Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Laura..

It is my sister's birthday today. Many would guess my younger sister, because she is aging much more gracefully than I. But no, she is the older, wiser one. It took some time for Laura to officially be comfortable with her birthday being December 30th. It always falls right after Christmas, just before New Year's, a very tough spot. But bless her heart she has embraced it and had many wonderful birthday's. To help make this December 30th better, I am going to point out my top 5 favorite things about having a sister. More specifically, having LAURA as a sister.
1. She can ALWAYS make me laugh.
2. I could go anywhere in the world with her and have a good time.
3. She makes me feel like I'm a good person, even though- she is better in LOTS of ways.
4. She likes cats as much as I do- maybe even more.
5. I can count on her, she is reliable and loving. (Is that a sneaky way of doing more than 5? Yes.)

Happy Birthday, Lar. I love you, and I think you are wonderful. I hope you have a great birthday- even the selfless part when you take us all to dinner..

Love, Lisa.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Save Money: Dilute.

Being that I now have SMALL places to squeeze things, I am getting creative and also learning to make one thing last LONG- so I don't have to buy them in bulk and store them somewhere. (Except for my Milk.. I've been sold on "Gossner's Milk" because A) It has years of shelf life and it's REAL milk, B) It tastes AMAZING and C) It costs SO much less than regular crap milk.) Anyway. I have found things that to cost money, but can be diluted with water to give great life and perfectly adequate usage. Three examples:

ONE: Dawn For Dishes

I don't know what house DOESN'T have this product. It's good for so many things... if you EVER have a grease stain on your clothes... here it is folks. But really, they say "only a couple drops cleans a whole sink of dishes" well guess what, I don't have the time to concentrate on how many drops I'm squeezing out of this huge bottle. So once my bottle was down to maybe a 1/2 cup of Dawn left, I topped off the bottle with water, and used my back up to refill the old bottle with a 1/2 cup of Dawn, and the rest water. It has been working just as well as it ever did. Not to mention that I haven't bought Dawn since August. Awesome.

TWO: Paul Mitchell, Thicken Up

I'm not sure what it is, but this stuff works wonders for my hair. I don't use it for it's purpose, rather, to make my curls stay together, stay SOFT and I guess yeah, make my hair appear thicker. But really, it's the only thing that works on my curly and I use it EVERY day. Amazing curls... to all you curly-heads out there, this is the secret. But, it's tricky to find AND it's $13 a bottle. The stuff itself is thick, like a heavy gel. So it doesn't go into the hair evenly. UNTIL- you DILUTE it. So it's about 1/3 gel, and 2/3 water. It actually works BETTER this way. It gets distributed more evenly. And saves me $26.

THREE: Juicy Juice

Jack likes juice. Bless his little heart. But he also just had a crown put in. He doesn't eat a WHOLE LOT of sweets, but he has been downing this juice for the past 5 years. Even though it's the "good sugar" it is still sugar. I've actually been doing this for a few years, but it still amazes me how much I save. I've probably diluted this up to 1/2 with water before. Jack likes Gatorade, which is already watered down, so I think that's why he tolerates it so well. But if he got a hold of the concentrate... who knows. But again, it's something that lasts me longer, saves me money and hopefully in turn, saves me Jack hyped up on too much sugar.

So that is my little lesson of the day. If anyone else has things I can dilute... please let me know, I would love to simplify even MORE.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Best, Birthday, EVER!"

(Birthday Boy)
What a great day. Jack woke up happy, excited for his birthday party that wasn't ALL THE WAY till 4 o'clock. We got some things done... spent most of the day together, having lunch at Chick-Fil-A and letting Jack play a bit. Then when 4 o'clock FINALLY rolled around we headed to Menchie's for his birthday party. He invited 5 friends: two from school, two life-long friends, and one from church. First, the kids got to color their very own Menchie's T-shirt, then get up to 10 oz of frozen yogurt. (No one exceeded 7 oz, and none of them finished.) Then after yogurt Jack opened his presents. He scored some building blocks, new Mario jammies, some Julius slippers and a Menchie Doll of his very own.. Then the kids got to go in the back of the shop and see where the yogurt is made, and have a tour. That turned out to be more interesting to them than I had expected. Then- as the grand finale, Menchie himself made an appearance. Jack was ECSTATIC. He run up and gave him a hug then the kids had a great time chasing Menchie around the shop. This was one of the greatest ideas ever. All the kids had a blast, the yogurt is mega-good, and who can complain about chasing a giant Menchie around. Jack had a terrific birthday. I'm SO glad he is here and amazed at where he is. Jack's last surgery was when he was three years old- which means in April, he will have lived as long with his surgeries completed as he had without-- so weird.

