Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back on the charts!

In my last blog, I mentioned that it was anybody's guess who our tallest child would be- all that we knew is that it wouldn't be Savannah. This week was her checkup and it seems not much has changed in that regard.

Savannah was born at an average size (which is small for our babies) at 7 lbs 1 oz (39 weeks). But it didn't take long for her to be outgrown by her peers :) She was holding on to the bottom of the charts, in the 6th percentile, when she was 1. When she was 2 and up until kindergarten, she had fallen off the growth charts completely. I was slightly concerned and asked the doctor about it. He said that because I'm not that big of a person (even though I'm tall), that she will likely just be small, and as long as she was eating and sleeping, and we continued to see growth and development, that we had nothing to worry about.

Savannah has always been incredibly healthy, so I haven't had her in to the doctor for a long time. This year, we took her in for a yearly checkup. I knew she was still short, but we were curious to see if she was back on the charts. Before her appointment, I asked her what she thought. She shrugged her shoulders. My guess was that she would indeed be back on the charts, but somewhere at or below the 25th percentile.

When the results were in, it seems our sweet little girl has indeed made it back on the growth charts! She has almost reached the 25th percentile in weight, but she's still hanging on to the bottom of the height charts, under the 10th percentile somewhere.

The doctor showed me the charts and talked about how most girls finish growing between 12-13. This surprised me because I grew so late. I guess I was thinking all girls are like me and still growing through most of high school. Dan grew late as well, so there's still a chance she will come from behind (like I did) and pass up all her classmates in the final hour ;) And if not, it will be fun to have ONE shorty in the family!

I always remind her of the advantages of being short (she often laments how difficult it is to be the smallest one. She particularly hates the constant "so, are you 6 now?" comments). I tell her how as a gymnast, being short is a particular advantage. I remind her how everyone thinks she's so cute! Sometimes she seems frustrated by her height, and other times I don't think she minds at all. Only time will tell whether she stays our little midgie or whether she indeed has some dormant tall genes waiting to make their move.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Checkin' em out!

A couple of days ago, Jayden and Mason had their annual checkups. Both of them needed shots since Mason is due for his 7th grade booster(s) and Jayden was behind on his immunizations (bad mommy).

Mason went first. He measured above the 75th percentile in height (no surprise) and 50th percentile in weight (nope, not surprised there either). Tall and skinny. This was the exact opposite of Jaxon, who was 50th in height, but 75th in weight. He only needed one shot, his tetanus booster. Relieved that it was much less painful than a shot at the dentist, Mason said he had been picturing a giant needle that they stuck in and moved all around. A little poke was no problem :)

Now it was Jayden's turn. I was a little worried about how he would do with the shots. Jaxon is always so tough and has a really high pain tolerance, but Jayden is such a softie. He cries easily and gets scared. Typical baby of the family :) Jayden measured above the 75th percentile in height and in weight both.  He is barely 2 inches shorter than his big brother, but Jaxon has an additional 25% on him in weight! He was on track for all developmental milestones and enjoyed showing the doctor all the things he could do.

Jayden had to have 6 shots :( He started to cry as soon as they poked him but he stayed still and just got big tears in his eyes. After they were done, he threw his little arms around my neck, buried his face in my shoulder and cried. My poor little guy! The next day, he was very whiny all day and wanted me to carry him from room to room so he didn't have to walk on his sore legs. I tried to tell him that walking would help, but I think he just wanted me waiting on him hand and foot :)

All 3 boys are healthy as could be and Savannah has her checkup today. She's the only one who won't need any immunizations, so it should be a cake walk! It's anyone's guess who will be the tallest kid in the family. The only thing we know for sure is- it won't be Savannah!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things That Make Me Smile- My kids' friends :)

A couple of days ago, I got a text from my friend Melanie. Her son Jag is a year older than Jaxon and they love playing together.

 Her text said,
"Jag said to me this morning,
 'Mom, my favorite friend that I have ever had is Jaxon!"

Cute boys!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Day 2012

This year, Valentine's Day was different than usual. For one thing, Dan was in town :) That always helps! I put more effort into it for Dan and my kids than I usually do, and I think we all ended up enjoying the day. Here are a few highlights.

