Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Traveling Mitt

I remember a while back, Angela posted here about Jacks obsession with her oven mitt. Jack is Crew's long distance twin. Jack has a smile that will melt your heart and I fell in love with him when I discovered Angela's blog over a year ago.

Okay, so I really don't know what it is about "THE MITT" but it seems Crew has fell in love with it too! The mitt is magic, I think! It either grows legs, twinkles its nose or flies around the house with an invisibility cape for I find it in the strangest places. Last week I saw Crew crawling around the house with it on his arm. Today, I found the mitt in his room which is on the other side of the house from the kitchen.

Anybody understand "THE MITT" fascination???

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School, Scouts and SignLanguage

Well H had his first day of school on Monday! H loves his new teacher and said she is the nicest teacher ever.... even more nice than his 1st and 2nd grade teachers and thats really saying something:) Unfortunately, he feels like he's in a class with all the mean boys in school. I asked him if he wanted me to move him to another class and he said, "No, because he loves his teacher!". Well hopefully he'll make some new friends and he plans to catch up with his old pals at recess.

It looks like my three kids will each have their own separate "FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL". S has missed the first two days because he is sick. He is so bummed. Nobody wants to miss the first day of class! He still has a cough but his fever is gone so I don't think he is contagious. We will try it tomorrow. Wednesday is our short day anyway!

Tomorrow night is back to school night for my little preschooler. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that this year will be a good experience for him.... AND FOR ME!

Tonight we had our first pack meeting in over 3 months. H earned his Bobcat and S earned his Webelos badge and his swimming and citizenship belt loops. I'm frustrated because some of the leaders don't consider Scouting a priority and don't plan to put their own boys through the program. WHAT???

At Pack Meeting the boys were shooting model helicopters up into the sky and Crew and I were watching and he looked up in the sky and signed "AIRPLANE". The Signing Time videos are paying off:)

Friday, August 24, 2007



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Never Enough Time in the Day

I'm not working at the law office anymore and yet I still don't have enough time in the day. Sunday we celebrated my parents 40th Wedding Anniversay. My sis planned the whole thing.... I just had to clean my house, make dessert, and cook a couple pizza's. The boys and I did a little research and shared some facts about the year 1967, such as: Cookie Monster was first created/sketched in 1967. The first superbowl was held in 1967 (Green Bay Packers (35) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (10)). I printed out pictures of 1967 cars and had Grandpa and Grandma play "Name that Car". Grandma did well! H memorized some elephant jokes that we found on the internet. I really never knew elephant jokes could be so funny. Actually, I printed off loads of elephant jokes but I had to hide about 10 pages of dirty elephant jokes from the boys. Who knew???

On Monday I watched my friends kids for 10 hours! Yikes! Both her kids are younger than Crew but you would never guess it.

Immediately after they left I took S and H to their first Flag Football Games. We've never tried football before. I thought it was fun watching but I was actually feeling kind of bad that we didn't start S until now (5th grade) because all the other kids on his team seem to have played before. I think its kind of sad that the kids have to start playing at age 6 to keep up with everyone else. What happened to kids just playing and "being kids". We opted out of the tackle football this year for that reason. The boys who play tackle practice for two hours/ five days a week. Flag football is just one practice and one game a week for two months and then its over.

Tuesday was a great family day. We decided since Crew had to go to the childrens hospital for an Opthalmology apppointment that we would take the boys and hit the outlets. School starts next Monday and we were able to find some great deals in the clothes department.

Today, I dragged Crew to his Speech and Physical Therapy appointments. I was feeling great about his recent progress/ increased motivation but at the appointment he was ornery and uncooperative. It was a waste of time really. One good thing that came of it was that I bumped into the Permobil rep and was able to get a closer look at the wheelchair that I want to order for Crew. Therapy plus travel time takes up more than half my day and I was in a bad mood when I got home. Crew always falls asleep in the canyon and wakes up when I pull in the garage. No nap = ornery mom. I was feeling really stressed about our garden and all the things I needed to do so I decided to do something about it. I picked loads and loads of tomatoes and started a 3 hour canning project. I made 6 quarts of spaghetti sauce. Six quarts... that's it! I'm thinking that this gardening thing is a big joke. It looked like a ton of tomatoes but after you peel them, clean out the core and the seeds and boil it down.... there's hardly anything there.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Awards, Randomness, Meme's

