Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Christmas Card, to You

I’ve been a little delinquent this year with my Christmas cards.  I only mailed cards to family members, and those got sent out today so they won’t even be there on time.  For those of you who didn’t receive a card, I’m sorry.  I wanted to send one, but I will at least put our Christmas well-wishes online.



Merry Christmas!


With love, from Cary, Mandy,

Everett, Lana, Gwyn, and Maddie

Our Christmas Letter

Dear family and friends,

We send our love and greetings, and our wish for a very happy Christmas.

It has been a hard year for us in many ways. We have had losses, health concerns, and other challenges, but things are smoothing out and we are concluding the year with much happiness. We know that if we trust in the Lord we will be blessed.

Cary has worked at four different schools this year. He is now submitting many job applications, and plans to defend his dissertation in April. Please pray that he will have clear ideas and be able to write quickly and well.

I keep very busy and find daily joy in caring for the kids. We do lots of crafts, play lots of games, and have lots of fun. In some ways it is nice having three girls at the same stage. Sometimes I feel like I have my own little preschool at home. I have also been serving in the Primary presidency at church for a couple of years and really love it. When things settle down around here for a few days, I usually get an idea for a big project. The most recent was redoing our livingroom.

I am still feeding Lana, and she is still coming along slowly. She is eating real food instead of special formula. (Most of it is pureed, but it is a step in the right direction.) We have also been able to stop giving her stomach medications. She definitely has slower digestion than normal and still throws up sometimes, but it has improved a great deal. Our prayer is that she will someday enjoy food and eat enough independently to be healthy.

Everett is in kindergarten this year, and enjoying himself thoroughly. He is still as bright and exuberant and boisterous as ever, but he does manage to keep it down when his brain is engaged in learning to read and write. He is definitely like a little sponge right now. He can often hear a song once or twice and have it memorized.

Lana is feisty and sweet at the same time. Recently she has decided that she wants to beat everyone at everything. She also loves to talk. She had been behind her sisters in this department and it seems like she’s trying to make up for it. She has vocabulary I never would have expected her to know. She likes pink and green. She is very loving and usually lists all of her family members when she prays. Though the smallest by a couple of inches, she’s the fastest of the girls.

Gwyn is very thoughtful. She has smiling eyes, which occasionally have a rather mischievous glint. Her favorite color is red. She can be somewhat stubborn. I wonder where she got that from? (That would be both parents in case any of you had any doubt.) She can be strong and quiet. She had fun pulling me down the hill on a sled. For those of you who have trouble telling her and Maddie apart, Gwyn now has a freckle on her right cheek.

Maddie’s smile lights up her whole face. She is a little sunshine. She is sometimes a little sneaky (like when she went up to my room and painted her fingernails—without getting the nailpolish on anything else). Maddie likes purple and pink. Sometimes I think she just picked purple because she wanted to be different. She is the most easygoing of the three, and sometimes changes what she picks just because one of the other girls wanted what she had chosen. She loves her snuggie blanket. (Thankfully she has three so I don’t have trouble washing them.) Maddie is a little artist. I’m amazed at what she comes up with sometimes.

We hope you are well, and wish you a wonderful year to come.


Mandy (and the rest of the family, of course!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


…the girls have decided that it is no longer challenging enough to do one puzzle at a time.  It is MUCH more interesting to dump out ALL of the puzzles at once and THEN put them together again (with some encouragement/coercion).   Apparently, it’s time to move the puzzles to the basement for a while!

Friday, September 4, 2009


The kids and I really enjoy going for walks together around the neighborhood.  The only part I don’t enjoy is a few houses down from us.  There are three obnoxious dogs there who run up to the fence and bark and growl  loudly until we are well-past.  I was afraid of dogs as a child (and still am sometimes), and don’t trust them not to bite curious little fingers that might get too near the fence, so I usually cross the street to avoid them.   Sometimes we walk right past them.  The last time we did so, three of my children walked by quickly.  Lana, however, stood there with a determined,  indignant look on her face.  “Stop it doggies!  STOP IT!”

The dogs stopped when we were near the edge of the fence, and Lana turned back to say “FANK you.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Conversations from the back seat

Maddie: I’m big.

Gwyn: I’m big too.

Maddie: No, you’re little.

Gwyn: No, I’m big.

Maddie: No, I’m big, and you’re little.

