Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mission Accomplished

Post number 27 for the month and in the nick of time. I am proud of myself. And mostly caught up if you don't count Thanksgiving.

Today I would like to do some current events. Often I just talk about what is going on in my life and not in the world. There is so much heartache in the world that I don't like to dwell on it, although I realize much of it is important and consequential. For instance, we elected a new president this month. The nation chose Donald Trump.

Interesting choice. I didn't feel there were any good candidates this time around. Do I like Trump? Am I worried for the country?

I like Trump more than Hillary. I like Trump less than most people. The country will probably muddle through like it always does. Mostly I believe that God has a plan. I don't fear. I have faith. I do my small part in my small corner of the world and know that I am just one cog in a network of souls.

In local news, there was a tragic event that hit close to home. There was a stabbing at our High School. (I don't have kids in High School yet but I know plenty of kids that go there.) In the boys' locker room, one student stabbed five other boys before stabbing himself. None of the wounds were fatal, but a few injuries were very severe. I found out a few hours later that one of the victims is from our neighborhood. I was so saddened for him and his family. Unfortunately, he was one of the boys with more serious wounds. He has had multiple surgeries already and probably has more in the future. There is no risk of him dying, but his quality of life may be permanently changed.

I feel sorry for all the victims and for the boy who attacked them. What issues is he dealing with that leads him to this sort of violence? His life is also changed. I could wish that life were simpler and less tragic, but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Once again, I think the key is to have faith and not fear.

Finally in extremely local news, I got a job. It kind of fell in my lap. I certainly wasn't out there looking for a job. The hours are perfect. I work 2 hours a day. (Pretty cushy huh?) I am a copy aid at the Junior High. So I go and make lots of copies and then go home. This is my kingdom.

When the machines are being nice, I get a lot done and I feel like I have accomplished something. Bonus that I get paid too. I'm so used to volunteering that a check is going to feel strange. But it will be useful with all the extra lessons we have going around here. One of these days I give you a run down of all the kids extra curricular activities. Most days it is good. Other days it is overwhelming.

This last few days has felt like my head is dipping under the water and I'm having to hold my breath. Maybe it is the approaching holidays. Maybe it is the unread book on my shelf. Maybe it is the lack of anything Christmas in my house. (I haven't shopped or decorated.)Who knows? I'll get my act together soon though. And hopefully the blog won't suffer in the meantime. (I am known to take a sizable siesta after blogging month.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thankful Turkey

I will be the first to admit that there wasn't a lot of ceremony surrounding the Thankful Turkey this year. Since we split the family for feasting day, we barely had time to make the turkey and do the feathers before June and I were out the door. But we did get it done. A decade of turkeys since we started in 2006. Impressive.

I put the turkeys up around the girls this year. Seemed like the turkeys would fit in with the monkeys.

The girls would read off feathers and people would guess who wrote them. Some were very obvious, while others were kind of tricky.

It was Robyn's year to make the new turkey and once again, I left it all up to her. She got her creative juices flowing and we ended up with a Dodo disguised as a turkey. Clever Robyn.

There wasn't a lot of room on the feathers so we had to write small. I wrote a limerick on mine:

My man, five cute girls, and dyed hair
To know that life just isn't fair
For all I give thanks
Why...even for Spanx
But mostly because I'm Cazier!!

I'm proud of Robyn and her fun turkey. It is another perfect memory to go on our wall.

Reflections 2016

I really enjoy Reflections, but I am well past the stage where I get involved. If the kids are interested and motivated, they are welcome to participate. And if they want my help, I'm happy to do what I can. But they need to be the driving force.

That said, June was the only one who participated this year. She entered three categories; visual arts, 3D art, and photography. (Last year they combined 2D and 3D art, which was a bummer, but this year they were separate again.)

They usually have a little awards ceremony to go to in the afternoon before school gets out. Tyler was able to attend with me (on drugs of course). June advanced in the 3D art category. She made a block with questions you should base your life on. I thought it was a great idea.

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I been a good sport?
Did I uphold my standards?
Have I made life easier for someone?
Did I smile today?
Was I honest today?

