Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Taylor's Graduation!

My parents did it, and finally had their very last kid graduate from high school. 
This year marked ten years that Maeser opened (what??), so they held the graduation ceremony on UVU's campus. I tagged along with my parents and brother, Dallin, and made it there just in time. 

We sat in the back and fished through my mom's purse for candy or anything to keep us entertained haha. I had to go to the bathroom at one point and felt a new wave of sadness that Brooklyn wasn't there to come along with me. wah. 

Taylor was looking so tall and grown up and handsome in his cap and gown. He was also recognized as the highest scoring soccer team member in the history of Maeser!

We roamed around the crowded building, trying to stay together, then took a few pictures outside. Taylor with his friends.

I love this cute little brother of mine.

Dallin and I braved the crowded building again to try and catch some old teachers and/or friends who were there. I really wanted to see Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert, but we had no luck and I felt sad that we wouldn't really have an excuse to go visit the school again now that all of our siblings are gone. 

We agreed on a place for dinner and shared some of our best memories from Maeser and tried to cheer Taylor up about all the new changes that were happening. It was really fun having a small little family outing, and I'm glad I was able to make it to support Taylor.

I went home feeling really blue afterwards though, and cried while telling Ryan all about it (poor guy). He offered to stay up with me to watch a movie or pick a logo for my website, and it made me feel so good to know that even though he probably didn't want to do that, he knew it would cheer me up. I got a good one. :)  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Final Preschool Graduation!

This was my mom's last year of teaching preschool after 20+ years, and today was her final graduation ceremony! We used to put up the slip and slide at their old house and have a water party, but since they moved, we had it at a park instead. Except it was freezing! My mom said she woke up and saw it was 32 degrees outside and came really close to postponing until next week, but decided to go through with it after all. 

We got there and I immediately cuddled up in a blanket while Ryan chased the girls around the playground until it was time to start the graduation. 

We got them in their gowns (men's dress shirts put on backwards, so cute, huh?!) and had them all line up for photos. Normally they sing some songs and recite a few poems or something, but I guess they decided to forgo all that. *teardrop*

Norah and Lucy both getting their diplomas haha

We will miss having Grandma Brand as the preschool teacher, but I'm excited for her to start a new adventure, no doubt! 

The kids played and played despite the cold weather. Norah and Lucy even took off their coats and shoes at one point and didn't want to put them back on. Such free spirits. sigh. 

It was fun talking with the other moms and it made me sad that I won't be seeing most of them next year because their kids are either going into kindergarten or they are starting at a different preschool. 

Our day, of course, wouldn't be complete without some sort of chaos, and Lucy made sure to add a little to the mix. She has been potty trained for over 6 months, and hasn't had an accident in at least a month, but that didn't stop her from pooping in her pants. I guess she got so excited and didn't think to stop and tell me. Luckily someone had a diaper--but no wipes--to spare (since I didn't come prepared), and luckily I happened to have wipes in the car, so we cleaned up and took it as our hint to go home. 

It's been a fun year for the girls and my mom has had such awesome teachers helping her, we will miss it! But I am SO excited for Summer and an open schedule to play with friends and go swimming! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day Weekend

Mother's Day started when Norah and Lucy presented me with their gifts they made at preschool. These are always my favorite and make me laugh!


Lucy wanted to do two:

We spent Saturday morning doing some yard work and then Ryan had a surprise planned for the day. We drove to the Riverwoods Mall and Ryan ordered me to go buy myself a new bra. haha After complaining for way too long (over a year...hee) about needing to buy a new one, I'm sure he had enough and just wanted to get it over with. So after I took care of that, we met up at the Provo Beach and let the girls play at the arcade for a while.

Norah spotted the giant claw machine and wanted the pink pony. Ryan had already tried a few times and told me to give it a go. But sadly, we came up empty handed every time. I'm kind of glad though...I really didn't want another stuffed animal haha.

We boarded the carousel, but Jane didn't find it amusing at all. 

Norah was so happy the entire time. :)

Jane was much more comfortable here haha.

