Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

Months ago, Ross discovered that his boy band, the Kings of Leon, were starting out on a new tour and that the closest they would get to us would be Las Vegas.

The conversation basically went like this.
Ross - how strange would it be if I went to Las Vegas by myself to go to the concert?
Me - strange.

Me - what if all 5 of us went down for the weekend and you just went to the concert when we slept in the hotel?
Ross - that could work.

Me - Or, what if we asked my parents if they wanted to come down with us and they could just hand out with the kids and I went with you?
Ross - you'd go with me?
Me - yes, i'd go with you.  That makes more sense than you going by yourself doesn't it?

Anyway, when we presented the idea to my parents, my mom surprised us with the idea of keeping the boys with her for the weekend and Ross and I going to Las Vegas by ourselves for a quick trip to the concert.  It was a great idea, we were very appreciative, and we made plans for the trip.

This weekend, the time finally arrived and I guess it was a small blessing that all the early morning soccer games got rained out so we could head down early.  We drove through pretty torrential rain until about Cedar City and then the weather cleared up and the sun came out.  We got to Vegas in time to check-in, have a nap (because we are old farts) and then wander some outlet malls and have dinner before the concert.

We arrived around 9:00 pm thinking that the opening bands would be about finished.  Nope - they were just getting started and we were warming up for the longest and latest night ever.  The concert ended around 1:00 am Utah time (Midnight Vegas time) and we'd been standing up for a little over four hours with a few sitting breaks on the astro turf covered parking lot in between bands.

The show was good - for  a show with three bands that I'm not a fan of.  The light show was great for the Kings of Leon.  Opening bands pretty much suck, no matter where you are or what show you are seeing and electronic cigarettes are pretty much as bad, or maybe worse, than the real thing.

But aside from the concert, I spent more time with my husband in about 30 hours than I have in the last several weeks.  That was nice.  I sort of remembered why I like him, and that I like to spend time with him.  I have to admit that I think both of us were sort of forgetting that lately.  We aren't good at finding time to spend with each other, and this time, without our kids, the first time without them ever (and Elliott is almost 8!), was time needed and well deserved.  And, we couldn't have done it without my parentals, who I'm sure were pretty tired.  But it was most excellent of them to take the boys for us.

Hey look its us!!  Driving to las vegas like we're 25 to go to a concert and then turn around and drive home like it ain't no thing.  #kingsofleonin30hours #weusedtobethecouplethatdidthings

We cOuld eat somewhere fancy or we cOuld eat here and be so happy!  #kingsofleonin30hours #raisingcanes



Windy blurry post 4 plus hour concert 12:30 am selfie over the strip.  #kingsofleonin30hours #bedtime

Small town bathroom breaks.... #kingsofleonin30hours

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I'm two weeks late, but on Saturday, September 13th, my Grandma Huber's birthday, we had a celebration.  It was her 84th birthday and as has become tradition, at the designated time, all those that were able, met at the cemetery to remember Grandma.

Once we were all gathered, my Grandpa said a few words, shed a few tears and then offered a family prayer.  His prayers are pretty insightful, he talks to God the same way he talks to the rest of us - very direct and upfront, with no messing around.  It made my heart happy to hear the words he had to say on behalf of all of us, and of my Grandma.  He talked about how he knows that she has made her presence known to many of us on the earth this past year and that she is trying to influence us all for the best while in heaven, just as she did when she was here.

It was good.

Then, of course, we went to eat.  And, of course, we went to Crown Burgers.  I think that my mom and I counted 46 of us, out of almost 60, gathered together at the cemetery and for dinner.  It was a good night.  The oldest, of course, being my Grandpa, presiding over us all, and the youngest was baby Beau, a mere two weeks old, a great grandson, who if he could have talked, I'm sure would have had some messages from my grandma to share with us because I'm also pretty sure that he had just recently been in the presence of her company.









When they get sick

Hey.  I know how to have a party.  Why only have one kid who can't breathe when you can have two! #wheezy #babycantbreathe #sofreakingout #asthma #myhusbandhasbadgenes

Elliott was diagnosed with asthma when he was around two years old.  He however, minus a few seasonal coughs, never really had any severe problems and it's safe to say has outgrown any symptoms of asthma that he may have ever had when he was much younger.

