Thursday, March 20, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

We always have fun on St. Patrick's day. It's how I was raised. There's no real Irish in me (well I'm sure there is, but close enough to be cultural), so it's nothing more than just a fun celebration for us. This year I had some free time the day before (Sunday) so I baked some green bread. The girls spent the afternoon making a Rainbow to entice a certain leprechaun to come for a visit. Then when they woke up they were surprised (ok, not at all because this happens every year) to see green footprints all over our kitchen AND a pile of chocolate coins at the bottom of their rainbow. We had a nutritious breakfast of Lucky Charms. Hailey devoured it, Cait only ate the Marshmallows, and Paige of course thought it was too sweet - so she had Granola. We all got dressed in our green clothes, put green bows in our hair and then got ready to eat lunch with our green bread. After school we made a green dinner - shepards pie with green mashed potatoes. And to top it all off we had GREEN milkshakes with whipped cream clouds and rainbow candy strips. The days was a success. I loved it.

p.s.  I know there's this big internet rant about people overdoing Holidays and how some moms need to cut it back a bit to level the playing field. Well too bad for them. I don't think any of what I did was crazy - the bread was really the most time consuming thing and it only happened because I had a lazy Sunday afternoon. My kids did get some chocolate coins, but it's not like they laid out stockings and expected them to be filled with loot. This day would be just as much fun if all we did was wear green...or not, and tried to pinch each other! My kids don't expect it, but nothing makes me happier than to create some fun memories for them. And if that means we eat a few green foods and imagine a world where leprechauns CAN be caught - and will share their loot, well then that's what we'll do! I certainly don't judge other moms for not doing what I do. And trust me, there are great things THEY do that I don't. Who cares!! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Finally - and a Cait update

I'm finally caught up!! I can't believe I let the blog fail so miserably this year. But I have been spending time these last few months working on it when I have a chance. I use my blog as a type of journal, and I needed this year all caught up. I wanted posts for each event and not just one big catch up. I had been taking pictures this whole time, and jotting down little notes of what happened, so when blogging time rolled around I could remember it. I also finished my Photo a Day project that I started on my Birthday a little over a year ago - check it out here: It was a lot of work, but fun. I'll hopefully do it again someday! I also had big plans to work on a 30 by 30 bucket list. BUT I failed miserably. Nothing was really that hard to accomplish...but with Cait being so sick for the last 2 years I really have not had the chance to focus on ME all that much. But now that she seems to be healthy and thriving (after her most recent surgery in November) I'm trying to find a way to balance some of my dreams with my family life. I still have so much going on in my life, but not having a baby crying at my feet, in my arms or on my hip literally all day will help. I think. We still have a ways to go with her. Having a baby in pain all the time takes it's toll on everyone, and I'll be the first to admit that my parenting has sucked. I haven't given my other girls the attention they needed and most importantly we have let Cait get away with way too much. As it is, she gets what she wants when she wants it. That was hard to control when she was so sick. We would always do anything that would make her happy, because the one thing she really wanted was to not be hurting, and I couldn't stop that! So now that she seems to be ok, we have to start retraining her. Teaching her some limits, maybe patience, sharing?? All things two year olds are great at right?? Haha.

So that's our most recent update, but we still have a long road with Cait's medical life. She still needs to have her kidneys checked regularly to see how they're doing after the damage that's been done. We also have some more testing that'll need to be done which will give us a better indication of exactly how her kidney looks - and how they are functioning as a whole. We have to watch for signs of kidney blockages, which is a very real side effect of the procedures she's had done. We also have to consider the long term affects almost two years of constant antibiotic use has done to her body, as well as Tylenol and Advil. We know she'll likely have problems when she's older and I feel bad for her. BUT we're also very grateful for this hand she's been dealt. Of all the imperfections she could have had with her body, this is one that has been the best for our family to manage. It's a relatively common and well understood illness. Although she had a very extreme case of it, we're still grateful that we could get answers to our questions and a diagnosis so quickly. We're also so grateful that as of right now it looks like we won't have to go in for the ureteral reimplantation surgery. That one we wanted to avoid at all costs. In November when she had her last surgery, we had the option of going that route, or trying the more simple procedure for the third time. I didn't think the simple one would do the trick, but after some good advice from her Urologist, that's the route we went. And I'm so happy we did! Her urologist is truly amazing, as well as her nephrologist and all their staff. Our family doctor was probably one of the main reasons we got answers so quickly, and his after hours phone calls to our family to update us with test results etc definitely went above and beyond what he was expected to do. But he did...and when he moved away and was no longer our doctor,  I can honestly say I had a good long cry! He was such a huge help in all this. Anyway, it's been a tough go, but I recognize there are others who deal with so much more. My prayers are with those families! Everyone has struggles and trials, and I'm just grateful for the ones I have, because I KNOW them, and I can deal with them!

