Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving in Utah

Had a great trip to Utah to spend Thanksgiving with my folks. We drove the 2005 Toyota Highlander 4wd and I had to drive most of the way since Heidi didn't like driving in the snow. Here is a picture of me and Scott riding Utah's Traxx light rail system in SLC.

Layton's indoor pool, Surf 'n Swim
On the platform for the diesel-electric Frontrunner

At temple square, 15 second exposure at f/22
Adam and Lisa. Lisa claims that I bought her that hat from Ecuador, but I don't remember. It's a nice hat, anyway.

At the Heber Creeper's Polar Express train ride
Linzer and my dad
At the Gateway in SLC
Kira with my phillips screwdriver

Chelle and Jared
Mrs. Clause with the parentals and grandkids Kira, Jade, and Lily
On the Polar Express
Twas a fun trip even though we got detained on I-80 in both directions for a total of 3.5 hours. Thank goodness for 4wd and my savvy driving (I used to practice doughnuts on Bessie and the blue car so I knew how the car would perform in slick conditions).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

3 Cars, 3 Boys

The three cars: Bandit, E-Maxx and Rustler. The 3 drivers: Scott, Danny and Tyler. 1 problem: Tyler no longer wants his once fast car, the Rustler, because a newer and faster car came along, the E-Maxx. I now know why my parents always got two of everything during our younger years. We shall see how this dilemma will be resolved. Of course Danny being the Daddy that he is usually ends up carless or with the slow car again. What a guy. I told him to get 2 E-Maxx's, one for him and one for Tyler and get rid of the Rustler, but then we have a towing problem as you can see with the size of the thing. Best of luck!

Rub a Dub Dub

My kids love bath time. They throw a ton of toys in the bath and can play forever. Tyler and Scott like to line up cars, squirt each other, make bubbles and watch their sister. Kira loves to hit the water and watch and feel is splash. It never gets old for her. She plays with toys and lets her brothers pour water all over her face. Something they would definitely not let her do to them. So fun seeing her old enough to interact and play with her brothers. So cute. Scott is much more of a father figure, protective, baby sitting type brother to her. He makes sure that she is safe, has a clean diaper, will hold her for me and makes sure she knows the rules. Tyler is all about having fun, being mischievous and having someone to play with. It will be interesting to see their roles and relationships play out in the months and years to come. Love sibling relationships. It is so fun to see.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Danny's birthday was November 10th. We had a great day and I think Danny did too which is AWESOME and makes me really happy!

Everyone woke up early to open presents. The kids wrapped the E-Maxx in a huge box and of course loved helping him open it. Everyone was excited. Danny asked for a RC helicopter for Scott to drive. We now have three nice, fast, fun cars and helicopters so that everyone is having fun. Lately Danny has been left carless since the boys take the fast ones after about one minute.
Danny was excited for his new toys.

He also got a voice over book and some money to take a class. That needs a whole post explanation in itself.

He had a good morning in the office and we met him for lunch. We have the same routine everytime we meet Danny. Wendy's lunch at the park. We had a brownie cake and sparkling cider to celebrate. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and the boys played with their toys. So much fun and so lucky to have a two hour lunch. The staff blocked out an extra hour for something else and it was so nice.

That night Danny had an interview with a great dentist. He really liked the office and dentist. The interview went great but Danny is unsure if the dentist wants something more long term. We shall see what happens. We both are at peace that things will work out. So grateful for prayer and faith. We feel good and excited about the future.

Maria Maria for dinner. We always share a steak fajita plate. It is always good and we always enjoy time with each other. So blessed. The dinner actually came out with a hair in it which was kind of gross. They returned it, gave us a complimentary meal, a second fajita dish which we of course brought home and the meal cost $4 with a really big tip. I would rather the money go to the waiter instead of the restaurant.

So grateful for Danny and the person that he is. In so many ways he is a little kid at heart. With the things that he likes to do as well as the person that he is. He has a pure heart and always want to just do what is right. I wish that I could sum up in words how much he has grown and progressed from year to year. I have known him for 6 years and each year he transforms into this even more amazing man, husband and father. It is so incredible and makes me so humbled how great life is. We have this experience to grow in faith, love, friendship and skill which Danny does on a daily and yearly basis. He is so full of confidence in who he is and what he stands for which I love to see. Each year that confidence grows and allows him to excel and stand for what he knows is right.

What a great year! I hope that the following year is as good for Danny as his 31st year. 31 hobbies of the past year...No specific Order.

