Thursday, February 28, 2008

Getting Away

It is the week we have all been waiting for...our annual trip to Massanutten resort (or as Garth calls it...Massa-nothing) at our time-share. We have never been able to take a full week due to Garth's work schedule but we are always happy to go for however long we can manage...someday we hope to actually take all the kids skiing (Cal is the only child that has gone) and stay longer than 3 days. This year it will be a three day event (although Garth can only stay one day). We plan on tubing today (half price...gotta love that) and hitting the indoor waterpark tomorrow (we are so happy Grandma and Pops will come to join in the fun). We love just hanging out, going for hikes, and enjoy just getting away!

I will post pictures and details about everything in a few days!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dog Poo Brownies

What a great lesson my friend, Jean taught us at church today. She told us the story about " the dog poo brownies" and I thought I would share it with all of you (this is of course is my attempt of interpreting it).

A family is sitting together at dinner discussing the week's events. A couple of the kids bring up a popular movie that has just come out that they saw a few days prior. The father asks how the movie was. The kids reply, "It was great...except for a couple of little just have to see it!" The kids summed up that it was a "must-see" movie minus the small little part that wasn't quite up to their family's standards.

The next week the father brought all the children back together for a family meeting. He had made brownies! They looked delicious with thick chocolate frosting and even lively sprinkles. The kids were beside themselves and couldn't wait to dig in! The father offered the brownies to the kids but before they could have one he said this, "These are great brownies...except for a little doggie poo that I gathered up from the backyard. I only put a intzy bitzy tiny bit of dog poo in these brownies. There is still super rich chocolate and sweet as can be sugar...just forget about the small little part that might have a little poo mixed in."

Of course the kids wouldn't touch the brownies. It made me think about our family and why we let in movies, books, television shows with "just a couple of little bad spots" or "small parts that couldn't be all that bad..."

Poo is bad...even a little bit of it.

During the class, someone mentioned a great website to check out movies to see if they are up to your standards: there are others as well, do share if you have a favorite!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Garth is a Lucky Man

A few months ago, Garth put his business card in a local coffee shops contest bowl. He ended up winning a 160 GB Ipod Classic. We were thrilled except for the fact he already owned one. I had the nano and the two of the kids had the shuffle. We really didn't need it. But what we did need was a video camera. So I took it to Best Buy to see if I could exchange it for a new camera. I ended up finding one the same price as the ipod, so now I can stop feeling guilty that we aren't capturing our children's lives and start filming. Our first official "shoot" happened this week when we filmed a short 5 minute movie in my first attempt at getting on a game show (we all have dreams you know). Cross your fingers that "Deal or No Deal" will think I am exciting enough to be on their least I know I am smart enough for this one (Garth has attempted to be on Jeopardy twice...that takes more than good looks and a sparkling personality).

I still am hoping that I might "win" something in my lifetime. I still tear up when I recall the crawling contest that Tate took part four years ago and got second place (photo finish I must add)...we came so close to winning our dream vacation: A trip for 8 on a Disney Cruise! And when Garth reads this post he will be saying to himself, "Let it go, Heather, let it go..."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fun in the E.R.

I think the Emergency Room at Prince William Hospital and our family, might just be on a first name basis at this point. We seem to get ourselves there at least every other month for either stitches or mystery stomach ailments (I am the only one that seems to stay away from there but frequents every other doctor in the area).

Yesterday Ethan was complaining that his (we are all adults so I can use the proper terminology, okay people?!), right testicle was hurting really bad. We sent him to school and when he arrived home, he was still in pain. After dinner, we decideded to call our pediatrician to rule out a bladder infection. She called back immediately and told us to go directly to the E.R.

We love the E.R. We love to sit in the waiting room for 2 hours. We love when we finally are escorted to a room with a lovely "privacy curtain" with a neighbor coughing up who knows what. We absolutely love when we find out we get to wait on our comfortable metal bed with "book-like" comfortable pillow, for another hour waiting for that doctor. When she/he finally arrives, we are thrilled our wait is over, to find out the doctor wants to run some tests. He of course can't run those tests, so he calls for another doctor. That doctor takes at least an hour to come in. Hallalujeh, the tests are taken. But we love when we find we have to wait 3 hours for those tests and another hour for the doctor to give us his diagnosis.

That about sums up each visit at the E.R.

Anyway, on with our story. Garth graciously offers to take Ethan. I meanwhile start searching the web to find out why we have been told to get ourselves to the ER immediately. I start freaking out when I read that he has all the symptoms for a testicular torsion. That is when the testicle's blood supply gets cut off. If surgery isn't performed within 6 hours, he can lose that testicle. After having blood work and an ultrasound (the baby looks fine and is...drum roll...a healthy baby girl), the doctor says he seems fine and can...after waiting for 5 hours...GO HOME!

