Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm Thankful...

for so many, many things. This Thanksgiving our family was able to celebrate with Birch's family. Boy, do we have a PARTY when we get together. How could you not with 22 cousins under the age of twelve?
This picture will always stimulate a lot of memories for all those in attendance. We literally went through a blizzard, several of our cars had to be towed (by those smart siblings who have snow tires or chains), and then ferried up to the "barn." When we got to the barn not only was it freezing inside but it was also very dark -- both things not very conducive to a good picture. We altered plans and all piled outside in the FREEZING, SNOWY weather and threw some hay bails up for all of us to sit on. By this time the sun was going down and the children were getting antsy. Really this picture is a miracle--I'm voting for a warm, overcast, summer day on the next family photoshoot. The rest of the trip was filled with fun family games, lots of food, and early Christmas party, the unveiling of the awesome 2010 ABH movie, and LOTS and LOTS of SNOW! (So much that we ended up having to buy new tires while we were there.) Alysee and Malia were in heaven having daily slumber parties and building snow forts together. These kids just have a blast together!
This isn't the most awesome picture...but since it is the only one from our anniversary it will be a keeper. Birch and I celebrated 14 years of marriage bliss while in Spokane. In reality we hardly saw each other the whole day but did join together (with all the Ditto adults) for a baked potato dessert at the Wolf Lodge restaurant.

The weekend prior we got lucky and were able to go away for an overnighter, leaving Emi and Ryan in charge of all the chillins. We had a great weekend away and lived up every moment (sealings at the temple, dinner at Olive Garden, nice hotel, slept in until 10:50 AM, Breakfast/Lunch at IHOP, matinee movie "Secretariat," and then shopping and dinner at the mall.) We sucked up every minute together and neither of us wanted to get out of the car when we drove back home. I love this man more than words can say!! Can't wait to live an eternity with him!

Sure do love our family!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lightening Legs Alex

One of the perks of being in Junior High for Alex is the opportunity for after school sports. Alex decided to try cross-country this year. At the beginning of the season Alex didn't really find it to be very fun but as he got to know some of the other kids better he began to enjoy it.
Turns out he was not such a bad runner either. Just about every meet was FREEZING which wasn't so bad for Alex but quite chilly for his cheerleaders. Here are some of his meet times and placements for the 3K races:
Place TIME
5 Alex Ditto West Valley 9:50
4 Alex Ditto West Valley 11:17
6 Alex Ditto West Valley 10:49
4 Alex Ditto West Valley 10:02.0
Chloe, cousin Sage, and Alysee were always ready to cheer on their brother/cousin.

Friday, November 19, 2010

4,400 days and 35 seconds

This is a magic number that will not be forgotten at our house.

4,400 days of diaper changing

Approximately $1,746 (not really as much as I would have thought but that is due to constipated kids and great deals on diapers average of .12/diaper)
Amongst the chaos of October at our house Chloe decided that she was ready to be a big girl. After boiling and hot drying two packages of cute undies in hopes of shrinking them, we were ready to begin. I thank the Lord that potty training has not been a struggle at our house. 27 months of age seems to be the magic number for our kids! It look Chloe two days to figure out the pooping thing but since then she has been a pro.
Our only problem as been keeping the undies on! The first thing she does every time she goes down for a nap or bedtime is strip ALL of her clothes off. What a nut!! Being a determined and very independent two year old, Chloe regularly dresses herself. She is known for picking out some choice outfits. The other day she had on two skirts and an inside-out, backwards shirt. I was dancing with her when I noticed that the special outfit of the day did NOT include any undies. Yikes!!! I guess this girl likes to be free!

Update: Although it may be a bit early to toot our horns--Chloe's "sailor" language seems to have improved a bit. I didn't really think about the progress until an incident this past Sunday--which especially stood out because she had been doing so much better lately. Chloe snuck out of our pew at church during sacrament meeting and ran up to go sit on Birch's lap (he is in the bishopric so he sits on the stand each week). I normally let her go sit with Birch for the closing song but never earlier. Anyway, she sat peacefully for about ten minutes and then I hear her quite loudly say,"I hate you daddy!" Mind you, I am sitting down in the congregation hearing this. It also happened to be a Sunday that the Stake President was visiting and sitting a couple of seats down from Birch. I quickly slipped out of my seat and rescued Birch while I shamefully slid out the door for a little punishment time of Chloe sitting by herself in an empty classroom. Oh my...maybe we still have some work ahead of us after all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Angelic Sailor

Sweet Chloe is really blossoming into a darling little girl.
One problem...this girl has got a mouth of a sailor. Some of her favorite words include: "meanie," "I hate you!," "You're a mean Mommy (or Daddy)!," "stupid, and "dummy." Have I forgotten any? Good thing that is the extent of bad words that she has heard otherwise we'd be in big trouble.

