Saturday, May 30, 2009

For the Love of "Ghlacklors"

At the end of April, the PTO sponsored their 2nd annual "Hands On" Day. It is such an awesome event where local individuals and businesses bring their vehicles and equipment to the school's soccer field for kids to touch and climb all over. There was also some really cool demonstrations done by the city crews and local police and EMT's. My boys loved climbing up on all the big construction equipment and touching everything, and honking several of the big air horns. Kanyon especially loved all the "ghlacklors" (tractors).
Kanyon (Kanyon is in the cab and he's going to scoop up his big brothers.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Easter 2009

My goal is to be caught up on my blog so that I can post about events within a week of them happening. I've been playing catch-up this whole month of May, and have done posts about February, March, and April. Easter was the second weekend of April, so I'm getting closer!
Every year for Easter, we go to to my parents' home in Tremonton. My mom has an awesome tradition of Easter egg hunts for children AND adults! It is so much fun! While Josh and I were gone for 2 nights, she spent time with the boys coloring Easter eggs, and decorating egg-shaped cakes. They were so proud of their work and couldn't wait to show us when we came back on Saturday!Usually the big Easter egg hunts are on Sunday, but this year we did them on Saturday evening because of everyone's schedules. My mom uses around 200 plastic eggs for the adult hunt. She numbers them and my dad hides them all in the yard, along with 4 elusive gold and silver eggs. Everyone gets to pick up a certain number of eggs, like 12 or 15, depending on the number of participants. The gold and silver eggs are worth more money ($10 and $5), and the numbered eggs have a pre-determined money amounts (from .25 to 2.00) that is revealed and tallied after the hunt is over. My mom keeps track every year who the gold and silver winners were, who got the most money received, and who got the least.
(everyone at the starting line before the hunt.) (the gold and silver egg winners this year: Mick, Cody, Trina, Ammon)
(Trina as the cashier!)
For the first time in several years, Josh didn't find a golden egg!!! But this was the first time Mick did, and he was ecstatic! For the children's hunt, they have smaller money amounts, from .05 to .50, and a mystery egg that's worth more money like $2 or $1. For the first time this year, my mom did the children's hunt and the adult's hunt at the same time. Usually the kid hunt is in the front yard, and then we go to the backyard for the adult hunt. On Sunday morning, Easter, the boys found their baskets and goodies in the front room. They also searched for their hard-boiled colored eggs inside the house. Kanyon was happy to get some "Cars" movie toy cars, Micah loved his new bike horn, Jonah was excited to get a new kite, and Ammon was thrilled about another new football.
Then the boys and cousin Aspen (who had gotten to spend the night at Grandma's house too) blew bubbles and wrote on the sidewalk with chalk while Josh and I packed up to go home. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!We all love having Easter at Grandma and Grandpa's house. The food is always delicious (homemade potatoes au gratin and ham, yum yum), the company is delightful (I love it when the family comes together for fun times), and the traditions are so well-planned and absolutely the best!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Eleven Lessons

Josh and I got married on Good Friday right before Easter in 1998. We've been married eleven years now!!! After taking Kanyon to my mom's house after the hospital sleep lab, we went on an overnight anniversary date, which just so happened to be on the Good Friday right before Easter again! We so much appreciated my mom taking the kids for two nights in a row! We went to Logan and did a session at the Logan Temple where we were married 11 years ago! We had dinner at Chili's, and enjoyed eating alone together. Then we stayed the night at the Providence Inn Bed and Breakfast, which is where we spent our honeymoon. The room I wanted (the New Orleans one) was taken, so we stayed in the Bridal Suite. It was so nice! We've stayed at this B&B several times over the years to celebrate anniversaries, but this was by far our most relaxing visit. The room had a nice king bed, a large TV with a DVD player, a big jetted tub, a 2-person shower, a fireplace, a balcony, and was decorated in calming white and lavender. It was like heaven just lounging around basically doing nothing, watching movies, and eating a yummy breakfast. It was peaceful and enjoyable and I loved it!Josh and I have learned a lot over the years being married to each other. Here's Eleven Lessons learned from the past Eleven Years:
[JOSH] 1. Always get the last two words in: "yes, dear".
[KALA] 2. Arguments are better resolved by waiting to calm down before discussing the issue.
[JOSH] 3. You get a lot less sleep when you're married than when you're single.
[KALA] 4. With two people, a King bed is way more comfortable than a Double bed to sleep in.
[JOSH] 5. No matter how much time you spend together in the day, your wife only wants to talk to you about important matters at midnight.
[KALA] 6. No matter how many years you've been married, you still have to remind your husband when to take out the garbage, or that baths are Saturday night, or that the kids have to eat dinner preferably around 6:00.
[JOSH] 7. People aren't perfect and neither is marriage.
[KALA] 8. You can't change your partner, but you can change your attitude toward your partner.
[JOSH] 9. It is the GREATEST and the WORST thing in the world!!!
[KALA] 10. Nobody makes me feel more loved, or more irritated either!!!
[JOSH & KALA] 11. Communication is a necessity, and is the most important part of marriage!

