June 12, 2012

A Medical Update on "The Littles"

Wednesday, May 23rd was the scheduled date for Garrett's cast removal.  On the Sunday prior, Jason and I had slept in a bit.  When Jason got up, he went into the kitchen to find Garrett trying to hide half of his body behind the wall.  "Go back to bed, Dad!"  Garrett instructed.  "Go back to bed!" 

It turns out, Garrett was trying to conceal his BARE left arm.  He had pulled his cast completely off and hid it under the blankets of his bed.  Together, Jason and Garrett struggled to get it back on.  They had to cut a new hole in the gauze for the fingers to fit through.  After all the excessive manipulation, it was an embarrassing mess of a cast.

Jason and I figured we might as well call the office on Monday to see if it was actually necessary to take him in on Wednesday.  We could just pull the cast off again and save us the co-pay and office visit bill.  We just told them that the cast was slipping a bit.  We didn't divulge that it had come completely off.  They asked us to come in right away to have the cast removed and have x-rays taken.  I guess it was a good thing we went in, because we left with the assurance that the fracture had healed perfectly and with a new prescription to be filled for the extreme eczema that had developed on his arm.  I also left with a handful of pictures that I think are hilarious, given the circumstances.  The doctor and nurse went to great lengths to carefully cut through the cast with a radial saw and pry it open with special tools.  I wondered Should I just tell them that Garrett can just slip that thing off?  

I can't help but giggle every time I look at these pictures:

As for Ella's finger, well, I've decided that she's my little gecko.  I had an appointment with the hand specialist on Thursday, May 24th.  After he looked at her hand and explained what treatment had been given at the ER to an intern, he informed me that the reattached tip and nail could be expected to fall off soon and reveal fresh, pink skin.  He then said, "There's no reason for you to come in again.  Everything looks great."

The tip and nail fell off that very evening, and we were all amazed to see it for ourselves.  Not only was there fresh, pink skin, but a new nail had begun to develop.

I can't help but be amazed every time I look at this picture:

This post authored by Amber

That's a Wrap!

I'm pulling all my final end-of-the-year activities into one blog post to bid a formal "adieu" to the 2011-12 school year.  It seemed that once the required end of level assessments were completed, the last days of school were dedicated to field trips, extra recess, and just overall merriment making.

For instance, there was the school carnival where our family spent four hours enjoying the myriad of bounce house rides.  We were so glad it was not cancelled again this year due to foul weather, but the morning threatened with storm clouds, rain , and high winds.  The storm cleared out in time, but jackets were a necessity for the evening's activities.

Garrett and Spencer ran off in one direction...

...Brevin and his friends ran off in another.

Brevin made quick work of the rock wall.  He reached the top in no time!

I was able to help Spencer's class with a walking field trip to the library during the final week of school.  That was fun, until I lost track of Garrett as the crowds of first grade students exited the building.  I was stuck pushing Ella in the stroller, as he hurried ahead with the group toward the exit, but I didn't see him make a quick detour to play on the elevator.  When I discovered that he wasn't just outside the doors as I had expected, I ran ahead to catch a class that I thought he might have chased after while another mother searched the library.  We found him, but I hate those few minutes of separation from Garrett in public places!

The children were treated to a puppet show while at the library. 

We all love this interactive screen. As a person approaches the wall,
their image is projected into the artwork (you can even see me
with my camera in the image).  Pretty cool!

"Who likes to read chapter books?"

Sorry to say, but Garrett could care less about the books. 
He is only interested in the toy trains (and the elevator).

During the award assembly, Brevin was presented with an award from his teacher for turning in 100% of his homework assignments and he also earned the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.  I was thrilled to be able to be there to see him receive those honors.  Yep, I'm a proud mama!

On the last day of school, when the final bell rang and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus was being played over the school's intercom system, I was waiting outside the classrooms with flowers for the boys to give to their teachers as a "thank you" for loving and inspiring them.  It was such a wonderful school year, and we are so lucky to have such a phenomenal elementary school! 