Gwyn: I’m big and you’re big.

Maddie: You’re little.

Gwyn: I’m big.

Me: Girls, that’s enough!



Gwyn [whispering]: Say “You’re little.”


Gwyn: I like to suck my thumb.

Maddie: I like to suck my finger.

Gwyn: You should suck your thumb.


[Uh… Girls, if you’re old enough to talk about it, shouldn’t you be old enough to stop?]

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Little Princesses

So, the day the girls turn 3 1/2 is a good day to write about their 3rd birthday, right?


This year, back when it was their birthday, I decided to give each girl their own special day.  I kept it low-key, but they really did feel special!  They got to choose a pretty dress and tiara to wear, go on a one-on-one outing with me, have a “Jell-o cake”, and open a gift.  I even granted their wishes—sort of.  Lana got a toy dinosaur, Gwyn toy horses, Maddie a toy airplane, and Everett got to eat Jell-o three days in a row!

Lana (“baby A”)


Gwyn (“baby B”)


Maddie (“baby C”)


We also decided to splurge and take them to Giggles and Smiles at the mall.


These girls sure LOVE dressing up.  I love how simple little things make them so happy!


Here are some photos from our family party (yes, I have way too many photos—three birthdays you know!):


Happy un-birthday my little sweethearts!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Roller Coaster

My long hiatus from blogging was mostly due to some big stresses in our family.  Not only was I stressed, but the thought of even writing about the most difficult parts still stresses me out.  I’ve been posting about recent events and working backward, and have nearly reached the place where I need to talk about our roller coaster ride.  I know that a status report is long overdue, but I am starting with more lighthearted things.  I’m working up to it, I promise!


For now, here is a lame photo (the best I could get on my phone) of the girls’ first roller coaster-type ride.  They absolutely loved it!  It was at a local fair, and Cary and the kids were the only ones riding.  I really think the operator must have given them a few extra times around because he could see how much fun they were having.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Favorite Park

When we moved here, one of the first things we did was look on Google Earth for all of the nearby green spaces.  We’ve checked them out, one by one, and found our favorite.  Because we are restricted somewhat in our activities by Lana’s feeding times (which give us about a two-hour window), I have tried to take the kids to a lot of fun places close to home this summer.

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This time we were happy to have Grandma, Great Grandma, and Aunt Jo with us.  We played on the playground for a while, then went down the trail to the stream.  I think the kids could have a ball just throwing rocks in for hours if I let them.  We also waded, and saw a salamander, a frog, and a dead crawfish, so it was an eventful day!


Lana, Everett, Gwyn, and Maddie  (Everett’s goatee is made of mud.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Those Sneaky Brassicas

DSC01933 We expanded our garden a bit this year.  This picture was taken about a month ago when everything was still green and flourishing.

I planted tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, spaghetti squash, green beans, yellow beans, swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, onions, eggplant, green peppers, yellow peppers, and red peppers, and I made two unsuccessful attempts at planting cauliflower.  I say unsuccessful because the first time I bought cauliflower plants, they turned out to be collard greens.  So I tried a second time.  I bought what was labeled as “self-blanching cauliflower” and watched with anticipation as they grew into nice large heads.  I cut one off and started peeling back the leaves.  And I peeled back more leaves…and more leaves.  I had grown four beautiful heads of cabbage.

Oh well.  We have had some tasty cabbage dishes, which we never would have tried had I not planted so much “cauliflower”.

I have had some more happy little garden helpers.  They have brought their sand buckets over to collect the harvest, and love to take it in the house and carefully place everything on the kitchen table.  One of their favorite ways to help in the garden is munching on leaves or cherry tomatoes.  Even Lana takes bites and then spits them out in the grass.  If you look carefully at these photos, you might see some tiny trails of green juice on their cute little cheeks.

MaddieLana and Gwyn

The kids also helped me make zucchini bread at least once a week while it was coming in.  The girls especially really love to help me cook.  And it provides some minutes of peace where there might have otherwise been a degree of contention.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What belts are really for…

11/05  Everett, 2 years old

 Ev b-day DSC07565  2 yr

8/09  Maddie, 3.5 years old


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Letting Go

Everett started Kindergarten yesterday.  He has been looking forward to it for months.  “Is it fall yet?”  “When will it be fall?”

