Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope everyone has a safe and BOO-tiful Halloween tonight!

This year for Halloween I am dressed up as a the Wicked Witch of the West, complete with AWESOME stockings! Lon is dressing up as a zombie, hopefully he won't scare the kids. Alan is dressing up as a Green Power Ranger. And Miss Anna will be Elmo. Although I did have a handful of people tell me that she should have gone as a boxer, I love this idea lol, it is embracing the bad situation and making the best of it. Darn, wish we had some baby sized boxing gloves lying around. :P I also heard that she should be a spotted puppy dog, with the spot right over her owie. And a zombie Elmo, which I did not like as much. She is just my beautiful Elmo baby though!

Last night was Alan's Thriller performance for Halloween. He did such a great job! I am one proud mama! I did take some photos and should have one of the dance moms text me the video, since I was too busy performing as well. I will post all of that on another post.

Some important things to remember this Halloween, it is for all the children, every single one of them. <3 I posted this earlier this month on my Facebook, and last year too. This year though, someone made it into a pretty picture! Yay!

Our plans for the Halloween festivities are pretty mellow this year, with all that happened on Monday, we want to take it easy on Miss Anna. Alan has his Preschool Halloween party which Anna and I also attended, we went to the YMCA Healthy Halloween, and then we plan on going trick or treating around with Grandpa Kevin, Uncle Kalvin and Lon. Anna will stay with Grandma Melanie and help her hand out candy. It should be lots of fun for everyone! Definitely what my family needs after all this stress and bad luck. Happy Halloween everyone! Be safe out there tonight! And stay warm, if you are a Montanan at least lol. Its supposed to be CHILLY out tonight! Brrrrr!

Alan in his Green Power Ranger costume with his preschool class!

Tune in tomorrow for my pumpkin patch post. Wow, say that three times fast lol! We had such a great time with Aunt Ariel and Daddy! So glad they could come with us!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I apologize about not posting yesterday like I had originally planned to, I was so looking forward to sharing with everyone our wonderful Family Sunday at the pumpkin patch. But something quite traumatic happened Monday night and though I still am not fully sure if I am ready to share this, I need to for my daughter and my family. It happened how it happened and though I am not happy with the way it all went, there is nothing more I can do about what happened that night. I have made peace with that night and all of its scary events, and I hope that you can too. Please no hurtful comments, they will be removed immediately! Please realize that we are all still recovering from this, I will not tolerate hate towards anyone, including the dog. It was no one's fault, just an unfortunate event for everyone involved, especially sweet Miss Anna.

Disclaimer: This post is quite graphic and traumatic. I do not want to leave any details out, everyone should know exactly what happened. If you are easily grossed out or squeamish at all, please do not read this post.

My beautiful, sweet girl was bitten on her face by one of in-law's dogs while Lon and I were downstairs looking for winter clothes Monday night. Usually the big dogs are outside while the kids are there but it had just snowed that morning and was too cold out. Grandma Amber was watching the kids for us while she cooked dinner, Miss Anna was playing in the dining room with Alan. She got a little to close to one of the dogs, tripped and fell on him. He instantly reacted out of fear and got her good on the left side of her face, pulling away quickly when he realized it was her. I just remember hearing her scream, we started heading upstairs, but when we heard Alan and Grandma Amber start screaming too, we booked it up there. There was so much blood everywhere, we couldn't tell what was exactly was bleeding. I remembered my First Aid training and started putting pressure on the wounds, then we placed a butterfly bandage on the biggest wound. We hurried to the Emergency Room, I did not think that she would make it while we waited for an ambulance.

The roads were awful, it was so snowy and icy out. I had Lon drive, so I could keep an eye on Anna and keep her awake. She was starting to go into shock. I yelled at Lon that she wasn't wanting to respond and he told me to call the cops. There was a cop car in front of us as ways ahead, we were hoping to have him or someone escort us the rest of the way. I remember being on the phone with dispatch, desperately trying to get Anna to open her eyes and say something. The cop car started leading us to the hospital, booking it on the ice. I was bouncing her hands and feet, patting her chest and saying her name over and over again. She kept slipping. We slid and almost crashed several times, but Lon was somehow able to pull us out of it. I don't remember too much at this point (it was all just TOO much) but things went from bad to worse REAL fast. Lon lost control of the car on a patch of ice just a few blocks away from the hospital, slid up onto a curb and hit a pole. I just remember screaming, nothing else. According to Lon, I started trying to get Anna out of the car, determined that I was going to walk her to the damn hospital. I wasn't about to let my daughter bleed out in the car while we waited for an ambulance. That's the only reason the cop let us continue on.

We made it into the Emergency Room just barely in time. Anna was in and out of consciousness while we were checked in. Once in our room, the nurses got her crying good when they checked her vitals though, but they assured me that it was what everyone wanted her to do. They explained that getting her crying was not only a response (Good thing for a bleeding person) but it would help get her blood circulating so that she could start the process of replacing all the lost blood. She fussed for so long though, it broke my heart!! But I kept reminding myself how GOOD it really was for her, she hadn't even cried once since she was bit. That was a horrifying thought to me, she was so weak she didn't even care to fuss. Thankfully, her vitals were good but with all the blood we couldn't tell if the dog had gotten her eyelid or not. We also thought that he may have actually punctured the temple too. So they sent for the doctor, took off the butterfly bandage and encouraged us to let the wound bleed more. That way it would clean out any bacteria naturally. After having a good cry, Anna felt much better. She was back to her old self: ticked off that we wouldn't let her walk around the ER room, talking to us about different things, wanting to watch her favorite cartoons on the tv, and irritated that everyone felt the need to monitor her. She is so silly!

The doctor came in and determined that she would need stitches, how many though he wasn't sure about. We tried and tried to get a good view of all of her wounds, but still thought the eyelid was cut too. He did a quick eye exam and determined her vision was still good. Then we had more waiting around to do. Lon and I snuggled with her while we waited, even though she didn't want us too lol, and tried to recover from the night's events. I may have broken down a few times, it was all just so scary. Then the room started to fill again as they prepared for her stitches. Nurses and doctors came in and out, all cooing at how beautiful she was despite everything. She had to say hi to each and every one of them, pretty sure that she was the sweetheart of the ER that night. :) Everyone loved her.

