Monday, December 12, 2011


Tonight the older kids and I went to a Christmas party. It is put on by one of the special ed teachers at the school. It's for all of his current students and former students. He is so kind to have the party every year. We've been going for 4 years now. It's always the same....the kids play the same game each year, sit on the stairs and sing songs, and then Santa comes in with gifts for each of them. The kids really enjoy it. Here they are sitting with Santa.

In this last picture Santa is asking Tyler what he wants for Christmas. Tyler said a remote control car. I was a little surprised because I hadn't heard him talk about one of those this year. After we got home Tyler requested some help from me to write a letter to Santa.

Now I wish you could've seen this next part because writing about it just won't do it justice. I told Tyler he didn't need to write a letter because he just told Santa what he wants. At this point he throws his hands in the air and shouts "I panicked!" I wasn't following what he meant so I asked him to explain. Again he throws his hands in the air and says "I panicked with Santa. I don't want a remote control car!" Thus the reason for the urgency to write a letter to Santa with his more thought out request. I wish you could've been there. It was great!

Hopefully Santa will get that letter in time to make any needed changes to his previous plans!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Last week Tyler, Lauren, my Mom, and I flew to Bethesda Maryland to the National Institutes of Health. We were able to participate in a study they are doing on Bardet-Biedl Syndrome. I have been working towards going on this trip for over 10 months now. I have had soooo much anxiety over many aspects of it. The travel made me nervous, navigating my way around a new place made me nervous, trying to make the kids do all of the procedures and tests that needed to be done made me nervous. I was a nervous wreck by the time we left. My biggest worry was that I wouldn't be able to get Tyler on the plane. He has been known to refuse to get on things before like trains or buses so the plane made me worried. If he refused I didn't know what I would do. I considered medicating him and Lauren to make things easier but the medication made both of them dizzy and that made me worry about them getting sick on the plane. Do you see a general theme here of me being nervous. Seriously, I cannot think of a single event that I have worried about more than this! Nate gave Tyler and I blessings the night before we left. I felt a nice calm feeling come over me and I felt like we were going to be ok.

I was so proud of Tyler and Lauren on the plane. They were so good! Tyler got a little nervous getting on but he kept telling himself that he was brave and he was strong. It was really cute.

The plane ride was uneventful and we caught the right shuttle to NIH from the hospital and we arrived at the Children' Inn around 6:30pm sunday. The Children's Inn is a place for families to stay while they are patients at NIH. It is a great place. Tyler was very excited to find the game room he had seen online. He also LOVED this super mild therapy dog.

Lu loved the playroom. It had a treehouse in it where she loved to play.

She loved the "Woody hat" and this fun life sized light bright thing.

We started our appointments on monday morning. Tyler was amazing. He was calm and so willing to do whatever we asked him to do. He was able to do every test that was scheduled for him. I was certain there were a few he wouldn't be able to do but he surprised us all and did them. Between monday and thursday he had a physical exam, blood draw (13 viles to fill and 3 different attempts,it was not fun!), DEXA scan to measure bone density, Abdominal MRI and brain MRI, 2 different ultrasounds, x-rays, EKG, Psychological testing, Audiology testing, Opthamology appt, and a couple of other appts that I went to and he had to wait in the waiting room with Lu and my Mom for hours! I am so proud of him and what he did there. I know that he was strengthened and calmed as a result of so many prayers on our behalf. It really was amazing. Here he is waiting for an appointment.
He loved that some of the offices had complimentary drinks!

Then there was Lu. Wow, was she the opposite of Tyler. She was scheduled for all the same appointments as Tyler but I think the only thing she did was the psychological testing. She threw a royal fit anytime anyone tried to touch her. Luckily we had scheduled for her to be sedated for her opthamology appointment at the end of the week. We decided to do as many tests as possible while she was out. She ended up having her eye exam and ERG, MRI's, blood draw, and physical exam while she was sedated. It was a wonderfully calm and relaxing few hours for me while she was out! (Is that wrong of me to say?) Here she is just before the sedation.

Did I mention that she watched a Bugs Bunny movie about a million times on the IPad? She called it "carrots" and she watched it all the time!

We got some great news that Lauren's eyes seem to be fine. She doesn't have Retinitis Pigmentosa as of yet. The opthamologist said he would love to do an exam in a few years and see how things look but for now she is just fine.

Lu recovered from the sedation just fine for a couple of hours but then she seemed to struggle. She started shaking really bad and she could not stay awake. It was a little concerning but it was also really cute to have her cuddle and sleep on me and my mom.

