14 Course Meal

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The youth in our ward were given a quarantine challenge to help keep them busy this spring/summer. One of the things on there was an n course meal where n is the number of people in your family. We added in Cameron and ended up with 14 courses. We had our meal yesterday afternoon. It was both fun and delicious!

(carrots and dip by Adrian, cheese cubes by A, Grapes by E, New England Clam Chowder by Baby B)

(bread and butter by Fritz, applesauce by Baby A, sherbet by N, salad by Jamie)

(buffalo cream cheese celery by my dad, lemon friend chicken and broccoli by my mom and mac and cheese by Adrian, brie and crackers by Ani)

(crepes and nutella by Cameron, Milky Ways by me, and sparkling cider by M)

 

Second Middle Names

We are giving The Six second middle names when we adopt them. This is not without precedent in our family. Fritz is Frederick David Harold because Jamie’s dad (first name Harold) died while I was pregnant with Fritz. So The Six will have two middle names like their big brother.

E’s will be Ezekiel. This is because my dad had a hard time remembering his actual name when we first had them over and kept calling him Ezekiel. And with his amazing hair, I kind of imagine the prophet Ezekiel looking a bit like my boy.

M’s will be Kerry. I was in the temple one day before we even got the twins and the person I had was a distant aunt or cousin or something. Carrie. She tried to convince me I must name a child after her. Eventually we agreed that if I was ever able to name a little girl, I would name her Kerry, but spell it that way because Jamie’s mom lives on the border of counties Limerick and Kerry and my best friend in elementary school was named Kerry.

A’s will be John. My uncle was named John Ralph (he went by Ralph). Ani was working in the temple once and, well, Uncle Ralph wanted A specifically to be named after him.

N’s will be Alexander. When I was pregnant with Adrian I narrowed his name options to Adrian, Alexander, and Christopher and let Ani pick. So now I get to use Alexander after all.

Baby A’s will be Christopher. So I get to use that one, too.

Baby B’s will be Malachi. It just seemed fitting for the youngest of ten to have that name. Also, when my best friend was here at Christmas she kept joking that we needed to name a kid after her. We’re not doing that, but Malachi is a name she always wanted to give a child AND she and Baby B super bonded so in a way we are naming a kid after her.

In a bizarre twist, Cameron shares a middle name with one of The Six (also Jamie’s middle name), another has Jamie’s first name as his middle name, and another shares a first middle name with Fritz (which is also my brother’s name).

We are also strongly considering adding a second middle name for Ani and Adrian (Cameron does not want to). We don’t know what we’ll pick for Adrian, but Ani’s will likely be Michelle after my sister.

Because my kids are awesome…

They gave my some awesome Mother’s Day presents yesterday.

This week was Adrian’s turn to give the talk/lesson/spiritual thought during our home Sacrament Meeting. He wrote his talk himself and it was all about how important I am and how much I do. He did a great job and will always get to be one of the few kids who gave their very first Sacrament Meeting talk at home.

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(In our home church, dress clothes are required for 10 and up, but shoes are optional.)

Ani, Fritz, and Adrian got together and ordered a personalized message for me from Corbin Bernsen. He played Henry Spencer on Psych. I LOVE Psych. It ended up being really long and was totally awesome. Like the awesomest thing ever, really.

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And Cameron, my wonderful second born Cameron, gave me this most fabulous mug and filled it with Milk Way bars (my current favorite candy bar). I got a big laugh out of what the mug says.

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Insurance Companies Love to Get Between You and Your Doctor

One of the big arguments against socialized medicine is that it puts the government between you and your doctor. I find that puzzling because insurance companies already are there. And an insurance company is a for profit entity that 100% does not want to pay for stuff your doctor orders. Every visit, procedure, or medication reduces their profits after all.

We’ve experienced many denials by our insurance company dealing with Ani’s health. Apparently figuring out what is wrong with her and treating her wasn’t actually medically necessary. Or so you would think if you just listened to them and how often they overrode her doctors.

