Saturday, May 23, 2015

Payson Temple

Beautiful Temple!  So glad to have it so close to our home!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Disneyland and other Adventures

You probably have given up on reading this blog, and frankly, I don’t blame you.  I haven’t posted not so much for lack of excitement, but rather for having too much excitement. 

Most recently, we went to California including the beach and Disneyland.  Despite record breaking heat (100+ degrees for a few days), we had such a great, magical, and super fun trip.  It was Jared’s and the kids’ first visit to Disneyland. We stayed in a great hotel, the Marriott Residence Inn complete with a 2 Bed/2 Bath suite with a kitchen.  They also had breakfast daily and dinner a few nights.

We spent one night exploring tidepools and picnicing.  It was fun to find crabs, sea urchins, and shells.

Here we are at the Magic Kingdom. 

Our highlights include:
- Jedi Training (Thomas, Natalie, and Abigail got picked), 
- Aladdin play (Broadway quality, so much fun!), 
- Star Tours, 
- Pirates of the Caribbean, 
- Toy Story Mania (California Adventures), 
- Radiator Springs  Racers (California adventures), 
- Grizzly River Run (California adventures), 
- the World of Color, 
- Mickey’s parade, 
- and of course meeting the princesses, especially Anna and Elsa from Frozen (the girls were star-struck). 

Worst Picks:
-Space Mountain
-Tiki Room

We didn’t have very long lines (except to meet the princesses) but partly this was due to the time of year and also Amelia’s wheelchair helped us go through the exits for the older rides (such as those in Fantasyland). The newer cooler rides we were able to get fast passes, switch passes or return times for most so it didn’t seem like we had to wait very much. 

If we go again, we probably would just get a 2-day pass (1 park per day). By the 3rd day we were pretty tired and the first time on a ride is the most magical, so re-riding wasn't as fun.

We couldn't be in Disneyland without taking this classic picture.

We spent one day at Seal Beach.  The beach was a lot of fun but the waves were much stronger than expected and so the kids couldn’t play much in the water. Right when we got to the beach Natalie ran out to the water and was quickly swept away, Jared had to go get her, and then even on shore the waves had a strong undertow and would topple Amelia over.  Regardless we had so much fun playing in the sand.  Jared actually did some swimming in the waves.  Overall it was a great time.

Besides the trip, the kids are now all in school, even the twins are in Kindergarten. Everyone loves school and they seem to be doing well.  Abigail and Amelia are in the same Kindergarten class, but hardly seem like sisters at school (they don't sit by each other or even play together at recess). 

The garden has been keeping us busy, plus storing the food takes a lot of time (mostly canning, some dehydrating and freezing). I always thought I'd have so much time once the twins were in school, but I have felt busier than ever.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

5 Years Old Already

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 5 years since we’ve had the twins.  We had a rough start but are happy for the lessons learned the last 5 years.  We sure love them and are so grateful for having them in our family.  We celebrated their birthday last Monday.  My sister Veronica brought her kiddos down for lunch, bike riding, playing at the park, and decorating cupcakes.  The party continued after she left when Jared got home from work.  It was an easy night of hamburgers and watching the movie Frozen.  Even before finishing the movie, the twins were exhausted so they went to bed at their usual 7:30.

This weekend was General Conference weekend and the kick off to Spring Break.  The kids were extremely reverent and watched all 4 sessions (2 hours each).  I had a few activities for them to help them pay attention and also rewarded them for taking notes/being reverent.  I love general conference and I know that the prophets/apostles/leaders who talked to us were inspired by God.  I felt the Holy Ghost witness to me that what they shared with me is true and will make me a happier/better person and life will be easier as I apply what they talked about. As Elder Perry said with regards to being obedient, why rely on my own power, when God's unlimited power is offered to me by following the direction of living prophets.  I'm grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and I know that Jesus Christ does live and direct His church.

Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR)

As most of you know our daughter Amelia (just 5years old last week) underwent a partial Spinal Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery at the beginning of February at Primary Children’s Hospital (Dr. Marion Walker). Basically, the doctors went into Amelia’s spinal cord, unraveled her nerves, and cut off the ones that were overly reacting to stimulation (about 50% in each leg). I thought that I’d post an update about how Amelia is doing.

Prior to surgery it was as if Amelia had a rod in her legs and calves.  To bend her calves or stretch her hamstrings we had to really force her joints to move. Instantly after the surgery Amelia’s hamstrings, hips, and calves were so much looser than they ever had been, it was amazing! Granted we couldn’t touch her legs much for about a week after the surgery since her legs tingled so much because her nerves were so sensitive. 

The first week at the hospital was really rough, Amelia was in a lot of pain. To make matters more difficult, it took Amelia about a week to regain bladder control, so having to be cathed on top of the nerve sensations and back discomfort was torture.  They started Amelia with physical/occupational therapy the 4th and 5th days at the hospital.  Amelia had to relearn how to sit, crawl, stand… Making her work made her very angry because it hurt.  

By the second week however she turned a corner.  With her feeling better she started “playing” more and was more willing to build up her strength. The 3rd week went pretty well until she was hit with a terrible UTI which set her back and caused a lot of pain, but once the meds kicked in she was happy again and ready to go home. 

