Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sad and Happy

Lauren is really into making sad and happy faces lately. I came across these gems on the IPad today.

If these 4 pictures don't satisfy your need to see Lu's happy and sad faces then you're in luck because have at least 200 or more of them! For some reason they make me giggle each time I see them!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 22, 2012


Lauren will be 4 in a couple of weeks! I cannot believe my baby will be 4!

Last night was her first night in her entire 4 years of sleeping without her binkis. Yes that is plural.

These are her most prized possessions. She affectionately calls them by their colors. This set is called white, pink, pink. Did I mention she loves them?

If ever she is not cooperating with me a conversation like this happens:
Me: Lauren, do you want to keep your binkis?
Lauren: YES
Me: Then you need to help Mama.
Lauren: OK

It's been the best bribery ever! But sadly that era has ended and honestly I am probably more sad about it than she is.

Actually she has done great without them. She understood when I said they were gone and hasn't asked for them since. It is strange to send her to bed without them but seriously, she is almost 4, it's about time!

I'll just have to find another thing she loves enough to make her listen to me! Wish me luck!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


These piles of laundry may look very normal but they are actually quite interesting (to me at least!). The big pile is Abby's and the small one is Lauren's. Believe it or not, they represent the same number of days of wear. This size discrepancy is not abnormal around here. Each time I fold laundry I see this same thing.

The question is, does Abby go through an abnormally large amount of clothes in a given period or does Lauren go through an abnormally small amount?

And the answer is......(I know the suspense is killing you!)...... Sadly it is that Lauren goes through a small amount of clothes. The even worse part is that since she doesn't dress herself yet it is my fault. This is terrible to admit but she will wear the same clothes for multiple days quite often and yes, she wears them to bed too. Why am I admitting this?!

Tonight I decided that as I have become a more experienced parent (older) I find that I am a much better parent in some ways and a worse one in other ways. This clothes situation with Lauren is definitely one of the things that I am worse with! Maybe I'll write a post someday about the things I'm better at but not today.

So, if you dressed your child in fresh clean clothes this morning be proud of yourself. I'll try to follow your example tomorrow!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Visionwalk and BBS Conference

Just a quick post here. I'm sitting in the Atlanta
Airport on my way home from the LMBBS Conference at Duke University in NC. It is a bi-annual conference for Bardet-Biedl Syndrome. It's my first time attending this conference. I should say our first time because Nate came also (which has been fantastic!). It was a great conference where I learned a lot and met a lot of wonderful families who are dealing with the same issues we are.
I also wanted to mention that the Visionwalk was his past weekend while I was gone. I was sad to miss the walk but knew the BBS conference was important.
I want to thank all the people who supported us and donated to our team. We were able to raise just over $2000!! I appreciate so much every single dollar that was given. I felt love and support from all of you. The dollars given will be put towards research that WILL prolong or possibly save Tyler and Lauren's vision.
I cannot thank you enough!!!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 7, 2012

Feeling Down

In the past 2 weeks I've had 3 IEP meetings. The first was for Alex. He has been in speech therapy to correct some letter sounds. This meeting was actually to sign off on ending his therapy. He decided one day that he would fix his sounds and get out of speech! He was diligent and quickly fixed his sounds and he has been very consistent since then. I am so proud of him for recognizing and fixing the problem!!

The next meeting was for Lauren. Her meeting was just her annual meeting to review and set new goals. It was the best meeting I've had with her team and I appreciated connecting with her teachers and therapists better. She has made some great improvements this year in preschool. The biggest struggle she has is that she wants to do everything in her own way and on her own time! The teachers and I exchanged ideas and suggestions and I felt like we were working together to support Lauren. It was great. We also spent quite a bit of time going over her results from NIH. We talked at length about the vision problems that she will inevitably have and discussed things to watch for with her. I was so impressed that I could do that without getting emotional! I feel like I can talk about the future without really connecting that it will really happen. It's a strange disconnect in my head.

