I wanted to include a picture of Winston in our Christmas cards so I had him lay down on a fuzzy blanket with his Santa hat on and took a few experimental photos. He smiled and laughed and his eyes just sparkled. He's such a character and is so adorably cute! I sure love my little buddy!
This past weekend while I was getting all our Christmas decorations out of the storage room downstairs, Winston discovered our Air Hockey table. He's just tall enough to use the paddle and hit the puck and he absolutely loved it. Brad and I took turns playing with him for almost an hour. I grabbed this quick video to show how much fun he was having.
I've read a Santa Claus story to Winston a few times during the past week so that he can get an idea of what Christmas and Santa are all about. Well, this morning I told him about all the fun Christmas songs there are and sang a few of them to him - including Santa Claus is Coming to Town. You know how it goes - You better watch out, better not cry, better not pout....
Anyway, on the way over to daycare out of the blue Winston said to me, "Mommy, I not pout." And I answered, "No" not realizing that he was referring to the song I had sang to him earlier. Then he asked me, "My a good boy huh? Santa will come to my house." I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud. I made sure to tell him that yes he's a very good boy and Santa will come to his house. I guess that song made quite an impression on him. He's just too smart and too cute for a three year old.
This is Zack's second birthday away from home. Next year he'll be celebrating his birthday at home. He passed the one year mark for his mission on October 8. Zack is have a wonderful time on his mission and is doing great things in Japan. We're so proud of him and what he's doing with his life. Happy Birthday Zack. We miss you and love you so very much!
I haven't had much time for posting this past month. We had two trips down to Lake Powell - my favorite place to go and recharge. I waited all summer for these trips and they were well worth the wait. The first trip was will my family at the first of the month. We had a great time and the weather was wonderful - most of the time. :) The second trip was later in the month with a group of really great friends - without our kids. It was wonderful to just be by ourselves and enjoy the company of these wonderful friends. My batteries have been recharged and I'm ready to tackle the fall and winter seasons now. I only wish Summer didn't always end so soon. It really is my favorite season. Ah well, good bye for now and I'm already looking forward to our next summer's trips. Winston's looking for lizards. He wanted to catch one soooo bad. Hanging out on the boat.Such a beautiful canyon - scenic and peaceful. Aaaaaah! Loving some alone time with my man. :o)Wow, what a handsome man! I love you Brad!
Wow. Where has the time gone? It seems like Winston came to our family just a few months ago but he arrived three years ago today. He's still our little miracle boy and my life has been tremendously blessed by him. I thank Heavenly Father every day for sending him to us - to me. How dull life would be without him around. He brightens my every day and brings smiles and laughter to my life. He is a wonderful little boy and I love him dearly. Happy Birthday Winston. Zack and Bo love you as do your Dad and I. I'm looking forward to sharing another year with you - watching you grow and seeing you learn each day.
Brad has been traveling for work a lot the last few weeks and wanted to bring home a little something for Winston. He came across this book in a little shop - "There was a Coyote who swallowed a Flea" and couldn't resist buying it for him. This book has become Winston's new favorite. It's based on the old classic book "There was an old Lady who swallowed a Fly" - except the Coyote swallows a flea, a lizard, a snake, a bird, a cactus - to name a few of the things he swallows. The illustrations are fun and the story line is adorable. Winston laughs every time we read it and the says "Again!" as soon as we finish. I usually have to read it 3 or 4 times in a row before we can move on to another story. If you're looking for a good book for your child or to give as a gift, this is a very entertaining and fun story. Winston gives it a big thumbs up!
Today is Bo's 20th birthday. I can't believe how the time has flown by. I still remember this day 20 years ago. The first time I saw Bo after he was born it was like meeting up with an old friend I hadn't seen in a while. The feeling of recognition was so strong it amazed me and I just knew that I had known this sweet little boy before. He just fit right in to our family and I wondered how we had gotten along without him. Bo is in Germany right now doing great things - serving his Lord and offering his time to help others. He is a great person and I feel so blessed to be able to be his mother. Happy Birthday Bo. We Love You!!!!
