Tender Mercies

I've cried a lot today.

This has been a very good Easter full of tender mercies from my Heavenly Father. Although seemingly small, I know someone is watching out for me.

Cory's cousin Andrew blessed their baby this morning the same time that we had church. Of course we wanted to go but someone had to stay and teach our Sunday school lesson. So Cory took Kennedy with him and went to the blessing while I went to our own ward. That meant I got to sit through sacrament meeting entirely interruption free! There was an amazing spirit that filled our meeting. It's been a while since I've cried in sacrament meeting for spiritual reasons ;). It was muchly needed and I was so grateful to be able to have a special Easter Sunday.

Kennedy has also warmed up to our families a lot recently. That has been another tender mercy because it would break my heart to see her recoil from them. I know she's just shy and it's totally a natural toddler reaction, but I also know it hurts when they love her so much. It's been great to see her open up to them and show them her adorable, sweet personality. And give them hugs and kisses goodbye! She's especially been good today.

I've been more aware of the atonement in my life more recently than usually. I know part of it has correlated with my efforts to learn how to deal with difficult people. The atonement isn't just for our sins, it's to help us forgive those who have sinned against us, too. That has also been a huge blessing in my life lately. I know that when times are tough, the Savior will step in help me through it. It's made handling trials a bit easier. Today I've felt especially grateful for that blessing.

I'm so eternally grateful for my family and for the answers to our prayers and pleas for divine intervention. I know we have all been strengthened these last few weeks and have seen the hand of the Lord in our lives.

And finally, another motherly tender mercy:
I absolutely love how much Kennedy is like Cory. I don't ever want to change that. But sometimes I wonder if she'll ever be like me. It's very, very important to me that our kids appreciate and hopefully have a talent for music. My love for music goes deeper than I can explain and I want to be able to share that with them. So right now, I am so touched and grateful for the moments Kennedy and I have when I get to sit quietly while holding her and sing to her. I feel like we connect deeper and more intimately when this happens. And she'll even take her turn and try and sing back to me. We just stare at each other and share in the beautiful music our hearts are making and sharing. I always cry. Always. Tonight especially. Those moments are some of my favorite as a parent. I know The Lord understands how much that means to me and I'm very grateful for that.

I just had to share those thoughts today. I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter Sunday!


Easter Eggs! Lots of Them!

Our Easter isn't really over yet, since it technically hasn't even happened yet, but I thought I'd blog about the fun we've already had before the picture total gets totally overwhelming. I already have so many :)

We started the festivities on Thursday with dying eggs and an egg hunt at my parents house with the McLachlan cousins! Kennedy got to wear one of grandma's shirts to avoid staining hers.
 This is quite possibly one of the worst pictures of me ever, but Kennedy was too cute to not post. The sacrifices we make for our children ;)
 Then we had a big egg hunt in the backyard.
 Kennedy knew exactly what to do this year. She would get so excited when she found an egg.

 oops! She reached too far for one egg... haha.
 Another cute picture of Kennedy.
 She got a little dirt on her face when she fell.
 Friday night we dyed eggs as a family. Kennedy was again super excited to make messes and to not have to wear pants.
 She helped me put the eggs in the dye, and kept wanting to use her hands to take them out.

 Like how horrible our eggs turned out? It makes me laugh!
 I think the problem was I tried lining our cups with wax paper to avoid staining them since I forgot to buy paper ones (oops) and the wax must have rubbed off on the eggs. Oh well. We had fun regardless.

This morning Grandma and Grandpa Hunter, and Aunt Hillary were able to come down and help set up Kennedy's own Easter egg hunt. Let me tell you, she was one spoiled child! There was a whole slew of candy and eggs for her. I wish I would have taken a picture of the yard. Grandpa Hunter brought peeps and stuck them on sticks and put them in the ground for her to grab.
 At first, she totally ignored the candy and peeps and went straight for the eggs. She had no idea she was supposed to grab those things, too. We helped her out, though.

 Grandpa was helping her pick up some little chocolate eggs that decided to retreat into the grass.
 Cory had to show her exactly what the peeps were. At first she wasn't happy about him eating her prizes.
 But then he shared with her...
 And they both were happy.
 Then the fun continued.

 After a while, once it occurred to her that everything was eatable, all she wanted to do was eat everything she grabbed. She took a bite out of almost every peep before putting it in the basket.

 We had so much fun! And she has quite a haul of goodies!
 I love my little peanut.
 Peek-a-boo on the stairs!
 Aunt Hillary and Kennedy.
I love that Kennedy has such good family members who love her and spoil her. She had a great time.


