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Another weekend, another concert

February 1, 2017

I haven’t said that in a long while!

And now I know why I’ve bowed out of playing the previous four concerts with my orchestra. It was only two rehearsals and a concert, but it was rough.  Granted, those were all in the same week, but still.  I was completely worn out by the end of it Saturday night, and then I had to come home and be the mom again because DH was working.

Little A had fallen asleep at dinner that night and stayed asleep for a couple of hours before waking up recharged and ready to go.  If I’d known she would sleep so long, I would have told A to wake her up sooner, but I had to leave right after dinner and she’s nearly impossible to wake up anyway when she crashes like that.  I came home ready to fall into bed, but had to deal with the toddler who was still going at 11:45!***

It was good to play again though; I’ve hardly touched my cello since October except for playing with my few students every week in their lessons.  I’ve really missed it, even when morning sickness had me in the fetal position and in no condition to be sitting up playing a cello on stage.  That is mostly gone (another post in the making) so I thought I’d try to play this one concert.  Plus it was a good way to break in the new strings I bought in September and finally put on my cello this month.

(Photo courtesy of E, whose life’s goal is to see how many photos he can take with my phone.)

Every January we accompany piano concerto competition winners from the area.  It’s a quick concert with five days prep, but I’ve played it so many times that it’s usually one of the easier (and fun) concerts for me.   They tend to play the same concertos year after year, so it’s not too strenuous. (As long as they don’t play Tchaikovsky; those cello parts are wicked with only a few days prep time!) There were only six this year and I practically have the Grieg piano concerto memorized, I think I’ve now played all the Rachmaninov and Beethoven concerti, Mozart is always sightreadable, and even the Saint-Saens #2, which was new to the orchestra, wasn’t very difficult, plus I played it in college.  Overall, not a lot of practice time was needed on my end, but still, being gone three nights last week was more than I’ve managed in months!  And I’m still recovering, but I did get caught up on all the laundry yesterday.  Of course it was last week’s laundry, but I’ll celebrate the small victories!  (and tackle this week’s laundry tomorrow.)

I think our sleep issues were due to Little A being up late Friday night while I was at dress rehearsal.  Then we had to get up early to go to our stake family history day on Saturday, and by Saturday night, Little A just couldn’t keep her eyes open.  Luckily she made up for it Sunday night.  She fell asleep at 7:15 and stayed asleep for the rest of the night.  I was so grateful!  Just one evening now and then without the toddler to deal with is heavenly!  Because she never stops moving . . . or talking . . .


***This reminded me of New Year’s Eve when she did the same thing.  She took a 3-hour nap that evening and woke up at 8:00 and was still going very strong at midnight.  The rest of us were wondering whose dumb idea it was to stay up until midnight anyway; we were all this close to falling asleep on the couch around 11:45, all except for A who went to a New Year’s Eve youth dance and thankfully found some friends who could give him a ride home.  But then at midnight we could see three different sets of fireworks going off across the golf course and that just made Little A even more excited to be up.  Then she was mad because I refused to stay up even longer and read bedtime stories (because it’s after midnight, child!) and finally agreed to fall asleep, but only in my bed, at which point I turned off all alarms and crashed with her.

I’ve never been so glad to switch to 1 p.m. church in my life.

Birthday 2.12

January 23, 2017

“I not three!!”

Fine, you can be 2.12.

We’ve been talking up this birthday for weeks and telling Little A how awesome it would be to turn three.  She wasn’t having it.  She sure understands cake and presents though.  Every time we asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, her answer was, “Cake and presents.”

Grandma and Poppa had a stack of presents for her when we went down on Thursday.  She knew immediately they were for her.


A horsie!32476254615_061eee62d4_o

Her actual birthday was Saturday and we woke up to snow.


It didn’t phase her though.  She was thrilled to get to eat Frosted Flakes when it wasn’t Sunday.  Daddy had to work in the morning and I was really tired, so we took it slow. She watched some movies with E while I baked her cake.

We still had to go shopping for her last present when DH came home.  She wanted to open presents the minute we walked back in the door, but we convinced her to let us wrap them first.  She had quite the stack (we may have gone overboard), and she was excited with whatever she saw first.

“It’s a box!”

It didn’t even matter what was in it; it was all so exciting!

I made the mistake of telling her that her baking set was food grade and she could make real food in it, and now I have to keep my canisters hidden in the cupboard because she wants to put real sugar and real salt in her mixing bowls.