Wyatt contracted RSV, we believe from a shopping cart at Wal-Mart in St. George, Utah in the early spring of 2010, when he was about 9 months old.  This illness was pretty horrible and was the spring board for his asthma diagnosis.   Since that time, the last four years, have been a roller coaster of breathing issues with this #2 child of ours.  Every change of season, we are in the doctor's office for steroids and lunch checks.  We have an asthma action plan.  He always has a cough and last fall, we broke down and just bought a nebulizer because the inhaler just couldn't do it's job.  It's hard to get a little kid to suck the medicine out of an inhaler the right way.

Luckily for us though, or luckily for Wyatt, we are good enough with his symptoms that, when the cough changes, he is on the machine and we've been able to ward off any bouts with bronchitis or any other respiratory problems for the majority of the year (knock on wood).  We aren't as good with his daily Flovent and singular treatments as we should be, but he really does alright.  If only he could learn how to clear the phlegm balls that build up in his lungs without throwing up all over the kitchen floor.  That would be a miracle.


Now, Quinn?  This kid?  I really thought that we had escaped the asthma menace with this one.  The primary reason I decided to feed him myself, and not feed him formula, was the "evidence" that nursing a baby was one of the sure-fire ways to prevent childhood asthma.  I was sold.    However, I was wrong.

On Monday last week, Ross took Wyatt and Quinn to the doctor because both seemed under the weather and with Wyatt, especially, we just cannot every be too sure that his cough isn't something more than just a cough.  Both boys checked out fine, minor colds, no problems.

On Tuesday morning of last week, when I got Quinn out of bed in the morning, he was not good.  His breathing was fast and a little erratic.  Speedy like a hummingbird bats it's wings with long pauses, like he was trying to catch his breath from breathing.  And, knowing the signs of wheezing, regardless of being able to hear his wheeze from a different room, I could see the problem.  The skin on his neck above his collarbone, as well as the skin on his belly above his ribs was completely concave every time he breathed.  With every breath, he looked like a skeleton.  It was bad and it terrified me.

I called Ross.  I called the doctors office and got him an early appointment with the nurse practitioner he had seen the day before.  When she met us in the small room, she could hear him wheeze, and said, "He did not sound like this yesterday".  "I know I said, this started in the middle of the night".  In spite of his best efforts to maim both of us with his deadly shoes and sharp finger nails, she completely her exam and I pinned him down for an albuterol treatment.  Wheezing.  Mild respiratory infection.  Albuterol with a nebulizer for 3-4 days until the cough stops.  If he gets any worse, or if the fever got worse, bring him back in.

We headed home, both exhausted, me still with shoe prints on my arms and sweat dripping down my back from the wrestling match I wasn't prepared for and we camped out for the day.  Quinn was so tired he slept through several transports in and out of the car (into the house, back to the car to get Wyatt from school, back into the house once we got Wyatt).

I guess he kind of looks cute?  At least he doesn't scream anymore and he can feel like a big boy and hold the mask himself.  I mean he will cooperate with pretty much anything for a sucker.  #asthma

I thought in the next day and a half that things were on the mend, and that we were doing better.  Then came Thursday afternoon.  It was the appointment for his two year old check-up that we'd scheduled weeks ago with our regular pediatrician.  He had a slightly elevated fever and I told her about our earlier appointments in the week.  She took one look at him, got quiet, did some checks of his ears and throat and then stepped out of the office for a second.  She came back with a laminated card depicting kids with various stages of sores all over their bodies and gave me the verdict:  Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (sores all over the inside of his mouth), ear infection, respiratory infection, asthma.

I.  was.  not.  prepared.  for.  that.


We got a prescription for the ear infection.

He ate all the dum-dum suckers in my purse to keep him from screaming.

I texted and then called Ross.

I was exhausted.  I also knew I was getting it myself (and I've spent the last three days horribly awfully miserably sick, but that's not really worth a blog post) and that I had 7-10 more days of one sick baby on my hands.

Well, he's finally feeling better.  Everyone is finally feeling better. (Except me, of course)

And, I've got another asthma baby on my hands.

I told my husband, the culprit of all this asthma crap (Ross was also a childhood asthmatic), half joking, that if I would have known what his genes would do to my children, that may have been a deal breaker.

He laughed....nervously.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, Grandma P.

