Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cody's Reading Level

This month at school they've been testing the kids reading levels. I had no idea this was happening just yet until one day Cody ran in the house and said "I'm on the highest reading level now." He told me they tested on the computer that day and it said he was on a 6th grade reading level!! And to top that off, both Cody and his teacher told me that he could have gone higher but the computer wouldn't let him test any higher. How awesome is that!!!! When he went into 2nd grade he was on a 4th to 5th grade reading level, and now at the end of the school year he's passing 6th! Wahoo! He is our brain child. We are so proud of him!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Outlaws

I love boys. I love how boys play, how they think, and how creative they are. I love the energy they have for life. I love how they have to explore everything, and build everything.  But most of all, I love their imagination. 

One of my boys favorite things to do is be cowboys. Not only are they true cowboys at heart, but they have to pretend to be outlaws, too.
I know their chaps aren't on the right way but there's a reason for that. They were in a hurry to get them on. Lately we've had some neighbor girls coming over to play and that ain't settin' right with these boys. So an idea comes.... dress up as some bad outlaws and scare those girls away.

So they did. I could hear them running after those girls yelling to get out of here. Guess they thought the mustaches, hats, vests and chaps would hide who they really are. The girls did leave, but what the boys didn't know is I'd already told them they had to go home. These boys don't need little girls running around after them when they are trying to do boy stuff like shootin' and such. It just ain't right!

Here's our mini outlaw. He's the one I'm worried about.  But so far his upside down mustache helps put those worries at ease.

If this was his get away horse, we'd be in trouble. But for now, his wild little self is buckled into the truck.

Gotta have somewhere to put those mustaches until the next days work of being boys.

I love boys. Never thought I'd have 3 right in a row all within 4 and a half years, but I guess that's what we needed to make our life fun. There's never a dull moment around here. If it's quiet, be worried. If it's loud, it's normal and it's ok. It usually means there's something fun going on.

All in a day of being BOYS!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mom's MRI

I haven't blogged long enough to have a story on my mom yet so I need to back up before I put in the update.                                                                                                                                                                                                    Back in November of 2009, the day before Thanksgiving to be exact, we found out my mom has a brain tumor. Technically she'd had it for 3 years before they found it, but they missed it on the MRI from that time. Mom was having some shaking in her head at times, especially when she put her head down, so she finally went in to see a neurologist after we convinced her (that part took a couple months!). We thought it was Parkinson's disease because her mom, and a few aunts and uncles had it. They did an MRI and found a benign tumor that was slow growing right up against her brain stem. So from there we met with a neuro surgeon who said right there he refused to do brain surgery to remove it because it was almost dead center in her brain and was too risky. Her tumor wasn't cancerous and people can usually live a long time with these, so he wasn't doing the surgery. The risks of that kind of brian surgery-strokes, cutting off her breathing, seizures, and death- were way too risky for a slow growing benign tumor. So we met with an oncologist at IMC Hospital , Dr. Watson-who is amazing!!!!  Long story short, on January 28, 2010 they did the Gamma Knife Radiation on her to try and stop the growth of her tumor. That was pretty intense to watch her go through. They had to screw a stabilizer into her skull to hold her in place while she was given the radiation to insure there was absolutely no movement whatsoever. The radiation lasted around 48 minutes. This, even though it's non-evasive except for the stabilizer part, is still considered brain surgery. For a while after, she was a little more tired and had to lay down more. And for the first few days after the radiation treatment, her face and eyes were extremely swollen from having the stabilizer screwed in (so swollen that the first day after she could barely open them enough to see a small crack of the floor and someones feet as they walked by).
All her Dr.'s are here at IMC. We had to be to IMC at 6:15 a.m. the morning of her radiation. Mom & Dad picked me up at 5:20 that morning. Let's just say with knowing what was going to happen, I didn't get much sleep the night before. I stayed up and made homemade cinnamon rolls at 11 o'clock the night before to get my mind off it. Got maybe 3 hours of sleep that night.
Watching them try to get her IV in. Mom didn't want to watch, but I did. I love medical stuff. I was also blessed to have her lovely veins they can't stick.

Cody was so cute asking what Grandpa and I were going to do the whole 6 hours we'd be at the hospital. He sent this book... "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" along for Grandpa to read. (And he did!)
The stabilizer they had to put on. Right before they do this they give a medicine that makes you feel very loopy and tired. She slept most of the time after her CT scan and MRI while they put together a 3D image of her tumor so they could pinpoint right where the laser beams could administer the radiation and not hit the brainstem, blood vessels, etc.

Getting her ready for the radiation.

They have you lay back on this table and they lock the stabilizer into place so no matter how hard you try to move, you can't. Then, when it's time for the radiation, everyone leaves the room and her table slowly backes into into this tent looking thing and she layes there while receiving the radiation. Dr. Watson watches her from a room next door and has music from his iPod playing so mom can hear it, too, and isn't too bored.

After the radiation was done they took off the stabilizer. It was weird watching them use a basic screw gun to do this. Mom's medicine was wearing off by now so she was talking and laughing while they did this. She couldn't feel a thing cause her head was totally numb (and it actually stayed numb on top of her head for a few weeks).