March Madness

Kennedy is getting to be at such a fun age! The difference between last month and this month is incredible! And has been madness! I want to list some things she's been doing for journaling purposes, but feel free to read on :) (I'm purposely not calling this post the "21 months old" post haha)

She's started talking. A lot! Before, she knew the words and would say them when asked. Now she says them all the time. I'll never miss a doggy ever again because she points it out and says "doggie" all excitedly. She LOVES dogs! Here are my favorite words she says:
counting to three
whenever we say "lion" she goes "rawr!"
love you
where is it?

She says a lot more but those ones sound the cutest! I love listening to her count to three because she does it so excitedly. "One...two...threeeeee!" It's awesome.

She finally had another tooth break through. It's one of her canines. The rest of her teeth on the top (the other canine and her two front teeth) look like they're working on it as well. They're swollen and she's been crankier than normal. Please, PLEASE come in!! They're only a year behind! I see tons of kids her age with mouths full of teeth. It's so irritating!

She's developed an opinion and has taken to expressing herself pretty dramatically when she doesn't get her own way. Temper tantrums are on the rise.

She's been trying to jump. She can jump with on the floor and get both feet off the ground. She also likes to climb on the ottoman and jump to the couch but she doesn't quite have the guts to really launch herself. If it feels like it's too far for her, she asks for our help. I've always been amazed with how coordinated she is. It's nuts.

This girl LOVES driving over the railroad tracks! She watches from her car seat and when we get close, she squeals and kicks and her legs and either laughs or says "weee!" as we drive over them. It's so funny the things we don't even notice that are a thrill to kids. Cory calls her our roller coaster baby. 

Thanks to her abnormal hatred for nursery, she's become even more clingy to me in every other aspect of life, as if that was possible. It's been a nightmare! I can't leave her anywhere without her throwing a fit about it. And unless it's family that I leave her with, she doesn't stop crying until I come back. I wish I could convey to you how much I hate this! Not only is it annoying, but it also makes me sad to leave her anywhere!! But the last week or so I decided to just buck up and start leaving her more. She's never going to get over it if I don't try. Today I left her at the gym daycare without me so I could go workout. She cried the whole time. I'm not at all surprised. Boo!! One day at a time, right? I'll tell you what, I won't make that mistake again with the next child we have.

She loves to sing! It is the best when I'm singing to her and she starts trying to join in. I love it!!

I also wanted to mention her insane love for her stuffed Elmo. She takes the guy everywhere. She's always holding him when she's asleep. She tries to "share" her sippy cup with him, her binki's, her food, etc. Whenever we read a book with touch and feel stuff, she has Elmo feel it with her. It's so precious.

Her favorite foods right now are banana's, tomatoes, gold fish crackers, chocolate, and waffles.

She's a doll face! I wish everyone could see how much fun she is and how funny she can be at home. I want her to be like that all the time, but of course, it looks like she's going to take after me in the shyness department. *sigh*


My Nephew B-rocks!

As some of you already know, it's been a rough couple weeks for my family, particularly my brother and his wife.

My four year old nephew, Brock, started growing a hard lump on his head a few weeks ago. It hurt him and was obviously a concern. My sister in law took him to the doctor to get it checked out. That doctor sent them to Primary Children's Medical Center because he suspected the bump to be something pretty serious.

After X-rays and tests, the doctors were pretty sure that it was a rare disease called Langerhans cell histiocytosis or LCH for short. It's a disease similar to cancer in that it causes the body to grow abnormalities out of extra cells. You can google it for more information (don't read Wikipedia, it makes it sound like he's for sure going to die) but treatment is the same for LCH and cancer, meaning chemo and radiation.

They scheduled a surgery to have the lump of skull removed and biopsied to make sure it was LCH. They were concerned with some abnormalities in the feel of the bump because that is more of a cancerous trait and LCH bumps are usually smooth, so they needed to be sure. They would remove that portion of his skull and replace it with an artificial plate.

The week between the initial tests and the surgery was torture for us all, but mostly for his parents. I don't know how they kept it together. I love my nephew fiercely so I found myself several times just breaking down at the uncertainly and the thought of watching my nephew endure such a huge trial. We didn't really know what was going to happen.

But then surgery day finally came. He didn't start surgery until about 3.5 hours after they originally said he would which made for a LONG day! Finally, the waiting and wondering was over and he was out of surgery and doing well. The pathology would take about a week to get the results but the neurosurgeon said he was almost positive it was LCH, which is good. It's more treatable.

I went home that night and bawled my eyes out. I had been so worried about the surgery (I can blame that on watching medical dramas) and my heart ached for all that my family whom I love more than anything has been going through. No one deserves this, especially not them. But I also knew that the Lord had strengthen us in all of this. It's been overwhelming and a testimony builder.