We both agreed on the last subject. We've gone through some pretty rough and challenging times in our marriage, and we've survived because of the communication issue. We've had some really fun times too, and look forward to more of them! We truly love each other more today than the day we got married! Happy Anniversary dear! I don't know what I'd do without you! (and I like to think you'd be lost without me too! ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kanyon's Grand Mystery

When Kanyon was 3 months old, I stopped breastfeeding him because he was bloated and gassy and uncomfortable and spit up a LOT. I switched his diet to soy milk, which helped immensely. It was then that we discovered he was allergic to milk. He still is, and we alternate between giving him Lactaid and Soy.
When he was 9 months old, he got Rotavirus and was very sick for 3 weeks. He had severe diarrhea and vomiting the whole time. He began banging his head in response to his uncomfortable pain. He has never stopped banging his head. I took him for a check-up back then, and his Dr. said that it was a possible sign of autism, but that Kanyon wouldn't get diagnosed until he was a bit older.
When he was a year old, he had multiple ear infections, and was given back-to-back antibiotics. He was then hospitalized for two nights in Idaho Falls with c. dif., his body's reaction to the antibiotics that were causing him severe stomache problems in addition to dehydrating him. It was then that he really stopped sleeping through the night. He has only slept through the entire night in the last year a handful of times; usually he wakes up multiple times each night and almost always bangs his head when he awakes.
As he got older, we started noticing more and more things with him that just didn't seem "right". Because we've raised three other boys, we knew certain things just weren't "normal". He has a developmental therapist that works and plays with him every week. She has mentioned many times the amazing motor skills and focus that he has, but that he has some behavioral problems that she doesn't understand.
He has some major speech delays. We thought it might be due to all his ear infections, so in November he had tubes put in his ears. That never helped his speech. All 3 of our other boys had tubes put in, and we always noticed a difference after that. He has a speech therapist that sees him weekly to help him. Up until a few weeks ago, he still only said few words, and only says 2 or 3 word sentences rarely.
He likes and needs routines. If I took him to a new place, he freaked out and started screaming and banging his head. He needs order and hates chaos. Therefore, if he's in a public place with lots of people, he becomes overstimulated very easily and starts screaming and banging his head and wants to leave. He has an Occupational Therapist that works with him weekly to help him with his sensory problems. He's very picky about textures, and for this reason, he is also very specific about what food he eats. He still drinks a lot of milk in sippies because he isn't eating as much food as he needs daily.
He bangs his head so much that he's cut his mouth, cut his forehead, cut open his nose. He almost always has bruises on his forehead, ears, and sometimes his cheeks. Sometimes at night he screams and bangs for an hour straight, with nothing you can do to help him and stop it.
Now that he's bigger and more forceful, I'm more afraid that he will really hurt himself or someone else. He's broken his crib twice, my glasses twice, and he's given me bruises from holding him while he does it.
So, I sought for professional help. At the beginning of March, we saw a Pediatric Neurologist in Idaho Falls. We talked to him for an hour, he observed Kanyon, and thought it was really worth looking into what is causing him to do this. Kanyon had lots of blood drawn for various testing, a CT-scan done on his head, some urine samples were ordered, and a sleep study with EEG's was ordered at PCMC in April to see if he has migraines or seizures waking him up at night. The Dr. wanted to rule out everything physically before he gave him a diagnosis, which he thought might be PDD-NOS: Pervasive Developmental Disorder on the Autistic Spectrum. The Thursday right