Sunday, June 24, 2007

Our So Called Life

So it seems like we've had a year's worth of experiences in the past month, both good and bad. Fair warning now...this is a novel length post!

We went to the Zoo, and Daddy got to come along, even though we went on a Friday. The kids had a blast! We got to see an albino alligator ("the Ghost of the Bayou" as it was billed)which was truly an amazing sight! Sweetsa loved the area in the small animal building where the birds fly "free"(not caged or in a formal exhibit). Her little fingers kept signing "bird, bird, bird" with a look or alert wonder on her face. It was wonderful! Mimi loved the train, and the new improved and enlarged playground...figures we go to the zoo and she likes the fake stuff best!) She was also excited to see ALL the monkeys/ primates. Our sweet neighbor told her that monkeys were clowns. I think Mimi was a little disappointed not to see any monkeys actually dressed as clowns! Buddy said he wanted to see the tigers, but was not impressed to discover them doing nothing (resting in the shade.) I guess he wanted more excitement!

He got it the next day in the form of his birthday party. We invited some friends from the neighborhood and our families. We had dinner, played Pin the Headlight on the Racecar (Lightning MacQueen of course), had a Hummer pinata, opened presents and had cupcakes and icecream. Buddy loved all the presents he opened and sleeps with some still! It was so fun to see everyone, and let the kids run around in the backyard while we all (the adults) socialized and caught up on each other's lives/doings.

I guess that is something that has happened in the past month or so...we finished the sprinkler system, and laid sod in the back yard...we have a great place to play and party now...feel free to come over and enjoy it with us! I've also been working on planting a garden and getting some ornamentals put in. I'm definitely not a designer, but it so fun to plant and watch things grow.

On a related note, yesterday I got to teach a gardening class at our RS Super Saturday Activity. I thought it went well, especially for having 16 hours of notice before actually teaching the class! (Luckily I have a bunch of reference material/planting stuff "laying around"!) The activity was a success...we got great comments from the sisters that attended ( and from some of the presenters, too!)

We also got some new windows installed recently! I love being able to open the windows in my kitchen and actually feel a breeze while I'm cooking (an admittedly rare occurrence these days. LOL! Blogger just spell checked occurrence-yes I did spell it wrong initially, but the words it suggested for the correct spelling were: coinsurance, reassurance, and insurance!) Anyway, LOVE the new windows. They really do insulate better than the old ones too (I was a doubting Thomasina!)We also got the skinny windows on the west side of our living replaced...they open now as well. Yahoo!

Instead of going to the ward Father's and Son's outing/Aaronic Priesthood Commemoration Campout this month, we took our kids to dinner and a movie! We saw "Bridge to Terabithia" and yes I cried. **SPOILER WARNING** If you haven't seen the movie/read the book, skip to the next paragraph now!***I had a vague recollection that the girl died, but when the rope didn't break on their return in the storm I thought, Oh! I guess I was wrong! Good! (totally thinking that Mimi would have a better time if no bad thing happened.) That made it some much harder when we found out in the next scene that yes the rope broke and things we no longer happy in happy land! Mimi did have some trouble with it, but by the next day was ok (and so was I)!

It was fun to do something together as a often we are doing things with one parent and the kids because the other parent has commitments/meetings. So we felt great about skipping the "Father's and Sons", as well as the informal "Girls' Night Out" held the same night! But the kids insisted that we make up for missing the camping part, so we promised we'd set up the tent one night and "camp" in the backyard.

The other reason we felt so good about skipping the camping was that we wanted to be able to help our good friends paint their house the next morning. Annually our neighborhood sponsors a "Paint Your Heart Out" service project. That means they select a few homes in the area to paint the exterior...they supply the paint and brushes and everyone comes out to provide the manpower. The kids lasted about a half an hour and then we sent them to another neighbor's house to play, while D and I stayed and painted our hearts out! It was so fun and the house looks fantastic. We went back a few evenings to help with some touch-ups and missed/forgotten areas. It was great to be able to help our friends who are always so willing to help us and others. Service rocks!

One night I got to take Mimi to see the local production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast Musical. It was fantastic. I loved the added characterization and new songs (ie some not in the cartoon movie). Mimi had a great time too, although she was a bit frightened by all the yelling/growling that Beast did. We were really excited to recognize the actor playing Gaston as one of the actors from our favorite Sunday movies, the Liken movies.

