Friday, April 30, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

I decided to ditch the rain and snow for sunshine, casinos, shopping, shows, sleeping in and dining in Las Vegas. Gavin had to be in business meetings for most of the trip and I felt bad that a beautiful suite would just go to waste and decided to tag along with him.

Checking in to The Palazzo

This room would've been so lonely without me. I spent the mornings getting all caught up on really important stuff. I think I found out about Sandra Bullock and her secret adoption literally minutes before everyone else who was busy with real life stuff. And I enjoyed getting caught up on Soap Operas I've never watched. They're just as good as I remember. And I loved just staying in bed until I felt like getting up and ready for the day.

The best thing about Vegas. Not the gambling (didn't even put a quarter in a slot machine). The buffets! The first thing we did after checking into the hotel--found a great buffet at The Wynn. The night before we left we found another yummy buffet at The Paris and enjoyed all-you-can-eat crab legs and shrimp.

I had a great time hanging out with Cami while our husbands were in meetings together.

We saw The Lion King at Mandalay Bay. I kind of forced Gavin and Adam to go with us but was glad I did since they were busy the rest of the trip and this was the only thing we got to do together.

But look at the excitement on his face. He can hardly wait for the show to start! It was really good, even if the lady in front of me passed out and basically laid her head back over her chair on to my lap. It was better than our last show experience, Mystere, the girl sitting next to me was so intoxicated that she threw up everywhere and then left the show. The disgusting smell made it difficult to enjoy the rest of the show. My advice to Las Vegas tourists--if you're a drinker, stick to the clubs and not the shows.

Can't go on a trip with the Wares without enjoying crepes and gelato. Unfortunately it was yogurt and not gelato this time.

Enjoying our "Frrrozen Hot Chocolate" at Serendipity. Can't wait to go back to Vegas just for this little treat! Yum! Yum! Yum!

We have the best babysitter ever--Sophie. She is the reason we are able to go on trips without the kids. We leave knowing our kids are in the best care and having a blast. She did the cutest blog entries about my kids while we were gone. It was fun to be able to see what they were up to while I was away. Thanks Sophie!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010



I was reading through Morgan's IEP goals and evaluator's comments detailing all of the Morgan's delays in communication, reading, writing, and math in preparation for her annual IEP meeting that was scheduled this afternoon. I was dreading going to her annual IEP meeting and was having a little pity party as I read through all 9 pages. I was almost finished reading it when I clicked on facebook and read the most tragic status update.

I have a lot of friends on facebook who I've never officially met. It's probably close to 200 of my friends. Although we've never met we all share something that brings us together. A child with Down syndrome. This common bond makes it feel like we are all part of one big family. This big family is all in shock and mourning the unexpected loss of a beautiful 8 year old girl, Carly. There isn't a lot of information about what happened only the facebook status updates from today. Carly was at school yesterday and then her mom posted today on facebook that she got sick quickly and turned blue and they called 911. A few hours later she posted "we lost our sweet girl. She is now my sweet angel". I've been crying all day for a little girl I've never met but feel like I know. She was only 6 months older than Morgan. It's easy to forget how fragile life is. For all of us, but even more so for our kids. Morgan can quickly go from being healthy to extremely sick in a very short time. Please keep the George family in your prayers. Her last blog post, 3 days ago, was "Everything's going to be alright". I know this is true but it's just hard to understand right now.

Family Room and Fireplace Makeover

We moved into our home almost 4 years ago and always knew we wanted to update the fireplace in our family room but never got around to it and weren't sure what we wanted to do. This room has always been a potpourri of furniture. Leather couches we bought 11 years ago and apparently "muy, muy sucios" (very, very, dirty). At least that's what one spanish-speaking person told me when he came to see if he wanted to purchase them for $300. And I can't really argue with him. After 6 kids and countless bottles and sippy cups spilling all over them for 11 years. They really are muy, muy sucios. A black entertainment center that we bought when we moved here. It was way too big for this room. It overtook the room and wall. It would've been perfect for a basement family room but not a main level family room. I must've asked Gavin on a really good day because he was all for the makeover.

