The Higginsons

Saturday, July 18, 2009

October 2008

It has been so long since I've posted anything that I've decided to sum up each month until we're current again.

10-2-2008

Brian rarely comes home for lunch because he works in Orem. It's about a 20 to 25-minute drive from our house, so it's not really practical to try to make it home for lunch and be back again in one hour. But I think on this day Brian was working in the Provo area. I was excited to see him during the day for once! So we "celebrated" this unusual event with an out-of-the-ordinary meal.

I cooked thinly sliced chicken in taco seasoning, and paired it with shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, cheese, homemade tomatillo salsa and homemade regular salsa, and of course, corn tortillas. Brian was in heaven. And just so you don't think he's too weird, he put that giant piece of cilantro in his teeth on purpose.


I think having Brian home for a little while during the day put Deano in a good mood. Here he is looking as plump and gooey as ever.

10-10-2008

Laura came by later the next week for a quick evening visit. Whenever Laura walks into our house she somehow takes all the stress away and everyone feels better. Vaughn of course is the first one to hug Laura. She really has no choice considering he runs to her and jumps up into her arms!


I think this time Vaughn had just woken up from a late nap, so he was still slightly grumpy and didn't really want to talk to anyone. But he still let Aunt Laura hold him, and she loved it!


And speaking of naps...the next few pictures are from earlier in the day just before Vaughn was supposed to take his nap....


Just for fun I put Deano in bed next to Vaughn. Vaughn was so excited to have Deano next to him that he almost didn't dare to breathe in case he might upset the Deano.

Vaughn's excitement couldn't be held in though, and eventually a giant grin spread across his face.


Vaughn eventually decided it was safe enough to move his finger to his mouth.


Deano really had no clue what was going on. Either that or he was too distracted by the camera to really care whether or not Vaughn was moving or spazzing.


Finally Deano noticed Vaughn (well, actually Vaughn's Spiderman doll) and Vaughn decided it was time to make first contact with the Deano.


Deano watched intently as Vaughn showed him some cool Spiderman moves.


Deano eventually started to freak out and had to be moved to his own bed, but Vaughn was still happy as a lark for having had a few moments with the Deano. And here is Vaughn giving the camera a great big smile.


Vaughn is especially attached to this Spiderman doll, as you can tell. And the only reason I call it Vaughn's Spiderman doll is because that's what Vaughn insists I call it. One time I made the mistake of calling it the Spiderman action figure and Vaughn immediately said, "Mom! It's no, no is action figure, it's Spiderman DOLL." I learned my lesson very quickly and it has been called Spiderman Doll ever since.

10-19-2008

We always enjoy it when Brian's sister Linda and her husband Danny come to visit. They had three adorable children. Their second-oldest and only girl is named Lorna. By the way I love that name. Lorna is a darling girl with a giant heart, and she took immediately to Dean. Here she is with her adorable smile and Popsicle-stained chin!


(I'm not quite sure what Deano thought about the situation though!)

10-20-2008

The next day was spent back at Mom and Dad Higginson's house to make sure that Vaughn and Dean got as much time with the kids as possible.


Above is Kalel, Danny and Linda's oldest. And just as a little side note, Linda and Danny named him Kalel way before current Hollywood actors decided to resurrect the name. We call him Kal for short, and the name fits perfectly.

Little Alvin is a chipmunk at heart. He is a full-throttle kid. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen him in any other mode than "insanely active." He is go go go all day long until he basically drops from exhaustion. I feel for Linda, and I admire her. She is a wonderful mother. And Alvin is so dang cute that you just want to squeeze the little chipmunk until he pops!


Vaughn absolutely adores Kal, and to prove his adoration, Vaughn actually let Kal hold his Spiderman Doll AND take a picture. I couldn't believe my eyes, and I knew you wouldn't unless I put up the picture.


Alvin has the cutest button nose and the biggest brown eyes in the universe. I think Grandpa took this picture of him while he was trying to escape being dressed after a bath. I don't think I could take it if I had those big brown puppy dog eyes looking up at me all the time. Too much cuteness in one bundle!


Back to Spiderman. I asked if I could take a picture of Vaughn, but he wanted to make sure that his Spiderman Doll was in the picture. If you look closely you can see Vaughn looking to the side, directly at the camera to make sure Spiderman Doll was front and center.


Once Spiderman Doll was photographed, Vaughn paused for a moment for a shot. But his thoughts were far away, thinking about how cool his Spiderman Doll is. And...

