Monday, September 27, 2010

YeeHaw...State Fair Fun!

We had an especially fun time at the State Fair this year since Ami and Poppi joined us. The weather was warm, the kids were entertained, and we made some fun memories.
Alex, Tyler, and Birch all tried their hand at bull riding. Poppi used to be a cattle roper dude so the kids have a bit of cowboy blood. Birch stayed on that bull for a good two minutes. Yeehaw!! Most all the kids participated in a tractor pull competition. You had to peddle this mini tractor while pulling a lever system to increase the weight you were dragging behind you. Alex put in a good fight. This is Nate all the way--so very serious and determined to do his best. He did awesome! Tyler may just grow up to be a farmer after all. Chloe loved the big metal tank filled up with feed corn. At the end of the day we let the kids each pick a ride; talk about expensive when you have six kids. This was Nate and Alysee's first roller coaster ride. Coop was a speed demon on his race car ride. It was so wonderful to have my mom and dad with us for the weekend. The time flew by WAY too fast. We are looking forward to many more longer visits now that my dad just retired. We topped the day off with ice cream cones from the Darigold Creamery. Chloe, with her sweet tooth, was in heaven!

I just wish our annual trip to the fair would appease Alysee and Tyler's desire for something furry at our home.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sun, Cousins, Candy...what could be better?

In the morning before Alysee was baptized we had a full house with Ami and Poppi visiting and Aunti Annie and Uncle Kelly plus kids. We all headed downtown to the big parade kicking off the Central WA State Fair.
The kids didn't stay sitting down for too long. As soon as they realized that the more screaming and jumping up and down they did brought candy raining out of the heavens to them they went crazy!
Aunti Emi and Sage were enamored with the animals and candy too.
Tyler was in la la land with all the candy being thrown at him.
Sage is a very cautious little girl and so Poppi was sure to not let her miss out on the candy.
Jacob, Alysee, and Laynie in awe by the huge horses.
Coop loved it all too!
Nate's pockets were bulging with candy. He actually even started offering his candy to Chloe since he couldn't fit anymore in his pockets. What a guy!

We had such a good time with all the family that came to celebrate Alysee's baptism. In the afternoon Grannie, Blayre, Ryan, and Andrew joined in on the fun.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pure

Saturday, September 25th will be a day that Alysee will never forget. Alysee was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'd say that Alysee had been preparing for this day her whole life. She was able to celebrate with many extended family members. My one regret is that we didn't get a picture of everyone that was able to attend her special day.
Aunti Emi and I worked hard to get Alysee's hair looking all pretty for this special occasion. Her best friend, Marina, from school was able to come spend the afternoon with Alysee and was eager to give her opinions about which hair thing she should wear.

The final product! I made her special white hair flower just for this memorable day.
Alysee and Birch just prior to being baptized.
Two of Alysee's favorite girl cousins, Malia and Laynie Ditto were able to come celebrate with Alysee.
Alysee and best friend Marina.
After Alysee was baptized Birch took her outside to do a little photo shoot. She was so antsy to play with her cousins that it was a bit of a whirlwind shoot.
Alysee had always wanted a really pretty special white dress to wear after she was baptized. She loved the dress that I found for her to wear. In this shot I think she is dreaming a bit of getting married...slow down Alysee. That can't happen for another fifteen years!

Couldn't be prouder!
Love this girl!!!
After Alysee's baptism we spend the evening partin' it up.
Keeping with Grannie's tradition that she started with Alex...Grannie brought the Ditto Family Proclamation for Alysee to sign.
Alysee said that she felt "warm and happy" after being baptized! We sure are proud of her!

Friday, September 24, 2010

"The Best Surgery Ever"

Last Monday Alex underwent another minor surgery. This one was more of a maintenance and exploratory surgery. I have really been wanting to find a new doctor to take over Alex's ear care. The doctors at Seattle Children's are knowledgeable but are so busy and you have to schedule out about six months in advance. They have also made it clear that Alex is not a priority patient since we chose to have the external ear reconstructive work done at Primary Children's in SLC.

The ENT doctor that we have been seeing locally just doesn't seem to have the best bedside manners and really feels like Alex's ear is NOT his ear to tamper with since other surgeons have done the inner and outer reconstructive surgeries. So I decided that it was time to go shopping for a new ENT. I was very upfront with the new doctor that we went to see so I wouldnl't end up feeling like either of us were wasting our time or money.

Dr. Ryan Black is young and feels ready to take on Alex. I appreciate that he is willing to do his own research and is not intimated by the other doctors. We mutually decided that it was time to do a maintenance surgery to clean Alex's ear canal and see what his inner ear parts were looking like.
Here's Alex just prior to starting all the prep work. As you can tell he was pretty stoked to be having this surgery--NOT!!! I think Alex would do just about anything to avoid a doctor's visit or trip to the hospital. Alex was pretty anxious prior to the surgery. I was surprised how nervous I was too.
Hands down getting the IV was definitely the worst part of the surgery. In the past they nurses have put in the IV after Alex was put to sleep. I guess they decided that he was old enough to have the IV put in first. This did allow him to be put to sleep through the IV meds instead of the mask. I was good at remembering this time to let the anesthesiologist know that Alex has adverse reactions to being put to sleep and gets VERY nauseous and vomity after. They gave him Zolfran and another anti-nausea drug which seemed to work wonders for Alex.

