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Jan 30, 2009

And the award goes to...

Zachary!

[Apparently today is the day to brag about my significant others.]

This morning the little boys and I attended an awards assembly at Frontier Elementary, where Zachary was recognized for achievement in the second quarter.

The photos are grainy, but Zach's smile is unmistakable.


Zachary earned awards for excellence in Spanish (including excellent behavior -- woohoo!) and greatest improvement in math. We're so proud of our first-grader.

Why I love my husband

How do I love Garry? Let me count the ways:

He responds to 4:45 p.m. distress calls within 15 minutes.

He greets me with a sympathetic hug and kiss, plus open arms for three crazy boys.

He changes diapers, fixes dinner, feeds the kids, plays games, reads stories, and puts boys to bed...and whistles while he works.

He does all of the above while I nurse a wicked headache, alone and in the dark downstairs.

He talks me off a cliff when my addled brain is too overwhelmed to process properly.

He whips out Excel spreadsheets that organize and compute and fix all of my (ward-party-related) problems.

He busts out Photoshop to effortlessly (and incredibly quickly!) arrange Excel numbers into a pretty presentation.

He leans back in his chair, crosses his arms over his chest, flashes me his trademark two-dimple grin, and says, "Why work hard when the computer can do it for me?"

He acts like being my honorary activities committee member slash knight in shining armor is no big deal.

He never mentions the fact that he, too, had a long and tiring day, 90% of which was spent toiling in front of a computer.

...

And about a million other ways. These ways just manifested themselves between 5 and 10 p.m. last night.

Love ya, babe.

And thanks.

Jan 29, 2009

Learning and growing (and possibly driving me crazy)

Since Gavin turned one, I haven't been as regular at recording his growth and development, but I have noticed a lot of things about him lately that I want to remember.

Some of his emerging skills:
  • Helping himself to water via the freezer door dispenser
  • Climbing on chairs and couches
  • Throwing things in the toilet
  • Crawling in the dishwasher
  • Navigating down stairs quickly and easily
  • Following simple directions (notable exception: "stop doing that")
  • Getting his own diapers and wipes when he's stinky (and putting them away later)
  • Signing a few words (eat, more, cereal, cracker, all done, milk, baby)
  • Identifying body parts on himself and others
  • Playing peek-a-boo
  • Making church an attend-at-risk-of-peril endeavor
  • Folding his arms and attempting to close his eyes during prayers (see picture)
Interesting personality traits:
  • Being more attached to Russell (the stuffed bear) than ever
  • Adoring brothers and Daddy, especially after an absence
  • Hating to see Mommy sitting in the office chair
  • Bullying children twice his age and/or size
  • Stealing food from people and the pantry
  • Being obsessed with big-people shoes; wearing them on his arms or feet
  • Refusing to wear his own shoes
  • Taking off his socks no matter the temperature
  • Having unexplained and uncontrollable tantrums
  • Loving to play with laundry baskets, belts, and remote controls
Physical changes since November:
  • Completely outgrowing size 12-months clothing; now wearing 18-24 mos.
  • Wearing size six shoes
  • Cutting four molars in the last month
  • Weighing more than 28 pounds
  • Losing the ability to sleep through the night and nap well or regularly

I have a cute video of Gavin doing some of the signs he knows, with encouragement from the whole family. Unfortunately, it won't upload at the moment. Maybe later!

Jan 27, 2009

This is a test.

Putting time in a bottle (or a box)

This week our family made a time capsule.

We put some fun stuff in it:

A token of history-in-the-making.

Grocery store receipts from the week.

Some of the boys' treasures.

Hand- and foot-prints for every family member.

Current events and photos from our household.

Pictures of the house and bedrooms, plus wrappers from our favorite treats.

Surveys of favorites, physical stats, friends, etc., and fun kid artwork.

This afternoon I sealed up the old Amazon.com box (tape and string style) and stuck it in the crawl space. Hopefully we'll remember to dig it out it in five years.

I'm sure it will be a fun discovery when the time comes...

Jan 24, 2009

Our first blogiversary

Before my week turned out the way it did, I planned to write an anniversary post, since January 20 marked one year since I switched from weekly email newsletters to blogging.

My, what a year it has been.

As I've been transferring the contents of our blog to book form, I have been overwhelmed at times with how much I wrote and how many pictures I posted in 2008. But I've also been elated that I took the time to record so many memories.

