Thursday, September 30, 2010


Before we had to change insurances this year, we didn't have to think much about where we filled our prescriptions. We had great coverage. Now, we have to pay everything out of pocket, and we have found it pays to call around and ask different pharmacies what the cost would be. My doctor prescribed two meds for the shingles. I called three pharmacies, and these were the results:

Smiths: Valtrex-- $434
generic Valtrex-- $164
Gabapentin-- $36

Walgreens: Valtrex-- $428
generic Valtrex-- $334
Gabapentin-- $97

Costco: Valtrex-- $394
generic Valtrex-- $104
Gabapentin-- $14

Don't you feel for the poor person who has shingles and goes to Walgreens?! You can bet that I drove an extra 15 minutes to go to Costco! (And that I opted for generic Valtrex.) The crazy thing is that Costco isn't always the cheapest. Some meds we end up getting at Smith's and others at Walgreens. I'll never figure out why there is such a discrepancy is prices...

Also, I had to post Jesi's prayer tonight. It would not would be so unique if you didn't know that we don't usually address God as "God" when we pray. We always call him Heavenly Father, or our Father in Heaven. Not because calling Him God wouldn't be ok-- just because the other way feels more personal and describes our relationship with Him. So it just sounded funny to hear her pray tonight:

"Dear God in Heaven,
God, we are soooo thankful for this day. And God, please help us to have the Spirit with us so we will only have goodness in our hearts and not any badness. And please, God, bless Elli to have miracles. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Off to try an oatmeal bath-- ahhhhhhhhhh!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Love this clip...

I was watching this little video and really identifying with Rochelle. Adoption, special needs, religion, etc. Then when she got to the part about hitting teachers, I just wanted to hug her! Just a little comment, but it made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. She said it in a way that reminded me that "it's all good!" It's ok that Elli basically spit all day in school today. Life goes on.

So grateful for people who understand, even if I don't know them! So grateful to know the beauty of having special needs kids in my home. So grateful for the teachers who give so much to my kids and who sincerely love them. So grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ.

(you can double click on the video to make it bigger)

PS Not so grateful for shingles. I have an appointment in the morning. Thanks for all your sweet comments and advice. I wouldn't have made an appointment if it weren't for reading them..

Lucky me...

So about a week ago I began to have some pain under my arm and by the side of my chest. It would come and go and sometimes was super painful. I thought maybe it was swollen lymph nodes, but I couldn't feel any. Plus, it felt more like nerve pain, if that makes sense. I was beginning to wonder if something more serious was going on. Then the other day, out of the blue, I broke out in a bumpy, red, horribly itchy and painful rash. Right where the pain had been. I googled pictures of rashes and found one that looked exactly like mine and found out that I'm 99% sure I have...


Are you kidding me? I thought this was something that older people get! I didn't really know about shingles, but have found out that it comes from the chicken pox virus which lays dormant in your body. It can be triggered by things such as stress. I don't know how in the world I ended up with it! LOL

I have a new empathy for anyone that has dealt with this. The pain can be horrible and even just the slightest brush against my skin can feel like sandpaper. However, as I looked at other images of people with shingles, I felt so grateful that my outbreak is relatively small AND it's not anywhere near my face. And don't worry-- you can't spread shingles-- but I can give someone chicken pox that hasn't had it before--crazy!

Apparently there's not a great cure, so I'm trying to find one of my own. This morning I tried to see if eating three raspberry-filled, powdered sugar doughnuts for breakfast would help with the pain. I think it just may have... (:

So... yeah.


Just what I needed.


Xander Commander

Today my heart has been occupied with this kid:

Within an hour of meeting Xander, Jeremy and I (and our entire travel group) had decided he would someday be student body president. (: The boy just has "it." He is funny, engaging, sensitive, bright, independent, and loving. When he first saw us he laughed and jumped into our arms and has never looked back. He has the most fun imagination and makes the biggest messes with it! I'll often go into the kitchen and he's sitting there with a huge smile and a sandwich he's made himself-- we're talking mayo, mustard, meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce-- the whole shebang. He answers almost any question with "sure!" and loves to be my helper. He has the most sensitive heart, and if he sees someone crying, he's likely to join right in. He makes the funniest faces that make us all laugh. He dresses up as Batman or the Incredible Hulk or some other superhero almost every single day. He has the cutest little stutter. He is easygoing and always grateful.

