Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our Day At The Harbor

All the cousins met together to have a fun day on the harbor today. We went to a really kid friendly marine museum where the girls had a lot of fun discovering what lived in the Santa Barbara ocean. The museum is located on the pier so everything they were looking at was actually found right underneath them. It's hard to see, but the sack hanging from the string is a shark egg sack. There is actually a baby shark swimming around in there. They also had a tank of the adult leopard sharks that my girls were much to scared to touch. They did touch some starfish however and had fun looking at the tanks of fish.


After the museum we went on the cutest little boat called Little Toot. It just putted around the harbor but the girls thought it was so cool just to be riding on a boat in the ocean. The captain even let them steer the boat for a bit and toot the horn. Reanne was all smiles. I was really happy just to be out on such a lovely sunny day surrounded by ocean instead of snow. And I have to say it made me miss living in such a beautiful place.



Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vacation Fun





We went to the Santa Barbara mission yesterday for some family photos. My brother-in-law has a pretty good eye and a lot better camera then I do. Hopefully some will turn out. I did have to take one myself of the view. Doesn't everyone wish they were here for Christmas? Later that evening we went on a trolley ride around town to see the city's Christmas lights. Reanne really enjoyed it but Sierra and Grant were asleep for most of the ride. Poor Sierra is not used to all the excitement she is experiencing here.


Today we spent the day in LA. My sister Lori and her husband Billy and sweet baby William became an eternal family. It was a very sweet thing to witness. They are all so wonderful and I was so happy to be apart of their special day.

After the ceremony we all went to the Getty museum. It was my first time there and I was very impressed. The crowds and lines made us all feel like we were at Disneyland, but the Getty was far less efficient dealing with them. We didn't get to see even half of what is displayed there so maybe I will make it back one day.


Christmas







I have come to accept the fact that I might not ever get a picture of my kids that is completely in focus. They move way too fast for my camera...especially as they open presents.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

We are so happy to be spending this Christmas with my family since Jess is away. It really makes things better for me and the kids, although I feel bad about Jess not having as fun of a Christmas this year.

This was the last day that the kids saw our elf. Rintue (Reanne named him) has been living at our house since December 1st, watching the kids every day and then reporting to Santa at night. If they were good he leaves little treats in their shoes which they faithfully leave by their door at nights. This was a tradition in Jess's family and I thought it was so cute. We have done shoe treats every year but this is the first year we have actually had an elf. It has been the highlight of their day to come down stairs and find where he is hiding. Rintue will be leaving with Santa when he comes tonight but I suppose the girls won't miss him too much when they find their stockings filled and the presents Santa left for them.

Reanne and Sierra had fun making a gingerbread tree with mom and grandma in the morning. For all you moms out there, this is the way to go if you are wanting to do any gingerbread decorating. It is much easier then the houses with a lot less candy. A definite win win situation for everyone involved.
In the evening we were able to join my family as they Christmas carolled. This has become quite a tradition with my parents and whoever is in town that year for the holidays. They had a usual line up of songs that we all knew in parts (of course.) Reanne and Sierra didn't know all the songs however so Reanne told us in the car that she wanted us to sing one that she knew. Here are the words...
Dashing through the snow on a broken pair of skis.
O'er the fields we go, crashing into trees.
The ground is turning red, I think I might be dead.
I'm going to the hospital with stitches in my head.
We sang that song at the remaining houses.

I hope the girls enjoy tomorrow and that Christmas is all they wanted it to be. I am happy because Grant has already given me the best Christmas present I could have asked for: he has slept through the night for two nights in a row! Wherever you are, I hope all my friends and family have a wonderful Christmas too.






Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow


Reanne told me that snow is glitter for the mountains. I thought that was a very positive thought after we drove through two hours of blizzard in the very early hours of the morning on Saturday, driving to my parents house in California. Even after we drove through the storm, we still saw this "glitter" on the ground for almost the entire trip. When we were still seeing snow in Barstow (where it hadn't snowed since 1985) I was kind of in shock. If I wasn't driving through it all I would have been thrilled that it was there. I actually have come to really enjoy seeing it around during the winter months. I am now back on the coast however, where I can safely say it will not snow this Christmas. Though the world won't be as glittery, I am happy that I will be a bit warmer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Diagnosis

Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis

That is the official diagnosis right now and I am being referred to another specialist at Primary Children's Hospital. I had to look it up...just like my surgeon. I guess it is extremely rare. Here is some information I found about it. There is a lot of information on the web but this was the least scary to me.

