Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Back in November we decided to act on our concerns about Grant not talking at 21 months.  Our pediatrician set us up with Early Intervention.  Two darling women came to the house to evaluate Grant; they confirmed what we already knew, that developmentally he was very bright and where he should be.  However he did not pass his hearing test.  They came back a second time and he still did not pass the test so we scheduled an appointment for him to have further tests done at the Utah State Department of Children's Health .  Grant was a little trouper, he was so patient and compliant with all the testing that we felt pretty confident that the testing was successful.  The results suggested that he had mild to moderate hearing loss and would possibly need hearing aids.  They set us up for appointments with an ENT and geneticist.  They also scheduled an appointment for Grant to have an ABR (Acute Brain Response) test to see where specifically the hearing loss might be happening. Unfortunately/Fortunately Grant got pneumonia two weeks before so they would not proceed with the test until six weeks after the pneumonia passed.  After nearly six hours spent at Primary Children's we reached the decision to put tubes in and see if that corrects the problem.  We cancelled the ABR test and hopefully will not need it if the tubes work; this makes me happy because I do not love the idea of have Grant put out more than is necessary.
On January 24th we left EARLY in the morning to get tubes in Grants ears.  I know that this is a very common procedure, but I was still nervous and did not sleep well the night before.  For some crazy reason I was worried about how he would handle fasting in the morning and so I had several bad, weird dreams about it.  Grant was perfectly fine with not having food - didn't even phase him.  The hospital was AMAZING!!!  Truly the best experience in a hospital I have had (having children was of course the best thing that came from a hospital experience and the experience was great, but this was better.)
The hospital was extremely clean, bright, and happy.  The toys were super fun; each waiting area offered a new variety of toys, unfortunately they were so efficient we hardly had any time to play in them.  A nurse came before they took Grant to surgery and let him play doctor on a doll; Grant got to use real equipment, he especially liked the little gas mask. (they let us keep it and Grant still pulls it out from time to time to play).  They had cute cars or wagons for the kids to ride in when they took them into surgery; this helped with the separation a lot.  When the anesthesiologist came he wheeled Grant away and Grant only cried for a few minutes - Jared and I did not cry at all - amazing.  The nurse said that while in surgery Grant happily played with little flashlights until he fell asleep.
While Grant was in surgery the hospital treated us to hot chocolate and pastries - yummy breakfast. :)  Jared and I settled in for a wait with our phones hoping to get some good reading in.  I know it is terrible but I was really hoping for at least half an hour of quiet time in a waiting room to read, but five, maybe ten, minutes latter we were called back to meet with the surgeon.  He said everything went really well.  Grant had LOTS of stuff in his ears - they were very infected (he showed no signs).  We were told that in about 10 minutes we could go see him, less than five minutes later we were sent back to snuggle him in recovery.  The nurse taking care of him was so sweet and helpful.  They told us it would take anywhere from half an hour to an hour for Grant to recover and be able to go home, about twenty minutes later we were walking out the door with a fun gas mask, toy dinosaur, new sippy cup filled with juice, cozy socks, and a pillow.

I honestly felt like we had been to a children's toy store where the sales people's only objective was to make you happy and comfortable and you leave with toys for free.  This is one of the waiting rooms - wished Brandon could have seen it. :) 

Grant seems to be doing well.  It will still take some time for us to see the full results but he does seem to be more attentive, vocal and outgoing.  On car trips Grant usually cries for half to two thirds of the drive, we just went to St. George and he did not cry at all - it was wonderful!!! 

During all of the doctors appointments we have been meeting twice a month with a speech therapists from early intervention.  Ms. Karen is WONDERFUL!  I look forward to her coming every time.  Grant adores her and loves the focus directed to him and him alone.  Since we began speech therapy Grant has increased his vocabulary by 30 words - that is huge!  We have also started ASL classes which I am super excited about; Ms. Mindi comes twice a month as well.  I love that they both come to the house and focus all their time on Grant.  I do not know how many words Grant can sign - I should count, but I would guess it is around 10-20.  I am watching Signing Time regularly and loving it!  Within the next few weeks we will go back to Primary's to do more hearing tests and find out if the tubes accomplished what we needed them to, here's hoping.  I know hearing aids are not a bad thing, but I would really like to not have the hassle with a two year old in hearing aids.