Hi favorite bloggers. I'm really not ignoring you, I've just been "blogged" down a bit with life. Nancy nominated me for the "Reflection Blogger" award yonks ago and Suzanne recently gave me the "Nice Matters" award. Honestly, I am flattered but not quite sure I deserve it;) Thanks to all who read my blog and leave such uplifiting comments. I love the comments and it helps keep my in the blogging mode.
Also, I wanted to participate in the Five things Meme.
Five Things I was doing 10 years ago.
1 Getting ready to move.... packing.
2. Four rounds of Mastitis.
3. Walking a colicky baby around the block at all hours of the night.
4. Living off of tuna.
5. Feeling lonely.
Five things on my to-do list today
1. Call Dr. Rehab
2. Take H to the pediatrician.
3. Pick-up prescriptions.
4. Read "New Moon"
5. Fill out application for power wheelchair.
Five snacks I enjoy
1. Cookies
2. Potato Chips
3. Banana Bread
4. Popcorn
5. Cheese Quesadillas.
Five songs I know the lyrics to
1. God Bless the USA- Lee Greenwood
2. Signing Time Theme Song-
3. Feelings- Signing Time
4. In a House- Signing Time
5. Loney letter X- Signing Time
Five things I'd do if I were a millionaire
1. Pay off my mortgage
2. Travel
3. Get some toys (4-wheelers, boat)
4. Buy my in-laws a new house
5. Donate to my favorite charities.
Five bad habits
1. Snacking
2. Staying on the computer too long.
3. Making fun of people (lightheartedly, but still...)
4. Biting my nails
5. Typing in my head
Five things I'd never wear again
1. Purple pants
2. Maternity clothes
3. Bikini
4. Knickers
5. Mini skirts
Five favorite toys
1. Boat
2. my camera
3. the computer
4. 4- Wheelers
5. Mp3 player
Lisa tagged me for the Eight Random Things about Me.
1. I almost always wear my shoes in the house. I get a lot more done if I have my shoes on. However, I'm not so stupid that I won't take them off if I'm visiting your home.
2. I'm reading for the first time in forever. I just finished "Twilight" and now I'm reading "new Moon". I'm loving this series!
3. I've been way lazy the last two weeks. I'm usually a morning person but since DH started his new shift I've been staying up too late thus making it real hard to get going in the morning. I'm kind of stuck in a rut and was feeling a bit depressed until I miraculously received a call today saying that Crew is finally eligible for respite services and medicaid. We've been waiting for this for 2 years. I'm about finished with the meds too so hopefully I will have the motivation I need to start running. I need you all to hold me accountable to exercise. I'm seriously considering posting a running total of miles run each month. I just need some motivation. Hmf!
4. Our power was out for 4 hours today. The kids didn't know what to do with themselves and I was feeling a little put out because I couldn't check my email, do laundry (which desperately needed me), or cook. I started sanding down the piano bench. The boys helped me too and I realized that I'm not going to get very far without some power and a powersander.
5. I need to call my Chiropractor and set up an appointment. My back has been killing me. It bothers me most when I'm trying to sleep and in the morning.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More about Crew

My sister, Sheri, is a long time advocate for people with disabilities. In an effort to increase awareness she presented to the sisters in our ward at Enrichment tonight. I have to say I learned a lot! It was well done and I plan to share some of what she said here on my blog at a later date. Also, we had three sisters in our ward share their thoughts on mothering a child with a disability. Naturally, I was asked to speak. Since my SIL requested that I post my talk here, I'm feeling daring so here is most of it:

Crew is 3 ½ years old and plays a dynamic role in our family. His favorite food is yogurt and if or when he has his way he eats it 3 times a day. Crew and I share guilty pleasures of ice-cream, soda pop and potato chips.

A younger brother to S and H, Crew teaches unconditional love. Even with such a limited vocabulary it was no surprise to us that Crew’s first word besides mom and dad was "HUGS" and he always uses the plural form. Crews Hugs are given out quite freely but he is the master and its up to him how often and how long the hug lasts. Sometimes he asks for a hug only to hug you for a millisecond, push you away, and ask for more. Sometimes his hugs last many minutes. Sometimes he squeezes and almost always he pats you on the back.

Crew loves music. Anybody who has spent time with Crew knows this is true. Almost all kinds of music excite him from classical to rock-n-roll. I’ve noticed that Crew has the talent of rhythm. He bops his head, sways his arms and kicks his legs.... always on beat and always with a smile on his face. From Crew I’ve learned that it is possible to dance while sitting in a chair. When in the car or at home I’ve gotten in the habit of turning the volume up because the louder the music the more squeals and laughter it generates.

