Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday bliss

Yup, you heard it right. We are nearing the end of holiday bliss. We loved and enjoyed our Thanksgiving trip to FL (will post about it later). We did a bunch of fun stuff in between then and now. Schedules have been packed and weekends are nothing short of crazy! Gifts for family, teachers, bus drivers and nurses are purchased, wrapped and some have already been given. Next Wednesday evening we head off for MI. Ryan will be there for four days the kids and I will be there for about a week and my little brother will be getting married on the 29th. So much we have done, so much to do, so much to look forward to... Holiday bliss.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Each Has A Story

Audrey: In preparations for our Ward's fall festival Sandy and I were at the church with the kids working on putting together a lot of the food and various other items to get ready for the night of fun. The kids were running around the building though I had asked them to stay close. Nathan came down from the Primary room and said that Audrey was talking on the phone. I called her down to the kitchen and had her sit in a chair. I didn't have time to quiz her about what Nathan had just told me - I was working. I heard Audrey mumble something about telling someone that a person broke in. I quickly turned around and asked her who she was talking to. "A Lady." Then I demanded to know what number she had dialed. "9-1-1". Just as the words escaped her mouth I turned to see an armed police officer motioning from the window for me to open the door. When the police officer came in I explained that I just learned what she had done and that we were talking about it. He also came to talk to her a bit to be sure she knew that you don't practice on a real phone. Audrey looked at him with fear in her eyes and begged, "Please don't take me to jail. My preschool taught me to do it."

Nathan: After getting Nathan off the bus one day he asked, "Mom what language is fart." I ignored him hoping that he would drop it and tell me about his day. Then he continued, "Mom, do you know what fart means?" Not wanting to make a big deal out of it, I replied, "Yes Nathan, it means toot." I looked at him out of the corner of my eye and saw him squeeze his lips together trying to suppress a giggle. He then went on to tell me the story of why he needed to know what the word meant. This happened a few weeks ago but when I think about it I still smile. Yes, my son made it all of the way past the first quarter of first grade before he knew what a fart is! I suppose his first grade education is now complete...

Elysse: Yes, I already have my Christmas tree up. I couldn't help it! I walked into some retail stores and they were already decorated I just couldn't resist. In college my roommates and I would get a tree, put on the lights and then make a popcorn string to put on before the ornaments. I really wanted to do that this year because I think trees with popcorn and cranberry strings are the most beautiful. Audrey and Nathan helped make them. It did take two days though as they are a lot of work. We had a good time working on them! Elysse loves popcorn so naturally when she sees some she is going to take a chomp. She leaned right into the tree and took a chomp off the popcorn string. When I was telling Sandy about it as we were standing around the tree Elysse bent toward the tree making a chomping noise!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lizzie's Wish

The Matson family moved to Asheville a short time ago. Scott, the husband/dad is a dental surgeon and they came here for a four month rotation. Two months after they arrived they noticed that their youngest child (at the time) had large, unexplained bruises. After medical investigation they were informed that Lizzie has leukemia. A week later Ban, the wife/mother, was scheduled for c-section and they had their fifth child.

The night before the c-section I was unable to sleep. Elysse was not sleeping well so I laid awake. All I could think about was this family and their situation. Suddenly a thought came to me - cord blood. Via Cord has a program to collect cord blood for siblings of those who have life threatening illnesses at no charge. 11:30 at night the Matson's were contacted and told about this program. In less than six hours time everything was set and cord blood was collected and saved.
I became involved with the family a few weeks after the diagnosis. In talking with Ban I inquired how all of the children were doing with Lizzie's illness. I learned that the hardest thing for Lizzie is not being able to go to the store with her mom. They had a routine. They would do grocery shopping and then walk up and down the toy isle. Lizzie would not get anything on these trips - she just loved to look.
So an idea was born. I went to the O.P. Taylor Toy Store in Biltmore Park and talked to an employee, Jeannie (pictured right). I explained Lizzie's situation and the plan was put in motion. Katrina (pictured in the middle) is the manager of the toy store and she was so excited to make this happen. They were willing to let Lizzie and her family come into the store an hour before they opened so Lizzie could spend time in the store without other customers and without fear of infection. On top of opening early just for Lizzie they also gave the entire family a 25% discount!!

An email was sent out to the Asheville Ward, explaining the exciting opportunity Lizzie would have to have a private shopping hour at O.P. Taylor Toy Store. The Asheville Ward sponsored Lizzie's wish and collected a substantial amount of money for a shopping spree. The generous donations were enough to not only provide Lizzie with a gift card but each of her siblings also received one.
Lizzie carting around her items.