A week later, the test results came back positive for LCH. The next step was to have Brock's whole body scanned to see if it had grown anywhere else, and determine treatment from there. We were all very hopeful since there were no abnormalities in his blood work, that he didn't have growths anywhere else in his body. The disease starts to get trickier and more dangerous if it grows in organs. And none of us wanted to see him have to go through chemotherapy or radiation. Originally the oncologist told Tory that in the best case scenario they were looking at a year of chemo but later they said if his scans were clear it was possible to just watch him closely for a year.

Tuesday he went in all day for all the labs and tests. After being reviewed by the radiologists, they concluded that there were no growths elsewhere. Then they delivered the best news of all: he wouldn't need any chemo or radiation treatments at this time!! He needs to go back every three months for a year to watch it and hopefully nothing else develops. There is a chance of relapse in his lifetime but this was the best outcome we could have possibly hoped for. All the prayers in their behalf were heard and answered. What an enormous blessing!!

I can't describe the relief we're all feeling. I can't imagine the full extent of what my brother and his family have gone through emotionally and physically and I won't pretend to since I'm sure it's been so hard! Being his aunt has been taxing enough so I know that they have got to be so relieved and feeling so blessed. It's been a hard trial but the outcome has been a gift we only hoped for.

So much to our joy, Brock will be able to be his usual, fun self! He won't have to spend his summer feeling sick or start kindergarten halfway through his chemotherapy treatments. At the start of all this I felt overwhelming confusion as to why this had to happen. I really struggled with it. I still don't know why, but I know now more than ever that Heavenly Father is aware of us all and He blesses us with what we need. I know I've grown through this process and I'm sure they have too. Now I just hope they get a break for a good long while from tests and trials. They sure deserve it.

Congrats, guys! We sure love you!

Chili's Easter

Cory's sister Hillary is a server at Chili's. This morning they hosted a breakfast and an Easter egg hunt in the restaurant for employees and their families. Hillary really wanted to take Kennedy and I thought they would have so much fun! Cory also decided he wanted to go. I would have gone too, but unfortunately I had to work. I was so bummed I missed it! Cory said they had a blast. Kennedy eventually figured out what the purpose of it all was and loved it! She's at such a fun age. We have at least 3 more egg hunts planned this week so by the end of the week she should be a pro! Thanks, Hillary for taking her with you!


About two months ago, my friend Marci and I went tanning because we were so painfully sick of the winter and no sunshine, we had to get some vitamin D before we went stark raving mad on the whole town.

Since then, I've gone a little here and there because
A) tanning is kind of addicting
B) it's free with my gym membership
C) it really did help with the depression
D) it majorly helps with my eczema

So yesterday, there I was at the tanning salon again, doing my thing. I was trying out my new tanning lotion I had purchased on amazon that had fabulous reviews and was only $13. If you know anything about tanning lotions, they're sickeningly expensive. Anyway, I was in a hurry to get undressed and get the lotion on before my allotted time ended and the bed turned on without me in it.

After applying a fast coat of lotion, I grabbed the goggles and hurried into the bed, while wiping my eye that at that moment had a bad itch...

I don't know what is in that lotion (acid? Paint thinner?) but approximately 30 seconds later the skin around my eye started to burn. It was tolerable at first, and I thought maybe it was just going to be irritated for a little bit since the skin around the eye is so thin and delicate and my hands had obviously had some residual lotion left on them that got on my eye.

So I waited. And waited. And the pain got worse. And worse. By the time dinner rolled around, I felt like someone had beat me with a curling iron. It was ridiculous!! I couldn't even touch my eye. And it was so red!!! I sported a huge red streak down my top and bottom eye lids where my tainted finger had been dragged.

Before bed I soaked it with a cold rag which helped a little. I then washed my face in luke-warm water and tried to get my makeup off but I could barely touch it. Since it was so tender, I also applied neosporin to the red parts and that helped a lot in keeping the pain away.

But then it started to swell. My eye lid got huge and puffy! I went to bed hoping it would go away and woke up this morning with it still big and nasty looking. But on the plus side, the pain was way down. I can touch it easier and it doesn't hurt on its own anymore.

The swelling has gone down a lot throughout the day which I'm happy about. It's also less red but still noticeable. Hopefully by tomorrow it'll be all healed.

I have NO idea what is in that lotion that caused such a horrible reaction. I can't pronounce a single ingredient on the back. All I know is that when products have the warning "avoid contact with eyes" they mean it because apparently it'll try and burn your face off. I hope tomorrow I can look like me again and not like Quasimodo.

Oh, and just for fun, after I had tried to wash my makeup off and my eye already ached badly enough that I had trouble opening it, fate decided it needed a good laugh because while applying toothpaste to my toothbrush, the bristles flipped backward and send toothpaste directly into my good eye. You may notice my right eyeball is red and irritated. That's why. I had to "laugh" because that's never happened to me before. But of course, it had to happen then.

I hope to be forgiven for the language that was used.