Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bee happy!

Today was the dreaded day. It had been 4 years since our last official family picture, long before Griffin and Mia were a part of our family. It was long over due! I spent the last few weeks preparing-- by preparing I mean shopping so that we could all look so cute in our color coordinated brown and orange clothing. I got all the boys hair cut (apparently everyone is very upset about Griffin's cut--he looks a lot like the girls in the original Parent Trap). I was ornery all day today -- worried that Griffin wasn't getting a good enough nap and would be awful for pictures, etc. It didn't help that pictures weren't until the evening. That just meant I had more time to try to keep the kids clean and portrait ready. We decided to go to Little Cottonwood Canyon in the temple quarry site with all the granite and beautiful leaves around us for our pictures. Gavin did his best to prepare the kids on the drive up -- big kids need to listen and just smile the whole time so that when Morgan and Griffin are looking we can get a good picture. We set up for the first pose on some rocks. Morgan wasn't cooperating very well. She wanted to play with my necklace the whole time. We got a few shots. I haven't seen any of them yet but am really hoping one of these worked because we decided to move up the trail a little for a different view. We took a few pictures with all of us standing which once again didn't work because Morgan and Griffin wanted to play with all the driftwood and sit on some logs instead of standing. So we decided we would do a picture of all of us on this big piece of driftwood. We sat Morgan and Griffin on the log when Jack said something about a million bees being inside the tree. The next 15 minutes is one big blur. We picked up the kids and ran as fast as we could down the quarry on these huge rocks of granite. The wasps followed us. I had 5-6 that flew into my hair (guess I shouldn't have worn so much good smelling hairspray!) and stung me on the scalp. We frantically tried to swat them away off of Morgan, Griffin and Mia. We ended up with about 40 stings between all of us. After we all calmed down a little bit we tried to get a few more individual shots and a few of Gavin and me. Can't wait to see how great these all turned out after having to redress most of us, some good hair shaking trying to get the bees to fly out, and lots of tears and snotty noses! Good times!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One special girl and a birthday!

Morgan is now six years old! The birthday celebrations started in the morning at Kindergarten. Griffin, Mia and I took a little birthday treat (ice cream sandwiches) for the class to sing to her. She was so excited to have us (especially Griffin) there and be a part of her school day. She and Griffin sat down next to each other in circle time and had a great time singing together. Morgan was singing all the words and enthusiastically doing all of the actions to "Dem Bones" for me. Just as I was starting to think how wonderful it was to see Morgan so social, talkative and outgoing in her new class, I overheard the teachers commenting about how Morgan had really come out of her shell today. So I asked them how Morgan usually acts in class -- usually really quiet and shy. I start volunteering in her classroom next month and hopefully that will help her to get more comfortable and outgoing so her teachers are able to see all that she CAN do!

Morgan and her excellent teacher

Morgan & Griffin enjoying the birthday treat

Morgan showing off her "ankle bone" in Dem Bones

Her birthday party was that night at the rec center. She loved opening presents, eating cake and ice cream and swimming in the splash zone. She and Griffin stuck together the whole time. They are so cute to watch together. They are very dependent on each other and best friends (even with all the bullying Morgan has given him in his short lifetime). If Morgan was nervous to go out into the deeper area, she just made sure to hold Griffin's hand and knew if Griffin could do it than she could, too.

Make a wish!

