Saturday, January 31, 2009


A little advice: When someone tells you that another one of their kids might be losing his hearing, NEVER tell them: Well, at least you're used to it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


We made another long trek to Anchorage late Tuesday night.  We picked Doug up at work and arrived in Anchorage around 11:00 pm.  I read Twilight out loud to him the whole drive, so it went pretty quickly (I read it out loud the whole way back too and now my mouth is very tired). 
I like to use Priceline to play "Let's make a Deal" for my hotel rooms.  I was horrified to find out we were staying at the same hotel where we lost Nolan.  I didn't sleep much Monday night as I dreamt he was lost for good this time.  I'll save you the worry as you read the rest: Nolan was never lost.

When we arrived at the hotel, we found our room and made several trips bringing in children and luggage.  Brenden immediately fell back to sleep, Ethan needed a midnight snack (you would have thought he hadn't eaten a thing all day!), but Nolan was wide awake.  I think he might have finally fallen asleep at 12:30 or so.

Brenden had his first appointment at 10:00, so Doug dropped us off and drove through Anchorage with the little boys.  Brenden did well, but was being a little silly.  There weren't many changes to his implant maps (programs) and we were in and out before his appointment time was up.  I called Doug, summoning the next child.

I exchanged Brenden for Ethan and took him to his appointment.  I'll spare you all of the details, but Ethan now needs a hearing aid in his right ear and needed to increase the levels of his left aid.  His OAEs were absent in both ears, which indicates hearing loss with a normal tympanogram.  He wasn't very cooperative, so we have to go back within the next 1-2 months.  It was approaching nap time, so I can't blame the kid - I had just hoped we could get more out of his $260 appointment.

We went to lunch to give everyone a break and then to Target - oh, how I miss Target.  Brenden had a little mishap which needed to be remedied, but other than that, it was a painfully delightful trip to the store.  It seems everything in the toy department was on clearance, so Brenden had a difficult time deciding on what to get Nolan for his birthday with mom allowing him so many choices.  I was lucky Doug stayed in the car - he is a sucker for clearance toys.  In the end, Brenden insisted on a toy not on clearance that we also could have gotten here at Fred Meyer, but it was within budget and an addition to an existing set we own, so I allowed it.  I think the actual insistance was that HE wanted it, but it would pass nicely as a toy for his brother.

Back to the audiologist.  Brenden had a full afternoon of difficult testing with his hearing aid to qualify him for a second cochlear implant.  The audiologist had warned us that during this testing, even some adults just shut down and can't function.  We promised him that if he worked hard and wasn't too silly, he could get his very own dessert at dinner and he wouldn't even have to share.  He was amazing.  The audiologist did several tests with only his implant, only his hearing aid, and both.  An hour later, she told me Brenden passed with flying colors and he didn't qualify.  I stopped her right there and said, "You didn't test him with sentences; that is where he will fail."  She seemed surprised and pulled out the other tests, usually reserved for adults.  Sure enough, Brenden failed with flying colors, so we started making plans.  I wanted to go back to SLC for the surgery, but she said that they might not accept the tests and need to redo them (more money, more time, and more trips), but she could understand why we wanted to do that.  In the end, we decided we would do it in Seattle.  In SLC, they only do the surgery once a month at the children's hospital, so it would be scheduled a long time out.  In Seattle, they do the surgery every day, so they are experts and the wait wouldn't be so long.  They can do the surgery in 30 minutes!  Brenden's last one was an hour and fifteen minutes and that was considered short.  In Seattle, they also do the incision different, so he wouldn't have the scars like he has on his head right now and the best part: they could activate his new implant on our way back to Nikiski flying from Seattle!  The last one, we had to wait 6 weeks to have activated for fear the magnet would be pulled back through the incision.  The second implant will require a lot of work on Brenden's part and will be very time consuming and difficult, but I think it will be more than worth it in the end.  Running total so far: $815

During Brenden's appointment, I could hear Doug and the other boys in the hall.  Nolan was having an appointment during the same time as Brenden's.  I was still sitting in the room with Brenden's audiologist when Nolan's audiologist delivered him to me.  I said, in a joking tone, "Please tell me he's fine."  She said, "Actually, I'm not sure."  His right ear had absent OAEs and she was "alarmed" by that.  She suspects a mild high frequency loss at this point.  I was utterly shocked.  Final total: $1010 (+ hotel, gas, and 2 restaurants)

