Saturday, December 19, 2009

Visions of sugar plums

Last night we took the three older boys on a special outing. We ate dinner at the Garden Restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for dinner and then headed over to the Capitol Theater to see the Nutcracker.

I am so glad we had a table next to the window or else we would have been bothering all of the other patrons because the boys would have been running over to the window anyway to see the lights at Temple Square. We were able to see them turn on and it is an amazing view from up top!

I wasn't sure how the boys would like the ballet but they loved it. They started getting a bit bored around the pas de deux, but luckily that is pretty much the end. My favorite thing about the whole night was sitting next to Luke during the performance. He was so excited and had a ton to say. Here are some of my favorites:

  • During the applause that occurred after the little orchestral introductory prelude before the curtains open: "That's it?"

  • "When are they going to talk?"

  • After the fight scene between the mice and the Nutcracker, kindof out of the blue:
"It's a small nutcracker."
Me: "Hmmm?"
Luke: "How did the prince fit in there?"

  • During the scene of the Snow Queen (that I mistakenly told  him was the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy):
"Is it raining sugar?"
Me: "No, it's snow."
Luke: "Oh, I thought it would be sugar since it is the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."

  • The huge sigh during the REAL dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

  • "It's over?!?"

When we were walking back to the car, Luke also let me in on a little secret. He told me that he had been scared to see the Nutcracker. When I asked him why, he told me he thought it would be wooden puppets dancing around on strings. I am glad the actual performance exceeded his expectations.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Luckily for Liam, Santa checks his list twice

As I was walking into my room yesterday, I noticed something on the floor next to the bed. I walked closer and realized what it was.

I wondered to myself how a dog could have gotten into my house and deposited something on the floor and then left unnoticed. I then decided to ask the only other logical culprit in the house what had happened.

Me: "Liam, what is this."
Liam: "Poop."
Me: "Where do we poop?"
Liam: "In the toilet."
Me: "Then why did you poop on the floor?"
Liam: " I was busy playing Playhouse Disney."

This was before preschool. After school he poured his entire full glass of apple juice inside a container that had a hole in it. Obviously, the container didn't hold the juice very well.

Luckily for him, I found his emergency backpack that he had packed himself hanging on the front door. In it was an entire loaf of bread, my tub of butter, a jar of peanut butter, a pair of sweatpants, a half gallon jug of water about half way full, a Thomas train, a small Nerf basketball, a capri sun, and a blanket. I had to smile at what his little mind wanted in an emergency. Justin had him put the backpack on and asked him if he could run with it if there was an emergency. Liam tried but since it was super heavy he said: "I'll just leave my backpack on the ground and then I can run really fast."

This boy is always thinking.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh, Hansel and Gretel have a huge decision

We decorated gingerbread houses the other night. I did it easy with graham crackers but they were fun nonetheless. My friend told me about a super easy way to keep the crackers together--just melt sugar and dip the edges of the cracker in the syrup and voila! It is like glue. The frosting was super easy too--just 3 egg whites to a pound of powdered sugar. I put a bit of cream of tartar in for good measure. These are the results:
Santa's mansion by Andrew:

He told me that it was a mansion because he has a big "S" in his yard just like rich people.

M&M and gumdrop mountain by Luke:

This picture makes me think that his name was just a misnomer for "Gingerbread House of Terror". Have YOU ever seen a snowman with daggers coming out of its eyes?

Santa's Wonderland: by Nick

Hansel and Gretel, beware! (or the house that U built): by Me

There is a U on the back :)

Liam just liked the candy and would eat it off his house just as quickly as he put it on.

Justin's is also unnamed but it looks like his house is in a bad part of town or Santa just had a heart attack. Either way, better warn the kiddies that Santa probably won't be around this year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Santa Claus came to town!

Santa visited my in-laws house on Saturday the 5th. He didn't visit yours? Well, I don't want to judge or anything but maybe your kids aren't as good as mine. Or my nieces and nephews. I am just saying...

We had an awesome time for their annual Santa party. We had delicious food and all the grandkids decorated the "kid's" Christmas tree with Grandpa handing out the ornaments.

I think they did a great job!

And of course, the big man himself came to distribute darling Christmas jammies and cute elf hats for the cold weather ahead.

Liam going to give Santa a hug

This is Liam's first year of really "getting" Christmas.This is Liam's face before the present. So excited.
That quickly deteriorated when he
realized that there was not a toy wrapped up in a neat little package. I guess I should have
prepped him first.

Seneka wasn't so sure

Every year there is a story that the kids can act out. Andrew, Nick, and Halle were the characters this year. Andrew was Bob ("I don't know"), Nick was Dingle ("ding a ling a ling"), and Halle was the witch ("hee hee hee").

Singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

All the kids (except for grumpy Liam still upset that all he received was jammies) in their cute hats.

I also came home to some wonderful news! My sister who lives in New Hampshire went into labor and was eight centimeters when I called her at ten o'clock our time.  She delivered baby Olive at 1:02 a.m. (so just about an hour after I talked to her on the East coast!) on December 6th. Yay! Both mom and baby are doing well. Congrats Beckstroms and we love you!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Zoo-tastic lights

Seriously, if you have never been to Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo, you should put it on the top of your to do list. It is enchanting and super empty (at times that can be a bit creepy ) and the animals that you never really get to see awake are putting on their show. Our favorites that we saw were the rattlesnake that was violently shaking his rattle, the porcupines that were walking around and would put their quills up when they got nervous, the mother tiger giving her three cubs a good cleaning, and the cool owls with their big, yellow eyes.

The walk down the big hill was my favorite-the trees
looked amazing

Erika and Liam

He had the elephant all to himself!

The cubs and their mom-not the best pic through the glass

A dark family pic chocolate. Thanks dad-we needed it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So thankful.

This is going to be an extremely long post. Have you ever had a weekend in which you were enlightened? I just had one and I don't think I will be able to put the words down correctly to give it justice, but it was an amazing journey.

Thanksgiving weekend just ended yesterday for me. I was scheduled to work on Thanksgiving right in the middle of both our families dinners and then worked everyday until yesterday-it sounds like a lot, I know, but I am so grateful for the hours that can be few and far between these days and I had two very memorable patients that made me very grateful for multiple aspects of my life. I will spare everyone all of the gory details so I will list the top five.

One patient arrived just as I was coming to work on Friday morning. She was contracting regularly and was dilating with her first baby only at 20 weeks gestation. I always get a little nauseous when this happens because there is nothing we can do for the sweet baby since it is too early. We just wrap the baby up in a homemade blanket that another family has thoughtfully made because of a loss that they have had and let the mom love him until he passes. With this patient, the doctors pulled out all the stops and we slowed the contractions down but unfortuneatly, she delivered the next day.

1. I am thankful for my children. I used to take pregnancy for granted. I rarely heard about pregnancy complications growing up, my mom never had problems with her five pregnancies, and I guess I never thought I had a reason to worry. My first three pregnancies were relatively easy--they did have their glitches but once I found out I was pregnant, I never once thought that I would not end up with a healthy, beautiful baby at the end. With Nick's first ultrasound, I just thought we were going to see what his gender was so I would have been absoluetly floored had they found anything wrong. Yes, I was very, very naive.

My fourth pregnancy was the one that made me realize how fleeting life can be. I was a little more sick with this particular pregnancy but other than that, I just expected to deliver near my due date, sometime in June of 2004. I would look at the baby all the time at work, moving and growing. We found out he was a boy two days before I didn't see his heartbeat. I felt so gross inside. My ears started closing off and I was shaking- I just remember the uncontrolable shaking because there was nothing I could do to fix it. I was induced and delivered a very small and delicate little boy the next day, our little Gabe. I had another miscarriage after that in October of 2004 and then we found out I was pregnant with Liam a year and 15 days after we had our loss. We definately have always cherished our children but after losing two and working so hard to get Liam here, it helped us realize that children are true miracles and made us that much more grateful for our darling boys.

On Sunday, I started out my day admitting a patient who was a drug addict and was completely out of control. I try not to judge people but people who admit using meth and marijuana daily for the last six weeks of their pregnancy make it hard to be a loving and supportive nurse while they are only one centimeter and hurting like crazy. She fired me after I missed her first IV but then I redeemed myself after only having to try one other time. After we got her the epidural, she was quite pleasant and I was becoming choked up as she relayed her life story to the midwife. She was born to a sixteen year old mother who abused her and couldn't take care of her so kicked her out at twelve years old. She was started on antidepressants at eleven. Her mom was put in jail and had another baby while incarcerated so my patient raised him when she was fifteen until he was 18 months old.

2. I am grateful for my wonderful, loving parents and that I was able to be a child when I was little.
I look back on my childhood and realize that I was spoiled. My family was middle class and my parents worked very hard for what we had but I never wanted for anything. I was fed, clothed, had hot baths, a warm house, and most importantly, love. I am grateful that I had a stable family and that I knew who my parents were and that my mom knew who the father of her children were. My dad worked and my mom stayed home to take care of us-I lived in a nice, secure bubble. I was never abused, was not a slave or a prosititute to feed my parent's drug habit, I was able to be a kid. I walked to the corner market with friends to buy candy, rode my bike all over the neighborhood, played all day and never had a care in the world.

