Thursday, May 30, 2013

Loyal Scout

Recently Tyler and Alex had a Court of Honor for Boy Scouts.  Both boys have been working really hard at accomplishing their merit badges and ranks.  Tyler has been working especially hard at completing his Star. 
Tyler proudly received his Pet, Citizenship in the Nation, and Communications merit badges.  As part of his responsibilities to complete his Star he has been serving as the Troop Historian.  Tyler (with a tad bit of help from his momma) made a great video of a few of the troop's camping trips.

Click here to see the video:

Alex was pretty awesome too and received his Traffic Safety and Communications merit badges.  He is currently plowing through the last couple of required merit badges and preparing to present his Eagle Scout Project to the Board of Review.  His goal is to complete his Eagle Project this summer.  Yahoo!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Forbidden

At our home there a many words that are forbidden.  You know the kind of words that belittle, are negative, or just plain naughty.  My kids could attest that I've said a million times, "If it doesn't build someone up than don't say it at all."  I've always been kind of a Hitler when it comes to not saying bad words.  Just ask my little brother, Seth and he can attest that I'll teach you a lesson if you say naughty words around me.  Growing up I was often the babysitter in the family and therefore took it upon myself (I think my parents might have actually crowned me as "The Boss" since my older brother Matt learned that he could sneak in the family room and watch TV while next in line, Sara bossed around the family teaching them life lessons.)  Anyway, back to the lesson of speaking with a tongue of angels.  I can't remember all the details but Seth who was probably five or six years old kept telling me to...oh, I can't say it..."shut up."   We both knew this word was not okay to say but he wouldn't take it back -- so I did what any big sister should do and punched him in the nose until he repented.  I did feel a little bad about his nose getting all bloody but sometimes lessons just have to be learned, right???

Fast forward twenty-five years and I still hate THAT word and demand that it will not be said in my house.  You can all breathe a sigh of relief as I haven't punched anyone in the nose to teach them the lesson.  We don't say "stupid," "hate," "liar," and "fart."  There's another word that sometimes slips out of one of the kids mouths..."butt."  Now this is really bad.  I prefer bum bum, bottom, gluteus maximus, rump, your other cheeks, etc...  Birch says that "butt" is the proper term and apparently at work he says it ALL THE TIME.  YIKES!!!

So now I must confess.  Just as the kids occasionally use trashy words I have one that floats around my head and sometimes must be used to describe a situation.  The thing's naughty.  It's on my list of potty words.  The word is.....prepare yourself and just open one eye lid so it's not so bad to read..."butt-load."  I would NEVER say it around the children and only in the past year or so have I confessed to Birch that I actually think this word in my head.  But here's the thing; sometimes I go in my room and see a "butt load" of laundry on my bed, or I look out the window and see a "butt load" of kids that are fighting or hungry, or just plain there, or what about the days that the dishes just pile up and there is no better word to describe the mounding dirtiness other than "butt load." Or how about the ever growing pile of bills from Alex's recent surgery...I mean that's a "butt load" of bills for one little surgery.

I should sing a sweet little primary song when this phrase comes to my mind but for now I feel just a tad bit better about sharing my self-indulging naughty word with my readers.  After all admitting is the first step to recovery, right?
 a "butt-load" of laundry

Monday, May 27, 2013

We Remember

Each year for Memorial Day we head to a cemetery to be uplifted and reminded of how blessed we are to live in this country.  Over the years we have been inspired by several wonderful tributes given on Memorial Day morning.

 Chloe and her momma listening to the tribute.

 After the kids ran over and asked if they could have the empty shells that were fired off.  The kids all thought it was super cool.

We feel so grateful for those that have fought for our country.  Memorial Day has also become special to us as we think of loved ones that have passed on.  We always visit the grave site of sweet Elyse and leave a token of love behind.  I have felt the comforting love and peace from the Savior through times of heartache. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013


It's hard to describe the feelings that a parent has once all the kiddos are sound asleep in bed.  Magical.  Peaceful.  Tranquility.  Relief.  In addition to all those things it is also a mad dash to finish up projects, prepare for the next day, and sometimes even have a few minutes to talk to my hubby.

For the past 1629 days of Chloe's life our yin and yang each night seems to have been thrown off balance.  We've tried conscientiously to not spoil her as it's probably every parents fear to have the last child end up as a brat.  (Shhh....we don't say that word at our house.)  The girl has nighttime issues.  We've tried snuggling, spanking, reading stories, lavender oil rubbed on her big toe, sitting in timeout in the garage, timeout on the front porch, timeout in the shop, timeout on the deck, special peaceful nighttime music, charts to earn fish, charts to earn dates, charts to earn ice cream cones, charts to earn happy meals, going to bed early, going to bed late, etc...  Sure we've had temporary bliss but before you know it we are back in our same frustrations of Chloe coming out of her room for one reason or another.  I mean who poops at 9:30 pm at night? -- the girl should already be asleep.  Or how about Alysee sending Zhu Zhu pets down the hallway with notes attached of all her woes in sharing a room with Chloe.  You know by that time of night all Birch and I want is a little peace...a little stillness...and a little nothing.

