Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last Weekend

The kids' Spring Break began on Friday, but we aren't leaving for our Utah Cousin trip until Wednesday, so I decided to do something fun with them on Saturday to make the break special. When Rich was finished working at the ranch house, we went to Museum of the Rockies to renew our membership and check out the frog exhibit. We didn't know it was PBS "Dinosaur Train" Day when we made out plans, so it was surprising to see our normally sleepy little museum rockin' like Disneyland with wall-to-wall people!

Our first stop was the frog exhibit. I was wishing we could handle some frogs because there were some really cute ones! Of course the cutest ones were poisonous...
James loved this giant bullfrog! He was a fatty!
These guys were my favorites! Don't they look like bath toys? SO CUTE!
Addie spotting the fat bullfrog

(her hair was all curly because we tried out rag curls the night before while watching some March Madness)


Our secodn stop was the planetarium show about Dinosaurs, and then we headed upstairs to the new kids' room, the Yellowstone Discovery center. It's pretty fun!

Heidi became the cabin chef for a while...
and made some pizza for Daddy, before going fishing for some trout.
James went fishing, too, and wore a ranger hat.
Addie and Heidi with their catches.
James on one of the found-art animal sculptures.
Addie's fishing license
The found-art Bison near the entry.

Addie at the entranceAddie, Chef Heidi, Daddy, and James in front of the fake Old Faithful geyser.


When we were done exploring Yellowstone, we went down to the hall of dinosaurs to meet Buddy the Dinosaur from PBS...

Heidi put on a dino costume...
...and we did eventually meet Buddy. James was thrilled cuz he loves "Dinosaur Train."


Sunday was a day of rest for real (well, and a day of basketball) because all the kids seemed a little cold-ish and sniffly. Heidi amused herself at quiet time with her stuffed animals.

She's quite the wrangler! Love my jungle girl!

Happy Birthday, Dear Grampy...

I opened my eyes this morning and looked at the clock. 7:04am. My first thought, to be honest, was, "Yay, the kids slept in!" But my second thought was, "Happy Birthday, Grampy."

This is the first March 29th in my life without him. It's a hard day for all of us, I know. In my early morning fog, my mind wandered through the year. Last year on Grandpa's birthday, we found out he was in the hospital and a few days later we found out he had lymphoma--his abdomen was riddled with cancers. I was driving home from a spring break week in Utah when I found out, and wondered if I should turn the car around. I came home for 2 days, met up with my hero Richard, then we all left early Easter morning for Tucson for what may have been our last good-byes to Papa Bill. Turns out he hung in there for another (excruciating) five months.

"How did I live?" I wondered to myself. "How am I okay? How did I make it through the most dreaded event of my life? How is he gone and I'm still living?" I choke up when I let my mind rest on the fact that he's gone. He's gone. I rarely do this.

But then my mind went back to the tender mercies and kindness and support that were poured out upon me without my ever asking for them. The sisterfriends and their dinners and flowers and cards and gifts to keep my children busy and happy on the trip, my MIL and her activity bags for the kids, the Easter egg hunt she came and did with them at the crack of dawn as we loaded up the car, the phone calls and flowers and support after we got home and the cancer battle raged on, and the week he passed away, too...

And my husband who planned and financed the trip without my ever asking to go, who pulled it all together and loaded my grief-shocked self into the car and walked me through it all until I regained full consciousness.

And the baby who came just as Grandpa left, who is rolling and kicking and getting ready to make his spring debut, who took my mind off death and loss and set it on life and hope.

"I am so blessed," I thought to myself. The greatest blessing of all is one Grandpa helped me gain, and that is my testimony that I will see him again, that our family is forever, and that our relationship continues and will only grow stronger. Thank you, Grampy. Happy 86th!

The very last time I saw Grandpa--21 August 2010, at his 60th Anniversary Party in Tucson. He passed away 12 days later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good Day

Although I am not a fan of snow, I cannot deny how GORGEOUS spring snow is. I love it......everything looks dreamy with big blobs of wet snow on it.

And even though the snow is deep, the sun came out so brightly and it was warm enough to skip the coat this morning (this is looking SE down my sidewalk).

I hope my tulips survive!

Out the back yard you can see how deep the snow piled. It doesn't really do this in winter because it's too frozen--it just blows away. But spring snow piles up and sticks to things because it's wet (warmer). The fence posts crack me up, silly q-tips.