The day Grant put his dragon suit on he was in one kind of mischief or another, so his mother called him WILD THING and sent him to his room with out a sippy cup.  A few minutes later this is how I found him - don't know why but I LOVE this picture. :)

Grant celebrated his golden birthday in style :)  We decorated the house with groups of two balloons all over and two big birthday signs.  Grant loved his day!  He got two boxes of zoo duplo blocks - so fun, two new sets of train tracks - one construction and one safari and he got two birthday cakes; one on his birthday and another a few days later at a Superbowl/Grant/Grandma Julie/Grandpa Johnson birthday party.  I love that he is starting to pose for the camera and even say cheese (I don't know what makes me happier - him saying cheese or the fact that he is smiling on cue. :D)

He also got spider man slippers, spider man p.j.'s, a Mickey Mouse shirt, and a toy cell phone from Grandpa Wyn and Grandma Dee Ann.

One of Grants favorite songs is the Eensy Weensy Spider - this outfit has inspired a few sing-a-longs complete with actions. :)
Grant (2) gets the football cake, Grandma Julie (52) gets the soccer cake and Grandpa Johnson (78) gets the basketball cake.  I love celebrating all three birthdays together - even if they aren't on the same day. 
 I gave my Grandpa and Mom an illustrated book of Grandpa's original Little Red Monkey song.  They loved it and I especially loved that they loved it. 
Oh - and we also watched to Super Bowl - I don't love sharing birthday parties with that game - but everyone was great to make the priority the birthday kid(s) :) so I was happy. :)

My family gave him books (can't have enough, all though our house is beginning to disagree :D) and new clothes, a toy car (G. and G. Johnson) crazy pincher things (one for each grandson :D), castle blocks (G. Osborn), a handful of musical/educational toys, and Winnie the Pooh duplo blocks (the Wieler's).  He is one spoiled little boy!

All About Grant
* Favorite toys - balls (thus the birthday cakes), trains, and duplo lego blocks.
* Loves Juice - A LOT!
* Lives on fruit
* Very sober and reserved, often misunderstood to be grumpy by strangers
* Very silly when he is with his brother.
* Adores his brother and will mimic just about everything Brandon does - I love their relationship even when it creates disasters in the house.
* Great dancer! Great rhythm, Loves music (unless I try to create it by playing the piano or singing which elicits a STAH! (stop) from Grant and a hand on my mouth telling me to zip it - I really don't think I sing that badly?)
* Super smart - I know every parents says this, but he is; puzzles, shape shorting, look and find books, and mechanics occupy a lot of his time and thoughts.  I often find him contemplating the inner workings of  - well everything.
* Plays really well by himself - I am so grateful!
* Loves his little, green, silky, blanky and his blue and green fleece blanky
* Has no problem going to nursery each Sunday or going to a babysitters house or being dropped of at the Fit Stops day care - also so grateful for this one.
* Amazing memory - we need new look and find books :)
* Loves to tussle on my bed
* Tough - I do not even want to count how many times he has fallen off a bed or a couch and jumped right up like nothing happened
* Has a terrible interest in knives - new bananas have been destroyed on several occasions because he likes to stab them with the knives (I have got to find a better place to store the knife block and the bananas, because having them next to each other on the counter is just too tempting)
* Likes to turn on his radio with the volume all the way up and dance or jump on his bed; we have actually caught ourselves yelling "turn it down." (mini teenager)
* Has a charming bashful smile that can lure you in like a moth to a flame.
* Likes to play tag, races, predators, and animal action with Brandon.
* Thinks he should participate in all of Brandon's at home preschool activities.
* Is currently trying to potty train himself, I am not very supportive; but seeing him undress and squirm his way out of diaper and then climb up to a kneeling position on the toilet does make me grin.

I just adore this boy - more than I ever thought I could.  We are so lucky and happy to have him in our family!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

January 2012

Brandon LOVES crocodiles and dinosaurs, much like any other boy except for the facts that he retains about the animals, so Jared was very excited to be able to take the family to the new Natural History Museum at the University of Utah.  It was so fun!  We were very impressed with the balance of children activities and museum artifacts. 
Our favorite children's play room was the back yard pond play area.
Deinosuchus!!!  Wish this picture showed the huge smile Brandon had when we rounded the corner and he saw Deinosuchus.
We went to the Living Planet Aquarium with the Kellers the day before our year passes ran out.  The new river otter exhibit was so fun.  We got there just before feeding time so they were super active and fun to watch.
These four boys are so very cute!!  Love their friendship.  After the aquarium we all went to McDonalds - for the playland and icecream.  We were having such a good time watching the boys play and visiting that we spent nearly three hours there.
We have never really celebrated Chineese New Year, but this year when I saw it on the calendar I thought it would be fun to make homemade egg rolls - that was all I was going to do, but when I told Brandon we were going to have Chineese New Year he got excited and wanted decorations, I allready had the dragon so we made the lanterns and then I started to have fun and get carried away. 
That is why I made the dragon puppet - it was worth Brandon's happy face and the many hours he kept it with him. 
Yummy egg rolls!
I also made homemade fortune cookies - they are so yummy and easy.
Fun with shaving cream.
Pete's happy place ;)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Christmas 2011

