Friday, July 25, 2014

Days Since Last Accident: STILL 1...

"Remember that time when you got stung by a scorpion?" -- a phrase that I will frequently direct at Lisa.

A few fun facts I've learned in the last 16 hours:

  • There are 56 species of scorpion in Arizona, only one of which has strong enough venom to be considered lethal.
  • Although incredibly painful, scorpion stings aren't generally dangerous for healthy adults; only the very old or very young need worry.
  • Pain, numbness, and tingling are all to be expected and not a significant cause for concern.  The symptoms to be on the lookout for include drooling and rapid eye movement.
  • Poison control is an excellent support in case of a scorpion sting.  They will frequently call to check up on the victim, giving knowledgeable feedback regarding symptoms and concerns. 
  • If you HAVE to get stung by a scorpion, try not to let it sting you just above your wedding ring.  The finger will swell, and you will end up in this sort of situation:
 Poison control's biggest concern was Lisa's wedding ring, which was stuck soundly on her swollen finger.  Fortunately (if one can consider a lost wedding ring to be fortunate), her ring was just a cheap replacement since her actual ring got stolen from a gym in Georgia, so the welfare of the ring was of no concern.  Poison control suggested the E.R. to remove it; Lisa figured she had a cheaper option in Grandpa Casdorph.  Grandpa came over, tools in hand, and was able to cut only the spacers attached to size Lisa's ring and then, after spraying Lisa's finger with Windex, pull her ring off.

She was forced to act particularly calmly throughout the entire ordeal because she didn't want to make my kids panic.  She told Dylan she was trying to be as brave as he had been the day before, and even as her pain and symptoms clearly intensified, she put on a great front.  She even managed to play some Phase 10 while waiting to see just how she would react to the venom.

She had a pretty terrible 4 hours.  Pain, and lots of it, was compounded by a headache, dizziness, nausea, and sweating.  Armed with information from my Aunt Sally that she will likely experience the intense pain for at least 30 hours, she focused on lessening the other symptoms.  By 9 pm, she happily reported to Poison Control that the dizziness w, as subsiding, leaving her mostly with the just the pain.

Of course, Brett and I think it was just a huge ruse to get out of packing the Uhaul.  Arizona was just a temporary stop for them on their way to their new life in Las Vegas, and a change in plans has them moving this weekend instead of mid-week next week.  Lisa insisted, as she lay in pain on her back on the driveway helping direct the traffic of her packed belongings, that she really would have rather been loading the truck.  We joked that we'll see what she says when she and Brett have to unload it on Saturday.

I haven't spoken to the patient personally this morning, but Brett reports that she says she slept well and feels a bit better.  We are all hoping she will have a speedy recovery (some research indicates the effects can last 7 to 10 days), and that she will be well enough to drive to Las Vegas tomorrow, to help unpack, to work for my Dad installing lockers in St. George on Monday, and to be unaffected by the venom during our family's upcoming trip to Puerto Rico.

I am hoping I will soon lose the urge to whip around suddenly in a panic each time a stray hair or string convinces me there's a scorpion on me.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Days Since Last Accident: 1

I stood in the school bathroom with worried fifth graders surrounding me.  Someone had, of course, gone to get Mrs. Casdorph, and I was silently grateful to know my mom was somewhere in the building. I wondered if I was about to be in trouble as well as injured; if I hadn't been where my mom had asked me not to be, my blood would not be covering the sink and counter.

Technically, if I hadn't accepted a dare from the 5th grade students who were a year older and probably a foot taller than me, my lip wouldn't be punctured and bleeding, either.  But mom would be sure to point out that my first misstep was in ignoring her specific instructions not to go out to the playground with her 5th grade students after school.  This wasn't the first time I had done so since receiving the instructions to the contrary, but it was the first time she was going to know about.

She entered the restroom, dismissed the onlookers, and started to clean up the mess I had made.  She didn't seem angry, just a mixture of calm concern and disappointment.  I explained my injury.  It had been easy to stand on the ladder that ascended to the monkey bars and jump to catch the third rung.  But the 5th grade students were catching the fourth rung.  At their insistence, I attempted the feat despite knowing I was probably too small to accomplish it successfully.  My fingertips had just barely made contact, altering my body's momentum and angle such that I found myself parallel with the ground and falling quickly toward it.  Lacking the self preservation skills that would, four years later, have helped me choose flight instead of fight when faced with a falling piano, I did not get my hands down in front of my face.  Rather, I met the gravel playground base head-on.  Or more accurately, chin-on.  My mom couldn't be certain whether the injuries connected, but I was definitely bleeding from both the inside and outside of my lower lip, and she was concerned that my teeth may have gone straight through.

