Monday, May 11, 2015

Batman Birthday Party

After having to post-pone Brayden's birthday party two weekends in a row. 
His much awaited day finally arrived!
He chose a Batman party. He did not want super heros, TMNT, nor avenger's but Batman only.

I'm making a wedding cake in 2 weeks and I wanted to try out the fondant like sheets you can buy now day's. It's not going to work for the wedding cake but it worked perfectly for making a city scene. I made the batman logo using the same type of sheets. Brayden loved his cake! 

 Braydens favorite snack was the batman watermelon and Joker's Juice, aka green hawaiian punch.

We played this game while we were waiting for everyone to show up. I hung up painters tape and then wadded up scrap paper for the kids to throw at the web. Our tape is very old and didn't stick as well as I'd have liked but a few papers did manage to stick. The kids didn't seem to mind. They just enjoyed throwing the balls. 

It didn't take very long for all 8 guests to arrive. These little ones are all friends from primary, our neighborhood and school. 

We have been having high 80's and 90's temperatures these past few weeks. The day before our big day it rained and rained and rained. The weather man predicted a 30% chance of rain for our morning and our high for the day was suppose to be 60. A little cold for outdoor water games I had planned. I made a few last minute changes, cleaned the garage and decided to have most of the games played in the garage. My house just isn't big enough for these little ones to run around in. 

Our 2nd game was stomping the bomb's out that Joker and left behind. I tied balloons to each person's ankle and let them go to town. 

Our 3rd game I had printed out several of Batman's enemies and glued them to paper cups. We hung them up and then gave each kid their very own silly string. At the beginning we had kids lined up on both sides of my hanger but with nothing between kids except for a few plastic cups they ended up squirting each other. It was the favorite game of the morning. 

Our 4th game was a scavenger hunt outside. I waited until the rain had stopped and hoped it would give us a little while before the next rain fall. The end of the hunt led the kids to the freezer where Mr. Freeze had frozen all of Brayden's super heroes.  

Everyone was given a squirt bottle with warm water and together they had to unfreeze the super heroes. 

The kids kept at it until it started to sprinkle and the wind picked up a bit. It got cold quick and it didn't help the kids were a bit wet from the water spray.

Following the water game we played shoot the villan.  

I had 3 dart guns that held 3 bullets each. They had to take turns shooting at the hanging balloons. 

After our dart game the rain stopped once more so 
 we quickly sang happy birthday and cut the cake.

The kids filled there plates with goodies and I sent them back outside to eat. Those that ate quickly took another turn at un-freezing those super heroes. 

 When the kids got cold again we came back inside to open presents. 
Super heroes, TMNT, nerf guns, legos and candy. 
This little boy was heaven. 
After all his friends went home he spent hours on the front room floor playing with his new toys. 
It was the, "best birthday ever", says Brayden. 

Grandma Grow's Funeral

On Saturday, May 2 2015 we laid my sweet Grandma Grow to rest. 
It was a beautiful warm morning. 

Her viewing was from 9:30-10:30 am. We had a family prayer and a chance to give her our last kisses goodbye from 10:30-11:00. Her funeral services began at 11:00 am.
During her services Autumn and I were able to give her eulogy. Mom spoke about the purpose of Grandma's life. Why was she here? What was her purpose? Grandma taught us all many things. For instance you never just pour syrup on your pancake. You start at the center and making circles moving outward you sing, around and around you go. Grandma taught her daughters how to sew. She helped/tried to teach her granddaughter's how sew and crochet. Grandma taught us the importance of the gospel. Grandma loved her scriptures. She knew that prayers were answered. She was always quick to share it with those around her. She was always a missionary. Following Mom's talk Uncle Hulen talked about the importance of  having eternal families so that we can all be together again. 

I had my camera slung around my shoulders almost the entire day. I didn't feel like taking pictures. Nothing really stuck out at me that said you'll want to remember me, take my picture. It wasn't until we got to the cemetery that I pulled my camera out. So here are a few I did get.   

In the back: Matt, Aunt Tamra, Dad, Aunt Robin with Elena
Front: GG Pa, Mom, Hanna

The paul bearers; Matt, Travis, Jonathan
On the other side was Uncle Jim and cousin Billy

Following the cemetery we headed to church for the luncheon. We then went back to mom and dad's and visited with one another. 
Travis, Great Aunt Barbara, Aunt Bonnie holding Briella, Ciarra, Grandpa Hunter with Jesse.

Grandpa Hunter and Jesse snoozing together. 

