Saturday, July 28, 2012

Family Photos

We took some beach pictures in North Carolina, and they turned out pretty great thanks to Kris and AnyAnglePhotography! 

Years ago (1989??), we took this picture in North Carolina:

 We recreated it in 2012!

 Family photo 2012 (missing are DAD, Sam-mission, Christian-deployed, Jessica and Merynne):

Me and My Girls!

Fun Times

It is my favorite time of year....SUMMER!!  So much has been going on and fall is sneaking up on us, but we are loving these warm (ok, hot and extremely sticky) days before Evi starts school at the end of August.
What has been happening since I last posted in March??

Me:  I started teaching Aqua Zumba two nights a week, in addition to the Aquacize class I had been teaching for some time.  I like the challenge and the class has been very popular, which ended up making both of my classes pretty big....which is great!  I've also continued as the coordinator of the swim lesson program on Saturdays during the year, and also weekdays during the summer.  My kids are the pool rats....and amazingly comfortable in the water, and that can be good and bad!
I love the beach and have been lucky enough to have gone on two beach trips this summer (more below).
June 5th was the 3rd anniversary of my dad's death.  I miss him and sad without him, but was able to do a fun activity with my kids in honor of him--Papa Day!  We went to the National Harbor and played on the Awakening Statue with our friends.
We spend a lot of time with our best friends/family Evin and her girls, and have tried to have regular Adventure Days, where we explore local areas together.  Our kids are always asking for each other and for the time being, they feel like sisters :).  It will be a sad, sad day for all of us when we don't live 2 minutes apart.

Evi: Finished her 2nd session of dance classes; Graduated from Pre-School!; Did some more swim lessons and is a fish in the water. She is now able to do front crawl WITH her arms and side breathing, AND recently started doing backstroke.  It is so awesome to watch her!!; she has gotten really good on her bike (with training wheels still though); AND hasn't broken anything (knock on wood!!).  After at least SIX x-rays of her leg since breaking it in December, she got the all clear that her leg is healing how it needs to be, and no more x-rays ( AND she had an x-ray of her collarbone AND a CT Scan in February after falling out of her bed).  WOOHOO!  Here's to a happy and healthy childhood, my sweet!  Evi is generally a great big sister and it is really great now that she and Jamie are playing pretty well together.  She is growing up very nicely and I have seen her mature over the months.  She still gets into things she shouldn't and still has outbursts, but not as much and I am finding that I can trust her more.  When did I get this big kid on my hands?!!  She starts kindergarten in less than a MONTH!!!!  ACK!  Oh, and she cut her hair again.  This time it was just bangs and she didn't do a terrible job.  The bangs actually look normal (after I helped even them out a bit), but she went a little too far back on her head so it's a bit choppy.  Her excuse was that she was doing her ponies hair--her my little ponies now have some interesting hair styles.  At least I got to her before she ended up looking like them!

Jamie: Turned 2 in May!  Is generally living up to the nick name "Happy Kid", although she is also coming into her own as an independent 2 year old!  She is communicating quite well; loves to sing "kinkle kinkle yittle car" (or twinkle twinkle little star); won't go to bed without a "big hug and big kiss" and a "baba kiss" (pacifier = "baba"; baba kiss means I have to kiss the baba rather than her mouth!), AND a butterfly kiss.  She has a great way of saying it, but I can't quite spell it :).  She used to call her blanket her "piggy", and this week she started calling it a blanket, and won't let me call it a piggy anymore, which is sad because I loved that nickname.  ALSO, she finally started saying "Evin" instead of "Emma" and "Shelby" instead of "Cubby".  The nicknames were really cute, but my girl is growing up.  My boss taught her to say, "No Way Jose" and she thinks its hilarious (so does he!).  I took the side off of her crib so she is officially in a big girl bed.  She still falls out sometimes or simply chooses to lie down on the floor, but I have pillows there to catch her if she does.  I just read an idea today to keep kids from falling out of bed--put a pool noodle under the sheet so it keeps them in.  Totally trying that!!!  She really is a mellow and happy kid!  OH, and CAN'T FORGET......she is amazing in the water.....such a fish like her big sister.  For awhile she would put her face in the water, which, don't get me wrong, was great.  But then all of the sudden, I would say, "Jamie, put your face in" and she would dunk her whole self underwater.  She opens her eyes and looks around and is just so comfortable in the water.  People at the pool are generally amazed to find out she is 2 and doing what she does, and I can't hide my excitement about that.  I may not get her potty trained anytime soon, but she will be a swimmer!!  I am happy I have two little girls who love the water.

