So Taj graduated his second year of preschool the end of may. I had WAY cute pics of the program and him with his teachers and all that was eaten up by my senile computer, so I made him at least stand in our living room for one picture. Obviously he was a lot more enthused about graduating the day of!
Taj and Haivi loved helping me with Brannon's anniversary surprise. I knew those expensive balloons would double as entertainment, so I got my money's worth.
June 2nd was our 8 year anniversary. Holy crap, that time went by fast! I got this lovely idea off of Pinterest. I love that place. When I don't have it in me to be creative, Pinterest does the work for me. The idea was to buy one balloon for each year you've been married. On the end of each balloon, you tie a memory you have of the two of you together. Then you release them in your bedroom and vwala! It looks amazing and it looks like you spent lots of time on it, but really you didn't AND it's an awesome way to surprise your significant other. Bran was pretty impressed. I could tell, so I just stood in the corner and patted myself on the back while he read each of the memories. A cheaper alternative is to buy regular balloons. You could buy colors that signify certain emotions or events for each year. I will probably do that the next time around because I really don't want to spend $50 bucks on balloons and I'm sure Brannon would be happy if I didn't either.
The second part of his gift was this: a 52 Things I love About You book made from a deck of cards. Again, Pinterest is genius! It really didn't take me long to come up with 52 things, in fact, there are about 100 things in this book. I just typed the little messages in columns on Microsoft Word and then printed them out and cut them up. ModPodge is fantastic for not only gluing the messages on the cards, but for helping to preserve them as well. You can tell by the picture that I did a coat over the top. I hole punched the cards and then bound them together with some rings I bought from the office section at Target. It took me about an hour or so to do it, so it was pretty snappy and it's something that is super sentimental. He took it to work with him and I imagine that when he gets bored, he sits there in his office chair perusing it's contents. Again, I could not help but pat myself on the back with both hands this time. Thank you Pinterest for making me look good!
Haive loves her Minnie and her kitty. Her cat is not pictured here, obviously, but she carts those two "babies" of her around everywhere we go. I have to wash them at least once a week, sometimes more often. Her favorite thing to do is nuzzle the cat's mouth. You can tell too because after one week, it is gray, with bits of food stuck in its fur. She is very generous too and loves to unexpectedly shove the said kitty's dirty muzzle in your face so you can give it kisses to. Word to the wise? Make sure you have your mouth closed or you'll pick up a funky virus that may or may not leave you hugging the porcelain for days.
Taj's dentist is awesome! I was so worried about taking him to get his teeth cleaned, but they were amazing. Here he is showing off the balloon sword his hygienist made for him to calm him down. They did the cleaning and the exam with him sitting in my lap and his head in their laps. I was super impressed with this office and would recommend to anyone. After it was all over, he got a token to get a prize out of the prize machine. How creative is that?!
He's doing his best to show off his "cwean teef."
For Father's Day Pinterest rocked the house again. I'm starting to think that a certain Mr. Morse is pretty darn spoiled. He got a "snack-attack" kit for work, a treasure box that was hand-painted by Taj and Haiven with small toys in it to represent each of them. He also got a hand print and a picture from each of them. I splurged this time around and bought him one of those big-faced watches that I've seen him admiring on the wrists of other guys for the past year now. If I had the money, I would be surprising people with presents all the time. I love giving much much more than I do receiving, the whole surprise factor is my favorite part.
This picture will tell you how our summer is going. No, he is not bored, he is just exhausted from running helter-skelter all over the place. I signed him up for field trips once a week with his friends at daycare and then we go somewhere fun at least once a week. So far we've been the the Air Force Museum, Classic Fun Center, Boondocks, and all kinds of parks. We will eventually make it to the Train Museum in Ogden, The Treehouse (also in Ogden), the Dinosaur Park, and a splash pad or two. For his field trips he has already been to the Clark Planetarium, an aquatic center, Nickelcade, Classic Fun Center, and this coming week he'll be heading to This is the Place park to milk a cow, ride a train, you know, the whole "farm" experience kind of thing. I'm so glad we decided to sign him up. He is having such a great summer!
