Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Griswold Family Party!

Cousin Eddy's children!
We all fit nicely into Clark's family room!
Kaden was the first to open his gift, his words exactly, "I always wanted this!" Daddy said, what is it?, Kaden replied, "I don't know!"
Clark didn't sit much this night however, his family sure was gracious in hosting this Griswold Christmas Party!
The dessert left us all speechless, except Leah. She never is speechless!
Austin seems to believe that he is the man of the house trying very hard to convince the cousins of the same.
The college cousin got a well needed package full of highly nutritious meals to keep his figure and bank account in check.
This hat has been a big hit amongst the follow Griswold's
The position for most during the evening.
This is the Hallows' aka Griswold Family, minus Dad and Mom Hallows' who are serving an LDS Mission in Independence, Missouri. We sure do miss them!
Our cousin Rusty, aka Zach really is very well suited for this hat!
It sure was a terrific evening, everyone got such great fun gifts, hopefully everyone was very happy. The food was super good as usual. Steve made fun of Leah's Raspberry Pretzel Salad but everyone else loved it. Mom would be so proud of my jello salad experience while she is away. There might be some competition when she returns. Barry and Lanett aka Clark and Ellen really did a wonderful job at hosting this event in their home. We played a game of Cranium with each family being a team, all the kids even participated, it was fun but the President of the family Marcia, thought we should open gifts as the kids were anxious, that is by far their favorite part. Cassidy got a digital camera from Santa and she learned lots of new tricks yesterday on how to use it, she will soon be showcasing a video presentation to all at the next family gathering. I think this Christmas was wonderful and I hope that 2010 brings us all much happiness and blessings beyond our desires.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Christmas Tree decorating Event

Everyone wanted to help except when we had to decorate the top half of the 12 foot tree. Its a beaut Clark, Steven said and it sure it. Its also so large that it takes up almost half of my family room. We traded trees with our neighbor this year, as they needed a smaller one and we needed a bigger one since we they ran out of tree permits this year. Its a fake one but if its possible to say, its really growing on me. I leave it on all the time, its so festive and bright and since we didn't put it up until a week after Thanksgiving I want to get my time with it as it will go down pretty quickly after the man comes. Which is another story. Colton and Kaden think that it would be so cool to catch me kissing Santa Claus this year. They are really taking to the music and magic of Christmas they are 5 and 6 now, and might be Colton's last year of believing as he is already questioning who is real and who is a fake Santa. He is too smart for himself, I tried to spell something out the other night to Steve and Colton was like that spells plant! I might have to learn Portuguese so we can communicate without everyone knowing what we are saying.
We also have Elfy, who is the magical elf that appears right after Thanksgiving and watches over my boys during the day and reports back to Santa on their progress. He moves spots each night and its always a treat to wake up each morning to see the excitement on their faces when they have found out where Elfy landed for the day. You can't touch Elfy or else he looses his magic power and therefore won't return the next day, that keeps them from them climbing up on things to retrieve Elfy and then ultimatly misplacing him and then I am frantic trying to find him a new resting spot for the day. He sure does have some fun spots to hide and the boys think its hilarious how he hangs on things some nights....I have been woken from a dead sleep panicing that I forgot to reposition Elfy. But all is well so far, as he has not failed us yet.
Its stinking cold here in Heber but this week, its a heat wave. We got almost a foot of wet snow last week, I embraced that stuff, got all bundled up only to be sweating an hour later from sheer exhaustion trying to build a snowman family...what was I thinking. I stopped at 3 that snow was so heavy, I could hardly lift up the middle ball to make Steve, I told him a diet was necessary. Kaden and Colton both wanted me to make sure that we made the snowMEN anotomically correct! but and weiny are needed boys, they are snowMEN still. I think next time it snows, I will get the other kids done. For now, I enjoy the snow, as its beautiful for the holiday season...after that you can leave it up in the sky.
I did have a picture of the tree all finished decorated but I can't seem to get it downloaded without a lot of trouble so maybe next time.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Twas the Disneyland Vacation

It all began on a cold windy day

hoping not to be halted along the way

We journeyed along

For what felt like so long

To the stop of the day

Las Vegas OK!

