Saturday, September 20, 2014

Goings On


Brennan’s hearing was noticeably down again all summer.  It’s a pattern – I begin every school year explaining to his new teacher that he can’t hear very well at this time.  However, we were also focusing on KIERAN’S ear issues (he too has fluid in his ears, same as Brennan and Asher, at least previously).  Brennan saw our ENT and had a hearing test that he failed.  We were warned he needs to be careful crossing the street because he couldn’t hear a truck coming, and to be cautious approaching unfamiliar dogs as he can’t hear them growling.  And it was recommended for him to get his THIRD set of ear tubes.  This time, they’re long-term, meaning they stay in years instead of months.  We’ll have them taken out in about 3 years in his case.  Hopefully by THEN he’ll have outgrown this issue.


The surgery took place last Thursday.  Here we are arriving at 6:30, still the middle of the night as far as we’re concerned.  A HUUUUUUUGE thanks to my Mom for coming over at 6am, and getting Asher off to school and the littles taken care of!


Getting all gussied up in the hospital jammies.


He’ll be going back soon.  The doctors and nurses and everybody is so nice.  And Brennan is an old pro at this.  But he still felt scared when the time came.  He’d been looking forward to the surgery until the car ride there.

He was full of SO many questions.  He’s such a nut.  As he rattles off “why”s one after another, Brian and I just have to laugh. (It’s that or get very annoyed).  I hope someday he’ll put this naturally high curiosity and inquisitiveness to good use in his career.


Brian got double the birthday celebrations this year.  We spent his real birthday in Sunriver and all the rushing to get out there meant I forgot the things I DID have, plus I was waiting on some late-arriving gifts.  So we got a dinner-date out there at the resort and dessert, but after the gifts arrived we celebrated again.  Happy 34th to my man!


Wow.  They don’t look related at.all. do they?


I didn’t take a lot of pictures of our little vacation at Sunriver.  We had a great time though.


Family bike ride.  Made possible because Asher F.I.N.A.L.L.Y learned to ride his bike.  I’ve been working with him on it for a year.  He just wasn’t into trying.  I’d get frustrated, he’d weep and wail every time he fell at all… it wasn’t good.  So I asked Brian to take him out and practice and he goes outside, gives Asher the same advice I do, and Asher just does it.  Ugh! Well it worked.  We rode out to the playground and it took Asher a while.  He kept veering off the path when others would ride past.  At one point he was unable to stop while going downhill into where the our path crossed the street.  So he had a very AFV crash in the road.  He lived to tell though. Smile  He kept practicing every chance he got after that, silently slipping outside and just riding around the dead-end loop of our street.  Even after getting home he’s been riding for fun!  I never ever, EVER thought I’d see that happen.



I love, LOVE this picture!


Now we’re just back at home enjoying the end of summer/almost fall season.  


Kieran has finally learned how to go down stairs.  Now we’re baby gate free AND I don’t have to rescue him whenever he goes upstairs like I’ve done the last few weeks.  He’s become a lot happier with this new freedom.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Our Twins

How could I have forgotten to blog about the new additions to the family yesterday?!?  We are now the proud parents of some cute baby girl twins. No names yet, we just can't decide.  And being identical twins, we still can't even tell them apart yet!

Our girls are degus.  What? Haven't heard of them before?  Or maybe it was just Brian and I who hadn't ever heard of them until VERY coincidentally learning of their existence recently.
The backstory is, Brennan mentioned something about scorpions one night and we got to talking about poisonous animals that are sometimes kept as pets.  Which got us talking about pets in general, like how Asher is always begging me for a pet fish.  We brought up hamsters, gerbils, the usual.  We can't have cats or dogs here, but Asher being allergic would pull the stop on that anyway.  It was a Friday night and we thought, "let's hit Petco tomorrow and just visit the animals.  Maybe see what they have in the way of fish or something."  This was pretty impulsive because I'd already decided we have no room for anything and I had no desire to take care of a critter.  Brian and I had tried a hamster once and I was too afraid of being bitten to handle her, and Brian didn't have time to take over duties like he'd intended.  It lasted a few days only before she bit Brian and was returned.

