Wednesday, September 30, 2009


My little sister is famous, go ahead check it out here! Seriously, she should now be considered a published photographer! For more samples of her work go here. Way to go Karli - so proud of you! And jealous, but I am about so many things!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upcoming ....

I am so excited this year for Halloween. I have started on the kids costumes and was able to buy everything to make all 4 costumes for about $35, yippee! And, we are doing Halloween mini shoots in October, how fun is that?
We threw some costumes on my kids to grab a few shots. Boy did they have fun modeling. We missed Connor though, he was still in school and I find that he is missing out on a lot of fun and we miss out on having him around, darn school, I wish it was early out every day.
Anyway, enjoy these photos and look forward to more coming your way very soon!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obsessions...a la Gage

This boy keeps us in stitches every single day. With Tate at school in the mornings I get quite a bit of time alone with this fella while his sister takes her naps. He is a boy of many obsessions - but none more than his aunt Jana, pestering his brothers and dressing up and pretending.
He begs each and every day to call Jana, fly up to Canada to see Jana, draw pictures of Jana, etc. Seriously, I am feeling a little bit of Jana overload (sorry Jana). Just yesterday I asked Gage,
"Who is your favorite mom?" answer - aunt Jana
"Who is your favorite dad?" answer - uncle Russell
"Who is your favorite brother?" answer - Bridger
"Who is your favorite sister?" answer - McCall (thank goodness the Jensen's don't have any girls!)
Today he told me he is not a McCoy, he is a Jensen. Where did we pick up this kid? Depending on the day I would agree, he is somewhat of a Jensen :)

Gage has also been enjoying doing whatever he can to get his brothers all riled up. Lately that has been cheering against BYU and for the Utes - now I really don't know where we got him from. But today I reminded him that Aunt Jana graduated from BYU and really loves BYU. He immediately said, "I love BYU! It is my favorite!" Then when he called aunt Jana he made sure to tell her how much he loves BYU. When I said that I thought he liked the Utes, he said, "not anymore, that was last week."

I think I can use this Jana obsession for my gain, I am going to get creative.
One more Gage obsession - dressing up. If it involves a cape he will wear it all day. Today he was dressed up as Nacho Libre, red underpants and all. He actually went to the park like this. I am sure people are thinking that I am the craziest mom, but I just didn't feel like fighting every battle today and since this wasn't hurting anyone I allowed him to go to the park like this. Little did I know that I would be seeing so many neighbors there today. Oh well, they are well acquainted with this little eccentric kid. We really love the little guy and his love and enthusiasm for life and entertaining people!

Our Apologies

We must apologize to all family and friends in Canada infected with what our children had - apparently that germ loves people! Good old hand, foot and mouth spread itself all over Vanderhoof after our departure. So far three families that we know of have been infected. Glad we were able to leave our mark and a lasting memory, at least for 10 days :) Enjoy - we'll see what we can come up with for our next visit - mad cow, swine or avian flu. Hmm, while I decide I thought you might want to know what you may be in for if you have been in contact with us during the first week of September. Again, our apologies, we had no idea when we left that we were cross border contaminating. In fact there are 7 states and two provinces we need to apologize to!


  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common viral illness of infants and children. The disease causes fever and blister-like eruptions in the mouth and/or a skin rash.
  • HFMD is often confused with foot-and-mouth (also called hoof-and-mouth) disease, a disease of cattle, sheep, and swine; however, the two diseases are not related—they are caused by different viruses. Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease.

Illness :

  • The disease usually begins with a fever, poor appetite, malaise (feeling vaguely unwell), and often with a sore throat.
  • One or 2 days after fever onset, painful sores usually develop in the mouth. They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. The sores are usually located on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks.
  • A non-itchy skin rash develops over 1–2 days. The rash has flat or raised red spots, sometimes with blisters. The rash is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the buttocks and/or genitalia.
    A person with HFMD may have only the rash or only the mouth sores.

