Thursday, February 14, 2013

Family Pictures 2012

Every fall we like to take a new family picture.  I love documenting how our family is growing up and we also (hopefully) have a nice picture to send out with our Christmas cards.  This year we needed new tires on our car so Ken voted to forgo pictures.  I was sad not to have our beloved photographer and friend, Becky, take our pictures, but I didn't want to let Ken off the hook. :) 

One gorgeous afternoon I went through our closets and found some things that would work together, grabbed my camera and tripod, and we headed toward the park.  Our pictures, for sure, were not as beautiful as Becky would have done them, but I was still pleased to catch that moment in time.


An eye for an eye?

It started out as a perfectly normal day.  The kids went to school, came home, and began doing what kids do.  After a little homework, I gave permission to Morgan and Trevor to go play for a little bit at "the big hill" before I took Trevor to karate.  It soon was time to go to karate and Trevor was late getting home so I was annoyed and was already waiting with the van running in the driveway when he got home.  He told me that he and Morgan had been playing stick fighting when the stick broke and hurt Morgan's eye.  She was still over at the hill with Trey so I didn't think that too much could be wrong and I took Trevor to karate.  When we returned home, Ken had just finished teaching his piano lessons and was checking out Morgan's eye.

It was worse than I had thought.  The stick had broken while they were dueling and scraped up Morgan's eyelid pretty badly, it was swelling, and she was already getting a black eye.  We tried looking in her eye which looked a bit irritated but she didn't seem to have pain IN her eye.  She said it didn't sting or anything and we were thankful that the scrapes were just on the outside.  We gave her some pain meds and iced her eye, which seemed to help.  We also let her stay home the next day because she had quite the shiner.  It was rather lucky timing that it was the end of the trimester and she had a three day weekend so she would have extra time to heal.

Morgan was healing nicely and by Friday afternoon the swelling was going down and the back eye was even fading to a lovely purplish, green color.  We were thinking all was well so Ken and I decided to go on a date up to Loveland for a choir concert.  Just after the concert ended, I got a call from Morgan that her eye was really starting to hurt badly.  I instructed her to take some advil and that we were on our way home.

We we arrived home 30 minutes later to find Morgan writhing on the floor in extreme pain.  The outside of her eye was looking so much better that we were really surprised she was hurting so badly.  I got her more ice as we debated whether to take her to the ER.  Of course, it was 9:30 on a Friday night.  Isn't that when all emergencies happen?  She was miserable and just kept saying that she wanted to go to bed.  I decided to call our wonderful friend Haley, who is an ER nurse, to see if we could come over to see what she thought.

We got over to Haley's house which still had some people from a party she had hosted that night.  (She and Sarah had held a hair party where they were teaching mom's how to do cool braids and styles on their daughter's hair.  I desperately need help in that area, but when Ken really wanted to go a a date instead, I passed up the party to spend some time with him.)  Morgan was having a hard time keeping it together because of her pain level.  Haley gave her some stronger meds and then got a flashlight to look in her eye. (Why hadn't I thought of that?)  We were both shocked by what she saw.

Morgan hadn't really opened her eye in a couple of days because it was swollen shut.  When Haley shown the light in her eye we could see the the pupil of her eye was filling up with blood.  The top half of her eye was green and the bottom half was crimson.  No wonder she was in so much pain, the pressure in her eye was causing it.  Haley told us that we needed to take her in right away, but was concerned because most ERs wouldn't have an ophthalmologist there that could actually help her eye.  Haley called the hospital were she works to see if there was one on call and told us that most likely, we would need to drive down to Aurora to the main children's hospital.  By this time it was almost 10:00 and I was seeing a very long night ahead of us.  Then I had an epiphany.

I remembered my friend Becky that I sing with in Take Note, and that her husband is an eye doctor and one of the nicest men you could meet.  I decided to give it a try and call him.  I felt really bad calling him so late, but we were having serious concerns about Morgan's eye.  The phone rang and rang.  To my extreme relief, he finally answered it.  I told him what had happened and what we were seeing in her eye.  Without hesitation he said he would open up his office and see her.  I was almost crying in gratitude!

We called Ken to let him know what was going on.  (He was at home working a maintenance window for work.)  He came over quickly and he and Doug, Haley's husband were able to give her a blessing before Morgan and I headed to Rex's office.  There was a crazy thunderstorm and it was raining like crazy on our way and we finally got there at 11:15.  Rex greeted us and took us in to give Morgan an eye exam.

I think Rex was even surprised how bad her eye was (he later said it was the worst case of hyphema he had ever seen in 30 years of practicing) even though he gave the good news that her cornea was not scratched.  Basically the trauma of the broken stick made her eye like a big bruise.  More than likely, her quick blinking response saved her eye.  There were lots of tests and a ton of different eye drops to regulate the pressure and to keep her pupil from dilating so more blood would not accumulate.  We had to even administer the eye drops every couple of hours throughout the night and day and she had to sleep at an angle to encourage her eye to drain.  Morgan also had daily eye appointments for almost the next week and she was put on bed rest and not allowed to even go to school.  He didn't want to risk the bleed reopening because that becomes even more serious.