June did not advance in the regular visual arts category, although I loved her drawing and quotes of Bethany Hamilton. If you have not heard her story, go check it out. She is amazing! We watched the movie Soul Surfer together and it was inspirational.

Hannah moved on in this category. She did a beautiful collage with a humming bird. (One of my favorites.)

June also advanced in the photography category. Her snail is still a favorite of mine. She entitled it Slow Journey. I wish I had her artist's statement to go with the picture. It was really cute.

Two medals later, she was happy. Funny thing too...they usually have a gift bag with coupons and candy for the kids. This year, they gave one every time you stood up, so June ended up with 3 gift bags. Lots of candy and extra coupons for us. (I'll take it, since they always put Hale Center vouchers in there. Bonus.)

You can almost see Hannah's humming bird picture back there. Sorry I forgot to get a good picture.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weird Science

It is that time of the year again...Science Fair time. Well, that is a relative term. Different schools do it at different times, but it was our time again. This is our fourth project to come out of the Cazier home. June had two, Robyn had one, and now it is Ivory's turn.

Ivory knew what she wanted to do ages ago. She wanted to dye her hair. So she fashioned a project that would allow her to do that. (Sneaky little thing.) She decided to see if vitamins would help her hair grow faster. The only real problem with this project was time. She dyed a piece of her hair and let it grow for three weeks to test her normal hair growth rate.

Then she dyed another piece and started taking vitamins. We had several days at Kellie's where we quickly stepped in to get a piece dyed. (Don't know what we would have done without you Kellie.)

After three weeks on vitamin C, we waited three days to clear out her system, then we dyed the last piece and Ivory took vitamin B12. We didn't even have enough time to finish three weeks on this vitamin. We had to guesstimate our results with the growth we already had. Now Ivory has three stripes in her hair. Two blond ones and one red one, although the red is really hard to see against the brown.

Next up, the board. Ivory came up with a great idea for her title. She called it 'What Vitamins Did Rapunzel Take?' because Rapunzel had such long hair. I had an idea to put hair all around the edge of her board. Ivory loved that idea. Ivory of course did all the graphs and explanations, but when she put it on the board, it didn't seem to fill up enough space. She thought it would be fun to paint Rapunzel on the board somewhere, so she went to our resident artist for help. Robyn was more than happy to contribute and I think the finished product turned out amazing.

Ivory was so happy with her board. She knew she was going to draw a crowd.

I was very impressed with Robyn's paintings. She did them simply by looking at a picture on my phone.

Science fair day was really fun. Ivory said she had people at her board crowded around the entire time. Some were just there to view the pictures, but many asked insightful questions. Ivory's conclusion was that vitamin C helped hair grow the fastest. She is sad she didn't get to try more vitamins in the experiment. And she admitted that she didn't track her diet, so there were probably other things that factored into the growth. Either way, her hair grew faster while taking vitamins than during the control, so if you want your hair to grow faster, you might consider a vitamin.

Growth in 3 weeks:

Vitamin C - 10 mm
Vitamin B12 - 9 mm
No vitamin - 7 mm

Ivory was next to her friend Ember. They had a good time chatting when they weren't busy explaining their data.

There were some cool projects interspersed with some of the regular ideas. I liked the kid with the board entitled 'Technology is the Best Medicine'. He had people put their foot in a bucket of ice and see how long they could keep it there. Then they did the same thing while playing a video game. The distraction helped them keep their foot in the ice longer. Cool idea.

My favorite board was Jane's. She naturally dyed different types of yarn. It was so cool to see how the different yarn picked up the colors. And it was interesting the different natural ingredients she used as dyes. I was super impressed with her presentation. She knit all her dyed yarn into little circles. It was the bomb.

It was no surprise to me that Jane moved on to the next level of competition. In fact, so did Ivory. That is pretty cool since both her sisters went to district before. I'm proud of Ivory for her work on this project and it will be fun to see all the projects at district. Until then...

November Date - Paint a Wall

Phew...I have three days to fit five more posts in to make my goal. As expected, I was off the map for Thanksgiving. That will probably show up soon. But for today, I have a fun post for you all.

On our anniversary, we drove down to Cedar City, which I mentioned. But I did not mention that we put together another list of fun dates for the year. I am going to be better about labeling them so I can find them again. November was up first and we planned to paint a wall.