The stitches were just TERRIBLE. They had to strap her down and had three nurses plus Lon and I hold her down. She is one strong little girl, fought us so much. They also had to cover up her whole head with a sterile cloth, which scared her so bad. Lon and I did our best to talk to her and keep her calm. She just kept screaming. The Doctor was amazing though, he was very quick and did such a good job with her stitches, despite all the movement and noise. After he started and had sterilized the area, we were able to see all the wounds. Her eye and eyelid were just fine, so was her temple. It was all just through the skin tissue. I think I broke down when they told us that, I had in my mind that she would never be able to see the same way or that she would have other lifelong issues from the temple being damaged. The Doctor and nurses assured me that though she may have a big, nasty scar by her eye for the rest of her life, she was okay. We had done everything correctly as parents: putting pressure to help slow the bleeding, putting on the bandage, getting her in to the ER immediately, keeping her awake during the ride, having all of the dog's records present when we brought her in. Anna received seven stitches total, making a little "V" shape right by her left temple. She handled everything like such a champ, we are so proud of our little fighter!

Before and after the stitches

Today, two days after the incident, Miss Anna barely even notices her injury. She is irritated that her left eye occasionally is swollen shut and she looks like she was in a boxing match but other than that, she is her normal self. Lon, Grandma Melanie and I have been having lots of mini-heart attacks from her running around and climbing on things. She is doing great! Everyone has been saying that the scar should fade with age, especially since she is so young now. She hopefully also won't have a subconscious fear of dogs when she is older, I think she is too young to remember any of this. I really do hope these things are true, I can handle going through a traumatic night as long as I know that she will be 100% okay in the end. No bad memories, nothing. That is my biggest fear as her mother, I don't want this incident to change her life. She is a happy little girl who loves life and loves animals. She will always be beautiful in my eyes, no matter what. But I want happiness to continue for her. This is all I can ask for.

For those that are curious, we are not euthanizing the dog. He was (and still is) a family dog of my in-laws and is very loved by everyone, including us. He is not some stray, he is Uncle Tyler and Aunt Sam's baby! This was an accident and he is quite remorseful over it. Lon said he hasn't moved hardly at all in the past few days, I think he has major guilt. This was not a vicious attack, the dog is still quite young, was startled and reacted the wrong way. He knows that. Plus, it would go against every single one of my Buddhist trainings and morals to have him euthanized. I was raised in a hunting family that only kills one to feed another. We are all one in this world, the animals and the humans. Its the Circle of Life, I refuse to disrupt it for something like this. However with that being said, the dog will never be near my children again. I do not wish to hurt him but I will also not allow him to hurt us. Alan will be sad, they were best buds before all of this. I know that my son will be happy to know that the dog will be going to a nice house up on the Rims, where there is lots of open space for him to run and be happy.

I have heard a lot of different responses from my family members, some think the dog should be euthanized and some agree with us. This is why I have wanted to wait some time before telling everyone, we are still in shock and raw with emotion. I do not wish to offend or hurt anyone because we have different opinions on the matter. But I had to share this now, it was time. No matter what happens in the end with the dog, it is our decision and our decision only. It will only affect us, so why be so upset about it? It does nothing to help us recover and heal. Thankfully, I have also had some positive responses. Friends and family members sharing their dog bite stories and assuring me that she will be okay in the end. Several people have told me that she had a guardian angel looking out for us that night. I fully believe this. Two weeks ago on that day my grandfather passed away. He loved her so very much, she was the light in his life. I completely believe that his soul was with us that night, keeping her alive and keeping us safe on that icy, icy road. We all could have been badly hurt, or worse, several times that night. But we came out okay. There were some special forces at work that night.

We love you so much Anna Ariel. We are so blessed to have you in our life. <3

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Weekend Birthday Party and Other Thoughts

It snowed today! Well technically it started last night but it has yet to stop today. We are supposed to get another 2 or 3 inches before it gets dark out, and even possibly another 1-2 inches later tonight. For a total of seven possible inches of snow, we will probably have a WHITE Halloween lol! Oh well, I like the snow. I know we have a lot of people in town who hate it, but I am true Montanan. Snow means snow activities! My family sure loves our snow activities too! Plus it is just so gorgeous out! I love how just a little snow can suddenly make everything look so cozy and quaint. Love it! :D

However with that being said, I do usually try to stay off the roads during the snowstorms and the first day it snows if I can. Its also nice to enjoy it from inside at home, or out in your backyard too. ;) Please be warned, it is a little crazy to drive in (if you don't know how to) so I want everyone to be careful out there! Even the BPD is asking everyone to drive safely. They have been very busy today with car accidents. Drive safe and drive smart!

Saturday, the kids had a birthday party for two of their family friends Emma and Joseph. They had the party at the YMCA, I actually hosted the tumble part of the party lol. We had a great time! Especially Alan and Anna, I don't think they understood how much fun one of Mom's tumble parties can be! They both had so much fun and did so many things that once they got back home, they both fell sound asleep for a few hours! Exhausted kiddos from having such an awesome day! I'll take it!

Watching the birthday kids open their presents
Our tumble parties at the YMCA are pretty fun too. I have been running them for almost four years now and thus, have developed the parties individually so that they are the best parties we can offer. Each of these party involves our basic tumbling aspects, as well as some fun physical activities that get the kids' energy going! We start out letting the children free play and explore while guests are arriving to the party. Then I involve the children in a few activities, including going through the obstacle course (the obstacle course is currently is nature themed but I change it every six months), playing hide and go seek or freeze tag, playing a ballon game I developed, and finishing off with "flying" or using the zip line. We sing "Happy Birthday" and have cake. Then the birthday kid opens their presents. We finish up the party with more free playing and the zip line. The kids just LOVE my tumble parties!