A good way to start a questionable day: a great old Cars song on the radio...

This song always makes me happy cuz it's so perky, even though the lyrics are sad. I got to thinking this song is appropos, as I have been thinking about my Grampy more than ever this month. I miss him a lot and I wake up from dreams and remember he's not here and it makes my day a lot less awesome.

since you're gone the nights are gettin' strange
since you're gone well, nothing's makin' any sense
since you're gone I stumbled in the shade
since you're gone everything's in perfect tense...
since you're gone I missed the peak sensation

since you're gone I took the big vacation
since you're gone I never feel sedate
since you're gone well, the moonlight ain't so great...


I had a facebook exchange this morning that bears re-posting:

Liz posted THIS LINK about sugar addiction. (click and read--it's short)

Here's one of my favorite parts of the article:

An array of evidence suggests that obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and assorted addictions share neurochemical roots that are seriously influenced by this high-carbohydrate diet. According to Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons, bestselling author of Potatoes Not Prozac, "sugar sensitive" people are born with low levels of the brain chemicals serotonin (a condition tied to depression, aggression, and poor attention and impulse control) and dopamine (drug and alcohol addiction, low self-esteem, violence, and anger). They also have volatile blood sugar (associated with diabetes, fatigue, moodiness, feeble concentration, and emotional outbursts). Additionally, these people are born with low beta-endorphin, a condition associated with chemical dependence and a sense of victimization and alienation.

As with any addict looking for a fix, sugar-sensitive people with these traits seek substances that alleviate the symptoms, if only temporarily. And, as with any addiction, the short-lived relief compounds the problem — people grow helpless to the pull of refined carbohydrates and low-protein foods (the template of the contemporary American diet), which only deepens their despair. Research suggests that a dependency on refined carbohydrates that begins early in life also creates a higher risk of addiction to drugs and alcohol as adults.

ME: This almost made me cry. I am on a nutrition bender right now, and I just taught the Word of Wisdom lesson in RS wherein I cried and testified of all kinds of things like Alma 46:39-41, D&C 89:4 (evil designs of conspiring men who will poison us to make a buck), Food, Inc. & Michael Pollan, etc…everything I’ve read lately (Anticancer by David Servan-Schreiber, for example--looooved it!) testifies that the cure for what ails us has been here all along, that God has given us everything we need to live healthy lives, naturally, in the earth. We must be willing to put forth the effort—by "the sweat of our brow"—to provide ourselves and our families fresh, healthy food the way God intended. It’s literally right under our noses, whether in a container garden, a community plot, the local farmer’s market , or a trustworthy grocer. The sad thing is that we have been manipulated into these addictions by being told for decades that they are harmless, even healthful, and convenient. And they don’t effect everyone the same way, so one person who has eaten margarine and aspartame and preservatives for decades and is as healthy as a horse will argue this is all BS, while his neighbor is dying of cancer and his wife is immobilized by an auto-immune disease that could be prevented/eliminated/ healed with a pure diet.
LIZ: Jamie-amen & amen. Thank you for taking this to a higher level.
ME: It strikes a nerve. This article describes my addicted sister to a T, from when she was a toddler. While I know it's important the she be accountable for her choices, I can't help identifying all the red flags and the mistakes made by people/ the culture that have helped bring her to that crossroads of addiction.