My kids were all frightened by sights not usually seen

I tried to detract them but their eyes were a gleem

Don't look around

For the sights were not fond

They were scarred~

So they said to everyone they had met

When you go to Vegas be sure not to take the cards

of the ladies on the ground.

Then all the next day, not a car was moving, not even an foot

but you sure got the look

move your car or you will get took

No one cared, they sped by as if on wings

Then halted to stop just moments away

for a day and a life on the LA freeway.

We made headway that day to Disneyland we will stay

Not for a moment, not for an hour, we did not stop to ponder

We dashed and we dreaded the next line where we were headed

The boys all armed in their strollers, due to mom and dad now with bad shoulders

No longer could we contain the excitement, for the drive home would be SUCH enjoyment

We journeyed we traveled, we arrived back in Utah without any hassles

The trip is now ended, with pictures in tow, so long Disneyland until my grandkids have to go!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Breadman!

Kaden and his friend Adam were bread making partners, with a little help from mom.
They were so excited to make bread in the class. Kaden was worried since we had to leave early that I would forget his bread.
Just in time to leave, our bread was ready to be brought home for the rising and oven ritual.
Posted by PicasaIt truly tasted as good as it looked....but it won't give Grandma Hallows' bread a run for the money. Kaden as you might guess from the picture was extremely proud of his bread.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A year ago......many hearts were broken!

I can't believe it has been a year ago today that we found out about our Sweet Avery Ann's heart. I remember it so well, yet it was still a daze, if that can actually be. I remember the OB telling me that it was a perfect forming baby, right on with the dates, etc......but with some hesitation he said he was not able to see all the chambers of the heart and wondered if it was because of the way she was positioned....come back next week was his response. I had some nervousness about it but nothing that was overly concerning. We went back a week later and he said that we need to be referred to Utah Valley for a more intense ultrasound, now the nervousness was compounded so intently I didn't want to wait, so I muscled my way in to a same day appointment only to be even more devasted that the news did confirm my nightmare. Steve and I were sitting in the ultrasound room as they probbed and prodded their way around seemed like forever waiting and not seeing any facial expressions that were encouraging. We met with the genetic specialist and OB and they told us our options....we did an amnio to see if there would be other defects, it was all surreal. This is NOT happening to us, is it? Well in our sorrow, I thought I should find out the sex as we previously were not going to, so that I could be closer and bond with this precious child...of course it was a girl, the girl I always wanted. Bittersweet was an understatement! I have never shed so many tears in my life....I think that day, I began my grieving process.

We prepare ourselves and embrace our bodies for hurt, but it seems to never evade anyone. I sometimes think, why am I doing so well, I lost a baby? Shouldn't I be a mess, shouldn't I be balling everyday, why does life still go on? I don't know the exact answer but I know that I was blessed with a unusual amount of strength, hope, comfort and understanding! These past months have been overall really good, we have days of tears, laughs, yelling, messes, all the usual things but there is not a day that goes by that there is not a mention of our Avery Ann. She lives in our hearts, in our souls and in our boys add in their daily prayers, "we pray that we will never forget our sister Avery." She made such an impact on so many lives, she has made many better people and I know its made lots of positive changes in our own family.

Last years holiday season was an emotional one, but we held on and we hope that this holiday season can help us to reflect on our growth, our gratitude and our family no matter if one is temporarily missing.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween was a blast this year!

Colton wanted to be skeleton/skull face, so I thought I would paint his face for him cuz he said he hates the smells of the masks. So I sit him down to begin and all he wants to do is itch his face! Well makeup and itching don't go together that well. It took me half an hour to paint his face and less than half an hour for him to smear it all off. Ugh! Oh well it was dark out!

Steve was dressed as Warren Jeffs, the Polygamist that is in jail, and us girls (Kam, Me, Shanna, Tonya) were his wives. We had a neighborhood party adult that was so much fun.

Kaden was dressed as an old man and our niece, Ashley was an old lady, they were so stinking a cute, I could not stand it! Every house he stopped at, the people were like, look how cute he is. He even did the walk with his cane, it was hilarious!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What do you do when home with flu?

