tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:/posts the ridlehoover family blog 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352817 2010-10-28T07:24:22Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Apple iPhone Calendar Fail x 2

My wife an I are busy people.  I work all day.  She chases twins all day.  On occasion, we find it useful to know where the other person is, or what our plans are for next Tuesday.  So, we’d like the ability to see each other’s calendars.  It’d also be nice to be able to exchange appointments from time to time.

FAIL #1:  Unfortunately, the iPhone mail app cannot open .ICS calendar files.  So, if I send Jill a copy of an early morning meeting request (so she knows to kick me out of bed), she has to wait until she can open the email on her Mac before she can add the appointment to her calendar.  Seems to me like this is a fairly standard requirement for email/calendaring systems.  I wonder why Apple left it out.

FAIL #2:  Also rather unfortunately, Apple’s MobileMe product has a rather gaping hole in it between two related features, called sync and publish.  Sync is the feature that allows a MobileMe user to access all their calendar, contacts, bookmarks and more across all their OS X and iOS devices.  Publish is the feature that allows a MobileMe user to share their calendar (or contacts) with anyone on the web.  You can read more about these features here.

iCal supports both of these features.  But, the iPhone only supports sync.  Therein lies the hole.  Here’s how an event travels from my iPhone to hers:

  1. I create a new event on my iPhone.
  2. The MobileMe client on my phone syncs the event to the cloud.
  3. The MobileMe client on my computer syncs the event to my computer.
  4. iCal on my computer then publishes the event to my shared calendar.  (I’m not sure whether this happens automatically with “auto-publish” turned on, or whether I still have to manually refresh.)
  5. The event now is visible to Jill’s iPhone – if she’s chosen to subscribe to my shared calendar directly from her phone.  But, if she subscribed to my calendar via iCal and she’s using MobileMe sync to get that calendar onto her phone, then the entire process above has to happen in reverse, including a manual refresh that forces iCal to go download my shared calendar again.

The practical result of this missing use case is that Jill and I cannot see appointments that we add on our iPhones until both of us have had a chance to refresh in iCal – which can take days.  (Did I mention that Jill chases twins all day?)

Granted, Jill and I are still using our ancient iPhone 3G phones.  (We’re holding out for Verizon.)  So, perhaps the new iPhone and the new MobileMe calendar (which is only compatible with iOS 4) solve the problem.  If you can confirm (or deny) this, let me know.  In the meantime, I’m going to try syncing our calendars via Google, rather than MobileMe.

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352821 2010-10-16T05:54:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z What we did this summer…

We had quite a busy summer, though you wouldn't know it from our picture gallery. That is, you wouldn't know it until now. I just posted four new albums to the gallery. And, there's much more to come - as soon as I get the time. (I stayed up past 2:00 AM to get these images uploaded.)

In case you don't have time to view all of the images now, here are a few samples:

We learned how to peel oranges…

Peeling oranges Yummy oranges Silly oranges

We threw rocks at Alki Beach…

Puget Sound & Olympic Mountains Removing rocks

Family on the beach Throwing rocks

We checked out the tide pools at Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach…

Haystack Rock Bunny!

Tide pools   Feeling the flowers   Getting to the beach

And, we spent the day with Thomas the Tank Engine…

Thomas the Tank Engine Excited to ride on Thomas

Happy to ride on Thomas Family in front of Emily

And, there’s lots more to come!

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352836 2010-10-13T02:15:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z 20/20 Lifestyles

In January, 2006, I weighed 293 pounds. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type II Diabetes and severe obstructive sleep apnea. Six months later, I weighed 218 pounds, I was off all my medications, and I was sleeping fine without CPAP. How did I do this? 20/20 Lifestyles.

This morning, I weighed 294 pounds. I'm back on CPAP and all the medications. In fact, I'm now taking even more medicines and my metabolic numbers are worse than four years ago. How did I do this? In a word, stress. Over the last three years, my mother passed away from liver disease at 62, my wife gave birth to twins, I left Microsoft and I spent six+ months helping with the newborn twins.

Any one of those events could have tripped me up. The combination was overwhelming. I reverted back to my previous sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet. Now that life has settled down again, and now that I've been re-diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, I've decided to take another run at 20/20.