Family: Went to Assateague for 5 days with friends in June.  LOVED IT!  The plague this year only seemed to be terrible wind (that almost blew our tent over!), and a little bit of rain with resulting puddles in our tent (air mattresses kept us pretty dry!).  All that aside, we had a BLAST.  I love camping with friends there, because really its like everyone is family, and all the kids play together all day.  No wonder College Park ward families went there year after year when the kids were young.  It's THAT fun!  I don't think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much if I hadn't gone with Evin.  Camping alone with two kids seems like too much, but camping with my best friend and our four kids worked out quite well.  You know, looking back, it seems that this time was the year of one parent camping families--out of the 7 families camping this year only two of them had a husband and wife team!  That was Mama Kelley and Father Cal (whose kids are all grown), and Steve and Wendy!  Funny that I am just putting that together :).  See, one big happy family at Assateague :)!

Two weeks later, we got to go to the Outer Banks, North Carolina with ALMOST my entire family.  Missing were: My DAD (in body, not in spirit though), my oldest nephew Sam who is serving a mission in Guatemala, Amy's husband Christian who is deployed in The Phillipines and his two daughters Merynne and Jessica.  It was WONDERFUL.  WONDERFUL.  I can't say enough good things about it.  I love my family.  They are a wonderful band aid when things get tough.  We had beautiful weather, made shirts, played games, fed birds, went crabbing, HAD A POOL, did some zumba in the pool (where my wonderful sisters laughed at ME!), beach bon fire, glow sticks, sand castles, boogie boarded, laughed a lot, laughed at the 4 teenage boys trying to hit on any teenage girls who happened to walk past our spot on the beach, found 2 pairs of glasses on the ocean floor (one found, one lost and then found!), and many more wonderful things.  You know, the day we went crabbing, I wasn't going to go, but thought Evi may enjoy it so we did.  Turns out, she says that was her favorite part!  The first day or two Jamie was a bit shy of the waves, but warmed up to it and then was splashing in it and shouting "WATERRRR" every time a wave came in.  Have I mentioned that it was wonderful? 
If that wasn't enough, most of us stopped in Williamsburg on the way home and continued the fun.  We bought very reasonably priced multi park passes which were good for 7 days at Colonial Williamsburg, Water Country USA, and Busch Gardens, including free parking.  A great deal, and well used with our in's and out's of each of the parks.  LOVED IT ALL.  My kids loved getting to go and I am so so glad they had the opportunity.  Really, Evi LOVED it.  She is still talking about some of the rides and how cool it all was.  I wouldn't take them to an amusement park by myself, but it was so great to have family to switch off with and watch each others kids, so everyone could ride the fun stuff they wanted to, and so could the kids (Everyone except Amy, who is 6 months pregnant!).  Since it was leading up to the 4th of July (I assume?), Busch Gardens had a firework show every night, so we had 3 nights of getting to see a great show, since we ended each night there.

If THAT wasn't enough, Erin decided to make the trek from Williamsburg up to DC with me to see the fireworks downtown on the 4th!  More cousin and sister fun was had and we got a great spot right by the Washington Monument to watch the show!  Everyone was exhausted, and crashed well when we got home.  The catch was they had to get up at 5:30am to drive 4 hours to the airport in Norfolk!  WHEW!!  But was it fun?  YES.  Worth it?  Erin says yes! 