On the night we had our camp out in the backyard, things started out really fun. Big D lit the charcoal in the pit and we had BBQ chicken, while the kids ate hot dogs. We supplemented the meat with salad and homemade applesauce and Cheeto's (hows that for healthy!?) After dinner we played baseball in the yard, helping Mimi and Buddy learn how to "keep your eye on the ball" and the right way to stand ready for a pitch. Sweetsa loved running around chasing balls...the whiffle ball, the soccer ball or whatever was moving. We roasted marshmallows together over the remaining coals, and made a few smores before getting ready for bed in the tent. It was a really fun time...until everyune was almost asleep! Then Sweetsa let loose! She started throwing up on me and my pillow! D and the older kids woke up and were a bit disoriented..."Mommy, why are you taking Sweetsa inside?! Why did you wake me up?" LOL! I can laugh about it now, but I wasn't laughing that night. Especially when I got her inside and started a bath for her chubby little fist I found a water balloon. from it's condition, it had obviously been in her tummy at one point, and only recently expelled! (feel free to say eww gross!) So I quickly ran to check the soiled bedding Big D left in the kitchen , and discovered five more balloons!!! I seriously had a hard time believing my eyes. These were not used water balloons...not pieces/parts. They were uninflated, unused water balloons, taking up a ton of room in my poor Sweetsa's belly! I called the on call nurse because I was quite freaked out at this point. She suggested that Sweetsa probably had vomited all the balloons out but to look for drooling in the morning when she tried to eat breakfast, or more vomit/obvious swelling discomfort. In the morning it did appear that she was having difficulty eating/swallowing so I took her to the doctor's office while D took the other kids to Nagol's birthday party. I felt really dumb repeating the story over and over and over again for the receptionist, the nurse, the PA and finally the doctor. He sent us over to the hospital to get some pics of her abdomen and belly and warned me that if her belly became distended/painful to take her to the ER immediately. We were having a great day! I got to explain the story again to the techs in radiology!) We finally got the word that she might have one more going through her intestine, and it should pass soon. Keep watching for distension and pain, and things should be just fine. Of course I was told several times, "Do you know how lucky she is...!?" I wanted to say "Do you think I'm an idiot!?Do you think I haven't been thinking that myself!?!?" But I didn't, I just nodded, agreeing with them. She did pass the other balloon. And life is mostly back to normal.

Normal, including Buddy flooding the entryway to the basement apartment. When I found the flood, it was at least a foot deep( no exaggeration !) After a quick swat I set the kid and his sisters to bailing and ran to get some help from a neighbor. (I did come back and help too!) We are so blessed to have a fantastic weather seal on that basement door...and that our new neighbors were out of town! Can you imagine the mess if they had opened their door while this was going on!? Only about six inches of carpet inside the apartment got wet/damp and the rest of the water was successfully bailed onto my flowers and lawn! Yet one more disaster averted.

And now I'm tired and I'll bet you are too if you made it this far! Hopefully I'll get some pics taken soon to liven up my future posts, but again thanks for sticking with this marathon post!

Addiction and tragedy

So our computer has been out of operation for the past few weeks (we just got it up and running again last night.) It was SO hard for me to not "be in touch", not check blogs, or post on my own, not send or receive email, and I had to write things down, not just type and print...oh the agony!!!

I really didn't think I was addicted, but what was the first thing I did, once the computer was going again? post, update and check on how everyone is! There are still a few issues we are dealing with, but it is great to be "connected" again!

The only drawback to being connected again is that I have discovered that we somehow lost all our digital pictures from the past four years. We thought we had saved them on a jump drive, but when loaded back onto our hard drive, we found only two pictures from 2004 and one of Sweetsa from last summer. Don't get me wrong, I am VERY grateful we have those pics, but it was so hard for me last night when I discovered the loss of those years of our visual history. I admit it ... I bawled like a baby. I kept thinking of all the things that I wanted to do (and never quite got around to doing) with some of the pictures. For example, there were some fun pics of the kids all getting into the flour at one time or another...I was hoping to do a collage of them all, with a pic of Big D doing the same when he was about 18 months. Or the copy of Sweetsa's first pic...probably the sweetest baby picture that I have ever seen! Or the pictures of Mimi's wonderful smile at one function or another...and I won't see those great things again. Sorry. I guess I am wallowing in my sadness. I guess I am trying to warn y'all to back up all your pictures and keep multiple copies...or at least do the scrapbook/memory pages that you really want to have around for ever

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

I can hardly believe that you are four years old!
As I look back over the past year, I see how much you have grown and changed, and yet how much you are the same--still my wiggly, active Buddy-boy! Your toothless smile is so sweet and endearing, I fear you get out of trouble a little too easily by flashing it! You can be so kind and loving to your sisters, freely giving hugs and kisses. I love it when you come up to me and wrap your warm arms around me and say, "Mommy, I love you!" without prompting.