We were very blessed.  Every day showed improvement and after a couple of weeks Morgan's vision had returned to normal despite a few "floaters" in her eye (small specks in her vision).  Her iris is still not very quick to respond and is usually dilated.  In fact, when we returned to school the school police officer stopped to talk to her.  It seemed he was wary of her dilated pupils. :)  We are hopeful that this returns to normal over the next year or so.  I still get a little choked up when I think about Rex and his care for Morgan over those first few weeks.  Many times he came and opened his office just for an appointment with us.  I don't know what I would have done without good friends to help us in our hour of need.  So blessed!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Halloween

Our Halloween was pretty low-key this year.  Actually that is how I prefer it -- I am not really that into Halloween, but I go along for the kiddos.  Of course we carved pumpkins...

We attended the church carnival, trunk or treat, and chili cookoff.  Ken was out of town, but we had a blast and invited Shannon and her cute kiddos.

And then the big night!  Morgan dressed up as her favorite book character, Renn.  Trevor dressed in head to toe camo and called himself "camo-man".  Peyton was just about the cutest witch around.  Cooper dressed up as Tigger and had fun showing everyone how he could bounce.  Morgan and Trev took off around the neighborhood with Trey and Ken (dressed as Mitt Romney) took Peyton, Cooper, and Evan around while I maned the front door.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Trevor, the birthday boy

Trevor has been growing up all too quickly.  We celebrated his birthday in a rather low key way in October.  Last year so many family members came for his baptism and birthday celebration that our family party at home paled in comparison.

For his birthday we encouraged all the good work that he has been doing at karate by getting him a set of sparing gear and letting him attend BBU (black belt university).  This was a special camp where he went Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday where he worked on leadership and all of his karate skills.  He had a blast and it paid off in his testing where he was promoted two belts.  He is now a high purple!  With all the leadership training, he was also invited to be on the "Leadership Team" at the dojo.  The Leadership Team get extra training where they not only work on their own karate skills but they also learn how to work with the younger students so they can help them.  I am so impressed with the skills he is learning through this experience:  patience, using positive reinforcement, and respect.  I can't help but think that these skills he is developing with be a wonderful help to him throughout his life.

Trevor has such a tender heart.  When I learned about the huge rally at Red Rocks I was disappointed to see that it was on the same night as his 3rd grade program at school.  He was excited about playing a weed (the rapping, break-dancing, villain) in the musical about gardens and plants.  He was so sweet when I told him that I would miss the rally to come to his performance.  He gave me a big hug and said, "Mom, I don't want you to miss seeing Mitt Romney!  I'll just ask dad to record my performance so you can go."  I totally teared up at this gesture and was so grateful to him.  He totally rocked his performance.  I am so proud of him and the young man he is becoming!  I love him so much!

Georgia with the guys

Years ago some of our dear husbands thought it only appropriate that if the girls got to get away and scrapbook all weekend, then the boys should get to do something fun too.  I think that is a pretty fair trade.  They usually travel to take in a BYU football game, golf, and eat a ton.  In past years they have gone to a home game in Provo, but this last year they decided to branch out and attend the Georgia Tech game in Georgia.

A few years ago our friends, the Harmons moved to Atlanta and they have been hoping for visitors.  Jeff has gone on "mancation" a couple of times and is a big BYU fan.  They guys were excited to try somewhere new.  They had a blast cheering on the Cougs to victory, some beautiful golfing, and lots of great guy time.

Ken works so hard for our family that I am glad he can get away and have a good time with friends.  He totally deserves it!  Wonder where they will go next year? :)

Rain Gutter Regatta

Trevor totally loves cub scouts.  It is so cute to see him carefully going through his scout book learning knots and seeing what other things he can accomplish to pass them off.  He was thrilled to participate in his first Rain Gutter Regatta.  It is similar to the pinewood derby, but instead the boys make boats and race them by blowing them along the length of a rain-gutter filled with water.

Trev did most of the work himself and had a really fun time doing it.  I was glad he likes building them so much because there is no guarantee of how well they will perform. This experience turned out much better than the pinewood derby (his pinewood derby car came in close to last place although you wouldn't know it, he was just so excited to build the car and get to race it) and his boat came in first and he had the fastest times out of all the boats raced that day.  Most importantly, he had a BLAST doing it.

Way to go Trev!

Monday, February 4, 2013


I spent many days in October and early November attending rallies for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  I totally got inspired while listening to them speak and I was so glad I got to see them in person so many times.  There was also something inspiring about being with so many others that supported Mitt for president.