...he decided he wanted Spiderman Doll back in the picture. I hope he doesn't grow so attached that he has to take this doll to college with him or something. I do fully expect though that he will want to sleep with this doll every night until he's 18 or moved out. Either way, I'm going to make sure we keep this doll forever. It will be really fun to pull it out of his remembrance box later on in life and see the look on his face. (This is assuming at some point he'll let the doll out of his sight or grip).

10-23-2008

I bet you didn't think I would ever have a supermodel spread on this blog. But here it is! This GORGEOUS woman is the one and only Linda, Brian's sister and my sister-in-law. Now you can see why I was so jealous of her before I knew she was Brian's sister. I knew I didn't have a chance if I had to compete with this Miss Universe!


Linda is, as I've already said, GORGEOUS! She reminds me of sunshine. She is the epitome of the "California Beach Babe" mixed with the wholesome "girl-next-door."


Did I mention GORGEOUS?!?


She has the longest, thickest, most luxurious hair I've ever seen on a human being. She also has the most perfect teeth and lovely smile in the world.


Linda is a woman of many talents. She is an all-around athlete and she excels in gymnastics. (I'm pretty sure I remember Linda doing a cartwheel only a month after Kal was born). Linda has a beautiful singing voice. Her voice reminds me quite a bit of Karen Carpenter's. She is an expert seamstress. She designs her own swimsuits (50's style) and sews them. She has made all kinds of gorgeous dresses, including a spectacular empire-waist dress. She also designs incredibly cute shirts, shorts, pants, kid's clothing and Halloween costumes.

Linda is also an exceptional cook, a great dancer, a pianist and a wonderful mother. And most importantly, Linda is one of the most loving and understanding people I've ever met. She has the ability to truly forgive and to really understand people. She is a truly Christ-like person, and I am grateful to know her.

I love you Linda!


10-27-2008

This day started out like any other. I was in the kitchen getting breakfast for the boys and Brian had just barely walked out the door to go to work. It was a Monday, so of course something was bound to happen...

About five minutes after Brian left, the kitchen floor began to rumble. I thought maybe construction was going on outside, but that was ruled out quickly when I heard a giant rush of water. I knew instantly that our sump pump had failed and that the basement was flooding.


It probably seems a little odd to think of a basement flooding in desert country, but it happened! The city sewage system backed up and flooded the basements of several houses on our street, and ours was one of them. In the time it took me to call my next-door-neighbor and my in-laws, our basement had three or four inches of water in it. Yikes! The above is of Dad Higginson standing in our basement after we got all the water pumped out.


Dad Higginson got here first and then my neighbor Dawn quickly arrived on the scene. (Those are her feet above). While Dad worked on getting the water pumped out of the basement with a shop vac and buckets, Dawn and I quickly unloaded everything that was in the water or close to being in the water. It was a nightmare! The water went up to the first step leading into the basement.

All of our food storage was down there, so you can imagine how upset I was. I had tried to make sure that anything close to the floor was in water-proof containers. I had also put many things on pallets and shelves. But when you deal with water, and especially sewage, ANYTHING made out of WOOD has to be THROWN AWAY. There is no way to clean it. SO...all of our wood shelves had to be tossed.

This is what our back yard looked like after emptying the basement....

....keep going....

...this too. And yes, that is the Utah Disaster Kleenup truck sitting in our back yard. They had to come in and spray down the basement with high-powered, super hot, disinfecting solution. They santitized the walls, the floors, the steps, and anything that was plastic that was touching the water. Everything else had to be thrown away.

10-28-2009

Disaster Day 2

I had stored canned goods and bottled goods up off the floor, but the water got to them anyway. Disaster Kleenup said I had two options....throw away everything, or disinfect everything that was in glass or cans. I chose option 2 since I wasn't about to throw away all that food! So I set up a washing station which included tons of hot water and CLOROX.

Brian's parents took Vaughn and Dean while I spent the next 8 HOURS washing....
My neighbor Dawn came over again and helped me wash for I think 2 hours. Then my wonderful sister Laura came over and helped for 4 hours. Without Brian's parents, Dawn and Laura, I would still be washing and disinfecting everything! After scrubbing everything until my hands were raw, I had to re-label everything as well. Laura and I enjoyed this part because we were already delirious from the sun and Clorox, and the permanent markers only added to the delirium. We wrote little jokes here and there on different jars or containers. It has been pretty fun since then to read them as we've used up the food.

