Monday, July 17, 2017

Family Reunions

Over the last couple of weekends, we've had a couple family reunions. A lot happened, so I'll just share some of the best stories.

Playing at the sand dunes
During the first reunion, I took Kevin and his cousin out on a canoe ride. I was on one end, and they were on the other end. We made it all the way through the channels to the second pond, but on our way back, we got lodged against the side of the reeds.

Just as I pushed away, my two passengers shifted and the canoe tipped over, dumping all three of us into the water. It wasn’t that deep. Kevin's cousin could easily touch the ground, but he started freaking out. He grabbed my elbow and dangled from it, all the while yelling, “I don’t want the leeches to get me!”

It was pretty hilarious, though I was trying to get the canoe turned back over and dumped out. So, I told him, “You’ve got to let go, so I can get us out of the water.” Meanwhile, Kevin was just floating in his life jacket with this look that said, “Why is he freaking out? Should I be freaking out too?”

We eventually got back in the boat and everyone was fine. I bruised my foot a little, and had a small leech on my leg, but I flicked it off. I paddled us back to shore, and we all got out. It was pretty entertaining.
Visiting Mesa Falls, Arkhon was there too, he was just being walked by a cousin
Between the two reunions, we stayed in Idaho, and I had two new nieces born during the week. That was pretty exciting. We also watched fireworks and played with cousins. It was cheaper for us to take the whole week as vacation time than to drive back and forth between the two states, so we stayed and hung out.
4th of July Fireworks
On the 5th of July, I needed some alone time. So, I went outside to think for a while. I was outside when a car came driving up. Thinking that it would just drive by, I ducked under one of the pine trees, because I didn’t want to look like a creeper just standing in front of the house. However, instead of driving past, the car stopped and parked. I didn’t know what to do, so I just stayed under the tree. I was wearing dark clothes, so I knew I couldn't be seen. I just thought it would be super awkward if I popped out, so I didn't move.

Playing at Grandpa's school
The driver turned out to be my younger brother, and he was confused when he saw a female figure walk toward the front door and disappear. When he got inside, he asked who had just come in, and they told him that no one had. He was pretty sure he had seen a ghost. That was pretty funny. We got things cleared up, but we all had a pretty good laugh.

During the second reunion, Kevin was playing with his cousin. Randomly he walked up to him and said, "Zazzy Poopy Sucker." He probably thought it was hilarious, but instead of laughing, his cousin reared back and punched him in the gut. Both of them were 4, and he wasn't seriously hurt, but he was pretty sad. We talked to his cousin about it, and he said, "But...but...he wasn't being appropriate."
Then we talked about how even if he wan't being appropriate, you still shouldn't punch someone in the gut. We asked him to come tell us next time if Kevin was being inappropriate instead of hitting him. He agreed to do so.

We probably are terrible people for this, but we thought it was pretty funny.

Kevin with his great-grandma 
We had a really great time, and it was nice to get away for a while. Things might be happening finally with foster care. The final paperwork has finally gotten to the office, so hopefully we'll know more soon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Fathers in My Life

I think I'm pretty lucky.

I know the most amazing men.

The more people that I meet, the more stories I hear, and the more I learn about foster care, I realize that most people didn't grow up the way I did.

My father was always very respectful to my mother. They worked together to raise ten children and the only time I ever saw my father get mad was if we made our mother cry. They disciplined us with love, and our home was a sanctuary from the rest of the world.
The day Grig became a father.
My grandfathers are both equally wonderful men. Last year, I lost my paternal grandfather, and it has left a significant hole in my life. I'm grateful for the gospel and for my religion. I have learned that if I live my life in a worthy manner, I will see him again. I have no doubts that he is working just as hard on the other side of the veil as he did on this side.

I'm also very close with my maternal grandfather. More than any of my siblings, I have been blessed to get to spend time with him. He has taught me a lot, and has shown great love to my son. I'm grateful that we live so close and can see them so frequently. Now, I just have to renew my fishing licence so we can go fishing.
Grig introducing Kevin to his first cow.
My husband is a wonderful husband and father. He's always trying to better himself, and he love me unconditionally. I'm not the most girly of girls, but I never wanted to feel like the man in the relationship, and I definitely don't with him. He loves me, glaring flaws and all, and he helps me to feel like a princess.

