Sep 252012
 

Last year, Tyra stayed after school three days a week to get help with reading (they call it double dose). At first it was alright because one of the girls I babysat also stayed late for the double dose tutoring, and so they walked home together. However, as soon as the other little girl advanced enough in her reading that they felt she was ok without it, she stopped going, which meant that she walked home with Ethan and her older sister, leaving Tyra walking home alone. On her own Tyra started taking other routes home. She tried to convince us that they were shortcuts. I tried pointing out that there isn’t a shorter route home than the most direct route. There were even some times when she came home super late, or just didn’t come home. On these occasions I would send Kyle a message letting him know that she hadn’t come home, then I would post something on our neighborhood facebook wall.  Once when she didn’t come home and I posted on the wall, one of our neighbors said that she was playing at her house, and asked if I wanted her home. Another time posting didn’t yield any results and I had to load all of my other kiddos up in the van to go drive around and find her. I found her playing with some girls on the next street over. Their family had just moved into the neighborhood and apparently her parents weren’t on the neighborhood wall, or just weren’t on facebook and they had no idea that I was looking for her. Tyra had told them that it was alright for her to be there.

This year she is in double dosing again. I had told her teacher when we first started it for this year that I was concerned about Tyra walking home on her own because her brothers would get out on time, and she would be all by herself when she gets out. And I told her teacher about how Tyra wouldn’t come straight home last year when she was supposed to walk all by herself. Her teacher tried to reassure me, and I gave in and said we would give it a try. So today when she didn’t come home I went through my standard procedure. I waited, checking down the street frequently for nearly an hour after school got out. I sent Kyle a message telling him that she hadn’t come home, but this time I couldn’t rely on him to come home and help find her, considering he was in Springfield Oregon! Then I loaded all the kids up in the van to go look for her.

I started my search at the school. That was that last place that she was supposed to be, and there was one time in the past that she didn’t come home and I found her out on the playground with some friends. She ran when she saw me coming that time. This time, she wasn’t there.

I got back in the car and decided to go check Walden Park. She has gone on walking field trips with her class to this park in the past, and there had been times when I heard her talking to the boys about having gone there after school. Today, she wasn’t there either.

I then decided to drive by Pioneer park. It is just down our street, and we occasionally take the kids there. After driving by three sides of Pioneer park, it was obvious that she wasn’t there either.

Next I thought that I should check the little HOA park on the next street over. We found her there once with a couple of kids that used to live a few houses down. She wasn’t there either.

I decided to stop by the house to briefly check to see if maybe she was home now sitting on the porch, and when she wasn’t I went inside to see if anyone had responded to my post on our neighborhood wall, but nobody had commented with knowledge of her whereabouts.

Next I decided to start checking friends houses. I went to her friend Carley’s house and asked if she came over to play. But she hadn’t and Carley’s mom was just shocked that she hadn’t come home yet. Then I went to her friend Eve’s house. Eve had been over about 3:30ish to ask if Tyra could come over to play. I told her that Tyra wasn’t home yet and that she was supposed to be home very soon. I thought maybe when Eve was walking back home, maybe Tyra was on our way to our house and they might have met on the sidewalk and Eve might have asked her to come over from there. Unfortunately when I spoke to Eve’s mom, Tyra wasn’t there either.

By this time I was beginning to be frantic. After checking each place I had sent Kyle a message letting him know where I was checking and that she wasn’t there. And now I was out of ideas. Kyle probably felt useless being so far away and unable to just hop in his car and head home to help. He looked up the phone number for the sheriff’s office and gave them a call.

I got a phone call from one of the deputies and he asked me her name, and her age and what she looks like and when she was supposed to have gotten out of school and he asked what she was wearing. A light pink t-shirt with brown print from girl scout day camp, jeans, pink and black tennis shoes, light pink zippered hoodie, and she had a pink back pack with an argyle print and hearts on it. He said that he was going to go over and check at the school, he gave me his phone number and said to call him if she got home and if she wasn’t home by the time he finished checking at the school then he would come over.

I proceeded to throw something together for dinner for my other kiddos. It was already past dinner time (I usually serve dinner at 5) and Lydia especially was starting to be cranky because she was hungry. I got some hot dogs out of the freezer and started a pot of macaroni and cheese.

