Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve, 2010

This year for Christmas Eve we bought a TON of Mexican food from the Mexican Costco (Rancho Market) including tamales, salsa, tortillas, rice, guacamole, etc. Then we headed to our house for a party! We had a fire pit and told stories, etc. Brandon put all the parts of the nativity into a bowl and made us draw our part. He then gave us any costumes he had planned. Lucky grandma got camerman and narrator.

The shepherd and narrator

Mamo was the angel

Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus

The three wisemen

(side note: I am having so many problems with blogger lately! Anyone else having issues?I can't center the text or anything!)

Like you know she's my daughter...

Last night I was having a conversation with Alexa that went something like this:

Alexa: Mom, I like went to my room and the doll was like on the bed. So I was like, "Baby, why are you on the bed? You like need your pajamas on!" And she was like, "I'm cold." So I like put on her pajamas.

Does this demonstrate that her mom is from California or what?

Our Christmas Miracle (Well, ups and downs)

I wanted to share our experience at Alexa's burn appointment last week.

First of all, two weeks ago when Ryan and I went we were told it would be around 3 more months of Silver treatments and twice a day cleaning. We weren't expecting much more than that this time, as well. But when the Dr. looked at her face she said it was amazing! She said we are now all done with Silver and are now only using Aquaphor on her. Ryan and I were shocked! Alexa has been telling everyone who asks her about her burn that Heavenly Father is healing her, and she was absolutely right! We were thrilled to have this miracle, we knew it was due to faith and prayers.

Unfortunately, a couple nights before she was complaing aboout a stomach ache. Well, not exactly complaining. More like screaming and writhing in pain. All night. Every night. They suggested calling her pediatrician because it could be caused to the ibuprofin usage.

I called Dr. Duke and she aggreed, thinking it was due to her sensitive stomach and the ibuprofin. And just so you know, it was only once a day and she hadn't had it for about a week! So we put her on prevacid, but it takes days to kick in. We tried every kind of immediate help - pepto bismal, tylenol, rolaids, tums, restricing fatty foods. Guess what - nothing worked. At all. For around a week I got no sleep. One night I actually sternly told her that I was sorry she hurt but if mommy didn't get SOME sleep she would die. Finally, at that point, Ryan took over. It was crazy! She has a really high pain tolerance and never complains, but this was different!

After 5 doses of prevacid and no relief, I spoke with my friend, who is a pediatrician. He said she shouldn't be in so much pain still and suggested some other causes. She also said to call the Dr. back and have Alexa checked out. But it was Christmas Eve. I put in a call with the answering service anyway and talked with her on the phone. It was so upsetting to me. She said the problem may be psychological, like PTSD or something. She also suggested that Alexa may not know what hurts and it may be something else all together. Well, that is just silly. I agree that some 2-year-olds may not know their body parts or how to communicate, but Alexa is exceptional. She can communicate it all!

I was so frustrated. But (oddly enough) she stopped crying that night. And hasn't since. I honestly don't know if the meds finally kicked in or if it was some stomach virus, but it made for a nice Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ahhhh, the perfect day

Today was one of those perfect weather days. I woke up in a bear of a mood because I didn't get any sleep. Alexa was up all night crying about her tummy hurting. Roar!!!

But the weather was SO NICE! I couldn't stay grumpy for long. We went to the park and played for a while and just enjoyed the sun.

Alexa started to chase the ducks, but when she scared them and the started flying away it scared her to death! She turned right around and ran back to me!

I have to enjoy these days of winter because before we know it I will be whining about the summer. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Barf-fest, 2010

This is how the night began. Nice, beautiful, warm.

We invited some friends of ours to visit the Mesa Temple with us and see the lights. We were having a lovely time until we walked into the visitor's center.
We decided to see the 6 minute long movie Luke 2. We walked into the theater and sat down. As soon as the sister missionary began talking, it began. Alexa's weeks worth of undugested food. It just kept coming and coming. And coming.
Ryan was holding her. What does a dad do when a kid upchucks? He holds her out, so as not to get dirty. It worked, but I saw the vomit projectiling towards the ladies head in front of me.
What does a mom do when a kid pukes? She holds her in. So I grabbed her and ran out the door. Barf everywhere. down my shirt, on my leather jacket, all over my feet (I had flipflops on), my pants, my hair. You name it. Of course, the Visitors Center locks all public bathrooms during Christmas time. As she was STILL throwing up in the hall and I was obviously covered, a sister ran to get the keys. Wow is all I can say. We had to leave our friends at the temple and drive home with a naked baby wrapped in a leather jacket and mom completely covered in barf.
Did I mention it's a 45 minute drive to our house?