I adore him.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I love you, dear Emily Anne!

She would be turning five today.

And because of her short life, we now have THREE living children her age. Yes-- Emily, Elli, Xander, and Lexi were all born within a year of each other. (: None of them would be here with us if Emily hadn't returned to her Heavenly Father when she did.

What fun they will someday have all together... Emily and Xander with their perfect bodies, Elli and Lexi with their perfect eyesight... What a joyous day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn't help all those exclamation marks. (:

When we left our home during the fire last week, we gathered our precious things. These included Emily's box (and Jacob's too, of course) of momentos from her birth. When we came home and put things away, I went through those boxes and looked at every single thing. Every picture. Every card sent to us by friends and family. Every photocopy of letters we had written and left in their caskets. Every momento, including the dress we first dressed Emily in, the blanket we first wrapped Jacob in, and replicas of the stuffed animals they were buried with.

I saw her birth announcement with the little pink footprints, reading in part:

"May these feet leave their footprints across your heart as they have ours."

I saw the chart that had been posted on our fridge stating who was set up to bring us meals and who was helping with the kids. (Thanks, McKenzie.) I saw the little note cards that had come with flowers sent by loved ones. I read each card sent to us, and was reminded of the love sent our way by so many people.

Just so you know, I needed every single one.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the sweet people in my life!

Thank you!

A few pictures to share...

Jessica hugging the bunny Emily would be buried with.

Her casket-- I made it out of a large jewelry/silverware box. The dress was made by a woman from church, her bracelet by my friend, Teresa, (who made matching ones for Jesi and myself), and the beautiful blanket by Jeremy's sister, Jennifer.

Jeremy singing at her graveside service. He sang a song we had written together, and another entitled "The Things I Know." Part of the words are as follows:

I know little babies come from heaven
I know God made her tiny hands and heart
I know rainbows and roses are no accident
Neither are the sun and moon and stars

So when I doubt
And there are things in life I just can't figure out
I trust that He
Is in control
And I hold on
To the things I know

Taylor and Parker sang "Families Can Be Together Forever"

My boys buried her.

It was a sacred day.

Love you, birthday girl!

PS About my comment to Jeremy in the previous post... it was, of course, said in jest! I am very nice to my hubby. And I know that he really isn't a scrooge.

Most of the time.

Oh, and speaking of my sweetheart-- it was his birthday on the 23rd! I didn't get the chance to post it on the blog--it was a crazy, special day that I will write about later, but in the meantime, feel free to send him belated birthday wishes and congrats for getting so close to 40! (;

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Natural

With an upcoming adoption trip to China towards the end of November, we are realizing that we need to get most, if not all, of our Christmas shopping done before we go. To that end, we have been on ebay, craigslist and other online sites trying to find some of this years requests. As with most parents, we sometimes disagree on what to buy. I will give you a short sample of our conversation this evening:

Me: "I'm really just trying to look our for our kids. I'm not trying to be a Scrooge."

Christi: (with a small smirk on her face) "Oh, it just comes naturally?"

Ah, the joys of parenthood:)


Monday, September 20, 2010

Herriman fire

We've had many people emailing to ask if we are ok and just wanted to take a few minutes to say "yes!" It was surreal to stand on the front porch and watch the flames creep down the mountain. We evacuated around 10 p.m.-- at that time our home was not in a "mandatory evacuation" area, but we had been told it would likely change through the night. As we left, we drove closer to the fire and watched homes go up in flames. It was so very sad. The smoke was awful and Graci was coughing up a lung. The kids were pretty concerned, and so we decided to use our free hotel night so we could take them swimming today and turn it into a fun adventure.

