Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A collection of THINGS

**I wrote this back in January of 2013 but waited to post it and now it's December.  I realized how quickly a year goes by.  This feels like yesterday and so long ago at the same time.

First off...I am incredibly blessed.  I have reflected on my MANY blessings over the past couple months and I can't seem to thank my Heavenly Father enough.  These past few months have brought a huge wave of emotions and an opportunity to persevere hard things.  I have many times wanted to sit and write my feelings of these past few weeks but my words never seemed to come together.  I grew up in a home with two very loving parents.  My parents have known each other since they were very young kids.  They grew up together and their parents were friends.  My parents were even baptized on the same day.  Their first official date wasn't until they were graduating from high school.  In high school my mom was the star in the plays and on the cheer squad; my dad was the star on the football field and the popular class president.  I grew up knowing my parents were "cool" and seemed to have a perfect story.  They married young and my mom supported my dad through all of his college football years and I'm sure felt the way any proud young wife would feel to have her husband drafted in the NFL.  They have always been there for each other.  Loved each other.  Supported each other.  My dad got into turkey farming and my mom was any young wife would be to live on a turkey ranch...but really she was very supportive.  I remember when I was growing up my parents talked about someday building a house on my grandparents' 320 acre cattle ranch.  It seemed like a dream come true.  I was so close with my grandma and being only a few steps away seemed absolutely perfect.  When I was 15, my parents started building their dream home.  It was the home they had drawn up together.  They made that house as family friendly and perfect as could be.  It had the large kitchen my mom and her four daughters could bake and cook together in.  It had the large dining room to host our Sunday dinners and holiday meals.  The master bedroom was downstairs so they wouldn't have to climb the stairs when they grew old.  The four bedrooms upstairs served as the perfect place for the six of us kids.  The two girls' rooms had an adjoining "Jack and Jill" bathroom.  The attic was large and spacious that I joked to my mom that someday my husband and our five kids were going to come live there.  That house seemed perfect.  As a married adult I got to see so many of those dream plans work out.  The dining room fit all of us kids with our spouses.  The grandkids got to enjoy the breakfast nook table which worked out quite nicely to keep their noise in the other room but close enough the parents could hear when there was a problem.  The kitchen was never too crowded with all of us girls cooking together.  The attic somehow managed to be filled with decorative pieces for almost every holiday, old toys and dolls, suitcases, and of course enough of the "we'll need it eventually" stuff.

A few weeks ago the seemingly perfect world found a weakness.  My parents house of 16 years is no longer their home.  Decisions made, or lack thereof, on one or several individuals led to the breaking of two hearts.  My mom talks of how she used to ride her horse in the pasture where the house now sits.  My parents picked out every little piece of that house.  My dad claims he only had to choose two mom and one light fixture.  They built that house together with their dreams and leave that house now with broken hearts.  They still have each other.  They still love each other.  They still support each other.

(The closet under the stairs had the kids' growth chart marked on the wall)

I know they are not the first to lose a house, nor the last.  We have all reminded each other of that.  And we have reminded each other of how blessed they are.  They have their six children and spouses all loving and supporting them.  The hardest part for them is that their home was in a parcel of my grandparents' ranch.  For the time being my parents are living with my grandparents and helping to take care of them.  The view from their bedroom window...their dream house.  This is a very hard thing for my parents but they are strong.  So many times I wished there was a way to fix it.  But the Lord knows we can do hard things and we can turn to Him for support.  This is a time to rely on faith and hope knowing that the Lord is aware of all things.

I was a little frustrated with the fact that this was all happening during Christmas.  I spent HOURS and HOURS at my parents house trying to sort through things and get rid of unnecessary things.  It doesn't seem like it would take that long...but oh, it did.  A 5,000 sq ft home has LOTS of room.  Especially a home that was built out of practical planning...cupboards and closets a plenty!  I started to feel like I was missing out on Christmas things because I spent so much time at my parents house.  But, this was very emotional for both of my parents not to mention that my mom was working at the Disney Store a couple days a week and still incredibly busy with her photography business during the Christmas holiday time.  So who was going to take care of everything?  I felt like it fell on me.  And then there was my sister Jenn who had done a lot of the weeding through already since she and her family had been living with my parents and would also be needing to find a place to live.  We all pulled together and made it work.  I now count it as a blessing that they had to move at the end of December.  Talmage was off from school and was able to be a tremendous help.  My brother Kevin was home from BYU-Idaho so his muscles came in quite handy.  Everyone working together and helping made the job more bearable.

