Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer Adventures Begin

Our summer is off to a busy start! We were fortunate enough to get into the first session of swim lessons. Even though we've only had a couple cold windy mornings, we're grateful to have an indoor swimming pool. The kids have done great! My only expectation was for them to build up some confidence and overcome a fear of the water. They are both swimming! They're not quite ready for the swim team but they are moving forward in the water, with purpose. Success!

(That's Zane, swimming with his face in the water, next to the swim coach.)

Last weekend Scott and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been that long! Scott was actually able to get the weekend off so we left the little ones with Brit and headed to Utah. (Morgan's first sleepover without me! She only got two canker sores and she slept good.)  

Scott was anxious to visit Smith and Edwards and then we made a stop at the Logan temple. The temple was busy with weddings and it was exciting to see families gathered, waiting for their brides and grooms to appear. We each ate our weight in Mexican food and managed to eat some Cold Stone Creamery ice cream as well. Then we went into food comas. Luckily we had a super comfy bed to sleep in. The next day we drove to Bear Lake and took the scenic route back to Idaho. Who knew there was a Paris, Idaho?

(Paris Tabernacle-

When we returned home Sunday evening, it seemed that our old dog, Tucker, was having a great deal of difficulty walking. Monday morning he appeared to be doing better and was on the porch as we left for swim lessons. He even joined us for a pizza picnic in the yard that afternoon. He's had a hard time getting around since he retired a few years ago, but on good days he loves to explore the yard and pasture or just follow the kids on their bikes.

Tuesday, Tucker was on the porch when we left for swimming, sprawled out in a patch of sunshine. He wasn't on the porch when we came home. Not too unusual. We weren't home long and then left again and we were gone most of the afternoon. When we returned for dinner, I saw Tucker in the yard and thought he must be feeling pretty good. Then I noticed he seemed to be struggling to walk again. 

We hurried and ate dinner and then took Morgan to the church for her activity. Tucker was still in the yard when Zane and I returned home and I wondered if he had been on the porch since morning. I walked up to him and he collapsed at my feet. Zane hurried and got his water bowl and I helped Tucker drink. He guzzled three bowls of water which confirmed my suspicion that he hadn't been able to get up on the porch.

Tucker was finally able to stand up and I guided/drug him to the trailer where he sleeps at night. He again collapsed in his bed, on his head. He weighs more than my children but I managed to get him straightened out and tried to make him comfortable. What to do?

We picked up Morgan and I was getting the kids ready for bed when Scott called. (He was moving cows in Montana and still on the road, four hours away.) I told him what was going on and he didn't know what to do either. Once everyone was tucked in, I crawled into bed, exhausted, to wait for Scott. I fell asleep around midnight and barely remember him coming in about 2:30. (22 hour work days really stink!)

After breakfast I made Scott come to the trailer with me. Tucker was barely able to lift his head and having difficulty breathing. Scott called the vet that comes to the ranch but he wouldn't be out for a few days. Too long to wait. I found another vet nearby and helped Scott wrap and load Tucker into the back of the truck.

And then I got the kids and we were off for swim lessons and scout activities and speech therapy and all the adventures of the day. But when we returned home, our fluffy door mat wasn't there to great us and wag his tail.

Friday, June 5, 2015


I can't seem to keep up on my blogging. 
But I have some good excuses!

In high school, I had a boss who would always say, "Excuses are like noses, everyone has them." He was right. So here are mine:

1. I feel like I can't keep up with technology. Things change and by the time I figure them out they are changing again. 
No! I am NOT old!

2. Time moves faster every day and so there just isn't time to do everything I want to. This includes blogging, reading, and washing dishes. 
I want to, but there just isn't time.

3. You will notice a direct correlation to the decrease in posts with the time we started trying to identify Morgan's learning challenges. I continue to spend A LOT of time researching her conditions and things I can do to help her understand this big, scary world.

4. Related to number three, I also spend a great deal of time taking sweet Morgan to therapies and helping her complete homework assignments. 
(I may or may not have typed her entire DARE essay. I'll never tell.)

5. I also try to make sure I am giving Zane his fair share of time and attention. I have to get him to football practice and scout activities. He is VERY patient and kind and often offers to help complete Morgan's homework as well. (He may or may not have helped her write sentences for her spelling words, on more than one occasion. Again, we're not telling.)

6. I also have to give Brittany and her family their fair share of my time and attention. This requires sending multiple text messages, face timing, and getting together with them as much as possible. 
It's a lot of work but our grandson is getting more ADORABLE everyday and we don't want to miss any of it!

7. My husband works crazy hours and so I must be ready to haul bulls, check fence, or purchase horse shoes with him at the drop of a hat. When he calls, I drop everything and put on my boots. I may not see him again until bed time!

8. Trying to help those living with an anxiety disorder can be a bit exhausting. It takes effort to always be the calm one. It also requires a lot of spiritual guidance. I find myself on my knees now more than I ever have before. 
And that's okay.

