Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day and More

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  I am grateful to the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for my country.  Their dedication and willingness to die for this nation help me to appreciate more my home here in the United States.  I admire the strength it must take to step up and serve.

  Skip and Grandpa Gary, both veterans of Vietnam, were in my mind yesterday as we celebrated our Memorial Day.  We attended a ward picnic with sprinklers for the children.  We spent a few hours at the church house eating our picnic and enjoying the nearly 90 degree weather.  Mykelle and Evan had a great time playing on the slip 'n slide and in the sprinklers while I chatted with friends and Adam played basketball.    We had a nice spot in the shade but I still had to eat several ice-pops to stay cool- I couldn't help but feel bad for my family in Utah who woke up to an inch of snow on their lawns!

Testing it out...
Enjoying it! 
All the parents hiding out in the shade
Hope, Evan, John- nursery friends!

She was tired and just wanted her icee!   
    So my hair is growing out... again.  And I remember now how much I hated it when I was 16 and why I don't like to see pictures of me with my short hair- it's a puffball and it's going CURLY!!  But only at the back of my head and on the sides.  How annoying is that??  You'd think I would learn and just be grateful to HAVE hair at all, and I am grateful, but can I just complain a little about it please?   I am definitely happy to have hair, though I wish I didn't have to go through all the phases of growing it out (I know Dad, "Wish in one hand and spit in the other").  This time around I do plan on getting it cut so it's not a helmet-head for several months.

I am told I look very much like Jake!  Sadly, I agree :)
See the wings on the sides?  I can't calm them down no matter what I try.
  Since my hair has been coming back I do have killer eyelashes!  I actually have had to trim them because they were so long on the bottom they were hitting my face and it was uncomfortable.  My fingernails are growing out too- the ends are still darker than the rest (they look kind of dirty), and each nail has a big white ridge in it that I imagine is from the last big chemo session.   My body is starting to get back to normal!  Now if I could just get rid of my hot flashes...

Her eyes are getting better!  The little toy is "Shnoodlebops"

   This morning I had a thought I often have when I'm with my kids...  Who would have ever thought I'd be saying THAT?   Mykelle had brought Shnoodlebops to the table (her McDonald's friend) and asked in her friend's voice that the friend be allowed to say the blessing.  My response to Shnoodlebops:  "You can't say the prayer because you have to be a person to say the prayer."  And Mykee takes it in stride as if it's a completely normal thing to say.  I wish I could remember all the silly things that have come out of my mouth since having kids.  If you have any please post them!  I know I'll think of more later...
Notice the basketball...
    I thought the pics of my kids and their toys were funny because they are usually not allowed to bring toys to the table at mealtime.  Evan did throw his blanket down on the floor but hid the basketball behind him so he could keep it at the table.  I didn't see it until he was half way finished!

Mykee Moments:  Yesterday at the picnic Mykelle had a teeny tiny bug crawling on the blanket near her.  She kept moving out of its way and I told her just to squish it with her plate or napkin.  She looked at me like that was the grossest thing in the world and kept eating- all while moving her legs to avoid the bug.  So I quickly reached down and squished the little thing.  Immediately Mykelle started complaining, "Mom!  Did you just squish it??  It was my FRIEND!  You squished my FRIEND!"  I apologized profusely through my laughter and promised her not to squish her next little friend!

This morning Mykelle showed me that she can open up the child-proofed closet door with the medicine in it (she was so proud!).  I told her she needed to be extremely careful with that closet because medicine can be dangerous if we take too much and we need to make sure Evan can't get into the closet either.  She asked, "I could die?"  I said, "Yes, or it could make you very sick and you could go to the hospital."  "I would go to heaven and live with Jesus and Heavenly Father and live with them forever?"  My response, "Yes, until I died a long time later and finally got to be with you again.  I don't want that to happen though so let's be careful with the medicine."  Thoughtful expression on Mykee's face and then a big smile, "Mom, guess what?  Jesus said Mykelle can stay with her family and not die right now!!"  Thank you, Jesus!  :)

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.  ~Benjamin Disraeli

Friday, May 27, 2011

25 Days to Utah!

Thought I'd write with an update, though I'm sad I don't have any new pictures.  We had a good Friday- a little cleaning around the house this morning, two visits to the park, dinner at a good little pizza joint, a long nap (for the kids), and a relaxing evening after the kids fell asleep.  I like days like today!  And it's been so warm- 84 today and humid- I am SO excited that I'll be in Utah for the the two hottest months in NJ!