Trampoline baby!

Alan and Anna have known Joseph and Emma for about three years now. I used to know Miss Emma when she was Anna's age and size! :) She has grown up so much since then. Their mama, Beverly, works with me at the YMCA. They are a great family, we so enjoyed the birthday party! Alan had so much fun playing with the big boys. And Miss Anna enjoyed being treated like a big girl and sitting at the girls table. It was a lot of fun for everyone! Thanks for the invite Beverly!

This week is a BIG week for Alan. Today is Alan's gymnastics showcase and Wednesday he has his first dance performance at the YMCA. We will be performing Michael Jackson's Thriller as is tradition. I am quite excited for him! Anna and I will be the only ones in the family who will be able to attend his gymnastics showcase today, because it is so early in the day. I do plan to film it and take lots of photos though, so everyone can still see how great he is getting at his gymnastics skills! And on Wednesday, I think he will have Dad, Grandma Melanie, Uncle Kalvin and Aunt April there to cheer him on, plus possibly some crew members from the Wreckingclowns dance crew! I will also film that performance. I cannot wait and I know that he can't either! :) Then Thursday will be Halloween and his preschool Halloween party, oh boy Alan has so much to do! I am so very excited for this to be an awesome week for my family and I! Even with a blanket of snow everywhere! ;)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some Things That Make Me Happy

Okay, I feel like lately with my grandfather's passing this blog has been quite hum and drum, sorta missing its gusto. In fact, that's almost exactly how I would describe myself too. Your blog really does reflect you in many ways, doesn't it? Blah... I like to think that the main reason is because we as a family just haven't been doing too much outside of work and Alan's school, but the REAL true reason is I have just had little motivation to write. I just don't feel like it too much lately, but I know that this is when I really should be blogging the most. I remember once, like around when I first started blogging, I was told by another amazing blogging mama that even on those days that you don't feel like writing, you should push yourself to, because those are the days when you will get your best writing. I need to remember this more often on those hard days. Because honestly, Wednesday was a hard day of writing and so was yesterday. But I still pushed through, still posted something. Even if I didn't think it was my best, it is there and it exists.

It matters.

So today, instead of struggling to find something to write about or not posting at all, I figured I would do a Favorites list of things that have made me very happy lately. Something nice and positive for everyone! Yay! Be prepared for it to be quite random though, I have a lot of different and various things that make me happy on occasion! This will be quite the ride!

I have been subbing and assisting teach in ballet a lot lately. Miss Alice asked me to help her in her Pre Ballet class, basically her ballerina babies class at the YMCA. One of her classes has nine baby ballerinas in it! My word that is a lot of little dancing feet! :) It has been such a joy for me to be helping teach ballet, I just adore the children and I love ballet so much. It has definitely been a workout for me, which is also beneficial. Also those jumps and turns have got my Mama thighs and calves a burning again lol! Good for the body and good for the soul.

Something else I found that was sooooooo, so very sad but very good for the soul too. This man photographed his wife through every stage of her cancer. I found this post about him first and was directed to his actual blog. This, this is true love right here. This is such a beautiful expression of true love, something that not only brought me to tears, but brought me to text my own sweet husband at work, just to tell him I love him. We should all love more like this man, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Whether our loved ones are healthy, or not so healthy like his wife was. They all deserve it don't they? I want to thank this man for once again reminding me to love fully and truly at all times, whether I feel like it or not. Because one day we will not be so lucky. Please take a moment to check out his blog and his non-profit organization against breast cancer.

Billings in the fall, just so lovely isn't it? I just had to share this on the blog too, I shared it on my Facebook page the other day. Thanks to the Billings Gazette for this beautiful sunset photo! This photo was taken over the Yellowstone River on the Rimrocks, looking out over the Billings downtown. Gah! Man I love where we live! That big clear sky and that bright beautiful sun overheard! Every season is just stunning here, we are so blessed to live in such a wonderful town! You can't go wrong with a scenic drive here!

This weekend we have family friends Joseph and Emma's birthday parties on Saturday. Alan will be going swimming and Anna will tumble with Emma and her friends. We are pretty excited! :) Sunday we plan on going on a trip to the pumpkin patch and corn maze with Aunt Ariel. She has babysat the kids for us several times without pay now, we totally owe her a fun day! Thanks Aunt Ariel, you are such an awesome aunt! We love you!

What does your weekend look like? Hope it is fantastic! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Make-Up Class, Gymnastics Style

The past few weeks Alan has been absent from his gymnastics classes unfortunately. For good reason though, with his great grandfather's passing a week ago and his great grandfather's funeral the following Monday. Both incidents happened on his gymnastics day, there was no way I could force him to go after that. Thankfully with the upcoming gymnastics showcase next week, his school allows make up classes. One of them was scheduled for yesterday morning and one is scheduled for the first week of November. We are used to afternoon classes, so the morning class was quite a change! There was only one other parent/toddler class going on at the same time! It was definitely quiet there lol!

Look at how small this class is! And no other classes except for the babies!

Alan dancing to warm up
Miss Anna was still quite tired, she barely woke up in time for us to leave so I left her in her pjamas. I also ended up bringing breakfast for her with us. Oh well! :) She was also not as lively as she usually is at his classes. Usually, Anna is trying to climb through the bars to jump down to join her brother's gymnastics class I assume. Or she tries to use her strength to break the bars, which never even budge lol. She is so silly! Today however, she lazily lounged from chair to chair. Occasionally she would hop down to watch brother but that was it. She didn't even get bored halfway through like she used to! Morning classes may be the new thing for us, if they work out this nicely for us lol.