My sister-in-law, Jill, was born to be an interior designer and was incredible in helping me figure out what to do with the room. We spent many hours going from store to store, looking for the perfect furniture, fabric and accessories. Gavin got really nervous when I started bringing home the pear green and "strawberry shortcake" fabric samples, but somehow was finally able to let go and just trust that we knew what we were doing. It took 2 months to complete this transformation. Nothing is quick with 6 kids and I also realized I am incredibly indecisive with things that cost money and I'm gonna be stuck with for a long time.

The Family Room {Before}

The Fireplace {Before}

The Fireplace {After}

The Family Room {After}
Green conversational couch, houndstooth chair, tv console are all from Osmond Designs. I love this furniture store in Lehi, Utah. They match prices and dropped the price on the couch almost 50% when I found it for a better price online.

Round ottomon ("Strawberry Shortcake Mushroom" as Gavin likes to call it) was custom made with fabric from Calico Corners and Craftsman Upholstery.

Fireplace. Insert from Hearth and Home. Mantle from Innovative Woodworking and Design. Stone is from Harris Stone (Chief Justice style).

Monday, April 19, 2010

A really long post about Ryan's hamster

We aren't a typical pet family. Instead of dogs or cats as pets we have rabbits, fish, frogs and hamsters. We'll never have cats or dogs, even with all of the Santa requests our kids try to work into every Christmas season. Ryan has severe asthma around dogs and we don't even dare try him around cats. So we have to settle with random, not really loving and cuddly pets

We have had our fair share of bad luck in the hamster department. Ryan desperately wanted a hamster for Christmas a few years back. He got a cute hamster, "Caramel", full of personality. A few weeks after he became part of our family, our furnace went out and it got really cold in Ryan's room. I didn't worry about it since the kids were all at school. A few days later, Ryan commented that his hamster wasn't moving and just wanted to sleep. I checked on his hamster. Not moving. And not sleeping. I did some hamster research and found out they easily go into hibernation when temperatures drop. And if not quickly awoken, die from dehydration and starvation. I felt so guilty for not bringing his cage upstairs into the warm part of the house.

A month later, on Valentine's Day, we tried it again. It was the only teddy bear hamster at the pet store and we were told it was almost a year old (didn't know hamsters only live about a year). Ryan didn't care. He wanted a hamster and didn't want to wait another day. "Valentine" came home and died about 3 weeks later.

Several months passed with little talk of the empty cage and the need to fill it with a new furry friend. But as Ryan's 11th Birthday approached, it was all he could talk about. The only thing he wanted for his birthday was a Black Bear Hamster. I called all over town and couldn't find any in stock. Then I called a new pet store in town and was in luck. They had one in their store. It was the night before Ryan's birthday and he immediately fell in love with "Bengal" (named after his football team).

About 4 months later, Ryan came upstairs, carrying Bengal and was worried about a lump he could feel on her neck. I thought it was just food in one of her pockets. But the lump continued to grow. I called the pet store and was given the name of vet who specialized in small animals. I called to schedule an appointment and hesitated when I found out it would cost $55 just for the consultation and would need to pay more if I decided to treat the lump. I called Gavin and we decided that it was our responsibility as pet owners to take her in, even if she did only cost $12. The vet examined her (and let me know it was a her) and then said he could do surgery on her tumor but it would cost $300-400 and the tumor could return. He also said she wasn't in any pain but as the tumor grew it would get harder for her to eat and function. We decided to take her home and let Ryan love her while he could.

The tumor grew and grew. Crazy actually how fast it grew. And Bengal could no longer walk without falling over. She couldn't eat or drink without us hand feeding her. It was so sad and I felt like she was suffering.