He tries his best to provide for our family, and he works very hard to do so. One of the things that I really respect and love about him, is that Kevin and I are so important to him. He wants to make sure that he is around for his son. He doesn't want Kevin to grow up with his father always working. Grig tries really hard to have individual time with Kevin when he comes home, and I really love him for that. Kevin does too.

Grig is constantly thinking of ways to protect our family and to make sure that we are safe. If we had unlimited funds, and he had his way, we'd probably live in a bunker with six different escape tunnels. Even though I wouldn't really like to live that way, I appreciate the sentiment behind the thought. He takes his role as protector very seriously.
Someone loves their daddy.
He is also my best friend. I can talk to him about anything, and he usually gets excited right along with me. It doesn't matter how dumb I feel like it is, he always takes the time to make sure I feel like what I'm saying is important. He's also a fantastic sounding board for my stories, and I really appreciate his insights. He is always supporting me in my interests and my projects.

Grig's father has also been an amazing grandfather to my son, and a fantastic father-in-law. He and Grig's mother have helped us in more ways that I can count. They both adore my son, and would spoil him rotten if they lived any closer. As it is, they have been so generous with us, and we're grateful that they care.
Taking care of his boy.

I also have some pretty awesome brothers and brothers-in-law. I don't know how we found so many great guys, but I'm glad we did. All of my sisters are now married, and nearly all of them have children (the last one is expecting soon), and I know that their children are going to be raised by loving and caring fathers.

Grig and I are also friends with a lot of upstanding men who love and care for their families.
Father's Day was last Sunday, and I just wanted to say Happy Father's Day to all the remarkable men in my life. I'm so grateful I know you. You've taught me so much, and shown so much love to me and my family.
Bird's eye view
Fathers, keep up the good work. You may not know the impact that you're making, but you're appreciated more than you know.

Thank you and Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bedtime and Updates

Grig’s appointment went well, I think. We don’t have any real news yet, and now we're going to be waiting for all the paperwork to be sent to the foster care office again, so who knows how long that will take.

Today he also got a piece of metal in his eye at work, and so he had to go and have that looked at. They were able to remove it, and it didn't seem very damaged.

We had an appointment today with our veterinarian, and Siff and Arkhon did super well. The vet was really impressed with their behavior, and she said they were in perfect physical condition...except for their teeth. So, I brushed their teeth tonight, and I’m going to try and continue to do so. We may also need to do a few more things to remove the plaque buildup. Arkhon especially has quite a bit.

Kevin is doing awesome. Last week, we were really beginning to feel defeated. He still ends up in our bed almost every night, and he probably shouldn't be doing that when the foster kids get here. He's also getting bigger, and I don't really like sleeping on the very edge of the bed every night.

However, it's hard to prevent because he always sneaks into our room after we're asleep, and so we don't notice he's in our bed until morning.

So, we were puzzling about what to do about this, when inspiration struck. If we wanted him to stop, he had to choose to stop. So, we decided he might need some incentive. We went online and picked out a set of toys for Kevin. He chose some PJ Mask figures. He really loves that show. For the first toy in the set, he had to earn it by sleeping in his own bed for three nights. For the next toy, he had to sleep in his bed for four nights, and so on. There are five toys total. by the end, he hopefully will have learned how to stay in his own bed.

So far, he's earned one toy. Then, he hit a few days where he couldn't do it again. Then, another idea struck me. I told him that if he wakes up in the middle of the night, that he should wake me up (instead of just climbing into our bed), and I would help him go back to his own bed. He seemed encouraged by that idea.

After I told him that, he slept (mostly) in his own bed last night, and I was pretty proud of him. More importantly, he was really pleased with himself too.

Hopefully it goes even better tonight.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lagoon 2017

On Friday, Grig's work took all of its employees and their families to Lagoon (a nearby amusement park). We were pretty excited about it. Grig's last two employers have had an annual Lagoon day, and it's been nice to go for the last four years.

For some reason, Kevin was especially excited about the bumper cars. That was the first thing that he wanted to do. So, we went and ate lunch with Grig's company, and then we headed to the bumper cars. It was super hot, so we were excited to get to the water park portion of the park, but we promised Kevin that he could do the cars first.

We stood in line, and a short time later, Kevin was in his bumper car. He managed to hit a couple other cars, but it took him most of the first time to get the controls figured out, so we decided to let him try one more time.

