Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is it bragging . . . maybe!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE flower gardens. When we bought our house 6 years ago, this is what it looked like. Sorry for the yucky picture, it was my pre digital days, it's actually a scan from a picture on a scrapbook page! It was a foreclosure that had been vacant for almost 5 years. We had it inspected inside and out, and besides obvious repairable stuff, it was in good shape.

We hired a landscape designer to come in and draw us up a landscape blue print. I requested the plan to have LOTS and LOTS of flower beds. He said "I draw up the plans, I don't do the work!"

Well, 6 years later, LOTS of manual labor and THOUSANDS of dollars later, it now looks like this! We refinanced the house for a GREAT interest rate, and in the process had to have the home appraised. We have more than doubled the value of the home in 6 years. I had someone ask me for some before and after pictures, so here they are.

We brought in tractors to haul out old sidewalks and rented a skidloader to haul away loads of dirt. We brought in and DID by ourselves all the brick work for the new sidewalks and courtyard. Hired out the decorative curbing.
I didin't post pics of the backyard, it's not done yet a few more years of work back there still to go, but we brought in an excavator to haul away 50 dumptruck loads of dirt, brought in 3 dumptruck loads of landscape rock, planted 25 trees and hired out curbing there as well. In the process we tipped a skid loader on it's side. Used an old pickup to tie boulders to and drag around the yard. Still have yet to do more brick for another patio and plant about 20 flower beds. Our current project back there is to finish the 200 square foot play area with bark, and play house/playground set.
I've never worked so hard in my life, but I've never felt so rewarded when I smell my Iris' that smell like grape juice and my roses that smell like honey. I love to just sit on the deck and look at my grass grow!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Marshall's Preschool Graduation!

Wasn't it just yesterday that I blogged the first day of school? Well, last week we went to Marshall's last day of school. Man, he is getting so big and grown up {tears}. So these pics are from the long awaited graduation program! No boring speeches here, just cute little songs and plays put on by the adorable little 5 year olds.

Here is Marshall, he got the lead part in the play done by the "Rainbow Group" (I bet a girl named that group!) His line . . . BARK!
Isn't he soooo proud of his costume!
The play is about a mom dog and her son George. Mom dog says "Bark, George, Bark" and another little preschooler standing in a line behind George pops to the side and says "meow" or "quack" or "oink" or whatever their animal is. Mom is worried and calls the doctor. Doctors says "Bark George, Bark" and again, instead of barking you hear a "meow" "quack", "oink" . . . doctor reaches deep down inside of george and pulls out the other animals one at a time. At the end of the play, mom dog says "Bark George, Bark" and instead of barking you hear the doctor say "Hello". George had swallowed the doctor!

Did I mention how stinkin' cute he it!!! This is "George" with his Dog Mom and if you look closely, you can see the doctor behind Marshall. The kids thought it was HILLARIOUS that the George had eaten the doctor!

Getting his diploma! {tears}

His most awesome teachers! Mrs. Pernoud and Mrs. Heister. These two ladies are amazing. Stephanie had them as preschool teachers 4 years ago, and Marshall was lucky enough to get into the same preschool this year. I just have loved them as teachers for both of my kids. Thanks teachers!!
Did I mention how cute Marshall is . . . getting so big {tears}.

And, of course a lovely posed pic of Marshall with his hat and diploma!

So, the older I get, the faster time flies. I watch my little babies grow up and become independent and I actually kinda mourn them growing up! Dang motherhood! Marshall has been my little Angel Baby since he was born, and I watch him grow up and turn into a little boy who still just melts my heart!
I love you Marshall!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fishing Field Trip!