There was one day we had been working all morning and my dad suggested that my sister Brittany go to Taco Bell and get lunch for everyone.  Brittany called as she was leaving to tell us of her experience.  She went inside to order since she knew it was a large order...20 bean burritos, 10 bean burritos without sauce, and some tacos and nachos.  After they took her order she saw some of the employees kinda laughing and she thought that odd.  She also noticed there seemed to be a lot of people in the lobby eating.  She asked them how much her total was and they told her it was free.  Someone had come in at 11:00 and said they wanted to pay for everything until 1:00.  What a generous act of kindness.

I love my parents and I wish they didn't have to do a hard thing such as this, but I know after the pain has subsided and they internalize that it was just a temporary dwelling they will be stronger for it.  They love each other.  They support each other.  They are doing good things in their lives and are great examples to me.  So the collection of things from their house...those are just things.  Their's just a house.  We will always hold onto the memories that were created in that house.  What matters most to them eternally is right where it needs to be.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I didn't think it would be me

I'm pretty sure I considered my life pretty close to perfect.  I didn't have anything that I felt was really hard that I had to go through.  Of course there were things looking back over my life that may not have been easy but I don't think I had to do anything I considered hard.  My heart now aches as I understand I'm going through something I feel is hard.  Some days I hold myself together pretty well, but other days I wake up way too early and can't go back to sleep.  My mind races in wondering what went wrong.  What happened?  Why was this baby not perfect?  I had three perfect pregnancies and three perfect (except for the boys' fussiness early on in their lives) babies.  I never had a hard time getting pregnant, I only had to choose the month I wanted to have a baby.  This last week has brought such a flood of emotions.  People tell me it gets easier and I really do believe them.  I know it will get easier.  But right now I am stuck in this world of trying to be so strong but unable to hold it together when I'm all alone.

September 10th I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.  I cried.  I wasn't sure if I really was ready to be pregnant even thought we had decided it would be fun to try to have another baby.  Tyler was in kindergarten and this baby would be born just before he turned 6.  I was scared in thinking of starting all over again.  I watched my sisters with their little ones and sometimes I felt really glad that I didn't have any diapers to change or any languages I needed to try and interpret.  But of course there's nothing sweeter than having a baby snuggle up in your arms and only want you because you are their mommy.  Those tender little glances that parents are privileged to are priceless.  I finally understood that I really have been ready to be a mom to a little one again.  I was anxious for my three kids to once again experience the sweetness that comes with a new baby in the house.

October 28th Talmage and I went to my first appointment.  I was 12 weeks and figured it was time to go in.  I had to find a new fourth fourth doctor.  I was happy with this new doctor.  She was nice and very friendly.  I felt very comfortable.  She listened for the heartbeat but didn't hear it right away so she did an ultrasound.  I remember telling Talmage it would be really awkward if we went in for the appointment and found out I wasn't really pregnant.  During the ultrasound we saw this little baby moving around and I knew all was okay.  Mother's Day, May 11th would be the anticipated date by which we would look forward to the arrival of this new little baby.  I was so anxious I wanted to tell the kids that night for Family Home Evening.  Talmage was a little more hesitant knowing once the kids knew they would tell everyone.  But being 12 weeks, I was past the "dangerous" time so what would it matter if more people found out?  I had perfectly easy pregnancies.  I've only ever experienced nausea when I went too long without eating so really it didn't matter if people knew.  I had nothing to worry about...just the weight gain and the growing belly.  I remember Tyler telling me one day, "Mom, I love you.  And I'll even love you when you're kinda fat," (of course referring to when my tummy grew large and pregnant).

Over the course of these weeks of pregnancy I felt great.  I was tired at times but I had three helpful kids and a wonderful husband.  I never felt overwhelmed with my responsibilities.  I made sure to remind the kids when they would fight or argue that we needed to work on being kind to one another.  We didn't want to bring a sweet new baby into a home of fighting.

One night Mackenzie wasn't feeling well in the night.  Talmage and I got up with her and by the time we were going back to bed around 2:30 I told Talmage that a milkshake sounded really good.  My sweet husband went to the kitchen and made me a most delicious milkshake.  Another night I was hungry but couldn't decide what sounded good.  He asked me about numerous things and finally...chips and salsa hit the spot around 10:00 at night.  I remember one other night getting all settled for the night and Thanksgiving turkey sounded SO good.  And since I knew Thanksgiving was a couple weeks away I thought chicken strips would fill the void until Thanksgiving.  I felt like everything was perfect.  I realized that since two of my babies were late I had to expect this baby wouldn't come until after the expected date.  I was okay with that as long as the baby came before the 15th.  I wanted to have at least a week at home with the baby before the kids were out of school for the summer.  I looked so forward to the summer and having the kids around to enjoy the baby.  Then it seemed perfect when school started again and the kids were in school all day and the baby could take the necessary naps without interruptions.  Grant started kindergarten when Tyler was just 7 weeks old so I remember what a hassle that was trying to work naps just perfectly so I didn't have to wake a baby to go pick Grant up from school.  I felt like my plan was perfect.  My life was perfect.

