Saturday, December 31, 2016


So many fall birthdays! I am grateful to live near Liz, she is a good friend, running partner and sister! She has helped me during many hard times. Hopefully Amanda can come join us soon, then it would be a party!
We were asked to sing in Sacrament meeting, so I accompanied Lily, Jack and Isaac for them to sing "I am a Child of God."  It was sweet and simple, they are brave kids!  Luckily Jackson got the urge to cut his hair AFTER church though, since this happened within an hour of getting home.  Luckily for us Mindy had some clippers and she helped me fix it before school the next morning.
Lily forfeited the shopping spree for a birthday party this year.  She wanted to go swimming in the overflowing (so harder to heat...) hot tub.  The girls lasted a long time in there and then watched a movie, giving me a peaceful afternoon to make lava cakes for their dessert.
Lily has good friends from all over, which is wonderful except that they are from all over so she doesn't get to see them as often as she would like. She is like me and clings to one or two at a time, and steers away from groups.  She was pretty excited to turn double digits and I sadly realized that her life at home is more than half over.  !!
The big 3!  I did flower cupcakes decorated with princesses, My Little Ponys, and Paw Patrol.  So fun to see her big smiles and each and every present that we gave her.  She talks more and more every day, loves to be tickled and chased.  Love the happiness that toddlers bring to homes, although I am unfortunately done with the tantrums and don't give this girl as much patience as she probably deserves.
Still haven't potty trained yet, I have no memory of Lily or Isaac, and Jackson was done in a week, so I feel I have no experience to learn from.  Like NO memory, like I am a first time mom who is utterly clueless.
Lily's meets have begun. So fun to watch, although after going to the first one with Isaac and Ada, decided we wouldn't be hanging around the entire 3 hours every time....
And then this happened, described by Nathan for the time period of December 7-12:
My Dad, Jinks, had a heart attack last Wednesday evening. He went in quickly and was OK afterward. Testing suggested deeper problems and an open-heart bypass surgery was scheduled for Friday morning. I got the news Thursday morning. After flying and then driving the 2 hours from Vegas to St. George, Eve and I got to the hospital 10 minutes before the end of visiting hours and were able to join the rest of my family in seeing my Dad and wishing him luck.
The surgery on Friday went longer than expected, requiring 9 grafts (a nonuple-bypass?) instead of the planned 5-7. Surgery "couldn't have gone better" and we were told to expect him conscious by that evening. There are apparently protocols for post-surgery of this type before someone leaves the ICU, and they need to be conscious and following directions to work through them. He was expected to leave the ICU on Saturday night, and spend 4-5 days in the hospital before going home.
As of now, he hasn't woken up and is still in the ICU. He has what I'm calling "pain episodes" fairly regularly when his pain medication seems to be wearing off. These are calmed when new pain medication is administered. Friday evening the episodes were bad enough that the ICU nurse was worried about him causing further damage to himself and potentially pulling out some of the many tubes still in place. She requested a "sitter" which is basically a CNA who literally sits/stands right next to my Dad's left arm to catch him from hurting himself during an episode, and to request the attention of his ICU nurse when necessary. Friday night, the sitter never seemed to actually sit. She stood next to him constantly until after I left the ICU at 3am. A succession of sitters taking 12 hour shifts was still in progress when I left on Sunday.
Watching the staff try and wake him wasn't fun. Helping them try and wake him wasn't fun. The pain episodes are really difficult to watch because of the pain in his voice when he yells and the nonstop yelling. On Friday evening I would step outside his room when a few of them started, and noticed that other nurses and doctors in the ICU would eventually be drawn in by the noise and offer help. I started rating his episodes by the number of nurses he could draw into his room. His highest score before I left was 5.
We still don't know why he won't wake up. His eyes have finally opened a few times, but only during a pain episode, and only for a bit, and he has never recognized where he was or anyone in the room. During one particular pain episode he was yelling "Goddammit" over and over, and my Mom kept responding with "Just say Gosh Darnit, honey" and after a few rounds of this he switched to "No Goddammit", hinting that on some level he may have heard her. Responses like this were rare and I only witnessed a few on Saturday.
My sisters Sabrina and Liz are local and continuing to coordinate visits along with my Mom. Amanda is visiting soon. There are tests planned to rule out potential reasons he hasn't woken up, and the advice from his doctor is to be patient. 
Such a crazy week.  So much time at the hospital.  A lot of worry but a lot of peace.  Christmas had a beautiful spirit and feeling, so much time to reflect at the loving childhood my dad helped provide for me.  I worried like crazy, I broke down and sobbed more than once, I stressed about the worst possible outcome, and always came back to the blessing, when Adam said Dad would have more time to enjoy his earthly blessings.  It gave life to the feeling of hope that would thankfully creep in whenever I thought of an uncertain future.  The feeling of relief at Liz's text that he was awake and responding was incredible, that was a long time for him to be asleep!
The highlight of that pretty dark time was having Eve here - and Nathan too.  He took over so much time at the hospital and kept Mom company at home.  Also texting is another world entirely when he is in town.  I am grateful for my family, we care about and love each other a lot.
Isaac and Jack are taking a break from gymnastics!  Adam is never a fan when the kids want to stop something but I am glad they feel confident to try other things (soccer for Isaac and basketball for Jack).
Santa!  Because of the two week period of no normal Christmas preparations, that morning snuck up way too soon.  Lily and Jack tried to catch Santa with a handwriting forensics exercise with Adam and I.  Lily gently told me I could return 3 of her unwanted gifts.  Jackson cried when he saw Lily got an old unconnected phone.  Isaac was still looking for presents 5 minutes after we said that was it. Adam got me a vacuum that I returned when I saw the price tag.  I wrapped up a pair of pants that he had picked up himself.  Maybe someday we'll figure out the sweet spot of giving, but this year it just wasn't in me to invest the time and effort.
Christmas break had the bonus of Amanda being here!  Besides the stress of her micromanaging mom and dad's diet and exercise, it is always more fun when she is around.  Also had some fun talking genealogy with Tyler, it is super awesome to have an awesome detective to help get past the bumps in the road.
This bear at Fiesta Fun after laser tag was a popular photo-bombing spot and more of Jack's silliness.
We finally went ahead and started taking Isaac to a food therapist.  It has been good, lots of good tips, and lots of progress made to help him not be so scared of food.  Memories surfaced from Jack's speech therapy, it is always humbling to have a professional direct your child in a way that you were unable to do on your own.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