This week has been pretty uneventful, and we don't have any huge plans for the holiday weekend either.  Mykelle and Evan have been their usual cute selves.  Mykelle is really into showing her "Ninja" skills- she yells the numbers 1-10 in Japanese while punching, and then looks so self-satisfied!  She loves her Karate class, and the dance class is her second favorite.  She always acts like she enjoys soccer when we talk about it, but then class time rolls around and she wants to go home after 1/2 an hour.  I do think a full hour is too long for a four year old to be playing soccer.

Evan is finally showing some interest in learning his colors!  He has mostly known them before today, but wasn't always consistent.  The other day he came out of the bedroom (they aren't allowed to come out in the morning until the clock says 7AM) and started telling me the colors of all the things around him.  And he was right!  I love the proud look he had on his face!  He's also very proud of his ability to recite the ABC's- the LMNOP part usually turns into "bop-bop-bop-bop-bee," but he's doing well!  Potty training, on the other hand, not going so well... He has no desire to go on the big potty!  We're slowly working on it though.

I went to the ENT doctor this week to have my tonsil looked at (since it lit up slightly on the PET scan last month).  I wasn't going to go because I figured an ENT wouldn't be able to determine much by looking at an enlarged tonsil that otherwise appears normal.  BUT, my mother was kind of freaking out.  So, I made a deal with her:  She gets checked for Lyme Disease and I go for the tonsil.  Deal made!  I went on Tuesday only to hear just what I expected, nothing to be done except wait until the next PET scan in August.  Mom went today only to hear her doctor say that Lyme Disease doesn't exist in Utah (interesting, since CDC information reports otherwise...)  though she's still getting tested to satisfy our curiosity.

Adam is applying for a job in Utah.  It's odd to have such conflicting emotions about it.  I would love to go back to Utah to be with family and friends, and it's a job I know Adam would love.  However, Adam would likely have to take a pay cut, and future career opportunities would be quite restricted (but then, would it be worth it to be close to family and a part of the local community?).  I really like being here in NJ and look forward to the opportunities available out here, as well as the friends and community I've become attached to.  I guess we'll take it as it comes, one step at a time!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Growin' Up Like My Dad!

Evan's favorite phrase lately is, "Growin' up like my dad!"  While stepping up on tiptoes and lifting his hand as high as he can.  If he's asked how old he is he'll answer "I Emen," (his name) then say that he's growing up like his dad.  I get a kick out of it every time, I just wish other people understood what he was saying!

Castle Point at Stevens University- we went up for lunch with Dad. 

Evan has been really cute lately, and a complete terror!  I am waiting for the day he outgrows these terrible twos!  He is constantly going, going, going, and then sleeping.  He's incredibly dramatic, from throwing himself on the floor because he can't pull his chair out at the table to screaming for joy that his pillow case is newly washed and he can have it back.  I thought girls were supposed to be the dramatic ones but when it comes to my kids the roles are reversed!

Evan and his baby
At times Evan seems all boy.  He runs and jumps off of everything, throws toys (and anything else he can get his hands on), and he loves rough and tumble play with Dad.  He does have the nurturing instinct too, and he loves taking care of his baby doll.  The doll used to be Mykee's but since we have two and this one is blue, it has become Evan's.  He wants to take it with us wherever we go.  It has become almost as important as his blanky!  He loves to pretend to feed it, bathe it, and talk to it.  He will hand me the doll and say, "You make Baby talk?"  Then I have to pretend the baby is talking to his "Daddy" and Evan plays along.  It's so sweet though, he looks so sincere and in love with his baby!

We had a dramatic adventure with Mykelle Wednesday night at McDonald's...  We had just gone in and I was ordering for us while Mykee and Evan ran over to the fortune teller machine (think the movie Big).  I heard a loud thump and looked over to see Adam holding Mykelle while she was screaming, I could see an employee mopping the floor and a "slippery when wet" caution sign on the floor.  I also thought I could see something on Mykee's forehead but then, it would be way to quick to have a bruise there already, right?  WRONG- she had a giant bump on her head that looked awful!  The manager came out and told us they'd pay for the hospital visit if we wanted to take her to the ER and the employees that saw Mykelle's head were suggesting we do just that.  Meanwhile, the lady mopping just kept mopping (grrr...).  I felt so bad for my poor baby but was pleasantly surprised by the manager's compassion and offer of help.

Mykee's bump, not so swollen any more!
Mykelle was so strong (as she reminds us multiple times a day, "I bumped my head at Old MacDonald's and only cried not very much because I'm such a STRONG girl!!")  I thought for sure she'd want to go home right after but she wanted to go to soccer class and then to a party afterward and did fine through it all!  If I had hit my head that hard I think I would have milked it for a week! (I know Dad, you are thinking of the bee-sting right now aren't you...?:)

Just added this photo 5/21- Mykelle woke up with swollen eyes and her face is turning purple by the nose and under the eyes!
Even worse the next day:

Yesterday morning the kids were eating their breakfast of oatmeal and toast when Evan dumped a spoonful of his oatmeal onto the floor.  I immediately snapped at him for making a mess and Mykee said, "Look Mom, a face!"  So I went from upset to laughing in a nanosecond and had to get a picture.  Evan thought it was really funny and went to dump another spoonful on the floor...