My doctor had to make a huge case for me getting the pneumonia shot “too young.” Eventually, with lots of evidence provided that I’d had bronchitis and/or pneumonia at least once per winter AND wasn’t immune to most strains included in the shot, the insurance approved of me getting the shot. Considering I didn’t get any respiratory infections this season for the first time in years, I’d say my doctor was exactly right even though the insurance company didn’t agree at first.

Well now we’ve hit yet another time the insurance company is getting between my daughter and her doctor. She has been on Lyrica for four years. In August, the insurance company changed from covering the brand name to the generic. It was a little annoying since we were paying $4/month for the name brand thanks to a co-pay card and have to pay $60/month for the generic. But whatever.

Well, it turns out the generic doesn’t work as well for her. She’s feeling the electrical impulses coming from her spine like she did pre-Lyrica. She’s in a whole lot of pain like she was pre-Lyrica. She’s constantly in a flare like she was pre-Lyrica. So the doctor ordered brand name only for her.

We went to pick it up and it’s $795 a month. The insurance company said we can’t appeal since it’s not a denial. They just aren’t covering it. They said she is welcome to keep taking the generic (which doesn’t work) or switch to something else, but unless we want to pay almost $800 a month Lyrica will not be what she takes. So she called her doctor and is leaving it up to him what to do next. Hopefully the insurance company won’t have a problem with whatever that is, too.

My To-Be-Kids are Really Close in Age

The Six are really close in age. It’s really kind of crazy to think about.

E and M are 16 months and 19 days apart.
M and A are 11 months and 16 days apart.
A and N are 11 months and 20 days apart.
And N and the twins are 11 months and 22 days apart.

I thought Ani and Cameron were close at 19 months and 18 days. This spacing makes my incinerated uterus hurt all the way from the landfill where it was put 4 years ago.

Medicine and Babies

One of our foster babies was sick a couple weeks ago and needed to take amoxicillin twice a day. The first couple days were a disaster. He’s scream and fight and spit it out and even projectile vomited it up once. But having never dealt with a baby fighting taking medicine before, we were at a loss of what to do. Until Ani came up with a genius solution.

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One person would feed the baby while another person stuck the tip of the syringe in his mouth next to the bottle nipple and squeeze in the antibiotics a little at a time. He didn’t love it. In fact, he regularly gave the medicine pusher some epic side eye. But, he didn’t cry and didn’t spit it out so he swallowed all of his medication and got all better and is now back to his usual very happy, smiley self.

It’s been a rough summer for Ani…

When Ani applied for her mission, she was in a great place health-wise. Her medications were stable, she was totally functional, and everything seemed to be going well for her. That was in February.

In March, things started going downhill. Several of us got sick and Ani never bounced back. By the end of April she was barely able to eat. She was having abdominal pain pretty much no matter what she ate.

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I took her to the doctor the beginning of May and she was sent for several tests. They didn’t show anything wrong. She had an ER visit in there, too. The end of May she saw her rheumatologist and he put her on an anti-spasmodic which did help some.

But her pain kept getting worse. It started up between her shoulder blades as well as the upper right quadrant of her abdomen. We went back to the doctor. He sent her for yet another test (which came back fine) and a medication to try (didn’t work; actually made it worse).

She started her mission the end of July. She tried really hard to complete all her duties, but more and more by the end of August she was having to back out of her commitments or leave early. She was just in way too much pain, could barely eat and not at all without pain, she was losing weight. It was bad.

Back to the doctor we went for the third time of the summer (not counting the rheumatologist or ER). This time the doctor said even though all the tests did not indicate gallbladder, her wanted to send her to a surgeon to be evaluated for gallbladder removal. Her symptoms and how she reacted to various medications really pointed to gallbladder in his opinion.

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Ani comes from a long line of women who have had their gallbladders out. Me, my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother. Before her I guess they just suffered because gallbladder surgery wasn’t a thing yet. My grandmother in particular had a rough time. Her local doctor though it was gallbladder, but the big time doctor in DC said the tests did not show it to be gallbladder. Twelve years passed and she eventually formed stones and had her gallbladder out which fixed all the symptoms she’d been dealing with for over a decade.