Just reading our January archive alone made my head spin. We decided to move when Gavin was six weeks old. We hired a Realtor, packed, painted, and put our house up for sale, and then I took the three boys to Mesa for ten days to escape real life.

I had forgotten how incredibly stressful that all was. Blogging became my release, my way to vent and celebrate and document the craziness of our everyday existence. Of course, we survived the year, and I doubt we could have pictured back then how happy we'd be when the turbulent waters of Spring 2008 finally settled.

So here's to another year of blogging. I hope this one is a little less adventurous than the last. Whatever happens, I'd like to thank you, dear readers, for making my efforts at recording it such a rewarding experience!

Jan 23, 2009

Updates

Zachary's toe is markedly improved. He still has some redness and swelling, but wow -- much better. At his follow-up appointment today, we were surprised to learn that instead of a Staph infection, his toe has a Strep A infection! Keflex is still the prescribed medicine, so another week of that and Zach should be good to go. He's been wearing a walking boot but ought to be able to return to regular footwear and outdoor recess soon.

Tyler stayed home from school again with a fever on Thursday but seems to be all better now. His illness only included two puking episodes. Lunch today included his first "real" foods since Monday night. He's currently taking an incredible nap that ought to help his mood.

Garry lost ten pounds this week with his illness (nice perk, eh?) and missed two and a half days of work. He planned to return to Wells Fargo this morning, still a little raspy in the throat but no longer contagious....but then stayed home for me. (See below.) He's not up to 100% functionality, but getting there.

Gavin slept through Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and although he's still not a great napper, he's not as ornery as he has been. He constantly has fingers in one side of his mouth, so I'm sure his incoming molars are still bugging him. He threw up Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but both incidents seemed more related to eating too much than having the flu. We're crossing our fingers on that score.

I had horrendous insomnia Thursday night and ended up with two hours of sleep. Garry offered to "pay me back" for my weeks' labor and assume parental duty today...what a gift! I slept most of the morning and feel like a new person. Since Wednesday I have also retrieved "new" Gavin pajamas from the crawl space, finished the week's laundry and most of the ironing, eaten way too many treats, made lots of progress on my blog-to-Blurb endeavor, and started rearranging furniture and closets for the Gavin/baby bedroom transition. Don't laugh. I'm a planner.

The end.

Jan 22, 2009

You know who you are

To the sweet soul who brought my family dinner tonight:

THANK YOU!

The enchiladas were delicious.
{I'm looking forward to a few lunch leftovers.}

The salad hit the spot.
{I ate nearly half of it myself.}

The rolls were enjoyed by all.
{Even those with no appetites.}

Garry and Tyler appreciated their personalized Gatorade bottles.
{Especially Tyler.}

Zachary and I really enjoyed the cookies.
{Brownies? Mmm...very chocolately.}

Gavin is obsessed with the colored Goldfish.
{I only buy orange.}

And that Ben & Jerry's looks like heaven in a box.
{I'm saving it for later. Can't wait.}

****************

Thank you so much for your efforts.
{The gesture all by itself means so much.}

With love & appreciation,

Nurse Heidi and the sick ward

Jan 21, 2009

Notes from Nurse Heidi

Warning: This might be really boring.

These notes are for my own personal amusement. One day I know I'll look back and laugh at this crazy day in my life. Read on at your own risk.

5:00 a.m. Gavin's cries on the monitor rouse me from peaceful slumber on the couch. Has he really slept through the night? (Alas, I have not, but it was much better than usual.) Maybe the white noise from the humidifier I ran last night contributed to his success. Maybe the humidifying effect was the trick. Maybe I just got a huge blessing from above.

5:15 a.m. After repeated attempts to return the babe to the crib, it's apparent I will either surrender to the morning or rock Gavin until the cows come home. I opt to rock. It's not even light out yet.

5:30 a.m. I hear Zachary downstairs and see the lights come on. Good grief.

5:50 a.m. I sneak Gavin and myself into the guest bedroom and snuggle in the blankets, pillows, and clean sheets that are piled on the bed. We get comfortable and Gavin continues to snooze. Yes, I am hiding.

