Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maggie's 16!

Say it isn't so! Miss Maggie Mae turned 16 today. We celebrated tonight as a family with chicken tetrazini for dinner and the family favorite drizzle cake for dessert. Tomorrow night is her big party at My Noah's, so I'm sure there will be MUCH more to post then. For now, here are a couple of blurry pictures for you to enjoy. I thought they were great at the time, but upon review, was disappointed. (And no, she doesn't have her license. That will come in time, I'm sure.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Griffin's Swimming Lessons

While I was in Pennsylvania, Griffin started swim lessons with one of our neighbors. He has had several weeks of private lessons in the past and really didn't make much progress. I thought I'd try with her and see how he did. She invited me to come yesterday to see what he has accomplished. (She'd also called me several times while I was gone to share his successes.) What we found was two-fold. First, he does better when I'm NOT there. Second, after being away from lessons for a little less than a week (his teacher went on vacation), he talked himself into believing that he couldn't do what he had already passed off.

But the good news is that he can still float! For a kid who has very little body fat, that's quite an accomplishment. I was impressed with the way he does it and Michelle told me that he came up with that position himself.

He can also hold his breath with his face in the water for 9 seconds. It does take a bit of recovery time when he comes up for air as he tries to wipe all the water off his face, but it's progress nonetheless.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Hogle Zoo with the Michaelis Family

Just a week after Kirsty returned to Vegas from Pennsylvania, our families met up at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake. Although the morning started off overcast and breezy (especially since it's located at the mouth of Emigration Canyon), it was truly the perfect time to go. Since we got there a little before opening and it was cool, the animals were very frisky and playful, particularly the monkeys!

Ellie is the perfect companion for anyone with little ones. She was happy to be of assistance and carry Everett or hold Gage's hand. She was also thrilled to be able to see the baby Snow Leopard, her favorite animal. Griffin loved the reptile house (ew!). Mags just enjoys everything!

We stayed for a few hours and then made our way back home. Once again it was great to visit with Kirsty and her family.

My Trip to PA (July 9 through 21st)

You may have noticed a significant gap in updates. That would be due to my trip home, by myself. The reason for this trip was to help my mom restore protect my grandfather's WW1 letters and to work on their personal and mission scrapbooks. We did them very simply and, as far as scrapbook budgets go, inexpensively. As we completed them, we were also able to go through her slides and get them into sleeves and binders so she could look through them and eventually scan them all. I think we both felt a sense of accomplishment, and even a little tired (well, mom would say she was a lot tired as she needed to nap each afternoon).

As with any project, there was a lot of garbage. As we transferred the photos from the old sticky-back pages and adhered them to the new, there was obviously a lot of trash. We also went through stacks of old manuals, years of lesson plans from former callings, outdated genealogy sheets, etc. Dad started funneling the papers into the recycling and we bagged the rest for the garbage.

One of our many baskets of trash

I also had the opportunity to visit Friendly's five of the ten days I was there. For those unfamiliar with this ice cream chain, it has multiple ice cream sundaes based on Hershey's candies. My all-time favorite is the Resee's Peanut Butter Cup sundae. This is in no way related to the cup that actually comes with it, but the peanut butter sauce that is used in it. It makes me happy!

While I was there, I got word that my niece, Kirsty, was surprising her mom with a visit for a week. She flew in on Saturday afternoon and came over to celebrate my niece-in-law's birthday with us. It was a great dinner and delicious carrot cake (courtesy of Wegmans grocery store--a place I could get lost in for days).

Gage Michaelis and Joshua Clawson

Gage, Joshua and Everett enjoying the backyard.

Discovering the birdbath



I also had the chance to spend a day in Philly with two of my friends from high school. It was a great visit and a really hot, humid July day. (The weather had been amazing--unseasonably cool--the whole time except for this one day. There were also some amazing thunderstorms that I got to enjoy.)

Rod Landis and Greg Hoffman
I did have the chance to spend lots of time visiting with family and enjoying all the comforts of home (Yum Yum donuts, Friendly's, Nat's Pizza, Devil Dogs, cheesesteaks). I could still Skype with my little ones (and beloved husband!) each night and keep up with Griffin's reading. Kirsty and I got to see several movies and just hang out. I was even able to substitute on the piano in Relief Society and sing as part of the choir, but even better, see old friends that I consider part of my extended family.
Eleanor Carney

While I was gone, both Maggie and Ellie got their hair done by Roo McAllister. Here are their makeovers.

