March 31, 2009

Froggy Potty

You may have been wondering what has become of me this past week. We have been BUSY. I am finally up and running with a new computer that works really well. My old one decided it didn't like flash, so I haven't been able to access a ton of websites that use it nor any YouTube videos or really anything like that. NOW I CAN! So exciting.

Jett got a froggy potty and LOVES it. He is doing well at using it but still fusses and has tirades about it. We pretty much have to have him running around with a bare bum so that he'll use the potty. If he has anything on, he'll pee in it. It's so frustrating. He's pretty good about not walking on the carpet and we have extensive hardwood flooring, so he can easily clean his accidents. Of course, we have to redo his cleaning job...but he does make a good effort. My friend Amber watches the boys when I go to work and her son is also learning to use the potty. It's great to have the team effort and follow through with all care givers. This is actually the 4th and hopefully final attempt at potty training Jett. I am not buying him any more diapers.

I have been going to the office this past week and working on revising our curriculum. We are printing a new batch of workbooks which should last our students for the next couple of years. So, we're updating that as well as our power point presentations for the classroom. At first, I wasn't so excited to do it. It is just such a huge project, but now I'm enjoying it. We're adding several traffic safety learning games for the students to play. They love games, so it should be a hit. Tymon likes to joke around with me that I've been revising our curriculum as long as we've known each other. That's pretty much true, but now he helps me and takes our movies and converts them into an acceptable format to insert into power point. Watching them on a big screen makes it so much easier to see than on a TV.

March 25, 2009

Blue Screen of Death

A few days ago, my computer stopped working. I didn't use it for a day and then tried to boot it up again. No luck. On Saturday evening, Tymon's brother came and helped him diagnose the problem. I thought it'd be fixed...nope. Apparently, this blue screen of death means that the innerds of my computer is fried.


Just yesterday, I was reminded of my time in Russia teaching English. I lived with one of my students for 5 months. I took a lot of photos - it was such a different culture than what I was used to. There were so many new discoveries for me and new places to go and visit. At the end of my stay, I met my sister in Frankfurt and we back packed around Europe for a month. Ahhh, we had some good times and great experiences...even with the pick pockets or fake train conductors asking to see our tickets in the middle of the night while we were sleeping. They were actually thieves...but we didn't recognize that in our groggy state. Well, my camera was stolen. It was okay, though. My sister still had a camera and I only lost a few photos.

I took A LOT of photos while I was in Russia and Europe ... 9 rolls. (Just so you know, Jovana took the equivalent of this many photos while we were in Las Vegas for 3 days. Amazing how digital changes perspective.) I was SO EXCITED to get my film developed when I got home and get to see all of my photos. The memories would flow. It was going to be so great. The only problem was that my camera broke my FIRST month there and I only got one roll of film. I cried. Some of my friends I taught with donated their duplicate photos to me. Those are the ones I display in my photo album. Sniff sniff. I since learned to develop my film right away so that I couldn't lose the photos. I've backed up most of my current photos on the portable hard drive I got for my birthday.

Unfortunately, I did not back up Jovana's photos on my hard drive. And so her situation is similar to the way mine was. Gone are 300 fabulous photos in Las Vegas. Gone are 300 fabulous photos in New York. Gone are 6 months worth of photo memories. BUT she did upload the best ones to FaceBook...so like me, she's got a few. But it still hurts just the same.

March 23, 2009

Taxed Enough Already

We have had the opportunity to teach Jovana a little about the American Revolution. She doesn't really know anything about it BUT knowing our history is helpful in understanding why we believe and act the way we do. One of the events that set off the 8 year Revolution was the Boston Tea Party. The American Colonists were paying high taxes to the British government on many goods and services, including tea. It got to be so oppressive that they organized themselves to overthrow the British and sought to rule themselves. In the picture, notice that there are some throwing tea overboard and others on shore cheering them on.


As we teach Jovana, we're also being reminded of the historical setting that fueled the dissent. It's an easy parallel to compare those times with our times. We pay a higher percentage of tax on our earnings, property, and goods than our ancestors who started the Revolution were. Consequently, we're enslaved by our government. The result of the recent bail outs (under both Republican and Democrat leadership) is a RAPID decline of our dollar and inflation.



