Friday, August 18, 2017

Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mom!

You know what might be worse than hearing "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mom!" 10 million times a day? Hearing "Aunt Shirley! Aunt Shirley" all day. 😂

As I said before, we had two cousins from out of state live with us for three weeks.  On one of their last days, my sister-in-law (the one who lives in the same state as us) and I took her 4 kids, my 4 kids, and these 2 extra cousins on a fun field trip.  We let the kids choose which van they wanted to ride in and I ended up with my two 10 year old nephews with me. 

It was an hour drive each way.  Both of these boys love to talk and they had so many interesting things to tell me. And apparently they have to start every sentence with, "Aunt Shirley!"   By the end of that trip, I hated my own name. 

I LOVE all my nieces and nephews to death!  But I would be ok with not hearing "Aunt Shirley!" for a while.  I guess it's time to change my name.  Or next field trip I might insist that we listen to music or an audio book in silence. 😉

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Healthy Popsicles for Spoiling Cousins With

I always try to keep my freezer stocked with popsicles, but not just any popsicles...healthy ones.  All my nieces and nephews, real and honorary, know that they should be able to find some anytime they come over. And since I make them with mostly fruit, I don't feel bad for a second for spoiling them with them.

Basically our popsicles are just leftover smoothies or milkshakes. I'll often make a big batch for everyone to drink and then whatever little amount is left goes in the freezer. 

My smoothies are just fruit juice (usually apple or sometimes V8 Fusion), frozen bananas, and whatever other frozen fruit I have. Sometimes I have chia seeds to add and lately I've been including fresh spinach when I have it.

The "milkshakes" my kids love at breakfast time are milk, chunky peanut butter, frozen bananas, and chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials.

I have several different popsicle molds I've picked up along the way. But the ones below are hands- down my favorite! They're Tupperware brand. I love that the lids seal onto the mold so I don't have to make sure they get frozen upright. I just throw them in the freezer and don't worry about them spilling at all.

 The kids like that the stick part has a little handle. And they also like to scrape their popsicles against the edge of the mold and then lick up the pieces that flake off. I like that when the little stick part gets lost (we're currently missing 3), then I can just fit a regular popsicle stick in it's place and still use the mold.

What's your favorite healthy "treat" to have on hand?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Baby's Day Out

We like to have Family Movie Nights together sometimes during dinner. The kids eat picnic-style on the living room floor. Recently we watched Baby's Day Out.

I watched this movie so many times as a kid! Unlike some movies I remember loving as a kid and then find out as an adult that they're terrible, this one is still a good movie today. But I had mixed feelings the whole time.

 It was hilarious. (Perhaps my favorite part was when Norby tries to sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb.")

But I'm generally not a fan of physical comedy so it got tiring. (Hubby made the observation that the three kidnapping idiots are pretty solidly based on the Three Stooges. Norby is Curly, Eddie is Moe, and Veeko is Larry.)

 I also have problems when movies are so ridiculous and improbable. And the scene where the baby crawls across traffic gave me anxiety!

But the baby was SOOOOO cute! Makes me wish I had another baby so bad!

The kids loved it. I have a feeling it's going to be re-watched a million more times before the end of summer. I think next time we're going to watch Homeward Bound.

What movies from your childhood do you like to share with your kids?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Teachable Moment from Talk Radio

I listen to talk radio all the time.  If I'm in the kitchen or driving in the car, I've usually got the radio on.  Recently a news report came on that I made sure my daughters heard.

According to this article: "Harvard University has reportedly rescinded at least 10 admission offers into its fall freshman class after learning prospective students traded sexually explicit and offensive messages in an online Facebook chat."

Hearing what happened as a consequence of these students' actions was a great opportunity for discussion with my girls.  

Always assume everything you post online is permanent and public.  Keep a close eye on your privacy settings and who you have on your "friends" list.  But even if it's in a "private" chat, don't post it if you would be uncomfortable with your Bishop, grandparent, professor, or future boss seeing it.  

I would hate it if my children were punished in the future for a dumb mistake they made on social media in their youth.  But that's the world we live in now.

