Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lukas in the hospital, hiking, canoeing, and Marblemount community market

Are you getting tired yet of all the beautiful mountain and flower photos? You do understand that it will be winter soon-ish, and then it will all be dark and depressing, and I will post lots of pictures of grey rain – but in the meantime? There will be shots like this...

...and hiking season and backyard bonfires are happening, and we are in blissful ignorance of all the winter depression. So. Let me catch you up on some awesome stuff we did the past couple of weeks, and then let me tell you about Lukas' hospital visit.
Our wonderful friends Brandie and Bradley were visiting for three weeks, and today, they returned to their Flagstaff home base. I am a little bit weepy, because I miss them. We packed as much fun into these past weeks as possible, including a hike up Sauk Mountain.  All the locals know Sauk Mountain, because it dominates our landscape with its hogback summit and meadow-draped western slopes.  The views are superb, and the many switchbacks up the mountain are steep.

View of the Sauk and Skagit River basins
Super girl and super hiker

Lukas helps Eva access a patch of snow for playing in
They made it to the very top.  She needed to be carried a bunch, and then bribed with ice cream.
I fell in love with this little puppy who hiked to the top as well.
Family shot

See how steep the switch backs are?
Besides blissing out in the mountains, we also blissed out on Diablo Lake in canoes.  Brandie and Bradley and our gang hopped into two canoes and paddled out to Thunder Point.  The water of this lake is insanely blue and is connected to Ross Lake, but separated by a dam.  It is known for heavy winds and hard paddling, and we sure struggled against it while paddling to the little island.  We got a workout, but it was so worth it!

Brandie and Bradley with Lukas in one canoe, the rest of the family in the other.

Little Miss Eva

Kai and I are training for a bike ride across the mountain pass this fall, from Mazama on the East side of the Cascades to our house in Marblemount on the West side. It will be an epic ride, and I think Kai is ready for it. Don't ask about me. We rode up the Cascade River road, which goes up and up for six miles, and at the end of the ride, Kai breezed by Brandie and me (who was wheezing at that point, I might add.)

We made it!  Looks steep, ey?
The rest of the past weeks was filled with painting our nails at the pond, and backyard barbeques with friends, and the building of zucaphones. The latter are made from the hollow stems of zucchini plants, and when cut just right produce a haunting sound, like a flute. It was fun for the first five minutes, but when the dogs started howling, and all three kids made a terrible racket with their zucaphones, the fun got kind of old for the adults...

Our friends Cedar and Terry, with the dog adding to the noise.

And let me mention our first ever Marblemount Community Market, where a bunch of us locals sold organic vegetables and art.  I had a booth with my home made goat milk soap (there is still some left here and here, my felted hats and my own handspun yarn.  I had lots of fun, sold way more than I expected, and got to hang out with friends, including rather young ones.  Fortunately, Eva was kind enough to share her huge bag of popcorn with her girlfriends!

The last and least pleasant happening this week was our visit to Seattle Children's Hospital with Lukas.  He had to go in for a CT scan to check out what is going on with his heart aneurysm.  Stepping into this hospital is always hard for Steve and me because it reminds us of the traumatic first days of Lukas' hospitalization due to Kawasaki disease, and it brings up deep feelings.  Seeing other people's children sick, and watching parents pale with grief and worry always leaves me shaky.  But I always steel myself and put a cage around my heart so I won't turn into a puddle, and the cheerful decorations and amazing staff at the hospital make it all bearable.
Lukas had to put on a gown with embarrassing cartoon characters (his words), swallow beta blockers to lower his blood pressure, have an IV inserted, and do a lot of boring waiting around.  He had to practice holding his breath so the machine could get a clear image.  The hardest part for us was seeing our son being put into the "donut" machine, while they pumped radio-active contrast agents through his veins.  They warned him that he would feel hot inside as it was being injected, and that his mouth would have a weird taste.  Steve and I sat behind a screen so we wouldn't be exposed to radiation, and we cheered him on from there.
This is all so much harder on us than him, and he is a trooper throughout all his procedures.  I wish I could possess my son's calm and courage and go-with-the-flow attitude.  After he went to the bathroom for the first time after the procedure, he emerged with awe and wonder on his face, commenting on his lime green pee.

Steve reading to Lukas while waiting for the Beta blockers to do their mysterious work.
There is the donut machine.
We will find out the results soon.  Hopefully.  Waiting is the hardest part.


  1. Such hard business this parenting thing! So glad Lukas has such great and supportive parents who make him feel like secure! What lovely times you guys have had with friends! Chris and I want to do Sauk mountain, how exciting that Eva made it, I'm impressed! Xoxoxo

  2. Thanks for your sweet comments, Jenni. My hat off to you who has more kids than I do! I don't know how you manage to be such a patient, loving parent with all that you have going on, and you are surely and inspiration for me!


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