Basketball is my favorite sport...

...I love the way they dribble up and down the court.

At the beginning of the year, one of the Activity Days leaders, Shannon, called and asked if I would do a "basketball camp" for the girls at the end of February. I was a little taken aback because I'm not in the best shape of my life (oh, to be 18 again...) and at that time I was having difficulty with all of my joints and still didn't know what was going on. "I know you're really busy but Cara said you were a great player..." She did? So, of course, I agreed to do it. There's not a lot that I wouldn't do for that girl. She is such a blessing.

So, last night was the big night. Cara invited our neighbor, Gabrielle, to go with us. She ended up having dinner with us, as well. Right before we were to leave, Cara tried to 'help' by inflating the (already inflated perfectly) basketball and accidentally broke the needle off inside the ball. Sweet. After a quick grab with the pliers, another pump and a few deep breaths (did I mention I've been a little over-aggressive lately?) we were off.

Just so you know, I'm NOT a basketball expert by any means but 13 girls showed up and we did some drills. Passing, dribbling, shooting... It was fun! I had them dribbling through obstacle courses, doing lay-ups, and playing "Knock Out". Some of them, as young as they are, have skills. Then they wanted to try to play a real game... Whose idea was that? It lasted for about 5 minutes and looked more like swarm ball than basketball but there was at least one legitimate basket made.

I'm glad that I did it. The thought to cancel did cross my mind because I haven't been feeling very well this week but it really was a fun time. Even though my body is paying for it today (SO difficult to get my legs and back out of bed this morning) it was fabulous feeling when Cara came up last night, gave me a huge hug and said, "Thanks, Mom. I knew you would do a great job!"


Purse Pursuit

Just a quick preview of the invitations I made for the RS Birthday Dinner in March. Our theme is Home, Family, and "Purse"onal Enrichment. It's gonna be a great night! I'm excited about getting all the details in place and these invitations will hopefully encourage more of our sisters to attend. Who can resist a cute invitation?? :)

There are actually about 20 different patterned purses and you can't see from the pictures but they each have an element of glitter in them. Ooooh... sparkly...

Cara was a great help to me. She carefully tore each sheet from the stack while I cut the paper in half. After I scored each purse Cara folded them up neatly. She attached the flowers with brads after I punched holes in the top flap and inked the edges. Finally, she helped with the ribbon cutting while I did the threading and gluing. It's so nice that she likes to help with my crafty projects. She's gonna be a little scrapper herself!!
Whew...over 80 invitations... Lots of work but SO worth the finished product!


Thumbs up...

Jordy started sucking her thumb when she was 3 months old. The first time I saw her doing it I thought it was SO cute. I even took a picture. Now... four years later... NOT so cute.

We've been talking with her about kicking the thumb-sucking habit. Thank goodness she only sucks her thumb at night when she's falling asleep and doesn't walk around all day with her thumb plugged in her mouth... Here is the conversation yesterday as we drove home from the Koenig's last night. It was dark and she was sleepy.

Me: Jordyn, please take your thumb out. (I could hear her trying to breathe and suck her thumb at the same time... she's so congested right now...)

Jordyn: Why momma?

Me: Because it's dirty and sucking your thumb will mess up your pretty teeth.

Jordyn: But I like it dirty. It's my favorite.

Hmm... I'll keep trying but I don't think the logic and reasoning thing is working so good for me right now.


Hall of Fame Honors

Sunday night I was on the computer thinking about an old friend and I got a crazy idea to google her. I should have known she would show up... Carolyn and I were best friends in high school ever since we went to Basketball Camp in Switerland in 1989 together. She and I shared many adventures and were volleyball, basketball and soccer teammates in Heidelberg. There were the sleep-overs, the dances we doubled for, the YW activities I dragged her to, the milestones - like the first time my parents let me drive the car by myself... I drove straight to Carolyn's.

She took this grainy picture from her window when I pulled up.

My senior year and her junior year at our volleyball team pictures at the Heidelberg Castle. (Yes, those are some large bangs...) Photo by Lee McCormick.

She came to visit me in Moab, UT when I spent a summer working there with Alison. Such memories. Carolyn was in my wedding and four years later, I was in hers in Boston when she married a great guy named Pete. (It was gorgeous by the way...) She knows all about me and loves me anyway.