We were very relieved that he was okay. We have to watch him carefully the next few days and the doctor asked us to make sure he wears, "tighty whities" instead of Ethan's preference to boxers.

Luckily we had a "huge" snow/ice storm last night and so therefore school was cancelled and Garth didn't have to teach seminary...and I have the delight of having 5 restless kids home wondering why there is no snow and it is raining? GO VIRGINIA!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A total "pain in the neck!"

You won't believe this...but an hour after I wrote my last post, I was laying on the couch icing my ankle. I had turned my neck/head to watch the t.v. After finishing up the icing session, I got up and noticed my neck was killing me.

Okay, call me crazy, but I am in so much neck pain I cannot turn my head to the left without writhing in pain. I have now been icing that in hopes of a quick and remarkable recovery before tomorrow. I must have pinched a flippin' nerve. Anyone out there have experience with this!?

The good news is that my neck hurts so much that I can't even feel the ankle discomfort at this time!

Are the heavens trying to tell me something?!

Am I Getting Old?

Many of you know I am training for the race of all races, the Boston Marathon. Although I am a bit burnt out from all the time it takes to train for 26.2 miles, I committed to myself that I would run Boston this year (after you qualify, you have 18 months from your qualifying race to participate in Boston's Marathon) and I couldn't run it last year.

This has not been easy. The first challenge is conquering my mental game. I am just not that interested in running 40-55 miles each week with 16 plus miles on Saturdays anymore. After finally getting a grip on my plantar fasciatis problem (pricey custom orthodics), my lower hamstring/poplitius muscles began to give me problems (okay, so it has been bugging me for about a year). So much pain in fact, that running hurt. I couldn't imagine being able to handle that kind of discomfort for 26 miles/3.5 hours. After being stupid and going against my "no basketball, raquetball or aerobic classes" during training rule and playing basketball, I pulled a muscle in my lower back. I then went to a super hard core total conditioning class at Lifetime and pulled my upper hamstring. Then to make matters worse, our family got the pre-mentioned flu and I was running 12 miles with a low grade fever.

So after going to my A.R.T. (active release therapy) chiropractor, having a trigger point massage (the pain about knocked me out), and talking to a great sport injury othopedic doctor, I actually started feeling better. My faith in my capabilities was increased, my desire to continue training was great and I was excited to complete my Boston challenge.

Well, I can't believe it. On Friday, I went for a 4 mile run for a quick tempo run. I ran on a totally flat surface, albeit hard (a concrete sidewalk) but straight out and back surface. Afterwards, I noticed my achilles a bit sore. I blew it off and geared up for my 16 mile long run scheduled for the next morning. I woke up with the ankle/achilles still tender. I ran 16 miles, followed by a basketball game (AND LISTEN...I took it totally easy and was really just there as a body cause my team was short on players). It hurt when I ran, it hurt when I was playing basketball (and I guess you could contribute my "easy playing" due to the fact my ankle/achilles actually hurt really bad and was gratefully forcing me to slow down), and continued to hurt throughout the day.

When I finally went to bed that night, I decided I had better find out why I was having this pain. I couldn't believe it...what in the world was going on? My left ankle was bruised and swollen! I don't ever recall twisting it. I then reflected upon the words my lovely orthopedic said to me this week, "Sometimes after we reach the age of 35, our bodies don't handle the stress that we once did when we were in our 20's." Garth then followed up this morning with, "Heather, I am pleased, you are finally experiencing the frustrating feelings I get when my body doesn't work."

Am I getting old?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Missing you!

I wasn't a blogger when my darling parents came to visit us during Christmas from Alaska. We are missing them! Calvin was in heaven when his golfing idol, Pop-Pop Novakovich, took him golfing not once, twice, or three times...but four! He then surprised Calvin with a much needed new set of golf clubs for Christmas. Thankfully the weather during December was warm enough for golfing. We were able to drop off Pop-pop at Grandpa daycare (a.k.a. the golf course) while my mom and I would shop, hang with the kids and goof around. It was so fun for the kids to get to know their fab grandparents better that unforunately live so far away. We are missing you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Twelve Years in the Making...

Twelve years and four younger brothers later, Sommer is an official babysitter! She took a fabulous babysitting course last week at the hospital. The 6 hour course, covered everything from choking to behavior management and InfantChils CPR to Safety for the Sitter. I was thrilled to see the "behavior management" portion and took a moment to go over it for a few of our "problem children." Great stuff. She looks like she is really prepared to take on this important responsibility. She was so excited on a couple of her first jobs, that she made her own babysitting bag, full of books, toys and other helps for entertaining the troops! Her little brothers absolutely love when she babysits them!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Going on "Adventures"

Sommer took this picture high above of Ashton, Joey and the loveable parents!
The "tree house" where we kept our fingers crossed they wouldn't fall out!