Then Liz posted THIS fabulous resource on my wall. I have done most of the steps listed there as part of controlling my gestational diabetes, but it's nice to have it for post-partum lifestyle adjustments.
I have never had a "sweet tooth," per se, but I have noticed when I am eating consciously that there are other carbs that I have turned to for comfort or a sense of reward (salty-crunchy ones, and of course, SODA) all my life. It's such a monumental corner to turn, to start believing for real that FOOD IS FUEL, and that I should love and respect my body enough to give it what it needs, not what my emotions want. And on another level, David Servan-Schreiber quotes Hippocrates in Anticancer, by saying, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food." His book is a personal journey of cancer survival and his change-of-heart as a medical professional, from relying on pharmaceuticals to relying on our own spirit/body to heal itself when given the proper nutrition (and medicine, when needed) --for body and spirit.
I know a lot of people read this and say, "Well, duh." And others read this and call it malarkey. I know that the Word of Wisdom is one of those "grey-area" commandments that unfolds and reveals itself to us as we desire to learn and live it better--to "crank it up a notch," as my mission pres used to say--like a parable. I am not writing about this because I have mastered it, but because it's unfolding to me now. There are some things going on with my body that I can't fix, and I accept that. But I have to take responsibility for the things that I CAN fix. Because now I know better, and I need to DO better (but please don't slap that weekly soda out of my hand quite yet, people...baby steps! ;)).
In the car on the way to pick up the kids, I heard on the radio that TODAY IS RIC OKASEK'S BIRTHDAY (lead singer of The Cars, 2 yrs older than my mom)--what a coincidence! Happy Birthday, Ric! Also, I forgot to say that I am actually grateful for having gest. diabetes because it has forced me to make small changes in diet and activity that make my life so much better. I was worried this baby would kill me, but maybe he's actually saving me from myself. That's all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shower the People You Love with Love...

Yesterday morning, the girls and I got dressed and went over to the Strupp's house (and Addie took ALL but 2 of these pictures). Kim hosted a dual-baby shower for me and Bambi P. (who is expecting a baby girl in the next 2 weeks). It was a lovely morning!
The food was delicious...


Bambi & Me on our thrones.
(Bambi is so adorable, I cannot WAIT to see this baby girl because she is going to be so beautiful!)

Addie & Heidi playing the candy-bar-memory game

Terry Carter made this fun game
(L-R: Erin, Deanne, Terry, and Helen)

More guests playing the game
(L-R: Robyn, Debbie & Addie, Wendy, Jen, Rosalie-my MIL, Angie-my SIL, and Kim holding Porter Tyner)
(I didn't get a shot of our co-hostess, Jessi Tyner, nor my friend, Andrea)
Heidi made a match and won a prize--a Take Five candy bar!

reading a card from Helen Sims

Yay, a tiny bath set!

Bambi and I opening our awesome handmade afghans from Jessi Tyner

another Jen Claar original for my collection
(she's making a tiny scrap book for me, too!)

Helen and Bambi admiring sweet little swaddling blankets made by Terry Carter.

More great Baby basics from the Tyner ladies

Jessi also made us these amazing diaper cakes!
On each layer, tucked inside the ribbon were fun little mommy treats, perfect to stash in our hospital bags (like gum, lotion, chapstick, granola bars, chocolate, etc.)

More adorable onesies from Kim
(she really outdid herself!)
We had such a good time with all our sister-friends and we are so grateful for all the supplies we received for the baby! After Rich got home from working at the ranch yesterday, he helped me unload all the booty and we got it all organized and put away. Now all we have to do is grow this baby for 7 more weeks and we're all set! Thanks again to Kim and Jessi and all our generous guests! It's not often a lady has such a nice party for her 4th baby.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Don't Want to Forget...

...that Addie still says "mazagine" when she means "magazine." Heidi says, "Pootfrints" instead of "footprints" (as in, "the leprechaun left footprints all over our class room today!"). And they both still say "callapitter" for caterpillar" and I think it's all so dang cute, I don't correct them.

PS: Happy St. Paddy's!

Monday, March 14, 2011


It is really uncomfortable for me to sit these days. Even when I try to do perfect posture, the baby protests like crazy when I am sitting upright, so it's been either stand up, lay down, or float in the tub lately. Sitting at the computer desk is especially tricky, so I haven't been too enthusiastic about blogging--obviously.

Anyway, it's been two weeks since I last blogged and it has been very busy. The first few days after I last blogged (on March 1st), we had parent-teacher conferences and two extra kids staying with us over the weekend of 3/3---3/7. My friend Zanya (another "PTO Mom") went on a trip to Alaska and we kept her 8 yo daughter and 10yo son with us. We had a pretty good time with them, even though I had a sinus -infection-flare-up while they were here. I went to the doc on Friday 3/4 and sure enough, my left sinus & ear were infected again. The doc gave me amoxicillin again, but I only took it two days before my body completely rejected it. Every morning starting Sunday I threw up my pills. On Tuesday, I even tried three times. I finally gave up, but I am feeling better anyway.

