Saturday, December 29, 2018

Decemeber 2018 Shenanigans

Seems like I blinked and December was over.  We've taken a bit of a break from working on the house and it has been so nice! I just wanted to enjoy the Christmas Season. Last year was such a fiasco I did NOT want a repeat of that. And so I didn't overplan, didn't commit ourselves to every party invite and didn't worry about the house being perfect! I just enjoyed being "us". 

Last year during the Spring the girls and I were at JC Penny when we saw these sweatshirts on clearance. They were both under $4 a piece. I knew Kylies would fit her this winter but I warned Maddie the size 12 would be to small afterall you are 14 and wear some14/16 and womens small. Emily wasn't interested in it and Maddie didn't care. She said she'd wear it anyways. It would just be a 3/4 sleeve sweater and so it was! Anyways they were so excited when the temperatures finally dropped and they could wear their matching sweaters. 

Uncle Rich has been sending us a Christmas Book every year since we lived in Arizona. It's a package the kids anxiously await for. It's something they know they can open that night and read as a family. I love our little Christmas Book tradition. All of our Christmas Books are wrapped and placed in a wire basket near the tree. Each night starting about the night we decorate the tree till Christmas the kiddo's get to pick one to open and we read it as a family. 

I helped in Kylies Christmas Party at school. We got to decorate a gingerbread house. 

Every month since school started Brayden has brought home a bag of groceries about once a month.  After asking several questions and calling the school I discovered that these bags are from the Food Bank. The Food Bank comes once a month and the kids are given the opportunity to fill a bag full of food they like to bring home. Kory and I both have explained to him that this food is for kids who don't have food at home. Kids that don't have a mom or dad at home at night to fix them meals. It's for the kids that go without. Most of the food he brings home is stuff we don't eat anyways. It's canned ravioli, spagehettio's, chicken noodle soup, hamburger helper. Sometimes he's brought a box of cereal or two or a box of apple sauce squeezes. Last month was the 3rd bag he brought home. I got after him and told him to stop, no more! He's opened those cans of "nastiness" to eat them and doesn't like it. So it's fed to the chickens. Our family just isn't use to eating those kinds of things. So essentially he's wasting food that could have gone to another little boy or girl that may have gone without becuase he brought it home. After a long talk he said he wouldn't bring it home anymore. To my astonishment he got off the bus carrying another bag of food this month. What the heck? The second he got into the van he said, "Mom, don't get mad! I can explain!" And so he proceeds to tell me that the "man" giving away the food told everyone at school that he had lots and so he wanted one kid from every family to come get a bag. Brayden says, " So it's o.k that we aren't poor. We still get one." And so I start to repeat our conversation we've had several times now about how we don't eat that kind of food. It's still wasting it. Brayden pipes up and says, "You know....I'm just trying to help with the 2nd coming!". I'm like what???? He then tells me this food is for our food storage when it's the 2nd coming. It's for when I can't go buy fresh fruit and vegetables and feed our family. It's for when we have to eat out of our cans that we have downstairs. He's just helping supply those cans we'll need when the grocery stores are empty. "I'm just trying to help you Mom!" How the heck am I suppose to respond to that?  

The youth in our ward was asked to help with the city's 1st Nativity this year. Not very many kids from the ward wanted to participate and so I forced my kids to do it. It will be good for them right? 

Emily was an angel.

Maddie played Mary. Anthony Ballard from our ward was Joseph. 

Hunter, reluctantly was a shepard. 
They all did great, it was only one night. No one had to speak. They just followed the narrative that was playing in the background. 

One tradition that the girls look forward to each year is helping with Kony Coins for Kids. In the past the boys have come along too. However, Hunter's church group had planned to go shooting that night. Kory had been invited to come along and was able to take Brayden. And so the girls went shopping and the boys went shooting. 

The next morning the Maddie and Emily skipped school to help me wrap some of those gifts that had been purchased the night before.

