Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas with the Clarks part 1

yes, Xander's shirt says "my aunt rocks"

well the best part of Christmas was having Joette around, especially for the girls. Kenzie and Julia are still in denial that Joette has returned home. Kenzie cried for about 20 minutes on the car ride home from the airport.

"I didn't want Joette to leave. We need to sing more songs on the piano. I am so sad." She went on and on and on.

anyway, I will talk about all that great fun stuff in part 2.

Christmas was wonderful but a little stressful at first. Only because it was Dec 13th and we were still renovating the living room. We finally just stopped in our tracks and went and got our tree. I LOVE LOVE LOVE decorating the house for Christmas.- and I was so anxious to get done with the room- so before we could finish the top shelf of the board and batten and put the crown up- we just said, "happy holidays" and quit working on the room- but oh how much I love the room- even unfinished. I just LOVE IT. It finally feels like coming home when I walk through the front door.



we still need to do touch-ups- tape and re-paint
get curtains- although the white sheets from Savers are actually kind of cute
crown moulding
top shelf part of board and batten
and finish decorating

but I love it already- once we are 100% complete I will post more about all the details and how to's of this big project- we ran into a few big messes along the way (of course)

the reindeer that was given to Mom by her first boyfriend

Emily's famous advent calendar which happens to also be the cause of many fights with the girls :)

Emily's nativity- Emily is the main supplier to the Christmas decor around here

'tis the season to be jolly

I just love this Santa

The mistletoe that would hit Chay's head every time he walked under it- let's just say it didn't put him in the kissing mood...

ok well that about wraps up Christmas with the Clarks part 1. "Wraps up" get it??? Ok I'm tired. Good night.

Friday, December 24, 2010

tree stand

the tree stand

I found this tree stand at a thrift store. It had never been used and still had the original packaging- but it was obvious the tree stand was sold and manufactured probably 30+ years ago.

Don't you just love the detail?...however I wasn't a fan of the green puke color. I wondered, why so much detail if the tree stand will be covered by a tree skirt anyway?

where's my white spray paint???

I really liked how the tree stand turned out.
It sits on top of the tree skirt.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


'Tis the season to unblock veins fa la la la la la la la la

Well the venous angioplasty went ok I believe.

I'm fine by the way. I'm not bedridden or in immense pain. In fact my biggest trial right now is Xander.

Because of the procedure I have to pump and dump my milk for 48 hours. The sedatives used and the dye they insert into my veins isn't exactly the best for a baby.

It's breaking my heart. He just wants his mother's snuggle and all I have for him is smelly a bottle. Not fun. I have never done the bottle thing. Wow- how inconvenient.

Xander won't take a bottle for longer than 3 minutes- so I defrosted some frozen breast milk- He still isn't taking it very well. This is so sad.

For those who are curious and want to know how the day went:

I get to the hospital and go to the Radiology department. I then get undressed and put scrubs bottoms and a gown top on. I get hooked up to an IV with saline (to help my kidneys push through the dye they insert into veins) they asked if I was pregnant. NO. Then I asked Dr. Black a million questions.

Dr. Black was honest and smart. He doesn't think YET that CCSVI (narrowing of jugular veins) is the WHOLE causing problem to MS but could be a factor. He thinks it plays a significant role and when it comes down to it, no matter what, my veins are abnormal and should be fixed.

ok so then they sedate me and make me jolly. They inserted a catheter in my iliac vein which is down by your pelvis low waste area. And then he fished the catheter through my veins until he reached my brain- I'm not joking. I jumped a little and said, "are you inside my head?" He was. He then releases the dye into my veins and asks me to hold my breath and such so the dye can make its way through my veins- so he can see how blood is flowing through my veins.

He discovered that my right jugular vein was 60% blocked. He even said that my body had compensated with a new sort of vein- something he has never seen before. See? We are all unique in our own different ways.

He also discovered my left jugular was 50% blocked.

