Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Goofball strikes again

The kids have been wearing their pirate bandanas from their piano workshop pretty consistantly. Ella has been yearning to get her hands on one all weekend.
Today she seized Hannah's and was pretty insistant that it go on. Cute little pirate.
On the word front, she is up to Dada, Hi, Cat, Yay!, and now Doll.
Woohoo! Smart little Goofball.

Update on the Legislature

Well, the preschools have been saved.


I know there will need to be cuts made across education and to many programs. I understand that and I am ok with that. But they should be across the board in education, not cutting out an entire, very vitally needed program.

Thank you for your support and help.

In other news, the legislature is considering mandating insurance companies cover autism. This is a long long overdue move. We even had trouble getting McKay's gastrointestinal issues covered because it was autism-related. (Children with autism often have GI issues.) So, for some odd reason, anyone else can go to the gastrointerologist for intestinal issues and it will be covered, but not if you have autism. So this will bring a measure of fairness to people who are paying for insurance so that they can use it in the same way non-disabled people do.

I was so excited to read about this...and then I read those mandates will only be effective until the child reaches 9 years old. *sigh* I am glad that some kids with autism will get fair and equal treatment for awhile. But sadly, it most likely will not reach our kids in time. Bah. But hey, one step at a time towards equality, eh?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


On Saturday we went with Grandma R to Thanksgiving Pointe and saw the model train exhibit. The kids loved it. Especially Garrett and McKay. (Garrett's little wooden train from Christmas has proven to be a huge hit around the house, so this was great timing.)

There were lots of amazing models that must have taken their makers many many hours. I didn't get to see all of them, since some were on a stage and I was with the stroller, but the ones I saw were so neat.

Here is a sampling. I kept all of the photos big, so if you click on them, you can look up close.
What could this be? Yep, Hogwarts.
The Whomping Willow and the flying Ford Anglia.

Hagrid's hut, and Harry running down the path to visit Hagrid.

Can you see the Quidditch pitch? How about Dumbledore? And if you squint, you might see the horseless carriages. (Do you see Thestrals? ;) )
And here comes the Hogwart's Express!

Pirates! Made of Legos!
Star Wars! I think the square thing is the Death Star...

Michael really wanted a picture of the droids.

McKay was riding in style!

And Ella! Awake at nearly the end.

Isn't that fun? It was really really cute and very entertaining.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's been a long, cold winter

Yep, more pictures.

It has been so cold out for so long. We've been staying indoors so much. We've also been sick on and off for a month. Ack. So, when I get all bored and need to get MY wiggles out, I forego dumping out lots of toys in the playroom (a favorite pasttime of other family members, who shall remain nameless...), and I pull out the camera and mess around. It IS my favorite toy afterall.

I wanted to try blacks and whites and exposing the white correctly without blowing it out or making it gray, and still getting the blacks dark. For the most part, I think it worked. Although on one picture, because of where I put the backdrop, the black looked weirdly blue. So, it was also a lesson in "seeing the light", as I moved my backdrop all around my front room. (My front room is tricky, because it has 4 windows--two that even have a rondelle on top--on two of the walls. This is why the kitchen is usually my room of choice, if I am using the backdrop.)

Anyway, heh, I know I post oodles of pictures of my kids. But dang, they are so cute. In fact, they're the reason I bought my camera anyway. ;)

Isn't she a joker? I thought this was too funny to not include.

Shooting wide + small indoor space=lens distortion=Hannah-the-bobblehead!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Utah People, PLEASE help.

I just this email and I am REALLY concerned. Please, if you could dash off an email or get in a phone call, I would love you forever.

The Problem

In the Wasatch Mental Health Citizen's Advisory Board meeting today,Juergen Korbanka, Executive Director of Wasatch Mental Health, saidthat the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee (HHS) ismeeting tomorrow morning at 11:00 am. They will be considering aproposal to cut 100% of the Autism funding for the various programsthroughout the state.

When asked about the GIANT Steps program [a Utah Valley Autism preschool], he said that if the autism funding is cut, they would have to immediately shut down the two classrooms that are funded from this money. In addition, they may have to shut down the third room (which receives its funding from Medicaid) or at least cut much of the staff because it would be difficult to justify the allocation of so many staff to so few clients.

What You Can Do

We need your assistance TODAY! DO IT NOW!

We need you to contact legislators on the HHS. Tell them of your opposition to this proposal. Tell them of the benefit this program has been to your child. Explain to them the principles of early-intervention and how it is critical in the lives of these young people to continue the program and that there are many more on the waiting list who also need this program.

Mr. Korbanka mentioned that there are three legislators on the HHS on whom we should focus our attention because they represent us in Utah County.