So the next day we excitedly went to Petco and saw their animals.  We talked about birds (already owning a bird cage), turtles, fish...  I told Brian I wanted a chinchilla, mostly jokingly.  They're so cute!  We spent quite a while there, but ultimately decided to come home empty-handed and think about our options.  We thought we'd see what was up for adoption on Craigslist too.

So, I did just that.  After getting home I hopped online and looked up postings on Craigslist.  In that search I found someone with baby hedgehogs which intrigued me immediately.  Dander-free means non-allergenic!  A quick google search about them as pets sounded kinda cool.  The owner had said they'd be visiting Corvallis Saturday only with their babies (and I was reading it that day), so we tried contacting them but never did hear back.

Alternately, as I looked at postings I came across someone with degus.  There was no picture, so in curiosity I looked them up.  My, but they were intriguing as well.  They're awake during the day, they can often be trained, even litter-box trianed sometimes!  They love human interaction, including a good belly or chin rub.  They look like mice/hamster/gerbil combinations but bigger.  So we contacted that seller.  She wanted a picture of our cage, etc. so to ensure we had honorable intention and knew what we were doing.  So Brian pulled out our birdcage, then went to Home Depot for some supplies to modify it. (They need a solid walking surface for their feet.)  At 11pm that Saturday night he started building a degu cage.  We were basically committed.  I'd also throughout the day done lots more research and we'd decided degus could be a good fit.  I also found two other Craiglist postings in the state of Oregon, one in Washington, and all but one of them were old and the degus no longer available.  So yeah, they're really hard to find.  The fact that I ran across the posting I did, and it was local, is like a one in 1000 chance or something.

Aaaaanyway, we spent the next week trying to figure out how to get some degus.  The original poster had only a Mom and daughter left, but degus that have had babies don't live as long, so when Mama died, daughter would be alone.  And degus get depressed alone, they're too social.  Somehow Brian was able to discover a degu rescue in Eugene of all coincidental places and that opened up our options to a set of 2 sisters or 4 sisters, the latter the owners wanted to keep as a quad.  While I was up in Portland for my Girl's Weekend, Brian came home with our two girls.

Degus like to be held, but not by just anybody.  They have to get to know you and trust you first.  So we have to take things slowly.  And there are a lot of us trying to get them used to us.  Must be so overwhelming for our sweeties.

We're all in super love though with our new friends.  The boys have been playing "degu" with each other, each of them telling me they wish they were degus for real.  Before seeing them in person, Brennan had said he preferred to get a fish. (What?!?) but he's SO glad to have the degus now.

Last night as Brian was giving out a couple "treats", the more outgoing girl kept venturing out further and further onto him until she was full blown wandering all over him!  Then she began willingly climbing on Brennan and Asher.  I filmed all this, included below.  It was such a triumph!  The other girl is more shy and wouldn't get past just her paws being on Brian's hand.