Friday, August 4, 2017

An Unpleasant Encounter

I'm allergic to confrontation.  But I also have a Mama Bear inside me that will come out when needed.

Last month we hosted two of my brother's kids for 3 weeks.  That meant that for almost a month I was basically a mother of 6 children age 4 to 11.  As we went about our business, we had a couple encounters where kind strangers would say, "Wow!  What a big family!"  Or something equally innocuous.  I would smile warmly and simply say, "Two are cousins."  But we did have one incident that wasn't so innocent.

I had taken the kids to the dollar store on the way home from another activity so I could pick up a few items and a craft project for them.  They were pretty squirrely, but not really bad. I want to emphasize that they weren't being really rotten.  But they were taking up a lot of space in the aisles, touching things, doing a little bit of wrestling, and saying, "can I have this?  I want to buy this!" a lot.  They were each being typical kids.  Multiply that by six, and together it was starting to make me nervous.  I usually expect much better/quieter behavior from my kids when we're shopping so I was on edge and was anxious to get done and get out of there!

We got into the checkout line.  There were a couple people in front of us and so our cart was almost up to the belt.  An old man with a cane tried to walk up alongside us in line but couldn't get through so he walked all the way around to come through the other way.  Evidently, he was looking for something specific in the checkout line, right where me and the six kids were standing.  I tried to move the kids out of the way for him, but I couldn't move the cart very much due to the long line of people behind me.  Plus, the kids were too busy talking and playing with each other to really listen to my instructions.  I did the best I could and got us moved out of the way a teeny bit.

The old man never said, "Excuse me," or "Can I squeeze through?" or "I'm looking for a doohicky.  Do you see one there?" or anything like that before he moved on.  I figured that was the end of that.

But then a random lady who was standing two places behind me gets my attention and says, "I think that man was trying to get past you but all your kids were in the way!"

I was taken aback.  For a split second I thought that maybe I was in the wrong and that I hadn't done enough.  So I timidly said, "Oh.  I was trying to move us back a little.  I think it was ok."  Then I turned to start putting my items up on the belt.  But this Shrew wasn't done.

She loudly started criticizing the size of my family.  "How many kids are there with you?  1...2..."  I kid you not, she was counting out loud how many children I had with me!  Given her tone, attitude, and other comments, it was clear that she thought I had too many.  As I put items up on the belt I could feel the Mama Bear rising up.  No one messes with my kids (whether they're mine or nieces/nephews!)  So I cut her off and said clearly, "There's 6.  Yep, there's a lot of them."  Then I stopped, turned to face her, and said, "What was I supposed to do, leave half at home?!"

As I turned back to my cart she called me out for getting defensive.  I replied that yes, I was getting defensive because I didn't understand what her point was.  These were my kids and of course I'm going to have them with me.  At that point, I had started to cool and didn't want anymore of a conflict.  I was kind of shaking, was keenly aware of the kids' behavior, embarrassed that maybe they were being a problem, and just wanted to get out of there.

(At one point my nephew had chimed in, "two are cousins!" because he had gotten used to us saying that.  But I didn't think this Shrew needed to know that.  I was ready to claim all six of them!  So what if all six were my biological children!  It's no one else's business how big my family is.)

Shrew said that she was just so surprised to see so many children in one family and that it was really weird to see them all at the store in the middle of the afternoon.  I told her with kind of a "duh" attitude that it was summer vacation.  By this time we were second in line and the checkout lady heard everything that had gone on so she backed me up and assured the Shrew that it's not weird to see kids during the day because it was in fact still summer vacation.

Shrew just couldn't believe that this was relevant because she asked (again, still with her same aggressive, confrontational attitude), "But why aren't they all in summer school?  I was always in summer school all day."  By now I was really confused.  The checkout lady and I both tried to explain that summer school isn't really a "thing" anymore.  Only a few schools (especially at the elementary level) do summer school and it's only a few hours a day, and not for the whole summer.  The woman in front of me in line even chimed in to say that even at the high school level, it was only a 4 week program for her son.

