Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Princesses and the Frog

It's been raining a lot the past couple of days here in AZ. We have loved the wet weather.

It brought an unusual visitor to our front door.

A big toad.

Taking turns holding the toad.

Chasing the toad around the backyard. It's in front of Lauren, camouflaged by the grass.

Here is a video of the kids playing with the toad. I love all of the girly screams! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010


A friend posted this on facebook. I don't even know who said the quote, but I loved it so I thought I'd put it here.
"When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen. Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly."
I've had to practice faith lately.
I started working last April doing Music Therapy. At the time I felt strongly that I needed to go back to work. So, Jason would come home from work and I would go in the evening and work with kids with special needs. Within the past couple of weeks, however, I have been feeling that I need to quit. It's been a hard decision because we could use the money and I didn't want to disappoint all the people that I've just started working with.
Even though I only work a few hours a week, I've realized that I really need to be home with my kids. Motherhood is my first priority and I can't be the kind of mother my kids need and be working too.
I know a lot of great mothers who work. I'm not going to get into that debate. I just know that my family needs me home.
So I prayed about it and really feel that this is the right direction for me. It's taken a lot of faith and trust that everything will be okay. Like the quote says, I'm hoping that I will either be given solid ground to stand on or I'll learn how to fly. Either way, I feel like this is what I should do and that everything will work out in the end.
I still think that I was inspired to go back to work, even though it was for a short duration. I've learned a lot of things, re-gained some self confidence and have realized the importance that I have in my home. Not that I do anything extraordinary. But however strange it seems, just having my presence at home-- just being there, helps my kids. It gives them comfort and security.
So I will trust in my feelings and have faith as I embark on this new path.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How dumb is that?

Okay, so my last post was a lot more uplifting than this will be. I'm just in the mood to vent. So, take it for what it is and know that I'll put in a 'Pollyanna' moment at the end, just for good measure.

So, yesterday-- wait, back up. Hanna my oldest daughter has seizures (complex partial, which in layman's terms is not quite Grand Mal but she screams, babbles and grabs everything around her). For the past several months she's been on a medication called Neurontin. We've been playing this game with the Doctor-- she has seizures, he ups the medicine, she has seizures, he ups the medicine again.

The higher the medication the more likely it is that she will have those lovely side effects (mostly aggression).

So anyway, the last time we talked to him, he told us that he wanted to see us in his office. So I got the referral and scheduled an appointment-- a month away (that's the earliest he could see us, of course).

In the meantime, he upped her medicine again to an alarmingly high level (9 pills a day). He told us if she still had seizures, to take her into the ER and they would give her medicine through the IV to stop them.

Back to yesterday. In the afternoon she started having seizures. She had 6 within 3 hours, 4 of them were within the same hour. We were debating on whether to take her to the ER, but just then she had another seizure so we decided, yeah-- let's go.

She even had a seizure on the way to the hospital. But I hate going to the ER, especially if I'm not sure of the severity of the problem (hence my walking in to the labor unit dilated to an 8). The entire time I was driving her to the hospital I kept debating, "Turn around or continue forward?"

So, long story short, we ended up at the ER. We were in the waiting room for 3 hours during which we encountered a very grumpy and rude woman. Why is it that almost all of the rude people I run into are in the Dr. waiting room? She had a toddler that I guess was making some noise (I didn't notice), and Hanna made a gesture telling the little girl to be quiet.

The lady got all mad at Hanna. Hanna told her (very politely I might add) that she was just trying to tell the little girl to be quiet. The lady said, "I'll give you a gesture and it won't be telling you to be quiet!"

I couldn't believe she was talking to my daughter that way. So I explained that Hanna had Autism and that she says things sometimes off the top of her head. She's also very sensitive to noise. I was trying to explain so that she understood that Hanna really meant no offense. Her reply, "You're her mother. Why don't you correct her?"


I was shell shocked. I just sat there gaping like a fish.

I tried to calmly explain that I told Hanna not to worry about it and to turn up the volume on the movie she was watching.

Then she said, "Well, I didn't know she had Autism."

I just let it go. Soon after that she left with her daughter to another waiting room.

After that, I had trouble concentrating on my book.

Okay...confrontation's over-- adrenaline is slowly lowering and they finally call us back to the room.

Dr. then tells us that if she was having seizures in the hospital, they would give her something but since she hadn't had one at all while she was there, there was nothing they could do.


He ended up calling her Neurologist (which I could have done from home sans the 3 hour wait and confrontation) to see what he wanted to do.

The answer? You guessed it, increase the dosage of her medicine.

With that solution we were sent on our merry way-- 4 1/2 hours later.

Well, on the way home she had a seizure in the car.

Then in the middle of the night she actually had a Grand Mal.


Needless to say, I've been a little miffed the past couple of days.

Now for the silver lining of the story...

I'm grateful for:

*The fact that we were able to come home from the hospital instead of being admitted

*Hanna did not have any more seizures today (Sunday)

*Jason has the priesthood and gave us all blessings

*That Hanna is a sweet girl, who although unknowingly give offense, tries to help others and make good choices. I really feel she would never offend someone on purpose.

*That I have great friends who will listen to my sob stories and help me feel better

*That we live with today's technology and that my daughter has not been placed in some crazy institution

*For a Heavenly Father who gives me love and comfort when I need it the most.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Piece of Heaven

I am a writer. At least I'm aspiring to be.

I had never really thought about writing-- my talent was music-- until I was in high school. I actually had never even considered myself a reader. But as I look back on it, my elective classes were Western Lit, English Lit, Ethnic Lit, and so on (ok, too much back story). So, in my Western Lit class, my teacher would give us these creative writing assignments. I did the assignments and he started raving about my writing.

