Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Latest!

I haven't blogged in a long time, I am not sure if I don't feel like I have anything anyone cares to hear about or if I am so busy that I don't make the time to do it. With my kids having a day off, I am taking the morning off from studying and so I am updating my blog. Here goes:

I have a confession to make. I am a horrible mother! I totally screwed up on Halloween this year! With football, homecoming, school and everything else I never took pictures of all the kids together! We had three trunk or treats we went to, but not one where the whole family was together. Not even one! That was really frustrating to me this year. Which is why I don't have any pictures of all the kids together, but it still bothers me. And then with Halloween actually being on a Sunday, we were so done by the time it actually came around that we had some friends over for dinner and my kids didn't want to dress up again so the only time I had them all together, no one was dressed up! Oh, well. They all had a good time anyway.

This picture is taken before our ward's trunk or treat. Connor was at football practice with Bryan and Jonathan was at a Best Buddies Halloween event so it was just me and these cuties! Kate is Dr. Dufenschmirtz (however you spell that one!!) from Phineas and Ferb, Jenna is a cupcake and Alex is Darth Vader!This is during the school's costume parade. This is the last year that Jenna can do the parade. She is so cute!!
I was getting really worried when Alex's class went by because I couldn't find him at first. Turns out, he was so excited that he went ahead of his teachers and was way in front. This is NOTHING like Alex at school. He is such a shy and quiet boy that I was afraid that he got too scared to even go out in the parade! So I quickly went to the other side where the parade came back around and this is the kid I saw!
He is smiling and High Fiving every kid that walked by! It was adorable! He was so disappointed when the parade ended. I have never seen Alex like this out in public!
Happy Alex=Happy Mom!!

This is where Bryan has been spending all of his time during the week when he is not at work. Because they made the playoffs, practices are now three nights a week so Bryan is never home. He feels strongly that Connor needs him at practice so he goes to every practice and stays the whole time. This has made a huge difference in Connor. I have seen that boy grow into a confident and happy young man. I am so grateful for my husband's sacrifice and example. Connor has confided in me how much it means to him that his dad would do this for him. He is using his dad as his essay he is writing for school as his hero. When I told Bryan that, his face lit up and he knew that his time was well spent.
Anyway, Connor is playing on the Gunslinger's football team and they are doing Awesome! They are now the State Champions!! That has never happened for a Superstition Pop Warner football team before so his team has made history! Yay, Gunslingers! Because of their good record, they were in the Level 2 division which means they continue beyond the State playoff level where other teams will stop at State. So last weekend, they played in a game verses a team from California. This is all in an effort to go to the Pop Warner version of the Superbowl. It is crazy to me that they do this on this level! These kids are 9-11!!! Anyway, in a nail biter of a game, the Gunslinger's won and so now we are off to San Diego this weekend to play in the next round. If we win this game, we will come back to the valley and play another California team in Scottsdale next Sunday. If we win that game, then the team will be off to Florida for the superbowl!
I was really hoping we would win State and then lose before we had to go to San Diego. I know that sounds horrible that I would wish my son's team would lose, but I can't afford these trips! Especially with Christmas coming soon and my husband has already used up his vacation days! Florida is a week! A week!! And they only need the team to raise between $35,000 and $45,000. For real!! And that is just for the team to go! If you know my Connor, he may not survive a week without a parent there and I am in school so I can't go.
Anyway, now that we have gotten this far, it is really a once in a lifetime chance that they can do this and I am so amazed at this group of young men so I say, go for it! Win it all and win big! We will figure out the money later! How many teams get to go to Florida? Not to many that I have ever heard of!
This is Connor doing a pregame drill, he is #72

He is hard to see, but he is in the middle, left
State Champs!!

Connor and his hero, or better known as Dad!

