Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Piper and Me

Have you seen the movie "Marley and Me"? Well, if you were unsure if dogs that unruly actually existed, I am here to tell you THEY DO!!! And I can't imagine our life without ours. Unfortunately I don't have to imagine it at all. Today we said goodbye to our 13+ year old lab, Piper.

12 years ago, on a snowy day, we headed to the pound.
We searched the shelter through and through until the perfect dog was found.
In the corner, bouncing around, we saw a black lab bouncily hyper,
He stole our hearts, we brought him home and decided to name him Piper.
His first night home he made his mark by peeing on the wall.
That Christmas season he ate our tree, ornaments, lights and all!
While on our honeymoon we learned many gifts had been destroyed.
But, alas, we still loved our incorrigible, overactive boy.
One by one our children came and Piper met his match
He now had three rambunctious friends to chase him and play catch.
The only lab I've ever met who was terrified of water,
The only lab to sit on laps regardless of who it may bother.
After thirteen years of fun and love, his days are at an end.
We'll always remember Piper as both family and friend.
For all the years of unconditional love and undivided protection,
We are grateful for the time we had to share our home and affection.

Though sadness fills our hearts today we know he suffers no more
With his body and energy renewed, those angels have no idea what's in store!!!

I LOVE dogs! I have rarely NOT had a dog in my life. They make home feel like....well, home to me. A few weeks before Mike and I were married we decided to get another dog. His brother had allergies so Mike had never been able to have one growing up. I say "another" dog because I already had a miniature schnauzer, Phoenix. She had always been around other dogs and when we bought our first home the August before we were married she was all alone. Sadly we lost her a couple years ago.

We went to the shelter just to "look", but I don't think it possible not to leave without at least one pet. I wished I could rescue them ALL! We saw in the corner of a cage a literally BOUNCING black lab and went in to check him out. The first thing he did was try to chew off my engagement ring. Haha. I knew he had good taste from the start. They let us take him outside to go for a walk. The walk ended up being a fast sprint around the park. He was absolutely crazy hyper and obviously ADHD but we loved him so he came home with us. He was part of our family BEFORE we officially became one. 

As my poem mentions, he ate our Christmas tree not once, but TWICE! I was shocked he didn't get electrocuted and was sure he would die from eating the glass ornaments. His digestive system must have been made of steel. While on our honeymoon our friend, who was watching him, called to say Piper had ripped up some wedding gifts. We knew we were going to have our hands full with this guy. One night he ate a three foot hole in our linoleum floor! I have to say I wasn't too upset about that one. It was a great excuse to redo the floor. 

As the years went by and our family grew we learned how patient and loving Piper truly was. He would whimper and pace the halls if the babies were crying and never snapped when they pulled on his ears or tail. In fact, his tail was infamous for whacking legs, furniture and kids!!! It was right at their eye level, thus knocking toddlers over time and time again. Fortunately the kids escaped unscathed. 

We love the outdoors and took him on numerous camping trips and hikes. I am grateful we were able to get him out for one last adventure camping last month. He laid around most of the weekend but the cool air did him well. One day he tried to "play" with a Great Dane. You don't "play" with a Great Dane. They pummel you and you run away. Silly dog. He always slept at my feet because they are always freeeeeezing when we go camping. I will miss that. No wool socks or extra blankets can fill that void.

We don't know if something happened with his previous owners or what but Piper was TERRIFIED of water. Every other lab I know can't hold back when they see a pond, lake, swimming pool etc. Piper would sometimes dip his toes but never fully immersed himself. He also never played fetch well. You would throw a stick or ball, he would take off after it.....but halfway there he would turn around and run back. That is the ADHD I was talking about. 

Even at the ripe old age of at least ten people would often ask "How old is your puppy"? He may have been turning gray but his spirit never seemed to age. At least not until this year. We noticed he was a little stiff during the winter, which is normal for a dog of his age. This spring he stopped eating as much and spent a lot of time just laying around. We noticed he had lost weight but chalked it up to the stress of moving. A couple of weeks ago we took him in for a check up and the Vet said he was skinny but overall he was healthy. Beginning last week he basically stopped eating and drinking altogether. Then he had a seizure. Soon after his liver started failing and we knew he was suffering. It reminded me of how one week my mom was up and joking around.....and the next week she was gone. Sometimes death comes quickly. I suppose that is a blessing. We don't want to see loved ones in pain. That includes dogs because in our house pets are part of the family. 

