Grossed out.

AJ hates being dirty, in fact he will walk all the way back across the park, away from his favorite toys, just so that I can wipe the sand off his hand if he somehow gets dirty. It is pretty funny since most kids love to make a mess. Due to this particular little quirk we weren't sure how well AJ would do with pumpkin carving. Although we didn't make it out to the Roloff farm this year we did manage to find ourselfs a pumpkin, Pierre. I know we are a little late on the pumpkin carving but we still wanted to do it and so last night we finally took the plunge and cut into Pierre. Just as hypothesized AJ was NOT into the whole pumpkin scene, we tried to make him touch it but he freaked out entirely. Make sure you pay special attention to AJ facial expressions in these pictures.


The Portland Zoo

Last Saturday was Erika's first birthday.(Steve and Nicole's little girl.) We got up early and went to the Portland Zoo. It was so weird to go to another Zoo but it was a lot of fun. The morning started off a little chilly but the sun was out urning the morning into a beautiful fall day. The Portland Zoo is HUGE, they have so many animals including Polar Bears, Pingins, and sun bears which the Calgary Zoo doesn't have. We bought a year pass which I intend to put to good use. Usually we get to the Zoo once a year, wake up early and spend the whole day rushing around trying to see everything. Now that we have the one year past we can just go wander around for a morning or head over to see our favorite animals being feed. AJ loved being at the Zoo, he is learning all the different animal names and sounds, you should hear him try to say Zebra!!! With Aaron's busy school schedule we don't get to spend much "quality" time together, being at the Zoo was a nice treat for our family and a great chance to enjoy each others company again.

It's been quite a while since I've seen Polar Bears and I was really looking forward to it. Nicole said that their bears are really playful and active....... This is all we got out of 'em.

So here we are at the Sea Lion exhibit. I had no idea these animals where so ginormous!!! I guess I was thinking of seals but these are nothing like seals. There where two Lions the exhibit, the were super playful and loved to swim right up to the glass where the kids were. AJ kept giving them five as the swam by.

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the naked mole rat but I saw them on planet earth (which I love!) and was so exited when I saw that the Portland Zoo had an exhibit just for them. They live underground and hardly ever open their eyes, as you can see they have no hair and since they spend all their time chewing away the dirt, their teeth sit in front of their lips. Isn't that crazy and disturbing!?!

The Zoo, like all of Portland, was full of trees and beautiful walk ways. As we walked from each exhibit to the next AJ pointed out all the leafs on the ground. AJ love the Giraffe, we couldn't get him to stop staring at them!!! Maybe he should have been a Giraffe for Halloween.

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Here we are at the tiger exhibit. The tiger was all over the place! It was so fun to see him up and moving. Usually the big cats just lay there. Here is Age doing his best Tiger face, hope it doesn't scare you to bad!


All systems Down.

Friday night was a very sad night indeed, for that was the night our computer decided to CRASH. We think we got a viruse and now it won't even turn on. we are looking into it but as of now we have no computer, which means not blog, skype, email, or facebook. Then on Sunday our truck started making this awsome new clunking noise, which sounds rather unhealthy, we are also looking into that but are kid of stranded untill we can find a good machanic. I am at Nicole's house right now and will try to keep you posted. We are still loveing POrtland and have been having lots of adventures, which I will post later. (We went to the ZOO) Love!


Together Again

Once we got back to Edmonton our first order of business was to get together with Lauren and Deanna. We have really missed them over the past few months, so we called 'em up and they invited us right over. We enjoyed the pancake breakfast Deanna had all ready for us and then let the kids play while we caught up. It's funny how easy it is to slip back into your old routines, we spent the next 3 days together and it was a blast, I almost forgot how much fun it was to have the Gundersons over. The kids were playing with this pumpkin bucket all morning, I think they just liked having their pictures taken.

Most of you know about my major fear of the dark and all things creepy. It is virtually impossible fr me to sleep until Aaron is home unless I am heavily drugged and even when he is home I get scared from time to time. I am sure you can all imagine how hard it must have been for me to spend two nights alone up in Edmonton with just the kids. It helped that they had an alarm system but I still only got like 3 hours sleep one night. After hearing my sob story Deanna insisted on staying over and I have never been more grateful to anyone. I was finally able to get some sleep and of course it was a ball!!!

Back at Grandpas

AJ was so happy to be back at Grandma and Grandpa Petersons house. His little face lit right up when he saw Grandpa coming out to the car to get him. I'm not sure who missed who more. For any of you who don't know, AJ is all about his Grandpas. Sure he loves us all, but there is no where he would rather be than hangin' with Grandpa. He calls them Buck-a-ba and he just loves spending time with them. He is especially fond of Dad since we lived with them for 2 months and also because since AJ was born Dad had come over every other day to see him. They love going for drives, watching cars on Youtube, playing with the dogs, and AJ's all time favorite game: Sit in Grandpas arms and point in directions while he walks all over trying to figure out what I want. Here are a few pictures of them out with Zo one morning.