Even the day after the sedation she seemed really out of it still. I am counting that as a blessing because we flew home that day and she was an angel through it all. We had 2 flights and I don't think she even said 2 words or moved off my lap during either. By this morning she seemed to be back to her normal self so I'm not worried anymore.

The entire week was so exhausting for my Mom and I. The days were long at the clinic and then trying to entertain the kids in the evenings was draining too. My Mom was a fantastic travel partner. She and Tyler were buddies and I took care of Lauren most of the time. My Mom was a great support to me and I loved being able to share this experience with her. She was our navigator and found ways for us to get out for dinner or get to the grocery store. She was so great to entertain the kids in waiting rooms when I was meeting with different specialists. I really enjoyed getting to spend the week with her.

I also have to share these pictures because they are perfect representations of the week. These are their security badges they had to wear all week. Tyler didn't go anywhere without his elephant. He even held it during his MRI's. And Lauren, well the picture says it all!

Even though the experience was very exhausting and difficult I am still so glad that we had the opportunity to go. I thought I would come home with tons of new information about the syndrome but I don't feel like I did. I did learn some things but I found out that I already know most of what there is to know about the syndrome in general. I realized that I need to shift my focus from general information to more specific information about what is going on with my kids. That is what I did find out this week. I found out the Tyler is already showing some pre-diabetes signs. I feel a real urgency to change some things in our diets to make sure he is healthy. I also found out that generally my kids are doing really well. Their hearts and kidney's are fine. Lauren's eyes are fine. And although Tyler does have the eye disease his vision is quite good still. I learned more about genetics and how the syndrome was passed on too. We didn't get the result of the genetic testing yet. That could take a few months to get.

The most important thing I learned this week was something that I already knew but was reminded of many times this week. I re-learned that I have been guided and directed by the Holy Ghost so many times as a parent to these special kids. I was able to think through our journey from the time Tyler was born until the now and was able to recognize that my mind has been enlightened by the Spirit. I've been lead to different things at different times that have been beneficial for us. As I've looked at the past 10 yrs it's so easy to see how blessed I've been. I feel really grateful for the renewed appreciation for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

On the flight home there was a beautiful sunset somewhere over the midwest.

I was so excited to get home and see Nate, Alex, and Abby. I was also very excited to sleep in my own bed without Lauren!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A gift

Here is a question. Do you think that simply thinking about something and hoping for something is a silent prayer? Because I have been thinking about something and really hoping something would happen. I haven't "officially" prayed about it but I've thought about it a lot. Today the thing that I had been hoping for happened and I instantly had a feeling that it was an answer to my prayers. Only, I haven't prayed for it. Maybe it's what some would call a tender mercy. I remember a few lines from a talk given by Elder Bednar about tender mercies. He says " I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them." He also says "the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings."

I guess whether it was a tender mercy or an answer to silent prayer doesn't matter. I recognized instantly that it was a blessing made just for me.

You're probably expecting some great story at this point but it really is a very simple thing. But, I have thought about this very simple thing over and over today and I am so grateful for it!

Lauren has been going to preschool for a few months now. She comes home happy and I see papers she brings home but I have no idea what she does at school or how she acts there. I don't know the routine. I don't know what her behavior is like. Does she act happy there or is she missing home? I have held her cute, chubby checks with my hands and looked into her eyes almost begging for her to tell me something, anything she did that day. I know she can't tell me but for some reason it makes me sad to not know what she thinks and feels about her time at school. This has been the norm for almost 3 months now. I think about it less than I did at first but sometimes my heart still longs for her to share something with me.

Today Lauren and I were playing with some toys and she brought out a bag of wooden blocks. She set it on the table and said "It's toy time"! She said it 2 or 3 times and I instantly recognized that they must call playtime "toy time" in her class. I was so excited that she shared something with me. It was so small but it was so big at the same time. A little while later I heard her talking to herself saying "let's count to ten" then she would start counting from 1 to 10. Again, my heart just melted knowing that she must have learned that at school. I can just imagine the teacher saying that exact phrase. Like I said before. I know this is such a small thing. I still don't really know much about her school and her time there but I am so grateful that she was able to share something with me. I am even more grateful that I recognized that it was a gift for me from my Father in Heaven. He knows me. He knows the small desires of my heart. I am so grateful that he gave me that sweet gift today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Happenings

This is a catch up post for all of our fall activities.

