12 October 2013

The Mighty Hunter

Elijah shot this antelope buck today. Great Job E!

He brought home the antelope heart "so that mom can make soup." He must really think I'm some kinda pioneer woman. Maybe I'll chew the hide for him so he can make leather.

Actually our friends husband says he will tan the hide with Elijah so my teeth might survive after all.

25 September 2013

Matt's lunch

I have passed the responsibility of making Matt's sack lunch to one of my sons. It is his job to make a sandwich and throw in a few healthy snacks.

From time to time Matt has suggestions for his lunch.

Today he didn't make any suggestions, he just told me what was in it.

"I had an interesting lunch today."

"Oh really what was in it?"

"A carrot with stem attached and dirt still on it, 2 green limes, 1 whole orange bell pepper, 1 package of powdered hot chocolate mix, and 1 runza."

I think the boy took "healthy snacks" to a whole new level.

20 September 2013

Signs the boys are growing up

Matt has cracked ribs. Uncle Matt's brand new deck broke.

The stories:

We went to visit Uncle Matt and Aunt Kelly this summer. While there Uncle Matt and Elijah got in a wrestling match on their second story deck on which a hot bbq was cooking burgers. The women (Aunt Kelly and I) were interested in avoiding burns and saving the burgers so we shoed them down the stairs off the deck. At the bottom of the deck is the wading pool and Uncle Matt decided he had had enough getting beat by the whiphersnapper nephew and it was time to throw the boy in the pool. The whippersnapper settled on a piece of deck with which to cling to as not to get thrown in the pool. In the end the deck proved no match. All three (piece of deck, Uncle Matt, and Elijah) all ended up in the pool.

The evening was spent repairing the deck and drying out phones and cameras which had been forgotten in their pockets during the dive.

Cracked Ribs
Matt does always wrestle but when he does...

Elijah ended up crumpled on the floor complaining of neck pain. I ignored him as he plays hard, tends to be a vocal patient and nothing is ever wrong. Matt on the other hand felt terrible and hovered over Elijah apologizing and kicking himself for wrestling to hard and not knowing his limits.

Elijah soon roused himself and hobbled to bed (if I had mentioned chocolate milk in the kitchen there would have been a "miraculous" recovery). Matt too retired for the evening and began to pull down the covers only to discover he couldn't make any torso movement without pain. "My ribs" he groaned "Elijah kneed me in the ribs and they hurt really bad." I couldn't help myself. "Right here?" I asked socking him in the ribs. "AGHHH! YES! THERE! AGHHH" I had found the right spot and nailed him perfectly. Hehehe. It brought me great joy.  For several days now deep breaths, coughing, sneezing, sitting, standing, laying, pushing, pulling you name it causes him to groan, moan and cry. BAHAHAHA. I find it especially funny because he was so concerned about injuring Elijah.

15 September 2013


Titus came around the corner with a disgusted look on his face. In his hand he had a tooth brush and the container of triple antibiotic ointment.

13 September 2013

Abbey teaching the boys

Abbey, "If you eat your boogers, you have to go to the doctor and get poked in the foot."

09 September 2013

Of all the strangest things

Does anyone know why there is a pancake floating in a bowl of water in the basement?

Luke: Oh yes. I'm growing mold. Its my experiment.

perfect sense.


Matt came home Friday night to a bathtub full of tomatoes. Sometimes he just shakes his head and doesn't bother to ask.


Matt pulled a plate out of the back of the cupboard this morning and found the plate already contained fresh pancakes.


Our church had a BBQ Sunday afternoon. While we were there one of our favorite friends shared with us that one of our boys was selling tomatoes around town. We knew some of them were doing that but what we didn't know is that this one had removed the good ones and was selling only rotten ones.

Is this Robin??

06 September 2013

Who is the winner?

Tonight, Abbey, with Titus's great encouragment and confidence decided to jump off the top bunkbed ladder. Mid-jump she reconsidered and ended up scrapping her back on Josiah's toolbox which was stationed below. The result was a nasty bruise, swelling, and scrapes to her shoulder blade. It looked super painful but she was very tough about it. The scrape and bruise was bad enough for the boys to start debating which injuries of theirs had topped it. Most of them had at least one bad cut. Titus's was at a camping trip (he still says Chris K tripped him on purpose), Joe fell off a chair at my mom's house, Luke hit his eyelid on the fish tank, Gideon got hit with a frozen tupperware falling out of the freezer, and Elijah stepped on a nail. Boys like their injuries. It makes them feel tough and manly. After discussing it, they all wanted to know, whose injury was the worst; who is the winner.

