Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Letters

I am destined to be a seasonal blogger...As much as I enjoying getting online and checking everyone elses blogs you would think I would return the courtesy. Perhaps my new years resolution will be to blog more diligently. Only time will tell. I also appreciate and love the Christmas cards from friends and family, one day I may be motivated to actually send one of our own out. I thought to myself, there are so many people out there I want to share our year with and Holiday Greetings that it would be easier ( okay laziness set in) to blog about our year. No I won't bore you with the entire year just the last few weeks.

J has switched employers and is enjoying work. He is finally driving his "company car" and that makes life a bit easier. Although he stalks me sometimes, he can't wait to utilize his new power to write his wife a ticket! And the best change of all, DAY SHIFT!!!! We actually have a some what normal schedule. Our weekends are not the same as everyone elses, but that's alright with me. Daddy's home at night and we wake up together in the morning. It may only last for a few months, but for now I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I have just been busy keeping up with two kids a husband and a home. We are anxiously looking forward to building a new house, as we are quickly out growing ours. After a summer of raising animals and a huge garden, I'm in my hibernation mode. Being an Alaskan really requires an outdoorsy lifestyle especially in winter. The kids and I have been cooped up for too long! I'm determined to pick up cross country skiing or snowshoeing or something! The thermometer has been low and the winds high... makes for a not so fun winter. We've tried a few times to get out and walk, we don't make it very far before we quickly run home for hot cocoa and a warm fire. J bought me and elliptical so I could at least keep up with a bit of physical activity! Wonderful man!

Elizabeth is growing all too quickly. A typical, tall four year old that spends ALL DAY testing limits. One day she'll grow out of it right?! Mommy got rid of the TV recently because movies were becoming an every hour thing! Everything in life relates to a movie. "Oh that was on such and such a movie." I know by writing this you'll all know how terrible a mother I am, but I'm trying to improve. E can't wait for school, she tells everyone she's 5 because she knows that's when she starts kindergarten. Lately she's been going through toys deciding what she likes and doesn't and wants to give them away to kids that don't have any. I appreciate her sweet spirit and that she is so willing to give to those in need. She loves to hear stories of Jesus still and prays for him every night, expressing her love for him and her family. Inside that trying and curious little four year old is a giant spirit that has sooo much love for everyone!

Henry has been progressing so quickly! His speech is developing wonderfully! He has been seeing Ms. Evelyn every few weeks for ILP and LOVES it! He has caught up to his age level in everything and is passed it in some areas. At the age of 3 kids transition out of ILP into the school system for further speech development and such. But Henry is doing so well they didn't recommend any special education or early development work. He LOVES Buzz Light year and runs around the house yelling "to infinity and beyond." Another favorite is Signing Time. Video's that teach sign language. They have really helped him pick up quite a bit! After visiting Grandpa and Granny Annie in Idaho he is infatuated with tractors. He always has to have a turn talking on the phone when family calls, most people can't understand him, but he tries. A day trip is planned in January for Seattle check ups and then June will be the finish of bone medicine infusions. We are daily reminded of what a blessing it is to have him with us still.

Baby number 3... oh yeah, I'm five months along. Baby #3 will be here April 16th-ish and while I was tempted to find out the gender, we so enjoy the surprise in the end that we're waiting again. Elizabeth is convinced it's a girl and her name is going to be Cinderella. Henry doesn't really care, but likes to think he has a baby in his tummy too! Ultrasounds show a healthy baby who likes to suck on his/her thumb. That was fun to watch on the ultrasound! Such a precious gift. Can't wait to meet this sweet spirit!

Okay that was really too long.. but that's whats new and changing in our family. How very blessed we have been this year! We look forward to new changes next year and the adventures to come.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful hearts

I was overwhelmed yesterday as I thought about everything I am grateful for. Most especially for the opportunity to be TOGETHER as a family. For the prayers that so many offered in our families behalf, in Henry's behalf, that brought us to this point. I know the Lord hears and answers our prayers and I am in awe of how many people, as I slowly begin to realize, were praying for our little man. My heart is full of JOY! We have been blessed with great prosperity, peace and love. Most importantly we have been blessed with the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My little Elizabeth sings her primary songs where ever we are, the store, the doctors, she loves the songs and shares them with anyone who will listen. I wish I had the strength to share with those around me the wonderful message of joy that the gospel has to share. We have a Savior who gave his life for each one of us so that we could live again, so that we can be families for eternity, so that the mistakes, heartaches, sorrows and trials we face here can be forgiven, softened, comforted and endured. My favorite part of this season is the music that sings and testifies of Christ and his birth and his greatness! What greater blessing can we have than to know WHO we are, WHY we are here and the PURPOSE of this life. I believe greater than knowing, is sharing! To share the gospel with others and than witness the joy that it brings to them is far greater than just knowing for ourselves.

