Friday, April 15, 2011

Brandon and the Birthday Buns

This is skipping a few days, but it goes nicely with the birthday post, so we'll just put it here.
Long story short, Brandon Cardenaz was still here for a few days after we got back from Nauvoo and Maryn schmoozed him into making cinnamon rolls for her birthday treat instead of a cake. He was happy to oblige and happy to let them help.
So after the dough was made and risen, he rolled it out on the table. Until it was HUGE. Seriously, it practically took up an entire end of the table.
Then a stick of melted butter and an obscene amount of cinnamon sugar and brown sugar was strewn across the dough by hand. Maryn and Ashlyn were especially fond of this step.
It was rolled up (again, seriously huge) and then they cut the pieces of using dental floss. The girls thought this was amazing.

They baked until the entire house smelled incredible. Cream cheese frosting was made. This is the part where I don't tell anyone Brandon got a blister in the middle of his hand from stirring it with a fork. I also won't mention we actually own a hand mixer which he commented it would have been easier with but didn't ask.

The extra sacrifice must have made them extra tasty...

because the girls demanded these particular rolls need to be made for every single birthday from now until forever. Thanks Brandon. Way to live in California.
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Party in the USA...Its Maryn's Day!

Maryn's 11th birthday was April 12th. We had a birthday party a week early since it was spring break.
Just for backgrounds sake; here's how we work birthdays at our house. Every kid gets $100 for their birthday. They may choose to spend it on something of their choice or use it to pay for a party or a combination of any of the above. This includes the purchase of anything they want to eat, drink or do that is not usually in the house. 8th birthdays and 16th birthdays are on me and they get to keep all of their $100. It has been a wonderful and successful experiment, but that's another post.
The point is Maryn chose to spend about half of hers on a party. I admit to agreeing to a few extra things I paid for, partly because I really wanted her to have a cool party and have a chance to bond with her friends outside school. I remember how it felt at this age; fitting in is supreme. She has good friends I feel are mostly non judgmental, but she is at that weird stage where she's still a little girl and partly a young woman. So we compromised.
We played Just Dance 2 on Wii, then had everyone decorate their own cupcakes (Maryn provided all the decorations at her own expense since I don't really care that much). There was punch, pretzels, chips and popcorn out for everyone to nosh on while playing.
Here are the girls decorating...

Then we opened gifts. She got some fun stuff including a Justice and a Books A Million gift card, some cool paper and writing stuff and a newly beloved pillow pet she has LONG wanted...a unicorn she has named Princess Charlie (whatever).

Then we all went and saw HOP at the theaters. We came back, made mini pizzas and played some more before everyone left. I think it was fun. I was tired, so they must have had a good time!

Front Row: (L to R) Zeyneb, Paige, Kate, Eishat , Yasmin
Back: Hannah, Bethany and Krystyna Turner and Maryn
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011


So the “theme” of my blog, if you will, is finding joy in the journey. It’s about seeing the silver lining in the cloud and accepting what is happening even when things are not going the way you want them to go and making the most of it. I often wait until a moment occurs to share it and wax eloquent. It might be big news, or a big event, or a moment of illumination that becomes fodder for my posts. Discussions or comments that are out of the ordinary or funny also play a foundational role in my introspective writings.

Which is why this post is different. The last few days have not been interesting in any particular way. No one said anything really funny or profound. There was no catastrophe or glitch in the day that propelled me into chaos and self reflection. There was nothing in my life that fell into the usual categories as far as potential anecdotes for the revealing of my next profound moment self discovery.

Here is what I had to work with…

I took my 3 youngest to dinner at Red Robin and we went to a movie. We got a cookie covered caramel apple at Rocky Mountain Candy Company and shared it. My brother and his family came Saturday morning. The children got along well and the tiffs were few and far between. I made a green jello poke cake for my nephew’s birthday and my daughter’s favorite chicken and noodles at her request. I enjoyed my sister in law immensely and chatted and shared with her while my dad and bro went to priesthood meeting and my mother slept. I played Carcasonne with my family. We watched Tangled and Operation Petticoat. I played Boggle on my iPhone. We listened to and occasionally discussed conference. I took a nap and made homemade foccaccia and creamy tomato soup. I played a few games at the home of some friends after feeding my offspring leftovers. I ate brownies.

