Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Oct '14

Peanut Butter

I’m letting Elizabeth eat peanut butter. When Carissa was 1 and I started giving her peanut butter I noticed red blotches (hives) around her mouth. I took her to the allergist and found she’s allergic to some nuts and egg whites. So I have purposely avoided nuts with Elizabeth, too.

Wes slipped her a peanut butter cup once and she didn’t seem to react. After that I’ve cautiously given her little bits of peanut butter stuff here and there, or maybe almond milk in a smoothie. I don’t think she’s having reactions. I have noticed red bumpy things around her mouth but they look like acne and not big blotches like hives, and so I’m not sure they’re related to the nuts.

In any case, she is a happy camper with her peanut butter. I hope she’s not allergic.





Today, the Dentist

We started our morning at the dentist. We are grateful to have dental insurance, which we never used to have, and I intend to use it.

Today was maybe the fourth time my kids (the two older ones, anyway) have been to the dentist. The first time was when Wes was about four, and Carissa one or two. It was a total train wreck. Wes had meltdown after meltdown. (Carissa did fine.) After that I stayed away from the dentist and eventually chose a different one to go to. I think I’ve also found my voice as a parent since then, recognizing that for Wesley’s needs I really need to talk to the people who work with him and help them understand and prepare for his challenges curing the visit.

I’m learning that Wes needs consistent exposure to difficult experiences to help him adjust. I have an appointment set for him next month, and every month thereafter, to get him into the dentist and help him get used to being there. As soon as we exit the lobby (fun area) and enter the main part of the dental office (scary area) Wes gets nervous. It’s written all over him. I know it’s because of his previous medical experiences of many kinds (drawing blood, getting x-rays, sleep study, having tonsils looked at, etc. etc. etc.) where because of his unwillingness to do the things he’s asked to do (hold still, open mouth, do this or that) he has been held and forced against his will to do it. Sometimes as a parent you think that’s the only way. The job gets done.

But it has its effects.

So Wes is super nervous and non-compliant at any medical office. Today he did really good overall, but that’s because we didn’t make him sit in the x-ray chair (DEATH! HORRIBLE DEATH!) or even in the chair that leans back where the dentist examines him. He also didn’t get his teeth cleaned. There was a moment when I tried to force him to sit in the lean-back chair for his exam but it was clearly a bad idea and we adjusted. Dr. Ryan just sat next to him and really nicely showed him how he was going to count his teeth. And then Wes complied. And that’s why we’re going back next month too.

Carissa and Elizabeth, on the other hand, did everything they were asked to do. Even Elizabeth! I was shocked that she sat still and obeyed the x-ray tech and didn’t cry or fuss or anything. And the same thing when Dr. Ryan looked at her teeth. No problem at all. And she’s not even 2 yet!

Carissa said she didn’t like the x-rays, which I can understand since she has to hold something in her mouth and it’s kind of big and awkward, but she didn’t cry. The kids all got rewards from the treasure machines at the end and I took them home, relieved.

Until next month.





Oct '14

Vacation July 2014: Day 5 (Seattle)

On Monday, our fifth day of vacation and second full day in Seattle, we hit up one of my favorite places in the world: downtown Seattle.

The day started with breakfast of bagels and morning TV shows:



Then we loaded up the car, with John and John’s dad in the front and me and the kids in the back.




Our first stop was my favorite thing in Seattle, Public Market. John’s dad works near this place, so we were able to park in his office building’s garage for free and walk a couple blocks here. The last time we were in Seattle (about four years ago), it poured rain. Today was sunny and warmish.


I made sure we got our Daily Dozen donuts. There is maybe nothing better than a paper sack full of warm, yummy mini donuts.





Some of the sights:



Another favorite stopping point was the Confectional, a cheesecake shop.


Elizabeth drinking a tiny cup of warm sipping chocolate, which was really good and maybe even worth the $1.


We got some cheesecakes to take home.


For lunch John’s dad took us to one of his favorite lunchtime spots, which was a mixture of pizza/Italian and Mexican food. John and I laughed about it later, that out of all the world-class eating spots in downtown Seattle, this place was probably the worst. Definitely not the best food and we’re still not sure why John’s dad eats there every week. But OK.


After lunch we decided to buy tickets for the famous “Ride the Duck” tour. Lisa, our sister-in-law in Richland, said that her kids went to Seattle on a field trip and that the duck boat ride was the highlight of the trip. It’s an amphibious bus that goes on land and then into the water. John and his dad stood in line for tickets while I tried to keep the kids entertained.


It’s such a popular tour that we had to wait a few hours until the next tour became available. To fill the time we took the train from where we were to the Space Needle. There’s a children’s discovery museum there that we spent a couple hours at. Boy, the kids had fun!






We got the kids into an art session, which they all really liked. Each kid has their own style of artwork.




Our tour time was coming up quick, so we had to go, but we stopped for some ice cream first. This stand is outside the space needle and features homemade ice cream. We nearly missed our tour, but it was so good! Wesley’s cone was chocolate and dripping all over the place. The reason I don’t have pictures is I was too busy wiping him up all the time.



Getting ready for our tour.