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough. But watching your kids deal with it is absolutely heart breaking. Last year Mike's grandma died and Tracy took it especially hard. He has the sweetest, most sensitive little heart. I began talking to them about Piper being sick last week so they would get used to the idea. Tracy began drawing pictures and making cards to cheer up his beloved friend. We watched "Marley and Me" last night. I didn't know if it was a good idea or a bad one. I think it was good. The kids kept saying "Piper ate things like that", "Piper ran off like that", "Piper played with us like that"......."Piper is old like that"......"Piper is sick like that".......They understood at that time his days were numbered.

We had planned on waiting until tomorrow while the kids are out of school, but when he couldn't stand this morning and had bloody stools we realized we were being selfish. It was time. After school I read the kids a couple of books I borrowed from Mike's mom about death and loss. We snuggled Piper and told him how much we loved him and thanked him for being in our family all those years. The kids also brought up that now my mom has a dog in heaven. :) 

 Both Mike and I wanted to be with him as he died. Walking him into the shelter brought back flooding memories of when we got him at that same shelter years ago. He had come full circle.  Everett wanted to dedicate John Lennon's "Imagine" song to Piper (the Glee version haha). I promised I would play it for him as he passed away. I did. I don't know if it calmed Piper but he went quickly and peacefully. The music may have been more beneficial to Mike and myself.

So. As I sit here at home, it feels a little empty. Some may think it silly to devote such a long post to an animal, but Piper was not just a pet. Those who have truly embraced an animal know just what a great loss it is. The kids keep saying things like, "I hope Grandma Pam was up there when he made it to heaven" and "maybe he is with Michael Jackson and John Lennon!" The latter two comments, in case you had to wonder, were from Everett. Summer is anxiously waiting for his spirit to sneak onto her bed tonight. :)

Love you Piper! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So many changes, so little time.

I think the post title says it all. It seems just about every aspect of my life is changing, or is soon to change. Our house is UP on the market, we are looking for someplace NEW, the kids are registered at a DIFFERENT school, the school year has just ENDED, meaning my job has ENDED....and, depending on where we end up, I am possibly NOT going back next year. The plan is that I will RETURN to the U of U next January. Happy face!!!

 I am excited about all the change, but overwhelmed as well. I have lost much of my spontaneity since becoming a parent and crave stability. It is hard for a planner, such as myself, to just accept the unknown.  But, alas, I have no choice but to hold on the reins of our chaos and pray we soon find ourselves settled. In the meantime, life is going to be nothing short of an adventure.
We have opted to move into an apartment rather than Mike's grandpas so we can take our time looking for a new abode. Plus, if we don't have a place by the time school starts, I don't want to travel all the way from Foothill to Sandy. The kids are excited for the apartment because there is a pool and there are bound to be kiddoes. We are taking the bare essentials which will be kind of fun. When I say BARE essentials, I mean we aren't taking beds, just mattresses. If we are there longer than a few months that might change, but that is the plan for now and anything I can plan at the moment gives me peace of mind. 
Bring it on unknown!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My friend posted this on FB and I loved it instantly. My Mamma's bee day was last week so she has been on my mind a lot. I am also dealing with a sassy little 4-year-old so I am laughing at this as well. To all you moms out there....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Merry, Magical, Mexican, Mickey kind of Christmas.

There are many reasons for which I feel blessed to have married Mike. One of those reasons is his sweet grandparents, Ken and Veloy Bollinger. From the moment we were engaged (we didn't date very long lol) they welcomed me with open arms. I hadn't had grandparents for a while and they made me feel like I was one of their own. I always know when we visit they are happy to see us and sad to let us leave. I also know they won't allow us to leave with food in our bellies.
As parents, I think it is natural to be hard on ourselves. Ken and Veloy always tell me what a great mother I am and how beautiful, smart and talented my children are. Of course, I feel that they are absolutely fabulous, but to hear if from people I greatly admire makes me feel I am doing something right.
Summer always had a special bond with Veloy. I say "had" because she passed away in November. Even now, when Ken sees Summer he tears up and says, "Oh how Veloy loved that little girl." I recall Veloy feeling to fragile to hold the boys when they were babies but when she first saw Summy she anxiously embraced her in her arms and they had an instantaneous connection.
Ken and Veloy are EXTRAORDINARY examples of selflessness and of giving of to others. This summer they generously announced they wanted to take us all (meaning over 40 people) on a cruise!!! Unfortunately we couldn't all get away at once so two cruises were proposed from which we could choose.We opted for the Christmas cruise because it was Disney and most of us with kids could get away easiest during the holidays.