When I found out Brenden had hearing loss, I grieved.  At first, I was fine with it.  I had suspected it for a long time and it was only confirmed.  But as I was alone in my mom's house for the next week (she was in Cancun and I was dogsitting and business-watching for her), I had time to think.  I wondered if he ever heard the stories I had been reading to him since he was 2 weeks old.  I wondered if he had heard me tell him how much I loved him.  I wondered how he, as a husband, will fall asleep next to his wife someday unable to have the "pillow talk" I take for granted each night.  I was immediately on the internet searching for ways to learn ASL.  I was so frustrated to discover that all of the children's signing videos on the market are intended for hearing children to learn the new trend of signing with your baby.  I didn't want to part of a trend!  I wasn't doing it for that.  I blamed myself - I went through my pregnancy week by week trying to figure out what I had done wrong.

I have never ever said, "Why me?"  That just doesn't seem fair - why not me?  Why would I want that for someone else?  I am just glad not to be the mother of any one of the thousands of sick children at Primary Children's - if nothing else, Brenden's deafness has taught me that.  I am grateful for my healthy, although deaf, children.

We had ABRs, MRIs, OAEs, and other random acronyms being performed and thrown at us.  It all seems like a blur now.  Doug had to miss most of it because he was in his first months of pharmacy school, but I was finally the stay at home mom I had always wanted to be, so I was able to make the trip to SLC several times a month for all of the appointments.

I eventually learned acceptance and we got into a routine.  I still have pains sometimes when I see Brenden misunderstanding and knowing that if he could hear, things would be different.  I have gained wonderful friends through the experience, who know and understand what I have been through.

When Ethan was born, for some reason I just knew.  Maybe it was the fact that he looks so much like Brenden, but since he was tiny, I have been telling his pediatrician that I was sure that, even though he was passing his every 3 month hearing screening, he couldn't hear.  I was right.  I grieved briefly, but Doug reminded me: We did it once and we can do it again.

My point is: I was so unprepared this time.  Nolan has always been the hearing one.  He was tested at birth, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18 months.  I am still hoping for a fluke, but his tympanogram was normal and his OAEs were absent, so I know that audiologically, there is likely something wrong.  

I only cried briefly yesterday.  I just wanted to go back to SLC with our audiologist Cache who knows all about Brenden and his hearing loss and has seen him since before his cochlear implant.  Cache knows all of the tests Brenden is capable of, so that part of the day would have been so much easier, but Cache has also known us since our family only had Brenden in it.  He has seen us grow and has been with us through every new change in our lives.  He was with Brenden during his surgery and delivered the good news that it was over and had gone well.  Cache has always been my constant in my life of ever changing variables.  I know he would have pushed a little harder to get the results that he wanted from all of the boys' testing.  I know he would have known what to do and delivered it in a way that made me feel like everything was going to turn out the best he knew how.

As for Nolan: I will do some follow-up with the audiologist in Soldotna (you know, the one I am not fond of...) soon and I will have a better idea.  Nolan was so tired after his long day of waiting in the car for the other boys after being up so late the night before, but he did as well as a very tired 2 year old can.  We will try to catch him fresh in the morning this time and get a good idea of what we're looking at and where we're going with it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Me: Brenden, do you want to stay in a hotel we have stayed in before or try a new one?
Brenden:  I like the fancy one with the stairs that went like this... (curving)
Me:  Did that one have a pool?
Brenden:  No, get one with a pool.
Me: Okay, I'll look on the internet later.
Brenden:  Go to

In our family we have learned that you can always find what you want on the internet.  Brenden has also learned that you can order things through email.  He will tell me, "Click it, click it!" (the purchase button) "and it will email them and then they will send it to me in the mail!"

Nolan is my new personal trainer.  I was on the elliptical this afternoon and as I was beginning to tire and he started yelling, "Go faster mom!" "That's too slow!" "Use the arms!"  Who can resist but push themselves a little bit harder with that kind of encouragement?

