Saturday, July 02, 2016

Oregon trip 2016

Yesterday, we began our annual drive to Winston, OR to visit Steve's dad and stepmom. It's a long drive, even longer now that we live a few hours south from where we used to live. Last night, we drove to my brother's house in Saratoga Springs, just west of Lehi. Our plan was to leave there by 8am this morning. Well, Matt had a rough coughing fit last night and woke up around 5am. Steve took him downstairs hoping I could get more sleep but by 5:30 I knew I was awake for good, so we loaded up the car and had left by 6am...2 hours earlier than planned! Yay!

The drive went fairly smoothly. Matt watched The Peanuts Movie numerous times (it's his new favorite - he's watching it and giggling as I type this), which kept him happy, plus I had puzzles, books, coloring books and markers, and matchbox cars/planes to keep him busy so he wasn't always watching a movie.

We stopped for lunch in Winnemucca, NV, about 6 hours into our trip. I had packed sandwich fixings, veggies, and fruit, so we just needed a place to have a picnic. We found a cemetery just off the freeway, which was perfect because I love cemeteries and it was shady and grassy. After lunch, we walked around for a bit, looking at tombstones and found some pretty old ones. We loaded back into the car and headed out of town, on the way to Reno, NV, our final destination for this leg of our journey. We had gone about 10 miles when suddenly Steve pulled over; several lights on our dashboard had lit up, including the brake light. When I looked up the various lights in our car manual, the brake light explanation said to stop driving the car immediately and get it into a Subaru dealership to get checked out. Well, the brakes were working least for the moment...and we didn't want to pay for a tow truck, so we found a turn around spot (one of those that is reserved for authorized vehicles only - glad we didn't get caught!), and headed back to Winnemucca. Using my phone, I looked up repair shops and found a Les Schwab that was right off the freeway. We took it in, they immediately looked at the car, took it for a drive, and said everything looked safe and fine and that it was probably the car's computer misfiring. They said we needed to take it to a Subaru dealership and that it should be safe to drive to Reno.

One the drive to Reno, I called the Subaru dealership and talked to the service department. The guy said to bring it in but wasn't sure they could work on it today as they were booked solid and really busy. We got into town about an hour before they closed and went right to the shop - after some confusion because I was reading my map incorrectly. The service desk lady was a little perplexed by the lights and told Steve they would have to do a diagnostic test for $130 but wasn't sure if they could do it today. At that moment, a mechanic walked by and said he'd look at the car. He diagnosed the problem within minutes and a couple minutes later had fixed it (a Evap leak - no, I don't know what that is) and sent us on our cost at all and about 10 minutes of our time! Answer to my prayers!!

Our hotel was 5 minutes away from the dealership, so we were "home", checked in, and settled quickly. It felt soooo good to be done driving for the day. We were so tired of being in the car that we chose to eat at the hotel's restaurant instead of going somewhere else. My expectations were set really, really low. I've been to some pretty subpar restaurants attached to hotels, especially hotels like ours, nothing fancy, a Best Western. I was very pleasantly surprised by how good our food was. Matt ordered a kid's cheeseburger and it was soooo good. My BLT was spot on, and Steve devoured his fish and chips. He even said the chips were the closest to being British that he's had in the US besides the British shop in Layton. Even the chocolate shake tasted better than expected. Plus, the staff was super friendly and went out of their way to chat with Matt and make him happy. It was really pleasant and recharged our batteries.

After dinner, we went for a walk around the inner courtyard of the hotel. It was lovely with trees and a walking path that led to and around a swimming pool. Of course, Matt wanted to swim as soon as he saw the pool. We're planning a trip to the beach this week, so we had our swimsuits, so we went back to our room and put them on. There weren't very many people swimming but the few kids that were were super friendly and respectful. Matt had a blast and got pretty brave with his "swimming". We laughed and splashed and swam for one point we even had the pool to ourselves!

We came back to our room, gave Matt a bath, took showers, and have been watching tv and playing for a couple hours. Matt took a nap in the car today so he's going to be up for awhile...lately he's given up naps, which means he falls asleep quickly after his 8pm bedtime. The rare times he falls asleep, he then stays awake til 10pm or later. Plus, it's a hotel room and he has a hard time settling's so exciting!

Even with the hiccup of the car (and maybe even because of it a little), we've had a really good day. Despite the really early start, we've all been happy and in good moods all day. I hope the trip tomorrow goes just as well. It will be so good to see Steve's parents and I'm looking forward to them seeing Matt.

