Monday, December 27, 2010

What?! Again??

So I must have forgotten how this works. Kian came running home from Rosie's today yelling, "Hey, Mom! I lost another tooth!"
Yep, while eating a Cheeto he lost one of his bottom teeth that I didn't even know was loose.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

We tried to get his second tooth out on Christmas Eve...we thought it would be fun for Santa and the Tooth Fairy to meet up at our house, but he was not interested.
However, on Christmas Day he could deny it no longer...that tooth was practically jumping out of his mouth!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Best Christmas Party Ever!

Yesterday was Doug's Test Out Christmas party. This is by far the best company he has ever worked for. See last year for the low-down on our first work party :0)
This year we went to The Roof restaurant in Salt Lake City at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Our view was fabulous and I highly recommend the Creme is the BEST I have ever had!!
While we were eating dessert, the owner got up to welcome us and talk about the upcoming 20 year anniversary of the company. Beginning in November they have a monthly event until 11-11-2011! They fed a family Thanksgiving dinner, they bought lights and decorated Main Street in Pleasant Grove and they are set to offer 200 licenses for product to LDS Employment services in January.  But he wanted to celebrate BIG...
He decided on a cruise. We looked at each other...did he say cruise? For all of us?
I was thinking, Cool, I've never been on a cruise to Mexico!
Then he said he asked his friend who has been on tons of cruises which one was the best.
Ah, the best cruise? Sweet, I've heard Alaska is an awesome cruise!
His friend said there is a number one cruise, a number two cruise and then there is all the rest.
What is he saying?? We would have to wait, because he began to weep. He was so emotional, the president of the company had to take over.
We were told the BEST cruise is a Mediterranean cruise!!
OMGosh!! Did we hear right?? Did he say Mediterranean? Then did he say ROME??
YES!  The cruise leaves from Rome, Italy.

 I was literally stunned, speechless. We couldn't believe it. I mean this is once in a lifetime. Then I cried...
To think of where we were just over a year ago and all those years before.
I had just recently been thinking of our hard years and why was it so long? And why didn't we get answers sooner? Why didn't we get the inspiration to make a change before we lost everything?
The Lord really does work in mysterious ways and if we had not had those years I'm not sure I could be as grateful as I am now. Our cup is over-flowing with blessings to the point where I don't even feel worthy.

After this bombshell we were treated to White Christmas at the Pioneer Playhouse. It was a good performance, but not nearly as enjoyable as last year's NunCrackers (I thank Kathryn Laycock Little for that!)

Doug and I stayed over and enjoyed the peace and quiet and poured over the cruise guide we had received and wondered when we were going to wake up from this amazing dream!
The next day we went to have Bar-B-Q at Q4U in was Doug's ribs lunch~
My pulled pork sandwich was delicious :0)
Then Doug agreed to check out Ikea for a Swedish Angel Chime set I was hoping to find. When we pulled into the parking lot, there were flags! Doug complained it was "Damn Disneyland for adults".
Can you hear the angels singing??

He quickly lost his fake enthusiasm and I have vowed to NEVER go there with him again! I was relatively happy (for awhile anyway...) because I found Marabou chocolate!
It's from Sweden and it's my favorite...

Words could never convey my gratitude and happiness and excitement...October 11, 2011 I will still be wondering if it is REAL!!
Thank you God for showing us this wonderful work opportunity and for being patient while we worked it all out. We are so blessed to have a home, a great job, wonderful kids and the love of our family and Heavenly Father.
This is already the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lost Tooth

Kian has been struggling with school. It is "too long" and I think he is just b-o-r-e-d!
He drug his feet out the door today with a kind of sad resignation.
Then I went to pick him up after being a little worried all day, and this is what I saw:

"Mom!! I lost my tooth at school today! I have it in an envelope!"

His other top front one is really loose, I am hoping that soon he'll be singing "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth"

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Want the Pink One!

