Friday, June 24, 2011

Just had to share the cuteness!


Last day of work today before heading out on a week of vacation! We're taking off for Utah on Monday to attend a couple of family reunions.

We'll go to Aaron's family reunion first. We have rented a big house that can hold all of us (grandparents, 4 kids and spouses, and assorted children). We're looking forward to seeing everyone, taking the kids to the zoo, and just relaxing a bit. As much as is possible when you have 4 kids to take care of, anyway!

Then we go to my family reunion. This is my huge reunion that I have reminisced about on the blog a time or two. I just LOVE going to this reunion. It's a highlight of my year. We were a little worried earlier this month that there would be a snag in the reunion plans. There has been a LOT of snow in the mountains this year. And 2 weeks before the reunion, the road to the campground was still closed because of the snow!

But as of last week it is open. But very muddy (the boys will love that). And I have to wonder how much snow is still hanging out in the trees. I may be feeling glad that we're not camping, because it could be a cold, soggy year at Iron Springs.

Regardless of the weather, I can't wait!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things My Kids Can't Do

Thanks to accidents my children and friends' children have had, various news reports, and general paranoia, I'm becoming scared to let my kids do anything. The current list of things they can't do because mommy is scared includes:
  • Ride bikes (general paranoia that they could fall and get hurt or hit by a car)
  • Go to the playground (Sarah's daughter fell and was seriously injured)
  • Play near a door (Preston got his finger caught in the door and badly smashed)
  • Swim in a pool (Melissa's son had to be rescued by a lifeguard recently)
  • Play in a kiddie pool (news reports just released that LOTS of kids drown in kiddie pools)
  • Run down a hill (Melissa's friend's daughter fell and got a concussion and possible skull fracture)
  • Jump from the back of the couch to the floor (just seems like a bad idea, really, but Preston tries to do this all. the. TIME.)
  • Move out of my sight while we're camping on the mountain (news reports every year of kids who get lost)
  • Walk to a friend's house 6 blocks away (kidnapping, sex offenders, reckless drivers... all reasons that I have to walk Haley there and back myself instead of letting her go on her own)
The list is longer than that, but those are the things on the top of my mind. All of these things bring on The Fear. (From one of my favorite blogs, Rants from Mommyland. The Fear: irrational, all-consuming anxiety that something awful may happen to the [children] (or their father). Sex offenders, drunk drivers, and enemy combatants among those who inspire The Fear. Results in statements like; "No you may NOT walk to the mailbox without a grown-up. I don't care if you are in High School." The Fear strikes Daddies and Mommies in equal measure.)

What brings on The Fear for you? What do you do to deal with The Fear and let your children live a normal life in spite of your paranoia?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Power of Prayer

"Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (from the Bible dictionary)

A few weeks ago I posted about my friend's daughter, Kenley (Pray for Kenley). After all that poor Kenley went through, I will admit that I was feeling gloomy about her recovery. Here is a 20-month-old child who had 3 brain surgeries and a stroke. I knew that many, many people were praying for her, and I do believe that through prayer, miracles are possible. But I also know that sometimes the answer to a prayer is No. And I was so worried that this would be one of those times.

But I see this incident now as a wonderful testament to the power of prayer. Kenley has made wonderful progress in her recovery. From her mother:

"Kenley is able to drink a bit with a sippy cup, and she has been eating some pureed type foods, although only around 6 ounces a day, and she still refuses food a lot. She also clearly favors the left side of her mouth for eating, and was able to try a few gerber dissolvable snacks today. {Most of Kenley's nutrition comes from a feeding tube right now, but they are hopeful that it can be removed eventually as Kenley's ability to eat improves.}
She is really starting to babble. Mostly just jibberish, but she did say "neigh" to a horse and we think she is saying Minnie. Occasional movements from her right side, very sporadic and extremely weak, the foot movements seem to be purposeful, but I'm not sure about the hand. Her neck control is much better, almost back to normal which is great considering the floppy newborn she was a few days ago. We have been trying to get her to sit up, but she still ends up slowly falling to her right side."

So a huge improvement from the non-responsive child she was for the first week or so!! She is doing well enough that she was already transferred from the PICU to the regular children's floor. And now she has reached the point that she can leave the hospital and move to a rehab facility. She still has a ways to go:

"We are expecting to be at the rehab center for 4-6 weeks. In order for Kenley to leave, she either has to reach all of the goals they set for her, or she has to reach a point where she is no longer to accomplish anymore goals. Doug and I will also have goals that we will have to meet, in the areas of being able to care for whatever her needs are once we go home (such as her feedings, if she is still on a feeding tube)."

But compared to what the outcome could have been, this is wonderful. I am so thankful that Kenley's recovery is going so well thus far and know that it is in answer to all the prayers that have been uttered in her behalf.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

R.I.P. Kindle

Tara's Kindle succumbed to a sudden and unexpected software-related illness. Despite lengthy and heroic efforts by the Amazon tech-support staff, Tara's Kindle was unable to be revived. It was laid to rest on Saturday, June 18.