December 18
30 Bollingers boarded the Disney Wonder in San Diego. Whenever another family in our group boarded it was like opening an early Christmas present. The kids all screamed and hugged and high-fived and yelled and laughed.......let's just say we were really excited to see each other. It was apparent from day one Summer was going to be the center of attention the entire cruise. Maybe it was because she is the baby of the group but the girl cousins wanted to take care of her and the boy cousins wanted to pamper her. I don't think she walked more than a few steps this trip because someone was always there to carry her. I don't blame anyone. She is a pretty darn cute little stinker.
We watched the ship sail away from the top deck and headed out for a week long adventure at sea. The celebration began right away with a "Welcome Aboard Party".

December 19
Partaaay on the big blue sea.
Days at sea can be relaxing. You aren't pressured to get on/off the ship at a certain time and you can just eat, sleep, eat, play, eat, swim, eat see shows and eat whenever you want! We spent much of the day by the pool. In fact, with so many of us, we kind of dominated the pool. Well, the hot tub at least. We also dominated the ice cream machine. Every time I saw one of the kids in our group they were holding a sugary cone of frozen goodness. I swear my kids ate at least eight ice cream cones each day we were gone! I am totally NOT kidding!

December 20
Oceanside in Manzanillo.
While it was fun experiencing life at sea, we were anxious to explore some new place on land. We got this opportunity at the port of Manzanillo. To see palm trees in December made my heart skip a beat.

I love these little girls as if they were my own little nieces. They treated Summy like she was their little sister. Aren't they all gorgeous? They are sweet too. Mike and Ted had just as much fun digging in the sand as the kids. Summer was really concerned after I buried Everett and came to his rescue. She was almost in tears! She was also in sand-LITERALLY! Good thing I love the beach and view a little girl covered head to toe in sand as a happy sight.

The coordinating swimsuits were not planned. I just think Jolynn and I have awesome taste. ;) Our kids are fortunately all great swimmers so, while we still kept a constant eye on them, they actually got to swim in and enjoy the rolling waves. Tracy, especially, is quite the little fish.

December 21

Pirates, palm trees and Puerto Vallarta. Ted and Kelley took the kids on a "genuine" pirate adventure. The toilets were covered in skulls and Summer REFUSED to go potty in them. Kelley said she kept holding it and holding it and when she couldn't hold it anymore she went in the SINK! Luckily it was #1 and not #2.  I am so grateful Trace, Ev and Summy have fun, adoring grandparents. Not many people are willing to hold a little girl over a sink while she does her thing.

While the kiddies were having a piraterrific time with Grandma and Grandpa, Mike and I took to the canopies for a little zip line/repelling action. We had such an awesome time! I thought there would be stomach-dropping excitement..... it wasn't so. But, it was a fun way to swing from tree to tree while getting a great workout. We climbed 60+ft rope ladders and repelled I don't recall how many feet. The drive home was almost as much of an adventure! The rickety Unimog gave NO shelter from the wind. Short hair + wind = crazy, outrageous, tangled hair! Haha. It was worth it. We had a blast.
December 22
Day one on Cabo San Lucas.
 I had gotten up early to work out and as I looked out the front windows of the ship, I about fell off the treadmill. GRAY SKIES!!! I kept thinking that it was early and everything would clear up by the time we left the ship. Unfortunately, I was dead wrong. We had payed to play at a beach resort for the day and although it was overcast we had a great time. We sat in the hot tub and shopped through town. Ironically, the resort where we played was where Mike and I stayed four years ago. Random!
Tonight was the night we had all been waiting for.......PiRaTe NiGhT!!! We donned our swashbuckling attire, unsheathed our swords and prepared for a nautical night of fun.

Our first stop was a photo shoot with good ole Capn' Jack Sparrow. With Ted dressed as Blackbeard, Sparrow felt he had met his match. Ted looked so awesome that people asked us if he was a character and if they could get a picture. Haha.
If you dress boys in pirate attire and put swords in their hands, you have to expect they are going to have a sword fight. Especially when mom says she wanst to catch all the action on film. I am such a great example. I love all of the towel animals on cruises. This monkey pirate was my favorite.
After dinner, we headed to Goofy's Pool for the greatest pirate party ever! Grandpa Great got completely into character with his dreadlock pirate hat. He kept swinging his sword around yelling "Arrrrrrgh!" at everyone.
We danced and laughed late into the night. Following the festivities there was an incredible fireworks display.There is nothing quite like watching fireworks while sailing in the middle of the ocean. One thing I have learned over the years is that no one does fireworks like Disney!

