Family

Today is a Hallmark holiday, one not commemorating a military victory or a famous person. Today we celebrate mothers, without whom none of us past, present and future, would exist. Mothers may not be war heroes, but they have each fought their own share of battles, large or small. Trust me on that! They may not be well known or have received pretentious awards, but their accomplishments are well worth noting. I was privileged to have an exceptional mother, Winifred Peterson. She taught me about unconditional love and led me to her wonderful Lord Jesus. I miss her today and always.

Mother

I especially miss her when important things happen and I know she would want to hear. I would have told her in late April that she had another great-great-granddaughter and she would have told me that she would be praying for tiny Rae. This week Jordan tells me that she and Rae read Winnie the Pooh and held hands and napped. Well, Rae napped, at least. She’s had a few downs along with the ups this week, but we’re glad to report that she has grown an inch and now weighs 1 lb. 11 oz., a gain of 6 ounces since April 25.

holding hands

I miss being able to tell Mother that Ben and Bailey graduated from high school yesterday. These are no longer the 2-year-olds who, along with their parents, came to live with us one summer. They are ready to fly the nest! Mother was valedictorian of her class and Bailey makes the fourth in that line to be at the top of her class, a goal she set for herself in grade school. Ben did very well also, but what I would tell Mother about Ben is that he went to Kansas City this week to take his physical in preparation to join the Kansas Air National Guard. While Mother was a Quaker by choice and tried always to live at peace with everyone, she would have been proud of him for serving. She was always proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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And speaking of family, our son Robert is now promotable to Master Sergeant in the Army. We’re proud of him and she would be, too. She always liked to see him in his uniform.

Mother always wanted to know when we were going to retire. My sisters are enough older than I that it was several years between their reaching “retirement age” and mine. She didn’t live to see my retirement, but we told her what our plans were and we even took her on one trip in an earlier RV. She didn’t know about the Landing here, but she certainly understood maintenance in rural Kansas. She would have been interested in the tree project that took place yesterday. It’s a little unnerving sometimes to sit inside our building and hear tree branches brushing across the roof! That shouldn’t be a problem now. This is before.

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And this is after. A young man from our church and his fiancee came and worked hard all morning, cutting branches and hauling them off, along with LeRoy’s help.

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I love hearing from and being with my family. Today I have been in contact with every one of my children and grandchildren. Who could ask for more?

To all my friends and family who are mothers, Happy Mother’s Day! And to my mother? I think she already knows.

 

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Improvement?

Everyone asks how I’m doing post-surgery and I just say that I feel just about as congested as before surgery, but now I’m not supposed to blow my nose! The doctor says that’s pretty normal, that full recovery will take from 4 to 7 weeks, so I’d say I’m seeing improvement. I do pretty consistently breathe through my nose, a really substantial change. I haven’t had pain or even headaches to speak of. I have a checkup tomorrow afternoon and we’ll see what they say then.

Baby Rae is growing and making pretty steady improvement in the breathing department with just a few hiccups. She is gaining weight and is now able to get skin-to-skin time with her parents. She has a bruise on her jawline from the breathing apparatus they had on her earlier but now she is using a cpap.

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There’s an interesting (to me, at least) story about the two tiny blankets that are covering her in the picture. Several years ago I started knitting prayer shawls and gave them to friends who were needing a special touch. The only problem was that each one took a long time to make and I tended to lose interest. Then my sister Mary Jo lost her hair due to chemotherapy and I started knitting chemo caps. They are lots quicker, but pretty need-specific. At about the same time, I found something on the internet that said hospitals are always begging for preemie blankets, so I tried a couple of different patterns. The first one was just so small, I couldn’t believe it would be useful. The second was a little larger. After they were finished, I didn’t know what to do with them. Do I take them to the front desk of a hospital? What if they really didn’t want them after all? So I just stuck them in a ziploc bag and put them away. Then Rae arrived! Marc took them to the NICU to ask if she could use them and they said as soon as she was ready for skin-to-skin time, they could use them to cover her. Who knew when I started knitting them that they would be for my own great-granddaughter? It was a precious moment when the nurse put them over her on her mommy’s chest! Granne almost cried!