You are always the first (child) to wake up, no sleeping in for you! I guess there is too much to do and see each day for you to be a slug-a-bed. I love it when you wake up and come right in to snug with me in my bed...and then bound out to the kitchen for breakfast. There is no slow motion for you. As soon as you are up, it's all go, go, go for you until we enforce bedtime each night.

You are a great helper around the house and yard. You can put the dishes in the dishwasher and empty it fairly well too. You LOVE to help Granpa Daddy-o when we clean at PowerGlide each week, running eagerly to find the squeegee and glass cleaner to help with the windows. I love watching you help Daddy mow the lawn, or carry your tool box around to help him fix things.

You are still my little monkey boy, climbing anywhere, anytime. I know that you are really good at climbing, rarely falling or getting hurt (KNOCK ON WOOD! Sorry, hope that didn't hurt, Wood!). But I did have to draw the line at you teaching Sweetsa the "other way" to get up on the top scared me to death to see her up there with you! (there is no longer any furniture within a leaping distance of the bunk bed!) Although I didn't see you, I think you may have had a hand (and foot?) in teaching your little sister how to climb out of the crib this past week!

You get so excited when you recognize something that we've talked about in preschool, or are able to recognize letters on signs and things. You are such a smart boy, putting things together and remembering what you see, hear and learn... I wish I could remember as well as you do! You seem to have knack for remembering lyrics of songs. I have been startled several times to hear you sing words to songs that I don't know! I think that recently you have begun to make up your own songs too...keep it up Buddy! What I absolutely adore is how you love the stories from the Book of Mormon and Bible! The way you love Nephi and Ammon, Daniel and David , and know their stories, warms my heart!

And probably the most recent event, (and pretty momentous for Mommy!) is that you have learned to use the potty! WAHOO! You have done a FABULOUS job, and I am so proud of how quickly you have picked it up! I guess the four month warning that 'when you turn four there will be no more diapers' helped you get over the "I'm going to wear diapers forever!" attitude. Way to go Buddy!

You loved your Cars party, and carry those Cars characters around everyday, and want them to go with you everywhere. Thanks for coming to our family, Buddy we Love you!

**I was waiting to post this until I got some pics, but we've had some technical difficulties...hopefully one day there will be pics! Sorry Buddy!**

Wow! Announcement!

Brittany Hutton gave birth to Gabriel Daniel on Wednesday, June 21, 2007.
Little peanut weighed in at 5 lbs 10 oz, and was 18 inches long. Because he was so little he had a few problems at first, but seems to have overcome those and should be realesed tomorrow. Momma is doing well, despite an abrubted placenta, and was released from the hospital today. (She gets to stay on at the hospital though, so she can feed Gabriel.)Grandma Dani and Co (woefulguy and Breezy) got to OH on Wednesday night and are having a fabulous visit. It is crazy to think that my parents are great-grandparents, although they are GREAT grandparents...I guess for that matter it's weird to think of myself as a great-aunt!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reunion 2008

YUP! It's time to start thinking about Reunion again! In other words, it's time to decide if you want to join in the fun again, and help pay the 20% deposit Mr. Gardener requires for us to reserve the Ranch.

From what I understand, in order for us to have the facilities to ourselves we need 140 people to come to Reunion--about 20 more than came in 2006 (And those numbers do not include infants, so don't try repopulating the world to get our numbers up, K?). Here are some preliminary numbers I got in an email recently (you can also check out the website for camping and other info.)

1 Night 2 nights
92-107 People 92-107 People
Adults 19+ $74.00 $148.00
Teens 13-18 $66.00 $132.00
Children 9-12 $52.00 $104.00
Children 5-8 $43.00 $86.00
Children 3-4 $37.00 $74.00
Infants 0-2 $0.00 $0.00

1 Night 2 nights
# 108-119 People 108-119 People
Adults 19+ $72.00 $144.00
Teens 13-18 $64.00 $128.00
Children 9-12 $50.00 $100.00
Children 5-8 $41.00 $82.00
Children 3-4 $35.00 $70.00
Infants 0-2 $0.00 $0.00

1 Night 2 Nights
# 120+ People 120+ People
Adults 19+ $70.00 $140.00
Teens 13-18 $62.00 $124.00
Children 9-12 $48.00 $96.00
Children 5-8 $39.00 $78.00
Children 3-4 $33.00 $66.00
Infants 0-2 $0.00 $0.00

These prices do not include taxes so there will be an additional charge, but as I recall it's not much. If you have contact info for others that is new/different, get the changes to me or the Amphibians in Arizona, so we can get the word out to as many as possible.

If you have questions, give me a holler by phone or email...or comment and I'll try to get back to you!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sweetsa's New Smile