Ok when he was messing around in my head and ballooning open my veins I about lost it. Pretty painful- like an instant horrific earache and migraine headache. But within 5 minutes it was gone. I could hear this little metal clicking inside my head too. So weird. There was a lot of pressure. Just a weird-finger-nails-on-a-chalk-board-type-feeling. The nurses and doctor were surprised by my pain saying most patients don't feel too much discomfort. Well the pain all went away as soon as he was done ballooning.

He later told me that he might want to re-do my right side down the road...he said he unblocked most of it but not completely- he stretched the vein a lot and wanted to be careful.

Afterwards I was given the prescription of Lovenox and Plavix. I have to give myself blood thinner shots for only a week. We picked up the medicine at Costco and all I have to say is "thank goodness for Chay's health care insurance" We only had to pay less than 10% of what the original costs were. phew!

How do I feel? Drum roll please!!!!! The same. :) A little loopy from the sedation. My veins in my neck are a little sore (oh really?) and also where the catheter entered into my iliac vein is a little sore. I also have a little bit of a headache. I'll just have to wait.

I'm drinking the green drink like crazy so I can flush out the dye and sedatives- I just really want to nurse Xander. I'm sure it will be a long night tonight.

So I will update again soon. Probably not tomorrow. I just want to focus on Christmas.

Fa la la la la la la la la

Monday, December 20, 2010

my sexy veins part II

Tomorrow is the day I go in to have my veins fixed.

I have had so many people ask me questions and I wish I could be more elaborate and explanatory...but really I am sort of full of questions myself.

All I know is that some interventional "I fix veins" Doctor told me that my blood is not draining properly in my right jugular vein from the results of an ultrasound and that he can perform a type of Angioplasty on my vein to improve blood flow. He was clear to let me know that this procedure is VERY NEW and is still being researched. He did not promise me amazing results from my MS although many MS patients have seen huge improvements in their condition...tricky. I hate it when Doctors are tricky. JUST HEAL ME DANG IT!!!

But honestly the Doctor was so incredibly nice and sincere. But at the same time I left the Dr.'s office feeling that I was involved in something very new. The Dr. did tell me there would be a trial in February of this year but nothing was set in stone as of yet. I would wait until February to be involved with the trial but it is unclear if the trial would be paid for and we have already met our deductible this year on health insurance so...AND I have a feeling that if I don't ACT now there could be a huge waiting list in the upcoming year. As of right now, there are only 2 Doctors in Utah that are performing the angioplasty on veins for MS. My Doctor told me there are 4 more Doctors in Utah being trained and certified who will start taking MS patients very soon. I do not know their names.

Dr. Hatch and Dr. Black are the team doctors that are working with me- I can't remember who will be doing the actual procedure tomorrow- one of them. They work together.

Dr. Hatch
Dr. Black
Phone# (801)701-5681

Utah Valley Interventional Associates
1055 North 300 West Ste 308
Provo, Utah 84604

For records: How is my health TODAY: December 20th

TIRED!!!Is it because I stayed up until 1 this morning sewing Christmas stockings and watching Inception? That movie is a TRIP.

Ok for reals, I am generally always always tired. Weak...low energy and such. Mornings are a major struggle. On certain days the stairs are a struggle. By nature I am very energetic so this has been devastating the last 6 years.

Pain: stiff- out of control stiffness. My joints are on FIRE when I first get up from sitting or sleeping. After walking around for a couple minutes I feel fine-I have headaches often too- ironically my headaches start where my jugular veins are supposedly blocked. Coincidence? Who knows.

Foggy brain. I have a hard time figuring out how to control thinking patterns- priorities get jumbled- like I forget what to do first- so sometimes I will find myself making breakfast in my bra. I kid you not. But it's not like I don't know that I am in my bra- I just sort of giggle and I am completely aware I just get jumbled- that doesn't happen very often...but it sort of scares me when it does. FORGETFUL. SHORT TERM IS HORRIBLE.