Crew’s zest for life and simple pleasures have impacted those around him. This talent of lifting others has affected not only his family but his therapists, child care provider, teachers and even his bus driver. What a gift it is to have such an impact on people. Without a doubt, Crew has purpose to life and many talents to share.

I would like to share with you some of the medical facts that dominate our world. On a regular basis I am asked questions like, "How long before he was born did you know...?" and "How early was he?". I don’t want you to think I am offended by these questions because I’m not. In fact, it helps me to talk about it and if I am asked questions about Crew I know its because you care. There was nothing wrong with Crew in the womb and he was full-term. However, just prior to his birth Crew was with little or no oxygen for over an hour. It’s taken me a few years to be able to say this out loud but basically Crew’s brain was injured at birth.

First of all, the most significant life altering diagnosis we received was that of "Cerebral Palsy" or CP. Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by injury to the parts of the brain that control our ability to use our muscles and bodies. Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. CP can be mild, moderate, or severe ranging from an individual with a slight limp to one who is in a wheelchair, possible feeding tube, and/or a trachea. Sometimes children with CP can also have learning problems, problems with hearing or seeing, or mental retardation. Usually, the greater the injury to the brain, the more severe the CP.

When we brought Crew home from the hospital we knew he had a brain injury but we did not know what his outcome would be. Doctors and hospital staff gave countless examples of those who defy the odds. I believed then, and still do, that the brain and human body have an immense capacity to heal. The brain has the ability to "reroute" itself, finding connections and alternate paths around the injured area of the brain. However, each situation is unique and each story a different ending. We didn’t know what to expect.

His first diagnosis, at four months old, of permanent bilateral hearing loss wasn’t too hard to swallow. Four months later on the same day I found out that not only did he have Amblyopia and Strabismus (which is basically a misalignment of the eyes) but also CP. His eyes were corrected through patching and minor surgery. Since then Crew has developed a seizure disorder and in April we found out that his hearing loss is progressive.

The CP that Crew has effects both arms and legs, his trunk control, digestive system, and oral strength. In the past year Crew has learned to navigate his walker, crawl, and roll-over. The tightness in his hips and hamstrings and low tone in his trunk make it difficult for him to sit unassisted. We continue to work with therapists on increasing strength, developing motor planning and the skills needed to hopefully "pull-to-stand", "climb into a chair" and sit without support. The spasticity affects the muscles used in chewing, swallowing, and speaking. Doctors and therapists are hopeful that Crew will continually progress. Crew is very well aware mentally of where he is. He is definitely not content to just sit and watch life pass him by. This is evident by his increased frustration and strong desire to participate with his peers. I’ve noticed that Crew is happiest when he is included in activities and when he is up and moving around.

Since moving here three years ago, I’ve been so grateful to associate with you. We’ve been blessed immensely with awesome neighbors and friends. Crew has been accepted by not only the adults here but the children as well. It thrills me to know that Crew is accepted for who he is. He is loved. He has friends. I’ve often wondered what conversations regarding Crew have taken place within the walls of your homes. Many have taught their children well. Wether teaching by precept, example or both, I’m not sure but the parents here have done an excellent job.

However, I realize that its not too hard to love a 3- year old or 4-year old. But I do worry about him growing up. I wish he could stay little and cute forever. I’ve worried and fretted about how I will handle it when he is big and getting teased. Will he still drool when he is twelve? Will he get called names? Will his classmates trip him in the hall?

The last 3 ½ years have been an interesting journey. Mothering Crew has been both the hardest thing I’ve done and also the most rewarding. I’m normal. There are days when I want to scream and there are days when I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so thankful for the gospel. I’ve leaned on the power of prayer, a lot. Many times I have been so overcome that I’ve fallen to my knees and I’ve been comforted. I’ve had strangers literally pop out of the woodwork with an encouraging word. For example: Recently, I decided that I would unload the walker, strap on his braces and take the extra time to let Crew walk through the video store. It’s always easier to just pack him around but for his benefit I decided it was worth it. I parked my van and unloaded the walker, strapped him into his harness and begin the slow trek to the front door when two gentlemen jumped in front and held both doors wide open. Crew gave them a smile and walked in. People stopped to tell him "great job". One of the employees complimented Crew on his walking and then said, "I use to use a walker". I looked at him and said, "Are you serious?" and he replied, "Yes, I have CP". WOW! I felt a bit sheepish. Later as we were leaving the store I realized that the two men who had opened the doors were the father and brother of a child with Down Syndrome. It was so unusual and I couldn’t help but think that it was meant to happen that way.

I can honestly say I’m thankful for this experience. I would rather not have Crew go through this but I have grown immensely. I am not the same person I was before. I will never be the same again.