Uncle Jim, Aunt Bonnie, Mom
Later in the afternoon some us went back to the cemetery. We wanted to collect the flowers

Aunt Bonnie, Great Aunt Barbara, Cousin Shirley, Uncle Jim, Mom
Autumn and her daughter Faith and myself tagged along. It was fun to sit on the grass and remanence about our grandma, sister, mother and cousin. 
Grandma you will be missed but we know you are in a much better place. 
It must be such a relief to have your mind back and be able to communicate again.
We love you!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

School is almost out

It seems that the closer and closer we get to the school year being complete the more busy our life becomes in the evenings.  This past week we had three year end concerts to attend.

We started off with Brayden's Kindergarten Patriotic Program. This wasn't just his class but the entire kindergarten class. These kids with the help of teacher's and many mom's made their patriotic shirt during school a few weeks ago. 

Throughout the school year these kiddo's have been taught 7 songs. Some come with hand action's, some come with a little dance while during the other's they stand tall and sing their best. Despite many, many practices I always think it's funny to watch that "one kid" who goes the opposite direction than everyone else. This year that was my kid! 
Love him!

Brayden loved having his turn in the spotlight!

Two nights later the family went to the school's Spring Fling. Emily performed in her choir group for the very last time for this school year. One of the songs performed was the troll song from Frozen, that's why some were dressed up in costume. 

They also sang Katy Perry's song, Firework.

At the beginning of the school year the choir was for 3rd grade and up. Come December time the choir was in desperate need of some voices and so 2nd grade was invited to participate. Emily was thrilled! She has worked really hard these past few months trying to learn all the songs that were presently being taught but also the ones she missed. At this night's performance they sang every song they learned this year. She did a great job!

Following her performance we went outside and participated in the school's carnival. 

For $3 a piece the kids were given a bracelet worth up to 10 events. 
All chose face paint as their 1st activity. 

Some chose bounce houses.

  There was an Angry Birds sling shot game, a balloon dart game, a bean bag toss and many more.

Although she had to stand in line for 45 minutes before it was her turn,

 Madelyn's favorite was the dunking booth.

So glad they had fun.
The following night Hunter had his last orchestra concert. He was given a special award for earning his black belt. During the year each level the kids were suppose to reach was given a color of belt. The black belt was the very last level. When kids came back to school after Christmas break the teacher quit doing the colored belts because there were so many students who couldn't keep up, they were falling behind and parents were complaining. I thought it was interesting that in the end about 1/3 of her students in both beginning and intermediate orchestra had earned their black belt on their particular level. Hunter wasn't always on level, he fell behind a few times. Hunter rides the bus and the bus (per district policy) won't allow him to take his cello on the bus. CRAZY!!! I can't pick him up and take him to school every day. Because he wasn't getting his practices in he started to fall behind. His counselor and I made arrangements so that during homeroom he could go to the orchestra room to practice. His home room teacher was not pleased with hunter leaving everyday. So she only allowed him to leave once a week. I wanted to go in and talk to the counselor again but Hunter asked me not to. He did not want me to make a "scene". With all the obstacles being thrown at him I told myself I wouldn't make it a big deal if he didn't earn his black belt, after all it was no longer a requirement. The day's he brought his cello home instead of practicing the minimum requirement of 30 min he would practice over an hour and then some. There were many times that he practiced for almost 3 hours spreading it over the afternoon/evening. Choosing to practice and not playing with friends or being outside rollerblading or playing Wii paid off. He did it! It's amazing what our kids can do if they really put forth the effort and work at it. He has some real talent with his cello. I'm excited to see where this will take him. 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Brayden turn's 6

Brayden had a birthday!
He's 6 years old now.
Daddy was heading back to Alton for work later that morning and Hunter had to catch the school bus at 7:05. Brayden wanting his whole family to be present for his birthday party he chose to have it at 6:30 in the morning. 

So excited to see his very own pair of roller blades!
We probably have 5 different pairs in the garage and they get used almost every single day. The pair Brayden uses is about 2 sizes to big so he was pretty stoked he was given a pair that actually fits.  

This little man loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman right now. 
A new swimsuit, roller blades and a batman lego set from mom and dad. Madelyn gave him water guns and Kylie gave a TMNT puzzle that has been sitting in my closet for over 2 years now. Hunter and Emily hooked him up with all the candy and gum.

Following present time he got his favorite breakfast, blueberry pancakes! 

After breakfast we rushed off to school where he passed out his TMNT fruit snacks to all his friends. This is a day that we will always remember. Just a few hours after breakfast we learned that Grandma Grow had passed away. After spending several hours at my grandma's house with my mom, sister and my girls I came home emotionally exhausted.