The last meeting was to review Tyler's NIH results with his IEP team. Again, it was an interesting hour of talking about devastating realities in a very detached, matter of fact kind of way. Tyler's vision therapist reported on how extremely quickly Tyler is learning Braille, that he has a real gift for learning it. I was so happy to hear that but a thought popped into my head that maybe he has been given that gift to learn because he's going to need it. The thought hurt and caught me off guard. I didn't want to cry so I pushed it aside.

I am starting to learn that I can be strong when I need to be but the emotions will hit me at some point. That point seems to have come today. I think I push the emotions away and try not to feel them and then it makes me feel terrible inside after a while. So today I'm giving myself a day to feel the emotions and hurt a little for my kids. Sharing these feelings are part of my effort to feel them and move forward. I'm sure I will feel better tomorrow but for today I'm content to be a little down.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time with Abby

Today I went on a field trip with Abby and her class. We walked to a local nursery to learn about plants. Here's Abby sitting with her classmates.

I've had a couple of opportunities to spend semi-alone time with her this week (semi because Lu is around too). Abby is such a happy, bubbly, fun person to be around!

I surprised her this week by checking her out of school and taking her to lunch. I've never done that before but I will be doing more of it in the future. It was so fun to steal her away and get to enjoy some time with her.

It's been a fun week with her.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NIH report

I was so happy to look on my porch yesterday and see these two packages.

These are our official reports from our visit to NIH.

I left NIH in November with some information but I've been waiting for these reports to get the complete wrap up of all we did there. The reports where really well put together and easy for me to understand. Most of the information was what I had already heard but it was interesting to read through it all.

The one thing that really stood out to me was the opthamologist noted that Lauren has mild retinal degeneration in both eyes. He was not that clear with me when we talked at NIH so it took me by surprise a little. I am grateful that her eyes are not worse at this point but it does lead me to believe that she will be diagnosed with RP in the future.

Although I have known that this was probably what we would be dealing with I had not given it much thought lately. Reading that yesterday made it more of a reality and was a little emotional for me.

Getting the reports was good motivation for me to continue trying to make the needed diet and exercise changes at our house and has given me a better idea of what specialists I need to get the kids into next.

I am still waiting to hear back about the genetic testing we had done. I don't have any idea when we will hear about that so I will just keep waiting.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I just had a little experience today that I wanted to share.

I've had a few things on my to-do list that I have been putting off for a while. They are church related items that I KNOW need to be done but just haven't been able to get excited about for some reason.They involved activities that I don't like doing such as making phone calls, dropping by unannounced at people's homes, and putting myself out there to others. I know, not really that difficult for some but difficult for me!

I finally decided that no matter what I would get these things done today. So, I did. I pushed through my insecurities, and worries and got them done because they are my responsibility.

After I finished and walked into my quiet house (all the kids were at school, yeah!) I had a very calming, peaceful feeling in my heart. I'm sure it was there for two reasons. First, simply just peace of mind that I can quit thinking about the looming tasks! And second, because I did want the Lord has been wanting me to do.

I feel like that peace was the REWARD for me doing what I know is right even though it was not easy for me. I'm so grateful for the peace I felt and hope to remember it so that next time there is a looming task I won't worry so much and put it off. I will hopefully remember that I will be supported through difficult tasks and be given added peace for doing what is right.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

More DC

Day 2 in DC was much more relaxing than day 1.

Sara and I slept in, actually Sara did. I seem to be unable to sleep in so I just read a book until she woke up!

We got our running clothes on and took the Metro over to the National Mall to run. These are our views from our run.

We had a great time!

We also went around the White House again.

We did a little shopping and then went back to the hotel to get ready for the big wedding.

The whole purpose of this trip was to attend Sara's friend's wedding.

It was held at the St. Regis hotel a block from the White House. It was a beautiful wedding! Alaina (Sara's friend) looked beautiful too. Here they are together.