In final news: Mt. Redoubt is looking active.  That's a huge volcano, folks.  We live in Nikiski, just to the northeast and Doug works in Kenai, straight across the inlet.
 Let's see how many different kinds of natural disasters we can have within the first few weeks of the new year.  
The current activity at Redoubt could be precursory to an eruption, perhaps within days. A further increase in seismicity is expected to accompany an eruption. Staff are currently monitoring the volcano 24 hours a day.
(You can click on the link to the Alaska volcano observatory to stay up to date.)  So, does anyone want to come keep me company?  It could be a nice, warm time had by all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


This morning I was laying on my bed, refusing to get out of it (it is my one and only day I can even consider doing that), and it started shaking.  I looked around to see which of my children managed to silently climb on the bed and jump, but there was no one in sight.  I didn't think any thing else of it until Doug called.
"Did you feel the earthquake?"
"We had an earthquake."
"Are we supposed to have those?"
"Uh, we ARE on the Ring of Fire."
"Oh, can we move?"
Then Doug's boss called to see if we felt it at our house - I think she lives about a mile away.  She said she was in her bedroom and the bed started shaking and she could see the clothes in the closet swaying back and forth.  She said the first time she was in an earthquake here she was in the waiting room in the pharmacy and things were falling off the shelves.  Doug said this time, his stool started shaking and he wondered what was wrong with his stool until he looked up and all the signs in the store were swaying back and forth.  

This is a map of the recent earthquake activity - today's was a 5.73.  I had no idea they were happening all of the time, but they were just too small to notice.  Evidently, there have already been 17 just today and it's only 9:00 a.m.!  There have been 145 since 3:22 on Wednesday.
This morning I asked Nolan what we should do today and he enthusiastically announced, "Go potty!" and ran to the bathroom.  Okay, that too...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where's dad?

As much as I hate to admit it, my house isn't always clean.  Doug and I clean in very different ways.  When I clean, I want things to be in their permanent spot and organized, so cleaning takes an eternity - besides the fact that I frequently change my mind about how to best organize.  Doug on the other hand puts everything into one pile, generally kind of hides it, and the room in clean.  I hate that pile - it takes me months to go through, sort, file, throw away, etc, not to mention losing things and late bills.  I make LOTS of piles.  A pile of things that need to go downstairs, a pile of things that need filed, a pile of clothes that are too small and need to go in a box - you get the point.  Doug starts with the little things like making sure the movies are in their correct cases and I start with the big things like making sure the couch is in the right place.  Doug hates the way I clean and I hate the way he cleans and we have learned to live with that.

So today when Brenden got home, the house was totally clean - no plethora of piles and the countertops were even sanitized.  The first words out of Brenden's mouth: "Where's dad?"  

Now this isn't the first time this has happened.  Once in Pocatello I spent an afternoon cleaning out the boys' closet, washing sheets, making beds, organizing, etc.  When 3 boys share a tiny closet, well, the results aren't pretty.  When 3 boys share a small room, the results are even worse.  Brenden came home from preschool and immediately said, "Wow, dad did a great job on my room!"  I told him it was me and looked at me like I was a LIAR.

I hate when my house is a mess.  It makes me want to pack everything back into boxes and start all over.  I like to blame it on the fact that Doug wasn't home the day we moved in and nothing ever got formally organized in a functional manner.  Directing 4 movers and keeping 3 little boys out from under their feet at the same time didn't work, so the movers put things wherever the heck they wanted.  I still have things I can't find, but I am consoled knowing that my neighbor in Pocatello used my hand mixer for a full year because she never found hers.  Doug likes to say that we haven't properly trained the boys to clean up after themselves (which is largely true, but I really like things in their spot, so I do it myself - it just takes me a while).  The real reason (in my opinion): We have too much stuff.

But, for the meantime, my house (okay, we'll stick with the upstairs) is clean and I feel good about that.  I dread the fact that in a moment I am going to walk down the stairs to the playroom from hell...  (Remember the flood?  Now there is flood disaster + afternoon of Nolan alone while I talked with Ethan's developmental specialists.)

That was supposed to be the end of this post - ending on a dramatic note, but speaking of the development specialists:
They were fun and Ethan loved them.  I look forward to working with them.  Ethan is the first child with hearing loss they have ever seen in their 9 years working with the early intervention program (birth-age 3).  They told me about some great resources here that I have been searching for since before we moved.  I feel like something was accomplished today beyond cleanliness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Totally me

Is this not TOTALLY ME?

My friend Sandi from Pocatello blogged about this giveaway and I want this thing!  It's ORANGE!  I feel a little downhearted at my chances, but this thing is AWESOME!


