Friday, January 25, 2008

Saroya's "Bad" Haircut

Well- I am two for three in the hair department. If you remember last month, I cut Ethan's hair "too short" and he was not going back to school until it grew back. Well-after I got home, I took Saroya to get her hair cut. She looks forward to getting it cut because we go to a kids salon and she gets to play video games or watch a movie while she gets it cut. Then after she's done they sprinkle "pixie dust" (glitter) in her hair and paint her fingernails. Who wouldn't love that, right? She was fine until that night when all the glitter and video games wore off. She cried and went on and on about how it was "too short" and she wasn't going back to school until it grew out. Sound familiar? She went a step further and made it a matter of prayer "please help my hair grow fast before church on Sunday" and wore a hooded sweatshirt to school the next day...with the hood up. I wonder how much of it came from Ethan's comment about the boy at his school that has the same haircut... Anyway- here are a few pics. What do you think?

When I tell her we think it looks great she says, "I don't care if other people like it- I don't!" I guess I should have already known that!

Now Jaleigh is begging to get her hair cut, or "broken" or "tucked in" (basically any word she can think of to tell me that she wants a haircut) but I am freaked out to do it! I think she would want it short for one day and then want it long again. She LOVES having her hair done, doing it herself, and doing other peoples hair. Does this look like a girl that wants her hair cut? (By the way- she created her own look for this shot.)

I should mention something about this scarf. My Mom made it for her last year and she LOVES it! She definitely uses it as a fashion accessory. For this look it was undies and the scarf. Other times it is with a princess dress, or because she was being an artist. She is so funny with her fashion sense. And it is always wrapped around her neck with one side going down the front and one side going down the back.

Stay tuned, she might have a new "do" if I get brave enough!

One last note on Saroya. She went to the doctor and found out she had to get shots. She wasn't very happy about it, in fact she was angry. I kept saying, "Don't look- don't look!" but she did, and as soon as they gave her one shot, she started LAUGHING! The nurse & I started laughing and they gave her another shot. She started laughing again! She thought it was funny that she didn't want shots because they don't hurt. When we got home, she went to tell Ethan that shots don't hurt. Ethan said, "Did you get to go out to eat?" (That's the only way we can get the dramatics to stop with him after shots!) She was like, "Why? It didn't even hurt. I laughed!" What a cool girl to laugh at pain!! :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The L O N G Journey Home

After such a great trip I was ready to get home and back to my family. Unlike When Nathan was gone, Jaleigh wouldn't talk to me on the phone and Saroya suggested that I should stay 4 more days, so I really wanted to get home and connect again. (Granted- they were staying with Grandma & Grandpa so that in itself was exciting enough) It was going to be a quick flight to Denver, and then straight to Grand Rapids. Easy! I actually searched out in advance what movie would be on the flight and I was looking forward to relaxing just a tad bit more before getting back in time to take the kids to Gymnastics and Hockey.

We knew that the storm coming through the night before I left would cause travel problems, so I got up at 4:30am and left with an hour and a half to make a 40 minute drive. The roads were terrible, but with the skilled driving of my sister-in-law, we made it!

When I got to my gate I heard mumblings of all the airports runways being closed, but the lady at the gate assured me we would only be about 10 minutes late for boarding. I had lost my phone charger in Utah so my cell phone was dead. I used my DEBIT CARD to make a payphone call to let my Dad know I would very likely not make it home on time. Not only did that phone call (and one other to Nathan to get calling card info) cost me over $30.00 in calling charges, it also eventually caused fraudulent activity on my account... Great. We did board the plane when the boarding clerk said we would so I was impressed!

After 3 1/2 hours of sitting on the plane at the gate we finally pulled back to get de-iced! I was still in pretty good spirits because no one was in the seat next to me and I got to stretch out, where most of the plane was packed. Soon the captain said, "We are 3rd in line for take off". I watched one plane take off, then another, and finally we were up. The captain comes back on and says, "Uh- it looks like we are going to have to go back to the gate and re-fuel." I just started laughing. Are you kidding me? We sat there for 3 and an half hours and no one noticed that?? We went back to the gate and they had us all "de-plane" for 20 minutes Since the airport was closed, the airport was crammed with people. I had just enough time to call Nathan, give him the low-down, and get the calling card info. Plus I had a minute to grab some trail mix since I hadn't had breakfast.

Back on the plane, de-iced again, and finally off to Denver. Once there and after a huge confusion as to where we were supposed to go to get re-booked, they found me a flight. I would now go from Denver to Moline(?!?!)to Chicago, and finally Grand Rapids by 11:30pm. Grabbed some lunch in a bag and ran to my gate. Luckily I was one of the first on the flight, because they didn't allow the last 11 people on, due to weight restrictions(?!). Yes- it was a small plane, but I was glad to be on it and going home.