Prior to Valentines day, the kids and I made homemade valentines for their classes. We took a picture of each of them with their fist extended out in front of their faces, in front of one of my red backdrops. Then we bought suckers and stuck the stick through their fist so it looked as if they were actually holding the suckers (see pictures). We used Photoshop to add words (They said "Have a sweet Valentines Day! Love, Savannah/Mason").

I made breakfast for the kids- Pink, heart shaped pancakes with berry syrup, eggs and bacon. After that, I did Savannah's hair in a heart shaped do with red and white "I love you ribbons (see picture above).

In their lunches, I surprised them with a small box of chocolates. I gave the 2 little ones their own box of chocolates to enjoy during the day.

For Daniel, I went out and bought 15 different helium balloons (one for each year we have been together). I made 15 envelopes out of red paper and wrote a note to stick in each envelope. Each one was a memory we have shared together. I tied the envelopes to the balloons and put them all over our room. I also had a couple of bottles of sparkling cider and a few small gifts for him.

Daniel got me a box of chocolates (I love chocolate more than any sane person should) and I'll be painfully honest and admit I ate the whole box, by myself, in 24 hours. He also gave me beautiful flowers. Every one of us enjoyed the day and felt loved. What could be better than that?

Monday, February 13, 2012

"This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you"

Curled up on the foot of my bed, I buried my face into my baby blue comforter and sobbed. My heart was broken. I was all of 13 years old, in 8th grade, and I KNEW that this was the boy I wanted to marry. But he had just dumped me. We'd been "dating" all of 2 weeks. He was in high school *swoon* while I was still in junior high and he was SO cute! I'd even held his hand (a first). He dumped me for my neighbor, who was a junior in high school- with a license! How was I supposed to compete with that? And so I cried. I cried and I cried and I cried. After a while, my mother came into my room and sat on the edge of my bed. She rubbed my back and tried to comfort me. I don't remember the entire conversation, but I vividly remember this one thing: "Honey, you're heart is going to be broken a lot more times before you find the person you're going to marry." I don't remember if or how I responded, but I remember thinking she was crazy because that boy (the only one I'd ever held hands with- I'd still never been kissed) WAS the one. She knew nothing....

I'm sure it took me all of about 4 days to find a new "boyfriend" and forget the hurt that just a few days earlier had seemed so life altering. Looking back, that boy wouldn't even make the list of "Who's Who in Adolescent Anna's Life". Until I became a mother, I never gave a second thought to what my own mom was feeling at that moment. I know that she could clearly see how insignificant that moment would be in my life, yet it's never easy to see your child hurting.

I don't yet have teenagers. Our big hurts are still limited to "he called me a doodoo face" or "She won't sit by me". And yet, as my children get older, and I slowly see the hurts start to grow, I find myself hurting for them more than they even hurt for themselves.

A few weeks ago, my daughter was invited to a birthday party for one of her sweet friends. She was ecstatic about it. We went out and bought the perfect gift, wrapped it, and made sure everything was ready to go. The night before, we had an unexpected late night with family rolling in from out of town, and then an extremely early morning. I was exhausted and laid down for a few minutes. The next thing I knew, Savannah was shaking me awake, "Mom! My party!" I asked her what time it was and she said it was 10:45. The party had started at 10:00. It was a spa party and they were planning to leave for the salon right at 10. For some reason, my phone had been turned to silent and when I checked it, I had multiple messages from people asking if she was coming, if she needed a ride, etc... She had lost track of time and I had fallen asleep. I tried calling but couldn't reach anyone, so she missed the party entirely. She was slightly bummed. I was a basket case. I felt like a failure as a mother. I knew she wanted to go to this party and I had a hard time saying to myself, "It's just a party." And yet, by mid-afternoon, she was right as rain. Why did I let it bother me so much more than it bothered her?