I have two kids with ear infections, which mean two kids on antibiotics.  I looked at the bottles and thought "big bottle, big kid's medicine; little bottle, little kid's medicine."  And so, I gave Nolan Ethan's medicine.  The problem: Nolan is allergic to amoxicillin.  Now I am sitting here with the Benadryl and a syringe waiting and watching.  Trudy, please come take care of my kids before I manage to kill them.

Made of money

I am so sad I forgot to take a picture of Brenden on "Crazy Hair Day" today.  His hair is so short, there is really no crazy to it, but we spiked everything, so he kind of just looks like a big poof ball.

I wish you could all see the sunrise.  I tried to take a picture, but it just doesn't do it justice - the colors are all wrong.  The sky is coral colored and beautiful.

As for yesterday, it turned out not to be quite as good as it started, but mostly because it turned out to be a very expensive day.  We took Ethan and Nolan for the "well child" check-ups, but since it was discovered that they both have ear infections, we were billed for a "sick child" check, which costs twice as much.  $364 and $20 in prescriptions.  As we were sitting there waiting to see the doctor, I caught a glance at Nolan's ear and saw enough ear wax that it was actually coming out of the canal.  No wonder the kid can't hear!  What kind of mother am I?  I took a whole class on the ear and causes of hearing loss and cerumen was most definitely covered!  I stole a cotton swab and got out as much as I could without compacting the problem, but told the doctor he would probably have to get the rest.  Other doctors we have seen in the past have used a hoop and fished the wax out, but this one filled a syringe with water and squirted it straight down the ear canal.  He told me to do it everyday while Nolan is in the bath - but the water can't be too hot or it will hurt and it can't be too cold or he'll pass out.  Huh?  Pass out?  Thanks for scaring me to death, doc.

We took my car in because it had an awful grinding noise ($562) and Doug's needed a service ($108).  Doug needed something from his doctor's office ($300) and I went grocery shopping (not cheap).  We went to Lowe's and Home Depot and decided we couldn't purchase much else.  Brenden wanted to go to a restaurant - he was very sad when I told him we had spent too much money already.  As I leave the high school every morning, there are all of these kids with iTouch and  iPhones and iWonder how their parents can afford these things for their teenage kids.  

We might someday actually have Nolan potty trained.  He has been peeing in the toilet since before his second birthday, but he has never really cared if he had a wet or dirty diaper.  This morning he cried because he peed in his pull-up!  He barely missed making it to the toilet.  TMI?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

Last night:
7:00 - kids in bed
7:30 - Brenden out of bed
8:00 - Brenden playing in bed
8:15 - We head to bed, Ethan in our bed, Brenden still playing in his bed
8:30 - Brenden complaining he can't sleep, takes a shower
8:45 - Ethan back to bed
9:00 - Brenden back in bed, but claims he still can't sleep
9:15 - Brenden complaining he is hungry and needs a snack
9:30 - Brenden leaves on all lights in the house, so I get up to turn them all back off and go back to bed
9:45 - I realize Doug put my clothes that aren't to be dried in the dryer, jump out of bed
9:58 - Refusing to leave my bed again.

Here I thought I was in bed early enough to get up easily at 5:30.  6:05, Doug informed me my alarm went off a long time ago and I am supposed to leave in 5 minutes.  Generally, I don't go to bed before midnight, so 9:58 was still good enough to make me happy.

The good news is that Doug got Brenden up early and easily this morning and he was not grumpy and listened and got ready for school without complaint or having to be told 746,000 times.  We were early to the bus stop and there was no yelling or screaming this morning about how we were going to be late!

The day is out to a great start.  It is pajama day/stuffed animal day at Brenden's school today, so he is wearing his Superman Pajamas and carrying around a Curious George stuffed animal.  Nolan is sleeping in and Ethan is actually happy this morning!  Doug is home for the day, so we it will (hopefully) be productive.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Me:  You don't have to go back to school until Tuesday!
Brenden: Why don't I have school on Monday?
Me: It's a holiday.
Brenden: What holiday?
Me: Uh... President's Day?
Brenden:  No, that's in February.  It's the one about the man who tells us about our dreams...

I stand corrected.  I know President's Day is in February (it comes after my birthday, which is the day before Lincoln's birthday - the president, not my nephew), but it was the first thing that came out of my mouth - oh well, my five year old is smarter than I am.  