1. Superb Dad to three kids
2. Night time Feeding Master
3. Researcher with Ove Peters
4. Hot date for our Saturday Night outings
5. Pianist
6. RC Driver of the Bandit, Rustler, Pumpkin and E-Maxx
7. Associate Dentist for Wu, Herrera & Cademartori
8. Sinus Sufferer
9. Landlord and handyman
10. Loyal Friend
11. Loaner of the Riv
12. Rider of the VFR
13. IPHONE user
14. Sunbeams Teacher
15. Instructor in the Sim Lab and Clinic
16. UCSF Advisory Board Member
17. Repairman for cars and motorcycles
18. Bike Rider
19. Craigslist purchaser
20. Vacationer to Utah and Lake of the Pines
21. Chef
22. Blogger about tinkering, inventions and repairs
23. Race car driver with Miles
24. Music Coordinator
25. Spanish speaker to the kids
26. Patient for a neuromectomy
27. Loving Husband
28. Kira Whisperer
29. "Pics from the Didge" Photographer
30. Applicant for endo school
31. Newspaper Editor

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stacey Pentland Photography

Three years ago I took on 1 more swim lesson in my already full schedule. The person on the other line seemed cool and quite frankly I used to have a really hard time saying no. A last minute decision that I am soo grateful I made. Stacey and her family became great friends!

At the time Stacey really liked photography. It soon became a dedicated hobby and eventually a passion. I have watched Stacey transform from a really good photographer into literally the best photographer that I know. She is INCREDIBLE!! She uses fun, bright colors, catches the little moments and has such a fun style.

I am sooo proud of her and want to tell the world. She is so busy and probably doesn't need anymore work, but if you are looking for an amazing photographer for lifestyle, babies or weddings, you should definitely check out her site. So impressed!! Here are a few photos.

Casey's Wedding...AMAZING!! We were on Aquabears together.

I thought this shot was cool...Have no idea whose dress it was from one of the weddings she shot.
Andrea's wedding. We graduated high school together.

My adorable little niece.
Kids I don't know but who are really cute.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My latest Reads

Before My Heart Stops : A Memoir By Paul Cardall

Paul was born with a similar condition to Tyler and is one of the oldest survivors today. He wrote a book about his journey with a single ventricle. It was so great to hear and read a book from someone who is walking in similar shoes to Tyler. Before Tyler was born he came to me in the temple. He came as a man on the other side. He told me that he had a special heart; a heart to teach, a heart to love and a heart to learn. I have seen how Tyler's heart has given him and our family unique opportunities that would not be possible with a normal heart. I came away from reading the book with an added appreciation for being a heart mom. With added appreciation for how Heavenly Father creates each of us. And an added appreciation for my testimony and faith in my Savior and membership in my Church. Anyone who is dealing with illness, either themselves, their family or an associate should read this book.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Loved it! I love psychology, sociology, statistics so why wouldn't I love this book? I thought that parts could have been a little faster paced, but gained some great perspective about life and success. You realize that some of success has to do with seizing the opportunities you are blessed with. Would recommend it to all.

Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable by Mark Dunn

This was part of a book club. I read it while I waiting to have surgery. Although I don't attend the book club, I enjoy occasionally reading books from it because it broadens what I would usually read. Each chapter lost the ability to use a letter and I was impressed by the literary talents of the author. It was interesting and good. I have a hard time giving a book a proper review, because I really enjoy reading a certain type of book. If I am going to spend time reading I want to spend time reading about something with greater relevance to my life. A non-fiction biography, religious book, self-help, topic of interest, etc. is what I enjoy right now in life. I want to read a book on uncluttering my home.

Journey as an Associate

Danny had been an associate for four years. It has been quite an experience. In dental school there are a couple of routes people can take.

You can associate, specialize or be in the military after school.

Danny envisioned himself as a general dentist. He loves working with people, loves doing a variety of things and feels he is good at what he does.

The first year out Danny was blessed to work with two amazing mentors who were great dentists, teachers, role models and so much more.

After a year, Danny left one of the practices, realizing he didn't envision himself buying the practice, and had a couple of jobs that were interesting to say the least.

His first job was at a failing practice with no work and a boss who was in school to specialize. Danny realized that he actually did LOVE working on teeth. He was so bored not doing much dentistry and eventually left.

His second was with a dentist who asked Danny to do things he didn't feel comfortable with. Danny realized his ethics were more important than a job and left.

