Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Adventures in Oral Surgery

I ended my previous post with the following wish:

"Here's hoping that January delivers a few adventures that aren't related to illness."

Well, guess what? January delivered! Although, I suppose I should have been more specific and wished for adventures of the fun and happy variety. Today's tale begins with a bump on a lip.

Early December, I sat patiently with Eliza as she stared at her dinner. The rest of the family had already been excused from the table. This {most} picky eater of mine was mentally gearing up to finish what was left on her plate. As I sat there waiting, I began to study her intelligent, and in this moment stubborn, little face. That's when I noticed a shockingly tall, dome shaped, bump on the inside of her bottom lip. 

"What is that?!" She knew immediately what I was referring to. Before she answers, I blurt out a few more questions. "Does it hurt?" And finally, "How long has it been there?" She tells me that it's been there since Halloween time and that she didn't want me to know about it because in her mind, it was a canker sore. She attributed its formation to having had a lot of sugar. Why she believed this, I am not sure.

"I didn't want to tell you because I thought you'd take away my Halloween candy." Cankers don't last that long, so I thought. Google eventually backed me up. I decided we'd keep an eye on it for awhile. A few weeks pass and the bump was looking smaller, so I relaxed some. January, blessed January, rolled around and I noticed that the bump was large again. This didn't sit well with me so I took her into the dentist who then referred us to an oral surgeon. 

 After our initial evaluation with him, we scheduled to have it removed the following day. Per his recommendation, Eliza was put under via anesthesia for the procedure. She was ultra nervous about the IV in her arm but her anesthesiologist was a rock star. She didn't notice the poke at all. I was able to stay with her until she was "out." It was unusual and somewhat disconcerting to watch her slowly lose consciousness.
 This was taken before the IV was put in.
Off to La La land she goes.
Just about there.
Waking back up.

When I met her in the recovery room, I saw that her tears had left her sweet face red and splotchy. She was extremely emotional. It made me so sad. I held her hand and read to her from a book she had brought until she felt well enough to go to the car. She was both hungry and thirsty as she had been fasting, doctor's orders, all morning so we stopped to get her a slurpee before heading home for some jello. She has a few stitches on her lip but they should dissolve on their own real soon. As for "the bump" that was removed, it was sent to Idaho (I don't know why) to be biopsied. I phoned today to see if there was an update and learned that it would be another week (ugh!) as the person they sent it to is out of town. I am not going to alarm myself with worry until there is a reason to be but am frustrated that the wait has been extended from what they originally said.

Coming home, I discovered that I had received an unexpected package in the mail. I beamed when I saw who it was from and was overwhelmed with gratitude for the thoughtful gesture.
Those peanut butter cups are the new love in my life.
This dear friend is responsible for helping me fall in love with the process of cooking for my family. And when I say process,  I mean the meal planning, the shopping and preparing of her always winning recipes. She has become my friend through blogging and as much as I love her recipes, I really admire her attitude towards Motherhood. Her writing style is so great, which is what drew me to her recipes to begin with. In addition to her recipes, she recommends spot on holiday gifts at Christmas time, has introduced me to a great new author and most recently, with her package, she introduced me to Trader Joe's (I've sadly never been). Thank you so much, Mel! It couldn't have come at a better time.

 Forrest woke up from his nap that day a little grumpy.
So I let him sample one of the suckers she sent and he perked right up!
"They're organic? Really Mom?! That's great!"
Friday night Andrew went to the temple with our ward while I stayed with Eliza who had requested that I not leave. Saturday, I decided that the chores must wait. After weeks of being sick, we needed to get out. Lucky for us, some friends invited us to the church to play floor hockey. We all had a great time. My favorite was when they took a halftime break to play a few rounds of duck, duck, goose per Lottie's request.
Cute Lottie is all smiles again after being sick. 

That afternoon I took Eliza to Cherry Berry for a little frozen yogurt action. It was her reward for being brave during her procedure. Next we went to Bath and Body works, her request, to do a little shopping. It was great to have some one on one time with her. When I came home, I found Andrew and Henry out in the chicken coop having their own bonding moment. 
Eliza at Cherry Berry. 
Yes, she ate it all: chocolate mint, strawberries and Nerds. Of course.
She was nearly a Popsicle herself when she climbed back in the car. 
But for her, it was worth it. 

Eliza has been saving up her money for our trip to the mall. She took thirteen dollars with her. After finding a few fun things in the 75% off discount pile (she's frugal!) at Bath and Body works, she thought that she'd spend the rest of her money on some earrings from Claires. However, as she and I perused the Quilted Bear (alert, alert: my transformation to being a Mom is fully complete as I find that I LOVE that place!) she spotted a Beanie Boo. The struggle was REAL as she debated between the adorable stuffed animal and the earrings. I listened as the part of her that is still a child battled with my future tween. I stayed neutral throughout the debate but was secretly thrilled when the child won as she chose the beanie boo. 