Julie :)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Matthew Is Getting Too Big!

The last few days have been semi-momentous in our household.

First, Matthew sat on the little toilet without a diaper and almost went potty on it. He repeatedly asked me to take off his diaper, would sit on the potty and "go" (not really but almost), flush it, and then want his diaper back on so he could actually pee. It's a good sign and combined with a couple others, makes me realize that he's getting closer and closer to potty training. I'm not sure I am. Sigh. I keep telling myself it will be worth it when it's done, but I know it's going to be crazy at first. And, there's a lot to be said about the convenience of diapers.

Here he is. I had to delete a lot of shots when he'd move and uncover his cute little tushy or private area. :)

Sitting on the potty

Today, we set up Matthew's new toddler bed! Since he's getting so close to potty training, I wanted to get him used to sleeping in a bed instead of a crib. That way he can go to the bathroom in the middle of the night or during quiet time. I really struggled with him leaving his crib...for two reasons. First, it means he's getting older and bigger and no longer my little guy. Second, and much more importantly, it means he will have freedom of movement during quiet time. He doesn't nap any more (unless he's sick or something), but I still put him in his crib for a couple hours along with a few cars, books, and other toys. He'll happily play in the crib until I get him out, so I get a couple hours to rest, read, clean, watch tv, or anything else I want to do. I worry that without the crib restricting him, I won't get that time any more. Today was our first quiet time with the bed and it went ok. So so. He stayed in his room for the most part but I had to threaten to put him in his crib if he left the room again, which did the trick but won't once we take out the crib. Also, he got into something he shouldn't have, which is my fault for not taking it out of the room. I figure it will go one of two way...maybe both depending on the day...he'll either get used to chilling in his room for an hour or so (I doubt I'll get 2 hours any more) and play peacefully in there until I get him or once the newness of his toddler bed wears off he won't stay in his room for 15 minutes without me constantly having to tell him to go back in there. Either way, my life has just changed. yay.

Matt's new bed with afghan from Grandma Susan and blanket from Nana

Here are a couple more recent pictures of him, just for kicks. Enjoy!

Splashing on the steps after Mom cleaned off the chalk drawings. He got wet and had a ton of fun.

Chilling with Dad. They are two cool, handsome dudes.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Pneumonia, Snow, and Snarls

Tuesday, Steve came home from work and promptly started feeling unwell. Periodically, usually when he's unbalanced somewhere in his life (ie, not enough sleep/water or too much sugar), his heart starts beating irregularly. Every time it happens we go to the ER where his heart stops beating irregularly, the doctor runs a lot of tests, and nothing happens. Every time I tell myself that the next time we'll try waiting it out, but when it happens I just can't take that risk. One doesn't mess with the heart.

My mom came to babysit Matthew and we headed to the ER. The lady at the check-in booth is a good friend of mine that I hadn't seen for awhile, so we caught up while the nurses took Steve in for an EKG and then situated in a room, connected to all sorts of machines and IVs. By the time I got to his room 10 minutes later, his heart was beating regularly again, which was a relief, of course. We sat for a bit, admittedly enjoying watching The Voice without a 2-year old demanding our attention. The doctor came in and said one of Steve's tests didn't rule out a clot in his lungs, so he wanted to do a CT scan to make sure there wasn't a clot. The last time Steve had a CT scan, we discovered he's allergic to the dye, so the doctor ordered a bunch of drugs to be put into Steve's IV beforehand to counteract the allergic reaction beforehand. While we waited for the drugs to get into his system, a tech came in and took an x-ray of Steve's chest.

The drugs worked, Steve didn't have an allergic reaction, and we were feeling like it was almost time to go home when the doctor came in and said Steve didn't have a clot in his lungs (yay!) but he had pneumonia. You could have knocked us down with a feather...Steve wasn't experiencing any of the symptoms of pneumonia - fever, difficulty breathing, etc. The doctor and nursed watched Steve's oxygen levels for a bit after taking him off oxygen and almost had him stay overnight. Fortunately, they let him go home...with a breathing apparatus to help strengthen his lungs, and inhaler, and a prescription for an antibiotic. We arrived home after 11pm.

Steve has stayed home the rest of the week. Wednesday he wasn't feeling bad at all but since pneumonia can be contagious, he didn't want to risk spreading it at work. He has pretty much stayed out of the scene at home so as not to infect Matthew, so it's almost been like he's been at work. Except I can leave Matthew with him watching a movie while I clean the house and shower. Today, Steve is feeling kind of cruddy, the worst he's felt all week. I think part of it is the forced inactivity; he doesn't do well with having to do nothing all day.

