Monday, December 19, 2011

LAUREN IS HOME!!!!

4 months is a long time to go without seeing one another. I felt so complete having us all in the car together driving home from the airport. Yay!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend - 2007 - Lauren was headed to the hospital for her 3rd heart transplant. That gives us a lot to be thankful for!!
Thanksgiving weekend - 2011 - Lauren stayed in Utah and the rest of us went to Nauvoo. Here are the kids in front of the Mansion House - one of the prophet Joseph's homes.
We fixed an early Thanksgiving dinner and took leftovers with us to a condo.
Thanksgiving morning we went to Carthage Jail. No matter how many times I go to these sights, I learn more about the sacrifices and challenges the early saints had to endure. Wow!
The homes and shops had their old-fashioned Christmas decorations up.
Blair took us to the old pioneer cemetery. We found Nancy Holbrooks headstone, the wife of Joseph Holbrook.
The Nauvoo temple is beautiful both inside and out. There were actually several weddings that weekend.
Nathan is such a good sport and posed for a sunset shot on the Mississippi river.
This year was a bit somber for us. Some dear friends from our Utah days were in a car accident. The husband was killed and the wife sustained some severe injuries. My young cousin lost her husband in a tragic accident as well. It just causes a lot of reflection about the blessings I have and the struggles others have to go through. I am grateful for the strength and blessing that my family and the promises of the gospel provide.

A Budding Star

Nathan is only in 6th grade, but he was cast in the school musical.
He was Zeke, the farmhand who talks to Dorothy about having courage.
Then he sang and danced as a munchkin.
Next part - one of the lollipop guild. The boys weren't expecting the audience to laugh at them, so they had a hard time keeping straight faces.
The Ozzians welcome Dorothy and her friends to the land of Oz all dressed in green costumes.
Nathan is posing by the tinman (tin-girl in this case) - isn't that a great costume?
The show was amazing and so well done - he had a great time and learned a lot about theater, singing, dancing, and stage management. The directors loved his enthusiasm and personality!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday morning

Monday morning I woke up feeling a bit uneasy, heavy-hearted and helpless. Based on activities from the weekend, everyone had issues I was concerned about this week. However, they weren't things I could solve for them or really even help them with. The joys of wifehood/motherhood.
Then Lauren called at 6:30 am her time. When we moved her in to the dorm, we went to Target and bought all kinds of supplies. One thing on that list was a barf basin. There was some debate over what size, shape,etc. would be best, but she chose a wide silver bowl. Because of all her surgeries and some of her meds, her GI system struggles. She has had to use that bowl more times in the last 2 months than we want to count, especially the last week. Anyway, yesterday she was sick again and knew she was getting dehydrated. Once this starts for her, it is a quick downward spiral. Not only was she sick, but frustrated and disheartened. We tried to talk through options and she decided to get a blessing and get to the ER.
It is so tough to watch people you love struggle and not be able to do much for them except to provide comfort and pray. So, I went to get a slice of heaven. My friend Christie just had a precious baby girl and her snuggle was just what I needed! I didn't say anything to them, but while there, out of the blue, Christie's mom mentioned as a side note that there was a lot of power in prayer.
I pray for Lauren all the time, but I left and did my grocery shopping, walking up and down the isles praying a bit more specifically that Lauren's body would respond quickly. The helpless feeling subsided a bit and I was reminded that sometimes prayer is enough and is all you can do. Then I came home and read a note from a friend whose child is struggling through something I can't even imagine dealing with. Some of her comments gave me great insight and reminded me that Heavenly Father knows our kids and loves them even more than we do.
ER visits are rarely a short experience for Lauren - they always seem to be the beginning of a long struggle, so she went prepared to at least spend the night. But, after only a few hours of IV fluids, she was so much better!
As she called last night after arriving home, the lilt in her voice was back! New friends had picked her up, balloons and all. She mentioned that Pres Monson is speaking at their devotional today. Silver bowl in hand or not, she is determined to be there!
I went to sleep last night grateful for tender mercies -
*young men who have been taught well and are excited and prepared to use the priesthood when asked
*a sweet baby, a quick thought, and a note on the day I need it
*family members who go to the rescue
*the beauty of IV fluids
*a daughter who knows how to get help and what kind she needs
*the power of prayer