November 23rd.  I was 16 weeks pregnant.  We were planning on going to visit Talmage's parents for Thanksgiving so I thought it would be so fun to find out what we were having before going down and have a gift with either a little doll if it was a girl or a little football if it was a boy.  We all went in for the "Gender Peek" ultrasound.  It wasn't an "official" ultrasound done by a radiologist but I was hopeful we could find out what it was.  The boys were of course hoping it was another boy and Mackenzie was hoping for a girl.  She had been asking for a sister for a couple years.  I told her there's no guarantee what you get.  So as we're sitting in the room and the ultrasound begins the girl performing the ultrasound was having a hard time getting a good look.  She kept moving the wand around and around.  I just thought the baby wasn't cooperating and we would have to come back another time.  She finally, and quickly, announced she "thinks that maybe it's a boy."  I wasn't convinced based on her quick judgement and lack of substantial evidence.  I wasn't ready to tell everyone until I went back for my official ultrasound a week later.  Kenzie was sad.  Grant and Tyler were excited.  I remember that night in my prayers praying that if it was really a boy that it would be a much easier boy that Grant and Tyler were.  I petitioned with the Lord that I already had two difficult baby boys and felt I needed an easier one this time.  I had that tinge of disappointment that it wasn't going to be a girl.  I love having 3 sisters and I was sad thinking Mackenzie wouldn't have that experience.  That evening I went over to see my cousin Katie who had just come home with her sweet little baby boy born on the 21st.  I realized that it would be just fine to have a boy.  My little boy? and her little boy could be little buddies like their big brothers.  I knew there were plenty of other boy cousins to play with coming soon.  Brittany's and Emily's little boys in December and Katelyn's little boy in April.  It would be fun for them to have each other.

November 24th.  I was feeling just as well as usual.  I made sure to take my snacks to church to get me through the meetings.  I was excited that I would actually get to go home early that day since we didn't have meetings after church.  Talmage went home teaching around 1:30.  At 1:40 the phone rang and it was my doctor.  I was confused why I would be getting a call from her on a Sunday afternoon.  My next appointment wasn't until the 2nd of December so I wouldn't be getting an automated reminder call that early.  I answered and was surprised to hear my doctor.  What doctor makes phone calls on a Sunday...and why?  She asked me if I went in for an ultrasound the day before.  Of course I did.  She told me I needed to come in first thing the next day for another one from a medical professional and then go straight to her office.  My heart started pounding and my mind started questioning what was going on.  Of course she couldn't tell me anything over the phone and nothing without another opinion from a trained professional.  Worry and concern filled my mind.  I asked her why and what was wrong.  Was there something wrong with the baby?  Was there an abnormality?  Was it worse?  Was there no heartbeat?  She told me I needed my husband to get out of work so he could be with me.  I told her of our plans for Thanksgiving and she told me that I couldn't go but needed to stay home.  I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know what to think.  I tried calling Talmage then texted him to come home right away.  I called my mom and just expressed my worry and concern.  Then I cried.  Talmage came home and I asked him for a blessing.  I needed something to calm my heart and mind.  I was given a blessing of comfort and peace that the Lord was aware of me and my situation but to be at peace.  The rest of the afternoon and evening were tolerable.  We got together for dinner as usual at Mom and Dad's.  Mom had told my siblings so we talked about it enough to get my thoughts out and to also hear their words of comfort.  My sister Jenn had a miscarriage so it was nice to hear about her experience to prepare myself for the worst.  The kids stayed with my parents that night so Talmage and I could take care of everything the next day.  I hardly slept.  No matter what else I tried to think of I couldn't get this thought of not having a baby out of my mind.  Tears came and I just let them.