What Is Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis? In Langerhans cell histiocytosis, certain white blood cells, called Langerhans cells, grow out of control. In a healthy person, these cells help defend against infection. But in histiocytosis, the cells multiply so quickly that they build up and can damage the body instead of protect it. Except for their rapid growth, the cells are normal. This disease is not cancer. But it is similar. Doctors who treat cancer and blood diseases also treat histiocytosis.

Some people with the disease have excess cells and damage in only one site or organ in their bodies. Others have excess cells in many places throughout their bodies. The bones are the most common sites of damage - mainly the bones in the skull but also in other places, such as the spine, arms and legs. This disease can affect many body systems. About 80% to 90% of children recover from this disease with treatment. Sometimes it goes away slowly on its own. It can be serious, even fatal in severe cases. It can also come back later in life.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Stitches

For everyone who hasn't heard, Grant's surgery went very well. I slept through my alarm so he didn't get his last bit of milk, but he really didn't start fussing until they gave him his pre-op. meds. and then they were taking him back. The surgery only lasted an hour and the surgeon seemed hopeful of the tumor not being cancerous (although we are still waiting on the results.) Grant's recovery was super fast and he seemed totally back to normal the next day! Babies are amazing. I just had to take a picture of the stitches so one day he will see for himself how brave he was.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Tree

Since the first of November the girls have added leaves to their Thanksgiving tree. Each leaf has written on it something that the girls believe to be a blessing in their lives. It was good practice for them to think about things they were grateful for and fun for me to know what makes my little girls happy. These are some of the blessings they listed.
Grandma, Grandpa, cousins, aunts and uncles, mom, dad, Reanne, Sierra, and "The Grantinator."
Our house, a TV, our fish, toys, books, and games.
Jesus, Heavenly Father, the prophet, and teachers.
Halloween, Birthdays, cake, and root beer.
Sleeping a long time, coloring, writing, and not being sick.
Rainbows, smiles, and walking Lola (our neigbor's dog.)
Fall, light, a movie with popcorn, and making cards.
Friends, presents from dad, health, smelling and tasting.
We hope all our friends and family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. It is nice to have a holiday where we remember all the blessings that we have, for we truly do have a lot to be grateful for.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another update for Grant

I apologize for being so long with letting everyone know about Grant. The reason is that his first appointment with the surgeon was cancelled due to insurance issues. To set every one's mind at ease...we do have insurance for him, it's just not the good insurance that the rest of the family is on. For some reason I thought that after enrolling him in the military system he would automatically be put on the plan that the rest of the family is on. I was mistaken and actually should have gone through the process of filling out the necessary paperwork to put him on our plan which I didn't do until a few days ago. He will be on the correct insurance December 1st but all the hospital work has been under the other policy.

So I saw a surgeon at Primary Children's Hospital today and we have scheduled his surgery for the 26th of this month. That will be perfect timing with my parents coming up for Thanksgiving. They will be able to help watch the girls and be with me at the surgery. I will most likely find out the results of the biopsy within a week of the surgery. I will definitely post results on the blog as soon as I know. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. They have been so appreciated!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To Be 3 Again

Days like today make me wonder what it was like for my mom when I was young. Here is what the day was like for Sierra and myself.

Sierra woke up at 8:00 knowing it was her birthday and sang herself the birthday song a few different times. I woke up at 7:00 from a telephone call after being up every hour of the night with Grant and tried to sound happy on the phone.

Sierra couldn't stop counting her presents on the table. After being told on the phone that Grant doesn't have the right insurance I got our hospital bill in the mail. I couldn't stop counting up the bill which was over four thousand dollars.

Sierra told me how she wanted her cake: chocolate with butterflies and flowers on it. I had trouble finding time to make and frost it when Grant was fussy all day.

Sierra got ready to open her presents and eat her cake. I got ready to clean up throw-up from Reanne who has been on the couch crying telling me how bad she feels. (Luckily she only missed the toilet once out of three times.)