The tumor

We were all outside last night enjoying the warm night when our neighbor walked by with his dog. He had no choice but to stop with all of the excited cries from Mia, Morgan and Griffin. "Doggy! Doggy! Doggy!" We found out he is a veteranarian and could put Bengal to sleep. I called today and made an appointment. I made the appointment late in the afternoon so Ryan could be a part of it. Not sure if that was the best choice. But he felt like it was time to help Bengal. We drove to the office. Ryan held Bengal during the drive. We got to the office and both Ryan and I went back and watched. Ryan was doing well until the doctor came back out with Bengal. He knew Ryan wanted to take her home and bury her. He had the perfect place. The doctor held Bengal and then said, "It looks like her heart has now stopped beating" and gave Ryan his lifeless hamster. He then started to talk to me about the proper burial procedures and I was doing my best to hold back the tears. I felt silly crying over a hamster. But it was so much harder than I thought it would be. As soon as he finished and I turned towards the door, the tears started falling. Ryan was walking ahead of me. I couldn't see him but was certain he was crying, too. We got in the car and he sobbed the whole way home. It broke my heart to see him so sad.

We buried him in the backyard, in between some bushes. For some reason, Ryan thought if we brought him home he'd still be able to see him. So he had another breakdown when he realized he wouldn't see him after he was buried. After I finished digging the hole, Jack ran and got his trumpet and said he wanted to play Taps for the burial. Trying to bring some humor into the sadness. Ryan didn't like his attempt and hit his trumpet while he was playing. It made me smile and wish I had someone video taping our burial ceremony.

Ryan made this rock to put on her grave.
"RIP Bengal"

We weren't going to get another hamster. If the 3rd time wasn't a charm, what does that mean for the 4th time? It was time for Ryan to go to piano. His eyes were red and swollen. I asked him what he thought about getting another hamster. "Can I??? Really??? Oh, thank you mom!"

Guess who's going hamster shopping tomorrow!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

{Easter Fun!}

Our Easter baskets, gifts and outfits were all very simple this year. Just the way I like 'em. I didn't do any Easter shopping before I left to Arizona and had limited time once I got home. We made a few stops and called it good. I didn't worry about Easter clothes this year either since we didn't have our regular church schedule with General Conference being on Easter this year and it was nice to not have to rush anywhere first thing in the morning. We were able to stay home together and listen to the uplifting words and messages of conference.

Hadley and Mia

Having the whole family together makes any holiday better and we were lucky this Easter to have my sister, Heidi's family in town from Portland. My kids had fun playing with all the cousins while we were in Arizona. Griffin found out he has a cousin named "Will" -- turns out he really likes him and can't wait to play with him again.

We were only here for a few days with the Rushings but had fun going with all of the older kids and grandparents to a play (musical comedy melodrama), Pirates of the Car-rib-eee-an, at The Desert Star Playhouse and eating Easter dinner with everyone together at my parent's home.

All of us (and Cameron's ear) after the play

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A quick getaway

I decided to tag along with Gavin on his business trip to Phoenix last week. I even joined him for a meeting and business lunch one afternoon, but most of the time I was out enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, eating, shopping, playing and driving with my SBFF who lives in Gilbert, AZ (about 45 miles from our hotel) while Gavin was in meetings.

Our hotel was right next to the Westgate City Center so we spent a lot of the time there. It was a fun area with shopping, dining, arenas, movie theater, water features and lots of billboards. "NY Times Square meets the desert" or something like that.

We had a little South Beach Diet contest last month with our friends and celebrated our weight loss results-- almost 50 lbs between the 4 of us -- with a fattening dinner at Yard House. Yummy onion rings!

We went shopping in Phoenix in this area called Melrose District. It had all of these great shops full of shabby chic/vintage home decor. I've spent the last few months furniture shopping for my home (I'll save that for another post though) and love looking at all of this stuff. So cute!

After shopping, we grabbed lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory

We got to enjoy sunshine and freedom for a few days before coming back home to the snow and cold. Oh and six cute kids! How can they grow up and change so much in just 2 days, especially Mia? I'm pretty sure she was just a little baby when I left not the big girl who was waiting for me when I got home.