The doctors determined that I had two separate lacerations.  The outer appeared to be cuts caused by the rocks I'd collided with, and they were superficial enough to heal on their own.  The inner, however, were deeper ruts cut by my front teeth and would require two stitches to kick start the healing process.  Both, it turned out, would scar.

 I was about eight at the time, which would have made Lisa four and Michelle two.  That means my mom had 14 child-years of being a mom before her first emergency visit.

Now, with nine-year-old Adam, seven-year-old Alex, and four-year-old Dylan, I am 20 child-years into motherhood (of three boys, no less), and have officially completed my first emergency room visit for a child's nearly identical injury.


Grandma and Grandpa Casdorph had ended up in Arizona for just a couple of days, so we had arranged to meet them at Great Grandpa's pool for an afternoon.  We'd been playing for nearly two hours, going through the usual cycle of pool fun: tag, underwater breathing contests, and impressive jumps off the waterfall area (approximately a 3 foot jump).  Dylan had been showing Grandma what a fish he has turned into.  He can swim!  Not only that, but he's comfortable "sinking" now - going under the water with the confidence that his body will help him pop back up.  This has freed him to jump from the waterfall without the hindrance of the pool noodle he had been using to keep afloat.  He did several forward facing jumps, coached by the adults on how to land feet first instead of doing a belly flop over and over again.  I did a few back dives, trying to teach Adam the skill.  Dylan wanted to try, too.  I told him he wasn't going to be quite big enough for that trick, so he asked if he could just jump backward.

I was a little worried.  He has a huge noggin which means pretty much any motion he tries ends up with his face forward.  This is not a great position for jumping into a pool backwards.  But I let him try it, and he was proudly successful.  He scrambled out of the pool and lined himself up to try again, all smiles.  As I was explaining to my mom the reservations I harbored and concern about how he might land face first on the cement, he lined up to jump again.  And something went wrong.  A foot slipped out from underneath him, and I watched him enact the exact scenario I had just described.  Grandma and I both quickly swam to him, my mom getting there first and pulling him out of the water.  Blood streamed down his face and into the water.  I took him in my arms, and we were soon both a bloody mess.  I carried him to grass and began an inspection the best I could but able to see little through all the blood and tears.

Grandma started to clean him up, much to the dismay of Grandpa who had gone to get his cell phone camera.  He asked Dylan if he could please bleed a little more so he could get a picture with the blood running all the way to Dylan's belly button since Grandma had wiped that all up.  Dylan laughed, and he put all his tears behind him.  He lay perfectly still and calm as I determined that there were cuts both inside and out, that I couldn't be certain if it went straight through, and that I would be taking him to a doctor.

Dylan relaxed with my sunglasses while I made the inquiries necessary to locate a covered facility in the Mesa area, and then we headed off to the Banner Desert Hospital, only 8 miles from Great Grandpa's home.  Upon arrival I discovered that this hospital has both a traditional ER and a separate children's ER, a fact for which I would soon be grateful.

The facility had Where's Waldo murals in each patient room and cartoons on tv everywhere we went.  The staff spoke directly to Dylan whenever they entered a room, and only after he appeared comfortable did they speak with me.  His nurse's approach, in particular impressed me.  "Hi, Dylan," he began.  "I am so sorry you are hurt.  My name is (I can't remember), and I am here to help you feel better.  And guess what, I brought you a sticker!  Do you like stickers?"  He overheard me call Dylan by his nickname, Dyl-Pickle, and he referred to him as nothing else for the rest of our stay.  It was so comforting to be in a place who knew how to translate their medical jargon into kid speak, informing Dylan of everything as it happened.  I asked him later if he had been scared at all, and he looked at me like I was crazy when he responded with an emphatic, "No..."

Cleaned up a bit and resting before his procedure

As it turned out, he did not bite all the way through.  His injuries were the opposite of mine, though, with the inner being shallow and the outer being deep.  I mean... deep.  I saw it as they pulled it back to investigate, and I didn't even know that the piece of skin leading from chin to lip was so thick.  It took 8 stitches to patch him up, and he endured the ordeal awake but loopy from the calming gas they'd given him.  He didn't whine or cry at any point until the effects of the gas had worn off and he processed the instructions that he wouldn't be allowed to swim for a week.

