Our Sweet Sophie!

Saturday was an eventful day!  Eventful in the sense that we will never forget the day.  AJ was outside with Jack and Sophie looking curiously under a large heavy cement block.  As AJ was putting the block back down, Sophie’s left hand got in the way and unfortunately crushed her middle finger.  Screams and sobs were heard immediately from not only Sophie but from her brothers who were so scared by what they saw.  Aaron and I have experienced a lot of broken bones, gashes that needed surgery, bacterial meningitis, etc., but this scared us both.

What to do in an emergency in a foreign country?  Aaron and I jumped in the car with Sophie in hand.  I drove, Aaron tried to calm Sophie down and control her shock and pain. First, we went to the logical place, the hospital in Uzès, but after seeing there was no emergency room or doctors that could help us, we were instructed to go to Nîmes.  The kind nurses in Uzès could see our panic and had Sophie soak her hand in a cleaning solution, made a few phone calls, wrapped her hand in clean wrappings and quickly blew up a balloon to help sooth her.  The solution helped Sophie calm down a little, but once we were in the car her screams began again.  She kept saying, “I want Jesus!”  Aaron finally was able to help her relax for a moment and she fell asleep.  She needed those 15 minutes of sleep to give her body the comfort and peace it was seeking.  Jesus definitely heard her pleas!

We arrived at the Polyclinique du Grand Sud at the Urgence Room (similar to an American Emergency Room).  Sophie woke up calm and with a smile on her face.  We entered the Urgence and it was filled with people.  It was dirty.  It was different.  It was overwhelming. Aaron approached the counter with urgency and explained that someone needed to see Sophie immediately.  They asked her age and gave a quizzical look.  They told us they didn’t think they could help us because of how young she is.  We then asked where we were supposed to go.  They weren’t sure!!!  You can imagine our frustration.  They told us they needed to make a few phone calls.  We didn’t understand why a doctor couldn’t just look at her finger and give their assessment.  I waited in the room and Aaron took Sophie outside for fresh air.  He came back in 5 minutes later and I noticed her bandaging had been unwrapped.  Aaron went right to the counter and told the nurses someone had to see her because her finger was going to be dead.  It looked purple/black.  As soon as they understood how serious this was, they let us back and a doctor came in immediately. They sent her to radiology for x-rays. Within 15 minutes they knew her finger was crushed, broken and needed stitching.  Phone calls were made to the surgeon and anesthesiologist.  We still do not know why they were initially going to refuse to see and treat Sophie because of her age.  This hospital was the only one in our area that had a hand surgeon.

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Sophie had to be admitted to the hospital for surgery.  Our family had plans to spend the evening with the Mallets, Maria and her husband Paul.  I had called her while waiting to tell her the situation and she ended up coming to the hospital.  She stayed with us for hours. She was an angel!

The nurses brought Sophie her hospital clothes and Sophie thought she was so cool!  She had huge smiles on her face and melted the hearts of the hospital staff.

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When it was time for her to go upstairs to her hospital room they brought her a wheel chair.  Sophie first thought it was awesome.  She was getting royal treatment!

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As she was getting wheeled thru the hospital her demeanor was slowly changing.  Her smiles changed to looks of concern and nervousness.  We got into the hospital room/recovery room and she was put in the bed and then I had to explain to her what was going to happen.  Aaron and I were not going to be allowed to be in the surgery room with her.  Sophie took each minute in strides and was somewhat calm.  She understood that the doctors had to help her and she needed to listen to them if she wanted her finger to get better.

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One of the nurses came to get us and Aaron carried her down to the surgery area, Bloc Operation.  She was very quiet.  The anesthesiologist came to us and was so sweet.  She got eye level with Sophie and asked her if she was a little girl or a big girl.  Sophie, of course, said she was a big girl.  (Everything was in French and Sophie understood perfectly!)  The doctor then proceeded to tell Sophie her two options and she needed to decide what she wanted to do.  First, do local anesthetic to her arm, or, second, put her to sleep.  Sophie immediately responded she wanted just her arm.  We all felt this was best.  They would try with the local anesthetic and see if Sophie could relax enough to proceed with surgery.  I took these two pictures below while Sophie was listening to the anesthesiologist explain what was going to happen.