before Easter, we took the three older boys to my mom's house for the night and took Kanyon to Salt Lake. We hadn't been to Primary Children's Medical Center since the twins left there in October 2003. It was a nostalgic feeling walking through the front doors again. We arrived around 6:00. They showed us the room where we would be staying that night. We talked to the techs and then the fun began. They hooked up about 20 wires all over his head, then covered it with a bandage. All the wires were attached to a little box that would read his brain waves overnight. He hated being held down and having them put on his head, of course. We waited several hours before doing the rest. He did so well! We thought he wouldn't be able to calm down, and that he would be trying to rip off his bandages and wires all night, but he surprised us by not doing that. The sleep lab had a big play/waiting room, and Kanyon wandered around for a couple hours playing with everything. Either Josh or I had to follow him around during that entire time, as if he were a puppy on a leash, because we had to carry his wired box. When he started winding down at 9:30, we took him back to our sleeping room, and they finished adding wired electrodes to his body: chest, stomach, back, arms, legs, toes, chin, temples, and small prong tubing in the nostrils. He had about 20 more wires hooked up! I have no pictures of this, because he was very upset, and as soon as they were done hooking him up, the lights were turned off and I held him until he fell asleep around 11:00. I slept in a little pull-out bed next to him, and Josh slept in a room next door. Whenever he was restless or woke up or had problems, I had to push a button. The techs watched us all night long, and recorded and made notes on his EEG readings. He only woke up about 3 times that night, and didn't have a regular severe fit. At 7:00 am, we were released. He did amazingly well, Josh and I still can't believe just how well he did. We were so anxious and so nervous before going.A few weeks ago we saw the Neurologist again, and he said that Kanyon does not have seizures, and that his CT-scan was normal, which are both excellent news! Kanyon has a little bit of Restless Leg Syndrome, and some Sleep Apnea, and low iron levels, and some blood acidity levels were off. So more blood tests were ordered, and we will again meet with the Dr. next month to determine what those results are and if he has a diagnosis.
Kanyon has been a different boy lately, though. There are several factors for this: his new room all to himself-so he gets alone time in the day and quieter sleep time at night, the weather has been great and he is able to play more outside which he really enjoys, and the fact that my entire family prayed for him and had a unified fast for him. We believe he did so well at PCMC because of that reason alone. I am grateful for a supportive family during such a difficult time!
Kanyon's non-sleeping and behavioral problems have been draining at times. Throughout the last year and half, Kanyon and Josh and I have been sick a lot, because we've been so exhausted from 6-7 hours of interrupted sleep each night! Kanyon especially has a poor immune system. I am grateful that the Dr. is looking into what is plaguing Kanyon's body, and I feel hope and peace knowing that.
This week Kanyon slept through the night 3 nights in a row, which is unheard of! The past few weeks, he's been talking more and not having as many head-banging fits! Right now, he doesn't have a scab or bruise on his face! He is so happy when he's healthy! We love him so much! He is a light in our lives and we are so glad that he is a part of our family!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My Psychology 101 professor used to have the same discussion with us college students every day, by asking "Why do we do the things we do?". It was his favorite question, and he took pride in writing it on the chalkboard at the beginning of every class and spending an hour asking it repeatedly. The entire semester, our homework was to read the textbook on our own time, while every single class time was used to discuss the question. Needless to say, it's a question that I hate now, but one that I also commonly ask myself now, too.