They usually have their sign out front that say's Kony Coins for Kids but we couldn't find this year to take our picture in front of it. 
We were still plenty busy this month even though we cut back and didn't attend every single function we were invited to. Hunter and Emily both had a orchestra concert on different nights and Maddie had a Jazz Band and her regular Band Christmas concerts on 2 different nights too. We also attended our Wards Christmas Party. All these events kept us plenty busy but we also had some awesome relaxing nights at home with just our little family. It's been a great month so far!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ice Skating with Cousins

Saturday, Dec 17th we spent the whole day with our Christensen Family. We started our day off in Cedar for some ice skating.  

Brayden was a little worried about this new sport but fell in love pretty quickly! He was so good. By the time we left he was jumping in the air. 

Kory's broken collarbone is healing pretty nicely. He didn't want to take the chance of hurting it and so he chose to stand on the sides and run my camera.  

Hunter! For reals??? You photo bombed my train picture!
Maddie hanging onto Carlaya who's hanging onto Aunt Christina, Me and Kylie!

Uncle Jonathan and Emily. 

Jonathan and Matthew

Emily and Carlaya

Mya and Kylie

Emily, Maddie and Carlaya

After a few hours our bodies were worn out!
We headed back home to Grandma's house for some hot soup and dinner rolls. 
I of course left my camera at home. 

Following dinner we opened the gifts Grandma and Grandpa Christensen bought everyone from their Alaska Vacation a few months ago. This year my siblings and I decided to provide an experience for all the kids instead of buying gifts. Hence the ice skating day. I loved it! 

Aunt Christina holding Ariel, Maddie, Carlaya, Kylie, Mya, Emily, Uncle Travis
Jamie, Elena, Brayden.

When the gifts were opened and the garbage picked up we played a game Kory and I were introduced to a few years ago. It's called the Left, Right & Center game. Everyone was asked to bring 3, one dollar bills that wanted to play. So everyone starts off with 3 one dollar bills. They then roll the 3 dice or the same amount of dice as dollars left in the there hand. The then follow the instructions per the dice. Pass a dollar to the right, left, keep it or put it in the center. 

It doesn't take too long before the pile of dollars in the center starts to pile up.

You may loose all 3 dollars on your first roll but your still in the game. Because your neighbor may have to give you one of theirs! 

It doesn't hurt quite as bad to give your dollar to your spouse. 
At least you hope it stays in the "family"! 

Who was our lucky winner??

Grandma won all $60 one dollar bills!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Oh, Christmas Tree...

Last Christmas was probably the worst Christmas our little family has had. The ENTIRE family was sick about 2 weeks before Christmas with a real nasty stomach bug. Kory actually stayed home from work one day in bed, something he has never done in our entire marriage. I got sick 2 days before Christmas. It was so bad I was the first to bed on Christmas Eve. Very few pictures were taken. We were working on the house, I always felt it was a mess (Ha ha ha ha if only I knew what was coming!) Christmas Morning the boys discovered their RC cars. Hunter hooked his battery up wrong, it sparked, smoked and blew a part. All before he was even able to give it a run. Brayden and Kory took Brayden's outside. It hit the curb and broke the axel! It was a rough few weeks to say the least. 

The day after Christmas as I was packing and putting away all the Christmas decorations Kory was helping the kiddo's pack up their bedrooms. We moved everyones bed's and dressers into the family room that night. For the next several months the family room was all 5 kids big bedroom. 

As Christmas has been fastly approaching I told Kory I really "need" my family room back. Ummm where would be put up a tree? Every nook and crany in our house is stuffed with boxes, dressers, and totes. We have no room. We haven't decorated for a single holiday this year which has really put a damper on our holiday spirits. We all needed a good Christmas! And so when we got the kiddo's back into a real bedroom and our family room was sheet rocked we set up our Christmas Tree on Saturday Dec 1st! Bring on the joyful holiday!

Kory and Hunter went out riding 4 wheelers with some friends so the rest of the family set up the Christmas Tree!  

What the heck? Maddie can almost touch the top of the tree!

I love how this cute girl sticks out her tongue when she is concentrating.

Emily and Brayden making sure there are no holes in the tree. 

Oh how I love this site! 
You can hardly tell the walls aren't textured or painted. 

When the tree was set up we pulled in the other totes of decorations. 
My parents gave Hunter and Maddie these rocking reindeer when they were about 3 and 4. 
My younger two are still enjoying them. 

