Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympics and Happy Birthday Jay!

We were very excited to get home just in time for the Olympics. It was such a great opening ceremony. We loved watching it, and stayed up so late to do it even though our bodies wanted to go to sleep at about 6:00pm from the Jet lag. We arrived home early that same morning around 1:30am. Being here in China, and seeing all of the preparations going on for this big event has been exciting to see. They are so proud of having it here, and proud of how well they are doing. My driver has put I love China Olympic stickers on our side-view mirrors. I guess he must think we are cheering for China instead of the US??? :-) We are cheering for both. He is very happy to tell me that China is first, and the US is second. It has been interesting to try to watch the events. We live at a State-run hotel compound, which means we get Chinese television (which is all government run) and a couple of cable stations like Star TV, a couple of movie channels, National Geographic, and a couple more. The channels we have been able to watch the Olympics on don't show much other than the events that China took Gold in (and they show them over and over and over and over...) We have seen a couple of events with the U.S. involved. We mostly have to keep track online. It's fun to watch, though, and we are glad to be here during this exciting time for them. We are excited they are doing so well in the events.

Jay's birthday was on the first day of school. He turned 9 years old. He was very excited. Rachel and Caitlin went shopping to the new Toys R Us we now have here in Nanjing, and spent just a FEW dollars more than we would have paid in the US to buy some fun Pirates of the Carribean legos for him. Jay wanted hot dogs for his birthday. We have found some decent Hot Dogs (most hot dogs here are strange) but no decent buns. But we make due with what we can find. Luckily there is a big German population here, so it's easy to find sour kraut, which amazingly all of the kids like. Nicole made a chocolate cake for him, and Rachel frosted it. It was a team effort, and he seemed to have a great evening. Jay is such a great guy. He is growing up so fast, and he is excited to be in the 4th grade. He loves sports, and playing ps2 and watching any movie. We are so glad he is in our family! Happy Birthday Jay! Here are a couple of photos from Jay's birthday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What a Summer!

Please forgive this long, long entry. It was a very eventful summer.

This has been quite the summer for our family. I mentioned the possibility of hip surgery on July 2nd. We arrived on June 24th, very anxious to see family! It is always so wonderful to be home and see everyone. This year was extra great because my friend Dede Dalton and her family met us for a day in Provo. We spent a fun day at BYU, and Seven Peaks water resort. It was so great to see them all after 3 years. The other days I spent trying to buy all of the children school clothes, etc. just in case I ended up having surgery. On Sunday, June 29th early in the morning, my Grandfather Gibb passed away. We all miss him so much, and are so grateful for the example he was in our lives. He was in pain and poor health for several years. He was such an example of enduring. I always felt like I was special to him, and I know each one of his grandchildren did.

Later that morning, I flew to California to stay with my brother Todd and his wife Jen, for the day. I had such a wonderful time with them. I loved getting to know Jen better. I'm so glad I was able to spend time with them. My Mom flew in that night after helping with funeral plans for my grandfather. Mike flew in to L.A. to come to the Dr. appointment with me. That day, June 30th, the doctor agreed with the other diagnosis that I needed this surgery. My scheduled surgery on July 2nd would stay as planned. We did a little bit of pre-op on the Tuesday, but then went to Disneyland with Todd, Jen and my Mom. It was so much fun! It helped take away the anxiety about the next day. I knew going into this that it is an extremely complicated surgery, and that the recovery is very long. Even more difficult than a hip replacement, which I am trying to avoid. While the recovery is more difficult, it is much better to keep my own hip, and that is worth it to me. I researched out top surgeons in the country for this operation, as it is extremely specialized and a handful are experts. Dr. Matta is one of the best, and most experienced surgeons in this field.

