Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yearly Check up for Jack & Madeline

Last week Jack and Madeline both had to go to the doctor for their yearly check. Since their birthdays are 4 days apart, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and take them together.

Jack went for his 5 year old Kindergarten check. It wasn't as scary as it normally would be since Grandma Bronson is the nurse for our pediatrician - Dr. Winn. After Grandma weighed and measured him and gave him an eye test, Madeline insisted that SHE needed an eye test as well.

Jack's Stats:
Height: 45 inches = 88th percentile (this means that out of 100 kids his same age he is taller than 88 of them)

Weight: 44 lbs = 73rd percentile

Madeline's Stats:

Height: 39 inches = 90th percentile

Weight: 32 lbs. = 68th percentile

After Dr. Winn looked them over, we were sitting in the exam room and Jack asked me "what happens next Mom?"

Uh-oh this is the part I didn't really want to tell them. . . . so I put on a cheery voice and tried to pretend like it was no big deal and say "Well, next you need to have some shots to protect you . . . ." It was all over at that point. As soon as Jack & Madeline heard the word - - SHOT - - they both started to cry and wail.

Enter Grandma. She has the shots all prepared and we decide that Madeline will go first since she only needs 1 shot. And, truth be told, she takes these things MUCH better than her brother. That whole drama when you are sick thing starts early for the men.

Jack starts to cry because he thinks we are hurting Madeline and decides to make a break for it. He ran out the door and down the hall towards the outside door before one of the other nurses caught him and was bringing him back when I was finally able to get out of the room to see where he had gone!

It took both me and my Mom holding him while she gave him the shots (5!!). All I can say is that my Mom has MAD skills to hold the kid's legs and give shots faster than you can imagine while my skinny son (see stats above) has suddenly become freakishly strong and is trying with all his might to get away.

During all this drama Madeline is crying and saying "Don't hurt my brother - leave him alone - you are HURTING him!!" When we were done she came right over to him and gave him a hug and told him she was sorry and they both cried together. It was sweet.

Afterward Grandma felt really bad and gave them each a hug and told them that she wasn't trying to hurt them, but it was her job to make sure they didn't get sick. THEN she pulled out the superhero and princess stickers along with some M&Ms and PrESto - life was good again. Although Jack talked about his shots for the rest of the day, while Madeline was totally fine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday McKenna

Today is a bittersweet day for me and our family. Today would have been McKenna's 13th Birthday. You may have noticed her picture on the side of my blog and wondered . . . .

McKenna was born on an early Saturday morning at 5:23 am. This time is important as it is the same time that she returned to her Heavenly Father just 5 short years later.

McKenna's arrival was a much anticipated event in our family. We had been married for just over three years and were excited to add to our "instant family" of Jordan, Matt & Jade.

From the moment we brought McKenna home there was scarcely a time that she was not held, cuddled and entertained. Jade was especially attentive - she was 6 and thought of her as her own personal baby doll. The love we all had for her was so obvious that a friend of ours dubbed her "The Love Child".
Despite all this attention, McKenna was not spoiled. She was good natured and loving to everyone.

Even though we only had her for 5 short years here on this earth, I feel so lucky to have been her Mama and for the chance to know her.
All this said, it is still a hard and painful realization that she is really gone. I often find myself looking at my friend's daughters and wondering "Would she be friends with those girls? What would she look like? How would she dress? Would she like the Jonas Brothers? Hannah Montana?
I know that she would be SUCH a great big sister to Jack and Madeline. They know about her and I think in some remote part of their minds they remember something of her from before they came to this earth. We go to "Her Place" often and both kids talk about her as if she were right here - - and who am I to say that she is not? Watching over our family.

I know that one day I will be able to see her again, hold her and love her, but until that day. . . we are missing her.

Happy 13th Birthday Little Mouse!
Your Family loves you more than you know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baby It's COLD Outside!

The past few weeks have been really cold here in Utah, along with lots of snow. It's this time of the year that is the hardest for me - mentally and emotionally. There's not much sun and I don't usually go outside except to scurry to and from my car and to get the mail.

Since we live on the lake, there is lots of fog in the morning, which can be dangerous, but usually by the time I have to take Jack to pre-school the sun is out and the fog leaves the trees looking beautiful. The other day as I was on my way into town, I couldn't resist and pulled over to the side of the road to take this picture at the park near our house.

But as I mentioned before, the doldrums of winter can get even the best of us down. Do you ever feel like my yard rooster? Up to your neck in "blah"?

Here is another picture of the yard rooster to give you some perspective. . .

Sometimes the only thing that will make you feel good is some good old fashioned comfort food. I have found just the perfect thing - gourmet macaroni and cheese. I know what you are thinking - GOURMET Mac-n-Cheese? That's an oxymoron! Well, just wait until you try it. I'm not claiming that it is low-fat, but hey it's the third week of January and it's about this time I fall off the "eat only healthy things" wagon anyway.