On April 15th, tax day, join our family and other Americans for a demonstration in your city. They are being formed in multiple cities in every state.

Random thought: I was named after Bridget Hildreth Coburn, who birthed and raised her 10 children between 1761 and 1785 in Massachusettes. I think of her now and would love to know her thoughts. Not only as a mother, but as a mother well acquainted with grief during the Revolution.

March 19, 2009

Reflection: The World Doesn't Stop

What was your perception of time in the days after your loss? Did it seem to you that time slowed down or almost stopped? How did that feel? Did you have a moment in time when i t seemed that the world was moving on without you? How did that feel? What did you do or say?

Time did some funny things for me in those first hours and days after Evan died. The whole morning still runs in slow motion for me when I think about it. We knew that Evan's condition/non-responsiveness was serious but we didn't understand how serious. He seemed to be burning up with a fever. I called my parents to watch the boys while Tymon and I took Evan to the hospital. My voice rings in my ears now as I remember my father's concern on the other end of the line. I think he asked if we'd called an ambulance. We hadn't and my parents lived about a mile away. I said to him something like, "just come quickly, it's not like he's going to die or anything."

From there, events happened in slow motion for a while. The ER doctors kept saying that things weren't looking good. I didn't know what that meant. Certainly, my boy would pull through. He was in serious condition, there was no doubt about that. But certainly, he'd respond to their efforts to help him. I didn't understand that they were doing all the breathing and heart pumping for him. When they stopped, time stood still. We didn't know what to do. We started doing what "needed" to be done. Tymon called his brother who works with him. His brother told Tymon's supervisor. I called my family. I called my friend who was planning on watching the boys that day while I went to work. And we waited. We took some pictures. We held Evan's body. We cried. We talked about how to tell the boys. One by one, our family arrived over the next couple of hours. We talked to the coroner's office and the police from our town. I passed off my payroll submission responsibilities to my brother. On the way home my Relief Society president called me. She thought she'd leave us a message and didn't realize she'd called my cell phone. She was surprised when I answered, "hello" and then I couldn't speak another word. I didn't answer the phone again for a few days.

I sat at my computer and went through photos. I started making a photo book for Evan. I'd thought about doing one over the years but always wanted to wait for the next child to be born. When we have a baby in '03, '05, '06, '07 and '08, you can see how this would get pushed off. I didn't want a book that didn't have all the members of my family in it. Now I have one of Evan's life.

I posted on this blog. I posted something on Facebook. I don't remember whose status it was but someone posted about studying for a test and someone else was having a party and in my mind I'm shouting, "Don't you know what just happened here? My son died!" How could these people just carry on as if nothing happened? Unbelievable. We're talking to the coroner and detectives are in our home and we don't know when/how we'll get Evan's body back nor do we know anything about burials or plots of land or embalming or anything and these "friends" of mine are posting about normal every day things. Our lives had stopped. When we were driving to the county records office to submit the death and burial records, the thought crossed my mind that no one else driving in their cars near us that day had any idea what we were doing.

Time is definitely a funny thing. I remember details of that morning like it were yesterday, yet next Monday marks 6 months since Evan died. It seems like a long time and again like hardly any time has passed. I look at other children about 15-16 months of age and think of Evan. He stands still in my mind. He is actually almost 2 years old and it's hard for me to picture that. I see those photos of Elliott that I previously just posted about and it's wild for me to think that that is how big Evan would be now. Those are the kinds of stunts he'd be pulling if he were here.


I think about Evan and miss him everyday. I miss his unconditional love. I miss him crawling into our bed in the morning and sitting on my head. I miss his hugs and big smiles. I miss his self reliant and can-do attitude. As Jocelyn begins making more and more noises, I remember the babblings of Evan. I miss his sweet voice. I just want time to be on my side again.

March 16, 2009

Reminiscing ...

Two years ago this week, Tymon and I stole away on a fabulous 9 day vacation to Costa Rica. I was 6 months pregnant with Evan and we decided that if we didn't go now then it'd be MUCH later that we'd have the opportunity to travel with a band of boys. We left my parents with all three of the boys for a couple of days and then Diane took Jett for a week.