November 25th.  I waited all night for morning to come so I could get answers but once morning finally came I just wanted it to be tomorrow.  I called the doctor's office very first thing.  I'm sure my call came through the moment they took the phone off the automated answering message.  The receptionists were mostly helpful but I don't think they understood my urgency.  I took it upon myself to make the necessary phone calls to get in for the ultrasound.  I couldn't stand to just sit around and wait for them to call me back.  In the meantime Talmage and I took his car in to be fixed...transmission was struggling.  Of course we had just bought new tires for my van in preparation for our trip to Southern California.  Why not add car repair expenses when having medical unexpected expenses too.  I wasn't very patient when I was having the ultrasound done.  I kept asking questions.  I wanted to know.  Was there a heartbeat?  Was there something wrong they could see?  There were two technicians in there.  Certainly one of them could ease my worries or at least confirm it in some way.  Of course they couldn't tell me anything.  They were only the MD behind their names so they can't give out any information.  When we got to the doctor's office I was of course prepared for the worst.  When the doctor walked into the examination room her face and voice said it all.  She just said she was so sorry.  She just got off the phone with the radiologist who confirmed there was no heartbeat.  Based on the measurements of the baby it's likely the heartbeat stopped around 15 weeks.  I still didn't understand why or how that could happen to me.  I thought my body was made for babies.  I asked what we do next.  She explained the options of just waiting for the miscarriage to happen naturally which could take sometimes weeks and then end up needing a D&C or we could go in that day for the D&C, which technically being after 13 weeks they perform a D&E.  I hadn't had any signs or symptoms of there being a problem.  I was unsure of what to do.  How long would it take if I waited for it to come naturally?  Would I have a lot of discomfort?  It was Thanksgiving that week and Mackenzie's baptism on Saturday.  Christmas was only a month away.  Did I want to wait it out and then need surgery anyway?  I asked the Doctor what she would recommend and she highly recommended the surgery.  I felt like it was the best option considering the unknown of waiting and wondering.  So Talmage and I went over to the hospital to wait.  I told my mom to go ahead and tell the kids.  I thought it would be nice for Talmage and I to tell them but when I thought about it I just cried.  I didn't want them to see me like that.  My dad came over to the hospital to help Talmage give me a blessing.  Of course knowing I was going in for surgery and would be put under I was so grateful for the blessings of the Priesthood.  I did feel comfort in knowing I would be okay and watched over.

As I waited for 4:00 to come around I managed to keep myself very brave and held together until the lullaby came over the speakers announcing the birth of a baby.  I just cried.  They wouldn't be playing that song for me.  I was so happy that a mother had just given birth to a baby instead of having to go through what I was getting ready for, but it sure made me sad.

The surgery went well.  I remember as soon as the anesthesia was hooked up I was out and I woke up feeling extremely tired but physically okay.  It took me a really long time to wake up.  Talmage said from the time the doctor came out to tell him everything went smoothly to the time he got to go in and see me was almost an hour and a half.  I'm sure the fact that I didn't hardly sleep the night before didn't help the fact that I just wanted to stay asleep.  The reality of not having a baby anymore took a while to settle in.  The drive home I tried to sleep but couldn't.  When we walked in the house I felt sad but the moment I saw the ultrasound pictures on the mantle I just completely let go of my emotions.  I wept and cried seeing the pictures of a baby I thought I was going to have.  What I thought was going to be a delayed Mother's Day gift was no longer.  I didn't know what to do with the pictures.  For a moment I thought I should throw it away so as not to be reminded of it.  I couldn't though.  I tucked it away and figured when I'm emotionally ready I'll get it out again.

I slept incredibly well that night.  Of course the anesthesia was still in my system so it helped.  Talmage had to make up for his missed day of wrestling assessments the next day.  My mom still had the kids so I was able to sleep and relax.  My dear friend Kimberlee brought us dinner on Tuesday.  She was getting ready for company to come for Thanksgiving and her daughter McKenna was getting baptized with Mackenzie but she still made dinner and offered to watch the kids.  I am so thankful for good friends.  Wednesday my friend Ivie had arranged to bring us dinner.  Justin and the kids brought it by to us.  It's a busy time with Thanksgiving and family but friends see past their own needs and give and help others in need.

Tuesday when mom brought the kids home they each shared tender moments with me.  Mackenzie cuddled up to me and said she was sad about the baby.  A while later Tyler came and sat by me and asked me in a quivery voice if I had cried because the baby died.  I looked at this sweet boy who was holding back tears and told him that I did cry because I was sad.  Later Grant and I were upstairs and he came and wrapped his arms around me and said he was sorry the baby died.  I explained to him that I was really sad but knew there must have been a reason why it couldn't be with us.  I also told him I was glad it happened now rather than later or even after it was born.  We just held onto each other for an extra moment feeling the sadness but finding comfort in one another.  At dinner that night Talmage and I talked to the kids about it.  We explained that there was something wrong with the baby that didn't allow it to live any longer.  It probably makes it easier understanding that but I'm still really sad.

