Monday, October 31, 2011

*first day 2011*

I have a child in seventh grade.

It freaks me out a bit. How did I get so old?

I was so happy when their elementary charter school announced that they would be opening a middle school. There are definately pros and cons to any type of school but I have heard stories about the public school that Nick would have been attending. And they weren't good stories.

One big bonus of attending the new school was his group of friends were also going to join him. This made me immensely happy. I am so blessed that he found sincerely good boys to hang out with.

This little man started kindergarten this year if it wasn't already obvious from the huge sign on the door.

He brought his walkie talkie to join him in this monumental event.

He has been so excited all summer to go to "kinnergarden." Since I am back tracking just a bit and he has been in school a while, I can say that he has loved it. His teacher is amazing and does learning plans that blow my mind.

Our back to school dinner consisted of french dip sandwiches, steak fries with fry sauce, corn on the cob, yummy sodas, and for desert we had strawberry shortcake.

Nick said his goal is to get straight As.
Andrew doesn't want any missing work.
Luke said ditto to Andrew's.
Liam just wants to have fun.

My goal is to do my best to be with it enough to help them achieve their goals. So far I think we are doing okay.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

*s'more please*

Liam's birthday celebrations went on into the weekend (and actually even longer since his friend party was a little later into September) as we celebrated with our family.

Welcome to Camp Oogabooga.

My mother in law graciously hosted our party in her backyard. I originally was toying with the idea of having the party in the canyon but am glad I decided against it. It was super cozy at the Scott's house and near the very end of the party it began to sprinkle a bit so it was nice to have the option to retreat indoors.

We had a fun activity for the kids that involved glow in the dark paint while we were waiting for everyone to arrive. It was a little hectic so I didn't get any pictures but the finished product looked more or less like this:

To go along with the camping theme we lit up the firepit and gathered around it to make s'mores.

I adore s'mores. I think that they are one of the best treats in the entire world.

I put together a bar that had quite a few possibilities for s'more combinations.
There were plain, chocolate and cinnamon graham crackers. Marshmellow choices were regular, chocolate swirl, caramel swirl, toasted coconut, and strawberry. The candy centers consisted of milk chocolate hershey bars, dark chocolate hershey bars, reeces peanut butter cups, york peppermint patties, and to add a bit more variety there were bananas and oreos as well. I found itty bitty mint marshmellows but didn't know how they would fare getting roasted, maybe next time I will try to make my own minty delights.

I couldn't decide if I liked the cinnamon graham-banana-reeces-plain marshmellow or the chocolate graham-coconut marshmellow-dark chocolate combo better. Both are highly recommended.

We put lights up around the table to create the illusion we were out under the stars.

It was such a fun night. Sitting around a campfire visiting and laughing with people I love is one of my most favorite things in the world.

I think everyone else had a good time too.

Most importantly, Liam loved it.

Being the center of attention has never been a problem for him though.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



Liam is officially a little boy. He has been impatiently waiting for this magical number to come because it means kindergarten. And getting bigger muscles. And a visit from the tooth fairy. He has not had a visit yet, nor is her presence needed anytime soon, but he is sure wiggling his bottom front left tooth like there is no tomorrow saying it is getting looser.

He is such a delightful little being. There are so many things that I love about him and so many things that frustrate me as well. But they all mesh together nicely to create the person he is.

I am so happy that he is so versatile. It is a blessing with my crazy schedule and running the boys here, there, and everywhere. I don't feel I give him the attention that he needs because I am tired much of the time which makes me sad because this is the last year that I will have any of my kids at home at all during the day. I feel guilty that I make excuses why we don't go out all the time playing the day away when I should be relishing this opportunity. I need to live in the now and not worry so much about losing a couple hours of sleep here and there. That I can catch up on...this time I will never get back.

I love to have him help me in the kitchen. He enjoys making cookies and he is a mean egg cracker. And he always remembers to wash his hands after he is done breaking them.

I love feeling his little hand grab mine whenever we are walking anywhere.

I love how his eyelashes touch the lenses of his glasses.

He still will climb into bed with us, more often than not lately. It is Justin's fault but he snuggles with me. I am tempted to shove him over to the other side of the bed but I don't and I am too tired to walk him back to his own. So I smell his stinky breath for a few minutes and then drift back off to sleep.

I love that he is still in the stage where he mixes up his words and says funny things like "Maverick store" for "fabric store." That one took me a while to figure out.

He is good at math. He is getting good at reading and very frustrated with all of the different rules of the English language.

He leaves his mark everywhere, preferably with a black permanent marker.

I love the look on his face when he is trying to figure out how something works. He cocks his head to one side with his mouth open and raises one eyebrow as he focuses on the different gears and inner workings of the machine. He wants to be a "fixer" like those on the television show How It's Made.