Perfect little oatmeal face!
Evan said another funny thing the other day-  I was changing his diaper in the early morning and he started saying, "Duck skin!  I have duck skin!"  I could not figure out what he was talking about until I saw that he had bumps all over from the cold and was trying to say Goose Bumps!

Rainy day craft project: Sack puppets!  The kids loved them and couldn't wait to show Daddy when he came home.  Look at the ears on the cow- when I told Mykelle the ears went on the top of the puppet she looked at me and laughed and said, "Silly Mommy, ears go on the sides of the head, not the top!" 
32 days until the kids and I leave for Utah with Taryl!  Aunt Taryl is coming out for a visit in 25 days, then helping us fly out on Jet Blue in the middle of the night- that should be fun!  Especially coming home to my parent's house at 2 am and trying to get the kids settled down in new beds after seeing Papa Mike and Grandma Roskeys.   I am really looking forward to being in Utah and getting excited to see all of our family and friends.  I'll miss Adam for the month he is staying here in NJ without us, but he'll come out for a good part of the time.  So excited to see my nieces and nephew!  And meet my niece Shaylee for the first time!  I can't believe she is almost a year old and I've missed all of it.  It's hard being away and not having the money to travel back whenever I want to!  I'll be there soon though, and I feel the pressure to make up a year of being away in two months...  It will be so much fun!

Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. ~Dr. Charles W. Edwards, Jr.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Evan's New Look

Adam does not know how to do our kid's hair.  So instead of making it look good, he likes to make it look as bad as possible...

Remember the spiky part and side-comb boys did about 20 years ago??  I used to think this was so hot...
Sunday Best!
And yes, he went to church like that and nobody said anything :)

The pics below are from today at the kid's place at the gym.  I guess I shouldn't tease Adam for not being able to do the kid's hair when I didn't do Evan's at all!

Mykee and Evan love going to the gym!  Can you blame them when they get to play at such a fun place??  I just wish I loved it... I am trying to go more often but since I didn't go at all during the winter, "more often" can be just one time a week and I am still meeting my goal of going more often!  I did the 1-hour cycle class today and about died...  Last year I loved the class and was so proud of myself for staying with the instructor and following the levels she did and this time I had to stay several levels below the instructor the whole time!  I feel weak.  But I have to get ready for the Bear Lake Cancer Race (slash run/walk) I'm doing with Taryl on the 25th of June.  I've challenged my dad to a race so I've got to get in gear!

Camping and TICKS!!

Our first camping trip of the season (and hopefully one of many) and Mykelle had a tick!  I remember when we first moved here I thought it was bizarre to see tick warning signs up in parks and to receive a notice in the town newsletter to watch for ticks.  I guess NJ is one of the leading states for people with lyme disease... SCARY!  We came home from camping and when we bathed the kids Adam saw this on Mykee's leg:

Yeah, that's a tick alright!  Terrible memories of having had a tick myself as a child came flooding back. I remember my parents acting freaked out and blowing out matches before they stuck them on my head, and then seeing the biggest tick ever when they finally got it off.  I had been scared and could see that Mykee was scared too.  Adam and I kept pretty calm and talked to Mykelle about what was happening, but she did NOT want us to touch it!  Adam had to hold her down while I pulled it off with tweezers.  It was over in no time, but Mykee kept telling us the story of how the bug had to bee pulled off with "pinchers" and how she was so strong :)  She still wants to go camping again so I don't think it scarred her too badly!  Fortunately, I read that if the tick has only been attached for 12-24 hours or less, it is very unlikely she'll contract lyme disease.  It was easy to tell this bug hadn't been attached long, so we're keeping an eye out for symptoms but she'll probably be okay!

  Thursday night Adam and I were sitting around talking about what we'd do over the weekend when Adam suggested we go camping.  I was a little hesitant at first, thinking of stuff that needed doing, but thought what the heck.  The kids will love it!  So I posted on Facebook we were going camping and did anyone want to come.  The Avery's agreed to come along (I love that they were spontaneous enough to come with us, even if they only had a two-man tent for a family of four...) and we were off to Swartswood State Park by 2:30 Friday afternoon.

Check out the TINY tent all 4 Avery's slept in!
And now check out the GIANT 8 man tent I bought on sale!  It's huge!
We set up camp and went exploring through the trees and down to the lake.  Supposedly there's some pretty good fishing there but we didn't catch anything off the dock with our Buzz Lightyear pole and Powerbait... But the kids had a great time!

