Reincarnated As A Mother

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bring On The Snow

 The girls are diehards when it comes to the cold and have been waiting very patiently for the snow.  We caught Reese out on the trampoline for the first frost.... and then, not to be outdone, the little ladies bundled up for this next shot.  (I know, I know, where are the parents???-- Obviously caring more about getting a good photo).
So on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we made our children put on actual cold weather clothes and we headed up to the mountains for our yearly tradition of playing in the snow and hunting down a Christmas tree in the wild.

Even though we brought hot soup, hot chocolate and lots of cookies, Reese filled up on the white stuff.  We found the best sledding hill and Byron brought the snowmobiles with this little sled that fit Holland, Greer and their two cousins-- Katy and Lindsey.

 We all went on lots of snowmobile rides and he carted the kids around in this sled... with only a few minor tips and dumps.  The picture below is of Melissa-- my sister-in-law Dana's best friend B.M. (before marriage). 
My honey and me... 

We went up with Doug and Dana and family and Ron and Elly and their son, Mark.  My parents stayed home with Kean-- thank goodness.  It was coooolllldddd.  By the way, we did not come home with a Christmas tree.  We looked somewhat, but spent much of our time playing.  Oh darn, guess that means we'll have to go up again!

Prayer Request

Since I have been the recipient of many of your prayers (and I personally know the power of prayer), I could sure use them on behalf of my cousin.  Lance Leavitt left my Aunt Pat's home at about 3pm on Thanksgiving Day for a hike.  My Aunt lives in the foothills above Salt Lake City-- the hills that lead up to the imposing Wasatch Front.  Lance never returned.  He has Epilepsy and while he has only had four seizures in the past 9 or so years, we are worried sick for him.  As you know, the weather has been just awful up there and this not knowing what happened to him is eating his family alive.  I'd love for his wife Casey, son and two daughters (one is only 10 months old), to feel the comfort and power of your prayers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up If I Tried....

Here in Boise, it is expected to be one of the coldest Thanksgivings ever.  Last night, the prelude to the really cold storm blew through.  I woke up to the sound of tiny pieces of ice hitting against our windows and doors.  Moments later, I heard Reese and Greer (who share a room) arguing.  Mind you, it was probably 2 or 3 in the morning.  Byron and I wondered out loud if they were talking in their sleep-- but what are the chances that both of them would be conversing rather loudly while still sleeping?
I dragged myself out of bed (I am waaayyy too old for this) and stumbled to their room.  Apparently, Reese had accused Greer of "tooting" loudly and that she needed to stop.
Greer protested back-- saying she wasn't, hadn't and didn't.
Then Reese asked rather crossly... "who's making all that noise then?"
Mystery solved-- it was the storm-- the ice and wind banging against the window.
If anyone should get yelled at-- it should be Mother Nature-- for tooting!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Divine Intervention

Isn't it interesting how you just so happen to randomly run into the one person who can say just the right things at just the right time? 
Today Kean had some testing done at the hospital (blood work for his Thyroid and an in-depth hearing screening).  Let's just say I walked out of the hearing screening near tears and a bit depressed.  I know he can hear and I had expected this to be one test we wouldn't need to worry about-- well guess what?  He failed miserably.  His ear drums are not vibrating and he had zip, nada, zero response to the hearing tests and cues.  The Doc thinks he must have a goopy build up of fluid inside his inner ear-- so we will next see a specialist and likely face surgery and tubes.  I know, not a super big deal-- but can I just have one doctor's appointment where they don't find anything wrong????
Anyway, I stopped off at the grocery store on the way home (and somehow between the store and my house, I lost a bag-- grrrr).  While shopping, I ran into a friend, who just so happens to have a 14 year old boy who has Down Syndrome and Autism.  In the crush of shoppers trying to beat the storm due to arrive tomorrow and prepare for Thanksgiving, we stood and talked.  Dana R. told me that when she had her son, the doctors and nurses told her to just survive the first two or three years-- that those years are full of medical appointments, tests and plenty of scares.  And then it gets easier. 
It was exactly what I needed to hear-- that, and plenty of more words of advice and encouragement and empathy.  She's been there, done that and done it with grace and composure and most importantly, she's still sane.  I surely think someone up above placed her in my path.  And for that I am grateful.

