Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to two of the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and all sorts of other activities, former scrapbooker and founder of the 
Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.



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Things we've done lately...

Hi. Thought I'd share a few pictures from things we've done lately...

On Sunday, Micah had his MRI that was ordered by the pediatric rheumatologist we saw down at Children's Hospital. It was fine, though Micah wasn't a fan of the IV that was necessary for the contrast part, lol. 

Glad to have that out of the way (especially the "spending stupid amounts of time on the phone with insurance regarding authorization and then doing it again because the second location we got approved then said they couldn't do the procedure there because of Micah's size/weight" part)!

After the MRI, Micah taught me how to rock climb. I did decently on the bouldering part (finished a number of routes) and made it to the top on the auto belay wall. Letting go once you get to the top was not my thing. ;) 

(I didn't actually take any pictures on Sunday so this is a shot from last month. The stranger on the top left is on the route I climbed. Micah's the next person over to the right in that picture...doing a more difficult route and not using the auto belay.)

Did I mention that it's spring break here? Yup. Noah's been home since Friday night. Yesterday, he and Asher and I volunteered with Habitat again. We actually had more variety in tasks than any of us had done before (caulking, spackling, touching up trim paint, pulling nails, etc) but ended the day framing walls again...

It got a bit chilly toward the end as the wind picked up and the clouds moved in, but I actually like the framing best and am definitely getting better at it. :) 

No big plans for the rest of spring break beyond just chillin'...boys will probably do some hanging out with friends...and karate, rock climbing and parkour are all still on their normal schedule. That's what's going on here. Happy spring, y'all!


27 years

Yup, yesterday was the anniversary of the day Nathan and I met...27 years ago. He walked into my house in Prosser for a church youth group weekend meeting. The whole Diocesan Youth Council spent the night at our house, with meetings and games and talking aplenty. The next day, after more of the same, everyone headed out...and Nathan hung back, making excuses to stick around before making the hour drive back to his house...and thereby letting me know he was interested. 

And the rest, as they say, is history. :) 

Okay, yes, there were plenty of twists and turns in our story. But, hey, March 14 remains the day we met and a day we celebrate.

Yesterday, we went out to a fabulous dinner and Nathan got me these beautiful flowers:

He explained that he got Prosser school colors, red and white, since that's where we met. :)

So very blessed to have this man in my life!


Checking in from the bomb cyclone

Just checking in for those who were wondering...

- Yes. It's very blustery and snowy here. We're officially under a blizzard warning and all the schools, universities and such are closed. (Most preemptively closed yesterday and many businesses joined in today.) It was actually almost 70 degrees and sunny yesterday...gorgeous. The boys and I went for a lovely walk. By this morning when I headed to boot camp (6am), it was still 40 degrees and only sprinkling rain. By 8am, everything was white. Of course. ;) 

- Yes. I still made boys do their homeschool lessons this morning. I'm awesome like that. :) (I did, though, let them sleep in first.)

- No. Spending almost an hour on the phone with various medical and insurance people this morning was not fun. Blech. But. I finally have things sorted out and authorized to schedule the MRI that the pediatric rheumatologist ordered for Micah last week. And I now have Asher's travel immunizations sorted out for his trip to Costa Rica in June. Whew. 

- Yes. Noah's holed up in his dorm with microwave meals he bought last night. (Technically, the dining halls are still open until 7 tonight apparently, but walking outside to get to them didn't sound fun...hence the last minute purchases, lol.)  

- No. Nathan did not take the bus to Boulder this morning. We worried he wouldn't make it back tonight if he did. ;P Fortunately, he can work from home just fine. (The city and police and NOAA and all are advising/asking everyone to stay off the roads anyhow.)

So. I think that's about it for now. Off to enjoy a quiet day inside with my guys. Stay warm and safe, everyone!


Micah update

Rather than answer everyone individually, I'm going to just post what we know here and direct people to it, thus saving me repeating myself and creating a record of sorts. :) 

So, most of you know that Micah's been having knee and foot pain for the last while. (He actually had some over the summer and in the fall that we're now realizing may well have been related. Everything would come and go. We just figured he'd tweaked something and then it would heal for awhile and then something else, we thought, would happen. Heck, he's an active teenage boy, lol.) In any case, things got noticeably worse in January and we finally went to see the doctor at the start of February. She ordered a number of blood tests and x-rays and ruled out any specific injury. Her best guess based on the various results and his descriptions was that it was some sort of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. With that, she referred us to Children's Hospital in Denver and their pediatric rheumatology department. (Apparently, they're the only pediatric rheumatologists in a five state region.) We managed to make an appointment for the start of March (a month away at that point).

