Wow. I have got to figure out a way to be more prepared for November and December. Between Ua’s birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas I felt like I was just barely getting everything done that had to be done. Clinton was such a blessing through it all. He has such a great perspective and I think that the holidays would have been so much less pleasant if he hadn’t been here. Unfortunately, I don’t think I always received his advice or direction with a lot of grace, but hopefully the fact that I totally recognize how much better he made it will make me be better next year. Or next time there seems to be a lot going on. He continually reminded me about looking at the big picture and thinking about what really matters. He helped me to simplify presents and shopping and happily exchanged fewer gifts for a happier me.
All that said, it was still a really great Christmas. Santa got the boys a Blu Track (which is a long race car track) and great Thomas the Train track to add to our collection. I got lots of great things including a camera, clothes, a cute watch and kitchen thermometer and lots of yummy treats. I have definitely had too many of those though, and am hoping to start the year off in a healthier fashion. The boys had lots of fun cousin time between Thanksgiving with Asher, Annette and Winslow and post-Christmas fun with the Moss boys. Ua really blossoms when they are around. He has been a little slower to make friends here than I would have guessed, except of course with our neighbors the P’s – he and R are as thick as thieves. But because he doesn’t feel as connected with friends, he really cherishes that time with cousins and looks forward to it so much.
Before Thanksgiving we had the boys tell us the things they are thankful for in a family home evening. Ua’s first answer was “that we can live again before we die”. He is so connected to that doctrine and has a deeper faith and belief than I ever knew was possible in a four or five year old. He has taught family home evenings, and without any help or direction, he told the entire story of Christ’s death and resurrection, and why it was important (because Jesus was resurrected, we all will live again).
We had Christmas Eve at our house and Richard, Tammy, Ryan and Karen joined us. We had breakfast for dinner, decorated cakes for Jesus and sang carols and read scriptures about Jesus. One of my favorite moments was Ua’s first solo singing. Well,half singing half reciting. He knew all the words to “Joy to the World” and performed it for us and I was just excited that lately he’s been enjoying music more than usual. Pi on the other hand may not have known all the words to the songs, but he sure did enjoy singing. With his whole body joining in, he sang his little heart out.
Aunt Kay and Uncle John came into town for Christmas and we were able to run over to Brooke’s on Christmas Eve Eve (which was the second time we’ve seen Brooke and Lezlie; I had them over a couple of weeks ago). It was great to see her for few days and see how she was doing. Everyone was there but Johhny, as I think most of them are thinking this could be her last Christmas. I was definitely a little sad, thinking of my mom at times, but mostly it was great fun to be with them and have Clinton get to know them a little better.
My kids are awesome. Two days ago Who ate an ENTIRE Taco Bell bean burrito by himself – out eating his bigger brother. Maybe that’s what gave him the energy to climb up all the stairs by himself for the first time? Pi woke up Sunday morning calling to us. Clinton went into his room to see what he needed. He said, “will you turn off the light so I can sleep?” THere was no light on. It was almost 9 and the sun was up. I can just see the problems we’re going to have waking him up when he’s a teenager. Ua caught a glance of himself in the mirror on Monday morning and came running out to ask me, “Mom, have you seen how much hair I have?”. Obviously I have noticed the growth but our step stool upstairs must be too low for him to see the mirror :).
I’ve had Strep throat for the last few days, but I’m grateful to be married to a doctor because he could just slip me in a get the swab tested without appointments. The antibiotics are helping a lot, but I’m still not 100% unfortunately. But at least I’m not feverish anymore. I really don’t like fevers.
Who’s birthday was great fun. We gave him a bunch of balls and he’s been loving them – but I think the favorite gift was actually from Oma – a riding toy with great sound effects. All three boys have just been loving it.
I can’t believe Clinton is done with boards (cross our fingers that he passed). It has been such a dream to have him home and with us every night. We just worked around the house on Saturday (and went for a bike ride trip to Lowes) and it felt like such a treat. And man, it was nice to have him available while I was sick Sunday and Monday night. I’m a lucky lady.