(Stephanie, I meant to get more pictures of our family dinner, but alas, I was running around getting dinner ready... here are the few we got)

Can't get enough of this kids smile!
I TOLD you he's growing fast!

SOOO strong!

We had a SEAFOOD feast last night with family.
Seems a bit easier than cooking turkey all day, and much more delicious!

Shrimp appetizer platter with wheat thins
Fondue and Rosemary bread cubes
Roasted shrimp & Special Cocktail Sauce

Live dungees that were cooked and cleaned for us... we simply reheated them in the oven


Most delicious in my opinion... King Crab Legs

I did try to slip in a little turkey with some Wild Rice & Turkey soup.. alas I was the only one to eat it. ;) Can't blame me for trying

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Trip to Idaho!

One of my favorite pictures, our first day there we went out to the fields to meet Grandpa in his tractor. They loved the open fields, although Elizabeth's poor legs were scratched up for days. Diggin' up the fields for winter. Provided many great dirt clumps to throw.

One of the many tractors Grandpa gets to drive. I learned all about the GPS systems and how great it makes farming these days.

Henry got to drive, I have some really cute video that I'll get posted one of these days. He was a natural. On our walks through town, every big rig or tractor-ish looking vehicle was "Grandpa's Tractor!" according to Henry.

The fire pit. Henry is stoking the fire, he thought it best to throw them in from a distance. What an arm! We had hot dogs and marshmallows. Henry really only wanted to marshmallows.

The park in town

Rather than climb across the monkey bars, she crawled over them. I had just made a comment to my mother, very quietly, about walking across the monkey bars as a little girl...she must have really good ears!

Elizabeth was very excited to help Henry into his swing and then to push him as hard as she could. Most of the time he enjoyed it.

You can't really see it very well in the picture, but Henry had just face planted in the sand... his mouth and nose and eyes were full of sand! Poor guy! And he has a big red mark over his left eye.

Bed time for the kids...a rare occasion to find Henry IN his bed, he usually slept half way under my bed, or on the floor and every time I tried to put him back, he screamed until he was back on the floor.

Easiest time putting kids to bed... Annie just read to them until they both fell asleep. Grandparents are wonderful!

Each week we walked over to the Library and grabbed as many books as we could. The kids LOVED it!
The ladies in the Library were so excited to see Elizabeth again, and to meet Henry.
In fact the whole town, almost, knew who Henry was. They all prayed for Henry during his time in Seattle and could hardly wait to meet him.
We got to drive over to Idaho Falls to see Grandpa and Grandma Great P. Both kids were instantly attached and wished they could have stayed longer. It was so wonderful to see them and to have Henry meet them. I am amazed at the many lives Henry has touched through his many set backs and triumphs. He has grown so much and is in such great health that you would not know he had been through chemo and a bone marrow transplant. What a blessing for so many to witness the power of prayer and the miracles that continue to surround us daily.

Looking for the airplane....
It finally started to snow the day we left, I was worried we wouldn't make it out. We were only shortly delayed and made it home safely. Although they were a bit for me to handle they did fairly well on the three plane rides we had to take.

I LOVE my TWO angels!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh technology....