We went to the school carnival last month. They had fun activities for the kids but my kids LOVED the band the most! Tyler's old teacher is the drummer in the band so he let the kids sit and play the drums.
Here's Lu soaking in the loud music from the band!

We went to Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point during Fall Break. The kids had a great time there. I didn't remember Lu's stroller and she can't be trusted to stay with me while she's walking so we rented a wagon for her.

Tyler rode this bike around a track. It's a big deal to me because he doesn't know how to ride a bike and I wasn't even sure if he knew how to pedal! It wasn't easy for him but he did it! I was so proud of him for trying. He ended up doing this activity twice.

We watched pig races, played in bouce houses, played volleyball over hay bails, roped cattle, got faces painted, and had a snack. I didn't take the kids through the corn maze though. I didn't think that was a good idea by myself! If I lost someone in there I may not ever find them! This is the only maze the kids went through.

We also spent a night at Grandma's house over Fall Break. It was our mini vacation! The next morning we got donuts and went up into the Layton foothills to eat and look at the fall leaves with Grandma. Here we are.

The spot we went to had a great lookout area where we could soak in a view of the valley below.

We picked fall leaves and still have them drying in a heavy book. We should probably take them out now!

Next we carved pumpkins. Lauren thought they looked pretty tasty!
I'm pretty sure she thought it would taste like cantalope.

Nate was a great helper with the carving. He helped the kids get their designs just right.

Then came Halloween....
Have I mentioned that I don't love Halloween? Scary things, candy and dressing up are not my favorite things! Nevertheless, the kids had a costume parade at school on Halloween. Tyler doesn't dress up so he sat with me and Lu during the parade. He was my photographer so I got some pretty interesting pictures there!
Here I am waiting for Lu to finish throwing a fit on the floor. It was nice of Tyler to capture that moment! If you look closely you can see a pink blob on the floor by me. That's Lu.

Tyler took some great pictures at the parade. Unfortunately none of them were of Alex or Abby in their costumes! Luckily I had the camara handy that night just before they went trick or treating. Here is Alex and his friend. Alex was a phantom.
Abby was Minnie Mouse and Lu was whatever we could find around the house that she would wear!
(Can you tell Abby had a party at school that day? Wish I had gotten a picture taken before she stained the front of her costume!)
Here's Lu taking another taste of pumpkin!

I didn't get a picture of Tyler but he was a doctor. He dresses up enough to be able to trick or treat to the houses on our street. He's done after that! Alex and Abby went crazy with the trick or treating this year! They went for 2 1/2 hours! Here they are with their friends they went with.

Abby and her friend ended up in the wagon by the end of the night and they had gotten a little silly! By little I mean ALOT!

That's all I have time for right now. I went on a fantastic girls getaway weekend with my sister/sister in laws last weekend. I'll have to share about that one later!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family Pictures

We had family pictures taken a few weeks ago. It had been almost 3 yrs since our last pictures so I was very excited about it. I stressed over the clothes, the location, the weather, everyone's hair, know how it goes! All of those things came together just fine. The one thing I forget to stress about was Lauren. Turns out that should've been at the top of my list! To say she was difficult would be an understatment!

My sister in law's brother did our pictures. His name is Clay Hansen and I thought he did a wonderful job. We were not able to do many poses because Lauren was so difficult. He followed her around for quite a while trying to catch a good picture of her. I think he did a great job.

Here's the family





Me and Nate

These are a couple of my favorite pictures. It was the only time that Lu was being happy during the session.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Yesterday was my 34th birthday. That's right, I'm not afraid to say my age! I have a few good reasons to not be afraid of my age.

1) When I was younger most of my friends in my grade were a year older than me. Yes, it was sad when I didn't drive until I was Jr. in high school but my Mom always said "You'll love it when all your friends are turning 30 and you're still 29."! She was right.

2) I just happened to marry a great man who is 6 1/2 yrs older than me. I always feel young compared to him! He's a good sport about all the teasing I do!

3) I would much rather be 34 than 21 again. I love having more perspective, knowledge, and most of all PEACE. I love where I am in life. I love the ages of my kids. I love that Nate and I are at a great place in our marriage. I love where I live. I love the people that I get to associate with. I simply love where I am in life and I wouldn't trade it for the smaller waistline and fewer wrinkles that would come with a younger age.

There you have it! That's why I'm not afaid to say my age.