It has been a fun week. Alicia moved to China one week ago today. I think it’s been a bit overwhelming, but I remain very excited for them. They’ll be great. But the fact that they are gone, means that life feels like we’re slipping into more normal routine. We had a ward party where the three boys all looked cute. I had really hoped that we could come up with a costume to include all of us, and we’d decided on the boys being basketball players and Clinton and I being the coach and referee. Sadly, my dreams were squashed by the fabric stores. Who knew that navy mesh would be so hard to find? And of course, why would you spend the time to make jerseys in anything other than BYU colors? But, they were cute none the less. Ua was a U of R basketball player, complete with headband. And Pi was a tiger and Who was, of course, a lion. I still think that will probably be the cutest costume I will ever have made I just don’t know how I would top it. Luckily Who still fit it. He’s a month younger than Ua but when Ua wore it he was almost swimming and Who was busting the seams. Man he’s a big boy. The party was also a chili cook-off and the Lower Miocene Chili won again. It is the best.
We also spent a lot of time apple picking and apple saucing. And of course, I loved it. And the kids loved the apples, so it made it worth it.
Yes, that is Clinton on top of our neighbors apple tree. She was so great to share with us.
We also got to go up into the mountains this weekend and it was glorious. The fall colors were just spectacular and with the snow on the top of Timp and a beautiful blue sky, it made for the perfect day for an autumn drive. Luckily the boys and I made it back to Provo in time for the BYU game. We dropped Clinton and his buddy off near the top and they were going to bike down but it sounds like they ended up carrying the bikes a good portion of the way because it was so muddy. He didn’t make it to Provo until twenty minutes into the football game. I think he took the fastest shower I’ve ever seen him take.
He has 9 more days until he takes his last Board exam, so we’re still chugging along in that respect and we’re both very excited to have them done. It was great to hear this week that he passed his first one. Hallelujah.
Why is it that even though I can list a dozen great things from today, just two or three hours of Ua tantrums and fighting between him and Pi can seem to ruin the day.
We played in the fort together, built Legos, ate delicious peaches, apples and pears, read books, went for a walk, fed the ducks and “learned” about them, played with neighbors, dehydrated italian plum prunes – with the boys working right beside me, successfully made it out of 2 stores with no tantrums – doesn’t that sound like a dream day? It really was great, but now at the end of the day I’m struggling, because I’m mostly just thinking about the fights and tantrums and not the good stuff. Why is that? I suppose it doesn’t help that most of those moments are amplifications of my imperfections and tendency toward impatience. And I know it. But I guess we’ll all keep trying. And I’ll really try to look at a day like today and see it for all it’s glory.
I made a super yummy Bruschetta tonight that I was proud of. Here’s the recipe.
Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil Recipe
- 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs) – small diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sprinkle diced tomatoes with salt (to draw out juices) and place in a colander over a sauce pan. Allow juice to drain into the pan. Put tomatoes in a bowl. Add the garlic to the tomato juice in the sauce pan and reduce (simmer until thickened) 10-30 minutes, depending on amount of juice and temp/frequency of stirring. Allow to cool a little. To the diced tomatoes add all remaining ingredients and the reduced juice and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Serve with toasted French or Italian bread slices.
Ua has been doing pretty well on Maintenance, all things considered. He has the puffy face of a kid on steroids at the moment (is that better or worse than super skinny for the wedding pics on Friday?) and he’s been more tired. We have had some trouble getting our new insurance up and running so we ran out of the ostomy bags we usually use and have been using our backups. Which unfortunately means we have been cleaning up poop left and right. The shower at Nan’s last night, Winslow’s blessing tonight and even an appliance change both nights. I will be super glad to have our normal stuff back on. It got here today.
