Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Back in the Saddle (2/1)

Hello All-

First of all, I'm not sure how many people are still checking and reading this, so if you do read this, let anybody else that would want to read it know that after 4 weeks, I've done another update. As far as future updates go, I'll probably write here periodically as hopefully Kari will too when we get her voice recognition software fully trained.

Well, the main reason that I'm writing today is that it was my first day back to work at Gage (Middle School). I was a little anxious about it, but after about 5 minutes, all the bad jokes and familiar lines (my spiel, as I call it) came back to me and I felt like I had never left. Not quite used to the sleep schedule yet, though. I'm not the kind of disciplined person that prepares by getting up early for the week prior, I need to kind of shock my body into compliance. Anyways, the kids were excited to see me, as I was to see them. After seeing some of the kids I could only regret not being able to have them all year. I get really attached to my kids and never feel I get enough time with the good ones, so this year will be particularly hard. Lots of work still to be done though--the subs I had did a great job, but I have a lot of work to do organizing and just getting my program in sync. with how I teach again.

We’ve e hired Sarah Thompson to come over in the mornings to do Kari's care and stay with here for much of the day, and she was over most of last week learning everything that she didn't already know from just being around a lot. I know how to do basically everything care wise that Kari needs, and Sarah is a fast learner, so it wasn't too hard to get them set up and it seems that what we have will work out well. I found out that our insurance doesn't cover home health care, just skilled nursing care, which would be anything that only a nurse could do, like give IV's or work with say, a dialysis machine, but I still need to get set up with someone if Sara can't make it.

There is still a lot to figure out, but today seemed to both of us to be the start of what the new "normal" is. I still get so sad at times about everything that has happened, but this whole situation has not taken our joy and only helped to grow our love for each other. You get used to how things are though and we are still happy in our new life together, even if not as care free.

Our main concerns right now are finding more therapies for her to go to, as our stay at Craig used up most of our coverage, getting all the technology that will allow Kari to be more independent figured out, and also just getting totally moved in and settled into a routine that works for both of us.

Health and strength wise, we've both gotten a lot better both mentally and physically since we left Colorado. Kari did spend one night in the hospital for a blood clot, although that was more because the hospital couldn't figure out the logistics of getting her out of there than anything else. Overall though, Kari is so much stronger. I know that if we took the same trip that we took home from the hospital today, it would be a lot easier for her. We have been going places together almost every day--shopping, dinner, church, the movies and such that it will be hard not to get to see each other as much now that I'm at work. At any rate, though it feels great to be back.



Anonymous said...

What wonderful news! My daughter said she saw you yesterday at school and waved, but you didn't see her because you were talking to other teachers. She said you looked happy to be back. The first step in any new situation is difficult - so proud of you both for moving on in your lives and learning what your new normal will be. Please know that we think of you often and know that God will direct you in his new path for you both.

God Bless,
Eddie, Erin and Kimberly Blevins

Roberta Rodgers said...

Kari & Aaron,
I have been checking everyday for an update. I was going to call Jinny snyder, Kari's Aunt and my cousin if there wasn't an update today. My sister, Peggy from Texas has been checking also and we were concerned. I am glad that the reason for no update was that you two were "galavanting" all over the place and getting your new routine down. You continue to be in our prayers.

Roberta Rodgers, cousin

Blake Engel said...

Hey, awesome news. A new start can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered. Stay optimistic, guys. We love ya.

Anonymous said...

Patricia came home today so happy and pleased that you were back. May all your days at work be filled with the joy and happiness the GAGE kids feel now that you are back. Welcome Back!

The Folgers

Anonymous said...

A new day dawns. So glad you are doing well and your new life is falling into place. I will pray for continued health, patience, and joy. You both rock bigtime!!!!Okay, continued 'rocking' too!!!

kathy timmers said...

My morning is starting off with a bang, finding an update! I have been checking every day and it was so good to read that you two have been out together doing fun things as well as getting settled and finding a daily routine that works. I was so pleased to read that you have Sarah in place to help Kari with her care and your first day back at school was so positive.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Anonymous said...

Great to hear such wonderful news! I have been waiting for an update. We miss you and think of the two of you often. Please know you are in my prayers!

You guys ROCK!


heather velloff said...

I'm overjoyed to hear how well you guys are doing! Thanks for the update and good news. I'm in a bit of a hurry b/c I'm teaching a class soon, so I'll e-mail you later....:)
Lots of love,

Franki said...

Hey, guys!