More recently, the excitement built as we bought his lunch bag, tool box, and new shoes.  He wore his backpack for most of the three days preceding the start of school.  (We had to ask him to take it off at dinner.)

Here he is at the breakfast table on the first day of school.  This photo is not edited.  That is pure excitement shining in his eyes!


I have shed tears on a few occasions at the thought of “losing” my little boy.   I know there will be many stages of letting go through the years.  This feels like the first big one.  He will be away from home for 7 of the 12 hours he is awake.  I will miss him.  The time has flown by so fast, and sometimes looking back through our photos I just wonder what happened to the years.

I sometimes wish I could get the time back.  It seems an endless and above all futile struggle trying to keep up with everything.  I continually have a mixed hope and fear—Have I given my children what they need?  The moments slip away so fast.  I wish the dishes and laundry would do themselves so I could spend more time hugging my kids.  But I digress…


Walking to the Bus Stop


Waiting for Everett


Here he is!


He had a good first couple of days, and we love his teacher so far.  He probably won’t be learning much in “the three R’s” for a while, being well-prepared at home, but he will be learning a lot about school.  I am really enjoying his enthusiasm.

And I’m proud to say that I didn’t cry until I walked back home from the bus stop with the girls and felt his presence…missing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baby Steps

Well, I have a LOT of catching up to do, but for now I'm starting small.

We dont have soda very often around here, but the girls came up with their own word to describe the feeling of drinking it. It's "frizzabee". I love it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I was planning on documenting our sweet girls' third birthday celebrations long ago, but I have gone silent.  I am silent because there is too much to write about.  (Therefore I may never catch up.)  I am silent because many of the things to write about are stressful.  And because I am spending my days between two homes, not really keeping up with all of the "normal" things.

Some months ago, we put Lana's name on a waiting list for inpatient therapy.  At the time, we didn't know if we'd actually go through with it, but the list was months long.  We wanted to have a spot just in case.  Last month her name came up.  After agonizing over the decision, we decided to put her in the program.  She went in on March 30th.

Our family has been divided for 11 days, and it is one of the hardest things I have ever done.  We would love to have your prayers for Lana and the rest of us.


I will write more later.  For now, here's a happy thought.  My brother Jordan plays the ocarina, and has posted a few videos on YouTube.   He taught himself, and really does some amazing things with the ocarina (like harmony).  You can watch here and here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


One of my kids very favorite games right now is "doggies".  Everett is the only one who is not a dog.  He is in charge, and the three "doggies" follow him around and do what he tells them to do.  I love watching the things they come up with.  Yesterday Everett even made them a little dog house.  It's nice to have an older sibling to be the leader sometimes.  (As long as he's leading the girls to do good things--or at least not BAD or destructive things.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some more things kids say

As Lana's linguistic skills improve and develop, I have gotten some cute insights into how her little brain works.  Here are a couple from this week:

We had another plumbing problem.  (Poor Cary is learning a lot about plumbing this year.)  He once again removed a toilet.  He had been working in the upstairs bathroom when I took the kids up to get ready for bed.  I tucked Maddie and Gwyn in, and Lana and I started downstairs for her last feeding.  Lana looked into the bathroom, saw the hole in the floor, and said "Dada all gone!  Dada all gone!"  I reassured her that Dada was downstairs, and all was well.

Today we were having a snack.  Lana was a little slow eating her cheese puffs, so Gwyn asked if she could eat them.  I asked Lana if she wanted to give them to her sisters.  She said something like "No--two Gwyns can't have them."  Wow.  I think that's pretty creative.  I wondered how she thought of her sisters.

Maddie and Gwyn can obviously easily tell each other apart.  Everett sometimes asks them who they are or "Which one is Maddie?"  I think that he sometimes knows which one is which (perhaps by where they are sitting), but really can't tell them apart yet either.  I can often tell who is who just by their personalities, but if they are wearing identical clothing, I sometimes can't tell just by looking at them unless I find the freckle on Gwyn's cheek!  (So now you all don't feel so bad, right?)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Things kids say

Sometimes to help Lana eat, we pretend that the bite is an animal or vehicle of some sort. Today at lunch, Gwyn decided that one of her bites was a shark. She started in with the "Jaws Theme", but then decided that it was a little shark and repeated the theme in a higher register. I don't know if you've ever heard a baby shark before, but I sure wish I had a recording! Priceless.