There are a lot of walls in our house obviously, but it didn't take long to find the one we wanted. There is a lonely wall in the computer room. It is a focus wall because as you walk in, it is right there in front of you, but we have never had a dedicated decoration for this wall. We put up some Mother's day cards there for a while. We put up some clipboards with kids art, but nothing has stuck. This is how it looked before.

We put a lot of thought into what should go on there. We love to paint fun designs as shown by our hot air balloons. But after scouring the internet, we came up with something different. It involved paint AND boards. We bought some long pine boards and went to work on them. Well...we put the kids to work on them. (They get to be included in some of our dates.)

They sanded away for a long time and then it was time to stain them. We picked a medium stain. The pine boards were transformed.

Almost done. Sorry the lawn looks like a yard sale. We cleaned the garage the same day. Good to get projects done together.

Boards were happening outside and paint was happening inside. We taped off the edges and June and I went to work doing the brush work on the sides.

Tyler didn't make it into a lot of these photos because he was taking the pictures. It should be noted that this was the weekend he had kidney stones!! Luckily, his pain wasn't too bad but I am still majorly impressed that he was able to do so much before his procedure the following Monday. The wall is coming together.

Don't forget the detail work. We decided not to paint the outlet covers since some were connected to the wall. June did a great job helping.

Our boards are now stained and sealed. They are drying and waiting for their debut.

In the computer room, tape was coming off and covers were being put back on. I loved that all the girls helped with this project.

Tyler had a bit of a struggle getting the base board off, but it was important because we had a new board to go in its place. Here we are checking out how it will look. (Tyler is post procedure now. This was a couple days later after the worst pain was under control, but I'm pretty sure he was very drugged for most of the board placement.)

Measure seven times, cut once. (Is that how it goes?) Oh, and make sure it is level.

We put them up throughout the day. It looks like we are almost done. Handy that the outlet switches fit between boards.

Check it out! I think we did an amazing job. I also like getting handy with Tyler. He has a good eye for design and perfection.

Here you can see the before and after again.

I'm still deciding if I want to put a big wreath up in the middle, but for right now, I'm loving the new look of the room. The computer lab has a whole new feel. It is great! Happy November date to us.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

This Too Shall Pass

Tyler had kidney stones on his mission in Brazil, 18 years ago. Ask him about it sometime. He has some hilarious and disturbing stories as you can imagine. Over the years he has felt some twinges of pain but they have gone away. But it seemed the possibility of more kidney stones was always lurking in the shadows.

Let's rewind two weeks. Tyler was having some uncomfortable pain. The problem with pain is figuring out where it is coming from. In this case, it wasn't self evident, but it was constant and so Tyler decided to go to the doctor. By the time he got there, the pain was familiar enough that he told the doctor that he suspected a kidney stone. One CT scan later and there was no doubt that he had a 9mm stone that wasn't going to come out on its own. In Brazil, his stone was also too large to pass so he did Lithotripsy. This is a procedure where they use sonic shock waves to break up the stone into passable pieces. His stories of this process in Brazil are kind of scary actually. They didn't put him to sleep and later he passed not only stones but large pieces of kidney.

So when Lithotripsy was mentioned at least we could be happy that we were in the United States and hopefully things would go a bit smoother.

By Friday Tyler was in to see the Urologist. Sadly, his one piece of bread for breakfast meant he couldn't have surgery that day and that meant he had to wait through the weekend. We were a bit nervous because kidney pain is nothing to scoff at, but surprisingly, the pain stayed at a dull ache with nothing too acute. In fact, Tyler was able to work on a home project with me that we had planned but I thought would be delayed. (Way cool project too, but that is another post.)

Monday dawned and it was surgery day. (Although, Tyler does not like to call it surgery. He calls it a procedure since they weren't planning on slicing him.) I took him into the hospital in the afternoon. I mistakenly thought we would be back right after the kids got home from school, but I did not factor in all the waiting and extra waiting. After we checked in, Tyler was shown to a room and given some spiffy duds to wear. Check out these boxers. One size fits all?

Over the unders he got a nice purple gown. I made fun of his gown a little bit, but it turned out to be quite nifty.

