Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Nightmare, a Five Mile Race and Black Island Farms Corn Maze and Slides

I went to sleep at a decent time last night.  I had been exhausted.  I was out cold by 10:35, then woke up for a moment to see that David Letterman was on, so changed it to Jimmy Fallon.  I do have a preference.  Then quickly fell back to sleep.  At 3:30, approximately, I was roused from my sleep by a very loud scream and crying.  My toddler had a nightmare, or night terror, I am not sure how to tell the difference.  I was awake for the next 2.5 hours, so was she.  That was not what I was expecting as part of preparing for my race that I believed started at 8 am.  I know my alarm went off at 7:16 am.  I know I turned the alarm off.  I was thankful that I woke up at 7:46 am.  I have never gotten ready so quickly for a race in my life!  Thankfully, I knew where everything was that I needed!

I got to the race at 8:01 am.  I was sure that this was one of my race nightmares come true.  I quickly grabbed my MP3 player and exited my van.  I went scurrying around, looking for where the starting line was.  I tried to figure out where everyone was congregating, but when I couldn't figure that out, I figured I would use a port-a-pot....thanks to race day nerves.

I finally found someone and asked them where the starting line was.  She didn't know where that was either, since it was her first year.  I then stated, "I thought the race started at 8."

She replied, "It starts at 8:30."

I then told her the story of my morning (like she cared), and how thankful I was that it was a later start than I thought.  That gave me time to go and change the battery in my MP3 players, since I only had one bar left.  I wouldn't want it to die midrun, although it wouldn't have been the first time that happened to me.

Finally, the call to the starting line was made for the half-marathoners.  I chatted with a couple of women while race directions for the half-marathoners were made.  One of them explained the course, since she was familiar with it.  Then it was time for use five milers to line up.  I always line up toward the back, that way I don't get passed by a lot of people.  We were told that there would be another race on some of the same course we were on.  We had to follow the green arrow, the other race had orange ones.  I made a mental note.  Then the countdown began, backward from 10.

When I crossed the starting line, I started my watch.  Then I just ran, for 1 hour and five minutes.  Unofficially, I ran for 1:08:59.1.  But the half marathoners started a couple of minutes or so ahead of us, and that is when the race clock started that gave the unofficial time.  I still have those moments reminding myself that I ran a 10K in 1:00:15.  I then remind myself that I was 5 years younger, 30 lbs lighter, and hadn't broken my foot a few months before.  The 5 miler was a little more than 5 miles too.  I remember I crossed the five mile mark, and still had a ways to go.  The distance passed the 5 miles, I don't know, but it was a distance, somewhere between .25 mile and .50 mile.

I also saw a woman at an aid station fall down.  She was there by herself.  I couldn't run passed and not find out if she was okay.  When I got to the aid station, I asked her if she was okay.  She stated that she had stepped wrong on her bad ankle and it had rolled causing her to fall.  She was limping around.  I didn't want to continue until I knew she was okay and she assured me that she was.  I was thanked her for her service at the run and continued on.  The conversation didn't last more than one or two minutes I imagine.

Upon finishing the race, I ate a third of a banana and had a glass of chocolate milk.  Then I headed home to pick up my husband and children.  As part of the race registration, I got a free ticket for myself and two guests into the Black Island Farms Corn Maze (where the race started and ended).  I picked them up and we headed back.

They had an area with goats, turkeys, rams, llamas, peacocks and geese.  The photo below is a picture of the children with a kid (baby goat) between them and to the back.  It is brown.  It is hard to see. The children wanted a picture with it though.

After looking at all of the animals, we continued on to several slides.  There is a really long one that looks like it was made out of a plastic pipe.  

This is a picture of my husband going down the slide with my toddler.  She turned three on October 5.  It is so hard for me to believe that my baby is three now!  She is enjoying seeing a photo of her and her daddy on here, with the slide!

This is a picture of my oldest son, he is 11.  They had to ride a burlap sack down, probably to help with going down quicker.  I had to time the photo so that it would get them before they went passed the view of the lens.  So, I had to take it when they were still in the tube.  

This is my oldest daughter, at age 10.  She enjoyed her trip down the tube also.  That was one of the favorite things of the day.

This is a picture of my youngest son, he is six.  Another big fan of the slide!  He went down the slide several times!

Here is my toddler climbing up a rope ladder.  She wasn't a fan of that.  This led to a smaller slide.  Immediately after taking this photo, she exclaimed that she was scared.  I got her off of that.  She and her dad went down the slide together.  He helped her get to the top of that pile of hay.

After the kids got tired of sliding, they announced that it was time to enter the corn maze.  This was the first corn maze any of us had done, except for my husband.  It was an exciting moment, and a little nerve wrecking.  My biggest fear was one of the kids taking off into the corn and getting lost for minutes, hours, or days.  Nothing that I enjoy thinking about... I took a picture of my husband with the children and took one of me with the children, then we continued into the maze.  

 I tried to show off my race number, but it just didn't all show up!  I was number 1009.  Those are some really beautiful children, in my own opinion!  I am blessed to have each one of them.

As we traversed the corn maze, the children took turns picking each turn, from oldest to youngest.  They enjoyed being in control of our destiny.  We went in a few circles.   Phase 1 of the corn maze took us about 10 minutes to go through. 

Then we entered Phase 2, which took considerably longer.  Phase 2 turned into Phase 3 at a tower.  I turned on my stopwatch when we entered Phase 2. We let the children decide our fate, until they got tired of being in the corn maze.  Then we found the tower again, took a look, my husband figured out how to get us out, and we followed him.  We got out of the maze after 39 minutes.  Oh, I didn't mention... I have a horrible sense of direction!  My toddler did make it out of the maze, but she really was tired of it!  She didn't want to be in the above photo, but after I took it, she wanted to be in one, so we have the photo below too!

It was a really fun morning/afternoon with my husband and children.  I was thankful that I got to run the race, and that I was able to run the whole time.  I was thankful that we then got to have this family time together.  It was fun to see the children working together to get us through the mazes.  They worked really well to try to figure out the turns.  Sometimes, my toddler would lead us a way the children didn't think we should go, but we all went anyway.  In the end, we made it out and we had a good, memorable time.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Veggie Picking

Last month, we loaded all the kids into the car.  We decided we would go and get a bunch of veggies from a local "you pick" farm.  We filled up a box, which is an estimated bushel, with eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and green beans.  It was a lot of fun to go out there and get some fresh veggies. The veggies were enjoyable.  The kids were proud of what we got...

I am not sure we will ever do that again.  I have no clue what to do with that many peppers, green beans, and eggplants.  We added some things to our neighbor's compost pile.  I did have some fresh veggies before they met that fate though.  Keith ate a bunch of the green peppers.  We discovered there really isn't anything to do with eggplant, except to make eggplant lasagna.  My daughter cooked a lot of the green beans, and those were really good to eat.

