Monday, November 30, 2009

Temple Lights

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are going Christmas-light-looking with my family. I have always wanted to share the same tradition with my kids, so this weekend we enjoyed the first of what is sure to be many nights of Christmas lights. What better place to start than the Salt Lake Temple.

The kids got a little antsy as we drove around trying to find a place to park. So, in an attempt to keep them entertained I began snapping up pics of them, here's the result:

The Temple grounds are all aglow with beautiful lights and nativities from all over the world. The kids, of course, were wide-eyed when we stepped foot on the grounds.

Jax, however, quickly became less enamored with the lights and more focused on running from us just so he could find a good place to sit down. I'm not sure if he liked the feeling of the cold ground on his bottom, or what. But, he did this about a dozen times.

Ava, just loved the nativities, looking at each a few times.

But, I wish I could have captured the look on her face when she saw the bright pink lights. She was sure they were put up just for her saying, "The Temple workers must have known my favorite color is pink!"

After over an hour, frozen fingers and runny noses we decided to head home. I planned ahead and brought the kids' jammies, changing them into them before we took off. Good plan. They were both fast asleep within five minutes. I love nights like that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's hard to believe, but our Little Dude is on the downward slope of his ones. He's eighteen months right now, which means before long he'll be two. I know you can do the math, but I need to say it out loud (or type it) because it's still so hard for me to believe!

Right now, Jax LOOOOOVES trucks! He has trucks on the mind... always. He runs everywhere, and when he's not burning tracks in the carpet, he climbing up things only to jump right off of them. He has no fear (except of the vaccuum cleaner) and no inhibitions. He's super goofy and has the most mischievous little grin. Usually, when he knows he's not supposed to do something, he'll look right at me smile and then proceed to do the very thing he shouldn't. For instance, as I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth the other day, the mancub decided to join me. He loves the bathroom. He's definitely Andy's son. Anyway, he has this thing about the toilet paper. He unrolls and unravels it, then uses the big wad to clean the walls or wipe his nose. Normally, I'd say it's no big deal, but we're not just talking a few squares. Before I know it, the entire roll is on the floor and he's using two squares to wipe his boogers. So, as I brushed my teeth I looked at him, he slyly looked at me, grinned, and then slowly, oh so slowly, moved his chubby little hand to the toilet paper roll and then began unrolling like mad. He was trying his very best to get it all on the floor before I had time to spit and rinse my toothbrush off. Fortunately, I foiled his plans. But don't worry, he was back at it the next day!

We love our little man. He is all boy, but still so sweet, tender and cuddly. He's growing so fast! Soon enough he'll be a little man. Let's just hope he'll get over the toilet paper habit before then!

Turtey Day

In honor of Andy's loveable Uncle Dallas, we always say "turkey" as "turtey." Uncle Dalley (as the boys call him) was born with down syndrome. He is such a joy to be around, especially when he dances. One of Andy and his brother's favorite childhood memories of Dallas is him calling them "turteys." He's in his early 40's now (which is amazing for someone with DS) and still says it on occasion. Whenever Andy or I sat it, it makes us think of wonderful Uncle Dalley!

So, this week we celebrated Turtey Day! We had originally planned to go to Arizona, but I had the opportunity to sell my products at a craft boutique the day after Thanksgiving, so we decided to stay here. Uncle Dusty joined us, along with Uncle Eric and Aunt Karly from AZ. How excited were our kids?! Ava woke up every morning for several days asking how many days until Wednesday (when Eric and Karly would arrive). She even got to stay up almost two hours past her bedtime waiting for them. When they finally arrived, it took me another good hour to get her to bed because she was so wired! Jax, who obviously doesn't remember E & K, warmed right up to them. I think he and Eric are kindred spirits. Both are daredevils with a special love of trucks and things for said trucks to jump over.

Thursday morning, Karly and I got to work on dinner. Although, is Thanksgiving ever really dinner? In Andy's family Turtey Day dinner is always at 1 at Grandma's house. In my family, it was usually around 3. Just a thought. Anyway, Karly and I went all out, making EVERYTHING from scratch. Except the turkey, Eric and Karly brought that up from Arizona. They got it from a BBQ place near where they live. The bird was slow-smoked for three days before we ate it. YUM! For sides, we had homemade green bean casserole (which only got better each day after T-Day... mmmmm), mac 'n' cheese from scratch, bacon cheddar mashed potatoes, my special marshmallow yams (which I've been making since I was about seven), rolls, gravy and for dessert... Pumpkin Cheesecake. Holy cow, that was a good dinner. Soooo not healthy and DEFINITELY not gluten-free, but sooo worth the extra time on the treadmill!