a new leaf

Isaac turned 5!  He loves loves loves to play video games and go crazy with friends.  He usually has a little troop of 4 or 5 boys to run around with that live on our block, that he is constantly trying to keep at our house (sob for cleaning) because he is a homebody and will only play other places if I am not at home, or there are video games involved.  This drives me crazy, especially on days when I feel that he is punishing me for saying no to video games, and I will find his face, our bathroom sink, and various places on the walls smeared with blueberry juice from him pretending to be a zombie chasing his friends.  It is true that I sometimes plan with other moms to say that I am not home so he will play somewhere else.
I have been procrastinating keeping this blog up.  I put it as a goal to update and start working on my blog book for 2014, 2015 and 2016 - my first 3 year book.  Not much happened until I talked with Liz, whose office was unearthed to make room for her boys' new bedroom. After a discussion about preserving life history, I've decided to start a new chapter for how I do things.  More history, less description.
The kids continue to ask to visit National Parks, so we added Bryce Canyon to the list.  Ada escaped past this fence once.  She makes me quite tired most days. Jackson loves to be crazy - I love this picture catching that face.
 On this trip Lily was whining.  A lot.  We had a bag of precious swedish fish, and Adam finally said "You can have a fish if you are quiet for 5 minutes."  She lasted her characteristic 30 seconds before she started whining about how horrible that deal was.  A typical blip of the next 40 minutes would be Lily whining about something, Adam saying "LILY PLEASE!!!" and me attempting to give a sermon on being grateful, followed by "See?  Jackson is getting ANOTHER fish because he is being quiet!!"
A day in Salt Lake, so wonderful to be in that place full of memories.  After this picture Ada unplugged a nearby cord from the wall (router maybe?).  Really tiring.  This weekend we were experimenting with Adam working away from the office (future summers in Mexico! in my mind, and Montana! in Adam's. We are really different.)  It went well until he tagged along with us to Salt Lake (no pressure from me!) and missed an important call (like swearing important, he was so mad). Hopefully those traveling dreams aren't completely gone.
If I could have had control over one thing in Lily's life set up I would have planned her to be surrounded by girl cousins.  She is alone a lot, her nearest girl cousins are +/-2 years away.  If she gets my phone during family visits I spend a lot of time sifting through tons of photos and long monologue videos.
 This was such a fun weekend staying at Ashley's house. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I LOVE visiting other families and seeing them in action, and see what little habits work that I can maybe implement in our home.  Ashley is quite amazing and I left with a ton of ideas!
I included so many pictures of the pony ride, because before this day Ada was always mentioning "baby horses" and so was SO EXCITED!  All of the kids were, although of course Lily and Jackson fought over the largest pony and Jack ended up sulking off to the side and I had to take him back later.
Isaac is always up for a thumbs up and winking smile when he sees the camera.  Ha!
 Jackson really is super sweet with animals.  He stroked the pony's neck the entire time.
 Isaac started preschool.  It was not fun.  He was so happy the first day we went together for a little tour and treasure hunt.  Then the second day he would not go in without me, then started crying when I would try to leave.  Ada of course was being a busy bee the entire time, so I was trying to make sure she didn't create enormous messes while I was trying to help Isaac be brave.  When they went to just play with toys, I thought that would be a good out, but no.  Isaac clung to me sobbing while I was ripping toys out of Ada's hands, who then started crying because she didn't want to leave.  Super frustrating.  Luckily he eventually went after 2 days of this when I bribed him with a snow cone.
Ada as Owlette.  Adam refuses to let me reuse our super expensive Halloween costumes.  Lily had so many cute ones!
Isaac as Spiderman.  I admit to still being bitter that Amanda GAVE AWAY the Spiderman suit I let her borrow 3 years ago.  I convinced the kids to sell their candy this year to the dentist by saying I would triple their money (ha!).  It was wonderful, although I probably should see it for what it is; the kids realizing that nothing makes mom get into raging anger faster than them eating candy instead of food.
I can't get enough of sleeping babies.  Not necessarily in our bed but it happens in cycles and it won't be forever.  At least that's what I tell myself when I'm getting kicked in the face by Ada from 5 am to 7 am three nights in a row.
We didn't get to the park nearly as often as I would have liked following that boiling summer, but we DID finally make it to Snow Canyon and Jenny's Canyon.  Lily loved the hole covered walls.
Jackson refused to come with us on this excursion.  I am always torn between making him come with us because I know he will enjoy it, or letting him stay at Liz's where he can just relax with his cousins (the only times I regret this is if he comes home grumpy.  Hard to return from fun and nice mom heaven!  Yes he has stated how much nicer Liz is than me.  Don't know how she keeps that compassionate, letting kids run through that house all day long.
Ada thought it was super funny to run away from me on the top of this ridge.  She has so much energy.  I can't wait to see what she gets involved in when she's older.
Lily is still her lovely independent self, desperately in need of a self-thought project or idea, and would rather be around people than alone.  Not sure how to teach the value of quiet/alone time to her.

