Friday, December 30, 2011

Dumb! Dumb!! Dumb!!!

I did a really dumb thing right before Christmas. I left a pot on the stove, set on high of course, until our house was so full of smoke that when I opened the front door to start airing out my neighbor came over to make sure I didn't need help getting bodies out of our house because the smoke just rolled out the door. And now our house has this terrible, rancid, stale, cheap cigarette smoke smell. It can't be a outdoor fire smell, or a BBQ smell. No. It's got to be the yucky, stinky smell that just makes you hurl as you walk in the door. It's getting better. Slowly. We have a good friend that works for Disaster Cleanup and he gave us some odor sponge and a few ionizers that have REALLY helped.

So, no. We did not take up smoking. We just stink!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Only 3 more days Santa! We've all been (trying to be) good!!

Alex's 15th birthday!!! My baby is 15!?!

Alex had his 15th birthday the other day, and we celebrated all day long. We started out by going out to lunch with dad, the girls and Heyhey. (I couldn't get Hey in the pic ;-( ) And some men gave us an extra treat while we were there... they painted a sign on our window while we sat there. It was fascinating - OK it was fascinating to all the 2 year old minds at the table, but it was fun to watch - either the guys painting or the kids' faces!

This isn't the best picture, but it was sure cute. The girls would climb out of their chairs just to give papa a hug then sit back down to eat. It's just not fair.... I take care of them all day, but he is their favorite.
Al thought his birthday was the greatest because he got to go out to eat for lunch AND dinner! (The kid would eat out for every meal if given the chance.) IHOP is one of his most favorite places to go in the world. He orders a Rooty Jr. (pancakes with berries on it) and sausage, and more sausage, and more sausage. He can really put it away.
He's showing you two of the guys Daddy Ernie sent him for his birthday. He got to talk to all of Ernie's kids earlier in the day and to Ernie before we went to dinner. Just as we were heading out the door to dinner, a package came for Alex from Ernie and family... and inside were a ton of Star Wars guys. Of course, they had to come to dinner with us. (And just a funny side note, that is Grandpa Scott hiding behind the menu. He didn't want his picture taken.)
He got a lot of cool things - a remote control helicopter, a Halo guy, a Transformer, a yoyo and some church pants, but from mom and dad he got a Pass of all Passes! So after dinner we went to Trafalga for fun, fun, fun!
First stop, the climbing wall. This first picture I took of Alex he's pretty close to the floor still, but I took it that early because last time he did a climbing wall, he only was able to make it a few feet. But this time...
...look how far he made it. (That's him on the left!)
TJ and B had to take a turn, too. They didn't do too bad for an old, married couple. ;-)
Then we went and did a laser tag game, and the black light mini golf. Here's a pic of everyone doing fish faces by the dolphins. I took some other pics, but because it was so dark they didn't turn out well enough to share.
And after all that fun and partying, he got another surprise the next day!! Grandpa Larry and Lexy came to visit!! This is Alex's birth mom's dad and Alex's half sister. You can definitely tell they are related, can't you!? She took such good care of Alex as a baby. We will never be able to repay her for all she did, even as a little kid herself. And Grandpa Larry has a definite soft spot for his little boy! We missed seeing Mommy Dana, but hopefully soon.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG GUY! (And just to relieve every one's fears - Alex doesn't get to drive until he's as tall as his brothers. Remember they are 6 foot and taller!!)

Christmas lights spectacular!!

We went as a whole family to dinner and then to walk around Temple Square to see the lights. We started our trip on the Trax - a first for Mo and only a second time for Oak. Fun, and not even too crowded. Al got to stand up and hold a hand rail, so he thought he was pretty cool. I didn't get any pics of us going on the train because we were kind of split up, and then with dinner... well, let's just say sometimes the best of intentions can turn into not the best results; our idea was to go to Denny's right by the temple for dinner, but I guess 30,000 other people had the same idea. So, we hoofed it over to the mall's food court. Not a bad idea in itself, except only 2 out of a dozen restaurants were open. And this was a Saturday night! So dinner took longer than we expected, but we had fun. And the food was good!
And just look at the cool, new video game the girls found! We all crossed our fingers and toes, but they didn't win.
Here's a very cold Alex next to the reflecting pond. There were hundreds of people around but looking at that water with all the lights reflecting on it was so peaceful.

This is the back side of the nativity in the reflecting pond. Too many people on the other side.
Looking up from the bottom of just one tree. So many lights!
And when we were all done, we played sardines on the Trax. It was PACKED!! Josh was able to get a picture for me. He was the only one tall enough to look over people's heads. I could have gotten a pic of a bunch of people's butts, but I figured this is better.
This is all the girls (Kierra holding Mo, Cali holding Oak and Tj's back is to us - in the green coat. She's holding all the strollers!)
But my favorite light, out of the hundreds of thousands that lit up the night, were the lights on the temple, reminding all of us about the light of Christ and how peaceful and calm the spirit can make us feel even in a world full of chaos. If we live righteously, we will be able to live together again as a family. What could be better than that? Forget Santa, forget snow, forget reindeer and even the beautiful lights. All I want for Christmas is you....FOREVER!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Echo cardiogram and the results

I always said that this blog would be a way to keep Daddy Ernie in touch with what's going on with Alex, so bear with me while I update him on Al.