9. Teaching the Gospel Doctrine class in my ward also requires a lot of spiritual guidance. Although I don't teach every week, I find myself preparing and pondering and planning every day.

10. And just to make it an even number, I have dishes to wash. 
Always. Every day. The dishes are never done!

So, there you have it. My excuses. And now it's summer so I have a lawn to mow, swimming lessons, picnics at the park, and bike rides to attend to. I make no promises, but I will try to share.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Graduation Day

Have you ever been to an elementary school, end-of-year, awards ceremony where there is one kid in one class that seems to get all of the awards – highest math achievement, best reader, influential leader, and voted kindest by her classmates? The kid keeps going up to receive her certificates, the audience keeps clapping for her, and the mom keeps screaming “way to go” at every announcement. I’ve been that mom. I’ve had that daughter. I’ve beamed with pride and not even noticed the kids who received no awards.

Today I had the opportunity to be on the other side of this experience. Today I sat quietly as other mom’s cheered for their award winning students. Today I watched my daughter cheer for her friends while there was no award under her chair. From the three classes, 25 students were called up to receive an award for excelling in math and reading. I’m sure they all worked hard to pass up those benchmarks and I added my applause too.

In my heart, I wondered why there were no awards for special education students… My daughter didn’t meet the benchmark but she advanced almost two full reading levels this year. She didn’t meet the benchmark in math either but she earned her “B” grade with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. She didn’t have perfect attendance but the one day that she missed was because she was truly sick and not because she had a panic attack on the way to school. That is true success!

Morgan, you are my hero! Even though there isn't a room full of people cheering for your progress, your family cheers for you each and every day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hidey-Ho Neighbor

My kids LOVE animals! Morgan has wanted a brood of chickens since she was about 4 years old. Last year, she thought she had figured out how to keep a few as pets, in her bedroom. We've just never been in a place where it was feasible to have chickens.

Our neighbors have quite the barnyard! We were thrilled when they called and asked if we could care for the animals while they were gone for four whole days. 


They not only have chickens but also rabbits, goats, dogs, and two very pregnant cats. The kids were in HEAVEN! I think they would have liked to camp in the barn every night. The kids were eager to check the hen's nest every evening to see how many eggs were there. 
It was better than Easter morning!

It was great exercise walking down the hill to their home twice a day. And even I enjoyed puttering around the barnyard, conversing with the animals.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Where did you come from? Where did you go?

When I sprained my ankle last summer, I thought I would have all this time to post all of these wonderful things on my blog. But I found other things to do instead. When I was sitting inside, I would work on family history. When I hobbled outside, I would sit and play catch and help design relay races for my kids. When I felt real adventurous, I took them to the lake where I could sit and watch them play in the water. There was no way I was going to let an injury stop all the summer fun!

In addition to gymnastics, Morgan participated in the Summer Exploration event at the middle school and Zane played baseball. Morgan had a little whiplash from a fall when we were in Oregon so we also had regular visits to the chiropractor to treat her injury. (We all need bubble wrap!)

 The kids wanted to celebrate their birthdays at the Oregon Coast so we made another trip to Oregon. We had a great time at the ocean and Morgan decided she would like to live there and eat shrimp kabobs every day. We visited the aquarium, the science center, and an old light house. The kids loved exploring the beach and walking in the historic downtown of Newport the best. We also stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory to see how cheese was made. Yummy!

We went to a little family reunion and got to see relatives on my mom's side that we haven't seen in a long time. We also got to see my grandma one last time. We were even able to make a third trip to Oregon to attend grandma's funeral and see even more relatives. Summer was full of activities!

Zane had his eighth birthday which means we also had a baptism in September. It was great to have family travel to be with us, especially my parents who came all the way from Oregon. 
We had a wonderful weekend celebrating!

Summer ended and the kids went back to school, Zane started 2nd grade and Morgan started 6th grade at the middle school. Scott had a couple job interviews and I began packing boxes. In October, Scott accepted a new job and we moved to Idaho Falls. Fortunately, it was not too far away and it was still in Idaho and still close to Brittany and Levi.

Morgan is able to continue her therapies with the therapists that she knows and loves. She is also able to continue gymnastics at the same gym and with her favorite coach. However, the kids did have to change schools and Morgan went back to elementary school for 6th grade. She was bummed but it has been the best for her.

In November, Brit and Levi blessed us with our first grandson. He was born a few weeks early and had to spend a week in NICU but he is a trooper. He is the sweetest little thing you ever did see! 
Isn't it amazing that our hearts never run out of love?!

And before I knew it, Christmas had come and the year was over. 
Just like that!

With IEP meetings, and therapies, and sports, and activities, and my husband traveling for work, and a new grandson to snuggle it seems we are always running and I never take the time to sit and write. 
I will try to do better. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Are you broken?

It was a cold, rainy day and the kids had been inside all morning. I needed to move a table at the church so I told them to grab a ball and they could play in the gym before we had to go to Morgan's speech therapy. They were thrilled to have space to run.