Wes was working and came up a little later that night so we had our dinner pretty late.  We made it really easy since we'd done it last minute:  Hot dogs, chips, grapes, and juice boxes.  Delicious!  The only problem was that Adam made the fire humongous, so we were burning our hands and faces when we roasted the dogs.  At least I don't have long hair to singe off!  :)  Of course we also had S'mores- Mykee had two and wanted another- she told me I was MEAN because I said two was enough!  I am SUCH a mean mom... I thought the name-calling didn't start until they were teenagers??

The night wasn't too bad, we were pretty warm in our tent and the kids didn't wake up until about 6:30.  The Avery's I don't think fared as well...  Melissa said she had to sleep at the foot of their queen blow-up mattress because Wes and the two kids took up too much room across.  I have a feeling they'll be getting a larger tent for the future and maybe more than the ONE sleeping bag they had!

Breakfast was really good for being such a last-minute and easy meal: "Roasted" bagels with cream cheese, yogurt, and grapes.  Mykelle and Evan had a good time roasting their own bagels.  Then we packed up our things while we were lightly rained on.  After packing we went to the lake again, played on the playground, and ate PBJs for lunch before we took off for home.

This was just behind our campsite

You might be asking, "Where's Evan?"  He threw a fit and stayed at the campsite (don't worry, I could see him!)  When we got back we saw that he'd eaten quite a few grapes and emptied the bag!
My husband is such a MAN!  I love him.

These are Mykee's flowers she picked for me... Root and all!
The kids have already been asking if we can go camping again!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Unicorns & Scriptures

My Little Beauty

Mykelle, Evan, and I were watching The Last Unicorn where at the end, the Unicorn leaves the prince standing on the shore, alone.  She turned to me looking devastated and said, "The Princess Unicorn doesn't like the Prince anymore!"  I explained to her that girl unicorns can't marry princes because princes are humans, not unicorns.   Her response was, "Then the prince could be a boy unicorn and they could both get married and have so much fun!"  She went on to tell a story about her cousin, "Andrew could be a unicorn and I could be too and we could dance- it would be so much fun!  I wish for that.  I will dream for that."  I love her imagination!  And I can't bear to tell her that she can't marry Andrew... He is a first cousin after all (though I hear it's legal in some states:).  She is always telling Evan  that she can't marry him because he is her brother but she will marry Andrew instead.  

Soon after the movie was over the kids were playing "snakes" on the wood floors.  Evan started biting my legs and Mykelle was putting bandaids on me.  I became distracted with the laundry and kept hearing Mykee telling Evan to have a bite of her scriptures.  It didn't really register, since they often pretend to be eating odd things anyway.  Then, I heard a ripping noise...

Mykelle was holding out the page to Evan as he slithered across the floor and letting him take chunks out of her new Book of Mormon!  I had to get angry with her for damaging her brand new book but it was funny too.  She only let him take bites out of the end pages!  Some in the front and some in the back. I'm surprised she let him do it because she has been so excited about having her own scriptures (she was given them at the stake Primary activity on Saturday).  She even took the scriptures with her to the park today so she could, "Sit on a bench and read them."

We went to the library after the snake incident and I have to say, I am excited about our visit!  I've tried to go with the kids a few times over the past year and it has been a nightmare: both kids ran around like crazy people and were super loud and could care less about looking at books.  I kept trying thinking they would improve and they didn't!  Well this time I had a chat with them about being quiet in libraries and looking at books and threatened them to leave if they didn't follow instructions.  They were angels!  We brought home some great books, DVDs, and audio books (with hardcopy).  Mykelle played on the computer for awhile and Evan picked out a few books of his own.  Afterward we went to the park nearby.

Mykelle LOVES these climbing walls and does very well with them
First time on a Merry-Go-Round... Brings back memories!  I thought these were a thing of the past- safety hazards
Evan had to take his baby with him.  He has been really into it lately and
wants me to "help the baby talk" to him whenever I am can.

This evening after Adam came home we went to another park to feed the geese.

This goose on its nest had a mate that hissed at us and tried to chase us down!

Creepy caterpillars- the kids were very interested in the silk,
since they've been learning about caterpillars and spiders lately. 

The creepy "Troll Bridge"
The trolls under the bridge!

The other day we had a mini celebration for our friend Melissa's birthday, complete with mini cupcakes. We didn't have enough for everyone to have seconds- there were only 4 left.  So, Adam and I challenged Melissa to put all four mini cupcakes into her mouth at once.  And if you know Melissa...  She took that challenge and passed with flying colors!