I decided that one of my many New Year's resolutions, in addition to the usual items of losing weight, not yelling at my kids as much and becoming more organized, would include an attempt to join the blogging world. I am so far behind on scrap booking I might as well throw in the towel. Several friends have told me this is a great and easy way to scrapbook and keep a family journal, so here I go and please forgive me, I'm still trying to work out formatting kinks.
Another year goes by that I didn't get around to doing a family Christmas card so I figure I will begin with an overview of 2007. It was an exciting year with several big family events. I started off the year with a large personal accomplishment. After 4 very long months, 100 plus classroom hours, and being very pregnant, I got my real estate license. I knew I had better get it finished before adding one more child to the mix. I took the test 2 weeks before Nathan was born. There are no immediate plans to work in the business. I just wanted the information for our own personal real estate projects.
February 16, Nathan Frank, joined our family. He was the runt of the kids, weighing in at 8 lbs. 3 oz. Had I not been induced 5 days early, he probably would have passed up Gracie. He has been such a joy for all of us. He is always so happy and full of smiles. We know he is going to be a tough kid due to all the abuse he takes from his brother and sister. Most of the time, it's too much loving. Especially Gracie, she is a great helper, but sometimes she thinks she's the mother. Now at 10 months he is getting a little more difficult because he is mobile and getting into EVERYTHING!!! I expect he will be walking in the next few weeks and then I am really in for it.
Tyler went through a few months of terrible 2's just after Nathan was born. First was the wandering phase when he would disappear in a blink of an eye. Twice in one week he wandered off and brought mom to tears and panic attacks. The second of the two was the doozy. Gracie was playing at a friends house. We decided to take a walk to go pick her up. He was standing next to me as I put Nathan in the stroller, which took all of 45 seconds. When I turned around he was nowhere in sight. I looked up and down the street, in the back yard of the neighbor who's fence was open, and everywhere else in plain sight. I called the friend to where we were headed to see if he walked there without me, but Laurie couldn't see him on her street. About 8 minutes had gone by and my chest was starting to tighten with panic, I went next door to see if my neighbor and her kids could help me look. As she opens the door, my eyes are now welled up with tears and I can hardly speak due to the hyperventilating. We all start yelling Tyler's names and heading in every direction. A few minutes later I can hear Laurie calmly calling Tyler's name. I hear her say, "Stay right there, I'm coming." Tyler is in the process of scaling down her 20 foot rock wall. Half way down the hill is a house who's yard connects to Laurie's backyard/rock wall. He had decided to take a short cut. Fortunately Laurie's 2 year old came to the kitchen for a snack. As he was sitting at the table, he says to her " I go play with Tyler, he's on my rocks." This is when she sees him trying to climb down. It was after this day I almost put the kid on a leash. I think he realized that he almost gave mom a heart attack and that was the last disappearing act he performed.
We also went through the Dump Everything On The Floor phase with Tyler. You could pretty much count on him daily to dump out a full bad of pretzels, Chex mix (followed by stomping and mashing into the carpet), a box of cereal or a bag of powdered sugar all over the floor. Then he started into toothpaste on the carpet, lotion on the couch and the grand finale was .... more than half a bottle of vegetable oil dumped on the family room carpet. After multiple cleanings and not much change, the spot had to be replaced and patched. Thank you Tyler! All of the instances occurred during the 2 minutes it took to run upstairs to change a diaper or for myself to use the bathroom. I swear he watched me like a hawk and the moment I left the room he jumped into action. I dreaded nothing more than to hear Gracie yell "Moooooooom, come look at what Tyler did!" Fortunately for him, he is a really sweet kid and was very good for the portion of his life leading up to that time. This phase was now over, for the most part.
The summer was fun and filled with lots of time at the swimming pool. Gracie is practically a mermaid, thanks to her swim teacher, Miss Jan. Our gym has a great kid friendly pool, with water slides - Gracie's favorite, and I was able to send Nathan to the daycare. Otherwise I would never be able to take the two on my own. We really enjoyed the pool, up until the epidemic of Cryptosporidium hit Utah. Our pool was infected and the whole family went swimming on Gracie's birthday. All I can say is that is about the worst thing anyone can experience. The entire family had it. Gracie wasn't affected too bad but Tyler was very bad and poor Nathan. We couldn't even get the prescription for anyone but Nathan because every pharmacy in the state was out of it. And Nathan got the very last bottle that was available at all for more than a week. Marty was in Chicago when it hit him. I think the plane ride home was the worst of his life. He left again two weeks later and that was when it hit Nathan. He cried and cried from the pain of the gas and stomach cramping. Every night it would get really bad from about 7:30 PM until 5:00 AM when he would finally be so exhausted he would fall asleep for a couple hours. I had slept about 7 hours in a 72 hour period. After the second day with Nathan, I took him to the doctor and I had to do the stool sample test so we could diagnose him. That was the worst science project I had ever done. It required using Saran wrap in the diaper to catch the diarrhea, enough said. Two more days went by and then we got the positive test results back. Since Nathan was so little, they were very concerned about him becoming dehydrated and losing weight. Fortunately things turned around pretty quickly after starting him on the prescription. Marty returned home that week on a Thursday night. It was the next morning that it became my turn. Marty had taken that day off so we could have a long Labor Day weekend. All I can say is "Thank the Lord." If he wouldn't have been home, I never would have made it. I was down for the count for 3 days. I had gotten it BAD! This all occurred in August and we have still not be back to the pool, now being January. Marty has vowed never to swim in a public pool again.