We had a nice Thanksgiving.  It wasn't the same eating the Thanksgiving turkey remembering how much I had craved it just a few weeks before.  It's hard to see my friends and family who are pregnant and realize that I'm not anymore.  As happy as I am for them it reminds me that I don't have that anymore.  I so badly want to go cuddle Katie's little baby but that too reminds me of the little buddy that I thought was going to be his.  I know it will get easier and I really don't like feeling sad.  I have so many blessings and my life is still really close to perfect.

Mackenzie's baptism was so wonderful on Saturday.  The day started off with a minor glitch...Tyler was throwing up.  I prayed that he would be better in time for the baptism and the last time he threw up was 7:30 that morning.  The day was wonderful and sweet Mackenzie was just as perfect as can be.  I felt so much joy for my children that day.  Grant offered the closing prayer and was so sincere.  A day I am thankful for.

Sunday I had a hard time again.  Sitting in church I remembered that just a week ago I had no idea there was a problem.  I had only wondered if I tell people I "thought" we were having a boy.  So much happened since I was last sitting in the chapel.  There were some that of course were unaware of what happened and asked if I found out what we were having.  I couldn't hold my emotions in very well.   

Yesterday I had a worry...what if they were wrong?  What if the heartbeat WAS still there?  Did I make a mistake?  It's hard not knowing the reasons why.  I've wondered if it was something I did.  Did I eat something that didn't make me sick but made the baby sick?  I know I can't live my life this way.  I will move on and feel better.  For now, I just put on my brave and happy face and go on doing the things I need to do.  When I have quiet moments or times when I am alone I cry and wish I could wake up and have this all be a bad dream.  My perfect plan was faltered.  I know it's too early to start thinking and planning for the future, but I have.  Do I want to try to have anymore babies?  What if this happens again?  I was so thrilled to have a Spring baby.  Now I would have to wait so long.  If I wait too long and wait for a Spring baby then my other kids will be so much older.  Tyler was already going to be close to 6 when this baby was born.  If I wait that means he'll be almost 7.  Mackenzie will be 9 1/2 and Grant almost 12.  I know there's nothing wrong with that many years between the oldest and youngest but that would be a big gap between the youngest and the sibling just older.  I'll know when I reach that point...but in the meantime I try to plan out my perfect.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Has it really been a year?

 I don't know how that happens. 

A year?

It's hard to go back and remember all of the exciting and not so exciting events that have shaped me; shaped my family. 

I count my blessings.  I know we are tremendously blessed.

Talmage has a great job. 

 He is GREAT at his job.  I know it's hard to be on such a negative side of education.  Dealing with the students that really don't care to be there or dealing with students that come from families that really don't care where they are is never easy.  Sometimes there are days Talmage misses the ease of the classroom.  He was able to get so much more done...he had a prep period.  He has been working on his thesis for a year now?  With all of his extra responsibilities it's hard to find time.  He has had to cut back on a few things just because he really can't do everything.  He is still volunteering with scouting quite a bit but I notice that is where he has had to cut back the most.  Talmage was recently serving as a counselor in the Stake Young Mens until just recently he was called to serve as the president in the Stake Young Mens.  He is so good at working with the youth.  In his job.  In his calling. 

The kids are busy, happy, and healthy. 

Grant started the 4th grade this year.  SO hard to believe!  I remember 4th grade too well to have a child that old.  He LOVES to read.  I enjoy the evenings when I have the opportunity to read to each of my kids, including Grant.  I'm glad he still loves to have me read to him.  Grant does NOT like missing a day of school.  He was feeling miserable the week before Thanksgiving but each time I asked if he would like to stay home he said he felt fine.  One day when he got home from school I took his temperature and it was 102.8.  CRAZY kid!!  I felt so bad.  He had been feeling not very well for about a week so I finally took him to the doctor.  Strep throat!  Problem is...I know exactly how he feels not wanting to miss a day of school.  I never wanted to miss school.

Mackenzie is getting much better with reading and working hard in school.  Her teacher, Mrs. Harris, commented on how she holds her own with the kids.  If there is a kid at her table goofing off she won't stand for it.  Mrs. Harris said she could tell Mackenzie has brothers, she's just tough, but oh so sweet and motherly.  She is small but I'm glad she can be tough.