Last Friday night was perfect.  Imagine all the boys and dad on a Father/Son camping trip and us girls going out for dinner, movie and treats in mom's bed, TWO stories, and a backrub.  Doesn't that sound like the perfect ending to a perfect night?  It was all bliss until I said "good night."  By the time Chloe actually fell asleep I was so frustrated and I could hardly enjoy my movie in bed (I know, you must feel sorry for me.).  The next day Birch and I decided it was time for a a permanent one.  This sweet, darling, smart girl is almost five years old.

Before putting Chloe to bed Birch went down to the guest room and switched the doorknob so the lock was now on the outside of the door.  He then tucked her into her new room in the guest room and peacefully read her a story and tucked her in bed.  He then closed (and locked) the door.  And the ranting and wailing began!  She must have gotten tuckered out because about forty minutes later the room was quiet.  We fully expected to find her curled up in a ball next to the door but she was snuggled up in the guest bed like an angel.  It's been a week now and the wailing has been cut down into some pounding on the door and just a few irate yells.  Alysee and Chloe beg each night that we will let them have "just one more try" and I remind them that I'm sure when Chloe comes back from college it'll be a great time to share a room again.  I secretly think Chloe actually might like her new bed, and I think Alysee really likes the quietness so she can read a chapter before going to sleep.  Just in case someone out there is worried about her well-being in case of a fire we do carry up the little angel to her real bedroom each night where the door remains unlocked.
For now Birch and I have realigned our Chi and Chloe is still as cute as ever and we are a happy family!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Coop da' man

It must be hard to be so awesome! It's almost hard to remember the first four painful months of Cooper's life where he spent just about twelve hours a day crying.  After a week or so of this he wasn't the only one crying...
Lucky for all of us he became a new boy around four months of life!

 I'm not sure I have seen a kid more excited about his birthday than this boy.  He has been counting down for months and had quite the elaborate plan for how he wanted to celebrate.  We ended up throwing Coop for a loop as we SURPRISED him for his seventh birthday with a few of his friends coming to the park to have pizza, strawberries, and donuts.  The park that Coop had been dreaming of going to is in an el crapo area of town.  (For some reason in our town all cool things are built next to the gangs, poverty, and foul human nature.)  We survived the party and only saw two police officers searching for somebody and a whole heck of a lot of gangster dudes smoking while skateboarding.
 This kid always has a flock of friends swarming by him at school.  The lucky friends that made it on the surprise list:  Abbey Cox, Bryce Hebdon, and William Cobia.  I'm serious though, at school there have been some issues with the whole first grade females chasing him during recess until he will dance for them.  He gets a little embarrassed talking about it.
 Chloe always loves a party and was extra excited to show everyone her new haircut that mommy did earlier in the day.
 A huge sigh of relief for me when Cooper requested a doughnut cake -- I can handle that!
 "AWESOME!!!!" kept popping out of Coop's mouth as he opened his presents from his family (we requested no friend gifts).  He is in Star Wars Lego heaven!!!
I thought my parent's card was really creative.  

This kid is an entertainer!  He is silly, a great dancer, says the funniest things, and smart.  We all call him our "walking encyclopedia" as he has random facts packed away in his head and shares his information at odd times.  Thank goodness his colicky body worked its way to happiness as I think I might vote for him being the happiest kid on earth!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Freshman Awesomeness

Tonight Birch and I had the privilege of escorting Alex to the Freshman Academic Awards Recognition Night.  It's hard to not beam a bit (with righteous pride) when your son is awarded three outstanding achievement awards by the Language Arts, Mathematics, and Art departments. 
What a kid!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Momma's Day 2013

Being a mom is certainly the hardest role I have ever had.  I'll be honest and share that there have been times I have wanted to take out an early retirement.  I have had close friends recently lose their spouse to death or divorce (or have married a slacker husband) and have been reminded of the blessing of having a spouse that gives 100% to our family and is teaching the kids to respect their mom.
I feel blessed to be surrounded by so much love! 
 Alex made us these delicious Almond Mounds Brownie Bites.  They were scrumdiliumteous!
 Chloe showered me with several cute gifts she had made at preschool.  On the backs of these chocolates her teacher wrote down ten reasons that Chloe loves me.
The perks of having six kids...check out all my loot!!  Alex made the awesome vase for the flowers that my Lover gave to me.  I'm going to be spoiled for the next few days with all of Nate's coupons.  The only trick is remembering to use them as they all expire on different dates in the next week or so.  Alysee made me several cute cards and the little can of treats. Tyler even saved me a Hershey's candy bar from the Father/Son's camp out and attached it to a cute note. Coop wrote a really neat book about his love for me.
My beautiful mother, who has taught me to serve, listen, and recognize each person's individual beauty!  Love you mom!