Brayden found the Santa train and used it for transporting his army men to their new base. Oh how I love watching this little man of mine use his imagination. 

My favorite toddler toys of all time were The Little People play sets. I loved they were all plastic and could be thrown in the dishwasher to be sanitized. As the kiddo's have grown I have slowly had to pass our little playsets along. But I kept the Nativity. I know one day it will to be passed along although I have thought about keeping it for my grandkids! I love that this is her favorite toy of the season.  

This December is going to be great! 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Maddies Allergies

Since Maddie was little it seems this girl has always struggled to breathe. She is always stuffed up, breathes out of her mouth and snores. When she was a toddler she was put on every allergy medicine out there whether it was a RX or an over the counter. It all worked for a short time but then seemed to come back. Nothing worked long term. I finally took her to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. We were told her adenoids were huge and needed to be removed. This would cause her allergy like symtoms. And so we did. She was 6 years old. 

That 1st year after surgery she didn't snore, could breathe with her nose and we thought it had worked. But it didn't.... all her symptoms came back. So I took her back to the same specialist. To our surprise her adenoids had grown back and her tonsils had also grown since we had last been seen. Her tonsils were bigger than most grown men. So we had our 2nd surgery. Her tonsils were removed along with her adenoids again! She was 9 years old.  

Oh how this little girl has grown! She is now 14 and it's like we're back to square one and has been for a few years now. The adenoids and tonsil removal may have helped but she can still get pretty nasally and stuffed up. For the past 4 years I have been taken her to see Dr. Pinkston who can treat allergies. He tests her one at a time and then treats her. She has been treated for dairy, egg and milk allergies. She has been treated for wheat and lentil allergy. Tomato and other acidic allergies. She has been treated for radiation that comes from TV's, ipods and flourescent lighting. During regular outdoor allergies he can treat her for 2-3 trees at the same time. He picks what is in bloom and seems to be bothering most of his patients and treats her. Again it all seems to help but then her symptoms come back. It is so frustrating! Our insurance doesn't cover Dr. Pinkston's visits and it all adds up pretty quickly! 

A few weeks ago my sister, Hanna went to a different allergist who tested her for 80 different allergens all at once. I decided to take Maddie to see Dr. Penna after hearing about her experience. Thankfully our insurance covered her appointments. 

This sweet girl was pricked with 10 small needles all attached to a board. There were 8 different boards carrying different serums in like familes. Maddie got pricked 80 times in about 60 seconds. 

Within seconds the pricked area's (right shoulder to wrist and all of left arm) turned an angry red, started to swell and itch. She had to sit for 15 min while we waited for the serums to do their thing. It took all she had NOT to scratch and spread that syrum.


My phone camera isn't the best but I was trying to capture the welts and hives she had in the above picture. 

After about 10 min some of the pricks almost disapeared. Mostly the ones on her right shoulder. 
The nurse finally came back in and washed the serums off her arms and rubbed a special lotion that would help the itch to go away. Her comment when she first walked in was, "Well you're definetely allergic to a lot of things". Great! 

The doctor soon came in and gave us the verdict. One set of 10 were foods. The most common food allergies. Mostly the foods she was already treated for by Dr. Pinkston. She still had some reaction but after 15 min the red, itchyness had gone away and you could barely see the prick marks. These spots didn't bother Maddie at all by then. So..... she's pretty good there he said. The other 70 pricks were outdoor allergies with about 5 of those for animals, dog, cat, horse etc. She is more allergic to cats than dogs.  The crazy part is that she reacted to all 65 outdoor allergens. He said this is about every single tree and shrub found in Southern Utah. Wow!

So where do we go from here? Maddie has a perscription for Flonase that she is to take once a day. It is not harmful or addictive. She will probably be on this for the rest of her life. She was also given a perscription for Zyrtec. She is suppose to take one pill a day. This too is supposeldy not addictive nor harmful to take this often. I'm not sure how I feel about this. How can a little pill taken every single day not become addictive?

Our other option is to take her in once a week for an allergy shot. These appointments would last 1.5 hours to 2 hours each week. We live in Hurricane, the doctors office is in St. George. She would have to miss part of school once a week for these appointments. That's a lot of missing classes. 