Jill and I are both going to repeat the full program. We'll likely start around the beginning of November. This time, my focus will be on identifying ways to manage stress through sustaining an active lifestyle. Sure, I'll be following the 20/20 diet and exercise plans. And, the weight will come off. But, the most important thing I need to learn is how to be active every day.

I'll be posting progress updates as we go. Stay tuned.

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352843 2010-06-19T06:14:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Is this thing on?

After fiddling with multiple web hosts and multiple publishing platforms, I finally run across Posterous. Can blogging really be as easy as sending an email? I guess we'll see...

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352852 2010-05-25T02:19:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z When You Find a Manatee in Your Bathtub…

Dad & Lynn gave the kids a fantastic DVD for their birthday. It’s video of marine life doing what marine life does to the music of Brent Holmes. The music is so catchy that it’s got Jill and I singing right along. And, now, I can’t get one of the songs out of my head. But, I only know some of the lyrics, so it’s rather annoying. In an attempt to get the lyrics out of my head, or to at least teach me the rest of the song, here are the lyrics:

When You Find a Manatee in Your Bathtub by Brent Holmes

  • When you find a manatee in your bathtub, playing with your toys,
  • making lots of noise and causing trouble;
  • And, he’s washing his big flippers; and using all your soap;
  • and filling up your tub with giant bubbles; Say...
  • Please, Mr. Manatee, don’t tickle me,
  • ‘cause I’m as ticklish as a kid can be.
  • I won’t tickle you, if you don’t tickle.
  • And, we can play together.
  • Please, Mr. Manatee, while you're in my tub,
  • we should sing a song that goes rub-a-dub-dub.
  • Rub-a-dub-dub, a manatee is in my tub.
  • And, life couldn’t be much better.
  • Repeat with sea lion instead of manatee
  • Reapeat with walrus instead of manatee

There, now.  I feel so much better. If you’re interested, the album is called “Sea Tunes for Kids.” You can find both the DVD and the CD at Amazon.com.  I’ve also seen the CD at iTunes.

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352859 2010-05-17T10:26:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z The songs I sing to Hunter and Grace

It's my job to put the kids down at night. Generally, I sit in the big, cozy rocking chair with Grace on my left leg and Hunter on my right. I read a few books, then I turn out the light and sing songs. Unfortunately, my repertoire is rather thin:

  • Twinkle, Twinkle
  • A, B, C (same tune as Twinkle, Twinkle)
  • Bah, Bah, Black Sheep (same tune as Twinkle, Twinkle)
  • Rock-a-bye, Baby
  • Hush, Little Baby
  • Hey, Diddle Diddle
  • Are You Sleeping (modified for night time)

And, sometimes I'll sing these songs:

  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat (including alligators!)

Rather than learning new tunes, Jill and I have both made up some new songs based on tunes we already know, especially the eternally flexible Twinkle, Twinkle. Here's one Jill wrote:

Little Babies, Go To Sleep Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle

  • Little babies, go to sleep. Close your eyes and slumber deep.
  • In the morning, you will wake; Then fond memories we will make.
  • Little babies, go to sleep. Close your eyes and slumber deep.

And, here's one I made up: I Love You Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle

  • Hunter O'Neil, I love you. Sarah Grace, I love you, too.
  • Mommy loves you, yes she does. Daddy loves you, just as much.
  • Hunter O'Neil, I love you. Sarah Grace, I love you, too.

That one is probably my favorite song to sing the kids. I usually sing it last, really softly, just before putting the kids in their cribs. The kids seem to like it, too. They both know the song, and often sing it with me. Grace even made up her own version, it goes like this:

I Love You Sung to the beat of Gracie's own drum

  • Haha, I laa loo. Mama, I laa loo. Dada, I laa loo.
  • Mama, Dada, Haha, Gigi, I laa loo.

But, that's apparently not the only thing the song has taught the kids. Tonight, when I asked each of them to tell me their name, they both gave me versions of their full names: Hunter said, "Haha O'Neil;" and Gracie said, "Sarah Gracie." I'm so proud!

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352875 2009-12-02T07:50:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Overheard on SMS

Jill > YOUR children won’t nap! Driving me crazy!

Alan > I’m sorry – want me to take them back?

Jill > LOL! Yes, please!

Alan > Ok – find the receipt and I’ll return them tonight.

Jill > I don’t think they’ll fit in the package they came in!