Now, vacations are over, and we are back to normal!  I am back at work with swim lessons and my kids are in their groove at the pool, running around like they own the place (unfortunately).  I am hoping to fit some more fun into our remaining days of summer before my baby starts school.  I am SO not ready for it, but she most certainly is.  Whew. 

That's my catch up for this time! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012


It's March?  Actually, it's the middle of March?  Wow, time has been flying by.  One great thing is that it has been so warm lately and I have been out as much as possible with my kids.  Another great thing is that my best friend in the world now lives a 10 minute walk away (and about a two minute drive! :) :) ).  Evin's husband recently enlisted in the Army and is at boot camp for a couple months, and then onto a 6 month specialty training from there.  She and her girls are living with her parents (my surrogate parents) while he's in boot camp, and at least the beginning of the specialty training.  SO, sad her her to be away from her man, but we are keeping each other company and loving every minute of it.  My parents wedding anniversary is tomorrow (I am pretty sure).  But I don't know if my mom remembers.  But if she doesn't, would she be sad to be reminded of it?  I was born about 9 months after their I guess it was a pretty important day for my own history :).
In other news to catch up baby girl is FIVE.  5 on the 5th actually.  Evi had her birthday in February, and all of the sudden she seems so grown up.  Recently her sweetness has really been coming out.  For several months, I would say she experienced a lot of growing pains as life threw some major challenges our way.  But I think she has been working through things and it's been really nice to be around her (most of the time!).  One thing I have really been enjoying is how well both my girls have been playing together lately.  Maybe it's because Jamie is getting older and Evi sees her as more fun these days, or I don't know what it may be, but it really has been a pleasure to see them together.  It is not all the time, of course, but when it does happen it is great. 

OH, and as if breaking her leg in December wasn't enough, she broke her clavicle in February (exactly 2 months later, and 12 days after her brace came off)!  Her bed WAS elevated about 4 feet with high sides to prevent kids from falling out (it is a "reversible bed" from IKEA.  It is now reversed, and low again).  Super late one night I heard her crying, and I went to get her, and then heard a thud.  She tried to climb over the high side to get out, rather than use the ladder to get down.  It was dark and she was screaming and my first thought was that she re-broke her leg.  Then I thought she broke her neck with the way she was screaming and holding her neck and head.  Although I was ready to call an ambulance right then, I knew I could rule out a broken neck or some other major injury so I figured I would try to get her to sleep.  I laid her flat in my bed next to me, and basically sang her to sleep (not without many painful cries along the way).  Once she woke up and still wouldn't move, I knew we needed to go to the hospital and thought at that point it was her collarbone.  Two men came over from my ward (two of my best friends dads' stepping in to take care of me in the absence of my own) to give her a blessing, and then we called an ambulance so she could remain flat and still since any move seemed to be excruciating for her.  She was so scared in the ambulance :(.

The short hospital version is:  ambulance ride proved to be the best choice as we got care right away.  X-ray and head CT revealed only a broken clavicle ("only" because there were NO fractures in the skull, but heavy bruising).  She fell on her shoulder and head :(.  It was a really scary experience for her (and me).  Although this was her FOURTH trip to an ER, it DOES NOT get easier and I hate seeing my baby suffering. Heck, I am starting to cry all over again now as I re-live the day.  But I had to be strong for her, and we got through it.  I had never ridden in an ambulance, and thought it would be cool to see an ambulance afterward and say, "hey, we rode on that when we needed help".  But the first few times after that day, I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I saw one.  That has subsided, and while I don't have that "hey, that's cool...." attitude about them, at least I can remind her how helpful the EMT's and firefighters are when people need help.  They put a "sling and swath" on her to immobilize her arm, and things started to improve.  It was a really really hard time for me......but I got through it and I suppose I can say I am stronger for it (and really glad it's over).  I am not at all glad my baby got hurt again, but we are growing together.  I am just getting tired of all the growth experiences I am being presented with.  I quite like calm periods.