They have pictures this weekend, I know that I mentioned them earlier in the month but we decided against them this year. I think we will wait and see if he sticks with gymnastics as he is older. If he does and joins the boys team at BGS, we will definitely get him some professional photos! But for now, this is more of a physical activity then a required sport. I do like that he enjoys it so much though! He may stick with it, or may just be a monkey for the rest of his life like his father is. I will be happy with either of those outcomes. :) I am quite excited for the gymnastics showcase next week though! I do not have to worry about getting a sub for work and hopefully Lon will be there. I am also very excited to be able to take some of my own gymnastics photos of him lol. I never said that he wouldn't have ANY photos from gymnastics right now, just not the professional ones. Plus I take so many photos already of him in class, but for the showcase I will have the chance to get individual action shots of him doing a skill. Like I said, I am very excited!

My monkey practicing his single bar swings for the showcase next week

Anna in her chair at class, she was still so sleepy!

I have also decided about what to do with Miss Anna when she is 18 months old. I originally was going to put her in YMCA Rock, Tumble, Roll parent and toddler class but I think I may wait until she is old enough to also go to BGS. I do have plans to start taking her to play at the YMCA Open Toddler Gym for an hour or so on Thursdays while Alan has preschool. I used to do a similar thing with Alan when he was her age, so it made sense for me to do it the same with her too. Was actually going to do it today, but totally spaced it until just now. Shoot! Oh well, we will start next week. I just know that she will love it! Plus it will knock her out by the time we get home so that she can have a nice long nap and I can get some cleaning and laundry done. Yes, totally doing this next week, why didn't I already do it today lol?????????? 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Heart and Soul Healing Moments After Loss

I have had a busy weekend and an even busier week with birthday parties, family coming into town and a funeral. Before I begin this post, I think I am finally ready to share with you who in my family we lost this past week. It was one of my grandfathers. He had been fighting illness for years and years. He is no longer in pain or hurting anymore. For this I am very glad but as for the rest of us in the family, the "survivors"... Man, I give major kudos to anyone who has ever planned a funeral (or even helped plan one) for your deceased loved one. Its a lot of work, and still being raw with emotion from the passing, can be difficult at times. I have honestly been doing good. But I have my sad points, like when I had to tell my sisters or Alan. Or when I had to make a display with all of his pictures from my childhood. Or at the funeral when all the guests were giving my family their condolences. Thinking about him back then when we were young v.s. now, hurts me a lot still. Natalie and I enjoyed so much of our time with him, we spent almost everyday together. He was healthy and he would play with us, tease us, help us feed his cat, tell us wonderful and magnificent stories. However, my younger siblings and my children, my nephew too, they were born after his health started going downhill. They only have memories of the hospital or nursing home, him being unhappy and not feeling well. This is the only thing I struggle with right now, I want him to be remembered for the amazing man that he was. I want the memories of him to be good ones. Maybe I am being selfish, but I want those who missed out on how great he was to really get the chance to enjoy it. To enjoy him.

Not that they didn't on their own. My grandfather was still a wonderful grandfather and amazing great grandfather, even in his final years. He loved Alan and Anna so much, even though he had trouble remembering Anna's name. He called her Brianna and I will still hold that name special to me. Because his love for them just cascaded from his whole body, like a bright light, every single time we visited him. He was always so excited to see us, so very happy. He would just sit and look at the kids sometimes, silently. Or he would have one of them come and sit on his lap with him, telling them crazy stories like he used to tell us when we were little while tickling them on the arm. Alan just adored his great grandfather, even though he didn't understand why he was in the current situation. And Anna, with her beautiful caring heart and soul, was never scarred of him or his beeping machines he sometimes had. She loved him fully too. My grandfather was an amazing person, he will be missed so very much. We love you so very much Grandpa!

Sunday was a busy day for us. Aunt Natalie and Benton came into town for the funeral and Anna had a birthday party for one of her little friends. The party was at Pizza Hut, somewhere I haven't been since before Lon and I started dating. We HAVE our pizza handled in this family lol. :P It was a great party regardless, we were happy to see all of our friends. Anna loved all the balloons and the birthday boy's smash cake. She wasn't too happy once she found out it was all for him to eat. What a goof! We had a great time at the party. It was a major healing moment for me as well, one of many that I would experience this week. Like I mentioned above, I have had my moments of saddness that seem to dwell on me for a period of time. If I knew what depression felt like, I would definitely say that this was very close. But being around all of my good friends and their kids, just happy that they were there for a birthday party, was very beneficial to my heart and soul. I needed that party before the funeral, really needed it. Thanks to Candace, Mark and birthday boy Dominic for inviting us. We are very glad that we came! Happy first birthday Dominic!

Alan at the birthday party, I couldn't for the life of me get a photo of Anna!
Another majorly healing moment for myself and my family was spending time with my beautiful, amazing nephew Benton. We haven't seen him in around two months now, he has grown up so much! I spent every second that I could with him, holding him, cooing at him, snuggling with him, giving him kisses on that sweet round head of his! I just love him so much! I don't know if I could have honestly gotten through the funeral without his sweet smiles and his little talks. Alan and Anna loved having him here with us too! Alan loves his little cousin and was worried about Benton's surgery, he was Benton's shadow most of the time he was here. And Anna was confused about why he was smaller then her and a little jealous when he would sit with Grandma Melanie but she enjoyed his visit. She did even sit with him and Grandma Melanie a few times! I was so proud!

Back to the day of the funeral, even though I still am stressed out and at ends about that day.

Worked on Grandpa's photo display most of the morning, put waaaaaaaay too much thought and stress into it. That was hard. I almost didn't finish the darn thing in time, but I did. Then I was a little late to the actual event because I had to drop of the kids with Lon. Didn't want them to be too sad. I spent most of the funeral outside the funeral hall, listening quietly by myself. It was too much to go inside. When I finally did though, Aunt Natalie and Benton were standing outside the chapel room, watching quietly. I spent the remainder of the funeral with them. Benton kept staring at me, looking back now, I think he was concerned why Aunt Jillian was crying. But I kept kissing him and touching his little arms, it made the pain hurt less. Thank you little man, you may have not understood what you were doing at that time, but you have helped Auntie in a way she will never be able to repay you for!