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352890 2009-11-18T13:17:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Gaygee and Haha

It's been a while since I posted an update on the kids. Here's something fun that's been going on lately:

Hunter began referring to Gracie as "Gay-gee" months ago. It's still cute, today, especially when he is looking out for her interests. Tonight for example, when I gave him a cup of milk, he wouldn't take a sip until "Gay-gee" got her cup, too. Once she had her cup, all was well. But, up until Mom handed it to her, Hunter pointed at it with a look of concern and repeated "Gaygee! Gaygee!"

It's taken Grace a long time to come up with a name for Hunter. I guess the H sound is more difficult that the G sound. But, the other day, while Hunter was finishing a nap, Grace blurted out, "Mama, Dada, Gaygee, Haha," then beamed as if she'd just won the Nobel Prize for "Best Spoken Toddler." It was hilariously cute! So, Gracie is officially Gaygee. Both she and Hunter are referring to her that way. And, Grace is now calling Hunter, "Haha." (Though, Hunter has yet to refer to himself that way.)

In the days since Grace's revelation, she's repeated the quartet of names several times. One of these days, I'll have a video or audio recorder handy and capture it. It's absolutely priceless.

Should have more pictures up soon. Been organizing our collection lately. Lots of stuff that hasn't been posted!

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352900 2009-10-31T03:23:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Happy Halloween