Ronan snoozing through the shopping trip.
Lizzie was more than happy to just play in the kitchen - shopping could wait.
The kids were overjoyed. They could not believe they were able to take part in Lizzie's wish.
Leo knew exactly what he wanted and had just enough to pay for it. He spent all of five minutes picking out what he wanted and the rest of the time toting his box around!
Griffin was very calculated and methodical. He looked for ways to maximize what he was able to purchase. He has exactly $0.01 left.
Ellis couldn't focus. She was so excited she didn't know where to start, where to go or what to look at next. Eventually she was able to fill her shopping basked with several girly items that she enjoyed.
Lizzy and Ellis as they looked around.
The kids with their gift cards before they entered the store.

This experience was so fulfilling. In the grand scheme of things this was a little more then an hour of time for a disease that will hang with and haunt this family forever. But will hopefully be remembered whenever they think of their time in Asheville. This experience provided Lizzie a chance to feel like a normal kid again. I am so grateful for everyone that made this possible.

Wild and Free

I was picking up Audrey from school one day and her teacher told me the following story: "During music time Audrey was chosen to go upfront and play a musical instrument. When her turn was over she refused to go down and let another child take a turn. Later when they were outside I talked to Audrey and asked her if she understood that we need to take turns so that all of our friends have a chance to be chosen. She then asked me if I understood that she needs to be wild and free like a normal human.

Out of Gas

I took Nathan out to ride his bike on night after dinner. Our neighborhood is very hilly so we go to a section of the neighborhood that is almost flat. Nathan climbed on and started. I gave him a little push but he wasn't able to take off. We did this a couple more times and he still wasn't able to take off as we were still at a slight incline. Nathan turned around and he stated, "Mom, I think we are out of gas."

Bad Guys Have Families Too

Nathan and Audrey were having a conversation. Nathan was talking about killing bad guys and Audrey put her foot down and insisted that they no longer try to kill bad guys. Nathan couldn't understand why Audrey was so intent on letting them live. Audrey became very emotional and declared, "bad guys have moms and dads, too." Nathan couldn't let it go and continued to argue, "Audrey, sometimes their groups are their families."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Views

Beginning of the color change.
Colors in full bloom.

These views are from our back deck. It is such an incredible view. The pictures were taken just a few days apart. You want to see live views like this? Plan your trip for the second weekend in October.

This Face

Elysse Jayne. She has the most precious stinker face. Her daily activities include dumping out the contents of the cabinet below Ryan's sink, (we have a lock, but we get in there so frequently we often forget to clip it shut), climbing on the counter (we have to remember to move the chair away from the counter), standing on the back of the toilet, and helping to unload dishes from the dishwasher - clean or not. Wow, she is a lot of works. But look at this face~

Sleeping Kiddos

Okay I am just one of those moms that has to take a picture of sleeping babes. I can't help it. They are so sweet, innocent and adorable when they are sleeping...

I actually thought Audrey was faking this. But it is real, it must have been a long day at school.

30th Birthday

I must first start this post by saying that I love birthdays and not just mine. I love the idea that we celebrate the birth of each individual. It is the one day during the year that is all for the person celebrating that day (well except for those that share their birthdays). Acknowledging a person for a day out of the year can be so special.

I go all out to make sure that everyone in my family feels special on their day. It doesn't always involve huge presents. Usually the special things include the birthday banner, breakfast in bed, homemade dinner of choice, cake that represents something they are currently "into," and if time permits an activity that is enjoyed by the birthday person.

Audrey asked me what I wanted to have for my birthday. (So I thought of something she would like to have) I told her I would like a toy porcupine. She wasn't sure how to pull that off so she and Nathan decided to draw one for me. On my birthday morning Nathan and Audrey both recognized that they should be serving me breakfast in bed but instead I was packing lunches for both of them and Ryan. I just love that they are catching on to all of the traditions. I hope that they will be excellent orchestrators of all of the birthdays they will celebrate in their families some day.

Last year I began the tradition of giving myself a birthday gift - a clean house and shaved legs! I kept that tradition up this year and I think I will for years to come. Well, maybe until I get a bit older and a little smarter and then I will hire someone to give me the clean house instead of doing it on my own!!

