Lexi's Got Talent

A few weeks ago, I received an email that went something like this:

"Your child has signed up for the upcoming Primary Talent Show. Please confirm and get them practicing! We look forward to all of the great acts!"

Um, Lexi?!?!?

Turns out she had, in fact, signed up and was very serious about her talent. When I asked her, she confidently told me what she was going to do. When I asked her if she wanted to practice, she assured me she already had her act down pat.

The night arrived and I was getting a little nervous. I mean, let's be honest, we all know how these things tend to turn out" Some kid runs up there, stares into the crowd like a deer in the cross hairs, mom whisper yells "Come on honney. You can do it!!!", and said kid runs out crying. The audience lets out a sympathetic round of applause and every parent secretly gives thanks that wasn't their kid.

I yet again asked Lexi if she wanted to practice jsut one more time. "NO MOM! Will you just please turn up the music?" (Ke$ha, in case you were wondering where her taste lies.) Hey, every artist has their THING to help get them into the zone. I wasn't about to mess with hers.

When it was her time to perform, she calmly walked up to the front and looked around. She got the attention of the nearest adult and requested the microphone. You know, 'cause, she wasn't going to strain her voice or anything. And, she let 'er rip.

Watch out Babs. You got a young 'un on your tail.


An Actual Conversation

Allen: {triumphantly spraying 409 and wiping down island counter} Done!

Traci: {pointing to huge-can't-be-ignored gob of soup on counter next to oven} So, um, I guess you're not cleaning this?

Allen: {shocked} Whaaaaa? That's totally out of bounds.


The Eye of God

Netlore Archive: NASA photo of the Helix Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Insert theme from Twilight Zone here.


Happy, Happy Birthday!

Can you believe this was 5 years ago?
And this was 4?
For us, it seems like just yesterday.
So quickly you have gone from our NICU miracle to a loving, sweet, dynamic (almost) kindergartner.
We've always known you are a special spirit. But, to see you grow and blossom into who you have become fills us with a love that isn't easy to articulate.

Your first response is always kindness.
You never miss an opportunity to dance.
Especially in the rain.
You never withhold affection.
You are a thinker. You ponder the welfare of others. You are creative and definitely inherited some engineering genes.
You are a vibrant young lady with a heart of gold.

You are loved and cherished. You are an empathetic soul that seeks to bring comfort to others. You are smart and driven.You are helpful and at the ready to lend a hand when someone is in need. You are sensitive and worry about the world and your loved ones. You are innocent and trusting. You are a cuddler of the best kind. You have all the potential in the world.
While the days may, at times, seem long the years go by like sand through our hands. We've blinked and you're on your way to school. To start your own journey. You will knock their socks off. Blow them away. You will change lives. While there may be a few potholes or detours along the way, there will be many scenic views and vistas.

We look forward to the ups, blessings, and success that you'll know. We will be here to help dust you off after the downs, help you put on the armor for the trials, and help you see the opportunity hidden in the failures that will be written in your book of life. We love you so very much and all that you mean to our family.

 Happy Birthday, Lexi!


Ponder This

Worth of a Soul by Liz Lemon Swindle

One of the paramount differences between this life and the next is that our eternal lives will not be subject to the repercussions and consequences of others' choices. In this life, a poor choice by one can have a significant impact on the lives of many. In the next, we will only be subject to God's agency and judgment, which is perfect. Indeed, that would be heaven now wouldn't it?


Lemon Squares

We made some lemon squares today. This is, by far, my favorite recipe for these tasty winter treats. I will admit, the young kids didn't seem all that impressed, but us adults were happy to eat their leftovers.

Lemon Squares by Brandi Williams

Heat oven to 350

2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix flour, butter and powdered sugar. Put ball of dough in an ungreased 9x13 pan and press smooth with finger tips and back of hands. Prick the entire surface with fork. Bake for 10 min.

2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tablespoons lemon juice
Zest from 3 lemons (tip, zest first, then juice)

Beat ingredients about 3 minutes, pour over hot crust and bake for additional 25 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and cool. Cut and enjoy.



