Wednesday, March 26, 2014

keep on keepin' on.

Wearin' o' the green

Quinn is talking up a storm, and we can actually understand a lot of what he says. He says please and thank you, and all done. He says snack and yoda and Zoe (from sesame street) as well as MELMO. He makes a sound that means outside and he sits on the couch, points to the TV and says show. And, he asks for "ha too" (Hi chew) candy. It's pretty amusing to see his little brain going so fast. And, he's figured out door knobs in the house, and how to open his car door when were parked.

Wyatt is a funny little boy. There is a kid at preschool names Braxton (like the contractions), who is strange. He always takes his shoes and socks off and he touches Wyatt's hair every day. Wyatt goes to school with awesome hair and two hours later, it's flat as can be. This kid, Braxton is "SO ANNOYING" and touches Wyatt's hair even though Wyatt and his teacher tell the kid not too. Wyatt's teacher told me that she has the kid sit by Wyatt on the learning line at school because Wyatt is a good example and a good rule follower and she's hoping some of it will rub off.

Elliott thinks too much. He is so busy trying to figure every single thing in the whole world out, and ask more questions than are humanely possible that he forgets to pack his back pack for school. We had parent teacher conferences last week and he is doing well in English, but exceptionally well in Spanish. I am really thankful for the dual-immersion program at school. I think it's just what he needs to keep his brain going all day long. He does math in Spanish, and I love to watch Elliott and Ross do math homework together, and talk to each other. It's like they have a secret language (which they do) and I'm clueless as to what they are talking about. Okay, not clueless, I can figure some of it out.

Though our days seem to be full of lots of fights, broken toys, hurt feelings and bloody noses lately, I'm very grateful for these three boys. They make me happy and I love being their mom.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Accepting blessings through trials

That brother of mine has been gone from us on his mission for three weeks.  Three weeks doesn't even make a dent in two years, but, it's three weeks closer to having him back home.  It's been tough having him gone.  The first few days were really sucky, but as with most things in life, it gets a little bit easier.

Sunday dinner is pretty rough.  My boys sit at the kids table by themselves and we don't hear the muffled laughter that they had with their uncle.  They just quietly eat and then ask to be excused.  It's different.  Not bad, but it just will take a little bit more getting used to.

I've heard said countless times, that for the young men and women who serve full-time missions, they and their families are blessed beyond measure.  That the sacrifice of 18 - 24 months reaps rewards in heaven and on earth.  And that, while these courageous and strong youth are out serving the Lord, that as long as they and their families are righteous, rewards will be reaped.

I've always believed that.  It makes so much sens.  But, this week my family has experienced those blessings and "missionary miracles" first hand.

On Monday, at lunchtime at "the yard", my grandpa set out for his daily constitutional around my uncles t-shirt shop when he fell.  He fell forward and he fell hard.  He's too old to really brace himself and he smashed his face into the concrete floor.  My uncles got him up and his face was bloodied, but he was conscious and coherent and was able to get himself into the bathroom.  He agreed to get checked out by a doctor because he was in pain, and, headed to an emergency room.

While there, things were not good and though he was "okay" after some tests and scans and x-rays, it was realized that my grandpa's fall had caused him to break the top two vertebrae in his neck.  The vertebrae that hold his head up and are dangerously close to his spinal cord.  It was decided to transfer him by ambulance to another hospital where a surgeon could do more tests and figure out the best way to help him.

At that point, the prayers started pouring in.  Family and friends prayed.  My grandpa was given a priesthood blessing.  His name was put on the prayer rolls of several temples.  By Monday night, the surgeon felt the best option for my grandpa would be surgery to put him in a halo neck brace.  The kind that gets screwed into your skull.  This apparatus would probably be attached to him for at least three months and because of the nature of the device, he wouldn't be able to care for himself.

More prayers and blessings.

Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

More prayers.  More prayers.

Yesterday morning, after checking him out, the surgeon decided that a halo would not be necessary, that it would be better for him and his recovery, to fuse my grandpa's broken neck to his shoulders.  He'd completely lose the ability to turn his head for the rest of his life, and would have to relearn a lot, but it wasn't a halo.

More prayers and blessings.

Surgery for the fuse was scheduled and my grandpa was wheeled into the operating room.  My mom says that they had him on the table, on his stomach, to do the surgery and when they got his neck open, the bones were not broken like they had been on the x-rays the night before.  In fact, the neck to shoulder fuse wasn't going to be necessary.  A call was made from the operating room to the family to change my grandpa's surgery  - they needed permission to flip him to his back, and fix his neck through his throat (icky!) - and all he needed was a solitary pin and the vertebrae in question fused to one that wasn't broken. (If I have all my details correct).

Can you believe that?

 I can.

I texted my mom last night and said that I was so happy my grandpa got to be a miracle.  And that the blessings of my brother being a valiant missionary, even if it's only been for three weeks, and the strength of us on earth and my grandma in heaven, healed my grandpa enough to help him be okay.  To sustain himself through the procedure.  To renew our faith, and maybe even restore the faith in a few others.

I so believe in faith and God and the power of prayer and miracles.  My grandpa has a long road to recovery ahead of him and it will be one of the bigger trials of his life.  But through faith, great works happen.  Through our trials we get stronger.

After something like this the last couple of days, I just don't know how you can't believe that that there is someone, something out there watching over us and protecting us.