They had all forgotten about the rattlesnake.

Out injured by a GIRL!

14 August 2013


I usually describe living in Lagrange as living in the Andy Griffith Show town of Mayberry. Everybody knows everybody else. People look after others and run errands for each other. They sit on their porches in the evening watching the sunset. I have actually had people come over holding shoes/backpacks (one time even my mail) that they found at the park and wonder if they might belong to us which usually it does.

Any way, yesterday the boys (and girl) and I spent all day in Cheyenne. Usually for me a day in Cheyenne with the kids is like herding 12 wild cats at a dog pound, but yesterday was quite smooth.

We went to the bank, the dentist (4 kids for fillings, one ortho check), then sack lunch at the park and ice cream at Cold Stone, a treat from Grama. Next was the hospital for abdominal xrays and blood work for Josiah. NEVER attempt to park a 15 passenger van in a hospital parking garage.

We were able to visit my dean of women, Mrs. Downare, who is in the hospital recovering from a stroke. She and Mr. D and their wonderful daughters Christy and Cathy brought ALL the boys (and girl) into her room for a visit. It was special for all of us.

Then we walked down to the Hershler building to say hello to Matt at work. The kids have never been there (he started that position right before the snake bite). His boss was outside and saw 8 children walking along and figured we must belong to Matt and invited us all in. We got a tour of the building and met all the coworkers (received candy and pop from each and every one of them). Then Matt took us over to the Capitol to meet the people he works with in the Govenors office. The ladies there gave us the full tour of the govenors office including the secret candy vault where they received more candy and pop.(I've been wondering how the kids have so many cavities!).

We stopped by Walmart for a few groceries and then gas and went home getting back around 6:30. I was exhausted and rested for 20 minutes while surfing facebook. When my laptop battery ran out I got up and looked for the charger. It was not where I left it. odd.

I wanted to keep surfing so I went to get the kids laptop out of the office. It was GONE! BURGLED! We all knew where I had left the charger that morning AND several children said, "yes they had seen the laptop in its spot that morning."

I looked around for any other missing items. The cash lying on my dresser was still there, my camera, my laptop all there. I looked around the yard and I found... A CLUE! The neighbor boy's bike was in the yard.

We knew there was MOTIVE because his laptop was broken and he wanted to try my charger to fix it. He also knew we would be out of town.

When Matt got home we decided the offense was enough to not deal with it our selves. The sheriff came out and asked a few questions and left. 30 minutes later he was back at our house items in hand. RETURNED!

So that was my big day.

Do I still live in Mayberry? Yes! Things still go wrong in Mayberry just usually there is a good outcome and the community is still there for each other. Though I just might lock my front door to help keep the kid out of trouble.

12 August 2013

I love Sam.

We were discussing school electives today. He asked me if "extreme reading" would count. I wish it could. He is definitely my extreme reader.

09 August 2013

Funny sayings

Funny sayings: Matt got dressed for work in his usual attire, slacks, dress shirt and tie. As he stopped to give the kids a hug goodbye one commented “Wow dad! Your pants work really well as a napkin.”

We have lots of dishes to wash at each meal. The kids are good at dishes now but it still takes a long time. I’m always looking for ways to speed up chore time and the other day I mentioned to the kids that if we each pitched in twenty bucks we could buy a dishwasher. “No thanks!” Was the unanimous decision. 
I was puzzled. Why not? Their answer: Dishwashers don’t get dishes clean enough.

Very Cool! We have come a long way from kids getting caught drying the dishes on the back of their underwear! (while we had company over I might add)

07 August 2013

Lice, UTI, Swollen Eye, Lost Child, Tornado, Gastroenterologist

Josiah has had some stomach issues since the beginning of June. It started before Abbey’s snake bite. We tease him that he must be pregnant because he has all the symptoms of morning sickness: Eight weeks of nausea and a huge appetite.

His doctor decided we needed to see a pediatric gastroenterologist because he can’t figure what is causing it although he has ruled out pregnancy. 

The closest ped gastro is several hours away and the appointment was in the morning during a visit from my mom. So we made trip out of it and spent two nights at my sisters house.

We had the usual adventures: lice exposure, Abbey got a UTI, Silas’s eye swelled shut (mosquito bite allergy), Gideon got lost long enough in a store to have to get the manager, and to top it off a tornado touched down while we were in King Soopers forcing us to abandon Josiah’s prescription from the gastro doc and flee the tornado. 

