Wednesday, July 30, 2008

icky-sticky, ooey-gooey...

While we were visiting Utah, Kaden slept in this spacious pack-n-play. He actually slept pretty well far as a "needs no sleep, refuses to sleep anywhere other than own or mom's bed" kid goes. So I put him down before the 1pm church meeting (which is the WORST time for church, might I add). I warned Matt of eminent death upon entering that room. He had already been the cause of late night awakenings (which may or may not have caused a few moments of shakiness in the marriage). Kaden went down without a fuss and all was well.

So imagine my dismay when I heard interesting noise coming from behind the closed door. "Matt, I told you not to go in there!" I thought in my mind, trying so hard to maintain patience. I cracked the door open, and in the most sweet voice imagineable heard, "Oh no. Uh oh momma...." over and over.

I entered and saw a precious toddler with an open 1lb bag of redvines, and about 10 in each grimy, sticky little fist. He just kept saying "oh no" over and over, like the red vines had hopped out of my purse, off the bedside table, and attacked him in his sleep. I believed his story, it was just too cute to debate. I can't say I blame him, I have a huge weekness for redvines (clearly, who has a 1LB! bag in their purse? honestly....that's almost pathetic).

Face, hands, and legs, COVERED in red goo.

Look at that face, wouldn't you believe his story too?

Clean and fresh. I would have to say there is nothing more cute than a baby bundled up in a towel.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I've been struck down.....

It turns out that you actually CAN be struck down, and I was. I am the fourth Sunday teacher in Relief Society. I LOVE my calling. I teach from the General Conference talks and it's such a pleasure to be able to study our prophet and leaders. I love to (attemtp to) be creative and think of new ways to present the lesson. This month, I procrastinated big time. I would call myself a procrastinator anyway, but in my defense, it's actually good planning, because I work and perform SO much better under pressure...or so I tell myself.

Anyway, I hadn't even read the lesson on Saturday. I went to a friend's wedding, then on the (amazingly fun) ropeswing at the lake. (That is a different story in itself, but I finally found someone to go with me, and now it's all I can think about. So, I need more friends to go with me, to help fulfill my undying need for adventure, any takers?) The whole time the lesson was nagging me in the back of my mind, but I just figured I would get to it when I got home. While on the ropeswing the black clouds rolled in and the winds blew. By the time we got home it was POURING. I couldn't find the conference edition of the Ensign, of course, so hopped online to print it out. The printer wouldn't work, surprise, surprise, so I was madly trying to take notes as the storm raged and the lightning hit. I knew my computer would explode at any moment. About halfway through the article, lightning struck about 10 feet from the house, and everything went black. The house actually shook, and Kaden freaked out.

To make an already long story, a little shorter, eventually the storm cleared, the electricity came back on, and I read through the lesson a few times. My friend printed it out and brought it to church for me. I was praying to give a good lesson, for the sake of the ladies in class, knowing full well I didn't deserve much. It was something to the effect of "Heavenly Father, I know I am super lame and shouldn't even be asking, but those ladies need a good lesson, so maybe a little help would be awesome, thanks a lot. I'll do better next time!" I think that I might have learned my lesson....maybe.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Monkey'n around

Just a few more pictures from our Utah trip. Kaden found the hidden amusement park in the neighbors yard, and tried to slyly escape to it everytime we went outside. I have to admit, it was pretty fun for ALL of us.

This is a trike that means serious business. Too bad his little legs are too short!

Oh well, we found a simple solution.

Climber man; such a big boy.

WEEEEEE! His first adventure on a trampoline. He loved just running circles around it, and letting me bounce him up high.

I love this squishy-face picture!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Truly Amazing

He sports a flaming orange and yellow brace...and he wears it well. He's got style, and the attention of everyone around him (especially when he's in shorts). I have to say, he does the brace good. They've become one, they are attached, and finally, they are at peace with one another (and that was quite the process, I might add).

While Matt was in Utah, he went for the usual tune-up and lube job for the brace. His mom thought to ask Rus, the brace genius, what we could do to help Matt bend his knee and not swing his hip so much when he walks. Rus was SO excited she asked, and he told her about the WalkAide, a new technology specifically designed for people with drop foot, as a result of upper neuron injury (brain injury, stroke, etc). We decided to schedule an appointment, just to check it out.