She does love to cook . . . and lick the chocolate frosting beaters.

She was enthralled with the new scooter E got for his birthday, but decided she’d rather have a trike.  It’s snowing again today, but someday we’ll be able to ride all the new toys outside.



She can’t quite figure out the pedals, so it’s probably a good thing we got the one with the parent handle.  When she moves up to a bigger trike or bike in a few years, we can pass this one down to her brother.  (We’re forward thinkers and got the one that’s adjustable from 9 months-5 years!)


Also notice her new slippers.  We’d forgotten she specifically asked for slippers until the last minute, so we’d like to thank Walmart for having at least something without a Frozen theme.  I’m not one to buy pink princessy sparkly slippers, but she swears they’re birthday cakes, not crowns, anyway.



We sure do love this sweet little girl . . . even if she refuses to be three.


It’s another…

January 15, 2017

We had our ultrasound Friday.  A didn’t have school, so everybody went with us.  The ultrasound tech was so thrilled that everybody could be there to witness this.  It must have been a good idea to go first thing in the morning because she put the wand on my stomach and this popped right up:

A perfect profile view.  He was so cooperative.  Yes, he.  Because we are having another boy, naturally!  The odds weren’t in our favor for anything else!

I will say that DH had a blessing some years ago, even before we met and got married, in which he was promised that he would be the father of sons . . . oh, and a daughter.  She was kind of an afterthought.  I really wasn’t happy when he told me that, because of course, I had always wanted daughters.  But we had a boy, then another boy, and yet another boy.  It became our joke to ask when would this prophesied daughter come???

I knew E was going to be our fourth boy.  I just knew it.  I also knew he wouldn’t be our last, even after it took many years of waiting and praying for him to come, and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to be pregnant again.  Then I had a blessing while I was pregnant with him in which I was promised that there were children (yes, plural) that were still waiting to come to our family.  When we found ourselves pregnant again, I was fairly certain that Little A would be our long awaited daughter, even before we knew for sure.

I actually was really hoping she would be twins so we could get those children and be done with it in one more pregnancy.  I was 39 after all.  (But I’m really glad she wasn’t twins, as I can’t imagine having two newborns at once, or two toddlers, or two almost-3-year-olds.  She’s been a handful lately!  I can barely keep track of one of her!)

Despite our joking before, I always knew that we would have that daughter.  I trusted in God, and in that promised blessing given to DH and just knew that if I got pregnant, we would have our girl eventually.

My thinking has been different in the last little while though.  DH and I had talked about, maybe, is there one more baby for us? But mostly, in the last year, I was avoiding having that conversation. I trusted Heavenly Father to fulfill his promise of more children for our family, but I was having a harder time trusting in myself that I could do my part in bringing about the fulfillment of that promise.  I wasn’t sure I even wanted to.  Little A’s pregnancy was quite difficult for me.  I was just so sick for so long, and in quite a lot of discomfort, bordering on pain, the last few months carrying her.  Her delivery was no cakewalk either.  But I thought about those promised children waiting for us and couldn’t just close that door to them.

Then I turned 40, then 41.  Now I’m 42, and here we are, and yes, it was actually a surprise this time.  And yes, it’s been a lot harder to be pregnant at 42 than it was at 26.  I had three boys in four years; I never thought it would take another twelve years to bring three more babies into this world.  I think my journey through motherhood has taught me, more than any other experience, to rely on the Lord.  I’m not in charge of my life; He is.  He has a plan, and it will be more perfect than anything I could have come up with on my own.

Speaking of perfect, look at this perfect little leg and foot:

I always love to see these little babies on ultrasound.  I’ve been feeling him move for several weeks now, but it’s amazing to me that something so small (6 inches long and just over 1.5 lbs now) can be so perfectly formed and moving around and beautiful.  It really is beautiful.

These 4D pictures though, they’re actually kind of creepy.   

The boys thought it was cute that he waved to us.  Little A was a little sad at first, though.  We had talked up maybe having a baby sister for her.  But when the ultrasound tech handed her the printed pictures, Little A said, “It’s my baby brother!”

Still, she has no idea what’s coming.

So we’ll have one daughter and five sons. Naturally, the choice for lunch was:

Five Guys!

E turns seven!

January 5, 2017

What does it say about us that all the 7-year-old wanted for his birthday was to sit and play Minecraft???