During the days leading up to Turtey Day, our family discussed at dinner each night what we were thankful for. Ava looked forward to putting the papers in our thankful box. I look forward to being reminded of all the blessings in our life, great and small. Here's a little sampling: Jax was grateful for trucks and grapes. Ava said she was thankful for Mama hugs and books. Daddy is thankful for Mama and school. Mama is thankful for our family and a heater in our home. I think I'll keep these papers. It's so sweet to watch Ava really think about what she is most grateful for. Jax, on the other hand, seemed to know. I would ask, "Jax, what are you thankful for?" and immediately I'd get an answer. Ava was much more pensive.

Tonight, as both my kids sleep, Andy is downstairs studying, Eric and Karly are in the living room sleeping, I am so thankful for family. In about six months we'll be moving further than we've ever been from family. I am grateful that we have the holidays to share with our loved ones, while we are still close enough to do so without the use of a plane :) We can't wait until Christmas, when we'll be home in Arizona (it will always be home) spending our favorite time of year with our favorite people.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Risky Business

I'm no Tom Cruise fan, but I couldn't help but think of him when I snapped this picture of Jax after church last week.

RISKY BUSINESS, Tom Cruise, 1983

I think Jax is WAAAAAY cuter... and definitely a better dancer!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Family Pictures: A Sneak Peek

We had our family pictures taken a few weeks ago. My good friend Jess at Picture Me Mine Photography found a great spot for us: foliage, a vintage truck and an antique shop. It was a lot of fun and I think she did a great job! We had a tough time choosing which photos to order, but finally narrowed it down. Here are a few...

P.S. I made Ava's dress and I gotta say, I love it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Snow Day

We awoke this morning to snow. Not a whole lot, but enough to excite the kids and send Ava racing for snow boots.

Jax spent most of his time eating the white stuff.

Okay, so did Ava.

Driving through the snow. And he didn't even need chains!

After all of our noses turned red and the kids had their fill of snow (and a few leaves) we came inside, took off all of our wet clothes and enjoyed the warmth of the house... and the kids enjoyed some hot cocoa. If it weren't so darn cold, it would have been perfect!

These Kids are Gonne Give Me a Heart Attack

I have blogged before about how Jax is fearless. And I've mentioned several times that he'll do just about anything Ava does. Here's what happens when you mix the two.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Lesson About the Flag

Our favorite grocery store has a HUGE American flag in its parking lot. The kids love to look at it every time we go, especially if it's windy because not only does the flag dance in the wind but it makes a loud snapping sound as it waves.

As we came home the other night, Ava noticed the flag was at half-mast.
"Why is the flag down so low?" she asked. So I explained to her that the flag is flown at half-mast when someone very important has died. She, of course, asked why. "It's a sign of respect and a way to say thank you for their service."
"Why is it at half-mast today." As gently as I could, I told her that several soldiers were killed by a bad man and that by flying the flag at half-mast we're showing them and their families respect.
"Why did he kill them?" I really had no answer, I just told her we don't really know why. She seemed saddened and looked for a few more seconds at the flag. On the way home, I heard her explaining to Jax why the flag is flying at half-mast.

I thought it appropriate to share this story today, Veteran's Day. I am thankful for the brave men and women who have sacrificed time from their families to protect our freedoms, and of course, I am grateful for those who gave their lives while in uniform -- whether fighting a war, or at the hands of a madman, because even if they didn't die on the front lines the fact that they were soldiers proves that they would have been willing to.

Monday, November 9, 2009

On a Personal Note

I really debated about writing this post because I try to keep this blog as fun as possible. But, this is our family's blog and more than anything it's meant to keep mine and Andy's parents up-to-date on the happenings of our lives. Mostly, I keep it about the kids, but today it's going to be about me. I got some news today, not great, not terrible but news nonetheless.