I am very happy with how the photo displays looked in the end though. And so was everyone else. I did get a ton of compliments on them, although at the time I didn't care too much. But I did make a point to take photos of them for my own memories and collection. I will share them with you on here, they were done very well. I want to also share the two photos I took from the morning that Aunt Natalie and Benton left. They are of Benton and I snuggling. That morning, I cherished every second I spent holding him while Aunt Natalie got ready. He really is an amazing little boy, just like my own children. I love him so very much. All three of these pictures are quite special to my family and I.

 It is hard going through a loss of a family member and the preceding funeral, but there are certain healing aspects of the funeral that need to be recognized. At least for my family, the funeral serves a purpose to bring the mourning family together to heal. It also allows us (sometimes forces us) to remember all the memories you shared with your deceased loved one. Even though there were lots of hard and painful parts of these past few weeks, there have been many important heart and soul healing parts too. Remembering my grandfather with all of his pictures; telling my sisters and supporting them through their tough mourning periods, thus bringing us all closer; seeing all of my loved ones and holding them at the funeral and wake; even, taking the precious few moments to personally say goodbye to that wonderful, amazing person who was my grandfather. All of those may have hurt a lot at the time, but they were necessary and definitely blessings in disguise.

"In the end these things matter most:
 How well did you love?
 How fully did you live?
 How deeply did you let go?”
-Gautama Buddha quote from the Dhammapada

We will always love you, Grandpa.

Friday, October 18, 2013

We Love Fall!

My family just loves fall! Its our favorite season! The colors, the corn mazes, the weather, the pumpkin patches, Halloween, Thanksgiving, we just love it all! I must say this about every season lol, I guess we just like change in our surroundings. :) I love each season really, they all have wonderful aspects that I look forward to each year! I'm sure we will be saying the same thing about the winter season too. I think that maybe we are just Montanans and just really love Mother Nature lol. :) But we definitely are enjoying THIS season right now!

Yesterday, it was rainy and a little bit chilly outside. But the kids were very restless inside, we tried playing games and reading books, doing artwork together. No go! On a whim, we bundled up and went outside to play despite the weather! A little bit of rain never hurt no one lol! :) I need to start remembering to take advantage of certain things while we are staying here, like the big kid friendly backyard my parents have. Its a decent size and the kids love playing back there! Plus it will only have positive effects on everyone, including the kids! Its a Mama win-win situation right there! BOOM!

It did get a bit too cold for Miss Anna after a while, but Alan energy wasn't running anywhere near low. He has so much energy these days! I wish that I could harness some of it for myself, I have been so exhausted as of late. I put Anna in the stroller with a warm blanket and we went for a short walk with them. It was the perfect transition! We looked at all the colors of the leaves and talked about the puppies we heard barking, did some minor subtraction with leaves and talked about what Alan's Halloween costume would be (he originally wanted to be a Zombie Power Ranger Ninja, but I narrowed it down to Ninja with a Katana lol). It was a good walk. Miss Anna was pretty quiet the whole time, but she was looking at everything! Those little eyes are interested in everyone and everything at this point, they are constantly waiting to soak up knowledge. I love her intense curiosity and her love of learning!

Speaking of the little explorer, I tried so hard to get some good photos of her walking around in the backyard yesterday. The weather made for some pretty morning lighting but wouldn't ya know, its almost IMPOSSIBLE to take photos of a walking baby. Unless you have a fast shutter camera and a quick trigger finger lol. Which I had my cell phone and its sloooooooooooooow... but I still enjoy the pictures I took! We sure do have a beauty on our hands, I am in for so much trouble when she is older! What do you think of the photos?

She was a little apprehensive about walking on the grass and preferred to crawl on it instead lol

Today was much nicer weather out, we were out playing for maybe an hour or so this time around. The kids were so excited for the gorgeous blue skies and all the colors of the leaves. It was such a pretty day outside! Man I love Montana! Alan instantly pulled out my old tricycle to ride around. He was getting the hang of riding again, when Miss Anna started fussing for a ride of her own. Thankfully, I found her a toddler scooter for her to use! It took sometime for her to figure out how to push the thing around, she started standing up and walking with it at first. But as soon as she figured it out, she was happy as a clam! She rode that thing up and down the driveway for maybe 20 whole minutes, silly girl only wanted to chase after big brother and just had to have wheels of her own! She is such an independent little lady! I love it so much! Just like her mama, girl power!

Just like fall and the season's changing, both of my children have also changed so much lately. Alan has grown up into such a smart young boy since this move! Like I mentioned above, he can do minor subtraction with items right now. And he has learned how to ride the tricycle much better then he ever did at the old house. He refuses for me to EVEN be in the bathroom supervising while he uses the bathroom now! I have to stand outside the door and wait for him to call me in. He knows all of his colors and can write a few letters too. Plus that eagerness to learn exists inside him too. He is always asking questions, always wanting to know why. He loves to learn how to write, how to swim, how to dance and how to be a gymnast. When he is a little bit older, he wants to take Tai Chi. He is very determined to do this and watches the Tai Chi classes every night at the Y. Its so cool that he is already so invested in this, karate is a great discipline tool. Oh I love how much he wants to grow up! Alan Mikael, I love you so much smart boy!

Anna is also growing in leaps and bounds, in her own amazing ways. This little fireball wants to be just like her big brother, she watches everything he does and will try to copy it. Last night, Alan was brushing his teeth, Anna walked up with a toy of hers and tried to copy him brushing. She was very adamant about me brushing her teeth too after I finished with Alan's. This happens with everything else too. If he is eating, she has to eat. If he is playing swords, she will find something to be her sword. If he is going to Preschool, she has to follow him in and play for a few minutes. She wants to be just like him! She is totally her own person though. She has her own thoughts, emotions and opinions about everything and if you don't let her voice be heard, she will get quite upset. Miss Anna likes her things her way only. If she isn't ready to do something, she will plop her bottom to the ground and that little noggin will follow. Sometimes I wonder if her head is magnetic to the floor lol, the minute she is unhappy with the current situation, DOWN IT GOES! :) Oh she sure is a handful lol, but what a wonderful little handful she is! I love you Anna Ariel, you silly little girl!

