Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I know no one will be surprised to hear that since I'm not a picture/camera person there are no before pictures but I can tell you that this dresser really needed a new finish--it was hard to tell if there was real wood under their or if it was a poor veneer.  I bought this from a neighbor for $25 (yes, neighbor I truly have your money--we just need to connect when it's in my hand--or I may send a kid over later today!)   Sanded down, we learned it was a gorgeous wood and I fell in love with it and hurried to finish the project.  A month ago I was at DI and saw some goldish (not brass) candlesticks that I kind of liked.  I bought them and then a few weeks after that realized that they were hollow and had threads at the top--the were actually lamp bases!  So yesterday I finally painted them and Ethan and I made lamps!  We each did one lamp and worked through the directions together--it was a great time!  The statue of Christ I found at DI 2 weeks ago for $5.  We love this dresser--each child has a drawer for their scriptures and I have one for my scriptures and study stuff.  We're going to use the remaining drawers for family games.

Here's another picture--I love the legs on this dresser!

A sideways (hey, at least there are pictures!) close-up of the $5 statue!  

And...another sideways photo of our new chandelier over the kitchen table!  I had a bit of trouble with this as I have never before wired anything in my life.  I figured I would take the old fixture down and then put this one up the same way, only the new (old--$5 from DI that I painted and bought lampshades for) fixture had an extra wire and I couldn't figure that out!  For a long time.  And my arms started hurting after wiring it several different ways and running up and down the stairs to flip the breaker.  I tried to watch a tutorial on my computer but that wasn't working so I got mad and decided I had wasted a bit of money buying a fixture that was broken and threw the thing in the trash outside.  Then I hauled a couch up the stairs.  The physical exertion was good for me and I then found that I could get my computer to work and learned what was going wrong, humbled myself enough to pull the fixture out of the trash outside, locate the runaway pieces, and wire it.  For the fifth and last time.  It was worth the trouble!

This is why I was hauling a couch up the stairs--we got a new sofa and loveseat for $35 on the classifieds. (The couch in our living room was the best of the three we owned so the upstairs one had to go down and the worst one downstairs had to come up.) These sofas are in much better shape than our old ones and have smaller arms which means more seating space.  I'm going to make well-fitted (hopefully) slipcovers for them!  Here's a picture of the loveseat.

Here's our kitchen table--I don't know why Eva didn't clear the table before she took the picture--it has tools from my wiring work and the old light fixture and someone's dishes.  I had worked on finishing projects all day and then had to take someone dinner and talk to youth in the stake about indexing and family history last night.  It was a long day and I have tons today so I'm not taking the time to get a better picture--you'll have to wait until I get those benches finished!  The table looks sooooo much better than before!  It was worth living without it for the tree months it took to finish!  Also--another great sideways photo...

And here's a little picture of our Ivy (9).  There are tons of pictures on the camera--Eva's trying out to be on the yearbook staff and she has to turn in 50 of her best shots next week.  This probably isn't one of her favorites but I like it because that's Ivy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Good news: After 3-4 months of no microwave, we now have a new one!!  This is extremely exciting--now when I'm gone for speech and other things we can actually reheat food and eat before 8:30 at night!

Bad News: We found water in the light fixture in the family came from the sink in the kitchen, where the disposal apparently had a leak.

Good News: Vince took out a ton of ceiling drywall down there--some of it was damaged from the water.  We ended up with an 8x8 foot square hole in the ceiling--I know it was kind of bad news to me too and I was a little perturbed until he "suggested" we could add some recessed lighting in that room.  Which was a great idea!  So now we have 6 new can lights and some new ceiling drywall in the family room and Vince and I were excited to discover the room looks twice as big now!

Bad News:  Our plan was to live without a garbage disposal for the forseeable future....I'll admit that I was a little worried to fix it because then I just knew something else would break, but it turns out that the disposal had a major flaw and that water was leaking from it even when we weren't using it.

Good News: We have a new disposal!

I hope nothing else breaks, but I must say it is a little fun to fix things and make them better than they were to begin with!  Maybe in a week or so I will post some pictures of that room and the kitchen table I refinished!  I've almost finished refinishing a buffet/dresser for our living room and I may post pictures of that too--I'm really excited about it.  When the dresser is completely finished I'll refinish the benches in the kitchen.  We also found a sofa and loveseat on the classifieds for $35.  They're a floral design and don't quite match our room, but I've been learning about how to make custom slipcovers and I think I'm going to do that this summer.  I'm developing a love for remaking/refinishing furniture and stuff.  I have a few other projects I'm working on, but it's taking me longer than I'd like to finish them.  I'll have Eva post pictures...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Post About Ethan

I've been waiting to write this post because Ethan's teacher wrote a really nice note about him for a citizenship award but he wanted to bring it home and then I put it somewhere "safe" and I' m not sure which safe place that was....  Anyway, I decided that while I'm here I'm just going to write about him and not look for the paper and get distracted.  Again.

