Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sayonara, Son

It's been pretty hard to be sad when Marty was so darn excited. Seriously, his enthusiasm was contagious! He's off to do a great work and have amazing experiences along the way and I'm excited for him to get started. And so was he.

This morning wasn't too hectic finishing up last minute details as he didn't have to check-in until 1:15.  And knowing he'll be at the Provo MTC for two months where we can easily send packages through local delivery services simplified things since if he forgets anything important or didn't need something after all, we could easily send it to him or he can send things back.

I asked how he was feeling yesterday. Apprehensive? Excited? He said he was ready. Ready to go and ready to start and excited to see what the MTC was all about.  He kept saying he'd been thinking about this day his whole life and was so happy it was finally here.
August 29, 2005 -- Marty 8 years old -- 1st day of 2nd grade

We picked up Nick from school on the way and had a casual lunch at Even Stevens sandwich shop. Then headed to Provo with enough time to take photos outside the Provo temple. Lots of families were doing the same thing. Our photo session was very short and then we hopped in the car to get in line for drop-off. Which was actually a very long, slow line. Took 20 minutes, but not complaining about all sitting together laughing and joking for an extra 20. We waved a car ahead of us at one point and later found out it was one of my good friends' from high school who was dropping off her daughter!! I didn't notice her, but she instagrammed me later to tell me so!
Will be so fun to see how these boys change in two years! 
Family Selfie outside the Provo temple
As we pulled up to drop-off, Marty spotted his buddy from high school! (Chris was in the front seat, Marty was cozily squished between Nick and I in the back and he had to quickly lean over me to roll down the window and call Noah's name to get his attention as he walked by.) We all quickly jumped out so Marty could say hi and Marty's greeter let Elder Hedin be his "greeter" who walks him to his dorm and helps him get acclimated. Marty was so excited to see him and gave us each quick hugs and then walked away. Loved that he was ready to get going!

And then we came home back to everyone else's real life:

Nick decided to get a haircut after all. Then he wanted to go to the bank and get a debit card. Ummm... growing up, much? 12 years old. He's off to his first Deacon's basketball game tonight and then his Jr. Jazz game right after.
Before -- Obviously he didn't wear it this way. But really, getting a little out of control.
Atta boy!
Chris resumed his "spot" back in bed, but was awake enough to watch a movie and then came downstairs for dinner. (Have I said a million times already what a difference a week makes! WOW! Cannot believe how much he's improved!) A week ago I met with his counselor to work out going to 1 or 2 classes a day and now he's going to try three classes tomorrow his first day back. He's getting around easier. Can even put his foot down and limp a bit. Not far, but enough to have someone hold his crutches so he is crutch-free in photos!
Kathy V. brought us dinner last night! What a wonderful surprise!
The Hoole's brought us dinner tonight! I have such thoughtful friends!

On the plane home from Hawaii, we had a stewardess who was on our flight out. She was thrilled to see Christopher looking so well and commented that she and the other stewardesses were talking about how pale he had been and so sick. And now he looks so much better!

Deep thoughts with the boys in the pool in Hawaii.
Last night was Marty's setting-apart. We met with the Stake President and our bishop at the President's office and Grandpa and Diane came too. What a nice meeting. Lasted about an hour with the Stake President offering counsel and advice and giving the rest of us each an opportunity to counsel and share our love with Marty as well. I loved how Nick told Marty he was grateful for his example and that watching him prepare for his mission has made Nick excited for his own someday. And Chris telling Marty he was his best friend and he was proud of his example.

Marty spoke last sharing how excited he was and how the church was true and he was excited to love the people of Japan and tell them about Jesus.

Putting his pin on the missionary map at the Stake President's Offices

Thomas and Matt were over earlier in the evening so they could all watch the last Regular Show together (Series finale -- perfect timing!) and then hung out and talked after Marty came back from getting set-apart.

Marty has been diligently reading through the Book of Mormon and had just Moroni left to read last night. He wanted to save it for a time after saying good night to everyone and being alone and he could think, ponder and act on Moroni's Promise. Proud of him for taking it so seriously.

Marty saying goodbye to Courtney in the Honolulu airport. She was also sick.
See how hard it is to be sad when he has that happy smile?! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sayonara, Sun

I'm so grateful we had these 5 days together -- our whole family together and just our family.
We haven't gone on any adventures, due to Chris' leg, but no one minded. It was fun to simply relax, play games, watch A Series Of Unfortunate Events, play in the pool, laugh, joke and hang out together.

