Friday, May 23, 2008


I haven't had much of a desire to post anything lately, so I will attempt to update as best I can remember! This says May 23rd (which was actually our anniversary, but I didn't get around to finishing this post until June 16th...that's today's real date! Sorry!)

Two days after my last post, Brian and I reached another milestone in our life...our 11th wedding anniversary! YEAH!..."Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of miracles"...Unfortunately we were not even able to be together, let alone celebrate. Brian had been doing a rotation in Allentown, PA that month and was not able to come home very often. We were able to finally celebrate on the 28th by going to The Melting Pot, thanks to his mom! (Thanks, Cherie!) We've been there a few times now, but it never gets old. It's YUMMY! Anyway, the exciting thing is that we've made it to 11 years!

I thought I'd do us by the numbers:

we own 1 cat
we dated just over 2 years
we have 3 beautiful girls
we endured and experienced 4 years of medical school
we've lived in PA about 5 years total
we've lived in 6 different wards
We've lived in 7 different homes
total years of medical training by the time we are done....8
Our favorite number is 9
How many kids we hope to have...10...JUST KIDDING(Couldn't think of anything for 10!)
(This really isn't the best picture of us...we were still stuffing our faces!!)

I love my husband with all of my heart and am grateful for the love he has for me and our girls. I'm grateful for his endurance through all of this training so he can provide for us and I don't have to go to work. I can stay home and raise our girls. We've been through a lot. It certainly has been an interesting 11 years, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

To sum up other things we've done in the last month...

Courtney has finally learned to ride a bike! It's not her fault she hasn't until now. Living in apartments makes it tough to keep bikes around. We have storage units but they are downstairs in the basement and it would be such a chore to keep them there and get them out when we want. But a friend gave us a bike for Jessica last month, and we just decided we are keeping it around so the kids can learn. So it's a bit small for Courtney, but she just practiced and practiced and now she can do it!

Ally is quite the ham! She continues to come up with humorous expressions, moves, and sounds to delight her entire family and friends and all her meet her! One thing she likes to do is put sunglasses and a hat on, do the peace sign and say "Dude". The older girls taught her that. Her verbal vocabulary is slowly growing...she says "rea.." now, which means "read", when she wants a story. That's helpful But she is still signing up a storm...even more helpful.
She is a climber, too. She is trying to learn to climb into her crib. She hasn't made it all the way in yet and the climbing out seems to not be on her radar...yet, thank goodness.
The other day when we got home from a BBQ with some friends, it was raining. Brian has eagle eyes and spotted a baby toad and, being a boy, grabbed it. Courtney isn't too girly that she's afraid of things like that, so she wanted to hold it as well. We spent a considerable amount of time outside with the baby toad. Jessica and Ally would only lightly touch it one time and then they were done. Jessica, Courtney and all their friends are into WEBKINZ...(in case you live in a bubble and don't know what they are...they are stuffed animals that come with codes to log on to the internet, into a virtual pet world, where you can play games and take care of your pets.) The kids each have 4 but have hopes to get many more than that. They "collect" them. Anyway, Jessica got a turtle Webkinz for her birthday and one of her friends has a turtle also. The new thing to do with them is to have them marry each other. Jessica decided that her's was a boy, named Squirt (after the turtle in FINDING NEMO), and her friend, Nehama, has a girl turtle named Shelly. So they cooked up a Turtle wedding for a playdate after school. They went all out. I asked Nehama's mom if I could do anything to help (I heard she was going to get way into it), but I was reminded that "Traditionally the bride's family pays for the wedding." So we merely made a top hat for Squirt and showed up. She had indeed done a bit of preparation for this wedding, including a veil for Shelly, punch/tea, flower petals, a videographer (Nehama's older sister), and....cupcakes that had real roses stuck in the frosting. There were about 15 kids and each of their 5-8 Webkinz in attendance, and, oh, I almost forgot, Courtney's Chocolate Lab Webkinz was the officiator of the ceremony. So, we had ourselves a little stuffed animal wedding. There were also people who brought presents (including a log for the turtles to sit on) that Nehama and Jessica had to try to split up. It was clever, it was fun for the kids, but I would never have thought to do something like that. Here is a picture of the bride and groom. The picture doesn't really due justice to the outfits, but they look happy, don't they? :)
The kids had a number of birthday parties to attend over the last couple of weeks. One was at Club Libby Lu at the mall where kids can get their hair all done up like rock stars and sing and dance.