For those of you who have been in the hospital recently, maybe you have used the Bare Paws. There is a little tube that attaches to the gown and pumps heated air into pockets in the gown to regulate temperature. It is very convenient in a cold hospital when you are waiting for over an hour for the doctor to clear you for surgery. We took some x-rays in there somewhere. I guess they wanted to make sure the stone was still there. Yep. Just hanging out in the kidney waiting to make its big debut. (Sadly, we had crushing news for it.)

We spent plenty of time talking and waiting. It is no fun waiting for a procedure you don't want in the first place, but Tyler was staying calm and enjoying his warm cocoon.

Finally, he was off to surgery the procedure and I was off to the waiting room. In a little less than an hour, the doctor told me it all went according to plan. Now Tyler just had to pass all the sand they had just created inside him.

We spent another hour at the hospital letting Tyler come out of anesthesia and get walking again. (Yes, they put you to sleep here in the states.) Tyler walked around the entire time. The nurse said she had never had such an active patient.

Tyler is rather stalwart. He doesn't like to rely on hospitals and medicine. This ended up being a problem the first night. The key to kidney stones is to stay on top of the pain. Don't let it get ahead of you or you are going to have a hard time catching up. I believe we learned this the hard way the first night. There was little sleep, some vomiting, and more pain than is recommended in a lifetime. Tyler made my five labors look like a walk in the park. We learned some valuable lessons and decided never to have another night like that one.

And we didn't. It has been a week since the stone was pulverized. Tyler has collected quite a nice cache of sand. Once crushed into small pieces, each one still has to pass. Some are larger than others, and still quite painful. All together, there are probably 100-150 pieces. (Scheduled to be close to 200 by the end.) Tyler was more than happy to show his collection to the kids. You want to have something to show for all your hard work.

Tyler spent a lot of last week 'high' as he likes to say. As an outside opinion, I would say that he doesn't get too loopy or silly. He does seem to slow down. Sometimes he would call me the 'Flash' because he felt like I was moving so quickly. My favorite day was when he called a client and his boss while on his pain meds. I'm sure it was one of the weirdest conversations they have had for a while. (The client who he called was having a birthday and he told her he was passing a stone for every year she was alive. Isn't that considerate?)

A week later now, Tyler seems to be doing much better. The kids have been so cute coming home from school each day and wondering how he was doing. I've liked having him home for a little while. I believe my actual word were, "I'm sorry you have to go through this pain so we can enjoy this time together." Kind of an oxymoron.

Although I have never had stones myself, I feel for those of you out there who have, and those who have had to watch a loved one go through that sort of pain. Kidney stones are not for the faint of heart. I hope it is more than 18 years before we go through this again.

* I tried to link the stones to soda and energy drink consumption. No luck. The doctor said it was more likely from spinach and nuts. Who would have thought?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Chalk the Block 2016

Chalk is such a beautiful medium. My only beef is that it is fleeting. I don't even mind the dust that covers children and their clothing. (I would much rather have that than mud or sand.)

Chalk the Block is an amazing event that goes on every September in a city near us. This year I put it in the calendar months in advance so we wouldn't miss it. And yet...we still did. Sometimes that is how it goes when the weekend fills up with busyness. Also, it rained. A lot. Right during the beginning of the chalking and right through until the afternoon before it ended. Part of me wondered if anyone was able to draw.

Turns out a little lot of rain doesn't stop true artists. People had set up tents, awnings and tarps to keep the weather at bay. Some work was destroyed and then redone. It certainly wasn't the ideal setting, but there are stalwarts out there.

By the time the weather cleared up, the girls and I were headed to Women's Conference. I told Tyler and Pearl to go check it out and enjoy since we wouldn't be able to. Tyler took pictures of course, so we still benefit a little. He did say that because of weather, many many spots were vacant. I believe people pay in advance, so the event probably still served its purpose even if the art was minimal.

Here are some of the ones Tyler took pictures of. Tell me which one you liked? (Pearl had come from a birthday party which is why she had face paint. I had to go back and look at the calendar because for the life of me, I couldn't decide where it came from.)

Pretty cool huh? There are some truly talented people in the world.

*My favorite was the Storm Trooper Selfie. Such a funny idea.