My birthday was a nice day. Since it was sunday, Nate was home and was able to take over with the kids and house and let me relax a little. I did have early morning meetings and a primary program practice and it was fast sunday. But other than those things it was a relaxing, enjoyable day.

Nate surprised me with a new camera. I've wanted a new one for a few months. It's just a point and shoot, nothing fancy but I'm excited about it. I spent some time in the afternoon playing around with it. Here are a few shots I took of the kids.

Do you love the close up?

Before you think they're all lovey dovey, please know that they were INSANE yesterday. The next picture is more realistic.

Here's Lu playing under a parachute.

Thanks to everyone for the nice birthday wishes. It was a great day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

General Conference

I'm not writing to brag but I am writing to share my success story!

Let me put it simply, our kids struggle with General Conference! It's not something that they look forward to. They do like skipping a week of regular church but they don't really like sitting, listening to speakers at home.

I signed up on Pinterest recently and saw an idea to help kids listen during conference. It suggested having 5 buckets with candy in them and a word posted on the front. Each time a child hears one of the words they get to pick a candy out of it. I loved the idea! Instead of using candy I decided to put dimes in the buckets. I put one roll of dimes in each bucket. It looked like this

The dimes were a big incentive to listen! Alex and Abby listened intently through the 2 Sunday sessions. I know it sounds like a bit of a bribe to pay my children to watch conference but I choose to see it a different way. As my sister-in-law said. It's a small price to pay to start building a testimony! I agree with her. Abby and Alex both made close to $10 a piece! It's the best $10 I've ever spent!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Love and Kindness

Look at this face
Seriously, how can you not just love him!

Today I am feeling so grateful for people who love this kid and watch out for him.

Yesterday we had a neighborhood party at a local park. One of the games was a cake walk. You walk around in a circle with other people and try to end on a number. If your number is called then you win a cake. I explained the rules of the cake walk to Tyler and his eyes lit up. He wanted to win one of two cakes. They were both chocolate and looked delicious! It was very apparent to everyone around that Tyler was quite focused and intended to win a cake! Well, the game began and cake after cake was won and Tyler wasn't part of the winning. With each cake that dissappeared from the table Tyler's head hung a little lower. I wasn't close by to cheer him on, I was off chasing Lauren but my heart was breaking from afar. He didn't need a cake but I wanted him to feel the excitment of winning. Finally it was announced that this was the last round and there was only one cake left. The participants walked their little circle and stopped on their numbers. I stood off in the distance hoping Tyler's number would be called. The person in charge pulled out a number and suddenly I heard a loud cheer and clapping from the crowd. Everyone was patting Tyler on the back as he walked to the cake table. He didn't get one of the yummy chocolate cakes but he was just so excited to win he didn't seem to mind! I was glad that I wasn't around everyone because I got a little emotional. I could feel the kindess and love from our friends and neighbors for Tyler. It was a very sweet moment. Not only does Tyler feel that love and support, I do. I feel like people are loving and supporting me and my efforts at times like that and I appreciate it more than they could ever know! It reminded me of the 1st time Tyler gave a talk in primary and when he was done the entire Sr. primary started clapping for him. I appreciate the love and support others show him. He is a special kid and thank goodness he is so loveable!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

1st Day of School Pictures

I am a little behind in posting these pictures. The kids have been back in school for almost a month now! I have to say that it's been great. I love my kids but I also love having a little time to think and get organized or just head out to the store or lunch without everyone!

Tyler, Alex, and Abby all started school on the same day at the same school. They are all going all day this year which I LOVE! After a few years of preschool and kindergarten schedules it's nice to have all 3 of them coming and going at the same time!

Here they all are right before we headed off the school.

All three of them are doing great so far. Abby has adjusted to 1st grade and going all day really well. Alex is making friends, excited about reading (which is not normal!), and says he has gotten 100 times better at catching a football at recess which equals one happy kid! Tyler has LOVED being back in school with friends, schedules, school lunch, and his teacher.

Lauren started school a week and a half later. She is going to preschool 3 days a week. Here she is just before the bus came and the meltdown began!

Sending her on the bus the first day was very difficult. I knew that she didn't understand where she was going. She didn't understand why I was leaving her on this bus and waving goodbye to her. I could hear her screaming and crying on the bus and it made my heart hurt! Since that difficult first day things have gotten better. She still cried a few times as I put her on the bus but atleast I knew she understood what was going on which made me feel better. Last time the bus came Lu walked right on without crying and waved goodbye to me. It was great!