"A Mother must maintain proper perspective in order to see the view."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Groundhogs Day - surgery #15

Alex headed into surgery around 10:15 am yesterday morning.  Just a maintenance surgery of being put to sleep and cleaning his ear out really good and drilling his ear canal again (it always stenosis up over time).  I think the technical term for all this is "canalplasty."

Alex wasn't too nervous as this at it was his fifteen time being put to sleep but it is definitely NOT his favorite thing to do.  He hates waking up from surgery.  I was thinking yesterday morning how crazy it is that this is old hat for our family now and Birch still goes to work, crazy afternoon/evening of church, family, PTA, etc...  Guess I'm grateful that things have always gone so smoothly for Alex during surgeries and that we have been blessed with a good job that makes our health care not an overly big burden.

Ready to take on this surgery!!!
The surgery went great.  He was under for about an hour and half and Dr. Black, the ENT, was able to double his ear canal size by drilling and taking bone from the anterior and inferior canal.  He put in a new brand of packing into the newly widened ear canal and is hoping that the packing will hold the canal open while it heals and makes some new skin where the old skin doesn't quite touch anymore.
Alex wanted to sleep for a long time after surgery and didn't request his mommy until the nurses said that I might possibly be a little worried why they were not calling me back after post recovering AND THEN he didn't even want me to stay in the room when he got dressed from his hospital clothing.  I'm his'd think I've never seen him in his undies :)  Guess he is growing up.
After we were discharged he enjoyed a milk shake, subway sandwich, and worked on his math homework that he missed at school.
We've sure been through a lot together over the years.  This was taken after his first surgery in July 2005.   Looks like we've both aged a bit over the years!

Yesterday the nurses were so complementary of Alex on his kind behavior (even when they went through his vein and had to re-do his IV).  Alex is thinking he might like to be an ENT in life after high school.  I think he would be a great surgeon!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Million Dollar Smile

A late bloomer...that is what you could call a Ditto.  Poor Nate has been waiting for NINE YEARS to lose his first tooth.  All my kids come home from kindergarten, first grade, and sometimes second grade feeling crushed that they never get their name on the "I just lost my first tooth" board.
 With twenty-five days left of school, Nate was determined that he was not going to finish third grade without having lost his first tooth.  He bravely pulled that sucker out by himself and triumphantly paraded around the house showing his tooth off.
Alysee, on the other hand, was not so thrilled when we left the dentist office a couple of weeks ago with appointments scheduled to pull out two teeth and a consultation with the orthodontist.  From the panel above you can see that her bottom two canines are flopped over and are not coming straight up under her baby canines.  With fear that the adult canines would dissolve the front adult teeth we were sent into a high speed ortho journey.
First stop was a visit to Uncle Ryan who was able to pull out "R" and "M" to set the stage for the upcoming orthodontist work.  She was very brave, though she would attest it was a bit scarey.
Next stop was the orthodontist office where molds were made and plans were set forth to give Alysee that beautiful MILLION DOLLAR SMILE.  She got her top braces on this week to correct a cross bite; then in about a month the bottom braces will be put on after her cross bite is corrected.  Then toward the end of the summer we will get to visit the oral surgeon's office to slice her bottom gums while she is put to sleep and expose the adult canines where then the oral surgeon will somehow attach a chain to her flopped over canines and attached the chain to the bottom braces.  Over the next fifteen months or so the hope is that the chain will slowly pull up her flopped over teeth and have them align in the right position.  OUCH!!!  She will then need braces again in her late teens after all her adult teeth come in. It's been a painful week of mouth sores but Alysee is brave and is going to come through like a beauty queen.  "Beauty hurts" may be our new motto for a couple of years.  I've always felt that a beautiful smile is a gift I would love to give my kids.  Alysee may have to get a job to pull this one off :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Super Hero Awesomeness!

This past weekend I was lucky enough to go on a Mother/Son Super Hero date with Nate and Coop that the high school was putting on as a fundraiser.
 We double-dated with our besties, Brooke, Chase, and Colin Cox.  In full costume we dined at Burger King on Kids' Meals and ice cream cones.  We got a few stares but nothing that we Super Heroes couldn't handle.
I've got some pretty fabulous boys.  We spent the night playing Laser Tag, jumping in bounce houses, painting masks, eating ice cream and pop, and dancing with no shame.
It's hard to all be cool at the same time!
By the way, in case you are Super Hero dumb like me...I am the Black Widow from "The Avengers" I've never seen the movie but my friend was kind enough to loan the outfit to me.