It's so nice of my grandma's to celebrate their birthdays five days apart.  That way, I get to think of them all the time, like I don't think of them all the time already.

My Grandma P. was such a talented lady.  All she ever wanted to do was to teach me to crochet, and to sew and to cook wonderful foods and treats.

Well, I figured out the food part.  I'll never get the crocheting thing down.  But, every single time I sew anything, I think about her.  And sometimes I catch myself looking up, towards the heavens, because I think I can feel her looking down, watching me, coaching me, and telling me that I did a good job.

All this grandma of mine every wanted for me was to get married, have babies and be happy.  She wanted me to stop being so picky, to find someone, and build a life with that person, for eternity.  I really hope that I did a good job.  And I hope that as I teach my boys about her, and how important she was in my life, that I do a service to the amazing person she was, and is.  Because she is still her, guiding and protecting and teaching me.

Happy Birthday, Grandma.  Love you!

4 generations

melanie and justin091



4th of July034 copy2

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Today is my Grandma's birthday.  She would have been 83 today.  I miss her everyday.  I talk to her in my head every day.  She was the greatest lady the world every knew.


three great grandparents

thee months, three babies

Grandma, Haley, and Elliott

great grandma and monkey



with haley


I love you, Grandma. I hope that in heaven, you get to have a party.

Friday, September 12, 2014

some other things that need to be posted....



The last couple of weeks I've kind of been a sewing maniac. I think it's not only because I like to do it and I'm getting a lot better at it, but because it helps me keep my sanity. I bought the pattern to make these big tote bags, and along with the pattern, comes the "license" to make/sell them on a small homebased business scale, which is something I'm thinking about doing. And the little zipper pouches. I have finally mastered the zippered pouch and don't have to watch the tutorial anymore to make them. Yeah!


All the rain we've had the last few weeks have really made my flower beds go Disneyland crazy. They will never really be worthy of the D-land title, but as I sit on my porch every afternoon and look at their beauty, that's what I think about. I pretty much have a seasonal addiction to flowers and this year, with the help of the cooler summer and so much rain fall, I really have so much beauty to look at.


After the rain finally stopped the other day and the boys and I ventured outside to look for worms, we found this little guy instead. He was the brightest blue I've ever seen, and not much bigger than my thumbnail. The big boys wanted to squish and salt him but I said no. He was too pretty to kill. Never in my life have I seen a blue snail before.


Preston and Katie welcomed their cute little baby, Beau, almost two weeks ago, a couple weeks early. Then Preston had to go out of town for work. Katie is a champ and has been handling things on her own beautifully, but Quinn and I offered to head to her house to help her out the other morning. We got to love us some sweet new heavenly scented baby while she showered and did all the things she needed to do before taking him for his 2 week check-up, without worrying (hopefully) about him and his needs. He peed on me, and Quinn and I had to change his whole outfit and man alive, new babies are tiny. And, though holding him may have been the best thing I did all week, I'm pretty happy that I don't have something that tiny and needy at my house. I'll take my three bruisers any day and am happy to be slowly moving away from baby land.


We definitely know that the seasons are changing when the breathing machine comes out from under the sink. Wyatt always has a cough, but things are getting worse and to hopefully avoid the doctor, we'll be spending our weekend here - on the chair, with the machine, sucking in medicine and watching cartoons of his choosing.

The third week and final two days of our second summer vacation

Honestly, I wasn't sure that we would survive being off track.  The boys were going a bit crazy, I was going a bit crazy and everyone needed to go to school!  After writing an angry letter about the inequality of the track structure (which I haven't sent yet) and trying to find my groove, we set out to wrap up our time off with a bang.

Monday was Labor Day and we went to the mountains for a drive up to Mirror Lake.

Tuesday was Quinn's birthday and we went to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving point and of all places got lunch (pizza and hot dogs) at the new Costco by our house.  We were pretty much the only people at the museum which was great and I guess that is one of the benefits of year round school.  I'll take it.  No competition is a pretty good thing.  Elliott had goalie clinic and Ross had mutual.  Looking back, I don't think we even ate dinner.


Wednesday was Wyatt's day to choose our activity and we headed to the waffle love storefront in Provo for lunch time waffles and then to the Bean Museum on the BYU campus for  some lessons in taxidermy.  We all headed out to my mom's house for dinner, Wyatt and Quinn and I together and Elliott and Ross after soccer practice.