Try it you might like it!

Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese

1 box elbow macaroni (16 oz)
1 lb. bacon
1 medium onion, diced
5 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 1/2 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. grated Fontina cheese*
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
1 1/2 c. grated chedder jack cheese
3/4 c. grated Parmesean cheese
3 tbsp. chopped parseley
1/4 c. bread crumbs

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees, grease a 9x13x2 baking dish

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package and drain.

3. Saute bacon until crisp. Remove, crumble when cool and reserve. Add onion to bacon drippings; saute until soft. Add butter to pot and melt, stirring.

4. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until smooth and light brown in color. Whisk in mustard. Gradually add milk and cream, whisking.

5. Stir in thyme, bay leave and salt. Bring to a simmer. Stir frequently, simmering, for 15 minutes.

6. Quickly mix in blue cheese, 1 c. Fontina cheese, 1 c. cheddar jack cheese, 1/2 c. parmesean cheese. Stir until all cheeses are melted.

7. Add pasta to cheese and stir until coated. Pour in baking dish. In a small bowl mix remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over pasta.

8. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

* I couldn't find Fontina cheese at my local grocery store (something I plan to take up with Joe Albertson) so I just increased the cheddar jack cheese to 3 cups. The original recipe also called for 3/4 c. Gruyere cheese, but when I did find it, it was $17 for about 1/4 lb. - not really in my budget for just one meal, so I decided to just increase the cheddar jack and parmesean to compensate.

Despite the modifications it turned out great and my family loved it. Well, everyone except for Jack - the word picky eater doesn't even BEGIN to describe him.

If you make it, let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

SuRGerY = MoTHeR of the YeAR!!

Before you start this post, I want you to rest assured that I have already been nominated for "Mother of the Year" for this incident that you are about to read, so you don't need to go to the trouble. . . .

Jade was a cheerleader for 4 years (grades 9-12). During this time she worked on and perfected her tumbling. She was fun to watch and when her squad performed for competitions, Jade was one of the ones who tumbled throughout the routine.

About mid-way though her Senior year in High School she started complaining about her foot and toes hurting. I brushed her off - telling her to take it easy and "stop wearing flip flops all the time - you probably just stubbed it!"

Well, she kept complaining and nagging me to take her to the doctor. I finally relented (after about 9 months) figuring that this was not something that was just going to go away. I mean she was walking only on the outside of her foot when I finally made the appointment.

We went to a podiatrist and he thought that she may have a neuroma - something that usually occurs on older people with diabetes. Jade didn't really fit that profile, but it can occur in younger people who have had a traumatic injury. Jade didn't really remember any one event of falling, stubbing her toe, etc. (there have been many - she was blessed with my grace. . . .) So the first thing the doctor tried was giving her a steroid shot in her foot (on the top, between the 2nd and 3rd toes - OUCH!) to try to break up the neuroma.

This didn't work and so after another 2 months we decided that she REALLY did need surgery.

We had to be at the hospital at 5:45 am - a number on the clock that I am not crazy to see and Jade is even LESS crazy about. We tried to have her surgery scheduled at Timp Hospital since that is where my sister Norma is an O.R. nurse, but our insurance said we had to go to Utah Valley. (X$%#&&!! insurance) It would have been so much more fun to make it a family event!

When she got all ready and we were waiting for her to go back to surgery (it's always hurry up and wait), I realized that I had my camera in my purse and brought it out. Jade wasn't very happy with me when I told her that this momentous occasion was blogworthy. She made the snide remark about how I should wait until my Mother of the Year award came and THEN post it since I took almost a year for her to get her foot fixed and according to her "if I can't physically SEE the problem - it obviously doesn't exist!"
I told her it was a character building experience.

Here are the pictures I'll be showing during my acceptance speech:
Here is Jade BEFORE they gave her feel good drugs - she's not too happy and doesn't want her picture taken. I can't imagine why - I mean I think that the hairnet is just "bringin' SeXY back!!"

Before they operate, they have you draw on the body part that is being operated on and initial it. Just to make sure they get the right one. Here is Jade's foot with her autograph and Dr. G's.

There she goes - being wheeled into surgery. Too bad it's not MY sister wheeling her back. . .
Here's Jade and Dr. G. - AFTER the surgery - notice how she is all smiles - yeah love those mind altering drugs! We love Dr. G - he has been great throughout this whole thing. (And it couldn't hurt that he thought I was Jade's big sister the first time we met!)
Here is her foot, all yellow from the beta dine (sp). The surgery went really well and Dr. G said that there was definitely a neuroma in there. He is sure that it came from a previous injury. I think tumbling was the culprit, but who knows?!!? Notice the SNaPPy shoe - she gets to wear this cute thing for 2 weeks. Yep, definitely bringin' Sexy Back with this baby! She would like to "Bedazzle" it - so if anyone out there is willing to share their bedazzler, let me know.

