Friday, February 27, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I put Alexis to bed and decided to lay down by her.

Amber: "Alexis, stop moving around."

Alexis: "But, Mom, if I stop moving around then I would have to stop breathing. And I would die. If you don't eat or move: YOU DIE. I don't want to die."

She's a smart one. And reads into every word you say!


Alexis: "Mom, today at lunch the lunch lady came up to me and said: YOU ALWAYS HAVE A SMILE ON YOUR FACE!"

Amber: "That's a nice compliment."

Alexis: "Yeah, I just started laughing so hard."

Ever since she started school she can't stop smiling. She's always beaming when it comes time to go. Just don't bring that lunch lady around when she's tired. She can be quite the emotional little girl, too.

Be nice to everyone.

Alexis: "Mom, guess what else? Today Ali was saying mean things at school. She told Angelina she wasn't going to let anybody come to her (Angelina's) party."

Amber: "So what did you do?"

Then Angelina said: JUST IGNORE HER.
And I said: OK"

Amber: "Really? I don't know if you should ignore her."

Alexis: "Uh huh. Remember Mom. You said, "Be nice to everyone but if they keep being mean to you just ignore them."

My memory rewinds. I remember. I did say it. On the second day of school when a girl said this. Was that wrong?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Something's Wrong....Amber!

Yesterday, I...

-helped my sister finish picking paints for her house
-decided to pack her pantry without her knowledge (she was running errands)
-felt light headed 3/4 of the way through
-started feeling REALLY nauseous (my sister walked in to find me burying my face in her sink)
-thought I could tough it out but realized I had make a run for it while I still could
-shoved Carter in the car
-my whole body felt like it was shutting down...more than any flu I'd ever had
-called Chad to tell him something seemed wrong
-barely made it to my apartment
-laid on the bathroom floor
-regretted whipping Carter's pee off the floor with ONLY paper towels earlier that morning.
-wanted to puke but for some reason my body wasn't letting me
-I started shaking and within minutes felt my body going in CONVULSIONS. All I could do was moan in pain. It was horrible.
-Carter laid on the bathroom floor, spooning my body to stay close. Kissing my face saying, "Mommy hurt. Mommy hurt."
-I tried to tell him to play with toys in case I was contagious. But he wouldn't leave my side.
-Asked Carter to get the phone. I called Chad. He was already on his way home from work. (I N-E-V-E-R call him when I'm sick.)
-Chad was frustrated I couldn't explain what was wrong with me as I shook uncontrollably on the floor.
-All I could mumble through my moans was, "Maybe, I'm over-reacting!"
-To which he said, "Great. You'll die on our floor because you think you are over-reacting. Something's wrong."
-We picked up Alexis
-Took off to Kaiser urgent-care
-Had to take a pregnancy test first before I could be tested for anything else.
-After an came back. "Not negative...but not really positive." (What does that mean?)
-2 ultrasound of my uterus, 1 ultrasound of my kidneys
-Conclusive diagnosis (because I couldn't get a cat scan):
-Basically, it was MISERABLE.

Today, my energy is shot. Even though I went to bed at 6:30 last night. I've been moping around all day trying to get laundry done. I want my energy back. And I NEVER want to feel what I felt yesterday again. NEVER AGAIN!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I just finished painting these woods blocks tonight. Just in time for Valentines Day, right? Either I just missed it or I'm way ahead of schedule for next year! I prefer the latter. At least they can sit out for another week or two.

I saw a blog that was selling these. They were on 4x4 canvas'. However, small blank canvas' were $10 each. Way out of my price range. My friend, Natalie, had her husband cut blocks from scraps of wood. 25 cents each. Much better.
Isn't the detail on the side so cute! I L-O-V-E them.

Finished these "XOXO" letter's the day after Valentine's. Whoops. (Thanks Jen and Autie for the idea.)
The sign was done before Valentine's Day. At least I had one decoration up.

The kids and I made a ton of Valentine sugar cookies last week. A long standing tradition. I meant to attach them to a string and do "Jerk Valentines" like my Grandma used to always do. Maybe, next year.

