned... and touched... by the fact that she'd remembered him. Their show is based entirely on submissions sent in the mail. They receive letters and tapes from all over the world. But she was able to remember his letter.

We went on to chat a little while, and before we hung up she told me to let Braden know that they were filming the first episode of the new season this week, and that it would air on October 2nd. He was thrilled with that bit of "inside information."

We dashed off to the store last night, and the photo now sits in a beautiful 8x10 frame on his dresser. He can't help smiling when he looks at it.

And neither can I.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Wow. A Club That Wants Me?

I got a membership letter this weekend for a national organization that would apparently love to have me as a member. They even sent me a temporary membership card and list of potential benefits!

I was surprised, not by the fact that a fairly politically liberal organization would offer me membership, but also that they SO wanted me as a member they rather hastily took steps to recruit me.

Care to guess which group?

(Please tell me that "MENSA" was the first word out of your mouth. )

Anyone guess the DNC? No. Though that would be fun. I think I might enjoy that.

No, I have been offered membership in the American Association of Retired People. Yes, the AARP has informed me that I am fully eligible for benefits.

I'm only 34. I'm 34.

I used to tease my Dad when he started geting mail from the AARP, but he was in his early fifties. Not near retirement, but I could tease him about his early recruitment.

But 34. Wow! Should I feel honored?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Karaoke For the Deaf

Okay, this short film made me laugh out loud. Mostly because I was imagining the amount of practice this guy had to do to make the song look so smooth and spontaneous.

There's a couple of mildly off-color gestures, but nothing terrible and they go by so quickly they're easy to miss.

Return of the Camping Monkey

Friday night M. and the boys camped out in the backyard. It was the first campout of the summer, and Colson's first campout ever.

It was cute to watch M. and Braden try to set up the tent while Colson and Brogan raced around their feet and in and out of the tent. All we lacked was the "Russian Sabre Dance" playing in the background.

They set up the tent, changed into pajamas, and then snacked and guzzled Gatorade while telling superhero stories. When it came time to sleep, Colson raced between sleeping bags driving the others nuts. Eventually, M. brought him in to finish the night in the crib. Colson was just fine with that. The tent was fun to play in, but cribs are where you sleep, of course.

This is Colson holding the camping monkey and Bubby the Giraffe.

The Camping Monkey first made its appearance two summers ago, when Brogan spent his first night in the tent. M. had taken the boys to the store to buy "camping munchies." Brogan called them "camping monkeys", and was slightly distressed at not finding any monkeys at the store. We have a stuffed monkey, and Brogan dragged that out to the tent to be the camping monkey.

Every camping trip since then, the camping monkey has made an appearance. This year, Colson got to meet him.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Can't Breathe......Chest Pain....

I've just been reading someone's blog about his crazy, e-bay obsessed mother. The site is filled with pictures of their home and the author's dry, somewhat sarcastic narration of the home.

After just looking at those pictures, my chest is tight, and I feel stressed out and claustrophobic . How do people live like that?!?!

There are people I meet all the time who do not understand my need to have a clutter-free home. I love to organize and clean and assign every object a home. ( A place for everything and everything in its place.)

There are many reasons why order is important to me, but a large part of the reason I do this is so my family will not have to live like this:

There are more pictures of this sort. The house is filled with them. Some of the pictures are funny. The narration almost always is. But how does one live in a house that is essentially a storage shed? How do you relax?

Okay, I need to go get a cup of tea, relax, and take deep, cleansing breaths. I'll turn on some calming music and watch my boys play.

On a clean floor.

In a clean room.

With sunshine streaming in the windows.

And potpourri simmering nearby.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pictures of the Painted Kitchen

Here we are at last! Here are pictures of my kitchen, now that the walls are colored and I almost have everything put back. We ended up liking the color more than I thought we would. Well, except for Braden. Braden maintains that he will never get used to it and cannot imagine [insert dramatic eye roll here, please] why anyone would want a green kitchen.

This first picture is of a scroll hanging between the archway to the living room and the sliding glass door in the dining room. The patch of tan in the archway is where I tested a paint for the living room. I am not picking that paint. Bleh.

Anyway..... the scroll was given to us by our sister-in-law. While their family was living in China she hired a calligrapher to pen Bible verses onto several scrolls. The one we have is Romans 5:19

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

The following photo is taken from the archway and looks into the dining room/ kitchen. I still have a couple more things to hang on the walls, but overall I'm happy with it. The green doesn't make the kitchen look dark, as I was worried it might.

This last picture is looking into the kitchen from the wall where the scroll is hung.

I can start plotting what I will do to the living room next. This will be the most challenging room, as it has a long staircase down to the basement, and I'm not sure how I will reach to paint or tape the ceiling and walls around it. I will worry about that another day, though. Today, I will sit in my still-smells-like-new-paint kitchen and enjoy my tea.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Monday: In Which Braden Learns to Understand Women

Today is our first day of the new school year. All in all, it's going well. It's lunchtime, the children are happy, my house is still clean, and we've covered most of the subjects.

Today Braden read an adaptation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and was asked to write a summary of it. Well, after all the writing we did this morning, I took pity on him an let him narrate his summary to me as I wrote it down.

He gave a great summary of the Pardoner's tale, and then went on to describe another story that was taught about what women really want. I didn't remember this story, so I asked him, "I'm curious. What does the story say women want?"

Braden answered, "All women really just want the same thing: their own way."

Okay, This Made Me Laugh

(Posted at