Friday, October 14, 2011

Camping, Car and CT

I Love to go camping! There is something about working together to put up a tent, all the noises you hear as you fall asleep, the feeling of cuddling in your flannel sleeping bag, needing to use a flashlight, eating breakfast cooked on a campstove, hearing the zipper sound as you open the door, the list goes on and on. Chicago is not famous for its hot camping spots and it kept getting later in the year, so I convinced Blair and Nathan to camp with me even if it was in the backyard. They were good sports and I was soooooo happy!!!!
One of the perks of working for Colgate is a company car. Every once in a while Blair gets a new one and it arrived yesterday. It's a Ford Fusion. Fun for him! He also is starting a new position, still in the same office. Once again, it is clear that the timing and the job are evidence that Heavenly Father is watching out for him.
Sorry I don't have a picture to go with this portion of the post. Lauren started with a cold which turned to a sinus infection. The first antibiotic didn't work, so the doc ordered a CT scan which led to another antibiotic but her nose continues to swell and her head continues to hurt. So she is off to her 4th doctor visit without me. She never seems to have it easy, does she? She is loving the life of a college student though!

Monday, October 3, 2011

BYU Update

So you haven't heard from me in a while mainly because I am 1400 miles away from the rest of my family. I can't believe I've actually been out here just over a month already!!! But here's a quick update on all that is happening here in Provo, Utah at the amazing Brigham Young University!!

First off, I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!! Everyone is so incredibly kind and friendly; the Church plays into every single subject (my writing homework this weekend is to analyze the rhetorical strategies of the conference speakers); people openly talk about testimonies, missions, and getting ready for church lessons; we have a Family Home Evening group; I can attend the temple every single week; and so on.
So here are just a few of the activities I've been up to since being away from home.

Football. Yes I am learning to enjoy the games. Of course the only one I've been to so far is the University of Utah game in which our Cougars pretty much got run over, but it was still fun :)

My amazing friend Alyssa - we were EFY roomies last year and got our football tickets together.
Below is the view of the halftime show from my aunt and uncle's box seats. We were actually sitting on the very far left edge of the bleachers in the background.


I have been to a choir concert (incredible!), a Jimmer All-Stars Event (got lots of pictures for Megan), and to Target (a big exciting adventure for us college students who have our own little world here on campus). I went to Rascal Flatts with my aunt Carly - so much fun!!!! I have been to several devotionals, attended the General Relief Society Meeting with my aunts, go to Ward Prayer each week, and look forward to Family Home Evening as the highlight of my Monday. Seriously, it's the only reason I get through my Mondays. I have heard 2 apostles speak at BYU - Elder Oaks at a CES Fireside and Elder Andersen for a devotional. I have the incredible opportunity to attend the temple each week, recently every Tuesday at 5:45am though that will be changing to Thursday morning.

Rascal Flatts is amazing! What more can I say? This was them performing "I Won't Let Go," one of my favorites!! :)
And this is my FHE group - they are AWESOME!!! I love these guys :) We went bowling and I actually got a strike for once in my life!!! The rest of the game was pretty awful but I started out with a strike!! I was pretty excited :) Anyways, this is me, Annie, Logan, James, Alec, Angela, Newel, Andy, Austin, and Kyle in front.

So yeah. That's pretty much my exciting life. I have mountains of homework to do and it's a hard realization to see that everyone here is just as smart as I am so I have to now work three times as hard to get the grades I had in high school. My last test was a bit of a wake-up call...haha

By the way, General Conference was amazing!!!! Even though I was away from my family for the first time ever and missed going through 72 hour kit snacks (though I did not miss eating the MRE's or made ready to eat meals that we've had for six years now), it was an awesome weekend of listening to the prophet and apostles and other general authorities speak. I LOVE this Church and I love being here at BYU!!! Go Cougars!!!

And remember to smile :)

By the way here's the link to my blog: lauren2hearts.blogspot.com. I'm hoping to keep it updated more often and that's where my BYU updates will be from now on. Enjoy!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

September

I try to get to the Chicago Botanic Garden to see each season change - the waterfall garden is one of my favorites.

Back in February, a terrible storm caused damage to 3 of our bedroom ceilings. See the lovely patchwork?

We finally had the repairs done and the ceilings repainted. What a mess!

Lest you think I haven't spent any time with medical issues, Blair took over Lauren's role. He started off with an infected leg that turned to cellulitis. Then, here he is nursing his Pink Eye with ice packs. It took 3 doctors and multiple prescriptions to accurately diagnose him. He didn't hardly leave the house for almost a week.

Aren't these awesome uniforms? The feather plumes are missing because there was a chance of rain. There were 3 football games in a row, now we have a few weeks off before Homecoming. Rachel began a small tutoring job and Megan is about to begin basketball team workouts.