My little Studdmuffin! lol
This past weekend, I went to a wedding in Salt Lake City with my mom and sisters and Jonathan. I loved taking Jon to temple square for the first time. He is such a great kid and it was great feeling of his love of the Savior and his amazing Spirit. He has been wanting to go to BYU after his mission and I have been trying to convince him that it would be cheaper to stay home and go to ASU for his pre-Med. I confess, I just don't want to let him go! After spending time with him up there, we drove through the BYU campus and I guess I got a little spiritual kick in the behind that I needed to let him go if that's what he wants. Why do we have to let them grow up! He will be leaving on his mission in less than 2 years. I am not ready! But, Kate really wants to go to BYU also and if we are lucky and they both get in they would be going at the same time! It's just so far away!!! AHHH! Not my daughter too! lol

Jon, me, my mom, sister JoAnn, sister Jenny, niece Kelsey

My future missionary. So many people were asking him how long he had been home from his mission! Poor kid needs to stop looking so mature, everyone thinks he is an RM at 17! lol

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Waiting List

I am officially on the waiting list! I feel such a sense of accomplishment! I am excited and even a bit humbled to finally get to this point. I also finally took the Hesi A2 test. It was sooo long, yuck! It was tough but not as hard as I thought it would be, so with that out of the way and my fingerprint clearance is back, I was able to put in my application today! Yay! So, they say there is a 3 to 4 semester waiting list now. Bummer!

While I wait, I am going to try to get into a CNA course so I can get some practical experience as well as earn some dough! lol Dough is good. Anyway, there it I wait!! :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nursing School

As many of you know, I have been working on getting into Nursing school for a very long time! Years in fact! There are so many prerequisites that have to be done before you can even apply for the program. These are English 101, some math, reading, Biology, Anatomy 201, Chemistry, Psychology and probably something else I am forgetting! I have been slowly taking these over the years. My plan all along was to wait until all the kids were in school and then start taking classes my self. When things got rough a couple of years ago, I knew I couldn't go slow anymore.

I already have all of my prereq's out of the now and have been taking my coreq's. These are classes that you can take once you have submitted your nursing application and you are on the waiting list. These used to be prereq's and now they are coreq's. I didn't realize that until I had taken most of them as well! Those are the other half of Anatomy 202, more English, another Biology and now Microbiology. Microbiology is my last coreq and I am signed up to take it in the fall.

Since I have all my prereq's out of the way and we are now settled into our house, I am finally getting around to putting in my application for the Nursing program. I was fingerprinted yesterday. That was a slightly strange experience. I had to pay someone to take my prints and then pay DPS to tell me that I am not a criminal. Ok, that part actually will take about 4-6 weeks. That is the main thing holding my up, and my transcripts, and my Hesi 2 test. Ok, so I am almost ready!! I had to go to Mountain View to order those transcripts. That felt so weird! I really hated high school and I sooo don't miss it. It made me feel sorry my son because I remember how difficult it was for me in school. It is hard to get good grades and make positive choices while surrounded by such garbage everyday. I don't think there was ever a time in my life I felt so alone as in high school! I think that is part of the reason why my husband and I found each other so early. We needed each other. Oh well, that is another post for another day!! lol

Anyway, I also have to take a Hesi 2 test to prove basic math, English and reading skills. This test takes 4 hours!! AHHH! Yuck! Other than the time, I am not too worried about it. I will start studying for it next week and take it the week after that. Once that is done, then as soon as I get my fingerprint clearance card back I can apply for the Nursing program and then just wait! and wait! And take Microbiology this semester.

I am excited and nervous about it this semester because it is actually in a classroom instead of online like the rest of the classes I have taken. I am worried about how the labs will be conducted. I have always used a virtual microscope for my labwork. Yeah, I don't think a virtual microscope will be quite the same!! So I am a little nervous about being on my fourth Biology class and having no idea how to actually use a real microscope!! haha, I am going to look like a total idiot!!

I am also nervous to go to a classroom because I am worried I will be in a room with a bunch of teenagers. I am almost old enough to be their mother. Almost being the key word! I know that there will probably be people my age in there, but I am still nervous about it. I don't want to be the only old lady there!