I have some amazingly cute pictures of the children on the tractor with Grandpa, Henry driving, kids holding hands running through the fields... and alas I am unable to post them because for whatever reason the card isn't compatible with the scanner, and then mom's camera hooked up to the computer wasn't working either, I think the battery is dead. One day I may be able to post them I hope.
Elizabeth and Henry are having a blast with Granny Annie and Grandpa, they are being spoiled rotten who wouldn't love that?! Elizabeth insists that she is staying her for a long long time. J was a bit concerned and saddened that she wasn't missing home. However, after looking through the last two years of pictures I discovered that Idaho is as much home for her as anywhere else... maybe more than anywhere else. I believe she spent about half her life here at Annie's house and LOVES it here. So I get why she wants to stay. I've never actually lived in Idaho, but I feel like I'm home. It's because family is here, but the beauty here is amazing and there is no smell like Idaho, the hay the animals it's just wonderful... even the skunk smell from the road is wonderful to me! Brings back wonderful memories from childhood.
My Mom's ward had their primary program this last Sunday, Elizabeth stayed sitting next to us, but sang along with every song! I was telling her to be quiet at first but everyone around thoroughly enjoyed her. I was almost the emotional momma watching my baby on the stand singing. I'm not sure why it pulls at my heart strings but it does. The spirit was so amazing! What a wonderful sacrament meeting!
Although it was warm and sunny when we got here, I actually got a sun burn on Thursday last week... we got snow the same day Alaska did. It didn't stick really, but we had an entire day of snow storm. The kids were so excited the next morning to see some snow on the grass they ran outside to make snow angels. They will be thrilled to get back to Alaska to play in more snow with actual snow gear!
Hopefully the pictures will come soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Excursions

Amidst the wind and cold temperatures there have been some nice days up here on the mountain, and we have tried to get out and enjoy them. We usually just walk to the end of our road and back, searching for the perfect "walking stick" and spotting moose and squirrels. The last walk we went on brought Elizabeth great joy! She saw snow on the top of the mountain! She can't hardly wait for the snow to get here. I on the other hand don't mind waiting! Missing two Alaska winters was seriously AWESOME! hahaha I do look forward to the snow and sledding and the winter wonderlands... but I'm not a fan of cold... so we're focusing on the positives.... warm fires, sledding, hot cocoa, rosy cheeks, snow ball fights etc, etc.
Elizabeth has her bike, and Henry has his shopping cart, neither one last very long, I'm usually pushing the stroller, carrying the cart and dragging the bike too!
Why two hats you ask? I don't know, but he HAS to wear the green hat and so I put the winter hat on and he INSISTS on wearing the green hat on top!

They really are so much fun! What a blessing these beautiful children have been in our lives.

After a major wind storm we counted all the trees that had fallen down. There were A LOT! And they needed to stop and play with all the ones they could reach.

We are escaping for a few weeks though...not to warm Hawaii or anything... but to Idaho for a much needed visit to Grandparents. Henry and Elizabeth are SOOOO exciting to see Granny Annie and Grandpa! Elizabeth is filling Henry in on all the fun activities and where he's allowed to sit on the tractor and much more. Grandpa is excited to teach Henry how to DRIVE the tractor. Every time the phone rings they are sure it's Granny Annie. It will be a fun few weeks for all, well maybe except for Daddy who's having to stay behind. But I'm sure he'll appreciate the quite days of sleep.

Friday, August 27, 2010

3 Going on 18!

This beautiful little girl of mine just turned 4!
My camera was on the fritz so our neighbor took pictures, I'll have to down load those as soon as I get them! But she had a really wonderful birthday! We had ice cream and candles as a family on Sunday (her actual birthday) and then a party on Monday evening.
What I love most about my sweet daughter:
She wants SO much to be good
Her favorite movie is "The Testament"
Always asking me to tell her stories about Jesus
She can recite movies after watching them once
She LOVES her friends
Her competitive attitude
Every thing happened yesterday
She thoroughly enjoys riding her bike or hiking
Her love for her baby brother, and helping him learn
and her resilience to the chaos that usually surrounds her life.
She has been such a blessing in my life! What a privilege it has been thus far to be her mother. She spent a lot of time in the back ground during Henry's ordeal, being tossed around from home to home, but has grown and learned from it all. She continues to amaze me each day. And I thank the Lord every night for allowing her spirit to be a part of our family.
Happy belated birthday my spunky Elizabeth Anne!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Movin on Up..

Our neighbors graciously gave us some new furniture for Henry's room.
And yes, the walls are still periwinkle.. we're working on that.. one step at a time though.
Elizabeth got moved up stairs to the loft, and is really enjoying it. I will have pics of that soon. Her favorite thing to do... read books on her bed.
I though Granny Annie and Grandpa would appreciate this picture. I don't know how many days we would sit around and watch Henry climb in and out of the cabinets in the Ron Don.
The set included a head board, night stand and dresser with a mirror attached. Pretty awesome! I am not sure which of us is enjoying it more!

LOVE posing for the camera.