As for her leg....we just went for her SECOND follow up appointment since the cast came off (so three visits so far since being back in Maryland), and it is still healing, but not healed.  Another appointment scheduled for June, six months after the injury.  At least 5 x-rays of her leg have been taken since December, one of her chest, AND a head CT.  I would really LOVE to avoid emergency rooms and x-ray machines from here on out.

Lets end Evi's stuff with good news.  She is in pre-school 3 days a week and really enjoying that I think.  Lately she has been saying she doesn't want to go to school because it's wild there.  Then I remind her of the friends there or what she gets to do and she is excited again.  I mentioned that to her teacher, and found out her teachers recently restructured their routine because the kids were getting too wild (and told them so).  We had a nice laugh about it, because Evi took her words directly! 

I put Evi back in swim lessons again and they started today.  I am so proud of her!  I let her get in a little before her class started (I coordinate the lessons, so I have a bit of a say), and since the shallow area was occupied, she asked if she could go in the 9 feet.  Off she went, jumping in and treading water like a champ.  I was a little nervous about how well she'd do in her class because she had previously refused to do one of the skills necessary to advance to this particular class (which she could in fact do!).  I have been stressing to her that if she wanted Mr. Marty to be her teacher, she had to listen to and DO what he asked.  She did it and I was thrilled!  My boss joked with me and said that he's going to have to hide me during that time slot so I'm not the gawking parent on the deck :).  I think she has grown up a lot since her last round of lessons ended in August and glad she listened (at least today!).  My baby is a fish, and although she won't listen to anything I want to teach her, I am so glad she is listening to someone! 

Evi likes to be challenged and when I can keep up, she is really fun to be around.  She is imaginative and curious and wants to explore, which sometimes gets her into trouble, but I have been really impressed with her and she really is a great kid.

Jamie is still super sweet, although almost 2 so kind of stinky too :).  A couple weeks ago at a party for a family friend, she was on my lap playing with my necklace while I was chatting with friends.  Then she started coughing heavily....and she SWALLOWED THE NECKLACE.  Well, the pendant on the chain, not the chain itself.  My concern was that even though it was small, it would get stuck somewhere because the edges weren't smooth.  So.....I had to search.  And after five days (and five searches...ick), I finally figured I ought to call the pediatrician just to be safe.  She basically told me I missed it and it was fine, and she would be fine, and it wouldn't be found in an x-ray and they would have to scope her to even look for it.  I didn't like how she said I missed it and that it wouldn't show up (because why on earth wouldn't it??), but Jamie wasn't exhibiting any symptoms of it being stuck so I let it go.  That night, one more search proved beneficial.  It's funny when you tell these stories to people, because I learned some great searching methods!  It was my first time ever having to look through stuff like now I am quite knowledgeable.  Gross.  I am not sure that's a great quality to have...but oh well.

Jamie is such a happy baby--er, toddler.  She is saying all sorts of words, but it is especially cute that she likes to say, "I love you" all the time.  She is always asking, "why?"  She asks for a kiss by making the "mmmwah" sound and pushing her head forward and lips out.  Again is "Gii", and has been forever and I love that.  She still does the sign as she says "gii" and she will also almost always sign as she says, "peeze" (please).  Her pacifier is a "baba" and her favorite blanket comes out as "piggy" most of the time.  The non-favorite blankets seem to come out as "pokey".  She is calling Evin's daughter Shelby, "Cubby" (which Evin and I find adorable, although most of the time Shelby adamantly insists her name is SHELBY, not Cubby!), and she is finally saying Evin as "Emma".  Kids really make up the cutest nicknames.  Jamie loves to put on any shoes, carry any bag, and talk into anything that resembles a phone and say, "HA-ROW".  Uh-Oh, shoes, purse and phone!  If you are fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of such a call, the first thing she almost always says is something about "mommy's pone" as she points to me, saying she is on mommy's phone.  If you want to experience this sometime, give me a call :).  She isn't without her mischief though.  Lately she has been scolded for drawing on the rug, furniture and floor.  Generally she starts balling when you scold her and tell her no.  A couple times I have done this and she cried, Evi has gone to comfort her, and then reminded her she can only draw on paper.  It has been really cute to watch big sister step in to help.  Another time I was scolding her, Evi said she would have to go to time out if she did that.  Then I realized Jamie DID go to time out.  I asked her if she was in time out and she sadly whimpered, "uh-huh".