Deputy Rog (I could totally be misspelling his name) came over and told me that she doesn’t appear to be at the school “It’s locked up tight”. Again he asked me what she was wearing and and he asked what we had done to find her. I told him of my posting on the neighborhood facebook wall and of my search of the school and every park in the neighborhood and of my going to her friend’s houses. Then he said that he was going to call another officer over to our house, and that they would search the house. Then, if they didn’t find her here, they would call the Sargent and plan our next move. All of this was so terrifying to me. I knew that she wasn’t in the house, but really when a child goes missing where else do you start the search? So he called the other officer and asked him to come assist him. Eve’s mom came over to ask if we had found her yet, and when I said that we hadn’t she asked if I needed her to watch my other kiddos. I explained the deputy’s plan and I said that when we knew what the next step was I would let her know if I needed her to watch them for me. I sat the other kids down and fed them, while the officers searched the house. When it came time for them to check the basement I unlocked the door and let them down. They had just finished their search and were beginning to tell me what happens next when one of our neighbors called into the house from the porch. I ran to the front door and she had Tyra with her. She had seen my post on the neighborhood wall hours ago and thought that we probably found her, but then she saw Tyra walking down the street by her house and she put Tyra in her car and brought her home. I was nearly in tears, and I asked Tyra where she was. She said that she was at her friend Aleecia’s house. I have no idea who Aleecia is, and they don’t live in our ward so I don’t know where she lives either, and that would explain why they didn’t see my post on facebook asking if anyone had seen her.

The officers were both glad that we had a happy ending. They asked me a few more questions so they could make out their reports to account for their time, and then they left. I immediately posted on facebook that she had been found so my neighbors would all know that everything was alright now, and I called Kyle to tell him. Then I fed Tyra her dinner and got the kids to bed.

Tyra has no idea how serious what she has done is. She was shocked to find the police here and even more shocked to find out they were in our house because we were looking for HER. She knew where she was and she thinks that makes everything ok. As I mentioned before, this isn’t the first time that she hasn’t come home after school. So she has had the lecture on why it’s not safe and why she must come straight home. It doesn’t seem to be sinking in. At this point, I am deciding to pull her out of double dosing. I understand she needs the help with her reading, but her safety is far more important to me. I am also going to need to have a meeting with her teacher to explain that Tyra is not allowed to just walk home on her own, but that her brothers must come get her so they can all walk home together. I just don’t know how to get her to understand that I only want her safety. For the time being, I’m just glad she is home and Kyle comes home tomorrow.

Sep 232012
 

Growing up in the Church, we would make the occasional drive down to the Los Angeles Temple and explore the grounds, including rolling down the steep grassy slope out front. Then, I remember when the San Diego Temple open house happened, and we had to dress up and drive down there to visit and actually walk through a temple. That felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was very beautiful inside and almost surreal.

On my mission, I got to have it as a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as the Manchester Temple open house happened whilst we were there, and our entire mission got permission to hop on buses and drive up to the temple for the day. Again, it was beautiful inside and much different from the limited number of temples I have been in.

Living in Utah, we have temples all over. It’s been really cool when we drove up to Yellowstone, as we passed a large number of temples (Mt Timpanogos, Jordan River, Draper, Oquirrh Mt, Salt Lake, Bountiful, Ogden, and some up in Idaho as well.) The Brigham City temple was under construction, but we still got out and walked around the area for about an hour.

Now, we had a chance to attend the dedication as the church was broadcasting it to local buildings. Even better, they allowed kids eight and up to attend, if they could get an interview to get a recommend. Since Ethan and Tyra were both over eight, they were able to get theirs and attend their very first temple dedication with me. They were really good at sitting through the talks, and both got to enjoy the overall experience.

 Posted by at 10:02 pm
Sep 172012
 

Dinah’s birthday was on Friday, and I had a dentist appointment that day. While we were in the elevator, Kyle told Dinah that she doesn’t get to turn five until she cleans up her room. She tried to tell him that that’s not how it works, it was really funny. Then after my girl scout meeting, we took the family to Olive Garden for dinner. She loves that restaurant and has been asking to go for such a long time. Yesterday she got to open her present and cards.

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I have had Dinah’s birthday present wrapped and on the top of the book shelf for most of the YEAR. She has seen in there and has anticipated opening it and finding out what it is for a really long time. I confess, I was excited for her to open it as well. I just couldn’t wait to see her face when she saw what it was.

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They are Hello Kitty mega blocks (similar to legos). Kyle and I saw them when we were out doing Christmas shopping last year, and I just KNEW she would love them.

Today, we sang to her and everyone had cake.

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That is one very eager little girl.