Last week I made some frosted mint brownies to take to a bar-b-que at a friends house. They just happen to be Winston's favorite brownies (and mine too - Yummm!). After the party, we still had half the pan left over - the recipe makes a lot. It was late when we got home so I just covered up the pan thinking that I'd put them in a container in the morning. The next day when Winston woke up, I got him ready as usual and then went to finish getting ready for work. He usually comes in and "helps" me. When several minutes had passed and he still hadn't come in, I thought I'd better go see what he was up to. Well, he had discovered the leftover pan of brownies on the table. He just couldn't resist those delicious brownies and decided to help himself to one. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me that he was "eating brownies for breakfast." What a smart kid! I thought that sounded like a great idea and had one myself. Mmmm - gotta love those mint brownies. A delicious (though not very nutritious) breakfast. If anyone wants the recipe, just let me know and I'll post it.
Brad and I went to the Kenny Chesney concert last night and it was awesome! He sounded great in person and really put on a good show.
Miranda Lambert was one of the opening acts and also did a good job. We missed the other opener - Lady Antabellum - but they were on at 5:30 which was a bit too early for us to get there in time for. We really just wanted to see Kenny anyway.
He sang for over two hours non-stop and was obviously enjoying himself - which made the performance that much better. And even though it was hot - over 1oo degrees - we had so much fun! Dancing and singing along to great music. Kenny, you rock!
How extraordinary are the blessings of freedom and liberty we're able to enjoy in this wonderful nation. I'm so grateful for all those who have given so much so that we're able to have these blessings. I hope you all enjoy this great day!
A thunder storm rolled through tonight while I was reading bedtime stories with Winston. He wanted to go watch the lightening so we turned off the lights in the house and sat by the window to watch the storm. Winston was fascinated. He sat on my lap and together we stared out the window waiting for each lightening flash and then listening for the thunder to follow. It was like a spell had been cast over him. He sat so still watching and waiting. He would smile and his eyes would sparkle with each flash of lightening and boom of thunder. There were plenty of oohs and aahs. He loved it and I loved watching his reaction - utter fascination and pure enjoyment. Because our home is surrounded by mountains, the thunder echos here. I love it and I loved this special moment with my son. The storm only lasted for about ten minutes but what a perfect way to end a great day - a wonderful memory making moment. Brad's been out of town today and so it was just my little buddy and me hanging out together. I can't imagine life without this wonderful little boy.
I absolutely love this show! I've been looking forward to this year's season for months and I'm so happy that it's dance time again. I thoroughly enjoy watching the artistry and beauty of the dances, and the strength and talent of the dancers is just amazing. This is my favorite show on TV. Hooray for SYTYCD!
My sister moved to New Mexico yesterday and I miss her already. We haven't always been as close as I'd like over the years, but the last 5 or 6 years have brought us together and she is one of my best friends. I love that we are raising young boys together - something I didn't think we'd be able to do.
Thinking about my sister, brings to mind a song by Reba McEntire that I love - and always reminds me of my sisters when I hear it - called My Sister, My Friend. One of the verses goes like this:
I was thinking just today
About how we used to play
Barbie dolls and make-up
Tea parties, dress up
I remember how we'd fight
We made up and laughed all night
Wish we were kids again
My sister, my friend
Some of the best times of our childhood together were playing barbie dolls, dressing up in my mother's old dresses, dancing around the front room to my parents old 50's music, hours and hours spent swimming, sleeping out in our back yard under the stars and playing hide and seek - our favorite game. We also had our fights over clothes, toys, TV programs and having to share a room. We had so much fun together growing up - the three of us girls.
Lauri, you are so loved and will be missed dearly. Everything will work out though and you'll be back in Utah before we realize the time has passed. Enjoy the ride and in the mean time, know that you are always in my heart - My Sister, My Friend!
Today is my Dad's birthday - the first one since he passed away in February. I woke up thinking about my dad this morning and missing him. He's already been on my mind a lot the last few days - ever since Memorial Day. It feels like he's been gone for so long and yet it's only been a few months. Time has dulled the pain to just an occasional ache but I know I'll always miss him. Happy Birthday Dad. I'm so grateful to have had you as my father.
Part of his recovery was getting him up and walking around. The day after his surgery (Thursday), he could only go for about a dozen steps before he needed to lay back down again. The next day (Friday) he was feeling a little better and so that morning we went out onto the patient patio to blow bubbles - very good to clear the congestion out of the lungs the nurses said. He rode out to the patio in one of their wagons. He even got out and walked around for about ten minutes before he needed to go lay back down. After his nap, he was feeling restless and wanted to get up. They had a little trike out in the hall and he rode it up and down the halls for about 45 minutes. I was just amazed at the quick progress he had made from the day before - even just from that morning. His pain level seemed to be quickly going down and his energy was increasing. All those prayer were sure working! Here he is riding down the hall with his dad. Happy to be out and about and not stuck in his hospital bed. Enjoying his breakfast on Saturday morning just before going home. Leaving the hospital in style in one of their wagons. I really didn't think we'd be going home until Sunday afternoon and we were out of there Saturday morning. When we got home, he was running around and playing with his toys before taking a short nap. He ate pizza (his favorite meal), brought over by a dear friend and finally had a good nights sleep. Thank you again to everyone for all of their prayers on his behalf. The quick progress of his recovery is amazing and only proves that prayers really do work.