(If you look closely you can see bottled turkey, hamburger, zucchini relish, tomatoes, grape juice, peaches and salsa. So you can understand why there was NO WAY I was going to throw hundreds of hours worth of work away!) Brian's brother Jared also spent most of a day helping me to get new metal shelving picked up, put together and in the basement. Then he helped to load everything that was clean back into the basement and organize it. It was intense.

So.....Here are a few words of advice....

#1 ONLY USE METAL SHELVING TO STORE THINGS ON!!!
(Metal shelving can be cleaned and sanitized, wood shelving cannot!)
#2 STORE EVERYTHING AT LEAST TWELVE INCHES OFF THE GROUND
(on your metal shevling)
#3 STORE EVERYTHING IN PLASTIC, WATER-PROOF CONTAINERS!!!
(If I had stored everything in plastic containers, only the containers would have needed to
be sanitized, and Disaster Kleenup would have done that!)

And last but not least....

#4 Have some waterproof boots and gloves on hand, and not in your basement!


10-29-2009

The end in sight, and a hot meal in out bellies!


After almost 48 hours without sleep, I was incredibly grateful to go out to eat. My parents (I love you Momma and Poopa) offered to pay for a few meals and it was so great! We went to Bajios which is a fantastic Mexican restaurant here, and it was a much-needed break. Here are Vaughn and Brian enjoying the atmosphere.


If I tell Vaughn to smile he tries really hard and winds up looking like he's hurting. It is adorable.

I was so grateful to be out of the sun, away from the Clorox, and in a place where I could sit down and eat. It was awesome. And it was nice to just be able to sit and play with Vaughn too. He and Deano had really missed us. There's nothing that brings family together like sewage back-ups and Mexican food! (I'll let you think about that for a while!)

Thank you to EVERYONE who helped us! Your labor was priceless!!!

I'll leave you with my favorite picture of Linda...


Love, Lisa

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

SEPTEMBER 2008

September started out for us with a fun trip up to Boise, Idaho, where most of Brian's other siblings live. We stayed with his brother Michael, Michael's wife Marci, and their five children. We were very grateful to have the opportunity to stay with them. Brian and Michael have always been close, and it is fun for them to "go do guy stuff" whenever possible.

The morning after we arrived, we hit some yard sales around the area. It is always a tradition to go to the garage sales because they have MUCH better deals than down here in Provo. And it's fun to go with a few families. It makes the hunt much more fun and you also get a better chance of getting what you want because everyone is looking out for everyone else. ANYWAY, at one yard sale, Aunt Julie found Vaughn a 25-cent Spiderman Costume. We also got him a 50-cent Spiderman winter coat. Unbelieveable!!! So the second we got home, Vaughn begged to put it on. And here's Brian holding Vaughn as he ascends the kitchen wall!


After climbing for a while, Vaughn took a quick break to look at his new suit. You can't tell here, but Vaughn is really smiling through that mask.


What should I call this one? "A Proud Papa"? I don't know.

The next afternoon, September 7th, we went to Jim and Rebekah's house for a little get-together.


Before we went though, Heidi (married to Brian's oldest Brother Dave) brought over bike for Vaughn to use. Vaughn was in HEAVEN!!! Than's what's so great about not having the first grandchildren...you get hand-me-downs like crazy! Brian is always so excited to teach things to our boys, and especially anything dealing with sweet rides!

While we waited to leave from Jim and Bek's, Brian's brother Michael took a chance to hold little Dean. He amazing drifted off into sweet dreamland, and I think it pleased Michael when he realized he had "the touch" too.


Later on at Jim and Rebekah's house, Dean was greeted by a bunch of his older cousins, all wanting to hold him. At this time he was the youngest grandchild in the family, and that gave him automatic attention galore! Maren got to hold Dean first, and she was a little shy as I tried to take a picture of her. Maren has always been a very responsible, mature young woman. I remember when we lived in an apartment basement underneath her parents, Maran would come down to our apartment and help me do dry pack canning. And this was when she was only 4 years old! She loved to help me cook. I have many fond memories of spending time with Maren. I only wish we lived closer so that we could continue those memories! Maren looks so grown-up here. It's hard to believe that she's not the 3 and 4 year-old cutie any more, but a young woman. Time really flies!


At Jim and Bekah's we had a little cookie party. Each family brought a different type of cookie or treat to share with everyone. Here are Brian, Michael and Robert, three nice brothers chowing down on some "delicious yum-yums" as Robert would say in a robotic voice.

