Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our Trip to the Children's Hospital

Last week, on the Solemnity Feast of St. Joseph, Sean and I headed out of town with our oldest two boys, while my mom watched our five youngest.  We were headed to the children's hospital five hours away for some testing for our oldest son. The appointment had been rescheduled from the previous Friday since I had been recovering from the flu/infections and my husband had a job interview that particular Friday morning.  Of course God's timing is always perfect and the change of dates ended up being a blessing.  

We weren't sure if he would be offered the job or not, but we decided to take the opportunity to look at the surrounding towns and housing options.  It wasn't a promotion, but moving expenses would be paid and it would bring us closer (though still 45-60 minutes away) to a traditional parish with frequent Latin Masses and a large active homeschool group, in addition to the job being located near two small Classical Catholic schools and many Catholic families. 

We left early hoping to make it to the noon prayers at the Abbey, but we didn't arrive until 12:15 and just missed them... 

We decided to walk over to the gift shop and on our way we noticed a priest walking towards a building. From the distance it was hard to tell, but we thought it might be Father Theo! He walked into the building but ended up coming out the other side and headed to the gift shop too. He was purchasing a scone - the closest thing he could find to bread for the feast of St. Joseph! - when we walked in! 

It was so nice to be able to sit down and visit with him for awhile and to ask his advice on the possible job and move.  Before we left he gave our oldest a blessing. We sure miss him!

After visiting with Father we spent some time walking the grounds at the Abbey.

Our next stop was at the gorgeous church in town. Someone was cleaning the entry area so it happened to be unlocked and we were able to peek inside.  We had been here before for one of my friends/bridesmaid's weddings and I just love this church!

Next we stopped for lunch at a local German restaurant before getting back on the road. 

After driving through many more (not nearly as beautiful and way more crowded) towns we stopped at the Lego store to surprise the boys (they picked out a Logging Truck and Camper Van), then went to Rose's godparents home for dinner and to say hello to our sweet little goddaughter, before heading to the home of another friend for the night.

My friend Alecia happened to have a case of First Class Relics visiting her home, including St. Therese, which we were able to venerate. Captain was able to touch his new medals from the Abbey to the relics and I was able to touch my crucifix and wedding ring (it's a sacramental after all) to them as well, making them 3rd class relics! 

The next morning bright and early we headed to the hospital.  We were the first appointment of the day in the Speciality Clinic and we didn't wait long before meeting with the doctor.  

After discussing the past year and symptoms with us, she ordered quite a few tests and sent us to the lab and radiology. She wasn't sure if radiology would be able to get us in, but she said to remind them how far away we live, and after initially saying no they "squeezed" us in for the 4-5 hour test!  After having him drink a special "milkshake" they took x-rays every 15-30 minutes to watch the drink make it's way through his digestive tract. 

In between the various x-rays we had lots of time to explore the hospital, which is practically a whole city at the top of the hill.  We walked across the Sky Walk and even rode the Arial Tram! 

The x-rays all went well and they didn't find any blockages! (We did just receive some abnormal results from the lab and are waiting to hear more from the doctor.)  Just as they were taking the last set of x-rays on Thursday afternoon, Sean had a call offering him the job and giving him only until Monday to make a decision... 

From the hospital we decided to visit the parish I mentioned earlier (the one that has such a wonderful homeschool community) and we called another dear priest who happens to currently be at this parish.  He happened to have a couple hours free and met with us.  My husband has applied for a number of out-of-state jobs over the past 15 years, and has switched jobs locally for various promotions, but this was the first job that he had been offered away from our home and my extended family.  The thought of moving was pretty terrifying for me and it was such a blessing to have the guidance from these holy priests.  There were many pros and cons for either decision - whether to take the job or not - and as Fr. Anderson said either decision would be the right one.... I think I was hoping for something a little clearer. ;) And when my husband spoke with one of his brother's the advice he was given was to make the decision based on what we know, not on what "could" happen if we move. We had lots of praying and discerning to do over the next few days! 

We started the drive home, stopping at the state college to take my little brother out to dinner, and got home after midnight on Friday morning.  For some reason the thought of moving was so overwhelming for me (we have lived in this home since before any of our children were born, and it has grown with our family overtime), but after two days of crying and lots of conversations with my husband, mom, and friends, I started to feel at peace with the decision to move.  It could be a fun adventure, right? 

We had been looking at housing options online, and started noticing that not only would the cost of homes be so much more, the property taxes were double, and even triple, what they are here, and it might not be likely that we'd be able to replace the same size of home, let alone find one with any acreage. (In fact one of the options had only a walkway for a backyard, needed to be remodeled, and would still cost more than we could potentially receive for our current home. Another was new, but had huge power lines going through the front yard and a cliff off the back, which wasn't mentioned or shown online.) One more trip to the area seemed like a good idea.  The three oldest boys went to a friends home and we got up at 4am Sunday morning to attend the 11:00 EF Latin Mass at Holy Rosary.  

Mass was beautiful and it was such a joy to meet so many wonderful families!  We went out to lunch with a few new friends and started thinking that we'd soon be attending Mass here every Sunday.  However as the evening went on and we looked at more and more of the housing options and surrounding towns, and we started to notice just how far of a commute my husband would have if we opted to live near the parish, we decided that without a promotion the higher cost of living and the commutes would just be too challenging.  (Along with all the other pros and cons that factored into our decision.)  So on Monday morning, which happened to be my husband's birthday, he called and turned down the job... We arrived home Monday night and will be staying here for now, grateful for all we do have here (our friends & family, great tutors to help me with home educating, our home, and a bi-monthly Latin Mass, to mention a few - oh!  and way less rain! lol) and working on the virtue of patience. 

It was encouraging to read in last weekend's Catholic Sentinel that changes are coming. It gives us hope to read that "Reverent, beautiful, prayerful and worthy celebration of the holy Mass must be the hallmark of every parish community."

We are so grateful for all the prayers that have been offered for our oldest son and for my husband and I as we worked through all these decisions for our family.  Deo Gratias!