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

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Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352911 2009-07-30T16:06:30Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Seattle 103, Tuscon 101 Seattle played a road game today and beat Tuscon with an all-time best temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 C).  Regional temperatures soared, with official readings topping out around 108 in Bellevue, and unofficial reports as high as 120 degrees!  Now, if only the Mariners and Seahawks could beat the Diamondbacks and Cardinals! The extraordinary news of the "win" made both local and national news.  Here's a round-up of some of the coverage: Local Coverage National Coverage Oh, and, apparently, the entire state is on fire! ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352913 2009-06-16T09:44:57Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Remembering Mom Just a quick note to thank everyone who attended mom's remembrance ceremony today. It was great reconnecting with family and friends from long ago. We know that mom would have enjoyed herself immensely among the diverse crowd that came together to remember her today. For those of you interested in the videos I showed today, you can view and download them at our MobileMe gallery (scroll to bottom of page).  I'm in the process of uploading them to YouTube, as well.  But that takes a bit longer.  (I'll update this post once the videos are available there.) James, Mike and I would also like to thank TPC Snoqualmie Ridge for their generous hospitality.  Deke, in particular, was a great deal of help.  Thank you, Deke. Love to all... Alan ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352921 2009-05-11T22:16:29Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Save the Date: June 15 James and I are putting together a little get together to remember Mom.  James' employer, Snoqualmie TPC golf course, has graciously offered to host the event.  We've tentatively scheduled it for Monday, June 15.  We don't have a time, yet.  But, I wanted to communicate the date as soon as I could to give folks time to make travel arrangements. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352924 2009-03-21T12:47:15Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Remembering Barbara Simon Bradley James Bradley is hosting a gathering of friends and family to remember Barbara Simon Bradley on Monday, June 15, 2009 at 10:00 AM at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge golf club. Please RSVP to me via telephone, email or by leaving a comment here. Nearby accommodations include: (in order of price) Note: Seattle is ordinarily a very casual town. But, TPC Snoqualmie Ridge is a private club with a dress code that prohibits jeans. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352931 2009-03-06T16:26:36Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Obituary: Barbara Simon Bradley Barbara Ann Simon (Ridlehoover) BRADLEY died peacefully on February 13, 2009 in Issaquah, Washington of nonalcoholic liver disease and diabetes.  She was 61.  Born March 28, 1947 in Athens, Georgia, she grew up in a Marine Corps family, moving from coast to coast, and returning home to Georgia while her father was deployed overseas.  She graduated from Athens High and attended the University of Georgia before marrying her college sweetheart, Edward Ridlehoover, in 1966 and starting a family.  A devoted mother, she was a stay-at-home mom, playground monitor, den mother and PTA president.  She ran the annual craft bazaar for her sons' elementary school for several years, invariably staying up the night before to bake miniature loaves of banana and zucchini bread for her boys to sell while she manned a booth of her own full of crafts.  As her sons grew, she ventured out into the workforce, starting as a part-time teller and eventually becoming a credit union branch manager.  After graduating her sons from college and divorcing in 1998, she moved to Seattle to be near family and opened Tussie Mussies & More, a florist specializing in the English Garden style.  In 2001, Barbara met her true soul mate - a romantic Scotsman named James Bradley.  She and James married in 2003 and moved to the UK, where she spent three years as "the one with the charming accent."  Upon receiving worrisome medical news in 2006, James brought her back to the states where she was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease and told she would need a transplant.  Despite her best efforts, she was ultimately unable to regain the strength necessary to survive a transplant.  When she passed, she did so only after hearing her husband and sons together at her bedside sharing stories, tears and lots of laughter.  Barbara is survived by her devoted husband, James Bradley of Issaquah, WA; her sons, Alan (Jill / Hunter, Grace) Ridlehoover of Issaquah, WA and Mike (Kristie) Ridlehoover of Coeur d’Alene, ID; her parents, Anne and Frank Simon of Camano Island, WA; and her siblings, Dana Simon of Bend, OR, Joe (Linda) Simon of Central Point, OR, and Gina (Craig / Brian, Zak) Simon of Bellevue, WA.  A celebration of life is planned for late spring.  Details will be published on the web at http://ridlehoover.com/barbara.  Please consider a memorial donation to Providence Marianwood Foundation (where the need is the greatest) or Swedish Medical Center Foundation (Charity Care). ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352934 2009-02-25T18:10:10Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Ashes are heavier than I thought they would be I picked up Mom's ashes today.  They're sitting on the kitchen counter, in a simple container called a "minimum."  We haven't decided yet what to do with them.  I'm leaning toward having some custom urns made from Mt. St. Helens glass - one of Mom's favorite things.  Still need to discuss it with Mike and James, though. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352940 2009-02-25T06:32:11Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Grateful for the time we had In early 2007, just after Mom received the diagnosis that she had end-stage liver disease and would need a transplant, she began working with physical and occupational therapists to improve her strength.  But, she would only do the work while she was with the therapists - either in their offices or at our home.  