Anwyay, here's Cait playing with the hospital toys, just waiting to go in for her 3rd and hopefully final surgery. She's a champ at the hospital!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The littlest of Helpers

Cait LOVES to help in the kitchen. She loves it even more than Paige does...if that's even possible! But she does. She likes to take control too! Well yesterday, after a VERY busy weekend (Ben working until 'too late o'clock', skiing all day Saturday, a girls night with cousins later that night, and then 9 am church) Cait and I decided to bake some Brownies for our family dinner on Sunday night. She wants to do it all, from measuring ingredients, dumping those ingredients in, mixing with the mixer all the way to tasting the dough. it's pretty fun (most the time) to have her helping!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Lazy Days

Some days we stay in our Pj's all day. Some days I like a little peace and quiet and so Cait gets to play with my phone all she wants. Some days I literally do nothing but recover from the weekend. Those days are called Mondays. They are the hardest thing in the world!! Ok, maybe not quite that bad. But still, I have to resist the desire the let Hailey stay home from school every single Monday morning. She would be late a LOT more if she weren't the only kid at her bus stop. I just feel like it's common courtesy to let the bus driver know that she doesn't need to wait for us that day. And then it gets a little embarrassing when you text the bus driver every Monday morning for three weeks in a row. It feels like calling in sick after a long weekend, everyone KNOWS you're not sick!! So my new rule is that I only let her sleep in one Monday a  month. Every other Monday she has to wake up and deal with life. Which we all know just means I have to wake up and deal with life. WHY is that so hard??

So this last Monday I actually got Hailey off to school. We were right in the middle of a COLD stretch, and I was not happy about actually leaving the house. So when I got home I bundled myself up in some super warm blankets, gave Cait my iphone and let her go to town. It was sweet. It was relaxing
. I never wanted it to end.

UNTIL Ben reminded me that I needed to drive him to the mechanic to drop off his truck. Brrrr. things got even better when I got outside and up pulled my friend Lahni and her kids...that I had promised to babysit this morning!! Oooops!! well, good thing the showed up when they did. So I loaded all the kids in the van and picked Ben up at the Mechanics. And then the kids played and played and played. And it turned into a GREAT Monday!!

And then later that day when Hailey came home from school I tried that relaxing thing again. It worked.

Monday, March 03, 2014

My daddy is stronger than yours

Well not really. Who knows. He is deceptively strong.  But is there anything a kid loves more than their big strong Daddy winning something? Any win for Ben is an even bigger win for those little girls of his. He is their hero. And to really solidify that hero status, he decided to win the Cub Bar Rally. Oops...I mean the C02 car race. Which is basically the grownup boy version of the cub cars - just more power. The elders quorum in our ward put this event together and Ben submitted his Bud car (which was maybe not super church appropriate...but was modeled after the NASCAR Budweiser car). Anyway, the girls and I showed up and hung out with other moms and kids who were pretty sure their dads were going to win. Although everyone is a winner in some way, only one lucky family got to bring the trophy home. And that lucky family was ours! yay. Can you feel my excitement? Can you? I know YOU want this trophy in your house!! Who wouldn't?

We get to keep that gem for a year, but the girls will probably never forget the moment THEIR dad won the big race. He's kind of a winner. Maybe we'll keep him. 

Don't worry, safety is always a priority in our family..and if you forget your helmet, well you can always make one out of a Styrofoam bowl!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Families that ski together

Our new family motto is:

Families that ski together, stay together.

Well, in our case, you can snowboard OR ski. Last year we took the two older girls out for a day of skiing and loved it soooo much. This year for family day weekend (actually our 11 year anniversary) we went with a bunch of their cousins and Aunts and Uncles on my side and it was seriously so much fun! That very next week I went out and bought them new skis, boots, and helmets. We are going to commit to this. You may or may not remember, but this is how Ben and I met. A girlfriend and I had filmed ourselves doing some fun little snowboard tricks. We brought our little movie to the institute one night to show some other friends. Ben and his roommates saw, and were interested. We invited them out snowboarding and the rest was history. Through out our dating and married life we have spent countless hours snowboarding. We went on a snowboarding Honeymoon for goodness sake! It's kind of important to us, and we couldn't wait until our family was at that stage where we could do it together. And we're almost there!

Anyway, the girls loved trying out their new skis. They loved climbing in and out of their bindings and wanted me to document every single moment of it! We've been out one more time since and I'm super impressed with how good they are...Hailey can rip down the hill without a problem, and Paige just graduated from her leash to skiing without any help!!

Maybe next year we'll take Cait

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Someone let me put her hair in pigtails...that same someone didn't let me take pictures of those pigtails. I still tried though, and I think these are still pretty cute!

She did pretend to vacuum the kitchen, which is pretty much as good as a photoshoot!