Aug 30, 2011

Mia's appointment was FANTASTIC!

Mia's 2nd check up here in the great state of Utah went flawlessly. We got in, we got out, and everything looked, "GREAT!" I am so so happy. I went in a little nervous because we had a little episode with bat poop (don't ask) but her levels were good... no changes...just fabulousness!

This is an old picture, but I wanted to document the little "bow" they put on her arm at her blood draws.  She loves it.  The blood draw this week was a nightmare, not going to lie.  I changed my mind... everything was wonderful except for the blood draw.  Some people can draw her blood and some can't.  I'm not faulting the can't people because I am sure I would be terrible... I just hate how some can get her vein flawlessly while others find it necessary to fish around with a needle in her tiny arm for 30 seconds.  It makes me want to take the needle and see how they like it ;-).  JUST KIDDING! Ok.... got that out. 

In other Mia news- she is talking up a storm and can pretty much communicate anything now.  She talks in full sentences and has even began the art of negotiation.  I have a list of her phrases...they are a crack up.  Ok, I'll share one real quick.  My favorite things she says, and she says it A lOT, is
"Oh, OK!... Yes" 
 She says it so enthusiastically, almost yelling it... like she just won something.  It is a general response to anything I ask.  "Mia, want to go potty? outside? for a walk? to bed?  She really wants to do just about anything I ask... and her response is adorable.  This pic is from when we went to Bear Lake... post coming soon. 

I love this picture!  Aunt Nat and Mia have a love love relationship.  Mia loves her and she loves Mia.  Nat is a professional aunt and having a single sister to love up your child is the best!  Not saying that an of my married family doesn't love her to pieces as well... it's just different.  When we were in Jackson Hole this past week we got on the topic of living wills and stuff.  Before I could say anything Nat pipped up and said, "I GET MIA!"  Not that I plan on going anywhere... but it's nice to know that someone will snatch her up if it ever came to that.  After a few minutes she said, "I'll take all the kids... we couldn't split them up."  That's my NATS!  Nat would  never let her wear Ketchup on her forehead all day...just sayin'.

She looks a little goofy in this shot... she was getting ready to pull her "picture face"  She puts her fingers in her mouth and pulls a face.  Goof ball!  I dedicate the second half of this post to one of her past boyfriends who claims that she was never on my blog.... not that he'll ever read this.   

Aug 29, 2011

Having a "person"

Today I am missing my "person"

I warned you that I would be blogging about one Rebecca Pierce, and here it is.

I have been thinking about our friendship a lot because I miss her.  The best way to describe her is as a sister.  Yes, I have five, but I'm officially adding one to the mix.  She is a sister to me... a true sister.  I don't know why I feel like crying while I write this blog... it's just sad.

Let's start at the beginning.

After having two play dates together, we were immediately close and spent the next four + years involved in each others lives.  Our weekend plans often involved each other and most of our date nights were together.  We also had mid day activities together and met at piano, play dates, and girl's nights.  As a girl coming from so many sisters I needed her, and her involvement in my life.

I think the first real event that tied us together was the big benefit auction we did to raise money for a friend who was suffering from cancer for the fifth time.  We were both in way over our heads, but somehow we pulled it off (with help of our other peeps)... raised the money... and lived to tell about it.  After doing the auction there was nothing we couldn't handle.

Fast forward to later that year when we learned about Mia.  My life pretty much stopped... and she made me feel like hers did as well.  I said there was nothing "we" couldn't handle, because she was right there with John and I the entire time. She raised money, watched kids, watched kids, WATCHED KIDS, and coordinated basically my entire life while I was walking around with my "eyes glazed over" (her words) in a hospital.  I often did have a blank stare because I did not know how to process my feelings, or where to start processing my feelings.  I had some very awful and discouraging thoughts that I only ever voiced to her.  She immediately dismissed my negativity and basically gave me a slap in the face (not literally) that I needed to wake up and "be Mimi."  Rebecca was such an integral part of my experience with Mia.  She loved her, and called, texted, emailed me often, and had friends bring me meals, visited me, and did I say raise money??  She was involved in it all, and I am so lucky that she was in my life when it all went down.