They also had an interesting last week of school. Due to "excessive heat advisories", they were released from school around 12:30 on Monday and noon on Tuesday. It got up to about 95 degrees, but with the humidity it felt hotter. The main problem was there is no A/C in the school building so it makes it pretty tough. I think they would have cancelled school, except they didn't want to have to make those days up this week. Friday was the last day and they had a 1/2 day then too. We celebrated with some friends by going to lunch and then the birthday party at Libbly Lu later that day. This is the girls before school on the last day! YEAH!
We have high hopes for the summer! Lots to do! We sat down today and planned our routine and activities. We have to have some sort of routine or else all heck breaks loose. Jessica wants to always play, Courtney always wants alone time to read....that is a recipe for disaster. We have to have some order! We also want to be productive but lazy too! Gotta strike a balance somehow. We shall see how it goes...stay tuned!

(I do need to mention that we finally got a new digital that will transfer pictures to my computer! YEAH! so pictures will be coming by the dozens, I'm sure! I also finally figured out how to enable the comments leave comments! I love hearing from you!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm such a rookie

As you can tell, I've changed my blog template a couple of times recently. It's been a challenge to figure out how to get page elements and things back to the way I want it. I used to be able to let people post comments, but for some reason it won't allow it now. For you blogging expert friends of that a template feature? I tried changing my settings, but it doesn't work. Also, how do I access any past comments? Please help!
email me if you can help! thanks!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Love the 80's!!!

My wonderful sister in law sent this in an email to me today. I'm not sure where it started so I can't give credit where credit is due, but I had to post it. I grew up in the 80s and I loved this list! I laughed when I remembered each one of these. I have to say guilty as charged to just about everything! I hope you enjoy...(I sent this to some of you in email form, so you have my permission to cease reading at this point, if you want.)

You know you grew up in the 80's if...

1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word SIKE.

2. You can sing the rap to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do the Carlton

3. You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey on Blossom

4. If you ever watched "Fraggle Rock"

5. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

6. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.

7. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.

8. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.

9. You played the game "MASH"(Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House)

10. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.

11. You know the profound meaning of " WAX ON , WAX OFF"

12. You wanted to be a Goonie.

13. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us...head-to-toe)

14. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted.

15. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.

16. You took lunch boxes to school...and traded Garbage Pailkids in the schoolyard.

17. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.

18. You still get the urge to say "NOT" after every sentence.

19. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.

21. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes.

22. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying "I know you are, but what am I?"

23. You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up"

24. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.

25. You have ever played with a Skip-It.

26. You remember boom boxes and walking around with one on your shoulder like you were all that.

27. You remember watching both Gremlins movies.

28. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.

29. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.

30. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool...and don't even flinch when people refer to them as "NKOTB"

31. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell," The ORIGINAL class.

32. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.

33. You just sang those words to yourself.

34. You still sing "We are the World"

35. You tight rolled your jeans.

36. You owned a banana clip.

37. You remember "Where's the Beef?"

38. You used to (and probably still do) say "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?"

39. You're still singing shot through the heart in your head, aren't you!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thanks for coming, Mom!

Well, last week we had a very special visitor. My mom was able to come visit for a week and we really enjoyed having her. This is kind of a late "Happy Mother's Day/thanks for coming to visit" post. My dad had bought her a plane ticket for her birthday back in February, and she chose May to come visit...not real cold, not hot yet, flowers in bloom, and lots of green. Very different from AZ. We didn't do a whole lot of exciting site-seeing things, mainly because she's seen a lot already. And she wanted to sew some doll clothes for the girls while she was here. We just mostly enjoyed having her here and being with her.

