Thursday, November 17, 2011

June to October 2011

June happened so fast. Before I made it home, Kate graduated from school. She enjoyed her school & will miss her friend Sam very much. Kate was lucky to have Aunt Joyce to take her shopping for a new dress for graduation. I was sad to miss it, but had to save vacation time for the move.

Kate has enjoyed Girls Camp with her ward, her first youth temple trip (before school last Tuesday), lots of new friends, babysitting, cat sitting & spending time with cousins.

Kate receiving her graduation certificate. She moved on to the 7th grade at South Davis Jr High in Bountiful, UT. She enjoys most of her teachers & classes. Her only complaint....the school is big & people don't even say excuse me when they bump into in the halls.

Spencer completed 8th grade at Test Middle School. He was able to receive his graduation certificate from Uncle Stacy. It was nice to have someone keeping an eye on him at school. He misses his friends, but has found some good friends here in Utah.

Spencer went to High Adventure camp with his scout troop. They went rafting, hiking & fishing. Spencer also attends South Davis Jr High. The 9th grade is part of the jr high schools here. He will attend Woods Cross High School next year.

Chloe & Tam (cousins) came to visit one night. Tam gave Carson his first haircut. Graham had his first haircut months ago. It is great to have them so close & I kinda miss living with those cute Miller kids. Not to mention, they are funny!

We are so lucky to have friends like Mike & Bev Eby. They came to visit us on the way back to Indiana from Reno, NV. We were able to take them to Temple Square & tour the Conference Center. Of course, we couldn't let them leave without lunch at In & Out Burger.

We have enjoyed the beautiful sunsets & mountain views in Utah. I can not get enough of the gorgeous mountains & the thick smog that gets trapped in the valley.

John has taken some great photos of the scenery. I love that is doesn't rain much, the low humidity & the snow. While I know this has been difficult for all of us, we have found that we are enjoying our new life here.

Graham & Carson LOVE to be outside. We do not have the luxury of a completing fenced back yard, but we take walks quite often. The neighbor girls, who are so cute, have become quite fond of the little boys. The boys will follow them up & down the sidewalk in hopes of getting to play. I love watching this little 4 yr old girl pick up Graham & try to carry him around the yard.

We have great neighbors, mostly senior citizens in the cul de sac behind us. They love to watch Spencer play basketball, Kate & her friends & the little boys doing anything. We have a neighborhood breakfast on the 4th of July courtesy of the Olsens & we recently had a block party in the cul de sac. We could not ask for kinder neighbors.

After our breakfast & neighbor visiting, we loaded up & went to the annual parade in Centerville. We met Kathleen & Ken, Missy & kids, Kent, Heidi & the cute Luke, Lilly & Claire, Sarah, Dave & baby Aliyah. Graham & Carson did great! They loved the music. They waved flags, ate candy & had fun with cousins. We came home & watched fireworks 2 nights in a row (Bountiful & North Salt Lake). Thanks to the Novacks for the neighborhood fireworks show too!

In September, I celebrated my 40th birthday! I always thought I would do something great on my 40th, but I didn't. We went to Pei Wei for dinner. John & the kids went to Costco & bought me this killer chocolate cake. I enjoyed more than I should have, but it was delicious!

I don't feel forty & besides, it is just a number. Big Deal! I am ready for another 40 years!

Graham & Carson are getting so big! Where has the time gone? Graham continues to weigh about 6 lbs or so more than Carson. It has certainly helped with the clothing for the two of them. Graham is starting to talk & he loves to snuggle with you. He gives great hugs & wet kisses. He used to let Carson push him around, but he has learned that he is bigger &  stronger than his brother.

Carson & Graham both love to have you read. They love to get books & say, " I Read". Carson has taken up biting as his defense mechanism with Graham. Carson smiles as soon as you say his name & is a happy morning guy. He loves milk & tries to say it, but has decided that "MORE, MORE" and shaking his cup at you works too! Carson's yearly check with the cardiologist went well & he is good for another year. He is a picky eater (just like his dad) & throws everything on the floor if he is done with it or doesn't want it.