So, when I read about a "duh" solution or figure one out on my own, I also think "I should totally share this 'cause, duh, it is awesome!" I had gobs of these totally awesome solutions and tips in a post I had been working on and when I hit "post", it went poof! into the cyber unknowns to be lost forever.

Never the less, I have pushed through the loss and compiled another list of some of the "tricks" I've used that have benefited me. May they make your life just a smidge easier too. (oh, and you may already know most of them, but for those who are solution-common-sensicly challenged, you're welcome.)

1. The good mom engages her children. When she cleans, she has them help and praises their inadequate efforts with adore. She doesn't go back and get rid of the left over hand prints or glaring streak of dust that was missed by the kids. And, despite that, her house is immaculate and she is primped and happy. Break away from dream land and you get a mom who cleans when her kids are asleep (just like eating dessert when they are down - so you don't have to share - you know you do it too. Heck, you're probably doing it right now.) so she doesn't have to worry about feeling guilty for saying no. Well, I found a pretty decent compromise. You clean first and then ask the kids to come behind and make sure you did it right. Or, you work side by side and then you say, "Ok, you check my work and I'll check yours." If you clean first, you know it's really clean. If you switch, you know it's also going to get really clean. And, you've not only taught your kids how to clean and work together with someone else, but you've made them feel like they are really good at the job because they get to check YOUR work. If you're feeling really generous, you can leave behind some dirt so they can "fix" your mistake. Total win-win.

2. You know how noodles with sauce, mainly spaghetti with it's totally obnoxious marinara, don't just take the heat in the microwave. They have to spit and sputter and still only get half hot. Try this: put the sauce on the plate first and then put the noodles on top. I know! How smart is that! The noodles stop the sauce from making your microwave look like a murder scene. Since you most likely stir it all up at the end, what does it matter if you put it together out of order? Sure you can use those cover thingys that are always in the way and then clutter the counter when you don't need them and they are always cloudy and dingy looking anyways. But, I find this solution way more to my liking.

3. The easiest way to clean off a gross high chair or booster seat is in the shower. Take a dish brush and give a good bath. Same with garbage cans. They actually come clean and you don't have to rinse the sponge out 600 times to make it happen.

4.When your kids are sick, make Pedialyte pops. Mary Poppins wasn't kidding.

5. I've noticed that in the morning, if the TV is on, we get bogged down and the girls don't respond very well to my repeated yelling requests to get the move on. So, I ixnayed the boob toob. Rather, we listen to dance music. I put it on the minute we get downstairs and we rock out while we get ourselves ready for the day. We leave happier and lots faster too.

6. I uploaded some children's books onto my iPod. I was hunting for something they could do in the car for longish trips - besides watch the DVD player. They are books we'd already read at home, but I wasn't sure if the kids would like listening to them without pictures. Let me tell you, they beg for them!

7. If you want your clothes to come out just a little more fresh, add a 1/3 of a cup of Borax to the detergent. For front loaders, it works just fine. There'll be a little left over in the dispenser after the first wash cycle. I just add more when it's gone.

8. If your washer is stinky (listen, you front loader people, you know it happens no matter how clean you are) pour a cup of bleach into the bottom of the empty washer and run the clean cycle for a while. Rinse and drain and ta!da! Supa Fresh.

9. When Lexi had her last hive situation, I had given her all of the anti-histamine medications I could think of. When I took her in, the doctor in the ER gave me a bit of an edumacation. See, we have H1 and H2 histamine receptors in our bodies. Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, etc work on the H1 set. The H2 set are in our gut. The drug Ranitidine (known as Zantac) works on the H2 set to stop reflux. It seems there were a couple of studies done demonstrating that if a person is having an allergic reaction, saturating BOTH sets of blockers will stop the reaction much faster than the H1 blockers taken alone. He gave Lexi Zantac and what do you know? An hour later, she was almost hive free. The side effects of Zantac are virtually zero. It's safe to give to the shortlings. So, next time you or a kid you know is having a reaction (hello campers with Poison Oak) saturate all of the blockers by taking a Benadryl with some Zantac.