I attended a Mitt rally at a high school with Erica, Shannon, and Nichole.  We had no idea we would be treated to a small concert beforehand by Jo Dee Messina.  It was an absolutely beautiful Colorado evening.  We all had a great time!

My favorite rally was at Red Rocks.  Probably one of the coolest political experiences of my life!  First off, Red Rocks is absolutely iconic.  I was glad we arrived early because there were people everywhere and they estimated about 5,000 people got turned away.  It was a special night where Rodney Adkins and Kid Rock warmed up the crowd.  Then Susanna Martinez and Paul Ryan spoke before Mitt took the stage.  There was absolute electricity in the air.  My favorite was the moment when Mitt came out and was obviously overwhelmed at the crowd and rugged beauty of the amphitheater.  In his face I could plainly see the humility and desire to do the absolute best he could for every person in the crowd.  It was something I felt to blessed to be a part of.

In the week before the election I volunteered at two Paul Ryan events, one in Greeley and one in Johnstown.  It was fun to meet new friends and work on the local level.  I got to work with my friend, Lindy Dangerfield on both events.  I also had a great time talking with Charles, a secret service agent.  At the event in Greeley one of the campaign workers took me right up next to the stage so I was only about 25 feet from Ryan as he spoke.  I even got to shake his hand!

The last Mitt rally I attended we made a family affair.  It was an event at Fiddler's Green in front of over 18,000 people.  We took the whole family and met Holly and Brian there with the cousins.  The kids had a great time dancing to the music checking out the snipers and security on nearby rooftops.   It was great to see Ann and Mitt speak just before the election.  It was also fun to go up to the front afterward and see some of the big Colorado movers and shakers.  We even got our picture taken with Bob Beauprez.  It was a super fun night!

Even though Mitt lost the election, I wouldn't trade the hours I spent at these events for anything!  I was grateful to support two men that I had full trust that they understood the problems our nation faces and had a plan to fix them.  I'm not sure if I will ever see again in my lifetime a man that was as prepared as Mitt was.  Our nation will be the poorer (literally and figuratively) because he wasn't elected.

A little time with my friends

For the last 8 years or so a few friends and I have gotten away for the weekend for some creative and spiritual renewal.  The first weekend in October we take our scrapbooking stuff and crop as much as we can.  That is also general conference weekend so we have always made sure we can watch conference while we work.  It is a great combination; listening to the beautiful and talks and music while keeping our hands busy working.

We really have enjoyed the past two years going down to Colorado Springs to My Scrapbook Retreat.  They have a great facility with delicious meals, a big screen TV, and a fantastic workspace.  I especially enjoyed the hot tub for relaxing in after spending all day hunched over a table. :) We had planned on going there again, but just a couple of days before we were to leave, Jessica, the owner called to tell me that she had to cancel our retreat.  Her husband's father had very unexpectedly passed away and they had to travel for the funeral that weekend.  Of course, I told her to not worry about a thing and focus on her family, but it left us in somewhat of a lurch.

I immediately called Malinda because she was flying in from Idaho for the weekend.  She was super cool and said she would come regardless.  Then I sent out and email to all the other gals and let them know what had happened and to get their input on whether we should try to reschedule or find another place to go.  I started researching  where else we could possibly go -- thank heaven for the internet!!!!  After many hours online and many phone calls, I found a cabin for rent near Buena Vista, CO.  It was a little farther away and we would have to prepare our own meals, but it seemed to fit the bill.  I was so glad everyone was flexible!

We took off on Thursday afternoon and drove through the mountains.  It was so gorgeous, with hints of fall peeping through the trees!  We made plans to drive up to Silverthorne and stop at the outlet mall for some shopping and then getting some dinner before continuing on to the cabin.  We all had some great finds at the stores and dinner was yummy, if not rather slow.  We were all pretty sure that our waiter was high.  It was funny to watch.  We arrived to the cabin quite late in a downpour.  Thank heavens for GPS!

The cabin was beautiful and the area was so serene, right on the edge of the San Isabel National Forest.  Turns out that we actually liked doing our own meals.  It didn't feel like we had to get up at any specific time since we were all making our own breakfasts.  We ate together for dinner, but other than that, we just fended for ourselves.  Kind of nice to eat on our own schedule.  We watched plenty of movies and conference.  On Saturday afternoon Kris and I even went for a bike ride on a road through the forest.  It was beautiful with the snow capped peaks in the distance (although my rump was sore for a few days!  Before we left on Sunday afternoon, we made sure to take some pictures with the super fun gals that came.  We are already looking forward to next year!

I loved that Malinda was able to stay and extra day, so we were able go and do some shopping and then get a pedicure.  I got home just in time to teach a couple of lessons and then we took Malinda and the family for dinner at Cinzetti's before taking Malinda to the airport.  I was super sad to say goodbye to Malinda.  I love being with her so much and I was so glad that she was able to spend the weekend with us!