Things I learned, apparently you don't have to have tomato cages.  There were hundreds, if not thousands, of tomato plants, and there wasn't a single one of them with a tomato cage.  They were all just sprawled across the ground.  Not anything I had ever thought of doing, but it seems to work.

I learned that it is easy to fill a bushel basket with eggplants, although there really isn't a use for eggplants.  Have you tasted one?  I don't appreciate the taste of a raw eggplant...  I imagine I would feel the same way about a boiled one.

I guess I am posting the picture because I really enjoy seeing the children :)  I thought I would give a little background to it.  I will continue to wish that we lived back east, where we could have filled that box with blueberries, and freeze them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Every Step Counts

It was May 30, 2014, I was minding my own business, the best I could.  My toddler had been diagnosed with strep throat the day before.  We were invited to a beginning of summer S'mores party at a friend's house.  I sent my husband and three older children with all the necessary fixins.

I stayed home with the little one, because, to be honest, who wants to have a sick kid around?!  If it isn't my sick kid, I prefer to not have them around.  As a mom, I have always tried to be responsible; not bring my kids to church sick, and not send them to school sick.  So, as much as I LOVE burnt marshmallows (more than you can understand reading this), I stayed home.

I figured while I was home, I should exercise.  I did 12 minutes of running in place, in 20 second increments. Run 20 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and so on, for 12 minutes total.  I ran for six minutes and rested for six minutes, but when you do the running as fast as you possibly can, it can really poop you out!  Then I thought, well, why don't I do some push-ups, on the stairs.  I proceeded to do that.  I can't even begin to tell you how many I did, because what happened next led to the worst pain in my entire life.  Yes, I am including childbirth.  Possibly because I got to see, or hold, or know I would see soon, the most amazing little person in the world.  I had four of those most amazing little people...

I stood up, started coming down the stairs, and didn't realize how far up I was.  I took, what I imagined was, the last step.  Well, it was one of the last steps I took for six weeks.  I was at least two stairs up higher than I thought.  I took that step, and I knew, mid-air, that I had done something drastically wrong.  I landed directly on my ankle.  Everything that could pop in my left foot, did pop.

I was still at home, with my toddler.  My husband and three older children were still gone.  My husband doesn't use a cell phone.  Thankfully, one of my friends, went to the party too.  I sent her a message to send my husband home, telling her that I was pretty sure I broke my ankle.  I sent this message, via my Facebook on the computer, since I didn't have a cell either.  My toddler wasn't amused that her sobbing Mom was taking the computer from her.  Like I said, the most painful thing in my life...

My husband arrived home, probably 20 minutes later.  I was still sobbing.  But, I had known, that I was going to deal with the pain through the night.  With the aid of Mobu Herbals PM Pain Lotion, acetaminophen, ice, and elevation, I made it through the night.  My husband and I don't have health insurance.  The Urgent Care location that we have a membership to had closed at 8 pm.  It was 8:15 pm when it happened.  There was no way I was going to an ER to pay them $1000's when I could go to the Urgent Care for $10.

I found out that I broke the third metatarsal in my foot and sprained my ankle.  As to how I didn't break my ankle, that is still well beyond my grasp.  Anyway, I was put in a splint for 4-6 weeks.  My parents came out the following week to help me out, since this happened the day the children got out of school for the summer.

I would spend the next six weeks in this.  Non-weight bearing, on crutches.  That is when I realized that it was a very bad idea to ever buy a house without a bathroom on the main level.  If you take nothing else from reading this, only buy a house that has a bathroom on the main level!  My parents stayed out here for four weeks.  Then we headed back east.  I brought my four children with me.  We stayed there for six weeks.  At the six week mark, I got to switch to a boot and start putting minimal weight on my foot.

That was a happy day in my life, being able to walk on two feet again, even if it was with crutches.  I was excited to be done with the splint.  I was excited to have two feet on the ground again.  I was minimum weight bearing for two weeks.  Then I got rid of the crutches, at eight weeks.  That was also a great day in my life!  Crutch free!  I used my boot for about 2 1/2 more weeks, mostly because I forgot to bring my other shoe back to New York with me when I left.

I noticed, at about five or six weeks, that the muscle in my leg was starting to disappear.  It wasn't a nice day to notice that, especially since there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.  It was hard to basically see a lot of loose skin, where muscle used to be.  I didn't pay a lot of attention to it, mostly because I couldn't change it.

I didn't realize, until today, how much that muscle really mattered.  Although there was nothing I could do about losing it, because I don't know that you can strengthen it, when you can't even put your weight on it, let alone any other weight.  I started "running" again on Saturday.  The time it takes to run two miles is not anything I would ever brag about.  I timed it on Monday, and it is basically a 14:20 mile, over two miles.  I wasn't amused at all about that time, since it is more than four minutes slower than my fastest time.  Heck, I had run 2 miles in less than four minutes slower than that mile.

As I walked today, the same distance that I ran on Monday, in the same spot, I realized something.  Maybe it isn't right, but it is the conclusion I came to.  This left leg of mine does not have the necessary muscle for the foot turnover rate that it used to have.  On top of that, my foot, ankle and heel still bother me.  I am sure that there are several tendons and ligaments torn up in there.  I can't afford to get it fixed, and even I could, I don't think I would.  I have heard too many stories of feet/ankles being worse after surgery than they were before.

From this point on, I will remember that it isn't about the time right now, it is about rebuilding the muscle that was lost in six weeks of not bearing weight, two additional weeks of bearing minimal weight, and a total of 14 weeks without running.  I also have to remember that I gained weight, so I am also hauling around additional weight.  Right now, I am doing Weight Watchers to help correct that issue.

I will get back to running how I used to, but I guess I have to build back up to that.  EVERY STEP COUNTS!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

12 Weeks and 2 Days Later

With the last update, it was my children's last day of school and I broke my foot.  That happened 12 weeks and two days ago.  A lot has happened since then.  My parents spent about four weeks here with me to help out with the children while I couldn't walk on my foot.  We then headed back east for six weeks. 

I had a wonderful summer in New York.  My children and I rode back with my parents.  My mom drove my van with myself and my two youngest children and our dog.  My dad drove back with my two older children and their dog.  It took us about 3 days of driving, stopping at night to sleep. 

While I was home, I got to see some of my friends.  I saw some longer than others, but I was thankful for any time I got to spend with them.  Life is busy, and not being able to walk for most of the summer had its limitations. 

I got to go to the Hill Cumorah Pageant with my mom, my chldren and one of our friends, who is also the creator and President of MOBU Herbals.  It was her first time to go, and it was just coincidental that her visit to NY coincided with the Pageant.  We got to have a meeting with her and it helped to introduce the product to some of my friends in the area.