 I just found out that on Saturday while at the grocery store, Kian was asked if he wanted a balloon. there was a purple one and a pink one. When the checker asked him what color he wanted he said "Pink".
Doug said "Are you sure you want pink?"
With all of the sweetness that he has he said, "Yeah, I want to say Hi to Reagan!"
That's my guy...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have had a great day...way better than last year when I had a mini breakdown :0)
We were supposed to go to Steve and Michelle's Epic Thanksgiving in Tooele, but several of us have colds and just weren't up to it.
So we had a nice dinner here and Rhiannon came over...she's from England so "her People" as Vanessa calls them don't celebrate the holiday, but we don't care.
Doug brought out the Red Wings Thankful Turkey Hat and we got to wear the hat and say what we were thankful for...
I am thankful for my family in California, Oregon and Indiana who were not here...I love my family!
And we all love our new TV and cabinet that we got for an early Christmas. Our first new TV in over 15 years!
        Not sure what this was on TV, but it was something on the news...Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

He'll Carry You by Hilary Weeks

 I have never written about this. I have talked about it, but I have never written it down. I think it is time I try.
On November 16, 2004 our daughter Reagan Noel was born. She came into the world with her tiny arm up by her head and her hand curled into a fist. My first thought was , "Yes! She's going to be a fighter!" We knew she had Down syndrome and would have some health conditions as a result, but we had no idea what they would be or to what degree. We had prepared as well as we could, including mourning the loss of the daughter we thought we would have. At times I was over-whelmed at the idea of caring for her and unsure of my ability to do so.

At first she seemed to do so well. She was bigger than we anticipated for her early birth. She was soon breathing with regular oxygen and off the c-pap face mask. She seemed to be eating well. She stole the hearts of all who cared for her.
On Thanksgiving that year, November 25 we were enjoying a wonderful meal provided by our friends, the Montgomerys, when we got a call from her Dr. letting us know that she was doing great and she was breathing on her own! She had been moved to the "graduating NICU". What a gift...we believed she would be home for Christmas for sure!

That Friday night as we visited  her, she was wide awake. Her Down syndrome made her very sleepy as her heart was working overtime so seeing her beautiful dark blue eyes was a rarity. But as I laid her in her bed to leave for the night she was staring at me. I knew she knew me. She knew I was Mommy. Maybe she knew she wouldn't be here much longer--maybe she was saying "I'm sorry, Mommy. I wish I could stay. I love you". I like to think so.

Then the next day, on Saturday when we went to see her, we knew something was wrong.  Kian was only one and so I felt I had to be home taking care of him too and I was torn everyday about what my priorities should be. I knew that Reagan was being taken care of and I knew that a one year old needed his Mommy. So it was later in the day when  we got to the hospital, about 4:00. After a little while we could tell there was something wrong. She was making these tiny little noises. At first I thought it was so cute, I hadn't heard any sounds from her before. But Doug confirmed that something seemed "off". The nurse didn't seem to think anything was wrong at first but by 6:00 she was x-rayed, by 7:00 we were talking with a surgeon, by 9:00 she was in surgery. Everyone seemed fairly hopeful, we were even told to go to dinner while they got her prepped and we'd be back in plenty of time to see her into surgery.

 When we came back at about 8:30 we went into the NICU to see her and my world stopped when we walked up to her bed. The nurses turned to look at us with a stunned, OMG look and I saw her feet were black.  I didn't understand why, but I knew what I saw and I knew it was bad. They put us in a small room to wait for them to come and talk to us and we prayed. I knew as soon as Doug began praying that she was not going to make it. She had NEC-- and it had progressed to perforate her bowel.

I thought the surgeon would come back in the first hour to tell us the news, but he didn't. It took 2 and a half hours. I was beginning to believe I was wrong and that she was going to be OK. But that was not to be...the Dr. came in and unfortunately he was extremely terse and aloof when he gave us the news that her heart had stopped and she was on a breathing machine. That is when I realized the definition of a broken heart. 
We knew we would have to turn off the machine. But I could not let her go...I wanted to hold her forever. My world stopped or at least I wanted it to. Doug made sure to give her a blessing and a name. Denny and Sara Downs seemed to show up from nowhere and their support was invaluable.

From then on we had amazing support. Mark Starnes who had lost his nephew to cancer, planned the entire service and went with Doug to the funeral home and cemetery.  I have no idea how they did that. Patty Montgomery made a beautiful dress for her. Kim gave her booties from  her grandmother. Kami Starnes sang at her service. I don't know how she was able to do this. Nicole and Kim went with me when Sara Downs and Marcia French went to dress her for burial. For some reason I felt I needed to be there and I am so grateful. After she was smoothed with baby lotion by Marcia's tender hands and her hair was done by Mark, I held her in my arms and told her how much I loved her and would miss her. She was beautifully dressed in her "Going Home" clothes as Mark called them. The Holy Spirit was so strong in that room, it was peaceful, not sad and as I held her she smiled. I know it is unbelievable, but we all saw it and we were amazed. I felt it was a gift from my Heavenly Father letting me know that she would be waiting just for me and that she loved us.

