Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cannon's Eight Date

Saturday was Cannon's 8th birthday and his 8 Date!  Like we have done with the four older kids, it was just him and us for a nice meal at The Garden Restaurant and a visit to temple square.  It's a chance for us to enjoy each child and their unique personality. 
As usual, Cannon entertained us throughout the day.
He enjoyed his fancy meal, which he deemed very French. 
It wasn't actually French, but he's listened to his share of Fancy Nancy, so I think he equates fancy stuff with being French.
He is a joy to me.
His French roll.
The funny thing about this particular 8 date was I could hardly get a word in edgewise.  Both Abe and Cannon have the gift of gab and they were in fine form on Saturday.  It was a little challenging at times when they were both trying to have conversations with me at the same time.  It was hard to keep up.  I adore that they have so many similarities in their personalities.
While we were downtown we visited Andrea's new high rise condo and Cannon tested out the beautiful piano with the beautiful view.
 We are looking forward to his baptism day on Saturday.  As we await the arrival of our baby girl in July, I can't help wondering what she'll be like.  Of course, it's fun to think  about what she'll look like, but even more, who is she?  What will her gifts and talents be?  How will she shape our family?  What is her personality-- more in the feisty side or the sweet? 
When Cannon born 8 years ago, we were in the thick of what felt like fairly significant family challenges.  It wasn't really an opportune time to take on the challenge of another child.  I am so grateful we moved forward in faith and were open to another child, because Cannon has been responsible for so many smiles and so much laughter in our home.  He was so bright and social from the very beginning.  He is generous and forgiving and cheerful.  I am thankful everyday for his spirit in our home.
Cannon may most resemble my side of the family (he has a very distinct Cannon man look), but he is Abe's son through and through.  How lucky for me to be with them throughout eternity.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fly Like an Eagle

Happy Day!  Clark had his Eagle Court of Honor this past week.  It happened to be just a couple of days before Cannon's 8th birthday, so he was so happy to wear his spiffy new Cub Scout uniform.
I must give all credit to Abe (and other leaders) for helping Clark along this path.  I have hopes and intentions of being more involved with the younger boys, but for whatever reason, Abe was really the one working with and motivating Clark.
It was a double court of honor for Clark and Bryson.  They have been in scouting together all along and are good friends, so it was only fitting that they be honored together.
Clark gave out three mentor pins-- Ryan Butterfield has been a long time young men's leader who also happened to conduct Clark's baptism right when we first moved into the ward almost nine years ago.  Keith Schramm is Clark's robotics coach and Adrianne has been key in Prototype X as well as Clark's PiPod days with FLL.  I am so thankful for their influence and the time they have invested in mentoring Clark.
D&D club guys.  I quite like them all.
Prototype X guys.  I quite like them too.
Proud parent moment.  Although I confess to feeling somewhat unworthy of receiving the mother pin.  I did however keep him fed and clothed and educated in many other ways over the years.  So although, I may not be instrumental in scouting.  I will still wear my pin with pride. 

This was the musical number the kids performed.
Clark display table of things about him.
It was a lovely evening and amazingly, I didn't cry!  What's the matter with me?    

No Bueno

Do you recognize this?  If you are a man or have never given birth, you might not.
It is the super sugary, nasty drink you drink around 28 weeks of pregnancy to screen for gestational diabetes (A type of diabetes that goes away as soon as you deliver).  You drink it and they draw your blood an hour later.
Well... I failed it.
The next step is to take a three hour test involving a drink with twice as much glucose and four blood draws over three hours while otherwise fasting.  No bueno.
But I called my Dr. office and plead my case.  I hadn't failed the one hour by very much and I thought maybe it was a fluke.  I bet I could pass it a second time.  Please give me another chance before the three hour test.
That was stupid on my part, because I failed it even worse the second time.
So back in I went for the three hour horror test.
It wasn't actually that bad and I just barely didn't pass it.  By like two points!  Blah.
Better safe than sorry I suppose, so last week I went to a diabetes class and have been testing my blood sugars four times a day ever since.  As far as the testing goes, it really isn't that bad and it does give me some peace of mind knowing I'm being a good girl.
The eating portion has been a little trickier, but as long as I eat a good amount of protein with a reasonable (small) amount of carbohydrates, I've kept things very much under control.
Hopefully, this won't be a sign of things to come later in life, but it is a good reminder to eat healthier and lay off the gummy bears.
It has however, derailed my dreams of slurpees and otter pops all summer.