He is a good friend. I love watching him interact with all of his classmates in school. I walk into his class to get him and as we walk by all the cars of the carpools there are always multiple kids yelling out the window "Bye, Liam!" I love it.

He loves Dr. Pepper, peanut butter and honey sandwiches for breakfast, and Spongebob. His movie of choice right now is Monsters Inc. He sings along to country in the car. He gives amazing hugs.

How I love this quirky, charming, sweet, sassy, naughty, and delicious boy.

His breakfast was happy to see him.

He wanted a new scooter for his birthday because he left his other new one that he received for his last birthday at a park where we were watching a baseball game. It wasn't exactly the same as the old one, but it has bigger wheels and a little place to rest your back foot. He thought it was awesome.

He also wanted a happy napper, not to be confused with the pillow pet.

We walked (and rode) over to Iceberg to have lunch. I am glad that it was empty because he rode his scooter around and around and around the joint to his heart's content.

I love how he is holding his drink. So manly.

His new glasses even came in on his birthday. He was so excited to pick these up just in time for school to start. I think they make him look so distinguished.

I worked the night of his birthday so the next day my dad came and picked him up to take him out to lunch to McDonalds.

Then for dinner we had Liam's requested culinary delights: spaghetti with meatballs, garlic rolls, salad with cucumbers, carrots, ranch dressing, and crust (croutons). And he requested a lego cake.

It was a pathetic looking thing but it passed the test.

Happy birthday little man.

Monday, October 24, 2011

*sweet tooth*

Our family has a slight obsession.

Actually, it is a pretty intense one.

Have you heard of Kid History? We think it is pretty darn awesome.

The premise of this series is simple. There are family stories told over and over around the dinner table and at family get togethers that everyone knows well. Even the kids. These brothers film their kids telling these beloved tales and then use their voices as they reinact the adventures.

If you want to indulge yourself, take a peek at their latest endeavor.

The geniouses of these videos had a premiere to promote this gem and I bought tickets earlier in the summer. I feel totally bad because I ditched Luke while he was in the hospital with Justin and took the other boys to see it. I know that is rude but within the last year I have bought tickets to 3 events that we have not been able to make it to and I refused to waste my money again.

I promised Luke we would take him to the next one. And the boys got him autographs which soothed his little heart a bit.

People were dressed up like various characters featured in the different episodes.

It was so fun to see all of the actors and hear their real voices.

Andrew was so excited to meet all of the actors and get their autographs. They were all so nice and thanked us for coming.





& Brett.

We cannot wait to see what the next episode will bring!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

*stupid appendix*

The day after we went to Lagoon, Luke began complaining of his sides hurting.

He didn't want to eat, was a little nauseous, and had a low grade fever. All he wanted to do was lay on the couch and rest.

I figured he caught some virus from Lagoon.

I gave him Ibuprofen during the day, he was able to sleep at night but on Tuesday evening he insisted his symptoms were getting worse. I bought some laxatives thinking he hadn't had a good poop in a while. I made plans to take him to the doctor in the morning.

Before bed, Justin asked me if it could be his appendix. I didn't think so but looked up the symptoms online and some of them matched, some of them didn't. He wasn't complaining of a specific, right sided, holy cow this is the most pain I have felt in my life kind of pain. But it did put a little worry in the back of my mind. I made beds on the couch--one for me and one for Luke--and told him that if he was in pain during the night that he could wake me up and I would take him to the emergency room. He nodded off to sleep as the ibuprofen kicked in and I followed suit and drifted off around 11:00 pm.

Tap...tap. "Mom?"

"What bud?" I glanced at the clock. 1:00 am.

"I can't wait for the doctor."

So we grabbed a blanket and headed over to the Riverton Hospital ER and he looked pale and yucky but walked in. They poked and prodded him, started and IV, drew labs, and gave him morphine. With a white count of 26 along with other diagnostic tests we received a diagnosis of appendicitis and instructions to proceed directly to Primary Children's Hospital. They were so positive that they didn't even order a CT scan of his abdomen.

Sweet. Called in sick to work. Called Justin to tell him the news. By this time it was 3:30 am.

We made it to Primary's and they poked and prodded him and luckily were able to use the labs that were drawn prior to our arrival.

Justin arrived and we hung out in the ER for a couple hours until they transferred us to the Children's Surgical Unit on the third floor. Luke would be having surgery sometime that day.

He was made as comfortable as possible while he was waiting and even was able to play a game of hospital bingo.

We were told there was a surgery cancellation at 10:00 so we would be rolling back around 11 or so. Luke was beside himself he was so nervous and it was heartbreaking. There was nothing we could say that would calm him down. We just said a prayer and watched the anesthesiologist take him through the doors to the operating room. Then we said another prayer. And waited.