Stitched up and drugged up
We got to stay at the hospital for an exciting extra hour, because Dylan refused to come out of the effects of the gas.  He was too wobbly and giggly for them to release him, so I got to read a few extra chapters of the book I brought along while I waited for him to recover.  All said, we spent 5 hours in the ER before returning to greet his anxious brothers.  I was happy to see Adam and Alex engaged in a game of Phase 10 with Brett and Lisa, their minds clearly distracted from their worry.  When I told them Dylan wouldn't be allowed to swim, Adam looked at Dylan with concern, stretched out a hand to touch him affectionately, and announced, "Then I won't swim, either," to which Alex added, "Me too."

Since dismissal from the hospital, Dylan has needed no pain medication, has slept through the night, and seems happy and positive.  And we have officially ended our injury-free streak.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mission Accomplished

Starting at the very back of the line

 Only crazy people get up at 5 am to go run 3.2 miles with a 4 kids for the simple sake of helping Adam, Alex, and D earn their "fun run" Unplugged badge. Apparently, Brett, Lisa and I have joined that loony club. While technically we were only a few of the many lined up to run, our group boasted the youngest registered runner of the day (Dylan) and the youngest baby we saw in a stroller.

We spent the week leading up to the race doing training walks and harbored no misconceptions about how the day would go.  Our goals were simple: 1) walk and 2) finish.  Based on the 2.5 miles we did in about an hour on Wednesday, we hoped to be done in under 90 minutes. And we hoped Great Grandpa Casdorph would serve us bacon when we showed up at his house for our post - race breakfast.

We also hoped to see some familiar sights, having chosen a race at Kiwanis Park, home of the famous (on my blog, at least) playground camel. We got more than we dared hope for on the trail: a trip past the ducks, the camel, and even Great Gr&Gr's old house on College Ave.

The kids had pretty good attitudes during most of the distance, though Al complained of a side ache. D probably walked 3 or the 3.2 miles on his own two feet, spelled off by one brief piggyback ride before the mile 2 marker.  He even jogged on his own across the finish line. Our troop finished dead last at about 70 minutes, a full 20 minutes faster than I had really dared hope for.

And there was bacon at Grandpa's.

Mission accomplished.

Finished! 1 hour 10 minues

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Love to See the Temple

Dear Grandma Casdorph,

Yesterday, I went to the Gilbert, Arizona temple.  It opened in March of this year, so I know you never got a chance to see it.  The grounds were, of course, beautiful, but one of the things that struck me as being different from the temple grounds in Utah was that there were fewer flowers and more greenery.  I guess that's probably typical of Arizona, and I thought it was strikingly beautiful.  The interior decor matched this theme with pretty much everything either green, white, or wood.  There were fresh flower arrangements everywhere, all white blossoms surrounded by greenery.  Even the stained glass windows were green and white, with a pattern somewhat reminiscent of a cactus.

Because it was the middle of a workday, Brett, Lisa, and I were among the very few patrons in the temple.  When the gentlemen in the sealing office found out we are not locals, they offered to give us a tour of the building.  We saw the beautiful large sealing rooms and a waiting room for live sealing guests, apparently the largest in the world.   We saw beautiful paintings of the Arizona landscape, and it reminded me of your decorating style, always drawing from your surroundings.

If you wonder why I am telling you all this, it's because I took a few pieces of you with me.  After your funeral, Grandpa let us girls choose things from among your jewelry and clothes that we would like to keep.  I took several pair of earrings I knew would get frequent use and a skirt or two to extend my business wardrobe.  But I was really looking for something that would feel special - something unique that would really remind me of you.  I considered maybe taking one of your temple dresses, but I really like the one I have and wasn't quite sure how yours would fit.  And then I saw your temple bag.

I've always wanted a temple bag that would allow my dress to hang nicely, just like yours does.  I can't quite tell, and you aren't around to ask, but I am pretty sure you made it yourself.  I really like all the little pockets that fit various items perfectly, especially the pocket that snugly holds my temple recommend.  I decided to take your temple bag, and I think you would be really happy to know it is still being used.