Ok, I have written a lot.  I guess that's what happens when it is so long between posts.  Last month I went to visit my friends parents in North Carolina.  They had given me a standing offer years ago to come anytime....and I had an opportunity for a free weekend and thought I'd see if the offer was still good.  It was just a short trip, but I loved every minute of it and it was so refreshing to just have a couple of days to myself.  It was freezing, but I still had some time at the beach and collected a bunch of shells for my girls, had lovely tours of the area with my friends parents, a great evening stroll in the frozen wind with my friends dad, and a fascinating self tour of Fort Macon.  I had no idea that the Edwards' knew my parents so well.  I knew they knew my parents, but since the ward was split either before I was born or sometime when I was young and we didn't see them all the time, I never made that connection.  But it turns out that they were together quite a bit, and when he and my Dad used to work at the temple together they would "carpool" there on a MOTORCYCLE!  hahaha, they would apparently take turns driving/riding in the back.  Something I never knew about my dad, and it was a fun thing to discover.  They were so wonderful to me and I was so glad I decided to go.  Now, when do I go again??

I just started teaching my Aqua Zumba class last week.  It was fairly intimidating since the material is still pretty new to me, and my class was FULL with a waiting list, but 2 classes in I think it's going pretty well.  We are having fun with it and I think I am confident in my presentation.  I am also teaching a regular Aquacize class, a swimmer workout class, and coordinating the swim lesson program at the pool.  I love my job there and am grateful to have such supportive people to work with.

I guess that's all for now.  What would this long post be without pictures?  Well, it's just going to have to remain a long post without pictures for now, because my time is up!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a little slip and a Happy Birthday

Making Papa's birthday cake
Today Evi said to her friends: "Your mom is cheating with my mom".  I looked at her as I was laughing, as she tried to say that we were chatting.  They came in to split us up and Evi says, "ok ok ok, no more cheating!"  hahahaha, I corrected her, but it didn't stick because she said it again a few minutes later. :)

Blowing out the candles!
Today we went downtown with the Himmighoefers to celebrate Papa.  His birthday was yesterday, and we had cake and ice cream last night.  Today we headed to the American History Museum for some new fun and learning adventures.  I figured that anytime we go to a museum it always seems to be the Natural History or the Air and Space, so I really wanted to do a new one, yet was torn with not seeing the gem and mineral exhibit in honor of my dad (like we did last year).  We had some fun at the American History and all the girls seemed to be enjoying it, but the hands on kids section was not open, so after awhile there, we decided to go next door to the Natural History :).  I would really enjoy going back to the American History museum without the kids though, because there was a lot to read and take in that I just couldn't do with the kids.  So out into the BEAUTIFUL weather we went to walk over one museum to quite possibly our favorite!  We got tickets for the free on tuesdays butterfly exhibit, which was really cool :).  Butterflies landed on just about all of us, although most of the great pictures are on Evin's camera.  The kids were all worn out, but I needed just a quick fix of the rocks, so we got to see some of the beautiful gems and minerals and had our fun seeing "Papa's Rocks."

What a fabulous day! Funny, because I had a really hard day Sunday, but Monday and Tuesday have been great and I am so glad we were able to celebrate my dad. I know that I am lucky to have him, and I know some people have not been able to have the kind of close family bonds and ties that I feel like I have had in my family. I hate that he is gone. But I am so glad to have happy memories of him and to think of all the good he had and wanted to share with others.