Here are some pictures of our little patient. He's such a trooper - taking everything in stride and coping very well. There have only been a few tantrums and a couple of times he's told his nurse that he thinks she's mean (but can you really blame him for that?).
Hooray! Everything went so well. Winston has a new tummy - a stronger and flatter one. His doctor feels really good with the surgery and thinks this will take care of his core muscles. After he heals, he should be able to go up and down stairs by himself, climb and run and play like any other 2 year old. I'm so happy and relieved with the outcome. Winston is so blessed - he's our little miracle. Thanks to everyone who has been praying for him. Prayers really do work.
For those who didn't know, Winston was born with a birth defect called an Omphalocele. He had a hole in is tummy and part of his intestines and liver were in a sack outside of his body. He had surgery to put everything back inside and repair the hole when he was three days old and a followup one when he was about 5 weeks old. He had to spend 10 weeks in the hospital before we were finally able to bring him home. He's been growing and doing very well in the last 2 1/2 years, but his stomach muscles were so weak from his birth defect that over time they've again pulled apart. He has limited core muscle strength and it took him longer than ususall to learn to crawl and walk. He's compensated well but still struggles with balance and can't climb or run as well as other kids his age. We've known that he would have to undergo an additional surgery for about two years but needed to wait until he was bigger and stronger. His doctors feel that he is ready and that now would be a good time for the surgery so Winston will be going in on Wednesday for abdominal repair surgery. I Hope this will be his last surgery and that there won't be any limitations on his future activities because of his weak stomach muscles. I'm so grateful we have a resource like Primary Children's Medical Center so close to home. The doctors and nurses there are amazing and have taken such wonderful care of Winston. Please keep him in your prayers throughout this next (and hopefully last) ordeal. I'll post updates as he progresses.
Being a mother is a small slice of what Heaven must be like. I absolutely love this picture my sister Lauri took of my family. Here I am in the middle of all my boys - right where I always want to be. What a wonderful gift and blessing they are to me. These boys/men inspire and challenge me. They give me so much happiness. Being their mother/wife has brought more joy and fulfillment to my life than I deserve. I'm soooo grateful to my husband for our sons and for the wonderful father he is. Just thinking about my sons makes my heart swell with gratitude for them and the incredible men/boys that they are. They've taught me so much over the years and I'm a better person thanks to them. I know that Mother's Day is supposed to be a day to celebrate mothers, but this year I'd like to celebrate being a mother - the greatest blessing in my life.
On another note, below is a poem written by my mother - the best mother in the world! My mom is an inspiration and I'm so grateful for her. Words of wisdom written by a very wise woman. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier, but am glad that I understand it now. I'll cherish and savor each day with my family.
Happy Mother's Day Mom! Thank You so very much for all that you've taught me. I'm so grateful for you and all that you do.
Today is my and Brad's 22nd anniversary. I can't believe it's been that long since we officially tied the knot. He's my best friend and my one true love and even after all these years, the sight of him and the sound of his voice still warms my heart and brightens my day. It's been twenty-two really great years. We've had our ups and downs but I wouldn't change any of it because all of our experiences have made us who we are today. I love our boys and our life together. Here's to another 22+ wonderful years to share. I'm sure the best is yet to come
I can't believe that April is already over. I've been so busy at work this past month that the time just flew by. Zack has been gone now for almost 7 months and Bo has been gone for just over 5 months. The time is going by quicker now than at first but it still feels like they've been gone for so long. I can hardly wait for Mother's Day this year. It's definitely going to be my best Mother's Day yet. Getting to talk to each of them for a whole hour - just getting to hear their voices again. What better present could a mom ask for.
Winston has become a HUGE fan of Scooby Doo and wants to watch it almost every day. He'll walk around the house saying "Scooby Doo, where are you." He also likes to pretend that he's Shaggy and I'm Scooby Doo and he'll say, "Let's go hide," and we'll go hide from the ghosts. Then, after hiding for a little while, we'll run out to go catch the ghosts. I love his imaginative mind. He makes me feel young and brings so much happiness to my life. Thank heaven for little boys!
