Monday, December 22, 2008

Fun night with friends

I have known Christine since high school. I've known Karen since shortly after birth. My best friends are the ones I've had for a long, long time. Love you guys, and so glad we got to play!

And how lucky that our kids love each other, too! They spent the whole night rocking out to Rock Band. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

After dinner...

A Sunday night with Grammy and Grandpa- Tyler playing Christmas songs for us, Grammy helping Makenna make a foam gingerbread house, and Grandpa playing games and puzzles. I wish we had more nights like this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Former Christmases

This is how Tyler spent his Christmas when he was Camden's age. Russ and I lived in Utah for 8 years. I wish I could have this snow for the week of Christmas, and then it could go away. :)

Arizona winter

This is how my kids have spent every Saturday since Thanksgiving-- The ice cream man comes while the neighborhood kids are all playing at the park. Tyler runs in to get his money. He buys himself and Makenna a watermelon pop (it even has chocolate chips in it to look like seeds.) I love the weather, but it definitely doesn't feel like Christmas.Finally, this week, it felt like winter! I'm so happy the neighbors were playing in the backyard with sweatshirts because the park was too wet. It almost really feels like Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


These pics are from our ward party. I can't help but laugh at how typical these pictures are of my kids. Makenna has her "I'm happy, but nervous" smile on. Tyler thinks he's too cool to actually sit on Santa's lap. And Camden is, of course, scared of Santa.

Makenna's b-day

Before Christmas is really here, I have to do a little more backtracking. Makenna turned 5 a few days after school started- yeah, like 4 months ago. That was a hard week for me, so the birthday party Makenna and I talked about never happened. And the party that did happen never got posted. So 4 months later, here it is.
I told Makenna she could take one friend to Build-A-Bear since we didn't plan a party. She had so much fun and it was the easiest planning I've ever done! And, of course, she had to have a bear cake, right? I actually made this cake all by myself! It wasn't perfect, but pretty good for me. Thanks Rachel for teaching me how to do cakes!

I love this picture of Makenna. She was sooo happy to get this "Tink" necklace that I paid like $2.50 for.

Makenna and Brielle both picked a pink tye-dye-ish bear-- they had to have the same one. My picky personality really wanted them to get a cute tan bear or a white bear. When they were sold on pink, I tried to tell them they had to pick pink clothes so it would match. But Makenna was totally thrilled with her pink Tinkerbell bear. Yes, I'm a little too anal about these things. The girls were perfectly happy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thankful #4

I have felt overwhelmed by my disorganized and dirty house recently, so I've been complaining to my mom a lot. Well my mom started complaining back a little, asking me how I got to be so "anal-retentive." She said I didn't use to be like that. Then she reminded me of some of my past experiences.

The morning of my BYU graduation, I slept through my alarm. I woke up to my roommates alarm, and her graduation was 2 and 1/2 hours after mine!  My graduation started in 15 minutes. I had borrowed Russ's car (he was my fiancee of like 1 week,) but there was no way I had time to park on campus. So I called Russ who was waiting for my family to pick him up and told him to pick me up, too.  But I told him to I was going to be so late that I said let's just forget it and go to breakfast instead. 
When my parents picked me up, I had slick hair, no make-up, and I was wearing the clothes that were on my floor from the day before. The whole time in the car, I told my parents and Russ I wasn't going, I was too late, let's just go to breakfast. My parents dropped me off anyway, Russ shoved me out of the car, and dragged me into the Marriott Center. I was still saying let's just go to breakfast. Because of Russ's job (a news reporter,) he knew how to get around all the back halls and elevators in the Marriott Center that most of us aren't suppose to be using. So he got me where I needed to be, and I entered the main floor of the building following behind the "Z"s. I ended up sitting in a row completely by myself, and then had to try to alphabetize myself in front of the crowd as people's names were called. Shortly after that, it was my turn, my name was called, and I got my diploma. And then my parents could breathe again.

After graduation, I told my parents that this was the perfect ending to my college career. This was how I made it through college. Every day, every paper, every test happened by the skin of my teeth.

