Apr 26, 2011

I love Mondays

On the first day of the school week, Zach and Tyler bring home "Monday folders," which are full of graded homework, school advertisements, notes to parents, permission slips, etc.  I always enjoy these folders because of the school work I get to peruse.  It often provides good talking points at dinner, and Tyler's folder always guarantees a giggle.

Today I can only shake my head and laugh at one of Tyler's homework assignments!

Apparently his three greatest wishes are: (1) A demon snake bodyguard; (2) a death ray; and (3) switching spirits with his brother.  The illustrations are amusing, too.

Zachary's folder included this project from art class.  When I asked him to tell me about it, he said, "'s a penguin?"

I'm already looking forward to next week.

Apr 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter!  We have enjoyed a lovely holiday weekend.

I made the kids put on their matching church clothes on a Saturday (gasp!) so we could take a few pictures to commemorate Easter without having pressure to get to our 9 a.m. church meetings today.  I wish Colorado could offer a nice spring backdrop at this time of year, but since our yard is still brown, we get shadowy fireplace photos instead.  (Can you guess who was orneriest during the photo shoot?  His name starts with a Z and ends with ACHARY!!!)

A word about sweet Lexi.  I bought her dress when I was pregnant with Tyler and *positive* he was a girl (apparently I have no intuition of this nature).  It has been patiently waiting in a box for many years!  I am thrilled to see my girl wearing it!  We took this photo of Lexi last Sunday, when we first attempted pictures.  Zach was so dramatically awful that day that we had to try again for the group, but I am glad we got a sweet shot of Lexi without a big scrape on her forehead.

On Saturday I took Zach and Tyler to a choral performance known as the Easter Cantata.  Our LDS friends may have heard of the composer Sally DeFord.  She lives here in Colorado Springs, and every year she composes and directs a cantataMembers of local LDS congregations participate in the choir and orchestra (one day I hope to join...but this wasn't really my year). The music we heard yesterday was simply beautiful and, more importantly, the testifying spirit of Jesus Christ during the performance was powerful.  I am so grateful for the Savior's atonement that we celebrate at Easter.

Yesterday was pretty cold outside, but I was still surprised to see snow falling when I went to bed.  We woke up to a white Easter! 

Today we saved the commercial portion of Easter for after our church meetings.  The kids enjoyed finding their hidden baskets, and the little treasures inside kept them happily occupied for a while.  Then, after nap time and a visit from our home teachers, I hid Easter eggs around the main level of the house and the kids squealed as they ran around trying to find them.  They'll be all hopped up on sugar for a while, and I'm sure we'll be finding brightly-colored grass in nooks and crannies until Christmas.

Garry fixed us a fantastic Easter feast of honey ham, au gratin potatoes, homemade crescent rolls, fruity Jell-O salad, green bean casserole, and Texas cake.  (Keep in mind he spent most of Saturday building another shelf in the garage, too!)  Our dinner conversation revolved around the life, death, and resurrection of the Savior.  We are so blessed by and thankful for His sacrifice -- today and always.

"I have brothers."

Nothing says, "I have brothers" like a camo bandage on the forehead.
You can have three guesses to determine the culprit,
but I bet you only need one.

Gavin and Lexi were playing with the little basketball hoop
that we drag into the front yard when the big boys are playing basketball.
Gavin can make baskets on his own,
but Lexi wanted a boost so she could drop the ball in the hoop.
I had been watching the Littles play from a lawn chair,
and before I could stand up to help Lexi,
Gavin took matters into his own hands.
He hooked his left elbow between her legs and his right elbow under her right arm.
Lexi held a basketball in her hands and reached up to make the basket,
but before Gavin lifted her up enough,
they both tipped over.
Lexi got some road rash on her forehead and her right arm.
Gavin wasn't hurt, but he was sad about hurting his sister (bonus!).

And wouldn't you know it,
this all happened two days before Easter pictures.
Oh, well.

Apr 22, 2011


At 8:15 this evening, the house was mostly quiet.  Gavin and Lexi had been in bed for an hour; Zach and Tyler were brushing their teeth.  Garry was working on shelves in the garage, and I was scanning the boys' school work into the computer.