Tyler....Tyler. Tyler. Tyler.  Oh what fun he is to have in our family.  He is the child I never was.  Pretty much I would think he's close to the opposite of how I was except for the fact that he is still very sweet.  He played his first year of soccer and was the youngest on his team but one of the toughest!  I think this kid is made for more contact sports that soccer.  Too many times I heard the other kids telling their parents that Tyler pushed them.  One time Tyler tripped over a kid's foot and while he was down he grabbed the ankle of that kid and wouldn't let go.  Tyler would enjoy practice so much he would often times just do somersaults right in the middle of their practice.  Twice the ref had to talk to him during the game for pushing kids down.  He scored a goal this year...for the opposing team.  The coaches and other parents did say Tyler was so fun to watch.  You never knew what he was going to do next.  He ran around the field like such a tough kid but usually only touched the ball when it happened to roll right as his feet.  I was happy watching him.  He's just fun.  Always a comic relief...sometimes when not needed.  I can't seem to discipline that kid without him smiling or giving me a silly look.  It's hard to be mad at him, especially when he comes up to me with a hug and kiss and tells me he loves me and likes me.  Somehow it's not enough to just tell me he loves me...he needs to tell me he likes me too.     

I feel like life stays quite busy for me.  Of course my wonderful job as a wife and mother keep me busy around the house and running kids to cub scouts, ballet, soccer, school, etc.  I was recently called to be the Primary President in our ward.  We have a small multitude of kids in our ward so that brings it's many joys and challenges.  I think it's safe to say there are 75 very active kids attending our primary.  We don't have many that are not active so it's wonderful.  I have super counselors and a secretary that without their help I would probably be lost.  All of the excitement with my new calling came right when we needed to prepare for the Primary Program and just a few weeks later a new Oakdale ward was created and I lost 12 of my leaders and teachers and only 5 primary kids.  It was a CRAZY time. 

Well...that's about all I can manage to get out right now...I'm worried if I write much more no one will want to keep reading.  I'll just have to write more often and keep updating for my own personal history and for those that care to come back for more.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hard work pays off

I had mostly disappeared from the blogging world.  I don't think I so much felt I was too busy, it was more I felt other people were too busy to read blogs anymore (I still do, occassionally).  Maybe I should just take up a yearly report being that it has been over a year since I last posted anything.  I had a friendly little reminder from a dear friend that the one year mark was quickly approaching and now it has come and gone ALL too quickly.  (I actually wrote this the beginning of October...and I was waiting to add pictures before I posted it.  What happened to November?!?!)

So the BIG news as of lately has marked quite a change for our family.  Talmage got a new job!  He is the new Assistant Principal at Escalon High School. 
All of the HARD work is finally going to pay off.  I am so proud of him.  I have been AMAZED at his dedication and job well done to get his administrative credential and work towards his Masters.  He is 1 class and a thesis away from his Masters which he would have completed in May but with a new job it will probably be pushed back a semester.  It has definitely been a long and busy process.  Winter semester (January-May) he had class three nights a week to complete 14 credits.  When I was in college, 14 units seemed to be what I aimed for but that was before I was married and had kids.  So to complete 14 units while being a husband, father, full time high school teacher, coach, volunteer scouter, stake young men's counselor, AND manage to get a 4.0 (a 4.0 since he started his graduate work, by the way)...I couldn't be more proud.  I know it must have been hard but I never heard Talmage complain.  There were times that I was tired for him but he would continue to persevere and get the work done.  Now a new job.  New responsibilites.  A new cell phone/smart phone that actually gets service in our house (that was pretty exciting...i'm jealous of the bar code scanner and couponing abilities he has with it...oh well).  A new office.  A new amount of paperwork.  A new look on the discipline of kids...not the fun part.  Talmage does well at anything he puts his mind to.  He was a FANTASTIC teacher and for that, he will be missed.  But I think he will have such a positive influence on the students at EHS.  He truly cares about them and wants them to succeed. 

I'm so proud of him!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Missionaries and Computers

I really should take the time to catch up with our lives...that'll be another day.  My brother Kevin is serving in the Montana, Billings mission.  Their mission is one of the "pilot" missions for incorporating blogs,, and Facebook into their missionary work.  He is a great missionary and loves the work.  Check out his blog...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I can't keep up

I had originally planned to make a quick post as to what has been going on in our lives lately, but 3 hours later and after the computer has shut down on me 3 times, here I am finally STARTING to type up a brief summary of the past month or so.  Some may remember the computer problems we have had in the past.  I have planned on getting a new computer for way over a year now, BUT I can't make a decision.  New things keep coming out or I hear people who prefer one computer over another so it changes my almost decisions.  And since our computer still works, most of the time, I haven't replaced it yet.  I have had the no-brainer thought that if I get a new computer the kids can play on this one all (mostly) they want.  The kids keep waiting for us to get a new computer because they are aware of this idea and aware that this computer isn't healthy enough for them to play on it.  Soon...hopefully soon.