December 23
Day two on Cabo San Lucas.
 The weather was much better today but, unfortunately Summer and I were not. I had one of my frequent "Bennett Bowel" issues and was forced to stay near to the bathroom all day. Summer had thrown up the previous night and was still fighting a fever. Luckily by afternoon we both felt well enough to spend a couple hours poolside as we awaited the return of our guys.
Mike took the boys ashore where they were greeted with an adorable lion cub.

December 24
Not much different on Christmas Eve. Chillin' poolside and enjoying each other's company. I did, however, have some fabulous lobster for dinner. Thank you Disney!
I suppose here is as good a time as any to post about some of our favorite cruise passengers- THE PRINCESSES! Trace acted really cool, but we know he was secretly excited to meet Ariel. Christmas Belle was beautiful too! The winner, however, had to be TIANA! Summer was feeling terrible one night and just wasn't up for excitement. Tiana pulled her aside and, in a quiet Southern accent, whispered, "Let's go ova heeya." She led her away from the crowd and we captured a quiet moment of her talking to little Summer.
We didn't realize until days into the voyage that Summer was SICK! She never complains and we thought the reason she was tired all the time was due to the excitement. I finally checked her temperature one day and, Yep!, she had a fever. A little ibuprofen blasted the fever but she wasn't herself for a few days. She only threw up the one time, but we could tell she was miserable. Irregardless, she didn't miss a beat. She played along all day and just CRASHED at the dinner table. :(

December 25
Christmas day was bittersweet. We were obviously excited to be together, on a beautiful ship, overlooking the expansive blue sea, celebrating the holidays with Mickey and his friends. Our hearts were fragile because Christmas day is also Veloy's birthday. Sweet Veloy who went back to her Heavenly Father just weeks before our trip. KB really wanted to celebrate her birthday with a cake so we asked what could be done. Good old Disney pulled through FABULOUSLY!!! They made us a huge cake and let us use an empty club for a party. A few words were said, many tears were shed and a LOT of cake was eaten. I am grateful we could all be together with KB on this day to remember such an amazing woman.

Disney knows how to do Christmas at sea. There was fake snow, as shown by Dagan, a Goofy, Mickey AND human Santa, gingerbread houses, was fun, fun, FUN! We even got a pic with Cruise Director Jimmy. For some reason Trace was really excited about it. He even got his autograph. Haha. Love that kid.
The kids loved the cake! These little cousins get along so amorously I was sad we had only one more day together. Our wait staff, Yukiko and Savio were wonderful and accommodating. Savio even got our picky Tracy to eat at times. I asked if he would come home with us but he chose his family. We were sorely disappointed.

As I mentioned before, the ice cream was available 24-7, so our last night we had a pajama ice cream party in our room. Even I, someone who dislikes ice cream, partook in the festivities. The kids donned their new jammies made by Grandma Kelley.
 Here are some random pics. Ev often passed out at dinner, during shows, while talking....he has a talent. The angel towel on Christmas day. Ev and his little Toy Story alien. It was his present from grandma and grandpa. Lastly, Ev got stung by SOMETHING! We aren't sure if it was a jelly fish or a sea monster, but he was itchy and in pain. Poor guy.

December 26
Time to say, "Adios". I was soooooooo sad about leaving. Not just because the ship was beautiful and we were in a warmer climate, but because I love Mike's extended family SO much! We all got along and the kids had such a great time together.....I don't know when we will ALL be together again. Some people can't wait to have a break after spending such an expansive time with family, but this trip was different. I know this sounds cheesy, but the cruise sort of made me think of what heaven will be like. We are always with our families, we can see cousins and loved ones whenever we want, the scenery is beautiful and there is always something to eat. ;) I like to think there is food in Heaven.
Thank you Grandpa Great for the most memorable vacation EVER! xoxoxo

Thursday, March 29, 2012


We are both excited and dejected to announce that this summer.....

