Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My little adventure

You know how most of those mommy times are the most beautiful and treasured moments of your life? And then every once in a while there are those mommy times that are the most frustrating, pull-your-hair-out, why-did-I-decide-to-do-this times?

I was having one of those negative mommy moments and trying to pull it together. I think I was kind of feeling sorry for myself for the fact that I've never spent a night away from my kids. It's really hard to pull off here in AZ where we have no family around who can take them. A couple weekends ago I was talking to my brother and sister-in-law and asking what they were up to. They told me not much, just hanging out and kicking back. I think they mentioned a bonfire. I said, "Oh, that sounds so great! Can I come over?" I said it jokingly because they live in Alaska. But on the other end of the phone I heard, "Sure!" And before I knew it, they had done one of the most generous things anyone has ever done for me and GAVE ME a round-trip ticket to Alaska.

The trip was perfect, but I was glad to be back. I've found that one of the hard things about being a mom is that you never really have any space from your job. The men come home from work at the end of the day, but as a mom, you never come home from work because home is your work. And it's not like it's all fun and games for Marty when he gets home, I usually put him to work so it's not like a big break for him. But even thought Marty absolutely loves his job, he still needs some space from his job. So that's where I was at. I love love love being a mom and would never trade it for anything, I just needed some space. So here is a picture of me doing what I needed to do for a few days. Kicking back and having intelligent conversations with my two brothers and sister in law - three of the smartest and most fun people I know.

This is our first sunrise in Alaska. See how cold? 20 degrees! It felt AWESOME!!! I was not at all as wimpy as I thought I'd be, the cold air was really refreshing.

At first I thought Bryce was really curious about those Alaskan beards, but no. Look at this picture and tell me there isn't adoration in those eyes. (that goes for both of them, by the way)

Don't worry, I kept him plenty warm inside my coats.
Well...maybe his cheeks got a little cold out there....
Bryce is a Johnson, he got the snuggle gene. I think Helen did, too.

Bryce's first gun show! I dressed him in camo pants to make sure he fit in. I should have looked in the mirror though, my lime green sweatshirt was definitely the only one in the whole place. If you had told me ten years ago that I'd be at a gun show with my brothers, I would have laughed. They were completely uninterested in hunting. But Alaska is what it is. You hunt for moose and caribou among other things, then work for days to butcher it and you have good meat in your freezer to last you through the long, cold winter. The sticker shock in their grocery store was enough to convince me.
We HAD to go out for sushi. They are the only people I know who would really enjoy - no, DEVOUR it with me!!!!! We even made sushi one night (with smoked salmon). It was an amazing sea food FEAST - with crab legs!!! YUM!!
Corey's cute little cabin....
complete with a wood-burning stove!

My last day there we went to a hot springs. I had never been to one, and it was really cool. We switched off who stayed indoors in the pool with Bryce
who was having the time of his life with his first big pool experience. Funny that happened in Alaska and not Arizona, eh?
Here is a picture of the hot springs. It felt SO good. A big giant bath. Going back and forth between the hot springs was slightly horrendous considering the fact that there were icicles dripping down into it - it couldn't have been more than 20 degrees outside.We came inside the lodge to get warm and ended up eating ice cream instead. Not Bryce, we just thought it would be funny to tempt him. What? He's not your child!

I'm calling this my little adventure because I haven't done much without Marty right by my side the last few years. Which I LOVE, but it made the thought of traveling this far without him kinda scary. A good scary though, I knew I'd be proud of myself. :) I'm a nerd! Anyway, the plane rides were....drum roll please....because remember Bryce is a screamer....PERFECT!!! All four times the plane took off, his eyes would roll back in his head and he would crash in literally just a few seconds. I was kind of worried about him, I thought he might be passing out or something! The layovers in Seattle got a little long and tiring. It was basically about 11 hours of traveling and not really being able to put down this 20 pound kid plus gigantic carry-on, purse, blankets, the works. Especially on the way home with no sleep before hand a small delay, I definitely experienced the meaning of physical exhaustion. But is was SOOO worth it! I loved every SECOND of it. Thanks Corey, Justin, and Helen! I love you guys so much, you have absolutely no idea what this trip meant to me. I love you!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Johnson Family Retreat 2009

We are starting a tradition to have a yearly "family retreat" camping. Have family devotionals, family testimony meetings, play lots of games, etc. Marty and I really like to camp but haven't had much luck in Arizona. Usually we go to the same couple of spots that the rest of the valley goes to. Hence, we end up five feet away from a bunch of loud, drunk people. But we finally found a great spot! It's just outside of globe and it is in REAL mountains with REAL pine and it is REALLY cold which felt GREAT! It's free and our campsite was really secluded. Our air mattress deflated and I am a big wimp when it comes to the hard ground, so I spent most of the night being kicked off of Brynn's mattress. But since I wasn't counting on any sleep anyway, I would call it our first Arizona camping success!

