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