This will be a strange year for me, I am excited at the opportunities for my education but this is the first year that all of my kids will be in school full time. I am not sure I like that. It seems like one step closer to losing them all!! Alex will be in all day kindergarten and he is so little still. He will turn 5 only 3 days after school starts so I am worried about how he will do. And Jonathan is a junior this year, soon he will be graduated and off on a mission. I will miss him like crazy. And Kaitlyn is in junior high this year, it's all freaking me out how old my kids are getting! Tell them to stop!!! :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My New Motto

I have decided I need a new motto in my life. It actually came from Bryan. He is a very smart and supportive man. I will keep him! ;p I have often struggled in my life when I have challenges and think I can hang on and be strong until it is over and I will enjoy my life when this current problem is over. Well, as my wise husband has pointed out, as soon as one problem is gone, there will be a new one to pop in and take its place. He quoted me this out of the scriptures, now it isn't the most profound scripture to most people, but it was to me: "And it came to pass..." and then he adds and not stay! That is what I have to remember. I will always have challenges and some of them will seem so big that I will wonder how I will ever get through them. But I always do. The real challenge in it all is to try to find happiness and peace for myself in the middle of it all and to share the feelings of peace and love with my husband and children. So that they feel loved and secure even during the most insecure times of our lives, which just so happens to be these last few months!

I have been working on this and usually fail miserably, but I am trying. Last night we were reading in 1 Nephi 15:5 and Nephi was talking about being overcome because of his afflictions and that he considered his afflictions great above all. I have felt like that these last few months myself. With moving twice in the last two months and then as soon as we move again it seems that everything that can go wrong, did go wrong. My car stopped working, the hot water heater here short circuits over and over, leaky faucets, broken dryer and I have to rewash every piece of clothing and bedding, etc that we own! I had been getting so frustrated and felt very discouraged! Most of these things have been resolved already and I am feeling fine but when I read the last half of verse 5 and Nephi goes on to say that he considers his afflictions to be great above all others because he has watched his people be destroyed, that was able to put things into perspective! I am not going through anything as difficult or dramatic as Nephi although they may feel very hard for me at times. But it did remind me again that all of these problems by themselves aren't that big and that they will all pass. Plus, it reminded me again what a smart, awesome hubby I have!!

So, It came to pass...and not stay!! :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another new house

It's official, I am sick of moving! We gave this house our best efforts and it still did not work out. I do not know why but it must not have been meant to be. It's ok, we will be fine. It has been such a hard couple of months dealing with it all but I feel a tremendous amount of relief that we are going to move again. I can't stand to stay in this house much longer. It is making me sick on a daily basis, constant migraines and stomach cramps. Ugg! So ready to move on from this!

I really felt like we were supposed to be here in this house, I felt like everything led us to it. So I am confused and frustrated and even a little angry at times that we gave it everything we had and still nothing we did worked! There were times when I was going on faith alone and still felt like we were supposed to be here. But then there comes a time when you know you are just done and it's time to give up. So, that's where we are. Done.

We were approved for another house tonight and will be signing papers on it tomorrow. It is not as nice as this house but it is clean! No kitty litter box smell! It doesn't have the best floor plan but it is large and affordable. It is right around the corner from the park and keeps my kids in the schools where they want to be. It is also in the Red Mountain ward and we already know a lot of good people in that ward so at least we won't be going in there as strangers. And I will probably be keeping my job as Cubmaster, for better or for worse! lol

So, we move on from here and I have to say I am not looking forward to the work involved with moving but I am looking forward to being in the other house. I am also happy that even during this awful time, when things have been so hard, I know that things must be happening for a reason. Even if I don't understand what those reasons might be. I have enough faith to trust the Lord's plan and keep going.

I will really miss the Preston ward. The people in it were so kind and good to us. We feel like we belong and I will miss that feeling always!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy 12th Birthday, Kaitlyn!

Happy 12th Birthday to a wonderful, sweet girl! I am so glad Kaitlyn is a part of our family, she brings light and laughter, sweetness and thoughtfulness, silliness and goodness to our home. We are a better family because she is in it. She is a good example for her brothers and sister and is becoming a great babysitter. We love you Kate and hope your day is AWESOME!! :D!!

These pictures are Kate on her birthdays starting at age 4 (when we got our first digital camera) the previous years are still in a box somewhere!!). She always has that fabulous smile! 5
6 (Lucky girl got to spend this birthday at Disneyland, purely by coincidence!)
9-and first year with glasses, I think they make her look cuter and smarter!!
11- This is a group shot from last year's pajama themed birthday party. First the smiley face, then the silly face.

Kate and her best friend, Jolie
Happy Birthday to a wonderful daughter, we love you so much!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I guess it's how you look at things...