That was all we did on day 2.

Day 3.
This morning we worked out in the fitness center at the hotel, then cleaned up and headed into DC again.

We had planned to visit the Smithsonian museums, Holocaust Memorial, and the National Archives.

On a whim we decided to go to the top of the Postal Museum. Since the Washington Monument is closed the tower on the Postal Museum is the highest point in town.

This is looking right down Pennsylvania Ave to the Capital.

The Washington Monument.

We saw the Hope Diamond in the Natural History Museum.

We saw a huge stuffed elephant that I knew Tyler would love!

We went through two museums and then discovered that we were very tired and very tired of walking. We were running out of steam!

We were unable to see the Holocaust museum so we headed to the Archives for our last stop.

We saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights. They were amazing to see.

We finished our DC experience with a nice lunch/dinner in town and caught the Metro back to our hotel.

Here is a view of escalators to and from the Metro by our hotel. I'm not sure it really captures how long and steep they are but they are long and steep!

We affectionally called it the cliffs of insanity (from The Princess Bride)!

We stepped all the way up two times and it was not easy!

We've had a great time on our trip. We'll both be flying home separately tomorrow morning.:(

I've loved being able to spend this time with Sara. I hope I can be more like my little sister someday!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Washington DC day 1

Sara and I got up early today and took the Metro into DC. We took a trolley tour to see all the sights. We quickly realized that we would never get to see everything in one day!

We went to the White House first.

Next we went to the National Zoo and saw the Panda.

Isn't it cute!!

After the zoo we decided to walk to the National Cathedral. It was a beautiful walk through a great neighborhood. We stopped to take a picture of the cherry blossoms.

We were a little late for peak cherry blossoms but still enjoyed the ones that were still around!

The Cathedral was impressive.

Next we jumped on the trolley and headed out to the Lincoln Memorial. It is probably my favorite memorial.

This is a shot looking from the Lincoln Memorial out at the Washington Monument. The reflection pool is under construction. :(

The next stop was Arlington Cemetery. We loved the amazing rows of headstones, the Kennedy flame, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Did I mention that Sara got pooped on by a bird? Notice that it is on her nose too!

Although she looks like she's laughing, she isn't! I am laughing while taking the picture though!

More great blossoms.

We ended the day with a lot of walking!

We saw the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, WWII Memorial, MLK Memorial, Washington Monument (seen here).

The walking continued through the National Mall to the Capitol Building.

After the Capitol we walked to the Union Station, ate dinner, had ice cream, and caught the Metro back to our hotel.

It was a long day!! We had a great time exploring DC and taking in all of the amazing sights!

Now we are sitting in the hotel with our throbbing feet elevated!

I can't wait to see what fun we'll have tomorrow!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012


Look at this beauty!

I am so proud of myself! I made this fantastic banana-coconut bread with lime glaze. I got the recipe from Our Best Bites blog. I would highly recommend it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Testing. . . Testing

This post is a test run to see if my new blogging app will work.

I looked through my photo's tonight and found about 500 photo's similar to this one! That scary looking child in the middle really is Abby!

Does anyone else have this problem?

Here are a few more gems.

Here's a change of pace. Gotta love the 20 pictures of this megazord!

What did my kids do for fun before we had an iPad?

Friday, March 2, 2012


On March 2nd winter finally arrived!

We have had the best winter I can remember. It's been snow free with very mild temperatures. Did I mention it's been the best winter?

As nice as it's been, it was nice to get a good dumping of snow finally. I even had a thought of keeping the kids home from school and taking them sledding. Then I came to my senses and sent them off to school!

After the kids were off, Lu and I had the task of shoveling all the snow! It was heavy and severely drifted in some spots. I got a little done and then was saved by my neighbor with a snow blower. I was so grateful for the help!

Here is Lu "helping" me with the shoveling.