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We were so proud of Sophie.  She was concerned, but she was so brave!  The anesthesiologist explained how they would numb her arm, etc. and Sophie did not panic or start to cry.  Then, the doctor asked Sophie to come with her and away they went!

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(Sorry for the blurry photos!)  This was a helpless feeling as a mother.  We could not be there to hold her hand or give her encouragement.  I couldn’t believe she just walked out with the anesthesiologist to an unknown place speaking a foreign language.  Over the course of about 2 hours Sophie was in the surgery room.  The anesthesiologist came out a few times to give us updates.  She said Sophie had not cried and that she was the best pediatric patient they had ever had.  She kept saying how adorable and kind she was. She told us Sophie was telling all the doctors and nurses about her brothers and sisters.  I was so proud of our 4 year old daughter!  How amazing and blessed we are!

At one point the anesthesiologist came out and invited Aaron back because Sophie kept asking for “Papa”.  They said they NEVER let anyone into the surgery room but they loved Sophie so much they met her request.  How cool is that?!  They needed Aaron’s help to get her distracted so they could proceed.  She was having a hard time relaxing her arm, even though it was “asleep”.  Overall, Sophie did awesome.  She did everything that was asked of her and she did it with a calm spirit.  The best news was that we did not have to stay the night at the hospital like we were originally told.  Sophie kept asking to go home.

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After surgery she was rolled upstairs to her recovery room and they brought her some food.  She was hungry and thirsty.  She did great!  They told us we could go home as soon as she ate and they had to remove the IV.  If she would have been “put under” she would have had to stay the night.  I am so glad local anesthetic worked.

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The boys were so excited to see her.  We had talked to them throughout the day and evening to give them updates.  Aaron and I had left the house with Jack sobbing in the garden, AJ sorrowfully walking down the road, Tristan aimlessly crying and worried and Austin cleaning up blood and in a panic.  They were so happy to have her home and to know she was okay.

The surgeon said her finger should grow back normal.  Her fingernail will fall off and he wasn’t sure if she would have a fingernail again.  He couldn’t tell us what would happen to that area of her finger.  He is hopeful that it will heal correctly and that she will have full usage of her finger.  We have to have a nurse come to our house every few days to change the wrapping and check her finger.  We feel so blessed that the Lord heard our prayers and fasting.  It was a scary experience, especially being in a foreign country.  I have a few new words that have been added to my french vocabulary.  I am so grateful Aaron was home and not traveling.  It was very emotional and exhausting for all of us.  I know the Lord gives us trials to make us stronger!  He is real and I know he hears and answers prayers!  I have always been a firm believer of prayer and this was another example of the Lord’s love for me and my sweet family.

We love you so much Sophie!

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Temple Trip Schedule

I was so impressed with the organization of the youth Temple trip!  All the youth were given this brochure that was made just for them.  It showed what group each youth was in and what their activities were for the day.

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The groups were divided up by age, so all three of the boys were in a different group.  This worked out great because they got to know other youth their same age.  Each group did work in the Temple at different times.  As you can see from the above photo their time was filled with awesome activities.  There were study hours for each group and time in the Temple each day for each group.  Then in the afternoon and evenings the leaders had other activities planned.  There was a talent show, time to practice for talent show (which I heard was awesome), testimony meeting and other “fun” activities.  One activity was a game that included “chickens” with eggs tied to their heads while others were trying to seek them and crush their eggs, while trying to find a hidden treasure.

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Two youth were teamed up and tied together and then each person had to get pantyhose put over their head with a real egg attached to the top of their head.  The other teams had swim “noodles” and they were the ones chasing after the chickens to crack their eggs.  The goal was for the chickens to not get their egg broken while finding the hidden treasure.  It was hilarious!  If a chicken’s egg broke they had to run back to the starting position and get a new one tied on.