Nothing amazing. Mostly boring. All typical.

The regularity of my circumstances inflicted temporary blindness. When I thought I had truly nothing to write about, I realized that so much of what is good in my life I fail to celebrate because it is not earth shattering. And yet, so much of what is worth sharing, isn’t life altering. And every moment I live no matter how ordinary, is amazing because its mine to have and to own and to do with what I will. The joy in the journey isn’t in the mountains that are climbed, but in the naps by the stream as it quietly meanders away. You never see the silver lining if you aren’t watching the clouds. It’s in the picking of flowers not the creation of bouquets. And sometimes when things are just going I can remember that going nowhere is just as satisfying as getting somewhere when you are with the right people.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Illuminations, Complications and Explanations


We spent 3 days of last week visiting, for assorted amounts of time, with a child psychologist trying to figure Conner out. I had a parent’s only meeting on Monday to get my insights and concerns. Wednesday was an hour and a half of testing for Conner. And Friday was evaluation and discussion. We threw 4 things on the table as possibilities as to why his behavior was erratic and he struggled academically; autism, depression, anxiety and ADHD.

And the winner was…ADHD.

Dr. Smith shared that he though Conner was very bright and quite capable…but very easily distracted and impulsive which led to inconsistent academic performance and behavior. Some of the depressive and anxiety symptoms were related to the ADHD since it probably is frustrating to feel out of control and like your just waiting to get in trouble for something you don't even mean to do... and decreases self esteem. Since home schooling is not a plausible option for me at this point in my life, we will be medicating. But a diagnosis gives us tools and parameters to work with. So that’s helpful.


My kids talked me into taking them swimming at the Y Saturday evening. I sat on the side and read and watched. 5 minutes into the playing, Ashlyn rushed over to me crying, “I hit my chin.” I put my book down. “Let’s see sweetie.” I was expecting a bump, bruise or scratch because she was only slightly whimpering.

Nah. Gaping inch long laceration.


I remained calm. “Okay, so everyone out of the pool. We need to go NOW. Lifeguard, bandage please.”

Mom and Dad were gone, so I called a neighbor and asked if the other 2 could come hang there while we made a trip to the ER. (Thank you Maddens!)

So she did need stitches. She was significantly less than thrilled about this news. The nurse asked if I would be comfortable holding her body down while he held her head still and the doctor did the sutures. I kind of laughed, smiled, and said “She’s my youngest of four.” Nurse; “Ah, well, then you’ll be just fine.” The doctor entered, and asked Nurse Mark, “Do we need to get someone else to help hold her?” Nurse Mark: “Nah. It’s her youngest of four.” Doctor nods knowingly. “Well okay then. Let’s do this!”

I just found the whole exchange amusing. I guess there are some “less experienced” parents who have had a problem restraining their child. Nope. Not me. Give me a squirmy kid and a reason to make it stop and I can bring it.

She screamed for 2 minutes while they numbed and washed her. Then she lay quietly while she was sewn together, telling the nurse and doctor how she was hungry and had been promised McDonald’s when we left.

Now she thinks she’s cool.

She went to school on Monday and I guess didn't say a thing to her teacher. I saw him Tuesday, and he told me he didn't even notice until halfway through the day she had a bandaid on. He asked her what happened and she simply said "I hit my chin on the pool at the Y." He jokingly said "Did you have to get stitches?" He was shocked when she nodded her head yes. "Really? Let me see." So he pulled back the bandage and (in his words) "Sure enough...there were three of the gnarliest stitches I'd ever seen right there!"

Happy stitches Lyni Lou!


While we were waiting at the ER to be called back, Ashlyn sat quietly and nervously holding her raggedy pink blankie and a medium sized stuffed dog of the brown and white variety. I knew his name was Candy Cane, but had never thought to ask why. I should have thought about it, because all of her other animals are aptly and obviously named; a dinosaur named “Diney”, a duck named “Waddles”, a pink cat named “Pink Cat” and about half a dozen other animals whose names are Lily because it’s her favorite name. But a floppy brown and white dog named Candy Cane makes little sense.

So I took the opportunity to ask her about it. She quickly held up one of his paws. There, on the end, was a piece of nasty candy cane stuck to the fur. “See? It’s been there since last Christmas.”

Ahhhh. I see.