Friday's adventure:
Most days I get home and get started with all of the things that need to be done all day and then look up at the clock and it is already time to get Brenden from the bus stop.  Friday was just the opposite.  I felt like I had been working so hard and so long and looked up and it was only 10:30.  By evening, I was dead tired and all I wanted to do was go to bed early or sit in front of a movie and not move another muscle.  The kids were all in their pajamas by 5:30 and I was cleaning up from dinner so we could have our traditional Friday night movie.  I could hear the kids down playing on the treadmill and went down to supervise.  I stepped on the carpet and suddenly a puddle appeared around my foot.  I started inquiring who had spilled something and no one fessed up.  As I look a few more steps I realized there was quite the flood going on.  I freaked out and tried to sop anything I could up with towels, but the towels were soaked before I even had a chance to step on them.  The kids were continuing their, "Mom, can you...  Mom I need you to..." to which my response was, "I am already doing something!"  Ethan was getting into anything and everything, so he was finally closed in Brenden's room for nearly an hour while I tried to figure out what in the world I was going to do.  I used the wet vac for what seemed like an eternity, but it was slow going for the amount of water down there.  In the end, I pulled up the carpet and when Doug (finally) got home, he pulled up the pad.  Where I had pulled the carpet back, I put bowls to collect the water flowing from the overturned carpet.  We figure the water must be from all the rain in addition to the rapidly melting snow.  As soon as it was Doug's turn the deal with the mess, I tried to be supportive, but sat down on the couch and instantly fell asleep.  The thing that upset me more than the carpet was that I had no one to call - we are thousands of miles from family and friends and have never even seen a home teacher. 

This is what the boys have been up to:
GeoTrax - which Brenden worked very hard on...
and then Godzilla (aka Ethan) promptly did a face plant on.
Jan. 1:
and then again the next night... (Jan. 2)
Yes, he's still holding the book.
And a view of our scenery...
We have had enough rain that you can actually see dirt in places.  It seems insane to me since last week was so darn cold.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yucky Weather

While the rest of the country is having its cold spell, we have had especially warm weather averaging around 36 with rain almost daily.  Yes, you read that right - RAIN.  Right now it is pouring down out there.  Well, it rains all day and then freezes all night so the roads are either ice skating rinks or sand pits depending on where you are.  The high school parking lot looks like a sand box with tire tracks in it.

My kids are just too darn cute.  They have been playing so well together lately.  Don't get me wrong, we still have some pushing and stealing of toys, but they start to imagine together and the play just takes off.

Wednesday I took Ethan and Nolan for shots.  Ethan had 6 and Nolan had 2.  I don't know what went wrong, but Nolan couldn't walk for the rest of the day and I am pretty sure he wasn't faking it.  He would just be sitting in a chair and start screaming that his leg hurt.

On the 28th we head to Anchorage for audiology appointments.  Brenden starts at 10:00 a.m and goes until 11:30.  Ethan goes from 11:30-12:30.  Then we go back and Brenden has another appointment from 3:30-5:30, during which Nolan will have an appointment at 3:30.  It will be a long day, but I am glad to get it all done in one day.  We are just watching Nolan to make sure everything still looks okay.  He has been asking me to say everything "louder" recently.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Things are looking up...

We have positive temperatures, folks.  4 degrees on the way to church today!

I planned a girls' night out in hopes of finding friends for Tuesday night.  I hope I am not left at a restaurant eating alone.

Gave up on the bed - he likes the crib too much and there is no reason to push the whole transition.  At least we got Nolan accustomed to sleeping on the top bunk.  I guess some good came of it.  It was not so much that they got into trouble in the beds as the fact that Ethan just screamed bloody murder for hours on end.  He is perfectly content in the crib.

Today was Ethan's first Sunday in nursery.  It was quiet in Sunday School.

I planned my lessons for the entire week of seminary today.  Maybe now I will have a few moments of freedom this week - or at least time to do some laundry and clean the bathroom.

I have been asked to present some of my family projects at a deaf/blind conference in Utah.  I am still wondering if they know just how far away I live...