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I have to add that no adults other than the leaders were allowed to be apart of the activities, testimony meeting or talent show.  Aaron and I commented on how we wanted to observe our boys at these different activities and all the other adults said, “oh no, this is for the youth.  They feel more comfortable without other adults there.  The youth will open up more if they know other parents/adults are not present.”  Once I processed this, I really thought it was a great idea and respectful of the time the youth had with one another. This was about them!

AJ, Austin and Tristan had a blast on the Temple trip.  They formed wonderful friendships, had amazing spiritual experiences and had a FUN time!  I am so grateful my boys had this experience that they can remember for the rest of their lives.  One thing I noticed about these youth was they all wanted to have fun!  There were no clicks or bad attitudes, just a group full of teenagers seeking friendship, laughter and spiritual things!  There was no pretentious behavior on anyone’s part.  It was refreshing and awesome!  Bravo to the Toulouse Stake Leaders for doing a phenomenal job!

Maison d’hôtes!

Our room accommodations in Zollikofen were simple, yet awesome!  It is a building, like a dorm hall, next to the Temple where patrons can stay for a very reasonable price.  It only cost our family 89 euros for 4 nights/5 days.  We had a discount because our 3 boys were paid for by the Stake.  But, if that was not the case it would have, still, only cost our family of 7, 174 euros for 4 nights/5 days.  Aaron and I had stayed at this maison d’hôtes 22 years ago.  Our memory was vague, but we did remind the children that the rooms would be small and filled with bunk beds.  What fun!!!!

I say that with all honesty!  What a blast we had as a family in this little room of ours!

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The biggest dilemma was deciding who would sleep where!  Each person received linens for the bed and a blanket.  We provided our own towels and any extra bedding we thought we would need.  We did not have room to bring anything extra, so what was given to us was what we used and it was very comfortable for all of us!  Because the room was so tight we had to make sure everything was always organized and in its’ place. Each person had a little locker at the end of the room where clothing could be hung up and shoes stored away.  Jack and Sophie loved this because they had their own locker and could lock it with a key if they wanted to!

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After a day of having our room like the first photos, a friend told us the bunks move and we would have more space if we moved things around.  We did and it gave us more space to move about.  Plus, the extra floor mattress could more easily be stored on top of another mattress with this new layout.  None of us were in the “dorm” room very much so we didn’t feel stressed about the space.  It worked great and everyone worked together to keep their space picked up!

The below photos are of the bathroom space.  Notice one small pedestal sink and a small stand up shower.  There were a few hooks to hang towels, coats, etc.  We really felt like we had to live the law of sacrifice and consecration in this tiny space.  It was a great reminder to Aaron and I and our family to work together so everyone could be happy!

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There was a communal kitchen in the basement of the “dorm” hall.  This, too, was a great reminder how everyone needed to share space, clean up after themselves and respect each others space.  The cafeteria area was lined with refrigerators and metal shelving for people to store their groceries.  Each person staying at the maison d’hôtes could use the needed shelving space.  We had one shelf in one of the refrigerators for our family and two metal shelves for our room temperature food.  Everyone could use the kitchen.  There were 10 small stations, 5 along a wall with a sink, and two stove top burners.  There were no ovens, only one microwave.  So meals had to be something that could be made on the stovetop.  Dishes, glasses, and silverware were all provided.  Everyone had to clean and wash what they used.  There was one wall devoted to dish towels and a large island for cutting and preparing food.  It was such a neat experience to “share” these spaces with everyone in the maison d’hôtes.  The youth had the kitchen every night from 6-7pm.  That was the only time non youth were not allowed in the space.  But, many adults were there helping prepare food for the youth.  It was so fun preparing and eating along side our friends!  It also allowed us to meet new people.  It was a great social setting and we all loved it!  There was a feeling of community that I have only felt on few occasions!  There was a feeling of true Zion that we experienced.  Everyone had to be of one heart and one mind to make the situation comfortable and enjoyable for all.  FANTASTIC!  The boys (all of us) really felt a sense of sadness as we packed up our car and drove away.

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