Eventually, they stopped seeing her because Mom wasn't making any progress.  (Seems like mom needed more visits, not less; but that's insurance for you.) This pained me a great deal.  I wanted more than anything for her to get better.  I felt like she'd given up.  At one point, I even threatened to throw her out of my house for a lack of trying.  I told her that I wasn't going to sit idly by while she wasted away.  I couldn't be a party to that.  Like I said, it was very painful. By the time Hunter and Grace arrived, in March, 2008, mom's health was extremely poor.  She was incapable of walking or even standing without assistance.  This made the fact that she was on diuretics (for blood pressure - especially in the hepatic artery) and diarrheals (or laxatives, to remove ammonia from her colon before it entered the blood stream) all the more of an issue.  There was no way for her to get from the bed to the bathroom by herself. By June, 2008, there was no way to care for her at home.  She stopped taking the diarrheal (lactulose) during the day so as to avoid soiling herself while James was at work.  This led to a build up of ammonia that caused an encephalopathic episode which put her in the hospital.  While she was in the hospital, James and I made the decision to move her to a nursing home (on the advice of a very insistant nurse). It was very hard to watch Mom's health continue to decline.  It was especially difficult to think about Hunter and Grace never having the opportunity to get to know, first-hand, what a wonderful, creative, loving person she was.  At times, thinking about this made me very angry - angry at mom for not trying harder to get well.  Over time, that anger made it difficult for me to be around Mom.  I began (subconsiously) avoiding her.  And, I dragged my feet when we did go to see her. When I explained all this to the chaplain at the nursing home, during Mom's last week, he explained to me that God is our Father, and that perhaps He was reminding Mom what it was like to be loved unconditionally by a father through my interactions with the twins. This was especially poignant because my Mom never really knew her birth father.  He left when she was two or three years old.  And, her relationship with her adopted father - the man I know as "Grandpa" - was such that she never referred to him as "Dad." This touched me deeply.  Tears flowed out of me uncontrollably.  It was as though I'd been allowed a quick glimpse of God's master plan.  It was at once extremely emotional and deeply calming.  After all, by the time her liver disease was diagnosed, it was already classified as "end-stage," meaning that her liver had completely failed. At that point, she was already too sick to muster the energy to exercise in order to improve her condition. In the end, when Mom passed, I actually felt happy.  A deep feeling of peace came over me.  Rather than feeling sad, I felt grateful for the time we had. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352944 2009-02-14T10:00:52Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Rest in peace: Barbara Simon Bradley My mom passed away just after lunch, today.  She was 61. Mom died of liver failure, caused by cirrhosis, brought on by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).  She was diagnosed on December 7, 2006.  But, by that point, she was already too weak for doctors to place her on the transplant list. Over the next two years, mom’s health took two steps backward for every step forward.  She was in and out of the hospital several times, eventually landing at Providence Marianwood nursing home in Issaquah last June. During the last couple weeks of her life, mom declined rapidly.  She stopped eating a week ago.  We stopped treating her illness in favor of making her comfortable on Monday.  And, starting on Tuesday, the nursing staff began to tell us that she could go anytime.  She hung around for another four days. Apparently, she was waiting until she could be alone with her three boys.  This morning, James (her husband), Mike (my brother), and I sat in her room, sharing our favorite memories of her.  We cried a little; but we laughed more.  I think she took it as a sign that we were going to be okay.  It gave her permission to slip away. At lunchtime, Mike and I left the room to help Jill feed the twins.  James took his lunch with her.  Afterward, he came out to check on us.  When he returned, ten minutes later, she was gone. Previously, mom expressed to me anxiety about dying.  There was no sign of it, today.  Rather, after her passing, I experienced a very deep calm.  I felt that she was at finally peace, finally resting after years of pain and suffering.  Her body failed her, but not her spirit. The family is planning to get together to remember mom sometime this summer.  We don’t have specifics, yet.  I’ll publish them here when we do. In the meantime, Jill and I plan to make donations to the following organizations in mom’s memory: Mom lived at Providence Marianwood for the final nine months of her life.  The level of care and compassion she received was simply outstanding. Swedish Medical Center is where mom first learned of her liver disease.  She spent a week in the hospital, including three days in the ICU.  But, mom and James had only been back in the states for a week.  They did not have jobs.  They did not have insurance.  There was no way for them to repay Swedish for services rendered.  Swedish Charity Care paid for everything. While mom did not benefit directly from the work of the American Liver Foundation, we hope that others will. Rest in peace, mom.  We love you.  We'll miss you.  We'll see you when our times come. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352945 2008-11-22T08:46:28Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Hunter's Helmet & Gracie's Revenge Hunter and Grace did a little on camera work a couple of days ago.  It was almost bed time.  So, they're pretty tired looking.  But, this is a pretty good example of their personalities:  (As always, better quality video can be found on our MobileMe gallery.) Hunter's Helmet [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y84IXh8maP4&feature=player_profilepage] For those of you wondering why Hunter is still wearing his football player Halloween costume, he's actually wearing the helmet to correct a flat spot on his skull. It's a condition known as plagiocephaly. He has a mild case.  