 He was pretty happy about getting back in the cars, and he eagerly waited in line for his second chance to run his car into other children.
However, something went wrong. The car he was in froze on the side and wouldn't move, no matter how he spun the wheel. His face broke my heart a little. He kept looking to his dad for help, but no matter what he did, the car stayed in the same place. He was so disappointed, so we couldn't help but ask him if he wanted to try again or if he wanted to do a different ride.
 He chose to do a different ride. This time, the ride worked fine and he had a lot of fun.
 Next, we headed over to Lagoon Beach. We put on our swimsuits and rented a locker to keep our stuff in. Then, for the next few hours, we swam and took turns going down waterslides. Kevin loved it. He told us later that the water part was his favorite.

 After a few hours, he was shivering a bit, so we went to try a few more rides. Kevin was a lot braver this year. He tried out a lot of different rides that would have terrified him last year. He even tried a roller coaster.

 He gripped his dad's arm pretty tight, but he said it was really fun, and he wanted to do it again. He also really liked a spinning dragon that went backward and forward. It was pretty fast, but as long as he could grip my arm, he was cool with it. He also liked the rocking pirate ship.

After that, he wanted to go back to the beach area, but it was getting late, so we did a few rides that got us wet instead. I think that was a good choice, since it also began to get colder.

As the day neared its end, Kevin and I went on the carousel while Grig went on a roller coaster. Kevin really enjoyed that. He liked picking his animal to ride, and he immediately wanted to go again. Grig got back about that same moment, and so we switched and I went and rode the roller coaster.
 That was nice. I'd forgotten how much I like the adrenaline rush. It was a pretty mild coaster, but it still made me grin from ear to ear.
 Here is Kevin waiting in line for another turn on the carousel.
 We wanted to go on the ferris wheel before we left, but on the way, Kevin wanted to fly a plane, so we stopped to let him do that.
 He also got to fly a torpedo that came complete with a vibrating gun. He really liked that one too.
 About that point, the cotton from the cottonwood tree seemed to get really bad. We were coughing, sneezing, and gagging. We weren't the only ones, either. We heard people all around us sneezing and coughing.

The cotton helped us decide to leave sooner than we might have otherwise. We actually decided to not do the ferris wheel this time, because the wait was long and the sign on the ride said it could take over 20 minutes. So, about 9:00 p.m., we finally left the park.

A few miles down the road, we saw this:
A whole side of a mountain was on fire. We decided the smoke might have been part of why we were sneezing and coughing so much. It wasn't all that far away from Lagoon. 

It was good we left when we did anyway. The next day we had to get up early to go to my cousin's wedding. If we hadn't left earlier, we would have been really tired the next day. 

We had a lot of fun, and it was nice to spend time as a family away from distractions. 

Grig's medical appointment is tomorrow, so after that we'll hopefully have a better idea of what's going to happen next with foster care. If you want to pray for us, we'd appreciate it. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

First Camping 2017

This weekend was really fun. Friday night, we went camping. I was feeling kind of down and non-energetic that whole day, but I made myself get packed. Havelock and Allopex drove out with us to have game night with Grig around the campfire. It was really fun. We got the tent set up and then Grig started the fire while I went back into town to get a few more things that we needed.

After I got back, we ate hot dogs over the fire while our cherry cobbler cooked. Then, while Grig played D&D with his brothers, Kevin and I explored around the lake. We went on two different walks. The first time, we took Siff, who was an excellent camping dog. I was so proud of her. We only tied her up at night while we slept. The rest of the time, she stayed right with us (unless Arkhon wandered off, and then she followed him).

She would walk ahead of us on the trail, and then stop and wait for us to catch up. She was pretty great.

Then, on the next trip, we gave Arkhon a chance to walk with us. He wandered a bit more, but he never ran off. I just had to call him back a lot more. The coolest thing happened when we were walking back to the campsite. Arkhon, who was walking ahead of us, suddenly stopped and stared down the dirt bank into a field to our left. He completely froze, his eyes intent, and his ears pricked up.

I said, “What do you see, bud? Do you see something?”

He didn’t move. I told him to “Hold” and put my hand on his back, as I did, his front right leg slowly pulled up into a perfect point. I wish I'd had my camera at that point. It was awesome!

Arkhon has never pointed before. I praised him, patted his back some more and then told him to leave it. He did, and we continued on our journey.

We got home, and ate some cobbler. It turned out pretty awesome. It was a nice way to use some frozen cherries from our tree last year.