 My parents watched the three loud girls so we could have quiet at the hearing test.  They made yummy Thanksgiving sugar cookies with orange and chocolate frosting.  After his long day of being poked and prodded, the girls rewarded Kean with a chunk of a cookie.  I think he thought he was in heaven.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Love Letters

Dear, sweet Greer was Student of the Week this past week.  Words can't begin to express how excited she was about being spotlighted.
I took Kean and Reese down to her school yesterday to see her in her glory.  Greer had to make a poster full of pictures of her long life.  Her teacher had her talk about each picture.  Then she let the kids ask 5 questions.  Guess who was question asker number five?  Yup, the uninhibited, rarely intimidated Reese.
Then each student wrote a love letter to Greer.  They are hilarious.  I never knew there were so many spellings for the word very:  veary, vary, varry, verry...............  Or nice.  Did you know its more common spelling is nise?
Anyway, my second favorite letter to Greer was from a kid named Zack.  He wrote:  I like you because you are smart and very (read the word very 31 TIMES) nice!
My first favorite was from her dad.  Knowing it was her special day, he left her one for when she got up

 to go to school.

                    What a keeper-- the letter and the Dad!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things that go bump in the night...

What I would give for a string of solid nights of sleep with no interruptions. On Monday night we came home from the funeral service and got the kids right to bed.  Even Byron and I were in bed and asleep around 10!  At about 1:30 in the morning, I hear Reese get up and go into the bathroom.  But that was it.  Since I didn't hear anything else, I decided I'd better drag my ragged self out of bed and check on her.  As I walked down the hall toward her room, I was hit with the smell of rotten eggs.  I told her I'd be right back and headed down the stairs, where Holland, Greer and our dog, Zoe were sleeping.  The smell was much worse down there.  I turned on the kitchen light, and yep, just as suspected, our gas stove was on the light position.  Propane gas had been pouring out steadily for 4 HOURS!
I quickly turned it off, opened doors and turned on fans.  It was so bad, I woke up Byron and we went around and checked to make sure all of the children were still alive and conscious!  We figured Greer had hit the stove lighter with her foot and turned it on, when she had hopped up on the counter to get a glass for water right before she went to bed.  Yikes!  Neither Byron, nor I could sleep the rest of the night.
Then last night we had another "episode"... this one wasn't life threatening, however.  Reese and the girls had all gone to bed around 8:45.  It was now 10:30.  We thought they were all snug in their beds-- WRONG.  Byron and I were just getting ready to head upstairs when we heard Reese at the top of her lungs start yelling for Greer (they share a room and sleep barely 5 feet from each other-- if that).  We looked at each other, and wondered if she was having a nightmare.  Nope.  Reese had been awake the entire time-- playing while Greer was out cold.  When Reese finally decided it was time to go to bed, she called over to Greer to tell her goodnight.  When she didn't answer (HELLO-- she was in a dead sleep)-- Reese started yelling her name to get her attention!!!  
I swear, sometimes I wonder if she does these things on purpose to drive us crazy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Make-Up and Speaking Up

 You know when it's a little too quiet in the house and you know something is not right with the world?  The three girls had disappeared for a while and then suddenly came out with Reese in a new outfit, clip on earrings, a new do and lot of makeup.
As a family, we had quite the interesting experience last night. First the background:  our sweet friend, Mary Virginia Simplot Christensen passed away at age 86.  She is Mary K and Jeanie's mother.  When I was in the hospital last year, they visited me many, many times.  And I remember each time, Mary would sit and hold my hand.  She was kind, gentle and very loving.  This picture was taken of her last April on the day we blessed Kean.  There was something special between Kean and Mary.  She had a very soft spot for him.
Last night, a memorial service was held for Mary at the Holy Apostles Catholic Church.  Mary's daughters asked me, as part of the service to spend 5 or 10 minutes speaking about what I, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) believe about what happens to a person after death.  My friend Ali, who is Muslim, spoke after I did.
I have to level with you, I haven't been that nervous in a long, long time.  I don't usually get nervous about public speaking-- but geez, combine talking about the very personal subject of religion with speaking in a massive Catholic Church -- I was capital A-fraid.
I ended my remarks by having my three girls come up and sing I Am A Child Of God.   They practiced and practiced and even though they said they were nervous too, they did a beautiful job.  It ended up being a very sweet experience.  But one I'm so very glad to have behind me!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tiny Steps

I'm having a hard time believing that my little boy is growing up so fast. He is now birth age-- 15 months! Crazy, I tell ya. He's finally getting the hang of using those fingers to grasp things. Check this picture out of him holding and eating a cracker. And while we have made no progress in getting him to suck from a sippy cup or straw, he's skipped straight ahead to gulping out of a cup.