The screws they used to put her stabilizer on. They only went into her skull about a quarter of an inch, but they were pretty big.

Mom icing her head once we got into the car. She was singing like an indian. My typical Mom.

She'd kill me if she knew I put these pictures on. Her eyes got really swollen and black and blue. (This picture was taken a few days after so I didn't get the best swelling and bruising.) She couldn't wash her hair for a couple of days either to let her incisions heal.

My sweet boys visiting Grandma after her radiation.

This was after she could open her eyes some.

So here we are now... May of 2011. It's been 1 year and four months since her radiation and I'm happy to report it is still shrinking!! At the time of her radiation her tumor was about 17 mm in size, and now it's shrunk to about 10x7 mm in size, roughly about 50% now. Plus, it's not sitting right up against her brain stem now so the pressure has been taken off of that and there was a major blood vessel that ran right through the tumor that with it shrinking, it's not around that anymore either. That's very good news! So now instead of going in every 6 months for an MRI to check the progress and make sure it isn't switching and growing again, she will go in every year. And if it starts to grow again, they'll just do the radiation over. We are so happy we are where we are at this point right now. It's been a long year and a half since her diagnosis. I go to every doctors appointment with her, know every single thing that is going on, and have to remember it because her short term memory problems makes it hard for her to remember what she's supposed to do. Let's just say, with how many times we've been to see the doctors, we're sure getting to know this hospital very well. But so far, it's worth it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Life with 3 Boys...

3 boys. All within four and a half years. Makes for some interesting times around here. Every growth spurt they go through, every stage in life brings new adventures around home. Here's what it been like around here lately with my little cowboys...

Cody pounding in more tacks in the door to hold his many targets for his blow dart gun. He loves to shoot that thing. Sometimes it's like a war zone around here when you get all three shootin'.

Typical Hunter. He's wearing Jared's pants. He's our little comedian.

Learning to roller blade while holding a baby kitten. Poor kitten. They sure take a beating around here with these boys. Probably why they are so scared all the time. Can't blame them.

The kittens hide under the turkey coop to get away from the boys. Hunter is trying to pick her up while in these skates.

Saturday morning... instead of doing our jobs, we're out shootin' the bow and arrow.

T.J.'s teaching Hunter how to shoot.

The hay stacked on top of each other is really the target. Hopefully they hit that instead of the horses and goat behind it!

Well, they didn't hit an animal (Phew!) but they shot the horse stalls a couple times. See the hole?

Never a dull moment around here with 3 boys. But it's fun. You never know what they'll come up with next. The neighbor's get a kick out of watching them, too. We get the comment from a lot of our friends that our boys are "true" boys. I don't doubt that 100%. They are rough, tough, shootin', hard playin' boys who aren't afraid of gettin' dirty. Jared and I swore we'd never by them any X-Boxes, Ds's and such cause our boys are going to be boys. They are going to learn to create fun on their own. Nothin's better when you are a kid then a good imagination and and room to run. I'm so glad we have our "true" boys. Makes life around here a little more fun.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Jared plays basketball at our Stake center every wednesday night. He usually goes from 9 until midnight but he came home a little earlier tonight. I let T.J. and Hunter go with him tonight since they are off track. Cody didn't want to go and stayed home with me, but fell asleep before the others got home.
Before T.J. and Hunter went to bed we said prayers. We all said ours, and as soon as it was over Hunter said, "I'll be Cody!" and immediately started saying Cody's prayer. When we woke up Cody to put him to bed, he asked about praying and I told him Hunter said a prayer for him. Cody smiled. It was so cute. Good little brothers watching out for each other.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Look Who's Setting up Camp at our House...

We have some new visitor's at our house this summer....

Aren't they cute! I noticed some cute tiny birds hanging out in the trees out my bedroom window a few weeks ago. I just thought they were cute & liked the trees, but soon I started noticing they were flying a lot inbetween the trees and our front porch. Then this showed up...

It's hard to see but in the corner there is a tiny nest. These birds are so small! Last week as I walked out the front door, I could hear some tiny chearping and knew we had baby birds up there. I can't see them cause I'm too short, but Jared could and got the picture for me. He said they are way back in the nest. He had to move a lot of feathers to see those cute little things.

Then there's our other new residents...

T.J. found a large group of bumble bees flying on the side of our garage last friday. Luckily they are on the side with the ditch so we aren't constantly walking by them. That night Jared looked to see if they were still there and found this. It creeped me out. Don't get me wrong, I know the bumble bee is good to have around. Our fruit trees and garden will do great this year with them. But seeing them all bedded down like this, not to mention seeing it in the dark, was creepy. Gave me goosebumps. It was like this large, cylander thing that was breathing. Knowing hundreds of bees were there was weird. And they haven't left. Looks like they are forming a hive on the side of the garage now. Hope the boys aren't allergic to them like Jared is to wasps. Which is one thing we need to get rid of cause there's always a bunch of those above our garage every year. Yuck!

There is never a dull moment around our place. I love it. Good learning moments for the kids. Just hope we don't get stung!