The snow probably doesn't help. Yep, I said snow. Lovely spring time weather. A few days ago it was upper 60's, sunny with a slight breeze. Today, snow. So, the sky is gray and gloomy. Even though it's kind of pretty, after being in the house all day for several days, it probably doesn't do a lot to boost Steve's spirits.

Just before I put Matthew down for "quiet time" (he rarely naps any more but will stay in his crib for 2+ hours playing cars happily), we got out the crayons and coloring books. One is full of pictures of Hot Wheels cars and drivers and that is the one we colored today. There are skulls on almost every page and Matthew calls them "bad guys". As he colored them black, he made a bunch of snarly faces. I thought they were super cute. Here's an example:

I wish I could have gotten some of his faces full on but he wouldn't hold still and certainly wouldn't do the snarl while looking at me. It was cute.

Other than Steve's pneumonia, we're all doing fairly well. I hope you are too!

Julie :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sick Again

My poor little guy is sick again. I could tell he was getting sick on Friday when he wouldn't eat anything...not even noodles from the Chinese buffet we go to when he won't eat anything else because he always eats their noodles.

Saturday, he had a slight fever and was a little grumpier than usual. He still wouldn't eat anything nor would he drink very much. However, he was still fairly active. He threw up his milk that morning, so I figured he had a tummy ache and told Steve we shouldn't give him any milk/yogurt until Matt felt better. Sunday, while I was at church, Steve gave him milk...and he threw it up promptly. Poor guy. Yesterday, he didn't have a fever but was more lethargic and still wouldn't eat or drink. We're pretty sure he had a sore throat all day because he wouldn't even eat a popsicle or drink soda - two things we rarely let him have and that he LOVES. When I got home from church around 1pm, I cuddled with Matt and asked Steve to make us some popcorn. Matt loves popcorn. At first he refused to eat any, but eventually he started to and ended up eating a decent amount. We had to remind him to drink his water and a couple times even used a syringe to make him drink when he absolutely refused to drink from his cup. We were able to stave off dehydration throughout the day, my main concern. In the evening, he perked up quite a bit. Still wouldn't eat but started drinking more and had his third pee diaper of the day. We hoped it was a sign he was on the mend.


Last night, Matt woke up around 3am crying and miserable. I went in with him, he fell back asleep, so I went back to bed for 10 minutes, and then went back in when he started crying again. I ended up taking my pillow and a blanket in there and slept for a little bit; waking up whenever he got sad and reminded him that I was there. His fever came back this morning and he was really listless. I called my dad and he came over and gave him a blessing. Matt's temperature had reached 101.8 and he was sobbing, "Help me!" over and over again. Dad suggested taking him to the doctor, which is what I was feeling, too, so we headed to the doctor.

By the time we arrived and were shown into the exam room, the ibuprofen I'd given Matt when his fever spiked (it had hovered around 99-100 previously) had kicked in and his temperature dropped. The doctor checked him out and said it was a virus and to make sure he kept getting plenty of fluids. It was a comfort to know that he didn't have strep throat or anything else that needed to be treated by an antibiotic.

Steve had left work and met us at the doctor's during his lunch break. After the doctor, Matt and I headed home and Steve ran to the store to get some things for Matt.

It's hard work taking care of a sick kid, especially when he only wants one parent (me) most of the time. I'm fortunate to have such a wonderful partner who takes care of me while I'm taking care of Matt. He does everything he can to make sure we're both as comfortable as we can be and have everything we need. I don't know what I did to deserve fact, I'm pretty sure I don't deserve him at all, but I am sure grateful for him.

Matt still isn't doing great. Right now he's resting in his bed. His temperature is still in the normal range, thankfully, and he's drinking more water. He had a sucker earlier...another thing he loves but refused to eat yesterday...and we took that as a good sign. He also ate half a banana. I have faith in his body's ability to heal itself (since it's nothing beyond its ability without help) and I have faith in the blessing my dad gave to Matt that offered comfort and promised a return to good health.

I hope you and your family are staying healthy. I know so many kids who are sick right now!

Julie :)

Matt before he was sick. He was so pleased that the popsicle turned his tongue blue.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Almost a full time job!

I can't remember if I mentioned in my last post that I was once in a Relief Society presidency the first a singles ward.

For those of you not of my faith, a singles ward is just like a regular LDS congregation except there are no married members besides the bishop and his counselors who lead the ward. It's a way for single adults to interact with like-minded people of the opposite sex and hopefully find friends and possibly even a spouse.