I got to watch a lot of softball games.  My brother has played with some of his fellow ballplayers for as long as I can remember.  They are like brothers.  I enjoy getting to cheer them on.  My sister-in-law has played on the same team for years, and I enjoyed getting to see her play and some of the teammates I remembered from before. 

My children got to catch up with some of their friends also.  They also have children that we consider cousins.  They are my sister-in-law's niece and nephews.  They spent a lot of time with them.  I guess it is hard to explain our family dynamics, but we love my sister-in-law's family as if they are our own.  Some of the cousins from Washington also came out for a few weeks so my children got to see them also.  We love being together with everyone.

I started to put weight on my foot, without crutches, a couple of weeks before leaving New York.  I hate crutches.  It is something I never want to deal with again! 

We went blueberry picking, which is a very pastime for us.  We have been doing that since I was in high school.  We spent a lot of time in the backyard.  I love my parents' backyard.  They have a couple swings that we just sit in and swing.  Dad bought a badminton set for the kids to play.  They spent hours playing and laughing.

My dad turned 70 while we were there.  It is amazing/crazy to me, that my dad is 70.  If you know him, I am sure you agree that it seems impossible. 

While I was home, two of my sisters and one of my brothers came home.  All at different times, but it was wonderful to see them all.  The worst thing about living where I do is that it is so far away from family.  My sister and her husband will be moving back here in a few weeks, so I am really excited about that.

I honestly would have never come back here if I hadn't left my husband here.  So those in this area that are glad, or sad, I am back, you can thank my husband.  Those in New York who are sad, or glad, I am not there, can also thank my husband.

I think I have written before about how running helps me deal with life and curb depression.  Having not been able to run for the last 12 weeks and 2 days hasn't been good for the psyche.  The funny thing is that I was fine in New York, probably because I was surrounded by people that love me.  It isn't so much here.  I have a really hard time and miss being able to pound the pavement to get over that.

In other news, I weaned my youngest, who is also my last, child while I was back east.  She went cold turkey on August 4th.  I knew that I would need a lot of support in my decision, so I knew that I should do it while I had that kind of support.  It made it a lot easier on me, and possibly on her too.

My kids head back to school tomorrow, so we know that summer is 12 weeks and 2 days long.  Although my summer didn't go as planned, starting the evening they got out of school, I can't complain.  I am blessed that I was able to spend the summer with family and friends.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How Can the School Year be Over?

My little 6 year-old graduated from Kindergarten two weeks ago today.  As my toddler and I stood there and watched him get his certificate, I was so proud of him.  I felt that feeling in my heart that I feel when I am overwhelmed with how my children have grown.

Him, and his classmates, sang a song "I am a VIP in my Family."  It is so true.  He is a very important person in our family. As he sang that song (photo below) he kept looking at me and smiling.  He brings so much joy.  He has a smile that is contagious.  He says things that are wise beyond his years.  He is very caring, but he is mischievous too.

Here he is with his Kindergarten teacher.  I am so thankful for her patience.  I am thankful for how well she treated him.  When she started the graduation ceremony, she read a poem and started crying.  It talked about how she got them at the beginning of the year, and watched them grow into what they were that day.  I could tell she loved the children.

I said to him on the way back to our vehicle, "You know your teacher loves you?"

He said, "I know, she told us everyday."

Who doesn't want their children to have a teacher that will let them know that she loves them.  To the best of my memory, I never had a teacher tell us, as a class, that she/he loved us.  I think it would help kids treat each other and the teacher with more respect, knowing that the teacher cared about them.

He received his graduation cap and he wore it the whole day.  We went grocery shopping and he wore it.  He was so very proud that he was able to graduate from Kindergarten.  His little sister was able to enjoy the day with us also.

We didn't find out about graduation until that morning.  One of my friends on Facebook had posted that she couldn't believe her child was graduating the next morning, so I called and asked.  Thankfully I did, or I would have missed it.  I just didn't see the announcement when it came home.

My children officially finished school the next day.  They learned so much this school year, and I am always thankful for good teachers that treat my children well. 

I broke a bone in my foot that evening.  I am not allowed to put any weight on it for 4-6 weeks and then re-introduce a little weight at a time.  This summer will be interesting! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My New Work-at-Home Job - MOBU Herbals Utah

When I was first married, my husband and I rented a room from a wonderful woman.  We were blessed to have this woman welcome us into her home, and love us and treat us as she would a family member.  During this time, we got to know a couple of her children.  One of her children is Janell Cole.  She is a Naturopathic Doctor and Master Herbalist.  She is the creator/founder of MOBU Herbals.  My husband and I were blessed to get to know her during this time.

She has been selling MOBU Herbals for eight years via her website and it has been sold in select health food stores.  It is now available to be sold at home parties via consultants.  We are looking for determined people, that believe in the product, to go out and starting making a great income while teaching people about MOBU Herbals.

The products are wonderful!  They are organic and herbal based.  There are balms, lotions, body butters and lip balms.  The products sell themselves.  Samples are made available for people to try out.  There is no doubt that they work.  I have seen how they help with ear infections, coughs, colds, congestion, sore throats, migraines, back pain, tooth aches, bug bites and skin tags.  There are lotions and balms to help with energy, to activate a sluggish immune system, and energize adrenal and thyroid glands.  There is a product to naturally ease constipation.  All of the products are transdermal.  In other words, they are absorbed through the skin.  By doing so, they bypass the liver and digestive system, which depletes the potency of oral medications, sometimes up to 90%.  Furthermore, they will not injure the organs, as some medications that are taken orally have been found to do.

The body butters are great!  Like most body butters they provide relief from dry, cracked skin.  These also can minimize scarring and stretch marks.  They provide relief from eczema.  They soothe sunburned or peeling skin.  They smell amazing!  My favorite scents are Love Potion #9 and Chocolate Cherry.  There are nine scents to choose from and unscented.

I am excited to be starting with this company and be able to help out a good friend.  I believe in her and I believe in her product.  I have used it and I know that when others get the chance to try it, they will love it also.  That is why I have free samples and I will ship them out for others to try.   The only thing that I ask is that you post a review of the product(s) that you tried on my Facebook page.

Please check out my facebook page MOBU Herbals Utah to find out about all the products.  I look forward to helping as many people as possible learn about these natural products.  

When you share this and place your first order, you will get a free lip balm of your choice... please message me, or send me an email at mobu.herbals.utah@gmail com, so I can add the lip balm to your order.  Place your order at then click "health" on the left side, then "mobu herbals." When signing up as a customer, please pick "customer" (the bottom option).

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Sister's Big Day - April 26, 2014

We arrived in Minnesota on April 25, 2014.  Everyone in my vehicle was excited to finally get there and be with family.  My parents, brother, his wife, and each of their dog arrived about 1 1/2 hours later.  It was so wonderful to be together.

We picked up my brother the next day from the airport, and traded in the rental vehicle we had.   It started showing that it needed an oil change early the day before.  Since we were at the airport, it was the perfect time for the trade.