This picture I am not happy about. You see the redness and the swollen bump on his neck and the red mark on his chin? This is from some kid he said "squeezed" his neck at daycare. I of course was way fired up about it and demanded that he be sent back to his old class with the younger kids. Apparently two boys were singling him out and picking on him every day he was in their class. Taj is still learning how to communicate with others and how to read other people's emotions and that is why I don't like him with older kids. This is why I am nervous about school for him. I don't want him getting singled out because he's "different." I know it's going to happen, so I guess we need to start teaching him how we handle those situations, so that he is not a victim all the time.
I love that face!
Taj is VERY good at riding his fourwheeler, almost too good. It scares me. That boy also knows how to start about anything and how to drive most anything with an engine in it. I'm afraid that we may have a little "gear head" on our hands. That of course if fine by me. He can be our little mechanic when things break down.
I have a feeling that I will be seeing more pictures like this as they grow up. She loves getting rides from her big brother and he is careful with her. He always waits for her to wrap her arms around his waist before he'll take off. He usually only has patience to take her around for one lap, but that is usually good enough for her. So if you ever see them cruising together in our backyard, don't panic! He's good at it and if he does happen to bump into something, they are on the grass, so it's a soft landing.
This is what happens when big boys play on the monkey barks. We were having a lovely time at the park last Sunday until Brannon went to jump up on the playground equipment to help Haiven down the slide. He failed to see the monkey bars above him and smashed his face right into one of those cold, metal, bars. His nose bled from the inside out. The top of it had a huge gash and it bled for a good half hour. I'm pretty positive he broke it because it was still bleeding from the inside for days after it happened and it's still really tender. He doesn't seem too concerned about it being a little crooked, so I guess we won't go get it fixed unless it really starts bothering him. Poor guy. The kids were pretty much traumatized and they didn't fight me at all when I threw them in the bike trailer so we could high-tail it home. We did learn something new about Taj from this experience. He is just like his daddy when it comes to seeing blood. Taj has never really seen blood like that before, so he didn't even know to call it blood, so it was very interesting when he turned ghostly white and said "my beebutton huts, I go way down." The poor kid was green for a little while. He definitely does not handle bloods well and I guarantee that is a trait he literally inherited via genes from his daddy. Crazy how strong those genes can be! Haivi was fine, she's like her momma. She was concerned about him though and kept peeking her little, or should I say, big head, in the bathroom to check on him.
I love this picture because it captures her fire. She is not just a "spitfire," she is a raging bonfire! That girl has more fight and spunk in her than anyone else I know. She's tough and I have no doubt that she will be able to look out for herself just fine. My worry is that she may be too tough sometimes, and we will probably have to work on teaching her that we treat others the way we want to be treated. Every time I pick her up from daycare, the first thing one of her teachers says is, "Haiven had a hard time this morning. She wouldn't quit hitting the other kids." Great, thanks for that. My kid's a bully. Did she do anything good today, for once? You can tell that I get a little annoyed hearing that same sentence as soon as I walk in the door. It's only one particular teacher, but I'm on the point of yelling, "Well, what do you want me to do about it? I wasn't here when it happened, so how can I fix it?!" However, I know if I did that, she would then figure out where Haiven gets half her fire.
It's a darn good thing she has that irresistible sweetness about her too or we'd have to donate her to the homeless shelter. When this girl feels like it, she can be heaven on earth and melt your heart by wrapping those little arms around your neck and offering you a kiss of her own free will and choice.
I love her piggies. I think I always end up taking pictures of her when she has piggies in her hair.
I can't remember if this is a real conversation or not. It was pretty intense though and he wandered around the shed (like his daddy does when he's on the phone) before parking his hiney on the the tail-light of one of his grandpa's Harley's. I love that boy so much!
July is going to be so much fun! The only way I get through this awful heat is because of the July holidays. I love summer in Utah!