John & Spencer had free tickets to the Indy Car World Championship race in Las Vegas. Again, we were lucky to have our dear friend, Al Saliwanchik (aka Uncle Al), come for a visit & to attend the race. The guys drove down on Saturday & were able to take in some of the race excitement that night. Kate stayed behind with me & the little boys. We went grocery shopping, ran errands & window shopping at the mall. The weather was beautiful all weekend here & in Las Vegas.....isn't it always?

Unfortunately, the race excitement ended too soon. After about 11 laps, a major car pile up occurred & many were injured. Sadly, Dan Wheldon did not survive the accident. Several hours of waiting took place at the track before the official announcement was made. The cars posted Dan's car number on the top of the scoring tower & completed 5 laps in his honor. What a tragic loss to the racing world.

The kids had fall break in late October. We couldn't do anything big, so we took them on a ride through the mountains. This is where you laugh.....We drove the Alpine Loop, went down into Provo, had lunch & spent the day together as a family. It was not much, but John took some great pictures &  we had fun. Also note, we slept in & had pancakes for breakfast before leaving.

Posted by Picasa

The Move

Before I post my June to October update, I feel I should share the facts about our move from Indiana to Utah. Where do I start? I am exhausted just trying to remember the journey. We have no pictures of the move, final moments, last minute pics with friends, etc. We finished packing & loading in 2 days, drove 2 days, unloaded in 3 hrs (Our new neighbors rock!), unpacked in 3 days & I returned to work.

It was crazy & I am thankful we all survived without serious injury to another. I think these are some of the moments I will not forget.....

1. Within 2 days of arriving in Indiana, I had flown to Seattle for work, back to Utah & then on to Indiana.

2. The humidity took my breath away when I exited the airport. Wow....I do not miss it! It was brutal packing & loading in the heat!

3. John & Al had been so efficient in pre-packing, all my things had been packed up prior to arrival. I wore the same clothes for 2 days. I smelled like a teenage boy who hasn't learned the importance of deodorant yet. Bad.....right, Jen?

4. My sister, Jen, my mom & dad were lifesavers for this event. It is crazy that we had fun packing to move away. Mom only cried a few times. Thanks to everyone who came & packed, loaded & gathered to share in our moving experience!!

5. A bag of M & M's can constitute a lunch full of energy & fulfillment. Good call Jen!

6. John has a lot of wires & cables.....STILL! Thanks to Jen for labeling them Box 1 of 10 and so on for laughs. John did not think it was as funny. Seriously, why did we transport that 1600+ miles?

7. The Christmas tree, holiday decorations, high school memorabilia, tools & various other garage/storage items did not make it even with the extra trailer that we had to pull behind the U-haul. What will I possibly re-gift now?

8. I realized I have too much stuff! Who needs all that stuff? Why do I feel I have to buy stuff? Does the stuff really mean anything to me? makes me want to donate & throw more stuff away right now!

9. I will miss my siblings, parents, family & some friends. Taco Tuesdays are the best, mom's peanut butter pie, loud laughter, crazy stories & lots of memories of days gone by.

10. John & the kids are some of the bravest people. It has been an adjustment for everyone, but they managed to survive without me for months during the "Separation Phase". Lots of Pizza & video games, right Spencer?

Now you know of the moving madness, Here is the update with photos.....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April 2011

We attempted some family pics when I was home in April. This one seemed to be one of the successful ones of the kids. Usually, Spencer is not the cheesy one. Kate had the giggles, but managed to give an adorable look. The babies are cute no matter what!
My visit wasn't long enough, but I did get some more purging & packing done. It has been the hardest thing to live separated from my family. I hope we never have to do this again.

Easter means candy at the Downing house. We
have cut back considerably since we have so much invested in the braces filled mouths of Spencer & Kate.

The Easter Bunny did include yogurt melts for the babies & a small tent with a tunnel. Spencer & Kate love going through it as much as the little boys.

Each year we have an egg hunt at the Mopps house. Then we have a delicious Easter dinner & spend time hanging out.

It has become difficult to hide the eggs from all these big kids. Of course, every year there are eggs hidden & not found. It is just too hard to remember where they were all hidden.

Spencer & Kate Have been getting a picture with the Easter basket on their heads for years. It was time to add the little boys to the tradition.
Carson looks so cute with his little teeth & cute face. Graham loves to smile for the camera, but didn't give his best on this one.