After Mia received her heart and made it home things started to get back to the way they were...but changed.  I was not as care free, i was a germ freak, and was not the same Mimi she was used it.  She didn't complain and just went with it.  I was never a needy friend before, but I am probably the most needy friend she will ever have.  I needed so much during those months.  She had to explain my behavior, and back me up when I was irrational about something little.  I think I am better now... but there was definitely a OCD stage that she had to endure.

A year after her transplant I think our lives resembled what they had pre Mia... or something close to it.  We spent a lot of time... well... wasting time.  We watched the show "The Hills" gasp! I know.  It sucked me in, and I would probably still be watching it, but my viewing promptly ended when LC stepped out.  John of course was disgusted in our choices, but often watched with us just so he could make comments and make fun of us.  After all of the stress we needed some entertainment to take us (me) far from the worry.  We watched other shows as well... but we won't get into that.

We did a lot together... it was usually all her ideas.  Photography class, mentoring youth, knitting (ha ha) quilting, movies, date nights.  She is a planner, which is perfect for my personality.  I love to do... but I am not much of a planner.  She often commented that she LOVED that I was always available.  I was.

We always had fun together.  It was such a rewarding friendship because we were our own biggest fans.  She told me once that she "felt young" when she was with me.  I don't know if this means that I am immature or just fun.. I'll go with just fun. :-) She understood me when I spoke in spanglish.. although she always corrected me when i jokingly said, "yo sabo" instead of "yo se"  Sometimes I said it just so she would correct me... she just couldn't help it.   I love this about her.  She owns "Ethspanol."

She has always had complete faith in me.  For example, she recently volunteered me to teach a Zumba class which is something I have never done, but have taken classes.  It was fun! I wish I was still doing it. We had a lot of fun preparing for this...maybe a little too much fun. 

She along with John threw me the best party complete with Flash Mob!  Click Here to read about it.  

Rebecca, You are my person... what more can I say!

This post could go on forever...there is so much to type.  I don't know if we'll ever live close together again (even though I tease you that we'll be back soon) but my favorite things about you are:

- How you think you are part gangster... and you are ;-)  - How you will defend and stand by Eminem and what a "genius" he is  - Your narcolepsy... I know it's a thorn in your side, but it was very entertaining for me and were hilarious, and I can't believe we never taped your slurred speech  - You know every country song ever sung  - Your putting restrictions on things (like having your picture taken), and me always refusing to obey your demands...  I never posted them..but I have them!  - Your knowing and caring about so many people.  I know stories about your second grade teacher!  - Thinking the best of me, and knowing better.  - Encouraging every little thing I did.  - The dominant Head cheerleader in you  - Your constant teasing me about living in "Mimi's world"  - The way we always debated who came to who's house more.  I came to your house WAY MORE!! ;-)  - Our inability to beat our husbands at pictionary even when we cheated (shhh don't tell Chris). - Mia calling you "Becca" and Jensen calling you "Rabacca"  - Your willingness to take pictures of my family non stop  -Your thoughtful homemade gifts - Your coaching me in photography - Your motto of what's mine is yours - All of our jokes and our husbands jokes - Your inability to keep track of your keys... and phone ;-)  - How you know who you are and own it - Your love of popcorn and pistachios  -Your awesome terms like "freak show" - Your blue tooth malfunctioning only when you're talking to me - And most of all I am going to miss your stories that all begin with, "I can't believe what just happened..."

I wish I could beam you here once a week. There is definitely a void without your close proximity.  Thanks for being my person.  Thanks for everything. This is not a farewell... I just wanted you to know how much these past years have meant to me.  I'm glad you moved from Gem Heights, and taught me so much about friendship.  I owe you so much... Thank you! I miss you! I can't wait to see you next month!  

Aug 25, 2011

Back to the Big House

Living with my dad I am starting to use his lingo.  He always called going back to school, "going back to the big house."