I was hopeful, but not letting myself get too worked up over it. I tend to get overly excited about things, then am SO SAD when they don't work out how I had imagined. So we went in, not expecting much. Matt's Achilles tendon is SUPER tight, and it's all I can do to stretch it out. His brace holds his foot at a 90 degree angle, which allows him to be stable when walking, but prohibits a lot of normal movement. I wasn't expecting this device to be able to lift his foot and allow it to move normally.

I am SO happy to say, I was absolutely suprised and thrilled to see how incredible the WalkAide is, and how much it helped Matt. I wish I had a video showing how he walks without the brace, because it's pretty pitiful. It's slow, cumbersome and looks a little dangerous.

Rus strapped the WalkAide on (without the brace), and we programmed it for Matt's particular gait and speed. I was LOVING this by the way, I am totally into this kind of thing. I got to mess around with all of the compuer stuff and all of the other gismos; it was a treat for me. The minute the device sent the electric stimulation to the nerve in Matt's leg, his foot pulled up normally. Rus and I both got overly excited. He said, "I have never seen such a positive response!" We had a little party, and then continued on. After it was all programmed, Matt walked around, and I was seriously like a giddy cheerleader. He walked BETTER and FASTER with it, than with his brace. He still has some patterns in his walking that will take a lot of time and conscious effort to correct, but it was amazing nonetheless. His knee bent more, his hip didn't circumflex so much, and his foot picked right up.

The basic concept is that the device sends a shock to the nerve (peroneal), which signals the brain to pick up the foot as soon as he starts to take a step (it guages the angle of the tibia). This signals the muscle (anterior tibialis, for anyone who cares) to engage, causing the foot to pick up. It makes his leg and foot flex, instead of trying to constantly be in extension (which causes his knee to hyper-extend). The amazing thing, is that it makes a circuit through the brain, and in theory will retrain the brain to make his leg work right. It has been researched and in the making for 30 yrs, and is finally approved for market. It is brand new, so there are still a lot of unknowns, but for us, it's worth a try, because this could literally change Matt's life. He will have so much more opportunity and possibility if his physical limitations can be improved. It isn't yet covered by insurance, but hopefully will be soon. We are SO excited about this, in case you couldn't tell.

Cruisin' down the hall.

(I tried to upload a video, but it was taking 95 years and I gave up.....that's how patient I am.)

After a while of walking around the muscle was all tuckered out. It will take a while until he will be able to wear it all day. The muscle hasn't worked in over 3 years, so it's a little puny to say the least. As he gets stronger though, he will be able to wear this more and more and get better benefits. I really believe that as this becomes his constant pal, as the brace has been, he will relearn to walk much more normally, attain better balance and speed, and be much more happy with his abilities. Cheers to the WalkAide!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Date Night....gotta love date night.

While we were up in Utah we got together with Michaela and the guy she is dating. Robert is such a nice guy and so much fun. I loved them together, and loved that Michaela could just be herself around him. Maybe we felt a little TOO comfortable with him...haha. I hope that we didn't scare him off! My sister and I can get a little crazy sometimes (and maybe a bit annoying to those who are forced to be with us!). Well anyway, we approve!

We went up to Sandy and ate at the Myan. The decor and ambiance at the Myan is so much fun. We ate in a tree house overlooking the waterfall and pool. We got to watch flame throwers and divers perform their show, while others walked around in nothing but a loin cloth. It was pretty funny and I wonder who would really want that job. Michaela and I joked that they are hoping people they know come so they can show off their muscles....haha. Going there is always an adventure.

While we were waiting for our table we took a bunch of pictures. We occassionally get a bit out of control when we're together, we have a blast and always laugh a lot. I love spending time with her and miss having her close by.

Michaela and Robert

I hope that giant lizard doesn't eat us. Actually, if that were real, I think this would be my reaction, really.

Those teeth were quite nasty and sticky. Pretty disgusting really. I'm not even going to think about how many other people have climbed willingly into that mouth.....

After dinner we went to see Get Smart, which by the way is HILARIOUS. Maybe I was just in the mood to laugh, but I seriously laughed SO HARD, I was pretty much crying. Loved it.

Hurray for a nice, cute boy. I am happy to say he has our seal of approval, and two thumbs up!!!(And trust me, not all of them have been awarded so.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Seven Peaks!!