I actually didn't know you had been a temple worker at some point, but I found your white name tag in the bag.  The first time your bag and I went to the temple, I slipped your name tag in the pocket of my temple dress.  It's going to stay there forever so my happy thoughts of you will keep me even closer to the spirit when I attend the temple.  I wish that we would have included temple trips with you and Grandpa when we would come down to Arizona.  It would be really nice to have memories like that to add to the lifetime of other memories I cherish.

I laughed a bit to myself when I saw your solution to one of my common problems: suddenly noticing that I am dressed head to toe in peaceful white - except for the bright, colorful earrings I'd worn to match the dress I arrived in.  Apparently, you kept a pair of temple earrings in your bag and changed your earrings to match your temple dress.  Of all the earrings of yours that I chose to keep, these are my favorite: a set of simple pearl studs.  I looked forward to wearing them, but somehow their little baggie had slipped out of the temple bag and remained in my car the first time I went.  As it turned out, the first time I got to wear them in the temple was yesterday at the Gilbert temple.

Somehow that seemed just right.  I wore earrings you specifically purchased to do work I know you valued in a temple you would have loved.  The best part was that while I missed you, it was easy to remember the things you always taught by your strong example of faith and service.  Arizona is not the same without you here, but because of the blessings of the temple, we can be together again.


Your Granddaughter,
Andrea

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Revising the Standard Answer

Things Adam used to be afraid of:

  • fireworks
  • power tools
  • "It's a Small World" ride
  • the idea of coyotes in the Oquirrh mountains
  • loud noises
  • motorcycles/dune buggy
  • his shadow
Okay, maybe not his shadow, but as his mom, it often seemed that way.  I spent much of the first 6 years of his life explaining to his Grandpa Casdorph that he wouldn't enjoy whatever it was Grandpa had planned... he would be too scared.

And then he started to grow up.  Ryan came for a summer, and the boys spent their weeks together climbing on or jumping off everything they could find.  He gradually became more tolerant of noise, more willing to take risks, and even started to enjoy rides on Grandpa's motorized toys.  He became my hiking buddy, willing to climb a little higher than the rest of the family, and with me along to encourage him to try new things, he has become what I would even call adventurous.

So when Skye invited me along for a weekend camping trip, I suggested that Adam come along, too.  We stopped at the Malad Gorge to walk around a bit, and I received my first clue that this trip might be a bit different.  Instead of relying on Adam's innate sense of danger to keep him far from the edge, I found myself actually having to watch where he was and offer words of motherly caution to keep him safely away from the edge.

This new Adam accompanied us down the river, as well.  Instead of freaking out and insisting he be put in the safest place possible, he complained about being seated in the middle of the boat, clearly seeing less action than those along the sides.  After Uncle Skye let him "ride the bull" (sit at the very front of the raft) during one rapid, it was all he begged to do.  He was the first to notice a rope swing overhanging the river, and the second to try it.  (He made me go first.)  When the big boys (Chancy, Skye, and Kyler) showed their skill with flips and tricks, Adam decided to try a "gainer" (what I call a back-flip).  He didn't succeed, but I was impressed that he even convinced his body to try, since my body promptly refused when I sent the do-a-backflip signals.  

In fact, his only moment of panic during the whole run was after I had gotten thrown from the raft.  A few minutes after I had climbed back in, he spoke quietly so only I could hear.  "Mom, can I hold your hand for a minute?"  I of course let him, but I was curious why he seemed a bit scared between rapids.  "I saw you fall out of the boat, Mom," he explained.  "I looked and saw you completely covered in the white water, and then you were gone."  That's all he said as he gripped my hand for a few moments.

Of course, the weekend was full of tales from Skye's glory days.  He and Chancy relived their various jumps from various bridges, and considered jumping a few times on this trip.  However, it was the 4th of July and with the river full of rafters in various stages of insobriety, they decided to heed Skye's mom's warning and play it safe.  But even just the talk of jumping off a bridge had Adam all excited.  "Mom, can I jump off a bridge?"  At first, I responded with my time-tested answer to any question like this that arises from Adam.  

"Sure!  If you feel brave enough to do that, you go right ahead."

Historically, since Adam has hardly been brave enough to do anything, it has been a great answer.  I figured it would still apply well to bridge jumping, which I am not entirely certain he's ready for.  But then I watched him flying off the rope swing and thought, perhaps it is time to revise the standard answer.  Since the only Garden Valley, Idaho bridge I would have actually let him jump off (one I jumped in my teens) has been torn down, I bought myself a bit more time to consider what I will say the next time he begs to jump off a bridge.