Here are a few more photos of Anna on the toddler scooter. She was determined to follow her brother on his tricycle! I love my little gung-ho baby girl! GIRL POWER!

I may not post much until mid-week next week, because of the funeral on Monday. But I work all day tomorrow and Sunday we have another birthday party to go to. Plus Sunday Aunt Natalie and Benton will be heading to town with my parents and siblings! We are so excited to see them, despite the sad situation. I love to see my sister and my nephew though. Even Lon is excited! We love you Aunt Natalie and Benton!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mom's Favorite Hand-Me-Down

I seriously love this hand-me-down sleeper! Aunt Natalie bought it for Alan in Missoula when he was about Anna's age. He wore it so much as a baby! Lol, I remember everyone always saying, "Why do you put him in that? Its soooooo girly!" Um, why do people instantly think "girl" when they see lots of colors??? I saw this and thought "hippie" right away! Anyways, I vowed to always save this sleeper and hand it down to each of my children... And maybe my nephew too, if he wants it! ;) But now, Miss Anna is finally big enough to wear it herself! I was so excited that I just had to take some photos of her on my phone! I apologize about the poopy images, it is stormy and rainy out today. 

But just look at that color! 

Bonus: Here is Alan in the same sleeper when he was a babe! Love it!

I just love the swirl pattern of the tie dye, its so cute! Okay, enough about this clothing item lol. I will post about something more... important to you I guess! :P Anyways, today my sweet nephew Benton under went surgery for a hydrocele hernia. He did very well in surgery, responded perfectly to the anesthesia and is tolerating the pain killers currently. They had to intubate and IV him because of the anesthesia, my poor sister! She probably was so worried, we both don't do well with needles or IVs at all. But our little man is such a trooper! Auntie is so proud of you Benton! I am sorry that you are achy but I cannot wait for you to get her on Sunday so that I can snuggle and make it all better! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Some Sad News... and Then a Birthday Party to Brighten Your Day!

I do apologize for being absent from the blog all week. On Monday, we lost someone in our family somewhat unexpectedly. I do not think I am ready to share who we lost with you all this week, but know that it was someone very close to us. It was on my side of the family but he was special to everyone, including Lon. We loved him so very much. He will be dearly missed. 

I feel bad for not posting almost all week, but I really needed to take some personal family time away. In Buddhism, death is not seen as something bad, its seen as more of a doorway. Thus, I am not upset for the death itself. I know that he was hurting a lot and am glad his is at peace now. He is not gone from our lives, just onto his next great journey. :) However, I was needed to support many of my mourning family members. I was actually put in charge of telling most of my siblings, something I was not necessarily prepared for. I had to do it though, I just thought of how I would feel if I was not told as soon as possible. Then it was easy for me to tell my siblings. Although I did not post, I did try to... several times in fact, just post something quick letting everyone know what was up. But I couldn't do it, it didn't feel right at that moment. But I feel like now was the time. Thank you all for understanding, it really is unfortunate losing someone close to you.

Now, for some much needed positive! 

Holy birthday parties this month! This is the second party we have gone to this past week and I still have two more this month! Okay well that's more like a party every week but still that's a party every weekend!! We had this party last Sunday at Chuck E Cheese's. I cannot say who it was for, they are in Foster Care and their name is protected by my friend's wonderful family, but we had a great time! Alan loved being able to see all of his buddies again (we haven't honestly done anything social since we lost our house) and just being at one of his favorite places. He loves the live show, the games and the sky tubes. Anna had a total ball there too! She could watch the live show for hours herself lol and is totally willing to just sit in the rides without tokens. I love my perfect cheap baby lol! :P We had a fantastic time at the party though, I know I always say this, but I just love spending time with my loved ones. Especially with the hard times we have been going through, spending quality time with those that love and care about you is very important. I am so glad that we were able to go!

My friend Chelsey with Anna
Alan playing Spider Stomp with his friend Colton

Yesterday was the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. One in four women will miscarry or lose a child at some point in their lives. I am one of those women. To read my story, click here. I have made peace with my loss since it happened over six years ago but choose to remember her on days like yesterday and on her due date (birthday). Yesterday, I lit a candle in memory of sweet Rosalie June. Mama loves you baby doll, I cannot wait to meet you someday! Today is Baby Benton's third birth anniversary! I cannot believe my big guy is already three months old! He is doing great too! Has minor surgery tomorrow but he is such a trooper, we know that he will be just fine! Auntie Jillian, Uncle Lon, Alan and Anna love you so very much little man! We hope you have a great day! :) Like I mentioned above, we also have another birthday party this weekend at another local pizza place. Then Monday is the funeral, Aunt Natalie and Benton will hopefully be coming to town for it. I know the timing is unfortunate but I just cannot wait to hold my sweet nephew! It has been too long since I last saw him, I cannot wait to snuggle him! Love you little dude!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Three Years of Blogging

As of today, I have had this blog running for three years. A lot has happened in those three years, both in my real life and in the blogging community.  Lon and I were married, Anna was born, we moved several times, had a few different cars and I became an Aunt. I also befriended many wonderful people in the blogging world, was awarded two blogging awards, have changed my blog's name, have helped raise awareness about many different campaigns and have developed this blog into something more then just a place to keep my memories. The relationships I have made with other bloggers is very special to me, without this blog I may never have met such wonderful people from all around America and the rest of the world.

This blog has become something new to me too, as of late.  

I have always tried to keep this blog positive but with all of the recent court dates and the loss of our house, this blog has become a sort of a coping tool for me. Especially right after the court date, when I felt numb and full of rage towards one specific person, I felt like I could vent most of my frustrations on this blog. I feel like many of you readers do care about my family and I. When I am able to share my feelings and thoughts on here without prejudice, it is very beneficial to me. This is not a forum of judgement, like Facebook and Twitter and even Instagram seem to be. Cyber bullying runs rampant these days, even adults are victims of it. It is very easy to say something offensive online, safely at home, rather then say something offensive in person. I have read too many troll posts on Facebook and have even been bullied on there before. All for speaking my mind and sharing my opinion. By people I don't even know! It is definitely weird. But on here, my readers support me. I feel like I can share a lot of my thoughts on this blog, and no one will harass me for them. It is a great thing and I think it has played a big role in the improvement of this blog and my writing.