She is a darling girl and will be a wonderful young woman someday, but I am urging her to take her time!! Having had a great time together, we decided to reconnect with the rest of our family for an outing to the movies. 
It's a huge gamble taking a 20 month old to a movie so we kept our expectations low and agreed to split the time in the halls with him if it came to that. Forrest did pretty well all things considered, but yes, we did eventually end up walking the aisle with him. He was thrilled when he discovered a fire extinguisher while I was horrified when I saw that the case it was in was both easy for him to reach and unlocked. Distracting him from that mission proved difficult as he really wanted to get his hands on it. The whole family loved the movie. It was nice to get out of the house and be together. I'll keep you posted on the results of Eliza's biopsy.

And last but not least, enjoy my latest mom fail.
Guess whose class celebrated 100 DAYS of school today? (Henry's) Guess whose Mom was the only one to forget to pack 100 items in the paper sack his teachers provided? (This Mom.) I was horrified when I made the realization when I picked him up from school today. As we drove home, it was Henry who consoled me and took accountability for our mistake. I was THAT upset. I've been trying to make it up to him as I promised to give him 100 hugs before the end of the day. He thinks his Mom is hilarious and said that he wants to keep me anyway. Thank goodness for that.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Is it February yet?

Oh you guys.

The cold and flu season has been very unkind to my family this year. I have to remind myself (or lie to myself) that these frequent spells of awfulness aren't a reflection of my seemingly poor mothering abilities. Although, to be totally honest, I am more than happy to take the credit when we're enjoying a streak of good health. *double standard alert*
Sick little Lottie quickly passes out on the drive to pick Eliza up from school.
Henry missed four days of school last week. Lottie likewise stayed home from preschool and dance class. This month's flavor of yuck includes: fever, aches, chills, nosebleeds (why, oh why?) and powerful, incessant coughing fits. Forrest is on the mend, thank goodness. Croup is awful business and I would guess that the amoxicillin he's been taking for his ear infection might have helped him avoid the depths of despair his older siblings have reached. But in all honesty, I don't have a clue!
The good news is, Eliza doesn't get slammed the same way the younger kids do. It gives me hope that as children grow, so does their ability to combat these germs. And why I wish so much that they were healthy, Henry and Lottie have benefited from having a best pal to lounge around and recuperate with.
If we continue to focus on the bright side, Andrew and I have remained healthy (*update: this remained true until Saturday night. I am now sick.). Andrew isn't away on business either. This week I was able to do relief society visits, which really lifted my mood and Thursday night, after all the kids were in bed, I was able to spend time with my "power of mom" friends (more on them later, because they are great).

Errands are put on hold indefinitely when children are sick. Those weekly outings and routines come to a halt and you are left to wonder, as you stare at your thinning pantry, what you will be feeding your family for dinner. Awhile later, out of the blue, you receive a text from a friend who has no idea how sick your little family is.

"Hey!" It reads: "I'm at Costco. Do you need me to pick you up anything?" You then thank your Heavenly Father for a friend who listens to promptings. An hour later, she's dropping off a rotisserie chicken and a bag of broccoli. You are set for dinner.
This experience is pretty simple, but very appreciated. It was a comforting reminder to know that even in the middle of challenging weeks, there are good people close by who are ready to help.

Speaking of having good people "close by"... on Friday night, Eliza asked her Dad to take her to the dollar store so she could buy Lottie and Henry presents to show them how sorry she was that they are sick. Coming home, she lovingly wrapped them up and set them aside until morning.
Lottie and Henry were both delighted by her thoughtfulness. Check out that hug! (I didn't even have to initiate that!)
Eliza and Lottie went right to work on assembling the Barbie puzzle.
Saturday we worked on projects around the house and I was able to make it to Costco and Walmart before this nasty bug caught up to me. Hopefully, Henry and Lottie are improved enough to go back to school next week. We're being careful not to share this with friends because it is the pits.
Organizing the pantry...
Does anyone else do before and after pictures? 
It gives me motivation to begin in the first place.

Here's hoping that January delivers a few adventures that aren't related to illness. But as Eliza and others have reminded me, I reckon that there's more goodness going around than flu.
Forrest is 20 months old
and still enjoys eating blue markers. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

And just like that, it's 2015!!

Well, hello 2015!  