Recently, I came across a scripture that has given me strength found in Romans 15:1 " We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves". This scripture can be used in reference to physical and spiritual weakness and it does have double meaning in my life in that while I am physically strong I am not always spiritually strong. I try to be but just like you I have my days... Ironically, Crew is often the strong one. He is blessed with a strong spirit and he lifts me up.

***This has been a long post! If you are still with me..... Thank you;)

Martin's Cove

We've passed by Martins Cove many times enroute to/from my brothers home. This year we decided to stop and check it out. I'm glad we stopped. The boys had fun pulling the little handcarts. We got the scoop on doing day hikes but decided we weren't prepared this time. Part of the hike can be done pulling the handcarts but the last half is a foot trail only and we didn't have our kiddy backpack with us. It is something I would like to do with my kids and so we will be better prepared next time.

Can you imagine the difficulty those pioneers faced walking day after day. I've often pondered at how I would do it at all yet alone with a child that cannot walk and a child that doesn't sit in a handcart without a Bumbo chair.

In a journal entry by George E. Grant (October 1856)
"It is not much use for me to attempt to give a description of the situation of these people...but you can imagine between five and six hundred men, women and children, worn down by drawing handcarts through snow and mud; fainting by the wayside; falling, chilled by the cold; children crying, their limbs stiffened by cold, their feet bleeding and some of them bare to snow and frost. The sight is almost too much for the stoutest of us; but we go on doing all we can, not doubting or despairing" (George E. Grant, as quoted in LeRoy and Ann Hafen, Handcarts to Zion: The Flag of a Unique Western Migration, 1856–1860, [1960], 116-117).

When I read stories of all that the Pioneers endured to bring their families west, I am in awe. I can't imagine going through that and watching my children suffer so much.

It was good for the boys to visit the site. This picture was taken with a view of Devils Gate in the background. Devil's Gate is a narrow cut made by the Sweetwater River through an immense rock with sides measuring three hundred seventy feet in height and more than a quarter mile in length. It was here that the suffering members of the Martin Handcart Company were brought by the rescuers before being carried west to the Salt Lake Valley during the bitter winter of 1856.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Special Day

H was lucky enough to spend his birthday with all his cousins, aunts & uncles, and grandparents on my side of family. After spending a couple days at the homestead we returned to town late and I was able to find the perfect cake.

Here H is demonstrating some really cool magnet tricks with one of his latest birthday gifts:)

Aunt B was kind enought to coordinate a game of kickball. I'll tell you its been years since I played kickball. It's a good thing we were playing with 3 year olds so I could keep up:)

This beauty is my new little niece on her blessing day. H was lucky enough to share this day with her. I wish I had thought to get a picture of the birthday boy holding baby S.

It's not often that we can all get together as a family since I have 2 brothers that live out of state. I think the last group photo we have is missing 6 or 7 grandchildren. The first photo is at the homestead and the second in my bro's backyard.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Reminiscing- A Birth Story

My pregnancy with H was basically uneventful in a good way. I spent the first 4 months laying on the couch in a daze. I remember laying there so tired and so sick that I’m ashamed to say I did very little with S aside from tossing him cheerios and refilling his sippy with milk. Those middle months weren’t too bad and come summer time I looked like a balloon and felt like one too. I retain water anyway but having a baby in August is just plain miserable.

At about 20 weeks I was elated to find out we were having another boy. Everything looked great and while I never really worried about the baby I was terrified of labor and delivery. About 6 or 7 weeks before my due date I flew to Oklahoma for an Usborne convention (with my doctors permission of course:) The first night that I was there I had some bleeding. I was able to snag a ride with one of the other consultants and she took me to the hospital where they performed an ultrasound to see if the baby was okay. The baby checked out fine and I’ll never forget when the sonographer smiled and said, "He has a full head of hair"!