So today, I am grateful for time to improve. Somewhere between graduation and now, I decided I didn't like stressing at the last minute, I didn't like living in a dirty apartment, and I didn't like looking like a slovenly dressed, sleep-deprived college student (another story that mortified my mother.) I am grateful that I have been able to change those things over time. You may call it "anal-retentive", but I like it.

I am thankful for something else, too. I am thankful that Russ still wanted to marry me after that little episode of craziness, and that he knew I would have been sad if I'd missed my graduation. And I'm always thankful for the little perks Russ gets. He seems to always be able to get me into the back door, the front parking spot, or one of the best seats in the house. Love you Russ!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankful #3

Today I'm feeling thankful that my kids make me smile and laugh. Camden has snuggled with me all day today- my favorite thing ever. Makenna has covered me with blankets every time I sat down. And Tyler wanted to sit and practice a duet with me on the piano instead of playing on the computer. Tyler and Makenna are often fighting like crazy, so I soak it up when they are sweet and unknowingly funny.
I took this picture on the first day of school. One of my favorite things about Tyler and Makenna is the way they adore Camden. Camden was way loaded up with hugs and kisses on the first day of school.

We spend almost the whole summer in the backyard together. I love the water, so I love that my kids love it, too. The goggles alone make me giggle!

I've posted before about Makenna's knack of putting creatures to bed in every spot in the house. This one, right by the front door, gave me a good laugh when I walked past it.

Thank goodness for all the chuckles my kids give me. They keep me sane and happy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thankful #2

Today I am thankful to feel a million times better than yesterday! I am drugged up on Tylenol and Advil with no loopy side effects! Yay!

Monday, November 17, 2008

In the spirit of Thanksgiving

First, I'll tell you about the last few days for me- really yucky ones. And then I want to tell you what I'm so thankful for. If you want to skip my long story, you can skip the first paragraph and get right to the thankful part...  Still too much? Just skip to the last paragraph.

On Thursday, I finally went to my first O.B. appt., only to find out that our baby did not have a heartbeat. On Friday morning (the day I would have been 13 weeks), I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am for a D and C. On Saturday I was feeling pretty good. I did a few loads of laundry, some dishes, you know the basic stuff. Now I realize, that was all stuff I should not have done. Saturday night, I hardly slept. My body ached and on top of that, I was getting a horrible sore throat. So Sunday morning, I popped some Advil, and headed to church. Half way through church, I decided my bones were going to explode and I was way too weepy, so I left early. With my dress and jewelry still on, I curled up in my bed, and tried to sleep. By Sunday night, I was miserable and bailed on my stake meeting, even though I knew Julie was stressed about getting everything done for it. Sunday night was another sleepless night with aches and a really, insanely sore throat. So Monday morning, I sent Russ to fill my prescription- the one I was sure I wasn't going to need. So I took one percocet. I guess I don't take enough meds because this threw me into cloud land. I just wanted it to wear off because I'd rather be in pain, than feel like I was going to faint. It finally started to wear off around 6pm. Now I'm still trying to decide if I should take a half a percocet or take several Advil before I go to bed.

So right now, I am thankful for lots of people. My mom (who lucky for me, got home from Utah the night before) spent the night Thursday and got my kids off to school. Andrea watched my kids -twice, once was for the entire day. Gayla brought me dinner even though her family wasn't going to be home to eat it, and her house was crazy with scouts. Russ's co-workers sent me flowers and fruit because they like Russ, and Russ only tells them the good stuff about me. Kamesha happily took both of my carpool days, even though I already owed her. Carrie dropped off Taco Bell one afternoon and a Jamba one night even though she was sick, too. Renae dropped off some dinner on her way to Urgent care for her sinus infection. Belle dropped off warm soup because I told her I was too delirious to bring Tyler to piano. Shelly dropped off cute Thanksgiving cookies, because I told her we already had a meal coming. Amberly tried really hard to talk me into a dinner, and Angela tried to get me to accept a lunch. I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow. I'm planning to take care of my own kids and make my own dinner! (or at least reheat leftovers by myself?)

I am so thankful for good friends. I am thankful for good people who look out for other people. I am thankful to have so many good people around me. I am thankful to have friends. I am seriously thankful for each one of you (unless you are a strange blog stocker that I've never met!) I feel like I have so many people around me that are always doing something nice for someone else. 