Ryan showed the girls how to play the fruit ninja came by slicing all the fruit, and they kept yelling out, "hee-yaw!" haha

Jane was so cute playing this little car game. She would turn the wheel back and forth, and then bounce up and down. 

we finished up by playing a very poor round of basketball. haha

But the surprise didn't end there and Ryan took us out to pizza afterward.

Jane was so hungry and fussy, so I piled up some stuff from the salad bar and she attacked it. She's our good little eater.

On Sunday, Ryan let me sleep in and when I woke up, he was making crepes for breakfast! We switched, and he laid down for a bit during Jane's nap while I got ready for church and kept the girls preoccupied with a big bag of colored pencils and markers.

They have both been very interested in coloring lately, so I wasn't suspicious at all when they were quietly coloring in the other room. After about 15 minutes, Lucy walked in and started talking to me. I turned around and she had green...all over her forehead. Norah then walked in the bathroom with marker all over herself too, though not quite as badly. She said that Lucy had colored on her, but couldn't answer when I asked why she allowed Lucy to color all over her. sigh. I started wiping it off when I decided just to embrace it and take a quick photo. haha They were pretty proud of their work. Luckily the green came off really easily, and that was the only color on their faces. The red was much more resistant, so I didn't even bother to scrub their legs. I just thought, "what better way than this to describe the life of a mom?" haha

We made it to church with a few minutes to spare, so I called the day a success. ;)
Norah sang with the primary in sacrament meeting and it was so sweet to see her up there waving at us even though we were sitting in the very back. 
We had a little munch and mingle during relief society and it was so nice to just socialize while Ryan took Jane for the hour.

We visited my parents and had a little barbecue to celebrate the holiday and my mom's birthday!
We enlisted my dad and brother to help us get the girls to smile for a picture while Ryan snapped away. Lucy kept running away and my dad kept chasing her. Then once we finally got Lucy to sit for a few seconds at a time, Norah thought it would be funny to run off too and make Grandpa chase her

I probably take so many photos of them that they are just plain tired. Jane doesn't mind sitting still though. :) Sweet baby girl.

We ate and yakked while the kiddos played in the backyard. The older kids were being borderline hazardous in their game of tag so I had them teach Lucy how to play "down by the banks" instead.

Lucy kept whacking her hands up and down every time they started singing, even when it wasn't her turn and that made everyone break out in giggles. It was so cute to watch. 

They were all so sweet teaching her how to wait her turn. 

The three mommas of the party. It was a small gathering with just us, and we missed everyone who wasn't able to make it. We had a good time gabbing and eating too much food. 

All in all, it was a really great, relaxing Mother's Day weekend, and I'm so lucky to have my little family who spoiled me and who give me a reason to celebrate. :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"It's Good, It's Good to Hear With Ears!"

Several months ago, I was beginning to become concerned about Jane's speech development. I was at a cooking class when one of the teachers was talking about his son's speech delay due to ear infections and constant fluid in the ears, and I thought that maybe Jane was not progressing because she had also had several ear infections. 

About a week after that, Jane got another ear infection and one of her eardrums ruptured. I talked to her pediatrician and told him my concerns about her speech development. They recommended Kids on The Move (a program dedicated for families of kids with special needs) and set up an appointment for them to come to our home and do a speech evaluation assessment to see if Jane would qualify for their early intervention program. 

So in March, they came to our house and did the assessment, but her scores were above the requirements so she didn't qualify for the program, which was good, but I still felt like something was not quite right. So a week later, they sent in a nurse to do an Otoacoustic Emissions hearing test for Jane, but she ended up failing in both of her ears. The nurse checked her ears and saw fluid in both, so she concluded that her failing the test was due to the fluid. She recommended and ENT and said that putting tubes in place would be an easy fix and Jane's ears would be good as new.

So I called the pediatrician back and the nurse who was relaying all his messages seemed very hesitant and opinionated about me not doing tubes for Jane, which was frustrating as first because i just wanted to fix the problem right away. But she told me to have Jane evaluated by an ENT first and see what he thought before making an appointment for the surgery--and I'm so glad I listened to her. 