At the end of the video you see the degu has hopped onto the windowsill.  What an adventure that created!  Before she could be scooped up she'd weaseled down to the floor and hid under the cabinet the cage is on.  Brian spent like 40 minutes laying on his belly trying to coax her out.  We were hoping she'd just choose to come for the treat or whatever and climb onto him.  That didn't work at all.  Eventually, she left that hiding spot and scurried into our living room.  At this point I got involved and it became clear she wouldn't be coaxed, she'd have to be got.  Which she most likely wouldn't like.  Degus as a rule don't like being "gotten" (pray animals, you know), but we had no other choice.  At one point we happened to get her cornered enough that Brian managed to pick her up.  She gave him a large chomp on the finger as he hurried back to the cage but the pain got to him after about 4 steps and he dropped her.  He was bleeding rather profusely from that bite and still has a swollen and sore finger this morning.  We finally found her under our sectional, in the one tiny entrance.  I keep pillows lined up under the couch to help the toys not go underneath.  So I had to pull everything out.  Couldn't get her out, so finally started taking apart all three sections of the sofa.  In the end our entire living area was rearranged and messed up!  Brian was hesitant to try to pick her up again, understandably.  We learned our lesson to have the little travel/carrying cage close-by to minimize distance of carrying her.  We spent FOREVER on or tummies trying to get her out from under the sectional!  FINALLY, we got her out and she headed for a spot we'd secured pretty well.  Thank goodness!  We managed to block her in so that her only escape was into a tube leading into the cage.  A couple tries of that and we got her!!!  Brian and I passionately made-out in celebration. ;-)  It was only 10pm, plenty of time to get the things done we'd intended to that night.  Hah!

 Lesson learned.  We won't get them out of the cage until perimeters have been WELL secured (she dove right through the baby gate at one point as if it wasn't even there) and we have what we need to block all exits but the one we want her to take.  At least until they get to know us much better.  Supposedly they can reach that point where they'd just come back/hang out with you instead of hiding.  But we are NOT there yet.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ending the summer with a splash!


Over Labor Day Weekend my Mom and sisters and I had a girls weekend in Portland.  SO much fun!  Activities included a temple session, (although I did mine all by myself.  1st time for everything.), a river cruise on the Willamette, Powells City of Books, Voodoo Doughnuts, Red Robin, staying at the Embassy Suites, shopped ‘til we dropped all day Saturday, Cheesecake Factory, Comedy Sportz Improv show, an awesome water nursery, and visiting a sweet architectural salvage/antique store.  We had a blast!


These big ol’ lily pads can hold a child sitting in them!



This nursery is seriously SO cool.  It has awesome fountains, koi, all sorts of tropical foliage...  And it’s designed like a park.  It would be a great place to take engagement pictures or something.


We rode a ferry with the car to cross the river.  I’ve never done that before!IMG_20140831_105956964IMG_20140831_105839102_HDR

heatherestevenson gmailBacktracking a bit: This photo was from the Youth Jam in Idaho Falls. Kids could pick their own backgrounds.  OOOOORRRR, we may or may not have snuck in a trip to Egypt.  I mean, this looks legit.


I made a couple things from pinterest ideas.  One is a job chart with the dollar bills hanging so that a kid can do the chore and get their $ immediately.  My boys already earned themselves enough dough for some legos.  This one, above, is for the items I pick up for them.  Brennan’s roller blades made their way into the basket many times in the first few days, but strangely they’ve been put away lately.  Weird.  (The “jobs” in this case are not cleaning chores, but actually good deeds.  Like “Read a book to a younger sibling” or “write a letter to a grandparent”, stuff like that.)

Fern Ridge Lake

Is it vain of me to say I love this picture?  Took it on my phone, and couldn’t even see what it looked like at the time due to the sunshine.

The day before school started I took the kids and hit the lake with my Mom and my sister Devon and her son (far left).  We were the only ones at the park!  It was fun.  Kieran, true to form, avoided the water and wandered around for quite a while.  But UNlike him, he did decide to touch the water.  He couldn’t decided whether or not to like it for about 20 minutes before finally deciding he could handle walking in it up to his ankles.  He played in the water for a little bit that way until tiring of it.


Also at the lake is a playground.  Kids had fun on that too.


Wait wait wait!  Why is Hollyn suddenly looking so grown up?!?!?  I’d like to speak to a manager!

IMG_20140902_164757756IMG_20140902_164809247IMG_20140902_164838977IMG_20140902_164923488Is it wrong I get a kick out of this one?  Because Kieran. (“Whyyyyyy?  Oh Why me?”)

Aaaaaaand yesterday was the big day. Sniff, sniff.  I miss my big kids, but kind enjoy the relative quiet.

first day