We have been in our home seven years and absolutely ADORE our neighborhood and ward. We are just experiencing the repercussions of living in an area with so few children. Especially the ages of our boys. There are actually several girls Summy's age. There must have been something in the water that year. ;) Trace is a SUPER social person and simply has nobody to play with. His bestie moved last year and no matter how many times I send home notes with his classmates, we never get calls for play dates. I hesitate to say "never" because he has ONE friend with whom he plays. Mike and I are really good friends with his parents though and I am sure our friendship will continue. That said, it has been a very hard year. Well, for a few reasons, but not having friends is one of the big ones. 
We also want a garage. I don't want a big house or want to leave more of a carbon footprint than we need to.....but I have always dreamed of having a garage. I don't think that is too vane or big of a request. Haha. I had one growing up but never parked in it. I moved out at 17 for college and have always dreamed of one day having a garage. Silly, I know. We looked briefly into adding one to our house several years ago, but it just wasn't worth the price/effort. 
We aren't exactly sure where we are going to move. We like areas in Sandy, Draper, Murray and Holladay. If anyone has any input we would be grateful. :) There are different aspects of each area we like/dislike and simply cannot pin it down. Our main desire is somewhere with more kids. That seems to lead us to Draper. Yet, Draper would be a long commute for Mike and to the U for me when I go back to school. We like Murray schools but there aren't a lot of kids in some areas. Same with Holladay. Our real estate agent has no idea what he is getting into having me as a client. I think things through often waaaaaaaaay too much. 
We are putting our house on the market in a couple of weeks. I have been in and out of the blog world so much these last couple of years I don't even know if anyone reads it anymore. LOL I just felt the need to spew my thoughts and explain why we are leaving. Last year a few families moved and the rumors began right away. NO, we don't think we are "too good" for the area, NO, we haven't been offended by anyone, and YES we still plan to keep in touch. 
To any of our neighbors who read this, we love you and appreciate you making this area home for the last seven years. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stay tuned.....

Big changes about to happen.........

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Probing for answers...hee hee hee.

There are many things in my genetics for which I am grateful. For the most part I am strong and healthy. I think my father once referred to me as "sturdy". lol There are also a few things which I would gladly do without. One of things my younger brother and I refer to as the "Bennett Bowels". Technically it should be the "Romney Bowels" being that it comes from my mother's lineage. Regardless of what you call it, it runs a gamut of symptoms ranging from frequent diarrhea to ulcerative colitis to polyps. (I will get to the reason for my graphic descriptions later.)
Due to my awesome, overactive digestive system I have the opportunity to undergo an invasive colonoscopy every five years. This all started when I was 21 and a precancerous polyp was discovered. Who would have thought having diarrhea may have saved my life? If I hadn't had that colonoscopy 11 years ago, my doc says it likely would have become cancerous. Crazy!
Between being pregnant, nursing and just not wanting to subject myself to the nastiness of the bowel prep, I put off having a routine colonoscopy for a few extra years. Last month I suddenly had a feeling it was time. I HATE, HATE,HATE the electrolyte nastiness you drink to cleanse your poop tubes. I think it is the texture that gets to me. I almost throw up with every gulp. Uggggg! Just thinking about it I just dry heaved in my mouth!
The Dr. who performed my procedure was awesome! He kept joking about how I was "special" to have such crappy (pun intended) bowels at such a young age. I told him to give me a punch card where every fifth colonoscopy was free. If he weren't about to "colonoscopize" me, I would have thought we were old friends.
To get on with it, the procedure went fine.( I woke up once in a previous colonoscopy when the nurse was pushing on my stomach and the doctor was pushing something else the other way.....let's just say it was awwwwwful.) In fact, when I came out of anesthesia, I started shouting and flailing my arms. Both the doc and staff began laughing HYSTERICALLY! I asked what I had just said, and the Dr. replied, "You yelled, 'Mike! Get out of my colon.'" Hahahahaha! No offense to any of you who may be into that kind of thing, but I have enough bowel issues. I have no idea where that outburst came from.
Dr. Fenton told me the procedure had gone well but that he had found more polyps and they were being sent out for biopsies. They way he said it as he grasped my arm made me nervous. There was no way something was wrong. Right? I waited in angst the following week Had I waited too long? I couldn't help but think about my mom waiting to hear back about test results and that made me worry even more. Fortunately, I received news that they were all BENIGN! Yay! Some did, however, show potential to turn into something cancerous so it was good I had them removed when I did. I WILL NEVER PUT THIS OFF AGAIN!
That is the reason for this graphic, personal post. It is SO important to take care of ourselves! Be sure to get your mammograms and pap smears and colonoscopies and annual physicals. SO many life threatening medical issues can be resolved if found early enough. I am grateful I listened to that little voice that kept nagging me to get checked. I owe it to myself and to my family to be proactive about my health.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Farewell to Ryno.