6:00 a.m. Zach starts calling for me in an I-really-need-something-now tone of voice that I'm sure will wake up the entire household. I take a risk and leave Gavin on the bed. Zach's toe hurts. Tyler appears in the hall. He spent the night in my bed since he and Garry seem to have the same brand of Yuck. Tyler says his brain hurts and his tummy hurts. He is burning with fever. I tell him to get back in bed and I'll get him medicine and water.

6:05 a.m. The ibuprofen has been down two minutes when it comes up again. Tyler pukes all over my bed (including the bed skirt), the carpet, and himself. He retches two more times before reaching the toilet. I tell him to strip. Garry semi-consciously begins to strip the bed. What a rude awakening. I later learn Tyler has been up every hour all night long.

6:10 a.m. Zachary's hysteria is building, so I head downstairs with him and set up a foot bath. He has already done his 30 minutes of reading (quality stuff -- Super Diaper Baby) and begs to watch TV. I refuse to have the TV on this early.

6:15 a.m. I start the bathtub for Tyler and throw a load of sheets, blankets, and pajamas in the washer. Then I retrieve the carpet cleaner from the garage and load it up with soap.

6:20 a.m. Gavin's up for the day and he's not happy about it.

6:30 a.m. Zachary comes upstairs with a more comfortable toe and an appetite. I get out breakfast goods for them. Zach monitors Gavin's banana and milk consumption and snarfs cereal while I clean the bedroom carpet.

6:45 a.m. Tyler finishes his bath, dresses, and turns on the TV while I'm cleaning carpet. At least I put off the inevitable for half an hour. I decide to pour myself a bowl of Chex.

7:00 a.m. Ty pauses the TV while I read aloud a chapter from Third Nephi. The boys aren't impressed, but heaven knows we need the blessings today. Then I clean up the kitchen, make Zachary's lunch, and force Zach to get ready for the day before watching television. He begrudgingly complies.

7:30-8:00 a.m. I call Garry's boss for him; he's in no condition to speak on the phone, let alone get out of bed or go to work. Then I get in the shower. Gavin jumps in the doorway. Sometime during my get-ready process, I miss a phone call from the pediatrician. Gavin's stool cultures from two weeks ago all came back normal. Okey dokey.

8:00 a.m. I get Gavin ready, switch the laundry to the dryer, we say a family prayer, and Gavin, Zachary, and I head out the door. Zach gets dropped at school while Gavin and I continue on to Albertson's and the car wash.

8:55 a.m. Home again, home again. Gavin is sleeping (miracle!) and I successfully transfer him to bed (bigger miracle!). I walk to the mailbox in short sleeves and sandals, basking in the dawn of what promises to be a glorious January day....which I will be spending indoors.

9:00 a.m. I put away the infant Benadryl (desperate times, desperate measures), yogurt, Band-Aids, and marshmallows (impulse) and pour Garry some Sprite. I look in his throat with a flashlight and my stomach turns when I see white patches all over the back. Ick. Then I lose myself in email and Facebook while the house is quiet.

9:30 a.m. Garry stumbles downstairs. We look up a doctor for him to see. I agree to drive him later on because he's in terrible shape.

9:45 a.m. I make the bed for Garry and Tyler. Garry is in the shower.

10:00 a.m. Gavin's up. He's not happy about it. Eventually he decides I can touch him, so I get him out of the crib. He and Garry and I sit on the floor together for a bit. Ty is still watching TV, of course. Garry eventually gets back in bed.

10:40-11:20 a.m. Gavin is screaming and I don't know why. He won't led me hold or console him. He won't take food/water/toy/cuddle bribes. I try to do some stuff on the computer, fold laundry, and eventually make lunch. He moves from room to room with me, laid out in full tantrum mode. It can't be comfortable flailing about in that manner
on the wood floor.

11:20 a.m. Gavin rolls over, notices the cup of juice I placed next to him, and promptly stops his fit. Just like that. Within moments he's babbling happily and playing with toys. I just roll my eyes. And then I notice I mismatched his lid and cup, so he's soaked his shirt and pants with apple juice.

11:30 a.m.-12:05 p.m. Tyler and I eat lunch and I browse the newspaper I bought this morning. We're making a family time capsule and the edition with our new president and his speech splashed across the front seemed like a good one to stick in it. I never read the paper. While Gavin is strapped in his chair, I also finish cleaning the kitchen. Sweeping the floor is good for my soul, although I'm appalled at the pile of filth I collect.