Her next comment took the cake.  If I was confused before, now I was dumbfounded. She said, "But how are they going to get into college?!"  What?  What planet was this girl from?  The checkout lady and I looked at each other and then told her that summer school was irrelevant and not a factor at all when it came to college admission.  Especially when it comes to elementary school!  We tried to explain that some high schoolers take summer classes to make up credits or try and graduate early but that was it.

I didn't dare tell Shrew that we homeschooled.  Her head would have exploded.

Thankfully, at this point the conversation was finally over and it was my turn to get rung up.  Another checkout line had opened up so Shrew went over there and got through quickly.  After she left, the checkout lady and no less than three customers stopped to talk to me and show me support.  They all said they had kids, that the Shrew was being rude and wrong, that my kids were being well behaved (really!), that I shouldn't be embarrassed, and that I was doing a good job raising them.  I was still a little shaky (remember, I'm allergic to confrontation!) and hearing all these kind words brought tears to my eyes!

Seeing the worst and best of humanity at the same time in one day was a very interesting experience!
I'm so thankful to those kind strangers that were willing to take a few minutes to support a fellow parent.  We're all just trying to do our best here!  We need to show love and build one another up!  I hope that if I ever witness a fellow parent struggling like I was, that I will go out of my way to reassure them that they're doing a great job!  I know personally what a difference that can make!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Getting a Head Start on Halloween

I am so excited for Halloween this year! I always start thinking of and mentally planning the kids' costumes months in advance. But this year I'm already working on making them. It's so early! I'm sure this is a record for me. It helps that I already had almost all of the needed fabric and that these are easy costumes to put together.  Gotta love Greco-Roman clothes that are essentially wrapped bed sheets!

Primus (Amazon Warrior)

Done: tunic, shield (it's made from a plastic deli tray- that Hubby was smart enough to suggest I save- with brown paper mod podged on it), shoes

Still need to make: armor, helmet

Secundus (Aphrodite)

Done: peplos (the top draping layer is a pretty embroidered fabric scrap that I added to the sheet), fibulae (brooches- one has a picture of a dove and the other a rose, which are two symbols associated with the goddess of love and beauty)

Still need to make: gold belt

Tertius (Poseidon)

Done: toga (I need to wrap it better than shown in the picture!), sea weed skirt, fibula (his brooch has a picture of a great white shark)

Still need to make: shell crown (maybe- he says he doesn't want one)

In progress: trident (needs gold paint)

Quartus (Roman Emperor)

Done: tunic (I cut it shorter and made the sleeves shorter after taking this picture), fibula, cape, armor

Still need to make: crown of leaves (maybe- he says he doesn't want one)

Do you enjoy making Halloween costumes?  What are your kids going to be this year?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Vespasian Dog

When Hubby earned his teaching credential, I wanted to do something special with the kids to surprise him and mark the occasion.  We had some coupons for Build-a-Bear and so we made him a stuffed dog with a recorded message of us telling him how much we love him and that we're proud of him.  
Since Hubby is a history teacher and fanatic (incidentally, the t-shirt he's wearing in the picture says, "I <3 History"), I really wanted to dress his dog in an outfit that would make him look like a historical figure.  Did you know that no such thing exists?  I scoured Build-a-Bear's massive online and in store inventory and could find nothing that satisfied me.  I had to get creative.  

He's wearing a t-shirt that has a red cape attached.  Over that I put a white graduation gown, allowing the cape to stick out the back.  On top is some "leather armor" I made from a rectangle of brown felt.  A crown or wreath made from green pipe cleaner and faux ivy complete the look.

I was going for Alexander the Great, but Hubby informed me later that the result was more Roman, so he has now been named Emperor Vespasian.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It's Ok to Switch Supervising Teachers

I've talked to a lot of different homeschooling moms from several different homeschool-supporting charter schools and I've reached an important conclusion...Your positive or negative experience with your school has more to do with your supervising teacher than anything else.

And so I'm here to tell you that it's ok to ask to switch to a different teacher.