Carolyn got a scholarship to play basketball for Davidson College in North Carolina and excelled (of course) at everything she did but until Sunday I didn't realize how good she was. We've kept in contact all these years but she never was one to talk about herself or brag about how fabulous she is. She's actually quite humble about her success, in my opinion.
When I googled her this is what I found. "2008 Davidson Hall of Fame Celebration Feb. 16, 2008. Celebrating the leadership and service of Davidson College's most accomplished sports men and women, the Davidson Athletic Foundation presents the 2008 Hall of Fame Celebration and the 2008 Hall of Fame inductees: Carolyn Kirsch Rumpel '97 - Davidson’s only women’s basketball player to be named SoCon Player of the Year (1997), Kirsch is the school’s all-time leader in rebounding (878) and ranks third in scoring (1,370 points). The native of Heidelberg, Germany, earned first-team All-SoCon honors in 1997 and was named second-team all-league in 1996. She was named to the conference’s academic honor roll twice and was a two-time winner of the Wildcat Award, given to the team’s most valuable player. "

How awesome is that?! Congratulations to you, Carolyn, what a wonderful honor!

By the way, Carolyn has an online company you might want to check out called Purple Maple. http://www.purplemaple.com/ has launched an online marketplace featuring handmade and hand-assembled gift items from an elite group of artisans. You can read more about it at the bottom of the home page under press releases or about us.

Maybe I should google all my friends? :)

Is this a joke??

Okay, now I have an ear infection and a horrible, hacking, keep-me-up-at-night cough. This means even more medication. A new antibiotic and a cough syrup now join the list of medicines. I guess when it rains, it pours...

I do have to say, though, that I have THE best support system of friends here in Arlington. When I was down for a week in bed, the word spread very quickly and before I knew what was happening Jordyn had 4 different playdates lined up. It was fantastic! That girl's social calendar was full. In fact, after I started feeling better she thought we needed to go to other people's houses every day. It was a sore disappointment that she was back to being stuck with momma...

Yesterday, when I went to the doctor for the ear pain, yet again I was saved by my friends who, I know, would say it's no big deal. But it is - and thank you.


An Inside Look... Literally

**Warning - Long post**
Some of you who live close or are family know that I have been battling something weird health-wise since the beginning of the year. My hands had been achy for awhile but I clearly remember the first time I couldn't open and uncurl my fingers. We were driving home from our Christmas visit to Utah, Bryan was driving and I was just waking from a nap. The knuckles on my fingers felt stuck and kept "popping" open and then back to the stuck position. I remember thinking as I popped them open again and again, "That's strange my fingers aren't opening. Hmm... Boy, those Amarillo cattle really stink today..." Pretty soon my fingers seemed back to normal, we continued home and I didn't think much about it until the next morning when it happened again as I woke up.

This morning stiffness in my hands very quickly progressed up my arms, to my elbows and shoulders, down my back, to my hips, and then down my knees and to my ankles. I thought I may have the flu or a virus but had no other symptoms like cough, fever, nose issues, etc. I took motrin and tylenol and tried to continue living my life but then I spent almost a week in bed, hardly able to move. Bryan finally convinced me to go see my doctor. I rarely go see the doctor. I would have actually considered myself very healthy. I'm pretty sure I've been in to see the doctor once since Jordyn was born which is over 4 years ago. Wow, I so felt like a dork going in and saying, "My hands really hurt."

He took many, many vials of blood, ran oodles of tests and told me a needed to see a rheumatologist but that they are hard to get into and I may need to wait a few months before I could be seen. The Lord was watching out for me because when I later called one of the top doctors in Dallas the receptionist said we can see you in May or we can see you tomorrow if you can be here by 5 AM. I'm sorry, did you just say 5 AM in Dallas?! I took the appointment. After the doctors consultation, exam, another gallon of blood for more tests, x-rays of every joint in my body, a bone density screening and prescriptions for prednisone (anti-inflammatory) and meloxicam (pain relief) I arrived back home at noon. Yes, 7 hours later...

This appointment was followed by a full body bone scan where they injected a nuclear phosphate into my blood, waited 2 hours for my bones to absorb it fully and then, similar to an MRI, scanned my joints. I've posted a few pictures of the scan. The brighter spots indicate areas of intense inflammation.

my hands

my shoulders & clavicle/sternum

my spine
We just had our results appointment this week. Obviously they found significant inflammation in most of my joints. (I didn't bore you with the other pictures...) I have somthing called Undifferentiated Spondylarthropathy, um... what? Which pretty much means I have symptoms of some form of arthritis in the spondylitis family, which includes Crohn's disease. I also have mild thyroiditis and mild scoliosis of the lower back that is likely to worsen. Whoa. I was happy letting Bryan be the medical freak of the family. Now what?