We took him for an echo cardiogram the other day. We weren't concerned or anything, but he hadn't had an echo done for quite a while and with him having sleep apnea, it was time. I guess it's a good thing we did. His right ventricle has thickened and the pressure through it is 30-ish and it's supposed to be about 14. Not good news, obviously. The doctor that ordered the echo is a sleep expert, not a cardiologist so she is getting us hooked up with a Dr. Day. I guess he is the expert here on hypertension in people with Down Syndrome. I don't know much more than that. She did say that we need to make sure his oxygen sats are at 95%+; at 92% it will stabilize and not cause anymore damage, at 95% it should help improve the damage - not cure it, just improve - and below 92% will continue to cause damage. Good thing we have a pulse oximeter!! We will monitor his oxygen levels often and we will probably put a baby monitor in his room so we can hear when he takes his CPAP mask off so we get it right back on. He's getting better about keeping it on, but obviously I wasn't vigilant enough with keeping tabs on it.

Hopefully we will hear back from the sleep specialist and she will have gotten us an appointment soon with the cardiologist. Then I will have more info to give. Right now all I can ask is you continue keeping him in your prayers. And we will keep you in touch with any info we get!!

Christmas fun!

We got to go see real reindeer! They are at a tree lot near our home. There were 3 of them. This one is Tinker (short for Tinkerbell). Just for your learning pleasure, she is a female reindeer. Both male and female reindeer have horns. They also have a coat that protects them from -50 degrees to +115! That's a huge span. We got to pet Tinker and their coat is a lot thicker than it looks.
The two reindeer in the pic below who are eating - all you can see are their backs - are Disney (the first ever reindeer who has survived after being conceived through artificial insemination, and who was born while owner was in Disneyland) and Louie. Actually, Louie doesn't have an official name, but we named him. The managers of the lot said all the reindeer have Disney names so we had to come up with a male Disney character name. We named quite a few and when we said Huey, Dewey and Louie - well, of course we had to go with Louie after Cali!!
Here's B with Tinker...

... Mo with Tinker's hind end in the pic...

... and Oak with Tinker.
We also got to sit in Santa's sleigh, but got distracted because the reindeer were being fed just then.
And while we were there we took some pictures of our favorite flocked trees. Here's B with a white tree...
Mo with her favorite flocked tree. A purple one.
Oak with her favorite, also a purple one.
But we also had to take some pictures of some of the ghastly colors of flocked trees they had. Black and grey? What? Who buys those? A funeral home??...
...sick pee yellow (I think it was supposed to be gold), turquoise and pink?
Here's a close up of the pink one. Pepto Bismol anyone?
Bright red? It looked violent. And no that's not a typo. I didn't mean violet. I meant violent!
And here's a close up of the yellow/gold/brown one. EWWWW. That's all I have to say about that one.
It was a nice day and not even too cold. Getting excited for Christmas!!! I guess I should start shopping, huh?

Hockey has started again!!

Alex started hockey again. He hasn't played for 2 years and is doing incredible for having missed so much (first year because of hip, second year because he was afraid of hurting his hip) and is all over the place on the ice. The picture above and below is of him waiting on the bench for the Zamboni to finish it's job. Yeah, I know! They spelled his name wrong, what else is new.
And here he is in front of the Christmas tree at the oval! It's huge!! I will take more pics of him actually on the ice and post them after the new year. It's hard to get a good pic because he cruises so fast. That's a good thing!! Go number 5!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

My big, little brother

My brother and I have a unique relationship in the fact that we work together, but still like each other. (Maybe I better not put words in his mouth - OK I like him and he is nice to me)
He was awarded the best OT from a disablity group and I am so very proud of him!! He knows what he's doing, and he is good at his job. He's a very hard worker and treats his 'kids' with respect but pushes them to succeed. He also has the same rapport with his co-workers; although sometimes being the only man in the group (until recently) he was known to be crass, but everyone loves working with him and we all learn from him everyday. Congrats Shaun for everyone else finally finding out you are the best!! I knew it all along!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just some things we've done lately

Have you ever opened up a phone book, ripped out a few pages then ripped it to shreds? You should, it's very therapeutic, and just downright fun. We do this at least once a month here at our house, and the kids love it!! Before we clean it all up we take turns being covered in the paper then exploding out of the pile. Again, very therapeutic and downright fun!!

The picture below shows the kids cutting construction paper to make a paper chain to countdown till Christmas. Of course, we added Alex's birthday to to the countdown.... he'll be 15! Where did my little boy go??
And speaking of birthdays, we went to a park in Wheeler Farm to celebrate B's birthday. It was a little chilly, but a great way to celebrate!

And this is the newest member of our family. Her name is Babe, and she's the best kind of dog to have - one that's not yours. She actually belongs to our neighbors, but likes to come visit, hang out with us and even go on car rides. She even slept overnight once. She's a real good dog, and I like having the canine company, without having the responsibility. I'm sure you'll see more of her in upcoming posts.

N had her heart surgery and was home before a week was up!! I saw her a few days later and she was so pink!!!
Can I just say we miss her terribly! Glad she's doing better, but we hope to see her soon.

A funny!

Check out this freak of nature!! That's what Alex and I were doing when the funniest thing happened; whenever I get on the computer, Oakland loves to sit under the desk. Well, she was in place when I called Alex in to look at this picture on the internet. We were reading the article together when Oakland decided to come out from under the desk, while using Alex's legs as leverage. I have never seen ANYONE dance in mid-air like he did! I don't think his feet touched the ground as he ran out of the room, his face white as a ghost. He did peer back around the corner pretty quickly, though, I'm sure to make sure I was OK. When he realized Oakland had been under the desk he bust out laughing saying, "Oh, my gosh! I thought she was the bug!" We laughed and laughed and he called Oakland 'a bug' the rest of the day.
I'm sure glad that bug wasn't really in my house! I would have outran Alex if it was.