When we'd been gone a couple of days, I received an email from my dad. Being so FAR away from the situation, I found it very entertaining. I had a good laugh and was SO HAPPY to have several days of just me and Tymon time. Just last week, my dad emailed me the photos he was wise enough to take.

The email from two years ago today:

Hi,

Hope you are having a wonderful time ... The boys are very active and catching us as not being prepared for their antics. I think we are getting smarter about leaving them to their devices.

Yesterday they locked themselves in the bathroom, and they were screaming and crying. I tried to get in and heard the water running. Graeden said he couldn't open the lock (I know he locked it), but after a minute or so of panic and my instructions, he finally got it open. I found a broken glass in the sink, the water running, blood everywhere, and Elliott balling more than Graeden.

He had a fairly minor cut on his finger but had managed to get blood on the floor and walls and bath mats.


Today, Elliott
1) tipped over his glass of chocolate milk,
2) dumped about 5 bottles worth of formula on the floor (I matched the footprints on the carpet with his foot,
3) took a 5 pound bag of shredded cheese and dumped it all over the floor in the kitchen, including all over baby who was asleep in his carrier, and then proceeded scattering it on the dining room floor and into the living room.

I was balled out by mom when she came home for not paying enough attention to them while I was doing the laundry (between poopy diapers), untangling yarn they had tangled up from the store packages, feeding them, washing dishes, rescuing Jett over and over, etc. etc.

Oh well, two down and seven to go.

Love,
DAD
I love my parents and am grateful for all that they are willing to experience while we have time together and remember why it is we wanted to have a family. It took us a solid week to miss the boys but we were itching to get home at the end.


These photos I've posted of Elliott look pretty bad. Let me reiterate that there is one cut on his finger and ALL of this blood came from that one cut. I wouldn't have thought that possible, but it happened with Graeden when I was a new mom. I didn't realize to what extent he could move around the house when he was just over a year old. I was at my computer and he was playing nicely...so I thought. I heard him crying and coming to get me. When I saw him, he had blood all over his face, head, hands. I was VERY ALARMED and inspected him up and down trying to discover where he was hurt. After spending several minutes cleaning him up, I found that he had a cut on his finger. One cut and there were bloody hand prints on the wall all the way up the stairs. Blood on the floor, on the kitchen stool (every rung), on the kitchen counter, on the cabinets, on the range hood, all over the outside of the refrigerator and ALL over the apple, cutting board and knife that he'd gotten out to cut up a snack. And I didn't even know he could climb up a stool....let alone onto the counter and get a knife that was kept with the other sharp knives on top of the fridge. Bottom line: that apple owie came from one cut on his finger. Amazing.

March 13, 2009

Birthday Boy

Tonight we had Elliott's birthday party. The kids ate pizza, made treasure maps

and then went on a treasure hunt.


Anjah was able to read the clues and the kids figured almost all of them out on their own. They loved it!


Treasure hunts are fun for anyone of any age....even big kids in their 30s. Elliott's favorite part was the presents. I think this is the first year that he has cared about them. He isn't selfish though, he immediately wanted to share his gifts with his brothers.


Graeden bought Elliott a candy necklace and workbook with his own money. I'm so happy when my boys think of each other. Sometimes, it's hard to see how much they love each other when they are at each others' throats. For all the mischief these boys find, they are genuinely loving and thoughtful boys.

Now if you look very closely at this cake you may notice something a little off. First off, it's a banana split ice cream cake. Second, it should have 4 candles. Well, moments before we were to sing Happy Birthday, I asked Jovana to get the candles on...she could only find two. We pulled the drawer almost all the way out and I starting digging through it. Could it really be? We only had 2 candles? UNBELIEVABLE! My dad was in the area and found that in another drawer we had straws that kind of looked like the candles. He cut one up so that the pieces were about the same size and stuck them in the cake. Then I found a package of lollipop sticks that I have had for at least 5 years and have yet to make any suckers...but I opened the package and took one out. We cut them to the right size and put them in the straws on the cake. Then Tymon and I tried for a minute or so to get them to catch fire. It worked...and Elliott never knew the difference. What a wonderful boy! I'm glad my dad was there to see what was happening and think quickly... I can't believe we didn't have enough candles!