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if it wasn't crazy busy and this year was no different except this year I decided to add to the craziness with a few BIG undertakings.  Two of the girls in my Mia Maid class mentioned they would like to learn how to make gingerbread houses from scratch to display at the Cottages for Children event that is held in Heber each year to benefit the Children's Justice Center (where their mom works).  So I thought - sure - I can do that (I have never made a gingerbread house from scratch, and I have only every made one from a kit, what was I thinking).  I thought it would be a great activity that would certainly take 10 hours and they could count it as a value project.  Well turns out it takes much longer and it is really really hard work.  We started before I left for California and of course did not finish during the activity.  The girls did the rest of the work on their own and I finished mine the day before it needed to be displayed.  Together we were able to donate four Gingerbread houses which probably earned the CJC nearly $100.  the girls also donated some of their time to help at the event.  I have a whole new appreciation for the masterpiece gingerbread houses that you see around.  This was mine - I liked it well enough but I was hoping for something a little prettier.  I can't say if this will be a tradition I carry on or not - it was a lot of work and a big mess - but I would like to improve the skill.

The boys had a lot of fun looking at all the gingerbread houses and playing in the pretend gingerbread house cutouts.

Our ward held a great Christmas party with Joseph from the nativity and Santa being played by the same person - he was great!  And the boys even cooperated for a picture. :) YEAH!  One of my other Mia Maids was the darling elf - love her :

Jared's firm is part of the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He got an email inviting us to a preview of the North Pole Express Train Ride; with a donation of canned goods our tickets would cost us $6.00 a person instead of the normal $20+ per ticket.  So we jumped at the opportunity.  It was a little weird riding the train during the day instead of at night but it was still super fun and the boys left with a giant goodie bag of donated treats from the other businesses.  Love this picture of Grant when he spotted Santa. :)

Goodie bag

Grant appeared to be so upset when Santa stopped to talk to Brandon and not him so when Santa came back around I asked him if he would take a picture with Grant - then Grant threw a fit - go figure?

I am not entirely sure what possessed me to do this but I decided I wanted to make a full on Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner for Jared's parents when they came into town.  I cooked a turkey, made mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls, apple pie, two pumpkin pies and whipped cream all from scratch; and it all turned out! :)  I also decorated by bringing the outside dining table inside (it is bigger and better than our folding table) putting small white twinkle lights on the ceiling, setting the table with Christmas china, making my own napkin rings, and turning on the fire and ambiance DVD.  I must admit I was both surprised and proud of all I was able to accomplish in one day - why can't all my days be this successful?

We enjoyed our traditional "Baking Day" with my sisters, mom and grandma.  I love this tradition, it is one of the few reasons I would be really sad if I didn't have any daughters.  I think in addition to the two batches of Gingerbread cookies that we made that day I made four to five other batches (possibly more because I taught my Mia Maids how to make them) I love Gingerbread cookies!

My V.T. traded babysitting so we could each go to the temple.  It was the first time in the 11 years I have held a temple recommend that I went all by myself, I really enjoyed it, of course I always enjoy a trip to the temple. 

Jared and I kept the tradition of taking the boys to the lights on Temple Square.  They are beautiful and we all enjoy them, but the crowds detract from the spirit that would otherwise be felt there.  I am starting to think I would prefer to make it a tradition to visit Temple Square in May to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  It is just a beautiful in the spring as it is in the winter, but there are no clouds and it is warmer.  Oh but I do love the lights!

We alternate years spent with each family for Christmas and this year Christmas was with the Bowman's.  This was the last year we would be traveling to Idaho for Christmas Day, it is just too hard to move children and presents for Christmas, but it couldn't have been better.  The WHOLE family was there - that never seems to happen anymore with family living in California, Utah and Idaho and with the family getting bigger.  It was so fun to have everyone gathered around the Christmas tree.  Jodi loved being able to dote on the kids.

Grant thanked her by giving her a Christmas gift of snuggling with her for nap time. So cute!
The boys Christmas stash from Santa all laid out for Christmas morning.  One of my favorite parts of being Santa - I mean mom.

Grant with his treasures.  His favorites were the balls and the stick horse, my favorite was the giant box of duplo legos, and Jared's favorite was probably the new book collection -especially The Big Hungry Bear book - it is a family favorite.
the boys were once again spoiled rotten and so were we.  Jared and I got a new mattress pad, new pillows, a new lap top, jewelry, a sports coat, and more.  It was a very Merry Christmas!!!