Marshall's preschool does this huge field trip at the end of the year. We first discovered the trout farm when we went with this same preschool 4 years ago when Stephanie was in preschool. The preschool invites the whole family, everyone brings a picnic lunch, and the preschool kids get to go fishing. We paid $2.50 and by the end of the trip, we were given back the fish the kids caught, all gutted and ready to eat! (EWWWW)

First we get instruction:

Don't Fall In - It can cause mom to leap in after you. Plus it makes the fish sick.
Then we got to go to work! Thankfully, I was able to hand my camera over to a friend whose son goes to the same preschool so that I could help Marshall fish. Look, I'm in a picture!
Oh, another rule . . . pull the hook out of the fish . . . EWWWW! That's when you're glad that there are some fathers around to help, cause Marshall and I were doing good to touch and hold the fish. Yanking out a sharp hook . . . um, NO!

Then we got to touch our fish . . . EWWWW!
Marshall and I kinda got slimed by his fish!

Then drop your fish in this big bucket so they can go to the people that fillet the fish!

Then enjoy the scenery and the pretty ponds!

Peek a boo Marshall!

Then we sanitized our hands 5 bajillion times and ate our lunch! Marshall's friend Hunter "donated" his fish to us. Now we have two fish in our freezer! {place sarcasm here} YEAH! I LOVE FISH!
It was SOOOOO much fun watching all the little kids' response to the fish. The girls were usually more willing to touch the fish, the boys were screaming like little girls! It was awesome!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's hard to be a mom!

When I was little, all I ever wanted to be is a mom! I wanted lots of kids, maybe a few sets of multiples! I loved babysitting, loved taking care of kids altogether. Well, than I grew up and had 4 kids, and mostly it's everything I imagined it could be. I love my children more than anything in the world. I would do ANYTHING for them.

Well, this month it has come to a point where I've had to prove this to myself. We've had concerns about Benjamin since the day he was born. The doctor told us to watch for water on the brain because he had such a huge head! He had aspirated liquid into his lungs during birth, and was in the hospital for a week. We were only able to bring him home then because my mom (an awesome Registered Nurse, grandma AND mom) could give him his antibiotics in a shot about 4 times a day (and night). As we watched him grow, we noticed little things about him that we began to label as Benjamin's Quirks. He was an awesome baby, soooo happy, so beautiful. He was an awesome toddler. Well behaved, sooo happy, and the apple of our eyes! But, he seemed to have coordination issues. Walking down stairs was a left foot down, right foot together, left foot down a step, right foot together. Rather than the right foot down, left foot down, right foot down . . . He still does this as a 12 year old. But, as parents, he was our little perfect baby with a few funny little quirks.

In first grade he was diagnosed with ADD, but NOT ADHD. The doctors thought that very strange. USUALLY boys have the hyperactivity issues associated with attention deficit disorder. But not Ben.

Well, grade school was tricky, but we found ways to help him through his learning issues at school and he pulled fairly good grades. He still had a few more "quirks" that we just thought were Benjamin's quirks. He HAS to have his right foot moving ALL THE TIME. Sitting, standing, lying on the bed. He says if he doesn't move it, he feels like he is going to burst. He loved four wheelers and motorcycles, tractors and lawn mowers, street sweepers and garbage trucks. He could tell you exactly how each one works, and what each of their specific names and uses were. But if mr. street sweeper showed up offering Ben a ride in one, he would be soooo scared to get on it.

Now were in 6th grade at the Middle School (or here in Brigham it's known as the Intermediate School) He has 7 classes, and he is getting B- as his top grade, and Fs in 3 of his classes. He has this fascination with writing utensils, and it is almost like an addiction to him. If he sees one on the ground, counter, desk, car . . . he HAS to have it. His 6th grade teachers have called and talked to us about what they are seeing, and we tell them what we have experienced over the years. We are beginning to think that this is more than just ADD.

We research and research and come up with some symptoms in the Autism family that match his to a T. So we call doctors, psychotherapists and get him in. Our thoughts were that he had Aspergers, which is most commonly misdiagnosed as ADD. Now that he's hitting puberty, his hormones are sending him overboard (this is what doctor tells us) and causing his symptoms to be more severe.