There's just something about singing around a campfire.

Even Bryce loved the chill in the air.
Brynn and Daddy on the BIG rock. She is always asking to go outside and play on "the big rock" which is a little boulder in our front yard. So yeah, she was pretty excited to play on this big rock with Daddy.

Our little camp. Actually, our big and blissfully secluded camp.

We went on a drive to see real mountains.

My mountain man!

Bryce enjoying the scenery.

"Ahhh, the great outdoors."

And in case you are wondering how Brynn managed camping with a cast, this is how. One of my big, thick socks over it, plus her little boot. And her crazy pants from J&H that amazingly fit over the cast.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Excessive, Exhaustive, Ridiculously Long Ankle Saga

I was going to make this a really quick post, but Brynnie-Pie is pretty loved and we've gotten a lot of questions about her and how she's been doing, so I thought I'd try to do this story justice.

On Wednesday the 23rd I was getting ready to go to Young Women's and Brynn fell down the stairs. She screamed for quite a long time and was really clingy, but I figured she's tough and was fine. To calm her down, I let her sit up on the counter and help me prepare dinner. When I was done I put her back down on the ground on her feet. She screamed, then collapsed and curled up in a little ball and cried and cried, so I knew something was wrong. Marty was in Mesa that night and I waited for him to get home before taking her to twilight pediatrics. Brynn was really guarding her left leg, so it was hard for the nurse to get a good sense of where the actual injury was. She told us it most likely a sprain, but if Brynn still wouldn't put any pressure on it the next morning we should take an order she gave us for a hip to ankle x-ray to a lab and get her checked out.

The next morning Brynn still cried every time I wouldn't put her down and wouldn't put any pressure on it, so we got her x-rayed. The next couple of days was a frustrating and complicated mess of holding the medical staff's hand trying to get the x-rays from the lab to the pediatrician, and getting anyone to call us back was impossible. Thursday, just as the offices were closing, the pediatrician told us to come back in. That was a frustrating visit, because after getting my little girl up from her nap to take her in, all they said was that it was a sprain and told us how to treat a sprain. Really? You couldn't have told us that over the phone? You already told us how to treat a sprain! But apparently the pediatrician didn't see the actual x-rays, just the results.

On Friday as the pediatrician's office was closing, they said they were finally able to get the lab to fax over the actual x-rays and somehow the lab missed the ankle, which is what I told them I thought it was. So they told us to treat it as a sprain and take her back to the lab Monday (free of charge, thank goodness) and they would do another x-ray.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to keep an energetic little toddler who can't walk happy by building forts, trying to come up with creative art projects, getting new movies, etc. Here is Brynn posing in the fort.

This is how she was getting around:

Sunday Brynn and I both got sick, probably from the many doctor visits, so that made it even more fun to carry around an almost three-year-old and chubby baby constantly.

Monday rolled around and it was the same old thing. Despite my numerous phone calls, I couldn't get the pediatrician to fax an x-ray order to the lab until just before it closed, which was obviously when Brynn was napping. Poor, sick, injured thing. We didn't hear back from anyone until late Tuesday when they told us the results were still negative but to treat it as a sprain (ever heard that one?) and if she was still limping we should take her in to a pediatric orthopedic. We told the doctor that she wasn't limping, she hadn't walked for almost a week now and still refused to put any amount of pressure on it, so they told us to make an appointment.

We got an appointment for a pediatric orthopedic (that was almost an hour away, sigh) for Thursday, 8 days after she fell. My brother walked around on a REALLY broken foot for nine days, and my mom had said a long time ago that if I go for more days than that I get the good mom award. I sure didn't think I'd come this close!

Anyway, now I have a hungry baby, so to hurry things up, the appointment was a bit of a nightmare considering my two kids who couldn't walk and the fact that we left at 8:30 a.m. and didn't get back until 1:30 p.m. But we found out it was a hairline fracture on her ankle and she now has a pretty pink cast. It's so minor that she only has to wear it for two weeks, but it feels so good to get Brynnie off her little red and scuffed knees and back on her feet. Mostly...she is still pretty awkward hobbling around on that cast.

She is still trying to dance with it! But she tips over a lot.
She has been such a little trooper and I am really proud of her. But I have decided to reward myself with a little break. Actually, my brother and sister-in-law are rewarding me with one - they are flying me out to Alaska! But I'll post more about that later.
That's the whole story!