Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pride & Joy #7, Kyle

This is it folks--aren't you all relieved?!? I am delighted to tell you about my little Canadian. I feel a little funny doing his because I do talk about him quite a bit, but I don't ever want him to feel slighted.

I had this cute little guy when I was 40. Wow! Big difference having a baby at 19 and 40. The body just isn't the same. I was quite sick and in the hospital with severe dehydration for 2 months. The hardest part for me was worshipping the porcelain bowl in front of Heidi and Brent.

I still remember waking up Allan at about 11:30 after my water broke. (First time that ever happened) I felt so bad because right after my water broke I got sick all over the bathroom floor--I just couldn't get down on the floor and throw up in the toilet. (Sorry--couldnt' think of a better way to phrase that ; ) We took Heidi and Brent to the hospital and some friends came to pick them up there. Got to the hospital a little after midnight and Kyle was born around 2:30 on Saturday morning. It was the first time I ever had a female doctor deliver one of my babies.

We had expected Kyle to be born a week before so Allan's parents and his sister, Bev, had tickets to fly to Toronto and they arrived the day Kyle was born. On Sunday morning I was released from the hospital and Allan came and picked me up. We went home so I could get ready for Church--it was fast Sunday and I really wanted Allan's mom and sister to be there for the blessing. Allan's dad who was not active and hadn't been to Church for years was dressed and ready to go with us. No one said a word to him about going, we just all got in the car. (It is still such a choice memory for me.)

Kyle is the only Canadian in our family--and he is very proud to be Canadian--notice the Toronto Blue Jay's shirt (this was after they won the 1992 World Series ; )

We lived in the Toronto area until Kyle was about 2 1/2 and then moved back to the U.S. It was great for him to be around family for a couple of years. I love this picture that was taken when Kiah was visiting us (along with her family) She and Kyle are six months apart. In fact, when I was in the hospital with the dehydration, the nurses got such a laugh when they found out one of my daughters-in-law had just had a baby. (Of course, they were really shocked when I told them that was my 6th grandchild ; )

His grandparents came to visit and celebrate an early Christmas when he was about 18 months. He loved his grandpa

I know I'm his mom, but goodness he's a cute kid ; )

When he was young he loved the water, snakes, and trains.

We moved to Winnipeg when he was almost 5. Some of his friends have been friends since he was in Grade 1. It has been great fun to watch all of these kids grow up together.

Kyle has been taking piano since he was in Kindergarten. In Canada the music program is wonderful. Piano students are given a grade level. He started in a wonderful program called Music for Young Children and after 3 years went into Grade 1 piano. He is currently at Grade 9 level. I love this picture of him during his recital when he was in junior high. Notice the cast which is up to the middle of his thigh--he broke his leg playing soccer during lunchtime. I will never forget the phone call from the school--"Mrs. R. This is C Jr. High, the ambulance is on its way. (long pause) We think Kyle has broken his leg." (When I went the next day to tell them how he was doing I suggested it might have been better to say, "We think Kyle has broken his leg. The ambulance is on its way." It was an ugly break and he was in the hospital for about 5 days--in the Pediatric Ward sharing a room with a 3 year old who LOVED BOB THE BUILDER AND CAILLOU.

He plays the piano for Priesthood and plays just about every morning for Seminary. When he was younger he had perfect pitch. He has taught himself to play the guitar and the drums. He is in the concert band and the jazz band at school--playing the timpany, bells, xylophone, and keyboard. He and his buddies have started a band and today they competed in The Battle of the Bands at school. They will participate in the finals tomorrow.

He is quite athletic and over the years has played soccer, basketball,


and track (actually the field aspect--he jumps--long jump and triple jump).

I'm sure it must seem funny to be the only child left in the house. When we go on trips, he's all alone with Allan and me until we stop and pick up Heidi and Brent. We do have a good time whenever we're all together, but I'm sure for him having so much alone time with us has its pluses and minuses.

I have a hard time believing that he will graduate in a year. Each time he drives away from the house I'm in shock because as far as I'm concerned he is still in grade 3 or 4. Allan and I had always thought that it would be great if we put our mission papers in the same time he does, however, because of Allan's calling, we think we'll have to wait a few years.

I hate to do a sidenote, but we're off tomorrow for L.A. and will get on our ship on Saturday for our cruise to Mexico. This is what we were dealing with today. (They were recommending staying off the highways because the roads were so horrible.) Poor Allan had been in Ohio since Monday and was flying home on Wednesday and his flight out of Ohio to Chicago was delayed and he ended up missing his connection. So, he didn't get home until noon today. He sure has had to scramble to get packed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pride & Joy #6, Brent

It will be fun to do this post about Brent. I know I have talked about him many times before, but there is so much I want to tell you about this remarkable young man. He is our miracle.

When Brent was born there were some concerns, but all seemed to be fine and we went home a couple of days after he was delivered. However, I had a tough time getting him to wake up for his feedings. I called my doctor, Richard, at home and his wife, Priscilla, told me she'd get him to come by as soon as possible. (They happened to be our dear friends) Richard told me that I needed to wake Brent up every four hours and make him eat. I still remember crying in the middle of the night because it was really difficult for him to wake up. When Richard called the next morning he said to take him to the hospital. It was determined that he had "failure to thrive". He ended up being in the hospital for a few days--a very scary time for us.