Well they both do! I love these two little kids! They brighten my life and bring such joy into our home. Elizabeth's favorite movie right now is "The Testament." A movie of Christ and his life and ministry and his visitation to the people in the America's after his resurrection. We talk a lot about the movie, about why Christ died and that the greatest blessing of all is that Christ was resurrected, so that one day (Elizabeth says two weeks) we will be able to return and live with our Father in Heaven. My children truly bring the spirit into our home, and inspire me to be a more devoted disciple of Christ.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

1 YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We celebrated this MONUMENTAL day with Red cupcakes again!
Last year on Aug. 3rd, Henry received his bone marrow transplant!
We celebrate the day even though his transplant technically failed. Henry's marrow grew back rather than the donors, but it eliminated the disease and that's all we could ask for! What a blessing it has been to be home and healthy and enjoying life as a family! I want to thank all of you that prayed for our family, for our little Henry! The Lord does hear and answer prayers, in his own way, in his own time. I find it amazing to look back at the way things worked out, how the Lords will becomes more clear as we see how and why things worked the way they did. I am grateful for the Lords mercy and love and patience. And I am grateful to have my baby boy with me today!
This was the outfit he started in... I think we ended up changing a few times! haha I know he may not look excited and happy... but he was! He was a bit tired at this point, he only downed a portion of the cupcake frosting and was about to crash...but we livened him up and forced him to stay awake longer! Such fun!

I made Ribs for the first time ever! Great Success! We had Ribs, pulled pork, veggies from the garden, fruit salad, crackers & hummus, sweet corn and corn bread. I think it's funny that when we want to celebrate we think about eating a big awesome meal!

Trying to decided which is better cupcakes or corn?!

Eating cupcakes without hands leads to frosting/cake up the nose!
(Man! He looks JUST like my brother Jake!)

Making googlie eye with Grandma!
Shirtless because his dinner ended up ALL over his shirt!

Henry and his friend, Sawyer who lives next door, enjoy eating cupcakes with out their hands. Less Mess?!

After cupcakes...MORE CORN! Thank you Grandpa for bringing the sweet corn! Henry LOVED it, I think he ate about two ears.

Tuesday Henry, Elizabeth and I went swimming with the neighbor girls to celebrate Henry's Transplant day. Afterwards we went home and made Red Velvet cupcakes with coconut frosting. However, mommy's cupcakes didn't turn out very well... the frosting was good though, and that's all that really matters right?! We sang "Happy Transplant Day" and played with friends. It was really a wonderful day. And I am definitely making it a tradition to have Red Velvet cupcakes every year on the 3rd of August. What joy fills my heart!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Doo

This was where we started...

Then Daddy got started shaving his head... and Mommy thought "Maybe I should just buzz Henry's too.

And this is what we got! Too cute!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Little Ones

Our hike up Hatcher Pass
That's the only word to describe it... I love being eye level with the clouds and mountain tops!
Our Hike back down, the wind literally almost blew us off the mountain side. And that small dot of a building is where we started! It was really fun though.. and yes Elizabeth is in J's back pack! Lucky!
Elizabeth's very first BIKE!

She's a dare devil like her father! Already trying to ride with NO hands... lucky for us there are still training wheels.

He doesn't look very happy but he DID enjoy the sparklers...

Elizabeth enjoyed the s'mores... you can almost see them all over her face!
Not a good s'more unless it's all over your face.

She wasn't quite sure about riding it at first, but now Mommy pushes Henry in the stroller and Elizabeth rides her bike. It is wonderful!
(pics little out of order.. sorry)

No, we did not get a dog. And especially not a small dog. This is the neighbors dog. Elizabeth LOVES it to death...almost literally! She is obsessed! And while the dogs like the attention at first, eventually they are pleading for help to get away! She means well... she just loves them a bit too much!

BOB the Builder @ the Library

The kids got fun hats, coloring books, treats and got to do fun activities.
As you can see, the hats were the best part!

I think this is one of my favorite Henry pictures! What a goof ball!

I am so grateful to be their mother! Some times they are cranky and crazy and well, act their age, but I DO love them sooo much! They are such wonderful children! We are reading "Who's your Hero?" A book of stories from the Book of Mormon, about Nephi, Abinadi and Ammon. Every day Elizabeth makes good choices and then says, "Look mom I'm being just like Nephi!" It's so cute and I'm so grateful that she enjoys the stories and is actually learning from them. What sweet joy the gospel brings into our lives!
Not a day goes by that we don't think about where we have been and how grateful we are to the Lord for bring us through the struggles and into a time of rejoicing!