We have decided to be cyclists. We, or should I say, Brannon took hiself down to the Costco and bought us some "real" nice bikes. And a trailer for the kids. Love that place. Who doesn't? It's like a one-stop shopping experience. You can buy anything there that your little heart desires. We desired bikes because we are both tired of carrying around those darn spare tires that only seem to get bigger and never smaller. We were in a pickle you see because who in the heck has time to exercise when you've got two kids and jobs and a house and a yard to take care of? I don't get those people who spend hours upon hours at the gym. They must not have real jobs or they don't have kids. If they do have kids, then they are probably neglecting them. A great solution, we thought, would be to take up cycling and get a trailer for the kids to ride in. Those first two weeks were glorious. We had raw rumps and every muscle ached, but it felt good because we knew our bodies were actually getting some exercise. Then the "newness" and "fun-ness" of it all wore off and the kids decided they couldn't stand to be in such close quarter with each other. A half-hour bike ride turned into 30 minutes of torture for all involved as we sailed down the road with a screeching and cackling trailer. Haiven does the screeching and Taj does the cackling. When you have to stop every 2 minutes to see who's touching who and who's "wooking at me" or "bothuwing me," all that's left to do is to turn hide and head home as fast as you can before it gets too violent in the back.
Brannon suggested that on Memorial Day we go for a bike ride. I was down with it as long as we could figure out a way to separate the gremlins. We pulled out an old bike seat and problem solved. We rode the Bridal Veil Falls trail up Provo Canyon and I can guarantee that it did not disappoint. We were surrounded by steep mountain sides lush with vegetation and rode along side a lovely little river on a paved, shaded path. When we got to the falls, there were quite a few people there who had the same idea as us, but there was still plenty of room for us to have our own little corner of the shallow end of the falls for the kids to play in. We passed two parks on the way up and on the way back when Taj announced in the middle of the ride that he had to "poop," we thought no prob! We stopped in at a campground bathroom and when Taj and I opened the door and stepped into fresh sewage that had flooded the entire bathroom, I told him there was no way in hades we were going in there and that he'd have to pinch those bum cheeks of his together until we could find another bathroom. The kid was a champ and managed to wait until we found a more "sanitary" place for him to do the deed. Other than that, the weather was perfect and it was a great day. Haivi only screeched once and there was no complaining on Taj's end either. It was an 8 mile ride round-trip, but wasn't to strenuous. I guess I can say that because I wasn't pulling the trailer and I didn't have Taj on my bike in the seat either. Bran had both kids and I tell you, I was so proud of my man when I looked back at the top of a steep hill and saw his hat turned backwards (that means he's down to business) and him standing up on his bike pedaling with all his might to get those kids up that hill. There were about five hills like that and he never stopped once. I wouldn't be surprised if we made that ride a family tradition every Memorial Day. So if you every see two white bikes pulling a yellow bike trailer on the side of the road, please honk the horn to encourage the Morse Fam to pedal strong.
Well summer break has not started off with a bang as I had hoped it would. Much of that is due to my own lack of ambition, but I've resolved to not spend the rest of our summer like we did that first week. Items that I should have had completed by the end of the first week? 1. Clean the house top to bottom. 2. Get all the laundry caught up. 3. Detail the car myself. 4. Plant a garden and 5. Do something fun with my kids every day. 6. Get caught up on the blog.
The house did get cleaned, but I wouldn't call it top-to-bottom. We are functional and sanitized at this point. The washer broke down after my first load of laundry and flooded the basement. Wet, old carpet=nasty, musky, moldy, smellier old carpet. I spent all day at the laundry mat with the kids and a giant, black hairy spider and all kinds of bacteria. I'm not sure if our clothes were cleaner after that trip. Detail the car? Ha! Well I did throw away a plastic wrapper off a sticky bun and a few old receipts, so I guess that is progress. Who knows what kind of weevil colonies are are multiplying in our car as a result of a school year's worth of food crumbs. I really hate bugs, so that will most definitely get done this week, I hope. Planting a garden did not go as planned either because it rained pretty much every day, all day last week. We had brief moments of sunshine, but it was never long before the clouds came rolling back in. That really put a damper on the exercise thing too. I couldn't take the kids out on a bike ride in the pouring rain and as a result, the small spare bike tire around my waist has grown into a trailer tire. I'm not about to let it get much bigger so I've cut down on the nacho cheese sauce and popcorn and jalapeno bites. Think I'm kidding? I'm not. I'm an emotional eater and just having the washer break down was enough to send me into a week-long binge. So you can imagine that I just ate more and more when I did not manage to get the car detailed or to plant a salsa garden.