We've tried everything from ignoring her, washing her mouth out with soap, time out, telling her that Jesus is sad when she talks naughty, and flicking her mouth. Hum...nothing seems to be working. Not long ago she was saying to me "I hate you" but I just totally ignored her. It was making her so mad that she kept trying to situate herself in front of my face while saying, "Did you hear me? I hate you mommy." A couple times I have been quite embarrassed when we have been at church and she gets mad at me because I won't give her something she wants and she loudly says, "I hate you mommy." I keep telling myself that it is a phase but it has been going on for a loooong time now (you know long for a two year old's life).
She is darn cute, though, isn't she?!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homefront Battle Footage

This week we have had our own little battlefield at our home. We kicked off Monday with taking Alex to the surgery center at 7:30 am. A very thoughtful friend came to help get the kids off to school and spend the morning with Chloe and Coop.

Patient #1

Alex was pretty anxious about getting the IV put in. Around 9 am (just after Alex's IV was placed) the doctor came in and asked if we would mind waiting a few hours while he was assisted by another surgeon in a procedure for another patient. We reluctantly said, "Yes," as it meant quite a bit of inconvenience for us figuring out what to do with the kids, and for Alex fasting a much longer time. In the end it meant spending the whole day at the surgery center.
At about 1:45 pm Alex was finally wheeled back by a great nurse anesthetist. She really calmed his fears with her fun personality. She left him know that all she wanted to hear from him when he woke up was "DUDE." We were told that Alex's final words before falling asleep were about him pitching in a world series baseball game. Birch and I snuggled on the uncomfortable waiting room chairs for the next two and half hours and read, slept a bit, and Birch prepared a talk that he was giving the youth yesterday on being strong and courageous (very fitting).
Traditional pre-op photo with Alex

Dr. Ryan Black feels like the surgery was a success. The stenosis that Dr. Black thought was soft scar tissue ended up being bone, which necessitated drilling the bone away. He also ended up taking a small skin graft from behind his opposite ear to cover the area in the ear canal that he had drilled. After drilling and tucking the skin graft under his skin he formed a thermoplast plug wrapped in gauze to hold the skin in place so it will grow into the outlying skin. This thermoplast will be removed in a couple of weeks.
Skin graft site

Alex was a champ. He didn't feel awesome for several hours after waking up from the surgery. The anesthesiologist explained that the more times you are put to sleep, the more drugs you need in future surgeries (I'm thinking this is his fourteenth time being put to sleep). We finally got home at 5:30 pm; Alex threw up once not long after and then felt much better. He stayed home the next day from school but was able to return the following day. A big shout out to my friend Tara who ended up watching, transporting, and picking up my kids throughout the day. We sure have been blessed with wonderful friends!

Patient #2

Since this was going to be such a fun week we decided we might as well throw in another surgery (plus we have now met our family medical deductible). Tyler was born with this little thing on his neck. Over the years I have asked his pediatrician about it and I was just given the run around with no real answers. This summer it was cosmetically really bothering him. Every two weeks or so the little thing pops and some clear liquid oozes out of it. Tyler was really picking at it and was embarrassed by its appearance.

In July I started taking Tyler to see a dermatologist. She used silver nitrate to "burn" the area and killed off some fatty cells. In the end after several treatments and several hundred dollars we were left with the same thing. While taking Alex to an appointment at Dr. Black's office I noticed on his business card that he also treats neck issues...so in came Tyler. Dr. Black decided that what Tyler had is called a brachial cleft cyst (lump that develops in the neck or just below the collarbone. It is a type of birth defect.)
The dark circle is Tyler's brachial cleft cyst.

Brachial cleft cysts form during development of the embryo. They occur when tissues in the neck and collarbone area (brachial cleft) fail to develop normally.

A brachial cleft cyst may form from fluid drained from a sinus. The cyst or sinus can become infected. The choice of treatment is to have the cyst surgically removed.Tyler was super nervous about getting the IV put in but you wouldn't have known that. He was super brave and only a few tears crept out of his eyes.