After analazying my blogging, I discovered four reasons for doing it. The first two are the reasons "why" I started blogging:
1. to keep in touch with Family and Friends. I live several hours away from my family, and it's an excellent way to stay up-to-date on their lives and feel close to them, and vice-versa. And because I'm a stay-home mom that doesn't have a big social life anymore, it's awesome to keep in contact (in an easy, sort-of way) with distant friends as well. It's just so simple and can be done from my home and I love it!
2. to Focus on the Positive aspects of my life. When I started this blog last spring, I was going through a bit of a difficult time. I had some depression, and was focusing on so many negative parts of my life. Before I started to blog, I decided to only put positive things on it to help keep my focus where it needed to be. It has really helped!

Throughout the last year, I've had different styles of blog posts, and I've realized two reasons "why" I write what I do, and "why" I keep blogging:
1. to Record events, daily family happenings, and my thoughts. It's like a FUN online journal for me. I used to be a regular journal writer, but after I got married and had children, it became very sporadic. I wish that it wasn't that way, because it's such an important part of my life and I have so little written about it. For this reason alone, I'm so grateful that I blog!
2. so that I can Remember life as it was, as it happened. I never want to forget all the little details of life as it passes me by. And yet, I unfortunately seem to do just that. I've looked back on several of my blogs much later after they were written to help me remember details that happened or my thoughts about them. I love to relive my memories and happy moments of my life, and blogging allows me to do just that!

I had a contest on my previous post to see who could guess the most reasons "why". I put the beginning letters of my four reasons to help everyone guess, but I think it actually hindered the guesses! Thanks to all FIVE of you for participating! The results are: 4 out of 5 guessed two of the right reasons. Since there's such a huge tie, I'm giving the prize to Ammon (he's the youngest player, and a regular reader of my blog!). But I will be having another contest next week, a random one, so that anyone can win!!! I do hope you'll play along again!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I began this blog in May 2008. I have written stories and posted photos for a year now! And remarkably, this is my 100th post! There are two reasons that I started blogging, and two reasons that I continue blogging. So...I'm excited to announce another contest: If you can guess the four reasons for my blogging, then you have the chance to win 100 Grand candy bars for every person in your family! The contest starts today, Friday May 22, and will end Tuesday May 26. Good Luck!!! (oh, and a little helpful hint: the first two reasons kind of start with the letter "F" and the last two reasons begin with the letter "R".)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

First Camping Trip 2009

Our family loves to go camping! We look forward with much anticipation to the first trip of the year that brings us out of winter hibernation! 3 years ago we bought our camping trailer, and every year we begin the camping season by going to Challis Hot Springs. Just like last year, we went the first weekend in April (General Conference weekend), and camped next to our friends the Baldwin's and the Beers'. They always bring a satellite dish and hook it up to their TV's so you can watch conference, it's awesome! The Beers' daughters Kimi and Kerry were gone on a spring break trip, so we missed them this year! The Baldwin's brought their daughters Ellie and Alyssa, and Lys brought her friend Liv. We enjoyed talking to the older girls around the campfire. Ellie and the boys played by the river a lot, finding dead fish left behind by the many fishermen! I thought it was disgusting, they thought it was cool! Kanyon was either found following the older kids around, or putting food on a stick to eat (bread, marshmallows, hot dogs, cheese). He was so funny! He didn't want to eat it if he couldn't put it on his roasting stick! We went swimming in the warm springs pool 3 times while we were there. Ammon did a great job with his swimming. The twins ventured several times from the shallow end and floated around on noodles. Kanyon really enjoyed being in the pool and splashing us while walking on the raised shallow end. We had a really enjoyable time! It was a nice weekend, and we got sunburned from spending so much time outside! We forgot what it felt like to be in the sun after being cooped up for the winter; it was such a nice welcome feeling, so we basked in it's warmth! I love camping! I love spending time relaxing with my family, I love roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, I love sitting around the campfire, I love being outdoors. I can't wait to go again!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Swinging" into Spring!

Did you know that we have a ditch complete with a rope swing right in our very backyard? It's a year-round attraction at our house. Especially since it's a house full of boys!That reliable rope swing has brought hours of fun (and upper body strength too, I might add) over the ditch and through the icy winters, the muddy springs, the wet summers, and the cool falls (double meaning there: they swing in the "cool autumn fall" AND there are numerous times each year that they "fall into the cool" water!).