This post authored by Amber

June 8, 2012

Wheat and Tares

Mother's Day is an interesting yearly phenomenon.  I often hear grumblings and rumors that it is a day that most women do not enjoy.  I try to understand where the disappointment lies.  Perhaps it has something to do with what I consider the "wheat and tares" nature of motherhood (or life in general, for that matter).

I think women tend to be extremely critical of personal failings when they evaluate their lives and see areas of unrealized expectations.  Inadequacies often become the glaring "tares" that make it hard to recognize that there is "wheat" as well.  When we spend a day to specifically reflect on mothers, many women often feel guilty that they do not measure up to some preconceived ideal. With everyone touting the wonderful things that mothers are and do, it is easy to get wrapped up in personally considering what we aren't and what we don't do.  The "tares" become dominant in the mind's eye.

For me, I have to remember that "wheat" and "tares" is a package deal.  As much as I would want life to be all "wheat," I simply cannot have one without the other, and that's okay. If I am to enjoy the good that life has to offer, I have to be willing to accept that there will be bad as well.  If anything, this intricate weaving of opposition helps create a sense of balance.  Focus too much on the one, while neglecting the other, and life feels unsettled and disproportionate.

For instance, when the primary children were invited to go up on the stand during sacrament meeting to sing a song this Mother's Day, Garrett was very conflicted about whether or not to go.  I encouraged him to walk up to the front when it was time, but he hesitated and said he didn't want to, so I told him he didn't have to and he could stay sitting with me.  This must have caused some sort of turmoil and frustration within him so he blurted out (very loudly, I might add), "I hate you, Mom!  You're a butt crack!"  Yeah, not exactly the sentiment you want to hear, much less, have the rest of the congregation hear (especially since I thought we had broken him of the habit of using the word "butt crack."  I thought he had long since moved on to the more sophisticated insult of "idiot").

The fact is, were I a new mother, that would have mortified me.  Instead, I had to cover my face to stifle my outburst of laughter.  I'm grateful that a few years of experience have helped me be comfortable in my own skin.  I can recognize that it's nothing personal, nor does it fully reflect the kind of mother I am (or the kind of person my child is) when the "tares" are on display.  I can look past Garrett's actions, accept them, even, and move on, knowing fully that I will have much more "wheat" in the long run. Because of his expressive, passionate nature, I have to deal with a few inappropriate outbursts.  I'll take them because it is also his expressive, passionate nature that inspires the loving and joyous things that he says and does constantly.  If I can't have one without the other, then I prefer to take it all!

I think I am at peace with my "wheat and tares" life.  It's a blessed life!

This post authored by Amber

June 7, 2012

Bird is the Word

I've always felt that three is the most challenging toddler age for a parent to endure. Garrett did very little during the past year to sway my opinion.  In fact, he did a lot of things that helped enforce it.  It was the year he demonstrated a keen interest in dumping liquids.  He dumped out everything from brand new jumbo bottles of bubbles to car wash soap, and he even spilled gasoline onto our garage floor a number of times.  It was also the year he developed an uncanny ability to disappear in crowded, public places (We have initiated "Code:Adam" twice at Wal-Mart on his behalf). I'll spare you the details of his breaking and entering at neighbors homes to jump on their trampolines or hang out in their camp trailers.  I'm relieved that cops have only been contacted once to return him home after he hopped on his tricycle and rode six blocks away, crossing 4-way intersections and everything. Yikes!

Needless to say, Garrett is quite spirited and fiercely independent.  However, the very qualities that can exhaust even the most energetic of caretakers also happen to be the qualities that are most charming and endearing.  He is clever, self-motivated, and very passionate.  He makes me laugh-- a lot.  He says and does the cutest things and he has a generous heart with a great capacity to love. He also gives me great material for interesting conversation.  So, while three may be one of the most challenging ages, it is also one of the most fascinating and exciting ages, too.  Our lives would be so boring without our Gare-Bear.  Happy fourth birthday, little buddy!