I love you with ALL of my heart, Jack. Happy 6th Birthday.

(The party scene)
(Coloring T-Shirts)

(A Willing Participant)
(Getting creative)
(Endless options..)
(Healthy Choices..)
(Post-sugar intake)
(Almost getting locked in the deep freeze.)
(Josh chasing innocent children.)
(The crazies.)
(Gettin crazier.)
(Losing control.)
(Jack's hero.)
(Group hug!)

"What if my brain doesn't know it's my Birthday tomorrow?"

Last night I told Jack he needed to go to sleep so he could have "lots of Birthday fun tomorrow." He was worried about bad dreams and said
"What if the Zombies come to eat my brains when I'm asleep?"
and I told him,
"Zombies don't come when it's almost your birthday. It's a rule."
Then he said
"What if I have bad dreams about Zombies?"
and I told him,
"You have fun Birthday dreams the night before your birthday, EVERYONE does."
and he said,
"What if my brain doesn't know it's my birthday tomorrow?"

I think you're brain is the one telling YOU it's your birthday tomorrow....

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving: We Thank Thee Oh God for Amoxicillin.

This was my third Thanksgiving away from home. The first was in Maui. No complaints, really, just that I missed my mom's stuffing and of course my family. But looking over the beach at a November sunset in Paradise was not too bad. The second was in Arizona at my sister-in-law's. It was nice to be with family, have other kids with Jack to play with and not have to cook anything, but Jack ended up with a BAD and persistent stomach bug that all the kids caught and we ended up at an Urgent Care late in the night, with a little boy whose oxygen was at 73. They almost life flighted us to the hospital.
This year my parents invited us to their new place in San Diego. I had been looking forward to it for months. There's nothing like getting out of the inversion and skipping over to California. Our first stop was to drop Dad's car off in the long term parking lot so when they returned they'd have a way home from the airport. So while loading our luggage onto the shuttle, Jack tripped on the stairs in the back of the bus and fell flat on his face, thus getting a bloody nose. These are a real concern with him, being that he is on aspirin and doesn't clot very well. Luckily... he did and we made it to the terminal blood-free. We checked in and made our way through security. As is my history with TSA, they stopped my bags due to bottles of liquid that were 3.7oz not the TSA requirement of 3.4oz. I wasn't about to take a loss on my ProActiv, so I went BACK to check my bag and had to go through security all over again. The second time I was lucky enough to be full body scanned.

Once on the plane, Jack was telling me it hurt when he swallowed. I was trying to pretend like it didn't hurt when I swallowed too. By the time the plane was descending, Jack was in agony and crying hysterically as the pressure built in his ears. We finally made it into Long Beach, and he kept telling us his ear wouldn't pop. We rented our car, and headed our way to San Diego. Being from Utah, we didn't know that the 805 was going to be a DISASTER when we got there. Traffic was at a stand still, the sun was setting. Jack was moaning and groaning in the back seat, I assumed he was tired and hungry. Out of nowhere, he threw up twice. We squeezed through traffic and got off near La Jolla to stop at a CVS. We changed Jack, cleaned him up and got him some Saltine's.

We finally arrived to the condo and probably looked like hell. Jack, however had gained a new found energy and was thrilled to be there and see everyone. It took us a little while, but we eventually settled in.
The next day we explored the new territory. Josh had a meeting in Irvine and Laura and I went shopping. I continued to ignore the itch in my throat, and assumed that since Jack's ear had finally popped, that he was fine. Thanksgiving Day was wonderful. Very relaxing, delicious food, good company, and a trip to visit the beach. That night Jack (who slept in the closet of our bedroom) kept complaining about his ears. So friday morning I figure we should nip this in the bud, and go to an Urgent Care. How great it would be, if I could just go to a pharmacy, say "My son has a double ear infection, can I get 400mg of Amoxicillin at 7.5ml twice daily?" But no, we had to go somewhere where they are sketched out at treating a kid with a congenital heart defect anyway- and we usually have to talk them into NOT sending us to a hospital. Luckily I called the University of Utah pharmacy, asked them specifically what Jack takes for these infections, and suggested them to the Dr. He OK'd them, saw Jack's ears and gave us a prescription. Sigh.
(Jack, being a zombie.)

Sadly, everyone else left that day. And I REALLY started feeling sick. In fact I don't remember a lot of the day from the point when we got Jack's prescription.

Saturday, our little family went to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. It was a beautiful day and Jack was thrilled to be there. He particularly liked touching the sea cucumbers. Then we got a pizza and took it to a park on a beach and let Jack. A family on the beach were building a HUGE sand castle and it was really neat to watch them put it together. We headed back home for some MORE turkey and stuffing.