Thank you for being so nice! I am grateful!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lake Powell

Okay, so time for more backtracking to the summer. We left Camden with grammy and the rest of us headed to Lake Powell- our first time on  a houseboat. And we can't wait for a second time. The weather was perfect, the scenery was perfect, the water was glass, and we felt like we had the lake to ourselves.Makenna spent most of her time in the houseboat. She said she was afraid she was going to fall off. And she thought the speed boat went too fast. But she had fun anyway.

Our first toys- proving to be expensive toys...

Makenna and Tyler were thrilled when a snake slithered through their castle, and a lizard used the castle's swimming pool for a little drink.

My first time behind a boat in many, many years.

Russ's first time ever behind a boat. It didn't take too long for him to get up on the wakeboard. But he was too tired to try a ski by then.

Tyler's favorite part of the houseboat- the water slide. He also loved riding in the boat and tubing behind it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween 2008

My kids were such a crack-up on Halloween. Makenna's wings were off before we ever went trick-or-treating, Tyler was dressed the same as 90% of the boys in our neighborhood, and Camden was the cutest blonde Diego possible. Camden said "trick or treat" at every house and acted like each piece of candy was the first one he got. Tyler was on a mission to get as much candy as humanly possible. At the end of the night, he was overflowing 2 gallon size ziplocs! I feel like candy's growing in my pantry!

Utah Trip #2

I never finished my Utah entry, and it's long overdue. So here are more reasons why our short trip to Utah was so worth it this year.

Good friends,

dinner up the canyon,

Pleasant Grove fireworks,

Camden waving to everyone at the Provo parade,

lighting our own fireworks in the front yard,

Tyler's finally not afraid of fireworks,

more good friends,

and more good friends!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Randy's birthday

Today would have been my brother's 39th birthday. This picture was taken 20 years ago- it definitely doesn't seem that long ago. 

Up until my brother moved out of state, he gave me the same birthday gift every year. Candy bars- always wrapped up in a brown paper bag. My little brother and I have always called it "Randy Wrap." I think giving it a name makes it an acceptable form of wrapping for everyone in my family.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Family Pics

My friend, Rachael, took family pictures for us. There are a lot of them, but if you are bored sometime, let me know if you think there are any "must-haves" in here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crack the Egg

My dad posted this picture on my brother's blog. This is an awesome picture for me (despite the OP shorts.) I grew up in southern CA, and at that time trampolines were no where to be found. So we bought this one during a trip to Utah. My parents made us all pitch in money to buy it, and then we squeezed all the parts around us in the family van. My brother's started setting it up as soon as we got back to CA.

Besides family dinner, the trampoline was probably the place we spent the most time together. Our favorite game was "crack the egg." My brothers loved it because I was so hard to crack. I loved it because they thought I was great. Often after scouts, my brothers would come find me, so they could show all their friends how high they could get me in the air without me cracking. What could have been better than being the center of attention for a bunch of older boys?

Our whole neighborhood and ward spent a lot of time on our trampoline. Sometimes people we didn't know would knock on our door and ask to try it. Besides getting the wind knocked out of me and some other's broken bones, I have so many fun memories on our trampoline. And I seem to be more grateful for fun memories than I use to be.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My brother, Randy

I can't believe school has already started and we are well into the second week.  The summer break went soo fast.  We had a really busy summer, and I have lots of things to post on my blog. However, all of our events and busy-ness, and fun, now seem so insignificant.  I have a one-track mind lately, and can't seem to get myself to think or write about anything else.  So I'm hoping that once I get this written down, I will be able to fit more than one thing in my brain and post some of the fun and happy things that have happened in our family.

I spent the last days of our summer break in Washington with my parents, my oldest brother Danny, and my youngest brother Nathan.  We were there for my older brother Randy's funeral. I could never describe how sad that experience was for us.  And I don't use the word sad because of my lack of vocabulary.  It is the word that keeps coming to my mind and coming out of my mouth.  This experience has been so deeply sad.