They are:

Rep. John Dougall - jdougall@utah.gov or 801-492-1365 (a co-chair ofthe committee)

Rep. Keith Grover - keithgrover@utah.gov or 801-319-0170

Sen. Margaret Dayton - mdayton@utahsenate.org or 801-221-0623

When the matter comes out of committee to a vote in the house and senate, you should also contact your local legislators to let them know how you feel too. To find who they are you may go to this address: http://gva1.utah.gov/elections/polling.aspx

The preferred method of contact is by personal phone call. Don't expect to get through to a live person, but be sure to leave a message; they are reviewed by the legislators and their staff. Sending a follow-up e-mail is also strongly encouraged. Numbers count so see if you can get everyone you know to do this too. We need to fight and inform our legislators of the folly of cutting this program that benefits a growing population of children who have autism.

Please be sensitive to the dilemma that the legislators are in. Because of the bad economy and declining revenues, they must makecuts; there is no way around it. However, the cuts should be "across the board" and not target specific programs. Endorse "horizontal" rather than "vertical" cuts. All of the programs work together to help the citizens of Utah. For further specific information about the proposed cuts, you may goto this web site which has a podcast of the previous HHS meeting along with links to documents detailing the proposed cuts:http://www.le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2009&Com=APPHHS

(Rachel again.)

I am begging any of you in Utah (or really anyone), please contact these legislators and your legislator. Most autism families rely solely on the school district, because insurance companies do not cover ANY autism treatment. To be brazenly honest, we pay over $4K a year out of our own pockets just for McKay to get speech tutoring with a BYU student (not even a fully-licenced therapist). I cannot even begin to imagine trying to pay for the needs of two boys with autism entirely out of our own pocket. And I know so many other families in this situation.

So what would happen? Most of these children would have to go without. So, in 10 years...1 in 90 boys will be out there without the therapy they need to live a full life. Already, even with the school district, there are some who need much much more than they can get currently. Imagine what would happen if this passed.

Already they have discontinued the Children With Special Health Care Needs division of the State Health Department this month. That was the division that dealt with autism, providing lower-cost evaluations and diagnoses. Often just a DIAGNOSIS can cost upwards of $1K. It still cost about half that, but at least there was some relief. So, autism helps are being stripped left and right.

Unaddressed mental health issues are huge contributing factors to poverty, homelessness, suicide, etc. Please, please, please send an email to your legislator urging them to think about this with some common sense.

I am completely sick over this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mommy's little joker

I was actually trying to practice setting some stuff up for something else, but Ella came over and sat so cutely on my black fleece...so I figured, hey, yeah, I'll take some pictures of her adorable smile.

Well, as soon as I put the camera to my eye, the smile vanished, and the joker popped out.
Hey, is she sticking her tongue out at me?

"What, who? Me? Stick my tongue out? Noooooo."

"Oh, wait...maybe it was me..."

Look at those cute teeth coming in on top! Love!

We went to visit Grandmama, since she had her birthday yesterday. Ella had a great time exploring a new environment.

Finally...a smile, sort of! (She was also trying to get out-of-frame pretty quick.)


The scene: Garrett and Ella are playing with the zoo train and Ella is all excited and squealing away.

Ella: Eeeeeeeeeee! Eeeeeeeee!

Garrett: (in monotone) Totally, dude.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Whose child is this?


Where does she get this from?


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Morning fun

We were waiting at home most of the day, because we were waiting for the appraiser to come. We're doing a refinance on the house for a lot lower rate, but so are a lot of other people, so the appraisers are quite busy.

So, Ella and Garrett and I played together all morning. Ella showed off lots of her "baby tricks."
Clapping! Yay!
Turning around when I call her name and then giggling and crawling away.

Just being cute.
How big is Ella? She's SOOOOOO big.

Just a funny face.
Ella loves her baby. She is patting her. I think she means to be patting her back, but she is patting the baby's face.

Garrett pulled out his train set. This is one of his very favorite Christmas toys.

Looking pensive. Hey Kim, everytime I see this picture, for some reason, I think of Jonathan.

The appraiser did come (this evening), so hopefully we'll get everything done by this month. If you have not refinanced, now would be a good time to think about it. The rates are fab.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I just wanted to point out...

I do love all my kids equally.

I realize that there are about 10 times more photos of Hannah, but it is really because she is the only one who even pretends to stand still and even remotely enjoys posing for the camera anymore.
So, just in case anyone wonders why I have SO many more photos of Hannah...that's it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Free photo album

I got an email from Bzzagent (I try stuff and pass along the word on stuff I like for them) and they are passing along a cool promotion. Hoorray.com is offering a free photobook. The code is bzzalbum. They said to pass it along to friends and family, so...hey, friends and family...free photobook!