When we drove back today, we were AMAZED at the miracles that had occurred. The fire lines were within yards of many, many homes. It was truly a miracle that more were not destroyed. Almost the entire mountain in front of our home is black, and yet everyone is safe. So although we are very sad for those who did lose their homes, I think as a whole, our community is counting its blessings. Our home reeks of smoke, but nothing was damaged. Thanks for your concern!

On a happier note, Graci's "Star Raising Celebration" is this Thursday at 7:00 at the Wishing Place. They will be showing a DVD of Graci's wish, serving refreshments, and raising her permanent star. You can also take a tour of the Wishing Place-- it's a very special building. Anyone is invited to attend, but if you do plan on coming, please email me so I can get an idea as far as numbers go. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tonight's Jesi-isms

Tonight as I was tucking Jesi in, she drew me close to her and whispered, "Mom, I'm going to tell you a little secret. You're a much better cleaner than Dad. Cause you get up and clean a lot and he just sits there."


Tonight's prayer: "Heavenly Father, we thank thee for this day. We thank thee for our family. Please help us to be nice and to be good and have a good sleep. Please help us to have a good day at school tomorrow. And just so you know, you are the bestest Heavenly Father in the whole world! And you help us find stuff when we lose it. And please help us to keep our house cleaner so we will stop losing stuff. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." (Apparently this girl really has cleaning on her mind-- and who can blame her with the state of our house right now?)


And my favorite-- as I was leaving her room-- "Mom, I am so smart, amn't I?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lone Peak 2010

The weekend after our trip up Y mountain was our annual (and highly anticipated) Lone Peak adventure. This is the third year that Christi, Taylor, Parker and I have backpacked and camped up in the Lone Peak wilderness. I was introduced to this hike about 18 years ago by a college roommate. It is quite a challenging hike, especially with all of your gear (and a portion of your sons' gear!) strapped to your back. We ascend close to 3000 feet over the course of 2-3 miles.

Last year when we went to China, I bought backpacks for all four of us. Previously, Christi and I had borrowed packs from my aunt and uncle and the boys had just used school packs. The boys new packs have waist straps, so they are much better for this type of trip. I was the one who loaded all the packs. My pack weighed about 32 pounds, Christi’s was about 24. Taylor’s was 14 and Parker’s was 12.

The trailhead is in Alpine, Utah and is called Dry Creek Trailhead. Half way up the trail there is a small meadow which makes a great resting point. It is also a good point to eat a snack, although we had snacks with us to keep us going the entire way. We have three snacks we take every year: jerky, dried mango, and starbursts. Sounds like an odd combination, but it’s a delicious way to get some energy. We found some company in the meadow this year...

About 2/3 of the way up you get a view of a spectacular waterfall. On the way back down on Saturday, we cut off the main trail and go over to get a close-up look. It’s gorgeous. Pretty cold, too☺.

At the top of our hike is a huge outcropping of rock. It’s a great place to sit and view the valley below. The views are spectacular, and usually we are the only people in the vicinity.

The spot we camp is pretty difficult to find unless you know it’s there. It’s a small, perfect campsite. We have a fire pit and cook right over the flames. The easiest and lightest way to cook is to bring freeze-dried food. That way, all we have to do is boil water from the river that runs right by our campsite. We sleep under the stars. This year we took a little more time to flatten out the ground where we were going to sleep, and it made a big difference. In the morning, Christi was served breakfast in bed! (A bowl of oatmeal:)

As Christi and I were setting up camp, Parker built and lit the fire all by himself. He was extremely proud☺.

Lone Peak has become a tradition that we love to share. Every year, the boys ask me how many more years I will be able to make the hike. I tell them my goal is to do it until I turn 70! Wish me luck☺.


PS. When we got home, Parker was absolutely exhausted. It was about 5pm on Saturday. 45 minutes after we got back, I went into his room and found him sound asleep and curled up under his blanket. Poor kid:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hike the Y!

