Life After Home School and the Move


Life after home school

Tomorrow is Daniel’s very first day of kindergarten. To me he still looks like this:

How can I send this sweet Bama boy to kindergarten??

But, believe it or not, the Dan Man is 5, and he is extremely excited about going to school with his brothers. They will all be at the same school together. I had planned it differently, but at the last minute Daniel was awarded a scholarship, so that worked out beautifully.

It’s hard to even focus on how much is happening. Our heads are still spinning. In June, we trekked across the U.S. of A. In July, we hurriedly unpacked. (So now I need to go back and re-organize everything.) Then we headed off to one vacation after another. We did Disney. We saw friends. We went to Destin. We visited family.

I feel as though all along, our life keeps improving more and more. Happy things keep happening to us, and I’ve been so much in recovery from the dismal beginning of 2016 that it’s taken me awhile for this new thing to set in to my head.

I’m not stressed anymore! Wait. I don’t have to make lesson plans? Nope.

I don’t have to do any teacher training? Nope.

I don’t have to even feed everyone lunch? Nope.

I can be at my parents’ house in two hours? Yep!

The big boys are already in school, and they LIKE it??  Yes!!!

They actually like their new school a LOT!!!

I keep thinking about those Christian song lyrics, “He set my feet upon a rock.” Of course, that is also in the Bible, but it’s so much easier to pop in my head when it’s set to music. In my head that’s me. I was sinking in my misery, and I have been lifted and set upon a rock. Amen. Amen. Amen.

I think we’re on the verge of loving it here. I made my schedule for tomorrow, and it doesn’t sound hard! I didn’t even have to color-code it!! 

Praise the Lord, y’all! I have found relief!!! Now we just need to make a friend or two, and we’ll be all set.

We aren’t off to a great start on the makin’ friends bit. First off, we’ve lived here over a month and we’ve been out of town for most of that.

Secondly, we have a son whose Southern accent impersonation is down right hilarious. I only hope the locals will think so, instead of feeling like they’re being made fun of. I haven’t heard him do it in public though, so we should be good. (Ask Joshua to talk Southern next time you see it. You will laugh!!)

Then there was the doctor’s office incident. Alan took all four boys to the doc on a Saturday by himself. (I was out of town again.) We just needed to get school and sports forms filled out. Moving is such a pain when it comes to health care!!! (That’s another reason our company should let us live places a little longer.)

Well, they were all there for HOURS, but everyone was well behaved, thankfully. But right at the end, the doctors refused to sign the sports forms for ALL the boys! Can you believe that!!??  And it was because of my heart problem! Ugh.  Way to go, Me!

Alan tried to convince them that the boys do not have it, and even I am fine. I could play sports even. (Not well, but I could do it.) He failed to convince Doc #1, so he asked to get a second opinion from one of the other docs there that day.

Doc #2 also denied us. We all have to go to a cardiologist before they will be cleared to play sports. Doctors totally freak out about the v-tach thing, but I’m telling you mine is benign. It’s monomorphic, non-sustained. I’m good.

So today we’re sitting in Sunday School, and Alan whispers, “That doctor that wouldn’t sign the boys’ sports physicals is right over there.” Yep. Doc #1 is in our Sunday School class.

No way.

Yes way.

We chatted with him after class. He didn’t budge any on the issue, but hopefully we are all on good terms. I’m sure he’s a very good doctor. It was just a little embarrassing.

Oh, yeah, that’s us. We’re just making friends all over the place.

life after home school

Won’t you be our friend??

I am seriously, for real, truly going to take a “1st day of Kindergarten” picture for Dan tomorrow. And a “3rd day” pic for J and C! I don’t know why I’ve had so much trouble remembering.

Have your kids/grandkids started back to school yet? Share with me in the comments!

The Linq Procedure: Another Half Naked Story

It is done. I am Wi-fi equipped. No, literally. My chest has wi-fi. Today Dr. Grogin implanted a Linq heart monitor into my chest.

That’s right. I got to go through just one more heart patient embarrassment.

Let me set the scene for you.

#1. About 5 nurses and 1 doctor in the room

#2. I was naked down to my waist.

#3. They had to cover my face with a cloth because the procedure was just below my neck, and the area had to be sterile.

#4. I was totally in my right mind. Only local anesthesia, because that’s how I asked to do it.

I know you think that as I lay there, blindfolded and half-naked, that I was thinking, “Oh, I am so going to blog about this.”

But not really. I was actually thinking things like:

“This cloth covering my face is smothering me. I should have let them sedate me.”


“Oh, I’m freezing. When will this be over?”


“I am so naked. I am so naked.”

As you may or may not know, I’ve been having strange heart-pounding and roller-coaster-like heart cartwheels since January. Through much testing, we found out that it’s ventricular tachycardia episodes, but otherwise my heart is structurally fine.


At first, my favorite doctor, PA Carlquist, thought that I would need an ablation, but then Dr. Grogin decided against it. Instead, he wanted to implant a Linq heart monitor into my chest. This thing goes right under my skin and can last up to three years. This should give them more information on what my heart is doing.

I joke that I have Wi-Fi because the thing communicates with a little data base I keep by my bed that sends reports to Dr. Grogin. Fascinating, really. I’d never heard of these until this year. But then, I’d never even heard of ventricular tachycardia until this year either. Medical professional I am clearly not.