I do not have any special things this year for my blog. Boo, I know but I still like how every thing is running currently. I am pleased with the way this blog is going. Plus with everything that has been happening in my family's personal lives, I haven't had much time for any big changes. Instead, I figured I would participate in an A to Z Survey about myself and the family! I will include answers from each of us! I will even make it real fun and have Miss Anna's answers come from Mister Alan himself. I love the things he says about his sister! This should be cute! Enjoy! Happy three year Blogiversary to me!

Alan and I when I first started blogging, October 2010

The Three Year Blogiversary
A to Z Family Survey

Jillian: 24 years old
Lon: 26 years old
Alan: 4 years old
Anna: 1 year old

B-Best Friend
Jillian: Jenelle
Lon: Jason
Alan: Kelton
Anna: Benton 

C-Currently Craving
Jillian: Spaghetti
Lon: Peanut Butter Pretzels
Alan: Corn Dog
Anna: Pizza

D-Day of Choice
Jillian: Sunday, its family day!
Lon: Sunday, I don't work and I get to spend time with my wife and children
Alan: The whole weekend, so he can play!
Anna: Any day she gets to be with Alan!

E-Essential Item
Jillian: Chapstick
Lon: Handyman Gear
Alan: Toys and a sword
Anna: Diapers and a snack

F-Favorite Color
Jillian: Purple
Lon: Navy Blue
Alan: Red and Blue
Anna: Pink and Purple

G-Game of Choice
Jillian: Cranium
Lon: Anything as long as I am playing it with my kids
Alan: Connect Four, Angry Birds Star Wars
Anna: Peek-a-Boo 

Jillian: Billings, Montana
Lon: Ogden, Utah
Alan: Billings, Montana
Anna: Billings, Montana

Jillian: Chocolate
Lon: Sugar in General
Alan: Candy
Anna: Fruit

Jillian: Dance and Gymnastics Teacher
Lon: Manager at Village Inn Pizza Parlor
Alan: Superhero or Batman
Anna: Beautiful Princess

Jillian: 3 children, a boy and 2 girls
Lon: 2 children, a boy and a girl
Alan: Wants 5 kids, 5 boys when he is grown up
Anna: Wants 5 kids, 5 boys when she is grown up

Jillian: The computer desk
Lon: Running errands
Alan: Eating dinner at the dinner table
Anna: Sleeping in her crib

M-Money Spent
Jillian: Dinner
Lon: Groceries
Alan: Toys
Anna: Nothing she's a baby!

N-Number of Siblings
Jillian: 4 siblings, 2 brothers and 2 sisters
Lon: 5 siblings, 4 brothers and a sister
Alan: 2 siblings, 2 sisters
Anna: 2 siblings, a brother and a sister

O-One Wish
Jillian: To be together as a family again.
Lon: To have our family be together in our own home.
Alan: To have a super cool guy Halloween costume.
Anna: To become a beautiful princess someday!

Jillian: Spiders, Fish, Heights, Close Spaces
Lon: None
Alan: Monsters (Monster-phobia?)
Anna: Not being able to find her Mommy and Daddy

Jillian: “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Tao Te Ching
Lon: "The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane." -Nikola Tesla
Alan: "Cowabunga!" -Ninja Turtles
Anna: "Alan!!!" -Anna

R-Random Fact
Jillian: I am obsessed with collecting elephant figurines
Lon: I invent things and customize toys in my spare time.
Alan: My brian has really cool plans!
Anna: I am very beautiful and smart and very cool!

S-Season of Choice
Jillian: Summer
Lon: Summer and Fall
Alan: Fall and Winter
Anna: Spring

T-Time you Woke up
Jillian: 8:00 AM
Lon: 9:00 AM 
Alan: 9:10 AM
Anna: 9:45 AM

Jillian: I work in over six different departments at my job!
Lon: I hope to someday own the pizza parlor that has been in my family for three generations.
Alan: I do cool poses and save people!
Anna: I am a good baby dancer!

Jillian: Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Carrots, Green Peppers, Green Beans, Peas
Lon: Are JalepeƱos vegetables?
Alan: Apples
Anna: Green Beans, Peas

W-Worst Habit
Jillian: Picking scabs off, I'm not very proud of it either
Lon: Biting his nails until they bleed
Alan: Asking a lot of questions 
Anna: Nothing

Jillian: Dental XRays and a Chest XRay
Alan: Dental XRays as a preschooler and Chest XRay when he was a babe
Anna: None

Y-Yesterday's Highlight
Jillian: Hearing the good news about Uncle Jake and Alan's hip hop solo!
Lon: Spending time with my wife and children
Alan: Preschool, hip hop and eating dinner
Anna: Seeing Daddy!

Z-Zodiac Sign
Jillian: Leo
Lon: Libra
Alan: Virgo
Anna: Cancer

Lon, Alan, Anna and I currently

Happy third Blogiversary to me and my blog! I hope for many more years of blogging to come! A special thank you goes out to all my awesome readers and supporters! I love you all so much! You are all wonderful!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I don't have much to post about today, just a bunch of random clustered together thoughts lol. I will try to organize it all as best as I can, but be prepared for a crazy post!

I want to give a big shout out to my sister's boyfriend, he is such an amazing father to my nephew and has been still going to college this year too. He is a very hard worker! Well, all of his hard work has finally paid off! The other day Aunt Natalie posted on her Facebook that Uncle Jake was offered a paid internship! We are so proud of him! Most internships you apply for these days are unpaid, but to find a paid one is quite lucky! He will now be able to keep following his dream, while making money for his family. :) Congratulations Uncle Jake! We are so happy for you, Aunt Natalie and Baby Benton! We love and miss you guys so much!

