Saturday, June 15, 2013


Emily took a band trip to Hawaii and came back with a Ukulele obcession.

It has been 4 months since I had my ACL surgery.  It went really well.  I did all of my physical therapy and graduated with an A +.  (They don’t really give grades, but Tiffany, my physical therapist, kept telling me I was a rock star.  But she has to say that!) I do lots of cycling and hiking, and I run on the track at the nearby school.  It feels good to exercise outside!  I wear a super awesome, gold plated, Donjoy leg brace (which I am already sick of) for all of this activity.  I am so glad the ice is gone.  I love snow, but I hate ice.  This was a long winter, and I will be happy if I never have to use an elliptical machine ever again.  That pilates reformer thing though, I could use that forever.   
My fancy new brace the day I got it.  
My surgery went really well.  Dr. Manion rocks.  I didn’t have a lot of intense pain.  The femoral block kept my leg numb for most of 24 hours, and I took pain meds for 4 days.  I kept my knee in the continuous motion machine pretty much constantly for a week.  I even slept with it there.  It was just more comfortable than lying in one position all night.  My scars will be minimal.  Seriously, I was expecting much worse than the inch and a half incision site.  As a matter of fact, when I finally got to take my bandages off, a week after surgery, I was shocked.  I was expecting a long line like my sister Becki had.  I remember seriously saying “Did they do anything to me?“ when I saw how small my incisions are.  Thank goodness for modern technology. 
Sorry if I'm showing too much leg.  This is my leg on Feb 8 - 3 days post op.  
This is a week later.  It was like watching a sunset - the bruises.  
The bruise ended down at my foot after 3 weeks.  Notice my calf muscle is pretty flabby by then.  (It got better.)

One of the funny side effects of the anesthesia is that I forgot the first couple days afterward.  I had complete conversations with people and I don’t remember having them.   I watched all of season 1 of Downton Abbey, and I vaguely remember it.  One of the funniest things is that I sent a text message to a friend in Texas, and after I pushed send, I realized that I had sent an almost identical message a week before – the day after my surgery, and I have no recollection of sending it.  I say I didn’t have a lot of pain, but maybe I did and I just don’t remember. 
Shon, watching Bryce play soccer.
So, long story made short:  My surgery went well.  I feel like I have a normal knee, but I still have to wear a brace and I can’t do anything “athletic” until September.  I am really looking forward to that.  

I love summer in Alaska.  This one started and stopped several times.  We even had a very late snow storm – one of the latest on record.  May 17 we got almost 6 inches!  I love snow, but I was really looking forward to walking on bare pavement at that point, so everyone got a little mental until it melted.  And melt it did.  A week later, we had temperatures in the 70’s.  Just to keep that in perspective, last summer we had maybe 4 days over 70.  It has gotten over 70 almost every day in June.  It is very warm.  I love it.  It makes me laugh to see all of us lovely, pasty-white Alaskans in shorts. 
Snow in May.
Summer also brings animals.  I was sitting in our front room, practicing my cello (I played with the ward choir on “Love at Home”) when I noticed there was a really big black dog on the edge of our front yard.  Only, it wasn’t a dog.  The black bear lumbered up to our next door neighbor’s house and pushed over their trash can and ran off with a bag of chips.  In the mean time, I called the kids over to see, and Caleb thought it would be great to let the dog out.  So, Smudge did the doggy Mohawk thing (hackles up) and started barking viscously (she really is a sweet dog, so that is unusual), which is the same time the bear ran off.  Silly little dog, thinks she can take on a bear! 
(She tried taking on a possum (or opossum – whichever you prefer) in Australia, apparently.  I only know this because I talked to her previous owners, and  I saw the claw the vet took out of her lymph node last week!   She kept getting an infection just under her jaw, which would swell up really big – like a golf ball.  We took her in and she had surgery twice to get it out.  Silly dog.)

That was the only bear we have seen this year, but I know there have been others.  I see their scat – it looks like someone took a shovel and dumped a load of compost (in the spring) or blueberries (in the fall).  And the neighbors tell me about it. 

There is also the moose (plural) in our yard.  One night the kids decided to sleep out on the deck.  They wanted to sleep on the grass, but with the bears around, I thought not.  They made it to about 1:30 AM, which is twilight, when a large moose decided to graze in our yard.  It was pretty noisy, and they all came in.  Probably good they did, because they were being eaten by mosquitoes. 
A moose on the hill behind our house.  Go ahead.  Eat all of the dandilions you want!
Just for the record, every place we have lived has claimed to have the biggest mosquitoes (that, and they all tell that joke about someone locking their car at church so people will stop giving them zucchini!)  I have heard all of the jokes about mosquitoes being the state bird, unidentified flying objects, or mosquitoes hitting you back if you hit them.  Alaska officially has the biggest mosquitoes.  Australia officially has the most annoying mosquitoes, and bugs in general.  I suspect that Louisiana and Texas would have had similar mozzies to Australia, but they spray for them. 
Sarah, on a field trip to release salmon.  
We have had several other moose in our yard.  They like the lilac bush, and have pretty much killed the maple tree.  They eat the tips off the branches, and strip the tree of bark.  Yes, moose eat bark and twigs.  Yum.  When I finally plant a garden, I am going to have to put a fence around it to keep the moose out. 
Speaking of animals, here is Abby and her hamster, Cheddar.  I call it Houdini.  It has escaped a dozen times from two different cages.  
Things grow really fast here.  It is like they are on steroids.  Right now, we have 19.5 hours of daylight.  Even when the sun goes down, it has only dipped below the horizon.  It makes it really hard to stay on schedule.  We forget to eat dinner until 8, and then forget to go to bed until 11.  Even then, it is hard to remember to be tired.  After sitting in a dark room for a few minutes, we remember again and go to sleep.  Alaska is manic/depressive, and this is definitely the “manic” part. 

We visited the ice sculpture contest in Fairbanks in March.  It was awesome.  Here we are with my uncle Greg's family.  They are moving to Japan this month.  Sniff sniff.  
The kids are all out of school for the summer and we are having a great time.  Bryce got a job refereeing soccer games.   The other kids have soccer practice.  We have a large stack of books to read on those rainy days, but so far, we have had only sun!  Yeah!  Which means, we have been doing a lot of mountain biking and hiking.  We have had volleyball camp and girls camp and EFY are coming.  It is nice to have everyone home.  Mostly.
Abby and I in an ice house in Fairbanks.  Don't let the sun fool you.  It was COLD!
Bryce.  Self portrait.


Gaye Patterson said...

Loved the pictures of the family! I have some of the same memories of Alaska...What a place. Wish we could be home when you are!

Julie said...

Wow!!! I thought that the raccoons here were pesky-- I won't complain-- I don't have to worry about moose in my garden and bears when my kids camp out! You look great and so do your kids. It is so fun to see the pictures-- it looks like so much fun, I want to move there! I could go for 70 degree weather. So beautiful. That is funny about the mosquitoes! Glad your leg is healed up-- you are dang tough:) Miss you!