I heard Zach duck into the garage and Tyler head downstairs to bed.  I continued my work...scan and save, scan and save.  Suddenly I heard Gavin's strangled cry from the basement, followed by Tyler's urgent, tearful voice summoning me down the stairs.  I jumped and ran, wondering how my sleeping boy had gotten into trouble.  I expected a brotherly altercation but was met with an emergency.

Gavin was choking on a penny.  He was red in the face and crying.  Tyler was clearly panicked.  He, too, was crying.  All he could tell me was that Gavin had swallowed money.  The coin was clearly obstructing his airway.  I slapped Gavin on the back a few times and tried the Heimlich maneuver without success, so I sprinted up the stairs with him in my arms.  (How I managed this is a mystery.  I walk like I'm 80, especially up stairs.)

I'm sure we startled Garry when we burst into the garage, all crying and heaving as we were.  I accidentally shut Tyler in the house as I attempted to confine our noise to the garage.  Lexi was sleeping down the hall and somehow I felt it prudent to keep her that way.  I told Garry, "Gavin is choking on a coin.  Do something."  By the time I grabbed a sobbing Tyler by the arm and pulled him into the sawdust-filled garage, Garry had inverted Gavin, pounded on his back, and dislodged a penny, which shot to the floor in a puddle of drool.  Gavin burped and gagged and moaned but recovered immediately.

We all took a collective breath.  I sat on the garage steps and pulled Gavin and Tyler in for a hug.  Poor Tyler had been so worried for his brother!  All I could think about was that he had just saved Gavin's life.

Five minutes before I was sure Gavin was asleep.  I had no intention of going down to the basement for another hour or two.  I shudder to think how I would have found Gavin if Tyler hadn't arrived at just the right moment.  And of course I was grateful for Garry, whose calm but firm actions restored Gavin's breathing in a matter of seconds.  Our little family witnessed a miracle tonight.  We have said many prayers of thanks.

Baby girl update

I got another peek at our little miss today.  She was swimming around, even enough for me to feel!  I'm so happy that I can finally feel her kicking me.

At my last appointment the doctor was somewhat concerned about Baby's growth (she's measuring a few days behind...always has), but today's ultrasound confirmed that she is growing consistently.  Her measurements put her in the 14th percentile, but that doesn't mean she is sick or that something is wrong.  She's just little.

At almost 22 weeks I'm not anxious to be in labor (I don't even feel well yet!!), but my body is acting strangely for this point in pregnancy and I needed reassurance.  So today the doctor confirmed that my cervix is behaving, which is excellent news.  Sorry if that's too much information for you all, but I was quite relieved to get this information today.  I will probably have ultrasounds every two weeks to track Baby's growth and my own progress.  I don't want pre-term labor and bed rest again.

I'm so grateful to have a doctor who is listening to me.  This is my 7th OB in ten years, and I have grown to appreciate a doctor who relies on MY experience and instincts.  It's not an uphill battle to simply be heard!  This difficult pregnancy has been easier to bear with a doctor (and medical staff) who listens and acts appropriately for the circumstances.

We also verified that Baby is indeed a girl.  The ultrasound tech said, "No doubt about it!"  I like the absence of doubt.  The baby will no doubt hate me one day for posting the picture that removed all doubt, but here it is.

On another humorous note, I have been coaching the Littles to start calling their sister Baby Sarah.  Yesterday our conversation went like this:

Gavin: Mommy, I don't want you to leave!  Give me a hug.

Mom: Hey, your head is just the height of my tummy.  Who's in there?

Gavin: Baby Sister.

Mom: Say, "Baby Sarah!"

Dad: Say, "Baby Shiloh!"

Gavin: No!  Her name is Random Citizen!

[Much laughter]

Gavin: Lexi, say, "Random Citizen."

Lexi: Ranna Sissen.

Mom [Closing the door to leave]: It's Baby Sarah...

Apr 21, 2011

This week in our life

Garry has been busy working on shelves in the garage.  He spent all day and all night building these beauties from scratch on Saturday:

 This is a man who loves his tools.