Then we come to my blog. I love writing. I love preserving families memories and I definitely consider it worth the time and effort to keep this up. I decided I'd procrastinated enough and downloaded 300 pictures of the last two months of our lives on the computer. With that done, I thought, alright now to the fun part--actually posting on the blog. Little did I know that this whole time my computer was plotting against me as well and got all senile on me. It "forgot" where it put those 300 pictures that included Taj's preschool graduation and many other irreplaceable moments. I was literally devastated when I clicked on the folder and all I saw were those horrific three words: "Folder is Empty." Wha? Whawhawha? WHAT?! My heart was broken into pieces to have lost those pictures and then of course all I could think to do was to go upstairs and throw some poppers in the oven and consume 300 deep-fried calories of jalapenos and cream cheese. I shut down the computer and restarted it, hoping the ol' dinosaur would wake up and remember where it put my pictures. It did not and also notified me that I had "successfully" cleared out 200 mbs of space. Hmmm, must of slipped my mind because there is no way in HELL I did that! Can you guess what happened when I went back into my pictures folder to search for the lost 300? I discovered that ALL albums starting with the letter A had been deleted. They are gone, no where to be found. That's the moment I exercised great restraint and kept myself from hurling the ol' silver dinosaur through the wall of our basement and out into the front yard. I will never trust it again, which is why I don't dare download more photos on it right now because I'm afraid they will be lost in cyberworld forever. Some geeked-out hacker is probably having the time of his life stuffing flaming hot cheetos down his gullet, all the while hysterical laughing and picturing my confusion, shock, and rage at the discovery of the missing files. Well I hope he snorts one up his nose. No slurpee in the world will put that flame out. So rest assured family and friends who actually read this blog, that I have not abandoned my post. You WILL see regular posting from here on out, I hope.
So last weekend I traded in my 5 year old scar on my neck from my trachea resection in 2007 for a new one. My old scar had adhered to my neck where I had a trache and it never really bothered me until I started teaching and talking for long periods of time. With my old scar, every time I talked, swallowed, sneezed, coughed, laughed, etc., the scar would move on my neck and cause a pulling, tearing, and burning sensation. I didn't think there was a fix for it until I met with Dr. John Bitner. He told me we could take some fat from my stomach, remove the old scar, and place the fat between my trachea and my new scar to keep it from adhering to my trachea again. When my insurance company wouldn't cover the procedure because they called it "cosmetic," Dr. Bitner opted to do the procedure for FREE. Can you believe that? I really didn't feel worthy to accept a gift like that...I mean we are not down and out in the dumps or anything like that. He told me he will take whatever payment the insurance company will give him and call it good. How cool is that? He is such a good guy to do this for me and for my students. Maybe I will even be able to read to my students out-loud now. I haven't tried it yet to see if my voice will hold up, but I think the new scar will help. I am so grateful for tender mercies like this. He has done such a great service for me and I will forever be grateful to him for his kindness. Here are the pics I had Bran take:
There is tape over this, so you can't really tell, but the scar is much thinner and cleaner looking. My neck kind of looks like it has a little spare tire from the fat, but Dr. Bitner says that will go down as my body absorbs the fat (probably go right back to where it came from, dang it!).
That incision on my stomach is about 5 or so inches long. I think I pretty much got half of a tummy tuck. My stomach looks really weird now and I told Brannon that I'm going to have to hit the pavement to lose the fat that is still hanging out on the other half.
I realize that my posts are becoming fewer and far between, which is a reflection on the current state of my mental status: borderline crazy! I have one and a half months left of teaching school this year and things are really getting down to the wire. End of Level testing is in about three weeks and I'm hoping and praying that at least half of my kids out of each class have learned enough to pass with at least average scores. They always say that the first year teaching you just have to survive. I never wanted to be one of those teachers, but it's looking like it's coming down to that with only a month and a half left of school. If my kids have learned anything, I hope it's that they have learned that they matter. Some kids, that's all it takes for them to start believing, to start trying, and to see that they CAN become more than what they see around them.
