Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I am so thankful for our Savior whose birth we celebrate this day!!

The McElderry Family
Josh, Lara, Orlando, Ivan and Ammon

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ammon, Dear.

Ammon. Dear. As your mother I must teach you certain things.
First, do not get food on your face.

Use the bathroom, but do not play in there. Also, please put back on your pants, and finally trashcans are not hats.
Beds are more comfortable than stairs.
Smile often, it is going to serve you well.

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Christmas in Columbus

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The Sunday before Christmas we explored some of the things to do around here during Christmas time. It was a nice Sunday afternoon. I love that there is still one time of the year when it is politically correct to mention Jesus!

If you put in too much butter...

Your cookies might try and slide off the pan!
And when you add more flour, they may stick in the bowl, but eventually....
It IS possible to get them just right! Thanks Mary for having us over!
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Dear Children

Dear Boys,

Today was the first real snow of the season. You had Karate in the morning. But, there WAS snow on the ground. Now, I need to remind you a commitment is a commitment. You should follow through. There should not be excuses. You should go to your class and work hard.

Of course, we could just go to Monday's class.
And there IS snow on the ground. And you are 6, 4, and 3. AND it is MAGICAL!! So, forget commitments, forget plans. Let's ENJOY the moments we have and build FROSTY.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

relax, Lara.

Time to try and relax and enjoy the holidays. Ivan is doing fine with random knee pain episodes. I'm determined to try and video the next one-that way I can show a physician. Then again, I'm hoping he won't have a next one.

Bone scan won't be until the 7th because of holidays. That is okay. Patience.

We'll go forward with plans and look forward to getting some answers later.
First, dinners need planned, clothes folded, kids loved, trips taken, marriages made, and a new niece to meet. In short, I need to get out of my funk and have some fun!

Merry Christmas, and thanks for all of your comments. I'm thankful for you!

ps. I'm eating sugar. It IS the week of Christmas ya know!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Low-Key to this Sucks!

Remember my previous post about a low-key Christmas and how I kept putting,

Life has taught me when you get an all is well period-life will whop you up the side of the head!

So it is again-and this particular whop sucks.

Sorry, (I know you hate that word mom). But it is so true.

Ivan was diagnosed with a viral infection in his hip. It was supposed to clear up within a few days-possibly a little longer-but max week to two weeks-it has been 17-18 days.
AND-I thought he was doing better, although when I'm honest, he had some minor aches and pains 4 or 5 days ago and I gave him Motrin.

Then-last night he has another episode of extreme knee pain-this pain wakes him up (he never wakes up). This is a huge concern. Still no other symptoms, injury, fever, etc.

This could (though I am trying my best not to panic) be more serious.

Dr. appointment today yielded: Bone Scan.

Then we'll know more.

I should get a call tomorrow for a time, but I'm not sure how soon this will happen with the holidays.

So much for a low-key holiday. I'm a basket case. Now I'm juggling getting the things done like our dinner and presents with appointments and the wedding trip to Dallas on the 29th and a room full of laundry, and kids who don't have school-which means I need extra patience.

Prayers are welcome for me and Josh. We are both concerned about our little boy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Low-Key Christmas

It is a week before Christmas, and everything is just fine. My sewing machine is broken so no stress there of trying to make cute anythings. I'm not eating sugar so no stress as to making treats, I just buy them if I need to. The presents were bought on line so no stress there. The kids are big enough not to be tearing down the tree or eating ornaments, so no stress there. I'm in charge of bringing marshmallows for Orlando's party-very low stress.
no calling right now cause I'm in a new ward.
no family around to have the privilege of dealing with. AND both sides agreed this year to not do gifts due to other expenses (like weddings and travel).
Not doing cards for the world this year, only our older friends who don't keep in touch in other ways-so like 10 instead of our usual 75!
I'm not really sure this feels like Christmas.
I need to wrap some gifts and make a dinner on Christmas Eve.
We've done some crafts and we're counting down the days. We've sung Christmas songs and talked about the meaning of Christmas. I've also been e-mailing Santa (wink, wink).
So, I think this may end up being the best Christmas ever!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pop-Corn and Cauliflower

You really should know:

You can put popcorn in a brown paper bag, fold it over, tape it with skotch tape and then microwave it. I'd use like a 1/4 cup of kernels.
Listen for it so you don't burn it. Then season as desired.

Just thought you might want a healthy inexpensive snack!

Also, you can cream cauliflower like mashed potatoes, just cook it, add some cream cheese or milk, pepper, garlic, whatever you like! Simple and yummy!