March 8, 2009

Dental Caries

Recently, we've been to the dentist with Graeden and Elliott for the first time in their lives...and they have cavities. Lots of them. I stopped counting. I really thought we were doing well in the brushing category...a lot better than I personally did in my younger years.

Check out this coolest x-ray of all time.

I love all that is digital and high tech in dental offices these days. Those permanent teeth look so cool behind the babies. Our pediatric dentist loves kids and just the other day "helped out" one of Graeden's teeth. That's code for an extraction. They're very clever with their vocabulary.

Before going in for this visit, I had to give Graeden a sedative of sorts...just to help him relax and be okay. He's also breathing nitrous and is numb in the area they were working on.

He did very well with this magical mix. I like this children's dentist for a few reasons. First, he is enthusiastic and loves his job. Second, he has an office 3 minutes from our house. Third, he incorporates digital technology into his practice. They emailed me Graeden's x-rays so I could use them on my blog. Fourth, check out the ear phones...yes, Kung Fu Panda or any other cartoon Graeden wanted plays on the ceiling while the dentist works.

The tooth fairy visited our house Friday night. One of Graeden's teeth was taken out because he had an infection under it and they didn't want it to spread to the permanent tooth underneath. It may just be a hidden blessing...Graeden's post-op instructions said that he couldn't suck on a straw. It would break the blood clot open and he'd bleed. Well, by extension, we told Graeden he couldn't suck his thumb, either. He's been doing very well.


Yesterday, Graeden was playing in the basement and came up stairs and told Tymon that he'd done something very naughty. Tymon (rightly so) was imagining the worst and began to head down stairs when Graeden admitted it...he had sucked his thumb...but only for a moment and then he remembered and took it out of his mouth. Ahh, sweet relief. There are only hugs and loves for little boys and all their innocence.

March 4, 2009

According to the Boys...

I sat down last night with Graeden (5) and Elliott (4 next week), one at a time, and asked them a series of questions. Sometimes it was hard to pull the answers out. But overall, we're laughing pretty hard at some of their answers. Graeden's answers are bold in plain type and Elliott's are in italics.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Be nice
Be obedient


2. What makes mom happy?
Not complaining
Giving her hugs and kisses and not fighting

3. What makes mom sad?
Fighting
Yelling at her and saying, "No, I don't want to go with you!"

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
How mom? Tell me...hugging? I don't know.
Tickling


5. What was your mom like as a child?
Went to school
Helping

6. How old is your mom?
22
14


7. How tall is your mom?
61 inches (he got out the tape measurer to see)
61 (he's no dummy...when Graeden measures, he listens)
I'm actually 66.75 inches...lest you think I'm Bridget the midget at 61.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Make dinner
Help kids not be naughty


9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Go to work sometimes
Tries to find me


10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Shopping
They just love her


11. What is your mom really good at?
Making dinner
Hugging me


12. What is your mom not very good at?
Chasing me when I got under Elliott's bed and you couldn't reach me.
Climbing

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Working on a computer
Help kids


14.What is your mom's favorite food?
Teriyaki - yum, I like teriyaki.
Salad...chicken and rice...and everything. Mom, you like everything!


15.What makes you proud of your mom?
We got to go on a plane on a trip to Utah!
Hugging


16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
A dentist (No Graeden, a cartoon character...) Well, a dentist can be in a cartoon.
Bridget (No Elliott, a cartoon character...) Bridget (From what show?) The 131 show. (I have no idea what that is.)

17. What do you and your mom do together?
We make dinner all together.
Hugging


18. How are you and your mom the same?
We're both white instead of brown. (What do you mean Graeden? Our teeth are white? Or our eye balls?) No, like Ammon is brown.

(Elliott motioning to his face/nose/cheeks said...)We both have silver bodies.

Here's Ammon.



19. How are you and your mom different?
You're a girl and I'm a boy!
I have blond hair and you have brown hair.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Hugging and kissing
Because you want me to stay with you.