On Monday, 3/7, I took James and Addie to the pediatric dentist in Bozeman and we went shopping. Addie had no cavities, James had two. We go back in April for James' fillings and Addie's sealants. On Tuesday, our family worked together to put on the Green Eggs and Ham/ Dr. Seuss Birthday Party for Read Week at the girls' school. It went really well--Albertson's donated 20lbs of sliced hams, Mustang Catering cooked 15 dozen eggs donated by Town & Country Market, McDonald's donated orange drink, and my girls and I made 95 cupcakes. Rich got off early and helped us set up and decorate the gym, and he helped serve the dinner.

Kids eating green eggs and ham

some of the crowd in the gym
heading down the hall to hear Seuss stories read by teachers

"Oh The Places You'll Go" in Mrs. Welch's room

publicity at the school office

directions to stories in the hall

We had a fun time--I love doing a project like that with the whole fam--and I hope all the parents and students enjoyed it, too!


I forgot to post these pix Addie took on our way home from Bozeman on 3/7...it was still pretty wintery that day, but it has cleared up a lot in one week!

frosty trees

Two miles from our turn-off to go home


On Saturday 3/12, we went out to the ranch to check the progress before heading to a matinee...

the mouth of the valley just south of town ...it was such a nice, spring-ish day!

The parents, Rich & Mike were painting the upstairs taupe & sageMike did a really cool tile design in the kitchen

Addie got to help for a minute, then we headed into town for the matinee. Our local theater plays second-run movies for $1 for the elementary kids, and they have a $1 soda+popcorn deal, too, so it's such a fun, cheap activity! Saturday we went to see...

It was a pretty fun movie. A little silly/crass at moments (as is to be expected in a Jack Black movie), but fun.

If Heidi looks worried here, it's because we were meeting her bff Tova at the movie and Tova was running late (but she & her mom made it and we had a fun time with them).

Addie and James ready for the show to begin. Before we went to the theater we stopped at Town & Country for candies--Heidi got Reese's, Addie got Jolly Rancher sticks, and James got Twizzlers. Woo-hoo!
So it has been a busy week of mostly good things, but a sad thing, too. My SIL, Kristen, is due to have a baby boy the same week I am due. On Thursday she had to go to the hospital with a detaching placenta. They got her stabilized and found no fetal distress while monitoring the baby, so she got to come home Sunday. But she is on bed rest for the next 5-6 weeks til the baby is full-term. POBRECITA. I suppose there is a bright side to Sam (my bro, her hubs) job-hunting at present--he is home to help her & help care for Owen. I feel so bad for them because they are two of the best people I know--the type who only deserve a shower of blessings, but their "luck" right now just looks like adversity. There's an old joke I used to say when I was feeling a little "tried": If the Lord chasteneth whom He loveth, then I must be his favorite. I kind of think that might really be what's happening here, but S&K are handling things with their usual faith & grace. WE LOVE YOU, LAYTONS!
But on the bright side...my sister Sara had a little baby boy named Cooper Thomas Hamlin in Michigan on Wednesday, 3/10 while I was at a Young Women meeting. My cousin Dasha (on the Layton side) got married in Thatcher this weekend--CONGRATS to Dasha & Miles--your'e a beautiful couple & we wish you JOY! My brother, Will, and his family are in the USA from Australia, visiting for the next 3 weeks--they surprised my mom Saturday night and I bet that was classic. She prolly cried like a little baby! Also, my Cousin-brother, Brent, came home from a year of military service in Djibouti, to his darling wife & 5-month-old son. We are so happy for their reunion and Brent's safe return! Also, I just found out Brent's brother Scott (who was here for Thanksgiving, you may recall) got engaged to his sweetie this weekend. CONGRATS, SCOTTY! Lots of things are happening while Aunt Marti & Uncle Ralph are serving their mission in Ukraine (Auntie, your letter home today inspired me to blog today--I'm sorry I haven't been a good writer so far!)--we hope it all continues to be GOOD news, "and the days keep rollin' along..."
So, looking forward...there's St. Paddy's fun this week, my girlfriend Jennifer's birthday on Friday, and a baby shower for me on Saturday! Woo-hoo! And there's the better weather and the spring cleaning and then a spring break trip to Utah at the end of the month. Life is good, we are blessed and happy. More soon--sooner than 2 weeks, I promise.


Dear Loved Ones,               The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for us…and now we are 8! We got a new German daughter, Kristin...