My Cooking Club kicked off its 5th year with a gathering at my friend Karey's house. As always, we enjoyed some delicious food! We are winding down with the Junior League of Houston's wonderful cookbook Peace Meals. Does anyone have any suggestions for our next cookbook?
My assignment this month was the appetizer. I brought these Maple Salmon Bites which were a big hit (I also served these at my last Valentine luncheon. See recipe here.)
Other selections were (clockwise from bottom): Texas Corn Pudding, Crab Cakes with Avocado Salsa, Spinach Tortellini Casserole and Greek Quinoa Salad. We also enjoyed Southwestern Chicken Soup (top right above my plate)
Dessert was Frozen Margarita Pie - fabulous
After our meal we discussed what each person had brought and made notes in our cookbooks. Notice how much we enjoyed the dessert!
Setting out for breakfast in charming downtown Durango armed with my crossword puzzle and iPhone
Labor Day weekend Robert and I attended a wedding in Durango, Colorado. Because of the uncertainty regarding Vivian's situation, we couldn't commit to going in time to get flights there. We decided to drive with another couple and had such a great time! The four of us were very compatible and were able to take shifts during the 14-hour drive.
Robert texted this picture to Will and Dots, both of whom replied something along the lines of "You got Mom to hike?????"
We didn't have a lot of leisure time because our stay was so short, but the four of us took an enjoyable hike up a nearby mountain. The views were beautiful!
After the hike we cooled our feet in the Animas River behind our hotel
The wedding was in the late afternoon with the dinner reception following. We had such a good time that we stayed much later than we'd intended.
Unfortunately because I am short, I couldn't sneak a very good picture during the ceremony, but perhaps you can get an idea of the beautiful setting
The reception was in this tent near the wedding site. It was quite cool as soon as the sun went down, so the bride's mother had provided baskets of pashminas by the entrance for the guests to take
The flowers on the tables were exquisite
I enjoyed visiting with my old neighbors who were friends of the bride
The bride's cousin is also a neighbor of mine (she was a precious flower girl). When Josie saw me, she exclaimed, "It's Vivian's mom!"
The ring bearer walked the bride's dog, Yogi, down the aisle. Yogi enjoyed himself at the reception, making appearances on the dance floor and partaking of extra wedding cake
We left Durango Sunday morning and drove to Santa Fe. We walked around for a bit there and had some delicious New Mexican food for lunch.
Driving from Durango to Santa Fe we passed some beautiful scenery
Walking around the square in old Santa Fe
My Aunt Judy told me once that New Mexico had the bluest skies. It certainly seemed true this day
Enjoying some good food before hitting the road for Dallas. Our friend Andy (in the blue) was our designated driver from Santa Fe to Amarillo where we spent Sunday night
In the holding area Vivian contentedly entertained herself watching Madeline in London on her iPod Touch
The surgical procedures to remove Vivian's feeding button and her mediport this morning were successful and uneventful! Vivian was a real trooper and didn't even require a sedative before the anesthesiologist inserted her IV.
Resting in the recovery room after the surgery
Vivian had no issues with the anesthesia, and the surgeon relayed that everything went smoothly in the OR. Despite a 2" incision on her abdomen, Vivian has reported all day that her tummy feels "just fine" when I ask her if it hurts, so I have not given her any medication for pain.
As soon as she woke up, Vivian started yanking off her hospital gown so I quickly found the clothes I'd brought for her. Perhaps Vivian wanted to make it clear she was not staying long!
The best part of the day was taking Vivian upstairs to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where she spent 32 days this summer. The doctor who admitted us as well as many of our favorite nurses were there today. Everyone was elated to see us and could not get over how well Vivian was doing! Even though she was still a tad groggy from her earlier sedation, Vivian answered questions and interacted with the staff much more than she ever did while she was hospitalized.
The waiting room outside the PICU. It was a bit eerie being up here again
Vivian with many of her nurses from the summer
One of the nurses asked Vivian if she was going to school today. Vivian responded quickly, "I don't want to go to school. I want to go to McDonald's!"
On our way home I went to the drive-through at McDonald's and ordered Vivian a hamburger Happy Meal with a Sprite. The McDonald's lady asked if the Happy Meal were for a girl or a boy, and I answered, "A girl." From the backseat Vivian exclaimed, "A big girl!"
Yes, indeed. A big, healthy girl!
"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders." Psalm 9:1
Robert and I were touched and overwhelmed by the many expressions of love and support that we received during Vivian's ordeal this summer. I'm afraid that most people were not thanked properly because I operated in such a haze and was often scarcely aware of what was going on around me.
Several gestures that extraordinarily touched me came from friends that I know only through my blog or theirs.
They also made this darling banner that spelled out Vivian's name on Lilly paper. I hung the banner in Vivian's PICU room and it now adorns the doorway to her room at home
Jan from Bessie Mary sent this precious stuffed animal for Vivian. Vivian named him "Spot" and she loves him! In fact I could not get Vivian to loosen her grip on Spot enough for me to take a good picture of him
The Grove Gals from Pineapple Grove Gifts sent a delightful package with these fun gifts. My trusty blog brain failed me, however, and I neglected to take a picture of how cute everything was packaged. Dots also absconded with the darling Lilly pen before I remembered to take a picture. All of these cute gifts and more are available on the Grove Girls' web site
Jennifer from Biscuits are Never Boring found these adorable Lilly jeans at a shop near her home. She kindly remembered that Vivian loves Lilly jeans and that I have a hard time finding them in a big enough size (Lilly pants work great for Vivian because their waists have adjustable elastic which enables Vivian to manage dressing in them by herself).