We tried having pizza for dinner but discovered that Little Caesar's "lost" my order. Not wanting to wait 20-25 minutes for a new order I went next door to Pizza Hut. They don't have any hot and ready's and again not wanting to wait 20 minutes I went back to Little Caesar's thinking I'd have to get one of their hot n' ready's despite my recent vow I wouldn't ever go their again. Big shocker that they were out of their hot n' ready's and would still have a 15 minute wait. I walked out once again vowing I will never step foot in their place of business again. Little Caesar's and I don't have the best relationship! I came home at almost 7 pm empty handed. I pulled out our big frying pan, tortilla's and cheese. Brayden was a bit disappointed with no pizza but enjoyed one of his other favorites, a cheese quesadilla for dinner.  While I was gone Madelyn made a pan of brownies for this birthday boy. 

I hope he had a good day. I tried! I was pretty glad we was able to open his presents earlier in the day, Before life got a bit crazy!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Brayden,
Happy Birthday to you.
Love ya buddy!

Grandma Grow's Passing

Monday, April 13 2015 during dinner GG aspirated on her drink. She was having a difficult time breathing and started to turn blue. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the hospital. At the hospital a chest x-ray was taken and it showed that her lungs were clear despite the nasty cough and wheezing she had had for several days. Doctor's tentatively diagnosed her with bronchitis but gave her an antibiotic just in case. During her hospital visit GG was un-responsive. She acted as if she were in a very deep sleep and remained un-responsive despite many attempts to wake her up. Due to her recent illness and not being awake an IV was put in to keep her hydrated.  The following morning a meeting was held between doctors, social workers, hospice, GG Pa and Heather (mom). It was decided that GG was going to be put back on hospice and it was time to bring her home. We all thought that our time with GG was coming to a sudden end. We were told very specifically that if GG remained un-responsive we were not to force her to eat or drink. We didn't want her to aspirate again or have her inhaling food into her lungs.    

Her 1st day home, Wednesday, she began to be more responsive. Still sleeping a lot but more waking moments. On Thursday our family was given a tender mercy. Not only was GG awake but she seemed to be aware of herself and her surroundings. The best part was that she could communicate with us in a way that we could understand. Something that hadn't been done in over a year! So grateful that I had my camera with me and I was able to record our interaction's with her. She asked for hugs from Madelyn and Emily, she wanted a bacon cheeseburger to eat and she wanted to go to the library with us and was trying to swing her legs around as if she were going to get up and go with us. These are memories that my two girls and I will always cherish! 

Our tender mercy only lasted one day. The following day she lost most of her responsiveness and quickly returned to what her "normal" was before her hospital visit. That weekend Bonnie and Autumn and Mark and Robin came to check up on Grandma. Kory gave GG a blessing that Sunday night. GG was told that as her time was nearing she would be able to say the things that she still needed to say. As the week progressed GG gradually got worse. She slept more and more. She wouldn't wake up to eat. If she was awake she didn't eat more than just a couple of bites. We knew her day's were numbered. 

On Sunday, April 26, Aunt Bonnie, Ciarra and Uncle Jim came to say there goodbyes. Jim hadn't seen his mom in several years. Although she slept through their visit I think hearts were softened, forgiveness was started and healing hearts began. Later that day we went over as a family to say our goodbyes. GG hadn't eaten more than 2-3 bites a day for several day's. I knew we probably wouldn't have another chance to be with her as a family while here on this earth. 

At 10:57 on Monday, April 27, 2015 our beloved GG drew her last breath. I was at the kids school volunteering in Brayden's Kindergarten class. I had dropped Kylie off with Aunt Hanna at my mom's house just 15 minutes before. 

Since I was already at the kids school when I got word,I chose to pull them out, Kory was working in St. George at the time. The kids were able to give their GG one last kiss while we were waiting for the mortuary to come. The boys not wanting to stick around crossed the driveway to play at Grandma's. Madelyn, Emily and I along with Hanna and Grandma sat around and shared stories of our GG. Emily soon tired of waiting and so left for Grandma's also. Soon the mortuary people arrived. Madelyn and I were able to give GG one last kiss, hold her hand in our own and whisper our love and goodbyes before she was taken away. All though some have been surprised that not only did I stick around but took my kids to see their dead great grandmother. I would do it again in a heart beat. It was a loving and tender experience. One that I really can't put into words, but am so thankful we were able to participate in.