So, as soon as I posted that I'm back and going to try and resume a normal routine, I get sick. I mean really sick. I've had pneumonia and strep throat together - at the same time. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. I was too sick to even sit at the computer. I've been on antibiotics since last Monday and am finally feeling mostly better. The doctor said that the exhaustion that I feel should last for approximately 2 weeks so I only have about one more week to go before I finally start feeling back to normal again. Hopefully. Anyway, that leads me to the title of this post. I can't wait for warm weather. The first day of Spring has come and gone and we still have snow and cold. I'm convinced that warm weather will bring good things to my life - especially good health. I love warm weather activities: boating, early morning runs, playing at the park and hikes up the canyon to name a few. I'll be glad to put all of this sickness behind me and get back to enjoying life. THINK SUMMER!
One of the towns that Bo gets to teach in is Aschaffenburg and they have a beautiful castle there. Bo sent us a couple of pictures of the castle he recently took. It's winter there now so it's not as picturesque as it can be. I went online and found a couple of pictures of the castle during the summer months. It's really beautiful and I'm already looking forward to touring the countryside with Bo when we go to pick him up when his mission is over.
So, last Friday, Brad had a staff meeting and he was assigned to bring dessert. He wanted to bring something delicious and unique to impress his coworkers so of course I went online to find a recipe. I came across a recipe called White Berry Pie and after reading through it, decided it sounded really good. The original recipe didn't make that much filling so I decided to modify it a little and below is the recipe I came up with. Brad's coworkers absolutely loved it. I had to make another one over the weekend so that I could have some too. It's quick and easy to make and tastes even better than it looks - and it looked so delicious! I know this one will become one of our family favorites in the years to come. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
WHITE CHOCOLATE BERRY PIE
12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips, divided (reserve ½ cup for topping)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled
1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust
1 teaspoon shortening
Place the chocolate chips (less the ½ cup reserved for topping) in a microwave-safe dish. Cook for 1 minute on high in the microwave and stir thoroughly. Continue to heat and stir at 15 second intervals until the chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like. (Chill the bowl & beaters in the freezer ahead of time)
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Quickly stir in the warm, melted chocolate until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream until completely blended. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Place the berries, point side up on top.
In the microwave, melt the remaining ½ cup of white chocolate chips along with 1 teaspoon of shortening, starting at 15 second intervals and stirring after each time until smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate all over the berries and pie and then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Variations: Can use milk chocolate in place of the white or drizzle with milk chocolate. Can also use sliced strawberries to cover the entire top of the pie or mix it up with whatever berries you like.
I've been a little out of sorts since my father passed away and just haven't felt like blogging. I'm beginning to get past that now and don't feel quite so emotional all the time. It's time for me to try to get back to some of my normal routines but bear with me if some of my posts don't make sense. This experience has changed me in ways I'm still discovering and dealing with so we'll just have to see how things go.
It's been great to hear from Zack about all of the experiences he's having in Japan. A few weeks ago, Zack emailed us a few pictures from where he's at in Tokyo. Pretty sunset with Mount Fuji in the distance. A shrine they visited. The doors to the shrine. Beautiful detail. Zack said he was feeling nostalgic and just had to buy a Kit Kat bar and a Dr. Pepper - his favorite snack before he left on his mission. I love the Japanese characters on the wrappers.
I woke up last night at exactly 2:00 am - almost the exact time that my father passed away last week. There must have been some part of my subconscious that would not allow me to sleep past this first landmark and I lay awake for a while just feeling the loss of my father. Only one week and it feels like at least a year. On another note, today was my first day back at work and even though I'm still so tired and my heart still aches, it helped to be back doing what I'm used to doing and being kept busy. I know time will heal the ache so I'll just take it one day at a time for now.
What I'm Thankful for:
How beautiful the fresh fallen snow looks in the morning sunshine. Kind and caring friends who haven't been afraid to express their sympathy - it really does help to know that others care. My wonderful children who really are the light of my life. The knowledge that through the gospel I'll be able to be with my father again.