Other foggy brain symptoms are feeling the emotion without figuring out the problem. I will feel really sad, anxious, mad or worried about something and I will have to literally file through the vaults in my brain until I find the problem that is causing the emotion. Again, only once in a while. Don't worry, If I tell you, "I love you" I usually mean it :) Luckily the emotion of loving someone is one I haven't had to search for the reason in my head. Wow- I think the movie Inception is influencing my writing today. I feel like I could write a catchy novel about my brain problems.

Twitches flutters in my left side when I run or do any type of hard cardio. By the third day of trying to exercise I get all funky on my left side and I experience weird pain in my left arm and leg. At night my left leg will keep me awake and then I cry- feel sorry for myself- a normal routine. I just want to RUN for crying out loud.

Dizziness- no equilibrium- I couldn't walk for about 10 minutes after Space Mountain. But it was sure worth it.

um I haven't had any major exacerbations lately- but I've had a few where I have lost function of my left side out of acute weakness- and I have been super numb in crazy places- close friends know about those crazy places :)

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

here's hoping for some help! I will keep y'all updated!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


hold your breath's going to be ok.

It is late. I'm wrapping presents, finishing home-made presents, finishing up my 4th load of laundry for the day and staring at an un-frosted cake. Mckenzie's 5th birthday cake. Tomorrow my big girl will be 5. NOOOOOO!

What is happening to life? Slow down will ya?

One question that pops into my head often: Am I making good use of my life? Am I stuck in a whirlwind tunnel of culture, fear, bad habits, procrastination? Or am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing?

The scale goes back and forth (kind of like my weight) but...seriously, TIME is slipping away. Am I living in the moment? Am I loving and listening? Does Kenzie know how much I adore her? Have I been present in her life? Or am I too busy doing non essential things all day and never just STOPPING and soaking her in. Soak that little special light girl in.

I soak her in. I do. More than I thought I would to be honest. But there is still so much of me to give to her. And at night time on the days when I am short with her and a not so good mommy- oh the crushing guilt. I feel so silly. She is a precious 4 year old for crying out loud. GET IT TOGETHER APRIL!

Kenzie is awesome. A drama queen, but awesome.

porcelain face
sincere eyes
motherly kindness
ability to imagine and pretend
The feelings she expresses when dancing, singing...oh to be 5 again.

5 year olds are the best. I love their words, thoughts and sentences. I love their curiosity. I love how doing the dishes is fun. I love a 5 year old.

Happy Birthday Kenzie. Amongst all the chaos and joy of the season, you are my brightest star.

The other day I asked the girls what gift they wanted to give Jesus for Christmas.

Kenzie's reply "I want to give Him all my glory"

of course we giggled at that, but isn't she right on?

Light. Light. Light. What would I do without all this light? My children and husband are my greatest treasures. Love them.

even on days when I feel like throwing dishes against the wall...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

mom and Christmas

I only have 20% battery left in my laptop.

So I can't be long winded today...

I miss Mom.

Christmas is all about the Mom. We decorate, sing, tradition, cook, serve, gather, teach...

Oh how I would do anything for just a quick 20 minute talk with you Mom. You have been gone for over 2 years. Just 20 minutes? Come can come in my dreams if you want. That would be such a fun night's sleep.

Or you could just visit me- you know, like the ghost angel thing. I will be up late tonight editing Chay's paper for school. Come visit me in my new living room- it's so darling. You probably wouldn't like it- too funky for your taste. But you would be proud of all the hard work we put into the room. You were always so proud of your children. We KNEW we were special in your eyes. We ALWAYS felt special when you were around.

Ask Heavenly Father for permission to visit me will ya? Just tell him "my daughter needs me really bad this Christmas". He will understand. He always does.

I forgot to ask you when you were dying if you would come visit me from time to time once you got to the other side.

I also forgot to get your cheese ball recipe. That would come in handy right about now...

15% battery left. And our basement doesn't have any 3 prong outlets yet...

Mom, I want to tell you about how cute my Christmas decorations are this year. The tree is perfect. I have the stuffed reindeer that your first boyfriend gave you 50 years ago sitting on my desk. It is perfect.