I'm so grateful for my brother.  And that my grandpa is going to be okay.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Grandma Bea's 90th Birthday Party, in pictures

Our trip to Arizona a month ago was primarily focused around the 90th birthday of Ross' Grandma Bea.  Ross and I were the primary organizers and "delegators" of the party and it turned out just lovely.  It was just a family affair, and everyone who helped did such an amazing job.  It was such a great night.

When my Great Grandpa turned 90 (in 1996 I think) my Grandma rented out a catering hall and we had a huge party with a photographer.  The photographs from that party are still proudly displayed in my grandparents home, and probably somewhere in the homes of all my aunts and uncles too.  It didn't take much convincing, but I told Ross that I thought it would be really important to hire a photographer to document the event.  When you know almost all of your family will be gathered in one place for such a special occasion, it would be crazy to not document it well.

So, with his okay, I started scouring the Internet for Mesa, Arizona photographers.  I spent HOURS on google looking at websites, figuring rates, and narrowing down my choices.  After ending up with a top 5 list, I e-mailed those five hoping for a response.  I received responses from two of the five, and ended up going with the first girl who contacted me.

Chandra, of Chandra Delite Photography got the job, and after receiving the pictures from her yesterday, I am so, so, so pleased with her documentation of the party. She and her husband/second camera did a beautiful job.  The photos are bright and cheerful and do such a great job representing the joyous occasion.

Besides the fact that Ross and I are co-chairs of the double chin club, which is made evident by many of the photographs (you'd never know I go to the gym for an hour four times a week!), I couldn't be more pleased.

There were so many great pictures that I'd love to share them all, but I cannot post 280 pictures of the same event on my blog.  I did select a few of my favorites though which, shock, mostly are of my kids.

Thanks so much to Chandra!  And to Grandma Bea for giving us a reason to go on vacation and to party.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

A warm day

Yesterday and today were beautiful.  The sun was shining, the sky was clear and the outdoors beckoned us to find some vitamin D.

The boys and I played outside yesterday and it was lovely. Minus all the arguing and ninja-warrior-attack-kill-fighting going on.  But hey, Quinn is cute.  And today, our dad felt ambitious and with a few outdoor requests from yours truly (pull out the bee plants and work on the garage) he spent the whole day outside working.  I owe him one.  Well, I probably owe him more than one, especially considering I disappeared for half the day to take a class to learn how to make French Macarons.  But, he does look quite handsome wielding a shovel and pulling out all my weeds.

Anyway, a lovely day to be had by all.

Here are some pictures to prove it.

Thank heavens, spring is on it's way.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Quinner :: 18 months


You are a little boy.

There isn't one single smidge of baby left in you.  It's awesome and sad at the same time.  My baby is my baby by birth order, but pretty much nothing more

You run and climb.  You dance.  You spin in a circle, walk backwards, and can go down stairs with just a little bit of help.  And, you climb on everything, sometimes getting the stool out of the bathroom and moving it to where you need to reach.  It drives me crazy.

You have added some words to your vocabulary in the last couple of weeks: Willie (just a few days before he left); owie; no; please; thank you; all done; hi; up; ELMO (Melmo) and probably a few more but I cannot remember.  You figured out how to fold your arms for prayers and during dinner keep up all rolling in our seats.  We're have a daily fight about whether or not you sit in your high chair or sit in a booster at the big table.  If mom wins, it's the high chair.  If you get to dad first, before dinner, it's the table.

You love hi-chew candies, star wars fruit snacks and apple sauce that you can squeeze out of a tube.  You went to nursery with dad at church last week for an hour and did okay.  You mimic EVERYTHING your brothers do, good or bad, and you roll your eyes. 

When it's time to change your diaper, you walk up to me, hit your diaper and grunt, and then go and lay down on the rug, usually in the dining room and yell, "mom!" until I come with a diaper in hand.

There are a couple of new tricks this month, too, one of which your dad taught you.  Instead of giving people a "high five" you give them a "pointer finger one" (like at the end of E.T.)  And, you aren't happy just "one-ing" one person, but you must make the rounds through an entire room of people until you get back to where you started.

Your obsession with Elmo is growing pretty rapidly and almost every day we spend about 20 minutes watching your favorite sesame street videos on you tube.  During that time, you are frozen like a statue watching, the only part of your body to move is your mouth - to shout "Melmo!" every time you see your fuzzy little red friend.

In the last month you flew on an airplane and said goodbye, for two years, to your beloved Uncle Willie.  Both were quite the experience, but the farewell took a lot less emotion out of you than flying on a plane.  We went to Arizona for Grandma Bea's 90th birthday party, which mom and dad were in charge of.  You handle the trip like a champ, only fell out of the hotel bed once, and for not having a single real nap in 6 whole days, did amazingly well at being happy and nice and awesome.

We spent as much time on our trip as we could trying to get you to say "Elliott, Wyatt, and Willie" really well.  It worked.  About three days before Willie left, all you wanted to say was, "WeeEee!"  And now that he's been gone a whole 7 days (only 721 to go) all you do is wander around the house, look at pictures, and as we pull into Grandma's driveway for Sunday dinner is shout Wille and then wonder why he doesn't come running.  It almost brings me to tears every single day.  Okay, not almost, it is bringing me to tears every day, but man alive you love that uncle, don't you!

You are such a special little kid.  I love your brothers tremendously, but right now, at this age, you hold a very special place in my heart.  I'm loving you right now as much as I can, because I know that pretty soon, you'll really figure out how to run and wrestle and be wild and crazy like those big brothers of yours.  I know it's coming, but I'm not quite ready for three bulls in my china shop so stay my sweet little buddy for a little bit longer please.

My heart needs it!


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