I did manage to get myself together enough to pull Easter together for the kids. Easter egg hunting really clicked for Taj this year and he couldn't pick up eggs fast enough. Haivi got the concept, but preferred holding onto the eggs in her hands and not putting them in her basket. She threw a fit if we tried to get her to put the eggs in her basket, which is true to her nature. She is definitely a-do-things-her-own-way-and-on-her-own-time kind of girl. She is not even two years old yet and already she is a teenage diva. I am not exaggerating. Her favorite words are "no" and "mine" and a hair-raising banshee shriek that sends the neighborhood's stray cats scattering for cover. She does have her moments when she will so sweetly bestow kisses and allow a few minutes of snuggle time. She flaunts her ability to fart with a waterworks show in the bathtub each night. She thinks it's hilarious...I do not. I have told her time and again that I do not condone such unladylike behavior and all I get in response from her is more toots and looks that would have killed me dead several times over if, using the cliche, looks could kill.
How is it possible for so much sass to be packed into such a tiny body? You probably don't believe me and think that I am exaggerating when I talk about how feisty she can be. I was actually slapped repeatedly by her tonight as I tried to trim her fingernails and toenails...go thing she's cute:)
Every Easter we head over to our neighbor's house across the street for a massive Easter egg hunt. There are literally hundreds of eggs and lots of kidlets to pick them up. There are also prize eggs with numbers on them. At the end of the hunt, each child goes and picks a prize from the prize table according to the number on the egg they picked up. This is super fun for the kids. How cool are our neighbors to think this up? They are seriously the best neighbors ever! They are like the party grandparents.
I think Taj picked up way too many eggs, but there were still a ton lying around, so we figured it was okay.
How cute is this? She has her daddy whipped!
Haivi chewing on her prize-a paparrazzi bracelet...now maybe she won't slime all of my bracelets!
Taj chose a water gun, typical boy of course!
The little turkey would not pose for a picture. She is holding her very own cell phone, complete with about 12 buttons and about a 10 song playlist with the most popular nursery rhymes on the charts.
Look. At. That. Stance. This boy KNOWS how to hunt an Easter egg
He was very adamant that I get a picture of the bird
Taj's haul from our own Easter egg hunt. The golden egg actually had REAL money in it, can you imagine? $0.80 is big time for a four year old.
This is how here daddy dressed her. I say this is ragdoll cute:)
Taj on the other hand is much more manageable and negotiable. He is exceedingly more talkative these days and I frequently get congratulated for brushing my teeth, driving the car, getting dressed, or going to the bathroom. "You go peepee mama??? Oh Good Job Mama!" I feel like a superhero every day because of Taj. That boy knows when to give praise where it's due! A big accomplishment for Taj lately is that he is finally wanting to "play" with other kids and us too. Every night either me or Brannon plays trucks, tractors, cars, or fourwheelers. "Bwandon wanna pway twucks?" How could you refuse a request like that? Taj calls Brannon "Bwandon" several times a day. I'm sure he does it because he hears me call his daddy Brannon. We are also to the point with him where it's not a good idea to let him see either of us getting into the shower. He's FULL of all sorts of fun questions: "Mama, what's dat?" or "Daddy you have big one?" The kid can't stand when a door is locked, but I don't know any other way to teach the concept of privacy. I think he's getting it though because he likes the door shut when he goes No. 2. Another cool development is that he knows his last name. If you ask him, "Taj, what is your last name?" Usually his reply is, "No, es Taj!" I don't think he understands the question, but if you say, "Is your name Taj Morse." He'll say, "Yes, es Taj's Mose." We figure that he is at about a 2 1/2 to 3 year old level. It's almost as if his brain turns language around in his head because he does not understand or speak sentences in typical sentence structure. I told Brannon that Taj speaks Jigsaw Puzzle: key words here and there and then he leaves it up to you to put the pieces together . I find it's easiest to communicate with him by saying every word that comes to mind that sounds close to what he's trying to tell me. Once I hit the nail on the head, there is a small celebration and we continue onto deciphering the next word or sentence. We are really pleased with the progress his is making socially and we are glad that he will have a third year of school before he starts kindergarten. I have a positive outlook on the whole thing and believe that we can have him nearly caught up with his peers when he starts school for real.
Overall, our Easter weekend was perfect. The weather was amazingly warm and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Holidays are SO much better with kids!