I realized I was going to only have 20 minutes to make my connection in Moline so I was really anxious to make it there on time. We did make it on time, but couldn't get to our gate because another plane was there and we had to wait for 25 minutes.

We finally made it off the flight, and I went to the departure boards and all the flights posted were for 6am and later the next morning. I found one other lady and one other man that were on my same flight so we searched for an attendant to help us. The airport was empty. We went to talk to the security men, who said they were closing in 5 minutes. Wha...?!?! We found a pilot going onto the flight we just came off, "Is this plane going to Chicago tonight?" "Yes" "We are booked on this flight." "No- I am sorry. This is an empty flight just getting the flight crew and plane to Chicago." We begged. Showed him our tickets. He was stunned. I said, "I don't need a drink or snacks, I just want to get to Chicago." He agreed but told us that the flight had been delayed for 2 hours. That would have me missing my flight by an hour. So there the three of us sat in an empty airport. They kept changing and pushing back the time, and I was concerned about staying overnight in the airport in Chicago. I talked with Nathan and was really discouraged and worried. Since Jaleigh was the only one still awake, I begged her to at least say "Hi" to me... and she did. She just said "Hi". It was enough though. I loved it.

At last, we got on the plane. The same lady that loaded our luggage, took our tickets and got us on the plane, then went outside and waved to us while she de-iced the plane. It was hilarious! Finally the pilot came out, say down on the arm of a chair and said, "Ok, Chicago is saying 2 more hours before we can go there, this airport is trying to close due to bad weather, (Who?? The ONE lady that was doing everything for us wanted to close the airport?) and we had just de-iced so we only had a small window of opportunity. He finally got clearance to leave. One stop closer!!

When I got to Chicago, I went to the gate clerk and said, "I just got in and I have missed my connection to Grand Rapids" He said, "Oh- that flight leaves in 45 minutes from gate F-11." "Grand Rapids MICHIGAN??" "Yup!" I called Nathan thrilled! I felt like I was walking on air! He said he watched my flights online and every time they would push back my flight to Chicago, they pushed back my flight to Grand Rapids. It was a miracle on my behalf much to the dismay of all the other people on my flight to GR. But I WAS GOING HOME!!

We didn't get to Grand Rapids until 2:30am and by 3:00am when my luggage wasn't there- I didn't care. I ran out to the car my dad was waiting for me in and I was ecstatic. My Dad offered to let me stay at their house for the rest of the night because it was snowing, but I wanted to GET HOME! I dropped him off, and headed home.

The further I went, the worse it got. Pretty soon I was making tracks on the road and could barely see where I was going. At one point a car drove past me and I slammed on my brakes because I literally could NOT see. When the snow cleared, my car was pointing right at the ditch. I was stunned. If I wouldn't have stopped, I would have ended up in the ditch, stuck, and no way to call anyone. I have never prayed as long as I did for the 2 hour drive home that night. Every muscle in my body was tense, and I was hungry because the one meal I had was at lunch and it was now 5am. 25 hours after I woke up to come home, I made it. I laughed and cried as I drove down my street. I was couldn't believe how much I had been through, but more importantly, I was soo thankful for my Heavenly Father for staying mindful of me, helping me make it home and for keeping me safe. There truly is no place like home...

**The morning I got home I found out that the kids school had been canceled due to weather, so I could love all over them all day! And while I was unpacking- I found my phone charger. The blessings continue...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Me Time....It is something I don't do too much. Actually I do it a lot more than I used to thanks to friends and Girls Nights Out, but not to the extent I did recently, and man was it good!
I need to digress a tiny bit to give you background. As soon as I graduated from high school I was invited to go to Utah to live with and help a daughter of a friend who was soon to have her 5th child. Of course I jumped on the idea without thinking twice. When I got there I saw 4 if the most adorable "real" kids I had ever seen and a very pregnant mother. Within a few months (and after a frightening -for me, she never seemed worried- birth experience) we had a new baby. Well I have loved this family ever since. I eventually moved to England with them for a while, and they have been family in every sense of the word. Well, in November I received notice that the little girl that was 6 when I first met her, was getting married.

Fast forward a few months and throw in a few horrid weeks of sickness and stress, and all it took was a suggestion from my husband (and support from Mom & Dad) and I booked a trip to Utah. I think I did it without thinking if I would even feel ok about leaving the kids and Nathan (who had only been home a few days and was at work mostly, by the time I left) Before I knew it, I was sitting on a plane headed for the west and it was too late to change my mind.