Tara's Kindle is survived by it's grieving owner, Tara, who is currently having to resort to reading physical books. Kindle is also survived by approximately 150 e-books currently floating out there in virtual space somewhere, waiting for a new home.

Thanks to Amazon Kindle Support for their kind assistance in this time of need. And especially for sending a replacement Kindle* ASAP.

* Thank goodness it was still under waranty so I didn't have to pay for a new one!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quick Father's Day Funny

Preston just informed me that he thinks he would like to get Aaron a tattoo for Father's Day.

"I think it's just right," he told me. "Because Daddy likes the needles." Aaron might disagree.

When I asked what the tattoo should be, there was some discussion. Preston leaned toward a picture of our cat, Chairman Meow.

But Haley's suggestion was voted best. I'm sure Aaron will be thrilled. ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

One of these days I'll get it right...

In our office suite, we're very concerned with security. To the point that to go to the bathroom, I have to go out one locked door and 10 feet later, go in through another locked door. (That, or go around the long way. Frankly, I'm like my kids. I always have better things to do than take time out to go to the bathroom. By the time I finally get around to taking a potty break, I'm looking for the shortest route!)

This has been the case for several months now, so you'd think I have the hang of it. But no. Every time I go out the first door, I reach for my key (hanging from a stylish frog clip hooked to my waistband) to open it. From the unlocked side. Oops! Don't need the key to open the door over here! But now that I've almost grabbed it here, I'm sure to remember to use it on the next door. :D

Then I exit the door. 10 feet later (Okay, I don't know the exact distance, but it's very short. It takes maybe 5 seconds to walk from one to the other.) I come to the second door. And try to open it. What! It's locked! Oh, wait... right. THIS is where I was supposed to use my key. D'oh!

But hey, at least serves as a good reminder so that I remember how it works when when returning from the bathroom a few minutes later, right?

So I go out the first door - don't need my key for that one! Walk 10 feet. Try to open the door and d'oh! Right. It's locked. I need the key. Just like I did 2 minutes ago.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Almost Disneyland

Have you ever been to Disneyland or Disneyworld on a really hot day? When you walk past some of the indoor attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean or Small World you get just that little breath of damp, cool air coming from the front of the building. And it's just a little refreshing and makes you want more.

As I walk to the bus stop each night, I walk past the entrance to an underground parking garage. And on a hot day, as I walk past I get just that little breath of damp, cool air. And it always makes me think of Disneyland and think of happy trips I've made there.

It's an odd mental leap, I know. Parking garage > Disneyland. But it makes me smile. And also makes me want to take another Disney trip!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Barefoot and Hormonal

Today's writing prompt from Mama Kat: describe an incident that upset you when you were pregnant, but now looking back makes you laugh.

When I was pregnant this 4th time around, I was teaching a church class of 4 & 5 year olds. I had a team teacher, so we would take turns. One week I would teach the lesson while she sat with the class to help them remember to behave and participate. The next week we switched roles. It worked pretty well.

Then I was gone on vacation for a week. I had arranged for a substitute while I was gone because it was my week. And so I knew when I came back, it was my team teacher's week to teach. I knew she was there. I'd seen her earlier. So when it was time to go to class, the kids and I went to our classroom and waited for her. After a few minutes, she hadn't arrived. So we did a round of bathroom visits and trips to the drinking fountain to kill a little time.

And she still wasn't there. So I opened the lesson manual and figured I would wing it for the first couple of minutes until she joined us. Then she could take over with her planned lesson. About 10 minutes into it, the door finally opened. I looked up in relief to see her there. Then I was confused when she just handed me a class roll and turned to leave.

She noticed my confusion and asked if anyone had told me that she was no longer team teaching our class. She was now the secretary for the children's primary instead.

Immediately, the tears welled up. But I don't have a lesson prepared! It was your week to teach. So I don't have a lesson!

She apologized. She was sorry no one got in touch with me - I guess no one realized I had been out of town and didn't know. I sent her on her way. After all, it's not rocket science. I can wing it for one lesson. And then I proceeded to sob all through class. Because, darn it, I was unprepared. I didn't have a lesson! I finally got myself under control by the end of class. Those poor kids, having to deal with me that day.

After class, the primary president came to see me and apologize that I hadn't been told. And I started to cry again. Because I didn't have a lesson. I didn't mean to be unprepared. I just didn't know. And so I didn't have a lesson! And I had to do it myself. And I don't feel good. And I didn't have a lesson!

I was very stuck on this point for some reason. It just struck me as the worst failing ever. My husband and the other kids joined us. He was concerned to see me standing in the hallway sobbing. The primary president tried to explain what was wrong. I tried to reassure them all that I was fine. I was just a little upset because I didn't have a lesson.