I decided to do the procedure, which is very quick and easy, unsedated because I really don’t like feeling woozy-headed, especially considering that I’m going to my boys’ AWANA awards program tonight. I’d like to be firing from all thrusters while I obsessively take their pictures and beam with pride.

But don’t worry. They gave me lots and lots of local anesthetic. I even told them, “Remember, I’m a red-head, so feel free to give me plenty. It takes a lot.”

I can’t explain it, but it’s true. It takes a lot of drug for me. They were nice. They gave me lots.

I think this Linq monitor is going to be a good course of action. In fact, while I was in the hospital today, the EKG machine went off two different times and said “Pair of PVCs”. Of course, you know I came home and googled what the heck a PVC is. It’s basically the same thing as ventricular tachycardia, just far less serious because it’s only one or two beats. It’s like 2 ventricular beats being off instead of 6, and it is actually very common, whereas v-tach is rare. But it’s not surprising that I would have these, since I’ve had V-tach.

I have learned so much about hearts this year. 2016 has been a serious drag, but it’s all okay because April is going home. The South is calling my name. And every time I start to feel down, I just remind myself, “Self, we are going home. And this will be nothing more than the past, my own strange time in the land of Oz.”


Actual poppies, which grow wild here in my beautiful personal land of Oz:  California. (Poppies are the state flower.)

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. C’mon, Toto, only 6 more weeks! I’m clicking my ruby-red slippers with excitement!


What to Expect at a Heart MRI



Caleb’s face personifies how I feel about the week of the return of my mystery fevers and the Friday full of doctor appointments that I have planned for myself tomorrow. Thank you, Caleb.

Yesterday was my heart MRI. It wasn’t bad, but we didn’t get to do it exactly as planned.

I had no idea what to expect, so I thought I’d write this for newbies like me who’d like a heads up, complete with my humorous commentary, of course. I’d had MRIs before, but a heart MRI is performed much differently than a musculoskeletal one, as I’ve had in the past.

What to Expect at Your Heart MRI

I was a little nervous to begin with about the IV and the dye because when I’m not feeling well or when I’m cold, it’s about impossible to get an IV into my veins. Go figure. Both problems were in place that day. They brought me nice, toasty hospital socks. I got to take them home with me too. Yes! Souvenir!!

So it was all very low-key. This is not something to be afraid of. I went back, put on my scrubs, and re-emerged. The scrub top was large enough for several of me, and it had one tie.

I go back to the waiting room, and in walks Mike, nice attractive man my age, there to run my MRI. Of course, all medical staff that must see me naked always seem to be male. Always. “Well, that’s okay,” I thought, “I get to keep my top and my bottoms on today; this one’s noninvasive. I can be calm. Calm. Stop smiling so much. Don’t be nervous. Be cool.”

“You have your shirt on backwards,” he said. “I gotta hook up the EKG, so it opens to the front. But that’s okay. We’ll get you a smaller one, and you can change first. Did they tell you anything about what to expect?”

No, obviously not…I changed shirts. The neck hole of the thing was cut all the way down to my stretched out belly button. Oh well.

I headed back out and hunted Mike down again. He told me, “Here’s the bathroom. You might want to go ahead and go to the bathroom first.”

“Nah, I’m okay.”

“You sure? This is going to last over an hour.”

Say what???

I decided it was best to be a compliant patient, and go use the bathroom. I laughed, “Ha! Yeah, I go through this with my kids all the time. I’ll go ahead and go.”

So this was a one man show. Mike had to coach me, explain the gown to me, hook me up to an IV, put the dye in, and take all the MRI photos.

Only we didn’t get to do exactly all of that as planned. I warned him about my veins. He scoffed at my warning, “Eh, I do this all the time. I pride myself on never sticking a patient twice.”

Oh, Mike. You just had to say it.

My veins were not having it. You can find my veins, but it’s not so easy to get into them with a needle. I’m used to this. They often have trouble, but it was so bad that day. He tried four or five different veins, and no dice. Finally, he gave up and took the MRI pictures without the dye.

Drat. I was so looking forward to having neon blood. Wait, no I wasn’t, so it was fine by me.

Besides the dye, which I didn’t get to experience, there are several things different about a heart MRI. You are also hooked up to an EKG machine, your head is all the way into the tunnel, and you have to constantly hold your breath. The tunnel is literally like two inches from your nose, and it bothered me for the first 5 minutes, especially combined with, “Take a breath, not a super deep breath but a shallow breath and hold it.”

“Okay, breathe.”

Over and over and over again. Literally about 30 times you hold your breath for various amounts of seconds and then let it go.

For a brief minute, towards the beginning, I felt like I was hyperventilating in a tiny tunnel. My chest started to rattle, and I wanted to drink the air as deep as possible.

But then my short little panic was over, and it wasn’t hard at all.

The MRI technologist was so nice. I felt bad for him that he had to deal with my hard, stubborn veins. I felt silly for having been so nervous about this really. However, I still stopped at the 7-11 on the way home and bought a Snickers ice cream bar as a consolation prize for my long afternoon at the hospital.

By the way, if you’re reading this in preparation for your own MRI, leave a comment and let me know how it goes! I promise it isn’t bad at all, a little draining with all the breathing stuff, but not bad.



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