The Saturday before Easter, my family came over for a big brunch. Mom made her delicious peanut butter pie. We had ham, cheesy potatoes & all the works.
We also did an egg hunt before it rained. The big kids helped with the 5 little ones. Yes, mom has 5 grandchildren just over a year old. It makes for some interesting times when they are all together. All boys, except cute Delilah. Don't worry, she can hold her own!

This was my last visit home until we move. It was a great time with family & friends. I will miss the Taco Tuesdays & holiday gatherings. My next return was early June & we packed up everything we own. More on that later......

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where do I start?

Thank you to the Miller Family for letting me live with them. They are quite a fun bunch of people & I can't imagine living any where else during this transition. I have also learned to enjoy gluten free foods.

Thank you to Tam for making me laugh when I want to cry. Yes, I will make sure if I have a breakdown that you get to watch.

Thank you to my sister for helping with my family in my absence. She is graciously watching my children this weekend so my husband can visit. I am so excited!

Thank you to Spencer & Kate for being the best big brother & sister ever. You are helpful & caring and I appreciate all the things you are doing to help your dad at home. Graham & Carson love you & you are setting a good example.

Thank you to Susan, our gracious & kind baby sitter. She comes to our home & is so great with the boys. She bakes with Kate & keeps everyone happy when she is there. She even cleans my kitchen & makes the kids pick up. Are you sure you can't move with us?

Thank you for SKYPE! It has been wonderful to come home & see my family. Although I have to end conversations because I start to cry & miss them so much. It makes me happy to see all the cute faces!

The biggest THANK my husband, John. You are amazing & a great dad. You have managed to survive without me & have been wonderful with the kids, showing the house & working at the same time. You are patient & have been exceptional at handling the chaos.

It will be over soon. We are on the last months of our separation. School gets out in early June & we will be making the move to Utah. I have begun the daunting task of finding a place to live & hope to locate something soon. I never want to do this again. Being separated from my husband & children has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to do in life.

I am so grateful for everyone that has been a support during this transition & separation. You are wonderful people & we are a blessed family to have such supportive friends & family.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

December 2010


Carson & Graham turned one year old on December 16th. I can't believe it has been a year. This was a very nontraditional 1st birthday. I am in Utah while John is being the best husband/single dad ever. Grandma Debbie came over & brought presents, they enjoyed cupcakes from Uncle Al & Aunt Mer, and Grandpa is taking them to get walking shoes in January when I come home to visit.

This past year, we have survived NICU visits, driving back & forth to Indianapolis every day, numerous doctor visits, Carson's heart surgery, shots, laughs, cries & sleepless nights. Wow! I am kinda glad this year is over because we are exhausted parents.

The boys are doing great! Carson is weighing in at 16lbs 2oz (prior to his December sickness) and Graham weighs in at 22 lbs 4oz. Graham is crawling everywhere & over everything, including his brother, Carson. He will be walking soon I do believe. Carson is slowly gaining on Graham & his crawling speed. He is getting on his knees more & more each day. He can easily sit up now & will stand assisted for a few minutes. However, unlike Graham, Carson waves & claps for just about everything. We started that when he wouldn't swallow & eat. We clapped every time he did eat or drink. It has worked....He is officially off his feeding tube & drinking from a cup now!

Graham still enjoys his bottle, but I think he will give it up soon just to stay with Carson. Graham also loves the camera. Bring it out & he is grinning from ear to ear.

Graham enjoying his birthday cupcake. I am not sure what he thinks, but he loves the icing. Of course, we have discovered that Graham has a wheat allergy & he had red rashy cheeks after having the cupcake. We are hoping this is something he outgrows, but the boys will get tested on their next doctor visit. Right, John?

My favorite picture of Carson enjoying his cake. He has such a cute personality. I can't wait to see what he becomes as he grows up. Carson is a daddy's boy. He knows what he likes & cries when he doesn't get it. Other than that, he is a happy kid.
This chocolate cake loving boy definitely belongs to me.
He needs to gain weight so he can have as much cake as he wants!

We enjoyed the lights at Temple Square.

It was a first for John & the kids. The weather was cold & Temple Square was crowded, but we had a nice time. Carson & Graham loved the colored lights & touching the trees.

We acquired another little girl, Chloe. Who needs another daughter when you have great nieces to take along with you? Kate & Chloe had much fun during their time together. We are so happy that they play well together & love spending time with each other. They were also great with the babies & never complained about helping.