12:15 p.m. I go downstairs to update my notes, use the bathroom in peace, and just chill for about three minutes. Then it's time to wake Garry so we can get to his appointment. And change Gavin's clothes. We settle for a "laundry day" outfit that I don't really like, but since I haven't folded yesterday's laundry yet, it'll be just fine.

12:25 p.m. Depart for MD.

12:35 p.m. I intend to wait with the boys in the car while Garry goes to his appointment. (I refuse to experience another ornery-Gavin-at-the-doctor circus.) Garry calls when he gets up to the clinic, where he is a first-time patient, and learns that the receptionist asked him to come 20 minutes before his actual appointment so he could fill out paperwork. I opt to take the boys home instead of waiting the extra time. Garry will call me when he's done.

12:50 p.m. Tyler can't find the movie he wants to watch (it's not in the case...). Gavin putters. I fold laundry.

1:00 p.m. I start feeling nausated. Too many M&Ms? The flu? I turn to the only remedy at my disposal: Zofran. It turns out to be just the ticket. I'm glad I got a refill last week.

1:05 p.m. I am getting really tired. Gavin had better nap today!! I decide to give him a dose of Benadryl, the medicine with the label that says "may cause marked drowsiness." If it helps his stuffy nose and cough, so much the better. He putters around while I put my feet up, awaiting Garry's call.

1:25 p.m. The call comes. Off we go.

1:45 p.m. With Garry in tow, I learn that he does indeed have Strep. And a 102.5-degree temperature. He opted for the shot of penicillin in the rear end rather than the ten-day course of antibiotics. Score...no pharmacy run. We stop at Albertson's so I can grab some Extra-Strength Tylenol, which the doctor recommended for his aches and fever. Don't worry; I've only been to Albertson's three times in the last 18 hours.

2:00 p.m. I'm disappointed that Gavin didn't fall asleep on the way home, but he goes down without a fuss. Garry checks out, Tyler resumes Hercules, and I crash on the couch.

3:15 p.m. I wake with a start. School is out! I'm not there! Yikes! I inform Garry that I have to leave ten minutes ago and blast out the door. Alone. This is a little weird.

3:20 p.m. I'm worried that Zach thinks I didn't show up. I am right.

3:25 p.m. Zach finds the van and gripes about me being late, which I have never been since the first day of school. We wait another five minutes for the fifth-grade neighbor we always drive home.

3:35 p.m. Zach gathers a snack, takes his medicine, and asks when he can go to Ben's house. We start his homework, but only because I pulled out his assignment two days ago. He has forgotten his homework folder AGAIN. No friends today.

4:15 p.m. Gavin is up and filled with a snack, Tyler is filled with a snack, and Zach is filled with the injustice of the world. I charge Zach with watching Gavin while I clean the outsides of the windows in the living room. The late afternoon sun is perfect for showing me how horribly dirty the windows are, and I need an excuse to get outside in the fabulous weather.

4:30 p.m. My inability to achieve streak-free windows just about reduces me to tears.

4:45 p.m. I force Gavin into the stroller and make Zachary go on a walk with us. The fresh air is so invigorating. I can't believe I'm wearing flip-flops in January.

5:15 p.m. We return home. My endorphin bubble pops in about two minutes. I have no desire to make dinner, eat dinner, clean up after dinner, bathe and bed down the boys, etc. I am seriously considering Granny's comment on yesterday's post: "Have you thought about running away?" I wistfully think about the playgroup I missed today and the girls' night out I'm going to miss in about two hours. Boo-hoo for me.

5:20 p.m. I change into pajamas.

5:40 p.m. Gavin launches into another unexplainable tantrum.

6:00 p.m. Dinner. Tyler has Sprite and Saltines. Zachary makes himself a burrito (and a large mess -- the price of self-sufficient children). He gets his dinner dose of Keflex, which makes him gag. Gavin has cheese and a banana and crackers and milk. I have some cereal. Garry continues his nap. During dinner, Tyler unravels emotionally. His day has been a rollercoaster of feeling great and feeling horrendous. It's time to retire.

6:15 p.m. Tyler tucks in for the night next to Garry. Gavin gets in the tub. Zachary gets ready for bed.

6:30 p.m. Gavin is bathed. He has one pair of pajamas in his drawer and the shirt is far too small. I find a zippered sweatshirt to pair with the pants and call it good. Note to self (for the thirtieth day in a row): get in the dang crawl space and find the next size of pajamas for this boy! A few books and songs later, Gavin is bedded down. I know it's early, but if he's going to survive until he's 13 months and 23 days old, it's time.