It all worked out. None of us got lice (My sister spent $65 on lice testing and killing supplies and found no lice), Abbey’s UTI went away with copious amounts of cranberry juice, Silas’s eye unswelled after 2 days, Gideon was found, and Matt can pick up the prescriptions today.  I did not die from stress. ; )

So the appointment: We liked Joe’s gastro doc. She liked(!) Matt’s sense of humor and to Josiah’s embarrassment the two of them had good laughs about nausea and poop for most of his visit. In the end Josiah was given an xray and is assigned some various diagnostic tests. She also prescribed a different anti nausea med to try since the first one didn't help. So we will see what they find

11 July 2013

Elijah killed a rattlesnake.

GOOD NEWS! I had sprained my ankle a couple months back and finally got it to fit in my cowboy boots tonight. yippee!

Why did I force my still tender foot into the boot you might ask? I insisted on getting it in the cowboy boot because Elijah and I were going snake hunting. Anywho, more rattlesnakes were killed in town today and I would rather find THEM before they find ME. Obviously my go-to flipflops are not snake hunting attire, ergo my boots.

We walked out toward the walk path in perfect snake weather and found one! It was 10feet down the walk path.

Elijah goes, "I got it." He held it down with the shovel and cut off the head with his machete.

He also thought all the attention was ridiculous but agreed to give me a good cheesy smile.

My Hero

10 July 2013

Snake in the grass today

This is the same kind of snake that Silas found when mowing. I don't think it is the same one because it is much bigger.

I have to see the tail to know what type of snake it is.

It looks around 4ft long.
From my observances, bullsnakes would rather move along than bite someone.

08 July 2013

And finally....... THE RATTLESNAKE!

The rattlesnake in a shoebox. It is more the size of an overgrown worm.
Gideon and Abbey set it right where they were when it bit her.

This is Gideon showing us where Abbey was standing when he saw it and warned her.

Here they are showing us the snake.

Titus shows us how he would beat up the snake. And here is Abbey back when she had hair.

07 July 2013

The Hair Cut



Vanessa did not have much to work with and she turned it into a cute little pixie cut.

16 June 2013

Abbie vs the Rattlesnake

Abbey was bitten by a rattlesnake around 9:30am on Tuesday. She and Gideon were in the driveway. Elijah was in the yard. Gideon was riding Abbey's trike and saw the snake next to our workshop door. He says that he stopped riding so that she would stop walking backward and yelled to her, "Abbey! There is a snake behind you!" Abbey put her foot back and stepped on it and then it bit her.  

Amazingly, they both remember the events clearly and communicated the same story when we asked them separately. They both mentioned the snake flicked its tongue and neither heard a rattle, Abbey added the important detail that snakes don't have lips and she is 100% certain it was a boy snake.

I was headed outside with them and heard her scream (didn't actually think much of it as there is lots of screaming here). She was running for the door and Elijah and Abbey said that she was bitten by a snake. I scooped her up, she quit crying, and I sat her on the kitchen counter where she finished off a peanut butter covered pancake while I dialed 911. I didn't think it could possibly be a rattlesnake because she was calm and not in much pain. Elijah watched the snake to make sure it didn't away. "Marshall" got there first and then a pile of our other EMT friends. 2 EMT's killed the snake and buried it. We took off in the ambulance for Torrington. Before we hit highway 85 they had the chopper on the way from Cheyenne (Scottsbluff Airlink was out on another call). I was able to choose which hospital we went to and since Matt works in Cheyenne I decided on there.

We stopped in Hawksprings to pick up 2 other EMTs that had advanced life support training. They tried their best to get an IV in but couldn't do it. We got to the hospital and they couldn't get an IV in there either which is why they gave her ketamine to get it in. The AirLife helicopter was there just a few minutes after we arrived. They put her in the chopper and started the crofab, which Torrington had stocked, on the way.

Then Nana, who had met me at the hospital, and I drove back to Lagrange to pick up clothes and update the boys who had been cared for by our pastor's wife and some friends. They were swimmig in her pool when I got there and not sure why I made them get out. ; ) We sat down and I explained what was going on and was frank about how serious Abbey's injury was. We prayed together and then I left them to play in the pool and Nana and I went to the hospital.

Matt sat in the Cheyenne ER waiting for her to arrive. He had been at work in a meeting when he began getting calls from home. I had told Elijah keep calling Dad until he picks up. He ignored the first 4 and then figured something must be up and answered. When it was his turn in the meeting to update the team on what he was working on he said, "I'm almost done with X's computer, my 3 year old got bit by a rattlesnake and I have some stuff to do at DCI. It took people a few seconds to process the middle job. He got the day off.
One of the awesome flight team members. He is the pilot who came back to visit us a few days later.
I don't know what the boxes labelled 33 and 31 do. And where is 32?
One of the ER docs.
Poor Abbie. 
Mommy finally gets there. The blanket is her special blanket that was made by Michelle Laffan. It has all of our names on it.
Dr. Coolidge - 1st year resident. We saw lots of her in the ER and pediatrics.
Daddy asks Abbie if she want's to get a pet snake.
Our ER room and Pastor Tom
A book with Nana. You can see Abbey's swollen face here. When she started to feel better they let us feed her. I kept getting globs of jello in her breathing tube (the elephant trunk looking part). 