Here's Jade shortly after the surgery giving me "two thumbs up". Definitely still on heavy drugs.

This is a picture of Jade as we were getting ready to go home - they now give you these disposable shorts to wear under your gown so you are not flashing everyone when you get up to use the ladies room! What a great idea!!

Jade has spent the past few days at home either on the couch or in her bed and Jack has appointed himself as her personal nurse. Two days ago when she came upstairs in the morning, Jack got out the down blanket (he calls it "Puffy") and arranged some pillows on the couch so she could put her foot up. Then he was very solicitous about getting her water, making sure the TV was on the right channel etc. He is such a sweet boy - she couldn't ask for a better nursemaid!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lessons Learned

This post is all about the "lessons" that my loving husband learned spending a week at home with us during the holidays.

First let me explain. Since Mark works everyday he is not home much to see what "really" goes on around here during the day.

Oh, sure I try to tell him about how crazy it is to take the kids to run errands. I try to make him understand that not only do they have a time limit as to how long they will tolerate running here and there, but we also have a "place limit" - meaning that regardless of how short or long it is they don't like to go to more than say 3 different places.

So, that being said, here is LESSON #1:

When taking the kids to Wal-Mart, the grocery store or any other place that offers a cart for the almost 3 year old to ride in - TAKE IT and INSIST that said 3 year old rides IN THE CART!

When we went to Wal-Mart we got a cart, but Madeline was balking at riding in the cart. Loving Husband said "Oh, it's OK, she can just ride on the back and hold on while her brother walks beside us - - really it will be fine."

This is where I smirk to myself "Amateur". Outwardly I say "OK Honey, but you are responsible for keeping track of them while we shop."

Sure enough as soon as we get anywhere near something they find interesting - Madeline bails off the cart and follows her brother to investigate.

Loving Husband patiently stops and rounds them up - over to the cart - and explains that they can't just be running off. (Yea, you GO honey!)

We go a little further and the same thing happens again - - and again - - and again. What can I say? My kids are kind of like Rednecks - - "Ohhh, look somethin' ShInY! I must touch it!!"

We manage to make it out of Wal-Mart and then it is on to Target.

Same scenario with the cart. Madeline refusing to get in - Loving Husband insisting that she "promise" to stay on the cart and not jump off at will. Then giving in and letting her ride on the "suicide step" on the back.

Did the man learn NOTHING from the previous stop?!?!

Yeah, you know what happened - lots of shiny things in Target.

As we are loading the kids into the car, EXASPERATED Loving Husbands tells me "taking these two anywhere is like trying to heard cats!!"

Oh, you don't say?!?

Our last stop was Costco. This time as we approach the cart, Madeline starts with the whole "I don't want to get in" business and Loving Husband firmly tells her "No way in the world am I letting you ride on the back - you are riding IN THE CART!"

What a GREAT idea!

Lesson #2:

If you see something that could possibly make a mess - make sure it is out of reach of the 3 year old.

One day, Mark changed Madeline's diaper and used baby powder (she calls it baby sauce). After changing her HE LEFT THE POWDER ON A LOW SHELF IN THE CLOSET!! He goes away thinking all is well and he's the man - changing her diaper (he actually does that regularly) AND using baby powder besides!

Shortly thereafter, we smell a strong odor of baby powder - Loving Husband goes to investigate. The ENTIRE room is covered in baby powder! Mark then asks Madeline "what happened here?" and she tells him that she made it SNOW in her room.

When I asked Loving Husband WHY he left the baby powder somewhere where she could reach it, his response was (this is priceless) "I never thought that she would get into it and make it snow!" I told him that he was practically INVITING her to get into it - she is "busy" that way.

I'm still cleaning up baby powder.

One day after a particularly crazy day - the kids were whining, we were tired and it was only 5:00 pm - Loving Husband turned to me and said "you know that thing you have on the fridge that says Stay-at-Home Moms would make around $134,000 per year if paid for all that they do?"

Me: Yeah, what about it?

Loving Husband: You are sooo underpaid! That $134k is just not nearly enough!!

Ahh vindication. I love being at home even though it has it's moments - what job doesn't?

But what made my day, week, and month was that my Loving Husband realized just how much physical and mental work it is to be at home all day. This job is not for wimps!!

P.S. He was REALLY looking forward to going back to work on Monday.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Daily Madeline

Madeline turned 3 last week and one of her presents was a "Sleeping Beauty" movie. When she opened it she said . . . .

"Ohhh, Sleeping Beauty! I LOVE this movie - it has evil in it."

Should I be concerned?!?

Four words here: Run - - For - - My - - Money!!