6:35 p.m. Zachary is pajamaed and brushed and pottied. Time for a foot soak. We both muse at his oddly-colored and -textured toe. At least it feels OK. I read a few chapters of "Nate the Great Talks Turkey" to him, and then encourage him to read for half an hour while he soaks. It will count for his Thursday reading requirement and push us past the 7:00 threshhold...bedtime.

6:45 p.m. Gavin cries. Um, excuse me? I rock him and sing to him in the dark and turn on the humidifier. Lights out, little buddy.

7:10 p.m. I sing to Zachary and tuck him in.

7:15 p.m. I'm laughing at a friend's status update on Facebook when Zach comes running into the office. He's had an eczema flare-up that cannot be ignored. I hand him the tub of Cetaphil, conveniently located on the office desk, and send him to the bathroom to take care of it. Moments later, he is soothed and goes back to bed.

7:25 p.m. I stop keeping this journal. If my nursing skills are required past this point in the day, I'm asking for overtime.

Jan 20, 2009

A post script with pictures

Granny (et al), since you wanted an update...

Zachary's toe is badly infected, possibly with Staph, but we won't know until a culture comes back in a couple of days. He was in very little pain by the time his exam rolled around; the toe was oozing some nasty goop but it was closer to normal size and color. I was glad to have documented the worst stage so I could show the pictures to the physician's assistant without prolonging Zachary's pain.



For now, the treatment protocol includes thrice-daily foot baths of warm water and Epsom salt (the semi-helpful remedy we've already tried thus far), plus a Keflex prescription four times a day. The medication may change if the culture comes back with something weird.


After a harrowing half hour at the doctor's office (Gavin was ridiculous, due in part to his incredible lack of sleep and in part to the irony of pediatric exam rooms being utterly non-baby-proof), we made a return appointment for Friday afternoon. Then we drove to the pharmacy (we should get a Frequent Flyer discount at Walgreens), where I explained I need two bottles of Keflex - one for home and one for school.

I came home and put Gavin down for a nap. The world would be a happier place if this baby could get some sleep. Then I talked to Garry, who was finally warm under eight layers of blankets. Tyler had been sharing his sick bed and had been hysterical and uncomfortable for a while, but when I got home he was sleeping peacefully. He was still sporting a fever, even under the influence of Motrin. Garry didn't have Motrin in his system and was burning up as well.

When I returned to pick up Zachary's prescription an hour later, I got exactly what I ordered. I also picked up Children's Motrin, Pedialyte, extra-moisturizing lotion for Garry's cracking skin, and a big bag of peanut M&Ms just for me. I then proceeded to the elementary school, where I worked out the details of Zachary's medicine regimen with the office staff. Apparently several staffers saw Zach's toe and are very concerned about exactly what sort of infection was oozing around the school today. I have instructions to report the lab's findings when I get them.

As for me, I have resolved to self-medicate with chocolate and sleep in the guest bedroom for a few days. I got a flu shot this season, but I don't think it will cover the full panel of Yuck that's floating around this place!

The sick list

When I got up this morning at 4:00 a.m., I resolved I would stay home all day. Pajamas. No make-up. The inauguration proceedings on TV. General laziness. Try to catch up on sleep. {And some laundry.} My only out-of-house endeavors would be school drop-off and pick-up, which I have done before in atrocious states of dress. I could do it again.

You see, Gavin woke up at least fifteen times last night. At least. Garry, bless his LOTRO-loving soul, was awake most of the night and handled many of the twice-or-thrice-hourly crying spells. But when Garry crawled in bed at 4:00 a.m. with chills, a sore throat, a
nd a fever, my shift began. Gavin was up four times between four and six, when he got up for the day.

Gavin is teething. He has diarrhea, which has been around for about a month. He has an intermittent fever. And he refuses to nap. It's a good thing he's freakin' adorable because right now he's a handful.

Tyler woke up in tears at 6:00 a.m. He had a fever. He had an earache. By 7:30 he was on his first of many movies of the day, snuggled with blankets and pillows and occasionally munching on crackers. There went two of my school-related errands. We'd all be couch potatoes together.

The project that kept Garry at work late last night beckoned his return, the flu notwithstanding. So at 8:10, he and Zachary walked out the door.