It's a new week and I am hoping it's a good one!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Turkey Bacon

After grocery shopping in Utah, I have returned to the "sticker shock" mode from when we first moved here.  I walked my way through Safeway repeating, "No honey, it's too much money" more times than I can count.  For the most part, I avoid grocery shopping.  It involves a 25 minute drive with 3 boys and then listening to a screaming Ethan through the entire store because HE WANTS HIS DADDY AND HE KNOWS HIS DADDY IS THERE!  Since Doug is already there most days, I like to call him with a short list daily of little things we need, solving many of my shopping issues.  Now, the problem with that is that Doug has no comprehension of "sticker shock."  Last night he purchased apples for $4.99/lb.  I don't dare eat them - I feel like I need to save them for a special occasion.  

Last night Doug also bought turkey bacon (smoke cured chopped and "formed"), which is especially surprising for him.  He also bought some classic thick sliced naturally smoked with a pepper crust bacon.  We were looking over how much fat and calories we would be saving ourselves by choosing the "healthier" option and this is what we found in a serving of 2 pan fried slices:
Turkey Bacon                 Regular Bacon
70 calories                       80 calories
6g. fat                             5g. fat
30 mg. cholesterol             20 mg. cholesterol
360 mg. sodium                260 mg. sodium
4g. protein                      7g. protein
So tell me folks, what am I saving myself by choosing the "healthier" option?  The wrapping says right on it: 50% less fat than pork bacon - and we are comparing this to thick sliced bacon, not that regular paper thin stuff..  Not seein' it.  So, thinking it might be a fluke, we decided to compare it to another package of a different brand of bacon with the same results.  So, really, eating turkey bacon is all sacrifice and no gain.

*This is my 100th post.  I feel ashamed that I have wasted the grand occasion on a review of turkey bacon, but that's what I have to say for today.

Oh, I guess I have something additional to say - I hate transitioning children to a regular bed as much as I hate potty training.  Yesterday Doug, being home from work, was helping out around the house.  He removed the sheet from Ethan's crib to be washed.  A little while later, Ethan brought Doug a new sheet (which we were both a bit surprised about) and they re-made the crib.  At nap time, Ethan screamed himself into a frenzy and ended up puking all over his new sheet.  At that point, I was out of crib sheets.  Well, I know I have another one, but I still don't know where it is.  I thought, "Well, Brenden was in a regular bed by 19 months, Nolan was 18 months, and Ethan is almost 18 months, so let's see how it goes..."  3 hours later, Ethan was still wandering around the room screaming.  I think he finally passed out on the floor for maybe 20 minutes.  When we let the animal out of its cage, it was wearing no pants and no diaper.

I hate Wednesdays.  Doug has to go to church at 7:00 every Wednesday (6:00 if he has a meeting and no work), which means that he is either gone longer on work days or he still has to go into town on his days off and leave me to still put kids to bed by myself.  (Side note: Safeway pharmacy is debating either being open until 8:00 or opening for 5 hours on Sunday.  I don't like either option - that's not what we signed up for, but I still always put my kids to bed by myself on work nights.)  

So, knowing he was leaving, Doug was kind enough to get Nolan and Ethan in their pajamas.  At 6:30, I read them books, kissed them goodnight and put them into regular beds - for about 1 whole minute.  I again kissed them goodnight and tucked them in.  I went down to make sure Brenden was getting ready for bed and I could hear Ethan screaming.  During the hour I was in Brenden's room, the screaming escalated and started to sound panicked.  I started to worry.  Finally, when the the panicking was muffled, but still very apparent, I investigated.  When I opened the door, I found Nolan laying on a huge pile of "stuff" in his room, but no sign of Ethan.  The pile contained all of the decorative pillows, the bed pillows, every blanket and stuffed animal he could find, and on the very bottom was poor Ethan struggling to breathe.  Unhappy mama.  Blah blah blah fast forward several hours and we have: (1) a disassembled basket that previously held toys (no really, the basket, I did not mean that they removed the toys from it - they disassembled a woven basket), (2) a room that looks like a tornado swept through it and (3) two wide awake boys.  After tossing them back into bed innumerable times, Ethan finally fell asleep around 10:00, right as Doug got home.  I think Nolan was up until nearly 11:00.

It was hard with Brenden during nap time.  We usually found him fast asleep in a large pile of toys, which later transitioned to a large pile of books - he has loved them since he was 2 weeks old.  At night, he was too scared of the dark to get out of bed, but he was still always draped across a pile of books.  Now the kids don't have toys or books in their room except that one basket (I guess they took care of that) which had cars and a few animals.  Nolan was hard to transition (but it had to be done since another kid needed the crib) and still is, but we survived.  Brenden usually stayed in bed, so Nolan didn't have a partner in crime.  Nolan and Ethan on the other hand...  As soon as I put Ethan in the bed last night I told Doug it was going to be a long few weeks.  