He was in surgery for about and hour and a half and we began to get a little worried because they told us it would be an hour tops. I started thinking the worst but then they finally came to tell us he was coming out of the recovery room and would be transferred back to his room on the CSU. I went to go meet him and Justin went to talk to the surgeon to debrief.

The surgeon explained to Justin that they grade the infection from a ruptured appendix from 1 to 5. She told him Luke's was a 5 but if there was a number 6, that would have been it. They weren't able to get all the infection out but started him on some heavy duty antibiotics to hopefully get rid all of it. She asked Justin if Luke walked into the hospital. Justin answered that he did. She told him we had a strong, brave little boy. She said that for his abdomen to look the way it did that he was probably in the worst pain imaginable and most adults take an ambulance or crawl into the ER when this happens.

It made me cry when he told me this. I cannot believe that I didn't take him in earlier. Luckily everyone I encountered made me feel better and tried to tell me that I am not a craptastic mom.

He had a rough start. They placed a PICC line for TPN and antibiotics on Thursday, he had a NG tube placed on Friday because he was vomiting up so much bile. He was in so much pain all the time and he would cry out: "They said that I would feel better after my surgery, not worse!" I hated not being able to take away his pain. That was the absolute worst part.

They started him walking on Thursday which he hated. But he did it anyway. Four times a day.

We had an incredible view of the valley which I appreciated but then began to loathe at the same time. I was resentful that real life could go on while we were stuck inside. I would try to imagine where all the different destinations cars were going to and adventures they were having. I then put everything in perspective and was instantly contrite. Luke would get better. There were many patients in this hospital that their parents couldn't say the same statement about. This experience forced me to slow down and weed out the extraneous activities to just focus on what was important. To be honest, looking back, it was exactly what I needed.

We had a ton of visitors. He had most the day of his surgery but I felt weird taking pictures of Luke with his loved ones while he was incoherent. We also were blessed that in the approximately 279 hours that he was there, he was only alone for 4 of them. We are grateful for all those that watched and played with our kids, sat with Luke while I had to run other kids to appointments, brought us dinners, brought cute little gifts for Luke, that our boys are so flexible, and prayed for our family. We cannot express our love for you enough.

We are also immensely grateful for the care we received from Primary Childrens. They are outstanding. The doctors and nurses were phenomenal and I was especially impressed with their child life program. They were frequently coming in to check to see if they could bring any toys in for Luke to play with and they brought activities for the other boys to do to while they were visiting. They totally got Nick hooked on Monopoly.

There is also nothing like a sweet, goofy older brother to help bring out Luke's smile. I can't remember why Andrew was up there by himself that day but his kindhearted spirit was just what the doctor ordered. He played legos with Luke forever and I just watched their interactions with contentment.

Having your own Playstation in your room doesn't hurt either.

Little by little he began to get better. His NG tube came out which was good and bad since he was still vomiting quite a bit a couple days after it was out. After being threatened with placing another one, the vomiting ceased. He had his periferal IV taken out on Monday and took a walk all the way down to the playroom on Tuesday. He even got his JP drain out since his wound drainage had decreased so much and there was no evidence of infection.

He had an xray done on Tuesday as well that told us that nothing was blocking his intestines and that it was just time until he began to poop. The infection had been very isolated in the area where his large and small intestine met and so nothing would be able to move through until that section woke up.

We increased his walks to six times a day and I would not allow him to have morphine anymore. This was hard because I felt like a mean mom but morphine makes your stomach sleepy. We used a ton of heating packs and I would make him try to use the bathroom every time he got up. I had not been as obsessed with my child's bowel habits since he had been a newborn.

He hated me for a minute.

But, the vomiting was gone by Thursday, he had popcicles on Friday, and something magical happened. He finally pooped.

No, I did not capture that lovely moment on film. But I have this cute picture instead.

From there it was easy peasy. Saturday he showed off the gameroom to his brothers, ate jello, ramen, and crackers for lunch, a smoothie for a snack, and his long awaited cheeseburger and fries for dinner. All of these were partial meals, mind you, but it was such a relief that he could eat something and finally keep it down.

Luke had four different dogs come and visit him while he was cooped up. His favorite was a black poodle named Eliot who would "pray" for Luke and bark "Amen."

We got the word that we would possibly go home Monday, if not Tuesday. My heart sank a little at the sound of that but at least there was good progress and a light at the end of the tunnel. However, on Sunday while we were walking the halls, we ran into the doctor. He asked how things were going and if he had vomited today.

Good, and no.

Great! He can go home today.

Best. news. ever.

We received discharge instructions and some pajama pants for Luke since we did not come prepared for him to be able to go home.

It is so nice to be all together again!