Family Pictures 2011

I have been excited about taking pictures for over a month. We finally did it and they turned out okay, but not as I had imagined in my head. So, we will try again but they are alright for the time being.
The kids weren't cooperating the best for pictures - especially Elysse - but we couldn't get natural smiles out of them. So all I had to do was say "poop" and we had some GENUINE smiles, too bad we lost the eyes in the process!

Soccer Days

Audrey decided she wanted to join soccer. She is on a team with her friend Nathan Tucker and Nathan's dad is one of the coaches.

We have had a mixed experience. Audrey likes the idea of playing soccer but isn't always enthusiastic about getting out there. She spends more time running to us or getting a drink than being on the field. She also isn't nearly aggressive enough to get to the ball and do something with it. It is a good experience. I think we are going to try tennis lessons next...

Audrey's 4th Birthday

Here she is. The twinkle in our eyes. She may only be 4 but she has matured beyond her years. Audrey's birthday is September 28th.
This year we began a breakfast in bed tradition. Audrey loves nothing more than to eat breakfast with Nathan. Because she sleeps later than Nathan most days she often misses eating with him. So, we had to include Nathan in Audrey's birthday breakfast in bed.

Audrey loves Star Wars and animals. I didn't really want to give Audrey a Star Wars birthday cake before Nathan gets one so I decided on animals. My mom and Sandy had animal candy molds so we made some animal candies to decorate the cake - this is truly the extent of my craftiness and creativity.
Audrey received nearly all of her gifts early. Luckily G & G Beadle hadn't given her their gifts early so she had something to open.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Church Drama

Being Audrey's primary teacher has been a good thing but it has also been challenging. In a few short weeks I will begin teaching an older class - 8 year olds. Every Sunday there is an entire program for the children complete with prayers, scriptures, talks, lessons, music, etc. Audrey always looks forward to participating. To say the least, she is exuberant. She had already given the scripture today and was called up to assist with hand motions during a song. We were then onto lesson time and children's names were being pulled from a jar for participation. Audrey raised her hand and declared, "If you don't call on me I will have a heart attack!"

September 2011 scans

Audrey underwent another set of scans (MRI and CT) and everything came back good. The tumor bed looks clear and all is well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today in Church

I arrived at church approximately 15 minutes before services began today. Ryan was out picking up someone to bring to church so I was by myself with our darling children. Audrey and Nathan were playing around and getting louder so I was forced to separate them. In doing so my attention was taken by the fact that Nathan had his shoes on the wrong feet. I informed him that they were not on the correct feet. He quickly switched them around. I looked to confirm all was right...but, there they were again, on the wrong feet. I brought his attention to it once again. "But Mom I just switched them like you said," Nathan mumbled. Upon closer inspection, it was true. He had switched his shoes; unfortunately, it did him little good as he was wearing two left shoes of different size. Here is the kicker, I brought him his shoes to put on this morning.

During the children's class the missionaries came to visit and various children were called up to pick a question off the board and ask the missionary of their choice. Luckily Audrey's name was drawn. She quickly went to the front, grabbed a question (because she cannot yet read the question was read to her in her ear) and chose the missionary she wanted to ask. "What is your favorite meal?" Audrey inquired. The primary teacher laughed as Audrey did not ask the question that she read to her, she just went ahead and asked a question she was curious about!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Over Labor Day weekend we took a trip to Cincinnati and met my brother, Chad, and his wife, Sarah. On Saturday we went to the Cincinnati Zoo - which was wonderful, probably the best zoo I have been to. It reached 100 degrees that day! The next day we went to the Newport Aquarium. It was a great aquarium, we just happened to do on the BUSIEST day of the entire year. We stayed in Florence, KY. We had a great hotel with an indoor pool. It was hard to end our vacation, it was a great time.

At the end of our trip Nathan announced that when he is older he wants to have two homes far away from one another. He would like one in Cincinnati and one in Waikiki. (I think he just likes Vacation and never wants it to end!)

School Days

Audrey began school in late August at Nativity Lutheran Preschool. Her teachers are Miss Emily and Miss Riannon.
Audrey and Miss Riannon

One evening at dinner Ryan asked Audrey about school. She loves to share what she does at school. He then asked Audrey who she talked to at school - her response: "random people." He then asked who taught her to say that - her response: "Dad, I just knew it. I taught myself."

Nathan started 1st Grade at Avery's Creek Elementary.
His teacher is Miss Pearson and Mrs. Heart.