It's ok to switch if you don't feel supported in your personal homeschooling style.  Or if she's consistently late to meetings.  Or if she insists on meeting with you at a Starbucks instead of coming to your home.  Or if she's messed up your orders too many times.  Or if she has no helpful suggestions when you ask for guidance in selecting curriculum.  Or if you feel uncomfortable, judged, or criticized when she's in your home.  Or if she doesn't seem to have genuine, sincere interest in getting to know you and your children.  Or if she fails to let you know about the awesome free websites the school has provided for you.  (These are all taken from the experiences of me and other moms I've talked to.)

It's ok to switch if you just don't "click" with her!  Just like when you're dating or making new friends, you (and your kids) are not going to "click" with everyone.  And I strongly believe that for you to have a successful relationship with your supervising teacher, and for your kids to have a positive homeschooling experience, you need to find someone that you feel comfortable with.  You need to feel supported and listened to.  You need to find someone that you won't hesitate sharing joys and concerns with.

Talk to other parents in your charter.  Find out what the school's actual policies are regarding things like testing, work sample collecting, attendance and learning records, and placing orders.  Find out if your criticisms with your teacher are valid or if they really are school policy issues (if the latter is the case, then maybe it's time to suck it up and just jump through their hoops, switch charters, or file a private school affidavit.)

When we started homeschooling in 2011, I was assigned to our first supervising teacher.  She was a nice person, but I had some criticisms and the most important thing was that I never felt really comfortable or supported by her.  We just didn't "click."

A couple years later, I posted on Facebook about needing suggestions for a new teacher and an acquaintance of mine spoke up and said she had room for more students.  It has been a wonderful relationship ever since!  She gives me guidance when I need it. She trusts my instincts, gives me freedom where possible, and stays out of my way when that's what I want.  My kids love her.  She takes the time to give attention to my little ones that aren't yet enrolled in order to start building a relationship and an excitement for school with them early.  We have enough time left over after going through the required meeting agenda to just shoot-the-breeze and talk as friends about our lives and families.  I'm so much happier now!

Also, I teasingly warned her before I sent in the paperwork to request a change that if she did XYZ, or didn't do JKL, that I would have to fire her.  And I guess she could always "fire" me if I was insufferable.  Honesty is important in a relationship, too, right?  😂

Friday, July 21, 2017

The State Capitol Through the Eyes of a 9 Year Old

When we visited the capitol, I let Secundus use my camera.  She desperately wants to own a camera of her own, and I hoped it would help her stay engaged with the tour.  I'm fascinated by what she chose to photograph.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pudding Dirt Cups and Jello Aquariums

We recently bought a bunch of rock candy (they're like M'n'Ms-candy coated chocolate- in the shape and color of small pebbles).  They're so yummy and cool-looking and they got Secundus' wheels turning.  It had been a while since we'd made classic pudding dirt cups and she thought rocks would be a good addition to that recipe.  Then she figured out a way to make a cool aquarium-looking treat.  I helped her gather the supplies and she led her siblings and a friend in putting them together.  She did a great job!

Pudding Dirt Cups

1. Mix crushed Oreo cookies and a few candy rocks into chocolate pudding.  Put it in a cup.
2. Push a couple gummy worms into the pudding.
3. Put a layer of more crushed Oreos and candy rocks on top.
4. (not pictured) Cut slits along a long edge of a strip of green fruit leather.  Then loosely roll it up and stick it in the dirt so it looks like grass or a little bush.

Jello Aquariums

1. Put a layer of candy rocks in the bottom of a cup.
2. Place a sour gummy octopus (head side down) on top of the rocks.  It kind of looks like coral. (not pictured here)
3. Scoop blue Jello (that has already set) into the cup.
4. Push a couple colored Swedish fish into the jello.

I think this one turned out so neat!  Especially when you hold it up so the light shines through the Jello!  We did discover, though, that the summer heat melts the Jello, which in turn dissolves the candy coating on the rocks.  This results in a dark grey liquid with brown chunks at the bottom which we dubbed, "Dead Fish Sludge."  So maybe don't make this ahead of time unless you're going to keep it in the fridge until eating time.

Friday, July 14, 2017

This Is How We're Surviving the Summer Heat

This pool was gifted to us as a hand-me-down from friends when they moved.  It's about 2 feet deep and 11 feet diameter.  A pop-up sun shade over the top protects us from sun burns.  