I put my stuff away and then joined them in the gym. Open space. Ball. Hoop. 

Suddenly, my brain forgot how old my body really is. I picked up the ball and shot a free throw. I used to be really good at this so I decided to shoot another. I jumped a little higher and was really working on my form. (I had to look good for my kids.) As soon as my left foot came back to the ground, my ankle rolled over. I felt the burning of tearing tissue and I sat in the middle of the floor trying to catch my breath. 

The kids were instantly by my side. The pain was so severe I was about to pass out. Morgan was starting to panic. I firmly called her name and said, "get me a chair and some ice. Go!" There was a chair right there so she slid it over to me and hurried to the kitchen.

She saw a large bag of ice in the freezer and knew that wouldn't work. Then she looked above it and there was a small bag of ice. Perfect. (One of those little miracles.)

I lay there, in the middle of the gym, with my feet on the chair and the ice on my ankle for about 10 minutes. I told the kids to play and assured them I would be fine. They sang and danced for me and tried to make me comfortable. Then, it was time to go.

I only have one key for our church and it goes to a door on the opposite side of the building. AND our church is made up of multiple levels. I not only had to walk from one end of the building to the other, I also had to go down stairs and up stairs and then down stairs again. By the time I reached my car I really thought I'd pass out. I found some Ibuprofen and took two.

After another hour of my foot elevated and the ice still on it, I was in complete pain. We stopped at the doctor's office before heading home. The x-rays showed where it had been broken before (10 years ago) but no new break. However, the doctor explained, torn ligaments hurt worse than a broken bone.

He gave me a beautiful air cast and told me to stay off of it as much as possible for TWO weeks. Then he added that it could take 4 - 6 weeks for it to heal. UGH! I took two more Ibuprofen.

After a sleepless night, I was afraid to look at it. When I broke my ankle my entire foot turned black. It doesn't look so bad. Does it?

Our summer school lesson this week has been real life problem solving skills along with a little first-aid.

Not the best start to our summer vacation. We all need bubble wrap.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Forever Family

For the first time ever I took my kids out of school early. They were disappointed to miss all the fun of the last day, but we had a good reason. My older brother and his wife just had baby number six and my other brother and his family flew to Oregon from Georgia. The last time we were all together was when Brit graduated, four years ago. Scott couldn't get time off so I loaded up the kids and made the drive to Oregon without him. 

We had a few things to finish up first. We couldn't miss the Indian Races. (How do they ride so fast without a saddle?) And there was a graduation card to make for Scott's niece and of course a baby gift to take to the new baby.

Nothing says family love quite like a paintball war.

Sweet little Hunter absolutely LOVED Levi. He kept calling him "police" even when he was reminded that Levi did have a name. Levi pinned his badge on him and let him wear it for a minute. Hunter beamed with pride. He is an amazing kid who melts everyone's hearts.

The kids helped sand and paint the front fence at my parents home. They worked hard and earned the paintball reward. There were a few minor injuries, some paint was eaten, and a few tears were shed. And that was just the fence painting! (Hahaha) 

For the most part, we had a great time!
Yes, even I got in on the action. (The mask really brings out my eyes. I may wear one more often.) Morgan and Levi worked on some strategy and Morgan captured the flag. Way to go!

The kids and I camped out at the Grange Hall while we were there. They loved sleeping in the camper and learning how to play the "real" UNO game. And there were more trees to climb. Heaven!

We had a few cold days but we found enough sunshine to go swimming a couple times. We also managed a rowdy soccer game between cloud bursts. My parents and I hung out with Hunter while the rest of them played. It was funny to watch the older "kids" start out dominating the game. They were all over the field and the younger kids hardly got to play. But, magically, about half way through the game the older guys were hanging back and letting the little guys go after the ball more. (wink-wink)

There was lots of yummy food to eat. Always. 

I didn't get a picture, but we were able to visit Great Grandma Hug. Her cat even let us pet her this time. And I managed to run up to the cemetery with my kids to bring a flower to their Grandma Mary.

My parent's cat had kittens a few weeks before we came. While we were there they all became very ill. They went from wild, feisty, playful babies to sleeping all the time and refusing to eat. I remembered the vet told us to give our dog Gatorade once when he wasn't feeling well. My mom happened to have some so they started feeding them with an eye dropper. I talked to Scott and he told me to get an electrolyte solution for animals. After a few days of the solution, all the kitties were starting to feel better. So glad we figured out how to save them!

We had to make a stop at Riverside Park. My kids call it the Castle Park because of the awesome play thing that looks like a giant castle. It amazes me how different the river looks now. They now have a walking bridge that goes over the river. One of our swimming holes isn't even there any more. Sometimes, it's hard to grow up and see everything change.

We had a wonderful week! It was hardly enough time to do all that we wanted to do and see all the people we wanted to see. Morgan says we have to go back soon.