Following tradition I had to get my picture taken with Tyler before heading back to surgery.
The procedure took about a half an hour. After Tyler was put to sleep the doctor injected some blue dye into the cyst opening so see if there was a tract connecting to the cyst and then attaching to his throat. He then put a microscopic camera down his throat to look for any dye and didn't see any. Yeah!! If there had been it would have meant some more decisions about what to do. The cyst ended up being very small and only about 1 mm. under Tyler's skin. It was easily removed then stitched right up just like a baseball. Tyler did awesome and the nurses all complemented him on what a sweet kid he is! He's spending the day resting and watching movies.

Since there was no school for Veterans Day, Alex was able to take good care of the kids this morning while Birch and I were at the surgery center. Birch was able to stay home a couple of hours before heading to work for the afternoon. Again we are overwhelmed with the wonderful medical care that our family has been blessed by.

Not only am I thankful for the veterans that have fought to keep our country free but also for the heroes right in my own family that have fought a good medical fight too!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Festivities

We kicked off the Halloween festivities this year with a Family Home Evening night with our friends the Cobias. I made a big batch of donuts while the dad's helped the kids with the carving.
Alex helped Nate out with the scooping of the guts.
Chef Ditto frying up some tasty donuts.
The final results!!
Birch got to go with Coop on his preschool pumpkin patch field trip.
Coop with all his preschool buddies and awesome teacher, Keri Button.
We let it all out this year -- Daddy (Dave, the Mechanic), Nate (ninja man), Coop (pirate), Chloe (kitty), Tyler (nerd dude), Alex (Derek Lowe, baseball player), Alysee (witch), Mommy (1970's OSU Cheerleader).
I just couldn't get over Birch -- he looked SO much like his daddy (especially in his early marriage years). When we went to the church Trunk-or-Treat party many people said that they didn't even recognize him.
What a cute little kitty!
Tyler got the "costume of the year" award at our house. His whole outfit was awesome!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A bit about my little bits

Last weekend I had a near death experience...taking our annual family pictures. By the time we finished I felt like I had run a marathon. My dad called while we were getting the kids ready for the photoshoot and heard Nate yelling in the background "I HATE family pictures!!!!!" The kids all survived the outfits I picked out for them and thankfully we have some treasures to hang on our wall.
Alex (12 years old)
Favorite Subject: social studies
Favorite Song: "Do you Remember" by Jay Sean
Favorite Foods: Chicken sandwich, teriyaki chicken and rice, orange chicken
Favorite Activities: playing baseball, knee-boarding, tubing, waterskiing, going off sick jumps while biking, and rock climbing
When I grow up I want to be...an engineer, physical therapist, or doctor
Tyler (10 years old)
Favorite Subject: writing
Favorite Song: "Love Story" by Taylor Swift
Favorite Foods: pizza, candy, spaghetti, tacos, rice with marinaded pork tenderloin
Favorite Activities: biking, skateboarding, legos, soccer
When I grow up I want to be...P.E. teacher, track coach
Alysee (8 years old)
Favorite Subject: science
Favorite Song: "Love Story" by Taylor Swift
Favorite Foods: rice with teriyaki sauce, tacos, hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets (from McDonalds)
Favorite Activities: writing stories, swimming, legos, biking
When I grow up I want to be...a famous singer or writer
Nate (6 years old)
Favorite Subject: art
Favorite Song: any Michael Jackson song
Favorite Foods: spaghetti with Costco meatballs, pizza, stromboli, hamburgers
Favorite Activities: tennis, singing, biking, running, soccer, coloring
When I grow up I want to be...a physical therapist
Cooper (4 years old)
Favorite Subject: learning about Jesus and science experiments
Favorite Song: "Thriller" by Michael Jackson
Favorite Foods: candy, carrots, tacos
Favorite Activities: soccer, basketball, baseball, drawing pictures, all sports, dancing
When I grow up I want to be...a baseball player or someone who cleans up Egypt
Chloe (2 years old)
Favorite Subject: large messes that involve water
Favorite Song: "Stand By Me" by Playing for a Change
Favorite Foods: candy, yogurt, Costco meatballs
Favorite Activities: playing with toys and reading stories
When I grow up I want to...have babies (when I am a mommy)