A little while after, I put Kevin to bed. He didn’t want to go to sleep while his dad and uncles were talking outside of the tent, so I laid down with him. I wanted to fall asleep with him, but I was too cold. He had nice warm pajamas and a blanket, but I had forgotten to bring my sweater. So, after Kevin fell asleep, I went back out and sat by the fire until the brothers left, and then Grig and I talked for a while and went to bed.

I didn’t sleep very well. Grig and Kevin seemed plenty warm, but I was freezing. A while later, Kevin woke up and rolled over to his dad. They both cuddled up together, so I took the sleeping bag that Kevin had been laying on and closed it, with me inside. I finally warmed up enough to go to sleep, but then some teenagers at a nearby campsite began to be really loud and set the dogs off.

Despite the occasional barking, I have found that I love camping with dogs. When I was younger, I liked camping, but if I woke up during the middle of the night I would have a hard time going back to sleep because I'd start listening too closely to the night life. I'd freak myself out and worry about being eaten by bears.

With dogs though, as long as they're not riled, you know that you are safe.

The next day I woke up around 7:30, only to find that Grig already had the fire going and breakfast mostly made. He’s pretty awesome. We ate and I sat by the fire to finish warming up. Grig decided to pick up all the garbage that had been left by previous campers. Did I mention that he’s awesome?

Then, we put on shorts and went wading in the water around the lake. It snowed and rained so much this year, that the reservoir was overflowing. We had to wade about a quarter mile to get near enough to the edge of the lake to where we camped last time. It was awesome and Kevin loved it.

The dogs had a great time too. The water was surprisingly warm. I wanted to swim, but I wasn’t dressed for it. Arkhon was a fantastic swimmer though, and Siff got more comfortable with it as we went, though she didn’t like it when she couldn’t touch the bottom.

Eventually, Kevin got cold and hungry, so we went back and had sandwiches. After that, everyone was about ready to go home, but Grig wanted to see if he could catch a frog first, so we drove over to one of the more boggy areas around the lake and he went out exploring for a while.

Kevin was tired and didn’t want to leave the car, so I stayed with him and the dogs while Grig explored. Grig didn’t end up catching a frog, but he had a good time.

We came home and took turns taking naps because we wore ourselves out.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day

We had an excellent weekend. My second-to-youngest brother came home from his mission last week, and since he was speaking in church on Sunday, we really wanted to be able to support him and welcome him home. 

So, we drove down on Friday night. We had a pleasant drive, aside from the road construction and the massive amounts of people heading toward the Sand Dunes and Yellowstone. We actually came to a complete halt for awhile, which I don't think I've ever had happen in Idaho before.

Friday, we talked to my parents for a while, and then on Saturday, we tried to help them get ready for the large amounts of family that were coming to listen to my brother's talk. We didn't actually get to see my brother until Saturday morning, but Kevin was really excited to see him. He looks really good.
After we helped for a few hours, Kevin played with his cousins while Grig and I went on a date. We mostly just shopped a little, talked, ate, walked around, and went up to visit my grandma. It was really pleasant. I've felt really stressed lately, and it was nice to get out of town for a few days.

We helped a bit more after we got back, and I watched the movie Red for the first time while we folded clothes. Pretty fun movie.

Sunday, we went to church and both my father and my brother spoke. They both did a great job. It was fun to listen to my brother as he struggled to speak English. He's been in Chile for the last two years, and you could really tell that he loved the people and the culture. We're very proud of how hard he's worked and served, We've missed him though, so we're glad that he was able to come home.

My father also ended up teaching the Sunday school lesson, so he had a busy weekend. After church, everyone came over to my parents' home, and we had a nice dinner. I fell asleep for a while. That was nice too.

Monday was Memorial Day. We met up at the cemetery to see my grandfather's new headstone and to support my grandma.
It was a beautiful day. The headstone turned out lovely, and it was so nice to be there to remember him and the others who had passed away.

Afterward we had a barbecue at my aunt's house, and then we headed home.

Foster care has taken a turn for the better. I had a couple of people mention a certain clinic in a nearby town that usually has been prices than anywhere else. So, Grig called them, and they referred him to someone else. He was able to get an appointment with the second place, and it is going to be a fraction of the cost that we were expecting.