My kids are so super excited for their first day of school.  I can't believe it's here already.  I ran into so many people I knew at back to school night.  My kids are going to school with the children of people I grew up with. There is probably a better way to write that sentence, but you get the gist.

Jense on his first day of school.  He was all ready to go five minutes after he got out of bed. 

Ellie's first day of school.  She changed her mind on her outfit 4 different times, and barely made it on time.  I love her punky brewster outfit.  I see one of these in my future!  for real. 

She managed to make it before the bell. 

I am loving their teachers! I think it is going to be a great year!  I always have a little debate in my mind every year about whether or not I should be home-schooling them.  This week I was more than ready for them to go back to school... maybe I'll allow myself the debate next year. :-)

When the kids got home I asked them how it went.  Jensen's reply: "Oh MOM! I loved it!"  Ellie's reply, "It was sooo good."  Hopefully their enthusiasm lasts.

Have a great year kiddos! STUDY HARD, GET SMART, and BRING HOME THE GOLD (another saying I had to endure listen to my dad say every day during my formal education years.  Now he is saying it to my kids... can I never escape?? ;-)  Love you dad.  

Aug 24, 2011

Farwell to the Final Missionary

The youngest cousin on my dad's side is off on his mission.  He still seems too young.  My brain doesn't allow people to grow up.  He will always be 12 or so in my mind.  He has grown up and is going to be a great missionary! 

The Wilson brothers.  Two of them are missing because they are spoiled and get to live in China.  :-)  My dad got all the girls and one of his sisters got all the boys.  His other sister got a good mix of both.  It was fun to get together with them all... it has been way too long.

Elvis and Abbs are little buddies.  I am glad she has a girl cousin here.  

She met some new first cousins and they kept busy building things. 

Butterfly girl. Not to be confused with ladybug girl.  She loves that book.  We used to read it every night.  She's moved on, but that book will always remind me of her. 

Papa and his two sisters.  I love how he hides his tie in his shirt so he doesn't drag it through his food.  More about my aunts to come. We recently got together again.  

Me and my cousins that were there... and sisters.  I wish we had hours more to talk.  We created our own "kid table" like back in the day.. although it wasn't a table, just a grouping of chairs under a canopy.  It was crazy hot in their backyard!  It didn't help that I was wearing a scarf... in the middle of summer.  Who does that?  I know I can't complain because my cousin (far left) lives in Arizona and lives in temperatures that I can't even fathom.   Sadly, there are no more farewells to bring us together, but hopefully we will have a reunion in the works pretty soon. 

Ellie's Dream come True

The Dolans came into town!! The bonus about living in Utah is we get WA visitors.  They came into town for a wedding, but saved a few days for us.

Ellie has been counting down the days until her Carissa would be here.  There are dots on the calendar color coded for how many days had passed and how many days to go... she is hysterical.  We had to have a conversation EVERY DAY about how many days were left.  She wanted me to "show on my hands" how many days were left, they she would ask how many hours is that... and so on.  It was a little exhausting, but she couldn't contain her excitement.

This is the sweetest thing I have ever seen.  These little girls.  Oh my heart.  They all held hands and walked over from the fair to the carnival.  Little miss Mia complete with sunhat and long sleeves and pants.  Poor kid.

I don't know why we wasted money at the ring toss but all of the kids got to toss a lot of rings.  No prizes were won, but I heard Mia say, "oh!" in an embarrassed voice a few times.  It was super cute.

I tried to enjoy the moment.  Part of me wanted to spray her in down in clorox (not really, but sanitizer) but I resisted the temptation and just let go.  I have been relaxing a lot this summer... she has done some really fun things (in germy places) and is happy as a clam- and healthy!  I think it is so hot here that the sun just kills all the germs :-)  Winter time will be a different story I'm sure.

Ellie got to ride one ride... because that is all the money she earned.  She chose the Ferris Wheel.  Good choice.  Initially I think she was scared, but got used to it after a few rotations.