Youngest granddaughter Jadelyn is a 7th grader and plays both the flute and the bassoon in the band. She took a flute solo to one contest and a bassoon solo to another and got I ratings (superior) on both. Friday this past week, May 4th, was the 5th through 8th grade band concert at Sedgwick. The date was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!) and the last song the junior high band played was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I remember early band concerts as being squawky and pretty elementary, but even the 5th grade band was quite enjoyable. One more year and we’ll be attending high school concerts!

Remember when school groups and bands had bake sales and car washes to raise money? Today the music program at Sedgwick had a mattress sale!

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There were more than 20 mattresses set up in the old gym to be tried out, everything from top of the line adjustable beds down to basic twin mattresses. We have really liked our memory foam one but it was needing to be replaced, so we tried out several varieties and ended up with this. I hope we will like it as well as the old one. I know it will be easier to put sheets on because it is lighter weight. We’ll know for sure when it is delivered!

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We saw a sure indicator today that spring is well underway and summer is coming. The pool in town is being cleaned and painted, in preparation for water later in the month! Seniors Ben and Bailey will graduate this coming Saturday and high school will be over for them. Congratulations!

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One for the books!

Wow, what a week we’ve had! Jordan came from the hospital and began not twice weekly but daily sonograms, but on Wednesday they called her to come back to the hospital and told them that the baby would be born on Friday, if not before. As it turned out, Baby Compton made her arrival via emergency c-section on Wednesday night, weighing in at 1 pound 5 ounces and measuring 12 1/4″! Her name is Rachael Leigh Compton and is known as Rae. Mommy and Daddy, Jordan and Marc, are still absorbing the wonder of all that she is.

Even preemies have to have diapers changed and even though they are very, very tiny, those diapers come to her armpits! Last evening, Mommy got to hold her for the first time. Imagine holding a baby this size?

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Rae is a feisty little girl, surprising medical personnel by getting off the ventilator earlier than they expected. They’ve been told that it isn’t uncommon for these tiny ones to have to go back on it, but lots of people are praying and Rae is in God’s care.

On Friday, I had outpatient sinus surgery. I’ve heard from lots of people who have had the surgery, including horror stories, but I can honestly say I haven’t had any pain, other than a mild headache before we came home. The biggest thing is that my head is still stuffy and my nose is drippy and I’m not supposed to blow my nose. My post-op instructions say that could last for several weeks, so I’ll just have to be patient. In the meantime, I look pretty normal, no black eyes or anything. By the end of the week, I’m supposed to be back to 50% of my normal activity.

Expect to see more pictures of our beautiful great-granddaughter coming soon!

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Different week

We started the week knowing of one event on our schedule, our annual wellness visits with our doctor. Once those were out of the way, everything else was a surprise.

Our oldest granddaughter, Jordan, is about 26 weeks pregnant with our first great-granddaughter and she started having high blood pressure problems mid-week. The doctor put her in the hospital to monitor that, which has seemed to resolve itself, but subsequent monitoring of baby showed dips in her heart rate that were a concern. Jordan finally got to come home last evening. They have determined that the problem seems to be with the placenta and they will be doing sonograms twice a week throughout the rest of the pregnancy to be sure BC (Baby Compton) is doing all right. The hospital is no place to rest, so they are trying to rest up this weekend for another work week.

We’ve also spent some time this week helping a former neighbor and school mate of our kids make a cross-town move. Thankfully, we did not have to do the actual move and we were glad we could help. We had a steady rain all day yesterday, so they were moving things in and out while trying not to drown.