After waiting a few weeks to get into the ENT, I took Jane in and an Audiologist did the same OE test that the nurse had done in our home, and Jane failed again, but this time she didn't have any fluid in her ears. 
Jane was SO patient and calm at the office and sat perfectly still during the hearing test. All the workers called her "the best patient ever!" and that really calmed me down. What a way to make a worried mamma feel good. :)

The ENT came in to talk about her results and said that she had negative pressure in both of her ears, which is why her ear drums weren't vibrating like they should. He compared it to when you drive through the canyon and the pressure in your ears change and ache a little until you yawn or pop them somehow. He didn't seem very concerned and set up an appointment for us to return for the same test in a month to see if there would be any improvement.

Everything he told me made sense, but as soon as I stepped out of the office and got in my car I immediately had a million questions race through my head--basically every time I finish with a doctor appointment.

So after waiting a long month and not really knowing what the next step would be or if anything was likely to change, we finally went in for her followup this morning. I was feeling somewhat hopeful since I had been feeling like Jane's speech was improving just a little bit. But we met with the audiologist and she immediately failed the OE test again with the same results as last time. Again, Jane was so still and didn't move a muscle when we did the hearing test. I would place my hand on her forehead and pull her head back against my chest, and she would just sit there, only moving her eyes around. It was the sweetest thing and everyone was impressed with how still she was.

The audiologist had me sit with Jane in my lap in a sound isolation room while he spoke in a microphone and put off sounds at different frequencies to see Jane's reactions. She barely passed all frequencies except one.

We met back up with the ENT and he drew a picture of the ear and explained the negative pressure and what that meant, then said that sometimes when babies are born, the tubes that regulated pressure which are connected to the back side of their ear drum (Eustachian tube?) aren't fully developed, but usually do over time. So he thought that Jane was just a little behind with that developing and it would correct itself. So we made another appointment for three months from now to retake the OE test and see if anything has changed. If not, he said the next step would be to take her to Primary Children's to do an auditory Brainstem Response. That doesn't really mean much to me, but at least I know what the next step will be if she fails again.

The good news is she can still hear, it just isn't as clear as it should be so we just need to be extra diligent about enunciating things and reading to her more. I'm just in the waiting process, not knowing what the long term plan is, but I've felt surprisingly calm during this whole thing and glad that it isn't more serious and also very glad the visit itself was not stressful since I have the Best Patient Ever! :)

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Snail's Fate

Last year we had quite the infestation of snails in our backyard, and so the girls were head over heels when I brought out the first snail of the year today. haha

I set it on the sidewalk for them to observe and it immediately started a fight about who could hold it. Norah kept smacking Lucy's fingers away, and Lucy kept crying because she wanted it to be in front of her.

Once Lucy got some one-on-one, she grabbed the top of the shell and scraped it across the sidewalk as if it were a toy car, surely killing the snail. Rolling my eyes, I told Lucy she just hurt the snail by doing that, and she responded by looking directly at me and doing the same thing again. sigh.

Though the snail was most likely dead, Lucy carried it around for the next half hour, cuddling her (yes, her), and calling her "so cute!"

She named her Ariel (haha of course)

Norah convinced Lucy to let Ariel take a ride down the slide, and then Norah grabbed it and ran away. haha Lucy was pretty distraught Norah tricked her, but then I found another snail and it was all fair.

Norah was kissing the shell just before I took this picture. I'm glad she was being softer than Lucy, but kissing the shell was crossing the line for me. 

Once it was time to go back inside and make dinner, Lucy tried to sneak inside with the snail, despite the fact that it was foaming at this point. 
She ran inside and hid under the table, not willing to give up the snail. She thought it was pretty funny I was trying to coax her out, and Jane wanted in on the fun too.

Hopefully word gets around the snail community to just migrate out of our backyard so they won't have to suffer through the Lucy mania.