Last Friday I ventured up to Utah to pick up Matt. I hadn't seen him in over 2 weeks and missed him like crazy! Traci took us to Seven Peaks and we had a blast. I think Kaden must have thought it was one of the best days of his life. He is a happy kid almost 100% of the time, but this day, he was absolutely beside himself. He was thrilled and could not get enough.

Trevor's girlfriend Heidi joined us and it was so much fun to hang out with her and get to know her better. She is so cute and Kaden fell in love with her instantly. When he would get mad at me, he was sure she would save him.

Walking around with Granna.

Heidi and Me. We had the best spot in the shade.

Matt after he went down the slide. He had so much fun and they let him wear his brace and shoes, which made things a lot easier. He is so SKINNY! I have been trying to put weight on him for over a year and it just isn't happening...he could use AT LEAST 15 lbs!!!!

Kaden LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the slides....not the baby slides, the BIG slides. I used to work at Seven Peaks (the summer I met Matt), and I have NEVER gone as fast down those slides as Kaden and I did. Maybe we are just a lot heavier together ;) haha. Anyway, he LOVED it, and yelled "WOOOOO!!!!!" the whole way down. He was in Heaven.

"Yeeehaw mom, let's go again!!!!"

We decided to take a little break for lunch, and Kaden left the pool pointing at me and saying "no" over and over, and kicking his legs. We got to our spot, he grabbed the tube, and started up the hill toward the slide tower. He was convinced we were going again.

LOVES bananas.
After a few hours he was exhausted. We'd gone in the river (where he loved just floating in his life jacket....kicking like crazy. I think he felt like a big boy), down slides and had been all over. He, Heidi and I were waiting in line for the cave slide for a long time and he totally fell asleep. When it was finally our turn, I tried to wake him up but he was practically comatose. So, we headed down anyway. He is the lightest sleeper, so I knew he'd wake up. Nope, we made it all the way down, hit the catch pool at 100 mph, a tidal wave completely SOAKED us, and he stayed asleep!!! So he rested on the blanket for a while, and soon was ready for more.

Matt modeling the tubes....
and just being himself....

When he finally decided to eat, he was ravenous. He chomped down half a bag of goldfish.

We had the most fun day, I'm so glad we decided to go!!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Breakfast Cookout

On Saturday we had the greatest time at a neighborhood breakfast cookout. There are a bunch of families here that like to get together for different things and this was the perfect opportunity! We had a delicious feast and then spent the rest of the time socializing and playing. This yard was seriously the most fun playground...for the kids and adults! There are tree houses, tunnels, swings, swinging bridges, and even a zip line! It was great fun and tons of people showed up.

Kaden in his perfect-sized chair. He had a hard time balancing his food, so he ended up with my big chair and I sat in that little thing...too bad I don't have a picture, I'm sure it was a funny sight.

Too bad he blinked!

Kaden spent so much time just running through the tunnel. Back and forth, back and forth.

The swinging bridge. It's high above a stream and it swings and bounces...SO much fun! Plus, there were tons of other little kids there and Kaden LOVES to socialize! (He must be related to me.)

You can't really tell, but the zip line was actually pretty high up and I was a little nervous at first. I love stuff like this, but I wasn't so sure that I wouldn't totally just slide right off the seat.
Pulling the swing up, getting ready for the ride.

The Zip line was SO much fun! (And I didn't even slide off the seat!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lovin' me some Fireworks!!!!!

We went to lake (RIGHT next to our house), for the fireworks display. I think they were the most amazing they've ever been. A continuous display went on for over 45 minutes.

I love watching the fireworks at the lake. The reflection on the water is great, the echo between the mountains is awesome, and all of the decorated boats on the water give an added bonus. This year there was actually a jazz band playing patriotic music and making funny sound effects, they made it even better!

I was trying to get all of us in the picture and I think it is pretty hilarious. I love it actually.

Happy boy on Papa's shoulders.

I love, love, LOVE my brother!

Kaden was yelling at John-Isaac, "no, no, NO". He didn't like me being up there.

We got there early to get good "seats." Any closer and we would have been in the water. The only problem was that we had to entertain Kaden for over and hour, and that got interesting.

The glowstick entertained him for quite a while, after the camera, phone, food, and everthing else lost their charm.

I finally had to lock him in his carseat so he would stay close by. He was way, way, WAY overtired, but he watched the fireworks almost the whole time. He got snuggly and actually HELD STILL for the first time all day.

But finally, he just couldn't handle any more. Not even the loudest firecracker bombs would wake him up.