August 7th, Gracie turned 5 years old. She had a fabulous birthday party at Kangaroo Zoo thanks to Uncle Chad's new business venture. This has been a big year for her. In September she began Kindergarten at Ridgeline Elementary. Her favorite part is riding the bus with all the kids in the neighborhood. She really enjoys school and has become quite the reader. The last two weeks over Christmas vacation has been very hard for her. She asks every day "How many more days until I go back to school?" We'll see if she has the same tone when she is in high school. I can't believe how much she has grown up this year. She has jumped into the craze over Hannah Montana and High School Musical which has brought up the occasional questions about boyfriends and kissing, which mom is just not ready to be discussing with a five year old! She also tells me about the games they play at recess, boy or girl tag. And some times they try to get each other to kiss. YIKES!!! I guess everyone plays kissing tag when they are in Kindergarten, I know I did. I think it is 1st grade when the opposite sex develops cooties. She also started writing Grace on all her school work. So her teacher asked her if she preferred to be called Grace instead of Gracie. Her reply was "Yes, Grace is much more beautiful." Now she tells us either will be just fine. Back in November I took her to the Hannah Montana concert. Our seats were on the floor for the taping of her new 3D concert movie. I was not willing to pay the price people were charging for the tickets. But the morning of the concert, Marty got a call from the crew, who was staying at the hotel, to see if he would like tickets. It was a really fun experience for the two of us.
The project of finishing our basement kept me busy for most of September and October. I handled all the price quotes and contractors on my own. The large involvement I had in the building of our spec house helped me to have some idea of what I was doing. I kept on top of all the contractors and amazingly enough, it was finished in 7 weeks. It has been a great addition to the house. We have moved the toy room down there so we have an official guest room with an actual bed. The pull out couch in the family room isn't the most glamorous accommodations for our guests. So anyone who wants to come visit, we are open for service. We also included a large open family room/ theater room. Marty and I decided to get an early Christmas present, for the next 5 years, a 60 inch High Def flat screen. It has been fun for watching movies with the family and games for Marty and his buddies.
November 4th, Tyler had his 3rd birthday. The obsession for balloons and balls still holds strong. He wanted me to make his cake in the shape of balloons and the best presents he received was the jumbo size Lightening McQueen Mylar balloon and a bag of 100 little plastic balls. Marty believes that when Tyler grows up his job will be to hold the ropes of the giant balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I am still working on trying to potty train this kid but boy is it a challenge. I've enjoyed the time we get to spend together one on one when Gracie is in school, but he is always so excited for her to get home. He is such a sweet boy with a fun personality.
Marty is still working for Marriott and in his free time he enjoys being a slum lord. The rental properties have consumed so much of his free time. We have had just about as much as we can take and there are too many stories to even talk about. We have listed the duplex for sale, so anyone wanting to purchase some real estate, give me a call. Marty has informed us that he is going to run the Ogden Marathon in May. He has told so many people that now I really do believe he will do it just to save face. I guess he will start "training" here in the next few weeks.
The holidays have kept us busy with all the regular holiday stuff. Gracie started taking dance again this summer and had her Christmas performance of The Polar Express. She has really enjoyed taking dance with her friend Regina. They both did such a great job for the performance. And this time she remembered to smile and have fun. The day before the performance we got out the video camera and watched her performance from two years ago. It was a lot of fun to watch the past years of video footage. She was only 3 years old and was concentrating so hard. She knew her dance and did all the moves just right, but she sure looked mad.
We also were able to visit Santa Claus a few times. The first was the primary Christmas party and all the kids really enjoyed talking and sitting with Santa. I was able to get some really great pictures of Nathan smiling from ear to ear. But about a week later he decided he had changed his opinion of Santa. We went to the Christmas party the hotel holds for the associates' children. This time Nathan was absolutely hysterical. The moment he looked at Santa he puckered up and started to scream at the top of his lungs. This was the first year that Tyler wasn't terrified of Santa. He was thrilled to sit on his lap and tell him he wanted a "choo choo cain for Crica." We are still working on Tyler's vocabulary. He is improving everyday, but some people who don't speak "Tyler" still have a little trouble understanding him. One of the special things we were involved in this Christmas was a rather large donation made by our neighborhood to Primary Children's Medical Center. A group of friends decided that this year rather than giving each other gifts and doing the typical neighborhood gifts , we would take that money and donate it to a charity where it could actually do some good. The group grew and grew and before long we decided to include the entire community of Traverse Mountain. Each neighborhood held their own open house, my neighborhood gathered here in our home, to have treats, mingle and to make an anonymous donation. We were excited to hear from Primary Children's Medical Center that our community donated over $5,000. If felt really great to be apart of such a wonderful thing and to see the giving hearts of all these people. I would love to be able to continue this from year to year.
Christmas is becoming more and more fun each year as the kids get older. Christmas morning was so much fun to see the kids faces and excitement over the gifts Santa had brought. Gracie even received a special phone call from Santa on Christmas Eve to confirm that she was on the "nice list", just by the skin of her teeth, and would be receiving her presents. I always love the holidays to remind us of all the blessings and wonderful things we have received. I'm so grateful for all my family and friends. May we all continue to be blessed in the next year.