Speaking of rain, Kansas and Oklahoma have had such extreme drought conditions that the rain is a godsend. Oklahoma really needed the rain to help contain the wildfires that were spreading across thousands of acres. There has been far too much devastation already.

Our youngest granddaughter, Jadelyn, played a flute solo in music contest this weekend and was awarded a I rating! The judge thought she was an eighth grader and judged her accordingly, although she is just a seventh grader. She did a great job. She also plays the bassoon and is about to start playing oboe, the instrument her mom played in high school. Tomorrow night will be the 6th-8th grade music program at the Sedgwick school and after the program we plan to celebrate Heidi’s ?? birthday with cake and ice cream. Happy birthday, Heidi!

Other than meals with friends and family, the major event on this week’s calendar is my sinus surgery on Friday. It is an outpatient procedure and we won’t know until Thursday what time of day the surgery will occur, but it doesn’t really matter. We have the day blocked off anyway. When I was talking to my primary care doctor, I mentioned the surgery and he said that although he hadn’t had sinus surgery, he had been hit in the face with a basketball and he thought it would feel about the same! Wish me luck!

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Kansas doesn’t like us anymore!

To paraphrase an old nursery rhyme:

The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow, and what will Liberty do then, poor thing?

She’ll hide in the barn and keep herself warm, and hide her head under her wing, poor thing!

We quite literally blew into the Landing on Friday last week, after a wild trip in horrendous crosswinds from Liberal, where we spent Thursday night. When we got there on Thursday, we were in short pants, tee shirts and sandals. By nightfall, the temperature had dropped to 41 degrees and it never went up all day Friday. Now remember, we’ve just come from temperatures in the high 70s and 80s in Yuma, so our blood is pretty thin. We were pleased to get backed into the barn at the Landing several hours before the snow started falling, but we woke to about an inch of snow on Saturday.

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Let me go back to the first of the week. We left Tucson on Monday morning and went to Las Cruces, NM to visit Raymond. He has just within the last two weeks or so received his protheses and has started to learn to walk again. It isn’t as easy a process as he had imagined! He’s working very hard to regain mobility and can now walk more than 130 feet before wearing out.

Raymond on legs

While we were in Las Cruces, we went to look at an assisted living facility for him in hopes that he will be able to get out of the nursing home environment and have a modicum of independence again. Nursing homes have their place, but for someone whose mind and body are more capable, it is not ideal, even though it has been necessary. I posted a video of him walking on Facebook and read him the 80+ comments from people he doesn’t even know, most of whom have been praying for him since last summer. He was blown away!

The trip across New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma was fairly uneventful. We had a tailwind, which made for unbelievable fuel mileage. I’m sure Friday’s crosswind made up for it in the average, though.

When we stopped for the night in Liberal, a long-time friend we knew originally in Wichita, Mary Hiebert, came out and spent the evening. We enjoyed hearing about her life and her children and grandchildren while she was there. She’s nearing retirement age, so she picked our brains a little about retirement.

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Now that we are back in the Wichita area, we begin a round of appointments. Tomorrow I visit my ENT to see if sinus surgery is in my future. Tuesday I have an appointment for a haircut from my favorite stylist, Sam, and next week we have wellness visits and physicals scheduled. Wish us luck!

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He is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Happy Easter, everyone. Today we celebrated Resurrection Sunday with our friends at Northwest Community Friends Church in Tucson. We arrived on Friday afternoon after a whirlwind of good-byes in Yuma…and food. Always food!

We learned about a meal called Da Feast from Da Boyz pizza in the Yuma area this winter. It includes salad and garlic bread, two large servings of either spaghetti or lasagna, and a very large pizza, all for about $27. A young friend and fellow bus owner, Robyn Griggs, lives on the California side of the line and we picked up said Feast to share with her and her family. Since there were 7 of us, we ordered two, but one was more than sufficient. We all ate our fill and enjoyed an evening visiting before we left the area. This picture was AFTER we were stuffed! Robyn and her family don’t live in their bus now, but they still have it.