Why the delay in finishing my Valentine's projects? Hmm...maybe because we are hopeless romantics and that came first!

Valentine's Day Schedule:
7:30 - Chad to church to set up chairs for stake conference
8:30 - Chad help family move
9:30 - Chad home. Amber leaves to pick of Chad's mom for a baby shower in Corona.
11:30- Amber leaves Shower. Get's stuck in traffic behind a big accident on the 91.
12:30- Amber runs down the HB pier to meet Chad, the kids, and his brother & girlfriend for an oh so romantic lunch...already in progress.
2:00 - Amber tries to pick up the house a little.
3:45 - Chad goes to Priesthood session of Stake conference.
6:00 - Chad's mom and I make a quick dinner.
7:45 - All of us leave and attend stake conference.
9:30 - Pick up the kids. Come home. Tuck the kids in bed. And I went straight to bed.

Chad mentioned, "Hey's Valentine's Day!"

"It didn't feel like it!" And I fell fast asleep.

So much for us being hopeless romantics. Better luck next year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Double Heart Pony Tails

She looked pretty dang cute leaving for school today.

Once again, copied it from this girl.

Valentine Pouches

I made these for Alexis' class this week.

Cut each felt piece in thirds length wise with pinking sheers. (the zig zag sissors) Sew a button on the top middle of each peice.

Fold about 1/3 of the felt on itself. With the button on top. Sew the sides with a zig zag stitch. (I back stitched all of the ends because a zig zag stitch isn't strong.)

Cut the top of the pouch with pinking sheers like an envelope. Stuff the pouch with goodies. Attach a tag to the button. (I had Alexis write all the kids names and her name on each tag before she went to bed. I put the tag on before I closed them so the tag wouldn't come loose.)

Cut little hearts out of a different color. Cut a slit in the middle of the heart and the top part of the pouch for the button to fit in. The blog I saw had sewn button holes on the pouch and the heart. It wasn't necessary. Felt is so thick.)

The finished product. 34 in all and I'd do it again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Drama Begins...

Picking up Alexis after the 1st day of school:

A huge smile on her face.
Runs to me and gives me a hug.

“How was school Alexis?”

“Good. I made a new friend. Her name is Eva with an E.”

Picking up Alexis after the 2nd day of school:

A huge smile on her face.
Runs to me and gives me a hug.

“How was school Alexis?”

No answer. I look at her. A large tear runs down her cheek.

“Oh, Alexis. What happened?”

“Eva said she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.”

And so it begins.


“Carter, do you want to pick out a movie? You can pick out whatever YOU want because Alexis is at school.”

He runs to the movie stash. And starts scanning down the row of kid movies running his finger along each movie as he moves down the row.

“Nope. Nope. Nope. Uh…”

Pulls out “Enchanted” and looks at the cover.


“Carter, what’s wrong with Enchanted.”

“Too scary.”

“What? Enchanted isn’t scary.”

“Uh huh! I show you.”

He pulls out the movie. Sternly points to the witch at the top of the cover.

“See. SCARY!”

And he shoves the movie back!

Point made. Enchanted is scary.

Grandma Whitehead

Amber: “Grandma is in the hospital so we need to be praying for her.”

Alexis: “What Grandma? Emmy Grandma?”

Amber: “No.”

Alexis: “Melanie Grandma?”

Amber: “No. Grandma in Utah. Grandma Whitehead.”

Carter: (laughing) “Grandma Whitehead! Yah. Grandma Cookie Head.”

Amber: “Carter, Grandma Whitehead is her real name.”

Carter: (still laughing) “Yah. Cookie Head!”

I gave up. It was going no where.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Surprise Birthday Party

Last week we threw a huge Surprise 40th Birthday Party for my sister, Melanie. By HUGE I mean: at least 150 people were there.

My other sister, Mindy, had told Melanie she could have a little party Saturday night as a decoy. As time went on we knew that wouldn't work. Even though a BIG party Friday night would shock her...she would be worrying all night if Saturday's party was still going to happen. So I did the dirty work...

"Melanie, we can't have the party Saturday night. We are too busy. We've already told the people you invited that we canceled it. But we can have a dinner with us sister's instead on Friday night."