I think my boys have some pretty amazing Super Hero qualities:
Smarts - each of my kids are great students; Cooper has an amazing memory and gleans all sorts of good information and asks really hard questions.
Respectable - recently Alex had the opportunity to shine out in baseball when the other teammates wanted to watch a movie.  Alex said that he was not okay with an "R" rated movie being shown on the bus.  Later one of the teammates apologized to Alex for his choice of movie.  I think that shows that Alex is respected by his friends.
Humility -  Nate and Coop are the top runners in the elementary school but I have never once heard them rub it in to others.
Athletic - each of my boys have AMAZING athletic qualities and they push themselves to excel in each sport they participate in.
Special Powers - Tyler and Alex are wonderful priesthood holders and they use their "special powers" to bless others and do their respective duties.
Uses Gadgets - earlier in the year when we were talking to the kids about strangers and child abduction Coop decided that he should keep a bottle of silly string in his backpack to protect Nate and him while they walk to school.  Talk about a pretty awesome gadget!
Determined - lately Tyler has really been wanting to earn money so he can buy an I-touch (I'm still not sure how I feel about it); he heard an announcement at church that their was a man willing to hire anyone to do some yard work.  Tyler called him that night and ended up working every day after school and on Saturday last week.  Determination for sure!
Has a "side kick" - my kids (generally) love being around each other; they always have a "side kick" to play with and love being outside together.
Wears a costume - each of my kids have pretty clear ideas of what their clothing style is; I'm grateful that they care that they are dressed modestly.
Willing to fight - they stick up for what is right even when it is hard to stand alone.
Strong - have you seen my boys' calves?  They are runners, bikers, hikers, basketball players...they are strong.
Courageous - recently a teacher at school was going to show a PG-13 movie in class.  Alex was courageous enough to tell us and then we ended up having a really great dialogue with the teacher that turned out to be a win-win for both of us.

I'm grateful for my Super Heroes!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013


High school baseball just wrapped up with a strong finish of 15-3.  Alex had a great season and loved every minute playing on the C-team. 
He was so grateful to have had many opportunities to pitch throughout the season.
He was able to use his slider a few times to get the strikeout.

Poor shoulder and elbow!!

The last few games were played under the lights, which I've learned is quite exciting.
Though the whole family coming out to support the last few of Alex's games started to diminish, our own home games still continued to happen on a regular basis.  The boys coordinate their outfits (note Coop and Alex are in matching attire and Tyler and Nate are red shirt twins) and play an intense game of baseball while the girls lounge and cheer on the boys.  Sometimes the games end in tears but most of the time these Ditto Brother Games are anticipated by all.

Alex had many opportunities throughout the season to be a leader to his teammates in the way he conducted himself.  Birch and I continue to be impressed and grateful to Alex's coach for the way he interacted with the team and demanded classy behavior.

Way to go Alex!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Birthday Girl

A special surprise celebration for Birch's mom was celebrated recently.   It was extra fun to have an ADULT-ONLY night to celebrate our favorite Grannie.  We left our kids for the night with a couple and headed to Spokane. Each sibling had an assignment to make the night extra special and run smoothly.

Birch designed and had an invitation mailed to his momma inviting her for a special evening in her honor.  This was the only information she knew prior to our arrival Saturday night.
 She was happily shocked as we pulled into her neighborhood to pick her up...
 A fifteen passenger limo was at her doorstep filled with some of her favorite people (Tav/Vaughn and Blayre/Ryan would have LOVED to have been there).  Andrew and Jenna even came for the weekend from Rexburg, Idaho!
 We were all giddy with excitement as this was the first time most all of us had been in a limo.  Annie brought bon bons for us to eat while we cruised in style through Spokane.
 We all toasted with sparkling cider to the birthday girl.
 Oh, so romantic!
 Birch had two physical therapy appointments while driving around.  PT on wheels...might be a fun idea!!
 Our first stop was to a fabulous quaint Italian Restaurant that Logan and Julia picked out.  Brent and Deena were in charge of the entertainment for the night at had a great idea of bringing these fun conversation coasters.  We spent a couple of hours at the restaurant laughing and learning about each other.
 Then the limo picked us up and took us to Gonzaga University where we had all bought tickets to the spring student dance concert.  It was the perfect activity to celebrate a love that Debbie has had for years.  After the dance concert our limo driver took us around Spokane to see the night lights before dropping us off at Annie and Kelly's.
Annie is a terrific party planner and made this scrumdilumtous chocolate cake with salted caramel glaze and chocolate ganache frosting. We enjoyed visiting late into the night and celebrating a remarkable woman!!!  We got to bed around 12:30 am and then we were up at 4:30 am so we could head back home in time for church at 9 am.  Though we walked around like zombies for the rest of day it was SO worth it!!!

Happy Birthday to one amazing lady!!!  I'm so blessed to have you in my life and lifted through your wisdom and love!