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Dinah is a very sweet girl, when she wants to be. She is also quite a challenge.  I think back to when she was born, and the midwife commented on how skinny her umbilical cord was. They were concerned that it was missing one of the veins. After carefully examining it, they found all three. The cord also didn’t attach to the placenta in the usual way. It was attached only by a thin filmy something. I remember thinking that it could have been so easy for her to kick through that and she may not have made it to birth. Then I think of how as an infant she nearly starved to death. We took her in for regular well child check ups, but her weight was really low. I had to take her in frequently for weight checks. At every well child check up her percentile for weight got lower and lower. Just the night before her four month check up I remember changing her clothes and commenting to Kyle on how bony her chest looked. I said that I would ask about it when I took her in the next day. When I took her in for her four month check up she weighed less than she did when she was two months old. Her percentile for weight had dropped to negative 3, and that is when the doctor pointed out that there was a problem and we needed to switch to formula. I sometimes wonder, how much longer she would have lasted if we didn’t realize that there was a problem. Then I think of the time when she was two that she ran off, and it took us a couple of hours to find her. The longer it took us to find her, the more I started wondering if we would ever find her. This child is the reason that I have taken up running. She loves to follow her feet and has no fear, unless she needs to go to the bathroom and the light is off down the hall… But she is also very intelligent. She speaks in full sentences, sometimes with understanding beyond her years. She is always so full of energy, and can sometimes be rather funny. I am very grateful to have my Dinah in my life.

Sep 152012
 

It’s state fair time again! The kids really enjoyed going to the fair last year, so we decided we would go again this year, especially since there are a bunch of things that cub scouts can get signed off by being there. We had a coupon for $2 off admission for boy scouts and girl scouts if they wore there uniform. So Ethan wore his scout shirt and Tyra wore her brownie vest to the fair.

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We walked around and looked and the home arts exhibits and worked our way over to the “Little Hands on the Farm” exhibit. It’s an exhibit set up to show kids the order of how things get from the farm to the stores. The kids enjoyed going through it last year and were asking if it was back again this year. This year when we finished it though there was a room set up next to the farm store where kids could make farm animal masks. So we spent some time there letting the kids each make a mask (and then we got to sign that off in Ethan’s bear book 😉 ).

When all the kids were done making their masks we worked our way over to the livestock exhibits (another thing to sign off in Ethan’s book). The kids were disappointed that we passed the giant slide and didn’t buy tickets to go down. Jeremy was especially unhappy about that. But we made up for it later on.

I personally enjoy walking in the barns and seeing all the animals. It takes me back to the days when I was a teenager and my family had a goat and two ponies and geese, and ducks and chickens and rabbits. Not to forget the dog and the cats.

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After petting the sheep Dinah wanted to try to pet one of the cows, so she came up to the hind quarters of a HUGE cow. It scared the cow, and the cow kicked. But the cow’s owners saw what was happening and got her out of the way before she got hurt. It did scare her quite a bit though. She tried to explain that she just wanted to pet it, but we had to explain to her that you NEVER approach a cow or a horse or a big animal like that, from the back because you will scare it and it will kick you. When we saw a calf in one of the rows Kyle took Dinah over so she could pet it.

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After the animals we got some dinner and took the kids over to the fishing pond. Here Ethan was able to earn the fishing belt loop. They started out by talking to the kids a bit about fishing. Then they lined up all the kids and each had a turn to practice casting.

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Then Ethan, Tyra, Jeremy and Dinah got to go fishing:

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Their turn was up when they caught a fish, but the only one we got a picture of with his fish was Ethan. They each started fishing as soon as they had practiced casting and they were all spread all over the pond that it was difficult for Kyle to be there with each of them when they caught their fish. I was trying to keep Chloe, Lydia and Adam out of the way of the flying hooks.

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Then we went into the wildlife building so Kyle could talk to the rangers about the fishing laws here in Utah. My kids really like these photo op things that they had all over the fair. And of course I have to take a picture of each kid sticking their face in the hole. Personally I think Jeremy’s faces are THE BEST!

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We finished up the night with Kyle taking the five oldest kids on the ferris wheel. Chloe was JUST tall enough to go on as long as she was accompanied. I stayed on the ground with Lydia and Adam. And as we were leaving, I pulled back the visor that kept Adam out of the sun most of the day. I decided that it was dark and he was awake so I wanted to be able to see him. His face was awesome:

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He really didn’t know what to make of all those lights! As we left Ethan told us to make a note to bring LOTS of cash next year. It was difficult to get some dinner because most places we went to check out only took cash. Eventually we found something for everyone to eat at places that would take our debit card. But most of the food places and the rides and games only took cash. So making a mental note for next year. 🙂

Sep 092012
 

My little man will be three weeks old on Tuesday!

I decided to take some pictures of him today while he was still wearing his cute little suit.

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