Courtney was remembering that when she went to college it felt like she'd never see her family again. But then realized that wasn't the case -- this past year we've seen her about every three weeks!
Two years is a long time for Marty to be gone, but I'm excited for letters and getting to hear from him in a different way -- the spiritual side of him and about him living in a very different and new place, being a missionary!

And as Dan and I well remember, two years ends and then you have a lifetime to enjoy together.

It's been fun to see Marty focused on getting through the Book of Mormon before he goes into the MTC and hear his thoughts about the narrative as he's reading.

Morning homework time

Dan and Nick going to check out the snorkeling

Our room was literally steps from the beach with a large grassy area out front and a smallish area of sand so it wasn't too difficult for Chris to get to the beach. In just the short time we've been here, his mobility has improved a ton. The first day he could barely bend and there was no way he could sit on a low chair. But a few days in, he was able to bend his leg enough and balance enough to lower himself into the beach chair.

Dan and I have commented that although we prefer going to Maui, coming to Oahu and staying in this particular hotel and villa have been so providential. Walk-out rather than stairs and elevators, steps to the pool, beach and beachside restaurant. Close to parking. We had no idea when we booked this trip how all these little details would make such a difference for Chris being able to get around!

Chris getting some sun and enjoying the outdoors for the first time in a few weeks!
Chris was worried about spending the entire day at Polynesian Cultural Center and wasn't happy to be pushed in a wheelchair. We decided to just go for a couple of hours. If we left wanting more, we had something to look forward to next time we came!

We got there about 4:00 and were able to enjoy shows in the Tongan and Samoa Villages, as well as a short IMAX movie, dinner and the finale show. The 30 minute shows were entertaining and the buffet was good. (Although there were tons of places to buy food had the buffet not been included in our ticket.) We'd heard great reviews for the show, "Ha: Breath of Life" but after 20 min. our kids were ready to go. Claiming the kid on crutches was sick, we ditched out. I think everyone would have been more engaged in the show if our seats were closer. I think.

Had to sneak this photo of Chris in the Jazzy because he was really upset about needing to use it.
But a million times better than crutching around!

Two brothers walking and talking. I have a similar photo of Nick and Courtney just before we dropped her off in Seattle.

Courtney said this is what Dan and I always look like sitting watching something. Our resting faces.

Sunday morning after church we got our temple photo. I wish we could have gotten one with the whole family. But love this of my cute Shaeffer kids all together!

We stopped to get shrimp and Hawaiian shave ice at food trucks on the way home from church. The shrimp was super good and the shaved ice tasted like chemicals. Nick took one sip and said it tasted like medicine. We had to throw them away.

And the boys were in a panic to get home as fast as possible to watch the Cowboys. Too bad the Cowboys and Dak couldn't pull it off. Close. So Close!
Hawaii is outside, but Cowboys are playing inside!

Seriously?! Courtney and I hopped a wall and there was a curb on the other side and I rolled my ankle!
Thankfully a little ice each morning and it feels pretty good the rest of the day.
We are just sitting around our last day here. Sleeping, eating, sleeping some more. Updating blogs, doing reading assignments, playing Clash Royale and Super Mario, Marty faithfully working on the Book of Mormon. Even working in time for a workout at the hotel gym.

Chris had to get a shot again in anticipation of our plane trip home. Tonight he'll get the last one and then we are done!

We have the all night flight home and Nick has his school clothes so he can go straight to school! (Yikes! Glad it's not me!) Courtney and Marty will say their goodbyes at the airport as she flies home to Seattle and we go to SLC. What's that going to be like?!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Laie, Hawaii Temple

Is this a Gecko?
A whole lot of hanging out.

Dan and I went on our "Hawaii walk." Love this ritual.

Everyone slept until 8:30 Hawaii time -- 11:30 am Utah time!). Dan made pancakes. Courtney went for a run. Dan and Marty went to the gym. Chris and Nick went to the pool. (Chris got in and out by himself!)

Playing board games -- Pandemic and Rummikub.

Nick carrying Marty in the pool.

When your leg twists above your head, it leaves a bruise. 

I've had a plan since the beginning of planning this trip that we all go to the Laie, Hawaii temple together to do baptisms. With Nick just just turning 12 and Marty leaving right when we got back and Courtney joining us in Hawaii, it seemed like everything coming together perfectly for a family temple trip.

We had to hurdle some obstacles: I didn't realize that boys needed to be ordained to the priesthood before going to the temple, even if they were 12. We couldn't do it before we left in our ward because Nick wouldn't be 12 yet. And we couldn't wait to do it on Sunday here because the temple isn't open on Mondays and we were leaving Monday night.

When we talked to our bishop about it, he authorized Dan and Marty to give Nick the priesthood here in Hawaii on our own, if they promised to wait until he was 12. Yay!