After a night with no sleep (It continued ALL night), we woke to a sick Ainsley. Her turn. I can't tell you how much barf we have cleaned up this week.
Anybody jealous?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

Todays Mama and Gamestop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I am sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

I am hoping for a peaceful Christmas where there is no fighting and lots of happy children.

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?

We make some yummy breakfast the night before and pop it in the oven first thing. Then it cooks while we open presents from Santa. We eat, then open the rest of our presents. Not too exciting, but we like it!

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

I Would ask Santa to paint my kitchen cabinets so I won't have to do it. Oh, and to maybe landscape my front yard. :)

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

We read a different Christmas story every night from a book our Primary gave us years ago. And the kids LOVE decorating.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

Growing up we played handball on the garage door, and Intellivision. Pitfall, to be specific. Yes, I am old.

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

We always had a program on Christmas Eve where we sang and read Christmas stories and read from Luke 2. We do a similar program now, but for some reason my kids won't sing.

7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?

I would say Utah. But I would want to throw some skiing in there. We miss the snow (but just a very little.)

8. Check out GameStop and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?
Just Dance 2, Just Dance for Kids, and Michael Jackson the experience. (That's for me, not the kids.)

Christmas Tree, and other musings

Last night as I was on my way out the door to attend a Relief Society Christmas dinner, I snapped this photo of our tree. Our sad tree that I can't get half the lights to work on. What is the point of "pre-lit" if it looks like this?
And what about that angel on top who doesn't want to man her post? She is constantly falling off.
Our third issue with this tree is the location. Since we have choir practice in our living room every Sunday, we couldn't put it there, so it is up against the window in our family room. It's kind of a weird spot.
Anyway, so I was one my way home from RS, thinking about this tree and my daughter, Ainsley. The two aren't related, that's just what was on my mind. :) I had this strong feeling as a gentleman was speaking about Mary that I needed to tell Ainsley how much her Heavenly Father loves her. I'm sure I've told her, but maybe not one on one serious, just pure love. It was a strong inspiration.
So I walked in the door and smelled something weird in my fresh, newly cleaned home. Couldn't put my finger on it.
Walked into Ainsley's room and did my thing. She was so happy and smiley. Then she said, "Brandon barfed."
Oh. That was the smell.
I went upstairs. Not only did he barf, but it was all over my brand spanking new, beautiful comforter. Dry clean only. Too big for my washer even so. I tried. And it was my side of the bed and carpet, too. Ryan did his best to clean it up. ~sigh~ At least it was on sale.
Merry Christmas! Have I told you lately that God loves you? He does!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday's Appointment

Just for the sake of documenting this whole burn process, I thought I would write a little about yesterday. As I stated before, Dr. Peck told us to email him a picture of Alexa's face every 3 or 4 days so he could check on her progress. Yesterday morning I sent him a picture and he is quick. He responded within 5 minutes. He said come in today. Call now. We need to do surgery.
Ugggh. I called and they said come now. So I called Ryan and told him to meet me there and hopped in the car with Alexa. The entire 45 minute drive to the Maricopa Burn Center I prayed. We have been fasting and praying, but this time I was very specific. I was praying that the doctors would be guided and led to make a good decision and that I would accept that decision.
I really didn't want surgery.
I felt as if enough time for a miracle hasn't past. I needed more time. So I prayed that they would be inspired.
After we arrived and started the check-up, Dr. Peck and Dr. Prathana began to waver on the surgery. They were torn. They explained that scarring would be less if they performed the surgery now, but the grafting would be more obvious. Waiting a year would have thicker, but more natural scarring. There was fatty tissues around the wound and they said it was more 3rd degree than they thought. It was not looking good.
Finally, Dr. Peck said he felt that we should wait. So did Dr. Pratha. They said to only see Dr. Pratha in the future, no other doctors and to keep sending them updates. (The other doctors may be a little more scalpel happy.)
I felt like this was really an answer to my prayers.
This morning there was so much blood. So much it was dripping. That's good! Blood is good!
So we are feeling confident in this choice, but worried about the thick scarring. I guess only time will tell.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