From the airport, we went to Costco.  We had to get food to eat and things for my sister's reception.  It was then that I discovered that Costco no longer has the ice cream bar at the food court.  It was a very sad moment in my life.

After Costco, we headed to the Mall of America.  It was somewhere my sister-in-law had always wanted to go to.  They were having Robot Wars in the main hallway.  We watched a couple of them.  I don't really understand the concept, but my brothers and my children enjoyed it.  We walked around and went into the Nickelodeon themed amusement park.  My toddler wasn't amused in the slightest when I didn't get her a stuffed Patrick or Spongebob toy.

It was getting late by this point.  We had to hurry back to the hotel and get ready for the wedding.  We then had to run to the reception hall and help get it ready.  We were really fast getting changed and getting out of the hotel.  I was impressed with the speed we got ready.

We headed to the reception hall where we had to get tables put in the correct places.  We made sure that chairs were around the tables and the tables were appropriately decorated.  My sister and I then went and helped our other sister get into her wedding gown.  She is absolutely beautiful.  We had to lace up the back of it.   We were busy lacing up her dress in the photo below.

We got her all laced up and got her headpiece attached.  She put on her jacket and it was time to head out.  She was taking a boat to the island she was getting married on.  We would be driving over.  My older daughter rode over on the boat because she was in charge of keeping the train off the ground.  She enjoyed that a lot!

We arrived on the island and the wedding got started.  It was a quick wedding, sweet and to the point.  There was a photographer there.  The photos have not arrived yet.  None of us remembered our cameras, so all the photos are with phones.  I think they turned out well.   I look forward to seeing the professional photos too!

After the photos were complete, we went to the reception hall.  When the bride decided it was time to eat, we all agreed.  I had lettuce wrap sandwiches.  They made them for me because of my gluten problem.  I chased my toddler around most of the night.  

One of my dear friends, who was a roommate of ours in college, was there with her family.  It was so nice to get to see her and visit with her during that evening.  She has a wonderful family.  She helped me chase my kiddos around.

The lighting in the reception hall was not very good.  Some pictures were taken in there, I found the best one of my sister.  

I am blessed to have been able to spend that day with them.  I was thankful that I was able to go.  It was an amazing evening.  I wish my sister and her husband an eternity of happiness!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The First Leg of the Trip to Minnesota

Last Wednesday, Apr 23, I picked up my little brother from the airport.  I rented a minivan, got my children and luggage, and hit the road.  Our ultimate destination was Minnesota.  We made a few stops in between.

We first stopped in Wyoming.  We stayed overnight at my sister's house.  She had some Domino's Pizza waiting for us.  She was kind enough to get me a gluten pizza.  The next morning, April 24, my children, my brother, my sister and my nephew got in the van and started heading further east.

It seemed like we drove for hours and hours without making much progress.  When we reached the area that we had to really start deciding if we wanted to make the turn toward Mount Rushmore or keep heading toward our final destination, we decided to take the side trip up the mountain to Mount Rushmore.  My brother was the only person in the vehicle that had ever been there.  This was my first trip into South Dakota.   As I drove the windy, mountain road up to the National Monument, I felt excitement that I was finally going to see it. 

Upon entering Mount Rushmore, we are supposed to pay $11 to park.  We waited for an attendant at the security gate, but no one came and the gate had been propped open.  We figured that meant that we could just go in.  The car that entered before us had come to the same conclusion.  No one said anything to us so I am not sure if that is common but we did park.

When we entered the walkway at Mount Rushmore, we were greeted by wild mountain goats.  My toddler announced, "It's bunnies."  On the way out of the park, my six year-old suggested that we "take the llamas."  In the photo below, the white things in the grass behind my daughter are the mountain goats, aka bunnies and llamas.

We proceeded into the National Monument area.  It was absolutely majestic.  I don't really know the history or how long it took to create Mount Rushmore, but it is something to behold.  My sister took some pictures of my children and I in front of the Monument.  I was thankful that she had a phone with a camera because I forgot my camera at home.

I am pretty sure that my toddler will not remember that trip.  I am not sure if my six year-old will remember or not.  I am quite sure that my two older children will remember going to Mount Rushmore.  They added South Dakota to the states they have been to at the same time I did.

We continued on that evening and made it to Oacoma, South Dakota, where we found a hotel room. Although there were eight of us, I let the desk clerk know that we would share a room as long as there were two beds.  The children could sleep on the floor, in an effort to save money.   I was the only driver, because it was a rental vehicle and it would have cost $100 to add another driver for the time we were renting the vehicle.  I didn't want to add that to the cost of our trip.

The next morning, we woke up and had breakfast.  They offered a nice continental breakfast, which everyone enjoyed.  I was able to eat the omelets.  The hardest thing about being gluten free is trying to find things to eat when I am not the one cooking it.  After eating, we all got in the vehicle to continue our journey to Minnesota.  It was now Friday, April 25.  My sister that lives in Minnesota would be getting married the next day.

I had bought lunch meat, cheese, crackers, carrots, peanut butter, rice cakes, and some treats for the trip.  We stopped at a rest area and had some peanut butter sandwiches or peanut butter on rice cakes.  At the rest area, there were some Thirteen Striped Ground Squirrels.  My sister saw it first and was pointing it out to me, asking what it was.  I told her it was some kind of lizard, it looked like the bearded dragon my brother once owned.  From the angle I was at, it looked like it had scaly skin instead of fur.  As it ran into its hole, the sun hit it at an angle where I could see that it was fur.  My sister thought I was nuts to think it was a lizard of some sort, because she was at an angle where she could tell it was fur.  We got a good laugh out of it, and she said she now knew why my kids thought the mountain goats were bunnies or llamas.

We arrived in Woodbury, Minnesota, at about 5 pm.  My sister and her fiance were waiting at our hotel for us to get there.  My parents, my brother and sister-in-law arrived about 1 1/2 hours later.  We then went over to the Old Country Buffet.  It was so wonderful to be together again!  We were only missing my older brother (as far as siblings go), who arrived on Saturday.  We missed many nieces and nephews and in-laws that were not able to make the trip.
Saturday would be the big day for my sister.  It was a very busy day.  I will end this post here and write about Saturday in the next one :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Birthday to my Ten Year-Old Daughter

It is hard to believe that I have had a daughter for ten years.  She arrived earlier than her scheduled c-section.  She was planned to arrive on May 5, 2004.  She wasn't about ready to wait.  I went into labor on April 29 while at work.  I got to leave work early.  I went home and relaxed, as much as someone in labor could relax, and waited until morning to go see my midwife.

Upon arrival at my midwife's office, I was examined and told to be at the hospital by 10 am.  It was about 9:45 am and I had to go get my husband from work and then return to the hospital.  It was after 10 when I got back to the hospital, but that was okay.