How It Is Spread:

  • Infection is spread from person to person by direct contact with infectious virus. Infectious virus is found in the nose and throat secretions, saliva, blister fluid, and stool of infected persons.
  • The virus is most often spread by persons with unwashed, virus-contaminated hands and by contact with virus-contaminated surfaces.
  • Infected persons are most contagious during the first week of the illness.
  • The viruses that cause HFMD can remain in the body for weeks after a patient's symptoms have gone away. This means that the infected person can still pass the infection to other people even though he/she appears well. Also, some persons who are infected and excreting the virus, including most adults, may have no symptoms.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Growing up too fast

I wish I could freeze today. The kids are growing up too fast for my liking. The boys are best friends and play together all day every day, coming up with amazing lego creations, fun role plays, they are quick to give hugs and kisses and do kind things for each other. I just want them to stay this age.
McCall is a tiny bit independent so she can play on her own for a few minutes at a time, she can feed herself and sleep through the night. Now if she could just stay this age forever. This morning as we went to church and entered the chapel she saw her dad sitting up front, she yelled out Dada! and pointed up at him, all the while trying to escape my arms to get to him faster. She was so thrilled to see him.
Thank you for this beautiful day - a nap helped out too :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Farm Living

The boys have been begging us to move back up to Canada. They think they have it all figured out. Connor has offered to work and pick sticks for Grandpa so he can make enough money to pay for us to live up there - nice gesture, but last I checked that is child labor. Tate just wants to move into a tent in someones back yard, hmmm, hope that's an insulated tent for those Canadian winters.
But Gage is the one who daily tries to fly up to Canada. He informed me yesterday that when he flies up to Canada he is going to grow cows. When asked how one grows cows, he answered very confidently - you just take grass, add some flour, then add some sugar, then pour milk on it because cows need milk, then up pops a cow. Interesting ... perhaps we need to have a few farm talks with the child. But he is pretty hard headed and refuses to believe my explanation of a mommy cow and a daddy cow.
Perhaps farm life is not for the boys, they seem to think that hay bales are for jumping, chickens are for catching and chasing, maybe more time is needed out on the farm.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More vacation pictures for posterity sakes :)

Out at the farm -

This is why ...

I am usually behind the camera!
I just feel so much more comfortable there. I always do dumb smiles, poses, and as with most women - the weight issues are a bummer. But I have made a goal to get in front of the camera more often, so my kids will know I was actually there with them throughout the years. Better keep on trying...
Thanks Ryan for taking the pictures, perhaps I should edit them before posting them, for my sake of course.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Born to Fly

This child has an overactive imagination. He truly believes that he can fly. He is constantly saying things like, "Bye mom, I'm going to fly up to Canada today." He puts on a cape of any sort and runs around trying to get lift off. Aunt Jana feeds this overactive imagination continually and now the boy really believes he can.
This morning he woke up and saw that it was a bit windy so he immediately put on his cape and requested to be able to go outside in order to use the wind to fly up to Canada. I am just waiting for him to try to jump off the roof or some other high point just to get him going.

He will "fly" just about anywhere, but his favorites are to Canada and up to heaven to see his uncle Dave and his dog. His plan is to fly up to heaven, find Dave and the dog, push them back down here and then jump after them. Not sure he has thought that all the way through. Perhaps he will be a pilot or astronaut.