The medicine seems to be greatly helping, at the results appointment the doctor added one more medication (azulfidine) to my list and then on top of that I get to take folic acid, calcium, prilosec and a B complex to combat the potential effects of the other medications. Sweet. This for the person who has to be talked into taking tylenol...

I'm taking one day at a time and I am having more good days lately which is helping me come to grips with accepting this diagnosis. I will say one more thing (since this is an abnormally long post) - I'm not happy with having to take prednisone. But when I am old, overly agressive, have severe acne on a puffy face, a full beard and am so hunched over from my fused spinal column that young children will avert their eyes, Bryan says he'll still love me.


ABC Tag!

I've been tagged by my friend, Susan which means I am now about to inflict too much information upon you, I'm sure... :)

Here goes: (By the way, those I've tagged are listed under the letter T)

A- Attached or single: Very attached

B- Best Friend(s): Bryan (of course) & all members of Crafty Club Anonymous

C-Cake or Pie: Cake - Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Cake w/mint chocolate chip ice cream

D- Day of Choice: Saturdays & Sundays, because we're all together

E- Essential Item: Lip gloss (I'm still not old enough to use lip stick...)

F- Favorite Color: Green, it brings out my eyes

G- Gummi Bears or Worms: Both, especially Haribo but I will eat other random, fake kinds of gummis too

H- Hometown: Army Brat USA (Arlington, TX for the last 9 years, though...)

I- Indulgence(s): Lindor White Chocolate Truffle Balls

J- January or July: July - I'm more of a warm weather girl...

K-Kids: 2 - Cara (Munchie) & Jordyn (Monkey)

Taken before Jordyn's blessing. She's wearing the blessing dress my mother made for me when I was born. Cara wore it too... I guess they'll have to duke it out over who'll get it in the end, huh?

L-Life is incomplete without: my family and the Gospel

M- Marriage Date: April 25, 1996 (you got me by a month, Sue!)

Best day of my life!!! Yes, those are Dallas Cowboy helmets on Bryan's vest. :)

N- Number of Siblings: 4 - 3 sisters (Krysta, Alison, Jillian) & 1 brother (Jeremy)

These first 2 were in the pre-Jillian days...

One of my favorite pictures of us playing "Get Down Daddy". Boy was he strong... That's me on his neck. I also love that Jeremy was secure enough to flaunt the pink jammies... ha!

This looks more recent but it's still 9 years old (right after I had Cara). L to R - Krysta, Ali, Jeremy, Jill & me.

O- Oranges or Apples: Granny Smith apples

P- Phobias or Fears: A crusty in my nose that no one will tell me about.

Q- Quote(s): "Try a little harder to be a little better." Gordon B. Hinckley

R- Reason To Smile: All of my laundry is finished and my 4-year-old is singing Phantom of the Opera. And a reason for my HHS friends to smile ~ here's my Youth Conference picture. Good times!

Anyone stay in touch with Christy after she got married? There's Vanessa. {sniff} Why can't I remember who the girl in blue is or the boy between Gene R. & Jeff T.? Anyone? My best memory of this YC was doing the "Love At Home" skit with Chris rapping. I've never been able to sing that song since without thinking of it! :) There's a whole stripes theme going on here, huh?

S- Season: Summer, summer, summertime - fo' sure

T- Tag Six: Erin P., Courtney K., Brittany M., Suzy J., Kari P., Alison H. (yes, I know some of you don't have blogs... get one!!)

U- Unknown Fact About Me: I think I may be addicted to the Webkinz website. I'm close to needing an intervention.

V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: Chicken, Beef, Pork... it's all good.

W- Worst Habit: Leaving wet clothes in the washer and forgetting long enough that they need to be washed all over again. I hate that.

X- X-Rays or Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds? (somebody had to dig real hard to come up with something for letter x, I guess...)

Y- Your Favorite Food: Italian, Mexican, Chinese!

Z: Zodiac: Aries (April 11) I have no idea what that says about me... do you?


All Roads Lead to the Temple

What an awesome, spiritually up-lifting day this was. We had our ward conference today and something was in the air. The joint RS/Priesthood session was about personal revelation, Sunday School covered 2 Nephi:1-2 (one of my favorite chapters is Chapter 2) and then after we got to sustain our new prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, we had great talks about the blessings of the temple from the Bishop & Stake President. My kids were so quietly busy that I actually got something from the talks in Sacrament meeting! Like I said, fabulous!