Randy's funeral went very smoothly.  My dad did most of the planning, and he was very pleased afterward.  We didn't know what to expect since we didn't really know anyone there except Randy's wife and son.  My dad was the only assigned speaker and then time was open to anyone who wanted to say something.  Several people got up and said very nice things about Randy.  We learned new things about his life in Washington, and people we didn't know made sure to stop and tell us something about Randy in their life.  The funeral was nice- and yet still soo sad. My brother was only 38.  The older I get, the younger I realize everyone else is.  I remember when my dad turned 40.  We took 40 black balloons to his office.  I thought he was so old.  My brother, Danny, turned 40 last year though, and I think he is so young.  In fact, my parents are in their 60's now, and I still think they are young.  38 is way too young.

My brother was always Mr. Cool.  He was sort of an 80's Fonzee.  Although, in high school, he often got into trouble and made my parents crazy. When I was growing up, I thought Randy was cool.  He played the guitar in some bands, lifted weights, had pretty girlfriends, and had Billy Idol hair.  He was a tough guy, but also spent his time at home cuddling with our fluffy cat.  As my family was going through some of Randy's things, we realized that he still had many of the same hobbies, likes, and habits at the age of 38.  He still loved his guitar, his cats (and his dog- who attended the funeral), some of his art hobbies, his collections, the same music, and he was still meticulous with his projects.  

I didn't think Randy was perfect.  He often made me mad.  He exhausted my parent's patience, yelled at me when I practiced piano (I wasn't very good,) and tried to get out of every church or family event that he could.  But I still thought he was cool, and I wanted him to be the one that drove me to church or a friend's house, and I wanted him to be around me.  When I was a freshman in high school, Randy was a freshman at FJC.  But his girlfriend, Jennifer, was a senior at my school.  I loved her and we called each other "sister."  I think I liked that Randy had to be a little closer to me since his girlfriend liked me- and she let me "come in" when Randy said "stay out."

The last several years, Randy has lived in Washington state in a small farming type of town where his wife is from.  It's not really a destination place.   My first visit there was for the funeral.  My brother was terrible at keeping in touch with his family.  And I am not the greatest either (unless you are my mom, who hears from me too often.)  My parents would complain that it took Randy a month to return their calls.  So I usually only talked to him when I was at my parents house.  That wasn't very often.  So in the more recent part of Randy's life, I didn't know him very well, anymore. 

I learned more about him while I was in Washington.  His wife opened up to us about the problems he had- we never knew the extent of his problems.  We drove to the different homes he'd lived in.  We drove by the golf course he use to play at and the homes he helped build.  We spent some time looking through Randy's wood shop that he had in his backyard.  This was his profession and his favorite hobby.  Most of this touring around was led by my parents who had visited him 2 weeks before. That was the sad part.  I wanted Randy to be the one to show me around his wood shop, and the projects he had worked on.  That's where I realized that whether Randy was good at keeping in touch or not, it was my own mistake and regret that I hadn't been there before to get the tour from him.

As far as Randy's problems, we believe the biggest contributors to his death were alcohol and prescription drugs.  He told my parents that he was sober and going to AA meetings.  What we found out later is that he went to only a couple meetings and was still drinking.  We also found that the pain medications he was getting for his kidney complications had gotten out of control.  As a family, we are so sad that we weren't aware of his addictions.  My dad said he would have put him on a plane back to Phoenix, put him in a clinic or something, and sent him back to his family in Washington after he got cleaned up.  

Unfortunately, life could be full of would-haves, should-haves, and if-I'd-only-knowns.  But we just do the best we know how because that's all we can do, and then we learn from our experiences.  I have learned a lot from this one. I'm confident that Randy never doubted being loved by his family.  That gives me some peace of mind.  I'm also confident that I'll see Randy again.  I know exactly how it will happen.  He will put one arm around me and say, "Hey little sis." 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Russ- you won!!

Russ's station won a huge award (an Edward R. Murrow award for Best Continuing Coverage,) thanks in large part to, well... RUSS!  Congratulations Russ!  I'm so happy for you!!  (and for me since I get to go to New York for the award, too!!!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tired dog

My grandma sent me this and it made me giggle.  I definitely feel this way sometimes...