Then the frantic search for someone to come and watch my 13 month 13 day-old son began.  I called everyone I could think of.  That day was a meeting where almost all the people I knew from church was attending.  Thankfully I got a hold of one person that was willing to come and watch my son so my husband could join me in the operating room.

My birthday girl today

At the birth of my daughter, I heard something I didn't hear before... crying!  Her crying set off my crying and my husband was crying too.  The sounds of a newborn's cry is an amazing sound, especially having not been blessed with that sound at the previous birth.  I saw something I hadn't seen before too... my newborn was shown to me over the drape and my husband was allowed to hold her so I could see her a little better after she had been cleaned up.

When my son first saw his little sister, although he was just barely over one year-old, there was an immediate recognition.  He had a big smile on his face.  He knew who she was and he knew one of his best friends had joined him on earth.

My children all have had amazing temperaments.  They only would cry when they wanted or needed something.  She was a mellow little girl.

She received an early birthday gift

Upon her birth, one of the nurses expressed concern that she might have club feet.  Her feet were turned sideways, with the bottom of the feet facing each other.  I guess that is the best way to express that.  I had noticed that when I was checking her over, so it wasn't too much of a surprise to me.  I asked the pediatrician about that when she came in.  She looked at her feet and moved them a little.  She assured me that it wasn't club feet and said it was likely how the feet were placed in the womb.  She told me to spend as much time as I could holding her feet stationary in the correct position.  Whenever I would nurse her, or just be holding her, I would hold her feet in the correct position.  I don't remember how long it took to correct the problem.  I believe it was a few months, but it did correct itself.  My next two children were born the same way and I knew what to do, although their feet weren't turned quite as much.

One of my memories with her as an infant is when I was talking on the phone with my mom.  She was still a newborn and I was nursing her.  I wasn't paying attention to her eating because I was paying attention to my phone conversation.  She just started to cry and cry.  I looked down and realized that my milk supply was emptying all over her face and head.  She was getting it in the ear, in the eyes (thankfully she knew how to blink and keep her eyes closed) and her face was just covered in milk.  I would have been crying too!  I have always laughed about it.

Another memory was while I was still in the hospital.  My brother-in-law brought one of his girlfriends to my room to meet me and see the baby.  Him and my husband left for a little while, and the woman stayed.  I had never met her, and I admit, I am not too talkative when meeting a person for the first time, generally.  Neither will I generally tell the new person that he/she is wrong about something.  This woman asked me if I was excited to know what color my daughter's eyes were.  I told her that I had seen her eyes and they are blue.  She then informed me that there was no way that I had seen her eyes, because babies don't open their eyes until they are at least three days old.

She was blowing us a kiss in a selfie today
 I could not believe what I was hearing.  My brother-in-law wasn't dating a pre-teen or a teenager... this was a woman.  She had to be, at least, in her twenties.  I was again assured her that I had seen her eyes.  She didn't believe me and restated her position.  I, then, explained that human babies open their eyes at birth.  I told her that kittens and puppies don't open their eyes for a few days after birth.  I had known for many, many years... since I was old enough to know anything, I imagine, that babies opened their eyes at birth.   I am so glad that woman didn't become a sister-in-law, I don't know that I could have handled it.

She has given me some scares in my life.  The most recent was last Friday when she almost ran out in a parking lot in front of a speeding car.  Thankfully, she saw the headlights.  Thankfully, the vehicle had its headlights on.  I didn't see her until it was almost too late.  The only thing I could have done was honk my horn and hope the vehicle would slam on its brakes.

She went through a period of time when she was two that she was sick for a long period of time, with high fevers.  It was frightening.  No one knew for sure what was wrong with her.  I would pray frequently that she would get better.  I would not get much sleep at all.  My prayers were answered a little after Thanksgiving and she recovered from whatever was ailing her.  We were never sure what it was.
My birthday girl and her little sis

I have been so blessed over the last ten years with my daughter in my life. I am so thankful that I was blessed to raise her.  She brings so much joy to my life.  She is an amazing singer.  She loves to read.  She enjoys helping others.  She loves to scrapbook.  She is a good friend to others.  She has always been outgoing.  We would go to softball tournaments ever since she was a newborn.  When she was old enough to start talking, she would make friends at the tournaments.  She has made me smile everyday for ten years.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Arrow of Light

My oldest child recently turned eleven years-old.  With that, he completed the Webelos in Cub Scouts.  Upon completion, he had his Arrow of Light ceremony.  Growing up, scouting wasn't a big thing in my area.  My brothers didn't participate much in Scouts, I think they might have done a year or so once we moved to New York.  I didn't really have a clue about the Arrow of Light, what it was, or what was necessary to achieve the accomplishment. 

I am a Cub Scout leader in my area, so it might be strange to admit that I didn't have a clue.  The things I do know include that scouting teaches young boys and young men many necessary things.  They learn how to set goals to accomplish certain things.  They learn how to use tools to build things.  They learn how to cook, maybe not extravagant meals, but they should know how to read (and follow) a recipe.  They learn the importance of God and Country.  Although the "Pledge of Allegiance" might not be said in some schools anymore and praying isn't allowed in schools anymore, it is done at Scout meetings.  I don't know if it is done at all Scout meetings, but it is done at all of the ones I have been to. 

My eleven year-old worked hard to achieve his Arrow of Light.  Many hours were put into accomplishing the necessary goals to pass off requirements.  He is diligent.  He is intelligent.  He is brave.  He loves God and he loves his country. 

He received his Arrow of Light on March 25, 2014.  Below, the Scoutmaster is reading about the Arrow of Light.  My son is standing beside him.  On this day, he also got to lead the audience in the "Pledge of Allegiance."  

I didn't get a copy of what was read at the ceremony, but I should have.  He was listening intently as  the ceremony went on.

As the Scoutmaster read the seven virtues, my son lit a light for each one.  The seven virtues in Scouting are wisdom, courage, self-control, justice, faith, hope and love.  There was a light lit for each one of these.  After the lighting of all the virtue lights, he was given his Arrow of Light.

He was then able to cross the bridge.  As I understand it, it is the bridge from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts.  Since it was a quick walk across the bridge, I didn't get a photo of him actually doing the initial walk.  I had him go stand on it afterward so I could get a picture of him.  He will no longer be in Cub Scouts.  He will now be a Boy Scout!

It is hard to believe that I have a Boy Scout now.  I guess I need to get him a new shirt :)  I should also figure out how to get the badges and things on his shirt.  I do not sew worth anything.  I am grateful to all the people that showed up to make this a special evening for him.  I hope to someday be able to share his Eagle Scout photos :)  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Eleventh Birthday!

I was blessed eleven years-ago tonight with my first child.  He ended up being an emergency c-section since he was in distress.  He had been stuck in my pelvic area for well over an hour.  I tried everything I could to push him out.  The doctors tried to pull him out.  They even used forceps.  That little guy wasn't going to budge a millimeter further. 