Ethan is very much a BOY.  He likes to run, climb, play games, dig holes, camp, play sports, ....  His school teacher writes that Ethan is very smart--so true!  She also says he shows up for school ready to learn and always wants to learn more--I love that about him--he is definitely inquisitive and open to learning new things.  Sometimes I think he is a little too smart for his own good, like when he rode his bike down really busy highways to get to his aunt's house--when he was three.  He knew the way and exactly where he was going!  I remember I had to take his bike apart and then hide the pieces in various places in the garage so he wouldn't put the bike back together--remember he was only three!  He excels in math and spatial tasks.  He is mechanically inclined and has a natural ability for building and repairing things.  I love this about him too--he can fix things around the house now and is always repairing bikes for Nathan and Ivy.  When Vince is gone, he can help me with projects and/or problems that may happen around the house and yard.  Like two summers ago when Vince was at a scout training for 4 days and we had a flooded basement--Ethan's boy mind was invaluable in helping us get the water cleaned up and out of the basement and getting the carpets dried out.

Ethan is also a hard worker and very meticulous--when he starts a job he likes to get it done the right way!  Sometimes this makes things harder for him like when I ask him to clean his room and he empties all the drawers and shelves to put things back on them just perfectly.  There are times when he will randomly decide to clean a kitchen cabinet or drawer.  When company is coming I ask Ethan to clean the main bathroom because he cleans into the corners every time. 

A couple of weeks ago Ethan ran a 5K with Vince and he won for his age group!  (He's 11)  This 5K was a fundraiser for the track team and the entire high school track team participated--he actually beat 75% of the track team!  He loves to run and can't wait to be on a track team and run races more often.  Last summer we let him run his first 5K--he beat me but he couldn't quite catch his dad.  Vince is really a fast runner.  BUT Ethan ran the race, in July, in jeans!!!  I couldn't believe it, but that's what he wanted to run in.  We'll see what he does this July...

Right now Ethan takes piano lessons (because I make him) and guitar (because he wants to).  He plays them both really well but you'll only hear him play piano at recitals because that's the deal we made: he has to take lessons and practice but then I won't make him play for people.  A unique compromise.  It's fun to see him learn the guitar.  He is also enjoying scouting, which is good, because his dad would make him like it if he didn't!  He loves the scouting activities and moves through the ranks well--if only he could get his mom to sew the patches on his uniform...  Scouting has been quite fun the past several months because his leader has been physically unable to work with the boys and Vince has been working with them.  It's good father/son time!  What he would really like to do is play some team sports but he's a great brother and understands that I can't get him to practices and games because I've got to take Nathan to speech so far away.  He always shows an interest but he doesn't complain--he's a great brother to be so kind and patient about the sacrifice.  He's a fifth grader this year and he's excited to be in middle school so he can play intramurals--the boy loves a competition of any kind!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Post About Eva

I feel privileged to be a mother!  I have four wonderful kids that I enjoy and love to spend time with.  Each one of my children are very unique and I've thought I should write about them as individuals at times.  I'm going to start with Eva. 

I feel very fortunate that Eva is my oldest.  She is very responsible and helpful.  I know I wouldn't be able to work with the younger kids as much as I do without her help.  She's great at getting meals ready when I need it, moving laundry, getting kids ready and out the door when they need to be, etc.  I appreciate this particular skill set when I'm in Salt Lake with Nathan and life for the other three continues here without me to manage it.  Eva prepares for everything!  She's been volunteering 2 hours of her Saturday nights since January to babysit for the community choir and every week she prepares activities and/or snacks for the kids.  She's so good at preparing that I never have to wonder if she's falling behind on school work--in fact she generally has to remind me several times of things I need to get for her so she can complete projects!  I love shopping with Eva--she has a good eye for colors and how to put them together--she has a great sense of style. 

I really admire her dedication to learning about the gospel.  From a very young age, Eva takes every suggestion very seriously.  Our entire family has benefited from her deciding she was going to read the entire Book of Mormon before her baptism--I didn't think it would be possible but she and I did it together and after that I decided the others could too.  Nathan is on track to finish it before he turns eight next year and we all have Eva's persistent determination to thank for it!  Eva is also very thougthful--she loves to write little notes to people and make cards.  She works hard to develop her talent for crafting and sewing as well as her more obvious musical talents. She pursues her violin and piano education relentlessly and has become very skilled.  She is nearly as advanced as I on the piano (although I may not admit it to her--there's a comfort level I have that comes with age) and she is only 13!  In the past several months I can hear a beautiful musicality to her pieces--as her violin teacher said today--"her musicality is blossoming"! 