The third was at an HMO practice, which was a whole new world for Danny. It was fast-paced and perfect for what he needed at the time. Danny's boss owned another practice, so Danny quickly saw a business grow, had to gain speed and confidence as the only dentist. It was here that he really learned how to do dentistry.

While the first two jobs weren't the ideal situations, Danny learned invaluable lessons at each experience that helped mold him into the person and dentist he is today. At the time we perhaps didn't see the blessing, but looking back are so grateful for those experiences. His journey is perhaps more colorful than others, however, has helped him gain experience and really appreciate things that he might have taken for granted.

In the past year or so Danny has grown to love doing root canals. About 5 months ago an opportunity arose for him to do more root canals. A dentist was leaving for a month and Danny planned on being the temporary dentist leading to an associate position when he returned. Things were great. Danny was doing well, the staff got along, he felt really blessed for this opportunity. When the dentist returned, things slowed down a bit and there really wasn't enough work for two dentists. Danny went into work on Monday excited about two root canals on the schedule, having completed one in 30 minutes on Friday, only to be sat down and told that he was being let go.

This was the first time in four years that Danny had been flat out let go. It was quite a shock and so humbling. One minute you have a job that you love and the next it is gone. I went to a bible study the following day and something stuck out in my mind from the lecture.

We were talking about the Assyrians destruction. People obey God, prosper, forget God and are humbled. The Assyrians thought they were so powerful they didn't need God. He soon showed them that he was more powerful than all and took away their riches in hopes that they would return to him. I am fully aware that not all things happen out of unbelief. We have endured some of the hardest things in our life during the times when I was very close to the Lord, however, I think that trials can always be faith promoting in one way or another. The question asked was,

"Do you find purpose in your suffering?"

How simple, yet profound!! We all suffer in different ways. We can suffer because of health, depression, hating a job, not having a job, marital problems, loosing a loved one, not being able to have children, not being married, having a hard time in school, not receiving an award or raise, and so much more. The list is endless and everyone has a very unique and tailored list. The question is, do we go through these times in misery and pain or do we try to find purpose along the way?

I just read a book this morning while Tyler and Scott were at school. Before My Heart Stops: A Memoir by Paul Cardall. Paul has a similar heart condition to Tyler. He has a single ventricle and is one of the oldest patients, in his 30's, that is still alive with this condition. It was interesting to re-read much of his story from his marriage, family, growing up years and recently his journey waiting for a heart and receiving a heart.

Through it all, he and his family had various trials and setbacks. Some health related and others not. One thing was certain throughout the book. Paul found purpose in his suffering. His heart allowed him to cherish and see life in a new light. He not only went through his journey with faith, but found ways to embrace his journey and see the blessings and opportunities that came from it.

I recognize that Danny loosing his job can have purpose.

On Monday we were both pretty sad and depressed. Danny loves going to work, working on teeth and I have a routine of being home. I felt so bad for Danny. It wasn't a good day for anyone. We were both uncertain what the future had in store and therefore stressed about it. I seem to take my stress out of Danny which is the last thing that he needs.

That night we decided to fast and it made things much better and allowed us to see some purpose in this suffering. We were able to feel a glimpse of what so many people and so many friends are going through with loosing a job or being uncertain about the future.

Perspective. Putting things in perspective helps. While financial stress is a hard, there are far greater stresses. I have a strong marriage, wonderful family, amazing friends and support system, wonderful medical care for my son. In the eternal realm, this isn't that big of deal. I do need to work on treating it as such. Much easier said than done.

Opportunity. We sent out ten resumes and Danny has been offered working interviews at a couple places. What a blessing. We have hope that he will be led and find something that is right and fulfilling for him.

Empathy. Have you recently talked to someone who is out of work and felt bad and sad for them, but not fully understand the stress. While Danny still has part-time work and we can't fully comprehend the stresses of total unemployment or unemployment in a field that has been hit really hard by the economy, we understand a little bit more and thus can hopefully be better at helping and lifting others.

Time. Making the most of time. Someone last year was in my bible study because she was laid off. While she was still pursuing work, she filled her time with good things. Another friend that was laid off does a lot of volunteer work. Danny is working on some research papers that he will be able to dedicate more time to, has young kids who love the influence and example of their dad in their lives and is interested in voice-over which he can find out more about.

So I am going to be a little more grateful, working on finding the purpose in the suffering and lifting my husband more than I have been. What a process this whole "life" experience is.