I'm 16 days late in welcoming you to the good old blog, but when you consider how blogging itself is an endangered species you should really be thankful that you're still here. :) One thing I do hope to be better at this year is to recap less and blog more "in the moment." Writing is most enjoyable to me when I allow myself to write what is on my mind right then; opposed to feeling that pressure to squeeze everything in. In other words, get ready for more FEELINGS and EMOTION and MATERNAL REFLECTION. All these words turn on my husband so much. (Ha, ha! Not true.) His resolution is to stay caught up on my blog. Right babe?

The year ended with feelings of failure and panic when I realized that our awesome neighbors were not hosting their yearly New Years Eve bash leaving with us a night wide open! Eliza was looking forward to doing "something" so we all put our heads together and argued came up with a plan. 

We decided on going to dinner at Warrens. The good news was they were open! The bad news was they would be closing five minutes after we received our food. 

"No pressure kids, but eat quick. We'd appreciate it so much if you wouldn't choke in the process."  I probably would have taken a picture, because WHY NOT, but we were under a time restraint. All of that didn't matter too much because dinner at Warrens wasn't the main event. Our brilliant (read: cheap) idea was to take the kids to Ogden's very own Nicklecade!
I'm torn about how I ought to describe the experience. Part of me feels the need to warn you that the facility is slightly worn down, that you may want to immediately shower your family when you return home just because and that a a few of the "attractions" broke down or simply ate our nickles. Not to mention, the single employee was incredibly overwhelmed handling the needs of her patrons on her own. The other part of me is kind of embarrassed to say that none of that matters because our kids had a total blast and it was in fact a very affordable outing. Is it a NYE tradition in the making? Probably not. Next year (technically this year), my vote is a party at home. 

Eliza received permission to stay up with us until midnight. I would have gone to bed, to be honest, but she was so excited to try to stay awake.
 My exhausted face is proof that she did in fact make it to midnight. We turned on the Ryan Seacrest count down on t.v. Thanks to her enthusiasm, the two of us jumped up and down as we counted down those last seconds together. "Five...four...three...two...one! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!"

And then it was off to find coats as two of our neighbors were preparing to put on, what would become, the best fireworks display since we've lived here. It really was an impressive show and each year we feel quite spoiled that we get to take it in from our front porch. This was the first year we didn't have to pull a sleeping Eliza from her bed to enjoy it (per her request). 
Sadly, this was the only photo that turned out. They were really awesome!
Earlier in the day on New Year's Eve, we hosted our favorite little yahoos for an afternoon play date.  
In case you forgot, Forrest still doesn't like having his picture taken on the stairs.

This was the second occasion during our Christmas break that we were able to have our Mays cousins up to play (Flegal cousins: the door is ALWAYS open!). Their prior visit included a little "sledding" with Uncle Andrew. 

He is no fun at all. ;) And I believe our backyard possess magical qualities.
Don't let Forrest's expression fool you. He was in HEAVEN!

Here are a few miscellaneous photos from Christmas break. The quality isn't great, but I'll keep them anyway. :)
I really like when they are all together. 

On January 8th, Forrest hit the 20 month mark. (Waaaaaahhhh!!!!!)
And a sweet one with sissy.

I'm happy/sad to report that school started up again. The routine that school brings is great, but a new round of germs has invaded our home. Henry has re-acquired his winter cough and Forrest has croup for the second time in two months. But this time, as an added bonus, he also has an ear infection. I feel awful for him!! 

Lottie's return to school included a pajama party, which she enjoyed. I love that she insisted on wearing her pink cowgirl boots. 
She was also recently gifted with a CTR ring. I am amazed that she hasn't lost it yet. She has been nurturing it well.
Do you see the ring on her hand? 
And Forrest's favorite time of day continues to be when the kids come home from school.
Speaking of gifts, Aunt Ami and Uncle Adam handed this great train table down to Forrest! 
Trains are his favorite, "Choo-Choo"

In addition to school, it was back to business in other ways. Henry recently had a visit with his eye doctor and I made the HUGE mistake of taking all of the children. Forrest was all over the place! For future visits, he will be staying home with a babysitter!
 Thankfully, they do have a playroom where we could wait.
 The kids were all gifted with fancy sunglasses from the eye doctor's office.
Last Saturday, after taking Forrest to the doctor, I was able to sneak away for a bit. 
We took my Mom to lunch for her birthday along with my Dad and brother Matt. 
It was nice to be together. 
I remain super grateful to be close to family. My sister Ami really is amazing too.

It finally snowed again! 
And it was so beautiful.
Sunday, Henry came home from Church early. 
He wasn't feeling well and I was already home with Forrest. 
I enjoyed our one on one time together while Forrest napped. 
He is a great helper in the kitchen. 