Time in Lethbridge

After Alaina was done school on Friday we went down to Lethbridge for the wedding and the funeral. Since I had a lot on my plate Cindy's sister Wendy said that she would watch Alaina from Saturday evening until Tuesday evening. It was such a help to know that Alaina was somewhere she loved being and having a great time, just one less thing to think about for those few days. Thanks so much Wendy it really means the world to me!!!!!
Since Thanks-giving dinner was kind of non existent at Moms this year the Hill's invited us over for dinner. There were quite a few of us there and SO MUCH GOOD FOOD!!! We had a great time and as usual I ate way too much, Lynn's cooking was irresistible, and I packed away as much as my tummy would allow. Honestly it isn't thanksgiving if you don't have to at least undo the top button of your jeans!!! AJ loves Nash, I am sure it wasn't the best walk Nash ever had, but AJ could walk her around the house all day.

Monday we spent the day out in Fort Macleod. We have been missing our family so much we needed to get out there to see the Poytress crew. Lorraine had prepared a full-on thanksgiving dinner even though there were just 5 of us and AJ. I know that its a lot of work getting all that food prepared but shes such a great mom she wouldn't let us miss thanksgiving dinner. We ate until we could hardly move and then crawled to the nearest bed or couch and everyone had a little snooze. Normally we would get up and go throw rocks in the river but the wind was blowing so hard that was not an option so what did we do.....Experiments. I don't know if you have ever seen some of the science experiments on Youtube but we have and we decided to try them. First up was glow in the dark mountain due. Since this was a big failure I will not explain it to you, just know that it is not real!!! Then we tried the Diet Coke Rocket. What you do is get a 2L Diet Coke and then drop a pack of mentos in it, screw the lid on as fast as you can, and when the presser is built up you throw the bottle on the ground and it explodes into the air like a rocket. It took us 4 tries but it worked, Happy Thanksgiving!

Grandmas Funeral

So I am not really sure if you should post pictures from a funeral but I wanted to post about it so I'll just put up a few. My grandma passed away October 11th 2008, one month after her 68th birthday. She is a hero to me in so many ways and I will never forget her. Although it is hard to think that she won't be calling any more to check in or sending me cards and letters in the mail, I find great peace knowing that I will see her again one day. The day of her funeral was perfect, the winds were calm, and the weather was peaceful. We gathered together for a meet-the-family and after a beautiful family prayer we proceeded to the funeral. All the flowers were beautiful shades of purple and pink, it was no secret that grandma LOVED purple and she would have loved the all the flowers on this day!

Dustin did an amazing job on the Eulogy. The sisters helped prepare it and it really painted a perfect picture of the woman my grandmother was. After a musical number by Adam (cousin-in-law) It was my job to give a tribute to our grandma. I worked really hard on that talk and felt very satisfied with how it turned out, I considered posting a copy but most people interested in hearing it were at the funeral. Anyways, Josh gave the church talk and Jay dedicated the grave, it was beautiful and helped me find the closure I was looking for. We enjoyed sharing memories and visiting with family at the luncheon afterwards, but all good things must come to an end. It was a day my grandma would have loved and I am sure she enjoyed it from her heavenly view. It was emotionally draining and I was glad to curl up on my bed that night!
This is the first family picture since Grandma passed away. It feels sad to not have her in the picture but it truly is a blessing for the girls to still have their dad. I have seen these girls pull together to get through this tough time and take care of their dad. I feel blessed to have close siblings that will be there to weather tough situations in the future.


UP's and Downs

Today was one of the weirdest days of my life. This morning at 1:00 my Grandma finally past away, she held on for so long that we were all ready for her to pass away and be at peace, after that call it seemed that we weren't quite as ready as we thought. There always seems to be something so final and permanent about death, like you are saying your final good-byes, we however have been blessed with the knowledge of the plan of salvation, It is this knowledge that has kept me strong over the last few weeks. I love my grandma and miss her so much already! Tonight I took Grandpa home and it was just the two of us. I wasn't sure how going back to their home would be for me but as soon as I walked in, I lost it! For the first time I really sat down and let the tears pour out for my Grandma. Grandpa had been being so strong all day at the wedding and he too was ready for a good cry. He took me by the hand and together we sat on the couch and wept. After a while we started talking and reminiscing about all the things we loved about Grandma and the miracle of Eternal families. There are no words to describe the feelings I experienced as I hugged my Grandpa good-bye and left him alone in the room he has shared with his wife of 51 years. She loved to make everything around her beautiful, that room had "Gerry" written all over it. My heart broke for him as he stood alone in the door way, with tears streaming down his face, knowing tonight he will really sleep alone.
It was one of the saddest moments in my life thus far, but the time we spent together before the good-byes are mine to Cherise forever, and that makes the tuff stuff worth it!