Garrett's Birthday Meals of Choice

Each child gets to choose what they would like to have for breakfast on their birthday.  Garrett requested french toast (using homemade bread), and of course, we had to add some candles for him to blow out.  He loves to blow out candles.

As for dinner, Garrett selected the fine establishment of McDonald's for his meal.  I think he was going for someplace that had a playground.  Ambiance is key, people!

Garrett's Angry Birds Party

Garrett really liked the idea of having an Angry Birds theme for his party.  I really liked that there were all sorts of cute ideas and free printables on the internet to go along with the theme.  We invited extended family to our home for cupcakes and ice cream, and all things Angry Birds.

Free printables used on invitations and decorations found here.

Balloon printables found here.

Cupcake idea found here.

Up until that point, no one had signed Garrett's cast, so we made that a part of the birthday festivities as well.  Ella insisted that some one write on her bandage, too, so Dad signed it.

Gifts were generously given, and Garrett accepted them in a comical way, as only he could.  He showed off his new items and sang his own "theme-type" music which added a little flare of pomp and circumstance, then he chucked them behind his chair to move on to the next gift.  He seemed most excited about the snow cone flavored syrup (that went with his new snow cone machine).  We later learned that he thought they were sodas when he opened one and began to chug its contents.  If I only knew I could completely satisfy my child with a simple gift of soda pop!


After he opened his gifts and we watched his year-in-review video, it was time for cupcakes and candles.  I wonder what he wished for as he blew out the candles, or if he made a wish at all.  If it were me, I'd wish for another year just as jam-packed with exciting memories as the last (but with a little less of Garrett running off on his own)!

Happy Birthday, Garrett!

June 4, 2012

"Like A Fire is Burning"

When the news broke that the Provo Tabernacle had caught fire and was essentially destroyed except for the outer facade, we were greatly saddened.

It was in that building that we attended a Stake conference where Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then a member of the Seventy, helped to reorganize the Stake presidency of which Jason's father was called to be a counselor. Jason had played in concerts there, and it was even the location of his Seminary graduation.  I remember siting in the balcony next to my mother as she broke into proud tears when my sister, Cheryl, walked across the stage to receive her BYU diploma, looked up, and mouthed the words, "Thanks, Mom!"  Those are special memories tied to a special place.  It was disappointing to see what had become of the building.

Now imagine our excitement to hear President Monson announce that in restoring the site the grounds would be converted into a temple!  Not long after the announcement in General Conference, someone made a huge banner and draped it on the fence outside of the tabernacle that read, "Oh, Happy Day!"  I couldn't agree more with that sentiment.

And speaking of happy days, Jason got tickets to attend the groundbreaking ceremony that would commence the construction/restoration project.  He took Brevin and Spencer with him, and they had the unique opportunity of seeing Elder Holland up close, witness a historical occasion, and even turn some of the ground with the shovels.  Oh, happy day, indeed! We now look forward to creating new special memories tied to that special place.   

This post authored by Amber

Run, Baby, Run!

Near the end of the school year, Brevin got to participate in his first every Hershey track meet.  His grade was fortunate that the weather cooperated and it was not cancelled.

I had long known that this event was coming up and had hopes of encouraging Brevin to train daily on the treadmill (somebody has got to use that thing!) to build up endurance and develop a good running form.  Didn't happen.  He just ran the events he signed up for "cold turkey" and he actually did pretty well.  He placed high enough in his first heat for the 50 meter dash that he qualified to run in the semi-finals and just barely finished outside of qualifying for the finals.  Not to shabby for the son of a self-proclaimed non-runner (that's me, by the way).

Brevin also participated in the softball throw and standing long jump, but has decided that next year he wants to ditch the field events and do all running.  Maybe I can even encourage him to train before hand. Maybe...

This post authored by Amber