An Update - looking much better

Ryan called and begged me to post a new picture of Alexa. He said people are grossed out by the last one. Well, I understand! I was too!
So here is one I took 20 seconds ago.
Hair still in face. You would think I would learn
As you can tell, her swelling is down. She is looking SO much better.
Yesterday after lunch she started talking about throwing up and her fever spiked to 101.9. I freaked out. I called the burn center but they were not nearly as concerned as I was. Well, let me rephrase that. The nurse was, but the doctor wasn't. They asked if it looked infected or red around the edges. No more than usual. So they suggested I call her pediatrician to narrow out the stomach flu. mmm? ooookay.
So I called the pediatrician. She asked how long she'd had the fever, etc. About 20 minutes. Yeah, she was nice, but was like, "how can I narrow out the stomach flu? She needs to be sick longer than that. Call me tomorrow."
About an hour later the fever disappeared and she was fine. But I was a nervous wreck all afternoon.
We also went to Kohls to spend some Kohls cash on some shirts that can easily fit over her head. She begged my mom for some little ride on toy and my mom was suckered into it. How can you say no to a little cute thing with bandages that never complains?
She is still acting wonderfully. She is happy and rowdy as ever. She never complains or cringes when we clean her wounds twice a day. Really, she is a blessing.
Thanks for all your well wishes and love. You have no idea how much it means to us.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Day after Thanksgiving, Alexa style

I know this picture is too much. As I am typing, looking at it, I am crying and feeling sick to my stomach. That has been the way I have felt for the last few days. Since Friday around 1:00 pm, to be exact. And what kills me the most is the smile on her face. It is constant. Constant.

My thanksgiving post is this one. The one where I share how grateful I am that things are as good as they are. That my baby is as safe and well as she is. It could be worse.

Friday we were having a terrific time pulling out the Christmas village and other decorations from the garage. We had the neighbors over and the kids were loving every detail of all the buildings. Alexa really loved the Santa and Mrs. Claus that are about 2 inches tall. The week before I got a free Glade candle, so to be festive and make the house smell nice I lit it and put it on the kitchen table. And then I forgot it. I just totally forgot it.