Last week Eva was recognized as a "Super Citizen" at her school.  Here is what the nominating teacher had to say about her: "She is always on top of everything.  She helped any group when needed in Science Olympiad and took on multiple events herself.  She always strives to do her best in everything she does."

This reminds me!  Eva is in the MESA club at school (she's a seventh grader) and they went to the Science Olympiad.  Eva competed in two events and I can't remember what they're called but one of them entailed building a rocket.  In one of the events she and her partner placed second!  They were the only students from her school to place in the top three in any event this year or last year--schools come from all over the valley to Westminster to compete.  I don't quite understand it because science was never my thing but Eva loves it--particularly anything to do with microbiology. 

Congratulations Eva on being recognized for all your hard work--you deserve it!

Friday, March 4, 2011


As you probably know, we have been driving Nathan to speech on Wednesdays and Fridays for nearly a year now.  It's a great expense of time and money--it's an hour drive to the U of U and an hour back.  The only vehicle we had available to us was our big family car--the Expedition. 

Last month my little brother gave us his old little car.  It cost us a bit more than we expected to get it on the road ($700) but it only raised our insurance by $16 each month and we had high hopes.  We started driving the little car in February...


Our gas bill was $162 less in February than in January (in spite of rising gas prices).  Remarkable!!  And wear and tear (tires, brakes) is cheaper on the little Subaru than it is for the big Expedition so that's a savings as well!!

Thanks little brother!!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Ivy: "Mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mom..."
Me (mom): Ivy, What!!
Ivy, giggling: "That was funny!"

Eva:  "Mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mom..."
Me (mom): WHAT?!!
Eva: "Oh! I was just seeing if you were listening to me."

Nathan: "Mom-mom-mom-mom-mom-mom..."
Me: "What do you need?"
Nathan, with a slightly glazed look at first, focuses his eyes and says: "Um, nothing." Then turns to his sister and says "Eva--I want to watch the TV."

Seriously.  Three days and three mom chant experiences.  I'm losing my sanity.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nathan Update

Last Thursday Nathan and I met with the ENT cleft palate/VPI specialist and learned that everything looks pretty good!  Which means we don't need to worry about surgery or anything else like that!!  Yay!

The ENT recommends that Nathan have as much speech therapy as possible and that the therapy be directed by a speech pathologist that specializes in clefts/VPI.  He didn't seem to think that Nathan's getting enough speech therapy now and recommended that we "remind" the school district of federal law and find a speech pathologist in this specialty to direct the elementary and U of U speech clinicians' therapy.  I'll be honest--I didn't have a good feeling after meeting with this guy.  I recognize that the school district's "best" is pathetic and doesn't begin to address Nathan's needs.  BUT I do believe that they are giving us the best of what they have to offer.  All I would accomplish by fighting for more would be to alienate the people I currently have great relationships with and waste my time and energy and possibly money in getting the district to abide by federal law--time, money and energy I could direct towards Nathan.  Federal law doesn't seem to account for paltry education budgets.  And I know that as a family we really do not have any more resources in time or money to do more than we are doing.  We're all making huge sacrifices and commitments as it is. 

Friday night at speech I was visiting with Mark Cantor, who is the professor who supervises Nathan's therapy.  After hearing the ENT's recommendations he told me that he could see where the doctor is coming from but that he didn't think I needed to do that.  Mark said that they took the report from the CDC speech pathologist and thoroughly examined it to better focus Nathan's therapy.  He said that VPI is not his specialty but that it is the specialty of his colleague who helps administers their program and he had already met with her about Nathan and she (Janet) had already met with Nathan's clinician.  He indicated that they would be conducting some additional testing in the future to focus their efforts and that Janet would be meeting with Nathan and his clinician at times to make sure Nathan got the best care.  I'll be honest--I felt really good after visiting with Mark.

In conclusion, we've decided to stay our current course.  Mark Cantor also feels that more speech would just be too much and possibly too difficult for Nathan at his current age.  I agree.  The poor kid rarely gets to play like a kid as it is. It is really nice to know exactly what Nathan's issues are and that we can get his therapy more focused on those needs.  It's also nice to know that he doesn't need any major surgery and that with well focused therapy he will most likely get exactly what he needs.  I feel like the Spirit is directing us to remember that we need to be sure VPI is addressed in his therapy and to keep doing what we're doing.