Dad finally said I could have your Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause you painted so many years ago. I had to give him the big guilt trip: "Share Mom with us please. You and Kay can start collecting your own Christmas decorations now...Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause belong to me...they just do."

11% battery oh dear

Christmas is so hard without you. Thank you for making Christmas so dang special. I'm having a hard time filling your Christmas season shoes.

I cried when I was playing and singing "I'll be home for Christmas" on the piano today. I imagined you singing it and oh man... I just really really MISSED you.

For future generations and for family history's sake:

Edie Kaye Tomblin always made Christmas SPECIAL...For her family and for all her many friends. During Christmas time there was always music playing. We would gather around the lit Christmas tree and listen to music and cry from feeling the spirit. We always did the 12 days of Christmas for a family- EVERY YEAR. Mom was always baking and giving away pies to ward members. She had big dinners...and Christmas Family Home evenings always planned. She was always involved in church activities- writing scrips for plays, planning special dinners, painting back-drops, directing a choir-always DOING. She never worked. Her job was FAMILY. She was never busy trying to earn money- she was too busy being Mom- and busy serving others. I'm sure her little talents could of brought in extra money. But FAMILY was her priority...

Mom loved to sing Christmas songs around the piano with Joette playing. She loved to GATHER. She was a GATHERER. She always bore her testimony of the Savior. She loved to give home-made gifts. She was always sewing during Christmas. Pajamas, stockings, crafty things. One year she wanted to make fleece coats for everyone- I told her it wasn't a good idea. I told her I was too vain to wear a home-made coat. She only finished one and quit. My heart breaks when I think of that story. I have her one and only fleece home-made coat and I finally treasure it with everything I have.

Ok my battery will die any minute.

Oh how blessed we are to be in contact with so many wonderful people. I am truly blessed. How lucky I was to have you Mom as my mommy for 28 years.

However, as much as I would love to emulate you, I still wish I didn't have messy drawers like you...and I also somehow grabbed your problem of getting overly excited about 10 things and trying to do them all at once until I go crazy...and unfortunately my life is full of unfinished projects because of it-

but that is ok- because as a mother you accomplished and finished what God wanted you to do on this earth- the most important things were taken care of...and that's all that really matters...and so I keep trying to do the same, despite my messy drawers, I try to gather the family together and teach them about love and Christ...


ok 3-2-1 my battery is at 1%.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

my sexy veins and MS

first of all, Thank you Cami for coming with me today. I was so touched that she wanted to come...ok ok ok- she also wanted to go to IKEA with me afterwards- who wouldn't? Who can pass up Sweetish meatballs anyway? But still, it was nice to go to the appointment with someone. Cami is a SUPERFRIEND. The kind of friend you don't luck out and meet every day. She is GOLD. She has taught me more about LOVE and SERVICE than anyone I have ever met. She watched Xander for me in the waiting room today- Love you Cami. Thank you for enduring such a long day.

Chay stayed home from work and played with the girls all day.

Well how did my appointment go today? Well, I have CCSVI. So stay far away...CCSVI- sounds like I have some funky growth in my armpit or something-

For reals, my right Jugular vein, way up close to my ear and jaw line does not drain properly. Blood gets to the brain just fine, it just doesn't drain the way it's supposed to. In fact, instead of draining the way it should, the vein has a reflux of blood caused from narrowing of the vein and so my body has developed a lot of little capillaries near where the narrowing of the vein is to create a secondary route for my blood to drain- INTERESTING.

This is all so new to me. I really don't know what to think. At moments I feel like crying and at other moments I just want to ask a million questions.

so off I go to Provo again to have the jugular vein fixed on December 21st. Unfortunately I might be too sedated to go to Ikea afterwards. That's ok, I'm a little Ikea'd out...

and plus Chay's Hell is walking around IKEA for a couple hours- pure torture...for the both of us :)

anyway, Merry Christmas! Is it really already the 7th?