Today, Mason stayed home from school, sick. He had been running a fever and not feeling well for a few days. When I woke up this morning, I took one look at him and knew he should probably stay home. He was all dressed and ready, but it was apparent that he needed to rest. I talked him in to staying home one more day. About 9:15, I got a call from his teacher. She asked how he was doing. I told her he was still sick. She said she was calling because today was the school spelling bee. Mason had won his class spelling bee and qualified for this one. He had been so excited about it, but was unsure what day it was on. I knew he wasn't going to want to miss out, so I asked her to hold on while I checked with him to see if he wanted to go to school just for the spelling bee. As adamantly as he could, he said yes, he wanted to be there. I let her know I would run him right up. We were out the door in 5 minutes flat and he was in her classroom in less than 10 minutes. However, I got a call 20 minutes or so later saying he had arrived too late. They had begun giving instructions already and would not allow him in. Holding back my own tears, I told him I would be right up to get him. My heart hurt for him. I knew how much it would have meant to him to do well. It was something he had been looking forward to. I made plans in my head as to what I would say to make it better for him. I told myself to plaster a smile on and make as light of it as I could to make it easier for him. When I pulled up to the school, he was waiting on the curb. As he hopped in the car, I asked him what happened. He told me, without the least bit of emotion, and then said he was happy to be going home so he could get some rest :) I breathed a sigh of relief. He was fine.

I don't know if all parents get so emotional over every little thing in their children's lives. My guess would be that some are far more rational than I am :) I'm a highly emotional person. That said, I would guess that most parents, particularly mothers, find themselves in these same situations, just perhaps not to the same degree, over things so insignificant. There is something about being a mother that makes you literally FEEL the hurt your child is feeling. You don't just understand it, you actually feel it- and you will do just about anything to make it better for them. Each time I face one of these moments with one of my babies, I can't help but reflect back on my own parents and wonder how they did it. How did they keep it together when we were falling apart? Heaven knows we went through a lot bigger hurts than these (some as consequences of our own choices, some as just part of life). How were they feeling when we got cut from the basketball team? When we made poor choice after poor choice and they had to sit back and watch us face the consequences we brought on ourselves? When our house burned down? When we were in an accident? When someone we loved hurt us deeply? When as much as they wanted to, they couldn't protect us?

My mom and I have talked a little about these sorts of things in the past. She has told me how hard it is to know we are going to crash and burn, but to have to sit back and watch us do it. I'm not quite sure I'll be able to do it quite as well as my own parents. I have a feeling my tendency will be to jump in when I'm not needed, to try and rescue my children when they need to learn to stand on their own two feet. I'm thankful that my parents gave me the chance to learn, to fall and to fail. Because that is how I became me- and I am strong. In these same moments, I can't help but think it must be like this for our Heavenly Father. He loves us so deeply and while He has the power to rescue us from our hurts and pains, He knows that what is best for us is to learn and grow from our own choices, and the choices of others. Sometimes He has to sit back and watch us crash. It must be so hard.

As my children-the loves of my life- grow and make their own choices, I hope I can learn a lesson or two from my own parents and my Heavenly Father. I hope I can be the shoulder to cry on, the words of wisdom, a tight hug, when it is needed. At the same time, I hope I can learn that at times you have to take a step back and let them learn to fly- even though it will mean many falls before they find their wings.

Riverton Chess Tournament

Ever since Mason was pretty little, he has loved playing chess. My dad loves chess as well and the two of them have bonded over a chess board many times.

My dad is a history teacher. One year, my mom made him a beautiful, hand made chess board with the pieces in the shape of civil war soldiers. This set is glass and fragile.  My dad keeps it packed away safely and only brings it out to play when Mason is there. Mason is the only one allowed to play with it. It's a special thing between the two of them. Whenever Mason goes to see my parents, the first thing he wants to do is play chess with Grandpa Scott. They've created many memories this way.

Last year, Mason played in the chess club at Jefferson Elementary in Idaho. They held one tournament and Mason took 1st place. This year, he joined the chess club at Saratoga Shores, but things are a little different here. This chess club has many more players and competes in many tournaments throughout the area, against a lot of other schools. Mason was excited to be able to do this. Unfortunately, the chess tournaments are on the same days as his basketball games, so he wasn't able to attend most of them. His coach wanted each player to attend at least one, and recommended the Riverton Tournament as the one she would most like them to attend. We let him miss one basketball game in order to do this.