Today's off track activity was wyatts choice.   He chose @waffluv "restaurant" and the bean museum in Provo.  (Elliott chose the aviary last week lest you worry I might not be playing fair) #offtracksucksdeadgoat #offtrack #offtrackisalsoexpensive


Thursday afternoon through Friday morning, the big boys had a sleepover with Ross' parents.  They went to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2" played at some parks and had a grand old time.  Ross picked them up in the morning to take them to the dentist and then brought them home to drive me crazy for the rest of the afternoon.  Thursday late afternoon/evening I had my first week of Stake Young Women's Volleyball.  I am a referee and I had to take Quinn, the boy who hates the church with me and I lived to tell you that yes, even though it isn't easy, you can hold a 35 pound 2 year old on your hip and officiate a volleyball game.  Afterwards the three of us went to dinner and Quinn was a nut, as usual, because his brothers weren't around to steal his spotlight.

Saturday morning Elliott had his second soccer game and he played goalie and Ross was the substitute coach.  Immediately after that, he rushed off with Grandpa Karl up to his first ever Runnin' Utes football game against Fresno State.  It was hot and he and his Grandpa both got sunburned but he had a ton of fun and his ticket stub is still stuck on the fridge a week later.  That night, we celebrated Quinn's birthday with family.  We kept the party small, with just dessert this year, mostly because I'm tired, and it was a great time.  Lots of laughter and fun, just as a party should be.




Sunday?  Sunday's are battles in our house.  Enough said.

Monday we spent the day puttering around, ran too many errands and got some lunch.   Oh, and watched Star Wars.  Mostly because it rained all day.  On Monday night, in spite of the torrential rain, we headed down town with some Petersen's and some Binggeli's and some Howden's and some Wood's to the Utah State Fair.  We had a great night.  The weather was perfect, the kids were well behaved, and the Beach Boys provided the background music.  I think fun was had by all, even if Elliott was the only one who fell asleep on the way home.





And Tuesday?  We went to IKEA.  Dumbest.  Idea.  Ever!

Wednesday the boys went back to school and Quinn and I dropped them off, came home and had a coke.

A very well deserved diet coke.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Me and my boys :: Hardcastle Photography

Lately, I've had an overwhelming desire to be in some of the pictures with my kids.  Mostly, it's because as I scroll through the thousands (Yes, I literally take about 3000 pictures a year.) of pictures on my computer, I'm not in any of them.  I'm the one taking them.  I've got great photos of the boys alone and together and with their cousins and their Uncle Willie.  I've got some pictures of the boys with their dad that I just love and every time I see them, they just melt my heart a little bit.  But, in order to get a picture with me and my kids, or me and my husband, I have to hand over my camera or my phone and the results (even though I am very appreciative to those of you who accept the hand off) are, well, blurry at best.  Or, I resort to the ever popular selfie in which one or all of us have some part of our heads cut-off and missing.

I've read on lots of "mommy blogs" over the years about the importance of mom being in front of the camera every once in a while.  That our kids need a record of what we looked like and to remember that we were there, too.  And that, no matter what we look like, or how we feel about what we look like, that a little bit of documentation is good.

So, knowing that the boys were off track and that Jenn was launching a photography business and is super talented and that I wanted at least one picture of myself with these knuckle-heads right now, at this phase in their lives and mine, it was the "perfect storm" so to speak.  After a couple weeks of negotiating time and location and figuring out what we were going to wear and praying that my hair would work and not look stupid and that the dumb zit on my chin wouldn't be too noticeable, we were ready.

The photo shoot was completely about the boys.  I just sneaked my way into a couple of pictures and there were two that I absolutely loved and will love forever.  (Jenn, thanks so much!)









I guess maybe that's a little selfish, to schedule a mom and kids photo shoot?  Maybe it's mean that I didn't include Ross, or in fact, didn't even tell him that I was going to be in a couple pictures?  I don't know.  I wanted it to be a surprise.  Was it a surprise?  Do you like them?  Would you print one and put it on your desk?  It was just something that I felt was important for me to do right now.  We'll get the obligatory family Christmas card picture out of the way shortly, but these were just for me. 


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