Morgan and family

In honor of her 6th Birthday. Here are 6 things you might not know about Morgan --
  1. Morgan was delivered by her dad at home. We didn't know before Morgan was born that she had Down syndrome. I was sent home from the hospital in 'false labor' and got into the bathtub to help with the pain. Morgan was born about 45 minutes later. Gavin did a great job as my OB and used a shoelace to tie off the cord until the paramedics arrived a few minutes later to take us to the hospital. We found out about 6 hours after her birth (we hadn't seen her that whole time) that they suspected Down syndrome.
  2. Morgan has a very unique personality. It is easy for her to get labeled as "happy and sweet", but she is anything but a label! She experiences all emotions just like everyone else.
  3. She absolutely LOVES Barney!
  4. She loves to cut her hair! (Just check out all the recent pics on the blog)
  5. She loves to listen to her music in the car, but at headache decibel levels. "Turn it up, please." (I turn it up a little.) A few seconds later, "Turn it up, please." (Again I turn it up a little.) "Mom, TURN IT UP!!" Yes, we have had her hearing checked and she hears just fine! :)
  6. She is a great teacher. She has taught our family about unconditional love, acceptance, and the potential each individual has to make a difference in this world.

We love you so much Morgan!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

HE always has the BEST ideas

I just got this email from Gavin with an attachment of cute football pictures of Ryan:

Look how great these pictures are! Bob Crawford has pictures like this framed on the wall in his basement. They look great - we could do the same with these. We will need some with Jack - We could use soccer and basketball as well. Hadley and dance. Morgan and her thumb in mouth and finger in eye. Griffin crying. Mia smiling. You -neked.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All American Girl

I finally got Morgan to say the Pledge of Allegiance on film. Hopefully you are able to understand some of the words. :) And today she decided to put her hand over her 'other heart' ! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Almost six

We had a little birthday dinner for all the September birthdays up at my parent's tonight. Morgan was very excited to get her own cake and ice cream and LOVED having everyone sing Happy Birthday to her! Check out her cute hair cut. She is still so proud of it!


again and again and again.
Ryan had a great game on Saturday. He scored his first touchdown in his football history with a reverse (I pretend to know what that means). Then he did it again after he picked up a fumble. And then he scored one more time, once again with a reverse.

I'm not sure who was more excited after his first touchdown. The proud dad or Ryan.

This is Ryan finishing his 3rd touchdown. I missed the first one since it was one of the first plays of the game and I wasn't quite prepared. Then I missed the second one taking a picture of Morgan. I guess I'm not a very good football photographer. I can barely tell where the ball or Ryan is without a camera in front of my face so don't expect too much when I am trying to watch the game and take pictures of the action as it is occurring!

Grandma and grandpa missed the first touchdown but luckily Ryan had two more so they didn't feel too bad for being a few minutes late to the game.

Mia, grandma, Griffin and grandpa

Hadley and Griffin watching the game

For all of you football fans . . . I will be putting some video highlights from his last few games on here soon.

I LOVE this face . . .

Mia is already 8 months old and growing up way too fast for this mom! She is constantly babbling -- "dada, baba, hu (for hi when she sees someone new) and mama". But her new talent is sticking out her tongue. I don't remember if my other kids did this but she now knows she has a tongue and it is constantly out of her mouth. It's so cute!
She is also trying to crawl and is able to scoot backwards now. She LOVES food and has a great appetite. I found out she now has a great pincer grasp after finding random things in her mouth that should have been vacuumed. I really need (ok, would love) a maid! She is still such a happy baby. We are really being spoiled by this little girl! But we'll take it with no complaints!
Gavin with our niece Lily
We went on a beautiful drive up in the canyons today to visit Gavin's sister and her cute baby. It was the perfect weather and the canyons were beautiful with the changing leaves. Mia, Griffin and Hadley have been sick the past few days with fevers and sore throats so we didn't stay long or let all the kids out of the car but here are some pics from our visit.

Hadley and Mia

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Looking good!

We left Hadley in charge of Morgan (I know . . . my fault) while we went to Jack's football game and this is what we came home to --

I don't know if the pictures do this new haircut justice. But she had pigtails and got into my bathroom and somehow got the scissors and cut all of her bangs and top portion of her hair off to almost a buzz length.

This is not the first time Morgan has decided to cut her hair. She seems to get a hold of scissors several times a year (even when I always try to make sure there aren't any in reach) and usually likes to cut her bangs, but this time was a little more extreme. The ironic thing is that on our way home from the football game I told Gavin it was time to schedule our family picture. Maybe we will have to postpone that picture for another year!