Garry also built a sturdy shelf in the office to replace the one that has crashed a few times in recent months. His next project is to hang some overhead shelves at the front of the garage, expanding current storage in that area by about 50%.  He also plans to install a shelf above the fridge and rolling can rack in the garage.  Can you tell we need more storage? Once the dust settles (and we clean up all the dust that has settled on all of our possessions in the garage!), we will load all of these fabulous new shelves.  Until then, we are parking in the driveway.  Garry has developed a very sore shoulder joint (it kind of appeared out of nowhere), so we're not sure how home improvement endeavors will proceed from here.

Zachary discovered on Wednesday that he is one requirement shy of completing his Bear rank in the Cub Scout program.  Go Zach!  That was a happy realization for all of us.  Now we just have to find a community sporting event to attend and he'll be ready to advance.  It would be fun to do that before his next pack meeting.  Zach taught a great Easter lesson for FHE on Monday, which we finished off with yummy "bird's nest" treats.  Zach has also been enjoying Rick Riordan books at lightning speed and running with the Landsharks running club after school twice a week.  His first meet is Monday night.

Tyler was over-the-moon excited to spend yesterday afternoon at the home of his best school buddy, Sam.  The other day we watched a show where Garfield was hypnotized to enjoy farm chores.  Tyler proclaimed that if he could hypnotize someone, it would be Sam's mom, so she would invite him over, let him stay forever, and feed him whatever he wanted!  Ha!  As it turned out, he got four hours of fun at Sam's house, which included jumping on the trampoline and an ice cream treat. Tyler was a lucky kid to have such fun, especially in light of recent home behavior which has been struggling, to say the least.  One of his consequence chores this week was cleaning out our window wells.  The Littles joined him.

Gavin continues to be himself, which doesn't require much more detail than usual.  He is currently obsessed with Tyler's old Halloween costume, the Bumblebee transformer.  This is wonderful and charming except when Gavin needs to use the bathroom.  Regardless of the costume, Gavin has had a dozen potty accidents this week.  His laundry pile was three times the size of anyone else's on Tuesday.  Gavin also raided my purse yesterday, folded my most-used credit card in half, and chewed on the crease.  I guess I'll find out next time I shop if it is still useable.  How does he think of these things??

Lexi has learned how to open doors.  While she feels quite triumphant about this milestone, I am less than thrilled.  She is easily the oldest of our children to figure out this trick, but only because she is the shortest.  Lexi is battling a Strep-caused diaper rash and her various other skin issues, but antibiotics seem to be helping.  Lexi has started referring to Zach as "Zachie," which I find completely endearing.  She sure loves her big brothers.

I am counting down the days to Women's Conference (Thursday next week).  I finally feel good about my Power Point presentation but need to thin out my talk a little because it is too long.  All of my travel and lodging arrangements are set and I'm starting to make a mental packing list.  This week the scripture study group I attend began studying Doctrine and Covenants, which promises to be a delightful course.  The girl I have hired to babysit during the study group posted this on my Facebook wall after watching the kids: "I pretty much ADORE your kids!  Your job as their mother has got to be dang entertaining.  :)  I hope I didn't traumatize any of them when I threatened to make them go do my chores at my house if they fought.  Hahahaha..."  Yeah, she's a keeper!

After the Easter eggs

Before we decorated Easter eggs on Wednesday night, I covered the table with packing paper.  I really just aimed to protect the table, but when the Littles were having a hard time waiting for their turn with the egg dipper, I brought out some crayons. Everyone had a blast drawing on the paper.  Zach, who usually shuns artistic pursuits, colored for almost an hour after Gavin and Lexi went to bed.  When everyone was asleep, I took pictures of our fun table cloth before putting it in the recycling bin.


Tyler took his sweet time on decorating his eggs, so these were his only artistic additions to our tablecloth:


This was my lone contribution.  Gavin was enamored with his green little self (and that I thought to include rain boots in the crayon rendering).

Easter eggs

Last night the kids decorated Easter eggs.  I bought a silly 3-D coloring kit last week and left in on the counter in order to make myself repeat a fun (but messy and potentially stressful) tradition.  It took almost a week for me to follow through on my good intentions, but when I did, everyone (including Mom!) had a good time.

The pictures mostly speak for themselves, don't you think? I will add the note that Lexi's hair was in two adorable rows of pigtails until about an hour before we colored the eggs.  She prefers the Albert Einstein look, I guess.

Now the greater challenge: finding a use for 16 hard-boiled eggs.  Personally, I can't stand them.

pass it on!

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