For several years I've dealt with ovarian pain. I had cysts in my younger years, which are pretty common. After I had Ava I began having terrible pain on my left side. After several doctor's visits and ultrasounds I was finally told that my ovary was fused to my uterus, that when I was put together after my Ava C-Section, my ovary was moved too close to my uterus and they stuck together. I was told it was pretty common. When I became pregnant with Jax, I was worried about the pain the stretching would cause, especially since my doc told me it would only get worse. But, it didn't. For nine months, I had relief from the pain, which should have been a red flag, but with so many other things happening with my body at the time, I didn't even think about it.

Fast forward to several months after Jax's birth and the pain began again. It's gotten increasingly worse the past few months and in the last few weeks it's begun to radiate into my back and at times, is almost unbearable. So, I made a doctor's appointment just to check in.

I went in last Tuesday and my doc ordered an ultrasound for Friday. That's when I found out there's no way to diagnose an ovary fused to a uterus via ultrasound. Huh? So, how did my old doctor know that was the problem? The ultrasound tech informed me that he probably didn't, but after several ultrasounds which ruled out other issues, just deduced that was the likely culprit. Great...

So, today, I met with my new doctor (who, honestly, is the best doctor I've ever had) to go over the results of my ultrasound. Turns out the problem is much more serious than an ovary and a uterus that love each other too much. I have endometriosis. Basically, the tissue that lines my uterus is growing OUTSIDE my uterus on my ovary and fallopian tube. The biggest concerns with this condition are infertility and an increased cancer risk. The GOOD NEWS is that I'm young and the condition is treatable. Increasing hormones will often do the trick. So, he's put me on birth control pills. In a month, he'll check things out and see how effective they are. If necessary, he can increase the dosage. Other options are hormone injections (which would basically put me through menopause for six months) or surgery, both of which the doctor and I would like to avoid. The reason I didn't have pain when I was pregnant was that my body naturally increased hormones, so it basically healed itself. My doctor said really, the best things for endometriosis are pregnancy and breastfeeding, neither of which I plan on doing any time soon. So, birth control it is.

As for the cancer risk, he says I just need to be vigilant about checkups. There is occurance in my family, so I need to be especially cautious. He's given me a diet that should help, it's pretty basic and a no-brainer -- lots of fruits, vegis, fiber and lean meat, and minimal SUGAR. I know these things, but avoiding sugar will be ALOT easier now that it's doctor's orders.

I know this is very personal and may be a little uncomfortable for the men-folk, but it's something that's happening in our family right now. Not to mention, I just really want to say, to women especially, to listen to your bodies. You know better than any doctor if something doesn't feel right. If necessary, get second, third, fourth opinions. I had SIX ultrasounds and THREE doctors before this problem was finally diagnosed. Even after I was told my ovary was attached to my uterus, I still felt a little uneasy, like there was something else wrong but I thought, "No, I'm just being paranoid. My doctor knows best." I am so grateful for my new doctor, he is so kind and takes so much time with his patients. He listened to all my concerns and tested for several possibilities before ordering the ultrasound. I know it was no coincidence that he is my doctor. Had I waited longer, who knows, maybe the diagnosis would be much different. I am so grateful to finally have health insurance again, and through it, I was able to find an amazing doctor. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who is aware of me and knows my needs better than I. I am thankful for Andy and Dusty, who last night, gave me the most amazing priesthood blessing. Never have I felt the Spirit more strongly. I am thankful for my two amazing children. The risk of infertility is high with this condition, however, it's not definite. Plenty of women have children after being diagnosed. However, if, I am never able to have children again, I am totally content. We have been so blessed already. Iif our family is meant to grow in the future, then we will again count our blessings and thank our Heavenly Father for His tender mercies toward us.

There's still time...

There's still time to vote for Ava!!! I posted info a little while back about a photo contest a local radio station is holding. The grand prize winner gets a trip to Disneyland, the other winners get to go to Disney Princesses on Ice. Ava would be soooo happy with either. If you haven't voted, please do so here.

