Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just In Case You Couldn't Get Enough... are more pictures- this time of both the girls at the park today (it was in the 60's again- felt like the 70's. This has been the warmest winter- which means we will probably get 10 feet dumped on us all at once in March.)

 Audra got this bike for Christmas, and she loves it- and she looks so cute on it, too. It has brakes and she loves using them, probably a little too much. She pedals twice, breaks once, repeats.

 Audra's silly face:
 Isn't Claire the sweetest thing? Well, at least in this picture she is- I didn't get a picture of her throwing a temper tantrum in the wood pieces.

 This is Audra scared- but she did it, and she was very proud of herself!

 Seriously, is my husband not the hottest guy? WHEW!


It was a good day today- these girls keep us on our toes, but on days like today it's all worth it!

Friday, January 28, 2011


       I am pretty sure I will cry over these pictures someday...


Thanks for indulging me with these pictures! Audra got this dress as a hand me down, and even though it is too big she insists on wearing it. So I thought I would have some fun and have a little mini-shoot. Obviously, I am not a photographer, but I think they turned out really sweet. When it's time for her to wear a grown up white gown, I don't know what I'll do...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Christmas

These are the 6 giant boxes that came to help us get started on our Thanksgiving/Christmas project: 
 Kitchen before:
 This was our "pantry." I HATED this, but I used it for two years. It is really an old entertainment center that is incredibly wobbly- in fact, the doors had to be shut using a rubber band because they wouldn't stay shut on their own. The shelves were flimsy and had to be held up using cans of food, taking up much needed space. So, yes, it was functional to some extent, but not really.
 We assembled the new kitchen island which is bigger than the old one and fills up the space much better. Plus, it has a breakfast bar which is awesome. We had a lighted pot rack installed and took out the horrible flourescent lighting we used to have. We put in two pendant lights over the bar by the sink to have some separation from the kitchen to the family room. Then, we replaced the old entertainement center with a hutch that came in three of the huge boxes from the pictures above. It took all day to set up the island and the hutch, but they turned out fantastic and were much cheaper than anything we saw in the stores already assembled. The hutch has been wonderful- I no longer have to go downstairs everytime I make dinner to get the ingredients. I now have plenty of storage, and it has been such a huge blessing and improvement!

Since we have bought our house, we have been forced to do A LOT of improvements because of things breaking or causing holes in our subfloor. But, fixing the kitchen to make it truly functional has been something I have deparately wanted, and truly we needed. While our kitchen space was huge, it was not functional at all-  no counter space and zero storage. Now, that is all changed. I may not have granite countertops or stainless stell appliances, but I have a place to put everything! I actually enjoy cooking in this kitchen now! And, I should say, this kitchen gets used- a lot! It is not just a pretty kitchen, it is a busy kitchen! So, now I feel like I have my dream kitchen, which is a good thing because Ben made me promise I wouldn't do any more renovations for at least 5 years!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Six Years Later

On Saturday, Ben and I celebrated 6 years of marriage. It has been a great 6 years, and I can't wait for more.

But I thought I would share with you a little story about how our relationship has evolved.

I love reading through my old journals- especially the ones of Ben and me falling in love. I feel like I fall in love with him all over again every time I read them. There are so many sweet experiences we had as we began dating and then became inseparable and then finally got engaged and married.

So right before our anniversary I was reading my journal and the days leading up to our wedding. The wedding was in Utah, so it was a little stressful the days leading up to it.

On the Wednesday before the wedding, I was at our apartment, and Ben said, "Christina, you are really stressed out. What can I do to help?"

Now let me say: Since that day, that phrase has never once come out of Ben's mouth! I read that to him and we both started laughing. Now, here is what Ben says- 6 years later: "Christina, you are really stressed out. STOP DOING IT! You bring this on yourself!"

And that is one way that our marriage has evolved.
For our anniversary, we went to a restaurant called Tarbelll's. We don't watch Iron Chef, but one of the shows winners' is the creator of the restaurant. How was it?

Well, it was quite literally the BEST FOOD I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE!!!! It was so incredibly delicious! I ordered salmon and even though I come from Seattle and have had my fair share of salmon, THIS WAS UNBELIEVABLE!!! We ordered the mousse for dessert, and no other dessert will ever compare with this mousse! Seriously, SOOOOOOOO good!!! I highly recommend this restaurant!

(and, for those of you wondering, I got 3 loads of laundry done that day, not 5)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Choosing Faith Over Fear Part 2

Admittedly, I woke up this morning much more stressed. I did great yesterday- but not so much today. Thank goodness her appointment was this morning and not a week from now!