About an hour later I went upstairs to take a shower, leaving Alexa downstairs with Ainsley and our neighbor Morgan. I was distracted for a moment by the computer. Thank heavens. All of a sudden I heard screaming. Like life or death screaming. The kind from a horror movie. I ran downstairs as fast as I could. Ainsley was standing there next to Morgan screaming. I looked accross the room and saw Alexa standing on the table in flames. Her hair and head were on fire. She had climbed onto the table and bent over the candle to smell it better when it caught her hair. I ran over to her and was thinking I would need to smother her with my shirt, but when I got there I found a towel right at her feet. I grabbed it and smothered the fire quickly. I took another towel, dampened it, placed it on her head and ran outside. My neighbor, Teri, is a nurse. I had seen her out just a few minutes before.
Her husband was standing there with their son.
"Is your wife home?" I said. "My baby is burned and I need her!"
He ran and got her. I asked if she thought I needed to go to the hospital. "Yes," she said. "Go." "I'll watch your kids."
So I took off right then. I called my mom first. "Mom, come over now." I hung up. I couldn't say any more. Then I called Ryan and the flood gates opened. He met me at the emergency room where we wated for 2 1/2 hours before we saw a doctor.
I am apparently one of those moms who needs constant reassurance. I was texting my good friend Ashlee and her husband, who is a pediatrician, asking for advice the whole time.
Finally we saw a doctor who sent us to the Maricopa Burn Center. We would have gone instantly, but we had to wait another 45 minutes for our paperwork.
We drove into Phoenix. I have read about this hospital so many times. I read NieNie's Dialogues. But I never thought I would actually be there myself. With my 2 year old. Absolutely freaking out.
They were fast and wonderful. They reassured us she would be ok. They told us she wouldn't scar. They gave us private phone numbers to call with any questions. But I still felt like crap.
Alexa kept telling everyone that she had the best sister in the world because she blew out the candle after the fire. Then she would say, "I'm so sorry mommy. I'm sorry she threw away your candle." "Oh baby. I didn't love that candle. You are so much more important to me." Over and over. "I'm sorry mommy!"
The bad news. Some of the burns around her face are 3rd degree. They looked white and had no liquid. Other parts were 2nd degree. But as more people came to look, we kept hearing over and over again. This is way worse than we first thought. Way worse. I had the presence of mind to bring in the TV from the car and as she sat there having layers of skin removed from her head, she sang to the Dora movie.
"This is bad news," said the nurse. "She should be able to feel this." She shouldn't be singing about the stick the stick the magic stick.
But finally, lucky for us, they sent her home with instructions on caring for her burn and a prescription for tylenol with codeine.
We came home and Ryan picked up the kids from my mom's on the way.
Ainsley got out of the car and ran to me crying. (very out of character.) "This is my fault. I shouldn't have let her on the table. I should have put out the fire. I just panicked! " During the course of the day I hadn't even considered her feelings. She witnessed the whole thing. And she was visibly shaken. I cradled her in my arms and comforted her. "I am lucky you were there, Ainsley. If you were gone, or hadn't screamed, or weren't paying attention it would have been a lot worse." And I said many things to calm her down, and I meant every one of them. I pray she will heal from this as well.
Next we called a friend to help with a priesthood blessing and went to bed.
But they forgot to tell us how swollen she would be when she woke up. See above picture. It freaked me out. I called immediately. The said to bring her in. I drove the 45 minutes out there, to be told it's totally normal. Whew.
The whole drive there and back came the thoughts. Why did I light that candle? Why did I leave it lit while I went upstairs? How could I be so careless? And those turned into more questions. Did the burns on her head happen when I put out the fire? By smothering her hair, was I pushing fire onto her skin? Is this ALL MY FAULT? I burst into tears at the burn center. DID I DO THIS? The Dr was very kind and told me there was no way smothering a fire could have caused that much damage on her face. It was already burned when I got to her. I needed that same love and understanding as Ainsley. I don't know if she was just trying to help me feel better, or if it was really my fault, but it worked. A little.
Yesterday, we went to church, but I wasn't comfortable letting her go to nursery. I was afraid she would get knocked in the head, or try to itch, or take off her bandage. So she stayed with me. As we walked in primary, I held back tears a number of times. The kids stared. They whispered. They pointed.
I know they were worried. I know they were curious. My kids would have done the same thing. But it's my baby they are staring at.
"Why are they staring at me? I'm just winkling." (Alexa's word for winking.) "They aren't used to seeing you look different, sweetie."
But the thoughts kept coming. Is this what she is going to deal with for the rest of her life? Is she going to be stared at and ridiculed forever? Answers only time will tell.
Today was her second apppointment. Dr Peck, the director of the burn clinic, came to check her out. Good news and bad news. He was definitely not as optimistic as the first Dr. about scarring. He said we had 2 choices. Do surgery now or let it heal for a year on its own and do surgery then. But it definitely will scar. Badly.
He suggested waiting. I took it and ran with it.
The good news? First he said I don't have to scrape off the yucky yellowy stuff when I am cleaning the wound. {insert breath of relief here because it is nasty} Also, I use the term "I" loosely. Ryan does most of the cleaning. Second, he cancelled our next appointment and we don't need to come back for 2 weeks. It must be healing well. I do get to text him pictures every 3 days. Oh how I love the technology these days.
And how is Alexa holding up? She is so happy. Dancing around the house, smiling and laughing. Talking up a storm about the accident to anyone who will listen. The swelling is going down. She can now open her eye and see.
I am feeling a bit better today. I can talk about it a little without crying. I'm sure tomorrow will be better.
Thanks for your prayers and love. We will keep updating this blog with Alexa's progress.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Brandon FINALLY rides a bike

Brandon has not wanted to ride a bike for so many years. He refused to even try. With a little bribery (a Harry Potter lego set), he has finally learned! We are so proud of him. He really overcame his biggest fear. Yay Brandon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deathly Hallows

Me and a couple of girls named Hermione got to attend an early showing of Harry Potter 7 yesterday afternoon. It was SO fun! We loved the movie. The girls left absolutely grinning from ear to ear. They received so many compliments on their attire and were in heaven the whole time.
I had mixed feelings about seeing this movie with a couple of nine year olds, but no worries. It was not inappropriate at all. Seriously, whomever came up with the nudey shots ideas left me feeling disappointed! :) There were none! It was definitely a little too intense for Brandon to go see, but I was glad I chose to bring Ainsley and Haley. They had a ball and WE LOVED THE MOVIE! Can't wait for the next one.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

the day we got engaged

Today marks 13 years since Ryan and I have been married! Last night as we lay in bed we reminisced all of the dates we could remember that we went on before we were married. Any special times we had BEFORE we tied the knot. It was so fun to just talk about life so many years ago.

I can't believe how fast the time goes by. Happy Anniversary, Ryan!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I don't really like Halloween on sunday. The kids think it's almost as good as Hannukah. (They are always wishing they could celebrate 7 days of fun instead of only 1.) Well, Halloween on Sunday is THREE LONG DAYS of {fun.} oops nice closed eyes, Ry!
First off, the kids always want to carve pumpkins tha Monday before Halloween. Ryan warned them the pumpkins would rot. Oh well, we did it anyway. And they did rot.