He’s definitely my kid.  Sometimes I too just want to sit by myself for a day and do my thing uninterrupted, without having to be social.  He asked for omelettes for breakfast and was very specific that he wanted to have cake after breakfast and open presents then.  Originally he had to go to Kindermusik right at dinnertime, which probably lead to the breakfast/cake idea, but class got cancelled last minute so that was fortuitous.  I then had no dinner plans though, so we ordered pizza.  Grandma and Poppa called this afternoon and E told them he definitely feels different now that he’s seven.

He requested a lemon bundt cake this year.  Knowing that he wanted to have it right after breakfast, I had planned to make it last night.  DH had to work until midnight and I had a Relief Society activity to go to.  When I got home, A was catching up on science classes online and nobody else was remotely ready for bed.  We were out of milk and down to eleven eggs, and I knew the cake needed seven, plus we were planning on omelettes so I’d need to go shopping.  I also knew Little A really needed to go to bed before I could go to the store.

Finally at 10:30 I made it out the door!  E stayed up to wait for me because he really really wanted to help bake his cake.  It took more time than I thought it would to juice lemons and whip the egg whites, but I think that cake finally went in the oven about quarter to midnight! He was asleep about five minutes later!  He is actually helpful in the kitchen though so I was glad of his help.  (Little A is a completely different story!)

It was supposed to cool in the pan completely for one hour, but I was not about to stay up any longer waiting to take it out, so it stayed in the pan all night and didn’t quite come out smoothly this morning.  The frosting was very thick which didn’t help matters, but it’s the taste that counts, not the crumbs in the frosting, right?



He picked out this new backpack, but didn’t know it was coming today!



He also got a new shirt and some legos.  The fun will continue at Grandma’s house tomorrow with more presents and macaroni and cheese and ham for dinner.

Trying out his new scooter:  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne day he’ll be able to ride it outside, but it’s snowing again tonight.  Oh well, we can’t all have summer birthdays.



Straight backs don’t come cheap

December 31, 2016


Thank goodness for good insurance!

The boys have physicals for scouts every summer.  When A was twelve, the doctor mentioned a slight curve in his spine, but it really wasn’t anything to worry about.  I don’t recall anything being said about it the next two summers.

This summer however, the doctor was concerned and as he estimated it was getting close to a 20-degree curve, recommended we call Primary Children’s Hospital and find an orthopedic surgeon that specialized in scoliosis to see A.  “But it could take months to get into a specialist…”

We called that day and amazingly were able to get an appointment with Dr. John Smith in just two weeks if we were willing to drive to his Riverton office.  So in our first appointment at the beginning of August, A had a full set of chest x-rays, and within five minutes of Dr. Smith coming in to talk to us and viewing the x-rays, we were discussing spinal fusion surgery.

Um, wait, what?

Apparently our regular doctor was completely batty estimating a 20-degree curve (not the first time I’ve had that opinion of him) because A had a 51-degree curvature of his upper thoracic spine–a C-curve.  Luckily he didn’t have an S-curve; his lower vertebrae were straight which is good as all of your bending, lifting, and twisting motions come from your lower back.  Dr. Smith said it was called Ideopathic Adolescent Scoliosis, which basically means they don’t know what causes it, but sometimes during growth spurts, spines just don’t develop correctly.

A watch and wait approach is generally taken for anything under a 20-degree curve. Between 20 and 40-degrees (if I’m remembering correctly), bracing can be done, but that isn’t a permanent fix, it just keeps the curvature from progressing during growth spurts.  Looking at A’s pelvic and hip bones, most of his skeletal growth is done so we completely missed the window for bracing.  And curvatures over 50-degrees tend to keep curving at the rate of 1-degree per year.  So when he’s 30, he could have a 65-degree curve.

On his x-rays we could already see how the right ribs were spreading apart and the left ones were scrunching together, which eventually would compress his lungs and all other organs in his chest cavity.  So surgery was really the best and only option.  But I was in shock.  A, on the other hand, was completely calm and accepting of the whole idea.  Even Dr. Smith remarked later that A was the probably the least anxious patient he had ever operated on.

We decided November would be a good time for surgery as it would be after our Hawaii trip but before the holidays. A would also need a full six month recovery after spinal fusion and he wanted to be ready and able to do all the scout stuff next summer.