I have seen a lot of blog tributes to mothers recently and I won't be as eloquent as everyone else, but I want my mom to know how much I love and appreciate her and all she did and currently does for me and my family.

Here's my Top Ten Reasons why I love my Mom:

10.She is a talented seamstress, took time to help me make special dresses and other clothes while I was young. For that matter, still teaches me things about sewing, whether she knows it or not. And now, she is teaching my children about it.

9. She cooked and for many years we ate together as a family. She still makes dinner for us when we are around!

8.She has a passion for the arts: ballet, music, theater...taught us to love them as well, and to develop our talents, which mostly happened to be somewhere in those categories.

7. She is a talented artist. She now has in her home some of her artwork displayed, that portrays some of her favorite things...her children, her pets, etc.

6. I love that she was a stay-at-home mom and was there for us kids "at the crossroads".

5. She made summers fun for us...I have fond memories especially of lots of pool time and library time. ("Alexander, who Used to Be rich Last Sunday" on tape...)

4. I love that she went back to school and got a degree after many years of being "gone" raising a family. I'm glad that she made her kids a priority, but I'm happy she went back to school.

3. Family road trips were made fun with singing, games, merits/demerits (ok, that last one, not always fun) to earn prizes (or not)...

2. Alice's Restaurant

1. She is a great example of scripture study and prayer to me. She knows a lot about the Gospel and I hope someday to know as much as her.

I love you mom! Happy belated Mother's Day! Thanks for coming to visit! (I might post a picture later, when I can find the one I want.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Signing Time Testimonial

I have mentioned before that Ally has been using Sign Language as a way of communicating with us. She is almost 20 months old and does not have a very large speaking vocabulary. When she was much younger, maybe 6 or 7 months old, I started using signs with her. Past experience with speech issues with Jessica taught me that babies and toddlers could pick up signs much faster and communicate much earlier than kids who don't know signs. In fact, kids often use their own signs to communicate, such as pointing. Anyway, I decided to start signing with Ally at an earlier age than I did with Jessica and, darn it all...Ally signed her first sign at 9 months old!!! She signed "more" when she wanted some more food! We were soooo excited! So now she is 20 months old and only says about 5 words with her voice but she uses at least 30 different signs to communicate with us!!!

Part of that is due to my limited knowledge of sign I learned from family members and from a class I took in college. More of it is due to a show we watch on a PBS station here in Philly, called Signing Time. It's a wonderful show geared towards toddlers and kids (great for beginning parents too!) that teaches them signs for all kinds of things! Every show is a different theme! It's a great show! It's the only show Ally will watch! When I turn it on, she gets so excited within the first 2 seconds! It's also been very good for the older girls. They can communicate with their baby sister without the help of mom. Courtney has become a very proficient finger speller, thanks to a segment they do called "ABC Time". She practices non-stop, spelling every thing she can think of.

My regret about my Sign Language education, is that it wasn't extensive enough or early enough in my life or in the life of my very special family member who needed more of us to learn it! If that makes any sense. I hope that my kids will be able to utilize this valuable skill!

I have a link in the list that is the Signing Time blog. There is a great video of the creator's daughter leaving a tribute to her mom! Check it out! Also there is a website...

Thanks for reading my commercial!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Back from trip...

I'm back from my trip to AZ, aka, home...I know that I miss AZ, but I never realize how much until I get the opportunity to go back. Besides the huge factor of family, one of the other main reasons I miss it is the familiarity I have with the Valley of the Sun. Even with all the construction(yuck) and changes that are going on, and how big it's gotten. I still know how to get places. Part of that is due to the geniuses that designed the layout many years ago...North means North, East means East. Main roads run in straight directions, for the most part. I actually know which direction I'm traveling at any given time. I have NO CLUE in PA. I have a newish car that tells me, but I sometimes think it's wrong based on my "feelings". "It says we are going W, but I feel we are going North!" Anyway, I digress....

It was wonderful to be with family, even though 3 very important members of my little family were missing...