This is David, Brian's oldest brother. He is actually a really nice guy and was pulling this intimidating face to tease me. David and I have this game that's been on since Brian and I got married. Dave and I find ways to scare each other, trick each other, or any form of a joke that we can use on each other. One time when I had fallen asleep in the car on the way back to the apartment we lived in under them, Dave tried to scare me to death. Brian had just pulled into the driveway, and I was barely coherent and still mostly sleeping. It was late at night and I was too tired to get out of the door and go into the house, so even I took a second to debate sleeping in the car! Then all of a sudden I hear a loud smack on my window and I jumped and looked over to find a man wearing a werewolf mask and growling. It didn't phase me because I was still mostly asleep. Dave was so let down. Sorry Dave!, but it was a well-thought-out plan!


Back to the party... That morning Aunt Julie had help all the nieces do their hair so it would look extra nice for church. So here are some of the styles they came up with! These two were by far my favorite!



Our nephew Michael James was inside for a bit of the party, and when I went to see why, I found him holding a coral snake. "Her name's Celia. I named her that myself." he said. I love it when kids have pets, and any kind at that! I would love to get a puppy for Vaughn or some fish. Heck, how about a monkey or a giant boa constrictor? I have to admit, I would LOVE to have two dogs: 1) A Great Dane and 2) A Pug Dog.


Dean spent some time just relaxing and enjoying the conversation. The poor kid had been through so much already with his digestive problems. It really helped him to be distracted by so many nice people and so many adoring cousins. He was much more content on this trip.


We eventually wound up inside Jim and Bek's house for some fun conversation. Dad Higginson found himself holding a very energetic Alvin. Alvin is Danny and Linda's youngest, and Linda is Brian's sister. Alvin was all over the place until he found the pen's in Dad's shirt pocket and then like magic, he calmed down enough to be held. That cutie!!!


Vaughn found a fun game and tried as hard as he could to tempt Kal (Danny and Linda's oldest son) to come and play it with him. Vaughn has always loved playing with Kal, and it's because Kal has always taken Vaughn under his wing and been a very kind older cousin and friend to him.


I just wanted to show you again just how cool of a job Julie did when she did all the girls' hair that morning for church! This was definitely my favorite style, and our cute niece Aubrey was sporting this authentic design!


Monday the 8th of September was a clearn, beautiful day. Michael and Marci's youngest son Dallin had not been able to be at Vaughn's birthday party back on August 12th, so he wanted to give Vaughn his birthday present before Vaughn went back to Provo. Dallin gave Vaughn a pair of feet that fit over the top of his shoes. The feet looked exactly like the feet of the stone guy from Fantastic Four.


Dallin kept close tabs on Vaughn to make sure he was walking okay. One of the feet kept slipping off of Vaughn's foot....


.....so Dallin fixed the problem by wearing it himself! It was ADORABLE to watch those two boys walking around, each with "one 'foot' off and one 'foot' on." They made quite the pair! Dallin was happy to have helped with Vaughn's walking problem, and Vaughn was happy to be hanging out doing "guy stuff." Aren't they so cute in this picture?!?!



Dallin is quite the character, and he tried to get Vaughn to come out of his shell a little bit more. Vaughn just looked at Dallin with the smallest hint of a smile. Vaughn is so easily embarrassed, and he would rather watch people most of the time than get crazy too. Eventually though, Dallin won Vaughn over and they both had a great time letting all their energy out. I LOVE that Dallin!


Monday September 10th was spent at home unpacking and getting back into the swing of things. Vaughn however, decided to work on some new Spiderman moves. And why not? He now owned an authentic Spiderman suit, and he had to know how to use it properly. So here's Vaughn doing the best "Spiderman Stretch" he can. He's quite limber. He gets that from me. I was still able to do perfect splits and pull my leg up behind my head when I was 5 months pregnant with Dean. I wonder if I'm part spider too?

Thursday, September 11th was a busy day. First of all it was the 7-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is a day that I always hold in reverence. Brian and I watch news reports from that day, look up new reports and just talk about it. We don't want to forget those who lost their lives, those who risked their lives to save others, and those who caused the deaths of so many. We often talk with Vaughn about the importance of freedom and liberty, and the right and obligation to defend ourselves against those who would take it from us.


I can't remember if I decided to make apricot jam that day or not. I probably did to help keep my hands busy while my mind was going over the past events. So here's the finished product! Unfortunately, I was so distracted that I accidentally added lime juice to the jam instead of lemon juice. They come in a very similar bottle out here! I was very disappointed because it totally changed the flavor of the jam, but I couldn't throw it out. Not after all that work! So I labeled it "Funky Jam" with the hope that someone would be daring enough to try it some day.