I have to admit...I am a blog-junkie! Checking your blog has become part of my daily routine!

Reading your post today gave me a huge SMILE! I can just imagine the two of you truckin' all over town...going here and going there! You won't let anything stop you! You guys are too cute!

I love you guys!

Barbara Villegas, etc. said...

Hi Aaron & Kari,

I'm so glad that you're both "Home" now. We've missed you so much. I'm glad that your 1st day back at Gage was a minimum day...that's too much stress for one day.

I'm not sure if I'd be much help, but I could help Kari when Sara can't make it. I stay at home and I'm familiar with Dragon Naturally Speak (Voice Recognition Software that I was trained on). I'm not sure what Kari is using, but they're all generally the same. Just let me know whatever you need.

God Bless you Both and WELCOME HOME

The Villegas Family

Uncle Don & Kathleen said...

Thank you, Aaron for the update. I have been checkin for this from one to three times a day, so this was great. Glad things are going well for you. I'm sure the adjustments have their diffitult moments but also know that love and God's grace will enable you both. You will continue in our prayers. May God bless you both.


Uncle Don and Kathleen

Diane Brodeen said...

Hi, Kari & Aaron--Thanks for the update. So glad you're getting settled into your new routine. I used to do home health nursing. Most of my home patients were on Medicare. If Kari eventually gets Medicare, that should help get home visits. We were allowed to start homecare whenever a patient had a new medical problem or was being discharged from the hospital. Some hospital discharge planners forget to set that up. The homecare RN goes out first, and can usually get PT and OT out there as needed. Homecare social workers have been great problem-solvers, in my experience--very resourceful people to know. Homecare is usually short-term. They identify problems and solutions, and train family to take over. The visits are brief. Aides (for bathing, personal care, etc.,) aren't involved unless the RN has a medical reason to be there. Home care is usually a cost-saver for the insurance co. or Medicare, because it is preventive and educational, usually catches new medical problems early, and keeps patients out of the hospital, which is much more expensive. My email address is on your guest-book, if you have any questions.
I'm continuing to pray for the Lord to meet all your needs. Would love to meet you sometime, and maybe drop off dinner or whatever would help. I only get 2 nights off a week, so some days I'm mostly asleep. Let me know if there's something I can do. I live near the Plaza. God bless you both.--Diane Brodeen

Anonymous said...

Hi Kari & Aaron-
It is so good to hear that things are beginning to fall in place. I am an OT in Eugene, and wanted to pass along a little information that I have previously found useful with some of my patients. I was wondering if you have contacted your local office for the state Senior and Disabled Services? (Not sure what it is called in California). You should be able to get a case manager who can guide you in how to best access resources. I also found a website called It appears to be an independent living organization based out of San Bernadino (I think this is close to you?). They may also have some good information for you both. If that doesn't work, I found that info at, there are plenty of other independent living centers in the state.
Kari- hang in there with the Dragon Naturally Speaking; you'll be a pro at it in no time. Hope to see you next time you are in Eugene.
Judy Fusek

Anonymous said...

Kari and Aaron,

We are so happy to hear this good news! I've also been checking every day (sometimes several times!) for an update and praying for you. Please know that the Lord has His hands on both of you especially during this next "new" season...

Blessings & love,
Dave & Natalie Thompson

Anonymous said...

Kari and Aaron
Of course we are all still checking the blog - several times a day. I keep praying for strength for both of you as you get settled. Give Sarah a big hug for me. I am so glad she is able to be there. You two are an awesome couple and will handle whatever comes your way. Al you have to do is send me a little note and Janice will be on her way to see you and add a little goofiness to you day. I love you guys.
Jan Yessa

Tricia Folger said...

It's soooo great to have you back Mr. G!
Band is back to normal and is really fun again.
and also
happy late birthday!
see you at school!


cousin in Idaho said...

I've been checking for updates also. Glad to hear new events. Establishing a new normal is challenging, but your strength with God's help will see you through. You're still in my prayers. You're amazing people!

Anonymous said...

Kari & Aaron, So glad to hear your wonderful news! My husband, David, and I read your blog regularly and lift you up in prayer! Thanks for the taking the time to share with us!

God bless you!
David & Sarah (McCracken) Wallman

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. G,
I can't even describe how happy I am that you are back at Gage! Everything is so much more normal now! It is so much more fun with you there! I can't wait to see you back at school on Monday!
Love Always,

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. G,
I can't even describe how happy I am that you are back at Gage! Everything is so much more normal now! It is so much more fun with you there! I can't wait to see you back at school on Monday!
Love Always,

Anonymous said...