Lu is eating the snow here. It also shows how high the snow piled up!

The nice thing about this snow storm is that it looks like winter today but a few days from now it'll be spring-like again. I love it!

Recent Happenings

I haven't been keeping up on the blog very well lately. Here are a few of the things that have been going on this past month.

Abby got glasses a month or so ago. She LOVED them for the first 2 weeks and now I have to remind her often to put them on. I think she looks cute in them.

Our ward had a great Blue and Gold Banquet. It was our first year attending it because of past scheduling conflicts so I don't have anything to compare it to but I thought it was pretty great. There was a nice dinner, a cake decorating contest, and best of all a magician!

Can you tell that the kids were completely mesmerized?

Alex even got the chance to go up and assist the magician.

Have I ever mentioned how much Abby like to play with Ferby(our dog)? She loves to sleep with him and dress him up with dolls clothes and bows in his hair. She also likes to put him in our play shopping cart and push him around the house. Today she topped it all.

The best thing about this picture is the contrast in facial expressions. Abby is so proud of herself and loving the new idea. Ferby looks less than excited. It was pretty funny.

Those are a few of the happenings around our house this past month.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Abby!!

Abby turns 7 years old today!
On her birthday I always think back to the crazy night she was born. The short version of the story is that she came 2 weeks early. Nate had left that very morning for a week long trip to Atlanta. I went into labor on the evening of the 9th, called my mom, she took me to the hospital, was admitted around midnight, called Nate at 1:00am (3:00am his time) to let him know that I was in the hospital and we were having a baby! While on the phone the doctor came in so I told Nate I would call him back. When I called him back 10 mins later I was holding a little 6lb 8oz Abigail Sara Arnesen. Nate caught the first flight home and was at the hospital by 10am. It's such a fun story to share with Abby. She loves it!

She had a friend party last weekend. We had a rockwall climbing party at the city recreation center.
Here's the birthday girl on the wall and then all her cute little friends that came to the party.

Here's her cake that ended up looking like a big pink donut.

Here are some of my favorite things about Abby.
1. She is my best eater. She will try anything and likes most things.
2. She is a great reader and she enjoys reading. (Wish I had a little of that in me!)
3. She is just like her Aunt Sara. She hates getting her hair brushed, she is very smart, and she loves to have her arms scratched (lightly). It's exactly what I hoped for when I named her after my favorite sister!
4. Abby is so creative and has LOVED spending time with her Dad creating things lately.
5. Abby makes a bed for Ferby (our dog) on her bed each night. It's cute to see them asleep together.
6. Abby is a perfectionist (again like Aunt Sara). I'm very impressed by her desire and determination to get things right.
7. She's my little buddy and even when she's driving me a little crazy I still thank my lucky stars that she's mine. (Well, not while she's driving me crazy!)
Happy Birthday Abby!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The after party...

After Christmas we took a day off and did NOTHING!!! I don't think I even got out of my pajamas that day. It was wonderful.

Tyler got a huge Alien Invasion Lego set that he spent almost the entire day doing. Here is the before and after.

Did you want to see that closer up? I thougth so, otherwise taking so many pictures of this lego set would've been silly!

Well after all of that Alex couldn't let Tyler steal the show so he got out his Lego stuff and we took pictures of his things. They are not new from Christmas but hey, why not take a few shoots of them.

Alex spend some quality time with Nate making paper airplanes out of a kit he got from Grandma and Grandpa.

I'm not sure where Abby was all day but this is what Lu did all day. She's pretty skilled with the IPad.

We ended up running some sort of errand that evening so we loaded the whole crew up to get out of the house for a while. Nate ran into Walmart to do our semi-annual cereal stock up while the rest of us waited in the car. Here's a view of us waiting in the car.
What would I do without the phone and DVD player to entertain?

Outside the car I caught a beautiful sunset.

It was a perfect ending to a nice relaxing day with the family.