Summer is Coming

This picture is the last day of class for Elinor's beginning speech and debate class.  She did not love the class for most of the year.  It was stressful and hard and there was a lot of homework.  She was uncomfortable and there were tears.  But being the good parents that we are, we told her she didn't have to take the class again next year, but quitting mid-year this year was not an option.
Lo and behold!-- by the end of the year she loved the class and was sad that it was over.  She cant' wait for the class to start up again in the fall.  Ten points for good parents!
 Here is the elite speech and debate Clark and Bethany have been in this year.  They've both enjoyed their time doing speech and debate over the past few years, but they will not be continuing next year.  Bethany will be more involved than ever with violin and orchestra and Clark will be focusing on robots and college applications and mission papers.  I can't say enough good things about their involvement with Sam Martineau and this debate league.  At a bare minimum, they've learned to organize their thoughts and present themselves confidently. 
In honor of Memorial Day tomorrow, I give you a summer kick-off picture of Peter on a pool raft.  He was so happy and content in the water at a recent Prototype X end of year party.
I adore this picture of George jumping off the diving board.  Our friend Andrea has moved from this amazing house, so our swimming days here are numbered as it waits to sell.  Faith, Cannon, and George all learned to swim in this pool.  George is at the age where it's somewhat uncomfortable to watch him swim as he kind of looks like he's drowning, but he's totally good.
The team and families watching the end-of-year slideshow.
In other endings/beginnings, the young man in the middle is Jakob Thygerson, the first Prototype X team member to leave on his mission.  He setting a tremendous example to the others and we were so happy to go to his mission farewell a week ago.  He's headed to Berlin, Germany and I think he will be fantastic!
So many changes and adventures in store for these young people over the next few years.  
Abe is happy to have additional helpers for lawn mowing duties.
Just goes to support my childhood theory of why parents have children--- free slaves.
No joke, this is truly and absolutely the scene I came upon in the backyard this past week.  Do you know what they are looking at?  Prepare yourself.  It's kind of dreadful.
It's a curled up ball python.  Yep, my toddlers face was about six inches from a snake.  I was understandably concerned and questioned Clark with the safety of such and arrangement.  He assured me Peter was in no danger.  Still, it seems horrible doesn't it?
 Peter LOVES the snake.  I was hoping that when Clark left in on his mission in about year we would finally be a snake-free and reptile-free home.  It's a reasonable wish.  But now with Peter's new found passion, I'm afraid we're going to have to start all over again!  Give me strength!
Then the other two little boys came out to observe the snake.
And that provided me with one of my all-time favorite pictures of the boys all together.  How lucky are they to have each other?
But back to these two.  They seem to be cut from the same mold... intense, driven, focused, strong-willed, maybe a little on the moody side.  They are separated by 15 years, which is probably for the best.  They seem to understand each other and I believe will be a blessing to one another throughout their lives.  Clark told me as I came out to find them like this that Peter was copying whatever Clark did.  If Clark put a piece of grass in his mouth, Peter did them same.  If Clark spit it out to the side, Peter copied.  In so many ways, I will be happy if Peter follows in Clark's footsteps.  And Clark can talk me through Peter's teenage years and help me to know what he's thinking.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Keeping Us Guessing and Lots of Blessings

Well, I'll tell you what.
This little Peter certainly keeps us guessing.  A couple of months ago we got started on the path of early intervention speech therapy.  At 20 months he wasn't speaking anything understandable.  At all.  No "mama", no "dada", no "ball", no "truck".
Lots of babbling.  Lots of screaming.  Lots of frustrated crying.  So after an evaluation he tested normal or above average for everything except for expressive speech.  Meaning he understands much of what we're saying, but he can't say anything back.
As part of the initial testing, they did a hearing screening.  Surprisingly, he failed in one ear.  Since his receptive language tested so well, they figured he had some fluid behind his ear drum from recent congestion.  Come back in six weeks.
This past week we went back to have him retested and come to find out, the other ear failed.  They suggested I take him to the pediatrician to check for chronic ear infections.  I think I would have recognized numerous ear infections, but okay.
I took him that very day and he did not have ear infections.  However, the Dr. did her little test on his ear drums and found they were both flat (very little movement) suggesting fluid or at least pressure causing too much tension.  She said it was likely eustachian tube dysfunction.  Perhaps he is hearing everything muddled, like he's underwater.
So.   This week I'll be taking him to an ear, nose, and throat Dr. to see what the heck is going on.  I'm sad that this doesn't appear (to me) to be an easy fix.  I'm happy that we may get some answers as to what ails this poor little fellow.  
Wednesday afternoons Abe drives Bethany and a couple other kids down to orchestra in American Fork for rehearsals.  Occasionally, Team Little Kids tag along and he takes them to a really fun park down that way and spoils them with treats.  Of course, they love it, and I admit to enjoying a quiet afternoon for teaching piano lessons.  
Here's a blessing of the week.
Also on Wednesday, Abe was out killing himself trying to start our lawn mower.  He ripped a huge blister on his hand and was about as frustrated as Abe gets.  He came inside to patch himself up when there was a knock at the door.  A kind neighbor had seen Abe and they had an extra lawn mower they insisted on giving him.  The one on the right is the new functioning mower.  
As I shared this story with a friend, she pointed out we seem to have a lot of these kind of blessings.  And I think she's right.  People give us bags of out-grown clothing for both the girls and the boys.  The anonymous person who paid our family's restaurant bill when we went out for Abe's birthday lunch.  The functioning lawn-mower.  The long-time friend of my brother who has done several major car repairs for us at beyond reasonable prices- thus avoiding the expenses of new cars.  
We feel very, very blessed and very grateful for all these tender mercies and I'm grateful to the friend who reminded me of what I may not have noticed.  
Last night was a Mother's Day treat for me!  Bethany's orchestra performed at Thanksgiving Point (indoors due to the weather)  with Jenny Oaks Baker and her children, and Lexi Walker.  It was magnificent!  Really good.  Soul stirringly good.  They played "The Grand Canyon Suite", "La Moldau", "1812 Overture" and many more.  I loved every moment of it.  By the end I was a little tired from sitting.  I can't imagine how tired those musicians must have been after 2 1/2 hours of playing such difficult music.   Plus they had rehearsed for two hours immediately prior to the concert. (Bethany is to the left of the director at the front of the 2nd row of violinists from the left)
Bethany has been having a bit of back/shoulder trouble and I knew she must have been hurting, but she did so well.  Even so, she was ready to go home and go to bed.
This isn't even close to the best picture of it, but we've been having some wet and wild weather the last few days.  SO MUCH RAIN!  And hail!  Saturday afternoon our neighborhood park flooded.  Apparently, kids were out kayaking in the lake.  