The midwife probed further and asked about her drug habit and if she would like to quit. The patient started crying and stated that she and her boyfriend had been sober for a while and she just relapsed six weeks prior. She said she feels so much better when she is clean and when she gets high, it is not the same. It isn't fun, it is because her body thinks she needs it and so she complies. One thing in her favor, she said she only uses clean needles and luckily, all of her tests for HIV and HepC came back clean.

3. I am so grateful that I have never done drugs or tasted alcohol.  And going along with this, I am undeniably grateful for the gospel. I am not in any way trying to be offensive. I have many friends who drink. They are lovely. This should say it all but I am grateful that I am keeping my body that much healthier by keeping these things out. I don't have to worry about overdosing or getting any of the numerous diseases that come with IV drug use.
I love my Heavenly Father so much. He has helped me through good times and bad and I am grateful for the stability that my religion provides. I will not go much into it because I know my own testimony, but being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been an amazing blessing in my life.

The boyfriend she was with was super supportive and they have had an off and on relationship for nine years. He was one of the only men in her life who had not ever abused her. He is not the father of the baby and on her prenatal record she didn't state him as the current boyfriend she was with at the time of her appointment.

4. I am grateful for Justin. Not only am I grateful that I know who the father of my children is, I am just grateful for him. Our relationship has had mulitple bumps--some have been huge potholes--but we have been able to manuver around and through them and our relationship now is stronger than ever. He is always wanting to do what is best for me and the boys and is a great example to the boys of how a wonderful husband and father should be.

Her step father (one of them) and his wife offered to adopt the baby and would not let her see the baby unless she was clean, motivation to have a better life for her and her baby. Her boyfriend's mother seemed pretty grounded, my patient lived with her before she ran away two weeks prior and boy, did she get a talking to about running away.

5 I am grateful for my extended family and friends. Both sides of our family have loving parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins that would and do help out when the going gets rough. I have dear friends that are like my family. Thank you for all you do!

I hope my patient's story will have a happy ending but I do know that my life is pretty darn incredible and for that, I am so thankful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Snowmen and a seriously good comeback

Last week Liam really wanted to make a snowman. I have become a bit lazy in my old age and this particular activity did not appeal to me at all. But with most outside activities in the cold, once you get out there with all of your gear on and get going, we had a lot of fun. We even made two-Liam named them Mr. Snowman and His Little Friend, Buddy.

Mr. Snowman does not have a tumor, Liam just gave him a prominent

Last night at dinner, Liam was telling us a story about how he and Luke were jumping on the couch and then jumping off the couch onto the cushions. Justin looked at Luke and asked him why he thought it would be a good idea to do this. Luke tried to defend himself by telling us that Liam had taken the cushions off and he was just playing along. Justin asked him how old he was ("seven") and how old is Liam ("four") and being older he should think about things before he does them and not just follow along.

I then told him he needed to be a good example for his little brother and then asked him the age old question that many other mothers have asked:

"If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?"
Luke: "With a parachute."

His comment left us speechless.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two random comments by the boys...

Last night, Justin took the boys to Iceberg for a treat. I had some people over at my house last night so when they got home I wasn't able to talk to them about what they had chosen. We were talking about it this morning while getting ready for school and I asked Luke what kind of shake he got. He said "Cookie dough, but I didn't really like the dough. Cookie dough shakes have cookie dough in them." But disgusting or not, he ate the whole thing.

Then...the sinks in the master bathroom are constantly covered in toothpaste. Last night as I was cleaning, Liam saw me scrubbing the gobs and gobs of paste off the counter. He said, "Mom, we need touch and brush." (I guess it is a contraption that attaches to your wall and you push your toothbrush up against it and it dispenses just the right amount of paste without getting it all over.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My dad reminded me tonight of a funny comment that Liam made a couple weeks ago.

My dad was holding Liam at Nick's football game and Liam was nuzzled into my dad's neck. He lifted up his head and said: "Grandpa, you smell like soap."
My dad leaned over and sniffed Liam and said: "Liam, you smell like diesel fuel."
Liam: "I know."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My first born

My life was forever altered on November 9, 1998 at 12:52 p.m. No other moment in my life would change me in this way and nothing could prepare me for the stress, the unconditional love, the tears, the incredible joy and frustration that would come along with this new calling.

I became a mother.

I was handed this perfect, helpless, beautiful boy and I was completely smitten.  And now, he is eleven years old and I love him more than ever.