Our morning at home was quiet, except for the part when Gavin woke up 45 minutes into his nap and refused to be comforted/go back to sleep. Garry came home around 11:45 and snuck into bed, where I layered him with blankets but couldn't help him get warm.

Then, at noon, the elementary school nurse called. Zachary needed to come home. The flu? No. Ear infection? No. Teething? No. He has a toe injury or infection or abscess or bug bite...we're not sure. It's been bugging him on and off since Sunday but became suddenly and markedly worse when somebody stepped on it during music class. I arrived at the school at 12:15 to find Zachary sobbing in the office, his pinky toe swollen and purple and obviously painful. We called the pediatrician from there and will leave in a few minutes to have it checked out. With a little luck, we'll at least have a cure or a treatment plan for one malady in this household by the end of the day.

I better go fix my hair.

A new kind of FHE

Last night we had a Full House Extravaganza.

It started with a group of friends getting together to make dutch oven fruit cobbler in the park near our house. Ten families, a million kids, open space, and food -- what could be better?


Um, the weather.

In spite of mid-50s temperatures, the stiff wind Colorado Springs is apparently famous for literally froze our plans in their tracks. Bummer! There was talk of relocating the party...but where? My house was just around the corner, and it was relatively clean, so that's when the FHE began.

In total we had 51 people (plus two in utero, and we were still missing Garry, who didn't get home from work until 8:00) chatting, playing, and eating. One mom had the brilliant idea to pick up ten five-bucks pizzas. We cut up some fresh food, filled styrofoam cups with water, and moved the hot dutch ovens to the back porch. Kids played outside, inside, upstairs, downstairs...and the adults found some chairs and talked up a storm. I thought it was a rockin' success!


Everyone pitched in to clean up, leaving the house cleaner than they found it. (One guy even brought our trash and recycling bins in from the curb and another guy swept the entire wood floor!) The party ended at 6:15, so we had time for leisurely little-boy baths and a few stories from
The Friend before bed. (The real FHE still had to happen in one form or another.)

Come back anytime, friends! You are more than welcome at my house.

Jan 19, 2009

A civil rights tribute -- first-grade style

Zachary's first grade teacher challenged his class to memorize a portion of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. Katzenmeyer sent home short and long versions of the speech segment, and I encouraged Zach to memorize the long one. As it turned out, Zach was only one of two kids to memorize this part, and he did a fantastic job! It was great to see his grade sheet come home with "Wow! Excellent! 100%!" written across the page.

Here's a video of Zachary doing his speech. He really rushed through it on camera...but it's obvious he knows the words!

video

Jan 17, 2009

How to have fun with Grandma

When Grandma comes to town for 48 hours, you'd better make the most of it.

Start off by wearing fabulous shoes.

Find large, colorful objects to throw.

Recruit a cheering section.

Allow the baby to think he can chuck a 12-pounder at some white things far away.
Be sure to appreciate his excitement.

Have a contest to see who can throw the ball the very slowest.

Celebrate strikes.

Adjourn to Dairy Queen.
{And forget to document with a photo.}


Enjoy what's left of the warmth and sunshine at the neighborhood park.

Let the baby explore the play structure.

Reward his stair climbing efforts again and again with the slide.

Repeat as necessary.
{Until it's too cold and dark.}

What's for dinner?

This is an apple.


And this is the adorable child who stole it from the fridge
and half-devoured it before I found him.


Apparently it was rather tasty.

Jan 15, 2009

Twenty Things About Me

When I saw a friend make a list like this on Facebook, I decided I wanted to play! So you can read about me here or there, but since you're here...


1. I like to think of myself as a neat and tidy person, but as life goes on, I find I'm more interested in other life pursuits than in having an immaculate house.

2. Some of my favorite smells are freshly cut grass, newborn baby breath, campfires, my mom's Thanksgiving stuffing, gardenias, the world after a summer rain, and men's Eternity cologne.

3. I am a morning person and definitely NOT a night owl. (Note: my hubby is 100% the opposite.)

4. I consider myself a decent homemaker, but I really don't like anything associated with cooking -- the planning, the shopping, the food organizing, the cleaning up, and sometimes even the eating. I know I need to get over it.