We went in and the doctor listened to her heart- a lot. For a long time. Like 5-7 minutes. He kept changing her position and listened some more. He listened to her neck. It took what seemed like forever, and I couldn't tell by his expression if he was hearing good things or bad things- he has a great poker face.

The result: Perioral Cyanosis.

What is it: NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!!!! Apparently it is fairly common, especially in fair skinned children. It may happen with children of darker skin, but you just can't see it. Basically, from what little I understand, it means Claire's veins constrict a little more than normal kids.

Long term effects: She might blush a little more when she is older.

That is it!!!! YIPEE!!!!!!

I asked if we needed to do more testing, and he said no. He said he has seen this a lot, and while I did the right thing by bringing her in to get her checked out, I have absolutely nothing to worry about.

He did notice the heart murmur, but he said it is not related to the blue lips and it will go away in about 8-10 years.

HUGE sigh of relief! Why do these kids like to torture us so much with all of their weird things?!? It makes parenting very difficult!

Thank you so much for all the prayers and comments- they really did help!

Now I've got to go enjoy my heart-healthy Claire!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Choosing Faith Over Fear

Today was Claire's 18 month check-up.

It started snowing pretty heavily last night, and even Ben said the roads were bad, so I called a friend and asked her to take me to the check-up. She said she would as long as she got to make fun of me the entire time for my unwillingness to drive in the snow.

I considred- briefly- changing the appointment, but I really didn't want to because of a few concerns I had:

1. Claire's continued lack of weight gain

2. Claire's lips and mouth turn blue/purple on a consistent basis

3. Audra keeps squinting and saying her "eye-bops" (eyeballs) hurt, so I wanted to ask the doctor about how to get her checked out (which I learned I just need to take her in- we don't have vision insurance so I can go anywhere- anyone have a good pediactric eye doctor in the HR area they would recommend?)

So this morning I was chauffered to the doctor. Even though the roads were fine, I am forever grateful she gave me the ride. She took Audra home with her so I didn't have to deal with her during the appointment, and I am so glad she did because it ended up being over 2 hours. Yup, a two hour check-up.

Remember that thing I mentioned earlier about Claire's lips turning blue? Well, that's not a good thing.

It has been happening for a couple of months now- every couple of days (probably 2-4 times a week) they will turn blue and stay that way for a few hours. I had done some internet research on it on Thursday and I was actually on hold with the doctor's office to see if I should bring her in then, when the internet actually CALMED my worries and made me feel like an overreacting parent, so I hung up the phone and decided to wait until today.

What did the internet say? It seems a lot of parents were saying they had this exact same issue with their toddlers. They virtually all said that it turned out to be absolutely nothing. So, I decided it could be one of two things:

1. Nothing

2. A hole in her heart

Because these parents really were describing exactly what I was experiencing with Claire, I decided it could wait until today. I figured she would do some tests and nothing would show up and we would move on with our lives.

The doctor was concerned and we ran some tests- an EKG (monitors her heart) and a pulse ox (monitors her oxygen levels in her blood). The first thought from the doctor is that something is wrong with her heart- it is not normal apparently for children to turn blue.
Here is Claire getting her EKG. Believe it or not, she actually did great. For the pulse ox, I had to hold her and keep her relatively still for 35 minutes. That was hard, but having all these wires on her for the EKG mostly just confused and mesmerized her and she was fine

Both tests came back perfect- nothing was abnormal at all. The doctor did find a slight heart murmur, but nothing that would ordinarily concern her. With the blue, however, it could mean something- or nothing at all.

What's next? She will be seeing a cardiologist sometime this week- I am still in the process of jumping through hoops to get that scheduled. The cardiologist will do an ultrasound of the heart and perhaps a couple of other things to see if he finds anything.***

If he finds nothing, we will then do a sleep study (if that happens, I will need some tips from you Jenny in navigating Children's) to see if it is some kind of sleep disorder like sleep apnea or something.

If nothing is found there, she doesn't think there is much more to do. It could have something to do with her lungs, but because there are NO other symptoms, she doesn't think it is that. She is leaning a little more to something with the heart, but said she is optimistic by the results of the EKG and pulse ox, but that we need to rule out all of the scary stuff to be sure.

I am voting for nothing is wrong. That is what I am going with until I hear otherwise.I am choosing to have faith over fear. Some people might say I am choosing denial over fear. I know very well this could be a tragic road that we could be going down. But when I think about heart surgery or seeing my baby lying in the hospital bed tied up to tubes and wires fighting for her life...well, I can't think that way. Not until I absolutely have to- until I am forced to. So I will choose to believe that her body simply needs to adjust to the high altitude and that she will be just fine.