10. Humidifiers are like margarine. Hot steam is best. Hot steam will burn your eyes out - stay away! Cool mist is just as effective with no mold. Cool mist isn't the best, we were wrong! Back and forth, blah blah blah. Let me tell you my friends. The old school vaporizer is the only way to go. It's hot, it's wet and it works. Yeah, I guess if you want to play in the water, you might get burnt. And, if you never, ever clean it out, it's gonna grow some lab samples. But come on people! You aren't going to put it up near your kids' faces or where they can reach it and you know you're going to put fresh water in every now and again. Those cool mist things are junk. Save you the money and go get the cheapy brand vaporizer. But some Kaz or Vicks oil on the top or in the water and let 'er rip. You'll thank me in the morning 'cause your kid didn't bark like a seal all night and you'll thank me when you go to buy a milkshake on the down low and you have extra money in your account.

That is all for now. Enjoy!


Perfect Feet (From the Fultz Family)

This post was written by the mom of the family who is living in our New Mexico home. They are a sweet family who works hard and loves the gospel. In all honetsy, we barely know them, but we've been drawn together by the Lord's great plan. Our coming to know them is evidence of his love for us as families and individuals.

I was deeply moved by this beautiful and heart-wrenching post about her experience at work in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), where she is a nurse, one night. I'm confident you will be as well.

Perfect Feet

I went into work on Monday night, 3/07. I found my self drawing connections to my Great Grandma Maymie...whose Birthday is 3/07 and my beautiful son Shane, who was born at 3:07 am. My mind is deep...and there are times when all I do is think, draw connections, think some more, and end in awe over how intricate the Lord's plan is for us. I actually went to the temple with my husband the year our baby boy would have been a year old, on December the 2nd, and performed the ordinances for my Great Grandmother and Grandfather...it was a profound and amazing experience.

I was on call on 3/07; we are required to pull one on call shift a month at the hospital, and it has been more often lately because of how sick the children are. I was scheduled in advance by someone else...I am at the mercy of the unit when it comes to developing a schedule. I came in knowing that there was a sick child sent from another hospital in the area whom I had cared for just under 4 months ago. When I heard his name, my heart sunk...I remembered him, his parents, and the miracle behind his little life.

While I was caring for my patients, the code alarm sounded, and nurses from the unit went running to this 4 month old child's room--myself included. He was quickly stabilized when I noticed a two year old little sister walking aimlessly--the baby's mother was fully focused on her infant, so I snatched her up and played with her. She looked deep in my eyes, grinned, and then instantly started to find something to play with. We found a toy hooked to the wall outside of her brothers room. She stood there while I knelt down and played with her. She looked at her brothers door, looked back at me, and said, "Brother die...." (except she called him by name, of which I cannot do here, but her voice and his sweet name will forever be in my mind), she then sounded weary as she said, "Brother hurt." I hugged her tight, lifted her up and started walking around....only moments later her little brother once again started to slip away, and once again, life saving efforts were performed. After three episodes, the mother and father were left to decide whether to continue or allow their child to slip away. She begged, "What if you take him to surgery now?" to which the doctor and I had to, with weary heart, let her know that her child wasn't stable enough to survive a surgery. She cried, "So what you're telling me is I'm losing my son tonight". She looked deep into my eyes and said, "He is fighting so hard, " and then she wept like only a parent losing a child weeps. They finally allowed him to pass into the next life....only to have a door of longing and pain opened for the period of this life. In spite of our knowledge of life here and in heavenly realms, nothing comes close to the pain of losing a child. I looked at this beautiful baby's body, so chubby and perfect, laying motionless on the bed...and my heart was drawn back to the very moment I saw my chubby little 4 month boy laying motionless in the exact same position, with the exact same tubes from his mouth aimed at saving his life, and my heart grew weary. I wished that I could allow that mother to have her son alive....I would suffer the pain all over again, if she didn't have to. I watched her examine his little feet and touch his body; I know that feeling--as you strive to remember every detail and curve of a body that will soon be placed in the grave. They left the hospital that night without their son, as we did in March 2007, it's not natural....my heart breaks for them.

I am once again convinced that coincidences do not exist in the Lord's plan. I was placed on call by a nurse on 3/07, feeling so close to my son, for a purpose. I held a little girl that night and witnessed her foresight with awe, and I watch a beautiful four month old infant fade into the next life. This was the first death I have witnessed on the PICU--he was only days from turning four months, the same exact number of days our Shane was from turning four months old.