Two weeks ago tomorrow Ani saw the surgeon. He agreed that it sounded like her gallbladder needed to come out. He said he takes out 30-40 a year that don’t have the “right” test results and in over 90% of the cases, the issues are resolved through removal. For the rest, and for Ani if it didn’t work, he then refers to a GI doctor (he gave us the option of going to a GI doctor before surgery, but we opted for surgery first).

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And so, a week ago Friday, Ani had her gallbladder taken out. She’s had surgical pain of course, but she felt better within hours of surgery than she had in months. She can eat anything without pain. It was clearly her gallbladder that was the culprit over this long and painful summer.

So now she’s almost all the way healed and ready to resume her missionary duties and able to do so in a way she just hasn’t been able to do since the beginning. She’s smiling and talkative again. We had forgotten just how much she usually talks. She was so quiet and miserable all summer. It’s amazing what problems a little organ like the gallbladder can cause!

NOT Back to School Day 2019

Today we celebrated NOT Back to School Day. We decided to go bowling this year. Cameron was able to join us before heading off to work. This is his last NOT Back to School Day ever.
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The little guys had never been bowling before. Fritz especially really liked it. When Cameron set up our game he programmed the bumpers to Fritz, Adrian, and me. That was a good idea.
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Then we stopped at our doctor’s office for blood draws. I needed to have my titer done for the pneumonia shot to see if it worked. The little guys had to have TB tests done.
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We picked Ani up and went to Tarka for lunch. They have the best food and most of it is gluten free, too.
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We went to PetSmart and looked at the animals. The cats were really fun. We can’t have cats because of allergies, but they are fun to look at anyway.
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After that, we went to RediClinic and Jamie, Ani, and I got TB tests started. We have to go back in a couple days to get them read. For some reason Ani’s body decided it didn’t like it and her heart rate dropped pretty dramatically and she almost passed out. She does things like that sometimes.
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We finished the day with some D&D and cardmarking. Another successful NOT Back to School Day complete! (For past NOT Back to School Days, go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
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Ani’s a Missionary

Ani finally received her missionary name tag and official start date and assignments a couple weeks ago. She will be serving her service mission from July 26, 2019 until January 26, 2021. She is currently doing a shift in the temple, a day at the distribution center, and a day at Catholic Charities each week. Over the course of the next year and a half she may be reassigned or have things added as needed. So far 2 1/2 days is about all she can handle health-wise.

She loves what she is doing so much. When she got her patriarchal blessing when she was 16, the stake patriarch, who was in our ward and aware of her health issues, began to sob and collapsed against her chair as he said she was invited to serve a mission. We knew it would take a miracle in order for her to be able to do so. We assumed that miracle would be that her health would get better, but of course the Lord knows better than we do. Instead, the miracle was that, just prior to her turning 19 and old enough to serve, they announced that those who could not serve a traditional teaching mission would be able to serve service missions right from the start. They would be able to live at home, see their own doctors as needed, and have their mission duties and work time customized to their needs and abilities.

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So here she is, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She’s not serving the mission she envisioned when the patriarch said she was invited to serve. But she is serving the mission that is perfect for her.

This is what happens when a convertible top leaks

After Ani’s car’s ball joint broke, they looked at the other ball joint and said it was about to break as well so we eventually made the decision to sell her car to a junkyard. Imagine my surprise when I went to empty out her car and discovered the place where the front passenger puts their feet was absolutely full of water!

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Because the rest of the car was perfectly dry, after our initial confusion as to how this was possible, it dawned on us that the front right corner of her convertible top has always leaked just a tiny bit when it rains. Just a couple days before I found all that water, we had an incredible storm that dumped lots of rain on us over the course of several hours. Apparently the tiny leak became a very big leak during that storm.

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So I spent some time bailing water while my best friend entertained me on the phone. It dried out after a few days and now the car has gone on to its final resting place where hopefully it will help someone get a little more life out of their own vehicle.