Kari & Aaron, We're so happy to know you are starting your new routine. It was a real blessing to read your update and know the month in CA has been going so well. We know there are many challenges facing you daily, but our God has everything you will need! Praise Him that Sara can be with you! We will be praying for your therapy arrangements and adjustment to the school schedule. Praise God you are able to be back at home! Love, Barb & Jim Cox

Katie (Bost) Heuer said...

Aaron and Kari,
It is great to hear that you are getting out and about at home! Aaron...glad to know that you are back at school and Kari...that you have Sara to help you throughout the day!
Love you both,
Katie and Ty

BoiXmasO said...

So good to hear that everything went well on Monday. You could add a post about your birthday, what'd you do? If you haven't noticed by now we stole the first season of 24 from you guys. It'll be back there in about a week. We watched it, basically, in two days. We are now officially obssessed and I officially have a crush on jack bauer. I'm in the middle of Season 2 and all I can say is rage, rage, rage!!!!!!!!! Well, I love you guys and hope I can come out and see you again. Love,

Aunt Susan said...

Kari & Aaron,
So good to hear of your trips out & about. I really enjoyed the short visit with you two, your mom and siblings. I'll send you the pictures.
Grandma Smiley came over here for Sunday lunch and she sends her love.
Much, much love,
Aunt Susan & Uncle Wes

Andy Anderson said...

Kari and Aaron,

I'm glad to hear that you're back home and in your new apartment.
My prayers for both of you still go out to the Lord each day.

I wish you both great blessings!

Love in Christ,

Andy Anderson

Anonymous said...

Hello again, this is Alice Guzman, Aaron's mom. I've added about 20 or 25 of you to my update list. It's so encouraging to see how many of you are praying for Kari and Aaron.

I now am using Outlook for emails and am still learning how to use it. Everyone, new and old, should have heard from me today (Tuesday, 2/7) because I forwarded 2 messages to everyone, in order to catch up all the newcomers on some not-quite-so-new news.

So if you asked to be placed on my update list (or were already on it) and have not heard from me today, please email me at Thanks! Please be patient with me as I bumble through a new email program. (Aaron, stop laughing!)

Anonymous said...

Would love to see some pictures of the new place and you two. Any chance? Our prayers and love continue to follow you on this new journey.

jan barrett said...

Dear Aaron and Kari,
IT was so good to hear that you are settling in. So many new adventures in the journey of life. I liked what you aid about not having enough time with each other, now that you are back at Gage. They are lucky to have you, and Kari will enjoy hearing about the teaching stories you will bring home! I had kept up with your returning to normalcy through your mom's emails. Thanks, Alice!
You are in the prayers of many, guys, hang on to that.
Good to hear from other NNHS BANDOS!
Much love, Mom and Dad Barrett

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll try this again. My previous comment never got posted.

Hi, this is Alice, Aaron's mom. So many people have asked to be added to my update list. It's really encouraging to see how many of you are interested in my kids, and are supporting and praying for them.

My computer guru (John K.) has put me on a new email program (Outlook) which I'm still becoming familiar with. Plus there are so many people on my update list, I've had to divide it in two.

Everyone, new and old, should recently have been forwarded the two updates entitled, "Celebrating Christmas with Martin Luther King," and "Back from Cali," plus a notification from me on Aaron's latest update on Feb. 1. You oldtimers had already received the two forwarded updates about a month ago.

If you did NOT get these forwarded updates, please email me at and let me know. If you just asked to be added to my update list in the last few days, I haven't added you yet. I'll be doing that soon.

Much love and gratituded to you all!

Alice Guzman

Anonymous said...

You guys probably don't remember me, but I thought I'd write anyway, just to let you know I'm praying for you. I'm Susanna Hopper and I met you guys at Sky Lodge. Kari and Aaron, you guys are constantly in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I just sent an update to those of you on my update list on 2/23. If you failed to get it, let me know at

Alison (Hayward) Lane said...

Hi Kari,
I just found out about your accident from a friend. I am glad that you are doing better and have such supportive family and friends. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.


Tara Giebelhausen said...

Stay strong and just keep praying hard.

You're still in my prayers.

I'm glad to hear that things are finally reaching a type of "normal" for you guys.

Give us another update soon. :)

jan barrett said...

You are still being included in prayers around the country. We appreciate your mom's updates!
We still have thigh-high snow and sparkling sun!
Love, Mom Barrett