This time of year I struggle with eating healthy--what do you eat that is healthy and easy this time of year? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mormons are weird.

Yes, this is true for many reasons. We don't drink or smoke or have premarital sex. We also don't church hop. Or Church shop. When you move some where, you are in a ward or congregation based solely on your address. The building may be down the road or miles away, but that is where you go. When the congregations get large, they split and make new wards. This keeps people in the same neighborhoods able to serve each other and it keeps congregations small enough everyone should be involved and not just lost in the crowd.
So, it has happened here in Ohio. My ward when moving here was the Worthington Ward. Now, members of this ward have been sent to help make a new ward-the Lewis Center Ward, and a few of us (5 families) have been sent to the Powell Ward. This means I will be starting over with friends and responsibilities.
I'm a little nervous to be honest.
I liked my ward! It took me several months to say that-but that is just how it is, you have to get to know people to really love and like them. And I might add, our activities rocked!
Well, the good news is I haven't moved so I can still see my old friends from time to time, but the truth is that weekly contact makes a huge difference.
We'll see how it goes.
Oh ya, Mormons are also weird in that they believe the Church to be true, and its leaders to be inspired! So, we all stood and supported the changes by voting-and we will all be in our new wards on Sunday.
p.s. I love being a Mormon, even if we are weird!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

¡Feliz Navidad!

I have enjoyed planning the parties for the ward over the last year or so. This Christmas Party was fantastic due to all of the wonderful people in the ward pitching in. When lots of people do small things, great things happen!! I really believe it!The theme was ¡Feliz Navidad! And we went kinda crazy with it. We had a Mariachi band greet you as you came in the foyer (high priests). We had wonderful Mexican food (activities committee-go SARA!! I helped roll around 80 tamales-but her and her husband made a total 0f 200 homemade tamales!). We also had a burrito bar (think Chipotle) and taquitos, chips, and salsa (yay Janine and Megan!) We ate first and then you could:
go to the cookie buffet and get cookies and hot cocoa with fun, hand dipped marshmallows and other delicious add-ins. The karaoke was also in this room, where you had to be 12 to stay and linger. (The RS did this room!)
For the kids, there was face painting, balloon artists, many games and crafts (way to go primary!!)For kids of all ages, we busted I think 6 or 7 piñatas (thanks, young men!)
Santa, or papa noel, was there.(thanks, uh..Santa)
We had spots for pictures, we did a "posada" which a procession following Mary and Joseph symbolic of the trek they took looking for room in an inn. This was followed briefly with some Music (yay Choir) and our 3 Kings (bishopric) giving us a testimony of Jesus Christ.I'm sure I'm leaving something out-it was a great evening for everyone I hope. The missionaries even managed to string lights to look like a coyote and cactus! Fantastic!We decorated with poinsettias and luminaries since the are Mexican traditions for this time of year, and I think the whole thing just turned out fabulous!
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Josh is 31!!

Josh had his 31st birthday on a very busy day, so we celebrated on the Tuesday night before. The kids picked out some gifts. A new remote control (universal) since they had lost the DVD remote, and some playing cards ('cause we're evil and we actually play face cards wahahah!). So, Josh did a few majic tricks and everyone loved the cake. We also had Taco Bell-so this was quite the party!! I did surprise him on Saturday and instead of going grocery shopping (like he thought) I went and got him some new ties. He seemed to genuinley like them and that made me happy. He is hard to buy for. He has needed some new ties though, and they were fun-I found them at antique store and even an original Lazurus.
PS. The cake was delicious and Orlando carefully placed the candles to represent the 3 and the 1 in 31.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mom, I can't walk.

Not exactly what you want to hear first thing in the morning. I had no idea what was going on with Ivan. (Of course it was Ivan-it is ALWAYS Ivan when it comes to medical problems).
Leg pain, knee pain, couldn't walk
fever.recent illness. injury.swelling.redness. bone protrusion. etc.

What the heck?

I worried all day, finally took him to urgent care since the pediatrician couldn't do an x-ray anyway. (and though a little hysterical inside thinking that maybe that cancer did get away and show up in his bone somehow....) I actually held it together pretty well.

Turns out, I guess he has a viral infection in his hip, that is sending referred pain to the knee. It should clear up on its own over the next several days.
If not, we will worry again.
For now, all is well.

ps a hundred thank you's to Jimett for watching my other two boys tonight!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Orlando's Bowling Birthday Party


Josh was off the weekend after Lando's birthday, so it was time to celebrate. Orlando had a tough time choosing just two friends to take bowling, but he had a blast. We all did. Josh and I haven't been bowling in years!! Thanks goodness the bumpers were up!
Orlando chose the colors and designs, etc for his cake!
My baby boy is six.....
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Because I know you want to know..