After the initial scare, he seemed to develop normally until he was about 18 months. Then we begin to think he was deaf. (Life is amazing--I was so fearful that he would have to wear a hearing aide) We did some testing and Richard referred us to a medical center near our home. Then we moved to So. California and after finding a pediatrician he referred us to the University of California at Irvine where we were given the diagnosis of Atypical Pervasive Developmental Disorder--a form of autism.

I love this picture of him with two of his nephews, Chris and Evan.

We moved again--this time to North Carolina. We were referred to a couple of centers there and finally after a great deal of evaluation we were told he was borderline mentally retarded. We were also told he would graduate from high school with a fourth grade education. I know that they were doing their best, but what bothered me so much was the condescending attitude of this woman--as she patted me on the shoulder/arm and told me I needed to accept it. I apologized and said, "No, I don't. I see potential in him that you don't see."

Through the years there he went through speech therapy and occupational therapy. His biggest struggles were social. He was mainstreamed and did very well in school. When he was in kindergarten he learned his ABC's backwards--I couldn't believe he could say them so quickly. He had help in the classroom until he was in Grade 4. Allan and I still laugh about spelling tests--I don't think he ever missed a word. When the teacher would say the word he would say the letters as he wrote the words--the other kids in the class loved it. They all did very well, too.

His brothers and sisters have always been so good to him.

With Stephen when he, Daphne and Jason came down to Laguna Niguel for a visit.

He and Heidi on a trip to Lake Louise.

With Neal at Niagara Falls when we lived in Toronto.

With Heidi, Kyle, and Heidi's friend, Jacquie, when they all went to Disneyland this past summer.

While he was growing up we chose not to tell him about his autism. Years later he asked me if he had some sort of a problem. When I asked him why he was asking, he said he just thought he was slower than everyone else. At that point I explained everything--telling him that we chose not to tell him because we didn't want him to feel he had limitations. The doctors told us he would never understand religion because it was too abstract. One Easter (I think he was about 10) he received Legos in his Easter basket. He said, "Legos are great, but the Atonement is such a better gift."

He went through the scouting program and achieved Chief Scout and Queen's Venturer which would be equivalent to Eagle. One of the highlights of Scouting for him would have to be his two week canoe trip down the Blood Vein River.

He has always had a passion for movies. In fact, when he was little he loved videos--just carrying them around. For whatever reason he would rip the label off the videos and somehow he knew which video was what. For a couple of family gatherings Brent wrote a script and the whole family would act it out and he would film it. We did a movie called, "Video Wars" about a young boy who plays a video game and saves the world. One of the best parts is when he puts the bloopers at the end. A few years ago when we were in Park City they did a movie called "The Ultimate Watch". I loved it. It involved aliens--and was very low budget!!! In fact, he filmed many movies for youth activities. The kids did Nephi and the Brass Plates, Noah's Ark, and Johnny Lingo. They were hysterical.

I remember wanting so much to have him healed--I wanted a miracle. Then one day I realized that there were so many miracles in his life. All the things that he accomplished were miracles. His program in school was not adapted. He graduated from high school with the highest marks in two of his classes. After graduation he began looking for a job to save money for his mission. He worked at McDonalds until he left.

He is such a happy young man and extremely helpful. . When he left to go on his mission, I missed him for obvious reasons, but Allan and I both commented on how much we missed his helping hands. Allan would be bringing the car into the garage after grocery shopping and you could hear Brent running up the stairs and heading out to the garage to help.

We were thrilled when we received word that Brent would be able to serve a mission. It was so fun to take him to the MTC. Allan was Bishop of the YSA Ward and there were 3 missionaries entering the MTC the same day, so it was fun to be with them. (One of the other young men was from our home ward and Jacquie happens to be one of Heidi's best friends ; )

He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. When we visited with his Mission President he summed it up by saying that Brent is without guile. When he was on his mission, I asked about some of the missionaries. He would never say anything mean, he would just mention that some of them were "interesting".

He went into the MTC about 5 days before my birthday but then came home two years later on my birthday. Both were fabulous birthday gifts--the first because he was able to go and then the second when he came home after having a wonderful mission. It is going to be such a treat in April when we go to Arizona and he takes us on a tour of the various areas where he served.

I think he was very surprised when he got home to see that his "little" brother was not so little anymore.

Brent is currently attending LDS Business College. He also has a job tutoring in Accounting.

He is an amazing young man and I consider it such a privilege to be his mother.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pride & Joy #5, Heidi

I thought about not doing Heidi, Brent, and Kyle because they are our children that are sort of still at home--even though Brent and Heidi are not at home. But then I thought--no, I still want to tell you about these guys. It's funny but doing these are almost harder because there is so much I could write, and brevity is not easy for me, but I'm going to do my best.