I think this may be the lesson I am trying to learn right now. It's how you look at things and whether or not you can find the good in the bad, the happy in the sad, and the peace among the difficulties of the world. This past week has been an emotional one for me. It started off with a week ago Sunday, we were going to look at the house for rent next door. We felt strongly that we wanted to stay in the ward and schools for our children but this area is hard to find homes in that meet our needs. The home next door is not very big but it was in our budget so we were willing to try to make it work. The realtor who showed it to us was very kind and was telling us about another house that she was going to be listing the next morning that was also in our ward/school area. The problem was this house was significantly over our budget so we thanked her but refused. We told her what our budget was and she agreed that it would be difficult to find in this area. She then called me first thing the next morning and told me that the other house she was renting needed work and if we were willing to do it that she would be able to rent it to us for the price we could afford. We went to look at it right away and we agreed almost immediately to the plans. Everything has fallen into place for this house. I know this is where we are supposed to be, however it is so much more difficult than I thought it would be. So much work, stress, frustration and worry! There are really stubborn pet odors. This is my main problem. I worry about getting them out! Other than that, everything else is cosmetic. We will do the landscaping, minor wall patching and trim work and painting. There will be new carpet that I get to pick out (squeal of joy!!) and we don't have to pay for!! But those pet odors are my main concern. The odors are getting a little better already and I have to have faith that we made the right decision and that it will all work out in the end. This home has more than enough room for our family and a pool, when it is finished it will be a really nice place. We have also negotiated a good rental agreement with the option to buy in a few years. Hopefully we have things together enough to do so!

I am trying to look at the bigger picture, the end result will be great. Right now, it's a smelly, dirty job. But if I look at it the right way, I know this is where the Lord wants us. I have a sweet, supportive husband. I have strong, fun children who I can work with and laugh with. I have good friends helping us along the way. I have supportive family who builds me up when I think I am done for. I have a ward who is willing to help and I know I can call and they will come. I am blessed in many ways.

Another area, Jonathan has had it a bit rough in the last couple of days. He had reconstruction surgery on his ACL last week. He is doing really well now. The first couple of days were very tough on him physically and emotionally but he pulled through great. I am thankful that he has good friends to help cheer him up and keep him going. Yesterday was his first day back at school. He was going to use a wheelchair and then decided that it would draw too much attention to himself so he wanted to use the crutches, against better advice. That lasted for one hour. I was quickly back in the car bringing him the wheelchair! After that, he was doing pretty good. At the end of the day, I went to pick him up and his leg was swollen and he was really sore. He wheeled himself up to the passenger door and put his violin case behind the front tire. (you can see where I am going with this, huh). He put his backpack in the car and then climbed in. I assumed he would put the violin in as well. In his mind, he thought he asked me to put it in. I was busy putting the wheelchair in the back of the suburban and figured we were all set so I get in the car and start to back up. The car makes this shuddering and I though my transmission was giving out or something so I pull back forward and it seems fine. I get out of the car to check and when I see the violin case, I could have just dropped right then and there. I did not want to show that to Jonathan. When he saw me pull that case out from under the car his face just crumpled and he turned away in absolute devastation. I will never forget that look. Ever.

I could only think how difficult this past week has been for him and whenever life is hard, he takes refuge in the violin. He loves to play and he makes the most beautiful music. Our home is always filled with music and I was so afraid and horrified that I may have killed the violin! His most beloved thing!

There is a good side of this though, like I said, I guess it's how you look at things. The violin broke at the base of the scroll and it appears that that is the only place it broke. Had the case been placed the other way, it would have been a complete disaster and I would have crushed the body. Jonathan feels like the violin has been protected before, he once had the feeling to move the violin when he had taken it to play in seminary. He had it sitting out of the way but not in its case and had he not moved it, it would have been crushed by a piano seat moments later. And now he feels that it was protected again, so I am going with his feelings on this one. I am grateful that it was not so much worse. It could have been totalled!