He's already committed me to take him skydiving on his 18th birthday, and he now has talked Uncle Skye into taking him down to the bottom of the Malad Gorge to swim when he's 16.  (Adam was sad that Skye went down to the bottom without him this time.)  And I'm starting to wonder what my blanket permission statement for anything he's brave enough to do has gotten me into!

Adam and Red
Part of me is thrilled to have a new partner in crime.  And part of me wonders why I never had half the this-could-go-wrong scenarios cross my mind for my own safety that I do when I watch my 9 year old stand looking over the edge of a gorge.  Thankfully, his growing up also comes with less scary perks.  I now have a new Killer Bunnies buddy, and he is an absolutely amazing uncle.  I can't really say I was thrilled when we ended up with Ryder for the 2nd act of Retro Seven Brides (starring Skye as Gideon and Michelle as Dorcas), since we were pretty well stuck in our seats.  But I told Adam, who had stolen Ryder from Grandpa Eddie and brought him to sit with us, that since he brought him, he got to watch him.  Sure enough, Ryder refused any help from me and sat contentedly with his cousin through the act.

And I do still get to hang onto the old Adam in a few ways.  He was ridiculously frightened of the frog that Chris and Zachary caught.  

Frankincense the Frog doesn't seem so scary to me!

And for all the trying to act grown up he did, he sure escaped to play with Kyler's kids at every possible opportunity!

Closer in age than most of my kids' actual cousins, Kyler's kids will hopefully continue to be a big part of my kids' childhoods.   

But what will I say next time Adam asks to jump of a bridge?

Probably...

Skye, Adam, and Chancy looking of the Malad Gorge Bridge

"Sure!  If you feel brave enough to do that, you go right ahead."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sunday Reflections: Favorite Hymns

Sunday's Gospel Doctrine lesson in Brett and Lisa's temporary ward in Queen Creek, Arizona was on the Psalms.  The teacher suggested that the Psalms were in "olden days" like what the hymns are to us, and the class had a lively discussion regarding favorite hymns.  Although usually one to accidentally dominate classroom discussion, I sat back and listened since the ward's regulars had plenty to say.  Meanwhile, I considered my two favorite hymns and the stories associated with how they came to get the honor of being favorites.

WHERE CAN I TURN FOR PEACE

If I had to pick an all-time favorite, I would have to go with "Where Can I Turn for Peace."  When I was a young teen, the resident ward choir accompanist was called to be Relief Society President, leaving a vacancy at the piano bench.  My mom was, of course, the director of the choir, and therefore in a position to suggest to the bishop that I be called as the replacement.  She knew I would have to practice the songs, but she also knew I had begun accompanying while still in primary and had successfully managed to practice and perform "He Sent His Son" in the primary program when I was eleven, and I guess she figured if I could manage the tricky run on the second page, I could probably handle ward choir songs. And so it came to be that at 13, I began accompanying the ward choir.

Knowing acutely the limitations of her accompanist, Mom stuck to fairly uncomplicated arrangements for the first few years.  I seemed to be able to handle most of the Beebe arrangements, which anyone who has sung in a ward choir would recognize for their iconic black and white cover page with the silhouette of a grand piano swooping beneath the song's title.  One such arrangement was of the hymn, "Where Can I Turn for Peace," and it was arranged to begin with a solo.

My mom felt strongly about the bishopric supporting the ward choir by participating, and she was willing to arrange rehearsals around the bishopric's already busy meeting schedule.  I remember fondly singing with Bishop Kimball and then later with Bishop Buchanan.  When the choir sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace," Bishop Buchanan had recently taken over as the leader of our ward, and it was readily apparent how great he would be with the youth.  He would ask us at the most random times if we had our "For Strength of Youth" packets with us, and if we did, he would buy us full-sized candy bar.  He invited us to his home once a month for Bishop Youth Firesides, and he was the first one to goof off with us at Youth Conference.

Though he had been singing in the choir for some time, I had never heard him sing a solo until my mom asked him to sing the solo to start "Where Can I Turn for Peace."  I will never forget the strong testimony I received of Bishop Buchanan's call to be the bishop of our ward as he sang the lyrics:

Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart,
Anger or malice,
I draw myself apart
Searching my soul?

