Monday, December 27, 2010

The scar

We were up in SLC again last week for some doctor's visits for Paige. It has been 4 weeks since her surgery and the surgeon wanted to check to see how the wound was healing. The doctor said it looked great! Since he removed so much tissue - there is a little puckering around the edges of the scar - but he said it was normal and would gradually go away. For those of you who haven't seen the scar - it is quite long (it shocked even me when I first took off the bandages) - but the surgeon did a great job with it. I am also thankful that there is only one scar - he went right on top of the scar from the first surgery (it was a lot shorter though). Paige did get some Mederma in her stocking for Christmas - between her and Abby we have been going through quite a bit of that stuff. The doctor also talked to me more about the surgery that had been suggested to biopsy some of her lymph nodes. I had originally gone into the meeting 95% sure that I wanted her to have the surgery (and was going to ask what the chances might be that we could get it before year end since our deductible has been met this year). I changed my mind though - she is not having the extra surgery at this time - and here is why:
- only 15% of sarcoma's are known to spread to the lymph nodes - most go to the lungs first which they have checked and are clean.
- the chance of choosing the right lymph node to biopsy is rare - they would have inserted a dye into her close to where the original tumor was and then monitor where it went - but the doctor wasn't even sure that the dye would take the same path that tissue cells would take.
- if they did find cancer cells in the lymph nodes - the only treatment they could take would be chemotherapy - which is only effective in 8% of cases for this type of sarcoma.
- since they are monitoring every three months for the next few years - he was confident that they will catch any reoccurance or growth before it gets too big.
I am sure there were more reasons that I felt that the surgery was unnecessary - that is why I should have written this post a week ago - but basically - I still feel really good about that decision.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude right now - I am so thankful for wonderful doctors, incredible family and friends and especially the peace that the spirit continues to bring when decisions need to be made.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Temple Square

We went to Temple Square Thursday to see the lights. It started off magical - as we were walking from the parking lot to the temple we could hear the faint sound of bagpipes. I had major flashbacks to Scotland - there were many times when I could hear bagpipe music while we were out knocking on doors - but rarely did I ever see the piper. This time I saw the piper - he was right in front of the temple gates and was mixing Christmas tunes in with the "normal" pipe music. The boys even got a treat when he broke out in some of the Star Wars songs. I could have stayed all night just to listen to him - but kids pulled me away and onto the lights.
The twins really liked the lights - they love to drive around town and see the lights too - and the boys were somewhat impressed as well (it has been a few years since we were last here). Here is a picture - can't capture the lights, but at least you can see that we were there.
If you noticed we were missing someone - this is why.
I have yet to find a way to get Abby to cooperate when she decides she doesn't want to. I guess I probably don't need to tell you that we didn't stay too long - but it was a fun night and I am glad we made the effort to go.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Abby has been fascinated by Santa Claus this year. She finally got her chance to meet him last Saturday at a Christmas party some friends had at their house. Abby followed Santa around the entire time he was there (he stayed for games and the sleigh booster contest) - and he was very patient to answer all her questions and watch how fast she can run (all 20+ times she ran up the street and back). Thanks Santa!!! Abby sat on Santa's lap and had to really think to name all she wants for Christmas.
Ethan and Miles on the other hand were a bit goofy when it was their turn to sit with Santa.

Also a big hit with the kids were the gingerbread houses that they were able to decorate. Abby was in heaven with all that sugar.

As you can see from the next picture - she would decorate her house and then lick it off and start over again - isn't that how everyone decorates gingerbread houses?
Finally - I caught a real smile on Ethan's face! Ethan would have won the prize for the most icing used on his houses - not very much candy was left on the roof by the time they came home - the icing had dripped onto the plate bringing most of the candy with it.
Miles also used his creativity to build his houses. He got the most candy on his houses - barely any graham cracker showing on his first house.

The kids had a great time - thanks Fontano's for putting together such a great party!!!


Ethan has always loved the piano - he has been playing since he could sit at the piano bench (technically, probably earlier - as he would sit on my lap when I would play before he could sit himself). Wasn't he a cute baby?
When Ethan was 4 years old he begged to take piano lessons (I think it was because of the treats that I used to give piano students to bribe them to practice) - and I told him he had to be able to read first. Well - he was determined to play - and he was actually easy to teach to read since he wanted to do it so bad. So Ethan started piano lessons a few months before his 5th birthday. I taught him for a couple years, but after we moved back to Cedar, we had the incredible opportunity of him taking from my Aunt JoAnn. He has had to practice hard with her, but has really progressed since starting with her earlier this year. Ethan gave his very own recital last week - he learned 16 songs and had them all polished. I am super proud at how hard he has worked at the piano and wanted to share a couple of his pieces.

Here is the program for the recital.
I had a really hard time narrowing down the songs to put on here - so feel free to just listen to your favorites, but here are 6 of my favorites.
Minuet in G by Bach
Musette by Bach
Ecossaise by Beethoven
The Wild Horseman by Schumann
Arabesque by Burgmuller
Stormy Night by Bober

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Birthday Boy!