Monday, November 7, 2016

it's great to be 8!

Jackson was baptized on September 24.  It was a nice day.  One of my jobs for Primary is to attend all of the baptisms, so I am very familiar with how they go and was just able to enjoy it.  Our stake makes it so most kids can have their own program even though they have about 14 kids every month.
So he got to choose the songs (Wise Man and Foolish Man, When I am Baptized), who said the prayers (Grandpa and Liz taking over for Grandma), and the talks (Mimi and Papa).  Simple and sweet.
 (Me gathering my chicks!)
Jackson is a super thoughtful kid, and doesn't take things at face value.  When we read the scriptures he will sometimes surprise me with pretty deep questions.  During the talks he was listening intently and took the day very seriously.  During his confirmation Adam blessed him with an abundance of the Spirit, and I couldn't get that phrase out of my head for a while.  It seemed to fit him just perfectly - he really does try to do what's right (sans teasing time).  
That day, because I wasn't exhausted enough with having 20 people over for lunch (also Jackson's request - grilled cheese sandwiches that Lily and Brooke did an awesome job cooking), Adam decided to go and get some honeycomb from his hives.  Commence honey EVERYWHERE for a few days, and us trying to figure out how to separate the wax from the honey.....Liz said I would think it was funny in the future that Adam told me to YouTube how to do it while he was scraping it into a sieve.  Kind of stressful, especially when a stray bee would come to see what was going on.  On the plus side, Adam took a bunch of his honey smeared clothes or tools and left them in the garage, where LOTS of bees came to partake of, so I'm pretty sure that my kids won't be scared of bees, as they would have to walk through a ton of them buzzing around on the way to the car and they all did it and didn't get stung.