I've been in a bit of shock this week. For those of you who are not LDS (Mormon), in our church, the children go into Nursery at 18 months. This is a little class run by "saints in training" who corral the 18 monthers to 3 year olds-- so their moms and dads can actually get something out of church.
Well, it was pointed out to me that Kean is scheduled to go into Nursery class in 3 months.
Yeah-- so not going to happen! He can't crawl. He doesn't have a single tooth and he's tiny. He's still wearing 6 month clothes. He'd get run over and smushed the first day!
I'm not sad about it. I look at it this way, he's my last baby and I just get to have a baby a lot longer than most. We have plenty of time for him to grow up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veteran's Day

Yesterday, we paused to remember all of the men and women who have in the past and are currently fighting to keep our country free. Thank you to all of you.
If Byron's father had not passed away last month, yesterday, he would have celebrated his 92nd birthday. Yes, on Veteran's Day. Fred served in WWII-- through five major campaigns. He worked as the crew chief for a P51 Mustang Unit. The first pilot he served under was shot down. The second pilot, was a well known General-- General Kepner, who was over the 8th Air Force. I always enjoyed hearing Fred's stories of his time during the war. I don't think they realized they were doing anything spectacularly brave-- they were just doing what needed to be done.
One final, very interesting fact-- Fred was born in 1918 on the day of what became the very first "Veterans Day"--- Armistice Day, the end of WWI.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A World of Wonder

Reese bounced back to her fine form. Here's a snippet of tonight's conversation:
Reese: "How long will it take me to grow up?"
Me: "A long, long time."
Reese: "Oh, so about 8 days?"
Me: "No a lot longer than that."
Reese: "Oh, okay, about 16 days."

Reesey, by the way, had quite the exciting day at preschool. She has told just about everyone who will listen. They are studying the letter G. And today (Wednesdays are cooking days), they made gingerbread men. So while the "boys" were cooking, the kids had playtime. When they came in to get them out of the oven... oh no, guess what? The boys were gone. They had run away and left a note saying something about "catch me as fast as you can"! The note led them on a scavenger hunt from room to room, until they finally found their gingerbread men waiting for them to decorate them and then, dare I say... to eat them!
She has spent much of the evening trying to figure out how they got themselves out of the oven.
Don't ya just love how gullible and innocent and full of wonder little kids are?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Today turned out to be a rough one for little Reese. We got up this morning and her brand new goldfish (we just bought it 3 days ago) was floating in the bowl. So we had an impromptu funeral around the bigger bowl (the toilet) before school. After each of us talked about what a good fish Sparkle was, Reese said a very sweet little prayer. She asked Heavenly Father to be nice to Sparkle and to have fun with him.
Dinnertime turned out to be another memorable prayer time. Greer volunteered to give the blessing on the food because she was starving. She quickly launched into the prayer-- talking soo fast it was next to impossible to understand her. So we stopped her and had her start over--reminding her that she was talking to her Heavenly Father.
Well, lets just say, she took our words to heart. She prayed and prayed and prayed. She thanked the Lord for-- I think, just about everything. For the fish, for the applesauce my parents and I bottled this week, for the apples we got to pick, on and on and on-- she even thanked him for the pumpkin seeds we roasted. Holland started sighing. I started biting my cheeks, my tongue, my lips to keep from giggling out loud. It was priceless. Thankfully it ended before everything was completely cold or we had all passed away from hunger.
Sure wish you could've been there. Especially for part two of the dinner.
First, I must make this disclaimer. The picture following is not from tonight!!! The first clue should be that Reese is smiling.
Tonight we had squash for dinner. You know, that orange, butternut yummy kind? I even cooked it with butter and brown sugar. Byron liked it. I liked it. Greer liked it. But Holland didn't like it. And since Holland didn't like it, Reese decided she didn't like it either, before she even tasted it! I told her she had to have two bites before leaving the table.
Let's just say, I left the house an hour and a half later (and lots of crying and gnashing of teeth later) to go somewhere with my mom-- and Reese was still sitting at the table with her squash on her plate.
My sources tell me, she finally ate the squash.
Parents 1
Reese 0

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Better Late Than Never

Somehow, we skipped the yearly tradition of carving pumpkins this year. About two months ago, the girls decorated their pumpkins with Sharpies. I thought that would count-- but, alas, I was wrong. Holland rounded up the troops last night while I bathed and fed Kean. And they got 'er done and had a blast while doing it. I think Reese just supervised (0r bossed). Here are the girls with the finished pumpkins: And each girl with her own creation.