5. I skipped the second grade and graduated high school when I was barely 17.

6. Garry and I dated for one week before getting engaged. We'd known each other a month.

7. All three of my boys were born on Fridays.

8. I didn't have any close girlfriends until after Zachary was born, but now I can't imagine life without them.

9. I get really bothered when I start a project and don't finish it. The "undone" feeling clutters my brain until I feel like I'm going to explode. I'd rather not start something unless/until I know I have the time and ability to finish it.

10. I thrive on all forms of communication -- in person, over the phone, via email/blogs/websites, etc. Without people I feel lost in the world.

11. My uncorrected vision is 20/425. One of my biggest fears is being caught in an emergency without glasses or contacts. I would be seriously impaired.

12. When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a farmer or a veterinarian. I wrote countless short stories about talking animals and their human friends. I find this hilarious because I am the antithesis of an animal lover as an adult. I understand from an intellectual standpoint how fiercely people can love their pets, but that capacity is just not in my gene pool.

13. I majored in health sciences at BYU but wish I would have majored in English. I was too far in the process to start over when I had the "aha" moment regarding my interests and abilities.

14. Some of my favorite movies are "You've Got Mail," "Antitrust," "Dan in Real Life," "The Pelican Brief," "Apollo 13," BBC's "Pride and Prejudice," and "While You Were Sleeping."

15. My biggest pet peeve is people who wait for “good” parking spaces and hold up all the other cars in the parking lot. I would much rather park far away and walk instead of trolling for a closer spot for ten minutes (or two).

16. I'll admit it: I like to iron.

17. I am proud of being able to drive a car with a manual transmission. Perhaps this is because it was hard for me to learn.

18. I am independent. I have learned that this doesn’t mean I have to do everything myself, but I like doing things myself, making it on my own, doing my own thing, etc.

19. I only make my bed about twice a week (or when there’s a chance that other people will see it, or when I’m vacuuming). I'm trying to do better...

20. I love Halloween, which is kind of the opposite of my personality. It’s silly, impractical, and unhealthy, but I love seeing all the kids in their costumes. I do not like to dress up.

P.S. Let me know when you've made your own list!

Jan 14, 2009

A bear and a binky

Meet Russell.


Russell has lived in our house since Christmas 2002, when Grandpa Bartle gave him to Zachary. Zachary and Tyler were never big stuffed animal fans, so we have tried to curtail our collection of furry friends over the years. Those who have survived Mom's periodic toy purges smile happily from Gavin's hutch, adding color and visual interest -- but not clutter -- to his bedroom.

Gavin discovered this bear a couple of months ago as I carried him from his bed to the hallway. He almost leaned out of my arms before I realized what he was doing, but he clearly had this bear in mind as he pulled it off the shelf. Gavin formed an immediate bond with Russell that day, and now Russell is an integral part of our life.

When Gavin is sad, Russell is calming. When Gavin is happy, Russell adds to the fun. Russell gets hugged and slobbered on and cuddled with at all hours of the day, and best of all, he is a wonderful companion at bedtime.

That's why Mr. Binky went bye-bye this week. Gavin has been less than interested for months, but we held onto the pacifier for silencing purposes on our recent airplane rides and at church. Gavin has made it quite clear lately that he WILL NOT be plugged, so he has officially become our youngest child to ditch the binky and our only child to bid it farewell without our encouragement.

It's a well-known fact that I am not a fan of animals, but my hat goes off to the little bear who makes my Gavin so happy and is helping him grow up at the same time.

Jan 11, 2009

Eight is great

It's hard to believe that this is the year Zachary turns eight years old. Where has the time gone?

In our church, turning eight is a major milestone for a child because he can make the choice to be baptized. We've been trying to prepare Zachary for this choice since he was small, and we can see him getting more ready every day. He is excited about being baptized in October and seems to be prepared for this sacred ordinance.

Tonight we attended a short program held for children in our ward who are turning eight this year. Zachary learned what will happen at his baptism -- and when it will be! So grandparents and anyone else who would like to attend: please mark your calendars for
Saturday, October 24 at 3:30 p.m. It will be a special day for our Zachary.

Back to you, Corey

Facebook recently helped me re-connect with a friend from my freshman year at BYU. Corey Christiansen is now a news reporter and weekend meteorologist (weather guy) at Channel 7, Denver's ABC affliate, and even though we haven't seen each other for probably ten years, he offered to give our family a tour of the news station on Saturday. We had a great time, learned some interesting behind-the-scenes stuff, watched part of the live 5:00 broadcast, and really enjoyed playing with the green screen for weather graphics. Thanks, Corey, for a fabulous tour! (We also enjoyed your weather blog when we got home.)