There are lots of things I love about Utah. I love the diversity of the land- snow capped mountains in the north, and sandy red rocks in the south. We have had some of our best memories there, heck- we fell in love there! I love the history of Utah and the way the historical sites have been preserved and brought to life. But one of my very favorite things about Utah is the FOOD! I made a decision that the whole time I was there, I would EAT UTAH. And I did.. the whole state....
Utah's famous Fry Sauce... YUMM!

As soon as my sister Sunny & her cutie Hyrum picked me up from the airport (and after we made a couple of loops on the shuttle bus around the airport and parking lot...Who knew you had to pull a cord to let him know you needed to get off??) We headed to one of my favorite restaurants, The Training Table. Then I realized that the sandwich I love soo much, was probably so good because it has a yummy ranch dressing on it that I can't have anymore. Oh well. It was still good without the ranch. Plus, of course they had fry sauce!! Little Hyrum is on his way to being a fry fan too I think!
The rest of the day, we were able to see the Joseph Smith movie at Temple square and go with the new bride through the temple for the first time. Perfect. The next day Sunny & I did some house searching. She and her husband are looking for their first house, but it is sooo expensive to live out there! It was fun to sneak around peoples houses and peek in windows. One guy actually caught us and stood at the door with a phone. We think he was calling the police. Oops! We went to one of my favorite grocery store chains Maceys to get good deals. If I could have eaten ice cream or brought it home, I would have since it was $0.50 for a half gallon. Plus, I found a LDS book I was looking for there for cheaper than anywhere else.

We "ate Utah" that day for lunch at a place called Art City Trolley. It was really good, except they didn't have fry sauce. The GREAT thing was, that they knew exactly what I was talking about and brought out the ingredients so I could make it myself. :) It was a cool place that has a old trolley cart in the front of the building. Too bad I didn't get a good picture. Bummer.

Friday was the wedding day. It was freezing cold and snowing like crazy. The adorable love birds could have cared less that anyone was even there or that we were all freezing. That's exactly as it should be...

It was beautiful. Funny thing too about this boy, he served his mission here and seems to know my aunt Kim and uncle Rich really good! He always said, "Do you have a picture of them? I want to see them." I said, "Come back to Michigan! :)"

Here is a picture of the kids that survived my first attempt at helping raise kids. They are resilient and thankfully have great parents! Yes- that 15 year boy is the baby that was born while I was living there!

After the wedding and before the reception, I talked one of the girls into taking me to another Utah favorite of mine.

I remember this place that started out as a smoothie shop called "Blenders" by a group of BYU students and quickly changed to "Zuka Juice". I got hooked back when it was Blenders and went every chance I got. I guess after a while it was bought out by "Jamba Juice". I was not disappointed with my drink there, especially because they use only fresh fruit and can make any drink DAIRY FREE. Ok- you had me at hello....

That night at the reception, I met up again with Sunny, Derek & Hyrum. How did I notice them so quickly in a room full of people?? Oh- It is because Sunny was dressed EXACTLY the same as me.
It would be one thing if this was just a coincidence, but Sunny picked out my outfit earlier that morning! Apparently she still has "baby head". We laughed about it and sat right next to each other the rest of the night. Even down to the boots! Can you believe it? :) Funny.

On Saturday I was able to catch up with my hosts, Nathan's sister Ruth and her husband Ben. I had been staying with them the whole time, but with my busy schedule and their work and school schedules, we weren't able to see each other much. Nathan's other sister Angela came over too, and they indulged me in my eating Utah mission. (The little girl is someone Ruth was babysitting, in case you were wondering...)

We went to Gandolfo's for lunch, which was a the topic of debate, because was it really Utah? It is called "Gandofo's New York Deli". Come to find out, the sandwich shop was actually started in Provo, Utah. Yea! Check!

We met up with Sunny & Derek for a new Utah spot (for me) for dinner. Oh man. I have been craving this since I got home. It's a place called Costa Vida, and I had something similar to this...

YUM! But yeah, like I need a new place to add to my "places to eat in Utah" list.

Sunday morning, I was able to go to church with Ruth, Ben & Angela. Going to Church with so many perfect saints was great. I got lots of spiritual insight, as well as fashion and hair design ideas. ;) It was nice to be just a member of the ward!

After a delicious lunch (made at home in Utah- does that count?) I went to Sunny's for a dinner with my cousin and her family. It was good to get back in touch with them.

With a Sunday night that ended late, and a Monday morning that was coming too soon with the promise of a snow storm, we decided we needed some sleep. If I would have just realized how bad I would need that sleep for the journey home on Monday....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Help Arrives!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, while the thick of most of the illness plagued our home, Nathan was in Nevada visiting family and helping his brother with some projects. Needless to say, his arrival couldn't have come sooner. Saroya made a "Welcome Home" sign and had a massive pile of Wekinz hold it for her. (Cause of course the Webkinz missed him too..)