Everett was putting forks on the table for everyone at dinner one night. He brought one over for me, and explained that it was the perfect fork for a "broken pancreas girl".

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Little Bright Eyes is back

Lana is her happy, healthy self again.  In fact, I couldn't get her to stand still for a picture at all.  (I'm sure I did something wrong with the camera too, but you get the idea.)  It is wonderful to have her running around and giggling again.

DSC01759 DSC01761 DSC01764 DSC01767

Mistaken Identity?

Our neighbor Amy was at our house today when a friend called her on her cell phone.  She decided to let Maddie and Gwyn say hello, and told them to say their names.


Maddie: "My name is Maddie."









nutcrackerGwyn: "I'm the Nutcracker."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sunshine and blessings

Lana is still weak, but perked up considerably this evening and ate some more real food (meaning real Lana food). Her Dada and Grandpa were able to give her a priesthood blessing this afternoon. I am so grateful to have the priesthood in my home, and in my childhood home.

We had some sunshine today, and it was SO NICE to be able to go out and play in the back yard without coats. Sunshine has a tremendous effect on how I feel. That, combined with Lana's blessing, has me feeling much better this evening.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Indicative of our current state

Lana is sick.  She had some kind of stomach bug, and pretty much didn't hold anything down yesterday.  So we took her to the ER at Children's.  Cary spent 8 hours there with her last night, most of which was waiting while administering tiny amounts of fluids.  When they were finally seen, the staff tried 4 times to put in an IV unsuccessfully and then sent them home with anti-nausea meds and some Pedialyte.  Yes, awful.

Thankfully today Lana has held down at least 18 oz. of fluids, and managed to get off the couch and play for a few minutes.  I was a mess yesterday until Cary took her.

This morning Cary and I were talking over the game plan for the day when we smelled something suspicious.   Cary was talking about the recommendations and cautions he had received the night before at the hospital and the need to follow up with the pediatrician today.  He said we needed to call the diaper.

I think I will call the diaper from now on.  It is much more fun than calling the doctor!

Would that be 1-800-STINKY?

Friday, February 27, 2009

The ears have it

This photo was taken after church a couple of weeks ago.


The big 3rd birthday is approaching!  This year I decided to give each girl a "special day" before the party so they could each have a turn in the spotlight.  Lana and Gwyn have had theirs, and Maddie's is tomorrow.  I'll be posting lots of pictures soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The first day of the rest of my life

Yesterday I found out that I am a Type 1 diabetic.  This was more sad news for me.  It means that the insulin-producing beta cells in my pancreas have been/are being destroyed, and that I will most likely be insulin-dependant for the rest of my life.   Type 1 is sometimes triggered by an autoimmune response to a virus.  There's no way to know for sure, but I suspect that it may have begun in May of 2008 when I had the Coxsackie virus.

So yesterday I also began insulin injections, and reality sunk in some more.  I guess one advantage to having triplets is that since my skin was so stretched, the shots don't hurt that much!  :)

I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I had to eat, but it's been a bit of a rollercoaster today of highs and lows.  It's frustrating!  I'm sure I'll get it figured out soon enough.  I wrote before of how gestational diabetes was easier for me to deal with because of its temporary nature.  Really, I know that any health problem we deal with is temporary--chronic or not.  It's just hard to see with an eternal perspective sometimes.


D&C 122:7 ... "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A little excitement

***If you are squeamish about needles, you probably shouldn't read this.***

blood drawIn the past few weeks, I've had 9 blood draws.  Normally I do fine--I just don't look at the needle.  For my last glucose tolerance test, they put in an IV line so they wouldn't have to poke me four times that day.  Well, the nurse putting the IV in was in training, so the regular nurse was talking her through it.  She checked my  arm three times and was advised where and how to do it.  Her first try wasn't quite right, so they talked about it some more and moved the needle around for a couple minutes.  I was starting to feel pretty uncomfortable, but thought I was ok.  They decided it wasn't going to work and went to my other arm.  This time the regular nurse did it.  The IV was in, and taped up.  It was time for me to drink the nasty glucose solution, but by this time I was feeling a little nauseous.  I asked for a little bit of water, then it really hit me.  My blood pressure plummeted and I felt horrible.  I have never felt like that before, but I knew I just needed to put my head down for a while.  The nurse wouldn't leave me alone though.  Of course it is her job to make sure I'm ok.  She wanted me to go lay down but I knew that if I stood up or even talked much I would pass out. I was finally able to go lay down, but before I knew it there were about 10 people in the room--an ER nurse, a few doctors, and a few other nurses who gradually trickled in to see what the fuss was about.  I was hooked up to the pulse-ox, blood pressure cuff, and heart monitor.  At first my blood pressure didn't register on the cuff, but it soon started coming up--80, 90, then 100.