"Ok. I love you, Amber."

I felt so sad for her. But knew it was the only way to make Friday night enjoyable for her. I thought if she could process everything like we do she might be thinking, "I'll say I love you...but really I'd like to sock you one." Fortunately for me, she doesn't think like that.
Guest ArrivalThe guest had to follow a three step process to enter the party.
1. Signing up for a time to call Melanie on her Birthday that Sunday. The one and only thing she wants on her Birthday is phone calls. She had 80 people already filled in. The calls started at 7am and continued till 9:45pm. People could sign up every 5 minutes. Only a break for church. She didn't want any bathroom or food breaks. She ended up having over 120 people call.

2. Writing down their favorite memory of Melanie. I am in the process of making a snapfish book for her to keep so she can read about what everyone loves about her.

3. Writing their birthday and name on a notecard for a game.

The FOOD...
It was oh so good!

Props to my sister, Jillyn. The deal finder. She called a ton of El Pollo Loco's and got these taco shells for only 27 cents a piece. We supplied 10 people with bags of chicken and salsa to cook in their crock pot. And had all the toppings for a Taco Salad. Melanie's favorite. My mom's friends were so helpful they cut all the fresh fruit and kept it stocked.

The BIG Surprise...


still processing...

Making a run for someone...

Here's who she was running to. My brother, Greg and his wife had flown in last minute. Surprising all of us.

The Entertainment:
First, a 20 minute slide show of Melanie's life from birth to now.
The pictures were set to her favorite show tunes: Lavern & Shirley, The Brady Bunch, Partridge Family and Facts of Life. Her face was so priceless when each song came on.
Next: A quiz on "How well do you know Melanie?" Melanie got to answer each question for everyone.

This was seriously HILARIOUS. With questions like this one:

What was Melanie's first job?
a. Carl's Jr.
b. Taco Bell
c. DI
d. Hooters

Then, we used the Birthday note cards people filled out when they came in the door. We quizzed Melanie on everyone's birthdays. She knows like a million! We used to do this at the dinner table. We'd pull out the stake directory as kids and quiz her and she'd get almost every one with no hesitation.

She got a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for every correct birthday. But she got one taken away for each wrong one too. When she got one wrong my sister, Jillyn, was cracking everyone up. Jillyn would say stuff like this: "Uh, this is getting awkward, Melanie."

The Group Gift:

Mindy came up with the best idea ever. To buy an Avocado Tree for Melanie to fulfill her love of avocados. People could donate to the tree in a box as they walked in. Then they got to hang a paper avocado on the tree with their name on it.

So cute, huh? I used my trusty Cricut to cut tons of ovals out of green card stock.

Of course their was cake and ice cream.

I was in charge of decorations and the slide show. Luckily, I had my friend, Jillonnie, help me with the slide show.

Once again, I depended on my cricut for this sign. Her name is supposed to look like it's on records for our "Retro" look. I even thought ahead and hung them on wires so they stayed facing forward so you could always read her name.

The tables: I loved how the tables looked. We borrowed white table clothes and yellow, pink and turquoise overlays from friends. I was going for a "retro kitchen" look. My sister's just smile and nod because they think I always know what I'm talking about.

The centerpeices: Susan Whitney ordered these great pictures of all of Melanie's favorite TV shows. Mindy's, father-in-law, made the blocks the pictures are in. I put them on checkered scrap booking paper. We had home-made salsa and home-made quacamole in cars. SO CUTE! This was at the end of the night as we were winding down. But you get the idea.

MY FAMILY: We are missing my parents who are on a mission and my oldest brother's family in Idaho.

SISTERS: Jillyn, Mindy, Melanie and me!
Planning this party was one of the most exhausting things I've ever done. Two weeks of running around, emailing, making stuff, putting together 200 pictures of Melanie and a ton of late nights planning it all. But I would do it all over again. Because Melanie is worth every second. We are so blessed to have her as a member of our family. I'm a better person because of her.