He has made me smile daily for eleven years.  He has had so many great accomplishments.  His first big accomplishment was starting to breathe.  He wasn't breathing at birth.  I have always been thankful that he was born in a room that was connected to the NICU.  I knew when they took the baby and ran out of the room that there was something wrong.  I hadn't heard him cry or anything.  They took him and ran.  My heart broke.  I had watched enough "A Baby Story" shows on TLC (I believe), that I knew they would always show you your baby before taking the baby to weigh it and stuff.  I kept telling my husband that something was wrong, to find out what was wrong.  It seemed like an eternity, but it was a matter of maybe five- to ten-minutes, before a nurse came out and asked Keith, "Do you want to see your baby?" 

Keith looked at me.  I said "Yes!" 

The first time I saw my son was after I had been stapled up (yes, stapled instead of stitched, whole different story...).  They were rolling me out of the room and my husband came out holding this little fellow.  He was completely wrapped up from head to toe, except for his little face.  He was as white as a ghost, but I figured that was because Keith and I are his parents.  We are not dark by any stretch of the imagination.  I was told that it was because he hadn't been breathing, he hadn't gotten his color back yet. 

When I first saw my little one, I instantly had tears well up in my eyes.  I told him, "I am your Mommy and I love you!  Happy Birthday!"  I didn't realize that would be the last time I would see him for the next 6-7 hours.  He spent the next four days in NICU.  I made many, many trips down the hall to see him. 

Before I saw him again, my husband was allowed to go down to see him.  I had to stay connected to a lot of monitors.  My blood pressure dips tremendously at giving birth.  I didn't realize this until my third child when the nurse that was watching me told me that my blood pressure was close to the level where I could die.  She also had to keep reminding me to breathe.  Yes, should be something someone would remember, but apparently not.  It isn't something I usually think about, but it keeps happening.

When my husband went down, I had him count his fingers and toes.  I wanted a full report on the baby.  Since all I had seen was his perfect little face, I had no clue how the rest of him was.  I would love him regardless of any flaws, but I guess it is just something a mom wants to know.  I had him bring the camera and take pictures so I could see him again.

He was perfect.  Except his poor little head, the head was perfect, but it was horribly bruised.  Between being stuck in my pelvis and having forceps used, his head was bruised.  It hurt him to be held because of the bruises.  It was very sad!  He was a little trooper though.  When he had a feeding tube through his nose, he hated it.  He somehow, to the nurse's surprise, managed to get his finger up between the nose and the tube and pull it out.  He didn't like that thing at all.

The day I was released from the hospital, he was released also.  I was so thankful that he was allowed to come home with me.  The NICU nurses were wonderful, and so understanding.  I felt like such a novice (let's face it, I was) at everything.  They could change a diaper in like 5-10 seconds.  I spent a good few minutes trying to get the thing on him. 

He became a big brother at 13 mos and 13 days.  He has been a wonderful big brother.  I wasn't allowed to hold him until my daughter was 6-8 weeks old.  After a c-section, you aren't supposed to carry anything heavier than the baby.  He was heavier than her! 

My sister sent me some pictures of him today.  It has brought back memories over the years.  I am so proud of the boy he has become!  Happy Eleventh Birthday to my little guy!

To the left, he had just enjoyed a good dinner of spaghetti.  He was famous for falling asleep in his spaghetti.  He was two years-old.

He wasn't supposed to climb trees.  He was 4 years-old.  I never wanted to deal with broken bones.  He wasn't very far off the ground.  I think he is flexing his muscles!

He was two years-old.  I would pile pillows around him so he wouldn't fall off the couch.  I think it worked well!

I really wish I knew what they are looking at!  This was taken Aug 16, 2007.  They are at the Buffalo Zoo.  

This was taken May 30, 2009.  I think he is entertaining his little sister and his cousin!  

This was taken March 13, 2007, so just a few days before he turned 4.  His little sister looks like she wanted a kiss :)  He has an amazing smile!

Another photo from the zoo! He allowed a close up.   I often wish I knew what he was thinking!

 This was taken 8/1/2009.  Looks like we were just having a good time hanging out at our apartment.  One of us don't look as happy as the other two :)

I can still see this day in my head.  My mom had put this area next to the dishwasher for things that the kids could play with.  He rode over and flipped the dump truck over and started going through it.  His baby sister is just looking around trying to figure out what was going on.  I believe he was close to 21 months old.

This was August 13, 2011.  We were at a softball tournament back east in Hinsdale.  The children loved walking their furry cousin, Millie.

This was Mar 14, 2014.  He got to open one of his birthday gifts.  It was the one gift he wanted the most, Super Paper Mario!  He was so excited to finally have it!

This is today!  His little sister made him turquoise cupcakes with green frosting and M&M's.  This is me and my boys!  Happy 11th Birthday!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Work From Home

My last day of work in Salt Lake was Mar 7.  I do not miss the drive, that is for sure!  I do not miss being at work when my children get home from school either.  I do not miss not being here to say goodnight and give them hugs and kisses. 

I turned in my badge and my time card at approximately 5:30 pm.  I was let out the side door, the same door that I walked in the day I started work.  I was blessed to have that job.  It helped out when we needed some extra money.  We still need some extra money, but I am hopeful that we can get by on the amount I should earn while being at home, with my children. 

If I am offered the other job I applied for, which is much closer to home, and I will get furloughed for a while at a time, I would take that job.  I would know that I wouldn't miss my children five nights a week, until I retired, or they moved out.  I would miss them while I had to be at work, but I would know that, being furloughed, it wouldn't be five nights a week for the rest of my life.  Just five nights a week while they needed me, then I would have time off again. 

I have enjoyed being home.  I haven't so much enjoyed being sick and being at home, but I have enjoyed being home.  I look forward to good health finding me again soon :)  I am excited that I will get to go running with my children again this spring and summer.  I look forward to being able to go on a trip or more this summer without needing to ask permission for time off. 

I am going to copy and paste today's Facebook status, because it pretty much sums up my morning rather well...

"Today, I was in the process of trying to scan some stuff to my SD card and my printer wasn't cooperating, so I took the SD card out, and restarted the printer.  My toddler started crying, painfully, "Biter bite me." Translated "Spider bit me." So, I ran over to her, moved her, located the spider, ran and grabbed a container and a Yu-gi-oh card, got the spider into the container, found the phone, called the doctor, finished getting her dressed, brought her to the dr... spider not one of the ones I should worry about, apparently. Lost the SD card in all the commotion, can't find it anywhere. Glad my toddler will be okay. Hope to find the SD card because it is the one that goes in my camera and has my photos on it Printer will scan to the SD card now, I used a different one I found, but it isn't the one that I want, that has all my pictures on it."