Days 6-10 Vanderhoof

We got the party under way as soon as we could. Within a few hours of being there we were all together at my parents house for my Dad's birthday party - 63 this year. We enjoyed visiting and playing with all the family.
The kids got to playing and created a "monster" that lived in Grandpas root cellar. Of course all the adults couldn't let that go, so uncle Mike donned an old wolf skin and hid in the root cellar, while aunt Jana helped arm the kids with sticks and took them to see if the monster was real. The kids were pretty hesitant, but Jana convinced them that there was no monster so just go knock on the door! They did and got the surprise of their lives. Some immediately fell to the ground in horror, others fled the scene to the adults who were looking on and videoing the retreat. Yet others fled momentarily and returned to beat the monster. All in all it was pretty hilarious. I'm glad to say that my kids are a lot faster than I thought they were and were some of the fastest to retreat. Although, they did leave their little brother behind to be devoured by the beast. Fun was had by all.
Monday rolled around and we got the store all set up for Halloween and Fall, that cute little store, I sure do miss it. We had get together almost every night with all the family. Ryan made sure we had plenty of Woody's Bakery doughnuts each day. He sure misses that place and I am not sure how they stay in business with him out of town now, but he does his part when he returns. I too over indulged in the delicacies and will be hitting the gym hard to prep for our next trip up there!
The kids had a ball playing with the chickens, gathering eggs and even cleaning out the coop. Tate learned that even when chickens eat beets interesting things happen. They spent a lot of time out at the garden, pillaging the last of the raspberries, carrots and tomatoes. They ate more cucumbers in vinegar than we can count. We spent an afternoon over at aunt Karli's new house jumping on the trampoline with soap and water - have you ever seen 12 boys jumping on a trampoline, falling all over because it is slippery? Oh the fun we had.
But probably their favorite thing was "hay bale jumping". They made a game of it and spent hours out on the rows of bales, jumping from one bale to another. I love the simplicity of entertaining kids.
We spent some time out at our old place, cleaning up and mowing the grass, picking a few rocks. It is sad to see it empty and lonely. The boys begged us to move back there. Connor cried several times and offered to go work for Grandpa Gulbranson picking sticks so he could help make enough money to move back. He really cried when it came time to leave and to help Jana gave him a picture of Coleson to take with him, only he looked at it the whole time back and cried more when he saw it.
We sure love Canada and the farm, so many good memories.

Day 4-5

DRIVING! That about sums up days 4 and 5. We did have one very nice break, we spent an hour in Cottage Grove, Oregon visiting Gina and Jared and their family. Those girls are so beautiful and the boys so cute. We had a great visit, although it was only for an hour.
It was about then that we noticed McCall getting sick. She had a fever and a rash, I thought it was probably a heat rash. So we took off her clothes and gave her motrin and when I tried to feed her, she refused to eat. She wanted to but every time she tried it hurt her. So we checked in her mouth and sure enough she now had blisters in her mouth just like Gage - who was not contagious we were told.
We then decided to drive straight through the night to get to our next destination - Vanderhoof. That is one long drive. We left San Fransisco at 8 am on Saturday and arrived in Vanderhoof at 3 pm Sunday. By the time we arrived McCall had not eaten for 24 hours. She had blisters all over the inside of her mouth and her rash was horrible and over her whole body. But she was so pleasant. She slept almost the entire drive and didn't cry at all. Gage was starting to feel better by this time, but could only eat soft foods and drink liquids. And he wasn't screaming out all the time! How refreshing! But he also couldn't talk at all, it hurt his mouth, so he got in the habit of pointing to everything he want.
We ended up taking McCall to the doctor that night as she wasn't eating and her rash was getting even worse. They told me she had hand, foot and mouth disease and there was nothing we could do because it was a virus. We had the option of admitting her and putting her on IV's because she is so small and can get dehydrated so easily. But without insurance up there we opted to take her home and feed her from a syringe to try to get her hydrated. That seemed to work just fine, she actually began taking a sippy cup and drinking juice and water. She turned out to be my easiest to wean, she didn't even try to nurse ever again and it has been 9 days so I don't think she will be going backwards. But I still can't get her to drink much of anything. She will eat anything I give her, but drinking is another story. We have tried juice, water milk, formula, soy milk, milkshakes, etc. But she will only take a few sips and then push it away. She has lost 3 lbs from this and went from 21 lbs to 18 lbs. Our once chubby little girl is kinda getting scrawny. But two good things came of it, she is now sleeping through the night and is weened.
Meanwhile, Tate and Connor were so excited to get to Vanderhoof. We didn't tell them we were going until after we left Oregon. They had no idea and were so excited. They were thrilled to finally arrive and "surprise" all their cousins. They jumped out of the car and I don't think we saw them again until we left Vanderhoof. The farm has so much to entertain them and they didn't slow down for a minute.
To be continued...