As far as life goes...we've had a fun and busy past few weeks/month.  Who hasn't?!  Talmage and Grant both had the same week off for Spring Break (definite perk to being a teacher) so we went to Utah.  Talmage's parents have recently moved back to Layton so it was great getting to see them as well as 3 of his brothers and their wives.  An added bonus was Talmage's brother Kimball coming out for the weekend also.  Kimball lives about an hour and a half away from us and unfortunately we don't see him very often.  Glad we could meet  up 12 hours away from our homes though!  We left after school on Thursday and drove to Reno for the night.  It makes it so much nicer to break the trip up and only have 6 1/2 hours to drive the next day.  My sister Jenn lives in Orem but they were heading out to Oakdale for Spring Break.  We ended up passing each other in Utah close to the Nevada border so we met up at an exit to say hi and take a picture.  We were so GLAD to be almost to our destination and felt bad that they had so far to go.       
We had so much fun with everyone.  It was a weekend of birthdays too.  Talmage turned 30 on Saturday!!  I feel bad I didn't have a birthday party for him or even make him a cake...well I kinda made a cake about a week before but that doesn't really count.  Our little nieces, Taylie and Evelyn, both had their 1st birthdays while we were there.  Such cute little girls!  It was also great to be there during Conference and Easter.  The kids had fun coloring eggs.  Talmage and his brothers had fun playing a few games of basketball.  I had fun spending time with the girls.  How lucky to have more girls in this family now. 

Grant had looked so forward to having snow and he got it!  When we got there he had enough snow to build a snowman.  Talmage was good to go help him build 5 snowmen...actually 3 snowmen and 2 snowgirls.  He didn't seem to mind the cold.  Neither did Kenzie or Tyler.  But we were not prepared for so much playing in the snow.  They all had coats but no boots or gloves.  The weather was so nice on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday that we thought the snow would all melt and the snow family would too.  Monday night we got about 12 inches of snow.  Replenished the dwindling amount of snow they had to play with!  It didn't last too long though.  By Wednesday the kids were jumping on the trampoline with hardly any snow left on the ground because it warmed up so quickly.  Warmed up so much that Kenzie decided she didn't need her clothes on anymore.  I looked out the window to check on them and was surprised to see Kenzie wearing only her underwear.  It wasn't THAT warm!  Grant had only taken his shirt off.  Crazy kids! 

Sunday, Talmage and I went to Conference at the Conference Center with Tanner and Jessica.  Always a special experience to be there.  Despite the detours and difficulty getting there because of the MANY accidents on the freeways, we still had great seats and enjoyed incredible talks.  The rest of the family went down to Orem to Grandma and Grandpa Allen's for a delicious Easter dinner.  Grant LOVED Grandma's rolls, who doesn't?!  I was glad there were still some left when we got there!

A fun special day was going to the Dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point.  The kids loved it.  Tyler had fallen asleep so Talmage stayed with him while Dantzelle and I took Grant and Kenzie through the museum.  It was a lot of fun but we ran out of time.  It was more crowded than we had expected...I guess a lot of kids were on Spring Break.  But something the kids loved.  Grant LOVES animals and dinosaurs.  It amazes me how much he knows about animals.  Of course Kenzie likes what Grant likes.  She looks up to him so much and they get along so well together.  Grant's favorite part was excavating dinosaur fossils.  I'm sure he would have stayed in there for at least an hour and we only gave him about 15 minutes.  We wanted to beat the storm (the one in which we got 12 inches) and traffic and get back for Evelyn's birthday party.

On Monday I also got to see my dear old (she did just turn 30) roommate from BYU.  It was SO great to see her!  I made a lot of WONDERFUL friends at BYU.  Love them all, but Bree was my first friend at BYU and one that will always have a special place in my heart.  (I know that sounds cheesy)  We met online (way before Facebook) after finding out we were both going to BYU.  She lived in Pennsylvania and I, of course, in Oakdale.  We ended up living in the same dorm, in the same ward even.  

We had a lot of fun over our 4 years at BYU.  Worked Scout Camp together one summer.  Worked Sports Camp together another summer.  We were both Recreation Management Majors together.  
We graduated and our lives were already changing.  I got married.  She got a "real" job.  I had 3 kids.  She went on a mission.  But, 8 years later we got to meet up again.  LOVED it.  I had the kids with me and she was at work so we didn't have that much time but I really, really enjoyed it. 

Our trip to Utah was fun.  The drive is long but the time there is fun and memorable.  Of course we look forward to our next trip in July for the family reunions!!