Thank you girls!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I have twins now & have not mastered the time management...yet! However, I think I owe my few followers a brief update. Right? Here are a few things I have learned in the past 9 months....
  • Graham & Carson rarely, very rarely, nap at the same time.
  • The diaper bag for twins appears to look like a small carry on bag.
  • The money spent on diapers could buy lots of shoes.
  • A shower on my day off is a beautiful thing.
  • Spencer & Kate are the BEST helpers. Good thing I had them first!
  • Carson & Graham almost have more hair than John.
  • Graham can crawl fast & puts everything in his mouth.
  • Carson can pull out his feeding tube fast.
  • Graham can pull out Carson's feeding tube fast.
  • We are CRAZY about these babies!
  • They have been so much work, but so much fun!

Carson has a speech & physical therapist come to visit every week. He is making progress, but is very stubborn when it comes to eating/swallowing. He will most likely skip the rest of bottle phase. He rolled over for the 1st time on September 8th. He likes to eat Gerber puffs & will occasionally let you get food in his mouth. We let him try anything in hopes that he will love it & start to eat. He does have 2 teeth & 2 more coming. He is very laid back. He has a quiet snickering laugh. He smiles a lot & is the happiest baby. He is currently out weighed by Graham by about 5lbs.

Graham has mastered crawling & fast. He is pulling himself up & will probably walk sooner than I think. He enjoys food, but has an allergy to wheat. We are hoping he outgrows it & doesn't have any others. Kix cereal has become a favorite snack for him. He gets excited easily. He loves to jump & bounce. He has 5 teeth & will not let you into his mouth. He doesn't want a pacifier any more. He has the cute & loud laugh. He reminds me of Kate when she was a baby....into everything & loves to watch other people.

I should mention the other two cute faces....Spencer just finished football. He played on the 8th grade team for Test Middle School. He didn't get much play time, but loves the game. He does well in school, wants to do something in the sports field as a career & is transforming into a handsome young man.

Kate started piano lessons after a summer break. She enjoys the social aspect of school & struggles with her school work more than I wish. She is tenderhearted & is a good friend. She still plays house & babies, but uses the twins instead of her baby dolls.

John & I are plugging away at work, home, church, etc. John is back teaching early morning seminary at our house. Bowling season has started & he squeezes a basketball game in almost every week. We try to go out for dinner or to Costco to buy diapers & food. I am entering my busiest time of the year...I love it! Aside from work, I don't do much. I try to clean up & stock up the house, read & sleep. We have had a crazy year & we are looking forward to the new adventures that next year will bring.

PS...I promise to post pictures soon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carson Surgery Update

I just wanted to take a minute to update everyone on Carson's surgery. Carson had open heart surgery on June 24th to repair his Tetralogy of Fallot. We were extremely excited for him to have the surgery, but nervous about it at the same time. Pre surgery, Carson had a blue tint to his skin, especially his hands & feet, his oxygen level was 65-70 and he would tire very easily eating a bottle. The surgery went very well. It took about 4.5 hrs and they had no unexpected problems. Immediately following surgery, Carson was a beautiful pink color. I couldn't believe it!

He looked so good, but the recovery is really the hard part. He has had a very slow recovery. Carson likes to do things at his own pace. He took his time leaving the NICU as a preemie & he is doing the same thing now. He was in the PICU for 5 days & is now recovering on the 3rd floor of Peyton Manning's Children Hospital in Indianapolis. John & I rotate each day & sleep in the room with him. One with Carson & one with the other is exhausting some days.

Carson's incision, heart & breathing are doing great. However, he is not eating well. He is on a special formula that is not very popular with the babies. It tastes terrible & he does not want to eat. The formula has a higher calorie count & has no fat. Of course, it doesn't take good. Fat is what makes food good, right? He now has a feeding tube to help him receive the nutrition he needs. This is allowing him to get rest & we can get some rest too!

We are so grateful for the family (especially my sister, Jenn) & friends that have helped us through this moment. We could not be more pleased with the success of Carson. He is off his oxygen, his fluid drainage from his chest is slowly decreasing & he had his last IV removed today. We are hoping he comes home soon. We are all anxious to snuggle & squeeze on him.

I will post some pictures later this week. Thank you for all the thoughts & prayers.