I don't know why but now when I think of ferris wheel rides I think of an episode of PSYCH.  If you haven't seen that show, it is one of my favorites... and it's hilarious.

Jense took Mia on the Carosel.  

She got nervous that I left her there with Bro.  Luckily Bethie was there to save the day.  She has been doing so many daring things lately I thought she would be totally fine.  She asked to go again... sometimes they just need a little warming up.

The last ride of the day.  Two of the kids were going on and the man operating the ride let Ellie and Carrissa go on for free.  Lucky Ducks. 

Sam chattin' it up with his little cuz Leah.  These two were so cute the entire time.  Toddlers are just plain fun, and having two together doubles the entertainment. 

It was so fun to have you guys!  Hopefully there are more weddings to come and you can come stay for longer.  We can only keep Ellie an Carissa apart for so long. 

Aug 23, 2011

Uncle Bim and the Hellewellies

Once again, Bim came into town...and once again I failed to take pictures. He got to meet Sammers.  He loved him... how can you not?  
I did take these pics when we all got together for Pioneer Day. 

The Hellewells (friends from college/ young married days) ward was having a pioneer day party complete with a massive slip n' slide.  The kids were not about to miss that kind of excitement. 

Ellie  went down a few times solo... then took her sister down over and over again. 

Matt and Peter went down a few times.  I should have gotten a better picture of this little man.  His eye lashes are out of this world! No one has eye lashes like him...  except for his mom.  Matt has an awesome job where he gets to be part of creating things like heart valves that are placed by going through a vein.  How cool is that?  Go Matt Go!! I don't want another open heart surgery!

This little beauty is new on the scene.  She let  me hold her for a minute.  Violet made Sam look like a baby monster. Jense thought her name was "violent" and later asked us: " is violent, violent?"  She is not... just a sweet dainty little feather of a baby.

Sam was busy being just that.  A monster!  He got acquainted with the sprinkler, then went and played at the park (a few feet away) all by himself. This kid is on a mission... he just doesn't sit still.

Roxy and her friend found something to ride down on.  Isn't Roxy such a cute name?  
They call her "Rocks"

Once Mia had a taste of the biggest slide she has ever been on, she couldn't get enough.  Ellie took her down that thing until it was time to leave.  Ellie is so great at putting her little siblings happiness before her own... LITTLE siblings ;-)

She definitely had fun herself.

Matt and "Russ Dawg" doing the hand off.  Anytime we are all together we enjoy reminiscing.  During this particular session of "remember when" I learned some really good things I didn't know previously.  I laughed... and am still laughing at some of the things that were brought to my attention.  Carrie's apartment (B 2 cool) and George Town 13 were close... let's just leave it at that.  Oh and there was a camping story in there too. Good times.

Later that night we got together and played a game... I can't remember the name of it... oh wait yes... Saboteur - Sabatosher if you're cool.  I have to admit, I am good at that game! At one point I think I almost peed my pants from laughing so much.   

Uncle Bim, please come back.  Your visit was far too short!  I guess it wasn't that short, but we didn't get to see you enough because you were "working." ;-)  I promise I will facilitate watching a movie without pausing it five million times. 

Aug 22, 2011

Pinatas aren't just for birthdays ya know

Jense doing what he does best!  The freezer is well stocked with his fish.  I think I will start encouraging him to "catch and release."  He has "caught and kept" enough fish.  We'll see how it goes.  This day however was all about Griffin.

Ellie and Ella. cute cute cute.  Ellie is pretty disappointed that Ella doesn't live here.  I am too. They would be great little friends... and Ellie needs some great little friends.

Griffin brought in a couple fish.  One of the fish he brought in was the biggest one I have seen come from the state park.  Good work Griff!  Way to make your first catch the best yet.

My Aunt Kathy and Uncle Craig brought a Pinata... cause they are awesome grandparents like that.  I think that we need start a tradition of pinatas not on birthdays.  Pinatas are all around great fun- at any gathering. 

Ells knocked the pinata right off of the tree.