You do have to pay for shipping, but $7.99 for a $34.95 album is not too shabby.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yummy, easy winter comfort food

This is my favorite easy soup recipe.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 lb. stew meat, cut up.

3 medium carrots, diced.

2 med. potatoes, diced.

1 med. onion, diced.

1 clove of garlic, minced or crushed.

1 (12 oz.) can of tomato soup

salt and pepper to taste

Brown the stew meat, onions and garlic in 1 T olive oil. Add carrots, potatoes, and tomato soup. Add 3 C. water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender. If soup is too thick, add a little more water. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Oh NO!

So, I moved a bunch of files from my computer to my external hard drive, the same way that I do every month. But aparantly, I did something wrong. Because when I went back to get some off of it (after having deleted them from my computer...) they were all gone.

I am grateful for this blog, because at least I have some low-res versions. I also also glad I uploaded as large of pics as I could to the blog.

I am just sick. What a sad lesson to learn. :/

Friday, January 9, 2009

When I'm Sixty-Four...

I was asking the kids what they want to be when they grow up. Here is what each of them told me.

Hannah insists she will NOT grow up. If I press and wheedle for an answer, she says she will bake me pizzas when I am old.

Michael wants to be a spy or a detective or a scientist.

McKay wants to be a Teletubby.

Garrett wants to be a farmer or a cowboy or a Superhero or a Gingerbread Man or a puppy. (His words.)

So, I should be set when I am older. Someone to make me pizzas. Someone to call when I lose my keys and stuff. Someone to entertain me. And someone to help me plant a garden, rustle my cattle, save the day, and snuggle with me. (Honestly, I can't think of any real benefit to Garrett becoming a baked good. I tried.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thanks Ms. Fancypants!

My cool neighbor, known on this blog as Fancypants who writes the fun blog MacKay Display, just came over with two Teletubby dolls that her daughter had grown out of.

When McKay saw the dolls, he literally gasped. Like his breath was taken away with the joy of it all.

It is all about the little things, isn't it?

Thanks Nancy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hannah and the Sun Lamp

Ity has been cold and dark for quite a few days. We got some full-spectrum lights to put in the house so that we will feel a little more cheery with all of the gray.

We were all bored last night. Everyone has been so sick with this deep chest/sinus cold and Ella and her ears, so we have not been going out at all. The kids want to get out and go swimming or something, but we're not ready for public appearances.

However, boredom is the mother of invention. The sunlamp is a lot of fun to use for some crazy, dramatic light. So of COURSE we took pictures. ;)

I think this one will be the cover of Hannah's debut album, Kindergarten Songs. ;)

How's this for a dramatic 5-year-old girl?

Sunlamps...good for the winter outlook, and good for some boring evening fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crazy cat!

In the garbage.

In the bathtub.

In the shower.

On the top bunkbed.

In the van overnight (she must have popped in while the kids were getting out and got closed in.)

In the gift bags at Christmas.

In the crib.

I am learning what they mean by equating cats with curiosity.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yet ANOTHER ear infection.


This cold weather is the pits. Ella's getting ANOTHER ear infection (her 3rd in about 3 months...) and that makes it seem even MORE frusterating.

I had gotten to this incredibly zen mom-of-many place about my kids and colds. I used to freak out when I saw kids with runny noses within a 25 foot radius of any of my children. But gradually, I lightened up. I realized that the immune system WILL get a jumpstart, be it now or in nursery, or preschool, or kindergarten. I might fight the good fight and delay the Year of a Million Colds...but I would never get rid of that year. And once that year passed, we would all be much healthier. Everyone's immune systems would be strong and while we might get sick once or twice a year, it would not kill us.

And then I had ELLA! All of my other kids were relatively ear-infection-free. Michael had one. McKay had one. Hannah had a few, but grew out of them by 9 months or so. Garrett never has had one. But Ella has had 4, and 3 of them in the last 3 months! So 1) we are trying some stronger medicine and 2) I am reverting into my old ways. When I see a runny nose, I turn the other direction. Every single time Ella has gotten a cold, it turns into an infection, which means medicine, which leads to a diaper rash...and so it goes. Ugh.

So, here's hoping the Omnicef does the trick. Still, look how happy she is for having a cold, an ear infection, and having her top two teeth coming through as we speak? Aren't I a lucky stinker?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What is it with me and 3 am?

I have nothing especially deep to say. I just aparantly like to be up at 3 am. (By now it is nearly 4:30am.)

It is quiet though; I'll say that for 3 am.