Tuesday, May 26, 2009

School's out!

What a week! Preschool graduation, kindergarten graduation, a school musical, a huge water party and camping in the rain.........we packed in a lot over 8 days.

May 20th marked the 5 year anniversary of our Ella's diagnosis of Leukemia. It was May 20, 2004 when we got the news that Ella, then 21 months old, had ALL. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) She spent 6 weeks in the hospital, had multiple surgeries, countless hours in the clinic for blood transfusions, chemo treatments and spinal taps. After a long and difficult 2 1/2 years, she completed treatment and was officially in remission. She continues to see the doctors at Phoenix Children's Hospital every 6 months for check ups. Actually, beginning this summer, she goes into the late effects program, which means she gets a check up once each year. 

Travis always planned on doing a huge party to honor Ella on her 5 year anniversary. We had a bounce house, a water slide, and her favorite treat, a snow cone machine. On the last day of school, we had the party in our front yard and invited all our family and a couple of close friends. It was a bit blustery, but turned out to be a wonderful afternoon.

This is Ella 5 years ago just weeks before we found out she had Leukemia.

This is Ella now on her last day of kindergarten.
We are so grateful for the perfectly healthy girl she is today. She is a spunky, fun, smart and happy girl. She is strong and healthy and never seems to get sick. We often forget how much she has gone through in her young life. She is our sweetheart and adds so much to our family.

Some of our cute party girls.

Travis grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and made snow cones the entire afternoon.

The weather didn't keep the kids off the water slide. Ethan was lovin' life.

Our daredevil, Ryan.

See where he gets it?

Travis' brother, Morgan and his cousin, Kacie.

Our great friends, Dan and Geri with Paige.
Camille and her kids on their way home. Camille was like a second mother to Olivia and Ethan 5 years ago while I spent weeks at the hospital with Ella.  She had them over at her house day after day. I couldn't have made it through that time without her.  

This is Ella's 5th snow cone. Her mouth turned purple and red....I was afraid it would be permanent.

Our Preschool Grad, Ryan:

Ryan with his cousin, Miah:
Ryan was lucky enough to be with his two cousins, Presley and Miah in preschool this year.

Our Kindergarten Grads, Ethan and Ella:
The grads with their amazing teacher, Mrs. Whall:

Olivia performed in her school musical, "Aladdin."  She played a townsperson and was in lots of the numbers. She sent invitations to all the family to be sure they could see her performance. This is Grandma Adams with Olivia: 

Olivia with some of her friends from "Aladdin."

Our 2nd Annual Memorial Day Weekend Campout

A few weeks ago, my mom asked us if we wanted to go camping over Memorial Day weekend. Just to give some history.....6 years ago we went camping in the White Mountains with our three young kids, the twins were only 8 months old and my entire family. It was freezing, dirty, bugs everywhere......miserable. I swore I'd never do that again. 

Fast forward 5 years, the kids were older and my family talked us into giving it another try. We found a camp site just north of Payson and even rented a pop up trailer. Well, it was freezing and rained the entire weekend. I swore again, that I would never do that again.

So when my mom asked if we were interested in camping again, I was quite hesitant. She said, "What are the chances that it will rain again?" Well, for most people that is true, but our family is the exception to that theory. We have already proved that, right? But, being the optimist that I naturally am, I decided to go for it.  We checked the weather forecast and of course, it called for rain. We went anyway because the kids were so excited and we would crush their dreams if we cancelled.
Ryan fell in love with the bugs and set out to find and "save" as many as possible. My brother and his two girls humored him.
The kids learned to shoot BB guns with Grandpa Adams and Travis.

The kids found an existing swing and swinging from it was the camping highlight. (until it broke while Ella was swinging!)

We went fishing at Tonto Creek with Barbie and Cars fishing poles. 
Amazingly, Travis and Olivia caught 4 fish and Olivia found her new passion. She LOVED fishing!
Travis caught his fish on a homemade stick fishing pole. What a mountain man!
It turned out to be a great weekend! We may even try it again next year. What are the chances that it will rain 3 years in a row? 

All right, now Summer Vacation has officially begun. Moms, brace yourselves. I'm only one day into it and really nervous. All day the kids have wanted to party and be entertained and swim and make snow cones and other treats and have play dates and go to a movie. Honestly, that was just today. I hope they chill out and don't completely drive me crazy.  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Women's Conference

Last week I went up to Women's Conference at BYU with a couple of friends. I haven't been in probably 8 years and have been really wanting to go for a long time. I was lucky enough to get to go this year. As expected, I had the most fabulous and wonderful time.....a perfect mix of inspiration and fun, just what I needed.

This was the closing session with Elder L. Tom Perry speaking. Elder Russell M. Nielson was also there. Elder Perry talked about how the world perceives us Mormons. They had a video clip and it was very interesting to hear some of the crazy, far-fetched things people think about us. He encouraged us to share the Gospel with the world, be bold but not overbearing, use technology such as blogs, facebook, etc., and bring the Gospel out of obscurity. I haven't really thought about how just sharing what we believe with others, without trying to "convert" them, can be a huge missionary tool. We can be so misunderstood. I have renewed courage to just talk to people about the Gospel......to not be shy or fearful about what they will think. Because the truth is, I love the Gospel and know that everyone should hear about it.

I love the flowers here. The tulips are gorgeous. I miss the grass, the trees, but especially the flowers!

Shawni was signing her books on Friday afternoon. I got my own copy of "A Mother's Book of Secrets." I am loving it! Shawni, you are simply amazing and wonderful. I'm so lucky to have you as my friend.  
This was our rental car, supposedly a "mid-size." Ha! We affectionately named it "Little Zippy" because we zipped all over town in it. Jenny was car sick most of the time. Sorry, Jenny!

Check out the "Y." I love it!

Kelee's cousin let us crash her darling condo. She was the sweetest hostess and we were so comfortable. She gave up her bed for us. I spent my nights slippin' and sliddin' all over her bed with satin sheets. Again, sorry, Jenny!

Jenny, the group nature-lover, couldn't get enough of the blossoms.
So after a couple days of inspiring talks and music, I am ready to be a better wife, mother....... a better version of myself. I am incredibly blessed to have been able to go. Thanks, Travis. I know this was a particularly hairy weekend. You were such a great sport. I really had a stupendous time. Hopefully, with my new-found patience, love and skills; it will all be worth it! I can only cross my fingers that it lasts longer than a few days. I'm sure it will....at least 2 weeks.