So, now that I've seen New Moon, it is time for me to reveal my true thoughts on the books, movies and etc.

First, the books were terrible. Not very well written in my opinion. Now I'm not the most read individual-but hey, I don't need to be to recognize good literature. The lack of vocabulary and Bella was so self centered. But then again, Bella is a teenager.
That said, the story was great. A girl in love with a vampire who leaves her and whose best friend is Jacob.
and Jacob is a werewolf. But, he wouldn't be if it weren't for the vampires coming back.
Any hoo. Here is the list Bella should have made when deciding her future:

Jacob is the man.

He is warm.
Comfortable with his family
"a sun"
"beautiful" (I might add this part was true!)

Okay, now for Edward
treats me like a baby
can't bleed
can't age
can't go out in the sun (hello-depression!)
issues with his family
always in trouble
he wants things he can't have
like a mortal life
and me -as in Bella

Just my opinions, but I'm team Jacob.

I had a blast watching New Moon with the crazy ladies!! It was fun, but not a great movie. Some extremely cheesy laugh out louds-but hey it was a great escape from my real life!! Thanks for a howling good time!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pretty Sweet

Ivan called me over to him while I was volunteering with his class.

"Mom, come here. I want to tell you something."

"What do you want to tell me, Ivan?"

"You are pretty."

This sweet boy made my otherwise stressful week-so much better! Thanks for your kind words, Ivan.

For better or worse...

So ya know when you get married and you think life will be nothing but bliss, romantic dinners, and etc.
And then--we realize, "oh, I married a person.." "Oh, I'm just a person." And though life is good and we love each other so much...

Life happens: for better or worse.

Lately, I'm personally feeling for the worse.
**I tried some new medicine and gained 15 lbs in about 2 months.
**The Mazda broke down today. (530 dollars)
**The new van is acting up-seriously annoying
**We got Ivan's MRI bill-over 700 with insurance (we get these 2X a year, but yuck!)
**A student loan that is supposed to be deferred is slipping through the cracks and it always scares me to see that we owe so much money when we don't have it-and it is a paper trail nightmare.
**Ivan's teacher has recommended therapy again. I just knew we weren't past this-but golly gee-I was hoping..
** Josh's schedule sucks!

Okay, am I done? I don't know, but I'll stop for now.

I know things will get better, they always do...after all, this is for better or worse..

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Quit Growing!


Dearest Orlando,
Please quit growing. I can hardly stand how big you are. Especially from age 5 to 6. All baby seems gone. I miss you. And yet, you are so perfect in this stage. Okay, not perfect-perfect-but wonderful! --You are a boy . A good boy. A fun boy. You love karate class, you get excited over gum balls, and going to the park. You like super heroes and more and more cars and less and less Thomas the Tank Engine. You are getting your reading and writings and math skills. You are learning right and wrong. You love your brothers. You love your dad. And tonight when I put you to bed, you also said you love me, and I thank you. Thanks for being my first born. For teaching me and having patience with a first time mom. Thanks for playing chess and monopoly, and cooking meals and treats with me. Thanks for sharing your toys with your brothers. Thanks for being a fun person. Thanks for giving me your love.
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Ammon's Pancake Breakfast

Ammon's birthday was celebrated with a pancake breakfast. Three year olds are happy in the morning, and it worked well for a school day. Ammon loves the color blue. And Bat-Man, and the Power Rangers.

He is the sweetest little guy...

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This is right before his paper flag caught on fire. Yes, I caught something on fire with 10 little boys in the house! Yes, yes I did.
But, the party was sure fun! We are so glad Ammon had so many friends come and celebrate his big 3 years!!

Orlando's wanna-be birthday.

Orlando participated in all the hoop-la of Ammon's birthday party on Tuesday and has been such a good sport about his very low-key birthday. But, it ended up a little bigger then I thought. Since Josh is working today (the 7th) we had brownies last night with candles. I also took cupcakes to his Kindergarten class and he LOVED the attention!