All of the Sheffield cousins are now here for the wedding and the boys are having so much fun. Except for Henry. He just has to stay up late and take naps in the car a lot. I bet he wishes the drive to provo were longer. 45 minutes just isn’t enough. But he does love Annette. She is super cute with him, trying to make him laugh, giving him hugs and taking care of him.
Happy Birthday Mom. Just thinking about her a bit and wondering how she would do things.
Ua is doing well as we enter maintenance – he got selected to have the least amount of chemo possible, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed and praying that it is enough. But I’m grateful for fewer LPs and IV chemos. The home meds might just be challenging enough, but we’ll see. So far I think we’ve mostly just seen a slight increase in appetite from the steroids, but I’m worried that the tantrums we had already been seeing lately might increase.
Henry scooted all the way from the boys room to the bathroom in search of me! I was so proud of him. Except that the reason he stopped at the bathroom was that he could see all the way to the kitchen and he just gave up when he saw me. Little stink pot.
We started play school today with a few of the neighbor kids and it went really well. Lots of different levels to work with but they all have fun together and they are fun to teach. It actually makes it almost easier to have the two-year-olds in with the four-year-olds, because they mostly follow the bigger kids so I think it is actually easier to get them to do what you want them to do than the 3 year-olds!
I made the Lionhouse rolls for dinner along with broccoli soup. Super yum. I even worked for a few minutes on my crochet this evening. I kind of feel like life is maybe becoming normal. Then again, Alicia is getting married next week, so I’m probably just dreaming. And Clinton is so beyond busy already it isn’t even funny.
Yesterday was my birthday. It was mostly just another day, but Joshua was on the up swing which made everything better. He got IV fluids on the 4 th which seems to have helped with the pain but she was still very weak yesterday. He wanted to go to the store but he hardly had the energy to hold up his head while sitting in the cart. But at least we got to go to the store, right? he was also very excited about going to Provo. we should go to an Audra Mcdonald concert. it was amazing. Her voice mail was super impressive but the emotion in her songs was incredible
Yesterday Ua took gummy bears out of my purse and lied about it. When I pushed him about it he finally admitted to it. I was very sad he had lied so I talked to him about the importance of not lying and I was probably a little tearful. He agreed to try to not lie again then he climbed up on the table and gave me a hug. Such a sweet boy.
Life is such a whirl wind. We’ve been here for over two weeks now and it’s starting to feel a little more like home. We had a fun party with many of the families on our street last night. We just ate ice cream outside, but there was a good turn out and it was enough of a success that I’m excited to hang out again at the street wide potluck next Friday.
Ua is such a trooper. He has had abdominal pain from his chemo/bowel issues for the last 24 hours, but he keeps trying to distract himself from it. Last night at the party he played basketball until the last guest was gone and then crashed. This morning we had a visit from two fun friends from Rochester and he wouldn’t stop playing and riding bikes until it was so bad he lay down on the concrete and cried (which of course left the sweet moms of our Rochester friends sad and wishing they could do something) and finally tonight he convinced Dad to go for a bike ride with him and he had a fantastic crash that left road rash across his cheek and chin. Apparently he shed a tear then just kept on riding, once they had re-aligned the handle bars.
Pi is a sweet wandering spirit and I love his independence and sense of self. On the other hand, he is difficult to sway. Even with the promise of being able to watch a show, he just could not clean up the cars. Playing by himself in the basement was just more fun. Good thing Ua heard about the deal or the cars might never have been cleaned up.
Who is still a bump on a log with a voracious appetite, but I see a glimmer of hope. Yesterday he scooted at least two feet – who knew Nerf gun darts could be so tempting? He was very pleased with his acquisition and it left him content for at least 15 minutes. Maybe I need to bring one to Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.
I made Meta’s Potato Tomato Quiche for dinner tonight and have decided that it is a must save recipe. Super good, super easy. Especially with tomatoes from the garden. Thanks to the previous owner for planting a garden.