The procedure only took about 35 minutes and Dr. Black was very happy with the amount of junk he was able to clean out of Alex's ear canal and the way his inner ear parts are looking. Alex continues to struggle because of the stenoses that narrows a portion of his ear canal down so small that ear wax, dead skin cells, etc... are not able to get out of his ear canal. Instead they block his canal making his hearing in that ear limited and nasty drainage an annoyance. We are anxious to see the results of his audiology exam in a few weeks now that his narrow ear canal is cleaned out.
Alex wasn't all smiles when waking up from the surgery. He was really tired and has a headache but other than that he was feeling pretty darn good. Dr. Black is thinking that in the near future it would be wise to try and cut off the stenoses that were created by scar tissue from building his ear canal and seeing if we can't just open his ear canal permanently.

It didn't take too long until Alex declared that this was "the best surgery ever." His afternoon entailed skipping school, eating a chicken sandwich, fries, and a milk shake, watching "Percy Jackson''Lighting Thief," going to his friend's house for a few hours, and receiving lots of sympathy from his brothers and sisters. I'd say he TURNED A LEMON INTO LEMONADE.

We are again grateful for those that made it possible for Birch and I to be together at the surgery center for Alex procedure, reliable insurance, a smart doctor, kind nurses, and caring anesthesiologist, and Birch's job that will allow us to pay for this surgery. We are blessed!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bear Creek Mountain

Turning twelve is like a whole new world opening up for Alex. He now gets to stay up a bit longer (but really it isn't that fun because it just means that he has more homework), he has weekly scouts/youth night, and best of all he gets to go on monthly campouts with all the scouts his age.

Alex first official scout campout was to Bear Creek Mountain. Alex said the evening two mile hike into the campsite was pretty miserable with ongoing rain and chilly temperatures. But once they got to the campsite the boys all devoured the yummiest cup-a-noodles with pre-cooked chicken breasts. The next morning the weather was beautiful and all the boys had a good time together.
Birch was able to accompany Alex on the campout. I know that it brought Alex a lot of peace knowing that his dad would be along his side.
Alex took at least a hundred pictures and videos with his new little camera he bought with his saved money this summer. I'm thinking he might get the historian job for scouts.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hard Core

One of Birch's dreams for the past several years is to bike to the top of Chinook Pass. Other than relieving Alex's painful childbirth experience I can't think of anything much more painful than biking up hill 15 miles JUST FOR FUN. Luckily Birch has friends who share this same love.
Here he is on his way up.
My legs burn just looking at this picture.
He did it!
Birch said it was definitely a physically exhausting trip but he LOVED every minute.
I love this shot of Birch because it shows how much he loves the mountains. Birch said it was such a peaceful and beautiful experience. They hardly saw a car while biking and were just able to enjoy the scenery.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Straight As Can Be

No more Brace Face for Alex! Just before school started Alex got his braces off and was fitted for a retainer. Alex actually admitted to missing his braces as he felt they made him look a bit older. He's been good about wearing his retainer. The dental plan is to wait until he looses the rest of his baby teeth and then get full braces on the top and bottom. I'm guessing that won't happen for a few years since we are slow on getting our adult teeth at our house.

He sure looks handsome!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baa...Baa...

The annual pilgrimage to Sheep Lake took place a couple of weekends ago. The older boys and Birch have been going for a couple of years now with the Cox Family. This year Nate was sure he could hold his own so he was invited to pack in with the group.
Here they all are at the beginning trail head.
It was supposed to rain that night but the kids said they would rather go then sit home and wish they were hiking. Look at Nate's big grin even though he is packin' that enormous old pack I grew up with.
Full of energy!
Love this contraption that Mark Cox invented--the Trail Buddy. He made it out of a jogger stroller. I think several of the boys benefited at some point from this unique invention.
After two miles of hiking in the boys made it to Sheep Lake.
It was a chilly night so the warm cup of oatmeal hit the spot in Tyler's tummy.
Looks like Alex enjoyed his too!
The next day was spent going on little hikes around the lake.
Nate and Chase have been buddies since infancy.
Apparently Nate took quite a spill on this steep incline.
Tyler was all smiles.
Alex will certainly be carrying on the "I'm Awesome" pose from his daddy and uncles.
What lucky boys to have such a cool daddy!
Nate apparently not only rode this stump but also quite a few emotions throughout the camping trip. He had a good time but took quite a few falls.
The boys all loved a little mini-sledding on this snow patch they found.
Wow--what a site!
Nothing like rock throwing off of a cliff.
Burr...I hear the lake was FREEZING!
The boys had a great time! This is a tradition that I'm sure will carry on forever.

Even though I don't have any pictures to prove what Alysee, Coop, Chloe, and I did for the night we really did have a great time. We enjoyed going out to eat with the rest of the Cox family that didn't go camping and then a night of movies, crafts, reading books, and dessert. Alysee had a whole schedule written up for me to follow so I didn't even have to open up my creative think tank.