Today I attended Ryan's funeral. It was a beautiful service. I have also never laughed so much at a funeral. His father was stalwart as he spoke of his fun, crazy and sometimes reckless son. He reminded us of how everyone teased Ryan as a child for looking so much like Ralphie from "The Christmas Story". I laughed at hearing how Ryan would hide fireworks in hot dogs for unsuspecting roasters to discover. I about died when his father went on about how he had to try "harder and harder and harder" to conceive Ryan. Then once he was conceived he got to take a break. Who talks about that at a funeral? Why Darryl Wendel, of course.
Even more hilarious was when his dad talked about how much Ryan loved girls and would bring them on boating trips. He smiled and said HE loved when Ryan brought these girls along too! Watching his dad speak, I could picture what Ryan would have looked like down the road had he had the opportunity.
I had a moment with his mother at the viewing which was very sweet. She grasped my hands tightly, we reminisced about all of us as kids. She said she loved seeing all of us grown up with our own kids and she then she told me how much she loved my mom. In that sad moment we knew we felt each other's loss. I am still amazed at the grace and strength Ryan's mom upheld through the service. I can't even imagine the pain and anguish one feels at the loss of a child. Ryan leaves behind two beautiful girls, ages 7 and 9. The older daughter spoke of some of her favorite memories of her dad. I pray for comfort for them. There was so much love and support in that room for those girls I feel Ryan has left them in good hands.
It was a day full of reunions. I saw some friends I haven't seen for almost 20 years. I don't think much of my childhood anymore so it was fun to relive the happy times with the people with whom I caused so much mischief and shared so much laughter. I wish more than anything we had gotten reacquainted under different circumstances but Ryan's death has prompted us to all get together and keep in contact better.
You were one hilarious guy Ryan. You always knew how to seek out adventure, live life to the fullest and show the people you care about how much you loved them. May the sand dunes in heaven be ready for you. At least now, you won't have to worry about breaking bones. See you again one day old buddy!

Ryan Darrell Wendel 

  |   Visit Guest Book

1978 ~ 2012
Our beloved Father, Son, Brother and Friend passed away unexpectedly Sat Jan 28, 2012
Son of Darrell and Chris Wendel, Brother to Michelle Siegismund (Otto) and Wendy Romero (Brian). Ryan married Angie Holmes and had two beautiful girls, Allie (9) and Lexi (7). Later divorced. Ryan was adored by nieces and nephews and his special sweetheart Chelsee. Loved by all his many Friends who were always there for each other which we are so grateful for. 
Ryan worked as an electrician with his father (Wendel Electric). He loved to golf, boat, ride his Motorcycle and go four wheeling at the sand dunes. Most of all he loved being with his two sweet girls! 
We all loved our Ryan (Ryno) so very much and will miss him everyday until we meet again.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 2, 2012 at the LDS Chapel at 400 North 700 West, Saratoga Springs, Utah with a viewing at the church Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Thursday prior to services from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

To the days of picking raspberries.......

 Today I learned one of my oldest friends died of a heart attack at the age of 33. He leaves behind two adorable little girls. The shock is still setting in. I have had friends die in accidents or from having a serious illness, but it never crossed my mind someone could have a heart attack so young. I hear about it happening, but I never thought it would happen to someone in my life.I feel so young and full of life and I look forward to a long and bright future with my family. Realizing that could be swept away in an instant is disheartening.
I was literally in diapers with this friend. Our moms were friends. We rode the bus to kindergarten together. We picked raspberries on the property by his house. He was the funny one in our group. I remember thinking he resembled Donahue on that TV show from the 80's. I remember one of my best friends asking me to ask him to be her boyfriend. He brought smiles to all our faces.
When we are young we have nothing but hope for the future. We don't think of the possibility we may only have a short time on this earth. We can't fathom the idea we will leave behind loves ones in an instant.
Truth be told, this has been the worst week I have had in a long time. This news just about broke me. But, as sad as I feel I can't help but think of his sweet girls. I am so grateful to know that this life is not the end. In a couple of weeks, it will have been eleven years since I lost my mom. It was devastating watching her die, but I am grateful I at least had the opportunity to say goodbye. I was able to feel closure.
My heart goes out to his family. Loss is never easy. Moving on is impossible and for that I am actually grateful. If we carry a piece of them with us then their legacy lives on.
Here's to you old buddy. I will think of you whenever I see raspberries and remember how we would eat them all while we were supposed to be picking them for your parents. lol

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The truth about Mother Goose.

Last night, while reading Mother Goose nursery rhymes Tracy commented, "Mother Goose sounds drunk to me." He was so serious about it!
 I don't know where he gets his knowledge of how someone acts when drunk, but I have to agree with him. Most nursery rhymes are dark and grammatically poor. For instance, "and down he RUN"????Seriously? I have a pet peeve about grammar as it is, but how does one get published with that? Plus, a cradle falling out of a tree? Kids singing and dancing about the plague? 
I suppose I should give MG a little slack. She did, afterall, raise a litter of kids in a shoe. I would probably hit the bottle too. JK Okay, enough ranting. As much as they annoy me, we often read these macabre stories at bedtime. I admit I enjoy a little "pat-a-cake" and "this little piggy". But, overall I think I will stick to Dr. Seuss and The Moon Shines Down

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Interview with the Kids.