I did end up finding the SD card about 4 hours after losing it.  It was in another slot in the printer.  I have to love not being sure if I am losing my mind or not.  The doctor said that the toddler might get an itchy bump on her leg.  I am happy that she is verbal now, so I knew what happened.  It is helpful when they can tell you why they start crying out of the blue.  

My kids got their haircut at school today.  Every 6-8 weeks they have students from the technical college come in and give free haircuts.  I wait until that time rolls around so I can save money and still have them get decent haircuts.  When my husband or I try to do their hair it never turns out quite as well as when they get it done there.  

I love being a mom.  I love getting to spend time with my children.  I have truly been blessed.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Money vs. Treasure

This is something I've been thinking about for a while.  I think it is common knowledge that I am not rich, monetarily.  I do have many treasures though. 

My younger brothers would sometimes be asked, "Don't you wish your parents didn't have so many kids, then you would have more stuff?"  To this, my brothers, being the two youngest, would just laugh and say they wouldn't be here if my parents didn't have so many kids.

I am one of six children.  I am the second, so perhaps, under the above theory, I would have been able to be born and I would have had more stuff.  Would I want that?  Not for all the money in the world.  I would not exchange a single one of my siblings for any amount of money.  They are my best friends in the whole world.  I couldn't imagine one minute without John, Brenda, Susan, Jim or Bob.  I couldn't imagine a minute without my parents.  My siblings have brought wonderful people into my life, through their spouses and their children.  

My last day of work, outside the home, is tomorrow.  I will be taking a pay cut, but I will be able to be at home with my children and my husband.  I will get to see them grow up.  I will get to watch ball games, go to school events, help with homework, just hangout.

Money is something that comes and goes.  It is something I have to work hard for and it doesn't stick around as long as I would like it to.  I work 40 hours a week and I get bills.  Some money gets saved, a lot goes to household expenses.  I don't need money.  I need my family, my treasures.

Treasures are things that I care about, that I can't imagine losing.  My family are my treasures.  Photos are treasures.  Time spent together is a treasure.  True friends are treasures.

My life has not felt complete since I started work.  On school days, I used to drop my kids off at school and tell them, "I will see you tomorrow."  I would get to see them for about 30 minutes a day.  That was not something I wanted.  It broke my heart, actually.

I am not sure if this is the reason I have not been healthy for the better part of three months, or if it is just coincidence.  I look so forward to turning in my badge and my time card at the end of work tomorrow.  I look forward to the moments we will get to spend together.  40 extra hours a week (at least).  When I drop the kids off, they won't be asleep the next time I see them.  I will get to see my siblings and my parents more.  I don't need to ask for time off and hope it is approved.

I am so thankful for the people in my life, for the blessings I get from having some wonderful people that care about me.  No, I am not rich, monetarily, but I have treasures beyond number!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Last Few Weeks

I haven't written in a little while.  I have suffered some pretty serious back pain, and I am trying to get that straightened out.  The pain led me to contact my previous employer, where I get to work from home.  I will be returning to that job.  My current job has chairs that are not cushioned very well, I have to bend over to adjust my desk, if there isn't a foot stand, I get to go looking for that and then bend over and stick it under my desk, after retrieving it from an empty desk.  I am blessed that I will be able to work from home again.  The only time I feel decent is in a hot bath tub or when I am moving.  Sitting in a reclined position is good as well.  I can't do any of those things at work!

I miss my kids A LOT and ALL OF THE TIME, when I am not home.  I worry about them.  I know my husband is fully capable of taking care of them, but I like to be here.  I feel like I have missed so much in their lives in the passed few months.  My toddler says a lot more than she did when I started working.  She speaks in complete sentences.  Sometimes she says really funny things, even if I can't remember them right now. 

One that I do remember is that she passed gas, loudly!  She looked at me and said, "Daddy did that!" 

I said, "Daddy did that?"

She looked around the room, and saw Hazel, our puppy.  She then said, "No, puppy did that!" 

I laughed and laughed.  My husband and she laughed about it too.

My six year-old is reading more.  I am so proud of him.  He started extended day Kindergarten at the beginning of February and he seems to be picking things up quickly. 

My nine year-old daughter recently discovered that she loves to run.  Due to my long work hours and commute time, I never see them after school, they are asleep by the time I get home.  I plan to start running again, and bringing her along.

My ten year-old son seems to have matured a ton.  He is more patient with his younger siblings.   He has grown taller.  He is just a wonderful big brother.

My life will be back to normal in a few days.  I can't wait until I am back at home, full-time!  I will be back where I belong :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

StubHub - Utah Jazz vs Minnesota Timberwolves - Jan 21, 2014

I love StubHub!  It makes it affordable for a family of six to go see a Jazz game.  We hadn't been to a game in over a year.  I looked on for tickets to a Tuesday night game, since that is my night off.  I bought the tickets a couple of weeks before the game, the total cost for 6 tickets was under $25.  You can't beat that!  We were all excited to go.

After getting the tickets, I thought that we should figure out how we would get there.  We could drive, but if we could get a group pass on the Frontrunner (commuter train), that would be more fun for the children.  A group pass is $15 and it allows 4 adults to travel.  I just didn't know about the age of children that get to ride free.  It turns out that it is 5 and under, so we would have to buy an extra ticket.  It would cost nearly $21 dollars round trip. 

I decided that we would drive to Salt Lake and stay in the Free Fare Zone.  We got to park for free at the train station in Salt Lake, then ride the Trax (cable car) to EnergySolutions Arena.  This was much more reasonable!  My kids got to enjoy riding on the Trax, which is a lot of fun for a child, and we got to park for free, which was nice for us (the parents).   I apparently cut the top of my husband's head off in the photo below, in order to make sure I got the smallest one in our family... I will never be a photographer.

My Husband and kids on the Trax

We got to the game in plenty of time to find our seats and get to them.  We walked all the way around the arena just to find out if we had started by going right, we would have been immediately in our section.  It was a nice walk though :) 

We were in section 135, row 21, seats 12-17... I knew we were in the nosebleed section.  That is part of those cheap tickets which were mentioned previously.  What I didn't know?  We were one row from the very top of the arena.  That was fine though.  Since my toddler can walk now, I wasn't consumed w/ fear that I would drop her. 

The photo above shows us after we got to our seats  That little yellow rectangle far below us... that is the court.  There are people on that court, they are the things that look like little dots.... 

The man that was sitting a row in front of us at the game bought his wife, three children, and himself,  bowls of ice cream.  At half-time, my daughter went out to see how much the ice cream would cost.  It was $6/bowl.   That was too much for me to spend.

We had a fun night together!  We left the game before the end of the third quarter.  Our team, the Jazz, were down by 25 points.  I came to the conclusion that the game wasn't going to get much better.  Since the children had school the next day, and we were getting whooped by the Timberwolves, I thought we would just head home and let the kids go to bed. 

