30 August 2015

Back to School Fancy Dinner

We held our third annual back to school fancy dinner the night before school started.

We introduced our new family theme for the year, which focuses on effort.

Troy and I both shared about times we've failed and had to "try try again" to reach a goal and achieve success. Our boys have been quick to say "I can't" or "It's too hard" lately. We had a great discussion about how things don't come easy to everyone and usually the things that matter most require a lot of work and patience.

We also had a not so peaceful dinner consisting of bickering and complaining. It was nothing out of the ordinary, but I think the extra "fanciness" of napkins on laps and glasses full of sparkling cider were enough to let the tradition and discussion sink in a bit for the older boys.

I've already overheard them telling each other to "try try again" when they are struggling.





I've realized how often I still need this message myself. Here's to trying (and trying again) to teach our boys through example.

27 August 2015

Back to School

We're back in business.
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Nash has been wondering since we registered him in March why he couldn't go to Kindergarten yet. He was ready, I was ready, and there were no tears on either end.

He made a lofty goal for his initiation into elementary school.

He stopped approximately 37 times along the way to collect what he considers "ordinary stuff." Our walks back and forth to school may take twice as long as they should, but I can't really complain when he picks out special flowers for me.

It's going to be strange to only have two children at home for part of the day. I'm not going to lie, I'm giddy with excitement when I think about how much easier running errands will be!

26 August 2015

A Night in the Hospital

We were having a normal Saturday, juggling everyone's schedules, when everything headed south. 

Troy was off cleaning the church, I was grabbing some groceries and a last minute birthday party gift, Nash was attending a pirate pool party and Blake was beach hopping with our neighbors. We were planning on reconvening in time for the movie in the town park that the boys had been waiting to see all summer.

Crew developed a cough the night before that was frequent but not too worrisome. We were out celebrating Troy's birthday and told the sitter to give him some cough drops since he didn't have any other symptoms. He had a difficult time sleeping that night, tossing and turning constantly. 

On Saturday afternoon in between all the hoopla that was going on that day, Crew seemed to get worse and worse. He was really having to work hard to breathe and his wheezing was constant in addition to the cough. He seldom had a break in between coughing fits. Troy suggested we bring him to Urgent Care. I'm not one to rush off to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle, but this seemed more serious than a virus.

Troy ended up taking him to Urgent Care so I could juggle the other three coming and going and needing to be fed back home. They gave Crew two breathing treatments and his lungs did not improve. His oxygen levels were so low that they sent him to the ER. He was admitted to the hospital and kept overnight.

We spent the rest of the night going back and forth to the hospital while Blake and Nash were scooped up by a kind friend who took them to the movie in the park. 

It was so strange to see Crew's tiny body in a huge hospital bed, hooked up to oxygen and monitors. I was worried about him falling out since he had never slept in a bed before. They happily switched out the bed for a toddler crib where he spent the night.

Troy took the sleeping shift and it did not go too well. Crew was constantly being woken up by breathing treatments and kicking off his monitor which set off an alarm. They finally taped it on better after about the sixth episode of kicking it off. 

He was diagnosed with asthma. Since it was his first attack, it's hard to say what triggered it. It was most likely a virus or allergies. We were armed with booklets galore to study and boxes and boxes of inhaler and nebulizer medication.

Crew only needed oxygen assistance a couple of times throughout the night which was infrequent enough to give us the green light to take him home the next morning. 

I wonder what he thought about the whole saga. He sure was excited about the truck they gave him to play with and endless access to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He was not as much of a fan of the breathing treatments where Troy had to pin him down to keep the mask on.


His brothers were so worried about him. They woke up bright and early to make him cards and a paper tent complete with trees, a campfire and a "T" flag. 

Crew was all smiles when we were about to be discharged.


Who knows if he thought it was all just a grand adventure. He was incredibly grumpy from a total lack of sleep but we were so grateful to have him back home after that scare. I'm pretty sure that Nash has asthma too, so we are about to embark on a whole new journey of preventative care and treatments.

24 August 2015

Long Standing Tradition

It was so good to reconnect with great friends while we were in Utah. There were so many people to fit into a few days and so many more we wish we could have seen. We managed to get away for a date night with some of our best friends, I went out with my beloved book club ladies for dinner and a movie, and I made a quick round trip around the mountain to meet up with one of my best friends from Michigan. It seemed so normal to be surrounding ourselves with the friends we got to know so well over the seven years we lived there.