So for now we're doing the Flonase and Zyrtec. When school is about out we'll talk about having her treated once a week during the summer and see how it goes. We can also take our list of every tree and shrub to Dr. Pinkston and have him treat those individually. But again I think we'll wait till summer when schools out. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018


Thanksgiving was spent this year in Alton. We left home that morning about 10am and arrived just before noon. The kids quickly went in search of their cousins. Lunch was at 1 at the town hall. We had so much food!

These teen boys stuck together like glue.
Kyle, Gideon (back of) Orrin Zeke (back of) and Hunter (back of)

Rachel and Emily 

Maddie and Kylie 

Hunter quite often says he doesn't like kids. However, at every single family gathering he can be seen with a much younger cousin following him around or on his shoulders.
 This is Kit (Klynt and Carries) 

Ruth and Maddie 

After lunch all the boys 10+ went up to the cemetary and went shooting. Grandpa had prizes for the best shop from the adult men and the younger boys. Hunter brought home a shotgun case! Way to go Hunter! The younger kids back to Aunt Harmony's where the kids played and watched a movie. 

The teen girls and their moms made a live wreath for Christmas. 
I think ours turned out so good!
I love the fresh smell. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Brayden Preparing for the 2nd Coming

Near the end of October Brayden got off the bus carrying a plastic grocery sack full of boxed goods and canned food. I asked him where it came from. He replied that there was a man passing out bags to kids who were poor at school. My heart sank and I wanted to laugh out loud all at the same time. We are not poor. Our house is torn apart, we are always cold but really we aren't poor that my kids need to bring home a bag of groceries. We can provide for them just fine. So over the next week we had many discussions at home about what it means to be poor and the different ways we can be poor. Not just financially but poor in spirit and emotionally too. We talked about how we can help the "poor" too. 

Fast forward a month and Brayden gets off the bus again carrying a bag of what looked like more boxed/canned food. Oh my goodness! The first thing out of his mouth was "Mom don't freak out and don't get mad. I know we aren't poor." I said OK why don't you explain it to me then....

Brayden- There was this man at school passing out bags again. He asked if I wanted one. I told him we weren't poor. He said it didn't matter if you were poor or where you lived or who you were. That everyone got to take a bag home that wanted one.

Kylie-  Ya mom, I told Brayden we weren't poor. I told him we shouldn't take it. I told him.... our fridge is full where is Mom going to put all this anyways. 

Brayden- Ya but everyone can have one. I'm just trying to help Mom out during the 2nd Coming!

Mom- What?

Brayden- Ya you know during the 2nd coming when farmers can't grow food and we don't get any rain and you can't buy food at stores. You know there are still over 200 people missing in California. And they can't go to stores for food either. 
(California is suffering right now by some major fires. Many towns have been evacuated and people have died. Brayden has been learning about this at school) 

Kylie- Ya, but Mom said we aren't poor. That food is for our poor friends.

Mom- (Speechless! How do I argue with him just trying to help?) We then proceeded to have a 10 min coversation on food storage and why I buy in bulk and how we keep it in the cellar. I laughed and laughed and laughed. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Edible Cells

In 7th grade Maddie had to make an edible cel for science. I never ended up getting a picture. So when she had to do it again this year in 9th grade I made sure I got one. 

She may have taken it in the car, sitting on her lap on our way to school but I got one. This girl wants a 4.0 and she works her little tushy off and getting A's in all her classes. I love they way her edible cel turned out. Supposedly after they display them they get to eat them. Yum!

Thursday, November 08, 2018


For weeks now I have been finding similar drawing of this all over the house. It's always on my white board. I find it on scratch paper pads, on the back of Kory's order forms and the inside of coloring books. I knew it was Brayden's drawings but what the heck is it? I thought maybe it had something to do with Fortnite, the latest game that every little boy seems to eat, sleep and talk about. One morning I caught him in the act and asked what the heck this was? He replied it was his chess game. What? I didn't even know he knew how to play chess. I asked him who he was playing against? He said himself. Hmmm I wonder how well that works? I guess he wins everytime right? 

Strategizing his next move....

 Pretty sure this kids needs a chess set for Christmas.