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that our boys don’t play football!

I am a sports nut. In particular I am a college football nut. We love to watch our BYU cougars (don’t mention last weekend!) each Saturday through the fall. We follow the Tennessee Volunteers, the MTSU Blue Raiders, Oregon, Oregon State, Boise State and Utah (in hopes that the Utes lose!) on a weekly basis. Taylor, Parker and I can turn on a game and instantly become rabid fans of the underdog, pinning our happiness over the next 3 hours to the fortunes of some college kids we’ve never met. Indeed, we LOVE college football around here.

We also love sports in general around here. I have coached the boys in basketball since they were 5 and 6 and in baseball for the last three years. I love it! They love it! But when baseball season ends in July, oh how grateful I am that our boys don’t play football☺ We need the break. So from July through November, we have no sports. Our family schedules all kinds of vacations, hikes, camping, cruises (ok…cruise…singular…once), reunions, you get the idea, during these months. I have at least four of these activities to blog about. I’ll start today with a family hike 3 weekends ago…

As I mentioned above, we are big BYU fans. As some of you may know, BYU is nestled in beautiful Utah Valley in Provo, UT. It sits at the base of Y mountain, which has a huge, white block “Y” half way to the summit. This Y is visible for miles around. (In fact, you can see it from Herriman, where we live, about 40 miles away.) It is 380 feet high and 130 feet wide. It is the biggest college symbol in the US and is bigger than the letters in the Hollywood sign in California. You can get a feel for the size of the Y from this picture. You can see several people hiking on it.

At the base of Y mountain is a trailhead which leads to the Y. It is a steep 1.25 mile hike up. I’ve been wanting to take the boys to the Y for quite some time. In fact, I’d eventually like to hike with them to the top of the mountain. But since I already do a couple of big camping activities each year with just Taylor and Parker, I thought this could be a family activity. Elli obviously couldn’t go, but I thought the other kids could at least give it a shot. Christi was originally going to come, but didn’t feel up to it that day, so she stayed with Elli.

Taylor, Parker, Jesi, Graci, Xander and I attacked the mountain on August 28th. Here’s a picture of the kids before setting off. If you look carefully, you can see the Y on the mountainside way above them. It is just a flat white spot close to the base of the rock outcroppings towards the top of the mountain and is centered in the picture. It helps to double click the picture to enlarge it.

The trail has about 11 switchbacks. Each switchback has a place to rest and look out over Utah Valley and Utah lake below. The kids loved stopping at the resting points and taking pictures. They also loved taking turns being the leader on each switchback. Everyone else had to stay behind the leader, who would announce as soon as they saw the sign indicating the end of the switchback we were on and the beginning of the next one. It was really cute.

On the second to last switchback, we had a great view of the Y from below.

As I mentioned before, this is a really steep hike that never really lets up. It’s not very long, but there are virtually no flat areas, so you’re climbing the entire time. I was really impressed with all of the kids, but especially with Graci. She paced herself and was able to hike almost the entire way. I piggy-backed her for a short spell, but other than that, she made the entire climb herself. (This hike did convince her that she did not, in fact, want to accompany us on our annual Lone Peak hike the next weekend☺.) Jesi also did very well, although I must say I don’t think she would have made it if Taylor hadn’t carried her for about ¼ of a mile. Go Taylor!!! Parker was a complete wimp and was actually in tears at one point, saying he couldn’t go on.

OK, I just made that up about Parker because I know it will mortify him when he reads it tomorrow. Love you, Park☺. As you can see above, Parker actually carried Xander part of the way up!

Here are a few shots at the top:

It was a great family experience. I feel so blessed to have kids who love each other so much. Taylor carried both Xander and Jesi at different times on the way up. Parker carried Xander. Everyone supported and encouraged Graci when she struggled. They are truly amazing. I hope that activities like this will cement the bonds they are forging and help them stay close throughout their lives.

At one point in my life, I wanted to be the President of the United States. Now, I just want to be a dad. There is no better calling☺.