While Troy met up with a friend for lunch and golf, I took the boys to meet up with another great friend. We have taken our growing number of children to the same park every summer for five years straight. We thought the tradition would end this year since we moved to a different state, but lo and behold, we made it happen.

The little ones played in the water canyons while we caught up on every topic imaginable and snapped occasional photos with our nerdy camera equipment.







I'm so grateful for good traditions and even better friends. We knew it would be a little crazy trying to see as many friends as we could while balancing time with extended family and time on the lake. It was a full week but it was worth every drive back and forth from the mountains to the valley.  

23 August 2015

Finn | Eleven Months

I can't even think about how close my baby is getting to a certain birthday. So instead, here are two of my very favorite things about Finn at eleven months:

First of all, he has become a little speedster crawling up the stairs. Our stairs switch directions a few times and have a couple of landings from the bottom to the top which makes the process more challenging. He is always right behind me when I run up the stairs. If I wait at the top for him, he stops at each and every stair, cranks his head up to find me, smiles a huge grin, and continues with more zeal for the next stair. It never gets old cheering him on from one step to the next and meeting each one of his full body smiles with encouragement.

Second, the moments where I pull him out of his bed are my favorite. He has been sleeping in our closet for the last five months or so because it is the darkest, quietest, least disruptive room when his three older brothers are running around causing a ruckus. Since it is so dark in there, when I pull him out of his bed, his face completely scrunches up to block out the incoming light. His warm, freshly awoken body curls up to me and I cannot get enough.




19 August 2015

Alpine Slides

When we were planning our trip to the mountains, the number one thing the boys said they wanted to do was go on the Alpine Slides. It had been a few years since we'd hit the summer slopes but they vividly remembered every detail of riding the ski lift and twisting and dipping down the tracks.

We picked a sunny mid-day to execute the activity which was no good for photos but perfect for staying warm high in the mountains.




The lift climbed higher and higher and provided beautiful panoramic views.



Blake was the exact height to be able to ride by himself. That meant he had to haul his own sled once we exited the lift.



Blake was pretty nervous to go down alone. He listened carefully to all of the instructions.

He was the last one to arrive at the bottom of the tracks and he had quite a hold up of people behind him who were forced to reduce their speed, but he made it in one piece.

Crew thoroughly enjoyed his first slide down the mountain as well.

We sufficiently crossed off the boys' top vacation priority.

17 August 2015

Cabin Life

We almost called off our only trip of the summer. 

We spent every single day of the previous week at either a doctor's office or urgent care. The pharmacy staff knew us by name by the time we filled all of our prescriptions for pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections. We ran out of Tylenol multiple times while trying to keep fevers down. Who gets that sick in August in California? 

The day before we were planning on leaving, those who hadn't yet spiked fevers laid in bed shaking. It didn't seem like the odds were really working in our favor to able to enjoy a week away from home.

We debated either canceling the trip altogether or postponing another week or two. But postponing brought up all sorts of scheduling conflicts and canceling brought everyone to tears after so much anticipation. At the last moment we could possibly make the call, we decided to go for it. Most of our family were being treated for various illnesses which meant we were on the mend. Or so we thought. Everyone except for me felt better once we arrived in the mountains. The altitude was hard on my already wheezing lungs and I couldn't seem to shake the fevers and hacking.

Once we were there, there was nothing to do but make the most of it. I kept reminding myself that any discomfort I felt didn't hold a candle to pregnancy. We spent a lot of time driving all over the place to meet up with friends and family. We loved reuniting with familiar faces and we also loved a couple of rare quiet nights on the deck at the cabin.

We made a habit out of bringing dessert outside and eating it around the fire.






One evening, Uncle Todd set up several science experiments for the boys to do. Cool uncle points indeed.



All it took was a bottle of bubbles and a watering can to put Crew in heaven.










Poor Finn was mauled by his loving brothers as usual. I love how his expression quickly changed.



We savored those few quiet evenings amidst a week of jam-packed activities. And after so many setbacks, we were grateful to be soaking up cabin life at all.