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We decorated left over brownie tonight....also the ward had a primary activity today and they all sang to him. Then some friends and I went to Burger King (sorry to anyone who maybe would have joined us it was very impromptu) and had a "surprise" birthday party for Orlando. OH, and he got to spend 5 dollars at a garage sale. He's been really into games and is even learning the rules to chess (which means I am learning them for the first time). And so no surprise he looked for games at the garage sale. We got Jr. Clue and Jr. Monopoly. Great shape, all the pieces $1.00. Thank you very much! We played for hours today while Ammon napped.
Orlando is SIX!! I can't believe it. I'm putting together a collage of pictures of this kid that I love so, so much.
Next weekend Josh will be off and we are planning on bowling as a family. I may let him bring a friend or two. And, I think he needs a better cake. Those brownies look sad. But his cupcakes (that I did not take pictures of ) rocked!

I love you, Orlando. And I plan on beating you in Monopoly tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Happenings!

We had an absolute blast this year during the week of festivities around Halloween. It is times like these when I absolutely think being a mom is the best, and raising three boys couldn't be topped for anything in the world.
The joy and excitement of hay mazes, pumpkin patches, spooky stories, dressing up, candy, cupcakes, donuts, trick or treating, church party, preschool party, kindergarten party, etc.
We have had a blast. My favorite of all activities this year was our family dinner. Since Columbus trick or treats on Thursday, Saturday was open. I had done some researching on line and found the best ideas. We had a Mummy Meatloaf, Ghost Mashed Potatoes, a Wall-E sandwich, and a vegetable monster, and a few marshmallow monster ghosts. We all had to come to the table in costume and we ate with candles. Could it get any better?
Orlando was the red power ranger, Ammon the blue, Ivan was Bat-Man, I was a last minute robot, and Josh a ghost.
Here are some pictures of all the happenings!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Holiday Sorrow Softened

Well, I was having a bit of a pity-party.
Josh is working during the Halloween Party, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas-so he can be off on New Year's to go to Dallas for his brother's wedding (which me and kids probably won't attend b/c we can't afford to fly and don't have time to drive). And then he'll be off a week in February to attend a conference in Ft. Lauderdale and again we won't be joining him. So all of these holidays were just highlighting the yuckiness of a resident's schedule and had me in a bit of a tizzy.

Until I read this:

and now I have NOTHING to complain about.

Monday, October 19, 2009

100 and counting!

These are pictures from the wonderful family reunion/birthday party for Grandma Ruby. Grandma Ruby turned 100 on October 3rd. Her husband, Rosco Ivan McElderry, is how we picked up Ivan for our boy. She is Josh's great grandmother and great great grandmother to our children. She is fantastic and up to 97 knew me and could remember which kids went with me. She's having a bit of a struggle at 100, but there were lots of people to get straight. Below we have one family picture of one of her 7 kids' families. (yes we are praying-that is when someone snapped the picture-probably we were finally still!) So, six other families worth of people exist as well. Then, Josh's grandpa, her son giving her a kiss. This should win a photo contest. The sweetness, oh the sweetness. If I'm 100, will one of my boys be there to kiss me? I hope so! I insisted on 100 candles at least on one of the cakes!! The mayor came and presented her with a key to the city, but more touching was photos from her early years -- life is so beautiful and should be treasured.
What a special, rare, cherished time.

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p.s. this is my 100th post, fitting isn't it?

With Thankful Heart

I'm happy to report that Ivan's MRI today looked "normal". Normal, by the way, is a beautiful word. I always get nervous when he has these six month pictures done--wondering maybe, just maybe, that ugly tumor is starting up again--just one little cell got away...

So, it is always a great relief to hear that he's okay. We'll do this again in April. And October. Then maybe just in Octobers. I hope. I worry and worry and buy him special treats, and get movies, and wash his blanky, and pray. Oh, and worry (did I mention that?)

In addition to that, I took Orlando to his field trip. I made him a wonderful sack lunch, got him all excited, made sure he was dressed for the pumpkin patch and then took him to school at 8 when he usually goes in the afternoon....only to find out it is next week.

How embarrassing.
I blame it on stress. Somehow I got the MRI and the field trip on the same date in my head....

Sheesh, I thought Lando might make it to 4th or 5th grade before I started embarrassing him, I guess not!

Well, I'm thankful for my boys even if they may struggle with giving thanks for this scatter brained-worry-wart of a mom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Life Changer (6-13 of 10?)

Learning Love.

