Sunday, August 30, 2009

School is in Session

The five oldest girls are back in school. Hard to believe, but Summer is a junior and Rachel has started high school this year. Heather is in 6th grade, Gwen is in 5th and I am homeschooling Kelly in 2nd. It is quiet at home with only three kids around during the day.

Everyone seems to be enjoying school and comes home happy, which makes me happy. I did have a bit of an email run-in with one of the girl's high school English teachers. She assigned three novels with lots of bad language and I objected. I thought it was silly that the high school had a rule that "Students must not be vulgar, obscene, or profane in speaking, acting or writing," but they were expected to read books with incessant profanity. The teacher was unwilling to compromise and, per the daughter's request, I didn't push any more. It still frustrates me, though. Oh, well.

Just in time for school to start, we replaced the van that was totaled with the same exact vehicle, same color and everything, just two years newer. It was nice to skip the learning curve that comes with a new, unfamiliar car :) I also started driving again in time to do school pick-ups, which is uncomfortable in my brace, but it is nice to be able to get out!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Naomi rushed over to tattle that,

"Michael hit me!"

After cross examining her older brother, I tried to explain to her that it was just an accident. Wanting me to be clear on this, she impatiently told me,

"It's not accident, it's OWIE!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gwen is Ten

Happy Birthday Gwen!!!

Amazing isn't it? Our Gwen now has two digits to her age, at least for the next ninety years until she turns 100 :)

A little about Gwen - you just can't hold her back. In anything. At the park, she runs like a shooting star. We keep track of how many times we exercise in six months for an out-to-dinner reward and she reaches her goal in a month and a half. The summer long library reading program takes her about two weeks to finish. When we are out running errands, I say two things more often than anything else, "Michael stop touching" and "Gwen stop running in the store". She sees those long wide isles in Target and just can't contain herself. Her favorite way to end her in-store runs are with a long slide down those shiny floors :)

But, her exuberance for life is only one of the many things we love about her. She also has great taste in birthday dinners. This year she had gazpacho, shrimp, and sweet potato fries with a pecan, raisin, chocolate chip pie and ice cream for her birthday "cake".


I sneezed yesterday!

Multiple times!

Without crying!!!

I remember the first time I sneezed after the accident. I was standing in Aunt Raeola's kitchen and had to clutch the counter in fear of collapsing from the pain. I know that sounds extreme, but sneezing behind my broken sternum hurt my injuries more than anything else. Up until yesterday, I could tell you how many time I had sneezed since the accident (exactly four) because each time I wanted to lie down and sob, which I didn't dare indulge in because...I don't know. It wouldn't be dignified? It would spook the kids? Anyway, it hurt.

I developed a method of sticking one hand down the front of my brace and pushing on my sternum for counter pressure (in case of failure) and using the other hand to push up on my nose to try to block the sneeze while thinking very hard about not sneezing...not sneezing...not sneezing...

Luckily it worked most of the time. Then yesterday, in that half asleep half awake state I sometimes like to enjoy for longer on a Saturday than on a weekday morning, I sneezed. Twice. And it only mildly hurt, rather than causing pain more excruciating than a clumsy dentist without Novocaine. Oh, joy! It is so nice to feel some tangible evidence of healing. And it is also nice to be able to sneeze freely again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maybe I Was in a Rut

Since I am not driving and too much shopping wears me out (sad, huh?) Stan has been doing all of the grocery shopping for the last three weeks, which I really appreciate. He has been doing all the dad stuff (and he has always been the kind of dad who helps a lot with the kids and the dishes) PLUS at least half of the mom stuff. I am sure he will be glad when I go back to braving the checkout lines, but in the meantime, he and the kids have been having some fun.

So far, they have brought home the following items that don't usually make it into the cart when I do the shopping -

an eggplant

a papaya

a fresh coconut

three kiwis

a bunch of red bananas and a plantain

three pints of blueberries

and some white nectarines

Next they are planning on buying some cassava root!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Heather in a Helmet

Last month (before our trip) Heather went to a week long program at one of our local universities. She had a few friends from school there with her, including Hannah. On the last day of the program, the kids got to go on the challenge course next to the rec center.