Sierra had a wonderful, exciting, special day and was truly happy. Although my day was far from wonderful or exciting, I was glad to see Sierra's sweet smile and know that she had a good birthday.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Having Fun With Grandma's Stamps





I am giving these cards I made to my grandma for Christmas. I don't think my grandma checks my blog. If she does the surprise is ruined, but I'll say thanks for giving me some really cute stamps.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Canning

Jess has been stressing food storage to me but for obvious reasons I haven't done a lot with it this year. I am however happy (and proud) to say that I have added to ours in the last few days. I bought a bushel of apples at a local orchard stand and made 12 quarts of applesauce and 5 pints of apple butter with it. This being my first canning experience, I was also pleased to find out that you get apple juice along with your applesauce. It made a good 3 pitchers full. The bags are filled with pumpkin which I got from cooking our 2 Halloween pumpkins that the girls drew on. The 2 pumpkins yielded 12 cans worth of puree. Of course food is always better tasting when made yourself, but I wondered how economical it was. So here is the breakdown.
________________________________________________________
1 bushel of apples = 23 dollars
2 pumpkins = 6 dollars
________________________________________________________
applesauce jar - 2.69 X 12 = 32.28
apple juice concentrate - 1.49 X 3 = 4.47
apple butter - 3.89 X 5 = 19.45
= 56.20
can of pumpkin - 1.49 X 12 = 17.88
________________________________________________________
It's good to know that canning and preserving food is not only better tasting but better on your wallet as well.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Update on Grant

It has been a long past few days. Some of you know that Grant has a lump on the back of his neck. First I was told that it was an enlarged lymph node. After two weeks of this lump still growing I took him back to his pediatrician who then referred us to Utah Valley for an ultrasound and blood work. The blood work came back mostly normal with his white blood cells a little low. The ultrasound confused the doctors and we were ordered to get an MRI. Well, after about 4 1/2 hours in the hospital today and another long wait at home I finally got some results back (kind of.)

The doctor told me that the mass was atypical of either malignant or benign cancer. It has a "rim" around the mass and they can't really tell what it is. Although it is atypical of what cancer looks like, they are not ruling it out since it is still growing. So I am next going to be referred to a surgeon at Primary Children's Hospital. He will most likely schedule me to have it removed. Poor Grant. He has been pinned down and stuck many times in the last couple days and I guess he has a few more needles to look forward too.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Boa Constrictors
































Reanne was assigned her first school report and she chose to do it on Boa Constrictors. I wanted Jess to see what a good job she did. Her favorite page is the snake's scales that she made out of glitter. She kept telling me, "Mom, reports are so much fun!" My favorite pages are the snake slithering through the grass and the man capturing the snake with a rope. Reanne is a creative drawer.

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Ladies

On Halloween I took around three ladies.






Lady Reanne,



Lady Sierra,



and my LADYbug Grant.


All had a happy, fun, and safe Halloween. We hope you did too.








Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crazy Hair Day




Cherry Creek Elementary is a school with a lot of spirit. It seems like they are always sending home notices to dress a certain way. There was pajama day, wear red day, wear your favorite sport day, etc., etc. Today is crazy hair day. It was the first time I did Reanne's hair in braids when she didn't tell me it was ugly. Go figure.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pre-Halloween Fun

Reanne didn't have school yesterday or today so I thought we would do something fun at home. I found one of those gingerbread house kits at Walmart...except it included decorations for the upcoming holiday. I tried my hand at the icing part but it is harder then it looks. It came out really thick and nothing would stick to the cookie. Despite the obstacles, I think everyone had a good time creating and tasting.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Waffle Breakfast



Our neighbors, the Rempe's, invited us over for Mickey Mouse waffles last Saturday. They are a cute older couple in the ward who wanted to do something nice for the girls. The girls had been looking forward to this for some time and they were not disappointed. When we came over they had the table set with lots of things to decorate Mickey with, things mom would never put out for breakfast. There was whipped cream, chocolate chips, (which is solely what Sierra ate) raspberries, and they each got their own mini syrup bottle. Very fun, although this made for very hyper children afterwards. That's OK because they let me leave the girls there while I went home to start some dinner that I was giving that evening.


When I came back I found the girls in the same hyper state as before. Randy Rempe compared them to wild horses. Randy was raised on a farm in Iowa and would know about wild horses. In fact I was wishing my own Iowa husband could have snuck a peak at their house. There was John Deere paraphernalia everywhere. It was great. One of the many John Deere hats that were lying around got placed on Grant's head and there it stayed. It was cute, and it has been great to put on him when we go outside. All in all my kids had a pretty great time and I did too. (Especially the part when I left them for an hour.) :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Watch out Eric Carle!