September 11th is also a day that we celebrate some birthdays. Brian's sister Julie was born that day, and so was Melvin Kuhni (a dear friend who is like a Grandfather to me). I always call or visit Melvin, and then we go to Brian's parents' house to have a party for Julie. I don't know why I don't have pictures of Julie's party that evening, but I do have a cute picture of me and little Dean. That poor little guy was trying as best he could to enjoy the fun, even with his upset stomach!

The next week, on Thursday, September 18th, I found myself in a rather unusual situation. I had gotten up that morning and started to bottle some grape juice when I received a phone call from my sister Laura. Poor Laura had gotten her wisdom teeth removed that morning (unbeknownst to me) and was stuck at the outpatient center with no ride home. I could barely understand what she was saying because she was just coming out of the anesthesia. I called Mom Higginson and she came to the rescue. She took Vaughn and Dean while I got Laura, picked up her medicines, some ice cream and popsicles, and brought her back to my place for some recovery time.

Poor Laura was in so much pain, and the left side of her face wound up swelling a good amount. This is Laura before the pain medicine set in......


....and a much happier Laura after the medicine kicked in! Laura, I hope you're not going to kill me for posting these pictures! I'll try to find pictures of me when I had my wisdom teeth removed. I looked like a chipmunk with the mumps on steroids!


I was able to finish the grape juice that day inbetween taking care of Laura. The grape juice was made from white grapes and pink grapes. It's not as good as Concord grape juice, but when you mix the two of them you can't tell!



Laura stayed with us for several days after her surgery. It worked out very well for the both of us, and the boys loved having Laura there as well. Laura took every opportunity to help little Dean relax.....

....but sometimes Laura couldn't fall asleep until she had stared at Dean for a while. I don't blame her! THANKS LAURA!!!!


While Laura was with us I also decided to tackle bottling peaches. What was I thinking?!?! But I finished the job and wound up putting up 77 quarts or so. Half of them went to Melvin Kuhni because I bottle for him. He is always so gracious to buy the peaches, and I pay him back by putting them up for him. It works out perfectly for the both of us!


Vaughn enjoyed hanging out with Laura, watching a show every now and then. Here he is relaxing with a special shake made by me, just for him! He asked me for a shake in the funniest way! He said, "Mom, I wanna shake..." and then stood there shaking his body! I love it!!!


Monday, September 22nd dawned clear and peaceful. I just knew it was the day for gathering our beet crop! So I took Vaughn and Dean out to the garden and we took one last picture of our beet crop and proceeded to harvest the beets.


Here's a closeup of some of the beets. It's pretty interesting to me that ours like to grow mostly above the ground. I don't know if this is normal or not. But I have seen beets that are long and skinny and grow underground.


Vaughn worked hard to help me pick the beets.


So I made sure he took frequent drink breaks. What a darling boy!

Tuesday the 23rd was the day we put up the beets. I LOVE to go to Brian's sister Amy's house to bottle with her. She is fun, energetic, quick-witted and spontaneous. She makes bottling so much fun! And Vaughn loves to go to play with his cousin Sammy.


Here's Amy helping to get the beets trimmed and ready to bottle.


And this is me (much later that day) taking an ice cream break. Amy is always great to provide fun things to eat while we bottle.


I don't remember exactly how many jars we put up, but this shows at least some of what we did. It's always nice to see the finished product. I think though that we wound up over-processing the quart jars and the beets turned very light in color. Next year we are going to try putting them in pint jars to see if that will work better. I think you process them for less time, and that might help the beets to retain their rich color. Otherwise we'll just have to pickle all of them, but I don't think Amy likes pickled beets.



Earlier in the week, Brian's dad went to a giant sale held at our local university, Brigham Young University. They hold one yearly and sell older electronics to help to pay for getting newer electronics. Dad picked up a computer for I think $25.00, including the screen and mouse and everything, and delivered it to Vaughn as a post-birthday present. We were shocked, grateful and very excited for Vaughn!

Vaughn had gotten a learning game for his birthday, and once we got it set up, he took to it immediately. He LOVED IT! So a great big THANK YOU to Mom and Dad Higginson!

And here's a picture Dad Higginson took of Dean some time in September. Dean wasn't uncomfortable (his stomach was giving him a break) and he was VERY happy!


Love, Lisa