Ally and I had a really wonderful flight on the way out. We had a layover in Houston which made a not-quite-5-hour flight into an almost-8-hour flight, but Ally (who hadn't not slept a wink since getting to the airport) was an "angel baby" and those are other passengers words, not mine...well, I agree with him...She was able to sit in her own seat, for which we hadn't paid, but was empty, minus the car seat, on the first leg of the flight. She had a couple of moments of insanity, but overall was almost perfect. On the next leg, I completely expected her to fall asleep. We were on a much smaller plane, only 3 seats across the plane, (2 on one side, 1 on the other), and it was completely full. As before, I apologized, in advance, to the other passengers around me, since I did not know how Ally would do. I hoped for the best (her sleeping the whole time), but expected the worst (too tired to fall asleep, but very, very cranky.) We lucked out!!!! It was a miracle for me. She was pleasant, she made friends with everyone as we walked up and down the aisle a couple of times. She even danced in the aisle for everyone. Played peek-a-boo with people 2 rows behind...just amazing behavior for a 19 month old stuck on a plane all day. When we landed, everyone around raved about how good she was, they couldn't believe it. The man behind me, father of 5 kids, said she was an "angel baby". I couldn't believe it either...really a good experience.

Being with my family was very nice. I had gone out for a specific event which took place on Thursday evening. A very blessed sacred religious event, and extra special because my parents and all my siblings were able to attend and be in the same sacred place at the same time. Afterwards we gathered with family and friends for sub sandwiches at my parents house.

Over the next two days, I was very lucky to get together with some (but not all--I'm sorry) of my closest family and friends. And do things that I don't normally get to go to Sonic for lunch with my sister! Loved it! Spend quality time with Brian's mom! Loved it! Also, go to a movie (and walk out of a movie and get Gelato instead) with my sisters (including sis-in-law). I was able to make some fond memories and I will be eternally grateful to both of my sisters for making it possible for me to go to AZ!!!! And also very grateful to my sweet husband for doing such a wonderful job with the older girls while I was gone! I couldn't have gone if he hadn't been able to stay home. (Is it me or is this starting to sound like my "Emmy" Speech that I'm going to give someday!?!?) Anywho, it was a nice time. Ally was able to get to know some of her family that she didn't previously know. the last time we were together was last summer.

Here are some pictures of us with with some of the family...(I couldn't get many transferred from my stinky take them as they are... I just realized after I posted these pictures, that Allyson is not really smiling in them. The pictures of her were taken late in the evening and she was having fun with the dog and kids but she was tired...I just didn't get any good smiling shots...sorry!

Me with mother-in-law Cherie. We spent some fun time together and she watched Ally on Thursday evening for us! THANKS, Cherie!

Allyson loves bubbles, and she got to do that with Grandma Shumway and cousin Matthew.

We got together with cousins Megan and Matthew a couple of times...unfortunately Ally was asleep most of the time. Here she was actually awake, so we snapped a bunch of pictures. I'm sorry about the date in the way.

Ally loved Aunts Karen, Stephanie and Valerie. She also loved the "woofwoof" that she still asks about today. This is Aunt Karen and Jack!
Stephanie was doodling with her, and Allyson kept asking for "more", using sign language.

Allyson loved Valerie, who didn't let her broken leg stop her from a night out on the town with the girls.
Thanks again, for a fun trip everyone!

5 days mom flew into Philly to spend some time with us at our home. She had received a plane ticket for her birthday, before my trip to AZ was planned. But we are happy to see so much of her. She is currently still here...until this Friday. She has been to many of the Philadelphia sites and we have no money, so I'm not sure what exciting things we will do while she's here. She claims to want to just spend time with our family...we'll see how long that lasts! We aren't very exciting...Today was too cold and rainy to do anything so we stayed inside all day, except when I took the kids to school and got them off the bus. The weather isn't supposed to be that great this week, so we'll see how the next few days go...but it is still nice to have her here.

Brian is working in Allentown this month. He's not thrilled about it...But he'll learn a lot and he'll do great!

Jessica has glasses now...she looks beautiful in them, unfortunately I can't get the any pictures of her to transfer to my computer just yet. I'll work on getting a couple on...

That seems to be about all the exciting news for the month...thanks for being interested in our family!