It has been awesome!  The kids spend a couple hours out here about every day.  And it's actually been good for me to get some exercise in, too!  My routine which I do around the edges of the pool is as follows: walk lap or two, then do lunges, then lay on my stomach and pull myself along with my arms.  Once I've created a nice strong current, I turn around and start over, working against the current.

I don't look forward to taking it down this fall (or dealing with all the dead grass underneath) but for now, we'll just enjoy!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

DIY Gladiator Shoes

Primus was invited to go to a theme park that had a water area with a friend.  I figured she should wear sandals that she could keep on her feet all day, from roller coaster to water slide. Alas, she only had a pair of cheap flip flops.  But we also knew that she would need "gladiator shoes" for her Amazon Woman costume for Halloween this year. So we went shopping! Two birds, one stone.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to find anything in the price range I wanted.  Fortunately, we found a great alternative!

These tan colored flip flops were on sale for $10, down from $20.  Yay!  Next we bought 2 packages of 72 inch brown boot laces.  (They were way longer than we needed, so some was cut off after measuring.)

She's been experimenting with how she wants to wrap and tie them.  I think they look better with the bow/knot behind her calf, but she doesn't feel confident in her ability to tie it tight enough when she can't see it.

We tied one lace to each side of the flip flop strap and put a dot of hot glue in the knot to make sure it didn't come undone.  Then they were crossed behind her heel and the laces were tucked under the strap on the other side.  Then she just crisscrosses them a few times up her leg and ties them together.

We were both super pleased with how they turned out.  And I'm told they worked really well for her all-day adventure!

Also, I'd like to note that these flip flops are women's size 10.  Size 10. Women.  She's only 11 years old!  Granted, these shoes are quite narrow and appear to run smaller than other shoes (the tennis shoes she's currently wearing are women's 8.5).  But still!  She's going to have giant feet like her mommy (I'm size 11.5 or 12).  She's always been tall for her age and I've always called her my little future "Amazon Woman." She is so excited for this Halloween's costume!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Transient Global Amnesia...Part 3

(Read *Part 1* here and *Part 2* here.)

That afternoon we finally got the last test results and a diagnosis.  (See the Facebook post below:)

We were discharged and went home to a quiet house.  I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis and to find out that it's really a big nothing.  Amnesia is scary but not life threatening.  For the next few days, I monitored his medication closely because his memory still wasn't strong enough.  I wasn't confident that he could take care of it himself.

The next few days (Thursday the 6th to Saturday the 8th) also seemed to be up and down.  He would appear to make progress and lose it.  It was very frustrating.  For him and me both.  Our Bishop stopped by for a short visit so that was really nice.

Friday the 7th I needed Hubby's mom to come and "babysit" him and the boys because the girls and I had a commitment that we couldn't get out of.  I worried about him the whole time we were gone.

Saturday the 8th was rough.  He seemed ok but then in the morning we all went to a birthday party for the daughter of our dear friends.  He was extremely "out of it" during the party.  He seemed sleepy and like he didn't know what was going on and wasn't being social.  A couple friends tried to engage him in conversation and he did ok.  After the party, and for a few days after, he couldn't even remember clearly that we went to a party nor remember who he talked to and about what.

That was very hard.  I was embarrassed for him and worried that I was ruining the party and that we shouldn't have come.  I was exhausted and was in desperate need of another break.  Thankfully, Hubby's friend Ed was able to come over and "babysit" him and the kids so I could get away.

I worried about Hubby during church the next day.  I had responsibilities in Primary so I had him sit with me and my class during at least part of the first hour.  The second hour he had his own responsibilities to attend to as Elders Quorum President.  Apparently everything went well and he continued to improve from there.

(Much of that above Facebook post was in response to comments people made regarding caffeine-I'm not an idiot, I always read labels and knew what was in the medicine and made a conscious choice to use it- and questions for clarification regarding the diagnosis and it's relationship to migraines.)