That planted the seed.

Fast forward 15 years. I had this little thought in the back of my head that said, "I want to write." Then another thought would come, "I don't know what to write about." and that was it. Then my dad (just out of the blue-- I think not) gave me a guide to young writers book. I skimmed through the book (because that is what I do with textbooks), and saw something that stuck with me.

Just start writing!

So I did.

I started that first paragraph and all of a sudden the flood gates opened and ideas began pouring out. I've realized that writing is very enjoyable and gives me a great sense of satisfaction. It makes me happy.

So I've been writing off and on. Some months I go writing crazy and then other months are more related to a famine.

One great thing I've done is join ANWA (American Night Writers Association). It's a writing group for LDS Women. We have chapter meetings every month and it has helped me keep the writing bug burning.

Well, last month I found out they were having a 4 day retreat. For some reason, I felt an extreme need to go to this retreat. I mean I actually felt the Spirit telling me that I needed to go.

"With the economy the way it is..." isn't that the saying? Anyway, I was worried I wouldn't make it. But after much prayer, a way opened up for me to register.

So, this past week I went to the 2010 ANWA Writing Retreat and IT WAS AWESOME!!

Not only was it a much needed break from the kids and stresses of daily life and not only did I finish 5 chapters of my book, it was surprisingly a very spiritual experience.

I didn't realize it, but I needed this spiritual and emotional break. It's something that I have difficulty explaining. Yes, I spent lots of time writing, (which makes me very happy), but I spent four days basking in the Spirit. I did not have any negative feelings or frustrations the entire time I was there. I did not feel stressed at all! There were 30 women attending and I found myself in company with the most positive and uplifting people I know.

They were kind, accepting, loving and understanding toward me and each other. I felt a camaraderie and unity that I haven't felt in very many other places. I kept thinking, "Oh, this is what it feels like to have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion." You know, without all of life's frustrations and stresses chasing it away all of the time.

I've decided that I tasted a bit of heaven. I thought about the Law of Consecration. We had this snack table, where everyone brings a treat or snack to share. It was overflowing! I wish I had a picture. During the week, if we were hungry, we'd just go to the snack table. There were no rich snackers or poor snackers...just equal snackers.

I'm sure it sounds silly, but it made an impression. Everyone brought what they had and shared. Also, we signed up to help prepare one meal and to help clean up. With 30 people, everyone did their part and the burden was light. Each person was able to choose what they would contribute. This meant that I did not have to do dishes or mop the floor (which made me almost as happy as writing). I did the laundry, which really is my favorite chore.

When the rain came in and began flooding the cabin, everyone jumped up to help in various ways. Some were outside bailing water from the basement, while others were making hot cocoa for those getting wet. We were all working together.

Now this is the doctrine of Andrea... but when I think about the Law of Consecration, or living in heaven itself, I think that we all have talents and abilities that we will share for the good of the community. We'll all place our "goods" at the table so that everyone may benefit. Maybe one will cook, while another teaches the children. Maybe someone will be the community doctor while people like me put on musical concerts in the evening.

Maybe I won't be the one organizing or decorating all of the mansions in heaven (my mom would be great at that), but I might write some music or stories that uplift others. I don't think there will be much need for doing laundry in heaven, but I'm sure we'll all contribute in our own way.

It sure sounds heavenly doesn't it?

Kamary's 10!

Kamary is our only Summer birthday. Everyone else celebrates their birthday from November through February (except for Mom & Dad, but we don't count). She has to endure the endless torture of watching everyone celebrate their birthdays month after month while she has to wait.

finally....the big day arrives!

Getting ready to open presents

She got "real" lip gloss, not the baby stuff!

Opening a card from Grandma & Grandpa Wheeler

They gave her some great science experiment kits. It's right up her alley!

Now she can be a true rockstar! She wanted the house decorated with streamers and flowers. We used silver balloons and streamers with pink and white carnations.

For her cake, she wanted a cheesecake with berries all around. In the middle are the initials G.B.K. which stands for her little club she's formed (members include: her, her cousin and a friend from school).

Her birthday dinner included salad, salmon and homemade macaroni and cheese.

Blowing out the candles.

Grandma & Grandpa Smith gave her $20 for her birthday. I took her to the mall. We had lunch together and went to Claires to get her ears pierced. With her birthday $ she bought a pretty matching necklace.

So here is Kamary, our tweenage daughter! :)

We sure love her and are happy she's part of our family.


Favorite Color: Turquoise (green & blue mixed together)

Favorite Food: Pasta

Favorite Movie: Back to the Future III

Favorite Book: Wayside School

Favorite TV Show: Electric Company

Favorite Subject in School: Science

Favorite Song: Naturally by Selena Gomez

Favorite Singer/Popstar: Miley Cyrus

Favorite Activity: Playing Barbies

Things That Make Her Happy: Mom, Playdates, No School

Kamary's Alias: Gaine Smith (pronounced Jane)

What I Want To Do When I Grow Up: Be a scientist that creates fuel for cars out of vegetable oil! Kamary is very earth friendly and urges everyone to RRR (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

Kamary's Talents: Kamary is extremely creative! She can take anyone's "junk" and turn it into a masterpiece. She is also very good at writing. She is loving, loyal and really tries to do what's right.

Something Special: Kamary has the best and most sincere prayers. She prays for others and in her prayers expresses her love for each individual. She talks about her day and repents for the things that she did wrong. She expresses her concerns and triumphs. Whenever there is a problem, she is the first one to pray. She's a great example our family, especially to me.