Looking back, it is very ridiculous to have been so upset. It's not like the kids cared one way or another. They would have been just as happy to color on a blank sheet of paper for the whole class. Or play Simon Says. Or go on a walk around the building. Or just keep visiting the drinking fountain across the hall. But I couldn't think of that in the midst of the hormone-induced craziness. All I could think was that I didn't have a lesson!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quick Funny from Preston

Preston and Brekken are playing something. Preston is running around the house shouting "Go, Team Jesus! Go, Team Jesus!"

I don't know what the game is, but I'm glad to hear that's the team he's cheering for. :D

Mmmmm... Panda!

Last night I gave in to the pleas for a silly little toy currently in the McDonald's happy meals - Kung Fu Panda action figures. On the way home, the three older kids had an interesting conversation about pandas.

Preston: I think I would like to eat a panda. I would just take all of the fur off and eat it up.

Haley: That's gross! You would have to cook it first.

Preston: I don't know how to cook. So I would just have to take a bite.

Haley: I would cook it for you. You just pull off all the fur, then put it in the oven for 10 minutes and then it's done. ...{a few seconds of deep thought}... maybe I would need to have a recipe. Mom, where do pandas live?

Mom: In China.

Haley: Okay. Hey, Mom! I need to learn Chinese. Then I could go to China and find someone and ask them, "Hey, how do you cook a panda?" And then we could cook one and eat it.

Brekken: Mmmmm... Panda!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quick Funny from Preston

"You know what, Mom? I have a really strong butt.

When I get mad, I get super strong - like the Hulk. But especially in my butt."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Preston's Questions

In the same file with Sounds from the Roadtrip (yesterday's post) I found a list of questions asked by Preston. Only some of them, because as I recall, this conversation went on for almost as hour as we drove. As soon as we came up for an answer to one question, he had another one to ask! This particular line of questioning was inspired by seeing a police car sitting at the side of the road:

  • What if the police fall asleep in their car?

  • What if they’re too tired to drive home?

  • What if they don’t have any friends to come get them?

  • What would happen to the car?

  • What if a police was friends with a bad guy?

  • What if a bad guy killed a police?

  • What if you know a bad guy and know he’s killing police – do you have to make it a secret?

  • What if you don’t know the policeman – can you talk to him?

  • What if a police had to arrest another police?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Road Trip Story

Another prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop. Today's prompt is to share a memorable road trip story.

I don't know how memorable this is, but I had my work laptop with me on our last roadtrip. And after we got home, I found a file on the desktop. When I opened it, I found that I was apparently making notes about the trip as we drove. Here it is, exactly as I found it. :)

Sounds from the road trip

whisper mumble whisper giggle whisper (Haley talking to herself in the back seat)

snuffle squirm whimper (Rylen trying to decide whether to wake up and scream for dinner and a snuggle)

rustle wiggle giggle smack!* MOM!!! (Brekken and Preston playing in the far backseat… which inevitably turns to fighting and shouting, with Haley generally joining in at some point)

AARRGH! (the silent – and sometimes not so silent – screaming from me when all of the above gets to be too much. Remind me again why we do road trips?)

*As a side note, doesn't "Rustle, Wiggle, Giggle, Smack" sound like an excellent name for a children's book? :D

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comfort Food At It's Finest

This is a prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop. It's a fun way to come up with blog topics, and I've been reading the prompts for a while. Now I'm finally getting around to actually responding to a prompt and I'm writing about:

Comfort food at its finest. Share a family favorite recipe you loved as a child.

The one that came to mind was tacos. We had tacos pretty frequently growing up. They're easy, pretty inexpensive, and all 6 kids were willing to eat them. No wonder we ate tacos a lot!

Our taco recipe was pretty simple. Cook ground beef, add taco seasoning. Spoon beef into a flour tortilla or crunchy taco shell. Top with cheese and lettuce. Add ketchup.

That's right, ketchup. For some reason we always put ketchup on our tacos! I don't know where that started, but that's just the way we always ate tacos.

These days, I cringe at the thought. I guess I've become a taco snob. Plus, I don't like ketchup!

And yet... I remember how much I always loved those tacos. Maybe I'll have to try it again.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pray for Kenley

A good friend of mine is going through a terrible time right now. Her 20-month-old daughter took a tumble from a slide at the playground. It happens to all kids. It's happened to my kids so many times. But this time, she just fell wrong. And Kenley hit her head. And her skull was fractured. And she had a brain bleed.

Kenley was flown to the hospital 3 hours away from her parents. While they were still on the way, it was decided that they had to operate. I cannot even imagine the pain of dealing with that. Knowing that my child was having brain surgery and I was not there with her? It brings tears to my eyes to even think about it.

Kenley's surgery went well, but she is still in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator - and will be for several more days at least. They are still having some issues with swelling of the brain, and now running into trouble with her glucose and insulin levels. From all I gather, doctors are cautiously optimistic, but she's not out of the woods by a long shot.

As a firm believer in the power of prayer, I feel that the more prayers on her behalf the better! I've put her in my personal prayers. I've put her on the prayer roll at our temple. And now I'm asking for you to put Kenley in your prayers as well. She and her family need all the prayers you can send.