The ordeal was officially over by Tuesday the 11th, one week after that scary morning.  Hubby recorded the momentous occasion on his Facebook thus:

Thankfully, he has so far not had any recurrence of the Transient Global Amnesia, and no other migraine symptoms either.  I think this weird migraine thing was triggered by the stress of our work/finance situation.

It was so easy to see the hand of God throughout this whole time.  In ways big and small.  Happily, our faith and patience through this trial seemed to be rewarded.  When Hubby's school district was back from Spring Break, he was able to secure subbing jobs almost every day from then to the last day of school!  We're going to be ok!  Heavenly Father does provide!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Transient Global Amnesia...Part 2

(Read *Part 1* here.)

Jim and Levi both stayed for a while and visited.  After they left, Stephanie came to be with me.  Our time in the ER is marked by lots of waiting and lots of tests.  Hubby couldn't keep anything in his short-term memory and continued to ask the same questions over and over again about where he was, why he was there, what day it was, did he work the day before, where did he work, what did we do that weekend, etc.  He continually expressed concern for the kids; he wanted to know where they were, were they ok, were they scared.  He also kept asking if I was ok, was he scaring me, did he do something wrong, was he in trouble, etc.

He took a lot of little naps.  Every time that he woke up after dozing off, he was very disoriented and the list of questions would begin again.  Sometimes he would vaguely remember that Jim and Levi had come, but he wasn't sure if he remembered seeing them or if he remembered because I had told him a million times.  After she came into our room a million times, he started recognizing his nurse, Sylvia, though not by name.  He would stare at her and say, "Have I seen you before?  I have!  Flowers?"  (She was bald and had a large flower tattoo on her scalp.)

The tests they did to him included: urinalysis (including drug testing), blood tests, CT, MRI, EEG, EKG.  They weren't sure if his amnesia was due to his diabetes, dehydration, stroke, seizure, concussion, or something else.  They were looking at all possibilities.  They noticed a scratch over one of his eyebrows so for a while our working theory was maybe he hit his head sometime after I went to bed the night before.

Eventually we were moved to the telemetry unit and checked in for the night.  Stephanie relieved Cindy and took the kids to her house for a couple days.  Hubby's best friend Jeff came and sat with him at the hospital for a few hours so I could go home, take a break, shower, and grab snacks.  It was painful to watch Hubby be so disoriented and exhausting to answer the same questions over and over.  If I tried to make a joke to cut the tension, it would just confuse him and make things worse.

And yet, through this whole ordeal I was calm, focused, and just had a "take care of business" attitude.  In this moment, it was Hubby's turn to fall apart so I had to be the faithful, steady one. By the grace of God, I was able to do it.  I wasn't feeling stressed out or crazy when I needed to be reassuring.  Although, when I was in the car by myself, driving down the dark and quiet roads, I broke down and had a good cry.

Early the next morning, Wednesday April 5th, Hubby's phone (which I had in my possession) received two calls from the school district saying that there were substitute teaching opportunities that day.  For a split second I felt frustrated that he wouldn't be able to take either of those jobs.  Thankfully, the feeling quickly passed.

My brother Wes, Stephanie, all our kids, plus one of hers came to visit. That lifted his spirits and I think helped reassure the kids that Daddy was going to be alright.

**To Be Continued**

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Transient Global Amnesia...Part 1

This spring Hubby experienced a crazy medical mystery.

(This is going to be super long so I'm breaking it into 3 parts over 3 days.)

Hubby has finally finished all of his schooling and earned his teaching credential.  Yay!  He finished his student teaching requirements by spring semester 2017.  The plan was for him to substitute teach as many hours as he could during spring semester and then hopefully land a permanent teaching job for the 2017-18 school year.  All information we had told us that the school district was in "desperate need" of substitute teachers.  We were confident that he would be able to get enough work.

However, January, February, and March he averaged only 5 subbing days per month.  On Sunday, April 2nd it hit me like a ton of bricks that we were going to be in trouble.  We've been barely surviving financially for too long.  And now we would be facing 3 months of summer with no more student loans or grants coming in, no permanent job, no subbing opportunities, and we would have to start payments on the student loans.  I shared my panic with Hubby.  As always, he is the faithful one who continued to remind me that Heavenly Father has always provided for us and that everything would be ok.  He feels strongly that only one of us can fall apart at a time, and I'm usually the one to snatch up that role, but he was also at least a little worried.