We gathered up the entire family and ventured out to one of our favorite spots, a small National Forest trail only a few miles from our house.

My favorite moment was when Garth found a large tree hanging over the trail. He felt it was his duty to pull the whole tree down and set it safely to the side of the trail. I was pleased to capture a play by play of his heroic behavior...if only his dream of being a forest ranger would come true!

It is really sad we don't do this more often with the kids with the amount of fun they all have. For 2 hours they all got along great, exercised their imaginations, and had the time of their lives! We found an abandoned deer hunting perch and the kids had a blast climbing high into the trees (Garth did have to help two of them back down). We found old bottles (Calvin thinks he discovered an old glass Pepsi bottle worth millions), great walking sticks, odd shaped rocks and were all given Indian names on our Indian trail (trail of tears...after two falls created some crying).

The kids were all worried about ticks! Yeah, ticks. We had just found a random tick on Ethan Sunday morning...what's up with that kind of nonsense! Everyone came home tick free!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Becometh as a Child...

Ethan was baptized on Saturday! The day before, he kept asking me how many more minutes until his big day would come...

It was a very humbling experience to see a child have such a strong desire to take this important see his willingness to gain a testimony of the truth for himself and follow through with total excitment. It reminded me of the scripture in the Book of Mormon when Jesus had appeared as the resurrected Savior to the Nephites on the American Continent to increase their understanding of our Heavenly Father's Plan for all of us. He speaks to the people saying, "And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God." -3 Nephi 11:38

We know the miraculous quality of a child as they uncondtionaly obey, follow, love, submit, trust, and forgive us, the parent/teacher/grown-up. Why do we lose those most cherished qualities as adults? I think we simply just forget and that is why we are blessed with children, to remind us to "becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." -Mosiah 3:19

We so appreciate the love and support so many of you gave to Ethan during special day! It meant so much...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Music to My Ears

I wouldn't go as far as to call us the Partridge Family, but I think we might just have a few musicians in our future. Adding to our current pianists, Sommer, Cal and Ethan, we now have a banjo player, bass, and guitarist!

Garth loves his new guitar that he received from Santa at Christmas. After knowing him for over 15 years, I had no idea he could play so well.
Ethan has been wanting to take banjo lessons from Pop-Pop Gair since he first laid eyes on his Grandpa's Golden Banjo. His fingers are now just long enough to hold the basic he finally gets to take lessons!
As many of you already know, Calvin is really cool. So is his Grandma Gair. After seeing her play many times, he knew if he were to keep up with his coolness, he needed to add the bass as one of his talents. And our new bass player was born. Doesn't hurt to have his teacher a cool cat.
Sommer has asked Dad to teach her Guitar.
I think tamberine is the only thing left for me...anyone know a good teacher!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

75 degrees = park

Me and my two youngin's...
Love this picture so much I put it in twice...

You gotta love Ashton tearing around the corner...
Pure joy...

If it is January and the temperature is 75 degrees, everyone knows that it becomes a park day! I took Ashton and Tate to the most wonderful park in Virginia, called Clemyjontri in Langley on my way to "This is the Place" bookstore in Maryland (I needed to get Ethan's new set of scriptures for his big baptism day on Saturday).

I was actually feeling a bit too warm in the balmy weather in only a t-shirt (and pants of course...come on). We had a blast running from monkey bars to see-saws, swings to bridges wildly checking out all this park has to offer. It made it almost impossible to peel the boys away to head home! Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Thanks Grandma and Pop-Pop

It is an unfair advantage when both parents get sick at the same time. It happened to us this weekend. Luckily, I didn't have a fever like Garth (104 at times), so I was at least able to come downstairs and wonder how the house could keep getting so messy in such short periods of time.
Grandma brought Sommer over a super soft and snuggly blanket which she proceeded to cuddle with the entire looked great over her head as well (see picture)! Pop-pop and Grandma then took care of lunch for the boys (who were all feeling fine and full of tons of energy after having the flu earlier in the week) and stocked our house with fruit!

Grandma and I took two of the three basketball shifts to watch Ethan and Calvin play this weekend.
Ethan could only play for about five minutes and asked the coach to take him out. He proclaimed that he couldn't breathe and was going to throw up. He is known for being dramatic so luckily he didn't actually give us all a heave ho show. Their team lost again. Ethan wants to win badly and said as we were driving away, "I wish we could move to Chicago." I asked him why. He replied, "So Michael Jordon could be on our team."

Calvin is a superstar basketball player and on a great team. They have a 4-1 record. It is a blast to watch him play. He usually scores more than half his teams points and is amazing at reading the ball and where it is going to makes for some great steals!

I took poor little Ashton to the doctor today after he was up all night with aching ears. He had a double ear infection. Garth and I are hoping that this crummy flu will be a distant memory!