We have been confined to the house since Monday and its been a pleasant and peaceful week. I got lots of things done around the house that I have had on my to do list but as far as the boys go, well they spent their days doing tons of workbook sheets aka their homework they called it and.........Kade turned into a photographer. See for yourself. There were tons of photos on the camera when I went to download them, he took pictures of the TV screen, the computer, some self portraits, some of me looking less than favorable since we didn't have to leave the house, I took full liberty of pajamas till much past noon, makeup and the chi didn't see me for days, hence the reason those are not posted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Family History

This Sunday at church I participated in a Family History Genealogy class that they offered, it was perfect timing as I was thinking this winter I really need to work on my family history and the names that I have done already are almost completed. I am ready for the next stage and that I am sure, will be a bit more daunting of a task than the first round, but I am committed to it. I updated my files on the computer and in doing so, I had to add my sweet Avery Ann as a birth and a death, that just didn't look right to me on the computer, not right and not fair. But then I was sitting in class and our bishop gave me my records and I noticed that it was that exact day 6 years ago that I was sealed to my husband. That was a blessing to me as I was so sad already, but having the knowledge that I do about being together forever gave me a sense of peace and comfort. I will be with my Avery again as well as my entire family if I can continue to progress and get all the family names I can through the temple. I am so grateful that I have my husband and my boys that I need to remember that when I begin to feel the great loss of not having Avery here with us today. We miss her so much. She is truly not forgotten, each and every prayer that our boys say, has mention of her and how we will never forget her. They are so precious, we went to the pumpkin patch this weekend and they picked out their pumpkins of course they were so big I had to carry them as they couldn't and they picked out three tiny pumpkins for Avery's grave. But we grew some of our own this year and we brought her the tiniest one of the patch. They suggested we paint the pumkins pink...ah I think orange will be just fine.

We had such a great time at the pumpkin patch this weekend. The kids didn't want to leave.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thank you for the Miracle of Life!

I had the great honor to be a part of the birth of my dear friend, Jen's little boy, Krew Michael on Saturday, October 10th. Not only did I get to be a part of the birth but I gave him his middle name, which has my name in it spelled backwards.

What an amazing experience it was. Jen wanted to have Krew naturally, after I had Avery naturally. We both had epidurals for our first three....why not go out with a bang I guess we both thought. I have never been on the other pun intended there, of birth but I will say that it was a very neat experience. I am grateful for those who choose the medical field as a profession, including my wonderful & amazing sister who is a Nurse practioner and my stepmom who is the charge nurse of the Emergency room. Thank you! I think I like being a labor coach better than I would a nurse. I really thought after have 3 different doulas/labor coach myself, I was much different then they were, (no offense if you are reading this). I never said more positive, affirming things as I did for those 4 hours.....last night as I was going to bed, I was like you can do this Leah, close your eyes, its ok, out.... allow yourself to sleep now LOL!

When Krew finally arrived I thought, he is gorgeous and I mean gorgeous. He has lots and lots of dark brown curly hair. That must have explained the bottle of Tum's Jen wouldn't go anywhere without. He was also huge....for a natural birth 8 lbs. 14oz. WAY TO GO JEN and only 2 pushes.

Jen said with every contraction, she visualized Krew sitting on a cloud surrounded by all of those relatives that have passed, waiting to push him off the cloud into the loving arms of those waiting below. I can't tell you how that touched me, I know my little Avery is up there amongst her other family and friends doing the same thing, cheering them on and telling them to say hi to her mommy and daddy. Avery was there on Saturday not only helping Jen but helping me to be ok with this process and not scared or angry, too continue processing lossing her. It was a healing experience. I had tears in my eyes when I saw Krew's head coming out but when I turned toward Jen and saw her face look like it was going to blow up, I had to refocus quickly, that was until I saw little Krew's finger when he was in the warmer.......I cried again because they looked exactly like Avery's fingers, when she held my finger in her warming bed. Symen, Jen's husband, put his arm around me, no words were said, just peace felt.

Jen, thank you for this chance to continue to heal my own heart and be a part of this new beginning, it's beyond words. I love you and am grateful you are part of my life. Thank you again for allowing me this opportunity to witness the miracle of birth. Your a stellar patient!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall has fallen!

