Tuesday, October 25, 2016


One week ago, I had  ureteroscopy  In other words, I had a kidney stone removed and was sent home from the hospital with a stent. On Friday, the stent was removed and YIKES, the days following the stent removal, I experienced the most intense pain I have EVER, EVER, EVER felt. Worse than any childbirth or recovery from my other surgeries. I was not prepared for such a long, intense, painful recovery. At one week, I feel like I have turned the corner and I am healing.  Throughout the past weeks, I have been blessed to get in to Doctors and have excellent medical care. I have had many people praying for me and have felt the love and support of my friends, family, and Heavenly Father.
I received this stunning floral arrangement from my PTA "Squad" Pictures just don't capture the beauty.
Below the photos, I will document some of the experiences over the past weeks, mostly for my own future reference.

  • October 1-2 General Conference Weekend- severe pain in my side and lower back. I was pretty sure I had a kidney stone and that it was trying to pass. Spent the weekend in pain, running to the bathroom several times per hour feeling like I needed to get rid of 1 gallon, yet could only get out a few drops with great effort
  • Monday, October 3- Spent the day researching what type of Doctor I needed to see...looking up Doctors in the area, but just in a lot of pain and not able to focus on choosing a Doctor or making a plan.
  • Tuesday, October 4- Drove Megan to school and ran in to one of my PTA mom friends. Told her I wasn't feeling well, thought I had a kidney stone, etc. She said, let me call one of the moms from school, her husband is a Nephrologist.  Within minutes, I had 1:45 appointment for that afternoon with one of the best Nephrologists in the area. We chatted about Dreyfoos and that our children have classes together. He explained that it is generally a 4 week wait to get an appointment with him but he had a cancellation that morning and was happy he could work me in.  He sent me directly to have a CT Scan and by 5pm it was confirmed I had a .06 mm (a little more than a half of centimeter) kidney stone stuck in my ureter, blocking my bladder. Oh yea???? Plus a few small stones remaining in my kidney. He referred me to a Urologist, telling me that the job of the Urologist was to get the stones out and that his job would be to figure out why I have stones, what they are made of, and how to prevent future stone growth.
  • Wednesday-Friday, October 5-7 Enter Hurricane Matthew preparation and frenzy=no Medical offices are open. No follow up care can be scheduled. More pain during the storm  days but grateful to have down time and be able to rest and run to the bathroom in my own home. Very grateful the storm turned and did not hit us so I could pursue the needed medical care sooner than later
  • Monday, October 10, I called the Urologist's office to make an appointment. The receptionist told me that she could make an appointment for me in about 2 weeks. WHAT???  I then explained that I was in a lot of pain and Dr (Nephrologist) referred me. Immediately, the receptionist said, oh, I can get you in tomorrow morning at 9 am in the WPB office. WOW!!!!!! Oh just WOW. Thank you! Later in the day, I picked up the CT Scan CD and written report  to have for the Urologist at 9am the next morning. (so thankful I did not procrastinate having that test because of the approaching storm)
  • Tuesday, October 11, 9am, met with Urologist who reviewed my reports, interviewed me, examined me and told me I needed surgery immediately. He looked at the possibility of performing the surgery later that day but there were a few things that needed to happen before I could be cleared for surgery. He was concerned about finding a surgery room for the next day as there was a back-up in surgery appointments due to cancellations from the storm the previous week. He tried to get me in to the Jupiter Hospital Surgery Center where he would be all day, but there was not a room available. (Secretly I was hoping to have surgery at Good Samaritan where my dear friend is an anesthesiologist, but I would take wherever there was space at that point). When he confirmed that Jupiter was not an option, he told me that he could be a room at Good Samaritan Hospital first thing the next day and that I would be his only case at that hospital. Once he finished my surgery, he would  plan to leave leave and spend the rest of his day at Jupiter Hospital. WOW! I almost cried. It was a win-win. Surgery the next day at the location I hoped for with my friend, Alex as the anesthesiologist who knows my history of severe nausea with any type of anesthesia. The Urologist gave me a few last minute instructions and I was off to do my part of making this surgery possible for the next day.
  • I spent the rest of Tuesday doing hospital pre-op admitting paperwork, blood work, and surgery clearance from my Primary Care Doctor. Then on to making sure we had groceries and any other necessary details covered for the balance of the week. The day ended with Ron and Levi Baker giving me a Priesthood blessing. 
  • Another detail that fell in to place- I had already scheduled Seminary to be off for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday due to days off and late start days. One big load off of my mind as I was rushing around preparing for surgery.