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard; I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour.  This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious, I pinned a note to his collar: "I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: "He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3- he's trying to catch up on his sleep.  Can I come with him tomorrow?"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Utah Trip #1

We decided on a whim to go to Utah.  We spent 2 days in the car, and only 3 days actually in Utah.  We squeezed a lot in those few days, though.  Here are some of the reasons it was worth it.

Hanging out at my grandma's house,

favorite shopping destinations- Robert's and Gardner Village,

a bbq under a shady tree with fresh corn from a stand,

mint-chocolate Creamies,

a trip to the alma mater,

and a little extra protein from the drive.

I have more to post after I get my hands on Russ's camera!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

you asked...

A frenulectomy-- the dentist cut a membrane that went from the middle of her upper lip and between her two front teeth.  I guess we are all born with this, but usually it breaks between the two front teeth when we are babies.  Since Makenna's didn't break, she's had a huge gap (she thinks she lost a tooth there,) and the membrane would have always acted like a little inner tube between her teeth (even if she had braces) causing her teeth to always shift a little.

I watched Makenna's little surgery through an office window.  I winced through the whole thing.  It looked like the dentist was just going in and jabbing and hacking at her mouth with a pair of nails scissors.  I'm so glad she's healed so well!  Maybe her adult teeth will come in a little closer together!

Makenna had to go to the Dr. again today.  All week, she's had to tinkle about EVERY 10 SECONDS!  He diagnosed her with Pollakiuria.  Anyone heard of that one?!?  Me neither.

Tomorrow we go to the Dr. for Camden.  He has a heart murmur and we're headed to the pediatric cardiologist.  I'm hoping for the best.  It's been a wild summer.

We just got back from a family vacation this last weekend.  And yesterday we decided to leave for Utah tomorrow.  It's the best place to be for the 4th!  So I'll have more to post when we get back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Poor Makenna

My poor little Makenna! 

Last week, she had a Frenulectomy done.  She was so good and confident.  She did great.  She had to be sedated, and that worked out great.  She said she was nervous, but she acted like it was no big deal.

Then yesterday, Makenna split her chin open coming down on the side of the pool.  This wasnt't the same exerience as the dentist office.  This time, she screamed and cried- loud.  I would have too.  It was really sad.  She cried for like a half hour straight.  And then when she got her shots (like 7 or 8 of them!) she belted out the screaming.  It was so sad!  Today, she's doing great, only a little sad that she's not suppose to swim. 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pioneer Trek

Isn't this just a lovely picture??

Since you probably can't tell, I'm the one in the red.  The other 3 (Cheryl, Julie, and Carol Ann) are the other members of the stake YW presidency.

Our stake pioneer trek was 4 days in these dirt-filled plains.  I had a great time with these girls, and we loved watching all the youth.  It was fun to watch the youth work so hard, and then feel so proud of their accomplishments.  I seriously didn't hear a complaint until the last day when it took longer to get home than originally planned.  And, of course, they were just dying for a shower.  I know I was dying for a shower- and it took a long one to get all the dirt out of my nails!

I do have a stronger appreciation for the pioneers and their incredible faith now.  And I have a stronger appreciation for everyone that pulled a handcart and still smiled about it- which was everyone, I think.  I also have a new appreciation for bonnets (keeping all the wind out of my face) and aprons (my pockets held a ton and it was nice to always have something to wipe my hands on), and even my bloomers that I was really not excited about (we had to sit on the ground and you didn't have to worry about flashing anyone in your skirt!)  

I'm so glad to be home, though.  I really despise being dirty- and aside from my new appreciations, I love my comfy clothes and cute high heels!

The best part about coming home was my kids shoving each other to hug me.  The first thing said was Makenna anxiously asking if I got their letters.  They all wrote me a letter and then snuck it into my bag before I left.  Tyler's started with, "Have fun.  Stay alive." 

 The kids wanted to tell me everything they'd done while I was gone with LOTS of details.  After a little bit, though, Tyler stopped and said, "Well, tell us about the trek, mom."  I was so happy that they cared about what I was doing, too.

I took a lot of slack today at church from the men.  They couldn't believe that I'd left Russ with the kids (for 4 days) twice within a few weeks of each other.  Russ has just been a trooper about it, though.  He's never once complained.  And he loves having more time with his kids.  I love you Russ.