On sunday it was really nice weather and we went to Mission Beach. Jack is blissful on the beach. He could stay there for forever. He loves the sand. This was the first beach he ever stepped on, so it was fun to see him have such a great time. We ate lunch on the boardwalk and got an ice cream cone. It was a wonderful day.

We woke up at 5:00am on Monday, after all, Jack had school. So we drove to the airport- it was much more pleasant this time, and we came prepared with our Afrin for the cabin pressure issues, worked like a charm. Then home again, home again, just in time to take Jack to school.

Happy Thanksgiving....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Free at last

So a few weeks ago I started this project, and sometimes,when starting new things I get a bit compulsive about them, and want to work on them night and day till they are finished. However, this time around, I had big barricades such as "no sewing machine" or "not enough fabric" that kept breaking my groove.

My dear sister let me borrow her sewing machine, so once I got rolling- there was no stopping me.

I got all 80 squares cut, sandwiched, then pinned in only a couple of days. Then my squares sat for a couple weeks.

Once the sewing machine made its appearance, and the bobbin and I made an agreement to not have any trouble, I began sewing X's onto the sandwiches and finished all 80 in only a couple of hours. Yay.

Then, the trouble. How to sew over those corners, with 12 layers of fabric.... well, you try- then you break 4 needles and ask for help. I was told to us a "denim needle" and this thing stormed through those corners like a jack-hammer. It was great. I got the whole thing compiled and sewn in another 2 days. Then tried to get a flattering picture of it. It was hard. But the thing is a good sized quilt, Jack loves it, Josh loves it, Lucy loves it.... it has already become a treasure. I'm sure glad I was brave enough to do it...
I'm also glad it's over. Because now my mind isn't shackled to this project.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Fell, We Halloweened.

Who knew halloween was such an involved holiday! This was an all-day event! Jack and I both dressed up for his school Halloween party. (I was in charge of the pumpkin hunt.) His sweet teacher went all out and planned a great party for the little ones. She had stations with cookie decorating, scary stories, spider crafts and finally the pumpkin hunt. In small groups she lead them up to the "Nature Scape" just above the play ground where they hunted pumpkins all the while avoiding the "monster under the bridge." It was so cute. Jack had SO much fun and was a little overly excited that I was there.
(After finding his pumpkin and having one of the mom's write his name on it, he then asked her to draw a face on it. Again, he thinks he runs every show.)
("Be careful going over the bridge, the monster may grab your feet!")
(Jack couldn't keep his eyes off me.)
(this is Sunny, the new class pet.)
After school, Jack's face was all sorts of messed up, as was his costume- so we bathed him and washed his costume just in time to dress up and do it ALL OVER AGAIN. We headed out to my mom's neighborhood to met my brother's family there. We've trick-or-treated there for years, so we trust the territory. The moment Jack walked in the house Tessa, (the youngest of my brother's children) screeched a horrifying scream and was frightened by Jack's appearance. we had to keep them separated. So we all started off and the kids had a great time. I had fun running into old neighbors.
(Sadie was a princess, Piper was Minnie, and Chloe was a fairy. Tessa- off in the far distance being carried by Carter because she is about to cross paths with Jack- is a chicken. Literally.)
(Jack glows in the dark. Most of him, anyway.)
(We ran into big Buddha. Jack recognized his costume immediately, and greeted his fellow Mario.)
(The kids with their loot.)
(Back at home, mom made her traditional Latke's, and had crafts for the kids.)

This could very well be the best Halloween yet, it was the perfect weather, Jack had fun and spent his time trick-or-treating with people he loves, we had a great atmosphere and wonderful company. Happy Halloween. (And.....take a deep breath- cause here come the holidays......)

Friday, October 28, 2011


I can't really thank Make A Wish enough. They do such a great job of taking care of wish kids, before and after their wishes are granted. This year, the trick or treat was PACKED with so many wish kids.... which is a great sign that they are doing well and feeling good enough to come. It both hurts warms my heart to see Jack bounding around there so healthy, when there are kids that are in much tougher situations than he is. But the smiles on their faces make me so excited to become part of the Make A Wish team. I'm going to be a Wish Ambassador for the Utah Chapter. I will help represent the Foundation at schools, businesses, and community events. It's the least I can do, and I look forward to being a part of something so life changing. Jack's heart will always be full with the wonderful things these volunteers have done for him. I hope to be that change in the lives of other sweet children that are faced with critical challenges so early in life.

Thank you Make A Wish, for treating my little trickster..

I forgot to post, a few months ago, that Jack's pictures were featured in the Utah Business Magazine. It's not only cool that he is featured to help promote Make A Wish, but also that my photography made it into a magazine :) And now, here are a couple poor quality photos of the article: