Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday fun

I need you to get my butt out of bed :)

Currently, I don't work on Fridays. Well, more accurately, I do no travel to my place of employment on Fridays. I still spend the day with a pack of beagles, an Avyrlie, and an endless list of stuff to do and things to accomplish. Lately the whole bit has been trumped by the release of Neal's newest book and my addiction to Orson Scott Card's Ender series. In my world there truly is nothing like a good book (chocolate is perhaps a close second ;)

So, by the time Friday morning rolls around and I've been up all night reading, or catching up on my DVR, I'm not about to jump out of bed and get stuff done when the alarm goes off at 4:30 AM. Aimee and Avyrlie are still battling in their sleep. The dogs are contently snoring in the kitchen. Ian has crumpled his blankets into a ball, thrown his pillow across the room, and is curled up in some position I've seen only in Yoga classes. All of this prevails on my still clouded and now caffeine deficient mind, so I re-enter the battle bed and slip back to semi consciousnesses.

The problem is that I have two distinct sleep windows. One from midnight to 3 AM and one from about 5AM to 9AM. If I don't get up and going between 3AM an 4AM, the day becomes a scene from the Walking Dead with me playing the part of Daddy Zombie, Avyrlie playing the perky cheerleader who gets it in the last scene, and the dogs just run randomly frantic through the frames like the poor squirrel in Ice Age. Nothing you want to see on the big screen!

In my effort to reclaim my Friday fun, I've decided to make Friday mornings a regular posting time here on Smithpix with whatever I'm in the mood to share (poor you ;) Hopefully this will get me up and going to avoid the Zombie Zone and keep me current on postings, photos, and happenings.

Here we go :)

Took me a bit to figure out what on earth she is doing. Watch the clip, then read on...

She's wiggling. That went on for another 20 minutes...

At preschool she is loving the computer and playing house. The teacher has her help the kids take turns on the computer (a natural talent for our bossy princess), and loves how helpful she is. We love how helpful she is too with cleaning, playing with dogs, and telling Ian what to do!

The dogs are a force of nature. They are starting to outgrow their puppy clumsiness, and are now able to destroy things with precision and grace. This morning I watched them lend credence to the phrase 'my dog ate my homework' as they ripped apart Ian's book report and several old assignments. Then they found a path to the kitchen table by jumping from the couch, to the lamp table (they made some room by knocking off the lamp) and onto the table. During the path clearing process, they not only took out the lamp, but missed the table on the first few attempts until they figured out how to scoot the chairs away to clear the final flight path.

Triela has also discovered a new favorite trick: knocking Sadie down the stairs. I think at first it was an accident, but now she either waits in ambush for Sadie to round the corner from the living room into the kitchen, or does a Beagle-Ninja spin and nudge move as they are chasing each other past the stairway sending Sadie toppling down into the doorway. Sadie is much stronger and faster, but Triela is stubborn and relentless. Reminds me of some kids I have...

Ian is pretty excited to finish the doghouse for the pups. It's insulated and windproof so they should be pretty cozy all year. We changed his school medication a bit this week to a 12 hour instead of an 8 hour pill and upped the dose a bit. He's been feeling pretty good about school and doing better, but we're not quite there yet. Hopefully, along with some improved study and sleep habits, we'll get him performing more constantly with all of his commitments and responsibilities and not as anxious or defeated.

(Avyrlie doesn't like this picture. She calls it 'Scary Ian')

The third book in the Eragon series just came out, so getting Ian to do his reading has a been a bit easier lately. I also talked him in to joining the choir at school. a friend of mine is one of the directors and I think Ian will have a lot of fun doing it. Or he'll hate me forever, but then he's almost thirteen anyhow...

Well, Avyrlie is up and politely demanding pancakes, so my fun time with you is up and Friday begins!

Last pic. Click it to check out a couple more random kid pix :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Intense movie watching

P9150032, originally uploaded by eouio.

Gardner Village

We headed to Gardner Village with Leah after Ian's football game to get some food and enjoy the Halloween decor. The place is a bit over the top for me to just browse aimlessly, but everyone had a good time in spite of the gale force wind that claimed our lunches ;)

Grantsville Game

Bitter sweet loss.

I generally don't brag too much about my kids on the blog. Mainly because the free time I use to blog is when I'm fed up with them and stick them in a closet, covered in peanut butter, with two beagles to deliver the lickings they deserve.

Yesterday though, they somehow made it through and entire 24 hours without providing sufficient motive for ritual torture. So, this morning I decided to take a couple minutes to do the proud parent blogging thing (before they wake up and earn a licking ;)

Yesterday, Hillcrest faced their nemesis, Grantsville. Predictably, they began by giving up 20 points, and trying to hold back a lot of tears from the beatings they were getting as their line was broken through again and again. By the time a hand off was made to the running backs, there were two or three red jerseys already within tacking distance. Our strategy of 'watch #34 because he usually has the ball' worked perfectly, as long as we were wanting to watch him gain 6 yards on each carry before tackling him.

Somehow we needed some motivation. Hopefully, at some point this group will figure out how to rely on each other for motivation and support when things are down, but for now, they seem to need a big play, either by luck or one person's determination, to restore their confidence. Thankfully, Ian brought that determination with him to this game.

He started out getting pounded for the first quarter. On one play, by the time he got the hand-off he had two guys hitting him in front and a third hitting him from behind which sent him to the sidelines for a while to catch his breath and nurse a nasty welt on his back. Toward the end of a second quarter filled with more failed passing plays and fruitless running attempts, everyone was pretty frustrated and tired of getting hit.

Ian was frustrated, beat up, and sore, but stayed focused and determined (not a usual combination for him). He finally decided to make a bit of his own luck and smashed through the Grantsville line and broke several tackles for a huge 10 yard run up the middle. We finished the half without scoring, but also held Grantsville scoreless as well. Ian had consistent blocks every play, and morale was up ever so slightly.

The second half started with Ian kicking off. He had a huge kick, just shy of the endzone resulting in a tackle on the three yard line. Grantsville's next play ended with us recovering a fumble, and then scoring our first TD of the game.

Ian's next kick was almost as perfect, but sailed all the way into the endzone putting Grantsville on the 20. Another recovered fumble and some renewed confidence put us on the scoreboard again.

On his third kick, he tried to get a little fancy and put it deep into the corner. Tough to do when you're still kicking off your toe and don't have the control. He didn't quite get the depth, but did manage to put it on the side to get us a relatively easy tackle on the 15.

I'd love to say we ended up coming back for a win, but it just was not to be. Everyone was feeling pretty good after the game though having played a very tough second half and showing some constancy that has been sorely lacking all season. The parting chant was 'WE WON THE SECOND HALF!".

As much as I love to see him make the big plays, it's Ian's attitude that plays on my pride. He keeps his head up when others despair, cheers for his teammates and offers encouragement when they're down, and is as quick to recognize efforts as well as results. He's still an eleven year old boy with the attention span of a beagle puppy, but he has made some huge improvements in recognizing some of his own efforts as well.

Building his confidence has been a long hard haul, but I think he is finally starting to realize that he has a stake in all the efforts we are making and is beginning to make the connection between the efforts and the results. I tend to think he usually feels that life is more like the first half of a Granstville game than it is like the second, where no matter how hard you struggle, you keeping getting held and hit from behind. Hopefully we all have enough determination to pull each other through the second half with our head high.

Blah, blah, blah... I'm a sentimental sap... apologies.

And Avyrlie. The beagles get no remarks of pride unless they learn to use the toilet and make dim sum (two separate things. I don't make dim sum in the toilet)

I usually wish Avyrlie would take attention span lessons from the beagles, but she tends to remember and dwell on everything. Like Ian though, she is a peacemaker and loves to make friends. Everywhere we go she instantly adopts a new group as 'her girls' or 'her boys' and leads the charge to the playground. I picked her up at preschool the other day to find her explaining to Girl-1 that it was now Girl-2's turn on the computer but that she could have another turn after Girl-2 was done. Then she took her by the hand to pick out some toys to play with. Somehow the friend association translates to parents as well because when I pick her up, two or three other kids come grab my hand and tell me they're ready to go. Very cute (as long as the hand sanitizer isn't empty...).

Her first questions for me are always, "Where's my bother?", and "What's my mom doing?" (next question is "Can we get a donut?". Aimee's kid...). When we get home, she's excited to see the dogs have them chase her around the house or yard while she plays referee and tells them if they need to be nicer to each other.

Her absolute favorite play date is with Ian's football team after practices on Thursday. Every Thursday a couple of the parents provide a tailgate party for the team. They've done this for several years now and it has caught on as a traditions with most of the other Hillcrest teams as well. Avyrlie invariably ends up with several players chasing her around the field and teasing with her. I've taken this as advance warning and have started working on my intimidation techniques for subduing boys who continue to chase her as she gets older. First in my arsenal was a large jar of Alum.

While Aimee is certainly not my kid (from what I hear she was lucky to survive childhood) I have to mention how proud I am of her as well, freaky habits and all ;)

Aimee pointed me to a blog that one of her co-workers maintains where he refers to himself as Donkey. After reading several posts, my mind somehow associates him with another unflattering donkey like word. I'm not the brightest and most compassionate person, but I can't fathom this guy can believe things like: inviting your mother to watch your kids birth is ok, WITHOUT ASKING YOUR WIFE FIRST! or that mentioning your WIFES FACIAL HAIR is alright in any context. Well I caught myself feeling exactly like a post straight from his blog when I realized that it drives me nuts when Aimee asks my opinion about something and then reports to me later that her dad agreed with me so I might be right. As if my opinion is bound to be wrong; as if I am EVER WRONG at all ;)

Yeah, what an ***. It actually took me thirteen years to have it dawn on me that her letting me know my opinion was confirmed by someone who was able to live with a teenage version of my wife (aka The Beast) for many years without selling her to the Russian government for use as an interrogation torture engineer (ask her brother), was not an insult, slam, or any form of derision.

She certainly gets much more than just opinions and good looks from her parents. She's a bizarre workaholic and makes exiting a vehicle quite the event :P No is simply missing her vocabulary which has resulted in some curious telemarketing and door-to-door sales escapades, and she is charitable and doesn't takes service obligations lightly. Crowds give her endless stress especially in her home (it takes an hour of snuggling with a case of paper towels to recover from a party), but she would be lost without daily contact with parents and siblings.

I am most proud of her as a mom of course. Without her, I'm sure the kids and I would constantly end up explaining to neighbors why we were dancing around a bonfire in the backyard (of course Aimee would have us naked ;), roasting marshmallows till all hours of the night, and neglecting the yardwork until kids could only escape the front lawn with they aid of a highly trained search party. She keeps us on task (yes, she acts like my mother as well), and without her help we'd probably all be Democrats.

The past couple years have been exciting, rough, fun, frantic, rewarding and stressful. We've made it through them to become a more functional family with a refined vision of who we want to be (although Avyrlie has known all along she wants to be Princess Aurora). We are blessed beyond measure with health, family, successes, and beagles, and hope to someday deserve half of it.

What on earth does any of this have to do with the Grantsville game? While watching Ian struggle and succeed on field I realized more profoundly than ever, that Ian now has as much of a role in determining outcomes in his life as his parents do. It's exciting and terrifying to see how much and how little control you have simultaneously in guiding your childrens' future.

If you've read this far, I apologize. I wrote this more for myself than you and am feeling selfishly satisfied. Check back soon for pix that are much more interesting than the ramblings of my emotional exhaustion ;)

Bed bugs

No pics yet, but I wanted to get a couple posts up while I have some down-time. Aimee and I got home from grabbing a couple necessities at the store last night (ice cream and Diet Coke...) to find all four youngsters curled up on our bed, sound asleep. My pic only has three because Sadie is a pretty light sleeper and got up when I walked in.

Aimee was hoping for an alert dog similar to Sam whose bark would cause the dehydrated dead to wet themselves as they lept from the grave. Sadie will bark if she is awake, if she hears you, and if she really cares (not very often).

I'm pretty sure Triela has never alerted anyone to anything and has to get pretty excited before she makes a peep. When I woke her up to kennel her last night she just managed to open one eye and turn her head slightly before going back to sleep.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Riding the wolf with a goofy grin

Avyrlie was very excited to ride the wolf after seeing it picking berries of a bush right next to her (as close as the fence allows...). Ian was even pretty happy to stop by the zoo for a quick visit.

After the zoo we headed up the canyon a bit to eat at Ruth's. Ian has never had lunch there and I just like the atmosphere. Avyrlie took a liking to the stage and spent her lunch time singing and dancing on it.