On my best friend's blog she had posted interviews with her daughters and I thought it was so cute I had to copy the idea. What better way to capture who they are and what they want to be at this point in their lives than to simply ASK THEM? I have left answers UNEDITED! Here goes.....

Tracy: "Seven. What are you doing?"
Everett: "Mommy I'm five. Why do you ask?"
Summer: "Three and a HALF!"

Tracy: "Books about Army and Aircraft Carriers."
Everett: "Transformer."
Summer:" Beauty and the Beast."

Tracy: "Cars 2."
Everett: "Despicable Me."
Summer: "All of the Princess movies."

Tracy: "Mighty Machines."
Everett: "Dinosaur Train."
Summer: "Ooooh. Strawberry Shortcake and Angelina Ballerina."

Tracy: "Max."
Everett: "Sam and Dominic."
Summer:" Sam likes me. He goes to Challenger too." (Note to self: check out this Sam fellow. He is a different Sam than Ev's friend.) 

Tracy: "Noel." (She was in his class last year. She is a cute blond with big blue eyes. She is really sweet too. When Tracy first told me they were dating a year ago I asked what that meant. He said it means you like each other. After witnessing what the 5th and 6th graders do when they are "going out" I was relieved!)
Everett: "Uh uh."
Summer: "Milo". They have in fact been dating for over a year now. He is a cute kid. We approve. ;)

Tracy: "Lego Engineer."
Everett: "Mad Scientist hahahahaha!"
Summer: "Princess."

Tracy: "University of Utah."
Everett: "BYU" (He always chooses the opposite of what he thinks we want him to say thinking he will cause a commotion. Sorry buddy. I don't care WHERE you go to school.)
Summer: "I don't WANT to go to college!!!" (Um, this answer WILL be changing in years to come!)

Tracy: "Places where there is water. Then I can boogie board."
Everett: "Arizona."
Summer: "The beach." (That's my girl!)

Tracy: "Lego Land and the Grand Canyon."
Everett: "Disney land and Lego land."
Summer: "Another Disney cruise."

Tracy: "Legos."
Everett: "Legos".
Summer:" Sleeping Beauty dress-up."

Tracy: "Legos."
Everett: "Batman toys."
Summer: "I like all of my toys!"

Tracy:" Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson."
Everett:" Michael Jackson."
Summer: "Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber and Avril Lavigne."

Tracy: "Going off the rails on a crazy train." Ozzy Osborne
Everett: "I'm Bad." Michael Jackson
Summer: "Hey, hey, you, you, I don't like your girlfriend." Avril Lavigne

Tracy: "Play legos and do crafts."
Everett: "Go to the library."
Summer: "Play games."

Tracy: "Play legos."
Everett: "Get prizes when he comes back from out of town."
Summer: "Go potty!!!!!" No joke! This was her answer. HAHAHA!

*Mike and I discovered the sentimentality of Summer's comment this week. We went our to dinner twice and BOTH times Mike took her to the bathroom she had to poop. She was in there for at least 15 minutes each time. She would say, "I have six more poops" or something along those lines. Ahhh. My little princess. 

Tracy: "Alma the Younger."
Everett: "Alma."
Summer: "Baby Jesus."

Tracy: "Quesadillas, tostadas and nachos."
Everett: "Macaroni and pancakes." 
Summer: "Hot dogs."

Tracy: "Apples and carrots."
Everett: "Clementines, bananas and broccoli. I like edamame too."
Summer: "Clementines, grapes and edamames too."

Tracy: "Crocodiles, alligators, wild life animals and iguanas and lizards and snakes."
Everett: "Every animal, but I like T-Rex's the most cuz they can eat stuff. I like turtles too."
Summer: "Elephant!"

Tracy: "Ferrari, hot rods, sports cars, and police cars."
Everett: "Hot Rod."
Summer:" Dune Buggy."

Tracy: "Transformers again."
Everett: "Hot Rod."
Summer: "Rapunzel".

Tracy: "More legos."
Everett: "I want one of those Fin boats where when Fin from Cars 2 jumps onto the bad boat and he's on the side and he goes to get the bad guys. You can get it at Target."
Summer: "Um, uh, a monkey stuffed animal. I'm getting tired of telling you things." LOL

Tracy: "Basketball."
Everett: "I like a lot of sports but mostly I like baseball."

Tracy: :Science and math and reading."
Everett: "Science". (Hence, wanting to be a mad scientist I suppose.)
Summer: "AIRPLANES!!!" (They just finished a section on transportation.)