So today's post is all about Miss Heidi. I have to tell you that all through my pregnancy we referred to her as Jim Billy Bob. Allan and I were so thrilled when we found out we were going to have a baby, and she was such a wonderful addition to our family--once again we were very naive and thought that because we loved each other, everyone else would just love each other and we'd never have a problem!!!

Here she is at about one week old--you know I remember the day this picture was taken. It was Stake Conference Sunday and Allan left to go on a business trip right after Stake Conference.

Like I mentioned the other day, Nancy loved putting Heidi in odd places and dressing her up. She won a costume contest at a photo studio when Heidi put her in a little grass skirt and top. (I don't think Heidi would enjoy the photo ; )

She grew up in Northern California. When Heidi was six months old her first nephew, Christopher was born. They have always been close and they've had lots of good laughs together--in fact, if you ever want to watch Chris laugh ask him to tell the story of Heidi and the Burger Bundles ; ) She and Chris are absolutely hysterical together.

In fact, you would get such a laugh out of reading their jabs back and forth to one another on our family website. She is a fantastic Aunt to each of her nieces and nephews.

Her brother, Brent, was born when she was almost 2, she was so happy. I think she loved being a big sister. She has been very protective of Brent. She loves having him at LDS Business College and they have a great time doing things together. (She's even set him up on a couple of double dates ; ) And in 1991 when Kyle was born, Heidi was like a little mother. She just adores her baby brother.

Heidi loves her family--and has really enjoyed the times that we lived close to family. When we lived in Reno, one of her favorite things to do was go walking with her dad to her grandma and grandpas. The time she and Allan had together as they would walk were so special--she still talks about them. She looked so adorable when Stephen and Daphne got married. I couldn't believe how grown up she looked when Wendy and Tony got married.

Heidi has been a great student--since the days of Joy School. She is a bit of a perfectionist--heck, she'd agree she is a perfectionist. She is very hard on herself and Allan and I are always trying to get her to lighten up. Here she is her first day of kindergarten in So. California.

She participated in sports in Junior High and High School--was on the basketball team. At one of the tournaments she received an award.

and she did the high jump and the hurdles.

She decided to be a cheerleader one year, and was very good. It was fun to watch her do that because getting out there and being all bubbly was not easy.

She and her little brother (who are not so little anymore) get along so well. They had a blast this past summer when they went to Disneyland. I know they will have a ball in Hawaii in June.

After graduation, she went to BYU. She would have loved to have majored in Dance, but didn't think about that until she had already declared her major and was unable to minor in it. She is doing her student teaching right now. She just completed doing lead teaching in a kindergarten class, and will start a 3rd Grade class this week.

We are so looking forward to seeing her graduate this April. She is a delight to have as a daughter. I think she is amazing. She is very talented. Besides everything that I mentioned above she plays the piano and sings. (Considering she has parents that can barely carry a tune, we are amazed.) I have posted this picture before, but it is one of my favorites. It was taken when her dad was in Utah celebrating her most recent birthday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pride & Joy #4, Wendy

You all have been so kind about reading these posts about my children. Thanks. I have enjoyed sharing them with you.

Today I want to tell you a little bit about Allan's daughter, Wendy. When Allan and I were married Wendy was 12--she and Stephen, who was also 12, had been in classes together at Church. In fact, I taught her and Stephen in CTR-B (I attended each of my students baptisms and brought cookies. I remember attending her baptism and we still laugh about that. But because of her November birthday, Stephen was a year ahead of her in school.

Our first Christmas together--we all are up at Boreal where we stopped whenever we would travel from the Bay Area to Reno to visit Allan's parents.

Wendy was a dancer (I just realized I didn't write about Nancy dancing--she danced, too) She was extremely talented and was very involved in Musical Theater ; )

A little less than a year after Allan and I were married Wendy made the decision to go live with her mother. It was difficult for all of us, but she had to do what she felt she needed to do. Over the next few years she would come and live with us for a few months and then decide to go back to her moms. This went on for about 3 years. Here she is with Neal's daughter, Amanda, when she was blessed.

With Heidi when we went to Pier 39 with our French exchange student. (I could do a whole post about him!!!)

After she graduated from high school she went to Beauty School and became a beautician. She also worked at a photo studio doing make-up. I always tell her I'd love to take her whenever we go traveling so she could do my hair and make-up every day--then it would really be a vacation for me.

In 1994 she married her high school sweetheart, Tony.

I love this picture of her and her dad.

I also love this one of Nancy, Wendy, and Neal.

Shortly after they married they relocated to Nevada, and lived in Reno with us for a few months. We really enjoyed having them with us.

We have had many family reunions and trips together. Back in 2004 when Neal graduated from BYU we all went to Lacaille to celebrate. I think this is such a great picture of the two of them.

She and Tony do not have any children. All of the kids love them and whenever we're all together the little kids always gravitate to them.

One day they will make fabulous parents. Tony goes to the University of Nevada and will graduate this May. He is very involved in sports--and is a basketball referee--it is so fun to watch him ref a game. If I ever went on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, he would be one of my lifelines.