Uncle Matt was a welcome surprise. He provided sandwiches and encouragement for the grownups and loves and entertainment for Abbey. Thanks for coming Matt!

In this one you can see the fang marks. They are hard to see, but they are the dots on the bottom of her foot about an inch to the right of the back of her heel. You see more than one drop of blood because the blood drops dried and got sorta crusty. Nobody bothered to wash the wound EVER in the hospital or treat her with any antibiotics, not even neosporin or anything on the bite mark. When I asked about it on the second day, they pretty much said, "we don't even really care about infection at this point. That's way down on our priority list. Plus its not full of dirt." hmm. okay.

We get moved out of the emergency room into pediatrics. They had a fun sign waiting for her.

This is Dr. Ruhullah, a 3rd year resident and the only staff member who had seen a venomous snake bite before. He was our favorite. Abbey gave him a serious stink eye until she got to know him. He lived in India for a few years and while there he said he treated snake bites all the time. He said with every single snake bite the patient swore it was a cobra bite but was almost always a garter snake.

Kelly and Jana drove up to visit also. Nurse Jana fed Abbey her ice cream. It was a good distraction for her.
 Abbey is feeling better.

In the course of 3 days she drank the pediatric wing out of chocolate milk and cranberry juice.

We ended up putting her in a diaper because getting to the toilet with all the IV's was difficult. Also she had a lot of pee. One of the important parts of  venemous snake bite recovery is flushing release proteins out of the kidneys. Too many proteins in the kidneys is hard on them so we flushed the best we could. Even with a diaper on  we had to change her sheets 6 times.

"Princess" Abigail on the sign on the left

First night's sleep.

The helicopter pilots came back the next day to see how Abigail was doing. They gave her a fun helicopter pin.

Here is her team.The woman in the brown and white shirt is her attending doctor, Dr. Brandes, the man in the middle is the pharmacology guy. Dr. Cooledge far left and I don't know who the rest are. They are all happy because Abbey had no complications during the night and was tolerating the antivenom. The pharmacology guy was especially interested in Abbeys response to the medicine. Dr. Brandes said she was the most interesting case in the hospital that day. Everybody (even an LCCC pharmacy student) came to see her and get experience on treating a rattlesnake bite pediatric patient. 

Some of the staff had worked at the hospital 11 years and had never seen a snake bite. So the team of doctors were constantly calling Poison Control to get the latest techniques on how to treat Abbie. 

 This is a picture of Daddy and Abbey on the marker board table. She gave Daddy pigtails. She kept asking Daddy to help her "rerase" the picture.

The horse that daddy had for Abigail when she got off the helicopter. She named it Pig.

Good friends the Vintons come to visit. 

Nap time for Abbie. Dad's just helping.

A visit from Uncle Ben.

One of her favorite toys was a blow-up glove that Ben made for her.

The black line on her leg was the mark the doctors used to measure how far up her leg the swelling was going.  The swelling made it a few inches above the black line before it started to recede. The doctors would also measure her swelling  by comparing the diameter of her two legs.

The fangs marks are the two teeny tiny dots about 1mm to the left of that crusted blood on her heel. And the other is about a cm to the left of that one. 

The bruising started almost right away. We were wondering how black the wound would get. It never got much worse than this.

Saying goodbye to the pediatrics wing after the third day.

Here is our cart of stuff being wheeled out to our car. This was home for three days. We spent two nights here. Daddy showered here and went to work from here. 

Here we are at home the first night. We had friends and neighbors over when we got home. Abbey's favorite EMT and our across the street neighbor is Mrs. Marshall. Abbey refers to her as Marshall.

She got lots of presents and hugs. I got hugs too and really needed them. We had a sweet time of prayer with a few friends who lingered afterward. The girl with the flower in her hair below saw a rattlesnake near their garage just a few days before Abbey's incident.

Here is a cake her friend made just for her. She loved it.

Jun11 was the day Abigail got the bite. The 11 on the cake decoration were supposed to be two little baby snakes. :)

We may celebrate every Jun11 as Snake Day. What better reason could we have to celebrate? We are so thankful to have her home.