Tracy: "All of my stuffed animals and blankies."
Everett: "My teddy and my aliens and my space blankie."
Summer: " My purple blank." (translation=blanket)

Tracy: "Skiing."
Everett: "Cruise."
Summer: "Cruise!"

Tracy: "Going skiing again."
Everett: "Going to be an East Midvale Eagle."
Summer: "Looking for dinosaur bones". (Not sure where that came from but I will have to keep on eye on the sandbox.)

Well, there you have it. The Bollinger legacy in the works. I can't wait to ask again next year.

I want a hip hop hippopotamus for Christmas.

I love this part of my life partly because I enjoy being a "soccer mom". I love going to my children's sports games, recitals and school events. On December 14, I attended the dance recital of Trace and Summy. Summer began a jazz/ballet class in August and Tracy a hip-hop one. They both worked very hard and had a FUN, FUN, FUN time at class as well as during their performances.

I have to give props to Tracy's instructor, Brandon. Managing seven rumbustious, hyper little boys was no small feat! The class consists of a half hour of tumbling and another half hour of learning routines. We had a few.....ehm....missteps along the way. Let's just say Tracy was a little TOO rowdy on more than one occasion and sat in the corner for part of the class. I bring this up because as time has passed I have seen much growth in Trace. He has learned to control himself (most of the time) and is often the teacher's assistant during class.

Summer's teacher, Miss Tami is adorable and so sweet with all of the little girls. Summer behavior is completely OPPOSITE her brother's. She takes it so seriously I keep asking her if she is enjoying herself. When Miss Tami does kicks across the floor and asks the girls to follow, most of them give up half way and start playing with each other's skirts. Not Summer! With a serious look on her face she kicks her little legs the whoooooole distance. At the end of class she is smiling and jumping around and chatting with her friends. Maybe I am just used to rowdy boys and I assume because she isn't yelling and causing chaos she isn't having fun.

Summer's class was one of the studios selections for the Festival of Trees. She was LITERALLY jumping for joy at the chance to perform. I will have to post the video. She was not only dancing her little heart out, she was singing the words! We didn't know what to expect when she got up there on that stage. Little did we know we have a little diva on our hands. She had facial expressions and everything!!! It was awesome.

It has been an exciting few months of dance and I look forward to the next recital come spring. Everett has just joined Tracy's Hip Hop class. So far, so good. I am just pleased my kids have found something active that brings them so much joy.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sun Beam

Who better to become a Sun Beam than the little lady with a name literally paying homage to the sun? Yes, our little Summer is now officially in primary!!! I didn't even realize it until her cute new teacher called to get some information for a spotlight. I think I am in denial my kids are growing up as quickly as they are. Sigh.... I am so proud of our little ray of sunshine. That pretty much sums her up. She is so sweet and loving to all. When I ask her why she is so sweet, or beautiful, or smart etc. her simple reply is always, "Jesus did it."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reflections 2011

The theme this year for Reflections was "DIVERSITY". Tracy said he wanted to enter and came up with an idea all on his own. He drew a picture of himself with his friend Tino and wrote "Buddies". Such a simple drawing on one level, but with deep roots into who Tracy is. He loves everyone regardless of what they look like, what they wear, where they live or what they believe. There is a reason he makes friends everywhere he goes. He has an open heart and puts himself out there in the world. I love Trace for many reasons, this being just one of them.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only one who thought Tracy's entry was noteworthy. He moved onto the next level and was a finalist for the whole district!!! I am proud of this accomplishment, but mostly I am proud to know the sweet, open-minded boy who created it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The things we learn from our children...

I thought that as the parent I would be the one to provide teaching and guidance. I have since learned that I am often the student.

This last Thanksgiving, Mike's father learned an old schoolmate had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. Being the generous man that he is, he invited him to join our family for the holiday. It was a tasty, enjoyable and LOUD feast followed by some down time before pie. I had noticed that the "friend" didn't join us for dessert and figured he just needed some quiet away from our rambunctiousness. Come to find out, Tracy had asked him to join us and he had politely declined. Tracy then asked if he would just like someone to talk to and spent some time keeping this man company. I was too wrapped up with filling my belly with pumpkin pie to notice my sweet seven-year-old showing love to a man he met only an hour prior. 

My father-in-law later told us about what had happened and I feel very touched. I am so proud of his unprompted act of kindness. As this time of year we turn our hearts toward gratitude, I am grateful for my children. I am thankful for the love they show to me, to each other and to others. If you know me well enough, you know crying is not in my lexicon. However, each time I read this post or think about Tracy sitting with this gentleman, I get a little choked up.