Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Old McDonald had a farm eee-iii-eee-iii-oooooo!And on that farm he had a cow, eee-iii-eee-iii-ooooo! With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo. Old Macdonald had a cow eee-iii-eee-iii-ooo! And on that farm he had a pig.........I had a bucket full of costume possibilities for Kaige, but as he belted out his favorite song Old MacDonald all day every day only including a mooing cow, I decided that Kaige should be a cow for Halloween. Craigslist didn't disappoint me, and $4 later I had a cow costume for my little guy. He loved dressing up every night before Halloween and we enjoyed him falling over with his padded cow bottom. In keeping with the theme, I roped Josh into being Old MacDonald and I was a pig. I love dressing up and Halloween. The older Kaige gets the more fun we'll have. I wonder what he will have us be next year.....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Best Buddies

I couldn't be happier that one of Kaige's favorite people is Kaiden Booth. His mommy and I have always wanted the two boys to be friends, and we've enjoyed watching them have fun together. These pictures are from some recent park and zoo play-dates.

Friendships have always been important to me, but the older I get the more I realize that good friends can be hard to find. If Kaiden is even half the friend his mommy has been to me, Kaige is set in the friendship department for life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The cutest pumpkin in the patch!

I've been taking my nanny kids to this pumpkin farm for years, and I was thrilled that Kaige was now old enough to take and enjoy, and boy did he!

They have so much to do there, and Kaige loved everything! He was excited to ride in the old fashion wagons they have to borrow for the day. The first animals we came to were the chickens, and he could have watched them for hours. One of them stole a waffle out of his hand, and he was so excited as the coop was filled with a whirlwind of chickens and excitement as they fought over it. There were 3 piglets, goats, horses and even an ostrich. Kaige especially loved the dozens of baby chicks to pet, but surprisingly wanted little to do with the petting zoo.

I'm not sure what his favorite activity would be. The corn pits, filled with dried corn kernals to play and dig in were fun. He also loved the train made out of barrels pulled by a 4 wheeler. Each barrel was equipped with it's own steering wheel, and Kaige was very excited to get on and enjoy the ride. He loved the inflatable bouncer and bounced nonstop chanting jump, jump, jump for 20 minutes. They had adorable little play houses from the 3 pigs story to play in along with slides, hay, and just about anything a little boy could wish for including tractors.

They had big boy toys too. A tomato gun, and large pedal cars and old fashion tricycles in a little dirt raceway. Kaige didn't want to sit on his dad's lap while he raced around the track. Nope, he would rather sit in the middle of the "road" on his own tricycle not going anywhere because his legs weren't long enough to reach the peddles. He sure was stubborn, but it made for great pictures.

I love the pictures from this day. I couldn't get him to smile that much, but he wore a hat just like his daddy. He was the cutest little pumpkin there! The place was fun, and it was nice to feel like we were out of the city for a couple hours. I'm a huge fan, and will probably make this outing a yearly fall tradition.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Swim Lessons Summer 2010

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I have a great job that allows me to take Kaige to work with me but this summer I was blessed with another perk. The kids I nanny call her Grammy, and so does Kaige now. I call her the swim lesson whisperer. Ok, so she doesn't ever really whisper, but this lady is magical! She teaches private swim lessons. She treated Kaige as her own and let him have private swim lessons every day after she taught her grandkids. At first I threw him in kicking and screaming. He would yell for mommy the whole time, and Marta seriously acted like she didn't notice and did the same swimming drills every day. It wasn't long before Kaige was screaming because he didn't want to get out. I had seen her teach lessons the last few years and always was in awe. But being a mommy watching your son progress with life skills and confidence was miraculous. He learned to get himself on his back and into a float. I was so thankful that he had learned that much at an incredibly young age. But she kept working with him and he also learned to basically swim or what they call zoom across the pool. He loved swim lessons and loved Grammy. He really is a little fish, and now he is a much safer fish in the water. He loved lessons and I would often find him chanting the swim instructions like Marta would and pretending to do lessons. I loved hearing him say, "monkey, monkey, monkey" and thought it was cute when he would bow his head down "to get his face wet." She is worth every penny she charges, and I consider myself one lucky duck that she chose to share her talents with my little guy free of charge. I owe her big time. My little guy can swim!!!! And he isn't even 2!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

July 2010 Oregon Hedge-a-palooza

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This is a family reunion we have been looking forward to since I was pregnant. It has always been important to us that Kaige meet his Great Great Grandma Blanchard. I love the way people speak of Alice Blanchard. All of her posterity speaks of her with the utmost of love and respect. She is a wonderful woman who continues to send birthday cards to every single one of us. I'm so thankful that we were able to make the trip and get a photo with 5 generations in it. Not all kids are that special. :) Now Kaige has met all of his Grandparents, 6 Great Grandparents, and 1 Great Great Grandma.

It was quite the adventure getting to Portland. We had overbooked standby tickets and even a trip to the ER because of a scorpion sting to get in the way. But once we made it, this reunion was a wonderful vacation.

Kaige got to meet both his Great Great Grandma, and his Great Grandma along with many "Great" Aunts and Uncles. We all had a blast, but watching Kaige enjoy himself was the real treat. He would get anyone he could to hold him out on the balcony and point to the birds, ocean, and moon. He got his Aunt Jessica to keep running into the waves, and learned how to cheer Yes from his Papa and his Great Uncle David.

I had only met some of Josh's family once on a whirlwind trip that was less than 48 hours. I enjoyed getting to know them better as we all stayed at a beach house in Lincoln City on the coast. They are all wonderful. We were given car seats, cribs, bedrooms, and just about anything else we needed to make our traveling experience as cheap and comfortable as possible.

I was nervous about Kaige and his sleep schedule for the trip. We hadn't been very successful on previous trips, and I didn't want us to all be miserable because of a cranky tired toddler. The first nap there, we put him to bed and he didn't make a peep. What? Not a protest, or scream?This was just too good to be true, but I didn't dare check him for fear I would ruin a good thing. My curiosity got the best of me and as I peeked in I was surprised to see him asleep in the midst of a white munchkin wonderland. No wonder he didn't make noise. He didn't want anyone to come in there and put an end to his fun. There was a table close to the pack and play with a box of tissues sitting on it. He grabbed that box of tissues and pulled, played, and threw them all over. It was the funniest thing to find him asleep in the midst of all this soft torn up tissue. I wish I had gotten a picture of his fun!

We enjoyed the weekend filled with cards, food, outings, reunion, the beach and most of all great company. I am thankful for the love that the family I married into has for each other and the fun they have when they all get together.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

4th of July 2010 Holbrook

We decided to combine two of my favorite things and head up for a visit at my grandparents home in Holbrook for my favorite holiday.... the 4th of July. Kaige was a 1 1/2 years old, and this trip was long overdue. Josh and I went cliff jumping in Winslow with Uncle John and some brothers and cousins. I know Josh wasn't thrilled with the idea, but it ended up being lots of fun. We celebrated all weekend long. Birthdays, baby blessings, independence, and family! Kaige loved the fireworks, and I loved his personal ooo's, ahhhs and wows. He loved all the attention he got from extended family and took a special interest in my cousin Melissa.

The last day there we enjoyed the quads. Little did I know just how much Kaige would like them. He is definitely his father's son, and has a need for speed. Kaige had his daddy driving him all over, and if they would stop he would yell GO! He really loved the take off and could have ridden all day. A sunburn and a tantrum later, we got off the 4 wheelers and said our goodbyes. It was good to be back in Holbrook, and in my grandparent's home. Kaige loved it so much and we are looking forward to return trips.Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 22, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 - Utah or Bust!

My bosses decided to take a week vacation, so we jumped on the opportunity for a family road trip ourselves. I'm not sure Utah was ready for us. On the way up we stopped in Fredonia to place flowers on My Great Grandparent's graves and other graves in my Grandma Palmer's family. I made the flower arrangements and was excited to do this. I had never done anything to celebrate Memorial Day before.
We were pretty tired after trying to drive through the night, so our first day was kind of spent lounging around at Josh's Aunt Jane's home. We stayed with her and were treated like royal guests. Sunday morning I wanted to go on a nature walk. Aunt Jane suggested a certain trail, and up the mountain we drove to walk around a lake on one of her favorite walks. We are from AZ, so the last thing we expected to see was snow covering everything and a frozen lake. It was kind of funny. It was almost June and because of an unexpected snow storm the week before no-one thought about it being covered. It made for some good pictures, and Kaige thoroughly enjoyed feeding the many squirrels his goldfish crackers. There were dozens of them, and they obviously weren't strangers to humans. That night we went to my Uncle Randy's home for dinner and spend the evening with them. They are always the best of hosts. Kaige had lots of fun with his little cousin Joycelyn.
On Memorial day we met my best friend Val and her family at Heritage Park. Kaige loved the animals and train the best. There is so much to do there, and it will be an even more fun place to visit when he is a little older and can be interested in older activities. We went to their home for a BBQ that night. The boys played really well together, and it was so fun to be with Valerie again. It's kind of weird to include our husbands and kids, when I think we would have loved nothing more than to be just the two of us......talking about them. I got to meet her daughter Lily for the first time. Their family is adorable, and I wish we didn't live in different states, but I am so thankful for her and the friendship that has stayed strong despite the years, and miles.
Tuesday morning I went shopping with my dear friend Sophany. She lived in AZ years ago, and we have always been close. She is Cambodian, and a riot. She took me all over the place, shopping all the stores I could only find in Utah. She cracks me up, and is so much fun. I spent way too much money, and laughed so much! That afternoon Josh, Kaige and I went to Temple Square and enjoyed all that it has to offer. As we juggled nap times and all that we wanted to do, we ended up short on time and didn't spend nearly as much time there as we would have liked. When we went and saw the large Christus, Kaige said, "Hi Jesus" as soon as he saw it, and every time he saw it after that. He loved looking at it, but if we tried to get too close to get some good pictures, or leave him by himself by it he would freak it. The size really intimidated him. We saw a presentation on family, and I know it touched me even more because I am a mom now. We had to cut our visit short to meet up for Cafe Rio with Josh's family. Everyone loves Cafe Rio, but my body sure didn't. I was sick the whole rest of the night. :(
Aunt Jane stayed home from work on Wednesday to spend time with us. We spent a casual day, and did some more shopping. I got a migraine in the midst of this, so by the time we got back to the house, I just wanted to lay in bed. We decided to try one more store to look for our "Prayer at the Valley Forge" picture. As I got ready to go, I realized I didn't have my wallet anywhere. I must have left it at the last store I was at.......5 hours ago...... We called the store, and the lady said I've been waiting for you to call. I know there are good people everywhere, but I have to think that had I not been in Utah, my luck might have been alot different. I am so thankful for the honesty of the person who had found it. I had $600 cash in there.....and it was safely waiting for me. I felt so blessed! Then we went and not only found the picture we had been looking for, but it was so much cheaper than the one I had been trying to get ordered. We both fell in love with a painting of Jesus and bought it as well. So much for that $600 cash, but I am so thankful that I was able to recover it, buy these beautiful pictures that have added so much to our home. I just love when Kaige sees the picture and says, "Jesus" with his little finger pointing up at it. That night Valerie was such a good sport and came out to see me at the house. She made the drive and even played some cards.
We love to play cards with Hedgecock relatives, so we played cards just about anytime we could. Aunt Jane gave Kaige his own little mini deck. We were to the last hand of up and down the river, and we were playing it Indian style, where you put the card on your forehead. Everyone but you can see what you have and you have to guess what to bid. Then we looked at Kaige and stuck to his forehead is his little mini card. It was the cutest thing ever! He was playing just like us.
I could have spent another month in Utah, catching up with loved ones, sight seeing, and enjoying the beauty and great weather. But it was time to come home. Kaige was a trooper and did so well most the drive. By Flagstaff he was done and the sun in his eyes didn't help. He cried, "All done chair!" over and over. Poor boy! It was nice to be back home and in our own bed....but we hope another opportunity arises to go up there again in the near future.
The next day, we decided to go to Tim and Jessica's house that is only 10 minutes away. It took alot of effort to get Kaige buckled in as he arched his back. He did not want in that seat again. He screamed the entire way over there. I think he thought we were going to be in the car for 10 hours again. Can you say a little traumatized????

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kaige turns ONE!!! Feb 2010

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We were so excited to celebrate our 1st child's 1st birthday in our 1st house! In honor of his 1st word, doggy, and his obsession with animals, we had a petting zoo and invited all our family and friends to celebrate with us.

Kaige loved every minute of it. The company that brought the animals did a wonderful job of catering to Kaige the whole time and spending time with him as he loved all the animals. There were quadruplet pygmy goats only a couple of weeks old. Their umbilical cord had not fallen off, they were so young. Kaige loved them to pieces, literally..... and he was allowed and encouraged to carry them. My little 12 month old was walking well enough to carry a baby goat. It was incredible to watch and probably the highlight of my day. We made Kaige puppy dog cupcakes that were the cutest thing ever.

I never thought I would make such a big deal for a 1 year old b-day party, but I throw parties for everyone else and by golly I was going to throw a party for my own son at the first opportunity I could get. Kaige and our home have been huge blessings. We appreciate all who came to celebrate the good things in our life. Kaige gave me the gift of being a mom on his birthday; I will celebrate that every year!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christmas 2009

I'm not sure who enjoyed Christmas more this year, Kaige or his parents?

Kaige loved the lights, music, and presents. As parents we loved spoiling him and playing Santa's helpers for the first time. Santa brought Kaige his own little tykes car. We would love to know how many miles that car has got on it even though it's never left our house. Kaige was much more into Christmas than most 10 months old, so we are all excited for the holidays to come around this year. Another year older, and even more fun. My favorite memory of last year's Christmas was Josh surprising us with our own little Christmas tree, decked out in lights and ornaments. Kaige would say tree, and Josh would turn on the lights, and together they would stand looking at it.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Not goodbye, but see ya later!

A face only a mother could love.....and a daughter... Look at all that hair!?! I hate it, but on this day I was soooo excited to have him any way I could get him. This is how he came.

The day before the funeral I got my first good news since I heard about my Grandpa. My dad was given a furlough. I got to pick him up at 8AM, and he was able to attend the funeral without an escort. I had 12 hours until he needed to return to Tucson. It was a long, hard, emotional day with lot's of driving. But it was my pleasure and totally worth it.

I keep having to shake my head and ask myself, flight risk huh??? Oh well, it was such a blessing to have my dad be able to attend his dad's funeral how he did. Prayers were answered!

My grandfather had begun to type up his wishes for when he died and his services. On June 1st of this year he wrote, "In all these proceedings, I hope someone will mention that I was a man who tried his best, was conscientious of his responsibilities, but who made many mistakes and wrong decisions throughout his lifetime. It was my great fortune that Nicky agreed to share her life with me as I loved her intensely, admired her achievements, marveled at her sparkle and enthusiasm, benefited from her care and comforting, and felt her forgiveness for my faults. I was indeed a most blessed man because of her. May God bless her and our family. Thank you, Nick!" It was so nice to read it and know that these things were his wishes, and I'm sure it eliminated some difficult decisions for my grandma and gave her comfort at the same time. I would encourage everyone to do the same. A great gift for those left behind.

There was a table that displayed these pictures in a room where people could come and talk to my grandma before the service. We gathered as a family for prayer before the service began.

It was so nice to walk into the chapel for the service as a family and see that the entire room was filled with those who came to celebrate my grandfather's life and support my family. My dad was giving the Eulogy so he walked and stood on the stand and waited for everyone to be seated. I could see him quiver with emotions as he looked into the audience. That opened my floodgates. He got choked up a few times as he spoke and it was very touching to see. No one wants to see their parent sad.....but for me, it was re-assuring to see that sensitive side. He was probably the most emotional out of the family there. As odd as it may sound, it gave me a certain amount of comfort in seeing that. I would imagine that the last 5 years of my dad's life and the support his dad gave to him during that difficult time added to that.

If there is something good about a funeral, it's that we get to learn things we didn't know about these people we have gathered to honor. I was looking forward to that, and I wasn't disappointed. I didn't know my grandpa had failed kindergarten. :) It was interesting to hear the stories about associations he had with well known people like Lou Holtz, Kent Dana, and Magic Johnson.

We are blessed to have the spirit in our lives to testify of truth and give us comfort. Thankfully it was present in both capacities that day. I felt it as my dad tenderly talked about my grandparents moving to AZ and how essential it was to their conversion to the gospel, and Grandpa's commitment to it. As well when my dad said he knew because of his patriarchal blessing that his parents were meant to be together and meant to be his parents. The spirit gave me tingles as people spoke on how much my grandpa adored my grandma; that she was the only one he would notice in a full room and how they always celebrated their first date, their first marriage, and their temple marriage because they were important dates for them.

I had seen sheet music to a song that Grandpa had written the lyrics to, but they were just words and notes on a page. It was a special touch to have the lady who wrote the music, and her daughters sing my Grandpa's words to that song. It was beautiful!

As the Bishop gave his closing remarks he spoke about a lesson Grandpa had given on the Plan of Salvation. How powerful of a lesson it was, and that anyone in that class could not doubt Grandpa's testimony of the gospel and that Plan. I needed to hear that. It's now that he is gone, I need the same faith that he had in the wonderful plan Heavenly Father has for us. Several people spoke on Grandpa's love for missionary work, and that he is happy now where he is and teaching the gospel to those who didn't have that opportunity to learn of it in this life.

The service was really wonderful. After a family luncheon, I drove my dad "home". The day was bitter/sweet in many ways.

The next Monday September 20th, was a service at the National Cemetery. My grandma came over and spoke to Qie and Qadry and told them how much better off Grandpa was. How miserable he had been the last little while and that he is ok now doing missionary work. It was good to listen to her speak to them, and I recognized what she was saying to be true.

The service was short and sweet. We were warned about the gunshots, but still weren't prepared. I watched my Aunt and Grandma jump with each shot, and held Kaige as he cried with fear. Thankfully Kaige calmed down, and we could sit and listen and watch as they did their military presentation.

It was the first time I saw emotion visible on my grandma's face. I felt the spirit, peace, respect, and honor in this quite peaceful place. It was nice. I gave the closing prayer and was nervous about it. But thankfully it wasn't me who chose the words, I depended on the spirit to guide me, and I truly felt like the right words were said as we bid farewell to our dear Grandpa. He will be missed and may we learn from his example and his life!

I painfully regret not knowing how sick and miserable Grandpa was those last few weeks. He said goodbye to me once before an open heart surgery, and he survived. Over the last 15 year, I feel like I've been told several times he might not live long, and yet by the next time I saw him he seemed just fine, rosy cheeks and all. I wish I had been more in tune and had been more sensitive to his needs this last year, but there is nothing I can do to change the past. Just learn from it!

It's in times like these, family becomes even more important. In many ways I feel like my family has been broken over the last few years. I hate it, but as most of us gathered together to celebrate Grandpa's life, I have hope for better times in the future. I hope that I won't take the loved ones I still have for granted like I may have done with Grandpa. And I pray for healing in the hearts of those I love. That we may all be able to forgive one another and find an appreciation for each other.

Some may not like that we smiled and took pictures at a funeral, but it was good to be together, and like I said the day was very much bitter/sweet. I will cherish these pictures and wish that we had been able to include more of my family in them.

This time has allowed me the opportunity to reflect on my faith and beliefs. I am so thankful for the gospel in my life, for the gift of the holy ghost that continues to comfort me. The words from the song "Families Can Be Together Forever" continue to run through my mind.

"I have a family here on earth.
They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them
Through all eternity.
Families can be together forever
Though Heavenly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family
And the Lord has shown me how I can."

If you know this song, I hope you are singing it to yourself as you read the words, and picturing your precious family. I am so thankful that I have been sealed to my family and I know that we will continue our relationships after this life. The following is an excerpt from my Grandpa's journal; this special testimony is a wonderful reminder how important it is for us to keep a journal....or blog....

"Whether you are my wife, or one of my children, or a grandchild, or some friend of the family, I want you to know without any doubt, of the love I have for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
If things in your life seem to be going wrong, please let my testimony of Christ's love for you buoy up your spirits, because I know He does love you and me, and all mankind. We may break his heart by the actions we take, the things we think or the bad feelings we may have, but the fact will always remain that He loved us first, and He loves us still, and He always will."
Dave Jenkins

So Grandpa, not goodbye....but see ya later......