This is a book written (with help with the actual writing part) by Reanne in one of her creative moments. I thought it was a good documentary of our home.

Monday, October 6, 2008

When do boys get cooties?

Jess has always teased that he is going to have to watch the girls closely because they are so pretty. He just knew that they would be attracting all the boys. Well, I don't think he realized how young this would start and now he's not even here to do anything about it.

One of the first days Reanne started riding the bus, she told me that she was blowing kisses to a boy across the isle. I asked her if he was cute and she smiled and said yes. I asked her if the boy liked it and she said he didn't and that he was making faces at her. I told her that boys usually didn't like that sort of thing and thought that would be the end of it.

Well, I think Reanne thought about this and refined her techniques. The other day she came home and told me that she sat next to her boyfriend on the bus. I asked her if it was the same boy and she said it was a different one but that he was around her same age so he could be her boyfriend. The next day she said she sat by him again and said that they had a really fun time together. Upon further questioning I found out that they had fun "bathroom talking." Aah. So that's how you attract a boy in kindergarten. Well, today Reanne informed me that she was going to marry this boy. Do we even know his name? No. I told her to find out so that I could get to know this boy and see if he's marriage material. But obviously she has already found the secret to a 5 year old's heart.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A blurb on Grant

Grant is officially 7 weeks old today. I have to say that time is flying by much faster then I anticipated it would. The days all blend together since our routine is pretty basic: wake up, feed the baby, take care of the girls, feed the baby, take care of the girls, feed the baby...etc., etc. I didn't really take notice of how often Grant eats since my girls both nursed quite frequently as well. What I am noticing however is how fast the little guy is growing. Reanne and Sierra stayed small for a long time, so this huge baby thing is new to me. I have already traded out his 0-3 month clothes for the next size up. Today I measured and weighed him and he is already 11 pounds and 23 inches long! My back can confirm this weight for you. I could be wrong, but I am guessing by the way things are going that he will catch up to his dad one day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spotlighted

Last week Reanne came home with her first school award. I am pretty sure she got it when she was spotlighted in class so it's not a huge deal. It was a huge deal to me however. Reanne was having a hard week. It was one of those weeks when it wasn't easy for her to forget that dad was gone and that it wasn't fair. Mrs. Bergera's spotlight and award came at the perfect time. She was pretty happy with the extra attention from school and the award came with a certificate to get an ice-cream, which made Reanne really happy. It's pretty amazing how the little things in life keep us going. I am the same way. The smallest email from Jess helps me get through the day, and a visit from someone makes my whole week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My little man

I call Grant my "little man." I mean, look at him! He is bald and just keeps gaining weight. He also loves to eat, loves to be naked, is always complaining, and is full of gas. You can't get more man then that. :) The strange thing is, as with the other men in your life, you seem to still need them and even love them being around.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Tag

I was tagged by Tracy.

How to play this game of tag.Post these rules on your blog:List 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 goals, 3 current obsessions/collections, 3 random surprising facts about yourself. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

3 Joys:- My family, my mission, and my friends
3 Fears:- Any bug that could hurt you as well as a fair share of spiders that can't hurt you, the dangerous critters in the ocean (sharks, sting rays, jellyfish, etc.), and I'm afraid of anything that I believe could seriously hurt me (sky diving, riding a motorcycle) things that if something went wrong you could die.
3 Goals:- Getting at least 5 hours of sleep in a row at night, finishing Sierra's scrapbook, and seeing all my children grow up and stay in the gospel
3 Obsessions/Collections:- Checking my email to see if I have a letter from Jess, scrapbooking/stamping, and keeping my hands from drying out
3 Random or surprising facts:- I have milked a cow, I attended Disney Elementary School, and I am not related to Haley Mills (despite the fact I have told some people as much.)

Now its your turn.. I tag: Melinda, Misty, Sara, Becky, and Haley

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Best Salsa Recipe

I promised I would post this. If anyone has a bunch of tomatoes they want to get rid of, this is the best way I know how.

The base of the salsa is chili-pepper vinegar. You make this by getting a bottle of red wine vinegar, emptying it and stuffing the bottle with dried red chilies (the small ones you find in the Mexican isle of the grocery store.) You pour the vinegar back in the bottle and let it sit for at least 2 weeks. This gives the chilies time to release their oils into the vinegar.