His hair would likely cover it up eventually. But, we figured we'd give the helmet a try and see what happens. No sense putting up with all those flat head jokes later in life, if you don't have to. :) Gracie's Revenge [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64ZkGU3_thA&feature=player_profilepage] Both Hunter and Grace are definitely being themselves in these videos. Hunter is generally content to sit and play with a toy. Gracie is into everything. I wonder which is closer to me and which is closer to Jill? ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352946 2008-10-22T12:25:57Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Three wee teeth Now that I'm back at work, there's not nearly as much time to take pictures, shoot video, or blog about daily changes.  So, I have no new pictures or video, but I do have a milestone that needs to be reported: Hunter has a tooth! We first noticed Hunter's tooth - a lower incisor - late last week.  Not to be outdone... Gracie has two teeth! Grace's teeth - also lower incisors - first showed up on Monday.  No more putting our fingers in their mouths as a temporary binky!  (Ouch!) ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352801 2008-10-14T11:59:45Z 2013-10-08T16:37:11Z Life is a roller coaster After a couple of weeks of relative normalcy, Mom is back to having issues.  Within the last couple of days, she's started having difficulty keeping food down.  And, yesterday, she was running a temperature of 102, which could be related to an infection.  More when I have a better idea what's going on... As always, please keep Mom (and our family) in your thoughts and prayers. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352815 2008-09-28T08:06:39Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z It's official - Mom is on her way back! Last night, at about midnight, mom woke up!  She spoke to the nursing home staff, asked about James, and wanted to speak to him.  The staff politely refused to call James, since they knew he'd be there first thing in the morning, like he is every day... When James did arrive, mom chewed him out.  She thought he'd been off golfing all this time.  And, boy was she mad!  (In reality, she's been the one who left the building.  James has been by her side almost constantly since this episode began over a week ago.) Jill dropped the twins and I off at the nursing home at about 10:00 this morning.  (Jill had an appointment.)  My brother (Mike), and his wife (Kristie), arrived a few minutes later.  (They arrived from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho last night.)  Mom was awake and relatively alert.  She made eye contact with me for the first time since this bout of encephalopathy began.  And, she coaxed smiles from both Hunter and Grace, who promptly returned the favor.  Mike gave her his patented "12 hugs" with kisses to match.  It was a very happy room! So, mom is now coming out of her encephalopathy.  Last week, she was at "Grade 3" on the 1 to 4 scale of encephalopathy (where 4 = coma).  Today, I would say that she's at "Grade 2."  She is awake and communicating, though still groggy and having difficulty finding words to express herself.  She even fed herself part of her lunch.  And, no wonder - her ammonia level has dropped to 106 as of yesterday morning, and is likely still falling as the lactulose seems to be doing its job. I've not spoken to her doctor, but my hope is that her short-term prognosis is now much improved, since she is responding well to treatment.  Hopefully, by this time next week, mom will be back to baseline.  Though, it is not outside the realm of possibilities that mom could slip backwards.  And, quite certainly, mom's long-term prognosis isn't good.  The ammonia will be back, and with it will come the encephalopathy. This has been a very scary experience for all of us.  Now that mom's regaining consciousness, I'm certain that each of us will find a way to communicate to mom how much she means to us.  James, especially, was bouncing around and beaming, today.  His girl is on her way back!  It was clear to see that he is incredibly happy, which helps mom tremendously. One last bit of news to report today:  James went ahead and signed mom up for hospice care.  The hospice admitting nurse met with all of us today.  She explained the services offered by her team.  And, she examined mom, looked at her charts and spoke to the consulting hospice physician about mom's meds.  They're going to add something for the itching, as well as a medicine to help with the disorientation/confusion associated with the encephalopathy. More as we know it... Many thanks, again, to everyone who is keeping mom and the rest of us in their thoughts and prayers.  We can feel the love! ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352823 2008-09-27T00:34:35Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Mom appears to be waking up... I just got off the phone with James (mom's husband).  He said that Mom appears to be slowly waking up.  She is recognizing people and trying to communicate.  This could be VERY good news!  I'll post more information as it comes in... Thanks to everyone who is keeping mom in their thoughts and prayers. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352838 2008-09-26T14:07:48Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Please say a prayer for my mom... My mom is terminally ill.  She has cirrhosis of the liver, caused by a condition know as NASH.  And, recently she took a turn for the worse.  Since last Friday, she's been in a semi-conscious state brought on by extremely high levels of ammonia in her blood stream - a condition known as encephalopathy. She is able to respond to simple voice commands.  She can answer yes/no questions.  And, she's eating when someone feeds her.  But, she cannot carry on a conversation.  She cannot answer anything but yes/no questions.  And, her eyes, vacant and glossy, look right through you when you do manage to get her attention.  She spends most of her time in a sleepy haze of pain (from various bruises and sores related to spending all of her time in bed) and itching (from the toxins in her blood stream coming out through the skin). The treatment for this condition is a medication called lactulose, which traps the ammonia created during the digestion process in the colon, before it has a chance to be absorbed into the blood stream.  