I loved my trip. I loved it so much that I've already booked a return trip--this time with the rest of the family--for October. I want my family to know and love them as much as I do!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Promise, There are NO Shots Involved!

On Saturday, Griffin was stopping his scooter so he wouldn't hit his Grandpa Asplund. In the process, he almost fell off the sidewalk, so John used his foot to stop him. Griffin put his foot down and bent his toe in such a way that, well, he broke it. I didn't know anything about this, but when I was helping him get ready for church on Sunday, he kept talking about how much his new Sunday shoes hurt his toe. Being such a good mom, I told him that new shoes were always a little stiff and that he was fine. We walked to church.

The next day, I had to take Mags to the doctor since she had had a horrible cough since girls camp and hadn't gotten any better. I took Griffin along so he could get a weight check and also so the doctor could "check out his toe." As he and I were talking in the waiting room, he made it VERY clear that if it involved needles, he didn't want it to be looked at.

After Maggie was seen and diagnosed with bronchitis, it was Griffin's turn. He got up on the table and she looked at his toe. Yep, it was broken. She taped it to the next toe and then we wrapped it with an ace bandage to give it a little protection. I reflected on his Sunday shoes and felt terrible. It really must have been painful. At our house, Sunday morning typically comes with lots of excuses: cough, cough; wheeze, wheeze; spleen, spleen. It's the usual joke of the day. Another boy who cried wolf situation. In my defense, though, I didn't know about any of the events on Saturday.

He was happy to have a reason to keep his feet up for the rest of the day and had his mom wrapped around his finger the whole time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

If you ask Griffin a crazy question...

...this is the answer you will get. (Thanks to the Griesemers who gave the Toobers and Zots to Ian many years ago. You'll see they are still being used!)

Happy 4th of July!

After the events of the previous day, we were happy to start the day off by sleeping in. John was the first to wake up at 9:30. I woke up shortly thereafter. We had the house to straighten up and then it was a lazy day from then on. That evening we invited John's parents and his sister and family up to see our measly fireworks. (We're no Stadium of Fire down in Provo, but it was a lot cheaper!)

We enjoyed a meal of hot dogs, chili, salad, chips and cottage cheese with a strawberry daquiri (non-alcoholic, of course) slush. That was followed by a homemade Nutella ice cream and flag cake.
Griffin thought it looked better with a mock flagpole.
At about 9:30, we went outside to start our fireworks show. Of course, Griffin just loved every second of it. The 'works and company were great and after sweeping up the mess, we settled in for the evening, doing our best to help Wilbur settle from the explosions going on around the valley. It was no ATF-approved show like I'm sure Chris shot off, but it worked for us!

The crazy eye!

Dueling tanks

I guess our show brought out the cats (Gus)...

...and at least one dog who could sleep through anything.

Special thanks to my mom who sent us a list of our ancestors who served in the military. Griffin asked that very morning if we had anyone who was a captain. The information was very helpful!

From Early Morning til Late at Night

At 4 o'clock Friday morning, John started throwing up violently. At 5, we were off to the hospital. I was sure it was appendicitis, although I knew he didn't have a fever, but he was in such pain! Upon our arrival and his initial review, the doctor told the nurse he would bet his stethescope that it was kidney stones. Now this is our first encounter with a little calcified enemy. It wasn't pleasant. By 5:30, the pain meds kicked in, he was off to a CAT scan and found that it had made it into the bladder. They let us know that the worst was over and that he would probably pass it that day. By 7:30, we were home.

We had gotten tickets to tour the Oquirrh Mountain Temple in South Jordan. Since John wasn't going and Ian was staying home in case John needed to go back to the ER, I grabbed a friend and the rest of the kids and off we went. It was lovely (although have you ever heard someone say, "Wow, that temple was such a disappointment). I guess everyone else in the valley decided to go on the same day. We waited in line about an hour before going in, but when we came out, it looked like people would be waiting a couple of hours. So another silver lining: it was cooler while we were in line and we were covered most of the time. And the kids got a kick out of posing in the Free Speech area.

Finally, that night we had tickets for our local baseball team, the Orem Owlz. They were planning a fireworks show at the end since they would be on the road for the 4th. We got there early so Griffin and Ellie could enjoy the playground before the game. It was a perfect evening, although the game was more than disappointing (we lost 11-2). We did have a scout for the Phillies sitting in front of us as well as a bunch of our neighbors at the ballpark! The highlight? John passed his stone around the bottom of the 8th inning! The fireworks were quite good and we were home by 10:15. A great evening, in a small American town.