Today in Sacrament Meeting Abe spoke for Mother's Day.  I think he did a very nice job and it has indeed been a lovely Mother's Day.  Abe made me an omelet for lunch (my favorite) and I took a lengthy happy nappy on the couch.  Now I am having an undisturbed moment to blog.  My children have hugged me and told me they love me.  Abe loves and appreciates me.  That is just about as good as a mother's day can get as far as I'm concerned. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day

After Clark being gone to St. Louis for five days for FIRST Worlds Competition, we are ready to have him HOME! Since the middle of March he has been away for four full weekends for competitions-- Salt Lake, Denver, Boise, and now St. Louis. It has been a very full robotics season, with plenty of highs and lows, but I'm glad it's over. 
Peter found some lipstick and was quite pleased with himself. 
Sunday morning snuggling with the little boys.
Last night we enjoyed a real treat at my parents' home up in Farmington.  They prepared and served their children a divine prime rib dinner.  It was so, so tasty!  But even more than that, it was so kind of them.  They worked so hard and made it so nice for us.  And how cute does my dad look!  I especially love the missionary tag!
Between the two of them, they have nine children.  Three of the couples weren't there and we missed them, but we really had a very lovely relaxing time.  

The one downside to the evening, was that Abe and I met up after his day of work and we left his car in a huge parking lot so we could ride up together.  We didn't notice any signs telling us not to park there.  Sadly, when we returned, Abe's car was nowhere to be found.  Speedy Towing had towed it away.  I won't dwell on the complete racket they run and how many cars they tow away, quite disingenuously  by not posting clear signs about not parking there, I might add.  It will be very expensive to retrieve his car tomorrow.  Not happy.  Not happy at all. 
Putting aside the fact that more than half of the group has demon eyes in this picture, we did have a very nice "book club" with friends a couple of weeks back.  I say "book club", but we're all very busy stages of life right now, and more often than not, we dispense with the book and just gather for dinner and socializing.  
Plus, the girls and I have been reading like crazy finishing up Emma for our mother/daughter Jane Austen book club.  Our attendance has dwindled over the year, but we are determined to finish them all!  We did get it done and Friday night we had a couple families over for chocolate cake and watching a movie version of it.  It was really quite lovely.  Now we just have Northanger Abby and Persuasion left.  
We're not sure what to make of this.
Bethany hurt/twisted/sprained her ankle while playing games at the park yesterday.  After the initial pain, it did swell and was tender.  But with a bit of caution, she could still walk.  Not only did it not hurt to move it, but her ankle/tendon/foot (whatever) was very easily sliding in an out of it's natural place.  Almost like her foot and ankle were dislocated or disconnected.  From what I researched online, I believe it is sublaxation of the peroneal tendon (or something like that).  And you know what an medical expert I am, so I'm sure I'm correct.
This evening I took her into the Instacare.  The Dr. put her in a boot and referred her to an orthopedic sports medicine dr. this next week.  Today the Dr. seemed concerned about her extreme joint movement and ankle instability, but surprised at her lack of pain (besides some tenderness).  
Hopefully, it will quickly heal on it's own.  In the meantime, she will be wearing this little beauty.

In other fun news, both Bethany and Elinor were set apart today as their class presidents for both Beehives and Mia Maids.  Neither of them have been a president of their class before, so I am glad they will have this experience together.  

And it must be May 1st because it appears my allergies are GONE!!!! Joy of joys!!! Like clockwork, it is March 1st to May 1st that I suffer.  My condolences to my grass allergy sufferers who are about to begin their torment.  And to the tree allergy sufferers like myself-- Hallelujah!  We are free for the next ten months.