Sweet son, my son, I still remember how your beautiful perfect feet looked on that cold March day...I remember every detail. I love you so much precious child.
You can click on the title of this post to go to their blog.



Taken with my iPhone while on the way home from preschool one day.


Just In Case You Were Wondering

You've probably noticed the complete stall out in blog posts. Well, my friends, that lack in interesting blog fodder is not without good reason. Here's a recap of our week:

- Shortlings show signs of impending sickness.
- 10 month old wakes every 2 hours as a result of this sickness
- 5 a.m. that same night/morning/who even remembers what day it is anyway at this point gets a bath to help bring down 103 fever
- 10 month old goes to doctor and is given an infection free bill of health. Diagnosis: suffer through it
- 10 month old wakes from nap with muscle spasms, delirium, moaning and chills. Fever 105. Call office for advice. Advice: go to ER.
- Call MIL who runs over (never seen Grandma take a corner like that before) to take care of sibling
- Other sibling is with a friend but will now be staying for dinner too. Oh, and the other shortling will be coming, too, and I know you're all alone now with 5 kids and can you feed them dinner too thank you very much (to which she replied "we're having fun!")
- ER draws blood, caths that baby (and why do they send the newbie to do baby work? They tried to get it right 4 times. FOUR. On a baby.), insert IV, fluids, lung xrays, tylenol and motrin and a little bit of antibiotic in the IV just for grins and giggles
- While the ER staff bumble around, I notice they aren't doing anything to actively help the fever. Baby is crying non-stop and beet red. So, I put her in the sink and give her a lukewarm bath and push fluids (1/2 tsp. via oral syringe every 10 minutes). To which I am told "Good job mom." Yeah, can you either pay me your salary or reduce my bill for taking care of it myself?
- Fever comes down. Go home.
- Say a prayer to let HF know that said friend should have guaranteed admittance to heaven for her service. Pretty sure that was approved.
- Did I mention it was Spiderman's birthday? Order take out. He hates it. Happy Birthday to you Spiderman.
- Holed up in the sick house near death.
- Four days later baby still has fever of 102.
- Spiderman installing hardwood all weekend so I'm on my own. (This was planned, but as you know, when it rains...)
- Take baby in again. RSV. Diagnosis: suffer through it.
- Bake 4 dozen cookies, a cookie cake and decorate cookie cake for Spidey birthday. (and shower and clean the whole downstairs and take baby over the hill to the doctor. yah. i was feeling kinda studly that day.)
- Family and friends are coming over for the birthday celebration. Only the most brave and stalwart of them will come as it's been made known of our highly infectious state. In fact, my nephew came to the event and as he was walking by me and the baby, takes a step away, looks over and says, "She's sick, huh? Um, I don't think I'll play with her today" and commences carrying the play garage to the other end of the house. Well played, nephew, well played.
- Oh, and this whole time, every time baby poops she explodes out of her diaper and ruins everything within a 10 mile radius. Laundry is spilling out of my ears.
- Middle child has butt zits. She's miserable and every time I try to look or change her diaper she scrunches her butt checks together like Nacho Libre in white polyester pants.
- Middle child, too, has RSV. Sounds like feeding time at the seal pen around here most of the day.
- Oldest child comes down with hives. Officially quarantine ourselves.
- Spiderman prints out boarding pass. Yes, he's leaving. Remember I said " when it rains, it pours"? I'm building an ark.

Here's the visuals:

Stocking up on pedialyte.

Can  you believe up to this point, in all 5 years of parenting, I'd never given any of my kids a bath in a sink before?
Poor little Emmy.
She pretty much cried the whole time. Didn't matter if she was sitting, standing, cuddling or just doing nothing at all.
Daddy was pretty concerned for the little one. I think they bonded during this time of suffering.
Lexi and her hives.
There's really no rhyme or reason.
No, she didn't eating anything different.
Or touch anything.
We didn't use different detergent.
Or shampoo. Or soap. Or anything.
And yes, we have given her Benadryl. Don't worry. We're seeing the allergist since this has happened before.

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.