Marcelo, Adriano, Josh, Lara, Ivone

Allison Smith (companion who helped teach) Solagne, Lara
Lara, Meroly w/family
Glaci, Sidney, Barbara, Allison, and Lara
These are my last life changing missionary experiences that I will share. Like the others in my list, they are in no particular order. I learned lessons from each of these wonderful people that I taught. Some of them I was with through all the lessons, others just for part. I did attend all their baptisms, pray with them and for them, and learn to love. Yes, I learned to love others; and it was the sweetest of all the things learned!
7. Thaís
She joined the church at just 14. She was our neighbor. She is doing well. Has a two year old and is currently dating an active member. I didn't have her contact information on the trip, but am now on a social network (Orkut-another form of Facebook) and we can keep in touch.
8. Meroly
Meroly has graduated nursing school and is married to a member. They attend church off and on and attended the temple celebration. It took a small miracle to find them when I returned. I believe in miracles.
9. Solange, Jose, Antonino, and Thaís
This family was the most different upon returning Thaís was no longer 6, she was 14 and dancing in the Temple, Antonio was great with the soccer ball. Solange had not joined the church when I met this family. A beautiful thing happened the day her husband came home and found her meeting "secretly" with the sisters. Lives were changed. They were sealed in São Paulo, now they can go to the Curitiba Temple!
10.Ivone, Marcelo, Adriano
I got to teach this family for a short time. They are not active. I was happy to find members who are keeping tabs on them, and were glad to have an excuse to go by their home. We had a wonderful visit. Some day, they will be back.
11. Glaci, Sidney, and Bárbara
The wonderful experience of teaching this family is not comparable to much else. This is the family Josh and I stayed with when we went down. They are fantastic. They have their trials, but are doing well. They were sealed in São Paulo. Additional family members have now joined the church. They are happy, better educated, newer home, and doing great. Their testimonies are strong and attending the temple dedication with them will always stand out as a special highlight in my life.

Sadly, I don't have contact with 12. Kelly or 13. Jonathan. But they are not forgotten.

Te Amo, Brasil!
Tenho Saudades....

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Life Changer (6 of 10)

I learned about food! And Generosity!

Churrasco's and Antartica Guarana!
The Piñhao

I learned as much as I could about the food! I loved Brazilian food. Especially Curitibano Brazilian Food. Because that meant Italian-like gnocci and noodles and wonderful homemade sauces over polenta.
My birthdays were both celebrated by large parties with cakes and gifts. Too kind! The members were so nice. One found out my family likes to have lasagna for Christmas Eve, guess who had us over? Guess what she made? How nice is that. Very generous indeed.
The lunches were also generous. Large portions of beans and rice. But, oh the beans! I'm still trying to figure out how they tasted so good, I've gotten closer, but it is tough. I had a lunch every day just about. Every day!! Seriously, I paid for my lunch less than a dozen times the entire time. Now that I'm a wife and mom I realize, it is a lot to have people over for dinner-but they didn't seem to mind. They took a genuine interest in us and were very generous with their talents and time. I love them for it!
One memory I have is of us eating lunch, then dishes washed, then them eating lunch. They didn't have enough dishes or space for us all to eat together. The meal was just chicken, rice and beans. The kept apologizing. I was serious when I told the sister, it was delicious and to please not worry. Other times, the members were busy and the maids would make us lunch. Lots of class diversity in Brasil.
Feijoada is the traditional dish of Brasil. I love it too. I don't care for some of the nasty pig parts included, but as long as you could fish your own it was yummy! And the oranges are so good with it! It was if they dished it for you when you might run into trouble! Also, I have a visual of someone sucking a chicken's foot, to get off all the meat, that toe suck--ewww, for some reason that bothered me, more than other things.
Lots of fruit. Mangoes taste better there! Hands down. And I miss them! And specific to Curitiba in the pinhao from the Araucaria tree. The last two pictures above show the large pine cone type thing and then the actual nuts. Interesting-and tasty!
What a great experience. What good food. What a generous and loving people. Who showed love to me, a spoiled American.
A companion and I went to give some small gifts to a family for Christmas. One of the children was saying to her brother, "this is yours, this is yours." I realized she was trying to give him her candy and I corrected her and told her she got more than one in her package. She was trying to give away the candy because she had never had two pieces of candy at once, she thought a mistake had been made, and she was concerned someone didn't get a piece.
and how much will we throw out after trick or treating?
I'm still learning....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Life Changer (5 of 10)

I found my pictures!! At least 39 of my favorites. The others are lost, but I'm so glad to have these. Any way, the 5th thing I'm mentioning is that I learned what beauty was. I absolutely love the falls! I've decided it is one of the most beautiful places on earth and when on my mission decided I wanted to honeymoon there. Seven years after I was married, we made it! I encourage everyone to go, as pictures do not do this place justice. There is a panoramic here.