Christmas 1995

Sunday, January 29, 2012

PG County

Occasionally when I speak, my PG county upbringing flows out of my mouth without any thought.  For example, today I said to a friend, "you had been decided that...".  This was followed by my own outburst of laughter at myself, that I didn't even realize I said it.  Normal people don't say things like this, do they?  Grammatically correct speakers would say something like, "You had already decided that." RIGHT?  I think I generally use good grammar.  My mom is still a grammar correction queen, and therefore I (and my sisters) all seem to be as well.  So I don't think I normally speak like this.  Or do I?Oh, PG County, I have to love you.  Have to.  Because I am still here.

*another favorite is: "we had been done that"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Truckin' Along

I have had quite a crazy couple of weeks, and life around here has been turned upside down, then sideways, and then upright again.  In the process of the craziness of my current state, I have thought a lot about my job as a mom and I really value it.  It's funny, because the day I was telling Ron how much I am glad to be a mom, and wouldn't trade it for other seemingly more glamorous or attractive lifestyles, was the day that the kids went crazy and gave me a run for my money.  Ron joked that they must have heard me talking about it and decided to take action!  HA!  But even with the hard days, I adore my babies and am so glad to be their mom.  I need them in my life.  Although some days are harder than others, we get through the challenges together and I feel fortunate to be their mom, and am so glad I am able to stay home with them.  I am also extremely glad to work part time though, so I have a break to re-group sometimes and stay balanced :).
So that's all for now.  We go through changes and have to adapt.  But we keep on truckin' and hopefully enjoy whatever part of the journey that we can.

Since I have a broken camera...I went in to my photo files and have some old pictures to share from the pool.  I love my job, I love my family there, and I love taking my kids there!  These pictures are from June, but still great to share.  Evi was almost 4 1/2 and Jamie had just turned 1 in May.

From Labor Day weekend

Staff cardboard boat regatta in August!  Except for the extremely buoyant base you see here, this boat fell apart.  But Evi wanted a turn after all the big kids finished the racing!  It was shortly after this that some of the lifeguards got worried when they saw her in the 5 feet (without the life vest).  My sweet baby was swimming and they thought she needed help.  One even jumped in to get her, then realized she was fine :).  Evi turned into a fish this summer and I love it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cast Off Day

That's what we are calling today because Evi got her cast off!  WooHoo!  There is good news and bad news.
The Good:
~Cast is off
~She can move her leg
~Stopped for some "cast off" treats (chosen were a happy face cookie and a sprinkle doughnut)
~Asked for chicken nuggets for her special cast off day dinner

The Bad:
~Fracture has not healed entirely, and was actually worse than I originally thought :( .
~In a Knee Immobilizer for 3 more weeks (but it's not a cast, at least) to be sure she won't twist her leg wrong or re-injure it.  This can come off for baths, sleeping and swimming.
~She is a little grumpy, like the first few days after the initial injury, because it still hurts to move it after being in one position for 3 weeks.  Has not walked much yet.  (Hoping that will get up to the good section soon and say "walking").
~My camera fell on the ground and BROKE on the way into the X-ray room. 

I can still get the pictures off the memory card, and here are a few cast pictures from the last few days.

hanging out at the park on a great January day.  The cast didn't slow down her fun!

Playing "store" on my bed.  She was the my shirt :). 
The calculator she is holding was the cash register I think.

Angry birds is fun for these girls!

Time to get the cast off.  Ev was uncertain about it, and very frightened.

Studying Mr. Tom's (the guy cutting the cast off) movements like a hawk.  A nervous hawk.

Happy girls on our way to the hospital.
We'll see how the next few days go with my girl.
Tomorrow she is having show and tell AND pajama day at school.  That will give her something fun to look forward to after the pain she went through today!