Nick, I love you for the young man you are becoming. You have such a big heart and although you know how to push buttons and be a big pain in the rear, you really want to do the right thing and be a good person. I love that in front of your friends at your class halloween party I was helping at you came and gave me a big hug and let Liam hang around with you and sit on your lap. Your teacher came up to me that day and told me that you are such a big help and so sweet to a girl in your class that was adopted about a year ago from China and struggles sometimes. You help her with her classwork and you make sure that she has a friend to play with at recess.
I love that you are nice to your brothers most of the time.
You came home from school the other day so excited because you received straight A's on your report card. You then said: "If I keep this up I can get into a good college." Even though you know how to have fun and be a goof ball, you have a good head on your shoulders and think into the future and what will be good for you.
You are a perfectionist. This can be good and bad because you want to be perfect at everything you do. You are also very competitive and this adds to the perfectionist spirit you have so you are either really easy or really hard to live with around certain events like football games.
Lately we have been having some really good conversations before you go to bed. You were upset a couple days ago because a sixth grader threw your football over the fence because you accidentally hit him when you were passing the ball to your friend. You had tried to get it but the fence had barbed wire on it. You didn't want me to tell anyone because you didn't want anyone to get in trouble so I told you to go to the office and tell them you accidentally threw it over the fence. You looked at me and said you couldn't do that because it would be lying. Luckily, your good friend was able to get the ball and for you and you saved your integrity.
I love you so much and am excited to see what the next year brings!

Having banana splits on his birthday!

We celebrated Nick and Andrew's birthdays with the family on Sunday night. We are so lucky to have such great family who support us and the boys and we love to be with them. We missed the Beckstrom fam who are living in New Hampshire at the moment and Mistie and Seneka--hope Seneka is feeling better!

The party was great--we had really good food and I made these little ditties...I am so proud of myself!

For the recipe, go here

Ashton, Luke, and Jackson


Luke, Ashton, Nick, Andrew, Halle, Liam

Happy birthday to you!

Ashton as Darth Vader

Erika and Matt

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy birthday Andrew!

Nine years ago on November 8, 2000, I went in to have an induction for my second baby boy for IUGR and low AFI (Intrauterine growth restriction and low amniotic fluid). I had been on strict bedrest from 24 weeks until 34 weeks and then it was modified up until this day at 37.4 weeks. The doctor said a good goal for me would be to make it until 26 weeks. I did not know then what I know now and I am relieved and so grateful that he did not come then.

I went in for a routine non stress test on Monday the 7th and found my level was around 3 and a normal one is between 10-25. My doctor was out of town that day and so they wanted me to wait until he returned home to be induced. I remember being nervous going home because my doctor said that he would induce me if my fluid was less than 5. Luckily he was a friend of the family and returned home the next day and he told me to go on in.

I arrived at the hospital and I am pretty sure they were slammed. When I went to check in they asked me who my doctor was and if I had an appointment. I said no, Dr. B just told me to come on in, they replied: "Oh, that's typical" and  had me wait in the waiting room. I got into my room at about 10:00 and was started on pitocin. I remember asking the nurse just how long this was going to take because the baby has to be born before midnight since I had my first son's second birthday the next day. She told me the typical answer that I now give my patients: "Oh, labor can take a while. Once you hit four centimeters we want you to dilate at least a centimeter an hour, but you are only two centimeters now..." I thought to myself that if they did share a birthday, we would just lie to them and tell them their birthdays were on different days to let them have their own special day.

I got my epidural at 1:00 and after that I think I was the least important patient for a while because I don't remember much happening, just loving feeling comfortable. Right before 4:00, Justin went to go grab something to eat and at 4:00 I received a phone call from my mom: "Why isn't the baby here yet?"
"Sometimes these things take time, mom, I will call you when he gets here."
And as if he heard the phone call and wanted to please everyone, my water broke. Holy pressure. Pushed the call light. Pushed it again. Twenty minutes later the charge nurse came in and checked my cervix..."Oh, the baby is right there!" Really? Because it feels like my bum is going to fall off. Page Justin overhead. Page the doctor. All present and accounted for? Okay, push. 4:58 pm. Boy.

Nine years later you continue effortlessly to make people happy. You love collecting things--it is hard keeping up with the changing of all the fads...Pokemon cards, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and now Bakugan. You love legos. And you still love, love Star Wars.

My darling Andrew, you are such a sweet, sweet boy. You are always concerned about others and to give an example of how much you care about others and their feelings is at your friend party, you received 200 tickets for being a birthday boy so you could pick out a cool prize. You pooled your tickets with two friends and one of their little brothers and ended up with just 100 tickets in the end. Not one complaint, not one remorseful thought. You just wanted to help out your friends and give them more than they could get on their own.
You get so concerned when others get upset and try to make things better by offering solutions or even just a hug.
You love with all of your heart and try to do what is right all the time. You do your best and work hard to get what you want.
I love you dearly and am so glad you are my not so little nine year old boy.