Now that is assuming I stick it out.  He is still really little and no one else needs the crib, so he might be headed back to his native land.

And now you've forgotten that my 100th post was sadly about turkey bacon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cold, colder, coldest

Today I had to go to Brenden's school briefly.  It was -30.  Today the high was -11.

Yesterday it came down to 45 minutes before time to go get Brenden from the bus stop.  When Doug left for work, I hadn't realized he was leaving in the only working vehicle.  I decided I better get started with figuring out how I was getting to the bus stop.  I tried to start my car to no avail.  I tried to jump start my car, but I was freezing so I had to go inside and put on some more layers.  I returned to trying to jump start my car (with a battery charger) and gave up.  Then I was freezing again and ran back inside for more layers.  I moved on to the snowmobile.  Not only is the engine frozen, but it is frozen to the ground.  The others are up on a trailer.  I worked on that for a little while before giving up - been there, done that and 3 hours later you have nothing to show for it.  Finally it was really and truly down to the wire and I ran inside, put on my snowpants, gloves, and ear warmers and ran to the bus stop (after tossing Ethan safely into the crib and making sure Nolan was in a safe spot - I wasn't about to take them on a walk in that weather, but what else was I to do?).  Do you know how hard it is to run in -25 degree weather?  Let's just say it's uncomfortable.  First of all, there are the oversize men's knee high snow boots.  Your snot freezes the second you step foot outside.  Then your eyelashes start to form frost on them.  Your eyes, nose and cheeks burn.  Your lungs burn.  I got to the bus stop right as the bus was pulling up (at least I didn't have to stand around in the cold weather).  Then we began the trek home.  

Brenden, at times, walks very  s l o w l y.  It was painfully long, especially knowing that I had 2 kids awake at home.  It is just up the street around the corner... and up another street and around another corner... and then up another street, but really it is not all that far.  I guarantee there are bus stops further, but when Brenden walks that slow, it makes me want to scream.

Also along the way home, Brenden stepped out into the street (okay, let's not kid ourselves here, we are in Alaska and walk in the dirt street, but usually along the side of the road - beyond that it is forest and who knows what lives in there).  But, he stepped out into the road without looking and there was a car coming up right behind him.  I quickly in what might be interpreted as "loudly" to a deaf person signed "Look!" and he threw himself into a pile of snow plowed along the edge of the road.  While being lectured on how to properly walk out into the road Brenden announced, "But this is ALASKA!"  He did not enjoy my sarcastic tone when I replied, "Are there cars in Alaska?  Yes!  Do they drive on the road in Alaska?  YES!  Look where you're going!"

All was well at home when we returned.  I am glad NOT to have a story to share about that.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas recap

The view across the lake is beautiful this morning.  I am sorry no one is here to experience it with me. described today as "bitter cold" with a high of -5.  It is currently -25.

Our Christmas tree is drying up and the decorations are falling off, so it is time to put it all away.  The tree will soon become firewood (although Brenden wants to keep it for next year).

My mom and dad worked very hard on their house preparing for everyone to visit.  The thing we appreciated most was the transformation of the room previously affectionately referred to as "the bad room."  It became our welcoming Alaskan room, making us feel at home in every way.
Even Ethan had his very own room.
Dec. 19
Brenden and Nolan became Frankenstein for a few days.  Nolan's Frankenstein looks more like a kangaroo, but it is so cute.  I love the way he says "brankentine."
Frankenstein CANNOT smile...
and walks without bending his arms or legs.
This is one of my very favorite things my dad did when we were little.  My dad can make amazing creations with pancake batter.
Going out to play.
Playing in the snow.
Brenden has always loved the Lego train and animals.
Dec. 21
Ethan was so excited his cousin's were coming!
Brenden really enjoyed the comics.
Rusty enjoys making it difficult for anyone to read the paper.
Kazoos (aka. spools of thread)
Making gingerbread houses
Paulette and Dylan were very precise.
I had a few too many helpers, but we had fun!
Our house
Paulette and Dylan's house
That night the boys had a movie and slumber party.
Dec. 22
We were surprised how the boys automatically categorized themselves by age.