Okay now that I am back in control of myself I can tell you about the other major up today. This morning Josh and Shayla were married for time and all eternity in the Cardston Temple. Since I forgot my temple recommend in Portland I was not able to go in the temple but I was there waiting when they came out. It was so fun to take pictures and pretend I was a photographer, snapping shots to add at the end of their slide show. The whole day went so smooth, although it was cold after last nights snowfall, the clouds made for some beautiful pictures. Here are a few of them (unedited but still cute!)


Before you go.....

It was nice that we flew up a little early so that AJ could see Grandma and Grandpa Tolman for a few days before the left on their trip. We enjoyed hanging out and visiting but I think AJ's favorite time was spent at the part across the street. Alaina and her frineds love to play there and have all sorts of little forts. She loved showing them to us and AJ had the best time exploring.


This one's for you Poy

Grandma Tolman got AJ these new PJ's and I just thought they were so cute! They have little hockey players and pucks all over them, which we love in our family. (I guess!?!) Anyways here's Age practicing his goalie moves and being a model for the camera.
And here is what your pictures of AJ will look like if you don't start clicking before he notices you have the Photobucketcamera. He just comes running up to it and smiling like this.... Maybe he'll grow out of this face?

Getting here

So we are now in Edmonton, 2 days ahead of schedule, we were planning the funeral for Thursday at 3:00 but Grandma just wasn't ready to leave us. The doctors are baffled, as are we, but I know the Lord doesn't make mistakes so I am not looking for what I can learn from this experience and putting my faith in the Lord. We are planning on Tuesday now for the funeral so...... we'll see if that works out. Anyways it has been emotional and I want to lift some spirits with these cute pictures of AJ and my journey home. Aaron took us to the airport at 6:45 and then headed right to school. When we said our good-byes I got way to emotional because mortality has been on my mind so much lately! I know that all will be well but in the moment I guess I got caught up. By the time I was in the Airport and Aaron was gone I had so many tears streaming down my face that a worker approached me to see if I was lost or needed assistance! ha ha ha, what a nerd! I couldn't wipe my face cuz' I had the backpack on, AJ in my arms, as well as trying to pull a 57 pound suitcase. That's right 57 pounds which means that unless I wanted to pay and extra $100.00 (half a months grocers) I needed to take out 7 pound and add it to my carry on. After check in I was wandering around looking for my gate, ready for the mental picture, I had a 25 pound backpack on (bright red!) my camera in it's case slung over my shoulder and resting on one hip, Age AND his pooh blanket (of course) on the other hip, my hoddie tied around my waist and slipping further down with each steep, and let me tell you I was sweating!!!! All I can say is good thing the seat next me me on the plane was empty! (Talk about stank, he he office quote) Anyways here is AJ winning over all the ladies in our terminal and acting all GQ while we wait to board the "Airbus" (That's all the called it our whole trip!)PhotobucketThe flights were both really quick and AJ did great. He loved being in the plain especially now that he understands what they are. Our WHOLE first flight (1hour) was spent in this exact position. He only moved one to get his milk!PhotobucketOnce we finally arrived in Edmonton Grandpa Tolman came to pick us up and after a delicious meal of lasagna we decided to relaxes with a quick dip in the hot tub! PhotobucketFor any of you who don't know Alaina this is here. She is a fish out of water and she love to play with AJ.Photobucket
HA HA HA HA HA. i AM PEEING MY PANTS AT THESE GINORMOUS PICTURES!!! I will work on getting them to a better size!


178th Semiannual conference

As many of you may know the 178th Semiannual conference took place this past weekend. We didn't actually go to the church for any of the sessions (aside from relief society and priesthood) but we watched them all in our home. Sometimes I think it's better to watch them at home where you have the toys to preoccupied the kids and an area that's baby proof so you're not stressed about what they might be getting into! Anyways conference was AMAZING for me, I felt the spirit so strong and feel certain that the majority of the talks were written for me personal! ha ha. Honestly thought, I have been struggling with all the different feelings that go along with watching someone you love make their way back to our father in heaven, the stress of moving, the distance from home and family, and accepting new changes. I have been looking at the world through my, "Wo is me" glasses.