We headed home to let the dogs know we still care, and then zoomed off to the second Dr. appt of the day. It went really well because Aimee managed to make it there in time to get her opinions heard. I honestly always try to convey what her intentions are, but the fact the her opinions fluctuate as wildly as the stock market and that I have rather strong doctor/medication prejudices make it nearly impossible for me to arrive at the same conclusions that she might. We are definitely getting closer, but might need another 15 years to get our marbles effectively mixed ;)

Heading home we debated on procrastinating housework by seeing an 'Eater Movie' (Avyrlie's term for being able to eat in the theater), but decided instead to head home and see if we couldn't fill the dumpster we rented with all the accumulated crap laying around (yes, the dog crap alone filled half :o )

Ian and I started tossing the old pantry debris while Avyrlie entertained the dogs in their wire pen. They fight and wrestle almost constantly, but even in the midst of their most epic battles they tolerate Avyrlie pouncing on top of them and demanding that they "BE NICE!!!". Presently, I still have Sadie listed for sale, but I wouldn't be disappointed if we end up keeping her either. Ideally, I'd like to have a dog with a bit less energy that isn't in your face at all times, but Triela and Sadie get along really well and sleep pretty sound at night after calling at truce and retreating to their kennels for the night.

Ended the night pretty early (which is around 10 PM at the Smith house) and headed to bed to rest up for The Big Game...

High Five - You're a crazy sleeper!

Sleep study results were pretty normal as far as breathing goes which is very good news. No apparatuses to wear at night or surgeries to subject him to (though I still asked for a couple shots ;)

He was borderline on everything else though: position changes, leg movements, sleep cycle lenghths, and arousals. The doctor recommended Flonase to help with any inflammation in his nose and that the rest was more a psychiatric or sleep hygiene problem.

So for now we work on a better bedtime routine (we could all use that) and see what difference the Flonase makes.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh so close!

No the blowout they all wanted, but Hillcrest managed to pull off another win against Bountiful. Pictured above is Ian's oh-so-close to a touchdown run ending in airborne acrobatics as he was shoved out of bounds. The deciding factor ended up being extra points with a final score: 18 to 21.
Kimberly tagged along with us and did Aimee and Avyrlie's hair afterward. On the way home we stopped at ninth and ninth to meet Gil and Tiff who were in town to pick up a new road bike. I'm not sure Ian loved it, but the rest of us enjoyed lunch at Mazza (middle eastern) and hung out a bit at the street fair.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's a pack!

So far as you can call call two dogs a pack anyway, but they are pretty happy about it! Check out a short clip (although they did this for two hours...) of Sadie's first night with the Smiths.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Second win of the football season

Three wins total, but Cottonwood was a preseason game. Last night Hillcrest beat Cyprus holding them scoreless to Hillcrest's 34 points. The game was called short by several minutes because of the unsportsmanlike conduct of Cyprus' fans after an exceptionally hard hit (Scottie only hits exceptionally hard...) to the their quarterback as he was running the ball.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mummy boy in the sleep lab

Ian is doing a sleep study tonight @ PCMC. I'm stuck here with him for the night so I'll give 8 hours of sleep a try for the heck of it. Ian is a little nervous but he fell asleep pretty quick after they got him all hooked up and turned out the lights. He sure moves a lot in his sleep and is keeping me awake ;). Much better than a 3 year old on my head though. I'm on a fold out in the same room with him and the room has no windows so it's very private and cozy. The machines are much quieter than Aimee's turbine but still drive me nutty. As long as ian can sleep it's fine...Update - 9/4 (the next morning)

Ian's night was pretty typical. He tossed, turned, and mumbled all night. He also had a short argument with his sister...? I didn't sleep most of the night with all the commotion he made. The techs came in a couple times to check on the equipment and once to reposition the tubing on Ian's nose. This morning they were very nice, but pretty unceremonious about sending us on our way. Just pulled off the electrodes and straps, and tape, and netting, and said goodbye :)

Results will take a couple weeks to be sent to the doctor, but I'm pretty sure I already know what his recommendations will be. "Stop arguing with your sister!"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Want to make Aimee freak out!?

Saw this pic on Jessica's Blog this morning and just thought it was too great! My assumption is Jessica said, "Hey kids! Do you want to see Aunt Aimee's head spin around and then explode? Go play tag by the garbage can. In fact, I'll give you a nickel every time you touch the garbage and a quarter for each piece you stick to your body. Ready? GO!". Or something like that...