Dec. 24 
Family chaos, I mean dinner
Brenden liked his new Superman pajamas.
The caped crusaders (who then spent the next hour "flying" and jumping off of things while beating up on other children).
Jared became the center of attention.
Can you tell who won?
Dylan after wrestling
Santa came and went very quietly.
Dec. 25
Somehow Santa knew Brenden wants to be a rockstar when he grows up.  He says he has to be something "cool" and he would even settle for a monster truck driver.  He used to want to be an astronaut, but evidently that isn't cool enough anymore.
Brenden walked right past Doug, so I turned him around and he gave Doug a hug like he had been there the entire last week.  Nolan looked past Doug, but once he saw Doug he was very excited.  Ethan is a daddy's boy and wouldn't leave Doug's lap.  This morning Ethan guarded the door so Doug couldn't leave for work.  He is smitten.
Batman and Superman like toys too.
Santa even replied to the boys' notes - and he ate ALL the cookies!
Nolan had to take a break and eat a snack at Halle's new kitchen's bar.
Overwhelming, isn't it?
The boys enjoyed Halle's kitchen too.
This is Halle in intense play mode.  She continually warmed her new baby doll's bottle in the microwave.
Nolan is truly convinced he IS batman and most days won't answer to anything else.
But he sure makes a cute batman, doesn't he?
Even Kolton enjoyed Christmas morning.
Paulette made these cute matching pajamas for her boys - I am SO impressed!
Batman and Hayden shared their Christmas candy.
In the afternoon, we went to Doug's sister Sabrina's house for the Boehme festivities.  Yes, the crusaders are still caped.
El Guapo (aka. Uncle Greg) and Batman
The Pearson Family
(Lincoln, Alex, Olivia, and Felicia)

Dec. 26- Dustin and Paulette gave us our Christmas present and took us and Emily and Jared out to dinner.  Since Emily chose not to share this story on her blog, I insist on sharing it here: We were debating where to go for dinner.  Dustin and Paulette seemed to be geared up for mexican and it sounded great to me too.  Emily immediately vetoed mexican food, so we eventually ended up at Applebee's where Emily announces she is ordering fajitas.  Does anyone else see a problem with that?  We sat around the table talking until Dustin, the party pooper, decided we better go rescue grandma and grandpa from the 7 grandchildren.  We played the Kline's new Wii until all hours of the morning.  For people I never thought I'd like, I sure have fun with my siblings (and their spouses).

Dec. 27
Hayden and Nolan found plenty of trouble.
Doug and I went out in search of luggage and were called back for family pictures.
My kids are the only ones who wouldn't cooperate for the picture.
Mauled by the grandchildren...
Hurtado Family
(Jared, Halle, and Emily)
Kline Family
(Hayden, Dustin, Paulette, Kolton, and Dylan)
Boehme Family
(Doug, Ethan, Brenden, Erin and Nolan)

Dec. 28- We met up with our best friends from pharmacy school in Salt Lake.  We have sure missed them!  Then we went to Sabrina's house again for her birthday celebration.

Dec. 29
Nothin' better than laying around eating candy.
(Hayden and Nolan)
While the Klines went to SLC to meet my cousin Damon's new baby, Doug and I took our boys to "Old McDonald's" as Brenden calls it - a rare treat for our kids.  There I met up with my friends from my masters program.  They sometimes feel like invisible friends who know more about me than most anyone else.  I spent a whole year and half online chatting with them.

Dec. 30
Dylan and Brenden
The boys loved Mariokart and got pretty good at it too.
The Kline's Wii was well broken in by the time they left!
And then we returned home to a cold house and a car that won't start.

Last Sunday Brenden and I went to church (Doug stayed home with the other 2 who were sick) and were surprised to find we were only having sacrament meeting.  It was so cold that they canceled the rest of the meetings!  (Cars freeze when left for too long - mine has only started once since we got home.)

Today was back to our real life again.  I was up at 5:30 and the mad rush began.  Ethan is a very needy sick child and unhappy with everything.  Nolan has been relaxing in front of Duck Tales for most of the morning (I SO want to swim through money someday).  

I guess the Christmas decorations aren't going to box themselves - I keep waiting and hoping.  It is such a beautiful day, all I want to do is sit and stare out my window and be a blob, but alas, that is not the life of a mother.