21. What does your mom like most about you?
That I help set the table
Hugging you

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
To the pizza store
To the store ... Fred Meyer

Ahhh, this was fun.

March 3, 2009

Works of Art

In the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, there are many many works of art displayed. Every piece is an original. Out of the many many pieces, our tour guide Alex showed us a marvelous bronze statue of Joseph Smith's First Vision. It's a great work of art, but looked strange to me at first. It is SO tall and SO skinny. I started warming up to it when I found out that it swivels around on a little turn table.

My reservations about it totally disappeared after Alex turned it around to point out to us the back of the statue. I love that Heavenly Father's arm is around Jesus. For me, it portrays His love for his son and for us in a very physical sense. There is camaraderie and affection beyond the more exalting work of saving souls.


You know it's a small world when you belong to the church. Alex's favorite seminary teacher was Tymon's cousin Greg Thorpe. I wouldn't have known this, but Coleen was with us and we talked a little bit about Plain City where we were staying and Alex went to the same high school that Greg worked in and then names started crossing and before you know it: It's a Small World.

Here are a couple more pieces...This Indian family is carved out of a single piece of stone. The various colors come from the degrees to which certain portions were polished. It's truly amazing.


Joseph and Emma.

March 2, 2009

Super Sized Mess

Who would teach my innocent little angels to make ginormous wads of wet toilet paper and launch them onto our bathroom walls and ceiling? And who taught them to finger paint all over the counters and mirrors with toothpaste? I bet it was the same punk who threw all of the toys out of the bathtub and doused the floors with sudsy water.

So here I am trying to hold back the tears as I tell my dear sweet husband about it when he got home AND both he and Jovana stare at me in disbelief before laughing and and asking, "are you serious?"

Yes, I'm serious. Sorry, no photo...I'm not laughing, yet. This bathroom redecorating project wasn't appreciated.

March 1, 2009

Temple Friday

Jovana, Graeden, Jocelyn and I flew to Salt Lake City this weekend to visit the new temple in Draper before it's dedicated in a couple of weeks. Before a temple is dedicated the public is invited to tour the inside. Because this is the only opportunity for Jovana to get a glimpse inside of our temples while she is staying with us, we decided to make the trek to Utah. Well it wasn't really a trek; the flight is only two hours and because of a killer deal on airfare, we made it a great short trip. We stayed with Tymon's mom and aunt and spent Friday with them and his cousin and her children.

The temple in Draper is beautiful. It's design is impressive, simple yet elegant and absolutely beautiful. The organization of the tour was so well thought out. We parked at a nearby church, watched a 10 minute video on temples and then boarded a bus to the temple grounds. After the tour, we ate cookies and were able to ask missionaries any questions that we had. Everything flowed so smoothly. There is a sweet and peaceful spirit about being at the temple. It is truly a house of God.


We also visited the Salt Lake Temple Square. In the visitor's center there is a great room with the universe on the walls. As I walked up the circular ramp and the stars and planets became bigger, I felt smaller. We sat in reverence looking at the statue of the Savior while a representation of His voice spoke to us. It personalized Him to me as I listened to him tell us how much he loved us and that we should love one another. It was gentle and powerful at the same time.


We were able to go and see the film Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. I loved seeing this on the big screen. It felt like I was there. I didn't know very much about Joseph's family or his relationships with his brothers before the film. Only that they were close. I cried after Alvin died. Seeing his mother holding her dead son brought me back to Evergreen hospital holding Evan. I understand and feel with different eyes now. I mourned for their loss and was so grateful to experience part of their lives through this film.

Here is Jocelyn with Grandma Coleen enjoying the great view of the temple from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.


I'm so glad we were able to make the trip. We had a narrow window of opportunity with Jovana's tournament schedule and the limited open house weeks, but we did it and it was amazing.

Withdrawl


According to our airport parking receipt, we were only gone for 48 hours. That's two entire days without the internet. Without checking my email. Without writing a post. Without seeing your fabulous comments in my inbox. Without knowing what was going on in your lives. It seemed like forever. I was so thirsty for the computer. Hungry to upload photos. And the fast is over.
 
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