Monday, October 31, 2011

Lisa's Home Show - Halloween Edition


Post-Video-Comment: After we finished taping this Alexandra asked more about the woman I mentioned who was not taking her children trick-or-treating:

"Why isn't she taking her kids trick-or-treating?"

"She said she didn't live in a safe neighborhood," I said.

"Oh, she must live in Atlanta or something," replied Alexandra.

Ha ha ha!!! I laughed so hard because

a) I don't know what would prompt Alexandra to pick Atlanta of all places (I didn't even know she was aware there was an Atlanta).


I have some dear friends, Brad and Amy, who live in Atlanta. And Amy and I just happened to be chatting on the phone the other day about the crime rate in Atlanta (vs. Winnipeg). So just how bad is it down there, Amy? lol!

Happy Halloween!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Leaves


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Neurosurgery Report (E's Half)

Back in Spokane...

Okay, so I did a fair enough job updating you on my portion of Monday's neurosurgery appointment, now to review Elisabeth's half.

This was just a regular check-up for Elisabeth, so we weren't expecting anything out of the ordinary. That's why we were surprised when Dr. G checked the setting of her shunt to find that it was totally off.

"How did that happen?" I asked.

"Has she hit her head at all or been around any magnets?" he asked.

(uh oh)

Okay, here's the truth: Elisabeth hits her head all day long. She sits and literally pounds her head as hard as she can into the floor. And not only that, lately she's started balling her right hand into a fist and pounding on the side of her head - right where her shunt is placed.

So apparently she did it hard enough at some point to actually change the setting of the shunt, which in turn meant that all the CSF in her head wasn't draining as well as it should...which explains why we've had a bit of a grumpy Elisabeth on our hands lately (pressure in her head).

It's funny, because the next day when I picked her up from school Elisabeth's nurse said, "She was like a whole new girl today - we had so much fun," - and I hadn't even told her anything about the setting of the shunt being changed; she just honestly saw a difference.

So, there are two lessons to be learned here:

a) I need to be diligent about making Elisabeth wear her helmet. I always imagine how horrible it would be to wear a helmet all day, so often times I leave it off, but she's proved herself untrustworthy. So, I told her, "Elisabeth, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to helmet you now. I can't have you undoing your shunt setting all the time, can I?"

b) If Elisabeth starts acting grumpy I need to get her shunt checked. Period.

So other than that things looked great. Her brain looked pretty much the same (small and damaged) and there was plenty of tubing left in her belly to last her a few more years. Of course, Dr. G said that if he has to do a shunt revision anytime before then he'll go ahead and add more tubing at the same time. But let's just hope her shunt keeps plugging away, okay?

[Elisabeth getting off the school bus yesterday. She was wiped out. She had several seizures before school and four seizures at school. Yikers.]

In other news, we went swimming last night. I had one of the best times of my life because when I was in the water I actually got to hold Elisabeth. I haven't got to walk around with her in my arms in months! (Unless you count that video we shot the night before my!) The water made her weightless in my arms and she and I walked around the pool for an hour while she splashed and splashed. Of course then she had a massive seizure (poo) and the fun was over. So I sat on the top step of the hot tub and she snuggled in close and fell asleep. I was a happy mama.

And finally....a picture of me in my brace (as requested by my mom who lives far away from me and wanted to see what it looked like). It's not so bad really; who knows, perhaps I'll start some new fashion statement.

p.s. I forgot to tell you! On Monday Dr. G gave me the go-ahead to start lifting up to 20 pounds (Elisabeth is 37lbs, so she's still off limits) and to start moving a little more. And yes, I asked specifically if I could make beds and he said 'yes'. Things are looking up!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Neurosurgery Update

I would like to make an announcement: I am now 4 weeks post-op!

Do you know what that should mean? It should mean that I only have two more weeks of wearing my brace. Because that was the plan all along, right? That I wear the back brace for the first six weeks?

Ya, that's what I thought too...but no.

We were in the middle of my appointment and Dr. G said,

"So, we're going to have you keep the brace on for 3 months."


Oh man you should have seen the look on my face, I'm sure it must have been priceless.

My very first thought was that he was joking - but then I immediately realized that surgeons (in general) are not the joking type. My very next thought was that he was making a mistake - but that thought was also immediately expunged as I reminded myself that neurosurgeons do not make mistakes. (And if you have a neurosurgeon who does make mistakes I strongly recommend you find yourself a new one.)

So that's that. 3 months.


In other news my spine is growing together splendidly. We looked at the x-ray that was taken one day post-op and compared it to the x-ray taken yesterday. It's absolutely fascinating to me - all of this. I look at those x-rays and I see a cage screwed into my spine and I am in awe; in awe of modern medicine.

Look at these pics - aren't you in awe too?

[X-ray taken the day after surgery on September 28th.]
[Yes, I have a crooked spine.]