Brooke is another friend who goes to their same school and I thought her father (who works for the university) provided perfect commentary for this next video.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

One of my darling children must have stepped on a crack...

...because I broke my back!

How do you like my new brace? I wear it all day and all night. It only comes off when I shower. I'll wear it until this fall, but...I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me start at the beginning.

All the descendants of my great grandparents on my paternal grandmother's side were invited to a family reunion in July. I really wanted to go, but Stan's family reunion was the same weekend, so my mom flew to our house to drive with me in the van. We took three kids with us and Stan kept the other four to take to his family's reunion.

Summer, Kelly, and Naomi came with my mom and me. Here are the two youngest in Nevada where we stopped for a picnic on our first day out. It was 109 degrees Fahrenheit.

We met my dad along the way, went to church with my in-laws and headed up over the mountains to see my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Tom.

We stopped at Cedar Breaks on the way. It was about 40 degrees cooler in the mountains on Sunday than it had been on Saturday in the desert.

By Sunday evening, we were in Colorado and had a nice drive Monday. We stopped here so that my dad could take pictures of the hay bales and the hills. It was nice to stretch our legs for a minute.

Later in the day, my dad taught Kelly how to fish. Naomi took mental notes while they practiced casting in the road.

Then it was time to cast for real (for reel? ha ha).

While Kelly fished, Naomi gathered flowers and...

...I took pictures.

Success! Her first fish - a 10 and 3/4 inch brown trout. It was delicious :)

We drove into Fort Collins that night with scattered rain and a beautiful sky that turned into...

...a double rainbow.

The next day, we took my grandmother and visited the cemetery to put flowers on my Grandpa Herb's, cousin Veronica's and sister Heather's graves.

Kelly and Mo rode the train in the city park.

We also visited my Grandpa Bob at the nursing home and took in a little shopping for Summer's sake.

We spent our second and last evening in Fort Collins at Uncle Gale and Aunt Judy's house visiting with all their kids and grand kids as well as Uncle Kent and Aunt Kay,
having fun, eating dinner and doing laundry.

Wednesday, we picked up Grandma Blanche to come to the reunion with us and headed off to another cemetery at the Ryssby Church.

Kelly found a bird's nest and a toad. I took pictures of both to ease the pain of not keeping them forever.

Summer was a delightful travel companion.

She took this picture of the van full to the brim with seven (3 kids, mom, dad, Grandma Blanche and me)
people's stuff and...

...this funny picture of Naomi and me.

I really like this picture I took of my parents.

We stopped to ride an aerial tram and stayed for lunch.

This picture of the Rockies was the last picture I took on our trip. It was lovely driving through the mountains.

After lunch, we drove until we came to Hot Sulpher Springs, where we stopped to swim (the kids) and soak (the adults). It was so relaxing :)

We got back in the car and started on our last 100 miles or so before we reached the reunion.

Soon, almost everyone was asleep.

Then, everyone
was asleep, including the driver, but not for long.

Next, almost all of us were hollering, while we flew off the road, caught some air, bumped along at high speed, hit a ditch, tipped to the side, tipped back upright, took out a fencepost, and stopped.

We all ended up going to a nearby town in two different ambulances. The three kids ended up with scrapes and bruises, but nothing worse. My Grandma Blanche had some broken ribs. My mom, dad and I all broke our backs in different places and I broke my sternum. The spine specialist who treated us told us we were very blessed as a family to have three broken backs and no spinal cord injuries.

The van didn't fare so well, but that is ok.

It is replaceable, unlike the rest of us :)

Here are a couple of pictures that Stan took when he came to pick up the kids.

The four adults ended up staying in the hospital two or three days each. When we were released, we were taken lovingly in by many of the family whom we had been looking forward to seeing at the reunion. I was sad that we didn't see everyone and that we missed the reunion, but it was so nice to have time to visit and spend time with loved ones for a while as we recuperated and waited to see our doctor one more time.

I will be forever grateful for all the kindnesses shown by our families, our ward, Stan's coworkers and our friends. Thanks everyone!