So many family members had prayed and fasted for me. I received some beautiful blessings from my Father, and Mike and my Brother. I am so grateful, and know that this has made such a difference for me. The surgery went well. My mother flew back right after the surgery for the viewing and funeral of Grandpa Gibb. I was so sad to miss that, but so grateful I was able to say good-bye to him. when Mom got to the LA airport, there had been a bomb threat! She was able to call her friend, who got her a flight from a different airport. She was late, but she made it. I stayed in the hospital for a week, and then flew home to Utah and stayed with my Mom and Dad. Mike was with me day and night. It wasn't easy, and I couldn't have done it without him. A couple of days after I got home, I went to the emergency room after passing out a couple of times. They found 3 blood clots in my lungs. I was in the hospital 3 more days. I continued to pass out frequently, and they finally got me on some medication to help that. Mike had to leave on July 21st. Poor guy didn't really have any vacation. He is the best. My mother waited on me and my children hand and foot. I am so indebted to her and my Dad. She and my Dad even gave me their bedroom and moved downstairs! Everyone helped out so much. Brothers and Sisters, Mikes Mom and Dad. I was able to visit with cousins that I haven't spent time with for so long! What a wonderful family we have. I am so grateful I was able to do this in the US where my family could take such good care of me and the kids, and where we had good hospitals! There was a possibility to do it in Hong Kong this fall, where there is excellent care, but the blood clots would have posed a big problem when I got back here to Nanjing!

Well, that was a long story. We're back in Nanjing now. The children have started school. It was wonderful to see Mike again. We are looking forward to this last year in China. I am recovering one day at a time. The kids and Mike take care of all of the food. Luckily, I have Wan to come in 3 times a week and do laundry and clean. What a life-saver! The chinese people have been so sweet. They are always wanting to help and smile very sweetly at me. I have had a couple of interesting experiences, of course. When I went to the Chinese hospital for an x-ray to send to Dr. Matta, I was told to drop my pants. There were about 5 people in there. Some were techs, some Dr's and some were just people waiting for their turns. There were no sheets or hospital gowns. I never thought I would wish for one of those again. Let's just say I was grateful for my "funny" underwear! Another funny situation was when I went to the restroom at a hotel. The bathroom attendant was a sweet little lady, who came into the stall with me and wanted to help! I said thank you so much, but I could do it myself. Phew!

The children had a fun-filled summer. Rachel and Nicole went to EFY in Logan. Caitlin went to girl's camp with Catherine. Jay had his first pack meeting (thanks to Lori) where he received all of his awards for the last year. Rachel finished her driver's Ed course (and alive, too!). The boys played day in and day out with cousins, their favorite thing to do. They were able to spend so much valuable time with Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. We also were able to see our friends the Millers, before heading off to Germany. It was so good to see them. Hopefully next time we can do something more fun.

I wanted to share some of the photos we took this summer. Unfortunately, I was in bed most of the summer, so most of the amazingly great things the kids did with grandparents and cousins, I don't have photos of.

Eli and Brynna hit it right off after three years. They were very best friends for Eli's whole life before China. It was so great to see them having fun together.

It was hard to say good-bye to the Dalton family. But it was so much fun to see them.

Chad was the artistic director of the float for their stake. It was in several parades and won the sweepstakes award (the highest award given) and the people's choice award at the Day's of 47 parade. It was an amazing float. He and Jennie put so much time into it. We are all proud!

Todd and Jen. Doen't Jen look cute pregnant?

Here, Mike is examining which candybar is smooshed in the diaper at our baby-shower. Boy is he concentrating. Mom and I wanted to have one for Jen, and I think it may have been Mike and Todd's first one ever. I'm sure they loved it :-)

It's a Small World even with no small people... It's hard to grow up!

No photo this time of my hip... this time it's a little too much skin. But, Mike was very proud and thought it looked like a shark bite. Here, Todd brought the night shirt that Mom gave me. He sure looks good in it. Much better than I ever did. Purple looks good on you, Ogg...

Fishing at the fishery. Lots of fun and a guaranteed catch...

Say stinky fish!

Jay's first pack meeting.

Mariah, Parker, Jay and Eli are ready to shoot the rocket

Grandpa and Jude, Kellee's cute little boy. It was fun to meet new cousins!