  • Wednesday, October 12, 7:30am Ron, Megan and I headed to Good Samaritan Hospital for my 9am procedure. It went well. Coming out of anesthesia was rough and I was in so much pain. So much pressure on my bladder and I just wanted to go to the bathroom. I did not realize I had a stent that was directly draining everything straight from my bladder so no need to rush to the bathroom.
  • Wednesday-Friday morning at 9 am (Dr appointment to have stent removed) I spent the time sitting up in the big chair in our bedroom, taking my heavy meds, changing my pads and the  bed (chair seat) liner pads at least once per hour. I was seriously not prepared for this stage of recovery-literally sitting in a puddle for 36 hours. (Sorry to be graphic but I want to remember this) 
  • Wednesday-Friday morning, I lived on apple slices and buttered toast. I just did not have an appetite but had to keep something in my stomach as I was taking pain meds and antibiotics that would rip my empty stomach up.
  • Bright spot in all this process: ***Katherine came home from Gainesville and announced that she is moving home. We are so grateful for this. It is wonderful to see her making positive choices on her own. She also was home at a time I needed her so much. She cooked and baked and kept us fed with a multitude of healthy, delicious options.
  • Friday morning at 9am could not come soon enough. Ron took me to the Urologist. I was literally counting the minutes until that stent came out. When the Dr removed it, I got the choice to see it or not. Of course, I wanted to see it and I am so glad I did. It was much longer than I thought but then I also understood why it was so painful to have over the past few days.
  • The Dr explained that a small percentage of people experience severe pain AFTER the stent is removed and that my bladder, ureter, and kidneys are in defense mode with inflammation and they may react to all of that. Well...REACT they did. OUCH. I expected to be a little sore but NOTHING like the severe pain I experienced  Friday afternoon through Sunday night.
  • Friday afternoon: Nothing was touching the pain. NOTHING. I was walking around the house trying to fight the pain, crying, no-sobbing, and Katherine was wanting to help me but there was nothing she could do. I went in my room and had a strong impression (from the Spirit) that came to my mind, almost spoken, "Do you believe the things you are teaching your Seminary students?" ( We had just completed an intense discussion on the pain Christ experienced in Gethsemane and the role of Christ's Atonement in removing ALL pain from our lives, not just sins, but all pain, heartbreak, physical pain, etc.) immediately, I asked Katherine to send out a text to our family group chat and ask everyone to unite in prayer for me to be relieved of this intense pain. A few people responded with support and I knew everyone was praying for me. I am not sure of the time frame, but it seemed very soon, my body went limp, the pain subsided and I was able to sleep for 3 hours. It was a miracle I needed and I KNOW prayers were answered. I know Jesus Christ took away my pain.
  • I spent the next 3 days taking heavy prescription pain medication supplemented with Extra Strength Tylenol in between doses. I would set the timer on my phone so I knew when to take the next doses of medication and I learned to stay ahead of the pain. I would count the minutes when it was getting close to the need for more pain medication. I developed a greater compassion for those who suffer with chronic pain.
  • Sunday- Megan spoke in Church and my parents drove down from Orlando to hear her. I heard many great reports about her message and delivery, all of which, I know were accurate. She presented her initial message to me on Saturday night and I was very impressed with her preparation and delivery. After Sacrament meeting, everyone came home and had Katherine's homemade soup, took naps, and enjoyed being together. I was still weak and uncomfortable but hoping the worst was behind me. Bishop and Sister Kelly stopped by and Ron and the Bishop administered the Sacrament to me, something I was extremely grateful for.
  • I arranged for a Seminary substitute for Monday and Tuesday with the hope I would be able to teach on Wednesday and Thursday (no school on Friday) By mid-day on Monday, I knew I needed to have a substitute for the entire week so I was able to arrange for someone to cover Wednesday and Thursday. 
  • Monday, Cheryl N brought lunch to me and it was a breath of fresh air. I felt so good that I stayed up all afternoon and evening with very little pain medication and no nap. 
  • Tuesday, I was a little wiped out so I took it easy.
  • Wednesday,  my PTA friend, Stephanie, stopped by with lunch and the gorgeous floral arrangement pictured above. It was good to see her and she made the visit brief as she did not want to wear me out. I appreciated that consideration. I knew I needed to pace myself as Thursday is the first day I need to go out. First thing in the morning, I have to go have blood drawn. Later in the day, it will be time to celebrate Ron's Birthday with our dear friends, Jan and Don, at our usual spot -Okeechobee Steak House. It will be my first big adventure and I am looking forward to it. 
  • So many people have called to check on me. I have especially appreciated and enjoyed the daily calls from my mom.
  • I have been humbled by the many offers of prayer and to have my name put on the rolls of various LDS Temples around the world. I feel the strength and support of prayer.
I am grateful for my family, faith, and life.
This has been a humbling week for me, strengthening my faith, love, and compassion.