Salsa
8 cups of chopped tomatoes
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of green onions
1 Anaheim pepper (sometimes I include this sometimes not)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried cumin
1 Tb. salt
2 Tb. brown sugar
1/2 cup of chili-pepper vinegar

Blend all ingredients in blender. I think 1/2 cup of vinegar is perfect, but more chili vinegar makes a hotter salsa.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Now that I am officially on my own without Jess or my mom, I am keeping this picture as my inspiration that I can really do this. My sister took this right before Jess left again. I thought it turned out nice. It really shows how happy everyone was to be together again, even for a short time. The girls and I are a week into our longest, but last countdown until we can take another picture like this again.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hubby Tag

I'm taking the tag from Misty.



1) Where did you meet? We met at an 80's dance in Provo. We didn't know it then, but we were both in the same ward which made it easier to meet up again.

2) How long did you date before you were married? 1 1/2 years

3) How long have you been married? 7 years

4) What does he do that surprises you? Every once in a while he will clean the bathrooms for me. :)

5) What is you favorite feature about him? I really like how tall he is. When I saw him at the 80's dance, I'm the one that asked him to dance just because of this fact.

6) What is you favorite quality about him? There are so many qualities that I admire about Jess it is hard to pick a favorite. I do really admire how humble he is. His humility and gentle nature are the main reasons I married him.

7) Does he have a nickname for you? He mostly calls me honey or babe.

8) What's his favorite color? I am actually not sure. It might be green or blue.

9) What's his favorite food? Any meat coupled with some sort of bread. He is definitely a product of the mid-west.

10) What's his favorite sport? Are hunting and fishing a sport? If they are, they would be it.

11) Who said I love you first? I did. I could tell he was about to break up with me and I didn't really want that so I told him I loved him. Manipulative? Oh well, it was true anyway.

12) When and where was your first kiss? Jess kissed me when we weren't even technically dating yet. We were walking somewhere after we had watched a movie with a group of friends. He thought I really liked him (which wasn't true at the time) and made the move.

13) What's you favorite thing to do as a couple? Since babysitters are a rare thing for us, we often rent movies and watch them with some ice-cream. It's not totally exciting, but we really enjoy it. We also have discovered the world of geocaching which is pretty fun.

14) Do you have kids? Yes, 3. Reanne is 5, Sierra is 2 and Grant is 3 weeks.

15) What's a hidden talent that he has? Jess is very talented and I guess most of his talents are hidden since he is pretty modest. He is a very talented musician. He plays the drums, base guitar, trumpet, and piano. He also likes to compose music.

16) How old is he? 31 until October.

17) What's his favorite type of music? This is a hard one because it varies so much. He likes classic rock a lot as well as some new groups like Cold Play.

18) What do you admire most about him? Another thing I really admire about Jess is how great of a dad he is. He loves playing with the kids and making them laugh. One of their favorite times of the day is when he gets home.

19) What's his favorite pastime? When he has any free time at all and I don't take it, he likes to read and play with his guns.

20) Do you think he is going to read this? I hope so.

Now I tag anyone who would like to do this.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day Of School




















Can you tell that we are excited about kindergarten? I say we because not only has Reanne been waiting for this day for "forever," but so have all the rest of us. The only person who was somewhat less then thrilled was Sierra who was a bit jealous. She is so used to being Reanne's shadow that I'm sure that in her mind she was going to kindergarten today as well. Needless to say, Sierra came home with us and Reanne stayed for her two hours. When I went to pick her up she insisted on riding the bus home. This was one of the things she was looking forward to the most, so we found the bus line and I left. When Reanne came back home and told us how awesome her day was, Sierra only had one thing to say. "I hate you." I should say that this is NOT a typical Sierra comment, which really goes to show how jealous she was. Reanne was understanding and only rubbed it in her face a little that she wasn't 5 yet, or potty-trained yet, or smart enough yet. I think all has been forgiven however, because they are playing hide and seek together and laughing as I write this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pictures of Grant



Grant has been a very good baby so far. We had a couple nights where he was confused and thought it was day time, but other then that he has been a little angel. The girls love him and both of them want to hold him and touch him all the time. I thought Sierra would be a bit more jealous but she seems to have accepted this new little addition to our family and treats him very well. Reanne is also a great "babysitter" and will hold Grant's hand on the floor and talk to him while I do mom things like the dishes or make lunches. It's amazing how quickly a baby makes their place into your family.