And now that spring has sprung, the two-year-old thinks he is just as big and strong and capable as his older brothers by swinging on it too (except for the fact that he isn't, so adult supervision is required)!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Home Makeover

During spring break this year, we did not go on a trip like many of our friends did. Instead, we stayed home. And cleaned. And painted. And rearranged. And cleaned some more. And in doing so, we moved four rooms around. It was a quest that lasted 7 days, but our lives have greatly improved because of it! (WARNING: There are a lot of photos to document the journey)

We live in a 2-bedroom single-wide trailer. It was initially a 3-bedroom house, but the previous owners took a wall out in between two bedrooms so a king bed would fit. That was our master bedroom. Living in a small house with 6 people can be difficult, and our master bedroom became the catch-all room as well. There was not an inch of wall space that was not used. Needless to say, Josh and I didn't spend a lot of time in there because it felt enclosed, cramped, and almost chlosterphobic. (These photos were taken on a typical uncleaned day)

In 2004, we added on to our home: a bonus room right off the living room. As the twins grew and another baby arrived, it became the boys' play room. It also served as a partial bedroom from time to time.

(the living room before)

Over Christmas break this year, we moved the bunkbeds from the playroom into the 2nd bedroom because Kanyon had started sleeping through the night. However, as soon as all 4 boys were sleeping in one bedroom, Kanyon's regular sleeping habits returned (up every couple of hours every night).

We knew we had to make some changes because we were all having sleep deprivation problems. Although we could've just moved the bunkbeds back to the playroom, it wasn't the ideal solution because the environment isn't quiet being right next to the living room and Josh and I being night owls. We stewed over what to do for weeks. I finally came up with a doable solution: Josh and I would take over the current playroom as our master bedroom. The three older boys would take over our current master bedroom as their bedroom. And Kanyon would have his own room again.

The first step was cleaning out the playroom, scrubbing the walls, and hanging closet rods (because there's no closet in there) so we could move Josh and my belongings in: the dressers, king bed, clothes, and all the other crap.

Once our master bedroom was vacated, the boys helped me paint the walls for their future room. I let them each pick one color: Ammon chose green, Jonah wanted blue, and Micah picked orange. We primed the wall, and they each helped me paint their color on a designated wall (the closet in their room is one entire wall, so there was no 4th wall to paint). All their toys, and their clothes, and their books were brought in. They also get two TV's now: one hooked up to the satellite dish and the VCR, and one hooked up to the two nintendos. They got new bunkbeds too, a single on top and double on bottom, and were so excited to sleep in their new beds in their new room! This room is the biggest in the house, and we wanted it to serve as their bedroom AND their play room, to help cut down on the clutter and the noise in our living room.

Kanyon was moved from a toddler bed to a twin bed during this process, and we rearranged his room. We moved all his toys into his room, and moved his furniture around. He loves his new room. He requires a lot of personal space, and so this new home layout works so well for him.

The final step was rearranging the living room furniture. The new master bedroom is about 1 foot shorter in length, and 2 feet less in width than our old room. So the computer desk and a TV in our room wouldn't fit. We moved the living room TV to a wall that can be seen from our bedroom, and moved around the couches so that a smaller computer desk would fit in that room as well. It's crammed now with 2 couches, a piano, a bookshelf, the TV entertainment center, and the computer desk, but surprisingly it feels more open and larger than its previous layout.
(The view of the living room from our bed)
(the living room now)

During this 7-day project, we got rid of two dumpsters of garbage, took a big load to the dump, and have a shed filled with yard-sale items. That in itself is a great feeling! I love our new home layout!! Kanyon is doing better with his own space and the boys feel like they have their own special place and are enjoying it. Although it was a sacrifice for Josh and I to move into the smaller room, it is opened up to the more peaceful living room, and we spend more time in there now. Our home is more peaceful and calm and HAPPIER!!! Hopefully this fix will work until we buy our new home in about 2 more years!