But prayers would be appreciated.

***UPDATE: Somebody cancelled their appointment and we were able to sneak in tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 10:30. By noon we should know if and how serious this is.***

Other than that potentially life altering problem, Claire looks great. Here are the stats:

Weight: 21 lbs 3.5 oz- 10% (yea, we can switch to a front facing carsesat!)

Height: 32'' -62%

Head: 47 cm 64%

There is not a whole lot more to add since the Christmas update I gave on her, but she is speaking a whole lot more. Literally in just the past couple of weeks her language skills have really taken hold. I need to try and get some video of her!

Also, she now really loves dollies or this stuffed Pooh bear she got from a friend. She likes to hold them and love them. She hasn't figured out how to give kisses yet, but she still gives awesome hugs and great pats on the back.

Oh, and she loves walking on her tippy tippy toes- it is super cute.

We sure do love our "Little Pooch" (as Audra now calls her), and we plan on having her around for a long, long time!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


(After family prayers last night)

Audra: I was doing somersaults during prayer.

Me: Is that what you are supposed to be doing during prayers?

Audra: No.

Me: What are you supposed to be doing during prayers?

Audra: Folding my arms and picking blueberries.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Relief Society Question

This is a question for those of you in Relief Society (the women's organization at our church).

There have been a lot of changes to RS meetings (the weeknight meetings, not the Sunday ones) in regards to what is and is not appropriate. I completely support those changes, but I had a question for you guys.

Yesterday in a meeting, I learned that crafts are no longer appropriate because they do not fit the purpose of RS. There are several of us in our ward who enjoy crafts** and think they help us make our home a nicer place to live and therefore they do fit into the purpose of RS. So here is my question:

How has your ward, if at all, incorporated crafts into your RS meetings so that it is edifying to the sisters? Or, do you no longer do any crafts at all?

And here's a bonus question for you: Do you have any ideas for RS meetings of things your ward has done that you thought was so awesome every ward should do it? If so, please share!

Thanks in advance for your ideas and suggestions!!!!

**This is not a debate about whether or not you like crafts- some people do, some people don't. I am simply curious to know if other wards have figured out how to do crafts in a way that still fits the purpose of RS.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam

No, I don't mean a literal sunbeam!

When children are 3, they enter the children's Sunday School program, which we call Primary. The first year of the program their class is called "Sunbeams." One of the songs they sing is "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam"- which is one of Audra's favorite songs. (Her all-time favorite is "I Am A Child of God"- that one has always been her favorite.)

Anyway, it is a pretty exciting time for kids to enter primary. Audra's teacher came over yesterday and brought Audra a present (a Sunbeam t-shirt that she made). We have been talking up primary all week in the hopes she would be excited instead of scared. I've been praying that she would be excited for it- and she was. And, apparently she did great! Her teacher said she was the star student! Not that that means anything, because it doesn't, but I am really glad that she enjoyed her new primary class! No more nursery for her!

Some pictures of our star:
 All dressed up and ready for her first day:
In class (her teacher took this picture):
 She refused to smile for the camera- but you can see her crown, and her teacher even made her a puppet- both the crown and the puppet say, "I am a child of God."


OK, I know it's actually the 2nd because I was lazy yesterday, but the date was SO cool that I decided to use it today!

Since I just did the top 10 of 2010, I thought I would write my 11 predictions/goals/whatever I want to say about 2011:

11. Audra starts Sunbeams (see next post for clarification)

10. Claire talks in full senteces and got no broken bones (the last part would be a miracle- but we will hope for no emergency visits! Seriously, I have never met a child who is so adventurous!)

9. I lose 25 pounds (I have finally decided it is time to lose the baby weight- blah. I am not looking forward to it, but I bought a mini-stepper which is pretty cool so I think that will help)

8. Ben begs for a new computer (he just got his new TV, so I am certain his next necessity will be a computer)

7. Ben travels for work (I hope he gets to go someplace cool so I can go with him!!! Part of his job requires traveling but so far he has not  had to)

6. Dollar collapse (this is obviously a downer...but I am making predictions, and I just don't see how the dollar can continue to sustain itself for another year without some serious measures being taken...I think this year will be very interesting for the United States in that regard. We'll see.)

5. Audra will start pre-school and I will cry her first day

4. Claire will be enrolled in a tumbling class

3. Ben and I will get away WITHOUT the kiddos for a small trip

2. Lady Gaga will wear a dress made out of meat
    Oh, wait....

1. Overall, life will probably continue on the same as usual (unless #6 happens. Or a war with North Korea starts. Or all the crazy weather causes mass food shortages and riots. Let's hope those don't happen and that #1 happens instead!)