After listening to the talks and allowing the spirit to bear testimony of their truthfulness everything seems crystal clear with my new outlook focused on gratitude. I am exceedingly grateful for my Grandmother and the wonderful woman that she is. She has taught me so many lessons, shared with my her knowledge and testimony, and together we have made memories that can never die. My heart overflows with gratitude as I realize the blessing she has been in my life and the lives of all those who have known her. I will forever Cherise the times I spent with her and AJ, her love for him was instant and unconditional. She could watch him play for hours and never tire. Although I wish that he could have had time to get to know her better I know there will be plenty of time for that in the hereafter, I feel grateful for my knowledge and understanding of eternal families!

How many blogs have I dedicated to my fear of moving and the stress of finding new friends or fitting into a new ward? TOO MANY. Heavenly Father has organized the church so we as brothers and sisters never need fear of being alone or feeling unwelcome. My new perspective has magnified the many blessings that have come along with our new home in Portland. They are to extensive to name but just let me say that I have no worries or fears about the next four or how ever many years we are here. Already we have so many great friends down here taking care of us. Nicole and I are two peas in a pod (soon to be three) and I know that our meeting was no Chance experience, we have become very close, very fast and for that I am grateful. We have been embraced by our ward family, after only 2 and a half weeks Portland already feels like home. lol, looking back I just think, "oh ye of little faith, why are ye fearful." I should have seen this move for what it was, a blessing, and recognized the unfavorable hue from my "wo is me glasses" making it seem like a trial!

I could go on and on about everything I feel grateful for but I have to get ready for my trip. I will be fling to Edmonton first thing tomorrow with Age and we won't be back for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!!! What will we do without Aaron?? we are sad but looking forward to seeing family and getting to hang out with Alaina!!! Hope your ready to have so major fun Alaina cuz' we are going to have a blast!!


What's going on.

Well I mentioned that things weren't going great with my Grandma last week and things simply haven't gotten any better. Here is the situation last Tuesday morning she had a small stroke. They also found a slight hemorrhage in her brain and so they called in two specialists. The doctors said that the bleeding has been there since her big surgery last spring and that it wasn't causing any problems. With in just a few hours she had her speech and most movement back. The doctors weren't really sure what happened so they kept her over night for observation. By Wednesday at noon Grandma told the Doctor, "my grandson's are getting married, the first wedding is in just two days and I have to be there!" To prove that she was ready to go she got up and walked around the room while chattering away. The specialists both agreed to let her go if she was still feeling good after a few tests and the removal of he IV. So they did the tests and everything looked great and then they removed the IV. Because of her condition when she got to the hospital, her IV was in her neck, and shortly after removing it she lost her speech and slipped into a coma. After a MRI, they found that she had an air bubble in her brain. This is something neither of the specialists have seen in over 30 years of practice. They said that unless you get shot in the head you just can't get air in there. The only other way would be through the IV but the Doctors won't say that's what happened for sure.

Anyways she has been in a coma like state since Wednesday September 24th at 3:00pm. She is completely unresponsive and on level one care which means they are just keeping her comfortable. Over the last 10 days she has been having seizures, which they are giving her medication to help, along with some pain medication. The air pocket in her brain has been blocking the blood flow and stopping any oxygen from getting to her brain. The doctors said that the air will eventually despite into her blood stream but the brain damage she has suffered is extensive. They don't believe she will ever be conscious again, and the Doctors where surprised to see that see made it through the weekend. I am having a very hard time being here when I feel like I really need to be there, but I know that the Lord is with her and my family. I am not praying for a miracle I just want her to know that we love her and I want to know that she is not in any pain. My Grandpa is having a really hard time and I wish I could be there to give him the Love and support he needs but the rest of my family can do that. I have always been so close to home that getting to the hospital was easy, I guess that's why this feels so hard! She is now being moved to palliative care, and I guess we are left to play the waiting game. It has been a roller coaster of emotions for all of us and I am having a bit of a hard time with it. Another family member got some bad medical news and we are all waiting to hear what the next step is. As I work on my talk for her funeral, I have gathered memories from my cousins & siblings, and I am reminded again of the amazing woman she is. I have been brought to tears by their words, she had such an impact on us all! We are loving it here in Portland but are thoughts and prays are with everyone back home.
This is one of my all time favorite pictures (sorry about the quality!) of my Grandma and her four beautiful daughters. I asked my Grandma if she ever wished she had a son and her reply was, "Nothing could ever bring me more joy than my GirlsPhotobucketAs far as my Grandpa and Grandma go, I think they ad it pretty much figured out. They had their ups and downs, I'm sure we've all hear grandma scolding "oh Dick! you cut that out!" but they had such a special love for one another, a love that shines as an example to us all!PhotobucketPhotobucket
So here we are, Not any of the great grandchildren, but here is a large part of her posterity. Because of her we are all here. Because of her example we all know where we are going and most of us are working towards that goal. I can not say it enough, she's a very special and amazing daughter of God.PhotobucketP.S. I just noticed for the first time in my life that I am not in this picture!!!! Where the heck am I?