Elizabeth from Lizzy Loves Lilly discovered a pair of Vivian's beloved strawberry pants on eBay and ordered them for her. Vivian wears her Lilly jeans no matter how hot it is in Texas!
My warmest, most sincere thanks to these blog friends as well as to each of you who prayed for Vivian, left me a kind comment or email words of encouragement. Your prayers and love sustained my family and me during a difficult summer. I appreciate you all so much!
Copied from an email I sent to family and friends today
Vivian is scheduled to have her port and her g-button removed next Thursday morning, September 23rd at Medical City Children's Hospital. The procedures are not expected to take long and Vivian will go home that day, with little to no recovery afterward except for a pressure dressing to prevent the pocket where the port was located from filling with fluid.
There was some question as to whether we would go ahead and do a muscle biopsy at the same time as the other procedures to rule out or establish if Vivian has malignant hyperthermia. Malignant Hyperthermia is a genetic predisposition to problems with anesthesia that might have led to the high fever and rhabdomyolysis that landed Vivian in the ICU. I really don't think Vivian has MH - believe it's most likely that an infection brought about Vivian's extended hospitalization - and hate to put her through the biopsy unnecessarily because it involves a fairly large incision in the thigh and is very costly. Vivian's pediatric surgeon, Dr. LaNoue, very kindly spent a lot of time on the phone this afternoon speaking to Vivian's pediatrician as well as to the pediatric anesthesiologist who was present for the procedures to insert Vivian's g-tube and then later her port and g-button, and also to Dr. Fanning who was working in the PICU today. The anesthesiologist remembered Vivian (the girl with the fancy bed!) and was comfortable sedating her again without a definitive answer on the MH question, so we are proceeding without the muscle biopsy.
When I took Vivian to the pediatric surgeon yesterday, he couldn't believe Vivian was the same patient he'd seen in the hospital! He was amazed at how calm Vivian was and how clearly and willingly she talked to him. I asked Dr. LaNoue today if he'd mentioned to Dr. Fanning how well Vivian was doing, and he exclaimed, "I've been telling EVERYONE! It's just incredible!"
While we're at Medical City next week, I hope to take Vivian up to the PICU for a visit. I look forward to seeing some of the people who took such good care of Vivian during her month there and can't wait for them to witness for themselves her remarkable recovery.
I would appreciate your prayers for Vivian next Thursday morning: that the procedures go smoothly and predictably and that Vivian handles the anesthesia well. Please continue to pray that Vivian's left elbow regains its range of motion and that her seizures cease.
As ever, Robert and I are deeply grateful for your kindness and support.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1
Last night Robert, Vivian, Dots and I went to the SMU football game. (Sadly Will was over in Fort Worth cheering for our purple rivals.) We didn't tell Vivian ahead of time where we were going lest she get anxious and upset and refuse to get in the car, but she figured things out and cried out "I don't like SMU!" as soon as we pulled onto the campus. Robert was able to entice Vivian out of the car and into her stroller with a promise of a Sprite. After we found our seats in the stadium, Vivian did great - even clapped occasionally and cheered, "Go SMU!"
I'm proud to say the Mustangs won their home opener 28-7 which made for a happy and successful family outing.
The happy fan with her Sprite
Vivian pointed to the Jumbotron and said, "Look! The football game is on the big TV!"
Vivian and Robert (Dots is WAY too cool to sit with her parents when there are friends her age to hang out with in the end zone)
I received this text from Vivian's wonderful teacher this week:
Vivian became insistent to leave my class during free time this morning. She did not want Dora or anything from my class. She told me, "I want to read" so we walked over to Mrs. Cunningham's class. I love it!
Vivian's pediatrician and neurologist had both expressed concern during recent appointments that the incision on Vivian's arm was warm. No redness, swelling or other signs of infection were apparent, but a blood test to check markers associated with infection seemed in order.
I took Vivian to the hospital lab at Medical City this week to have the blood drawn from her port (easier and faster than from her arm). It was very strange to be back in that hospital after a month away (our brief return visit to the ER didn't take us back to the main part of the hospital where we came and went for 32 days). Vivian was very cooperative during the test and doesn't seem to remember much of anything about her stay in the hospital.
Our pediatrician called yesterday to say that Vivian's blood work was COMPLETELY NORMAL! We are just thrilled. An infection would have likely meant more surgery and more time on IV antibiotics, neither of which appeals to Robert or me right now.
Vivian has an appointment with her orthopedic surgeon next Wednesday. We are hopeful that he will give us clearance to call the pediatric surgeon and schedule a time to remove Vivian's port and her g-button.
Apart from continuing the rehab on Vivian's left arm, the ordeal of this summer seems to be passing the way of the Texas heat (the latter is very wishful thinking on my part). THANK YOU for your tireless prayers for Vivian and for your countless acts of kindness toward our family. We appreciated each and every gesture of love and support.
Praise be to God!
"The Lord reigns, let earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice." Psalm 97:1
Married for 25 years to Robert, three kids: Will (21), Vivian (18) and Dots (15) ~~~~
Majored in mathematics at SMU, taught elementary school for six years before Will was born ~~~~
Things I enjoy: playing duplicate bridge, working NY Times crossword puzzles, reading good books, entertaining, visiting with friends, planning trips, TRAVELING, playing board games, spending time with family, cooking, corresponding with old friends
I unintentionally contaminated all of the pictures on my blog when I changed my privacy settings on Flickr. I am working backwards to correct them all, but it is quite a tedious procedure! If you encounter a post with error messages from Flickr where the pictures should be, then I haven't gotten to that post yet. Please let me know and I will update it immediately. Thanks for your patience!