Our stake has been challenged to attend the temple at least twice a month this year. To create a spiritual stake, if you will, on the other side. The temple is about 45 minutes away -not far, really - but in the past it's been great if I could get there once a month. I'm taking this challenge head on and having the door of my tent face the temple!
The temple was closed for most of January and then I was sick, in bed, for a week but I did get there once last month and can't wait to get back this Saturday. It's become a major priority for me. I love the quiet, the peace, the reverence and the Spirit that you can only find there. It is truly the House of God on earth.


Cara's Big Adventure

Staying home with Jordyn this year has been everything I wanted it to be. I get a much needed break from the grind of teaching (grading papers, school politics, lesson plans, etc...), Jordyn gets individual attention from me, I get to do what I want - when I want to do it... It's been fabulous and I wouldn't trade it for anything. However, it has also meant a HUGE decrease in our monthly earnings. There's enough for our needs but not a whole lot for any extra wants right now.

Cara has long past grown out of her first bike. She's been trying to ride the bicycle I had as a teenager but it's still too tall for her. She'd get up on the seat and wobble around the street for a few seconds and then crash to the ground. To her credit, she'd get up and try again and again scratches and all.

The school Cara goes to, Amos Elementary, has a pilot program called Fit Future run by the YMCA and the United Way. The kids are learning dances in PE, going on field trips, and getting nutritional education in the hopes of warding off childhood obesity. The other day she came home and asked if we could eat "more of a rainbow" of foods. Nice. Fit Future teamed up with American Airlines and the Odyssey Teams to donate 90 brand new 2008 Diamondback bicycles, helmets and locks to deserving Amos students and you see the results in the above photo!

Yesterday she went on the field trip to the Dallas Hyatt-Regency hotel (right next to Reunion Arena, the big golf ball-looking tower) where a group of 5 workers assembled her bike in front of her. They called her their 'customer' and asked Cara tons of questions about herself. She said every time she talked they would all stop, put their hands on their knees and lean in real close to hear every word she said. I think she felt like a superstar! The picture was taken by one of the nice people who helped put Cara's bicycle together.

My daughter finished her homework in lightning speed last night and rode her bike til dusk. She was up at 6:45 this morning and ready for school by 7:15 so she could ride her new bike before leaving the house. School starts at 8:20... "I think I'll do this again tomorrow, Mom." What a blessing in her life this is. Thank you Fit Future, American Airlines, Odyssey Teams & Amos Elementary School.


Curly Q's

Recently, the girls discovered the ziploc bag of sponge rollers under the bathroom sink. I'd used them a few times on Cara's hair when she was little but she HATED sleeping on them and the whole hassel was just too much (for us both...). So under the sink they went.

Cara found them and begged me to put them in her hair, which I gladly did since she's been sorta 'anti-hair' for, it seems like, a few years now. It took a long time to roll it all. The girl has a lot of hair!!! Of course Jordyn, who adores her big sister and wants to do everything Cara does, was next. Her hair took MUCH less time to roll because it's not as thick... Next it was the waiting game to see how the whole sleep-in-the-sponge-rollers would go. I can report that Cara never complained once and Jordyn was asleep in no time flat! Phew...

Here are some photos of the finished Project Curls:

I finger-combed Jordyn's curls out but we left Cara's alone from the curlers.
They loved all the attention they got at church from being so curly!


Our White Christmas

Hope you'll endulge me a few pictures from Christmas even though it was a month ago... We drove up to Utah and were there for close to 2 weeks. Living in Texas doesn't afford our kids much chance to play in the snow (if we get snow, it's once a year and a meager skiff at that) so they were THRILLED about having a white Christmas! (The cupcakes for Cara's class party! Cute, huh?)

The Davis side cousins - Top step- Thomas, 8 (Jill's) & Cara, 9 (mine)

Bottom - Rusty, 3 (Ali's), Jordyn, 4 (mine) & Tyson, 2 (Jeremy's).

Pile on Grandma & Grandpa time! Nice mug, Rusty... :)

Cara & Jordyn had a blast sledding with Uncle Trent and Daddy!! As a side note, on their last run, Cara flew off the sled, her knee connected with her nose and we had bloody snow - not so fun...

This is right after Cara gave Jordyn a handful of snow to the face by surprise. Jordyn is always a great sport but Cara should watch out when she gets a little bigger!

Waiting for the Trax to take us to Temple Square to see the Christmas Lights with Grandma & Grandpa Boyer... Riding light rail, by the way, was for some reason VERY exciting for the girls.