So, Nathan was cast in the school musical. It is the Wizard of Oz and he is Zeke (a farmhand), one of the Lollipop Guild, an Ozzian and a Munchkin. He has great stage presence and is having a blast. He gets to dance and sing and act. I love his enthusiam!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

For any of us who have ever spent any time out of the United States, feelings of patriotism are naturally tender and close to the surface. As we commemorated Sept 11, 2001 today, Rachel's high school performed a remembrance concert with her band and the school choir's. One of the speakers reminded us that our kids have never known an airport where family members could actually meet you at the gate or where you didn't have to take off your shoes to go through security. Do you remember when you could visit a hospital without showing ID first?

When the twin towers were hit, we were living in Utah and Blair was on a business trip in Texas. I remember the uneasy feelings of airports being shut down, having no idea what would happen next, and waiting for Blair to finally make it home after a 24 hour bus ride.

Since 2001, we have lived in New Jersey (1 hour from New York) and been to Manhattan many times. We were only 4 hours from Washington DC sites like the White House and the Washington Monument. We went to Philadephia and learned so much about our founding fathers while there. We are so blessed in our country to have so many freedoms and so many who guard those for us.

The videos below are from Rachel's concert. They both are under a minute and are worth the watch. Start with the bottom one first. They opened the concert with the audience singing The Star-Spangled Banner, then, as we are sitting down, Rachel plays Taps offstage. Side note - Rachel is incredibly talented and loves music! I was so impressed by her playing today. I have told her I expect to hear her play Silver Bells on the trumpet in my final moments of life.

The first video is of their closing number. Enjoy!!


video


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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to School


The night before... Blair managed the school supplies, paperwork, 1st day outfits, etc. etc. But Nathan needed a haircut and so did Blair. Being the thrifty man he is, Blair splurged and spent $30 at Target for a trimming kit. Here Megan is using the vacuum while Nathan does the buzzing. They obviously had fun!

Nathan gets up at 6:00 am and leaves on the bus at 7 am now. Middle School with all its lockers and changing classes and different schedules on A days or B days, dressing down for PE, etc. is confusing to me, but he has it down and is learning a ton! He tried out for the school musical and is waiting to hear if he has a part.

Megan is a freshman and Rachel is a Junior, so they leave together for seminary at 6am, return at 7:15, then get on the bus at 7:30. They already have tons of homework!

Fall means football and marching band season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Megan is one of the shorter clarinet players while Rachel is one of the taller trumpeters. The band is 209 members strong, they practice for a class period each day, then have one night rehearsal each week and perform at all the home football games. Not only do they sound amazing, but they had some cool moves for their first game as well.

Megan has several teachers that Rachel had - here is the note on her english homework. Poor Megan has a lot to live up to.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Someone is clearly missing!!

It is interesting how the absence of one person changes the family make-up. Lauren was not the most vocal of all of us, however, she provided some kind of daily drama. It is a bit quieter without her.!! The lonely bedroom quickly has transformed to a music room/Blair's office.

I had to alter the dishes/help with dinner chart, our seating at the dinner table is now confusing, and tomorrow is Saturday. The Saturday job assignments now need to be refigured.

The good news is that one less person is fighting for the front seat in the car, there is a tad less laundry, and there are no med containers on the kitchen counter.

We miss Lauren but she is having the time of her life and I wouldn't have it any other way!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

BYU

All packed up and ready to fly. May I mention that there are definite benefits to hopping on a plane, sitting quietly for 4 hours, getting out, retrieving luggage and going on your merry way. I really didn't miss the 400 miles of Nebraska nothingness you see when you drive the same route.


BYU ID in hand. Officially a freshman, going off to buy books.

First view of the dorm room.

The view from Lauren's window. This was just an added bonus - I wasn't thinking clear enough to plan this when I chose her room for her. You might remember that Lauren was barely out of surgery back in April when her selection date and time arrived, so I was on my own.

What a disaster - how can one young lady have so much stuff????

The well-organized desk-space.

The bed space, with each inch filled to capacity.

Not quite like her room at home, but a good substitute for 4 months.

Laurens last days at home

Lunch at Panera Bread

Megan asks "Lauren, don't you want to play basketball with me one last time?" Lauren has done this perhaps 2 other times with Megan in her entire life! But here they are, making a few last memories.

In cleaning out her room, Lauren came up with a 16 inch stack of paper. What could be more fun than a bonfire to burn it all up.

She said it was very "cleansing"

Mexican train game late at night, a new family favorite!!

Friday, August 19th. Sticky buns for breakfast before the big goodbyes.


We didn't purposely both wear yellow - it just happened that way. Off to the airport we go...