Sunday, September 28, 2008


We can finally all ride together! Ryan made the cut this year when he grew to 40 inches. Way to go, big guy. The funny thing is, Ryan looks the most relaxed out of the whole family. Ella wins for the most terrified.

The happiest place on earth has a magical affect on my children.....they actually get along.

Much to Travis and my dismay, the kids love to climb Tarzan's treehouse. That is just way too much exercise to do at Disneyland. They love the play area at the end.

Olivia took full advantage of all photo ops. She loved the waterfall here.

We've never taken the kids before November so it was lots of fun to see all the festive Fall decor. Everything was pumpkins, orange banners, orange and yellow mums. It made me so excited for cooler temps, Halloween and all the fun Fall activities. But none of us were prepared for the warm September weather. UGH! But the crowds were great and the kids got lots of action on countless rides. It was one of my best trips with the kids because we were able to ride nearly everything together. No more stroller swapping! We are officially out of the baby phase. We have really arrived. 

We planned on spending our third day there until after lunch then heading home. We did everything we could think of and more. It was fabulous. But of course after the last ride, Ella said, "Can we go on just one more ride?" That sums it up.
It's always a sad moment to say good-bye to our favorite place.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ryan's Reptile Adventures

Ryan turned 4 over the weekend and today we had the Reptile Guy, Rich, come with all his amazing reptile friends to entertain 15 kids. It was the best, most entertaining party I've ever thrown!  He wowed the kids with his collection of lizards, iguanas and snakes. He has raised all of them from babies and they were so much fun to see. He had a bearded dragon, Junior, a  legless lizard, Goldie, a friendly snake, Billy (all the kids got to hold him!), and a 7 year old albino python named Lilly. She is over 16 feet long and weighs over 100 pounds! Check out all the kids kneeling beside her in the above picture. Surprisingly, no one was scared and they all wanted to pet her.

Ryan took some convincing, but finally got cozy with Billy. It freaked him out just a bit.

Travis was super comfortable with a snake wrapped around his neck.

One of the coolest friends was T-bow, the rhinoceros iguana. Rich has raised him for the past 19 years. T-bow is only middle-aged so he has a lot a life still in him. Rich educated all of us about these unusual reptiles. Each kid from 3 years old and up were fascinated and mesmerized by the presentation. Rich is hilarious with the animals. He has a funny relationship with each animal and you could tell how much he loves them.

Ethan was excited to hold Billy. I'm sure it was a little scary but everyone was doing it, so how bad could it be?

My sister in law, Jodi, recommended Reptile adventures and Rich didn't disappoint! It was such a treat and all the kids (and grown ups) had a great time. If you want to check out Reptile Adventures click here

Travis begins radiation on the 29th. We plan to take the kids to Disneyland for a few days before he begins. The kids got a little gyped this summer when we cancelled all our vacation plans. We need an escape and as many of you know, we are Disneyland freaks! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's a mom to do

So I spent one crazy night working myself into a frenzy of crafts. I was determined to complete a bunch of projects to display on Sunday morning for an upcoming "Girl's Night" in my ward. Did I mention I am Enrichment Leader? Anyway, I thought I had a "few loose ends" to complete and I would be ready to go. That was before I got called into work of Saturday then invited to an ASU football game that night. By the time I started the "loose ends" in was 11:00 pm. Travis came downstairs around 3:30 am to a kitchen full of corn husks, paper, glue, ribbon, etc. stewed all over. I told him he was dreaming and to go back up to bed. I called it quits about 4:45. Ryan woke me around 6:30 so that was all the sleep I was going to get. I made it through 3 hours of Church and was so excited by the response to the projects I set up. I ended up crashing for several hours after church and was good for nothing the rest of the day. I am really getting too old for all nighters. When did that happen?