*** Update-Katherine decided not to move home.

Egg Salad

I have realized that I am way behind recording some of the tried and true family favorite recipes along with some of the new.

I am NOT an Egg Salad lover but this recipe is an exception.
It uses only a small amount of mayo and the cream cheese holds the mixture all together.

Mix the following together:
4oz Cream Cheese
3 Tbsp Mayo (I used soy free mayo)
2 Tbs Chives or 1 T grated onion
1/2 tsp Ground Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

6 Hard Cooked Eggs

Add to Eggs:
4-6 Strips of cooked crumbled Bacon
1/2 C Cheddar Cheese, shredded (or any other cheese you prefer)

Mix in the Cheese Mixture and Enjoy!
Delicious plain or on bread.

I think this would make a great party sandwich and normally, I avoid egg salad sandwiches at parties.
Seriously delicious!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dinner In A Pumpkin- Revisited

It's that time of year!
Family traditions, holidays, decorations, food, and ALLERGIES.
With the recent diagnosis of my husband's soy allergy,
I have been adapting many of our family favorites to make them soy-free.

Dinner In A Pumpkin? Soy? Yes.
Just omit the Soy Sauce? Right? No....Not so easy as that!

How about leave out the canned Cream of Chicken Soup? (which is not the healthiest choice, any how) Yep-no canned soups! If you are a soy-detective, you already know this.

HERE is the original recipe for Dinner in a Pumpkin

HERE is the link for DIY Cream of Chicken Soup- even if you don't have a soy allergy, this is a much healthier option than the old stand-by canned Cream of Chicken Soup.

As for the rice...yes, he is allergic to rice, also.
There are many options, diced potatoes, pasta, quinoa, orzo, etc.
We've got this!
Bring on the holidays, traditions, family, food, etc.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Homemade Pizza

Pizza Dough 
from Carmen Hostetler
In a mixing bowl, place the following in order:
1 1/3 C hot tap water
Sprinkle 2 1/4 tsp yeast
Sprinkle 1 Tbs sugar over the yeast
Let sit until the yeast starts floating to the top
3 1/2 C Flour
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt

Mix with dough hook in mixer til the sides of the gowl are clean
Put the bowl in a slightly warm over to rise for 40 minutes

After it rises, put olive oil on a jelly roll pan and dump the dough in it
Put a little olive oil on your fingers and spread the dough until flat
Sprinkle on garlic salt and basil, cover with mozzarella and feta cheese and diced tomatoes.
Cook at 450 for 12 minutes.

A GREAT Soy-free pizza option.
Thank you for sharing!

