November 5, 2019

Experiments, Life, and Lessons Learned

Well folks, it's been awhile. Things have been very busy over here. The garden EXPLODED, despite the strange spring that kicked off the growing season. 

I'm actually in the midst of a garden experiment! I call it "Ghetto Greenhouse", and it's a nifty little thing I threw together with tomato cages, bamboo sticks, zip ties, and heavy duty clear plastic. I figure, that since I grow indeterminate tomato plants, I should be able to prune them way back, and then the plants would continue to grow. Of course, this is all theoretical, but can you imagine vine ripened tomatoes in the dead of winter, with a foot of snow on the ground? Because I can, and it is a beautiful dream.

Sadly, we do have to deal with Mother Nature, who decided to send cooler temps and our first frost about two weeks ahead of schedule. Naturally, this made for a lot of extra, sudden work! I stayed out in the yard, mulching the tomatoes, then covering them with their frost blankets, well into dark. I have kept an eye on things, but today.... today I opened up that ghetto greenhouse to see how the experiment is progressing.

Unfortunately, I think I mulched a little TOO well, and the tomatoes just couldn't BREATHE. So I removed just about all the mulch, and I pulled the plastic all the way back to let in a little air to help things dry out. My experiment has not failed yet though. After a few hours in the breeze, the plants perked up a bit. I HOPE that they will bud again, but if they don't, well.... that's totally on me.

Also, at the beginning of August, I got to fly out to Arizona SOLO to help my sweet niece Sadie find the perfect baptism dress and accessories.  Sadie's baptism would be the first sort of big family event since the passing of Troy's mom. And as I'm sure you can imagine, it was especially hard getting everything ready and together, because that was something special that Grandma and Mom did together. So I offered to come and help get everything all set for baptism, so that cute little Sadie and her mom, could have the support that they needed. Plus, I got to hang out with Marie, which is always a fun time. I also converted Marie to the mumu/kimono/NO PANTS lifestyle. I take it very seriously, on account of pants being very hurty to wear.

Case in point of pants being hurty: I just lost my gallbladder. It was an emergency surgery, and it took a little longer than usual, because *I*, Caroline Bingham, was STONED. (That's gallstone humor guys.) The surgeon was super impressed with me, and said that I had the worst gallbladder he had every seen, and that I had "HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS" of stones. Three times! He said hundreds THREE TIMES. So my routine,emergency, outpatient surgery turned in to a hospital admission with IV antibiotics and a whole bunch of medical staff coming to meet ME, the medically fascinating woman who said her pain was like, maybe a seven. YOU GUYS. I just have no frame of reference for pain!

The ONLY analogy I've ever found that fits ME is this:
Going to the doctor when you're chronically ill is weird.

It's like imagine everything in your house is on fire, and you're standing there and the fire department come in like, describe the fire to me and maybe we can find what caused it and put it out.

and you can't just say everything, so you're like.... well, the fire in the curtains is the biggest.

but the fire in the photo albums might be doing the most damage
also, the fire in the couch is really inconvenient.

Occasionally, the fire guy is like, well your tv is on fire, so it might be electronic-fireitus, but that would cause other things like fire in the DVD player.
And you're like, Oh yes. that's been on fire for years. i forgot to mention it because it's always been a relatively small fire. it's right next to the bookshelf which has much more fire.

and then the fire guy is like, oh. i wouldn't worry about that. book shelf fires just happen sometimes.

ANYHOW. My horrible gallbladder is gone, and now that it's out and I'm almost 100% healed, I am feeling GREAT. 

Also, like, 3 days after my surgery, Troy drove us down to Arizona to attend Sadie's baptism. Sadly, Thaddeus had to stay home to work and do mandatory school stuff. High school is a real good practice for real life.... moving on. 

Sadie was baptized and it was great! Great Grandpa and Grandma Bingham came up from Safford, and it was nice to say hello and give a *barely-hug* (you know, on account of being very ouched). We also got to see Aunt Jessica and her cute girlies, and afterwards Troy took our kids to see Kambry play in her volleyball tournament! 

Unfortunately, time was super short and Troy had made plans to meet up with some old friends way, WAY in advance, so we missed an impromptu extended-Bingham family dinner.

Hmmm... what else, what else. We just had Halloween. It was lots of fun. Thaddeus decided he's too old to go trick or treating, so he stayed home and handing out treats at the door. We had a lot of teenage friends in and out of the house all evening. (More like, all day, every day!) 

I also did an inventory of all the yummy stuff I've been growing and preserving the other day, and it just about blew my mind! We seriously don't need to hit up the grocery store for months, which makes my heart SO very happy.

Beyond that, we are not really up to much! The holidays are coming up, but we're not going anywhere. It's Troys busy season, because TRANSIT! He is working his tail off so that you can enjoy and be safe on your travels. It's a bit of a bummer this year, because we have to miss our nephews baptism, because he's getting baptized over Thanksgiving. 😭 We're pretty used to doing our own thing at this point, because that's just the reality of our life, but we do miss out on a lot of things as well. I PROMISE WE'RE TRYING! We did do a Fakesgiving about a month or so ago, because every now and then, you just need a big 'ole turkey dinner. 

June 25, 2019

Camping and Pageants and Snow Oh My!

We are all home again. It feels great. What is NOT so great is the amount of laundry and cleaning we have to do. Why is it that it takes twice as long as your "trip" to recover from said "trip"? And there is so much laundry and tidying to do as well. My house looks like it threw up all of it's belongings into a massive pile of crap near the stairs.