I was so embarrassed!  I kept apologizing, and with those ten sets of eyes on me I finally started crying.  I promised that I felt better, and could I please still take my glucose test??  I was thankful when I was left with 3 nurses and the nasty drink.

Now that it's all over, I kind of wish I had a picture of myself.  They said I looked awful, and the trainee said she had never seen lips that color before.  I guess now I know what it's like to almost pass out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day

I decided to make Valentine's Day special for everyone this year.  The girls got to dress up in their pink dresses like pretty princesses, and Everett put on some Sunday pants to be a handsome prince.


Gwyn, Lana, Maddie, Everett

2 things I love about this photo: the little piggies, and how EVERETT wrote his name



Since I knew Cary would be taking me out for dinner, I figured I'd make a carby treat for the kids.  They had pink, heart-shaped pancakes for dinner.  This may be the last time they eat pancakes for a looong time--or at least pancakes made with refined flour.

Cary did some research and made a reservation at Ruby Tuesday for dinner.  It was a great choice, and we had a wonderful time on our date.  Thank you Cary!



Another Challenge

When I was expecting the girls, I developed gestational diabetes. I hadn't had proper follow-up since then, so after recent events I decided I had better get myself checked out--just in case. As it turns out, I am now diabetic.

I was really shocked. I thought I was in pretty good health. I could definitely increase my activity level and make small changes to my diet, but I really didn't expect the diagnosis. I have to say that it was a much easier pill to swallow when it was supposedly temporary. But, as I have said before: I am one determined/stubborn woman. I am learning all I can right now and making changes. I have been reading about possible reversal of insulin resistance, and plan on doing all that I can to make it happen. I realize that I may need to depend on insulin or other drugs for the rest of my life, but I will be doing my part to keep myself as healthy as possible. Right now our fridge is very green, and I will definitely be expanding our garden this year.

I'm glad that I know, and will be able to take care of myself. I have no idea how long I have been diabetic. Maybe almost three years! Hopefully my energy level will go up. I've probably been working hard with low-energy for a long time without realizing just how much better I could feel.

By the way, I won't be eating much in the way of dessert, but cheesecake is one of my favorites. If anyone has a tried and true low-carb recipe, please share!

Monday, February 9, 2009

4 Wishes

Maddie wants to fly in an airplane.

Gwyn wants to ride on a horsie.

Lana wants a dinosaur.

Everett wants to be tiny and live in Jello.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Balloons and Sticky Faces

That's what it's all about!

On Friday we took the kids to a Home Expo at the mall. We walked around and here and there the kids got balloons and lolipops. Lana just liked holding her lolipop. She dropped it on the floor at one point and was so upset. I just handed it back to her because I knew she wouldn't put it in her mouth! There was also a party supplier there with a ball pit, bounce room, and bouncy obstacle course and slide. We left with four happy, sticky kids (at least until the balloons started popping).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Everett Creativity

Everett loves to build things, and has been pretty creative with the Legos lately. I would describe it as a mathematical or organized creativity: he likes to make patterns and symmetrical shapes. He likes to stick with one color or a simple color scheme. I guess some people would say that he's not being very creative, but I think it's just a different kind of creativity.

This week my mom brought over the "Lite Brite" I had as a kid. (I looked online to make sure I was spelling that correctly and saw that they're still around, though the design has changed a good bit since then.) It's strange for me to think that it's been over 20 years since I played with it last. Everett has been enjoying that too.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ooga Booga Oranges

I'm not sure exactly when this started, but I'm pretty sure it was after we had Everett.

Cary always peels clementines a certain way, and they have become known as "ooga booga oranges" in our family. The kids sometimes pretend they're elephants. For a Christmas gift one year, my mom actually painted eyes on a whole little crate of them for Cary.

Cary and Everett in December of 2004:

new camera 114DSC06952

The girls in June of 2007:


And here's Cary's "ooga booga snowman":

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