May 28..... well that didn't last long. The bees, I guess, decided to find another home. They up and left and the only part of them sticking around was a few dead ones on the side of the garage. And as for the cute little birds, the cats got them. T.J. noticed Bandit and Kitty climbing up the brick to catch them for dinner. We tried many times to scare them off, but when I saw the nest had been messed with and couldn't hear the cute chirping as I walked out, I knew the cats won. Oh-well, I'm sure we'll have more little visitors soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Such A Boy

Today I happened to be looking out my bedroom window at the exact moment I saw it. And if I hadn't have seen it, I never would have thought he'd do such a thing. There he was, T.J. and his friend Brodie, trying to heard one of the chickens back into the coop. (This chicken escaped while they were in there looking at the cute baby chicks.) Anyways, as they got the chicken in, T.J. looked down at his hands, walked over to his dog - Big Bird's water, stuck them in there and washed them off. Then dried them on his shirt. He's usually pretty good about wanting clean hands, but apparently when he's playing, it's a whole different story. I shouldn't be shocked at this, but I was. But I know where that comes from... 
His Dad!
Jared is one of the truest cowboys I've ever met. He works hard, usually is covered in hay or horse poop when he comes in the house, and knows more about horses and ridin' and the true cowboy life then anyone I know. And you know what? I LOVE it! I wouldn't have him any other way. I love livin' the cowboy life with him. I love the country feelin' at our home. And I love that our boys are growin' up exactly like him! 
This isn't the worst thing that T.J. has learned growin' up cowboy. He's drank out of the horse trough at age 2 (with Jared right there knowing what he was doing!), and he learned how to spit by watching the cowboys behind the chutes at rodeos when they'd chew their tobacco. Those, I think, out rank him washing his hands in the dog's water. Guess it's part of growing up cowboy!
This was about the same time he drank from the water trough. I love this picture of the two of them together.

T.J and Cody with their cousin Teegan hauling the rodeo stock with Jared to Lehi Rodeo grounds. They look so young! It doesn't seem like that long ago. T.J. was in preschool and Cody was 2 and a half.

T.J. riding his horse "Spirit".

T.J. loved my bull head.

T.J. and Teegan hauling hay with Jared, Justin & Trevor.

T.J. and Teegan getting ready to ride their "bull" for his 8th birthday. All he wanted for his party was to ride Jared as a bull at the Rodeo grounds.

T.J. on his bull "Jared". He made a good ride, but was bucked off after about 5 seconds.

I love my cute cowboys!

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was a good day this year. I got spoiled by my cute boys with kisses, tons of hugs, and nice compliments all day.
T.J. gave me hand soap that smells of cucumber melon. I love that smell!

Cody's school class made a cookbook of all the kids' favorite recipes. Cody put in the recipe for no bake cookies. Yum!

Hunter's class made a book of fun things they like to do with their mom. Hunter wrote it all by himself. 

Hunter wrote that I love Sugarland and he likes to dance with me. (One of our favorite things to do together... dance to Sugarland music!)

On the back he had these flowers that were tickets. One said good for lots of bear hugs. And two of them said good for cleaning their room. I read that out loud, then Hunter said "Ya, I'm not really going to do that one." Typical. We laughed so hard!

I bought my own Mother's Day presents this year. I usually don't, but I wanted a new softball mitt to practice with Jared so I had to buy it when I found one that fit. So, I just finished with a few other gifts I found as well. A new yard stake that has a STAR on it (my favorite!) and some cute little dishes I've been looking for to make cute little chocolate lava cakes in.

Hunter decided to be in the picture.

We gave Grandma Morse a picture frame this year. This picture didn't turn out so well to see it but it's really pretty.

So we had to take a picture of her with the boys to fill it. I made them stay in their church clothes for it. They sure loved me for that.  :)

We had dinner up at my parents house. But first we had to check out the glider swing that my dad is rebuilding. We are SO excited for this. He built this years ago and had it up at the park where we used to live. Now he's widening it so 4 adults can swing at once. Jim hung it from the rafters so it would line up. Made for some fun swinging for the boys (Jim included!).

I love this picture of my brother Jim and T.J. Jim is so cute with our boys!

Jim, Cody and Hunter swinging.

We gave Grandma Kenison a new mat for her back porch.

I'm throwing this in. My dad used to have an old truck similar to this one. It's like a 1956 Ford. Thought it was pretty cool.

Dad wasn't feeling so hot so Hunter is tucking him in with more blankets. See what cute kids I have. So sweet.

Talking to my sister who was in Montana. She's bringing me back a present from there. I'm so excited. I've always wanted to go to Montana. I love the country!

Finished up the night watching my boys wrestle Jim. Always good watching.

I'm so lucky to have Jared and my cute boys in my life. They were all so good to me on Mother's Day. Cody was listening to someone speak at church about how they are so lucky to have good mom's, Cody said, "It's true, Mom!" He was so dang cute all day. Saying cute stuff like this all day to me. T.J. gave me hugs all day. He's a pretty quiet kid, so a hug from him means a lot! And Hunter made me smile all day. Good, sweet kids. What more could I ask for?!