Saturday was the big day. Mason was up and ready in plenty of time for us to leave at 8am. We arrived about 8:40, with the tournament scheduled to start at 9. After locating his coach and school, we found his first pairing and he went into round 1. I stayed outside and visited with the other moms. He came out of round 1 with an unreadable expression on his face. He made his way to me and told me he had won his first round! He was so excited! This put him in the winner's bracket though, so the next rounds would be more difficult.

Mason went into round 2 around 10:30 or so. Unfortunately he lost this round. I think this surprised him, since he wasn't used to playing with this much competition. He was pretty disappointed.

One of the boys brought a 4-player chess board. Between the rounds, Mason and 3 other boys would play it. He thought it was incredibly fun, so it took his mind of his loss a little bit.

Round 3 began around noon or so. Mason came out with a sad look on his face and told me he had lost again. He had set a goal for himself to place and get a trophy, so he was feeling like this was now out of his reach. However, his coach pulled him aside and told that since he had been paired up with some high ranking players, if he won the next 2 rounds, he would likely still place. This gave him some hope.

Going into round 4, I was nervous for him. I knew he really wanted to win these last 2 rounds. The competition was stiff though. There were 29 schools and 240 players competing! He came out of round 4 with a smile and a victory. Now he knew he still had a chance to place, if he could come away with a victory in the final round. Mason went into round 5 around 3pm. A few of the other kids came out first and I was so nervous for him. He finally emerged and I could tell by the look on his face that he had won! Now we just had to wait. He had 3 points. But there were a lot of players with 3 points. It would all come down to who had competed against players with higher rankings.

After they did the awards for the younger kids, it was Mason's turn. First they awarded the medals for those who didn't place. We were happy when he was still standing after that. Then they gave out smaller trophies for those who had done very well but not placed. Once again, his name wasn't called. At that point we knew he was in the top 10, but we didn't know where. When the results were in, Mason placed 6th. He got a nice trophy. There aren't many times I can remember him being so excited and proud of himself. It was so fun to be able to watch him. We are so proud of him, and Grandpa Scott made sure Mason knew just how proud he was as well.

Mason's team took 10th place out of 29 schools. Mason's points were a big contributing factor to that. They were very happy to be able to get a team trophy as well. Here's a little pic of the team with their trophies and medals (and yes, we forgot to have Mason wear his team shirt- oops).

Great job Mason! You're awesome!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jaxon's 5 year old Checkup and Stats

Today was a big day for Jaxon! He had his 5-year-old check up and got his Kindergarten shots. I knew he would be tough as nails, like he always is, so I wasn't worried about how he would react. He did fantastic and didn't even flinch when they gave him 5 shots. The nurses said they wish that every 5 year old behaved as well as Jaxon. I actually think he enjoyed the visit.

For the checkup portion, they quizzed him on his shapes, which he aced. They also had him count, asked him how to spell his name and a few basic questions like that. He had no trouble with any of it. Jaxon is smart as could be! Here are his stats:

Alpine Pediatrics
Date of Checkup: Feb 10th, 2012
Age: 5 years old
Weight: 45.4 lbs (75th percentile)
Height: 43 inches (50th percentile)

The doctor brought up that he is quite a bit higher on the charts in weight than he is in height, and said we might want to watch and make sure he isn't eating too much junk food etc. It kind of made me giggle. Jaxon is solid as a rock and strong as an ox. I told him he came out that way at 9 lbs, 2 weeks early. He has the hands and feet of a rottweiler and I have no doubt his height will catch up with his weight at some point in the future. I was actually kind of happy to have one of my children who has a little meat on their bones :) His eye sight was 20/20 which they said was great considering his eyes are still developing. They said it means he will likely have good eyesight in the future as well.

All in all, we found out that he is just as healthy and strong as we thought he was. He is now all registered for kindergarten and ready to go!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Social Sushi

Sometimes it seems as if, when I look back on my life, it's divided into pre-move and post-move. We had a great life in Idaho, but so much has changed since we made the move. I think it's fair to say that as happy as we were before, we have found even more happiness since. It's amazing what happens when you are where you belong, when you belong there.