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Another of our favorite places to eat in the Yuma foothills is Wheezy’s, a new restaurant this season. The location had housed another restaurant but was burned out and Wheezy’s resurrected there. It is always busy but rarely have we had to wait. Our favorite dinner dates, Wilbur and Laura Bradbury, joined us for a final night for the season. We’ll see them again in the fall at the Landing in Kansas when they come to visit Wilbur’s sister. They will probably go with us to the Eagles rally in Branson, too, if their new home in Yuma gets finished soon.

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Once here in Tucson, we attended the Good Friday service at the church where we’ve stayed for several winters, met friends we met our first winter at Desert Trails for lunch. Loretta and David Carr are always enjoyable. Loretta and I have done several online Bible studies together this winter. We missed a photo op, though.

Aside from all the old friends, we’ve enjoyed a couple of old favorite Mexican restaurants. We haven’t found anything in Yuma we like as well as Ole or Guadalajara here. Maybe they have us spoiled.

New friends are important, too, and we met two of the newest this weekend, Pastor Adam and Allie Kemper’s twins, still in the NICU. First is Isaac, the smaller but definitely more active one.

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Hosea is a tiny bit bigger but has had a tougher time in his first three weeks. Both are doing really well now. As soon as they master the art of eating, they can go home to meet their two big brothers.

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Weather permitting, we plan to pull out tomorrow morning and go to Las Cruces to see Raymond. He’s doing really well and is beginning to learn to stand on prosthetic feet and lower legs. We’re eager to see the progress he’s made. Next step will be moving from the nursing home setting to assisted living if all goes well.

Prayers for travel safety would be appreciated. We are headed into windy country and Kansas weather hasn’t been really inviting to winter Yumans, where the temperatures are now getting into the 90s. Sniveling? yeah. I’ll get over it!

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I had forgotten

For years, our family spent lots of time at the Little Sahara Sand Dunes near Waynoka, OK. We had a variety of dune buggies and ATVs over the years, some that LeRoy built, others he bought or traded for and still others that our son bought for himself. We went to the dunes by ourselves sometimes, but often there would be a whole caravan of us. Our kids both learned to drive at the dunes in those stick shift dune buggies. So many good memories! This week we took our new-to-us buggy out on the desert trails nearby our Yuma property.

But I had forgotten (or my body is older than it once was) how rough those buggies can be riding the trails! I should have read the tag frame before we started.

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In my memories, we were riding on sand. In actuality this week, we were riding on very rocky desert trails. I’m glad LeRoy  is not into rock climbing. This was rough enough!

Back to the memories, though. One of my favorite ones was the first time LeRoy’s Aunt Tressie (Grandma Tressie to our kids) met us at the dunes and decided she wanted to take a ride. She probably wasn’t so much older then than we are now, but we thought she was OLD and very brave for an old lady! Our family all wore helmets when we rode in the dunes, so we put one on Grandma and got her buckled into the harness. She took off with LeRoy at the wheel to go for a ride. Now, LeRoy never knew the meaning of “SLOW DOWN” on the dunes and as they started down a big dune, sand spraying all over, Grandma opened her mouth to say “Oh my goodness!” Needless to say, one mouthful was all it took for her to remember that motto: get in, sit down, hold on and shut up!

We’re winding down here in Yuma. Our teeth have been cleaned and new glasses purchased in Los Algodones, Mexico and we’ve eaten lunch one last time at the cantina. The bus bays are filling up again with the grill, chairs, tools, and more things that we have used outside all winter. The last women’s Bible study has been held and tomorrow the bus will be washed and waxed. Friday morning, we will be on our way to Tucson to enjoy Easter worship with our friends at Northwest Community Friends Church. Before we know it, “winter” 2018 in Arizona will be at an end. We hope it doesn’t catch up with us in Kansas!

 

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