Our regular doctor had also recommended we call Shriner’s as it would be a whole lot cheaper, but we couldn’t even get an initial appointment until October, and who knows when we would have gotten A into surgery.  It was also with a different surgeon, and in doing research, we were pretty sure we already had the best guy in the business.  Dr. Smith has done thousands of spinal fusion surgeries at Primary’s and we had a really good feeling about sticking with him, plus the timing worked out perfectly for A’s recovery.

Our first surgery was scheduled for Halloween, but Dr. Smith’s office had to reschedule, so on Monday, November 14, A went under the knife.  It was one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mornings.  At least for me.  DH had worked until midnight the night before, and we had to be at Primary’s at 5:45 in the morning.  I didn’t have a chance to eat anything before we left and my morning sickness was in full swing that week, plus the stress and worry were not helping.  What am I doing to my child??  It’s a very painful surgery and A hasn’t even had any back pain or any kind of discomfort up to this point.  But we knew it was the best time to have it done so his curvature didn’t get any worse and as the doctor assured us, kids always bounce back from surgery much easier than adults do.  But still, I was a mess.

A, on the other hand, did tremendously well.  We were surprised when the surgeon came out to say he was done already.  It went quickly and he said it could not have gone more perfectly.  In our pre-op appointment he said he had to warn us of the complications, but also said he hadn’t paralyzed anybody yet and didn’t intend to start now.  They had monitors on A’s fingers, toes, and brain that would register if his spinal cord was under any stress and they could immediately stop the surgery, but there wasn’t even a blip at all.  Getting his initial IV in was a chore because his hands were too cold, but surgery went just perfectly.

He took forever coming out of the anesthesia though, and told us the same story about going back to the OR about three times because he didn’t remember telling us two minutes before.  It was pretty funny.  Then we were taken up to his room in the Neuro/Trauma unit where he was hooked up to a whole lot of devices.  He had an IV, two epidurals (one pelvic, one thoracic), and a drain that drained away all the blood and gunk out of his wound.  I tried not to look at it.

He should have been in the hospital until Friday, but when I got there on Tuesday morning, he was sitting up in the chair next to his bed, which was Wednesday’s goal.  His nurses said most spinal fusion patients are screaming in pain just sitting up on the side of his bed the day after surgery, so they all thought he was quite the rock star!  On Wednesday he walked out to the hallway and back, then spent the rest of the day in bed playing video games and getting pretty bored.

All he had to do to come home was be able to climb stairs, both up and down. So on Thursday when the physical therapist came, he was ready to do it.  She wheeled him out to a stairwell and he climbed down, then up, then walked clear back to his room and said, “OK, can I go home now?”  It took a good three hours to get everything signed off and ready for discharge, but then he surprised everyone by coming home a day early!

He really missed his hospital bed and his five pillows that first night, but has done so well since.  He even got up and went to seminary and choir the next Tuesday because he was feeling so well, although he did panic a little when he realized he’d left his oxycodone and ibuprofen tablets at home on the counter.  I rescued him, and he was glad it was then Thanksgiving break so he could rest up after that exertion.  He got a little anxious when his oxycodone and valium were running low, but by the time they were gone, he really only needed ibuprofen anyway and is now down to just taking it as he feels he needs it.  He’s had a few bad days, but for the most part is doing so well, although he’s been banned from walking in the ice and snow.  We’re not taking any chances! And no BLT: bending, lifting (anything over 10 pounds), or twisting for six months.  He’s gained a couple inches in height and his back looks so much straighter now.  It’s amazing what a couple of rods and a whole lot of $$$ can do!

***Edited to add: I had heard that sometimes the bone needed to do graft the vertebrae to the rods was harvested from your hip bones, but Dr. Smith said, thank heavens, no.  He doesn’t do that; that’s a more painful surgery than spinal fusion.  He uses cadaver bone instead, so that’s interesting.

And the nurse in the recovery room, besides gushing about Dr. Smith, told us about her brother who had severe scoliosis as a young man in the 1960s when they didn’t have near the kinds of options for correcting it that they do today.  He was always self conscious about his back with its hunch and never dated or got married because of it.  Eventually he had a rod put it, but fell once and dislodged the rod and never had it fixed.  To this day he is extremely hunched over, has to have oxygen because his lungs are so compressed, and really doesn’t have a good quality of life.  So the nurse told A that it really was an amazing thing he’d just gone through and he wouldn’t have to worry about so many of the things her brother deals with now.  I think she’s right.  I’m amazed when I look at him, taller and  straighter now.  I’m glad we did this.