For Christmas just one month later I got a Hilary Weeks CD and this is the last song...what a blessing it was for me. Never has a song spoken more loudly to my heart...THANK YOU Hilary. You have no idea how much comfort I felt when I heard your voice. He will carry me, but I needed to be reminded of that.  I needed to know that other have felt this same sorrow.
I don't know why she was born with Down syndrome.  I don't know why she was taken back so soon. She was such an unexpected gift and Kian would have REALLY loved being a big brother and would have been wonderful with her. Why does he have to miss that? I do know that my Savior loves me and I will probably spend my whole life wondering why this happened. But He knows me. He gives me peace and hope. He knows my sorrow, He hears my heart.

I am so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that promises me that I will be with her again. I am and forever will be her Mommy. She is ours forever. She is perfect and she is with our Savior and she is watching over me. I miss her every day and having to leave her tiny body in Indiana has been a new heartbreak for me. I remember wondering once how in the world the pioneer women could lose their children on the trek to Utah and go on to their destination, leaving their precious gifts I know. You have to, you have to go on. I know that she is not there. She is in our hearts forever, her spirit is with the Lord 

I loved you
then I lost you
and I will never be the same.
Caught in your eyes
lost in your name
and I will never be the same.

Reagan Noel
November 16-November 28, 2004

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus!

Last night Kian sent his letter to Santa and the Believe mailbox at Macy's.

He asked for:
1. An ice cream maker
2. Harry Potter Legos
3. A scooter

It was so much fun, he decided to write another letter saying Thank You!
But really he just was hoping the second letter would make the Believe Meter go up...
Virginia, you better believe, WE BELIEVE!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Once Upon A Time...

Once upon a time I got an invite on MySpace to see a comic at Morty's in Indianapolis.  He was offering 2-for-1 tickets and he was kinda cute so I decided to go.
 So we went with our friends Robert and Debbie Orcutt and what do you know...he was funny! Turns out he's a medical Doctor who gave up medicine to pursue his "dream" of stand-up comedy. Yes, his parents must be so proud!!
After the show he was hanging around the back meeting and greeting and asked if we wanted an autograph.  I had just gotten Nick Lachey's new cd and it was in my bag.  I said "D'you wanna sign this cd" just like a dork and he said "Sure I will!" and he did, with Nick Lachey's name.
I looked him up on Facebook a few months later and there wasn't really anything there. So I started a fan page called I "Heart" Matt Iseman. And pretty soon there were 150 members and then I got a message from someone named Kris and she said her boyfriend had asked her if she had started this page for him! She said "I gave you all the credit and he is totally flattered!"
Next thing I know there are over 300 members and we are spreading the word and he has thanked me and called me the President of his fan club! I know, right?!
So we have "become Facebook friends" ala Stalker/Stalkee and I even almost got a kitten from him and his girlfriend, but that's another story.
Even though I had seen his act in Indy, I knew that he had been to SLC and that he really liked it so I was campaigning hard for him to come back.
This week he has been at Wise Guys at Trolley Square for THREE nights!! Doug and I went last night with Steve and Michelle and it was awesome!
As Michelle and I were going to the loo, we had to walk by him and Michelle says "She wants to talk to you". So we stopped and he said, "What's your name?"
I said, "Caren", like a dork.
He said, "Caren? OH, CAREN!!!" and he gave me a huge hug!! "It's so great to finally meet you, thanks for coming out tonight!".
So Michelle took our picture and she was kind of slow and the first one Matt had his eyes closed so we were locked arm in arm for at LEAST 45 seconds! SO nice...
He was still hysterically funny..."Mandingo..." and the venue was so small and we were so close that we were actually talking to him during his show.  It was great! He did my favorite "Precious wants her ring" joke and some great new material about Mexicans...we can call them that because they are from Mexico.
He was so warm and genuine and it was awesome to meet him finally...he is what my family affectionately calls my "boyfriend".
And they lived happily ever after...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mackenzie and Shakespeare


Yesterday, Mackenzie competed at the Shakespearean Festival at SUU in Cedar City.  Her last round judge loved her and I could see so much improvement from last year...I can't wait until she is a senior! We couldn't be prouder...