I also didn't realize that every temple only allowed those who weren't endowed to baptize with temple names.  Those who were endowed needed to bring their own family names. Figured Marty and Dan could baptize and Courtney, Nick and Chris could do the baptisms. But Marty really pushed us this morning to try to find some names of our own so we could all do baptisms.

That sounded very complicated to me, but when I got online, I found that two names had already been flagged in my account and were available to reserve for baptisms. Ended up being super easy. And Courtney had a friend in Seattle with over 1,000 names and always needed people to help do the work. She called him and he took the time (over an hour) to get them ready for us. So grateful that everything came together!

We had lunch at a beach restaurant here at the resort. But suddenly Marty wasn't feeling well. Fortunately after a nap, he was back to himself and our plan for the temple was still on.

Dan and Marty ordained Nick. Marty took the role of asking Nick questions about what he could do with the Aaronic Priesthood. Its so fun to see my kids understand the importance of church ordinances and want to help their siblings understand too!

The temple was only 15 minutes away and in a beautiful area. The workers were happy to help and so accommodating and we were so grateful for their participation! We had a sweet meeting in the chapel before we started with one of the workers testifying that all his life he believed that we found names to bring to the temple and hoped that these people would accept the gospel. But after he started working in the temple, he now believes that these are people who are ready to accept the gospel and wanted to be found. I always appreciate people taking time to share their testimonies -- especially with my children.

It was dark when we came out of the temple, so we didn't get a photo of all of us. But we are going to get one on Sunday when we drive down for church. Chris wanted to skip church Sunday, but Marty informed him that in our temple recommend interview, we're asked if we attend our meetings and all Priesthood meetings/callings so it was important that we attend whenever we're able. Christopher said, "You've really changed, Marty." Marty claimed he hadn't.

A forever family is what we're all working toward. So grateful for that.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Nick!

Waking up in Hawaii is not such a bad way to turn 12! Happy 12th Birthday, Nick!

Highlights include:
*Breakfast at the hotel buffet
*Nick, Dan & Marty golfing
*Chris & Mom napping
*Marty & Nick went down to the beach but the waves aren't that good.
*Chris is glad the waves are small so he's not missing out.
*Chris and Dan got in hot tub and Chris said the pain in his leg was gone while he was in the water.
*Classic Super Mario Bros. on the Wii
*North Shore food trucks for dinner.
*Red velvet cake and ice cream for dessert.
*And at midnight after everyone was asleep, Courtney arrived!

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

A night out! (Chris is precariously balanced without his crutches, but didn't want them in the photo!)


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Peace Out, Chaos!

Our flight was delayed 4 hours. I'm not complaining about having extra time in the morning!

Fit in an appt. with Catherine to work on house design. Turned in Chris' homework for end of term and visited with his counselor to make a plan for next semester.

Marty came running down the stairs and whispered, "Mom, you need to hang the birthday sign!"
"In Hawaii? I'll make sure to take it."
"No, now! It's Nick's birthday!"
"Wait, what day is today? It's the 11th"
"No, its the 12th."
iphone verified that it indeed was the 11th. Crisis averted. But so loved that Marty didn't want us to forget Nick's birthday sign!

Kershaw is apparently doing great with the trainer. Sooo glad to have had a full night's sleep these last couple of nights. Hope they're teaching him to potty outside and not inside!

A few seats came open and Dan upgraded everyone. That will be a fun surprise for Marty and Nick.

I had time to make some construction paper candles for Nick's b-day money "cake." And Dan ran to Best Buy to get another gift for Nick because he wanted him to have something to open on our trip. (He's suddenly become really good at thinking of gifts for the kids. Love this new phase!)

On flights I usually read books or magazines. Always have a little nap. Rarely watch movies. This trip I fell asleep before we even left the gate and then watched three movies straight. Yep, I've needed some serious downtime. We all have. So happy to be headed to Hawaii!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trip To The Doc

We've been waiting for this day to meet with Chris' surgeon. So many questions! (And please can we be done with the shot?!)

Getting in and out of the car was much easier than two weeks ago. Getting dressed and down the stairs was much easier. In and out of bed, turning over on his stomach, sitting up, moving around, being awake for longer periods, going to the bathroom, eating... everything is much easier than two weeks ago. When all of the above felt impossible.

When we got to the room, Christopher immediately asked the resident who greeted us if he could get in the water when we went to Hawaii. The resident said definitely not. Even if the stitches were taken out, he shouldn't soak his leg because the wounds were still susceptible to... infection? wasn't clear what. But he did get Chris' bandages off -- Chris said it felt so good!