Nathan with Miss Pearson

While talking to grandparents Nathan was asked what he learned at school - his response: "I don't learn anything new at school. We are just doing kindergarten stuff and I know it all."

This week Nathan has a project to make a doll of himself as an adult looking as he will in his chosen occupation. Nathan has quite the career path ahead of him as he claims that he would like to have 11 different jobs. Audrey was listing to the conversation and said that she would like to work with animals when she is older. I said that she could be a zoologist. She agreed and then said that she would also like to be an aquariumologist.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Nathan

Good Morning and Happy Birthday Nathan
Breakfast in Bed
Special tray made with old birthday cards and wrapping paper.

Lego Cake complete with Lego Guys
Strangest #7 candle (almost looks like a 1) and not facing the correct way to Nathan
Lots for Start Wars toys!

I recently attended a conference and one of the classes I took was on Traditions. I picked up a few ideas that the kids were really excited about. I now have a birthday banner that I can use for all of the kids each year. We will continue the breakfast in bed tradition (though it isn't much fun when Nathan was awake an hour before and I told him he needed to get in bed and pretend he just woke up) - though we had a HUGE delicious breakfast a little later, quiche, bacon, fruit and pancakes ! For dinner Nathan picked homemade macaroni and cheese and burgers. Grandma and Grandpa Beadle were able to be here and they brought cousin Alaina. After breakfast Nathan, Audrey and Alaina went swimming at the YMCA. We came home, played, had dinner, went to YaYa's Frozen Yogurt, presents and cake. It was a good day.

Lessons Learned?

While I had the kids in Michigan an issue arose that I felt needed to be dealt with quickly. Upon returning home I talked to Ryan about this issue - theft. Nathan and Audrey felt the need to take things that did not belong to them on more than one occasion while we were there. Sometimes the items came from homes of grandparents, which were more easily dealt with. Other times the items came from the public library. Yup, we had a major case of "minor thieves" and before their records begin stating petty theft we decided we had to do something about it.

The Saturday after we arrived home from vacation we took the kids to Fun Depot a place with arcade games, mini golf, bumper cars, etc. While we were there we received a call from ADT telling us that we had a break in at our home. We told the kids that we needed to get home as quickly as we could to see if everything was okay and if anything was missing. As we drove the 15 minutes home the kids were worried and they discussed what might be missing. They both were worried about TJ, our dog, which actually surprised me in a very positive way.

We arrived home and we sent Nathan up stairs and Audrey to the basement to see if everything was okay. Nathan came down and reported that all of the Legos had been taken from his room. Audrey started to cry before she even made it to the top of the steps - all of the animals and dinosaurs had been taken as well.

Ryan called the police department and talked with Officer Roberts (our friend Alex) to report the robbery. Nathan then talked to Officer Roberts to detail the items missing. We took this time to talk to the kids about how they felt having things taken from them. We also talked about possible consequences for robbers.

We expected everything to be "wrapped up" by Monday - the thieves would be caught and the items returned. The kids talked about it non-stop so Officer Roberts and his team contacted me on the way to church the following morning to report that the items were found, the robbers were in jail and that everything would be at our house when we returned from church. I then told the kids that they should not say anything to anyone from church because they would feel bad for us and everything was okay now. We weren't in the building more then 2 minutes and Audrey told a handful of people about our break in!

So far so good. The lesson seems to have worked. We hope this is a lesson that will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Visit to Michigan

Here are the vacation pictures in reverse order...

Sunfield Park

Hawk Island Park

I love this picture!

I was actually trying to get a picture of the guy in the background but the girls thought I wanted a picture of them - just kidding!

Koda the Bear

Audrey was delighted when Grandma Karen told her she could take this little bear (Koda) home. Audrey loved and babied the little bear from the day he became "hers." While Grandma Beadle was making pancakes one morning Audrey insisted Koda have his own pancake. When we were finished and the pancake remained in the bowl with Koda, Audrey declared, "I guess he doesn't like pancakes."

Outdoor Water Fun at Beadles

Audrey and Alaina busy at work.

McDiarmid Reunion

Uncle Billy taking Nathan and Audrey on a canoe ride. Uncle Billy became frightened when Nathan said something about jumping in. He quickly paddled back to the dock!

Elysse checking out the dogs.

Sandbox fun.

Loving the water.

We were in Michgian for 10 days and spent 2 days traveling. It was a long time to be away from Ryan. The kids are great travelers and we had a good time visiting with family and friends.