The station building.

Sitting at the news desk.
Tyler's comment upon sitting down: "I predict there will be rain in the Himalayas!"

Seeing Corey's weather graphics for the 5:00 show.

Being squirrely in our chairs before the live show.

Checking out the teleprompter.

Standing in front of the green screen.
Wearing green makes a person's image disappear on camera.
We had so much fun with that!

Waving to the camera with Corey. Notice Zachary's missing upper half.

And here I am trying to look in the mirror-image screen to find Colorado Springs.
Enlarging the picture will help you see the result on the right.

Jan 10, 2009

Lost & found

I am the queen of losing stuff lately. I blame it on pregnancy brain, but really I'm just turning into a flake. Usually it's something fairly minor, like when I got to the lab yesterday and couldn't find the prescription from Gavin's pediatrician with orders for his stool cultures (don't ask). A quick phone call and a fax remedied the situation within minutes.

But misplacing important possessions, like my keys to the church, gets annoying. (Last time I did that, I found them dangling from they keyhole of the activities committee closet. Not good.) Happily, Friday was a day of finding things!

The first thing I found has a funny story behind it. When I was folding laundry Tuesday night, I found a round lapel-style pin that said "I am loved." I had never seen it before and just set it aside. Garry found it later and asked if I wanted it. I replied that no, I had no clue where it came from, so please just chuck it. He said that it came with the pearl earrings he gave me for Christmas. Taken aback, I said, "What pearl earrings?" He smiled and said, "The ones in your stocking...." I was confused. I hadn't found any pearl earrings in my stocking!

We had a little discussion, whereupon we discovered that somehow a little velvet bag with genuine pearl earrings had probably gone out with the Christmas trash. I was so sad! Garry had gotten the earrings for free during a jewelry store promotion, but I still felt awful about (1) overlooking them and therefore not appreciating the gesture on Christmas, and (2) inadvertently throwing away something valuable! We went so far as to check the stockings in the attic, but they were empty, so we wrote off the earrings as a loss.

Then, when I was ironing a pair of Garry's pants yesterday afternoon, I noticed a lump in the pocket. Fully expecting a wad of tissue, I reached in and instead discovered a little velvet bag! Inside were two freshly laundered pearl earrings! Apparently they didn't make it to the stocking after all. I called Garry, we had a good laugh, and I wore the pearls with my jeans and t-shirt for the rest of the day.


Next, during my frustrated search for the above-mentioned prescription in the van, I discovered an envelope I intended to mail...in September. It was addressed to my missionary brother Ryan. It's a good thing we also communicate via email, because this particular letter included news of my pregnancy! I had to readdress and re-stamp the envelope, since Ryan is in Croatia now, rather than the Missionary Training Center in Utah. I included a sticky note with an explanation of the outdated news because I thought it might make him laugh.


We have a couch in the kitchen with felt pads on the feet so it won't scratch the wood floor. Tyler likes to push it around, and today he moved it several feet to one side so he could rescue a paper airplane that lost altitude and hid underneath it. He discovered all sorts of treasures under the couch, including the lid to our garbage can that has been missing for at least two months. Dirty though it may be, we're so glad to have it back!


Late this afternoon I realized I couldn't find the ride-on truck Gavin got for his birthday. It's kind of a large toy, but also a favorite, so its absence from the toy corner was obvious. When Gavin was grumpy, I searched every room of the house. Then the closets. And then, when I remembered we took it to playgroup at the church, I searched the van. It was nowhere to be found! I was positive we'd picked it up on our way out of the church, so I quizzed the boys. After a fruitless interrogation, in which I actually suspected Tyler of dumping the truck in a parking lot somewhere, I asked Garry to go check the church. He did -- and found the truck in the nursery. Seeing it in the front seat of his car when he got home made me very happy.


This last one was never lost, but I was absolutely delighted to find it in the mailbox today. A great big Thank You goes out to Granny, the woman of impeccable taste and uncanny ability to bring a smile to my face. She must have gone on a girly shopping spree as soon as she heard our news! Included in package was a teeny tiny sleeper with a big pink flower. Ah...girls. I think I'm excited.

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