Reese got a little help from her dad. Really, you thought we'd let her loose with a knife?

We just like to milk every holiday for as much as we can.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Finally a good doctor's appointment!

Ahhh! What a relief. We got some great news today at the doctor's office-- little Kean gained 1 pound and 1/2 an ounce. That may not sound like huge news, but trust me, it is. A month and a half ago, we found out his thyroid was not working and the little guy was falling off the growth charts and quickly. So since then, our lives have revolved around eating and keeping him regular. And let me tell ya, it's been a bit stressful. But now we know, it's working. He only grew a quarter of an inch in length, (in a month), but hey, we'll take it and keep our fingers crossed he won't be the first pygmy in the Barker/Leavitt family lines.
On Monday we spent an hour meeting with a dietitian at the hospital. After today's good report, maybe, just maybe, we won't have to go back if he keeps this up.
So here are his stats: he is almost 15 months old and he weighs 17 pounds point 5 ounces. And his length is 26 and 3/4 inches long. His mop of hair probably accounts for at least a pound of that weight!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

C'mon In!

Kean had a hot date today, make that a play date-- with one of his first friends on this earth, Emily. Emily and Kean were in NICU together. Emily's twin, Nadia passed away at St. Luke's and little Emily who was a "micro" preemie fought her way through Intensive Care and is now 18 months old. She lives in Hailey, ID but had a specialist appointment today in Boise. So Emily and her mom, my very dear friend and sounding board, Kelly spent the morning with us. I'm not sure Kean was very aware of Miss Em, and he did have pants on to greet her (we took them off for therapy). Isn't she a cutie?

Their visit went by all too quickly. Lucky for us, Emily will have more doctors appointments in Boise.
Kean, by the way, is getting stronger and stronger. He may not be able to run around like Emily, but his trunk muscles are building and he's able to sit for longer periods of time. And just last night, he was on his tummy and scooted back about two feet until his legs were under the couch. Our little mild mannered sweet boy sure let us know he did not like being trapped!

As always, Reese can't leave Kean alone. I swear I spend half of his therapy sessions telling Reese that it's Maureen's turn to play with him. Thankfully, Maureen is the master of patience.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another Halloween is History...

Don't know about you... but I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love how excited the kiddos get and how much fun they have dressing up-- but I hate, hate, hate all the loads and loads of candy. My children take after their father, they are all sugar addicts. I guess we can look at the whole rigmarole as stimulating the economy -- for dentists!
We had quite the booked weekend. On Saturday, we all schlepped down to Mrs. Kwid's house- she's our neighbor and Greer's 2nd grade teacher. Each year, she has her entire class and their families over to pick pumpkins out of her garden, eat too many cookies and drink apple cider and go on a hay ride to see the fall leaves. She's very, very brave, isn't she?
Don't mind that my girls dressed like it was a hot summer day (instead of a cool, crisp fall day). Notice how everyone is bundled up but them. Where are the parents, I ask you?

Saturday night, we got the kids decked out for our church's "Trunk or Treat". This is the first year Holland has gone "dark". She was a vampire princess this year. My mom cut up an old prom dress to fit her-- and we made a velvet cloak. Byron was the artistic director for the blood pouring out of her mouth. My friend, Joanne, gave us the cow costume for Kean. His bib says: "I drink my moo, I do my poo. That's all I do!"
At the church, we had a huge pot luck dinner, games for the kids and then... the much awaited and anticipated "Trunk or Treat".
This guy was passing out glow sticks. Notice how Greer and Reese wouldn't get too close to him.
The kids cleaned up in the candy department-- and it wasn't even Halloween night. On Sunday-- the real Halloween, we went to my cousins' house for a pot luck dinner, then Byron took the girls out to hit a few houses-- Grandpa Bodily's, Uncle Craig's etc. Sadly, our yearly tradition since we moved here of going to Nancy's house next door didn't happen- since her house is no longer there. Darn fire! It's still having an impact on all of us (especially Nancy).