One signature of the Ride-the-Duck tour is the drivers wear silly hats, many of them, throughout the tour. Carissa had a fun time giggling at our driver’s many silly hats. I didn’t get photos of them all. I think her favorite was when he put underwear on his head!




Lovely Seattle waterfront.


This is the aquarium we visited last time when Wes and Carissa were much younger.


This is new from the last time we were in Seattle. It’s like the London Eye.


Beautiful Carissa.


Wes fell asleep for a little while. But it couldn’t last long, because downtown Seattle is LOUD. I think it was sirens that woke him up.


Getting ready to enter the water as a boat. This was pretty cool!





Another boat near us:


Seattle. The water was beautiful, and busy. We saw lots of boats, both big and small, plus kayaks like this one.


There are tons of houseboats lining the Seattle harbor, including the famous one from “Sleepless in Seattle.” I thought I took a picture or video of it but I can’t find it. Only a certain number of houseboats are allowed at a given time, so they are prime property. The tour guide said they are coming up with crazy new designs, such as houseboats with basements, and windows in the basement.



We took the monorail back to where we were parked. It exits into a small shopping mall. As we passed a candy store I pointed out to John a whole wall of Hello Kitty stuff. He must have been feeling pretty generous, because he took her inside and let her pick out something to take home. She was a happy girl.




Vacation July 2014: Day 5 (Seattle)

On Saturday night, our first night visiting John’s dad near Seattle, I sent John out for groceries (because I felt too tired). He and his dad went together and came back loaded up with frozen meals that would last us a lot longer than our scheduled three days. But they also brought me back some ice cream, so I wasn’t complaining.

Since it was Sunday we visited John’s dad’s ward in the morning and just relaxed in the afternoon. After dinner we met up with John’s dad for a boat ride around American Lake, which is next to their bed and breakfast. This was the kids’ first boat ride. They liked it, especially when John’s dad went fast! Elizabeth fell asleep.













Oct '14

Vacation July 2014: Day 4 (Seattle)

On Saturday we left Richland and drove across Washington towards John’s dad’s place near Tacoma. We opted for a slightly longer but more scenic route through the Mr. Rainier National Park. I am so, so, so glad we did. It was just breathtaking. I drove the whole way (about 4 hours), and we didn’t stop. In retrospect, maybe we should have since it was so lovely, especially near Mt. Rainier, but I guess we’ll add it to our bucket list for the next time.

We honestly couldn’t get over the TREES. Beautiful, gorgeous, tall, green trees. EVERYWHERE.

mt ranier 4

This was nearing our highest point in the Mt. Rainier National Park, where we could see Mt. Rainier (behind us) and we drove through a lot of clouds/fog.

mt ranier 1

mt ranier 3

mt ranier 2

It really was too beautiful for our camera to capture. And the air smelled so good and clean that I liked to drive with the window down, even though the temp (which had started around 75-80 degrees in Richland) was close to 50 degrees.

We really enjoyed the drive. If I hadn’t been driving I would have taken more pictures of all the quaint woodsy towns we passed through before we got to Mt. Rainier park. Again, maybe we can stop next time. Once we were out of the park we stopped at the first McDonald’s we saw to use the restroom and change Elizabeth’s diaper. We had some food with us for lunch but we got some french fries and hot fudge sundaes to share. (That was John’s idea; he knows how to make me smile.)

John’s dad owns a bed and breakfast in Lakewood called Thornewood Castle. They were nice enough to put us up in a 2-bedroom apartment adjoining the castle. Our view from our living room:

view from thornewood

The last time we saw John’s dad, Wesley was about 3 and Carissa was a baby. This was his first time to meet Elizabeth. On Saturday afternoon, once we were settled, John’s dad got our kids life jackets and we all went to the lake to play.


Wes was happy as ever tossing rocks into the lake the whole time.


The rear view of the bed and breakfast. Our apartment is in the building just to the right of the castle.


John’s dad, Wayne.








John took Carissa and Elizabeth on rides on the boogie boards around the shallow parts of the lake. They loved it.





One of my favorite short videos of Elizabeth because it documents her enthusiasm for life and cookies:

Saturday night after we finished at the lake (and I got sunburned) John’s dad took us to one of our favorite places for dinner: Black Angus (which we haven’t been to in a long time since the one near us in Utah closed years ago). It was so nice to visit with Wayne, and Wes thoroughly enjoyed his ice cream dessert.



Our sunset:


And to give you an idea of its real serenity, a video:


Vacation July 2014: more pictures

I got access to the pictures John took on his tablet when we were on vacation in July:

I think the area by Twin Falls, ID is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. And we only got to see it in such depth because we had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere in Idaho and had to spend the night.

the view by twin falls bridge 1

the view by twin falls bridge 2

twin falls family 1

twin falls family 2

twin falls family 3

twin falls family 4

twin falls family 5

twin falls family 6

twin falls

Five pictures of the fire along the freeway before we hit Baker City, OR. Thankfully we got past it before they shut down the road so we could continue on our way. After a flat tire in Idaho I don’t think we could have handled another setback.

baker city fire 1

baker city fire 2

baker city fire 3

baker city fire 4

baker city fire 5