Friday, September 23, 2016

travel bug #2

While in California, Mom pointed out the fact that Jackson and Henry were set to get baptized on the same day...Amanda and I had talked about it but didn't even realize it would be a problem.  Ha!  Since the drive to the beach had been so awesome, it didn't take long for me to form the plan of driving to Denver over Labor Day weekend to go to Henry's baptism, and on the way stop in Moab to visit Arches.
Britt had told me that all 4th grade students can get a free pass to all of the National Parks, and so instead of renewing our year pass in Montana at Glacier, waited until September 1 so Lily could save us some money.  We left after school on August 31 on an AWESOME ride where we didn't stop ONE TIME.  It was AMAZING.  Sure I was driving with the gas light on for the last 28 miles on the pitch black side road to Moab, but we made it!  After getting some gas and snacks at McDonalds, we drove to our Motel 8, which I had paid a very low price for and was crossing my fingers it wasn't too ghetto.  Sure there was a police car and some belligerent customers in the lobby, but no danger!
The next morning we got up bright and early and after breakfast and printing off Lily's free pass, drove up to Arches where the entry woman informed us Lily was the first 4th grader card of the year!  Lily was super excited, she was quite proud of the fact she was saving us lots of money.
After some time spent in the Visitors Center (such neat exhibits, the older kids were so excited), we went to the Balanced Rock, then off to the Sand Dune Arch.  This was the favorite by far as the walk included walking through sand in the shade of a slot canyon.  So so so nice.  Perfect temperatures, the kids were so happy in the sand, it was wonderful.
The kids all wanted separate photos on this rock that I really didn't want Ada to climb alone, but she is more stubborn than me, although I was able to stay pretty close to her and help her down.
The next two (1 1/2) walks it was getting hot and although everyone was still super excited any time they saw an arch, it was definitely getting time to get on the road to get to Denver.
But not before a bathroom break.  Remembering how Lily tortured me on her first camping trip when she refused to use an outhouse but refused to wear a diaper....yes I totally waited with my camera ready for her to come out.  We had a good laugh over that face!
After tempting the kids with Cafe Rio and a huge park at a place 1.5 hours away, we were in the car again!  And then again went with no stops all the way to Denver, again driving the last 20+ miles with the gas light on until we were close to Amanda's.  Such good travelers!  Although I'm sure they got the sense pretty quickly that I was not going to put up with any errant behavior without yelling at the top of my voice, so for the most part things were pretty peaceful.  The kids were SO EXCITED to get there, and I was so excited to not be driving anymore.
The next morning we headed over to the Children's Museum, which was even more awesome than we remembered.  Lots of super fun exhibits, the favorite being the climbing one where the kids climbed up like 4 floors or something.  They did it 3 times.  Unfortunately I had left the apples in the car, and Isaac got to a point where the bowl of Cocoa Puffs he had for breakfast wasn't cutting it, and he lost it pretty bad, just cried and cried, saying he wanted to go home.  Instead of grabbing an apple for the one boy, I forced everybody to leave even though they probably could have been happy for another 2 hours if fed.  But lesson learned I guess.  Adam flew in that night and it was very nice to not be a single parent anymore.
Henry's baptism was the next morning, and I was lucky enough to give the talk on baptism.  Practicing that helped me stay awake on that long drive.  Even after all of the sharing times and lessons given, I really don't understand why it's so hard to get up and speak.  It was a fun day and after the big luncheon afterwards we basically rested.  Mom and Dad and Tyler's parents were around as well, it was just a really nice group to spend time with.  Tyler took the time to play Splendor with Jackson one morning while I was still sleeping.  Tyler's parents made sure to watch Lily's gymnastics routine with lots of compliments.  And of course it is always nice to be around Amanda.  Time with her is a treasure for sure.
We drove home Monday, a much quicker trip with another adult.  Unfortunately for my future travel plans, the kids did NOT do well with making up the 3 missed days of homework.  Isaac likes to take about 80 pictures a day with my phone, and this shot is a pretty normal occurrence.
This one too - giving choices for food.  Not that he ever goes along with that.  I regret so much the practices I instilled or the genes I passed on to these kids that make almost every meal a struggle.
Since we had to wait for the free National Park pass, we also had to wait to go on our annual Back to School Narrows hike in Zions.  But it was still beautiful weather and it is always a treat to spend time with the older kids without the craziness that the littles sometimes bring into the picture.
We had to park the care outside of Zions, so we walked through the entrance.  The line for people with passes was much empty compared to a very long one that needed to pay.  Lily walked up first with her card and the man made a big deal about her being a 4th grader.  She had the biggest smile on her face and didn't mind a bit thinking everybody was looking at her.  After waiting in a 10 minute line to get onto a bus (SO BUSY), we were off.  We saw a few dear, wild turkeys, and really it was just so neat answering their questions and looking at things they were pointing out.  Although it took a while to get used to the chilly water, it really is such a neat hike.  The kids were so excited about this waterfall, and the gorgeous views are just stunning.
The kids took a while to get into that little nook.  The walk back it was getting pretty warm, and Lily struggled to finish without whining, which she got teased about quite a bit, but overall it was a wonderful day spent with two wonderful kids.  And that we got to finish off with wonderful Pizza Wagon pizza - bonus!