We stopped on the way home, and I bought a half gallon of ice cream for... wait for it... for $2.50.  I also bought some cones.  I spent less on the ice cream and cones than one bowl of ice cream cost at the game.  We were all happy!  After the ice cream, the kids went to bed.

My biggest fear about leaving the game... that it would be the greatest comeback in history.  Well, maybe not of all time, but it would have been a great comeback.  I checked the score when I got home.  We lost by 10 and my children got to bed at least an hour earlier than they would have if we had stayed. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Little Helpers

Last week, I HAD to clean the house.  It is nice to have a clean house.  Working full-time, I don't have a lot of time to do the things I need to do anymore.  I NEED a clean house.  I have offered my children money and other rewards if they would do their chores.  They are not a big fan of doing chores.  I wasn't a big fan of doing chores at that age either.

I decided to do the work myself.  I wanted to have a clean house at some point during the week.  That was the day.  I cleaned the family room to begin with.  When everything was picked up, it was time to vacuum.  I pulled the vacuum out and started vacuuming like crazy!  LIKE CRAZY being the keywords.  VACUUM FORWARD, VACUUM BACK... the thing just wouldn't suck anything up.  VACUUM more.  Still nothing... yes, it was on and it was running.  It just wouldn't SUCK!  Most often, you want things that don't suck.  Not the case with the vacuum, when you are trying to vacuum, you want the thing to suck.

I went and found my husband's toolbox.  People get a kick out of the toolbox.  It is absolutely not the average toolbox.  It works though, for the things my husband knows how to do.  It is a little igloo cooler, I think it would hold, maybe a six-pack of soda pop.  Well, in our case, it holds my husband's tools. 

I got out the Philip's head screwdriver.  I unscrewed the bottom of the vacuum.  I unscrewed it so I could get to the part of the hose where it sucks things up.  I needed to unclog the thing.  With a guinea pig, dog, four children, and myself who have hair, the thing can get clogged sometimes.  Then it just won't suck.  My toddler stood beside me, squatted beside me, and knelt beside me the whole time.  She was my supervisor.  When it came time to start getting the hair, and other things, out of the hose, she helped.  I had her hold the bag that I was putting the stuff in.

My 6 year-old came down around the time I had to start screwing everything back together.  He wanted to help.  Then my toddler also wanted to help.  I figured that I would let them do what they could.  I would just stand back and take some pictures of my little helpers hard at work! 

My 6 year-old was getting ready to take the reigns from me.  He is getting the vacuum all set to get some more screws put back in.  My toddler is standing by, being the supervisor.  She has a few tools, in case she needs to help out!

He is hard at work in the following photo.  He has the screw where it belongs and is screwing it in really tight so the bottom thing (for lack of knowing what it is called) will not fall off.  My toddler seems to be getting tired of watching him, I think she is ready to use some of her tools!

 My toddler couldn't stand just watching anymore.  She had to put her tools to use.  She had watched long enough and thought she could help out.  She knelt right down and went to work.  I think her face is her putting all her effort into turning a screw with needle nose pliers. 

In no time flat, the vacuum was up and working.  It was able to suck again.  I am thankful for my little helpers that came along, in the neck of time, to help me get the vacuum put together so I could continue my work. It was wonderful to leave for work that day and know the house was clean.  If the house would only stay clean, it would be great!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas Eve Tradition

As I was growing up, it became a tradition, on Christmas Eve, to go to a movie, have pizza, look at Christmas lights and then open gifts.  It was also a tradition to eat doughnuts and drink orange juice.

This year on Christmas Eve, we went and watched Despicable Me 2 on the Ogden Cine Pointe 6, for $3/person.  We then met my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their son for the pizza part of it.  We went to the Pizza Pie Cafe.  I love that place.  I discovered that they have gluten free pizza, pasta and sauce.  Most of the salad bar is gluten free too.  I got to order my own pizza for $2 extra and have all the pasta and salad too.  I got to bring the pizza home with me.  I think it was well worth the $2.

It was nice to share this time w/ my in-laws.  We did Christmas Eve pizza last year too.  The difference was, they were still married then.  I was proud at how civil they are too each other now.  I don't know that I could do that anymore.  They even rode to the pizza shop together. 

I came home and went to sleep after the pizza.  I had to work a 12 hour shift the night before, so I was gone until almost 2 am.  I wrapped gifts after I woke up from the nap.  We then went and looked at the Christmas lights. 

This picture was taken in front of a dragonfly.  Further back, there is a lit up candle and what appears to be a green deer, at least from the photo.  We wanted the dragonfly in the photo.  My husband was the photographer for the photos, so he is not in them.  I am going to have to get a look at my son's coat to see what the reflection is from!  My toddler seldom has matching socks.  This is one of those times they don't match :)  I think when you are that age, you take them off and throw them wherever seems fit at the moment!

These are my four wonderful children.  They are posing in front of the tyrannosaurus rex.  We have always been fans of dinosaurs.  We couldn't pass up this photo opportunity!  It looks like pegasus is driving a car in the background, but they are actually two separate objects, several feet apart.

This photo is of my three oldest children in front of an angel.  My toddler and I were still trying to catch up with them at this point.  The sidewalks were ice most of the way, so I was holding her hand while she walked.  I didn't want to carry her because I was afraid I would fall and hurt her if she was in my arms.  I figured it would be safer if we both had our feet on the ground.  She slipped several times, but I had her hand, so she didn't fall and get hurt.  

This park is amazing how they light it up.  It would have been about an hour wait to drive through, so we found a place to park and walked in.  That is why my toddler and I were a ways back, but we got in and out in about 20 minutes.  Next year, if it is cold, we will have to remember our mittens.

We didn't have doughnuts and juice this year.  I have Celiac disease and no longer eat gluten.  I have not been officially diagnosed, but when I had the biopsy done to confirm pemphigoid gestationis it came back stating that the biopsy also showed a strong likelihood of Celiac disease.  My stomach has hurt off and on since I was in high school.  Not just hurt, but really gave me a great deal of pain.  I went through several procedures my senior year to find out what is wrong, and there were never any definitive answers.  Since I have cut gluten out of my diet, I feel so much better.  My stomach seldom hurts.  In the past several months, I was in constant pain, so I know that cutting the gluten has really changed things for me. 

We came home and opened the gifts.  The favorite gifts were an MP3 player for my older daughter, a remote control helicopter for oldest son, Pokemon DS game for my younger son (even though it was my oldest son's gift) and my toddler got a little ride-on, move w/ your feet, bike from my parents.  I got a blanket w/ family pictures on it from my parents, that I absolutely love, and Keith got a bunch of socks.  We also got a photo from right after our wedding on canvas paper from my parents which is also a favorite. 

I am so blessed to have the family that I have.  I am thankful for traditions and knowing that no matter where we are across the country, my siblings, my parents and my little family are all doing the same thing...seeing a movie, having pizza and looking at lights :)