Fall is such a gorgeous time of year and truthfully in the Heber Valley its breathtakingly beautiful. People come here from all over to see the leaves on the mountains change color but its such a short time of year that I often miss it with life, saying I will go to the mountains tomorrow to collect leaves or ATV ride, but this year Kaden had an assignment to go get some leaves for his classroom so we made it out there before they all changed.
I think this week we are going to try to take a ride on the Heber Creeper railroad through the canyon and get a last look at the fall season. The boys have off from school this Friday and Saturday, so since we aren't going to St. George this time, we will do some fun day trips.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

How fast can we go?

We spent the weekend at "our Campinland" property out in Fruitland, it is going to probably be our last for the season and we sure ended with a bang. Our friends, came along and brought their 50cc dirt bike and 90cc four wheeler....well you might as well thought they belonged to my boys because as soon as they got a feel for those wheels, all they could do was take a bathroom break and they were on them again for 2 days straight. All we heard was, "I just barely got on it" from both of them...they were in the height of their glory. Its amazing to watch them from super cautious staying close to us, to riding down the hill, to around the loop, to saying lets go for a ride and you drive your own wheeler Mom and Dad. I am not ready for these little guys to grow up. Steve and I really enjoyed watching them ride.

On Sunday morning, Colton was up at 6am, ready to go for the day. He was super serious when he was riding, very focused too. Kaden on the other hand had the hugest smile on his face the entire time. Even when we were telling him firmly to stay on the right side of the road, he was still grinning. Kaden thought he was an expert much more than Colton, he kept asking if anyone wanted a ride, he did find a few takers...he made sure they held on nice and tight too!

Over the past few weekends, Steve has been building an outhouse on the property, as the one we were using has since been sold with the land (it was the neighbors). Its quite the master bath, larger in stature than one would expect for a outhouse. It has seating for 3, but we elected to only put one seat in there for privacy sake. Kaden wanted to be the first one to use it, sound effects and all, must say, works well! Its got plenty of ventilation but, Kaden thought it could use some more privacy so he started duct taping up all the open areas/holes. Its got character, but lets just say, I won't burden Steve with building our home ever. He did a great job considering he did it himself, well with a little help from of a 5 and 6 year old.

We love it up there, its so peaceful and serene. There was a full moon over the weekend, it was so clear and bright! My favorite part about camping is the fire, its so mesmerizing and calming to me. I think I sat most of the weekend, seriously, I know I did and enjoyed every second of it. We ate lots of treats....the best chocolate chip cookies to be had, homemade pumpkin pie and these awesome highly caloric puffed rice balls, mixed with sitting equals lots of motivation this week to be had at the gym. I am forgoing the scale till Wednesday when I have time to redeem myself.

On the way home it was quiet, we looked in the back seat and there we found Austin's friend, Jordan, with Austin & Colton resting their head on his shoulders, along with kitty asleep on Colton's lap. It was so cute. They were exhausted.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Look at this Palace aka "The new high school"

Wow, pictures don't do this place justice, its truly amazing, beyond words as well. But pictures will simply have to do.

Their home economics room....Its a full restaurant kitchen.
This is the agriculture and mechanics garage!

Broadcasting studio, YES, a real live studio.....

One of the three workout gyms!

The main gymnasium, with a running indoor track around the top!

Austin started 10th grade, yup, now a Sophmore! I remember when I thought sophmores were way older than me, of course, I was only in 7th grade. He is so growing up, literally and physically. I can't believe it, its really surreal to see it right before you eyes. He is if I might say so myself an awesome guy. Truthfully, I am not sure he realizes just how awesome he really is. He is handsome, smart, great athlete, beautiful skin color (no acne either), spiritual, caring, loving, polite and overall a pretty decent kid. Steve and I constantly, at least once a week have someone say something to us about how great of a kid he is. We don't always tell him but truly we are very thankful for our first to set such a great example for his siblings. I hope the others don't feel like they have a hard act to follow. I am not a bragger but I feel like I need to document this, as this is considered my journaling.

No wonder he likes to go to school, I took like 50 pictures, because I couldn't believe my eyes, I was floored with this place, I said where can I sign up to go back to school. The outside is just as amazing too! If you come out of high school with no direction, I am thinking you weren't paying attention, this place has so many options and choices for children these days. I am happy to pay my increased taxes for such an amazing job and honored my son can attend. I just hope the education matches this caliber.