We feel like that is a miracle, and we are so grateful. His appointment is halfway through June, so we'll let you know what happens after that. Assuming everything goes well, we should be good to go!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

And...Fish...Take Three

Last Friday, I got a phone call from a friend of mine, who used to teach primary with me. She and her family were in the process of moving across town and she wanted to know if we were interested in taking their fish.

It took me a little while to understand exactly what she was asking (through no fault of hers) and when I finally understood, I told her we didn’t really have anything to keep fish in. She quickly offered to include the tank, filters, and everything else. Kevin was pretty excited about the idea, and since it was all free, I said yes.

A few minutes later, she drove up with a large 30-40 gallon tank, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Inside the tank were two small fish. One was a tetra (I think). It’s gold and tiny. The other is an algae eater. She told me they were about five years old, and that they were the only two fish she had been able to keep alive. They were basically immortal.

I decided to put them into a small cup while I cleaned out the cage. About 20 minutes later, I came out to check on them. The algae-eater was still in the cup, but the orange fish was gone. I quickly looked around and was horrified to find it lying outside of the cup on the floor. It looked dead. It had probably jumped right out of the cup.

“Great,” I thought. “I’ve had the fish for ten minutes and I’ve already killed it.”

I decided to put it back in the water, just in case, and to my immense gratitude, it only floated upside down for a moment before it righted itself and began to breathe. The fish really is immortal. I put a lid on the cup and went back to work on the tank.

We set everything up, and then we put the fish in. They seem to be doing great. Kevin named the algae-eater “Sneaky” since it isn’t always easy to find, and the orange one “Orangey,” for obvious reasons. He’s been feeding them every day, and so far, they seem pretty happy.
Here's Orangey. I couldn't find Sneaky to take a picture today.

Hopefully they last longer than our betta fish did. In case you're curious, here is the other fish stories: Take 1 and Take 2.

There may be some good news on the foster care front! If things pan out, I'll post more tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Dragonfly

Last Wednesday, after we had an unexpected May snowshower, Kevin and I were on the way home from preschool. Kevin was balancing on the edge of the sidewalk, when he suddenly stopped and pointed to something in the ditch. “Come here, Mom,” he said.

So, I went to look. Floating in the icy ditch water was a dragonfly. It was on its back, and its legs were curled tightly to its belly.  “Aw,” I said, “that’s too bad.”

After a moment though, I decided to pull it out of the water anyway. No dragonfly deserves to be left floating in water. Also, I just wanted to make sure it was really dead.

I gently removed it from the water with a stick. After a moment, I could have sworn I saw it move its head from side-to-side. So, I picked it up, and cupped it gently in my hands. I was hoping that warming it up would help it recover. On the way home, it remained fairly rigid, though at one point it felt like the tail flexed. I couldn't be sure though, because the wind was blowing. That might have made the dragonfly seem to move.

However, by the time we got home, the legs were reacting to being touched. So, I eased a stick under its legs and felt relieved when they all began to move. Soon, the dragonfly was sitting on the stick.  I stuck it in a jar, hoping that being inside the warmer house would revive it.

When Grig got home a few hours later, I pulled the dragonfly out, and was pleased to see that it was still gripping the branch. It still seemed sluggish, but it wasn't lying on the bottom of the jar, either. As Grig took the bug in his and and I took pictures, it suddenly took off and flew for the glass doors. It was pretty cold outside, so we caught it and put it back in the jar. We didn't want to let it go and have it freeze to death immediately.

Thursday afternoon, during the warmest part of the day, I took it out again. As I held it on my hand, its wings were vibrating, and it seemed alert. I took it outside, and in a few moments, it flew off my hands and quickly disappeared from sight. It made my day to see it fly away.

Our foster care stuff has hit a bit of a snag. The medical exam that they want us to undergo seems at this moment to be completely out of our reach. It took us a while to even find someone who does this kind of examination, and once we found someone, they quoted us a price that is way more than we can currently afford. So, we're not sure what to do next. We're going to keep calling around to see if we can find it at a better price, but if not, we may be unable to complete the process.

I was pretty frustrated for a few days. I don't like to blog when I'm frustrated or stressed, because I'd rather be a bit of sunlight on someone's internet page than another rainstorm.

I think I feel better about things though. We're doing all we can, and if this isn't meant to work out, than it won't. We would love to help foster kids, and we'll do everything we can to become certified foster parents, so if it doesn't work out, it won't be because we didn't do our best.

Sometimes you can't give up on something even when it seems like it's already dead.

At least, that's what I learned from a dragonfly.