It was important for me as a teen to hear my bishop, a man I fully respected, admitting aloud that even he could experience these feelings of uncertainty, and it was particularly powerful that I could take it in from the piano, as the notes I played supported the melody he sang.  Whenever I hear this hymn, it reaffirms the love I have in my heart for the priesthood leaders who, despite their own uncertainty, lead the church.

COME FOLLOW ME

Interestingly, my other favorite hymn also stems from my early experiences at the piano.  As a teen, I frequently had the opportunity to play the piano at stake baptisms and youth firesides.  Sometimes I would have to play whatever songs had been chosen, but more often I would be asked to choose the music.  Whenever I was given the opportunity to choose, I selected "Come Follow Me."  First of all, it is written in the key of C, making it one of the easier songs to play.  It was nice to know I could confidently play the song I had selected.  But I chose it for more reasons that than.  I was also particularly fond of the lyrics and felt they were appropriate at baptisms.

"Come follow me," the Savior said.
Then let us in His footsteps tread,
For thus alone can we be one
With God's own loved begotten Son.

Putting it a little more simply: The Savior said do it.  So we do it.  Because it's the only way to get to be with Him again.  For me, this is pretty much the basis of my whole testimony.  I've decided the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the earth.  Which means that I've decided that when the Savior says do it, I need to do it.  Because it's the only way I get to be with my eternal family.

The testimony is simple.  The musical setting is simple.  The melody is simple.  Whenever I hear this hymn, I am reminded that the important things in life really are simple, which sometimes is a pretty important reminder for me!

Even if I didn't end up sharing out loud, I enjoyed the opportunity to think about the teachings of the gospel as they are presented in hymn form, and I am grateful that we rely so much on music in our worship.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jack Is Home!!

I noticed I have 45 minutes and a desire to write today, so I figured it was time to mention that my brother Jack is back from his two year LDS mission to Bolivia.  As a mom of 3, time is measured in clothes sizes and milestones, and two years can fly by extraordinarily quickly.  Jack is back, and in a way it seems like Jack was never gone.

I think we missed him more in the 24 hours leading up to his arrival than we did the rest of the time.  Uncle Jack was the hot topic of conversation in our house, and I actually had to ban asking questions about when he would get back.  We had planned to stay up late and meet him at the airport when his 11:00 pm flight arrived.  I wasn't too disappointed to hear he had been delayed and would not arrive until 11:30 am on Saturday.  I knew we'd have much better attitudes with a full night's sleep!

Grandma and Grandpa Casdorph came over a bit early Saturday morning.  Grandpa to help with some electrical in the basement, and Grandma to help make signs. We left the airport at 11:00 with the intent to limit the amount of time the 5 nieces and nephews would have to spend waiting.  Which would have worked out really well if his flight hadn't been delayed until 12:36.  Realizing Alex had forgotten his glasses, Kirk offered to go on a glasses and pizza run so we could feed the pizza my parents had brought for Jack to the kids.  (When my mom asked Jack who he'd like to have at the airport, he had indicated little concern over who came but that he would really like it if my mom brought a pizza.)  Grandpa supplemented the pizza with treats, and we were able to keep the kids relatively happy during the long wait.



Once we lined the kids up with their signs, they got really excited.  That annoying kind of excited that results in them getting their signs taken away.  Luckily, they earned them back so Jack could see them proudly displaying, "WELCOME BACK, UNCLE JACK," the rhyme of which Adam was so proud, "JAK, HOW WHAS YORE MESHN?" which Alex had clearly made by himself, and "A H IIIIII B HH" carefully stenciled at random, which I labeled with Dylan's name in an upper corner.  I really don't even think he saw the signs before they mobbed him, though.

His reception wasn't quite as warm from the babies who don't know him.  (Jack left with just three nephews and came back with 5 nephews and a niece.)


All that was left to do was satiate everyone's curiosity about a few facts:


And it seemed to pretty much be a draw in both cases.

I didn't take any pictures at his homecoming open house, but I do want to remember the advice a member of his ward shared with him.

"The first week back, you'll think, 'My family is going to Hell.'
The second week, you'll think, 'My friends are going to Hell.'
The third week, you'll think, 'What the hell, I'm going with them.'"

After which, she apparently paused thoughtfully and told him,
"You've got two weeks."