Over the past several years, I've maintained a pretty active social life. I've considered it a blessing to be able to have that in my life, when I know a lot of moms struggle to find people outside of their family that they are close to. I had a remarkable group of friends in Idaho and was never lacking for someone to go spend girl time with. I am forever thankful to those friends and I love them dearly.

Daniel, however, was not all that social. A big part of that, I believe, came down to the amount of stress he was under at work. He had plenty of friends at work, but when he came home, he often times just wanted to unwind and have a little alone time. He rarely ever went out with guy friends.

Since the move, that has all changed. Once again, I have been so blessed to find such great friends, in such a short period of time. I never imagined I would feel this at home so soon after the move. Dan, on the other hand, has morphed into this social creature which was never before seen :) He often gets together with is guy friends for "Menrichment" (I know you laughed at that!), to see a movie, go out to eat, play some basketball, or whatever else they feel like. Luckily for us, most of his guy friends are the husbands of my girl friends! This makes things that much more fun when we all get together as couples.

This past weekend, my sweet little sister Miriam and her wonderful family, came down to visit us. It was perfect timing since we had a sushi date planned with a few of our friends. Miriam's kids and my 2 older kids are very close so they were thrilled to be able to spend time with each other. We left the kids home and went out to sushi with our good friends the Wycherlys, the Twittys and the McConkies. They are all in our ward and we've grown to love them in the short time that we have lived here.

We went to my favorite sushi restaurant (I should come clean and say I've never liked sushi until recently but after eating at this place, I'm hooked!), Blue Fish. The food was fantastic and so was the company. I got some quality time with my sister and her hubby, that I love every bit as much as I love her.

We had a great time at sushi and the kids had a great time with each other. I am thankful to have found a group of friends that we have so much in common with. It's been fun to see this new social side of Daniel and be able to involve him more in these kinds of activities. He can be the life of the party when he isn't hiding behind an iPhone or computer. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I am once again thankful for the new life we have built here and all the blessings that we have been given. Life is good!

Details of Life- My car :)

Looking back on my childhood, I often wish I had pictures of things and places that hold special memories for me. There are plenty of me and my siblings, in all our mullet and plaid pants-ed glory, but few of our home, schools, cars, neighborhood etc. How fun would it be to look back on our "SUPER COOL NEW '77 DODGE DART" (okay so it wasn't new- it was actually a hand-me-down from- yep, our grandparents :)  -  or our "SOOO awesome Vanilla Ice casette tape that we could play in our boombox!" So in the spirit of looking out for my children's future nostalgic sides (and making fun of what they used to think was sooo cool), I thought I'd post a few of those things here on my blog :) It might be boring to others to see the mundane details of our life, but I keep this blog mostly as a journal and a record of my kids' childhoods- and this is all part of that.

A few months ago, we finally decided to trade in my long ago-paid off Ford Expedition for something a little newer and nicer. We found a great deal on my dream car. I've been wanting an Escalade for a while but it was hard to commit to that kind of a payment when my current vehicle was paid off. But when we found this one, we were sold.

  It's a Cadillac Escalade ESV, Platinum Edition. It is the most comfortable vehicle we've ever had. It's so great for long drives, like our frequent trips back to Idaho.

Some of our favorite features are:
- Two built in DVD players- one for the second seat and one for the third seat with Bose wireless headsets.
- Heated and cooled seats for all 4 captains chairs, front and middle.
-Heated and cooled cup holders in the front and middle seats.
- Built in GPS navigation system
-Bose Surround sound.
- Large amount of cargo space in the back, behind the third seat (the reason for going with the ESV instead of the regular Escalade).

My kids absolutely love it (and so do I). Our road trips are much more fun than they were with our previous car. The captains seats in the middle are very wide and so comfortable. We wouldn't want any trip to be conflict free however, or we might start to wonder if these were really our children. This vehicle even has a solution for that- the kids tease each other by turning on the seat coolers in the middle of the winter :) Our kids are still our kids after all!