And, while we are on the subject of my spine I must take a moment to brag. Dr. G says that I have extremely strong bones. So strong that he had a heck of a time actually getting that cage to screw in. Ha ha....he said that it was so much work that he actually had to change scrubs before he could go meet Donald in the waiting room because he was soaked in sweat (eww...gross)

[X-ray taken this Monday, the 24th of October.]

[Dr. G showing us a replica of the cage he screwed into my spine. I'm glad it was a pretty color.]

By the way, Dr. G says that we're on 'the family plan' - ha ha...I don't think he has mother/daughter appointments too often. Too bad he doesn't have some special going where you pay for a brain surgery and get a spinal surgery half off. That would be nice....

Okay, that's all for today. More on Elisabeth's half of the appointment later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lisa's Home Show - Episode 4

~On the Road~

Okay, I have no idea why the thumbnail is upside down - but it flips over when you push play (at least it does on my computer), so it's all good. Yesterday was fabulous, absolutely fabulous. I took Lisa's Home Show on the road as we drove to Spokane for neurosurgery appointments.

For the record, I had every intention of making a follow up movie on the drive home with details of our visit with the surgeon. But obviously that didn't happen. That's okay though, it's better that I do an actual post on those details...because I have pictures to show! So stop back by tomorrow for those, okay?


Post-Movie-Statement: While farmland is indeed my favorite landscape I do still love the sandy beaches of Hawaii - just sayin'. (This is a warning to my friend Libbie - have your guest room ready, we're going to show up one of these days. By the way, do you have a guest room? If not we'll take the floor. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Hoyer Lift

The good news is...

...we got a hoyer lift for Elisabeth!

As you can imagine, this is a big deal around our house. And - as you can imagine - the girls think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

More on the lift later, we've got to hit the road - we've got a big day in Spokane ahead of us.


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Cheese Panel

Welch's Grape Juice is currently working on an ad campaign that will pair up cheeses with their various juices. But before they can launch the campaign they need to know which cheeses pair up well with which juices and, more importantly, what kids think about it all.

That's where Alexandra and Lorelai (along with best friends Avery, Owen, and Zack) come in.

They are officially known as the cheese panel.

Wednesday was their first official day on duty. They had to try 3 different juices, each paired with 5 cheeses from around the world. Their instructions were to sip the juice, taste the cheese, and then take one more sip of the juice. After each tasting they had to make notes of what they thought - did they like the flavor? Did the cheese change the flavor of the juice? Etc.

The children felt oh so important and can't wait for the next cheese tasting in two weeks.

[Lorelai, the birthday girl.]

[The adults got to participate too :) ]

[Elisabeth says, 'ehh....cheese is so overrated. Just give me some milk in my tube and I'm good.']

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It Happened Like This...


2:32 am - Lorelai wakes me up to tell me it's her birthday. I send her back to bed.
6:35 am - Lorelai comes and asks me if it's okay to be awake yet. I say yes.
6:47 am - I get out of bed. Start getting myself (and everyone else) ready for the day.
7:45 am - We eat orange cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
7:50 am - Lorelai opens gifts from her Uncle Michael and Oma.
8:27 am - Lorelai leaves for school.
8:28 am - Donald and I scramble to clean the house.
9:15 am - We (Donald, myself, Alexandra, and Eliasbeth) leave for Spokane. (Lorelai didn't want to miss school; you get a pencil on your birthday).
11:27 am - Pull into the parking garage at Sacred Heart Childrens Hospital.
11:30 am - Check in at Dr. Reggins office.
11:40 am - Go back for appointment. Discuss the usual things (seizures, seizures, seizures).
12:10 pm - Set out to find the Lost and Found department at Sacred Heart to reclaim our backpack that got left behind 3 weeks ago.
12:17 pm - Still hunting.
12:19 pm - Realize the lost and found is lost.
12:25 pm - Find the lost and found down in the basement, in the housekeeping office.
12:26 pm - Get my backpack!!!
12:30 pm - Meet up with Donald's cousin Jared for lunch in the cafeteria.
1:30 pm - Head home.
3:45 pm - Arrive back in Kennewick.
3:50 pm - Pick up Lorelai's birthday cake from the bakery.
4:00 pm - Stop at home.
4:10 pm - Watch Lorelai open some more presents.
4:20 pm - Pile back in the car.
4:30 pm - The children participate in a juice and cheese tasting for Welch's Grape Juice (more on that later)
5:40 pm - Finish sampling cheese.
6:00 pm - Pick up pizza's.
6:10 pm - Pop them in the oven.
6:30 pm - Party for Lorelai.
8:30 pm - Tuck the children into bed.
9:00 pm - Lisa soaks in the tub.

That was a day, wouldn't you agree?

[Do you like Lorelai's new dresser?]