Day 3

After another night of very little sleep and a lot of screaming - we spent the night just waiting for the front desk to call and escort us to the door, but the call never came.
We got up that morning and drove down to the pier. Ryan left us there while he went to more meetings. The kids and I had a lot of fun down there. Gage continued to feel crappy and did not feel one bit shy about letting everyone know just how badly he felt. But we continued on. We spent the morning at the aquarium and the boys especially loved the sharks, they got to touch starfish and sting rays and all sorts of fun things. We ate at the Rainforest Cafe, Gage ate all his lunch, with some assistance - it was a scoop of ice cream! You know he is sick when you have to make him eat ice cream.
Again, McCall was very pleasant. I think I could travel with here anywhere!

This was about as pleasant as the boy got. But he was miserable and had no sleep or food, I think I would have been grumpy as well. Turns out he lost 3 pounds, 10% of his body weight! This was right after we lost Gage for a few minutes, I literally turned around to get a water from a machine and he was gone. We ran into the closest door, an arcade figuring he would for sure be in there. But no luck, he was no where to be found, I was terrified. I ran back out to the water machine and there he was standing there as if nothing had happened. He had ducked inside a photo booth and waited out my panicked cry's for him. I've never been so relieved and angry at the same time!

Another cool thing we saw were old war ships and submarines, the boys enjoyed them. Day 3 was successful, we met back up with Ryan that evening, ate dinner and slept a little bit better that night, at least 4 hours I think!

Vacation 2009 - Day 1 and 2

Well, not even sure how to start this saga.
We have been gone for 12 days, visited 7 states, 2 provinces, 2 countries, drove 3000+ miles, visited the Instacare twice, had car problems, visited with family, played on the farm and all sorts of fun things. So here it goes ....
Day 1: We started off the day driving to San Fransisco via Reno and Sacramento. Along the way we had to stop often to feed children, potty children, calm children down, stop children from arguing, answer questions from children, and finally, medicate children.
At our first rest stop this is what we found:

This made me especially glad we stopped. That was a quick stop for obvious reasons.
Next stop was the Bonneville Salt Flats. We had never been and the boys wondered why there was "ice" on the ground in the middle of summer.

We really didn't stop much for pleasure after that. Gage had been sick the night before with a fever of 102 degrees, so he got very little sleep and made sure that mom and dad had very little sleep. McCall, who had never travelled more than an hour at a time, was an absolute dream! She was so good to travel, we can't say the same for her older brother.
Gage continued to be extremely grouchy, he refused to eat anything and any time he did he would scream and yell and carry on. I was getting a little tired of it pretty quickly. But he continued. We finally made it to San Fransisco and decided to get to bed. But Gage kept us up all night again. He wouldn't sleep more than a half an hour at a time, and that was if we were holding him .... soooo sleeeepy. We discovered sometime during that night that he had HUGE canker looking sores in his mouth, all over his tongue, his cheeks, the roof of his mouth etc. That explained a few things.
Ryan had work meetings in the morning, poor guy, on so little sleep, oh well, I had four kids in a hotel room so I had a very hard time feeling too badly.
I knew that I couldn't stay in the hotel all day with four kids so I decided to take them to the San Jose Children's Discovery Museum, via the local Walgreens of course where I stocked up on Orajel, Anbesol and any other relief I could find for Gage.
We had a great time at the museum. They boys played for hours in the boxes building forts, blowing bubbles, creating corn husk dolls, painting each others faces and all that fun stuff. Gage was able to have some fun, but it was interspersed with outbreaks of screaming and crying. I got many strange looks, possibly because I was one of the few parents there with more than one child, or perhaps from Gage's antics. Amazingly I found our way back to the hotel where the kids were able to take an hour nap. Blessed hour.

Gage continued to scream and not eat so we took him to a local Instacare. They said he had Aphus (I think) Ulcers in his mouth. They prescribed him some oral paste to help clear everything up. $200 later we were on our way back to the hotel with a still screaming child who refused to let us put anything on his mouth. Another sleepless night ensued.

To be continued....