Who would have thought this day would have been possible 40 years ago when my mom received Melanie's diagnosis! Doctor's told my parents to institutionalize her. She may never walk or talk. She would be way too difficult to take care of on their own but my parents wouldn't give up. I can't imagine being told that being a mom now. But now, 40 years later: she's proved those Doctor's wrong. Defying everything that was predicted. I was shocked as people flew in, drove from Utah, and many more that wished they could have been at the party. Everyone loves her. I wish I could go back in time and whisper some words of comfort to my mom. Everything would be fine. No one could have ever known how many lives Melanie would touch. There were tears at her party. Lots of them. Friday was a celebration of her. She deserved it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

First Day of School. First Day of School.

Sound like "Finding Nemo" anyone? We have been living out that movie these last few weeks. Alexis has been counting down the days. And it finally came. TODAY, Alexis started school.
(No she is not wearing lip-stick. Her lips are chapped. Chad asked me as we were leaving. I was shocked he'd think I would do that. Now that I look at the pictures I can see why he asked.)

We haven't put her in pre-school and on certain days that has been hard. But now, she is in Extended Kindergarten. A program our school district offers. Basically, an extra half a year of kindergarten for those kids who just missed the December 2nd Kindergarten cut-off to start last fall. 5 days a week for 4 hours. A big change for us.

A glimpse into the mind of Alexis...
Back in November Alexis learned to ride her bike without training wheels. She did it on her first try. When I told her we were going to try she didn't think she could do it because she "wasn't 6." (She wasn't even 5 yet.) She surprised herself when she could. That sparked a whole new agenda in her book. (FYI: I didn't ad-lib to any of the following!)

"Mom, now that I know how to ride a bike next I want to learn how to whistle."

And whistle she did. She blew air like no other for the next few days till finally she got it down. Once she realized she could do it on cue she says this:

"Mom, now that I know how to whistle next I want to learn how to snap my fingers."

It started with a barely noticeable rubbing of the skin and became a full blown snap within days.

"Mom, now that I know how to snap my fingers next I want to learn how to tie my shoes."

I'm catching on about now and immediately when she asks to learn I show her both ways she can tie her shoes. And it seemed like it went completely over her head. No joke. Teaching her both ways seemed to be a BIG mistake. But we had to leave and that didn't get any more time.

A week later...she comes to my room: "Mom, I did it. I tied my shoes. They look good, huh?" I thought her shoes had to have been tied by an adult. They looked perfect. Way too good for a 5 year old who had just learned. So being the unbelieving Mom I am, I made her untie her shoes and show me. Perfection. Double bunny ears through the hole. Whaa-la! Still in unbelief that this all steamed from those 2 minutes I showed her in the bathroom the previous week...I called family. Did you show Alexis how to tie her shoes? Guess what I found out. No one spent any time showing her. Only my two minute demonstration! Unbelievable. Then this:

"Mom now that I know how to tie my shoes next I want to learn how to not pee in my pull-up at night."

She has the smallest bladder ever. (The girl pee's like every 20 minutes.) Remember we have 4 coin-op washing machines and 2 dryers that are always occupied by the other 37 apartments! So you can imagine changing a wet bed in the middle of the night has NOT been a priority for me. She has slowly in the last month and a half gone from 3 clean nights, to 4, then 5...and now we are on a 2 week clean streak. And this 2 weeks streak has been with NO help on our end by taking her to the bathroom when we go to bed. I am so proud of her.

I never knew what was next on her agenda till she had successfully learned what was currently on the top of her list. She'd learn that, check it off, and move on to the next thing. And all in 2 1/2 months. She is so brilliant. I asked Chad and his Mom if they thought she had a photographic memory when she had just turned 3. She could kick anyone's butt at memory, including mine. It didn't seem right. I am just so amazed at her ambition and drive to learn new things. How the heck can a 5 year old be this disciplined and organized in their thoughts of what is next? I'm not sure, but I love it. It's just so Alexis.

So what's next? I never ask her, she just offers it every time.

"Mom, next I want to learn how to read!"

I think this is one of the biggest reasons why she has been counting down the days till she would start school.

And now...she's in the right place to accomplish that and I'm just waiting to hear what's next.