And finally, our trip to Disneyland at the end of April.  Fun, of course.  Talmage wasn't able to get those days off for work but my parents, sister, and brother in law were coming so I figured I could handle it.  We stayed at my parents time share at the Grand Californian Villas which was fabulous!  I will admit, I was disappointed to not get the luxury of a real bed.  I'll explain.  The room was plenty big enough.  It was a two bedroom villa with a master suite as one bedroom and the second room had two queen beds and a bathroom.  The living room area had a pull out sofa bed and a murphy bed.  My parents of course took the master suite.  The kids of course were excited about the pull out bed and the murphy bed.  With my sister and her husband coming I didn't expect to take the other private room away from them (they are newlyweds...).  That left me with the option of the murphy bed or sofa bed.  Regardless of the sleeping arrangements, we all had a great time...and sleeping arrangements turned out to be perfectly fine.  It was so nice having a kitchen.  We had breakfast every morning.  Packed lunches and snacks to take during the day.  My dad took Tyler back each day for naps.  We had a lasagna baked and ready for us when we came back for dinner the first night.  We had ice cream and milkshakes each night...and one day after lunch.  Delicious!

As far as rides go, the kids are NOT adventurous so they didn't like going on hardly any rides.  Pirates? Not a chance.  Peter Pan?  Grant finally went with Cortney and Jacen.  Gadgett's Go Go Coaster?  Grant went two times in a row because after going through the line Kenzie REFUSED to go.  Matterhorn? Splash Mountain?  Mr. Toad's? Alice in Wonderland? Nope. Nope. Nope. And Nope.  We tried to go to the Bug's Life 3D movie thing...had to walk out when Tyler and Kenzie were both crying.  BUT!  They did love Small World,  the Carousel, Casey Junior Train, Dumbo, Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story Mania, the other Carousel in CA Adventure, and Kenzie loved dancing around on the street by the castle.  Grant also had the great experience to participate in the Star Wars Jedi Training.  Kenzie had to be taken out by my mom far, far away from the area when Darth Vader and Darth Maul came out to fight the trainees.  She was TOTALLY and EXTREMELY frightened by them.  I felt so bad.  I really didn't think about her being scared by them.  I guess I should have warned her ahead of time what was going to happen.  She was crying and shaking and begging to go away from there.  She told my mom that they had to run as far away and as fast as they can to get away because they were going to kill them.  I guess she didn't realize that the rest of the crowd was okay with them and didn't fear for their lives.  Poor thing.  Grant loved it.  He did tell me that he was a little nervous when it was his turn to fight Darth Vader, but he did great. 

 Well, that finally takes care of April.  Too bad we're almost half way through May.  How did that happen!? 

Friday, March 12, 2010

A few milestones...take II

It has been quite an eventful past week.  My sister Cortney got married last Friday.  She was absolutely beautiful and the day was perfect.  Cortney and Jacen were so calm, collected, patient, and CUTE.  It was so fun to be part of their day.  The reception was decorated so nicely with a rustic theme and was so fitting for them.  Simple. Elegant. Country.

The kids were DEFINITELY TIRED after a long day to the temple and late at the reception to clean up

Yesterday my van hit the 100,000 mile milestone.  WOW!  That's a lot of miles.

Last night Grant lost his first tooth.  It has been loose for MONTHS but it finally started making it known it was ready to come out while we were eating dinner.  He took a few bites and complained (and cried) about biting his tooth.  I took Kenzie to ballet and thought for sure his tooth would be out when I got home.  Talmage had wiggled it a lot but Grant didn't want it messed with anymore.  I got home - Talmage had to leave for scout Roundtable - so I asked Grant how his tooth was.  It was just barely hanging in there and all it took was one little push in the other direction and out it came.  He was a good sport and very brave.  Mackenzie on the other hand...not so brave.  Anytime she saw one of us moving his tooth she would panic.  Then last night we were talking about having his tooth under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy... Kenzie was very paranoid about a Tooth Fairy coming in her room.  (Grant has been sleeping in Kenzie's room every night for the past few weeks. Kenzie loves having a friend in there with her and Grant enjoys being there with her.)  But she was almost in tears when going to bed and told me she doesn't like the Tooth Fairy.  After Grant and I both painted a happy mental picture of what the Tooth Fairy probably looks like...(Pink wings, pink skirt, pink nail polish, etc.) she did okay.  Grant asked me to wake him up or at least tell him what the Tooth Fairy really looks like if I saw it.  The Tooth Fairy did leave him a few quarters and a toothbrush.  He was thrilled.  Kenzie got a toothbrush from the Tooth Fairy as a peace offering.  I think she's okay with the Tooth least for now. 
The kids one day were sitting on the porch.

Some friends from high school got together with our kids one morning while Jessica was in town .  Angela, Me, Katie, and Jessica...and our KIDS!  As to be expected, the kids were so thrilled to get their pictures taken!  Always fun to get together though.