Jense and Griffin had to be blind folded until the end to give the littles a few turns before it was destroyed.

Mia decided to jump in the water- gross!  Luckily we had some clothes in the car.  She was all about "mia's turn." 

Griffin finally destroyed the pinata.. and to our suprise there was nothing on the inside.  Just kidding, it was loaded with awesome candy.  chic-o-sticks, and the delicious mango suckers were our favorites.  John is really concerned about getting more of those suckers. He was the mango suckers spokesman for a week or so afterward.  "These suckers taste just like a mango!"  So funny.

Oh and Jessica (background) has the very very best caramel popcorn recipe on the planet.  I'm not kidding you.  Maybe I can convince her to share.  I took the whole bag home that Kathy made and only saved a little to share with the sisters (they had to try the goodness).  Kathy and Jessica, i am sure I gained five lbs from that bag of popcorn but it was sooo worth it!  There is definitely a secret ingredient that is super addicting.  One of you must cave and tell us what it is.   

The cones came in handy for collecting the candy... and wearing on your head.  

Once we got back to the house we played a couple rounds of Indian Poker.  We played with beans and I still don't know if we played it right, but it was fun to watch everyone with a card stuck to their forehead.  last thing about my two aunts... they have the best smiles.  My grandpa had the best smile, and all his kids got it.  There eyes sparkle when they smile or laugh and their smiles are infectious.  The signature Jensen smile... If you know them, then you'll agree.  

Aug 21, 2011

Summer Roll... kind of like a Spring Roll

A few things we did this summer part one:

Ellie graduated from  Kindergarten, they did a ceremony and little program.  She only had a few weeks to learn the songs, but did great.  This girl loves the stage and spot light.  She plays it off like she is shy… but she is secretly in her element.

At one of our family dinners my Dad quizzed us on our state capitals.  I bowed out early… who remembers state capitals?? Not me.  Although I do know the 50 states song… I taught it to my kids. Well, Jense and Elle. Raegan and Ken accessed their fifth grade geography and rambled them off like they studied them yesterday. 

 Snuggles.  Mia’s new thing is snuggling.  She requests it.  She says, “mommy… nuggle you?”  She gets all the nuggles she wants.  It is the sweetest thing and makes my soul sing.  I love snuggling this little girl.  There is no one around to take pictures of me and my mees snuggling… so here is one of her and her daddy. They are actually asleep, but Mia’s nuggles are complete with her arms around your neck. 

Mia finally got to bring in a fish... and a few since this picture. She and my dad have a dialogue pretty much every day.  “Papa…go fishin’ da day?”  Needless today… there are many a trips to the fishing place. We are starting to learn around here that Mia is the key to Papa's heart.  We use it to our advantage from time to time.

Sammers and his "same same" cousin.  She is older than him by a couple of hours, but it is fun to see the two of them together for the first time.   Sam's Swirl is really dominant in this picture.  Little swirl cone baby- I love him!

Nana should be a florist… or a gardener… or one who grows things… farmer?  check.  Anyway, she has beautiful flowers and plants… inside her house and surrounding it.  I got these shots right at the perfect moment. 

I had to throw the kids in for one pic before the flowers left us.

Oh the kisses.  Mia is such a little affectionate creature.  I love this pic!
Now if I could only get her bangs to grow.  

Car show-  We took the kids to the car show.  Jense was the most intrigued by the cars of course.  Elvis and Mees just wanted to go to the park with the slide. Everyone wins.

There were some pretty neat cars there.  Jense saw "octamus prime."  He is almost eight years old, maybe we should start correcting him.   Nah!

Sammers just wanted to wander around.  I decided to see how far away he would walk without coming back.  He never came back... he was off to see the cars.  Some kids are attached, and some kids just want to see the cars.  

He does have a pretty secure attachment though.... to his Nana.  I tell you, if you are a woman related to me... then he's not going anywhere.  He can't get enough of the ladies in his life.

More summer to come... I can't believe it's almost over.  I have to catch up and quick!