 Monday, when he came home from work, he declared that he had a Family Home Evening lesson planned.  This was extremely out of character.  After dinner he gave us a great lesson on Nephi building the boat.  Heavenly Father will help us do hard things and watch over us.  It turned out that this lesson was exactly what our family needed.  It applied to more than just that one crisis we had in mind.

The next morning, Tuesday the 4th he woke up before me, as usual, so he could check the website for subbing jobs.  When I got up he started asking me questions.  He said he had some really weird dreams the night before and couldn't tell dream from reality.  I know the feeling.  But then he never "woke up" from that fog.  He was really confused and could not seem to remember anything that had happened the day or weekend before.  At first I didn't think much of it.  It's not unusual for him to have a bad memory.  Especially if he was still sleepy.  I also thought for a time that he was teasing me.  But then he kept asking the same questions over and over and over again.

My next thought was "stroke or seizure."  I texted my nurse sister to see what she thought.  But he seemed to just be getting worse and really scaring me.  I did some quick googling and found that even though he is still in his 30's, his diabetes can be a risk factor for stroke.  I had the kids quickly pack up school work, declared that we were going to the hospital without waiting for my sister's recommendation, threw all of his medications in a bag, and got everyone piled in the van.

As we drove towards the nearest ER, he continued with the repeated questions and was increasingly more "out of it."  It really scared me.  At a red light I dialed 911 and put it on speaker.  Even though I was afraid of the bill we would receive, the dispatcher convinced me that taking him via ambulance was a good idea.  Luckily, I was at that moment driving by a fire station so I parked in the parking lot directly next to them.  The firemen started taking information and vitals and the ambulance showed up quickly.

I was clearly not thinking straight because I figured that I would just take all the kids to the hospital with me.  I'm really independent and hate asking for help! But as the firemen and EMT's were doing their thing, Brother Ward, a police officer that we go to church with, showed up on the scene.  It was so nice to see a familiar, comforting face!  I don't know if he was dispatched to us, or if he was just driving by.  But I believe that Heavenly Father sent him to us in that moment.  Seeing him, a holder of the Holy Priesthood and a calming presence, was a message to me that Heavenly Father was aware of us and that He loved us.

Brother Ward brought me back to reality and assured me there was no benefit in rushing to the hospital immediately and convinced me to find someone to keep the kids.

After the ambulance left and I got back in the van, I saw that all of the kids had their heads bowed in prayer.  That warmed my heart!  Thankfully Grandma Cindy was free so I was able to drop the kids off with her.  When we arrived there, my sweet Secundus was the most visibly upset and almost in tears.  But she also expressed faith that everything would be ok.

As I drove to the hospital, I prayed in my mind that Hubby would be ok and that the doctors and nurses would be able to do their best job.  I also prayed that His angels would be with Hubby.

By the time we were reunited in the Emergency Department, a man we went to church with when we were first married, Jim, happened to be working from home and saw my earlier Facebook request for  two Priesthood Holders to come and give Hubby a blessing by the laying on of hands.  I wasn't sure I would be able to find anyone very quickly on a weekday.  However, Heavenly Father provided.  So that gave us 1.  Jim asked around to people he knew, but was unable to find a second.  After a short time, the Spirit told him to just go to the hospital and it would be fine.  After he got on the road, I received word from a friend saying that her husband, Levi-who also happens to be an EMT, was available and could come.  Hubby received a blessing of healing, and I received a blessing of comfort.  These men of God had no idea what I had prayed in the privacy of my car earlier, but Levi said in his blessing to Hubby that God's angels were watching over.

I would realize later that these "angels" referred to were not just of the celestial type, but definitely included Jim, Levi, my sister-in-law Stephanie, Grandma Cindy, Brother Ward, and Hubby's friends Jeff and Ed. Our angels also were all the friends and family who visited, brought food, and prayed for us.

**To Be Continued**