Chicken With Green Sauce

My daughter in law, Carmen, shared this yummy recipe with me!
It was a huge hit at this trying-to-be-soy-free house! Thankfully, I made a large recipe
Chicken With Green Sauce
Saute slowly over medium-low heat in olive oil until they start to turn clear:
1 large onion-diced ( I used 2 medium onions)
3-4 cloves crushed garlic
In blender, mix:
4-5 Tomatillos
2 Green peppers
2 Jalepenos (no seeds)
Cilantro to taste
2 (more or less) Cups Chicken broth ( I think I ended up using about 3 cups)

Add the onion and garlic to the blender mix.
Then add:
2 Tsp Cumin ( I did not add the cumin because I forgot and it was delicious without)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet,
Cook diced chicken ( I used about 6 chicken breasts)

Add the sauce from the blender to the cooked chicken and simmer until the sauce goes from bright green to a darker green

Serve with tortillas and shredded cheese.
( I may try to serve these burrito bowl style with rice-either plain or lime cilantro rice)

Cook the tortillas on a griddle
Melt shredded cheese on the tortilla
Add the green chicken sauce.

I asked my family to share recipes that do not contain soy.
Ron was diagnosed with a peanut and soy allergy so I am looking for new recipes and ideas for changing some of our family favorites. Soy is seriously in the most unsuspected places.
Basically, any foods that are commercially prepared have soy.
We are focusing on what he CAN eat rather than all of the CANNOTS.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Happy Thirty Six Years

Thirty-six years of marriage is celebration enough to bring me out of blogosphere hiding.
We got married on my 20th birthday (half seriously and half in jest so that Ron would not be marrying a teenager)
Ron is truly the best person to ever enter my life.
He saved me from the worst part of myself and helped me want to be the best I can be.
I fall short in many areas but we keep on ticking and balancing out each other.

Thirty Six years have brought:
Five children
Two daughters in law who are amazing
Five grandchildren
Mostly ups, but some downs
Some humbling, gut-punching experiences (especially over the past  2 years)
Mostly wonderful and truly blessed beyond comprehension in every area of our lives
Opportunities to lead and serve others at home, Church, schools, and in the community
Excellent education and extracurricular activities for our children
Dear friends that are like family
Family we love
Seven places of residence (starting in a condo on the inter coastal water in Boynton Beach, then to Lake Worth, Greenacres, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington-2 houses, and back to the coast in West Palm Beach)
Opportunities to travel
The blessing of me being a full time mother and available for our children during every day events as well as the life-changing crossroads of their lives.
Generally good health

Life has been good to us.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jenni

Happy Birthday to my baby sister, a fashion plate and trendsetter all the way...
Lots of fun photos and memories HERE

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Joel

This is a busy Birthday week for our family, starting with my nephew, Joel
Twenty Four Years!
Happy Happy Birthday, Joel

December 1996-Wellington Florida
 November 1992
Right before Aunt Jenni left for her mission to Poland
Summer 2003
Salt Lake City
(Yes, they walked around downtown Salt Lake like this)
  Summer 1998
Palmyra, NY prior to the Hill Cumorah Pageant
The summer of the yellow shirts

Monday, August 3, 2015

Happy Birthday Dad

In no specific order, I present some fun Happy Birthday pics. I am blessed to have a dad who knows how to work hard and play hard. He is a fun dad and a fun grandpa.

Do the "bump" with Curt and Jeff
 Many years and many pounds ago, we ran the Peachtree Race with my dad.
Of course, he was thousands of people ahead of us but it was a fun experience.
 He makes the stuffing for our Thanksgiving turkey every year
 He loves my mother dearly
 He loves my children and my children love him!
 Not very many grandpas would take their grandchildren out on a snipe hunt
 I love my parents.
 After one of his hundreds and hundreds of Saturday races.
This was after the Peachtree Race in Atlanta
 He taught me about the finer things in life, aka The Varsity!
What'll ya have?
 Birthday cake made by grandchildren
 On the good ship Disney!
 Living his dream on his Honda Dream Machine
We were embarrassed to have him drive by our bus stops on this motorcycle
 Dad moonlighted as a 'limo driver" in Newark airport and Brent just walked right by him when he got off the plane (wonder why) what you don't see is that his pants are rolled up and I believe some of his "teeth" are missing.
 Work Hard-Play Hard
Jeffrey and Curt helping in the yard in New Jersey
I Love you, dad!