Eight days before my due date I awoke about 1:30 in the morning with contractions. The contractions were steady throughout the night and I woke Carl at 6:30. At 7:00 am we called my sister to come over. She arrived about 15 minutes later and as I was climbing into our SUV Carl said, "Are you sure your in labor". Duh! We arrived at UVRMC a few minutes later and they took us to our room. They checked me and asked if I wanted an epidural. I was surprised that I could get one so soon because the contractions weren’t too bad. I decided against it. Carl went to get some food and when he came back I was dilated to an eight. At 9:15 am little H was born red faced and mad.... and oh yes with a full head of hair:) It was love at first sight even before the nurse stated, "He has a dimple". He weighed seven pounds twelve ounces and measured twenty inches long.
At two weeks old, H had his first haircut. Even with his new cut I would get comments like, "Aren’t you tempted to put bows in that hair", or "Oh, She’s so beautiful with all that hair". Duh, blue blanket, blue clothes, Its' a BOY!
H was an easy baby and by six months old he weighed 18 pounds. He was very tolerant of S and his jealous streak and I would often find S wrestling H. He hardly ever cried and was such a cuddlebug. By eighteen months old, H could be found on top of the table, on top of the counter, or standing on a chair. You get the picture. He didn’t make a lot of noise. The silent terror.
H is a yellow. He’s the happy, playful, roll with the punches kind of kid. H was sent to this family to teach us all to chill. H likes it when people are having fun, cracking jokes, and getting along. H would give you the shirt off his back if it would please you. I’m so thankful we have this kid in our family.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wacky Wednesday

Having Carl home in the mornings has been so nice. I was up at 4:00 am taking care of a sick H and cleaning up his vomit. So, when Crew wanted out of bed this morning I helped him out, put him down and climbed into his toddler bed. I'm not quite sure how long I slept but Crew must've crawled into our master bedroom and woke up Carl (who's been working swing shift). Carl not knowing if I was even home got up to take care of the littles. He fed the Crewman his breakfast and we teamed up to fertilize, mow, and weed the yard.

H got out of his dentist appointment today due to this yucky crud that is going around. I took S and Crew and while I was in town I purchased "Twilight". Oh, I am so excited! I've just finished chapter 1 so don't you'all ruin it for me:)

I was about ready to start reading Harry Potter but after attending Blogfest, Tori convinced me that my time would be well spent reading about vampires instead;) Since then I've heard so much about it and the excitement is contagious. I tracked down the Bookmobile today but all copies were checked out. Then I went to two bookstores and while they both had nice large displays of Twilight and New Moon I noticed they were out of Eclipse. I wasn't the only one hovering over the display:)

Gotta go sneak in another Chapter. Hehe.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Our August Adventure

Our trip into the wild blue yonder was a success. I'm happy to say our van didn't bottom out and we managed to climb the mountain without getting high-centered. The washboards and potholes weren't as startling the second time around and driving through the creek not nearly as scary as I remembered it. Maybe I'm becoming desensitized or something:)

Thanks for all your words of concern about Crew. While I did notice that he seemed extra tired on our trip even sporting dark circles under his eyes, I didn't witness any seizures. He was relatively happy and enjoyed the adventure.

On the way to the cabin we spotted antelope, deer, badgers, rabbits and a squirrel or two. The boys were quite excited about it which helped the 55 miles of washboards fly.

This is not where we stayed but is just one of the magnificent views during the journey and one of the stops we made so the boys could take a leak (or leave one). LOL

This is serious business...

Luckily Crew had a handful of aunts and uncles willing to give him rides on the 4-wheeler. I think we've found his true love. It must be a boy thing:)

to be continued...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Almost ready....

Tonight I have so much to say but don't know where to start. Maybe its because my creative juices are gone or my brain is mush or the fact that I haven't been running in so many days. I stare at the screen, eyes glazed over. I worked today until 2 and since then its been 6 loads of laundry and a trip to the grocery store. Our "Reverent Room" is filled with air mattresses, life jackets, motorcycle helmets, luggage. The meds are piled on the counter. Flashlights, mosquito spray, and suncreen... check.

Sunday clothes claim a bag of their own.
Birthday gifts.... check.
The van has new tires which is the best we can do. However, we really need an SUV. In fact I think we are the only ones traveling in a non-4 wheel drive vehicle. Wish us luck and pray we don't bottom out or get high centered. Pray.

We've been anticipating this weekend for many months. Adventure. Family. My parents, all my siblings and their spouses, all 7 neices and 4 nephews will be there. It will be interesting to say the least:)

Yet I'm worried because Crew has been acting strange today. He took another loooong nap and then when we got him up he layed around the rest of the day. It seemed he had a low grade fever and was quite lethargic. He really didn't eat much today and I wondered if he was having seizures. In fact I'm almost sure of it which makes me sick because we are treking off into "the middle of nowhere" in the morning. No doctors, no cell service, no internet!

I was shocked today to hear that my friend had a heart attack. Three children under the age of six. Cardiac Arrest. CPR. Lifeflight. Stable. She just had a baby about 2 months ago which was also quite dramatic because she delivered him in the parking lot of the hospital. Oh, I hope she is okay.

I'll be missing bloggy land.