Well, we got a diagnosis Thursday from his Psychotherapist, and we were right about it being in the autism family, but not quite the Aspergers. He has what is called PDD NOS. Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified. This means that he has pieces of lots of different aspects of the autism spectrum, just not enough of one or the other to label him in one.

What does this mean? More trips to the psychotherapist, more intervention with the schools, possible home schooling if it comes to that . . . and mostly, I dont know yet!

So now I look at everything my other kids do that is quirky, and I worry myself to pieces. I actually firmly feel that my other babies are fine and dandy! We don't notice any quirks that affect their daily living. Just quirks that mean they're kids.

Anyway, breather, unloading all done. That's our newest little family challenge. One day at a time right!

Last night I told my husband "It's hard to be a mom" he laughed and asked me if I thought it was supposed to be easy.

I think it should be!


Look at me getting all caught up at once! I'm feeling a little under the weather, so I'm taking a sick hour from working, and playing catchup with blogging!
So here are our fun Easter activities!

Dyeing the eggs

A few years ago, Stephanie stuck her hands in a cup of green dye. She pulled her hands out and just started bawling! She was sure she would NEVER get her beautiful hands back to normal. This year, Marshall did the same thing. Tried to hold his egg in the dye only halfway - you know, so that only half of the egg is green. He missed the point of those little doohickeys they put in the egg dye packets and used his hands. However, he thought this was TOTALLY AWESOME! Now her really is a super hero!!! Like HULK!

I don't think Abby has the idea of these little doohickeys down either!!

Then we had a picnic at the park! This is the only swing set in a public park within Box Elder County. Of course we had to go there!

Thomas was trying to pump hard enough that I couldn't snap a pic of him. Dad doesn't know me very well does he!!

And when I hand the camera to Thomas for safe keeping, it seems I end up in a photo as well. I guess I don't know HIM very well either!

Then the Easter Egg hunt on Sunday. This is the big kids waiting ever so patiently {said with dripping sarcasm} to give little Abby a head start on the hunt!

Maybe the Easter Bunny should have hidden more eggs in the FRONT yard! Much prettier for pics, and less dangerous for poker weeds! Still working on that dang back yard!!

Ward Air Concert

Our ward does this every year. Each group (primary, young mens, young womens, relief society, nursery . . .) picks a song, choreographs it, picks out costumes and practices for weeks. On the final night they perform their song in front of the whole ward and some well picked judges! Bribes are accepted and highly suggested! See if you can figure out what songs my kids were doing by their pics!

Benjamin's song . . .

Notice the corn dogs . . . yup, you guessed it "The Corn Dog Song!"

Marshall's song . . . . (also please notice where he took the scissors to his hair the morning of the air concert!)

something pirate perhaps . . . "Spongebob Square Pants"
Stephanie's song . . .

hint . . . they are all wearing yellow . . . yellow like a bee . . . "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee!"
by the way, no more tiny pictures. That was gross! I thought it would be the faster way to catch up on everything. It was, but you couldn't tell if those pics were stephanie at her party, or The Queen of England at the grocery store!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stephanie Turns 9!

Here are the photos in miniature of Stephanie's ninth bday. Since its been a way long time, I'm going to try and catch up a little bit!

We took Stephanie and 10 friends to a place called "The Peak" I had done some graphic design work for them, and this was what we decided together would make an AWESOME trade for both sides of the team!

Stephanie had a total blast, mom and dad had a total blast (of course we did, there was also a party planner-no work for us!), siblings had a great time being included as well!

Thanks to "The Peak" If you live in Brigham, go check them out it was SOOOOO awesome!


Well, it appears that miniature means crappy photo quality. Will remember that next time! Sorry swee stephanie!

Edit again!

My sister-in-law pointed out that if you click on the pic, they look much better. Give it a try. Click on the Pic! Thanks Michele