The end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Lorelai's Birthday!


Happy 7th Birthday
to my
Lorelai Leigh

**Photograph courtesy of Photography by Lee Ann

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It looks like Halloween at our house...

Do you like my antique globe back there? It's my favorite in my collection.

My friend, Esther, gave me this Halloween Scentsy warmer as a gift last week. Needless to say, my house smells good right now. (Thank you Esther!!)

And then when I was out running errands yesterday I happened upon these felt Halloween treat buckets (which I could not resist).

So I bought one for Alexandra and one for Lorelai and had them waiting on the kitchen counter for them when they got home from school. (Along with a plate of Hershey Kisses)

And then I plopped a warm pumpkin-chocolate-chip cookie on each of those plates. They were giddy and I felt it was one of my finer parenting moments (if that counts as a parenting moment).

By the way, the first thing that Lorelai did was flip that bucket upside down and wear it like a hat. And a few hours later I saw it sitting atop Elisabeth's head.

You can be sure that pictures are coming of that one...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lisa's Home Show - episode 3

Okay, so I have a habit of rambling - as is evident by the 10 minute long video beneath this paragraph. In fact, the original video was 10:18 but YouTube didn't like that and cut it down to 10 minutes flat (so sorry about the abrupt ending).

I promise that next week I'll try to keep my rambling to a minimum.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grand Opening

YogaHut is ready to go! a grand opening special, Jennifer is offering classes through the end of October for only $5 each. Now that's a steal.

So see you there Monday for opening day, okay?

Go to for details.

And a very happy 17th birthday to my nephew, Matthew.

(p.s. How are you 17 already?)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I've grown tired of being unproductive; it's not me and I've struggled to find the self-discipline to just let things be. Often times when I'm just sitting I give a thought or two to my spine; I imagine it hard at work, fusing itself. That's a big job I imagine. (So perhaps I am being productive after all.)

But regardless of what work my spine is doing, I've been aching to do something, anything. So yesterday I made rice - tons of it. And I washed grapes, and boiled eggs, and I even made some pumpkin cookies. Things that I can do that don't require much other than standing.

I also gave some thought to how things were before surgery - 2 weeks ago. It's funny really, because despite the crippling pain, I never felt like it was too much to handle. I never felt overwhelmed. I didn't feel sorry for myself. But then I remembered the video Donald took of me as they rolled me off to surgery (click here) - I cannot remember that moment in time. They had already given me some drugs and I was getting really loopy.

In that brief clip I say, "this has been the hardest experience of my life..."

It's interesting to hear myself say that because I have no recollection of that moment. And...even though the past few months were no picnic, I never ever thought of it as being such a trying experience. But it's on video - and I did say it. And come to think of it, it was hard. It was really, really hard.

And when I think back to how hard it all was, and how grateful I am to be whole again [or at least on the path to being so], I realize that I can be content just washing grapes, and waiting, and healing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mint Condition

One of my favorite things about Elisabeth are her feet. They are still as perfect and new as the day she was born; indeed, they still have that newborn look.

[Elisabeth's feet at 4-years-old.]



Mint condition.

Photos courtesy of Photography by Lee Ann

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The new floors are in at the YogaHut and they look spectacular:

The YogaHut is opening on Monday! Will you be there? I'll probably stop by - but yoga is 100% on the no-no list for me right now. However, in January (once my surgeon gives me the a-okay to function normally again) I'm going to be taking a restorative yoga class from Jennifer. She'll have me in tip-top shape by next Spring (or summer).

On a different note, Donald and Elisabeth both have nasty colds. Boo. So it looks like I'll have some company while watching House Hunters today.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spinal Fusion Recovery - Day 12

Ha ha ha! I am totally cracking up over the still image on my video down below. It looks like I have something very serious to't worry, I don't. And for the record, I could have chosen a different still image - but this one was just too classic, don't you think?

Clarification: Upon watching this video back I realized that I totally slurred the word 'autumn' at the beginning. So where it sounds like I say, 'it's starting to look like ummm' I am in fact saying, 'it's starting to look like Autumn'. I would blame pain meds - but I'm not taking any. So shoot, I'm just slurring my words these days I suppose.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Drumroll please...

I am pleased to announce the opening of:

On Monday the 17th of October in Richland, WA.

My sister, Jennifer, (who is pretty much one of the most amazing people in the world) has been working day and night to get her new business up and running. And on top of opening a business, she's been taking care of me and cleaning my home and taking care of Elisabeth (lifting/changing/etc) because - as you may remember - I am currently on the disabled list.

And because I am disabled I was only permitted to sit and watch while everyone else painted walls at the hut the other day:

By the way - the floors have since gone in and they look a-mazing! I'll have to go snap a picture or two.

Be prepared to hear one million and two things about the YogaHut in the next week because opening day is coming soon!
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