Let me say, if you're going to have surgery, Primary Children's is the place to go.  It was so much fun (considering).  They have a big playroom for the sick children and their families. They have so many volunteers who work hard to make the stay as fun as possible; they play with the kids, bring crafts, books and prizes to them, and they come and just visit with them in their rooms. Most of the nurses were so kind to Amelia, they even made her an honorary nurse and gave her a stethoscope, name badge, and clipboard with a check-off list to ask people who were walking by (things like "did you drink enough water today?"....). Amelia would beg me to leave so that she could hang out with the nurses. Amelia was also able to participate in music therapy, which she loved.We also appreciated all our friends and family who stopped by to visit us.  It was so nice to see familiar faces. 

For the first 3 weeks post hospital release we’ve done about 3 hours of physical therapy per day (3 x’s/week for 2 hours at the physical therapist, the rest at home).  After the first 3 weeks we’ve decreased to about 1 ½-2 hours at home per day.  It’s hard to dedicate so much time to therapy, but we’ve seen some big gains.

 Amelia is quickly regaining strength, and she can do things that she’s never been able to do.  Some of her new tricks include she can put herself into criss-cross sitting, she can tap her toes, she can pedal a tricycle (without her feet being strapped to the pedals), she can kick her legs independently of each other.  Granted these “tricks” take a lot of focus on her part, and she’s still weak, it’s exciting to see her improve.  She had not made improvements for a couple of years prior to surgery, so improvements are exciting. Amelia has been able to walk again using her walker.  She’s not as strong as she was prior to surgery, but she can have more control of her movements if she focuses.  So we’re working on having her walking with better form and building up endurance.

So far we are delighted in the progress she has made.  Her back is pretty much completely healed.  It had become infected a couple weeks ago, due to a stitch that they hadn’t removed.  10 days of antibiotics fixed the problem.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Happy New Year

Here we are rolling through January.  We celebrated a happy New Year.  Here are some pictures. 

 As we did last year we popped balloons and inside each was an activity to do. This year we focused on traditions from around the world, as well as a dancing in the dark, and a movie.  We ate 12 grapes (Italy), had a male visitor bring gifts (England).  We made Red Envelopes (China) and put money in them on New Years Day if the kids remembered to wish us “Bon année et Bon santé” (France), and we ate a kings cake (France) and Amelia became the queen for finding the little porcelain doll in the cake. We stayed up until a whopping 11:00 this year.  We also made a time capsule as part of our family home evening a couple of weeks ago.

So, this next tidbit is especially for Natalie's Grandpa. Natalie was practicing her violin nicely yesterday.  When I went in to help her, to my surprise she had added lyrics to the song she was practicing.  She entitled it "Pocahontas"  and it reads "Listen with your heart you will understand.  I understand.  Listen with your heart and you will understand".  How could I be upset?  (I'm sure any other of your students will understand when they borrow this book, right Grandpa?)

The twins have been complaining that they don't have any friends.  Last week I organized a mini "tea"-party for them and a little girl down the street.  I think it went well.  As expected, they spilled water all over the refreshments, but they had a great time.  I had to tell Natalie to go find her own friend to play with. Often when I set up play dates for the twins, the friend rather play with Natalie and the twins end up in tears saying that nobody wants to play with them.

As many of you know, Amelia is having major surgery coming up in a week.  It is called a Rhizotomy surgery and what it entails is the doctors will go into Amelia’s spinal cord, unravel her nerves, and cut off the ones that are overly reacting to stimulation.  We hope that this will permanently remove some of the tone Amelia has in her legs, helping her to walk better, with her heals down and her knees no longer twisting inwards. We hope that this surgery will prevent future surgeries and deformities.  We expect an average stay of 3 weeks at Primary Children's Hospital.  The first week Amelia will have surgery and recover, and the 2nd and 3rd weeks are expected to be intense physical therapy. For a while this surgery will really set her back (she'll have to relearn to crawl and walk with her walker), but we're hoping that within 6 months to a year we will see some gains.  Anyhow, we plan on having our moms help out the next few weeks so we don't really need other help, however, all prayers for a good surgery and speedy recovery are very welcome.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas

We hope that you (as our loyal blog readers!) have a wonderful Christmas.  We were watching some home movies from this past year tonight and in remembering all the fun times we realized that this has been such a great year, with many blessings and happiness. 

At Christmas time our family loves to focus on Jesus Christ and his love and sacrifice for us.  I'm so grateful for Him, my Savior. I'm grateful for my family, my sweet husband Jared, and my children.  Holidays are so much better with children.  We've been able to do some fun family activities this year like seeing the lights on temple square, decorating cookies, watching Christmas movies,  having our own "Polar Express", reading scriptures and completing a daily "advent" activity from the Friend Magazine which focus's on Jesus being the light of the world.  We've also have passed around a Christmas Star, where whoever has the star is to do a service for someone in the family.  The kids were super excited to do this for about 5 days, and then got bored. So now we started another service game where we have randomly picked a family member's name and we are to do secret acts of kindness for the next couple days until Christmas.

A big thank you to all of our extended family members and friends.  We are so grateful for the love you give our family.  May your Christmas be full of love from family and friends, and we send you many good wishes for 2014.