At the airport, the kids were smashing their faces against the windows just trying to get a glimpse of the airplane. Jaleigh just kept saying, "What color is the plane? What color is the plane?!!" As if she could see it in the pitch black night and through the snowstorm. While Nathan was gone, it was not unusual to hear someone on the phone pleading with Nathan to come home, or "Daddy I miss you, can't you just come home now?" Jaleigh thought Nathan was just at the airport the whole time, so when I told her he was too far away to just go pick up she would say matter-of-factly, "No he's not!" They told him all about their days and Saroya gave him daily updates on her condition. Ethan had a countdown calendar going in his room, and when he had to study spelling with me instead of Nathan.... Oh my. Not good. Needless to say, by the time he finally arrived there were cheers and lots of hugging and kissing. Home at last!That night it snowed a lot and the drive home was a little hairy, BUT because it snowed the kids got to do one of their favorite winter traditions the next day. I will just say this first-Nathan is actually one of the most creative people I know. Every year he makes a snowman with the kids, and if I had a scanner, I would post all of the fun snowmen he has made. Even the snowman attempt that left his poor sister Ruth with a HUGE bruise from her kneecap all the way down to her ankle. ("Just hold this board and as I push this giant snowball up it, you push your end of the board upwards... It'll work-don't worry!") This year, Jaleigh said they had to make a snowGIRL. So they made the most adorable tiny snowgirl on the railing of our deck, and she looks into the house. She is soo cute, I just want to bring her inside! She got a new hat when it started getting late, to keep her warm I guess. This is her the next morning.It made me sad over the next couple of days because she started to melt. In fact, one night I was looking out the window at her and her smile fell off as I was watching. Oh well, at least we got a picture and she will always be one of my favorite "Nathan creations".

When I was looking through my pictures, I found some pictures the kids had taken when they were being creative with "Stackerz". For those of you who are lucky enough to not know what they are, they are a fruit snack that is shaped like little flat dots.

Anyway- here are some of the pictures I found...

That's what I love about digital pictures. I don't care that they take pictures cause I can always erase them, but the ones that capture their world as they see it -are priceless.

One last shot I love... Jaleigh was helping me get the garbage out by bringing be the wast paper baskets from each room. When we were done I said, "OK- now we need to put them back in the rooms they belong." And she took off down the hall with one on her head, and one in each hand... Now she is learning to be a mom!!! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Back on the Saddle Ya'll

Whew!! Right before New Years eve the family started falling apart. Ethan got

which was really really scary, but then Saroya & Jaleigh came down with

which, for Saroya turned into
and then lead to an infection that is too gross to show a picture of, so I will just tell you that it is treated with
And then of course, we had to throw in a few of these for good measure before it was over.
After all of that (and having Nathan in Nevada during this time) I was SPENT! That pretty much explains the huge lack of postings on my part. I must give a BIG thanks to this great little "hospital" cleanser,

as well as doctors, medications, Prayer, my visiting teacher, her husband, insurance, automatic washer and dryer, as well as my dear husband who received daily e-mails with updates and pictures of the progresses and digresses we endured. With my husband back home and the sickness just about gone, I give a huge sigh of relief and am ready to get back into the swing of things.

Since these past few weeks have been a blur, I have decided that this very day, January 13th is OUR January 1st. That way, we haven't missed a thing!

Ok- so even though we were dragging, my parents showed much bravery by offering to still have us come to their house for the festivities. They watched the kids for us while Nathan & I took in an early showing of the new National Treasure movie. It was nice to get away together. (When was the last time we were on a date??) We passed the time the rest of the night by watching Shrek 2 on TV, playing games, and opening what I call "Christmas crackers". I love that my parents use the fireplace at their house so much- even though it is "old school" and it takes a lot of work. Oh how I love a fire!!
By the time that old (actually new I guess) ball finally hit the ground into the new year, the kids about the only ones that wanted to be up. We had our toasts to the new year and tried to get overly tired and sick kids into bed. I am really thinking about approaching some TV executives to request that on New years eve, they just run celebrations from every time zone as if it is your own. I am really thinking of celebrating with the Brazilians for New Years Eve next year... :)
The next morning, my parents got up (OK- with some encouragement from the kids probably) and made an AWESOME breakfast spread reminiscent of Aunt Ruth's Christmas breakfasts. We even got to use all the "fancy" table settings! It was a great way to begin the new year.

OH yeah- and this is just a little something for my sisters. Kinda funny the benefits you get by "stickin' around". :)
Ok- I'm kidding, Mom and Dad know what a hot ticket this is... Dad would only let me touch it because I wanted to take pictures of it! Don't you just love her? :)