Shakespeare and Reunions

This has become my favorite weekend. Last year was Mackenzie's first year as a competitor at the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City.  It's almost unheard of to be chosen your Freshman year. I was fairly impressed :0)
She was chosen again this year and she was even better! Her monologue was Queen Katharine from Henry VIII. Her last judge commented on her "regal-ness"...she was beautiful.
This would be fantastic by itself, but there's more... Kim comes up from Flagstaff and this year the whole family came!! It was so great to see everyone, I have really missed them!

The judge in Kenzie's second round was Mr. "Vest".  He was a slender thing and he had a SillyBandz. Need I say more?

 Not sure which one it was, but Vanessa would have loved to trade with him :0) He had the kids all hold hands and talked to them about enjoying the realization of all their hard work. He said the audience could not touch their faces or leave. Kian and Maddy were like statues, but it turned out neither one of them felt good.
Kian ended up going to the hotel with Doug and falling asleep at 8:00 p.m.  Poor Maddy had to stay with us, but was pretty miserable.  So was Bruce if I'm being honest :0)
While waiting for Kenzie's last round which was incredibly late in starting, Kim and I decided to try to learn how to take better (or even good) photos of ourselves with our cell phones.

Yeah, we were really bored, but Kim has the BEST mugshot...I'm sure she will never share, but I have seen it!  This is what the "kids" were doing...

Mackenzie's final round finally began and she was terrific! Bruce and Maddy had to leave early to go to the car since they were both feeling awful. I think the judge, who had zero control of the room, really liked Mackenzie's performance. I know I did.
Then we finally got to go eat and out of respect for tradition, we chose Applebee's.  We will be starting a new tradition.  Kim and I ordered Strawberry lemonade and he brought one that was the end of the lemonade mixed with strawberry and one that was mixed with Sprite, which was really Sierra Mist. Kim refused that one and when I tasted mine it tasted like fruit punch.

Sierra Mist is NOTHING like lemonade, am I right? When I told "Talon" (yes, that was his name) mine tasted like fruit punch he said "Yeah, we used to have one that was really good, but then they changed it to a cheaper one and that's what it tastes like".

Mallory and Savannah...we were all REALLY hungry!

After Kian slept for 12 hours he felt much better and today we met the Spotts' at their rental cabin in Duck Creek Village for a picnic.

It was SO much fun...I somehow forget how much I miss my friend and it was wonderful to see her girls and their personalities.  They were so good to Kian and it certainly was a memorable way to spend his 7th birthday.  
He did get Birthday Brownies from Day's Market and a watch.  He asked first thing when he got up this morning, "Mom, do I look like I'm 7?"

On our way back to Provo we saw SNOW!!! It was actually a beautiful drive.

Then we went to the mall so he could get the "marble game" for his gift. He'll have his party next weekend and for at least 2 more years his birthday will unfortunately get pushed to the week after because the Bard will wait for no kid's birthday! Can't wait for another YaYa subset reunion!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis

How I love this movie! It has to be in my Top 10 and maybe even Top 5.  I have always loved Marilyn Monroe for some reason.  It took me a little longer to appreciate the genius of Jack Lemmon whom I adored! Today we lost the last of this brilliant trio, Tony Curtis.  My Mom watched tons of old movies and I grew to love them too. I can't remember my first Tony Curtis movie, but I have always had a crush on him :-) SO handsome!!
Now they are together again and my Mom is loving it...Enjoy Mom and save me a seat!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Where is Compassion?

Recently a friend of mine posted on Facebook, "Where is the compassion in America?"
I thought a lot about this as I wasn't sure compassion had totally left our society at all. I was, however, thinking that compassion is a relative term and it is fairly individual. As a person who has longed for compassion many times while my husband was out of work for approximately 2 years, I think I have a real idea of what is and is not missing.  Interestingly enough another friend posted a note later that same day. She graciously has allowed me to share...

"My oldest son, Eric and his wife, Brittney are trying to adopt children.  After 9 long years of trying for children in various ways, with countless disappointments, it looks like they may be adopting 3 children, all siblings. We already love these children, even though I haven't met them in person.  I love them because Eric and Brittney love them.  I love them because they will be our grandchildren.

Today is Eric's Birthday.  When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he promptly replied, "I just want money to get my kids".   He went on to explain that they will need not only money for the legal fees, but also beds, dressers, clothes, etc.  I've been trying to think of ways to help them.... selling furniture, holding fund-raisers, starting a "family adoption fund", ect... I've been worrying about it alot, mostly laying awake in the middle of the night, struggling for sleep.