I feel as though this is a recurring theme in my life, that I am always walking through difficulties and I must try to find the joy in the journey. It is not always easy but I am trying. Sometimes it is really hard and some days I do not do very well, but I know the Lord leads me and guides me and my family. We are in His hands. With this knowledge, I can survive all things.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bball, PInewood Derby and Abscessed Tooth

We are so busy and I never seem to have time to blog but since I am sitting at home instead of at church because of little Alex (more on that in a bit) I am doing a small post.

Baseball season has started. Its official, we will never be home until the end of May. Jonathan did not make the baseball team at Red Mtn but he did make the JV Volleyball team so he is gone just as much anyways. He is also an assistant coach to Connor's team and an Umpire this year mainly to the Junior division. Kaitlyn is playing in Major's but her season doesn't officially kick off for a week or two so I will get her pics up soon. Anyway, here is Connor in his first game. He is a pretty good pitcher especially with the advice of his big bro.

We had our pack Pinewood Derby on Friday night and I forgot to charge my camera battery!! This is one of the only pictures I got before the battery died!! I was sooo stressed out from this event I never thought about the darn camera!! At least the Mursets took a couple pictures of Connor for me. (Thx Mursets!!) Anyway, despite some very stressful situations, I think it came off pretty good. The boys seemed happy and that was my goal. The biggest thing was my kid didn't win but he was proud of himself and had a great time. Good enough for me!
This is Connor and his friend Scott. I am so glad they have each other in Webelos!
We finally got around to taking pictures of the car!! Connor, sorry your mom is a slacker!! Love you tho!! :) This was totally his design and he painted, sanded and decorated it himself. I am so proud of his hard work! "The Blade" is really cool!!
On Saturday morning, the kids all went to their Primary activity day. They loved it and came home so happy. Then Alex was playing outside with his cousin and he came in and climbed on my lap. I thought he felt warm but figured he was just hot from playing hard and sent him on his way. He then climbed on Bryan's lap and Bryan became concerned and asked me about his swollen mouth. I said I know he has a sore tooth and he already has a date with the dentist to get it fixed in a few weeks. I was doing homework and was only focused on that (Me feeling guilty now!!). Bry asked me again and finally told me to stop with the homework and look at the poor kid. (Really guilty now!) I could now see clearly there was something wrong with my little man. He had swollen up in a short amount of time and was running a fever. Poor kid has an abscessed tooth. It is swollen pretty good. It is not that clear in this picture but he is in a lot of pain and can't eat or talk very easily. He is on an antibiotic and it should clear up fine. Poor chipmunk cheek! It is his right cheek.

He wanted to smile for the camera. This is his biggest smile he could give. Cute kid!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Remind me never to complain about laundry again!

I should really know better! lol If you complain about something, surely that problem will get worse, right? I started on my laundry mountain yesterday and got about 5 loads in when my dryer goes out. The belt broke. Hopefully it is something Bryan can fix fairly easily. Anyway, I was going to put the wet clothes into the dryer but the ones in the dryer were still wet. I was a bit confused as to why but restarted it anyways. Yeah, that didn't work out so well! lol So now I had two loads of wet laundry! Bryan suggested I peek out my window and see if my neighbors bedroom light was still on (we didn't want to wake them because it was 10:30!) it was, so I called them and they graciously let me use their dryer. It's so nice having next door neighbors who will bail you out in almost any way, from the needed egg, babysitter and now a dryer! lol

At least I got some clothes washed so we should be fine for a few days! Now I am crossing my fingers the washer will continue to hold up!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I am sooo buried! With homework, cubscouts and laundry! I am beginning to wonder if I will ever see the light of day! I have been furiously studying all week for my midterm which I will take tomorrow and I am already stresing about the pinewood derby I get to run. Yay! Fun! Exciting! Thrilling! Or maybe just exhausting and overwhelming, so far its exhausting and overwhelming! And I have more laundry than I know what to do with. We all have so many clothes that need to go to DI and so many clothes that don't fit or arent that cute and I just need to get rid of them. I am thinking of taking it all to the laundromat and sorting it there. I must have 30 loads of laundry to go through. Enough clothes for about 3 families my size!

Anyway, I got distracted and am finishing this post. I am done with my midterm but woke up sick this morning and had to go do my test while I was sick. Upset stomach and cramping and such. Not fun when I am in a room full of people for over 2 hours!! Anyway, so relieved the test is over! I didn't get the best grade but it is good enough! Now I have to write an essay on Confucianism. Surprisingly, there are some really good philosophies in confucianism.