That's enough random catch up for now. Hopefully I'll be back to write about "feelings" and other awful nonsense soon. Happy 2015 friends. I hope it's a great year for us all.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A White Christmas (2014 edition)

Before I am able to muster the will to open my eyes, my ears become aware of the sound of Christmas bells a snow plow. Instead of annoyance, a swell of excitement washes through my tired body.

"There must be snow outside! It snowed on Christmas Day!" I check my phone. It's 6:30 a.m. I wonder if Eliza's awake yet. Later I would learn that she woke up at 4:00 a.m. and found a return to sleep impossible. :) Knowing my Christmas casserole needs to be in the oven for 90 minutes, I tip toe out of bed and head to the kitchen. I pause to marvel at my backyard. Could Mother Nature have timed this magical arrival of snow any better? It has been months since we've had a snow storm like this! After putting the finishing touches on breakfast, I plug in all of our Christmas lights.

"Soak it in. Soak it in. Soak it in."

Suddenly, I hear one of my creatures stirring from their bedroom. I spy Forrest in his crib. He's not fully awake, but he is clearly troubled. I take the opportunity to scoop him up and rock him back to sleep. My view shifts between his now peaceful baby face to the beautiful view out his window. I can't help but give his sweet face a thousand kisses. My heart melts and aches as I wonder if I'm rocking my last Christmas baby. I thank Heavenly Father for him as we continue to rock.  

Christmas morning: the view from Forrest's room

Wondering if the kids might possibly sleep past 7:30 (slim chance), I return to my own bed. I should have known. 7:30, on the dot, these three kids bounce into our room.
"Okay guys! Hang on!" I instruct. Eliza's pleading to go downstairs is by far the loudest. "Dad and I need a few minutes. You can wait on the stairs!" Based on her reaction, you would have thought I had told her that the Grinch stole Christmas. She is pulling at her braids, trying desperately to ease this tension that's been born of {insane} excitement. Lottie makes me laugh as I watch her silently take in her sister's bizarre behavior. I ask Lottie if she's excited to open her presents. She assures me she is, but she remains super distracted by Eliza.
Henry proves a little distracted himself as he accidentally let's Forrest get away from him
while we make the futile attempt to take a photo with all four Fleglets on the stairs. 

Santa brought me a new video camera (huzzah!) so when Daddy has things set up and rolling, we give the kids the green light to hit their stockings. My kids look at their candy and think,

"Awesome! Breakfast is served!" And I think, "I need a new plan next year!"

"Kids! You can have one piece of candy!" Forrest forgoes his stash of candy entirely as he heads straight to the plate of cookies we left for Santa. He so kindly volunteers to take care of the leftover cookies.   
Before we begin, I demand  ask for another photo.
 Taking turns, they begin to open their gifts. Forrest isn't that interested in unwrapping his presents. He is most captivated by his new slide (which has proven to be the biggest hit at our house).

If you remember, all of my classy kids asked for a fart blaster for Christmas (I blame the target toy catalog). Lottie was the lucky recipient as I told Santa we didn't need three at our house. She also was excited to finally receive her own Anna and Elsa dolls, their ice palace/castle, art supplies and a new scooter.
Henry inherited my enthusiasm when it comes to generously thanking the world for his presents. Watching him open his presents was a lot of fun. He opened legos, a Zoomer dino (way cool toy) and bey blades.
Eliza had a wonderful time too. Santa made good on her request for a "fun Christmas sweater," Lego friends, Little House on the Prairie Books, art supplies, a bow and arrow and new clothes for her doll Grace.
Breakfast (the official one) came next.

 Check out my Christmas cards! I love them. 
That's the only photo I have them.

We let the kids play with their toys awhile and gave Forrest a nap before we piled everyone in the car for special Christmas visits.
They built with Legos.

Played dolls
Painted pretty pictures

Once Forrest was in his bed, the kids rushed to put on their snow clothes to go play outside with their Dad.
"Soak it in. Soak it in. Soak it in."

The rest of our day included a stop to Nana Marie and Papa's house. We didn't stay long as it was our year to be with the Flegals. I'm glad we still were able to visit and open gifts with everyone. Both of our parents are thoughtful and generous gift givers. We are so blessed to be the recipients of so much love and care.

After a delicious dinner at the Flegal's, Nanna Teresa asked the kids to put on a nativity which helped us all re-center on the true meaning of our day's celebrations.

It was a very Merry Christmas. Here's to a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year!
Henry and Syrelle as Joseph and Mary
Beautiful angels, Ellie and Eliza

Max the Wiseman

I wish I had taken photos of the other kids. They looked great!
Lottie, who was exhausted and has an aversion to attention, opted not to participate.