Birthday season begins

December 29, 2016

Or rather, birthday season began, as these two were almost a month ago.  Either a) we’re really boring, or b) we’ve just been through a lot the last little while because nobody had any great and exciting plans for their birthdays.  I’m guessing it’s option b, what with sickness, surgery, and Mom suffering with morning sickness all of November.

D turned twelve and when I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, he said, “It’s on Sunday, Mom.”  Like we can’t celebrate another day of the week!  He finally did come up with going to SmashBurger for dinner with the family, which was nice because DH had to work on D’s actual birthday.  We had to facetime with him for presents and blowing out candles on cake.  31630917292_b8c0ffee0c_o

We gave him tiger pjs, a lego set, and a book about the priesthood.  He opened gifts from Grandma and Poppa while they stayed here for Thanksgiving, but (let’s blame pregnancy brain) I can’t even remember what all of them were.  I just know this child is due for a growth spurt.  The rest of his body needs to catch up with his arms.  We’re buying size 14 and the shirt sleeves are already too short, yet, depending on the brand, the pant legs might be six inches too long. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




Six days later, A turned 16.  That’s a big birthday, but he can’t drive yet although he does have his learner’s permit.  He can date now too, but doesn’t seem to have much interest, which is just fine with me!  He did express an interest in having a birthday party though.  We haven’t done a party with friends in years, mostly for lack of friends, plus winter birthday parties were such a pain to host inside our little downtown house.

At first he had about twenty friends on a list, only four of which were girls.  I told him he might want to even out the boy/girl ratio a bit, or else just invite the boys.  He decided that might be better.

I’m actually thrilled that he has a really good group of friends right now.  C has always lucked out in the friend department with other boys his age at church and scouts, but A has never had more than a couple boys his age in our old ward and scout troop, and he wasn’t particularly close friends with any of them.  Since we moved, he’s enjoyed having friends at church, but we still haven’t connected with too many other homeschoolers his age.

But this year he wanted to take choir at the high school, so we signed him up for that and seminary.  I put them together on his schedule, but then the schedule changed and he ended up having lunch period between the two.  I think he felt a little lost at lunch the first couple of weeks, but then he found a really great group of guys to hang out and eat lunch with, some of whom are in Men’s Chorus with him plus a few of their other friends, and he’s really been enjoying going every other day.

So he ended up with eight people total at his party, which was the perfect amount to sit around our kitchen table and play board games and eat food all afternoon.  It was a good mix of friends from school, our ward, and trek last summer.  It sounded like they all had a really great time and told him to be sure and do it again next year.  I told him later that you don’t have to wait for a birthday to have a party, but we’ll see how ambitious he gets.  We’re not exactly party people around here.

Grandma and Poppa came towards the end of the party and we all sang “Happy Birthday.”  After his friends left, he opened all the presents from the rest of us.  He got some nice pants and a pullover, the Catan game, another brain twister game, a book, a new tie, a daily calendar (again I can’t remember the theme exactly), and a sweater which finally arrived two weeks late.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After dinner, we sang again with a different cake, as it was also Grandma’s birthday and I was trying out a gluten-free chocolate cake for her.  I originally bought the ‘7’ candle for E’s birthday next month, but it worked for this day as well because A is 16, and Grandma is 67.  (No one is 167.)

Earlier that morning D and A were both interviewed and the next day, on Sunday, A was ordained to the office of priest, and D received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of deacon by DH.  It was a good Sabbath.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More Christmas

December 29, 2016


Our final gift arrived today: John Williams Greatest Hits for piano.  It was expected by January 6, so I was going to call it a “Happy Orthodox Christmas” present.  It was definitely a piano Christmas around here this year.  In addition to John Williams, I got the newest Piano Guys book for the boys, and Grandma and Poppa gave them all piano books (and organ for A).  We’ve been playing “Name that Tune” all week as they sightread through them.  We have the most success if A is at the keyboard, but C has definitely improved in his sightreading abilities over the past year.

This is probably the funniest thing to come out of Christmas.  Little A has seen the show Paw Patrol maybe a couple of times only, but E has had Paw Patrol toothpaste for a while now. (Which tastes exactly like Thomas the Tank Engine toothpaste and Sesame Street toothpaste if you’re wondering.)  When Little A opened this book, she got really excited and said, “A toofpaste book!!”

We got a really good laugh out of it.


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