This morning they were searching Craig's list for used bunk beds.  They came across a set and called.  The older lady who answered the phone sounded reluctant, but invited them over to view the used beds.  When they arrived, the sweet older gentleman explained the bunk beds were built by him for their boys.  The woman was tearing up and was having a rough time selling the beds, but realized they were no longer needed. 

When they asked Eric and Brittney how many kids they had and why they were interested in bunk beds, Eric explained their story of  infertility, and how they quite possibly may be adopting 3 children in just a few weeks! 
The couple glanced at each other and with a slight nod to each other, they told Eric that they would like to GIVE the beds to them, as long as they allowed them to pray for them.

As they prayed, they asked God for many more blessings to fall upon Eric and Brittney."

This is compassion at work in America
 Compassion must come from the heart, not the government. Compassion must be freely given, not legislated. Compassion must be individual or it ceases to have meaning. Compassion is a gift we give one another and it never ceases to amaze me how much compassion there is in America. I have enjoyed compassion from family, friends, neighbors, strangers and once when I was young my family was shown compassion even by the Hell's Angels.
It is here, it is all around us and I am grateful to live in a country where it is given and felt by so many.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jessica's "Daily Affirmation"

I cannot tell you how much joy I get from watching this!! I laughed like crazy when I saw it and I will use it on those days that are just too hard to get through...I need to enjoy my life like Jessica does!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Burnout

Last night as I was preparing Sharing Time for Primary and thinking about  writing the Children's Sacrament meeting program for Primary, I was over whelmed! I was thinking about burnout...I have only had this calling since February I thought to myself.  Then I realized I had this calling for two years in Indiana before this. Yes, it feels like I have reached my limits, but I believe the Lord is there to help me and I will continue to serve until He feels that there is some other way I can serve.
Then today as I looked around our congregation (AFTER my sharing  time was finished) I thought of all of the children and here I will even say, my favorites. Sweet and her brother Jake. Drew who is so well behaved and handsome each week. Wesley who always adds a dimension that I hadn't thought of. Little Rosie who is so  friendly and smiley. I love Elyssa and Hannah who are quiet, but are listening. I don't know how they feel about me, but I know that it is my job to teach with the spirit and to love each of them. I know their families are the foundation upon which all their learning is based, but I feel a great responsibility to each of them and I realize that when my time is finished, I will miss these little ones. I will miss what I learn directly from them and what I learn as a by-product by preparing my lessons for them.
Yes, I have been in Primary for a long time, but I do love it and after Sunday, October 24. I will again feel as it there is no other calling in church I could love more!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Edgemont South Stake Young Women's Run to the Temple

What a great idea! 200 young women from our church ran/walked 1.7 miles from the high school to the Provo temple! They all had pink shirts from their summer camp and it was a terrific visual of a personal goal--to strive for an eternal family starting with the temple.
These girls did more running that walking!
Kenzie has a cold so she did all walking.  Kian and I left  from our house to meet them at the finish line!
She was a little sarcastic about her excitement!
Mackenzie and the temple

                                                    Everyone who finished got a medal. Thank you Elizabeth!

 The front has a picture of the Young Women's medallion and the date. On the back is a quote from Ezra Taft Benson: "God loves us. He is watching us. He wants us to succeed. We will know some day that He has not left one thing undone for the eternal welfare of each of us. If we only knew it, heavenly hosts are pulling for us, friends in heaven that we cannot now remember, who yearn for our victory."

Happy finishers!! Even Kian got a medal, thanks Debbie!
Yay! We made it! We even walked back home, everyone else drove :-)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kian's Purple Belt

Tonight was Kian's belt promotion at Bobby Lawrence Karate.  He  has been working SO hard and he has now earned his PURPLE belt!
He is on his way to BLACK belt :-)
It was a packed house tonight so I got the best pictures possible.
Working with his partner on his self-defense.
Bowing to Miki after his showtime kicks.
Running by the bleachers waving his new belt!
The Fourth Student creed:
What are we?
We are a Black Belt School!
We are dedicated!
We are motivated!
We're on a quest to be our best!
We are AWESOME!!!

Miki actually tied on his purple belt after a pretty cool belt ceremony.

I think it's time to move on to Leadership!!
Way to go Kian! We are SO proud of you and all of your practicing. You ROCK!!