Uncle Jake with Benton
For my hip hop classes, I always encourage solos with my students. We usually perform them at the end of class, just for the other students and their parents. But the experience a student gets from performing a solo is priceless: they learn to be brave when put on the spot, they learn to not fear the dance steps and just perform, they learn to become individuals. And so many more things! Well last night in our hip hop class, Alan performed his solo! He was nervous at first but once he heard that music come on, he started dancing his heart out! He picked the Kids Bop version of Thrift Shop to dance too lol, one of both of our favorite songs. I so wish that I was able to film it or at least take some pictures, but we had to play the song from YouTube on my phone. :/ But he did so well! I am so proud of him too, he is the youngest kid in class and was the second student who performed their solo. He did so great though! Good job Alan, we love you so much!

Miss Anna has started feeling a little better but she is still completely attached at my hip. Oh, its been an exhausting week for me lol! She has been up every 15 minutes to an hour at night and refuses to sleep more then an hour during the day. Her darn nose is all plugged up and I think that its the main issue. We have been sucking it out with a bulb syringe (I'm calling it the right thing here right? I have major Mommy brain now with so little sleep lol) and using Baby Ayr on her with little luck. Ugh I cannot wait until she feels better! I will be tap dancing on the roof! Well, not quite but I will be happy.

We finally went and got my oil changed in the car yesterday. Alan had preschool, so that made it easier on me while we waited lol. They were actually really quick too, which was surprising to me! Not that they ever take more then a half an hour, but this time we were in and out in a matter of maybe fifteen minutes! There was a Golden Retriever there with his owner and Anna was just obsessed with him. He had to stay outside (of course) but Anna kept following him in the window, yelling and banging on the window at him. The owner noticed and introduced the puppy to her, she was sooooo happy lol! He gave her a bunch of sloppy kisses on the face, she loved ever second of it. Even the owner was like, "Your baby is really into puppies. Most kids like him until he gets close to them. But she is all over him!" Lol, I explained to him that my mother-in-law has a German Shepard, English Settler, a little puppy dog and several cats. Anna just chases all the animals around the house when we are there! She is definitely an animal lover like her mama!

Tonight is Anna's friend Cordelia's second birthday party. Its Halloween themed, so at least Alan will be dressed up. I haven't honestly even thought about Halloween costumes this year, we have been so busy with everything else. Blah, I know that Alan is going to be a green or red ninja, depending on which color he chooses. But Anna may be Elmo or maybe a red M&M for Halloween? Not sure, haven't decided yet. We are pretty excited to be going to Cordelia's party though, her mama Heather is a big Pinterest gal and always hosts the coolest parties! Plus Alan is friends with Cordelia's older sister, Tatum, and also a few of Tatum's friends too. He will have a blast, I just know it!

Happy Thursday everyone!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Celebration Weekend with the Family

I love spending time with my family, like just love every moment of it. When my family is all together, I am like a kid at Christmas. I seriously have never been more happy then when I am surrounded by my husband, daughter and son, sisters, brother, parents and all of my lovely cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents! I cannot fully explain it, its like they all have pieces of my heart and it just the greatest feeling when I'm whole again. ;) Plus, my family is just so awesome, unique, loud, hilarious and full of so much love and life! Who wouldn't want to be around us??????

This weekend was Lon's birthday, as well as Uncle Aaron's and Great Uncle Rick's birthdays. We had a lot of celebrating to do, needless to say lol. A lot of family time together, my favorite thing! Rather then give you a play-by-play of how our weekend went, I think I will just DUMP some photos on y'all! Enjoy!

For Lon's birthday, we took him to his new favorite store, Bricks and Mini Figs. Its like a local Lego Land for us, it was so cool! They have so many different things there for all types of Lego lovers! Alan and Lon were in toy heaven lol!

Alan looking through the mini figurine bins to make the perfect Lego guy!

Anna really wanted to look too! Here she is, fighting Daddy while he makes a Lego guy for Alan lol.

I did get lucky and was able to take a good photo of the three of them together at the bins lol.

Anna finally found the big Legos that she could actually play with herself lol. She had a blast knocking down everything Mama built for her!

Saturday was Great Uncle Rick's birthday party and their Open House for their nice new place they had recently purchased. Lon had to work, so we went up with my family. We watched the Griz game and had the Cat game on the smaller tv for Great Uncle Rick's friends lol. For those of you who aren't Montanans, the greatest rivalry you will ever see is between the Montana State University Bozeman Bobcats and the University of Montana Grizlie Bears lol. I am totally serious. My family, personally, are Grizlie fans because Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake attend U of M. :) As you can tell by Anna's onesie, bought for us by Aunt Natalie herself. Hey Nat, Alan's shirt is too small, he needs a new shirt to rep!

The boys playing with Great Uncle Rick's puppy, Misty. All the kids love her so much!

Grandma Melanie with our Baby Griz Anna! ;)

Great Uncle Rick's house is soooooooooooo nice! Its huge and has a huge multi-leveled yard with an adorable garden and even a pumpkin patch! There is even a special kid's room for their granddaughter Sophie, Alan and Anna's second cousin. The kids spent the majority of the time in there. But not Miss Anna. She explored the whole house, checked out all the bathrooms, had to say hello to every one of Great Aunt Carolyn's porcelin dolls, climbed the stairs several thousand times, had to look in each and every closet and even tried to use the puppy dog's door! She loved the height of their windows at the back of the house, they were just her height!

We also got to see the kids' other cousin Fayth! It has been so long since we had seen her, I think I was still pregnant with Anna lol! I love now that all of my cousins and I are all grown up, getting married and having kids. Its the coolest! I love all of my cousins' kiddos, we go by Aunt Jillian and Uncle Lon with them too. In my family, if you're a cousin, you might as well be a sibling lol. :) We are just that close!

How did your weekend go? Did you get in some much needed family time?