Last night was my Dad's viewing and today was his funeral. I don't even know how many people I've talked to, hugged and cried with in the last two days. It's been both comforting and exhausting. My father has touched many, many lives and so many people came to express their condolences at his passing. Dad would have been pleased to have so many friends and family around and I think he's happy with how things turned out today. We were blessed with a break in the bad weather. It was sunny and calm - a fitting day for Dad. My emotions have changed so often over the last four days - Ok one moment and then not the next. These constant changing emotions have been so hard to deal with.
In trying to prepare for our talks, my sisters got together and I tried to remember as much as we could about Dad. That's one thing I didn't know about grieving. Your brain blocks your memories for a little while (probably as a defense mechanism) and it's hard to remember anything. The other thing I didn't expect is the physical impact losing my father would have on me. I knew about the emotional aspect, but I didn't realize how hard it is on you physically to lose someone close to you. Some days it's been all I could do just to drag myself out of bed to face the day - I've been dealing with terrible back aches and headaches. And eating has been a hard thing to do - I've either had stomach aches or felt nauseous when I've eaten.
Now that the funeral is over, I'll be spending some time at home this weekend just trying to absorb all that's happened this past week and giving my body a much needed rest. I'm so grateful for family and for the gospel. We may be sad at our loss, but we also know that Dad is in a great place and that he is happy. He's been reunited with his parents and one of his best friend who passed away several years ago. I'm sure he's also helping to prepare his soon to be new great-grandson for his trip to earth in April. So even though we are all sad for us, we take comfort in knowing that Dad is happy and has probably already started on his next mission.
Things I am Thankful for:
All of the prayers on our behalf. The love and support of our friends and family. My beautiful little boy who makes me smile when I feel like crying. My kind and loving husband who has been so strong and supportive. My brothers and sisters and their spouses- this has been so terribly hard but would have been unbearable without all of their love and support. My wonderful and loving parents who have blessed my life more than they know.
I lost my father yesterday morning. He had a massive heart attack and died almost instantly. This was so unexpected and I'm having such a hard time believing that he's really gone. I feel lost - like I'm a little girl again and I want my daddy. I knew this day would eventually come but not so soon. It's so much harder to face than I had ever imagined and I'm so very sad. He was a good man and a wonderful father. I looked up to him so much and feel blessed to have him as my father. I will miss him more than I can express. I love you Dad. Thank you for your love and your example. Good Luck on this next phase of your life and I'll be looking forward to the day when we'll be reunited again.
I love being a mom. When I had Zack and Bo, I was so young. I loved my new role and was impatient to see what came next. I couldn't wait until they could crawl, walk, talk, go to school, etc... As a young mom, I relished being the "super mom" - being able to juggle so many things and packing as much as I could into every day. I missed out on so many of the little things. Just sitting together - sharing time together one on one. This time around with Winston, I have a different perspective. I realize now how quickly children grow up. I still can't believe that Zack and Bo are grown and gone. They have become wonderful young men and I'm so proud of them but at the same time, I miss the little boys they used to be. Winston's antics bring back so many memories of Zack and Bo when they were young. I find myself feeling rather nostalgic several times a week. I know now that time is precious and should be savored not rushed. I relish the time I get to have with Winston and only wish that I could spend more with him. He's my little buddy and has been such a blessing in my life. When I found out I was pregnant with Winston, I couldn't help but wonder what Heavenly Father was thinking. I was too old to start over and Zack and Bo were almost grown. Now I understand that He knew exactly what I needed - what our family needed. Winston has truly blessed all of our lives and continues to do so every day. Having him around reminds me of what is really important. There aren't words to express the gratitude I feel to and for my children. I really do love being a mom.
Winston has been sick off and on since just before Christmas. He came down with the Croup two days before Christmas. Next he came down with a bad cold right before New Years. Then he came down with pneumonia a few weeks after that. He's had a hard month. The pneumonia was brought on by RSV and his lungs got so bad he ended up in the hospital on oxygen and receiving some pretty strong antibiotics. He absolutely hated the hospital and made sure that all of the nurses and doctors knew exactly how he felt about being there. Boy, if looks could kill . . . Let's just say he was very, very happy to get to come home to recuperate. That is one benefit from all of our hospital experiences. His doctor allowed us to take him home because we are "medically savvy" enough to be able to monitor him. He had to come home on oxygen and we checked his progress over the next week. He's doing well now and is completely off of the oxygen. Hopefully this will be our last trip to the hospital for quite a while. Convalescing at home.
He loved laying on his pillow and watching either ScoobyDoo or Blue's Clues.
The oxygen monitor we had to use to check his oxygen levels.
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong because at some point in your life, you will have been all of these."
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson