Thursday, December 9, 2010

Being thankful especially during the hard times

Note: this one is LONG!!!
Tis the season for homemade gifts!
One day Tori and I were hanging out and we went to the front doorstep and to our surprise we discovered anonymously given chocolate covered caramel pretzels! Yummy! We had just made these goodies (chocolate pretzels, chocolate covered caramel apples and sweet popcorn) the Wednesday before at our YW activity and I gave a quick lesson on traditions. I was all nostalgic about making delicious goodies with my mom, her friend Gwen, and Lora each December when I was young. My mom would let us skip school for a day and we would make delicious goodies to give away. We would make chocolate covered pretzels, all sorts of Christmas chocolate molds, chocolate covered orange slices, peanut butter cups, rocky road, truffles of all sorts, peppermint bark, birds nests (crunchy rice noodles, peanuts and raisins), chocolate covered nuts, mounds & almond joys, and other such divine delights. Then we would combine this with my mother's famous gingerbread boys and sometimes even sugar cookies and give them to all of our friends for Christmas. Man, those were the days!

Anyways, to make a long story short, we are grateful for friends who make us chocolate covered pretzels. I am grateful for family traditions that I cannot wait to start with Brooke and Tori! This was Tori's first chocolate covered pretzel. I think she LOVED was gone in a matter of minutes. Oh, and don't worry, we saved one for Jason!
Tori was very grateful for our first snow that we received a few days before Thanksgiving. I cannot believe that the snow is starting already. I have mixed feelings for snow. I love the white, but I dislike driving in it and the fact that I can only wish that I was on a mountain skiing! We need to go purchase some new boots so that Tori can go play outside! I cannot wait to make a snowman with her!
This year we were thankful that my parents brought us home to celebrate Thanksgiving! Yippee! We had not seen them since April! Tori and Brooke loved playing with Grandpa Lee, Grandma Frann and Uncle Sethy. Tori loves to play with Grandpa Lee and loves being spoiled by Grandma Frann. Grandma Frann has a great collection of movies (including The Little Mermaid which we watched at least a half dozen times!), 3 barbies and a comfy chair. What more can a 2 1/2 year old ask for?! Oh, maybe a treat at every meal (please note that Tori really doesn't eat the cookie, just the frosting!).
Can you tell that Brooke loved her time in Oregon too? She loved snuggling with Grandma and giggling with Grandpa! What a cutie! A few weeks before we went to Oregon we went for Brooke's 12 month check up. She is 22 pounds and 30 inches! She is tall (75th percentile) and skinny (25th percentile). She really is going to catch up with Tori (who only has 3 pounds and 3 inches to her advantage!).
We were definitely grateful for our Thanksgiving feast! We had ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries (of which I consumed a whole entire can myself over the week...they are my favorite!), crescent rolls, and a special green bean casserole just for Jason (no one else would eat it.... NASTY!). We went simple...and had just a turkey breast made in the Crock Pot. Boy was it scrumptious! Recipe: Chicken Breast and an Onion Soup mix. Put it in the Crock Pot on high for 1 hour and low for 7 hours. It was ridiculously tender! Mmmmm! Oh and don't forget the Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Silk & Pumpkin pies! (That is why I gained weight! But it was well worth it!)
Brooke was grateful for her 3rd birthday celebration! We had Ice Cream Pie Sundaes (Brooke only ate the whip cream and chocolate!). Brooke got a little pea pod dolly from Grandma & Grandpa, Little Einstein Books from Jason, Tori and me, and a Minnie Mouse from Norma, Susan, Nikki and Madyson. They also bought Tori a Little Mermaid...can you see that she was in awe?!
My Mom also bought Brooke this adorable dress. It is my new favorite and I think that she is going to wear it every Sunday. Look how much fun we had!
Sunday was extremely cold, but we bundled up and went for a walk by Fanno Creek. Lora and I enjoyed many walks and adventures down on this creek (we also collected tree frogs and salamanders)! I wanted to take Jason and the girls to see my old stomping grounds. It was a really fun walk and the girls seemed to be excited about the things that I showed them.Cuteness...need I say more? Taken on the front porch of my parent's house. Here are some new fun Brookie facts:
-She is talking up a storm lately. My favorite word sounds: wiggle, bob, wow, momma & dada.
-She can walk (her longest walk is about 8 steps), but her preferred mode of transportation: her knees, she is a crawler.
-She LOVES to dance, especially to the Wiggles.
-She does not go anywhere without her pink bunny blanket.
-She loves all food...I have not met a food that she does not like, except baby food. We have a cupboard full! Oh well, we will give it to baby Ryah!
-When she gets really excited or mad (big emotions really) she tenses her whole body, clenches her fist and shakes.
-She splashes big time in the tub...I never leave dry!
-She loves to read books, but she really loves to pull all of the books off the shelf.

Tori, Brooke and I extended our stay for a week and hung out with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma Frann pulled out the big guns with the Play-Dough. Tori has never played with Play-Dough before, and as you can see, it was a BIG hit! Here are some Tori fun facts:

-She is in love with princesses, puppies and all things chocolate.

-She LOVES to dance! Anytime there is music, there is dancing.

-She is quite the singer. She even can keep the tune! My favorites: Twinkle Twinkle, I am a Child of God, Jingle Bells, Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam, Old McDonald, Once There Was a Snowman and so many more.

-She is learning to pretend play, and it is so much fun! She loves using all of her stuffed animals as friends and she makes them food, plays games with them and dances with them. She pretends to be a doctor with her doctor set and looks in our ears and checks our heart and breathing sounds with her stethoscope. She likes to be Ariel and I am Aurora and we play everything with them all day long. It is fun.

-She also likes to dress up and yesterday she spent most of the afternoon in her swimsuit!

On a warm (40*) night we went outside to hang out with Uncle Sethy and Grandpa Lee on the swing. The girls were in heaven. Swinging, jumping on the mini trampoline and playing with all of the bouncy balls. Brooke and Seth were a chorus of was fun to hear Seth talk and then Brooke to echo.When our noses and cheeks were rosy and our fingers frozen, we went back inside. Can you believe that I caught a picture of Tori and Brooke both looking at the camera?! AMAZING! After I took this picture I could not believe how much Brooke looks like Jason, so here it is:

Twinners! This is Jason at 22 months and Brookie at 12! Family resemblance? I think so. She has just enough of me in her to make her beautiful and feminine!

So, here is the hard times that I was talking about. One of the main reasons that we stayed behind, was to support my parents while my brother was in the hospital. On Sunday after Thanksgiving Seth went to the hospital with some unknown complications. It is hard to know when Seth is hurting when he cannot communicate what is wrong, but he did not sleep all night Saturday, so my parents took him to the ER. He was admitted after a CAT scan showed some masses in his abdomen and pancreas. After a 2-day stay in the hospital he had a biopsy and came home. Then it was the waiting game. News finally came on Friday night, Seth has Neuroendocrine Tumors located in his pancreas and abdomen. We are still unsure about a lot of things (since my parents do not get to talk to the Oncologist until tomorrow), but he does have cancer. I am thankful that I was able to stay and be a support to my parents while all of this was going on. My parents are amazing, but they will need your prayers and support along with Seth. What we know is that Seth could have had these tumors for a long time and has been suffering with the pain without us knowing anything and he cannot communicate what is wrong either. I am thankful that the doctors were able to find out what was wrong with Seth and he can now get through this without so much pain. I am also thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that helps give me an eternal perspective.

I really wanted to stay an extra week with the girls, but I was so afraid of taking them home on the plane by myself! I mean two kids, a 2 seater stroller, Tori's large car seat and their diaper bag. That is a lot for just one ME to carry! But, my dad was able to help me through the gate and there was a really nice flight attendant who helped me with the car seat. I LOVE Southwest Airlines! I am extremely grateful that both munchkins slept the whole way home. Sure the flight was delayed an hour because of snow, but Tori got to watch the airplanes take off and we got a picture with Santa! Also in PDX there is a kid play area! Novel idea! There was a TV with Nick Jr. on (oh how I loved having cable for a whole week and a there were 2 food network channels...I MISS cable!), legos and other fun toys! We made it home just in time for our Ward Christmas party!

Well...that is about it. Sorry this was such a LONG catch-up, and I award you if you actually read the whole thing!


Sawyers Family said...

I have to admit, I did not read the whole thing, but skipped to see the pictures and read about your brother. I'm so shorry to hear that! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Love you!

Katie said...

As soon as I saw pictures of Seth my heart leaped. I love that kid! He was the first student I worked with as a peer tutor-and now look at me! I'd say he was a huge piece of my decision to become a Special Educator. What an influence for good his life has been. I will pray for that dear sweet man and your family.

Oh Kendra, I am just crying as I write this. I love Seth and your dear family for all they have done to make his life so wonderful. Especially your father. Thank you for the incredible example!

Alli said...

A long but great post! I am sorry about your brother. I would love to hear more about him on my next visit at your house!

You are such a darling mother. I always knew that, but especially at the meeting at your house the other day. When Tori wanted to check your heart and you bent over and made the thumping sound. I think I would have shewed my kids away.

I'm glad to be getting to know you better. Many prayers to your family~

Collett Family said...

I love the picture of Brooke next to Jason. It is fun to read about your adventures.

Alli told me about your brother. I am so sorry to hear that. We want you to know that he and your family will be in our prayers.

Alla said...

Kendra, you are amazing. You are a strong woman. I also will keep your brother, your parents and you in my prayers. Your children are so beautiful and so lucky to have such mother!

jocie said...

My brother is currently in remission, so I feel your pain, and I"m so sorry my dear friend. I will keep Seth and your family in my prayers.