This was the first Halloween Alexa can remember. She LOVED sticking her hands in the goop.

So, nominate me AGAIN for the mother of the year award. With a huge party on Friday at my moms ward and a huge party on Saturday at our ward. Plus a kids club thing on Thursday for Alexa. Oh, and a school day full of parades and parties. Guess what? No photos. For the record, Ainsley was Hermione. And a GORGEOUS one. She really looked great. Brandon was a dementor and did the part well. Alexa traded between a cat and a pumpkin and was cute as a button. Just trust me.

Here, in Arizona, Sunday is Sunday. I remember in Utah we trick or treated on Saturday when Halloween fell on Sunday. Not here. We decided to be super mean and nix the trick-or-treating. (Keep in mind they trunk or treated TWICE.)

So we set up the fire pit and handed out candy. Brandon wanted to play on the computer the whole time, but we forced him to have fun with the family, dang it!

Alexa kept telling everyone she was the candy girl. She loved handing out the candy to all the kids. It was WAY more fun for her than collecting it.

It was a fun weekend, but ~whew!~ we need a break from our weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cute, not smart

Today we were at a store and Alexa was talking up a storm. Her favorite question is Why? The lady checking us out commented that Alexa speaks so well seemed very smart.

Alexa looked at her and said, "I'm not smart. I'm cute!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today while I walked away from the computer...

Ainsley dedcided to play a trick on me. She said it was October Fools Day.
She turned everything into Japanese, but had no idea how she did it or where the button was. I have to be honest. It took me a good 20 minutes to figure it out. I clicked on every button I could find until something worked.
She is always playing little jokes on us, that stinker!

Our Last Minute Trip to Utah

Last week we decided to take a trip to Utah to visit the family. We had the whole week off for Fall Break and we really miss having that non-existant-in-Arizona season. (Fall.) We stayed with Ryan's dad and his wife, Lori. They have a beautiful house and I was so excited to see this view from their front. It's been a really long time since I've seen trees change color. And the weather was so perfect. I could walk outside and breathe the cool air. Aaah. Heaven. We enjoyed our Sunday evening with Ryan's Dad, step mom, grandma, Aunt Leslie, Uncle Randy, Julee and a few of her kids.

(and again, I love the colors!)
Monday we met my little sis and headed to Mt. Timpanogas. It's always great to see her. We remembered to old days when our dad took us hiking up Timp.

I can remember getting to the top of the mountain as a child and my dad feeding us a snack and heading back down. I had no idea they did tours and you could actually ENTER the mtn.

So we did the tour. It was so interesting. Ainsley recently visited Kartchner Caverns with school, so she knew everything the ranger told us. It was fun to listen to her tell us about it. She has such a great memory.

That night we visited our friends from our first house in West Valley.
I can't believe these girls are so old!

Brandon got to eat under the table. Between that and the cute girls he was in heaven!
Tuesday we visited my friend Cassie and had a great time. (See the kids pics in the previous post.) Her kids are so nice, I kept thinking they were going to be tainted by my smart mouths.

Wednesday we visited all of Ryan's great grandparents. The Sims and the Phillips. My kids LOVE their Grandma Joy.

They are all smiles when we are there.

Look at that HUGE pumpkin Grandpa grew! The kids got to roam the pumpkin patch and pick tons of pumpkins and gourds to bring home. I love decorating the house with them.

(just a beautiful flower in their garden)

Children of the corn
Brandon was trying to look scared like he was lost in the corn field. :)

That night we met up with my brother Joe. (No pics???? What was I thinking!) He took us to the nickelcade. Holy Cow. The kids LOVED that!! Brandon's favorite part of the trip was spent at the Nickcade with Uncle Joe.

Megan, Ainsley, Emma, Malissa, Claire and Alexa
The girls decided to visit Gardner Village while the boys went fishing to Strawberry. I met Cassie and her girls there, along with Julee, Megan, the twins and Grandma Joy. Wow! It was almost as crowded as Disneyland.
We also got to visit with the Parkers. (Again, no pics????) It was fun to see how the kids just jumped right into their friendships when they were so young when we moved. Another great family we were so glad to visit.
We had a great trip and are so sad for school to start again tomorrow! :(
Thanks everyone for playing with us and letting us enjoy your beautiful weather with you!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Family Pics

While we were in Utah we visited my good friend Cassie who has a photography business. She did a mini session of my kids at the park in front of her house while we were waiting for dinner. I absolutely LOVE how they turned out! Click here if you would like to check out her photography blog.

Thanks Cass!