I think I will try to tackle the laundry problem next week. Or maybe the one after that or after that! :P

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Self diagnosing is a bad idea!

My dad is out of the hospital and hopefully doing ok but they never found out where the bleeding came from. My parents left the hospital before finding out exactly what was causing the problem. My parents think they can take care of it themselves and that they are qualified to treat him with their own methods. These methods are usually found by watching Oprah or 20/20 or something else and applying only those aspects they feel will fit into their little box. So, my dad is not "fixed" and I am worried when the meds wear off that have stopped the bleeding that it will start all over again. While I think it is good to be aware and question what the doctors say, self diagnosing and treating is a BAD idea! My parents thought my dad was having a heart attack and gave him aspirin and used a nitroglycerin patch obtained through Mexico and it almost killed him. With his internal bleeding, the aspirin thinned his blood and the nitro patch dilated his arteries which made the bleeding worse. But, even though the doctor told my parents this, they still think what they did was the right course of action. My siblings and I are afraid we will be planning a funeral in the next few months because of their stubbornness.

ARRGH! Frustrating!

Anyway, onto something else, Jonathan did not make the baseball team this year and it was very upsetting how it was handled. The coach gave all of the kids an evaluation and it was really harsh. I think it was mean and insulting to the kids who did not make the team. What is to be gained by telling them they don't deserve any more of the coaches efforts or whatever. All that needed to be said was that their skills are not as good as this level or something to that effect. The evaluations to all of the kids were very critical and even demeaning. It makes me angry to have a respected coach be cruel! Jonathan already thought he probably would not make the team and was ok with it, but what was hard for him was the way it was done.

Anyway, he was given a letter saying he did not make the team and had to decide that night if he wanted to try out for volleyball, track or enroll in regular PE. If the choice was not made by the next day, an unexcused absence would be given. So little time and again, so rudely said. He had thought about going out for volleyball but after the harsh review, was concerned about putting himself out there again, especially because he doesn't know how to play volleyball. I convinced him to try because the worst thing that would happen is to end up in PE anyway. We bought a volleyball and I tried to teach him how to serve and block and bump, etc. He went to practice on Friday and then tryouts were the next Tuesday, after the school break. He gave it his best shot and when the team was chosen, the coaches told him he was the most improved kid in 4 days of playing they have seen and he made the JV team! He was so excited and feels that this is a better environment than the foul mouthed, disrespectful kids on the bball team so I am happy for him.

Anyway, that's been our past few days!

Oh, some of you wanted my recipe for the avocado salsa from the Progressive dinner (Sooo much fun!!) so I will post it on our recipe blog my sil started a little while ago. There is a link on my blog page to it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Your prayers are needed...

for my Dad. He is in the ICU right now. He has bleeding internally, they think in his stomach and he has lost over half his total blood volume. They are giving him a blood transfusion right now and will do some exploring to find out where the bleeding is coming from tomorrow. I spent the evening with him and can only hope and pray he will pull through. I am optimistic because he was happy and laughing. We did have a great nurse, in fact we were in the same ward for a long time. Good old 60th ward. I went to school with his wife Kristen Roberts, niece of AnneMarie Roberts. That was so comforting to know someone, he was really helpful and let us sneak in my sister in the room. He was answering all of our questions and explained everything with patience. I appreciate his respect to our family. Anyway, I am hopeful that the tests tomorrow will show ulcers in his stomach that they can hopefully repair easily enough rather than something much worse.

With all of this going on, I have been able to reflect on how important my dad is to me. He has always made me feel like his favorite daughter, even his favorite child. I know he has made all of us feel like that so I think he has done a great job! We have so much in common that there is always something fun to talk about. He is kind, gracious, generous, funny, sweet, strong and humble. He is an important part of my life. I usually talk to him on the phone at least once a day and the thought of losing him is unthinkable!

I love you, Dad! Get well, soon!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Catch up, again!