Here are some highlight photos of last year's styles from 'Salon Morgan'

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lessons learned in San Francisco

  • Don't jump on the first double decker tour bus available. Be prepared to misunderstand the driver of the bus when asking what makes their bus tour different from the other ones. "Longer" doesn't always mean the actual tour time but could also be the wait for the next bus in between stops. Like 1-2 hours when the other tour buses are available every 15 minutes.
me, Rae (sis-in-law), Heidi (sister) and Renee

  • Don't leave a nursing baby for a 4 day vacation with only a manual breast pump. Inconvenient. Time consuming. And ultimately unsuccessful with keeping milk in.

  • Don't wear flip flops on a 12 mile (mostly uphill) bike ride. Also it might be a good idea to be in shape before attempting this ride. And walking up most of the hills with your bike can be kind of embarrassing.

  • The great feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and making it to Sausalido
  • Always be prepared. When sharing a room with 3 other girls, you can never be too sure of your cycle.

  • Take a blanket with you to the movies. Otherwise you'll leave the movie with sore muscles from being so tense. And it doesn't even help to clench your fists in the "t" position.

  • If your name is Rae -- stay away from the clam chowder!! Unless you want to learn more about the restroom at the top of Nike Town.
  • San Francisco is a beautiful, windy city!
Heidi, me , Rae and Renee

  • Be careful when looking out your hotel window. You may see a naked man talking on his cell phone in the window across from yours. (Sorry no photo)

  • When in Chinatown, don't ask the local merchants for restaurant advice. You'll never find the restaurant and end up walking past lots of potential, yummy dining areas.
me and my sister Heidi

  • Don't worry too much about packing the 'right' outfit. Anything goes in San Francisco.

  • The toy stores carry candy jewelry for both children and adults (or Gavin)!

  • Be sure to go to Sacrament meeting on Sunday. But whatever you do -- DO NOT walk back to the hotel. This is not the time for missionary work. No matter what the mission president said in his Sacrament meeting talk.

  • It is so much fun to hang out with my sweet sisters!

  • Take time to eat a $3 cupcake and enjoy the music and sunshine in Ghirardelli Square.
  • Me and my sis-in-law Rae
  • It's never too early to start planning next year's girl's weekend trip.

  • And the #1 thing I learned -- It's always nice to come home and know that you are loved!

Need I say more?

Sarah Palin

"Sometimes even the greatest joys, bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love. To the families of special needs children all across this country, I have a message for you. For years you've sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that if we're elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."

I wonder if other Americans, besides just Gavin and I, had tears in their eyes at the end of her speech when she so proudly held her 'perfectly, beautiful, baby boy' Trig in her arms.

First day of kindergarten

I remember when Kindergarten seemed so far away. The meetings to help new parents understand their options with education, transition, IEP, etc. I went to one of those meetings when Morgan was 5 months old and felt out of place. I really should have listened better and even taken notes but I was more worried about my baby recovering from open heart surgery than how she would transition into Kindergarten. Besides that was SO far away! It's hard to believe that that day has arrived! She was very excited! Aunt Jill give her a big girl haircut last week. After I fixed her hair this morning, she searched the house for Jack and Ryan so they could see her cute style. "See, Jack and Ryan? Cute hair! . . . Jill." She then used her pretend scissors to show them exactly what Jill had done to her hair. We got some pictures of her with her backpack on and once again she wanted to show Jack and Ryan her "cool and cute backpack" and then she sat down to eat her oatmeal just as the bus drove up. She was not happy about the bus being here before she had eaten. She quickly shoveled all the oatmeal in and happily went on the bus to her new school. I am excited about her teacher this year. Morgan is attending a Diagnostic Kindergarten (since full inclusion with an aide in not an option in our district) and I am excited about her teacher this year. She came out to do a house visit a few weeks ago and seems to really love being a special education teacher, which seems to be a rare find.