Monday, August 24, 2009

Sports Camp

I realized I missed a few things even farther back than the 4th of July. The last week of June, Harrison and his two best buddies, Andrew and Logan did a sports camp. It was basketball, soccer, and baseball. It was a REALLY hot, sunny week, three hours a day with no shade, but he loved it nonetheless.

The highlight of it all for me had to be when I was saying goodbye to him one day and he gave my arm a squeeze and a kiss and said,
"I'll miss your flat (his way of saying fat) arms."

Maybe the fact that yours truly would have absolutely hated the whole sports camp experience as a child or as an adult explains the "flat" arms situation. If you've never seen me in an athletic situation let's just say my brother was right in high school when he said I have about as much coordination as a Jewish Rabbi. And exerting any physical effort in that heat, forget it. I could hardly stand waiting in line for the drop off and pick up.

Let's just hope that my kids inherit their athletic genes from their father and every single one of my siblings. How it bypassed me will forever be a mystery.

Friday, August 21, 2009

4th of July in Pagosa Springs

Okay, I'm starting on the long process of catching up from the summer! Expect a lot of outdated posts for the next little while!

I lived in Louisiana from 4th - 7th grade and my best friend there was Kim Peart. For years her Dad, Dave, talked about building their dream home in Pagosa Springs, Colorado when he retired. Well, Dave is a man who knows how to set a goal and reach it, and he made his dream come true. He and his wife Becky spent a few years building a BEAUTIFUL mountain home. And I mean, they built it themselves. It's pretty impressive. Anyway, whenever he was working on the plans, I'd tell him to be sure to build a room for me. I was told numerous times that they had indeed built me a room (it's really a guest room with a New Orleans theme, but it's sweet of them to indulge me) and that I needed to come visit. So a few months prior, Kim and I planned a rendezvous in Pagosa Springs for the 4th of July. She and her husband drove in from Utah and we drove down. Her sister, Kelley also came down with her two kids who are the same ages and genders of my kids and her brother, Rodney and his family live there, so it was basically a Peart Family Reunion (minus their oldest son) plus the Watabes. They were so sweet to make us feel right at home and like we were part of the family. And let me tell you, these people are FUN! We had a great time!

Pagosa Springs is a small town, so it had all the great aspects of a small town 4th of July.

A carnival.

Complete with crazy people who get in the ride with four innocent little children and make it spin as fast as possible, scaring children and parents half to death.

A parade. Complete with a fly over, including none other than Mr. Dave himself.

It was so cool to see them flying in formation and knowing that Dave was up there. He's not even my dad, but I was so proud of him. And in my pregnant state, I got a little choked up when they successfully did the peel off. Something about the patriotism, and the concentration, team-work, and courage it takes to do things like that really got to me. (Dave's the one in the black-bottomed plane.)

Here we are at the parade with Kim, Me, Miss Becky (She's just as hip and skinny as her daughters! I love that woman like a mother.), and Kelley.

Elizabeth just sat there and clapped through that whole parade. It was so hot and sunny, but that didn't stop her from clapping away. I think the candy helped.

A little rock band in the afternoon to pass the time!
Then we had a fabulous BBQ, and Kim and I had to take a picture of us eating corn for old time's sake. We were a couple of goofy girls growing up and we loved to get really silly when eating certain foods and take lots of pictures in the process. Corn was at the top of the list!

After the BBQ, Dave was so nice to take Nate, Harrison and me up for a little flight over Pagosa Springs.

For a little boy who has always LOVED airplanes (used to have to sleep with one in each hand), this was quite thrilling!

I think it was pretty thrilling for a big boy to get to sit in the cockpit and be co-pilot too!

Here's one I took from the runway, showing how close their house it to the little airport.

Here we are right after we took off, looking at the house down below. It's hard to see, but everyone was out on the back porch, watching us take off and waving to us as we flew over.
Here's one Kim took of us from there.

And here's the happy, little passenger loving being up in the sky!

That night we went to watch fireworks. Kim and I are still great friends despite being rival alums!

Here are Kim and Mr. Dave. They are so cute!

At first Harrison wasn't sure what to think of the sparklers, but then he loved them.

Elizabeth loved them too!

The next morning we went to church.

And it wouldn't be a Michelle and Kim get together without some good old "modeling pictures." Let me just say, if we'd had digital cameras and Facebook back then, there would have been no stopping us with our modeling endeavors. We used up many a roll of film back in the day, with no way to display them for the world to see! :)

Thanks so much to Kim and her amazing family for a wonderful weekend! We really had such a blast!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Great Cause

I have added my first button to my blog and wanted to explain the story behind it. The Skinner family is in our ward at church. They are the sweetest family with two children. Shortly after we moved to Colorado we were invited to join playgroup and our first one was on Halloween at the Skinner's house. The kids all wore costumes and Natalie had made sugar cookies for them to decorate. Claire was still a new born and just as tiny and cute as can be. Within the next few weeks was Claire's baby blessing at church and I remember her father, Jared, giving her a very tender and emotional blessing. Looking back now, it seems like it was foreshadowing for the difficult life that she would lead.

Very soon after that Natalie took Claire in for her routine 2 month check up. That was the day their world got turned upside down. The Dr. was concerned that Claire was not growing and sent them straight to the hospital for tests. By the end of the day they discovered that Claire's kidneys were only functioning at 10% and she was in kidney failure. Natalie, who is my visiting teacher once told me that that day is their family's 9/11. Everything changed that day and everything is in terms of before and after that day.

They eventually figured out that she and her brother BOTH have a rare disease that causes their liver and kidneys to be overworked and eventually wear out. Claire's are already worn out, so she is on dialysis for 3 hours a day. They were doing it at night too and it was 15 hours a day, but there were recent complications with that, so for now it's 3 hours a day. Natalie gets up before the sun to get the kids ready, drop Benson off at various friend's houses, and then she and Claire head up to the hospital. During the dialysis, Claire is connected with tubes to the machine, so she has to just sit there. There's a video on their blog of Natalie entertaining her so she'll stay put and stay happy. She has to be the most patient mother on earth. It would be like taking a 3 hour plane flight with your two year old everyday. Stuck in one place and trying to make the most of it! They don't get back to pick up Benson until afternoon and then Natalie told me she tries to spend a lot of quality time with him to make up for being away from him all day. I guess one silver lining is that her kids get more one on one attention from their mother than most kids I know.

Thankfully, Benson's condition is slower progressing and they caught it before it had gotten too bad, so they are hoping with medicine his organs will last longer. The bottom line is they will both eventually need liver and kidney transplants. Their family is in the process of packing up and moving to Minnesota to be near the Mayo clinic where Claire will hopefully get her transplant this winter. They are trying to raise $100,000 toward medical expenses.

When I think about this family and the physical, emotional and financial toll this must take on them, it breaks my heart. They are so positive, patient, and faithful. They set such an example to our ward of how to have grace and humility in the face of adversity.

So, please, click on their button, read more about their story and do what you can to support them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back From the Beach

We got back from our big, much anticipated, much enjoyed, Annual Harrison Family Beach Week last night. Like last year, my sister-in-law Kat(e), has beat me to the punch on blogging about it. Hopefully, unlike last year, I really will do my own post about it soon. But in the mean time, click on this link and check it out.

I have so much catching up to do on this blasted blog. But first I have to catch up on my life. Being gone for 18 days can do that to you. I'm not complaining though, we had a great time in Virginia and an especially fabulous time at the beach. Thanks, Mom and Dad for making it all happen!