Meanwhile, my body is still trying to recover from the amount of activity it has done since last week. Girls camp was fun, but MAN ALIVE, there was so much walking and stairs and more walking and more stairs! Taylor and I were at the Lyman Lake Recreation Camp with our stake. (WHICH, by the way, they only do every other year, so it's stake camp, ward camp, stake camp, ward camp.) Anways. Our ward was lucky enough to be housed in the lodge this year. And I say lucky, because it was COLD and the whole stake went home EARLY because of SNOWSTORMS. 

Anyhow, here is the front of the lodge: 


And the back: 


And the insides:


The last night we stayed in camp, the entire downstairs area of the lodge was cleared, and the wards that had been staying in tents were brought inside to sleep. We had a few extra bunks in the loft area as well, so those were cleared out to make room for everyone.

We did have a little bit of cabin fever that last day as well, because a lot of the outside activities were cancelled for safety reasons. The stake leaders said they would take the wards out individually to make up for their water activities. I don't remember whether or not they are going to take them to do another ropes course. If they do, great. If they don't, also great.

It was also fun for me because I got to know some of the other ladies from church. I am not really great at making friends, and I miss a lot of activities because I don't feel good. Actually, I was super worried that I would relapse at camp, but I DIDN'T, and I'm just gonna chalk that one up to the Lord. (Thank you and amen.) It also helps that I carry a pharmacy with me at all times.

As far as personal participation, I did go on the slack line with Rachel. She was a little nervous about going over the pond (because it was COLD) by herself, so I stood next to her and said since we're basically the same height, I would go with her. (Because it's less shaky with 2 people, but that only really works if the 2 people are about the same height.) Anyhow, I got up on the slack line, and cheered us on the whole way. Now, TAYLOR on the slack line was funny.  She was going over by herself, and they started bouncing the line, and that little  monkey swung her legs up onto the top line, and then started pulling herself along hand over hand, yelling "Are you gonna stop bouncing the line?" It was hilarious to watch.

I also want to mention that I was super good at throwing tomahawks, and it made some of the girls a little nervous. WHICH IS PERFECT. Of course, no girls camp is complete without a little drama. Luckily, I don't really care too much if a teenage girl is mad at me, and not caring make them even MORE mad, so it just makes me laugh, which makes them even MORE mad. Man alive, so many life lessons at girls camp.

Of course, we got home just in time to do a quick load of laundry and then turn around and drive to Manti, Utah to see the last ever performance of the Manti Pageant, which is called "The Mormon Miracle Pageant", and after much discussion, no one in our family could quite pin down what the miracle was. At any rate, we saw it, it's over, the end. Actually not the end. It was so stinking COLD! We were not prepared for how cold it was outside. Again, I think this all goes back to being from the Mesa, Arizona area where a hoodie is all you ever need. We were FREEZING.

And now we are back at home (with Blayne!) trying to get everything cleaned up.

The end.

June 16, 2019

Summer Loving

Summer is here and kicking our butts. I'll tell you what, I am daydreaming in rose-colored glasses, watching my kids run through the sprinklers, with slightly melted popsicles grasped in their chubby little fists. Instead? I just have teenage boys in and out of the house all day, needing rides to places, and money for things.

We already had our annual stupid summer accident. Thaddeus and Daniel went to high adventure camp. The second day, Thaddeus ended up in the hospital after the zip line broke, resulting in a metal rope burn and TWO gaping lacerations that were stapled back together again. I'm just glad he didn't fracture his skull. Needless to say, Thaddeus came home from camp early.

Also: I am going to girls camp..... wait, hang on a sec....

I aM GoIngTo GIRLS caMp!

Taylor had been hinting that she didn't want to go to girls camp, but after much discussion, she decided that she would be able to go if I came too. So I am! We leave Tuesday morning. I have no official job for camp, so I'll just, you know, be there for moral support and stuff. 

THEN, Taylor and I are going to leave girls camp a day early, because we will be headed down to the Manti LDS Temple pageant. June 22 is the pageant's final performance. I don't remember exactly the announcement, but a bunch of LDS pageants are going bye-bye. So we'll see the Manti pageant (And we will be riding in style because all the hotels and bed and breakfast places are sold out, so we rented a motorhome!) Next summer, we're going to go see the Hill Cummorah pageant and check out a few church history sites. Should be fun. 

Also, my parents and Blayne are meeting us at the pageant. And then we are taking Blayne BACK from our dear homesteading grandparents. I am super excited to have Blayne back, and Taylor is DYING for some special sister time. It's been a really, really good experience for Blayne, but we miss that sweet girl something fierce! 

I have also been looking for places to spend my personal time. Last week, I toured three nursing schools, because I would be SUCH a good nurse... Unfortunately, last week was also my slump week. (You know, the week before my infusion where I just get more and more sick?) And after talking to Troy, and factoring in all the costs, and factoring in all the slump weeks, and potential relapses, and disease progression... well, nursing school just doesn't make sense. I seriously hate that I can't even do something I really, really want, because of my MS. CURSE YOU MS! 

So I can't do nursing school. 

I can't do my (dream job) elementary art class teacher job.

But I DID find another program that I'm excited about! A million years ago, when I was going to school in Virginia, I found the coolest program for carpentry and woodworking, and I really wanted to take those classes, but SURPRISE! We moved away instead. But the community college down in Salt Lake has a furniture and cabinetry program. Naturally, I applied to that program. I'm pretty excited and am SO happy, and I have so many home projects swimming through the brain. It shall be glorious!