Mom is on a high dose of lactulose now, as she has been for a couple of years.  And, between last Friday and last Monday, her ammonia level dropped by almost 100 points.  But, at that time, it was still over 160.  (Healthy people have an ammonia level below 35.) At this point, the prognosis is mixed.  Mom could "wake up" tomorrow, regain some or most of her cognitive abilities, and go on to live for many more months or even years.  Or, she could stay in this sleepy, itchy, painful purgatory, eclipsed by this veil of ammonia.  Or, she could fall into a complete coma, stop eating, and die.  There's just no way to know.  What we do know is that if she stops eating, she will pass away from malnutrition within two to three weeks. We've known this was a possibility ever since mom was diagnosed back in December, 2006.  We hoped that she would qualify for a liver transplant.  But, unfortunately, her disease was already too far along when it was detected.  She was never deemed strong enough to survive the operation, and was therefore never placed on the transplant list.  Now, she's being placed on a different sort of list - she's being placed in hospice. I know my mom loves me.  And, I know she knows I love her.  But, I would dearly love the opportunity to tell her one more time, to share one more laugh, and to hug each other and cry together one last time, as would all of her friends and family. Please say a prayer for my mom.  May God bless her.  May God ease her pain.  And, may God share our thoughts and prayers with her so they might give her solace on her journey from us to Him, no matter how long it takes. ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352845 2008-09-23T01:55:22Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z It's official! I'm going back to work!  I accepted a position with Symetra Financial last week.  My first day in the office will be this Wednesday.  I'll be a senior developer and agilist working on their web development efforts. I can't wait to get back in the groove! ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352853 2008-09-19T12:02:03Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Carrots Have you ever tried baby food?  I swear, if I could get my cooked carrots to taste this good, I'd eat them every day! Gracie and Hunter have been experimenting with rice cereal for a while now.  But, this week, we introduced them to carrots.  Hunter had his doubts at first.  But, he seems to have adjusted.  Gracie, on the other hand, likes the carrots so much, we have to feed her all her formula before bringing out the oozy, orange goodness!  The minute she starts on the carrots, she doesn't want anything more to do with the bottle... ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352866 2008-09-19T11:57:28Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Six whole months! (Corrections) My bad!  When writing the post below, I hadn't reviewed the nurse's notes from Hunter and Grace's six month checkup.  I have now and I must issue a retraction:  Gracie is not in the 50th percentile.  She is actually in the 50-75th percentile range - the same range as Hunter.  As most people who meet them note - these kids aren't skipping any meals! Also, I mentioned that we will be taking Hunter to see the head doctor, which I referred to as the "cranial/facial" doctor.  Turns out, they're actually called "craniofacial" doctors.  A thousand pardons... ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352874 2008-09-17T07:47:07Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Returning to work I left Microsoft back in April to stay at home with Jill and the twins. As Hunter and Gracie's six month birthday approached, Jill and I agreed - it was time for me to go back to work! So, I have spent the last three weeks talking to recruiters and interviewing all over the Seattle area. I talked to companies small, medium and large; start-ups and well established firms. After approximately ten interviews, I have received five offers - all of them quite generous. (Not a bad ratio of interviews to offers, if I do say so myself!) Jill and I are now weighing the options. We will make a decision this week, possibly as early as tomorrow. Stay tuned to hear how it turns out... ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352884 2008-09-16T13:18:29Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Six whole months! Gracie and Hunter turned six months old on Sunday.  To celebrate, we sang "Happy Birthday" and ate rice cereal. Today, the twins granted an audience to their pediatrician who promptly poked them and prodded them and declared that all is well.  The official statistics are as follows:
  • Hunter weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 26.25 inches.  He is in the 50-75th percentile.
  • Gracie weighed 16 pounds, 6 ounces and measured the same as Hunter.  She is in the 50th percentile.
More good news:  Gracie's heart murmur was imperceptible.  But we're still going to take her back to the cardiologist in a couple weeks just to be safe. A little less-good news:  Hunter has developed a flat spot on the back of his head.  It's been that way for several months.  And, it's not getting better on it's own.  So, we're going to take him to the cranial/facial specialists at Children's Hospital to hear what can be done to correct the problem.  It's purely cosmetic.  But, it's probably better to get it done now, before he develops his Dad's infamously hard head. All in all, it was a fantastic doctor appointment.  To celebrate, we poked each baby in the leg three times - two immunizations and a flu vaccine.  Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! ]]>
Alan Ridlehoover
tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352894 2008-09-03T12:24:04Z 2013-10-08T16:37:12Z Smilebox ]]> Alan Ridlehoover tag:ridlehoover.com,2013:Post/352902 2008-08-29T01:30:39Z 2013-10-08T16:37:13Z Weight update... It's getting harder and harder to get an accurate weight for Hunter and Grace.  They like to wiggle so much that it throws the scale off.  Even just sticking their legs out straight causes the scale to jump.  So, these latest weights are approximate, but should be close:
  • Hunter is now 17 pounds, 3 ounces.
  • Gracie is now 15 pounds, 8 ounces.
In other words, they're huge! ]]>
Alan Ridlehoover