So much has been going on and I am so far behind on my blogging so here is a massive post to catch everyone up to date! I meant to put all of these pictures in reverse order but it didn't happen that way, blogger gets me too frustrated if I try too hard! So here it all is:

First is Jonathan's ceremony with Andrea's Closet. This is the organization that he did his eagle project with, they collect toys for children who are in the hospital and are having painful procedures. When they are finished, they get to choose a toy. Andrea's closet was founded by Andrea's parents after she passed away from leukemia when she was very young. She was able to endure the procedures if she had something to look forward to. After she passed away, her mother kept buying toys for Andrea and eventually gave them to a hospital and the idea took off from there. It is a really sweet story, they are such good people! Jonathan held a toy drive for Andrea's closet and built a mobile cart for the new Phoenix Children's Hospital West Valley Clinic. He decided to do this for his project because our Alex was hospitalized with pneumonia two years ago and they had to do a procedure on him and he was able to go to Andrea's closet at Banner Desert and loved it. We still have his toy tractor he picked out.

Anyway, there was a ceremony in January to formally give the cart to PCH West and Jonathan was invited along with any supporters that wanted to come. Here are the final pictures of his project, cart and his "posse"! Group shot! The Jeff and Mandy Smith family, Tyrel, Bryan, Connor I, Landon B, Mitch, Jonathan, Connor, Landon S, Eva, Kaitlyn, and Andrea's dad. The Smithsons came as well, but missed the group shot.

This picture of Landon and Connor is cute, but the picture in the back is awesome! It is made entirely of marbles.

Jonathan and his "posse" Mitch, Landon, Tyrell and Connor.
All of the people who helped at the toy drive that were also at the ceremony.

This little girl was very sick and was the first patient to come in and pick out of the closet. It was very sweet to see her choose very carefully. Jonathan loved seeing someone use something that he put so much effort into making. She was so cute but a bit overwhelmed by all of us with cameras and such!

This is Jonathan with Grandma Hooper and Andrea's grandparents.

Kaitlyn was chosen to become a member of the National Elementary Honor Society last month. She was only one of 4 sixth graders at her school to be chosen. The rest of these kids are in fifth grade. Not sure why there are so many more fifth than sixth, but oh well! In order to be in the society, you must be nominated by a teacher, have minimum of 3.5 gpa for 2 years and go through a selection process. She had to fill out papers with her qualifications and service opportunities. I am grateful for the church's youth programs that have helped to give her service projects and such that she had a few things to put down there. Being in the NEHS will improve her chances of being accepted into NJHS and NHS for junior and high schools. I am so proud of her! She has done awesome this year!!
Kaitlyn is on the far left.

Kaitlyn and Mr. Schiro, one of the programs sponsoring teachers.

Kaitlyn and her teacher, Ms. Galbreath (love her!!)

Kaitlyn also participated in the Kids Rock marathon again this year. Her and Connor both logged over 25 miles over the past few months and she was able to participate in the 1 mile fun run during the PF Changs Rock n Roll marathon in Tempe. She had a blast and was able to run with her friend Drew.
Jenna, Kaitlyn, Drew
The start!

Right before the finish line

Connor has been hard at work in January getting ready for the invention convention. He decided to make a solar powered skateboard. This was his idea entirely and we just helped him with some construction. He did the signs and put it all together. He actually had a working solar cell installed on his skateboard that could turn the wheels. It was a pretty great idea!

His cousin, Layna is in his class and I thought her idea was great. A machine that would make all our clothes and costs only $250! Sounds like a bargain to me!
Right after this, Connor turned 10. Happy Birthday to a wonderful son! He is funny, sooo smart, silly, sweet, and talented. He plays the cello and the teacher is amazed at his quick pick up of it. He is doing great. He is also a wonderful pitcher in baseball. He is hoping to be a starting pitcher this year! We love you Connor!!!
Luv this kid!

Alex was doing a project at school where he had to take a picture of him with Bobo the class teddy bear. I thought the picture was so cute I had to post it!
Other happenings, I have been released as the Primary Chorister and am now the Cubmaster. Hopefully it will be fun and something I can handle.
School is kicking my butt, but doesn't it always? I am looking forward to May 1. Then it's over! At least until fall! lol
Anyways, I have spent way too much time on this and now have to go learn about blood vessels and the Eightfold Path of Buddism. Interesting combination, I know! Cya!