I'm sure being the RS president of a student ward has its own set of challenges, but I know for a fact we didn't have to deal with half of what a regular, family ward has to deal with.

Pretty much since day one, compassionate service has been on the forefront of what I do. Funerals, moms having babies, sick moms with sick kids, emergency room visits, deaths in the family...all things we didn't even think about when I was in the singles ward and yet have already dealt with in the three weeks I've been in the position. Of the 21 days I've been RS Pres, I think there has only been 7 days I haven't been called about someone who needs something. It's kind of wearing.

This past week, we had an incident that left an awful taste in my mouth and a pit in my stomach. I couldn't sleep all last night for thinking about it. I made a mistake and said yes to something and got taken advantage of...more accurately, the ladies in our ward who provided the service were taken advantage of (although I pray they never realize it and receive all the blessings they deserve for their generosity).

Yesterday, Matthew and I watched an hour of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood in the morning (he's sick so we didn't go to the gym like we usually do). One of the episodes was about making mistakes; everyone makes them and the important thing to do is to fix them if you can and to learn from them.

Well, I made a mistake and am determined to learn from it. I chatted with the bishop (the leader of our congregation) and he assigned me to come up with some guidelines for our ward's compassionate service efforts.

I believe in providing service to those in need. It's one of the three fundamental purposes of the Relief Society and it is a godsend to those who give and receive the services. I was counselled recently to never turn away from an opportunity to serve; however, I fear that there are members in my congregation who are abusing this service, and it makes me sick in my heart. Already, there are ladies in my ward who are getting burned out from all the compassionate service needs of our ward (we have at least a dozen women who are expecting babies in the next few months - we provide 2 meals for each pregnancy - plus all the elderly, sick, and others).

It's only been three weeks. What is in store for me the next year or so (hopefully not too long)??

Julie :)

Saturday, February 06, 2016


Today I survived my first funeral luncheon as Relief Society president.

For anyone reading this who isn't LDS, the Relief Society is an organization of women in the church whose purpose is to teach the gospel and provide relief and support to the women in the church. Each congregation, known as wards, has its own Relief Society with leaders and teachers from the ward. They are all volunteers.

Last Sunday, I was called to be the president of my ward's congregation. I have mixed feelings about it, but I believe that it will be an excellent experience with a lot of hard work. I have two counselors who have specific duties as well as overall helping the ladies in the ward. After choosing my two counselors, I had to pick a Compassionate Service Coordinator. Her job is to organize help (most often meals) for sick families, women who just had a baby, and people who just had a death in the family. The gal I chose accepted the position on Tuesday, the same night I found out about a death in the ward.

Well, actually, the lady who died isn't in my ward but her daughter and ex daughter-in-law are and they requested help with the funeral. I called JaNae, the Compassionate Service Coordinator, thanked her for accepting the position and told her about the funeral. Technically, she doesn't start until being "sustained", or approved, by the congregation on Sunday, but she jumped in without worrying about it and was such a huge help.

JaNae called several women in the ward and all agreed to provide rolls, salads, baked potatoes, and desserts for the funeral and I cooked a couple hams. Everything went well and we had a lot of help before, during, and after the funeral. It was kind of stressful but was a complete success. The family and friends were so appreciative and it felt good to serve them in their hour of sadness.

I had kind of hoped to not have a funeral for a bit so I could get used to this new position, but now that it's come and gone, I'm okay that it happened my first week. Baptism by fire.

Julie :)

Monday, February 01, 2016

Snow Day

Last night it snowed over a foot!

Our house faces north, which means our front yard still had several inches of snow leftover from previous storms. Our backyard snow had melted enough to see all the dog poop we hadn't picked up because of the snow. I was going to pick it up this weekend but didn't get around to it. Now it is once again covered and who knows when the snow will melt again.

School in the county, including the university, are closed for the day. That almost never happens in Utah, despite all the snow we get. I don't remember ever missing school because of snow when I was a kid. My freshman year at the U, there was a snow day, the first in over 20 years. I had gone to an early morning meeting at my church, trudging through the thick snow from my dorms, and didn't hear about classes being canceled until I was back in my room.

Steve's work texted him this morning and said he could choose whether or not to go to work today. He waffled awhile before choosing to go to work. I guess I didn't hide my disappointment well, because he came back inside a moment later announcing he was staying home! Yay! I want to do something special to commemorate the day. I don't know what yet. :)

Happy snow day!

Julie :)