During February, then, Micah kept a log of how he was feeling each day, things we tried, what worked, what didn't, and the like. We found that mostly more activity helped and sitting all day did not. Mondays and Tuesdays were usually the worst, as karate and rock climbing are on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We started adding extra sessions of rock climbing and exercises at home. The pain continued to be only on his right side...knee, ankle, heel and toes.

Yesterday, we went down to Children's. (The original appointment had gotten rescheduled to the end of March but, fortunately, they placed Micah on a priority call list, and we were notified of a cancellation and able to get in only a day after when the original appointment had been. Whew.) We met with a doctor who examined Micah and asked questions and gave us lots of information. That part of the exam took about an hour. She then ordered more blood work, more x-rays and an MRI (all of these will help establish a baseline and the MRI will check on whether his lower back is being affected right now). We went downstairs to have the first two done right then and are working on scheduling the MRI soon up here in Fort Collins. (Children's, might I just say, is a very well run place from what we could see yesterday. Impressed by how smoothly everything went.)

In the end, the diagnosis is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (the "correct" term for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). Technically, that's just a broad term that covers a bunch of types of juvenile arthritis. His is likely enthesitis-related, often referred to as spondyloarthritis (involves inflammation of the joints and places where tendons attach to the bones). There is no cure and it's something he'll likely deal with long term, but they stressed that everyone is different so they mostly just monitor symptoms and try to manage pain.

For the pain, the doctor recommended basically a higher dosage ibuprofen, though Micah's been trying to decrease how much he takes anyhow, as he doesn't like relying on it. She couldn't officially recommend dietary changes, as there have been few/no studies that effectively show anything, especially for kids (because most dietary studies don't involve kids, obviously)...but did say to feel free to try that. Micah wants to, so we'll give that a go while also probably continuing with the increased activities. 

Mostly, everything is manageable. Some days don't bother him at all. Some days suck. It's a bit overwhelming to him that this is something that's not going away anytime soon, but we'll just have to wait and see. We have more questions now that we've started more specific research. We'll get to them when we go back for his follow up at Children's once the MRI is completed. And that's where we are for now. :) 


End of February?

Not really sure what happened to February. Oy. Lest things get even further behind, here are a few pictures...

Last week, Nathan surprised me with something new for date night and took me to Pinot's Palette. (Well, first we enjoyed a yummy dinner next door at The Rio.) We had a terrific time and painted the Eiffel Tower:

The whole experience was surprisingly fun...I recommend it!

Last week I also finished dropping off the loads of stuff I'd gathered after purging much of the house. Whew. No idea how there were that many boxes and bags of stuff, lol, but it felt great to clear it all out. (Plus, most of it went to either the local homeless shelter or the women's shelter and was appreciated.) Now all I have left to redistribute (of the stuff I've purged and sorted and not counting the things I haven't gotten to yet, lol) is a heap of homeschool stuff and books...working on that still. :) 

This past weekend, I made a quick, last minute trip home to Washington. Before we all left, I made sure to get at least a few pictures of all five of us siblings together with my mom since we'd managed to all be in the same place...

By the way, they have a LOT of snow there, lol. It's making my gram stir-crazy because she can't get outside to feed her "extra" cats. (They managed to clear a path off my mom's deck but gram's walker can't manage even that and it's way further to the little shed where gram puts out food.)

But. She was happy to see me. :)

Doesn't she look great? She'll be 98 this summer! When I asked her what she'd do to celebrate reaching 100, she said, "Oh, probably sit down," and just laughed and laughed. :) 

Let's see. Other than that, just been keeping busy with everything here. Also, very unfortunately, Micah's appointment with the specialist down at Children's Hospital in Denver just got rescheduled, so now rather than seeing someone next Tuesday we have to wait another three+ weeks to get any answers. Argh!

Okay. That's it for now. I'll try to do better in March...