Ava is photo 138. Once you click on 138 you have to enter your e-mail address. From there, they'll send you an e-mail confirming your vote. Just click on the link in your e-mail and the vote will go through. Please, please, please vote for her. I think today may be the last day.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Little Weirdos

There are few things normal about our children. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it, I actually love just how unique they are. However, that being said, they are little weirdos. They come up with some of the silliest ideas about playing, food (Ava requested bread with a side of mustard for lunch), singing, dancing, you get the idea.

Ava does not go a day without being a character. Each morning we wait to find out just who she is that day and our personal character assignments. Quiet time is always especially animated, with Ava choosing a costume fitting for her character, turning her room into her characters "scene" and then jumping into that world (and never out of character). Lately, she's been Snow White... alot. She HAS to have a red ribbon in her hair and red lipstick. If her dress with the puffy sleeves is dirty or unavailable, well then, you just better be ready for a good talkin' to. Just the other day, her dress was in the wash and she said, "I'm trying so hard to be the perfect Snow White, but you're making it very difficult." She went through a brief Tinkerbell/Glinda the Good With phase last week after watching the newest Tinkerbell movie. This is how she spent the ENTIRE day, until bathtime when the wings finally had to come off.

Her get-up includes wings, a crown, a wand, a little apron/dress thingy (mine when I was a little girl), necklace, dress-up shoes (which you can't see), lip gloss and messy hair (like the fairies, she says).

Jax on the other hand is all about noises. He makes some really weird ones and then laughs hysterically at both himself and the surprised looks on our faces. He also likes to experiment with the way noises sound with an object over his head/mouth/up his nose (yep, he walked around the house with his finger up his noise yelling, "Eeeee Eeeeee Eeeeee"). This time, he took the Mr. Potato Head bucket and, of course, stuck it over his noggin and began with the noisemaking. You can even see the "fog" from his breath on the plastic.

They're so entertaining, and so wonderfully weird!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Greatest Thing Ever!!!

So, I just visited one of my favorite blogs, "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" and found what I've been dreaming about since having kids. She's doing a giveaway for a year subscription to Relish... a site that plans your dinner menu for a week, provides you with a shopping list AND recipes! GENIUS! Seriously, does it get better? Oh, yes it does... did I mention that the meal plans are economical, healthy and look and sound oh so yummy! I'm in love! This is a busy mom's dream! I just had to share it with all my mommy friends.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eat, Breathe, Sleep... TRUCKS!!

I fear that Jaxon is already exhibiting Uncle Eric-esque qualities at such a young age. For those who don't know him, Andy's youngest brother is quite the daredevil. He loves big trucks and things that go fast. To be honest, we're all a little surprised he's still alive... that's just how crazy he is.

Well, my son, my sweet little son is a little wild man. He's already jumping off the stairs, our bed, the couch. He climbs on everything and really has no fear or sense of danger. This scares me. On top of it all, he loves trucks. Not just any old truck... MONSTER TRUCKS! He eats, breathes and sleeps "RUCKS!" (as he calls them). When he wakes in the morning, he immediately goes to the computer and begins asking for trucks on YouTube.

This is the face he makes when he says, "Drave Digger."

After breakfast, he begins playing with "Royo" (The Destroyer) and "Drave Diiiigggggeeer" (Grave Digger) and pushes them around the house, making loud truck noises/screeching sounds. At some point or another, the trucks crash into each other, Ava's toys, Ava, me, the wall, whatever is nearest and Jax makes that noise that all little boys make when things explode.

It's gotta be innate. None of this concerns me, what concerns me is that he takes his trucks and jumps them off of things. I fear, that like his Uncle Eric, he is already dreaming that he's the one inside the truck jumping it over a jumbo jet. And speaking of dreaming, he also sleeps with the Grave Digger. I don't imagine it's very comfortable, but he doesn't seem to mind.

It's so darn cute how much he loves trucks! It's so darn cute how much of a boy my boy is! He is just so darn cute!

That being said, should I prepare myself now for a lifetime of almost-heart attacks (my heart) and broken bones and/or stitches? Ahhh, the joys of being the mother of a boy. How my mother-in-law survived five of them, I'll never know. She's one strong woman.

In the Kitchen...

In the kitchen, as I cleaned up Jax's lunch mess of destroyed peanut butter and jelly, tangerine and raisins (which he apparently thinks work well as confetti) I said to the little dude, "You made a mess! Holy cow!" To which he responded, "MOOOOOO!"