He left and Chris was pretty upset. Said he wouldn't be going to Hawaii if he couldn't "do anything." I  said let's wait to see what his doctor said.

The Physician's Assistant came in next and she also was skeptical about pretty much everything. If stitches would even be coming out. If he should even travel to Hawaii. If he should go in the water. If he should put any weight on his leg. She was confusing, to say the least, because she lacked any confidence.

Soon, however, Dr. Rothberg met us. And he was confident, sympathetic, a good listener, funny, expert and everything a mom and patient could want and need. I felt so much better after getting to meet and talk with him.
Showing the butterfly piece of bone and what it looks like post-surgery

What he said:
*Hawaii sounds like a GREAT place to recuperate!
*Chris will need to have his shot the day we leave -- twice. And the day we come home -- twice. Because blood clot risk is heightened on airplanes. It's a minimal risk -- but why take it.
*His stitches look great and pretty sealed and of course he can soak in the ocean, pool, hot tub.
*He didn't take new x-rays this appt. but showed us the old post surgery x-rays and another patients that were a year old and how the injury will heal.
*Described that the butterfly portion of the break will fill in with bone and create a "lump" of bone around it and while it has a hump, Chris won't notice it and it will heal perfectly.
*Going to school will take a lot of energy and he wouldn't be surprised if Chris was only able to attend a couple of classes each day for a while.
*His leg is strong with the rod, but the bone is still broken and therefore causes a lot of pain. At some point as the bone begins to knit together, he'll be able to put more weight on the leg and the bone will start supporting his leg rather than the rod.
*He (like Matt) doesn't believe that Ibuprofen interferes with bone growth and Chris could take it along with Tylenol as he comes off pain meds.
*It's a good idea to get off the Oxycodone as soon as you can because it is so habit-forming. Coming off it even after only being on it for 2 weeks can cause some uncomfortable side-effects: weird dreams, upset stomach, diarrhea.
*He's never had a patient with the specific goal of being able to get back to doing a standing backflip, but he imagines that Chris will be able to do it again. His leg will be strong, but Chris will need to build up his muscles again so they're able to backflip.
*He thinks Chris can ski again in April. But start with the groomers. (Chris wanted to hit the rails right away.)

Stitches removal!
Our next appointment is in one month. Chris will start going to school next week, the day after we take Marty to the MTC. He will start with one or two classes and see how it goes. A new semester starts next week, so it actually is a pretty good time to have been out of school and start back. We are able to get on Home Seminary where a teacher (that apparently everyone loves) will come to the house once a week to meet with Chris. We also dropped his weight training class and are doing Home Release and he's going to do Computer Tech and Financial Lit packets for those credits. So he'll only have 3 classes a day until he can go back full time and start attending regular seminary. Glad for a good plan, good doctors, helpful teachers and a school counselor -- all who are working to help Chris have a good recovery.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Kershaw Goes to the Trainer and We Go To Bonsai

Marty's been hoping to go to Bonsai before he leaves on his mission but with Chris' accident that didn't happen. Today we wondered if it would be a good day, and Chris was up for it! Yay!

First outing by choice. He was exhausted halfway thru dinner.
Matt, Thomas and Marty. It's been fun to see these boys so much this week!
The other three boys! Love having them all together.
Happy Almost Birthday, Nick! (That's the Bonsai gong Marty's ringing.)

The Bonsai Birthday Photo. We miss having Bonsai in our neighborhood!

Kershaw had a pretty good night -- didn't cry so much when he went to bed and didn't wake up until 5:30. Dan took him out so I got to sleep. Oh what a relief. We are trying to stay outside at least 15 minutes so he gets a real opportunity to potty and Dan was glad that he did. But apparently not long enough, because at 7:00 when I got up to get Nick's lunch, there was evidence that Kershaw had been there. Dang! We are doing something wrong and to be quite frank, so relieved that the Trainer is picking him up today! He's pretty sweet, but you can't take your eyes off him!

He actually slept a bunch today and I sat in his playpen and did some work there so that he would sleep in his bed, and it worked! When I went back to my desk, he woke right up and followed me. But I got his bed and put it right by me and he just laid there and slept. It was pretty cute.

The trainer came and was ever so confident and I was the "new mom" asking him if he needed his crate? carrier? toys? bed? blanket? Nope. Just his food. And off they went. I think he's in good hands. He certainly seemed to be. I'm kind of sad Marty won't see him again for two years! But Marty was playing with him this morning when he got up and then wrapped him all up in a blanket while he was sleeping by me. We probably should have done this a couple of years ago.
See you in 2 years, Kershaw!

Kershaw, 8 weeks, 2 days.