By Monday, I wasn't feeling well and by the evening I was down right sick. I guess that's what they call burning the candle at both ends. It didn't serve me very well. Travis had to feed the kids (leftovers from Sunday) and get them to bed. This morning was no better. He had to get 4 kids up and ready for school then drive 4 kids to 3 different locations. Yeah, it's tough for me so you can imagine how he felt. Later in the day he told me he wishes he was sick instead of me. How selfless is that? Ha! Moms really never take time off to be sick. I came downstairs at 7 am to throw together 3 lunches and back to bed I went. When I finally staggered out of bed a while later, I managed to load the dishwasher and fold and put away clean laundry (the kids were having a fit this morning because all their favorites weren't in their drawers) before taking a shower and heading to another doctor appointment with Travis. Honestly, isn't there some way a mom can just take a time out and hang a "do not disturb" sign on their bedroom door? Sadly, I haven't found anyone who can tell me how that works.

Lucky for me I am feeling much better tonight!

My cornhusk Harvest Wreath

The crackled monogram

The very fun magnetic advent Christmas calendar

The mod podge scrapbook paper frame- my favorite!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Travis graduates from PT

Yesterday Travis had his last physical therapy appointment with Dr. Robert Whipple. Last week Doc told Travis that he thought Travis was ready to be done with PT. He told Travis how much fun it has been to watch Travis progress so quickly the past several weeks. It has been 6 weeks since his surgery. Travis has diligently followed all instructions to speed his recovery along. He has improved amazingly quickly. I thought it was neat to hear that a physical therapist was so impressed with that diligence. It really is miraculous when you think about what Travis has gone through....major brain surgery and he's back to nearly 100%. Someone made a comment that they don't bounce back that quickly from a cold! Kind of funny.

The next step is an appointment with the radiation doc to get another MRI and be fitted with a "mask" to wear during radiation treatments. We'll do that next week then be ready to begin radiation. So we are probably looking at radiation in about 2-3 weeks. That will last a long 6 1/2 weeks of daily treatments at St. Joe's in Phoenix. We are planning on working with our naturopathic oncologist, Dr. Rubin, to keep Travis as strong and energetic as possible. I have no doubt that he be a superstar through all this!

I have officially entered the working force once again! It's been a full decade since I worked a full day of dental hygiene. But today Dr. Mike Greding was kind enough to invite me to fill in for his regular hygienist while she was out of town. I actually enjoyed it. Now I'm not saying I would prefer to work outside the home full-time, but what a huge blessing to be able to contribute financially when we need it. I have been working a half day each week for several years now but welcome the opportunity to pick up more hours. Luckily, I have all kinds of great dental connections and friends. Travis played Mr. Mom this morning dropping kids off at school then back home from work at 2:45 to drive carpool after school. How great is that? Travis continues to work for Cornerstone Homes part time but they continue to need him less and less. He has time to practice law on his own as well as some bankruptcy law with Clint Smith. This still provides a flexible schedule for doctor's appointments and carpooling!

I am thankful for how the Lord provides a way for us to make things work in our family. We are doing great, we are happy, optimistic, and taking care of one another and our children. I am not living in fear. I don't know what the future holds for us (who does?!) but I view life as a gift to treasure. How many of us live our lives thinking about tomorrow and not living in the moment. I am definitely guilty of that.  I don't want to waste a single day or take anything for granted. I think that this human experience is for us to learn to be happy and make the most of each day. Maybe that is something I need to learn from all this. I am so task-oriented. I busy myself and forget to stop and enjoy the simple everyday moments that make life special. Stop and play with the kids, sit on the couch and chat with my husband, bake something with Ella, let Olivia talk to me without walking around the house working, maybe even play Indiana Jones on the Wii with Ethan and Ryan......that will challenge me a bit. I don't want to have any regrets. Relationships, not tasks. That's what it's all about.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Emily's baby shower

Jamie, my mom, Emily, me and Jodi
We had a great spread of food!  I made chocolate/chocolate chip with a marshmallow buttercream frosting and coconut cupcakes from the Picky Palate blog. We had yummy sandwiches, salads, chocolate strawberries, pound cake, you know- all the good shower food.
Emily scored on lots of great baby items and I think she is officially "ready" for Paisley to make her October arrival.
Special thanks to Kathy for all the darling baby antiques that added so much to the shower. Those Winn ladies sure know how to make everything so beautiful and charming.