We finally got around to having a birthday party for Ethan. This week has been (and still is) crazy busy - so we decided to squeeze Ethan's party in right after school (before a piano recital and pack meeting). Ethan has been reading Harry Potter books non-stop recently so it was no surprise that he wanted to have a Harry Potter party. We started it off by making our own glasses and some of the party-goers went the extra step and make their own wands too (not a great picture of Ethan - he looks like he is knitting:)
We then played a guessing game with "Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans" - since I was a big procrastinator and I couldn't really find "every flavor" in Cedar, there were no "earwax", "toenails", or "soap" flavored beans - but that didn't stop the kids from guessing those. Most everyone guessed "shampoo" on the "orange juice" jelly bean - they had lots of fun coming up with absurd guesses.
We then made our own Harry Potter BINGO cards and played bingo. Lots of fun and there was a 4-place tie for black-out.
The next game was the hit of the party. I couldn't figure out how to play quidditch inside the house - so I settled for a broomstick relay. The kids had to sweep a balloon around the living room/kitchen circle and then hand off the broom to the next boy. It was a hit and we played it a few times.
Dinner was pizza (couldn't find a way to tie that in with Harry Potter - but the kids didn't seem to notice) and a potion that had been brewing throughout the whole party (dry-ice rootbeer). This picture didn't catch all the "smoke" coming out of the pitcher - but the kids loved it!
Cupcakes were wizard hats - complete with the Harry Potter lightening bolt scar!

And then - Ethan's favorite part of the party - PRESENTS!!! He got absolutely spoiled - thanks to all the friends for lots of fun and presents that woke him up early to play with them!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lego's and Locksmith's

We have a birthday tradition in our family - the birthday child wakes up to a present on the floor by his/her bed. This morning Ethan woke up to a Harry Potter lego's set (Hagrid's Hut) from his dad - when I finally got up with the girls (6:00 am) - both of the boys were up and had half of the 500 piece set already done. I wasn't going to even ask what time they woke up - but they volunteered the information - 4:34 am. Yes - you read that right - 4:34 am. Well - most of the set was finished before the boys left for school - with only a short break for breakfast (swedish pancakes per Ethan's request). The rest was finished as soon as they got home from school. Here is the finished product.

Another tradition we have started is that the birthday child gets to go out to lunch with mom - I talked Ethan into letting me take him to lunch with 4 girls tagging along (since not only did I not have a babysitter for my 3 - but I also had a girl that I am babysitting). So - I started loading kids in the car for our lunch outing. I had just put Paige in her carseat and she started whining for the keys - I gave them to her and shut the door. As soon as I let go of the door - I realized what I did and reached to open it again - too late. Paige loves to play with the buttons on the keys and especially likes the lock button because of the honking noise it makes. She had already locked the car and was laughing everytime the car would honk. I sat there for 5 minutes trying to get her to push the unlock button, before I had to run grab a phone to call the school. Luckily, they just sent Ethan home instead of making me sign him out - so he got home and tried to help me teach Paige how to unlock the car before he lost interest and ran inside to work on Lego's again. Well - Paige managed to drop the keys eventually and I got to call a locksmith. He was there 2 minutes later and had the door open in 30 seconds. Here are a few pictures of the rascal - here she is still with the keys.
This is a picture of her dropping the keys - and her "smile" face. She thought the whole incident was rather amusing.
We ended up making it to Subway - but I made Ethan eat in the car as we ran to Walmart. I left him in the car with the girls while I sprinted into to the store to grab a snack for his class - then we raced back to the school where he was only a few minutes late. He will remember this birthday to say the least.
We ended the birthday with a dinner from KFC and cheesecake and presents at Britt's. Overall - it was a great birthday!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Storybook Parade

Yesterday was the storybook parade here in Cedar. We went! I almost left the twins at my parents house for a nap, but decided to take them last minute. They LOVED it!!! Here is Paige with her "smile" face - yep, whenever anyone asks her to smile - she gives them this face.
Piper loved all the characters - and hated when anyone got in front of her.
My favorite float - Where the Wild Things Are - I still love that book!

Abby's favorite character - DORA!

We were all a bit partial to Goofy though - look how well he (she) is able to drive with one hand and no peripheral vision - good job Court!
We even got to take pictures with Goofy - and yes, we had to show Paige and Piper who was under that funny face before they would let her hold them.

And then Goofy was nice enough to let everyone try on his head - first Miles
then Ethan

and even Abby!

Parade was fun and relatively nice weather - kids loved it, but the babies were ready for a nap by the time it was over!

Word Nerd!!!

Ethan has really taken to the game Scrabble lately - and when he went to California with his dad, he got to play it on Frank's iPad. Frank send me a screen shot of one of Ethan's games - which he insists Ethan did by himself. Ethan got 78 points for one word - and when I looked at the word - phenix - the first thing I thought was that he had spelled it wrong. I looked it up though and Webster's dictionary said that phenix was the US spelling of phoenix. I do know that Harry Potter uses the British version of spelling though and Ethan has been reading those books non-stop lately so I will leave it up to you to decide if he meant to spell it the american way or not. Either way - he is a pretty smart kid and does love the word games!

Kid's California Trip

This is a late post on the kids trip to California with their dad over Nevada Day (end of October). It was the day after they got home that we got the news about Paige and life was a bit crazy for a while. Better late than never though - here are the pictures. DISNEYLAND!!!

They went to Disneyland on Friday and then hit the beach on Saturday morning. I did get more information out of the kids about the beach - they all love the water and the sand. I worry about Abby near water, but I think the water was a bit cold for her to want to get too wet. Ethan has always liked sand a bit more than water - he would much rather dig in the sand then swim.
Miles talked about "body surfing" for weeks after he came home. He sure appreciated his dad teaching him how (especially since his dad had to wear a wetsuit to brave the "cold" water:)

After the beach - Frank took Miles to the Oregon Ducks football game (I already posted pictures about that) and Grandma Gilmore took Ethan and Abby to the Aquarium - Ethan now wants to be a marine biologist when he grows up. When I asked the kids what their favorite part of the trip was, both Miles and Abby said Disneyland and Ethan said the Aquarium because he got to pet a shark. Thanks Dad and Grandma Gilmore for a FUN trip!